Actions

Work Header

Hopes, Dreams, and DETERMINATION

Chapter Text

Fifteen year old Frisk set a bowl of ramen on their worn dining room table in front of her six year old sister, Tina, a pretty little girl with long brown hair pulled into braids and a pink dress. "Eat up, sis." She then sat down with her own bowl, which contained much less than her sister's.

"Don't you want more?" Tina asked, her big brown eyes looking up at her sister worriedly.

"Nah, kiddo, I'm not really that hungry." Frisk said to reassure her baby sister, ruffling Tina's braids. She was, but their food supplies were a little low and it was much more important that her sister got fed. Tina nodded, but when Frisk wasn't looking, slipped a spoonful of her ramen into Frisk's bowl. She was young, but she did understand that Frisk would sometimes go without food for her and the little girl didn't like her sister going hungry.

"When are Mom and Dad coming home?" Tina asked after a few bites of her dinner.

Frisk wanted to reassure her sister, but didn't want to lie either. "I don't know." Their parents left them alone for days at a time, going out partying and using drugs. They often came home high, and while they had never laid a hand on Frisk or Tina, they did not take care of them either. Frisk had pretty much raised herself and then her sister after her sister had been born. She changed the subject. "How was your day at school?"

Tina happily told Frisk about her art project and how her teacher had given her a gold sticker for how well she had done on her spelling test, and Frisk smiled and listened to everything her baby sister had to say. They finished dinner and Frisk washed the dishes with Tina drying for her, then she helped Tina with her homework. Frisk was far from the best student in her tenth grade class, but at least first grade homework wasn't too hard.

"Now Tina, I have to go out." Frisk told her sister gently after they finished. "I'll be gone for a little while."

Tina bit her lip. "Do you have to go?"

"Unfortunately, I do." she told her. "But I will be back, I promise. Now, I want you to lock the door. Don't let anyone in unless it's me. If you get hungry, we have crackers, but don't eat too many."

Tina nodded. "Will you be back before bedtime?" Frisk always read a bedtime story from a very worn out book of fairy tales to her sister and it was both girls' favorite part of the day.

"I'll try to be, kiddo." Frisk replied, not wanting to lie to her sister. She didn't know how long the trip would take, but it was necessary if she wanted to be able to feed them both.

Tina nodded and gave her a huge hug. "I'll miss you..."

"I'll miss you too, baby sister, but I'll back as soon as I can." she promised and hugged her sister back, ruffling her hair once again. Tina giggled softly and swatted at her hand. Frisk smiled and kissed her sister's head before leaving their tiny, dingy house.

...

Frisk sighed as she headed to Mt. Ebott. She hated leaving her sister alone for any period of time, but a professor in town wanted a very rare golden flower specimen that only grew near the top of the mountain and being too old to climb the mountain himself, would pay three hundred dollars to whoever got him one. Though the mountain was pretty small, most were too afraid to even approach it. Several mysterious disappearances had happened there and many believed that the mountain was haunted as no bodies had ever been found. Frisk too was afraid of the mountain, but desperation won out over fear. The fact was that she needed the money. Most of what her parents got from welfare was spent on drugs, often leaving her and Tina without money for necessities. Frisk, too young to be hired for a normal job, had taken as many odd jobs as she could, trying to keep her sister fed and clothed. Danger or not, the three hundred dollars was too much to pass up. It would fill their pantry and get Tina some new clothes, and maybe some for her as well. Her own striped shirt and shorts were very worn, and there were holes in her shoes.

It took a few hours and was approaching sundown when she reached where she needed to be. She looked around for the golden flowers. She saw a small cluster of them near the edge of a cliff and sighed. They would be hard to get to, but not impossible. She'd just have to watch her step. Slowly, carefully, she crept towards them along the cliff, needing to be incredibly careful so she wouldn't fall. Thankfully, she managed to reach them, and carefully got a mason jar out of her backpack, filling it with soil before gently uprooting a golden flower.

But then she felt the edge of the cliff beneath her tremble. Looking down, she saw cracks appearing in the ground beneath her feet. Her heart racing, she tried to get to safety, but it was too late. The ground crumbled beneath her and she fell screaming towards the abyss. She tried to grab onto something, but there was nothing to grab onto. She felt something warm crackle around her before everything went black...

Chapter Text

"Ow..." Frisk groaned as she sat up, finding herself on a patch of golden flowers. She started to inspect herself. Her arms and legs were scraped up pretty bad and her ankle really hurt. She moved her arms and legs to see if anything was broken. Thankfully, nothing was, though her ankle had definitely been twisted.

She looked around to see she appeared to be in some sort of ruins with stone walls around her. She could see a hallway nearby. I never saw this before...Am I in some secret part of the mountains? Or am I dead? She certainly didn't feel dead. She doubted her ankle would hurt this much if she was. She stood up and though her ankle flared in pain, she could still walk.

Looking for a way out, she came across a hallway. Seeing no other options, she limped down it, heading through a huge doorway.

And that's when she came across a golden flower, planted in a small patch of grass, looking much like the ones she had been about to collect, but this one had a face, creepily enough. Frisk jumped about a mile when it moved suddenly, raising its head on its own to look up at her. Its beady black eyes locked onto hers and it gave her a wide grin, almost if it had been expecting her.

"Howdy! I'm Flowey! Flowey the flower!" it told her in a somewhat high pitched male voice.

Frisk's eyes were wide with shock. "And I think I hit my head..." She closed her eyes, but when she opened them, the talking flower was still there. She then pinched herself, making the flower look at her weirdly. The pinch hurt, but the flower still didn't disappear. "Okay, I know I'm still dreaming! Flowers can't talk, so I have to be dreaming!" She gripped her head and yanked at her short hair, then shook her head, trying to snap out of it. "Okay, I won't wake up, so I have to prove to myself I'm dreaming! See, my hand will go right through you!" She reached out a finger, expecting it to go right through Flowey.

*poke*

Flowey glared at her. A vine slithered out of the ground and smacked her hand. Hard. "Hey! Hands off the goods, kid!"

"Ow! That actually...hurt?" She stared at him, eyes wide.

"You done having your little episode now?" he asked, rolling his eyes.

"Um, yeah, I guess...Holy shit, you're actually real?! Oops, if you are real, I was super rude to you... Sorry about that... Um, hi?" she babbled.

"Of course I'm real, stupid!" Flowey snapped, then forced himself to calm down. He then came closer and inspected her. "Hmm... You're new to the Underground, aren't 'cha? Not sure why I asked, due to your total cluelessness, so you must be new. Golly, you must be so confused!" He gave her a friendly smile, but something about it made her feel more uncomfortable than welcomed. "Someone will have to teach you how things work around here. I guess little ol' me will have to do!"

"Um, thank you?" Frisk said, more like a question than anything else. Something felt...off...about the way this flower was smiling at her, but she didn't want to piss him off until she understood what was going on.

"Now, in the underground, we have a very special way of spreading LV around." the creepy flower said.

"Um, LV?" Frisk asked, confused and beyond uncomfortable.

"Yeah, LOVE." Flowey explained, saying it in a strange way. "It makes your SOUL grow much stronger. SOULS are weak at first, but with LOVE, they get more powerful. Now, you want some LOVE, don't you? Don't worry, I'll share some with you!"

"Um, I appreciate the offer, but I'm okay." Frisk said, backing away quickly from the flower.

"Hey, I'm happy to help you! Now down here in the Underground, we spread love through little white..friendliness pellets." he explained, still grinning.

"Look, I'm not interested, so leave me alone, you pervert!" she yelled, trying to sound braver than she felt. "Keep your "white friendliness pellets" to yourself!"

"Wait. Wha? Kid, I think you're confused again. Settle down. All I want is to be friends!" Flowey quickly made some white seed-like pellets appear in the air. "Are you ready? Move around! Catch as many as you can!" He shot the pellets at her and she yelped and leapt out of the way, her ankle flaring in pain.

"Hey, buddy, you missed them. Let's try this again, okay. Catch the bullets...I mean, friendliness pellets!" Flowey said with a faint smirk, a taunting edge to his voice. He shot them at her and once again, she tried to dodge, but though she missed most of them, her ankle slowed her down and she was hit by a few in the side, causing her to cry out in pain.

Flowey's face then changed from his sweet and innocent facade to an evil grin, looking completely demonic. "You idiot...in this world, it's kill or be killed!" His evil grin grew wider. "Why would anyone pass up an opportunity like this?" He made a massive ring of white bullets around Frisk, leaving the girl with nowhere to dodge. "Die!"

Frisk looked around for an escape, but she had nowhere to go. She dropped to the ground and curled into a ball, trying to protect her head and vital organs as the bullets moved closer...

And then a sudden blast of fire came from her right, hitting the evil flower and sending him flying, making the bullets dissipate before they could hit her. "What a terrible creature, torturing such a poor innocent youth..." a soft, motherly voice said and Frisk uncurled and glanced up at her savior. Her eyes widened as she saw a white furred monster who looked female with the face of a goat, floppy ears, a small set of goat horns, and surprisingly kind red eyes who was wearing a long purple dress with grayish white sleeves. A strange symbol in a lighter shade of purple was on her chest. The monster knelt and offered a five fingered hand with small blunt claws to help her up. Frisk flinched away at first, frightened.

"Do not be afraid, my child. I am Toriel, caretaker of the ruins." the monster said gently. Frisk looked up into kind dark eyes and felt herself relax. Unlike Flowey's falsely sweet tone, this person's voice felt genuinely kind and caring with no sort of deceit about it. "Oh, you poor thing! You're hurt! Let's get you through the catacombs and get you healed up." She gently scooped Frisk into her arms effortlessly like the teenager was nothing more than a small baby.

Frisk was still nervous, but Toriel had just saved her life and was being nicer to her than she had ever had an adult be. And if Toriel wanted to kill her, she would have already or she would have let that evil flower do it. Frisk allowed herself to relax into Toriel's arms. "Thank you." she whispered.

"You're very welcome, little one." Toriel told her. She was extremely gentle and careful not to jostle Frisk's swollen ankle as she carried her into a bright purple room and up a set of concrete stairs. She then passed through another doorway and entered a room with several rows of stumps and walked across the second and fourth rows. "The ruins are full of puzzles as a security measure." she explained to a confused Frisk. "They're ancient fusions between diversions and door keys, and you need to solve them to get from room to room." The next room contained several switches and Toriel showed her which ones she could press to get to the next room. She actually had them marked so guests in the ruins wouldn't get confused. Toriel also admitted sheepishly that the markings were for her benefit as well.

They then entered a room with a training dummy and Toriel remembered something. "Now, despite what that horrible, horrible flower told you, violence is NOT the best way to handle a fight, little one. Sometimes talking will calm everything down, and kind actions will help ease a conflict. Sometimes monsters will attack if they're angry or afraid, but stay calm and be gentle. There's always a way to end a fight peacefully with no bloodshed."

They finally stopped in a room with some medical supplies, where Toriel tenderly treated Frisk's bruises and scrapes, fussing over her like a mother would. She then wrapped a special bandage around her ankle. It glowed and immediately began soothing the pain. Toriel explained that it was magical and had healing properties.

"The sprain will be completely healed by tomorrow." Toriel told her with a smile and gently ruffled Frisk's hair like Frisk had always done for her little sister. "Now, will you be all right alone for a bit? I need to pick up some groceries." She looked over Frisk's underweight frame with worry, remembering how a certain other little girl had been that thin when Toriel had taken her into her home. "You're much too thin. We need to get some decent meals into you."

"T-Thanks, but you don't need to..." Frisk started.

Toriel gently cut her off. "I want to. Now, I'd like for you to stay in this room. These ruins can be dangerous to explore alone. Here. I'll give you this cell phone." She handed Frisk a flip top cell phone with her number programmed in. Frisk took it, holding it carefully in her hands like it was a priceless jewel. "If you have a need for anything, please call. Now, be good, all right?" She then said goodbye to Frisk and went off.

Frisk waited in the room for a while. Fifteen minutes later, Toriel called up, telling her she would be a little late because a white dog had stolen her flour. Frisk hid a laugh and reassured her that this was fine. About ten minutes after that, Frisk got bite-dialed by said dog and could hear it panting and Toriel calling in the background for the dog to please come back with her cell phone. Frisk hung up the phone, laughing and hoping Toriel got her phone back from the thieving white canine.

A while later, Frisk was restless. She knew Toriel wanted her to stay in that room, but she also wanted to find a way around and out of the ruins. Quietly, she left the room, getting a call from Toriel a few minutes later.

"Hi, it's Toriel. That dog stole my phone, but I got it back. You have not left the room, have you? There are a few puzzles ahead that I have yet to explain. It would be dangerous to try to solve them by yourself. Be good, all right?" Frisk felt guilty for leaving the room, but she reassured Toriel that she would be good before Toriel hung up.

"Ribbit, ribbit. Excuse me, human." a sudden voice said from behind her.

"Augh!" Frisk yelped and jumped a foot in the air before turning to see a creature that could have been a frog, but was much bigger, almost up to her waist. It was mostly white, but had a faint hint of green on its cheeks, three black spots on its chest, and a black belly that had a pattern with what looked like big white eyes and a frown. She could have sworn the eyes on the stomach blinked at her, but she ignored this as best she could to focus on the main creature, wanting to keep her sanity intact.

"Sorry. I have some advice for you about battling monsters. If you act a certain way or fight until you almost defeat them, they might not want to battle you any more. If a monster does not want to fight you, please, use mercy, human." The frog looked at her with pleading and a bit of fear.

"Don't worry. I'm not going to hurt anyone." Frisk said, shocked that the little frog was acting like she was gonna seriously hurt or kill someone. Did she look like a genocidal maniac or a serial killer?

"Good." he said with a sigh of relief before hopping away.

Frisk shrugged with a confused expression before continuing on. She then accidentally stepped on a sleeping Froggit's toe. It yelped and jolted awake, instinctively firing a sharp barrage of flies at Frisk.

Frisk quickly jumped out of the way, freaked out at first and then remembering what Toriel had said. "Whoa. That was a fast attack. I'm sorry for stepping on you, little guy. I didn't mean to." she told the creature, hoping soft words would calm it down so it would leave her alone.

The Froggit didn't understand her words, but he liked the tone of them and smiled, and seeing that she wasn't going to hurt him, dropped a few pieces of gold at her feet before hopping off.

"Ookay...That was really weird." Frisk muttered to herself and continued on. In one room, she got a piece of Monster Candy which she stuck in her pocket to give to her sister later, then nearly fell through the floor and encountered a tiny, timid creature that looked like a cross between a bedsheet ghost and a moth with fluttery little wings which calmed down as soon as she spoke soothingly to it. It dropped a piece of gold at her feet shyly, then ran away before she could even thank it.

She then got called up again by Toriel. "For no reason, which do you prefer? Cinnamon or butterscotch?" Frisk had never had much of either, but chose butterscotch and thanked Toriel. But only five seconds later, Toriel called up again, asking if she minded cinnamon with butterscotch. Frisk wasn't picky and was just grateful to be fed, so she reassured Toriel that she didn't mind.

Toriel called her yet again a few minutes later, asking if she had any allergies, which she confirmed that she didn't. She then continued through the rooms, and being pretty terrible at puzzles, took at least half an hour to solve a complicated floor puzzle which involved having to step on the right places to avoid falling through a hole in the floor, and fall she did at least eight times before getting it right. Thank goodness for Toriel placing soft cushions at the bottom of each hole, or she would be suffering from more than just wounded pride.

Along the way, she had to calm down a few more nervous monsters which did give her a hit or two when she couldn't figure out how to calm them right away or accidentally made it worse, but then they gave her gold once calmed, either as a thank you or an apology; she wasn't sure, but she didn't care. If this was real gold, she could sell it when she got back home and if she played her cards right, make a huge profit and keep her and Tina fed and clothed for a long while as well as set some aside to get an apartment when she was old enough to take custody of her sister.

The thought of being able to provide for Tina filled her with determination and she felt a rush of energy as she continued forward. Next, she had to solve a bridge puzzle which was thankfully pretty straightforward and beg a sentient rock to move in the right direction for her so she could deactivate the spikes on the bridge. This world she had fallen into was so weird...

Once entering the room, she saw what could only be a ghost, slightly translucent white with closed eyes, laying on a bridge that she needed to get across, saying "z" over and over again for some weird reason. "Are they gone yet?" she heard them mumble before they resumed saying "z" out loud repeatedly, pretending to sleep.

She hid a giggle as this weird ghost was cute rather than scary. "Sorry, I'm not gone yet. Can I get through?" She gave the ghost a gentle nudge, which only succeeded in scaring them, and they started crying, which somehow made tears drop down from the ceiling in a hard rain that actually HURT. "Ow! Hey, please don't cry! I didn't mean to hurt or scare you. I just wanted to get through." she said soothingly, trying to keep her voice calm so she wouldn't frighten the ghost more, then giving them a gentle smile.

Their tears lessened and she hid a sigh of relief. She decided to tell them a little joke to cheer them up more and blurted out the first one that came to her mind. "What's a ghost's favorite food?"

"I don't know, what?" they asked, sniffling.

She smiled. "Boo-berry pie!" It was a dumb joke and she hoped three seconds later that it wasn't offensive, but thankfully it cheered the adorable ghost up, making them let out a little laugh.

"H-Hey, I want to show you something."they said shyly. They sent their tears upwards, forming a top hat on their head. "I-I call it Dapper Blook. Do you like it?"

Frisk let out a giggle. It was cute and dorky. They started to look worried, so she clapped her hands. "That's awesome!" she cheered.

"Thanks. My name's Napstablook, by the way." they said, looking down at the ground.

"I'm..." she started but they kept speaking.

"I usually come to the ruins because there's nobody around, but today I met somebody nice! O-Oh, I'm rambling again. I'll get out of your way."

"You don't have to..." she started to say but they had already vanished.

Frisk sighed and continued on. Taking a wrong turn, she hit a dead end, a small room with two spider webs. "Oops, nothing here but spider webs...man, this place is a maze." She was about to turn and try another way, when she saw a little sign. "Spider Bake Sale?" she read in confusion, then rubbed her eyes to make sure she read that right, though she didn't know why she was even surprised after everything else she saw today. "Huh. That's...different."

"Hi!" a tiny voice said. It sounded like a little boy around Tina's age, maybe a little older.

Frisk jumped and looked around in confusion. "Hello?"

"Down here." the little voice giggled and Frisk followed the sound, looking into the smallest web to see a brown spider the size of a tarantula waving a foreleg at her. He was wearing an adorable little blue polo shirt and black pants that covered all eight legs.

"Oh, hi there!" Frisk said with a smile, though she felt like she had wandered into the plot of Charlotte's Web.

"Wanna buy a doughnut? Mommy let me bake them all by myself and she let me come here today and sell them with the others!" he told her happily and looked up at her with puppy dog eyes...all eight of them.

Even on a spider, Frisk was a sucker little kid puppy dog eyes. "Sure, I'll buy one. How much?"

He was bouncing eagerly at making his first sell. "Umm...seven G."

Frisk counted out seven of the little gold pieces she had, guessing that was what he meant. "Here you go!"

"Yay!" he said happily and he, along with some other spiders, brought her down a doughnut, one clearly frosted by a little kid as it was covered with lots of messy vanilla icing with sprinkles everywhere. Tina would love it. Frisk thanked them and gently placed the doughnut in her backpack before heading on her way again.

It took her a while to solve another puzzle which involved dropping down through a hole and finding a switch(which took five rooms for her to find), but she did get to run into Napstablook again, who had fallen down a hole and gotten stuck, forgetting that ghosts could fly before finally remembering that little fact and vanishing again. She then had to solve two switch puzzles, which took her a little while and a few wrong switches to figure out,, and deal with more monsters which were now deciding to come in pairs, which added more bruises to her collection. She was limping again by the time she got out of there. Maybe wandering around hadn't been such a smart idea...

Eventually, she reached a room with a large tree and saw Toriel. "Oh dear, that took longer than I thought it would." Toriel muttered to herself and started to dial before looking up to see Frisk standing there, looking like a kid who got their hand caught in the cookie jar. She ran over to her. "What are you doing here, my child? Are you hurt?" She checked her over and saw the new bruises. "There, there. I will heal you. You shouldn't have been wandering about alone." she scolded gently, then sighed. "And I shouldn't have left you alone for so long either. It was irresponsible of me, but I wanted to surprise you. Err...well, I suppose I can't hide it any longer. Come, my child!" She led Frisk into her cozy home and a sweet, delicious smell filled Frisk's nostrils as soon as she got in the door. "Do you smell that? Surprise! It is a butterscotch cinnamon pie. I thought we might celebrate your arrival."

"You-You did this for me?" Frisk asked very softly. Her mom had never baked her a pie or treated her bumps and bruises or even seemed to care. How was a total stranger acting more like a mother to her than her own mother? She looked up into Toriel's eyes, her own guarded yet vulnerable at the same time. but saw that Toriel's were open and honest.

Toriel was caught by her expression, so identical to that of Chara's when Asriel had brought her in; the gratitude for even the tiniest kindness, the fear in her eyes that it would all disappear, and the very slight suspicion that it was all a trap. "Of course. Let's get some dinner in you first and then you can have a nice big slice of that pie." She gave Frisk a big plate of food and the fifteen year old thanked her and ate, politely enough, but pretty quickly as well, like she hadn't had a decent meal in a while, which made Toriel worry more.

"I have another surprise for you." she told Frisk once the girl had finished eating. She led her towards a bedroom. "A room of your own! I hope you like it."

Frisk gulped inaudibly. "T-Thank you, but-but I can't stay...I need to go home...my..."

Toriel flinched a little, but tried to keep it from the girl she had taken in. "Right now, you cannot go anywhere on that ankle. You will just make it worse, even with that bandage on. Please, stay here." she told her quickly.

Frisk wanted to go back to her sister, but she knew Toriel was right and thought Toriel only meant for her to stay the night. There was no way she could get down the mountain and back to town with her ankle, and it was very late already. She nodded and took out some gold, holding it out to Toriel. "Thank you. I can pay you for the stay..."

"No, no dear. You keep that." Toriel told her, gently pushing her hand back. Frisk wanted to protest but Toriel gently shushed her.

As Frisk went towards the bedroom, she caught sight of one of the mirrors in the hall and thought she heard whispering coming from them and felt a faint tug at her very soul. Confused, she wandered over. Two of the mirrors simply showed her reflection, but the third came as a shock. There was a brown haired girl, looking around her age, maybe a few years older, in what looked like a yellow and green jumper. "It's me, Chara." she thought she heard the girl whisper pleadingly and Frisk fell back in shock with a small yelp, landing on her butt.

Toriel rushed over. "What is wrong, child? Are you all right?"

"The-The mirror...I thought I saw..." she stammered and got up, looking in the mirror again. But the only thing she saw in it was herself. "I-I don't know. Did-Did you see or hear anything?" Toriel just looked confused and shook her head. "Maybe-Maybe I'm just seeing things..."

"You must be tired. Let's get you to bed." Toriel said in a motherly tone, helping Frisk to the bedroom. Frisk thanked her again for the millionth time that night as she lay down. Toriel tucked her in and kissed her forehead before leaving the room. Frisk closed her eyes, feeling a confusing mixture of contented at being cared for for the first time in her life, worried for her sister's safety, and confused about what had happened with the mirror. But exhaustion took over and she was soon asleep.

In the other room, Toriel could not fall asleep so easily. She hoped she could convince this child to stay. She would NOT lose another one to her ex husband's plans, especially this one, so small, so thin, and looking so much like... Her heart ached and she got up to go read. She had the feeling she would not be sleeping much tonight.

Entering the main room, she saw the rest of her pie still sitting on the dining room table and cut a piece, plating it and carrying it to her charge's room, entering quietly so she wouldn't wake her. She placed the slice of pie on the floor. That way, she can have a little snack if she gets hungry in the middle of the night. And if her story is anything like Chara's, which I fear it is, having food around wherever she is should comfort her. She watched over the sleeping child for a few minutes, then quietly headed back down the hall.

...

Frisk awoke the next morning, sleepily thinking the events of yesterday had been a dream. But when she opened her eyes, she realized she was on a nice, soft bed in a beautiful little room rather than her own dingy one with its moth-eaten mattress. She got up and found the piece of pie, thankfully right before she was about to step on it. She carefully picked it up and covered it, placing it in her worn backpack. It would make a good breakfast for her sister.

She wandered down the hallway, checking the mirrors to see if she could see the mysterious figure again, but she didn't. Entering the living room, she saw Toriel sitting in a chair, reading a book. "Up already, I see." Toriel said, smiling. She then looked to Frisk earnestly. "Oh, I want you to know how glad I am to have someone here. There are so many old books I want to share. I want to show you my favorite bug hunting spot. I've also prepared a curriculum for your education. This may come to you as a surprise, but I have always wanted to be a teacher. Actually, it may not be all that surprising to you." she said, kind of quickly.

Frisk looked down. "T-Toriel, I can't stay. I-I have to go home...my s..."

Toriel looked down as well. "This is your home now." she said softly before Frisk could finish. The fifteen year old flinched back at this, making Toriel's heart clench.

"Let me go!" Frisk begged, now absolutely terrified that she was being kidnapped and not knowing what to do against someone who could shoot fire from her hands. "I have to go home!" She then tried to bolt towards the only door she hadn't been near, but Toriel gently caught her. Frisk cried out and struggled, but Toriel didn't let her go.

"Please...stop struggling and just listen for a moment. I will never hurt you. You have nothing to be afraid of here in the ruins, but there's a reason you have to stay." Toriel told her, still speaking softly and gently, though there were tears in her own eyes now. Frisk stopped struggling, but she still looked at Toriel with some fear in her eyes. "You don't understand. I'm only trying to protect you. It's very dangerous out in the underground. It's not nearly as easy to leave here as you think. You don't know the history of what happened between our kind and yours. A long, long time ago, there was a war between our races. After a long battle, the humans were victorious. They used a spell to seal us here in the Underground. There is a magical barrier between our world and yours. And while it's easy to fall into it, it's not so easy to get back out again. And the monsters here; some resent or fear humans greatly."

Frisk opened her mouth to speak, but Toriel cut her off. "I know that none of this is your fault. This happened long before your time, but there is still fear here. I believe most will calm if you show them kindness...but-but there are some that will want to take your soul." Frisk shivered at this and Toriel felt terrible, but she knew she had to tell her to get her to stay. "You see, a human soul has much more power inside it than a monster soul, even able to linger after death. And-And it's said if they were to gather seven souls and use their power, the barrier could be broken and set us free. And that's why you have to stay here with me." She then let Frisk go before getting up.

"I'm going to destroy the entrance to the ruins, that way no one can get in or out." Toriel then headed towards the exit. Frisk's eyes widened as she chased after her down the stairs and through the long purple hallway.

"Toriel, I know it's dangerous; I know you're trying to protect me, but I have go home! My..." Frisk started, but Toriel cut her off again.

"I'm not letting you out of here! Every human that has fallen down here has met the same fate! I have seen it again and again! They come. They leave. They die. You naive child; if you leave the ruins...they...Asgore... will kill you! I am only trying to protect you! Why don't you understand?!" She looked down. "Go-Go to your room."

"I-I can't. Toriel, I have to go!" Frisk begged.

"Don't try to stop me from doing this. Child...I know whatever happened to you at home wasn't good. You're much too thin. I know you weren't being taken care of at the very least. Stay with me. I will take care of you and raise you as my own child. I will not let anyone harm you. Please...just stay. I will not lose another child!" She walked to the door of the ruins and Frisk ran after her.

"So you wish to leave that badly. Hmph." Toriel said. "You are just like the others. There is only one solution for this. Prove yourself to me. Prove that you have what it takes to survive!" She took a battle stance.

"I'm not going to fight you, Mom!" Frisk yelled and both her and Toriel's eyes widened at what she had just blurted out in her agitation and sadness. "I'm not going to hurt you! But-But I still have to go! I have a little sister at home! She's only six. I need to go home and take care of her. My...My parents won't. I-I don't want to do this...but...but I have to. My sister needs me, and I'm going home to her." She looked down. "You've been amazing to me. You-You've been more like a mom than my real mom, but...but I still have to go back. I'm not leaving my sister alone." She looked into Toriel's eyes. "Please...let me go."

Toriel looked down. "I..." She let out a sad laugh. "How pathetic. I...I can't even protect a single child. But...But I understand why, little one. I know that you love her a lot. Your determination to go back to her is strong. I-I cannot stop you. I'll do whatever I can to help you, but-but I won't be able to protect you all the time out there."

"I-I know. And I know it's extremely dangerous. But I have to do this anyway." she whispered. "I-I can protect myself out there...I always have..."

"I-I know, my child. But you never should have had to." Toriel enveloped her in a warm hug, crying softly. "Please...please be careful. And if you want to come back, you will always have a home here. And remember, you have my phone number. Call me whenever you need me or even if you just want to talk. I will always have my phone on me and I will always be here."

"Thank you. Thank you so much for everything." Frisk whispered, tears falling from her eyes as well as she hugged Toriel back tightly. After a long moment, Toriel let her go and moved out of her way. Frisk's hand shook as she opened the door to the ruins. She gave one last look back at Toriel before she stepped outside, feeling like her heart was breaking in a million pieces.

...

Toriel watched sadly as Frisk left, hoping she would be all right on the perilious journey ahead. She hoped the friend she had been talking to would keep his promise and protect and help this brave, determined little girl. But what she didn't know was that someone else had silently vowed to help the girl along her way as well. She never felt the ghostly arms that wrapped around her or heard the tiny voice of another young teenage girl whisper "Goodbye," and "I love you, Mom." She never saw the spirit of her first adoptive daughter leave the ruins and follow along behind Frisk as she down the hallway out of the ruins, the young spirit stopping one last time to wave goodbye.

Chapter Text

As soon as Frisk left the doorway leading to the exit and went up another long hallway, she encountered a certain creepy yellow flower again. "Clever. Veeerry clever. You think you're so smart, don't you?! But in this world, it's kill or be killed. So you played by your own rules. You spared the life of a single person. I bet you feel really great. You didn't kill anybody this time. But what will you do if you meet a relentless killer? You'll die and you'll die and you'll die. Until you're tired of trying. What will you do then? Will you kill out of frustration?" he asked her with a taunting smirk.

Frisk was scared, but hid it. "Not sure how. I'd already be dead." she said snarkily as her mouth activated before her brain, trying to make him think she was fearless so he'd leave her alone, only thinking a second later that that was probably a very stupid plan.

He glared at her and she fought the urge to back away. "You're almost as bad as that smiley trashbag, but you're not fooling me with your pointless acts, you know. I can very clearly see the fear in your eyes... You know you'll never make it through without killing or being killed. Now, will you rule this world...or give it up entirely and let ME inherit it." He grinned evilly. "I am the prince of this world's future. But don't worry, my little monarch. My plan isn't regicide. This is SO Much more interesting. Will you kill? Or will you fall? Let's see what you do."

"Look, you psychopathic asshole flower! I will not die, and I will NEVER take a life!" Frisk yelled, angry and scared out of her wits, her mouth still running off before her brain.

Luckily, or perhaps unluckily; she wasn't quite sure, the evil flower was more amused than offended by her retorts. He knew exactly how scared she was. Flowey laughed evilly, his face showing a terrifying, jagged demonic grin. "We shall see, little monarch. We shall see." With his last words, he sunk into the ground and vanished.

Frisk was tense, ready for any surprise attack, but none came. Cautiously, she walked forward, opening the last door, half expecting Flowey to be outside it. But he wasn't. Outside was a long road, tall black trees thickly lining each side. Taking a deep breath to ease off the shakes, she walked forward along the creepy pathway, stepping over a heavy branch in her path. For a second, she considered going back to Toriel's warm home and loving hugs, but she berated herself for her selfishness and cowardice. Her sister needed her. She'd have to suck it up and keep going, no matter what the danger. But this path was creepy and...and what was that? She thought she saw a vaguely human shaped shadow following her out of the corner of her eyes. She whipped around, but there was nothing there, yet the thick branch she remembered stepping over was now broken into pieces.

Okay, maybe you broke it yourself, Frisk. Now stop this and just keep going, maybe a little quicker. There's probably nothing there, and if there is, you can handle it or at least outrun it, but whatever you do, don't let it know you're afraid. she berated herself and kept going, very wary in case anything jumped out at her. She still felt like she was being followed and stared at, but every time she turned around, there was nothing there.  She sped up a bit, but tried not to panic.

After a little while of walking and trying to keep ahead of whatever might be following her, she came across a short wooden bridge with wide bars that were forming a really bad gate in front of it. Almost anybody could walk through if they wished. Thinking it was just some weird decoration, she was just about to cross when she heard footsteps behind her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the shadowy humanoid figure again, but this time it didn't disappear. She froze in place as it crept up to her.

"Human." a male voice said slowly in a deep, gravelly, and somewhat intimidating voice. "Don't you know...how to greet...a new pal?"

Frisk whipped around and quickly backed away as the figure stepped closer, taking a defensive stance or at least an attempt at one with her arms out a little in an attempt to block him. "B-Back off! I know judo!" she cried out, then inwardly berated herself as she prepared to run for her life. Really, Frisk? Could you have sounded any more like a scared fifteen year old girl that doesn't actually know judo?

The stranger stepped into the light, revealing himself to be a skeleton, only a few inches taller than her.  His skull was large and rounded, he had a grin on his face, and he wore a casual blue hoodie with black shorts. Frisk could have sworn one of his eyes glowed blue for a second, but then it disappeared, and he spoke in a much more easygoing tone, raising both hands to show he wasn't armed. "Hey, hey, easy. I'm not gonna hurt ya." He held out his hand for a handshake, and after an awkward few seconds, Frisk managed to get herself to relax enough to take it.

*Ppppbbtttt*

"Heheh, the old whoopie cushion in the hand trick. It's ALWAYS funny." he chuckled. Frisk laughed a little too and felt herself relax even more as this guy now seemed more like an immature teenage boy than an ax murderer or a creepy stalker.  Especially as he was carrying a whoopie cushion in his hand and was wearing pink slippers. She thought she heard someone else faintly giggle as well and looked around, but saw no one.

"Anyways, Jumpy, you're human, right?' the skeleton asked and Frisk turned her attention back onto him. "That's hiliarious. I'm Sans. Sans the skeleton."

"I'm..." Frisk started to introduce herself, but Sans cut her off.

"I'm actually supposed to be on watch for humans right now..." he told her Frisk gave him a nervous look, preparing to run for it, but Sans just continued talking. "But y'know... I don't really care about capturing anybody." he added in a lazy tone. "Now, my brother, Papyrus, he's a human hunting FANATIC. Hey, actually, I think that's him over there. I have an idea. Go on through this gate thing. Yeah, go on right through. My bro made the bars too wide to stop anyone."

Frisk was hesitant, but Sans gave her a gentle nudge, and she stepped through, not really seeing any other options as he was walking right behind her. They crossed the bridge onto a road beside what looked like a snow covered wooden sentry booth. She then heard footsteps coming towards her. "Quick, behind that conveniently shaped lamp." Sans told her, pointing to a random, vaguely human shaped lamp in the middle of the road. Without time to wonder why the hell a lamp shaped like a human was there, she stepped behind it, just in time as loud footsteps sounded and another skeleton came walking up.

And this guy was intimidatingly tall, over six feet at the least.  His face was sharp, long and angled with prominent cheekbones, and he was wearing a ragged red scarf like it was a cape, a pair of red gloves, a white shirt with some sort of red and blue symbol on it, blue shorts, and red boots.  As the new skeleton stomped up to his brother, Frisk noticed that he looked mad, or at least annoyed, and she held her breath, scared for her life.

 " 'Sup, bro?" Sans asked casually.

"YOU KNOW WHAT'S 'SUP, BROTHER! IT'S BEEN EIGHT DAYS AND YOU HAVEN'T. RE-CALIBRATED. YOUR. PUZZLES! YOU JUST HANG AROUND OUTSIDE YOUR STATION! WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING?" Papyrus yelled, throwing his arms in the air and gesturing wildly as he talked.  He had a loud, somewhat high pitched voice and sounded more like an annoyed younger sibling than a homicidal maniac, which made Frisk feel a bit better, though she was still scared.

"Staring at this lamp. It's really cool." Sans said lazily. "Do you wanna look?" Frisk tried to hide as much as she could, fighting the urge to run for it, knowing Papyrus would catch her if she did.

"NO! I DON'T HAVE TIME TO STARE AT THE LAMP YOU KEEP PRANKING ME WITH! WHAT IF A HUMAN COMES THROUGH HERE? I WANT TO BE READY! I NEED TO BE THE ONE! I MUST BE THE ONE! I WILL CAPTURE A HUMAN! THEN I, THE GREAT PAYPRUS, WILL GET ALL THE THINGS I UTTERLY DESERVE! RESPECT! RECOGNITION! I WILL FINALLY BE ABLE TO JOIN THE ROYAL GUARD! PEOPLE. WILL. ASK. TO. BE. MY. FRIEND! I WILL BATHE IN A SHOWER OF KISSES EVERY MORNING!" Frisk's eyes widened as she heard this last part, and she kind of felt bad for this weird guy and wanted to laugh at the same time. Papyrus didn't feel quite so scary any more, but that didn't mean she wanted to be discovered by him.

"Hmm, maybe this lamp will help you." Sans said casually and Frisk once again held her breath, inwardly cursing Sans for saying that.

"SANS! YOU ARE NOT HELPING! YOU LAZYBONES! ALL YOU DO IS SIT AND BOONDOGGLE! YOU GET LAZIER AND LAZIER EVERY DAY!" Papyrus yelled.

"Hey, take it easy. I've got a ton of work done today. A skele-Ton." Sans joked with a wink.

"Oh, Sans. You haven't changed at all." Frisk heard a female voice say right beside her with a laugh. She held back a gasp as she realized it was the same voice from the mirror. But again when she looked, she saw no one, and the two bantering skeletons hadn't seemed to hear the voice at all as Papyrus yelled at his brother about the dumb joke and Sans casually pointed out that he was smiling.

"I AM AND I HATE IT!" Papyrus yelled before sighing. "WHY DO I HAVE TO DO SO MUCH JUST TO GET SOME RECOGNITION?" His voice was still pretty loud, but he didn't sound as angry any more.

"Wow. Sounds like you're really working yourself...down to the bone." Sans replied.

"UGH! I WILL ATTEND TO MY PUZZLES...AND AS FOR YOUR WORK, PUT A LITTLE MORE -BACKBONE- INTO IT! NYEH-HEH-HEH-HEH!" Papyrus then left, turning back to give one last, "HEH!"  

"Ooh, not a bad comeback. Looks like you got burned, Sans." Frisk thought she heard the same voice say, and again she tried to look for it, but still found nothing.

"Okay, you can come out now...What are you looking for? Lost your head? Don't worry, it's right on your shoulders where you left it." Sans quipped.

"I-I thought I heard...Never mind. I must be...out of my SKULL." Frisk joked weakly, trying to get the strange experience out of her mind.

"Heh. Good one. Be sure to get some rest. You don't want to be BONE-tired if my brother comes back." Frisk thought she heard the voice laugh again at this, but tried to ignore it. "Anyway, you might want to get going. Papyrus might come back, and if he does...you'll have to sit through more of my hilarious jokes."

Frisk thanked him for his help, then walked off a little, holding her head. "Okay, first I'm in a world filled with monsters, now I'm hearing voices in my head that even the monsters can't hear...Wow, do I have a headache..." she mumbled to herself. She saw the sentry booth. Hmm, maybe I can hide behind it and take a rest for a minute. Maybe that will get my head screwed on straight. She stepped behind it and found a condiments station with ketchup, mustard and relish bottles. "This is so weird...maybe I have lost my marbles..."

"You'd better find them then." the voice then quipped with a laugh, coming from right behind her. Frisk instinctively turned, expecting to find nothing there again. But she was caught by surprise when she instead saw the girl from the mirror. The girl looked shockingly similar to herself and about the same age, though she was a little taller than her with brown hair only slightly lighter than Frisk's and a pronounced blush on her cheeks. Frisk felt another tug in her very soul as it seemed to gravitate toward the girl. For a weird second, she felt like she had found family, even though she had no idea who the hell this girl was.

Shock and confusion were quickly replaced by annoyance though. "What's with following me around, then hiding from everyone else and making me think I was off my nut? Is this some kind of weird practical joke?!"

The girl sighed, running a hand through her hair as her expression turned serious. "I wish it was. But you're the only one who can actually see and hear me now. I'm dead."

"So you're like a ghost or something? Like Napstablook?" Frisk asked, still confused and half thinking she was crazy. "Why am I the only one who can see or hear you?"

"Sort of, I guess, on the first question. Everyone can see Napstablook and the other ghost monsters. But...I'm different. Maybe it's because I was human. As for why only you and you specifically know I'm here, I have no idea." She sighed softly. "I-I woke up or formed into a ghost or whatever it was yesterday, I...I think a little after you ended up here. I tried talking to Toriel, she-well she was my adoptive mom, but she couldn't see or hear me. Until you saw me in the mirror last night, I didn't think anyone could see me. I don't even know how long I've been gone, but it must have been a long time because everything's changed..." She then let out a sad laugh as she glanced in the direction Papyrus had left. "Papyrus has gotten a lot taller since I last saw him; he was just a little skeleton begging Sans to teach him that special attack back then..."

"You knew Sans and Papyrus?" Frisk asked in surprise.

"Yeah, Sans was my best friend. Papyrus is his baby brother, so I got to see him pretty often too."

"Is that why you're here with me? Do you want me to talk to them? Or Sans, at least? Tell them you're here?" Frisk asked gently. "And I can call Toriel. I have the cell phone she gave me.."

"No. I'd rather you not tell them. I-I've been gone a long time. They've probably already grieved and moved on. It'll just get them upset or reopen old wounds." she said sadly, looking away off into the distance before turning back to her. "It's you who needs the help more than me. I felt your determination to get back to your sister. I can understand the feeling. So if you can put up with me, I'll go with you on your journey and at least try to help you get out of here. It's definitely better than being alone with no one to talk to. Plus, from what I've heard...things...they've gotten a lot different since...since I...well, died. When I fell, the monsters...they took me in. I-I had a family, but now everything's changed, and I don't know why Mom is hiding out and so scared and worried they'll hurt you, especially my...my... None of this makes any sense! Things aren't supposed to be like this!" The ghostly girl took an unneeded breath, trying to calm herself down and managed to at least sort of succeed. "I'd-Well, I'd like to find some answers, and I think traveling with you should help with that. And I've been a lot of places in the Underground and know about a lot of the monsters, so I can help you get around. So what do you say? Want an extra set of eyes and ears and a ghost attached to them?" She was joking around again, trying to cheer herself up. It was how she coped with pain.

Frisk thought this over as she looked to the spirit. She was still a little wary and nervous, but something in her very soul was telling her she could trust this girl. "I-I could use all the help I can get." she admitted. She was still very confused by all this, but any help right now was a godsend. "Thank you. I'm Frisk."

"I'm Chara."

Once Frisk was rested enough, the two girls stepped out from behind the sentry box, just in time to see Sans come back with some greasy bags of what looked like fast food. "Oh, you're still here?" he asked.

"Sorry, w-I'm leaving now." Frisk said sheepishly, having to stop herself from saying "we,' as only she could see Chara.

"Actually, hey, hate to bother ya, but can you do me a favor? I was thinking...My brother's been down lately. He's never seen a human before, and seeing you might just make his day. Frisk looked understandably worried, so Sans quickly added, "Don't worry. He's not dangerous, even if he tries to be. Thanks a million. I'll be up ahead." He pointed one direction, but walked away in the other before Frisk could even answer.

"Typical Sans." Chara said with a laugh, looking towards where the skeleton had left fondly. "And I know he's gonna beat us there. He cheats and warps places...Anyway, let's go!" She started to float off, but Frisk hesitated, afraid of being hurt or captured. Chara realized Frisk wasn't following and turned back. "It's okay. You can trust Sans. He's a good guy and he always keeps his word. And you saw how much of a goober Papyrus was. He's not dangerous. Look, I wouldn't tell you to do this if I thought you'd get hurt. I know you don't know me or them very well, but please, trust me." Frisk looked into Chara's eyes and saw nothing but sincerity. She finally gave a single nod and followed Chara down the path. As they walked, unknown to them, their sister souls, both red, one damaged and nearly empty of all its Determination, one strong and alive, pulsed in unison as they began to connect. The stronger soul looped itself to the damaged one with an invisible thread, trickling tiny amounts of its own Determination into the it, sustaining it, keeping it tethered to the physical plane, and trying to heal it. Neither girl was fully aware of this soul connection, or the surprises it would bring, but as they traveled, talked, and watched out for monsters together, they somehow knew one thing for sure.

They were going to be great friends.

Chapter Text

It was very soon that the two encountered a monster, a Snowdrake, a teen comedian. Though his jokes were awful, Frisk humored the monster that wanted a captive audience by laughing while she dodged the attacks meant to keep her attention, though Chara complained unheard about his jokes being worse than Sans's. Thankfully, that satisfied the monster who flew away happy, dropping coins at Frisk's feet. Much to Frisk's relief, that was the only monster roadblock on the way to Papyrus and Sans, and after getting turned around and nearly ending up in a lake, which caused Chara to grumble about Frisk having no sense of direction, they found the right road and came upon Papyrus and Sans. She stopped in front of them hesitantly.

"SO AS I WAS SAYING ABOUT UNDYNE..." the skeleton with no inside voice was saying before Sans tapped him on the shoulder and pointed. Papyrus did several double takes before turning to Sans. "OH MY GOD, SANS, IS THAT A HUMAN?! OR DID YOU PAINT THAT INCONVENIENTLY SHAPED LAMP TO PRANK ME AGAIN? I BET YOU DID! BUT YOU CAN'T FOOL THE GREAT PAPYRUS THIS TIME!" He grinned triumphantly and intending to take the "lamp" back to its spot, went over and picked Frisk up.

"Hey!" she squawked in surprise and wriggled, trying to get down.

Papyrus nearly dropped her in surprise at feeling something that was alive, moving, and definitely not a lamp, but then steadied himself and gently set her down on her feet. "OKAY, SO YOU'RE NOT A LAMP...OH MY GOD." Papyrus whisper yelled to Sans, which of course meant Frisk and Chara could still hear him. "IS THAT ACTUALLY A HUMAN THIS TIME?!"

"Yes." Sans whispered back.

Frisk shuffled her feet awkwardly. "Um, hi, I'm..."

But Papyrus was too excited to hear her. "OH MY GOD! SANS! I FINALLY DID IT! UNDYNE WILL...I'M GONNA...I'LL BE SO POPULAR! POPULAR! POPULAR!"

Frisk wasn't sure whether to laugh or run. Papyrus's over-excitement was kind of cute, but she certainly didn't want to be captured.

Chara however had already lost the battle with laughter. Frisk was thankful only she could hear her. "He may have gotten taller, but he hasn't changed one bit. He's just a goofy big kid."

Meanwhile, Papyrus was calming down. "AHEM...HUMAN, YOU SHALL NOT PASS THIS AREA! YOU MAY HAVE BEEN VERY CLEVER TO DISGUISE YOURSELF AS A LAMP..." Frisk gave him a "da fug?!" look while Sans held back a snort and Chara laughed even harder. "...BUT I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WILL STILL STOP YOU! I WILL THEN CAPTURE YOU! YOU WILL BE DELIVERED TO THE CAPITAL! THEN...THEN..." He scratched his head sheepishly. "I'M NOT SURE WHAT'S NEXT. IN ANY CASE, CONTINUE ONLY IF YOU DARE! NYEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!" Papyrus then walked off.

"Well, that went well. Don't sweat it, kid." Sans had noticed that Frisk was backing away slowly. "I'll keep an eye socket out for you." He then went off as well and Frisk continued on ahead.

After fending off an Ice Cap, well, ignoring the Ice Cap's hat until it got annoyed and left, Frisk and Chara headed down the road, passing a sign that said, "No moving." that was near another sentry station. As they tried to walk past it, a bipedal dog popped its head out. It was mostly white, with the top of its head being black, and it wore a pink tank top with a dog logo as well as tan pants with brown spots. But what really caught Frisk's attention was the two daggers it was holding and she instinctively took a step back, which made it around and glare in her direction. "Is something moving? I can only see something that's moving. And if something WAS moving, for example, a HUMAN, I'll make sure it never moves again!"

"Stay. Still. Doggo's eyes are bad. He can't see you if you don't move." Chara whispered to Frisk, who held absolutely still as the dog moved one of its daggers towards her, fighting the urge to run as the blade passed by her face. "Now pet him. Don't move the rest of your body and move your arm out of his line of sight. It'll confuse him and he'll stop attacking." Frisk obeyed and carefully pet Doggo, who started barking immediately.

"I've been pet! Pat! Pot! Putt!" The Doggo was completely freaking out. "S-Something pet me! S-Something that isn't moving!"

Okay, now I feel terrible. Frisk thought as the Doggo started trembling. But what she didn't know was that the soul link forming between them could enable one to hear their partner's thoughts and feel their feelings if they were strong enough, and she had accidentally projected her thoughts to Chara.

"It's better he freaks out a little than you get a sword run through you. Don't feel terrible. He'll be fine. And don't talk! He can still hear you." Chara warned, thinking Frisk was speaking aloud as neither of them knew about the soul link, let alone the side effects of a soul link.

Um, Chara? I didn't say a word. Doggo had jumped back into his station, mumbling about needing dog treats for this. so Frisk quickly continued on before he could notice and stop her again.

"What are you talking about? You're talking right now to tell me you weren't talking!"

"I'm not talking. I'm thinking. Can you hear this?" Frisk thought to her.

"Yes, I can...Why the heck am I reading your thoughts?!" Chara asked in total shock. "This is way too weird!"

"I don't know! I'm not even fully convinced I'm not crazy right now! What the heck is going on?!"

"I don't know! I just asked you!"

"How am I supposed to know?!"

"I don't know!"

"O-Okay, let's just calm down...We can figure this out later." Frisk took a deep breath. "Well, there's at least one benefit to all this."

"What?"

"I can talk to you in public without sounding as crazy as I feel right now."

"You've got a point there. This might even be crazier than the normal craziness in the Underground." Chara said with a laugh, calming down a little.

"Maybe." Frisk said, eyeing a pile of dog treats someone, probably Doggo, had been smoking instead of eating.

The two girls walked in comfortable silence for a minute before Frisk had a question.

"Hey, Chara, how'd you figure out how to get past that dog thing?"

"That's actually a really funny story." Chara told her with a giggle. "Sans and I had heard about this cool treasure in a dungeon in Waterfall, but Doggo was guarding it. So we..." She launched into a story about how she and Sans had figured out how to get past the Doggo and sneaked into the dungeons, then found out the "treasure" was a bunch of golden, Temmie flake covered dog treats guarded by a bunch of Temmies.

"So like five of them have bit down on Sans's hood and won't let go, then one decides to jump up and bite his butt! So he starts screaming and running and then..." Chara cut herself off when she saw Sans standing up ahead waiting for them.

"Hey, here's something important to remember." Sans instructed Frisk as she walked up to him. "My brother has a very special attack. If you see a blue attack, don't move and it won't hurt you. Here's an easy way to keep it in mind. Imagine a stop sign. When you see a stop sign, you stop, right? Stop signs are red, so imagine a blue stop sign instead. Simple, right? When fighting, think about blue stop signs."

"Thanks, Sans." Frisk told him before moving along, going around the huge patch of ice to avoid the embarrassing face plant she knew would happen if she tried to slide across. However, this caused her to bump into something coming down from the northern path. "Oops! I'm so sorry! I..." she started to say as she looked up towards the person she bumped into, then gulped when she realized it was a bipedal white dog in armor, carrying a shield and a sharp sword that was almost as tall as the dog. "Oh crap..."

But the dog didn't seem to be interested in hurting her. The very fluffy white dog was wagging its tail excitedly and staring at her hand, wanting to be petted. Cautiously, she lifted her hand, and it got even more excited, panting happily. She lightly petted its neck, and it pounced happily on her, knocking her to the ground.

"Oof!" she groaned, but looked to the dog, who was watching her expectantly, and she couldn't help but smile. "Oh, so you want me to pet you more? Is that what you want?" she asked with a giggle and the dog nodded eagerly, raising its head to meet her hand. She could have sworn its neck grew longer, but decided she was seeing things as she giggled and pet it again. Much to her surprise, its neck got even longer as it barked and wiggled happily.

"Um, Chara, is that supposed to happen?" Frisk asked.

Chara giggled. "Yeah, that always happens when you pet him. Keep going. He loves it."

Frisk nodded and kept petting the excited dog. It got overexcited and swung its sword a little too close to her by accident but she managed to dodge it as she kept petting the happy dog. Its neck grew and grew until it towered above Frisk, though she tried to keep petting him anyway.

"Lesser Dog is too high to reach, but he appreciates the effort." Chara told her, laughing as Lesser Dog then bounded off, excited. "Well, it looks like you made his day. Now he's going to go run off and try to build the perfect snow dog again." Frisk gave her a questioning look. "Yeah, I don't know either." the ghost girl said with a shrug.

Frisk giggled at this. "Tina would love this guy. She loves puppies and he's just plain adorable." she thought, more to herself than Chara, though Chara heard her anyway. Her smile then disappeared as she thought about her sister. "Is she okay? Does she have enough food? I-I promised her I'd come back as soon as possible and I've almost been gone a whole day! She's probably worried sick and what if..."

Chara cut her off before she could go down that panicked train of thought. "Don't worry, Frisk. We'll get you back to her soon. She'll be fine." the ghost girl reassured her. "Look, you're doing everything you possibly can. There's not much more you can do but keep going, and worrying isn't going to help you or her any."

Frisk sighed softly and nodded. "I know, I know. Thanks, Chara."

After checking the path where Lesser Dog had come from, they came upon a sentient snowman who asked Frisk to take a piece of him so he could see the world. Frisk was a bit weirded out by the request, but acquiesced with Chara's encouragement and got the Snowman Piece. Soon, after getting on the right path, they came upon Papyrus and Sans once again. Sans subtly held out a hand indicating for Frisk to stop before she stepped on the gray, square shaped area standing out from the snow that separated her and the two skeletons while half listening to his brother rant.

"YOU'RE SO LAZY!" Papyrus yelled at Sans. "YOU WERE NAPPING ALL NIGHT!"

"I think that's called...sleeping." Sans said, amused.

"EXCUSES, EXCUSES!" Papyrus growled before noticing Frisk. "OH HO! THE HUMAN ARRIVES! IN ORDER TO STOP YOU, MY BROTHER AND I HAVE CREATED SOME PUZZLES! I THINK YOU WILL FIND THIS ONE...QUITE SHOCKING!" FOR YOU SEE, THIS IS THE INVISIBLE ELECTRICITY MAZE! WHEN YOU TOUCH THE WALLS OF THIS MAZE, THIS ORB WILL ADMINISTER A HEARTY ZAP! SOUND LIKE FUN?!

"Actually..." Frisk started, but Papyrus just kept going.

"BECAUSE THE AMOUNT OF FUN YOU WILL HAVE...IS ACTUALLY RATHER SMALL, I THINK. OKAY, YOU CAN GO AHEAD NOW!"

Frisk just stood still, trying to figure out how to get across. There was no way to tell where the path was. "Chara, can you see anything?"

Chara floated over and inspected the maze. "Nope."

"Okay, this is probably going to hurt...a lot." Frisk sighed as she cautiously stepped forwards onto the puzzle, but somehow it gave Papyrus a hearty zap instead.

"SANS, WHAT DID YOU DO?!" Papyrus shouted indignantly.

"I think the human has to hold the orb." Sans pointed out.

"OH. OKAY." Papyrus said and walked the pattern of the maze, obviously knowing it well. Frisk tried to memorize where he was stepping, but it turned out she didn't even need to. Papyrus had left a trail of wet, muddy footprints as he walked across to her, clearly marking the safe path.

"HOLD THIS, PLEASE!" Papyrus requested, handing her the orb and walking back across. "OKAY, YOU CAN TRY NOW." Frisk thought about just subtly dropping the orb so there was no chance of getting shocked, but as Papyrus had left a pretty clear path, she humored him and kept it, following his footprints across. She did regret that decision for a bit when she accidentally brushed against a wall and zapped herself, but she made it across with no real injury besides a bit of wounded pride.

"INCREDIBLE! YOU SLIPPERY SNAIL! YOU SOLVED IT SO EASILY...TOO EASILY! HOWEVER, THE NEXT PUZZLE WILL NOT BE EASY! IT IS DESIGNED BY MY BROTHER, SANS! YOU WILL SURELY BE CONFOUNDED! I KNOW I AM! NYEH HEH HEH!" He then moved towards the next area.

"Hey, thanks. My brother seems like he's having fun. By the way, did you see that weird outfit he's wearing? He made that a few weeks ago for some costume party. He hasn't worn anything else since. He keeps calling it his "battle body." Man, isn't my brother cool?"

"He's a total dork." Chara muttered, but it was with a fond smile.

"He is. He's funny." Frisk told him, ignoring Chara.

"Yes, he is. He's got some real RIB ticklers. Now you'd better go on. You don't want him to get too far a-HEAD of you." Sans joked and ushered Frisk on with a smile, making Chara laugh.

"Yeah, I'd better get my FEET moving." Frisk joked back as she left.

Chara shook her head. "That was terrible."

"It was the only thing I could think of on the fly!" Frisk protested mentally, blushing in embarrassment.

The ghost girl rolled her eyes playfully. "Just leave the bad puns to Sans. Or me. Because you suck."

...

"SANS! WHERE'S THE PUZZLE?" they heard Papyrus yell as they approached the skele-bros again a few minutes later near another puzzle spot.

"It's right there. On the ground." Sans told him, pointing to a piece of paper. "Trust me. There's no way they can get past this one."

Frisk picked it up and found out that it was a Monster Kids Word Search. She shrugged and walked over to them. "SANS! THAT DIDN'T DO ANYTHING!" Papyrus growled.

Sans shrugged. "Whoops. I knew I should have used today's crossword instead."

"WHAT?! CROSSWORD?! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU SAID THAT! IN MY OPINION, JUNIOR JUMBLES IS EASILY THE HARDEST!"

"What? Really, dude? That's easy peasy word scramble? That's for baby bones."

"UN. BELIEVABLE. HUMAN! SOLVE THIS DISPUTE! WHICH IS HARDER, JUNIOR JUMBLES OR THE EASY, BORING CROSSWORD?!"

"I'll have to go with the Junior Jumbles." Frisk said after a bit of thought. Sans and Chara gave her a weird look. "What? I suck at unscrambling words." It was true. She always either completely misspelled them or couldn't figure out what word it was.

"HA! HA! HUMANS MUST BE VERY INTELLIGENT IF THEY ALSO FIND JUNIOR JUMBLES SO DIFFICULT! NYEH! HEH!HEH!HEH!" Papyrus crowed, happy she had agreed with his opinion, then wandered off to go check on the next puzzle.

"Thanks for saying Junior Jumbles just to appease my brother. Yesterday he got stumped trying to "solve" the horoscope." Sans said with a shrug, making Frisk and Chara laugh before they headed off again.

As soon as they entered the next area, they found a table with a big plate of spaghetti and a microwave on a stand. A note was on the ground and Frisk picked it up. "Geez, he even writes in all caps." she mumbled as she read it. "Human! Please enjoy this spaghetti. Little do you know, this spaghetti is a trap designed to entice you." She shook her head. "Well, I might not have known if you hadn't written it in your note..." She then kept reading. "You'll be so busy eating that you won't realize you aren't progressing! You have been thoroughly japed by the Great Papyrus...whatever the hell japed means...Nyeh heh heh heh, Papyrus. Well, he made that "trap" completely obvious."

"And the spaghetti is frozen solid." Chara remarked, amused.

Frisk poked at it, then tried to pick it up. "It's so cold, it's stuck to the table. Too bad. I was starting to get hungry. I guess we just go ahead then."

They dealt with a three monster team-up; another Ice Cap and Snowdrake along with some asshole monster named Jerry who insulted both his teammates and Frisk with every word, annoying them until they all ran off in separate directions, leaving Jerry in the dust. Next, Frisk encountered two Dogi, apparently named Dogamy and Dogaressa, according to Chara who had known them before she died. Frisk tried to pet them like she had Doggo and Lesser Dog, but they were freaked out by her scent. Dodging axes, she finally figured out that she needed to roll on the ground to change her scent, and when they sniffed her again, they decided she was a lost puppy and she was finally able to pet Dogamy, then Dogaressa demanded to be petted by "the weird puppy," too.

"Dogs can be petted by other dogs?! A new world has been opened up for us! Thanks, weird puppy!" they told her before leaving. Frisk just shook her head and continued on her way, solving a very simple switch puzzle that involved turning Xs into Os before running into Papyrus again.

"WHAT? HOW DID YOU AVOID MY TRAP? AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, IS THERE ANY LEFT FOR ME?" Papyrus asked, his eyes, well, eye sockets, looking pleadingly at her.

"I left all of it for you." Frisk told him, then hoped he wasn't offended.

"REALLY?! WOWIE! YOU RESISTED THE FLAVOR OF MY HOME COOKED PASTA, JUST SO YOU COULD SHARE IT WITH ME?" he asked, excited. "FRET NOT, I MASTER CHEF PAPYRUS, WILL MAKE YOU ALL THE PASTA YOU COULD EVER WANT? NYEH HEH HEH HEH!" He then walked off once again.

"Well, prepare for food poisoning." Chara told her.

"Hey, it might not be so bad. I mean, if it's not so cold that it's stuck to the table." Frisk said, thinking Papyrus's offer was sweet.

Papyrus was waiting for her when she arrived in the next area and told her about Sans's sock collection and how lucky Sans was to have a cool brother like him to take care of him. Not sure what to say to that random statement, Frisk just giggled and nodded. She then stepped forward to see a much more complicated version of the puzzle she had just solved. "HUMAN...HOW DO I SAY THIS? YOU WERE TAKING A LONG TIME TO ARRIVE SO I DECIDED TO IMPROVE THIS PUZZLE...BY ARRANGING THE SNOW TO LOOK LIKE MY FACE."

"So egotistical." Chara muttered.

"UNFORTUNATELY, THE SNOW FROZE TO THE GROUND. NOW THE SOLUTION IS DIFFERENT! AND, AS USUAL, MY LAZY BROTHER IS NOWHERE AROUND. I SUPPOSE WHAT I AM SAYING IS...WORRY NOT, HUMAN! I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WILL SOLVE THIS CONUNDRUM! THEN WE CAN BOTH PROCEED. MEANWHILE, FEEL FREE TO TRY THE PUZZLE YOURSELF! I'LL TRY NOT TO GIVE AWAY THE ANSWER!"

Frisk stepped forward. "Hmm, should I go this way?" She started at the single one in the first row, and proceeded from there, only to make the puzzle reset by stepping on an X she had already stepped on. She then tried to go from the middle row, but made the same mistake. "Ugh...I suck at this..."

"Hmm, maybe if I get an overhead view..." Chara floated overhead to get a better view. "Okay...Maybe if you...No, that's wrong. Wait, try going around the puzzle and stepping on one of the X's in the back on the bottom, then step...there? No, there! Okay, I think I got it!" She then walked Frisk through the first few steps of the puzzle until Frisk could figure it out on her own.

"Okay, got it." Frisk said as she finished the puzzle. "Thanks, Chara. You're a lifesaver."

"No problem."

"WOW, YOU SOLVED IT! AND YOU DID IT ALL WITHOUT MY HELP...INCREDIBLE! I'M IMPRESSED! YOU MUST CARE ABOUT PUZZLES LIKE I DO! WELL, I'M SURE YOU'LL LOVE THE NEXT PUZZLE THEN. IT MIGHT EVEN BE TOO EASY FOR YOU!" He then gave his signature laugh again and proceeded past the solved puzzle. Frisk followed him and found Sans waiting.

"Wow. You must be really good at puzzles."

"Not really. I had a lot of trouble with it." she admitted honestly.

"Yeah, she had to get a new perspective to get a-HEAD of her game." Chara joked, then grew sad as she remembered once again that Sans couldn't hear her.

"Eh, don't worry about it. Sometimes puzzles can drive people out of their SKULLS. If you have trouble with one of Pap's puzzles, just ask him. He usually has an off switch hidden somewhere...even though he does forget sometimes. But he'll help ya, especially if you promise to eat spaghetti with him. He's been rather BONE-ly lately."

Sans then walked off and Frisk looked towards Chara, noticing the downcast expression on her face. "Chara, are you sure you don't want me to tell him you're here? I can tell that you miss him. I'm sure he misses you too."

"I-I know, but don't tell him. Not yet. Knowing I'm around but that he won't be able to see or hear me might just make him sad, or he won't believe it at all and will just get angry at you. It-It's better that he doesn't know."

"But..."

"Frisk, just drop it for now. Okay? Please?" Chara looked at her, pleading and vulnerable.

"All right. I'm sorry."

They continued on a set of stairs, and reached a tiny bridge in front of another puzzle with a bunch of square lights that kind of looked like the floor to a dsco. Right now, the lights were turned off and in varying shades of gray. Behind the puzzle stood Sans and Papyrus.

"HEY!" Papyrus called out to them. "IT'S THE HUMAN! YOU'RE GONNA LOVE THIS PUZZLE! IT WAS MADE BY THE GREAT DOCTOR ALPHYS!" Frisk wondered who the heck that was. "YOU SEE THESE TILES? ONCE I THROW THIS SWITCH...THEY WILL BEGIN TO CHANGE COLOR! EACH COLOR HAS A DIFFERENT FUNCTION! RED TILES ARE IMPASSABLE! YOU CANNOT WALK ON THEM! YELLOW TILES ARE ELECTRIC! THEY WILL ELECTROCUTE YOU!"

"Aww, really? I never thought electric tiles would electrocute you." Chara muttered with an eye roll. Frisk mentally told her to shush so she could hear.

"GREEN TILES ARE ALARM TILES!" Papyrus continued. "IF YOU STEP ON THEM, YOU WILL HAVE TO FIGHT A MONSTER! ORANGE TILES ARE ORANGE SCENTED. THEY WILL MAKE YOU SMELL DELICIOUS! BLUE TILES ARE WATER TILES. SWIM THROUGH IF YOU LIKE, BUT IF YOU SMELL LIKE ORANGES, THE PIRANHAS WILL BITE YOU. ALSO, IF A BLUE TILE IS NEXT TO A YELLOW TILE, THE WATER WILL ALSO ZAP YOU! PURPLE TILES ARE SLIPPERY! YOU WILL SLIDE TO THE NEXT TILE! HOWEVER, THE SLIPPERY SOAP SMELLS LIKE LEMONS, WHICH PIRANHAS DO NOT LIKE! PURPLE AND BLUE ARE OK! FINALLY, PINK TILES...THEY DON'T DO ANYTHING. STEP ON THEM AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE! HOW WAS THAT? UNDERSTAND?"

"Not really." Frisk said, her head spinning. But Papyrus didn't hear her.

"GREAT! THERE IS ONE LAST THING! THIS PUZZLE IS...ENTIRELY RANDOM! WHEN I PULL THE SWITCH, IT WILL MAKE A PUZZLE THAT HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE! NOT EVEN I WILL KNOW THE SOLUTION! NYEH-HEH HEH HEH! GET READY!"

"I'm gonna die..." Frisk mumbled to herself as Papyrus pulled the switch and the puzzle began flashing in all the various colors, making her dizzy. But when it stopped, it was a simple path of pink tiles with red tiles on either side of it. "Phew..." She crossed the puzzle and Papyrus walked away, muttering in confusion. Frisk noticed the switch was smoking. No wonder with all that crap that was supposed to be on the puzzle...

"Actually, that spaghetti from earlier wasn't too bad for my brother. Since he started cooking lessons, he's been improving a lot. If he keeps it up, next year, he might make something edible. Until then, I recommend hiding it when he's not looking or just offering it to him." Sans mentioned with a laugh as she passed him.

After passing a snow sculpture an excited Lesser Dog had made, they came upon the next puzzle, another one with Xs. Frisk failed to solve the puzzle the first time and fell into another snowy area, where she got to see a perfect snow sculpture of Papyrus and a pile of snow that just read Sans.

"Still as lazy as ever." Chara remarked fondly as she looked at Sans's snow sculpture.

After three tries, Frisk managed to get the X puzzle right without Chara's help and flip the switch, which set up the bridge that led her into the next area, where they saw Sans again, who simply asked, "What's up?" A few steps later, they ran into him again. "Are you following me?" he asked jokingly.

Frisk stammered out something, but Chara just laughed. "He's just messin' with you. Remember how I told you he cheats and warps places?"

Before Frisk could respond, there was a snort and a deer monster with glowing yellow eyes and a sideways mouth, its horns loaded down with items and tiny trees, charged at her. Frisk barely jumped out of the way in time.

"Great, idiots were decorating Gyftrot again...They should know it always pisses them off...Look out, Frisk!" Chara yelled as the Gyftrot charged at her again, blind anger in its eyes.

Frisk was hit by it and knocked down, but remembered what Chara had said. Maybe if she got the items off, it would calm down. She reached up as it rushed towards her again and grabbed a box from its antlers. It seemed to calm down a little, though it was shaking its head to try to get the rest of the gifts off. She managed to move before she got hit by the thick antlers, grabbing a stocking that contained a small, confused puppy, which she set on the ground safely out of the way. Her lack of attention did get her knocked in the face by another box as the Gyftrot bent down, making her nose bleed, but she ignored it, grabbing the box and removing it, a framed photograph of Snow Drake and his family falling to the ground. The Gyftrot stepped back and shook its head, happy for the weight being lifted.

Frisk tried to remove an ornament from its horns, thinking it was trying to get them off, but it gently nudged her hand and spoke for the first time. "Those are real, buddy. But thanks for getting all that junk off my head. I owe you one." It gave her a nuzzle and dropped some gold at her feet before trotting off happily.

"You okay there, kiddo?" Sans asked, helping her up and giving her a tissue for her bloody nose. "Wow, you sure have a NOSE for trouble."

"Tell me about it." she muttered and thanked him as she took the tissue. After cleaning herself up, she headed off...down the wrong path.

"Are you lost?" Sans asked her, popping in front of her suddenly.

"Possibly." she admitted and went back, where again, Sans was waiting.

"You sure do love to exercise." he teased her, then pointed out the right path.

They then entered a clearing with several piles of snow scattered around it. Frisk started to go right through, but then realized Chara had stopped and was staring at a snow poff. "Hey, Chara, you okay? Something interesting about that snow pile?" she asked aloud, forgetting to talk with her mind. Luckily, no one was there to hear her talking to what looked like nothing. However, Chara didn't seem to hear her either, lost in thought.

...

"C'mon, Chara! This meeting's boring and Mom and Dad are going to be at it for a while. Let's go play! I can show you this special spot I found!" Asriel pleaded. They were with their mom and dad, who were talking to some other monsters about a new town they were going to be building here.

Eleven year old Chara hesitated. She was just as bored as he was, but she didn't want to get in trouble either. She had been with the Dreemur family for six months, and they had shown her more kindness than she had ever been showed in her life and had never hurt her, but she still remembered how the adults in her village got when she made them angry...

"C'mon, Char, it's okay. We'll be back before they even notice we're gone and it's not that far, just across the bridge." Asriel told her. Finally Chara nodded and Asriel very gently took her hand, knowing that movements that were too sudden would startle her, and led her away across the bridge.

"Here we are!" Asriel then said proudly, leading her into a wide open clearing with several piles of snow. There was also a little skeleton there who looked to be around three or four, happily building a snowman. Asriel smiled and walked up to the little skeleton while Chara hung back. "Hi! I'm Asriel and this is my sister, Chara."

The little skeleton turned from his snowman and gave Asriel a huge smile. "Hi! 'M Papy and dis is my big brudder, S..." He had turned to motion to his side, then realized there was no one there. "Sans? Sans?!" He looked around frantically. "Where are you?!" Tears started to appear in his eye sockets.

Asriel placed a gentle hand on the skeleton's shoulder. "Don't worry, little guy. We'll help you find your brother, right, Chara?" he said and Chara nodded. Papy gave him a grateful look and Asriel started to take a step when the snow poff closest to them started moving and something suddenly exploded out of it.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Asriel and Papy screamed at the top of their lungs as they grabbed onto each other in fear and Chara acted on instinct, jumping in front of her adoptive brother and the little kid protectively, about to take a swing at whatever was about to attack them.

"Whoa! Easy!" a preteen male voice said and Chara realized the person who had jumped out at them was another skeleton, this one around Chara's age and wearing a blue coat. "Sorry. I was just trying to pull a little prank on Pap. Didn't mean to scare you guys that bad." He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly, then held out a hand to Chara. "Hi, I'm Sans. Sans the Skeleton. It's ICE to meet you."

Chara gave him a dirty look for scaring Asriel and Pap, but the corners of her mouth twitched upwards at the pun. She shared her adoptive mother's love of bad jokes and puns. And he HAD said sorry... So she took his hand and shook it. "I'm Chara."

Asriel and Papyrus had calmed down quickly and Asriel introduced himself, though Pap was pouting.

Sans sighed with a smile. "Sorry, bro. Guess I was a real BONEHEAD. I probably deserve a COLD reception."

"SNOW kidding." Chara then said with a smirk and Papyrus groaned at them both using terrible puns.

"Heh, ICE one." Sans told her, laughing.

"Hey, you already used that one. It's not OREGANO." Chara countered, grinning.

"Oh, so you want to have a pun war? Well, watch out. I'm good. You'll have a bad THYME." Sans said with a smirk.

Papyrus groaned again and Asriel rolled his eyes. "Want some help with your snowman?" the goat prince asked Papyrus as Sans and Chara continued to exchange puns.

...

Chara snapped out of her thoughts and turned to Frisk, who had called her name again. "Sorry, what was that?"

"Whoa...that was weird." Frisk said, rubbing her head as the flashes of a memory that wasn't hers passed. Chara had been unintentionally projecting bits and pieces of the memory of her first meeting with Sans to Frisk, and it was definitely disorienting, seeing the scenery change around her and getting flashes of people that weren't there. "You okay?"

"Yeah, just got lost in thought for a sec there. This place brings back memories." Chara said. "Let's just keep going."

Frisk nodded and walked next to Chara, not sure whether to tell her that she had just seen part of her memories. Being able to project thoughts was one thing, but seeing someone else's memories felt like a breach of privacy. She was about to discuss it with Chara when the head of a white, fluffy dog and a wagging tail suddenly popped out of the snow poff in front of them, making them both jump, then relax when they realized it was just a dog. "Hey, puppy!" Frisk called with a smile and the rest of the snow poff went flying, revealing the dog was huge, carrying a spear, and wearing a suit of armor that was about a foot taller than Frisk was. Frisk's smile immediately dropped as she backed away. "T-That's a big puppy..." She backed away and it inched closer, then barked happily, but the bark was loud enough to hurt her ears.

"Pet it." Chara advised. Frisk petted and it wagged its tail, then knocked her down and fell asleep in her lap...for about two seconds. Then it jumped up and all over her, excited and wanting to play. Frisk yelped as it accidentally scratched her arms and legs with both its claws and the spear it was holding, but she made a snowball and threw it. The dog happily ran after it, then brought back all the snow in the area and dumped it on her, covering her up to her neck. The dog then knocked her down again by accident and rested its head in her lap.

"So cold..." Frisk groaned as she was mostly buried in the snow, but petted it, making it sink its entire weight on her lap. It was still wiggling though and she had to dodge its spear, which was hard since it had her pinned. But she managed to keep calm and pet it again. It rolled over and flopped on its back happily. It then jumped out of its armor, noticed she was buried in the snow, dug her out, licked her face, and jumped upside down in its suit of armor again with its butt and fluffy tail sticking out before walking off(somehow.)

Frisk got up shakily. "C-C-Cold...S-S-So c-c-cold." she mumbled, shivering violently. It was already cold out here and her clothes being soaked and covered in snow made her body temperature drop lower.

Chara had been laughing at the dog's antics, but when she looked at Frisk, she grew worried. Frisk's lips and fingertips were starting to turn blue. "Hang in there, Frisk. We're almost to Snowdin. Just keep moving." she told her, not knowing what else to do. She couldn't carry Frisk back if she collapsed, nor could she run for help as only Frisk could see her.

Frisk managed to get to the long bridge and started to make her way across it, her shivering getting worse. When she was three quarters of the way across, she saw Sans and Papyrus on the other side.

"HUMAN!" Papyrus called. "THIS IS YOUR FINAL AND MOST DANGEROUS CHALLENGE! BEHOLD! THE GAUNTLETS OF DEADLY TERROR!" Spears pointed above and below, along with a mace overhead and a fire cannon below. For some reason, a small, fluffy dog was hanging above her head too, wagging its tail. "WHEN I SAY THE WORD, IT WILL FULLY ACTIVATE! CANNONS WILL FIRE! SPIKES WILL SWING! BLADES WILL SLICE! EACH PART WILL SWING VIOLENTLY UP AND DOWN! ONLY THE TINIEST CHANCE OF VICTORY WILL REMAIN! BECAUSE! I! AM! ABOUT TO! DO! IT!" He didn't sound so sure about it though.

Still shivering violently, Frisk looked at the weapons, thinking hazily, I'm about to die... Instinctively, she tried to move backwards, but her freezing legs, trembling with both cold and fear, gave out on her and she fell onto the bridge.

"HUMAN?!" Papyrus gasped in horror and worry, noticing how bad of a shape she was in. He deactivated the trap and ran down the bridge, picking her up. "HUMAN, ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?!" Frisk mumbled something vaguely like, "I'm fine," but Papyrus wasn't convinced as he could feel how cold she was and how much she was shaking. He wrapped her up in his scarf. "FORGET THIS PUZZLE! IT'S TOO DANGER... EASY! THE PUZZLE IS TOO EASY TO DEFEAT THE HUMAN WITH! I SHALL TAKE THE HUMAN BACK TO SNOWDIN INN SO THEY CAN GET WARM AND THEN MAKE A SAFER, I MEAN HARDER, PUZZLE TO THAT WILL SURELY STUMP THEM! THEY'LL HAVE TO BE AT THEIR FULL STRENGTH FOR IT!" he called back to Sans, cradling Frisk in his arms as he carried her back across the bridge.

Sans was smiling as Papyrus came back across. He knew Papyrus wouldn't have gone through with that trap anyway. His brother didn't have a mean BONE in his body.

"WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? THIS IS A DECISIVE VICTORY FOR THE GREAT PAPYRUS!" Papyrus told Sans.

"I know, bro. I know." Sans told him.

This satisfied Papyrus and he looked down at Frisk, very concerned, his true sweet nature showing through. "HANG IN THERE, HUMAN. YOU'RE GONNA BE OKAY, I PROMISE." Papyrus told Frisk gently, carrying her into town.

"T-T-Thanks, P-P-Papyrus." Frisk said, cuddling as close as she could, trying to get warm. Chara was floating close, worried.

"NO PROBLEM! THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS ALWAYS THERE TO HELP!" He moved quicker to get her out of the cold, almost running into Snowdin Inn and explained the situation to the innkeeper as he set her down gently.

"Don't worry, we'll get them a room with a fireplace." the innkeeper told her and got her a room key. Frisk thanked her and then Papyrus again already feeling better now that she was out of the cold, though she was still shivering pretty hard. Papyrus made sure she got safely up the stairs and to her room before he returned to his shift. Once safely in her room, Frisk locked the door and after getting out of her wet clothes, not even caring that Chara was there, she threw them in front of the fireplace to dry and buried her shivering body under every blanket in the room, falling asleep almost immediately.

Hours later, she awoke again, toasty warm and feeling a lot better. Chara was waiting beside the bed. "You were out for a while. You had both me and Papyrus pretty worried. You okay?" the ghost girl asked, looking at her in concern.

"I'm fine now." Frisk reassured her as she got up, wrapped herself in a blanket, and grabbed her now dry clothes.

Chara sighed with relief, glad her friend was okay. "Good. Try not to do that again, okay?"

"No promises, but I'll do my best." Frisk replied before going into the shower room and getting dressed. She then headed downstairs to pay the innkeeper for her stay.

"Thank you. And come back again at any time." the innkeeper told her. "Oh, and that tall, excitable skeleton brought in something for you half an hour ago." the innkeeper told her, handing her a covered dish.

Frisk thanked her and found a place to sit, unwrapping it to find a plate of spaghetti that was thankfully hot instead of frozen solid.

"Aww...he did this for me?" Frisk asked aloud in awe, a smile appearing on her face. She read the note. "I, Master Chef Papyrus, have made you some of my world famous spaghetti. You'd better have gotten well! You will need all your strength to deal with my next challenge! Nyeh heh heh heh! -Papyrus." This made her smile even more. "That's so sweet." She took a bite of the spaghetti and immediately gagged.

"Sans did try to warn you." Chara told her, laughing as she watched Frisk try to choke down the rest of the meal.

"Oh, shut up." Frisk mumbled playfully.

Chapter Text

Don't worry, Mo- Toriel." Frisk told Toriel over the cell phone, almost calling her "mom" again. "I'm all right. Two skeletons named Sans and Papyrus helped me to Snowdin."

"Good." Toriel said with a sigh of relief. "I know those two. They're good boys. Stick close to them. They will help you. And sweetheart?"

"Yes?"

"If it makes you happy, I would be glad for you to call me "mom." Toriel told her, knowing Frisk had almost called her that again.

This made Frisk smile softly but also made her heart ache as she knew she wouldn't be able to stay. "Thanks, Mom." She then looked to Chara, worried that this would upset her, but Chara just gave her a reassuring smile, indicating that it was okay.

On the other end of the phone, Toriel smiled at being called Mom again. "Now be careful, my child. Stay safe. Keep me updated on how you are and call me if you need anything, okay?"

"All right. I will, Mom."

After saying goodbye, Frisk hung up the phone and headed out with Chara. After briefly walking around Snowdin and buying an apron that had defensive and healing properties, Frisk managed to find the route she needed to go. It was hard to see through the thick fog, but she managed to see Papyrus's outline in the distance and headed towards him.

"HUMAN. ALLOW ME TO TELL YOU ABOUT SOME COMPLEX FEELINGS." Papyrus said when he saw her. "FEELINGS LIKE..THE JOY OF FINDING ANOTHER PASTA LOVER. THE ADMIRATION FOR ANOTHER'S PUZZLE SOLVING SKILLS. THE DESIRE TO HAVE A COOL SMART PERSON THINK YOU ARE COOL. THESE FEELINGS..THEY MUST BE WHAT YOU ARE FEELING RIGHT NOW! I CAN HARDLY IMAGINE WHAT IT MUST BE LIKE TO TO FEEL THAT WAY. AFTER ALL, I AM VERY GREAT." He struck a pose at this.

"You're also very egotistical." Chara muttered with an eye roll.

"I DON'T EVER WONDER WHAT HAVING LOTS OF FRIENDS IS LIKE." Papyrus told her, but he looked away at this as it was a complete lie. "POOR LONELY HUMAN! BUT WORRY NOT! I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WILL BE YOUR..." He then paused, remembering sadly that that wasn't how it was supposed to be. "NO. THIS IS ALL WRONG. I CAN'T BE YOUR FRIEND. YOU ARE A HUMAN...I MUST CAPTURE YOU- HEY, PLEASE...DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT!" he begged, somehow seeing Frisk's sad eyes through the snow. "IT'S NOT PERSONAL...YOU ARE VERY COOL...BUT...BUT...I MUST FULFILL MY LIFELONG DREAM! POWERFUL! POPULAR! PRESTIGIOUS! PAPYRUS! THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GUARD!" He took a battle stance, blocking Frisk's way, and she prepared to defend herself, but didn't attack him.

"SO YOU WON'T FIGHT? THEN PREPARE FOR MY FABLED BLUE ATTACK!" Papyrus cried out. Bones with a ghostly blue glow both popped up from the ground and formed in the sky. Remembering what Sans had said, she froze in place, and the bones passed over her, not harming her at all. Then she felt a tingling and saw a blue glow coming from herself. She felt suddenly heavy as well. "NYEH HEH! YOU'RE BLUE NOW! THAT'S MY ATTACK!" Papyrus gloated.

"Careful, Frisk. This is the Blue Soul ability. It makes you heavier on the ground, but lighter in the air. You won't be able to move on the ground quickly, so you need to leap into the air to dodge attacks." Chara warned as Papyrus told Frisk she needed to jump at the exact same time.

Frisk was pretty confused, but quickly had to jump as some small bones popped up under her feet then had to go higher as a slightly bigger one poked out of the ground, which wasn't too hard as gravity was slowed on her in midair, giving her plenty of room to clear it. Papyrus then sent some taller bones and Frisk leapt up. She wasn't the best jumper even with the blue soul ability, but managed to grab the top of one bone and use it to vault over the others.

"GOOD JOB, HUMAN. BUT LET'S SEE HOW YOU CAN HANDLE THIS!" Papyrus called and sent some very long bones from both above and below. Frisk managed to jump over the bone below, but another one was coming from above that she didn't see.

"Frisk! Bone coming from the left!" Chara yelled quickly and Frisk dodged left. But Chara was floating next to Papyrus to get a better view, which meant her left was in the opposite direction as Chara's, making Frisk's dodge send her right towards the bone. Chara quickly tried to correct her mistake. "No, not your left! My..." But it was too late and Frisk, though she tried to dodge, the blue soul ability and her own momentum worked against her and she faceplanted right into the bone which was thankfully rounded and blunt and fell to the ground. "Oops..." Chara said sheepishly.

Papyrus stopped attacking so Frisk could get up. "ARE YOU ALL RIGHT, HUMAN? UM, I MEAN, NYEH HEH HEH! YOU CLEARLY CAN'T DEFEAT ME, SO YOU MIGHT AS WELL GIVE UP!"

Frisk stood up, rubbing her head. "I'm fine. And I'm not giving up yet!" She had a sister to get back to, and though she wouldn't admit it, she kind of wanted to impress Papyrus a little.

"OKAY, GOOD! NOW, UM, FACE MY POWER!" Papyrus called and sent out some medium sized bones which she jumped over and a long bone overhead that she just barely managed to duck under. She then managed to vault over some larger bones, but was hit by a blue bone when she couldn't stop her momentum. She was breathing heavily, but managed to jump over the next small bone. She then vaulted over a big bone, but before Chara could yell out a warning, Frisk smacked her head hard into a very long bone dangling from the sky. Dazed and seeing stars, she fell, crashing into a huge pile of moving bones which hit her hard, causing her to cry out in pain. Then they tumbled on top of her and the last thing she heard was both Chara and Papyrus crying out in horror before everything went black.

"...UMAN! HUMAN, ARE YOU OKAY?! SANS! SAAAAANNS! I BROKE THE HUMAN!" Frisk heard Papyrus cry out as she started to come back to consciousness.

Footsteps came running over. "What happened, bro?"

"I WAS BATTLING THE HUMAN AND A BONE HIT THEM ON THE HEAD AND THEY FELL, AND OH MY GOD, ARE THEY DEAD?!" Papyrus was in full on panic mode.

"Papyrus..." Sans started, seeing that Frisk was moving.

However, Papyrus didn't notice this as he was looking at Sans. "OH MY GOD, SANS, I'M A KILLER! I MURDERED THEM! I DIDN'T MEAN TO!" He hugged Frisk tightly and Frisk could hear him crying as she came more to her senses.

"Um, Papyrus..." Sans continued, seeing that Frisk was very much alive and also wincing in pain from being squeezed.

Frisk managed to open her mouth to speak. "Ow.. Pap'rus, 'm fine..." she mumbled, trying to soothe him.

"HUMAN! HUMAN, YOU'RE ALIVE!" Papyrus cheered in relief and hugged her more, then relaxed his grip when he realized it was hurting her more. "I'M SO RELIEVED! ARE YOU OKAY? UM, I MEAN, YOU'RE TOO WEAK! I WAS EASILY ABLE TO CAPTURE YOU! I WILL NOW SEND YOU TO THE CAPTURE ZONE! OR, AS SANS CALLS IT...OUR GARAGE! YOU'RE IN THE DOGHOUSE NOW! NYEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!"

Frisk's eyes widened and she weakly tried to struggle free, though her body screamed in pain. She knew Papyrus wouldn't hurt her, but the monsters at the capital...she knew they would not be so merciful. But Papyrus held her so that she couldn't get away, though he was also careful to be extremely gentle with her, knowing she was hurt. Frisk was about to struggle more, but Sans, walking beside them, winked at her. This calmed her down, and she stilled and cooperated.

Papyrus gently carried her back to Snowdin and into his and his brother's house, going through the front door then taking her into the garage through the door in the house. The garage was small and had a dog dish full of dog food, a water bowl...and the door had bars too wide to stop anyone except for maybe Papyrus. Papyrus set her down carefully, then went back into the house.

Frisk got up, wincing in pain, then started to go towards the bars, but then the door opened, so she stopped. It was Papyrus, loaded down with an armful of blankets and pillows, as well as bandages and a vial of medicine. He set the bedding down for her so she'd be comfortable in the garage, then gave her the medicine. "HERE, HUMAN. THIS WILL HEAL YOU." Frisk examined the bottle, which was sealed and hadn't been tampered with, then subtly glanced to Chara, who nodded, so she thanked him gratefully and took it, feeling a tingle as her cuts and bruises healed and her head stopped throbbing.

"FEEL BETTER?" he asked in concern and Frisk nodded.

"GOOD! NOW YOU STAY HERE! I NEED TO GO TO MY POST AND I SHALL TELL UNDYNE I CAPTURED YOU! SHE'LL BE SO PROUD! I'LL FINALLY BE A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GUARD!" Papyrus cheered, then looked down at her, genuinely worried. "WILL YOU BE ALL RIGHT BY YOURSELF?"

Frisk knew she'd be able to get out once he left, so she just nodded. He doesn't know, does he? He doesn't know what the others might do to me. she thought to herself and took a deep breath, about to tell him, but then he said goodbye to her and left.

Frisk waited about fifteen minutes after Papyrus left before going to the bars again. She briefly checked for traps, then stepped outside, Chara following her out.

"He always thinks that if the bars are just wide enough that they stop him if he stands frontways, they're small enough to block out everything. He can be a real BONEhead. But he's still a cool brother." Sans said suddenly. She nearly jumped out of her skin and saw him standing next to the garage, smirking at her. "Don't worry. I'm not about to stop ya. Maybe Undyne will just think he captured a human shaped rock...again. Or that lamp. He does that a lot." he said and winked at her.

Frisk thanked him and walked out to the woods with Chara. "Well, I did pretty crappy. Papyrus is really strong. I'm lucky he's so nice or he could have killed me." she said softly. "I'll have to train before I face him again. I know he won't hurt me on purpose...but the next person I face...I may not be so lucky."

"I'm sorry I got you mixed up with that one bone. It wasn't RIGHT of me to think that my left was your left when we were facing the opposite direction." Chara joked, but her eyes were apologetic and she looked worried.

Frisk laughed at her friend's joke. "You and your puns. Don't worry about getting mixed up though; it was an accident. It could have happened to anyone and I should have been more vigilant too." Frisk told her.

"Let's just say we both need work then. We've got this weird connection thing where we can speak with our thoughts, so we should be able to work well as a team together if we get some practice in. Ready to get started?" Chara asked her and Frisk nodded

They set a plan to train for the rest of the day. Frisk started it by getting some wooden boards and jumping over them, piling them higher and higher to improve the height of her jumps, then spreading them further and further apart to help with the length. She then ran through the forest with Chara at her side, Chara guiding her around and through obstacles. There were plenty of tumbles and mistakes with both exercises, but they both slowly grew better as the day progressed, though they still needed some work. They were interrupted by monsters a few times, but this did give them additional practice at dodging live fire as Frisk tried to calm the monsters down.

After dinner that evening, Frisk thought of one last practice before the sun went down; jumping and leaping over the boards under low hanging tree branches in an effort to imitate the bones that would be over her head battling Papyrus and learn how to duck under them while still avoiding the bones that would be below her. She was starting to get the hang of it when...

"Whatcha up to, kiddo?" a sudden voice asked next to her right when she was mid jump. Startled, she instinctively glanced that way, jolting up and forgetting the branch right in front of her.

Konk!

After the collision with the branch, Frisk tumbled down onto her pile of boards. "Ow..." She rubbed the bump forming on her forehead and turned towards the voice, seeing a grinning Sans.

Sans held out a hand to help Frisk up. "Careful there, kid. You don't want to get to a-HEAD of yourself." he joked.

"Tell me about it. I'm trying to figure out how to dodge Papyrus's bone attacks, but I still haven't got it down yet." she admitted.

Sans nodded. "My bro is good. Maybe not at building bars that will actually keep people out, but he's mastered his special attacks. He's always got his magic one hundred percent under control no matter what. It's so cool."

"Ask Sans to help you." Chara advised. "He's good. Really good. Papyrus always wanted to learn his special attack. Honestly, I've always wished I could learn it myself."

Frisk mentally nodded to Chara before turning to Sans. "Sans, I know it's a lot to ask of you and you've helped me so much already, but can...can you help me learn to dodge better? Please, Sans?" Her eyes were pleading, sort of reminding Sans of...

...Flashback start...

Sans and Chara were playing a game with little Papyrus, tossing a ball back and forth. But Papyrus soon grew bored with that game.

"Sans, I wanna see your special attack!" the little skeleton pleaded.

"I showed it to you twice already today, buddy." Sans pointed out.

"But I wanna see it again! It's so cool! C'mon Sans, pleeease!" Papyrus begged.

"Just show it to him, Sans. It is really cool. I'd like to see it again too." Chara said. She joined his baby brother in giving him the puppy dog eyes. "Please, Sans?"

It didn't take long for Sans to concede. "All right, all right." He started up his new special attack, turning the bones into odd shapes to amuse his brother and best friend. Papyrus clapped his hands and Chara gave him a huge smile, which made her whole face light up. It was rare for her, and Sans loved to see that smile...

...Flashback end...

"I'm sorry. I know it's a lot to ask for. I didn't mean to..." Frisk was apologizing, having taken his silence as a negative answer.

"Sorry about that kiddo. Got lost in my skull for a bit." Sans told her, rubbing the back of his neck. He thought it over, subtly using his magical eye to scan her soul. It was still clean, with no EXP or LOVE, plus he had seen her show compassion rather than violence to attacking monsters with his own eyes, so he conceded. "Sure, I guess I can teach ya. It'll have to be tomorrow though. I need my ten hours sleep." he said.

She looked to him gratefully, giving him a wide smile that reminded him of Chara and made his heart ache. "Thank you so much, Sans. I really appreciate this."

"Sure, kid. You can buy me dinner for it later or something. Now get some sleep. You don't want to be BONE-tired for my intense battles." he said, joking away the pain, and winked at her before heading off. Frisk practiced more on the boards before before going to Snowdin Inn.

...

Later that night, after Chara had pretty much forced Frisk to take a rest, she was sitting up in her bed, unable to sleep.

"You're worried about your sister, huh?" Chara asked gently.

"Yeah, I've been gone almost three days now...what if she doesn't have enough food? What if she gets hurt? I shouldn't have left her alone, but I-I needed to make some money so I could get more food for us, but I left...and she's..."

"Frisk...you're doing everything you possibly can to get back to her. I know this is delaying us, but we have to do this training or you could get really hurt if not worse. You can't go back to her if you're dead."

Frisk sighed softly. "I know. I can't help but worry though. She's my baby sister."

"I understand. I had a little brother myself. His name was Asriel. He was the one who found me when I fell here, and he, Mom, and Dad took me in. I-I never knew people could be that kind. They gave me something I never had on the surface. Love. A family who actually cared... Heh...maybe that's why we're connected. Two girls...fallen into the Underground, both with red souls, both with bad pasts up on the surface...I heard what Mom said, about what must have happened. I saw how thin you are. I know how grateful you are for even the tiniest scrap of kindness. I know because I was the same way when they found me. Your sister is the only reason you're trying to go back, isn't she? And I understand why. If-If I could have saved Asriel, I would have done anything." She had tears in her eyes.

Frisk tried to place a hand on Chara's shoulder but it simply went through the ghost girl. She wasn't sure how to comfort her and could only say, "I'm so sorry." She wondered what had happened to Chara's brother, but didn't ask, not wanting to hurt Chara more.

Chara answered her unspoken question. "He died trying to help me. But it wasn't monsters that killed him. It was humans." she whispered, her fists clenching. "They destroy what they fear without thought...without mercy." She gave another sad, hard laugh. "Forgive me for this, but I don't think much of most of humanity." And that included herself, though she didn't say this out loud.

Frisk was a little unnerved by the anger in this statement, but there was a part of her that understood. The only one there for her on the surface was her sister. She had no friends, no one to turn to for help, and very few people in her village even seemed to care. To her parents, she and Tina didn't mean much of anything. To many of her teachers, she was just a troublemaker who skipped class all the time and slept at her desk if she did attend, had low grades, and had received numerous detentions and even a few suspensions for stealing from the cafeteria or peoples' backpacks as well as getting into a few fights. To most of the rest of the community, she was barely noticed at all, unless she was doing errands for them. There had been people who had been kind to her through the years though, but they were very few and far between, and even then she was afraid to open up about her home life and ask for help, afraid she and her sister would be separated if she let anything slip. "Being a human, I do want to defend my species...and there are good people out there...but...but I also understand too. There may be danger here, but there's also so many wonderful people, like you, Mom, Sans, Papyrus, Napstablook...and they've all been so kind to me, even when they don't have to or aren't supposed to be. I-I actually felt safe enough to call someone I've only known a few days Mom. I-I never felt like that on the surface. Ever."

"I know. And please don't think I hold anything against you, Frisk, or your sister. I wouldn't be helping you if I did. I may not like humanity much, but I like you, Frisk, even if you're terrible at solving puzzles, suck at puns, and you get lost all the freaking time." Her laugh was much more genuine now, though the sudden shift in mood was a little jarring. She then became serious again. "I like that you've shown compassion to monsters even when attacked and that you've never given up on anything, even when it's hard. You've got a good heart, Frisk."

"You've got a good heart too."

Chara looked away. "I'm glad you think so."

"I'm serious, Chara. I couldn't have gotten this far without you. You've been amazing."

Chara didn't look at her and just changed the subject. "You'd better go to sleep. You'll need it for battling Sans and Papyrus tomorrow."

Frisk was concerned for her friend, but let it go, not wanting to push her. She nodded and lay down, and though the worry about her sister hadn't disappeared, she managed a while later to fall asleep. Chara watched over her.

"I can't make up for what I did, all the mistakes and horrible decisions I made. I can't bring Azzy back. But-But maybe I can do right by you." Chara whispered very softly so that she wouldn't wake her friend. "I won't let you down, Frisk."

...

On the surface, Tina looked out her window, very worried about Frisk. Her big sister still hadn't returned from wherever she went to. Was she hurt? Was she lost? Would she even come back? What if she didn't? No, she would come back! Frisk had promised she'd come back, and Frisk always kept her promises.

Another loud noise from downstairs startled her and Tina hugged the ragged white stuffed puppy with the big floppy ears that Frisk had gotten for her a long time ago. Mommy and Daddy had come home today, and they had brought food, which was good, but they had also brought a bunch of scary people home, and they were all in the living room, drinking bad smelling stuff, and taking these funny looking pills, which Frisk told her were very bad and for her not to touch ever, and doing a lot of both laughing and yelling. Frisk always had her stay upstairs with her when the grown-ups acted like this and read to her and played games with her. It was always a lot less scary when Frisk was here.

Tina got her old book of fairy tales and wrapped her faded blue blanket around herself, wishing she was wrapped in her sister's warm hugs instead. When the scary people left and Mommy and Daddy calmed down, maybe she could tell them Frisk was gone and maybe, just maybe they'd care for once and help her find her. If they wouldn't and if Frisk hadn't come back once spring break was over, maybe she could tell her teacher once she got back to school. But for tonight, all she could do was wait, and hope Frisk would come home.

...

In the morning, Frisk and Chara were up and training, but it wasn't until midday that Sans came to find them. "You ready, kid?" he asked and Frisk nodded. "Okay, get ready because this is going to be intense." He started by turning her soul blue.

Frisk tensed, prepared for anything, but she was surprised when a tiny bone, moving very slowly, came out of the ground. She hopped over it and waited to see what was going to happen next. But all that came was another tiny bone, which she easily jumped over. And for five minutes, all Sans did was send out tiny, easy to dodge obstacles. Frisk jumped over them and looked to Sans in confusion and a slight bit of frustration. Sans just winked at her and sent out another tiny bone. She prepared to jump over it like she had the others, but suddenly, a huge bone wall appeared where she was about to jump and she crashed into it, landing on the ground.

Sans smirked. "If you want TIBIA champ at dodging, kid, always expect the unexpected. When people got a BONE to pick with you, they're going to try to get your guard down. Don't let them. Stay a-HEAD of your game and keep an eyesocket out for everything." An embarrassed Frisk nodded, making sure to keep that in mind. She felt like a real BONEHEAD. She heard Chara laughing at her and resisted the temptation to stick her tongue out at the ghost girl.

For the next half hour, Sans kept training her. He was very unpredictable, and she had to be on her guard constantly. Her reaction time slowly grew better and it got easier for her to dodge his attacks, but she had the feeling he wasn't using near to his full strength with her. Chara helped at a few points, but left most of it to Frisk.

"All right, time for that meal you promised me." Sans said abruptly, ceasing his attacks after the half hour was up. Frisk wanted to keep going, but she nodded and thanked him again before walking towards Grillby's again. Suddenly, a little bone was in her path and she nearly tripped over it, but caught herself.

Sans just laughed. "Told you not to let your guard down." Frisk blushed in embarrassment and now was incredibly watchful until they got to Grillby's, but it didn't happen again.

...

Of course Sans managed to prank Frisk again at Grillby's, offering her ketchup for her burger, which the cap had been "accidentally" loosened on, causing the entire bottle to be poured onto her meal. Sans just laughed and traded her his burger for hers. Apparently, he REALLY liked ketchup.

"You're not too shabby at dodging, kid. A little more practice and you'll get PASTA Papyrus's attacks." Sans told her through a bite of the ketchup drenched burger. Frisk giggled and unheard, Chara laughed.

"Thanks for training me, Sans." Frisk told him.

"Don't mention it, kid. Plus, you've thanked me about twenty times already." Sans told her. Then he got serious. Deadly serious. "Now listen. Do not make me regret training you. My brother is powerful in his own right, but he'd never hurt you, not on purpose. So don't you EVER hurt him. Because if you do...you will have to deal with me, and you WILL have a bad time." His magical eye was glowing bright blue, giving him a threatening expression and a huge skull that looked like a cross between a goat and a dragon floated behind him, its eyes glowing as well. The room suddenly felt darker and time almost seemed to stop.

Frisk's eyes were wide, both because of how terrifying Sans was at this point and because he actually thought she'd harm his brother, but she forced herself to remain calm though she wanted to scream and run from the skeleton. "Sans, I would NEVER harm Papyrus. Not ever. I'd never hurt any monster here, but especially not Papyrus. He's one of the kindest, sweetest people I've ever met." She was shaking but kept her gaze at Sans steady, showing her sincerity and determination.

Sans studied her for a moment and judged this as the truth it was. "Good." he said, calming down and storing the giant skull somewhere. The room lightened and time seemed to return to normal. No one in Grillby's even seemed to notice how he had acted. "I didn't think you would or I never would have trained you at all, but I had to make sure. Got to take care of the little bro, you know."

"I know. I've got a little sister of my own." she said softly, understanding perfectly why he had reacted that way, even if it had scared the crap out of her and she had almost peed herself.

Sans nodded. "I know you must want to get back home to her. I will keep helping you, but you stay good, you hear?"

"I will." she promised and she meant it.

He patted her back and gave her a real smile. "Good." His meal finished, he then got up and left.

Frisk then glanced to where Chara was sitting by her. "He's scary when he wants to be. Remind me never to make your boyfriend mad." she teased trying to lighten the mood.

Chara didn't even seem to notice. "...I've never seen him so scared before."

"I think he was just worried because I'm going to be battling against Papyrus. I'd be worried too if it was Tina."

"I know and he's always been protective of Papyrus, but I've never seen him that worked up before. He's gotten more wary since I died."

"It's understandable. He lost his friend; it makes sense that he would want to be extra careful that nothing happened to his little brother." Frisk said. Chara nodded and looked away sadly. "Chara, I didn't mean to make you feel upset or guilty. It's not your..." But before she could finish talking to Chara, the entire group of dog guards entered and Dogamy and Dogaressa came up to her.

"Hey, it's the weird puppy!" Dogressa said. Frisk subtly sniffed her sleeve; apparently with all the tumbles, she did still smell like a weird puppy.

"C'mon, we want to show the others that dogs can pet other dogs! It'll blow their minds!" Dogamy pulled her sleeve, leading her to the other dogs, distracting her from the subject of Chara's death, much to Chara's relief. She hadn't wanted to talk about it or hear Frisk tell her it wasn't her fault when it truly was...

After talking to, and petting, the entire dog guard and getting a huge lick in the face from Greater Dog, Frisk went out to train some more. She had thought about going to battle Papyrus today, but she and Chara discussed it and Chara convinced her it would be better to train and do it the next morning. "You don't want to shortcut on this." Chara had said and Frisk reluctantly agreed. She continued the work with the wooden boards and in the evening, Sans surprised her by showing up again and sending a bone attack under her feet without warning. This time, she was actually able to dodge it though, and Sans trained her for another half hour before he went home and she trained for a while longer before Chara insisted that she rest.

The next day, Frisk awoke early and headed to the route where Papyrus kept his post. She took a deep breath as she saw his silhouette in the snow and walked up, hoping she was ready for what came next.

"THERE YOU ARE! YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD SOMEONE BEFORE YOU ESCAPED! WHEN YOU WENT MISSING, I WAS WORRIED SICK!" Papyrus called out as he ran up to her, giving her a quick glance over to make sure she was okay.

Frisk's cheeks heated up at the genuine caring in his voice. "Sorry. I didn't mean to worry you, Papyrus."

"IT'S ALL RIGHT. AS LONG AS YOU'RE OKAY...I MEAN, I STILL WON'T LET YOU PASS! NOT UNLESS YOU CAN BEAT MY SPECIAL ATTACK! YOU READY FOR THIS?"

Frisk nodded. "I am. And thank you for helping me after I got knocked out and before when I was freezing." She smiled up to him, not realizing she was still blushing a bit. "You're really sweet."

She hadn't exactly meant to flirt, but Papyrus interpreted the compliment and the blush as her flirting with him and he somehow blushed as well, despite not having blood. "W-WHAT? F-FLIRTING? SO YOU FINALLY REVEAL YOUR ULTIMATE FEELINGS!" Frisk turned dark, dark red and Chara was laughing. "W-WELL, I'M A SKELETON WITH VERY HIGH STANDARDS!"

Frisk was so flustered she could barely think straight. "I can make spaghetti!" she blurted out, then covered her mouth at how stupid she sounded. Chara was laughing so hard she was clutching her stomach.

Papyrus's eyes widened. "OH NO! YOU'RE MEETING ALL MY STANDARDS!" he exclaimed, and Chara was literally rolling in the air laughing. "I GUESS THIS MEANS I HAVE TO GO ON A DATE WITH YOU! L-LET'S DATE L-LATER! AFTER I CAPTURE YOU!" With that, he sent out a small attack, and Frisk almost missed it, she was so surprised she had actually been asked out on a date by a boy. She was so red she looked like a tomato.

"Hey, Frisk; your flirting is supposed to fluster him, not you!" a still laughing Chara called.

"I wasn't flirting!" she retorted, somehow blushing even more.

Chara gave the same grin Spongebob used when he said, "You like Krabby Patties, don't you, Squidward?" "Suuuure you weren't. Now keep on "not flirting." You've definitely got him distracted." She looked at Papyrus, who was musing out loud as he wondered what he was supposed to wear for a date. "Just don't get distracted yourself, lover girl."

"Shut up or I'll tell Sans." Frisk mumbled in her head as she dodged another small attack. "Papyrus, I-I think your attacks are really cool." she told the still flustered skeleton truthfully, and he blushed even more(somehow.)

"T-THANK YOU, HUMAN. AND YOU HAVEN'T EVEN SEEN MY REALLY COOL SPECIAL ATTACK YET! THE ONE THAT'S NOT THE BLUE ONE!" He suddenly remembered that he had forgotten about his blue attack. 'OH, YEAH! HUMAN, LET'S SEE HOW YOU HANDLE MY FABLED BLUE ATTACK...AGAIN."

He sent out his blue attack and Frisk held absolutely still as the bones swept over her. Once again, she glowed slightly as her soul turned blue and she jumped over the tiny white bone he sent to surprise her after the blue attack. "That still feels weird." she mumbled.

Papyrus sent out two tiny bones and a medium sized bone as he dabbed some marinara sauce behind his "ear," which made Chara snort. "Frisk, you have weird taste in guys."

Frisk was about to retort back when she had to jump over several medium and tall bones, almost tripping over the last one. "WHAT? I'M NOT THINKING ABOUT THAT DATE THING!" Papyrus told Frisk when she looked to him while waiting for his next attack.

"Suuure you're not." Chara retorted with a laugh.

"YEAH, DON'T MAKE ME USE MY SPECIAL ATTACK!" Papyrus called as he sent out his next wave of bones. Chara managed to stop laughing long enough to warn Frisk about an overhead bone, which she ducked under. She jumped over several more, then managed to do an embarrassing faceplant on the last one, but got up unhurt. Papyrus, being the sweet skeleton he was, let her get up before sending out his next attack.

"I CAN ALMOST TASTE MY FUTURE POPULARITY!" he yelled as he sent out the next wave once she got on her feet. She did better this time at keeping ahead of it and didn't get hit. All the while, Papyrus kept dabbing weird stuff on his skull. "PAPYRUS, HEAD OF THE ROYAL GUARD!" This next was the one she had gotten knocked out on the last try, but this time she was ready. She ducked under the overhanging bone that had hit her on the head last time, jumped over another one, and barely managed to vault over the bone pile, though she did stumble a little.

"PAPYRUS, UNPARALLELED SPAGHETTORE!" he called out, and she didn't have time to wonder what that had to do with capturing her as she had to jump and duck at the same time and bumped into the blue bone. She then dodged two swinging bones and just barely managed to keep from landing on her face.

"UNDYNE WILL BE REALLY PROUD OF ME!" he said as he sent out three bone ramps she scrambled over fairly easily. Just then, he also realized he didn't have ears and that he had just covered his skull in a bunch of weird crap, which he wiped off in embarrassment, but continued on. 'THE KING WILL BUILD A HEDGE IN THE SHAPE OF MY SMILE!" Frisk barely dodged over a bunch of bones that crossed one another's paths, tripping twice, but staying on her feet.

'MY BROTHER WILL...WELL, HE WON'T CHANGE VERY MUCH." Papyrus said, rubbing the back of his neck.

"Papyrus?" Frisk asked as she pretty much tap danced to get out of the way of a bunch of little bones that constantly changed direction. He looked to her. "Don't tell Sans I told you this, but I've talked to him and I know he's proud of you. And he's right to be."

Papyrus smiled. "I KNOW. AND I'M PROUD OF HIM TOO, EVEN IF HE IS A LAZYBONES. BUT-BUT ONCE I CAPTURE YOU, I'LL HAVE LOTS MORE ADMIRERS...BUT..." He was hesitating, and it was obvious in his attack, which was slower and easier to dodge. "WILL ANYONE LIKE ME AS SINCERELY AS YOU?" Though he seemed to be thinking it over, he sent out more bones, these ones with smaller gaps between the upper and lower bones. Frisk had a lot of trouble with the ones that were moving, and though she managed to get through most, did trip and bump her head, thankfully not hard enough to knock herself out this time.

Papyrus sighed. "SOMEONE LIKE YOU IS REALLY RARE." Still, he sent out another attack and she had to crawl over the bone ramps and did an accidental backflip over the two moving ones. Still determined though, she got to her feet again. Papyrus made sure she was okay before sending out the next attack. "AND DATING WOULD BE KIND OF HARD..." She listened as she held still for the blue bones and jumped over the tiny ones he sent out. '...AFTER YOU'RE CAPTURED AND SENT AWAY." She leapt over two ramps of bones, hoping he would decide to let her go.

"UGH, WHO CARES? GIVE UP!" he called out in frustration, more angry at himself for not wanting to capture her than he was at her. This attack was more aggressive, with the upper bones moving rapidly and she did get a few bumps and bruises from it from it, but got through, though she was breathing heavily.

He noticed this and was slightly worried, but yelled, "GIVE UP OR FACE MY SPECIAL ATTACK!" She was able to bypass the attack he sent at her, which was more gentle than the last. "YEAH! VERY SOON, I WILL USE MY SPECIAL ATTACK!" She jumped over the little bones he sent, having to stay in the air pretty much constantly to get out of their wild path. "NOT VERY LONG AND I WILL USE MY SPECIAL ATTACK!"

"Will you just freaking use it already then?" Chara complained before warning Frisk about a low hanging bone coming up she was about to jump into,

'THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE BEFORE MY SPECIAL ATTACK!" Papyrus warned and sent out another wave of tiny, quickly moving bones. Frisk was pretty much doing jumping jacks in an effort to get out of the way of them.

'BEHOLD, MY SPECIAL ATTACK!" Papyrus boasted and turned to use it...only to find a dog chewing on his special bone. "WHAT THE HECK?! THAT'S MY SPECIAL ATTACK! HEY, DID YOU HEAR ME, YOU STUPID DOG?! STOP MUNCHING ON THAT BONE!" The white dog just picked it up and ran off into the woods with it, tail wagging. Papyrus raced after it, but managed to run right into a tree face first when the dog took a sharp right turn.

Frisk gasped and ran over, helping him up. "Papyrus, are you okay?!"

He rubbed his head. "OW...YEAH, I'M FINE. BUT MY SPECIAL ATTACK IS GONE, AND I REALLY, REALLY WANTED TO SHOW IT TO YOU." he said sadly, but then brightened. 'I'LL JUST USE MY COOLEST REGULAR ATTACK INSTEAD. GET READY." As soon as she was, he sent out his "regular attack," which seemed to combine everything from all the others, keeping Frisk on her guard and on her toes trying to keep ahead of it without getting knocked out, then nearly tripped over the little dog that had appeared again and was trying to get her and Papyrus to chase it. But then the really cool part appeared, as two sets of bones shaped to read COOL DUDE moved towards her. She jumped over them, then over a cute little bone riding a skateboard.

Next came something a lot more intimidating. A huge wall of bones that would literally be impossible to jump over, even if it wasn't backed by an enormous bone that was bigger than a dinosaur bone. She gulped as it moved rapidly towards her...

"You can do it, Frisk! You know you like him! Do it for the date!" Chara cheered and Frisk ran towards it, intending to take a flying leap and get over as much of the massive wall as she could before trying to balance on and run across it or something. She knew she would probably fall embarrassingly, but she wasn't going to give up. She took the biggest leap she could...

And found herself gliding through the air and above the wall. The hell?! I can't fly! she thought to herself in shock and then, while trying not scream like a banshee, happened to look down. Then she saw a certain hoodie wearing skeleton hiding behind a rock, blue magic around his hands. He grinned and winked at her and she smiled back. Of course he'd be here to watch over his brother during the battle. I would have done the same thing if it was Tina. I wonder why he helped me though... She felt the blue magic lift her gently over the giant bone and then lightly drop her to the ground.

"I know people say love gives you wings, but wow." Chara said with a laugh.

"First, I'm not in love with Papyrus, second, I think you're thinking of Red Bull, and third, that wasn't me, it was Sans." Frisk told her mentally.

She laughed again. "I know. I'd know his magic anywhere. Also, watch out for that teeny bone moving very slowly." Frisk nodded and hopped over it before looking to Papyrus.

He was breathing heavily. "IT'S CLEAR...YOU CAN'T...DEFEAT ME... YEAH! I CAN SEE YOU SHAKING IN YOUR BOOTS! THEREFORE, I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, ELECT TO GRANT YOU PITY! I WILL SPARE YOU, HUMAN!"

Chara just rolled her eyes, but Frisk just said, "Thanks, Papyrus." Not only did she want to humor Papyrus; she was tired too.

Papyrus had turned away from her. "NYOO HOO HOO! I CAN'T EVEN STOP SOMEONE AS WEAK AS YOU... UNDYNE'S GOING TO BE DISAPPOINTED IN ME. I'LL NEVER JOIN THE ROYAL GUARD...AND MY FRIEND QUANTITY WILL REMAIN STAGNANT!"

Frisk walked up to him. "I'll be your friend, Papyrus."

"REALLY? YOU WANT TO BE FRIENDS?! WITH ME? WELL THEN...NYEH HEH HEH! I GUESS...I CAN MAKE AN ALLOWANCE FOR YOU." But he was smiling widely, contradicting his falsely reluctant words. "WOWIE! WE HAVEN'T EVEN HAD OUR FIRST DATE YET AND I'VE ALREADY MANAGED TO HIT THE FRIEND ZONE!" He was practically bouncing, excited now. "WHO KNEW ALL I HAD TO DO TO MAKE PALS WAS TO GIVE PEOPLE AWFUL PUZZLES AND THEN FIGHT THEM? YOU TAUGHT ME A LOT, HUMAN. I HEREBY GRANT YOU PERMISSION TO PASS THROUGH."

"I think the lesson here was supposed to be "all you need to do to make friends is be yourself," but close enough." Chara muttered.

He gave her brief directions on how to get to the capital, though they were pretty vague, which confused Frisk. "NOW, I'LL BE AT MY HOUSE, BEING A COOL FRIEND. MEET ME THERE WHEN YOU'RE READY TO HAVE THAT D-DATE." he said, so focused on trying to figure out what the heck you were supposed to do on a date that he forgot something important he was going to tell her. "OH WAIT...I WAS SUPPOSED TO TELL YOU SOMETHING...BUT I FORGOT. WELL, SEE YOU SOON!" He soon left, leaving a blushing Frisk and a laughing Chara.

Chapter Text

"Frisk and Papyrus, sitting in a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G!" Chara teased her blushing friend.

Frisk blushed deeply. "S-Shut up, Chara."

Chara just laughed. "So are you going on this date or just gonna stand around all day?"

Frisk did really want to go on this date and spend some more time with Papyrus, but she also didn't want to keep her sister waiting much longer. "I-I don't know. We do kind of have to get going...to wherever we're supposed to go to get to the capital so I can get home." she said, still confused by Papyrus's bad directions.

"Frisk, it's okay to stop for an hour and hang out with Papyrus. I know you want to." Chara told her. "Plus, it's only eight in the morning if that clock in Snowdin is right. And you're exhausted from the battle, plus, you forgot to eat breakfast...again. And you might want to get some better directions from him while you're at it. I don't know how much has changed since I've been gone." She was sad about this, but forced the thought from her mind. "And don't forget the biggest reason of all you should go out on a date with him."

"What?" she asked, walking right into another opportunity for Chara to tease her.

"You liiiiike him." the ghost girl said with a grin, making Frisk turn red as a tomato.

"I do not! Well, I mean, I like him, but I don't like him like him!" Frisk protested as she turned to go back to Snowdin.

"Oh, you do, you're allll red." Chara teased her. "And you seem pretty eager for that date."

"You told me to go on the date! Plus, he was really nice to me. I-I don't want to stand him up!" she told her quickly, her face getting even redder.

Chara just grinned. "Or you liiiike him!"

Frisk went so red Chara thought steam was going to come out of her ears. "Do not." she muttered, forgetting to think it.

"Do not what?" an amused voice asked and Frisk turned to see Sans walking up to her.

"N-Nothing!" Frisk said quickly.

Sans just shrugged. "Okay, weirdo. So anyway...I hear you have a BONE-deep admiration for my brother." He grinned at her teasingly.

It shouldn't have been possible for Frisk to get any redder, but somehow she did, burying her face in her hands. "Great, now there's two of them." she thought, making Chara laugh.

"Welp, I guess it is true." he said, then turned serious. "Look, kid. Papyrus...he's a very cool monster, but a lot of people...they don't see that. He doesn't have a lot of friends, so the ones he does have are very special to him. He's given you his trust. So, whatever you do, whether you're his friend or more, you'd better not hurt him. Got it?"

"Sans, I'd never hurt Papyrus. To be honest, I don't have a lot of friends either." she admitted, and it was true. The only friends she had were Tina, Chara, and now Papyrus. She never really had any friends in school or around her hometown.

Sans's eyes, well, eye sockets, softened a little. "It sounds like you're too cool. Just like Paps. But don't worry. Papyrus is the best friend you can ask for. Just...make sure you're a good friend to him too."

"I will. I promise."

"Good. I'm holding you to that promise, kiddo." Sans then patted her back and walked off.

...

Frisk soon reached Snowdin and took a deep breath, nervous. This was her first date with anyone ever after all. Remembering something, she searched in her bag, finding a ribbon she had absently picked up at the Ruins while doing the switch puzzle. She tied it into her hair in a pretty bow and dusted off her clothes.

"Getting yourself all pretty for your Prince Charming?" Chara teased her.

Frisk turned bright red and tried to ignore her as she started walking again.

"I knew it! You liiiike him!"

"H-Hey, you have no right teasing me! You laugh at everything Sans says whether it's funny or not, you're always talking about him, and I KNOW I caught you checking him out a few times." Frisk smirked as Chara's prominent blush grew much, much deeper. "I think YOU'RE the one with a crush on a skeleton brother!"

Chara got much more red. "Um, I..."

"I knew it! Sans and Chara, sitting in a tree..."

"Shut up, Frisk."

Frisk grinned and was about to tease her more when she spotted Papyrus standing outside.

"SO YOU CAME BACK TO HAVE A DATE WITH ME? YOU MUST REALLY BE SERIOUS ABOUT THIS." Papyrus said when he saw her, kind of surprised that she had actually showed up. "I'LL HAVE TO TAKE YOU SOMEPLACE REALLY SPECIAL...A PLACE I LIKE TO SPEND A LOT OF TIME!" He then led her off, and then after a little bit, suddenly turned around again, leading right back to where they started. "MY HOUSE!"

"Um, why didn't you just invite us in?" Chara asked. She shook her head. "I said it before and I'll say it again. Frisk, you have really weird taste in guys."

Frisk just subtly rolled her eyes at her friend and followed Papyrus inside. Papyrus's living room was pretty nice, with a couch, a TV, and a coffee table with a rock covered in sprinkles resting on top of it.

"Nice pet rock." Frisk said awkwardly, trying to make conversation.

"IT'S MY BROTHER'S. HE ALWAYS FORGETS TO FEED IT, SO AS USUAL, I HAVE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY." he told her, then fumbled around for something to say as well, then finally thought of something. "HEY, WANT TO SEE MY COOL BONE COLLECTION?" he asked.

"Sure." she replied and he led her into the kitchen to the sink. "IMPRESSED? I INCREASED THE HEIGHT OF MY SINK! NOW I CAN FIT EVEN MORE BONES UNDER IT! TAKE A LOOKSY!" Frisk opened the cabinet only to find the annoying dog from earlier chewing on the last of Papyrus's bones. "WHAT?" Papyrus screeched. "CATCH THAT MEDDLING CANINE!"

Chara was laughing her head off, but Frisk dived for the dog at the same time Papyrus did, but this ended with them colliding and bonking heads, and the dog ran between their legs and out the door, making them tumble to the ground. "OW...CURSES! I REALLY DON'T LIKE THAT DOG...ARE YOU OKAY, HUMAN?"

Sans stuck his head out of his room, grinning and playing a few notes on his trombone.

Da Da Dum!

"SANS! QUIT PLAGUING MY LIFE WITH INCIDENTAL MUSIC!" Papyrus yelled as he helped Frisk up. "AND WILL YOU PLEASE PICK UP YOUR SOCK?! WE HAVE A GUEST!"

"Ok." Sans called back and then closed his door.

"UGH! THAT SOCK IS NEVER GOING TO GET PICKED UP." Papyrus muttered.

"Ok." Sans said, poking his head out of the door again when he heard this.

"NO, SANS, THAT'S NOT WHAT I...UGH, NEVER MIND!" Papyrus said, throwing up his hands. Frisk tried not to laugh, though Chara hadn't stopped and was clutching her sides.

"This is too good! Why didn't anyone bring a video camera?" the ghost girl said through her laughter. Frisk was glad Papyrus couldn't hear her.

Papyrus grumbled a minute before turning to Frisk again. He rubbed the back of his neck shyly, hoping the human couldn't tell he had absolutely no clue what he was doing. "IF YOU'VE FINISHED LOOKING AROUND, WE COULD GO TO MY ROOM AND DO...WHATEVER PEOPLE DO WHEN THEY DATE?"

Normally, this would be a cause for concern for Frisk. But when she looked at Papyrus, she saw his innocent expression and realized he didn't mean anything dirty, so she nodded. "S-Sure."

He brought her upstairs to his room, and it was absolutely awesome. He had a racecar bed, a bunch of action figures, a computer, a bookshelf, and a cool pirate poster.

"SO, UM, SHALL WE START THE DATE?" Papyrus asked nervously.

"I thought the date had already started..." Chara muttered.

"Y-Yeah." Frisk replied, just as nervous as he was, hoping that he couldn't tell that she had no clue what she was doing.

"OKAY! DATING START! UM, HERE WE ARE...ON OUR DATE." Papyrus shuffled his feet. "I'VE NEVER ACTUALLY DONE THIS BEFORE..."

"I haven't either." Frisk admitted, and this made Papyrus relax a little, glad he wasn't alone.

"HEY, IT'S OKAY, HUMAN! WE'LL FIGURE IT OUT! I GRABBED AN OFFICIAL DATING RULEBOOK FROM THE LIBRARY ON THE WAY HOME!" He ran to his bookshelf and pulled it out. "YOU CAN'T SPELL "PREPARED" WITHOUT SEVERAL LETTERS FROM MY NAME!" Frisk tried not to laugh as Papyrus examined the rulebook. "OKAY, STEP ONE...ASK THEM ON A DATE!"

"You already did that after lover girl over here flirted with you." Chara said, making Frisk blush.

But Papyrus either didn't remember this or didn't think it counted. "HUMAN! I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WILL GO ON A DATE WITH YOU!"

"You're already ON the date with her." Chara pointed out, rolling her eyes.

"I accept." Frisk said, trying not to laugh at Chara's commentary.

"REALLY? WOWIE!" Papyrus said, blushing. "I GUESS THAT MEANS IT'S TIME FOR PART TWO! HMM, STEP TWO...PUT ON NICE CLOTHES TO SHOW YOU CARE!" He then studied Frisk, who felt self conscious in her worn out clothing. "HMM...WEAR CLOTHING...THAT RIBBON...YOU'RE WEARING CLOTHING RIGHT NOW!" he exclaimed and Chara burst out laughing. "NOT ONLY THAT, BUT EARLIER TODAY YOU WERE ALSO WEARING CLOTHING! AND YOU WERE WEARING CLOTHING A FEW DAYS AGO WHEN I MET YOU TOO! NO...COULD IT BE...YOU'VE WANTED TO DATE ME FROM THE VERY BEGINNING?"

"Um...well, it-it was mostly because nudity is frowned upon in most societies, but well, kinda, sure, I guess I..." Frisk stammered.

"Frisk, you're rambling. Calm down." Chara said through fits of laughter. "Actually, don't. This is funny."

"NO...YOU PLANNED IT ALL! YOU'RE WAY BETTER AT DATING THAN I AM!" Papyrus cried out.

"HAHAHAHA! Oh god, my sides are killing me!" Chara gasped through her laughter. "P-Papyrus, why are you like this...?"

Papyrus quickly recovered. "NYEH! NYEH HEH! HEH! HEH! DON'T THINK YOU'VE BESTED ME YET! I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, HAVE NEVER BEEN BEATEN AT DATING AND NEVER WILL!"

"Papyrus, I don't think dating is a compet..." Frisk started, but Papyrus just kept going.

"I CAN EASILY KEEP UP WITH YOU! YOU SEE, I TOO CAN WEAR CLOTHING!"

"I should hope so." Chara muttered, still laughing.

"IN FACT, I ALWAYS WEAR MY SPECIAL CLOTHES UNDERNEATH MY REGULAR CLOTHES! JUST IN CASE SOMEONE HAPPENS TO ASK ME ON A DATE! BEHOLD!" he leapt into his closet.

"I know. I know." Frisk thought with a sigh when Chara opened her mouth to tell her again that she had weird taste in guys.

He came out wearing a green shirt reading Cool Dude with basketballs for sleeves, a pair of blue shorts, and a baseball cap. "NYEH! WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY SECRET STYLE?!"

"You look like a dork." Chara said, though it was said affectionately rather than cruelly.

Frisk just ignored her as she thought Papyrus's outfit was cute. "I love it!"

"NO! A GENUINE COMPLIMENT!" Papyrus cried out in alarm. 'HOWEVER, YOU DON'T TRULY UNDERSTAND THE HIDDEN POWER OF THIS OUTFIT! THEREFORE, WHAT YOU JUST SAID IS INVALID! THIS DATE WON'T ESCALATE ANY FURTHER...UNLESS YOU CAN FIND MY SECRET! BUT THAT WON'T HAPPEN!" he said smugly.

"Um..." Frisk said, totally confused.

"Just point to something, I'd say." Chara said through her giggles. Frisk randomly pointed to his shirt.

"THIS SHIRT DIDN'T ORIGINALLY SAY "COOL" BUT I IMPROVED IT! EXPERT TIP: ALL ARTICLES OF CLOTHING CAN BE IMPROVED THIS WAY." he said and continued to wait for her to find his "secret."

"Flirt with him. Maybe he'll tell you what the secret is." Chara suggested, laughing even harder. Watching Frisk and Papyrus attempt to "date" was one of the funniest things she had ever seen.

Frisk blushed and gently grabbed Papyrus's hand. "What's the secret, Papyrus? Can you give me a hint? Please?" she asked, attempting to bat her eyelashes(and failing miserably.)

Papyrus blushed deeply. "H-HOLDING MY HAND SO I'LL TELL YOU THE ANSWER...N-NO! I MUST RESIST!"

Well, that didn't work out. And Frisk was too shy to try anything else, not wanting to freak him out, so she looked over his outfit again. Then she noticed that his hat was bulging slightly. "Is it your hat?"

"MY HAT? MY HAT. MY HAT! NYEH HEH HEH! WELL, THEN, YOU FOUND MY SECRET!" He lifted off his baseball cap, revealing a beautifully wrapped package on top of his head. "IT'S A PRESENT! A PRESENT J-JUST FOR YOU!" He took it off his head and handed it down to her.

"You got me a present?" she asked softly, almost with tears in her eyes as she held the gift like a treasure. She was not used to getting presents, having only ever received them from her sister and then Toriel.

"OF COURSE, I DID, HUMAN. OPEN IT." he said, eager to see her expression when she opened his present.

Frisk unwrapped it very carefully, savoring the moment. She soon gently removed the paper to reveal...

A plate of spaghetti.

She wasn't sure why she was surprised by this.

She smiled up at Papyrus. She knew he loved his spaghetti and that he was giving it to her made her feel special, even if his spaghetti was kind of disgusting. "Thank you so much, Papyrus."

"YOU'RE WELCOME, HUMAN." he said proudly. "AND THIS ISN'T JUST ANY PLAIN OLD PASTA! THIS IS AN ARTISAN'S WORK! SILKEN SPAGHETTI, FINELY AGED IN AN OAKEN CASK, THEN COOKED BY ME, MASTER CHEF PAPYRUS!" He set it down in front of her. "HUMAN, IT'S TIME TO END THIS! THERE IS NO WAY THIS CAN GO ANY FURTHER!"

Frisk looked down at the intimidatingly large plate of spaghetti. She then looked to Papyrus. "How-How about you share it with me?"

His eyes lit up. "YOU'RE SHARING IT WITH ME?! YOU MUST REALLY CARE ABOUT ME; GIVING UP SOME OF YOUR GIFT FOR ME JUST BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE PASTA! YOUR DATING POWER...IT'S OFF THE CHARTS! HUMAN...IT'S CLEAR NOW. YOU'RE MADLY IN LOVE WITH ME." Frisk opened her mouth to speak, but Papyrus just kept going. "EVERYTHING YOU DO. EVERYTHING YOU SAY...IT'S ALL BEEN FOR MY SAKE. HUMAN, I WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY TOO. IT'S TIME FOR ME TO EXPRESS MY FEELINGS... IT'S TIME I TOLD YOU...I..PAPYRUS..."

He shuffled his feet. 'I...UM...BOY, IS IT HOT IN HERE OR IS IT JUST ME?" He thought over what he truly was feeling. He liked the human a lot; she was cool and funny and sweet, but he wasn't madly in love with her like he thought she was with him, not yet. He couldn't match the passion he thought she felt for him. He didn't even know her all that well. He thought he'd fall in love with her on the first date like she apparently had for him, but he hadn't. Instead, dating her like this felt awkward and made him nervous rather than in love. And if he couldn't even match her love for him...he'd end up hurting her in the end. He wouldn't be so great if he did that. He couldn't hurt his dear friend that way. She deserved to be with someone who could make her happy. He had to tell her the truth. 'OH...SHOOT...HUMAN...HUMAN...I...I'M SORRY. I...I'M NOT MADLY IN LOVE WITH YOU LIKE YOU ARE WITH ME."

Frisk did look down for a second as your crush telling you they didn't like you that way did sting, even if she had simply had a crush on him rather than being madly in love with him like he had thought. Papyrus noticed and felt terrible.

I MEAN, I TRIED VERY HARD TO! I THOUGHT THAT BECAUSE YOU FLIRTED WITH ME, I HAD TO GO ON A DATE WITH YOU. THEN ON THE DATE, FEELINGS WOULD BLOSSOM FORTH AND I WOULD BE ABLE TO MATCH YOUR PASSION FOR ME. BUT, ALAS, I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, HAVE FAILED. I FEEL THE SAME AS BEFORE." He looked down at the ground, ashamed for hurting her that way.

"Then why'd you ask her on a date then and lead her on like that?!" Chara asked even though Papyrus couldn't see or hear her, annoyed and worried about Frisk.

"Chara, it's okay. He didn't mean to hurt me or anything like that. He asked me on a date, then realized he didn't feel the same way. It happens. I'd rather him tell me than try to force it." Frisk mentally told her friend before turning to Papyrus. "Papyrus..." Frisk started.

"AND INSTEAD BY DATING YOU, I HAVE DRAWN YOU DEEPER INTO YOUR INTENSE LOVE FOR ME. A DARK PRISON OF PASSION WITH NO ESCAPE. HOW COULD I HAVE DONE THIS TO MY DEAR FRIEND?"

"Papyrus!" Frisk called out to snap him out of it and grabbed both his hands, making him look at her. "It's okay. I'm all right, and I'm not mad at you."

This seemed to make him feel better. "I'LL MAKE IT UP TO YOU, HUMAN! I'LL KEEP BEING YOUR COOL FRIEND...IF YOU STILL WANT ME TO BE. YOU ARE VERY GREAT. IT WOULD BE TRAGIC TO LOSE YOUR FRIENDSHIP." He looked at her pleadingly, not wanting to lose his new friend because of this.

Frisk gave him a reassuring smile, having not wanted to lose Papyrus as a friend either. He was one of the sweetest people she had ever met. "I'd like that."

"GREAT! HOW ABOUT WE EAT THIS SPAGHETTI AND JUST...HANG OUT FOR A WHILE?" he asked, wanting to spend some time with her where they could just hang out and be friends without them both being really nervous and awkward.

"That would be awesome."

...

"And then it just exploded...all over." Frisk told Papyrus a little later, laughing. Papyrus had split the spaghetti onto two plates and now they were sitting on the edge of his racecar bed, talking and laughing as they ate. Now that they weren't trying so hard to impress each other, they were really clicking and this felt so much more natural than their bad attempt to "date." Right now, they were talking about their worst cooking disasters, with Frisk telling Papyrus about the time she and Tina had tried to make homemade soup with the ingredients they had got from a church food pantry. Chara sat on the other side of the room, listening, but letting them have their privacy too. Neither of them noticed the magical glowing eye watching them through the keyhole. Sans was checking on his brother, making sure everything was okay.

Papyrus laughed. "HOW DID YOU DO THAT, HUMAN?"

"I have no clue. It may have possibly been because Tina accidentally added yeast rather than salt or I turned the heat up too high. It just happened. Maybe the same way YOU ended up setting fire to solid stone." she teased him, remembering his previous story of how he had set fire to his friend Undyne's stone counter after turning up the heat way too high.

"HEY, IT WAS VERY FLAMMABLE SOLID STONE!" Papyrus defended.

"If you say so." she said, laughing.

He blushed in embarrassment and changed the subject. "SANS HAS ACTUALLY GOTTEN INTO BAKING A LITTLE TOO. I'M PROUD OF HIM FOR ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING, EVEN THOUGH THE STUFF HE BAKES IS A LITTLE WEIRD."

"What do you mean?"

"A FEW DAYS AGO, HE TRIED BAKING THIS THING THAT LOOKED LIKE A QUICHE, BUT IT WAS FILLED WITH A SUGARY, CHOCOLATELY, NON=EGG SUBSTANCE." Papyrus said with a shrug. "HOW ABSURD!"

"I think that's called...a pie." Frisk said, amused.

"HUH. THAT'S A WEIRD NAME FOR A QUICHE-LIKE FOOD ITEM. WELL, AFTER IT'S DONE, HE PUTS IT ON THE TABLE AND SAT NEXT TO IT, WAITING FOR IT TO COOL...THEN HE PROMPTLY FELL ASLEEP RIGHT ON TOP OF IT, SQUISHING HIS...PIE...AND STAYED ASLEEP."

Frisk laughed. "How the heck did he do that?"

"MY LAZYBONES BROTHER CAN SLEEP LITERALLY ANYWHERE. UNDER THE RUG WHERE I ALMOST TRIP OVER HIM, ON THE OUTSIDE STAIRS WHEN HE'S TOO LAZY TO JUST WALK IN THE DOOR, AT HIS POST, WHICH IS REALLY ANNOYING BECAUSE HE SHOULDN'T BE SLACKING OFF DURING WORK, ON TOP OF HIS PUZZLES, IN A TREE, SOMEHOW, AND ONCE IN A SNOWPILE. LUCKILY, I WAS DOING MY PATROLS AND FOUND HIM BEFORE HE COULD CATCH A COLD. IT'S A GOOD THING HE HAS A GREAT BROTHER LIKE ME TO TAKE CARE OF HIM AND TAKE HIM HOME AND TUCK HIM IN WITH HIS KETCHUP BOTTLE."

Outside the door, Sans turned bright blue at the fact that the human now knew some very embarrassing stuff about him.

Frisk smiled at this, holding back a giggle at the mental image of the tough and sometimes scary Sans all curled up asleep with his ketchup bottle. "I know he's glad to have a brother like you."

"I KNOW HE IS. AND HE CAN ALWAYS COUNT ON ME TO HELP HIM. I-I JUST WISH HE UNDERSTOOD THAT." Papyrus sighed and looked at the ground. When he spoke again, his voice was incredibly soft, coming as a shock to Frisk as she never had heard him speak quietly before. "I'm worried about him, human."

Both Frisk and Chara jolted at this and Chara turned her full attention to the conversation. "What's wrong?" they both asked, though Papyrus could only hear Frisk.

At the gentle question, it all came bursting out. "He's-He's been having these nightmares a lot where he starts screaming in his sleep. He won't tell me what's wrong, he just tells me he's fine or makes some dumb pun. And during the day, I can barely get him motivated for anything. And his HP suddenly dropped down to one and-and I can't get him motivated to raise it! Whenever we spar, I'm afraid I'm going to really hurt him with his HP being that low. And-And he won't talk to me or let me in...I know something's wrong, but...he won't let me help him!"

Frisk set down her plate and pulled the tall skeleton into a hug. He wrapped his arms around her, clinging to her like a lifeline. She wasn't sure what to say, so she held him, letting him know she was there for him. Chara was incredibly worried as she sat on the other side of Papyrus, wondering what had happened to her best friend and why he was acting like this.

"I-I don't know what to do, human." Papyrus whispered. "He keeps pushing everyone away; me...Undyne...King Asgore... Sans acts like everything's fine, but it's clearly not. I don't know if he's not feeling well because of his HP or if someone said or did something that's upsetting him, or if it's something else, but I know there's something wrong and I don't know what. He's my brother and I want to help and protect him, but he won't even tell me what's wrong!"

Chara was shaking, anxious about her friend. One HP was bad! Some monsters fell down at that! What was wrong with him? And why was her easygoing, laidback, outgoing friend so wary, paranoid, and shutting his own brother out? Sans had never hidden what he was feeling before and his HP used to be so much higher. Frisk simply hugged Papyrus and softly rubbed his back, not sure what else to do to help besides listen and let Papyrus vent.

Sans sighed, soft enough that his brother and the human couldn't hear him. Apparently he wasn't as good as he thought he was at pretending he was fine. And now he was hurting Papyrus by trying to protect him. He still had to protect Papyrus from what was happening. He couldn't put him into danger, but maybe he could let him in just a little bit, or at least make more of an effort to try for his brother, even if he felt like it was useless.

"WOWIE, I FEEL A LITTLE BETTER AFTER GETTING THIS OFF MY CHEST. YOU'RE A GOOD LISTENER, HUMAN." Papyrus said after a few minutes, returning to his normal tone as he sat up but still kept one arm wrapped around his friend. "AND I KNOW WE CAN FIGURE THIS OUT! WE CAN GET SANS FEELING BETTER! HE HAS A COOL BROTHER LIKE ME AND A COOL FRIEND LIKE YOU TO BE THERE FOR HIM. HE WON'T EVER BE ALONE. AND MAYBE HE'LL FIGURE THIS OUT AND TALK TO US AND WE CAN HELP HIM. AND WITH OUR ENCOURAGEMENT, HE'LL START PUTTING MORE EFFORT INTO THINGS AND STOP BEING SUCH A LAZYBONES. AND THEN HE'LL FEEL BETTER AND BE HAPPY FOR REAL!" Papyrus was determined to make his brother happy again like he had once been.

"I'll do everything I can to help and be a good friend to him while I'm here." she promised.

"THANK YOU, HUMAN. I KNOW YOU'LL BE A GREAT FRIEND TO HIM." Papyrus said. He then noticed the time on his clock. "OH NO! I'VE GOT TO GET BACK TO SENTRY DUTY AND MAKE SURE SANS HASN'T FALLEN ASLEEP AT HIS POST AGAIN. UNDYNE GOT REALLY ANNOYED LAST TIME THAT HAPPENED...ANYWAY, LET ME GIVE YOU MY PHONE NUMBER." He scribbled it down on a piece of paper and gave it to her as outside the door, Sans teleported to his station before Papyrus could notice he was eavesdropping. "IF YOU NEED ANY HELP OR JUST WANT TO HANG OUT, FEEL FREE TO CALL ME AT ANY TIME!" He started to race out the door, but then remembered the thing he had forgotten to tell her after their battle. "OH YEAH! TO GET TO THE BARRIER, YOU'LL NEED TO PASS THROUGH THE KING'S CASTLE."

Chara snapped out of her worried thoughts about Sans. "Frisk, ask Papyrus about the king." she requested softly, wanting to know what was going on with her father.

"Papyrus, what's the king like? Why did he want you to capture me?" she asked.

"ONLY SOMEONE WITH A POWERFUL SOUL CAN ESCAPE THE BARRIER. THAT'S WHY THE KING WANTS TO AQUIRE A HUMAN. HE WANTS TO OPEN THE BARRIER WITH SOUL POWER. THEN US MONSTERS CAN RETURN TO THE SURFACE." Papyrus explained. Frisk looked terrified. "DON'T YOU WORRY, HUMAN." he reassured her. "THE KING IS...A BIG FUZZY PUSHOVER! EVERYBODY LOVES THAT GUY. I'M CERTAIN IF YOU SAY, "EXCUSE ME, MR. DREEMURR, CAN I PLEASE GO HOME?" HE'LL GUIDE YOU RIGHT OT THE BARRIER HIMSELF."

Chara sighed in relief. "That sounds like Dad." she said with a smile, then frowned again. "But what's wrong with Sans and Mom?"

"The king is your dad?!" Frisk blurted out in her head, looking shocked.

"Yes, he is. I'll explain as soon as we leave Papyrus's house." she said.

Frisk nodded, both to Papyrus and Chara. "Thanks, Papyrus. Um, I hate to bother you, but how do I get to the capital again?"

"FIRST YOU GO THROUGH THE CAVERN I SHOWED YOU AND INTO WATERFALL. THEN ONCE YOU GET TO WATERFALL, PASS TEM VILLAGE AND YOU'LL SOON CAME TO A BRIDGE THAT WILL LEAD YOU TO HOTLAND. GO THROUGH HOTLAND AND THE CORE, AND YOU SHOULD REACH THE PALACE." he told her. "NOW, I'VE GOT TO GET TO MY SHIFT, BUT JUST CALL ME IF YOU NEED ANYTHING. THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS ALWAYS HAPPY TO HELP!" He then said goodbye to her and bolted out the door.

...

"So King Asgore and Mom were married and they adopted you after you fell?" Frisk asked Chara as they traveled through Snowdin towards the cavern.

"Yeah, and they loved each other and me and Asriel a lot. I-I don't know what happened and why Mom and Dad are separated and Mom's afraid Dad will hurt you. That's not the Dad I knew. He'd never harm an innocent soul, not ever. And he and Mom were so affectionate all the time. They were always hugging and kissing. Me and Azzy always thought it was gross. But-But I wish I could see them doing it again. I don't know what's wrong, Frisk. I don't know what's wrong with Mom and Dad and Sans. I-I don't know if it's because Azzy and I died or if there's something else going on."

Frisk wasn't sure what to say or do to help Chara, so again she listened as Chara talked.

"Sans; he was so outgoing back then. He loved telling jokes and pulling pranks on everyone. He-He even pulled the old whoopee cushion on the ground trick on Dad the time we all went on a picnic together. Not many would pull a joke on the king of all monsters, but that's the type of person Sans was. And Mom thought it was an absolute riot. She teased Dad about it all day...

Frisk was assaulted by a wave of images as Chara spoke about that day. She could see a happy family around a picnic blanket, a male goat monster with a golden beard, his arm wrapped around Toriel. The two nuzzled noses and Asriel pretended to gag at his parents being so mushy, causing his father to laugh and ruffle his son's hair. Sans was making jokes, completely relaxed and smiling genuinely. When Asgore got up to go grab something, Sans subtly put a whoopee cushion where the king had been sitting. Asriel looked kind of shocked, but Toriel was holding back a laugh, and she could feel Chara doing the same. Whenever Asgore sat down and the whoopie cushion went off, everyone burst out laughing, even Asgore once he got over his surprise...

"...And-And I wish I could see them like that again. Laughing, having fun, being happy...Hey, Frisk, are you okay?" Chara asked, noticing Frisk was looking disoriented and spacey again. It was extremely weird seeing images from someone else's head like you were there.

Frisk snapped out of it once Chara's focus was off her memories and on her. "Huh?"

"I asked if you were okay. You were spacing out on me." she said.

"Sort of...Um, Chara, on a scale of one to ten, how mad would you be if I told you I sort of accidentally saw your memories while you were reminicising?"

"Wait? What?!"

"I'm sorry, Chara! I didn't mean to snoop around in your head! Sometimes when you're thinking really hard or remembering something, I can see it and I don't know why and I'm not trying to see it and...!"

"It's happened before?!" Chara asked, freaked out.

"Yeah, when we were in the clearing with the snow poffs and you were thinking about when you first met Sans. I meant to tell you then, but then Greater Dog jumped us and I forgot about it completely until now when it happened again. I'm so sorry about this. I really am...I..."

"Frisk, it-it's okay. I'm not mad at you. I can read your thoughts, sometimes when you aren't even thinking to me so I guess it makes sense that you can see mine. Just...try to snap me out of it if it happens again. There-There are some things I'd like to keep to myself."

"If I can snap myself out of it, I will." Frisk promised.

"Thanks. This is so weird and freaky..." Chara muttered.

"Sorry."

"It's not like it's your fault. By the way, we're approaching the cavern. We might wanna keep an eye out for monsters." Chara said. Frisk nodded and took a deep breath as she entered the new area.

The air immediately warmed up and she saw a bunch of waterfalls near the cement path she walked on by the artificial river. She didn't see any monsters so far, but was keeping an eye out. Chara was too, but her mind was elsewhere, worried about her family and Sans. Frisk was worried too, but not sure what exactly she could do to help, if she could even do anything at all.

"Yo!" a voice said suddenly, making Chara and Frisk jump. It was a small yellow biped dinosaur with no arms who was wearing a striped shirt. He sounded maybe a year or two younger than Frisk. "Are you sneaking off to see her too?"

"Who?" Frisk asked, confused.

The young monster grinned. "Undyne! She's the coolest, right? I want to be just like her when I grow up! Hey, don't tell my parents I'm here." He laughed and wandered off.

"He's excitable, isn't he? I don't blame him though. Undyne's super cool. She's always..." Chara cut herself off when she saw Sans up ahead, actually awake and sitting at his post.

He grinned to them. He seemed more relaxed around Frisk than before, but Chara still sensed some tenseness in him. "What? Haven't you seen a guy with two jobs before? Fortunately, two jobs means twice as many required breaks. I'm going to Grillby's. Wanna come?"

"Sure." Frisk said, giving him a smile.

"Well, if you insist, I'll pry myself away from my work." he said as he got up, then headed in the opposite direction of Snowdin. "Over here. I know a shortcut." He then took her hand, took a few steps, and warped away, Chara thankfully able to catch up enough to warp with them.

A few minutes after they left, Undyne came walking up on her regular patrol and noticed the empty sentry station. "Of course that punk decided to go on break again..." she sighed. "I'll yell at that idiot later, after I find that stupid human..."

...

"Fast shortcut, huh?" Sans asked, having to hold Frisk up as she caught her balance. "Hey, everyone."

"Hey, Sans."

"Hi, Sans."

"Greetings, Sans."

"Hiya, Sansy-"

"Sounds like everyone knows him here." Frisk thought to Chara.

"Of course they do. He loves this place." Chara said, a small smile appearing on her face as she thought of all the times Sans had brought her here.

"Chara..." Frisk thought to her as she felt herself about to get sucked into another memory.

"Oh. Sorry." Chara said and managed to block her out.

"Hey, Sans, weren't you here for breakfast a few minutes ago?" a purple monster in a tank top asked.

"Nah, I haven't had breakfast in at least half an hour. You must be thinking of brunch." Sans said as he led Frisk to the bar and pulled out a stool for her. "Here, get comfy."

Frisk sat down and heard the sudden sound of a whoopie cushion going off. "I...really should have expected that, huh?" she sighed as Chara nodded and laughed.

"Whoops. Watch where you sit down. Sometimes weirdos put whoopie cushions on the seats." Sans said with a grin. "Anyway, let's order. Whaddaya want?"

"Hmm...I think I'll have a burger." she said.

"Hey, that sounds pretty good. Grillby, we'll have a double order of burg." he told the fire monster, who nodded and went to go make them.

"So, what do you think of my brother?" he asked casually.

"He's a dweeb." Chara answered jokingly.

"He's really nice and cool." Frisk told him, ignoring Chara.

"Of course he's cool. You'd be too if you wore that outfit every day. He'd never take it off unless he absolutely had to. Oh well. At least he washes it. And by that I mean he wears it in the shower." Sans told her, making Frisk snort and Chara laugh. Might as well get a little revenge on his brother for telling the human Sans liked to sleep with a ketchup bottle.

"Here comes the grub." Sans said as Grillby appeared with two plates of burgers, setting them down in front of them. "Want some ketchup?"

"No thanks. I think I learned my lesson after last time." she said with a laugh.

He shrugged. "More for me." He began guzzling the ketchup right from the bottle. Somehow, Frisk wasn't surprised by this. "Anyway, cool or not, you have to agree Papyrus tries real hard. Like how he keeps trying to be part of the Royal Guard. One day he went to the house of the head of the Royal Guard and begged her to let him in. Of course, she shut the door on him because it was midnight, but the next day, she woke up and saw him still waiting there. Seeing his dedication, she decided to give him warrior training. It's, uh, still a work in progress. Anyway, I wanted to ask you something. Have you ever heard of a talking flower?"

Frisk's face turned white as she thought of Flowey and she nodded.

Sans saw this, but he continued, wanting to see how much she knew. "So you know all about it. It's called the Echo Flower. They're all over the marsh. Say something to them, and they'll repeat it over and over. Papyrus told me something interesting the other day. Sometimes, when no one else is around, a flower appears and whispers things to him. Flattery...advice...encouragement...predictions..." Frisk went even whiter. "Weird, huh? Someone must be using an echo flower to play a trick on him." At least he hoped that's what it was, rather than a certain creepy yellow flower. The last time when he had thought it was Flowey, it HAD turned out to be an echo flower that someone had planted near Papyrus's sentry station as a prank, so he really hoped that's what it was this time around...

"It's not an echo flower!" Frisk cried out, dropping her plate and half eaten burger to the floor with a loud crash that made everyone look at her. "There's...There's this really creepy flower monster named Flowey...He's pure evil! We've gotta get him away from Papyrus!" She made to jump up, but Sans gently grabbed hold of her wrist. Time again seemed to freeze around them, and everything went dead silent.

"I was afraid of this. That weed again." Sans said angrily. "I'm guessing he's been messing with you too, kid?" Chara hadn't seen either incident with Flowey, so she looked to Frisk, confused at that.

"When I first fell, he tried to kill me but M- a lady at the ruins saved me and then when I left the ruins he popped up again and started saying all this creepy stuff... He'll hurt Papyrus! We've got to stop him!" she told him, so panicked she was hyperventilating.

"Kiddo...Kiddo...Take a deep breath. Try to calm down. I'm not going to let him hurt Papyrus." Not again. he thought to himself before focusing on calming the kid down. Just calm down. Tell me what that weed said to you."

Frisk told him everything Flowey had said to her, even the worst of it. Sans was understandably worried, but knew how scared the kid was and kept calm. "Look, kid, that flower is a soulless psycho nutcase. Don't listen to anything he says and DO NOT let him get to you. He's extremely dangerous and thinks violence, screwing with people's lives and manipulating them is a game. If you see him, hear him, or even feel like he might be around, stay clear of him and come get me immediately. Got it?"

She nodded shakily. "Got it."

"Good. Now...please don't tell Papyrus about this yet."

"But..."

"Kid, look, I overheard Papyrus talking to you earlier. I know he's worried about me. But if you tell Papyrus, he'll panic and try to fix this himself, and I don't want him confronting that thing alone and getting himself hurt or worse. I will talk to him later when I can figure out how to without him deciding to go it alone and I'll warn him to keep a look out, but just let me handle this for now, okay?"

"But what if YOU get hurt?" Both Chara and Frisk asked, though Frisk's voice was of course the only one Sans heard.

"I'll be fine. I've dealt with the weed before. And I'm not as fragile as Papyrus seems to think I am. My HP may be a little low, but I can still fight and no one's been able to land a hit on me yet."

"One HP is not a LITTLE low, Sans. That's dangerously low. What if he catches you off guard or tires you out and lands a hit?" Chara asked, beyond worried now. She wished she could make Sans hear her, but she still couldn't.

"Sans..." Frisk started, very concerned as well.

"Kid. Stop worrying. I WILL be fine. Like I said, I've dealt with this guy before. I can handle this, and I'm not putting Papyrus at risk. He may be taller than me, but I'm still his big brother and I'm going to protect him no matter what you both say."

"I understand that, but you still shouldn't do it all alone. I can h..."

He sighed. "I'm not putting you in that kind of danger either. Look, I know you wanna help, but the best thing you can do right now is just keep an eye out while you're traveling and be careful. Okay?"

Frisk opened her mouth, but knew he wouldn't budge, so she reluctantly nodded.

"Good." The room seemed to lighten again and she could hear the voices of the other monsters again. She wanted to ask Sans how he did it, but he was telling Grillby to put their meals on his tab. He then said goodbye to her before heading out the door. Frisk sighed softly and gave Grillby some gold for the plate she broke, then headed out as well with Chara, both girls absolutely silent as they tried to figure out what to do, keeping a wary eye out for anyone threatening, especially a certain yellow flower. But said flower was smart and kept easily out of sight as the two entered Waterfall.

...

((Well, it seems the human and the Smiley Trashbag have formed an alliance against me. Sightly concerning, but I can work around it. It appears the human's grown attached to the skinny trashbag too. Not exactly surprising. I could kill that loser to drive them both mad; that might be interesting, but without my resets, that would likely work against me. I don't feel like dying again. And seeing what the kid does next will be MUCH more interesting. Snowdin wasn't exactly much of a test of their will. Skinny Trashbag is harmless, and the dog guards don't have enough brains to scrape together to be an actual threat. I bet she's real proud of herself, keeping her little vow not to kill, but NOW she's going to be dealing with a relentless, UNDYING warrior. Let's see how long her little promise lasts. This should be VERY fun to watch. And if it goes the way I think it will, that little alliance with Trashbag will be toast. He's not gonna want to be all buddy buddy with a killer...))

Chapter Text

"This isn't good. With what you told me about this flower, Sans shouldn't be going after it all on his own. He's really strong, but with one HP, all it would take is one mistep, one loss of concentration, and he could be turned to dust." Chara said worriedly as the two entered Waterfall again.

"Maybe we SHOULD talk to Papyrus." Frisk said softly. "I don't want him to get hurt, but we can't just leave him not knowing about this. He wouldn't want Sans to be doing this all by himself. Plus, we do need to warn him to be careful if Flowey approaches him again. Who knows what Flowey would do?" She shivered at the thought.

"Sans said he WOULD tell him. And Sans is likely right that Papyrus would panic and try to stop Flowey on his own if he thought he was gonna hurt Sans, and he could get really hurt. Trust me, both those brothers are stubborn as hell when it comes to one another. We should just wait for Sans to tell him."

"Then what should we do? Sans won't let me help."

"Hmm..." Chara thought this over while they passed Sans's empty sentry station. Her eyes lit up as she thought of a solution. "I know! Let's talk to Undyne! Whenever I was alive, she was training for the Royal Guard. And from what Sans said, she might be the head of it by now. She's really tough and strong, and she's always looking out for other people. She's totally cool! Azzy and I used to watch her train. I always wanted to be just like her. If you told her what's going on, she'd help Sans for sure. Between them both, they'd be able to defeat that flower!"

"Wow, you're fangirling over her as much as that monster kid was." Frisk joked and Chara pouted. "It's a good idea though." She then remembered something about what Toriel said. "But-But if Asgore wants me dead and Undyne's the head of the Royal Guard..."

Chara shook her head vehemently. "Frisk...Dad wouldn't want you dead! You haven't hurt anyone. Maybe...Maybe there was some sort of misunderstanding and that's why Mom's acting strange...but Dad wouldn't harm an innocent! And neither would Undyne." She was breathing heavily despite the fact that ghosts don't really need to breathe. "They couldn't...they wouldn't...Dad wouldn't..."

Frisk was quiet. She wasn't completely sure about that from what both Toriel and Papyrus had said about Asgore wanting to get a human soul, but she didn't want to hurt Chara, plus, she didn't know fully what was going on. "We'll see, Chara." she said, not wanting to lie. "We'll find out what's going on."

"Frisk, you're worrying too much. Everything will be fine. You'll see." Chara told her as Frisk headed down a wooden bridge, only to realize it was a dead end with only an echo flower at the end.

"I thought I saw something behind the rushing water." an Echo flower whispered to them. Frisk blinked and looked to Chara.

"Might as well check it out. We've gotta go back up anyone since SOMEONE keeps getting lost." Chara said snarkily.

Frisk just mumbled some incomprehensible retort and headed up and checked out the waterfall, finding a door behind it. "Whoa...Looks like there's a secret passageway behind the waterfall." She peeked inside, finding only a dusty tutu. "Wonder who lost this?" She picked it up and took it with her.

"Stealing a tutu, are we?" Chara asked.

"Hey, if someone's looking for this, I'll return it." Frisk said as she found the right path. There was some thick vegetation that she would have to walk though, so she started moving through it, stopping when she heard voices.

"H-HI, UNDYNE. I'M HERE WITH MY DAILY REPORT." she heard Papyrus say and looked up, seeing Papyrus talking to someone in a full suit of armor who was even taller than he was, and much bulkier.  The suit of armor was steel gray with black chest and shoulder plates.  Long red hair flowed from the top of the helmet, and the helmet also appeared to have two almost glowing eye holes and a jagged mouth.  She ducked deeper into the grass as the metal clad woman was intimidating and despite what Chara said, she still wanted to be cautious, especially since Papyrus appeared very nervous.

"Frisk, it's okay..." Chara started to say, but stopped when Papyrus kept talking.

"UHHHH...REGARDING THAT HUMAN I CALLED YOU ABOUT EARLIER..." Papyrus paused as Undyne said something Frisk couldn't hear. "HUH? DID I FIGHT THEM?"

"Chara, can you get closer and tell me what she's saying?" Frisk asked her friend quickly. Chara nodded with a worried expression and floated up to them.

"YES, OF COURSE I DID. I FOUGHT THEM VALIANTLY." Papyrus was telling Undyne as Chara hovered beside them unseen, projecting to Frisk.

"Good. Did you capture them?" Undyne asked.

"W-W-WELL, NO. I TRIED VERY HARD, UNDYNE, BUT IN THE END...I FAILED." Papyrus told her.

She sighed. "It's okay, Papyrus. Just as long as you're not hurt. Don't worry about it. I was itching to fight one of those things anyway, after...never mind. I'll take that punk's soul myself!"

"W-WHAT? YOU'RE GOING TO TAKE THE HUMAN'S SOUL YOURSELF?! BUT UNDYNE, YOU DON'T HAVE TO DESTROY THEM! YOU SEE...YOU SEE, THEY'RE..."

"Papyrus, look, I know you don't like it when people get hurt, but humans...they're extremely dangerous, okay? And this human's soul is the ticket to our freedom! Asgore will be able to free us all! This is our duty! Your duty!"

"BUT...THEY'RE..."

"Papyrus, everyone needs this! They're all trapped down here, suffering, because of humans! Not to mention the monsters who have lost their lives! We can be free! We can take back the surface!"

Papyrus looked down, trying to figure out what to do.  He didn't want to betray his old friend or the other monsters, but he didn't want his new friend to get hurt or worse.

He then saw something out of the corner of his eye and spotted the human, who was wearing a terrified, vulnerable expression as they hid in the grass. He then knew exactly what to do. He would make the human and Undyne friends! Undyne was a good person. Once she saw that the human was good too, not bad like the other human he had heard about that had hurt some monsters and made her lose her eye, she wouldn't want to kill them. But he had to keep his new friend safe until Undyne figured this out and stopped being so murdery. Subtly, he winked at her as he spoke to Undyne. "I-I UNDERSTAND. I'LL HELP HOWEVER I CAN." Help you two become besties! I know you guys will like each other once you give the human a chance!

He then walked off, giving Frisk a subtle hand motion to hide better. However, when Undyne went to go back on her patrols to look for the human, she saw the faintest rustling in the grass. She summoned her spear and stared into the grass, looking around. Frisk held her breath. Undyne studied the grass for a few more minutes before suddenly backing away and leaving.

Frisk waited a few more minutes before leaving her hiding spot. Suddenly, she heard something moving in the grass behind her and whipped around.

Only to see the monster kid from earlier exiting the grass too. "Yo, did you see the way she was staring at you? That...was AWESOME! I'm so jealous! What'd you do to get her attention?

"I, um...How long were you hiding in there?!" Frisk asked in shock.

"A little while. I reaaally wanted to see Undyne! Ha ha, c'mon! Let's go watch her beat up some bad guys!" He started to run off, but then fell on his face, but then got up quickly before Frisk could help him up and ran off.

Frisk shivered. "Wasn't so awesome to me..." she whispered and looked for Chara.

Chara came back to her, head hanging. "Frisk, I'm so sorry. I...I thought..."

"It's okay, Chara. It's going to be okay." Frisk tried to reassure her.

"I-I guess Mom was right...Dad has changed...Undyne has too...she...she hates...It-It's all my..." She stopped whatever she had been saying and thinking. "Let's-Let's get out of here..."

Frisk reached over and tried to hug Chara, only for her arms to go right through, having forgotten for a brief second that she was a ghost.

Chara laughed, a sad, hysterical laugh rather than a good one. "It-It won't work...I'm dead, remember...I'm dead and Azzy's dead and Mom's hiding away, Sans is hurting, and...and Dad and Undyne have become people I don't know..." She was laughing and crying now. "Pathetic, aren't I? I-I couldn't even..."

"Chara...this isn't your fault. You didn't make their decisions for them. This isn't on you." Frisk tried to comfort her, but Chara just moved on ahead.

Unable to think of anything to say, Frisk quietly followed her. They soon arrived at another area with a rushing river connected to another waterfall and four strange seeds lying on the ground. A sign was near her, so she read it. "When four bridge seeds align in the water, they will sprout. Huh. That's weird." Chara didn't even make a snarky comment or say anything at all, which worried Frisk as she picked up the bridge seeds and dropped them in the water. As the sign said, they sprouted into beautiful pink flowers with green foliage, creating a bridge across the water. "Wow, that's really pretty." She hesitantly put her foot on it to see if the fragile looking bridge would take her weight.

"It's safe. Go on across." Chara told her, the ghost's voice lacking its usual spark. Frisk walked across, trying to figure out how to cheer up her friend. Lost in thought as she entered the next area, she bumped into a centaur looking creature, which was light brown colored with a black mane and a yellow and green tail that looked like the lower half of a snake.  His muscles were extremely well defined, especially his biceps, and he grinned in a friendly but somewhat flirtatious way when he turned and saw her.

"Whoa, girl. You can look at these guns, but no touching. Don't know ya enough for that yet." the centaur said, flexing his biceps proudly as he blocked her way. His eyes then narrowed a little. "Wait, you're a human, aren't you?"

"Challenge Aaron to a flexing contest." Chara told her quickly.

"Wha?"

"Just do it. Quick."

"Your biceps are fantastic, but I bet you can't beat me!" Frisk told the centaur, flexing her own biceps, definitely much less defined than the centaur's.

Something about the challenge caused his demeanor to relax. "Flexing contest? Okay. Flex more." he said with a grin, flexing twice as hard as her and almost accidentally punching her in the face.

But Frisk's determination was strong, even for stupid things, and she flexed again.

"Nice! I won't lose though!" he said and winked to her, flexing even harder in a series of complicated poses, this time actually getting her in the face and making her nose bleed. But Frisk just recovered and flexed even harder, though it still wasn't that impressive. The centaur gave her his best flex...and blasted himself out of the room, going straight up through the ceiling.

Frisk stared up at the hole in the ceiling. "What the...?"

Chara burst out laughing, her grief momentarily set aside at the goofy cartoony blast=off and Frisk's completely befuddled expression. "That ALWAYS happens. No clue how, but it's hilarious to watch." Frisk caught a hazy memory of a young Chara and Asriel having a flexing contest, or attempting to, with the centaur, Aaron blasting himself out of the room, and then Asriel attempting to flex himself out of the room as well, just to see if he could. Needless to say, he couldn't, but it did provide Chara with blackmail material for the next few weeks...

"Chara...It's happening again." Frisk warned her.

"Oops. At least that was a good memory." Chara said softly. "I have really got to stop flashbacking..." She didn't mind Frisk seeing her good memories so much, but she really didn't want Frisk seeing her horrible ones...

"I don't think thinking is something you can stop." Frisk pointed out. "If something bad comes up, I will warn you, and you don't have to talk about anything you don't want to. I won't press or try to snoop." From what little Chara had told her, she guessed her life on the surface was probably worse than Frisk's had been. She assumed that was what Chara didn't want her to see.

"Thank you." Chara told her gratefully, catching Frisk's thoughts on the subject even though Frisk wasn't intentionally projecting them. It was true that Chara's past on the surface was part of what she wanted to keep to herself, though it certainly wasn't all of it. The others...she knew there may come a point where she might have to tell Frisk about them, but she really didn't want to.

"You're welcome." Frisk told her as she moved on to the next puzzle. trying to get across the water. She tried to put the seeds down across like last time, but there was only enough space for three, so they wouldn't sprout, and she had to call them back with the blossom bell. She walked back and forth, trying to find a spot she could get all four of them in. She was seriously considering whether she could take a flying leap and just jump over without having to deal with the stupid seeds.

Chara tried not to laugh, Frisk's bad puzzle skills helping her keep her mind off things. It had taken a few minutes, but she had spotted the solution before Frisk. "You want the solution, or you want to keep trying to solve this on your own?" she asked.

"Can you give me a hint?" Frisk asked sheepishly, blushing in embarrassment.

"There's not enough spots for the seeds to go straight across, but what if you tried sending them in another direction?"

"What do you..." The solution finally occurred to her. "Oh..." She dropped the seeds so they went vertically, going with the current. They sprouted, making a bridge for her to go straight down to the outcrop of the other side. She smacked her forehead. "I can't believe I missed something that obvious..."

"Hey, it happens." Suddenly Frisk's phone rang, making them both jump. Frisk pulled it out and answered it, expecting it to be Toriel.

"HELLO! THIS IS PAPYRUS!" she heard Papyrus say cheerfully, though there was a bit of nervousness in his voice.

"Papyrus? Are you okay? Wait, how'd you get my number?" she asked, realizing she forgot to give it to him during their hangout.

"IT WAS EASY! I JUST DIALED EVERY NUMBER SEQUENTIALLY UNTIL I GOT YOURS! NYEH HEH HEH HEH!" His laugh sounded a little strange though and Frisk got worried.

"Are you all right? You sound a bit upset." she asked.

"UM, YEAH, THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS ALWAYS ALL RIGHT. NOW...WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?" he asked.

"Papyrus, what the hell kind of a question is that?" Chara asked even though Papyrus couldn't hear her, wondering if he knew how dirty that could sound.

Frisk blinked in utter confusion. "Um, why?"

"I'M, UH, ASKING FOR A FRIEND. SHE THOUGHT SHE SAW YOU WEARING A RIBBON. IS THAT TRUE? ARE YOU STILL WEARING THAT RIBBON?"

"Um, yeah, I'm still wearing the ribbon." Frisk told him, though she was planning on ditching it, hoping the ribbon was the only thing "the friend" had seen.

"SO YOU ARE WEARING THE RIBBON. GOT IT! WINK WINK! HAVE A NICE DAY! Oh, and be careful!" he then whispered into the phone before hanging up.

"I'm guessing he was warning me to ditch this thing." Frisk said as she took off her ribbon. She then had an idea and put on the tutu, then took out her apron and tried to use it to cover her face and upper body. It wasn't really attached, so its powers would be useless, but at least it might cover her clothes and head so Undyne couldn't see her.

"You look absolutely ridiculous." Chara told her.

"Safety is more important than fashion. Better I look like an idiot than be killed." she pointed out, though she had to agree with Chara that she did look ridiculous.

The two of them then entered a doorway into a beautiful room, many echo flowers planted on the ground while crystals glittered on the ceiling, looking like a sky full of stars.

"Wow, it's amazing here." Frisk whispered as she looked up, admiring the sparkling crystals on the ceiling.

"A long time ago, monsters whispered their wishes to the stars. If you hoped hard enough, all your wishes would come true. Now all we have are these sparkling stones on the ceiling." an Echo Flower whispered.

Chara gazed at the ceiling, remembering a time, only a few days before her death, when she and Sans had come here to have a picnic and hang out, though she tried to keep her thoughts from Frisk this time.

...

The two of them lay on their backs in the wishing room, staring up at the ceiling, just enjoying being with each other.

"You should make a wish. I know these aren't stars, but it still counts." Sans told her.

Chara closed her eyes. I wish we'll succeed and everyone will be happy on the surface.

Sans had his eyesockets closed, wishing too.

"So what'd you wish for?" she asked him after a minute.

"I can't tell you or won't come true." he said with a grin, then looked suddenly thoughtful and a tiny bit nervous. "Chara...I...I was wondering...Um..." He fidgeted a minute before looking up. "Um...What were the stars like?" he blurted out, looking embarrassed.

"They were one of the best things about the surface, besides the flowers." she told him. "Little pinpricks of light in a dark black sky, and sometimes you could even see shooting stars. They were awesome."

"What were they like?" he asked.

Chara tried to figure out how to explain shooting stars to someone who had never seen them before. "It's like... imagine seeing one of those twinkling lights there zoom across the expansive sky in a trail of light. They didn't happen often, but when they did, they were beautiful." She smiled at the thought, then heard Sans mumble something. "Hmm?"

He blushed. "Um...nothing. Just...got lost in my...SKULL." Sans looked up at the sky again. "Someday, maybe we'll even get to see them. Paps would get a kick out of that." He took a deep breath. "Um, Chara?"

"Yes?" she asked him.

He was about to try to speak again when his phone went off and he answered it. "Hello? Oh hey, dad." He sighed softly as he listened. "But I- All right. I'll be home soon. Love you. Bye." He hung up with another sigh.

"That was Dad. I've-I've got to get home. Dad says I need to get home and get to bed early because we're going to go to the dump tomorrow for parts, then spend a few days researching and starting on some special project for the king. Dad's being pretty hush hush about it, so I don't know what it is. Hopefully it won't be a ROYAL disaster like last time when the magic transfer machine exploded."

"I remember that. It made a KING-sized mess." Chara joked before sobering. "I'll miss you." she said softly, and though he didn't know it, she was talking about a bigger separation than the trip.

He gave her a hug. "I'll miss you too, Chara. But I'll bring you back an awesome souvenir from the dump. Cool stuff is always falling down there. Though I'll have to..."

...

"...don't see a door. Do you know how to get out of here? Or did I go the wrong way again?" Frisk had seen only a few small flashes of this memory, but not the whole thing this time as Chara had been trying very hard to keep her out and was starting to get better at it.

Chara snapped out of it. "Just tap on the far wall. There's a passageway there."

"Thanks."

A few minutes later, Frisk and Chara exited the room, Frisk covered in soap suds from an overenthusiastic Woshua who had decided to clean her.

Chara couldn't help but laugh at her. "You look even more ridiculous than before."

"Don't remind me." she thought as she wiped the soap off as best she could with her apron. She then noticed a sign and walked up to it, hoping it was a map or directions. Squinting at the ancient writing, she read, "The War Between Monsters and Humans?" She then moved to the next sign. "Why did the humans attack? Indeed, it seemed they had nothing to fear. Humans are unbelievably strong. It would take the soul of nearly every monster...just to equal the power of a single human soul." She blinked. "Really?"

"it's true." Chara told her. "I don't know the reason why. Sans tried to explain it to me, but it was a bunch of scientific jargon and I was completely lost."

Frisk nodded. "Science isn't my strong suit either. I only did slightly better on it than math at school." She went to the next sign. "But humans have one weakness. Ironically, it is the strength of their soul. Its power allows it to persist outside the human body, even after death." She walked over to the second to last one. "If a monster defeats a human, they can take its soul. A monster with a human soul. A horrible beast with unfathomable power." She shivered. "I won't lie. That is kind of scary." She looked at the illustration of a powerful looking shadowy monster, an aura radiating from it with two glowing souls on its chest, then turned to look at Chara. Ironically, the ghost had a haunted expression on her face as she stared at the illustration as well. "Hey, you okay?"

Chara nodded, but the answer was actually a big fat no, and Frisk knew it.

"I know something's bugging you. Do-Do you want to talk about it?" Frisk asked gently.

She shook her head. "No."

Frisk was concerned, but didn't press. It probably wasn't any of her business and Chara would tell her when she was ready. "All right. I'm here if you need me."

"I know."

Still puzzling over what she had read and Chara's strange behavior, Frisk stepped onto a platform in the water, then nearly fell off when it started moving. "Whoooa!" She pinwheeled her arms and managed to catch her balance as the raft took her across the water and onto a bridge, which she immediately jumped onto.

The light cast strange shadows on the ground and Frisk started feeling nervous, like there were eyes staring at her. It was quiet...too quiet. Cautiously, she kept walking.

A sudden flash of neon blue in the corner of her eye made her jump back suddenly, and just in time as a blue spear went flying into the bridge right in front of her, narrowly missing her head. She heard the clanking of armor and saw Undyne coming out of the shadows.

"RUN!" Chara screamed, but Frisk didn't need to be told twice, or even once as her feet were already moving as she ran down the bridge, spears flying after her. "Right! Left! No, don't run that..."Frisk cried out in pain as a spear impacted with her arm, the sharp point tearing through her skin. She then dodged another three, trying to zig-zag so she'd be harder to hit, but ended up running right into a spear, which impaled itself deeply into her shoulder, though the spear itself, being made of magic, vanished after a few seconds, leaving only the bloody wound behind. Before she could even register the pain, more spears came flying at her. She dodged them at Chara's warning, but barely.

She took a sharp turn on the bridge, running onto a different path. Undyne had to adjust and missed her, thankfully. Blood was running down Frisk's arm, but she barely felt the pain of her wounds now as adrenaline took over her body. It had only been a few minutes, but it felt like hours until she got to the end of the bridge, where there was a large section of tall grass. She quickly crawled into it and got as low as she could, crouching on the ground with her arms covering her head as she heard spears rushing over and past her. She then heard the dreaded clanking of Undyne's armor and the sound of metal boots crunching through the grass. She held her breath. She couldn't move or Undyne would spot her. The sound of clanking armor grew closer and closer, and all Frisk could hear was that and her heartbeat pounding in her ears. Undyne's outline was very close now and she saw the warrior reach out to grab...

The same monster kid from earlier. Apparently, he had been hiding in the grass...again. Undyne nearly dropped him in shock, but set him down relatively gently, horrified at what almost happened.

"What the...Kid, I could have impaled you! Why were you...Where's the...Look, kid, just go home. It's dangerous out here." Undyne then turned and walked away. She wasn't going to attack the human where an innocent child might get caught in the crossfire.

Only when she knew Undyne was truly gone did Frisk poke her head out of the grass and look around, shaking. She pressed her apron to her damaged arm and shoulder, trying to stop the bleeding. Thankfully, the wounds weren't quite as deep as she had feared, though they were still pretty bad.

"Oh man, did you see that?" a sudden voice asked and Frisk jolted backwards before realizing it was just the monster kid again. "Undyne just...TOUCHED ME! I'm never washing my face again! Oh man, are you unlucky! If you were standing just a LITTLE BIT to the left...!"  He couldn't see her injuries as she was still mostly hidden in the grass, but if he had known, he would have realized that she had been lucky rather than unlucky that she hadn't been standing in that spot.   Thinking she was simply another monster kid he hadn't met yet and that the upset expression on her face was due to the fact that she hadn't got to meet Undyne face to face, he decided to try to comfort her. "Yo, don't worry! I'm sure we'll see her again!" 

"That's what I'm afraid of." Frisk said, but he was gone. Frisk dug into her backpack, finding some of the bandages Papyrus had given her and doing her best to treat her wounds. She couldn't stop shaking, overwhelmed with terror. She had nearly died today.

"Frisk, are you okay?' Chara asked and Frisk just burst out into hysterical laughter, tears in her eyes. "Sorry, bad question."

"I almost died,I don't wanna die,who's going to take care of Tina if I die..." was going on in a constant loop in Frisk's thoughts.. She could barely breathe, couldn't get the pain of spears impaling her body or the cold look in Undyne's eyes and the menacing clanking of her armor getting closer and closer out of her mind. She wanted out of here, she wanted her sister and Toriel and Sans and Papyrus. Chara was looking at her worriedly and Frisk tried to calm herself down for her friend's sake, but she was still so scared. She told herself to stop being a coward and tried to get up, though she felt a little weak and dizzy. "I'm okay." she told Chara, but it was just as much a lie to her own ears as it was to the ghost's.

Chara opened her mouth to speak, trying to think of something to reassure her friend even though she had no clue what to say, but then Frisk's phone rang.

Frisk fumbled for it with her good hand and answered it. "H-Hello?" she said, her voice shaking from shock, though she tried to stay calm for whoever was on the line.

"HELLO HUMAN! THIS IS PAPYRUS! REMEMBER WHEN I ASKED YOU ABOUT CLOTHES? WELL, THE FRIEND WHO WANTED TO KNOW...HER OPINION OF YOU IS VERY...MURDERY."

"I-I know." Frisk told him, making a soft noise of pain when she moved her injured shoulder the wrong way.

Papyrus heard her. "ARE YOU ALL RIGHT, HUMAN? DID SHE HURT YOU?" he asked, very concerned now. He had tried to throw Undyne off the human's trail by making a bunch of stuff up, but he WAS a very bad liar...

Frisk winced again. "A-A little, but..."

This sent Papyrus into full on panic mode. "YOU ARE HURT?! IS IT BAD?! ARE YOU OKAY?" He was getting more and more freaked out. "SANS! SAAAANNS! THE HUMAN'S HURT!"

"Papyrus, it's not that..." Frisk tried to reassure the tall skeleton but he was still calling for his brother.

"What happened, bro?" Frisk heard Sans ask.

"I TRIED TO KEEP THE HUMAN SAFE FROM UNDYNE BY LYING BUT I'M A BAD LIAR AND THEY GOT HURT AND THEY MIGHT BE HURT BAD AND WE GOTTA HELP THEM, SANS, AND...AND..."

"Settle down, bro, I'll get her. Kid, where are you?"

"I-I'm in a patch of grass...past a bridge...past the Wishing room..."

"Okay, kiddo, I know where that is. Just stay there and stay on the line with me. I'm coming to get you." Sans told her. Frisk appreciated his calm, especially since she was freaking out internally over nearly dying and she could still hear Papyrus freaking out as well.

Frisk stayed on the line as Sans kept talking to her, telling her bad jokes to keep her calm and talking. Despite her fear, she felt damn grateful to have people like Sans, Papyrus, Chara, and Toriel be there for her in this crazy world. She would have literally died without them.

But she knew one other thing.

Getting back home to her sister was going to be much, much harder, and more deadly, than she had thought.

...

"Well, looks like a certain someone's just had her first encounter with Undyne the Undying. That piece of sushi's not gonna stop until the kid's dead, and I know the kid knows it too. Those two trashbags may be trying to help her, but they can't protect her forever. There WILL be a fight, and likely, someone's not coming out of it alive. Let's see how long the kid sticks to her pacifist vow when survival instinct takes over."

Chapter Text

It didn't take more than a few minutes for Sans to reach Frisk, especially with his warping abilities.

"Hey there, kiddo." He looked her over, noticing the bloody bandages on her arm and shoulder. "Ouch, she really did a number on you, huh? We'd better get you to Snowdin and heal those up."

"I'm fine." she said automatically.

Sans didn't look convinced, and neither did Chara. "Look, kid, you don't want to end up encountering Undyne again injured and with," His eye glowed briefly as he checked her HP. "Seven out of twenty HP, do you?"

Frisk couldn't help it. She shivered.

"I didn't think so." He held out a hand to her. "Now let's get going before Paps goes out of his skull worrying or Undyne catches us, ok?" She nodded and took it and he warped her to his house, and in his slightly sleepy state as Papyrus had woken him up from a nap when calling for him to help the human, they ended up landing on the roof rather than in the house as Sans had intended.

Papyrus was waiting outside anxiously and heard them arrive. He looked up. "SANS, HUMAN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON THE ROOF?!"

Sans was hanging off the rain pipe by his hoodie. "Oh you know, just hanging around." he joked, then wiggled free, dropping down and trusting his brother to catch him. "We decided to drop in."

Papyrus groaned as he reached out to catch Sans. "YOU KNOW WE CAN'T EASILY REPLACE THE SHIN-GLES!" he scolded, accidentally putting too much empathisis on the first syllable when Sans landed in his arms. His eyes then widened. "SANS! LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO ME!"

Sans wiped an imaginary tear from his eyes. "I'm so proud, bro."

Papyrus just clutched his skull as Frisk giggled from the roof, the skele-bros' familiar banter helping to soothe her earlier fear. Papyrus muttered something to Sans about not corrupting the human, then gently lifted Frisk off the roof with blue magic. She wobbled a bit dizzily and he gently steadied her. His eye sockets widened as he saw her injuries...and also what she was wearing.

"OH NO! HUMAN, WHY ARE YOU WEARING A TUTU?!" Papyrus asked in a panic as he led her inside. "YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE WEARING A TUTU! OH NO, THIS IS HORRIBLE! I DIDN'T THINK ANYONE WOULD WEAR THAT DUSTY OLD THING!"

Frisk was slightly hurt. "Papyrus, I know it's not exactly fashionable, but..."

"NO, NO, THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT!" Papyrus said quickly. "IT LOOKS VERY NICE ON YOU, BUT WHEN UNDYNE ASKED ME WHAT YOU WERE WEARING, I LIED AND SAID YOU WERE WEARING A TUTU! IT WAS THE FIRST THING I COULD THINK OF SINCE I FOUND IT A FEW DAYS AGO WHEN I WAS EXPLORING! I DIDN'T THINK ANYONE ELSE WOULD FIND IT, LET ALONE PUT IT ON!"

"Wow, Paps, you're TUTU bad at lying." Sans joked weakly as he sat Frisk down on the couch and began gently removing the bandages to check her wounds.

"SANS, IT'S NOT FUNNY! THE HUMAN GOT HURT!" Papyrus yelled and even Chara had to agree with him at the bad timing of that joke.

Sans looked sheepish. "Sorry, bro. Just trying to lighten the mood." he said.

"Sorry, Papyrus. I guess I misunderstood what you were trying to say. I thought you were telling me to ditch the ribbon, so I took it off and tried to cover my clothes with the tutu and my apron." Frisk said. Papyrus still looked a little guilty, so she patted his arm with her good one. "Hey, don't worry. I'm okay now."

Her words were somewhat contradicted when Sans finished unwrapping the bandages, showing the deep gouges the spears had made in her arm and shoulder, which thankfully had mostly stopped bleeding due to the healing power of the bandages, but still looked nasty. Both brothers and Chara winced at the sight and Papyrus ran to get her something to restore her HP as Sans gently examined her wounds. His hands glowed with healing magic and he placed them gently over her injuries, the magic flowing into her and causing a tingling sensation as the wounds healed and closed.

"Thanks, Sans." Frisk told him gratefully.

"No problem, kid. Now what happened exactly?" Sans asked.

Frisk shivered at the memory. "I was crossing the bridge when Undyne appeared and started throwing spears at me. I managed to get away, but in the process, I accidentally zigged instead of zagged and got hit by a few spears. I-I hid in the tall grass near the bridge, and she almost found me, but this Monster Kid who really likes her was hiding in the grass, and she found him instead. Thankfully, she grabbed him instead of firing her spear...And she was pretty upset because she almost hurt him and took off." She shivered again, realizing how lucky both she and the monster kid had been.

"Undyne always looks after her fans. And all the innocents here. Unfortunately, she doesn't realize you're not someone she needs to give a bad time to."

"BUT SHE WILL!" Papyrus chimed in as he came in with some Spider Cider for Frisk and handed it to her. She thanked him as she took it. " YOU'RE WELCOME! AND DON'T WORRY! THE GREAT PAPYRUS HAS A PLAN ON HOW TO SOLVE THIS! I'M GOING TO MAKE YOU AND UNDYNE FRIENDS!"

Frisk had just taken a sip of cider and nearly choked as he said this. She let out a sad laugh at Papyrus's remark, not believing his plan could ever happen. "I don't think Undyne will ever want to be friends with me, Papyrus. She hates me and wants me dead." Not to mention that she herself didn't want to be friends with someone who hated her and wanted her dead...

"HUMAN, UNDYNE DOESN'T HATE YOU!" Frisk looked at him disbelievingly and tried not to laugh hysterically in his face. "OKAY, MAYBE SHE KIND OF DISLIKES YOU RIGHT NOW, BUT IT'S NOT ANYTHING PERSONAL! ONCE SHE ACTUALLY GETS TO KNOW YOU AND UNDERSTANDS YOU'RE NOT A KILLER, SHE'LL LIKE YOU, I PROMISE!"

"Why does she think I'm a killer? I haven't done anything to anyone! Why-Why does she want me dead? W-What did I do wrong?" Frisk asked, frightened again. Tears were forming in her eyes. "I-I just want..."

Papyrus sat next to her and pulled her into a hug which she returned, holding onto his scarf for dear life as she cried. Sans sat on the other side of Frisk and awkwardly rubbed her back.

"Frisk, it's going to be okay. These two boneheads aren't going to let anything happen to you." Chara told her as she sat on the other side of Sans. She wasn't sure what to say to comfort Frisk, so she decided to tease to make Frisk smile. "Hey, don't cry, two cute guys are comforting you! Though I call dibs on this one!" She hugged Sans, even if she couldn't actually touch him. It did at least work at calming Frisk down though, who let out a soft snort as her tears slowed. Chara did have a feeling that Frisk would use this as teasing material later though...

For just the briefest second, Sans could have sworn he felt a pair of strangely familiar arms wrapping around him and felt flustered for some reason, but realizing there was absolutely nothing there, he just ignored it and went back to the situation at hand. "Kiddo, Paps is right, it's not personal and it's not anything you did wrong."

When Papyrus spoke, his voice was soft and serious again. "Human, a while ago before you fell, another human did who wasn't so nice. I wasn't there since Sans got really sick that day and I needed to take him home, but I did hear about it later. That human...they hurt a lot of monsters. I don't know what happened, whether the human was scared or angry or didn't have a friend to help them down the right path, but they decided to do violence instead of make friends. Undyne and King Asgore came running to the rescue, and right as the human was about to attack another monster, Undyne jumped in between them and she got really hurt. Then the human started to go after her, but King Asgore stopped them. Undyne recovered and I helped take care of her, but she lost her eye, and-and a lot of monsters lost a lot more."

Frisk covered her mouth in shock, feeling like she was about to throw up. Chara was clenching her fists angrily at the thought of a human murdering innocent monsters and trying to kill her hero. If Frisk had been looking at Chara rather than Papyrus, she would have seen only melting sockets where her friend's brown eyes once were, and the most horrifying grimace on her face. But thankfully Frisk didn't see it at all.

"Oh god, that's awful...I'm so sorry..." Frisk whispered. She understood now why Undyne was so intent on hunting her down. If someone had attacked her friends, well, Tina, Chara, Papyrus and Sans, she'd be wary, angry and scared too. Though she was still absolutely terrified of Undyne, she didn't hate her assailant any more.

"It's not your fault, human." Papyrus looked down. "I...I wish I'd known it was happening. Maybe I could have stopped that human and gotten them back on the right path, that way no one would have gotten hurt..."

It was Frisk's turn to comfort Papyrus now, hugging her friend tightly. Sans fidgeted guiltily. Papyrus didn't know, but Sans had spotted the yellow souled human on that horrible day years ago. He had scanned them with his magical eye, saw they were at level five, and immediately called Undyne, who had had Asgore visiting her at the time.

Her orders had been simple. "We're on our way. Get Papyrus and the other civilians out of there. Alert the other guards, then get to Snowdin. We may need to evacuate the area."

Sans had quickly found Papyrus and pretended to be sick. Thankfully, his brother had fallen for it and carried him home. When Papyrus was occupied making Sans his infamous spaghetti soup, Sans had teleported to Snowdin, just in time to see Undyne get shot in the eye by a bullet when she jumped in front of the fleeing Snowdrake child the human had been aiming for, and then Asgore kill the black haired, yellow souled human. Even injured, Undyne had gotten up and tried to help the others, though Asgore had forced her to lay back down.

Sans had done his best to help with the other injured, and when he teleported back home, had eaten Papyrus's horrible soup and had not told his brother about the incident. But while Papyrus didn't actually have ears, the younger skeleton was a good listener, and had heard about the attack from the other residents of Snowdin. Papyrus had immediately rushed off to comfort and help Undyne and all the others who had been hurt, doing everything he could to make things better like he always did.

Sans hated that he had made Papyrus feel guilty for not being there when that human attacked, but if this young red-souled human had been anything like Yellow Soul, he would have done it again, protected Papyrus at all costs.

Anything was better than his baby brother being turned into a pile of dust.

Thankfully, Red hadn't been like that, and Sans did not regret making the promise to the old lady at the ruins, especially not now as the kid sat there between them, comforting his little brother.

He'd make sure this kid stayed alive. He'd keep that promise he made.

...

"THANK YOU, HUMAN. AND DON'T WORRY. EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY. MY BROTHER AND I WILL HELP YOU. AND ONCE UNDYNE REALIZES YOU'RE NICE, SHE'LL STOP ATTACKING YOU AND SHE'LL BE YOUR FRIEND." Papyrus couldn't go back in time and save the ones lost, but he could help his friend now, and that's what he would do.

"Yeah, kiddo. Though we probably should train you some more. Undyne's been training for years, so she'd pretty much kick your butt in 2.5 seconds the way you are now."

"SANS!"

"It's kind of the truth, bro. Undyne's pretty brutal with those spears. I had to make sure the human got the POINT." At this moment, Sans felt like somebody had lightly swatted the back of his head. Maybe this wasn't the best time to make a joke...

'Really, Sans? Not the best time for a pun." Chara sighed as she calmed down, withdrawing her hand and rolling her thankfully now normal eyes.

And Papyrus seemed to agree with the words he couldn't hear as he glared at his brother. "SANS, THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR ONE OF YOUR STUPID PUNS! THOUGH I AM GLAD YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING ACTIVE LIKE TRAINING THE HUMAN."

"Actually, it might be best if you train her, Paps. You've trained with Undyne and you know her style better than I do." Sans pointed out.

Papyrus thought about this. "HMM...A MOST EXCELLENT IDEA, BROTHER! HUMAN, I THE GRRREEAT PAPYRUS, SHALL TRAIN YOU! NYEH HEH HEH!" With that, he punched one arm into the air in a victory pose, which made Frisk smile despite her worries.

"You'll probably have to stay with us for at least few weeks, so we can either teach you enough so you won't die or Undyne settles down." Sans explained to her.

Frisk's eyes widened. "I-I really appreciate it, but-but I don't have that long. My little sister is at home waiting for me, and I've got to get back to her!" she explained in a panic.

"Kiddo, I get that you want to go back to your sis. I really do." Sans told her gently. "But you're not going to be able to if Undyne turns you into a shish kabob. You've got to be patient."

"But I've already been gone for so long and I told her I'd be back three days ago and what if she's hungry or sick or hurt and our parents don't..." Frisk babbled, barely aware of what she was saying.

The skeleton brothers exchanged concerned glances and Sans was about to question her when Frisk's phone rang and she fumbled for it and excused herself before answering it, accidentally putting it on speaker when she did. This time it was Toriel.

"Hello, my child. I've not heard from you in a little while. Are you doing all right?" Toriel asked her.

Frisk tried to figure out whether she should tell Toriel about what had happened with Undyne. She didn't want to worry her. "I'm all right now, Mom. I'm with Sans and Papyrus."

Sans was a bit confused at first about the human talking to someone she called Mom with the panic attack she had just a few minutes ago about her sister's welfare, and even more so since monsters could not get telephone or radio contact with the surface. Doctor Alphys had tried, as did Sans's father, but the magic in the barrier caused their attempts to fail. Then he realized two things. First, that was a monster phone. Second, he knew that voice.

It was the voice of the woman behind the door of the ruins. The voice of the former queen and Chara's adoptive mother, though he never did tell his knock-knock joke partner that he recognized her voice. Of course it should have been obvious to him that the kid knew her as the request for him to protect and watch out for any humans who had come through the door had come only a few hours before he had seen the young human wander towards Snowdin.

"Did you have any trouble?" Toriel asked.

"A little, but the guys helped me out." Frisk admitted.

Toriel sighed with relief. "Good. I'm glad you're safe, little one. You will be careful, won't you?"

"Yes, mom." she promised.

"HELLO, HUMAN'S MOM!" Papyrus called out.

"Oh, hello, Papyrus." Toriel answered before thinking.

Papyrus's eyes widened. "WOWIE! HOW DOES YOUR MOM KNOW MY NAME?"

"Actually, Pap, that's my friend from the ruins. I told her about you." Sans said, covering for Toriel's goof. "Hey, kiddo, can I speak to her for a moment?"

"Sure." Frisk said, handing over her phone.

Sans took the phone and turned it off speaker. "Knock, knock...well, I guess that joke doesn't work too well on the phone."

Toriel chuckled softly. "Who's there?"

"Dishes."

"Dishes who?"

"DISHES Sans. How ya doin', old lady?"

She laughed. "I'm fine, Sans." She then got serious. "Is my child really okay?"

"The kiddo did have some trouble with one of the other residents and she's spooked, but she's fine now." he told her honestly.

"Thank you for keeping an eye out for her."

"No problem." He then lowered his voice as he moved out of earshot of the others. "So why is the kid so worried about her little sister?"

Toriel sighed softly. "I do not believe their life on the Surface was very happy. She didn't tell me exactly what happened, but from what little she did blurt out, I don't think their parents treated either of them very kindly, if they're even still around. She was much too thin when I found her. The only reason she left the ruins was for her sister's sake."

Sans sighed too. "Oh geez..." This was going to be more difficult than he had thought. For Papyrus, he'd move heaven and earth to get back to his brother in the same situation, and he had no doubt it was the same here. He knew the human could not and would not stay the length of time needed to get her completely ready to defend herself against Undyne, not when time was of the essence with a sister in a possibly dangerous living situation. Even if it would be very risky for her to travel with limited training with the warrior hunting her down.

They'd need to teach her as much as they could in a very short time frame if he and Papyrus couldn't reason with Undyne. And try to keep the kid and Undyne as far apart as possible.

And pray the confrontation didn't happen anyway.

"I will do what I can to help her on her journey." Sans promised and he meant it.

"Thank you, Sans. It makes me feel better that she is not alone."

The two spoke for a few more minutes before Sans handed the phone back to Frisk. Papyrus, thinking Toriel was Frisk's real mom, innocently asked her to take care of the human's sister.

"Papyrus, she's...well, she's not my birth mom. Whenever I fell in the ruins a few days ago, she saved me and took care of me. I-I call her Mom, because she's like a mom to me." Frisk explained softly as Toriel tried to figure out how to explain just that to Papyrus.

"OH." Papyrus explained. He was still a bit confused, but didn't interrupt as Frisk was talking to Toriel again. He decided to ask her about it later.

...

After Frisk had finished talking to Toriel, Papyrus enthusiastically led her outside for training. He tossed her a bone that was long enough to imitate one of Undyne's spears and could be used as a shield. She caught it awkwardly, nearly dropping it and held it in front of her.

"HOLD IT MORE LIKE THIS, HUMAN." Papyrus told her, adjusting her position so she held it in front of her close to her body and at an angle, protecting her chest, stomach, and throat, then showing her how to adjust her grip to give her more control and ease on the painful recoil vibrations when the bone would be hit. Once she was ready, he stepped back and started slow by firing a bone at her, which she managed to block.

He did it again, then fired a surprise bone at her leg while she was blocking the first, and it hit her. She winced, but remained standing.

"ARE YOU OKAY, HUMAN?" he asked and Frisk nodded. "GOOD, BUT YOU GOTTA BE QUICK. HERE, THIS IS WHAT UNDYNE TAUGHT ME TO DO." He took a crouching, fluid stance that would allow her to shift her weight more quickly and easily and Frisk attempted to copy him, needing to make a few adjustments before finally getting it right. Papyrus sent a few more bones at her and she found out that she was able to move a little more quickly and was able to block more of them, though she was inexperienced and still got hit by some.

Frisk improved, but slowly, over the next few hours, and Papyrus soon decided to show her Undyne's special trick. When Papyrus sent out blue bones to imitate Undyne's yellow spear attack, where the spears would hit from the opposite direction that they were thrown, it really threw Frisk off, especially when coupled with the normal white ones, and she took a lot of damage from this attack, even with Chara warning her when the spears got close.

"I'm fine, Papyrus." Frisk protested when Papyrus made her sit down and take a break.

"HUMAN, BREAKS MAY BE BORING, BUT THEY ARE NECESSARY TO GET YOU RESTED AND READY FOR THE NEXT CHALLENGE. EVEN, I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, TAKE THEM. SOMETIMES. NOT AS LONG AS MY LAZYBONES BROTHER DOES THOUGH. HE WOULD NAP ALL DAY IF YOU LET HIM."

Frisk smiled, but was still worried about her training. She wasn't the best at blocking and Papyrus had kicked her butt with the last move, even though she could tell he was going easy on her as to not really hurt her.

"Frisk, you've only been at this a few hours. You'll get better." Chara told her. "You're not going to be perfect right away."

"I kind of need to be or I'll end up dead." Frisk sighed.

Papyrus noticed Frisk's expression. "ARE YOU ALL RIGHT, HUMAN?"

"Yeah." she told him. He looked unconvinced and she decided to tell him the truth. "I'm just worried about getting this block right."

"IT CAN BE HARD, BUT I KNOW YOU CAN GET IT! I BELIEVE IN YOU!" he told her. He thought for a few minutes. "HMM, WHAT WOULD BE A GOOD WAY TO TEACH IT TO YOU...I KNOW! I'LL JUST CALL UNDYNE TO HELP US WITH THIS! SHE'LL SURELY BE GLAD TO HELP!" It was pretty much an automatic response for him to call Undyne if there was trouble.

He reached for his phone and was about to call Undyne before he remembered that he was training the human because Undyne had a kind of murdery opinion of her right now.

"Papyrus, that's not such a good idea!" Frisk said quickly when she saw Papyrus go for his phone. "Undyne wants to kill me; she's definitely not gonna want to train me and I don't want you to get in trouble too!"

"OH. OH YEAH." Papyrus sighed as he put his phone away. "I GUESS IT WOULDN'T BE BEST TO TELL HER QUITE YET. SHE WILL LIKE YOU SOON THOUGH, I KNOW IT." He placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "I KNOW UNDYNE CAN BE A LITTLE...INTENSE, BUT ONCE YOU GET TO KNOW HER, SHE'S REALLY, REALLY NICE. I KNOW THE TWO OF YOU WILL BE GREAT FRIENDS."

"If Undyne's still anything like how I remember her, he's right." Chara told her. "You...still might want to keep training though." she added reluctantly, remembering how fiercely her hero had chased Frisk.

Frisk nodded to both of them, hoping they were right. But could she make friends with someone who thought she was the enemy and wanted her dead? Would she be able to convince the warrior that she wasn't like the whackjob who had started murdering monsters?

Once both she and Papyrus were rested, they got back to training. After a while, she slowly did get a little better at blocking and wasn't hit quite so much, though she wasn't even close to perfect at it and she knew Undyne would be a lot more aggressive than Papyrus. Papyrus seemed happy with her progress though as he led her inside after training that night, promising to make his famous spaghetti bolognese for them.

...

Later, Frisk stood in the kitchen with Papyrus, helping him make spaghetti. It was the least she could do after all the guys had done for her. Plus, she liked cooking and it was fun spending time with Papyrus.

Chara had gone to the living room, saying she'd "leave the two lovebirds alone." To which Frisk had retorted that she just wanted to cuddle up to Sans again, which made Chara blush and then stick her tongue out at Frisk before leaving.

"HMM, MAYBE I SHOULD ADD A CUP OF CHILI POWDER TO GIVE THE BOLOGNESE SOME MORE FLAVOR. WHAT DO YOU THINK, HUMAN?"

"It'd probably be a little too spicy." Frisk admitted as she chopped some onions. "I once tried dumping some on mac and cheese to give it more flavor, and it didn't work too well. It turned out kinda yucky, though Tina and I ate it anyway. Might be better to go with just a pinch."

"HMM...YEAH, GOOD IDEA, HUMAN." Papyrus said as he added a rather large pinch of chili powder to the dish, then a big handful of oregano. Frisk sneakily spooned some of the oregano out of the bowl when he turned to stir the spaghetti in the pot.

"HUMAN, CAN I ASK YOU SOMETHING?" Papyrus asked, remembering what he had wanted to talk to her about earlier.

"Sure, what?"

"YOU SEEMED VERY FRIGHTENED AND WORRIED EARLIER WHEN YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT YOUR SISTER. IS EVERYTHING ALL RIGHT ON THE SURFACE?" he asked gently.

Frisk flinched and looked away. She had hoped they had forgotten about her panicked outburst.

Papyrus noticed her expression. "ARE YOU ALL RIGHT, HUMAN?"

She nodded. "Y-Yeah."

Of course this didn't convince Papyrus. He knew something was wrong with his friend. "HUMAN, IF SOMETHING'S BOTHERING YOU, DON'T BOTTLE IT UP. IT'LL HELP YOU FEEL BETTER IF YOU TALK ABOUT IT. I'M A GOOD LISTENER...EVEN IF I DON'T HAVE EARS."

"I..." she said softly and looked away.

"IT'S OKAY, HUMAN. YOU CAN TELL ME ANYTHING! MY BROTHER AND I ARE HERE FOR YOU. YOU AREN'T ALONE, AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE SCARED OF ANYTHING."

She finally looked up at him, saw his kind, nonjudgemental eye sockets looking back at her, and the dam she had been building for most of her life burst. "My parents...they...they don't care about me or Tina! They don't make sure we have food or clothes or anything. All-All they care about is how high they can get off drugs and partying with their friends!" She sounded bitter but she didn't care right now. "And my baby sister is alone on the surface with them and I don't think they'll even take care of her or make sure she's fed and...and what if one of their creepy friends decides to try something with her or she gets hurt?" She looked down. "I-I never should have left her alone but I needed to get that flower specimen and get us some money...and...and now I don't know when I'll get back or how or even how to get past Undyne and...and..." Tears were starting to fall again and she turned and swiped them away, hating feeling so weak. This was the third time she had broken into tears today. Come on, idiot. Stop acting helpless like those fairy tale princesses. You're supposed to be tough and take care of yourself. she thought to herself angrily.

Those thoughts stopped when she was gently turned and pulled into a warm hug by Papyrus. She hugged him back, burying her face in his scarf.

...

Out in the living room, Sans had been listening quietly rather than sleeping as the two had thought. This time he hadn't been worried about the human doing something, instead listening for the inevitable "OOPS." that happened right before a kitchen accident, fire extinguisher near him and at the ready.

But instead of a kitchen fire or the spaghetti exploding again, he heard the human breaking down and spilling her guts out to his brother. His eyesockets darkened as he listened. The situation HAD been as bad as he and Toriel had feared. Hopefully, physical abuse wasn't involved too, but even if it wasn't, this was bad enough. He remembered how the situation Chara had been in before the Underground had lowered her immune system and caused her to get sick more often than normal when they first met. And then finally she had gotten much better for a while with all the care the king and queen had given her, but suddenly, when he had been on a trip with his dad, she had become violently ill.

That time, she didn't pull through.

Human neglect and mistreatment had taken his best friend from him.

If there was anything he could do about it, he'd make sure his baby brother didn't go through the same heartache that he did.

Plus, he had to admit that this kid was starting to grow on him too.

He debated on going in to talk to the kid, but it was probably best to not let Papyrus catch him eavesdropping. Plus, his brother was definitely better at comforting than he was anyway. Though there was one thing he should probably do.

He very quietly teleported into the kitchen and turned the heat down on the spaghetti and the sauce. No need to add a kitchen fire to the troubles going on right now. He glanced at his brother and the kid, who hadn't noticed him, before warping back to the living room and sitting on the couch again with a soft sigh as he listened to the two.

...

"I'm really scared, Papyrus." Frisk said softly. "I-I've pretty much raised Tina since she was five months old and we've never been apart this long. I-I left, and I promised I'd be back as soon as I could, but-but I-I wasn't...I really let her down...What kind of big sister am I?" She let out a choked sob, which made Papyrus hug his friend tighter.

"YOU'RE THE KIND THAT TRIES THEIR VERY, VERY BEST, JUST LIKE SANS DOES." he told her, then softened his voice. "You took care of your sister, just like Sans did with me when our dad went missing. Sometimes things can go wrong, but it's not your fault. You tried just as hard as you could, and you have to understand that."

Frisk felt like he was talking to more than just her in this moment, but it was one part of his sentence that caught her attention. "Your-Your dad is missing?" she asked softly.

At the same time, Chara, who had overheard through Frisk's thoughts, asked in shock, "Dr. Gaster is missing?!" She floated closer to Sans as she saw him stiffen at Papyrus's words and reached out to hug him again.

Papyrus nodded sadly. "There-There was a bad accident at the lab and he disappeared..."

In the living room, Sans flinched as Papyrus talked about their dad. The memories of the lab accident still hurt deeply and he and Papyrus both missed their dad so much. But then suddenly he felt the phantom arms around him again very briefly, and though he thought he was hallucinating or something, the touch somehow made him feel a bit better.

Frisk hugged Papyrus tightly, wanting to comfort him as Chara did the same for Sans in the living room. "I'm sorry. I'm so, sorry." Frisk whispered.

"It-It's okay. Sans is making a machine to help us find him. He's having trouble with it, but I know he can do it. Then we'll have Dad back, I know it." Papyrus told her. "And I'll be able to tell him how I'm training for the Royal Guard with Undyne and about Sans getting to open for Mettaton and about you and how we became best friends."

Frisk smiled softly. She loved Papyrus's eternal optimism. "And I'll tell Tina all about you when I see her again."

"THAT'S THE SPIRIT, HUMAN! IT'LL ALL BE OKAY FOR ALL OF US. AND I PROMISE, WE'LL HELP YOU GET HOME!" Papyrus told her. "AND DO NOT WORRY TOO MUCH, US LITTLE SIBLINGS ARE A LOT TOUGHER THAN WE LOOK! JUST LOOK AT ME!" Frisk nodded with a small smile, though she was still very worried about Tina, who was much younger than Papyrus.

"AND, HEY, MAYBE-MAYBE AFTER LOSING YOU, YOUR PARENTS WILL REALIZE THEY MADE A MISTAKE AND WENT DOWN THE WRONG PATH AND THEY'LL TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR SISTER LIKE THEY SHOULD, THEN WHEN YOU GET HOME, THEY'LL BE THE PARENTS THEY SHOULD BE TO BOTH OF YOU."

Frisk looked down, part of her desperately wanting it to be true and the other part believing it never could be. She didn't say anything, instead looking thoughtful.

Papyrus recognized her expression, which was similar to the one his brother often wore when worried and trying to figure something out. "PEOPLE CAN CHANGE. MAYBE THEY WILL," he told her, trying to comfort her.

In the living room, Sans' permanent smile drooped a little more. Papyrus believed in everyone, and thought anybody could be good if they were given the chance. It was one of Papyrus's most admirable traits, but also one that got Papyrus taken advantage of. There had been a few assholes who had decided to do just that, taking advantage of Papyrus's good nature and friendship and getting him to do things for them while belittling him behind his back or even to his face. It was the main reason why Sans had been worried when Papyrus had asked the human on a date. He hadn't wanted his brother to get hurt again. Thankfully, this girl genuinely cared for his brother and he didn't need to worry about her, but sometimes people could be real jerks, and nothing you did could change that.

Frisk gave a tiny nod though she still looked unsure. People could change for the better, as she herself had after Tina was born, but they had to want to. Would her parents want to change? Would they want to be better for Tina, even though they never had before? Or would they..."

Papyrus's voice cut into her thoughts again. "AND IF THEY DON'T WANT TO CHANGE AND LEAVE THE PATH THEY'RE ON AND YOU DON'T FEEL SAFE AT YOUR HOME, YOU CAN BRING YOUR SISTER BACK HERE AND LIVE WITH US! OR YOU CAN LIVE WITH THE LADY YOU CALL MOM AND VISIT US A LOT! WE'LL ALL BE HAPPY TO HAVE YOU AND YOUR SISTER IN THE UNDERGROUND."

The simple words of support made Frisk feel better, and even if she wasn't sure it would be possible to bring her sister here, it felt like a huge burden had been lifted off her shoulders. She had best friends who actually really cared, and someone she could call Mom who actually acted like one; people she could feel safe with and open her heart around. She hugged Papyrus tightly, grateful for him just being there for her. "Thank you so much, Papyrus. You're the best friend anyone could ever ask for."

This made him grin as he hugged her back. "I KNOW. THE GREAT PAPYRUS ALWAYS STRIVES TO BE COMFORTING, PLEASANT, AND THE GREATEST FRIEND EVER."

She gave a little giggle at this. "Well, it definitely works."

"ARE YOU FEELING BETTER, HUMAN?" he asked.

"Yeah, thanks to you." she said, smiling. She then gave him a concerned look. "How about you?"

"I FEEL MUCH BETTER AS WELL. TALKING IT OUT REALLY HELPS."

"Just remember, Papyrus, I'm here if you need anythi..." She then smelled something burning. "Uh-oh...I think we forgot about the spaghetti!"

Papyrus's eye sockets widened. "OH NO, YOU YOU'RE RIGHT!" He rushed to the stove to check his pasta and the sauce, sighing in relief when he saw that it was only the noodles closest to the edge of the pan that had burnt as well as a tiny bit of meat in the sauce pan. "PHEW. LOOKS LIKE I DIDN'T TURN UP THE HEAT AS HIGH AS I THOUGHT. GOOD THING TOO OR WE MAY HAVE HAD ANOTHER STORY TO ADD TO OUR COLLECTION OF KITCHEN ACCIDENTS. AND IT'S READY! SANS! COME GET DINNER!"

"Bring it in here." Sans said lazily from the couch, pretending he hadn't heard anything as he technically wasn't supposed to be listening.

"I'M NOT BRINGING YOU DINNER, SANS! YOU GOTTA COME GET IT YOURSELF!" Papyrus yelled.

"Ugh...fiiinee." Sans muttered with playful fake annoyance and deciding to do something goofy to cheer the human and Papyrus up, used his blue magic to levitate himself and the couch cushion, making it float him into the kitchen. This sent Frisk, who was trying to set the table, into a fit of giggles and she nearly dropped the plates she was carrying before Papyrus took them from her.

"UGH, SANS, I HAVE NEVER SEEN SOMEONE WORK SO HARD AT BEING SO LAZY." Papyrus sighed, face-palming.

Sans grinned. "Heh, thanks, bro." Papyrus glared at him, but Sans could see the smile he was trying to hide. Their young human guest was still laughing, clearly feeling better, and he was glad he had at least been able to take her troubles away for a while.

And as he plopped the couch cushion down into his seat, he swore that for just a second, he could hear another familiar laugh that almost sounded like Chara's. But before he could really register it, it was gone.

...

It had been a great dinner. Though Papyrus was Papyrus and Frisk was no five star chef herself, the spaghetti had actually turned out practically edible, if a little heavy on the oregano thanks to Papyrus and the onions thanks to Frisk misreading the recipe. Sans had kept Frisk and unknowingly Chara entertained and Papyrus annoyed with his bad puns and jokes, and afterwards Frisk had helped Papyrus with the dishes. Sans had made her a bed on the couch, apologizing and saying that they were still getting the old "human capture zone" renovated into a guest room. Frisk reassured him that it was fine and thanked the boys over and over. She offered to pay them for the stay and food, but both the boys refused to let her pay for anything. Sans had actually jokingly whispered when Papyrus was in another room that he owed her for making the spaghetti edible that night.

But once the boys had went up to their own rooms, Frisk found herself unable to sleep. When she had been with Sans and Papyrus, she had been able to think about something other than the possible impending confrontation with Undyne, but now she couldn't get it out of her head.

"I'd ask if you were okay, but from the thoughts you've been sending me, I'm sure the answer is no." Chara said, sitting on the edge of the couch. "Wanna talk about it?"

"I-I don't know what I'm gonna do if I come face to face with Undyne again." Frisk admitted. "I mean, Papyrus was super sweet so I never had to be scared of him, most of the dog guards were really nice as well, and the other monsters we've faced were a bit rough sometimes, but didn't actually act like they wanted to really hurt me. Most of them either just got startled or needed something, but Undyne...she really hates me, and I don't blame her for being angry and wary after what Papyrus told me that psycho human did, but I don't know how to convince her I'm not an enemy she needs to take out. As soon as she saw me today she started throwing spears. I'm scared she won't stop until I'm dead..."

"Frisk, I know you're scared of her. After what I saw today, I'm a little freaked out too, but...I think Papyrus is right. When I knew Undyne, the only thing bigger than her temper was her heart. I think once Undyne figures out that you won't hurt anyone, she'll let you go." She took a deep unnecessary breath. "I want to show you something. It's the memory of when Undyne became my hero." She closed her eyes and concentrated, trying to project that specific memory to Frisk.

Frisk nearly gasped at the feeling of being sucked into a memory. With Chara purposely showing it to her, it was so much more intense. She felt like she was there. Like she was Chara.

She was wandering through the Capitol. She had felt overwhelmed and needed to be alone for a little while. Asgore, Toriel, and Asriel were so kind to her, always nearby to make sure she was okay, treating her like she was their family, even though she was human and not truly their child. They had taken her in and loved her like her human parents never had. It was so nice, the best thing she had ever had, but it was also scary.

What if she messed up?

What if they figured out what her birth parents had, that she was a worthless freak, and they decided they didn't want her any more?

What if she let them in and they hurt her?

What if...

"Hey! Human scum!" she heard a voice yell and a fireball came flying at her. She screamed and ducked, and it barely missed her, coming close enough for her to feel the heat. She tried to run, but was grabbed roughly around the waist by a monster that looked like anthropomorphic tiger. She struggled frantically to get free.

"It's the king'ssss brat. He thinkssss he can keep one of thosssse creaturessss assss a pet when they killed sssso many of ussss." a bright red lizard monster with a crest on its head hissed. It shot another fireball at her, burning her arm. She bit her lip, trying not to scream at the searing pain. She would not give them the satisfaction.

"Well, we can use its soul to break through the barrier and tear through those humans. Show them all that WE should be the leaders, not that weak king who got us trapped down here in the first place." a lion monster growled.

"D-Dad's not weak! And I haven't hurt anyone!" she protested as she struggled, trying to get free and grab something she could use to defend herself.

"Shut up, you human freak!" the tiger monster growled and slammed her into a wall. Her head slammed against it and she saw stars.

The lizard monster was about to send another, much larger fireball at her. She braced herself for the impact when a blue glowing spear came flying out of nowhere, striking the lizard and making it cry out in pain as it fell to the ground, the fireball dissipating before it could hit anything. Another spear struck the arm of the tiger monster, making it howl and let go of Chara, who quickly ran out of the alleyway.

"Leave the king's kid alone." an angry female voice growled as a fish-like monster with blue scales and long red hair in a ponytail jumped from a nearby roof and in between Chara and her assailants, striking a heroic pose with a spear on her shoulder. She appeared to be an older teenager in age, and Chara recognized her as Undyne, a Royal Guard in training that Asgore had introduced her to a few days ago. Even with how scared she was, she couldn't help thinking how cool her savior looked.

"Get out of our way, brat. We're taking that human's soul." the lion growled.

"No you're not. You're not harming any member of the Royal Family while I'm around, especially not a child. Now, are you going to leave or do I have to kick your ass?" Undyne growled.

The lion laughed as the other two got up. "You?! Little girl, you and your fellow guardsmen are every bit as weak as your king!" He rushed at her, about to strike her with claws extended, but she simply caught his wrist and threw him back into the other two.

"Weak?! I'll show you punks who's truly weak!" she growled. The lizard monster shot a volley of fireballs at her and she grabbed Chara and leapt swiftly out of the way, firing three spears as she did, hitting each of their attackers, including the tiger while he was mid-leap. Once they were down, she formed a giant blue spear and stalked over to them, expression beyond pissed. They tried to get up and run, but a swipe of her spear turned their souls green and kept them from fleeing. "Oh no, you don't. I bet King Asgore would LOVE to hear how you tried to kill his kid and planned a coup against him." She ended up getting hit by a frantic swipe from the tiger, but didn't seem to care and knocked the three of them out.

Once satisfied they weren't going to get back up again, she walked back to Chara. "Well, that was fun. You okay there, kid?"

"Y-Yeah...You-You saved my life. Thank you." Chara breathed as she looked up at Undyne with gratitude and admiration. She then noticed the shallow gouges on Undyne's shoulder from the tiger's claws and the burn on her side. "You're hurt!"

"Eh, that little scratch? Fhu hu hu, that's nothing, punk! Now let's get you back to New Home. The king and queen were worried sick and looking everywhere for you."

...

"Whoa..." Frisk breathed as she came out of the memory. She rubbed her arm where Chara had gotten burnt, almost able to still feel it. That quickly disappeared, but the gratitude and admiration for Undyne still remained, which were mostly Chara's feelings, but also kind of her own as well. Undyne had saved her friend so long ago, and she had to admit that Undyne was pretty damn awesome, at least when those spears weren't aimed her way.

"Yeah, she saved my life that day. She and the rest of the Royal Guard brought me home, and took those guys in. Mom was even madder than Undyne at those assholes and even Azzy had to be held back from going into the jail cells and attacking them. And I'm not sure what Dad did, but I never saw those monsters again. Anyway, I've looked up to Undyne ever since that day. Asriel and I used to like to go watch her train, and she even taught us how to throw a training spear! It was really fun, even though I was incredibly bad at it, especially since I grabbed a yellow one by mistake and when I threw it, it came back at us and hit poor Azzy right in the butt. Thankfully, the tip was blunt, though he complained about it the rest of the day." Chara let out a small laugh before sighing softly. "I refuse to believe that side of Undyne is gone, especially after what Papyrus told us...I can't believe what that human did, actually I can with what I've known of humans..."

Chara's fists were clenched as she thought of what that human had done. Her bright brown eyes sunk back into their sockets, which darkened to black and started to "melt" again, her face distorting into a horrifying demonic looking grimace. She again looked like the ghost from the Grudge, and this time Frisk saw it all. She covered her mouth in horror as she bit back a scream, scooting instinctively away from Chara and nearly falling off the couch. Even though Frisk knew Chara would never hurt her, when that face turned her way to see what she was doing, she nearly peed herself.

Chara blinked in confusion when she saw the expression and her face started to return to normal. "Frisk, why do you look so freaked out?" She then quickly turned to look behind her, thinking there might be something or someone there.

"Um, Chara, didn't you notice that creepy face you were making?" Frisk asked hesitantly.

"I know I was mad, but it wasn't at you, and my face isn't that creepy!"

"For a minute, you had no eyes, black sludge was dripping from your sockets, and you were making this face like a vengeful spirit from a horror story. No offense, but that is kinda creepy."

"I actually looked like that?" Chara asked, then grinned. "Cool!" Frisk gave her a weird look. "Hey, I've got to think of some plus side to being a ghost!"

Frisk rolled her eyes but did smile. Creepy face or no creepy face, at least it was still Chara underneath when she did that. "Okay, but next time give me some warning when you feel like doing that. Now what were we talking about?"

"Well, before I decided I wanted to stab that nutcase human somewhere painful, I was going to say that I think that you CAN become friends with Undyne."

"I'll try." Frisk promised. "if I can get close enough without her throwing spears at me, I'll try to talk to her, and if I can't...that suit of armor is kind of bulky. Maybe I can outrun her or evade her."

"Fair enough." Chara said as Frisk curled under the covers.

...

Frisk woke early that morning. She heard Papyrus already up, humming a catchy tune to himself. Getting up, she brushed her hair back so it wasn't sticking up all over the place like it did every morning and wandered into the kitchen.

'OH, GOOD MORNING, HUMAN!" Papyrus said cheerfully when he saw her. He handed her a bowl of oatmeal with little dinosaur eggs in it and she smiled and thanked him as she took it. "YOU'RE WELCOME, HUMAN!" He sat down next to her with his own bowl. "SANS IS STILL ASLEEP, THAT LAZYBONES, BUT SINCE HE'S GOT THE LATER SHIFT, I'LL LET HIM SLEEP IN TODAY. I FIGURED YOU AND I COULD DO SOME TRAINING AFTER BREAKFAST."

"That sounds great. Thanks, Papyrus." Frisk said, smiling more. She couldn't help but smile around him. He was just too sweet and cute.

"NYEH HEH HEH! YOU'RE WELCOME, HUMAN! I'VE HAD A LOT OF FUN TRAINING YOU! HEY, ONCE WE GET THIS ALL SORTED OUT, MAYBE I COULD BE A TEACHER AND HELP UNDYNE TRAIN ALL THE FUTURE ROYAL GUARD MEMBERS!"

"I think you should! You'd be great at it." Frisk said with a smile, which made Papyrus grin, glad someone other than his brother believed in his dreams. When breakfast was over, he led her out for training, practically bouncing with every step.

...

"YOU'RE GETTING A LOT BETTER AT THIS HUMAN!" Papyrus praised her at the end of their session a few hours later. Frisk's reflexes had gotten a little quicker, and with the help of Chara's warnings, she was able to block more than she did yesterday, though she still did get hit some, especially during the parts when the bones hit in a different direction than they came. But she only had limited time as Tina was still waiting for her and she needed to get home. She hoped Papyrus and Chara were right and she could get Undyne to realize she wasn't going to hurt anyone, because Undyne's years of training definitely would beat out her few days if they got into one on one combat.

But Chara and Papyrus likely were right. They knew Undyne much better than she did. Undyne had been friends with Chara, who was human, so maybe it could be the same for Frisk.

And even Frisk, despite her fear of Undyne, could see Undyne's moments of gentleness, like how she had talked to Papyrus and how she had worried about Monster Kid.

It didn't mean she would let her guard down though. Not until she knew for sure Undyne no longer wanted her dead.

As she followed Papyrus inside, she realized she had left her backpack on the floor near the coffee table. "Oops, sorry Papyrus. I can't believe I left that on the floor in the way." she apologized as she picked it up, then suddenly realized it was much heavier than before. She peeked inside and saw some plastic containers of spaghetti, some hot dogs, and a little covered dish of Nice Cream.

"Wha?" she asked softly and looked up to Papyrus.

"I ACCIDENTALLY KNOCKED OVER YOUR BAG LAST NIGHT AND SANS AND I NOTICED YOU DID NOT HAVE A LOT OF FOOD IN IT. SO I DONATED SOME OF MY FOOD MUSEUM TO YOUR BAG! I KNEW A PASTA LOVER LIKE YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRY SOME OF MY FINEST CREATIONS! AND SANS ADDED SOME OF HIS HOT DOGS TOO!"

"They're my new recipe for my hot dog stand in Hotland. I thought I could use you as a test subject." Sans said casually. "Plus, you don't want to run low on healing items, kiddo." Noticing Frisk's confused look, he clarified, "If you get hurt, the magic in monster food will heal you and bring your HP back up."

"AND EVERYONE LOVES NICE CREAM!" Papyrus added happily.

Frisk teared up. "Guys, this...this is so nice. You-You don't have to do all this for me... Thank you, but, please, at least let me pay you!" She pulled out her gold pouch and tried to give them most of her gold.

Papyrus pushed it back towards her. "NO, HUMAN, YOU'RE MY FRIEND AND YOU APPRECIATE MY SPAGHETTI! I WANT TO SHARE IT WITH YOU! AND IT'S NOT SHARING IF YOU PAY FOR IT!"

"Plus, I need someone to test my new hot dogs to see if they'll sell well at the stand. You see, Papyrus thinks peanut butter, ketchup, and pickle relish are gross on a hot dog, and I think they're great. I need SOMEONE to act as tiebreaker, because my bro has no taste buds."

"I DO SO! MASTER CHEF PAPYRUS HAS THE FINEST TASTE BUDS OF ANY MONSTER IN THE UNDERGROUND! HOW ELSE COULD I MAKE MY PASTA SO GREAT? AND PEANUT BUTTER DOES NOT BELONG ON A HOT DOG!"

"I've gotta agree with Papyrus, but I have to say neither of them has any taste buds." Chara said with a laugh.

"I don't know, bro. I think you're...NUTS." Sans argued jokingly.

"SANS!" Papyrus yelled, annoyed at the dumb pun. Sans grinned and was about to make another one when Papyrus covered his mouth.

"WHAT MY BROTHER WAS TRYING TO SAY WAS THAT WE DON'T WANT YOU TO PAY US!" Papyrus told her.

Sans lightly swatted his brother's hand away. "Yeah, if you wanna buy more hot dogs, and I know you will because of how great they are, just come to my stand and you can buy all you want. They're a HOT commodity right now" Sans told her. "Just think of those ones in the bag as free samples if it makes you feel better."

"Are you sure?" Frisk asked them both, feeling bad about the boys giving her so much and her not giving them anything in return.

"Kid, we wouldn't say so if we weren't sure." Sans told her. "Now, I gotta get to my shift or Paps is gonna yell. You ready to go back to Waterfall, kiddo?"

Frisk nodded nervously.

Sans saw the expression and his eye sockets softened. "Don't worry, kid. I'll keep an eye socket out for ya." After Frisk thanked them both again for everything, then hugged Papyrus goodbye and told him to call her if he needed anything or just need to talk, Sans took her hand and the two teleported away.

...

Ugh, I can't believe I had to listen to all that mushy crap for two days. I feel like I'm gonna puke. But I did learn something that may just make the game a bit more interesting and hopefully get little Miss Goody Two Shoes to see the light so things stop being so BORING. Let's see how a pacifist handles it when they're pushed to the brink. I know just how to get to her now...

Chapter Text

Frisk figured she must be starting to get used to teleporting, as this time she only stumbled a little when they landed at Sans's sentry station rather than almost falling on her face.

"Welp, here you are, kid." Sans told her. He looked her in the eyes. "You okay?"

"To be honest, I'm kinda scared." she admitted.

"You'll be all right, kiddo. I'll keep a socket out for you. And if you do run into Undyne and I'm not there to help, try outrunning and evading her. Her suit of armor is bulky and she won't be able to manuver as fast with it on. And if worse comes to worse and she catches up to you and stops you with her Green Soul ability, talk to her. Plead with her. Use that monster befriending charm of yours. Undyne can be pretty stubborn and hotheaded, but she's not made of stone. Talking to her might just work. You seem to be good at befriending everyone else. And...there was once a human Undyne cared about a lot."

"There was?" Frisk asked. She knew this already from her conversation with Chara last night, but she did want to hear the monsters' side of it. Maybe knowing it would give Chara the answers she needed and let Frisk know if the side to Undyne Frisk had seen in Chara's memories was still there, if there was any chance that Undyne might show her mercy if she knew Frisk wasn't a threat, if they could become friends like Papyrus and Chara thought they could.

"Yeah. Her name was Chara. She fell into the Underground like you and the king's son Asriel found her. He brought her home and the Royal Family took her in. I met her not long after she arrived here and we became friends. Actually, she was my best friend besides Paps. The two of us could exchange puns for hours. We would always hang out, have snowball fights, try to find treasures, think of new ways to mess around with our little brothers, make up these goofy adventures...She was great. And she really looked up to Undyne. Undyne was a Royal Guard member in training at that time and she saved Chara from some monsters that were going to kill her. Undyne was Chara's hero from that point on and Chara wanted to be just like her."

"So she was sort of like that monster kid I met?" Frisk asked, mostly to tease Chara, who stuck her tongue out at her.

Sans laughed, though it sounded sad. "Little bit, I guess. She wouldn't follow Undyne on her patrols unless Undyne told her she could, but she used to like to watch her train. Asriel did as well. And Undyne loved those two. She would get them to train with her, tried to teach Chara to throw a spear, took piano lessons with Asriel... She was sort of like a big sis to them, and when-when we lost them, she was devastated. We all were." He looked down, trying to control his emotions. Talking about Chara, about losing her, still hurt like hell.

Frisk felt tears prick at her eyes as she reached out and gently touched his shoulder. "I'm so sorry." she whispered.

"Thanks, kid." he murmured, then changed the subject, not wanting to talk about it any more. It was hard enough to open up to Papyrus, let alone a kid he had only known a few days. "Hey, you'd better get going before Undyne comes. She normally arrives here around noon on patrols."

Frisk nodded, not wanting the brothers to get in trouble if Undyne found out they were helping her, which she feared might cause them to lose their jobs at the very least. "All right. Thanks, Sans."

...

Heading to his own station, Papyrus waited just long enough that he could truthfully say that he had no idea where the human was before dialing Undyne's number. It was time for stage one in his plan, aptly named Get Undyne To Not Kill The Human.

"Hey, Papyrus!" Undyne answered and he could hear the sounds of Temmies in the background. "Any sign of the human in Snowdin? I've been patrolling Waterfall for two days and no sign of them." She sounded a little tired as she said this.

"UNDYNE, I CAN TRUTHFULLY SAY THAT THE HUMAN IS NOT IN SNOWDIN, AND THAT I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THEY ARE." Papyrus told her.

"Dammit, they must be hiding out somewhere around here like a coward then." Undyne growled. "But I'll find them, I'll rip their soul out of their body, and then Asgore will be able to free us. That human won't get the chance to harm anyone!"

"U-UNDYNE, YOU DON'T NEED TO DESTROY HER! SHE'S GOOD. SHE WON'T HURT ANYONE." Papyrus protested.

"Papyrus, look, I know you don't like violence, but..." Undyne started, then there was a pause. When she spoke again, her voice was deceptively calm. "Papyrus. Did. You. Try to befriend. THE FREAKING HUMAN?!" Now she was starting to yell into the phone and Papyrus had to hold it away from his skull.

If Papyrus had sweat glands, he'd be sweating nervously right now. "UM, WELL..."

"PAPYRUS! You could get yourself fucking killed doing something like that! Don't you know how dangerous humans are? Don't you know how many people the human could have hurt?!"

"NO ONE'S BEEN HURT. EVERYONE'S SAFE. SHE'S NOT LIKE THAT OTHER HUMAN." Papyrus said soothingly. "SHE'S REALLY, REALLY NICE. I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, KNOW SO FROM THE TIME I HAVE SPENT WITH HER! SHE..."

"Papyrus, the human is likely just using you and trying to get you to let your guard down!" Undyne yelled.

"NO, SHE'S NOT! I CAN TELL! I'M A GREAT JUDGE OF CHARACTER!"

"Papyrus, the last time you said that, you tried to befriend Jerry. Remember what happened?" Undyne sighed.

"I THOUGHT I COULD GET HIM TO BE A BETTER PERSON!" Papyrus protested.

"Look, I know you did, but sometimes you can't...Why am I even debating with you on this?! Papyrus, you KNOW how dangerous humans are! You remember what Yellow Soul did to all those monsters?! Are you going to let another human just wander around after that?! As a sentry, you're supposed to protect people!"

"I AM! I LET HER GO BECAUSE SHE'S NOT EVIL! SHE'S NOT YELLOW SOUL! SHE'S A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSON!" Papyrus's voice then suddenly softened. "Undyne, if another skeleton had done some bad things and hurt a lot of people, would you kill me because I'm a skeleton too?"

"No, of course not, Papyrus! But that's different!"

"How is it different?" he asked in the same soft, sad tone. "Because it doesn't feel any different to me."

"For one thing, I know you wouldn't hurt a fly. But humans are so much more dangerous. They'll attack anything they don't understand...even each other." This was said so softly Papyrus barely heard it.

"Everyone has the ability to be good. Please, Undyne, give her a chance. Just give her ten minutes." Papyrus lit upon an idea and his voice rose again. "I KNOW! WE CAN ALL HANG OUT AT YOUR HOUSE! WE CAN ALL DO THE COOKING LESSON TOGETHER! THAT WILL SHOW YOU SHE'S NICE! YOU TWO CAN BE FRIENDS! WE CAN ALL BE FRIENDS!"

"Papyrus, this is freaking ridiculous! I'm not going to befriend our enemy! That human is the enemy of all our hopes and dreams! Everyone here deserves to be free! With her soul, King Asgore can break the barrier and let us all see the surface! We'll take revenge for all the lives lost! We'll be able to give everyone a new life where they're not trapped down here!"

"And have our freedom be at the cost of an innocent life? The life of my friend?" Papyrus whispered, tears in his eyes. "Undyne, I was told we were made of love and compassion. Please, Undyne, please show that to her. No one has to die! Just..."

All he heard was a frustrated, angry growl and a click.

Papyrus stared at the phone for a few minutes, tears falling from his eye sockets, hurt at how his best monster friend was acting. Afraid for the safety of his best human friend.

But he was NOT going to give up.

He wouldn't let the human be murdered.

He would not lose the caring Undyne he knew to her own vengeance.

He would stop this.

Papyrus left his station and headed for Waterfall. As he did, he picked up his phone and called Sans to let him know what had happened.

...

Undyne snarled as she slammed the phone down. What the hell was Papyrus's problem?! Couldn't he see how important this was?!

No, because he was a freaking bleeding heart that just had to try to befriend every fucking thing that moved. Too pure and innocent for this damn world and not able to see that not everyone could be good.

Even when people were absolute jerks that used and insulted him. Like freaking Jerry, who had gotten Papyrus to do numerous favors for him, insulted Papyrus behind his back and to his face, and Papyrus had just let it happen and even took some of his insults like compliments! The only reason that "friendship" had ended was because Jerry had insulted Sans, and that's the one thing Papyrus wouldn't take.

And Papyrus had been upset not at Jerry for being a total asshole, but at himself for not being able to make Jerry a better monster.

So Undyne couldn't take anything Papyrus said about the human seriously. Likely the human was just using him as well, and would dump, or worse, attack Papyrus when he lost his use to them.

But what if he's right? What if the human IS truly his friend? a tiny part of her asked.

No! Papyrus is not right about this! Humans were dangerous and cruel creatures who hurt everything around them.

Chara wasn't like that. the soft part of her whispered.

She slammed her spear into a rock, scaring a small group of Temmies. Why was she thinking like that?! As far as she was concerned, Chara had never been human. Chara had been the king's adoptive daughter, had loved monsters more than anything else. Chara hadn't liked humanity any more than Undyne herself did, and for good reason.

Because humans had hurt Chara badly, had abused her. When Chara had first arrived, she had been this terrified, wary little thing. Before Undyne had even seen Chara, Asgore had let Undyne know not to ask the young human girl about the surface as she had had a bad life on it. And after getting to know the young princess, Undyne saw the signs. The scars on Chara's back, how she always tried not to get in the way, how she flinched violently the few times Undyne had tried to give her a playful noogie or ruffle her hair, or even occasionally when Undyne would just move too fast or yelled too loud, even though Chara looked up to her and trusted Undyne not to hurt her. Eventually though, Chara had relaxed a little and a sarcastic sense of humor, a love of puns, and a desire to be a hero emerged(even if she did have terrible aim when it came to throwing a spear).

But after only five years in the Underground, Chara had suddenly and violently gotten sick and died. A grieving Asriel had absorbed her soul and used it to go through the barrier so he could bring her body to the golden flowers she had loved so much.

And humans had murdered him.

Sweet loving Asriel, who would give the biggest hugs, who would bleat, wriggle, and laugh when she playfully picked him up and gave him a noogie, who could play the sweetest tunes on the piano, who would give you the shirt off his back, had been slaughtered without mercy, even though he never hurt anyone or fought back.

Two of the closest ones she had to a brother and sister, and they were both dead in one day.

She hadn't been able to protect them. She couldn't punch an illness, and she could never had broken through the barrier, even with all her strength, to save Asriel.

She couldn't protect her friend and mentor, Asgore, from the grief of losing two children.

But she could help free everyone, like she knew Asriel and Chara would have wanted. And if Asriel's murderers were still alive, she'd make them PAY.

And all it would take was one more human soul.

She headed back from Tem Village, hoping to find the human after the fourteenth sweep.

Soon justice would be served.

She did not yet understand that there was a thin line between justice and vengeance and she was starting to take the path of Yellow Soul.

...

After leaving Sans's station, Frisk retraced her steps from the last few days, both she and Chara keeping a wary eye out for Undyne, though Chara was very quiet and morose from the information they had learned from Sans.

"You okay?" Frisk asked Chara.

"No. And no, I don't want to talk about it." Chara said just as Frisk was about to think that to her.

"All right. But..."

"I know. You're here for me if I need anything. Thanks."

"Are you reading my thoughts before I even get the chance to think them?" Frisk asked, trying to change the subject and cheer Chara up.

She got a tiny smile that didn't reach the ghost's eyes. "No, you're just predictable."

Frisk once again crossed the long bridge she had been at when Undyne attacked her the first time, still feeling very uneasy, the shadowy atmosphere not helping. Thankfully, Undyne wasn't there this time, and she crossed without incident, though she hid in the tall grass for a second as she checked for any sign of the armored fish monster. Thankfully, all she discovered was a table with a piece of cheese with a bright pink mystical crystal growing around it, an echo flower, and a mouse hole.

But sometimes total quiet is more unnerving, and Frisk was so on edge that when she entered another room and bumped into someone, she leapt back with a yelp. Thankfully, it was Sans and not Undyne.

"Easy, kiddo, just me." Sans told her gently.

Frisk managed to get her racing heartbeat to slow down. "Sans, what are you doing here? I mean, not that I'm not really happy to see you, but aren't you supposed to be at your post?"

He shrugged as he fiddled with a large telescope. "I'm on break. I'm also thinking about going into the telescope business. It's normally 50,000 G to use this premium telescope, but since I know you, you can use it for free. Howzabout it?"

She gave him a slightly suspicious look, similar to what Papyrus would give him when he thought he was up to something, but then she shrugged and nodded, peeking into the telescope. He smirked as he noticed her baffled look when she saw nothing but red, and when she pulled away from the telescope, there was a red ring around her eye. It took a few seconds for her to reach up and touch the paint on her face. Her fingers came away red and she pouted at him. He burst out laughing and for a second, he thought he heard another faint laugh nearby. He looked around, saw nothing, and shrugged before turning back to the kid. "What? You aren't satisfied? Don't worry, I'll give you a full refund." She glared at him, but he could see the corners of her mouth turning up and some of the tension leaving her shoulders. He grinned. "Aww, don't give me that look. You're smiling."

"I am and I hate it." she replied playfully, copying what she had heard Papyrus tell him when they first met. A real smile spread across her face. She then said goodbye to him and moved on.

Once she was out of earshot, he sighed. In truth, illegally charging people to use the telescope was definitely not why he was there. Papyrus had called him up, pretty much in tears, telling him that he had called Undyne and tried to reason with her, but she wouldn't listen. Sans had reassured his brother, telling him Undyne was likely just in a bad mood from constantly patrolling for a few days and that she'd see reason once she cooled off, and that he would keep an eyesocket on the human to make sure the kid was okay until then. This calmed down his little brother, who said he was coming to Waterfall to try again to reason with Undyne.

So now Sans was on human guard duty until one of them could get it through Undyne's thick skull that the kid was no threat. And he'd need to do it without alarming the kid. She was wound up tighter than a spring already, and if she thought Undyne would kill her no matter what she did, she might wind up fighting Undyne out of fear and self preservation, and not only would that DEFINITELY make Undyne see her as a threat, but someone could get killed.

It was better to keep watch over the kid and keep her and Undyne as far apart as possible for now. And thankfully, most of the denizens of Waterfall were fairly peaceful, so as long as he kept her away from Undyne, everything should be okay. How much trouble could watching one small human be?

...

After letting some very weird and creepy onion-shaped kid know that a star was a giant glowing ball of gas(she thought at least), you couldn't touch it, you couldn't eat it, and she was definitely NOT a star, Frisk went down a small wooden bridge into the next room. She admired how the crystals on the ceiling and the glowing water made the ground sparkle, little white flashes of light against black ground. She was feeling a little better, and by the laughing she heard beside her, Chara seemed to as well.

"I still can't believe you fell for the old "red paint on the telescope" gag." Chara chortled.

"And you knew and didn't warn me." Frisk thought, pouting at her ghost friend.

"Of course. And don't give me that look. You feel better now. And don't try to lie. I can see what's in your head." Chara said with a grin.

"You know, when you put it that way, you kind of make it sound really creepy." Frisk joked as she carefully stepped over two sleeping Moldsmal, trying not to disturb them. As she did, she brushed up against an Echo Flower.

"So? Don't you have any wishes to make?" she heard a child's voice ask from it.

Curiously, she moved to the next one and heard another child reply. "Just one...but it's kind of stupid."

Frisk wasn't sure which way to go, so without asking Chara, she took the left path, coming to a patch of long grass. She saw something pink sticking out of it and wandered over, pulling out a pair of pink ballet shoes. And though they looked used, they were in great shape too! No one was around or seemed to be looking for them, so Frisk grinned and took off her own pair of holey sneakers and soggy socks, sliding the ballet shoes on in their place. Somehow, they fit her perfectly, warm and soft on the inside, but with a tough, waterproof layer on the outside. She had never had anything this nice before. "Wow, these are actually really comfy." she said as she slid her other shoes in her bag. It felt great to wear shoes without holes in them for once. She wondered what else she could find lying in the Underground that she could take...

"Stealing the matching set of shoes to your stolen tutu, huh, Miss Kleptomaniac?" Chara teased. She had only meant it as a joke, but Frisk looked down, ashamed and embarrassed.

"Well, since there's no one around looking for them, someone must have just dumped them here. And if whoever dropped them wants them back, I'll return them." she thought to her, a little bit defensively. The truth was, the ballet shoes and tutu had been far from the only things Frisk stole. Mostly, she stole food, mostly from the cafeteria at school or from abandoned trays or other students' lunch bags, but if she saw anything someone lost or left behind; a wallet(which had only happened twice), a coat, money of any denomination, anything at all that was left behind that she thought she and Tina could use she would take without even trying to find the owner. And once, during a few desperate times where they didn't have any food, she had even stolen from a store, though she rarely did it as the risk of getting caught, arrested, and separated from her sister was too high. It wasn't something she necessarily liked doing, but it was often something she felt would help keep Tina and her fed and dressed when she couldn't find odd jobs to do. She knew stealing was wrong, and she often got in trouble whenever she was caught stealing at school. But she kept doing it, sometimes feeling guilty, sometimes satisfied(especially if the person she stole from was a jerk), and sometimes not caring at all, just happy to have whatever she had stolen.

But right now, with a friend seeing this, seeing what she did, she just felt ashamed. She was glad Tina had never seen her like this. What kind of example would Frisk being a freaking thief set for her little sister?

Chara caught all of the tangled, messed up thoughts Frisk hadn't been meaning to project to her and frowned. "Frisk, hey, I was just messing with ya. It's okay. Since they're in the middle of nowhere and no one's looking for them, likely someone outgrew them and dumped them here. And you remember what Papyrus said about the tutu, that it was at the room in the waterfall for a while and he didn't think anyone would pick it up. Plus, you do need shoes. Your old ones look like a piece of Swiss cheese."

Frisk nodded quietly. "Thanks, Chara." she thought softly as she traveled back along the winding pathway with her friend, though she still looked rather ashamed, mind stuck in the past.

"I don't think any less of you, you know. You were desperate, scared, and did what you felt you had to to help yourself and your sister survive." Chara said looked up at her, surprised. "Weird mental link thing, remember? I'm not the only one who projects without meaning to. And it's not like you're the only one who's done something in the moral gray area. I have too, so I'm not gonna judge you. And...I know it's usually me blocking you out and you telling me that you're here for me if I need to talk, but I'm here if you need to as well."

Frisk smiled softly at her and relaxed. "Thanks, Chara. That means a lot."

The two continued on, traveling across another bridge and nearly crashing into Woshua and Aaron, who were traveling together. Aaron winked at Frisk and challenged her to a rematch, while Woshua decided Frisk was way too dirty(he was probably right) and wanted to clean her once again, and Frisk let him, though she had to dodge the worst of Woshua's overenthusiastic soap attack while trying to flex with Aaron and dodge his accidental punches and sweat bullets. Finally, Aaron blasted himself off, leaving a big pile of gold behind and Woshua wandered away happy. Frisk wasn't sure whether the gold was dropped accidentally this time in Aaron's blastoff or left for her on purpose like some of the other monsters had. She picked it up like she normally would with dropped money and was about to keep it, but Chara gave her a look that was gentle but still said that she shouldn't do that, making her feel guilty, so she placed the gold in a separate pocket, fully intending to return it to Aaron when she saw him again.

Finally, the two found the right path and traveled north. Frisk saw a sign and went to read it, thinking it was directions, but it was another part of the story about humans and monsters. "The power to take their souls, this is what the humans feared." she read aloud. She could pretty much guess what happened next.

Heading into the next room, they moved along a thin black path surrounded by dark blue water. All was calm until a light yellow tentacle longer than she was tall popped up out of the water. Frisk quickly backed up, covering her mouth to muffle an involuntary yelp. She was about to bolt, but then another tentacle snaked up on the other side. She walked quickly, trying not to let the tentacles' owner hear her, but wanting to get to the other side as fast as she could before this thing, whatever it was, surfaced and saw her as it looked like it might be really freaking huge.

But before she could get too far, the water bubbled up near her and something slowly began to surface. Part of Frisk was frozen in fear as a bulbous yellow head slowly emerged from the water. The creature appeared to be an octopus monster with huge, almost anime style eyes and a derpy looking smile which made it somehow look both cute and slightly unsettling.

"Hey there...noticed you were...here." it spoke in a slow, but friendly voice and Frisk relaxed a little. "I'm Onionsan! Onionsan, y' hear!"

"Nice to meet you, Onionsan. I'm..." Frisk started but was once again cut off.

"You're visiting Waterfall, huh? It's great here, huh? You love it, huh?" Onionsan asked and Frisk just nodded. Having an angry warrior hunt her wasn't so fun, but she had to admit Waterfall WAS pretty. "Yeah! Me too! It's my Big Favorite!" Onionsan had a huge grin and was just staring at her now, and even though she didn't think they was trying to creep her out, she did take a few steps forward. Onionsan clearly wasn't finished with the conversation though and followed her, so she stopped again. "Even though the water's getting so shallow here. I have to sit down all the time, but h-hey! That's okay! It beats moving to the city...and living in a crowded aquarium! ...Like all my friends did." Though still smiling, Onionsan looked kind of sad as he turned away, and she felt bad for him. "And the aquarium's full a-anyway, so, even if I wanted to, I..." He then perked up again. "That's okay though, y'hear? Undyne's gonna fix everything, y'hear? I'm going to get out of here and live in the ocean, y-hear? Now you have a good time, y'hear?" He started to go underwater. "In Waterfallllll..."

Frisk smiled as she moved on to the next room, but she also felt more than a little uneasy about what Undyne was likely gonna do to get the monsters out of there. It terrified the heck out of her. But before she could think on it too long or Chara could reassure her, she heard a soft female voice whisper, "But I don't think I can do it..." She turned and saw a monster that was huddled in the corner, soft blue hair hiding its face. It had a sea green, almost mermaid like body with two spikes on its back, though the tail looked more like that of a snake's than a fish's.

"Nonsense, Shyren, your voice is beautiful! This concert will make your career and mine!" a second voice scolded. Strangely enough it seemed like it came from the same monster. "And you love to sing and you're great at it. Stop worrying. You'll do fine."

"But-But what if my voice cracks again?" the first voice, who Frisk assumed to be Shyren, asked nervously. Her head then turned and she yelped in surprise when she caught sight of Frisk. The head then literally jumped back...off the body and huddled into the nearest corner. Frisk had to keep herself from shrieking at this, then realized what she thought was one whole monster was actually two monsters as the "body" reached up to settle the head, well, Shyren, down and place her back on top of it.

Frisk quickly held up her hands to show she wasn't armed. "Sorry. Didn't mean to startle you guys. Was just passing through."

Both monsters seemed to calm down at this. "It's all right." the snake monster said, then her whole body perked up. "Wait! Shyren, I have an idea! Why don't you try singing in front of this kid?"

Shyren jolted and looked between her agent and Frisk, shocked by the sudden request. "I...uh..."

"It's okay, Shyren. I'd love to hear you sing." Frisk said, smiling as she remembered all the times Tina had sung songs from her elementary school choir to her.

"I-I'm not really that good...I...I might screw up...My voice cracks sometimes..." Shyren stammered.

"Trust me, any singing you do, even on your worst day, will be way better than mine. I sound like nails on a chalkboard when I try to sing. So don't worry." Frisk told her.

"You'll do great, child. Trust me, I wouldn't be your agent if I didn't know you had an amazing voice." Shyren's agent told her.

With this encouragement, Shyren hesitantly nodded. "A-All right. What do you want me to sing?"

"Hmm...there's this cool song I heard on the radio several times...I don't remember the title fully, I think it's like Wake Me Up or something, but I do remember how it goes." Frisk said.

"C-Can you sing the first few lines to me?" Shyren asked softly.

It was Frisk's turn to look nervous. "Maybe...Maybe I'd better just say it. Trust me, I can't sing."

"I'm sure your voice can't that bad." the agent said.

"It-It'll make me feel better if you sing too." Shyren told her, then was worried she was asking for too much.

"Okay, but please don't sue me for eardrum damage." Frisk joked before starting to sing. "Feeeeeling my waaay through the daaaarkneeesss, guided by a beeaating heeeaart..." Everyone winced, including Frisk.

"Frisk, you're my friend, but I still have to tell you that that sounded less like nails on a chalkboard and more like someone ran over a cat." Chara muttered, rubbing her ears.

"i know. I know." Frisk sighed before looking at the others apologetically.

"It, um, wasn't that bad..." Shyren said, trying to make Frisk feel better.

"You can say it sucked." Frisk said with a soft laugh.

"Okay, it kind of sucked." Shyren admitted. "But I know that song. It's actually one of my favorites." Feeling like Frisk wouldn't laugh at her gave her some confidence and she began to sing softly as she faced Frisk, her voice sounding like an angel's. "Feeling my way through the darkness...guided by a beating heart..." Frisk was nearly hypnotized by the beauty of her voice, standing still and listening in awe, swaying softly to the beat.

Unfortunately, Shyren had forgotten that when her voice was at its full power, it could become an attack, so as she got into the song, glowing white music notes shot from her mouth, flying at Frisk. Frisk yelped as one struck her in the soul and she managed to barely dodge the others.

Shyren gasped and immediately stopped singing as her agent rushed over to check on Frisk. "I'm so sorry! I can't believe I did that! Are you all right?"

Frisk nodded shakily. "Yeah, I'm fine." Thankfully, the attack had only taken a few HP as Shyren didn't mean to hit her and had no intention of hurting her, and Shyren's attacks were solely magic and didn't deal any physical damage to the body, not even a bruise. "Don't worry, it was just an accident." Still, Shyren looked to be getting more upset at herself, so Frisk joked, "Still way better than my singing."

"At least your voice doesn't almost kill your audience." Shyren muttered.

"Aim into the air when you sing." her agent advised. "It won't hit anyone and it would make a stunning visual effect."

Still, it took a few more minutes for both of them to convince Shyren to sing again, but after making sure she was aiming where she couldn't hit anyone, the sweet sound of Shyren's voice filled the room again as she restarted the song.

Losing herself in the tune, Frisk began to move with the music. Ever since fourth grade, where her gym teacher, one of the few teachers she actually liked, had given dancing lessons one quarter, she had loved it. Though she knew few official dance steps and was nowhere near perfect at it, dancing to the beat of music always relaxed her, soothing her worry, anger, and fear. Normally, she'd never do it in front of strangers, but Shyren's voice took away any nervousness.

Chara smiled as she listened to Shyren sing and watched Frisk dance. Both looked so peaceful and content and she wished she had her sketchpad so she could draw them.

And she wasn't the only one taking notice. Monsters had started hearing the music and were trailing into the room. First came Aaron, who grinned and whispered, "Woshua, get your butt in here! Shy's finally singing again! And she even got her own little backup dancer!" Woshua scuttled in behind him and scrubbed the ground before taking a seat. Others quickly followed them, eager to listen to the music. The room was soon filled, but Frisk and Shyren were in their own little world, their eyes closed, lost in the feeling of music and dance, not noticing anything but the melody and beat. They didn't notice Shyren's agent's pleased smile or Chara's giggles as she caught sight of Sans selling tickets at the door.

As Shyren hummed the last few notes of the song, both her and Frisk's eyes opened, then widened when they realized they were surrounded. Shyren let out a frightened "Eep!"and jumped off her agent, quickly hiding behind Frisk, who had frozen and turned bright red.

And then cheers and clapping filled the room. Shyren kept hiding while Frisk smiled awkwardly, still bright red and embarrassed that most of Waterfall had caught her dancing.

"You two put on quite a show. Look, Sans is even selling tickets made of toilet paper." Chara told Frisk with a happy laugh as she pointed out into the audience. Frisk glanced out at Sans, who was indeed at the door to the room, handing out toilet paper tickets. When he caught Frisk's eye, he grinned at her and gave her a wink and a thumbs up.

"You're such a weirdo, Sans." Chara told Sans with a smile, and floated over to him, giving him a playful nudge like she always did when he did something especially goofy. She wasn't expecting him to even feel it, but he turned and looked around, thinking someone had bumped him. But though he looked right at Chara, he still couldn't see her.

Chara's eyes went wide when she realized he had felt her. "Sans, can you feel me? Can you hear me? I'm right here." she asked softly. Sans vaguely thought he heard someone say his name and looked around, but couldn't see anyone trying to get his attention, and the cheering crowd drowned everything else out, so he just went back to selling tickets.

"Encore!" a Moldsmal cried.

"Shyren! Shyren! Shyren!" Aaron chanted from the front row. Shyren was an old friend of his and he was glad to hear her singing again. This of course got everyone else started in chanting Shyren's name, wanting more music. Unfortunately, all the loud attention just made Shyren more nervous.

Frisk turned to Shyren and moved so that she was beside Shyren rather than Shyren hiding behind her.

"There's so many people..." Shyren whispered, hiding her face behind her long hair.

"They love you, Shyren. Trust me, your voice is AMAZING." Frisk whispered to her. "You have nothing to worry about. Just relax. Imagine the audience in their underwear." This was the same advice she had given to Tina when Tina was nervous about singing her We Wish You A Merry Christmas solo in her kindergarten Christmas concert. She wasn't sure if Tina had actually used her advice, but at least it had made her little sister laugh and relax.

"...What?" Shyren asked and Frisk blushed as she realized most of the monsters here, including Shyren, didn't actually wear underwear.

"...Never mind. Try doing what we were doing earlier. Just sing and get lost in the music, and trust me, you won't be afraid." Frisk told her. She gave Shyren a smile and Shyren smiled back. "There's that smile." Frisk said happily. Aaron had heard most of the conversation and nodded approvingly, smiling at them both.

Shyren looked at Frisk. "Can-Can you stay, just for one more song?" she asked softly, knowing she would feel more confident with both her old friend in the front row and her new friend by her side.

Her face looked almost exactly like Tina's when she had begged Frisk to come to that concert(Frisk sneaked out of after school detention for it, and got into more trouble, but she didn't give a crap as it was beyond worth it, especially seeing her sister's face light up when Frisk had waved to her from the back row.) and it was something Frisk couldn't say no to. "Of course."

"Do Best Day Of My Life, Shy!" Aaron called from the front. It was Shyren's favorite song, and hearing Shyren sing once again definitely made it the best day of his life.

"Ooh, that's a good one!" Frisk said and started softly humming it, slightly better than she had sang, hoping Shyren would join in.

And she did, hesitantly at first, then with more confidence. "I had a dream so big and loud; I jumped so high I touched the clouds...whoah oh oh oh oh..." The monsters cheered, and Aaron got up, winked at Frisk who was standing still, and started dancing to get her and everyone else to join in. Several of the others joined in, and Frisk did as well, grinning and getting lost in the music again as she danced along with the others. Dancing alone was good, but dancing here with the monsters...so much more fun.

But soon, the song ended. It was time to part ways now. Shyren would be fine now on her own, and Frisk needed to resume her journey, having another story in her heart to tell her sister when she got home. As she hopped off the stage, Aaron grinned at her and gave her a congratulatory slap on her back that nearly made her stumble. She then remembered his dropped money and gave it back to him, and he thanked her for it, having not even realized he dropped it. Other monsters smiled and greeted her, and Nice Cream Guy, who had taken the opportunity of the impromptu concert to sell most of his stock, gave her and Shyren a complimentary ice cream for boosting his business, which made both thank him gratefully.

Frisk was smiling as she headed out the room. "That was really fun." When Chara didn't respond, Frisk looked to her. The ghost had a thoughtful, longing, and worried expression on her face. "Hey, you okay?"

"Huh? Yeah, I'm fine."Chara said, trying to give Frisk a smile to reassure her, but the smile looked fake to Frisk.

Frisk wasn't convinced. "You sure?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Don't worry about it." Chara told her, and Frisk sighed, but she knew Chara well enough to know that she wouldn't talk about it, even if Frisk wished she would.

"All right. Same speech I normally give you." Frisk told her, trying to lighten the mood, which did get a small laugh out of Chara, but the ghost remained quiet and thoughtful.

Chara was thinking about Sans's reaction earlier, though careful to keep her thoughts to herself and her memories on lockdown so Frisk wouldn't accidentally see anything. Sans had acted like he had felt something and had looked around after she nudged him, and also after she had spoken. Was it coincidence, or was he starting to sense her? Would he be able to see and hear her soon like Frisk did? Part of her wanted that desperately, to be able to interact with him again, but part of her didn't. She knew that if she told Frisk about this, Frisk would try to convince her to let her tell Sans and possibly her mom as well. But she couldn't.

After all, how could she face them after everything she had done? After how much damage her and Asriel's deaths had caused to the Underground, to her family, to Undyne, to Sans himself? After she had gotten her baby brother KILLED?

She didn't deserve to have her family back, not when Asriel would never be able to.

All she deserved...was to burn in hell.

She realized her thoughts had entered dangerous territory and glanced at Frisk, hoping Frisk hadn't seen any of those memories. She was nowhere near ready to tell the younger girl about that. Thankfully, nothing had slipped through her mental wall, and though Frisk did give her the occasional concerned glance and was a little worried about how secretive she was, her friend's thoughts eventually moved to other subjects.

Frisk smiled as she thought of the concert and the new friends she had made. Shyren was sweet, her talent agent(who she still needed to figure out the name of) was nice, and Aaron was funny. Dancing on the stage had been fun, especially when everyone had joined in, and she knew Tina, who unlike her, had a fairly decent singing voice, would have enjoyed singing with Shyren.

She wished she could bring Tina here. They'd have a real mom, one who baked them pie and tucked them in at night(if she was still willing), and Frisk would never have to worry about making sure they had enough to eat. They'd have plenty of friends, a house that didn't leak during rainstorms, no fear of a bunch of wild people in their house doing drugs, drinking beer and throwing things around...A life better than anything they had on the surface!

Maybe, just maybe, she could bring Tina here! Papyrus had told her if she didn't feel safe at her home, she could get her sister and come back. And though she wished she had Papyrus's power of believing in people, she was ninety five percent sure her parents wouldn't change. She had learned the hard way years ago that they didn't care about her or Tina, and she didn't think it would ever change. Of course, they could change, but to do that, they'd have to want to, and she didn't think they would want to. If she could just get through the barrier, get her sister, get some climbing rope or something, and climb down the hole she had fallen with Tina, she could get back to the ruins and beg Toriel to take them in, which Frisk desperately hoped she would.

"She will." Chara promised her, having heard Frisk's trail of thought. Frisk looked at her, surprised. "You're projecting again. You always do when you're thinking hard. But don't worry. Mom would happily adopt you and Tina. She told you you'd always have a home in the Ruins, remember?"

Frisk smiled at this and nodded, feeling relieved, continuing to think of the possibilities of living with Tina in the Underground. She could see if she could find a job at the small store in Snowdin or Grillby's to help pay for food and rent, and they could visit Sans and Papyrus. Frisk smiled as she thought of Sans telling jokes to her sister and Papyrus showing his puzzles to Tina and making her spaghetti. And Toriel had mentioned that she wanted to be a teacher, so maybe she'd be willing to teach Tina, and maybe Frisk could take some lessons too. Frisk hated her school, the teachers who thought she was a trouble-making idiot(though she did have to admit that breaking a lot of school rules even though it was for a good cause, getting grades that were not so good in some subjects because she didn't have time to study with all the odd jobs she was doing, not completing all her homework, and getting so tired she slept at her desk instead of listening to the lectures wasn't exactly endearing to teachers), the students who mocked her worn out clothes and odd behavior, and the subjects she couldn't understand and had seriously considered dropping out of school totally, but maybe school would be better with Toriel. And she would work hard to prove to Toriel that she wasn't wrong to take them in...

"Frisk, it took me a while to figure it out, but Mom doesn't think like that." Chara pointed out. "I mean, she will want you to do your best on your schoolwork, but she's not going to make you pay for food and rent, and she's not gonna kick you out if you don't understand something or if you make a mistake. She loves you and she's gonna love Tina."

This made Frisk feel better and strengthened her desire to bring Tina here to the Underground. Tina would love Toriel, Sans, and Papyrus(and Chara if Chara would let her tell Tina she was here) and Frisk had seen plenty of small monster children close to Tina's age running throughout Snowdin who Tina might be able to play with. And they could even visit Shyren and Aaron in Waterfall if Undyne wasn't...

Undyne.

Frisk's blood went cold. She had nearly forgotten about Undyne, Flowey, and Asgore! Undyne was still out for her blood, Flowey was...well, Flowey, and Asgore was still looking for human souls to break the barrier and set the monsters free.

If she brought Tina here and she wasn't able to befriend Undyne and Asgore, Tina would be in great danger.

Chara could literally see all the tension Sans and the concert had relaxed return to Frisk's body, and even if she hadn't been able to read Frisk's thoughts, she'd know exactly what Frisk was thinking, especially when Frisk's breathing became erratic and her eyes dilated in fear as she remembered Undyne's attack on her, her whole body then shaking as her mind involuntarily imagined her tiny sister in her place.

"Frisk...Frisk...listen to me. It's gonna be okay. Undyne and Dad will come around. They're good people, Frisk, and as soon as they figure out you're not going to do what that other human did, they'll stop this. They're not going to kill your little sister, okay? They-They'd never harm a six year old child. They wouldn't." Chara's voice was shaking at this point. "Everything's going to be fine. And-And if they have gotten that bad, which I know they haven't, Mom won't let them enter the ruins, okay? Though she WILL let Sans and your boyfriend in." she teased, trying to calm them both.

This settled Frisk down a little and she let out a soft snort and rolled her eyes while mumbling, "Not my boyfriend." in her head. Chara could still see her hands shaking a little though. "We-We do still have to get past Undyne and your dad first to get to the barrier anyway. We'll-We'll see what happens." she thought, trying to sound braver mentally than she felt.

Chara nodded. "It'll all be okay." she said, though she wasn't sure if she was trying to convince Frisk or herself. Frisk gave a shaky nod in reply and took a deep breath as they stepped into the long hallway where another set of plaques on the human/monster awaited them, knowing one of the most dangerous parts of her journey was likely ahead.

She never saw the sneaky yellow weed following her a distance away.

...

"Ugh, why can't something EXCITING happen? All I've seen is the idiot sing and dance and think she can be everyone's best friend. Well, she can't. Sooner or later Fish Face is gonna find her, and while the brat may have some sympathy or something for her, it's not going to last long when a spear gets run through her. Then, she'll listen to lil' ol Flowey when I tell her it's kill or be killed!"

Chapter Text

"Here we go." Frisk said to herself a little bit nervously as they continued down the long hallway. She again wondered how Tina was doing, desperately hoping her baby sister was okay.

...

"Look both ways before you cross the street."

"Stay to the main roads where there's lots of people. It's safest that way."

"Don't approach any strangers on the street or talk to them."

Frisk's instructions ran through Tina's head as the little girl walked down the street, the change she had taken from her piggy bank in her pocket. It wasn't too much, but it might be enough to buy her a box of crackers. Food was running a bit low again, and while she still had some, she knew it would be a good idea to get some more, especially something she could hide in her room so the scary people her parents invited over couldn't eat it all. And if-when! Frisk got home, her big sister might be hungry. Frisk always made sure to give her food when she was hungry, so she wanted to the same for her.

Tina carefully looked both ways before crossing the street. As she started towards the little supermarket, she passed the little church nearby, then saw a sign reading Food Pantry. She remembered Frisk saying she had gotten some food at a food pantry a year ago, so she pushed open the heavy door and headed inside.

Inside there was the fresh smell of baked bread and the even sweeter smell of cookies. Several grownups were sitting at long tables that were covered with loaves of bread, bags of bagels, some canned goods and plates of cookies.

Tina glanced longingly at the cookies, but she knew she probably couldn't afford them and needed something more substantial, so she picked up a loaf of bread. She approached a middle lady sitting at the table who had curly brown hair running down to her shoulders and was wearing a pretty purple top who was sitting at one of the tables. She had a name tag that read Marianne. "How much is this, please?" Tina asked, holding up the bread. Frisk had said it was okay to talk to salespeople, just not to go with anyone in the store alone.

The lady smiled at her. "That's free, sweetie. We're giving them away and you and your family can have a bag of bagels to go with them as well as this food package." She set out a bag containing two family sized boxes of mac and cheese, a can of mixed veggies, some little cans of tuna, and some of those plastic containers of sliced peaches.

Tina gave her a wide grin. "That's really nice! Thank you!"

"You're welcome, little one. And just for being so sweet, you can have a bag of these chocolate chip cookies too. Miss Donna baked them, and just between you and me, she's the best baker in all of Ebott City." Marianne whispered in a playful conspiratorial tone. She then looked around, searching for the little girl's parents who she had thought might have let the little one get the bread "all by herself." She frowned when she saw no one. "Where are your parents, honey?"

"Daddy's out working and Mommy's not feeling well, so I decided to come here to get food." Tina said and her tummy twisted a little at the partial lie. Daddy had went out, and she didn't know where he went(though she hoped he was working) and Mommy was passed out on the couch and had briefly awoken, but only groaned and told her to go away when Tina had tried to speak to her, then went right back to sleep. The bad pills always made Mommy tired the next day.

Marianne frowned as she heard this and then caught sight of the child's thin frame and worn out pink dress. "I know you were trying to help, sweetie, but you shouldn't wander off on your own. Your mommy's probably worried sick about you. What's your name?"

Tina felt nervous. Miss Marianne seemed nice, but she didn't know her at all. Then she remembered another piece of advice from Frisk. If someone you don't know very well or don't trust asks for your name and you can't get out of the conversation, give them a fake one. "I'm...Amy. Amy White." Tina said and though she tried to keep a straight face, her tummy twisted painfully at the lie again.

Marianne noticed the child's strange tone, but decided not to comment on it. "Tell you what, Amy, why don't I walk you home? I don't want you to get hurt crossing the street, plus it looks like it's about to rain." she offered, not wanting the little girl to get lost or hurt. "Just let me tell Miss Donna where I'm going. She walked away for a minute to tell the church leader where she was going, but when she went back, the little girl was gone. "Where'd she...Hey, David, did you see where that little girl went?" she called across the room to the other volunteer.

David, a younger man with brownish red hair in a green polo T-shirt, looked up from the elderly woman he was giving bread to. "The little girl you were talking to? I just saw her run outside. I assumed her family was out there." He hadn't heard the conversation and didn't know the little one was there completely alone.

Marianne's heart skipped a beat and she ran to the door, but couldn't catch sight of the little girl anywhere.

"What's wrong?" David asked her.

"She was here alone. She said her dad was off working and her mom was sick. And I offered to walk her home, but she ran off when my back was turned. And now that I think about it, I'm not sure she told me the truth about what her name was. I'm worried about her. She can't be any more than five or six. She shouldn't be wandering the streets alone."

David frowned in worry. "It's possible she's from a poorer family and is afraid we'll call CPS and have her taken away or something. She also could be worried about getting in trouble or just got nervous because you're a stranger."

"What should I do?" Marianne asked, still worried about the child.

"I don't know how much you can do." David admitted. "We could look into it further, but the police might not do much unless we have solid evidence that she's in danger. I hate to say it, but the best thing we could do might be to wait. The good thing is that she knows there's free food here, so she might come back. Someone here can talk to her then. We can tell the leaders here about her and see about getting her the help she needs if she does need help."

Marianne nodded with a frown, and did go back to her work, but her mind was occupied for the rest of the day about the little girl who had come in and then vanished like a ghost. She hoped there would be something she could do to help.

...

Once the lady had gone back inside, Tina stepped out from her hiding place at the side of the building, having not been able to run as fast as she liked due to the heavy bags. Her heart was pounding. She had barely made it to her hiding spot in time. Adjusting the bags and making sure she wasn't being followed, she ran all the way home, stumbling at times due to the weight of the bags. It was starting to rain, but she got to her door before the worst of it struck. That had been a close one. She didn't know what would have happened if the lady had walked her home. She had seemed nice, but though Tina was pretty sure she wouldn't have hurt her, she didn't know for sure. The Stranger Danger person at school said some kidnappers would act nice to get kids to trust them, so she had to be extra careful, especially since Frisk wasn't there to protect her. And if she had let Marianne bring her home, she didn't know what the lady would have done, or if it would have upset Mommy. And she knew her home wasn't as nice as that of some of the other kids, and that her home life wasn't the best, so what if the lady had called someone to take her away, and she never got to see Frisk again? Little Andrew in kindergarten had been placed in a separate foster home from two of his five brothers and sisters, and he hadn't seen them since. She didn't want to never see Frisk again!

Tears filled her eyes. Frisk had been gone for over three days. She had never been gone this long. She desperately hoped Frisk had come home while she had been at the church, but saw no one except her mommy, who was sitting at the table and staring into space, dark circles around her eyes. Like Frisk, she had short brown hair, though she had blue eyes rather than Frisk's brown and she was thin and wiry, and she wore an old, baggy, stained shirt. She didn't even look up when Tina opened the door. Tina slipped upstairs to her room and hid the food under her bed. This would last her a while and if..when! Frisk came back home, she would have something nice to eat.

But she was still worried about Frisk. And though Mommy and Daddy had brushed it off yesterday and the day before when Tina had told them Frisk hadn't come home, maybe Mommy would listen this time.

Tina went downstairs and approached her mom cautiously. "Mommy?"

Her mother sighed. "What do you need, Tina?"

"Frisk still isn't home yet. I'm worried about her."

"She probably just ran off with a friend or something. She'll be fine."

"But she might be hurt!" Tina protested.

Her mom just rolled her eyes and sighed. "She'll be okay. She's a tough kid and can take care of herself. I did all the time at her age. Now...just go to your room and play or something. I have a headache."

"But..."

"Just go to your room, Tina!" her mother snapped, irritable from drug withdrawal.

Tina finally nodded and ran to her room, tears in her eyes. There was a crack of thunder and she yelped and trembled. She was absolutely terrified of thunderstorms, and it was even worse with no Frisk to hold her. She grabbed her stuffed puppy and her sketchpad she had been given for art class, and whenever she heard another boom, she ducked under her bed with a whimper, sticking her thumb in her mouth as tears filled her eyes. "I want Frisk." she whispered to herself, her throat feeling a little sore, probably from all the crying she had done over the past few days. All she wanted was her big sister back, to know Frisk was safe, to be held by her again.

She shivered. She was cold from the rain. Once the storm had slowed down a bit, she summoned enough bravery to crawl out from under the bed and go to her closet, where she had a pink sweater. It was old and had a few small holes, but it was warm at least. She pulled it over her head and sniffled a little, then went back to her safe hiding spot under the bed. Her stomach growled hungrily and she took a bagel from her stash and bit into it. It had fresh blueberries in it and was the tastiest thing she had had in the last few days. She tried to eat it slowly to make it last longer. Once she was finished, she felt a little better.

She knew she needed to do something though to help find Frisk. Her mom and dad wouldn't help, and Tina was afraid the police would send her some place else, but maybe her teacher could help. Miss Brown was super nice and really smart. She would understand that Tina didn't want to be taken away from her sister, and she might be able to help find Frisk.

School would start again the day after tomorrow. If Frisk didn't return by then, Tina would talk to Miss Brown. They would find Frisk and everything would be okay. She'd have her sister back soon.

...

As Frisk headed down the corridor with Chara, she walked up to the first plaque she saw. Like the ones she had read yesterday, it was about the human/monster war. "This power has no counter. Indeed, a human cannot take a monster's soul. When a monster dies, its soul disappears. And an incredible power would be needed to take the soul of a living monster." She was confused for a second until she remembered that the last sign she had seen had been about what would happen if a monster took a human's soul. She moved to the next sign. "There is only one exception. The soul of a special species of monster known as a Boss Monster. A Boss Monster's soul is strong enough to persist after death, if only for a few moments. A human could absorb this soul. But this has never happened. And now it never will." she read. She looked at Chara in confusion. "If it's never happened, how do they know a human could absorb a boss monster soul?" she asked.

Chara shrugged. "Don't know. And honestly don't want to." She shivered at the thought of a human taking Toriel or Asgore's soul. She knew Frisk wouldn't, but if someone like the human who hurt Undyne fell again...

"You okay?" Frisk asked her.

"I'm fine. That's just not a fun thing to think about when your parents are boss monsters." Chara replied.

Frisk shuddered at the thought of Toriel's soul being taken. "Definitely not."

They moved on down the hallway. Frisk encountered yet another Woshua, who said they were the cousin of the one who always hung out with Aaron when Frisk asked. Apparently everyone in their family was named Woshua. The little monster said it "avoided confusion," though Frisk was more confused than before. Chara just laughed and said that at least they never forgot their names.

Thankfully, this Woshua was just as easy to placate as the rest of their family and waddled away happily after scrubbing Frisk down with hot soapy water.

"Ugh, this one got soap in my eyes." Frisk complained to Chara as she tried to rub the soap away from her face, then ended up bumping into something. She looked up, squinting through the soap to barely make out the silhouette of a huge monster with a bulky frame and horns in front of her, hunched over. She had to close her eyes again to try to keep the soap out, but she could feel water dripping on them. "Oops, sorry about that. I got soap in my eyes and couldn't see where I was going." she told them.

No response. Maybe they were sleeping. At least she hoped they were sleeping.

"Okaay...I'll just be heading off now." she said. She didn't see Chara holding back laughter.

She felt her way into the next room, still trying to rub the soap out of her eyes, she heard the sound of a waterfall. Making her way over to it, watching where she was stepping, she found that the area was all wet stone with no drop-off and the water smelled clean enough, so she dunked her head briefly under the waterfall, rinsing off her face and hair and cleaning the soap out of her eyes. Once she had gotten it out and her vision cleared, she took a look around the room. The room seemed empty except for a basket of colorful umbrellas and a sign reading "Please take one." She shrugged and picked up a red umbrella, then as a gesture of apology and wanting to spread the kindness many monsters had given her down here around(as well as let the monster know that even though she was a human, it didn't mean she was evil and needed to be destroyed painfully by Undyne), she took the umbrella to the monster in the rain. Starting to lift the umbrella over the monster, she started to say. "Here. I brought you an..." then stopped short.

She was talking to a statue. She turned bright red in embarrassment as Chara started laughing.

"You know, if people hear you talking to statues, they're going to think you're crazy." Chara teased her.

"Hey, I had soap in my eyes and it was a very realistic looking statue! Plus, you knew and didn't..." Frisk started to protest when she heard the sound of beautiful music coming from the statue. Above it, circles and arrows glowed in time with the song. "Wow...It must be some sort of puzzle...or test of kindness or something..." She looked at Chara, only to see that the ghost had tears in her eyes. "Chara, what's wrong?"

"This is Azzy's song." Chara whispered. "He loved to play the piano, and he even wrote his own song. This is it. This-This must be his memorial, Frisk." She gave a sad smile, tears still in her eyes. "I should have guessed. This whole thing is like him. You know, he actually was the one who suggested setting out those baskets of umbrellas since surface water always rains down in the rooms up ahead and monsters always got wet walking through. Asriel thought everyone deserved an umbrella to keep them out of the rain." She was quiet for a few minutes and Frisk just stood there by her, wanting to hug her friend but knowing she physically couldn't. "You know, Asriel was my umbrella, protected me from the rain in life, or at least he tried. I-I just wish I could have been the same for him..."

Chara didn't say anything more, instead just looking at the statue. Frisk couldn't think of what to say to comfort her, so she just moved closer silently. After a little while, Chara drifted off, and Frisk followed her.

...

Frisk picked up another umbrella for herself from the bucket, leaving the first at Asriel's memorial. It was the only way she could think of right now to honor Chara's brother, who she would never know, but who reminded her so much of Tina just from what she knew about him. Her heart ached at the thought of ever losing Tina, and she hurt for her friend as well. The walk from the room was quiet and morose as they entered an area dripping with water with numerous clear waterfalls lining the right side of the path. The only sound was the the patter of rain, the rushing waterfalls, and Frisk's shoes lightly splashing through the puddles. Neither girl felt like talking.

But soon a cheery voice broke the silence. "Yo, you got an umbrella?" Frisk looked up and saw the monster kid she had met a few days ago, standing in a section that was out of the rain. He shook water off his scales and ran to join her, stepping through Chara to get under the umbrella and causing the ghost girl to let out an indignant "Hey!" that was of course unheard by Monster Kid. "Awesome! Let's go!" he said, ignoring the fact that she hadn't invited him to join her under the umbrella. Not sure what else to do, Frisk just nodded and walked off with him, a bit annoyed by her personal space being suddenly invaded especially when she had her mind on a million other things, but she melted a little and held the umbrella over him more when he turned to her and gave her a cute grin. Chara gave some half-hearted grumbles, but just moved to Frisk's other side as she couldn't feel the rain anyway.

They walked for a few minutes, and Frisk had to admit that Monster Kid's presence and cheerful smile made her feel a bit less down, at least until he said. "Man, Undyne is sooo cool! She beats up bad guys and never loses!" Frisk gave a non committal hum, not wanting to say what she felt about Undyne currently when she had two Undyne fans on either side of her. "If I was a human, I'd wet the bed every night knowing she was going to beat me up. Ha ha!" he added. Frisk shivered a bit and he frowned in worry. "Yo, you okay?"

"Just cold from the rain." Frisk lied, not wanting him to know that she was in fact human.

He moved the umbrella more over her. "Here you go."

She smiled a little. He was pretty nice and very cheerful. "Thanks."

They walked a little more in silence before he spoke again, trying to make conversation with his quiet companion. "So one time, we had a school project where we had to take care of a flower." he told her. Frisk smiled and listened, remembering how Tina once had to take care of a tomato plant. Tina had been so enthusiastic about that project, but had accidentally killed her tomato plant by over-watering it and had been very sad about it, so Frisk had sneaked out late at night and carefully switched it out with a tomato plant from a neighbor's garden before her sister woke the next morning, so Tina was thrilled and thought her plant had miraculously come back to life. Frisk quickly snapped out of memory lane in time to hear Monster Kid's next words "The king...we had to call him Mr. Dreemurr- volunteered to donate his own flowers. He ended up coming to school and teaching the class about responsibility and stuff."

"That sounds like Dad. He loved to garden and was always very involved with his subjects. Not like the cold kings in human history books that only cared about themselves and people close to their station." Chara said quietly, glad at least that part of her dad hadn't changed.

"That got me thinking... Yo! How COOL would it be if UNDYNE came to school?! She could beat up all the teachers!" Monster Kid was saying excitedly, bringing Frisk's attention back to him.

"Undyne wouldn't beat up a teacher...actually, scratch that. She did challenge my math tutor to a wrestling match..." Chara mused. Frisk wasn't sure whether to laugh at this or not. She kind of felt bad for the teachers of the Underground now...

"Umm...maybe she wouldn't beat up the teachers. She's too cool to ever hurt an innocent person." Monster Kid said after a few minutes thought. Frisk held back what she wanted to say about that and reminded herself that Undyne had attacked because she thought that Frisk had been a genuine threat. It didn't make Frisk feel much better about her own safety though...

They entered the next room and Frisk caught sight of a beautiful castle in the distance, gray stone with plenty of windows, the coned roofs on the pillars glowing a luminous blue.

"That's Dad's castle. My old home." Chara whispered.

The three continued to walk on into the next room. Another basket full of wet umbrellas was waiting, and Frisk returned her umbrella to the basket, guessing they were going to be out of the rainy area soon.

They soon came to a high ledge. Frisk tried to climb it or jump and grab hold of the edge, but she couldn't reach.

"Yo! That ledge is way too steep..." the monster Kid mused as he looked at the ledge. "Yo, you wanna see Undyne, right? Climb on my shoulders." Under no circumstance did Frisk want to see Undyne, but this was the only way she could go if she wanted to get out of here, so she thanked Monster Kid and climbed on his shoulders, grabbing hold of the ledge and pulling herself up. She then reached her hand down so he could grab it to pull himself up, then wanted to smack herself as she remembered he didn't have arms. She tried to figure out how to get him up there.

"Yo, you go on ahead. Don't worry about me. I always find a way to get through." he reassured her. He gave her another cheerful smile which made her smile back, then turned and walked away. He tripped and fell, but got back up again on his own and wandered off.

Frisk moved on and saw another sign up ahead and read it. "The humans, afraid of our power, declared war on us. They attacked suddenly and without mercy." She went to the next sign. "In the end, it could hardly be called a war. United, the humans were too powerful, and us monsters too weak. Not a single soul was taken, and countless monsters turned to dust." She shivered at this. Humans did fear things they didn't understand, but she wondered what had started all this in the first place. Had there been a bad seed in the monsters, like the ones who had tried to kill Chara in the flashback Chara had shown her, and had they tried to take a soul and the humans thought all monsters were like this, or did a human or group of humans spread cruel rumors like they had in the Salem Witch Hunts she had heard about in history this year and sent the other humans into a panic? Either way, it clearly had been a horrible massacre, and now monsters feared and hated humans greatly. She needed to watch her step. And she needed to show monsters not all humans were bad. Maybe it would get Undyne to stop hunting her down, and for Monster Kid to not want her beaten up if he ever found out what she really was. She didn't want fights, she just wanted to get home safely to Tina.

She moved on, stepping onto the bridge. Like the other one, it was dark and shadowy. A feeling of dread and of being watched came over her, and she knew what that meant, even before a blue spot glowed in front of her on the bridge. She was about to step back when two blue glowing holes appeared from behind her as well, then all around her.

Glowing jagged spears shot up all around her, and her terrified hazy mind wondered far back whether Undyne had enough honor to give her a fighting chance, wanted her to know that she was going to die, or just had terrible aim. But most of that was covered up by "Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit..."

As soon as the spears disappeared, Frisk ran for it with Chara right beside her. Chara might have said something, but Frisk couldn't hear her over the sound of her heartbeat pounding in her ears and mind. Glowing spots appeared on the bridge, and Frisk dodged them before the spears popped up, but some missed her by only a hair.

She couldn't think. She couldn't breathe. All she could do was run. Left...Right...Up...Down...Dead end...run back...All the while, Undyne ran right under her, shooting spears through the bridge. Frisk could hear the menacing clanking of her armor on the bridge underneath her, and though she tried to lose her, Undyne was pretty damn fast, even in a heavy suit of armor, and Frisk was so panicked she had no clue where she was going as the bridge was a maze of turns and dead ends. Chara called out warnings when a new spear was about to come out, which helped Frisk dodge most, but one Frisk couldn't quite avoid still scratched her leg, though thankfully not deeply. She couldn't feel the pain through how terrified she was. She yelled out to Undyne to please stop at one point, but either Undyne didn't hear her or didn't care, and there was nothing she could do but keep running.

"Frisk! This way!" Chara called as she went high enough to see the other end of the bridge maze. Frisk ran that way, but she was slowing, and the spears were getting harder to avoid...

And then she heard a new voice.

...

"Hey, Undyne." Sans said, popping right up in front of her. "Whoa!" He had landed just a little close to the edge of the bridge and started to fall off. He let himself in order to distract Undyne, knowing he could teleport again or catch himself with blue magic if he had to.

Frisk had heard Sans yelp and turned to glance to see what was happening, only to see him start to fall. Chara screamed, and Frisk gasped and took a few steps to try to get to him, but knew there was no way she could make it on time even if Undyne wouldn't kill her before she got to him, but thankfully Undyne grabbed Sans's wrist and pulled him up to safety, having stopped short and looked down when she heard Sans's voice and seen him fall.

"Sans! You've got to be more careful with those damn shortcut things! You could have dusted yourself! What are you even doing here?!" Undyne scolded him, having momentarily forgotten Frisk in the shock of almost seeing one of her friend almost fall off a bridge.

Sans winked, making a subtle hand motion for Frisk to run for it, which she did. "Sorry, Undyne. Just decided to DROP IN and give you my daily report. Jerry's annoying people again and there's a Gyfttrot pileup on..."

"Now's not the time Sans! I'm trying to finish off the...human." Undyne realized what she was supposed to be doing and turned to look for the human, but of course Frisk had run off. She let out a stream of curse words as she ran to go catch up to the human.

Sans ran next to her. "Chill, 'Dyne. The kid's got no EXP or LOVE. You don't need to make the bridge more divine hunting her down. It's HOLE'Y enough."

"Nggahh! This is not the time for your stupid puns!" Undyne growled, having only been half paying attention to him. She put on a burst of speed and passed Sans up, forcing him to run after her. Being more athletic than Sans, she quickly left him in the dust.

...

With Chara's directions, Frisk had managed to make it onto the wider section of bridge at the south east side of the room, and just as Undyne had realized she was gone and come after her again, ran into the next room. She continued to run along the bridge, but came to a dead end, seeing what looked like a garbage dump twenty feet below her. She tried to turn back but there was the familiar and terrifying sound of clanking armor behind her. She turned to see Undyne looking at her coldly about ten feet away from her. Frisk opened her mouth to speak, to beg Undyne not to kill her, but before she could, Undyne threw a spear. It missed Frisk by a long shot, but struck the bridge right in between the slats of the boards. Before Frisk could run back to safety, the bridge split apart, the section Frisk was on falling towards the ground twenty feet below. She screamed and tried to grab onto something, but couldn't stop her fall. Chara was screaming right along with her and she could have sworn her ghostly friend had tried to grab and catch her in a panic, but of course was unable to. She felt herself slam against something and blacked out.

...

Why wasn't she dead?

Everything hurt when she came back to consciousness on the hard dirt ground. When she tried to move her right arm to push herself up, a bolt of white hot pain shot through it, making her whimper. Stars filled her vision.

She tried again, but even when she managed to push herself up with her left arm, another bolt of pain shot through her body when she tried to put weight on her left ankle and she crumpled back to the ground.

"Help! Please, someone help!" she called weakly. She thought she had wanted to die, but it hurt so much, like fire through her body. She knew she would die slowly here, of dehydration or exposure or whatever came first. She would die in pain, cold, and alone, because no one would come...No one would help her...No one ever did...

But somebody came.

"It sounds like it came from over here!" she faintly heard a young male voice say and footsteps came running up to her. She managed to turn and look up, and to her shock, saw a furry white monster. His face was similar to a goat's with long floppy ears, though his hands were five fingered and had claws at the end. He wore a striped shirt and looked to be about her height. At first she thought it had to be a costume, but he moved so fluidly and easily as he walked over to her and it looked so real that either it had to be either the world's best designed costume or..."

"Oh! You've fallen down, haven't you? Are you okay?" the young monster asked. His mouth moved easily as he talked, and she could see his teeth and tongue. No mask could move like this... He reached out his hand for her, and she instinctively flinched away, wincing in pain as she did.

"Don't be afraid. I won't hurt you! Not ever!" he promised and moved more slowly. "Here, let me help you up. I can take you home and my mom and dad can heal you."

She was still scared, but looked up into his eyes, trying to figure out what he was about to do, but she couldn't help but relax just a tiny bit when she looked into them. They may have been red, and he may be a monster, but he had the kindest eyes she had ever seen. He held out his hand for her with a soft smile. He didn't grab her, just waited patiently with his hand still held out for her.

She had no choice, not unless she wanted to die out here. If he had wanted to hurt or capture her, he would have already done it as she couldn't do anything back, just like THEY would have done to her. He wasn't Them. He wasn't even human, and with what humans were capable of doing, she was okay with that. Finally, she nodded and placed her hand into his.

He smiled and took it, using his other arm to carefully lift her up, trying as best he could not to hurt her. Only a few times in her life had she been so gently touched. She was still prepared to run(or at least try since she didn't think she'd get very far) if he hurt her, but he didn't.

"What's your name?" he asked her.

"I'm Chara." she replied.

"Chara, huh? That's a nice name. My name is..."

...

Frisk groaned as she came back to consciousness and out of the memory. She opened her eyes only to find another face staring at her, just like it had in the memory she had obviously gotten from Chara. But instead of the gentle face of Asriel, she started into the beady black eyes of a smirking yellow flower.

"Howdy! Aww, you've fallen down again, haven't you?"

Chapter Text

Frisk did what any fairly sane person would do upon waking up and seeing an evil psychopathic flower smirking at them three inches away from their face. She screamed and instinctively threw a punch.

Thankfully for Flowey, Frisk was still a bit disoriented from having hit her head and he was easily able to dodge the fairly weak punch, ducking into the ground and popping up again by her side. "Well, at least you have some fight in you." he said, not losing that smug smirk. He then looked up to the broken bridge where Frisk had fallen from. "Golly, that was a terrible fall! Good thing there was this nice soft pile of golden flowers here to keep you from breaking every bone in your body!" Frisk tried to get up and back away from him but the room spun and she started to fall. A set of long vines wrapped around her waist, stopping her from hitting the ground, and lowered her surprisingly gently back onto the flowers. "Now, now, let's not crack your skull open. C'mon, sit and talk to your old pal Flowey for a while." Much to Frisk's relief he retracted his vines once she was on the flowers again.

"Keep him talking. Sans was close by, hopefully he'll make it to us soon." a very worried Chara told her, knowing Frisk would have trouble defending herself if Flowey attacked her in the condition that she was in and that she couldn't help her friend as she was a ghost.

"What is it you want from me?" Frisk asked Flowey, trying to keep any fear out of her voice.

"What do I want?" Flowey asked, still grinning. "I just wanted to see how you were doing on your little journey. Considering I found you unconscious in the dump, I'm going to say things aren't going so well for you. Your little talk or run plan isn't working so good now, is it?"

"Well, I'm not dead yet." Frisk said snarkily, going back to her self defense mechanism of using sarcasm to make people think she wasn't afraid.

Flowey was able to see right through the act. "Maybe not, but you WILL be if you don't fight back. Look, you and I both know that Undyne's not going to stop until you're dead. She's going to keep going after you, she's going to murder you in probably a very painful way, then she's going to take your soul. That is, unless you fight back and kill her before she kills you."

"For one thing, killing is wrong. I may not have the best moral compass on the planet, but I still know that. Plus, in logical terms, me, a teenage girl with two days of training going up against a warrior with YEARS of training and trying to kill her? Not exactly the smartest plan."

"Maybe not at your current level, but if you gained EXP and LOVE, you, being a human, would be much stronger than her. Easily able to take her on." Flowey told her.

"Um, what?" Frisk asked him. "Since it's you trying to give me the advice, I'm assuming you're not telling me to gain experience by making everyone love me."

Flowey shook his head with an exasperated sigh. "I'm talking about Execution Points and Levels Of Violence, idiot. Look, if you kill a monster, you gain EXP. Enough EXP and your level increases. It makes your soul become much stronger and raises all your stats and your HP."

"That's the sickest, most disgusting, most fucked up thing I've ever heard. I'm not killing a bunch of innocent monsters!"

"Why not? They're not as innocent as you think. Undyne wants you dead and they're cheering her on. They want your soul to be used to break the barrier. They want to be free, and they'd be more than willing to sacrifice you to do it if they actually knew you were human."

"Well, you mean besides the whole "killing is wrong." thing you're not listening to? Papyrus, Toriel, Sans, and even Aaron know I'm human and they've helped me. None of them want me dead." Frisk pointed out, though she did feel a slight chill as she remembered what Onionsan had said about Undyne getting everyone free. "And maybe the others are scared, but being kind means I can show them humans aren't so bad."

Flowey rolled his eyes. "So naive...Golly, you REALLY don't know what's Asgore's going to do if he does get ahold of your soul, do you? Asgore needs seven human souls to break the barrier. But he doesn't just plan on doing that. Oh no, he has a bigger goal in mind. He's going to absorb all seven souls, turn into a god, and start a war against humanity." He smirked at the look of shocked horror on Frisk's face.

"He's lying! He's got to be...I'm human...Dad wouldn't...He..." Chara whispered, just as horrified as Frisk.

"You're lying." Frisk said angrily to Flowey.

"Why would I lie when the truth is more effective?" Flowey retorted calmly. "Sorry, kiddo, but it's real. Just ask Undyne...if you can actually get her to monologue before stabbing you. Read the plaques. Ask any other monster. Well, don't ask Papyrus since he doesn't know and no one had the heart to tell him and I couldn't be bothered. Six humans have fallen before you. All six have died and Asgore has each and every soul. And guess who happens to be lucky number seven? Well, not so lucky for you." He smirked at the shocked teenager and patted her hand with a leaf. She quickly drew her hand back from him. Flowey sighed. "Look, I'm just trying to help you here. If you don't fight, you'll be killed and your soul will be taken to Asgore. And you're not the only human life on the line. You don't live too far from the mountain, do you? If Asgore and the monsters get out, I can see a certain little sister getting caught in the crossfire. You wouldn't want poor little Tina getting hurt or killed, would you?"

"Don't listen to him! Dad would never hurt your sister! Dad would never hurt anyone innocent!" Chara told Frisk frantically.

Frisk wanted what felt like the devil and angel on her shoulder to shut up for a moment so she could actually think and try to process this(and try to ignore the fact that part of her was saying that Flowey had a point.). She was definitely scared out of her wits, but didn't want to let Flowey know it. "Of course I wouldn't! But how the hell do you even know I have a little sister and how do you know her name?!"

"Let's see, you told Toriel, you told Sans, and you told Papyrus all about your little sister and how scared you were for her. It's not exactly a secret, and I told you I'd be watching, didn't I? But that's not important right now. You love your poor little sister so much, don't you? Then you know what you have to do to keep her safe, to keep Asgore from starting a war against your people, don't you?" Flowey used a vine to pull out a dusty knife he had buried in the the ground. Frisk tensed. He smirked and dropped it in front of her. The blade glinted slightly in the light of the cavern and it looked wickedly sharp. "Here, you'll need this." Frisk just stared at it and Flowey grew impatient. "Or do you not care about that little sister of yours?"

Frisk glared at him. "I would do anything to protect my sister. Anything." she told him angrily. Flowey grinned, thinking he had won. Chara tensed.

Then it was Frisk's turn to smirk. "Which is exactly why I'm NOT killing anyone."

Flowey looked at her blankly. "What?"

Chara burst out laughing, and that and Flowey's expression made the stressed Frisk laugh too, making Flowey jump. For a second, she could have sworn his eyes softened, but she dismissed it as the product of her imagination and continued. "You may be a creepy stalker, Flowey, but you don't know a thing about me, or my sister. Tina is the kindest, sweetest little kid you will NEVER have the pleasure of meeting. She would never want me to kill, not even for her. And if I sunk as low as you seem to want me to go, killing for power, I'd become someone I'd never want to be around my baby sister. And maybe I'm not the greatest person, but I would never betray the people I love. Not Tina. Not Papyrus or Sans or Toriel or...any of the others." She managed to stop herself just in time before she said Chara's name. No way she wanted Flowey to know about her.

"Aww, so touching. But it's not going to save you from dying now, is it, idiot? Haven't thought of that now, have you? You tried being all nice. It's not like Undyne and Asgore are going to care. They still want you dead."

"...Because of the violence of other humans. Which is the second reason I was getting to before you interrupted me. Papyrus and Sans told me about the human who fell before me and killed a lot of monsters. And if you were listening to the same story as I was, which I know you did if you were watching me, you'd know that that human was killed by King Asgore. And if I started killing monsters, they'd all come after me, and I wouldn't blame them. They'd band together to kill me if that's what it took. I'd never survive that, LV or no LV, because it certainly didn't help that human. Doing this peacefully isn't only the right thing to do, Flowey, it's the only thing I can do if I want to stay alive and keep my sister safe in the long run." she pointed out.

Flowey laughed. "Good luck with that. You'll soon find out that being peaceful will not help you when you're going up against a monster truly determined to see you dead. You'll see it my way in time."

"Monsterkind cared about Chara and she was just as human as me. If I show them other humans can be nice like she was, they'll..." Frisk froze when she saw a look of absolute fury on Flowey's face.

"You think you can replace Chara?! You think you know anything about who she was?" Flowey growled. Frisk had to keep herself from trembling as while she'd seen Flowey's sadistic side, she'd never seen him in a rage before. "How dare you! Don't speak as if you know her! Like you know anything about this place and what it needs. You're just a weak stupid human who won't change anything. Just give up while you can." In his anger, he summoned some "friendliness pellets" and Frisk tried to scramble out of the way. But before Flowey could fire at her, there was a whirring sound followed by a blindingly bright beam of light which struck Flowey with a loud crackling boom which made Frisk fall back and cover her ears.

Flowey was sent flying back several feet and quickly ducked into the ground. Frisk rubbed her eyes trying to get rid of the white spots and looked to her savior.

She saw Sans, his left eye glowing with bright blue magic, a skeletal dragon head with viciously sharp teeth and pointed horns next to him, the very same creature Sans had used to threaten her with the day before she had battled Papyrus. Frisk eyed it nervously at the memory.

But the creature didn't seem interested in harming her as it moved with Sans as Sans walked towards her and offered a hand to help her up. It regarded her for a moment, but then the lights in it's sockets slowly turned to her right, staring right at Chara. Despite it being a skull, Frisk could have sworn its expression softened and if it had a tail, it would have been wagging. Frisk's eyes widened.

Sans thought it was out of fear and waved his hand, causing the creature to disappear as he helped Frisk to her feet. "You okay there, kid?"

"Well, I fell off a really high bridge, my head hurts, and a psychopath wants me to become his protege, but other than that I'm fine and dandy." Frisk snarked before realizing she had just been sarcastic to their rescuer. "Sorry, Sans." she said sheepishly. "I shouldn't have been a smartass. Thanks for saving me."

Sans shrugged. "No problem, kid." He knelt down and gently placed his hands over the bump on her head. Warm green magic surrounded her, taking away the headache and dizziness. She relaxed into it and thanked Sans. But no matter how much she wanted to forget Flowey's words, she still had to find out if he was lying or not. Not only her safety but her sister's safety depended on it.

"Sans?" Frisk asked very softly.

"Yes, kiddo?"

"How much of that did you hear?"

"Most of it." Sans sighed. "I'm sorry I didn't show myself sooner, but I needed to know what he was up to."

"Flowey was lying, wasn't he? King Asgore, did he really kill those children the lady in the ruins mentioned? Is-Is he going to use the souls to start a war? Please tell me he's not..." Sans looked away for a second, and Frisk looked at the ground. "Flowey told the truth, didn't he? I just didn't want to believe it..."

"Flowey may have told you the truth, but he didn't tell you all of it." Sans was quick to tell her. "Look, kid, the king did make the declaration in a moment of grief and anger after Chara and Asriel died, and he does have the souls, but you need to know that most weren't killed by his hand. There were accidents and another human also dusted a few monsters and was killed by their family members, but Asgore only ever killed two, and you remember what Papyrus told you about the one."

"And the other?" Frisk asked very softly.

"They were the only human who made it to the castle. I don't know what exactly happened as it happened when I was at another post, but Undyne found an injured and very upset Asgore. He took no joy in killing that human."

Frisk wondered whether the human who had made it to the castle had attacked Asgore first or if it had been the other way around. She could tell by Chara's face, not quite melty yet but looking like she was getting close with how twisted in anger it was, that Chara believed that Asgore had only killed the human in self defense and that the human was the one at fault.

But she also knew Chara was biased. Asgore was Chara's father and the monsters were her friends and family; of course she would never want to believe they could kill without reason. Frisk herself didn't want to believe it either; the monsters she had met so far(besides Undyne) had been kinder to her than most humans besides her sister had ever been, but she knew she had to prepare for the worst.

She was the seventh soul, the ticket to the monsters' freedom, Undyne was hunting her down, and by going to the castle, she, like the soul before, might be signing her own death warrant.

Deep in thought, she looked at the ground and noticed a clean but messily tied bandage wrapped around the wound Undyne's spear had made on her leg. She knew Sans hadn't done it, so it would have had to have been...

Flowey.

The more she met that flower, the more confusing he got. She didn't know why he had suddenly gone from wanting to kill her, to "helping" her to suddenly being angry with her again, or why Chara's name had set him off. But she wasn't going to let him screw with her head.

"Kid, you okay?" Sans asked, concerned as he sat down next to her. She shrugged. "It's going to be okay. Undyne will come around. Don't listen to Flowey. He was just trying to scare and manipulate you. You just keep doing what you're doing and being a good friend to everybody, okay?" He placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Kid, with what monsters went through, some of them see humans as a faceless evil that kept us trapped down here and will hurt them and their loved ones. But you showing kindness is proving them wrong. I can tell you for certain that none of the monsters you befriended would ever want you dead. I promise. And trust me, I don't make promises that I know I can't keep."

Frisk felt a little better at his words. "Thanks, Sans. And don't worry. I have no intention of listening to that asshole flower, especially with how kind you guys have been to me. I would never betray any of you and I know better than to think that psycho is looking out for my best interests. In fact, here. Take this creepy thing. I don't want it." She carefully handed the knife Flowey had given her to Sans, handle side towards him. He took it and put it away somewhere. "I don't even want to think about whether he's used it or not." She then thought of something. Flowey had gone everywhere from murderous to irritated to just plain nuts, but he had always seemed to do it with a cool head. Nothing seemed to really get to him to make him feel anything other than irritation, until she had mentioned Chara. She had insulted Flowey right to his face and he had just taunted her, got mildly irritated, or laughed like it didn't matter to him, but when she had mentioned Chara, though it had been calmly and reasonably, he had exploded.

She realized now that it was the only time Flowey had ever showed true anger. Or anything resembling a real emotion, unless annoyance or psychopathic glee counted.

Had Chara meant something to him?

"Chara, did you know Flowey?" she mentally asked her friend. "When I mentioned you to him, it definitely touched a nerve."

Chara shook her head with a worried frown. "I've never met him before in my life. I've never even heard of him or of any golden flower monsters existing until you mentioned him to Sans at Grillby's. I don't know why he had such a reaction to me."

Frisk had a thought that made her shiver. "Do you think he could have been stalking you? Gotten obsessed with you or something?"

"How could he have been stalking me? And why the hell would he?"

"I don't know. He's crazy and has been stalking me, so he could have done it to you... And I never knew until he told me...We didn't even see him, Chara..." Frisk began to shiver more.

"Kid?" Sans asked, worried.

"Sans...We gotta tell Papyrus...Flowey's crazy, he's been stalking me, he tries to hurt people...What if he sneaks up on you or him? This is really dangerous, Sans!"

"Kid, calm down, I can handle it." Sans tried to soothe her.

"I know you're really tough, Sans, but you have one HP! Flowey's good at concealing himself; what if he sneaks up you?! I don't want you to get hurt, Papyrus doesn't want you to get hurt...You have to tell him. Papyrus is strong. He can help us. And we can't just avoid telling him about this. We know Flowey's been in contact with Papyrus. He could hurt him."

"I'm going to do it myself. Papyrus doesn't need to get involved in this mess." Sans told her, his voice rising a little. "Like I told you, Papyrus will end up trying to handle this himself if he knows. I'm not putting him in that kind of danger!"

"So you're going to do the exact same thing you're worried he's going to do?! Do you know how freaking dangerous that is?! He's going to be freaked if he finds out you're going after someone like that on your own! He's already worried about you. Do you think he wants you doing this alone and getting hurt or worse?"

"It's better it happens to me than him!" Sans yelled, startling both himself and Frisk. Frisk was about to reply, but someone else beat her to it.

'NO IT ISN'T!"

...

Both Frisk and Sans jumped at the voice and looked up. Papyrus was standing on the bridge above them. The taller skeleton then nimbly leapt down the rocks on the cliff wall, heading down towards them.

"Hey, bro." Sans said casually, trying to cover up what happened. "When did you get here?"

"A FEW SECONDS AGO, BUT LONG ENOUGH TO KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING DANGEROUS AND GO AFTER SOMEONE WHO'S MAKING BOTH OF YOU TRULY SCARED AND THAT YOU'RE NOT TELLING ME BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT ME TO GET HURT! SANS, WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?! WHO'S SCARING BOTH OF YOU LIKE THIS?!" Papyrus looked between them both, arms crossed, concerned and a little angry.

"It's nothing to worry about, bro. The human's just overreacting. It's not anything I can't handle." Sans told him.

"I'm not overreacting!" Frisk protested.

'THE HUMAN'S RIGHT! SANS, IF SOMETHING BAD'S HAPPENING, I DON'T WANT YOU TO GO IT ALONE! WHY WON'T YOU TALK TO ME?! WHY WON'T YOU LET ME HELP YOU?!" Papyrus's voice softened. "Don't you trust me?"

"What? Paps, of course I trust you!"

"Then, please brother, let me in. Tell me what's wrong. Sans, I know you hide things to try to protect me, but it goes both ways! You're my big brother. There's nothing I wouldn't do for you." Papyrus pleaded as he got to Sans's level and gently placed his hands on his brother's shoulderS. "Please let me help you. I want to protect you too. But you have to tell me the truth."

"Bro, everything is fine. I'm fine."

"Sans, I know when you're lying. You need to tell me what's going on." Papyrus told him. Both he and Frisk were looking at Sans, not letting this go.

Sans's breath stuttered a little and his magical eye lit up as he became trapped in a memory.

...

"You need to tell me what's going on. I can help you, brother!"

Papyrus had gently pushed him until Sans had told his brother the truth about his flowery friend. About how Flowey had started off peaceful, but seemed to grow bored with peace and began attacking people.

He should have known better. Papyrus was just as protective of Sans as Sans was of him, and coupled with Papyrus's belief that anyone could be good if given the chance and that reason would always work, no matter what, Papyrus had taken action. Sans had come home after a failed search for Flowey to find a note from Papyrus , telling him that he would reason with Flowey and get Flowey on the right path. Sans had panicked and rushed to find his brother, only to find Flowey, who once upon a timeline had loved to ride on Papyrus's shoulder, cooking with him and calling him "friend," crushing Papyrus's skull to dust...

He had murdered the bastard after that, impaling him with a thousand pointed bones, burning him alive slowly with lasers, killing the flower a hundred different ways. But Flowey hadn't stayed dead, simply LOADING over and over and over. But Flowey couldn't best him either and eventually gave up and reset. Sans had awoken in his own room and rushed into Papyrus's, waking his brother and pulling him into a tight hug. He refused to tell Papyrus what was wrong.

He couldn't lose him again.

But he had.

...

It was another run. A full on genocide this time.

Sans went off to find Flowey, lying to Papyrus about where he was going. This time, Flowey found Sans first, and he was much, much stronger this time. Between firing bullets, Flowey had told him that he asked Papyrus to meet him here, but it would be far too late for Sans. Flowey wanted to see exactly how powerful a grieving Papyrus was. He called it a "Disbelief Run."

Sans had fought off Flowey as best he could, killing him dozens of times, but he couldn't take down what couldn't die, and the evil flower had memorized his pattern as well as gaining a lot of LV, but not enough to trigger Karmatic Retribution. Flowey had managed to knock Sans down to his last HP and as he had fired the last shot, there was a scream, then Papyrus, who had arrived quicker than Flowey had anticipated, jumped between Flowey and Sans, taking the blow himself.

It was a one hit betrayal kill, crushing Papyrus's ribs, severing his spine, and cracking his soul.

Yet Papyrus had still managed to turn to Sans and whisper, "Brother...Are you all right...?" before dusting in Sans's arms. Sans had been unable to heal him, unable to save him, and Flowey had fled after striking the blow.

He had to live without his brother for two weeks before Flowey reset.

When he woke in Snowdin again, only one HP remained.

He didn't let his brother out of his sight for a long time.

Papyrus was the same way after seeing Sans's HP had suddenly dropped from sixty to one, but no matter how much Papyrus pleaded with him to tell him what was wrong, he refused to say what was happening. Papyrus didn't remember the last timeline beyond some "bad dreams" that Sans convinced him were just nightmares, and Sans didn't want him to remember.

He knew how much Papyrus would risk himself for him.

And he wouldn't let it happen again.

...

"Sans? Sans, are you all right, brother?"

"Sans?"

Sans snapped to reality, looking into the concerned eyes of Papyrus and the human. He couldn't tell Papyrus what was going on! He couldn't lose him again.

He backed away quickly and teleported away.

"Sans!" Papyrus called after him fruitlessly. "Oh no...Human, please tell me what happened. What got him like this?" he asked worriedly.

Frisk didn't hesitate. "There's this flower monster...Flowey...Do you know him?"

"I do. He's one of my friends. Is something wrong with him?" Papyrus asked in concern.

"Papyrus...He's not such a good guy. He tried to kill me when I first came down here. Mom had to throw a fireball at him to save me. And suddenly he seemed to have changed tactics and he's been following me and he keeps telling me I'm in danger, that King Asgore and Undyne are going to kill me and I need to start fighting and gain LV or I'll be dead. Of course, I told him I would not." Frisk was quick to tell him.

"I know you would never do that, human." Papyrus reassured her. He knelt down and hugged her close. "I'm sorry Flowey scared you, but I think I know what he's doing."

Frisk looked up at him in complete confusion.

"I think he feels guilty about hurting you and he wants to help you, but he's going about it the wrong way. Flowey's not the best at saying sorry and he has his own way of showing things. We've been friends for almost a year and I know him well enough to understand his Flowey speak but it sometimes scares other people. But don't be scared, human. It's just a front he puts up. He's been through a lot...but he still shouldn't be scaring you and Sans like this. I'll talk to him and show him how to become a great friend to you and Sans. I know he wants to. He's just not doing it right."

Frisk still wasn't sure. "Sans told me Flowey was a master manipulator and that he treated violence and screwing with people's lives like it was a game." she said softly. "Please be careful..."

Papyrus frowned, more than a little worried. He knew both Sans and the human were telling at least what they believed to be the truth as Sans would never lie about something this serious and though he hadn't known the human that long, he knew she was being completely earnest. But he knew Flowey and though he knew his friend could be insensitive and even a little mean at times, he didn't think Flowey truly intended to hurt anybody, just to keep people from getting too close, and he appreciated Flowey's brutal honesty as the flower was the only one(well besides the human) that didn't treat him like a child. Flowey could say some rather violent things when upset, feeling threatened, trying to get a reaction, or just when he felt like it though, so had Flowey said something to or near Sans that Sans thought he was serious about? Or was something more going on?

Did he really not know Flowey as well as he thought he did?

((Dreams of thorny vines wrapping around his brother; a high pitched evil laugh...A silhouette looming over Sans...running to save him...searing pain...))

Papyrus shook his now throbbing skull, trying to rid it of the shadow of one of the nightmares he had had several months ago. Why was he thinking like this? Flowey was his friend, there may have been a misunderstanding somewhere along the line. He had to hear Flowey's side of the story and give them all a chance, then help them all become proper friends. After all, making friends with everyone was easy!

"Papyrus, are you okay?" Frisk asked worriedly, snapping Papyrus out of his thoughts.

"I AM FINE! DO NOT FEAR, HUMAN!" Papyrus told her, switching to his normal voice as Papyrus wanted to reassure her. "I WILL TALK TO FLOWEY AND SANS AND FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON. EVERYTHING'S GOING TO BE OKAY. THERE MIGHT HAVE JUST BEEN SOME SORT OF MISUNDERSTANDING. FLOWEY CAN BE A LITTLE...INTENSE SOMETIMES, BUT I KNOW HE'S A GOOD PERSON DEEP DOWN. HE'S VERY NICE WHEN HE LETS HIS WALLS DROP, AND I'LL SHOW HIM HOW TO BE A GOOD FRIEND TO YOU BOTH!"

"Please be very careful." Frisk pleaded. "I know you're extremely strong, Papyrus, but Flowey...he feels dangerous. He scares me and I don't know what he's capable of. I know you've known him way longer than I have and you might be right about him...but please.. be careful just in case... You're one of the best friends I've ever had, and I don't want anything to happen to you."

Papyrus felt his soul warm at the earnest words and the soft brown eyes gazing into his sockets. He was swept away by her care for him and the fact that she was honest with him. He gently clasped his friend's small calloused hands in his gloved ones. "It's going to be okay, human. But I will be careful. I promise." he said softly. He then noticed the bandage on her leg and looked at it in concern. "What happened?" he asked softly.

"I-I ran into Undyne again. I survived. The bridge I was on didn't." Frisk joked weakly.

Papyrus knelt down and sent some light healing magic into her leg to heal anything the bandage hadn't, then checked her over to see if she had any more wounds. She flinched when he gently touched her back.

"I think it's just bruised." she reassured him when he looked at her in concern.

"Can I check it?" he asked softly. She looked a little embarassed but nodded so he carefully lifted her shirt to check her back, feeling sick as he saw a massive bruise which was an angry bright purple, green, and red.

"I'm okay. I just hit the ground a bit hard." she told him.

Papyrus glanced up to the gaping hole in the bridge, realizing exactly how far she must have fallen. She was lucky her spine hadn't broken. It's getting worse...If I don't stop this...Undyne...She...She really could kill... he thought to himself, unable to finish the sentence even in his thoughts as he tenderly healed the bruise. He wasn't as good with healing magic as Sans, but the bruise thankfully faded away and she thanked him with a sigh of relief at the pain going away. "We'd better stick together, human." he told her gently. He was NOT leaving her on her own after this. "I'll help you get through the Underground. I need to look for Sans first though."

"I'll help you." she promised, worried about Sans too, especially with Flowey on the loose. Papyrus smiled and scooped her up gently, placing her on his shoulders. She instinctively hung onto him as he ran for the cliff, using Blue Magic to scale them almost effortlessly.

They never saw the beady black eyes watching them.

...

Flowey sighed as he watched them go. Of course he had to go and lose his temper when Chara's name was mentioned.

((It didn't help that the human looked, acted, and even sounded so much like her.))

And now she thought he was even more of a psychopath. Well, he was, but it would still make his plan a lot harder. And this time he couldn't just kill or reset over it. He knew killing would not only be not so helpful to his plan, but would likely mean his own life would end as well.

However, Papyrus, sweet, naive Papyrus, still believed in him, and believed that he had been trying to protect the human in his own twisted Flowey way. Which was sort of the truth, even though he had his own agenda.

Though now Papyrus was staying with the human to protect her, which would cause him to need to change his plans. He would need to play the apologetic, well meaning but misguided flower to keep Papyrus trusting him. And to get the human to start, though it was clear she was a lot less trusting and would be a much harder sell than Papyrus.

But though this complicated things, it also would provide some very interesting new choices for him to play with, some new options he had never gotten the chance to try before. The connection between the human and Papyrus was obvious, even to someone like Flowey who was incapable of feeling love or friendship.

She clearly cared deeply for the skinny trashbag, and the feeling was definitely mutual to the point where Papyrus was ready and willing to risk his dream for her.

And on that note...

It was time he told Papyrus the full truth about the Underground, the one he knew his skeletal friend was already starting to suspect.

He wasn't fully sure if the human had the Reset ability now or if she was just cancelling him out(though he suspected the former) but he knew what would happen to her if she didn't have it. What Asgore or Undyne or the Royal Guard would do to her, no matter whether she was good or evil or something in between.

And it was time Papyrus knew as well. Though likely nothing in the world could convince Papyrus to kill or even seriously injure(he had tried), the skeleton was highly protective of the people he cared about, and if he could get Papyrus to believe him, the fallout would be EXTREMELY interesting to watch.

It was time to cause some chaos.

Chapter Text

 

Papyrus kept Frisk on his shoulders as he ran through Waterfall.

"Papyrus, you don't have to carry me. I can walk. I don't want you to get tired." Frisk said.

"NYEH HEH HEH, DON'T WORRY, HUMAN! THE GREAT PAPYRUS NEVER GETS TIRED!" Papyrus told her, both wanting to cheer her up and make her smile. "AND THIS WAY IS MUCH QUICKER AND MUCH MORE FUN!"

"Yeah, don't argue, Frisk! You have a cute guy carrying you on his shoulders." Chara teased.

Frisk blushed deeply, then decided to tease Chara back. "Hey! You like the other one, remember?" she reminded her with a grin, making Chara blush even deeper than Frisk.

They never knew they were being watched.

...

Undyne was making another sweep of Waterfall, looking for the human. She climbed atop one of the highest cliffs to get a better view and that's when she saw Papyrus, his brightly colored battle body and white bones sticking out in the dimly lit area. He was running back towards Snowdin.

Oh great, what's he doing here?

She moved closer, about to call out to him, when she saw what, or rather, who, he was carrying on his shoulders. It was the human, as evidenced by the dark hair and the blue shirt with two horizontal pink stripes, their arms wrapped around the tall skeleton's neck as they held on tight. She clenched her fists at the sight and moved silently back into the shadows of the cliff wall.

"Damnmit, Papyrus..." she mumbled to herself. "Why do you have to want to befriend anyone and everything?!"

She rubbed her forehead with an aggravated sigh, continuing to move forward, keeping an eye on the human and Papyrus. What was she supposed to do now? She had to kill the human, but she didn't want Papyrus to get caught in the crossfire or for him to see her do it. He'd either get hurt or emotionally scarred for life.

She needed to separate the two. Yet, Papyrus clearly wasn't listening to her.

But she knew who he would listen to.

She reached for her phone.

...

Sans sat in the snow behind his sentry station, his knees pulled to his chest, trying to calm down. He pulled a bottle of ketchup from his not so well hidden condiments station and took a hearty swig, but it barely took the edge off his rattled nerves. He knew he would have a worried brother and human searching for him as he had teleported away without warning, but he just couldn't tell them what was truly wrong.

No matter how much Papyrus pleaded.

He knew the human had meant well by telling him to tell Papyrus, but she didn't seem to grasp the danger in Papyrus knowing.

And there was no way that she would know that there was another dimension of terror to the soulless flower; that Flowey was a psychopathic killer that could literally travel through time. There was nothing Papyrus or Sans or her could do against a creature that could reset when it died, or just when it felt like it.

One question pricked at his mind. Flowey was the type to LOAD or reset whenever something didn't go his way. He always did it, even during his more peaceful runs.

So why isn't he doing it now? It's clear he wants the human to trust him and it's even more clear that she doesn't. So why isn't Flowey messing with the timeline until he got it right like he always does?

In fact, there hasn't been a single load or reset for months, not even when the human appeared.

Is he just bored and doing the hard way to make it more interesting?

With Flowey, that could be a possibility. But Flowey also hated losing control over anything, so something in Sans thought there might be more to this.

But he would try to figure it out later. Right now he needed to think of something to tell Papyrus and the human, something that would reassure them both. And that wouldn't be easy. Papyrus could be naive at times but his little bro was also extremely smart and seemed to have a radar in that skull of his that let him know when Sans was upset and cause him to hover for a while and pull out all the stops to cheer up Sans or try to get him to tell him what was wrong.

And Papyrus thought SANS was the overprotective one...Though he did have to silently admit he did like Papyrus's fussing at times.

But he was still the big bro and he still needed to protect his gigantor little brother. He wasn't going to let Papyrus get hurt again trying to do his job and protect him.

He had to calm himself, to think of some sort of lie that would comfort Papyrus, just think of something...

But before he could think of what to do, his phone suddenly rang, nearly making him jump out of his hoodie. He checked the caller ID, expecting it to be Papyrus, but much to his surprise, it was from Undyne.

He quickly answered. "Hey, 'Dyne. What's up?"

"We've got problems." Undyne told him immediately, her voice surprisingly quiet but clipped. "It's Papyrus."

Sans's soul clenched, his magical eye glowing slightly as the hand not holding the phone instinctively clenched around his ketchup bottle, causing some to squirt out, the bright red drops falling onto the white snow. Had Flowey found or decided to hurt Papyrus? "What's wrong? Is Papyrus okay?"

"He's with the freaking human!" Undyne blurted out.

Sans relaxed a bit. "Oh. I thought you were going to tell me something serious." he said, trying to lighten the mood.

"Okay, I'm not sure you heard me properly! YOUR BROTHER IS WITH A HUMAN!" Undyne yelled.

Sans set his bottle of ketchup back in the station and rubbed his skull, trying to ease the growing headache from both frustration and Undyne's too loud voice. "Geez, Undyne, you didn't need to yell. I knew that already. Relax. That's not a problem."

"Sans! That human could kill him! Don't you remember what happened with Yellow Soul?" Undyne growled.

"Look, Little Red ISN'T Yellow Soul. She's harmless. No LV. No EXP. I checked her. Three times in fact. And she's Papyrus's friend. She genuinely cares about him. And he cares about her. Did you know he called me up in tears because he knew you were trying to kill her?" Sans added a little venom to his voice.

"Sans, your brother can't be friends with the seventh soul! She could turn on him! She could kill him!"

"Funny. I remember us both being friends with a human. Remember Chara? And she never turned on us." Sans growled.

Undyne must have known that she had struck a nerve, because when she spoke again, her voice was softer, more sympathetic. "I know you miss Chara. I do too, but this human's not her!"

"I know that! The kiddo's not Chara. But she loves monsters too. She's a good kid, though the surface isn't so good to her. She's malnourished, parents are neglectful dicks at the very least, but she's got a baby sister she loves more than anything that she's trying to get back to. She's scared and wants to go home, but she hasn't hurt a single soul. In fact, she's befriended pretty much the entire population of Snowdin. Just let her go, Undyne. Kid doesn't deserve death."

"She could be lying and that saccharine act could just be a front!" Undyne protested.

"It's the truth. Judge Sight doesn't lie. She's trying to not get killed, true, but she also genuinely cares about monsters." Sans told her. "And you know what? I think you know your statement is a load of crap that you're using so you don't feel guilty about what you think you have to do. But..."

He heard only a click as he was hung up on.

...

Undyne glared at the phone in her hand as if it had committed a criminal offense. Not only had the human's act fooled Papyrus; it had fooled the much more sensible Sans. The human must have them under some sort of mind control like in anime!

Or she's just a good kid. the little voice in her head told her.

Undyne shook her head violently. Of course that wasn't true! The human was just trying to fool them all!

Or you're fooling yourself. You know inside that Sans is right. The human hasn't killed a single monster. No monster in Waterfall is even hurt. In fact, they look happy, especially Aaron and Shyren. You just want to make yourself believe she's evil so you can kill her without remorse.

"I'm doing what I have to." she said out loud, making a passing Moldsmol turn towards her. She had the feeling that it was giving her a strange look. She just sighed and walked away.

You don't have to kill her. her conscience whispered. She felt like she was that guy in that weird movie that Alphys had found in the dump, The Emperor's New Groove, that had an angel and devil on his shoulders, except for the fact that her conscience was the angel and she was the...

No!

She had to do this.

She had to do this so that Asgore wouldn't have to. It had broken him up enough to kill Purple Soul. She couldn't put him through that again or let him get attacked and hurt again because she didn't have the ovaries to do what was needed to bring the monsters to the surface.

She didn't have a choice. Even though her conscience was whispering that she did.

She headed towards Snowdin.

...

Papyrus and Frisk arrived in Snowdin and Papyrus set Frisk down gently. He grabbed his cell phone and tried to call his brother, but the phone was busy.

"IF MY GUESSES ARE RIGHT, SANS WILL EITHER BE IN HIS LAB, AT GRILLBY'S OR BY HIS SENTRY STATION. THOSE PLACES ARE WHERE HE TENDS TO GO WHEN HE'S UPSET." Papyrus told Frisk.

"Want me to check Grillby's? I don't know where his lab is and even if I did, I don't think he'd be amused at me poking around in there." Frisk asked.

"SANS WOULD NOT BE MAD AT YOU. BUT THAT'S A GOOD IDEA, HUMAN. I WILL CHECK THE LAB WHILE YOU GO TO GRILLBY'S. WILL YOU BE ALL RIGHT ON YOUR OWN?"

"I'll be fine. I know this area." she reassured him. "I'll call you if anything happens."

Papyrus felt better upon hearing this and the two split up. Papyrus checked the house and lab, but there was no sign of Sans. But as he exited the lab door, he heard a sudden voice.

"Howdy, Papyrus."

Papyrus nearly jumped out of his battle body before looking down to see Flowey waiting near the lab door, a little gold and green spot in the white snow. He managed to compose himself, not knowing why he felt a sudden surge of fear around one of his best friends, and smiled at the flower. "Hello, Flowey!" he said with a smile though his voice was much softer than normal.

"You're upset."

"What? No, I'm not!"

Flowey rolled his eyes. "You can hide things from your brother, but not from me. I know you, idiot. You always talk soft when you're upset, worried, or angry. Look, I know what this is about." He sighed, acting remorseful. "I screwed up, Papyrus."

Papyrus's sockets softened as he knelt by the flower. "The human said you attacked her. Both she and my brother are terrified. Can you tell me what happened?'

Flowey looked down with a sad expression. "Back in the ruins, I didn't know the human was good. I thought she would be like other humans, so I attacked her, thinking I was protecting everyone else. The keeper of the Ruins stopped me before I could. Which was a good thing, because it turned out the human was harmless. I realized I messed up, so I followed after her, you know, to keep her safe. But now she hates my guts. Thinks I'm gonna kill her after the first impression I gave." He then looked up at Papyrus pleadingly. "I need your help. I need her to listen to me. She's in real danger, Papyrus."

"Undyne will come around. I'll talk to her.' Papyrus told him.

"It's not just Undyne. And she's not going to come around." Flowey laughed darkly and Papyrus felt a chill run down his spine. "Every human who comes down here, good or bad, is doomed." Flowey shifted his face to that of Asgore's and spoke in an attempted deep voice that was a bad imitation of Asgore's. "The soul of any human who falls is to be taken." Switching his face back to normal, Flowey continued. "A monster can't take the soul of a living human, Papyrus. They're going to kill her. Kill her in cold blood. That's why I tried to convince her to fight. But she won't. She's too stupidly loyal. She's convinced herself that all the other monsters are like you."

"When they realize she's good, they won't kill her! They can't! They're not like that, Flowey, they're good people! They won't hurt her! She's done nothing wrong!"

"She didn't have to do anything wrong. She just had to fall down here. That was all she needed to do to sign her own death warrant, especially since she's unlucky number seven. The last soul needed to break the barrier. That's more than good enough of a reason to kill her in their eyes."

"No...They're not like that, Flowey. Monsters are made of love and compassion, they wouldn't do that to an innocent person!"

"YOU'RE made of love and compassion. Doesn't mean they are. And they will do it. You heard Undyne. You know what she's going to do. You're just in denial because you refuse to believe anyone can have ill intentions. But do you know what would have happened if you had decided to actually capture her rather than just putting her in a room full of bars you knew she could escape through? Your fish friend would have taken her. Taken her far enough away that you couldn't see and executed her with a spear through the heart."

"Flowey..." Papyrus tried to deny it, deny that Undyne could be capable of something like that.

"You would have killed her as surely as if you had done it by your own hand."

"No!"

"I'm sorry I have to tell you this, Papyrus. I really am. But it's true. You know I don't lie to you or sugarcoat things. I'm not like that. Nobody else wanted to tell you because they knew you'd take it badly, but if it's about the human's life, I can't be silent anymore. I wish I wasn't telling the truth, but I am. And there's something worse, something that made even me sick. In the basement of the castle, there's seven coffins. If something doesn't change, one will be waiting for our friend. I'm sorry." And Flowey did look sad and serious, but there seemed to be a faint undercurrent of glee.

Papyrus wanted to deny it. But he knew Flowey was telling the truth.

He turned away from Flowey and collapsed to the ground on his hands and knees, breathing heavily. A wave of panic and nausea threatened. Magic skeletons couldn't actually puke. But he felt like he was going to. He squeezed his eyes shut, trembling a bit.

"Papyrus?" he heard the human's voice call. He opened his eyes, finding himself alone.

Flowey had vanished.

...

Grillby's had been a bust. Sans wasn't there and the regulars had not seen him for a few hours. Hoping Sans was okay, Frisk made her way back to the skeleton brothers' house. "Papyrus?" she called. Not seeing them in the front, she checked around back.

Papyrus was sitting in the snow, looking more shaken than she had ever seen him. She ran up to him. "Papyrus, are you okay?!"

He pulled her into a hug, shaking. She hugged him back tightly. "What happened? What's wrong?"

"I'm not going to let anything happen to you, human." he whispered.

"What happened? Is it Undyne? Are you in trouble for helping me?" Frisk asked in a rush.

Papyrus shook his head. "No...Flowey told me what was happening. He said they'd...No! He has to be wrong! I'll make sure Undyne and the king know you're good! It's going to be okay, human." Frisk wasn't sure whether he was trying to convince her or himself.

Frisk nodded shakily. "I believe you." she told him softly, hugging him back. "I'll admit it, I'm scared, but I trust you and I trust Sans and both of you have told me Undyne and Asgore would come around."

"THEY WILL!" Papyrus promised, returning to his normal voice in an attempt to comfort her. "WITH YOUR CHARM AND SKILL AT MAKING FRIENDS BEING AIDED BY MY OWN, THERE IS NO WAY YOU WON'T BE FRIENDS WITH UNDYNE AND ASGORE!" He stood up, lifting her as he did. She readily let him, feeling safe with him close. "NOW LET'S GO FIND MY BROTHER, AND THEN WE CAN TRY TALKING TO UNDYNE! THEN ONCE UNDYNE UNDERSTANDS, THE TWO OF YOU WILL BECOME FRIENDS, AND THEN WE'LL GO SEE THE KING AND EXPLAIN EVERYTHING!"

Frisk was still nervous, but she trusted Papyrus more than she would ever trust Flowey's words. She gave him a nod and tried to smile, glancing to Chara, who smiled reassuringly, believing the same way as Papyrus.

As they walked through Snowdin, Papyrus shifted Frisk easily to one arm and pulled out his cell phone again, calling his brother.

This time, Sans picked up. "Hey, bro."

"SANS! ARE YOU OKAY?! WHY DID YOU RUN OFF LIKE THAT? YOU HAD US BOTH WORRIED. WHERE ARE YOU?" Papyrus asked frantically.

"Relax, Paps. I'm fine. I'm just at my sentry station. Sorry for running off. I didn't mean to scare you. I just got rattled. You know, rattled? Like bones?" Sans laughed nervously. Though he was trying hard to joke it off, he couldn't quite hide the tremble in his voice.

Papyrus and Frisk, who had overheard, shared a concerned glance, as did Chara, though only Frisk could see her worried look.

Papyrus was too worried to even complain about the bad pun. "Sans, just stay there. I'll come to you."

"All right, bro."

Papyrus hung up. Frisk could feel him shaking.

"Do you want to talk to him alone?" Frisk asked gently, knowing Sans didn't like to show he was upset around strangers. "He still doesn't know me that well yet and when we both tried to talk to him, he teleported away. He might be more likely to open up if I'm not right there."

"IT...MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA, HUMAN." Papyrus admitted, knowing she was right. "ARE YOU SURE YOU'LL BE ALL RIGHT BY YOURSELF THOUGH?"

Frisk nodded as she sat down on a large rock. "I'll wait right here for you." she told him.

Papyrus gave her a hug. "WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK." he promised. He then headed off down the path to Sans's sentry station.

...

"Have you seen Papyrus anywhere?" Undyne asked the group of monsters that were milling around by the Gyftmas tree.

"The tall loud skeleton? He just walked through here towards the sentry areas a few minutes ago, carrying a little brown haired person with a striped shirt. I think they were looking for his brother." a mouse monster wrapped up in a thick scarf told her.

Undyne thanked them and ran off through the snow, quickly making her way through the city and into the wooded areas. It wasn't long before she spotted the human, the dark blue and bright purple in her shirt sticking out in the white snow. The human was sitting on a rock, facing away from Undyne and looking down the path.

Undyne kept quiet and looked around. Papyrus and Sans were nowhere in sight.

The human was miraculously alone.

Now was her opportunity!

Undyne walked quietly up to the brown haired girl, debating on attacking when her back was turned, but just as quickly dismissing the idea. Stabbing someone in the back was a cheap tactic, more worthy of a criminal than a Captain of the Royal Guard! It would be both wrong and wimpy to not give the human a fighting chance!

So she waited. The human seemed to feel Undyne's eyes boring into her back, as she tensed and turned around, quickly jumping to her feet when she spotted Undyne.

Undyne's eye widened and she instinctively took a step back as she got her first close up look at the human. The girl was tiny, barely coming up to her chest and unhealthily thin, more skin and bone than actual flesh. Her baggy clothes, well more rags than clothes, hung off her. Her arms raised, shaking hands lifting up, either to defend herself or prove she was unarmed; Undyne wasn't sure. She stared up at Undyne with terrified brown eyes, her short, unevenly cut brown hair framing her face.

She looked so much like...

"Ch..." Undyne started to say, not able to stop herself in time. Both her and the human's eyes widened.

...

Frisk had been quietly talking with Chara, trying to figure how they could get through to Undyne and Asgore when Chara's eyes had widened, fixing on a spot behind Frisk.

"She's right behind me, isn't she?" Frisk asked and turned around, jumping to her feet and almost falling on her ass when she spotted Undyne literally right behind her. Trembling, Frisk put up her hands, trying to show she wasn't armed, trying to placate the warrior before she got impaled by spears.

How the hell had she not noticed Undyne behind her?!

Apparently, Undyne was as surprised as her as the fish woman backed up a step, her eye going wide as she stared at Frisk like she was a ghost.

When Undyne started to say Chara's name, Frisk realized that Undyne thought she was indeed a ghost.

For half a second, Frisk's terrified mind thought of pretending to be Chara to give herself enough time to escape and run to Sans and Papyrus, but she just as quickly dismissed the idea. Not only was it a dick move, but when Undyne got over her close resemblance to her ghost friend, she would probably be PISSED if Frisk tried to pretend to be her long dead friend.

And Chara would probably think she was a dick as well.

"I'm not Chara. I'm sorry." Frisk said gently. "My name's..."

Undyne cut her off, her eye hardening again. "Don't care." She summoned a blue spear. "Seven. Seven human souls, and King Asgore will become a god. Six. That's how many we've collected thus far. Understand? Through your seventh and final soul, this world will be transformed."

"Undyne...please...I don't want to fight you! I'm not here to hurt anyone! I just want to go home." Frisk pleaded.

Undyne smirked, trying to hide the ache in her soul. "I wouldn't want to fight me either. And you're not fooling me with that goody two shoes saccarine schtick! Alphys' human history books made me think humans were cool...with their giant robots and flowery swordsman! But YOU?! You're just a coward, hiding behind Sans and Papyrus so you could run away again! But I'm immune to your lies! Even pretending to be friends with everyone can't trick me! I know who you truly are!"

"I'm not lying! And you know NOTHING about me!" Frisk yelled. "Sans, Papyrus, and everyone else ARE my friends! I care about them!"

Undyne stared at her coldly. "If you truly cared for them, you'd give up your soul right now! You're standing in the way of everyone's hopes and dreams, keeping us all from the surface!" She almost flinched at the way her own words sounded.

"Look, I'm sorry about what was done to you in the past." Frisk said, trying to keep a hold of her temper and also trying to hide the fact that she wanted to cry. "But I have done nothing to harm any of you! I just want to go home! Is that a crime?!"

"The very fact you exist is a crime!" Undyne yelled. Frisk flinched, Chara's eyes filled with tears, and even Undyne flinched at what she said. She sounded callous, cold. Cruel. She had never heard such venom coming out of her own mouth. For a second, Frisk and Undyne stared at each other and Chara stared at Undyne blankly as the words seemed to hover over them in a dark cloud.

"She doesn't mean it. She can't mean it..." Frisk could hear Chara repeating over and over.

Frisk's eyes pricked with tears as she glared at Undyne. "Maybe YOU'RE the one who isn't what everyone says she is. Maybe you're just a fucking sadist." she said angrily before she could think over her words.

"I'm not a sadist!" Undyne growled, though her voice was softer than before. "I'm doing what I have to for the good of monsterkind!" She then squared her shoulders. "You know what?! Screw this! Why should I explain myself to you when YOU'RE ABOUT TO DIE!" She yanked off her helmet and threw it on the ground, her eye flashing as she took a battle stance and summoned a long spear.

She lunged forward, and Frisk tried to run, but Undyne swiped her spear over her chest. At first Frisk thought she had missed, but then a greenish light surrounded her and she found herself unable to run, though she could still turn and move her arms.

"It's the Green Soul ability. While it's active, you won't be able to flee." Chara told her shakily.

Undyne tossed Frisk a spear. She wasn't about to fight someone who was unarmed. Regardless of what she had to do, it still felt too cruel to leave the teenager without a fighting chance.

Frisk caught the spear, fumbling slightly. Undyne let her take a defensive stance, then summoned a wave of spears going straight for Frisk, right towards her block. She knew it was stupid to first go easy on someone she intended to kill, but the part of her who had trained new recruits to fight and who believed in fairness in battle just wouldn't let her do anything else until she knew the girl could defend herself.

And Frisk did, easily able to block the test attack, though she felt her arms vibrate from the force and had to keep herself from sliding back. This wasn't Papyrus, who would always make sure she wasn't hurt in any way, this was a highly trained warrior who wanted her dead.

If Frisk even slipped up for a second, she was a goner.

The next attack was much harder. Undyne sent out another wave of spears which came from all directions. Frisk blocked the ones coming from the front and then barely managed to block the ones coming from her right. Every blow rattled the bones in her arms, they were with such force.

"Behind you!" Chara screamed and Frisk managed to turn around just in time to block the spears coming from behind.

Undyne rushed forward and thrust the spear she was holding at Frisk. Frisk threw up her block and managed to keep the point from going into her chest, though the sheer force behind it sent her sliding back as far as the Green Soul ability would let her. "For years we've dreamed of our happy ending! Now sunlight is in our reach! I won't let you snatch it away from us!" the fish woman yelled.

"Like...you're trying to snatch my life...away from me...?" Frisk retorted through her gasps as she tried to block a wave of spears coming from the left. Undyne stiffened slightly at this, though the movement was subtle.

Frisk saw an opening. If she rushed forward, she might be able to land a hit on Undyne. Humans were supposed to be stronger than monsters, and Undyne had proven that she had no mercy, none of the kindness that Papyrus and Chara had told Frisk she had. If Frisk didn't fight back, Undyne could truly kill her.

And Frisk didn't want to die. She didn't want to leave Tina all alone.

Frisk started to move her arm out, preparing to plunge the spear into Undyne when she stopped.

She had made a promise to Chara, Papyrus, Sans, and even Flowey that she would never take a life. She had made a promise to herself.

And her friends believed in her, even when she didn't believe in herself. She couldn't let them down.

So she clutched the spear close, defending rather than attacking, despite that her instincts were screaming at her to fight. "Look, things don't have to be like this! I'm not that bastard who started killing monsters. I'm not the humans who trapped you down here! I'm not going to hurt you! All I want is to go home to my sister. Please let me go." she pleaded.

"If I don't kill you, Asgore will have to, and like hell I'm letting that happen! Killing you right here, right now, is my mercy!" Spears flashed through the air to the front and Frisk blocked them. Then she felt a sharp bolt of pain stab her in her left side.

She had missed one.

She bit back a cry of pain, not having time to check the injury before Chara screamed out a warning on one coming from behind. Twisting around painfully, she barely managed to block it.

Frisk's hands trembled on the spear, her terrified eyes fixing on Undyne. "Please..." she begged.

...

Undyne felt a pain in her own soul as she remembered another set of brown eyes looking at her like she was the world's greatest hero.

But at this moment, she didn't feel very much like one.

Undyne's own hand trembled slightly on her spear. The human was injured and despite the fact that she must have had some training, she was clearly still inexperienced. Undyne could take her down easily. She could land a blow to the human's exposed arm on her injured side and then finish her off with a quick blow through the heart.

But instead she found herself hesitating.

Fight back, damnmit! she mentally begged the human. I know you can. You almost did! Why are you making this so damn difficult?! Why am I making this so damn difficult?! I need to do this. If I just take her soul, Asgore can free us all. And if let her get to Asgore and he sees her...it'll break his heart to do it. I have to do this for him. Undyne thought to herself.

She forced herself to ignore the human's pleas and summoned several more spears, sending them at the tiny form in front of her.

...

Papyrus raced down the path to his brother's sentry station. Sans was sitting there casually, relaxing back in his seat, sockets closed, hands behind his head.

Sans' sockets opened when Papyrus approached. "Hey, bro." Papyrus just picked him up and hugged him tight. "Whoa! This has been a rather...UPLIFTING experience." Sans joked, trying to cheer up his brother.

"SANS!" Papyrus groaned, though didn't let go of his brother. He sniffled a bit.

"Hey, Paps, it's okay. I'm okay."

"Sans, you got so upset that you teleported away! Please...tell me what happened. I can fix it!" Papyrus pleaded, his voice going soft again.

"It's nothing I can't handle, Papyrus." Sans tried to reassure him.

"Sans...please don't lie to me...I know something's really wrong! Did Flowey say something to you? Did he upset you? I can talk to him..."

"NO!" Sans blurted out, making Papyrus look at him in concern. Sans sighed softly. "Sorry, Paps. I didn't mean to sound harsh. I just..." He tried to think of what to tell Papyrus to keep his brother from worrying but also keep him on his guard. "I've seen how Flowey treats people, including the kid. I just don't want you to get hurt. I worry about you, bro."

Papyrus hugged him. "DO NOT WORRY, BROTHER! I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WILL BE FINE! FLOWEY CAN BE A LITTLE TSUNDERE...OR A LOT TSUNDERE, BUT HE'S BEEN A GOOD FRIEND TO ME. AND I'M SURE WITH MY HELP, HE CAN LEARN TO DO BETTER WITH OTHERS, ESPECIALLY YOU AND THE HUMAN! HE'S ALREADY WARMED UP TO THE HUMAN, AND HE WANTS TO SAY SORRY. AND I KNOW HE'LL LOVE YOU TOO, BECAUSE YOU'RE THE BEST BROTHER EVER!"

Sans managed a smile. "Heh...you're the coolest bro. Just...be careful around him...okay?" He then remembered something. "Where's the human, anyway?"

"SHE'S WAITING BACK ON THE PATH. SHE WANTED TO GIVE US SOME TIME TO TALK." Papyrus explained.

Sans felt a cold chill run down his spine. "Paps...Undyne called me. She found out you were with the human. If she followed you back to Snowdin..."

Papyrus's sockets widened with horror. He quickly scooped up Sans and ran back along the path. Both brothers hoped they would get to her in time.

...

Frisk twisted in all directions, her wound screaming in pain with every movement as she blocked each spear. This wave was much slower than the last one, but every impact shook her whole body and sent another bolt of agony through her from the gash on her side. She could feel blood running down her side and there was no way to treat her wound or stop the bleeding in the middle of a fight. She wasn't sure how much longer she could hold out before Undyne would get through her defenses. "Undyne...we don't have to fight! I'm not going to hurt King Asgore! I just want to go home!"

Undyne gritted her teeth and said nothing. More spears materialized, surrounding Frisk. Undyne raised her arm to direct them, but before she could, they were interrupted by a cheerful young voice.

"Yo!"

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Both Undyne and Frisk froze in place. Undyne's spears flickered out of existence and the green light around Frisk disappeared, leaving her able to move, though she didn't realize this yet as she and the fish warrior stared at the monster child who had suddenly appeared, who was wearing his usual wide, happy smile and seemed oblivious to the life or death fight he had inadvertantly interrupted.

"Hi Undyne! Hi, other kid!" Monster Kid called out. He got right in between them, making both Frisk and Undyne flinch, thinking the other might hurt him, and grinned to Frisk. "This is so cool! You actually get to SPAR with UNDYNE! How'd you get her attention? I'm so jealous! I've always wanted to spar with her...even though I don't have any hands." Still, he seemed genuinely happy for Frisk that she got to "spar" with his hero, which left both Frisk and Undyne speechless, not sure how exactly to tell him this wasn't a friendly sparring session.

MK then noticed the deep gash on Frisk's side and his smile dropped. "Wait...you're hurt! Do you need some healing items?"

Undyne finally found her voice and grabbed Monster Kid, pulling him away from Frisk. "What the he...heck! are you doing here?! You just jumped right into the middle of a FIGHT! You could have been..." Her eye flickered between Frisk and the now very confused kid she was holding. She sighed. There was no way in hell she was going to kill someone in front of an innocent kid. "We're going to have a talk, kid." She gave Frisk a glare before dragging Monster Kid off.

"Wait...you're not going to tell my parents, right?" Frisk heard Monster Kid protest as Undyne dragged him off.

"Frisk...are you..."a shaken Chara started to ask.

Frisk's legs gave out from under her and she collapsed to the ground, shaking and letting out a sob of pain and terror. She reached to check the gash on her side and her hand came away bloody. Thinking quickly, she pulled the bandages out of her bag with trembling hands and pressed it to the wound, keeping pressure on it as she fumbled for her monster food with her free hand, remembering that it healed injuries. She pulled out one of the containers of Papyrus's spaghetti and managed to open it, then grabbed some noodles with her bare hand and inelegantly shoved them into her mouth.

The taste was...indescribable. But a warm, comforting energy filled her body, taking away the pain. There was a tingling sensation as her skin knitted itself together, stopping the bleeding. She sighed in relief. At least she wasn't going to bleed out in the snow now. Even when Papyrus wasn't there, he was still saving her life with his wonderful healing spaghetti.

Chara was keeping an eye out for Undyne while Frisk treated her wounds. Thankfully, it was a much more welcome sight that she saw coming. "Sans and Papyrus are on their way."

...

"HUMAN!" Papyrus called as he raced up to her, carrying Sans in his arms. "We need to get you out of here! Undyne found out..."

"I know." she said, a little shakily but clearly trying to hide it. Papyrus gasped as he saw her bloodstained shirt and the bloody bandages she was still holding to her side.

Papyrus set Sans down gently and knelt in front of Frisk, tears in his eyes. "I'm sorry, human! I should have stayed with you!"

She tried to smile reassuringly and gave him a hug. "Hey, you didn't know. Plus, that spaghetti you packed for me saved my butt. I'm okay now."

"What happened here, kid?" Sans asked as Papyrus gently lifted Frisk's shirt and checked the wound to make sure it had healed all the way. It had closed but still looked inflamed, so Papyrus sent more healing magic into it to accelerate the healing and prevent infection.

Frisk thanked Papyrus softly before turning to Sans. "Undyne found me waiting here. I tried to reason with her...but it kind of didn't work out too well. She attacked me, but that little monster kid who really likes Undyne came running up, thinking we were sparring. I want to both thank him for saving my ass and yell at him for almost turning himself into a pincushion. Thankfully, he wasn't hurt. Undyne dragged him off, probably to tell him I'm an evil, awful human that needs to be destroyed." Frisk laughed a little bitterly at this and Papyrus could see the hurt in her eyes.

He hugged her, tears in his own eyes, then helped her to her feet. She was trying to act calm, but Papyrus could feel her shaking. He kept an arm wrapped around her. "Come, human. Let's get you back to Snowdin."

He led her off to Snowdin, Sans walking next to them. They had nearly reached their house when Papyrus spotted Undyne at the other end of town. She was facing a young lizard child, probably the kid the human had mentioned and had her arms crossed as she appeared to be scolding him. After a moment, he saw the child wander off with their head down. Papyrus quickly pushed his human friend behind one of the buildings before Undyne could see.

"Hey!" she protested.

"Stay here. As soon as we're out of sight, go to our house. We'll meet you there as soon as we make Undyne see sense." Papyrus told her quietly, then ran off. He looked for Sans, but Sans wasn't behind him. He quickly looked ahead and saw his brother talking to Undyne.

...

"Hey, 'Dyne." Sans said casually as he walked up to the fish woman. "Whatcha up to?"

Undyne glared up him. "You know what I'm up to."

Sans looked her up and down. "Yeah, I'd say you're up to 5'11." he joked.

"Sans, this isn't the time for your stupid jokes! You know what I need to do!"

"You need to leave the human alone." Sans told her, turning serious. His left eye flashed with bright blue magic. "I've had it up to here with this shit. The kid's innocent and you made my brother CRY. If Chara and Asriel were here, they'd be disappointed in you."

"That is NOT Chara!" Undyne yelled. "Chara wanted monsters free as much as the rest of us! So did Asriel! I know you miss them, but you can't fucking bring Chara back by protecting some human that happens to look like her!"

"This doesn't have anything to do with her looking like Chara! I wouldn't protect someone just because they look like someone I loved!" Sans growled. "This has to do with you trying to MURDER an innocent kid! A kid who happens to be my brother's friend! Do you know how much it's going to destroy him if his friend is murdered by the hands of his own best friend?!" Sans clenched his fists but forced himself to calm down before he sent a bone attack at Undyne. "I'm not letting Paps go through what I did."

Before Undyne could even answer, Papyrus rushed up to them. "Undyne! I need to talk to you!"

"Papyrus, let me do my fucking job!" Undyne yelled at him.

Sans glared at her. "Don't swear at my brother!"

"Sans, I've heard people swear before. I'm not a baby bones! Undyne, you're acting like a crazy person!" Papyrus told them both before turning to Undyne. "The human hasn't done anything wrong. And the Undyne I know would never murder an innocent person! You need to stop this. I know you and the human can be friends if you give her a chance!"

"She and I will NEVER be friends! You two are standing in the way of everyone's hopes and dreams! Now tell me where you're hiding her!"

"I was once told monsters were made of love and compassion." Papyrus said softly. "That we would never hurt others the way humans were said to. So why are you willing to take the life of my friend? I may not be a Judge like Sans, but I know the human holds love in her soul, not levels of violence. She has no dust on her hands. She's been friendly and kind to those she encounters. She doesn't deserve to die! And I'm not letting you kill her!" For just a second, Papyrus's eyes flashed orange.

Undyne glared at him. "Papyrus, move aside."

He held firm. "No."

...

Frisk waited quietly in her hiding spot but was growing more anxious. "What if they get hurt?"

"Undyne's not going to hurt Sans and Papyrus." Chara told her, but Frisk could hear the slight uncertainty in her friend's voice. She knew the fight with Undyne had really shaken the ghost girl's faith in someone who had once been a dear friend.

Frisk cautiously stepped out to take a look. She saw Sans, Undyne, and Papyrus a distance away, too far to really see their expressions, but it looked like they were arguing, which made her more worried.

What if they get arrested for treason or something? she thought, her heart beating rapidly at the thought of her friends in danger. I need to fight my own battles. I can't let Sans and Papyrus get hurt because of me.

"Frisk, you might cause a bigger fight if you just walk up."Chara cautioned her, making her pause as she started to walk towards the confrontation, following the river in Snowdin.

"So what do I do? I can't just stand here and let Sans and Papyrus get in trouble or worse because they're protecting me!"

Before Chara could answer or even think of something, a soft voice interrupted them.

"Yo." Monster Kid shuffled up to them, shuffling his scaly feet as he looked more at the ground than at Frisk. "I'm not supposed to talk to you...but I..I wanna ask you something..."

Frisk's heart sunk, knowing what he was going to ask her even before he spoke.

He finally looked at her as he let out a laugh that sounded sad. "Man...I've never had to ask anyone this before...Umm...Yo...You're human, right?"

Frisk looked down at the snow. "Yes."

"Haha...Man! I knew it! ...Well, I know it now. I mean...Undyne told me, um, "stay away from that human," and well, not to get in the middle of one of her fights... So, like, ummm...I guess that makes us enemies or something. But I kind of stink at that, haha. Yo, say something mean so I can hate you? Please?" He looked at her with tears in his eyes.

"I'm not going to say something mean to you. I...I don't want to be enemies. I want to be friends. Please...just because I'm human, it doesn't mean I'm bad." Frisk said softly.

Monster Kid turned his head away, probably so Frisk wouldn't see the tears in his eyes. "You're being too nice! You're, um, supposed to be my enemy...Yo, so I have to do it? Here goes nothing..." He gave her his best imitation of a glare, which wasn't a very good one. "Yo, I...hate your guts..."

Frisk knew he didn't mean it in the slightest, but it still didn't stop the ache in her soul. She looked at the ground.

He sighed softly. "Man, I...I'm such a turd. I'm-I'm gonna go home now..." He walked away.

Chara tried to place a gentle hand on Frisk's shoulder but it just went through her. "Frisk, he didn't mean that."

"I know." Frisk said softly as she watched MK go. But the young lizard had only gone a few feet before he suddenly tripped.

He screamed as he tumbled down an embankment, falling into the river below with a loud splash.

...

Undyne glared at Papyrus, trying another tactic. "Papyrus, if you don't move out of my way, you won't ever be in the Royal Guard!"

He flinched but didn't move. "I'm doing what a Royal Guard does, Undyne. I'm protecting an innocent person from someone trying to kill them, and trying to keep you from doing something you're going to regret for the rest of your life. I know you want to free everyone and avenge the people Yellow Soul killed, but this isn't the way! This isn't justice, Undyne, it's vengeance! She's not Yellow Soul! She's a good person! And you are too! Just listen to me! If you do this...if you kill her...I'll lose two friends today." Tears filled his sockets. "I know you think I'm naive, and maybe I am, but I'm not stupid. I've read books on the war in the Libarby. I know what LV does. If you take the life of an innocent person, especially knowing she's innocent...It could destroy you." He let out a soft sob. "Undyne...please...don't do this. Don't kill her...I can't lose anyone else..."

Undyne's eye softened at Papyrus's tears. "Papyrus..." she started to say, then was cut off by a distant scream. All three of them rushed towards the sound.

...

Frisk gasped and rushed towards the river. She knew he wouldn't be able to stay afloat long without arms and the current was rapid. He was just a little kid; she couldn't let him die!

"Help!" he screamed as his head broke the surface.

Frisk thought quickly. She couldn't swim, so if she jumped in, they'd both drown. She quickly ran along the riverbank as the current carried him away, looking for something to pull him out with. She spotted a thick branch and grabbed it, racing towards him as he managed to surface again, coughing. "Bite down on this!" she called out to him. "I'll pull you ashore!"

With all his strength, he pushed himself upwards and bit down on the branch. Frisk pulled, also trying to lift it high enough that she could keep his head above water, her arm muscles practically screaming in pain as she dragged him towards shore as quickly as she could, fighting the current. She was quickly growing exhausted, but refused to give up.

She was determined to save him.

A surge of adrenaline filled her as she pulled him towards the bank, where she reached down and grabbed hold of his shirt, pulling him up.

Then the snow under her feet caved in and she started to fall. Somehow, with what remained of her strength, she managed to grab Monster Kid and literally throw him to safety before plunging into the icy cold water. The last thing she heard was Chara screaming.

...

Undyne ran towards the river where she had heard the scream, barely noting that Sans and Papyrus were following her and other monsters who had heard the screams were rushing from their homes. As she expected, the human was there, and running along the river bank, holding out a branch like a weapon.

Damnmit! She knew she shouldn't have believed Papyrus! She started to summon a spear as she rushed forward, then heard the human yelling to someone to bite down on the branch so she could pull them ashore. Undyne's spear immediately vanished as she saw the child being dragged by the current. Thankfully he managed to bite down on the branch.

By the time she reached them, the human had pulled the young monster child to the edge of the river and was lifting him out when the bank gave way beneath them. The human grabbed hold of the child and threw them onto the bank before falling into the river themselves.

Papyrus screamed and was clearly about to dive in but Undyne, her hero instinct taking over, beat him to it.

...

The icy water hit Frisk like a punch to the stomach. She gasped automatically and the freezing water flooded er mouth, choking and burning. She thrashed helplessly, but couldn't reach the surface.

Then someone grabbed her arm roughly and she was yanked out of the water and pulled into her rescuer's arms. She coughed weakly and her rescuer slapped her back hard, causing her to cough up the water she had inhaled. She gasped for air greedily and turned to look at her savior, shivering violently.

It was Undyne.

Undyne...saved me?

"T-Thanks, U-Undyne." Frisk managed to say, her teeth chattering. Undyne looked down at her with an expression that was almost blank. Frisk wanted to curl in on herself, not sure what Undyne was going to do to her now. Would she kill her? Drop her back in the river? Take her to Asgore?

"Y-Yo...U-Undyne...D-Don't h-hurt m-my f-friend! S-She s-saved m-me!" she then heard Monster Kid cry out. She turned to look at him. He was sitting on the bank near Sans, who had taken off his hoodie and wrapped it around the shivering child. Papyrus was there as well, looking at Undyne pleadingly but also gratefully. Other monsters were rushing over to see what was happening, some Frisk recognized from her journey, like Grillby, and some she didn't. She could hear a lot of concerned murmuring, including Chara, who was next to her, asking if she was okay.

Undyne looked at MK and the other surrounding monsters, then looked down at Frisk. Her expression was still unreadable but something in her eye had softened, making her look much more like the Undyne from Chara's memories. "Don't make me regret this, kid." she growled, but without venom and then shoved Frisk into Papyrus's arms before walking away.

Papyrus immediately wrapped his arms around Frisk and she snuggled close, unable to stop shivering. Papyrus held her close, trying to keep her warm and wrapped his scarf around her. Monsters surrounded them and MK, asking concerned questions and trying to help.

She felt a warm heat surrounding her and turned to see Grillby. Fire was coming from his hands, one held out towards her and one towards MK and flames gently surrounded them, steaming the water out of their clothes but somehow not burning them.

"Bring them into the restaurant. I'll fix them some hot soup and hot chocolate." Grillby suggested.

...

A little while later, sipping chicken noodle soup and hot chocolate in Grillby's and sitting comfortably between Papyrus and MK, Frisk finally felt warm. MK had recovered quickly as well and was happily chattering to everyone he saw about the river rescue, causing monsters to look over at Frisk with some even coming over to tell her she did a good job. Frisk was overwhelmed, but she also had to admit it felt good to have people like her and see her as Frisk the hero, not Frisk the juvenile delinquent who was good for nothing and would amount to about the same.

The positive attention made her feel as warm as the hot chocolate and soup did, as did Papyrus's arm being around her. Not that she would ever admit the latter to Chara or risk a lifetime of teasing.

The door to Grillby's slammed open and someone rushed in. It was a yellow lizard monster who looked similar to MK. They looked like a teenager and were wearing a pink tank top, a jean skirt, and had tiny arms that looked like those of a T-rex. Frisk guessed that they were family of Monster Kid.

"I got a call that said you fell into the river! What were you thinking, Xander?!" the older monster scolded him as she rushed up to Monster Kid. Frisk was glad to finally know his name rather than needing to refer to him as Monster Kid or MK in her head, which felt kind of awkward. Then again, most monsters did know her as "Human," as she was somehow interrupted every time she tried to introduce herself...

"I'm sorry, Sis. I tripped." Xander apologized, tucking his tail in sheepishly. "But the h...I mean, my friend saved me!"

The monster girl looked to Frisk. "Thanks for saving him. It's nice to meet you. I'm Emily."

"I'm..." Just then, a bunny who was carrying a burger, fries and drink to her table stumbled drunkenly and fell, dropping her plate and glass to the ground, cutting off Frisk's attempt at introducing herself and causing everyone to turn to her.

"I'm pretty sure my name is cursed." Frisk muttered telepathically to Chara as she excused herself and followed Papyrus, who had quickly jumped up when he heard the crash and was helping Drunk Bunny up and guiding her to a seat. Emily and a few others came to help as well.

"Hey, are you okay?" Emily suddenly asked Frisk as Frisk reached out to pick up a piece of broken plate.

"Huh?" Frisk asked, then realized Emily was looking at The ragged hole and bloodstains on her shirt. "Oh, that? I'm fine. Papyrus fixed it right up." she said with a smile, trying to sound cool and tough.

Emily looked a little worried, but then nodded. "Hey...my family runs a clothing store in Snowdin. Why don't you stop by? I'll hook you up with the Royal Guard discount."

Frisk was grateful and thanked her, knowing her clothes wouldn't hold up much longer in the condition they were in. And she could pick up new clothes for Tina too, and a gift for Sans and Papyrus to thank them for everything they had done. For once, she had money in her pocket and could do things for the people she cared about.

"Hey, no problem. It's the least I can do since you saved my dorky little brother." Emily said, smiling. She gave Frisk the address of the clothing store. "I gotta take Xander home. Mom and Dad are probably worried sick. Feel free to stop by anytime."

"I will. Thanks." Frisk told her. Emily smiled and headed off.

"Bye!" Xander called to Frisk. He hung Sans's hoodie back on Sans' chair before he left.

Frisk grinned and waved goodbye to both of them, then turned back to Papyrus. Grillby was sweeping the pieces of broken glass into a dustpan and gently waved her and Papyrus off when they tried to help.

The two headed back to their seats. Papyrus shook his head lightly when he spotted Sans fast asleep with his head resting on his plate of fries. "THAT LAZYBONES..." he sighed, though his voice was fond. He gently scooped Sans up in one arm. Still sleeping, Sans snuggled up, hanging on like a koala with his arms and legs wrapped around his brother and his head on Papyrus's shoulder. Chara squealed at the cute sight and Frisk smiled widely, wishing she had a camera.

"READY TO GO HOME, HUMAN?" Papyrus asked. Frisk nodded, hiding a yawn. Part of her wanted to keep going, but the caverns were growing dark and she was completely exhausted and she knew Sans and maybe even Papyrus were as well. She felt guilty for making her sister wait another day though.

"Frisk, it's okay to rest. Plus, you don't want to walk off a cliff or something in the dark." Chara reassured her.

Frisk felt a little less guilty at her decision to rest now and gave a mental nod to Chara as she followed Papyrus out of Grillby's. The tall skeleton smiled at her and took her hand in his free one as they headed to his house, making her blush.

Chara giggled at her expression. "Frisk and Papyrus, sitting in a tree..."

"Shut up, Chara." Frisk muttered, but she couldn't help but smile.

Things were looking up. Tomorrow would be a better day and she'd see her sister soon, bearing food, clothing, and if she played her cards right, a new family.

Chapter Text

 

Trigger warning for graphic violence in the scene ahead.

...

The human stood there, her brown hair shining gold under a spotlight. She was smiling at first, talking to someone he couldn't see.

But for some reason, he felt dread overcome him.

The human's expression then became frustrated. Her mouth opened, but he couldn't hear what she was saying, or see who she was talking to. Her eyes then widened, her expression turning to disbelief. She opened her mouth, pleading with someone.

Strange lights flashed around her. She tried to dodge. He still couldn't hear what she was saying, but he knew she was afraid. He tried to rush to help her, to defend her from whatever was terrorizing her.

But for some reason he couldn't get close, couldn't get to her.

A bolt of light hit her leg. She let out a soundless scream as she fell, the light burning a gaping hole in her leg. The skin around it was burned black, white bone showing through the hole.

He wanted to scream. But he couldn't. He couldn't move to save her.

He couldn't do anything.

She struggled to get up but couldn't in time as another bolt of light headed straight for her chest. She was sent flying back at the sheer impact.

Somehow he was in front of her now. He tried to rush forward and heal her, tried to beg her to hold on, but he couldn't move. He couldn't speak.

Glassy brown eyes stared at him accusingly as she crumpled to the ground like a puppet whose strings had been cut, her chest blown apart. Her bright red soul began floating out of her body.

He could finally move, stretching a hand towards the beautiful glow of her soul.

But it wasn't his hand, but someone else's, slender and white gloved, almost looking human.

But before he, or whoever this was, could reach the soul, the room turned pitch black.

The human's soul floated, the only thing visible in the blackness. It cracked down the middle, the essence of her spirit then shattering.

He screamed. He thought he heard someone else, a girl, screaming too.

The last thing he saw before everything faded away was a golden star appearing from the blackness.

...

Papyrus gasped as he jolted to a sitting position. He looked around frantically.

He was in his room, in his racecar bed, his blankets thrown into a pile on the floor.

He was home.

"It was all a bad dream." he tried to reassure himself, his voice sounding strangely loud in the silence of his room even though he was speaking quietly. His soul pounded in his skull as he tried to calm down.

He quietly got up and left the room. He had to check on his brother and the human, just in case.

Sans's door was closed, magic flowing under it as normal, locking all but Sans and himself out. He very quietly opened it.

Sans was sleeping peacefully, his arms wrapped around a ball of blankets. He was snoring softly and twitching occasionally, but seemed content. Papyrus quietly shut the door, not wanting to wake him, then crept downstairs to check on the human.

Like Sans, she was peacefully asleep, curled up on the couch under the warm quilt he had given her, her breathing soft and even with the occasional tiny little snore.

She was safe and alive.

But just to be sure, he Checked her.

The Human

HP 20/20

AT: 10

DF: 10

Your friend. She feels safe here.

He sighed in relief. She was completely fine.

He returned to his room, grabbing the blankets he had knocked to the floor and carefully making his bed, the task soothing him a little. But he knew he wouldn't be sleeping the rest of the night, not with that terrible dream.

He picked up the hoodie he had started making for Sans as well as his sewing supplies and returned to the living room, wanting to stay by his friend. He perched on the couch beside her, careful not to sit on her feet and looked to her again before turning the TV on to one of Mettaton's late night movies, keeping it on mute so it wouldn't wake the human, pulling the hoodie onto his lap and threading the needle.

He carefully began stitching a defensive rune into the inside of one of the pockets, remembering the day Asgore had taught him to do it. He had been just a young teenager at the time and had been extremely worried about his brother's HP, which had dropped after their father had fallen into the void, though it had been much better than it was now. He had been struggling to do it while sitting on a park bench when Asgore had spotted him. Noticing his frustration, the king had approached him and kindly asked him if he needed help. When Papyrus explained what he was doing to Asgore, Asgore had smiled and sat down next to him, patiently showing him how to stitch the rune and then how to activate it, taking the time out of his day just to help Papyrus.

King Asgore was one of the kindest people he had ever met. He was always helping others; coming to schools to give lessons, greeting shopkeepers and purchasing their wares to bring attention to them, being Santa for the children at Gyftmas and offering everyone he met a kind word and help to those who needed it. His throne room was always unlocked for visitors and a pot of tea was always ready for anyone who wanted to talk.

So how could Asgore be capable of killing innocent people like Flowey had clearly implied?

Papyrus wasn't completely clueless; he knew Asgore had killed Yellow Soul, but, though Papyrus didn't like it, it had had been purely to save Undyne and the monsters in Snowdin, so Papyrus understood that. But seven coffins hidden in a basement and an order out to kill his gentle human friend, who hadn't harmed a soul?

How could Asgore, who was even by Papyrus' standards a big fluffy pushover, be able to look at an innocent person and take their life?

Flowey had to have misunderstood!

But Undyne had also told Papyrus that his friend's soul had to be taken to free everyone, until the moment that she realized the human was truly a good person.

Maybe the king was so desperate to free everyone that...

Papyrus didn't even realize that he was shaking or that the human was stirring until she spoke.

...

Frisk woke, feeling like the couch was vibrating. She opened her eyes, seeing Papyrus sitting at the edge of the couch, right by her feet.

The skeleton had switched out his battle body for a cozy looking red sweater and black lounge pants. The TV was on some strange movie with a robot that looked like a box on a wheel and Papyrus had a blue hoodie on his lap and a sewing needle in his hand, but he was paying no attention to either of these things. Instead he was staring ahead blankly like he was deep in thought, and he was shaking.

She sat up, looking at him in concern. Chara, who was sitting next to her, did as well. "Papyrus?"

He jumped at the sound of her voice before turning to her. "OH! I'M SORRY I WOKE YOU, HUMAN!"

"It's fine. Are you okay?" she asked, very worried. Chara frowned in worry as well. The ghost tried to put a hand on his shoulder but it went right through him. He shivered a bit but didn't seem to notice it otherwise.

He smiled, though it didn't reach his sockets. "OF COURSE, MY FRIEND! THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS ALWAYS ALL RIGHT!"

Frisk arched an eyebrow as she scooted closer. "Want to tell me something with a little less bull crap?" She then was slightly worried she had hurt him.

He did jolt in surprise but almost seemed to feel better when she asked this. He moved closer. "I had a little bit of a bad dream." he admitted softly. He then smiled again, but Frisk could tell it was faked. "But don't worry, human! The Great Papyrus is not bothered by something as insignificant as a nightmare!"

Frisk frowned, not believing him. "It's okay not to always be okay. Do you want to talk about it?"

Again he looked at her in surprise but then shook his head.

"Are you sure?"

"To be honest, human, I'd rather forget about it. Can we just...enjoy each other's company for a little while?" he asked very softly.

She backed down immediately. "Of course. I'm sorry for pushing."

"Don't be sorry, human! You were just being a caring friend." he reassured her.

She felt a little better at this. "What would you like to do?"

Papyrus thought for a moment. Then his eyes lit up as he had an idea.

...

After raiding the fridge for Nice Cream(though half of Frisk's serving went into her bag rather than in her when she thought Papyrus wasn't looking), they played Truth Or Dare. So far, Papyrus had dared Frisk to walk from the stairs to the kitchen without stepping on the floor(she fell and Chara laughed), Frisk had dared Papyrus to make a hat out of toilet paper and wear it for the rest of the game(she was pretty impressed by the intricate three corner hat he had made) and Papyrus then dared her to draw a mustache on Sans while he slept. She playfully glared at him but went with him to do it. He opened Sans's door for her and watched as she crept into the room and very carefully and softly drew the mustache on Sans, careful not to wake him, then tiptoed back out to Papyrus. Chara was laughing the whole time.

"He's going to kill me." she sighed as they made their way back downstairs.

"NONSENSE! FOR ONE THING, MY LAZYBONES BROTHER COULD SLEEP THROUGH AN EARTHQUAKE. AND SECOND, HE LOVES PRANKS! HE KEEPS PULLING THE "WHOOPIE CUSHION ON THE SEAT" PRANK AT ME AT GRILLBY'S."

"Typical Sans." Chara said with a laugh.

"Oh, I see how it is! You're using me to try to get him back." she teased.

"NYEH HEH HEH! THE GREAT PAPYRUS HAS ALWAYS BEEN EXCELLENT AT JAPES!" Papyrus told with a huge grin. He sat down on the living room floor and Frisk sat next to him. "IT'S YOUR TURN, HUMAN!"

"Okay Papyrus, truth or dare?"

"EH, I'LL TAKE A WALK ON THE MILD SIDE AND DO TRUTH THIS TIME." Papyrus said.

Frisk giggled at the pun. "All right then. So tell me Papyrus, did you deliberately sabotage your own electricity puzzle by stepping in the mud to help me?"

Papyrus averted his gaze. "WHY WOULD THE GREAT PAPYRUS PLAY UNFAIR ON ANY OF HIS PUZZLES?"

She fixed him with a stare that said she wasn't falling for any of his bull crap. "Papyrus..."

"...YES." he admitted. "THAT PUZZLE HURT. AND THOUGH I DID TURN IT DOWN AFTER I GOT ZAPPED, I WAS WORRIED IT STILL MIGHT HURT, AND YOU LOOKED SCARED...AND...EVEN IF MY METHODS WEREN'T CONDUCTIVE TO CAPTURING YOU...I JUST COULDN'T HURT YOU, HUMAN!"

Frisk hugged him. "Thank you. You know, this makes me like you even more. Even when we weren't friends, you were looking out for me."

He was happy to hug her back, a slight blush on his face at the compliment. "WELL, THE GREAT PAPYRUS DOES STRIVE TO BE COMFORTING AND PLEASANT."

She smiled at him. "And he succeeds at it."

"Flirting again, Frisk?"

"Shut up, it was a genuine compliment."

He blushed a bit more and almost looked bashful. "THANK YOU, HUMAN. SO, TRUTH OR DARE?"

"Eh, I'll go with Truth too."

"WHAT DID YOU THINK OF ME WHEN WE FIRST MET? BE HONEST."

"She was in looove with you."

She laughed sheepishly, ignoring Chara. "Well, when we first met, before we had talked or anything, I was kind of scared of you." she admitted softly. He started to look worried. "It wasn't anything you did wrong. Heck, you didn't even know I was there. Sans had just told me that you were a human-hunting fanatic, then had me hide behind that weirdly shaped lamp when he saw you coming, so I had no clue what was going to happen. Of course, when I actually met you and got to know you, I realized how sweet you were."

"You're still flirting."

"Am not!"

Papyrus smiles at this, feeling a little better. "I'M GLAD YOU FEEL SAFE AROUND ME, HUMAN." He then looked a little embarrassed. "SO THAT WAS YOU BEHIND THE LAMP? I THOUGHT SANS WAS TRYING TO TRICK ME INTO HAVING ANOTHER PAINT BOMB EXPLODE IN MY FACE AGAIN. I WALKED AROUND WITH A PINK SKULL FOR DAYS AFTER THAT..."

Frisk giggled. "I remember you saying that he kept pranking you with it."

Papyrus nodded. 'HE ALSO PAINTED IT TO LOOK LIKE A HUMAN AND STUCK IT IN OUR GARAGE FOR ME TO FIND. WHEN I SAW IT IN THE DARK, i THOUGHT IT WAS A HUMAN AND CALLED UP UNDYNE...SHE WAS NOT TOO HAPPY ABOUT BEING WOKEN UP AT THREE IN THE MORNING FOR A PRANK."

"I can imagine."

"BUT I GOT REVENGE ON SANS BY SWITCHING OUT ALL HIS CLOTHES FOR A PINK CLOWN COSTUME AND HE HAD TO WEAR IT TO WORK FOR THE WHOLE ENTIRE DAY! NYEH HEH HEH!"

Frisk burst out laughing. "That's awesome!"

Chara giggled as well. "I would PAY to see a picture of that!"

And she got her wish without even having to pay for it as Papyrus triumphantly pulled out his phone and showed Frisk a picture of a slightly embarrassed but smiling Sans in a light pink clown costume with darker pink spots, which made both Frisk and Chara laugh even harder, though Papyrus could only hear Frisk. He joined them in laughter though they did try to calm down after a few minutes so they wouldn't wake up Sans.

Once they settled down enough, Frisk asked, "Papyrus, truth or dare?"

"TRUTH."

"Hmm..." she tried to think of what she most wanted to ask him. Then she remembered something. "That special attack that that annoying dog stole, what was it? I'm really curious."

Papyrus grinned widely at this question. "I DID FINALLY GET MY BONE BACK FROM THE ANNOYING DOG! LET'S GO OUTSIDE SO I CAN SHOW YOU!"

...

Papyrus gave Frisk one of Sans's jackets and a pair of mittens to wear and happily lead her outside into their backyard, turning on the porch light as he did and also planting some glowing blue bones into the ground to give them some additional light. He looked around for the Annoying Dog just in case, then sighed in relief when he saw the troublesome canine wasn't there. "GET YOURSELF READY, HUMAN!" He summoned a bone and tossed it straight up into the air before concentrating, closing his sockets. A bright light surrounded the bone and a shape formed around it.

It was another dragon skull very similar to the one Sans had, though was slightly bigger and its eyes glowed orange in the darkness as it caught the bone in its massive mouth. It turned to Papyrus like it was awaiting orders.

"Whoa! I didn't know Papyrus knew how to summon Gaster Blasters too!" Chara asked. Frisk was about to ask her what the heck that was when Papyrus started speaking again.

"HYPERION, I'D LIKE YOU TO MEET THE HUMAN. NOW BE NICE. DON'T BE MEAN TO HER LIKE YOU WERE TO FLOWEY." Papyrus told it gently but sternly.

Hyperion turned towards Frisk, its glowing eyes meeting hers. Then it suddenly dropped the bone and charged at her.

"STOP!" Papyrus ordered but was ignored. He ran to stop the skull but it was faster.

Unable to dodge in time, Frisk braced herself to be blasted in the face like Sans's skull thing had done to Flowey.

But she had nothing to fear.

The blaster stopped right in front of her and opened its mouth, but instead of a blast, a glowing tongue shot out and licked her right in the face, much like a dog would. Seeing she was scared, it then nuzzled her and playfully nudged her, panting happily.

"PHEW. THAT'S A GOOD GASTER BLASTER!" Papyrus praised Hyperion as he approached them. Hyperion was now flying happy circles around Frisk.

"Gaster Blaster?" Frisk asked as she reached out and petted the happy blaster, who nuzzled her hand.

"OUR DAD CREATED THEM AND TAUGHT SANS HOW TO AS WELL, AND SANS TAUGHT ME. DAD SAID THAT THEY'RE SEMI-SENTIENT MANIFESTATIONS OF OUR MAGIC."

"So that's why he's so sweet." Frisk said with a smile.

Chara nodded. "Those guys are total marshmallows when they're not in battle. Sans and I used to play fetch with his Gaster Blaster." Frisk caught a few flashes of memories of Chara and a laughing young Sans throwing a bone for the very dragon skull she had seen with Sans.

"HE MUST REALLY LIKE YOU. HE LIKES SANS, EVEN THOUGH HE ALSO LIKES TO ANNOY HIM, AND HE DOES LIKE UNDYNE, BUT I'VE NEVER SEEN HIM BE THIS AFFECTIONATE THIS QUICK WITH SOMEONE NEW." Papyrus admitted. "AND I CAN'T GET HIM TO BE NICE TO FLOWEY."

"I don't blame him." Frisk muttered.

"Neither do I." Chara agreed. "Papyrus, you really need to listen to your blaster."

"DON'T WORRY, HUMAN! I KNOW YOU AND FLOWEY GOT OFF ON THE WRONG FOOT BUT HE IS REALLY SORRY. HE JUST HAS A LOT OF TROUBLE SHOWING ANY POSITIVE FEELINGS." Papyrus explained. Both Frisk and Hyperion showed the same look of "But I still don't trust him." so Papyrus decided not to push any further. Flowey had hurt the human and scared his brother, so Papyrus understood that it would probably take a long while for either of them to trust him and that Flowey would need to earn their trust himself.

Hyperion flew around Frisk again and nuzzled her, then nudged her a little too hard and knocked her into Papyrus, nearly making him fall on the ground as he caught her.

"HYPERION, BE GENTLE WITH THE HUMAN! YOU DON'T WANT TO HURT HER!" Papyrus told his Gaster Blaster as he helped Frisk up. Hyperion made an apologetic whirring noise at the last part but still seemed to be mighty pleased with himself.

They played with Hyperion for a little bit, then Frisk started to shiver from the cold. Papyrus wrapped an arm around her and led her towards the house, Hyperion floating behind them.

Suddenly Hyperion started to growl loudly at a bush by the house, moving between it and Frisk protectively. It opened its mouth and suddenly blasted the bush with a huge beam of light, making both Papyrus and Frisk jump.

"Hyperion, what's wrong?" Papyrus asked softly. His blaster just growled at the bush. Making Frisk stay back, Papyrus checked behind and under it.

Nothing.

Looking around and seeing absolutely nothing amiss, Papyrus shrugged it off, and praised Hyperion for protecting the human from whatever the scary thing was before leading the two of them inside.

After they went inside, a grumbling Flowey appeared a short distance from the house, nursing his scorched petals. It looked like he wasn't getting any more information on the human tonight. Not until Papyrus recalled that dumb blaster.

...

Once inside, Papyrus recalled Hyperion back to where he came from. It took a lot of energy to keep a Blaster in the real world for long, plus Hyperion loved to knock breakable things off shelves on purpose and eat Sans's socks, which caused Sans to call the blaster a "psychotic asshole cat."

He also asked Frisk not to tell Sans he had sworn after he told her about this. She giggled and agreed, then told him he could even say "Fuck," if he wanted and that she'd never tell.

He didn't, but he liked her even more for this.

They settled on the couch and Papyrus put on one of Mettaton's movies for Frisk. She enjoyed it, but the early hour soon caught up to her. Her eyes began sliding shut and she started leaning against Papyrus. After a few minutes, she realized what she was doing and apologized and started to sit up.

He put an arm around her to show her that she could stay there. "DO NOT WORRY, HUMAN! I DON'T MIND IF YOU SLEEP ON MY SHOULDER! SKELETONS ARE KNOWN TO BE VERY CUDDLY CREATURES!"

She relaxed at this and leaned back against him with a soft thanks, falling asleep after only a few seconds with a soft smile on her face.

Papyrus smiled softly at how peaceful she looked and relaxed into the couch, keeping an arm around the human. He hadn't thought he would be able to sleep at all, but the human felt nice and warm like a hot water bottle and...

"Zzzzzzz..."

...

It was around 6:30 when Sans woke up, a little early for him, but eh, he could sleep more later at his post. He looked at himself in the mirror and saw the sharpie mustache. He chuckled. Unbeknownst to the human and Papyrus, he had heard them and pretended to sleep, letting the human draw it on him. Neither of the two had been exactly quiet after all, but he decided to throw them a bone and let them think they'd gotten away with it.

Plus, he'd get them back. He was the master of pranks, after all.

He headed downstairs for breakfast and caught sight of the human and Papyrus. They had fallen asleep on the couch together, with Papyrus's arm around the human and her head on his chest.

It was so cute he grabbed his phone and snapped a photo to send to Alphys and Undyne. He then smirked and grabbed the marker Frisk had used and drew mustaches as well as goofy glasses on both of them, so softly they didn't didn't even stir. He then got in front of them and took a photo of the three of them. This would be perfect for his Undernet account.

He chuckled as he went into the kitchen. He swore he heard a familiar giggle, but when he looked behind him, the human and Papyrus were still fast asleep and no one else was around.

And the giggle sounded like Chara.

For a split second, he thought he saw her, sitting beside the human and his brother and smiling, that beautiful smile that appeared whenever he made her laugh. He gasped and rubbed his eyes.

When he looked again, she wasn't there. An ache filled his soul.

Chara's dead. She's not coming back. You need to freaking accept that. he thought to himself as he poured a mug of ketchup, adding a tiny bit of vodka. Maybe this would make him stop seeing things that weren't there.

Papyrus woke a few minutes later, and so did the human.

The resulting "SANS!" from Papyrus and the human's giggles when they caught sight of his prank drove some of the pain from his soul, enough to let him smile again.

...

After Papyrus scolded his brother(though it was playful with no real anger), the three of them cleaned up and Papyrus made waffles while Frisk set the table for him and Sans napped like the lazybones he was.

It wasn't long before it was ready, and Papyrus set plates of golden brown waffles in front of Sans and Frisk. Frisk took a careful taste, wondering if it would taste like his spaghetti had.

Her eyes widened.

It was delicious, fluffy and soft with a hint of cinnamon. And like the spaghetti, it had a warm, magical tingle, perking her up and making her feel better.

"Papyrus, this is the best thing I've ever had in my life." Frisk told him as she devoured her first waffle, though the second went immediately into her bag when she thought Sans and Papyrus weren't looking so she could give it to Tina when she got home. Her little sister would absolutely love it, and it would be good to have healing food around.

She smiled at the collection of food in her bag. She had meals for Tina for several days if rationed properly, as well as a good amount of gold that might be worth a lot on the surface.

Now she just needed to figure out if she could make her plan work so she could give Tina, and her monster friends, a much better life.

A curious Chara was about to ask her about her plan, and Frisk was about to tell her when they were cut off by Papyrus's cell phone buzzing as he recieved a text. He checked it, then grinned widely. "UNDYNE AND I HAVE OUR COOKING LESSON THIS MORNING! YOU SHOULD COME, HUMAN! IT'S THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU AND HER TO BECOME GREAT FRIENDS!" Papyrus told Frisk.

"Papyrus, she still hates me. She's not going to want me there." Frisk pointed out.

"HUMAN, UNDYNE DOESN'T HATE YOU! SHE KNOWS YOU'RE GOOD NOW." Papyrus reassured her. 'AND ONCE SHE SEES WHAT A GREAT FRIEND YOU ARE, SHE'LL LOVE YOU. I PROMISE." Frisk still seemed doubtful, so Papyrus took both her small hands into his. "It will be okay. She won't hurt you, and I have a plan to make the two of you great friends."

"I think it'll work." Chara told her.

Frisk thought it over. Undyne HAD saved her from the river after all and let her go. Though she was still a little afraid Undyne would turn her into a pin cushion, maybe it could work out. And for the plan forming in her mind to work, she needed Undyne to like or at least tolerate her, and to make sure Undyne wouldn't harm Tina.

"All right. I'll do it." she told Papyrus, filled with Determination.

Papyrus grinned widely.

...

On the way to Undyne's, Papyrus and Frisk stopped at the clothing store as Frisk's clothing was too ripped to keep her warm and probably only one more tear away from an indecent exposure charge. Emily greeted them warmly and helped them pick out things. Frisk was careful and frugal, but wanted to spoil her sister a little and picked out some outfits for Tina that she knew her little sister would love, along with underwear and socks for both of them.

When it came to herself, Frisk was more cheap and chose an ugly florescent yellow shirt covered in purple stripes, mostly because it was on the clearance rack for 1G.

"Eww. Girl, you don't want that. Puke yellow is SO not your color, and stripes are totally for kids. I should know. That's my dorky little brother's favorite thing to wear." Emily said as soon as she saw the shirt. "I can't believe Mom's still trying to sell that."

"Hey! Stripes are a classic style for all ages!" Chara protested, pointing to her own striped shirt. "But she has a point. Frisk, that shirt is hideous."

"It's not THAT bad." Frisk said, blushing in embarrassment. She had to agree that it was hideous, but it was cheap and it looked warm.

"You actually like that?" Emily asked, knowing Frisk actually didn't.

"Um..."

"Thought so. Here, try this. It's on sale too, and you rock blue." She pulled out a blue T-shirt with the same symbol that had been on Toriel's dress emblazoned on it in purple; a circle with wings hovering above three triangles.

"I like it. What's that symbol mean though?" Frisk asked as Emily handed her the shirt.

"That's the Delta Rune. The symbol of the monster kingdom." Emily explained. "It's supposed to represent this prophecy where an angel comes to either free everyone or kill everyone, depending on the interpretation. Personally, I think it's stupid and prophecies are a load of bull, but the symbol looks cool."

Frisk noticed that Chara looked upset about something while Emily told this story, but whenever she mentally asked, Chara shook her head, indicating that she didn't want to talk about it.

"It does look cool." Frisk agreed and Emily grinned before picking out a pair of black capris and a soft black cotton jacket for her, sending her to the fitting room to try everything on.

They fit well, though were kind of baggy, and were the softest, warmest clothes she had ever had in her life.

"Girl, that looks great on you." Emily said approvingly when Frisk came out.

"Yeah, you look like a true monster.' Chara told her, and Frisk knew that for Chara, it was the ultimate compliment.

Papyrus poked his head out from where he was examining jacket linings. "THAT LOOKS WONDERFUL ON YOU, HUMAN!"

Frisk froze for a second at his slip, her eyes widening.

Emily just chuckled. "Chill. I already knew. Xander told me. He can't exactly keep a secret, plus other monsters have mentioned that there's a human around, and you're the only new face here. And I don't care if you're human or a two headed alien. You saved my brother, so you're cool with me."

Frisk sighed in relief.

Emily gave her a reassuring smile. "Cheer up, girl. Everyone in Snowdin likes you and no one wants you dead, promise. You don't have to be scared." She handed Frisk a trash bag for her to toss her old clothing into as there was no saving it. "You can wear those new clothes out."

Frisk thanked her gratefully and looked around the store some more, wanting to pick out some gifts for Sans and Papyrus. She saw some fun novelty socks and picked them out for Sans, remembering Papyrus telling her that Sans collected them. She then went hunting for something Papyrus might like.

After a few minutes of searching the T-shirts, her eyes lit up. This would be perfect! But it needed a little something...

"Hey, Emily, do you have a fabric marker I could borrow?"

...

After Papyrus and Frisk had purchased everything they needed, thanked Emily for all her help, and said goodbye, they left the store, and Papyrus took Frisk to the Snowdin Dimensional Box. He explained to her how it worked and helped her get into the system so she could store her items and pick them up from the Dimensional Box located in New Home before she left. Frisk's eyes were wide. She had only ever heard of this in science fiction. She couldn't believe that you could actually create a pocket dimension in real life that you could pull up just by entering a special code into a weird box.

"I thought Asriel was putting me on when he first mentioned those." Chara admitted as Frisk loaded her bags into the box. "Magic's an amazing thing."

Frisk mentally agreed with Chara as she held out her last bag to Papyrus. "This one's for you and Sans."

Papyrus's eyes lit up as he took the bag and peeked inside. "YOU GOT US PRESENTS?! THANK YOU, HUMAN!" He bounced excitedly, looking like a kid on Christmas morning. "CAN I OPEN MINE NOW?"

Frisk nodded happily. "Yours is the big one. I got Sans some of those goofy novelty socks that don't match because you said he collected them."

'HE'LL LOVE THAT. AND LEAVE ONE ON THE FLOOR AND SWITCH THEM OUT EVERY WEEK, WHICH HE THINKS I DON'T NOTICE." Papyrus said with a soft laugh and took out his messily wrapped package. Frisk hadn't been able to find wrapping paper in the store, so she had simply bought a newspaper and wrapped Papyrus's gift in the puzzle section and Sans's in the comics.

Papyrus carefully unwrapped it, trying not to tear the newspaper, and gasped happily at what he saw.

Frisk had found a Super-Man T-shirt, bright blue with the large red S. Like he did with his own clothing, she had improved it with red fabric marker, and the shirt now read Super Papyrus.

Papyrus's sockets shone with happiness and he scooped Frisk up in his arms, hugging her tightly and twirling her around. "I LOVE IT!"

Frisk grinned and hugged him back happily. Chara slipped behind Papyrus and made exaggerated kissy faces at Frisk, making her laugh.

...

The two arrived at Undyne's house a little while later. Frisk took a deep breath, rather nervous.

"HERE, GIVE HER THIS! SHE LOVES THESE!" Papyrus told her, pulling a golden bone with a red ribbon tied around it in a bow. She nodded and took it, her hand shaking a little.

Chara saw this. "It's gonna be okay, Frisk.'

Papyrus noticed as well and lowered his voice. "Don't be scared, human. I have a plan." Papyrus told her quietly. "And I'd never let anything happen to you. Do you trust me?"

"Yes." she told him, and she meant it.

Papyrus gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. "Stand behind me." he instructed. She complied and he knocked on the door.

Undyne answered immediately. "Hey, Papyrus! Ready for your extra private, one on one training?"

"YOU BET I AM! AND I BROUGHT A FRIEND!" Papyrus said cheerfully, returning to his normal loud voice. He moved aside to show her Frisk.

Undyne stepped forward to greet her. "Hi, I don't think we've..." She paused as she recognized Frisk, and the three of them stared at each other awkwardly.

Undyne clenched her teeth and managed to force some politeness into her voice. "Why don't. You two. Come in?"

Papyrus smiled reassuringly to Frisk and guided her through the door as Undyne led them back inside. "HERE, UNDYNE! MY FRIEND BROUGHT A GIFT FOR YOU! ON HER OWN!" Frisk looked to Papyrus uncertainly, but handed the bone to him and he gave it to Undyne.

"Uh...thanks." Undyne said as she took it and it was clear she wasn't buying it. "I'll um, put it with the others." She walked over to her kitchen counter and opened the bottom drawer, where Frisk could see there was a bunch of red-ribboned golden bones, all identical to the one Frisk had just "given" her.

Papyrus gave Frisk an apologetic look when Undyne's back was turned, then gave Undyne his megawatt smile when she turned back to them.

"So are we ready to start?" Undyne asked, trying to smile but clenching her teeth so hard that Frisk thought they might break.

"WHOOPSY DOOPSY! I JUST REMEMBERED! I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!" Papyrus suddenly said, making both Frisk and Undyne give him a confused look. He gave Frisk's hand a quick squeeze, then ran across the room and dived out the window, crashing through the glass and sumersaulting away. Frisk could only stare at the window in shock.

"Oookay..." Chara said, weirded out.

Undyne stared at the window as well, but looked more annoyed than shocked. She then glared at Frisk.

Frisk swallowed, her throat dry. "Hi. I'm..."

'So why are YOU here?" Undyne demanded, yet again ignoring Frisk's attempt to introduce herself.

Her glare was burning through Frisk's skull. Frisk felt the walls closing in on her. It was hard to breathe. She wanted so badly to run out the door, to get away from Undyne, but she was afraid to turn her back. And she had promised Chara and Papyrus that she'd try. She swallowed again, hard enough that she thought Undyne could hear it. "I...I wanted to thank you for saving me, and..."

"Wait..I get it. You think I"m going to be friends with you, huh?" Undyne demanded, looking at Frisk like she thought she was the scum of the earth.

Chara looked down sadly, and Frisk felt her temper rise a little. What had she even done to deserve Undyne being a total dick to her? Even if Undyne HAD saved her, she still had tried to kill her first. "Well, I was hoping we could at least TRY for Papyrus's sake..."

"Really?! How delightful! I accept! Let us frolic in the fields of friendship!" Undyne said sarcastically. "NOT! Look, I can put up with you living, and I might have saved you, but you're still the enemy of everyone's hopes and dreams! If you weren't my houseguest, I'd beat you up right now! I will NEVER be your friend! Now get out of my house!"

Before Frisk could leave, or even say anything, Papyrus stuck his head through the window. "DANG. WHAT A SHAME. I THOUGHT UNDYNE COULD BE FRIENDS WITH YOU, BUT I GUESS...I OVERESTIMATED HER. SHE'S JUST NOT UP TO THE CHALLENGE!" He gave Frisk a quick wink when Undyne couldn't see.

Frisk was now worried, but Chara grinned. "Papyrus, you're a freaking genius!"

"Chara, what's going on?"

"Just wait. Three, two..."

Undyne's eye widened in shock and outrage. "What?! Challenge?! Papyrus, wait a second!" She went to the window, but Papyrus had already left. "Darn it...He thinks I can't be friends with you. Fuhuhu, what a joke!" Undyne said with a loud laugh. "I could make friends with a wimpy loser like you any day!"

"Well, you might want to start by NOT calling her a wimpy loser..." Chara said, rolling her eyes.

"I'll show him! Listen up, human! We're not just going to be friends. We're going to be BESTIES. I'll make you like me so much...you won't be able to think of anyone else! Fuhuhuhuhu, it's the PERFECT REVENGE!"

"Tell me about it." Frisk muttered to Chara. "Well, she changed her tune quickly."

"She's super competitive." Chara explained.

"You don't say."

Undyne's voice then turned painfully pleasant. "Why don't you have a seat?"

"And she says I'M the saccharine one..." Frisk muttered to Chara. She glanced to the window where Papyrus had left.

Undyne noticed. "I can't believe he leapt through the window like that." She then grinned. "Normally he NAILS the landing!"

Frisk looked to her in surprise. "He's done that before?!"

She then was worried Undyne would be pissed at her for asking questions, but the fish woman just grinned again, a real one, not the fake sweet smile. "Of course! What, you don't practice the awesome window escape just in case there's a fire or bad guys bomb the building?"

"Or if she's cooking. Trust me. That'll get you both the fire AND the explosion." Chara told Frisk with a laugh.

Frisk laughed too. "I'd probably break every bone in my body." she said as she sat down at Undyne's neon orange table.

"Well, you ARE wimpy." Undyne agreed with a laugh. "Well, since we're besties now, it's up to me to toughen you up! But first...Here, I'll get you something to drink."

Frisk thanked her, the coil of tension inside her unknotting slightly. She looked around as she managed to relax a little.

Undyne's kitchen was fairly large but cozy. Her floor was yellow and blue tiled and a grand piano rested nearby.

"Undyne loves to play the piano. She's really freaking good. She used to give Asriel and I lessons." Chara told her. Little flashes of Asriel sitting next to Undyne on the piano bench while they played a beautiful sounding duet filled Frisk's mind, making her smile.

Undyne glanced at her and saw her staring at the piano. "One time, Alphys's...uh, friend? Came over here. All he did was lie seductively on the piano...and fed himself grapes. I don't really like that guy. But I admire his lifestyle."

Frisk giggled at the story, then looked curious. "Who's Alphys? Papyrus mentioned their name once."

"You don't know about her?! She's only the Royal Scientist and the coolest, smartest monster in the Underground!" Undyne told her, her eye lighting up as she spoke of this girl. She pointed at a photograph hanging on her wall. "That's her."

Frisk looked at the photograph. A grinning Undyne had her arm around a yellow lizard woman in a white lab coat. The lizard woman, who Frisk now knew was Alphys, was smiling at the camera shyly and blushing a little. The photograph had writing at the bottom but Frisk couldn't read it from where she was at.

Chara floated closer to take a look. "It says, "Anime Night with my bestie!"

"She seems cool. I'd love to meet her." Frisk told Undyne.

"You should! She's great!" Undyne told her with a smile as she opened the fridge. Steam escaped as she did and Frisk could feel hot air.

"Um, Undyne, I think your fridge is burning." Frisk told her.

"Relax, punk, it's fine. I hate cold food, so Alphys made me a fridge that heats up food instead." Undyne explained. "Hot fridge, the world's greatest invention!"

Frisk thought Undyne was missing the point of a fridge, but didn't comment. Instead, she glanced over at a giant sword. "Hey, that's so cool! Did Alphys make that too?"

Undyne grinned as she set a bottle on the counter. "Yeah! It's a replica of a sword from one of her human history novels. Humans suck, but their history...kind of rules. Case in point, this giant sword. Historically, humans wielded swords up to ten times their size. Right?"

Frisk shook her head. "I don't think that's possible..."

"Pfft...You liar! I've READ Alphys's human history book collection! I know all about your giant swords...your colossal alien fighting robots...your supernatural princesses...Hah! There's no way you're going to fool me!"

"She doesn't need to. I think Alphys already did." Chara muttered. Frisk just kept her mouth shut.

Undyne finished setting up the drinks. "All set. What would you like?"

Frisk glanced over but couldn't quite see what it was that she had. She started to get up to take a closer look.

Suddenly Undyne glared at her and threw a spear at Frisk at lightning speeds. Frisk screamed and fell backwards, tipping her chair and hitting her head on the floor with a nasty bump.

"Damnit." she heard Undyne mutter and then Undyne charged around the table and reached Frisk before Frisk could get to her feet.

Frisk scrambled under the table as Undyne had her trapped in a corner and she couldn't run to the door or dive out the window like she wanted. In an effort to shield herself, she pushed her upside down chair between her and Undyne. "Stay away from me!" she cried out, trying to sound brave, but her voice came out shaky. Her mind raced as she tried to think of a way to escape. If Undyne attacked her, maybe she could push the chair at her, knock her down, then run.

But Undyne didn't attack. Instead she held her hands up, proving she wasn't armed. "Geez, punk, calm down! I'm not going to hurt you!"

"You just threw a spear at me again!"

"Yeah, so you could point to the drink you wanted! You're the guest, you're not supposed to get up and get it yourself!" Undyne explained matter-of-factly.

Frisk looked at her disbelievingly. "And you threw it instead of just passing it to me why?"

"Because just passing it to you is BORING! Throwing it is infinitely more awesome! Granted, I probably should have warned you first...Sorry about that. I got a little...overzealous."

"She's not lying. I remember once she brought cookies to the palace. She tossed them to me and Asriel like frisbees. Asriel and I crashed into each other trying to catch them and they flew through the window and broke it. Mom was not happy." Chara told her. "Also, never challenge her to a snowball fight like Asriel did. She threw a pile of snow on him that was bigger than he was."

Frisk felt a little better at this, though she had to hide a laugh at Chara's stories and the resulting images. "Eh, I guess it's fine as long as it's your table and not my head the spear cracked open." she joked weakly as she crawled out from under the table and got up, righting her chair and sitting down again.

Undyne grinned at her. "Now grab that spear and point to what you want!"

Frisk carefully picked up the spear and looked over the drink options. She pointed the spear at a bottle with a yellow colored liquid, unable to read the label from where she was sitting. "What's that yellow stuff?"

"That's soda. I know, I think it's gross too, but Alphys loves it." Undyne put the soda back in the fridge and Frisk had the feeling she wasn't getting any.

"What about the stuff in the green cylinder?"

"That's hot chocolate. Do you..." Undyne then paused a second. "Wait...Wait...I just remembered...That container's empty. I stopped getting it because it was a hassle...Asgore kept getting the marshmallows in his beard." Undyne explained with a laugh.

Chara laughed too. "That sounds like Dad. Undyne used to keep it for us anyway since it was Asriel and I's favorite, even though she thought it was gross when I made my Chara Special."

"Dare I ask what was in the Chara Special?"

"Extra chocolate syrup, whipped cream, marshmallows, marshmallow fluff, chocolate shavings, jelly beans, and more chocolate syrup."

"Jeez, Chara, that gives me caviities just thinking about it..." Frisk turned her attention back to Undyne, realizing she probably looked like her head was in the clouds. "I'll try the stuff in the boxes then."

"Tea, huh?" Undyne asked and Frisk nodded. "I've got golden flower and mint."

Frisk smirked a little, thinking of a certain yellow flower who was probably watching. It would be fun to freak him out a little. "I'd love some golden flower tea, please!" she said cheerfully and a bit loudly.

Undyne seemed pleased with this answer. "Coming right up." She had the tea ready surprisingly quickly and set it in front of Frisk.

Frisk thanked her and took a sip to annoy Flowey if he was watching, only to regret it as the hot tea burned the roof of her mouth. Still, it was pretty good.

Undyne laughed. "Careful, it's hot. But you got guts. I'm impressed. It's pretty good, right? Nothing but the best for my ABSOLUTELY PRECIOUS FRIEND!" She then sobered up a bit. "Hey...it's actually pretty strange that you chose THAT tea. Golden flower tea...That's Asgore's favorite kind. You're not much like him, but you two do have one thing in common. You're both TOTAL weenies!" She paused for a second. "...Sort of."

She let out a soft sigh. "Y'know, I was a pretty hot-headed kid, just like you."

"I'm not really that hotheaded, am I?" Frisk blurted out.

"Yes." Chara told her bluntly.

"Duh. You literally yelled in my face that I was a fucking sadist. That takes guts." Undyne answered, of course not hearing Chara.

"Or stupidity." Frisk said with a laugh. "I couldn't run my legs, so I decided to run my mouth instead."

Undyne shrugged, but she was smiling. "I've been there. Once, to prove I was the strongest, I tried to fight Asgore. Emphasis on TRIED. I couldn't land a single blow on him. And of course, the whole time, he refused to fight back! I was so humilated...Afterwards, he apologized and said something goofy. "Excuse me, do you want to know how to beat me?" I said yes, and from then on, he trained me. And then one day during practice, I finally knocked him down. I felt..bad. But he was beaming. I had never seen someone more proud to get their butt kicked!" She grinned widely at this. "So anyway, long story short, he kept training me, and now I'm the head of the Royal Guard. So now I'm the one who gets to train dorks to fight. Like, um, Papyrus."

She tapped her fingers on the table. "But, um, to be honest...I don't know if I can ever let Papyrus into the Royal Guard."

"What?! Why not? Papyrus is REALLY freaking good!" Frisk told her. "He's strong, he's brave, he's smart...so why isn't he already in the Royal Guard?"

"This doesn't have anything to do with his skill. I'm not saying Papyrus is weak; he's actually really freaking tough. Hell, if he would use the full capicity of his power, he'd probably be promoted to my second in command if he didn't take my job." Undyne admitted. "But...he's...he's just too innocent and nice! I mean, look, he was SUPPOSED to capture you. And he ended up being FRIENDS with you instead!"

"What's wrong with him being nice and checking to see if someone's actually a threat before killing them?" Frisk asked, a little angry for her friend's sake.

"It's not just you. Papyrus tries to be friends with and see the good side in everyone, regardless of whether they actually have a good side or not." Undyne told her. "Papyrus refuses to kill. He won't even use fatal attacks on training dummies. But if there's a real battle, he would need to be able to kill if he had to. And I know him. He won't. If I sent him into battle...he'd get ripped into little smiling shreds."

"But..."

"Look, punk, I know you want to help Papyrus, but if he goes out there on the battlefield, there's going to be a time when he's forced to either kill or be killed. And knowing Papyrus, it would be the second. There are people who won't accept his mercy. I'm just glad you weren't one of them." Undyne sighed and tapped her fingers on the table. "And if he was forced to kill...it would break his heart. LV's not fun, kid. I don't want to put him through that."

"Have you tried talking to him about it?" Frisk asked softly. "Have you let him know what it would take so he could decide for himself whether he truly wants this or not?"

She sighed. "No. I don't want to hurt him. That's why I started teaching him to cook, you know. So, um, maybe he could something else with his life."

"But this lying's just going to hurt him more. I may not have known Papyrus as long as you have, but I know he absolutely hates being lied to. And he's smart; I wouldn't be surprised if he already suspects, but either wants to prove himself to you or doesn't want to hurt you either." Frisk told her. "Please...just tell him the truth. This isn't helping him. He's been training so hard and if this isn't..." Frisk froze as she had an idea. "Wait. I've got an idea. I know how Papyrus can be in the Royal Guard, and not have to deal with active combat!"

Undyne looked like she wasn't sure whether to be annoyed or intrigued by what this persistent person in front of her was saying. "What is it?"

"Papyrus has been teaching me how to defend myself. I think it's the only reason I lasted against you as long as I did." Frisk confessed. "He's a really good teacher and he's helped me a lot. He would be a great trainer for the Royal Guard, and he told me how much he enjoyed training me and thought that maybe he could talk to you and ask if he could help you train the new recruits."

"Frisk, that's genius!" Chara told her.

Frisk grinned at this. "And that way, you don't have to worry, but he can do something he's really great at and that will help everyone!"

"You know...That's an awesome idea, human!" Undyne agreed with a huge grin. "I never thought about that! I'll talk to him about becoming a Royal Trainer when he shows up for his cooking lesson." She got up, then froze. "The one he was supposed to be having right now!" She stared at the broken window, but upon seeing no sign of Papyrus, she turned back to Frisk, her eye blazing. "Well, if he's not going to have it, YOU'LL have to have it for him!" She leapt into the air and onto her kitchen counter and slid across it, knocking everything onto the ground with a loud crash. She then faced Frisk, hands on her hips with a rather scary grin. "That's right! NOTHING has brought Papyrus and I closer than cooking! Which means if I give you his lesson, we'll become closer than you can ever imagine! Fuhuhu! Afraid?! We're going to be best friends!"

Frisk watched her nervously. "Chara, should I be scared?"

"Probably. She'll probably set something on fire. Or set everything on fire..."

Before Frisk could even respond, Undyne leapt from the counter onto table and uncermoniously scooped Frisk up by the head, dragging the younger girl to the counter.

"Ow! Hey!"

Undyne just ignored her as she plopped her down by the counter. "Let's start with the sauce!" She stomped on the floor so hard that the overhead cupboards opened and vegetables dropped neatly onto the counter.

Frisk stared incredulously. "How'd she...?"

"It's Undyne. Are you surprised?"

" Frankly, no."

"Envision these vegetables as your greatest enemy!" Undyne ordered. "Now! Pound them to dust with your fists!"

Frisk took a deep breath and pretended the vegetables were Flowey and her parents. She slammed her fist down hard, but her aim still sucked and she hit the side of a tomato, sending it flying off the counter.

Undyne grinned widely. "Yeah! Yeah! Our hearts are uniting against these healthy ingredients! NOW IT'S MY TURN! NGAHH!" With a single punch, she pulverized every vegetable, covering both her and Frisk in vegetable paste.

Frisk was impressed. "Think she can teach me that?"

"Ask her. She'd be happy to." Chara told her, watching the "cooking lesson" in amusement. "Also...you got a little something...everywhere." She gestured to her face.

"Uhh...we'll scrape that into a bowl later. But for NOW!" She kicked the stove, which made a pan drop from an overhead cupboard. "We add the noodles! Homemade noodles are the best!" She then grinned. 'But I just buy store brand! They're the cheapest!"

Frisk laughed. "Me too!"

Undyne gave her a huge and genuine smile before throwing her a box of noodles. "Now drop them into the pot like they're all crooks!"

Frisk ripped open the box, and getting into the spirit of the game and wanting to impress Undyne a little, threw the noodles into the pot as hard as she could. The box slipped out of her hands and plopped into the pot as well. 'Oops..."

"YEAH! I'M INTO IT!" Undyne cheered her on. "now it's time to stir the pasta! And the general rule is the more you stir it, the better it is! Ready? Let's do it!"

"Shouldn't we put water in it first?"

"Hey, who's the teacher, you or me? Stir that pasta, punk!" Undyne ordered. Frisk obeyed and started stirring. "Stir harder!" Frisk stirred rapidly. "Harder!" Frisk went full speed, pasta nearly flying out the pan. "HARDER!"

"I'm a wimpy little human, how fast do you expect me to stir?!"

Undyne pushed her aside. "Ugh, let me do it!" She summoned a spear and started smashing it into the pot.

"Undyne, um, you're destroying your pot." Frisk pointed out.

"That's how it learns fear!"

"Okay, now I am scared." Frisk muttered telepathically to Chara.

"Just wait until she turns on the heat." Chara said, letting out an evil laugh.

"You're both nuts."

"And you're sane?"

"Okay, I'll concede that I'm probably not."

Undyne laughed. "That's the stuff! Alright, now for the final step: TURN UP THE HEAT! Let the stovetop symbolize your passion! Let your hopes and dreams turn into burning fire! Ready? Don't hold anything back!"

Frisk, not wanting her whole body to be turned into burning fire, turned the stove up to the exact right temperature.

"Hotter!"

"But..."

"Ugh, just let me do it!" Undyne gently pushed Frisk aside again and blasted the heat, laughing manically.

Frisk tried to stop her as she saw the flames grow almost to the ceiling. "Undyne, no! You're gonna start a..." The giant fire on the stove exploded. "FIRRREEE!"

"Told you." Chara didn't seem all too concerned. Either that, or she was used to it.

Undyne didn't seem to care either. "Man, no wonder Papyrus sucks at cooking."

"Firefirefirefire!" Frisk tried to get water from the sink to put it out but somehow it burst into flames too.

"What's next? Scrapbooking? Friendship bracelets?"

"Oh god, where's the fire extinguisher?!" Frisk ran around like a maniac, looking for the fire extinguisher.

"Ah, who am I kidding? I really screwed this up, didn't I?"

There was no fire extinguisher in sight and Frisk gave up on trying to put out the raging inferno Undyne's house had turned into. "Undyne, it's okay, but we gotta get out of here! The house is on fire!" She grabbed Undyne's arm and tried to pull her out, but Undyne didn't budge, so Frisk tried, and failed miserably, to pick Undyne up, resulting only in Undyne looking at her in surprise.

Undyne then laughed. "Calm down, punk, it's just a little fire. Thanks for attempting to rescue me, but I got this." She gently scooped Frisk up and tucked her under her arm, grabbed a safe that was sitting behind the counter, pulled her picture of her and Alphys off the wall, and rushed them out of the house.

...

Undyne gently set Frisk down outside the burning house. Frisk was still rather shaken, but Undyne was unruffled. "Well, that was fun! We'll have to hang out again sometime." She glanced over at the burning wreckage of her house. "Just not here. I'll stay with Papyrus for a few days."

"What about your..."

Undyne waved it off. "Don't worry about the house. The shell's fireproof and so is the sword and the fridge Alphys made me. I just need to wait for the fire to die down and I've been meaning to redecorate the inside anyway." She gave Frisk a smile. "...You know, at first I was annoyed by your stupid saccharine shtick. But now that I actually got to know you...I realize that it wasn't an act at all. You've got guts, and you've got courage, and most importantly, you're loyal as hell. You... remind me of some friends I once had." There was a little sadness in Undyne's eyes as she said this and Frisk knew she was probably thinking of Chara and Asriel.

"I know now that you're not just some wimpy loser." Undyne continued. Then she grinned. "You're a wimpy loser with a big heart!"

"I'm not sure whether to feel complimented or insulted by that." Frisk said, though she was smiling. "Does she always call her friends wimpy losers?" she telepathically asked Chara.

Chara nodded with a laugh. "Or dorks."

"Eh, take it as a compliment." Undyne told her. She then got serious. "Look, human, it seems that you and Asgore are fated to fight. But knowing him, he doesn't want to. Talk to him. I'm sure you can persuade him to let you go home. If you even want to." She let out a sigh. "I know I'm not the first person you'd trust with this type of thing, but I can tell things aren''t going so well for you on the surface. Sans said some things...and I can tell just by looking at you, now that I'm not lying to myself." The last line was soft, like an unspoken apology.

Frisk stiffened a bit. She didn't know Sans knew as she had only fully told Papyrus what was happening, and she hadn't wanted Undyne to know. She knew the chances of Undyne or any of the monsters separating her from her sister, the thing she feared most about their home life being known, were next to nil as the monsters were not only extremely kind, but couldn't take Tina away from her even if they wanted to as they were trapped, but she still had no idea what Undyne would do with the information. For all she knew, Undyne could strike now that she saw Frisk was vulnerable.

"Undyne doesn't think like that." Chara reassured her, hearing Frisk's thoughts. "She's not going to hurt you. She'll help you. And none of the monsters would EVER separate you from Tina."

"Calm down." Undyne said in a surprisingly soft voice. "I'm not going to hurt you and you don't have to be afraid. And don't be upset at Sans; he was just trying to help. We...We had a friend who went through the same thing. What I'm trying to say is that you don't have to go back. You can live down here and Asgore will turn a blind eye to it."

Frisk shook her head. "I need to go back. My little sister is up there, and I love her more than anything in the world. I'm not leaving her alone. I've already been gone too long." Again fear and guilt filled her. While she had been training and making friends, Tina had been all alone for nearly six days. Frisk felt like the world's worst sister. What if...

"Hey! Hey, it's okay. Calm down." Undyne's voice snapped her out of her panic. "Just talk to Asgore. I know he's huge and seems scary, but he's a total fluffball. Tell him what's going on. I'm sure he'll let you go get your sister. He might even adopt you both himself like he adopted Chara."

Frisk for a second thought this might be a joke. She looked up into Undyne's eye, but there was nothing but honesty and compassion. She looked like the Undyne from Chara's memories.

"Really? He won't hurt her?" Frisk asked softly.

"He won't hurt her. He has a heart, kid. I know Asgore; he's not going to want to harm an innocent person if he has a choice. We'll just wait for a mean human to fall and take their soul instead." Undyne then gave a feral grin. "Hey, maybe you can push your parents down into the Underground."

Frisk was tempted by that for a moment, then felt guilty for it. She didn't want to be a murderer. She was quiet for a second, then spoke softly. "I hate them, but they don't deserve to die. They never beat us or anything. They're just..."

"Neglectful dicks?"

Frisk let out a soft, sad laugh. "Yeah."

"Doesn't mean that what they're doing isn't awful as hell." Undyne muttered though didn't push it any further.

Frisk quickly switched the subject, not wanting to get into her home life any further with someone she still didn't know that well. "Maybe I can help in another way though. Maybe there's a way to break the barrier from the outside, like a counter spell or a failsafe or something." Her eyes lit up as she finally spilled her plan now that she knew nobody would hurt Tina.

Undyne looked startled for a second, then grinned widely. "That's crazy genius! You're really willing to do that?!"

Frisk nodded with a determined expression. She was focused on Undyne and didn't see Chara open her mouth like she was about to say something and then close it again. "I can't guarantee if it will work or not, but I can at least try. I don't know squat about magic, but I can do research or bring stuff back and forth or whatever you guys need me to. I want to help. I want to free everyone."

"Then what are you waiting for?! Go tell Asgore your idea, bring that little sister of yours down here, and we'll all work together and destroy the hell out of the barrier!" Undyne cheered.

Frisk nodded, filled with determination. "I'll do it!"

"YEAH!" Undyne fist pumped the air before calming down a bit. "Now, when you get to Hotland, go see Alphys. Her lab's right past Hotland's entrance. It's huge and you can't miss it. I'll call her and tell her what you're doing, and she'll help you get to the Capitol, and I'll also tell the rest of the Royal Guard that you're with us so they won't attack you."

"Thanks."

"No problem. If you need anything, just call me at..." Undyne checked her pockets, then frowned. "Oops..."

"What's wrong?"

"I left my phone in the house, and it's not fireproof." Undyne gave a sheepish smile. "Just call Papyrus. I'll be right nearby."

Frisk nodded, thanked Undyne, and said goodbye. As she headed towards Hotland, she couldn't stop smiling. It had been worth it. It had all been worth it. Papyrus and Chara had been right. She had made a friend out of an enemy, and King Asgore would come around. She and Tina would have a family; a real loving family like the kind she read about in storybooks, and if she worked hard and figured something out, her family and friends could be free!

She picked up the pace. If she hurried, she could have her beloved baby sister back in her arms by tonight.

...

Chara grinned and gave Frisk a thumbs up when Frisk smiled to her and followed her friend as she raced through the rest of Waterfall, but when Frisk wasn't looking, she frowned and looked away.

Frisk didn't know what Chara knew; that leaving wouldn't be that easy.

In the beginning, Chara hadn't told her what it would take to get through the barrier because she feared the other girl, desperate to get back to her sister, would start killing monsters. The truth was that when she first teamed up with Frisk, it had had been more to keep an eye on her and to make sure Frisk didn't hurt anyone than to help Frisk herself.

But Frisk had been kind and caring, had fallen in love with monsters the way Chara herself had. Frisk had quickly done what no human had and become Chara's friend, her soul sister. Frisk just being herself made Chara love her and want to protect her.

And she knew telling Frisk the truth would break her trust and her heart, knowing someone she saw as a friend had lied to her by omission. Had lied to her about so much.

Chara opened her mouth, wanting to tell Frisk everything, but she couldn't. She just couldn't, seeing Frisk so damn happy.

She would figure out something.

She had been trying to think of a solution to get them out of here ever since joining Frisk and had a few ideas. Her soul and Frisk's seemed to be tied together in a way never seen before, so maybe her soul and Frisk's together could be powerful enough to let Frisk leave. Or maybe Chara herself, even though she could feel that her soul wasn't very strong, could be the seventh soul to break the barrier. She didn't know if her power would be enough, but if it could...she could finish what she started and break the barrier, and Frisk would live.

She would do whatever it took to make sure no one else she loved died because of her.

Even if it meant the destruction of her own soul.