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lonely company

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You are left-handed. Frisk is right-handed.

This can only go perfectly.

If we both write at the same time, you say, grasping control of Frisk's left arm to hold the pencil, then we'll get this done TWICE as fast, and we can go back to watching TV.

Frisk scoffs quietly, and drops their own mechanical pencil (because they're weird, and can only use mechanical ones, whereas you prefer good, old fashioned wooden ones with teeth marks embedded deep into them). They take control of both their arms back to sign, We have to actually get the answers right. Flowey, sitting at Frisk's end table, does not even bother to look up from his game. You ignore him all the same.

We will, you assure, feeling only semi-offended. I'm smart.

It's math homework, Frisk signs.

You pause. And? You're the arts and crafts one; Frisk is the math and science one.

Instead of replying, Frisk just rolls their eyes and gives you back control. They don't like replying in their head back to you when they're trying to work—they say it messes with their train of thought, so they prefer to sign. It's a good thing they mostly work in private, in silence save for you giving your input every few seconds.

(You swear, it must get annoying sometimes.)

Both of you go to write Frisk's name at the top of the paper—Frisk writes, well, Frisk, you go for Dreemurr. It's hard to ignore the heavy sense of nostalgia you get, and even harder to ignore the fact that you and Frisk's handwriting is so incredibly different. You were home-schooled, right beside Asriel, because Mom always wanted to be a teacher and you were considered royalty, and royal kids got royally home-schooled, apparently. You never had to actually write down your name on the papers she gave you, because she could tell you and Asriel's handwriting apart (his was messy and out of control, while you took your time to carefully straighten out every letter), but when you wrote down Chara Dreemurr at the top, the feeling was indescribable. Mom never told you off for it.

(Ugh. There you go, rambling again. Don't you ever shut up?)

You push that memory away before Frisk can see. By the metaphorical pat on the back they give you, it wasn't so hidden.

Whatever. C'mon, you urge. I want to go back to my show.

Frisk smiles, barely there but noticeable, and the two of you go to work.

 


 

Something you have discovered in your time sharing a body with Frisk—when you are fronting, or in any sort of control at all, Frisk's eyes go from dark brown to pure red. The intensity depends on how strong the control is; like when you were only using their left arm, only one of their eyes was probably red.

Your influence has changed Frisk's appearance, too. Their dark hair has a red tint to it. Their cheeks have a permanent blush, subtle and unnoticeable from their dark skin. They bite their nails a lot more now, a habit you had when you were still alive.

Frisk assures you that it's okay, that they like themself like this, because you are a part of them, too. Frisk insists that they would be lonely without you.

You beg to differ. Everything has always been better when you were not around.

You wonder now, as you stare in the mirror at your—Frisk's—body, running your fingers through your—their—hair because you like the way it feels, if this is how you looked when you fought every single monster you came across. You wonder if this is how you stared at them before you struck them down, no emotion but wishing desperately to break free, because while you have always been a violent person, the force that was driving you to brutally murder everyone you had once known did not come from you.

It wasn't Frisk, either.

You call yourself a demon, but it was not you. And yet it was. It was both of us, Frisk always says, but while Frisk sleeps, you mope quietly inside their head and contemplate the true nature of time and space in the Underground.

(The impossible can always happen. You came back, after all.)

Mom knocks on the door, startling you out of your daily mirror session, and sending Frisk back into the front line. "Frisk?" she calls, and never you, because you are supposed to be long dead and you intend to keep it that way. "Are you alright? Please knock twice if so."

Frisk knocks twice. Mom gives a sweet hum and says breakfast is ready, and the sound of retreating footsteps sends them back into silence.

You know, Frisk says, and even in their own head their voice is soft, I think . . . at one point we really should tell her.

I think we should not, you argue. You died, and your parents mourned you. It was your fault Asriel died, and everything has always been your fault. If you were to come back now, in the body of your replacement, they would feel nothing but anger and regret. 

I won't force you, Frisk then says, frowning into the mirror, and reaching out for the brush, but I don't think it'll go as bad as you think.

You growl into the head space, but your fear tactics don't work on them anymore, so you opt for nabbing back control and scraping the brush through Frisk's hair as hard as you can.

 


 

You stay quiet during breakfast, opting to hide in a metaphorical corner of the head space, because whenever you look at Mom all you can see is her betrayed face, and her dust kicking into the air and clouding your—Frisk's—their lungs. You remember crying, sobbing, begging into an empty void to be set free, because that's your mom, she loved you, but they didn't care, and you just kept on walking.

Mom keeps smiling at Frisk, asking about their day, what they plan to do today, and they reply with an I don't know, mouth full of pancakes. You know she is not talking to you, and she never will anymore, but you can't help but want to launch forward and go into a rant about how much Frisk's bed creaks and how they toss and turn at night and how—

Frisk stops eating. You've been thinking out loud too much.

There's a pause. Then, Do I really move around too much when I sleep?

Sorry, you say, quickly, I'm just . . . a light sleeper.

Frisk nods, outwardly, and it earns them a weird look but Toriel says nothing of it. Their slip-ups are becoming more frequent, and you wonder absentmindedly if it's somehow on purpose. You doubt the idea that Frisk would forget it's sort of weird to have a voice in your head who tells you to climb on top of the fridge and pretend you're a bird just for the hell of it.

(And other things. You just like high places.)

Frisk takes another bite. I'll try to stop, they say. Mom got me a weighted blanket. I should try it.

You said it makes you feel too constricted.

An outward shrug. I can compromise. You need to sleep, too.

You'd argue with them, but you can't disagree with the fact that you're tired. You don't even have your own soul (as far as you're concerned, Frisk's soul is your own now, too), and half the time you don't think you even have feelings, but here you are, ready to go back to bed.

You can sleep at school, Frisk says, smiling into their pancakes.

You give off the impression of a smile back, but it's weak. You don't want to ruin the rare moments of Frisk smiling with your thoughts.

 


 

You hate school. You're not even the one going to it, but you might as well be. All Frisk's teachers are stupid and never know what they're talking about. Most of them have gotten used to dealing with monsters but sometimes they say awful things and you want to rip control away and beat them up.

(You're violent. You're dangerous. You could hurt and kill at any moment, and Frisk still wants you to stay with them.)

They're not that bad, Frisk assures, staring into the wall during math, bouncing their leg up and down in their desk.

Don't you remember what they said about Monster Kid? you spit. You're too trusting of everyone.

Frisk is quiet for a moment, and they break away their intense gaze from the white walls to look at the teacher. I wasn't always.

I know, you sigh, rolling Frisk's eyes just for the drama of it all. 

You're just mad because you don't know how to do calculus.

Wow. Rude. What kind of eleven-year old does calculus!? you scoff.

Me, Frisk says, suppressing a grin, because I'm the best.

You almost tell them to shut up, but you decide against it; you don't want to ruin their moment of confidence. Those are rare, too.

 


 

(The only part of school you can stand is lunch time, because Frisk has a lot of friends and their friends have a lot of funny conversations that make even you laugh. You only wish, and not for the first time, that you could sit right down next to them, and use your own voice, to tell your own stories.)

 


 

The only thing you could consider worse than school is therapy. 

Frisk had a rough childhood, just like you, but unlike you, they process everything in different ways. They are a pacifist, and they love making friends, but they have always been so utterly . . . apathetic. They struggle to make expressions. They hide their emotions. They pretend that everything is fine all the time, and that nothing matters.

(Not you. You wear your heart on a sleeve and laugh everything away. You remember Asriel always being terrified for you whenever you would suddenly burst into laughter.

Asriel . . . 

Maybe you should be at therapy, too.)

You know Frisk hates going, and that they only agreed to it because Toriel wanted them too. They stare down the therapist with a gaze that could only be topped by you. When they really wanted to, Frisk could be scary. 

During these sessions, you try to hide in a corner and block everything out. You feel like you're intruding. This is not meant for you. This is not meant for you.

But you catch phrases, and garbled words, because while you and Frisk are not the same, you are, and even without the words to confirm it, you can see Frisk's memories like they were just yesterday, and the only way you can tell theirs and yours apart is the fact that you were the one who had parents before.

Even without the experience, you can feel the coldness of an empty room, and feel the loneliness of an empty orphanage.

That was not you.

This is not you.

( . . . 

Right?)

 


 

You're not sure why Frisk decided to take Asri—Flowey up to the surface with you. They had let you give your last goodbyes, your apologies screaming into Frisk's mind, and Asriel had looked into your—Frisk's—glowing red eyes with what almost looked like fear, and shriveled back into a flower before he could even say a word. Then, almost mindlessly, you sunk back and watched helplessly as Frisk took a pot from Toriel's old home and walked through the Underground with the child who had broken the barrier, and himself.

It probably has something to do with you. Frisk has that stupid, self-sacrificing habit of helping everyone but themself. They did it for you.

(You deserve nothing.)

But you hate that thing. Frisk knows, and yet they keep it in their room. You don't know if Flowey knows you're in here, every day, watching and commenting on everything, but he mostly ignores everyone, anyway. He only talks to Frisk.

(Not you. You got him killed.

This is your fault.)

Nobody but you and Frisk know who he really is, just like nobody but you and Frisk know that you still are "alive," residing inside their head, in their body, in their soul. As much as you hate it, you and Flowey are the same, and you always have been.

Frisk is watching some action movie on the couch, and Flowey is sitting in his flower pot beside them, and he's pretending not to be interested in the movie but his eyes are fixated, and you wonder if he realizes that his expression looks very Asriel. His eyes are even sparkling like Asriel's did, too—like when you told him about the sun and the stars, and the different colors of the sky, and the rain and lightning and wind . . . 

You're feeling stupidly emotional now, and on cue, Frisk reaches up and wraps a hand around that stupid locket. Your stupid locket. They put it on at your old home and never take it off. You see Flowey's eyes follow the motion, and he does not say a word but he certainly looks like he wants to.

You want to cry. You want to take away control from Frisk and sob and scream into the pillows and tear them apart, and shove all the feathers down your throat like mashed buttercup petals, and take the knives from the kitchen and stab something, you don't know what, over and over until your arms are tired and you don't feel like yourself anymore—

But you can't. You can't risk outing yourself, not to Asriel, not to Mom, to nobody.

(You're just a dirty little secret.)

 


 

Flowey snores, miraculously, just like Asriel did. So fucking loud.

Chara? Frisk signs, utilizing your name sign, and even though it's something so minor, it makes your heart swell; it makes you feel important. 

Hm? you say.

I'm sorry this was such a bad day.

You shake your head, or at least, give off the impression of shaking your head. 's fine, you say.

Frisk lifts their hands, but then halts, and lets them fall back down to their sides. They adjust their weighted blanket up to their shoulders, and tuck it in around their sides, wiggling around as a test. Then, they roll over to their left side; the side you always sleep on.

I love you, Chara.

You try not to make it too obvious you're crying.

Love you too.