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To Dream Up a Demon

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It is cold. Not the kind of cold that bites at your fingers and makes your cheeks rosy. The kind of cold that sends daggers into your skin and makes every breath agony and sends you down a road of suffering until you slip into the endless sleep. There is no where, no when. There is only you- but is it? Who are you?

 

You tremble with the realization that you don’t know. Even then it’s not a tremble really. There is no body- shouldn’t you have a body? You know words to describe one: hair, eyes, mouth, cheeks, hands, legs...a heart...a soul.

 

A soul. Something in you flickers, a dying candle of memory. You want a soul- no, souls. You don’t just want them, you need them. It is a hunger that gnaws at you- tears away at the very fiber of your being. But why do you need them? What will they give you?

 

Freedom. Something whispers- a voice- is it yours? It isn’t a tangible thing, no sound, no air. Simply words that imprint themselves in your mind with a trembling grace.

 

Will you be free from this if you get souls? Where would you even find souls? There is nothing but black- that’s a color isn’t it? The void surrounding you has no depth, and you know that there is nothing for you to reach out to- even if you did have hands or legs. Wait, how do you know that? You aren’t sure, but you just do.

 

You feel empty- and surprised that you can still feel things. You feel like you’re nothing. No soul. No body. No heart. Nothing.

 

What are you then? Did you have a name? You want to curl up into a ball except you can’t. You can’t do anything. You want to sleep- cry- hit something- anything, just anything.

 

Then the light appears.

 

First you think it is some torturous vision, conjured up by your desires. Then the cold starts to fade away. You could cry out in joy if there was anything in you capable of making sound.

 

Words scrawl up above you. You can’t read them in time before something bright flashes and they disappear. More words appear, this time with a series of small lines under it. Now there is time to read it.

 

‘Name the fallen human.’

 

Whose name? What human? Fallen? Besides, what kind of idiot wouldn’t know their own-

 

You. You can’t remember your name. You can’t remember your name. That’s something you need to remember. So why don’t you? Why can’t you?

 

So lost in your thoughts, you don’t realize that the blank spaces are being filled in, one letter at a time.

 

‘Frisk.’

 

What kind of name is Frisk? Better than just nothing without a name, you suppose. A human....fallen human. Does that sound familiar? You think it does. There’s something that pulls you to that, but you can’t put a name to it.

 

The name gets smaller. It floats away, as if carried on a breeze. Terror spikes through you- you can’t be alone again- not again, not again, not again not again not again-

 

The light surges, filling your vision and burning the cold away with a fire that would burn you into nothing but ashes. If only there was something to burn.

 

The world comes back in pinpricks of vision. Dashes of color overwhelm you with their majesty. Who knew that the dusty browns of the dirt were so heavenly? There is light too- so much light. It pours down from above, basking you in its rays.

 

It isn’t until you feel your world shifting against your will that you realize something is wrong. You look down- but it’s not you . You aren’t moving this head, these hands, this body. You are just there, watching.

 

Oh.

 

Oh.


You’re climbing a mountain. Mt. Ebott, to be precise. It’s the monster mountain, the one where no person has ever returned from. People say that the monsters are sealed underneath, so they shouldn’t be able to get out- but the mountain is their ground, and monsters don’t like trespassers.

 

It’s perfect for you.

 

Your stomach rumbles its discontent. Your arms and legs burn after an hour of climbing steadily up. These are feelings that are familiar to you. Feeling full is a luxury. Going through a day without injury is a dream.

 

You don’t believe in either of those. Dreams are for children. Luxury is for those too lazy to do things themselves.

 

You’re a child. Your mutinous thoughts rage. You quiet them with a snarl. You are no child. Children have parents who love them. Children don’t have to listen to poison as it drips from the mouths of those they’re supposed to call pretentious names like mother dearest and father sir while being touched and pet in all the ways they despise. Children aren’t ignored by their peers and adults alike.

 

Mother dearest had put it best. You weren’t human- or if you were, it was only a sliver.

 

Humanity doesn’t want monsters that look like them. They want monsters with horns and teeth and claws they can point at and cry, “That’s scary.”

 

Humanity doesn’t know what to do with you- you can see it in their eyes when they sneak glances they think you don’t catch. They don’t want you.

 

That’s fine. You don’t want them either.

 

In fact, you’re pretty sure you hate humans. You scream as much in that tiny voice you hate oh so much. It shakes like a leaf against your will, leaving you furious that you can’t express your resolve. You hate humanity. You hate them with every breath that scrapes against your lungs. If you could, you would come down the mountain and tear them apart piece by piece, and then yourself. If only to say, “See, we’re all the same. We’re all monsters together.”

 

You can’t. Your arms are too small to reach their faces, their eyes, nose, mouth. Even if that knife felt right in your hands, even if it became a part of you for those few moments you held it, it could not last.

 

The truth is, you hate this world almost as much as you hate humans. You don’t want to have to wait until you’re big enough to tear into them. It’s easier to just remove yourself from it all. Permanently.

 

You might as well do something noteworthy first. Just once, you want to accomplish something. Maybe you’ll feel something other than the cycle of resignation and contempt.

 

Once you’re at the top, it’ll be a long drop down. Long enough to kill.

 

(But you don’t die that day. You climb and you climb and you see the peak but instead of stone there’s a crater there that leads into a void. You look down it for only a moment, giving yourself one last taste at what this world has to offer you.

 

You jump headfirst.)


You remember who you are.

 

You’re not sure if you like that.

 

It’s not that you’re unhappy with knowing who you are, or that you are ungrateful. Simply, things are so much more confusing than they were back in the void.

 

You are inside someone- Frisk most likely, trapped all the same. You can’t move- you can barely taste. This Frisk kid is interesting at least. You think you see a bit of yourself in them. It’s probably just the age. You were that old when you came here. Except, unlike you, they are alone. They look around, mute, but you can feel their fear pounding through you as if it was your own.

 

Calm down. This is just the Underground. You snap- not with a mouth exactly, you still don’t have a body talk with, but you know you can speak...somehow.

 

Frisk jumps, and you hesitate, wondering.

 

Nod if you can hear me.

 

Frisk nods only once. You want to leap for joy. If you have to be stuck, at least you have someone who can hear you. Even if they are human.

 

They see the world so...brightly. It’s disturbing. Along with the fear.

 

Stop acting like a baby. This is the Underground. There’s only monsters here. Fine, you can admit that telling them that was meant to scare them. To your surprise, it doesn’t do anything. Not even an increase in fear- in fact, something dangerously close to relief comes from Frisk, creeping into you.

 

Get moving already. Unless you want to stand here forever?

 

Frisk nods. You start wondering if they can even talk at all, but it doesn’t matter. You never liked conversation anyways. They only take a few steps before something crawls out of the darkness. A flower- it calls itself Flowey- tells Frisks about souls and energy and fighting. All the basics they’ll need. It offers to show them what it means.

 

Say no. It’s obviously a trap.

 

Frisk nods.

 

Of course they get hurt. You’re unsurprised as Flowey’s innocent smile morphs into a grotesque, feral grin. In your mind, you note that you haven’t seen anything like Flowey before, a reminder that things have changed since your death.

 

Flowey growls, “Here, it’s kill or be killed.” Something inside Frisk- inside you too- sparks at those words, and you don’t like that one bit.


You aren’t dead. How...disappointing. Your body could have at least had the decency to give up with your heart.

 

You don’t quite know what to think of the creature- he introduced himself as Asriel- he’s kind enough, you suppose. He touches you with a tenderness you have never known- you keep searching for the mocking undertone, the hint of a scowl or snarl, and you keep coming up empty. You wait for stinging retribution, to hear about how shameful it is to have done something like this. There is nothing but concern in the way he places a soft paw on your head. He fumbles and hesitates when he moves to touch you.

 

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he mumbles when you give him a questioning glare. “It must have been a long way down.”

 

Nothing. Every inch of his body is genuine under your intense scrutiny. You don’t know what you hate more, this kindness, or the way you’re used to being treated. At least with the latter you know what there is to be angry about. With this, there is simply anger storming around inside her, with nothing to focus on.

 

He’s using you, you tell yourself. It’s a show to earn your trust. That’s all.

 

He stands, holds out one of his ridiculously soft paws and asks if you’ll come with him back into town, to get looked at by a doctor.

 

You know this is a bad idea- you shouldn’t be doing this. You still hate this world and humanity all the same; monsters you feel indifferent towards, but they will likely end up joining the list.

 

You take his hand anyways.


No. It can’t be. Why would sh-

 

You slam yourself into silence. Ignoring the confusion that radiates from Frisk, you use their eyes to look at Toriel.

 

You had never called her mother, nor Asgore father. They were always Toriel and Asgore, your caretakers. Never parents. Your parents were humans that were more monstrous than their kind hearts ever could be. You wouldn’t let yourself forget that.

 

Besides, what would it have done. You knew that you didn’t love them in the way that Asy did, and out of all the things you are, a liar is not one of them. But that didn’t mean you didn’t care for them- still do care for them. They took you in and gave you a home, they gave you love and respect and a place where you didn’t have to hate everything. You could never repay them.

 

Only, you could have. You could have given them everything they wanted and more- if somebody hadn’t chickened out at the most important moment.


But Toriel is here, offering her hand to Frisk. What is she doing away from the palace? In these ruins no less. At least she has a house. It looks well lived in, which does absolutely nothing to soothe the questions bubbling on your tongue. You wish you could just take Frisk’s mouth and say what you want to say.

 

You settle for watching her through Frisk’s view. She hasn’t changed much. She doesn’t look stressed, or in pain. Good. You would kill anyone who hurt her- or at least maim. It is only fair. She is still gentle, talking in low tones, not questioning Frisk’s limited range of answers. Her smile is just as you remember it as she asks Frisk if they prefer cinnamon or butterscotch.

 

Frisk speaks. Their voice is more of a raspy huff than a real voice, and you can tell Toriel struggles to hear them.

 

“Cinnamon. Please.”

 

You would be rolling your eyes if you could. Cinnamon. What self respecting person chose cinnamon.

 

When Toriel leaves, you speak up.

 

You chose cinnamon.

 

A nod.

 

Butterscotch is better.

 

One noncommittal shrug.

 

Why don’t we explore?

 

They hesitate.

 

C’mon. She won’t be back for a while. If you’re going to be living here you need to explore.

 

Doubt flashes through you, Frisk’s doubt.

 

You won’t stay? You’re nonplussed about it. It doesn’t matter whether Frisk stays with them or not, it won’t affect your current situation.

 

Frisk shakes their head slowly, deliberately.

 

I’m bored. Let’s go explore.

 

They give in to your demands.


In a matter of hours, your life has been turned on its head. Monsters are not the bloodthirsty, horrifying creatures you have been lead to think they are. Monsters are what look you in the eye and say you’re welcome here, that they will shelter and care for you and they are sorry you cannot return home.

 

You spend weeks in an uneasy haze. You watch everyone with calculating eyes and a smile to distract them from the way your eyes glare into them, trying to dissect them and pick apart their reasoning. So much of it escapes your comprehension, but your observations all lead to one exhilarating and horrifying conclusion.

 

The monsters- not just Asriel and Toriel and Asgore- they care for you.

 

It makes no sense. You are a human- no, you just look like one, but still. Humans destroyed monsters, trapped them here in this place they call the Underground.

 

But here you stand, being introduced to all the monsters as the adopted child of the royal family.

 

How can someone do this? It doesn’t make sense.

 

Asriel has a big grin on his face, and holds out his paw for you to hold as the crowd cheers.

 

You don’t understand any of this.

 

But maybe you could take the time to learn.

 

You take his paw.


You realize long before Frisk does that Toriel has no intention of letting them move along. It’s obvious to your eyes. Her stance, her voice, her insistence are all little alarms to you. You decide not to tell Frisk. Instead you encourage them in other ways.

 

Go look at those books.

 

Read that.

 

Go downstairs.

 

What? It’s nothing, just go downstairs already. You’re too slow.

 

Why don’t you talk?

 

At that Frisk goes perfectly still. You wonder if your question went to far for them. You wouldn’t know because they still aren’t saying anything.

 

“I don’t know.” The words are perfectly clear to you, as if they had been said aloud. But Frisk’s mouth hasn’t moved, except to be drawn into a trembling line. There are emotions circulating behind the words: fear, uncertainty, shame, that sort of thing.

 

Whatever. At least I finally got a real answer out of you. Could you always do that?

 

“I don’t think so. You were just...there, but now...I can feel you.”

 

Feel you? You poke around, and sure enough you can feel Frisk too. It’s small, but steady. With them comes the smell of rusted metal and cinnamon and the tang of blood in your mouth.

 

“You smell like flowers and chocolate.”

 

How boring. I don’t even like flowers.

 

“Do you smell anything?”

 

No. Just go down those steps already.


You still hate.

 

It has evolved though. You hate humanity, you hate their world, but you don’t hate it here. You could never hate monsters.

 

There’s a barrier keeping the monsters inside. It’s human-made. You need seven human souls to break it- only one human and monster soul combined to cross it.

 

If Asgore and Toriel would let you, you would gladly kill the next seven humans that fell down here so they could break the barrier. They won’t. Killing humans is forbidden now that you are here.

 

Fine. So you won’t kill humans, for now. But there has to be a way. Monsters deserve to be free, to walk around on the earth that is rightfully theirs.

 

It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, what you have to sacrifice, you will find a way to break that barrier.


Toriel blocks Frisk’s path, saying that if they want to go on to the rest of the Underground they must beat her to prove their strength. You almost scoff. What strength? Frisk is built like a twig.

 

Music trickles into the scene; you can’t tell where its coming from. Words flicker to life in front of your eyes.

 

‘FIGHT.’

 

‘DEFEND.’

 

‘ITEMS.’

 

‘MERCY.’

 

Frisk raises a hand, gaze shifting from word to word, choosing.

 

Mercy lights up. Frisk makes pleading gestures. Toriel simply shakes her head sadly. “I am sorry my child, but you do not know what the world is like, I will not let you die.”

 

It takes longer than you expect, but soon Frisk is on the verge of death and Toriel still has not moved.

 

You have candy. Eat it. It’ll give you back your strength.

 

They won’t. Instead, they look at the words again. This time they press attack. Their tiny hands don’t do much of anything. Toriel attacks back. You can see she’s not truly aiming for Frisk. But Frisk stumbles, out of breath, and their soul hits one of the balls of light.

 

Your world flickers.

 

No. No. It can’t end like this. Why didn’t you eat-

 

The void returns.

 

Is that all you get? A day outside only to be sent back because one child was too stubborn to stop their own death? That’s crap. Absolute crap. Your fury storms, taking over every inch of your being. You wish Frisk was still around so you could tear them apart with your anger.

 

“Stay determined...”

 

‘LOAD.’


You know about the experiments.

 

You aren’t supposed to, neither is Asy. Both of you are supposed to be blissfully unaware of the laboratory and its contents. Adults don’t understand how easy it is for children to sneak around, particularly through ventilation.

 

“What are those.” Asy asks in a hushed whisper, drawing back in horror. You shrug, peering closer. Alphys had mentioned something about injecting determination into monsters to let their souls survive outside their body. How interesting. Human souls can last outside their body after they die.

 

“N-no. You can’t eat those.” Alphys chases away one of the creatures from the rows of flowers. It garbles out something incomprehensible in response.

 

“Char, let’s go, please.” Asy tugs on you sleeve- he knows how you don’t like to be touched directly.

 

“Fine.” You would rather stay, but Asy sounds scared enough already and you can always come back on your own when he’s sleeping.

 


You have a feeling that there’s something here you can work with here.

 

You came back. Frisk came back. Both of you are back from the dead. How? How is that possible? What sort of god allowed that?

 

Deep down in your soul, you know it is because of Frisk. You awakened back in the room Toriel had put them in. At least they’re as confused and scared about this as you are.

 

“What was that?”

 

You think I know?

 

“I- I thought-”

 

You thought wrong. Now we’re alive. That’s all that matters. Next time just eat the candy.

 

Next time they do eat the candy.

 

Next time they only attack.

 

There is a numbness you can feel- it started within Frisk, icing its way throughout their body, encasing their heart. You can feel it chaining you down.

 

You want to tell Frisk to stop, you want to tell Frisk that Toriel is already knocked down, they don’t have to kill her.

 

Your voice doesn’t get through the numbness.

 

When Toriel falls, something akin to recognition sparks in her eyes. For a single moment, a hair’s width of time, she is looking at you. Her lips move to speak, but by then the light is gone from her eyes.

 

Why did you do that?

 

Frisk hums. “Kill or be killed. She told us to beat her so I did.”

 

You want to scream at them. You want to take their throat in your hands and watch the life drain from their eyes. You want to make them suffer.

 

But you can’t. You don’t even have a body. You already know Frisk has unimaginable power. You don’t know why, you don’t know how, but you know there is nothing to be done about it. Not yet.

 

You are a master at waiting. Biding your time until the perfect chance arises to strike. You waited years to enact your plan to break the barrier. Frisk can bring themselves back from the dead, there must be a way to harness that power and bring Toriel back.

 

You just have to wait.

 

Go on already.


Flowey sees them outside the ruins, Toriel's corpse behind them. He doesn’t move to attack, simply looks at Frisk- at you - with something in his eyes.

 

“Ah,” he says, as if noting the color of the rocks. “And to think I assumed you were human. Looks like you were right. We really are inseparable.”

 

You already knew that you weren’t human, but something about his voice makes you twist into knots.


“I won’t do it.” Asy shakes his head. “You can’t die.”

 

“I wouldn’t die, not really. As long as you get my soul I’ll live on in you.” You keep your voice soft, pleading. You need him to agree to this.

 

“What if it doesn’t work?”

 

“It will. I know it will.”

 

“But what if it doesn’t. You’ll be gone.” Asy sniffles, and it is only then you realize the large tears welling up in his eyes. He’s crying over you. He isn’t supposed to do that.

 

“If I didn’t know this would work do you think I would do it?” You would if it was the only option, but Asy doesn’t need to know that. “I don’t want to die either, but this is the only way I can think to break the barrier, to let monsters go free.”

 

Asy ducks his head, turning away. You inch as close as you dare- your skin crawls with the proximity but this is necessary. “Asy,” you mumble. “Asy, listen to me. If we don’t do this, who knows how long monsters will be trapped down here? They’re counting on us. Don’t...don’t monsters deserve to be free?”

 

“Of course they do. But- but- I don’t know. Maybe we can find a better plan.”

 

Something in you breaks, tired of Asy arguing against this, against you . “What better plan? There is no better plan. Do you want everyone to see the sun or not? Because this is our best shot and if you can’t do it I’ll find someone who isn’t a coward to do it in your place. Every minute you sit there worrying over nothing, everyone else has to suffer without freedom, without hope of escape.”

 

Asy stares at you with wide, trembling eyes, mouth ajar. You sigh.

 

“I’m going to break the barrier with or without you, but I really, really want you with me. We’ve always done everything together, you know? I thought I could count on you for this too. I’m sorry I was mean. It’s okay.” You hate saying sorry, because you aren’t and you hate lying. This plan is everything though, and when it works it will be worth the lie.

 

Asy takes a deep breath, looking at his paws. His gaze moves up so he can look you in the eyes. “You can always count on me Char. I just- are you sure this will work?”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

“Okay, okay. Promise me things will turn out alright.”

 

“I promise.”


With every day that passes, you can feel yourself getting stronger.

 

Frisk continues on their murderous spree, leaving no monster behind in their wake. Their L.O.V.E climbs steadily upwards, as does your anger.

 

Anger is a constant presence now. It simmers constantly, curling and coiling like some sort of creature. You wonder if someone has enough anger, could it come to life? Because your anger feels like that, like a beast you could set upon Frisk and watch as it eats them alive. Some days you don’t even know what you’re angry at, just that you are. On those days you urge Frisk onwards, into more monsters and more death. You enjoy watching the life flicker from the eyes of your prey.

 

No- no, no, no, no its not you. This is Frisk this is all Frisk.

 

You wonder if it’s L.O.V.E that is making you like this. The feeling of leveling up is intoxicating, a rush of euphoria like chocolate touching your tongue. A craving begins, nestled in the corners of your mind. You ignore it. Nothing matters as long as you’re getting stronger. You experiment, test the limit of your power. Without words, you can suggest things to Frisk, so that it sounds like it was their idea and not yours. If you concentrate hard enough, you can make Frisk clench their fist.

 

You know this is wonderful. Give it time, and you’ll probably be able to control Frisk completely.

 

Oh how you wish that day would come.


Getting your hands on the buttercups is too easy.

 

Sometimes you wonder if you’re doing them wrong, wriggling your way into their hearts like this. You want them to be happy, so you play the part your parents had tried to make you play. You keep to yourself- shy, they say- an easy smile on your lips to distract from your eyes. Your eyes are what betray you, always have and always will. Your words are polite, simple and blunt, but polite. You still squirm with touch but you’re a little more okay with it if you make the first move. You give Toriel and Asgore gifts, to repay them. You hope the gifts are enough to forgive you for this plan.

 

Of course, you would do it without their forgiveness too, but still, you want it. Your want to please them is infuriatingly large and shows no signs of lessening with time as you once thought it would.

 

You look at the buttercups. The sit there so innocently, masking their poison with bright colors. They’re like you. Fitting, you think, as you chew them up and swallow them, barely repressing the wave of nausea from the acrid taste that stains your mouth and spreads inwards, soon to dye your body with its deadly colors.

 

For an instant, you wonder if this will hurt, and traitorous pinpricks of fear enter you. You quash them without paying them any mind. This was for Toriel and Asgore.


Frisk dreams. You shouldn’t be surprised, and yet a small part of you is.

 

You should know. Even the cruelest of demons will have the sweetest dreams.

 

You don’t have true dreams any more. You’ll slip away when Frisk dreams, get lost in faint memories, but never dream. Peaking on Frisk’s dreams is a possibility you don’t care to explore.

 

When Frisk awakes, lying flat on the bed they had rented in Snowdin Inn, their first action is to sit, look around, and-

 

“Who was that?”

 

What?

 

“There was a voice, he was telling me something...a-about how he loved m-”

 

“Shut up.”

 

“Huh? Bu-”

 

Shut. Up. I don’t want to hear it. Get out of here already. You want to take down that human hunter anyways.”

 

“...I never got your name.”

 

It doesn’t matter.

 

“Okay.”


They traverse Snowdin hesitantly, confused by the emptiness of the town. You hope that they were long gone, never to return.

 

Not all of them are though. There’s a child, who looks into their eyes and trembles but still has a fire in his voice when he declares that Undyne will protect him from the demon. Frisk leaves them be, to your surprise. You can feel something eerily similar to regret from Frisk, and it sends a wave of disgust rolling in you. They have no right to feel regret now.

 

Papyrus is here too, hunting down humans to impress Undyne and make himself popular. One look at him is all you need. He will die at Frisk’s hands. He’s too soft, too weak.

 

Too kind to survive Frisk.

 

Sans is another story all together. You grew up hearing stories about him, of how he was the final arbiter, the one who was called when there was nothing else to be done. He had power, real power. The way he looks at Frisk says it all. He’s nonchalant, casual, but there’s a glint in his eye that you know far too well. He’s analyzing Frisk, taking them apart piece by piece and trying to figure out why they are what they are.

 

Papyrus sounds in the distance, Sans tells them to hide. Frisk goes to, but in a moment of clarity you hold them there. There would be no hiding from what they are. There had already been too much death to back down; you wouldn’t let them. How dare they try to regret? To change? They had chosen this path, and here they would stay until you found a way to change it all.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

You keep quiet, all your focus on keeping Frisk’s feet immobile. Sans makes some confused noise that you only half register.

 

Papyrus doesn’t fight. He takes one look at Frisk and flees. Smart. You release Frisk, and retreat into your memories as a wave of helplessness overtakes you. Frisk is still pestering you for answers, but their questions are easy to tune out.


You slip in and out of consciousness. Nothing registers fully, except for the occasional touch. You feel cold on your forehead and relish in it, because everything is just so hot. Your skin boils, leaving you with choked gasps in the place of breaths as it burns out the air in your lungs.



“I don’t like this plan. Please Chara, please just wake up. We’ll find another way.” A voice whispers to you.

 

You ignore it.


You were right about Papyrus being too kind. He claims to be a hunter and yet he acts like a friend, putting down puzzles and tricks instead of weapons. Frisk does nothing with the puzzles, looking at them with a cold indifference. They lost the urge to bother completing puzzles a long time ago. Bloodlust is what sustains them, more than food or water. You know they will not settle for winning without a fight.

 

And when the fight comes, Papyrus spares them. He holds out his hand and asks if they wouldn’t mind trying to be a better person. Frisk considers it, really and truly considers it. You don’t have enough energy to control what they do, so you watch passively, waiting with bated breath to see if they will be hypocritical enough to accept.

 

They strike him down. His health is nearly gone. He looks up at them with pleading, hopeful eyes.

 

“I really think you could become a good person. You could be a cool dude, like me. It’s in you somewhere, and I believe in it.”  His voice doesn’t shake, nor does he beg, and you respect him for that.

 

That only makes it harder to watch him disappear as his soul is destroyed. You add his death to one of the many that needs to be avenged. You never knew Papyrus personally, only distant mutterings of Undyne’s clumsy apprentice who would never learn.

 

But you know Sans.

 

You know him by the way Asgore only ever called him if it was something serious. You know that Sans is stronger than Asgore, and only his inherent laziness and respect for Asgore kept him off the throne. You know Papyrus is his brother. You know that his fury will be endless and that he will serve justice with a viscous hand.

 

If you could smile, you would be grinning in a crazed, feral way, the one that you save only for expressing absolute glee.


You can feel it when you die.

 

It’s a slide almost, one misstep and suddenly you just know that your body gave up. From there you keep on falling. There is nothing to go back to, and sleep is something your mind sorely needs.

 

Wait, there’s warmth. It pools around you, cradling you in its grasp. A pop sounds, and your bubble of death is shattered because you are alive and warm and breathing again.

 

Only, you aren’t alone.

 

“Char? Char? ...Chara? Please tell me this worked. Please- I couldn’t- I can’t- you couldn’t have died for nothing please just come back I don’t even want to-”

 

Hey.

 

“Char! Thank goodness you’re alive I’m so happy oh thank the stars.”

 

You haven’t even seen the stars.

 

“I can imagine them.”

 

Onto step two then?

 

“Oh. Y-yeah.”

 

What is it?

 

“Are...are you sure?”

 

You don’t want to kill humans.

 

“Of course I don’t. I mean, I know we’re gonna have to but-”

 

Fine. Whatever. Just take me to see the flowers, the special ones that grow outside the barrier.

 

“Bu-”

 

We can go outside the barrier. Why not?

 

“Y-you’re right.”

 

Let’s go. It’ll be an adventure.

 

“Yeah. An adventure.”


The monster kid, in all his idiotic glory, goes to see Frisk. He approaches them by the waterfall.

 

“U-Undyne is wrong, right? It- it’s not you, right?” He’s still shaking, but keeps taking small steps closer to them.

 

Frisk is silent.

 

What will you do? You taunt Frisk, knowing the reservations they have against killing a child. You laugh. They murder the monsters who showed them true compassion and yet it is this child that makes them want to stop? Pathetic. It makes you angry enough to see red.

 

Frisk steps forward, the boy takes one back to match it.

 

“You look kinda scary. Your eyes…” He trails off, frozen in fear as Frisk looms closer. He’s basically just free exp. for Frisk and the two of you know it. Still, Frisk hesitates.

 

He’s in the way. Kill or be killed, remember?

 

Undyne saves the kid, taking the killing blow in his stead. As he runs, she rises, hollow, sunken eyes reflecting her righteous fury. Determination pulses off her in waves- a puddle compared to the ocean inside Frisk and you, but she holds herself together.

 

Frisk defeats her easily, because monster souls were never meant to have that much determination- you don’t know how Undyne managed to get it in such large amounts. Her skin boils as determination burns right through her like she has oil in her veins instead of blood.

 

You can only feel resignation tinged with that helplessness you despise while watching her go.

 

The horror of Toriel’s death is a distant emotion now. Too many monsters have died under Frisk’s hand for you to keep count. You stopped trying to a long time ago. You know fate is cruel, but this seems like a bit much, even for something fickle. You couldn’t have stopped this from happening, so if you had been brought back for that purpose then you’ve already failed.

 

No matter how you look at it, the only option you have is to move forward with your original plan. Take advantage the moment you learn how to harness that SAVE power for your own purposes.

 

“Will you tell me your name now?”

 

No.

 

“Ah.”


 

“It’s so beautiful.”

 

You let Asriel look, giving a noncommittal agreement. He basks in the sunlight, runs his paws through the grass, laughs until he can’t breathe, and cries out for joy. You let him have this, even if the familiar sight of Mt. Ebott brings bad memories to the forefront of your mind. He deserves this.

 

We should go, before the sun sets.

 

“Oh. You’re right. Sorry.”

 

“It’s fine.”

 

He moves to pick up your body. You asked him to bring it with him. You claimed that you wanted your body buried by the flowers. In reality you need a place to return to once you have the souls you need to break the barrier. You know that Asriel won’t ever be able to go through with this. But it’s fine.

 

You’ll just have to do it for the both of you.


Flowey meets Frisk outside of the palace. He asks if they can talk in a trembling voice, and you take part in the satisfaction dripping through both of you that now it is he that is afraid of you. No- Frisk- Frisk isn’t you. You aren’t Frisk. At least you think not. By now the line is too blurred for you to be sure.

 

He talks of awakening, of his soulless existence, of Save power and how it works. He lays his secrets bare for Frisk to see, and they watch with cold, calculating eyes.

 

You gather the knowledge and horde it, for it has just become your most valued treasure. SAVE. RESET. You could change the world- you could rewrite the damage Frisk has done.

 

This is it, you realize. The reason for you being here. You can control this. You have unimaginable power at the edge of your fingertips- all through Frisk.

 

You have enough strength to control them. You know you do. With every level, with every hint of experience, you have grown stronger right along with them. With every level you lost a bit of yourself too, but that won’t matter once you can get your hands on this power. Frisk can’t RESET but they can LOAD and SAVE.

 

If you had Flowey’s soul, you would be able to RESET. To start anew.

 

Flowey looks into Frisk’s eyes, but you know he can see you. He cowers, bravado gone. His petals tremble so hard you think they might just fall off.

 

“Just leave me alone, I’ll do what you want.” He pleads. Something inside you snaps, but you let Frisk remain in control.

 

Nothing happens. Flowey makes his escape.

 

It feels like saying goodbye, but you don’t know why.


This is wrong. This is all so wrong. Blood drips down, staining the grass below them in its sickly hues.

 

You press a hand against your side, blood seeping past the fur. You’re more red than white at this point.

 

“We’re going to die.” Asriel is surprisingly calm for how he was panicking minutes ago, yelling at you to stop, to not hurt the humans.

 

Because you wouldn’t let me fight.

 

“Chara you said we wouldn’t fight.”

 

I lied. Haven’t you ever heard a lie?

 

“Char-”

 

I’m getting us home.

 

“We’re so far from the entrance now.”

 

You are. The humans chased you up the slope of the mountain with their screams and their weapons. But you can still remember when you climbed this mountain once, and even though you’re hurting you’re stronger now, with bigger legs and big hands to push you onwards. You refused to die here, in their world. If they were going to fail you would leave nothing behind for the humans to gloat over.

 

I know how to get back.

 

“Do you? You sure knew a lot about buttercups. And souls. And dying. An lying to me.”

 

Not the time.

 

“Will there ever be a time, Char?”

 

No. Because this is all the time we have left.

 

“You mean…”

 

I can get us to the Underground, but I can’t go any further.

 

“I can’t get us to a doctor.”

 

I know.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Don’t say that.

 

You heave yourself over a ledge, coughing blood up as you do. Your head throbs, your vision blurry, but you press on. You can see the peak. A few more steps and you’ll be there.

 

“I wish we had told mom and dad. I didn’t say goodbye to them.”

 

Nothing we can do about that now.

 

“Dang it Char why can’t you-”

 

What. Say it.

 

“No. It won’t matter.”

 

You stand on the precipice, staring down the void that had welcomed you so long ago. The darkness, which had once called to you, hisses and writhes with danger. You know that you will not survive the trip down. It is a truth as clear as the sky above. You look around, wanting to give Asy at least one more view of the world.

 

“It really is beautiful.”

 

Goodbye, Asy. I am sorry that it ended up like this.

 

“I know Char. It’s okay. I love you.”

 

You jump, closing your eyes to the fate below you.


You are the one who walks up to Sans. You are the one who listens to his speech with boredom because you know you cannot truly die.

 

You don’t know where Frisk is now, you don’t particularly care.

 

San’s blue eyes glimmer in the sunlight. You can see the promise in their depths, the anger that shines clearer than anything. You see it and accept it because there is nothing more you can do. This is the path you have traveled down, unwilling companion or not, and there is no changing that.

 

“Don’t you want me to fight him?”

 

So that’s where they were.

 

No. I want to do this.

 

You die a million different ways when facing Sans.

 

He truly surpasses your expectations, living up to everything you thought he would be. He is an avenger with an arsenal of attacks made to cut down every living thing in their path.

 

“Kids like you should burn in hell. ” You grin at his words. Like you didn’t know what hell was. You’ve lived in it thrice over, this battle counts as one of those times.

 

After an eternity, of the same cycle of words and fighting, you get him to fall asleep. You knew he couldn’t keep it his turn forever. You move slowly, moving to fight again.

 

“Maybe...maybe we could spare him.”

 

Disgust rises in you, and your lip curls. No.

 

“B-but I-”

 

Quiet. You don’t get a say in this. Kill or be killed in this world. If you stop it here then all that death would have been for nothing. I won’t let that happen. You- we- need to see this through. No matter how it ends.

 

Sans dodges your attack, but he isn’t prepared for the second strike. You were tired of playing by the rules, eager to just get this over with. He walks away with his life dripping on the floor and a smile on his skeletal face.


When the last little piece of you breaks, it crumbles away like dust in the wind.

 

It should feel like freedom, like power- and it does. Only, you can see the chains underneath it.

 

You still have to fix this.


Frisk’s reluctance is a thorn in your side as you talk to Asgore. You don’t want to kill him either really, but there is no other option. There is no running from this.

 

“What sort of monster are you?” He asks, and you smile. He would only realize you weren’t really human when it was like this.

 

You strike him down with your strongest attack, before Frisk can even consider sparing him. His soul floats gently for a moment, only to be shattered by vines.

 

Flowey takes the crumbled soul, his smile frantic. You can see the echoes of other souls hanging around him- human ones.

 

“Look, look, I’m on your side, I’ve always been on your side. Let’s work together like we used to. It’ll just be you and me, just like it should be, right Char? Right?”

 

Oh. Oh. Oh no no no no no.

 

What you said about fate was a lie. It would be this cruel. You don’t know how, you don’t know why. You only know what you must do.

 

Maybe if you reset things you could save Asy too.

 

He falls with an agonized cry, writhing in pain. You force yourself to look, to see what you did with your own hands. To look away would be to betray him.

 

When his soul is revealed, you quickly take it in your hands, collecting the other souls too. One by one, they are drawn into you. The surge of power is like a level up, only on such a massive scale you nearly drown in it. Your vision swims.

 

When it clears, you are looking at Frisk. You look down, and your own hands are there. Red eyes meet hazel ones as you meet Frisk’s confused gaze.

 

“You’re human.”

 

No I’m not. I’m not any more human than you are. We’re both just demons.

 

“No I-”

 

“You awakened me, you know. Your bloodlust called to me. I guess it takes a demon to awaken another demon.”

 

“What do you-”

 

Now, Frisk. I’m going to end this world and we can start again, and again, and again. However long it takes to fix this.

 

“But what if I don’t want to.”

 

You laugh. You chuckle and you cackle and you howl with laughter. You grin, that feral, crazed way you’ve been waiting to use for ages.

 

What makes you think you’re in control?