You were not you. And yet you were you.
This was hard for you to explain.
But when you were three years old and your parents left you in the woods to die, you weren’t alone.
*This is just what humans do, one of them scoffed.
*There’s a family out there somewhere that’s waiting for you, the other said gently. *I promise.
You didn’t respond, because you weren’t sure who they were or what they wanted. But you listened, because you’d felt them there before, and their flickering red voices didn’t feel out of place.
That was when you felt nothing but pain, and a little red heart glimmered in your chest, and your hand was not your own, clawing at it—
You felt the heart pulling away from you, and with it the softer voice started fading—
*STOP IT, PLEASE!!
*HOLD ON, KRIS—
And then everything stopped.
It smelled like cinnamon.
*I’m so sorry Kris, I—I should’ve known. Don’t worry. I won’t let it happen again.
The soft voice was silent for a long time. You could barely even feel the other one. You picked your way through the woods.
You tried not to think about what you were going to do next.
“Haha! I’m the God of Hyperdeath, come to destroy you all!” You jumped at the sudden voice. It sounded like a kid. Older than you. His voice changed to falsetto. “Oh no! Whatever shall we do! The Great God of Hyperdeath’s attacks are all-powerful!”
You stepped on a twig.
The boy stopped.
“Hello? Is someone there?”
You froze, not daring to move. Instead, he came to you.
You found yourself face-to-face with a white-furred monster. There was dirt on his face and his green-and-yellow sweater, and a leaf in his fur.
You felt sad.
You weren’t sure why.
“A human! No way,” he gasped. “How’d you get here? Our town is monsters-only! But that’s okay! I’m sure they won’t mind. Are you lost?”
You shook your head slowly. Yes, you didn’t know where you were, but if you said you were lost, then you’d get taken back home.
“Alright-y then! That’s okay! Ya wanna play God of Hyperdeath with me?”
You’d never played God of Hyperdeath but... it sounded fun. You nodded.
“Awesome! Oh—Howdy! I’m Asriel!” He held out his hand for you to shake. You took it hesitantly, flinching when he grabbed your hand with both of his, shaking violently. “What’s your name?”
“...Kris,” you whispered.
“Sweet! Okay, okay—here’s how ya play. I’m the God of Hyperdeath, Lord of Destruction!!! And you’re whoever you wanna be.”
You shrugged. You were just... you.
“That’s okay! I can help. You’re... you’re the Legendary Hero of Shadows and Sunlight, come to save us all!”
You nodded, and Asriel grinned.
You ended up going home with him, and you’re not sure what possessed you to accept his offer. Surely his family would offer to take you home? You didn’t want to go home. But for some strange reason you wanted to go with Asriel.
You desperately wanted to stay there, at his little home. It smelled like flowers and butterscotch-cinnamon pie, and Mr. and Mrs. Dreemurr were the kindest people you’d ever met, even if they terrified you a bit.
When they offered to take you home, they saw the look of fear on your face that you hadn’t yet learned to hide.
They pried the story out of you, bit by bit. You think you cried. It was kind of a blur, though.
You ended up staying.
It was the happiest day of your life.
*Your new family loves you, the voice whispered hesitantly. You touched the strange golden light in your new room. *You’re filled with determination.
You knew the implications of voices in your head. Of memories that weren’t yours. But it took you a while to learn them, and to learn the difference between your memories that had happened, and the ones that hadn’t.
Like when you were four and you told Mom you didn’t blame her.
When you were five and you told Berdly you knew what death felt like.
When you were six and you told Ms. Alphys that it wasn’t her fault.
When you drew pictures of smiling yellow flowers and then were terrified of them.
When you told Asriel you wished you could’ve saved him.
Asriel seemed to understand, though. He didn’t like yellow flowers either.
Sometimes he’d apologize to you when you’d done nothing wrong. And you’d understand.
You worked up the courage to ask who the two of them were when you were nine. You’d had another nightmare. You’d been having them for as long as you could remember, but this one had been bad.
Watching your dad skewer you with a red trident counted as bad, right?
You’d asked inside your own head, uncertain if it would work. Only one of them answered. They’d felt relieved actually, when you addressed them, and honestly, you were relieved as well.
*We’re Angels, they tried to explain. *We’re Life and Death. Two extremes from two possible worlds that never should have met, and... we are also you. Our worlds are this world, our future’s this world’s future... it’s both, and it’s neither. You’re both, and you’re neither. Their voice was burning red, gentle but fiery.
*The memories, then? you asked. *Are they yours?
*They’re mine, they said, *they’re theirs... and they’re yours.
*That’s confusing, you replied. They give the impression of a giggle.
*It sure is. I don’t really understand it either. But I am here, and I am you, and they are you, and you are you, I guess?
*What... what are they trying to do to me? you asked after a moment. They hesitated.
*I’m not sure, they said carefully. *I’ve been protecting you from them. If my memories haven’t been... messed with at all, then they only want two things: control, and destruction. You’re a human. You have the power to destroy. And... and in their world, I think, they took control of... of me... sometimes. To use my power. So... I think maybe... they want to do the same thing to you?
*Oh. You somehow weren’t surprised. You felt like you should’ve been, but both of them were you, after all.
*So... lemme get this straight. There are two mysterious and oppositional entities in my head that are their own people but also aspects of me, and one of them is protecting me from the other, because the other wants to take control of my body to destroy the world.
*Yep! Pretty much!
*You get used to it. Although I only had one, not two.
You weren’t surprised at that, either.
The two of you sat in silence for a moment. Your mind was quiet, but you could still feel them there, a flickering redness in the back of your conscious.
*I’m sorry about the nightmares, they said softly. They sounded guilty. *Most of those are my fault.
*It’s okay. It wasn’t, and you both knew it, but they were protecting you from losing everything you had. You could handle it.
*Do you have a name? you asked after a few slightly awkward minutes had passed.
*Uh... the Angel of Life, I guess? If I had any actual name it... well... it would be yours.
*You said you were from another world, though. Didn’t you have a name there?
They were silent for a moment.
*I think... I think I was... Frisk. Yeah... yeah, I was.
*...Looks a lot like Kris.
*It does, doesn’t it.
*Coincidence? You knew the answer.
*Probably not, they sighed.
*Did the other one have a name?
*You knew them?
*I... knew a different world’s version of them. They weren’t... like this.
*Well then, Frisk... if we’re stuck like this... how good are you at math homework?
*Great, you sigh.
*I’m good at puzzles? They seem to shrug.
*So am I, you scoff.
*Well... I guess it makes sense.
*I guess it does.
*. . .
*. . .
*. . .
*I’m gonna go to bed. See you later? I guess?
*I’ll be here.
You really met Chara for the first time after the ketchup incident. You were ten. Frisk had felt vaguely horrified as you moaned in false agony, but something else had been stifling a laugh. It felt like Frisk—that same burning—but... hollow. Empty. It burned, but there was no red.
You knew it. You knew them.
You went home. Asriel was spending the night at a friend’s house, and you were alone. You’d had to go to bed early for your prank. No regrets.
*Are you sure about this?
*They’re a part of me too, right? I at least want to see what they’re like for myself.
You weren’t expecting it to hurt like that.
*Greetings. I knew it would only be a matter of time before you wanted to speak with me. They sounded smug.
*What... what can you tell me about... you?
*You know as much about me as I do. I am you, after all. With Frisk it felt more like a statement of fact—I am you, and you are me—but with Chara... it felt like a threat. A warning.
*I am you, but I am also me, you adopted Chara’s formal tone. *And the me I am right now doesn’t know much about you.
*I am the demon that comes when you call its name, they seemed to be laughing. *It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter where. Time after time, I will appear.
*What do you want? Your previous tactic had obviously gotten you nowhere.
*I want many things. I want to exist in my own timeline again. I want to rewrite my own mistakes. But most of all... I want to destroy this world, and everything in it.
You were terrified, and yet not. How could you be, when Chara was still half of you?
*Because I can.
Against your will, your hand jerked towards your chest.
Chara’s voice went silent, and your hand went limp.
*I knew that was a bad idea, Frisk said quietly. You weren’t sure if you agreed, but you were glad it didn’t hurt anymore.
This time, in your nightmares, you were accompanied by a ghostly child in a green sweater, who encouraged you to pet as many dogs as you could, and tried to shield you from attacks even though you both knew it wouldn’t work.
You spent a long time staring at the mirror. You were Kris. But you were also Frisk, and you were Chara. And they were you.
You didn’t know who you were, with that information. Maybe you shouldn’t have asked for their names, maybe you shouldn’t have talked to them. But even if you hadn’t, you still would have had the nightmares. The memories that weren’t yours, but kind of were.
When you looked at the mirror, you were real, but...
Nothing else seemed that way.
You could remember your own mother burning away your soul. The memory wasn’t just theirs, it was yours. She burned you.
But she didn’t. She hadn’t used her fire magic in years.
Chief Undyne had driven a hundred spears through your chest. MK saved you from them, once.
Dad had killed you too many times to count.
Your brother had carried your dead body to a bed of golden flowers.
You pulled your bangs over your eyes, like you’d taken to lately. You didn’t want to see the softer brown one and its contrast with the harsh red of the other. Because even that made sense, didn’t it?
*It’s only you, Frisk whispered softly. You nodded, and turned away. You didn’t put on your headband. You were so incredibly human, after all, and humans didn’t have horns. Even if they wanted them.
You’re no good at making friends. You’re bad at talking, in general. You tend to be stuck in your own head for long minutes, long hours, remembering a not-memory or talking to Frisk, or sometimes just thinking. When you do talk, it’s quiet and muttered and shy, and most don’t hear you anyway.
It’s easy to talk to Frisk. Words are accompanied by images and emotions, and you’re not really using your voice anyway. They told you a while ago that they used to hate talking, too. It made you feel a bit better.
It’s even easier to talk to Asriel. But that’s because you don’t have to really talk. Even your parents sometimes find your carefully-crafted blank face unreadable, but it’s never worked with Azzy. When you were younger, all you had to do was squeeze his hand in a certain way and he’d know what you meant. You were an open book to him no matter what.
Noelle was nice enough. You were forced to hang out with her since your parents were friends, but it wasn’t bad.
Her bright, nervous, talkative positivity kinda intimidated you at first. Until you found out she was much more scared of you than you were of her.
Hiding under the bed was the funniest thing you’d ever done, and you stood by that decision. You and Frisk were laughing for hours afterward, and you swore you heard Chara laughing along with you.
Once Noelle got used to you, she stopped being terrified, and started being playfully exasperated with your weirdness. It was nice to have someone who’d joke with you. She’d talk for hours on end, and you wouldn’t have to say a word. She wasn’t as good at reading you as Asriel was, but you found yourself slipping up around her. Letting a few things through the cracks.
You were closest when your parents split, and her own started to fall apart. You both were eight, and it felt a little like being left in the woods to die all over again.
You’d ran off after Mom and Dad had a particularly bad argument, and you were sitting at the forests’ edge by the church where you used to play with Azzy.
You thought, guiltily, that Asriel would probably be worried for you.
You’d heard footsteps.
Noelle had been crying, and hadn’t noticed you at first. She sat at the edge of the church, her head in her hands.
Eventually, she looked up, eyes wide and sad. She said nothing, but raised a hand in greeting. You waved back, and let your mask crack for just a second.
You both looked away. She kept silently sobbing, and you stared at the grass.
The two of you would never be best friends, but you had an understanding after that.
The only other kid you had any interest in talking to was MK, which you couldn’t entirely explain. You think it was the part of you that was Frisk, actually. But either way, you found yourself laughing a little at his jokes and thought his seemingly unending kindness was admirable.
You saved him from rushing traffic when he fell into the road.
For a split second, the world had been dark, and dim, glimmering with bright pale blue.
He looked at you different after that, and actually bothered to talk to you sometimes. You’re pretty sure he was genuine. You partnered on group projects whenever you could, and he thought your wry humor was funny.
He was talkative too, and his chatter would fill the silence left by you. He seemed glad to be able to talk, and you were fine just listening.
Asriel left when you were thirteen.
“You’re the strongest of all of us, Kris,” he whispered to you as you hugged him goodbye. “You’re a survivor. Be strong for me, okay?”
You didn’t cry when he left. Just for him. You knew he already felt guilty about leaving Mom and Dad, and you didn’t want him to feel guilty about you, too.
You were glad, in some way, that he was getting to go to college. That he was having this opportunity.
You were also horribly, horribly lonely that first night without him.
You hadn’t realized how much of an anchor Asriel had been.
You didn’t know what you were going to do now that he was gone.
*Survive, a voice said, and you weren’t sure if it was Frisk or Chara.
You didn’t cry when he left, but you did after.
You got to school late today, and you couldn’t partner with MK. Because of course. Noelle was nice enough to offer a group of three, but Berdly messed that up. Pretty in-character for him.
And of course, there was only one other student available.
You really hate group projects.
She slams you against the lockers in the hall, and you don’t bother answering her questions, or fighting back. Your voice is locked in your throat, and you know the consequences of fighting all too well.
Honestly though, the last thing you expected was to fall through the closet floor.
*Neither of us should really be surprised at this point, Frisk shrugged.
You wake up with blue skin and strange armor.
*You look pretty cool, Frisk says. You’re not sure you believe them, because you feel like you jumped out of a bad sci-fi movie, but whatever.
There’s a save point. You haven’t seen one of those in a while.
Frisk doesn’t tell you that you’re filled with determination, because... well, you aren’t. You have no reason to be.
But the light—silvery instead of golden—washes over you anyway.
Susie is there. She’s bright purple and pink, decked out in leather, and she leaves you behind to get rained on by spades.
You find her at a strange, empty city. There’s another save point there.
You talk to a cloaked figure, you listen to his story, and you can feel Frisk puzzling over this place.
When you enter a battle with Lancer, you’re a bit shaky but Frisk tells you what to do. They’re pretty experienced in this, after all. They seem almost excited. A bit scared, but excited.
When it’s time to try dodging, you feel Frisk’s essence resonate within the glimmering red heart in your chest. Susie looks surprised when she sees it, but says nothing.
*Okay, Frisk says. *I can do it, or you can.
*I want to try, you respond. Frisk smiles and gives the impression of a nod, and you feel them step back.
Your soul is yours to control, now, and it’s incredibly freeing to dodge through the flying spades as though you’ve been doing it for years.
Frisk makes comments as the fight continues.
*Not to call a spade a spade, but he’s a spade.
*He’s too young to ride a motorcycle, so he set his bike on fire.
“I can’t tell the difference between your clothes and your body,” you say awkwardly.
*He seems flattered, Frisk snickers.
You dodge another barrage of spades.
*You’re a natural! Frisk grins once it’s over. *The first time I saw bullets like those, I walked right into them.
*Ah yes, because they’re not obviously-threatening shapes coming right for your soul, you respond.
*Hey, give me a break! I was like, seven.
When he takes off his hood, Ralsei is much more adorable than you’d expected from a mysterious cloaked figure.
*The power of fluffy boys shines within you, Frisk says sagely. You snicker, and Ralsei gives you an odd look, but doesn’t say anything.
“Now hug the dummy!” Ralsei says. You’d agreed to the tutorial mostly to make him happy, and it seemed to be working.
*Hug Ralsei, Frisk grins.
*Don’t hug the dummy. Hug Ralsei.
*You know what? Fine.
You had to admit, Ralsei’s flustered face was worth it.
At first, the two of you and Ralsei are having a surprising amount of fun.
Sure, Susie goes in and out of your party, clobbers everything in her way, and at one point joins Lancer, and yeah, all of you are hurt pretty bad. You’d even died a few times, clean-cut diamonds and blocks ripping straight through your chest.
You always woke up.
After a while, though, Frisk starts to feel wary.
*What’s wrong? you finally ask.
*I’m not sure, Frisk seems like they’re shrugging. *But something is. Just... just a bad feeling, that’s all.
*If you say so.
Susie and Lancer join up with you and Ralsei, and you feel oddly united as you march toward Card Castle.
You make it to the entrance before you’re surrounded by guards, with Lancer nowhere in sight after running off.
*I knew it was too good to be true, Frisk sighs, and everything goes black.
You wake up in prison. Your head hurts.
You’re hungry, so you eat moss off the ground. Frisk is cackling, but also completely grossed out. You actually have to stop yourself from grinning.
Frisk helps out Susie, whose essence is still tied to your soul, since you can’t see the bullets from your cell in order to dodge them.
She frees you and Ralsei, and she’s quiet as you walk to the elevator.
Ralsei talks to her.
*Susie joined the party for real, Frisk says, and you almost smile.
Card Castle is odd, but Rouxls Kaard is entertaining, if incredibly annoying, and none of the other Darkeners really want to hurt you. Even if by the end of each battle you and your friends are covered in cuts and scratches from sharp-edged diamonds and hearts.
*You are now a LVL 1 Bed Inspector. Frisk isn’t often sarcastic, but when they are they really do rip you a new one, huh?
The King was fricking terrifying. By the Angel, he had a mouth in his stomach!
*Abandoned by the Lightners, his heart became cracked with hatred. He cannot be reasoned with, but don't give up!
*You’re not very encouraging.
*Hey, the voice in my head just said “it’s the end” during my boss battle. At least I’m trying to be optimistic.
Everything goes wrong, of course. Ralsei is far too kind, and all three of you far too naive.
You won’t let him hurt Susie.
Everything was fading, going dark—
The King dropped you to the ground.
Susie was standing there, and she looked furious.
*You—you—look, that was real noble and very selfless and I’m proud, but also. What the heck were you thinking?!
*No no, don’t apologize, you saved her life! Just. Whew, you know?
You’re at the door back to the Light World. Susie says something dramatic, but you don’t hear. Your head is far too full of a familiar burning red glow, and your soul is a warm flame in your chest. It rises to the doorway. You feel a pulling, fiery sensation, not quite painful but almost... and everything goes white.
You blink, and you’re standing in the unused classroom. The sun is setting.
Frisk says nothing. They feel tired, drained. So do you. But you don’t bother them, and try to listen to what Susie is saying.
She tells you she wants to go back. Your voice is still locked up tight and you’re too tired to try, but apparently your face is enough, because she smiles at you, and leaves.
Mom calls. She’s so surprised that you were hanging out with a friend that she’s only going to make you go to bed early.
Perks of being a loner, you think, and Frisk rewards you with a tired laugh.
You feel oddly nostalgic as you walk home. You stop by the hospital and the diner. Ms. Bunny gives you a hot chocolate on the house. Your mask cracks as you drink it. At the hospital, you try and play the piano, but your hands are shaking too much and you leave without a word.
There’s an odd-looking skeleton in front of the old bar-turned-grocery store, and you’re certain that you know him. This is all but confirmed when Frisk starts practically radiating joy, despite their exhaustion.
When you say “It’s nice to see you again,” you mean it.
He winks when he says he’s never met you. Frisk laughs, and you almost smile, like the three of you are sharing a private joke.
You’re going to see his brother tomorrow. Frisk tells you to bring the ingredients for spaghetti.
Noelle asks what Susie is really like. You say she’s nice, even though she isn’t, but what else do you call the girl who saved your life and became one of your closest friends in just a few hours?
You’re both silent as you walk home. The odd nostalgia had faded, and you were left with a lingering sense of wrong that you couldn’t quite describe, but knew well.
You go to bed with the promise of butterscotch-cinnamon pie.
Frisk is too exhausted to be excited. So are you.
You wake up from a nightmare about binary code and empty-eyed children.
Chara is laughing.
Frisk is tired, weak—you can feel them protesting, fighting—and fading.
You’re screaming, but your voice makes no sound.
Everything burns an empty crimson.
Your soul, it’s right there—your hand is not your own—you’re reaching into your chest, and utter agony—
Frisk can’t stop them this time.
Your soul is thrown into your old birdcage. You hadn’t had a pet bird since you were ten.
Frisk’s voice cuts off entirely.
*I am the demon that comes when you call its name, Chara whispered. You don’t respond. You can’t.
You’ll never forget the sickening feeling of being unceremoniously tossed from your own skin.
You think you black out.
You don’t wake up.
*You call for help.
“Where... where am I?”
*You try again.
*It smells like buttercups.
“Is... is anybody out there...?”
*It’s too dark to see anything.
“Someone?! Anyone?! Can anyone hear me?!”
*It’s too dark to see anything.
“It’s dark. It’s so dark here.”
*It’s too dark to see anything.
“Someone, anyone, if you can hear me... say something... please...”
*But nobody came.