Once again, they died. Frisk clutched their arms tightly as they curled in on themselves.
“There’s no use in lying down here, partner,” the familiar echoing voice of Chara filled their ears, only to make the curl even further into themselves, searching for some sort of comfort that they wouldn’t be gaining from their so-called partner.
How many times has it been? How far did they get this time? Who survived? Who hadn’t? It was hard to remember even the most recent reset anymore. They all started to bleed together long ago. Each and every death of the people they used to care so much about burned into their mind’s eye, numbing them to each new way Chara ended their lives. “I don’t want to do this anymore,” Frisk whispered, their own voice sounding strange to them. It had been many resets ago since they last spoke. Apparently, Chara noticed it too as they floated back over to stare at them. It was a long moment before those assessing red eyes blinked.
“I’ll be nice and let you rest, but you got five minutes. We were so close last time. I think we’ll succeed this time.”
Frisk almost thanked them before bitterly biting their chapped lips. They didn’t want five minutes, they wanted to stop. They didn’t know how much more they can take of seeing everyone around them die. They didn’t even know if they could stand being around them, knowing what they do.
“Time to get up buddy.” Chara stood over them with an all too wide smile, it hadn’t even been the full five minutes. Impatient as always. “Those monsters ain’t going to kill themselves.” Frisk wasn’t moving fast enough for Chara. Sighing, Chara moved to posse them and Frisk was more than willing to go into the dark numbness that the possession provided.
“Hello! Is anyone down there?”
Chara jumped away in fear as Frisk shot up, looking to the noise to see a head poking through the opening of the sinkhole. A human!?
“This hasn’t happened before! Who are they? Why are they showing up now?” Chara’s questions were demanding and rushed as they paced in a panic, their head snapping up at the human with each passing second.
Frisk’s reaction was a bit different. Tears burned at their eyes as they stared up at the only other human they’ve seen in so long. A sob bubbled up in their throat, breaking through loud and clear.
“Hold on! I’ll come get you!”
“You idiot! Why are you crying?” Chara forced themselves in front of Frisk looking equally panicked and furious. And, though Frisk wasn’t entirely sure why they looked afraid too.
But Frisk didn’t care. For once, after so long, they felt hope. This was different. Frisk could feel Chara trying to fight for control, but Frisk’s determination was too strong. Their hope soared when a rope fell from above.
You had the rope secured tightly around the closest tree before tossing the rest down the hole. This was dangerous and you had no cell reception to call for help and maybe you were panicking a little as you made sure your hiking pack wasn’t going to slip off while you took the climb down. Asking the kid to climb was out of the question, you had no idea how injured they were or if they could without falling. This was your only choice. Or so you told yourself, honestly, you weren’t thinking with the clearest mind. All you could focus on was getting down safely enough so you could help the kid.
You made your way down the hole with the rope wrapped around your waist to control your descent into the cave. You knew that it was going to be tough climbing back up with the kid before you even reached the bottom. Your arms were starting to feel the strain already. The moment your feet made contact with the ground, a young body barreled into you, nearly sending you to the ground. Their arms wrapped tightly around you as their face was buried against your chest as they sobbed. Your arms instinctively wrapped around the crying child, pulling them closer as you tried to give what comfort you could.
“I’m so sorry,” you whispered, brushing back their chestnut hair. You took a quick inventory of them, looking for any injuries. There probably weren’t any, especially when the kid was able to run to you as they did. Their ramming speed was impressive for someone that didn’t even look older than ten. “Are you okay?” you asked.
Physically? Frisk nodded. Everything else, no, but it wasn’t like they could tell the adult. Instead, they basked in the warmth of your arms as their crying calmed. It reminded them a bit of Toriel, just a lot less hair.
“What’s your name?”
Frisk looked up, a bit surprised. “Frisk,” they whispered, not remembering if anyone has asked them this since the fall. They don’t even know if Chara knew and from the look on the ghost’s face, they hadn’t. They were surprised that Chara wasn’t speaking out, just spectating the pair of you.
“That’s an unusual name,” you murmured, brushing their hair back to get a clear look at their tired face. “I’m Y/n.” You smiled softly, pleased when they smile back up at you, even though it was hesitant. You smiled wider, feeling that everything would be alright from this point on. There was something special about this kid. “You want to get out of here?”
Frisk couldn’t nod fast enough.
You laughed, ruffling their hair. “Let me tie my pack to the rope here and we’ll see about climbing out, okay?”
Frisk let you go, watching as you strolled to the rope and tied a heavy-looking backpack to it. You were a tall adult, at least tall to them, but most people were. You didn’t look all that old either. From the way you were dressed, Frisk couldn’t tell if you were a regular hiker or not. You were prepared to be here, maybe a camper?
“I didn’t know your name...” Chara’s face was drawn tight with a scowl. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Frisk looked at them for a moment, eyeing you as they whispered, “You never asked.”
Chara’s eyes widened, looking hurt by the truth in Frisk’s words. “Right.”
Frisk nodded, returning their attention onto you.
“Alright, hop on,” you said, kneeling.
Frisk climbed on and you stood with no problem. Frisk was about the same weight as your pack, which would make the climb a bit easier, but also worried you considerably. How long had they been down here? You were going to feed them the moment you get up top. You pulled on a sturdy pair of climbing gloves and grabbed the rope. You checked it a few minutes ago to make sure it still held strong, but second checking was a habit at this point.
You knew something was wrong when you were able to jerk your hand down and the rope fell with it. “Shit.” Frisk moved off your back as you picked up the end of the rope. There was no way that it came untied. If it was lose enough to do that, you would have fallen like the kid. “Looks like we’re going to have to find a new way out.”
You didn’t think your idea was that horrible until Frisk started sobbing again. Damage control instantly took over as you turned to Frisk. “Hey, it’s okay. Here, look. We can do this. I got flashlights, food, this weird thermal blanket thing, bandages,” you said, listing things off as you pulled a few out of the pack beside you. “We got the supplies needed to travel through this cave and find another opening. Caves are like that,” or at least you hope so. The very few, more like one, cave you’ve been in was like that and there is no reason why this one shouldn’t be as well. How the hell were you two going to get out of this cave system? A small bit of panic started to set it, diminishing your hope a somewhat, but you hid it well. Panicking would do no good. Panicking made you fail at securing the rope properly. “It’s going to be okay, Frisk. I’m here for you and I know we’re going to get out of here in no time.” You hoped. That’s all you could do.
You started packing things away when you noticed Frisk staring at you with wide eyes, showing their gorgeous caramel coloring. It was unnerving and flattering with the amount of awe they were giving you like you were their savior of some sort. Looking anywhere but their eyes, you spot a bloodied knee. Handing them a flashlight, you bandaged their knee up with Batman band-aids and packed away the rest of the items except a flashlight for yourself. “You ready?” you asked, smiling.
Frisk stared at you, mesmerized by how new and hope-inspiring you were. Finally, they felt like this might finally end. They reached out, grasping your hand with a smile of their own.
“Well, well, well.”
That voice. A chill ran through Frisk, even Chara looked worried as Flowey made his presence known. No.
“What do we have here?” Flowey asked, his voice sickly sweet as an all too wide smile took over his face.
You looked at the talking flower in...amazement? You weren’t sure what you were feeling. Did you fall? Was this some sort of messed up dream that came from smashing your head on the cave floor? “Hi...talking flower...”
“Did you find another playmate, Chara?” the flower ignored you. His attention was fully on Frisk.
Frisk stepped back, hiding behind you. This set off several warning bells. Chara?
“Have you gotten bored with our game?”
This was getting weird.
Frisk looked from Flowey to you, to Chara and back. They didn’t know what to do. Chara wasn’t going to be much help and no matter how much Flowey talked about Chara, he never did see them next to Frisk.
“Golly, that certainly stings, friend.” The flower was angry and you could tell and you were starting to freak out a little. How can a flower be angry?? Why did you feel like running was the best choice right now?
“Maybe I should make friends with them too?”
No, you did not want this. Not at all. This was not someone you’d hang out with.
The flower turned its horrible attention onto you and it sucked about as much as you expected. “Howdy, friend. You’re new around here, ain'tcha?”
You gave a weak smile. “You could say I decided to drop in.”
The flower’s smile strained. Not much of a jokes guy? “Funny… My name is Flowey the Flower!” His peppy attitude was back, though it did nothing to hide his irate. “And since I’m such a nice guy, I will tell you how things work around here.”
Before you could even decline as you wanted, Frisk shot out in front of you with their arms wide as if to protect you. It was odd and endearing, but why? Something wasn’t right about all of this, but you were going to follow the kid's instinct. “I’m going to have to decline, Mr. Flower. The kid and I are on a tight schedule.” The thought of asking for the way out was quickly tossed by the way his face twisted in anger for just a moment. If you had blinked, you would have missed it.
“I don’t think you understand what is going on.” His face darkened. You grabbed Frisk and pulled them behind them without much thought and suddenly it was dark. Something pulled at your chest and the world became black and white.
“What the…?” You looked around, noticing the boxes in front of you. Fight, Act, Item, Mercy...What the crap. Game simulation? The only bit of color was the heart in front of you. Was that your HP?? How could you already have a level? None of this made a bit of sense. Though you attack and defense was impressive.
“You see, in this world, monsters like me make interactions like this. It is traditional,” Flowey stated, watching you with a smug look. “Since I started the interaction, you get to move first.”
“Right.” This was all too surreal for you to comprehend what was happening. As much as you didn’t like this guy, you weren’t going to attack. You already knew your items for the most part. Mercy was a thought, but Action was far more appealing. When you pressed it, all you had was Check and Talk. You clicked Check and saw a pretty low attack and a high defense, surprisingly. You expected something higher for his attack some reason. There was something written at the bottom of the text box. Once considered himself a Prince. What did that mean?
“Are you done yet?” Flowey did nothing to hide his anger now.
“I guess so,” you said, ending your turn as you tried to think over what the last line meant.
White pelts appear around him before darting at you with such speed that all you could do was fall to dodge them. The little heart moving with you as it too dodged the bullets.
“In this world, it is kill or be killed!” Flowey yelled, shooting more bullets at you.
It felt never-ending as you dodged and fell, trying to desperately not get hit.
“You’re pretty fast, human, but you won’t last.”
“What about my turn?” you panted, turning on your heel. It felt like he was playing with you. So you kept moving, changing your direction and speed, keeping him from predicting your path. That heart though, followed you, moving as you did. It felt important somehow.
“You already had your turn!”
Shit. If you knew that you would only have one chance, you would have used items and brought out the bear spray. You were being run ragged when the on-slot seemed to lessen. Unfortunately for you, it was because a barge of them was taking aim at Frisk who was dodging like a champ but quickly being cornered. You forgot all about them when this started. With a burst of energy you, you ran to them, no caring about the pellets that hit your skin, only caring about reaching Frisk.
They noticed you running towards you and seemed to panic by it, urging you to go away. You refused, especially when pellets hit them. Using yourself as a shield, you wrapped yourself around their small body and refused to yield to the on slot.
Frisk pushed for a moment before grabbing tightly onto you. Never before had someone done this. Taking the hit for them, protecting them. And you just met them. Why?
It hurt. It hurt so much as every pellet hit your back, slowly breaking through the leather of your jacket and into your skin, but it didn’t hurt nearly as much as this awful feeling in your chest. It felt like you were being broken apart. You held onto Frisk tightly, hoping that Flowey would power out before he could harm them.
It took all you had not to scream. Instead, you gritted your teeth and stared hard at the cave wall until you swore you could see a kid that was oddly similar to Frisk. They stared back with just as much shock as you had. You hoped that they were smart enough to stay as far away as possible.
Your HP was dropping rapidly as Flowey cackled.
Then the world went dark.
You went slack on Frisk and they knew what happened. Even before Flowey’s laughter filled the cave or when they could finally see over your shoulder to see as your soul broke apart. Unlike a monster, your body didn’t turn to dust. You were very much still there. Even when you dropped to the ground and Frisk stood above you. Even when Frisk touched their small hands to your cheeks. Even when they shook you. Even when they started to scream, you didn’t move. Who was supposed to help them now? Why did you have to die so soon?
“Frisk?” Chara called out, their incorporeal hand resting on Frisk’s shoulder. It did nothing to soothe the feelings that tore through them. “We can reset, we can get them back.” As much as Chara didn’t trust you, you were new and they wanted to see more of what you would bring. Maybe they were the key to make their plan succeed. Plus, without you, Frisk would lose their HoPe and Chara couldn’t risk that.
“Go ahead, Chara, reset. Bring them back and I’ll kill them over and over again. And-”
He didn’t even get to finish what he was saying as Frisk ran at him, screaming. Their raw anger and hatred was enough to silence the flower, even to make him quiver at the sight. Chara watched silently, never before seeing this side of Frisk.
“Chara?” His voice, small and scared as he stared up at Frisk.
Frisk wanted to stomp on that flower, stop him from ever doing this again. It’s what he deserved. Over and over he treated them poorly as if this was all a game. He took pleasure in other’s pain. But, how were they any different?
Instead of acting out how they knew Chara would, how they wanted, they did what they should and showed mercy, resetting the world again.
Frisk awoke, looking around for you, only to remember that you didn’t show up for a little while longer.
“Do you think they’ll show up?” Chara asked, watching the cave opening with as much interest as Frisk had.
“What if they don’t?”
Frisk turned to them, worried.
“What if they remember?” Chara didn’t know if that was possible, but there wasn’t ever two humans at once before. Besides that, there was the part where they were sure that she saw them before she died. Chara was sure of it. “I don’t think I’d come back if I was her. Not after being killed by a flower.”
Frisk was silent. Chara wasn’t happy about being the bearer of bad news, but they weren’t about to get Frisk’s hopes up for some human that had no part in this.
The pair jumped in shock, looking up to see Y/n over the hole, looking ragged as if you had been running.
“Y/n!” Frisk called back, crying a little, though far happier tears.
You laughed, breathing heavily as you tried to catch your breath. “Did I just die?”