“You awake yet?”
Frisk opened her eyes. She wanted to believe it was all a terrible dream. That the worst thing they were dealing with was her parents not hurting anyone. But, there was nothing. Her parents weren’t even born yet.
Wait. Mom? Frisk looked outward. “Momma?”
“They used her for her determination,” Sans said to her, still holding her tightly. “She didn’t want to split from her will. She was strong enough to hang on,” he said almost in disbelief. “It wasn’t Gaster all these years. It was Josephine Carlisle. She shattered.”
Shattered?! Frisk stared ahead of her. “But, but this is Gaster’s area! Why would she be way out here?”
“I don’t know the rules of shattering,” Sans explained. “Your momma’s just got a lot of strength. Took us back here with some to spare. She probably used that to get close to the Underground. To watch over you.” And him. All those years.
“Mom.” No. Frisk knew her mother had a lot of determination. She never knew she had just as much as her.
You must stop them.
“How?” Frisk asked. Her mother’s voice though. It was silent.
“Frisk, shattered can only communicate so much. The more they do it in each timeline, the less they can do further on.” He didn’t know how to put it better. “Since your meeting, knowing that you are meeting her, she’s gonna communicate more than ever, but it’s short term.” All those years Underground. She could never explain anything. He and Papyrus just felt her presence. Even growing up. “Your momma’s got power, but she can’t drain it all here either.” Sans laid down a piece of paper on the ground with yes, no, and something that looked like a pencil. “Josephine? Can we get back home?”
“We have to,” Frisk said. “It doesn’t make any sense! I-I mean, time balanced. Yard and Jewel. Sunburst and Al. It balanced. It already balanced. We paid the price already.” She hugged her shoulders. “It balanced. It all balanced. So, how? I don’t . . .” She touched her stomach. She hadn’t really gained any weight. Never even felt them yet. But. All of her children, born and unborn. Were gone. “It. Balanced.”
Both sides. Without core.
“Your mom’s trying.” Sans came closer to Frisk. “Even she can’t speak out like this forever so you’ve got to listen to every word like it could be her last.”
Frisk nodded. She knew that. She would memorize every sweet word she could hear. Both sides. Without core. Both sides. Without core? It didn’t make any sense.
“Josephine. You’ve been helping out. Since? Well, childhood. Which is great and all. But.” He sighed. “Just confirm some things. I just.” He needed to hear it. So did Frisk. He started to spin the pencil object around and around the yes/no paper. With her daughter there, it was time to see how powerful she could be. “Are any of the kids alive in this whole mess?” No. He spun again. “Can we ever get back home?”
Frisk watched it spin, knowing what it would land on, but willing that it just wouldn’t land on-
“Frisk isn’t pregnant anymore.” Sans spun again, once again getting a no. “You brought her back here.” A yes. “I came back ’cause I was touching her. Same with the bed.” A cross between yes and no. “Okay. You can see in different times.” Hm. “I accidentally came because I touched her, but since you see across timelines, you also realized I was supposed to? That’s why you helped me and Papyrus?” Too wordy. Still a cross between yes and no.
“Did she have it?” Frisk asked softly. “The bad me, momma. The genocide me, was she pregnant again too?” She spun what Sans had been spinning. Yes. “Did she . . .” She was thinking of her mom’s words again. “Did she have Juleyard and Al too?” Yes. “She got a happy ending.” Yes.
Yes. Well. “My genocide self. The one who killed with no remorse . . .” That. That wasn’t right. That wasn’t. She felt Sans hand on her shoulder.
“Don’t,” he warned her. “It’s better not to know about other timelines. Hers isn’t yours.”
“Why can’t I know? There’s nothing.” Frisk glanced toward the ground. “There’s nothing time could do to make me pay anymore.” She started to walk away. No family. No friends. What was left of her mother was sprawled out against timelines, never to hold her. Never to communicate the same way.
Why couldn’t she just let her go, be unborn like everyone else in the world had just been? Because. She was still her little girl to her. A piece of her humanity must have hung on with that. A tiny piece wanted to protect her daughter.
Now, Frisk was stuck. On the monster side of the world. Should she walk over to the human side, just try and find a place for her? No. It was medieval. Anyone who would take her in wouldn’t have her best interest in mind. The world was different back then. Only hurt. Just more hurt. As she walked, she stumbled slightly and caught herself. No, she wouldn’t bother catching herself right now.
“I know.” Sans caught her. If she thought he was just going to let her walk away after everything, she was wrong. “I lost them too. I know they were never born though. Nothing hurt. Nothing hurt for everyone.” He hugged her. “Okay, that’s a lie. It did hurt two.” Them.
“I don’t know what to do,” Frisk admitted. “This isn’t a time I want to live in.”
“Monsters will be fine with you,” Sans said. “Don’t need to go to the humans in this time.” They weren’t going to treat her right. Rights for everyone with humans took a long time to achieve, and even that wasn’t perfect in the time they were in. “Let’s go. We’ll go to Toriel and Asgore.” She didn’t budge right away. “Those future scientists don’t know we are here. We can tell Tori and Asgore, Frisk. If they are ready, it’ll be fine.”
He knew she didn’t want to hear that, but she nodded. Cooperative. “You can tell them,” Frisk said. “As long as someone tells them. They wouldn’t trust me. I’m a human. The same thing that will take them and use them for a ‘green paradise’.” Her voice was so thick with those words. “Just a nasty, terrible human that cares about nothing. Not even their own kind.”
Just too much. Even Sans couldn’t shrug it off. His entire life had been taken away. Not killed, just never existed. Nothing happened. He had no obligation to nothing, except to get to the royalty and tell them about it. Maybe the real Gaster could do something if he knew in time what the humans wanted to do?
But, yeah. Save the world. That was his small part. The price to do it though. It was too damn high. “You can come with me.” He looked back toward Frisk. “If they know your mine, they’ll leave you alone.” Then. Shit. “I mean.” She wasn’t his. They didn’t have any children.
She gently smiled. “Not anymore. You’re not tied anymore.”
“I’d rather be tied. We’d still have them.”
“I’d rather be tied too.” Frisk wiped her eye. “Not existing.” She bit her lip. “It didn’t hurt them?”
“Nah,” he agreed. “It didn’t hurt them.” He picked her back up. “I know I’m not tied to you, but you’re the only thing I’ve got. Don’t stray. Please?”
Frisk nodded. Right now. Even her mind wanted to hold onto some kind of connection, to a future that would never exist.
The Monster Kingdom’s Castle of Asgore and Toriel.
Toriel did not know how to take the news at first as this monster, Sans, explained what had happened. It was hard to believe. There were so many details to remember that her and Asgore had him write notes as he spoke. So incredible. If the human hadn’t been cloaked with such strange wear, she would almost not believe it. Yet? That expression too. Even a skeleton could not hide the depths of pain in the light guiders. Toriel came off of her throne and walked through the grass, to look out their window.
The human strolled silently outside the grounds. Bending down and strangely picking at a yellow flower, she held it close. “I’m sorry. She was yours,” she spoke to Sans.
“Um.” Sans the Skeleton didn’t know how to answer. “Two kids. Great kids. She was pregnant too. She ain’t no more. None. Not. Nothing.” His voice couldn’t make long sentences and Toriel could not blame him. Poor monster. “Brother. Good future. Friends. Family. All gone.”
“The humans waged war against us, and of course won,” Asgore said from his throne. “This time, they are going to collect the boss monsters?”
“Yeah. For their . . . paradise.” Sans almost spat it out as he continued to stare out the window. “No foolin’. This ain’t no grand joke. I couldn’t make this up.”
“Of course it’s not,” Toriel said to him. “You can’t hide the sorrow from your face.” She looked back out the window. “Nor hers. You’ve lost not only your time, but your whole family. Everything and everyone doesn’t exist. You were robbed of your future.”
” . . . could say that,” he said softly. “Uh. So? You got a plan?” Sans asked. “I gotta say. Once Frisk kind of deals with this thing. I think momma might, uh, be able to help take care of it. All she needs is a stick and some LOVE. Point her in the direction.”
“LOVE is not a very stoppable thing,” Asgore warned Sans. “She would mow down anyone in her path.”
“Teleport her over to the humans. Take care of the rest. Let her take all those rotten sons of . . .” He stopped. “Nah, you’re right. Not ’cause she couldn’t do it.” She would lose herself, and if Chara was somehow with her, he could be started the double timelines over again. No more of this crap. Not doing this again. Ain’t no difference.
“I think in this instance you should try talking to Gaster.” Asgore stood up and walked toward Sans. “He is infamous in his genius. If he knows what to expect, then maybe he can stop it.”
“Yeah. Never go Underground. Never get torn apart.” He was so quiet. “Never have me. Great idea. I don’t really want to be born.”
What? “Did you say never have you?” Toriel asked Sans. “Dear Sans the Skeleton, are you saying you’re his child?”
“Maybe.” That was all he could give. If they stopped the war, then there was a good chance he might not be born. “DNA. Trying to save the skeletons.” Pointless chatter.
Oh. Oh so much could happen that could tear everything off balance. They were brought too far back. “Mother’s name. Year you were born. We can’t let a paradox happen. You must be born, you can’t unbalance the timeline,” Toriel insisted. “As long as we give it an old-fashioned try, destiny should manage the rest. Year you were born?”
“I don’t really care,” he answered slobbishly. “I really . . . don’t. I mean. I . . .” He shrugged. “I screwed up. I thought that fixing the timeline was the most important thing in the world. And look? Look what it did.” His skull flung downward. “Erased everything. Everyone. How could it possibly have hurt us any worse?” He looked out the window and pressed his hands on the glass. “Safely living down in the Underground while I visited daily. Nothing wrong with that. There was nothing wrong with that, Beautiful.”
Toriel cocked her head lightly. He was speaking to the human in his head.
“Besides, destiny’s gonna get it’s way. Frisk’s mom will see to that. I’ll be born just fine, and forced back here somehow, so it all matches. ‘Cause that’s balance. Cause that’s freakin’ balance. Can’t let me be askew. Acute. Nope. Just.” Sans stopped. “I’ve studied enough about barriers, and there’s a place being brought here. A whole slew of future humans. I’ll sneak in, grab some barrier things, and we’ll make the kingdom safe. Happy ever after. They’ll never find a boss monster again. Yay.”
Everything was so monotone. So uncaring, while being caring. It was clear he wanted to save the Kingdom it’s dreadful fate, but he was hurting so deep inside.
“I just . . .” Asgore spoke softly. “I just couldn’t let them slaughter an innocent little monster that didn’t understand about human souls. I did not mean to bring a war upon us.”
“Yeah. Everything balances.” Sans paused a moment. “Even that viewpoint will change with you. Time changes everything.”
Asgore moved away from his throne to look out the window with Sans. “Humans of the future will try to stop the ones who are wanting to wage war now?”
“Yeah,” Sans said. “It’s a way worse fate. Let’em do their convincing thing. I’ll work on our own barrier.” So quiet. “I just ask for one thing. I want the human here with us. Same kind of respect.”
“Yes,” Asgore agreed. “It’s fine with me. Tori, hon’?”
“Of course,” Toriel agreed. “She may stay as long as she likes.” She glanced back out the window. “You should go see her. She needs company.”
“She lost everyone she ever loved. Guarantee company isn’t on her agenda.” Still, he started to walk out.
Sans watched Frisk staring at a yellow flower, sitting on the ground. She didn’t glance back as she asked, “Can I be unborn?”
“Nah,” he answered softly as he approached her. His feet enjoyed the grass below them. Real grass in the kingdom. Monsters really shared a good deal of the planet, but he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate it. “Your momma will make sure it don’t happen. Just like she made sure of a lot of things.” He sat down next to her. “She’ll make sure her other self finds your daddy still the same way. She’ll make sure you get up that mountain. She’ll make sure she’s got the strength to do it all. She’ll make sure the other side stayed balanced. Her presence will even be there during my birthdays growing up,” he admitted. “I always thought it was Gaster. Figured it had to be another skeleton. Super strong. While alive, I couldn’t feel the same thing from her. Body got in the way.” He stopped. That probably wasn’t helping. “She’s a good mom. I guess. We were meant to get along all those years anyhow.”
” . . . she was,” Frisk admitted as she twirled her flower. The only reminder she had of what they all had. “Are Jewel and Sunburst dead too? I mean, unborn.” Frisk let out a deep breath. “I’m sorry. There’s a difference between the two.”
“I don’t know about wills,” Sans said. “That’s something Gaster would have to answer.”
“You are extremely short. A part of me is disappointed in that.”
Sans turned, hearing Papyrus’ voice, but he didn’t see Papyrus. He saw a skeleton with a strange crack down his eye socket, and about as tall as him.
“Other than that, I suppose it’s okay. I’m not a very fatherly type. I am Gaster.” He extended his hand toward Sans. Sans shook it. “There. Better. We’ve met. Awkwardness away.” Gaster tried to look at Frisk. “Future human. Was carrying and now not. Sorry.”
Not a very warm monster. Sans couldn’t judge him at first sight though. It was a bad and awkward situation. “I’ll help you get the barrier stuff you need.”
“No need to,” Gaster said. “I can handle it myself. I don’t need anyone slowing me down.”
“I can come!” A bubbly voice came from behind Gaster. Sans saw someone as tall as Papyrus come fumbling forth.
“Blaster, no. Stay. Go away,” Gaster informed him. “Down.”
“Aw, come on, Bro,” Blaster said. “I want to help out a little.” He shoved his head straight at Frisk. “Hi! I’m Blaster. Sorry about your whole non-existent future. But, well? It’s okay if you think about it.” He rubbed her head like she was a little girl. “If no one’s been born yet-”
“Blaster!” Gaster scolded him. “Will you just move? I need to get coordinates so that I can get to the humans technology and use it against them.”
“Just trying to cheer up the human. Excuse me.” Blaster reached into his jacket and pulled out a strange tortilla looking burrito with an odd smell. “That’ll help. Here you go. On the house.” He tried to give it to Frisk. “Come on, PG. Give it a bite.”
“PG?” Frisk asked.
“Pretty Girl,” Blaster mentioned. “Hey, you sure do speak Monster well.”
“Stop flirting with her,” Sans warned him.
“Oh. My mistake.” Blaster backed away. “Thought that whole kids don’t exist thing meant she was solo again. You still got dibs?”
“Will you not speak that way?” Gaster scolded him. “Honestly! Some civil manners would go a long way with you.” He took a deep breath and looked toward Frisk. “I’m sorry about that.”
“Cha. If it weren’t for destiny.” Blaster shrugged and walked away. “I’m gonna go get hammered.”
“Blaster!” Gaster scolded again. “Oh.” He looked in the distance. “Hammer of Justice. Your puns will be the death of me.” Gaster looked back toward Sans. “You did take more after me than him, right?”
Sans couldn’t help it. In all of the shit they just went through and lost. He smiled. “Think I’m more like him when the world isn’t turning to shit. My brother ends up being more like you.” A lot sweeter though, but they shouldn’t be perfect matches.
” . . . eh. Okay? This is very strange,” Gaster admitted. “I’m not exactly used to meeting my child I didn’t even know about. I had no idea I would ever end up with one in a huge, distant future.”
“Been there,” Sans said softly. He didn’t need to be there anymore though. “You doing okay, Frisk?” He felt her pull into his arms closer. It looked like the comedy relief between Blaster and Gaster had done her some good too.
“King Asgore demands I must fork over Magic DNA now, so that this whole thing doesn’t become unbalanced.” Gaster handed Sans some money. “Take this for you and your girl. I will make room for you while you are gone.”
Girlfriend? “She’s not my girl. She was . . .” Someone.
“Sure she isn’t.” He didn’t sound convinced. “Go on. Take a left around the corner and you’ll find a place much better tasting than Blaster’s burritos.” Blaster just laughed far away in the background.