"Don't you have anything better to do?"
They shake their head. This is important, more than anything—they still have to SAVE him.
Asriel laughs, a little bitterly.
"Why do you keep trying?"
They pause, and he sighs.
"I know you're not Chara; they were…they weren't the best person." For a moment, something so much more flickers through his sad gaze. "So why do you keep trying? Why can't you just…"
He sighs and dips his head into the yellow flowers. They take a step forward.
"Just go, Frisk." He turns and smiles at them, and their heart twinges at the pain and resigned fear in that one expression. "You have better things to do with your time."
They don't, not really. They haven't SAVED him yet, after all.
They step back, watching him as he turns back to the flowers. They still haven't figured this all out.
But they will.
Look in the mirror.
The presence is insistent. They're still in the Ruins, and they pause, cocking their head inquisitively.
Just do it.
It isn't them that's looking back. The presence huffs, crimson eyes skittering away from meeting theirs.
They stand there, for a moment.
They smile. The presence growls. They turn away, amused.
Toriel's baking cinnamon and butterscotch pie, and the smell wafts past. They step away, and the presence is quiet.
It wasn't supposed to be him, it says suddenly. They stop. It was supposed to be me.
I know. I'll SAVE him.
The presence scoffs.
But that's okay. They mean every word.
"why do you keep doing it?"
They turn. Sans is standing there, staring at them. His ever-present grin is turned down at the edges, and he looks almost-angry.
They look away, staring up at the glowing stones of the fake stars of Waterfall. They don't answer.
They stand there for a long time.
They're not sure how many times they've watched this sunset, watched the stars twinkle brightly above as the sun falls below the horizon.
Far too many to count, really.
But they just stand there, for a moment, letting the joy of their friends soak in. They think that maybe, just maybe, they could go on like this. Their friends happy and aboveground, living onwards into an effervescent future that is forever changing.
But they can't.
Sans tugs them aside, sitting them down on the cliff edge.
"why do you keep doing it?" he asks, and they close their eyes. They don't really know. "why can't you just be happy?"
There aren't any puns. They want to say something, anything, because for all that they have been tearing everything away from Sans, from everyone, they still care.
They choke on the words.
They sit there, watching the sun set, the last few washes of peach and pink fading into blues and purples.
They reach back.
"Sorry," they say, and Sans jolts. The words rasp uncomfortably in their throat. "Really sorry."
Sans doesn't have a chance to say anything else.
Sometimes, it takes a while for them to wake up.
Sometimes they wake up to wary smiles and Flowey's tired resignation.
Sometimes they wake up to a sea of dust and agony, pain following in their wake.
(they can feel their sin k)
The presence stands in front of them, crimson eyes fiercely joyful in a terrible, terrible way.
I've won, it says. I've won this little game.
They tilt their head, feeling something odd coiling in their chest.
Who are you? They ask.
I am the demon that comes when you call its name.
(you know you're more than that, *******. You don't have to be like that. Right, *****?)
They blink, and the words fade away.
Now, why don't we destroy this world and move on? We can keep playing, and I can keep winning!
They shake their head. The presence stops, crimson eyes narrowing.
Who ever said you were the one in CONTROL?
The presence lashes out, reaching for the power just beneath their skin, and they flinch back, gripping at that power tightly.
They both pull.
The world glitches for just a moment, and blue skies and yellow flowers flash behind their eyes like hazy memories half-forgotten.
They both [RESET].
They lay there on the yellow flowers for a moment, breathing in the sweet fragrance. The presence hisses.
They ignore the words.
They just lay there, grasping at those half-forgotten memories. The presence stops.
Why…do you remember that?
They shrug. They don't know.
They lay there for a while. They're not sure how long, but they just lay there on the soft flowers.
They pause and tilt their head, just a bit, their hair haloing out around their face.
My name. It's Chara.
Nice to meet you, Chara.
Chara is silent for a moment.
…I hate you.
They sit up. It's progress—now, now they have to keep moving onwards. There's still someone to SAVE.
Why do you keep trying?
They pause mid-step and bite their lip. They're not really sure why. They just do.
They sort-of remember Asriel asking them something similar, once.
"Why do you keep trying?"
They don't really have an answer.
They step forward. There are still things to do, secrets to find—someone to SAVE.
Asriel sighs and turns to them.
"Don't you have anything better to do, Frisk?"
They don't, not really. He laughs, maybe a little bit bitterly.
"Why do you keep trying? I'm not worth it."
They shake their head, and move forward. Asriel looks at them. They reach into themself, tugging at that familiar feeling that has hovered in their chest the entire time.
Their SOUL glows red in the palm, and Asriel flinches.
It shimmers like a heat-haze, and they can smell the cinnamon of the magic of it. They hold it out. Asriel shivers.
"I—I can't take that, Frisk." He says. "I just can't. Go, be with your family."
They frown, and reach forward, grasping his hand. He jumps.
But they've already done it, placing their SOUL in his hands.
Chara hisses as the world starts to fade out at the edges.
They think that maybe, this time, they've done it right.