Chapter 1: The End
In the end, I was killed in an accident.
This wasn't how things were supposed to be. I was just trying to escape, to flee the fate I'd chosen for myself and my world. I wanted my friends, my family, and my loved ones to be happy. Of course, if I'd truly wanted that, maybe I shouldn't have killed them in a past life. Maybe I should have been less cruel, less curious, and less determined.
But I wasn't.
I barely recall why I did it now. I killed them all to find the answers, to pry out and examine every path, every secret of my own private playground. And there, always there, was Chara to trace my steps, to whisper encouragement, to grow stronger with every cut. Only in the blackness of the abyss did I see the truth. Only then was I sorry.
And Chara offered me a deal, a fair exchange for recreating the world.
It wasn't like I was using my soul anyway.
But there was still some shred of my conscience left after resetting the world and finding everyone alive. There was still some part of me that could feel something for them. This one last time, I wanted to give them a happy ending.
Standing at the sunset, I felt something more. Hope. I felt hope that this was enough, that even without my soul, I could be happy with them. I became an ambassador. I moved in with Toriel and called her 'Mom'. I grew up.
With time moving on, I forgot what it felt like to have a soul, and, little by little, the emptiness inside faded. When I finally entered college as both a student and an occasional lecturer, I thought that my past was behind me.
I was wrong.
It happened between writing an essay for Trans-Oceanic Economies and preparing notes for a presentation on Interspecies Sociopolitical Policies of the Modern Era. I was working into the early hours of the morning when I stopped to rub my temple and rest my eyes for a moment. When I opened them again, I looked down in confusion at the photograph of me standing with my family and friends. The red pen I had been using on my notes was still in my hand. It was poised over Asgore's face, having scratched it beyond recognition and leaving behind only a red blur and indents from pressing too hard into the photo paper.
In fact, all of the faces had been scratched out. All but mine. For me, there were only red marking over my eyes, and small red circles on my cheeks that looked almost like a blush.
I regretted the name as soon as it was spoken. After all, it didn't matter when or where; Chara always came when called. There was a demonic laugh that echoed in the back of my mind, and I dropped the pen.
I did not finish any more work that night. I gathered my things and packed a small bag. It would hurt to leave without saying goodbye, but I couldn't risk seeing anyone face-to-face right now. I wasn't sure what I, or Chara, would do. It wouldn't help, either. They'd ask why I was leaving, and what could I say? Could I tell them that I'd chosen to end their lives, that I was a soulless monster, that another soulless monster could take possession of me at any moment and kill them all?
I told myself that they would be better off if I just vanished.
Of course, Sans caught me before I could finish my getaway. It was unfair how he could do that to me, that he could know when I needed him most.
"planning on working the graveyard shift?" he asked lazily as I opened the trunk of my car. I spun around to look at him. My hand went to my hip. I looked down in confusion. I did not recall taking the knife from the kitchen. I did not recall tucking it in the waistband of my pants. I did not recall tightening my hand around the hilt until my knuckles went white.
I looked at Sans.
Sans looked at me.
And he knew.
"Sans, please…" I cleared my throat and willed my hand to release the blade. "Please, I need your help."
Soon I was on the road, driving to nowhere. I didn't live to see the sunrise.
As I lay on the side of the road, having been thrown from the smoldering wreckage of my car, I wondered how this had happened. Was I too tired from a sleepless night of working? Or had Chara taken one final stab at revenge for my attempted escape?
At least I hadn't hurt anyone else this time.
And then I opened my eyes to see the loading screen.
I hated those words.
Kneeling down onto the green grass, I tried to think. Resetting the world wouldn't change anything. Chara would still be there, and even breaking the barrier and setting everyone free would not help me regain what I'd so willingly traded away. I'd give anything for one more chance. Ha, that's what got me into this mess in the first place. I always wanted one more chance. But chances no longer mattered. Chara would destroy whatever I tried to build. There would be no escape for me, neither in life nor in death…
I looked up at the words floating in the blackness.
Continue. Reset. No escape.
I didn't want to kill my friends. I didn't want to be a child again. I didn't want to continue. I didn't want to reset. I just wanted everyone to be happy.
I stood slowly and approached the words. In the space between, I raised my hand and moved it in a circle, like trying to clean a dirty surface. This was a trick I'd learned many, many deaths ago. I could create a window into the world and see time progressing on without me. As the blackness solidified into colors, I thought of Toriel. And there she was, sitting in a chair and dozing with a snail cookbook in her lap. I thought of Asgore and saw him watering the plants on his porch. I thought of Alphys. I thought of Undyne. I thought of Papyrus. And I thought of Sans.
I thought for a very, very long time.
I'd been planning for years on what to do when I died again. Even if I died of old age, I was sure I would still wind up here. It wouldn't be fair to force the world to relive my own lifetime over and over again into eternity. One day, I would have to make a choice. One day, I would have to walk away. It was time to go. I turned my back to the words and stepped into the darkness.
And the abyss swallowed me whole.