Chapter 1: Reunion

Are you ready?

No.

. . .

I don't want to go, Frisk, but I don't think it will get any better by waiting.

All right, then.

As one, they took a deep breath and stepped through the imposing door, and their fur tingled as it felt the slight breeze now flowing through the now-broken barrier.

Asriel clutched their heart, feeling its strange beat.

"Nyahhh! Why is Frisk taking so long! There can't be that much to do!"

"Frisk has made quite a few friends on his journey here, Undyne. I'm sure she's going to be just fine. We can be patient. After all, we have been waiting for hundreds of years. I'm sure a few more hours can't hurt us."

Mom….

Asriel, it's going to be okay. We can do this.

"Ughh… I know, Toriel. I just wish she would hurry up and finish so we can finally leave this cursed place."

Asriel, everyone's waiting for us.

Waiting for you. I'm supposed to be dead, remember? And you're supposed to be alive.

I'm not dead… well… maybe I am, technically. But I never saw any body. So…

Yeah, this never happened with Chara. I… I've never had a heart before.

Hmm? What do you mean?

Well, monsters are mostly made of magic. I've never had this much… physical-ness.

Huh.

They looked up suddenly when they realized the complete silence that now hung over the room.

I think they noticed us, Frisk.

...you think?

Asgore's voice was the first to penetrate the silence that hung like a fog.

"A-Asriel?"

Asriel waved awkwardly. "Um… hi."

Toriel ran over, looking at him more closely. "My child… how is this possible? You… you..."

They shifted uncomfortably.

This is not going to be easy, it it?

No, Frisk. No this is not.

"Oh no. Oh no no no..." Alphys looked away, putting her claws over her eyes. "This is all my fault. That garden… Those flowers… Oh no..."

"It's not your fault Alphys. You didn't know."

"But I did! If only I wasn't so focused on my work, I would have remember that's where..."

"Alphys. It's not your fault. Even if it was, I've forgiven people for more than that."

Alphys uncovered her eyes, looking back at them hopefully. "Rea-" Suddenly, her expression changed as a thought struck her. "No, you didn't…"

"NONE OF YOU ARE MAKING SENSE! CAN SOMEBODY MAKE SENSE, PLEASE?"

"Frisk… why?"

Toriel looked at Alphys with a puzzled expression. "Alphys, what are you talking about? It is strange for Asriel to be alive, but that is a good thing, is it not? And he is clearly not Frisk. I do not understand."

Alphys looked around at all of the confused faces, and the face of the King's son, looking studiously at the ground.

"I… I don't really know how to explain. I mean..."

"It's both of us."

Toriel looked at them sharply. "What do you mean?

"I mean… I mean Frisk is here, too."

Toriel opened her mouth to respond, but Asriel continued, talking rapidly in a vain attempt to make the words easier.

"I didn't want to. After what I did, I didn't deserve it. I didn't deserve anything. But… Frisk was persistent. Very persistent. I… I finally accepted."

"Well… um… it is okay, Asriel. I do not blame you. I may not understand everything about the situation, but… at least I can have you back again."

"Th...thank you, Mom. But I don't think I deserve-"

"Now Frisk," she said, her expression changing drastically. "What. Were. You. Thinking?"

Frisk cringed under her sudden glare.

Uh oh.

"I leave you for less than an hour, and you've already killed yourself?"

Frisk raised a claw hesitantly. "Well, I might not have-"

"I just spent the last half hour telling everyone that 'Frisk will be fine,' and 'Frisk can take care of herself.' 'Every monster already knows about Frisk, she could never be in danger.'"

Toriel took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. "Now, I am very happy that you brought our son back with you, and I am very touched that you would think him worth… whatever you did. But maybe, just maybe you could have warned me first?"

Her expression softened. "I just found that my child I thought was long dead is now alive. I did not need to hear that another was now dead. I love you, Frisk, and… despite what it means, I respect your own decision. But, please, tell me. Was there no other way?"

"His soul was broken, Mom. There were only a few shards left. If I didn't do anything..." Frisk glanced over at Alphys. Perhaps the full story could wait a while. Until Alphys was ready to tell hers.

And until Asriel was able to admit his own.

Toriel breathed out heavily. "I… I understand. I just want to know… where… where is Frisk's body?" She looked slightly downward. "I just want to make

They fidgeted nervously. "Umm… I didn't… see any."

"What do you mean, dear? Frisk gave you her soul, didn't she?"

"Um… I don't exactly know how to explain this… I don't really understand it myself, but..."

They reached out, taking Toriel's claw and placing it on their chest.

"W-what is this?" Toriel moved her claw back away. "A heartbeat? But only humans..."

"I.. I don't think I… um… I mean Asriel had enough… magic, or substance, or something. I don't know. But I think we combined, somehow. Without dying. Or maybe I… um, Asriel, was already dead, kind of?

"I'm sorry, Mom. I really don't know. I just want you to know… we're both still here. We both still love you. And we – no, I… I will never leave you again."

"But Frisk, did you not have a place to go to? Was this not what you were trying to do all this time? To go home? I… I can't take you away from that."

They chuckled. "That would be a bit hard to do, now wouldn't it?"

"I… I suppose so."

"And… and Frisk didn't come here so she could go home."

"W-what do you mean, my child? You seemed so determined to leave. If you did not want to go home, then… ?"

"Mom... I would have loved more than anything to be able to live with you in those ruins. It would have been peaceful and happy, if a bit lonely. But I could already tell that something was wrong. You seemed to avoid my questions about who you really were. You seemed quite overprotective, and quite prepared to house someone like me. And… perhaps you shouldn't have let me read those books on monster history… I had to know for myself. I'm sorry."

Toriel embraced them. "It's all right. I'm… I'm just glad that both of you are all right."

They returned her embrace fully, then broke away and looked at the rest of their new friends. "I'm sorry for keeping you all waiting for so long. I think it's time.

"It's time for monsters to go free."

How does Papyrus even cry? He doesn't even have any eyes!

I dunno. Magic, maybe?

But that's your answer for everything!

Well, it usually is the answer to everything.

Ugh...