Author's Note: This is my first Undertale fic, so constructive criticism on how to improve is greatly appreciated. As always, I hope you enjoy! The writing of this story began before Deltarune was released and as such was not influenced by it, and will not be influenced by it seeing as I have yet to play it. If events similar to those in Deltarune appear, know that it is a coincidence.
Disclaimer: I do not own Undertale or any of its characters.
IN SPITE OF YOUR SHADOW
-=-=-=-=- PART I -=-=-=-=-
The final bell of the day had rung. Asriel was at his locker. It was mostly there to store his bike helmet since he'd rather just keep any books or papers he needed in his backpack. He retrieved his helmet and closed the locker door. Through the crowds of the school's main concourse, he spotted his quasi-sister Frisk.
She seemed in a worse funk than usual. Her head was hung slightly, and she walked slowly. Asriel's mouth drew to a firm line as he watched her. She'd been like this for some time. Depressed, aloof, and detached. He hated seeing her like this.
Frisk shambled through the crowd towards the main doors. Asriel usually went to chess club after school on Fridays, but today… something inside told him to finally act on his concerns. He refrained from acting sooner because at the time he thought it was only temporary. Something that would pass in time. Well, a great deal of time had passed and Frisk's malady had only gotten worse.
Asriel quickly moved through the crowd and out the main doors. He caught up to Frisk on the main steps. She was holding her bike helmet beneath her arm. A gust of wind blew through, causing her red scarf to flap about.
"Hey, Frisk!" Asriel called to her as he approached.
"Hi," she replied.
"Got any plans for today?" He asked.
"Great! Let's go hang out."
"What about chess club?" Frisk asked.
"Chess club can wait till next week." Asriel remarked, "so let's go!"
"Where?" She asked.
"The place." He answered.
"The place?" Frisk repeated.
"The place!" He confirmed.
Asriel unlocked his bike from the rack and put on his helmet. He looked back at Frisk, who just stood at the base of the steps, looking somewhat bemused.
"Come on!" He beckoned.
Frisk sighed, the cold punctuating it by freezing her breath, and headed to the bike rack. She unlocked her bike and put on her helmet. They mounted their bikes and rode off. Asriel led the way. They biked for some ten minutes before the passed through the main entrance to Grenadier Park. From there it was another eight minutes bike past the castle playground, the old war memorial, and Voltigeur Pond Cafe. They then veered off the main path onto a smaller cycling path. Asriel dismounted a ways down the path and walked his bike into the brush. Through it was a small shingle beach on Voltigeur Pond. They propped their bikes and bags against a tree and stepped onto the gravel shore.
"And we are here!" Asriel announced.
Frisk, her face unchanged took notice of the rocky beach before her. She gave a sharp breath out her nose, the resulting fog was carried off. Asriel took no notice of this and proceeded to ramble on about something that Frisk ignored.
She moved over to a nearby tree and sat against it. The ground was pebbley and uncomfortable. She gave out another sharp breath. The fog blown away by a short gust of wind that also nipped at her nose. There was suddenly a loud plop. Frisk looked over to the source, only to see Asriel crouched to the ground perusing the pebbles and stones. After finding one to his liking he picked it up and whipped it, skipping it clear across the pond.
The discomfort, the cold, and the repetitious sounds of stones skipping the water caused a slow, steady rise in Frisk's blood pressure. The wind blew again and tore at her, as well as causing a length of her scarf to fly into her face. This whole affair was agitating.
"Hey, Frisk!" Called Asriel, "come and skip stones with me!"
She simply glared at him as she stood slowly.
"Frisk?" he called again.
She took a deep breath and let it out, the resulting fog carried off by another gust of wind.
"No," Frisk responded.
Asriel turned to her and froze as he met her icy gaze and grim look.
"Asriel. Why are we here?" She asked softly.
Asriel opened his mouth to respond but merely squeaked. Her look and tone of voice petrified him. He remembered the last time saw this combination. They had to drag that bully to the nurse's office.
"Why did you drag me out to this cold ass pond?" She asked as she moved towards him.
Asriel stumbled to the side and began to back away from Frisk. He soon found himself backed against a tree. Frisk still continued towards him and he sunk down and curled up. His head buried in his knees, which were drawn to his chest, and arms covering his head. Frisk loomed over him for a moment. She huffed before turning away from him.
"I'm going home," she stated.
She was more than done with this debacle. Frisk walked over to the tree she leant her bike against and was about to put on her helmet when-
"W-wait!" Asriel shakily called out to her.
Frisk gave an exasperated sigh and turned about to face Asriel, who had stood up.
"Have you… have you really changed so much that you forgot about our special place?" He asked.
Frisk furrowed her brow and raked her memory. She looked over the shingle beach once more.
"We used to come out here. We'd just hang out, skip stones, feed ducks…"
"… and skate, in the winter when the pond froze over…" Frisk continued, a clouded memory resurfacing.
Frisk re-hung her helmet on the handlebars of her bike and stepped onto the beach. She looked into the still, reflective waters of Voltigeur Pond. She wracked her mind for more memories.
"we haven't been here since… since…"
"Two years ago is the last time we were here together," Asriel answered, "I actually came here a couple times since you… uh… y'know."
"It wasn't the same without you…"
As Frisk looked over the pond, a small memory resurfaced. It was about the tree she sat against earlier. She moved over to the tree, kneeled, and scanned it. There it was.
Scratched into the back of the tree trunk were their names. She traced her finger along the letters. She looked at the bottom of the Y, a little splinter of steel was embedded there. It was the tip of her old switchblade. Broken off when she carved their names in years ago. She ran her thumb over it.
"Huh. I forgot this was here." Said Asriel, who was now kneeling down next to her.
"Yeah." Frisk chuckled, "you were begging me not to do it in case we got caught."
"Switchblades are illegal."
"Yeah, whatever." Frisk retorted, smiling.
Asriel chuckled a bit. "God I've missed you."
Frisk's smile flattened out. "You talk like we haven't seen each other in years."
Asriel scratched the back of his neck, "when the uh… thing… happened, you sort of withdrew into yourself. You wouldn't talk much. You never seemed up for doing stuff. You usually were in this dour mood. So I just give you your space."
Frisk hung her head. "I'm sorry-"
"No! Don't apologise." Asriel interjected, "It's not your fault. I should have done something sooner instead of just standing by like an idiot."
"You're not an idiot." Frisk consoled.
Asriel huffed, "I feel like one…"
The two remained silent. Neither really knew how to continue. So they just sat there in each other's company.
"I got you out here because I was sick of seeing you sad all the time." Asriel started.
He turned to Frisk and put his hands on her shoulders, "when you saw our names on this tree, that was the happiest I've seen you in a long time."
He pulled her into a hug, "I wanna see you happy again, so we're going to start hanging out again. We're gonna come out here, we're gonna go to movies, we're gonna watch anime, we're gonna play video games, we're gonna-"
Asriel stopped. Frisk wrapped her arms around him. "That sounds great."
The two held the embrace for a bit. A strong wind blew through, and the sound of thunder rolled in from the distance.
"Maybe we should go home…" Admitted Asriel.