Fallen Down (Flashback)

Chara Dreemurr

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Asriel hummed away as he walked. His dad had made it his responsibility to keep the flower beds safe and sound, and he’d managed to keep it alive and well for what seemed like his whole life - two entire weeks! Old home was quite the walk for a trip like this, but honestly, he didn’t mind the trip, and there was always a certain excitement to it. Dad had always talked about how exciting it was to see flowers grow as you watered them, but he hadn’t really understood it until he’d really gotten to experience it - watching the flowers bud and grow into such strong and healthy plants, and knowing he’d helped them get there every step of the way made him want to puff his chest out with pride!

Of course, that wasn’t the only reason Asriel was excited. There was always the chance that the reason those flowers were there might fall from the sky. A real-life human! He knew mom always told him that the chances he’d actually see one were low and that he probably was wasting his time, but mom didn’t know that for sure! Asriel was born to reach the stars, that’s what everyone said, and compared to such a lofty goal, he figured a human wasn’t so far out of his reach…

The thought made him curious, after all. He’d never seen a human before, even though he’d heard the tales. They sounded so strange and mysterious! The perfect sort of destined meeting for the Prince of the underground’s future…



Asriel blinked as he turned the last bend, walking through the gate, and what he saw…

His heart skipped a beat.

A child.

A human child.


He was fairly certain, at least, as he looked them over, a finger coming over his mouth as he saw the state they were in.

Dad had told him the flowers were for cushioning falls, but this didn’t… look cushioned. Her leg was bent in a way he was pretty sure humans legs weren’t meant to bend, and there were cuts and bruises along her body. He wasn’t even sure if she was conscious, laying on the flowers, completely still.

Prince Asriel’s legs moved before his brain had finished taking in the picture, rushing to the side of the human. He’d no idea what had happened to them, but he wasn’t about to leave them in the dust like this.

“Human! W-wait a second, I’ll…” the prince stammered, nearly tripping over the bottom of his jeans as he tried to reach down. More details caught his eye as he got closer, and he realized hey were covered in a fair bit of mud and dirt, too - not the kind the flowers were in, either. This… wasn’t all from the fall.

Asriel reached down to touch the Child’s shoulders, before giving a surprised yelp of pain when the human’s arm reached up and a firm hand grabbed Asriel’s arm.

“Don’t-!” the human snapped, as they tried to push themselves up, before crumpling, losing their grip as they struck the ground face-first.

“H-human? It’s… my first time meeting you. I’m… I’m sorry. Did I touch something that hurt?” Asriel asked, backing away just a little. He’d heard humans were scary - incredibly so - but this was his first time really realizing they could be scary like this.

To his surprise, the human’s response was a low chuckle. “...everything hurts. But I did not give you permission to touch me.”

Asriel looked down with some concern, but the child gave them a small wave-off.

“Leave me alone.”

“B-but… you’re, you’re hurt.”

“That’s the point.” The human spat back - Asriel didn’t know what she meant, but she knew that mom had told him not to back down when someone who needed help needed it. And…

And somehow, looking at this human, at the rags they were wearing and the injuries they had…

They needed him right now, he knew, even without knowing how.

He knelt down and gently offered a hand, hoping that he could somehow reach her with the gesture. A part of him was still shaking, his arm still sore, but Asriel knew, in this same situation, his dad would have done the exact same, and Asriel was doing his dad’s job right now, so he needed to do this.

What would his dad say, though?...Oh!

“Howdy! My name’s Asriel. Would you be so kind as to tell me your name?” The goat asked, feeling a bit stuffy once the words actually left his mouth.

The human gave a growl, sitting in place, unbudging. Asriel didn’t either, though - patience was important when tending flowers or humans, he’d decided.

Eventually, the human looked up, and to Asriel’s shock, their eyes were crimson - the reddest red he’d ever seen. Terrifying, and strangely beautiful, all at the same time.

“You really are an idiot, aren’t you?” the human snapped, pulling themselves up to one knee and Grabbing onto Asriel’s shoulders.

“Fine. I’ll tell you exactly who I am! I am Chara. The demon who comes when you call it’s name!” the human exhaled, leaning in closer than Asriel wanted, and putting their weight against him. A sickly smile lit their features, and it seemed to really sell her point home with it’s intensity.


Asriel’s legs felt like they wanted to buckle, and mentally, he could barely hold fast on this. He’d never been bullied quite like this, and a part of him wanted to cry. He’d somehow made this human livid, and even his mom had never quite scared him like this…

The thought did bring an idea to mind, though. A few images of just what his dad tended to do when mom started to get upset with him for something…

Asriel took a breath, closed his eyes, brought his paws forward, and promptly tickled the human, along her sides.

The Action caught the human by surprise.

“Hey.. .What are you… ahaha! St-stop!” The human tried to snap, and it was at that point Asriel saw it.

Chara was terrifying, in a lot of ways, and her smile had been scary, but… there was another one, one she was desperately trying to wipe off right now, and that smile was…

Well, it was a lot prettier.

“Let me help you to my house, please? My mom knows healing magic.. She could fix your leg up!” Asriel would add, still tickling. “...And if we’re walking to my home, I can’t tickle you anymore.” he’d mentin with a very nervous chuckle.


For a moment, Asriel was very scared his goatlike bluster might just make the human angrier, and inside a lot of his body felt like ice, but eventually, he heard a sigh from Chara, and she finally took his hand.

“Fine. Do not expect me to stay long. I have… places to be.” Chara relented.

Asriel gave the human a happy nod. Something in his heart shifted at the thought in relief. Whatever bad things had happened to this human, he didn’t know, but he’d never met a boo-boo his mom wasn’t able to fix.
 

Chara Dreemurr

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The human was mostly recovering. Even with healing magic, broken legs were going to take a few days to heal, Toriel had told him. It was troubling, though.

For the first few days, after they had come back, the human had just glared out the window. Asriel could get her to eat, but not very much else. She seemed more angry than any person he’d ever met - Even some of the surliest monsters didn’t reach the intensity of her glare, and every time he entered the room, there was a subtle growl that made it clear she wasn’t a very happy human.

Eventually, he got a few things from her. She never wanted to tell him her last name, but according to her, she didn’t really have a family. She’d abandoned them - “discarded them”, she said, but…

She always paused when she said that, and somehow, her voice sounded so very sad, amidst all the frustration in it. He didn’t understand why, but he didn’t fully believe her.

Asriel quickly figured out two things about his new friend:
She was very mean, she absolutely didn’t like being here, and she wanted out of the house as soon as possible.

And she… needed help. Not just with her legs, but with something else. He didn’t know how he could tell that either, but there was something in her eyes, whenever she didn’t know he was paying attention. Something that made them sag.

So as Asriel was assigned to watch over the human, and bring her her meals - a duty he’d insisted on - he had been watching. Waiting. Asking a question here, fluffing a pillow there. Making sure she was safe and happy in every way he could.

And, of course, making sure she didn’t go too far. She needed to rest her legs.
So when he opened Chara’s door, only to realize it was already slightly ajar, Asriel just gave a silent ‘ulp’, in response.

Mom and dad were out, he remembered with a sinking feeling, as he looked around the room, noticing a complete lack of brown-haired girl, and the worn bed had been properly put back as it was, blanket tucked in.

Asriel didn’t know many people that snuck off while making their bed. It reminded him of old adventure stories where the man makes his bed as his way of saying thank you before… leaving.

“Oh crap oh crap!” Asriel blurted, as he realized what must be happening. The human wanted to go somewhere else. She’d talked about how she had places to be. He needed to go to the kitchen and phone mom, and look for her, before she went somewhere she shouldn’t, found something she shouldn’t.

The boy raced into the kitchen, as he rounded the corner, only to see-

Chara.

“E-excuse me?” Asriel blurted out, and for the first time Asriel saw something new on her face. Surprise.

It worried him less than the knife in her hands, as he caught her eyes. It was like he’d seen someone that just remembered how to breathe. Something red caught his eyes, leaking onto the tip, and Asriel felt like he’d seen the color before.

“What are you doing?” Chara barked, and Asriel found his stutter coming back as he looked her in the eyes.

“Don’t you know it’s dangerous… to run around in the house? You could get hurt.” She added with a wide grin. “...Maybe you should run along.”

Asriel’s heart beat, as Chara got closer, still holding the knife, and the young Prince found himself shivering in place as he saw her. Everything about this made him want to run. To turn away.

But he couldn’t.

Remember, Asriel. You are the prince of all monsters. You will become their inspiration. You must remember to show patience, bravery, and wisdom. Not everyone will wish to come to you with their problems, and sometimes, those problems may be their own.

But others…

Sometimes, you must refuse to bow when all others fall… Other times, You must reach out a hand, even when it is unasked for. Does this make sense, son?

His father’s voice in his head, Asriel stamped his foot and stared Chara straight in the eyes.

“Not until I know exactly what’s going on. Not until you tell me what’s wrong with your arm!”

Chara looked him straight in the eye, surprised on hearing the answer, before leaning in, knife dangerously close to him, heedless of the bleeding.

“Huh. Gotta say… you really are an idiot, aren’tcha?”

Asriel looked Chara straight in the eyes with a shivering face. The knife was close to him, now, and he was suddenly aware of how scary Chara’s smile could be. Of how dangerous that knife could be. But… even though she gripped it so hard the knife shook in her hands, it never came closer to him.

“Asriel! Chara! I’m home!” Toriel’s sing-song voice came through the house, and Asriel turned in surprise. His mother would surely know…

“Toriel! Asriel tried to sneak off with the whole pie, and he nicked me trying!” Chara called out.

Asriel blinked. “W-what? I-”

He looked to his hands. Somehow, when he was distracted, Chara had given him the knife.

other times, you must reach out a hand, even when unasked for.

Asriel thought about what he could say. Of the fact Chara was scary and threatened him, of the heat he felt from being betrayed like this and accused of something. But… somehow, he just didn’t feel like this was the right time.

“Yeah, I… I did. I’m sorry, mom. I got over-excited for… for pie.” Asriel volunteered.

Toriel rounded the corner just in time to see Chara’s jaw fall, the human needing a second to collect herself as Asriel gave a cheerful smile.

“I… see. Chara, go to your room. I will heal your wounds right away. As for you, Asriel…”

Toriel looked at him disapprovingly, before taking the knife from his hands roughly. Looking between him and Chara, she seemed to pause for a moment.

“Go to your room. I will talk to you in a moment.”

Asriel gave a rough salute. Y-yes, mom. I’ll go to room. Right away.”

The young prince quickly hopped to his feet, heading to his room quickly. Getting away from Chara, and the knife, and the situation as his thoughts whirled. What was Chara doing? What was she trying to do?

Before that was dealing with mom, though, and as he sat unhappily on his bed, he was ready to face the music as his door turned.

Instead, Toriel stepped in with a look of concern, locking the door behind her quickly as she came to sit on his bed.

“So, Asriel… tell me what really happened. And don’t leave out a detail.”

Asriel tried her best to detail everything he remembered, Chara, the red stuff coming from her arm, the confrontation. He was worried she would be angry at her, or at Chara, even if Chara had acted a little freaky and scary there. He wasn’t ready for the fear that entered her face as the events were detailed.

“I-I’m sorry for lying, mom.” Asriel croaked, as the energy seemed to leave him. His brain just wasn’t made for these sorts of things.

“It is alright. Luckily, you are your father’s son, so you are terrible at lying.”

“G… good?” Asriel asked, before being wrapped in a hug.

“I am so proud of you, my son. You did not do anything wrong, but please - don’t mention this to Chara. Oh, and…”

Toriel frowned. “I am putting the knives under lock and key from now on, so if you need to have something cut, please ask me, okay?”
 
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Chara Dreemurr

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The next day, Asriel was surprised when Chara was sitting up without any hatred in her expression, studying him with a curious expression. The usual angry-nasty was gone from her eyes.

“So, why’d you do it?” she asked, staring him straight in the eyes.

Asriel wasn’t sure what she meant. Do what? Except-

Oh.

Last night came scrambling back at him, and he found himself stammering for a response.

“W-well, I didnt want to get you in trouble for anything…”

“So you got yourself in trouble? What, do you expect me to pay that back?”

Asriel shook his head. “It’s my job. As a prince. To watch over the people under my command. And right now, Chara, your safety and welfare is my first priority. Even above a time-out!”

Chara blinked, studying him, and Asriel felt uncomfortably naked in front of it. Like Chara could see into his soul, or something.

“So, for such a stupid reason, you took the fall for me?” Chara asked, a sly grin across her features. It… looked kinda nice, honestly. A bit more natural for her face.

It sort of forced him into a smile when he responded.

“Yep! That was all.”

“...you are such an idiot.” Chara complained, looking Asriel in the eyes with…

Man, Asriel hadn’t noticed how nice her eyes looked when she wasn’t glaring. They were these white orbs with hazel pupils in them. For monsters, there was a bunch of different ways they could have eyes - beady little dots, stalks, or just some really weird variations, but for humans, this was how all their eyes looked, barring color. At least, that’s what his mom told him.

“...I have a coloring book that fell from the surface. I haven’t got to try it yet. Would you like to… color, with me?”

Chara’s face fell slightly, as though she was about to be mean again, but… stopped.

After a few seconds, she finally answered. “...Fine.”
 

Chara Dreemurr

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From there, Asriel and Chara spent a lot more time together. Chara’s legs started to heal, and while she started off relatively mousey with the rest of the family, the two started to be friends. Asriel would find himself drawing or coloring with her for the first few days, and Asriel was attentive about making sure she was well taken care of. He’d gotten smiles out of her from time to time, and he’d gotten a good idea of her tastes. She actually liked being active, but only for short periods, and she was definitely slower than Rei. he recalled seeing her get pretty frustrated in the one game of tag they had played, and he had to admit it was a guilty pleasure not being beaten in a game they played for once.

She was way better than him at checkers though. Or backgammon, or really anything they played around the table except things like go fish. Chara was not the healthiest girl, but she was definitely really, really smart. Asriel wondered if that was a human thing, or what. It was difficult to ask her questions about that - she usually didn’t really want to talk about humanity, really, and when he asked her questions they always ended up being fairly bluntly handled. She didn’t really want to hear that much about the world around them, until recently…

It seemed like her interest had perked up with her legs, and that was about to make today a special day for Asriel, as he was given a sacred duty by his mother and father, one he was entrusted with that left him a new responsibility:

Show Chara around the city.

So it was that as Asriel knocked on Chara’s door, it was with a chest puffed up with pride and a smile a mile wide.

“Oh Chara! I’m ready to go! You better be quick, or I’ll beat ya outside!” He teased, tapping on the door.

Or, just the one tap anyways. Chara opened the door with an astounding swiftness, and happily stepped out of the way as the surprised goat boy lurched forward onto his face.

Asriel smacked his snout on the floor and felt a dizziness come over him as he turned to pull himself off the floor.

“Asriel, I didn’t take you for the clumsy type. Well, how about I meet you out in the boot room? You seem like you’ll be a little while.”

Asriel’s response was a whiny groan.

---

The city of new home was the biggest city Asriel had ever seen in his life, and as he had hoped, it seemed to captivate Chara too, as they walked. Row after row of cramped buildings along the simple stone paths, filled with monsters… though, Chara was not exactly happy, as they walked, and Asriel grew concerned.

“There’s so many creatures here I’ve never seen.” Chara mentioned, looking around with wonder at the different shapes. “Are these really all sentient?”

“Yep. Us monsters are a pretty diverse lot. I heard humans all kinda look the same.”

Chara gave a raised eyebrow, but gave a short nod, as they walked through the streets. “Compared to monsters? Definitely.” Chara replied, taking notes of the people they walked by.

A frown appeared on her features, as they rounded the corner, to the city fish tank. A myriad of aquatic monsters, all living in the same place, living among castles amidst the sea.

“So this is a big portion of our population, the water monsters!” Asriel pointed out, giving a grin. “They live here, in this massive aquarium we’ve built!”

Chara looked up with an eyebrow raised, noticing as two whale monsters accidentally bumped into eachother, one being knocked into the sand beneath.

“To be honest, looks a little… cramped.” Chara mumbled, and Asriel’s heart skipped a beat as one of their feats of engineering was ceremoniously understated.

“W… well, that’s… actually a little true. We’re… working at finding a new source of glass to… to make a new one.” Asriel stammered, worried.

“...Do they really have to live like that?”

Asriel gave a small shrug. “Well… some of them go off into the hinterlands, but that’s away from the CORE, so it’s sort of a choice between electricity and space, heh.”

Chara just gave a larger frown, as she viewed the aquarium.

“Can we go elsewhere, Asriel?”

“Uhh, sure.”

---

And so it went, as Asriel tried to show off his nation’s monuments, it happened to be a bit of a terrible day, as Home’s mood right now was beyond sour. Bringing the human around might’ve caused some interest on a better day, but the underground was in the throes of ‘the humid season’, as they called it. Summer, winter, all those things Asriel heard were on the surface weren’t present here, but the caves below ebbott shifted between ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ at different times of year. Not many people loved the wet times, though no one was a huge fan of the dry time either.

Come to think of it, guess the weather was never good below Ebbott, Asriel realised.

Still, he brought the human across the main street, and Chara just focused on those shambling outside. Nearer to the gardens, Chara fixated on the fact that the trees and grass were fake, and like magic, one fell as she commented. Farther into the monuments, Chara stepped forward just in time to see the Napsta statue crack, as a little bird landed on the top.

The trip seemed to be a disaster, but Chara had some kind of smile on it, from time to time, in the quieter moments. She seemed to appreciate the cave lights and the flowers that grew in the cracks, or the little mushrooms that she treated like a new invention, even when they were just commonplace fungi. She seemed particularly amused by the one that talked.

So he hoped that luck would hold out as they entered a local restaurant - it wasn’t Muffet’s, but Pyriopeia made good food, and the human constantly was hungry - at least three times a day - so he hoped the meal would satisfy him.

Chara did smile as they entered the cafe, at least, looking around to see the booths, the checkerboard pattern to the floor, and the enormous dart board covered in balloons.

“This place is nice. What’s the purpose of the balloons?”

“To pop with the darts.” Asriel explained. “If you can pop all the balloons, you win darts, but you need to do it before the owner’s bodyguard gets you in a headlock. If you’re fast enough to hit every balloon with a dart, you get a free meal, but if you fail, Birdo noogies you.”

“...What’s the profit margin on something like that?”

“Zero!” Priopeia yelled, an animated mess of flaming rope that was handing out well-warmed stone tablets with the menu prices near the counter. “Now come and sit up at the table. Mama Priopeia’s never met one of your kind before.”

Chara looked up with surprise, before sitting down at the counter, Asriel sitting next to her. Chara ordered a Special dayz strudel, while Asriel got his favorite - the starry eyed surprise.

“Why is it called special dayz?” Chara asked, as Priopeia moved to process their food, and the bundle of sassy rope turned her flaming head to answer.

“‘Cause when monsterkind only got so many left, each one we get after is somethin’ special, hun.”

Chara blinked at the thought. “Monsterkind… what’s she talking about?” the girl asked.

Asriel just gave a nervous laugh. “Well… what with us being trapped here and all, some of us feel like we’ll, ya know, die down here…”

Chara looked to Asriel by surprise. “Have you considered, I don’t know, leaving the mountain if you’re so inclined to get out of here.”

“Oh, that’s impossible. The barrier prevents us from going anywhere.” Asriel explains, before a thought hits him. “That’s right. Humans don’t learn about us anymore, right?”

Chara looked to him with surprise, and it was one of the few times she’d ever shown him a face of utter bewilderment… something his head couldn’t put together, but his heart understood told him she wasn’t going to like what he said next.

“Long ago, humans and monsters lived on the surface of Erde Nona in piece. Monsters were very weak compared to humans, but they still kept the peace, traded, and acted merrily. Eventually, though, humanity became fearful of the monsters, and lashed out. They imprisoned us beneath the surface of Mount Ebbott, and made a mighty barrier so strong no single monster could breach it.” Asriel explained, remembering what his mother had told him of it.

The explanation hit Chara like…

Well, Asriel didn’t know. For a moment, Asriel didn’t even know if Chara was alive, because her body went stock still, and her shoulders tensed straight up. He wasn’t even sure if she was breathing.

Oh, she didn’t think…

“I mean, it was humans long ago, I want to say. I’m sure humans up there are much nicer and-”

“Shut up, Asriel.” Chara rasped.

Asriel looked over to Chara, who looked like she was trying not to vomit.

They ate more or less in silence after that, but Chara eventually spoke, though he was pretty sure he was the only one who heard, between bites.

...Still the same


---

Chara and Asriel spent the remainder of their time in the diner eating in silence, and Asriel could tell Chara enjoyed the meal, at least - in that she actually finished it. Eating did not come naturally or simply to Chara, as Asriel had figured out from their dinners, which he didn’t fully get, because she always seemed hungry. Still, if it wasn’t a pie, dripping with chocolate, or covered in some kind of sweet jam, it was rare for Chara to completely finish her plate.

He certainly couldn’t figure it out from her face, because a primordial bad mood seemed to have wafted over it, as they walked home.

“I… was hoping this would be something fun. For us. For us to enjoy, to celebrate your legs being better, ya know?”

Chara took a deep breath, but didn’t reply.

“I guess this might not have been the best day to go out… the city’s not been doing so well this year. Haven’t had much trash, and a few monsters have… fallen down, so not everyone’s so happy lately.” Asriel explained, giving a sheepish grin.

Chara sighed. “...Asriel. This place is trash. Your people live in cramped places. They eat actual garbage. They barely seem to be there. Why on earth haven’t you found a way out? Anywhere has to be better than here.”

“W-well…” Asriel stammered, trying to think of a way to answer. “We’re… trying. I know my dad is, even with the loss of the royal scientists. And now we have the core! Before that, we had to find our way around with torches.”

The statement seemed to twist around in Charas insides, as she looked to Asriel with a bitter look. She seemed to want to snap, but no words came out as she opened her mouth.

Asriel… didn’t know what to do, either. But something had been hurt, he could tell that much.

A question came unbidden to his lips, and he looked the fallen human in the eyes.

“Well, you came here on your own, right? So there has to be some appeal, hidden somewhere!”

Chara looked back to him, eyes open as she seemed to allow the question to drift.

After a few seconds of silence, Asriel finally opened his mouth, and something occurred to him, something happy to break the silence.

“Oh, that’s right, I had something to show you at home!” Asriel volunteered, before grabbing one of Chara’s hands. She stiffened, but didn’t fight him.

“Let’s go! Quick!”

--

“Well, Chara, ready for the surprise?” Asriel would ask, looking very proud of himself as he dusted off his hands.

“I have been waiting twenty-five minutes and thirty-one seconds for it. So maybe.” Chara snarked, just like Asriel expected.

It didn’t bother Asriel, because it meant she definitely was going to be surprised, as he took off his apron.

Chara turned the corner into the kitchen and, to Asriel’s delight, gasped.

“These are…”

“It’s a recipe Mom taught me. They’re called Chocolate Coconut macaroons.”

Chara blinked, looking up. “They’re chocolate and…”

Asriel nodded, looking at her with a smile. “I noticed you always seemed really excited when mom made chocolate for dessert, so I wanted to make something fun. You know, as a way of enjoying our time out for the day? Mom bought the ingredients, and… showed me the recipe. But I made it all myself! After… a couple earlier test runs.” Asriel offered, turning a bit pink at the thought of yesterday’s old leftovers - though Mom and Dad had been pretty happy to eat them, all the same.

He knew Chara’s tastes, and he was certain he could use this to get a big smile from her. Not her fakey smile she used all the time - a real one! She’d been showing him little ones from time to time, but he was pretty sure he’d figured out how to really get a big smile from her with this, and it had been all he’d been thinking about doing these past few days.

Or… he’d thought he had.


Chara didn’t smile this time, just… stared at him. It wasn’t like before, when she’d stared, and it was intimidating And he was scared. This time, her mouth just took the shape of a little “O”, and she seemed just shocked.

“...So you made this. For me.”

“Yes.”

Chara’s eyes seemed to glance between the macaroons and Asriel.

“...Why?”

Asriel gulped, ready for one of her unpredictable temper tantrums, but instead, Chara’s knees hit the floor, and he was surprised to see her fake smile break, but not the way he wanted to see, as he saw her face break into a rather ugly frown.

“Why are you being… so nice to me?”

Asriel tried to find the words, as he looked at her. Why? That wasn’t really something Asriel ever thought about, but it hurt him to see her like this all the same.

Why would she have to do something to earn this? And, a thought that had never occurred to him before snuck in, something a bit different than other thoughts that had cycled through his brain until now.

Who had made her feel like she had to earn it?

“I am a human. I am your Enemy.” Chara added. “I’ve made you live here in pain. I’ve made sure you could never see the sun. I’ve hurt your previous subjects you claim to care so much about, and here you are, offering me… Offering me macaroons!” Chara’s voice warbled, shifting between venom and despair as she spoke.

Ariel’s voice started at a stammer, but that thought, and the tears streaming down her face between her words, added strength to his legs, purpose to his voice, as he stepped forward, and he took a breath to steady himself on his legs.

Well, that wasn’t to say he wasn’t crying himself.

“Because… because you’re not my enemy. Because you asked me for help, and because you deserve it! Because I think your smile is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Because I…” Asriel tripped, trying to think through his words, realizing he was starting to babble.

There were a million reasons he wanted to make Chara happy, but there was one that mattered right now.

“...Since you’ve fallen down, I’ve taken care of you, and… I know I haven’t done a great job with your… with your pain. I don’t know how to fix it.” Asriel stated. “But ever since we started living together and playing together, even if you were scary or mean sometimes, it’s kinda felt… better, in the house. Like the sister I never had. Or… the sister I have now.” Asriel blurted, and caught his breath.

Chara didn’t move for a moment, just seeming to sit like a statue, before she spoke.

“I just… can’t understand you.” Chara eventually murmured, before getting up to her feet, sitting down in the chair with a slide of the chair. “...Monsters really don’t make any sense at all. Or… is it that humans don’t make sense, and they’re all I’ve ever met?” the girl questioned, before groaning. “...whatever.”

Asriel caught his breath after a moment, smile faltering a bit as she took a macaroon.

“Asriel, I have a problem here.” Chara said, eventually. “You’ve made too many of these.”

Asriel looked up with a look of shock. “B-but you always eat all the-”

“-So I think it’d be your duty to help me finish them. Right…”

Chara’s voice stumbled, the words changing from their cool confidence to a more nervous stammer.

“B-”

Asriel’s heart skipped a beat.

“Brother?”
 

Chara Dreemurr

The Chihuahua of Flirting
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The next few weeks were some of the happiest in Asriel’s life. Chara wasn’t just his friend - she was his sister - and he got to see her smile so much more often nowadays. They played together, they tended to eat together, he got her to go out, and he even managed to introduce her to a few monsters outside of the family - though only ones their own age, since Mom and Dad were still worried.

Asriel had to admit he was worried, too. Chara wasn’t exactly the healthiest girl, and even if she wasn’t trying to outright escape nowadays, she was still adventurous. If Asriel took his eyes off her for even a second, she was often off looking at some tree, or some old writings on the wall, a funny torch, an echo flower… and she always had questions about those things, what they meant or where they came from. A lot of the times she had more questions than he had answers, and by the time he’d thought of one, she was gone again, looking at something else.

“But why do people keep leaving cheese out?”

“So the cup has an eye in it. And no one gets the… Well, I hope no one does, for the cup’s sake…”

“I know it’s hot, but where’s the heat of it all come from? what is the core, really?”

Asriel always wondered why she asked him rather than mom, or dad, but he supposed mom and dad always let them go off to do their own adventuring. Even when they were home, though, she was often a lot more closed off with them than she was with him.

The thought made him puff up his chest a bit when it came to mind, even if it really shouldn’t. It wasn’t as though he didn’t want mom and dad to get along with Chara, really, it wasn’t, it was just…

The thought that Chara trusted him more than anyone else, that they were best friends, well…

It actually felt even cooler than being the prince of the underground, to Asriel.

“Hey, bro, are we going anywhere today?”

Chara’s voice brought him back to reality, not to mention a furry hand clapped on the two of their shoulders.

Toriel gave the sternest smile she could to the two of them, as she gently took Asriel’s coat off of him. “With how heavy the snow’s become? I don’t think so, my children. You can wait a couple days to go out.”

Asriel looked up to his mom with surprise at the statement. “Well, dad went out-”

“Your father has a job to do, little mister. And he’s still learning the ropes of it, too. He’s also got a good fifty pounds more fur on you with how little he’s been shaving recently…”

Mom’s tone always had that mixture of annoyance and affection when she was talking about dad. Asriel had never figured out why.

“Then we have to stay inside all day?”

“All day today, all day tomorrow. At the very least. That’s what the Monster news is calling for.” Toriel adds. “And no guff. You two have been able to go out every day for the last two weeks.”

Asriel grumbled. “Guess we’re not allowed to have fun for more than two weeks…”

“What was that, Mister?”

“Asriel was saying he was having more than enough fun these past two weeks. Right, Asriel?” Chara asked, nudging him in the ribs as she seemingly materialized next to him, causing Asriel to jump.

“Ah-y-y-yeah.” Asriel stammered, nodding as Chara gave him a knowing wink.

Toriel frowned, looking between the two, before giving a satisfied smile.

“Well, if Chara backs that up, that must be what was said.” Mom relented, though not without giving a very happy smile to the two of them. “I’ll rely on your best friend’s judgement, Asriel.”

The Dreemurr prince couldn’t help the smile spreading across his face.

“If it’s such a problem, how about I read you two a story/ i have the tale of the mighty bugtopus somewhere around here-”

Asriel smiled at the thought - it was a favorite, but was surprised as Chara raised her hand.

“Actually, Mrs. Toriel-”

“I’ve told you this before, Chara, just call me Toriel.” Mom’s tones clipped through, and Chara gave an almost automatic nod.

“I wanted to know if… you’d read us something about how things… got to be this way.”

“About how you fell down and joined our family?”

“No, I mean… before that. When Asriel and I went out the other night…”

Asriel was surprised as he looked to see his mother’s face. He had seen her sad when Dad had seemed to forget her anniversary one year (he hadn’t, and they had agreed to forego surprise parties from then on). It didn’t compare to how she looked here.

Mom’s face was a lot more sad right now, and Asriel could count so many lines on her face.

“...Very well, Chara.” She said after a second, blinking as her face became impassive. “I ask that you listen to this tale and understand that quite a bit has changed, much is different than when this story was first told.”

Chara gave a nod, a look of fire in her eyes Asriel hadn’t seen since he first met her in the caverns.

“Gather round, children. I will tell you the Undertale.”

Asriel and Chara gathered around, taking their small chairs while Toriel sat down in her chair, taking down a dusty book. Asriel thought he knew this tale by heart, but it had been a while…

“Once upon a time, two races lived in Erde Nona. Humans, and monsters.” Toriel began, giving a heavy sigh. “For a long while, the two races existed in harmony. But the humans feared the monsters. Despite being far stronger than any monster, Monsters have a certain power… they could take the soul of a human in order to become far more powerful than any ordinary human or monster.”
Toriel sighed, taking a second before she continued.
“The humans feared this power. Eventually, they decided the only true solution was a war, to eliminate the monster threat.”

Chara’s face changed to a frown, as Asriel heard this. Chara must feel bad about the fact they’re imprisoned, Asriel guessed, though as he watched her put her hands around her knees, he couldn’t really tell why it stung her so much, though? It’s not like she did it, after all. She must just really care about monsters, he decided.

Toriel adjusted her reading glasses before she continued, fiddling with them like she did when Dad whispered something in her ear, which only made that behavior more confusing to Asriel.

“The war was brief. The monsters were one-sidedly beaten back, and never were the monsters of old able to safely take a human soul. Eventually, the monsters were driven to surrender. The humans found some mercy in their hearts, and chose to exile us to this mountain. Creating a magical barrier, they sealed all monsters underground, to live out our days inside Mount Ebbott.”

Chara stood up. “How do you leave?”

Toriel shook her head. “There is no real way…”

“That’s not how magic works!” Chara snapped back, and suddenly she was on her feet. “It always has a thing or a way around. Even I know that! I heard the stories from… where I was.”

Chara sputtered at the last line, but she stared Toriel dead in the eye, and for the first time in a while Asriel couldn’t read her expression at all. It was something totally new, but the tears were simple enough to read.

Toriel finally gave a slow nod. “Very well. I’m being slightly dishonest, but… I don’t think you need to hear the answer-”

“Tell me!” Chara snapped.

There was a silence between the two of them.

“Very well. You know we are careful about letting you head out alone. There is a reason for that.” Toriel will say after a moment. “There is one way of opening the barrier.”

Chara stared, unblinking.

“Seven human souls, taken by a monster, may use their combined power to seal the spell, and free us to walk the surface once again.”

The sound of a pin drop could be heard, as the silence stretched.

“But we have no need of that. Life down here isn’t always the best. But we have power and heat. We have light. We’ve made a life-”

“That’s what I am, isn’t it? To all of you?” Chara snapped. “Just a soul. Something to preserve and use later!”

“Of course not!” Mom replied, keeping her tone strangely even. “We brought you into our family because you needed help, and we wanted to give it-”

Asriel blinked, looking between the two of them. “What does this mean-”

“What, did you think if you got your kid to hang out with me long enough, I’d give up my soul willingly or something?” Chara asked, Standing up with a chilling grin. “Well, thanks for squaring that away. Makes this whole thing make a lot more sense.”

Toriel gave a glare at that.

“That’s too far!” She snapped. “Asriel has-”

“What? Been a dopey sap? A useful weakling?”

Asriel’s heart sank at the statement. Chara really felt like that still, in the end?”

“Chara, I-”

“Oh, don’t worry about it, brother. I get it. You wouldn’t be smart enough to realize anything.”

Toriel gave her a stern look at that point and pointed. “If this is going to be your behavior, you may go to your room. I promise, we only wished to help you. We still do. But if you wish to live under our roof, you will not be insulting my son whenever you wish. If you want to have a tantrum, have it in your own space.” Toriel reprimanded, pointing to Chara’s room.

Asriel thought it was harsh, but he also thought how Chara spoke to him was harsh, that the entire atmosphere was harsh, that he was unhappy. He wanted to find words to fix the situation, to reassure Chara, to help her trust mom, to stop this, but nothing came out. No advice of mom or dad’s, no spark of inspiration came to him.

Chara walked away, slamming her door as hard as she could, and Asriel had no words, just watching silently as she walked by.

Toriel gave a sigh.

Asriel looked up to her with tears in her eyes, and Toriel offered a warm, thin smile in response.

“Am I… a weakling?”

Mom patted his head.

“Chara is thinking about a lot of things right now, my child. I know she said quite a few harsh things, but… think about it from her perspective.” Toriel said softly, pulling Asriel to her lap, as she quieted her words.

“She… thinks we’re trying to hurt her?”

Asriel’s mother had never seemed to look so pained as she was when she responded. “I do not think things in the outside world were kind to her. In some ways, she may have lost her own war. Do you remember, Asriel?”

“Remember what, mom?”

“Like you learned in tutoring from Old man Gerson. How we had to rebuild. As people and as A kingdom.”

Asriel gave a nod. “I… kind of get it. But it hurts to be talked to like that.”

Toriel gave a smile and a nod. “I know, child. You did not deserve to be spoken to that way. I am sorry today has not turned out so fun. But I think she does care about you still. She has a lot of feelings she does not know how to process, and she handled it by putting them on you. You do not have to tolerate it, and if it is too much to you, you are allowed to walk away and end the conversation. Know, however, that she does not mean what she says. Give her some time.”

“Okay, mom…” Asriel croaked. And then he clung to her, until sleep took him.
 
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