The bright, rising sun cast its rays through a large dining room window, shining upon the cabinets, the table, the chairs, an off-white bowl of cereal, and a somewhat miserable-looking child who sat before the bowl, propping up her chin on her palm and squinting out the window tiredly. Muffled birdsong filtered into the room, and trees swayed lightly in the gentle breeze that drifted through on the other side of the glass. It was an extraordinarily peaceful morning, one that only comes along every so often.
Frisk, however, found this particular morning difficult to enjoy as she struggled to keep her aching head from falling into the untouched cereal. Terrible nightmares - most of them about her journey through the Underground and the many, many Resets it had taken to finally break the Barrier and reach the surface - had kept her up for the better part of the night, and she found it difficult to stay awake. The unrelenting migraine that fogged up her mind definitely did nothing to help the situation, but it seemed to have no intention of going away. Frisk was thankful that Summer break had started just a few weeks before; there was no way that she would have been able to handle an entire day of school today.
Toriel watched her from the kitchen with concern evident on her face, quickly picking up on Frisk's odd behavior, as she made her own breakfast. "Frisk, my child, you look unwell. Is everything alright?"
Frisk gave her a halfhearted shrug without shifting her gaze from the window. "Had a rough night," she replied simply.
The frown on Toriel's face deepened, and her eyebrows drew closer together as she placed a few pieces of buttered toast on a small plate. She carried the plate and a cup of tea to the side of the table opposite to Frisk and sat down, folding her hands in her lap and fixing her gaze on the child across from her. "Would you like to talk about it?"
Finally, Frisk turned to meet her mother's worried eyes. She hesitated for a moment but then shook her head, not wanting to concern Toriel with her problems. The headache would fade eventually, and there wasn't much that she could do about the nightmares, anyway. She tried her best to pull off a genuine smile to convince her mother that she was completely fine, even if that wasn't entirely true. Toriel could tell that there was something bothering her, but she decided to respect her boundaries and smiled back at her gently without asking any further questions.
"If there is anything the matter, I want you to know that you can talk to me about it anytime, alright?"
"I know," said Frisk. She picked up her spoon to poke at the now-soggy cereal as the room became quiet again.
It was hard to think straight. The pounding in her head only seemed to get worse, and it was all she could focus on. She couldn't remember very many times when she'd gotten a headache this bad. She couldn't figure out what was wrong with her, but she did know that she needed it to STOP.
Dropping the spoon into the milky cereal, Frisk ran a hard through her hair and looked back up at Toriel, who was sipping her tea while staring out the window with unfocused eyes. "M-Mom? Can I skip breakfast today? I feel really sick."
"I suppose," Toriel replied as Frisk took her cereal bowl to the sink and poured out its soggy contents, watching the little "o"s flow with the milk down the drain and rinsing the bowl off after that. "Just let me know if there's anything that I can do. I hope you feel better, my child."
Frisk, despite the storm that was raging in her brain, smiled gratefully at her with a muttered "thank you" as she left the room to escape to her own. As soon as she reached her ajar bedroom door, she slipped in and closed it as gently as she could before collapsing onto her bed. She stuffed her face into the largest pillow that she had and groaned. Unsurprisingly, it didn't help. She pulled the pillow away to take a couple of deep breaths. Again, it didn't help.
It seemed like she'd just have to wait it out. She despised the thought of wasting such a nice day because of some dumb headache, but, of course, there wasn't much she could do.
However, now that she was alone, something was becoming clear; it was quiet, but she could hear the word "Reset" repeat over and over again in her mind, nothing but a whisper yet audible all the same. It was strange, to say the least, considering the fact that she no longer wanted anything to do with the power. After she'd left the Underground and set monsters free, she could no longer use savepoints, and Resetting wasn't available to her anymore as it was replaced by the True Reset button. Using it would mean erasing all the progress that she had made since landing on that small patch of flowers. It would mean starting her journey over from the very beginning. And, worst of all, it would mean trapping all of her newfound friends and family back in their subterranean prison. No one, not even Asr- Flowey (she tried not to think about the one person that she'd failed to save...), would remember her or anything she'd done since falling into the mountain. It seemed tremendously cruel to her, and she had therefore vowed to never use it.
The whispers were hard to ignore, though, and out of curiosity, she reached out to her Save File, the semi-transparent black box fading into existence before her, and examined it. Nothing had changed; it still displayed her name, her LV (LV 1, of course), and the area that she'd last used a savepoint. Below the white text were the two buttons that read "Continue" and "True Reset". Everything was as she'd last seen it, and she was about to simply press Continue and wave off the headache as an unfortunate side effect of getting too little sleep, but something stopped her.
Her eyes shifted to the True Reset button hesitantly. Now that it was right in front of her, she found herself very tempted to press it. In fact, it was becoming very difficult NOT to press it. She had to clutch her head in an attempt to dull the throbbing pain behind her forehead.
If she listened to the voice inside her head, would the pain go away? She wouldn't Reset just for that, would she? No, no she wouldn't. There was no way she was that selfish, and it was disappointing to her that she'd even considered such a thing. So when she reached out with intentions of pressing Continue, it was a shock that her fingertips met with the True Reset button instead.
Relief washed over her like a wave as the migraine evaporated into nothing and gave way to a clearer river of thoughts. Regardless of this, though, a feeling of dread settled in the pit of her stomach, and she drew in a disbelieving breath as she realized what she had just done. It seemed entirely unfair that such a small slip up could result in so much disaster, yet there wasn't anything that she could do as the world around her faded to black, erasing the house she shared with her mother, erasing all the friends that she'd made in the Underground, and erasing her (nearly) perfect ending just like that.
As Frisk slowly regained consciousness, she recognized the familiar feeling of warmth on her face and for a moment, she thought she was simply waking up to a new day in her own bed as the sunlight shining through her bedside window aroused her for breakfast with Toriel.
Unfortunately, the sunlight was too bright as she opened her eyes, and the texture beneath her was far from soft, unlike her bed at home. Surrounding her was dirt and rocks and vines and plantlife and purple pillars; the sunlight was beaming in through a small hole far, far above her. She wasn't at home, of course, and as she was becoming more aware of the situation, she realized that that home no longer existed, anyway.
Feeling the guilt tug at her heart some more, she pat the ground with expectations of finding the familiar bed of golden flowers, but all there was was the hard, dirt ground. Odd. Things should have been exactly as they had been the first time.
Frisk pushed herself away from the ground slightly, propping herself up on her elbows, but nearly fell straight back onto her face when pain shot through her left arm. She drew in a quick breath through clenched teeth and realized that because the flowers hadn't been there to break her fall like last time, she must have been injured pretty bad. No matter, there was a savepoint up ahead, and Toriel would find her before then, either way. But she had to get up. She had to go through it all over again exactly the same way so that she could reach the same happy ending for everyone that she had before.
Frisk was filled with Determination.
She took a deep breath and braced herself as she tried again to push herself up, this time using only her right arm. She managed to get into a sitting position in spite of the fact that the action had made her conscious of multiple other injuries. After pausing for a moment to close her eyes and take a few more deep breaths, she slowly stood herself up on shaking legs, stumbling a bit but overall succeeding. So far, so good. Now she just had to make it to the next room - well, she supposed it was more of a hall.
It was far from easy, but she managed to walk - limp - to the doorway and then into the dark hall beyond it, preparing to meet a certain talking yellow flower, but Flowey was nowhere to be seen. She waited for a few moments; Toriel would be on her way here soon, like last time, right?
To her dismay and confusion, it seemed that no one was coming to her aid. She did actually Reset, didn't she? Or was this some kind of strange dream...? The pain was very real, so she subconsciously ruled out that possibility. Surely she'd find out what was going on soon enough.
Everything seemed a bit...off, and it was starting to concern Frisk. She hadn't used a True Reset before, but she had a pretty good idea of how it should function, and this wasn't it. It would be much easier to work all of this out if Frisk could just make it to that first savepoint and restore her lost HP. So, she kept herself moving forward as her breathing started to become uneven and her vision started to swim. She muttered words of encouragement to herself - come on, Frisk, you've survived through worse - as she stumbled into the next room.
...But the savepoint was nowhere to be seen.
Her hopes crumbled. No...no, no, no!, she thought, panicked. If there were no savepoints, then that would mean no Resets, no second chances, and considering how many times she'd died the first time she was here, that would be a serious problem. Surely this was some kind of joke, or it was just her imagination - perhaps she really was just dreaming...?
Before her fear coul develop any further, she heard a couple of voices echo down the hall at the top of the stairs. Frisk froze. She tilted her head to the side a bit to listen, hoping to recognize whoever it was that was speaking.
"You'd better not cheat!"
"I won't, I promise," the second voice giggled. "Just go hide!"
Frisk then heard the sound of fast-paced approaching footsteps as the second voice began counting. She barely had the time to process the fact that she was standing in plain sight with no way of defending herself if the monster that was coming her way turned out to be unfriendly before a pale and, to her surprise, human face appeared above her. The girl's face was framed by short, reddish-brown hair in a bob, and its ends brushed against pink-tinted cheeks. Although her outfit was very similar to Frisk's, the sweater she wore over a brown, collared shirt was lime green in color had only one yellow stripe running through the middle.
Upon seeing Frisk standing in the middle of the room, the stranger started, eyes widening in shock, but it only lasted a moment as her expression shifted into one that looked a lot more judgemental. Her eyebrows lowered as she scanned Frisk with her ruby red eyes from head to toe silently. A long and awkward moment passed before the stranger finally decided to speak in a relatively harsh tone.
"Who are you?"
Dumbfounded and unable to come up with a better answer, the child in question answered, "F-Frisk." Her voice sounded hoarse.
The red-eyed girl was making her way down the stairs now without taking her eyes off of Frisk. There was a hint of curiosity on her face, but she was still scowling. "You climbed the mountain, too, right?"
The best Frisk could do was nod in reply. She was starting to feel dizzy again, and she worried that she wouldn't be able to continue standing for much longer. Proving her assumption, she began to stumble backwards and nearly fell to the ground if it wasn't for an arm that quickly caught her.
"Woah, hey, you're pretty badly hurt," the stranger observed. "Hold on, I-"
"Found you, Chara!" The other voice that Frisk had heard earlier cut her off cheerfully. As soon as he spotted the human resting on Chara's arm, his tone shifted to one of concern. "Wait, Char, who's that?"
Frisk recognized the voice immediately, even as the corners of her vision were slowly growing dark and all of her thoughts began to blur together. The realization hit her just as her eyes closed and the last of her consciousness faded.Chara and Asriel are alive...?