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Gotta Get Down

Ononymous Sep 15th, 2019 122 Never
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  1. The shrill tones of the bell echoed throughout the corridor, followed by a single second of peace before doors started opening. Now it was crowded, a feeling enhanced by some of the school's larger students, but mercifully they were all headed the same way, to the exit. There was something of a traffic jam there, one that less conventionally limbed students simply bypassed by flying through open windows against school rules, but this was a natural rhythm of school life, especially at the start of the weekend. Three students managed to extricate them from the main mass of the exodus, following the school wall in a shortcut to the car part. This route was also against the rules, but with the few teachers available focused on admonishing the skies, they were low priority.
  2.  
  3. "Ugh, glad that's done for a couple of days," said Asriel.
  4.  
  5. "Yeah," said Frisk, "it'll be nice to turn off the brain for a while."
  6.  
  7. "Hmm," muttered Chara, "I don't think it's a good idea to think of it like that. Or else one day you'll keep your brain turned off so long you forget how to turn it back on?"
  8.  
  9. "Humans can do that by accident?"
  10.  
  11. Chara smirked. "It's a figure of speech, Asriel. I missed talking to you about human anatomy the whole time."
  12.  
  13. Asriel rubbed his shoulder defensively. "I totally knew humans can't really explode when they get mad, I was just testing you!"
  14.  
  15. Chara didn't escalate from a smirk to a laugh. The fact Asriel had volunteered this to Frisk without direct prompting was victory enough. Frisk, however, had other concerns.
  16.  
  17. "Hey, where's Mom's car?"
  18.  
  19. The others looked around. "Hey, you're right, it's gone. She parked it in that spot this morning."
  20.  
  21. "Perhaps she had to run an errand," offered Chara, "she's done it before."
  22.  
  23. "Or maybe she's arranged a surprise for you."
  24.  
  25. The three of them turned around. Asriel's face split into a grin. "Dad!"
  26.  
  27. "Howdy, son. So, who's up for a surprise stayover at my house?"
  28.  
  29. Asriel's vain attempt to wrap his arms around Asgore in a hug was one vote of confidence. As was Frisk's eager "Me!"s. Chara was more reserved.
  30.  
  31. "What is the occasion?"
  32.  
  33. Asgore gave a loud belly laugh. "What occasion is needed apart from the fact we're family? I mean, you can go to Toriel's house if you want, but nobody will be there."
  34.  
  35. "Why? Where is she?"
  36.  
  37. "Aw come on, Chara," said Asriel, "what's wrong with a surprise now and then?"
  38.  
  39. "I don't do well with surprises," they curtly replied.
  40.  
  41. A large fuzzy hand rested on their shoulder. "Chara. I'm sorry that we sprung this on you. I can assure you nothing is wrong, and this was simply meant as a treat for you children."
  42.  
  43. Chara still looked wary. "Then what are we doing first?"
  44.  
  45. "QC's. Hot chocolate sounds like a delightful start."
  46.  
  47. ...drat. "Okay, let's go."
  48.  
  49. Soon the three children were sat alonside each other in one end of the booth. Asgore was in the other by himself. Four steaming mugs had the promised treat. Chara was unable to comment on their cup, having not put it down since they started, but the others had some words.
  50.  
  51. "This is delicious!" said Asriel. "It's really comforting in how warm it is, but it doesn't burn. The perfect mix of flavour and warmth!"
  52.  
  53. "I heard no drinker's even been able to not ask for seconds," said Frisk.
  54.  
  55. "Oh ho?" said Asgore. "Well how about a contest? First to empty their cup gets a second one."
  56.  
  57. "You're on! Readysetgo!"
  58.  
  59. Asriel nearly tipped it over his head in his haste, but Frisk and Asgore quickly copied him. No sooner had they started than Chara put down their cup.
  60.  
  61. "...finished. All your chocolate is mine."
  62.  
  63. "Hepbbblt," splutered Asriel, "th-that's not fair, you were half way done when Dad announced the contest!"
  64.  
  65. "I was in a fortunate position, and I took advantage of it. It is the way of this world, Asriel."
  66.  
  67. "I'm afraid Chara's right, Son," chortled Asgore, "I never specified who could participate. Tell you what: we'll finish our drinks, I'll buy Chara their prize, but I'll also buy us another round and we can have the contest properly."
  68.  
  69. "Deal!"
  70.  
  71. "Hey Dad," said Frisk, pointing at Asgore, "what's that pink thing on your beard?"
  72.  
  73. "A pink thing? I'm not..." He fumbled around until he caught it, and gave it a light tug. It pulled at his beard, and he winced in discomfort.
  74.  
  75. "Dad," said Asriel, trying not to laugh, "did you add marshmallows to your chocolate?"
  76.  
  77. "Of course not! I mean, maybe one or two pieces... Erm, do any of you have a pair of scissors?"
  78.  
  79. The laughter filled the diner. A surreptitious snip and Chara's third mug of chocolate later, the soon reached Asgore's house, where they all sat down to play a boardgame.
  80.  
  81. "Uh-uh," said Frisk, checking the thicker than expected manual, "the rules say you can't pass Blook Avenue without a Glam token."
  82.  
  83. "And where do I get one of those," asked Chara.
  84.  
  85. "At an MTT™ pitstop diner. Have to role between five and nine to be admitted."
  86.  
  87. "Hmph. That is rather arbitrary."
  88.  
  89. "Well if you don't like this game," said Asgore, "I have another game called Monopoly we could try-"
  90.  
  91. "No no no no no no," came an overlapping chorus of satisfaction with the status quo. So everyone continued to accumulate Glam tokens and passes to the Karaoke bar and pose points before being allowed on the final forty spaces to becoming a Darling.
  92.  
  93. "Hey Dad," said Asriel, excited, "you're nearly there! If you roll exactly seven you win the game!"
  94.  
  95. "I do? Goodness!" He gripped the two dice tight in his hand. "Come on, lucky seven, I believe it's called..."
  96.  
  97. He threw them. A five and a two. And a one. And two halves of a six.
  98.  
  99. "Hey, what's..."
  100.  
  101. "Oh dear." Asgore examined a few chips of plastic in his hand. "I held onto them too tightly, it seems."
  102.  
  103. More raucous laughter at his expense, it was time to watch a movie. Asriel insisted on have a go at making the popcorn, and he did a fine job, leaving it only slightly burnt. It was a comedy about a trial in a courtoom.
  104.  
  105. "That was an odd trial," mused Chara after the end.
  106.  
  107. "What do you mean?" asked Frisk.
  108.  
  109. "Would a judge really tolerate all those antics? And all that evidence being submitted at the last minute. It all served to prejudice the jury one way or the other. There are procedures for all that. In bypassing them, every attorney in that room would have been in trouble and lost their license."
  110.  
  111. "I think it was Sans that explained it to me, Chara," said Asgore. "He said 'never let the rules get in the way of a good joke'. Stories don't always turn out as they would in life."
  112.  
  113. Chara looked like they wanted to protest, but thought better of it. "So what are we doing now?"
  114.  
  115. "Well, you three are going to bed now."
  116.  
  117. "Awwwww..." moaned Asriel.
  118.  
  119. Asgore winked. "I never said anything about going to sleep, however. No curfew tonight, stay up as long as you like."
  120.  
  121. "Yes! I'm gonna jump on my bed and read comics and tell you guys jokes until dawn!"
  122.  
  123. He made it until 11:43pm.
  124.  
  125. Chara had always been an early riser, and today was no exception. They crept down the stairs into the dawnlit living room, hoping to snack on some leftover popcorn.
  126.  
  127. "Howdy, Chara."
  128.  
  129. There was Asgore, morning tea in hand. He made no gesture, but Chara sat beside him anyway.
  130.  
  131. "I should have known it was a ruse."
  132.  
  133. "A ruse?" He shook his head earnestly. "I just knew you'd be up first. I still remember how you slept back in the Underground."
  134.  
  135. "Now you mention it, didn't you used to lie in a little?"
  136.  
  137. "Yes. It's been a while since I could, though."
  138.  
  139. He sipped calmly, Chara trying to read what he was getting at. "So if this isn't an ulterior motive or a trick, just a bonus thing, what do you want?"
  140.  
  141. "To do what I've done with Asriel, when he returned as well. That had been a public affair, it always would with how his role in the story had shaped out. But as I was reminded when I sprang this sleepover on you, that is not your style. Even to pull you to one side for a quick chat would be singling you out. This is the best way to have a private conversation."
  142.  
  143. "And what are you singling me out to do?"
  144.  
  145. "To apologise, of course."
  146.  
  147. As if anticipating their every move, Asgore handed them the nearly-empty bowl of popcorn. Instinctively they started munching on it.
  148.  
  149. "It's been hard, taking the last few years in. You think things are a certain way for a hundred years, and then they are upended. Who did what, why they did it, completely different than what you thought. And... I'm sorry I couldn't help you with your problems. That the only way you saw... was revenge."
  150.  
  151. Chara looked up into his peaceful smile. "I still don't think you understand. I don't think you can, though you'd be closer now than you were then. You couldn't have helped, and I'd have done it anyway. I do have agency outside your idea of how family works."
  152.  
  153. He chuckled. "You are right. Probably about all of it. But parents have a little leeway in thinking irrationally when it comes to those in their care. No doubt I've... abused that rather heavily. You may not feel like I owe you an apology, but I feel that way. And so I offer it. That is all I'll say on the matter unless you want me to."
  154.  
  155. Chara saw the unpopped kernals at the very bottom of the bowl, and put it down. "Well thank you, Asgore. And yes, I'm calling you that regardless. You may not feel like that's right, but I feel that way."
  156.  
  157. "A fair trade," he concluded. "Now, how would you like some more chocolate before the others wake up? I have planned to take us to an amusement park today."
  158.  
  159. A satisfied smile spread across their face. "No marshmallows, please. For your own sake."
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