You aren't sure what you were expecting when you reached the end of your journey. The first time you heard the name Asriel, it was from Toriel spitting it out like a curse. Everyone else, every single person you meet, talks of him as if he's kind and gentle, and they tell you he grew up with a human he loved, a human who lived among the monsters all their life before finally dying of old age. So what happened to all the other kids Toriel met?
And why haven't you seen him? The other thing everyone agrees on is that he always comes for the kids to stop them, so why hasn't he left the city?
You're feeling a bit hopeful when you finally reach the city itself. Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe Toriel was wrong and you can just walk out. Maybe...maybe that's why none of the kids ever came back. Maybe everyone who disappeared climbing this mountain did so because they wanted to.
You find it amid flowers in a place like a garden. It's fluffy and huge and you can see the fangs poking out.
"W-would you like a cup of tea?" Asriel stammers. Then he flinches back. "I'm not, I'm not, it's just a little longer, I do, I will." He's wringing his giant paws together. Half his face is twitching like it's trying to crawl off his bones. "Before you - before we - you've come a really long way. Th-there's no rush." He flinches again, leaning a little like someone just screamed in his ear. "There isn't!" A bit of fluff falls onto the flowers and dissolves away, like cotton candy that fell into a puddle. You can see rents in the fur of one arm. You watch as his nails drag over it again, ripping deeper. More bits come off and scatter across the ground as dust.
You don't know what to say. You consider that you have not gotten this far by refusing to do things just because they make no sense. "I'd like tea."
For a moment, it looks like two different people are trying to smile through one face. And one of the two hates you.
He pauses. "And whose fault is that?!" he snaps suddenly at the air. "No - I -" He looks at you again. "Um. You promise, you won't run away? During tea. You could fall."
This seems absurd, and then you remember: he needs to be there to get your soul. You think of the path you took, the drop on either side. And you think further back, to another drop, when even falling had seemed a better idea than staying.
"I promise," you say, not sure if you really mean it. You want to mean it.
He starts to walk, then flinches. "Stupid," he hisses. "Sorry." He takes a few breaths. "Can you. Walk next to - in front of me? I'm sorry for being rude!" He's got his arms wrapped around himself in a parody of a hug. The claws have dug in so deep that you can't even see them.
"Sure," you say. "It's no problem."
And it really isn't. There's the moment you have to square your shoulders and walk, uncomfortably aware of how defenseless you are right now, but you did not come this far to give up now.
No blow comes.
"Um," he says behind you. "What's your name?"
"Does it matter?"
"Of course it matters!" Your would-be killer sounds so affronted.
"What was everybody else's name?"
The footsteps stop. You turn to see the huge monster staring at you miserably. "They never told me."
You decide that your best option is to turn and keep walking.
The footsteps start up again. "I asked!" he says defensively. And then, "They killed people!"
You keep walking.
"They always kill people! They come in and I - there's cameras - you know, you saw them, I saw you seeing them. So I can know for sure. I don't just... Sometimes the humans let them go at first. Sometimes they let them go for a long time. But they always kill in the end. Always. Humans always kill monsters."
"What about the one you were friends-"
"Chara's different!" You spin to see him halfway to you, every fang on display. He shudders, takes a step back. "Chara...Chara would've died for us. When we were kids, Chara and I...we almost... B-but I said no. We waited."
"But not for anybody else," you say. "Them, you killed."
"They're murderers. You - you're all murderers! You attacked us and you locked us down here and then you come and you kill. You're murderers. It's kill or be killed. It's kill or be killed." He keeps repeating it, arms wrapped tight around himself and rocking slightly, the uncertainty fading from his voice with each repetition, the twitching turning to stillness, like a toy running down. You wait, not sure what to do next. After a while, he says, "Yes. You're right. I know, I know, I should listen to you. You know them. No, I won't let them kill you. It's just a trick. Humans always kill."
"I didn't," you say. "I don't."
"Liar." There's a dull red glow behind his eyes. "Liar liar liar-"
You try to say, "I didn't," again but all that comes out is blood.