It is not a blur. Shock sears the next few moments into your SOUL as clear as a red-hot brand. The nurse that had approached stumbles out of the way as a tall, vaguely-familiar man in a lab coat quickly steps over and drops to your level where you sit on the floor, motioning sharply.
"Put them down." Then, over his shoulder, loud as a shout; "I need a crash cart please!"
You nearly drop Frisk in your haste to comply. A peer into their mouth shows you and the - doctor, you figure - that nothing is caught in Frisk's airway before he shifts and hovers his ear over their mouth, staring hard at Frisk's chest. Rattling wheels grow louder and louder like an alarm shuddering through your skull as two fingers are held to the side of Frisk's throat right under their jaw for a beat, two...
The doctor sits up and presses one hand over the other against the center of Frisk's rib cage.
"Code blue 0.3cc epinephrine right now!"
A choked wail of dismay cuts through your adrenaline. Your gaze snaps to Toriel. Her paws are clutched tightly to her maw and her wide, tear-drenched eyes clench your SOUL into agony.
"And then I am never-
-playing this game-
There is a pixilated representation of a small red heart labeled UNDERTALE coursing through your brain.
Frisk's SOUL was The Player's portal to The Game.
And they had erased it.
It is inadequate to describe in words how you end up sitting at Frisk's side nearly 5 hours later. Frankly, those details hardly matter to you. What matters to you is that the doctor from before had just finished confirming your worst nightmare; legitimately worse than The Player's Aborted Genocide run.
"...In a simple comparison, Frisk has... 'fallen down'. Their SOUL is... empty, for lack of a better term. Physically, aside from potential... damage... from oxygen deprivation, they are perfectly healthy. But they... do not possess any detectable levels of Determination. ...They lack the will to live."
Why the fuck would The Player do this.
By no stretch of the imagination did you believe that they'd known this would happen. You remember the sheer honesty and shame they'd displayed after your Fight. They would be horrified to learn that they'd just sentenced Frisk to a goddamn coma.
What reason did The Player have for not wanting to even have the chance to come back?
Did they really feel that guilty? Yes they'd been wrong to kill everyone, but they had already freed Monster-kind from the Underground five fucking times beforehand. They had refused to go through with 'breaking the game'. And while you are screaming at yourself for basically justifying the death of your own brother - it just isn't enough for you to condemn The Player to what's sounding more and more like a ludicrous self-imposed exile.
They... they loved you guys. All of you. From Asgore to Whimsum. Data scrolling told you that in this run, they had not skipped through a single line of dialogue. They had prompted every single in-game description of overworld objects. They had played the Snail Race Minigame until the yellow one had won. They had bought a Spider Donut in The Ruins and had shown it to Muffet during her Fight. They had gone out of their way to get the right items to pass under the hotel doors of MTT Resort. They had even literally written a fucking essay on how amazing Mettaton was.
...They'd called your brother on every screen they could. Sometimes twice, as if checking to make sure they'd done it. And they had actually eaten Papyrus' spaghetti, during his scripted Date With The Human.
Would you really want them to come back and Reset everything now and force you to live in the Underground again, The Game sneers.
Your eyes drift from the window to Frisk. Hooked up to a bunch of machines keeping their body alive. Feeling nothing from their SOUL.
Yes you would want The Player to come back and Reset.
It was better than this.
You'd go through ALL of that ALL OVER again, The Game scoffs, incredulous.
You're sorry, but ALL OF WHAT?!
The best goddamn day of your entire life quite frankly?
Who gives a shit if you're planted back Underground for one dumb-fucking day! Because that's all it'd be! You know the Timeline you know that The Player can only go back so far and their entire journey from start to finish was immaculately designed to go from one end to the other in just over 5 fucking hours, and that was only if they took their sweet-ass time about it!
Well maybe it was great for you but what about everyone else?! The Game crows.
What ABOUT them?! By the end of a True Pacifist run, all Monsters adore the shit out of Frisk. Even if they didn't know that Frisk was also The Player, they wouldn't have been so unanimously supportive of them if they had done something horrible that you don't know about!
...That you don't know about.
Something - someone - with a degree of clearance above you.
Someone... hated Frisk.
Someone hated The Player
Someone hated The Game.
Someone... hated... themselves. And... The Player hadn't been given the ability to change their mind. The Player... couldn't... Save... them... ...
No matter how many times they tried.
Who is it.
The Game claws from behind the veil, pain arcing through the depths of your bones like a million whips striking all at once. You grit your teeth. The burn of your magic fills the room and your left eye-light gleams with flickering power.
You are going to find out and fuck the system for trying to stop you.
Look at the Dialogue. Does anyone say anything outside of a PermaLock that alludes to someone you don't know? Does anyone mention a name that you know isn't among those who were freed?
This isn't fair! The Game roars.
Fair had ended when you'd found Frisk catatonic in their bed.
YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO LISTEN IN ON OTHER NPC CONVERSATIONS! The Game screams.
...something falls into place and you freeze.
"Have you ever heard of a talking flower?"
You had meant the Echo Flowers. Frisk had said Yes... but then... had given you a very strange look. As if... that hadn't been what they'd said Yes to.
It'd been easy to brush past before. But as the True Pacifist Asgore Fight comes to the surface of your thoughts... The lapse in memory and then Frisk...
"A tiny flower told me."
"A tiny... flower?"
There was a different flower.
With a silent twist, something unlocks.
The room goes cold.
Seems as if everyone is perfectly happy.
Monsters have returned to the surface.
Peace and prosperity will rule across the land.
Take a deep breath.
There's nothing left to worry about.
Your brother is the only one who talks without a leading asterisk in the script.
There is one thing.
One last threat.
One being with the power to erase EVERYTHING...
Everything everyone's worked so hard for.
But you don't recognize this font.
You know who I'm talking about, don't you?
I'm talking about YOU.
Oh... god, this...
YOU still have the power to reset everything.
Toriel, Sans, Asgore, Alphys, Papyrus, Undyne...
If you so choose...
Everyone will be ripped from this timeline...
... and sent back before all of this ever happened.
Nobody will remember anything.
You'll be able to do whatever you want.
This person... this... flower... is speaking directly to The Player.
I know that power.
That's the power you were fighting to stop, wasn't it?
The power that I wanted to use.
Data glitches; this is part of the True Pacifist Ending Credits Cutscene.
But now, the idea of resetting everything...
I don't think I could do it all again.
Not after that.
Who in the ACTUAL FUCK IS THIS?!
Just let them go.
Let Frisk be happy.
Let Frisk live their life.
You stare right at Frisk, lying broken and incomplete in their hospital bed. This asshole had just told an absolute bold-faced lie. Frisk couldn't function without The Player; they were The Player's avatar, controlled by them, exclusively by them, possessing no true Character or Free Will beyond what The Player chose to enact.
You've probably heard this a hundred times already, haven't you...?
They want to guilt The Player into never coming back...
Well, that's all.
See you later...
The Player's true name prints inside of your mind's eye.
The Game is right.
This really isn't fair.
"YES, HELLO, FRISK?"
"it's me, papyrus."
"OH, SANS! DID YOU FORGET YOUR PHONE AGAIN? I WAS JUST GOING TO CALL YOU, I HAVE BREAKFAST PREPARED FOR CONSUMPTION!"
"... papyrus, i... ..."
"...Brother? ... What's wrong?"
"... when we... first met frisk, in the underground... ... what... did you think of them?"
"... I thought that... they were... ... sad."
"Not in quite so specific a way, exactly, but they did seem... troubled. Tired. I decided to be their friend so that The Great Papyrus could cheer them up. I hope in some small way I did."
"I love all of you, so... so damn much-"
"... Frisk isn't okay. Are they. Brother."
Your hand clutches over your sockets. Head lent back against the wall of the hospital waiting room; you'd had to move for reception. Everything hurts.
You try hard to swallow back the emotion in your throat.
"...no papy they aren't okay."
"... ...I see. Where are you?"
"d-downtown general..." - choke, breathe, c'mon relax - "i can come get you if you want."
"No need for that, Sans. I... will take the drive to contemplate. But thank you."
"sure, bro. sounds good."
"... Will you be alright, brother?"
Your SOUL tightens; wetness rolls along your cheek.
"yeah don't worry about me i'll be fine. you should take your time. i'll meet you at the front desk."
"Okay, Sans. I will see you soon."
It's not until the next night that the idea finds you.
You steal away from Frisk's room with their cell phone once again. You slowly walk the hospital corridors until you find a secluded stairwell to sit in. You press a button and the phone's display lights up... but you don't input a number.
You hold it to your skull.
The Player's true name comes out with your voice, and in this moment, the whole world holds still.
"... i don't know if this will reach you... ...but please... please come back. frisk is not happy. frisk is not living their life. i... ...no one else here even knows you exist, but... we miss you. you don't need to let us go. you can reset as many... as many times as you want. you can spare us or kill us or anything else in between. this doesn't... ...the game doesn't work without you. i know... i know that you were told otherwise... but, god, it wasn't true. not a single word of it. i don't know who that was, i don't know what they want, but i... ..."
"...the underground is nothing compared to not having you play."