Frisk refused to die... but he died anyway. Things all go downhill from there.
An Undertale fanfic by coincidencless, detailing the aftermath of Asriel's victory over Frisk at the end of the Pacifist Run, ending with Asriel's discovery that Frisk is not Chara, and the consequences of that.
Namely, Frisk being forced onto a Genocide Run by Asriel. Things do not improve much afterwards.
The story can be found here.
Tropes present in Recursion include:
- Adaptational Badass: Mettaton NEO fights Frisk/Chara a lot earlier in this timeline than the end of Hotland, and the results show - in that he's actually capable of taking more than one hit this time. Said hit nearly kills him, to be fair, but as it turns out...
- Napstablook gets this even more than Mettaton does, replacing Sans in the Final Corridor and killing Frisk tens of thousands of times.
- A God Am I: Asriel has this attitude after he defeats Frisk and "takes back" the resets from him. The problem is, he's more than capable of backing it up...
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Averted. While Frisk eventually agrees to do a Genocide Run, it was due to Asriel torturing and killing him for what is implied to be several hours via resetting until he agreed, and it's shown he wants nothing more than to talk things out with the monsters, or be an Actual Pacifist. It's made abundantly clear that he and Chara are only doing the Genocide Run because they have absolutely no other choice.
- Big "WHAT?!": Chara's reaction after Sans launches a surprise attack on them right as they exit the Ruins.I'm sorry, WHAT?!
- Bittersweet Ending: The barrier is broken, Asriel has given up his Resetting powers, and Chara and Gaster have returned, but Frisk is clearly suffering heavy psychological trauma from Asriel's actions, and is unable to make friends with the main Undertale monsters as a result.
- Break the Cutie: Frisk and Alphys both undergo a lot of trauma when Asriel forces Frisk onto a Genocide Run.
- Character Development: Chara starts out cold and sarcastic towards Frisk (and humanity as a whole), but becomes much more caring to him as they continue their plight.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Chara. Even after becoming a demon, she's still a benevolent force who is just as dedicated as Frisk is to setting things right despite her universe-destroying capabilities.
- Deal with the Devil: Although it's more like "Gift to the Demon". Frisk outright gives his soul to Chara so she can continue to feel emotions. Like love. And since she owns it, she can let him continue to feel as well.
- Determinator: Frisk is this... but even he takes second place to Asriel.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Asriel's response to finding out Frisk and Chara aren't the same person? He forces Frisk onto a Genocide Run by repeatedly murdering him until he agrees.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Amalgamates are just as bizarre and incomprehensible as before, perhaps even moreso—they're completely unkillable without Gaster's interference, and they cause Chara (a spirit with no physical form) constant pain just by being nearby.
- Emotion Suppression: Revealed to be why Asriel still has his "Flowey" personality even after absorbing every soul (except Frisk and Napstablook's) in the Underground - he's deliberately squashing every feeling he gets from said souls.
- For Want of a Nail: The whole premise of the story is based around Asriel defeating Frisk at the end of a True Pacifist run, and subsequently resetting the world.
- This is also the reason for why the Genocide Run in the story differs so much from the actual game's—Asriel made changes to the timeline before Frisk left the Ruins to ensure that his run would be as painful as possible. For example, he toppled over a bunch of branches on the path to the Ruins door, meaning Sans couldn't make his promise to Toriel, and attacked Frisk as soon as he stepped into Snowdin. Ultimately, him forcing Frisk to do a Genocide Run in and of itself qualifies, as it allows Frisk and Chara to keep their morality intact rather than Slowly Slipping Into Evil as if they did it willingly.
- Gender Flip: Sort of; Frisk and Chara are both solidly identified as male and female, respectively, instead of genderless/gender-neutral. Napstablook and the Mad Dummy (Furlablook) are still identified as gender-neutral, namely with the "they" pronoun.
- It's All My Fault: Chara blames herself for the current circumstances, due to her plan to eliminate humanity being the reason Asriel and her both lost their souls.
- Jaw Drop: Frisk is briefly left speechless after seeing Mettaton NEO for the first time.Oh. Look at that. Anime's real.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Frisk and Chara are this. It's also implied that Chara used to be this with Asriel.
- Nigh-Invulnerable: The Annoying Dog is the Made of Air version of this - every attempt shown at attacking or touching the Dog when it doesn't want to be touched simply fails to connect, and even Physical God Asriel can't get past said defenses. And to boot, the Dog can spread this defense to other people (not to the same level as the dog, but still strong enough to make normal hits miss). And when Chara briefly destroys the universe, it's the only survivor besides her, Frisk (who is soul-bound to Chara), and Asriel.
- Asriel himself also counts, thanks to his infinite defenses—he can feel pain from attacks by the aforementioned dog, but it still can't come close to actually hurting him. Chara also can't defeat him physically since her power still falls short to Asriel's, but luckily, she has other methods.
- The first time Frisk tries to fight Mettaton in his metal body, it goes... poorly for him. And by poorly, we mean when he punched Mettaton, his hand was hurt more than Mettaton was.
- No-Sell: The only thing in the story that comes even close to wounding Asriel was the Annoying Dog (who is also capable of this), and it's stated that Asriel wasn't actually hurt - he just felt pain.
- There are also several monsters who can do this through alternate methods - the "memoryheads" and the Goner Kid are intangible and can't even be seen by most people, the Amalgamates are too Eldritch Abominationish to be hurt normally even by Frisk at high LOVE, and Napstablook cannot be harmed without magic - which Frisk doesn't have.
- One-Hit Kill: Mettaton NEO's cannon (when Frisk is at low LV), any attack from Asriel, and Napstablook's finishing move are all this.
- Person of Mass Destruction: After defeating Frisk, Asriel is capable of doing practically anything he wants, which is shown to be very much not a good combo with the ability to use the Reset Button at will. At the end of the story, Chara also becomes this, and while it's stated she's still weaker than he is, she's capable of triggering a Class X apocalypse. However, Asriel willingly gives up his powers after getting his emotions back, leaving Chara as the only one capable of this.
- Ship Tease: There's a lot of this between Frisk and Chara. They're later given a Relationship Upgrade to Official Couple status.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Frisk's analysis of how fighting Sans is going to go. Later on, he comes to the same conclusion for Napstablook.
- Underestimating Badassery: When Frisk finally meets Gaster, he says that Napstablook, the only monster to escape being "part" of Asriel, is irrelevant. We never see his reaction, but Napstablook proves him wrong later on.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Asriel's powers are easily capable of causing a Class X apocalypse, his attacks move so fast they're impossible to avoid (after he practices with them long enough), he's capable of teleporting vast distances in the blink of an eye, and it's stated that while beings like the Annoying Dog or post-demon Chara can make him feel pain, they can't actually hurt him. However, he's got almost no knowledge on how to fight without his powers, which are far less flexible than Chara's.
- Weak, but Skilled: Relatively speaking... while she's capable of destroying the entire universe with a single hit, and remaking it without too much trouble, Gaster notes that even in her demon form and with the Annoying Dog's help, Chara still wouldn't be capable of defeating Asriel. However, said powers, which are related to making numbers increase or decline, are a Swiss-Army Superpower compared to Asriel's When All You Have is a Hammer . The "Skilled" part becomes critically important after Chara destroys the universe, as she is able to escape into the multiverse while Asriel is trapped in the empty void.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Frisk and Chara start the Run with every intention of using it to find a way to stop Asriel, and though they start to slip a little, they both manage to stay sane by the end.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: This is how Chara eventually brings Asriel down, by forcing him to choose between an eternity by himself with absolutely nothing to do, or giving up his stolen souls and living out the rest of his natural life. She may not be able to beat Asriel in direct combat, but she can destroy the world and stop him from resetting it, before leaving him to rot in the empty void because she's not constrained to a single universe. Chara has the whole multiverse to explore while she waits him out, and more importantly, Frisk's soul to keep her company. Eventually, Asriel is forced to relent.
- The Worf Effect: Even with the six human souls in him, Asgore couldn't survive a direct hit from a Chara-empowered Frisk.