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May the bridges I burn light the way

Chapter Text

Shivers down his spine as he oversaw the horizon.  Two bloody hours of climbing up the Transantarctic Mountains, but the view was worth it.  He didn’t know how to feel, but he knew for sure that this was the highlight of his short indwelling on this Earth.  



The sun began to set, gently filling everything with shades of pink and orange, snow sparkled softly.  When climbing up the mountain, he couldn’t see the sky just grey ominous clouds and he cursed himself for ever signing up for this stupid idea, but clouds disappeared with the wind and the landscape changed drastically.  As the sun started slowly disappearing, he felt his muscles ache. Sudden pain reminded him that he was not alone and he snapped out of it.  



Phil looked at the man right next to him.  He was considerably younger and lankier with unnatural pink hair.  Phil agreed to travel to the Antarctic with him out of sheer curiosity.  Grossly underprepared they packed their things and ventured into the cold, Phil never planned to take part in whatever it was on this madman’s mind.  At least not until he saw the Antarctic and instantly fell in love.  Now standing there exhausted and starved he tried to interpret the expression on his partner’s face.  He failed.  Younger man just stood there with a stone-cold face eyeing up the extensive territory around them.  Even though they were both not prepared to climb a mountain and severely lacked the proper equipment to be conquering an entire continent his partner was prepared better for the harsh Antarctic climate than Phil was. His crimson robe was flailing in the wind covered in a thin layer of glittering snow.



“Aren’t you cold?”  Techno asked.  Phil shivered involuntarily but didn’t say anything back.  “Look around you, partner, this is the start to our Empire”

This time Phil simply nodded and rubbed his blistered hands together for warmth.  He smiled softly to himself.  He could make a home out of this one.




***



 Techno heard the kettle boil, and for the first time in his lifehe was glad that he packed a kettle of all things.  He wouldn’t mind a cup of coffee as he was falling fast asleep and the only thing he recalled from those survival TV shows is to not fall asleep when in extreme situations.

Phil was carefully pouring hot water into three cups as Techno observed him.  They discovered a few unexpected openings in the mountain and after ten minutes of arguing Phil has convinced Techno to go inside.  The inner part of the mountain was a web of narrow corridors and small rooms.  The floor went all the way to bedrock inevitably making the exploration even more dangerous.  Techno noted how his partner’s mouth opened and promptly shut with a quiet click.  This underground town was dimly lit with lanterns;  some greenery was visible here and there.  As Phil stepped onto the platform Techno discovered something that made his stomach turn.  He ran excitedly towards one of the abandoned rooms leaving Phil confused and panicked.  Loud thumps from Techno’s boots echoes from the exposed walls of the cavern, Phil yelled out a hurried “Wait! ”, that slowed the young man down.  He looked at Phil pointing to the room in the far left corner, Phil squinted and let out a surprised yelp.  The End portal frame was right in the middle of the small room.



Phil sat opposite to Techno, there was water dripping from blonde eyelashes and bristly hair that would occasionally land in his tea.  Techno drinking his coffee was more than content with what they had achieved today, he was tired and every single muscle in his body hurt, but he was happy.  He probably looked dumb smiling to himself because Phil let out a soft chuckle.  Techno looked at the unoccupied chair on the right side of the polished table and frowned.  



“What’s taking him so long?”  Techno asked, they received a call from Pete earlier, “I’m pretty certain he had a plane



“Give him a break;  he’s an old man  Phil answered lightly with a wide smile.  “He’ll be here in no time.”



As Phil finished his sentence, they heard distant thumps, Techno tensed up and put his hand on the handle of his sword.  Phil gave him a brief look and got up from his chair drawing an old dagger from his leather sheath.  As thumps got louder both men grew tenser. When the door slowly opened Techno was ready to slice the potential intruder in half, but he stopped abruptly and carefully lowered his sword.  The room had filled with Phil’s laughter, and Techno couldn’t help himself but laugh too.  Pete reminded him more of a baby bear than a human.  Pete looked confused but you could hardly comprehend what his expression was under a pair of thick protective glasses and two scarfs. He had two coats on, and fluffy pants tucked into a pair of heavy boots with spikes.  Looking at him, Techno wished they were as prepared as Pete was.



“Good evening, my friends!  I sincerely apologize for taking so long, my plane decided to act out a bit.  You know these planes. ” You could hardly make out what Pete was saying, words got lost in his two scarfs.  Phil came closer and untangled the scarfs, so you could see the older man’s lower half of the face.  “Much appreciated, mate,”  Pete said with a smirk.



Techno looked around the room and felt a spike of confidence. At the end of the day, he plays to win.



***



Making this place feel homely was a challenge.  Techno made a terrible mess out of the main room and bailed to go do something more exciting.  As Phil learned later this, “something exciting” was transporting a chicken across the Atlantic Ocean.  



After setting up a small farm and exploring the Stronghold further, Phil heard roars of engines outside, he hastily put on his light coat and hurried to the entrance of their secret cave.  There were two planes circling above their residence, Phil squinted at the sun as he tried determining who was in the second plane. One of them had Techno and Pete inside, the second one had people he was unacquainted with yet.  As planes landed, a woman jumped out of the second one while its engine was still working.  She didn’t have a coat on but didn’t look too bothered by it.  She crossed her hands across her chest looking quite annoyed, the pilot of her plane decided to stay inside and not get involved.  When Techno’s plane landed and both he and Pete got out Phil offered both a puzzled look.  Without a word Techno unlocked the trunk of his plane and got a chest plate and a helmet out, after a quick examination he threw them to the woman’s feet.  Looking somewhat pleased she gently picked the items up and got back into the plane.



“I hope we can forget about this misunderstanding and move on as allies,” the pilot of the second plane said looking at them with a crooked smile.  His passenger nodded in approval and waved her hand.  



“Farewell, Kara,” Techno said displeased with the turn of events.



Phil watched the plane fly away, still a little bit confused by what just happened.  He turned to see Pete and Techno when he heard clucking.  Techno carefully held a pretty fat chicken in his hands.



Hey, Phil, say “hi” to Alfred. He is our fir-” Techno was cut off by a rumble of a plane engine. Oh, who is it this time? ” he scuffed.



When the plane successfully landed a boy in a black suit jumped out.  Phil could tell that he was freezing.  All three Antarcticans watched him carefully, Techno clutched his sword and Phil had his hand on his sheath.  The boy didn’t look older than sixteen.  He had snow in his ruffled up curly blond hair and his red tie was waving like crazy in the wind.



“Greetings, gentlemen!  Great weather to do some business,”  the boy said with a self-assured grin,“  you can call me Tommy.



Phil had  hoped  for some  peace , but, oh well,  here   comes   trouble .

 

***

 

Tommy looked at himself in the mirror and fixed his tie. He stole the mirror from the Inquisition when negotiating with them, they still haven’t replied to his letter of allyship. Dang it. He’s been standing there for a good half an hour rethinking every single decision he’s made that led him up to this point. Tommy had a plan, he always did, it wasn’t very well thought out or realistic, but it was enough. When finished, Tommy looked up to a poster of a ram in a suit above his bed.

 

“I’ll make you proud” young businessman whispered and smiled to himself.

 

As he exited his small shack he took a deep breath of harsh northern air. Tommy still wasn’t sure if he was in southern Russia or North Korea, geography was never his forte. Young man looked at his watch, fixed his cuffs and got into his plane.

 

***

 

As he was getting closer to the Antarctic residence he started to feel the cold. Not the refreshing coolness of the air in Business Bay but harsh cold that pierces your skin and gets to your bones. Tommy realized he forgot his coat, he started descending.

 

As he got closer to the ground, he distinguished three men standing on the top of the mountain. He recognized Techno in one of them, he wasn’t as scary as everyone described him to Tommy. He wasn’t covered in blood and didn’t have heads of his deceased enemies on his belt, instead, he held a chicken. Tommy grinned, this will be a lot easier than he thought.

 

“Hello, gentlemen! Great weather to do some business,” he looked at them smiling “you can call me Tommy”.

 

“Hey there, young man. Can we help you with anything?” Pete asked lightheartedly. “You are not dressed for the weather”

 

Tommy smiled wider, but as he looked around his smile started to fade.

 

“Ey, ey, there, Mr. Blade, put that sword down,” young businessman made a few steps backwards “I’m here for peace talks, no need to be so hostile”

 

Phil relaxed, pulling his hand away from his dagger. Techno only hardened the grip on his sword and stepped forward, eyeing Tommy up. Both Phil and Tommy didn’t like where this was going.

 

“Calling me by my last name, huh?” he smiled, “What can you offer us?” Techno kept getting closer.

 

“Listen, man,” Tommy let out a nervous chuckle, “Let’s talk about it like civilized people, no need pointing swords at each other”

 

“I’ve had enough people try to infiltrate our base today. No way am I letting someone like you to enter”

 

They stared at each other for a little while, Techno raised his eyebrow and Tommy sighed. The younger man was getting back into his plane when he turned around and said:

 

“Your loss, Mr. Blade. See you around”

 

Techno scuffed.

 

Chapter Text

Morning sun was shining through the holes in the curtains.  He heard his dog barking outside.  Realistically, he shouldn’t have constructed his “house” in the middle of a forest.  Constant sounds of insects and water hitting rocks messed with his sleeping schedule.  

Wilbur rolled out of his lovely bed almost tripping over a few flower pots, somehow he didn’t fall through his mine opening that he forgot to close yesterday.  The manchild bumped his elbows a few times when putting on his yellow sweatshirt.  Stepping out onto the wet grass, Wilbur looked around disappointed.  His mushroom patch looked empty.  

“I guess I’m on a diet now,”  Wilbur said placidly.  

He headed towards the beach.  Pee dog was circling the man and wagging its tail.  Stopping where the water could almost touch his feet, Wilbur looked at his reflection.  He didn’t know what to do.

It’s been two months ever since they all arrived and he could already smell the blood in the air.  Naturally, his dumb ass had to get involved.  Cumin squad, Antarctic Empire, The bridge.  He gained hardly anything from all these shenanigans.  He knew what was coming.  War.

Wilbur wasn’t meant for it;  he was an observer.  He didn’t want blood to spill, and he didn’t want people to die.  He didn’t want to get involved.

Seafoam washed his reflection away, and he looked back at his shack.  If war was coming, he should be prepared.  

***

From the very start, Techno knew he wouldn't get away with this.  To set the record straight, he didn’t expect his plan to work at all.  That wasn’t going to stop him, though.  Phil, on the other hand, could.

“Listen to yourself” Phil rubbed his eyes in frustration, “I…  There is no way this will work, we’re setting ourselves up for failure

“Phil,  man hear  me out” the  younger man  was  circling  the  room.  “We’ll be fast, they won’t be  able  to  react .  The next thing they know, we own the world” Techno clenched his fist as he finished his sentence.

Techno , you can’t  just  ignore the  consequences  of  intruding  the  borders  of  dozens  of  countries.” Phil  got up from his  chair  to  stand  in  front  of  Techno  blocking his  way.  “We  have like , three  allies .  What will we do if war breaks out?

“We slaughter them?”

Techno could see the frustration in Phil’s eyes, and he almost felt bad.  He wished for Pete to be there, he would support Techno’s great world domination plan.  Phil raised his hands in “I give up” motion and stared blankly at the stone wall.

“C’mon, it’ll be funny,” Techno said awkwardly.

Phil chuckled, of course, he was in.  This man is insufferable.

***

Indeed, it was fun while it lasted.  Seeing an entire Earth light up in green showing that they own it, was one of the most thrilling things Phil has ever experienced.  

“It’s Black Friday sale on the Earth, and it’s a hundred percent off.  Add to cart” Techno said confidently while Pete was screaming through the transceiver.

They looked at each other with wide grins.  That’s when the messages started to go through.  Phil gulped.

***

No. Nonononono.  It can’t be.  Wilbur kept on refreshing the map on his datapad.  They wouldn’t do this.  They had an agreement.  What is he going to do now?  His island, his country, his baby was owned by the Antarctic, so was the rest of the world.  How did they do it?  How is he going to fix this?

Wilbur started to frantically send out messages, forget about diplomacy.  It was an international fucking threat.  People were enraged.

To prevent a bloodbath Wilbur decided to have a court session.  He hurried to France, sending out more messages along the way.  The Antarcticans didn’t respond at first, but they knew it was in their best interest to show up.

Wilbur has set up a makeshift courtroom.  As people started coming in, he was getting angrier and angrier.  How dare they?  Who do they think they are?  It’s time to put an end to the Antarctic Empire.  

He recognized them from far away, Pete wasn’t with them.  When Techno and Phil have finally arrived they were jumped on by four different people and handcuffed.  Wilbur instructed them to have a seat on three chairs before the tribune.  He could hardly hear himself due to the booing of the jury.  Wilbur raised his hand, demanding silence.  

“I assume you know why you are here”, the “judge” looked at them coldly, “you have infringed on our freedom and international safety.”

Wilbur carefully examined the faces of two criminals.  While Phil was clearly uncomfortable, Techno was grinning.  Wilbur felt like an idiot, he was stabbed in the back and couldn’t do anything about it.  Will opened his mouth to resume his speech but was interrupted by the rumble of a plane motor.  Pete was dressed for the occasion, Wilbur wondered if this was his first time in court.

“Good morning  gentlemen , I  apologize  for  the  inconvenience”  Pete  looked around and sat down on the third  chair , next to Phil, “please continue with this mock trial.”

Wellthank you very much, Pete”, Wilbur grew more and more annoyed, “as you all have probably noticed Antarctica has quite lot of land.  Even though there are no rules against it, I could call it a war crime.  What do you have to say for yourself? ” 

“I would like to start, your honour.”  Techno stood up from his chair, “As you have previously mentioned we didn’t break any rules, therefore we are not criminals and can’t be punished. ” He sat back down with a self-assured smile.

Thank you very much for such short testimony,” Wilbur clenched his fists under the tribune, “treacherous pig.”

He heard a few surprised yelps and quiet chuckles.  Techno’s eyes widened, and he raised an eyebrow at Wilbur.  Maybe he shouldn’t have said that.  Phil started his testimony.

***

Techno knew that with the power that Wilbur gave himself they probably won’t win the trial.  They needed allies in the jury.  One problem, he knew only one person there.  Tommy.  

Techno heard snippets of Phil’s speech as he was unlocking his datapad and searching for Tommy’s contact there.  He made short eye contact with him and typed out his message.  

Technoblade whispers:  You back me up;  I pay you.  Deal?
Tommyinnit whisper:  hohoh, hold ur horses there, mr.  blade.  how much?  
Technoblade whispers:  How much do you want?
Tommyinnit whispers:  give me phil and pete, and we have a deal.  what do u think?
Tommyinnit whispers:  ????
Tommyinnit whispers:  blade???

Techno turned off his datapad with a sigh and offered Tommy a disappointed look.  Great, they are by themselves.  

Phil concluded his speech and Pete has restated what both of them have already said.  Techno gave both a reassuring look.  

“I heard all three of your  testimonies  and  made  some  decisions” Wilbur  pulled out a  piece  of  paper , “Antarctic Empire must  disband  their  faction  and never  again   form  a  faction  together.  Phil and Pete must distance themselves from Technoblade, who is now deemed as a war criminal and is not allowed to own any land for the next eight months.  Those who agree, please, raise your hand.

Techno’s heart dropped as he watched every single member of the jury raise their hand.  This will not end like this.  

Listen, Wilbur, you can say and do whatever you want, but you won’t separate us.  We are brothers forged in blood.  We’ve gone through everything together and this mock trial won’t change that. ” He looked Wilbur straight in the eyes.

“We won’t disband our faction.  I’m not a traitor. ” Phil crossed his arms.

Wilbur looked at Pete waiting for a comment.

“I’m proud to call these men my brothers, and I refuse to play along with this witch trial,” he raised his finger as if he was waiting for something to happen, “I can smell the envy and jealousy emitting from the jury.  Techno won, no haters, please.

Wilbur sighed.  They will be here for quite some time.

***

After two tedious hours of back and forth arguing, they came to a conclusion.  Phil could tell that most of the jury and Wilbur weren’t happy with how it turned out.  Techno unclaimed The Earth and people started to leave Brittany.  Phil was relieved.

Techno and Phil were flying past Australia.  The wind almost blew Phil’s hat away.

You know Tommy tried to engage in human trafficking,” Techno yelled but Phil could barely hear him, “he wanted me to sell you and Pete to him.”

The older man laughed.  Did he try to buy him during a court session?

“I think he’s fishy.  What does this child want from us? ” Techno started to descend.  

They weren’t in the mainland Antarctica.  The grass was too green, and the air wasn’t as harsh.  Phil sat down on the stone monument and took off his hat.  He is in too deep this time.

Chapter Text

Tommy could say everything was going pretty well. Yes, a skirmish with San Diego, but who cares? He secured an influential alliance and did some business. He was so close to greatness he could hear it call his name. The only thing on his way now was the Antarctic. Now when he knew there was no use trying to befriend them, Tommy wanted to gradually disassemble them. They outnumbered him and they weren’t afraid of conflict. Actually, Tommy knew they craved it. He's not crazy, he didn’t intend to start a war. It was a simple mercenary job. Go in, kill, get out. Simple, he couldn’t fuck this up if he tried. Or so he thought.

Stuffing a bag full of weapons into the trunk of his plane he kept repeating his plan like a mantra. Go in, kill, get out.

Tommy would never admit it, but he was scared. He was waiting on the bridge when he saw Phil fly past him.

“Here goes nothing” Tommy muttered, preparing himself for another win.

He heard his motor rumble and felt the plane slowly lifting up. Halfway into the chase, the young man began to doubt his plan. Is he actually going to risk his life for some cash? Tommy knew it wasn’t just money, he wanted the Antarctic to fear him, to take him seriously. He worked his ass off to be where he is now and he will not let some pig humiliate him.

Phil’s plane was three times faster than his. He could catch up to him on the turns, but it wasn’t enough. As they were getting closer to the new Antarctic base, Tommy realised that his chances of coming out on top were getting slim. He’ll have to make a landing on a narrow bridge if he didn’t want to be turned into mashed potatoes under the dome of the “New Taj Mahal”. He didn’t think twice when descending, almost crashing at 70 km/h. The landing was rough,Tommy’s plane crashed destroying the bridge it landed on. The plane was balancing on the steel rails, dipping its nose into the cold arctic water.

In a panic, Tommy took his hands off the wheel and stared in fear into the deep blue ocean. He heard far away voices and looked around assessing the situation.

“Oh, for goodness sake” his plane was a wreck.

Tommy hurriedly got out of his plane almost making it lose its balance. He tore his jacket in the process. The young man unlocked the trunk of the plane and toxic black smoke filled his lungs. Coughing, Tommy unzipped the bag full of weapons and loaded his gun. He listened closely to steps or voices, but the ringing in his ears didn’t help much. He hid behind the scraps of metal and stone, trying to clear his lungs.

Well, wasn’t all that a shit idea.

***

Doors opened with a loud thump. Techno was just finishing with putting up the fourth portrait of himself, and Pete was washing the tall glass windows. They both looked rather startled when Phil stormed in talking about some sort of “invasion”. The blonde hurriedly explained what happened and as soon as he finished they all heard a loud crashing noise coming from the outside.

Techno was sick and tired of that child ruining his plans. He tried to human traffic his acquaintances, tried to kill him multiple times and snuck into his base twice. Techno was done, this assassination attempt will be the last thing he’ll tolerate.

“This is the last straw.” with that all three of them stepped outside.

It would have been a great day if not for Tommy. The construction of the palace was going well, they were getting richer with each passing day. Techno almost forgot that half of the people on Earth declared him a war criminal. Not that he cared of course.

Pete first pointed out the stack of black smoke coming from behind the trees. At first, they thought that Tommy set their forest on fire, but as they got closer they recognised the toxic smell of burning fuel and metal. Pete and Phil pulled out their swords, Pete was staying deathly quiet as he got closer to the bridge.

“Tommy, we know you’re here.” Phil started coughing as soon as he finished the sentence.

“Hey guys, I’m here just for Phil. We should all just calm down, I’ll do my thing and we…” Tommy was interrupted by an arrow in his shoulder, he screamed from shock and pain.

“Did you really think this will work?” Techno asked with a freshly loaded arbalest in his hands.

“Well… yeah?” Tommy said breathing heavily, trying not to scream from pain.

Phil was not expecting the shot. He knew Techno had little to no morals but shooting without a warning is just a dick move. After getting to know Techno Phil felt bad about judging him too early on, calling him insane and all this, he really did change his opinion on his new friend. He was tempted to take it back.

“Listen, mate, we have some bandages over there in our base. So if you promise not to act out I could…” Phil was abruptly cut off by Techno.

“He is not to be seen two kilometers from the palace” younger man looked at Tommy and then at Phil.

“Techno, I get it, but he will bleed out in a few hours. He won’t make it home in time.” Phil gave Tommy a concerned look, the boy was losing blood rapidly. “And you know how painful it is to respawn” older man added quietly, and Techno flinched.

“You can use one of the healing potions on him, but bring it here,” Techno said watching Tommy’s torment with a brooding expression on his face. Maybe he did go too far. “Please, hurry”

Phil gave him a quick nod and ran back to the base. Techno got closer to Tommy to try and examine the wound. Shit. He really did mess up. Techno knew it was stupid and irresponsible to shoot someone just to try out a new weapon, but he couldn’t help himself. One in a lifetime opportunity. He dropped his arbalest to sink into the snow and sat down before Tommy confused on what to do. There was a metal scrap acting as a wall between the two and Tommy was leaning against it. Techno was so focused on the blood dripping down Tommy’s left arm, he didn’t notice a pistol staring right in the middle of his face. Both men stood up and smiled at each other.

“Well played” Techno looked too satisfied for a person who can get a bullet in the face at any point in this conversation. He made two steps back.

“It hurts quite a bit not gonna lie” there was a long pause as Tommy adjusted a grip on his pistol and closed his eyes breathing out loudly. He forced out an even wider grin and looked Techno dead in the eyes “If you’re still interested of course”.

“I am impressed by…” Techno was cut off by a shot from Tommy’s pistol, it missed entirely but disorientated Techno and Pete for a few seconds.

The next thing they saw was Tommy riding into the sunset on a minecart and flipping them off.

 

***

He must admit that was kind of epic of him. He wasn’t going to actually shoot Technoblade himself. Who knows what he’ll do after the recovery. Probably kill him a few times. Tommy absolutely hated the few days you have to spend resting in bed after the respawn, but it’s still better than actually dying of course.

His left shoulder was in agony, Tommy looked at his wound too scared to touch it. He knew he shouldn’t take the arrow out or he’ll bleed to death long before getting home. Tommy noticed that the arrow had Antarctic Empire initials in four different places, what a bunch of narcissistic pricks he thought. The best possible decision would be to look away until he gets to Australia where he can actually heal himself, lick his wounds per se.

Ignoring the pain Tommy smiled and stretched his legs as far as the minecart let him. He was incredibly proud of himself, for a moment there he thought he was a deadman, but look at him now. Look at him. Too deep into his thoughts Tommy didn’t notice a sharp turn, minecart went off the rails and he ended up on the coast of South Australia.

 

***
Tommy came back to Business Bay two days later, hungry, tired and still in pain. He looked in the mirror and grimaced, in the mirror, Tommy noticed a ram poster hanging by the bed, just like he left him there three days ago. He let out an exasperated sigh. The young man flopped onto the bed looking up at the poster. He fell asleep shortly after.

Tommy woke up to a bird knocking at his window. He groaned, but still got up and let the bird in. A pigeon sat down on his bedside table and waited patiently. It flew away as soon as Tommy freed it from the small letter it delivered.

“Dear Tommy
You have damaged the Antarctic Empire bridge. This will not be taken lightly, as it is an act of terrorism. As your friend and a prominent political figure, I strongly advise you to come and repair it. Consequences will follow.

-Wilbur and The Antarctic Empire”

“Wilbur, huh” Tommy read the letter twice before making his final decision.

He ripped the letter apart with a smile.