It’s just rained, earlier on in the morning, but the water is still on the ground.
The grass under his feet is soft and wet, making him slip more than once as he walks around barefoot with Tommy, who’s trailing after him and loudly cursing the very existence of wet grass. His friend’s smile is as bright as his feet are wet, despite how much he’s been saying he hates it; that’s just how Tommy is though, sometimes- putting up a front of anger when he doesn’t want to seem childish for enjoying something. It’s the kind of thing he used to do before, and Tubbo hates that every little moment like this feels like both something lost and forgiveness. He also hates that he can’t have moments like these without the constant fear of being watched, of someone tearing up every moment like this in front of him like Dream had done with the afternoon spent in the boat.
Tubbo’s been back for two days, but he doesn’t feel safe here. The walls of L’Manburg stand tall and proud just a few feet away from them, close to casting them in shadow as they get closer to them and offering all the protection that they can give. For some reason, he can’t get the thought that the DreamSMP threatened to void everyone within their walls- that they certainly have the power to do so. Walls aren't going to save them, if the time comes for Dream to make good on his threats.
Tommy takes a step, slips, and goes down hard while still holding his hand. Tubbo is dragged down as well, landing next to his cursing friend next to the shadow of their best defense. And he laughs like he’s supposed to, dissolving into giggles that immediately get drowned out by Tommy’s cackling curses, but that he knows the other teen can hear. Tubbo smiles widely, and spreads his free arm out to the side. His fingertips touch the cold shadows from the wall, and some of the joy leaves him at the feeling.
Tubbo curls them into his palm and allows himself to be pulled back in by Tommy's voice again.
It’s just Tommy and him right now, just as it’s been only Tommy and him for the past few hours, and the entirety of the day before.
Everyone else is busy planning for the war, which is supposed to be over. They lost- Tubbo gave away the discs, and there’s nothing to fight over now. The war is over-
But it’s not, as well.
(“Why’s the war still going on?” Tubbo asks as he and Eret walk through town in the direction of the mines. There's been a shortage of coal, lately, and they both happen to need some now, so they're going together.
The buddy system has been strictly enforced since he's gotten back.
“It’s changed direction,” Eret replies carefully, not giving Tubbo any other hints.
The quiet that’s been following him around plagues them for a few minutes before he can get up the courage to break it.
“What’s the war over now?” Tubbo asks as they reach their destination. The man pauses and looks down at him with a tight smile and ruffles his hair.
“Don’t worry about it.”
Tubbo gets something similar from everyone else, except for Technoblade, who just tells him to wait with an intimidatingly blank expression.)
Currently, Tubbo’s being kept from any discussions on the new war and its mysterious cause, even the small things like what supplies they need to gather to not get pummeled immediately. Not that Technoblade would let that happen; Tubbo hasn’t known the man for long, but he’s very intimidated by him and avoids him sometimes, even though he’s the only one who’s even implied that Tubbo’s got a place in the war. He just doesn’t seem like the type of person that loses, and Tubbo’s ridiculously happy that he’s on their side.
Honestly, he wishes that he could help them out more, but he’s been shoo’d away a lot recently- pretty much any time he tries to get his foot in the door with it. Wilbur has told him in no uncertain terms that Tubbo’s done enough, and that he should get to be a kid like he was before. He appreciates the thought, really, but it still puts him on edge when Technoblade and Phil leave the meetings with thunder in their expressions and gritted teeth, which is reflected in everyone else to a smaller extent. Tubbo always watches them leave the building, keeping quiet as a mouse while they walk with stiff shoulders.
He tries to convince himself that they aren't talking about him in those meetings, but he's sure that they are.
They always look at him, like they’re searching for something, and Tommy always finds him soon after and leads him away with a loud yell about something or other. Tubbo always feels their eyes on his back as he’s led away; his shoulders curl with the weight of the guilt, even as he tries to listen to his friend. It’s hard to go be carefree when everyone watches you like a hawk; it makes him feel like they haven’t forgiven him at all.
(He’s not sure how to act around Technoblade and Phil, who probably aren’t here for him anyway. They’re here for something different, no matter what Tommy said, they have to be. The two don’t even know Tubbo, and he can only assume that Wilbur’s been recruiting just for the intimidation that additional numbers have again.
Sometimes, he sees their faces and wonders what they’ve been told about him and what he did.
No, he thinks as he watches the two talk, they can't possibly be here because of him.)
Besides, Tubbo can’t remember how to be who he was before this whole mess- none of them can, really. It’s sad, but the war gives him a purpose that he didn’t have before, and he knows that it’s not just him who feels it. He can see it in Tommy’s prideful smiles that he gives when he's been especially clever with a plot, and in the work that everyone has done to build and maintain the land around them. It’s theirs, and only theirs, and that gives them something to fight for- something worth fighting for.
“Hey, Tubbo,” Tommy’s hand squeezes his and tugs him back to the present.
“Yeah?” he replies curiously, still a little caught up in his thoughts.
“You’re my best friend, you know,” his friend admits freely, like he doesn’t have every reason to just leave Tubbo here alone in the wet grass. It makes something in his heart simultaneously leap with joy and sink like a stone does through air. It’s not really different from before- Tubbo had never thought that his friend didn’t care for him, despite his sometimes rough words. But it still feels a little jarring. Tommy’s been much more affectionate, much closer, since Tubbo woke up- he can’t help but wonder why that is, even though he has a few ideas.
Tommy’s lonely, being the first. Tubbo sees it in the way that he sometimes goes quiet, like he’s forgotten that Tubbo’s back and able to listen to his every word again. It’s hard to see, when it happens, because Tommy was never meant to be quiet- even when they used to spy on Dream and his friends, they would both be choking back laughter and whispering what they could see, despite seeing the same exact thing. It often got them caught, but it was in a time where the worst thing they got from Dream and Sapnap and George was a playful eye-roll.
The second one is that Tommy’s scared, as ridiculous as it seems; his friend is more likely to curse someone out while they stab him than to cower from the blade. That's how it's been for as long as Tubbo can remember- but now he holds Tubbo’s hand like he’s going to disappear the second he lets go. The way that he’d cried over Tubbo in the meadow isn’t something that he likes to think about, and he’s sure that Tommy feels the same, so he never brings it up. But he makes sure to hold his friend’s hand tighter when he thinks Tommy needs it, and to follow him around even closer than he used to.
Tommy might be scared, and if he is, Tubbo’s right there with him.
“You’re mine too,” he hums quietly in response, staring up at the sky and trying to pretend like everything is fine.
The door to the meeting building, a new one built by Eret, is slammed open. Tubbo squeezes his eyes shut, but stays on the ground.
Things have certainly changed since Tubbo’s gotten back, and he can’t quite tell if that’s a good thing yet.
Tubbo sleeps in bed with Tommy most nights, curled into his best friend's arms as closely as possible and trying to shut out the guilt and fear that still linger. Even in the quiet warmth of Tommy’s bed, he’s scared beyond belief of staying here, of causing more trouble for all of his friends- but he’s too scared to go. He’s stuck, worried that Dream is going to come finish the job any second, and that he’s going to be dragging his friends down with him this time, but too scared to leave and have to face the man alone again.
L’Manburg is too quiet, now.
Sometimes, when the other thinks he’s asleep, he catches Tommy humming to himself to fill the silence that’s been ringing in everyone’s ears lately. L’Manburg is so much quieter without the discs that his friend had loved to play constantly, and the lack of noise grates on him like nothing else. The silence trails after them like a ghost, filling every room and haunting everyone in it.
Even though his friend claims it doesn’t bother him, that he’s just glad to have Tubbo back, the guilt stays.
(Maybe it’s because he’s fairly certain that his friend is lying to make him feel better; the whole war had nearly revolved around those discs, and Tommy had fought for the right to play his own music in peace. A right that Tubbo had taken away and traded right in front of his face.
Maybe it’s because he doesn’t ever want to hear those discs again, and he has a hard time feeling bad about their absence. Dream played them on loop so much that Tubbo can’t ever see himself being able to enjoy their music again. But this isn’t about him- this is about him losing something that Tommy loves, something that Tubbo gave up freely and now has to guilt himself into feeling bad about, which somehow makes the guilt even worse.
He feels bad that Tommy is hurting because of something he did, but he doesn’t want to undo it and have to listen to every painful scratch of the softly haunting notes.)
Eventually, the guilt of it pushes him from Tommy’s bed in the later hours of the night, and he goes to find his own bed to sleep in. It’s not hard to leave his friend’s arms- Tommy doesn’t try to keep him there this time, even when he’s asleep, and Tubbo takes that as it is and walks away.
He steps back into his own house for the first time in a while and his knees shake so hard he almost hits the ground before he even gets all the way through the door. Now, he thinks he gets why Tommy had been so insistent on Tubbo staying with him.
(“I’ll have to go back to my own bed eventually,” Tubbo points out as his friend shoves the blankets over and climbs onto the mattress. It’s perfect for one person, but two people is stretching it, even if they fit together like two puzzle pieces.
“Nonsense, we fit,” Tommy argues, something heavy in his eyes as he plasters on a smile.
“Not really,” Tubbo says as he eyes the small amount of space he’s left with once his friend has settled. Tommy looks down at it and then back up at him.
“Well, that’s because you’re a fat bitch.”
Tubbo climbs in when Tommy pats the space next to him. Minutes later, when he’s been still for a while and carefully controlling his breathing, Tommy pulls him closer and begins humming.
Tubbo dreads every night after that one, but he never fails to sleep in Tommy’s bed when his friend asks.)
His house, something that he’d built and lived in since the beginning, is in shambles around him, and it feels like the world is crumbling down around him all over again. It’s just a house, he thinks hysterically as he uses the wall to catch himself. His fingers catch on a gash in the wall, and he slams his eyes shut at the feeling of it. When he opens them again, they’re more adjusted to the dark than they were before, and he can see what’s become of his house even more clearly.
As he takes in the damage- the result of his betrayal and someone’s (Tommy, if he had to guess) hurt feelings, Tubbo can feel himself slowly shutting down the longer that he stares. Most of it is replaceable-
The chests are broken, lids missing from a few of them. The floor is scuffed, the walls slashed.
That’s all something that he can fix, and they never really mattered to him anyway, even though it hurts to see them in such a state.
It’s the elephant in the room that he can’t even look at directly, instead choosing to let his eyes catch on the pieces strewn about as his gaze follows the destruction to it’s heart.
His bed is demolished, the wood splintered and the mattress in tiny pieces all around the room.
Tubbo’s hands come up to cover his face and his shoulders shake, but he doesn’t allow himself to really cry about it. It’s fair that this happened, he thinks as he turns away from the torn apart bed. His eyes still catch bits of it across the room, and he has to shut them.
He can’t hold this against them, not when he’s the one who hurt them in the first place. Besides, this could have happened at any point- he’d have been more surprised if his house was fully intact, after what he’s done.
Some part of him wonders if anyone else knows, and what they think of it.
Another part just stares and considers how easy beds are to destroy.
There’s no one to see him as he wipes his eyes, grabs some old shears from one of his nearly broken chests, and sets off. The sun is just starting to rise, so he’ll need to be careful of monsters, but he’s got to get this done before everyone else is looking for him.
Tommy’s been called into the meetings as well, now, which leaves Tubbo as the only one out of the loop. He doesn’t mind as much as he probably should, but he doesn’t focus on that much.
Tubbo spends a lot of time doing his own thing now that Tommy’s busy with the war too.
His hands tug at the end of the hoe as he tries to yank it through the dry dirt; he probably could have waited longer to begin hoeing it, as the water hasn’t really had time to soak in, but there’s nothing else for him to do that wouldn’t involve going out of the room at the moment, and he’s too busy and nervous to even consider that an option.
No one has had a lot of options recently.
Tubbo forces the tool through the dirt again.
Everyone is uncharacteristically serious, and no one will tell him what they’re even fighting about this time. Sometimes, Tubbo wonders if they even know, or if they’re just so used to fighting that they wouldn’t know what to do without it- if no one has told him what they’re doing it for because they don’t have a goal this time.
Every time he sees them pile into the planning building, he wants to bang on the door and scream that they can’t have a war with nothing to fight for. He wants to yell that they lost the war, and that they should accept it and move on without any more fighting. His friends have become desperate for victory, he thinks, and it scares him. If they are, it’s his own fault, Tubbo reminds himself as he curls up tighter over the indoor garden he’s been trying to set up. He forces the hoe back through the dirt and its handle slams into his stomach when he pulls it back too roughly. He keeps going, planting the carrots and the wheat seeds and dusting bone meal over them in equal measure.
He’s the one who gave Dream the discs, and who lost them the war in the first place.
(And, despite what Wilbur said, Tubbo knows that Tommy was screaming for the discs. His friend has been different since he’s come back- a lot quieter and more serious than he should be and it’s all Tubbo’s fault.
Tommy loved those discs, and he hums their melodies to fill their silence.
This change, Tubbo notes whenever he hears it, is not for the best.)
Tubbo stands up slowly and peers down at the garden, considering how fast the wheat is growing versus the carrots. Only one of those can be readily eaten, and it’s not the one that’s growing as fast as it could. Carefully, he adds more bone meal to the garden and scrubs a miserable hand across his eyes as they grow hot with the beginnings of tears. His hands pick up the abandoned hoe by it’s splintering handle and hold it uncertainly.
God, he’ll never forgive himself if L'Manburg starts another war just because he was stupid enough to lose them the last one. He hopes that it’s not the reason he’s been kept from the planning; however, even if it is, he’s been working to do his own part.
If he can’t help them, maybe he can save them.
“Tubbo, what’s this?” Wilbur’s voice almost echoes in the silence of the room, sounding confused. Tubbo, who hadn’t even heard the older man come down the creaky wooden ladder, jumps like he’s been caught doing something he’s not supposed to. The hoe falls from his loosened grip and hits the ground with a clang, and he fumbles to recover it, just to have something to hold on to. The bone meal bag lays at his feet, an explosion of powder around it from where he'd dropped it earlier. His own eyes dart around, catching all of the details that his leader is surely seeing too.
The room, so far underground that the floor has bedrock in the lower parts of it, is made up of obsidian. It’s just like Tommy’s bunker, in a way, but much larger- less of a panic room and more of a self-sustaining underground house.
The walls are lined with beds, one for each member of L’Manburg and then some more, just in case something happens to the others. There’s a farm growing under glow stone lights, which Tubbo has discovered work as well as natural sunlight in the growing process.
Not knowing what to say, he tries to launch into an explanation without stuttering or crying- he fails miserably.
“I- I just- Dream, he- and I-”
Tubbo dissolves into tears, choking on his words too badly for them to mean anything. Wilbur stares at the room around him and something like a sad sort of understanding lights up in his eyes. Tubbo watches him take it in through vision blurred by tears, trying his best not to break down anymore than he already has.
Wilbur comes closer and holds him while he keeps trying to stutter out an explanation through his tears, running a hand down his back and humming soothingly.
“Thank you, Tubbo,” he whispers when Tubbo’s unable to even get a word out, “thank you.”
They go back up together, and Wilbur holds him close the entire way to Tommy’s house. His friend takes him in with a few worried glances, but immediately launches into comforting chatter that fills the silence in the same way that music used to.
The three people who he’d spent so much time with just a few days ago are just outside the walls, waiting for something in the same way that Tubbo has been waiting for them.
Unfortunately, Tubbo doesn’t realize this until he’s walking past the entrance, so lost in thought that he completely misses the very intimidating group until he hears the sound of someone shifting their weight in netherite armor. He startles badly, jumping like a coward and whirling towards the noise with his hands already coming up to wring together anxiously. His feet stumble over each other as he backs away quickly, despite knowing that they can’t come in without violating the treaty. They do a lot of things that they shouldn’t; a piece of paper isn’t going to stop them.
(“That isn’t in the treaty,” Wilbur argues with a scowl, staring Dream down.
The other man smiles before tossing a new piece of paper to the leader of L’Manburg.
“Then write it in.”)
As horrified as he is to see them, they seem almost pleased to see him. Dream stares at him from behind the mask, a pleasant smile on his lips as he opens his mouth.
And he stops, suddenly taking note of the way that Tubbo’s backed away at the sound of his name. He does his best not to shake as he’s examined by the three. They stare at each other, and Dream takes a step closer, toeing the line of the nation that Tubbo’s backed even further into.
“Tubbo,” he tries again with a frown. George and Sapnap are staring at him as well, though he doesn’t take the time to focus on it. Tubbo’s just about to back away some more, even if he knows it won’t save him, when they’re interrupted by the sound of a door slamming open a little ways away from where they’re standing.
Against his better judgement, Tubbo turns his back to Dream to see what’s happening.
Wilbur comes out of the planning building just then with a tight frown, sees the three just outside of the entrance, and calls something into the room. Immediately, the others are out and coming over, moving as one as they all come to defend him; Tommy carefully puts himself halfway between Tubbo and the DreamSMP, like it’s going to hide him from whatever’s happening. Tubbo's not going to say that he's never felt more useless, becasue he has, but the feeling in his chest isn't a positive one as he stares at his best friend's back.
The silence stretches between the two sides
Dream’s attention moves from him and rests on each of them in turn before it catches on Philza and Technoblade. His surprise is obvious in the way that he stiffens, but he doesn’t say anything else. His attention flits back to Tubbo, but he squeezes his eyes shut against it and shuffles away a little further. Dream considers him for a few more seconds, and then he finally turns away without saying anything else. Sapnap and George follow him, and L’Manburg watches them go.
“Did they come all the way over here just to flex on us?” Technoblade asks as he turns to Wilbur. The man doesn't respond, instead turning to look at Tubbo, obviously assessing him for any damage and seeming a little more relaxed when he doesn't see anything
“How do you know how far they came?” Phil asks with a raised eyebrow and a smile, like what’s just happened is something to be brushed off. His shoulders are rigid under his jacket, betraying his true feelings, but maybe that's just Tubbo being on edge.
“I took a walk through their empire earlier, as an intimidation tactic. It worked.”
Everyone snorts at that, still watching the backs of Dream and his friends as they walk away.
The second they’re out of sight, Tubbo buries his face into Tommy’s shirt and lets his friend hold him together as he begins to shatter apart once again.
The war isn’t over, but they’ve got more time now than they have in a very long time.
The pre-war silence, the calm before the storm, feels disruptive to witness.
He’s the one who gave Dream the discs, and who lost them the war. Tubbo never thought he'd have to feel the tensions of war rise again, not so soon.
Tubbo stands up slowly and peers down at the garden, which has been growing a lot faster recently. His eyes trail the thin stems of wheat as his mind wanders, still focused on the silence.
His friend had loved those discs, which are hard to come by and deadly to find. Tubbo’s eyes slowly land on his new bed, his respawn point, before he grabs a cheap sword.
Tubbo, an expert of sneaking around now, leaves the second everyone goes into their own houses for the night. Tommy had looked hurt when Tubbo had declined his offer to stay another night, but walked him to his own house anyway. The look on his face as Tubbo had touched the door was almost close to fear, before he’d seen the completely repaired house and looked away.
(“It’s alright Tommy,” Tubbo assures him. His friend wordlessly pulls him into a hug and shudders out a breath.
Now, it’s Tubbo’s turn to hold his friend- he’s certain that he doesn’t do it nearly as well as Tommy, but it has to count for something because his friend offers him a watery smile before he goes back to his own house.)
His feet slowly guide him past the entrance of L’Manburg and off of the only land he’s been on for nearly a week. Something in him screams to go back, saying that he’s not safe anymore, someone is going to kill him. Tubbo gives in only slightly, and goes the opposite direction from the meadow where the bees had lived. He’s got to go out and do this, he thinks as he creeps his way onto neutral ground, where anything can happen.
The only real way to make a disc is to have a skeleton kill a creeper, and L’Manburg is too lit up for those to come out. Besides, everyone would hear it anyway, and this is something that Tubbo’s going to do alone.
That doesn’t mean that isn’t scary, when he almost gets ripped apart by a hoard of undead right off the bat. Tubbo manages to scurry away and hide from them until they lose interest, but his heart pounds in his chest and he has to take a break before he’s even started his task.
It’s frustrating; he’s not a bad fighter, and he can do this alone- he’s fought plenty of monsters before.
Tubbo’s only nervous because of what happened the last time he was alone, and knowing it doesn't make it go away like it should. He can almost feel the eyes on his back as he catches his breath and sets out to find a creeper and a skeleton that he can lead to each other before either one manages to kill him and send him back to his bed. When he spots a few in the distance, his hands tighten on the handle of his sword.
Three hits with an iron one, and the skeleton can kill the creeper in one hit, and then a disc will drop and he can eventually get Tommy’s discs back to him, can stop the humming that his friend does when he doesn’t know Tubbo can hear him-
Keeping this in mind, Tubbo slashes his sword against the explosive mob three times before he gets the skeleton to shoot it. Then, he quickly takes the other monster down before it can get a clear shot at him, chopping it’s head clear off it’s bony neck. It takes a few moments of searching, but he eventually finds where the creeper died and wilts a little bit in disappointment.
It did drop a disc, but it’s not one of the ones he’s looking for. Still, his aching fingers pick it up carefully from the ground.
He gets three more discs just from that one night, and none of them are ones that will haunt him with their music.
Tubbo promises to himself that he’ll come back the next night and shoves the discs into an ender chest when he gets back.
The second night, Tubbo brings the ender chest with him and sets it on the ground in a safe area before he gets back to disc hunting.
He gets two more discs, but neither one is Cat or Mellohi. Still, he shoves them into the chest with the others and leaves it there in the plains for the next night.
He’s caught the third night, an arm coming around his thin waist and just picking him up and walking away. Tubbo’s immediate reaction is to struggle against the hold; this was something that he’s supposed to do alone, to make it up to his best friend and everyone else who’s ever lost something because of him. Tubbo was going to come back one night with both of the discs in hand and give them to his friend and make everything okay again-
His struggling gets harder when he realizes that he’s not being carried back in the direction that he’d come from earlier.
Tubbo goes from wiggling desperately to throwing elbows in seconds, trying his best to get loose with a renewed sense of fear and desperation. This isn’t anyone from L’Manburg, they would have said something, would have taken his hand and led him home and made sure everything was going to be okay-
His elbow hits the front of a netherite helmet hard, and he gasps with the sharp pain of it, but doesn’t stop fighting. The arm around his waist adjusts to pin his arms down to his side, and Tubbo is forced to resort to only kicking, which isn’t nearly as effective as being able to use his arms. His mind is going a mile a minute; Tubbo’s never been kidnapped before, and he’s not sure what he’s supposed to be doing aside from resisting. The arm around him is tight, and it's getting harder and harder to breathe; Tubbo can't be sure if those two things are directly related.
“Let me go- put me the fuck down, Sapnap-” he's gasping, like there's not enough air even though he knows that there is, and he' so horribly scared.
The pace that the man has set is unhurried, like he knows that there’s not a chance of someone coming for Tubbo no matter how loudly he screams or how hard he fights to get free. Like he knows that Tubbo’s alone tonight. Tubbo wouldn’t be surprised if the DreamSMP has been watching him every night before this one, waiting for the best time to strike and pull something like this. And how stupid was it that he’d left at night, all alone, when he’s been thinking that this could happen?
The fear makes him nauseous, but he doesn’t stop fighting.
His sword is little more than a sharp stick at this point, and it does nothing to the enchanted netherite armor of the person who’s carrying him. Still, Tubbo slams it as much as he’s able to with his arms pinned at the elbow. It doesn’t do much, and Sapnap only sighs a little bit at his attempts before he picks up the pace a little bit more. The night’s just started, and there isn’t enough monsters to really slow him down as he carries Tubbo past the threshold of the DreamSMP territory. He manages to hook his foot around and slam it into the back of Sapnap’s knee, which causes the man to stumble slightly before he sighs and swings Tubbo up and around into a bridal carry so that he can hold his legs still as well.
Tubbo finds it odd that the man hasn’t resorted to violence yet, hasn’t even threatened to hurt him.
He struggles harder when he’s carried even further into the land of the SMP, even though the chances of him getting free and getting away are so low that he’s more likely to find a pink sheep in the nether. Tubbo’s crying, and his hands can’t reach up high enough to wipe the tears away so they slide down his face unhindered, making him feel even more pathetic. The second that he sees the building he’d stayed in the last time he was here, Tubbo feels his eyes get hotter and he thrashes hard enough that Sapnap has to correct his balance fofore Tubbo knocks them both to the ground.
The others won’t even know he’s gone- they won’t have the time to. No one has the time for anything but war planning now, and Tubbo’s been on his own for a little longer than that. He’s been lonely in a group of people, left out and clueless and scared- no one will realize that he’s gone before at least noon, and no one will see that as an issue until he’s not back by sunset.
The DreamSMP has him, and no one will care to think of where he could be until almost a full day has passed. It’s up to Tubbo to get himself out of this one, and he can’t even get Sapnap to put him down, can't even stop gasping for the air around him. He kicks his feet as hard as he can, still fighting even though he knows there’s nothing he can really do. Tubbo fights and fights until his body hurts from fighting against solid netherite and until there’s nothing on his mind but getting free- getting home.
George shows up at some point, but Tubbo can’t really tell what he’s doing past all of his panicked tears and gasping and flailing. He’s not going to be able to get out of here before they kill him-
And now is a terrible time to realize that he’s been so busy disc farming that he’s not gotten to sleep in his new bed yet. Tommy’s bed is his own, and it only accepts one spawn set at a time- Tommy was the last one to sleep in it.
If Tubbo dies here, he goes into the void until Dream comes to get him- if he even comes for Tubbo at all. Distantly, as he hyperventilates in Sapnap’s arms, he wonders what L’Manburg would even trade to have him back- if they would trade for him at all. He wants to believe that they would, that they would give up almost anything like he would for them, but he can’t help but doubt it.
Even if they did, they don’t have anything that Dream wants anymore, and Tubbo’s only got himself to blame for it.
As if to mock him, Tubbo’s set down on a bed by Sapnap, who stays close and tries to make eye contact with him. Tubbo doesn’t let him, too busy being trapped in his head. It’s either the same bed that he’d slept in before, or they made a new one just for this; both scenarios end the same, and Tubbo curls into himself a little bit tighter. A heavy hand, still covered in netherite armor, rests on his shoulder in a touch that would have been comforting if he was home. Tubbo trembles under it but doesn’t try to shove it away, almost afraid of how the man would retaliate.
In just a few minutes. Tubbo’s gone from kicking and screaming to huddling in on himself, and the difference makes him feel apathetic. L’Manburg soldiers are supposed to be brave; Tommy wouldn’t be curled in a ball if he were here. No, his friend would be cussing and screaming until they gagged him, and even after that he’d keep doing it.
Tubbo's chest feels too tight to do much of anything, and he's begun holding his breath because he's scared of making too much noise in this small room.
His friend is brave, Tubbo decides as he rests his head on his knees and wraps his hands around his legs. Tommy is one of the bravest people he knows.
Sapnap, who’s leaned down to peek into his little ball, almost looks concerned for him; his eyebrows are furrowed, but his face has a grim smile on it, like he’s not sure what he’s supposed to be doing but he thinks a smile will help. It would have, before the war. Stubbornly avoiding meeting the man’s eyes, Tubbo presses his face deeper into his knees and doesn’t move. Sapnap’s hand slides off of his shoulder as he sighs, which Tubbo hears George echo from his position against the wall.
They want him to set his spawn here, he knows. If they can get him to do that, he’s never going to get out of here- not if all they have to do is kill him to get him back. Tubbo is fucked, and everyone here knows it.
“I’ll watch him,” George offers after a short silence.
“Guess I’ll go tell Dream then. Make sure he sleeps.”
“Obviously,” the man against the wall grumbles, not putting nearly as much energy into it as he usually does. Tubbo knows from experience that Sapnap and George can argue and bicker endlessly, and the lack of energy in this round is just another thing that’s changed.
The door opens, and one set of footsteps exits. Tubbo uncurls slightly now that Sapnap’s gone; he’d never spent much time with George, but he and Sapnap used to do a lot together. They’d been friends, before all of this, and it’s just another thing that’s changed.
Tubbo sucks in a low breath that doesn't give him enough air to stop the ache in his lungs, and the noise seems impossible loud.
“Go to bed,” George sighs quietly from the corner of the room, sounding tired despite being the one who volunteered to be put on watch. Tubbo, shaking too hard and unwilling to say anything anyway, shakes his head rapidly without ever lifting his head from his knees.
“You have to sleep, Tubbo-”
“Or- or what, you’ll kill me?” Tubbo cuts him off with a bitter mumble. It sounds breathy to his own ears, and the look that George gives him as he walks over tells him that the other man heard it too.
"Tubbo, you need to breathe."
He shakes his head jerkily, curling back into his ball so he doesn't have to look.
In retaliation, George places his palm on Tubbo’s forehead and gives it a push so forceful that his head slams into the wall behind him. The pain of it makes air rush into his lungs. He hits it so hard that his vision swims before George manually places Tubbo’s head on the pillow with a care that he’d lacked seconds earlier.
Despite his best efforts to stay awake, his head pounds something fierce, and the world goes dark.
Tubbo’s spawn is set back in the DreamSMP base again.