“Tubbo!” Tommy watches with wide eyes when Techno fires the rocket. It’s horrifyingly slow, watching the pig-hybrid’s finger curl around the trigger and send the projectile straight into the waist of his best friend. Tommy’s mouth opens in a reflexive cry, screaming Tubbo’s name as he witnesses the explosion of colorful sparks burst from the box, like a sick sort of celebration. Schlatt, meanwhile, is grinning in delight, malicious glee oozing from his words as he praises Techno. Tommy doesn’t think twice before he’s pulling out his sword, hands latching onto the edge of their hiding space.
Wilbur reaches out, “Tommy, don’t-” but Tommy doesn’t listen. He launches himself down from the roof, landing on the hard ground and scrabbling to his feet to race towards the stands, where Tubbo had been imprisoned and murdered. It doesn’t even register in his mind that Techno has twisted to shoot into the crowds, that this horrid, shitty festival has devolved into chaos. The only thing he focuses on is the box, where Tubbo lays probably bleeding and alone and scared . Wilbur shouts at him that it’s too late, that they should run, but he ignores his older brother’s yells and scrambles up onto the platform. He tears the fence away with his axe, opening up the makeshift prison enough to grasp the limp hand of his best friend.
“Tommy?” Tubbo whispers weakly. The blond bites back the painful gasp that threatens to rip out of his throat when he sees the sickening amount of blood coming from the wound. He reaches out, pulling the shorter boy out of the godforsaken prison and into his arms.
“I’m here, big man.” Tommy sits on the ground, letting the brunette rest in his lap. He ignores the sticky blood that is beginning to coat his hand as he presses it into the wound in an effort to slow the bleeding. He ignores the explosions and screams below. He ignores the rapid rise and fall of Tubbo’s chest. He ignores the sobbing voice in his head that screams that Tubbo is dying, that there’s too much blood flowing too quickly for him to do anything. He ignores it all and focuses on giving a reassuring smile to his best friend. “You’re gonna be okay.”
Tubbo is crying. Salty wet tears are streaking down his cheeks, mixing with the warm blood that pours from a wound in his head. Tommy’s chest tightens painfully, his throat closing up as fear curls it’s ugly hand around his neck. “Tommy,” he rasps, voice cracking, “I thought he wouldn’t hurt me?”
“I know,” Tommy mutters brokenly, closing his eyes. “I know. I’m sorry. Techno is a fucking traitor. But it’s okay. We’re gonna get out of here. You and me, big man.” He swallows back the lump in his throat, wincing a little when he presses harder against Tubbo’s midsection and the boy whimpers in response to the pressure. Tubbo looks at him like he knows Tommy’s lying. He always knows when Tommy’s lying. Tubbo has always been too good at reading people. He knows he’s dying and he knows he won’t make it out. The blond inhales shakily, his fingers trembling as he brushes a stray strand of brown hair out of younger's face. He doesn’t know what to do. He has nothing. Only his sword, a few pieces of food on him, nothing that could be used to help Tubbo. Nothing. He pushes back the sparks of anger—anger at himself for being so useless. Anger wouldn’t help Tubbo. Anger is not useful. He needs to be calm and think.
There’s a shout from behind, a familiar voice that belongs to someone he’d rather not see right now. “Tommy!”
He doesn’t look, even as he hears the thudding footsteps approach and feels the powerful presence behind him. Tubbo’s eyes flutter open and closed as he breathes shallowly, head lolling uselessly to the side. A shadow looms over them. “Tommy.”
“Go away.” Tommy snaps in response, hands curling tighter around Tubbo’s shoulder. “This is your fucking fault.” He hates the way he knows it’s not. He hates the way he knows he’s just blindly shoving blame onto anyone he can find. He hates the way his voice cracks, grief so evident in his words, and he hates the way Dream’s voice turns soft when he hears it. He can see the shadow recede as the older crouches beside the two, face unreadable behind that stupid white mask he wears all the time. Tubbo’s fast breaths ring loud in his ears, like nails scraping on a chalkboard, and Tommy wishes for a moment that everyone would just go away and die. But the reason in his head screams that no, he can’t go down the same path of insanity as Wilbur, and so he balls up those thoughts and buries them into the deepest pits of his mind so he could hopefully never think such terrible things again.
“I didn’t want this.”
“Go to hell.”
“I can help.”
Tommy stills at that, blue eyes darting to glance at the masked man. “What?” He whispers hoarsely, not wanting to let himself hope for even a second. He remembers now just how powerful Dream is. Just how many people he has wrapped tight around his finger. How had he ever forgotten? Tommy exhales shakily. He’s willing to do anything at this point, even if that meant getting help from Dream, of all people. Tubbo doesn’t deserve to die this way.
Dream nods solemnly, one hand gesturing towards Tubbo. “I can help, Tommy. But it’s going to cost something.”
Tommy takes a deep breath, not even hesitating for a second before nodding. It’s a simple decision really, and he doesn’t even need to think about it. “Do it.” He says without a hint of uncertainty. Dream makes a noise in the back of his throat that sounds amused, or maybe even pleased at the answer. He isn’t too fazed by the reaction, as it’s been fairly obvious to Tommy that there’s something inherently wrong about Dream. Dream is far from human, he knows that much. It’s clear. His luck is far too good to be normal, his reaction time quicker than even Technoblade, his physical and regenerative abilities blatantly unnatural even despite the masked man’s efforts to hide it. Tommy is not stupid. He knows that Dream is a force to be reckoned with. And Tommy also knows that the price for this—bringing someone back from the brink of death—is going to be great. A few years off his lifespan, maybe. A favor for the terrifying, supernatural entity that is Dream. He doesn’t care either way. Tubbo is not going to die here, and that’s all that matters.
What he doesn’t expect, however, is for Dream to bring two fingers to his forehead. Tommy feels the blackness seeping into his bones the second those digits make contact with his skin, confusion escaping him in the form of a ‘What?’ that Dream responds to with a cryptic hum. He feels the strength leave his muscles against his will, collapsing to the floor as he watches through half lidded eyes as Dream bends over Tubbo. He fights the sleepiness for as long as he can, even if he knows it’s futile, and can only hope that Dream keeps his word.
He hears Tubbo’s slurred mumble of ‘Dream?’ just before his vision goes black.
Tommy wakes up in Pogtopia.
The first thing he wonders is why he’s not in his L’manberg room. Then he sits up, takes one look at the tattered flag pinned carefully to his wall, and everything comes crashing back into him in a wave of ice cold realization. This is Pogtopia. They are exiled.
The festival is the second thing to come to mind, blurred memories of betrayal and grief surfacing in his mind, and following closely after are— Tubbo. Tommy gasps, scrambles out of his bed—nearly tripping over his blankets in the process—and throws the door open. Wilbur gives him a wave when he exits, looking far too nonchalant for someone who was about to blow up L’manberg a short while ago.
“Tommy, you’re awake!” He exclaims, grinning at his younger brother. Wilbur approaches and pats the younger on the head, “It’s been a full day since the festival.”
Tommy scowls, shrugging off the heavy hand, “Where’s Tubbo?”
The brunette shrugs, waving around carelessly. “Somewhere around.” Tommy buries the disgust that threatens to surface at his leader’s casualness. Tubbo almost died, everyone almost died and yet Wilbur is here acting like they’ve got everything they’ve ever wanted. It’s aggravating, but he knows that voicing his thoughts will bring no rewards. So instead he pushes forward, past Wilbur, making his way outside and ignoring the stray pebbles that stab at his feet.
Niki is outside when Tommy moves the large boulder blocking the entrance. She’s bent over something—a flower, he realizes after a moment—and turns towards him when he steps out. The blonde looks surprised at first, clearly caught offguard by the sudden presence, then recognizes just who has appeared. A smile blooms on her face then and she rushes towards him with outstretched arms.
Tommy welcomes the hug, letting Niki wrap her arms around his neck with a shout of ‘Tommy!’ that makes him smile just a tiny bit. They stay like that for a short moment until Niki pulls away, blinking away tears that have begun to bead at the corner of her eyes. “I was so worried.”
“Sorry.” he says, looking around. There’s no sign of his friend anywhere. He must be further away. “Where’s Tubbo?”
“Tubbo? He’s by the river…” Niki gestures to the right. Immediately, Tommy nods and starts in that direction. She looks concerned. “But, Tommy, I don’t think you should-“
He’s going. Her warning doesn’t even register in his brain, already too concerned with getting to his best friend to make sure he’s okay. The grass is soft against his feet as he walks. Tommy can hear the river nearby. It’s not far, and he doesn’t walk too long before he sees the flash of blue in the corner of his vision.
Tommy grins triumphantly to himself, beelining towards that blue. It doesn’t take long before he spots Tubbo, sitting against a small tree and picking at the flowers. As always, there are a few bees surrounding him. What he notices, however, is how Tubbo looks as if the festival never happened. No injury is blatantly present on his figure. Tommy jogs up, trying to stifle the raw happiness pooling in his gut. Tubbo is okay. He’s not dead, and he’s completely uninjured.
“Tubbo!” He shouts, prompting the younger to turn his head towards him with wide blue eyes. “I found you!”
“Hello!” Tubbo chirps. Tommy stops, frowning a bit at the look the brunette gives him. He’s looking at him differently. Usually, Tubbo looks at him in a way that says he knows Tommy is his best friend, that says he loves Tommy just as much as Tommy loves Tubbo. But Tommy doesn’t get that same gaze. Instead, in place of it is something foreign, a look that someone would give to a stranger. He looks at Tommy like he isn’t his best friend. It doesn’t make sense. And then he remembers. The deal. The wish, as Dream likes to call them.
Tommy’s blood runs cold.
“Tubbo?” He asks slowly, trying to keep the raw fear out of his voice. Tubbo looks at him, eyebrows lowering in concern at the expression on the blond’s face. He denies it at first. There’s no way—out of all the things Dream could take, it would be that? No. But no matter what he says, the longer he stares at the look on Tubbo’s face, void of any recognition, the more it makes sense. Tommy swallows back the anguish that rises in his chest like boiling water, forcing his heavy tongue to form the words he wants—needs—to say. “Tubbo, do you know who I am?”
Tubbo shifts, eyes darting away. He laughs a little, nervousness evident in his tone. “Um, am I...am I supposed to?”