After such a soft and peaceful sleep Techno had managed to slump into the night before, voices silent and the warm little body in his arms comforting, the rude awakening of wailing was a shock to the system. His eyes flew open and focused unwillingly. His brain was running behind his ears as he tried to comprehend what this annoyingly loud alarm clock was, especially when it was still dark out. It wasn’t until a tiny fist grumpily punched his chest that he remembered that he wasn’t alone.
Memories of the previous night rushed to him.
The baby in question wasn’t very happy and Techno’s groggy mind needed a moment to think why. What were the three important things Phil had said again? Talking… diapers and food. She needed food and knowing his luck probably changed too. He groaned.
What did babies even eat? And how in the Nether did diapers work?
He groaned again, leaning back on the bed and closing his eyes for a moment. The sooner Phil could come and take him out of this nightmare the better. Maybe if he went back to sleep-
‘UP.’ The voices demanded before becoming more layered with ‘ feed her’ s and ‘ change her’ s along with the usual ‘ E ’s and ‘ Blood for the Blood God ’s. He hated when the voices were right.
(well, half right, and there were a small but concerning amount of voices saying to dropkick the crying baby-)
He sat up and sighed. It would be a long day.
“Come on! Open up!”
Athena kept her mouth stubbornly closed from where she rested on Techno’s lap, looking up at him with a- was that a glare ?? From a baby ??? He’d been trying to get her to eat for nearly ten minutes now. Phil had said soft food before, he softened his food, why wasn’t it working?!
“It’s mashed potatoes! Come on, Athena, everyone loves mashed potatoes. They’re very yummy- oh god, I’m using baby words now. I’m becoming Philza.” He groaned, his monotone voice returning as he ran a hand down his face. Athena continued to glare.
There was one thing he had yet to try though.
“Fine then… I guess I’ll just enjoy this incredible bowl of lukewarm mashed potatoes all by myself.” He took the bowl away from her reach and put a small spoonful into his mouth. Immediately she held her hands out and opened her mouth. He chuckled fondly despite the pain she’d been about it and spooned a small amount into her mouth too, watching as her face lit up and her mouth immediately opened for more. “Monkey see, monkey do.” He cooed. He supposed she had some survival instinct then. She ate the whole small bowl.
He stared at the naked baby laid out on the floor in front of him, keeping one hand on her to stop her rolling around and holding a clean bit of cloth with the other. His communicator was on the floor next to him as well, the device on speaker so he could hear the person on the other end. He’d managed to get the dirty diaper off with minimal issues.
(It seemed Athena also had an affinity for gold similar to him and his crown had caught her attention for the first time, so he’d given it to her and she was mostly just putting it in her mouth. It was probably bad for her, but little victories…)
“Phil, your instructions aren’t helping.”
“Would you rather I hang up?”
“No! I just…” He sighed, considering slamming his head against a wall and screaming. Why did this have to be so difficult?! It was a baby! “One more time?”
His father sighed on the other side of the communicator but repeated himself again, as patient as always. “You have to lift up her legs, put the cloth under her bottom vertically, split it through the legs, wrap it around her waist, and then either tie it in place or fasten it with a pin.”
There was a beat of silence.
“And you’re sure you can’t come to do it?”
“ Techno .”
“Alright, alright! I’m giving it a go… you don’t need to bring out the ‘Phil voice’.” He sighed. He would run a hand through his long hair in his stress if he had a spare hand to spare. He used the hand that was holding her to grab her ankles, lifting her gently and following Phil’s instructions the best that he could. Finally, he had something that could be considered a diaper and Athena didn’t even notice. She was still distracted by his gold crown.
“Oh thank Notch.”
“Did you do it?”
“I’m pretty sure it’ll stay on, so I’m going to say yes.” He took the crown from her slowly despite her whining and put it on his head. To avoid a crying fit, he swiftly moved to hold her against his chest. It seemed to work and he avoided a meltdown… for now anyway. Athena cooed and tried to eat his shirt instead. She’d just been fed, what was with babies and putting things in their mouths? “So… Are you busy?”
“I’m sorry, Techno, but when I said a couple of days I meant it.”
“I know but-”
“I’ll come up as soon as possible, huh? Trust me, if I could be there now I would. I remember you when you were that small, I remember all three of you. You were so cute. I would not miss this opportunity if I didn’t have to. To keep you safe and to keep Athena safe. Did you know they have bounties out for you?”
Techno scoffed in amusement, standing off of the floor whilst grabbing his communicator with his spare hand. He turned the speaker off and pressed it back to his ear. “Yeah yea, the butcher army, oh I’m practically shaking in my leather boots.”
“Techno, I’m serious. They’re serious-”
“And so am I! They couldn’t even track me, never mind kill me! Don’t worry about it, alright?”
“I’m still being careful… Especially now you have Athena.”
“I wouldn’t have her if you just came and picked her up!”
“Oh no, I’m going through a tunnel, gotta go bye! And go get my granddaughter dressed!”
“Phil-” That bastard hung up on him. He groaned and shoved his communicator into his pocket. He was so correcting him next time they called. He felt Athema shiver a little against his chest and he automatically moved to hold her tighter. But for now… he supposed Philza was half right.
His socks were huge on her! And his sleeping shirts were about twice her length, but it was better than nothing as he wrapped her up in that blanket she was found in too for extra warmth. He untied the red sash from around his waist before tying it around his torso. After testing how strong it was, he carefully settled Athena into it, making sure she wouldn’t fall out. There. That way he had both of his arms free and she could be soothed by listening to his chest.
He fastened his robe over the top of her too before pulling open the door and stepping outside. Another clear day, that was lucky. Even with all of the layers he really wanted to keep her warm, especially since she felt the cold so easily.
Techno had a pouch full of emeralds and made his way towards the village nearest to him. Usually, he went to the one across the flat, since he’d established his trading roots there first, though not only was it a longer walk by a couple of minutes but there were so many hidden holes covered by snow he’d fallen in countless times too. Yes, no, it would be safer to make his way to the village by the left of his cabin. Yes. And then he could get back sooner if she got too cold.
He considered taking Carl so it would be even faster, but… what if the sling wasn’t as tight as he thought it was and she slipped out? What would Phil think if he dropped her off of a horse?
He shook the thought out of his head and marched off through the snow, boots crunching on the untouched old snow as he did so. It wasn’t as deep as was before, the snow having melted a little in the bright sun. So bright against the white in fact that Techno had to squint and raise a hand to cover his eyes. He made sure his cloak blocked the glare from Athena’s eyes despite the fact her face was pressed against his chest.
He couldn’t risk any more crying. He sighed when he finally got under the tree line and the village soon after, watching the villagers go around their business. It was still early, though considering when he woke up he’d taken a considerable amount of time to get ready. But that was for the best, all the best trades came before noon but a bit after sunrise.
Time to buy Athena some actual clothes.
“Stop wriggling, please-”
Athena giggled up at him, thinking this game was very funny as he finally got her in some proper fitting clothes. They were blue and white, which he totally didn’t pick because they matched his own. It was just the main villager colours. Nothing else. Obviously. As cute- well, not he wouldn’t say cute the small clothes were practical, that was all - the clothes were, they were also tiny. And tiny meant the buttons were smaller and his hands were so large.
At least they were steady, but usually, so he could shoot an arrow on point, not for dealing with a happy baby. He was starting to wonder if he prefered her crying.
‘ No you don’t’ ‘aw she’s so cute’ ‘she loves you’
Athena cooed at the voices and Techno groaned. He hated them more now that they were right, but he wouldn’t admit even to himself that they were. Nope. She wasn’t cute in the slightest.
“Aha!” He declared, scooping her off on the floor yet again and grinning when she squealed in joy at the action. “There! Changed and dressed!” Philza would be impressed. “Now then. Now that we both match, little Athena, how about I show you where I’m planning on putting the turtles that me and your gr- I mean.” He shook his head out of it. At least Athena wouldn’t notice the mix-up, Phil was really starting to get to him. “Me and Phil, my friend , are going to go gather.”
He blamed Phil and the fact he was still tired.
“I can see them from L’Manburg.”
“Bet the view is better here though. You know, if it would be easier to come pick you up-”
Techno sighed, staring out of the window of his house and out at the colourful skies. It was as bright as he’d ever seen it, almost like it was localised right over his house (which it wasn’t if Phil could see them but still). Aurora Borealis, also known at the northern lights. An incredible phenomenon that he treasured each time he got to see it. He usually always got to see it with Phil…
“We can both enjoy it together but apart, mate.”
He nodded at the communicator before stepping back from the window. “You’ll still be here tomorrow though, right?”
“Couldn’t stop me even if you wanted to, son. I’ve got three days clear so I can come visit and stay for a little while.”
“And you’ll take her on your way back?” Techno moved to look at Athena, fast asleep in the basket she arrived in since she didn’t have a proper bed. She’d been sleeping in Techno’s arms every night since he got her. Tomorrow though, he promised himself, she’d sleep with Phil downstairs in the spare bed instead. Maybe finally he’d get some work done instead of falling asleep every night.
The voices… they wanted him to keep her, but it was fine. He’d be fine and they’d definitely be fine. They’d go back to killing mobs, maybe they’d go to the Nether, and they’d cheer up again. Not that he needed them happy, just… quiet.
They’d never been so quiet. As if they were afraid of disturbing the baby…
“You’re sure you still want me to do that?”
“Phil, you said it yourself, there is a bounty on my head, it wouldn’t be smart to keep her.”
“ Didn’t you just say a few days ago that the bounty was a load of nonsense?”
Techno paused. He was right. Why was he suddenly concerned? “Well- Yeah, but- She’s so small and-”
Philza chuckled on the other end of his communicator, the sound quiet as if he was trying to not be heard. The piglin sighed for the umpteenth time that night. Phil had a point…
“ If you insist, Techno, I will take her home after I visit you and I’ll adopt her.”
He smiled sadly and looked out the window. He should feel a weight off his shoulders but… instead, the confirmation made his heart fill with lead, weighing him down. It was for the best. He looked up and over at the basket when there was suddenly a soft cooing noise. Phil seemed to hear it too. A few times he wondered if Athena could hear his thoughts… but then again, even if she could she was too young to understand.
Techno walked over to the baby, humming as he picked her up. He’d become better at that in the few days that he’d been taking care of her. She seemed to like it, it always calmed her down. She seemed pretty happy for now but he held her against his chest regardless. Technically, she was supposed to be asleep for the night right now. Why did she seem so awake? “Hello.”
“You should take her out to see the lights?”
“Hm? There isn’t much point, she wouldn’t remember it-”
“ I bet I thought you wouldn’t remember your first memory of them either.”
Techno closed his eyes. He remembered being tucked up against Phil’s chest, shivering with the cold. He remembered sleepy soft brown eyes on childish features and then bright blue ones full of kindness. The familiar scratch of beard hair against his head. ‘Don’t look at me, silly boys, look at the sky. It’s dancing for you’ . He remembered so many colours… Techno opened his eyes again.
“Alright… But it’s bright enough that we’ll just go outside, no need to go climbing hills. Let me grab you and you can come.” Techno reached for his communicator with the hand that wasn’t supporting Athena but was interrupted by Philza suddenly talking to someone else, voice muffled. The communicator was obviously being hidden again.
“Yes, Tubbo! I’m coming .”
There was a ruffle of sound.
“Sorry, son, I thought I had more time. Give Athena a kiss for me!”
The line went dead.
Phil never had more time for them anymore…
Techno laughed as Athena cooed in his arms, seeming like she barely noticed the chill of the night air as she reached out for the sky. The greens, blues, and purples reflected against her bright eyes. He hoped she was just old enough to remember this.
He looked up at the sky, closing his eyes for just a moment as the feeling of nostalgia rushed through him again. When he opened them he glued his eyes back down to Athena.
He knew he would.