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The Story of Athena

Chapter Text

Wolves howled in the distance as the moon shone overhead, the stars sparkling around it. There was hardly a cloud in sight and definitely not a person to be seen amidst the thick forest nor out in the vast flat land that surrounded it either. The only thing that didn’t seem to quite fit in… was a cabin in the middle of the scene.

 

The small cabin glowed in the dark of the cold night, sticking out like a sore thumb surrounded by the white of the snowy surrounding area. The snow had started to build up the last few days, but finally, the night was clear. A break from the blizzard that would probably start up again within the day. But it was nice being able to see the starry nights again.

 

Perhaps if Techno climbed up the mountain at the right time, he’d see the northern lights start to dance across the inky abyss that was the night sky. Phil used to show them to him whenever he got the chance back when he was a child. That was when he first got the taste of what the snow-filled biomes had to offer.

 

Phil…

 

He hadn’t visited since Techno had given him the compass over a week ago. He knew it was because he was busy and he did live in New L’Manburg, Not with him. He could contact him on his communicator, but he didn’t really want to interrupt him. He just messaged back when Phil messaged him first but… Techno was more lonely than he’d thought he’d be. Without his brothers, without his father, nothing…



But it was fine. He worked better alone anyway. He was just hoping for the helping hands to help with his to-do list after all.

 

 

  • give phil compass and move mobs

  • start trading villagers
  • get and breed turtles for potions
  • start a honey bee farm
  • cure zombie villagers
  • destroy L’Ma-

 

 

It was a work in progress. 

 

Techno closed the book and stashed it away again, putting another log on the campfire. Just because it wasn’t storming, didn’t mean it wasn’t bloody cold still. He didn’t know why he always thought it was a good idea to live in the ice biomes like this, he hated the cold. Sure, people were less likely to find him and it was pretty and familiar... but also it was freezing . He shivered a little and moved to start cooking over the fire, his stomach rumbling. He’d eat and warm up there and then he’d go out to settle the voices in his head with violence.

 

They were getting particularly loud again, it might be time for another nether fortress trip… Nothing soothed them more than wither skeleton heads .

 

There was a thump at his door.

 

Techno’s head flew up immediately and he stood up, staring at the door across the room as if he was waiting for something more. His hand grabbed the sword that never left his person for anything other than sleep. That wasn’t a knock, that was something else. Something hit it. Perhaps a rogue arrow from a skeleton? But why would they be shooting there unless it was shooting at someone?

 

It was probably nothing.

 

He was about to relax and sit down when there was another and immediately he was racing over to the door and throwing it open. One arrow could be a coincidence, two weren’t.

 

He opened his doors and indeed found two arrows - ordinary, not magical like the tundra skeletons tended to fire - embedded in the wood next to each other. He pulled out his sword and looked off into the night, watching as a hooded figure lowered their bow and ran off into the adjacent forest. He bared his teeth and moved to follow, not wanting to allow this stranger to disturb him without cause, but when he walked forward he nearly tripped on something in front of his door that wasn’t there before.

 

He caught himself before he fell forward, pushing himself up again, and looked down at the object. It was a woven basket, simple if not a bit worn, with a blanket over it. He looked back up, realising he’d distracted himself. He cursed when he saw that the figure was completely gone from sight. He could probably follow the tracks, but if they were smart they’d have run through the village where the tracks would be harder to trace and Techno didn’t feel like a wild goose chase would be a smart idea.

 

Besides…

 

He raised an eyebrow as he stared back down at the basket. He was curious as to what had been left in front of him. 

 

With a shiver from the cold, he made his decision. He used his feet to push the basket in through the doorway and into his home, leaving it there as he closed the door and walked back over to the fire. His stomach rumbled stubbornly for a second time. It could wait until after he ate. He knelt down next to the fire, listening to the relaxing crackles as he cooked. His mind, however, kept drifting towards the basket.

 

What was it? Who would leave him something? Other than Phil of course, it couldn’t be him, he would’ve just given it to him. It was obviously someone who didn’t want to be seen. Perhaps Dream? Why would Dream want to help him…?

 

Maybe it wasn’t to help. Maybe it was a trap. Maybe-

 

He watched as the blanket over the basket moved.

 

Techno stood up in alarm for the second time that night, almost dropping his pan into the fire and nearly burning himself too as he did so. He set the plan aside. What the-

 

There was something in there.

 

He walked over to it. Had he just brought a monster into his house? Or was it just a small animal? Why would someone bring him a small animal? It had to be a monster. A trap. A noise came from the basket. It didn’t sound like… any monster or animal that he knew of. Slowly he pulled his sword out again, careful to make as little noise as possible, before moving down to grab the blanket. On the count of three, he’d pull it off and be ready to kill it if it posed a threat.

 

1...

 

2...

 

3!

 

Techno pulled off the blankets and the voices that rang through his head encouraged him to plunge his sword into whatever it was, but him and them both stopped when he saw what was there. For once in his life, the voices that craved blood instead told him to put away his weapon and he did so without hesitation. They’d never agreed on something so innocent before.

 

Then again, there was something very unfair about holding an enchanted netherite sword to this creature’s neck.

 

There, in the basket, laid two things. A note, which Techno hardly registered, and… a baby. Not just any baby either…

 

A baby that looked like him. Pink hair, grey eyes, pig nose and ears… only thing it didn’t have was the protruding lower tusks, but he imagined they’d grow in. Phil said that he didn’t have any tusks when he first found him either.

 

Why in all of the Nether was there a baby hybrid piglin here ??? Why did someone bring it to him ????

 

He knelt down slowly, as if he still felt like one wrong move would lead to his demise, and the baby watched him as he did so. That’s when he properly noticed the note tucked in beside it. He reached forward to grab it but hesitated, so close to touching it. It had its hands out, looking like it was going to grab him, so he quickly snatched the paper and pulled his hand back before it could get him. He wasn’t sure what he thought would happen if it grabbed him. It wasn’t that he was scared of it! He’d just… not seen a baby before.

 

That was a lie. He hadn’t seen a baby since Phil brought Tommy home, but that was a long time ago.

 

He unfolded the note and sat back on his feet.

 

‘This one is cursed. She came from the Gods.

We cannot keep her. 

She is a danger to us, to everyone, but I couldn’t kill her.

She’s just a baby.

They said you would teach her.

 

  • Someone You Will Never Meet’

 

 

Well… wasn’t that just cryptic. What did that mean? And what was he supposed to teach it- her. It-She was a baby! 

 

‘She came from the gods’? ‘She’s a danger’? He leaned over the baby slowly, as if he was expecting her to smite him dead with just a glance, but instead she just shivered. Techno’s eyes widened.

 

“Shit! You’re cold!” Of course, she was cold! She’d been outside and then he just left her beside the door without even checking what it was! Of course, he should’ve known it was a baby, babies were always left in baskets and stuff! Tommy had been in a basket too when he first met him. He scrambled to his feet and picked up the basket, walking over to the fire and placing it next to his fireplace. She reached her little hands over the edge, obviously liking the warmth, and Techno panicked before pulling the basket away from a little more. “Right. Babies have no survival instinct.” He said to himself as a reminder.

 

Besides, if she was anything like him, she’d also prefer being too warm to too cold.

 

In the piglin sense! Not in the- you know- she wasn’t him. She was just a random baby that looked a little like him. Because she was a piglin, nothing else.

 

Oh he was in way over his head. Why couldn’t someone more qualified than him be given this baby? Someone who knew what to do with babies!

 

Techno’s face lit up. That’s it! He pulled his communicator out of his pocket, selecting one of his very little contacts before raising it to his face to talk. One ring… two rings… three… 

 

Come on… come on! Pick up!

 

“Hel-”

 

“Phil! Hi! I need help.” The hybrid adult piglin side-eyed the basket as the baby kept her hands stretched out towards the fire. She was making some noises. He hoped they were good noises. He looked away again.

 

“Notch, what have you done? How serious? Am I going to need to help you move?”

 

“What-? No, Phil, I’ve not done anything- Why do you always think I’ve done something?”

 

Because you’re my son.”

 

Techno huffed a little but didn’t confirm or deny the statement. Sometimes Techno had trouble calling Phil his dad despite the fact he’s the only parent he’s ever known. He didn’t think he deserved the pure parental love Phil gave him, not after some of the things he’d done. Phil never pushed him to call him dad though, he simply chuckled at his son’s huff of disapproval.

 

“Fine then. Techno, if it’s not urgent though I am rather busy with the president right now, so-”

 

“I found a baby.” Techno interrupted, the line went silent at the other end. “Well, I didn’t exactly find it. She was left on my doorstep. She is… like me. Half piglin, I mean.” He looked back at the baby leaning over to look at her. She cooed up at him, he blinked down at her. “I don’t know what to do?”

 

There was a long pause.

 

“Does this make me a grandfather?”

 

“No- First of all, you’re already a grandfather- but Phil, I want you to take her?”

 

“Why me?”

 

Techno rolled his eyes so hard that he half expected Philza to hear them on the other side of the communicator. “Phil, you saw me and Wilbur and adopted us immediately, you didn’t even own a house!”

 

Well, I mean-”

 

“And then you left for work one day and came home with our ‘little brother’-”

 

“That was-”

 

“Then you found Tubbo on the side of the road-”

 

“I didn’t keep him-”

 

“Recently you let Fundy move in with you-”

 

“He’s my grandson-!”

 

“Quackity calls you dad-”

 

“As a joke!... I think?”

 

Silence settled on the call again before there was noise in the background on Philza’s end of the call. The mic became muffled a little as Phil’s voice yelled ‘ Coming, Tubbo’ on the other end before it returned.

 

“Listen, Techno, I really can’t do anything tonight but… If you give me three days I’ll be able to come and sneak to your cabin. Tubbo is having me help him out with a lot of projects at the moment so I can’t leave without grabbing his attention.”

 

“Dad- 

 

“Don’t you think that calling me dad will change my mind… But you should do it more often. I’m not putting you in danger especially since now there is a baby living in your house, you hear me? Feed her something soft if she’s hungry, make sure she’s warm, cut some cloth up to use as diapers with that sharp sword you have, and for the love of God, don’t be afraid to hold her alright? Don’t be afraid to contact me if you need any more advice. Also, remember to give her a name! Bye! Love you and my granddaughter!”

 

Phil hung up before Techno could get in a single word, not even letting him correct the old man, leaving him holding his communicator and staring at the baby. Her face was starting to make a sour expression and she’d stopped reaching for the fire. She was reaching for him now and she looked almost frustrated that she couldn’t reach. Techno didn’t move any closer, still wary. Damn! He didn’t even mention to Phil about the whole curse god thing.

 

The person had to just be insane. Gods weren’t real.

 

‘Blood for the Blood God Blood for the Blood God Blood for the Blood God Blood for the Blood God Blood for the Blood God Blood for the Blood God Blood for the Blood God Blood for the Blood God Blood for the Blood God Blood for the Blood God Blood for the Blood-’

 

He shook away the sudden burst of voices before noticing the baby do something similar, her face screwing up like she just heard a bad noise.

 

Holy shit.

 

Could she hear the voices too? Was that what the curse was?

 

Was the Blood God real? He thought it was only in his head...

 

He was surprised when suddenly she burst into tears, taken aback. “Hey! Hey, no, that’s not- please- oh god.” What did Phil say? Food, diapers, and… oh! Holding her! He could try that first, that involved the least amount of work. Awkwardly he slowly bent down and put his large hands under her arms, picking her up. For a moment the crying calmed down and he let out a sigh of relief, but then the screaming got worse. He was holding her at arm's length, not sure what more to do. He was sure Phil would be laughing at his panic right now.

 

Hold her against your chest’ Said a voice in his head that he didn’t know whether or not it was him imagining Phil’s guidance or one of the many voices… though, if it was a voice it was being surprisingly soft and helpful.

 

He did as it said nonetheless and held her closer, sighing again when she calmed down, this time properly. She still sniffled a little, but this time it didn’t seem like she was growing more upset.

 

“There. Great. Done, that was easy.” He looked down at her tear stricken face, her eyes red from crying. He winced. Not a great start… but he remembered holding Tommy like this, so that helped. She was still upset. What had helped Tommy when he was upset?

 

Stories! Stories helped! Tommy used to say that Techno was the best at reading stories. He was sure there was a book he could read upstairs in his library suitable for a baby… and it’s not like they really understood words at this age, right? Right?

 

“Come on, uh…” Right, she didn’t have a name. “Rachel?” The little girl whined. “Okay, not Rachel, we’ll try something else.” Techno walked over and climbed the ladder up to his attic, very careful not to fall or drop her as he struggled to climb with one arm. He’d have to make her a sling or something… For the three days until Phil picks her up! Obviously! She wasn’t staying here. He didn’t need a permanent solution like stairs or anything.

 

 He huffed as he pulled himself up to the top floor, sitting on the ledge as he pulled his legs up too. It was a little tricky, but the kid was fine, so what else mattered?

 

“Sally?- No, wait, that’s the name of Wilbur’s salmon wife.” 

 

Techno pulled himself to his feet again and walked around his enchantment table to the bookcases that were pressed against the wall, he searched through the books as the piglin baby sniffled again. He needed to hurry up before she decided to start crying again. What the hell do you read to babies?

 

His eye caught the upside-down book resting beside his bed and his eyebrows raised. He forgot he’d been reading that. When was the last time he’d actually been up here after all? He hardly ever slept, and when he was awake he was honestly hardly in the house. He had things to do, and then when he didn’t he could usually hunt monsters for fun.

 

He walked over to the bed before sitting down on it. He raised his legs and rested against the headboard, adjusting the infant as she seemed to still a little. She pressed her little pointed ears against Techno’s chest, just above his heart, and closed her tiny eyes. He was very careful not to disturb her as he reached for the book.

 

A book on Greek Myths and Gods.

 

It was open on a page, what had he been reading again? Oh, right.

 

“Athena, also-”

 

The little girl cooed and he looked down to see her staring at him. He blinked down at her, confused.

 

“Athena-”

 

She cooed again. 

 

Techno couldn’t help the soft smile that spread over his features even if he wanted to. Okay… maybe babies could be cute sometimes. He subconsciously held her a little tighter with the arm that was protectively wrapped around her to stop her from falling. “Do you like that name? Athena? Little Athena?”

 

Athena answered with another coo and closed her eyes again, cuddling close.

 

Techno returned to his reading aloud. 

 

“Athena, also spelt Athene, is the Greek Goddess of War, Wisdom, and Handicraft. She was the daughter of Zeus, produced without a mother, sort of like you huh, so she was born full-grown from his forehead- starting to sound less like you. However, there was an alternative story where…” His low voice continued on, telling Athena all about her namesake despite the fact that the infant was very clearly now asleep.

 

It was only ten minutes later he broke his not sleeping streak along with her.

Chapter Text

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.

 

Athena.

 

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.

 

--

 

“Um.”

 

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.” 

 

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.




Chapter Text

Techno let out a sigh as he hoed the ground outside of his home. The tundra biome didn’t have the easiest dirt to try to make suitable for farming, but it wasn’t impossible. Especially for potatoes, those pretty much grew anywhere. Any other kind of vegetable he’d just trade for, but it would probably be best to have at least one vegetable growing. Athena needed to eat something.

 

Well… When Phil took her to come visit him sometimes, he meant. She wasn’t staying. He especially hoped he visited more frequently then… Not that he was attached or anything.

 

He sighed, setting his hoe down as he turned to look back at where he left the kid in question. He couldn’t help a tired smile and he watched her pick up handfuls of snow, sat at the edge of the fenced-off area he’d made for his farm on top of his old red cloak. He couldn’t have her getting too wet. He’d already have to warm her up when they went back inside.

 

He knelt down and planted his next lot of potatoes (it had been a while since he’d done something as simple as this) before he looked up at the sun’s position in the sky. It was just a little past noon now…

 

Where was Phil?

 

He said he’d be here today so they could go find some turtle eggs, he wouldn’t leave it too late, right?

 

The walk was probably just a little longer without Techno leading him probably, yeah. 

 

He considered sending a message through the communicator when, suddenly, Athena let out a babble of nonsense from behind him. He looked up and he grabbed his blade in a hurry when he saw a figure. He held it out threateningly, voices echoing in his head.

 

‘PROTECT. BLOOD. KILL. SAVE HER. BLOOD. BLOOD GOD. PROTECT. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. KILL-’

 

Philza laughed fondly and Techno suddenly shook himself out of it, coming to from his bloodthirsty haze. Phil stood there, Athena in his arms. No one else, just them. Athena cooed and held her little arms out to the sword which he pulled back in an instance. He sheathed it yet again.

 

“You nearly gave me a heart attack, Phil… You know not to sneak up on me, you could’ve gotten hurt.”

 

“Protective much?” The older man asked with a knowing smile, settling Athena on his hip like he was a natural at it. Well, Techno supposed he was. Not everyone was as scarily unskilled with children like him. “I don’t think you’ve ever pulled a sword that quick on me before.”

 

“Yeah, well, I didn’t used to have a bounty on my head-”

 

“From Quackity? Really?”

 

“You were the one who told me to be concerned!” It was clear Phil wasn’t buying it and honestly, neither was Techno. He could take on the whole New L’Manburg population with his eyes closed no problem. However, Athena couldn’t- “Anyway, babies can die so easily, so really I’m just being cautious whilst she’s staying with me. Which isn’t for much longer.”

 

Phil raised an eyebrow at Techno and the piglin hybrid pointedly ignored the expression as he finished planting his last potato and put away his hoe. He jumped the fence to lead the winged man into his house. “Then why are you planting a farm? I thought you had grown sick of potatoes after that period that you decided if you farmed for long enough that the voices would stop.” He noticed Phil wince at the memory. Techno found the memory quite funny looking back on it, the fact he didn’t sleep for over three days sometimes and the house had been full of potatoes for like a year… It was more than a little bit funny. Phil on the other hand had always found it worrying.

 

He’d always been a worrier.

 

“No, you grew sick of the potatoes, I just grew sick of the farming. This is a small farm, it’s different.” Techno laughed a little. “I wanted another food source, mixing it up a little.”

 

“Sure… it’s got nothing about how you’ve been feeding Athena mashed potatoes for dinner recently, right?”

 

“Absolutely not… but having some available for when you both come and visit wouldn’t hurt, would it?” He smiled at Phil and opened his door for him, watching as he walked it with Athena still in his arms. The baby seemed to really like Phil… that was good… right?

 

Yes. It was.

 

Despite the growing dread filling his stomach which he was refusing to acknowledge, it was good to finally have his best friend back with him. He’d missed him.

 

“So.” Techno started when he walked in after them, walking over to his chest and pulling out his journal. He skipped to the page that had today's date and sat next to Phil on the spare bed he’d set up in his main room. “The plan for your visit.”

 

Phil tore his eyes away from Athena who was reaching up for the beads that dangled from his hat just out of reach from her little chubby hands to instead lead over and glance at the open page as Techno started to read.

 

“First things first, we go off and collect turtle eggs. We might need to row for a little while, but it shouldn’t be that hard to find some turtles. Then we follow them to their eggs, take them, and set up a little area for them to hatch.”

 

“Then when they do we use them to make turtle potions right?”

 

“Exactly-”

 

“I thought you were retired?” Phil questioned, tilting his head to the side. Techno was quick to reassure him. Phil had been so pleased when he confessed he was retiring from all this, that he’d decided to ignore the voices. He didn’t want him to think poorly of him now.

 

“Of course I am, this is just for in case anyone tries to attack me, it’s good to be prepared.” He hummed, specifically looking down and over at Athena. “It’s specifically a protective potion after all.” 

 

His gaze returned to his book and there was a beat of silence.

 

“Anyway, then I was hoping you could make me a honey farm? I have no experience with bees but I know you’ve made one before.” Phil raised an eyebrow.

 

“Sure… but why?”

 

“Retirement is boring Phil. Don’t people like… care for bees as a hobby or something?” Techno shrugged. The voices said it was a good idea, and if they said it was a good idea and it didn’t include murder then it couldn’t be a bad one… right? He could use the blocks for a redstone project too…

 

He needed somewhere to store his alarming growing number of wither skulls-

 

“Okay. Sounds like a plan. What are we doing with Athena?”

 

“We’ll take her with us!” Declared Techno, already slamming his book closed and placing it away in his satchel. He grabbed his cloak and tied it around his neck before grabbing the piece of fabric he used to carry Athena around in.

 

“Really? Perhaps it would be better if I stayed and watched her-”

 

“Phil, we’re going to hunt for turtles, not sneak into New L’manburg.” He started to tie the sling around his torso before Phil spoke up again. 

 

“I thought I was taking her.” Techno paused. This was true. Phil was supposed to be in charge of her today until… forever. Yeah. Phil should take her. She was so quiet and infatuated with him already. And it would be a bonding experience, probably. It wasn’t when he did it though- He didn’t bond-

 

“Right… uh… Yeah- let me- uhm.” Techno untied the sling sheepishly before tying it around Phil’s torso instead. He stepped back as he watched his best friend coo at the child and gently place her into the sling. He was forgetting something… Oh! He opened his chest and pulled out a cloak. “For you.”

 

Phil smiled fondly. “Aw, mate-”

 

“I’m not done! Look, it’s got holes in it for your wings.” Techno stretched it out so Phil could see the two slits in the fabric. He knew the man hated not being able to just have them on display when he could, especially in case of emergencies. This way he could both feel safer and warmer. “I’ll help you put them through if you turn around, try not to knock anything with them if you stretch them out.”

 

Phil’s wings were incredible. If you weren’t looking, they were just small and black little things that would struggle to pull even a dog off the ground, however with one impressive flap of the feathers they would come alive. The long wings could probably both brush against the floor and hit his ceiling if Phil decided he wanted them to and they were so incredibly strong.

 

It’s part of the reason Techno didn’t worry too much about Phil living in New L’manburg. Not only were they friendly with him, but he could also either escape with no problem if things got grim.

 

After he’d helped him with the matching blue cloak, the two finished packing things up and left, Techno walking a few steps ahead with his hand on his sword just in case. He’d always been protective of Phil anyway, and now there was Athena.

 

“The ocean is this way.” He said before they walked off in comfortable silence, only small conversations said in low voices (to not wake up the napping Athena) and soft chuckles ever disturbing it.

 

--

 

“You know about the voices, right Phil?” Techno asked as he rowed through the ocean, the air already growing warmer as the biomes changed. He hoped they didn’t find the turtles in a desert biome or something, He didn’t want Phil or Athena to feel too hot. The question was stupid, he knew the answer, but he didn’t know how else to broach the subject.

 

“Of course I do, you’ve complained about voices in your head since you were small. I don’t think there was ever a point that you didn’t” He furrowed his brows in concern at the memory, but Techno had his back to him so he didn’t notice. “Why? What are they saying?”

 

“To me?” 

 

‘protect her’ ‘don’t let him take her’ ‘we can care for her so much better’ ‘you really want to put her in enemies hands’ ‘she needs to be safe’ ‘love’ ‘protect’ ‘cherish’ ‘care-’

 

“Nothing new.” He cleared his throat, glad Phil couldn’t see his mildly embarrassed blush. “But I’ve found out… Phil, I don’t think they are in my head.”

 

“What?”

 

“Athena can hear them too.”

 

Silence overcame the two men in the boat for a moment, the only noise coming from the boat’s oar hitting the water of the calm ocean and the occasional gunt that Athena made whilst she slept. Even unconscious, that kid didn’t stop making noise.

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“Positive.”

 

“Do you think they say the same things?”

 

Techno sighed and nodded. “She reacts to them when I hear them. I think they’re the same voices.” He stopped rowing for a second and turned to look at Phil. “The voices aren’t in my head, Phil, she can hear them. ” The voice was a little afraid when he whispered. “I think the Blood God is real .”

 

All the time Phil spent reassuring little Techno that the Blood God wasn’t real, that Techno didn’t have to hurt anyone, that the Blood God wasn’t going to hurt him and the voices were just in his head went out the window.

 

They spent the rest of the boat ride in silence that was less comfortable than before.

 

--

 

“Phil! Watch out!” Techno put his sword clean through a baby zombie’s head with a joking grin, watching the older man look at him with an unimpressed expression as he collected the last of the turtle eggs. A small quirk of his lips betrayed his amusement though.

 

“Ha ha ha. Very funny.”

 

“It could’ve taken your last life! I was protecting you.”

 

“I lose one life to a baby zombie before you were even born and I never hear the end of it. It was in full armour! And there were other monsters.” Philza scoffed, adjusting his satchel and frowning when Athena giggled too. “No come on, you can’t find it funny too.”

 

It was dark by now. It had taken them longer than planned to find the turtle eggs and the monsters were out, but neither men were really concerned. They were both very skilled in combat, a couple of zombies, creepers, and skeletons were hardly anything.

 

“If you’re done then, let’s head ho-”

 

Just then, it seemed, the dry spell that Techno had been so thankful for ended and the heavens opened up all at once. 

 

The piglin hybrid felt soaked through in seconds, though before it got any worse it suddenly stopped. Techno looked around, not understanding why it was still raining everywhere else before he looked up and saw Phil’s wigs covering the three of them from the awful weather.

 

“We can’t travel the ocean in this weather, come on, let’s sleep with one of the villagers for tonight.” Philza insisted, keeping his wings up as they walked towards one of the houses. Techno walked inside and Philza handed Athena over before he lowered his wings and shook them small. He followed them inside just as the first strike of lighting landed not too far from where they’d been standing. They’d made a good choice then.

 

Then lit the house’s fire and, when it seemed like no villager was actually coming inside, they sat on the bed together.

 

Techno held Athena protectively, not once offering her back to Philza, and unknowingly to the man as he stared down at the child he insisted he was his daughter the other man who he insisted was not his father simply smiled and shook his head. He knew how this was going to end.

 

But for that night, they just curled up and slept.

 

--

 

Techno shivered as he entered his house, covered practically head to toe in snowflakes as the night fell and the blizzard continued. He’d been checking on the turtle eggs and making sure they were covered so no snow got in. The eggs hadn’t hatched yet, he’d been taking shifts watching them all day.

 

When he’d accidentally stepped on one, he realised he needed to leave it and go back inside.

 

Phil was sitting on the spare bed, feeding a hungry Athena some mashed potatoes that he’d obviously prepared whilst techno was busy. She’d mostly been with the man all day, she really liked the bees apparently. 

 

Techno was glad she liked Phil, since he’d be her… yeah.

 

The thought brought on another sombre mood and he found that he just wanted to go to bed for once. Hurry up and bring tomorrow on. Get it all over and done with. He hung up his cloak as the melted snow started to drink off of it and Phil finally looked up.

 

“I’m going to bed for the night if you need anything just yell.” He sighed. At his voice, Athena looked up and over again. She cooed and reached for him, clearly having missed him throughout today. Techno hesitated.

 

“I think she’d like to say goodnight.” Phil smiled.

 

Techno stared at her softly before scowling. It was stupid. This was stupid. That wasn’t his fucking kid. That would never be his fucking kid. Why did he feel so angry about this? So frustrated? It was straight forward!

 

Phil was going to take her home, raise her like he raised him, pay actual attention to her and she won’t have to feel guilty for being the favourite because she won’t have two jealous brothers who never get to spend any time with their father all because he got away with everything and Dad was obviously just always concerned that if he didn’t watch him that he’d lash out and kill someone and-

 

 “I think she can cope.” He gritted out before climbing the ladder upstairs, leaving a confused Philza and upset Athena in his wake.

 

He laid in his bed as she started to cry, listening to Phil try and soothe her. He wasn’t going to crack. He wasn’t going to go down there and take her to bed with him. He wasn’t her father. He would get her killed. Phil would be a great father. Phil was a great father. Phil had been a great father.

 

His best friend who showed up during emergencies… who travelled with him for years as they adventured together.

 

His father who abandoned his brothers for years just because Techno wanted to go somewhere else. Was he really worth that?

 

Phil was an incredible but friend but… Was Phil really that good of a father?

 

He wouldn’t be any better, he’d be far far worse. He would get her killed. Why did she look at him like he was her whole world? She stared at him when she noticed him like she’d been waiting for him to come in all day. She was a baby. She didn’t realise things.

 

The crying go louder and it didn’t sound like Phil had things under control.

 

He wasn’t going to go down there. He wasn’t. He was going to go to bed.

 

--

 

Techno waved Phil off early the next morning with a sad smile. He hated seeing his best friend leave every time. One day… he’d convince him to leave New L’Manburg and stay with him instead. 

 

They’d be unstoppable together… 

 

Today felt extra sad though. There was a weight in his chest that he couldn’t describe. Crushing.

 

But when Phil turned around just before he walked over the hill, wearing the blue cloak that Techno gave him proudly, and waved with his winging like he did when he was a kid before taking off, Techno knew things would be okay. 

 

He’d be back soon.

 

Techno kissed Athena’s head.

 

“Come on, baby girl. Let’s go check the turtles really quick and then get you back inside before you get too cold.”

 

Chapter Text

“Heeeeeere comes the wither.” Techno joked, dragging the words out as he spooned a mouthful of mashed potatoes into her mouth, smiling as the little girl giggled in front of him after swallowing the food. She liked his baby voice… but he’d never let anyone know he was doing them. Phil would never let him hear the end of it. He could sacrifice his pride a little, however, for another smile from Athena.

 

He could hardly believe it had only been a week since Phil left. A week since he decided to keep her. It had been… a big decision. But he realised she needed him. Phil was great, but he didn’t understand the voices. Techno could learn from the mistakes Phil made and become even better, right?

 

Besides… He kind of needed her too.

 

The clear days that they’d been experiencing, in the beginning, seemed to be officially over as another storm raged just outside the thick cottage windows. This one didn’t look as bad as the storm that had raged the nights that Phil was here, but there was definitely more than a gentle sprinkling of snow.

 

There went his plans for the day. He’d just have to squeeze in a quick check of his turtles and crops when he put Athena down for her next nap and then run back inside to avoid the cold. Maybe he’d read some more? Or…

 

Well, he had been working on making some new clothes for Athena, maybe her own little robe that matched his… But he wasn’t great at sewing anything that wasn’t a wound it seemed and it was such a small piece of fabric. He had spent several nights so far cursing with sore fingertips over it.

 

Perhaps he’d work on that more. He could probably get it finished today if he tried.

 

Techno had picked up another spoonful of food, getting ready to put it in Athena’s already open and waiting mouth, when he got a call. He answered it without looking, setting the communicator on speaker and placing it aside as he continued to feed the baby who was sat on his lap before she got too impatient. She’d start feeding herself if he wasn’t careful.

 

He knew who it would be.

 

“Hullo.” He said in the low tone he always used when starting a conversation. Athena cooed in her own greeting, but her mouth was full so it was muffled. Techno used his sleeve to wipe the food from around her mouth. This shirt was ruined anyway with stains, a little bit of mashed potato wouldn’t do any harm.

 

“Techno.” Came the very recognisable voice of Phil… but it was concerned. Techno straightened where he sat automatically. He was ready for a fight. “It’s Tommy.”

 

Oh yes… His youngest brother. The baby out of the three of them. His only living brother left. Tommy hated him. But that was fine, Tommy was annoying anyway. Techno didn’t care if he liked him or not. Obviously. Techno relaxed from his upright position, spooning some more food into Athena’s waiting mouth. “Oh, you had me worried for a second there. I thought you were in trouble. What kind of trouble has Tommy gotten into now? Dream finally gotten sick of those ugly cobblestone towers he loves jumping off of? I get he loves flying but the kid could at least take them down after-“

 

Techno, he’s been exiled.”

 

He froze, a spoon full of potatoes inches away from Athena’s open mouth. The piglet whined before she leaned forward, eating the food off of his spoon without Techno even noticing. His brain was racing a mile a minute. It really was the story of Theseus… he didn’t think they’d actually… “What?”

 

Wilbur… well, Ghostbur has gone with him. Dream has taken them out to the middle of nowhere, but… Ghostbur sent me the coordinates.” There was a beat of silence and Techno knew what his old friend was going to say before he did it. “ He’s not that far from you. Could you-”

 

“No.”

 

“Techno-”

 

“Phil, I’m probably the last person he wants to see and it’s storming-”

 

For me? I want to travel there but it will take me far longer and I’m afraid I might pass Dream on the way. I just want- no I need to know if he’s okay.”

 

Techno sat in the silence for a moment before sighing. He set the now empty spoon aside and ran his hand down his face. “Send me the coordinates.”

 

 

At least by the time he’d gotten himself and Athena properly dressed and halfway to the coordinates, the storm had stopped. The clouds weren't completely clear so he knew the bad weather would be back but at least it hopefully meant Athena wouldn’t get drenched in the rain. 

 

He was riding Carl, the horse deserving some nice proper riding time. Recently he’d just been kept outside the house, being spoilt rotten with treats but not getting to walk much further than the nearest village and back (which was hardly a ten-minute ride even at walking space). He deserved it. Carl might not be the fastest horse he’d ever owned, or the smartest either, but Techno cared more about him than any of the others.

 

He wasn’t completely sure what he’d do if he lost him. It was weird to have attachments like this, he tended to keep them at a minimum, but with Carl, all it really meant is he got extra apples.

 

After all, who would threaten his horse?

 

Techno scratched his mane as they made it across the swamp and approached another village. They were drawing closer to the coordinates.

 

Techno adjusting Athena as she cooed against his chest, shifting his cloak so he could look down at her. He’d put it on sideways today, not wanting to reveal her to more people (especially if Dream was still nearby) but also definitely not leaving her at home. No. No, it was better for her to come with him. He’d just keep her hidden for now. Perhaps if things felt safe… he’d introduce her to his brothers.

 

He hated that word. Brothers. Truly, they hadn’t been brothers for a long time.

 

In fact, it seemed as time went on, they were brothers less and less. He’d never disagreed with the saying ‘time heals all wounds’ more than then.

 

He doubted they’d hurt her though, that would be a new low. He’d just check-in, tell Phil, maybe chat to Ghostbur a little, and leave again.

 

He lead Carl into a clearing, looking around. Seemed like there was a dirt shack here. Must be the place. He rode on ahead, catching the tail end of Ghostbur and Tommy’s conversation as he came to a stop outside their hardly built shack. It only had half a roof, so their voices were easy to be heard. He wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, it just… happened.

 

He wasn’t trying to burst out in laughter either when Ghostbur told their brother that no one would laugh at him but... 

 

“PFFT HAHA.” He burst out as he climbed down from Carl, tying him up as Tommy and Ghostbur suddenly emerged from their dirt shack. “Look at this LOSER .” This perhaps wasn’t what Phil was asking him to do but the kid was alive, what else was he supposed to do? Not rub the fact that Techno was right in his face? “Oh my god, this is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen!”

 

Tommy looked furious, Ghostbur just seemed happy to see him.

 

“Hey, Technoblade!!” The translucent mirage of his brother spoke. The Piglin hybrid in question gave him a little wave before fixing his cloak again.

 

“What the hell are you doing here?”

 

“I was in the neighbourhood, thought I’d pop by. Phil asked me to.” Techno shrugged. “It’s not like I care about you or anything.”

 

The young teen’s wings fluffed up, the white feathers standing on edge. Tommy had always been so expressive with his wings, almost always having them proud and out (unlike his father who tended to be more subtle with his own). “It’s not like Phil does either.” He spat before storming off.

 

Ouch. Seems like Tommy had a little bit of beef with their old man. He understands now why he wasn’t checking on him himself, Phil always was a bit of a coward when it came to personal verbal confrontation. Not that Techno blamed him, but that didn’t mean he should have to do his dirty work for him. He needed to come fix that relationship problem himself.

 

Techno watched Tommy go off to dig a mine, giving him a moment as he spoke to Ghostbur to get details of what exactly went down. He… didn’t exactly get a lot of clear information from him (he kept calling this a holiday) but it definitely cleared a couple of things up.

 

Most of all it confirmed the Dream was no longer in the area as far as they were aware, which was good. Still didn’t make Techno completely comfortable showing them Athena in the open but…

 

Techno’s eyes drifted over to Tommy’s tunnel.

 

He couldn’t spy on them underground. Right?

 

“Just a second, Ghostbur, I think I need to go talk to Tommy… apologise for laughing at him.” He nodded at the ghost, silencing him in the middle of what Techno was sure was a very interesting story about blue dye and how it helps when you’re feeling sad. Ghostbur was far different than his dead brother… but he still deserved respect. Ghostbur hadn’t betrayed him after all. The ghost simply smiled and nodded and Techno walked off down the tunnel.

 

“Tommy!” He called down, getting a surprised and distant shriek in response. Techno rolled his eyes. You fight against a kid one time... “Christ, I’m not going to hurt you, don’t be dramatic.” He huffed, walking down until he had found himself in a cave that Tommy had dug into. He followed the light source that he was emitting nearby before sighing and crossing his arms as the kid refused to look at him.

 

“Tommy-“

 

“Fuck off.”

 

“Tommy!-“

 

“No, you’re a bitch and I hate you! You betrayed me!”

 

“Tommy, I’ve changed my ways!” Techno fit in before Tommy spoke over him again. He’d say that he didn’t betray the kid, that it was the other way around if he thought he’d listen. He didn’t feel like getting talked over again. At least he got his attention for now. He started to move his cloak in order to prove that he’d changed.

 

To show Tommy Athena.

 

“Look! See, I’ve-“ 

 

Techno raised his head just in time to see a sword heading straight for him, hardly having time to think as he pulled out his sword.

 

‘GET HIM’. ‘KILL HIM.’ ‘HE TRIED TO HURT HER.’ ‘BLOOD.’ ‘BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD.’ ‘E.’

 

He blocked the blow and managed to knock the loose sword out of Tommy’s grasp, the boy not trained in combat enough to fight against someone like Techno. He sliced Tommy’s arm and knocked him to the ground, keeping his sword out as the other stared up at him, hand covering his bloody arm. Techno breathed heavily as he stared down at his brother, seeing red as the voices screamed in his ears.

 

It would be so easy to just move the blade a little further into his neck-

 

“What the fuck!”

 

Techno shook himself out of it at his brother’s scandalised cry. “What do you mean ‘what the fuck’?! You tried to kill her!”

 

“Kill who? I was defending myself! You were pulling out a weapon!”

 

“Oh, you stupid little-“ Techno groaned in frustration, not lowering his weapon as he used the other arm to open up his cloak properly, revealing the little baby strapped to his chest that was just starting to stir. She had not a care in the world as she made little fists with her hands and yawning, eyes blinking open.

 

Tommy stared at her with wide eyes.

 

“What the fuck is that?”

 

 

“Could you sit still for two seconds,” Techno grumbled unhappily as he tried to stitch a squirming Tommy’s arm up. The boy stretched his wings out, feathers fluffing out like a scandalised chicken, and the piglin rolled his eyes. “I can’t close this wound with your fu- with your feathers in my face-”

 

“Well, it hurts!”

 

Ghostbur floated nearby as the two brothers quarrelled, finally starting the bills to a proper home rather than a dirt shack with half a roof. Techno and Tommy were sat by their campfire as the sun started to set.

 

“It’s not that bad!”

 

“If you didn’t want me to squirm then you shouldn’t have cut me!”

 

That released a growl from Techno. “If you didn’t want me to cut you, you shouldn’t have attacked me!” He yelled.

 

Athena let out a sudden loud cry and all three brothers froze, staring down at the unhappy baby waving her arms around as she was strapped against Techno’s chest. Techno would pick her up properly to quiet her down, but he currently had his sewing needle halfway in Tommy’s arm so he couldn’t stop.

 

“You should hold it.” Came Tommy’s smart-arsed comment on it as he didn’t lift his eyes from the baby.

 

“I know, but I have to finish sewing up, also she’s a her not an-”

 

“Can I hold her?”

 

“No.” Techno didn’t hesitate to respond. Tommy? With A baby? In front of the fire? No chance. Did he even have experience with kids other than himself?

 

“But-”

 

“I said no.”

 

“I can hold her.” Piped up Ghostbur. Techno almost forgot he was there and hesitated this time.

 

“Uh… Sorry, Ghostbur, I’d prefer you didn’t.” He felt a bit bad but Ghostbur wasn’t completely all there… He didn’t want him to wander off with her. Maybe when he was there to watch them both. The ghost didn’t seem to take it personally though and just smiled before returning to building.

 

“I promise to sit still if you let me hold her!” Tommy exclaimed. “Pleeeeease?”

 

Techno was about to deny Tommy a third time when he stopped, a realisation overcoming him. Tommy wasn’t fighting him. Tommy wasn’t fighting him or calling him a bitch or anything… In fact, he was even smiling. 

 

He couldn’t think the last time Tommy smiled at him.

 

Techno sighed. “Fine. but you’re going to have to help me take her from the sling. I can’t move my hand.” Working in tandem, they both used their spare arms to pick her up, Athena already quietening at the contact before she was settled in Tommy’s arms.

 

Techno returned his focus to Tommy’s arm, the younger boy keeping his promise and keeping perfectly still much to Techno’s surprise.

 

When Tommy spoke up again, Techno was surprised further.

 

“What’s her name?”

 

Techno looked over at him again and raised both his eyebrows when he was met with the sight of Tommy cupping Athena gently in his arms, even going as far as taking his wings and engulfing them in it - including Techno - protectively. He wasn’t sure how he hadn’t noticed.

 

“Uh… Athena. Her name is Athena.”

 

“Is she your daughter?”

 

“Not biologically... I’m looking after her.” That was all, he was just a guardian for her. Making sure she stayed alive, teaching her things… stuff like that. 

 

Tommy didn’t seem to hear that however, must’ve had selective hearing similar to Philza because his next question immediately was. “Does that make me her uncle? Uncle Tommy?”

 

“Well-”

 

“Please?”

 

Techno paused. There was no harm in letting him be her uncle, just like how he didn’t correct Phil when he called himself her Grandpa… “Fine. Uncle Tommy it is.”

 

Tommy just smiled fondly back at Athena after that and started to speak to her in a low tone as Athena cooed back, clearly enthralled with this new person. It was the quietest that he’d ever heard her speak. Techno almost didn’t trust his ears.

 

He finished the rest of the stitching of Tommy’s arm and wrapping it in a comfortable silence as he just… Listened to Tommy and Athena.

 

--

 

The weather, however, took breaks for no man - human or otherwise. Not long after the sunset and it started to get cold, the heavens opened up too. Ghostbur, Tommy, and Techno all found themselves huddled under the shitty dirt roof shack since they didn’t actually have a proper home yet.

 

The storm only looked like it was going to get worse and Techno needed to get Athena home before she caught a cold out here. 

 

He tucked her back into her sling and started to fix the cloak over her, this was when Tommy took notice.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

“I’m taking her home.”

 

For some reason, this surprised Tommy.

 

“What? You’re not staying the night? It’s just a light sprinkle!”

 

Techno rolled his eyes. “A light sprinkle, for now, I can see the storm clouds in the distance. I think it might be a thunderstorm, I can’t risk her catching a cold.” He rubbed her back subconsciously through the cloak. “Besides, your home isn’t exactly well protected or lit up well. I can’t risk her getting hurt by a monster.”

 

“Are you saying I’d get her sick or hurt?” Tommy asked defensively, wings flying out again, and Techno groaned. Well, there went the brief few moments of bonding between the pair.

 

“You’re a kid, you wouldn’t get it.”

 

“I’m sixteen!” 

 

“Yeah! A kid!”

 

“Dad thinks I’m old enough to look after myself!”

 

“Yeah, well Dad isn’t great at being a father is he! This whole fucking situation is a great show of that!” Techno yelled a little louder than he meant to. Hell, he didn’t even mean to say it at all. Just then, lightning struck nearby and Techno could see the hurt in Tommy’s face illuminated perfectly for a second.

 

God… He looked so young. He was so young.

 

Ghostbur placed his hand on Techno’s shoulder and he turned to look at the ghost. “Technoblade…” He said quietly, but he was cut off from saying anything more by Tommy.

 

“Leave.”

 

“Tommy, I-”

 

“Leave! You just came here to- to rub this whole exile in my face! You always rub my mistakes in my face!”

 

“No, I came to check up on you and try and tell you that I was right about gov-”

 

“LEAVE!” Tommy screamed with another flash of lighting, a huge rumble of thunder following closely after. “I HATE YOU! JUST GO!” He sniffled, drying his eyes before spitting one more thing in his rage. “I bet Athena will hate you too when you fuck her up.”

 

The silence between the three men was tense before, finally, Techno stepped out into the rain. It was coming down harder now, his hair was already soaked.

 

“Technoblade?” He heard Wil-Ghostbur ( not his brother ) from behind him. He didn’t turn to look as he left the dirt shack. “When are you coming back?”

 

“He isn’t.” Came Tommy’s only reply.

 

Technoblade said nothing as he got onto Carl. Tommy was right. He wouldn’t be going back. Tommy was better off without him

 

He took off on a gallop and kept the pace all the way home, mind still reeling.

 

I bet Athena will hate you too when you fuck her up.

 

God, he hoped Tommy wasn’t right.

Chapter Text

It was a sunny day in the tundra, the light reflecting off of the snow and half blinding anyone that looked out at it. The light poured through the windows of Techno’s home, making the white quartz walls look brighter than ever and the tiny cottage rooms larger than they were.

 

On any other day, this would perk up Techno’s mood. He liked bright days, they were often productive and meant he wouldn’t get frozen out in the snow. There was also the positive that it also meant he could take Athena out on his errands. 

 

The more time passed, the more she was starting to adore the snow more and more. He liked to take her out to play as much as possible now that she was getting bigger. Especially now that she had her own little cloak to keep her cosy.

 

( Though that didn’t stop Techno from wrapping her up in his own cloak anyway)

 

How much time had passed since he’d gotten here now? A couple of months, surely. He wasn’t keeping track, he probably should. How else would they celebrate her birthday if he didn’t keep track, though he knew the date that he found her would be buried in his journal anyway.

 

Anyway, sunny days were perfect days to be productive with little to no downfalls.

 

However, despite the perfect weather conditions in place for a great day, Techno was on edge. Very on edge.

 

Phil was supposed to be here.

 

There was no sign of him, he was supposed to be here.

 

Sure, Phil could be a little late sometimes, but the man liked to pride himself on his punctuality and he wasn’t here. He wasn’t here.

 

Something had happened. Something has to have happened. 

 

‘HE’S GONE.’ ‘HE’S DEAD.’ ‘HE’S GONE.’ ‘HE’S DEAD.’ ‘THEY’RE COMING FOR YOU NEXT.’ ‘FOR ATHENA.’ ‘DAD.’ ‘DADZA.’ ‘DEAD.’ ‘DEADZA.’

 

No. No, the voices were wrong. They were so often wrong. It was fine. He was fine. 

 

He paced in front of his window, opening his journal at his page for the day to scan at his list and slamming it shut again before returning to pacing again. He repeated this several times. Phil was fine. He was. And then all Techno would have to worry about is how much of his list he’d be able to get done before the sunset.

 

He could tell Phil off for being tardy. It was fine.

 

It would be a funny moment to laugh at later.

 

He practically jumped out of his skin when Athena cooed from her basket in the corner of the room. She was still fast asleep, just talking whilst resting it seemed, and Techno relaxed a little. He walked over to the basket and knelt down beside her, letting out a breath he’d been holding.

 

“At least someone is benefitting with an extra-long nap in my panic, huh?” He joked a little, placing his hand into the basket to press protectively order her stomach ( subconsciously counting her little breaths as her stomach rose and fell with each one ) and smiled when she held one of his fingers in her sleep.

 

Even unconscious she was still reaching out for him. He wondered if it was because they were linked with the voices or…

 

Or if she loved him.

 

The words Tommy said floated through his head again and he sighed, closing his eyes with a frown. He wasn’t going to fuck it up, was he? Did Tommy really believe that or was he just saying that because he knew how it would affect Techno?

 

He hadn’t seen the boy since that day. Tommy didn’t want him to visit. Tommy Probably never wanted to see him again. He’d do this favour for him, even if it ate him up a little inside. He hoped he’d learned from his exile now.

 

He shook away the thoughts and looked back at Athena. Tommy wasn’t the most pressing matter anyway right now.

 

“Your grandpa is just running a little late is all, Athena.” He whispered, leaning down to kiss her head before slowly pulling his hand away, feeling a pang in his chest when she whined at his lack of contact. “Sorry baby, but I shouldn’t waste time waiting for him, I gotta actually get everything set up if he’d going to be so late. That man runs by his own clock sometimes.”

 

He hesitated before bending down to kiss her head, settling her back into and content sleep, before he stood and made his way down his ladder into the basement with a stretch. He stepped over the zombie villagers he’d trapped that he had yet to cure (that was one of the plans for him and Phil today) and opened up his chests.

 

It was… strange… he swore he didn’t move anything from these chests but some things weren’t in order and… was there just a pile of dirt in here? What? And there was a stack of golden apples right there-

 

Nevermind, it didn’t matter. Maybe Phil took them last time he visited, or maybe he just put them somewhere else. He still had plenty elsewhere. He could busy himself with sorting some of his inventory for now.

 

When he finally made his way back up to the main floor to busy himself by making some potions, his communicator went off.

 

He felt relief overcome him as he pulled the device from off of his hip. There was no need to worry now, Phil was fine and alive. He didn’t call though, which was unusual for his friend, but a text was enough to calm Techno’s beating heart for now. He was fine.

 

Well… was was the keyword. The messages that he received had him freezing where he stood, sending his mind into a frenzy. No. No no no. No!

 

‘they know where you are. get ready old friend’

 

His breathing hitched and he almost dropped the glass bottles he was holding. No. No! He looked up at the ceiling with fear in his eyes, Athena still fast asleep in his attic. He replied quickly as soon as he remembered how his hands worked.

 

???’ He wrote but there was no response. He messages again. ‘who is they’. 

 

He knew the answer. He knew the fucking answer. Phil never called him old friend unless… unless it meant war. He only called him that when he wasn’t talking to his son. Oh no. Only when he was talking to the man he’d been through battle with. Only when he was talking to the veteran he’d painted snow red with. Old friend. It was practically a code word now.

 

It meant nothing good.

 

they found the compass’

 

‘WHO’ He typed back almost immediately.

 

Techno hurried to look out the window, breathing picking up. They found the compass? How could they find the compass? Phil was supposed to always keep it on him. He was supposed to always have it on his person, or keep it in his enderchest, he wasn’t supposed to let them find it. It wasn’t supposed to be possible to find! He knew how important this was! He knew how dangerous it was if they found him!

 

He knew they could hurt Athena.

 

BLOOD’ ‘KILL THEM’ ‘PROTECT’ ‘BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD’

 

The voices started to get deafening in his ears and he cried out in frustration. “UGHHH NOT NOW! NOT NOW I HAVE TO FOCUS!” He yelled, hurrying back down to his basement to grab more potion stuff and brewing stands as Philza sent him another message.

 

‘quackity and gang’

 

The butcher army. Fuck. FUCK. 

 

“Oh gods, oh gods, oh gods.” He whispered to himself in a panic, climbing back up his ladder as fast as possible and practically ripping hair out of his head. He didn’t have any time. He didn’t have any fucking time.

 

‘they have netherite’

 

He moved to pull on his own armour before opening his enderchest, pulling out his weapons and a totem of undying. He held it with both hands, eyes wide for a moment before tying it around his neck. He knew turning it into a necklace would be a good idea. It dangled next to his friendship emeralds out of sight. They couldn’t know he had it on him. They couldn’t know.

 

big q, ranboo, tubbo, and fundy’

 

Four. Oh gods, there were four of them all against him. And where was Phil? Why wasn’t Phil coming to help? He knew Athena was here. What would she do if they took him? She’d be alone. All alone. How long would he be gone?

 

And why the FUCK was there POLISHED BLACKSTONE in his POTION CHEST.

oh, he was losing it. He was really losing it. He sighed and ran his hands down his face, just wanting to crumple onto the floor and wait for them to come and take him. He didn’t even have any fireworks.

 

This was fine. He was fine… he could take them all on. He could. He pulled at his hair a little.

 

He could.

 

He needed strength potions.

 

He was back in the move in a flash, grabbing gunpowder and climbing back upstairs. The number of ups and downs he was doing was starting to make him feel ill. Why did he have to have so many layers to his house? Why couldn’t he just fucking-

 

He took a deep breath to calm himself before he started to brew strength potions, he couldn’t get overwhelmed. He couldn’t let that happen. 

 

As his potions brewed, he heard a cry from up the ladder and he looked up. Shit. Of all of the times to wake up-

 

Techno hoisted himself up the ladder with ease before going over to the basket, the crying infant calming the second she saw his face. She reached up for him. Despite everything, for a moment he calmed too.

 

“Oh, baby… we’re really in it now, huh?”

 

He picked up the basket and not her despite Athena’s insistence and climbed down the ladder carefully. He was going to need to install stairs one of these days. Finally, he lifted her out of her basket, cradling her in his arms. She didn’t seem to like the cold of his armour all that much, but he couldn’t remove it. Not now.

 

“Hush there, Athena. We will be alright… I’ve got you.” He hesitated. “Techno’s got you.” He wasn’t going to use the other word. He wasn’t her parent. He was just looking after her. That was all.

 

He heard footsteps in the snow outside his home and froze. Was that them? Were they here? His communicator buzzed and the message actually relieved him despite it being a warning.

 

‘hurry, they just left’

 

Then it couldn’t be them. Maybe it was someone here to help? Maybe-

 

He opened the door to check but was just met with Ghostbur outside his cottage, grinning and waving. Techno groaned and closed his eyes. Great. That was just great. Fucking fantastic.

 

He closed the door and returned to his potions, planning on ignoring him, but the ghost fazed through his door anyway. 

 

“Hi, Technoblade! Hi, Athena!” The ghost greeted, smiling as he loomed over the Piglin hybrid and the baby in his arms. Athena cooed up at him and he made a face at her to make her giggled.

 

“Ghostbur, you couldn’t have picked a worse time. This is a terrible time! This is a terrible time, Ghostbur.” Techno gritted, checking his potions again. Athena whined when she was pulled away from the ghost.

 

“Can I help?”

 

He rolled his eyes. “How good are you at violence?”

 

They met each other’s eyes for a long and silent moment before the ghost pulled blue dye from his non-existent pockets and Techno groaned.

 

“Here here, have some blue-“

 

“I don’t have time for your blue, Ghostbur!”

 

“It’ll help, it’ll help.”

 

“Fine!” He accepted the blue and stuffed it into his own pockets with his spare hand before he set Athena down into her basket. He set it onto spare counter space. “I’m trying to brew potions but honestly I don’t even know what I’m brewing anymore. I have no idea.”

 

“You need help with potions? I can help with potions. Just tell me what’s going on, Technoblade, and I’ll help.” The way his brother smiled at him, even this ghost version of his brother, made Techno relax somewhat. It was grounding. Now he had two people to ground him.

 

“Phil- they have the compass. There are like four dudes and they have the compass to my base and they want to kill me, Ghostbur.” He stressed. “There are four dudes and they’re coming and I have Athena here and what if they hurt her and-“

 

“Why are they coming to kill you? What have you done wrong?” Ghostbur asked innocently and Techno sighed. That was the loaded question, wasn’t it? He chose to simply not answer as Ghostbur got distracted again and instead chose to go outside and start placing vines around his house.

 

He was rambling about travelling and melting and all sorts (which was weird because Techno thought he was living with Tommy) but he interrupted him swiftly.

 

“Listen, that’s great, but you need to get out of here, Ghostbur. It’s dangerous and-“ Techno looked over at Athena’s basket and back at Ghostbur. He had a decision to make. He picked up the basket and glanced at his brother.

 

But instead of handing him the basket, instead, he placed it inside the trapdoor box that Philza had made as a hidden compartment. 

 

“Ghostbur, if they take me, I need you to do something very important for me, alright?”

 

“Okay, Technoblade!”

 

“I mean it. This is serious.”

 

“Okay, Technoblade!”

 

The Piglin hybrid sighed, rubbing a hand against his face. This was as good as he was going to get. “Okay. I need you to come back to my house when everyone is gone, open this trapdoor, and take Athena to Phil okay. This is very important. She can’t stay here alone and he can take care of her until I can get her back or…” he hesitated. Or what? He seriously wasn’t considering the possibility of them… he knelt down and stared at Athena. She was awake but quiet, staring at Techno with an almost confused expression. He supposed she wasn’t used to spending every waking moment in his arms. “Yeah. He can take care of her.”

 

He stood again as Ghostbur nodded, not seeming to sense the sombre mood whatsoever. He just had to hope he understood what he was asking anyway. “Okay! Sounds like a plan to me!”

 

“Okay, well, you should leave.” He herded Ghostbur over to the door as he spoke. “It’s dangerous. They will be here any minute now and I still have so many things to do. They could hurt you.”

 

“But it’s snowing, you know I melt when I get wet. The snow is easier to dodge but-“

 

“Then just stand until the trees then!”

 

Ghostbur frowned and peered out the door before suddenly grinning instead. “Oh! Can I get a lead then? I found this blue sheep and he seemed very kind, I would like to keep him.”

 

Techno groaned and ran a hand down his face. “Ghostbur, I don’t have…” he groaned. “Fine. Fine! Let me go grab one.”

 

Luckily he managed to rummage through his main room chest and find one. The Piglin thrust it into his dead brother’s transparent hands before urging him outside. “Now, go on! Please! And stay hidden!” He closed the door behind him with a sigh when the ghost happily floated back out to go catch the blue sheep.

 

“Good luck with your thing, Technoblade!!”

 

That ghost would, ironically, be the death of him.

 

Techno rushed right back into action, running from chest to chest and talking to himself about what he’d need. Trident, water, carrots, apples...

 

“I’m not ready for war.” He said, almost in a manic laugh to himself. That wasn’t like him at all, was it? In retirement not only had he just… felt untouchable, but he also hadn’t felt the urge to prepare for the worst-case scenario like the voices usually fretted over. They had been so distracted by Athena that he’d just forgotten this was a possibility. “I’ve not been ready for war for a while.” Months. It had been months since Athena had arrived in that little basket on his doorstep. Hell, she still slept in it for naps and soon that basket would be too small to fit her comfortably. He was just happy being a…

 

Yeah.

 

He shouldn’t have let his happiness distract him. He cared deeply for her, but that was all the more reason he should’ve been prepared for this. He should’ve been ready for her to be safe.

 

He ate a golden apple whilst he stood and waited in anxiety. “Oh this is not good, this is-“

 

There was a cry from the box he’d hidden Athena in and his eyes widened, scrambling over to the box and opening it up. It was strange. Even in full armours, weapons attached to his hips and back, probably the most threatening Athena had ever seen him, the baby stopped and cooed, reaching for him. She was okay. She just missed him. He sighed and reached a hand in but didn’t take her out, they could be here any minute.

 

“I need you to be quiet, baby… please.” He peered in, adjusting his helmet a little. Athena blinked back, clearly not understanding a word. Despite this, Techno kept talking. “Athena if… if anything happens to me…” He looked away from her, breaking eye contact as he swallowed heavily. His eyes were watering and he sniffed

 

This was dumb, he was talking to a baby. She didn’t understand. She wouldn’t remember. 

 

If he were gone she wouldn’t remember him-

 

“Never mind. Just stay quiet.” Techno quickly closed the trapdoor again and stood in a hurry, trying to get his emotions in check. There was a small whimper from Athena but she didn’t seem to start crying again. Good. Hopefully, she’d go back to sleep.

 

He ignored the voices in his head that demanded he hold her, that he kiss her all over her little head and tell her all of his feelings. It didn’t matter. There were more pressing matters. Besides…

 

  they’d be demanding blood soon enough.

 

Techno paced the length of his room, checking out of his window almost obsessively as well as brewing more potions he possibly wouldn’t need. He had to be ready. He had to be prepared. He’d get them. He wasn’t sure why he was worrying. He’d get them.

 

He hadn’t heard from Phil in a while… he hoped he was okay.

 

They should be here already. They should be. Then why weren’t…

 

Techno poked his head out of his doorways instead and realised he’d been looking the wrong direction the entire time… there was Ghostbur and, with him, 4 enemies in full netherite armour. They were talking.

 

He was torn between hoping Ghostbur wasn’t in danger and also hoping Ghostbur wouldn’t spill secrets about Athena. He wouldn’t tell them, right?

 

Honestly, he wasn’t too sure.

 

Especially when he turned and started to wave to him through his window before leading them towards his house.

 

Techno gasped before hiding out of sight of the window, grabbing his sword with his spare hand as he pressed his armoured back to the wall next to his door. He felt like he couldn't breathe. Usually, battles made him giddy, excited even, but today he didn’t feel in control.

 

Today he had everything to lose.

 

“Technoblade.” Ghostbur stuck his head through his closed door and Techno actually let out a yell, pressing a hand over his chest plate in fear as his heart calmed down from the shock. Ghostbur didn’t seem to notice. “These men say they want to kill you.”

 

“Then why are you leading them over here!”

 

The ghost blinked a few times. “What do you want me to say back?”

 

Techno sighed, shutting his own eyes. His head felt like it was going to fall off of his neck. “I want you to tell them I’m not here and that they’re at the wrong place.”

 

“But that would be lying.”

 

“They’re going to KILL ME, Ghostbur, PLEASE.” He begged, not like the ghost lying would do much but.. maybe it would stay for long enough that Techno could calm down. “For Athena? Please?” He added in an almost inaudible whisper.

 

Ghostbur disappeared for a moment before he stuck his head through the door again. “You have company!” He vanished again and Techno sighed. No. He wouldn’t be so lucky. Not today. But… he stared over at the silent cabinet, his baby hopefully fast asleep inside. Hopefully, he’d be lucky enough…

 

There was a knock at the door and Techno stormed out before they had a chance to storm in, nearly knocking Quackity off his feet. He smirked to himself. Good. He wasn’t going to give them the chance to get inside.

 

Wordlessly, Techno gestured to the snow ground in front of his house where the other three men stood - Tubbo, Fundy, and… he didn’t recognise the third one. He was new. He was not to underestimate that one. Quackity tried to have a staring match with Techno, obviously not wanting to budge, but after a few long moments he submitted and sighed, returning to the ground.

 

All Techno needed to do was push them away from his house. Then he could deal with them properly. All of them. For what they’d to Phil, what they could do to Athena, and what they were planning to do with him. He’d get them all.

 

“Technoblade isn’t here guys!” Ghostbur finally broke the silence as the piglin hybrid descended the stairs. He sighed and put a hand over his face, rubbing the bridge of his snout a little as three of the four men started to talk over each other in objection.

 

“Wilbur-”

“Wilbur we can see-”

“Will-”

 

Techno spoke over them with ease, bearing his tusks a little. Ghostbur didn’t like that name and they should know better. “ Ghostbur , I think it’s… it’s a little bit late for that. It’s a little bit late for that.” But thanks for trying, he wanted to add, but showing any affections towards anyone right now could be dangerous. He’d keep his mouth sealed.

 

Silence settled around them as the three men stared at him, all holding axes and staring with different expressions. They ranged from murderous intent from Quackity and absolutely emotionless from the stranger. If Techno didn’t know any better… he’d suspect he’d been dragged into this.

 

He cleared his throat.

 

“What brings you all to my humble abode? It’s quite the distance from your home.” He walked casually over to his beehives but the four men stuck too close on his tail like glue.

 

“You need to pay for your war crimes,” Tubbo spoke seriously though hesitantly and Techno rolled his eyes as he turned to look at them. He had a feeling that the president here wasn’t actually in charge. He had a feeling… it was Quackity in charge. Which was new. He wouldn’t have expected that before.

 

“That is the past. That happened… roughly half a year ago now. I was a different man, I’ve changed.” It felt a bit insincere when he was dressed head to toe in sparkling netherite armour and had one hand on his sword and the other on a splash potion… but they had lost all of his trust. “I’m in retirement. I’m a good person now, Tubbo.” He tried to smile but he was sure it looked more like a grimace.

 

Oh… if only they had seen just how much he’d grown in those months. Just how much he’d softened and his focus had shifted. Just how much he didn’t care about them as long as the thing that he needed to keep safe the most out of anything… as long as she was safe. She was okay… that’s all he asked for.

 

For a moment, it seemed like Tubbo considered his answer.

 

However, Quackity quickly took charge again.

 

“Techno, you exploded L’Manburg-”

 

“You literally spawned withers everywhere.” Tubbo cut him off, still trying to give the illusion he was in charge. He wasn’t doing too well. Techno was going to have to convince Quackity, who had stepped closer now. 

 

Techno needed to get them away from the house.

 

“I’m sorry, Techno-” ‘ liar’ the voices spat in his ear ‘ dangerous. liar. blood. “-as much as you’ve changed you have to be brought to justice for that.”

 

“Listen. Listen-” Techno backed up as little as the men came closer, starting to spread out around him. He couldn’t let them do that. “I have gone through so much effort in the last few months to change my violent ways, alright? I have reformed.” He swallowed heavily. “The… The voices-”

 

KILL. BLOOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. KILL. PROTECT. ATHENA. ATHENA. ATHENA. KILL. BLOOD. DYE THE SNOW RED. BLOOD. BLOOD. BLOOD. BL-

 

“- they demand blood. And I! I HAVE BEEN DENYING THEM!” He sighed. “I have been fighting back! PLEASE.” He didn’t want to have to beg for his life, but this was as sincere as he could get. As honest with them as he could get. If they didn’t accept that well… He grabbed his sword in warning. “PLEASE… don’t make me kill all of you. Please just leave.”

 

If he killed them… the step back he would take mentally… 

 

It could open the flood gates of violence.

 

There was a long pause of silence before Tubbo and Quackity started to talk over each other again. One saying come peacefully and the other saying that he could not possibly take them all. Techno pulled his sword half out of his scabbard before Quackity spoke up again. 

 

“Actually! Why don’t you show us around… we can do this peacefully. Show us what you’ve been up to.”

 

Techno didn’t trust him… but he put his sword away anyway. “Alright…” He cleared his throat a little. “I got bees here.” He gestured vaguely to the hive behind him. This could be his chance to get them away. “Aren’t the bees nice?”

 

As they started admiring the hives, he downed a fire resistance potion in one mouthful, the spicy liquid burning all the way down. He saw a moment and tried to take off in a sprint. He knew they’d quickly catch him, but it got them further away from Athena.

 

He turned when they caught up with them, pulling out his sword.

 

“Techno, Techno, listen, listen,” Quackity spoke up, obviously sick and tired of the game they were playing. His gaze matched Techno’s in terms of intensity and he knew he’d been underestimating his determination. However, he did know that he’d succeed in PVP against the man.  “We won’t let you get out of here, fucking, in one piece, okay? We’re going to fuck you up Techno. It can either be the easy way or the hard way. We’re going to bring you back to L’Manburg.” He paused. “There is no other way around this.”

 

“Wait, Technoblade can come back to L’Manburg? But what about Athena?” Ghostbur asked innocently from where he stood to the left of them, blue sheep on a lead beside him, and Techno cursed inwardly. He needed to think fast.

 

Quackity let confusion cloud him for a moment and turned to face the ghost. “Who’s Athena?”

 

“If there is no other way-” Techno couldn’t let Ghostbur answer. “If there is no other way…”

 

The piglin hybrid grabbed a handful of potions and smashed them at his feet, causing a feral grin to come over his features. The voices yelled in delight.

 

BLOOD. KILL. E. E. PROTECT. MURDER. SLICE OPEN. BLOOD. BLOOD. BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. SPILL BLOOD. ATHENA. ATHENA. KILL.

 

“I CHOOSE BLOOD.”

 

Before the men could so much as consider what had just happened, he was charging at them with his sword, face twisted in delight as the screamed in shock and fear. His enchanted blade set them alight and his strength potion made the gashes twice as deep despite the netherite armour.

 

Oh, he was winning this fight no problem.

 

The four men worked terribly together, running away in cowardice when one was in danger instead of charging him. Not that they would’ve beaten him, but perhaps they wouldn’t have been losing so dramatically if they had actually had a tactic.

 

He wanted to make it clear he could kill them all, but not take any lives. He watched to bury this hatchet and get them to leave him alone, not start another warm by taking lives. Especially since Tubbo was on one. So when Tubbo was down and not getting back up, he threw his axe as far as he could, bit into a golden apple, and rushed back into the fight. Even if he got back up and found his weapon, there would still be no beating Techno right now.

 

Right now.

 

BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD.

 

Right now, he was The Blade .

 

Next down was Fundy. He hardly put up a fight. Now it was just the other one and Quackity to get begging for mercy, then he would’ve one.

 

“DEATH. DEATH!” He chanted along with his voices, laughing maniacally as he tossed yet another weapon into the abyss of snow. He turned around, not wanting them to catch him by surprise as he bit into another apple, only to find Quackity only six blocks behind him.

 

He wasn’t holding an axe though.

 

He wasn’t sure how he’d let his hearring grow that badly… the voices had been so loud.

 

How had he not heard the upset screaming of his little girl?

 

Of course… the voices. Overtaking him, yelling with such passion. She would’ve been scared. She was alone and it would have been loud and scary and-

 

And now she was being held awkwardly in Quackity’s arms, not dressed for the cold weather, with her face bright red from screaming. Her little chubby arms reached out for him and her cries only got worse. Quackity held Athena too tightly. For a moment, all Techno saw was red.

 

“What are you doing with her?"

 

“So this is Athena?”

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Techno tried to keep up a poker face, not lowering his sword.

 

Quackity wasn’t buying it, clearly, but Techno wasn’t going to drop the act if it saved Athena’s life. He never had to see her again. He just needed her to be safe. However, the man instead pulled his axe back up again and held it just in front of the child.

 

Techno sucked in a breath.

 

“You were saying?”

 

“I’ve never seen that child before in my life.” He tried to double down. “Go ahead, I won’t stop you.” The voices were screaming so hard in his head that it was hard to focus on anything. His eyes were glued on Athena and his heart broke for her.

 

The other pulled his axe back ready to strike. “Alright-”

 

“Quackity,” Tubbo spoke up from where he stood around them. He was wounded but a health potion was already closing the slashes that had gotten through the armour. They were all backup and around them. “That’s a child. We didn’t agree upon this.”

 

It’s a thing. ” Quackity spat and Techno had to resist the urge to growl. “It’s like him. One less of them is better. Besides, he doesn’t care.” Tubbo didn’t argue back. Techno needed him to argue back, why was he just going to sit back and let this happen?

 

She was perfect, she was absolutely gorgeous and perfect, even whilst she was screaming her little lungs out. How couldn’t any of them see that?

 

Techno grit his teeth, gripping his sword so tightly had knuckles turned white. His eyes didn’t remove from the baby. His baby. He had to keep his baby safe. Quackity wouldn’t. Even he wasn’t that evil. Even he wouldn’t kill a baby. Kill Athena…

 

Right?

 

“Alrighty then.” The back spoke, almost cheerily, and Techno finally raised his eyes to look at him. They widened in shock. Quackity wasn’t bluffing. He really was willing to do anything to get to Techno.

 

The man struck down with the axe, aiming for Athena’s head.

 

The only sound was the heavy crunch of a sword hitting fresh untouched snow and the continuing scream of one little girl as Techno and Quackity were now face to face. Blood from Techno’s palm poured down the back of his hand and stained Athena’s lovely pink hair as he grabbed the blade to stop it. He’d used his other hand to stop the handle.

 

They stared one another in the eyes.

 

“Please… Anyone but her. Anything but her… she’s just a baby.” Techno begged, voice soft and desperate. “She can’t protect herself. She is innocent in all of this, she doesn’t need to be involved in this war. We do not want to be involved in this war. I will never interfere again, please, if you just let us go home… We just want to go home and be happy.

 

Quackity grinned like a mouse who got the cheese. He’d found The Blade’s weakness and he couldn’t be happier. “That’s not how it works.” Quackity put more pressure on the axe and Techno’s face twisted in pain, but he still didn’t let go. “Remove all of your armour and weapons. Everything you’ve got it, hand it over to us. Potions, food too, hand it over.”

 

“Please-”

 

“Quackity, maybe he’s right, maybe we should-”

 

“SHUT UP, TUBBO!” The group fell silent again. “Stuff. On the ground. Now.”

 

There was a long staring match between the two, neither obviously wanting to back down, but… unlike earlier, and despite the screaming voices, Techno was the one who backed up. His bloody hand shook as he did so and Quackity lowered his axe. Thank god.

 

He dropped all of his armour, weapons, and potions. When pushed to drop more he hesitated before emptying his pockets of everything besides what they wouldn’t notice.

 

“Drink this.” Came a new voice to his left and the piglin hybrid, shaking both due to the cold and blood loss, saw the stranger among them hold out a red potion. A health potion.

 

“Ranboo, what are you-”

 

“Do you want him to bleed out here?” The man responded. His tone wasn’t aggressive, more like he was genuinely asking a question, and when no one answered Techno accepted the potion from the stranger. Ranboo. He didn’t thank him though. He was one of the four reasons he stood there shivering after all.

 

After he’d downed the potion and dropped the glass before Fundy came up behind him and tied his bloody hands behind his back.

 

“Sorry about this… uncle.” He whispered. Techno said nothing, eyes glued on the still very upset, uncomfortable, and cold baby in Quackity’s arms.

 

Techno felt the cold metal of the totem bounce against his chest.

Chapter Text

 The sun shone brightly through the buildings of New L’Manburg. The aesthetic of the wooden houses on stilts along with the flags decorating the place in blue, red, white, and yellow very appealing to the eye. The light was just starting to set, casting everything in an orange glow.  And now that there was no longer a wall built up around the country… it was gorgeous.

 

Exotic fish swam through the old TNT crater turned lake and the coral brought colour to the once drab nation.

 

One might argue, that Wilbur pressing that button was the best thing that could’ve happened to the place.

 

It was silent, not one citizen out of their homes and walking around. Mostly due to the majority of them were getting out of boats on the dock, with a traitor in bindings, but also because one remained shut inside his own home. Wings clipped, ankle bracelet equipped. No end in sight… No exit allowed.

 

Some would say the empty was peaceful, but the half piglin only felt dread as their boat stopped and the president of this great nation got to his feet. His eyes were glued on a rather tall structure that stood where his wanted poster once had… that wasn’t there before.

 

Was that for him?

 

They said he’d have a fair trial...

 

Techno stepped out of the boat before anyone had the chance to push him onto the dock and make him lose his footing, Tubbo grabbing a hold of the rope that tied his hands together just to make sure he didn’t try running anywhere. Not like he’d dare. Not with Quackity still manhandling Athena to his right.

 

He’d tried asking several times for them to tie his hands in front of him again and let him hold Athena properly, but he was shot down each time. He had even offered to show Quackity how she liked being held but he didn’t listen. It seemed as if he was enjoying her cries of upset… or maybe he was just enjoying Techno’s distress at hearing them.

 

She’d quietened down a little now. Honestly, the poor baby had probably just exhausted herself from screaming or hurt her vocal cords so badly that she couldn’t continue rather than her actually calming down. Now she was just sniffling and letting out the occasional whimper.

 

At least it was a little warmer here than at his cottage so she hopefully wouldn’t catch a cold.

 

They stepped onto the grass just before L’Manburg and Quackity stopped them all, still holding Athena like she was some sort of trophy. Like she was proof that they won. Techno pulled against Tubbo a little bit and felt the president hold on a little tighter.

 

The energy in the air was all kinds of just… wrong.

 

“Fellas… Fellas, stop. I just want everyone to gather around.” His grin turned feral. “Technoblade! This is the day. This is the night in which… you’re finally brought to justice. So much fucking pain you have brought to our country…” He held Athena tighter. “And now it’s time to end it all.”

 

There was silence among the rest as Quackity let out a small chuckle, Techno snarled lowly. 

 

“Technoblade, I’m sorry, but I’m just so excited. I’m just so excited to finally- ” He squeezed Athena a little as he spoke “- be able to make you pay for what you have done. To this nation. To me… You deserve everything that’s coming for you.”

 

Almost all of them started to talk over each other then and Techno just continued to snarl, his loose long hair a mess as the wind started to pick up. It was such a shame. It was such a nice day too.

 

“Home sweet home.” Quackity grinned as they walked onto the wooden planks that decorated the nation. He was the only one however that seemed to be so giddy of their victory. In fact, Techno hadn’t seen Ranboo crack so much as a smirk the entire time. Almost like he didn’t want to be involved.

 

Techno walked in the place he had been banished from months ago, back pocket full of blue and a totem dangling in front of his chest. It didn’t feel like enough when surrounded by the group in full netherite armour. After all… he didn’t even know how they worked… what he did know for sure, is they only worked once.

 

They could kill him more than once if they tried hard enough.

 

And Athena didn’t have a totem at all…

 

“Let me just put Athena down over here.” Quackity set the child down on one of the chairs set in front of the cage he assumed was made for him and the piglin hybrid shivered at the concept of them forcing his-... Them forcing Athena to watch. Even if she didn’t understand.

 

“You actually got him.” Came a quiet but angry voice from Techno’s left and, though they were both in sorry states, he was just happy to see Phil okay. The man stood on his balcony, ankle bracelet attached to his foot and wings in the full and angry display. His flight wings had been clipped. It would be weeks until they grew back. He’d been grounded. Literal house arrest.

 

That’s why he couldn’t come to help them.

 

“Shut up, old man!”

 

“Phil, what did they do to you?!” Techno cried out in anger, trying to pull away from his bindings properly for one of the first time. Tubbo pulled back. 

 

“He’s just under house arrest, Techno!”

 

“They put these ankle bracelets on me and clipped my wings-”

 

“YOU GUYS LEAVE PHIL ALONE!” The piglin turned and barred his teeth at them, causing at least Fundy to flinch a little. He pulled hard enough and managed to pull out of Tubbo’s hold for a moment. “LEAVE PHIL ALONE. LET HIM GO. JUST TAKE ME IN-” In his anger he threw his foot out and kicked Ranboo’s armour, only to be met with intense pain. Seems like the kid had enchanted it with thorns. He’d never actually felt the pain caused by thorns before.

 

Tubbo pushed him forward when he doubled over in pain and knelt on his back, keeping him down as Techno groaned in pain. He tasted blood from his lip where he’d bitten it during his bought of pain and the voices went into a frenzy.

 

“So that’s what it feels like to punch me…”

 

“Let him go!” Phil yelled from the balcony, reminding Techno what drove him into that frenzy, to begin with. “He-“ 

 

Suddenly the voice cut off, but Techno couldn’t see anything but the floor from where he was lying. 

 

“YOU BASTARDS! LET HER GO!” Suddenly came a yell. It seemed like Philza had just realised the cause of Techno coming so calmly to his own trial. “SHE IS A BABY! SHE IS INNOCENT IN ALL OF THIS!”

 

Techno snarled and started to try and get up again, but Quackity came over and put his foot over his head, holding him down with his boot.

 

“Stay the fuck down, pig freak.” Techno couldn’t see what Quackity was doing, but he was almost certain he heard him pulling his axe back off of his back. “Tubbo. Grab his hair.”

 

“What are you-“ Techno was cut off when Tubbo grabbed at his long pink hair tightly. It wasn’t in a braid today, he didn’t have time and he’d hoped that Phil would do it before they left. He was so much better at it than Techno was.

 

It would be smarter to learn how to maybe it better himself, but he admittedly liked the excuse.

 

The long hair fell down the whole of his back when left untouched, it was sometimes inconvenient but he wouldn’t have it any other way. He saw it as a sign of strength. As a show of pride.

 

It seemed like Quackity knew this.

 

The only warning he got was Phil screaming out before his head suddenly felt a whole lot lighter and a long handful of hair was dumbed right in front of him. The back of his neck felt cold.

 

His breathing hitched.

 

“What are you now, huh?” Quackity grinned, stepping off of Techno’s head and grabbing his now short hair to force the hybrid to look up at him. The look on his face was probably pitiful but all the other man could do was laugh.

 

Suddenly Tubbo was off of his back and Techno was pulled onto his feet. He felt numb. Athena was screaming, the voices were echoing, and Philza was yelling and he felt numb. Over a few strands of hair no less. He was pathetic.

 

He’d been growing that hair since before he was 16. Since he decided he was going to be a strong warrior like the ones that decorated his history books. The ones who used their long hair as a show of strength. How could he be strong without it…

 

It was a silly thing to rely on. His strength didn’t actually come from his hair, but… it was still a blow to that almost childish nature inside of him that had taken so many hits. That had been shattered again and again.

 

It had been so long.

 

It would take him so long to grow it back… if he survived that was.

 

The hair that now laid sadly on the ground was probably the last that remained of anything pure that was his own. Now all that was left was a man that had been fought with again and again.

 

Before he realised where he was being led to, his mind still in an autopilot haze, he had been trapped into an iron cage with two panes of glass on the front and an open roof. With his hands tied behind his back, it would be near impossible to swiftly climb out… besides, Athena was right over there next to Fundy.

 

He wouldn’t be able to get to her before any of them did.

 

Sure, he could probably run and get out of here no problem but he’d rather die than leave Athena behind. She didn’t deserve this. She didn’t deserve any of this. It was his fault. It was all his fucking fault. 

 

Quackity laughed at him in his cage but Tubbo looked emotionless like he was forcing himself to be professional and not show the clear doubt over his features. Techno could see it in his Fundy consistently seemed torn between looking like Quackity over the situation to looking like Tubbo. Techno had a feeling his Nephew was doing this as a twisted way of avenging his father, despite the fact Wilbur would’ve never wanted this. Techno didn’t even have a part in his death… but Fundy was just a kid. Techno understood he needed to blame someone, he just wished it wasn’t him. And then Ranboo. Honestly, Ranboo looked like he hadn’t been apart of this plain originally, staring at this all as if he had just been invited that very morning to hunt him down.

 

Despite his height, it was clear he was a kid too. They all were… except Quackity. Quackity seems to have manipulated them all into thinking this was a good idea. That this would fix things.

 

Even if Techno lost all three of his lives here today, in this tiny little cage without getting to say goodbye to his daughter, they all must know this would fix nothing.

 

There would be no celebration for that victory.

 

“I’m starting to get the feeling this isn’t actually a trial.” Techno sighed, any hope for a peaceful reconciliation out the window. He stared up to his right at Phil as he stood there. His feathers were ruffled and his face full of silent rage. He nearly laughed to himself. He pitied whoever tried to even try to interact with Phil after this.

 

They’d not be met with a very warm reception.

 

“That you’ve already-”

 

“Technoblade.” Qauckity interrupted him.

 

“Already determined the outcome.” Techno finished, looking up at the tall tower above him. As he did, everyone else seemed to as well, as if they all just suddenly decided to notice the looming elephant in the room.

 

“Technoblade, this isn’t actually a trial.” Quackity grinned and Tubbo agreed, making his way over to the bottom of the looming tower. There was a lever there and his hand was dangerously close to pulling it. Techno kept his face totally void of emotion. “If you look up, you should see an anvil-”

 

“Actually from my angle, I just see some wood, so-”

 

“Well, there is an anvil there, Technoblade.” Quackity interrupted sharply. His eyes had rage hidden within them. He was not taking any of Techno’s joking remarks today. Not now. “And upon pulling that lever, it will kill you. We are going to kill you, Technoblade.” 

 

“This is an execution,” Tubbo confirmed as Techno stared over at him.

 

The piglin hybrid was full of dread, wishing his hands were not tied so he could at least hold his totem of undying in his hands. He was full of so many nerves that his knees were actually shaking a little and his eyes kept darting around, trying to find something to focus on. He’d never used a totem before… how did they ever work? How much would this anvil hurt him? It stopped him from dying, but what state would it leave his body in after?

 

An anvil dropping wasn’t as simple as a stab wound.

 

What if it didn’t work? What if he did something wrong and it didn’t work?

 

He didn’t want to die. What would they do to Athena if he did?

 

“Tubbo, please do the honours of explaining to everyone here, what exactly is going on here.” Quackity smiled, gently patting the horned man on the shoulder before returning back to the seated area. The president stood taller and Techno watched him with bated breath.

 

“Technoblade has robbed our country.” The man- no, the boy started. “Robbed it of everything that made it special. Of everything that defined what it was. He stepped in when he shouldn’t have. He created chaos! He ruined the governments-”

 

Snowballs flew into the wooden area from off on top of the houses and everyone turned to look, confused. Tubbo spoke first.

 

“Punz is throwing fucking- right- uh.”

 

And before anything more could be said, Punz jumped into the area with TNT in one hand and his sword in the other and everything went crazy. Techno watched in total and utter shock, panicking a little when he placed TNT around them. Athena couldn’t run if he set that off and Techno was trapped. He didn’t care if he was saved if Athena couldn’t be.

 

He scanned his eyes through the busy crowd as a fight broke out, everyone yelling at each other, but Athena was nowhere to be seen. He could’ve sworn she had been right in that seat to the far left… had someone taken her? Where? When? How hadn’t he noticed?

 

Techno felt the panic start to well up inside him, especially as Quackity and Tubbo started to scream for someone to pull the lever. No. No, where was she?! Who had her?!

 

“Technoblade,” Ghostbur spoke from the right of the caged piglin and Techno’s head snapped over hopefully. Unfortunately, Athena was still nowhere in sight. Instead, Ghostbur showed the piglin hybrid the sheep he’d brought back from outside of Techno’s cabin with a bright grin. “I’ve named him Friend.”

 

Despite the timing, Techno couldn’t find it within himself to be mad at the ghost. “That’s fantastic, Ghostbur, that’s fantastic.” He sighed, turned away from the floating back and back towards everyone yelling and fighting. He continued to look for Athena as he did so. “I’m about to die, Ghostbur.”

 

“PULL IT.”

 

“KILL HIM!”

 

Tubbo turned away from Punz and raced to the lever. It felt like time went in slow motion as he pulled it down and Techno looked up. It felt like it took too long for the block to pull back and reveal the anvil that had been sitting on top of it. It even seemed like for a second it was just floating there.

 

He looked away and crouched a little, lifting his arms from where they were tied behind his back. Catching the anvil was very unlikely to actually help but… he had to give himself the best chance. For Athena. If he had more time to think, perhaps a better option would’ve arrived rather than ‘catch the anvil on your back but it was all he could do.

 

His eyes squeezed shut as everyone continued to fight around him. No one was even paying attention to him. Which worked perfectly if the totem worked and he lived, it meant he could make a break for it, but if the totem didn’t work…

 

Did he really want to lose his first life surrounded by so many people yet feeling overwhelmingly alone?

 

He didn’t want to lose his first life at all.

 

What would it feel like? Would it be cold? Dark? How long would it take to come back? Would it just feel like a nap? Would it hurt?

 

Where would he wake up? What would they do with Athena whilst he was out?

 

The slam of the cold and hard anvil against his hands and back knocked the wind out of him as Techno was knocked headfirst into the iron bars. His legs stuttered but stayed strong as he tried to push the anvil up. However… It was a losing game. He squinted one eye closed as he started to bleed from his head wound and his back cracked in pain as his bones broke under the weight and pressure of the anvil he was carrying out of pure adrenaline alone. He cried out, sight starting to go dark as his body started to give in. Until suddenly there was a massive surge of heat in his chest… right where the totem of undying was tucked between his shirt and his chest.

 

It felt molten hot suddenly, a sharp contrast from the icy metal before, and Techno lost his breath just as the totem practically exploded with energy. It hurt. Oh, fuck did it hurt. He felt the heat against his chest go from warm to scorching. Practically felt his chest scaring. His back ached, his main hand shook, his head bled, his neck was cold, and his chest was on fire. But with the flood of adrenaline, he suddenly felt he didn’t notice. He didn’t notice any of it.

 

He lost his grip on the anvil suddenly, his energy finally giving out, and he panicked, but the feeling of being crushed never came. The bleeding from his head wound stopped, his broken bones clicked unnaturally back into place, and the anvil just… fell right through him. Like, as if for a moment, he’d been transparent. Like a ghost. It just fell through him. Was this what Ghostbur felt like when he moved through walls? He stepped on top of the iron anvil and he seemed to become solid again. He had no idea how it worked.

 

He shook breathlessly for a moment, feeling absolutely numb as shouting continued around him. Then he caught sight of a familiar masked man off by a hole in the wall to his far left, holding what looked like a bundle of blankets from this distance…

 

He knew that’s where he needed to know. Dream had practically handed over the totem that had just saved his life, had probably sent Punz in as a distraction, and most definitely was holding his little girl in his arms. He had no idea why, and it didn’t sit right with him, but he had no time to argue with it.

 

He owed that man both of their lives and he needed to go.

 

On unsteady legs, he climbed over the iron bars and took off in a sprint, ignoring the shouts of anger from behind when they realised both that he wasn’t dead and that he was escaping too. He just needed to get to Dream.

 

The moment he got into the lit-up cave, Dream blocked up the path behind him so the others wouldn’t follow with his spare hand, still holding the whimpering bundle of blankets in the other, and Techno uncomfortably shifted from foot to foot as he waited. He considered just pulling Athena from his grasp, but angering another person helping him right now would end poorly.

 

Luckily for him, it wasn’t much longer before Dream handed the baby over. “Here you go. Safe and sound.”

 

Techno let out a sigh of relief, holding Athena properly with both arms and tucking her against his chest. Her crying stopped just as his eyes started to well up. “Oh, my baby.” Showing so much vulnerability in from of Dream felt dangerous, but at least the smiley face mask turned away to give them some privacy. Techno moved the blanket away to kiss her head once, then twice, and then again. He peppered her little tear-stained cheeks in all the kisses that he’d ever held back from giving her before.

 

“Daddy’s got you.” He whispered as he held her against his chest again. “Daddy’s right here. He’s got you. Those bad men are far away from you now and I won’t let them take you again. Daddy’s so sorry.” He was sorry for letting them take her, yes, but he was sorry for so much else. “I’m sorry for not telling you I was your Daddy before but I was scared. I’m telling you now though. I’m Daddy. You can call me Daddy.”

 

There was absolutely nothing to apologise for, the kid had probably never even noticed, but Techno had. Techno had been trying to be her father whilst also avoiding the serious fatherhood names and, therefore, the roles. That wasn’t how this worked. That wasn’t how any of this worked. He had to commit. Show her that he cared enough to commit. And it almost took them both losing a life but…

 

Dream cleared his throat and Techno looked back up from where he’d nuzzled his face into Athena’s short and soft pink hair, growling a little out of instinct as he called at the smiley. Dream, of course, didn’t react.

 

“We don’t have a lot of time. Follow this tunnel down to a room with chests and open the one with your name on it. You will get some stuff to help you get home and then you need to follow the sewers out.” The masked man pointed down the tunnel and then nodded back at Techno.

 

The piglin hybrid’s sour expression didn’t change. “Why are you helping us? You helped me get the totem of undying too. Why?”

 

Techno was certain that Dream was smiling even under the mask. “You know why.”

 

And with that, Dream ran out and was gone as quickly as he showed up, leaving Techno protectively holding Athena with both arms. He held her a little tighter. He did know. He knew exactly why. He’d just been really hoping that he’d been wrong…

 

He pulled back a little to look down at Athena and relaxed somewhat. She sniffled, her cheeks tear-stained, but still managed to look happy to see her Daddy again. Whatever Dream was planning… it did not matter. The truth was, Techno owned Dream his life. Possibly her life too. And because of that, Techno owed him.

 

Whatever that favour would be, Techno would do it. No questions asked. If not for his morals, then for Athena.

 

His head snapped up again at shouts from beyond the one block thick cobblestone wall and he remembered that it was not over yet. He was still in L’Manburg. He needed to get out. Holding Athena close, he ran as fast as he could to that room Dream directed him towards, a blackstone room full of chests that he’d never seen before.

 

There was a sign before he entered. ‘The final control room’ it read. He wrecked his mind for what it was since the name seemed familiar, but he couldn’t remember. It was fine. It was either not worth remembering or he would remember it later. He had other things he needed to do.

 

It was interesting… All of the chests here that had a name on them seemed to be a block apart except from one. The one with his name on it.

 

Carefully, he put Athena down and leaned her against one of the blackstone walls so she could stay sitting up. She let out a whimper and he froze, not wanting to make any noise and accidentally alert the butcher army, but she quietened again. Thank the Gods for that.

 

He looked at the chest that stood out from the others. Out of curiosity, despite the urgency of the situation, Techno took a moment to open up one of the other chests. They were covered in a layer of thick dust and obviously been untouched in a long time before his own. The whole room had been. The chest was empty and when the half man half piglin brushed off the dirt from the sign it revealed Wilbur’s name.

 

“Heh?”

 

Something didn’t sit right with him about that… Something about this room didn’t sit right with him. But they didn’t have time to worry about that. He turned to the cleanest block in the room, his own chest, and opened it up.

 

Unlike the other chests, it was full, however not full of things he’d been hoping for.

 

Sure, there were a couple of golden apples, some potions, they were nice, but instead of the netherite armour he’d been wearing before, it was full of weak armour. And instead of any weapon, inside was only a netherite pickaxe. A netherite pickaxe? Really? What the hell was he supposed to do with that? He’d have preferred a sword, an axe, anything!

 

Still, it was better than nothing and his bare fists he supposed.

 

Quickly, he struggled to pull on the iron armour, hopping on one foot as he looked down a thin dark tunnel that seemed to show light on the other side. He supposed that was the direction he was supposed to be heading in.

 

Well, it certainly wasn’t behind him, was it?

 

He turned to look at the old room again only to find an ender chest too. Oh! Perfect! He opened it up and pulled out a couple more potions before hesitating at the sight of his spare totem of undying. He thought of the pain he was starting to feel in his chest, the clicking of his bones being placed back together… nonetheless, he picked it up. It was more important to stay alive than his discomfort.

 

He shoved it in his pocket, he’d need to carry Athena with his spare arm and swing the pickaxe with his other. It would be harder to fight with his hands full, but he would do it if he had to. He’d always do what he had to do for her.

 

He heard a whimper from Athena behind him and someone who was certainly not his daughter clearing their throat, filling him with absolute dread.

 

He fucking knew he shouldn’t have put her down. Gods, why did he put her down. No. No, he should’ve picked her back up immediately, held her close. Or kept a closer eye on here. Not got distracted. He was practically begging to turn around and see Phil or Wilbur, hell, even Dream would do. But when Athena let out an unhappy shriek like she was being manhandled, he knew who it was.

 

He turned around, murder in his eyes, as Quackity stood there, looking cocky as he held his daughter for the second time that way. He held her in one arm, pressed far too close against his body, and with the other spare hand he held a diamond axe. Techno gripped his pickaxe tighter with both hands. How was he supposed to avoid hitting Athena with something as huge and clumsy as a pickaxe?

 

“Didn’t think I’d be lucky enough to get ahold of her twice today.” The man leaned forward with a smug grin that Techno wasn’t to absolutely ruined.

 

“Quackity-“ he growled but was cut off.

 

“What the fuck is this, Techno?” Quackity stepped forward, obviously trying to corner him. Techno could just run down that hall, yes, but… he stares at Athena. He had failed for the second time today. “What the hell are you doing here? How the FUCK- how the hell did that anvil not kill you?”

 

Techno made a conscious effort not to make any motion towards the totem in his pocket, just continuing to stand his ground. He actually laughed at the question. Even with Quackity in front of him with the obvious higher ground, the obvious difference in armour, weapons, and the fact that he held Athena was in his arms, Techno was still in charge of the situation. He stepped forward and, this time, Quackity stepped back.

 

Oh. He was scared. Techno’s look of concern turned into a wicked grin.

 

“Oh? You really thought you could kill me that easily?”

 

“How- How did you do it? What? How did you even do that?” 

 

The tables had turned so quickly. Techno knew that Quackity was afraid of him. Afraid of his power. His ability to stay alive. Techno pushed it harder. “You think death can stop me, Quackity?” He stepped forward again. “You know what? You know what, I have a lot to say. I was going to say it at the trail but we got a little bit interrupted, Quackity.” He rested his pickaxe on his shoulder, making it look like he wasn’t concerned, that he was casual about the whole thing when in reality he was just waiting for an opening. “You know I tried conceiving you guys that government was not the answer.” Another step. “That government was the cause of all your problems, alright?”

 

There was silence in the room besides Athena’s soft sniffles. It made Techno uneasy, but he pushed on.

 

“I tried fighting alongside you as brothers, and you just cast me aside.” His voice started to get louder. Another step forward, another step back from Quackity. “You used me! I tried to use force, but you STILL formed a government. AND THEN when I went into hiding, when I RETIRED! When I swore off violence! WHEN I JUST WANTED TO RAISE MY DAUGHTER IN PEACE.” He was pushing Quackity back into the tunnel he came through now. “ You hunted me down . You hurt my friends. You hurt my family. ” Techno growled lowly, voices in his head practically streaming.

 

BLOOD. BLOOD. GET HER. HES HOLDING HER. LOVE. DAUGHTER. KILL. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD.

 

Techno wasn’t going to let Quackity get away with this. Even if he was going to have to tear him apart with his pickaxe piece by piece.

 

“You don’t understand, Techno. You don’t understand what we’re trying to build here, Techno.” Quackity’s hands tightened on his weapon and Techno’s own daughter and the piglin hybrid snarled. “This is not-”

 

“You’re trying to build your own power-”

 

“This is not a simple anarchy thing.” Quackity stepped forward, trying to lower his voice and come out on charge again. Techno didn’t budge, refusing to back down. If Quackity raised his hand against Athena, he’d lose a life. And if he took one of hers… 

 

He’d lose all three left.

 

“This is what you don’t understand, right? Techno… you really think I give a shit about the withers ? No.” This statement, Techno would admit, threw him off for a moment. He… What? What was all of this about then if not the battle of Manburg? Why else would he be being executed? Unless… Techno straightened a little. Quackity really was using Tubbo as the president to get his way. He’d told him that Techno needed to pay for the withers. He’d lied. “You are on the hitlist, Techno. You’re on the fucking hitlist. And you know what, so is your kid.”

 

Techno growled but was equally angry coupled with his confusion. Why was Quackity even talking about… “What hitlist?” They weren’t safe here. They needed to go. What if Quackity was just stalling for time?

 

I’m building a country here, Techno. What we have out there is a country. And what we need here is an organisation of power.” Qauckity stepped forward again and this time, before he could stop himself, Techno stumbled back into the dimly lit room. He could see Quackity’s smirk under his helmet. “And I don’t care how long it fucking takes me, or what I have to do to get you , Techno. I’m going to fucking kill you.

 

The tension in the room was so thick, you could slice it with a knife. Not even Athena dared to make a noise.

 

I’m going to kill you, Technoblade. Maybe if you come easily, your little freak here will -” The other man said, but was cut off before he spoke again

 

T“I just have one question for you, Quackity?”

 

“What do you have?”

 

Do you think you are enough to kill me?” Techno spoke lowly, voice flat. He showed no sign of emotion when he spoke, though it seemed to be enough to throw Quackity off for at least a moment. He stepped forward and pushed Quackity back again, nearly getting them both into the entry tunnel again. “Even unarmed, wearing iron armour, and holding my daughter hostage, do you really think you can take me?”

 

“Oh, I do.” Quackity willingly backed up, Athena still pressed against his cold netherite armour. It was clear he wasn’t putting her down. He was low enough to use an actual baby… as a shield . “You know what… You fucking come find out YOU SON OF A BIT-” 

 

Without hesitation, Techno raised past him and into the hallway, building a one-block wall behind him quickly to give him the opportunity to use his splash potions and eat a golden apple as Quackity swore at him and mined through. He considered eating the god apple Dream had left him too… but when he turned around, Quackity was headed for him with his axe out and he had no time. He grabbed his own pickaxe with both hands and started swinging.

 

His heart was caught in his throat, voices causing his head to pound every time he narrowly missed Athena, Quackity using her to protect his chest. It was a strategic move. Techno could get his limbs, but not his torso for a finishing blow…

 

Luckily the torso wasn’t the only place to aim for a killing blow.

 

“GET OUT OF HERE! GET OUT OF HERE, LEAVE ME AND MY DAUGHTER ALONE.” Techno raised his pickaxe higher, his brain running through all of the opportunities he had before he grinned in feral realisation. He blocked and dodged yet another swing of Quackity’s axe. “I HAVE A PICKAXE AND ILL PUT IT THROUGH YOUR TEETH. ILL PUT IT THROUGH YOU TEETH, QUACKITY! ” He spat as the other tried to talk over him. Techno wasn’t letting himself be interrupted again.

 

As Techno started to direct his pickaxe towards Quackity’s face, which was still too close to Athena for comfort, Quackity started focusing more on using his armoured forearms to block the pick from his face, landing fewer hits. Yes. Yes, this was going just as planned.

 

Quackity’s voice broke when he yelled back, his anger and frustration finally properly coming out. “YOU HAVE DONE SO MUCH FUCKING DAMAGE TO EVERYTHING WE’VE BEEN BUILDING ALL A FUCKING LONG, TECHNO.” He tried another blind swing at him that Techno easily dodged, grinning at himself all the more. His swings were getting desperate. Were getting sloppy. “IF THERE IS ONE FIGHT THAT IM PLANNING TO WIN IT IS THIS ONE. SO DON’T EVEN FUCKING-”

 

Techno did not hesitate when the perfect opportunity arose to slam his pickaxe right through the bottom of Qauckity’s jaw. The sharp end of the echantanted tool piercing the skin and needing to be forced through the muscle and bone. Techno pushed the pick through with force that not only succeeded in breaking Quackity’s jaw in two… but also pushed through his skull and into his eye socket. Techno watched with a twisted skin and the curve of the tool cause the sharp end to take the man’s eye out with it, all the movement knocking off his helmet so the half piglin had the most perfect view of it as his face way sprayed with blood.

 

He laughed and laughed and laughed. The timing, the feeling, the success… he’d known Quackity was too weak. He should have never even tried. He held him up by the pickaxe for a moment, enjoying the look of horror on his face as blood ran down the pickaxe handle over onto his arm. His hands painted red was almost a direct comparison to Quackity and his axe before.

 

For a moment, all, Techno could see was the blood.

 

And then, all he could hear was the crying.

 

He snapped back at reality, remembering Athena, and was full of panic as he nearly dropped the pickaxe. No. No it was the only thing keeping the dying man up, keeping Athena up. He slowly moved one arm so he could hold the pickaxe with one hand and grabbed his daughter. Quackity was too weak to keep a hold of her.

 

She’d been so close to the pickaxe, meer centimetres, if he’d been any further left… He hadn’t been thinking. The move paid off, but it nearly happened. He dropped the pickaxe, and thus Quackity, before holding Athena close with both arms this time. He was leaving blood stains against her clothes, but it was fine, these were just her sleeping clothes anyway. Besides, the blood from his jaw had already stained her hair, as had Techno’s own blood from earlier, so she was due a nice long bath.

 

Techno almost took the time to bolt there and then, but he wasn't done.

 

He pulled the pickaxe out from Quackity’s jaw, watching as blood pooled out from behind it, and held Athena against his chest so she wouldn’t see. Luckily for him, it seemed like she’d missed her Daddy enough for her to not want to let go. 

 

Quackity tried to speak, but no words came out, and with one hand Techno raised his pickaxe.

 

BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD.

 

“Tell the others. Take her from me again, touch her again , and a lot worse than this will happen. I’m coming out of retirement.” He grinned, that feral look back in his eyes. “The blood god… it’s hungry .”

 

The man screamed as the final blow was delivered.

 

-

 

Unsurprisingly, Athena slept all the way home. The day has been a long one and the tedious walk home had been just enough to send her to sleep. She clutched at his shirt collar that peaked out of his armour for comfort as she did so, it being the only thing she could grab. Usually she went for his hair or his cape, but he hadn’t taken his cloak with him today, and his hair…

 

He shook it off. It was just hair. He shouldn’t let it upset him so much. He’d nearly lost something far more precious today too many times, one almost by his own hand. He could deal with a bad haircut.

 

For now. 

 

Athena shivered and he held her closer. They were nearly home now, but that also meant it was freezing, especially during the night. He needed to get them home soon and by the fire or else they’d both get the cold.

 

Techno… he hurt all over. There was nothing he wanted more than a nice and warm sleep right now. His chest felt scarred and hurt to breathe, though the totem healed his bones after the anvil they still ached his every step, his head ached from where he’d split it open, and it seemed like he could not stop his right hand from shaking from when he’d sliced it open, especially now they were in the cold. He hoped that wouldn’t be a permanent problem.

 

‘There was at least one good thing that came from today,’ he thought as the weight of gold felt heavy in his pocket.

 

Even though he was definitely not willing to use one against any time soon if he could prevent it, no one else seemed to know about the existence of totems… Quackity was shocked to find out that not only he survived, but also that he was standing…

 

That anvil wouldn’t killed him, even after he caught it. But he was alright.

 

Athena sniffled and he smiled. 

 

They were alright. 

 

He came over the final hill that rested between himself and their home, feeling relief wash over him as he walked before the bright cottage that was obvious in the dark and snow, only for dread to quickly wash over him. The door was open. 

 

Why the fuck was the door open?

 

Logically, it was probably the butcher army from when Quackity had grabbed Athena and Techno just hadn’t noticed, but he had a bad feeling. He pushed on faster despite his legs protesting, moving faster when he saw a figure. It had wings. Was that Phil? But Phil’s wings were clipped, even if he had managed to get out and walk, he would not have possibly gotten there before himself. That meant...

 

Was that? No fucking way.

 

“Heh?”

 

He sped up, but no longer because he thought the figure was a threat. Why the fuck was he here? He had made it very clear his option on Techno. It was a miracle that the man, or should he say boy, hadn’t already noticed him. He watched as he exited his house and Techno ended up having to grab him by his shoulder.

 

“What are you doing at my house, Tommy?” His voice was low, threatening but not loud enough to wake up the baby. His brother looked a state, but it wasn’t his priority right now. Tommy visibly gulped at the death glare he was giving him. “And you better have a good fucking excuse.”

 

Welp. There went his long sleep by the fire, huh...