It had been four years since Tommy was exiled. Four long years for almost everyone who knew him. When he was exiled, he had been rowed to a far-off island, miles away from his home. Or what had been his home.
The first year was rough, coming to terms with what happened was a big hurdle for everyone. For once, the SMP was silent. No cheers when something was accomplished, no random conversations about menial things were ever started nor finished. Guilt was now the prime of L’Manburg’s feelings. Their president was over come by it for the first year. The cabinet was fueled by undirected rage and unfocused spite. They all seemed to be in a chronic state of self loathing. All of them angry at something or someone. It was if the timebomb of a boy that they exiled never really left. Not entirely.
The boy in question was a changed man. The first year he spent alone, like the next three. After the boat was out of sight, he turned and ran. With no one left on his side, with nothing to his name but the clothes on his back, the once proud boy ran. He knew there was nothing back there for him, not a life, not a friend, not a home. He was alone and finally accepted that as fact. Fueled by the pillars of anger which he built himself on, he ran as far as he could, watching as his world, like always, came crashing down around him in a flurry of fire and flame. He didn’t stop running until his pillars came crumbling down, the last part of his empire to fall. When he looked up, he didn’t recognise his surroundings. That was a good thing.
Fueled by spite, the broken shards of a boy built himself a house in a quaint badlands biome. He built it atop a hill, dry grass and spread-out oak trees dotted the hill. He used the clay and terracotta around him to build the house, some oak wood scattered in between. Once it was done, the boy set off to get food. By years end, the boy had a good farm and a green thumb.
Not long into his second year, he couldn’t stand the loneliness anymore. He had the sheep and pigs, cows and a horse, but the broken boy was still lonely. So he set off to the desert nearby, and found a small kitten lying in the sand, abandoned like he was. The kitten was a beautiful colour, he mused, before going home with the kitten in his arms. He named her Clara.
In the third year, the boy found a village to interact with. He never introduced himself, and the villagers were fine with that. He came into their small town, every weekend to trade with the adults a play with the kids. He was always kind to them, to everyone. If the kids started fighting, he would wear a sad smile and teach the kids to sort out their problems with words. It always worked, to the adults surprise. When asked about it, the boy always gave a chuckle and the same sad smile and said, “I’ve learned the hard way, that fighting gets you no where in life. Their so young, they shouldn’t spend a minute fighting with each other.” Unknown to the boy, the villagers heard the solemn, “You never know when you might be taken from them” that was said afterwards. Something horrible had happened to the nineteen-year-old, that the villagers knew. They never did find out what it was.
His fourth year of exile was peaceful to say the least. He had found two new disks, though he didn’t care much for the disks anymore, he still held on to the sentiment they carried and enjoyed the music regardless.
It had been a calm December day, he was baking a cake for Tubbo’s birthday. He did that every year, though he never knew if he got the date right. In actuality, it was the anniversary of his exile, December third. Tommy didn’t know this though, as he watched the cake rise with Clara, no longer a kitten, laying in his lap. The irony of the situation could rival the irony of Tubbo decorating his own funeral. Tommy sat peacefully, calmly listening to chirp play in the background. It was serene and nothing at all like the old Tommy. But the twenty-year-old was a changed man, who no longer cared if the wildfire in his heart had become a basic campfire. He heard the ringing of his doorbell and got up from his spot on the floor, gently placing Clara down beside him. He opened the door and was faced by someone he’d never thought he’d have to see again. Dream’s cold, dead, smiling mask faced him when he opened the door. he saw movement behind him. Tommy caught sight of Punz, Bad, and Antfrost. All four of them had full netherite, and suddenly Tommy felt like he’d already lost a battle. He stared into Dream’s mask, not one word exchanged by anyone from when the door opened. Tommy realised that in the four years of his exile, he’d grown taller than Dream. He had to look down to make eye contact. He snickered, and Dream spoke.
“Hello Dream. What brings you out here?” Tommy was genuinely curious. To his knowledge, his exile was to be permanent. He was also confused on how they found him. He’d gone out over ten thousand miles from his original exile location and left no trace. That he knew of at least.
“Well I would think you would’ve known. Do you know what day it is Tommy?” Dream seemed calm, like he was gearing up to do something. Tommy shrugged at his words.
“I assumed it was around December 23? I figured it was December at least.”
Dream smirked. Now Tommy knew that something was definitely up. “You’re twenty days off my friend. It is December third.”
Tommy tried to keep a straight face. He remembered what that date meant. He took a deep breath. Chirp had stopped playing a long time ago. Tommy noticed.
“Why are you here?” Tommy says with a hard tone in his voice. The smirk remains on Dream’s face.
“You see Tommy,” Dream let himself in, his ally’s blocked the exit. “I figured four years was enough time for you to wallow in your thoughts, so your exile has been lifted. Tommy Innit, you are officially allowed back onto all SMP/L’Manburg lands.” Dream said with a cheerful tone. He then pulled out a pair of hand cuffs. Tommy took a good step back.
“Thanks,” He started, thinking over what he was about to say, “But I’m good out here. There’s nothing left for me in L’Manburg or the SMP. Sorry, but no thanks.”
Dreams smirk fell to a frown. “I don’t believe I gave you an option. Besides,” Dream coated his voice in honey. “I still have your disks. It would be a shame if something were to happen with them.” Dream thought he had this in the bag. The disk’s were always Tommy’s weak spot.
“Yeah, it would be a shame. But I already found copies of them. I could care less about what anyone else does with them.” Tommy says in a calm voice. Dream felt at a loss. The only reason he cared about the disks was because it was the one sure-fire way to get under Tommy’s skin. Now that Tommy had literally just announced that he could care less, Dream was officially grasping for straws.
“Y-you’re bluffing. Those are the one thing’s you care about, the things you fought wars over. There is no way that they don’t mean more to you than the dirt under your feet right now.” Dream was getting pissed now. Tommy’s face had been a straight dead pan since Dream entered his house. Dream wore a mask so people could never tell what he was thinking. Tommy didn’t seem to need one.
“They’re just disks. That’s all they ever were and will be. Maybe they meant something to the old Tommy, but I’m telling you right now,” Tommy’s voice darkened. “That Tommy died four years ago when a sixteen-year-old boy lost faith in the world and everything it stands for.” He turned to face the three men behind Dream. “I don’t care what you do with the disks. They are nothing to me. Just another thing I got too attached to. Do what you wish with them, I could care less. But don’t think you can threaten me anymore. So thank you for telling me that my exile has been lifted, but I do believe I now have no ties to anyone in you land, and I don’t want to go back. So you can take your threats, you can take your loyal servants, and you can take your false pride, and leave me alone. I’m happy out here. Happier than I ever was in L’Manburg or the SMP. You wanted me out, so I’m staying out. You’ve used up any hospitality I might’ve had. Now fuck off.”
Dream gave Tommy a hardened glare. “Detain him. We’re taking him back whether he wants to or not.”
Tommy was cuffed in seconds, not fighting anything or anyone in four years makes you rusty. He was dragged by his arms to a boat, where he was rowed back to the docks of L’Manburg. Tommy was held in towns square, Bad and Ant both had a hand on his shoulder. Dream knocked on the white house door. A long since familiar face exited, cabinet trailing behind him. Tommy found himself face to face with Tubbo, Quackity, Fundy, and Ranboo tailing him. Tubbo was taller. His hair seemed a bit shorter, bit cleaner. He wore his presidential suit, tie and all. Then Tommy noticed the horns. They were bigger than they were four years ago, but Tommy expected that. Being exiled taught Tommy to be susceptible to change. It was how he survived exile. Tubbo looked him up and down and smiled.
Tommy scowled as he saw the faces of everyone who betrayed him, grins and smiles painted over their walls of deflection and pity. He spat at their feet.
“You don’t get to be happy. None of you get to be happy about this.” Tommy didn’t raise his voice, keeping the same monotone he had with Dream. “Do you remember, four years ago, when you put me on trial? Because I do. I remember when I was ignored and talked over when trying to defend myself. I remember bringing up the fact that my house had been robbed and greifed several times, to make it fair. I didn’t mind the idea of probation until you lot decided to be dicks about it. I almost died because Fundy was too impatient to let me say anything else. I remember being punched to the ground multiple times by Fundy, Quackity, and George. I broke my nose that day, did you know that? I doubt it. I was given the promise I would be safe. That I wouldn’t be exiled. What a load of shit that was. I will admit, I was at fault for somethings and everything I said was my own. But I tried to tell everyone that I didn’t start the fire. I tried to tell everyone it was supposed to be a prank. Yet again, when I actually tried to make a valid point I was ignored. It was like you only heard what you wanted- no, needed to hear. Only when I took responsibility for the crime was everyone willing to listen. I was accused of being immature? I was the youngest person there. And George still talked over me.” Tommy paused to let that sink in. Tubbo opened his mouth to say something. Tommy wouldn’t give him a chance. “Ya know, I thought about what I was going to say to you all if I ever saw you again. It’s what kept me going that first year. Every time I thought about what I was going to say to you my words ranged from anger, to sadness, to happiness, and everything in between. But it always ended in an apology. By the end of that year, I realised that it wasn’t my place to apologise. It was yours. And it wasn’t like you couldn’t send me a message through my communicator. But you didn’t.” he looked at everyone. “None of you did.”
Everyone was in stunned silence. There wasn’t a single emotion on Tommy’s face or in his voice. And that's what scared his ex-friends the most. During Tommy’s speech, a crowd had formed. Niki and Eret were hugging each other. Fundy sat with his head in his hands. Quackity was looking up at the sky, as if trying not to cry. George was looking at the ground in shame. Sapnap too. Dream stood against a stand, mask not relaying a single emotion. Tubbo had tears in his eyes.
“So you’re mad at us?” His voice was quiet. Tommy shook his head.
“No, I’m not. I’m just disappointed. You’d think after four years everyone would be a bit more mature, yeah? I stopped being angry after the first six months or so. Then four years later I’m dragged back here.”
“Dragged? No I asked Dream to collect you so you could come back.” Tommy scoffed.
“And what gave you the idea I would want to come back? Until a couple of hours ago, I believed that my exile was permanent. And you wanna know something? I was content with that. You all took advantage of me and my trust issues and then once I was of no use, threw me out. I understood that I meant nothing, not more than a pawn on a chessboard. So why drag me back here, handcuffed, if I was supposed to be welcome? You all must be great at parties.” Tommy gave a laugh. Tubbo shuddered. Tommy’s laugh always reflected his personality. His old laugh was loud and explosive, only came in sudden bursts or like the hiss of TNT. His laugh now was dry and devoid of joy, it sounded like rubbing sandpaper together. “Do you want to know what I realised during my exile?” Tommy asked to no one on particular. They all looked at him, so different then when they last saw him. He was taller now, grew about five inches. His hair was still fluffy but looked like a pale yellow compared to the bright gold it once resembled. Tubbo looked him in the eyes and shook his head. Tommy gave another core shaking laugh. “Wilbur was right.” The crowd gave a small gasp. Tommy might’ve lost his flame, but not his flair for the dramatics. “There was a special place. But that place doesn’t exist anymore. Thinking on it, and I’ve had lots of time believe me, that place stopped existing when Wilbur ran for president. When he saw L’Manburg as a place, not a people. That’s what I believed L’Manburg was at least.” He looked Eret straight in their eyes. “You were right. Wilbur was right. It was never meant to be.” He paused, looking at everyone whom he once called a friend. “Now I’ve said all I want to. I’ve played my part. Let me go home.” Tommy finished. “If I’m truly a free man.” He added, piling insult to injury. Being around these people had brought out a small bit of pettiness. Tubbo stared at him, speaking in a low, broken, tone.
“But Tommy…, this is your home.” Tommy rolled his eyes. Did anyone really think they could welcome Tommy back, after four years of nothing, and he’d come running? He’d already said it about three times now.
“No. My home is out there, over ten thousand miles from here. This place stopped being my home four years ago when I was left behind. The Tommy you were hoping to see today? The one who’d come at every beck and call for his friends? He died four years ago when you stabbed him in the back and watched him bleed out on the cold December ground. This isn’t my home, this is my prison.” He looked Tubbo straight in the eyes. “You kicked me out, I stayed out. Hell, I went farther than where I was dropped off to give you all some extra leg room. I made myself a life, I’d like to get back to it.”
The crowd of liars, traitors, and wrongens looked at him with different variations of sad. He shook off Ant and Bad from his shoulders. These people chose to burn their bridges, he wasn’t going to build them back up for them. He held his hands out to Dream, who unlocked his cuffs after a silent confirmation with Tubbo. He turned one last time to get a good look at all the people who were naïve enough to think a sorry would cut it. Hell, they told him more than once that sorry doesn’t cut it. But like the children they all were, they believed that their actions didn’t have consequences. The irony, Tommy thought as he walked back to the docks alone. They still saw Tommy as a hapless sixteen-year-old. The twenty-year-old hummed a tuned as he rowed away from a place he’d once called home. He still loved his friends, but he would forgive them once they saw him for the person he is now.
After all, a fool’s wish is immortality.