The first thing that he registered upon waking- something that should, considering the fact that he was dead, not be possible- was that everything hurt. From drawing shaking breaths into his withered lungs, to feeling his bones and muscles settling, getting used to supporting and being living tissue once more. Even the sunlight that shone through his eyelids was painful.
He groaned, throwing a lanky arm over his eyes in an attempt to stop the light. He regretted the action immediately, despite the relief that it brought, as his atrophied muscles screamed in agony at the sudden movement.
"Wilbur?" He heard a vaguely familiar voice call. It was hard to make out, as his ears were still filled with a low ringing, as if he were back in time, in the button room, held close to Phil's chest and protected from the blast with stormy gray wings. (It had been the first time, and the last, that he had ever been held like he was his father's son.)
There were hands on his shoulders, then, moving and guiding him into a sitting position. He was too weak to protest, so up he went, hissing in burning pain all the way.
"C'mon, mate. Look at me." And then his eyes were opened, met with the face of his father.
He had words for the man in front of him, none of them nice and most punctuated by a fast flying fist.
"Phil," he growled. Or, well, he tried his best, but it came out weak and broken with the sorry state that his throat was in.
"Hey, Wil," Phil smiled, as if everything in the world was alright. As if they weren't sitting in the crater that Phil himself had helped make, the same sin Wilbur had been killed for- had begged for death for upon realizing the travesty he had truly committed.
"To-mmy," he bit. He needed to see his little boy. After everything he put him through, everything everyone else did to him after Wilbur was dead and gone, he needed to hold his Toms in his arms once again.
"He's not here right now, Wil." Phil's smile was so forced, so strained around barely contained disgust, that it nearly made him wince. There was more behind his honeyed words, and Wilbur knew damn well that Tommy either hadn't been told, or wasn't allowed to be here in the first place. He knew Phil well enough after all of these years. He knew it the first time he was left alone with a toddler to care for at ten years old. He knew it then and he sure as Nether hasn't forgotten it now. Especially since everybody but Tommy seemed to be here as he scanned the crowd around the gaudy, unnecessary alter they were on. The only faces he didn't spot were Awesamdude, Dream, George, Sapnap, and, of course, Tommy. Even Purpled was here.
"Wher-e's Tomm-my?" He tried again, groaning as he shifted in an attempt to get up.
"There's no need for that, now. Let's go home, okay?" Wilbur paid no mind to him, though, continuing to scan the area for a familiar mop of fluffy blonde hair.
Finally, his efforts paid off, as his somewhat blurry vision caught sight of his baby boy hiding around a pillar of stone, one that was, thankfully, blood vine free, unlike so much of the surrounding land.
"Toms," he croaked, reaching out to where he had caught the brief glimpse of him. He ignored the pained look Fundy was sporting, seeing Eret right by his side, comforting the young shifter. He was glad that Fundy had found someone else to take care of him. That he had been allowed to move on from the tragedy that was Wilbur Soot. But, Tommy never got that luxury. He had to be there for him, now.
"Bubs," he tried again, finally managing to stand on unsteady legs.
He'd be the first to admit that his single minded focus was probably a little unhealthy, especially considering that his entire body was quaking in agony, begging him to rest. But, compared to seeing his Toms again, everything else might as well have been inconsequential- including the sluggishly bleeding wound in his abdomen, from where Phil had begun to stab him- or, well, Ghostbur- in an attempt to revive him.
His effort wasn't for naught, though, for as soon as he took a shaky step forward, Tommy had rushed out of his hiding spot, burying himself in Wilbur's chest as if he had never left. Wilbur let them slowly sink to the ground, neither of them steady enough to stand for much longer.
Phil's "Tommy, you know you aren't supposed to be here," was cut off by Tommy's broken, desolate, sob of "Papa."
Wilbur soothed his boy as best as he could, resting his hollowed cheek on top of messy blonde locks, clutching the teen tight as he shook, rubbing a hand up and down his back, like he used to do when Tommy had come to him for comfort in the earlier years of their childhoods.
Nether, if it wasn't for Phil's frantic mutterings and the quiet, confused murmurs of the crowd before them, Wilbur would have been able to convince himself that they were back in the remains of the Antarctic Empire, small and alone. Maybe it was the middle of the night, Wilbur still sore from harvesting their meager farm so that they both could eat, and Tommy had padded into his room, stuffed cow and favorite red blankie in his weak grasp. Wilbur would coo and beckon him over, drawing up the heavy covers so the blonde boy could climb in and curl against his chest, hidden from the world and all who might hurt him. His baby boy, safe in his arms.
It was different, now, though. Because Tommy was sixteen, so, so much taller than the small kid he had always been. He was thin and lanky, nearly as malnutritioned as Wilbur's newly resurrected form was. He was a mess of scrapes and bruises, badly healed scars, and a whole bundle of dark, turbulent trauma that no one ever seemed willing to address. But, it would be okay, because Wilbur was here, and Tommy was safe, back in his arms where he belonged. Wilbur would carry the world so Tommy wouldn't have to- not anymore.
"I'm here now, my sweet sunshine," he whispered, just loud enough to carry over the heavy silence that permeated the crater that once held love, life, and liberty. "I won't leave you again," he promised.
"My sweet baby boy," he continued, muttering to himself more than anything. "I'm so proud of you," he punctuated the statement with a kiss to the crown of Tommy's head. "I'm so fuckin' proud."
Tommy just sobbed harder, clutching his blood stained, yellow jumper like his life depended on it. It broke his heart to see his Toms so upset, but at least he was here now to comfort him. No more would he have to cry alone in the bare comfort of his hut- because really, it could hardly qualify as a home. No longer would Tommy be left behind by those who swore to care for him, leaving him to fend for himself. He would stay here, by his side, for the rest of eternity. He'd use his last, remaining canon life to let Tommy heal and learn and grow. To play as all kids should. Make mistakes as all teens do. He'd be a proper father, this time. No more spiraling into insanity at the whim of a tyrannical God. No more TNT. No more countries. Just him and Toms, until the end of the line.
"Wan' go home," Tommy mumbled into his chest, tugging lightly at the canary fabric he held in his tight grasp. Wilbur's heart melted at Tommy's slurred, exhausted voice, wanting to just pick him up and carry him away from everything that could even think to hurt him, but, alas, he was in worse shape than Tommy was.
"Let's call Sam, yeah?" He murmured into Tommy's ear, so only they could hear. The curious onlookers didn't deserve to know his Toms. He was his little boy.
"You remember?" Fuck, Tommy's voice trembled on a high octave, cracking in all the wrong places, screaming of lost, desperate hope. It tore him apart to know that his baby was reduced to this shivering pile of skin and bones, too scared to trust anyone, and everyone out for his throat in one way or another.
"I do, sunshine. Everything. And I'm so sorry." He was, truly. The void of the afterlife- or perhaps it was purgatory (he didn't care either way)- was cold and lonely, leaving plenty of time to think and agonize over all that he had done. (At least, Wilbur agonized. Schlatt spent most of the time either shitfaced or high off of his ass. It was pitiful, really.)
Tommy pressed his communicator into his hand, the cool metal familiar in his weak grasp. He typed out a quick message to Sam, letting him know where they were and that they, quite honestly, were going to need an escort back to the lands of the SMP. All the while, he kept a firm grip on his boy, letting him calm himself to the sound of Wilbur's stuttering heartbeat and ragged breaths.
They'd be home soon enough, side by side. Tommy and his papa- his Wilby- together again at last.