Actions

Work Header

Safe Haven

Chapter Text

The sun hung high in the sky, being an hour or two after noon. A breeze floated through the air and woodland acres, moving the grass in mesmerizing waves.
A man slipped his axe into the sling at his hip and leaned down to pick up the fallen logs of the tree he’d just cut down. He stood up, heaving the dark oak onto his shoulders with a huff. The forest was quiet as he took a deep breath. It was quite odd.

Phil whistled, a high pitched hum coming from his throat.

Immediately birds began to sing, and the branches of the forest rustled as birds lifted from the treetops, now brightly fluttering around and lighting the woods with life. Phil smiled as the birds found comfort in one like their own.

A single crow landed on a branch high above the man.

“Hello mate,” Phil smiled, carefully setting the logs down and holding his arm up to the bird. The crow jumped from the branch, flapping its wings as it descended from the trees and landed on his arm.
“You must be new, I don’t recognize you,” Phil hummed. The crow cawed in response, nipping at the sleeve of Phil’s robe.

“Well I have a favor to ask of you! Fly to the Center, please, and deliver a message, you know which way that is right?”

The crow nodded.

“Perfect!” Phil smiled, reaching into the pocket of black and green robes and pulling out a few sunflower seeds. He held them out to the crow who began gathering them up. “Tell Wilbur that I’ll be home shortly, I just need to gather a few more things. He’ll probably be hanging around the lake. He should call to you if he sees you. Tall guy, pretty hard to miss.”

The crow cawed happily, and lifted into the air. Phil watched the bird go, holding his hand up to shield his eyes from the sun. Luckily the new bird flew in the correct direction, and Phil hummed happily. He hefted the logs back onto his shoulder and walked back over to where his satchel lay against a tree. He knelt down and opened the bag, which glowed brightly with a white light on the inside. He reached over, picking up the logs, and lowered them into the bag.

They shouldn’t have fit, the logs much larger than the bag, but they did. They fit neatly into the pack, shrinking down into a cube shape that mostly resembled the tree. It was full on magic, and to Phil it was normal. That was the magic of Origin.

Origin, home to a countless number of wonderful people, each friends with the next. This had been his home ever since he was younger, barely an adult that travelled on his own in search of a place that didn’t wish to harm hybrids.

Origins was a special place. Long before Phil had arrived the land had been encased in magic, seemingly the last of it that remained on earth. It was surrounded with what could only be described as a forcefield . It was a wide dome that stretched high into the sky and shimmered brightly with beautiful hues of pink and blue and purple, sparkling with the light of the sun and glowing when faced by the moon. However it seemed, only those inside of the dome could see it, as far as he knew. The few people of the world that knew about it had dubbed it “The Shimmer”

Phil had rarely left Origins, only braving the glowing wall when there were materials to gather within his view of the outside world. Afterall, what other reason was there to leave? The land was safe, his friends within the magic cover were safe. It had been years since any outsider had come through the barrier, and even longer since any evil had tried to break through, long forgotten in the ancient books Phil had read.

Apparently the barrier was one made by a powerful mage, a dragon hybrid named Ender, and was heard to be the only one of her kind since the beginning. She crafted the forcefield to be a safe haven for her descendants, all hybrids. But the power it took to create the barrier was too strong for even her, and she became trapped in another world, another dimension even, lost to her hybrid family.

But her sacrifice formed something beautiful. The oasis she had given her life for still stood tall, harboring families of half-breeds. But over time, many had wandered out of the land, tired of being in the same place. They went out into the world and started civilizations among the humans, abandoning their magical powers at the border of Origin. Magic could not leave Origin.

Phil had been the last of the hybrids he knew of, and sought the oasis he had heard of in story books.

Phil had found it some years ago, and after exploring every crevice of that wide land, discovered he was the only one there in the deserted safe haven. For days, weeks, maybe months he waited quietly, hope slowly draining from him as he felt more and more alone.

But soon, hope came, in the shape of a boy with curly brown hair and a see through complexion.

More hybrids began to show up then, each having thought they were the last of the Ender Dragon’s descendants. But there they stayed, and built a giant family of mix matched people.

They all resided around one large lake at the center of Origin. The land was mostly quiet, peaceful, save for a few rowdy teenagers, but even they were only a delight to Phil, who sought only a flock of his own.
Phil began whistling a slow, bright tune as he swung the bag, practically weightless, over his shoulder, maneuvering it carefully till it sat comfortably on his shoulder.

The leaves and grass were thrown aside as Phil opened his wings, casting a large shadow along the forest floor. He lifted from the ground with one flick of his wings and in moments was in the sky, sun shining through the forcefield onto his obsidian colored feathers that seemed to glow with hues of green and purple.
He turned west, heading further toward the perimeter of Origin. Around the edges lay a forest mansion Phil and Ranboo had discovered a few days ago. They hadn’t had the time to explore it though, as it began to rain, and Ranboo needed to get out of the rain. He wasn’t as strong either when it was raining outside, and they didn’t want to risk the evokers and vexes that lurked within the mansion.

Phil could see it on the horizon, a brown speck that quickly became a large mansion as he flew closer, his giant wings throwing him across the sky at unimaginable speeds.

He dropped directly beside the mansion, and was about to walk through a gap in the wall when he stopped himself.

“Nuh uh uh.” He laughed aloud, “that’s glass there,” he told no one in particular, mostly just giving a gentle reminder to himself. He didn’t want another bruised forehead he’d found himself wearing several times before.

Normally Phil would’ve just broken the glass, but he didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t necessary, so he began walking around the outskirts of the mansion, searching for the doorway.
Finally he found it, and pulled on the large dark oak door before him.

The old door slowly opened with a whining creak that made Phil glance around, wondering if he’d been noticed yet. When he deemed the coast clear, he stepped into the mansion, onto the dusty worn down carpets of the building long abandoned, now only inhabited by monsters. In front of him was a large staircase, with a small open area under it and two long halls that stretched along the sides of it. Phil absent-mindedly made his decision and turned right.

His quiet footsteps rang through the halls as he walked on, pulling a sword from the holster on his waist, the only other weapon he didn’t carry in his bag, alongside his axe. Torches lined the walls, still lit surprisingly, though the place likely hadn’t been inhabited by anything smart enough to light them in awhile.

It was oddly silent. There was no hiss of a creeper hiding in the shadows, no loud murmurs of evokers and illagers, no rattle of bones from a lurking skeleton. It was so unnervingly quiet. It set Phil on edge. Not that the man didn’t think he could take a few monsters, no, they were mostly just a nuisance, and it was annoying when they decided to sneak up on and scare you.
Phil still continued to walk quietly through the hall, peeking into rooms for any chests that might hold valuables.

something caught the corner of his eye, and he turned toward a blank wall. A small, almost invisible crack lined the wall, something behind the crack that sent out a small flash of light, and if Phil didn’t have an eye for bright and shiny things, he likely wouldn’t have seen it.

Phil’s feathers fluffed up happily as he approached the wall, leaning the sword against it and running his hand along the length of it. He did it for a few seconds, prodding the wall. Eventually, his fingers met with a rectangle shape, and Phil pushed down on it.

With a groan, a door, only a little shorter than him, slowly opened in front of Phil, scattering dust as the secret room was opened for the first time in awhile. The vault only opened a little ways, the mechanism of the secret door failing. It stopped with a resounding thud, and when Phil pushed the button again, it didn’t move.

The hybrid groaned, and pulled his wings tight around his back, attempting to squeeze through the crack in the wall. He was almost through, when the satchel around his waist stopped him from going further.

He stepped back into the hall of the mansion and wrestled the bag from off his shoulder with an annoyed huff. He folded the straps and set the sash against the wall before slipping back through the wall with his head lowered.

The room was plain and dim, the only light coming from the hallway he’d entered through. There were no windows, but a few shelves that lined the wall, empty of any contents. Phil coughed, swiping at the cobwebs that hung in the doorway. He squinted, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. He glanced around the room, blinking away the dust that he had accidentally stirred up with a shift of his wings.

On the far wall, sat a lonely chest with metal hinges, likely what had caught the light from outside. Phil hummed happily, walking over to the chest.

Normally these chests held many valuable treasures left behind by people long ago. This mansion wasn’t the only one of its kind in Origin.

Phil opened the chest, and immediately had to suppress a happy squawk. A few bars of iron and gold sat within the chest, along with a single diamond. There were also a few books, one of which was glowing with a dim purple shade.

Phil began pulling the contents from the case. He stood up, and the diamond slipped from his arms. With a huff, he’d picked it back up, shifting his new goods to his other arm. Finally holding all the objects carefully, he walked over to the doorway. He glanced around the room one last time, and slowly ducked through the doorway, pulling his wings in again.
Phil stood in the hallway again and took a deep breath, relieved he was no longer standing in a cloud of dust--well, less dust--.

He turned to the spot on the wall he’d left the rest of his inventory in, and stopped. The bag no longer sat against the wall, gone from it’s spot.

Phil spun around in the hall, looking for his bag. He thought- no- he was sure he’d left it there. He muttered a confused curse under his breath, scratching his head.
The shuffle of feet echoed through the hallways, and Phil turned toward the stairs as a small figure ducked under them.
Phil sighed, stalking over to the person.
“Damn fox, I know that it’s you. Give me back my-”

Phil ducked his head under the stairs, ready to take his bag back from Fundy. But as he leaned into that open space, he saw no Fundy.

There was a boy crouched under the stairs, eyes wide as he stared straight forward. His back shook, and there was a hand clamped over his mouth. Tears were clouded in his grey eyes as he quivered, the satchel hugged tightly against his chest. His hair was a light blonde, matted with dirt. He wore a ragged, torn red and white shirt, and beige pants that were frayed at the cuffs. The boy only had one shoe on, the other foot only wearing a scuffed and dirt stained sock. Even in the dim light, Phil could see cuts and bruises that dotted the boy’s skin. Quickly his dark, sunken eyes darted over to the hybrid crouched beside him.

He stopped moving entirely, his shaking faltering. He stared at the blonde man in front of him.

“Ph-Ph-Phil?” he stuttered out, his young voice coated in fear, disbelief. It was scratchy, as if he hadn’t spoken in days.

Phil startled, taken aback. Phil knew everyone within the dome, every face family to him. But this boy he had never seen before.

“Who- Why- How do you know my name?” The older man questioned, his wings shifting uncomfortably behind him.
Though he didn’t think it was possible, the boy’s eyes widened even more, staring at Phil’s wings.

And then they closed, and he slumped forward.

“Shit-!” Phil yelped, crawling under the stairs and grabbing the unconscious boy by the arm before carefully pulling him out from under the stairs. The boy was unnaturally thin, and he looked sickly. Luckily, the teen was breathing, but it was ragged and sounded painful.

Where the hell did this kid come from? Phil had never seen this boy, and surely if he did know him he would have been better cared for. Why was he all alone? Why was he so beaten up?

Phil set the boy leaning upright against the wall of the mansion before taking the satchel from his limp hold and pulling the bag beside him. He opened it quickly and began rifling through his inventory for anything that may help the boy.

Of course Phil had nothing. There was hardly any danger within Origin, and when there was, the mobs and monsters were easy to take down. He hardly ever carried potions with him unless he was travelling with a few others.

The hybrid cursed before setting the bag over his shoulder and across his chest and reaching over for the boy, trying to ignore how his mind spun.

Phil took a deep breath as he prepared to pick the boy up, reaching his hand under the strangers back and knees.

When he did heft him up, he almost fell over. The teen was light, far too light for anyone his age, or what Phil guessed was his age.

With a shuddering, confused breath, phil turned to the front door, cringing as he realized he could feel the boy’s ribs as he held him to his chest.

The door creaked open as Phil leaned against it with his shoulder. He hesitantly stepped out of the shade of the doorway, wondering if the boy was affected by sunlight like Wilbur. But luckily, when he went out into the sunlight, the boy was unaffected.

Phil opened his wings and took to the sky, turning toward The Center where his home lay. The boy didn’t stir.

Finally, Phil acknowledged the thoughts screaming in his mind.

Who is this kid? How did he know me? Did he come from the outside? That’s not possible right? No one has been here in years. What kind of hybrid is he?

Phil didn’t notice any hybrid traits to the boy. He had no wings upon his back, no scales along his arms, no fiery hair or purple particles that followed him. His skin wasn’t made of stars, and he was about average height. There was no fur on him, he felt mostly human-like.

Phil swallowed hard as he shot across the sky, only knowing one thing now.

The boy needed help.

Chapter Text

The sun was getting lower and lower as Phil flew on, the strange boy still asleep in his hold.
He could see it in the distance, a building that sat upon an island suspended in the air. Waterfalls fell from its sides, and there was a long ladder that stretched high into the sky. Even with how long they’d been there, none of the origins had bothered to create a more convenient way of getting up to the pub.

Phil tilted his wings, aiming for the myriad of odd shaped houses that sat below the bottom. He turned, throwing his legs in front of him as he came closer to his home, a simple wooden building that sat high atop a large pillar. There was a small balcony in front of the door that had a spiral staircase leading up to it

He collided with the balcony floor with a loud thud, quickly closing his wings and rushing through the door and over to his bed. He carefully set the boy down on the mattress before throwing his satchel roughly off his shoulder and running over to the chests lined along the walls. He opened the one labelled “potions” and began shuffling through its contents, searching for any bottles of healing. He could feel himself shaking but ignored it, desperate to quickly help the boy so he didn’t fucking d-

“Phiiiiil,” an echoey voice groaned behind him. He turned to see a ghostly figure phasing quickly through the wall.

“Fundy’s being a brat. Every time you leave he thinks he can just-” Wilbur stopped, looking to the older man and then at the unconscious child on the bed.

“Who the fuck is this?” The phantom asked, crossing the room and pointing at the figure.

“I don’t know, Wil. I found him in the mansion, the kid tried to take my bag. He looks awful I- I don’t know what happened to him.

Wilbur leaned forward, and let out a sharp gasp when he saw the scrapes and bruises coating his body.
“Fuckin hell-! Where’d he come from?”

“I don’t know, I really don’t. I don’t even know If he’s a hybrid!” Phil stammered, pulling a pink and red potion from the trunk and quickly stepping over to the teen. He carefully poured the potion into the boys mouth, lifting his head slightly off the pillow so he didn't choke. “He- He knew my name!”

“Well that can’t be right, we would remember if we’d met him before!”

“I know I know,” He sighed, setting the empty potion vial on the nightstand before turning back to the chests, pulling out a spool of bandages.

Wilbur shifted in his place suspended in the air, the manta ray like wings on his lower back twitching.

“Fucker looks like he hasn’t slept in weeks,” He said with distaste. All Phil could do was nod along.

“Is there anything I can do?” The ghost asked hesitantly, tugging at the hem of his yellow sweater worriedly. He wasn’t sure why he was so worried really, it’s not like he knew this boy. But still, he was only a teen, and he looked like hell.

Phil twisted his frown, thinking as he began wrapping up a particularly nasty scratch on the boy’s hand.

“He can’t use another potion for today, and I’ve got what I need to clean him up here. I guess you could make sure no one comes up here then? Last thing we need is for anyone to start causing a ruckus.” He had a certain bee winged boy and taller than natural teen in mind.

The phantom hybrid nodded in acknowledgement and floated downward, disappearing through the floor. He came back up for a second, only his head visible.
“Don’t let the kid die, alright?” He laughed jokingly.

Phil scoffed, a grin on his face.
“As if I’d ever do that. I’m not an idiot, Wilbur” He remarked before turning back to the boy, ripping the bandages away from the spool as he finished one hand.

Wilbur disappeared again in the floorboards.

Phil ran a hand through his hair as he stood up, glancing over the boy. There were no other wounds that drastically needed to be fixed. Bruises would heal on their own time. Mostly the boy was just malnourished. Phil sighed, hoping he would wake soon so he could get him to eat something. The man walked over to the boy and grabbed the red comforter, pulling it up around the teen’s shoulders and checking his forehead for a fever. He winced at the dark circles beneath his eyes, and the blonde mop of hair that was in desperate need of a trim. Most of all though, he needed food.

He turned and walked over to the cabinet, taking out a few bowls, but soon he was left crouching over the counter in front of him. There was a dull aching in his head, likely from the stress of that day.

The winged hybrid quietly left his loft house, walking out onto the porch and leaning his arms on the railing with a sigh. The night air was cooling, soothing to his head ache. Crickets chirped from the forest across the lake. The stars stood above the Shimmer, reflecting its colors in a way that reminded him of the Northern lights he’d seen so many years ago, only a young traveller. He could hear voices coming from the pub that hung in the sky. He happily watched the lights in the yellow windows flicker as shadows passed in front of them. Laughter echoed around the lake, several voices making up the joyful chorus.

Phil smiled softly, his heart warm, knowing at least that his flock was safe.

There was the sound of wingbeats next to Phil, and he turned to see the crow from earlier looking at him curiously with beady eyes.

“Hello mate,” Phil cooed lightly, holding his hand out to pet the crow beneath the chin. It let out a deep sound, almost like a purr, and leaned into phil’s touch. When Phil pulled his hand away, the bird continued watching him.

 

There were a few beats of a quiet calm as they sat there, looking out across the wide lake that shimmered with moonlight and the pale purples of the Shimmer.

The hybrid sighed, and turned his eyes to the bird, that croaked in questioning.

“Hey, think you could do me another favor?”

The bird tilted it’s head, and let out a muffled sound from its throat.

“You cheeky little shit,” Phil smiled, rolling his eyes, “fine, you can have some more.”

He squawked happily and hopped toward Philza, taking the sunflower seeds from his outstretched palm.

“I need you to fly around the woods just outside of Origin. Look for people, anyone or anything strange you might see and let me know if there was anything when you get back, alright bud?”

The crow nodded and took to the skies, practically melting into the ink colored night, only visible when it passed a purple patch of the Shimmer. He couldn’t see it after that.

The man smiled, going back inside to find something to do and make some food for when the boy awoke. Then he could finally ask him the many questions in his mind.

Man....he was far too many decades old for this.

Chapter Text

It had been almost a full day since Phil found the currently passed out teen. Wilbur had done a good job of distracting the other origins, keeping them all in the pub until night had long since came and they all went home, too tired to go see Philza.

The sun was risen now, painting the sky in hues of blue, along with the dome’s own shades of pink and purple. The Shimmer reflected the light in bright shards that scattered along the ground like their own rays of sun.

Phil was asleep in the corner of his home, slumped between the wall and the rows of chests, softly snoring. The sun was shining in through the windows, hitting the sleeping teen directly in the eyes.

The boy opened his eyes, blinking away the light. For awhile he silently stared at the ceiling…

Before realizing something was very wrong.

He sat up with a sharp gasp, his ribs feeling as if they’d been crushed, his back screaming in fiery protest. His eyes darted around the room as he realized he had no idea where he was. He was in someone’s home, not a worn down tent, and sitting on a bed, not a shredded sleeping bag. There was a large door across the room, surrounded by a giant window with two red silk curtains hanging to the side of it. There was a warm blanket across his legs and torso. He tried to pull the blanket off of him and hissed when the action sent a sharp pain down his hand. He looked at it confusedly, remembering the cut he’d gotten from falling a short ways down a small cliff. His hand was wrapped in a red stained bandage.

Even with the pain that ached throughout his entire body, he felt more comfortable than he had in months. But still a deep dread screamed in his mind.

Dream’s going to be pissed. Why did you run off, you moron? You were supposed to stay. You don’t deserve to be comfortable, you don't deserve anything. Dream was right about you, you’re so ungrateful-

Tommy shoved his hands over his ears in an attempt to quiet his own thoughts. He looked around, wondering where the hell he was-

The boy’s wide eyes settled on the figure in the corner.

---------------------------------------

Phil opened his eyes slowly, the sun finally waking him. He leaned forward, running his fingers through his hair with a yawn. His vision, blurred from sleep, finally righted itself, and he stretched, searching for what had caused the discomfort in his wings and back. Oh right, he was on the floor because-

He turned his attention toward the bed, more specifically the fearful eyed teen sat atop it. The dark circles under his eyes had lessened into a more bluish color, but he still looked a little bit sick. Phil also noticed that one of his eyes was bruised. He was staring straight at Phil, his hands shaking and his breathing ragged.

Phil smiled softly, happy to see that the boy wasn’t passed out anymore.
“Good morning mate, did you sleep well?”

The reaction was not at all what either of them expected

The teen jolted back, falling off the bed and scrambling toward the chests. Phil gasped, holding his hands up to show he wasn’t a threat as the frightened boy stumbled away.
“Hey hey-! I’m not gonna hurt you kid, just calm down-”

The teen clung to the wall, pressing his back against it to get as far away from the hybrid as he could. He began stuttering.
“I’m sorry I’m sorry I’ll leave I promise. I got lost- well- well I did that on purpose- - Bu-but I’m sorry I promise I’ll do whatever you want Drea- Ph-phil?- I promise I-” he rambled, shaking like a leaf in a storm.

The winged man cut him off.
“I’m gonna need ya to slow down mate, I’m not gonna hurt you I swear. You’re sick,” he said calmly, his words gentle, his expression soft.

 

There were a few moments of silence…
The boy’s expression changed.

----------------------------
As Tommy looked at Phil, his frantic mind began to clear, and the shape that stood in front of him with flashes of the green clothed tyrant soon melted into the still image of his estranged father. The father that had once abandoned him.

He narrowed his eyes.

“Phil-? You- no no I don’t want to talk to you. I- let me go. I don’t want to be here- not with you.”

Phil tilted his head, his eyes flooded with confusion.
“Mate-”

“No! Are you deaf? I don’t want to speak to you! I have no idea what’s going on or- how you found me or why you have- wings- fucking- I don’t care! I don’t want to talk to you ever!” He yelled, his eyes filled with hate.

“Please kid I just want to make sure you're not hurt,” Phil reasoned, slowly stepping forward.

The teen laughed with what sounded more like a pained cough.
“Don’t act like you give a shit! I know you don’t care! You’re a shit father and you always have been!”

--------------------
The words stung.

Wait-

Why?-
He wasn’t even-
----------------------

“I want you to forget about me, you’re good at that. Don’t come after me, I’m leaving. I’m getting as far away from you- from everyone- as I can! AND IF YOU THINK!-”

“HEY!” The man shouted, his ash colored wings flinging out beside him, blocking the light that came from the windows. He looked so much bigger, making Tommy shrink away from the shadow he casted on the walls with a frightened whimper. His eyes that burned with irritation were brighter than the lanterns hanging from the ceilings. He resembled the angels Tommy had seen before in Techno’s books about myths.

His face dropped, frustration sinking away, being replaced with remorse as he muttered a quiet apology. He dragged his wings in tighter to his back, and Tommy pulled himself off the wall slightly.

“Kid. I don’t- I have no idea what you’re talking about- I don’t even know who you are! How- How do you know my name?” Phil spoke softly.

Tommy squinted.
“What-?”

“How do you know my name?” he repeated, “ Who the hell even are you?” His words weren’t angry, instead coated in genuine confusion.

There was a long drawn out silence. It was interrupted by the sound of quiet , disbelieving laughter.

“You’re serious. You- You think this is funny? You leave me and Wilbur and run off with that goddamn pig, when you finally show up for the first time in YEARS you kill Wilbur, and when you find me looking like- like this, you think it’ll be some damn good joke to pretend you don’t even know me?” Tommy stepped forward.

“I don’t- I have no idea how you know me or- or- did you say Wilbur? You know wilbur?” He questioned.

“Of course I do, dickhead! He’s my fucking brother! And I’m your son!” He laughed again dryly. “Maybe that last part isn’t true, huh? Considering you LEFT US!” The teen yelled through gritted teeth.

“I know Wilbur he- he lives here too-”

“Oh yeah sure. We both know he doesn’t live anywhere. You fucking killed him, and I got stuck with that piece of shit ghost of his- however that shit happened! Do you know what it’s like being exiled and your only company other than some motherfucker being a fucking ghost? It’s shit, Phil!”

“I really have no idea what you’re talking about! I think you need to lie down.”

Tommy scoffed, pushing himself off the wall and walking up to the man.

“I don’t have to listen to you, old man. Now I’m leaving, and don’t you fucking dare follow me!”

He pushed past Phil, granting a startled yelp from the man as the teen shoved him.

The boy walked over to the door and flung it open, sprinting out once it was.

He immediately skid to a stop, almost flying over the edge of the house, and he realized again that he truly had no idea where he was.

A large open plain stretched out for miles in front of him, in the middle of it a sparkling blue lake, and across that was a wide forest with trees that stretched high into the air. The lake reflected the sky in odd colors. Tommy looked up and realized why that was.
The sky, in question, was mostly normal. A simple baby blue color. Tommy might have not seen anything wrong with it, if it weren’t for the splotches of pink and purple and green that moved in waves across it. He could see far along the horizon, and came to the realization that the pink and purple sky was a sort of dome around the land. How on earth had he not noticed that before? Suspended in the air off to the side a bit, high above him, was a floating island, with a large wooden building on top of it, and waterfalls that fell from its sides.

The air seemed to shimmer, some unfamiliar, warm feeling settling around him. The land thrummed with life, golden heat that felt like it was encasing Tommy and rooting its place in his heart like it had always belonged there.

The teen let out a sharp breath and fell forward. Arms caught him around the waist before he managed to fall over the rail. Phil was speaking to him in a worried tone, his voice muffled to Tommy’s ears. He felt so overwhelmed, his head spinning. Why did he feel so nauseous all of the sudden? He decided to blame it on the adrenaline coursing through his veins finally wearing itself out.

He finally came to, and turned to see Phil shaking him. They were on the ground now, Phil crouched in front of him. His mouth had been moving for a while, his words unregistered to Tommy. The cloud in his mind slowly cleared and he could finally hear the winged man.

“-ey kid! Snap out of it will ya?!”
The boy took in a shuddering breath, his shoulders shaking. He looked up at Phil with wide, tired eyes.

“Phil-Phil? Wh-where the hell are we?”
----------------------------
Phil’s mind was spinning as he tried to talk the boy out of his frozen state. He let out a panicked yelp as the boy fell forward, quickly grabbing him around the waist and pulling him away from the balcony. He gently lowered him to the ground until he was sitting, his back resting against the giant glass window Phil had, which in hindsight, probably wasn’t a good idea, considering Phil couldn’t see it.

He bit his lower lip worriedly and put his hands on the boys shoulders, careful shaking him. He was staring blankly ahead, his lips moving silently. What on earth had caused such a reaction? The realization he was lost maybe? But he’d said he’d done that on purpose, which only concerned Phil further. What was he trying to get away from?

He could recount almost everything about the kids panicked ramble a few minutes ago. Something about Wilbur--him killing Wilbur--, which Phil was having a hard time comprehending. Neither of them had ever seen this kid before. Not only that, Phil had never once thought about doing anything to hurt Wilbur. He practically thought of the phantom hybrid as his son.

The kid had apologized so many times, flinching away from Phil. Then when he finally came back to reality, he’d yelled and screamed at and criticized Phil as if he knew him. But Phil knew perfectly well nothing he’d said was true, and even stranger, they had never met.

He didn’t remember when he’d started saying something, asking the kid to wake up, but he was thrown from his thoughts by a voice speaking quietly to him, dull terror deep in his voice.

“Ph-Phil? Wh-where the hell are we?”

He sighed in relief as the boy finally responded to him. When he looked back down, the boy was no longer looking him in the eyes, but rather at the hands on his shoulders, as if he was afraid Phil might hurt him. This thought was confirmed when Phil shifted away and the boy flinched. He inhaled deeply.

“This- This is Origin-”

“No no no I mean where- where the fuck is this?”

Phil swallowed.
“I’m not sure what you want me to say. This is my home-- it uh-- has been for years”

“What the fuck” the teen rasped, “No it’s not. We lived in- in the cabin- and then you- you left- and now you live in L’man-”

“Kid,” he sighed, “I’m sorry, I really- don’t know you”

There was silence. Phil shifted his wings awkwardly under the boy’s desperate glare.

“You’re- you’re serious….aren’t you?” The boy whimpered

The winged man nodded quietly.

--------------------------------------

“No….No no no you- you used to be my dad- you can’t- you have to remember me-” Tommy choked out. He could feel a sob rising in his throat, tears stinging his eyes. “You- but- you--you’re my- ” His breath quickened, his heart pounding. He began shaking because something was wrong and his world was spinning and he was so lost and he was so scared and it suddenly felt so cold and he was alone he was so alone-

The panic subsided as he felt warmth close in round him. His vision focused and he realized with a calm startle that he was being hugged. The man in front of him that was his father but also not had his arms around him, holding his head carefully to his chest. His raven like wings slowly encased Tommy, and he practically melted into the embrace.

A sob tore itself from his throat, and he was left clinging to the stranger’s shirt, letting out the tears he'd been holding in his chest for months--maybe years.

-----------------------

For a long time they just sat there. The teen in Phil’s arms had stopped crying awhile ago, and was left clutching Phil’s shirt, his back shaking with silent sobs.

Phil finally pulled away when the shaking diminished into quiet sniffles. He carefully set one hand on the boy’s shoulder. The teen looked up at him slowly, tear streaks coating his face, his eyes dull and grey. Phil thinks they may have once been blue.

“Hey mate, how about we go inside? I’ll answer any questions you have if you answer a few for me, okay? I’ll make you something to eat too, that sound good?”

The teen nodded sadly, and Phil helped pull him to feet. He walked him back inside, draping a wing over his shoulder to comfort him.

When they got inside, Phil led the boy to his bed, and once he was sitting down, Phil walked over to the counter. He’d luckily made some soup last night before falling asleep in the corner, and it only took a few minutes of awkward silence before he’d reheated it on the stove.

Phil handed the warm bowl to the teen who took it with shaking hands.
He then pulled a stool from the corner and sat in front of the boy.
“So, I’ll ask you some questions, and then you can ask me yours. Does that sound alright?”

He nodded slowly. The kid was staring at the bowl in quiet thought. He finally looked up, his eyes meeting Phil’s.

“Am- am I allowed to eat this?”

Phil chuckled. “Of course! Why would I give it to you if you weren’t?”

The boy winced at his words, and Phil cursed himself.

“Sorry- I didn’t mean to make you feel like it was a dumb question, I just meant that of course you could, it’s for you. I wouldn’t give it to you if not. That would be cruel.

The boy looked away, his eyes questioning as if he were debating if that were true or not. He picked up the spoon and slowly brought it to his mouth. After that, he began shovelling it into his mouth like he hadn't eaten in weeks.

“So,” Phil began, leaning forward and setting his hands on his knees, “What’s your name?”

The boy was already almost done with his bowl, despite being given it just seconds ago.
He swallowed down another mouthful before answering.
“Tommy. I-I’m Tommy,” he stammered quietly

“Well Tommy, it’s nice to meet you. I think you know my name, but don’t worry, we’ll get to that. How old are you?”

“25”

Phil narrowed his eyes.

“16”

He nodded slowly. He’d actually thought he was at least a little bit older than that. It made Phil’s heart twist uncomfortably because the kid looked like he’d been through hell and back. He appeared so young and so old, so fragile and battle scarred.

“Where did you come from?”

Tommy was silent again. He shuffled his feet nervously.
“ The uhm….Dream SMP.”

Phil hummed in acknowledgement.
“ Can’t say I’ve heard of it. Then again, I haven’t heard about much of what’s outside Origin,” He chuckled, an attempt to lighten the mood.

When it didn’t work, he continued.
“ So, you say you know me, but I can’t recount having ever met you. Do you know any reason that might be?”

The teen stared down at his now empty bowl while Phil waited patiently, making a side note to cook some more soon. Finally, the blonde took in a shaky breath.
“Well, I- I do know you. At least- someone like you. But fuck you look so similar, he even acts like you! Or- well he used to-...But he doesn’t have the uh,” He gestured to his back, “ the wings….But- but you’re not Phil- well- well you are- but-....not my Phil…”

Phil nodded quietly, his heart aching for the poor, hurting, confused teen.
“Could you tell me more about this Phil?” As much as he didn’t want Tommy to have to talk about him, since he’d obviously done something to hurt him, (the very thought made Philza fume) he needed answers.

Tommy swallowed, his hand coming up to meet the other as he began lightly worrying at the bandages across it.
“Well he uh- he’s my dad, or he was- once. That is until he left us… I don’t think we’re a family anymore...not that I want to be anyway, not after the things he’s done”

Phil nodded again, trying to ignore the way his instincts yelled at him to find the damn bastard and tear him apart.
“And Wilbur, you say you know another Wilbur?”

Tommy took a deep breath.
“Yeah- he was my brother...But- things- a lot of things happened and-........and you killed him…He uh- came back though..as a ghost- I guess? But it’s nowhere near the same. He hardly remembers anything”

Phil tried to hide the way he winced at even the thought of it. The part of him that only knew that he had to protect his flock screamed at the words.
“I’m...I’m sorry that happened. That sounds….. rough, to say the least.”

The teen nodded, confirming the sad truth. Phil hummed an acknowledgement, shuffling his wings behind him.

“Well, guess I’ll answer your question then,” Phil had decided a while ago that this kid was no threat to their safe haven, “This is our home, me and a few others. We’re all hybrids here. It’s- hard to explain,” He chuckled nervously. “It’s this- center for magic, created by a very powerful hybrid a long time ago, though we don’t really know what happened to her. She created it as this kind of Oasis for hybrids to be safe in. It was a couple hundred years ago though, I wasn’t even alive yet back when the hate against hybrids began. We-....There used to be more of us, but now…” he sighed, “I haven't seen another in a long while…”

He cleared his throat and continued. “This place- It’s name is Origin. It’s protected by this huge wall we call ‘The Shimmer.’ That’s what that giant pink dome outside that you saw is. It keeps us safe. It’s not visible from the outside, but once you’re in you can see it. No one really comes this far out here anymore though.”

Tommy was listening intently, eyes wide, and Phil began to wonder if he was overwhelming the boy. But then Tommy spoke up hesitantly.
“h---hybrids?”

“Oh yes yes, we’re this- special type of species, kind of uhhhh-” He tilted his chin up, thinking, “Half human- half creature kinda deal. Some have powers and most of us can do these really special things, like-” He opened his wings, spreading them out beside him. The sunlight reflected off the obsidian colored feathers in smooth waves of green and purple, “I’ve got wings, so I can fly. Some hybrids have the power to teleport, there’s blaze hybrids and bee hybrids and enderman hy-”

“I know an enderman hybrid,” the teen stated suddenly. He realized he’d accidentally cut Phil off and shrank in on himself, looking down at the ground whilst muttering a quiet apology. Phil only smiled, the news unexpected.
“That’s alright mate! Tell me about him.”

Tommy set the empty bowl on the nightstand and pulled his knees against his chest, shrugging.
“I don’t really know alot about him. We talked a few times before we-.....uhm, he was nice….I guess”

Phil’s warm smile dropped slightly at the teen’s hesitation, but continued the conversation.
“Well, we have an enderman hybrid here too. He’s very nice, and I’m sure you’ll love him when you meet him. His name is Ranboo.”

The boy jerked his head up, looking Phil directly in the eyes.
“Ranboo? You said Ranboo?”

The winged man nodded slowly.
“Yes, Ranboo….. Do- do you know him too?”

Tommy bit his bottom lip, which was chapped and busted like he’d been punched or something.
“Yeah….He’s actually the only hybrid I’ve ever seen before now. I didn’t even know they existed till I met him….Magic- it was- just-...stories till then.”

Phil nodded. They sat there, in that uncomfortable silence, heads spinning.

Tommy let out a shaky breath, clawing at his hair, hunching over.
“I’m-...I’m so confused- I just- I have no idea what’s going on.” The boy sounded almost on the verge of tears again. Phil stood up slowly, not wanting to frighten him, and crossed over to the bed. He knelt down in front of Tommy, carefully taking his arms away from his head. He took the teen’s injured hand and held it carefully in his own.

“I know Tommy, but it’ll be okay. I’ll help you figure things out. We’ll do it together, okay,” Phil spoke softly, his heart twisting and aching for the poor hurt child in front of him.

Tommy nodded sadly, wiping tears away with the back of his uninjured hand.

Phil let go of Tommy’s hand and settled on the floor in front of him, sitting criss cross on the wooden floor.

“Is there anything else you wanna talk about bud?”

There was silence, Tommy’s eyes widening ever so slightly as he considered the question. He swallowed and spoke quietly, his voice quivering.
“Who-...Who all is here? What other hybrids live here,”

Phil smiled, recounting his flock.
“That’s a good question, we can figure out who you know, alright? Well, the hybrids that live here are Wilbur, Technoblade,” The boy flinched slightly, “Ranboo, Charlie, Jack, Tubbo-,” Tommy winced, cowering slightly like he’d been hit, and Phil paused. So obviously something had happened with his Tubbo, it seemed like Techno as well, maybe even Ranboo too. Phil couldn’t comprehend it. His Tubbo was always kind, if not a brat sometimes. What could he possibly have done to have made the teen feel like this. Technoblade too. Phil wouldn’t say Techno was the kindest person, but he would never harm someone to the point that they flinched away from him. And Ranboo….

Phil waited quietly until Tommy nodded, urging him to keep going. The hybrid cleared his throat, trying to be careful with the names he said. “There’s Nikki, Fundy…” He paused again, thinking about the spider hybrid. He had shown up one day, and been gone the next, the only hybrid Phil had seen in years that left. He decided not to mention him, instead continuing, “Sneeg, and Scott”

Tommy waited for Phil to say something else, and when he didn’t the teen spoke shakily.
“I know everyone except for th-those last two,” He closed his eyes as if he’d said something wrong. Phil gently hummed.

“Well, that is peculiar, isn’t it?”

Tommy nodded, a beat of silence passing between the two.

“And- and that’s it, right? No one e-else?”

Phil nodded, sure of his answer.
“That’s all of us.”

The teen looked relieved.

Phil stood up carefully.
“Well mate, I think you should probably get a bit more sleep, alright? You-......”

He paused.

“Can-....Can I ask- just one more thing? You by no means have to answer, but- I’ve got to know someday, alright? So-...may I-?”

Tommy froze, slow shakes beginning to crawl there way up his spine. He knew what was coming. He could feel the question coming from the sharp pain in his hand and the bruises that littered his skin.
“No.” He said it so definitely, and Phil quietly nodded.

“I understand.” He took a deep breath, rolling his shoulders before walking over to the window. He pulled on the red curtains, closing them with only a small crack for a little light to shine through. “I think you should stay here awhile, okay? At least until you’re stronger. For now though, I’ll let you rest up a bit, huh? Maybe tomorrow we can walk around outside.” He let go of the curtains and turned to Tommy, who was still sitting on the bed. “C’mon, lay down, I’ll make sure everyone is quiet so you can rest,”

Tommy nodded and turned to the side, laying down and setting his head on the pillow. Phil carefully pulled the blanket up around his shoulders.
“Ah- and if you need anything-” He went over to the window, pushing aside the curtain and pulling the door open.

A noise that sounded just like a bird came from Phil’s throat, despite his mouth still being closed. When he leaned back inside, there was a crow resting on his shoulder.
“-Just tell her.”

Tommy eyed the crow, looking at the crow and Phil with a concerned look.

“I know I know, it sounds strange, but she’ll understand, and she’ll come get me.”

He held his hand out to the crow, that carefully stepped onto his palm, and set her on the nightstand. She sat down, immediately folding in her wings and watching the teen carefully.

“Sleep well, Tommy. I promise, I’ll help you figure it out.”

Tommy nodded silently and turned toward the wall without another word.
----------------------
Tommy barely heard the door shut, his thoughts racing around in his head in a muffled whir. And though he was so terrified of what was happening, he found himself drifting off into a fitful sleep.

Chapter Text

Tubbo stared down at his communicator with frustration apparent on his face. His brow was furrowed, his lips turned in a frown. He muttered a string of foul words as he pressed angrily at the buttons.

The small computer in his hand was unresponsive to his franticness, still refusing to turn on. It had stopped working yesterday morning, and hadn’t turned back on since.

Tubbo walked down the Prime path, the sun beating down on his shoulders. There was hardly any wind today, and the heat was only slightly unbearable. His sneakers thumped against the road’s wooden planks as he walked along it, kicking a stray rock.

It had been four months, twenty-two days, and one week since Tubbo had made the decision to exile Tommy from L’manburg, not that he was counting. Surely that wasn’t too long, right? That was…..a reasonable amount of time. Atleast, that’s what Dream believed.

Dream. Tubbo growled under his breath. How had he come to where he was now? A little play thing for Dream to control. He and Tommy once had planned to take down the green prick, and now what? Tubbo was just some actor in Dream’s twisted stage play?

A sigh escaped his chest. No, Dream was right, right? He had only been looking out for L’manburg, and that means getting rid of any threats to their-...his nation.

But Tommy wasn’t a threat! He was his friend! What happened to “us against Dream?”

Dream’s using you!

Dream’s your friend!

He took a deep breath, trying to distract himself from the quarrel in his mind as he clicked the “on” button of his communicator repeatedly. He didn’t want to worry about that right now, because right now he had more important things to deal with.

He shifted the suit he wore around, pulling at the tie uncomfortably. He wasn’t particularly fond of the suit, with it’s padded shoulder and base too tight around his neck. The long sleeves were unnecessary for the hot sun

He was thrown from his inner turmoil when he tripped on a loose plank in the path. As he was falling, hands caught him by the shoulders and he was back on his feet. He glanced up, pushing his bangs away from his eyes.

Sam stood in front of him, a worried expression on his face. Well- what Tubbo guessed was a worried expression, he couldn’t see below his eyes because of the green and black gas mask covering his face. Sam was about a whole foot taller than tubbo, as the teen was only 5’5, and Sam was 6’9. He was wearing his netherite armour. He had short green hair cut right at the bottom of his head, and kind, green eyes.

“Woah Tubbo, you gotta look where you’re going!” He laughed brightly, and Tubbo let out a relieved sigh.

Sam had been there since the early days of Dream SMP, along with Dream, George, Sapnap, and few others. The man was a genius with tech and all things to do with redstone. He always had a bright face on, and was one of the most friendly people there, always willing to help if he was asked to. But Gods forbid you get on his bad side, which Tubbo had almost seen a few times. Tommy, the prankster he was, had come dangerously close to it, but luckily Sam was good at managing his temper.

“Sorry Sam,” Tubbo laughed embarrassedly, “I got a bit distracted I guess.”

Sam’s eyes squinted in what Tubbo believed was a smile. The man put his hands behind his back and regarded the boy in front of him kindly.
“How are you today, Mr President?”

Tubbo’s smile fell slightly.
The teen felt a slight pang in his heart. Did he really deserve that title? He was only sixteen. He’d failed to keep L’manburg from being destroyed mere minutes after gaining presidency. The country, currently still being built up from the shambles it was left in by Wilbur, was surrounded by obsidian walls that obscured the view of the land outside of it. Dream had promised to take them down….Because Tubbo finally exiled Tommy.

The boy shook the thoughts out of his mind, smiling up at the redstone tech.
“Oh, please Sam, we’re friends. Just Tubbo is fine. Actually though, I was hoping to find you!” He said cheerfully.

“Really,” Sam tilted his head, “I’d be happy to help! What do you need?”

Tubbo held out his communicator to Sam, who took it with an understanding glare.
“The damn thing hasn’t worked since yesterday.”

“So yours too huh?” He twisted the device around in his hand, prodding at the buttons for a response. The device didn’t turn on. “I’ve had so many people come up to me with the same issue, it’s like the whole communication server went down or something.”

Tubbo answered with a quiet “huh” before looking back up at Sam.
“Any idea why?”

The man closed his eyes and shook his head, handing the communicator back to the teen.
“No clue, I’m looking into it though. I’ll try to get it fixed as soon as I can.”

Tubbo muttered a small thanks to the man, slipping the device into his pocket next to his silver compass. He wrapped his arms around himself with a half-hearted laugh.
“It’s kinda ironic I guess. The day I finally decide to talk to Tommy and everything shuts down.”

Something flashed across Sam’s eyes. Sadness? Anger? He looked down at Tubbo with a mix of both of these emotions on his face.
“Have you talked to him since he was exiled? Has anyone?”

Tubbo swallowed hard, taking in a deep breath.
“N-no, they have to tell me or Dream first, and no one has asked yet. . I’ve wanted to , I really have. But well, I couldn’t find the courage. I’ve been planning to go visit, but I don’t think he wants to see me, y’know? Probably doesn’t wanna talk to me either…”

Sam’s gaze softened as he looked down at the boy-president. He sighed, setting a hand on the teen’s shoulder.
“You two are really close, Tubbo. I’m sure he would be delighted to see you. You should go see him sometime soon.”

Tubbo nodded, looking down at the pathway, shuffling his feet on the wooden planks.
“I will, I promise.”

Sam smiled, patting Tubbo’s shoulder and standing up straighter.

“Anyway, about the communicators, I was actually on my way to go find Dream-” He was cut off by two loud buzzes filling the air. Tubbo jumped at the sudden sound, meanwhile Sam glanced down at his waist with confusion. They both reached into the pockets on the side of their pants and held up their communicator, which continued to buzz with a new message.

The communicator was on, it’s screen glowing with a message in bright green, pixelated text.

“Dream: meet at Community house. All member attendance mandatory”

Tubbo and Sam exchanged confused looks.

“Speak of the Devil,” Sam muttered.

------------------------------------

The two walked silently to the Community House, neither of them expressing their concerns that Dream had called a meeting of all the SMP members.

When they reached the brick building, there were already several people crowded inside. Tubbo could hear confused voices as Sam pulled open the wooden door. He let Tubbo walk ahead of him, and once the teen was in he let the door swing shut behind him.

The Community House was the very first building of the Dream SMP. It was a large, brick building with an odd pattern on the floorboards that resembled a tic-tac-toe board and high ceilings. In the middle of the room was a spiral staircase that led up to the roof of the building. The floor beneath the stairs was made of glass that showed the lake below.

Quackity and Fundy were standing off to the side of the room, exchanging concerned words in hushed tones. Nikki was standing by one of the four doors, wearing a brown jacket that looked strikingly familiar to Tubbo. Badboyhalo sat alongside Antfrost, Skeppy, and Punz, whispering quietly with worried glances. Captain Puffy looked up from where she stood leaning against the far wall and waved to Sam. Tubbo followed the man over to Puffy.

Puffy was a very kind woman. She had curly white hair that hung down around her shoulders and down her back. She wore a long red pirate coat and a black, brown, and white ruffle dress. She smiled at Sam and Tubbo with kind blue eyes, and Tubbo felt a small bit of his concern melt away. Her very presence was comforting to the teen.

“Sam! Tubbo! It’s good to see you!” She said, clasping her hands together and glancing between the two, up at Sam and down at Tubbo.

Sam smiled beneath his gas mask.
“Hi Puffy, is Dream here yet?”

The girl shrugged, glancing around the room.
“No, I haven’t seen him yet. Sam, do you have any idea what’s going on?”

Sam shrugged now.
“I’m surprised the message even went out, the communicators haven’t been working all day.”

Tubbo had turned from the conversation and now walked over to Quackity and Fundy. Quackity was wearing his signature beanie, and Tubbo wondered if it was the same one he wore every day, or if he had several pairs. Fundy moved a stray lock of orange and white hair away from his eyes. When the two spotted Tubbo, they ducked their heads, conversation faltering.

“Quackity, Fundy. Any clue what Dream called us here for?”

They shook their heads in unison.
“Nope, he hasn’t said anything else.”

Tubbo tapped his foot against the floorboards, head spinning.

Over time, a few more people filtered into the building. He could see Callahan, Ponk, Foolish, Jack. George and Sapnap sat outside the building, legs hanging over the docks that led to the community house, not speaking to anyone, not speaking to each other.

The door beside Tubbo opened, and he turned to see a tall figure crouching through the door. His green and red eyes locked onto tubbo, a smile lighting up his face with sharpened teeth and an animalistic, enderman like warble. He had four long ears, two to each side of his head. His skin was split down the very middle in splatters of black and white. He wore a plain black suit with a white under shirt and a red tie. His black and white hair, with the colors swapped with the skin under it, hung in front of his face.

He ducked through the doorway and gently shut the door behind him. He turned to Tubbo, smiling, his two black and white tails swaying back and forth.

“Ranboo!” Tubbo smiled brightly walking up to the hybrid. He had to crane his neck to even look at him. He stood high over everyone else in the room. Slowly, he lowered his head as he felt several eyes lock onto him. When he entered the room, every head had turned, every eye staring, watching the hybrid who looked like he wanted to fold in on himself.

Tubbo couldn’t blame them. No one in that room had seen a hybrid before ranboo came along, Tubbo hadn’t even heard of them. The teen stood out in a crowd, eight feet tall and a cascade of confusing features. They had no idea where the boy came from, and neither did he apparently. He didn’t meet anyone’s eyes, instead looking down at the floor, shuffling his feet around awkwardly under the glares.

“Hi Tubbo,” He mumbled, clasping his hands together. “What’s uhhh- what’s going on?”

Tubbo’s shoulders fell, remembering why they were here in the first place, his happiness of seeing the hybrid dissipating.

“Not sure, we’ve just been waiting on Dream-”

A hush fell over the room, every eye turning away from either Ranboo or the conversations they’d been having. It felt as if they’d all began holding their breath, and most of the people there were.

As if summoned, footsteps descended down the spiral staircase. He walked somberly, head down, eyes covered by his marble carved mask. There were two beady eyes and a childish looking smile scribbled onto the mask. People would have found it stupid looking if it werent for the person wearing it. There was a black bandana over his mouth and nose. Draped over his head was a green hood. He also wore black jeans and dark, steel toed combat boots. He had a brown belt strapped across his waist with tools, daggers, and bags of materials strapped to it. The silver cleats on the underside of his boots sent out sharp clangs as he stepped slowly down the metal staircase.

He reached the bottom of the staircase and looked quietly around the room

When he spoke, Tubbo resisted the urge to flinch. His voice cut like knives through the strangled silence of the room. Tubbo felt Ranboo set a comforting hand on his shoulder, though it felt like he might have been shaking himself.

“I expect everyone is here?” He turned to Tubbo, the black, beady, soulless eyes of his mask practically suffocating. His words held no emotion.

“Yes, Dream, everyone is accounted for.” Tubbo swallowed, trying his best to not look afraid, even with how badly he was. He clenched his fists at his sides, trying to stop his hands from shaking.

Dream nodded quietly.

 

Then, he sighed.

“Good. I suppose you are all wondering why I’ve called you here.”

 

The way he spoke practically made Tubbo stumble backwards. For once the tyrannical man almost sounded human, rather than the cruel, monotone demeanor he usually held, unless he was screaming. Screaming about a small country’s inevitable surrender, yelling at the teens stood in front of him with fiery rage, shouting out in glee, writhing in the pure chaos before him.
He sounded...sad.

“I carry with me some….heartbreaking news.” He muttered, head tilted down. He reached into his pocket, taking something in his gloved hand. He pulled out a small object, wrapped in a crumpled sheet of paper. The man looked like he was shaking, carefully unwrapping the paper with trembling fingers. Tubbo saw only a flash of silver before Dream had taken it from the paper and deposited it back in his pocket. He held the paper in his shaking hand, breath quivering.

“Today I returned to Tommy’s house in his exile to bring him some supplies. When I arrived, however, everything was gone, blown to pieces like he’d lit tnt or something. Tommy wasn’t there, but I found this by the nether portal.” He held up the piece of paper for a moment. From where Tubbo stood, everyone keeping their distance from Dream, he couldn’t make out the words. But he recognized the messy scribbles of Tommy’s handwriting.

Tubbo could feel the air shift. Something wasn’t right. There was a light feeling of dread in Tubbo’s chest, ready to plummet. Like a firework ready to go off.

“I followed him through the nether. He was-” He choked up, a light gasp shaking his throat, “He was standing at the edge of a lava lake. I tried to stop him. I promise you I did. But I was too late…..He-...he jumped. ”

No one moved.

“Tommy is dead.”

The firework in Tubbo’s chest stopped. It didn’t go off with a bang. The fuze burned out, the sparks dying before it could light.

The room was hanging by a thread. No one said a word. All eyes were on Dream, who had his shoulders hunched. He looked like he was going to collapse any second, shaking at the knees. It was so--wrong to look at, this tyrant that had controlled the world with puppet strings suddenly looking so hurt, so pained.

All heads turned to Tubbo as he spoke, stepping toward Dream.

“What do you mean, Tommy is dead?” the boy said through gritted teeth. It was quiet, sounding almost like an awkward laugh.

Dream didn’t look up to meet the president’s eyes.
“I mean he’s gone, Tubbo. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen.”

Tubbo shook his head silently.
“No. You’re-you’re lying.”

“I’m not.” He whispered. “He-...He left this for you.”

Dream slowly handed the paper to Tubbo, who took it slowly. His mind felt numb, his arms stiff, his legs like they were going to give out any moment now.

As Tubbo looked over the note, holding it away from his face as if it hurt to look at
(it did, but he couldn’t feel it), Dream took out the metal piece from his hood, passing it to the teen.

Tubbo took it silently, not looking away from the letter. He felt something cold, and circular slip into his palm. Dream scooted back, head hanging in shame.

Tubbo swallowed, lowering the note. His eyes were wide, pupils small, a darkness settling over them.
“But--no- he wouldn’t. I would have seen-”

The boy threw the paper down before wrestling the communicator from his side pocket. His breathing quickened as he turned the device on, poring over the messages written on the pixelated screen.

The last message was from two days ago. It was a private message, the last sentence said in a private conversation.
“Ranboo: I think you should go see him. He probably misses you.”

Tubbo choked, head spinning, a scream building deep in his throat, tears threatening to break through, every part of him shaking.

“How-How long ago did this happen?” He didn’t want to hear the answer, because some aching part of him knew that it had happened when-

“A few hours ago. I tried to save him. He was already gone when I got down there. There was nothing I could do”

Tubbo inhaled sharply. No one had said a single word. The room was so painfully quiet.

Tubbo looked over at the object dream had handed him.

The compass pointed toward Tubbo, it’s purple sheen glowing dimly.

The scream fell out.

The tears broke through.

He crumpled to the floor.

The trigger was pulled.

The firework went off.

Chapter Text

Phil took a deep breath, leaning into the cold winds that pressed against his face. He angled his wings, turning as he soared over the woods. A sound came from his throat, and he smiled as two crows lifted from the trees, coming in to fly beside him.

“Hello fellas,” he greeted happily.

The birds squawked in unison, returning the gesture.

Phil looked forward as he flew over the woodland pastures. The hybrid’s head was spinning. He breathed in again slowly. The wind managed to calm him down, though there was still a dull, aching worry in his chest. Whenever he felt stressed, Phil would take to the air. It always helped to ease his nerves and gave him time to think. He decided reluctantly that he’d had enough time, even if he didn’t feel like it.
He kept his eyes forward as he spoke.
“I need you two to gather everyone up at the pub. Tell them to be there in ten minutes. Don’t worry about Wilbur, I’ll get him.”

He reached into his pockets as the birds agreed, and threw a handful of sunflower seeds into the air. They turned sharply and dove, catching the seeds before they could hit the ground and then splitting off in separate directions to go and gather the other origins.

Phil began to dive as well, eyes focused on the large manor in front of him. He landed on the grass softly, taking in the familiar black shingles and dark purple wood of Wilbur’s home. He walked onto the shaded porch and knocked sharply on the door.

“Come in!” an echoey voice called from inside the house, and Phil opened the door.

The house was completely dark, cobwebs hanging from the ceilings, black, lace curtains draped over the windows of the house. There were candles lit on the shelves next to dusty books, old looking vases, and odd trinkets.

Phil looked up as the space around him became cold, and he wrapped his wings around himself.

The air in front of him wavered, and Wilbur flickered into view. He was holding a cluster of objects in his arms. He was wearing one of his classic yellow sweaters, and grey jeans. The phantom had brown hiking boots on and an auburn colored beanie over his chestnut hair. In between the curls there was a small braid. Phil and Techno both had matching ones.

“What’s that?” Phil pointed at the pile Wilbur was holding. The ghost shrugged.

“The stuff Fundy stole from me, I took it back. But who gives a shit right now? How’s that kid? Is he alright?”

Phil hesitated.
“He’s--He’s alive, but he’s unwell. Something happened where he came from, but he doesn’t want to tell me.”

Wilbur nodded, walking over to a dresser and dropping the materials into one of the drawers.
“I don’t blame him. He looks like shit.”

Phil wanted to scold Wilbur, but found himself unable to. The kid was covered head to toe in bruises and marks Phil could tell were intentional, whether they were from himself or not. He did, in fact, look like shit.

“What info did you get out of him?” Wilbur asked, shutting the drawer and crossing back over to Phil.

He wrung his hands together, unsure of how to best explain the bewildering encounter.
“Well- he does know me. From where he came from, there’s--like--another Phil”

Wilbur crossed his arms, cocking one eyebrow at the other hybrid.
“What the fuck does that mean?”

“There’s another Phil. He doesn’t have wings and he- he was his father- or something, but he left. He ran off and came back a few years later. It’s like- there’s two of me or something.”

Wilbur nodded, and Phil sighed in relief. He was actually surprised Wilbur believed him-

“So he’s obviously got some kind of brain damage.”

“What-? No! He doesn’t, and that’s the thing Wil!-”

“Don’t tell me you believe him. He probably hit his head on something and- I don’t know, made something up, mistook you for his dad or some shi-”

“He knows you too!”

Wilbur stopped. He turned his head to the side, eyes locked with Phil’s.
“Excuse me?”

“He talked about you- well, not you, but the- other you? He’s not a phantom like you either- well-...He’s uhm...a ghost.”

Wilbur raised an eyebrow.
“A ghost? Like he’s dead and shit?”

“Yes! Before I even got the chance to speak he was off on some rant about how I left him and how you were his older brother and how I-......”

“How you what , Phil?”

“......I-...Phil- killed...Wilbur. ”

Wilbur squinted, then shook his head.
“That’s fucking crazy-!” He shouted exasperatedly, “You wouldn’t do that-”

“I know I wouldn’t! That’s what’s so messed up about this! He knows us, but it’s- it’s not us.”

Wilbur was looking down at his shoes. His brow was furrowed as he tried to think of some reasonable explanation for what Phil was saying.
“Well, does he know anyone else?”

Phil nodded frantically, his hand in his hair as he paced about the room. When had he started pacing? It didn’t matter. His wings were fluffed up, showing his distress clearly.

“Everyone! He knows Jack and- and Nikki, and Fundy. He doesn’t know Sneeg or Scott, but he knows Charlie, and-. Something happened between him, Techno and Tubbo, something bad. He knows Ranboo too! Except his Ranboo is the only hybrid, he’s an enderman hybrid too. Everyone else? They’re humans, every version of us that he knows is human. He said he didn’t even know hybrids were real till Ranboo showed up.”

“So what are you saying? There’s like, other versions of us?” Wilbur questioned, his voice cold, with a concerned edge to it.

“I don’t know!” Phil threw his arms up, his wings following as they raised, knocking over a lamp beside Phil. They both winced as it hit the ground, but luckily didn’t shatter. Phil murmured an apology before righting the lamp. Wilbur didn’t seem too worried about the lamp however. He was more concerned about the distressed man in front of him.

“Alright. You, sit.” He said flatly. He grabbed Phil by the wrist and dragged him over to the living room until he was sitting on the flora patterned sofa. The phantom leaned against the chair across from the couch.
“So what’s he doing now?”

Phil ran his fingers through his hair with a sigh.
“I gave him something to eat and told him to sleep.”

Wilbur nodded.
“Well, did you get a name from him?”

“Tommy.”

“Did he say where he came from?”

Phil shifted his wings behind him until they were comfortable against the cushions of the sofa.
“It’s called Dream SMP, but he doesn’t want to talk about it,” He swallowed.
“He’s only 16, Wil. And- and something really bad happened to him there. “ He pulled his wings forward and began combing through the feathers, another thing he tended to do when worried.

Wilbur sighed, pushing off the chair. He flopped down beside Phil and patted him on the shoulder.
“It’s okay, Phil. He’s safe now.”

Phil smiled.
“Yeah...We’ll keep him safe.”

“Alright, don’t go all dad mode on me now.” The ghost rolled his eyes with a smile.

The hybrid tilted his head.

“Dad mode?”

The phantom nodded.
“Dad mode. You do this thing where every single person you meet you try to adopt. You’re a total dad.”

Phil could feel his heart warm at the words.
“Well- I wouldn’t say that.”

Wilbur laughed.
“You wouldn’t? I would. You took in this whole damn place as your family, man.”

Phil began laughing with him. He smiled at the ghost softly.

Somehow, he’d never thought about it. But he did, he did feel like everyone here was his family. Be it the bird instincts, or the fact that he loved them like they were his family.

They were.

The two sat in quiet, comfortable yet tense silence for a small moment before one of them spoke again.
“So, what do we do now?”

Phil sat up from the sofa, stretching.
“Well, I sent out some of the crows to gather the others so I could tell them about our visitor.”

Wilbur nodded, standing up beside him.
“Do you plan on telling them--about how he knows them?”

Phil sighed and fixed his face with a frown.
“I think it’s best we don’t. Not until we know more.”

-----------------------

They walked together, side by side to the pub. Wilbur and Phil were practically shoulder to shoulder as Phil held one of his raven wings over the ghost’s head, shielding him from the light of the sun. It was almost afternoon now, and the world around them was bright. Birds sung in the trees, there was the rustle of animals running around in the underbrush. The lake shimmered brightly as they passed.

The water rippled beside them, and they turned to see a pure white tail silking through the water.

Nikki poked her head out of the rippling lake, smiling brightly with sharp teeth. Despite having just been under water, her bright pink hair wasn’t wet. She had two fins in place of where her ears would normally be. She regarded the two men in front of her kindly with bright, sparkling blue eyes. Iridescent scales sparkled along her arms. The scales led all the way up from the tip of her tail to her neck, and cut off around the shoulders.

“Hello Wilbur! Hello Phil!” The mermaid beamed, waving at them.

Wilbur waved back with a small greeting.
“Hi Nikki!”

“Good morning Nikki, did you get my message?” Phil asked brightly.

“Yes!” She exclaimed happily, “I was on my way to the pub right now!”

Phil nodded.
“Good,” He smiled, but his words were quiet, worried.

The mermaid’s smile fell slightly.
“Is everything alright? Something bad didn’t happen, right,”

Phil’s wings twitched as he shook his head with a small smile.
“No no no, just got some news is all.”

“Ah, okay then, I’ll see you there!”

Once they’d waved their temporary goodbyes, Nikki ducked back under the water.

As they walked on, a large shadow fell over them, and Phil moved his wing away from Wilbur as the pub loomed over their heads.

“Seeya up there,” Wilbur said lightly, happy to no longer be in the sun. He walked over to the ladder, and once he had his foot on the bottom step, Phil spread his wings and lifted into the air.
----------
Phil landed on the grass outside the floating pub and crossed over to the porch. Once he was under the overhang that provided some shade from the sun, he reached down and opened the trapdoor in the floor. He glanced down the hatch and could see Wilbur still making his way slowly up the ladder. Phil chuckled.

“Hurry up, mate!” He cupped one hand around his mouth and called down to the ghost, who in turn flipped him off as he continued to climb. The winged man laughed again and stood up, pushing open the door to the tavern.

Immediately voices filled the air as he walked into the dimly lit pub. The interior was made of red brick and wood, with a few other open rooms around the place. Around the high ceiling there were high rafters, and a bright chandelier that flickered every few moments. The room in front of him was a large open space, with a bar and stools off to the side, and tables against the walls. Behind the bar there were shelves of an assortment of drinks, some alcoholic and some not. Branching off from the main room was a wide fenced in balcony. Next to the door Phil stood by, there was a glass tank filled with water, with an opening in the floor for Nikki to come up through. The fish hybrid was already in the tank, watching the other bar goers with a smile. There was also another room, completely made of stone. Lava fell from the ceiling into pools in the stone floor.

Phil took in the smell of the tavern with a smile and glanced around at the people there.

In the rafters sat a boy with fluffy brown hair that almost completely covered his face. From the tips of his pointed ears sat two long, black, bug-like antennae. He had a pair of kaleidoscope-like goggles resting on his forehead. The teen was wearing a black and yellow striped turtleneck with jean overalls, the pockets of which were packed full of different flowers. Around the knees the jeans were ripped and torn. He had on light yellow sneakers. On his back were a pair of giant, bee-like wings that twitched every few seconds.

Tubbo was speaking with another teen around his age. He was the tallest in the room, with obsidian colored skin and even darker hair. His heterochromatic eyes were green and red, and he had long pointed ears that were raised happily as he chatted with the bee hybrid boy. Around his shoulders was a purple cloak held together by a large pin that resembled an ender eye. He also had a dark purple under shirt and black pants on.
There were purple particles that seemed to slowly orbit around Ranboo. Sometimes Phil swore he had seen the teen talking to them.

Behind the bar stood Jack, who was busy cleaning a glass while he talked with the other two people sat in front of him. His short, buzz cut hair flickered with small flames. He was wearing a simple blue hoodie and jeans. Over his eyes he wore black sunglasses with red and blue shades. There was a pair of black headphones around his neck.

Sitting at the bar was a man whose skin looked like it shimmered. His hair was a dark pink and purple, and had white specs in it. Other than that, Scott could be mistaken for human. He wore a light blue, flowy shirt with purple and blue sleeves and light blue jeans that had a silver chain hanging around the loops.

On top of the bar sat a man in a blue hood and overcoat. There were small moth antennas sticking out from the hood, and black, blue, and white moth wings on his back. Sneeg was even smaller than the mugs that sat around him, and was holding a little, tiny cup in his hands. He, along with Scott, were some of the newest arrivals to Origin.

At one of the tables sat a man with a sword and a whetstone in his hands, the screech of metal echoing around the room every time he slid the stone against the steel. He had long pink hair that hung wildly down around his shoulders. There was a small braid beside his hair. He was wearing a red cape with white fluffy lining. He had on a chain mail set of pants, under which was a pair of black leggings. He also had on a white shirt with long flowy sleeves and golden buttons down the middle. Hanging from his neck was a white, lace cravat. On his feet he had on black leather boots. His eyes were a dark red, and there were patches on his peach colored skin that were dark black instead, almost like scales. Over his shoulders floated two wither skulls, with white, dimly glowing eyes.

There was a shout and Phil turned to see a shorter man in the corner of the room who was holding a glass of some kind of beverage away from himself. He mostly resembled an anthropomorphic fox, with orange fur, bright green eyes, and a long bushy tail that swayed behind him. He had on a black jacket, a white shirt, and plain jeans. The fox also had on a black cap, with slits on the top for his large, fluffy ears. Fundy was currently fending away Charlie, who looked mostly human, other than his brown hair, with green at the edges that was almost transparent, but not completely. He was trying to steal the drink away from the fox hybrid.

The door behind Phil opened, and he turned to see Wilbur finally entering.
“Everyone here?” the ghost asked.

Phil nodded and turned back to the other occupants of the pub, clapping his hands together. All conversation faltered, and they turned to the winged hybrid. Everyone’s face lit up with a smile and they began chattering happily to Phil.

“Good morning Phil!” Scott waved, the stars on his skin shimmering.

“Morning Phil!” The inchling beside him waved as well.

“Hey Phil! Didn’t seeya yesterday! Where’ve ya been?” Fundy chimed.

“Heeeey! Phil!” Charlie cheered.

“Any reason your crow woke me up today? This better be important, Phil,” Techno said flatly, though he didn’t sound too angry about it. The wither hybrid didn’t look up from his sword, continuing to sharpen the blade.

“Yeah Phil,” The blaze hybrid behind the bar called, setting the rag in his hands over his shoulder and leaning against, “Why’d ya have to call everyone into my pub?”

“Hello again, Phil!” Nikki gleamed.

“Some of us have important things to do, old man.” Tubbo called, shifting around until he was hanging upside down, his legs wrapped around the rafters.

“No you don’t,” Ranboo stated flatly, rolling his eyes at the bee hybrid.

Phil smiled at the shenanigans.
“Well everyone, I have some important news today.” The other people stopped, waiting patiently, some impatiently, for Phil to speak.
He hesitated, still unsure of the best way to tell them about the new arrival. On his fly earlier he’d planned part of the speech, but had mostly agreed to just go in and let whatever happened happen.

Wilbur nudged him with his shoulder, urging him to keep going.

“Well,” He swallowed with a nervous smile, “We have a guest.”

A few gasps filled the room, and excited voices began to overlap one another.

“A guest?!” Nikki cheered, pressing her webbed hands against the glass. “Oh it’s been so long since we had a guest!”

“WHAT?!” Tubbo shouted, trying to sit up from the rafter he was hanging on. He fell down from the ceiling and was caught by Ranboo. He thrashed around until the enderman hybrid had set him down and zipped over to Phil, hovering in front of the man as he tried not to shake with excitement.

Technoblade looked up now, finally halting with the whetstone stopped against the sword.
“HEH?” He questioned loudly.

A few people began to crowd around Phil, asking questions with ecstatic voices.

The man chuckled, holding his hands up.
“Alright everyone, settle down.”

The people surrounding Phil scooted away, some still brimming with excitement.

“Where’d he come from?” Techno asked, setting his sword and whetstone on the table and tilting his head.

“He says it’s called the Dream SMP.” A few of the origins muttered about having never heard of the place. “I know, I haven’t heard of it either,” Phil agreed.

Tubbo darted around Phil, his wings buzzing as he zipped about.
“What’s his name? How old is he? Is he staying?”

Phil laughed, setting a hand on the bee hybrid’s shoulder and lowering him until he was on the floor. He continued to bounce on his tip toes.

“Slow down there mate,” He smiled. “His name’s Tommy, and he’s sixteen. As for staying with us, I’m not sure.”

The boy crossed his arms, pouting.
“He’s not gonna be like Schlatt and leave immediately right?”

Phil hummed as he thought. He wasn’t sure if the boy did want to stay or not, that was true, but Phil also knew he wasn’t going to let Tommy leave so soon. The poor kid was a mess, and very clearly hurt. The hybrid planned on taking care of him until he was better.

“I don’t think so,” he smiled. “He’s hurt, and I want to make sure he’s better. Anything after that is his choice.”

“He’s hurt?” Nikki asked with concern in her voice.

Phil nodded sadly.
“Mhm. I was out at that forest mansion me and Ranboo found a few days ago and caught him trying to steal my bag. Poor thing was shaken like a leaf and just covered,” he emphasized, “in bruises and cuts and stuff. He passed out and I brought him here just last night. He’s sleeping right now so you’ll have to wait to meet him till he’s better.”

A few origins offered sympathetic awes for the teen, like Scott and Nikki. He might have even heard Charlie or Sneeg.

“Well do you know what happened to him?” Ranboo asked quietly, his tail swaying slowly behind him as he clasped his claws together.

The winged hybrid shook his head, his face dropping sadly.
“Don’t know. He doesn’t want to talk about it. So please, when you do meet him try not to bring it up.”

“What kind of hybrid is he?”

Phil winced, locking eyes with Fundy. The fox was smiling brightly with sharp teeth, his tail swaying behind him.

The winged hybrid felt his stomach drop as the question was asked. He’d expected it of course, but still dreaded answering.

“He’s uh….” he hesitated. “...not...one”

There was a pause. The expressions in the room changed to curiosity, maybe concern? Confused glares were passed around the room until understanding hit them.

“You mean he’s human?” Techno growled under his breath, lowering his head. The red of his eyes deepened in color as the wither hybrid leaned down, hunching his shoulders. The other origins gasped harshly.

“You brought a human here?!” Ranboo questioned. His expression showed anger, but Phil could tell by the way the hybrid hunched over and his tail twitched that there was also fear in him.

“Yes-”

Jack pointed at Phil accusingly.
“You of all fucking people should know how bad humans are.”

Phil tried to reason with the ever agitated growing crowd.
“I know but-”

The bee hybrid floated back, instead coming to hover by Ranboo.
“He’s probably a spy or some shit. How do you know he’s really hurt?”

Fundy jumped in before Phil could even start to speak.
“Yeah! He’s probably lying to you!”

Wilbur cut in now, stepping beside Phil with one hand up.
“I saw him myself. He looks dreadful, alright? He’s literally a fucking kid. He doesn’t look like he’s even eaten anything in days.”

There were confused and agitated bickers around the room.

“He could still be a spy,” Tubbo crossed his arms, hovering in the air.

“Tubbo,” Phil sighed, “I promise he’s not. No one even knows we’re out here. The kid didn’t even know hybrids existed. He passed out the first time he saw my wings.”

A few more mutters were passed around.

“Whatever. Not like he can do anything to us anyway,” Techno huffed, picking up his whetstone and sword again. The other origins nodded, though they were still skeptical.

Phil took a deep breath.
“Thank you. Please, be patient with him. And try not to overwhelm him, okay?”

They nodded slowly and retreated back into their original spots, muttering under their breath to each other. Phil sighed and walked over to a vacant table, slumping down into the seat.

Chapter Text

Tommy sat on his hands and knees at the edge of a burning crater. A crater that used to be his only home. The ground sizzled, sending up rings of smoke. Burning logs were thrown about on the few scraps of remaining grass, and the ground surrounding the gap was black and charred. At the bottom of the crater was a silver compass, one of the only things left alive in the explosion that ripped away practically everything Tommy had left.

Tommy stared at the remains of logstedshire, his mind buzzing numbly. He couldn’t hear his thoughts. His stomach sunk with dread. There was a high pitched ringing in his ears that wouldn’t stop. The burns littering his skin hissed, and he could feel blood pooling around his face, dripping from a gash in his head he’d received after being launched by the tnt.

“Dream- w-why?” He stuttered, not looking up to meet the artificial eyes of the tyrant that stood beside him’s mask.

Dream didn’t look down at him, instead continuing to stare out at the land set ablaze.

“Because you lied to me,” Dream said simply, his hands still in the pockets of his green cloak. “I gave you so much, and you lied to me. You hid things from me.”

Tommy hiccupped, clutching at the blackened earth with shaking hands. His body screamed at the slightest movement.
“I know,” He gasped sharply. “I know- I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“You should be.”
Dream turned away from the crater, walking slowly away from the teen still hunched over on the ground. Tommy reached toward him with a quivering hand.

“Wait- where- where are you going?” the boy stammered, his grey eyes growing more and more unfocused as the ringing in his head grew louder. He shakily rose to his feet, slowly following behind Dream towards the portal.

“I don’t want to be friends with someone who tries to deceive me Tommy. That’s the worst part.” He turned around, and Tommy could feel the anger radiating off of him in cold, sharp waves. The way he screamed sent chills through Tommy. It sounded so inhuman. “I’ve known you were hiding those weapons for weeks now. You had so many chances to tell me. I wouldn’t be as mad as I am right now if you’d just come clean!”

The words pierced Tommy in the chest so harshly that he gasped and recoiled like he’d been hit.
“No- no no please don’t be mad at me. I’m so sorry I really really am!” Tommy begged, clasping his hands together as he pleaded. “I won’t do it again! I promise!”

Dream scoffed.
“You say that all the time and you still don’t change, Tommy! And you still wonder why Tubbo exiled you!”

Tommy froze, his breath knocked out of him. He stuttered, trying to say something. Some part of his mind wanted to fight back, wanted to tell him he was wrong.

All that came out was a silent sob. He fell back to his knees, staring up at Dream as he struggled to talk.

“B-b-but why- are- y-y-you doing this to m-me?” He could feel his mind drifting, and the world around him began to turn on it’s side.

Dream scoffed.
“Are you really that stupid? You deserve every single thing I’ve done. What you don’t deserve is friends, not if you won’t be a friend to them. You don’t deserve your family either! Wilbur spent almost a month with you and went and got himself killed! That’s your fault, Tommy! Everything is! You wonder why everyone left you? Why they were fine with leaving you out here? They couldn’t wait to get away from you! You’re just a selfish brat!”

Tommy was slipping, his eyes becoming more and more blurry and the ringing in his head growing louder. The only sound was the insistent whine in his ears and the echoing, repeating mantra of every word Dream said. Ice burned in his chest as he curled in on himself.
“ I know- I’m sorry,” He quivered, “I’m so sorry. Please don’t leave me”

“Goodbye Tommy. I’ll return in a week.”

Tommy closed his eyes, giving into the unconsciousness dragging him down. The portal that sat a few feet away from him flashed with purple and a warped sound as Dream left him in the cold.

When he finally took his last conscious breath, a blinding heat enveloped him, and he faded into the darkness.

----------------------------------------------

He slowly blinked, staring ahead at the ground beneath him. Exhaustion ached through his entirety.

He slowly pushed himself off the grass, holding his hand up to the spot on his head that screamed with pain. There was dried blood around the gash, and blood covering his face and matted hair. He moved his hand up, and met a wide, scarred spot on the side of his head. Tommy opened his mouth as a blinding white pain shot through the wound. All that came out of him was a strangled sob from his throat.

When the ringing agony subsided, Tommy rose to his feet. He wrapped his arms around himself. The sky was darker with the oranges of the setting sun, and Tommy swallowed, wondering just how long he’d been out for. Wind bit at his face and he shivered against the cold. He looked up at the portal he’d been laying in front of. It was closed, empty of the usual purple it glowed with. He knew then that it had been closed from the other side.

Tommy turned away and began walking forward. He passed the crater that used to be Logstedshire, past the charred heap that once was a tent. The dirt beneath his feet turned to sand and he blinked, looking out at the sparkling water of the beach beside logstedshire.

He slowly sank into the sand, sitting down with his head hanging.

He felt so alone. Dream----....Dream had said he wasn’t going to come back for a week. Tommy suppressed a sob. He couldn’t bear even the thought of being alone that long. Some part of him weeped, begging that maybe Dream was exaggerating, and he’d come back, and Tommy would do anything he asked him to.

But Dream had always been a man of his word. He had asked for white flags under the threat of death, and eventually it had come. It came when Eret had pushed the button and Dream had ambushed them, barely leaving the citizens of L’manburg alive. It came when he’d shot Tommy, and the boy had just barely survived. It came when Wilbur pressed the button and then died to their father’s blade. L’manburg had been destroyed that day too, just like Dream had promised it would be someday.

Tommy fell forward, laying on his side in the cold sand, his thoughts bickering back and forth.

He deserved this.

He didn’t deserve any of this.

They all hated him.

Dream was lying.

He stared out at the sea flickering with the fading daylight and overlapping waves and tried to hold back tears. He’d done it for years now, he should’ve been an expert. But every part of him ached, the burns along his skin, though lessened during the time he’d been unconscious, still echoed with the pain of the blast. The bruises and scars from months of abuse from Dream bit at him harshly. The bruise on his eye from when Dream had first found his stash of weapons stung. The pain in his heart from everything clawed at his chest.

He bit down on his tongue, and pushed the tears away. They thankfully never came.

Tommy’s mind was numb as he thought. Thought about everything that had led him here, alone on a beach with nowhere to go. Nowhere to go to feel safe, to get away from the wars, the torture, the hate. With no one to call his friend.

Had he ever deserved to be called a friend, he wondered. Had he really been as bad as Dream said? He knew deep in his heart that he hadn’t meant to.

But he had been a bad friend, hadn’t he? He didn’t listen, he always fought back, he constantly did what he was told not to for the slim chance that he could help, even when he was told he couldn’t. Maybe Tubbo had been right to exile him.

He didn’t even have anyone to call family anymore.

Phil had lost his role as his father when he left with Techno for years, leaving Tommy and Wilbur to start again on their own. He’d only further severed their ties when he killed his own son.

Wilbur had lost his title as Tommy’s brother when he’d descended into madness. When he’d pressed the button that confirmed that he no longer cared about anyone, anything. He’d lost his brother when he’d stood at the edge of his own destruction and begged for his father to end his life.

Techno had stopped being his brother when he ran away with Phil. Techno had stopped being his brother when he’d tried to kill Tommy and helped his other estranged brother ruin L’manburg.

The terrors of Tommy’s mind whispered to him. They told him he deserved it. Dream was right, and everything that had happened to him, from the wars, the neglect, the hate, the pain, was his fault. Maybe he should’ve died to those withers. Maybe he should’ve asked Phil to kill him as well, maybe instead of Wilbur. Maybe he should’ve stepped into the path of the arrow and let it sink into his heart. Mayne he should’ve asked eret to make sure he was dead. Maybe he shouldn't have ever been there in the first place. It wasn’t too late, he could stop it now if he wanted.

But deep down, he knew he didn’t want to die. He thought so strongly that it would be better to just give in to the fiery darkness that greeted him warmly each time he’d come close to death.

Like that day in the Final Control Room, where the ambush had just barely left the team alive. He’d felt the heat then, and sobbed in the darkness as he realized he was dead. He had to be. But he’d awoken back in that stone room, and left with the rest of his troop, trudging back to their tattered home.

He’d felt the fire that closed around him when he’d taken the arrow that sealed the fate of L’manburg. It had just barely missed his heart, but he remembered vividly the feeling of falling off the bridge and into the icy waters below. The cold had faded, and he was brought into the warm silence that he thought would be his death. But still, he’d come back, awaking to their country that no longer existed, and he’d given his treasures to save a home that would only go up in flames.

Tommy had thought so many times that it would’ve just been better to give into the silence, to accept the hug that others would call death but he would call freedom. But life was cruel, life dragged him back into it’s twisted world and demanded he keep walking forward to find something that wasn’t there. Peace. A finale.

Dream had simply sealed the idea that that was what he wanted. He’d tried it before. He woke in the dead of night under the water, pulled down by the waves. Tommy accepted that it was just his brain telling him that it was time for him to go.

But some part of him that didn't fall prey to Dream’s torture fought back. It was what pulled him out of the water. It was what pushed him to gather those weapons. What told him to speak up. What told him to stand up every time he fell.

It was what picked him up from the sand, and gently pulled him toward the crater of Logstedshire, telling him he could keep going. That there was hope for a better day. That he could finally get away without worrying what anyone else would think. He could disappear without death. He could live.

Tommy gave a name to his past of pain. He called it Theseus. That’s what Techno had called him. The time where he fought in wars, watched his family abandon him, was cast aside because he had been a bad friend. That was Theseus.

But this was Tommy.

Tommy trudged toward the remains of what was no longer his home and began searching through the scattered remnants of the explosion, searching for anything that was left.

He found his compass, a half burnt book, a piece of charcoal he could use as a pencil, and Tubbo’s bandana.

The teen walked back over to the beach, tearing out a page of the book as he sat down in the sand.

And he began to write.

------

The sun had long since set. The fires had burned out. The last bit of warmth had faded.
Logstedshire was empty.

Tommy walked forward through the trees, away from the beach. Away from L’manburg. Away from his final notes to his family and friends. Away from his compass,

and toward his new life.

Chapter Text

Tommy awoke with a heavy breath. His head was pounding, making him wince. The bruises along his arms felt like the burns he had suffered, though those were gone only a day after he’d left Logsted to find a new place to call home. The wound on his head was only a scar now. He raised one heavy hand to block the sunlight filtering in through the windows.

His breath caught in his throat as he realized he didn’t know where he was. He sat up painstakingly slow, his joints screaming in protest, his back as if it was on fire from what Tommy could only guess was the result of sleeping on the floor for months. His eyes darted around the room. He was in a small home, laying on a bed. There were rows of chests and bookshelves, and a small kitchen. The wall had a small table with a few books and a flower pot on top of it attached to it, along with two wooden stools. There was also a giant window blocked by red curtains, a door in between them. At his bedside there was a nightstand, with a sleeping crow perched atop it. Other than the aching of his entire body he felt comfortable, warm.

Right. The events played out in his head. He’d run away from exile, travelled for about a week through the harsh weather, and found this place. This place that was full of doppelgangers of almost everyone that had betrayed him.

Tommy remembered the Phil that was so different from his father, so kind and careful. Hope fluttered in his chest that maybe, just maybe, the rest of them were different as well. But still he dreaded each moment, as he knew that he would have to face--certain people at some point.

There was a light knock on the door that made Tommy jump. The crow on his nightstand sat up quickly with a delighted croak. The teen swallowed hard and choked out a shaky “come in.”

The door opened cautiously, and Phil stepped in, moving slowly as if he was approaching a frightened animal. He had a different robe on, though it was similar to the one he’d worn yesterday, and a green and white striped bucket hat. In his hands he held a large bundle of cloth. He smiled warmly at Tommy

“Ah, good morning! I was wondering when you were gonna wake up,” The man chuckled.

Tommy lowered his head, lightly tugging at the bandage on his hand.
“Sorry…” the teen mumbled.

Phil gasped quietly, eyes softening but still worried
“Oh no no no, don’t be sorry! I know you need your rest.” he stepped into the house and shut the door behind him.

Phil set the pile down on the counter. Wrapped in what Tommy could guess was clothes was a glowing, pink, purple, and red bottle.

“So, Tommy, how are we feeling today?” He smiled, leaning on the kitchen counter.
“Is there anything specific you’d like to do today?”

Tommy thought for a moment before answering.
“I uh- still kinda hurt. I’m also pretty hungry.”

Phil nodded, laughing lightly
“Right right right, me too. I wasn’t sure how often you humans need to eat, so I was just gonna hope you said something. Glad you did. We can get something at the pub if you’d like!”

Tommy cocked his head.
“I didn’t take you for one to give alcohol to a minor, Philza,” The teen joked hesitantly.

Phil flushed, waving his hands in front of him with a nervous chuckle.
“No no no no I would never, the damn kids ask sometimes but I’ve never given in. I just meant that- they have food there and- I wasn’t gonna-”

Tommy laughed dryly, holding his hand up to stop Phil’s rant.
“I’m just messing with you, big man.”

“Right.- I knew that.”

They sat there awkwardly as the uncomfortable silence dragged on. Finally Phil cleared his throat,

“I uh- brought you some healing- and some new clothes to change into because yours are all messed up,” he gestured to the materials on the counter, scratching the back of his neck. “When we get to the pub we can change out your bandages.”

“What do you mean by ‘healing?’” Tommy squinted, turning his head and looking at Phil through the corner of his eye.

Phil picked up the bottle from the pile of clothes. Inside a pink liquid sloshed around, sparkling with light.
“Healing. Y’know...a potion?”

Tommy’s eyes widened.
“Those are fucking real?!”

Phil glanced around, hesitant.
“Yes?-...” He stepped toward Tommy and held the bottle out for him. The teen took it with shaky hands. The glass vial was cold in his grasp. He swished the liquid around.

“I thought these were just in fairy tales and stories ‘n shit! You mean they’re really- like actually real? And they work?” Tommy gasped, turning the bottle around in his hands, watching the potion with shining eyes.

Phil chuckled.
“Guess you don’t have them where you’re from, huh? Yeah they work, probably better than your typical medicines. They are magic after all. You should take it, it’ll make you feel better” He smiled, gesturing to the potion.

Tommy eyed Phil suspiciously, glancing at the bottle. He slowly uncorked the potion and sniffed it before raising it to his mouth and taking a sip. Immediately he recoiled, sticking his tongue out and shaking his head.
“Shit! That stuff is weird, man!”

“I bet,” Phil laughed, “especially since it’s new to you. I’ve heard it’s safe for humans, but you’ve gotta drink it all for it to work.”

Tommy groaned.
“Fine, I’ll get this over with,” He tilted the bottle up and chugged it. He could feel the potion working immediately, targeting his injuries. It felt cold, but not annoyingly so, more like drinking ice water under the heat of the sun. He shivered, not familiar with the odd feeling. He did notice a significant difference however. His joints and bruises no longer ached and the pounding in his head became only a dull thrumming.

“Fucking hell! I could’ve used these a while ago!”

Phil leaned against the wall with an amused smile on his face.
“I take it that you feel a bit better?”

“I feel fucking fantastic Philza!” the teen shouted, setting the bottle on his pillow and throwing his legs over the edge of the bed. He stood up quickly, though he still had to use the nightstand beside him to support himself. The crow cawed with surprise and lifted from it’s spot on the dresser, coming to rest on Phil’s shoulder. The hybrid laughed, covering his mouth with his fist.

“Easy now, don’t overwork yourself,” he smiled kindly, his eyes warm as he watched the teen, now bright and full of energy he hadn’t had yesterday. “That’s just what the potion does, I reckon you’ll be falling asleep standing up in a couple of hours.”

Tommy scratched the back of his neck, sitting back down on the bed with a thump.
He giggled quietly.
“Sorry.”

Phil smiled.
“Don’t be! I just wanna make sure you don’t go and get yourself hurt,” He pushed off the wall and walked back over to the counter, picking up the clothes.

“I wasn’t sure what size you were so I just grabbed some of Tubbo’s clothes. I know you’ll need new ones though, I’ll make sure we get some.” He handed the bundle to Tommy.

“Th-thank you,” The boy stuttered, a smile forming on his face.

“Of course, mate! I’ll just be outside, you can get dressed. Don’t worry. no one will bother you. Just come on out when you’re ready.

“Thank you,” The teen said, quieter this time. He looked up at Phil and the hybrid could’ve sworn for a second his eyes were watering. “Really.”

“You’re welcome Tommy. I’ll get you some of your own soon enough.”

Once the hybrid had left, Tommy sat in silence on the bed for a moment , staring at the finely made clothes in his hands. They were so professionally crafted, each seam made with precision. The material was warm while also flowy and smooth.

The last time he’d had well made clothes was the L’manburg revolution.
------------------

Phil stood outside the door, leaning against the railing. The sun had already risen, high on the horizon. The Shimmer moved with turquoise and pink waves, shifting in a mesmerizing way. Phil could smell rain in the far distance and hoped it wouldn’t come soon. The crow on his shoulder nuzzled his cheek with a low croan, sensing the hybrid’s stress.

“Aw, thank ya mate. I’m okay, promise.” He hummed to the bird, scratching under its chin.

Phil was worried about the boy. The potion had given him a boost of energy, that’s for sure, but he wasn’t really like that. Phil thinks that the boy might have once been loud, and bold, but not now. He was also worried for when he would inevitably meet the other origins. He hadn’t had good reactions to any of their names, other than the two he didn’t know. Nothing bad seemed to have happened with Charlie though. Perhaps he should let them meet soon.

Phil heard the door behind him open hesitantly and turned to see Tommy stepping out of the house.

He wore a beige cloak with a hood and what looked like a scarf around the neck, and grey jeans that were a bit too short at the ankles due to how much taller Tommy was than Tubbo. Under the cloak he had on a plain white t-shirt. Phil glanced down and realized the boy wasn’t wearing the boots he’d given him

“Ah, yep. I figured the boots would be too small. I can get you some of mine if you’d like.”

“No, that’s alright. I’ll be fine.” He was examining the cloak with admiration in his eyes.

Phil’s wings fluffed up slightly in surprise.
“Ya sure, mate?”

Tommy nodded with a hum.

Phil shrugged.
“Alright then, ya ready to go?”

Once the boy had agreed, Phil turned to the side of the balcony and began walking down the spiral staircase, Tommy following soon after. Phil whispered something to the crow on his shoulder and it took off, going to complete its assignment.

Tommy tried his best not to look over the railing as they descended, keeping his eyes strictly in front of him. Phil looked at the teen over his shoulder with a soft smile, his wings twitching. His gaze shifted into one of concern.
“Everything alright, mate?”

Tommy nodded again, forcing a weak smile as he carefully stepped down, holding onto the railing tightly.

Tommy hadn’t told anyone this before, but he was afraid of heights. That fear had only increased as time wore on. From the tops of the walls of Old L’manburg, to the precarious stairs lining the ravine of Pogtopia, it scared him. The Nether and his time in Logstedshire hadn’t helped with that, though every time he was there he found himself drifting closer and closer to the edge, blind to the terror screaming in his chest. Being so high up, he had felt so powerful there. So in control of his life for once. And that terrified him, because his mind led him away from life.

Tommy startled by a hand on his shoulder and jerked his eyes upward. Phil smiled at him sadly with heavy concern in his eyes.

“Are you sure you’re okay, bud?”

The teen nodded and continued following Phil, paying no attention to the hand that slid from his shoulder and instead took his uninjured hand, leading him down the steps slowly, not at all pulling or tugging like Tommy was used to.

When Tommy finally felt grass beneath his feet, he practically sighed with relief, happy to be on the solid ground finally.

“Just over here is the pub,” Phil chirped, still absentmindedly holding Tommy’s hand. He led him through the grass down a pathway made of grey stepping stones and smooth pebbles. The path was lined with currently unlit lanterns. Small blades of grass sprung up between the rocks.

Tommy tilted his head back and stared up at the giant structure before him as it’s shadow fell on them. It was like a chunk of the earth was hanging from the sky by an invisible string, suspended idly in the air. It reminded him of the courthouse back in the smp, held dangerously in place with precarious stilts. Tommy had always hated being there, choosing to stick close to the walls and away from the glass skylight in the middle of the floor.

Tommy gulped, feeling a shiver crawl it’s way up his spine as he noticed the means of getting up. A tall ladder, stretching up toward the floating island. As he approached it, he pulled his hand away from Phil’s and began absently tugging at the bandages on his other palm. He stared up at the wooden ladder.

“That’s uh- how you get up?” He asked, trying to keep his voice steady. He turned to look at Phil, who smiled at him.

“Yup! Cool, right?” The man crowed, smiling brightly.

Tommy managed a shaky laugh.
“Yep. Cool.”

He continued staring up at the ladder. Phil was waiting for him to go up, and so he stepped forward, placing one foot on the lowest rung. Immediately he staggered backward, unable to even fathom the thought of climbing so high up on this structure that hardly looked stable. Phil watched him with concerned eyes before they softened in understanding. He stepped toward Tommy.

“There’s another way, if you’d like that,” The hybrid offered. Tommy nodded quickly, wrenching his eyes away from the pub.
“Yes please. Uhm- I’m sorry. What is it?”

Phil stretched his wings, lowering his head with a soft expression.
“You could fly up with me. I’ll carry you,”

The teen in front of him was quiet again, twisting his gaze between the rickety ladder and Phil.
“I- uhm- well.” he stuttered, now pulling at the bandages harsher. Phil calmly reached forward and pulled his hands away from each other, holding them in his own.

“I swear, I won’t drop you, Tommy. I won’t let anything happen to you.”

Tommy, to be fair, had never thought about flying. He’d never had the option. It had never been a possibility. He shuddered at the new idea of being hundreds of feet in the air with nothing but blank space beneath him.

“I’ll keep you safe.”

But It was so hard to be afraid with this new Phil’s calm voice. It reminded him of the safety of his family, back when everything was okay and he didn’t have to worry about the threat of dying every second of every day. Tommy looked into Phil’s bright blue eyes, so genuine, so caring. When was the last time he’d seen that look in his own father’s eyes?

He nodded slowly, and Phil smiled, leading him away from the ladder.
“You can even close your eyes if you need to. I promise not to drop you, okay?”

The teen nodded again, eyes toward the floor as he followed behind Phil.

They stepped out of the shadow of the floating island, and Tommy sighed in the warm sunlight. He finally looked up at Phil, who turned and opened his wings.

Tommy finally saw the wings in their full glory, stretching out in what was at least a 25 foot wingspan. The wings were attached to his back and shoulder blades, a hole cut in the back of his shirt and robes for them to spread out. The wings were the color of obsidian, each feather moving with shades of dark purple and green as they were held against the sun. Every feather looked perfectly placed, neatly lined along the wings.

The boy couldn’t help but stare, a quiet gasp escaping his mouth.

Phil turned toward him with a smile, pride on his face.
“Beautiful, aren’t they? Wilbur’s an expert at preening them!”

“Preening?” Tommy tilted his head.

Phil nodded, stretching one of his wings beside him and smoothing down a single stray feather.
“It’s basically like brushing your hair, you make sure the feathers are clean and not all messed up, and you get rid of any broken ones.”

“Like that shit birds do?”

Phil chuckled.
“Well yes, since I am kind of part bird. Anyway, you ready?”

Tommy hunched his shoulders, remembering what was about to happen. He nodded reluctantly and stepped toward Phil. Quickly the man swung his arm under Tommy’s knees and back. The teen let out a sharp squeal as it happened, eyes wide. Phil chuckled again.

“I’ve got you, okay?”

Tommy took one last look at the ground before he whispered a quiet agreement.

“Then up we go,” Phil laughed. His wings spread out at his sides and the two of them shot into the air. Tommy yelped, clinging to Phil with his arms around his neck and his eyes closed. He could feel as they rose higher and higher into the sky. His ears were filled with the wind pushing past him and the steady beat of Phil’s wings pushing them into the air. The wind was cold against his face. He heard Phil whisper to him, still holding him tightly with zero intent of letting go.

“I’ve got you. You can open your eyes if you’d like.” He spoke coolly.

For a moment Tommy sat still, afraid to move. He kept his eyes clasped tightly together, arms wrapped around Phil’s neck.

Then, slowly he pulled away, daring a glance with one eye at the world.

His breath hitched in his throat. Tommy could see far beyond the horizon, the bright green land stretching out in all directions before him. The water sparkled beneath them, and the sun cast a golden glow onto the clouds around them. Directly below them sat the floating island that held the pub. Tommy looked up and his eyes met a shimmering pink wall. His stomach sank seeing the height they were at, but the arms holding him carefully lessened the fear, and he felt calm looking out at the land. The breeze from being this high up pulled at his dirty blonde hair and made his eyes water.

“‘’Oly shit..” he whispered to the air, eyes watching the sky that seemed so close now.

“You like it?” Phil grinned, his gaze focused proudly on the land.

“Y-yeah-” Tommy spoke breathlessly. With a shaky hand he reached up, fingers stretched to touch the pink and purple dome just above their heads. When he touched it, his hand glided smoothly through the shield and he was met with a tingling sensation, quickly pulling his arm back with a gasp.

Phil chuckled and his wings started to flap slower, and soon they were slowly descending toward the floating island.

As soon as Phil landed on the patio outside the pub, he carefully set Tommy down. His legs were shaking, and Phil had to steady him with a hand on his shoulder so he didn’t fall.

“That was- so fucking cool!” Tommy shrieked, voice echoing. Phil wheezed, shoulders shaking. He laughed lightly, then looked over at Tommy.

“I’m glad you liked it, mate.”

They stepped onto the wooden porch of the patio. The beams holding the awning in place were carved with the smallest, most intricate little details, tiny flowers and symmetrical spirals. Small animals were woven into the wood, like a little fox, and a tiny crow. There was a gap in the floorboards covered by a wooden trapdoor that Tommy guessed was for the ladder.

Phil held his hand up, silently asking Tommy to wait, and carefully pushed the oak door open, peering in. Tommy couldn’t see past him, but he saw the hybrid look around the pub for a moment before nodding and turning back to Tommy.

“Okay, inside is Jack, Charlie, and Scott. You alright with them?”

Tommy considered the people. He’d never met Scott before, and frankly he hadn’t known Charlie long enough to get on his bad side like he did with most. Jack however, he wasn’t sure of. Before he’d been exiled he’d noticed the side eyes and glares he received from him every time they passed each other.

He nodded hesitantly, hugging his arms to his chest. Phil smiled lightly and held the door open for him to step in.

Warmth fell over him as he stepped into the cozy pub. The building was dimly lit by a neatly designed chandelier. Tommy glanced around the room, his eyes focusing on the bar. There was a man with fire for hair and red and blue glasses that looked like Jack. He was wearing a grey and blue hoodie. There was also a man in a white t-shirt with brown hair tinged with green that must’ve been Charlie. The third person, Scott, he guessed, had purple hair with white specks floating in it, and his pale skin was covered in what appeared to be stars.

Their heads turned as Tommy and Phil stepped in, the door closing loudly behind them. Smiles lit up everyone’s face as they greeted them. Phil began walking towards them and the teen quickly stepped into place behind him.

 

“Hello! You must be Tommy!” Scott smiled, eyes naturally sparkling. He held his hand out to the teen who hesitantly took it and shook. Charlie did the same, smiling brightly.

“Hey man! Good to meet ya!”

Jack set down the glass he’d been cleaning, nodding at Tommy.
”Ayup, nice to meet ya, lad.”

Tommy managed a weak smile.
“It’s uh-...nice to meet you all too.”

“Hey! What about me?” a voice called. Tommy jumped in his seat and turned to where the sound came from.

Sitting on the shelves, smaller than the boxes and bottles around him, was someone they hadn’t noticed before. It was a man with a blue cloak that draped over his entire body and a hood that obscured his eyes. There were what looked like moth-like antennas under his hood and grey and blue moth wings on his back.
“I’m Sneeg,” He said, frowning.

Tommy couldn’t stop himself.
“Holy shit, you’re so small.”

“And? I’m better than everyone in here combined.”

Scott pulled out a stool from under the bar and patted it, so Tommy hesitantly sat down. He glanced at Phil who stood just a few feet behind him. He held up a thumbs up with an encouraging smile.

Phil luckily, didn’t have to worry about the origins trying to dig into the teen’s past. Before leaving the bar yesterday he’d asked all of them to avoid the subject, including where he came from. But still it was hard to ignore the way their gazes locked onto the bruises coating his arms, and his dark, sunken, gray eyes.

Scott smiled softly at the boy.
“So, Tommy! How are you? I bet this is all pretty new to you right?”

Tommy nodded.
“Yeah, I’ve-- never met a hybrid before.”

Scott laughed brightly, the stars in his hair moving with him.
“Yeah well don’t worry, we’ve never really had the chance to really talk to a human before either.”

Charlie joined the conversation now.
“Scott hasn’t even seen one, you’re the first!”

“Really?”

The man hummed in confirmation.

“Yep, I’m one of the few people that ended up here without having to avoid humans. I had the luck of crashing somewhere safe.”

“Crashing?” Tommy cocked his eyebrow.

“Oh yes! I’m called a Starborne, I came from space.”

Tommy’s eyes lit up. His mouth hung open.
“Holy shit! That’s crazy!”

The four bar-goers chuckled at his reaction. It didn’t sound all too odd to them, but they understood it must be different for the human.

The teen turned to look at Jack, leaning forward on the bar.

“What are you?”

Jack laughed sharply.
“Well that’s a question, innit? I’m a blaze hybrid. We’re called Blazeborn”

Charlie grinned when Tommy turned to look at him.
“Slimecican! Basically a slime hybrid!”

The teen muttered something with a grin that sounded like
“Ironic”

“I’m an Inchling.” Sneeg said pridefully, Charlie following with,
“Basically a small little guy. Little baby man.”

“I was gonna explain it!” The moth shouted.

Phil smiled as Tommy turned to him, ignoring the two who continued to playfully bicker for a moment.
“Elytrian”

“Wait, so do you all have like- powers and shit?”

“I’m immune to lava and I can shoot these fireballs out of my hands” Jack said proudly, holding his hands up to prove it. His palms glowed with a bright orange and began flickering with flames. Tommy leaned back, his eyes full of intrigue and the slightest bit of what looked like fear.

“When It’s night I can control my gravity, so I can basically float. And I can practically launch myself. I don’t do it alot but if I ever wanted to I can just explode. It's funny, and I don’t get hurt.” Scott gleamed, eyes glowing brightly.

Sneeg stood up, leaning against a bottle.
“I’m really good at climbing and I can get into tight spaces.” He grinned, pointing at himself with his thumb.

“Do your wings work?” Tommy asked.

His expression slumped.

“No,” The moth retorted boredly.

Charlie crossed his arms, tilting his chin up cockily.
“And I can get really small.” He grinned.

……...

“What the fuck does that mean?” Tommy asked harshly.

“If I ever get hurt I shrink.”

“......That’s so fucking weird.”

Laughter boomed through the tavern as Charlie desperately tried to defend himself.

Jack set his elbows on the bar.
“Do humans have any powers?”

Tommy hummed.
“We don’t. I wish we did, that’d be fucking awesome.”

“What do you like to do for fun?”

Tommy thought for a moment. When was the last time he’d gotten to do a hobby? What did he like to do for fun?

He scratched the back of his neck, frowning.
“Well, I guess I like- stealing. That can be funny.”

“WHAT?” Phil yelped, his wings flaring out at his sides. The tavern burst into laughter again as Phil tried to speak between wheezes.

“That’s not- gods! That's not a hobby!” Phil cackled.

“Why not?! It’s fun and entertaining!” Tommy argued, the hint of a smile on his lips.

The group began laughing harder, Charlie slamming his fist on the counter and Jack holding his head in his hands. Scott tried to stifle his laughter with his hand over his mouth while Sneeg leaned against the boxes next to him and put one hand on his knee.

“Gods-” Phil wiped his eyes with his knuckle. “The last thing we need is another Fundy.”

“Not another one!” Sneeg howled in utter anguish. “Hiding everything all the time sucks ass!”

The laughter grew again, a smile on everyone’s face.

-------

Phil sat at the end of the bar, watching the others with admiration.

Tommy was throwing jokes around with these people as if he’d known them his whole life. Phil could tell the kid was really in his element, earning laughter from everyone around him. It seemed so natural for him to be like this, shrieking with laughter at each word thrown around the group. The sight warmed Phil’s heart, knowing the kid felt comfortable enough to be like this around them. Phil wasn’t really listening though, lost in his own thoughts. Tommy took a bite of the porkchop he’d been given and said something about a burger that made Charlie almost fall out of his chair.

Phil couldn’t help it. He knew he shouldn’t be since they’d only just met, but the hybrid was already attached to the boy. He cursed his bird instincts.

The laughter of the other people at the bar cloaked the sound of the front door creaking open. The voices died down just enough for them to hear the door slam shut. Phil spun around, followed by Tommy. His mood dropped, eyes widening, the boy freezing entirely. The sentence he had been about to say died on his lips.

Techno stood in front of the door, staring Tommy down with blood red eyes. He had his sword in the sheath at his side. He’d stopped moving just as much as Tommy had, the two trapped in a silent staring contest.

Phil quickly hopped out of his seat.
“Oh Techno! Glad you could join us!” He chuckled nervously, wings puffing up behind him. Techno saw it, and he knew exactly how the hybrid acted, and that meant he was worried about something.

“Phil,” The wither hybrid said coolly, gaze flickering over to the man he towered over.

Phil looked at Tommy, who had begun shaking, and scurried over to his side, setting a comforting hand on his shoulder.

The teen still hadn’t done anything, and the other bar goers were beginning to notice, a concerned look crossing their faces. He stared at the pink haired man in front of the door fearfully.

“Techno, this is Tommy,” Phil smiled awkwardly

Techno hummed in a quiet greeting. Tommy still didn’t move.

He finally did something, trying to slowly back away from the man, almost falling out of his chair as Techno crossed the floor towards him.

He flinched when Techno’s hand lifted from his side, and the teen squeezed his eyes shut.

Silence filled the bar as Tommy waited for a fist to meet his jaw, or for sharp nails to rake across his face, or to have a sword pointed at his chest.

There was an awkward clearing of the throat, and the terrified boy pried his eyes open slowly.

Techno stared at him with one curious eyebrow raised. He held his hand out in front of him, offering it to Tommy.

“It’s-- It’s called a handshake.” The man said, clenching his fist. “You- you know what a handshake is, right? I mean- I won’t judge you if you don’t-”

“Oh-” Tommy stammered. “Y-yeah.” He shakily grabbed Techno’s hand and shook it, then quickly pulled back, trying to distance himself from the man.

The room stayed quiet, no one knowing what to do.

“Hey Phil, can we talk?” Techno finally spoke, gaze shifting away from the frightened teen and to the winged man instead.

Phil cleared his throat, lowering his head. “Sure...”

As Techno turned and walked outside onto the patio, Phil looked at Tommy.
“I’ll be right back, you four get back to talking.” He waited till they nodded and Jack hesitantly continued their conversation, thankfully not prying about what on earth had just happened.

Phil sighed as he shut the door behind him, joining Techno who was leaning against one of the wooden beams of the porch. Phil noticed the man’s rigid shoulders and stone cold stance, and began preparing himself for the uproar he was about to hear for bringing a human into their home. They hated humans, for good reason. Everyone here had a reason to despise them. That was the very purpose for them being here. Ender built this for them to hide from humans, not bring them into their last safe place. Techno took a deep breath and turned.

What Phil was met with was something he didn’t see often, nor expect. There was the bright red of the fiery rage he’d found the hybrid with sometimes when he was truly angry, but there was also a tinge of concern, and a dull shade of-- sadness...

“Phil-” He inhaled sharply, “What the heck happened to him?”

Phil looked down sadly with a sigh.
“I don’t know, Tech. He’s-- something bad happened to him. He’s afraid of everyone. And- not to be rude, but you’re not the most approachable person, Techno.”

“No- No not that. He- He looked at me like he knew me. Like I’d- like I’d done something to him. And why- what are all those bruises, Phil? Why is he covered in bruises? I tried to shake his hand and he-he flinched!” The wither hybrid said desperately.

Phil had only seen Techno like this once, so worried, and upset.

The Elytrian shook his head sadly.
“I really don’t know Tech. He won’t say. I’m trying to learn, I promise, but he doesn’t want to talk about it, and quite frankly, I don’t blame him.”

Techno swallowed, raking one clawed hand through his hair. He turned away from Phil and leaned against the railing.

“Well- Am I gonna scare him if I go back in?”

Phil smiled at the hybrid sadly.
“Maybe just a little, but I’m sure- I’m sure he’ll be fine once he gets to know you, Tech.”

There was silence for a few moments, the only sound that of the passing wind .

“Alright. You’re going first though.” He moved a strand of pink hair behind his pointed ears and turned. Phil smiled at the hybrid with a nod and walked towards the door, pushing it open.

-------------

Tommy was talking with the other origins around the bar again, trying his best to ignore the way they looked at him. He didn’t deserve---....he didn’t want their pity.

The door creaked open and he looked up sharply, his eyes locking onto the figures stepping back into the pub.

Phil moved aside and there he was once again. He felt his blood run cold as he stared into the eyes of the man that had tried to kill him. That had left him. That had almost murdered his very best friend, leaving him scarred across the face and mind. The man that had looked a boy that was once his little brother in the eyes and told him to die.

The man you betrayed. The man that you used. Your brother

 

But maybe this Techno was different, right? Like the rest! Surely he wouldn’t do those things?

But some part of Tommy told him that he was delusional to think such a thing. This was Techno for fucksake. He needed to run. He needed to leave.

But something else told him to stay. Told him to sit up and look at the man.

He looked angry, but the way he held himself showed something else. His eyes were soft with concern, and rage, but not towards him. He had his shoulders raised beside his face, and his head down like he was trying to appear smaller than he really was.

He looked like the brother he’d once had.

Phil stepped over toward Tommy, resting a gentle hand on his back.

“Tommy, this is Techno. He’s a wither hybrid.”

Tommy barely managed to stop himself from flinching at the name of that ghastly creature.

Techno slowly walked toward the group, eyes on the floor.

As he came to stand in front of Tommy, moving carefully so he didn't scare the frightened boy before him, he took in a deep breath. He kept his hands at his sides so Tommy could see that he had nothing in them, keeping his grasp away from the sword in its sheath despite how badly he wanted to rake it through the chest of whoever had done this to a child. He knew well himself that it was good to show you weren’t dangerous by keeping your hands visible. Phil had helped him learn that.

Techno cleared his throat and looked up at the teen, who was practically trying to hide behind Phil, his shoulders rigid as he refused to move his eyes away from the hybrid in front of him.

“It’s nice to meet you, Tommy.” He smiled awkwardly, though he quickly stopped, fixing his mouth into a straight line. He had been told before he wasn’t good at smiling without people being afraid of him.

Quit smiling you freak! And stay away from us!

It hadn’t been any other origins that had told him that though.

“It’s- nice to meet you too” the boy stuttered, lowering his head slightly and finally breaking his lock on Techno’s face, instead turning his eyes toward the floor.

For a long while they stood awkwardly in silence, Techno rocking back on his heels. He crossed his arms behind his back and looked up at the rafters, avoiding eye contact.

 

“....I’m Techno.” He said again

Phil smacked his palm against his own face, shaking his head.

Tommy let out a squeak of a laugh, losing a bit of his frightened posture and instead looking up at the wither hybrid with confused eyes, bright with amusement.

“Yeah yeah, I gotcha big man.”

Maybe he could be alright.

Phil pulled a few chairs over for him and Techno and set them behind those at the bar. The three at the bar twisted around in their stools so they could face the other two.

Phil was about to sit down when he gasped.
“Oh! I’ll be right back! I just gotta get some bandages from the storage downstairs.” He left quietly, walking behind the bar and leaning down to open a trapdoor in the floor before climbing down the ladder.

Tommy cleared his throat nervously, tugging at the frayed bandage around his hand.
“So uhm- Tech, what- Techno. What can you do? Y’know like- hybrid shit.”

Techno smiled awkwardly, one pointy fang poking out from his lips.

“Oh uh- Well, I got these.” The man said proudly. He held up his fists, turning his palms upward. They flashed with a bright light and suddenly two pitch black skulls had materialized in Techno’s hands. He lifted them up a bit and set them on his shoulders, where they began floating beside his head.

Tommy leaned away from the skulls, nodding to hide the way he had flinched slightly.

“That’s- That’s cool.”

The trapdoor Phil had disappeared through opened again and he climbed out of the hole in the floor. He walked out from behind the bar and stood beside Tommy, unrolling the spool of gauze.

“Can I see your hand please?”

Tommy obeyed quickly, holding his hand out to Phil who began carefully unwrapping the bandage from his palm.

Once the cloth was off, Phil hummed questioningly.

“Well, it’s certainly healed more than I would’ve expected.”

“Huh?” Tommy leaned forward.

The scratch on his hand was almost completely gone, a dull pink gash across his palm. There was hardly a sign it had been there in the first place.

“How’d you get that?” Phil asked curiously, though he immediately seemed to regret it, wings puffing up nervously.

Tommy didn’t notice though, still staring at his almost healed palm.
“I was tryna climb up a cliff and my foot slipped and I cut open my hand.” He said pointedly. He turned his arm around. The bruises he’d had were practically gone as well. “That potion is fucking sick!”

Phil hummed oddly.
“That’s strange, the potions work well, but they don’t usually work that quickly.” He raised an eyebrow.

“Huh” Tommy shrugged as Phil began carefully rewrapping his hand, “It’s probably cause I’m fucking awesome.”

Everyone around them chuckled, even Techno. Tommy glanced at him, a smile curling in the corners of his mouth.

“Well Tommy, did you get enough to eat?”

“I’m all good Big Man!” The teen grinned, jumping to his feet.

“Would you like to go see some more people then?”

Tommy hesitated for a moment. Sure, he could go see Nikki and Fundy.

“Alright! Let’s go. Seeya later, lads!” The teen shouted before turning and running out the door. Phil chuckled and stood up, saying a goodbye to the others and following the teen out.

Tommy was standing a few feet away from the edge of the island, standing completely still.

“I forgot how we have to get down.” He said simply, laughing a bit.

Phil smiled, walking up behind Tommy and quickly picking him up, laughing at Tommy’s squeal.

He opened his wings and fell, holding Tommy tightly.

The boy yelped, once again clinging to Phil.

They landed with a soft thud on the grass, and Phil gently lowered the teen to the ground. Phil raised one eyebrow questioningly as he noticed the boy staring at him.

“Everything alright mate?” He asked curiously.

“How does your hat stay on when you fly?”

A few beats of silence followed as the two stared at each other.

“I-....I don’t think I’ve ever thought of that before.”

More silence.

And then they both began laughing

Chapter Text

Yellow sunlight filtered in through cracks in the blinds, casting a faint glow onto the papers thrown around on the table. The room was dim, and quiet, the only sound the strangled breathing of a sobbing president. The dull thrumming of the compasses sitting beside him was muted in Tubbo’s ears. He sat in front of the desk, hunched over with his forehead pressed against the wood. Another letter was placed in front of him, though it was still folded, the name of who it would go to scrawled on the torn and crumpled paper. That one wasn’t for Tubbo to read.

The letter with his name scratched on the front was clutched in his shaking hands, tears dotting the paper, both his own and some that had already been there. He held it in his lap. His dull eyes rolled over the note over and over as if he couldn’t believe it’s words were true. He refused to believe it. Each letter was jagged, as if it’d been written with quivering hands. Parts of the message were scribbled out and the sides of the paper were ripped, the bottom of the letter torn completely off. The words written down sounded too sad, too quiet and fragile to be Tommy’s.

And yet they were.

------------------------------

“To Tubbo.
I feel like the first thing I should say is that I'm sorry. You deserve to hear it more than anyone else. I’m sorry I treated you so wrongly. I’ve realised how terrible I was to you. I’m pretty sure that’s true, and I don’t know why it took me so long to figure it out.

You did the right thing, sending me away, It’s best for everyone really. I deserve it anyw You deserve to be safe.

I really am sorry. Everything that’s happened is my fault, I see that now. Every time we’ve been in danger has led directly back to me. I’m stubborn,I’m annoying, and I’m selfish. I know I’m a bad friend, it’s obvious, I don’t know how I didn’t see that. If it helps at all, I’m going to change. I’m sorry that you won’t get to see that from me.

when If you find this, I’ll likely already be gone by the time you’ve read it. I don’t want to burden anyone else, so I’m going away so I can’t hurt anyone more than I already have.

I don’t blame you for not coming to see me. I don’t blame anyone. I know you don’t want to anyway. I’m sorry for being sad that you didn’t.

I’m sorry that the only thing I can say is sorry. I know that there’s so much more I could say to you, but I’m running out of room on this paper.

Tell Ranboo, and Wil Ghostbur, and everyone else that I’m sorry. Please make sure that Techno and Phil get their letter.

You were the best friend I’ve ever had, and I’m sorry I wasn’t yours.

I know that no matter how many times I say it, it’ll never be enough. But I need to at least leave you with that. You deserve it.

I’m sorry.

one d Goodbye.”

------------------------------

Tubbo took in another shuddering breath, his hands shaking. He sat up slowly, leaning back against the chair with his head hanging. He held the letter loosely in his grasp, not wanting to touch it but also not wanting to let go of the last thing he had of Tommy.

His sunken, puffy eyes drifted to the two compasses resting on the table. Both red and green needles pointed directly to each other, a bright sheen of purple flickering over the glass. The president choked back another rising scream. He’d cried enough today, and Ranboo had the scars on his neck to prove it.

Besides, He didn’t deserve to cry for Tommy. Tommy was gone, and it was his fault.

Tubbo set the paper back down on the desk and folded it so that he didn’t have to look at the words on the sheet. The lies covering the paper.

The teen gasped deeply, holding back the fire raging in his throat and the tears stinging his eyes because he didn’t deserve them. He didn’t deserve to be sad. How could he be sad when he was the reason all this had happened? That his best friend had killed himself?

And best friend? He was a fool to call Tommy his best friend. He’d exiled him for fuck sake, sent him to live off in the woods outside of the SMP.

He pulled at his hair, the realization that Tommy had wanted to see him hitting him square in the chest. His heart felt like it was being strangled as he dug his fingernails into the side of his head.

Tommy had wanted to see him.

Tommy thought Tubbo didn’t want to see him.

Tommy had been all alone.

He’d died alone.

The boy president curled in on himself, pulling his knees to his chest. Why? Why had Tommy wanted to see him? He’d exiled him. He'd sent him away. He’d called Tommy selfish when he was just trying to help. And he had still wanted to see him. He’d been lonely.

Tubbo tried to push away the image of Tommy writing the letter, completely alone in his house.

He could hardly believe it, that boy that never seemed to die finally had. The boy that would never let anything stop him, would always fight back with sharp swords and an even sharper tongue, spitting every curse and swear in the book, had finally gone silent.

And now he was gone. He’d left the world behind thinking that Tubbo didn’t want to see him. Tommy had jumped and let the lava claim him.

He’d jumped.

He’d jumped

Tubbo hardly knew who to be mad at.

Maybe Tommy, for being so stubborn. For believing so idiotically that Tubbo hated him. For dying.

Maybe he was mad at Dream, for convincing Tubbo to exile his friend. For being too late to save Tommy.

But he was mostly mad at himself, for being a coward. For driving his friend so far away that he’d fucking killed himself. For being a failure at everything he’d been asked to do.

Tubbo jumped at a light knock on the door. He slowly pushed away from the table, still holding the note in his calloused hands. He wiped away the streaks of tears from his scarred face and pulled on the door handle.

Ranboo stood before him, hunched over so he could actually fit under the porch. His face had a single scratch running down from his eye. Tubbo winced at the scars on his neck from when he’d collapsed on the floor in tears, pulled into a hug by the hybrid. He held a single allium flower in his clawed hands. His ears were down and his eyes dull and sad.

“Heya Tubbo,” He murmured, looking down at the purple blossom in his hands, “How- how are you doing?”

Tubbo wiped his eye again with the heel of his palm.
“I’m...managing.”

“Okay. I just wanted to check on you. I’m- I’m so sorry Tubbo.”

The teen scowled, biting the inside of his cheek.
“Please don’t say sorry. I don’t want to hear anyone say sorry anymore.”

The hybrid looked up for a moment, ears raising. He lowered his head again.
“I’m-. Okay, I won’t. May I come in?”

Tubbo stepped aside, holding the door open for Ranboo. The teen ducked through the doorway and walked into the main room. He glanced over at the papers scattered over the far table for a moment.

“I just came to check on you. See how- you’re doing.”

Tubbo silently closed the door and crossed over to the sofa, sitting down with a thump before patting the cushion next to him. Ranboo sat down beside him, twisting the flower around in his hands. He glanced over at the note, face dropping even more.

Tubbo wordlessly passed him the letter, eyes closed tightly so he didn’t have to look at it. He didn’t have to read it again, the words were already engraved in his mind.

He waited quietly as the hybrid read over the letter.

“Oh….” he said softly.

Tubbo nodded, his expression strained. He took the note as Ranboo passed it to him.

“Tubbo...Anything you need to say, say it.”

“What?” He asked quietly, looking up at Ranboo.

“I’ll listen, you just let everything out, okay?”

No one had ever….let him do that before. He didn’t deserve it. Nothing had happened to him. The teen hesitated.

And then broke down. It started as a quiet sniffle but quickly careened into a cacophony of sobs. He screamed through his grinding teeth as Ranboo put his arm over his shoulder and pulled him closer till they were side by side.

“I fucked u--up Ranboo!” he hiccupped, tears streaking down his face. “I- I killed Tommy! He’s gone! It’s my fa-ault! He’s dead because of me!”

Ranboo didn’t speak, still holding the teen while he sobbed.

“He died thinking- thinking we hated him! He said it’s his fault! Everything! He hates me! I hate me!” Tubbo screamed, covering his face, “He’s dead! He k-killed himself! What the hell di-id I do, Ranboo! I fucked up! It’s all my fault.”

“No Tubbo,” Ranboo spoke softly, resting his chin on Tubbo’s hair. “It’s not your fault.”

“Bu-but it is! I c-called him selfish! I- I exiled him! Tommy! My best friend! I kicked him out of his own home!” He gasped. “The home he fucking created!”

“It’s not your fault Tubbo, Dream told you to do it.”

“And I listened! They actually had a-a plan and I f-fu-ucking- I’m such an idiot!”

“You’re not. I promise you’re not. It’s just Dream. He would’ve- He would’ve done something.” Ranboo sighed, still holding onto the sobbing teen. “He would’ve hurt everyone. He probably would’ve hurt you.”

“I don’t care! I don’t care what he does! He could hurt me all he wants! But- But now Tommy is dead! Tommy wou-ouldn’t be dead if I hadn’t been such a coward!” Tubbo screamed, leaning against Ranboo.

Ranboo didn’t know what to say. He knew it wasn’t Tubbo’s fault. He knew what it was like to be under pressure.
“I’m so sorry, Tubbo-”

“No!” Tubbo shouted harshly, shoving himself off of Ranboo, ”Please don’t say you’re sorry! I’m so damn tired of people who have nothing to be sorry about saying sorry!” He cupped his hands around his eyes, shutting them tightly as tears coated his face.

Ranboo sighed, looking at his friend sadly. He hugged him again, as the teen only cried harder.

---------------------------------------------

The sun was setting by the time Tubbo’s sobs had turned into faint wheezes. tubbo slowly pushed himself off ranboo, wiping his face with this back of his hand. He silently stood up, staring blankly ahead and walked over to the table, picking up the second letter.

“Where are you going?” Ranboo asked softly, concern covering his features.
Tubbo set the letter into his pockets and took a deep breath. He walked to the front door and picked up a light jacket he had hanging from a hook on the wall.

“Tommy asked that I give another letter to Techno and Phil. I figured I might as well get it over with.” The president sighed, pulling the coat over his suit.

Ranboo looked away, eyebrows furrowed.
“Why did he want to give a letter to them anyway? Didn’t- didn’t Techno like- try to kill him?”
Tubbo’s shoulders tensed, and he gasped quietly. Did he really not know-?
“Ranboo….Techno is- Techno is his- was his brother.”

“What-?!” The hybrid practically hissed, his wide eyes snapping back to Tubbo, “but- he tried to get him killed! He-“
“I know, Ranboo. I know. But- he wanted to tell them something, I guess. It’s not my place to deny him that.”
Ranboo hummed uncertainly before pushing himself to his feet.
“They live in the tundra or something right? I’ll go get my things from my-“
“No.” Tubbo said flatly. “I-I’m going alone. I just- I need some time to think.”
“Are you sure-? Tubbo they- what if they try to hurt you again?” The enderman hybrid argued worriedly
“I’m just giving them the letter and leaving, I’ll be fine. Besides, I’d prefer you not have to meet them for as long as possible.”
There was an unspoken I don’t care if they hurt me anyway behind his words
Ranboo was quiet for a few moments before sighing.
“Just-….just be safe, okay? And if you freeze to death out there I’ll kill you, so don’t.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t, boss man.”
Tubbo shakily opened the door and started down the path toward Phil’s house.
—————————

Tubbo had severely doubted the chilliness of the tundra. It probably hadn’t been the best idea to go on this mission when night was approaching either. But he’d gone too far to turn back now. Specks of white dust obscured his vision as he walked forward. Though the harshly falling snow bit at his skin and the blanket of white pulled at his ankles, he hardly noticed, too lost in his own thoughts to care. The tears on his face were almost frozen at this point.
Tubbo pulled his hands from his coat pockets and gripped the fur lining it’s neck closer to his chin before glancing at the compass in his palm. It still pointed forward, so thankfully in his thoughtful daze he hadn’t drifted off course. With his hand over his eyes he looked forward across the arctic, squinting in the sharp blizzard.
He knew that Phil hardly ever was at his house in L’manburg anymore, he mostly hung out with Techno, so he’d snuck into Phil’s house and gone through his chests, hoping for some way to find Techno. He knew that the man lived somewhere within the Arctic, just not where specifically. Luckily Phil had the exact thing for this issue, in the form of a compass Tubbo now held in his ice stained hands.
Tubbo almost fainted in relief as he saw a bright yellow light amid the raging snowstorm. He began walking faster, shaking off the snow that clung to his pant legs.
The letter addressed to Techno and Phil was safely tucked away in his coat pocket. He instinctively patted it, double checking it was actually there.
To be honest, Tubbo wasn’t sure what Tommy could possibly have to say to the father that had killed his own son and the brother that had tried to kill him. Thinking back to his own letter, he could guess, though he wasn’t sure why Tommy felt the need to say things like that. Tommy had nothing to be sorry for. Everything he’d done was just- a kid being exactly that. A kid. From pranks, to talking back, getting himself into messes.
Tubbo wished deeply that he could have had that chance. Maybe he’d start being like that, even if he didn’t deserve it. He could escape the responsibilities and do what he’d missed out on. Who cares if it got him killed? How nice would it be to just leave it all behind?
Tubbo kicked the snow off his leather shoes against the side of a stable outside the house before stepping onto the stairs of the cabin’s porch. What looked like firelight flickered in the frosted windows, so It was likely at least someone was home.
He took a deep breath and carefully pulled the letter from his pocket, rubbing his thumb against the smudged charcoal with Techno and Phil’s name.
As quietly as possible, he slowly leaned down, smoothing the paper out before setting it on the deck.
He barely had time to step away and leave the note to be found later, as he’d planned to, before the door swung open.
There stood Techno. He stared down at the teen with a cruel, analyzing gaze, as if he was already trying to plot Tubbo’s next move. His long pink hair, tinged with brown at the roots, fell onto his shoulders. In his scarred hands he held a gleaming netherite axe. He was wearing only a simple white flowy top and reddish brown pants with some wool socks on his feet. Even in such a casual setting he looked terrifying.
Tubbo couldn’t help but feel sorrow, mixed in with the great amount of fear swirling in his gut. This man had once been his friend. This man had played hide and seek with him and Tommy and Wilbur as kids. He’d probably sat on his shoulders once or twice when they were younger. And now he looked like he was already planning to kill Tubbo then and there. He almost had already once, when he’d sent a firework straight into the teen’s face. Tubbo resisted the familiar urge to hide the burn scar with his hand.
Techno squinted at Tubbo, lowering the axe as he clearly knew the boy wasn’t anywhere close to a threat. He leaned it against the wall, certain he no longer needed it.
“Ah, Mr President. I didn’t expect to see you here. It must be pre-tty important if you dragged yourself all the way out here in the middle of a snowstorm. You’ve come to ask me to join another one of you guys’ rebellions? Or maybe you finally realized you were wrong and have come to apologize? Now this I gotta see.”
Tubbo stood up straight, trying to hide the way he shied away from the frightening man. He quickly hid the letter behind his back.
“No Techno. I’m- i’m just here to de-deliver some news.
“Really,” the warrior smirked, “You’ve made another country or something?”
Tubbo took a deep breath, pressing his eyes shut.
“No-“
Techno laughed.
“Aaaah, you here to kill me then? Gonna arrest me for,” he held his hands up mockingly, “war crimes? You can tell your friends to come on out, I already know what you’re planning. You’ve got a potion of weakness behind your back. You throw it on me and then your little gang runs out from the trees and takes me in cuffs before dragging me back to L’manburg. It’s a reaaaal solid plan, I’m kinda impressed. Go ahead and get it over with if you want, Mr President, but I’m retired now.”

Retired? After everything he’d done? He didn’t deserve to have any peac- no. That’s not what Tubbo was here for. He swallowed down the back talk.

Tubbo winced as the words that tasted of bile came from his throat.
“Tommy is dead.”
As soon as the sentence was out he practically curled in on himself.

 

There was silence amid the tundra. You barely had to strain your ears to hear the snow falling to the powdery earth. The world fell quiet, the wind dying.
“Tommy…...issss dead.” Techno said flatly, turning his head to the side while staring at Tubbo.
Tubbo nodded weakly.
Another silent moment passed between them, Techno unsure what to say and Tubbo just wanting to leave. The quiet was interrupted by a sharp laugh. It was higher pitched than what was to be expected from Techno. He had his head tilted back, eyes closed as he chuckled.

“Yeah right, that kid is too stubborn to die. I’m guessing you’re his scape goat then, eh? He’s hiding in the trees, got it. You wait for me to be caught off guard by this devastating news and then you throw the potion. Sorry Tubbo, but I’m really tired right now, can we perhaps reschedule this?” He stepped back, ready to shut the door.
“Oh, and by the way. You can go tell Tommy,” He gestured to the forest lying in front of the cabin, “That honestly, his tricks are just sad at this point.” He closed the door until just a crack allowed him to peek out.

Tubbo clenched his fists.
“Techno.” He hissed through gritted teeth, fighting back the tears stinging his eyes.“You don’t know how badly I wish I was lying.”

Techno raised an eyebrow, opening the door ever so slightly again. He sighed, rolling his eyes.
“Listen, Tommy couldn’t die if he wanted to, alright? As much as I’m sure this is all some dumb prank you two are pulling, If he’s missing or something than he’s probably just being a brat, he’ll show up. Go home, kid.”

Tubbo looked up, rage spiraling in his tear stained eyes.
“Goddamn it! I’m not lying, Techno.”

The man looked slightly startled. That was new.

Tubbo took a deep breath and pulled the letter from behind his back.

“He-…he asked that I give this to you and Phil.” He slowly passed it to Techno, hands shaking.

Techno took it with an odd glare. As far as Techno knew, Tommy had cut all ties with him and Phil, so for the teen to write a letter, even a decoy letter, was strange. He peered at the words on the folded note

“To Techno and Phil” was scrawled in shaky handwriting. Techno opened it and glanced at the words.

The snow fell silently as Tubbo waited, shaking in the freezing cold.

Techno stared down at the letter, brows furrowed as he read over the note again. Twice. Three times. He looked up at Tubbo, his eyes glossy.

“How- How did this happen?”

Tubbo wanted to sink to the ground and stay there. He wanted to walk into the snow and let it envelop him. He just wanted to drift into that empty darkness and stay. He didn’t want to look up at his childhood friend. His enemy. His executioner. He didn’t want to tell him that his little brother had finally had enough and ended his life, whether he cared or not.

“He…..He ki-illed himself” Tubbo hiccuped.

Techno froze up, leaning backward with a sharp inhale. He looked down at the letter again, dirt and tear stained. A low growl rose in his throat. He was holding the paper almost tight enough to rip it.
Why?” He spoke through gritted teeth.

Tubbo forced himself to look up at the man. His auburn eyes glinted almost red in the dim light. His cold stare was glassy, as if his eyes were watering. He had his fists clenched at his side.
“It- I- It was my fault,” Tubbo confessed, falling to his knees. “He-He-” The teen tried to speak, sobs rising in his throat with every word. “I exiled him- he- He’s dead- it’s my-my fault. I was a damn co-coward. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Techno.” He stammered, shaky weeps tearing through his chest. He lowered his head.
Tubbo could feel Techno’s cold piercing glare on his shoulders. The man was eerily silent, and Tubbo knew that any second he would take his axe and swing at Tubbo.
Tubbo was afraid, despite how much he knew he deserved it.
Techno stepped forward, and Tubbo curled in on himself, clawing at his sleeves and squeezing his eyes shut. He was going to die. Techno was going to kill him.

So be it.

 

 

Warmth settled over him. Tubbo hadn’t expected death to be warm. He thought maybe it would be cold, just a bit. Cold until you were finally gone, and there was nothing left to feel. But he could feel it, warmth.
Tubbo opened his eyes slowly, finding himself still on his knees on Techno’s porch. He looked up quickly.

Techno had his arms around Tubbo, hugging him tightly. He was silent.

The snow fell a bit softer, the cold shied away, overdue tears found their place in the eyes of a warrior, and the boy in power no longer had strength.
For just that moment, two enemies were gone, replaced by childhood friends.

Chapter Text

Tommy gazed at the rippling blue water with confused eyes. His reflection looked back at him, and he realized with a scowl just how bad he actually looked. His face was covered in scratches, though they were fading quickly as days passed. His cheeks and eyes were sunken in from malnourishment, and his hair was matted. He was getting better though, he could tell. There was even a small hint of blue back in his eyes.

Tommy pushed away from the edge of the lake, looking up at the hybrid standing next to him with a whine.
“Phiiiiil! What are we even doing here? There's nothing there!”

Phil hummed in acknowledgement, looking at the lake curiously.
“I expected her to be here.” He muttered down at the water. The man sighed. A whistle came from his throat, piercing the sky. Tommy watched in awe as the trees behind them came alive with birdsong. A single black crow darted out of the forestry, landing on Phil’s shoulder. The hybrid whispered something to the bird and it took off again across the lake. It began to circle around a part of the water in the distance.

Tommy stood up with a shocked gasp as the bird turned sharply and dove down toward the water.
It’s wing hit the surface before it flew up again, shaking droplets from it’s feathers. The water where the bird had just dove shifted, and suddenly a gleaming white figure began racing through the lake toward them at an unbelievable pace. Tommy began to step away from the water as the creature neared, closer and closer.

Suddenly the shape ducked beneath the surface, disappearing completely into the dark blue. Tommy stared out at it for a moment with a baffled expression.

“Hello!”

The teen yelped and stumbled backward, landing on the grass with a thump. A small gasp came from the person at his feet.

In the water sat a very inhuman Niki, peering at him with a slightly worried gape. She had light pink hair the color of coral that fell around her shoulders and glittered under the sun. Though she’d just been under the water, her hair looked unscathed. There were fins along the side of her face where her ears would be and scales coating her neck. Instead of legs, she had a long, glittering white tail behind her. She held a basket of dried kelp and brightly colored coral on her arm.

“Oh goodness! I didn’t mean to frighten you!” Niki hummed apologetically, setting the basket on the shore. “I’m sorry, are you alright?”

“Ye-yeah no I’m alright! Just lost my footing” Tommy grinned, standing up shakily whilst dusting off his pant legs. He wasn’t startled, who said he had been startled?

Phil chuckled, stretching his arm out as the crow flew back to him.
“How are you doing today ms. Nihachu?” He asked with a smile, pulling a handful of sunflower seeds from his pocket and offering it to the bird.

The mermaid smiled, resting her arms on the bank of the lake.

“I’m good! Sorry I didn’t see you sooner, I got a bit distracted. How about you two?”

“We’re doing alright, I’m taking him around to meet some folks.” Phil chuckled, stepping toward the boy. Niki grinned brightly up at them.

“You must be Tommy! It’s so nice to meet you! I’m Nihachu, but you may call me Niki.” The hybrid gleamed, her tail splashing the water behind her.

Tommy grinned back sheepishly, reaching his hand out to the mermaid.
“It’s nice to meet you too.” Niki shook his hand with a smile, trying her best to ignore a light bruise on the boy’s arm.

“So,” She sank back down into the water, looking up at the two with bright blue eyes, “have you enjoyed your time here so far, Tommy?”

The teen nodded quickly with a broad smile on his face.
“Oh yeah! Everyone’s really nice and all, I met Sneeg, Jack, Scott, Charlie, and uh- Techno.”

At the last name the siren’s face lit up.
“Oh! I didn’t know Techno was out today! He mostly spends his time in the nether! How was he?”

Phil luckily stepped in for Tommy, who was still a little bit shaken up from the encounter. The hybrid chuckled awkwardly.

“Yeah, we didn’t really expect him to be there either. He’s doing alright though.” Niki smiled before her face dropped in surprise. She quickly grabbed the basket she’d set on the grass and swam backward a bit.
“Ah! I’d love to stay and chat but I really have to be somewhere. There’s this type of plant I want but it’ll only stay out for a few hours and I have to go downstream to get it. It was lovely talking to you! I’ll see you later! Bye Phil! Bye Tommy! Say hi to Techno for me!” She waved goodbye to them before turning and ducking under the water.

Phil shook his head and chuckled as he waved goodbye to the mer. When he looked at Tommy, the teen was smiling, his eyes clouded with nostalgia, but happy.
“My Niki used to be all loud like that. She’s a bit quieter these days though, I miss seeing her like that.” He smiled sadly, glancing down. He shook the thought away and turned away from the water, followed by Phil. “So, where to now?”
“Well-,” Phil began.

He was cut off by the sound of fast footsteps racing toward them. They looked to the side to see a man with bright orange hair and fox-like ears bounding down the grassy hill over to them. He had his tail waving excitedly behind him as he rushed up to the pair, quickly darting behind Phil with his arms full of different ores.

“Phil!” Fundy whined, peering around the other hybrids shoulders, “You gotta hide me, dude.”

Phil chuckled, glancing over his shoulder at the fox hybrid cowering behind him.
“What did you take this time?”

The fox rolled his eyes, clutching the minerals tighter to his chest.
“They weren’t using them! It’s only fair that someone who actually needs them hav-'' He stopped abruptly, noticing the startled figure standing beside Phil with a surprised yelp. Fundy’s fox tail bristled slightly, his ears lowering as he looked at the human. He tried his best to play it cool.

Tommy and Fundy used to be very close when they were younger. Tommy still remembered the day that Wilbur had come home and announced he had a son. Fundy was standing next to him, smiling timidly at the blue eyed teen in front of him. At that moment Tommy decided the teen was his nephew, even if he was older than him. They’d spent their L’manburg days roughhousing and playfully fighting each other or getting into squabbles.

He remembered how much Fundy had disliked him in the end. Wilbur had made Tommy president of L’manburg before everything went up in flames. Tommy over his own son. He never missed the glares Fundy threw his way.

But when he’d seen Fundy fight and argue with Tubbo for him, he had to believe there was still some ounce of family left.

“Oh- Hi. Tommy, right?” The hybrid said quickly, still glancing toward the hill he’d run down. “Uh- nice to meet you- Sorry we can’t meet under better circumstances but I’m a bit busy at the moment-”

“FUNDY GET BACK HERE!”
Fundy yipped in surprise, stammering a quick goodbye to the two before running off again with his tail bristled, dropping a few items on the way. However Tommy wasn’t listening to what the hybrid had said. The boy was staring dead ahead at the hill, completely frozen, stunned, dreading.

His mind was desperately trying to drown out the new voice, filling his ears with a high pitched ringing. The world around him slowed as he stared up the hill, where two vaguely familiar faces were racing toward them.

One of them was frighteningly tall, about 8 or 9 feet, just a little taller than the original Ranboo. His face and skin were dark like obsidian and ash, and he had long pointed ears. His eyes were a dull color of green and red. He had on a purple long coat with silver trimmings, black pants, and silver jewelry, along with a white cravat around his neck. A flurry of purple particles followed him as he ran, carrying a netherite axe in his hands and a black satchel around his shoulder.

The other boy had fluffy brown hair and black bee antennae attached to his ears. He wore a black and yellow jumper and jean overalls, the pockets filled with flowers. Two bee-like wings buzzed behind him as he quickly zipped toward them, his striking green eyes lighting up in surprise as he noticed the two figures standing in front of them.

Everything was loud. so loud.

They stood in the Final Control room as the walls opened and poison rained down upon them, choking them. Eret grinned back, his smile bearing into Tommy’s skull. Someone screamed. Tubbo’s blood curdling shriek rang through the air as an arrow struck Tommy just beside his heart. He slumped over. He was dead. He had to be. Right? Someone dragged him away as more arrows followed, the sound of Schlatt’s horrific laughter coating the sky, filling his mind. He hit the stone with a sickening thud as Wilbur pushed him to the ground, straight into the small crevice in Pogtopia. The walls were closing in on him, his chest tight, his breath faltering. This time Tommy screamed as his vision filled with blinding color, the blues of fireworks and the reds of blood pooling around him, choking him. Suffocating him. Tommy was forced to watch as it all happened. Tommy couldn’t breathe. Tubbo was slumped against the tiny room, his eyes shut and blood pouring from his open mouth, trapped in an unheard scream that was deafened by echoing explosions. Techno smiled wickedly, his eyes wide and full of a manic wonder as if he didn’t believe what he had just done. Withers covered the sky, their high pitched screams ringing in the air. Tommy screamed for Tubbo. Where was Tubbo? He needed help. There was fire raging all around him. Wilbur was dead. Please don’t let Tubbo be dead. He began to beg. No. Everything was okay. Tubbo was okay. Tubbo was standing just there, on the obsidian wall, shouting something. Tubbo turned to Tommy. But It wasn’t Tubbo. It was Dream, staring at him with that soulless, horrifying mask. Dream grabbed him by the hoodie, and dragged him away. He threw Tommy down, watching as the teen fell and slammed against the surface of the water. A black lake caved in around him and he was sinking. He was drowning.

But then, someone grabbed him by the hand. Tubbo smiled back, his eyes bright, unharmed, young. How long had it been since he’d looked that young? They were kids, right? So why…why had it been so long since they’d been that? The boy dragged him through a golden field, smiling back at him as pufts of dandelions lifted into the air, sparkling against the sun. They were giggling as they ran together, Techno and Wilbur racing behind him. They were just kids again. A soft melody filled the air, the tune happy and victorious and promising only good things. They were sitting on the bench, looking out at the newly won L’manburg with youthful hope as the sun set across the horizon. Tubbo looked so happy, so unscarred by flames and war. He wore his uniform proudly. Tubbo giggled at something the boy next to him had said. He opened his mouth to say something.

“Tommy.”

The blonde smiled back at him, nodding expectantly.

“Tommy!” Tubbo shouted this time, startling Tommy. The golden sunset around them began to turn black, clouding his vision. He screamed for his friend silently, his voice muffled as Tubbo disappeared. The last thing he saw of the boy was scars growing across his face, his eyes wide and full of fear.

“Tommy!”
He opened his eyes, his breath catching in his throat as he fell out of the panic attack he’d been trapped in. Phil had his hand on his shoulder and was looking at him with concern, chewing on his bottom lip with unease. Tubbo and Ranboo were standing a few feet away, looking at him worriedly. Tubbo was stood on the ground now, his wings slumped behind him as he fiddled with the straps of his overalls. Ranboo’s axe was gone completely, the hybrid pulling his hand out of the satchel at his side.
Tommy clenched his fists, counting his breaths hurriedly before plastering a shaky smile on his face. Phil stepped away from Tommy, still watching the teen’s uneasiness with his hand on the boy’s shoulder. The hybrid cleared his throat.
“Tommy? You back with us bud?”

Tubbo yelped, stumbling backward as the teen barreled into him. Tommy had his arms thrown around the bee hybrid’s shoulders. Everyone froze, staring in shock at the boy who had collapsed on Tubbo. They exchanged confused glances, looking around awkwardly .

“Uh- you good, bossman?” Tubbo asked, looking at Tommy curiously. He glanced at Ranboo questioningly. The hybrid shrugged, eyeing the human with a wary look. Tommy finally seemed to realize what he’d done and pushed off Tubbo, his mind begging for him to stay wrapped in the hug. Tommy wiped his eyes embarrassedly. When had he even started crying in the first place? He stepped backward shakily, stumbling over his words.

“I’m- I’m really sorry. I d- I don’t know what happened there.” He chuckled, trying his best to seem like nothing was wrong.

Tubbo looked at him with a strange face before smiling and stepping toward Tommy again.

“That’s alright big man! Maybe you just needed a hug!” He threw his arm around Tommy’s shoulder, standing on his tippy toes to reach him. Tommy froze completely, taking in a sharp, shuddering breath. He glanced at Phil, his eyes begging for reassurance. Phil smiled lightly, mouthing the words calmly.
“You’re okay.”

For the first time in a while, Tommy believed it.

Tommy relaxed slightly, smiling softly at Tubbo as the hybrid held his hand out to him. He shook the teen’s hand awkwardly.
“Nice to meet ya! I’m Tubbo, bee hybrid, and that’s Ranboo! Enderman hybrid!” the boy pointed to the second teen beside Tommy who waved back happily.
“It’s—nice to…meet you. I’m Tommy” he gritted out, his smile not entirely, but almost real.
“I don’t blame ya for needing a hug. I don’t give ‘em a lot, but Ranboo here likes hugs!” Tubbo grinned teasingly at the second teen. Ranboo scratched the back of his neck, his cheeks flushing a bright shade of purple. Tubbo giggled along with a hesitant Tommy.
“So if you ever need one,” Tubbo continued, “just ask! Nothing wrong with needin’ a hug every now and then!” He raised his hand to pat Tommy on the shoulder. When he did, Tommy flinched, snapping his eyes shut for just a moment. He laughed awkwardly as Tubbo pulled his hand back regretfully.
“Sorry. Sorry, I don’t know why I- uh- did that” Tommy stammered.

Tubbo was watching Tommy closely, the human shrinking under his gaze. He squinted at Tommy.

The teen began to curse himself in his mind. you moron! Why did you flinch? you’re such a coward! Now they all think you're some kind of freak-

“Hey. Everything’s okay? Okay? I dunno what happened, but you’re here now!” Tubbo was smiling warmly at Tommy, taking his injured hand in his own and patting it softly. Tommy smiled sheepishly as Ranboo stepped beside Tubbo.
“Nothing’s gonna happen to you here. We’ll hang out soon, but now me and Ranboo have to go take care of that damn fox” Tubbo grinned mischievously, looking at the hybrid beside him. The enderian smiled back, nodding playfully.
Tubbo turned sharply and began sprinting away from Phil and Tommy, closely followed by Ranboo.
“Seeya later boss man! And don’t go running off! I’m not done with you!” Tubbo called over his shoulder, opening his wings and taking to the sky with a bubbly laugh.

As the duo disappeared into the trees, Tommy let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. He suddenly felt so tired. His knees grew shaky. Phil set a gentle hand on his shoulder, steadying the teen.

“Are you okay Tommy?”

The teen swallowed, still staring at the spot of the forest Tubbo had flown off into. He nodded shakily, turning around to face Phil.
“Sorry you had to meet them so suddenly. I was hoping you’d have more time to…prepare yourself.”

Tommy sighed, smiling thinly.
“It’s alright. I- I think it’s for the best that I met them now. Better now than later, right?”

Phil frowned, unsure of the statement. Tommy turned away from him and started walking up the hill, followed closely by the elytrian behind him

“So, I guess the last person I have to meet is Wilbur, innit? C’mon then” Tommy stated flatly, marching forward. Phil grabbed him by the arm, muttering an apology and pulling away when he felt Tommy flinch in his grasp.
“Tommy, you- you don’t have to see him right now if you don’t want to.”

“No it’s- it’s fine. I’ll be okay”

“Tommy-“ Phil began, his voice almost accusing, his eyes sad.

“Please can we just get this over with?!” Tommy shouted quickly, raising his voice and cutting Phil off before the teen started to actually listen. He realized what he’d done, his eyes widening in horror as he shrank in on himself. He swallowed hard, his voice shaky as he continued, “I- I’m just tired. Okay? And- if I don’t face this now, it’s only gonna get worse…”

Phil lowered his head silently, his wings rustling worriedly behind him. He turned away from Tommy. The teen felt his heart wrench, and he just wanted to fall to his knees and beg for Phil to forgive him. Phil had been patient with him and had shown him nothing but kindness, and Tommy had yelled at him. He felt terrible, but couldn’t bring himself to speak further as Phil began walking toward a path that led into the woods. He followed behind sluggishly, wrapping his arms around himself.

“Uhm-..” Phil said hesitantly, “Wilbur doesn’t live too far..just down this path.” He glanced at Tommy over his shoulder. The teen smiled back until Phil had turned away, then lowered his head, his grin fading.

As they walked on, the birds within the forest had gone silent, and Tommy began to wonder if it was because of Phil’s worry for him.

good job, not only do you upset everyone around you, you upset everything

Finally, a large house began to come into view of the trees. The exterior was made of a faded, purple wood, covered in dead vines and moss. The shingles of the house were black, and the windows were tinted, covered from the inside with long, dark curtains.

Phil stepped onto the porch, once again glancing behind him to check on the boy. The teen had his head down between his shoulders, but he nodded, silently asking Phil to go on.

Tommy could barely hear it as Phil knocked on the door, his mind too crowded by a high pitched ringing and a sound that felt like static. His heartbeat was poudning in his ears, drowning out most sounds around him. The calm wind around him died in the air. The warm sun upon him suddenly felt cold and stale. No matter how deeply he breathed, he still felt like he was suffocating. White, hot visions of cramped spaces and fiery explosions screamed in his head.

He barely registered the door opening until a warm familiar voice broke through the deafening barrier around him, the hand on his shoulder pulling him free of the icy hold of that horrible terror he found himself in so often.

The warmth of the world came flowing back around him on waves of wind and relieved bird song and the rustling of leaves.

The teen looked up, his eyes locking with the silhouette of his brother’s.

He couldn’t help the small, defeated whimper that escaped his lips, so quiet and unlike him, coated with relief and sadness and exhaustion.

“Wilbur.”

The boy in front of him smiled sadly, his pale, hazy outline flickering against the shadows he stood in. He leaned down in front of Tommy, squeezing the teen’s shoulder comfortingly.

“I’m sorry bud, but I’m not the Wilbur you knew.”

The teen looked down sadly, pinching his eyes shut.
“I know…”

They quietly walked inside. Wilbur held a gentle hand on Tommy’s back and led him over to the floral sofa as Phil shut the front door behind him. Tommy sat down silently, pulling at the bandages on his hand with worry. His thoughts were quarrelling, trying to decide if he should be afraid or relieved as he looked at the doppelganger of his older, kind, manic brother. But this man was smiling gently, trying his best to seem comforting as he sat down beside Tommy, making sure he had enough room.

“So you’re the Tommy I’ve heard about, huh? You’ve got quite a story, mate.” Wilbur crooned. Tommy nodded briefly, staring down at his lap.

“Are-Are you okay Tommy?”
The blonde hesitated for a moment, looking around cautiously with his shoulders hunched.

“I-...d-dunno.”

“Well, now I’m no therapist-” He held his hands up in front of him cautiously, “but I’ve found it really does help to talk about things.”

Tommy looked up at Wilbur with his brows furrowed in confusion.
“Wh-what?”

“I-...Well, I can just tell you’ve been through alot. You don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to but...I think it would help if someone knew what you were going through.”

Tommy looked down again, furrowing his fists in his pant legs.
“I-I don’t kn-know if I should-…..w-why?”

“So we can help you.” Wilbur spoke softly, his echoey voice like satin and silk.

“That’s all we want to do Tommy.” Phil said gently, standing in front of the sofa with his hands clasped together.

Help.

That one, simple word was enough.

“I didn’t-....I didn’t tell you about my other brother did I?”

Phil shook his head softly, crouching down onto his knees as he listened carefully to Tommy.

The teen smiled bitterly, sadness in his cloudy eyes.

“I grew up with My dad, Philza, and my older brother’s, Wilbur and Technoblade.”

He told them. He told them of sun covered cabins and golden fields. He told them of playful spars and stargazing, of stories read by the fire and flower crowns. He told them of waking up to Wilbur stood by the door, holding a crumpled note in his shaking fists, the parting note from his father covered in tears. He told them of packing bags and leaving behind his only home with his brother's hand entwined in his own. He told them of taking Tubbo with them and running far away from their home.

He told them of the dream team and the dream smp, and caravans and blackstone walls. He told them of white masks, haunting smiles scribbled onto the circular porcelain. He told them of declarations of war and the world going up in flames around them. He told them of secret rooms and poison, trapdoors and buttons and betrayal. He told them of arrow duels and described through terrified sobs what it felt like to be shot. He told them of discs and celebratory parties, of independence and false senses of hope. He told them of presidential elections and screams, some afraid, and some delighted. He told them of turning to see his brother receive an arrow directly in his shoulder. He told them of hidden caverns and familiar voices, turning to see his forgotten brother enter from the shadows. He told them about the acrid smell of smoke that clung to Wilbur’s coat. He told them of concussions and being trapped in tight corners. He told them of festivals, where instead of explosions there were fireworks streaming from his best friend’s chest. He told them of sparring with Techno while Tubbo desperately tried to pull him away. He told them of foolish confidence and waking on the stone floor, his brother standing above him with a bloodied sword and unrecognizable eyes. He told them how he watched the only person that had always been there for him turn his back on him, screaming and hitting while shouting of betrayals and broken trust. The teen told them of the second war he’d experienced, and how for just a moment, he believed once again that everything would be okay.

He told them of explosions and screams, terrifying creatures tearing the world apart. He told them of watching as his father, who he was seeing for the first time since he was a kid, plunged his sword into the heart of his own son. He told them of grand speeches from a man cloaked in blood red as he told his little brother to die.

He told them of Wilbur’s husk. He told them of the ender hybrid, Ranboo, and wanting to be a kid again. He told them of sneaking into George's house, intent on stealing. He told them of broken lanterns and flames. He told them of cramped jail cells and accusing glares from his scarred friend, a boy turned president. He told them of obsidian walls and venomous threats.

He told them of hope, hope that his best friend, after all he’d done for him, could not turn him away.

 

He told them of long trips across oceans and stinging slaps to the face. He told them of kicks to the stomach and demeaning words. He described exactly what it felt like to feel himself dwindling away, into what he was now. He apologized to people that had never met him of how awful he’d been before, ignoring them every time they said he didn’t need to. He told them of the nether and bridges hanging above lava, so enticing and beautiful. He told them of that idiotic hope he’d had when he began gathering weapons. He told them of explosions and fire and watching his only friend turn away from him.

He told them of lifting himself up off the sandy shores of Logsted and writing the notes, before turning and limping into the woods.

 

“----and-...And-” he was struggling, his face wet and red and covered in tears, “and then I- I tried to take your b-bag- I’m sorry-” the teen curled in on himself further, burying his face in his knees as another sob racked through his spine.

Wilbur and Phil waited silently, trembling themselves.

“And---and then I was here.”

He looked up quietly, inhaling with a shaky breath.

Wilbur and Phil were staring, tears running down their own faces. Phil had his feathers clenched in his fists, his wings shaking violently, and Wilbur held one trembling palm over his mouth, his ghostly form flickering like static.

The sun had set long ago, hours passing as the teen’s tragic story only continued on. He’d cried so many times, Phil and Wilbur waiting patiently with tears in their own eyes as they helped the boy recollect himself.

Tommy was swaying, his eyes threatening to shut.
“I’m sorry..” the boy mumbled, “I didn’t want t-to make you cry.”

“No, Tommy-“ Wilbur gasped through a shuddering breath. “You have nothing to be sorry for.”

Tommy gulped.
“But- But I do- I’ve caused everyone so much trouble- I-…but I guess I kinda got what I deserved

“Tommy. You didn’t deserve any of that. You’re- You’re just a kid.” Wilbur whispered sternly.

Tommy managed a weak, almost uncertain nod, his eyes drooping shut as he weakly tried to hold them open.

Phil and Wilbur exchanged a worried glance with each other.

“H-how about you get some sleep? That was…a lot. And I know you’re tired,” Phil said quietly, trying his best to form a comforting smile.

Tommy only nodded again, his head slumped down against his chest. He leaned back against the sofa, sighing quietly. Phil stepped forward and carefully picked the boy up, sliding his arms under the teen’s legs and back. He hoisted him up into his arms and began walking towards Wilbur’s bedroom silently. Tommy was already asleep in Phil’s hold by the time the avian got to the bed. He gently set him down on the mattress and pulled the cotton blankets up around his neck.

With a whispered “goodnight” he silently shut the door and turned his head.

Wilbur was staring at him, his eyes wide and confused and grief-stricken. He was trembling, trying desperately to hold back the sobs that were threatening to take over.

The boy’s past sounded like fiction, because how could anyone have survived that? How could everything the boy had said happened to him be true? No one could live through that. It didn’t even seem possible that one person could have been through each of those tragic events and horrific stories.

But it was real. They knew by the fear and the terror in his eyes and the entire hour the teen had spent staring blankly ahead in trembling silence that it was real.

Phil and Wilbur said nothing else to each other. They simply collapsed against one another, heads resting on their shoulders and arms tangled as sobs and tears and horrified wails crashed through them.

Chapter Text

Technoblade had voices. They were loud at times, and they made him do stupid, awful, terrible things. He learned to live with them after a while—to block them out when they got too loud, how to hunt and kill and maim to persuade them. But every now and then it grew to be too much. It happened once when he was young. He and Wilbur had been sparring when the voices took over, and when he finally came back to himself he had Wilbur pinned to the floor, a sword at his throat. After that he started to block himself away, hiding in his room every hour of every day so that he wouldn’t hurt his brothers. Eventually Phil became afraid for the safety of all of his sons, and so he took Technoblade, and the two of them went off to travel, to find some cure or way to ease the voices’ bloodlust. Only Phil, Wilbur, and himself knew about it. He couldn’t find it in himself to tell Tommy. He didn’t want to scare him and break what was already crumbling.

He regretted returning to his brothers, because as soon as he did, someone got hurt. That’s all that ever happened apparently, everyone around him got hurt. He hadn’t wanted to shoot Tubbo that day at the Festival, but the people at his side yelling at him to get it over with and the cheering of the disonant chorus in his head was overwhelming. He pulled the trigger. The world around him was filled with fireworks and screams, blood and manic laughter.

The sickening part was that most of it was his own.

Every night following the chaos he sat at Tubbo’s bedside, waiting for the kid to wake up from the coma Techno had put him in. No one knew. Techno had never been good at showing or even wanting to show his emotions, so he waited there in the dead of night when Tommy had finally fallen asleep, and Wilbur was off doing who knows what. Tubbo forgave Technoblade in the end, and Wilbur didn’t care, but there was one person that would never forgive Technoblade. The one person he never wanted to hurt.

Tommy. Technoblade would’ve done anything—anything for that kid. He left his home to protect his little brothers. Returning was a mistake, he knew that.

There were a few times the voices had been too much that Techno would never forget.
The spar with Wilbur.
Tubbo’s execution.
The revolution.
And the pit.

God, the pit.

Techno respected Tommy for what he was doing. Techno had almost killed Tubbo, and Tommy had every right to be mad. He’d screamed at Techno with tears in his eyes and a voice so full of poison it stung, in turn defending Tubbo. Techno waited, he took the lashes and the weak punches thrown his way.

But just as soon as he’d thought Tommy was done, the teen had turned around and announced he wanted to fight Technoblade.

Techno hadn’t meant to hurt Tommy. He’d held his ground up until the voices in his head started to scream. Everything after that was a blur.

When the world finally came into focus, he was only seconds away from killing his unconscious baby brother, the boy stained in his own red.

Then he found himself sitting at Tommy’s bedside instead.

Techno had wanted some way to make it up to Tommy, and so he began gathering netherite, stacks and piles of the stuff. He fashioned the strong material into weapons and armor, and when the time for the revolution came, he presented it to Tommy and Wilbur. Though Wilbur had rejected the armor, as he always did, Tommy had been ecstatic. For the first time in years, he hugged his eldest brother. To see the confidence and hope in his little brother’s face, it made him feel for that short amount of time that things would be okay.

And then Wilbur presented his idea. He pulled Techno aside, into an unused chamber of the secret vault. He told Techno that he was angry, and his plan was to destroy L’manburg.

And then he told Techno that he planned to die in the blast.

Techno tried to stop him, tried to assure his brother that they would win, and then they could be happy again. They could go far away from here and be brothers again. They could forget the politics and be free.

But Wilbur hadn’t agreed. He started yelling, asking if Techno even cared about him, telling his brother that they’d lost everything. He didn’t listen no matter how many times Techno told him he was telling the truth. He asked if Techno was going to leave him too. He yelled of disloyalty, and how there was now way they could win because even if they did, everything was too far gone.

He was too far gone.

And the voices agreed to his plan, against Techno’s will. Techno hoped deeply that when they won he could convince his brother to stay. He knew that no matter what he wouldn’t go through with it. He’d find some way to save Wilbur.

 

In the end they won, the pathetic tyrant dead of his own accord. While Techno began his plans to move, turning to gather his things, Wilbur had spoken. Then Tommy.

And then recreated exactly what he had said he didn’t want.

And Techno was angry.

So he followed the plan.

He distracted Tommy to keep him away from the blast sight, as Wilbur had told him to do, and then the voices took over. And he let them.

He woke from his bitter rage just in time to see his father’s blade pierce his brother’s chest.

Techno hadn’t wanted Wilbur to die. He’d studied the layout of the tnt beneath the podium for hours until he knew that anyone standing in the room beside it would be unharmed.

But it hadn’t mattered in the end.

No one heard his anguished cry over the roar of fire and screeches of the withers across the sky.

Techno fled before anyone else could get hurt.

 

Wilbur was gone. All that he had left was a miserable father and a brother that hated him.

And now he’d lost again.

Techno was slumped against the door of his cabin, legs sprawled out limply in front of him, the letter from Tommy clutched in his trembling hand beside him. His hair was in tangles, strained and worn from Techno tearing and pulling at it. The wind outside howled with a dull whine, rattling against the frosted window panes. The fire in the hearth had died, the chill of the snow outside sinking into the walls of the cottage. It had been two hours since Tubbo had come to his home and collapsed on his porch. Two hours since He’d learned of his little brother’s death.

Techno had thought of Tommy’s death time and time again, dreading the day it happened. Sometimes he imagined it would be himself to kill Tommy, the voices taking over. But every time he knew his brother would go out big. He’d take the sun with him if he could. His death would be something extravagant, like fire blazing across the world. He’d go out with a bang, letting the whole world know that he’d been there. He’d stand at the front of crowds and announce to them that he was leaving, before the sky fell and the world ended.

He almost couldn’t believe how he’d really died.

He jumped.

And the world continued, unphased. It sounded so-- so dull. So unlike Tommy.

Techno had a nickname for Tommy. He called him Theseus. It was just some metaphor from Techno’s mythology books, but somehow it became more fitting than he would’ve wanted.

 

In the story, Theseus was pushed.

However this time, he pushed himself.

No.

The world pushed him.

Tommy was a kid, a kid that had been through so much. He’d faced wars, near death experiences, his brother’s suicide, betrayals and fire, explosions and being left behind. He’d stood up to his own demise so many times, seemingly unharmed. He pushed back at the world with sharp quips and mocking laughs, looking death in the eye and smiling.

But this had been his final push. Techno’s baby brother had gotten to the point where the world was too much for him.

Techno took a shuddering breath, trying to hold down the anguished sob rising in his throat.

Tommy was gone. He was dead, an eternal flame finally snuffed out by the bitter chill of icy rage. He died alone, exiled. He let himself fall into lava, surrendering his life to the sharp, cold, endless heat of the magma.

Techno had known Tommy since the kid was just a newborn, a bright eyed kid with a mop of blonde hair and sky blue eyes. Phil had found him one day and immediately taken the boy into his home to care for him. Tommy attached himself to his brothers instantly. As soon as the boy could walk he would follow them around, copying everything they did with a beaming smile and mischief dancing in his eyes.

It hurt so much to leave him.

The warrior bent over, screaming through gritted teeth as warm tears poured down his face. Tommy had been exiled. Exiled because of a dumb fire that he started that could’ve been easily fixed. So what if Dream was watching him, apparently making sure nothing happened to the exiled teen? Dream was the reason he was out there in the first place. Techno didn’t trust Dream anyway. He was partially responsible for Wilbur’s death as well, and now it might as well be Tommy’s too.

He was a child. It was a dumb prank, an idiotic decision.

It was childish chaos.

And he’d died because of it.

Techno didn’t know who to be mad at.
Tubbo was a child. He was a kid made president too soon.
Phil was grieving. He couldn’t have stopped them if he had the strength and will to.
Wilbur was already lost.
Dream had only just become a factor in their lives. Surely he couldn’t have taken down the brash, strong teen so quickly.

So, he looked to himself.

He was responsible.

Techno shakily pulled the letter up again, his eyes locked on the paper as he stared quietly, lips shut tight to hold back the sobs rising in his chest. He pored over the words, so messy and scratchy and inexplicably Tommy.

Techno had left him without a goodbye when he was just a boy.
He’d almost killed him in the pit.
He’d almost killed him again during the war with L’manburg.
And now, it had all added up to Tommy’s death.

The note stared back at him, mocking, full of lies. Techno breathed heavily, staring at the note in his hands with a look full of malice, his fingers itching to tear the paper to shreds and forget it had ever happened.

But it was all he had left.
------------------

Dear Dad Phil and Techno,

I’m sorry.
I don’t blame you for leaving. I don’t know why you left, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with me. I’m really sorry.

You don’t have to read this if you don’t want to, but I hope you will.

Techno. I'm sorry for betraying you. I’m sorry for using you. It was stupid of me. It was terrible of me to do that to you. I forgive you for Tubbo, because he forgave you. I forgive you for the pit. I challenged you first, and I got what I deserved. I forgive you for L’manberg. You helped us so much and I betrayed you, and I’m sorry.
I will miss you. I’ll miss reading with you and sword fighting. I’m sorry for whatever I did to drive you and Dad away.

Phil. I’m starting to forget you more and more every day. I haven’t seen you since Wilbur, and before that I hadn’t seen you since you left. I try to remember the summer home, but it’s hazy. I forgive you for leaving, and for what you did to Wilbur. I’m sorry.
I will miss you too. I’ll miss running through the field in the back and helping with the garden. I don’t know what I did to drive you and Techno away, but I’m sorry.

I wish I could say more than just sorry, but I’m running out of time.

I know I deserve everything that’s happened to me.

I’m sorry I can’t tell you I’m sorry in person, but it’s better this way. I know you don’t want to see me.

All I ask is that you aren’t angry with me. Please, take some time to remember me and what we used to be, and after that you can go back to hating me all you want.

I love you I’m sorry.

----------------

Techno couldn’t force down the scream that ripped itself from his lips, muffled by the howling wind outside. His ears were ringing, a dull ache pounding around his skull and tearing tears from his face.

Tommy thought they hated him. Tommy thought the man that had spent nights trying to find a way to fix their broken bond and the father that had cried for days hoping for his son’s to come back hated him.

He killed himself because he thought they hated him.
He thought they hated him and still he had loved them.

Techno stared at the final message at the torn bottom of the note. He’d almost said he loved them. He’d almost said it, and then he’d decided against it because he didn’t think it would be returned.

And then he killed himself. He never got to hear the words again.

Techno began screaming, not caring for the fallen snow that listened from outside.
-------------
Another hour passed. Techno was still laying on the ground, his sobs diminished into mortified whimpers. He was so tired, every breath weighing down on him with the effort it took. His tears had stopped, only because he couldn’t anymore. His throat was dry from screaming, and his head was pounding.

He forced himself to stand when he heard footsteps on the porch outside. The man quickly shoved Tommy’s note into the pocket of his pants and wiped his eyes, smoothing his hair down so he didn’t look as bad as he truly was. He took a deep, strangled breath, and opened the door.

Phil stood on the porch, dusting snow from his blue and white striped bucket hat. The dark red and blue cloak around his shoulders was whipping around him in the wind of the snowstorm outside. Upon his back he had a brown, leather satchel. He looked up at his eldest son with his glowing, bright blue eyes and warm grin.
His smile was almost enough to make Techno forget about everything that happened, images of golden fields and distant travels filling his cloudy mind.

And then he remembered. He remembered that soon that smile would be gone. Maybe forever.

“Hey Tech! How are ya, mate?” Phil grinned up at him. Techno responded with a weak smile, stepping inside so Phil could enter.
“It’s cold as hell out there mate. Why don’t you have the fire on?” The man kicked off his boots and sat on the sofa, still chattering on excitedly. He threw the bag on his back down onto the floor and began shuffling through the contents. “I found this great cave yesterday and grabbed a bunch of loot from it! I even got some music discs!” He held them up with an ecstatic grin, showing off his findings proudly.

Techno shifted nervously, hugging his arms to his chest.

He did not want to tell him. For the life of him he wanted to forget anything had happened so he could let Phil be happy.

“Hey-..Phil?” He whispered, lowering his gaze so he wouldn’t have to see his father’s eyes. The blonde stopped, cocking his head to the side.
“Yeah? What’s wrong mate?”

“Uhm. Tubbo stopped by earlier.”

Phil scowled, furrowing his brow.
“Did he now? And what exactly did Mr President want?”

Techno winced.
“Well he-he just had some news to deliver. ‘Gave me a note.”

“And what would that be?”

Techno sucked in a breath, reaching toward the letter stored away in his pocket with trembling hands.

Before he could grab it, a sudden sob crashed against his chest, and the man staggered forward, clutching his chest as he fell to his knees and more wails tried to escape his clenched teeth. Phil was by his side in seconds, his hands on Techno’s shoulders.

“Tech? Techno! Hey! Look at me! What happened?” Phil was shaking him, his eyes clouded with worry. Techno looked away, not wanting to see the hurt in his dad’s eyes. He shakily pulled the note from his pocket and passed it to Phil, hiding his face in shame.
Phil read over the note hesitantly, confusion and fear growing on his face. He pored over it again, and again, and again. A weak laugh escaped him.

“This- This is a joke, right? He- he knows we don’t hate him!”

Techno didn’t meet his eyes.

Phil set his hand on Techno’s shoulder roughly.
“Techno. Where did you get this? Where is Tommy?”

Techno whimpered, hunching over as he trembled in the cold, deathly chill of the cabin.
“He’s-he’s gone Ph-Phil.”

Phil looked around wildly, his eyes already searching for the teen.
“Gone?! What do you mean gone?! Like- ran off? Then- Then we should go get him! How long ago did he leave?-”

“No Phil!” Techno shouted, cutting his father off who yelped startledly. Techno turned to him finally, his eyes hazy and quiet. Phil searched them for something, some kind of hint that this was a joke or- or something. Anything.

“He’s--....He’s gone.”

The world around Phil shifted, like a chandelier about to fall, like an old tree branch that only needs another storm to fall.
“No-...No you can’t mean that- He’s-”

“He k-” Techno swallowed, a shuddering breath escaping his lips, “He killed himself.”

The storm hit. Fires began to roar. Glass around him shattered. The walls caved in. The shadows sank deep into his chest. The air around him began to strangle him. The world was ending.

And yet everything was still.

The wind outside continued to howl. The candle resting in the window still flickered. The world carried on.

And Phil began to scream.

Chapter Text

Tommy awoke feeling lighter than he had in ages.
He opened his eyes to an unfamiliar room, disoriented for only a moment before he remembered he was in Wilbur’s home. He basked in the comfort of the room, the warm, vanilla and dust scented blankets on top of him mixed with the cold, chilly air of the dark house soothing him. He reluctantly sat up, stretching his arms high above his head with a satisfying pop. He slowly slipped off the bed, shivering as his feet hit the cold floorboards. Voices came from outside the room and he began to hesitantly walk toward them, passing the curtain covered windows. His face still felt weird from crying all yesterday, and his throat felt scratchy and sore, but somehow it was the best he’d felt in years.
He walked into the kitchen with a faint smile, peeking around the corner.

Phil stood in front of the furnace, holding a pan that sizzled with a warm scent, humming something brightly. Wilbur was crouched over the table, eyes trained closely on a sun-stained map before him. As Tommy stepped into the room, he quietly cleared his throat. Both hybrids turned to look at him with warm, sad smiles.

“Mornin’ Tommy. How ya doin mate?” Phil asked softly, setting the pan he was holding down on the stove.
Tommy hummed, pulling his hair out of his face with a yawn.
“ ‘M okay. Just feel- y’know. Tired.”

“I bet,” Wilbur quipped with a friendly grin, “Did you sleep well at least?”

Tommy walked over to the table and plopped down on a chair beside Wilbur.
“Yeah, been a long time since I slept that well,”

The hybrids laughed quietly along with Tommy. Phil pulled the pan from off the stove and slid a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon over to Tommy and Wilbur, before sitting down across from them with his own bowl.

“Thank gods!” Tommy groaned dramatically, “I am fuckin’ starvin’!”
He hesitated before he started eating, glancing at Phil questioningly. The avian smiled quietly.

“You can eat, Tommy, you don’t have to ask me for permission. You’re free to take and use whatever you please.”

Tommy nodded thankfully and then tore into the breakfast. The fork faltered in front of his mouth as he glanced over at Phil’s bowl.

“What the fuck is that?” Tommy asked accusingly, leaning over the table to glare at Phil’s food.

“Uh-” Phil chuckled nervously, “Salad?”

“Dude. You eat fucking salad FOR BREAKFAST?!” Tommy shouted loudly, leaning back in his chair like he’d been stung. He sounded personally offended.

Phil snorted before keeling over in his chair. He was practically screaming with laughter, alongside Wilbur who had his head resting on the table, pounding the top with his fist.

“I’m-I’m vegan!” Phil hollered, desperately trying to catch his breath

“I don’t care who you love, eating salad for breakfast is fucking illegal!”

“WHAT?!”

All of them were laughing now, the dark house filled with the cheerful, bright sound as Phil tried to explain to Tommy what vegan meant through his wheezing. Their loud cackles slowly died down to quiet giggles. They ate their food, passing jokes around the table as Tommy continued to mutter bitterly about Phil’s choice of food. When the table was quiet, Wilbur turned to Tommy quietly.

“Hey, Tommy?”

“Mm?”

“Thank you for...for telling us. And I’m sorry that happened to you.”

Tommy leaned back, lowering his head. He shrugged sadly.
“Uh-well. Thank you for listening. It uh- It did kinda help- a bit I guess.”

“Of course Tommy. You didn’t deserve any of that.” Wilbur assured the teen.

“Well…”he frowned, his voice slightly disbelieving,
” ..Thanks. I’m uh- I’m sorry I made you two cry.”

“Oh no Tommy, no it’s okay,” Phil sighed softly, “And I swear that nothing else is going to happen to you here. We’ll keep you safe.”

The teen smiled weakly.
“Thank you.”
Tommy cleared his throat nervously. “Do-…do you think we should tell the others?”

Phil frowned.
“Well….maybe not yet. You went through a lot last night, I think we should give you some time to get used to staying here, and at least try to figure out how this is all possible.”

“S-Staying here?”

Phil looked up in surprise, cheeks flushing red as he smiled sheepishly.
“I mean…if you want to. You’re always welcome to stay with us.”

Tommy leaned back in his chair, staring at his lap as he pulled at the bandage around his hand.
“I…I’ll think about it…. Thank you.”

The avian smiled softly with a warm hum.
“Of course Tommy.”

“Should-“ Tommy coughed, “should we tell Techno?”

Phil tilted his head in thought.
“Hm…. not yet. If we did, I don’t think we’d be able to stop him from running off and trying to kick your family’s teeth in,” he chuckled.

Tommy’s eyes widened in surprise. He raised one eyebrow.
“Really?”

Phil nodded.
“Yup,” he said, popping the p, “you should've seen him yesterday. He was fussing all over you, mate.”

Tommy and Wilbur giggled.
“Damn,” the blonde chuckled, “that’s so embarrassing.”

“Oh no,” Phil frowned with mock exhaustion, “ please don’t let him know I told you. He’ll kick my teeth in.”

“Too bad, old man! I’m Tommyinnit! I do what I fucking please!”

Phil and Wilbur barked with laughter.
“Gods kid! Who taught you how to cuss like that?”

“Philza, did you hear who my family is?”

Phil chuckled again.
“Fair enough,” the man grinned. He stood up, finished with his breakfast for the morning.

“Hey Wilbur, do you have your present for Tubbo yet?” The man asked kindly, running his bowl under the faucet before grabbing a towel from the rack next to the sink and wiping it down. The ghost held up a thumbs-up, not looking away from his food or the map set out in front of him. Tommy raised one eyebrow.

“Present?”

Phil jumped in surprise as he remembered.
“Oh! Right! It’s- It’s Tubbo’s birthday actually,” He turned with a shy smile at the teen.

Tommy leaned back in his seat, a sharp breath caught in his throat.
“It’s a-already the 23rd? It’s been that- that long?”

Phil lowered his head, nodding again sadly.

Tommy swallowed a tight breath. Whatever he was thinking, he didn’t say it out loud.
“So, uh- what does this Tubbo like?” He asked shakily, plastering on a strained smile.
Phil grinned back at him, setting his bowl in the sink and turning away from the counter.

“Well, he likes flowers, his favorite colors are yellow and purple, he likes anything shiny really, and all kinds of tech.” Phil replied cheerfully.

Tommy hummed in thought.
“Huh...I don’t really have a lot to go off of there. I don’t have much to give”

“I’m sure he won’t mind if you don’t get him anything, Tommy. You just got here, and you basically barely know each other.” Wilbur said, folding up the map in front of him before standing up and setting it on a shelf above the counter.

The boy frowned with a sigh. He ate the last of his food and held his plate up. Phil grabbed it with a quiet thanks and set it in the sink.
“I would like to, though,” Tommy shrugged, “ Whatever, I’ll keep thinking.”

“Well then, do you guys wanna go see what everyone else is up to?” the winged man asked with a cheery smile, leaning on the table and looking at Tommy expectantly. The teen nodded brightly. Phil stood up and clapped his hands together with a grin. “Great! Wil, you wanna grab your umbrella?”

Wilbur stepped away from the counter with a nod and a smile before promptly walking over to his room and phasing through the door.

Tommy yelped in surprise, stumbling backward in his chair. Wilbur leaned out of the room with a concerned expression on his face, holding a large black umbrella. Realization crossed his eyes and he began laughing.
“Sorry!’ He chuckled, stepping back into the kitchen, “I forgot that’s not really a normal thing for you!”
Tommy laughed nervously, trying to pretend like he hadn’t been scared.

“I’m a phantom hybrid,” Wilbur continued, “That means I can control how materialistic I am. I can be completely solid, or I can phase through things. I can also control objects I’m holding. See?” To prove his point he held up the umbrella in his hands and stuck it right through the wall.

“Holy shit,” Tommy said breathlessly, already on his feet as he stood up and ran over to Wilbur. He reached for Wilbur’s hand, only for it to phase right through. Tommy pulled back with a shudder. “Gods! That’s fuckin’ creepy!” Wilbur and Phil laughed as they walked to the door.
“Oh!” Phil stopped, turning to face the phantom beside him. “Grab Tommy some of your old boots, Wil.” The man turned back around and grabbed his green bucket hat from the rack beside the door. Wilbur looked down at Tommy with confusion.
“Have you been walking around without shoes this whole fucking time?”

Tommy laughed sheepishly.
“What’s it to you?”

Wilbur shook his head.

And then turned invisible.

Tommy yelped again, hearing a voice beside him chuckle.
“Ya prick! You didn’t tell me you could do that!” He yelled at the air.

“Wrong way, dumbass”
Tommy whirled around, swinging at the empty space as Wilbur began laughing again.

“You’re really bad at this,” the man behind him jeered. He swung again, fist colliding with open air.

“Wil,” Phil sighed with exhaustion, “Quit teasing the kid and get the boots, please.”

“Fine, fine,” Wilbur sighed, his voice coming from further away now.

Tommy spun around, glaring at Phil with pure venom.
“I’m not a fucking kid!” the teen argued.

“Uh,” Phil chuckled, covering his mouth with his fist while trying to hide his laughter, “Yeah you are, mate.”

Tommy scoffed loudly, glaring at the hybrid in front of him.
“NO I’M FUCKING NOT! YOU’RE A FUCKING KID, YOU PRICK! I’M GONNA KICK YOUR BASTARD FACE IN!”

Phil cackled, leaning against the door frame and clutching his chest. Wilbur appeared again, holding a pair of black boots in his hands while screaming with laughter.
“Why are you so damn violent?” Wilbur wheezed, handing the boots off to Tommy.

“Cause you’re a bunch of asses!” Tommy yanked the boots out of Wilbur’s hands and sat down on the floor with a thump. He began muttering under his breath while he pulled the boots on, cursing the two hybrids quietly while they laughed over his head. When the boots were on and he made sure they fit, he stood up and nodded to Phil.
“Alright, ready!”

Phil held back another, delayed laugh and opened the door, stepping off the porch. As they followed behind him, Wilbur opened the black umbrella in his hands and swung it over his head before stepping down off the porch steps.

“What do you need that for? It’s not even raining, dumbass,” Tommy scowled.

Wilbur glared at the teen, falling into place behind Phil as they made their way toward the center of Origin.
“If I go in the sun, I’ll literally die, Tommy.”

The teen stared in shocked silence before letting out a bark of laughter.
“Wow, that must suck ass!” He cackled.

“You suck ass!”

Tommy stuck his tongue out at Wilbur, who returned the gesture. Phil sighed tiredly.
“Boys, would you knock it off?” The man said exhaustedly, not even turning to look over his shoulder at them.

“You’re not my dad here,” Wilbur muttered. The boys snickered loudly too each other as they continued down the path through the forest
They walked in silence for a few more minutes. The sky was bright today, shining down through the forest in sunny beads of light. Birdsong filled the air, the flutter of wings and leaves being rustled ringing through the woods. As they neared the treeline, a dark crow darted out of the oak and birch and landed on Phil’s shoulder with a low croak.

“Oh! It’s you again!” The elytrian chirped brightly, scratching the underside of the bird’s neck. “Ya see anything?” The crow responded with a shake of his head. “That’s alright, thank you for lookin, mate.”

“Who’s that?” Tommy asked, walking closer to Phil while watching the bird on his shoulder with fascination.

“Oh, him?” Phil questioned, “I actually am not sure, He’s new around here. Forgive my impoliteness, I didn’t even ask your name,” He chuckled to the crow. The bird croaked deeply, tilting its head, and Phil hummed.
“You don’t have one, huh?”

“I WANNA NAME HIM!”

The three of them turned to look at Tommy with wide eyes. Phil raised an eyebrow.
“You’re gonna name him something like shithead…”
Tommy gasped in offense, crossing his arms.
“I am not!”

Phil sighed and continued walking as Tommy then suggested they name the crow “chicken”

—-

As they stepped out of the treeline and into the sunny plains surrounding the lake, two familiar voices lit the air.

Tubbo and Ranboo were stood at the edge of the lake, talking in hushed voices. They both turned sharply with bright grins as Tommy walked up to them, followed by Phil and Wilbur.
“Hello Tommy!” Tubbo buzzed excitedly, hovering in the air in front of the group, “Good to see you again!” Ranboo smiled from behind him with a cheerful wave.
“Hi Tubbo, Hey Ranboo,” Tommy giggled quietly. It was strange. His chest didn’t ache as much looking into Tubbo’s familiar eyes.
Tubbo quickly zipped over to Phil and Wilbur, setting his hands on Phil’s shoulders.
“Sooo….Phil, we both know what today is, right?” He grinned, eyes sharp.
Phil sighed.
“Tubbo, I know what you’re about to ask-”

“Can I open my presents early?” He practically shouted, shivering with excitement. Phil groaned.
“We go over this every year! Not until tonight!”

Tubbo whined, flying backwards in the air. He crossed his arms and began pouting.
“C’mon! That’s so far away!” He said, hanging his head with sad, puppy looking eyes, “I’m so bored! Ranboo’s gonna bore me to death!”

Ranboo stood a few feet away, nodding along, before he seemed to register Tubbo’s words.
“Hey-!”

“It’s tradition, Tubbo!” Phil sighed.
The bee hybrid groaned louder, zipping back over to Tommy.
“Tommy! Tell him to let me open my presents early! Please?”
Tommy laughed awkwardly. He looked up at Phil silently, eyes begging Phil to tell him what to do. The elytrian crossed his arms and shook his head with a firm stare. Tommy gulped. Luckily, Wilbur seemed to notice the panic on the boy’s face, and clapped his hands together with a chuckle.

“Tubbo, how about, until night, you take Tommy and show him around? He’s new here, and he still has to see everything.” Wilbur smiled, gesturing to the boy. Tubbo looked down at him quietly, brows furrowed in thought, before a wide grin spread across his face. He jumped into the air with a laugh, wings buzzing excitedly behind him.

“Yes! Oh there’s so many things I still have to show you! I can show you the flower fields! And-And potions! And my treehouse!” He squirmed happily in the air, kicking his legs. “This is perfect! Come on! Let’s go right now!” He grabbed Tommy by the arm, and Phil took in a sharp breath, his wings fluffing up defensively behind him.

“Wait Tubbo-” He quickly grabbed Tubbo’s shoulder. The bee hybrid gasped softly, letting go off Tommy’s arm with a muttered apology that Tommy lightly shook off with a strained laugh. Phil cleared his throat, patting Tubbo’s shoulder as he turned to Tommy. “Is it okay if- if you stay with them? Just for a little while? Me and Wilbur have something we need to take care of,” Phil smiled quietly.

Tommy took in a deep breath, turning to look at the two teens standing beside him. They were smiling--genuine smiles-- not mocking ones.

Tommy smiled back warmly.

“Yeah,” He grinned, turning back to Phil and Wilbur, “I’ll be okay. You two go,”

Phil smiled warmly, his stiff wings relaxing behind him.
“Okay, you kids don’t wander too far off, alright? Stay inside the barrier.”
They nodded quickly and turned away, Ranboo signalling for Tommy to follow as Tubbo zipped off. Phil turned to Wilbur and they both took off in the opposite direction, whispering to each other quietly. The three teens began walking along the edge of the lake, with Tubbo far ahead of them.

“So...uh- Ranboob- boo. What can you do, like-power wise?” Tommy chuckled awkwardly, straining his neck to actually look at the hybrid towering over him. Ranboo let out a bark of confused laughter, staring at the teen walking beside him.
“Did you just call me ‘Ranboob?’” The ender hybrid wheezed, shaking his head. Tommy stammered, raising his shoulders with a nervous laugh.

“Maybe?”

Ranboo just rolled his eyes, laughing again.
“Well, I can’t really do anything special...unless you count-” There was a bright flash of light, and suddenly Ranboo had disappeared in a flurry of purple smoke. Tommy jumped back, looking around wildly for the hybrid that had disappeared right in front of him.

“This,” came a voice from beside him. Tommy squealed, tripping over his feet as he stumbled away. He stared wide eyed at Ranboo, who had appeared yet again, before cursing, stomping his foot angrily.
“What is with you people?! Why does everyone do that?!” the teen screamed, setting his face in his hands with an unpleasant groan. Ranboo hunched over, his shoulders shaking in a fit of laughter. Tommy scowled. “So what, you can teleport?”

“Yup, as long as it’s somewhere I can see, and there’s solid ground beneath me,” He giggled, shrugging his shoulders. Tommy hmphed, crossing his arms.
“That’s stupid, you’re stupid,” The boy pouted. Ranboo just laughed again.

“Come on Tommy!” Tubbo called from a few feet ahead of them, “We’re almost to the bunker!”
“The bunker?” Tommy questioned, tilting his head up at Ranboo. The ender hybrid nodded with a smile.
“Yup! It’s where me and Tubbo live. It’s got this really cool elevator that leads down in the ground, and down there is where we’ve got our home set up!”

Tommy nodded along with a nervous chuckle.
“Uh, underground, you say?”

“Yeah, I can’t really be in the rain, and Tubbo doesn’t like it much, so we decided to just make our home where the water couldn’t get to us!”
Tommy smiled as he listened, but his brain was sceptical, Images of Pogtopia and walls closing in around him flashing through his mind.

They walked to the edge of the lake.
“Alright!” Tubbo said proudly, wings buzzing excitedly behind him, “Here it is.”

Tommy looked out across the lake. Other than a few dragonflies zipping over the sparkling water, there was nothing signalling that there should be a building there.
“Uh,” Tommy cocked an eyebrow, looking at Tubbo questioningly, “There’s nothing there-...”
“Wrong you are!” Tubbo laughed.

The bee hybrid leaned down, reaching for a small rock resting on the sand. Instead of picking it up, he gently laid his hand on it, before slamming it down harshly.

Under the lake, there was the sound of gears grinding against each other. The ground began to shake. The water began to slowly sink down into a small part of the lake as something emerged.

A small, stone room rose up out of the water, revealing two metal doors. They opened slowly, the sound of metal screeching.
The copper doors opened to reveal a tiny room with a lever inside. A panel came out of the ground, reaching across the small gap between the elevator and the edge of the lake.
This is the bunker!” Tubbo announced happily.
Tommy gasped, eyes shining as he looked at the same contraption.
“Holy shit!”
“You like it? Built it myself! Well- Niki helped a bit, and Phil- but it was my idea!” Tubbo grinned, wings fluttering behind him as he flew up over to the elevator, spinning around it and running his hands along the walls.

“This is like- Sam level engineering!” Tommy laughed. He carefully stepped onto the metal bridge, peering into the room. He didn’t get too close however.
“Sam?” Ranboo cocked his head to the side.
“Oh! Uh--yeah, this guy I knew. He’s really good at redstone and stuff. ‘Made our communicators.”
“What’s a communicator?” Tubbo asked, flying over to Tommy, his eyes shining with intrigue.

“Well,” Tommy hummed, “It’s these little devices we use to message people. They’re also linked to everyone’s vitals when you first get them, so if someone were to like--- die I guess, then it would tell them.”

Tubbo laughed brightly, kicking his legs in excitement.
“Ah! That’s so cool! Do you have one?”

Tommy frowned, scratching the back of his neck.
“Uh- n-no….it got smashed.”

Tubbo’s face fell.
“Oh,” He quickly replaced his smile, grinning at Tommy comfortingly, “That’s okay! Maybe sometime I could try to make one!”
“Yeah!” Ranboo pitched in, “We don’t have anything like that, we just use Phil’s crows to pass around messages.”
They all laughed together. Tubbo turned around in the air, gesturing to the elevator.
“Well, after you then!”

Tommy’s smile fell. He turned to look at the tiny metal room, with it’s tight walls. He felt his throat tighten, stepping back a little bit.
“Uh- I’m-...” He stuttered. Ranboo frowned with concern.
“Is everything okay?”

“Oh, yeah yeah!” Tommy chuckled nervously, hugging his arms, “I just uh-....I don’t really like tiny...rooms...but I’ll be fine, sorry,”

Tubbo’s eyes lit up with understanding, a tiny gasp coming from his lips.
“Oh! Are you claustrophobic?”

“Am I what?”

“Claustrophobic,” Tubbo repeated, “It means you don’t like being in tight spaces, feels kinda hard to breathe, y’know?”

“Oh,” Tommy scratched his arm, “I guess so? I’m sorry…”
“No, don't be!” Tubbo grinned comfortingly, “Phil’s got that too, so we understand.”

“He does?”
“Yup! Bird thing I guess, doesn’t like being anywhere where he can’t see the sky.”
Tommy nodded along quietly.
“Well,” Tubbo hummed, “Maybe I could go down and get some stuff to show you, and then meet back up with you guys, is that okay?”
Tommy smiled lightly, nodding. Tubbo grinned back, wings buzzing happily behind him. “Great! Ranboo, you take Tommy to the flower field, and I’ll meet up with you guys in a bit!”
Tubbo turned, closing his wings as he stepped into the elevator. Tommy turned and walked off the platform, stepping back onto the sandy grass beside Ranboo. Tubbo waved as the platform retreated, and the copper doors closed. The elevator shook slightly, and then was sinking back down into the water. Tommy suppressed a shudder. How on earth could he even stand to be in that thing?

“So,” Ranboo cleared his throat, “Follow me! The field is just across the lake.” Tommy walked behind the hybrid as he turned away from the water, walking along the edge.

-----

A few minutes passed, and they’d walked all the way to the other side of the lake. In a small clearing in the forest, just beside the water, was a field. It was covered in all kinds of flowers, the small haven a canvas of bright colors. The grass was dotted with poppies and roses, lilies and a few flowers Tommy didn’t think he’d ever seen before.

“This is Tubbo’s favorite place to hang out,” Ranboo announced as they walked out of the treeline, standing in the very middle of the small clearing of flowers.
Tommy looked around in awe, carefully stepping around the plants so he didn’t mess any up. Ranboo gently moved a path of flowers aside and sat down, curling his tail over his legs. Tommy sat down across from him, just as gentle with the flowers.

“This place is amazing,” Tommy said breathlessly, staring up at the gap between the trees letting the sunlight fall down upon them.
“It is isn’t it?” Ranboo chuckled proudly. Tommy coudn’t get over how----young the teen’s voice sounded. Was it normal for anyone’s voice to be like that? Had this Ranboo ever even tasted smoke before?

It was comforting.

There was a faint droning sound, and suddenly Tubbo appeared above their heads, holding a satchel in his hands. It was small, and seemed to be empty.
“Hello!” Tubbo greeted again, landing gently on the grass. He set the satchel down by his feet, “Alright Tommy! Ready to see something awesome?”
Tommy grinned, shifting his body so he was turned to face Tubbo.
“Yeah! Show me whatcha got!”

Tubbo giggled and leaned down, rifling through the small bag.
Tommy gasped as Tubbo stood back up. In his hands was a tiny object, glowing with a faint blue light.
Tubbo gently tapped the tiny object with his finger. There was a bright flash. And suddenly the small light had turned into a huge bottle, with a clear liquid inside filled with blue bubbles.
Tommy yelped, stumbling back in surprise as he stared at the potion in the hybrid’s hands. Tubbo and Ranboo startled, looking at Tommy with wide eyes.
“How the hell did you do that?!” Tommy shouted, still staring. Tubbo looked down at the potion, then at his bag.
“Uh- you mean my inventory?”

Tommy crawled forward, peering into the satchel at Tubbo’s feet. Inside were more small specks that looked vaguely like potion bottles.
“That’s just how inventory works. Objects shrink down so you can place ‘em in your bag.” Tubbo chuckled.

“What else can you put in there?” Tommy said quietly, eyes shining.
“Well, anything really.” He reached over and gently picked up a rose, before holding it carefully above the bag. It shrunk down into a smaller version of itself, and Tubbo placed it in the bag. Tommy laughed excitedly.
“Anything?!”
“Yeah, basically! Except animals and people I guess.” Tubbo shrugged. He grinned at Ranboo, who scowled.
“Yeah, he chased me around for an entire day trying to shove the bag over my head. It doesn’t work.” His tail flicked in annoyance.

Tommy barked with laughter, imagining the scene in his head. Ranboo and Tubbo laughed along with him.
“If you think that’s cool, wait till you see this!”
Tubbo raised the potion bottle into the air, before bringing it to his lips and chugging it.
Tommy watched as slowly, tiny light appeared across Tubbo’s skin. He began to fade out of view, until he was completely gone. Tommy gasped sharply, looking around.
“You can all disappear? God you’re all so unfair!”
Ranboo fell back in the grass laughing, followed by a second voice.
“I didn’t disappear! I’m right in front of you!”

Tommy squinted at the air in front of him. He could still hear the boy breathing. When he did, tiny, barely noticeable lights flickered, showing the boy’s outline. Tommy gasped in awe, reaching forward. He tapped Tubbo’s shoulder, reeling back in surprise when he felt the boy.
“That’s so cool!” He laughed brightly, shaking with excitement.
Slowly, the lights spread back against Tubbo’s skin, and he reappeared.
“Tada~!”

Tommy clapped, before reaching forward.
“I wanna try!”
Tubbo passed him the bottle of the clear potion.
“So what is this?”
“O, we just call in potion of invisibility, invis for short.”
Tommy smiled, before tilting his head back and taking a sip.
The potion felt sharp and cold, instantly running across his skin like rain. The boy stuck his tongue out with a surprised noise.
Tiny lights began to spread across him, and as he looked down, he disappeared from view entirely.
“Pretty cool, right?” Tubbo chuckled. Tommy stood up and walked around. They could see his footsteps in the grass, so sneaking up on them was unfortunately out of the picture.
“This is amazing!” He squealed happily, running through the grass, kicking up dandelions and such. Tubbo and Ranboo watched the boy run around with soft laughs.
After a few minutes, Tommy faded back into existence, sitting right beside the hybrids.
“Cool right? Depending on how much you drink, the longer the potion lasts!” Tubbo announced proudly.
“What else is there?”

----

They spent about an hour testing the limits of the potions. Tubbo and Ranboo showed him potions of leaping, swiftness, and night vision.
His favorite was swiftness, the boy running around the tiny clearing of flowers faster than he ever had dreamed of.

Finally, they’d settled down, already tired. They were all laying in the grass on their backs, staring up at the bright sun hanging over their heads.

Tommy looked over at Tubbo. He was holding a few daisies in his hand, carefully tying the stems together.
Tommy turned over, resiting his head on his hands as he laid his elbows on the grass.
“What are you doing?”

“Making a flower crown!” Tubbo smiled, continuing with the tiny wreath in his hands. Tommy scowled, pulling himself up.
“That’s not how you do it,” He said accusingly, looking down at the mess of flowers in Tubbo’s hands.

Tubbo frowned at him, raising an eyebrow.
“Fine, how do you do it then?”
“Like this.” Tommy reached over and took the flowers from Tubbo’s hands. He began to gently untie the stems as Tubbo watched curiously. Tommy started to carefully braid the stems together, folding the stems over each other as they began to interlap.
“If you just tie the stems together, it’ll fall apart. You’ve gotta make sure all the stems are linked,” Tommy instructed as he worked. Tubbo and Ranboo moved to sit in front of him, watching as the teen expertly weaved the flowers together.

Finally, he held a complete flower crown in his hands, carefully crafted and with not a single petal damaged. Tubbo gasped breathlessly, gently taking the crown.
“Oh wow!” He grinned, wings fluttering behind him, “Where’d you learn how to do that?”
Tommy turned his eyes away with a shrug.
“Uh-...one of my friends taught me,” He said quietly. Tubbo smiled, looking down at the wreath of daisies.
“Will you teach me how?”

---
Tommy began to show Tubbo how he weaved all the stems together. The bee hybrid caught on quickly, and soon he had a pile of flower crowns resting beside him.
As Tommy watched him work, he felt eyes on the back of his neck, his breath catching in his throat.
The boy turned slowly, looking into the surrounding trees.

Just at the edge of the treeline, Techno stood quietly. He noticed Tommy’s eyes on him and turned away, scratching the back of his neck awkwardly.
“Oh! Techno!” Tubbo called happily, “Come sit with us!”
Techno looked around questioningly, pointing to himself. When Tubbo nodded, the wither hybrid quietly stepped out of the trees, walking over to the group sitting among the flowers. He carefully sat down, just as gentle with the flowers as the rest of them.
“Sorry, I hope it wasn’t creepy that I was just watching…” He frowned. He didn’t meet Tommy’s eyes.
The blonde smiled quietly.
“Nah that’s alright. How are you?”

Techno looked over startledly at Tommy, before clearing his throat with a shy smile.
“Uh, y’know. Just came to see what you were all doing.”
Tubbo stood up and placed one of the flower crowns on Techno’s head.
“Oh-..another, thanks Tubbo” He chuckled. The bee hybrid grinned.
“Tommy taught me how to make them better! So now they won’t fall apart all the time!”

Techno carefully removed the crown, inspecting the craftsmanship.
“Oh, this actually looks like it’ll hold! Thank gods for that, now I’m not gonna get the nether all covered in flowers” He smiled. Tommy laughed loudly, and Techno’s face brightened, laughing along with the teens.

As they sat there talking, more people began to show up. Sneeg and Charlie came together, sitting among the flowers. Then Jack, Scott, and Fundy. Niki joined them at the lake just at the edge of the field, and they scooted closer to sit with her.

----
Phil carefully set the cloth into his satchel as he walked beside Wilbur.
The elytrian’s ears pricked up at the sound of voices. Suddenly there was a scream, one that sounded like Tommy’s. He looked at the ghost beside him, both of their eyes wide in fear.
Wilbur raised his umbrella over his head, and began running, following Phil as the avian took off. The trees made it hard to get through the forest as he weaved between trees.

Finally he came to the edge of the treeline just beside Tubbo’s field of flowers. His breath caught in his throat.

Every hybrid was gathered together, sitting in a group in the very middle of the field. They were all laughing, and as Phil stepped closer, with Wilbur at his side, he found why.
Tommy was stood in the very middle of the circle of hybrids, his face beaming in a smile as he chattered on happily. He was waving his arms dramatically as he talked, rambling on about nonsense. The hybrids around him were laughing, Techno’s high pitched, uncharacteristic laugh echoing through the field. Tubbo and Ranboo were collapsed in the flowers, rolling around in a fit of cackles. The other hybrids were laughing as well, wiping tears from their eyes.

Phil’s worry for the boy melted away as he watched the teen pace around the circle, a smile bright on his face.

Phil chuckled as he walked over, gently sitting down in the group, followed by Wilbur at his side.

It was obvious Tommy was an expert at getting along with people. He was in his element as he talked, none of the things he said making any sense. The hybrids around him clung to every word, struggling to catch their breath as the boy only continued making them laugh more.

It was the brightest he’d ever seen the boy smile.

Chapter Text

The night was quiet, the snowy biome soft and gentle. The warm cottage was silent and dark, a fire flickering lazily in the hearth with dim crackles and fluttering tendrils of ember. It was a windless midnight, the stars and moon shining down on the snow, illuminating the tundra in a pale shade of blue.

Techno was sat on the sofa in front of the fire, his head in his hands. The note in his pocket felt heavy. He tried his best to ignore it.

It had been a day since Techno had broken the news to Phil. Tomorrow would be Christmas Eve.

Techno was struggling with the silence he’d been left in, his breathing short and tight. Phil had gone to gather his things from L’manberg, saying he couldn’t stand to stay there anymore after what had happened. Techno couldn’t blame him. He did have the extra space after all, a room for his father to stay in having been one of the first things built of the cottage.

It wasn’t completely silent however. No, the voices in his head gave him company he didn’t want.

As stated before, Techno had had his voices for as long as he could remember, and of course with that, he’d had time to learn a few things about them. Things like the fact that they were omnipotent, they knew things he didn’t.

Not that they ever helped him, though. They only chose to ramble to him about things that made no sense, teasing and mocking him. The only time they ever chose to assist him was when they wanted to see blood on his hands.

They were annoying.

only child moment
Kill Phil too
BLOOD
E
E
e
E
What was that sound?

Techno shook them off, firmly pressing his calloused hands over his ears.
“Shut up, chat,” He hissed.

Technosoft, ew
No <3
EE
E
Blood
Guys please listen-

He snarled, further curling in on himself.

Techno was tired. Techno wanted silence.

Techno wanted the voices gone.
“Why can’t you all ever shut up?!” He screamed, sitting up sharply, staring into the fire burning in the hearth.

rude
Exodus pog
Shh
Phil?
Not Phil :)
C’mon Tech! We’re family!

“No,” He growled in a hushed, grainy whisper, “You are not my family, you hurt my family.”

Did we do that?
Yeah totally
Ah right lmao
They got in the way.
Hehe crunch crunch
The child’s annoying
We didn’t do anything

“Yes you fucking did,” the man pulled himself to his feet, beginning to pace around the room, “Or have you forgotten the pit? Or- Or the revolution? You almost killed him. I- I lost him because of you!”
He betrayed you
Actually, it was-

Shhhhhhhh! Plot!
Right right
Traitor

“He was a kid! He did dumb things! And you tried to use to kill him! It’s- It’s your fault he’s gone!”

I’m telling you someone’s-
Who cares, he's not your real brother. None of them are actually your family. We’re all you’ve got.
We only want to see you succeed-

“NO! I hate you!” Techno screamed, clawing at his hair. He fell to his knees trembling, icy rage burning in his chest.

It was their fault he and Tommy had fallen away.

It was their fault Tommy hated him.

It was-----his..fault...he hadn’t been there to save Tommy-?

His fault.

Techno sobbed on the floor, panic tearing in his chest as yet another storm of grief fell upon him. It happened a lot recently.

The voices didn’t say anything.

Techno didn’t know what he was doing. Everything was so loud, the walls were too tight, the room was too small. He wanted to scream, wanted to scream at someone. Wanted to punch the walls in. Wanted to do something. Anything. It felt like when the voices would take over.

But this time, they were quiet.
Then, there was a thunderous roar. The crowd of people in his mind spoke monotonously, voices quarreling in a unison of dissonance.
Fine they sneered, since you don’t need our help, you can deal with this on your own.

And all at once, it was quiet. For the first time, Techno could hear his own heartbeat in his ears. The sound of his breathing.
The silence was so deafeningly loud and painfully unfamiliar, crashing down on him.
It had the potential to be nice. Maybe. Maybe he could get used to this.

But for now, it was too much.

The silence was interrupted by a sharp knock on the door.
Techno silently pulled himself to his feet, smoothing his hair down as he took a deep breath. The man turned and carefully stalked to the door, eyeing it warily. He glanced at the netherite axe left leaning against the wall, his hand itching towards it. He pulled away, and turned to the door, opening it quickly as he moved his body into a defensive stance.

A figure stood at the door, waiting on the porch. They wore cloaks of emerald green and different holsters for weapons across their waist belt and shoulders. The man’s sharp glare was obscured by the white mask covering the upper half of his face, a messy smile carved into the material. A white smoky breath came from his bandana as he breathed against the cool air.
Dream stood in front of Techno, his arms crossed behind his back.

And Techno knew then…
That something was wrong.
Techno didn’t know alot about Dream. He knew he was smart and quick witted. He knew he had helped Wilbur by giving him the TNT for the destruction of Manberg. He knew the man had helped Techno take it down as well in his pain induced fury. But he also knew that Dream had been the last person to see Tommy.
After Tubbo had collapsed on the warrior’s porch just days ago, he’d brought the boy president inside so he could explain in detail what had happened. Techno and Tubbo sat at the kitchen table as he listened to the teen speak.

Tommy had been exiled for destroying George's house. Dream was supposed to be watching him in his place of exile. Was supposed to be taking care of him in some house a few miles outside of L’manberg.
Dream had been the last one to see Tommy.
He’d been the only person to watch the boy die.
Something in Techno stirred with a dark hiss.

“Techno!” Dream said, his voice giving away his grin from underneath the black bandana covering his mouth.

Techno grinned back, shielding his emotion behind a bored smile.
“Dream! Wow, it’s been forever since I last saw you!”
The man chuckled, the mask over his eyes staring at Techno mockingly.
“Yep, haven’t seen you since L’manburg fell, huh?”
“I guess so.”

“This is a nice place you’ve got here,” Dream purred, tilting his head back to look at the architecture of the wooden cabin. “You build all this yourself?”
Techno chuckled with pride, ignoring the way his thoughts hissed. What did this guy want?
“Yep, just me.” He scratched the back of his neck, trying to seem as unbothered as possible. “So, what brings you here?”
“Oh, well, I just haven’t seen you in awhile, thought I’d drop by and catch up,” He shrugged nonchalantly, laughing quietly, “You mind if I come in?”

Techno gritted his teeth with a strained smile, stepping aside and leaning against the wall so the man could enter.
“Be my guest.”

Dream stepped into the cabin, his head tilted back as he looked through the rafters. He began to look around the room, staring at certain spots for what seemed like much too long.
As he walked further into the room, he didn’t sit down as one usually would when visiting a friend. His eyes travelled around the cabin, focusing on the littlest of things as if...looking for something. He stared at the chairs to the dining table, still left ajar from when Tubbo had visited.
“How long did this take you?” Dream asked curiously, and Techno almost growled at how calm the man sounded, annoyed at his strange attempt at small talk.
“About a few months, not too much trouble.”
“Impressive,” He chuckled, running his gloved hand along the back of the couch as he walked past it. He walked over to the fireplace and leaned down slightly, as if he was trying to see into the chimney. “It’s got good structure. I didn’t think you to be much of a builder.”

“Well, it’s kind of a hobby I guess,” Techno shrugged, “So, what have you been up to?”

“Oh, not much, just supervising L’manburg. To think, they’re still tryna hold that place together, huh?” Dream laughed, facing away from Techno. The warrior bristled, covering it up with a loud chuckle.
“Wow, those nerds don’t know when to quit. I hoped they’d get the message.”
Dream shrugged with a sigh
“Well, It’s gonna fall again sooner or later. I don’t think we have much to worry about.”

“I hope so, I’m tired of those kids.” Techno chuckled, turning his eyes away to look down at the floor.

There was a sigh.
With that, Dream turned around to face Techno.
“Alright Techno, I’m getting bored. Cut the bullshit.”

 

Something fiery and hot flashed through Techno, almost painfully as it clawed at his chest, pulling it down with a sinking heart and a muffled growl.
The man slowly tilted his head up as the sound of metal being unsheathed cut through the air.

Dream stood in the middle of the room, holding a sword in his hand that Techno hadn’t seen him come in with. He had the sword held at his side, fists clenched as he tilted his head down, the eyes of the foolish smiley face mask bearing down on him in the menacing glow of the firelight. The smile mocked him, almost as if he could hear the laughter coming from it.
Techno chuckled through gritted teeth, squinting and raising a brow at the man standing before him.
“Well uh,” He cleared his throat, “Sorry to be a bore, but I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about.”

Dream sighed tiredly, his shoulders falling as he tilted his head exhaustedly.
“Techno,” He said flatly, holding the sword in his hand just a little tighter,

 

“I know you have Tommy.”

 

Oh.

Oh
Now, wasn’t this just perfect?

Something deep within him snapped. He felt it stir angrily, pounding against his ribcage.
blood it whispered.

That could be arranged.

Techno grinned, sighing loudly.
His eyes glinted brightly in the fierce glow of the fire, almost appearing red in the dim room.
“Welp,” the warrior chuckled, “You got me. What gave it away?”

Dream let go of some of the tension in his shoulders, standing up a little taller. Proud of himself. The fool.
With a dark chuckle, Dream cocked his head to the dining table behind him.
“You did a good job at hiding the evidence, I’ll give you that. But, you missed a few things. The chairs are still left out, obviously showing they’ve been used. There’s also snowy prints on the deck, too small to be anyone else’s.

Along with that,” Dream sighed, almost boredly, though Techno didn’t miss the sense of foolish accomplishment in his voice, “You two are brothers, right?”
He took a step forward, running his finger along the length of the blade in his hands.
Techno leaned back against the wall, one hand held behind his back.
“I know there’s been some bad blood between you too after the whole Tubbo and L’manburg thing, but you still grew up together.”

“So,” Dream continued, beginning to slowly pace around the room, “It only makes sense that Tommy would run off here.
I’m gonna be honest,” He chuckled, “I don’t even know how he made it here alive. He didn’t have nearly enough things to keep him warm, let alone keep himself safe.”

Dream turned to look at Techno,
“Unless you helped him of course.”
Dream stopped pacing around, twirling the sword in his hands cockily. He set the tip of the sword on the wooden floorboards, leaning against it tiredly.
“I’m sure he told you about exile, and I’m sure he told you that it was my job to watch him. So, If you don’t mind,” Dream raised the sword, pointing it at the man standing up against the wall, “I’ll be taking him back now.”

Techno stared at Dream quietly, bristling. A dark growl rose in his throat.
Dream sighed sympathetically
“Listen, I know you think I’m being a bit harsh, but he’s got to learn a lesson, okay? He’s got enough food to live, and I’ve never hurt him enough to restrict movement.”

Techno took a shuddering, angry breath, clamping his lips shut to keep it down.

“So, hand over the kid. Your time’s up.”

The cabin was quiet, the only sound the crackling of the fire.

Finally Techno sighed.

“Well, Dream,” He said quietly, his dark eyes watching the man closely, “As much as I’d love to do that….

I don’t have him.”

Dream shifted his shoulders.
“Oh c’mon Techno, we both know that’s a lie.”

Techno chuckled sharply.
“Lying? We want to talk about lying?” He stood up a little taller, straightening his shoulders.

“Tubbo visited yesterday.”

Dream stopped moving, the sword held in front of him faltering. Techno continued with a vicious grin.
“And it’s the funniest thing because, I think there’s been some kind of mix up?”

Techno’s fingers itched behind him, just inches away from the hilt of the axe.

“Y’see, he told me that, well, that Tommy killed himself

Dream was quiet.

“And according to him, you told him that.”

The tension in the room was thick, the silence dragging on for what felt like eternity.

“Techno-“ Dream began

“Where is Tommy?” The man snarled quietly.

“You will forget I was here. You will not mention this to anyone-“

WHERE THE HELL IS MY BROTHER!?
Techno felt his fingers curl around the hilt of the axe, and he instantly charged toward Dream.

The man raised his sword to block the axe swinging his way with a grunt, the sound of metal against metal screeching through the air. He spun around, shoving Techno off of him. The man turned and darted toward the door. Techno jumped at him, axe slicing through the air. Dream ducked down quickly. Techno flew barrelling into the door, barely grabbing the man’s cloak and yanking him down with him, making the man drop the sword. The door shattered instantly upon impact, throwing splinters of wood out onto the porch. Techno and Dream rolled down the steps out onto the snow, both jumping instantly to their feet.
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM?” Techno screamed, his fierce voice echoing across the frozen tundra. Dream turned, scrambling away in the snow, and Techno darted after him. He jumped and grabbed Dream by the ankle, tripping them both as they rolled over in the snow. Dream kicked Techno sharply in the face, but he didn’t let go. Dream was hardly trying to fight back, it seemed more like he was trying to run.
“Coward!” Techno snarled. Dream rushed to his feet again, and Techno quickly stood up, running after him.

Dream only made it a few feet away before Techno jumped on his back, tackling him to the ground. They toppled over each other, both screaming angrily.

Dream gasped as he was pinned down in the snow, a gleaming netherite axe pressed against his throat. Techno was standing over him, his eyes full of venom and rage. His hand clawed at the snow, just beside Dream’s face, fingers trembling as if any second he would throw the axe aside and strangle Dream himself.

Dream tried weakly to pry Techno off of him,scratching at the arm holding the axe against his throat. The man only snarled and slammed his foot down on Dream’s arm. Dream hissed in pain with a sharp gasp

He was trapped.

They were both breathing heavily. Dream took a deep breath, taking in as much air as he could with the axe pressed on his neck.

“Don’t-“ Dream inhaled sharply, struggling for air, “Don’t do anything stupid, Techno, or by the gods you will regret it,” he hissed.

Techno pushed the axe further, blood pooling where it sat against Dream’s throat. “I don’t believe in Gods,” he growled, voice sharp with anger.

The mocking eyes of Dream’s smiling mask stared back at him, something sharp and dangerous glinting against the porcelain. Dream spoke, his voice calmer, unafraid. He laughed quietly.

“Then that’s your first mistake.”

Dream lurched forward, using his free arm, now with nails far too sharp, to pull Techno’s axe away from his throat. The bandana covering his mouth fell down onto his neck, revealing white, gleaming teeth that were entirely too sharp.

Dream bit down with a scream, tearing his teeth into Techno’s arm. Blood flew from the bite, staining the snow in red.

Techno gasped in pain, staggering backward as Dream shoved him off of him, the axe flying from his hand and landing in the snow feet away. Techno fell onto his back with a hiss before quickly rolling over. He crawled forward, grabbing the axe, before spinning around and jumping to his feet.

Dream was gone.

Gone. There weren’t even footprints in the snow. He’d disappeared into thin air. The snow was still stained with Techno’s blood.

Techno screamed in rage, ignoring the angry tears pricking his eyes.

He spun around, running through the snow and up onto the porch. He didn’t even bother to open the door, quickly scrambling through the huge gash left from them throwing each other through it. He grabbed a satchel from off the wall and rushed over to his row of chests, throwing things into the bag.

A lone voice spoke, giggling quietly in his mind.
this is getting good

Chapter Text

Dream hit the ground with a sharp yelp, throwing snow around in clouds of white as he billowed through it, leaving a gash in the tundra in his wake. For a moment he lay there motionless. He didn’t want to get up, didn’t want to face everything that lay ahead.

Slowly, he sat up with a groan, shaking snow out of his hair and spitting it out of his mouth before pulling the bandana back up around his face. He’d been flying for a long time now, his strength finally failing him as he forced himself to land on a snowy mountain.

He turned to look at his back with a huff. It had been awhile since he’d actually done that, and he wasn’t used to it, leaving for his extremely ungraceful landing.

He pulled his wings closed, tucking them back under his cloak, and sat back on his knees to dust the snow off his body. His mask hadn’t even shited in his disastrous landing, nor was it harmed in the fight with Technoblade. His hand came up to meet his throat, where the blood around the cut on his neck had already dried. He winced with a sharp hiss, pulling his fingers away from the bloody skin.

Dream set his head in his hands harshly, hunching his shoulders as he leaned over, still trying to catch his breath.

“Fuck,” he spat, his shoulders trembling,

“fuck FUCK FUCK!” Dream screamed, tilting his head back, voice echoing against the sky. Anger and shame flowed through him, the fact of knowing he had failed again clawing at him.

He snapped his jaw shut, glancing around with wide eyes. He didn’t think Techno would be close anytime soon, as he’d seen the man run back into his home, but he didn’t want to risk getting caught. Dream was just lucky the man hadn’t thought to look up, Techno already knew too much. He knew entirely too much.

He knew Tommy was alive.

And he might know what Dream is.

Dream ran a hand through his hair before tugging his hood back over his head with a huff. He didn’t want to do this, but it would only raise hell if he put it on any longer. He just hoped he wasn’t killed for his mess up. But he doubted he would do that, right? He needed him…

Right?

He closed his eyes and called out to Exodus, much to his own hesitance. It was quiet for a moment, until he felt a presence slither into his thoughts.

I hope the fact that you are contacting me means you’ve found the brat a voice in his head hissed. A voice that sounded entirely too much like his own. It was smooth and hollow and haunting, echoing around his mind.

“Uh….no..I haven’t..” Dream hung his head, already wincing at the backlash he was going to receive. “But- I will soon-!” He quickly corrected.

We’ve already discussed this. You do not speak to me unless you have found the kid.

“I know, I-I know,” Dream stammered, taking in a shuddering breath, “It’s just- we have a problem…”

The voice was silent for a moment.
What kind of problem?

Dream bit his tongue, already regretting what he was about to say.
“It’s uh-.......Techno knows he’s alive. And...and he saw- saw me.”

Dream began to shake, terror and fear gripping his heart.

How? his mind spat sharply, causing Dream to flinch back.

“He---I went to his home--I thought he was hiding To-”

THAT WASN’T OUR DEAL

Dream yelped, wincing again as he slapped his hands over his ears.
“I know-I know and I’m sorry- I just thought-!”

Can you do nothing right?! First you lose the kid, and now this?!

“I was sure he’d be there! I-I’m sorry!”

The voice growled back at him, ignoring the way Dream trembled in fear.

What did you think would happen if he didn’t have him?! We can’t kill him yet you idiot! We don’t have enough time to make it look like an accident! You’ve already lost one! He’ll tell everyone, and what do you think happens then?

“No!” Dream shouted, “No he won’t- he won’t tell anyone. Techno doesn’t- doesn’t talk to anyone!”

Our deal was that you find the kid, and then you tell me.

“I was trying to find him!-”

DO NOT TALK BACK TO ME YOU VERMIN Exodus screamed, and Dream hunched over in an instinctual bow, eyes still shut tight.

How are you seriously this bad at this?

“I’m sorry,” Dream shuddered, “I’m trying- I’ll find Tommy, I promise,”

I thought animals were supposed to be good at tracking things down the voice scoffed in disbelief. Dream could almost picture the man staring down at him with disdain, the smooth white mask around his face a reminder that he’d failed.

“I won’t let you down again, I swear.”

Oh no, Dream. I know you won’t, because I’m not even going to give you the chance to.

Dream froze, blood running colder than the snow around him, like shards of ice digging into his skin. He could feel dread creep across him like dark ocean waves of endless void.

“No-No please- I promise I can do this-”

I’ve given you enough chances. You’ve failed me too many times for me to let you go on.

“I won’t fail again! I’ll find him in time!”

I was an idiot to think a creature like you would be capable enough for this.

“No!-”

But it was too late.

Dream felt the voice slip from his mind, leaving him hollow and empty. His breath hitched in his throat as the world around him went silent. The clouds seemed to stop moving, the stars stopped twinkling. His own thoughts went quiet, leaving him entirely alone.

Until he wasn’t.

The snow around him began to lift, blowing away as the wind that bit at his skin grew stronger. White wisps of snowflakes spun around him, faster and faster. The air moving around him, the pressure dropping, the breath escaping his lips until he collapsed into the snow, choking and coughing. He clutched his cloak to his chest, fingers reaching for something. Anything to pull him out of the whirlwind only growing more powerful around him.

As suddenly as it had come, the wind stopped. The snow flakes whirling around himfroze in place, before gently falling to the ground.

Dream weakly turned around, breath still caught in his throat, the terror rising in him too great for him to even try to take another breath.

A figure stood over him, with an empty white mask with two crossed slits etched into the porcelain-like material.

Dream shook his head quietly, his heart sinking in the cold dread seeping into his chest.
“No- no NO PLEASE!-”

 

If Techno had followed Dream into the snow, he would’ve heard. Had anyone been out in the tundra, they would have heard the heartbroken scream that pierced the sky, anguished and betrayed. They would’ve felt the deafening silence that followed, heavy and still, enough to drown a person in the dread that came with hearing it.

But no one heard. Where there was once two figures atop a snowy mountain, there was now one.

Had anyone been out there in the tundra, they would have seen the dark figure with bat-like wings lift into the sky.

But no one was.

Chapter Text

It was the morning of Christmas Eve. The sun was bright in the sky, shining down on the three teens that ran through the woods, laughing loudly and cheering as they weaved in and out of the trees.

The hybrids had quickly grown accustomed to Tommy’s company. They all sat together in the pub the night before as Tubbo opened his birthday gifts, receiving new jewels, something called a spyglass that he happily let Tommy inspect, as he’d never seen one before, and a new sweater and goggles. The night was spent with everyone passing around stories while Tommy listened with wide eyes and a bright grin. And at the end of the party, as everyone said their goodbyes, they smiled at the three boys slumped against the wall. Tubbo and Ranboo were crowded closely beside Tommy, all of them asleep resting against each other. Phil smiled softly and fetched a blanket from the room downstairs and draped it over them before heading home. He knew that they were safe together.

 

Tommy kept trying to grab the other two teens, but they always teleported away or flew just out of his reach every time he got too close.

“This isn’t fair!” Tommy screeched as Tubbo hung in the air just above him, giggling as he watched Tommy try to grab onto his feet.

“Get good, boss man!” Tubbo cackled, pulling his knee up as Tommy’s fingers barely skimmed the bottom of his boot.

Ranboo teleported behind Tommy, then away right as the boy spun around to tackle him. Tommy fell onto the grass with a sharp yelp, barely avoiding landing on the satchel at his side. Tubbo was letting him carry it around, as Tommy was interested in testing the limits of the magic bag, or ‘inventory’ as they called it. Ranboo and Tubbo burst into laughter and finally gave up, Tubbo finally floating down to the ground. Tommy continued laying face down on the grass, motionless.

Tubbo walked up to Tommy and lightly nudged him with his boot.
“Oh no, did we kill him, Boo?” He looked over at the enderian.

Ranboo shrugged, leaning down beside the boy and poking his head with a claw.
“Tommy?”

The boy still didn’t move.

Tubbo blew his hair out of his face with a grin and sat down beside Tommy and sighed.
“Well, It’s too bad Tommy’s dead.”

“Mhm” Ranboo nodded with a sad hum, “I guess he’ll never get to prank us back-”

A hand grappled onto Ranboo’s ankle, who let out a sharp laugh as Tommy sat up, the enderian scurrying away. Tommy rolled onto his back, giggling alongside Tubbo. Ranboo cautiously stepped forward and sat down in the grass again next to the other two boys.
The blonde stared up at the sky, furrowing his brow.

“It doesn’t quite feel like Christmas.”

“What do you mean?” Tubbo layed down on his stomach, resting his chin on his hands.

“Back where I’m from, It always snows on Christmas. But it might as well be Spring here! The sun’s all hot and shit.” He threw his arms up dramatically before letting them fall back down to his side.

Ranboo and Tubbo exchanged a glance, smiles breaking out on their faces.
“Oh, why didn’t you just say so? We’ve got snow, boss man!”

“Really?” Tommy sat up quickly, reaching up to clear a few stray leaves from his hair.

“Mhm!” Tubbo jumped to his feet, already off the ground with his wings buzzing loudly behind him. “C’mon!”

“I’ll grab the sleds!” Ranboo chirped. He disappeared in a flurry of purple smoke and particles.

Tommy turned to look at the bee hybrid, who was grinning back at him, snickering quietly. Tommy raised an eyebrow.
“Uh, you okay Tubbo?”

The hybrid giggled, his wings twitching.
“I’LL RACE YA!” Tubbo took off through the woods.

Tommy stuttered in shock, before he regained his senses.
“HEY! You cheater!” Tommy started running after him, but the boy was already so far ahead. He tried to keep up with Tubbo as the hybrid wove in and out of trees, spinning and just barely dodging branches with practiced chaos.

“C’mon! You’re so slow!” Tubbo laughed over his shoulder, zooming ahead, disappearing into the canopy.

Tommy growled, pushing himself forward until he was running as fast as he could. He grinded his teeth, dodging roots sticking out of the grass and ducking under low hanging branches. But Tubbo was still so much faster. If only he could-

An idea hit him.

Tommy skid to a stop and dropped to the floor, wrestling Tubbo’s satchel off his body. He quickly skimmed through the bag's contents until he found what he was looking for, a wide, mischievous grin on his face. He quickly grabbed the bottle out of the bag and tapped it, still marveling at how the potion seemed to appear out of thin air. Tommy unscrewed the cap and took a swig of the potion.

It felt like fire burned under his skin as he stood up, new energy flowing through his veins. He threw the bag around his shoulders and took off through the forest. The boy was a golden blur against the dark trees, weaving in and out of the wood so fast that the world was only a stream of colors beside him. He vaulted over a log, practically gliding over it, before landing perfectly and continuing through the wood without a fault in his step.

He could see the forest start to end in front of him, the treeline stopping and giving way to a world completely painted in white.

Tommy skid to a stop at the edge of the woods with a gasp.

Where the dark oak trees and the grass ended, a world made of crystal blues and whites began. Mountains spread out in front of him, and icy plains. Tall evergreens stretched high into the air, their tough branches covered in feathery blankets of powdery snowflakes. The worlds didn’t blend together, instead they met in the middle, a line of green and white.

Tommy stared out in awe, shivering against the cold wind that blew toward him from the snowy world.

The silence was broken by a faint droning, and suddenly Tubbo was there. He landed beside Tommy and hunched over with his hands on his knees, his wings falling tiredly behind him. Tubbo was panting heavily. Tommy waited quietly as the boy was catching his breath.

“How did-” Tubbo huffed, “How did you beat me?”

Tommy laughed, opening the bag to show off the empty bottle.
“I used one of your speed potions.”

Tubbo stared at him wide eyed in disbelief, looking at the bottle and then at Tommy over and over again.
“Tommy, not even Phil can beat me with a swiftness potion. I’m supposed to be the fastest one.” He stepped forward and went to grab the bottle from Tommy. As their hands met, Tubbo suddenly yelped and reared back, shaking his hand.

“OW! Tommy?!”

Tommy blinked.
“What? What did I do?”

“You’re like-- all hot!”

The boy snorted.
“Well I already knew that.”

Tubbo glared at him and kicked his ankle.

 

“OW!”

There was a tiny vwoop behind them, and they turned to see Ranboo standing there. He had two wooden sleds laying beside him with slick metal blades on the bottom and red ribbons for handles. He also had a pair of gloves sticking out of the front pocket of his shirt. He raised an eyebrow at the two boys, both pouting.

“What happened?” He frowned curiously.

“Tommy beat me in a race and then burned me!” Tubbo shouted, accusingly pointing at the blonde.

“Did not-!” Tommy argued back. “Wait- Well-”

“Wait- I’m sorry. Tommy beat you in a race?” Ranboo stared at the boy in disbelief, blinking quickly.

“Yeah! I even got a head start!” The bee hybrid pouted, crossing his arms as his wings buzzed agitatedly behind him.”

“Not even Phil can beat Tubbo,” Ranboo said exasperatedly, voice raising in pitch with bewilderment.

“That’s what I said!”

“Get good, big man,” Tommy grinned, setting his hands on his hips.

Tubbo huffed. “And then he burned me!”

“Burned you?”

“Yeah! I touched his arm and it burned my finger!” Tubbo yelled.

Ranboo furrowed his brow and stepped forward. He poked Tommy’s forehead, the boy reeling back with an annoyed yelp.
“Do you have a fever?” He tilted his head to the side, voice tinged with concern. Tommy groaned, hunching his shoulders and crossing his arms.

“Not anymore, dumbass,” He muttered with a scowl.

Ranboo hummed disbelievingly.
“He seems fine, Tubbo. Now can we sled please?”

Tubbo grinned, all grudges completely forgotten.
“Hell yeah! C’mon Tommy!” He held his hand out, smile growing wider as Tommy grinned shyly and grabbed it. He pulled Tommy over the line that divided the snow and the grass.

The chill instantly instantly scalded Tommy, the boy holding back a gasp as painful memories filled his mind. The cold walls of the caverns in pogtopia. The icy ocean water that greeted him each waking morning in pogtopia.

He pushed it away. Because Tubbo was here, holding his hand.

But it wasn’t his Tubbo. His Tubbo hated him.

He wrestled the burdening thoughts down, focusing on the crunch of snow beneath his boots, the warm hand wrapped around his.

Tubbo dragged him through the snow and up a small hill, wings buzzing behind him with excitement. He pulled him up the hill, careful to not let Tommy slip.

“This is fuckin’ cool,” Tommy grinned, turning his head to look back at the line of forest, then at the snow hills surrounding them. “It’s not like this where I’m from. Back at the Smp, you have to walk for ages to even see a little bit of snow. But here, it’s just, Bam! Snow!”

Ranboo and Tubbo giggled, the enderian setting down the sleds he’d dragged with them.
“It is pretty cool, right?”

Tommy nodded quickly, humming his agreement.

Ranboo smiled, ears wiggling. Tommy giggled at the strange hybrid. Ranboo reached into the pocket of his shirt.
“Here, I got you some gloves,” He passed them to the blonde. Tommy grinned widely, sliding the gloves onto his hands. They were warm, the inside lined with fur while the outer part was water proof.

“Well, what d'ya say, Toms? Wanna go sledding?” Tubbo smiled, grabbing one of the sleds and setting it at the very edge of the hill's incline. Tommy grinned, stepping forward as the bee hybrid held his hand out to him. Tubbo sat down on the sled, Tommy sitting down behind him.

“3,” Tubbo hunched his shoulders, mischief shining in his eyes as he scooted the sled forward.

“2,1!” He said quickly, hardly giving Tommy the chance to collect himself before the sled went careening down the hill, Ranboo following at their side. Tommy screamed loudly, his voice melting into delighted laughter. He threw his arms over Tubbo’s shoulders to avoid falling off the back of the sled as they slid down the hill.

The teens whooped as they went, snow kicking up at their sides, leaving trails of destroyed, pristine white snow. Tommy laughed, laughed like he hadn’t in so long, all boisterous and high pitched and loud. Tubbo and Ranboo burst out laughing at his loudness, one they hadn’t known him capable of. Because when he’d shown up he’d been timid and shy, flinching away from every too fast movement. But here he was, already grown onto them with his cackling and friendly banter.

The ski slid to a stop, and Tubbo fell over the front, tumbling into the snow. Tommy snorted, throwing his head back in a sharp laugh, Ranboo following suit. Tubbo scowled, shaking snow out of his hair, but soon he was giggling as well, flopping onto his back in the snow.

“You guy’s are dicks!” Tubbo laughed.

“It’s not my fault you fell, dumb shit!” He argued back.

They all laughed again, sighing.
“I missed this,” Tommy said quietly, looking off wistfully at the snow.

The two hybris glanced at each other questioningly.
“Missed…this?” Ranboo asked curiously.

Tommy’s eyes widened, the boy sitting back and rubbing the back of his neck.
“Uh---Yeah--I used to- to play like this with my friends…You guys are….a lot like them.” He quietly looked away, eyes clouded with thought.

Tubbo frowned and stood up, dusting snow off of himself.
“Hey…Tommy..You know you can tell us anything, right? We’ll always be here to help you.”

Tommy nodded, and when he looked back he was wiping his eyes with his sleeve.
“Yeah…I know..Thank you. I’ll……I’ll be okay.”

Ranboo and Tubbo offered comforting smiles, setting themselves down next to him.
“Wanna go for another round?” Tubbo grinned. He lowered his shoulders finally, smiling.

“Yeah, let’s go.”

With that they stood up, grabbing the sleds, and hauled them back up the snowy hill, shoulder to shoulder.

Chapter Text

The pub was abuzz with life, voices filling the air, drinks clinking together, sharp laughter, and the sound of three rowdy teens chasing each other around the dining area. Every origin was there in the pub, talking and exchanging lighthearted banter. A tiny pine tree had been set in one of the corners and decorated to the teeth, surrounded by an array of different presents, all wrapped with shiny paper and delicate lace ribbons.

Tubbo flew up into the rafters with a yelp as Tommy almost tagged him, laughing when the boy scowled up at him from the floor.

“What’sa matter, Tommy? Can’t fly?” Tubbo jeered, falling back and hanging upside down from the wooden planks on the ceiling with his arms crossed. Tommy flipped him off, making Tubbo laugh sharply.

Phil sat off to the side with Techno and Wilbur, watching the boys with tiny, fond smiles.
“Tommy seems a lot more comfortable,” Techno noted happily, laughing at the teen as he attempted to jump up and reach Tubbo, getting nowhere near reaching him.

“He does, doesn’t he?” Phil sighed contently, taking a sip from the jug in his hand, “Tubbo and Ranboo definitely helped pull him out of his shell.”

Wilbur chuckled,
“They’re perfect for each other,” He said wistfully, shaking his head with a fond laugh, “All little grimy gremlins.”

The three hybrids chuckled. Tubbo finally sat up and moved to hang from the rafters. He dropped down, Ranboo immediately teleporting beneath to catch him. He set Tubbo down and he immediately took off chasing Tommy, the teen yelping in surprise. He darted over to Phil, ducking behind one of the hybrid’s giant wings.

“Phil,” he said desperately, “Phil, you’ve got to stop him, he’s gonna kill me!”

Phil chuckled, moving his wing to shield Tommy. But it was no use, Tubbo was already barreling towards him. He ducked under the table, crawling under it and running out the other side, shoving Techno and Wilbur out of the way. The hybrids blinked, stunned, and then began laughing loudly. Tubbo ran past, using his wings to propel him forward.

Phil stood up and walked over to the bar, where Jack was pouring a drink into a tiny mug for sneeg.
“Phil, your damn kids are gonna destroy the pub,” Jack groaned, gesturing to the teens. Somehow, in the midst of the chaos, Tubbo had ended up hunting Ranboo instead, and now Tommy was trying to pry the hybrid off of the enderian’s shoulders.

“They’re not my kids, mate,” Phil chuckled.

Jack rolled his eyes.

“I think they’re sweet,” Niki chirped from her tank, swishing her tail slowly, “It’s good to have a change once in a while.”

“What, we’re not enough for you?” Jack scoffed, passing a newly poured mug to Phil while looking at Niki. The mer shrugged her shoulders, Jack gasping offendedly. Phil turned away from the bar. He tilted his head, where a tiny blue shape suddenly landed on his shoulder.

“Sup” Sneeg chirped, holding his own mug as he sat down on Phil’s shoulder. Phil grinned at him and walked back over to his table, Sneeg jumping off of Phil and onto the table.

As Phil sat down, he felt the uncomfortable feeling of eyes on him. He turned his head to where Ranboo, Tommy, and Tubbo were standing, watching him from behind a wall. Tommy cursed, ducking around the corner and dragging the other two teens with him.
It was followed by quiet, muffled laughter, and suddenly all the teens were running straight for him. Tommy skid to a stop directly in front of the table.

“Phil! Big man! Crow father! How goes it?”

Phil chuckled, raising a brow.
“Alright, what the hell are you guys doing?”

Tommy gasped.
“What? Us? Doing something? That isn’t it, anyway,” He changed the subject quickly, “whatcha got in that mug?”

Phil immediately grabbed it and held it away from Tommy.
“Nope.”

“Is that booze? Boooooze, fun word. That sounds like boob! Ranboob! Ranbooze” He threw his arms up. Ranboo frowned from where he stood beside the teen.

“That’s the worst thing I’ve ever been called,” He said boredly.

“Really? That’s it?” Tommy turned sharply, “I can think of so many more worse things. Dickhead, scumbag, Disappointment-”

Phil reached forward and smacked Tommy over the head with his wing. The kid laughed loudly, pushing his wing away.
“Have you kids had anything to eat yet?”

“Yeah!” Tommy grinned, “Get this Phil. There are apples that are golden. GOLDEN!”

Phil turned to look at Tubbo, raising a brow.
“And where ever did you get those?”

Tubbo shied under his gaze, grinning sheepishly. He quickly grabbed Tommy by the arm.
“WE’VE BEEN COMPROMISED! BOOK IT!” With that he turned, dragging Tommy behind him. Ranboo teleported away, following the other two boys.

Phil shook his head with a smile.

“I don’t think that kid has ever thought in his life,” Wilbur remarked, setting his hand on his chin as he watched Tommy run away.

“Really?” Techno grinned, “I think he thinks too much. He says anything that comes to his mind. Yesterday he went off on a spiel about cows, and somehow ended up on the topic of this one time his brother became president.”

Wilbur paled, glancing at Phil with a nervous chuckle.
“He’s told you about where he came from?”

Techno shrugged.
“Not much, I didn’t get any names or anything. He seemed happy talking about it though.”

Phil nodded, turning his head to look at the teens. They had now begun sneaking around the presents, picking random ones up and shaking them to guess what was inside. Phil sighed, standing to his feet. He glanced at a clock hanging on one of the walls.

The hands ticked to twelve.

It was officially Christmas.

“Alright , Merry Christmas everyone! Seeing as some of you have started to get impatient,” He turned a stink eye in the direction of the teens as he called out to the entire pub, The boys laughing sheepishly, “How would you all like to start opening gifts?”

The pub was filled with a chorus of cheers as those who were old enough to drink raised theirs. They all began to gather around the christmas tree, some pulling the chairs over from tables and others just settling onto the floor.

“On December first each of you were assigned a secret present swap partner that you would pick a gift out for! So, who wants to start giving their presents out first?” Phil asked with a smile, looking around the room.

Techno raised his hand and pulled himself to his feet. He walked over to the christmas tree and moved some of the presents aside. He picked one up, wrapped in a flowered paper, and walked over to where Niki sat quietly in her tank.
“You wanna come out and try this on?”

Niki lit up, the fins on the side of her face wiggling happily. Tommy raised a brow as she swam up to the top of the tank and threw her tail over the side.

With sparkling light, niki’s scales began to disappear, instead turning into legs and a light pink, full body, flowy outfit in a quick, almost blinding flash of light. Tommy yelped in astonishment, pointing at the girl as she jumped down, landing beside Techno. Tubbo giggled, shushing him as he went back to happily watching the gift exchange.

“She can do that?” Tommy whispered to Ranboo. Ranboo nodded with a laugh.

“Yeah, she can do that, but she can only be out of the water for a little bit.”

“Like a fish,” Tommy remarked, brow furrowed seriously.

“Like a fish,” Ranboo confirmed with a nod.

Techno passed the gift to Niki, who quickly, yet carefully, began removing the ribbon and wrapping paper. She opened the box the paper had been decorating, eyes shining with delight as she pulled out what resembled a turtle’s shell, decorated with seashells and flowers.

“This is beautiful, Tech!” She smiled, looking up at the wither. Techno grinned.

“Put it on!”

The half-mer smiled, raising the hemet to her head. As soon as she put it on, she seemed to gasp. The helmet began to glow slightly, rippling with purple and pink waves.

“What’s that?” Niki said wide eyed, tilting her head back while holding the helmet on her head.

“It’s enchanted, but with the opposite of water breathing,” he smiled. Niki gasped as he continued, “So now you can be out of water for way longer.”

Niki laughed brightly, and flung herself forward. Techno accepted the hug shyly.
“Thank you Techno, I love it! This is amazing!”

“No problem,” He chuckled.

The other origins clapped along.
“Way to go, Techno!” Jack smiled, pumping his fist. Niki ran over to him after Techno’s hug. She sat next to him, smiling as she happily showed off the helmet.

“Alright! Niki, you wanna go next? I set your present out with the rest of them,” Phil gestured to the tree. Niki stood up and ran over to the tree. She was still enamored at the fact she could be out for this long. She picked up a present wrapped in what appeared to be colored seaweed. She went back over to where Jack was sitting and passed the present to him.

 

And so they went on like that for a few hours. Tubbo received an umbrella from Wilbur, to protect himself from the rain. Tubbo gifted Ranboo a tiny axolotl in a bucket he happily named Axoboo, to which Tubbo punched him in the arm for.

Finally, all the gifts had been exchanged, with Phil giving sneeg a tiny trident capable of launching him through the air.

Tommy watched the hybrids with a bright smile, longing in his heart.

Not for gifts, or any of the trinkets they’d received, but for that closeness with someone. They all behaved like a family, complimenting and bantering, ruffling each other’s hair. Wilbur failed to trap Techno in a headlock. Charlie tried to scare Scott, who accidentally shocked him, turning Charlie into a tiny version of himself that had left all of them bowled over in laughter. Fundy had gotten his tail pulled after attempting to steal Tubbo’s new umbrella.

They were all so close. They’d never been forced to choose a side, or been seperated by wars. They helped each other no matter what. Scars didn’t litter their skin. Their voices weren’t damaged by smoke. As far as he knew, many of them had ever even seen death before.

He wanted that.

 

“Tommy?”

The teen was pulled from his thoughts, head moving away from where he was staring at his lap to instead look at Phil. The hybrid was crouched in front of him, his hands behind his back.

“Hey, Tommy, how ya doin, mate?” He asked with a warm smile. Tommy smiled back shakily.

“I’m alright. Just…thinkin.”

Phil nodded.
“Well, Tommy,” Phil pulled his hands out from behind his back. Tommy’s eyes widened, heart squeezing as the hybrid held out a large box, wrapped in red paper and a golden ribbon, “Since it’s your first Christmas here, we all wanted to get you something.”

He held out the box to Tommy, who delicately picked it up like it would break any second. He looked up at Phil, confused and….happy.
“For----Really? Me?”

Phil nodded. “Go ahead and open it.” The other hybrids had gathered around now, watching Tommy with delighted smiles. Tubbo grinned encouragingly with a quick thumbs up.

Tommy looked down at the present and slowly began removing the paper. He untied the ribbon and set it off to the side. He lifted the lid off the box and-

There was a cloak, colored a bright crimson red, details lined with golden thread and fancy tassels at the edge of the cloth. A copper colored button secured the cloak together. There was also a black shirt, and a pair of jeans. New boots. Gloves. Someone had sewn a plush cow, with little button eyes.
Tommy lifted the cloak out of the box, marveling at it with shining eyes and a feeling of warmth blooming in his chest.

“Go ahead, put it on,” Phil chuckled.

Tommy threw the cape over his head. The neck bunched up like a scarf, two giant ribbons hanging behind him like a bandana. He pulled at the cloth, looking down at it.

A teardrop fell onto the fabric.

Tommy sniffled, looking up at the hybrids sitting around him. They all smiled back comfortingly.

Tommy’s bottom lip began to wobble, tiny sobs growing in his throat.

He launched himself at Phil, collapsing onto the hybrid as he opened his arms and accepted the hug. He ran his fingers through Tommy’s hair as the boy cried into his shoulder. The other hybrids stepped close, Tubbo hugging Tommy, all the rest gathering into one group hug.

“Th-Thank you-” He hiccuped, as Phil wrapped his wings around the boy.

“You’re welcome Tommy.”

--------------------------------------------

The night carried on with comfort and laughter. Finally, all the hybrids retreated home. Tubbo and Ranboo left to go to their bunker, Tommy hanging behind.

As Phil shut the door behind Wilbur, Tommy spoke up.

“Uhm, Hey, Phil?” Tommy said quietly. Phil turned to him with a bright smile. “Yes Tommy?”

The boy took a deep breath, running a hand over the plush cow clutched tightly in his arms.
“Can I ask you something…”

Phil quietly walked over to him, tilting his head to the side with concern.
“Yes, anything.” He smiled warmly. Tommy inhaled sharply, looking away from Phil’s eyes, despite how much he wanted to look at him, because they were warm and accepting and made him no longer feel like a burden.

“Could…..Could I stay here with you?”
He flinched as he said it, leaning away from Phil in fear of what was to come. Phil would turn him away, just as everyone had, he knew it.

Phil was silent, blinking with wide eyes at the boy.

Tommy stumbled over his words, heart sinking in dread.
“It’s just- you’ve all been so nice to me and- I don’t really have anywhere else to go-” He frantically tried to explain, hoping the rebuttal for asking something so idiotic wouldn’t be too harsh. “I’m not like- using you as a replacement for my old family I just- you’re all amazing and make me happy- I understand though if you don’t want me…” He hunched his shoulders, sparing a glance at Phil, expecting angry eyes, and a sharp smack directed his way-

They softened, the hybrid’s eyes shining with tears.
“Tommy. I’ve hoped you would stay since I found you. Of course you’re welcome here.”

Tommy’s bottom lip began to wobble, his own eyes watering yet again. He hiccuped, a weak whimper in his throat. Phil opened his arms with a soft grin, and Tommy collapsed into them, both of them falling to their knees in a tangled hug as the boy clung to his shirt.

“Can-“ Tommy’s voice quivered, “Can you help me send a letter-?”

 

--------------
To anyone that still cares,

I’ve made it somewhere safe, with nice people and a comfortable home.
I promise to be better to them than I was to all of you. I’m sorry I couldn’t treat you all kindly. I’ll always miss you. I don’t know if I’ll ever return, but I hope one day you’ll be able to forgive me, and I can make it up to you.

Sincerely,

Tommy.
———-

The letter was short. But there was no paper big enough to say all the things he wanted to. If he could, he’d write a letter to everyone there, maybe even one to apologise to Dream for running away. But for now, this was all. Maybe someday he would write the rest. However, at this moment, it was all he could handle.

Because this was a final goodbye. This was the fire that would finally sever the link chaining him to everyone he knew. This was where a new life began. This was where Tommy pushed Theseus. With this letter, tucked into an envelope and sealed with a candle and melted wax, he was leaving all of it behind. Phil had helped him make the letter official, for them. For his family, so that it wasn’t half assed and a mangy goodbye, and instead one that showed he still put thought into them. Because he’d never stop caring for them. Never. He’d think about them every day, and there would always be that mourning loss in his heart that longed to see them again.

It hurt to know not if they wanted to see him again.

Phil smiled as Tommy handed him the letter after pouring the wax that sealed the envelope. He walked out onto the porch of the pub with Tommy at his side, and called a crow. The newer of the flock landed on his hand and carefully took the envelope in its beak after the hybrid passed him a couple of sunflower seeds. Tommy glanced down at a map Phil had given him from the storage downstairs, and the boy pointed in a direction across the horizon. The crow opened its wings and flew off, taking Tommy’s final message with it.