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When the earth gives you children, make them your sons

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A lone figure walked through the field, the wind whipping his hair, the blood stained grass crunching under his thick boots. Corpses littered around him, the man looked only skywards, towards the early morning sun. It made his hair glow golden, the red gem on his chest shone with reflected light. 

Alone. Phil was alone. 

Another step forward, through the mountain of bodies he’d bloodied his sword with, the mountain of souls he had collected for his lady. 

The angel of death lifted his wings, preparing to fly away to the next battleground where he would inevitably reap again. And again. And again. 

A cry. A warbled call through the field, the Angel had not finished his work. 

He turned towards the sound, eyes scanning in their heightened sensitivity. There, movement. 

Phil slowly picked his way towards the sound, sword at the ready. Another step, another cry. A high pitched cry, perhaps a child, recruited for a war they could never hope to win. Phil mourned for the loss of a life so young, but his task was simple. It always was. 

Finally, he found the body, the source of the sound. 

It was an infant, wrapped in green cloth, with pink hair and scrunched eyes. When it opened its mouth to wail again, Phil saw slightly elongated bottom teeth; a monster, not-human, like him.

Phil felt his brow furrow, how had a child found its way here? Phil reached down, moving to pick up the child. At the touch of his hands, it stopped crying. Blinking red eyes focused on the angel. A small hand reached out for the gemstone, a match to its eyes. There was still dirt on the child’s feet, the cloth was impossibly clean and too soft to have come from the battlefield. 

A gift. 

Phil looked towards the ground, the battlefield that had given him the child. A companion, perhaps a son. 

Phil hugged the child close and took off into the air. 

 

_-_-_-_-_-_

 

Technoblade grew up slowly. 

Phil still had his duties, he still had battles to win and souls to release, but time seemed to still when he was with Techno. When teaching him to walk in the soft undergrowth of the forest, when teaching him to fish in the nearby creek. He seemed happy behind those deep red eyes, even if the two of them never stayed in one place for too long, even if Techno was occasionally hidden deep in the forest when Phil had to kill, watched by the very earth that had brought him to Phil in the first place. 

Still, Technoblade was happy. He had been with Phil for three years when Phil had brought back another child. 

 

Phil had been finishing up another battle, another retrieval for his lady, when he felt a tugging at his chest. The gem glowed in the sunlight, the same sunlight that shone on the village so close to the battlefield. 

Phil approached slowly, giving the residents privacy to grieve. He had completed his task, there were no more souls to dislodge. 

The angel followed the tugging, the sunlight, through the village and past it, to a small fenced off area on a hill. Tombstones surrounded him, plots had been dug out in anticipation of Death’s arrival. Not enough, never enough. 

A cry pierced the air. 

The angel listened closely; another gift. He walked slowly to one of the plots, and there was another child. A small boy, again wrapped in green. Phil reached down, arms stretched to grip the still crying child. Its hair was brown this time, teeth as normal as a humans. But his skin was paler somehow, a deathly shade, almost a light blue. Phil wrapped his hands around the child’s delicate body, but upon trying to pull him up his hands slid through. 

Frowning, Phil tried again. Again, his arms passed through the child. The baby now looked at Phil, his crying fading a little. Phil tried again for the same result, the baby laughed slightly at Phil’s confusion and with that laugh his skin became warmer, more alive. Phil reached down one more time, but this time he succeeded in pulling out the child, smiling slightly at being out of the cold, dark hole. 

Phil looked closer. Dark brown eyes, but a thin white ring around the pupil; the only otherworldly feature in the now solid infant. 

Phil looked at the tombstone. 

William Burwood. Beloved son, brother, and friend. 

Phil stared at it. William Burwood. 

Phil cradled the child to his chest. “Hello little Wilbur. Let’s go home mate.”

Wilbur smiled. 

 

_-_-_-_-_-_

 

Phil flew back to the dark forest as quickly as his wings would take him. He clutched Wilbur tight to his chest, the child staring at the clouds with wide eyes as if he’d never seen them before. Maybe he hadn’t. 

Technoblade ran forward almost as soon as Phil had landed in the clearing, toddling on small legs. Phil guessed he was about 3 now, two years older than his new son, and ready to take on the world. 

“Dadza, Dadza!”

Phil switched WIlbur to one arm, crouching down to grip Techno in a half hug. 

“Hey mate, have a good time while I was away?”

“No. I’m bored. Where were you?”

“Same as ever Techno.”

“Also boring.”

“You know it mate.”

It was then that Techno noticed the bundle in Phil’s arms. 

“What’s that?” Techno tried to get a closer look, his heels leaving the ground and small arms leaning against Phil’s own. Wilbur had noticed the new person now as well, looking curiously at Techno. He had far too much awareness behind his eyes for a 1 year old, or so Phil guessed. He didn’t have the best grasp on age. Being immortal will do that to you. 

“That’s your little brother, his name is Wilbur.”

Technoblade made a face, his small tusks becoming apparent. Wilbur reached out a hand as if to touch them, but Technoblade pulled away to make sure he couldn’t. Wilbur frowned and tried again, trying to sit up to reach, but Technoblade continued to elude him. 

Wilbur began crying. 

“Shhhh, it’s alright little man.” Phil tried to comfort him. It didn’t work. Technoblade only held his hands over his long ears, glaring at his new brother. 

Wilbur’s wailing got louder, and as it did his skin started becoming paler again. Phil watched in terrified amazement as Wilbur became that pale, pale blue and slipped through Phil’s arms to fall the short distance to the ground. It seemed to shock Wilbur back into becoming solid, the child blinking around him. 

Techno looked forward in amazement, walking over to investigate further. 

“Cool baby.”

Phil just laughed. 

 

_-_-_-_-_-_

 

Phil was pulled to less and less battles in the years that followed, apparently Lady Death had other priorities for him. He built a small house in that forest, a little ways off from the clearing and within walking distance to a fresh river. It’s rooms became filled with trinkets and knick knacks as the kids grew into themselves, the warrior and the ghost. At least that’s what they liked to call themselves. 

But Phil did still get pulled to some battles, some wars where his Lady needed him to deliver the final blow. But always, the earth would watch over his sons, safe in their new home. 

It was after one of these battles, when his children were 7 and 5, that Phil found his third son. 

 

_-_-_-_-_-_-_

 

Phil stood in the centre of the carnage, the gem on his chest matching the stained blade. He mourned the loss of life, as necessary as it was, as clean as he’d made those deaths. 

This field had been a meadow, once. Beneath the bodies were crushed flowers, scattered colours that implied it had once been a place of life, of happiness. Phil could almost see his children sitting in the grass, making crowns for each other, watched by the earth and her Angel. 

Now, there was blood. 

Phil raised his eyes to the lake, a massive body of water that had somehow remained relatively untouched by the horrors, and the waterfall that brought a stream from the mountains down to it. 

Phil felt something catch in his chest. He looked up the mountain further, eyes drawn by an invisible force. Sunlight, casting its glory on the top of the mountain; where none but him could reach it. That same sunlight reflected through his gem. 

He sheathed his sword and prepared his wings, flying to the top of the mountain. It was almost blinding in its reflection of the light, but Phil continued towards the heart of the sunlight’s tendrils. A speck of green. 

Upon landing, Phil found a baby. It was small, and crying as the previous two had been, and again wrapped in a soft, green cloth. Phil reached down, arms cradling the small boy. It opened its eyes, looking at Phil’s own in blue wonderment; their colour a mirror of Phil’s. Its hair shone gold, a purer gold than Phil’s own, and behind him there were wings; small and white as the snow around them.

An angel. His lady had brought him an angel, and another son. 

The baby had stopped crying, seemingly amazed at seeing someone with golden hair, dull as it was, and great, wide wings, dark as they were. 

“Hey there mate.”

Phil looked for something to suggest that Lady Death had a name in mind, nothing but two small flowers; a pink and a blue one. Phil smiled. 

“The kids’ choice, got it.”

Phil gripped his new son tighter to his chest and turned away from the flowers to return to his home and to his family, protected by the earth and the Lady who ruled over it. 

They named him Tommy.