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Hoist the Colors

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Wilbur woke to the sound of imperial boots hitting the deck above him. There was the tell-tale sound of synchronized marching and the shouted commands of the captain as the soldiers boarded the ship. It took him a moment to rouse from his sleep-addled state but once he registered the muted voices and the familiar marching, Wilbur was jumping out of his makeshift hammock and throwing his rounded glasses onto his face. 

 

With his heart in his stomach, Wilbur collected himself and slowly crept out of the crew’s quarters and down the hall to the staircase that led to the upper deck. Doing his best to keep himself hidden, he quietly crept up the stairs and peeked out to see what was taking place on the main deck.  

 

From his low vantage point, Wilbur couldn’t see much and wouldn’t be able to unless he gave himself away by going up the staircase entirely. He could see the ship’s captain and crew on one side of the ship.  The captain stood in the front, his old wooden peg leg being his defining feature. The captain stood across from an imperial commander holding out a scroll.

 

“Captain, you do understand that we are under orders to board any outgoing ships and search for anything illegal. To prohibit our search is to go against the King himself. You wouldn’t want to be doing that now, would you? Only pirates would so clearly oppose the King and everyone knows how that story would end.” The commanding officer drawled the threat as if he had said it many times before.  

 

“Commander, I can assure you that you will find nothing worth your time,” the captain makes eye contact with Wilbur, retaining a stony expression as he turns to face the imperial commander and his crew. “If you need to search the ship then do what you must.”

 

Wilbur didn’t stay to hear the commander’s response and instead he scrambled back down the stairs as quietly as he could. He inwardly berated himself for expecting a ship carrying illegal drugs to be willing to cover for him and his little brother in the face of the law. It’s an eat or be eaten world and it seemed that Wilbur found protection in the arms of another predator, putting not only himself but also Tommy in danger. 

 

Finding his way back to the quarters, he glanced around the area. He quickly spotted what he was looking for, a smaller hammock housing a boy sleeping despite the loud noise from the main deck. Having been assigned lookout the previous night, Wilbur wasn’t surprised that the boy wasn’t waking. Wilbur rushed over as quietly as possible, ignoring the sound boots moving across the upper deck.

 

“Tommy,” Wilbur whispered, shaking the younger teen. There was a mumbled response as Tommy shifted in his sleep, subconsciously pushing Wilbur’s hands away. “Tommy! Wake up!” Wilbur’s whisper grew urgent, glancing behind himself and to the staircase that leads to the upper deck hearing the loud steps the imperial officers take as they scour the upper deck. It would only be a matter of time before they made their way downstairs and found themselves face to face with a criminal whose bounty has only increased and said criminal’s younger brother.    

 

“Wha- Wil,” Tommy’s groggy, half-awake response came. He shifted slowly in his hammock so that he was sitting up before adjusting the red bandana around his neck and rubbing at his eyes. Wilbur put his hands on Tommy’s shoulders and began to usher him out of the hammock and over behind the stack of rum barrels shushing Tommy’s questions.

 

“We need to hide,” Wilbur pushed Tommy gently in front of him, doing his best to make sure he was covered from sight by the barrels before he stepped back to stack another barrel, blocking Tommy in. Tommy, coming to full awareness much slower than Wilbur had, looked at Wilbur questioningly as he started to throw random objects over to try and hide Tommy.

 

Pulling another crew mate’s shirt off his head, Tommy questioned Wilbur, “Wilbur what are you doing?” Wilbur finally paused in his actions of digging through the other’s stuff and Tommy took in his alarmed expression. He could see how antsy Wilbur was feeling through the way his hands were shaking and how he kept glancing over to the staircase that took them to the main deck. It looked like Wilbur was trying to remain calm despite the obvious panic he’s projecting to Tommy. Wilbur didn’t stay still for long and is quickly by Tommy’s side, the only thing between them is the empty barrel Wilbur had placed there himself. 

 

“Officers are searching the ship. You need to stay hidden so they don’t find you and take you back to the Esempi. We both know that the captain is more than willing to sell us out to keep his supply safe. It’s only a matter of time before the guards start poking around and he points them in our direction.” Wilbur began to reach at his neck, pulling a golden chain connected to a heart gem out of his shirt, deaf to Tommy’s protests.  

 

“Wilbur, I swear- if you’re about to do what I think you’re going to do-” Tommy’s statement fell to deaf ears as Wilbur took off his necklace and went to lay it around Tommy’s neck. Tommy stared in shock as Wilbur fixed the necklace around his neck so it was hidden under his shirt and his bandana. “Wil- no that’s your necklace. You’ve never taken it off before. What are you doing?”

 

“Tommy, you have to swear to me that no matter what happens you won’t let anyone take this. You need to protect it no matter what.” Wilbur put both hands on Tommy’s shoulders and made direct eye contact with him. “If I get taken by imperial soldiers you need to stay quiet and hide okay? I think my presence alone will be enough to distract them from you.”

 

“Wilbur no! No, you’re not going to get arrested, come on and hide with me!” Tommy grabbed at Wilbur’s arms and tried to pull him forwards into the makeshift hiding place but Wilbur shook his head. Tommy became more desperate in his attempts to pull Wilbur forward, coming close to begging. “Wilbur please, you know that you’ll be hanged if you get caught. There’s no mercy for pirates no matter what, especially for you!” Wilbur’s grip on Tommy’s shoulders tightened before he pulled the younger forward and embraced him in a quick hug.

 

“Tommy, this doesn’t end without one of us getting caught. The captain is going to give up the both of us to save himself from his cargo getting discovered. I need you to be safe Tommy, so you’re going to hide and not get caught no matter what happens okay?  You can keep my necklace safe for me alright?” Tommy shook his head weakly despite Wilbur’s pleading look. “You’re going to hide and then you’re going to get to L’Manburg and wait for me there okay? I promise you that I won’t leave you alone for long. I’ll meet you in L’Manburg. Tommy please,” Wilbur’s voice became frantic.  

 

“Wilbur,” Tommy tried once more. There was a growing pressure in his eyes, tears forming, and all he wanted to do was grab his older brother and hold him tightly. He wanted to go back to when they were younger where Wilbur would softly sing Tommy to sleep and tell him stories of pirates and treasures. Tommy wanted to go back years ago and to before Wilbur had gotten a bounty put on his head and before they were forced to run. At the sound of footsteps coming closer, Wilbur’s grip on Tommy’s shoulders tightened.  

 

“I promise I won’t be gone for long. I’ll find you in L’Manburg and we can get away from all this. No more running, no more bounties, and no more acts. Tommy, please trust me.” At Tommy’s resigned nod a wave of relief hit Wilbur.

 

“You have to swear,” Tommy demanded in a broken whisper. “Swear it by the Sea, Wilbur. Swear that you’ll find me no matter what.” Wilbur pulled Tommy forward until their foreheads were against each other. He could feel the slight tremble coming from Tommy as the fifteen-year-old grasped at Wilbur’s arms. Wilbur knew that this situation was not good for Tommy’s abandonment issues and that if he had to make a near unbreakable promise to ease his younger brother’s worries then he would.  

 

“I swear to you Tommy by the Sea that we sail upon that I will find a way back to you and that we will be together and safe in L’Manburg.” Wilbur pulled Tommy forward in one more quick hug before he pulled back and let go of Tommy, and began to organize the junk he had thrown to hide the boy. 

 

To Wilbur, being caught and taken to the hangman’s noose was always a possibility. But Tommy, Tommy was just a kid. Tommy was Wilbur’s brother who he had sworn to protect. So long as Tommy made it to L’Manburg, he would be okay. The teen could make a life for himself. He had the skills to work as a blacksmith or the charisma to earn an apprenticeship. In the worst-case scenario, Tommy could always go back to scamming people out of their gold or stealing it from them. Either way, Tommy would be safe in L’Manburg whether Wilbur gets there or not and that’s all that matters.

 

By the time two imperial soldiers make their way into the crew’s quarters, Tommy is hidden from sight and Wilbur is poorly hidden in the corner on the opposite side of the room. If he looks hard enough, Wilbur can see Tommy watching from the gap between two barrels. Wilbur fights the urge to tell Tommy that he needs to keep himself out of sight. He holds his breath as the soldiers approach his corner despite knowing that he is bound to be caught. Without warning, Wilbur is shoved unceremoniously from his spot and onto the wooden floor.

 

“Now who are you?” One of the soldiers says, grabbing Wilbur’s forearms and roughly pulling him up from the ground. Despite knowing this would happen the panic in Wilbur’s chest only grows now that he knows officially that he’s going to be separated from Tommy. When the officer comes face to face with Wilbur there’s a hum of confusion. “A stowaway?” The other officer turns from where he was inspecting one of the crew’s belongings and faces a glaring Wilbur.  

 

“What’s your name?” The other officer’s question went ignored as Wilbur chose to continue glaring instead of giving a response. The officer scowled but continued, “whoever you are, you look familiar.” Wilbur didn’t respond, but he knew that they had probably seen one of the countless ‘Wanted’ posters covered with his name and face. Considering they were imperial soldiers, they probably had the posters on their ship in case they ran into criminals across the seas. Wilbur was very sure that at least one soldier of their crew would be able to recognize him. “We’ll take him above deck, the commander will want to see this.” 

 

Wilbur didn’t fight the iron grip on his forearms as he was guided to the staircase leading to the main deck and away from Tommy. When they finally made their way up the staircase Wilbur is greeted with the sight of the smuggler ship’s crew, the imperial commander, and some stray soldiers searching the main deck. Wilbur didn’t try to hold back a glare at the smuggler ship’s captain, cursing him to the Locker in his mind. The captain seemed unapologetic and ignored Wilbur in favor of taking on a facade of confusion at his appearance. The commander, however, looked intrigued at Wilbur’s appearance.

 

“Wilbur Soot,” The commander stepped forward with a grin that Wilbur knew held no kind sentiments. “Thief, scammer, pirate. You have quite the resume don’t you.”

 

“A lot of good it seems to do for me,” Wilbur kept a confident air about him though he felt anything but. His stomach was currently eating itself from the inside out and he had to focus on keeping his hands from trembling. The commander turned his attention from Wilbur to the captain of the smuggler ship, losing his smile and taking on a threatening persona.

 

“So Captain, do tell me why a well-known thief and pirate was found on your ship? Do you regularly offer transport to such characters?” The captain remained calm in the face of the commander.

 

“I don’t know how this pirate got on our ship commander. I wouldn’t ever allow such a thing! He must’ve stowed away.” Wilbur couldn’t help but internally criticize the captain’s act. Wilbur could put on a better show when he was ten. He would have said this out loud if he wasn’t trying to stay on the captain’s good side. He might have turned him in but he hadn’t given up Tommy yet. The commander doesn’t push the captain for a better answer or explanation though. He’s probably just happy to cash in on the emerald reward that comes with turning Wilbur in. Last he saw it, the reward was just over one thousand emeralds.  

 

“Take Soot back to the ship, put him in the brig. He can stay there until we arrive at port,” The commander made eye contact with Wilbur, “The admiral has been very eager for your arrest. He will be very pleased to hear the news.” Another imperial soldier stepped in front of Wilbur and takes his wrists, binding them in cuffs before he is pushed forwards to cross onto the imperial ship. 

 

Before he crossed, Wilbur caught a glimpse out of the corner of his eye and he slightly turned to see Tommy watching the events from the staircase, just barely out of sight. Wilbur had to force himself to look away in order not to draw any attention to Tommy. When he saw the commander turning to face that direction he tripped up the officer beside him. The officer fell with an angry exclamation and suddenly all eyes are on them. The other officer guiding Wilbur didn’t seem to take too kindly to Wilbur’s actions and began to push him forward more roughly as if in retaliation. As they crossed over Wilbur can faintly hear the commander asking the captain a few follow-up questions. 

 

Now that he’s been removed from the ship Wilbur’s anxiety returned with a vengeance. He couldn’t tell if he wanted to throw up or throw himself into the ocean. His stomach was doing a little jig inside his body and his hands were beginning to shake. Wilbur had to count out the seconds it took him to inhale and exhale so he could keep his breathing under control. Wilbur was just given a one-way ticket to the noose that seals nearly every pirate’s fate, and the only thing keeping Tommy from the same fate is a captain who Wilbur has known for two days and had already given up Wilbur to keep himself safe.  

 

Wilbur’s panic was stalled and his worries were reassured when the rest of the officers started filing onto the imperial ship and the commander followed. The makeshift bridge connecting the two ships was lifted and the smuggler ship continued to sail in the direction it was originally headed. The imperial crew all shuffle around the ship each person going to their stations while the commander approached Wilbur. 

 

“The admiral will be ecstatic when we bring you in. He put the bounty out for your head years ago and it’s only now that you have been caught,” The commander walked over near the entrance of the captain’s quarters where there was a desk and papers, wanted posters. Wilbur figured that the commander would have to be familiar with the faces of many criminals if he wanted to catch any on the sea. Fishing through the pile of papers Wilbur watched as the commander pulled out a single sheet before holding it up next to Wilbur’s head as if he was comparing the two faces.

 

The commander turned the paper and Wilbur was finally able to get a look for himself. He hadn’t seen his wanted poster in nearly two years. His likeness on the poster was very similar to the original that was made four years ago but there were some differences. The poster portrayed a younger Wilbur, but there were some key differences to the drawing compared to the real thing as if the artist was attempting to draw guess at how Wilbur would look years later. His nose was longer and his eyes were more spaced out. The poster depicted him with a small amount of facial hair although Wilbur had none. What had grabbed Wilbur’s attention though was the big reward offered under his name of 2,300 emeralds.

 

“2,300 seems like a bit much don’t you think?” Wilbur began to ramble, finally finding his voice in the face of the man who held his fate in his hands. “There are worse people out there actually. Like in one village I lived in, there was a man who ended up murdering seven people before he ran away. They never found him and I don’t think there was a bounty put on his head.” The commander must have given up on any kind of intimidation tactic he had because instead of entertaining Wilbur with a reply he turned to order another officer.

 

“Take him to the brig. We will reach the port by midday tomorrow, so he should be fine down there by himself for the trip.” Rough arms grabbed Wilbur once more and this time he felt himself being ushered across the ship and downstairs and through a hall before they finally reached the brig.

 

The moment Wilbur stepped across the threshold the cell door shut behind him and he found himself turning to face the officer who was pointedly not looking at Wilbur. Wilbur knew he doesn’t look very intimidating, despite his height he barely has any muscle on him. The only thing that Wilbur could assume the officer is intimidated by is the bounty on Wilbur’s head. Only the worst criminals found themselves with a bounty exceeding 1,000 emeralds. The officer locked the door and tucked the key into his pocket before ducking out of the space and Wilbur listened to his steps retreating up the stairs. 

 

Taking a deep breath, Wilbur turned and positioned himself to lean against the wall before he slid down to sit on the floor. Letting the reality of what just happened sink in, Wilbur pulled his cuffed hands up to cover his face as he tried to keep his composure despite being alone in the room. Tommy would have to wait, Wilbur decided. It wouldn’t be optimal to try and escape during the day while everyone is awake. Suppressing any emotions brought on by recent events Wilbur tried to relax against the ship’s wall and he kept himself calm by distracting himself with escape plans.

Chapter Text

Tommy was about to lose his shit. It was a miracle that he hadn’t already. Now that he had just watched Wilbur get taken onto an imperial ship to sail back to the country they just fled from, Tommy didn’t know whether to scream or cry. At the moment he was more leaning towards screaming. After Wilbur saw him Tommy stuck around for a little bit longer to hear the commander ask the captain more questions. He was slightly surprised when the captain didn’t sell him out. 

 

Before he could get spotted by any observing officers, Tommy snuck back down to the quarters where he hid near the barrels Wilbur had stacked. Tommy found himself waiting in the dark. He was suddenly aware of the added weight on his chest. Pulling out the necklace Wilbur had draped across his neck, Tommy took the chance to observe the necklace up close. On a golden chain a red heart-shaped gem outlined in black sat attached. 

 

Tommy had never really gotten a chance to see the necklace this close before. Wilbur was just as protective of it as he was Tommy. He had the necklace as long as Tommy could remember. Wilbur had treasured that necklace and would never take it off. Wilbur wasn’t the type to put much stock in objects yet he had always been very protective of this specific piece of jewelry.

 

Shaking fingers traced over the heart that held a small red glow. Tommy stared, mesmerized by the faint glow. Wilbur had always hidden the necklace under his shirt, never bringing it out in public and only bringing it out when they were alone very few times. He had a hunch that Wilbur’s necklace had a magical aspect to it, despite the use of magic being outlawed.

 

This necklace was important enough to Wilbur that he gave it to Tommy. Tommy clutched the necklace tighter at that thought. Wilbur had trusted Tommy to keep the necklace safe and to get to L’Manburg on his own. Wilbur trusted Tommy. But if he couldn’t escape in time, then Wilbur would be headed to his death. Tommy didn’t want to get to L’Manburg and wait for Wilbur only for him to never arrive. He didn’t want to think about the possibility of waiting for Wilbur to arrive only for it to never happen.

 

“Hey kid,” a voice came from the entrance hall. Tommy was quick to tuck the necklace back into his shirt and cover the chain with his bandana. Approaching him was the captain, whose name Tommy couldn’t remember, and a few others on the crew. Tommy could hear the thunk of his peg leg hitting the floor as he got closer. “Kid, it’s safe for you to come out now. Their ship is long gone in the other direction.”

 

Tommy came out of his spot to see the captain standing in front of one of the hammocks with his arms crossed. At his nonchalant expression, Tommy couldn’t hold back the emotions that had been brewing in his chest. Logic was thrown out the window and Tommy immediately jabbed an accusing finger in the captain’s face.

 

“You betrayed us,” Tommy accused angrily, using his height over the captain to make himself more intimidating. Tommy made a quick mental note of the captain’s hand hovering over the sword as well as the mimicked behavior of the crew behind them. “You let them take Wilbur and you didn’t even try to stop them.”

 

“And what did you do?” Was the captain’s reply. “It was either him or all of us if they kept snooping and found our cargo. Wilbur paid for your transport, not for me to lie to the imperial guard for him. Especially when he’s apparently well known among the officers.” The captain stood up straighter and puffed his chest out, unfazed by Tommy’s display of anger. 

 

“He’ll hang because of you!” Tommy’s shout came off as more of a cry. Tommy could feel his nails tearing into his palms from his clenched fists. The emotions running through him close to bubbling over, Tommy was close to snapping.

 

“Kid, I have no stakes in whether the two of you live or die, but my cargo is important. No amount of gold that Wilbur could have offered would have me turning myself in to the imperial guard.” The captain paid no attention to Tommy’s apparent anger, crossing his arms and looking at him as if he was a nuisance. 

 

“Stop calling me kid,” Tommy mumbled, taking a deep breath to try and keep himself calm. Wilbur had always told him to keep a cool head in certain situations. When they were together he always found himself having to talk Tommy down before he did something that he would regret. Now that he was alone, Tommy struggled to remember what Wilbur would tell him to do. Take a deep breath. Whatever step came after that was lost to Tommy’s anger as the captain kept speaking.

 

“You know I have somewhat of a conscience. I could have just as well sent you to the noose with your brother. Nothing was stopping me from telling those guards that you were down there.” Tommy watched the captain take a step back and sigh at Tommy as if he was dealing with a child. Holding himself back from knocking that look off the captain’s face was getting more difficult by the second.

 

“And that makes you a saint,” Tommy replied with a sneer. Deep breaths weren’t working, and Tommy began taking stock of the tenseness in his body. His clenched fists, his grinding teeth, and his tight shoulders. Wilbur’s words rang in his head ‘Tommy take a breath and calm yourself. 

 

“Well, it doesn’t make me the villain you think I am. You really should take what you can get and be grateful that you’re still here and not on your way to being hanged with your brother.” Wilbur’s advice running through his head was forgotten and Tommy saw red. Tommy lunged, clenched fists swinging.

 

“YOU FUCKER, YOU LET THEM TAKE HIM!” The anger swelling in Tommy’s chest was partially satisfied when Tommy felt his fist connect with the hard bone of the captain’s nose. There was an instant reaction with the crew pulling out their swords ready to defend their captain from the angry teen. The captain himself was turned to the side holding his nose, and Tommy could see the small drops of blood that slipped through his fingers. Tommy felt no remorse and couldn’t hold back his smile of satisfaction.

 

When arms went to grab at his shoulders, Tommy reacted by turning and biting the hand that was about to pull him back. If Wilbur were here he’d either be trying to do damage control or be cheering Tommy on. Tommy liked to think that in this situation it’d be the latter. Letting his rage take control, Tommy didn’t hold back in calling the captain and his crew various names and swinging his fists. Both outnumbered and unarmed, Tommy was quickly stopped and detained by the two crew members that had come down with the captain originally.

 

The captain was glaring at Tommy now, blood across his lips, using his jacket sleeve to stop the blood flowing from his nose. He turned to the side and spat out a mixture of blood and spit on the ground. “Put the brat in the brig. Soot paid me for their transportation, not to babysit. When we dock at the port we’ll throw him off.” Tommy fought the grip on his arms, cursing the crew holding him and making it unbearable for the two tasked with dragging him across the ship.

 

In the back corner of the bottom level of the ship was a small cell that had been mostly unused. Rusted bars enclosed a space against the wall with a small porthole, nearly empty except for a few stray belongings. A torn uniform shirt, a dirty beanie, and a broken barrel. It was probably used more as a junk closet than as a prison cell. There was no gentleness spared and Tommy was abruptly thrown into the small cell. The door was thrown shut and locked and the crew member who wasn’t bit by Tommy left without uttering a word. 

 

All the rage that Tommy had been feeling before in the face of the captain had been drained from his body and Tommy collapsed in on himself in the corner of the cell. Anger was replaced by panic and suddenly Tommy couldn’t control the anxiety and dread running through his body. He was going to throw up. Holy shit his stomach was doing flips he was going to puke. Taking deep breaths, Tommy tried to calm his racing heart and stop the tears that were forming in his eyes.

 

Tommy might never see Wilbur again. Wilbur promised, he swore he would find him. Wilbur wouldn’t lie to him like that. He would never. But what if he can’t escape? What if something happens that Wilbur can’t control? Tommy knows that Wilbur would do everything within his power to fulfill his promise. But what if it’s not enough? If Wilbur can’t escape then Tommy will be alone again. Tommy can’t lose Wilbur.

 

The wall of the ship is rough against Tommy’s back. He takes shuddering breaths, holding his fist to his mouth to keep his cries quiet. After a while, Tommy could feel his panic attack begin to ebb away and he found himself staring down at his hands, feeling empty. He had never liked the residual numbness that would follow his panic. When Wilbur was there, he would always talk Tommy through his emotions and after Tommy had calmed he would give Tommy a distraction or hug Tommy through it. Thinking of Wilbur only made Tommy sour but he wasn’t about to fall into another panic. He felt so emotionally drained. 

 

Pulling himself up, Tommy turned to the wall of the ship and bent down to glance through the porthole. All he could see was the open sea and skyline in the distance. The sun was still high in the sky. Tommy didn’t know how far the nearest port was, but he was hoping it wasn’t too far. The earlier Tommy could get off this ship the earlier he could find Wilbur. Sighing, Tommy leaned back against the wall and sunk to the floor where all he could do was wait. 

 

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Tommy got a distraction from his boredom and anxiety hours later after the sun has set and the crew had fallen asleep. Tommy himself had yet to succumb to sleep, listening as the ship got quieter over time as the crew slowly filed to bed. The lack of noise coming from the upper decks and the fact that the sun had set prompted Tommy to conclude that everyone on the ship was retired for the night and that Tommy was the only soul awake on the ship. 

 

Too antsy to fall asleep, Tommy found himself pacing about in the cell in an attempt to get his excess energy out. There was nothing in the area for Tommy to distract himself with. Nothing to fiddle with or throw or break. The cell wasn’t big either. It was big enough that Tommy didn’t feel claustrophobic but small enough that Tommy could take only a couple of steps before he had to turn around and go in the other direction. 

 

Shaking his head Tommy glanced out the porthole. His eye caught a dark figure in the distance. Tommy wasn’t able to make out the figure in the darkness but considering they were sailing the ocean it only made sense for it to be a ship. A very large ship, actually. Larger than the ship Tommy himself was currently on. This ship was bigger than any imperial ship Tommy had seen. Tommy’s eyes widened as he saw the ship almost fly across the sea with its speed. It was approaching much faster than any ship Tommy had seen before.

 

Tommy can’t get a good look at the flag that the ship is sailing, but from what he can make of it he knows immediately that it’s not any imperial or trade ship. That ship was a pirate ship. Pirate ships were never good news. Tommy couldn’t help but watch in horror as the large ship approached until it was looming over the ship Tommy was currently on. 

 

Tommy ran to the front bars of his cell, screaming in hopes that someone would hear him. “PIRATES! THERE’S FUCKING PIRATES!” He screamed in alarm and tried to make noise within his cell by hitting the bars with the broken wood from the barrel. It seemed useless. Tommy stopped for a second to see if he could hear anyone moving around from above, yet there was only silence. 

 

The silence was broken by the whistle of a cannonball before there was a large crash that shook the ship. Tommy could suddenly hear shouts of alarm. Turning to look back out the porthole, Tommy’s eyes widened seeing the numerous cannons ready to fire. Tommy ran over to the cell door and tried to force it open with no luck. Taking a step back, Tommy tried to barrel his shoulder into it to break it open. He cried out in pain when the metal door didn’t budge and instead he felt the hit reverberate through his shoulder and arm. It had looked so much easier when he had seen Wilbur do it.

 

After a moment of panic, Tommy realized that there hadn’t been any more cannonballs launched the whole time he was trying to open the cell door. Turning a curious eye over to the porthole, Tommy looked at the other ship. The cannons were still sticking out where they were, loaded and ready to fire but nothing was happening. Craning his neck, Tommy could see the upper deck of the ship where a person was standing at the edge of the ship. 

 

It must be the other ship’s captain, but it was hard for him to tell in the dark, the only light coming from lanterns being held by different crew members. That’s when Tommy realized the captains were probably discussing amongst themselves and that the first cannonball was probably a warning shot. Tommy wasn’t sure what the two captains were saying but he could hazard a guess. 

 

It was probably something along the lines of; the pirate captain threatens the captain of the ship to give up all his valuables or his life. The smuggler captain would probably refuse to hand over anything because as he stated earlier ‘his cargo is important and blah blah blah.’ A part of Tommy hoped that the pirate wouldn’t spare the smuggler captain’s goods. Just to get back at him for his lack of customer loyalty to Wilbur. 

 

Well, whatever Tommy wished didn’t matter as he watched the shadowy figure of the pirate lift his hand and suddenly Tommy found himself ducking down for cover as a line of cannonballs were launched into the ship’s hull. He can hear faint shouting and the loud noise of pistols shooting at each other. Before Tommy had the chance to try and look out the porthole again, the ship shook as if it was pushed by a large wave and Tommy was knocked to the side just before a cannonball destroyed the wall and launched through right where his head was. 

 

“Holy shit,” Tommy whispered, peering out of the newly made hole in the ship. He can see pirates swinging over and onto the ship wielding swords. When his eye caught the water it was calm and stilled which confused him. The only thing stopping water from flooding the brig was a few feet of elevation, but where did that large wave come? It was a miracle that Tommy wasn’t hit by the cannonball, but he didn’t dwell on that, in favor of trying to find an escape from his cell. 

 

The cannonball that had launched in the cell went through the wall and then it hit the door, somewhat bending the bars outwards. It wasn’t enough for Tommy to get out through the cell door, but it looked like the gap in the ship wall would be nearly big enough for him to fit through It was a risky decision for him to try and go on the outside of the ship through the gap in the wall. He would be able to fit through the gap, it would just be a tight fit and Tommy would have to pull himself up to get through it because of its height. Tommy stuck his head out of the gap and stared down at the water. 

 

Tommy gave up on trying to plan his escape when he noticed the sounds of fighting had stopped. He rushed to try and fit himself through the gap in the wall, putting his arms through first and trying to pull his upper body through. He grimaced when he felt the splintered wood scrape against his sides. His bandana got caught against a broken board and loosened itself around his neck. Tommy struggled to stay balanced with the upper half of his body hanging out of the ship. The splintered wood scratched his sides and pricked his palms when he tried to grip it to pull himself up. He dropped himself in reaction to the sudden surge of pain in his hands, cursing to himself when he ended back where he started. 

 

Panic filled Tommy when he realized he was taking too long to escape. Though when he went to jump up for the gap again, Tommy paused and hesitated when he realized he had no clue what he was going to do once he was in the water. Did he really think he’d be able to swim to land? He wasn’t even entirely sure what direction the nearest landmass was. 

 

The sudden sound of stomping steps had Tommy diving towards the debris in the cell. Trying to cover himself up to keep himself out of sight, Tommy dug around the debris until he could cover himself with it. He didn’t do that well of a job covering himself with the broken wood from the barrel and the old jacket he found in the cell. Maybe in the chaos of that section of the ship, one might overlook a gangly teen sticking out from behind a wood panel but if they focused, said teen wouldn’t be difficult to find.

 

Tommy didn’t have a chance to try and make sure he was completely hidden when suddenly a tall man with an imposing presence swept into the area. From what Tommy could see from his spot in the back corner of the brig, the man was tall and not a man? He looked normal for the most part but across his arm there were gaps of skin that were somewhat green around the edges and Tommy could see the bone of his arm(?). Tommy wasn’t able to tell from a distance. Aside from the zombification of his arm, the man looked normal. He had long pink hair that was braided falling across his shoulder and he was decked in gold jewelry; necklaces, rings, earrings. The thing that stood out to Tommy the most was the blood-red cape that reached his feet. 

 

The man did a quick survey of the area, glancing around and holding his broadsword at the ready. Tommy held his breath when eyes roamed across the spot he was in and silently cursed when the man paid more attention to Tommy’s spot. He walked over to get a closer look and Tommy did his best to sit still and wish himself into nonexistence. Though they were separated by the cell bars, Tommy could feel the intimidating and commanding aura this man put out. There was a huff before Tommy heard the sound of the cell door creaking open.

 

“Why does a smuggler ship need a brig? All they’re doing is transporting goods.” Tommy didn’t respond, in hopes that the man would just ignore him and leave. There was a snort, “I know you’re there.” Tommy held back a scowl and reluctantly pushed the wood off to reveal himself. Standing much closer to the man and not being hindered by trying to hide, Tommy was able to get a better look at the man. 

 

The man was just a little bit taller than Tommy and his strength was displayed through his noticeable muscles. He was able to see the detail of the jewelry the man wore, little green emeralds decorated his earrings. He wore a long-sleeved white shirt, the sleeves pulled up to his elbows, and long brown pants that were tucked into black boots. 

 

Tommy, however, was drawn to the unnatural state of the exposed part of his arm. The skin there was normal for the most part except for the different spots on his arm that looked as if they were gouged out. The edges of the skin took on a green tint and Tommy could see the skin turn into tissue and then to bone. There was no reaction to it or effort to cover this by the man, was this normal? Holy shit since when did pirates turn into zombies?

 

“So why is there a child locked in the brig?” The man asked with a raised eyebrow and laidback stance. Tommy immediately bristled on the spot and pointed a finger at the man, ignoring the threatening vibe he displayed.

 

“I’m not a fucking child pink bitch,” Tommy almost regretted snapping, out of fear of receiving a negative reaction from the man. Wilbur had preached to Tommy about being careful with what you say to people because you can say the wrong thing to the wrong person. The man didn’t react negatively though, instead sheathing his sword and tilting his head amusedly. 

 

“So are you dangerous or not?” He asked, crossing his arms and looking down at Tommy. Glaring, Tommy clenched his fists and got ready to launch himself at the man.

 

“I’ll show you fuckin’ dangerous bitch,” but Tommy made no move to attack him. It would be really easy for him to pull his sword out and slit Tommy’s throat by the time he crossed the distance of the cell to the door. 

 

“What’s your name kid?” The man asked, watching Tommy fiddle with the cuffs of his sleeves. Tommy scowled at the man looking down at his weapons and debating the possibility of him fitting through the gap in the ship’s wall. As if reading his mind, the man glanced up and behind Tommy at the hole before making eye contact with Tommy again.

 

“Tommy,” Tommy answered. 

 

“Well Tommy, I have news that could be very fortunate or disappointing for you,” The man began with a monotone voice. “My crew has taken this ship, we’ve found your supply of drugs that would get you arrested ten times over on land. Now I’m gonna give you two choices Tommy.” Tommy felt a chill run down his spine at the threatening undertone coming from the man. “You can either go overboard with the rest of your crew-”

 

“They’re not my crew,” Tommy interjected despite getting the vibe that interrupting this guy wouldn’t make him super happy. The man shrugged at Tommy’s statement, seemingly not caring.

 

“Okay. Then you can either go overboard with the rest of your not-crew. Or you can board my ship and we can offer you transport to the nearest port.” Tommy felt confused at the generosity of the pirate. He had never imagined a pirate offering to help a stranger without there being any benefits for them. Narrowing his eyes, Tommy crossed his arms imitating the man’s stance.

 

“Who are you then?” 

 

“My name is Technoblade and I’m the captain of this ship.”

Chapter Text

What the fuck kind of name was ‘Technoblade.’

 

“You know, I didn’t say anything mean about your name.” Technoblade looked down at Tommy with amusement. Oh. He said that out loud. Wilbur always told him to think before speaking. Instead of trying to salvage what mercy Technoblade was offering, Tommy immediately went on the defense.

 

“Yeah well, what kind of sane adult has a kid and thinks Technoblade is a normal name huh? Tech-no-blade?” Tommy began to move around where he was standing, arms thrown out as he spoke. Technoblade crossed his arms and kept his composure.

 

“You must have been really sheltered. How did you end up on a smuggler ship?” Tommy blanched at Technoblade’s calm response.

 

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Tommy squawked. Technoblade raised an eyebrow at Tommy’s raised hackles. He didn’t answer Tommy, instead taking a step back out of the cell and giving Tommy enough room to follow.

 

“Have you made your decision?” Technoblade asked Tommy, watching the boy fiddle with his bandana. Tommy pulled the loose cloth off his neck in order to fix it tighter. When he pulled off the cloth, Tommy didn’t notice the chain of the necklace being pulled up to expose the faintly glowing heart gem. Tommy didn’t see Technoblade’s eyes narrow at the glimpse he got of a golden chain and the top of a heart gem.

 

“You know what big man, I think I will take you up on that second offer.” Tommy readjusted the red cloth, fixing it on his neck. Tommy finally made a move to leave the cell and walk past Technoblade to the main deck of the ship. He was stopped by Technoblade’s arm on his shoulder pulling him back and Tommy was faced with narrowed red eyes. “Hey man- what the fuck!”

 

Technoblade grabbed at the golden chain around Tommy’s neck and Tommy failed to slap his hands away before he pulled the necklace out from under his shirt. Technoblade stared with wide eyes at the faintly glowing red heart gem before looking at Tommy with cold eyes, all sense of earlier amusement and nonchalance gone.

 

“Where did you get this?” Technoblade asked, his blood-red eyes glaring holes into a shocked Tommy. The quick switch of emotions nearly gave him whiplash. When Tommy didn’t answer, Technoblade’s grip on the chain tightened and something fierce crossed his face. “Where did you get this necklace, Tommy?” Holy shit why did this guy have to be so scary?

 

“Whoa man, Tech-no-blade,” Tommy put his hands up in a pacifying motion which did nothing to quell the dangerous emotions floating across Technoblade’s expression. “What’s so special about a necklace bro?” Tommy asked weakly as the hand Technoblade had put on his shoulder began to grip it tightly.

 

Tommy watched as Technoblade seemed to internally debate before he let go of the necklace. A myriad of emotions crossed his expression. Tommy wasn’t able to tell exactly what Technoblade was feeling but he did catch a quick flicker of fear across his face before it was concealed by anger.  A fierce glare was directed Tommy’s way before Technoblade grabbed Tommy with his other hand, near dragging Tommy to the main deck despite Tommy’s confused protests.

 

“You know what man, I’ve changed my mind, I want option number one please!” Tommy cried, trying to pull his arms out of Technoblade’s grip as he was dragged across the ship and up the staircase. “Let me go, this is kidnapping!”

 

Tommy heard Technoblade murmur something, barely able to catch the words, “Is this what you wanted me to find?” but he didn’t have long to dwell on that. Tommy’s attention was split between the destruction of the ship and some bodies of the crew. There weren’t many, only a few laid across the deck with blood pouring out from their midsections where they must have been stabbed. The rest of the crew was probably thrown overboard considering that was one of the options Technoblade had offered.

 

Also on the main deck was what Tommy assumed was Technoblade’s crew. Technoblade had a much larger crew than what had been on the smuggler ship. Tommy was also able to get a better look at the ship. The ship was much larger than the smuggler ship. It was black, a unique color among pirate ships, and it sailed a flag decorated with a broadsword as well as a smaller flag under it with a black skull. Tommy is torn from his observations at the approach of one of Technoblade’s crew. A short woman with pink hair kept out of her face by a black bandana approached them. She gave Technoblade a look of confusion at seeing his grip on Tommy. 

 

“Techno we’ve searched the ship and found everything with value. The drugs crates have been dumped along with the rest of the crew.” The woman said. She kept glancing at Tommy and he could tell that she wanted to ask but was waiting for a response from Technoblade. From behind him, Technoblade nodded at the woman.

 

“Good Niki. Have the crew board the ship and get ready to sail. We have a heading,” Technoblade responded. Niki nodded and turned to go give out orders to the crew members on the smuggler ship. Technoblade then continued to drag Tommy to the edge of the ship, stopping at the gangplank that connected the two ships. He momentarily let go of Tommy who immediately turned around to glare back at the captain. 

 

“Mother fucker I am a minor,” Tommy began prompting Technoblade to raise an eyebrow in similar amusement as before, gesturing to the wooden plank. 

 

“You can either cross on your own or I will drag you over.” Tommy scowled, crossing his arms and glaring up at Technoblade.

 

“I’m not going anywhere with you, I have more important things to do, excuse you. Gold to steal, women to see. You understand.” Tommy nodded seriously. Technoblade sighed and rolled his eyes, making to grab Tommy by the arms again but the boy dodged with a cry, jumping up on the wood plank and walking backwards towards Technoblade’s ship with Technoblade following. 

 

When Tommy reached the ship he slipped and fell backwards, arms flailing as he landed on his butt. Technoblade looked down at him with an amused expression that Tommy wanted to punch off of the stupid zombie captain’s face. After Tommy and Technoblade, a few more crew members filed onto the ship from the plank that connected it to the smuggler ship.

 

“Welcome to ‘The Blade’ kid,” Technoblade said before he walked up to the helm. Tommy picked himself up from the ground hearing Technoblade shout out commands to the crew. Rushing over to the helm, Tommy watched the crew prepare the ship for departure, detaching the ship from the smuggler ship. 

 

“What- where are we going?” Tommy asked with furrowed eyebrows. Tommy’s question went unanswered and he watched as Technoblade took command, giving out different orders to pull the anchor or to go and sort through the spoils of gold they had just obtained. Niki walked up to join the three of them at the helm, overlooking the crew. Tommy put himself in between Technoblade and the wheel, interrupting the captain. “Where are we going?” He asked again. Technoblade gave Tommy an impassive look and he maneuvered his way back to the wheel while answering.

 

“An old friend of mine could be in danger. We’re going to find him.” Technoblade said with a tone that demanded no more questions. Tommy wasn’t one to listen very well though and he persisted.

 

“Well, why do I have to come? Drop me off at the nearest port! I don’t have time to come with you for your reunion shit I’ve got things to do!” Tommy’s commanding tone was nothing in comparison to Technoblade’s commanding aura. At Tommy’s orders, Technoblade turned to face him with a light glare. Tommy refused to shrink in on himself at Technoblade’s intimidating stance.

 

“That necklace belonged to him. I need to know that he’s safe.” Technoblade answered gruffly with no room for argument.

 

Well that sucks for him, Tommy was going to argue. 

 

“No, no. I don’t have to go with you,” Tommy began to ramble. “My brother Wilbur taught me stranger danger. I know the rules, I’m not going anywhere with you.” Technoblade looked somewhat affronted and could begin to feel the headache that would accompany him during Tommy’s stay on The Blade. “No, I’m not going with you to meet an ‘old friend’ I have to go save Wilbur. They’re taking him to be hanged. I have to save him- we have to save him, you can help me!” 

 

“I don’t have to do anything.” Technoblade declared, turning back to face the wheel. “I’m sorry to hear about your brother, but that necklace is the property of a very close friend of mine and he would have died before he gave up that necklace. So if we’re going to be searching for anyone it’s going to be him.” Tommy felt like crying and punching something again, very similar to what he felt in the face of the smuggler captain. There was the sound of someone clearing their throat and both Technoblade and Tommy turned to face Niki who must have been listening in on the conversation. 

 

“Techno,” Niki began in a warning tone that Tommy was surprised to see her take in the face of the intimidating captain. Technoblade sighed and closed his eyes in annoyance before opening them and staring straight down at the heart gem of the necklace with an unreadable expression. That’s when Tommy had a realization.

 

“You- you're worried about this guy because I have his necklace? Wilbur gave me the necklace, he could- he could tell you where he got it from. He’s had the necklace for ages.” Tommy suggested. He had no clue where Wilbur had gotten the necklace, but he would grasp at any opportunity to convince Technoblade to go after Wilbur. Maybe Wilbur stole it from the guy Technoblade was so worried about.

 

At hearing that Technoblade froze long enough for Tommy to notice before he recollected himself and took on a pensive expression. Tommy watched as Technoblade stepped away from the wheel and walked to the edge of the ship, arms resting against the handrail to peer down at the sea. Tommy didn’t follow but from his spot he could see how the small ocean waves were lightly pushing them in the opposite direction that Technoblade had wished to sail. Tommy’s gaze caught Technoblade’s arm again and he was confused to see that it had looked completely normal in contrast to its earlier appearance. Technoblade turned and addressed Niki and the crew who were silently waiting for their orders.

 

“It seems that the waves are favorable heading southeast.” That statement must have meant something to the crew because they all immediately get to work and head to their stations. Niki turned to Technoblade and gave him a soft nod and Tommy just watched along in confusion. When Technoblade approached the wheel again he looked down at Tommy with the same unreadable expression he had been wearing for the past few minutes. “You got your wish kid, we’re going after your brother. Now tell me what happened to him.” 

 

Tommy watched Technoblade’s gaze fall to the necklace again and Tommy’s gaze followed to see that the necklace was glowing much stronger than before. Tommy looked up at Technoblade in shock but he didn’t seem surprised by the necklace’s glow. 

 

“An imperial ship took Wilbur earlier today, they probably have half a day’s travel over us. They were headed back to the Esempi. But if we catch up to them, you have more manpower than they did and you could easily take them down,” Tommy informed. The pirate quickly switched his gaze to overlook his crew. Technoblade looked back at Tommy over his shoulder with a humorous glint in his eye.

 

“You’re goin’ to want to find something to hold on to kid,” Technoblade warned before turning to face the front. Tommy confusedly looked over at Niki to see her shake her head with a smile. “Speed isn’t a problem for us.” Tommy didn’t get the chance to ask questions before the ship was suddenly lurching forward and Tommy had to rush to grab the handrail. 

 

As if it were a carriage pulled by horses The Blade began to coast across the sea at speeds Tommy had never seen a ship sail before. The teen wasn’t able to hold back his awe and screams of exhilaration as the wind brushed his hair back. The ship lurched again and Tommy’s grip on the handrail tightened as suddenly the ship began to sink into the sea. Glancing around in confusion, Tommy saw that there was no worried reaction coming from Technoblade or the crew. They were sinking and Technoblade almost looked excited. At least he looked as excited as Tommy thinks Technoblade could physically express.

 

“What the fuck is happening?” Tommy cries out. The water of the ocean began to fill the ship from the bottom until Tommy could feel it at his feet. Then his ankles, his knees, until he’s waist-deep in the water. Tommy looked back over in confusion at Technoblade who seemed unfazed by this development. He didn’t let go of the handrail, seeing the rest of the crew all holding on to some part of the ship like Technoblade had suggested. Just before the ship was completely submerged, Tommy took a large gulp of air and held it in his chest as suddenly the entire ship dropped underwater. 

 

Tommy is surprised when under the water the ship continued to travel forward but at faster speeds than when it was above water. Tommy could see out of the corner of his eye the crew on the main deck looking around in awe at the underwater nature surrounding them. They passed colorful fish and plants that were sitting at the bottom of the sea. At one point Tommy could see a sunken ship resting on the seafloor. Tommy felt a tightness in his chest, he needed to breathe. Or at least he thought he did? Releasing the air in his chest, Tommy felt no need to inhale more and there was no follow-up feeling of gasping for air or burning in his lungs.

 

It was a bright glowing that took Tommy’s attention from his breathing dilemma. The heart of the necklace had floated up in the water and the gem was glowing the brightest that Tommy had seen it glow that day. One hand letting go of the handrail, Tommy grabbed the necklace and he could feel a faint heat coming off of it. The water surrounding Tommy began to wrap around him. 

 

Tommy felt the water add pressure on his upper body as if he was being hugged. There was the feeling of arms around his shoulders and against his back. This was followed by the faint feeling of fingers brushing through his hair, reminiscent of how Wilbur would run his fingers through Tommy’s hair after a nightmare when he was much younger. It was a familiar and not unwelcome feeling that had Tommy leaning up chasing the touch.

 

The ship began to slow and Tommy felt the pressure of arms around him loosen until he couldn’t feel anything. When the ship halted completely there was one final faint touch, a palm gently cupping his cheek. Once the feeling had disappeared, the ship began to rise back up to the surface. The ship resurfaced and Tommy took a deep breath of air before turning around and looking around in shock. Looking at Technoblade, Tommy could see the captain had an inquisitive gaze turned his way but he had taken on an amused expression at Tommy’s shock.

 

“What the fuck just happened?” Tommy questioned in a weak tone in comparison to the ‘big man’ persona he tended to take on. Technoblade laughed at Tommy’s shock, surprising Tommy even more. The pirate shook his head and turned to the side before gesturing for Tommy to look. Tommy took a breath before forgetting his shock when he caught sight of a ship in the distance. 

 

“One imperial ship,” Technoblade gestured to the ship with a smirk. Tommy gripped the handrail tighter as they began to close the distance between them and the imperial ship. Between them and Wilbur. Everything is forgotten as Tommy stares at the ship with a mix of hope and excitement. As the ship had gotten closer, Tommy could faintly hear Technoblade ordering the crew to prepare to board the imperial ship. The words are muted though, Tommy’s attention on the main deck of the ship as if Wilbur will just make his way out of the brig and into Tommy’s sights. 

 

The imperial ship was difficult to see in the dark and with the few lanterns they had placed across the deck. Tommy couldn’t see anyone moving about the ship, which somewhat made sense they were probably all sleeping, but usually, there would be someone on the lookout for other ships. Tommy would have expected the imperial ship to raise the alarm by now at the sight of a pirate ship. Something akin to dread sunk in Tommy’s stomach as he caught sight of something sparkling and creating bright flickers of light on the main deck.

 

“What the fuck is that?” Tommy muttered catching Technoblade’s attention. The man had given out orders to his crew but he hadn’t left Tommy alone on the helm. Technoblade turned a critical gaze to the imperial ship. He pulled out a telescope and used it to get a better look at what was sparkling on the deck. All that Tommy heard was a soft gasp come from Technoblade and suddenly there was a loud crackling and the imperial ship went up in explosions and flames. 

 

“WILBUR!” Tommy couldn’t hold back the scream that came out of his mouth at the sight of the once great imperial ship turning into burning wood scraps and debris spread across the water. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the wreckage. He knew just from looking at the damage that there was no chance anyone could survive that. Everything was broken and flaming and there was no chance that anyone survived the initial explosion.

 

Wilbur had promised. Wilbur had sworn that he’d meet Tommy in L’Manburg. Wilbur had promised and now he was gone. Wilbur was gone and Tommy would never see him again. Tommy would never hear his older brother’s voice again. No more of his brother’s full belly laughs when Tommy said something funny or whispers of encouragement when Tommy did something good. Wilbur was all that Tommy had ever since Wilbur had picked him up as a kid on the street. And now Tommy had nothing.

 

Arms grabbed him and he suddenly realized he couldn’t breathe. There was no air in his lungs and he couldn’t inhale anything his body was frozen. Tears were streaming down his cheeks, when had he started crying? He was shaking, his hands were shaking, his knees were buckling. There was a muffled voice trying to calm him down. It wasn’t like how Wilbur would. Wilbur would run his hands through Tommy’s hair and whisper that everything was okay until Tommy was calm enough to explain his panic.

 

But this wasn’t Wilbur. This was Technoblade. This was a tough cold-hearted pirate captain who could have cared less if Wilbur lived or died. The second that he finds out if his friend is okay he won’t need Tommy for anything and he might throw him in the brig or slit his throat. Pirates weren’t ever nice for the sake of it. So why was Technoblade being so nice? Why were his arms on Tommy’s shoulders so gentle? Why did he have a genuinely apologetic expression? Why was he speaking so calmly? 

 

“-panic attack. Tommy, kid you need to breathe.” Technoblade calmly said, never breaking eye contact with Tommy. Tommy was freaking out but Technoblade remained calm, talking Tommy through his rapid breathing and shaking hands. When Tommy had calmed enough that he was able to listen, Technoblade spoke again. “We can sail by the ship and see if there are any survivors. We can see if Wilbur’s there. There’s a chance he survived the explosion especially if he was in the brig.” All Tommy could do was weakly nod, but he didn’t want to grasp at the small hope Technoblade offered him out of fear that it would be torn from him the same way Wilbur was. 

 

Technoblade gave a nod before letting go of Tommy and going to address the crew. Tommy didn’t want to look back at the wreckage of the ship. He was scared that if he did then all he would see would be Wilbur’s body on a piece of driftwood. Tommy was drawn to a new presence at his side, Niki. The woman gave him a sad expression and offered him a hand on his shoulder before turning to help Technoblade. 

 

Tommy’s shaking hands reached up to grab at the heart gem of the necklace as he took a deep breath and turned to face the wreckage. He felt like he was going to throw up, being faced again with the sight of the destroyed ship and the thought that Wilbur was on it. There were little hopes that Tommy could grasp on. That Wilbur had survived the explosion or maybe this was a different imperial ship. His mind was running through the different possibilities.

 

The ship reached the wreckage of the imperial ship and any hopes that Tommy had were crushed by the sight of the imperial commander’s mangled body drifting on a stray wood plank. The face was intact. Tommy could never forget the face of the commander that he watched from the staircase as Wilbur was taken onto the imperial ship. Tommy could see the burns and open wounds that adorned his face and the exposed skin of his body. 

 

Tommy was suddenly haunted with the image of Wilbur with those burns and those wounds. He couldn’t get the thought out of his mind. Tommy’s breath began to come out in sobs when he realized the likelihood of Wilbur surviving is almost none. His knees buckled and the next thing Tommy knew was that he was on the floor of the ship, shaking hands coming up to his mouth to try and cover his sobs. 

 

Niki came and sat down next to Tommy, offering him a hug to comfort him but Tommy didn’t notice. He didn’t notice Technoblade’s apologetic expression before he went to command the crew to set a course. Tommy didn’t notice the dim glow from the necklace. 

 

Tommy put his head in his arms and he sobbed.

Chapter Text

Wilbur had thought the security on imperial ships was supposed to be better. Wilbur was granted more time alone throughout the rest of the day than he thought he would have been given. The brig on the imperial ship was placed in a spot of the ship where officers would pass through on their way to go between the upper and lower deck. So while Wilbur wasn’t alone the whole time, he did get more moments of having the area to himself than he thought he would be permitted. 

 

That wasn’t the case during the night though. When the sun had set, a guard came and stationed himself in front of Wilbur’s cell. Wilbur had been waiting for the right time to commence his escape. He was still wearing the cuffs they put him in initially, but at this point they were just for show. Wilbur had picked the lock on them hours ago. He was waiting for a distraction or an opportunity to get out of the cell without the attending guard being there. 

 

At one point Wilbur did consider trying to overpower the guard. That was an hour into the night, Wilbur had been getting bored of staring at the guard and waiting. He considered singing a shanty or two to try and entertain himself but the guard didn’t look as if he would enjoy listening to Wilbur sing a song he only half remembers. He doesn’t look like he would enjoy listening to Wilbur sing at all, to be honest. The guard was armed with a sword and a bayonet, and Wilbur could see the muscle on the soldier. He knew that if they were to arm wrestle, Wilbur wouldn’t be coming out with a victory.

 

So overpowering the guard was off the table. Now, Wilbur was forced to wait until an opportunity presented itself. Wilbur wouldn’t consider himself a very patient man. He was much more patient than Tommy, the nineteen-year-old always able to outlast the fifteen-year-old when it comes to waiting. It was maybe two hours after the guard had originally stationed himself in the brig that a loud thud sounded from the deck right above them. The guard gave Wilbur a suspicious look and Wilbur innocently put his hands up showing off the cuffs still attached to them. 

 

The guard got up from where he was stationed and stormed up to the main deck. The second that the guard was out of sight, Wilbur dropped the cuffs around his wrists and made his way to the cell door where he began to pick the lock there so he could escape. It took him a minute to get the door open, but once he stepped out of the cell Wilbur felt a wave of relief wash over him. He didn’t dawdle for too long, he wasn’t away from the noose yet. 

 

Wilbur took a deep breath before approaching the stairway connecting to the main deck. He stayed in the shadows, trying to avoid being spotted by any soldiers that might walk by. Wilbur crept quietly up the stairs and hid himself against the wall by the entrance of the captain’s quarters doors. The sight that greeted Wilbur in the middle of the main deck was a shocking one. 

 

The first thing that caught Wilbur’s eye was the guard who was sitting outside his cell laying dead on the deck, blood coming from a slice in his throat. His body wasn’t the only imperial officer Wilbur saw bleeding out on the deck. Wilbur’s eyes slowly moved up to be introduced to the sight of the imperial commander being held at sword and gunpoint by three pirates. Wilbur’s initial reaction was to use this as a chance to escape. The commander being occupied made it the perfect time for Wilbur to steal the dinghy and leave. Wilbur’s plans, however, were stopped the second he turned and his gaze caught the flag the pirates were sailing.

 

The pirate ship itself was decently bigger than the imperial ship. The ship was a very dark black, enough so that it gave Wilbur an eerie vibe by just looking at it. The flag, however, hoisted high up in the air was a lime green with a black ‘:)’ smiley that has haunted Wilbur’s nightmares for years. Wilbur froze at the sight of that flag as his mind suddenly raced. All he could see in the moment were repressed memories coming to life. Memories of pirates invading the village and memories of hiding behind a crate fearing for his life. The memories that Wilbur had only seen in his nightmares.

 

Wilbur then turned his attention to the pirates threatening the commander. The first pirate holding a sword to the commander’s throat was dressed in a long black trench coat with matching black pants, a white shirt underneath, and black fingerless gloves. He was wearing many green jewels in both necklaces and rings and his blond hair was covered by a tricorn hat- he must be the captain then. The second pirate holding a gun in the commander’s direction was dressed in a white poet shirt and black pants with his shoulder-length black hair covered with a red bandana. The third pirate, on the other side of the captain, wore a light blue long-sleeve shirt and long brown pants. On his head sat white glasses. Wilbur could see the commander scowl at the pirates as the captain tilted his sword forward forcing the commander to take a step back.

 

“The Esempi condemns the use of magic. You will find no such relics here, Dream.” The commander sneered the name with disgust. Ah, so he recognized this guy then. The captain, Dream, tilted his head and gave a sick smile the commander’s way.

 

“That’s quite funny commander. I can sense the residual magic of the relic on your ship,” Dream emphasized his point with another tilt of his sword and the commander took another step back. “We both know that Esempi officers aren’t afraid to use magic themselves. So where are you hiding it?” The commander looked somewhat affronted. 

 

“There is no such form of witchcraft on this ship!” The commander cried as if insulted. The pirate that was holding the pistol took a step forward and Wilbur watched as he whispered something to Dream before turning and pointing in Wilbur’s direction.

 

“Oh shit,” Wilbur whispered before he saw the bandana-wearing pirate start making his way towards Wilbur, pointing his pistol. Wilbur was roughly grabbed by his arm and pulled out in front of the pirates and the commander on the main deck. The commander scowled when he saw Wilbur out of the brig but the Dream looked intrigued. 

 

Dream turned to face Wilbur, pulling his sword away from where it was threatening the commander, quickly replaced by the glasses pirate pulling out his own gun to keep the commander at bay. Dream slowly approached Wilbur with a curious expression, staring at Wilbur as if he was staring into his soul. Wilbur was beginning to feel a tad creeped out by the aura Dream put off. Dream tilted his head and smirked at Wilbur.

 

“The Heart of the Sea,” Dream began with an unkind smile in Wilbur’s direction. “Where is it?” Wilbur’s brow furrowed.

 

“I’m sorry what?” Wilbur asked and as if the spell broke, Dream’s smile was wiped off his face and he scowled, glaring at Wilbur. The captain looked past Wilbur, making eye contact with the pirate behind him and he nodded towards his ship.

 

“Sapnap,” Dream called and suddenly Wilbur was being dragged over to the other ship. Wilbur was barely able to turn to see Dream strike down the commander before he dropped a jar on the ship. He couldn’t get a good look at what was in the jar before Sapnap was pulling him to face the ship.  

 

The first thing Wilbur noticed on Dream’s ship was the crew. There were plenty of people, all working on menial tasks but the thing that stood out about them was that they all looked miserable. Not only that, but there was something off with them. Wilbur couldn’t place it but the crew gave off an eerie vibe similar to the vibe he got from the ship. His train of thought was stopped when Dream arrived back on the ship and stormed towards Wilbur. Wilbur didn’t get the chance to utter a word before Dream was asking about the necklace.

 

“Where is it? The necklace with the Heart?” Dream asked, glaring at Wilbur. When he didn’t get an answer Dream grabbed Wilbur by the front collar of his shirt and put his sword to his throat. “Where did you hide it?” Wilbur’s eyes widened and he instinctively tried to lean back as much as he could despite Dream’s grip on his shirt.

 

“What are you even talking about?” Wilbur began, prolonging answering the question. He gave that necklace to Tommy, he would die before he sent pirates his way. “Why is a necklace so important?” Wilbur questioned, gaining confidence when he felt Dream’s grip on his shirt loosen. Wilbur had been hunted for this necklace for years now and he felt that he deserved answers. Giving it to Tommy was the only way to prevent the Esempi from getting it. Dream let go of Wilbur’s shirt and threw him back roughly before stepping back with a scowl. He stood next to the unnamed pirate with glasses who was sitting on top of a barrel and Sapnap moved from behind Wilbur to stand on the other side of Dream. 

 

“The necklace that we’re searching for, the one that you had, has only been heard about before in legends,” Dream began. “According to legend, the Heart of the Sea was guarded for centuries in a lost city underwater by the Sea’s guardian. One day, the Sea became entranced by a pirate who had dedicated years to sailing. She would give him favorable waves and give his enemies storms. The pirate that the Sea had begun to favor became known as the Pirate King.” Dream said the title with a sneer and malicious tone. “The Pirate King caught on to the Sea’s affection for him and he manipulated Her. For years he’s controlled the waters. He attacked ships and killed pirates for entertainment holding no value to human life. There have been rumors on how to bring an end to the cruel Pirate King’s reign. There is a necklace that is tied to his power and whoever possesses the necklace will have the power to stop the Pirate King.” 

 

“What magic does the necklace have that makes it so powerful?” Wilbur asked. Before Dream could answer, another voice did.

 

“The Sea,” The unnamed pirate sitting on the barrel said. His eyes widened as if he hadn’t meant to speak before he saw their eyes on him and decided to continue. “The legend says that the Pirate King got his power from the Sea herself. He tricked Her into giving him her heart. The necklace is the Heart of the Sea. Whoever possesses the necklace has the power of the Sea on their side. The Pirate King was the original owner of the necklace. Lately, there have been rumors that the Pirate King lost the necklace but no one has been able to confirm the rumor because no one gets away from the Pirate King alive.” The pirate finished.

 

The necklace was the Sea’s heart. Suddenly, how Wilbur had gotten the necklace made more sense. He vividly remembered spending every night on the beach talking to the ocean as if it was listening to him. Wilbur remembered the solace he found nine years ago sitting on the beach and watching the horizon. He had always felt at home when he was on the beach. When a bright necklace had washed up one night ending right in front of the ten-year-old’s crossed legs, Wilbur didn’t question it. Instead he put it on and planned on pawning it for some gold to pay for his next meal. After wearing it for a while, Wilbur found himself keeping the necklace instead of selling it off, something inside him not wanting to part from the most valuable thing he would ever own.

 

But the necklace had belonged to the Pirate King? The legend that Dream had just recited wasn’t unfamiliar to Wilbur. In fact, Wilbur had heard many variations of the story as it was one of the stories the caretakers would tell the orphans. The version the caretakers tended to say was similar to Dream’s retelling, about how the Pirate King was ruthless and terrifying, striking down any ships he sees just for fun. There were other variations that Wilbur had heard though. Stories about how the Pirate King was a kind and gentle man who did whatever he could to help those in need. There were so many different iterations of the story any one of them could be true.

 

Wilbur glanced at Dream who was glaring out to the sea with his arms crossed. Sapnap stood beside Dream, playing off that he was casually fixing his gun but Wilbur could see the side glances he would throw Dream’s way. The unnamed pirate didn’t try and hide his staring at Dream. Then, Wilbur brought his gaze up to the flag of the ship. That smiley flag had been a constant in Wilbur’s nightmares. The dreams that he would wake up from in a sweat unable to remember anything but that green flag.

 

Being faced with the flag made the memories clearer. Wilbur could remember the night ten years ago when pirates ravaged his village with no end goal except to bring chaos to the land. He remembered hiding behind a crate praying to any god that was listening that no one would find him. That green smiley flag haunting him from the docks. Wilbur remembered watching the attack freeze at the approach of two more ships, one ship hoisting a flag with a crow and the other ship with a flag depicting a broadsword. Both incoming ships were also sailing smaller flags with a black withered skull under their main flag. Thus, with their entrance, the chaos went from pirates attacking villagers to pirates fighting pirates. 

 

Wilbur remembered the moment he was found in his spot. A pirate stood over him, wearing a dark green cloak and a pinstripe bucket hat over his shoulder-length blond hair. Had Wilbur’s fear not been his main priority he would have been mesmerized by the beautiful jewelry the man wore. Two emerald earrings, multiple different rings adorned with many different colored gems. What stood out most was a gold necklace chain with a red heart gem. The pirate hadn’t hurt Wilbur though. Wilbur could recall the feeling of a hand gently ruffling his hair and a sad smile being directed his way before a pouch of gold coins was dropped into his hands. 

 

Wilbur has to stop himself from physically reacting at his realization. Oh seas, had he met the Pirate King? He was saved by the Pirate King. From Dream. That day had always been jumbled in Wilbur’s memories and he had never been able to piece it together in order without missing something. But things were familiar and now Wilbur could remember clearly for the first time since the attack happened. Seas, he wanted to throw up now. 

 

Wilbur didn’t waste time attempting to regain his composure. He has always excelled at acting. It was how he survived as a kid, charming people out of their gold and playing the poor kid on the street. Although he hadn’t needed to pull out a performance much the past few years, his acting capabilities hadn’t gotten rusty. He had always been able to pull out an act and convince people of what he wanted them to hear, but now Wilbur could feel his act crumbling. 

 

He couldn’t stop the panic he was feeling. The anxiety that was running through Wilbur’s body multiplied as his mind ran with different thoughts. Wilbur had given Tommy the necklace. Tommy was in danger. This wasn’t just a necklace with magical properties, this was the necklace with magical properties. Who knows how many people would be searching for it besides Dream. Wilbur already knew that there were people in the Esempi vying for the necklace.

 

Wilbur put Tommy in danger. And Tommy didn’t know it. He was on that smuggler ship with a necklace that had the power to control the seas! Wilbur could only hope that Tommy can find his way to L’Manburg. The silence had gone on for too long and Dream turned from where he was looking out at the sea and gave Wilbur a calculating look. He stepped forward, arms still crossed and he began to speak in a calm yet threatening tone.

 

“Now, I want you to tell me where the Heart of the Sea is. I know you had it. Where is it?” Wilbur swallowed before squaring his shoulders and matching Dream’s stare. 

 

“I had the necklace before I left the Esempi,” Wilbur began with as honest of a tone he could craft. He tried to relax his body language to hide the tenseness he was feeling. “I was going to use it to pay for passage out of the nation, but a week ago someone stole it fro-”

 

“YOU’RE LYING,” Dream interrupted with a harsh scream, and Wilbur could have sworn he saw Dream’s green eyes flash a shade darker. Wilbur took a step back in shock as Dream’s expression took on a crazed expression. “I’ve been using magic to track the necklace’s magic and it led me to you. The residual magic on you from the necklace was fresh enough for me to know you had it within the day. So answer again, where is the necklace?” 

 

Wilbur’s mind was racing. He stayed silent, whether because of fear that he would accidentally say something that would put Tommy in more danger or because he didn’t know what to say, Wilbur wasn’t sure. Wilbur didn’t know what Dream would do to get the information from him or if he would leave Wilbur and try to find the necklace himself. He was anticipating some form of violence from the pirate considering his treatment of the imperial commander. Wilbur resolved to keep his mouth shut, too panicked to think of the best response to give. Dream did not take too kindly to Wilbur’s non-answer.

 

“Why aren’t you answering!” Dream stormed up to Wilbur, pulling out his sword grabbing Wilbur’s arm as he aimed the sword at Wilbur’s neck. Wilbur’s tiny height over Dream did nothing to diminish the threatening aura of the man. “Tell me where it is!” Wilbur felt the pressure of the sword on his chin and he felt a little bit of blood dribble down. A threat. 

 

“Dream,” A voice interjected before Dream could scream at Wilbur anymore. Both Dream and Wilbur turned to look at the pirate sitting on the barrel. He was giving Dream a sad look as he spoke, “Dream just, let it go for now.” The pirate said and Wilbur resisted a flinch when Dream’s grip on his arm tightened painfully. Dream seemed ready to turn his sword on the pirate and so he continued, keeping a soft tone as if talking down a child. “We know that he had the necklace, just put him in the brig. We can make him tell us later. It’s late and we all need to get some rest, please put the sword down.” Wilbur watched Dream’s face go from angry to considering to reluctantly accepting. 

 

“Fine George,” Dream let go of his grip on Wilbur and pushed him back with a scowl. “You can take him to the brig then.” Dream then stormed off, brushing shoulders with the other pirate, George, who had finally gotten off the barrel he had been sitting on. Sapnap looked between the two hesitantly before giving George an apologetic look and going after Dream. Oh, there was totally something more going on there. 

 

George grabbed Wilbur by the arm, gentler than Dream had, and guided him down to the bottom level of the ship where the brig sat. Of the many empty cells in the brig, George directed Wilbur to the largest sitting in the middle of the area. Once he had closed the cell door George looked at Wilbur. He had looked like he wanted to say something, opening and closing his mouth a couple of times before clenching his fists and just walking away. Wilbur narrowed his eyes looking at the doorway that George had walked out of before leaning back against the metal bars. He hadn’t been sitting there for a while before the adrenaline died down and he felt himself begin to drift off into a restless sleep.

 

————

 

Wilbur woke up early the next day but found himself stuck alone in the brig until at least midday. He had tried to pick the lock on the door, but there was something that was making it difficult. Magic, he suspected. Dream had mentioned using tracking magic so Wilbur wouldn’t put it past him to use magic on the ship. There had to be some sort of magic that made it impossible to pick locks right? He had spent nearly twenty minutes straight trying to pick the lock before he gave up and decided that he would try it later.

 

It wasn’t until what Wilbur thought was a couple of hours later that someone made their way into the brig carrying a tray of food. It was George, wearing the same uneasy face he had on earlier. He was wearing the same outfit he had on the night before, he must have slept in it.

 

George slid the tray of food he brought through a gap in the bars and Wilbur was surprised by the decently sized portions considering his status as prisoner-who-is-withholding-necessary-information-for-Dream’s-quest-to-continue. Dream had seemed like the type to give him tiny portions or not give him food at all. Wilbur grabbed the tray out of George’s waiting hands and took it back to sit down in the middle of the cell.

 

Surprisingly, instead of leaving, George sat down on the other side of the cell bars from Wilbur. 

 

“I’m George. If you didn’t know,” George introduced hesitantly. Wilbur eyed him before replying.

 

“Wilbur,” was all he offered. George seemed antsy about being down in the brig, glancing back up at the entrance and fiddling with the sleeves of his shirt. He took a deep breath before steeling his expression and facing Wilbur with as much surety that he’s seen on the pirate in the hours he’s known him.

 

“The necklace, the Heart of the Sea, there’s a lot of legends about its origin,” George began. “Not every telling is about thievery or manipulation. A lot of people believe that the Pirate King stole the necklace but there’s another version.” George had gained Wilbur’s attention. 

 

“Well, what happened then?” Wilbur asked after George had a nervous pause. Wilbur watched as George stopped fiddling with his sleeves and took on a serious expression.

 

“The Sea wasn’t tricked into giving up the necklace, instead She fell in love with the Pirate King and he fell in love with Her. The legend says that the Pirate King could all but fly across the seas. He sailed across the ocean with his loyal crew and right-hand man. They would free slaves, steal treasures from the Kingdoms, and help those who needed someone to stand up for them.

 

“For years the Kings of the lands shook their fists at the sight of the Pirate King’s flag, the calling crow and the withered skull. After years of sailing, the Pirate King decided to settle down from his life of violence and fighting. He passed his title of captain off to his right-hand man and retired to an island house. The flag of the calling crow was retired in favor of a flag depicting a broadsword.

 

“In his retirement, the Pirate King grew depressed, missing what he had loved the most. The Sea. The Pirate King wasn’t the only one who was longing though, the Sea had missed him as well. It wasn’t until tragedy struck that the Pirate King returned to the seas. His right-hand and his ship were attacked by the King of the Esempi and his men. The Pirate King, pulled across the sea, didn’t make it in time and was met with the sight of his ship and crew sinking and dying. 

 

“The Pirate King broke down at the sight of his men dying, wishing that he was there to prevent this from happening. The Sea felt the grief of the Pirate King as if it were her own. His tears were pouring into Her soul. She swallowed his tears and cries into her waters and turned the emotions into a rain and a storm that washed away the King of the Esempi and his ships. While the Pirate King wept, the sea mended his ship and used the Pirate King’s tears to bring a new life to his crew.

 

“The Pirate King watched as the Sea gave his crew new life. Still marred by their past destruction, the crew awoke with shock and a new passion. The Sea manifested a body for herself with the water. She promised the Pirate King that so long as he loved her and never strayed from her, she would bless him and his crew to sail the seas for as long as they pleased. She wouldn’t let any illness or trouble befall them with her. She promised this with a necklace to the Pirate King who loved her so much that he would have never said no.

 

“So the Pirate King rejoined his crew and began to once again sail the seas. He sailed across the seas with his crew for centuries before he once again split off from his crew. The Pirate King once again entrusted his right-hand to be the captain and they both split up sailing into the horizon.” Wilbur stared at George with wide eyes as he continued. “The Sea gave the Pirate King her heart because she loved him and wanted him to be happy. She wanted to show the Pirate King Her love for him and She wanted him to know that he could always call upon Her even though She would never stray far from him.”

 

“And which story do you believe?” Wilbur asked George with a raised eyebrow. “That She loved him or that he tricked Her?” George pursed his lips and turned to look at the entryway where they could faintly hear Dream shouting at the crew. He took a deep breath before turning to Wilbur with a sad smile.

 

“I like to think that the Sea gave her heart out willingly out of Her love for him.” George put his hands on the ground to push himself up into a standing position. “But it’s all legend, for all we know neither of the variations can be true. Regardless of what anyone says, rumor is that the Pirate King lost the necklace nine years ago. Whether it was the Sea reclaiming Her stolen heart from an unforgiving and cruel man or if it was stolen from the Pirate King no one knows.” 

 

“You seem to have strong feelings about this,” Wilbur commented. George shrugged before shaking his head and looking down at Wilbur.

 

“I don’t know how you got the necklace. Dream’s been searching for it using dark magic for years and he just got a lead on it. I don’t- I don’t think Dream is going about this the right way. Dark magic- it corrupts.” George shook his head again before he turned around and began to walk out. “I hope you find whatever it is that you’re looking for Wilbur. Just be aware, Dream’s not going to stop until he finds the Heart.” George then walked out, leaving Wilbur alone in the brig to eat his food. 

 

Sitting there, Wilbur mulled over the conversation they had just had. It was obvious that there was something more going on. George and Sapnap both obviously cared for Dream but there was something else there, a fear or hesitancy. George seemed to disapprove of Dream’s use of dark magic. 

 

There were also the legends of the Pirate King and the Sea’s heart. Wilbur had heard watered-down versions of the legends before, so he knew that there were opposing variations. Wilbur sighed and put his hands in his face with a groan as his brain tried to process all of the new information he had just received. Deciding to try and decode what he had just learned later, Wilbur grabbed the cutlery off the plate that George had given him and began to eat.

Chapter Text

Tommy doesn’t remember much from that night. He ended up in the captain’s quarters instead of in the hammocks with the rest of the crew. Tommy thought he remembered Niki nagging Technoblade or something along those lines because the captain had sighed before nodding and gesturing towards his cabin door. Then, Tommy was grabbed by gentle hands and led to the cabin where he was guided to the bed. He had collapsed into the captain’s bed in sobs and gasps as a gentle voice tried to talk him through it and gentle hands ran through his hair. They weren’t like Wilbur’s hands though. His hands were larger, rougher. 

 

Tommy woke up late the next morning with tear stains on his cheeks and an iron-clad grip on the necklace. He laid in the bed staring ahead numbly, fingers tracing the heart gem. As the events from the night before ran through his head Tommy could feel the tears forming, running down the side of his face and into the pillow. Silent tears turn into quiet sobs and Tommy sat up to lean against the wall. He pulled his knees up and wrapped his arms around himself, burying his head in his knees. 

 

Tommy didn’t know how long he sat like that before he heard the door open. It was then that he registered that he could hear the noise of the crew in the background. Tommy didn’t look up from where he sat though, not wanting to talk to anyone, especially a pirate who could care less about him. He could hear steps approaching him before there was a soft thud of something being placed on the bedside table. Instead of leaving, the person hovered as if wanting to say something. After a few awkward seconds, Tommy looked up to meet Technoblade’s eyes.

 

Tommy watched Technoblade’s internal debate on whether he should say something or not. Maybe in another situation, Tommy would make a joke about emotional constipation and the like. Instead of saying anything, Technoblade picked up the plate of food he had set on the bedside table and wordlessly offered it to Tommy. Tommy shook his head, he didn’t want to eat. His stomach was in knots if he ate anything he was sure he’d get sick. Technoblade put the plate back on the bedside before taking his hand and stiffly patting Tommy’s shoulder. 

 

“I’m sorry kid,” Tommy heard him mumble before he turned and walked out of the room. Tommy stared numbly at the spot the pirate had stood in. It wasn’t long before he had slouched back into the bed, drowning in thoughts about Wilbur being gone and how he was once again utterly alone.

 

————

 

It was just past midday when someone entered the cabin again. Tommy was laying under the blankets facing away from the door. He didn’t have the energy to turn over and see who it was. The food that was brought in earlier laid untouched on the table. Tommy was zoning out, staring into the wall when he heard a soft and unfamiliar voice address him.

 

“Hey mate,” Tommy put the minimum of effort in turning to face the intruder. He was a short man with shoulder-length blond hair hidden under a green and white bucket hat. His clothes were covered by his long dark green cape. He was giving Tommy a pitying yet inquisitive look and he was bending down on his knees so that he was eye level with Tommy. Behind him Technoblade stood, Tommy can see the loss of the tension that had plagued Technoblade’s body ever since he had seen Tommy with the necklace.

 

This guy must be his friend then. 

 

“My name is Philza, you can call me Phil though,” The man offered with a sad smile. Tommy didn’t respond, unable to find his voice. Phil didn’t get angry at the lack of response, instead continuing to talk. “Tommy, is it? Technoblade told me that you have something that belonged to me.” That earned a reaction out of Tommy. Tommy’s hands immediately tightened around the necklace, as if to keep Phil from trying to take it back. Phil noticed this but didn’t react in the way Tommy was anticipating. “I’m not mad,” Phil reassured. 

 

Tommy didn’t believe him, giving him a wary glance. Phil must have been prepared for that because he didn’t look surprised. Phil glanced behind him at Technoblade and the other pirate answered Phil’s unasked question with a nod before stepping out of the cabin. Phil turned back to face Tommy with a gentle expression. 

 

“Tommy, how about we go out onto the deck? You’ve been cooped up in here all day haven’t you?” Phil asked softly. Tommy clenched the fist that wasn’t holding the necklace, trying to decode whatever intentions Phil had. He didn’t detect any malice or vindictiveness, but Phil could have been putting on an act. Tommy’s seen Wilbur do so too many times to not consider it a possibility. Tommy couldn’t detect any threat from Phil, but then again he was a pirate. He should never let his guard down in front of pirate and no matter how pathetic Phil looked with that stupid hat and his stupid smile he shouldn’t underestimate him. Wilbur had preached to Tommy that he should never underestimate a pirate or else he could find himself with a sword at his neck.

 

Tommy finally gave a weak nod in response to Phil, slowly pulling himself up and out of the bed. Phil got up from his spot and took a step back as he watched Tommy stand before the younger looked at the older expectantly. Tommy followed Phil out of the cabin, refusing to turn his back to the unknown pirate. That was another one of Wilbur’s lectures. Taking a deep breath, Tommy stepped out and was met with the bright light from the sun. Technoblade was waiting, leaning against the ship’s railing with crossed arms. Phil approached Technoblade and leaned against the rails beside him, facing the sea with a wistful look. Tommy cautiously walked towards them but instead of going to the railing, he sat on a barrel that was placed against the bottom of the mast.

 

Tommy watched with slight curiosity as the crew who were working on the main deck slowly began to filter to different parts of the ship until it was just the three of them on the deck. If that wasn’t shady shit then Tommy didn’t know what was. He felt like he was about to get jumped or some shit. Phil turned around to face Tommy again and his expression didn’t turn hostile like Tommy was expecting. 

 

“I was surprised when Techno came looking for me worried that I was dead,” Phil began and Technoblade scowled. Phil gave a laugh at Technoblade’s face, “Mate, it’s okay to care, I’m not making fun of you.” Technoblade glared forward. “In fact, I was even more surprised when Techno said that some kid had my necklace.” Phil looked down at the necklace that was hidden in Tommy’s hand. This was Wilbur’s necklace, not Phil’s. “Where did you get it?” Phil asked with a curious head tilt. Tommy narrowed his eyes, trying to spot the predicted anger he would get from Phil but there was still none. Scowling Tommy answered with a weak voice.

 

“It was Wilbur’s necklace,” Tommy noted the crease between Phil’s eyebrows. “He’s had it for years since before we met and he gave it to me just before- just before they took him.” Tommy steeled himself, trying not to pay any mind to the crack in his voice or the tears that had wanted to form in his eyes. He gave a look to Phil, daring the pirate to challenge him. The pirate didn’t take any offense to Tommy’s glare he just nodded for Tommy to continue. “There- people have been chasing Wil for it because it has magic or something.” Phil looked at Tommy intently before giving him a small smile. 

 

“It’s not just magic mate.” Tommy’s eyes widened slightly at Phil’s words before he narrowed them suspiciously. Phil turned back to the railings his smile widening before he called out, “My love.” Nothing happened for a second and just before Tommy started talking about how pirates are crazier than he had originally thought, the ocean water began to move. Tommy watched in awe from his spot on the barrel as the water rose in the distance, twisting into a pillar coming closer to the ship. As the pillar of water got closer, the top of the pillar took the shape of the upper body of a woman who was leaning her arms against the railing of the ship across the Phil with a smile.

 

Tommy stared in wide-eyed shock as the water-lady-sea-woman smiled lovingly at the blond pirate who was smiling back with the same, if not more, love. Tommy gaped, opening and closing his mouth at the sight of the water-lady. He made a noise of shock as the water-lady leaned forward and touched foreheads with Phil. Their foreheads rested against each other and the water remained a solid surface. At Tommy’s shocked noise the water-lady leaned back and turned to him with a smile of amusement. 

 

“What the fuck,” Tommy whispered, looking between the water-lady, Phil, and Technoblade who seemed to be taking this as a normal occurrence. “What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck,” Tommy got louder as he pointed his finger at the three of them. The water-lady laughed a melodious laugh and the water pillar she sat upon rose so that she could go over the railing and onto the ship, water dripping on the deck. The pillar of water extended until the water-lady was next to Tommy. 

 

“Hi Tommy,” The water-lady spoke, Tommy could hear the smile in her voice. He stared at her in shock not knowing what to say. “It’s nice to finally meet you,” Her smile was bright and excited. 

 

“What the fuck you water-lady, how do you know me?” Tommy couldn’t help himself replying. He heard Technoblade snort from where he stood at the railing beside Phil. The water-lady laughs heartily at Tommy’s response. 

 

“I’ve watched you, Tommy,” She responded softly. Tommy startled at that, giving her a look.

 

“And that’s not fucking creepy at all.” He responded in kind. That brought another laugh from the water-lady. She shook her head and leaned closer into Tommy’s space and he could feel small water droplets land on his shoulder. The water-lady smiled down at Tommy.

 

“Tommy,” She began with a smile and a soft tone. “This,” she put a finger on the heart necklace that had fallen out of Tommy’s hand during his episode of shock. “Is my heart.” She finished. Tommy stared at her like she was crazy but at this point, he didn’t know if she was the crazy one or if he was just imagining things. “I’m the Sea.”

 

“Holy shit Wilbur would kill me if he found out I’ve been doing drugs, I mean I don’t think I did but I must have done something,” Tommy began to ramble under his breath. What the fuck. The water-lady laughed again- she laughs a lot Tommy noted. 

 

“I’m the Sea, Tommy. The waters of the shores, the waters you’re sailing on right now, that’s me.” The Sea-lady explained. “That on your neck is my heart. Through it and through Wilbur I’ve gotten to know you, Tommy.” Tommy was feeling too many conflicting emotions. Instead, he decided to default to a brash understanding.

 

“Okay stalker Sea-lady,” Tommy nodded in an attempt to regain control of the conversation. “So I have your heart on a necklace that my brother has been carrying around for years because that makes total sense. Yes, I think I understand now.” Tommy could hear Phil sigh from the railing before the blond pirate stepped up. 

 

“Tommy, have you heard the legends? About the Pirate King and the Sea?” He asked. 

 

Tommy furrowed his eyebrows in thought as he tried to remember. It sounded familiar. He could faintly remember different tales of the Pirate King and his adventures being told to him when he was a kid with his parents. Nothing stuck though. But he did remember Wilbur telling Tommy something about it. Wilbur told him that there were different stories of the Pirate King told by different people and no one knew which one was true. Something about the Pirate King and the Sea, he fell in love with Her and then She tricked him. No, he tricked Her? Or was there not any tricking? Tommy glanced up and saw everyone looking at him expectantly and so he straightened his shoulders and nodded.

 

“Of course I have big man. Who hasn’t?” Tommy nodded, crossing his arms. He saw Phil slump his shoulders and shake his head before he looked back up to Tommy.

 

“Okay well, the main part you need to know is that the Pirate King and the Sea fell in love. The Sea gave the Pirate King Her heart as a sign of Her love for him. That necklace is Her heart.” Tommy looked down at the necklace and then back up to Phil and then the Sea-lady. 

 

“Then how did Wil get this? Did the Pirate King lose the necklace?” Tommy asked. 

 

“No,” The Sea-lady answered. “There was an attack on the Pirate King by dark magic users nine years ago. They stole my heart and the Pirate King sank their ships.” She paused, glancing over to Phil who was looking as if he wanted to hear the answer more than Tommy. “There was the Pirate King, and then there was Wilbur. My little boy who would find his way at the beach every night for months on end. I figured the Pirate King has had my heart for centuries he wouldn’t mind sharing for a decade or two.” She finished with a cautious glance to Phil. Tommy followed her gaze to see Phil was clearly in thought. 

 

“Well, I don’t think the Pirate King would have minded if he had gotten a warning first.” He gave a soft smile that the Sea-lady returned. Tommy watched the exchange with narrow eyebrows before brushing it off as they continued to the main topic of the conversation. The Sea-lady turned to Tommy, grabbing his hands with her own watery ones. They were just as solid and firm as if he was holding another person’s hands.

 

“I gave Wilbur my heart years ago and I got to know him and through him I got to know you. I could feel the love he held in his own heart for you.” She gently told Tommy, her grip on his hands tightening. He didn’t know why but those words were just enough to crumble his put-together facade. She cupped his cheeks and continued, “He loves you so much Tommy, I could feel it before he passed the necklace to you.” Her thumbs brushed the tears that fell down his cheeks. She pulled him into a comforting hug and began to brush her hand through his hair. It was similar to the feeling he got when they were underwater on their way to Wilbur. 

 

“Wilbur’s gone through,” Tommy let out in a broken whisper. “He should have hidden with me the stupid idiot.” Tommy cried. He felt the hand brushing through his hair pause before he was being pulled back and faced with the Sea-lady’s concerned and confused gaze. “He blew up,” Tommy near-sobbed curling back in on himself.

 

“Tommy, honey, Wilbur wasn’t on the ship when it blew up.” The Sea-lady claimed. Tommy’s head snapped in Her direction and he eyed Her with shock. She didn’t just gain Tommy’s attention, Phil and Technoblade were also staring at the Sea-lady with rapt attention. 

 

“What?” Tommy asked weakly, hands shaking and eyes watering again. The Sea-lady looked to Phil and Technoblade urgently to see that they were both in a state of confusion like Tommy. Tommy seemed to collect himself enough to reach for the Sea-lady’s arm desperately. “What do you mean? Is Wilbur alive?” Seeing the childish hope adorning Tommy’s distraught face, the Sea-lady couldn’t help but pull him into another hug. 

 

“Tommy, darling,” She pulled back and put her hands on his shoulders making direct eye contact with the boy. “I am the Sea, the waters are my realm. I can see anyone who sails on my waters. When you and Wilbur first got on that boat I knew and I sent Technoblade in your direction to make sure you were safe.” At this, Technoblade scrunched his nose as if he just realized something. She didn’t pay him any attention and continued to speak, “I kept an eye on Wilbur when he got on another ship. Wilbur was on the imperial ship, but then he wasn’t. He disappeared from my sight.” Phil stepped forward with a worried expression.

 

“What do you mean?” Tommy’s voice was small. “Does that mean Wilbur died?” The Sea-lady shook her head in response immediately. She sent a glance in Phil’s direction, maintaining eye contact with him as She spoke.

 

“Before you joined Technoblade, Tommy, Wilbur’s presence on the imperial ship just disappeared. It wasn’t as if he died, I felt the imperial commander die moments after Wilbur had disappeared. Whatever happened that made it so I can’t see Wilbur, it wasn’t him dying.” She turned Her gaze to Tommy to be met with the myriad of emotions crossing the teen’s face. 

 

“What does that mean?” Tommy was quick to ask, he gripped her arms as he asked. “Where’s Wilbur? We need to go find him if he’s alive! He could be in danger,” Tommy continued to ramble. The Sea-lady let go of Tommy’s shoulders to card her fingers through his hair again.

 

“I don’t know where he is. I can’t see him.” She told Tommy, freezing him in his tracks. “I’m afraid he might be stuck on a ship with dark magic. That’s the only thing that can blind me from my own waters. That’s the only thing I can think of.”

 

“Dark magic?” Phil asked, and he and Technoblade shared a concerned look. “That shouldn’t- I thought-” 

 

“Nothing else can bypass my vision.” The Sea-lady interrupted. Phil pursed his lips, and Tommy wasn’t sure what he was so worried about. 

 

“Okay, so let's pose the scenario,” Technoblade interjected with a monotone voice. “Wilbur was on the imperial ship. A ship using dark magic approaches the imperial ship, for whatever reason they take Wilbur prisoner and then blow up the imperial ship behind them.” Despite the fact that this scenario placed Wilbur as a prisoner of a pirate using dark magic, Tommy couldn’t help but hope that this is what happened if it meant that Wilbur was still alive.

 

“We have to go find him then. We need to save him!” Tommy exclaimed. Phil and Technoblade shared unsure looks and Tommy bristled seeing that. The Sea-lady apparently wasn’t a fan of it either as suddenly a large wave of water came over the railing completely soaking the two of them. Tommy stared, shocked out of his anger and into laughter. He was really liking this Sea-lady. Why hadn’t Wilbur introduced them sooner? Phil directed a pleading look towards the Sea-lady and Tommy watched her expression shift to accepting. She turned back to face Tommy.

 

“It probably isn’t the best idea to go headfirst after the pirate who has Wilbur on his ship,” The Sea-lady admitted. Before Tommy could protest she continued. “They could be dangerous and there’s only so much I can do against them. I promise you that I will stay alert and I’ll keep an eye out for Wilbur and point him in your direction.” Tommy’s anger is temporarily pacified when the Sea-lady leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead. Similar to how a mother would comfort her child. She stepped back and turned to address Phil and Technoblade. “The use of dark magic across the waters is increasing. It’s becoming stronger, there are more dark spots in my vision. It weakens me, but I won’t let that stop me from finding Wilbur.” Then she turned to Phil and gestured to him to step to the side. 

 

Tommy watched as the Sea-lady and Phil started talking in hushed whispers. It vaguely reminded him of when Wilbur would force Tommy to stay while he talked to someone else ‘you’re too young to get it,’ he would say. Technoblade walked from where he was perched against the railing to stand next to Tommy. Tommy saw him grab his hair and try and wring the water from it before he turned to address Tommy.

 

“Congrats on getting adopted by a literal deity,” Technoblade said, wringing out his “You won life, kid.” 

 

“What?” Tommy looks up at the man confused. Technoblade glances down at Tommy before looking back over at Phil and the Sea-lady. They’ve stopped talking and are now just staring at each other with soft smiles. The Sea-lady gave a grin before water started coming over the railing again and this time Phil is the lone victim. Suddenly, the pillar of water that makes the Sea-lady collapsed and the water dispersed, leaving behind the echo of melodic laughter. Phil laughed and shook his head, turning to smile out at the ocean. 

 

It took Tommy a few minutes for his brain to run through everything that just happened and process his emotions. 

 

First and most important, Wilbur is alive. He’s alive and he’s stuck on a ship with dark magic users. With his limited knowledge of magic, Tommy wasn’t sure of the extent of the threat. He could only presume that it’s worse than being on a ship with normal pirates because of Phil’s and Technoblade’s negative reaction. Also, the fact that the word ‘dark’ is the describing word of the magic. That must mean it’s not good, right?

 

Second, Tommy met the Sea. She was pretty cool and now the whole being-hunted-down-for-the-necklace-because-it-is-the-literal-Heart-of-the-Sea made a lot more sense. If Tommy assumed right, it’s not just the Esempi who was after the necklace. He felt that it wouldn’t be that far off of a guess to think that the pirates who took Wilbur took him because they wanted the necklace. It’s not like Wilbur owned anything else of a great value that pirates using dark magic would want. Wilbur was nearly dirt poor.

 

Third, Phil and Technoblade don’t want to go after Wilbur for some reason. Whether it be so they could save themselves or because they’re scared of dark magic Tommy wasn’t sure and he wasn’t going to hazard a guess. The Sea had agreed with them, but She had wanted to go after Wilbur at first too. It was like she cared for both him and Tommy a lot even though she had just met Tommy. Had Wilbur known about Her? Did he know that the necklace seven-year-old Tommy had tried to scam off him was the literal Heart of the Sea? Tommy didn’t know and he didn’t waste time trying to unpack all of that, he’d figure that out another day.

 

Fourth and finally, if Phil and Technoblade weren’t willing to go after Wilbur then Tommy would have to somehow get away from them so he could go after Wilbur on his own. Tommy wasn’t going to let anything take Wilbur from him. Phil and Technoblade would just have to deal with it if they disagreed. Tommy was just going to wait for an opportunity and when one presented itself, he’d take it and run. 

 

If he were being honest, other than what had just transpired Tommy had no connection to Technoblade and Phil. He didn’t mind leaving them at his earliest convenience especially if it meant saving his brother. Wilbur would be disappointed in him if he found out that he spent the night on a stranger’s ship too. All those stranger danger lectures gone to waste.

 

Looking up, Tommy could see Phil pulling off his wet hat and cloak while Technoblade embraced his wet clothes and walked back up to the helm. Tommy noted that a few crew members were starting to filter back onto the deck, Niki being one of the first. She took a look at the soaking wet Phil in Technoblade with furrowed eyebrows before she approached Tommy. 

 

“Hey Tommy, how are you feeling?” She asked gently. Tommy gave her a smirk, tracing his fingers over his necklace.

 

“I’m doing better.” Niki directed a genuine smile at Tommy.

 

“That’s great! Have you eaten anything yet? I had Techno bring in a plate of food for you earlier but I wasn’t sure if you would feel up to eating.”

 

“Uh- I haven’t eaten no,” Tommy rubbed the back of his head, why did admitting that to Niki make him feel guilty? Niki just hummed and told him she’d bring him something before she turned and left. Once she had left, Phil approached. 

 

“Hey,” Phil greeted. Tommy glanced at the man to see a soft smile on his face as he glanced between Tommy and the necklace. Tommy gripped the necklace before letting it go and looking at Phil questioningly.

 

“Do you- are you going to want this back?” Tommy asked quietly, reluctant to give it up. “Y’know, since you said it was yours at one point.” Tommy tried to play it off with a shrug and a calm expression. Phil shook his head to Tommy’s surprise. 

 

“Nah, mate. It’s yours for now. The Sea wouldn’t let you wear it if She didn’t want you to.” Tommy let out a soft ‘oh’ and his shoulders slumped a little in relief. “You do know what it means that you’re wearing that though right?” Tommy shook his head. “It means that the Sea has willingly given you Her heart. She cares about you, Wilbur too. It means She cares about you two enough that She’s willing to give you Her heart, essentially like you two are her children.” 

 

“What?” Tommy asked with wide eyes. It made sense if he thought about it. The comforting hugs and the motherly kiss on his forehead. Like something a person would do with a family member that they cared very much about. The Sea-lady had acted as if she had known Tommy for years with her touches. Phil smiled at him.

 

“Giving the Heart out can be dangerous if the wrong person gets ahold of it. She would only entrust it to those that she cared for.” Tommy suddenly felt a warmth blossom in his chest at the thought. It was a nice feeling, he decided. He looked at Phil in thought.

 

“Why can’t we go after Wilbur?” He asked. Phil sighed and glanced to the side before making eye contact with Tommy.

 

“Going after Wilbur right now is a risk, especially with the necklace in our possession. I’d reckon it’s safe to assume that whoever took him is after the necklace and by going after him we’d be bringing the necklace straight to them. Besides, even if we were to go after him, where would we start? We have no heading.” 

 

“We’re set to make it to Pogtopia by nightfall at the speed we’re going. When we get there we’ll restock and we can ask around, see if anyone knows anything about who’s going around with dark magic.” Technoblade interjected, looking down at them from his spot at the helm. Tommy wanted to protest but was halted by Niki reappearing with a plate of food held out in front of her. Tommy’s eyes widened and his stomach growled, reminding him that he hadn’t eaten since his late breakfast on the smuggler ship, just before he and Wilbur had fallen asleep from being on the lookout the night before. Tommy offered Niki a thanks before he turned back to the conversation and started eating. 

 

“So when the Sea-lady senses or sees Wilbur she’ll tell us where he is?” Tommy asked.

 

“She’ll tell us, just not the same way She just talked to us. It takes a lot for Her to take on a physical form like that and if the use of dark magic is increasing then it’ll be more difficult for Her. Dark magic drains the life out of the souls around it. She’ll most likely make sure to push us in the right direction.” Phil explained. Tommy looked at him with narrowed eyes. Phil leaned back as Tommy leaned forward over his food to stare at Phil as if analyzing him. 

 

“Who even are you? How do you know so much about this?”

 

“I’m the Pirate King mate,” Phil answered with a raised eyebrow, confused and oh. Oh, that makes sense. Tommy didn’t pick up the clues, there were context clues and he missed them! The lovey-dovey looks between him and the Sea-lady, calling Her ‘my love’ and also being the previous owner of the necklace. Shit, why didn’t he make the connection? Tommy nearly face palmed but instead tried to recover from this embarrassing oversight. 

 

“Yeah, I knew that. I was just making sure you did.” Tommy nodded to himself. Smooth. 

 

“Technically, that makes him your dad,” Technoblade drawled from the helm. 

 

“WHAT?” Came Phil’s response while Tommy choked on the food he was swallowing. Niki patted Tommy’s back as he coughed while Phil looked at Technoblade as if he had grown two heads. Phil shook his head with an exasperated sigh. “I can’t leave you for a decade and you’re coming up with crazy ideas.” Tommy heard Phil mutter to himself.

 

“What do you need us to do, captain?” Niki turned to look up at Technoblade.

 

“We should be able to dock before nightfall, go count up our supplies, see what we’ll need to restock on,” Tommy distracted himself listening to Technoblade’s orders. If they were stopping at a port- Pogtopia- then Tommy could use that as his chance to get away from Phil and Technoblade and go look for Wilbur. 

“Pogtopia is longer than a few hours travel from here though,” Niki stated looking at Technoblade confused. Phil stepped in, pointing to the necklace that was around Tommy’s neck.

 

“With the necklace, we can get around faster” At Tommy’s and Niki’s confused stares Phil elaborated, “It was one of Her promises when She gave it to me, that I would have faster waters and so by having the necklace with us we have faster waters. What would have been a twelve-hour journey to Pogtopia would be turned into just a few hours with the right winds and currents. Niki nodded and quickly got to work relaying Technoblade’s orders to the crew. Phil stayed next to Tommy. The boy to give him a side-glance.

 

“So Tommy,” Phil started. “Why don’t you tell me about yourself and Wilbur?” Phil asked. 

Chapter Text

Just like Technoblade had predicted they had reached Pogtopia near the end of the day. Tommy stared in awe as they approached the port. It was a beautiful port, separated from the rest of the mainland by the tall cliffs surrounding it. There was a waterfall down one cliff, the water leading into a small river that fed into the ocean. Plenty of lanterns keep the port lit as a large number of people mingle and walk around bouncing from stall to stall.

 

As they pulled up to the dock, Tommy hesitantly grabbed the necklace and tugged it into his shirt and under his bandana. As Tommy went to follow some of the departing crew, a hand on his shoulder stopped him. Turning, Tommy looked up to make eye contact with Technoblade. Phil came up behind them and eyed Technoblade confusedly as he adjusted his hat and pulled his cloak on. 

 

“What’s wrong mate?” Phil asked. 

 

“I don’t know if it’s a good idea for the kid to go. He could wander and get lost.” Technoblade answered much to Tommy’s chagrin.

 

“I can handle myself. I’m not a fucking kid,” He scowled crossing his arms. Phil seemed to deem Techno’s response as a valid enough concern that he actually seemed to be considering it.

 

“Tommy, how about you stick with me then?” Phil suggested instead of saying Tommy should stay. Tommy narrowed his eyes unhappily but nodded in agreement. He didn’t want to be stuck on the ship. If he went with Phil then he’d just have to find a moment to sneak off. Easy. But how far would he be able to get before Phil realized and caught up with him? Technoblade seemed to still have worries.

 

“Phil, are you sure?”

 

“Mate, it’s just a kid, how hard is he to lose?”

 

“Have you ever taken care of a kid before?”

 

“I’m right fucking here!” Tommy glared and Phil chuckled.

 

“Since when did you become a worrier, Techno?” Technoblade rolled his eyes at Phil before giving Tommy one more glance and then walking off the ship to help the crew restock. Phil put his hand on Tommy’s back and guided him off the ship and down the dock. They walked past the merchant stalls, Phil smiling kindly at passerby while Tommy snatched a few knick-knacks that caught his eye. At least, until Phil caught Tommy. Phil gave Tommy a look that had him looking at the adult guiltily.

 

“Just don’t get caught.”

 

“Okay…Dad,” Tommy snickered and Phil rolled his eyes and shook his head.

 

“Fuckin- you little shit let’s just go we’re almost to the tavern.” Phil shook his head and started walking back to the tavern with Tommy following behind. When they reached that tavern, Phil fell back in step with Tommy. “I need to talk with someone while we’re here just- stick around.” Phil gave Tommy a look that Tommy would call, dare he say, parental. He nodded, despite his intentions to sneak away the first chance he got, and followed as Phil turned around and entered the tavern.

 

The tavern was bright with lights and loud with chatter and discussion among pirates. Tommy’s eyes widened at the huge crowd of pirates spread out in the bar. There were pirates standing and talking, pirates drinking by themselves, and other pirates just sitting and observing. Glancing up at Phil, Tommy saw him eyeing a table next to a rum keg. 

 

“Hey, Phil,” The older man hummed in response. “Do you think I could have a drink of-”

 

No,” Phil’s gaze snapped to Tommy with a warning glare. Tommy raised his hands in a surrendering motion before following Phil to the table he was eyeing. “I need to talk to someone, I’m not sure how much you’ll want to be there for-”

 

“‘Adult talk’ yeah yeah I got it.” Tommy rolled his eyes. Phil gave a soft smile before walking to the table leaving Tommy behind. He sat across from a woman with curly blonde hair and a large tricorn hat. She wore a long red coat and Tommy could see a cutlass strapped on either side of her waist. This was Tommy’s chance to get away. Phil would be distracted with the conversation for enough time for Tommy to find a way out at least.

 

Turning around, Tommy looked around as he made his way to the front of the tavern. There were all kinds of pirates in the building but Tommy didn’t have the time to look around, he needed to hurry. Rushing to get to the exit of the tavern Tommy didn’t notice the two people on his side and when he abruptly turned to get out of the door he ran straight into a tall body. The person stumbled, catching himself by grabbing the shoulders of the shorter person beside him. He turned to face Tommy apologetically.

 

“I am so sorry,” He apologized immediately. The shorter one hit the taller one in the arm roughly before glaring at both him and then Tommy.

 

“Ranboo, don’t apologize it was his fault! Assert yourself.” The taller one, Ranboo, looked at Tommy hesitantly before looking back to his companion. 

 

Ranboo was very tall with dual colored black and white hair. He wore a plain white button-up and black pants. Despite his height over everyone in the bar, he shrunk in on himself self-consciously. Ranboo’s companion was much shorter than him, a brunette wearing a light green button up top, beige pants, and a beanie. Tommy could very clearly see the scowl the companion was aiming towards him.

 

“But Tubbo-”

 

“No, Ranboo! Stop letting people push you around and stand up for yourself!” Tubbo exclaimed pointing a finger at Ranboo. Tommy watched the exchange with a confused eye, watching as Ranboo began to look uncomfortable with the thought of confronting Tommy. Tommy stepped up.

 

“Yeah big man. You can’t let people push you around,” Tommy began and Tubbo gave him a quick look of surprise before turning to Ranboo and nodding along with Tommy. “I ran into you, so why are you apologizing?” Ranboo began to fidget with his sleeves.

 

“I mean- I was- I got in your way?” Ranboo seemed unsure. Tommy crossed his arms and gave the boy a questioning look.

 

“You were standing in my way? Or was it that I was just not paying enough attention to see you were in my way and instead of going around you I ran into you thus it was me inconveniencing you?” Tommy asked with a raised eyebrow. Ranboo still seemed a little hesitant at responding, but finally did whenever Tubbo’s elbow hit him in the side.

 

“You weren’t paying attention and hit me?” Ranboo’s shoulders were tense and Tommy could feel the awkwardness emanating off the boy. 

 

“That’s right, big man,” Tommy nodded. “I should be apologizing to you. Don’t be such a pushover.”

 

“Awesome! Now that you finally have a backbone, start a bar fight Ranboo.” Tubbo jumped up and down in his spot, looking up at Ranboo eagerly. The taller boy recoiled and stared down at Tubbo alarmed.

 

“What?” Ranboo looked around to make sure no one heard Tubbo who stood beside him grinning like a maniac. Tommy turned back to glance at the table Phil was at to see him completely engrossed in his conversation with the other pirate before he turned to say his goodbyes to the two he just met. 

 

“I gotta get out of here- uh it was nice to meet you?” Tommy offered the two as he began to walk backwards to the exit. Tubbo furrowed his brow in interest before grabbing Ranboo’s sleeve and walking to follow Tommy.

 

“Where are you going?” Tubbo followed Tommy out of the tavern and into the street with Ranboo at his heels. “You’re leaving awfully fast. Are you running from someone? Pirates? Oh is someone trying to kill you?” Tommy turned to look at Tubbo.

 

“Uh no, I just need to look for a way to get out of here before the crew of my ship notices I’m gone.” Tommy answered with narrowed eyebrows at Tubbo. Tubbo looked even more excited at that. 

 

“Why? Are you trying to get away from your crew?” Ranboo asked, seeming slightly worried. Tubbo nodded in agreement at the question.

 

“Yeah, are they bad people? Pirates? Did they kidnap you? You need saving, bossman?” Tubbo rubbed his hands together looking too excited at the prospect of Tommy being held against his will by pirates.

 

“I’m not-” Tommy paused to think for a second. Technically, he could say that he was kidnapped by the pirates. Technoblade did take him against his will off the smuggler ship and Phil refuses to let him go after Wilbur which is what he wants to do. So technically if he said he was being held against his will it would be true. “Yes,” Tommy nodded. “I am being held on a ship against my will. I have to go save my brother and they refuse to let me leave.” Tubbo looked overjoyed. That was a little unsettling. Ranboo, however, looked concerned.

 

“Are you- are you okay?” Ranboo asked, looking at Tommy for any injuries. He seemed very concerned despite the fact that Tommy was a stranger who nearly plowed him down moments earlier. 

 

“Do you need rescuing? Ranboo we can be heroes! The Captain would be so proud!” Tubbo was bouncing up and down in his spot with a large grin across his face. Ranboo didn’t seem as excited as Tubbo did instead looking worried. 

 

“Tubbo I don’t know- I mean, shouldn’t we be doing this with no ulterior motives.” Tubbo scowled.

 

“We’re pirates, we always have ulterior motives.” Tubbo then turned to Tommy. “Alright bossman, we can get you away from those evil pirates you’re stuck with for a price.” Tubbo stuck his hand out. “Forty gold.”

 

“I don’t have any gold,” Tommy replied.

 

“Fine, we’ll give you a deal just this once though.”

 

“How are you sure that you’d be able to do anything? Do you even have a ship?”

 

“Do we even have a ship?” Tubbo laughed. “Ranboo do you hear this guy?” Tubbo came around to Tommy and put an arm around his shoulder leading him to the docks, on the complete other side of where Technoblade’s ship was. Tommy ducked his head down as they walked by. Tubbo led him to where a large ship sat, smaller than Technoblade’s but still larger than Tommy expected. What stood out the most on the ship though was the wooden figurehead that looked to be a child- a hybrid of sorts? Tommy couldn’t tell.

 

“This is yours?” He asked, looking at Tubbo in awe. Tubbo looked smug.

 

“Word of advice, marry rich.” He winked. “Say hello to The Beloved.” Tubbo grinned at the ship. There was a cough behind them and Tommy and Tubbo turned around to face Ranboo. Ranboo looked over at Tubbo unsure.

 

“Tubbo, a word please?” Tubbo pursed his lips and left his spot beside Tommy to stand in front of Ranboo where they began to exchange whispers. Tommy turned his gaze back to the ship while he listened to their not-so-quiet discussion. 

 

“What’s up?”

 

“Tubbo, are you sure about this?”

 

“Yeah Ranboo, it’ll be fine quit worrying, live a little!”

 

“We don’t know this guy. He’s a total stranger and we- we don’t even know his name!” There was a pause.

 

“Hey bossman what’s your name?” Tubbo called and Tommy turned to see Ranboo holding his face in his hands exasperatedly. 

 

“Tommy,” Tubbo turned back to Ranboo gesturing out with his arms.

 

“See Boo! His name is Tommy, that’s a respectable name! C’mon we’ve been doing all the boring jobs, let’s do something that could be fun!” Tommy saw Tubbo step forward and he said something, quiet enough that Tommy couldn’t hear. Ranboo relaxed a little bit and nodded, but he still seemed hesitant about the whole thing. Tubbo turned to Tommy with a grin.

 

“We’re good to go bossman!” Tubbo gestured to the ramp leading up on the ship. “Let’s go, the earlier we leave the better.” Tommy followed Tubbo and Ranboo up and onto the ship. They had a small crew for such a big ship, he could only see six people, all of them looked to be older than them too. Tubbo told the crew their plans to depart and get out of Pogtopia and the crew went to work.

 

The next thing Tommy knew, he was standing at the back of the helm watching the bustling city of Pogtopia shrink in the distance. Technoblade’s ship grew smaller and smaller the farther they got but Tommy couldn’t find himself feeling guilty for leaving him and Phil behind. He’d known them for a day and Wilbur for years. The choice was obvious. Reaching up and grabbing the necklace, Tommy looked down at the waters of the sea. 

 

“I’m sorry,” He whispered down at the water. “But I have to find Wilbur. He would do the same for me.”

 

————

 

Phil sat at the table of the tavern, the loud noise of conversation nearly drowning out his thoughts. He stared across the table at the grim-faced captain sitting across from him, her cup forgotten on the table as they talked. 

 

“You suspect there’s dark magic swarming the seas again?” Phil was asked. The man nodded with pursed lips.

 

“I have yet to encounter it directly myself, but I’ve heard that it’s returned. I need to know if that’s true.” The woman across from him took a breath and Phil noticed the worry in her eyes. “What is it Puffy?” Phil urgently asked at her look.

 

“Damn and I was hoping it wouldn’t be true,” Puffy began with a bitter laugh. “Sam was close to the northern docks of Las Nevadas about two weeks ago and he swears he saw a ship sailing among dark waters. He said it was there one second and the next it was gone and no one else on his crew saw it but him. Sam eventually said it might have been the rum he drank and he brushed it off as unimportant.”

 

“But not unimportant enough to keep it from you,” Phil pressed with a cool tone. Puffy stared at Phil before leaning forward to whisper harshly.

 

“There was a high chance it was the rum he had, there was no reason to cause a stir if he was seeing things. No one else on his crew saw it either.” 

 

“Puffy I need to know these things regardless of the chances of it being something his drunken mind made up.”

 

“Where have you been then Phil? You disappeared off the face of the earth for nine years and now you’re back and so is dark magic.” Puffy pointed an accusing finger in Phil’s direction. “How was I even supposed to find you to tell you? You’re the Pirate King Phil, you’re not meant to disappear.”

 

“You’re right,” Phil admitted, looking down at the table somewhat guiltily. “I was selfish and I put myself before my responsibilities, but I’m here now.” Puffy scrutinized Phil before losing the little hostility she had and relaxing across from him.

 

“He said that he couldn’t remember what was on the flag, the ship was too far for him to even get that good of a look, but the flag itself was lime green.” Phil froze, looking up at Puffy with wide eyes. 

 

“That’s-”

 

“Dream,” She nodded. Phil furrowed his brow in disbelief. 

 

“He hasn’t been heard from in years I had figured his ship was sunk,” Phil muttered, halted by Puffy’s laugh.

 

“Phil, if someone had sunk Dream’s ship they wouldn’t be quiet about it.”

 

“I guess you’re right, but you’re sure he couldn’t see what was on the flag?” Puffy nodded. “There’s still a chance that it’s not him.”

 

“Who other than the Scourge of the Seven Seas would fly that flag?” Puffy questioned and Phil was forced to admit she had a point. The lime green colored flag was associated with Dream ever since the pirate had originally donned the unusual color, no one else would dare fly a similar flag out of fear of connecting themselves to him. 

 

“What happened then? He wasn’t using dark magic years ago.” Puffy shrugged.

 

“I’ve told you everything I know. Dream has been quiet for a while and suddenly he ‘supposedly’ reappears in front of a drunk Sam. Something happened to him while he was gone that introduced him to dark magic and I’m sure it’s nothing good.” Puffy finally picked up her drink and downed the rest of it while Phil deliberated to himself.

 

“The last time I encountered Dream was ten years ago when he was raiding a village. He left that encounter two ships down and his tail between his legs. Since then I haven’t encountered him or heard about him.” Phil said. “Why would he go from raiding villages to dark magic?”

 

“Why would anyone try to learn dark magic? The power it gives is too much for some people to resist. If he couldn’t beat the Pirate King with three ships, what else is there for him?” 

 

“But how?” Phil stressed. “He must have found someone to teach him, but there shouldn’t be anyone on the seas who can teach him.”

 

“That doesn’t mean there isn’t someone somewhere.” Puffy crossed her arms and leaned back in her seat. “Phil, the seas might be your domain but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things on the land that you know about.” Phil pursed his lips at the point but he didn’t counter. “If Dream is dabbling in dark magic then you know it’s not good. He was bad enough without it.”

 

“Has his motivation changed then? Is he still trying to just rule the seas or do you think there’s something else he’s trying to do.” Phil asked, leaning forward on the table. Puffy shook her head and shrugged and Phil looked down in thought. 

 

Dark magic was supposed to be removed from the seas. If Dream had learned dark magic it must have been from someone on land, but where? And what does Dream plan to do with his knowledge? What could he be after? Phil’s eyes widened in realization. 

 

“Fuck,” Phil whispered, eyes wide. Puffy stared at him with a confused look waiting for him to elaborate but he ignored her, standing up out of his seat and looking around the tavern for the kid he left behind. When he couldn’t immediately spot the teen, panic built in his chest. He left the table, barely noting Puffy jumping up to follow behind him, and he looked around not spotting Tommy in the tavern at all.

 

“Phil, what are you doing?” Puffy called, following him out of the tavern. He didn’t answer right away, looking around to see if Tommy was in the area. When he couldn’t see the boy he turned back to answer Puffy who was giving him an expectant look. 

 

“I think I know what Dream’s after, I have to go.” Puffy did not look pleased, grabbing Phil’s arm to prevent him from walking away.

 

“Phil I swear if you disappear again-”

 

“I won’t Puffy. I’ll explain all of this I promise, but I have to go find a kid before he gets himself in trouble.” Puffy pursed her lips and tightened her grip on Phils arm for a second.

 

“I’m not the only one who will want an explanation Phil. Some of the other Lords have questions for you. You disappeared for no reason. If this is big, we’ll need to know what to prepare for.” She let go of Phil’s arm and he nodded to her.

 

“I promise,” He said before turning and quickly heading off to the docks. Arriving he quickly spotted Technoblade observing and helping the crew organize supply crates and barrels. Before he even called out his friend’s name the pirate turned and saw him. Technoblade looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

 

“Where’s the kid?” He asked, noting that Tommy wasn’t with Phil.

 

“I don’t know, I was hoping he had made his way back over here.” Phil answered. Technoblade froze and then turned to face Phil with wide eyes.

 

“You lost him!” Technoblade exclaimed. “I thought you said it was just a kid!”

 

“He’s a little shit is what he is,” Phil answered before sighing and looking out at the ocean. “I can see why She liked him.” He shook his head and turned back to Technoblade. “We need to find him. I talked with Puffy and we think Dream’s back.” Technoblade’s eyes widened before they narrowed and he nodded. He turned to Niki and offered her the scroll of paper he was holding before turning and walking with Phil. They walked away from the dock and retraced Phil’s steps to the front of the tavern.

 

“You know,” Technoblade began prompting Phil to side-eye him. “If you didn’t look so worried and that kid didn’t have the Heart of the Sea with him, now would be a good time to dwell on the irony of the situation.” Phil’s side-eye turned into a full on glare that Technoblade pointedly ignored. 

 

“You look around and see if he’s looking around any stalls or anything, I’ll ask around and see if anyone’s seen him.” Phil ordered. Technoblade nodded, and walked over to the merchant stalls while Phil went to go ask around.

 

Asking around ended up being helpful after a while. There were plenty of people who didn’t know what he was talking about, a few who had just ignored him, and some who only offered information for gold. There was a man sitting on a barrel at the other end of the docks holding a guitar who was willing to give Phil the information he needed. 

 

“Tall? Blonde? Red bandana? Yeah I saw the kid. Got on a ship with two other kids, one of ‘em real tall and the other shorter than you. They left port maybe half an hour ago? A while ago I think, I ain't too sure.” Phil took out a few gold coins and passed them to the man.

 

“Thank you,” He nodded at the man and left to go find Technoblade who was making his way out of the merchant stalls, face soured from being in the crowd. 

 

“Got anything?” Technoblade asked, crossing his arms and eyeing the crowd of people in the merchant stall distastefully. If it weren’t so urgent then Phil would have laughed. 

 

“He got on another ship with two other kids apparently. They left a while ago so we need to hurry and leave so we can catch up with him.” Phil and Technoblade began to walk back towards the ship. 

 

“You don’t think…” Technoblade trailed off and Phil sighed.

 

“He’s probably going after Wilbur,” Phil finished. “We need to find him before he gets himself in danger.” Reaching the crew, Technoblade began shouting out orders and Phil saw the crew begin to work overtime to pull the crates onto the ship. Niki began to approach Phil and Technoblade, giving a questioning glance at Tommy’s absence.

 

“Techno, I’m going to stay here.” Niki said, Technoblade narrowed his eyes for a split second before he gave a brief nod. 

 

“Alright, thanks for your help. Give Manifold my regards.” Niki gave a soft smile and nodded. She gave a soft wave goodbye to Phil before she made her way into the crowd where she disappeared from sight. Technoblade turned to Phil. “You know with that necklace he’ll be able to travel much faster than us whether he intends to or not.” Phil glanced at him before getting on the ship, Technoblade following. 

 

“I know but we have to go after him. If Dream is out there using dark magic- if Dream is the one who took Wilbur from the imperial ship then Tommy’s only looking for danger.” Phil walked up to the helm and took the spot at the wheel. 

 

When the ship departed the docks, Phil let go of the wheel and let the waves gently push them in a certain direction.

Chapter Text

It’s not until later that night that Wilbur finally got a chance to do anything. Trying to escape in the broad daylight wouldn’t have been the greatest idea. He had a rough idea of what his escape would be though. The plan was to wait until it was late, and the crew had all retired, get out of the cell somehow, and find the dinghy that should be attached to the ship and try and get as far away as his arms could carry him before someone caught him. 

 

To be honest it wasn’t the best plan and it depended on him having a lot more arm muscle than he already had in order to row the boat far. It was all he had though. He made a promise to Tommy that he would meet him in L’Manburg and in order to do that, Wilbur had to start by getting away from Dream. 

 

Wilbur had been left alone since George left. No one had come down to sneer at him or ask him any more questions. He found himself once again in the same predicament he was in on the smuggler ship. Bored in his cell, forced to watch the time pass. 

 

It was much later, when light had stopped filtering through the porthole on the other side of the brig that Wilbur’s boredom was cured. He didn’t think it was that late, and he assumed that there were still crew members on the main deck. He heard faint steps and glanced up from where he was laying on the dirty ship floor. George walked in again, carrying a tray of food. He slipped the tray onto the floor next to Wilbur through the bars and didn’t leave immediately this time either.

 

Wilbur didn’t wait for George to speak before he began to eat this time. Reaching out for the tray, Wilbur pulled himself up to sit against the wall of the cell. It took a few seconds for Wilbur to spot the piece of rusted metal on the edge of his tray and his eyes widened as he looked between the metal and George in shock. A key. Wilbur watched as George went through a variety of emotions before he spoke to Wilbur.

 

“Dream wasn’t always like this. Angry, quick-tempered, so violent. I mean, it’s not like we were good people in the first place, we’re pirates. Seas know that we’ve done terrible things for terrible reasons.” Wilbur looked at George questioningly, that wasn’t the explanation he was looking for. 

 

“Why are you telling me this?” He asked. George looked down and gave Wilbur a sad smile. “You- you’re helping me, you gave me the key and I have a feeling that you’re not supposed to be down here other than to give me food. Why are you still here on the ship if you’re so willing to go against Dream?”

 

“Because Dream is like a brother to me and Sapnap. We’ve known each other since we were kids. He’s losing himself to dark magic and I don’t know what I can do to stop it. Sapnap and I are all Dream has left, if we leave then I fear he’ll lose what humanity he’s holding on to.” George clenched his fist. “Dark magic, it can get a hold of a person and once it has a hold of you it won’t let go. Someone needs to be there to help Dream. This isn’t something that he’ll be able to get out of alone.”

 

Wilbur stared in shock at the man standing across him. Why was George willing to be so open and vulnerable with him? George was worried about Dream and what would become of him if he continued to use dark magic and let it affect him. Granted this could all be an act. Wilbur has done enough acts to know that he should always be wary about the front a person could be putting on. George seemed genuine though, Wilbur could see it in his body language and in his expression. How both he and Sapnap had spared glances at Dream whenever they were on the main deck. 

 

They cared enough about Dream to follow him into darkness no matter how hard he had made it for them. George looked so tired and emotionally exhausted, yet he was still here on the ship with Dream because they still had hope that he would come around. Wilbur found himself feeling bad for George, he couldn’t imagine what it would be like to watch someone you considered a brother fall into madness. Wilbur couldn’t imagine having to watch Tommy lose himself to dark magic and insanity. Wilbur couldn’t imagine Tommy having to watch him descend into madness.

 

George must have seen the look on Wilbur’s face because he shook his head and brought his arms around himself with a sigh. He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t need to. Wilbur could see it on his face. The exhaustion and worry. How long has George stuck around like this? Wilbur knows that if it was Tommy, he would stay with Tommy for as long as he needed to. Would Tommy stay with him if it were Wilbur? 

 

“It wasn’t always like this. Something happened to Dream that introduced him to dark magic and Sapnap and I don’t know what.” Wilbur watched George look up at the entryway again before he looked down at Wilbur with a steeled expression. “If he finds the Heart of the Sea- I don’t know what he’ll become with that power.” George’s brow furrowed. “He didn’t even know about the Heart of the Sea until the dark magic.”

 

“So you don’t want him finding the necklace,” Wilbur concluded. George nodded firmly.

 

“We’ve done a lot of terrible things but I’ve never seen Dream this violent. I’m scared that it will only get worse.” George said and Wilbur was briefly reminded of the night years ago where he had feared for his life. He suddenly felt a bitterness rising up in his chest, replacing any sympathy he was feeling towards George. His gaze turned hard and he faced the pirate unafraid and angry.

 

“And so this means you suddenly have morals now? Attacking innocents and destroying villages wasn’t enough for you? You just needed a little more unnecessary violence to decide that it was all too much?” Wilbur’s voice came out harsher than he had thought, but he wasn’t thinking logically anymore. George seemed surprised at Wilbur’s outburst, eyes widening as he leaned back to stare at Wilbur’s angry face. The surprise was quickly wiped off George’s expression and he looked somewhat guilty. 

 

“I’m not saying that this suddenly makes everything we did okay,” George started. “I realize now that we’ve only made enemies for ourselves. But Dream is going down an even darker path and if he gets that necklace then there might be no stopping him.” Wilbur still held his glare but his scowl turned to a frown. 

 

“What does he want the necklace for?” Wilbur asked, hands instinctively twitching to grab at the necklace that wasn’t there. It was safe for now, Wilbur had to remind himself. Safe with Tommy.

 

“I don’t know,” George admitted. “He didn’t even- he started looking for the necklace out of nowhere. We- he went on an island by himself and when he came back he was different and he had a new goal of finding the necklace. It was sudden, out of nowhere.”

 

“What do you intend to do then? If Dream has a change of heart?” Wilbur asked with a little bit of bitterness seeping into his tone. “Continue to attack villages for the fun of it?” George shook his head. 

 

“I don’t know what we’ll do,” Wilbur didn’t like that answer. He would never just get over what had happened years ago, especially just because Dream had a sudden ‘change of heart.’ George seemed to realize this because he sighed with acceptance. 

 

“So what am I supposed to expect once I leave? How far out will I be able to get before Dream finds out and catches up? How do you know he won’t suspect foul play on your part?” Wilbur questioned, fiddling with the rusted key that was sitting on the tray in front of him. 

 

“There’s a dinghy attached to the stern, it’s tied on with a few ropes but we rarely use it. You can take that and try to row yourself as far as possible.” 

 

“And how am I expected to outpace a ship with two oars and my lackluster arm strength?” Wilbur gave George an unimpressed look.

 

“You ending up with the necklace, however it happened, was the Sea’s doing. That means She must be on your side,” was George’s response. It wasn’t a very helpful response and Wilbur was convinced that George was deflecting since he probably didn’t know the answer to that question. He still had many questions he wanted to ask, but the pirate continued. “As for Dream knowing it was me…well, he can suspect but he won’t figure it out. He shouldn’t notice you’re gone soon anyways. Not until tomorrow at midday at least, he wasn’t planning on asking you questions until later. You know, to let you stew a little bit.” He seemed confident, but Wilbur didn’t find his confidence very reassuring. George wasn’t the prisoner here.

 

“And what do I do then? Go frolic among the flowers and live happily ever after?”

 

“You’re involved in this whether you want to be or not. Dream sensed the residual magic on you and he’s going to want answers from you until he finds another lead.” George gave Wilbur a somewhat apologetic look. “You seem insistent on protecting the necklace wherever it is. Do that, keep Dream from getting it. I can stall and try to keep Dream from finding the necklace.” Wilbur narrowed his eyes at George, thoughts running. This could be a ploy, to lead them to the necklace. George plays the role of getting on Wilbur’s side and earning his trust. Then when Wilbur trusts George enough to divulge information on the necklace’s location they go after it. 

 

“Swear it,” Wilbur demanded. “Swear by the Sea that you won’t betray me and you won’t help Dream.” George seemed surprised by the request but quickly nodded.

 

“Alright. I swear to you by the Sea that I will not willingly betray you to Dream and that I won’t help Dream find the necklace.” Wilbur wasn’t sure how much power an oath made by the Sea had on a ship with dark magic, but he hoped it would be worth something. “You have an hour or so until the main deck will be empty. That’ll be your opportunity.” 

 

Wilbur still had more questions. Many questions. George was turning and walking out of the brig before Wilbur could even open his mouth. Wilbur scowled, glancing down at the key in his hand before crossing his arms and glaring down at the ground. He didn’t trust George but he had to admit that an oath by the Sea was a big deal. George had to be given credit in that respect. Either the pirate was legit or he was unafraid to test fate. 

 

Wilbur wasn’t excited to wait though. When he was left alone to his own devices with nothing to distract himself with, his thoughts would run a dangerous road. With Tommy, the teen would distract Wilbur with ramblings about his day or random topics he had strong opinions about. By himself though, Wilbur didn’t have anything to halt his anxieties or negative thoughts. 

 

Tommy wasn’t there to ramble or catch Wilbur’s attention. There wasn’t the built-in distraction of having a little brother. Tommy wasn’t there and that was the problem. Not that he wasn’t there to cause a distraction, no it was that Tommy wasn’t there and there was a madman that was going after the necklace that was in Tommy’s possession. Wilbur didn’t know where Tommy was, only where he was supposed to be. But, what if Tommy didn’t make it to L’Manburg and Wilbur got there only to not find Tommy.

 

Wilbur knew his thoughts were about to spiral. There was nothing for him to do in this cell but spiral. Wilbur dropped the key and threw his hands on his head, messing up his hair. He let out a frustrated groan. Shaking his head, Wilbur let out a breath and picked the key back up off the ground. This key was supposed to unlock the cell door. He hadn’t been successful in picking the lock at all and he wouldn’t have been surprised if it was dark magic at play.

 

Wilbur could see the effects of dark magic on the ship. The wood that was the ship, although strong and durable, looked darkened and rotted. The small lanterns on the ship that Wilbur had seen were dimmed and barely flickering. Even the vibe of the ship and crew in general were just off as well. It made Wilbur shudder. Dark magic took from the living near it to power itself and Wilbur could see how it had taken the life from the ship. What could have looked lively looked as if it would fall apart any second.

 

Shaking his head, Wilbur tried to catch his running thoughts. He eyed the food that had been forgotten on the tray at the sight of the key. Reaching for it, Wilbur busied himself by eating slowly. He knew though, that this would be a long hour of waiting.

 

————

 

Getting out of the brig undetected was easy. Wilbur’s anxieties were eased when the key unlocked the door, a small part of him still doubting George’s honesty. Finding his way to the main deck wasn’t difficult and staying hidden in the shadows came like a second-nature to him. It had seemed that for the most part George was right when he said the main deck would be empty. There were a couple crew members that he found himself having to avoid but that was simple.

 

Following George’s instructions, Wilbur found himself at the ship’s stern. Peering over the railing, he could make out a small rowboat in the dim light. There was an awkward moment of trying to maneuver himself so he could climb down without making himself obvious. He brought a lantern down with him as well so he would have some light on the small boat. 

 

Sitting himself in the boat, Wilbur couldn’t help but to grab the lantern and peer over at the water of the ocean. It was black. Not the dark shade that the ocean takes in the light of night, but full on pitch black. The water was still too. No waves, no small movements, nothing. Wilbur took his hand and dipped it into the murky water. It was cold, too cold for the ocean. Shuddering, Wilbur stared at the pitch black water before looking back up at the ship. Was the dark magic from Dream’s ship sucking the life out of the sea?

 

There was no time to try and think that through, Wilbur needed to get away. He set the lantern down in the boat and pulled the oars out before starting to row. The dark murky water extended far from Dream’s ship and it wasn’t until Dream’s ship was a distant sight that the water began to meld into a clearer substance. Wilbur continued to row, forcing himself as far from Dream’s ship as possible even as his arms started to feel the burn. He kept rowing, convincing himself that if not for him then for Tommy.

 

It was only after rowing for a few minutes in the clear water that Wilbur realized it had become easier to row. The water was less resistant and he would go farther with each push. That was when George’s words rang in the back of his mind. The Sea was on his side. Wilbur narrowed his eyes before pulling the oars out of the water and balancing them across the boat. After a second of debating, he leaned over and looked down at the water below him. He felt a little awkward attempting this but if it worked then it would be so worth it.

 

“Hey, uh Sea,” Wilbur began a little quietly before clearing his throat and speaking up louder. “You’re on my side right? Would you mind helping me out a little?” He asked. Wilbur watched, waiting for some big action or sign as an answer. Nothing happened. After a few minutes of nothing happening Wilbur pursed his lips feeling awkward. He picked the oars back up, ready to start rowing again but there was a sudden wave pushing his boat farther from Dream’s. Dropping his oars, Wilbur’s eyes widen as one wave turned into two which turned into three until he was going so fast that he was nearly flying across the water.

 

Wilbur let out a breathless laugh, staring in shock and awe. His boat was pushed farther and farther away. The only noise he was able to hear on the empty ocean was his laughter. Dream’s ship had become a distant sight, but now it was gone completely from Wilbur’s view. Wilbur lost track of how long his boat was pushed for, it felt like just a few minutes but it could have been much longer. The waves that were pushing him came to a slow stop as soon as he could see a new ship in the distance. 

 

The ship looked much more approachable than Dream’s ship. The wood of the ship wasn’t rotted or sucking the life out of anything near it. Wilbur couldn’t get a good look at the ship’s flag in the darkness, but he assumed it was a pirate flag. This didn’t look like the standard imperial ship. The Sea had brought him here, there must have been something on that ship that could help him. Turning to look back down at the water, Wilbur dropped his hand back into the water.

 

“Thank you,” he whispered. “I hope you’re right and that this ship is friendly,” he commented with a smile. Small droplets of water splashed into his face out of no where. Wilbur startled before he realized what had happened and he chuckled. 

 

Glancing up he could see the ship was getting closer. There were plenty of lanterns lighting up the main deck of the ship where Wilbur could see plenty of pirates gathered despite how late it was. If he strained his ears he could faintly hear the sound of festive singing and cheering. 

 

“To be honest, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to get on the ship, what if they think I’m trying to attack them or the think I’m an enemy of some sort?” Wilbur confessed his anxieties to the Sea in a whisper. There was another flicker of water that hit his face before a large wave came from the other side of the ship, rocking the huge boat and coming straight towards Wilbur. The wave was much bigger than Wilbur’s little dinghy could handle and the second he saw it coming he braced himself for the boat to capsize.

 

Wilbur was suddenly engulfed in the water, the waves dying down allowing him to gather his bearings and resurface easily. He grabbed onto the overturned boat and coughed before turning a glare to the water. His glare was halted when he heard what he heard a distant shout. Looking behind him, he could see the large ship sail his way, the little tiny figures of the crew on the deck becoming larger the closer the boat got. 

 

It didn’t take long for the boat to reach Wilbur, and a rope was quickly thrown down so Wilbur could easily climb up. He grabbed the rope and gave one last glance to the Sea before he climbed out of the water and onto the wooden surface of the boat. Arms grabbed him once he got close to the top, helping to pull him up and a towel was draped over his shoulders as he tried to maneuver himself to stand. The moment he was standing on the wooden surface he came face to face with a bald man wearing a plain black shirt, brown cargo shorts, and a hook for a hand. The man was shorter than Wilbur, but he made up for the lost height with his large hat. 

 

“Ayup lad. Who are you?” The man asked, his accent thick. “And how did you end up in the middle of the ocean on a dinghy?” Wilbur shook some of the water out of his hair before answering. 

 

“I’m Wilbur. I was on a ship, they were using dark magic but I escaped and the water brought me here.” At the mention of dark magic, the captain and the crew had startled, looking over at each other in shock. The captain’s shocked expression quickly turned solemn. “They- I need to find my little brother. He’s in danger and I need to find him before the pirates do.”

 

“Dark magic?” The captain asked. Wilbur nodded. “Are you absolutely sure?”

 

“I- yeah. The water around their ship was dark and murky and their ship wasn’t looking too good itself. The crew was even talking about it.” Wilbur tried to explain but he found himself grasping for words. The captain glanced back at his crew who all looked worried and unsure of themselves before turning back to Wilbur and adopting a smile.

 

“My name is Jack Manifold and this is me crew,” the captain introduced. He walked over to the middle of the deck were there were barrels sat around each other forming a circle. He picked up an open bottle of rum from where it was sitting on top of a barrel. “We can offer you transport to Pogtopia. It’ll be a couple days of sailing before we arrive there and we can get your story out of you later when we’re all sober.”

 

Wilbur wanted to protest at first, he didn’t need to go to Pogtopia he needed to go to L’Manburg. He should take what he could get though. There was no need to make more enemies and get thrown overboard. The Sea brought him here and although he wasn’t sure how he felt about it, he wanted to trust Her judgement. He would just have to find passage to L’Manburg once he got to Pogtopia. 

 

“Thank you Captain Manifold,” Wilbur finally responded after collecting his thoughts. “I really appreciate it.” Jack grinned and thrust the rum bottle in Wilbur’s arm before throwing his other arm around Wilbur’s shoulder and guiding him to the circle of barrels with the rest of the crew following. Crew members filled in the empty spots in the circle. A young man with orange hair, maybe a little older than Tommy, sat next to Wilbur. 

 

“The name’s Fundy.” The man offered Wilbur his hand. Wilbur shook it and offered his own name. “You know any sea shanties, Wilbur?” Wilbur furrowed his brow.

 

“I know a few but they’re the more common ones I guess. I’ve spent more time on land than on the sea, so I haven’t gotten much of a chance to learn any.” Wilbur juggled the rum bottle in between his hands as he talked.

 

“Do you fancy singing what you know and joining in our festivities?” Jack called from where he had gone on the side of the circle across from Wilbur. Wilbur felt a little guilty at that thought. He should be out there searching for Tommy but instead he was getting invited to sing and celebrate. He fought with himself for a second before concluding that all he could really do now was wait for them to arrive at Pogtopia. There was nothing he could do until he reached the shore. 

 

“Alright,” Wilbur agreed with a shrug. There was a cheer from Wilbur’s left and the next thing he knew he was singing along with the crew and downing the rum in his hands.

Chapter Text

Tommy was surprised at how much work the few people on Tubbo’s and Ranboo’s crew could get done. The ship might have been smaller than Technoblade’s but it was still big enough that Tommy had thought there would need to be more people. Seeing Tommy’s surprise, Tubbo had shrugged nonchalantly.

 

“Anything that can’t be done with the people we have can be done with magic,” there was a pause and before Tommy could ask any questions Tubbo continued, “or a little bit of invention.” Tubbo’s maniac grin returned. Ranboo shook his head.

 

“More magic than invention, invention is usually code for blowing things up.”

 

“Sick,” Tommy whispered. He had wanted to ask about the magic bit, but Tubbo had wandered off before he could. It was just him and Ranboo at the helm and while Tommy had no ill feelings towards the guy he could tell Ranboo was unsure about having him there. Ranboo was just a cautious guy is all, a totally understandable character trait to have when you’re surrounded by a bunch of two-faced pirates. Swallowing his questions, Tommy turned to look out at the waters that he could see in the dark. 

 

“So uh, have you sailed before? You know, other than being kidnapped by pirates?” Ranboo asked, cringing in on himself. Tommy gave one last glance to the water before turning to answer. 

 

“Yeah, a few years back we spent a year on the sea. It wasn’t anything stable. We’d do odd jobs on ships to pay for passage. It was fun while it lasted,” Tommy shrugged. “We couldn’t do it forever though. We had too many close calls with imperial ships and then there was the rare time we’d encounter pirates. I think we would have been fine but Wilbur, my brother, has an old man soul and he’d worry too much.” Tommy laughed, smiling at the thought. “Took him a year to decide that trying to survive on the sea wasn’t a good idea for a sixteen-year-old and an almost twelve-year-old. He wanted to find a more permanent place to stay, something about me getting a chance to relax and grow up while I can. I’m sure it wasn’t easy on him either to try and keep me in line.” Tommy grinned at Ranboo, distantly noting Tubbo making his way back to the helm.

 

“You have a brother?” Tommy nodded in response, hand twitching to reach up for the necklace where it lay hidden under his shirt. “Where- where is he?” This question was a little more hesitant. Tommy could tell that Ranboo had been debating asking, but he had let his curiosity win out in the end. Tubbo had looked over at Tommy in interest too, also curious to hear the answer. 

 

“He’s out there somewhere,” Tommy began. “I’m going to find him though. He’s in trouble but I’ll find him.” Tommy nodded before turning to Ranboo and Tubbo and changing the subject. “What about you Ranboob? How long have you been sailing?” Ranboo looked over to in minor alarm unsure how to react. Tommy watched with a snort as Tubbo elbowed Ranboo and muttered something about getting a backbone before Ranboo turned back to face Tommy. 

 

“It’s uh- it’s Ranboo.” He seemed so hesitant and worried about how Tommy would react that Tommy almost felt bad for continuing the bit. He nodded with a serious expression. 

 

“Uh-huh that’s what I said,” Ranboo looked even more unsure and Tubbo shook his head beside him. “How long you’ve been sailing then big man?” 

 

“Two years,” Tubbo answered to Tommy’s shock. Two years? With their own ship? Tubbo and Ranboo were Tommy’s age, maybe a year older they would have been fourteen then! How did they get such a big ship at that age? Tubbo must have read Tommy’s mind because he elaborated without being prompted. “My dad gave me the ship two years ago, we gave him a heart attack though because he wasn’t expecting us to go on our own until we were at least sixteen. It’s his fault really, you can’t just give a fourteen-year-old a ship and not expect them to go treasure hunting the first chance they get.” 

 

“To be fair, we probably wouldn’t have left so early if you hadn’t have haggled for that map from the market.” Tubbo laughed at Ranboo’s comment and Tommy stood waiting for either of them to explain. Tubbo turned to Tommy and began to retell the story of how they met. “You see Ranboo and I met three years ago. Ranboo used to live in a village in the Esempi and I’m from L’Manburg.”

 

“You lived in the Esempi too?” Tommy asked looking over at Ranboo who only nodded in response. Tubbo continued.

 

“A few years ago, there were these pirates who ‘kidnapped’ me you could say so they could get a ransom from my dad. He’s a big pirate, you might have heard of him actually, but anyways the pirates couldn’t keep me on their ship and so they took me to a village in the Esempi so my dad wouldn’t find me.”

 

“It ended up being the village that I lived in,” Ranboo interjected and Tubbo nodded along in agreement. 

 

“Yeah, and I escaped and dragged Ranboo with me and we rigged some things we found on their ship and next thing they knew- kaboom!” Tubbo made an exploding gesture with his hands and his grin was back. “Ranboo helped me hide until my dad got there.”

 

“The pirates that had kidnapped Tubbo weren’t happy, obviously, but instead trying to leave before Tubbo’s dad came for him they were looking for Tubbo to get revenge on him for blowing up their ship or something.” Ranboo joined in Tubbo’s explanation. 

 

“My hero,” Tubbo put his hand over his heart and Ranboo shook his head bashfully. “My dad came and found us and we just kind of took Ranboo with us back to sea. He lived in one of those homes with all the kids-“

 

“An orphanage, Tubbo.” Tubbo nodded. “You could say that I was kidnapped like you Tommy.” Tommy laughed at Tubbo’s offended expression.

 

“Ranboo what the fuck! You’re a terrible platonic husband, I want a divorce!” Tubbo crossed his arms and shook his head. “It’s okay I only married you for the money anyways.” Ranboo laughed.

 

“We wouldn’t have gotten the money in the first place if it weren’t for the both of us.” Tubbo smiled at the reminder turning to Tommy to explain.

 

“So when my dad got us The Beloved we weren’t supposed to go off on our own, but I bought a treasure map at the market. Apparently no one had been able to read the map before and so no one had found the gold. Ranboo could read it though,” Tubbo looked over at Ranboo who shrugged.

 

“What do you mean only Ranboo could read it?” Tommy asked. He had never heard of maps like that. Was it magic? He didn’t know if there was magic like that, there wasn’t a lot of magic for him to see living in the Esempi. 

 

“It was coded or something I think,” Tubbo said. “There was magic on the map to scramble the words or something, Ranboo could read it though. The map led us to a small island with a cavern that had a lot of gold and treasure. It’s Ranboo’s because without him we wouldn’t have been able to find it at all.” Tommy was still confused about the magic bit but Tubbo continued. “Now we just sail for fun! We do random jobs and we help others, like how we heroically saved you from your kidnappers. Ranboo, you hear that? We’re basically heroes!” 

 

“I didn’t need your help,” Tommy argued. “I was doing just fine you’re the one who followed me. You just happened to be convenient transportation out. The stupid fuckin captain of my stupid fuckin crew didn’t want me to leave cause they're worried or some shit.” Tommy scowled and crossed his arms.

 

“Why? Did they think you were going to get hurt or something?”

 

“No, they don’t care about me,” Tommy clenched his fists. “They’re scared that I’m gonna go after my brother, but I have to go after him.”

 

“What do you mean?” Ranboo asked, “You said he was in trouble earlier, why don’t they want you to go help him?” Tommy glared down at the floor and didn’t respond at first. Tubbo took a step forward from his spot beside Ranboo and looked at Tommy with concern.

 

“What happened?” Tubbo tilted his head and stared intently at Tommy. 

 

“Wilbur and I were trying to get out of the Esempi because he has a bounty on his head and we heard that the imperial guard were in some of the villages by ours. So we found passage on a smuggler ship so we could get out and get to L’Manburg.“ Tommy started. He told Tubbo and Ranboo about how Wilbur was taken by an imperial ship and then about how Tommy was boarded on the pirate ship with the crew that ‘kidnapped’ him. He tried to avoid talking about the necklace for the time being. Tubbo and Ranboo both listened intently at Tommy’s retelling of how when they caught up to the imperial ship it had exploded but apparently Wilbur wasn’t on the imperial ship. “He’s stuck on a pirate ship using dark magic and I need to save him.”

 

“Dark magic?” Tubbo immediately interrupted with wide eyes. “What do you mean a ship using dark magic?”

 

“I don’t know? I just know that they use dark magic and that’s why the crew wouldn’t let me go. It’s why I had to sneak away. I don’t care if there’s dark magic being used, I’m not leaving Wilbur.” Tommy stared at Tubbo and Ranboo waiting for their reaction. “I’m no pussy, I don’t care if there’s dark magic or if it’s the imperial guard, I’m going after Wilbur.” Tommy watched Tubbo’s expression go from one of caution and shock to determined.

 

“How can we help you then?” He asked which prompted Ranboo to turn to him in shock, staring as if he had grown two heads. 

 

“Help?” The taller boy questioned, voice rising in pitch. “Tubbo this is dark magic we shouldn’t-”

 

“Ranboo come on,” Tubbo eagerly looked to his co-captain. “We’ve been doing the same boring jobs for so long, just think of this as a new adventure. We save Tommy’s older brother from whoever is using dark magic and we get a cool story to tell at dinner with The Captain, you know we’re running out of good stories to tell Ranboo.” Ranboo looked conflicted. Tommy watched as the other boy had an internal debate, hoping he would agree. If they said no then Tommy would have to find another way to look for Wilbur, which he had been planning to do in the first place, but their company would be nice. Tubbo and Ranboo both seemed fun to be nice company, and it was nice to finally be around someone his age.

 

“Okay, but only on the circumstance that we think things through before we act and we don’t do anything impulsively. Dark magic is dangerous, Tubbo.” Ranboo reminded. Tubbo nodded and turned to Tommy with a grin. 

 

“Hear that Tommy, we’ll find your brother in no time! Screw those pirates who tried to kidnap you and stop you from saving Wilbur!” Tommy laughed at Tubbo’s enthusiasm. Ranboo wasn’t completely relaxed though. 

 

“What do you know about the ship that Wilbur’s on? How were you planning on finding it?” Ranboo asked and suddenly Tommy felt a little embarrassed. Laughing awkwardly, he answered.

 

“I don’t know much honestly. I’ve never even seen the ship. All I know is that the pirates took Wilbur and then blew up the imperial ship.” At Tubbo’s and Ranboo’s deadpan looks Tommy cringed. 

 

“How are you planning to find your brother if you don’t even know what ship he’s on?”

 

“I don’t know! I didn’t get that far, getting away from the crew was my first priority.”

 

“Okay so let’s not dwell on what we don’t know and let’s consider what we do know,” Tubbo instructed. “The pirates took Wilbur from the imperial ship? Why would pirates take a random dude from an imperial ship and risked getting caught and hanged? We can start by figuring out their motivations and we can work from there.” 

 

Tommy wanted to shrink in on himself. The pirates were after the necklace, he knew that for sure. It was just a matter of did he trust Ranboo and Tubbo enough to tell them? They had seemed nice so far and they were willing to be open with Tommy about their past. He really felt like he could trust them, he wanted to trust them. They were willing to help him save Wilbur even though they had seemed alarmed at the news of dark magic. Wilbur had always told Tommy to not give someone too much trust too fast because they might be keeping their cards close to their chest, but Tommy wanted to trust them.

 

“Wilbur had a necklace,” Tommy began. “It had some magical properties or something, it was why he was being hunted in the Esempi. There were powerful people who wanted it. I think that the pirates who took Wilbur want the necklace.” Tubbo crossed his arms and brought a hand to his chin in thought.

 

“Okay, but if Wilbur has the necklace then why didn’t the pirates just take it from him and leave?” Tubbo’s brow furrowed as he waited for Tommy’s response. Tommy suddenly felt nervous. Taking a deep breath, he reached up to grab the necklace chain that sat under his bandana. He pulled the necklace out from its spot under his shirt. Tubbo and Ranboo stared at it before Tubbo tilted his head confusedly. “That’s it? It looks a little underwhelming to be honest? How powerful is that necklace then?” 

 

A splash of water came from the over the railing of the helm and hit Tubbo in the head. Not enough water to soak him but just enough to gain his attention. Tubbo turned around and when he saw nothing he turned back to Tommy and looked between the necklace and the sea behind him. When he pointed to the necklace questioningly Tommy nodded and Tubbo’s confusion turned into a grin. 

 

“That’s so cool,” he muttered. Ranboo mimicked Tubbo and stared at the necklace in awe. Tubbo shook his head and regained himself, “So what power does it have exactly? Does it just control the water? What else can it do? How powerful is it?” Tommy put his hand up to stop Tubbo’s stream of questions. The other boy looked restless, ready to grab a notepad and start scribbling down any information he could gather. 

 

“Wilbur gave me this right before the imperial officers took him, it has a connection with the Sea.” Tommy held the heart gem and peered down at it to see it was glowing dimly. “I don’t know what the pirates would want with it.” 

 

“Are you sure it would be a good idea to bring the necklace straight to the pirates then? If that’s what they’re after?” Ranboo hesitantly asked. Tommy clenched his fists, feeling a frustration grow at the reminder of Phil and Technoblade’s refusal to go after Wilbur for that same reason.

 

“I’m not leaving Wilbur behind no matter what.” Tommy couldn’t keep the bite out of his tone. Ranboo held himself from flinching back, realizing how set Tommy was in his goal to find Wilbur. “I don’t care what you think. I don’t care what that other crew thinks, I’m not letting anyone stop me.” 

 

“We aren’t trying to convince you to stop. It’s just that, if the pirates are using dark magic this could be very dangerous.” Tubbo was acting reasonable for once. Seeing the boy without his maniac grin was enough for Tommy to take a pause and recollect himself. 

 

“Sorry,” Tommy mumbled. 

 

“You’re okay bossman, you’re just worried. We’ll look around for the ship but the ocean is a big place. If we don’t find anything then we can port at Las Nevadas and ask around if anyone has heard anything about the resurfacing of dark magic. Big Q is bound to have a least some information.” Tubbo put a reassuring hand on Tommy’s shoulder. 

 

“How do you reckon we’d recognize the ship?” Tommy wondered. Tubbo gave Tommy a side-glance.

 

“It’s not difficult to spot a ship with dark magic,” Tubbo claimed as if it was common knowledge to Tommy. “Dark magic sucks the life out of anything around it, taking the color from things or the energy from people. A ship sailing with dark magic sails across dark waters. If you see it, you’ll know it.” Tubbo explained. 

 

“If you lived in the Esempi before then I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t seen magic before.” Ranboo commented. “It’s not practiced on land, especially in the Esempi because people are scared of it and the punishment is death. I remember, there was a girl in the orphanage I lived in who was older than me who used healing magic on another kid who broke his hand roughhousing with his friends. People definitely didn’t react well.” 

 

“Yeah, I’ve seen a little bit before but other than that I haven’t seen any at all.” Tommy agreed. “Is magic normal outside of the Esempi?” 

 

“Yup! It’s used pretty much everywhere out of the Esempi!” Tubbo claimed with a grin. “Legend says that it was a gift to humans from greater beings. Pretty much anyone can use magic if they wanna with a little practice. Though there are people who can’t really use it at and then there are people who seem to have a natural talent for it. There are a lot of different types of magic too! Protective, attacking, healing, cloaking, translating, prophecies, and a lot more. If you’re smart with it then you can make good use of the magic.” Tubbo gestured to the ship where it looked to be in tip top shape despite the few people available to maintain it. 

 

“We use a combination of protective magic and healing magic to keep the ship sailing and in good condition. This way we don’t need to have as large of a crew. You just have to think outside the box,” Ranboo explained. Tommy glanced between the ship and the other two boys in curiosity.

 

“So you guys are good with magic?” He asked. Tubbo nodded proudly with crossed arms.

 

“You could say that. My dad taught me and I’ve been practicing for years. Ranboo has a natural affinity for it,” Ranboo seemed a little embarrassed at that. “Not all magic is good though. There’s pure magic, which we use, and then there’s dark magic. Using both types of magic will have an effect on you but the effect depends on what type of magic you use.” 

 

“And using dark magic is bad because it takes the life out of things?” Tommy asked.

 

“Yes and no,” Tubbo answered. “Dark magic sucks the life out of everything around it as a way to power itself because it’s so strong. It doesn’t just have a physical effect though, it’s really bad for a person’s mental state. It can destroy a person and corrupt their soul. That’s why it’s called dark magic, because it corrupts and can kill the people who use it. Pure magic has its own effects too, but nothing harmful. It doesn’t need the same energy source that dark magic needs.” Tubbo took off the beanie he was wearing and he parted some of his hair exposing two small horns poking out of his head. Tommy stared stared in amazement. “They’re a result of the magic I use, the more I use the bigger they’ll grow.” 

 

“Whoa, that’s sick!” Tommy couldn’t help but saying. Tubbo grinned in response before fixing his beanie back on his head. Tommy turned to Ranboo, “Do you have any side-effects or whatever they’re called?” He asked. Ranboo looked over at Tubbo who nodded before he closed his eye and took a breath. There was a shimmer and suddenly Ranboo’s ears were more pointed and he had dual-colored horns just a tad bigger than Tubbo’s. Along with that, a thin tail made its appearance from behind Ranboo. Ranboo fiddled with his shirt sleeve and began to ramble nervously.

 

“I use a glamour magic to hide my traits, uh some other people hide theirs too it really depends on personal preference you know?” 

 

“I think they’re pog.” Tommy admitted and Ranboo relaxed. “So what’s the deal with dark magic then? You and the pirates I was with both seemed shocked at hearing about it.” Tubbo lost his grin. 

 

“Dark magic is supposed to be gone. There used to be a lot of pirates who used dark magic years ago. There’s a legend actually about how the Pirate King and his crew went on a crusade against dark magic. Decades ago the Pirate King took his crew and they sailed to try and remove the influence that dark magic had over other pirates in order to save the Sea. The dark magic would drain the life of the Sea in order to power itself. The Pirate King went after those who used dark magic and either struck them down or he would help free them from the corruption and the hold that dark magic had on them.” Tubbo recited. 

 

“The Pirate King hasn’t been seen in years though,” Ranboo joined. “He was already a mysterious figure, but it’s been years since anyone’s heard about him.” 

 

Tommy has to resist commenting on that. Phil is the Pirate King. He’s not missing, he’s in Pogtopia. Had the Pirate King been missing before Tommy met Phil? What were the chances of Tommy running into Technoblade and then Phil though? Especially if Phil had supposedly been missing for years. Now that he thinks about it though, no one seemed to recognize Phil at the tavern. No one gave them a second glance. Do people not know that it’s Phil who is the Pirate King? Should he tell them? No, what proof did he have other than the necklace? And who’s to say they wouldn’t freak out and refuse to help him? Tommy’s train of thought was broken at the sound of Tubbo’s yawn. It was then that Tommy was reminded how late it was. 

 

“Now might be a good time to go to bed for the night we can talk tomorrow,” Ranboo commented. “We can have someone stay up on lookout.” Tubbo nodded in agreement, taking up the wheel. “Tommy, I can show you the quarters.” Ranboo offered. Tommy nodded and followed Ranboo down the steps from the helm to the main deck before he guided him to a trapdoor and a ladder that led to a lower layer of the ship. 

 

There were hammocks strewn across the area, but a lot less hammocks than what Tommy remembers had been on the imperial ship. There’s more space for each person and crates placed between some hammocks to offer a little bit of privacy. Tommy liked it. Ranboo led Tommy to an empty hammock a little farther back and awkwardly gestured to it. 

 

“Uh here you go, you can sleep here.” Ranboo didn’t stay to converse instead turning to go back above deck but Tommy stopped him.

 

“Hey Ranboo,” Tommy called and Ranboo turned to face him. Tommy knew that Ranboo was nervous about the whole going after dark magic thing. “Thanks big man. Honestly, I really appreciate it.” The tension in Ranboo’s shoulders drained and he gave Tommy an awkward smile. “You and Tubbo are pretty cool, I’m glad I met you two.” 

 

“You’re cool too,” Came Ranboo’s awkward response. Tommy laughed at the response and Ranboo gave a small smile. Tommy bade Ranboo goodnight and the other boy left just before the the crew began to file down to their own hammocks. 

 

Tommy laid in his hammock, turned to face the wall of the ship. He took a deep breath and grabbed the necklace tightly. Tubbo and Ranboo were nice but he wished Wilbur were there.

 

“Wilbur, I’m coming,” Tommy mumbled before he drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Wilbur woke up the next morning feeling more refreshed than he’d felt in a while. It was difficult for him to get a decent sleep when he was sleeping in a cell or when he was constantly on guard on the smuggler ship. Even the weeks before they had left the Esempi, Wilbur had been having trouble sleeping. Rumors of guards making their way throughout the nearby villages keeping him up at night. He knew that he wouldn’t ever be able to completely relax until both he and Tommy were safe in L’Manburg. 

 

Even now, waking up before the rest of the crew, Wilbur felt more energized than he had in a while. He felt safe on this ship, safer than he’s felt in a long time. If only Tommy were here. Tommy would probably like this outgoing and cheerful group. Wilbur remembered the previous night where they had all introduced themselves and celebrated for no specific reason. It was fun. He couldn’t remember the last time he had a chance to relax like that. The only thing that would have made it better is if Tommy was there to join the festivities.

 

Getting out of the hammock, Wilbur grabbed the spare outfit Fundy had thrown at him last night before the pirate had drunkenly fell into his hammock. He quickly changed out of the same outfit he had been wearing for the past two days and into the white poet shirt and brown pants. Wilbur had no clue where Fundy had gotten the clothes and he wasn’t sure if he should ask. He had assumed that they weren’t Fundy’s because they had seemed to fit well on Wilbur and Wilbur was much taller than Fundy.

 

Quietly, Wilbur made his way back to the main deck which was nearly empty except for the crew mate who was stationed at the crow’s nest. Turning to the side, Wilbur leaned against the railing of the ship and stared at the sunrise in the distance. It was quiet and calm. Wilbur hadn’t had quiet and calm for years. It was nice, he decided. Maybe once he found Tommy in L’Manburg they could find somewhere quiet and calm to stay in. Wilbur was sure though, that anywhere Tommy went the quiet wouldn’t last long. He smiled and shook his head at the thought. 

 

Wilbur stayed there and watched the sunrise, basking in the peaceful moment. A little while later, the crew started to make their way on to the main deck one at a time. Fundy approached Wilbur, tiredly offering him a mop and he took it. He and Fundy began to work together to mop the deck and the two of them worked silently, Fundy still half-asleep. As Fundy was slowly coming to full awareness Jack approached them, intent on talking to Wilbur. 

 

“Ayup,” He greeted, smiling cheerily despite the early hour of the day and the fact that they were up late last night. Fundy wasn’t afraid to express his feelings on that, giving Jack a tired glare that the captain laughed off.

 

“It’s too early for this Jack,” Fundy groaned. Wilbur and Jack shared a look and chuckled. 


“Looks like someone had a little too much rum last night,” Jack quipped, not paying any mind to Fundy’s glare. 

 

“Fuck off man,” Fundy’s response lacked any malice and Jack chuckled before turning to Wilbur. 

 

“Hey man, how you feeling? You look better than what you did when you washed up on the ship.”

 

“Uh- yeah I’m feeling loads better. Thanks again for not leaving me stranded out there.” Wilbur weakly chuckled. Jack nodded and crossed his arms with his hook resting on top of his other arm, looking inquisitively at Wilbur. 

 

“Would you mind telling us how you got out here? More specifically?” Jack asked and suddenly Fundy appeared to be much more awake and very curious. Wilbur also saw some of the crew pause in their work, they were probably intending on eavesdropping on the conversation. 

 

“Yeah,” Wilbur responded, putting the mop he was holding down so he could give Jack his full attention. “Long story short, my little brother Tommy and I paid for passage on a smuggler ship so we could get out of the Esempi. We were trying to get away to L’Manburg. The ship we were on was boarded by imperial officers and the smuggler captain sold me out to protect his cargo. I was taken by the imperial guard as a prisoner-”

 

“Why?” Fundy gave up trying to pretend to work and he leaned his mop up against the ship’s railing. 

 

“Uh I’m wanted in the Esempi, they recognized me from the posters and so they wanted to take me back. I would have been hanged. Then the imperial ship was attacked by a pirate ship and I was taken on the pirate ship. The captain of the ship was named Dream and-”

 

“Hold on a second,” Fundy interrupted, more alert than he had been the entire morning. “Did you say Dream?” He asked with wide eyes. Wilbur noted the alarmed expressions across everyone’s faces at the mention of the pirate. 

 

“Yeah, his name was Dream.”

 

“Ugly ass lime green flag with smiley face?” Jack pressed with worry decorating his face. Wilbur nodded watching as the worry morphed into fear. He could see the expression mimicked on the crew members who were listening in on the conversation as well. Wilbur was pretty sure that he was missing a key piece of information. He had assumed Dream wasn’t the best person considering he had just broken out of his brig, but was he more infamous than Wilbur had guessed?

 

“I know that he uses dark magic but how bad is this guy?” Jack seemed taken aback and he took a second to collect himself, putting on a serious expression before answering Wilbur.

 

“Dream is what we call the Scourge of the Seven Seas,” He started. “He is one of the most dangerous pirates anyone could cross. For years, Dream and his crew would attack villages and sink ships with the sole purpose of bringing chaos to the waters. Then out of nowhere, Dream disappeared. People had stopped hearing about him and no one had encountered him. No one had any news on him or his whereabouts. We had thought- well we had hoped that someone had finally taken him down but we all knew that Dream of all people wouldn’t go without a fight.”

 

“If you’re right then we should all be worried. To hear that Dream of all people is back and using dark magic,” Fundy took a shaky breath. “That’s not good. He was a terrifying person to be against you in the first place but now that he’s using dark magic to make himself more powerful…I don’t want to imagine it.”

 

“What did Dream want from you?” Jack turned to Wilbur, slightly worried. Maybe he was worried that Dream would come after them. Afraid that he had painted a target on his and his crew’s back. 

 

“He- he’s after a necklace I had, apparently it had some magical properties that he wanted or something like that. The thing is, I don’t have it.” Wilbur claimed and then he paused and hesitated before continuing. “I- I gave it to my little brother. And now he’s in danger because he has the necklace and Dream is looking for it. I need to find him before Dream does.” Any sort or relaxation Wilbur was feeling that morning was gone at the reminder of the danger Tommy was in.

 

“Where’s your brother then?” Fundy asked.

 

“I don’t know,” Wilbur groaned in frustration. “The plan was for us to leave the Esempi and get to L’Manburg, but we got separated when the imperial ship came and Tommy was left on the smuggler ship. He should be on his way to L’Manburg, but I have no idea how I’m going to find him once I get there.” Wilbur admitted with a shake of his head. “I need to find Tommy before Dream does.” 

 

“I have an idea,” Fundy began gaining Wilbur’s hopeful attention. “There’s a guy in the Badlands, he might be able to help you find your brother.” Jack’s head turned in Fundy’s direction when he caught on to what Fundy was saying. 

 

“What do you mean?” Wilbur pressed when Fundy paused. 

 

“There’s a guy in the Badlands, he’s like an oracle. He does all sorts of things for those who need it- palm readings, fortune tellings, tarot cards. Basically, if you have a question, he can answer it. You don’t know where your brother will be? He’s most likely your best bet at getting a direct answer.”

 

“What?” Wilbur stared. It couldn’t be that easy. All he had to do was go and ask some guy where Tommy was and he’d tell him? No strings attached?


“Yeah, this one guy I knew went and had his fortune read. He was in the Badlands on business and decided it would be fun. He was warned not to trust anyone with a scar across their chin. Then he left the Badlands to go sail back home. On his journey back, another ship approached his and the captain of that ship had a scar across his chin. The captain offered him a treasure map to go after, but he didn’t take it because he was told not to trust him. He left and arrived home. A few weeks later he heard from the rumor mill that the pirates who did take the man up on the offer were killed. The pirate used them to find the treasure for him and then he killed them so he could get it anyways.” 

 

That sounded a little made up if Wilbur was being honest. He wasn’t going to say that out loud though because if it was true then he wanted to know. Anything that could help him find Tommy. 

 

“He uses some foresight magic or something. Rumor is that he’s given people prophecies before but then again that’s just hearsay.” Jack added.

 

Wilbur’s face scrunched up in thought. The Badlands wasn’t very far from the Esempi, but he didn’t think he’d have to worry about being spotted or caught there. He faintly remembered there being some dispute between the governments of the two countries when the Badlands refused to condemn magic users to death. Wilbur was sure that the Badlands wouldn’t care much for who the Esempi considered to be criminals.

 

There was the matter of getting there though. The previous night Jack had said that they were sailing to Pogtopia. So if he wanted to get to the Badlands, Wilbur would have to find his own passage to the Badlands. But they were set to pass the Badlands on their way to Pogtopia, the country sat in-between Pogtopia and the Esempi. Maybe he could ask Jack if he’d be willing to make a detour for him, but Wilbur was afraid that would be pushing it. They’ve already been so kind to him despite him being a total stranger. There was no point in risking pushing his luck despite how nice they seemed. 

 

“Who is this person? How can I be sure they’ll help me?” Neither Fundy or Jack seemed worried about answering that. 

 

“His name is Badboyhalo. You won’t have to worry about whether he’ll help you or not. He rarely turns anyone away, his whole thing is helping as many people as possible. What you’ll have to worry about is whether he helps you for a price or for free.” Fundy responded.

 

“How much does he usually charge a person?” 

 

Wilbur didn’t have much to his name. Actually, at the moment he had nothing. He left a decent chunk of his gold in the Esempi when they fled and then used a good amount of it to pay for his and Tommy’s passage out of the Esempi. The rest of the gold he had was left in his bag on the smuggler ship. Wilbur wished he had the gold with him, but he was glad that at least Tommy had it. Tommy had better put the coins to good use or else Wilbur would never trust him with their money again.

 

“It depends,” Fundy said. Wilbur glanced up from where he was staring at the ground in thought. “He charges some people and then he helps others for free. I think it depends on if he thinks their questions were important or not but I’m not sure, he really does it at random.”

 

“I’ll keep him in mind,” Wilbur eventually said. He felt like he’d end up seeking out the oracle anyways considering L’Manburg was a big place. Tommy could be anywhere. He would just have to find transport from Pogtopia to the Badlands and then to L’Manburg. Tommy would just have to wait a little longer. 

 

Wilbur took a breath and nodded to himself. He’d find Badboyhalo in the Badlands and then he’d find Tommy and they would get to L’Manburg and be safe away from the Esempi and away from any power seeking pirates.

 

“When we dock we should spread the word that Dream is back. It’s best if people know, especially now that he’s using dark magic.” Jack said to Fundy who nodded seriously. Then he turned to Wilbur, “We shouldn’t be too far from Pogtopia, just a few days of sailing so long as we get favorable winds. If we didn’t have to be at Pogtopia within the next few days then I’d take you to the Badlands myself. When we get there though, I’ll see what I can do to help you find passage to the Badlands.”

 

“Thank you,” Wilbur said and he meant it. He was genuinely thankful that Jack Manifold was the captain whose ship he ended up on and that he was so willing to help Wilbur. He was thankful despite the bitterness in his chest that he would have to wait longer before he’d be able to go find Tommy. Jack smiled and patted Wilbur’s back with his arm.

 

“It’s no problem. I wish Niki were here, the two of you would get along great.” Jack shook his head before turning to go back up to the helm. Wilbur glanced around and noticed that the crew must have stopped eavesdropping a while ago because they were all back to work. Grabbing his mop, Wilbur went back to mopping the deck along with a slightly less hungover Fundy.

 

Wilbur’s brain was running with information now as he worked. He now had somewhat of a plan to find Tommy. The relief Wilbur felt at having an idea of what to do hit him. He had a way to find Tommy now. That obstacle had been completely eliminated. It was like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Wilbur still had a lot to do to get to Tommy but it was relieving knowing that he could do it made him feel so much better.

 

Early morning turned into early afternoon and Wilbur was growing apprehensive at the clouds in the sky. Dark clouds rolling in never led to good things and Wilbur could see that the majority of the crew had come to the same conclusion, all staring warily up at the sky. Hanging around with Fundy and another crew member, Sneeg if Wilbur remembered correctly from the previous night, Wilbur could see the wariness on their faces as well. 

 

Wilbur remembered from the year he and Tommy had sailed that one day there was a really bad storm, worse than Wilbur had ever been through before. The captain had decided they would sail through it. That was one of the more stressful moments in Wilbur’s sailing career. That was also when Wilbur had decided that staying on land would probably give him less heart attacks. 

 

Unlike the other ship, this crew wasn’t afraid to voice their concerns to their captain. Jack seemed to share their concerns and didn’t try and reprimand them for speaking out. At the helm Jack stared out at the water ahead of them and the dark clouds that approached. Wilbur could see the conflicting emotions on his face, wanting to keep the crew safe versus wanting to get to Pogtopia on schedule. Jack looked down at the crew with a straight face.

 

“Batten down the hatches! This will be a big one, we’ll have to do what we can to avoid it.” The crew all rushed to follow orders as Jack tried to guide the ship to turn and sail the length of the coming storm. It wasn’t long after that they get caught in a small drizzle of rain introducing them to the bigger storm to come. The drizzle quickly turned into pounding rain that soaked through Wilbur’s shirt. 

 

Fundy had rushed up to the helm to discuss the options of what they should do with Jack, Wilbur could barely hear them discussing. From what he gathered, Fundy was questioning Jack on whether they should try wait out the storm or if they should try and find somewhere to dock. Jack seemed conflicted on what to do. Wilbur was only really able to pick up the end of the conversation.

 

“You’ll make the right decision, Jack. Niki will be alright to wait an extra day.” Fundy brushed some of his wet hair out of his face before putting a comforting hand on Jack’s shoulder. “You’re a good captain, there’s a reason why there hasn’t been a mutiny yet.” That statement must have meant something more than what Wilbur understood because many emotions flickered on Jack’s face. The captain took a deep breath before getting a determined look on his face and turning to announce the crew.

 

“This storm is too dangerous for us to try and go through especially since we don’t know how big it is. We’ll dock at the nearest port, I’m not losing anyone to mother nature.” The crew didn’t seem surprised at Jack’s declaration and they all responded with an affirmative.

 

Wilbur joined the crew as they tried to prepare to stick out the storm until they could reach land. He didn’t know how close land was, but Wilbur found he didn’t mind. He could admit that with this group of pirates he felt confident in the face of the storm.

Chapter Text

Tommy found that he liked Tubbo and Ranboo. The three of them had clicked instantly. They were great company to have, better than any other pirate that he had encountered before. They also provided a good distraction to the fact that Wilbur was stuck with evil pirates. Yeah, that was still a thing. The only comfort he had was the knowledge that his brother had a talent for getting out of sticky situations and the promise that Wilbur had made two days prior.

 

It was early in the morning when Tommy woke up, feeling drowsy and ready to just fall back asleep. He had never been a morning person. He closed his eyes in a weak attempt at falling back asleep but got bored after laying there for a few minutes. Tommy’s brain was too awake and he had too many running thoughts to be able to fall back asleep. 

 

Tommy held back a groan and pulled himself out of the hammock. He glanced around the area, noting that there were only two sleeping crew members so some of the others must have gotten an early start to the day. Instead of heading straight above deck though, Tommy decided he’d explore a little. There was a connecting hall behind the ladder that led above deck and he wanted to know what was back there. Call him nosy, he calls it curiosity. 

 

The hall led back to a storage space full of barrels and crates. Tommy couldn’t hold back his scowl of disappointment. This was far from worth it. Stupid Tubbo and Ranboo being boring and not having anything fun on their ship like drugs or some shit. Tommy was half-way through his internal rant when something caught his eye and suddenly he was running upstairs.

 

“Tubbo, Ranboo, my friends,” Tommy greeted walking up to where they were standing at the entrance of the captain’s cabin. Both boys turned to greet him with a smile, but he cut them off before they could say anything. “Two questions. One, why do you have rum on the ship if you’re underage? Two, can I have some?” Tubbo tilted his head with wide eyes.


“This early in the morning? You gotta wait until at least midday bossman.” Tubbo claimed. Beside him Ranboo’s jaw was dropped as he stared between the two of them in confusion.


“Tubbo what- we don’t have- Tubbo please tell me you didn’t.” Ranboo stuttered out and his confusion turned to dread as Tubbo gave him a grin. Tommy watched as Ranboo’s face went through different emotions before settling on pleading.

 

“What do you mean Ranboo? The rum has been there for ages and you haven’t noticed? I wasn’t trying to keep it a secret from you, I thought you had seen it! Even the crew knows it’s there and they treat themselves every now and then.” Tubbo had told Tommy it was too early to drink, yet he sure didn’t seem to think that it was too early to give Ranboo a heart attack. 

 

“Tubbo! How did you even get it? We can’t have rum, we’re underaged, that’s illegal! Your dad is going to kill us if he finds out!” Ranboo was about to pull his hair out, the poor guy looked so stressed. 

 

“Who cares if it’s illegal? We’re pirates, anything we do is illegal. Besides, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. He hasn’t found out yet Ranboo, so if he does,” Tubbo made an ‘I’m watching you’ gesture to Ranboo with his hands. 

 

Tommy didn’t plan on destroying a marriage when he woke up, he had just wanted to know what rum tasted like. Wilbur had never let him drink any, always saying he was too young and that it was bad for him as if Tommy hadn’t seen the secret stash that Wilbur would pull out every once in a while. Even Phil had said no at the tavern! Watching Ranboo and Tubbo’s marriage fall apart was quite entertaining though. Poor Ranboo must feel so betrayed by Tubbo right now. Tommy wished he had a little rum to drink right now- a drink and a show, now that would be nice. He must have zoned out momentarily because when he zoned back in Tubbo was letting Ranboo go from a hug and apologizing.

 

“Sorry for going behind your back and not telling you Boo. Next time I bring something illegal aboard the ship I’ll be sure to tell you so that way you know what to confess to the authorities if we ever run into them.” Ranboo face-palmed at Tubbo’s lengthy apology. Tommy nearly did too, even he could craft better apologies than that. 

 

“So does this mean we can’t drink the rum?” Tommy asked hesitantly, interrupting whatever moment was happening between the platonic husbands. Before Tubbo could try to jump at the chance to say yes, Ranboo responded with a shake of his head.

“No. No drinking while I’m around.” Ranboo nodded to himself as if that was the best he could do. Tubbo nodded along with Ranboo.

 

“You’re right, if you’re there then you’ll know. We’ll wait until you’re busy with something so that way you don’t find out. Then we can’t get in trouble! Plausible deniability right?”

 

“Uh I think so,” Tommy responded. He followed Tubbo and Ranboo as the walked up to the helm of the ship. Ranboo took the spot at the wheel while Tommy and Tubbo sat on some barrels that were sitting in the corner behind Ranboo. Tommy found that it was really easy for him to fit in with the other two boys. Whether that was because they were close in age, both Tubbo and Ranboo being a year older, or if it was because Tommy’s personality fed into Tubbo’s chaos and offset Ranboo’s calmness, Tommy wasn’t sure.

 

They sat in silence while Tubbo tinkered with something, Tommy couldn’t get a good look at it. Tommy didn’t pay it much attention anyways, keeping an eye out and watching the horizon on all sides of the ship. He wasn’t going to miss any ship that came in his sight-line. It didn’t take long for Tommy to realize that this would get boring pretty quick though . As if catching onto his thoughts, Tubbo looked up from where he was working.

 

“Hey Tommy,” Tommy turned from where he was staring out in the distance. “What’s it like living in the Esempi? I’ve only ever heard about it from Ranboo.” Tommy glanced at Ranboo to see he was giving Tommy a curious look too.


“I lived in Dry Waters, it’s really far from the capital city and so it’s like it’s not even a part of the Esempi in the first place other than when the officers come to collect taxes once a year.” Ranboo explained. Tommy understood, when he and Wilbur had lived in Logstedshire the past three years there wasn’t a lot of communication with the Esempi itself. Despite having a port there was a lack of guard presence in the city. The only time any officials visited was during the tax season. 

 

“It depends on where you live I guess,” Tommy started. “Wilbur and I used to live near the capital-” Tubbo jumped out of his seat at that, questions flying from his mouth faster than Tommy expected.


“The capital? Have you been to the castle? There’s rumors that ruler has been practicing dark magic! Although that would be a bit hypocritical considering the Esempi condemns magic use. I’ve heard people say that the ruler’s heart is so dark that instead of corrupting them the dark magic is corrupting the land of the Esempi.” Tubbo paused staring at Tommy for an answer. 

 

“No, I haven’t seen the ruler. Do you know what it takes to get in the same city as the castle? You’ve gotta be like super rich and have all the jewels and gold to show it. They wouldn’t let some dirt poor child breathe in the same direction of that place. As for the rumors, well I have no clue.” Tommy frowned at that. “Wilbur and I, we lived in a city near the capital city. We stayed with another guy who had come from the same village as us. Wilbur wanted a change and he wanted to get away from where we had lived and so we moved. We lived there for a few years. Wilbur took up an apprenticeship with a blacksmith. He sold weapons to the imperial guard and he got a decent amount of gold from that. We left the area though after Wilbur got the bounty put on his head and we went farther away from the capital.”

 

“Hold on,” Tubbo interrupted again. “Why did they put a bounty on Wilbur? What did he do?” Tommy hesitated in answering. 

 

“He- there was an imperial officer who discovered Wilbur’s necklace. They knew more about the necklace than we did and they wanted it for themselves I guess. I don’t know, it all happened really fast and I don’t remember much of it. Wilbur says that my brain is repressing the memories as some sort of trauma response.” Tommy shrugged and continued, ignoring the concerned look on the other’s faces. “Wilbur said that we had to run and so we left but the officer who had attacked Wilbur had enough influence to get a bounty put out for his arrest.”

 

Tommy didn’t remember much of that night. He remembered getting back to the house from the market and hearing the sound of arguing. After that there was nothing. He can’t remember anything until after he woke up the next day in an alleyway with Wilbur. Wilbur had immediately checked on Tommy asking if he was okay before insisting that they needed to leave. Tommy hadn’t seen the city since. 


“We ran to the edge of the Esempi and Wilbur was able to negotiate passage on a ship. We didn’t know where to go, we just needed to get off land for a bit. So we did odd jobs to pay for passage on a ship for the next year. Then Wilbur decided that it would be a safer idea to find a place on land to hide. That’s when we arrived in Logstedshire. Wilbur was able to establish himself as the town blacksmith and he made money making tools to sell. I played the role of his apprentice. Logstedshire was small enough and far enough from the capital that we didn’t have to worry about being found.”

 

“Why don’t you have a bounty? If you went with Wilbur, wouldn’t you get a bounty for being on his side or something? You would think that since they knew you were brothers they would put out something for your arrest.” Tubbo was really letting his curiosity take free rein today it seemed. But even Tommy wasn’t sure about that answer. 

 

“I don’t know,” He muttered. It had just always been only Wilbur with the bounty that Tommy had never questioned it. Wilbur had seemed relieved that Tommy didn’t have a price on his head. “I guess they must have not thought I was involved at all. Or maybe it’s because we aren’t actually related and so they assumed I would leave him if he had the bounty?” Tommy crossed his arms in thought, trying to come up with different reasons. 

 

“You’re not brothers?” Ranboo questioned. It was weird to hear it voiced aloud. Tommy and Wilbur were so close that he found it really easy to forget that they weren’t actually related.

 

“We aren’t blood related, but we are brothers,” Tommy insisted.

 

“How did you and Wilbur become brothers then?”

 

“Well, we met eight years ago. My parents…my parents were shit. Anyways I needed gold to buy food for the night and there was this boy a few years older than me who was wearing a necklace that looked like it would sell for a lot and so I tried to scam him out of his necklace. I almost did too, he was just about to give me his necklace and all the gold he had to his name,” Tubbo gave Tommy a raised eyebrow response. “Wilbur figured it out though and instead of getting mad that I tried to scam him, he gave me some gold pieces he had. Then he stayed to give me some pointers. After that I followed him around for the rest of the day. Then the next day I ran into him again, and the day after that. 

 

“We just kind of grew closer, Wilbur taught me how to be a better scammer and then whenever he said he was leaving to move near the capital he asked if I wanted to come with him. We didn’t start referring to each other as brothers until after we fled the capital. It was easier to gain the sympathy of others if we played the act of ‘older brother single-handedly trying to take care of himself and little brother.’ It worked and it helped when we were on ships. Ever since we’ve always referred to each other as brothers. That doesn’t make Wilbur any less of my brother though,” Tommy got unnecessarily defensive.

 

“You’re right,” Tubbo agreed. “You know, I would argue that Ranboo is my brother even though we’ve only known each other for three years. But that’d only be if we weren’t already platonically married. Ranboo and I have basically always been family, and I’d sink the ship and destroy anyone who said otherwise, making sure that in their last seconds of clarity they’d-”

 

“Tubbo no,” Ranboo halted the boy shaking his head. Tubbo rolled his eyes playfully.

 

“Well, what’s L’Manburg like then? Any corrupt government officials? Do they have really strict policies for pirates or witchcraft?” Tommy asked Tubbo in an imitation of his listing off questions. Tubbo didn’t notice and seemed excited to share.

 

“L’Manburg is awesome! There aren’t any corrupt government officials yet, but there will be once I become the president.” Ranboo shook his head and Tommy laughed. “I lived in a small town with my dad, but we both prefer being out on the sea. That’s why I left the second he gave me the ship. My dad wasn’t happy at first but the ocean is my home. I’ll live my life on the sea.” Tubbo smiled and looked out at the water. “Things out here are always exciting whether we’re treasure hunting or sailing through the Siren’s Islands.”

 

Tommy followed Tubbo’s gaze out at the ocean. The clear blue sky and the gentle waves in the water was a relaxing sight. He could see why Tubbo had declared the ocean his home. It was so calm and peaceful. It was free. There weren’t any laws confined to the ocean like there were to the land. He could do whatever he wanted out here. It was a nice thought.

 

“Since we’re headed in that direction, what do you know about Las Nevadas?” Tommy turned to look at Ranboo and then he glanced ahead noting that there was nothing but water in the distance. 

 

“Nothing much really,” Tommy admitted to the older boy. “I think I heard something about how the Esempi was on the verge of declaring it an enemy. But, the Esempi is on the verge of declaring everyone an enemy so that doesn’t mean much.”


“Oh they are? That’s not good,” Tubbo remarked. “Las Nevadas is like a pirate’s hangout of sorts. They’re pirate friendly and so there’s a lot of ports and taverns there. Kinda like Kinoko and L’Manburg. There’s also the Badlands, but since they’re directly next to the Esempi they still arrest pirates. They don’t put effort into it though, at the northernmost part of the country there’s a huge pirate hub. Pogtopia is kinda like that except they try to condemn magic users. Snowchester is neutral on the whole thing and so they have a few popular ports.”

 

“We won’t have to worry about being caught or arrested in Las Nevadas. Especially where we’re going,” Ranboo claimed. 

 

“Yeah,” Tubbo agreed. “There’s a huge tavern that’s pretty much the place to be in Las Nevadas. The guy who runs it, Big Q, doesn’t let anything get by him. The place itself though is huge! It’s a tavern plus there’s an inn connected to it and there’s all sorts of other things. There’s a huge market outside it that sells a lot of magical items!”

 

“He’s also a good person to know if you need information.” 

 

“Since he runs the tavern, he gets all the gossip. If you need information, Big Q is the one to go to. He’s got a hand in everything that’s going on. If we were to ask him about a ship sailing with dark magic, Big Q would know something about it.” 

 

“It takes about two and a half days to get from Pogtopia to the south end of Las Nevadas. If we don’t find anything on the way then we can just go ask about it.” 

 

“And you guys are confident he’ll help us?” Tommy hoped he would. The way Tubbo and Ranboo were talking about him was casual as if they had met him before. Tubbo and Ranboo both shared a hesitant glance though, not helping Tommy’s nerves.

 

“He might,” Tubbo offered. “He’s helped my dad before so I don’t think helping me would be too big of a stretch. I do remember at one point dad was worried about Big Q because there were rumors that he used dark magic. But that was years ago, he’s fine now…I think.”

 

“You think?” Tommy shook his head. “It doesn’t matter, the ocean is a big place we’re less likely to just find the ship. If this is the only lead we have, then we have to try it.”

 

“Alright bossman,” Tubbo nodded. Tommy couldn’t describe the relief he felt at Tubbo’s agreement. Tubbo’s eagerness to help was reassuring.

 

“So what’s your favorite country you’ve been to then? Since you’ve traveled across the sea,” Tommy questioned curiously, bored of the silence. There was a silence before Tommy heard Ranboo hum in thought. 

 

“I like Kinoko kingdom. It’s pretty there and everyone is really nice,” Ranboo answered. “Their houses are cool, they live in giant mushrooms.”

 

“Oh yeah, Kinoko is nice. My favorite is Snowchester! Man, it was so great there! It’s snowy and there’s foxes and they let me use explosives-”

 

“Tubbo you got banned from Snowchester,”

 

“What- how do you get banned from a country?”

 

“You get banned when you use government explosives for fun,” Ranboo cried out exasperatedly.

 

“He’s banned from the whole country?” 

 

“Let’s just say that Wilbur isn’t the only one with his face on a criminal wanted poster.” 

 

“Tubbo, that’s not something to brag about! Your dad will kill us if he finds out!” 

 

“He won’t find out if you don’t tell him Ranboo.”

 

Yeah, Tommy decided he liked Tubbo and Ranboo. They weren’t Wilbur, that was for sure. But they were nice in their own way. Tommy would never admit it out loud, but he was glad that he had met them. Maybe when all this was over and he and Wilbur were together again he could keep in contact with them. Wilbur would like them, he would probably find them endearing. He’d be glad to know that Tommy met them. In fact, Wilbur would probably get all sentimental like, ‘Oh Tommy are these your friends? I’m glad you finally made friends your age.’ Yeah Wilbur would like them.

 

“Wait Tommy! You said Wilbur was a blacksmith, and he made swords right? Does that mean you know how to fight?” Tubbo asked with an eager expression. Tommy smirked, feeling excitement grow in his chest. Hell yeah he knew how to fight.

 

“Of course, Tubbo! I’m the best swords master you’ll ever meet! Not even Wilbur can beat me!” Tommy declared. Tubbo’s eyes glinted at the challenge and he smirked.

 

“I learned how to fight from The Captain himself, I bet I could easily wipe the floor with you.”

 

“Well let’s fucking go then!” Both Tubbo and Tommy raced down the steps of the helm with Ranboo watching in alarm. He didn’t follow, staying at the wheel, but he did watch them with a nervous energy. 

 

“Be careful,” he called.

Chapter Text

Wilbur was soaking wet by the time they had made it to a port. As they sailed the rain had only gotten worse to the point where some of the crew became afraid they wouldn’t make it to port in time. The rain was only a drizzle at the port, but it was definitely getting annoying. It had gotten near impossible to see with the rain drops sticking to his glasses, so he took them off and decided being slightly blind was better than being completely blind. Brushing his wet hair out of his face for the fourth time that hour, Wilbur walked off the ship and followed Jack and the rest of the crew into town. The crew split up, all heading to different destinations while Wilbur followed Jack, Fundy, and a few others into the tavern.

 

Fundy was tasked with getting them all rum and Jack wandered off to go converse with other pirates to figure out where exactly they docked. Wilbur sat at a table, soaking everything in. The loud noise of conversations, the bright lights coming from the lanterns, the little raindrops hitting the window of the tavern, the wet clothes stuck to his skin. Wilbur didn’t know exactly how to feel at the moment knowing that they were stalled in their trip to Pogtopia. Wilbur would have to wait longer to find Tommy. 

 

Fundy arrived back at the table carrying plenty of bottles in his arms, nearly dropping a few on the table, Sneeg coming along with him. Wilbur picked up one of the bottles and nodded a thanks to Fundy who took the seat across him. Fundy looked as uncomfortable in his wet clothes as Wilbur felt, cringing in on his jacket and fighting shivers. The tavern was warmer than it was on the ship, a fire place a few tables down from them. Jack seemed to be unbothered by his state. Wilbur glanced over to see the pirate cheerily chatting with another pirate before he turned and made his way back to the table, grin still on his face.

 

“Well I’ve got good news for you,” he began taking the seat beside Wilbur and grabbing a bottle of rum. Taking a quick swig, Jack put it down and turned to face Wilbur completely. “We’re in the Badlands and we’re just under a two hour’s walk from the city. That’s where you’ll find Badboyhalo.” Wilbur’s eyes widened and he perked up in his spot staring at Jack.

 

“Really?” Wilbur eagerly asked. Jack nodded an affirmative and Wilbur immediately stood up out of his seat. “I- I have to go. I- thank you so much Jack, I really appreciate what you and the crew has done for me, but I have to go.” Jack holds up a hand to stop him.


“Now wait a second, hold on. I want to go with you,” Jack claimed shocking both Wilbur and Fundy. Wasn’t Jack pressed about getting to Pogtopia? Why would he waste time going with Wilbur to the city? Fundy seemed to have the same train of thought except he was voicing it.

 

“Jack what do you mean? We have to be at Pogtopia as soon as possible and that means leaving the second the skies look clear! That’s a four hour round trip, not counting the time you spend with Badboyhalo.” Fundy threw his arms out as he spoke, nearly hitting Sneeg who sat beside him. Jack nodded in agreement but gave his reasoning.

 

“Look at that storm and tell me we’re going to be able to leave before nightfall,” Jack said with a raised eyebrow. “We got time to kill and so we might as well restock our supplies while we’re here and just wait the storm out. If we get horses, we get there faster too. I don’t mind traveling with him now since we’re just sitting here waiting for the storm to die. Besides the city is a big place, lots of people. If we want to spread the information we just got about Dream then that’s a good place to hit.” Fundy slouched in his seat.

 

“Alright if you’re sure about this,” he acquiesced, taking another swig of rum. Jack then turned to Wilbur who was still wrapping his head around everything Jack just said and looked at him questioningly.

 

“So what do you think?” He asked.

 

“Are- are you sure? You’ve already done so much by not leaving me stranded in the ocean.” Wilbur really didn’t want Jack going this much out of his way to help him. He was sure that with a little instruction he’d  be able to find Badboyhalo and request information about his brother. But, Wilbur had to admit that Jack’s company and help would be nice.

 

“And what’s a little more help? If it helps you find your little brother then I’m sure it won’t hurt.” Jack turned to face Fundy across from them. The other pirate had a wary look on his face directed at Wilbur, but quickly lost it when Jack addressed him. “Fundy, you’re in charge of making sure things are restocked while I’m gone. Also do some information spreading and gathering while you wait. Sneeg, you’ll come with us, while we’re with Badboyhalo you can get the news out in the city. I’ll go see if I can get us some horses.” With that, Jack left his bottle of rum on the table and made his way out of the tavern. Sneeg got up and followed the captain. Fundy leaned over the table to grab Jack’s unfinished bottle, wary look returning. 

 

“Jack Manifold is a good captain,” Fundy began, wary look turning into a warning glare. “He’s a nice captain, but do not mistake his kindness for naivety. If I hear that you’re trying to take advantage of Jack or if you do anything to harm him you’ll have an entire crew ready to hunt you down.” Wilbur’s eyes widened and he felt the urge to defend himself.

 

“I wouldn’t do anything to Jack I can promise you-”

 

“I like you, Wilbur. Jack does too that’s why he’s so willing to help you because you seem genuine. But we all know that people can put on an act. So in case you’re putting on an act to get something out of Jack, we’re ready to defend him.” Fundy’s glare weakened and he shook his head. “Jack’s a good guy. He’s a good captain who tries to do everything he can for his crew and sometimes people try to take advantage of his kindness.”

 

“I’m assuming that a genuine kindness like that is rare out here in a world of pirates,” Wilbur said and Fundy nodded his head in response to Wilbur’s claim. 

 

“Pretty much everyone here is out here for themselves. It’s hard to find someone willing to risk it for another person. On our first day as a crew, Jack made a promise to everyone that he would do what’s best for the crew and be a good captain for us. He hasn’t failed on that promise yet.” Fundy looked away from Wilbur and instead stared down at the bottle between his hands. “Jack knows first-hand what it’s like when you follow a leader who doesn’t care about you or anyone else under their command. It’s not my story to tell, but what I’m trying to get to is that because of his past, Jack vowed to do better than those before him. He’s followed through on that promise and now he has an entire crew willing to fight for him. So if anything happens to Jack, well you’ll find yourself regretting it.” Fundy looked back up and leaned back in his seat giving Wilbur a look, daring him to test him. 

 

Wilbur wasn’t planning on it. It was nice to hear that Jack had established such a loyal crew for himself, but Wilbur would be lying to himself if he said he wasn’t curious as to Jack’s past. Before he could attempt to reassure Fundy again, he heard his name being called faintly mixed in with the noise of other conversations going on in the tavern. Turning, he saw Jack waving for him to come. Wilbur got up from his seat and turned to say goodbye to Fundy only to freeze at the return of Fundy’s glare. Wordlessly, Wilbur turned back and left the tavern, meeting Jack outside where the rain was still drizzling. 

 

“Sneeg’s waiting, we got horses for the journey. It should be a little over an hour depending on how fast we go.” Jack slung an arm around Wilbur’s shoulder and guided him.

 

“You’re a good man Jack Manifold.”

 

————

 

Just like Jack predicted, it was just an hour of traveling before they arrived at the city. Despite the rain, there were plenty of people out and about. The city reminded Wilbur of his time living near the capital of the Esempi. He couldn’t help but miss it just a little bit. He missed the happiness and the stability they had for the first few years. Upon their arrival, Sneeg was quick to leave. Wilbur saw him head straight up to a man with glasses wearing a white shirt and black pants under a dark green coat. Jack and Wilbur walked past, Jack leading Wilbur through the city and the crowds of people. 

 

“Now I think I heard something about him having a tent set up,” Wilbur heard Jack mumbling. It wasn’t difficult to spot the tent, it stood out among the many buildings. It wasn’t a big tent, there was probably enough room in there for a few people to stand comfortably. There was also a man standing outside of the entrance, as if standing guard. He wore a light blue shirt and brown pants, but his hands hovered over the sword sheathed on his side, ready to pull it out at any moment. He narrowed his eyes at Wilbur and Jack as they approached the tent. 

 

“We’re looking for Badboyhalo,” Wilbur claimed. The man rolled his eyes with a scoff.


“Yeah a lot of people are.” The man looked at both Wilbur and Jack before crossing his arms and giving them a raised eyebrow. 

 

“I need to see him, my little brother is in trouble and I need his help-”

 

“Skeppy! Quit being so overprotective. Let them in!” A voice from inside the tent called. The man, Skeppy, lost his intimidating stance and he slumped before grumpily stepping aside and pulling open the tent flap for them. 

 

Wilbur walked in first and was immediately in awe, the tent was so much bigger on the inside, there was enough space that it could be considered a house. Walking in, Wilbur entered a large open space, but he assumed that wasn’t all to the tent considering he saw plenty doors that probably led to other spaces. There were glass display cases against the back wall all displaying what looked like magical artifacts. In the middle of the back wall there was a pedestal holding a smoothed stone tablet with an engraving that Wilbur couldn’t see from this far away. Wilbur pulled his glasses out and wiped them off before fixing them back on his face.

 

There was a short table in the middle of the room and on the middle of the table sat a crystal ball. Sitting facing them was a man with black horns and completely white eyes. He wore a black hood outlined in red and thin-framed glasses. At Wilbur’s entrance, he turned to Wilbur with a bright grin. 

 

“Wilbur! It’s nice to finally meet you!” He began, getting up from where he sat and walking over to Wilbur.

 

“I’m sorry- I haven’t introduced myself yet. You’re Badboyhalo?” Wilbur asked, catching the amused glint in the other’s eye.

 

“Oh, just call me Bad!” Bad walked back over and took his spot at the table, Wilbur following and sitting across from him with Jack. “It was nice of you to come as well Jack! Wilbur really appreciates the help!” Jack’s eyes widened and he turned to look at Wilbur who was just as baffled as him. “I’m sorry about Skeppy, he’s just worried-” Skeppy rolled his eyes taking the seat across from Jack beside Bad.

 

“Because you’re suddenly exhausted out of nowhere and doing even the littlest palm reading drains you. Sorry I care.” Skeppy crossed his arms glaring down at the table. Bad gave him a quick glance before turning back to Wilbur.

 

“You’re looking for Tommy, aren’t you?” Bad asked with a tilt of his head. Wilbur nodded, bringing his hands together on the table as he leaned forward.

 

“Yeah, he’s in danger and I need to find him.” Wilbur watched as the crystal ball on the table began to fog on the inside and he could see faint silhouettes in the ball. It wasn’t clear enough for him to make anything out, but he could try and guess what it was. Maybe a person on a ship? 

 

“Yes, Tommy does seem to be quite the troublemaker.” Wilbur was once again speechless as a voice in the back of his mind reminded him that he had never said Tommy’s name. This was really convincing Wilbur that Fundy’s story might not have been a stretch despite its lacking details. What Bad said suddenly clicked in Wilbur’s mind and he felt the worry build up in his chest again. Troublemaker? What has Tommy gotten into? Is he okay?

 

Wilbur watched Bad trace his hands across the ball and the fog lifted a little. He could faintly hear Jack’s awe beside him, but Wilbur’s full attention was on the image being shown. It was Tommy. White t-shirt, red bandana, brown shorts. His little brother looked fine, there were no outstanding injuries or anything that stuck out to Wilbur. Tommy was staring directly into Wilbur’s eyes through the crystal ball, a familiar grin on his face. 

 

Wilbur didn’t notice his hand reaching out and touching the spot where Tommy was on the glass. He didn’t notice the relief flowing through him at the sight of his little brother grinning. Tommy opened his mouth and began talking in Wilbur’s direction before he turned around to face somewhere else and Wilbur was broken from the spell. 

 

He looked up once he realized what had just happened and saw the sympathetic look he garnered from the other three at the table. Jack shook off his sympathy and gave Wilbur a soft smile.

 

“That’s Tommy?” He asked with a grin. “Looks a little too troublesome to be your brother to me,” Jack joked, getting a weak laugh out of Wilbur. 


“He’s adopted,” Wilbur replied, his voice carrying the relief he felt at seeing that Tommy was okay. 

 

Tommy was fine. Dream hadn't found him yet. Imperial ships hadn’t found him yet. Wilbur closed his eyes and collected himself, letting himself relax in his seat. He turned his attention to Bad who was patiently waiting. The man gave his full attention to the crystal ball and began speaking as images across it blurred together to the point that Wilbur couldn’t make out anything he saw.

 

“It looks like Tommy is on his way to Las Nevadas,” Bad said and Wilbur’s head snapped up to his face with surprise. Bad didn’t notice Wilbur’s shocked look and instead kept his focus on the ball. Tommy wasn’t supposed to be going to Las Nevadas, he was supposed to be headed to L’Manburg. “Hmmm-oh! It looks like he’ll be talking to Quackity at Pirates Plunder!” 

 

“Quackity? Who’s that?” Wilbur asked, leaning forward and trying to make out the figure in the crystal ball. It was still too blurry and Wilbur found himself frowning and leaning back.

 

“Quackity is a well-known pirate, he established Las Nevadas and Pirates Plunder as a big pirate hub years ago. He basically runs the place,” Jack answered Wilbur. “There’s rumors though that he had a connection with dark magic-”

 

“Quackity wouldn’t use dark magic. He’s a smart man and he understands the price it takes from a person.” Bad interrupted coldly with a straight face aimed in Jack’s direction. That’s probably the closest the man can get to a glare. He turned to address Wilbur, losing the cold look. “It seems that Tommy is looking for you as well, Wilbur.”

 

“What? He’s not- he’s supposed to be going to L’Manburg where it’s safe! Not chasing after me!” Wilbur wanted to pull the hair out of his head. What was Tommy thinking? He was only putting himself in more danger by being out in the ocean when there’s pirates who want the necklace he’s wearing!

 

“Tommy is on a quest to find you,” Bad said again and Wilbur watched the blurred image on the crystal ball clear a little bit before and before it shifted to another figure entirely. The face of the figure was blurred, but Wilbur could see the imperial uniform that decorated the man. He knew who it was immediately and he tried to hide the nerves that sprouted at the sight. “Although it looks like Tommy isn’t the only one looking for you.”

 

“How will I- will I find Tommy in Las Nevadas?” Wilbur asked, pushing down the horror he felt, unable to take his gaze from the image on the crystal ball. There was a muted relief as the figure disappeared from the ball and it shifted once again to a blur of different colors: red, green, black, white. 

 

“You will leave here and sail to Las Nevadas. Along the way you will meet some people, you can trust them. They will be your allies.” Bad removed his hands from the crystal ball and held his hand out towards Wilbur. “Do you mind if I see your palm?” Skeppy immediately voiced his disagreement.

 

“Bad, no. You shouldn’t overdo it, especially with how you’ve been feeling lately.” Skeppy’s concern was obvious on his face but Bad shook his head and kept his hand extended in Wilbur’s direction. “Bad,” Skeppy grabbed Bad’s shoulders and forced him to make eye contact with him. 

 

“Skeppy, I have to do this. I have a feeling.” Bad claimed with a determined look. Skeppy pursed his lips and didn’t look one bit happy about it. Turning his attention to Wilbur, Bad nodded to his hand. “For a palm reading,” he explained. “Free of charge.” 

 

Hesitantly Wilbur placed his hand into Bad’s open palm. He could feel Jack’s curious gaze on him and Skeppy’s glare. Bad turned Wilbur’s hand over so his palm was facing up and Wilbur watched as Bad’s fingers traced across his palm lines and he hummed in thought. Wilbur looked down at his own palm with scrutinizing eyes, trying to see what Bad was seeing that had him so enraptured.

 

Suddenly, Bad’s grip on Wilbur’s hand grew tighter to the point of pain and Wilbur gasped. Wilbur looked up with wide eyes and he tried to yank his hand back but Bad’s hand held him too tight. Bad himself wasn’t looking good, his eyes turned completely red and he was sitting there slack-jawed with a white fog coming out of his mouth. Wilbur grabbed his wrist with his free hand and tried to pull his hand back again when suddenly Skeppy was leaning over the table and pushing him back.


“Stop, you’ll hurt him!” Skeppy demanded, concern taking over his face as he stared at Bad waiting for something to happen.


“What the fuck is happening?” Wilbur asked, glancing at Jack who had seemed just as confused and startled as Wilbur. The fog coming out of Bad’s mouth slowly dwindled, surrounding the magic-user.

 

“Shit!” Skeppy cried with wide-eyes. “He’s about to give a prophecy!” Wilbur could hear Jack’s surprised exclamation from beside him. Wilbur could only focus on the pain in his hands as Bad’s fingers dug into his skin with an inhuman-like strength. His eyes flashed again and then the magic-user began to speak, his voice distorted.

 

You will soon find the brother you seek.

A soul’s life in your hands, your choices will save or sink.

A violent reunion with the Sword that dealt your hand.

Finished with a great loss that will thwart the Pirate’s stand.

 

Suddenly Bad’s grip on Wilbur’s hand loosened enough for Wilbur to yank it back. Cradling his hand to his chest, Wilbur stared in shock, brain running a mile a minute at what just happened. He turned to Skeppy to ask a question when he noticed that the other man was still looking at Bad expectantly. Looking at Bad, Wilbur could see that the other man was stilled in his spot, eyes still red and mouth still agape.

 

“What’s with him now?” Jack asked, leaning forward with his arms on the table. Skeppy’s expression turned fearful as he must have realized something.

 

“He’s not done,” Skeppy answered. Bad’s body stiffly moved until both of his hands were grasping the crystal ball on either side. Wilbur watched mesmerized as the fog of the ball cleared and showed the clear ocean filled with ships. 

 

The Pirate King will make a stand once more,

The Sea, his queen, he will fight to restore.

Empires clash as pirates take a stand,

The Esempi fights strong under the Sword’s command.

A lifelong grudge, the thirst for revenge consumes,

It will be one side’s unity that will bring about the other’s doom.

 

Suddenly, Bad collapsed in his spot, eyes rolling into the back of his head and body going slack. Skeppy was quick to reach out and catch him to keep him from hitting the floor. Wilbur stared in shock at Bad’s unconscious figure before glancing at the fogged crystal ball and then finally to an equally shocked Jack Manifold.

Chapter Text

Wilbur and Jack Manifold both stared at each other in shock at what just happened, unsure of what to say. Across from them, Skeppy was moving Bad’s unconscious body back into a sitting position in his chair. Skeppy’s face went from worried to grim as he stood from his spot and walked to the back wall where the display cabinets hung. Walking over to the pedestal, Skeppy grabbed the stone tablet that sat on top and walked back over, placing it in front of Wilbur and Jack on the table. Wilbur could see lines he didn’t recognize engraved on the top of the tablet, but when his gaze flickered to the bottom of it he saw the exact words Bad just spoke engraving themselves at the bottom.

 

“What the hell?” Jack whispered in shock as he leaned forward to get a closer look. Wilbur looked between the tablet and the unconscious Bad before turning to Skeppy for some sort of explanation. The other man was staring at Bad in concern before glaring down at the tablet. He turned his gaze up to Wilbur and spoke.

 

“Bad will want to talk to you when he wakes up,” Skeppy started before he turned to the side and gestured to one of the closed doors. “Make yourself comfortable, there’s food in the kitchen if you get hungry.” 

 

“How long will it take him to wake up?” Wilbur asked, almost regretting it when Skeppy’s head snapped in his direction, an unhappy expression on his face.

 

“However long Bad needs to wake up,” Skeppy paused and closed his eyes, taking a quick breath. “Bad doesn’t just give prophecies. The last time he gave a prophecy was just before the L'Manburg War.” Wilbur gaped.

 

The L'Manburg War between L’Manburg and the Greater Esempi was one of the biggest wars in history. The Esempi had colonized the large country in the west and when L’Manburg had requested its independence from their rulers across the sea the Esempi refused. The war was fought for years, L’Manburg pushing the Esempi’s forces out of the country and the fight turned into an all out naval war. The war ended when pirates had aided L’Manburg, allowing them to overpower Esempi forces and the Esempi was forced to surrender. The L'Manburg War was centuries ago.

 

“But that was centuries ago,” Wilbur voiced his shock, turning to stare at Bad with wide eyes. He didn’t look a day older than twenty-five. Jack seemed to share Wilbur’s sentiment, gaping at the man. Wilbur turned to Skeppy. “You said he doesn’t just give prophecies, then what does that mean? Why did he give two just now?” Skeppy bit his lip and glanced at Bad before taking his seat at the table and answering.

 

“Prophecies don’t just happen. If they did then a lot more people would be coming to Bad for answers. Whenever Bad gives a prophecy, it’s usually before some big world-altering event. The fact that he just gave two prophecies-” Skeppy turned to look at Bad with narrowed eyes as if he just realized something. “That explains why he’s been so exhausted lately, his mind has been unconsciously crafting two prophecies.”

 

“So this is big?” Wilbur asked and Skeppy nodded an answer. 

 

“This is huge. Bad’s only ever given prophecies before some of the biggest moments in history.” 

 

“So how do we understand it?” Jack questioned leaning forward to look back down at the engraved lines of the tablet. 

 

“We don’t,” Skeppy answered, crossing his arms. “Each prophecy Bad has given is different. The first prophecy he gave was eighteen lines long and the second one he gave was two lines long. The one thing all the prophecies have in common is that they are purposefully vague in order to keep a person from escaping their fate.”

 

“Then what’s the use of them? If you can’t understand what it means?” Jack looked up confused. Skeppy shrugged.

 

“To guide people? Give them a hint as to what they should expect? Your answer is as good as mine.” There was silence. Wilbur sat staring at the tablet, eyes dancing across the lines Bad had spoken aloud moments ago.

 

“Wilbur,” Jack called. Wilbur snapped out of his thoughts and turned to face the pirate. Jack looked between Wilbur and the tablet before speaking quickly. “I’m gonna run out of here real fast and tell Sneeg not to wait up for us and go ahead back to the ship when he’s done. This looks like it’ll take some time.” Jack stood from his chair and made to leave.


“Wait, if it’s going to take awhile you don’t have to stay, I know you wanted to be in Pogtopia soon. I can handle this on my own now that I know where Tommy will be,” Wilbur insisted. Jack shook his head and looked at Wilbur with a raised eyebrow.

 

“Nope, you’re not getting me to go away, I’m interested now,” Jack admitted with a smirk. “Besides that storm doesn’t look like it’ll calm down until tonight and these prophecies- well if these prophecies always come before some world-altering event, then I want to know what’s going on because I’m sure we’ll all be involved.” 

 

Jack then turned and exited the tent going to find Sneeg and Wilbur stared at the spot he just stood in. Shaking his head, Wilbur turned back around and glanced at Bad. How long would it take Bad to wake up? Wilbur could feel his stomach before he heard it growl and so, pointedly avoiding looking at Skeppy out of embarrassment, he got up and went to the doorway that Skeppy had gestured to earlier.

 

Their kitchen was impressive. There was a small table against the back wall and a large display case sitting against the near wall with a collection of nice looking dishes. They looked like they would be expensive, Wilbur mused. He would never have been able to own anything like that. Wilbur could faintly remember the kitchen they had when they lived in the city, it was nowhere near as nice as this one. That might be attributed to the fact that they didn’t have the money to furnish or decorate and they could barely afford to keep food on the table. 

 

Shaking his head, Wilbur turned his gaze from the display of dishes to the table where a dish sat covered by a cloth. Curiously lifting up the cloth Wilbur was suddenly greeted with the sight and smell of freshly made sugar cookies. His favorite. Hand hovering over the plate, Wilbur could feel the warmth coming off the cookies meaning they must have been made before Wilbur had gotten here.

 

Wilbur looked from the cookies to the doorway that led to the main room where Bad was. Was this a coincidence? Wilbur reached out and grabbed a cookie, biting into it and relishing in the taste. Or was this intentional? He was willing to bet on the latter and he found himself glad for it. He couldn’t remember the last time he had been able to enjoy a fresh cookie.

 

There was a family bakery that he and Tommy had enjoyed in the city. The wife of the man who owned it had liked Wilbur and Tommy. She said they reminded her of her son and sometimes she’d give them both a free treat. Tommy had always gotten an oatmeal cookie, convinced it had the most sugar in it and Wilbur had always found it too funny to try and argue. Wilbur might have also planted the idea in Tommy’s head knowing that Tommy lived to try and spite Wilbur. 

 

Wilbur would always pick out a sugar cookie for himself. He liked how the grainy sugar on the cookie reminded him of the texture of sand. The cookie itself triggered memories of the beach and the sea. He found himself smiling at the memory.

 

Wilbur grabbed one of the small empty plates that was set aside on the table and unashamedly piled on sugar cookies. This was probably not good for him, but he didn’t mind. He’d earned it, Wilbur rationalized. Walking out of the kitchen and back into the main room, Wilbur ignored Skeppy’s baffled stare as he set his plate down and grabbed the cookie he had already bitten into. Wilbur was taken from his sugar cookie paradise when Skeppy spoke.

 

“Bad’s prophecy was triggered by you and it’s about you. You know what this means right?” Skeppy asked. Wilbur pursed his lips and didn’t respond, instead focusing on chewing the cookie in his mouth. He had been trying to avoid thinking about the implications. No, he didn’t have any part in a prophecy, he was going to find Tommy and then get to L’Manburg. That had been the plan since the beginning and it was still the plan. When he looked up and Skeppy was looking at him expectantly, Wilbur swallowed and replied.

 

“I figured something along those lines,” Wilbur admitted, not liking it. “I was hoping that it wouldn’t mean anything though. I just want to find Tommy and get to L’Manburg. I don’t want to have to deal with some world altering event.” Wilbur stared down at the plate as he spoke. 

 

“Wilbur, you’re meant to have a big impact in this. You’re meant to be one of the big figures in what’s going to happen. You, the Pirate King, the Sea, and whoever this Sword character is supposed to be.” Wilbur avoided looking up at Skeppy. He didn’t want to think about it. Skeppy didn’t press it anymore, returning to just keeping an eye on Bad and whatever else he was doing before. After a while of sitting in an awkward silence, Wilbur heard the tent flap open and Jack Manifold took his spot beside Wilbur.

 

“Cookie?” Wilbur offered, pushing the plate in between them. He wasn’t feeling as hungry anymore. Jack gave Wilbur a look before taking a cookie off the plate. Before he could ask what had gone on in his absence, there was a soft murmur from Bad. 

 

Skeppy turned to Bad immediately, moving to stand at his side and softly asking him how he was feeling. Bad murmured an answer before opening his eyes completely, squinting a little at the light. Skeppy ran into the kitchen, Wilbur assumed to get Bad a glass of water. It took Bad a moment to come to his senses completely and Wilbur watched as the man drowsily looked around. His eyes fell on Wilbur and he titled his head before his gaze moved to Jack. 

 

Skeppy came back and handed Bad the glass, instructing him to drink before he sat back down in his seat. Bad drank some of the water before reaching for the stone tablet and looking down at what had been engraved. Wilbur and Jack both waited in silence for Bad to say something about what had just happened.

 

“This isn’t good,” Wilbur heard Bad mutter, probably to himself, with a croaky voice. Taking another sip of water, Bad looked up at Wilbur and Jack with a solemn expression. “Wilbur, do you understand any of this? Does anything on here make sense to you?” He passed the tablet to Wilbur. Wilbur looked down at the stone tablet in thought.

 

“I mean, the first line I feel is pretty obvious- I’ll reunite with Tommy. Um, the soul that I’ll save or sink I think could be Tommy too. He’s in danger right now, if Dream finds him it could be bad.” Wilbur paused and looked at the last two lines. The Sword. “I’m not sure about the last two lines though,” Wilbur lied. He hoped he was wrong and he hoped that the Sword wasn’t who he thought it was. Wilbur couldn’t express how much the implications of the prophecy scared him. 

 

“Well whoever the Sword is, they must be someone important, they’re mentioned in both prophecies. But yours came first. I think whatever happens with you, will be what precedes the second prophecy,” Bad admitted, too lost thought to notice the expression on Wilbur’s face. Wilbur felt like throwing up. He had just come for answers on where Tommy was, not to get thrown into a prophecy where the universe planned out his fate.

 

“The Pirate King is mentioned. He hasn’t been heard of in years, so if he’s coming back then something big must happen that brings him out,” Jack theorized and Bad nodded.

 

“Something with the Sea being in danger. It will need to be saved or ‘restored.’ And there’s going to be a divided side? What’s this about revenge..” Bad trailed off as he brought a hand up to his forehead as if he was in pain. Skeppy turned and looked at Bad with an angry expression.

 

“Stop trying to look into the future!” Skeppy demanded with a tone of worry. “You’re only hurting yourself.”

 

“But there’s so much we need to understand,” Bad tried to argue but Skeppy shook his head.

 

“We can understand it later, you’re done for today.” Skeppy’s gaze held no room for argument and Bad sighed and nodded. Before he got up, he turned to Wilbur.

 

“If you want to get there in time to run into Tommy, then you’ll want to leave port the moment the storm is calmed enough for a ship to leave the dock,” Bad claimed. Wilbur nodded and stood up from where he sat. 

 

“Thank you, Bad. I really appreciate-” Bad stopped Wilbur with a hand in the air.

 

“I know,” Bad assured. “It was nice to meet you, Wilbur and Jack. May our paths cross again.” Bad nodded at the both of them before leaving, making his way to one of the closed doors. Wilbur turned to Skeppy who also gave them a nod before following Bad. 

 

“Well, I guess we ought to go back to the crew then. Sneeg was waiting for us whenever I found him so he’s already gone on his way.” Jack claimed and Wilbur nodded, following him as he exited the tent and walked back out into the rain. 

 

They were quick to get their horses and find the trail leading back to the port, doing so in thoughtful silence. Wilbur’s thoughts were everywhere- on the eventuality of finding Tommy, on the prophecy, on the possibility of getting to L’Manburg before any world-altering events happened. Wilbur wasn’t sure what thoughts were running through Jack’s mind. Maybe he was wondering about the prophecy as well. He would be impacted if the line about pirates meant anything. 

 

Prophecies aside, Tommy wasn’t on his way to L’Manburg. Wilbur had told Tommy to go to L’Manburg and wait for him. Instead he decided to go looking for Wilbur. Wilbur doubted the captain of the smuggler ship would be at all willing to help Tommy go after Wilbur so who was Tommy with? Was he with pirates? Is he safe? Wilbur’s mind drifted back to the sight of Tommy grinning on the crystal ball. He was happy, right? Seas, Wilbur hoped so. 

 

The ride back felt longer than the ride there, and as they got closer Wilbur realized he would have to find passage to Las Nevadas if he wanted to find Tommy. He would have to ask around and hope someone was willing to help him at no charge. He didn’t have any gold with him, but maybe someone would let him go if he offered to help out with the ship’s labor. When the port came into the distance, Jack looked over at Wilbur.

 

“You don’t have any way to get to Las Nevadas do you?” Jack asked with a raised eyebrow as if he didn’t know that for a fact. He must have noticed Wilbur’s conflicted expression. Wilbur shook his head in response and Jack nodded. “I figured. I can’t take you there, but I think I know someone who could.” Wilbur’s head snapped up to face Jack with a hopeful expression. “I’ll send you their way after we find the crew.” 

 

“Alright,” Wilbur responded as they approached the stables where they had gotten the horses. They both got off their horses and left them at the stables, walking to where Fundy would be instructing the crew to resupply the ship. The whole way there Jack was telling Wilbur a story about a time he had left the crew under Fundy’s authority and came back to them all drunk out of their minds planning to sail to the Siren’s Island. Wilbur found solace in the distraction Jack unintentionally offered from his running thoughts.

 

By the time they had approached the docks the rain had begun to fall harder. Fundy was standing by the ship, busy directing the crew to carry some barrels on to the ship when they approached. At the sight of Jack and Wilbur, Fundy offered a nod before he went back to shouting at the crew to hurry up so they could get out of the rain. Jack and Wilbur walked up to Fundy, Jack leading with his signature grin.

 

“Ayup Fundy,” Jack greeted. 

 

“Hey Jack, Wilbur. We’re just about done loading up and after we were going to go back to the tavern so we could wait out the storm. How was the fortune telling?”

 

“Very informative,” Jack vaguely answered. Wilbur assumed he would fill Fundy in completely after Wilbur had left. “Wilbur needs to get to Las Nevadas, I was going to send him in Scott’s direction.” Jack explained and Fundy looked at Wilbur before nodding. 

 

“I’m sure they wouldn’t mind, just give me a second to grab something.” Fundy turned and ran up onto the ship. Wilbur and Jack looked at each other questioningly before Jack shook his head.

 

“There’s a guy who lives here, Scott Smajor. He can get you to Las Nevadas. He lives at the edge of town and he makes money transporting people across the sea. He wouldn’t mind helping you as long as you told him I sent you.” Jack said and Wilbur nodded. “If you go through town all the way to the east side, he lives in a small house with a red roof, it’ll be obvious when you get there. None of the other houses look like it.” Wilbur wanted to ask for a better explanation but he was stopped by Fundy coming back from the ship carrying a small bag. Fundy held the bag out to Wilbur with an expectant expression.

 

“Here, considering you came on the ship with nothing I think it’s safe to assume you have nothing to your name.” Wilbur wanted to defend himself but everything Fundy said was true, so he just grabbed the bag with a nod. “There’s a change of clothes and a few coins in there, put it to good use.” Fundy said. 

 

“Thanks,” Wilbur nodded to Fundy who crossed his arms and nodded back. 

 

“You better find your brother. It would suck if we wasted time pulling you out of the water only for you to not find him.” 

 

“Don’t worry, I’ll find him.” Wilbur reassured Fundy with a new determination, the knowledge of where Tommy was giving him hope. He turned to address both Jack and Fundy. “Seriously, thank you guys. I really appreciate what you’ve done and if I can repay you in any way if we ever run into each other again…”

 

“We’ll let you know,” Fundy said. Jack rolled his eyes but nodded along.

 

“We’ll see you around Wilbur,” Jack said and Wilbur gave them both one last nod before turning around and making his way out of the docks. 

 

Wilbur made his way through town as quickly as he could, determined to get out of the rain as soon as possible. The east edge of town wasn’t that far of a walk from the docks and Wilbur soon found himself staring at a row of houses all of them with different colored roofs. That was a first. Guess he didn’t need to ask Jack for more specific details then, Wilbur mused as he approached the house with the red roof. Knocking on the door, Wilbur only had to wait a second before it was opened and he was face to face with a girl with long brown hair. 

 

“Uh- hello, I’m here to see Scott Smajor?” Wilbur said. The girl turned around and shouted into the house.


“Scott you got another one!” She called before stepping back and giving Wilbur room to walk in. “Come on inside, get out of the rain.” Wilbur entered into the house just as a short man made his way into the room. 

 

“Hello, I’m Scott,” The man held his hand out and Wilbur shook it.

 

“Wilbur. I need passage to Las Nevadas, Jack Manifold told me to come here.” Scott gave Wilbur an inquisitive look but he didn’t ask any questions. Instead he nodded.

 

“Well if Jack Manifold sent you…we’ll leave once the storm has calmed enough. Hannah needs transport to Kinoko kingdom, so Las Nevadas isn’t that far of a stretch. We’ll drop you off on the way.” Scott paused and turned to go back to whatever he was doing before. “Make yourself at home, it could be a few hours before we get the chance to leave.” And with that, Scott left to go deeper into the house. Hannah shook her head and tuned to Wilbur.

 

“I have tea brewing in the kitchen, would you like to join me?” Hannah asked. Wilbur nodded and followed the girl into the kitchen. 

 

————

 

After a few hours of relaxing in Scott’s house, the storm calmed enough for Scott to deem it safe enough to leave. Wilbur had spent the hours talking with Hannah who had explained that she had traveled with Scott before. She explained how Scott didn’t need a ten man crew to sail his ship and that it was run completely on magic. During the hours of waiting, Scott was holed up in a room doing who knows what. Hannah said that he was probably making sure the magic of the ship would be stable or something. Wilbur didn’t really understand but he nodded anyways. 

 

It was nearing night when Scott had finally come out of the room and into the living area that Wilbur and Hannah were lounging in. He held a wooden box in his hands and Wilbur found himself curious as to what was inside. 

 

“We can head out now,” Scott claimed. Both Wilbur and Hannah stood from their seats. Wilbur grabbed the bag Fundy gave him and followed Scott outside where the rain had stopped momentarily. Dark clouds still hung in the sky, looming over them. Scott led them to a small makeshift dock that held a small ship. The ship itself looked as if it had seen better days, but Scott seemed unfazed by that and he boarded the ship. Wilbur followed Scott onto the ship with Hannah behind him. 

 

A bright light flashed in the corner of his eye and Wilbur turned to see light coming from the box that Scott held. The light wasn’t the only thing to catch Wilbur’s attention as suddenly he was watching the ship restore itself. The wood became clean and the spots that looked like they were about to break became stronger. The magic continued to influence the ship until it looked as good as new. 

 

“Cool isn’t it?” Scott asked and Wilbur turned to see him giving Wilbur a smirk. Scott then lifted up the box and nodded to it. “This carries the Noxite. It’s a bunch of magic synthesized into a gem that powers the ship. With this I don’t have to worry about paying a crew every time someone needs a ride out.”

 

“Sounds useful,” Wilbur nodded. It made sense for a guy like Scott to not have a crew assuming that his trips out were not consistent. He was essentially a ferryman. It would only be more complicated if he had to assemble an entire crew every time someone came to him. Scott walked up to the helm carrying the Noxite with him and placing it at the back of the helm.


“We’ll head north to Las Nevadas. We’re going to have to go around the Siren’s Islands, so it’ll be about two days before we arrive.” Then Scott turned to Hannah. “We’ll head to Kinoko from Las Nevadas.”

 

“Thank you Scott,” Hannah said with a smile. “Um, am I right in assuming that the hammocks are below deck?” 

 

“Yeah, the two of you can go ahead and retire for the night if you want. It’s late and I was planning on it after I get us headed in the right direction.” Hannah gave Scott a nod and she went below deck. Wilbur stayed up for a moment longer before he started to follow her. “Wilbur,” Scott called.

 

“What’s up?” Wilbur asked. Scott was looking at him with the same inquisitive look he was giving him earlier.

 

“Jack Manifold is a good judge of character, he wouldn’t send you my way if it wasn’t important. What do you need to get to Las Nevadas for?” Scott asked curiously.

 

“My little brother’s in Las Nevadas,” Wilbur gave the short answer. Scott seemed to accept it and he nodded and Wilbur took that as his cue to leave. Going below deck Wilbur saw that Hannah had taken up an empty hammock near the back. Wilbur found an empty spot against the wall and he threw his bag on the floor before throwing himself into the hammock. 

 

The day had been such a long day it was a relief to Wilbur to finally be able to lay down. He was going to find Tommy. They were so close. He didn’t want to wait two days to get there. Wilbur found himself drifting off to sleep, silently wishing to himself that the Sea would step in again and give them a boost.

 

Wilbur was abruptly woken up, hours later after being launched out of the hammock and onto the ground. He sat in the spot confused before the ship was suddenly lurching again and he had to grab ahold of the wall so he wouldn’t fall. Wilbur could see Hannah in a similar predicament to him in the spot she had claimed. There was a loud thud and then a crash and Wilbur quickly stood and ran to the main deck, confusion forgotten. 

 

It was utter chaos on the deck. The waves were crashing and rain was pouring down on them. The winds were crazier than they had been before and the ship itself was degrading as if the Noxite hadn’t restored it in the first place. Wilbur saw Scott run up to the helm out of the corner of his eye and he called out to him.

 

“Scott, what’s happening?” Wilbur asked. Hannah came up to stand next to Wilbur staring at the ship in the same shock that Wilbur had. The floorboards under them were becoming weaker and Wilbur could see parts of the railing begin to chip off. 

 

“I don’t know!” Scott shouted back to Wilbur. “Something is interfering with the Noxite’s magic!” Wilbur could see the alarm that covered Scott’s expression. What could be interfering with the magic? They were the only ones on the ship.

 

“Over there!” Hannah had gone to the barely intact railing behind Wilbur and pointed. Wilbur couldn’t see well with the rain hitting his glasses, but in the distance he could kind of make out a ship. Under the ship, however, was pitch black waters. Wilbur felt his stomach sink in dread at the sight. Scott squinted over in that direction and turned back to them with wide eyes.

 

“It’s dark magic! It’s taking the Noxite’s magic. The ship won’t last long without it.” As if on cue, the railing that Hannah stood in front of shattered and flew out away from the ship. Hannah stumbled back with a gasp. 

 

“What do we do?” She asked. Wilbur couldn’t tear his eyes away from where the ship was slowly sinking in on itself, a multitude of cracks forming in the floor. One of the wooden boards Hannah stood on cracked and Wilbur reached out to grab her before she could fall through the floor. A large wave hit the ship and rocked it, more splintered wood breaking off in the process. 

 

Wilbur suddenly found himself pulling himself and Hannah to the side to avoid getting hit by the falling mast. Once the mast collided with the deck the ship broke apart like a twig under pressure. Wilbur lost his grip on Hannah and he found himself losing his footing as the ship began to sink. Wilbur was trying to stand back up on what was left of the deck only to be suddenly hit in his face by a heavy piece of debris. The next thing he knew, he was submerged underwater, being thrown about by the roaring waves.

 

The waves were too crazy underwater for Wilbur to regain his bearings. Wilbur tried to find the surface but he couldn’t tell up from down and the waves were too strong for him to be able to move through them. He distantly noted that his glasses were missing, not like he would’ve needed them underwater anyways. Black spots danced in his vision and Wilbur could faintly feel the pulse of pain coming from the spot on his head.

 

His lungs began to burn and he needed air. He needed to breathe. The Sea was on his side right? Well where was it? Wilbur couldn’t resurface. He was going to drown. Bad had said he was going to find Tommy, did he not see this coming? In his last few seconds of consciousness Wilbur desperately cursed everyone who had a part in putting him in this position. His final thought being of his little brother and hopes that he would be safe.

Chapter Text

Two days after leaving Pogtopia Tommy was woken up in the early hours of the morning to an exclamation that Las Nevadas was in the distance. He got out of his hammock and made his way up to the main deck were only a few crew members stood tiredly. Tubbo and Ranboo were up at the helm and Tommy saw the person who was stationed for lookout climbing down from the crow’s nest. Up ahead in the distance Tommy could see land. Tommy walked up to the helm where Tubbo and Ranboo were talking, Ranboo taking up the wheel and Tubbo rambling confusedly. 

 

“We’ve never gotten to Las Nevadas this quickly. Even with good weather it’s always taken almost three days to get there. This just doesn’t make sense!” Tommy heard Tubbo ramble as he approached. Tubbo almost immediately turned to face Tommy. “Tommy! We’re nearly at Las Nevadas which doesn’t make sense-” Tubbo paused, his eyes narrowing at Tommy. 

 

“What?” Tommy asked, unnerved at Tubbo’s intense stare. Tubbo pointed an accusing finger in Tommy’s direction.

 

“This is because of your magic necklace isn’t it? You said it had some sort of connection with the Sea, did it make us go faster or something?” Tubbo questioned. He looked at Tommy with a mix of awe and curiosity. Tommy’s hand reached for the necklace and he nodded.

 

“Yeah I think it can do that,” Tommy remembered Phil saying something about the necklace making the ship go faster. That would explain how they got to Las Nevadas early. Tubbo stared wide-eyed at Tommy’s necklace, a grin breaking out onto his face.

 

“That’s so useful! Ranboo, do you think that we could enchant something so it can make us go faster? What types of magic would we have to use?” Tubbo began to ramble. Ranboo didn’t pay attention to Tubbo though, instead staring at Tommy with the same curiosity Tubbo had earlier.

 

“I guess we’ll be meeting Big Q earlier than we had anticipated.” Ranboo shrugged, glancing over at the sun that was just rising. “We’ll probably have to wait until later though, I don’t think he’d be available this early.”

 

“He definitely won’t,” Tubbo agreed. “He runs the tavern and there’s people in there twenty-four/seven. I think we’d have the best chance at seeing him later in the day.”

 

“So what are we going to do in the mean time?” Tommy asked as they got closer to the docks. Tubbo turned to them excitedly.


“Tommy! We can show you around and you can experience your first pirate port!” Tubbo claimed excitedly with a grin. Ranboo nodded his agreement at the suggestion. Tommy was about to open his mouth and claim that he met Tubbo and Ranboo in a pirate port in Pogtopia but before he could Tubbo spoke. “The Pogtopia port doesn’t count. You were under the stress of being kidnapped by evil pirates, but now you can enjoy it!” 

 

“You better show me all the best parts then Big T. I don’t want a shitty tour of the place.” Tommy crossed his arms and nodded down to Tubbo who looked ecstatic. Tubbo clapped and turned to address the crew.

 

“Alright then! Get the ship ready to dock and do it quick! I’ve got places to be that I should’ve been at yesterday!” Tommy watched the crew spring into action. Tubbo put on a harsh and commanding act one second, but the moment he turned away from the crew he had gone back to the childish excitement he was displaying earlier. 

 

It didn’t take long for the ship to dock and before he knew it, Tommy was tucking the necklace into his shirt and adjusting the new sword around his waist. After they fought the previous day Tubbo had declared that Tommy wasn’t half-bad and he gave Tommy the sword he had fought with. Tubbo said that if they were going to be going up against dark magic then it was better for him to have some weapon rather than none. Tubbo also recommended Tommy get some daggers to hide in his boots. 

 

They got off the ship and Ranboo walked ahead of them to pay the dock attendant. Despite the early hour, there were still plenty of people crowding the area. As Tubbo led him away from the ships and into the city Tommy couldn’t help but look around in awe. He had never seen anything like this before. Everything was so disorganized and cluttered, Tommy loved it.

 

The cities he had been to in the Esempi were all uniform. Everything was neat and everything was organized. It was stuffy and annoying. Even in Pogtopia, there was a sense of organization. Here though, everything was strewn about. People all over the place, barrels placed in random spots for people to sit, merchant stalls didn’t care if their wares were knocked over or thrown into a messy pile. It had character. If Tommy had to pick a place that he felt defined pirates, it would be here.

 

He caught Ranboo and Tubbo looking at him with a soft expression and he quickly wiped the awe off his face and cleared his throat. Tubbo snickered and Ranboo just gave him a soft smile.

 

“Tubbo! Let’s get on with the tour eh?” Tommy asked, ignoring the feeling of heat on his cheeks. Tubbo nodded and led the way guiding Tommy past the shops. Small mercies. 

 

Tubbo showed him around pointing out different shops that he had been to before. Despite being in a pirate hub, Tommy couldn’t help but pocket small things that caught his eye. A little trinket here, an authentic gold gem there. His pockets were half full by the time Tubbo noticed. When Tubbo called him out on it, Ranboo immediately looked nervous and glanced around looking in case someone had caught Tommy.

 

“Tommy we’re at a pirate port! There’s no rules here, nobody would mind if they just pulled out a gun and shot you!” Ranboo exclaimed in a worried whisper. Tommy rolled his eyes and relaxed his stance nonchalantly.


“Relax Ranboob, I’ve got this handled. I’ve been doing this years and I’ve only been caught a few times. Don’t worry my man,” At the sight of Ranboo’s getting more stressed Tommy gave in. “Alright I won’t grab anything else, I promise.” Tubbo looked curious.


“How did you do that so smoothly though? It was there one second, but the next it was gone!” Tommy smirked.


“That, Tubbo, is a secret I can never tell. A secret of the trade one may say.” Tubbo didn’t look as excited at that answer. Tommy laughed. “It’s all about misdirection. Like how with scamming, you have to make sure your target isn’t paying attention enough to pick up on what you’re trying to do. You have to get them to focus on something else so they don’t see what’s really going on.” 

 

“Scamming sounds like a fun skill to have,” Tubbo turned to Ranboo. “Ranboo, imagine if we could-”

 

“No,” Ranboo stopped that idea quick. “Tubbo, we are not becoming a scam ship.” Tubbo deflated. They walked past another merchant stall that caught Tommy’s eye. This one had jewelry of different kinds: rings, bracelets, necklaces. What caught Tommy’s eye was a bright blue pin. Getting a closer look, it was a small pin shaped and designed to depict the ocean waves. 

 

Tommy swiped it without a second thought, dropping it into his pockets with everything else he had grabbed. He ignored Ranboo’s nervous glance in his direction and instead followed Tubbo as he led him to the end of the market and into the rows of buildings. They stopped in front of a huge wooden building, probably the biggest one Tommy had ever seen. 

 

It took up a length of about four houses and Tommy didn’t know how far back it went. It looked like it was two floors high and there were windows equally spaced out along the second floor wall. Along the entrance there was a porch that extended the length of the building with chairs and small tables set up. It was an impressive sight on the outside, Tommy just wondered what it looked like on the inside.

 

“This is Pirates Plunder!” Tubbo gestured grandly at the building. Tommy looked over at him with a raised eyebrow.

 

“Pirates Plunder? That’s what it’s called?” He asked with a slight tone of disbelief. There were so many cooler names he could think of for a huge place like this. 


“Pirates never have been good at naming things,” Tubbo rubbed his hand on the back of his neck sheepishly. “It does roll off the tongue though!”

 

“I think it’s the alliteration,” Ranboo said. “Pirates Plunder.” He repeated the name with a look of thought.


“Alliter- what now?” Tommy side-eyed Ranboo. “Sounds like you’re making things up to me. Trying to make yourself seem smart huh?” Ranboo startled and turned to Tommy with a confused expression.

 

“Huh?” 

 

“Yeah, Ranboo quit trying to confuse us! We know what we’re talking about.” Tubbo joined standing next to Tommy with crossed arms. 

 

“But it’s a real thing,” Ranboo’s voice died off into a whisper. 

 

“You can’t gaslight me, Ranboob. I am ungaslightable. I catch every lie coming my way like how I catch women. All the time.” Tommy tilted his chin up smugly but lost it whenever Tubbo started giggling beside him. Tommy followed suit and fell into a laughing fit next to Tubbo while Ranboo just watched with a shake of his head and a soft laugh. 

 

“You two are a mess,” Ranboo mumbled with a fond smile. Tommy collected himself and turned back to the building with a grin on his face.

 

“So is this just like a really big tavern?” Tommy asked. Tubbo shook his head, grin still on his face as he answered.

“No. There’s a tavern on one side that’s pretty big, but the other side of it is like an inn. You know, you get a room for the night and leave in the morning. That’s how Big Q makes the money that runs this place.”

 

“Big Q sells the rum cheaper than you’d get at other taverns and makes up for it by running the inn. I think it’s a strategy to get more people. More people equals more rumors and information passed around,” Ranboo explained. Tommy nodded, soaking the information in. “We won’t be able to meet Big Q right now, it’s too early. We’ll have to go later tonight.”

 

“But, while we wait, we can show you our magic!” Tubbo exclaimed excitedly, grabbing both Tommy’s and Ranboo’s hand and pulling them away from the Pirates Plunder tavern and back to the market. “There was a stall that sold magic items. We could get some beginners things for you Tommy and see if you could learn how to use magic!” Tommy perked up at that.

 

Learning magic sounded cool. It would be useful to know to. He could learn how to heal an injury or how to create a shield. What other things could he learn though? Could he learn how to spit fire? Oh could he use magic to fly? There were so many different types of magic, Tommy’s mind raced in excitement at the possibilities.

 

Tubbo led them to a stall with a variety of trinkets. There were rocks, gems, dolls, dream catchers, and more. There was another boy about their age sitting on the other side of the stall across from them. He gave them a plain look. Tommy ignored him to watch Tubbo browse through the different items. They were supposedly magical items yet Tommy didn’t get the magical vibe from any of these things. There was no ‘magical aura’ coming off of any of it. 

 

“I’d like to buy these please,” Tubbo held his hands out to show two of the plain looking rocks and a few gems. The other boy lazily glanced down at the items in Tubbo’s hands before glancing back up with the same plain expression he’d been wearing.

 

“That’ll be forty gold pieces,” The boy claimed, tilting his head and watching for Tubbo’s reaction. Tubbo didn’t react kindly, eyes narrowing and cheeks puffing out. 

 

“You’re overcharging me!” Tubbo accused. “It should be twenty gold pieces at most, I’m barely getting anything that should cost more than ten gold alone!” The boy shrugged uncaringly.

 

“If you would rather put them back then be my guest.” Tubbo glared. Before he could argue any more, Ranboo pulled Tubbo back by his shoulder and dropped the gold pieces on to the table. He quickly guided Tubbo away from the stall and Tommy followed, rushing to catch up.

 

“I knew this is why I married you,” Tommy looked over to see Tubbo looking at Ranboo dreamily.


“For my money?” Ranboo asked blandly.

 

“Yes, Ranboo! I’ve been saying this the whole time, get with the program already!” Tubbo cried throwing his arms out.

 

They ended up walking back past the docks until and they kept walking until they got to the shore, finding a spot in the sand to sit down. Tubbo threw the items down on the ground before picking up one of the gems, a blue one, and holding it out in front of Tommy. 

 

“These gems are all combined with different types of magic,” Tubbo started, picking out the other two gems from the pile. There was a blue one, a pink gem, and a green gem. “The blue one is protective magic. The pink is healing, and the green one is cloaking magic.”

 

“What do the gems do then?” Tommy grabbed the blue gem out of Tubbo’s hand and he put it up to his eyes inspecting it. It didn’t look like anything special. Tommy was half-convinced that Tubbo got scammed. Tubbo handed the green gem over to Ranboo.

 

“Watch Ranboo,” he instructed and Tommy watched as the green gem glowed brighter for a second and then Ranboo disappeared on the spot. Tommy’s eyes widened and he gaped at the spot that Ranboo was in before he turned to Tubbo in confusion. 

 

“What- where did he go?” Tommy asked, gesturing to the spot Ranboo previously occupied. Tubbo laughed at Tommy’s confusion and then Tommy heard Ranboo speak.

 

“I’m still here,” Ranboo reappeared in the spot. “I was just cloaked from your view.” Tommy stared at Ranboo before he looked closer at the stone in his hands. 

 

“The stones house the magic but the power comes from us.” Tubbo explained. “Magic is too broad for a person to just use a spell, there needs to be a medium to channel the power through so it can be aimed towards a specific purpose. That’s what the stones are for.” 

 

“We use stones to control the magic on our ship. They’re kept in our cabin.” Ranboo added. Tommy narrowed his eyes at the small stone in front of him. It kind of made sense. “Can you feel the magic, Tommy?” Tommy looked to Ranboo.

 

“What’s it supposed to feel like?” He spun the stone around between two of his fingers. 

 

“It’s just a feeling you get. To me it feels like the heat from a fire,” Tubbo claimed. 

 

Tommy looked between Tubbo and the gem in his hand. He didn’t feel anything. Was the gem a dud? Or was he doing something wrong? It felt like a normal gem. Tommy looked up to see both Tubbo and Ranboo looking at him expectantly, waiting for something to happen. He couldn’t stop the disappointment he felt as he shrugged and put the gem down.


“I don’t feel anything. Seems like a normal gem to me,” Tommy tried to play off his disappointment.

 

Tommy watched Tubbo narrow his eyes before leaning forward to pick up the gem that Tommy had just dropped. After a moment the gem glowed and a line of blue outlined Tubbo’s arm like a shield. Ah, so it wasn’t a dud then. Ranboo reached forward and grabbed one of the plain rocks Tubbo had bought. He held the rock out for Tommy to grab.

 

“Try this,” Ranboo suggested. “This is supposed to take the magic from you and channel it to a specific purpose. Just focus on something that you want and it should do the work for you.” 

 

Tommy took the rock and stared down at it. He wanted it to work. He wanted the stupid rock to take his stupid magic. But there wasn’t a spell for that was there? What else did he want that magic could solve? He wanted to find Wilbur. There were tracking spells right? He wanted his brother. He wanted his brother safe and away from any pirates and dark magic. Nothing happened.

 

Tommy looked up to Ranboo and shook his head offering the rock back to the other boy. Ranboo gave him a frown as he took the rock back. Tommy watched as Ranboo turned his full attention to the rock and focused. After a second, the rock in Ranboo’s hand began to crumble and turn to dust. The dust fell out of his hand until all that was left was a green gem, similar to the one Tubbo had already bought. 

 

“Maybe magic just isn’t your thing,” Tubbo admitted quietly. “There are plenty of people who can’t use magic at all.” Hearing that was a little disheartening. Tommy had found himself excited at the possibility of learning magic. Tubbo knocked Tommy on the shoulder with his hand, gaining his attention back. “Who needs magic when you have a weird magical necklace anyways?” Tubbo offered a weak smile and laugh. Tommy shook his head and couldn’t help but smile back at Tubbo’s lame attempt at cheering him up. 

 

“You suck at moral support,” Tommy said with the shake of his head. Tubbo laughed and fell back in the sand so he was laying down. There were a few moments of silence before Tubbo disrupted it in a bid to distract Tommy.

 

“Tubbo, what are you doing?” Ranboo asked when Tubbo started to move his arms and legs out. Tubbo sat up for a moment, sand in the back of his hair, and he looked at Ranboo appalled.

 

“What do you think I’m doing?” He asked before falling back down and repeating the repetitive movements. “I’m making a sand angel! It’s like a snow angel, but made of sand.” 

 

“You’re going to have so much sand in your clothes. You’re gonna have sand for days Tubbo.” Ranboo looked down at the sand they sat on with distaste. Tommy could relate. He had always hated the idea of feeling the tiny grains on his skin or in his shoes especially when it was hours later after he got home. He couldn’t help but chuckle though, giving Tubbo an amused look.

 

“Sand for days.” He repeated. Tommy turned to look out to the ocean with a sigh. 

 

Tommy saw ships arrive in the distance and a few ships depart from the port. It made him wonder where Phil and Technoblade were. They had arrived at Las Nevadas earlier than planned, did that mean that Phil and Technoblade would too? Or would they be a few days behind? He hoped for the latter, not wanting to have another obstacle in his self-imposed quest of finding Wilbur. 

 

Did Phil and Technoblade even know where Tommy was going? Tommy realized that they shouldn’t know where he’s at. So if they are looking for him, they’re either sailing around aimlessly or the Sea is guiding them the way She mentioned She’d done before. She said She had guided Technoblade to the smuggler ship in the first place so who’s to say she wouldn’t guide them to Tommy now.

 

Watching the ships come in the distance, Tommy hoped that Phil and Technoblade wouldn’t find him before he found Wilbur. 

Chapter Text

Wilbur woke up to the feeling of sand against his back and water hitting his legs. He didn’t get a chance to evaluate his surroundings before he was sitting up and turning to cough out the water that was in his chest. Wilbur took a deep breath and looked around after he had finished hacking up his lungs. He was on land, but how did he get there? They weren’t near land when the ship started coming apart and he was pretty sure that they were still pretty far from Las Nevadas.

 

Wilbur laid on the shore, waist deep in the water. He could feel a slight sting above his eye and he instinctively prodded the spot with his finger, feeling a sharp sting and his finger coming back with a little blood. He vaguely remembered the sudden feeling of wood hitting his face amongst the chaos of the storm. Looking around there was no sign of the destroyed ship nor Scott or Hannah. There was no sign of the earlier storm in the sky either, the sky was clear of any dark and foreboding clouds. He was stranded by himself on this island. Using his hands, he pushed himself up and took a shaky breath.

 

“You’re awake,” a melodic voice came from the ocean and Wilbur couldn’t hold back the shout of surprise that came from him. Turning back around to face the water, he was face to face with a a woman whose upper body was the only part of her that was out of the water. She had red hair and bright green eyes. It took him a second to notice the tail that sat underneath the receding waves. A mermaid. Her tail was a pale salmon color, but the scales across it sparkled like stars in the night sky as the light from the rising sun hit them.

 

“How did- how did I get here? Where is here? Did you save me?” Wilbur asked, leaning forward. The closer he got the more he could see the faint scales that sat on her cheeks. They shimmered when the light hit them too. 

 

The mermaid giggled. It sounded like music to Wilbur’s ears. What Wilbur would do to hear that laugh again. He couldn’t help but lean in, confusion lost to the lulling sound of her joy and the sight of her smile. The smile was quickly wiped off her face and Wilbur was suddenly worried. He frowned. Was she upset? What could he do to make her smile again? To make her laugh again?

 

“Oh no, I’m sorry!” she was apologizing. Why was she apologizing? She had done nothing wrong. “I didn’t mean to charm you!”

 

Her hands flew to pull at her hair as she fretted. Wilbur reached an arm out to calm her down. She shouldn’t be worried, he wasn’t charmed. He was fine. Anything to see her smile again. She backed away from Wilbur’s reach farther into the water and he pouted, dropping his held out arm and slouching. The enchanting mermaid looked out to the water with a thoughtful look before she turned to Wilbur and offered him a smile. 

 

“Come to me,” she said, her voice just as melodic and sweet as before. Wilbur didn’t bother standing, crawling towards the mermaid and going deeper into the water. “A little closer,” she instructed with a tilt of her head. Wilbur was on his knees, neck deep in the water across from the mermaid. She gave him a smile and Wilbur felt himself relax at the sight. It was a calming image that washed away any worries he had on his mind. 

 

Without warning, Wilbur’s hair was yanked and his head was forced forward until he was completely submerged underwater. Clarity came to him as adrenaline rushed through his veins and he started fighting the grip on his hair, needing to breathe. His arms went forward to grab at the mermaid’s hands that held his head and he tried to force her to let go. It wasn’t difficult, her hands slid out of his hair easily, and he pushed her back while simultaneously bringing his head above water for a deep gasp of air. 

 

“What the hell!” Wilbur would have been able to pull off an angrier tone had he not been gasping for air. The mermaid looked at him apologetically. Wilbur didn’t wait for a response and he was shaking water out of his hair and scooting back so he could get out of the water and farther away from the mermaid. The mermaid followed him as far as she could, fiddling nervously with her hands.

 

“I’m sorry! I charmed you and I didn’t mean to! I had to dunk you so you would wake up!” she seemed genuinely apologetic and Wilbur felt the urge to forgive her. Not because he was charmed or enchanted or whatever. Just because she seemed genuine. Wilbur wasn’t going to let his guard down again.

 

“Wait a second, what do you mean you charmed me?” Wilbur shook his head and then looked at the mermaid across from him with a calculating gaze. “Are you a siren?” he asked with a questioning tilt of his head. She nodded and watched him as he adjusted himself to sit comfortably in the sand, keeping her distance. 

 

“My name is Sally,” the siren introduced. “I saw you drifting in the water and I pulled you out and brought you here.” Despite not using her ‘charm’ as she called it, Wilbur still found himself drawn in by her voice. It was just to a much lesser degree than before. Shaking it off he narrowed his eyes. 

 

“Where is here?” Sally looked behind Wilbur and her eyes trailed the expanse of the island he sat on.

 

“You’re on the Siren’s Island,” Sally claimed and let out a snort when Wilbur went from looking around at the trees behind him to suddenly staring at her with wide eyes and an open mouth. 


“Are you serious?” Wilbur asked, despite the fact that there was a siren sitting in the water right in front of him. He was allowed to have his moments.

 

“Yep!” Sally gave him the same smile she gave him earlier, watching him with amused eyes. 

 

Wilbur’s attention was torn from the siren in front of him at the sound of a splash. Moving his gaze to look behind Sally, Wilbur saw another siren in the distance, with Scott in her arms. The other siren began swimming in their direction once she had spotted Sally. Before she reached them, there was another splash and a third siren surfaced carrying Hannah.

 

Wilbur stood up as the two new sirens approached. He rushed into the water to help the sirens bring Scott and Hannah onto the shore so that they wouldn’t have to go too far out of the water. It took a moment, but he had both Scott and Hannah laid on their backs on the dry sand. Wilbur paid no mind to the three sirens that sat in the water or the large red gem that had washed up on shore, and instead he reached over to Scott to check for a pulse. Finding one, he turned and did the same to Hannah, sighing in relief when he felt hers. 

 

“Hey,” Wilbur looked over at the sirens. The one who had brought Scott was drifting off to the side. “That’s his, he was clutching it in his hands.” Wilbur turned to see a large red gem the size of a coconut sitting in the sand. He walked over to it and picked it up gently, feeling a thrumming of energy coming off of it. There was some sort of energy or feeling coming off of it. Wilbur wasn’t sure how to explain it. He figured that this was probably the Noxite that had been sitting in the wooden box on the ship. 

 

It only took a moment for Hannah to start coughing and Wilbur dropped the Noxite in the sand to rush over and help her. He helped her sit up as she tried to catch her breath and make sense of her surroundings.

 

“Wilbur?” Hannah asked, grabbing at Wilbur’s arm. “Are you okay? Is Scott?” her tone was frantic and she was looking for any outstanding injuries on Wilbur, eyes looking over the cut on his forehead, before turning to see Scott at her side.

 

“He’s okay,” Wilbur said before Hannah could assume the worst. “He just hasn’t woken up yet.” Wilbur saw Hannah breath a small sigh of relief before her expression turned to a questioning one. Facing forward, Hannah finally caught sight of the three sirens staring at her amusedly, all waiting for a reaction.

 

“What the-” she let out a near screech. Wilbur couldn’t but wince at noise, watching as Hannah pushed herself back a little in shock. “I thought- I’ve never seen a mermaid.” 

 

“Siren,” one of them corrected. Hannah’s shock was overtaken by awe before it turned into confusion.

 

“Wait but I thought that sirens attacked pirates, not save them,” Hannah said. There was a pause and Wilbur stared at the sirens with the same curiosity as Hannah, waiting for an explanation. All the stories he had heard of sirens were tales that recited the death of pirates and destruction of ships. The sirens looked at each other and Sally seemed to be the one to draw the short end of the stick…or the kelp. Wilbur wasn't sure if sirens used idioms often.

 

“We don’t go out of our way to attack ships, we attack those who trespass into our territory to protect our home.” Sally’s explanation was brief with no reasoning as to why the three sirens had saved them. One of the other sirens elbowed Sally and the red-head glanced at them before continuing somewhat reluctantly. “We saved you because this one,” she pointed to Wilbur, “has been claimed by the Sea. To do harm to him would be to scorn She who created us.” If Hannah had screeched at seeing the sirens, she screamed at hearing Wilbur was claimed by the Sea.

 

“WHAT?” Wilbur was surprised at how Scott hadn’t woken at that. “What do you mean he’s claimed by the Sea?”

 

“It’s simple, the Sea has marked him as one to be protected,” Sally shrugged and that was all she offered. Hannah turned to Wilbur for an explanation, but he copied Sally and shrugged with pursed lips.

 

“It’s a long story,” was all he said. Any further questions Hannah had were halted when the two sirens that brought her and Scott both dipped underwater completely and swam away. Sally stayed though, and turned to Wilbur, ignoring Hannah.

 

“The Sea says that She can’t wait to finally talk to you after so long,” Sally said and offered Wilbur an enchanting smile. “I have to go, but it was nice to meet you.”

 

“Wait-” Wilbur stopped her. She turned to look at him questioningly. He stood from his spot and took a few steps until he was waist-deep in the water. “I- how will we get off this island?” Wilbur asked. Sally turned her head to look out in the distance at the horizon and the open ocean. She squinted as if looking for something, running her hands back and forth through the water in front of her.

 

“Your transportation is on its way, it will arrive soon.” She turned back to face Wilbur and she gave him a wink before suddenly he caught a flash of the color salmon and there was a splash, water hitting him in the face. Wilbur watched, mesmerized, as Sally disappeared farther into the ocean before he turned back around to face Hannah and the still unconscious Scott.

 

Hannah was in shock, looking between Wilbur and the spot that Sally had been floating at in confusion. Wilbur ignored her shock in favor of looking Scott over for injuries. Other than what looked to be a few forming bruises along his arms, the man seemed fine. Wilbur turned to Hannah.

 

“Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere?” He asked the shocked girl. Hannah shook off her surprise and responded.

 

“No, I think I’m fine. You’ve got a cut though,” she gestured to the spot above her right eye and Wilbur nodded with a grimace.

 

“I know,” he said. He didn’t have anything to put over it at the moment considering the only thing that had come with them from the ship was the Noxite. 

 

“What do you think she meant that transportation would arrive soon?” Hannah asked with narrowed eyes staring out at the ocean in the distance. 

 

“I don’t know,” Wilbur answered honestly. “The Sea works in mysterious ways. I say that we still try and get comfortable here, we don’t know how long it could take for someone to come by us.” 

 

Looking back at the island, Wilbur figured that they should bring Scott over to the trees and set him the shade. The sun would be completely risen soon and he probably wouldn’t appreciate waking up with a sunburn. Then, they would have to hope that help arrived before anyone got hungry or thirsty, but Wilbur was sure he’d be able to find food growing nearby if he looked. 

 

“I’ll make a fire then,” Hannah said, getting up from where she had been sitting. “I don’t know about you, but I am freezing and the wet clothes aren’t doing anything to help.” She turned and walked back towards the trees to go collect sticks and branches. 

 

Wilbur internally agreed that a fire sounded nice before he approached Scott’s unconscious figure. Grabbing the man by his armpits, Wilbur pulled him away from the water and under the shade of one of the trees. He walked back over to the water to pick up the Noxite he had dropped earlier. Placing the gem beside Scott, Wilbur went to help Hannah gather sticks for the fire while they waited for whoever was supposed to arrive.

 

————

 

It was a few hours later after the sun had risen over the horizon, that a ship had appeared in the distance. Scott had woken up some point in between and Wilbur and Hannah had to fill him in on what he missed. Hannah had set up the fire for them to sit by before she walked off and came back with a handful of different colored flowers. She had spent some time tying them together to make a flower crown before placing it on the sleeping Scott’s head. 

 

Hannah had made a crown of pink and red flowers for herself and all that was left was red and yellow which she was currently fixing together for Wilbur. After Scott had woken up and had the situation explained to him, he had begun to mess around with the magic of the Noxite. Wilbur passed the time by drawing in the sand with the stick that they were using to tend to the fire. 

 

Wilbur liked to consider himself a jack of all trades. He could scam, act, pickpocket, he would even go as far to say that he was a good blacksmith. Wilbur couldn’t draw for shit though. His artistic renditions of himself and Tommy were two pathetic stick figures, one much taller than the other. Wilbur moved past his shitty artistic abilities though and continued to draw what came to mind. He drew a tree and a flower. Wilbur tried to draw Sally, but the drawing ended up looking more like a fish than it did a siren. Yeah, he was having a great time.

 

Scott was the first to spot a ship in the distance, pointing and calling out to them. Wilbur had looked up from where he was trying to fix his drawing of Sally to see the approaching ship. Without his glasses the ship was just a blur in the distance, he couldn’t make out the flag that it sailed. 

 

As it got closer, Wilbur got a better look at the ship. The ship was black, which reminded him of Dream’s ship with a slight shiver, but he was reassured at the sight of clear blue waters that sat underneath the ship. Wilbur was able to squint and get a good look at the two flags the ship was sailing. The larger flag at the top was decorated with a broadsword and the smaller flag with a skull. There was something in the back of his mind saying that recognized the ship but Wilbur didn’t pay much attention to it.

 

“This is our ride?” Hannah asked as they watched two people on the ship climb down into the longboat. 

 

“I guess so,” Wilbur answered. There was an awkward couple of minutes of them waiting and watching the pirates row the longboat over. He couldn’t make out many details of the pirates, they were just a blur of pink and green. When the boat got to land, Wilbur got a better look at the two men who walked out and over to their group where they were sitting by the fire.

 

The one with long pink hair was decently taller than the other. The shorter one wore a striped bucket that Wilbur could’ve sworn he’d seen before. While the taller one kept a straight face, not betraying any emotion, the shorter one smiled warmly at the three of them. 

 

“You three look like you could use a ride off this island,” he claimed with a light smirk. Scott stood up and immediately agreed with the man, prompting him to laugh. “I’m Phil, this is Technoblade. We were on our way to Las Nevadas. We can drop you off there.”

 

“What a coincidence, we were headed that way too before our ship got caught in a storm.” Scott claimed. “I’m Scott,” Scott introduced himself. Phil looked over to Hannah and Wilbur.

 

“Hannah, nice to meet you,” Hannah nodded.

 

“I’m Wilbur,” Wilbur waved his hand awkwardly, cringing in on himself when he saw the stoic looking Technoblade snap in his direction with narrowed eyes.

 

“Tommy’s Wilbur?” Technoblade asked slowly, watching intently for Wilbur’s reaction. Wilbur stared at Technoblade with wide eyes. Hope quickly built in his chest, the raw emotion showing in his expression.

 

“Tommy?” Wilbur repeated the name. “Fifteen-year-old, blond hair, blue eyes, acts like he’s the shit?” Technoblade snorted and nodded at Wilbur.

 

“Swears like a sailor?” Wilbur nodded frantically. “Yeah it’s him,” Technoblade confirmed.

 

“Where is he? How did you find him? Is he okay?” Wilbur began to ramble questions, glancing back at their ship wondering if Tommy was there. Phil put his hands up to stop his questions with a somewhat guilty expression. 

 

“Tommy’s not with us,” Phil admitted and Wilbur felt his stomach drop and all the hope he felt for those few seconds had disappeared. “Techno picked him up on a smuggler ship and we brought him to Pogtopia and- well Tommy kinda- he-” Phil tried to explain but Technoblade interrupted.

 

“Phil lost him in Pogtopia.”

 

“You lost him?” Wilbur’s felt a protective rage build up in him. “What do you mean you lost him? How do you lose a child?” Wilbur missed the smug look Technoblade sent to Phil as the shorter man tried to calm Wilbur’s rising anger.

 

“He ran off while I was distracted and got on another ship with some other kids,” Phil tried to explain. “We think he was going to look for you.” 

 

Wilbur didn’t know what to feel. He was so close to finding Tommy, Tommy had been with these pirates! Wilbur remembered what Bad had said, Tommy would be in Las Nevadas. Bad had also said he would meet people he could trust- allies. Swallowing his emotions, Wilbur shook his head and tried to be logical about this. These two pirates would be how he gets to Las Nevadas, it’d be how he finds Tommy. 

 

“Are we gonna stand here all day or…” Technoblade trailed off  awkwardly when Wilbur hadn’t responded. Phil shook his head.

 

“Come on, let’s get back to the boat, we can talk there,” Phil ushered them all to the longboat. Wilbur kept his thoughtful silence as he joined the others on the longboat and they made their way to the pirate’s ship.

 

They boarded the ship, and despite its dark color it was nothing like Dream’s. There was life on this ship. Wilbur could see it with how energetic the crew was and with how much the wood of the ship itself shined. The vibrancy and liveliness of Dream’s ship was dulled. Scott and Hannah wandered off to look around while Phil put his hand on Wilbur’s shoulder and guided him to sit down near the helm. Wilbur had so many questions he wanted to ask, but he couldn’t get his thoughts organized enough to form a coherent sentence. Phil gave Wilbur a soft smile before he spoke.

 

“How are you feeling?” Phil asked. Wilbur shrugged, absently brushing his hair to the side.

 

“I’m fine,” he answered, but suddenly Phil was shortening the distance between them, hand on the side of Wilbur’s face and thumb tracing just above his eye.

 

“You’re hurt,” Phil said with a frown. “I’ll get something for that, we don’t want it to get infected.” He got up from his seat to walk off to who knows where and Wilbur furrowed his brow. 

 

“What- I’m fine. I don’t need-”

 

“It’s just a bandage mate.” Phil turned and gave Wilbur a look that had him freezing in his seat until the other man returned with a small wrap. Phil used a clean cloth to dab at the cut and Wilbur bit his tongue to keep from reacting. He tended to Wilbur’s wound and Wilbur sat quietly waiting for Phil to finish. Technoblade approached them just as Phil leaned back and he gave Wilbur a cautious look. Wilbur didn’t wait for anyone to say anything though and immediately shot out a question.

 

“What happened to my little brother?” He stared Phil and Technoblade in the eyes without fear. Phil glanced up at the other pirate and nodded at him. Technoblade let out a small huff before turning to give Wilbur an answer.

 

“We attacked a smuggler ship and he was locked in the brig, hiding under a wood plank. I brought him on to our ship because he had Phil’s necklace.”  

 

“Phil’s necklace?” Wilbur asked with confused eyes. “You mean the red heart?” 

 

“Yep,” Phil answered. “It was mine.” 

 

Wilbur’s mind was running. That was the Pirate King’s necklace. Phil was the Pirate King? He certainly didn’t look like a Pirate King. But it made sense. Wilbur was suddenly able to make the connection of the flags of the ship to the flags from the night his village was attacked years ago. He could remember Phil finding him and instead of killing him he gave him a pouch of gold coins. 

 

“You’re the Pirate King?” Wilbur finally asked aloud. Tommy had been with the literal Pirate King…and he ran away. His brother was such a little shit, Wilbur couldn’t help but feel both proud and exasperated at the same time. Phil nodded.

 

“Yeah, Techno came looking for me once he saw that Tommy had the necklace,” Phil continued the explanation, but Wilbur was still stuck on the part where he was on the same ship as the Pirate King. A man of the legends. The man who was either viciously cruel or unendingly kind. 

 

“Tommy wanted to go after you when you were on the imperial ship,” Technoblade got Wilbur’s attention. “We caught up with the ship just in time to see it blow up.” Wilbur’s heart sank at that. Did Tommy think- oh seas Tommy probably thought he was dead. Wilbur didn’t want to think about how Tommy would react to that.

 

“He’s okay, Wilbur.” Phil put a reassuring hand on Wilbur’s shoulder. “We found out that you were alive and his first thought was to go looking for you.” That didn’t ease a lot of Wilbur’s worries. By looking for him Tommy was only putting himself in danger.

 

“How did- why did he run away from you guys?” Wilbur asked and Phil pursed his lips looking unsure about giving an answer. Technoblade didn’t seem as hesitant though and he answered in Phil’s place.

 

“Tommy wanted to go after you and we decided that it wasn’t a smart idea because we suspected that whoever took you was after the necklace. We didn’t want to hand it to them.” Technoblade didn’t seem to care about how Wilbur would react, but Phil was looking at him with a cautious eye. Wilbur realized that Phil expected him to be mad that he wasn’t willing to go save him.

 

“And then what happened?” Wilbur wanted one of them to continue while he tried to sort through his thoughts and emotions. It was a good thing they hadn’t wanted to go after Wilbur right? It would keep Tommy away from Dream. But Tommy left and he’s looking for him anyways.

 

“We docked at Pogtopia and when I was distracted talking to another captain, Tommy wandered off. Someone saw him getting on a ship with some other pirates and so we’ve been trying to follow them,” Phil finished. 

 

Wilbur couldn’t find the energy to be anything but relieved that they were close to finding Tommy. Phil and Technoblade were supposedly on Tommy’s trail. If Bad was right, Tommy was in Las Nevadas. Phil and Technoblade, Wilbur had decided, seemed okay. Other than the fact that they lost his little brother, Wilbur didn’t really have much to hold against them. There was also a lot to unpack with Phil being the Pirate King and the necklace that Tommy had being his. It was a lot but Wilbur pushed it to the back of his mind. The first thing he was going to worry about would be finding Tommy. Everything else didn’t matter

 

“How long will it be until we get to Las Nevadas then?” Wilbur asked. Phil seemed a little relieved that Wilbur hadn’t started yelling at him for losing his brother.

 

“At the speed we’re going we’ll get there later today,” Technoblade answered in his monotone voice. Phil nodded.

 

“The Sea has been helping us travel faster even though we don’t have Her heart with us.” Wilbur should have been more confused at that, but the past few days have been so crazy that he just registered it as normal. 

 

“I’m gonna find him at Las Nevadas,” Wilbur claimed. “He should be there, Badboyhalo told me.”

 

“Bad?” Phil asked, his curiosity piqued. Did he know Bad? It made sense, the Pirate King is an age old tale and Bad has apparently been alive for centuries. Wilbur wouldn’t be surprised if the two had crossed paths. 

 

“Bad said Tommy would be there, he’s looking to talk to some guy named Quackity.” 

 

“I’ve never met Quackity,” Phil remarked. “I’ve heard about him though. He’s established himself as a pretty damn good pirate the past few years.”

 

“I’ve met him. He runs a big tavern in Las Nevadas, he deals in information,” Technoblade said and Phil looked at him curiously. 

 

“I guess once we dock, we’ll go find Quackity then. See if Tommy was there and if he wasn’t then we’ll wait for him to come.” 

 

“What are you looking for Tommy for?” Wilbur suddenly questioned with apprehension. The protective rage was ready to come back at the snap of a finger. Why were they so determined to follow Tommy? It was something to do with the necklace right? Did Phil want it back? Was he going to try and take it from Tommy? Wilbur wouldn’t let Phil hurt Tommy, Pirate King or not.

 

“Tommy has the Heart of the Sea around his neck. He’s made himself a target for those hunting it. I can’t allow that necklace to fall into the wrong hands,” Phil replied. “The Sea trusted me with Her heart years ago and so I have to protect it. Don’t worry Wilbur, I’m not going to hurt Tommy. I just want the necklace to be safe.” That seemed reasonable.

 

“Are you going to try and get it back from him?” Wilbur asked cautiously and Phil shook his head. He stepped up to the railing of the ship and stared out longingly to the water. 

 

“No. The Sea is content with him being in possession of Her heart. It can stay with Tommy, I just want to make sure it stays safe.” Wilbur would be lying if he said that he wasn’t still confused about this whole ‘The Sea’ thing. But he wasn’t going to worry about it. He wasn’t going to worry about it or think about it. His first priority was finding Tommy.

Chapter Text

Tommy, Tubbo, and Ranboo returned to the tavern just a few hours later, Tommy intent on getting answers. There were plenty more people walking about now that it was a reasonable hour and Tommy hoped that meant that Big Q wouldn’t be too busy to talk with them. He wasn’t sure what the guy’s schedule was like or how willing he’d be to talk to three teenagers, but he would do anything to get Big Q to talk to him if it meant finding Wilbur.

 

They approached the tavern again and entered the impressive building, following a crowd of pirates in. The indoors of the place was huge and right in front of the door there was a staircase leading up to a balcony that overlooked the main area. On Tommy’s left, the main area was filled with people surrounding tables and rum kegs. To Tommy’s right there was a wall and a tall door that connected to the other half of the building. 

 

“That’s the inn,” Tubbo told Tommy. “It’s right next to the tavern, so I can’t imagine you get any quiet time in there but if it makes money.” Tubbo shrugged. 

 

“We should go upstairs,” Ranboo said. “We should be able to get a better look over the area and find Big Q.” 

 

“What does he look like?” Tommy asked as the three of them climbed the staircase. Despite the large number of people, no one had gone up to the second floor. When neither Tubbo or Ranboo answered, Tommy turned around for an answer. Ranboo was looking at Tubbo shocked and Tubbo seemed to have just made a realization. 


“I don’t know. I’ve never met him in person before!” Tubbo tried to explain in the face of Tommy and Ranboo’s incredulous looks.

 

“Tubbo,” Ranboo face-palmed and Tommy turned away from them and continued to walk up the stairs hoping that by the time he got to the top Tubbo would say he lied. 

 

“I don’t know why I didn’t realize it, it’s just that dad told me enough about him I felt like I knew him you know?” Tubbo rambled as he and Ranboo caught up to Tommy who stood at the top of the stairs overlooking the main area. 

 

“Well this guy runs the place right?” Tommy walked up to lean against the railing, Tubbo and Ranboo following his lead. “Then shouldn’t there be something special about him? Like shouldn’t he look super rich?” 

 

“I don’t think we’ll be able to pick him out of a crowd. I mean look at how many people are down there!” Ranboo exclaimed pointing down and the many people all enjoying their own drinks of rum. 

 

Ranboo had a point, the likelihood of them pointing out a man that they didn’t know from a large crowd of pirates was very slim. Tommy narrowed his eyes and looked down at the main area anyways. If they couldn’t find him from up here then they could go ask around and see if anyone knew where he would be. Would anyone down there know the owner of the establishment though?

 

“This area is off-limits to customers,” a voice came from behind and all three of the teenagers jumped. Tubbo let out a shout of surprise, Ranboo flinched, and Tommy turned around as quickly as possible with his heart racing in his chest. Standing behind them was a man with brown hair and glasses. His dark green coat covered his white shirt and he wore black pants. 

 

“We’re not customers, big man. We’re here to speak to Big Q, the owner of this establishment,” Tommy claimed and the man narrowed his eyes.

 

“Quackity is very busy at the moment, he won’t be seeing anyone. I can relay a message for you if you’d like,” the man offered with a light tone. Tommy held back a glare. 

 

“We need to talk to him,” Tommy insisted. The man kept a neutral face and didn’t respond.

 

“We have questions for him,” Tubbo pressed and the guy reacted at that. His neutral face broke into something of slight curiosity before he covered it up. 

 

“Quackity doesn’t just give out information for free, it’s not good for business.” Seas, Tommy wanted to punch this guy. Did he have to be so obnoxious and annoying about this? He just wanted to find Wilbur and now he had another obstacle to go around.

 

“We can trade then,” there was Tubbo to save the day. “Information for information.” Tommy looked over at Tubbo curiously, what information did he have that he could trade? Ranboo seemed to be wondering the same thing from Tommy’s other side and that was when Tommy realized Tubbo was probably making it up. Fuck. 

 

“You have information that Quackity will want?” the man seemed slightly amused and Tommy was sure he could see through Tubbo’s act especially as the other boy got nervous and less confident in response. 

 

“Yeah,” Tubbo said unsurely and Tommy scowled.

 

“Of course we do!” Tommy crossed his arms and glared at the guy. “Are you going to take us to see Quackity then or are we going to stand here all fucking day?” The guy paused for a second to think before nodding and smiling at them.

 

“Follow me,” he said and he led them farther down the balcony to a door. The three boys all looked at each other unsurely before following after him. 

 

“I don’t actually have anything, what are we going to do?” Tubbo whispered when the man was out of earshot.

 

“I might have something,” Tommy admitted feeling a tinge of guilt. Tubbo and Ranboo were sure in for a surprise. Tubbo and Ranboo both seemed a little unsure at the possibility of Tommy having some information that Quackity hadn’t heard, but they didn’t say anything. 

 

The man stopped and knocked on the door before opening it and entering. They followed him in and the first thing that caught Tommy’s eyes were the horizontal rectangular windows that let light in the room. There was a long table in the middle of the room with enough chairs for ten people. Sitting at the head of the table was a man, Quackity, Tommy assumed, who was looking over a bunch of papers that were spread out on the table in front of him. 

 

Quackity looked up at them from where he was hunched over the papers and Tommy got a better look at him. He wore a white shirt with black suspenders and a black beanie on his head. What caught Tommy’s attention the most was the eye patch that covered his left eye. There was a scar that ran across his face from the top of his eye to his jawline. 

 

“Now, who’s this Slime?” Quackity asked, looking over at the three of them. 

 

“Oh!” The man- Slime turned and looked at the three of them apologetically. “I’m sorry for my lack of manners! Let me introduce myself, my name is Charlie Slimecicle.” Quackity shook his head from behind Charlie and gestured to the table. 

 

“Take a seat and introduce yourselves.” Quackity said. Charlie took the seat on the other side of the table right next to Quackity. Tommy sat across from Charlie and on Quackity’s other side with Tubbo and Ranboo filling in beside him. 

 

“I’m Tommy.”

 

“I’m Tubbo and this is Ranboo,” Tubbo introduced the two of them, holding back a flinch when Quackity’s eyes narrowed in interest. 

 

“Tubbo- Sparklez’s kid?” Tommy watched Tubbo frown for a second before it was wiped off in favor of a smirk and Tubbo nodded. 

 

“Yup! That’s my dad,” Tommy made a mental note to ask Tubbo about that later. 

 

“What brings the three of you here then?” Quackity clasped his hands together and put his elbow on the table leaning forward and looking at them with an inquisitive gaze.

 

“We’re here because we have questions that we think you can answer,” Tubbo said with the same confidence he plastered on his face earlier. Quackity raised an eyebrow.

 

“An exchange of information?” Quackity leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms, not missing the nervous look Tubbo sent Tommy’s way. “What do you have for me then?” Tommy furrowed his brow.

 

“What the hell. Why do we have to go first?” He asked with a scowl. 

 

“It’s information for information,” Quackity began. “It’s not a fair trade if you tell me something I already know. Information is power and I know a lot of things that other people would like to know. You go first and if it’s something that I already know, you get nothing in return. If it’s something that I don’t know then I’ll owe you one. But I know a lot of things.” Quackity looked smug and Tommy clenched his fists.

 

It made sense. Quackity didn’t want to get scammed out of his information. It’s a safe way of keeping the power he has. Tommy was just lucky that he was confident that there was something Quackity didn’t know. And he was sure he knew what it was. Taking a deep breath, Tommy gave a quick glance to his two companions before steeling his expression and turning to face the information-dealer. 

 

“I have information regarding the Pirate King,” Tommy claimed with as much seriousness as he could muster. Quackity sat up a little. Ah, so Tommy has piqued his interest. Tommy could feel the confusion radiating off of Tubbo and Ranboo behind him though. 

 

“Alright kid,” Quackity nodded to Tommy. “Go ahead and tell me something about the Pirate King that I haven’t heard yet.” Tommy forced himself to not look at Ranboo or Tubbo for reassurance. He didn’t expect them to be too happy to hear that Tommy had been keeping this to himself. 

 

“The Pirate King hasn’t been seen for a few years right?” Tommy echoed what Ranboo had told him. Quackity nodded both as an answer and a signal for Tommy to get on with it. “Right, well he’s back.” Tommy heard Tubbo gasp lightly from behind him and Quackity looked at him a little skeptically. “He was in Pogtopia, I was with him.” 

 

“That’s who you were running from?” Tubbo asked incredulously and Ranboo sat with frightened eyes beside him.

 

“Oh seas we were helping you run from the Pirate King,” Ranboo murmured. Tommy rolled his eyes.

 

“Stop worrying,” He told the boy. “You’ll be fine, he wouldn’t hurt you two…probably.” Turning back Tommy could see the disbelief on Quackity’s face. Even Charlie didn’t seem to believe Tommy’s claims. 

 

“How can you prove it?” Quackity questioned, going back to slouching in his chair. Tommy quickly realized that he hadn’t thought this idea through completely. “Anyone can pretend that the Pirate King is back, kid. What makes your case different?”

 

“I was on a ship with him! It was a huge ass black ship and the Pirate King was there and so was this other guy, Technoblade-” Tommy stopped when Quackity perked back up.

 

“Technoblade?” He asked and Tommy nodded. “Pink hair, cape, acts like he’s the shit?”

 

“Is really a giant bitch? Yeah,” Tommy nodded at Quackity. Quackity let out a breathy laugh and Tommy couldn’t tell if it was out of fear or relief. The man then made a pensive expression and brought a hand up to his chin in thought.

 

“Okay, there may be some truth to your claim.” Quackity finally admitted. “What’s he doing then? Now that he’s back?” There was the same expectant look as Quackity waited for an answer. Tommy was going to have to be more careful with this, he didn’t trust Quackity enough to tell him everything. He just had to make sure that he told him enough that he was satisfied with the information offered. 

 

“He was looking for some weird necklace,” Tommy shrugged, leaning back in his chair and trying to feign nonchalance. “I’m not sure though, he just picked me up from a smuggler ship and offered me a ride to Pogtopia.” The lie came easy to him and Wilbur would have been proud. Quackity was too distracted in his own musings to pick up on it. 

 

“So it’s true then that the Pirate King lost his necklace,” Quackity muttered. Finally sparing a glance over to his friends, Tommy saw Tubbo and Ranboo looking at him in utter shock. Tubbo’s eyes dropped from Tommy’s to where the necklace sat under his shirt and Tommy the weight of it felt heavier with Tubbo’s gaze. “Alright, you’ve earned a few questions.” Tommy snapped his head to face Quackity after the man finished contemplating. Tommy felt a quick wave of relief that he wouldn’t have to say anything else. 

 

“I’m looking for my brother,” Tommy began. “He was taken by a ship sailing with dark magic. Do you know anything about any ships that are sailing with dark magic?” Tommy asked and Quackity’s eyes widened before he turned to Charlie and then back to Tommy. 

 

“There’s rumors going around that Dream is at large again, but this time he’s using dark magic.” Tommy didn’t know how to react, who the fuck was Dream? Tubbo and Ranboo reacted though, Ranboo gasping in fear. From beside him, Tubbo leaned in and whispered to Tommy.

 

“Dream is bad news.” Tubbo claimed with a shake of his head and a look of dread on his face. Oh. And Wilbur was with this guy. This was far from good. 

 

“Word is, Dream took a prisoner from a ship. The prisoner escaped and last we heard, they were in the Badlands.” Quackity watched Tommy for his reaction. Tommy turned to face Tubbo and Ranboo eagerly with a grin on his face. 

 

“Is that all? Are you- what do you know about the prisoner? Is that all you heard?” Tommy asked, legs bouncing up and down under the table with excitement. Quackity paused and turned to Charlie. Charlie took on a face of concentration before he turned to make eye contact with Tommy.

 

“The prisoner went to consult Badboyhalo. The person who told us this information also said that the prisoner is looking for his little brother.” Tommy slumped in his seat at that. That was definitely Wilbur. He had gotten away from Dream and the other bad pirates and was looking for Tommy. He had to be. What are the odds that it’s someone else? Tommy caught the soft smile that Quackity sent in his direction and he felt Tubbo gently patting his back in reassurance. 

 

“Is there anything else you’d like to ask while you’re here?” Quackity asked. Back to business it is then. Tommy didn’t have any questions and he turned and looked at Tubbo and Ranboo with a raised eyebrow. Tubbo had a thoughtful look before he leaned forward a little bit and asked a question of his own. 

 

“What’s the deal with the Esempi and dark magic? I’ve heard rumors about how the ruler of the Esempi is using dark magic, but they condemn magic use,” Tubbo asked with a serious expression. Quackity’s expression turned serious but he held a small smirk in Tubbo’s direction for a moment.

 

“You really are your father’s son,” Quackity said with an amused huff. Tommy saw Tubbo’s nose scrunch up at that but Quackity started answering before Tommy could wonder about it. “The rumors you’re hearing are just rumors for now. Someone in the Esempi is using dark magic, enough to drain the life from the plants and areas surrounding the castle. Some people have said that it looks like a shell of how it used to be. It could be the monarch themselves or it could be someone else, but whoever it is, they’re powerful. I suspect that whoever is using the dark magic so strongly is going to continue to use it in secret until there is a change in law across the Esempi.” There was a bitter note to Quackity’s voice.

 

“Do you think the Esempi will lift the magic ban then? If the person is in a high position of power?” Ranboo asked curiously. Quackity shrugged.

 

“It all depends on how much sway this individual has. It’s obvious to those who know the signs that dark magic is being used. It just depends on if the Esempi cares enough to stop whoever it is or if the person has enough influence on those around them.” Quackity changed the subject. “Speaking of the Esempi, you’ll do good to spread the news that imperial ships are going farther out into the waters. Rumor is they’re looking for someone. The admiral has been leading the crusade and sailing the seas himself,” Quackity spat the title and Tommy felt himself freeze.

 

The admiral? Oh seas no, please not him. Tommy’s got to- he’s got to find Wilbur and they need to get to L’Manburg. They need to hide. They can’t- Wilbur wouldn’t- not him. Beside him, Tubbo and Ranboo froze similarly to Tommy but for different reasons. They all broke out from their frozen states when Quackity clapped his hands and leaned forward.

 

“That’s all the information I can give you right now. Thank you, Tommy, for confirming one of the biggest rumors across the seas. Let me walk you three out.” Quackity got up from his seat and Tommy followed his movements, still in a slight haze. They followed Quackity to the top of the staircase where he turned and gave them a grin. “Keep me in mind if you’re in the area with new information. I’m always ready to listen.” From beside him, Charlie perked up with a grin.


“And if you’re not in the area then just find me! I’m everywhere!” Charlie claimed as the three boys began to walk down the stairs. 

 

“That’s not weird at all.” Tommy caught Tubbo muttering and he snickered. The three of them pushed past other pirates that were standing around the main floor and they made their way out of the building. Walking out of the building, the three made their way down a path and towards the markets to get back to the docks. Tommy caught Tubbo staring at him.

 

“What?” Tommy asked the other boy who stood up straighter at Tommy’s question. Tubbo gave Tommy a lost look.

 

“Why did- you heard us tell you and talk about the rumors of the Pirate King. You let us continue to believe that he was missing when he wasn’t and now he’s chasing you! You have his necklace! Did you steal it from him? Why didn’t you tell us the Pirate King was back?” Tubbo sounded upset and this is just what Tommy was afraid of. He felt the guilt in his stomach and he looked to see that Ranboo looked upset as well. 

 

“I’m sorry,” Tommy apologized quietly. “I didn’t tell you because I didn’t know if you would believe me. And if you did, I was scared you guys would jump ship if I said the Pirate King was after me.” Tubbo softened somewhat but still looked upset.

 

“And what about the necklace? It is the Pirate King’s necklace right? The one that the Sea gave him?” Tubbo crossed his arms and looked at Tommy sternly. Tommy put his hands up in a surrendering motion.

 

“I didn’t steal the necklace. I wasn’t lying to you guys when I said that it was Wilbur’s and he gave it to me. I don’t know how it got from the Pirate King to Wilbur though.” 

 

“That all makes sense,” Ranboo muttered quietly and Tubbo elbowed him with a glare. Ranboo looked at him with confused eyes. 

 

Tubbo huffed and closed his eyes before opening them and turning to walk through the merchant stalls ahead of Tommy and Ranboo. Ah, so he was a bit miffed. Tommy dejectedly wondered for a brief moment if he’d have to find new passage to the Badlands. He hoped not. He liked Tubbo and Ranboo and he didn’t mind traveling with them. But Tommy also understood how Tubbo felt. He hadn’t been completely honest with them from the start and granted he should have. But who’s to say they were completely honest with him? They’re pirates, pirates lie about anything. Okay, he needed to stop this train of thought he was getting to the point where he was just trying to justify his own decisions.

 

“Tommy,” Ranboo called from his side. “What are you planning to do?”

 

“Go to the Badlands. If Wilbur’s there, then I’ll find him. If I can’t find him, I’ll confront this Badboyhalo guy and find out where Wilbur went.” Tommy shrugged. 

 

“Alight, we’ll leave tonight,” Tubbo said and Tommy looked up with relief and shock.

 

“Tubbo,” Tommy began making the boy pause and turn to face Tommy. He still looked a little annoyed. “Are you- are you sure? You don’t have anything else to do?” Tommy asked hesitantly which was enough for Tubbo’s annoyance to turn into slight fondness. Tubbo shared a glance with Ranboo before he nodded.

 

“We’re invested in this now. You really think we helped you get all the way here to not meet Wilbur? I’m not stopping until I meet him myself so I can decide if he’s really as good as you say,” Tubbo crossed his arms and gave Tommy a look trying to play it off as casual. 

 

Tommy smiled at the other two, a warmth growing in his chest. They were willing to help him even though he had somewhat lied to them. The warmth grew a little cold. He still had more secrets and lies in his narrative that he’d have to correct. He resolved to himself that he’d be completely honest with Ranboo and Tubbo from here on out. He’d tell them everything from the beginning, why they actually had to leave the Esempi and who put the bounty on Wilbur’s head. 

 

“Thank you,” Tommy said with a smile and Tubbo nodded before he turned and they walked. They passed the same merchant stalls they had browsed at earlier and Tommy decided it would be now or never. “Hey guys,” Ranboo glanced at him and Tubbo hummed in response. “I haven’t been completely honest with you-” Tommy stopped talking and immediately crouched behind the side of the merchant stall they were passing.

 

In the distance he had caught sight of a tall head of pink hair and a striped bucket hat. Shit. Tubbo and Ranboo both gave him a weird look and Tommy gestured out to the crowd.

 

“It’s them!” He whispered.

 

“The Pirate King?” Tubbo asked quietly with wide eyes? Tommy nodded frantically and both Tubbo and Ranboo moved to stand in front of Tommy to help block him from sight of the crowd. Tommy gripped the side of the stall, the merchant too distracted trying to sell his wares to a curious customer to shoo Tommy away. “Do you think they’d let you go after Wilbur now that we know where he is?” Tubbo asked, glancing down behind him.

 

“I don’t know,” Tommy answered. “But they can fuck themselves if they think I’m not going after Wilbur.” Tubbo furrowed his brow.

 

“Why don’t you just give the Pirate King the necklace and leave? Isn’t that the only thing he’s after?” Tubbo questioned. Tommy couldn’t see Phil and Technoblade from where he sat on the ground, he didn’t know if they were close or not.

 

“He didn’t try to take it when I was with him earlier, I never thought about that! I’m not really sure what the fuck he’s after,” Tommy answered.

 

“Which one is which?” Ranboo inconspicuously kept glancing in Phil’s and Technoblade’s direction.

 

“The one with the hat is Phil, he’s the Pirate King. Technoblade has the pink hair.” 

 

“I thought the Pirate King was supposed to be- I dunno, cooler?” Tubbo asked and Tommy held back a laugh. Phil really didn’t look the part. Ranboo hummed in question though. 

 

“Who’s the tall guy with them?” Ranboo asked and Tommy made a confused noise, rearranging himself on the floor so he could peek in between Ranboo’s and Tubbo’s legs to see. 

 

It took Tommy a second of looking at different pirates before he caught sight of a familiar blood-red cape and green cloak. Technoblade walked past first, his eyes scanning the people in front of him. Then Phil who offered smiles to the vendors he passed. Phil turned from where he was facing and he put a reassuring hand on the third person’s shoulder saying something. Their head turned a little bit and Tommy caught sight of their face and he froze.

 

Wilbur.

 

Suddenly he was barreling through Tubbo’s and Ranboo’s legs, knocking the other two over. Tubbo went down with a cry of surprise, knocking over some of the items displayed in the stall. Tommy didn’t notice though and instead he found himself running straight to Wilbur. Wilbur was here. He was here and he was okay. Phil’s eyes caught sight of Tommy and Wilbur turned his head to look at what had caught Phil’s eyes just before Tommy barreled into him with a hug.

Chapter Text

The ship had docked in Las Nevadas a few hours after they had left the Siren’s Island. Hannah and Scott both went their separate ways, Hannah to find passage to Kinoko and Scott to find a way back to the Badlands. Wilbur was insistent that they go immediately to Quackity and Phil was very agreeable. Phil, Wilbur, and Technoblade were quick to get off the ship and make their way towards the tavern. Technoblade led the way, his intimidating aura parting the crowd for them to walk through.

 

The three of them walked through the market that was set up with merchant stalls, Wilbur too distracted to take in the sights. His brother was supposed to be here. Tommy was here. Wilbur just had to find him. Wilbur could feel the anxiety spinning in his stomach. They were so close, what if something went wrong? Wilbur didn’t realize he had stopped walking until he felt Phil’s hand on his shoulder and he looked up to see Phil giving him a concerned look.

 

“Wilbur, what's wrong?” Phil asked seeing the worry across Wilbur’s face.

 

“It’s just- we’re so close what if he’s not here? What if Bad was wrong and he’s not here and we don’t find him? What if Dream finds him or he ends up with worse pirates?” Wilbur paused to take a breath and Phil took the chance to speak, not giving Wilbur a chance to start again.

 

“Wilbur, this is your little brother. If he’s anything like the boy he was on Techno’s ship then he’ll be fine. That kid is just as determined to find you as you are to find him. No matter what happens or where he is he has the Sea looking out for him.” Wilbur pursed his lips and turned his head a bit, probably to try and hide the frustrated tears that had formed in his eyes. Phil’s gaze followed Wilbur catching sight of someone behind him before smiling. “Who knows, he might find you.” Wilbur looked back up at Phil with such hope that the man couldn’t repress his grin when suddenly there was a shout.

 

“WILBUR!” Wilbur turned to where the shout had come from to see only a glimpse of blond hair and a red bandana before a weight collided into his side, the momentum shooting the both of them sideways and knocking Phil’s hand off his shoulder. There was no hesitation and Wilbur’s arms were wrapping tightly around the boy who was holding on to him with a death grip. 

 

“Tommy,” Wilbur whispered, the tears of frustration that had been in his eyes earlier now coming back with a vengeance. Shock and worry turned to relief as Tommy buried his head in Wilbur’s neck, arms tightening around Wilbur’s waist. Wilbur’s grip on Tommy tightened when he heard the boy sniffle and felt his shoulders shake. “Tommy,” Wilbur said louder, tone betraying the joy and relief he felt. 

 

Wilbur pulled Tommy back from where he was tucked into his arms and he looked the boy over for any injuries. Other than the tears Tommy had streaming down his face, he looked okay. There were no cuts, no bruises, and every freckle was in the right spot. Tommy looked up at Wilbur and Wilbur melted at the expression on Tommy’s face before he brought the boy into another hug. Tommy gripped Wilbur tighter than before, breath coming out in short gasps and hiccups.

 

“I thought-” Tommy began, fist tightening its grip on Wilbur’s jacket. “I thought you were dead,” Tommy said with a quiet sob. “The ship blew up and I thought you were dead. I was so scared.” Wilbur finally let his own tears fall at Tommy’s heartbroken admission. 

 

“I’m okay. I’m here. I won’t leave you again Tommy, I promise,” Wilbur murmured reassurances and he could feel the tension release in Tommy’s shoulders. 

 

Wilbur’s heart nearly broke at the sight of his brother crying into his chest. It was just like how when Tommy was younger and had nightmares, he would always come to Wilbur for comfort. He’d either wake up and get his older brother to distract him or he’d cry into his chest. This was just like that, except the past three days had been a nightmare. Three days had never felt like such a long time before.

 

“I was so worried about you,” Wilbur found himself muttering to his brother. Whether it was to comfort Tommy or reassure himself, Wilbur didn’t know. “I’m so glad you’re okay. I was scared that you wouldn’t make it to L’Manburg, but you’re here. You’re okay Tommy, you’re with me,” Wilbur continued to whisper and he could slowly feel Tommy’s grip loosen and his breathing calm down. 

 

It took a moment before Tommy removed himself from Wilbur’s chest to look at his brother. Tommy’s gaze ws so full of relief and happiness that Wilbur had to fight to not just pull Tommy back into a hug. His brother was right in front of him. There was no Dream here to hunt Tommy down for the necklace. There were no bad pirates. There were no prophecies or impending doom. It was just him and his little brother there in the middle of the most populous pirate port. Wilbur didn’t care where they were, he’d stand here for an eternity if it meant he’d get to see Tommy’s face again. 

 

Tommy opened his mouth and closed it again. He squeezed his teary eyes shut and reached back out towards Wilbur and Wilbur complied, stepping forward to embrace Tommy again. Wilbur closed his eyes and focused only on the boy in his arms. The nervousness and anxiety he had been feeling while he worried for Tommy was gone. He was here now, he could protect Tommy from any dangers.

 

“Wilbur,” There was a tap on his shoulder from the side. Wilbur opened his eyes and tilted his head to see Phil giving him a happy look. Behind him was Technoblade, who maintained a stoic expression, and two boys who were smiling at Tommy. Plenty of pirates and other people in the markets were staring as well but Wilbur wasn’t fazed by that. Let them stare. All he cared about was that Tommy was here with him and safe. Phil whispered softly, “how about we take this somewhere else mate? Somewhere private?” 

 

Wilbur looked down at Tommy before he looked back up and nodded gently to Phil. One of the boys that Wilbur didn’t recognize said something and Phil nodded at them before turning to walk deeper into the market. Tommy maneuvered himself so that he’d be clinging to Wilbur’s side and Wilbur kept his arm wrapped around Tommy’s back. 

 

Wilbur knew it was illogical, but there was the small fear that the moment he let Tommy go the kid would slip through his fingers. Tommy would be across the seas in a different country and Wilbur would be left to find answers and hope his brother hadn’t gotten himself in danger. Wilbur kept his arm around Tommy just as much for Tommy as he was doing it for himself. 

 

Wilbur and Tommy followed behind the group and they came face to face with a large building that Wilbur couldn’t help but stare at in awe. It was huge. They followed the group in and were greeted by two men who had turned and gave them a look of surprise.

 

“Found what you were looking for already, huh?” The shorter man with a scar across his face and an eyepatch asked with a smile in Tommy’s direction. Wilbur didn’t pay attention to the response the shorter one of the boys gave and instead he narrowed his eyes at the taller man standing next to eye patch guy. Wilbur could have sworn he saw this guy talking to Sneeg in the Badlands. He had the same green jacket, same glasses, same face. 

 

Wilbur watched distractedly as Phil stepped forward and said they were headed for the inn. He saw the eye patch guy turn to face them, his gaze drifting over Technoblade for a moment and Wilbur was sure he saw fear flash in the man’s eyes. The man composed himself quickly and grinned at them.

 

“Don’t worry, Slime can help you out with that,” the man said cooly before his eyes settled on Tommy whose fingers were fiddling with the end of Wilbur’s shirt. “The room’s on the house, you gave some good information kid.” The man turned and walked away going up the empty staircase to the balcony. Wilbur furrowed his brow and he glanced at Tommy feeling slight pricks of concern and confusion.

 

“What information?” Wilbur asked in a whisper as Slime led the group through a door connecting to the tavern. Tommy leaned closer into Wilbur’s side as he answered back in a quiet voice.

 

“I’ll tell you later.” Wilbur didn’t push for an answer and instead squeezed Tommy’s arm in response. Phil and Slime spoke for a moment and the Slime handed over three keys. Phil kept one and he handed one to Wilbur and the other to one of the boys. The key looked fancier than Wilbur had thought a key would look, a stark contrast to the rusted key he used to unlock the cell door on Dream’s ship. 

 

“We can all talk privately in one of the rooms,” Phil suggested. The group ended up going into the room assigned to Wilbur and Tommy. There wasn’t much in the room, two beds, a nightstand, and two dressers. Wilbur and Tommy sat on one bed, Phil on the other, Technoblade stood awkwardly by the door, and the two boys sat on the floor completing the awkward half-circle.

 

“So are there gonna be introductions or…” the shorter boy trailed off giving Phil and Technoblade a cold look. Wilbur didn’t understand where the hostility was coming from, but Tommy might have because he could hear the other boy huff out a laugh beside him. Phil laughed and answered with a smile.


“Of course, I’m Phil and this is my right-hand Technoblade,” Phil gestured to himself and Technoblade who nodded. The boy gave them a raised eyebrow and opened his mouth say something but Tommy beat him to it.

 

“This is Tubbo and Ranboo, they’re cool I guess.” Tubbo turned his hostile look to Tommy.

 

“You guess?” he asked with an offended tone. Tommy’s responding laugh was music to Wilbur’s ears. Tommy’s laughter died down though and he turned to face Wilbur.

 

“Wil, what happened?” Tommy’s voice came out weaker, sadder, and Wilbur just wanted to bring his little brother into another hug. Everyone else was looking at Wilbur curiously too, waiting for his answer. So Wilbur held back on the hug and instead brought his hands in his lap as he began to tell the story.

 

“The imperial ship was heading towards the Esempi and they put me in the brig. I was planning on trying to escape at some point during the night. Once the guard left the brig, I picked the lock of the cell and when I got to the main deck there was another ship and pirates on the deck threatening the commander. The pirate’s name was Dream and he was asking the commander about some relic.” Wilbur stopped when he saw everyone’s expression sour. Technoblade had scowled and Phil had frowned. Tubbo and Ranboo both had a small amount of fear across their faces, glancing at each other worriedly.

 

“I was hoping that Puffy was wrong,” Phil muttered. 

 

“If he’s back then he must be really confident in his abilities now,” Technoblade crossed his arms, his scowl slowly melting back into apathy. Phil glanced back at him and he pursed his lips. 

 

“His confidence in his abilities doesn’t matter if he’s using dark magic. There’s barely anything that can go against it.” Phil turned to Wilbur. “He was using dark magic right?”

 

“Yeah,” Wilbur nodded. “His entire ship was so…lifeless. It was like the energy was being sucked out of everything. Even the water under the ship was dark. It felt…cold,” Wilbur held back a shudder. He felt Tommy’s arm around him tighten and Wilbur put his hand on his brother’s leg reassuringly. 

 

“This isn’t good,” He heard Phil mumble to himself. Phil turned his attention back to Wilbur and he gestured for Wilbur to continue talking. “What did you say Dream was after? A relic?” If Phil looked displeased at hearing Dream was back he looked very troubled when he asked if he was after a relic. 

 

“He’s after the necklace,” Wilbur glanced over to Tommy and see that the necklace was hidden under his shirt similar to how Wilbur always wore it. Tommy looked at Wilbur shocked before he reached to pull the necklace out from where it sat. It was glowing dimly, the same way it always had. Wilbur saw Phil stare at the necklace with a look of worry. 

 

“Why?” Tommy asked quietly. 

 

“He said it was the only way to stop the Pirate King.” Everyone looked at Phil who was staring at the necklace. Technoblade glanced at Phil with what Wilbur thought was concern before he stepped forward.

 

“Dream’s really getting a big head now isn’t he.” Technoblade drawled watching Phil’s reaction. “You blow up a guy’s ship once ten years ago and suddenly he’s on a revenge spree,” Phil shook his head and looked back at Technoblade with a serious expression.

 

“Dream wouldn’t go that far over that one skirmish we had. He’s a bad guy, but he’s smart. I never imagined he would jump to such extremes or even dark magic.” 

 

“What do you mean Dream’s wouldn’t go that far?” Tubbo interrupted. “He’s attacked pirates all over the Esempi waters for years and that’s all anyone can say about him.”

 

“Dream of all people should know the consequences of using dark magic. It’s something that a person could never come back from. Even he wouldn’t throw his soul away just to get back at me.” Phil said grimly. It somewhat lined up with what George had told Wilbur. That Dream hadn’t always been that way. 

 

“That’s what George had said,” Wilbur claimed. “One of Dream’s friends? He said they were like brothers and that something happened and Dream was suddenly using dark magic. George didn’t agree with it.” Technoblade and Phil both looked intrigued at that. “George helped me escape. He gave me a key to get out of the cell and he even swore on the Sea that he wouldn’t betray me.”

 

“How did you get to the Badlands then?” Tubbo asked, giving Wilbur a curious look. “Quackity told us that there were rumors you had escaped and got to the Badlands.” Wilbur wanted to know how word had gotten to another country so fast, he suspected it had something to do with that doppelgänger he saw earlier but he wasn’t going to question it at the moment.

 

“There was a ship that picked me up and we got caught in a storm and we ended up docking at a port in the Badlands so we could wait out the storm. The captain of the ship, Jack Manifold-”

 

“Jack?” Tubbo interrupted. Both he and Ranboo turned to look at Wilbur expectantly and they both grinned when Wilbur nodded. “Jack’s a good lad of course he helped you out,” Tubbo nodded and crossed his arms. 

 

“He directed me to Badboyhalo. He said that Bad could tell me where I could find Tommy.” Wilbur furrowed his brow and pursed his lips. “Bad told me Tommy would be here and that I’d find him, but then he- there was this whole thing where he gave a prophecy.”

 

“A prophecy? There hasn’t been one of those in years!” Tubbo was staring with wide eyes and an open mouth. Phil had snapped to attention, staring holes into Wilbur’s face and Tommy sat beside him slightly confused.

 

“What do you mean?” Phil said, tone completely serious.

 

“I don’t know, he got all weird. There was fog coming out of his mouth, his eyes got red, and voice was weird. The other guy, Skeppy, said he was giving a prophecy. He gave two different prophecies and then he passed out. Skeppy was shocked, he said something about them being rare.” Wilbur shrunk in on himself at everyone’s stares. Tommy was a reassuring weight on his side, reminding Wilbur that the worst of it was over and he had his brother right there. That was all that mattered. 

 

“What was it then? What did he say?” Technoblade asked. 

 

“Well the first one he said was about me I think? That’s what Skeppy said,” Wilbur paused and at all of their expectant looks he recited the first prophecy Bad had given. 

 

As he recited the first line, Wilbur was hyper aware of Tommy’s arm tightening a little around him. He could see the confusion growing on the other’s faces as he continued. Wilbur avoided Tommy’s look at the mention of the Sword, instead continuing to finish with the last line. Phil looked conflicted, glancing back to his right-hand man in confusion. 

 

“Thwart the pirate’s stand?” Tubbo repeated questioningly. “What are the pirates standing against? Other pirates? Dark magic? The government?” Nobody answered and instead Phil stared at Wilbur.

 

“What was the second one?” He asked. 

 

Wilbur recited this one easier. He wasn’t sure if it was because he wasn’t at the center of it or not, but the words slid out of his mouth with ease. Phil didn’t react at all at the mention of his title, face solemn as he tried to make sense of what he was hearing. Wilbur risked a glance down at Tommy to see the boy was staring at him knowingly, his fearful expression perfectly conveying how Wilbur felt about these prophecies.

 

“These are…” Phil trailed off. “These are pretty serious.” He looked to Technoblade who had given up on trying to look unconcerned and looked a little worried. Phil shook his head and turned to face them with a worried smile. “It’s late, I’m sure you’re all tired. We can discuss this more in the morning.” Wilbur found that as much as he wanted answers, he also just wanted to spend time with his brother and so he didn’t protest. He watched Phil and Technoblade leave the room and the four left in there all sat in silence.

 

“Well that’s a grim note to leave on,” Tubbo muttered staring at the door Technoblade and Phil just walked out of. 

 

Wilbur couldn’t help but laugh at the kid’s tone, losing some of the tension in his shoulders. Tubbo grinned at that and he got up from his spot on the floor, jumping onto the bed Phil sat on. He turned to lay on his stomach, his legs in the air and his head held up by his hands. 

 

“It’s nice to meet you Wilbur,” Tubbo said with a grin. “Tommy’s told us so much about you.” Wilbur raised an eyebrow and looked down at Tommy who was giving Tubbo a quick glare. 

 

“All good things I hope.” Wilbur laughed and Tommy removed himself from Wilbur’s side crossing his arms and shaking his head.

 

“Nope, I told them the fucking truth. All the shitty shitty things. I told them you ate kids for breakfast and kicked puppies for fun and so so so many other shitty things, yep. Don’t worry, I didn’t ruin your reputation as a wrongun’ or anything.” Tommy nodded to himself like he had just done Wilbur a favor. Wilbur didn’t know whether to laugh or just smile fondly, happy to be able to hear his little brother’s ramblings. Instead, he turned to Tubbo and Ranboo.

 

“Thanks for putting up with Tommy, seas knows it’s a difficult job.” Wilbur grinned when he heard Tommy’s outraged cry from beside him. 

 

“It was worth it,” Ranboo claimed giving Tommy a smile. “Tommy’s our friend.” Tommy froze from where he was aiming a kick at Wilbur and turned to Ranboo to see his smile. Tommy grinned back and gave both him and Tubbo a thumbs up.

 

“Yeah yeah, these two aren’t that bad.” Tommy admitted and Tubbo grinned. Tommy shifted where he sat, glancing between his friends and Wilbur. Wilbur caught Tubbo hitting Ranboo in the shoulder and the two boys got up from their spots.

 

“It was nice to meet you Wilbur, but Ranboo and I are gonna go back out to the markets. There’s a few more stalls I want to check out.” Tubbo and Ranboo walked over to the door and Tommy leaned forward.


“Wait,” He called. Tommy hesitantly glanced between Wilbur and the other two boys, chewing his lip before asking, “you guys are gonna stay right?” Tubbo and Ranboo share a look before both boys turn to Tommy with a smirk.

 

“Of course. It’s like I said bossman, we’re invested in this now.” Wilbur saw Tommy’s shoulders slump in what he assumed was relief and Tommy nodded and waved Tubbo and Ranboo goodbye. 

 

Moments after the door closed the two of them sat in silence before Tommy turned and jumped into giving Wilbur another hug. Wilbur’s arms cradled his little brother and he could slowly feel his resolve breaking as he felt Tommy tremble in his arms. Like a switch was flipped, Tommy lost the control he had of his emotions and he was close to crying into Wilbur’s arms.

 

“I was so scared when I saw the ship blow up,” Tommy whispered and Wilbur tightened his grip around Tommy. 

 

“It’s okay, I’m okay. We’re here and alive.” Tommy leaned back from where he had hugged Wilbur and he let out a weak laugh, rubbing at his eyes. 

 

“I’m so happy that you’re here,” Tommy admitted. Wilbur couldn’t help but pull Tommy back into another hug at the admission. 

 

“I was beyond worried about you, especially when Dream started asking about the necklace. I was afraid he’d go after you and that I had put you in danger. I thought by giving it to you I was keeping it safe, but I only put you in danger.” Wilbur muttered, finally letting his fears come out. Instead of trying to reassure him, Tommy leaned back and gave Wilbur a confused look.

 

“Did you know that this necklace is the literal Sea’s heart?” Tommy asked holding the heart gem up. Wilbur shook his head and laughed at Tommy’s mix of shock and confusion. “Well I met Her. She’s actually really nice and cool. She’s in love with Phil though, and Technoblade says that She adopted me and that makes Phil my dad.” Tommy began to ramble. Wilbur felt himself relax in the familiarity of his brother’s ramblings. Tommy stopped his rant and narrowed his eyes at Wilbur. “Where are your glasses? And what happened to your head?” Subconsciously Wilbur’s hand went up to his face to feel at the cut above his eye.

 

“There was a bad storm on the way here, I lost my glasses somewhere in the ocean. Some piece of debris flew into my face and hit me in the head.”

 

“And you didn’t think to duck?” Tommy asked with an unimpressed look. Wilbur blanched.

 

“It was raining and the wind was horrible, it was so chaotic there wasn’t any way I could see it!”

 

“Oh, I’m Wilbur Soot, I can’t see when I’m about to get hit in the face, mimimi-” Wilbur grabbed a pillow from the bed and hit it across Tommy’s face, laughing when the boy stopped and stared at him in false anger. “Oh you messed up now Wilbur.”

 

“Yeah? You sure about that Tommy?” Wilbur asked, lifting his pillow up threateningly. Tommy eyed the pillow before he conceded defeat.

 

“Uh-huh you’re right Wilbur, I won’t waste my time fighting with someone like you when I know I could do so much better.” Tommy nodded confidently and Wilbur couldn’t stop the laugh he let out. 

 

All of the worry and fear Wilbur had felt had disappeared and now he was left with the joy of having his brother back. Wilbur could feel the exhaustion from the past few days finally hitting him and he didn’t fight it. He yawned and Tommy glanced at him. Sleeping didn’t sound like a bad idea. For the first time in a week, Wilbur was given the chance to sleep on a bed and he was ready to take it.

 

There were two beds, but Wilbur didn’t mind sharing. It was like going back in time to when they were kids and they would share a bed because Tommy had a nightmare or because Wilbur had just needed the reassurance that someone was there. Wilbur didn’t want to leave Tommy, scared that the second he looked away he would disappear. He didn’t want to feel the fear and anxiety he had felt the past few days again. Maybe they would use the other bed another day, but tonight Wilbur needed the reassurance that Tommy was there. Going by the expression on Tommy’s face, and the way his hands kept subtly inching closer to Wilbur, Wilbur was sure that Tommy wouldn’t mind the reassurance either.