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Strawberry blonde

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Tommy doesn't like hospitals.

 

He's been in too many of them to count at this point, and they're all the same. They're all bland and white, made up of long hallways and loud shouts carrying across the air. There's the thick scent of something undeniably gross that lays underneath the tiled floors and sticks to your clothes each time you walk around.

 

It's awful. He hates it. He hates it all.

 

He'd much rather be at home, running around the garden with his brothers or helping his dad in the kitchen; he'd much rather be at school with all of his classmates, learning about times tables and onomatopoeias and other things that he probably won't remember; he'd much rather be anywhere else, actually.

 

Just not the hospital. Just not stuck within those rising walls and tight rules, those restrictive beds and bland food - a place that he's come to slowly resent, even with the stickers and the colours and toys that the children's sections like to oh-so-desperately hold onto.

 

It's not fair. None of it is fair. It's not like Tommy asked to get sick with some stupidly mean disease; it's not like he sat up one day and decided that he was going to spend the rest of his life under wires and tests and scratchy, gross sheets that cling to his clammy skin.

 

He would have much preferred to have just stayed… normal. To have stayed the Tommy from before, the Tommy that could run around for hours without having to pause to cough and splutter; the Tommy that didn't have raging bouts of insomnia that kept him up all through the night; the Tommy that wasn't ill.

 

His arms immediately crossed over his chest then, a petulant pout tugging at his lips. He sniffled once, and then twice, and then a third time.

 

It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair. It wasn't–

 

"Your nose is bleeding again, Tommy."

 

A tissue was carefully swiped underneath the child's nostrils before he could even think about protesting, dabbing against the beads of red that bubbled there in dripping rivulets - an action done so just a moment after the voice had spoken. It was a gentle movement, admittedly so, but one that had the young blonde boy's face scrunching up anyway.

 

Unhappy, uneasy, unamused, Tommy tried to stick out his tongue, acting as sulky as ever in his quick defiance and dismissal. "I don't care, Techno. Stop it."

 

Technoblade, pink-haired, fatigued and rather jaded, Technoblade, gave a heavy sigh.

 

They'd had this sort of fight (or, well, mild argument) more than once as of late, and it was beginning to grow a tad tiring. Of course, he knew that it must be hard for Tommy especially, but… but the kid could at least try to cooperate, right?

 

He could at least try to make an effort to stop walking around with crusted red smeared all over the lower half of his face, right? At least try to stop looking like an angry little murder victim, right?

 

"C'mon," The teen sighed, trying to press the tissue against those tiny, bleeding openings once more. He needed just a little bit more time to make sure it was all wiped off; that was it. "It'll stop soon; you know that. Just let me get this-"

 

"I don't like it!"

 

Tommy.” It was Wilbur's voice this time, a vaguely deep timbre filled to the brim with both exasperation and lethargy; however, those thick browns eased into a more lulling blue as he continued to speak. "How about I do it, hm? Techno's just not doing it right, is he?"

 

The young blonde gave a vehement shake of his head, pushing his lower lip out into a rather prominent pout once again (a common trait for the smallest Craft family member.) "He sucks."

 

A laugh, Wilbur's expression shifted to accommodate for his widening smile. "He does suck, huh. Sucky, meany-pants, big brother Technoblade. We don't like him, do we?"

 

Ah, the joys of trying to appease an ever-grumpy 10-year-old.

 

It was all done in good nature, of course, (plus a wild effort to get Tommy actually to agree to have something done), and the pink-haired twin easily shifted out of the way so Wilbur could take over with the task, although with a new, cleaner tissue this time.

 

"No." Tommy readily agreed, kicking his feet in the air from where he sat, his undone, red laces flying wildly around as he went. Wilbur was extremely gentle with his wiping ministrations, swiping here and there, before ending it all by giving Tommy a boop on his button nose that had the child giggling lightly.

 

"There we go," The brunette hummed, folding over the blood-stained tissue into a ball. "All done."

 

If this had been another time, perhaps just a few months ago, Wilbur would have forcefully held the soft material there for an extended period of time instead, panicking about how Tommy's nose might still bleed or another rush could start up. He would've been anxious and unable.

 

But this wasn't a few months ago, and Wilbur was now well aware that these sorts of nosebleeds were, although vastly frequent, not that heavy.

 

His little brother's scrunched nostrils would be completely fine again in due time. (Or, as fine as they could be, at least.)

 

"Feel any better?" Wilbur prompted gently as he shifted so he could sit down next to Tommy. A warm hand on the boy's knee - careful, soothing, squeezing.

 

"Mhm," his head tilted a little then, "Just …hungry."

 

Oh.

 

Ah.

 

"Hungry?" Wilbur raised a brow.

 

"Yeah. 'S what I just said, isn't it?"

 

Tommy was frowning grumpily again, looking more than just displeased, but Wilbur, on the other hand, was shining with a brilliant golden light.

 

God, he knew that he shouldn't be this excited about his little brother actually feeling hungry, actually feeling some sort of emotion that wasn't just… irritation or a grunted distaste for anyone around him, but here he was. Here. He. Was.

 

Perhaps it was because this sort of thing was such a good development with what Tommy was going through - switching from weeks and weeks of a poor appetite, of refusing food and losing too much weight for the family to adequately comprehend, to actually wanting to have something to consume.

 

Tommy wanted to eat. He wanted to do so voluntarily and without prompt from one of his hovering, overprotective siblings.

 

It might sound stupid to some, might sound weird and obsessive and strange, but Wilbur was downright ecstatic. He was brimming with such a wild excitement that it was almost uncontainable. (Technoblade wasn't too far off that emotion, either.)

 

"Alright, alright," The older teen chuckled, pulling his hands up in mock defence. "What would you like to eat, then? Pretty sure we could go and get you some pizza from the hospital cafe–"

 

"Mcdonalds." And then, as an added afterthought. "Please."

 

Mcdonalds.

 

Wilbur's dark, swirling gaze lifted up to meet Techno's own piercing one. A silent conversation. A set agreement. "Techno will stay here with you then, alright?"

 

"No." Tommy shook his head.

 

Wilbur's brows couldn't really get any higher at that point, though his confusion was certainly palpable. "No?" He inquired.

 

Tommy shook his head once more, small hands forming into fists on his lap. He wasn't angry this time, though. Not really. "No. Because you're gonna forget what I want again. Techno needs to be there."

 

Wilbur blinked, looking rather taken aback for a second, before slowly nodding. "Okay then, I'll- I'll stay, and Techno goes, how about that?"

 

"No."

 

"No?"

 

Tommy sighed, squaring his shoulders and crossing his arms over his chest. He looked just about done with his older brothers - as if they were completely ruining his day, which, honestly, wouldn't be too far off at this point. (Just because he'd passed out again, did not mean that he needed to be rushed to the hospital! Jeez.)

 

"No, because Techno won't be able to carry everything and then he's just gonna leave something behind because he can't be bothered to try and take it all back or ask for another bag."

 

Techno glanced pointedly away, and Wilbur rubbed at the back of his neck. The brunette cleared his throat, gave a sheepish smile. "Okay, superstar, I see your point, but- we can't just leave you here alone."

 

Tommy blinked a little. His brows furrowed. "Why not?"

 

"Because what if something bad happens?" Wilbur flailed. "What if- what if you have another nosebleed, or you pass out, or-"

 

"But I'm in a hospital," and how was Tommy acting the calmest out of all of them over the whole situation? "There's a button over there that you told me I could press if I needed help. And there are nurses outside."

 

"Tommy–"

 

"I want McDonald's."

 

Wilbur sighed, and then sighed again when Technoblade pressed a placating hand over his slumped shoulder. "I just worry, Toms. You're…"

 

"And dad will be back soon, won't he?" Tommy butted in, kicking his legs a little once again. "You said that he'd be off of work soon, and he'd come hang out with us as soon as he could. You said that he'd let me go on his phone and–"

 

"-And watch youtube," Wilbur knowingly carried on with a slight smile on his lips. "I know, Tommy, I know. Dad'll be back soon, and Techno and I will go and get your McDonald's. How about that?"

 

"Sure." Tommy nodded before his brows furrowed a tad. "But you'll be back soon, right?"

 

"Aren't I always?"

 

"Well-"

 

"Don't answer that, buddy." Wilbur shook his head with a laugh as he pushed upwards off of the bed. He patted at Tommy's knee one last time. "You'll be safe, won't you?"

 

In all honesty, he didn't want to leave his little brother here alone. He didn't want to step a single foot outside of the room without Tommy; how could he? His brother was sick; his brother was- was-

 

Wilbur had been acting like a bit of a helicopter parent lately, though, so he could understand why Tommy might be desperate to get a little time to himself (plus make sure the trip to McDonald's went totally well). It was just a tad hard. Wilbur hadn't been apart from Tommy for a long time unless it was absolutely, absolutely necessary.

 

Maybe this would be for the best, though. Maybe it was a step in a new direction for their family and the inner workings of it all.

 

"I'm always safe," Tommy replied petulantly. "You gotta be safe too, okay?"

 

Wilbur grinned, took a step back with Techno. "We always are, Tommy." He parroted similarly, "We're your brave big brothers, aren't we? Bet we could slay dragons if we wanted to-"

 

Techno snorted. "Yeah, well, I won't be slaying any dragons, thank you very much."

 

"Hey!" Wilbur squawked, "We're playing it up for the kid, man; Tommy needs to believe that we aren't complete dorks that have no real social life or friends-"

 

"Speak for yourself," the pink-haired teen snickered. "I'm doing pretty well; you're just a loser with a guitar and an ugly-coloured beanie."

 

"Oh my god, you're just-"

 

"Oi!" Tommy interrupted, looking disgruntled and sulky from the large hospital bed. He'd dragged his knees upwards against his chest, and his blonde curls had shifted to frame his face a little more. "You're both dumb. I thought you were meant to be going to–"

 

"To McDonald's, right, right," Wilbur waved a hand with a smile. "We're going, don't you worry, buddy. Though- hold on, what did you want, again?"

 

"A cheeseburger happy meal."

 

"Mhm."

 

"And… and a mcflurry."

 

"What kind of mcflurry?"

 

"An oreo one," Tommy supplied. "And I'd like some cheese melts, please."

 

"Is that it?"

 

"Yeah. Please."

 

Wilbur nodded, shoving his phone back into his pocket now that he no longer needed to write the order onto his notes app. (He couldn't get anything wrong, after all. Not unless he wanted Tommy's wrath after him.) "Alright, bud. We'll go and get that, and you'll wait here, okay? No more wandering around or trying to find us."

 

"'Kay," Tommy agreed rather easily as he shuffled even further back on the bed. (He would like to look around this new hospital he'd been referred to at some point, but at the very moment, he just felt tired. That was all.) "I'll be good."

 

"I know you will," Wilbur smiled and leaned closer for a moment. "That's why you're my favourite brother, after all," he whispered - though it was more of a stage whisper than anything else, and his gaze had shifted teasingly back to Technoblade.

 

The resonating "Oi!" that followed after Wilbur's declaration had Tommy giggling and giggling, continuing to laugh with a childish tilt to his tone even as his older siblings waved their goodbyes and left his hospital room.

 

("Are we even allowed to give him McDonald's?"

 

"Dunno. Let's ask a nurse and pray for the best, alright?")

 

In all honesty, Tommy wasn't that distraught about being left alone while his brothers went to get food. He'd been by himself multiple times because, if everyone was being realistic, it just wasn't physically possible for their family to be together at all times anymore.

 

Tommy's brothers still had schooling to finish, lessons at a local college that they needed to show up to (even despite the situation) and the occasional social meetings with their friends. His dad needed to work to keep up with a consistent pay so he could afford whatever was required and their rent. And so Tommy– well, Tommy was fine with it.

 

He knew when things were important and couldn't be dismissed, and it wasn't like he hated being alone or anything. He liked it, sometimes, when he got to read books by himself for a little while, or when he could sit at the window with his dad's phone watching silly youtube videos. That was ideal for him, even if it might not be for others.

 

Plus, the hospitals– well, sometimes, and only sometimes (seriously, he usually hated them) could be… okay on occasion. But that was only when they had the TV's you could move around and the nurses that would indulge him in his conversations about evil, masked villains and demons dancing around a bright egg.

 

("No, no- you're not listening! His name is Dream, and he's the bad guy! He makes everything go boom, see?"

 

"Tommy, I need to check your blood pressure, dear, can I–"

 

"And there's Schlatt and Puffy and– and Karl who's a time traveller that's gonna save the world!"

 

"Tommy, please listen to the nurse–"

 

"But you haven't heard about Sapnap and George yet!")

 

Tommy really would prefer to be at home, though. Maybe if he were at home, they'd be able to order food instead of going out for it, and all four of them could cuddle on the couch while watching Up again. That would be fun. Really fun.

 

A lot more fun than sitting on an uncomfortable hospital bed, with uncomfortable clothes and an uncomfortable feeling in his nose from the nose bleed earlier. He was probably just going to have another one soon if Tommy's predictions were the least bit right. (They usually were.)

 

The blonde child let out a sigh as he stared up towards the ceiling, picking aimlessly at his cuticles as he did so. There wasn't much to do - and wouldn't be until Wilbur and Techno came back - so he'd have to spend the next while entertaining himself.

 

Maybe he could try to count the ceiling tiles and then do some useless maths with the number. Or maybe he could play a game of eye spy with himself. Or maybe he could–

 

Tap, tap, tap.

 

Tommy was pulled from his wandering thoughts by an incessant tapping noise. He frowned a little, confusion spreading across his gaunt features as he tried to figure out what was going on. Was the noise from one of the monitors in the room? Was there a nurse outside getting ready to come in? Was there something under his bed?

 

Was he perhaps just hearing things?

 

Tap, tap, tap.

 

But no, there it was again, a repetitive tapping sound coming from Tommy's right. It was going on and on and on and– and Tommy had a private room, he didn't have roommates, and he didn't have anyone else in there with him at that moment, so–

 

He turned his head to the side, fear and apprehension gripping him like a thick vice. (Tommy was Tommy, he was loud and obnoxious, grumpy and determined, but he was also a 10-year-old child left by himself, could anyone really blame him for getting a little scared?)

 

Tommy turned his head and was met with the sight of a large, open window. A large, open window - open in the sense that there weren't any curtains obscuring it, not that it was actually open - that took up a good chunk of the far wall.

 

He stared. He stared, and he stared, and he stared. And then there was a small hand shooting up, all pale and soft-looking as it tapped against the glass.

 

Tap, tap, tap.

 

No murderer, no scary monster trying to eat Tommy's feet, and no nurse that had gotten a little confused with what a door was and what a window was. No, instead, it was a hand, a tiny one, one with, if Tommy's vision was still doing relatively well, a plaster on the side of his skin. A green plaster.

 

Tommy didn't hesitate to sit upwards.

 

There was somebody there, and they were clearly trying to get his attention. He should go. He should go and look, even with Techno's voice telling him not to and Wilbur's simultaneously warning him of potential dangers, appearing in the back of his mind.

 

Yolo, though, right?

 

The young blonde let his thin legs swing over the side of his bed, trainers squeaking against a smooth floor as he began to take slow steps forwards.

 

Tommy was still a little unsteady on his feet; he was still wobbly and unsure of himself - uncertain of how to carry himself and how 'one foot in front of the other' worked, but he was trying, and that was better than nothing.

 

He gave a deep breath, wiped sweaty palms over the front of his shirt. He could do this. Whoever it was, maybe they were just lost, maybe they– maybe they needed help. Tommy could be a hero; Tommy could save the day! Tommy could be like Spiderman.

 

"Spiderman looks out for the little guys, Will! He's the friendly neighbourhood Spiderman! He doesn't need to fight aliens!"

 

Tommy was brave. Tommy was fearful. Tommy was confident. Tommy was nervous.

 

Tommy was stepping towards the window, pulling at the latch at the bottom and pushing the thing open.

 

Tommy's blue, swirling gaze was catching against a flood of forest green, of brown, messy hair and wide, toothy smiles.

 

"Hi!" The other boy exclaimed, bouncing back on his heels as he retracted the small fist he'd put up to knock again. "I'm Tubbo!"

 

And Tommy? Well, Tommy screamed.