“There’s a lot you don’t understand, Tubbo,” Dream sighs, meeting his eyes cooly. Tubbo, back against a tree, shudders at his tone, at the look on his face.
The sword at his neck skims across his skin as Dream shifts his grip on it, and he flinches back into the rough bark behind him. Dream smiles at his reaction, seeming pleased- like the cat that’s been toying with a mouse that always tries to run no matter how many times it’s caught. And, despite this being his first encounter alone with the man, he thinks that the comparison is fairly accurate; Tubbo has never felt smaller than he does now. There’s supposed to be a buddy system to prevent things like this- he shouldn’t be alone here, stuck in this situation.
He stays silent, and Dream sighs like he's being difficult.
“Let's change the topic, then,” he hums. Tubbo wonders, distantly, how his arm isn’t tired from holding the sword up for so long. Then again, Dream’s a lot stronger than him- a lot better than him- with a lot of things. This, he thinks as he takes a breath that’s just a bit too deep and feels the blade against his neck break the skin, is a man who has unlimited everything. He’s overpowered, with the resources and friends in high places to prove it. This man could get away with murder and no one would be able to fight him on it.
“Join the DreamSMP. You’re going to bring down the rebellion from the inside.”
Shock runs through his mind, and his mouth drops open with it.
“No. No, I can’t do that.”
Dream’s friendly smile drops.
“You can, and you will.”
“Or everyone dies.”
“How do you know I won’t just go back and tell everyone?” Tubbo challenges boldly, despite the amount of fear he’s feeling. His knees threaten to buckle under him with their shaking, but he tries his best to hold his ground.
Tommy was supposed to be right back, where is he?
“I don’t,” Dream concedes like he’s a gratuitous man, “but if you do, I’ll kill them and then you.”
And while the thought is horrifying, death in this world is never permanent. The threat of it is about as threatening as torture, which is still awful and scary and to be avoided at all costs, but survivable- and that's only if Dream decides to make it painful.
“If you run,” Dream gives him a lopsided smile, “I’ll kill them anyway. I’ll even break their spawns and leave them in the void.”
Tubbo releases a shuddering gasp, his hands wringing nervously at the thought; he’s been to the void once and only once, before the war when Tommy had accidentally broken his bed and he hadn't known until he'd died and woken up in a sky that had more stars than it did room for the inky blackness. The man in front of him, who’s currently holding a sword to his neck and giving him an ultimatum, had brought him back and had held him close while Tubbo had shaken apart in his arms from the fear of it all.
The irony of his situation doesn’t escape him.
“No, please no-”
Dream smiles like he’s won something.
“Tommy can go first, if you’d like.”
“No, I’ll do anything for Tommy-”
“Then you’ll do as you’re told, great.”
As he pulls his sword away from Tubbo’s neck, he leaves a shallow cut. The pain of it makes Tubbo whine quietly, but the man in front of him doesn’t see to care all that much. Just before he leaves, Dream turns back to Tubbo and smiles mockingly.
“Anything for Tommy, right?”
Tubbo, heart racing in fear and pounding with regret, can only nod.
“Good. I’m not fighting this war, Tubbo, I’m tolerating it.”
Dream walks away, taking Tubbo’s peace of mind with him.
When he gets back, finally, to L’Manburg, no one is waiting for him. They likely hadn’t even noticed that he was gone. The thoughts stings almost as much as the cut on his neck and the realization of what he’s done- of what he’s agreed to do.
Where was Tommy when he needed him?
Fundy comes around the corner of the van and smiles at him, clueless to what’s just happened.
“Tommy’s with Wilbur,” the man offers without Tubbo even having to ask before he resumes walking. So, that was it then. The one time the buddy system is broken, Tubbo becomes a traitor in a matter of minutes. Just for a few seconds, he imagines chasing after Fundy, finding everyone and just letting it all spill out. When Eret had been asked to spy, he’d come back laughing about being a king- and everyone had laughed along with him and he'd worn a golden helmet for about a week. It had been funny- because Eret had turned Dream down. There’s nothing even remotely funny about someone threatening to void your friends, Tubbo decides as he looks away from Fundy’s back and begins walking back to his house.
“Hey, Tubbo," Eret, the not-traitor himself greets distractedly with a small wave. He’s got a bag slung over his shoulder and a pickaxe in his hand, obviously off to the mines. He’s probably going to come back and build something grand, Tubbo thinks as he stares at his friend. At his silence, Eret looks at him strangely.
“Tubbo?” he asks with a small smile, looking a little more uneasy. Not wanting to disappoint, Tubbo gives a watery smile back before he stutters out an excuse about his bees and runs away. He actually considers going out of the walls before his hands begin to shake too much at the thought and he decides to just stay in.
Like hell is he going back out alone again, not after what happened. Instead, Tubbo goes into his house and he thinks of ways to get out of this situation that he’s gotten himself into.
He sits there for what feels like mere seconds, but when he looks out the window the sun is nearly gone. Tubbo sighs deeply and rests his head on his desk . His shaking hands come up to clutch at his head, fingers digging in before a hand lands gently on his shoulder. He starts badly, whirling around to find Wilbur watching him with concern in his narrowed eyes.
“Oh, Tubbo,” Wilbur murmurs, leaning down to examine his neck. Like the evidence of any injury will incriminate him, Tubbo immediately claps a hand over the wound and looks away.
His leader doesn’t say anything for a while, and neither does Tubbo. Eventually, the silence is broken when Tommy barges into the room, once again making Tubbo startle.
“So this is where you bitches have been!” Tommy shouts.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Tommy,” the man next to him groans and rubs a weary hand down his face, “we’re busy.”
“Fair enough, but Fundy and Eret want you, Wil,” Tommy says, jerking his thumb behind him. Ordinarily, Tubbo knows that Wilbur wouldn’t leave just because someone wanted him elsewhere. Theman had a list that went by 'first come, first serve' and he stuck by it a majority of the time. However, he also knows that there’s been more planning going on recently, and that it has to take priority over whatever his leader thinks is wrong with him.
Tubbo doesn’t need his help anyway- he can get out of this without dragging anyone else into it.
“Right then,” Wilbur sighs, straightening up. He sends Tubbo a meaningful look as he walks out the door, but he does leave.
“I totally just saved your ass,” Tommy says the second the door closes.
“Right, thank you,” Tubbo says softly. And the thing is, Tommy had just saved him; one look from Wilbur had had him cracking like sugar glass under pressure- he’d almost gotten his friends killed.
He watches Tommy as his friend loudly begins telling him something. Everything sounds underwater to Tubbo, but he smiles and nods along anyway as he thinks of what he’s going to do aside from play along for the time being.
Playing along is a lot harder to do when you have to be on everyone’s side, Tubbo is finding out. For the first time, he’s happy that he’s not typically invited to the war meetings.
That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know anything, he laments as he squeezes deeper into his hiding spot. Tubbo’s a crap liar, and if Dream asks him for information he won’t be able to just make something up and have it be convincing. But he can’t tell what he doesn’t know, so he’s currently in hiding until the others give up and just hold the meeting without him. His hiding spot could be better, as he's very wet, and it's a bit dark under the docks.
Huddling down to be even smaller, he holds his breath as Eret walks past above him, calling his name with a note of irritation. It’s not that he wants to hide, really- he actually has valuable information about a secret attack from the big man himself. But if he goes to the meeting and even breathes a suspicion of one, Dream will know exactly who it came from; his men are much more loyal than Tubbo is, he likes to remind him at every possible opportunity. Which is technically true, but you don't catch anyone from L'Manburg going out and threatening to void people, either. So it balances out a bit, in his opinion. It doesn't even matter if he's a traitor anyway, because he's going to be useless as long as he's clueless. As long as no one thinks to look here, he's going to be just fine, even though DReam is going to be pissed with him.
In the end, it’s his best friend who finds him.
“Tubbo, what the hell are you doing?” Tommy sighs, even as he hops down next to him. The motion almost tips the boat over, but they both manage to steady it before they can fall into the water. Maybe it’s because he’s his best friend, or maybe it’s because Tommy is so stubbornly loyal to everyone, even to people who don’t deserve it, but Tubbo smiles at him anyways as they sit in the boat under the dock together.
“Why’d you come?” he asks, trying his best to keep up a convincing smile.
“Well, I was thinking- it’s just the two of us, in the end. So I might as well find my clingy friend and hang out, rather than learn the newest plan that Wilbur already told me about. It’s quite poggers, actually- I even came up with it!” Tommy boasts with a broad smile on his face and pride in his posture.
“Just the two of us? There’s three other people, Tommy,” Tubbo hedges as he swallows his guilt down. Honestly, Tommy explaining the plan to him in vivid detail is the last thing that he needs right now, even if his friend is proud of it.
“Right, but here’s the thing with that: they don’t have our thing going on. See, you’ve got a rowboat,” he points at Tubbo, “and I’ve got everything else. A perfect duo.”
And despite it all, Tubbo laughs.
“Pog, right?” his friend cheers, rocking the boat again with his antics.
They stay there until well after the calls for Tubbo and then both of them fade away, enjoying this sudden game of hide and seek while shushing the other in between giggles. It’s nice, Tubbo thinks as he has to grip the support beams of the dock to stop them both from tipping again. The wood is slick and gross, and he’s sure his hands are covered in splinters, but Tubbo wishes that he could stay here forever with his best friend.
Even in this moment, however happy he is, the guilt of not saying anything about the invasion eats him alive even as he clings to the boat with his best friend.
They stay until it begins to get too dark for them to be out, which is well past the time that the meeting would have ended. Some part of Tubbo knows that Tommy’s just trying to help, but the time has flown by, and even if he tells everyone in L’Manburg about the plan, they won’t be prepared enough to survive it. His feet slow as he walks, eventually just coming to a stop outside of the walls. When he slides to the ground with his back against them, Tommy does the same silently; the look on his face is displeased, like he’d hoped that whatever was off with Tubbo had been fixed in the boat. His chest aches as he leans just a little bit closer, their shoulders bumping as he motions for his friend to do the same, which he does. Without question.
“Tommy, you need to go,” Tubbo whispers quietly as they both sit outside the walls. It’s nearly sundown, when Dream had all but promised he would be coming. Tommy, rather than taking him seriously, scoffs.
“Right then, lets go. You’re the one who sat down,” Tommy replies, picking himself off of the ground. Tubbo, knowing he can’t get out of this, remains on the ground and stares at Tommy’s knees, unable to look him in the eye. The knees shift a little bit before they begin to shuffle into a walk.
“Tubbo, don’t be an idiot, get up,” his friend says as he walks away. The silence between them is stifling as he watches Tommy walk away. His friend, who’d been listening for him to get up and hadn't heard it, gets maybe ten feet before he stops again.
“Run,” Tubbo says softly before he turns his attention to picking at blades of grass.
“What the hell- what do you mean run, Tubbo?” Tommy laughs, like Tubbo is being crazy again. Like it’s just a normal Tubbo thing to say- and Tubbo knows that he’s never really been taken seriously by this group, not even by Tommy. But something in him had always just assumed that they would know when they needed to listen. When he looks up, Tommy is shifting in his place, looking nervous and maybe a little bit scared as he looks around.
“Why’d we have to run?” he asks, “the door’s just right there.”
Tubbo closes his eyes and shrinks as the sun goes down, taking note of when Tommy rejoins him at the wall, though he remains standing this time. What could be hours pass, and nothing happens.
Tubbo feels like crying with relief, with stress, with fear even, as he finally gets up on numb legs and walks inside of the walls with an unusually quiet Tommy at his side.
His eyes burn, even as he closes them tightly.
“Tubbo, what’s… what’s in your bag?”
Tubbo’s shoulders hunch just a little bit more as he hears more footsteps. The others are coming now, and he can hear it as they stop short at the sight of him so close to the exit at this time of night.
It’s been a week since that day in the boat with his best friends, and he wants more than anything to go back to those few hours. A week of Dream dropping hints that, any second now- he’s going to attack, just to see Tubbo shake and nod his head at every set of new orders to not say a word.
(“It was just a test,” Dream laughs, motioning to George and Sapnap beside him, “I had them watch you to make sure you didn’t do anything.” He pauses, and Tubbo hates not being able to see his whole expression. Despite the mask, he can see the charming grin that spreads across the man’s face as he looks down at him.
“The boat thing was cute, apparently.”
Tubbo’s eyes dart quickly to Sapnap, who’s already watching him, and he feels just a little bit emptier at the shrug he gets in return. He feels like crying- what he thought could be the last peaceful moment with his best friend was monitored, and now it’s being mocked right in front of him.
“I was thinking, we’ve got the supplies to attack tomorrow-”)
Tommy, his best- and often his only- friend, sounds like he’s one truth away from breaking down. And there’s nothing that he can do- Tubbo’s sneaking out of L’Manburg at night with an obviously disc shaped bulge in his bag. To make it worse, every movement creates the sound of the two discs rubbing together. Tommy knows what he’s doing, as much as Tubbo tries to hide it.
Tubbo shuts his mouth on the words in his throat; what is he supposed to say to Tommy? There’s nothing that he can do to change this, nothing that he can say or do to make everything alright again. The best remedy is the truth, he thinks as he unclasps his bag and flips it open. His shaking hands reach in and slide the fist and then the second disc out.
He hears the clanking of the DreamSMP standing in the exit of L'Manburg, fully in sight of the others.
“Tubbo- Tubbo, how could you?” Wilbur breathes in horror.
“Tubbo,” Eret says grimly, like it’s a warning.
Fundy just stares at him blankly, like he’s having trouble even understanding what’s going on- like he doesn’t want to believe it, even with the evidence right in front of him.
Tommy, who's been silent ashe takes everything in, breaks and begins screaming at him loudly, so fast and emotional that Tubbo can’t decipher it. It sounds like he’s in pain, like he’s a wild animal stuck in a trap, and Tubbo has to bite back tears and apologies as he watches dumbly. Wilbur has one hand wrapped in the back of Tommy's shirt, clearly ready to hold him back if needed, even though he looks pissed.
Dream, just outside of the walls, calls to him.
“Tubbo, you need to go.”
He slides the discs back into his bag and backs away from the group in front of him, unable to meet their eyes. Nearly tripping over his own two feet, Tubbo turns around and begins speed-walking to the exit.
Wishing he were deaf to the cries of his family, he runs out of the walls and into the ring of people who are waiting for him on the other side. Dream passes him off to Sapnap, who merely looks at him with slight pride before throwing an arm over his shoulders and forcefully steering him away.
“You did the right thing.”
Tubbo isn’t sure if he’s talking about him saving his friends from being voided or if he’s referring to what he’s just done, but he still shrinks away from the other man. Tommy’s screaming echoes into the night, side by side with Dream’s taunts as he’s led away. Sapnap takes the discs from his bag and waves them around in the air carelessly.
When they get back to the base where they’ve been staying while Dream remodels the actual one, Tubbo goes straight into his room and shuts the door on Sapnap, who looks confused but lets him go. He nearly doesn’t make it to his bed before he falls down and shakes apart. No matter what happens, Tubbo knows that he’ll never be able to un-hear his friend screaming, be able to un-see the pain and judgement on everyone’s faces as he’d revealed what he was doing.
He can’t go back, now, not after what he’s just done- he won’t be welcome and he knows it.
Dream comes back with victorious cheers following him, and he plays the disks on an alternating loop just a few doors down.
Tubbo curls up just a little bit tighter and bites back the sobs that he’s almost positive everyone can hear anyway.
After that, Tubbo is more of a sheep than anything else. He doesn’t feel like building or fishing or boating or singing- he doesn’t feel like anything, really. Dream watches him closely every time they're in the same room, and Tubbo pretends that he doesn’t see Sapnap or George trailing him every time he leaves the base. What they think he’s going to do, he has no idea- it’s not like he can go spill all of their secrets now that L’Manburg hates him.
And he knows that they do.
Every time that he sees Wilbur, the man gets stone faced and quiet before he completely ignores Tubbo altogether, like he’s made of glass. Eret just looks at him and sighs before he walks away, and Fundy either hasn’t left the walls or is avoiding him now.
The first few days after he’d left, Tommy had sought him out just to scream at him some more, to curse his name and get even louder when someone from the DreamSMP would inevitably show up and cart Tubbo away with a taunt and a smile. After that, Tubbo would look up from whatever’s caught his attention and find his former best friend staring at him. It only really begins to kill him when Tommy stops looking at him altogether.
The meadow is neutral ground, Tubbo recalls as he walks towards it while holding back the obvious sniffles that are trying to break out. It’s neutrality is why he keeps his bees there- they technically aren’t his, but they are at the same time. He cares for them, and he’d like to think that the affection goes both ways. Dream had given him a dandelion and a pat on the back when he’d left, and had waved off any escort. Alone for the first time in nearly a week, he’d left just as quietly as he usually does, gently cradling the flower until he’d known Dream couldn’t see him anymore. Out of sight and miserable, Tubbo had thrown the flower over the edge of the staircase and kept going without even waiting to watch it fall to the ground.
When he gets to the meadow, it’s still pretty early in the day; the bees don’t come out this early, preferring the brighter times of day, when it’s warmer and the flowers are more open. So he sits down in the middle of the field, not wanting to feel a tree against his back, and he watches the sun rise slowly as he waits to hear them as they exit their hives.
And he waits.
Somehow, he doesn’t see the stab marks in the hive until he looks over at it imploringly in the broad daylight. The hives are massacred, torn apart into sticky piles or left handing but obviously skewered through and through. It takes a few seconds for him to process it all, but it doesn’t take more than a second to know that nothing would have survived something like that. Something in him, something important that’s already so damaged that it hurts all the time, he thinks, breaks just a bit more at the sight.
The bees are gone.
They’re all he’d really had left, and they’re gone- every last one.
When he finally manages to force himself to his feet, his knees shake. His hands fly up to his mouth in horror as he just stares at the carnage, unable to look away. When he finally manages to turn around, Tommy is there- stony faced until he sees Tubbo’s expression. The slight look of discomfort and mild regret is all that Tubbo needs to know who did it. He chokes back tears, hands coming down to clench around the strap of his bag, as he stares around before his eyes go back to Tommy.
“Tommy… Tommy, what have you done?”
His friend doesn’t answer, but his arms do fall from their crossed position.
He sighs loudly, looking angry, “Tubbo-”
“Why?” Tubbo asks, his voice cracking slightly. He can feel his eyes welling up and his lip is trembling. He knows Tommy can see it as well, so he brings up his hands to cover his mouth again.
“Tubbo, listen,” Tubbo is shaking like a leaf as he stares at the deep slashes in the hives, wondering how he hadn’t known.
Tubbo jerks, looks at Tommy for a few seconds, and then finally looks away for good. When he begins to leave, Tommy takes two clear steps in his direction and then stops and lets him go.
Tubbo’s back is to a tree again, and he’s in the meadow because he’d been looking for the bees- hoping against all odds that they’d survived. Dream had followed him here, citing curiosity as the reason, and Tubbo wishes that he hadn’t come here- that he’d maybe gone to the river instead. His back is to a tree, and he's alone with Dream again, which he'd told himself he wouldn't do after the first time.
“You served your purpose, and honestly, you cry a lot more than I thought you would,” Dream explains as he takes out his sword again. It’s just like last time, aside from the scenery, but somehow this time it’s even worse. This time, Tubbo is in the meadow, and while it’s not like this place can be ruined for him any more than it already has been, it still hurts that it’s happening here.
“I lost everything- betrayed everyone- all for you,” Tubbo mutters as he stares past Dream’s shoulder, focusing on a peony bush. The bees love peonies, he remembers.
“You did it for everyone but me, actually,” he corrects as he stares down at Tubbo, “anything for Tommy, right?”
“I did exactly what you said-”
“Which I appreciated,” Dream says before he stabs his sword through Tubbo’s side. The action is expected, the pain is not. It hurts, and Tubbo can’t stop the short scream that jumps from his throat. His hands come up to where the blade is stuck into him, fingers clenching around it as he grits his teeth. When Dream pulls it out, his hands are sliced open as well.
“But, you don’t have to anymore,” he pauses before smiling in mock thought, “you don’t think they’ve destroyed your bed yet, do you?”
And then Dream walks away, swinging his sword without a care in the world. He pauses as he walks past one of the destroyed beehives and barks out a startled laugh before he pokes at it with the tip of his sword.
“Oh, yeah, this is going to be fun.”
And then he’s gone, and Tubbo is left on shaky legs, staring down at his side.
The wound isn’t deep enough to kill him right away, but he’ll bleed out eventually if he doesn’t do something.
Even knowing this, Tubbo doesn’t attempt to stop the bleeding. Instead, he slides down the trunk, in the middle of a patch of daisies, and begins to weave a chain. His bloody fingers make it difficult to see what he’s doing, but he couldn’t care less about what he’s creating anyway. This is just a way to pass the time, Tubbo reminds himself as he bites his lip and reaches for another flower. The motion tugs at his side, and he’s laying sprawled in the grass before he even registers the fire in his side. His shirt is soaked through, nearly; he can feel it sticking to him as he shifts and shoves himself back up into a sitting position. His shaking hands grab the chain again before he picks another flower and starts again.
He’s blinking a lot more than he should be, in his own opinion, and it’s making it difficult to see the small stems of his craft. And that’s how he sees Tommy again. Or rather, he hears him first. The stomping and cursing is a dead giveaway, and it’s what makes him open his eyes when he doesn’t even remember closing them.
“Tommy,” Tubbo smiles at him in the distance. The other teen is marching angrily towards the meadow, but he visibly falters in his step when he sees that Tubbo is already there.
The teen sees the blood and pales significantly, breaking into a sprint until he quickly lowers himself to Tubbo’s side.
“Heya, Tommy,” Tubbo greets, glad to have his friend talking to him again. Tommy doesn’t look happy though, as he presses a desperate hand to Tubbo’s bloody side and uses the other to push his hair out of his face; it’s something Tommy only does when he’s stressed, which makes Tubbo frown just a little bit- he’d wanted this to be a happy moment. Not this moment specifically though, just when Tommy had forgiven him enough to speak to him again.
The other teen shoves the hand down to Tubbo’s side to join the other, and he knows that this is not the happy moment that he’d hoped for at all.
“Tubbo! Listen, right, listen! You’re going to be okay, because Wilbur's on his way, yeah? Wilbur, and everyone else- they were right behind me, I promise. They’re on their way-”
Filled with the need to explain it all, Tubbo looks his former friend in the eye and whispers everything that he’s wanted to say since the first time Dream cornered him.
“He threatened to void you- all of you. I- I just- I didn’t know what to do,” he sniffles, dropping the daisy chain into his lap. It’s a sad thing, covered in bloody smears and only around four or five flowers long. Tommy’s hand, the one that he’d run through his hair in his stress but then pressed to Tubbo’s side, comes up to hold his face. It feels warm and wet, but he leans into it anyway.
“God- I’m so sorry, Tubbo,” he sniffles, and it makes Tubbo feel like the worst person in the world, “you could have told me- we could have figured it out-”
“Tommy?” And then Wilbur is there, looking pissed and worried and even fearful when his eyes catch all of the blood. Tubbo’s fingers twitch, and their tips brush the tacky petals of the failed daisy chain creation in his lap.
Fundy and Eret, who’d apparently been last in the group, are standing stock still over Wilbur’s shoulders, looking horrified and surprised. Selfishly, Tubbo’s grateful that they don’t look mad at him as they walk closer.
“Wilbur- Wilbur, what do we do?” Fundy chokes out, creeping closer and gently pulling Tommy’s hand away from Tubbo’s side. His ears are flat to his head, and he quickly presses his own hands to the wound. No one looks surprised that Tubbo doesn’t feel it.
“This shouldn’t have happened,” Eret is closer now, but Tubbo is more focused on Tommy’s grip on him. It feels like forgiveness, almost, and it’s nice. All of them being here is nice as well, he notes blearily.
“We can’t fix this,” Wilbur says softly as he stands up from where he’s crouched over Tubbo with the rest of them.
“We have to-”
Fundy cuts Tommy off.
“We can’t, Tommy.”
“We can’t just leave him,” his friend argues, fingers clenching tighter, “he’s done everything for us, we can’t leave him here.”
Tubbo smiles up at him, not knowing what else he can do, really. He’s not going to live through this, even if they do get him back to L’Manburg; there’s no cure for a loss of blood, and they’ve likely destroyed his spawn back in the DreamSMP. There’s no way his house is still standing in L’Manburg, much less his bed.
He’s stuck, he’s going to be voided, and he knows that. He’s known it from the start, from the first time he’d set foot in a room that was so obviously temporary that there was no hiding it. Tubbo is dyslexic, not stupid, and even he can tell that Dream finished the remodels on his base a while ago; the one where he stayed was meant to keep him out of the DreamSMP’s business and in their sights. This was all temporary, but it wasn’t all for nothing.
“I’ll see you again, Tommy,” he mumbles reassuringly, knowing how big of a lie that it is, “we’re a duo, remember?”
He smiles as Tommy gives him a strained smile back, and then he blinks and is unable to open his eyes again.
Tubbo wakes up with a blanket pulled up to his chin and a numb hand, which is surprising, as he wasn’t expecting to wake up at all.
The room is bright in a mid-morning sort of way, and through the unobstructed window he can see the dark walls that surround L’Manburg. It’s an odd sight to see, considering that he thought he’d never come back here. Despite being home for the first time on what feels like forever, Tubbo feels a homesickness strong enough to rival the effects of a nausea potion. He’s not welcome here- he hasn’t been welcome since he left with the discs.
But when he looks over to his right, Tommy is there, crushing Tubbo’s hand with his own as he breathes steadily. There’s space between them on the bed, like Tommy hadn’t been able to bring himself to actually get close but had wanted to offer some form of comfort. Wilbur is also there, but he’s very awake and very cross looking. He also looks like he’s aged a hundred years since Tubbo’s last seen him, which fills him with guilt when he realizes that he must be the cause of it. Fundy and Eret are both gone, probably running things while Wilbur babysits the traitor turned almost murder victim.
Never one to waste time when it’s important, the man jumps right into it.
“We got you here and set you on the first bed we could,” Wilbur tells him, eyes dark with the memory as he stares down at Tubbo’s side. The wound is long gone, having been healed when he’d respawned, but Tubbo can’t blame him for looking when he himself keeps expecting to see it too.
“You died on that bed, turned into smoke and everything, and then you came back in the same exact spot.”
Tommy, whose grip is still crushing his hand, shifts the slightest bit closer to him with a grumble.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Tommy cry so hard, and I hope I don’t have to see it ever again,” he says quietly, glancing at the boy who’s slowly getting closer and closer.
“I’m sorry,” Tubbo offers in reply. It’s clearly not what Wilbur wants to hear, because the man straightens dramatically and stares down at him, sad expression gone.
“The next time something like this happens, you tell someone. Do I make myself fucking clear?”
Tubbo opens his mouth to defend himself but shuts it just as quickly, not knowing what to say. He can feel his eyes beginning to burn as he waits for the second shoe to drop, for him to be kicked out and left to his own devices before he’s hunted down by someone.
“I don’t care what the damn bastard threatens you with, this never should have happened,” Wilbur continues angrily before softening slightly at Tubbo’s glassy eyes. He comes just a little bit closer and uses his hand to push Tubbo’s hair away from his face so he can look into his eyes.
“You shouldn’t have been in the situation. And I’m sorry that you were- that I couldn’t save you from it.”
“I’m sorry too,” Tubbo says softly, before Wilbur stares him down and motions for him to stop.
“But the discs- Tommy was so upset about them-”
“Tommy wasn’t screaming about the fucking discs, Tubbo, he was screaming about you! No one gives a shit about the discs!”
The teenager in question shifts in his sleep, wrapping around Tubbo further; Wilbur takes a careful breath and lowers his voice before continuing.
“He knew that you wouldn’t do it without reason- he wanted to know what they’d promised you, if it was worth it.”
Tubbo laughs a little bit before he gives a stubborn smile to Wilbur and nods his head as much as he can while laying down.
“I think so, yes.”
And Wilbur falters, the bitter smile falling from his face before it’s replaced by confusion and an anxiety that would normally be hidden away. Tubbo grimaces at what he’s about to say before releasing an accepting sigh and getting in with it. Like ripping off a band-aid.
“I was a dead man walking from the very beginning, and I’d have to be stupid to think otherwise.”
Wilbur looks sad, very sad, as his hand begins to card through Tubbo’s hair.
“Oh, Tubbo,” he says softly, almost a perfect mirror of when Wilbur had seen the slice on Tubbo's neck in the beginning of this mess. There’s nothing else to say, both of them not knowing how to fill the silence so they let it stretch on. Eventually, it becomes comfortable.
Wilbur stays with him until the light from the window begins to get darker, at which point he bids Tubbo goodnight and leaves with a sad smile and a promise to tell the others that Tubbo is okay. Tommy, dead to the world, stays.
Tubbo wakes up half curled into Tommy’s lap, even though the other is sitting up with a book in his hand and a miserable expression of boredom on his face. It almost makes him laugh; Tommy’s never been one for reading or for sitting still, and it shows in the way that he keeps on sighing and being fidgety. Light shines across the room; it’s day once again, he notes without moving. The light in the room is brighter, more so than it was the last time that he woke up, possibly.
“I’m sorry, Tommy,” Tubbo whispers, further hiding his face in Tommy’s shirt. He startles slightly, clearly not expecting for him to be awake, but he quickly shuts the book in his hands and shifts.
“You’re a bitch, Tubbo,” Tommy starts as he quickly tosses the book down beside him on the bed. Tubbo wilts the slightest bit before the teen’s hands settle on his back and in his hair, just holding him like he’s missed him dearly and doesn't know how to say it.
“But you’re my best friend, and I love you, even if you fucked up.”
“He was going to void you-”
“I’d like to see that bitch try it,” Tommy says with a slight snarl, his fingers still gently holding Tubbo. His hands don’t fall away as Tubbo sits up, merely shifting so that an arm falls around his shoulder and the other hand holds his. Tommy, filled with such confidence that Dream isn't that powerful, seems so strong and sure that it makes something in his chest warm a little bit. Tubbo knows what Dream can do, and he's entirely capable of voiding someone- but that doesn't matter to his best friend, even if it really should.
Despite it all, Tubbo laughs and leans into the touch.
When Tubbo finally goes outside, Tommy is by his side the entire time. Everyone is happy to see him in a sad way, giving him smiles that scream that Wilbur told them everything. It’s a bit strained, he notes as he returns Fundy’s smile, but it’s nice to be back home. “I’m here for an excuse to beat someone up who isn’t a casual,” a bored voice drones from behind him, making him flinch slightly. Tommy doesn’t seem all that surprised, instead replying with a simple greeting.
“Techno, nice of you to join the cause.”
“You guys are poor-”
“You live in a dirt shack.”
“Oh, fuck off-”
“It’s nice to see you, Tubbo,” Phil smiles like he’s lived in L’Manburg his entire life and not like he’d traveled what must have been an extreme distance just because Tubbo was a fool. Though, if he considers the large structures- obviously built by Eret- that are suddenly in L’Manburg, the two might be staying for a while at least. Curious, Tubbo motions for his friend to lean down so he can ask something.
“What’s the occasion?” Tubbo asks in a whisper. Tommy barks out a laugh before he turns and stares down at him.
“What's the occas- you, you idiot.”
Tubbo leans back with a small ‘oh, okay’ that Tommy laughs at like it’s the funniest thing he’s ever heard. Under the watchful eyes of Philza and Technoblade, Tubbo leans in to whisper in his friend’s ear once more.
“Are they- are they mad?”
“Oh, no, they’re pissed, actually,” Tubbo shrinks the slightest bit, which he knows Tommy sees because his friend rushes to add on a vicious, “the green bitch and his posse are going down.”
Still feeling nervous, Tubbo eyes the two newcomers with a small amount of wariness. Phil smiles at him broadly, and Technoblade offers an awkward one of his own, following Phil's lead. He smiles back a little bit, hoping that the two older men didn’t know all that he’d done recently. Tubbo’s hopes are dashed the second Technoblade opens his mouth again.
“Imagine getting blackmailed by a guy who wears a face over his face.”
Tommy is quick to snark back a reply, though it’s not even remotely witty, it’s familiar and it makes Tubbo laugh.
“Imagine being a bitch-"