“Heeeeeere comes the wither.” Techno joked, dragging the words out as he spooned a mouthful of mashed potatoes into her mouth, smiling as the little girl giggled in front of him after swallowing the food. She liked his baby voice… but he’d never let anyone know he was doing them. Phil would never let him hear the end of it. He could sacrifice his pride a little, however, for another smile from Athena.
He could hardly believe it had only been a week since Phil left. A week since he decided to keep her. It had been… a big decision. But he realised she needed him. Phil was great, but he didn’t understand the voices. Techno could learn from the mistakes Phil made and become even better, right?
Besides… He kind of needed her too.
The clear days that they’d been experiencing, in the beginning, seemed to be officially over as another storm raged just outside the thick cottage windows. This one didn’t look as bad as the storm that had raged the nights that Phil was here, but there was definitely more than a gentle sprinkling of snow.
There went his plans for the day. He’d just have to squeeze in a quick check of his turtles and crops when he put Athena down for her next nap and then run back inside to avoid the cold. Maybe he’d read some more? Or…
Well, he had been working on making some new clothes for Athena, maybe her own little robe that matched his… But he wasn’t great at sewing anything that wasn’t a wound it seemed and it was such a small piece of fabric. He had spent several nights so far cursing with sore fingertips over it.
Perhaps he’d work on that more. He could probably get it finished today if he tried.
Techno had picked up another spoonful of food, getting ready to put it in Athena’s already open and waiting mouth, when he got a call. He answered it without looking, setting the communicator on speaker and placing it aside as he continued to feed the baby who was sat on his lap before she got too impatient. She’d start feeding herself if he wasn’t careful.
He knew who it would be.
“Hullo.” He said in the low tone he always used when starting a conversation. Athena cooed in her own greeting, but her mouth was full so it was muffled. Techno used his sleeve to wipe the food from around her mouth. This shirt was ruined anyway with stains, a little bit of mashed potato wouldn’t do any harm.
“Techno.” Came the very recognisable voice of Phil… but it was concerned. Techno straightened where he sat automatically. He was ready for a fight. “It’s Tommy.”
Oh yes… His youngest brother. The baby out of the three of them. His only living brother left. Tommy hated him. But that was fine, Tommy was annoying anyway. Techno didn’t care if he liked him or not. Obviously. Techno relaxed from his upright position, spooning some more food into Athena’s waiting mouth. “Oh, you had me worried for a second there. I thought you were in trouble. What kind of trouble has Tommy gotten into now? Dream finally gotten sick of those ugly cobblestone towers he loves jumping off of? I get he loves flying but the kid could at least take them down after-“
“ Techno, he’s been exiled.”
He froze, a spoon full of potatoes inches away from Athena’s open mouth. The piglet whined before she leaned forward, eating the food off of his spoon without Techno even noticing. His brain was racing a mile a minute. It really was the story of Theseus… he didn’t think they’d actually… “What?”
“ Wilbur… well, Ghostbur has gone with him. Dream has taken them out to the middle of nowhere, but… Ghostbur sent me the coordinates.” There was a beat of silence and Techno knew what his old friend was going to say before he did it. “ He’s not that far from you. Could you-”
“Phil, I’m probably the last person he wants to see and it’s storming-”
“ For me? I want to travel there but it will take me far longer and I’m afraid I might pass Dream on the way. I just want- no I need to know if he’s okay.”
Techno sat in the silence for a moment before sighing. He set the now empty spoon aside and ran his hand down his face. “Send me the coordinates.”
At least by the time he’d gotten himself and Athena properly dressed and halfway to the coordinates, the storm had stopped. The clouds weren't completely clear so he knew the bad weather would be back but at least it hopefully meant Athena wouldn’t get drenched in the rain.
He was riding Carl, the horse deserving some nice proper riding time. Recently he’d just been kept outside the house, being spoilt rotten with treats but not getting to walk much further than the nearest village and back (which was hardly a ten-minute ride even at walking space). He deserved it. Carl might not be the fastest horse he’d ever owned, or the smartest either, but Techno cared more about him than any of the others.
He wasn’t completely sure what he’d do if he lost him. It was weird to have attachments like this, he tended to keep them at a minimum, but with Carl, all it really meant is he got extra apples.
After all, who would threaten his horse?
Techno scratched his mane as they made it across the swamp and approached another village. They were drawing closer to the coordinates.
Techno adjusting Athena as she cooed against his chest, shifting his cloak so he could look down at her. He’d put it on sideways today, not wanting to reveal her to more people (especially if Dream was still nearby) but also definitely not leaving her at home. No. No, it was better for her to come with him. He’d just keep her hidden for now. Perhaps if things felt safe… he’d introduce her to his brothers.
He hated that word. Brothers. Truly, they hadn’t been brothers for a long time.
In fact, it seemed as time went on, they were brothers less and less. He’d never disagreed with the saying ‘time heals all wounds’ more than then.
He doubted they’d hurt her though, that would be a new low. He’d just check-in, tell Phil, maybe chat to Ghostbur a little, and leave again.
He lead Carl into a clearing, looking around. Seemed like there was a dirt shack here. Must be the place. He rode on ahead, catching the tail end of Ghostbur and Tommy’s conversation as he came to a stop outside their hardly built shack. It only had half a roof, so their voices were easy to be heard. He wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, it just… happened.
He wasn’t trying to burst out in laughter either when Ghostbur told their brother that no one would laugh at him but...
“PFFT HAHA.” He burst out as he climbed down from Carl, tying him up as Tommy and Ghostbur suddenly emerged from their dirt shack. “Look at this LOSER .” This perhaps wasn’t what Phil was asking him to do but the kid was alive, what else was he supposed to do? Not rub the fact that Techno was right in his face? “Oh my god, this is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen!”
Tommy looked furious, Ghostbur just seemed happy to see him.
“Hey, Technoblade!!” The translucent mirage of his brother spoke. The Piglin hybrid in question gave him a little wave before fixing his cloak again.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
“I was in the neighbourhood, thought I’d pop by. Phil asked me to.” Techno shrugged. “It’s not like I care about you or anything.”
The young teen’s wings fluffed up, the white feathers standing on edge. Tommy had always been so expressive with his wings, almost always having them proud and out (unlike his father who tended to be more subtle with his own). “It’s not like Phil does either.” He spat before storming off.
Ouch. Seems like Tommy had a little bit of beef with their old man. He understands now why he wasn’t checking on him himself, Phil always was a bit of a coward when it came to personal verbal confrontation. Not that Techno blamed him, but that didn’t mean he should have to do his dirty work for him. He needed to come fix that relationship problem himself.
Techno watched Tommy go off to dig a mine, giving him a moment as he spoke to Ghostbur to get details of what exactly went down. He… didn’t exactly get a lot of clear information from him (he kept calling this a holiday) but it definitely cleared a couple of things up.
Most of all it confirmed the Dream was no longer in the area as far as they were aware, which was good. Still didn’t make Techno completely comfortable showing them Athena in the open but…
Techno’s eyes drifted over to Tommy’s tunnel.
He couldn’t spy on them underground. Right?
“Just a second, Ghostbur, I think I need to go talk to Tommy… apologise for laughing at him.” He nodded at the ghost, silencing him in the middle of what Techno was sure was a very interesting story about blue dye and how it helps when you’re feeling sad. Ghostbur was far different than his dead brother… but he still deserved respect. Ghostbur hadn’t betrayed him after all. The ghost simply smiled and nodded and Techno walked off down the tunnel.
“Tommy!” He called down, getting a surprised and distant shriek in response. Techno rolled his eyes. You fight against a kid one time... “Christ, I’m not going to hurt you, don’t be dramatic.” He huffed, walking down until he had found himself in a cave that Tommy had dug into. He followed the light source that he was emitting nearby before sighing and crossing his arms as the kid refused to look at him.
“No, you’re a bitch and I hate you! You betrayed me!”
“Tommy, I’ve changed my ways!” Techno fit in before Tommy spoke over him again. He’d say that he didn’t betray the kid, that it was the other way around if he thought he’d listen. He didn’t feel like getting talked over again. At least he got his attention for now. He started to move his cloak in order to prove that he’d changed.
To show Tommy Athena.
“Look! See, I’ve-“
Techno raised his head just in time to see a sword heading straight for him, hardly having time to think as he pulled out his sword.
‘GET HIM’. ‘KILL HIM.’ ‘HE TRIED TO HURT HER.’ ‘BLOOD.’ ‘BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD.’ ‘E.’
He blocked the blow and managed to knock the loose sword out of Tommy’s grasp, the boy not trained in combat enough to fight against someone like Techno. He sliced Tommy’s arm and knocked him to the ground, keeping his sword out as the other stared up at him, hand covering his bloody arm. Techno breathed heavily as he stared down at his brother, seeing red as the voices screamed in his ears.
It would be so easy to just move the blade a little further into his neck-
“What the fuck!”
Techno shook himself out of it at his brother’s scandalised cry. “What do you mean ‘what the fuck’?! You tried to kill her!”
“Kill who? I was defending myself! You were pulling out a weapon!”
“Oh, you stupid little-“ Techno groaned in frustration, not lowering his weapon as he used the other arm to open up his cloak properly, revealing the little baby strapped to his chest that was just starting to stir. She had not a care in the world as she made little fists with her hands and yawning, eyes blinking open.
Tommy stared at her with wide eyes.
“What the fuck is that?”
“Could you sit still for two seconds,” Techno grumbled unhappily as he tried to stitch a squirming Tommy’s arm up. The boy stretched his wings out, feathers fluffing out like a scandalised chicken, and the piglin rolled his eyes. “I can’t close this wound with your fu- with your feathers in my face-”
“Well, it hurts!”
Ghostbur floated nearby as the two brothers quarrelled, finally starting the bills to a proper home rather than a dirt shack with half a roof. Techno and Tommy were sat by their campfire as the sun started to set.
“It’s not that bad!”
“If you didn’t want me to squirm then you shouldn’t have cut me!”
That released a growl from Techno. “If you didn’t want me to cut you, you shouldn’t have attacked me!” He yelled.
Athena let out a sudden loud cry and all three brothers froze, staring down at the unhappy baby waving her arms around as she was strapped against Techno’s chest. Techno would pick her up properly to quiet her down, but he currently had his sewing needle halfway in Tommy’s arm so he couldn’t stop.
“You should hold it.” Came Tommy’s smart-arsed comment on it as he didn’t lift his eyes from the baby.
“I know, but I have to finish sewing up, also she’s a her not an-”
“Can I hold her?”
“No.” Techno didn’t hesitate to respond. Tommy? With A baby? In front of the fire? No chance. Did he even have experience with kids other than himself?
“I said no.”
“I can hold her.” Piped up Ghostbur. Techno almost forgot he was there and hesitated this time.
“Uh… Sorry, Ghostbur, I’d prefer you didn’t.” He felt a bit bad but Ghostbur wasn’t completely all there… He didn’t want him to wander off with her. Maybe when he was there to watch them both. The ghost didn’t seem to take it personally though and just smiled before returning to building.
“I promise to sit still if you let me hold her!” Tommy exclaimed. “Pleeeeease?”
Techno was about to deny Tommy a third time when he stopped, a realisation overcoming him. Tommy wasn’t fighting him. Tommy wasn’t fighting him or calling him a bitch or anything… In fact, he was even smiling.
He couldn’t think the last time Tommy smiled at him.
Techno sighed. “Fine. but you’re going to have to help me take her from the sling. I can’t move my hand.” Working in tandem, they both used their spare arms to pick her up, Athena already quietening at the contact before she was settled in Tommy’s arms.
Techno returned his focus to Tommy’s arm, the younger boy keeping his promise and keeping perfectly still much to Techno’s surprise.
When Tommy spoke up again, Techno was surprised further.
“What’s her name?”
Techno looked over at him again and raised both his eyebrows when he was met with the sight of Tommy cupping Athena gently in his arms, even going as far as taking his wings and engulfing them in it - including Techno - protectively. He wasn’t sure how he hadn’t noticed.
“Uh… Athena. Her name is Athena.”
“Is she your daughter?”
“Not biologically... I’m looking after her.” That was all, he was just a guardian for her. Making sure she stayed alive, teaching her things… stuff like that.
Tommy didn’t seem to hear that however, must’ve had selective hearing similar to Philza because his next question immediately was. “Does that make me her uncle? Uncle Tommy?”
Techno paused. There was no harm in letting him be her uncle, just like how he didn’t correct Phil when he called himself her Grandpa… “Fine. Uncle Tommy it is.”
Tommy just smiled fondly back at Athena after that and started to speak to her in a low tone as Athena cooed back, clearly enthralled with this new person. It was the quietest that he’d ever heard her speak. Techno almost didn’t trust his ears.
He finished the rest of the stitching of Tommy’s arm and wrapping it in a comfortable silence as he just… Listened to Tommy and Athena.
The weather, however, took breaks for no man - human or otherwise. Not long after the sunset and it started to get cold, the heavens opened up too. Ghostbur, Tommy, and Techno all found themselves huddled under the shitty dirt roof shack since they didn’t actually have a proper home yet.
The storm only looked like it was going to get worse and Techno needed to get Athena home before she caught a cold out here.
He tucked her back into her sling and started to fix the cloak over her, this was when Tommy took notice.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m taking her home.”
For some reason, this surprised Tommy.
“What? You’re not staying the night? It’s just a light sprinkle!”
Techno rolled his eyes. “A light sprinkle, for now, I can see the storm clouds in the distance. I think it might be a thunderstorm, I can’t risk her catching a cold.” He rubbed her back subconsciously through the cloak. “Besides, your home isn’t exactly well protected or lit up well. I can’t risk her getting hurt by a monster.”
“Are you saying I’d get her sick or hurt?” Tommy asked defensively, wings flying out again, and Techno groaned. Well, there went the brief few moments of bonding between the pair.
“You’re a kid, you wouldn’t get it.”
“Yeah! A kid!”
“Dad thinks I’m old enough to look after myself!”
“Yeah, well Dad isn’t great at being a father is he! This whole fucking situation is a great show of that!” Techno yelled a little louder than he meant to. Hell, he didn’t even mean to say it at all. Just then, lightning struck nearby and Techno could see the hurt in Tommy’s face illuminated perfectly for a second.
God… He looked so young. He was so young.
Ghostbur placed his hand on Techno’s shoulder and he turned to look at the ghost. “Technoblade…” He said quietly, but he was cut off from saying anything more by Tommy.
“Leave! You just came here to- to rub this whole exile in my face! You always rub my mistakes in my face!”
“No, I came to check up on you and try and tell you that I was right about gov-”
“LEAVE!” Tommy screamed with another flash of lighting, a huge rumble of thunder following closely after. “I HATE YOU! JUST GO!” He sniffled, drying his eyes before spitting one more thing in his rage. “I bet Athena will hate you too when you fuck her up.”
The silence between the three men was tense before, finally, Techno stepped out into the rain. It was coming down harder now, his hair was already soaked.
“Technoblade?” He heard Wil-Ghostbur ( not his brother ) from behind him. He didn’t turn to look as he left the dirt shack. “When are you coming back?”
“He isn’t.” Came Tommy’s only reply.
Technoblade said nothing as he got onto Carl. Tommy was right. He wouldn’t be going back. Tommy was better off without him
He took off on a gallop and kept the pace all the way home, mind still reeling.
I bet Athena will hate you too when you fuck her up.
God, he hoped Tommy wasn’t right.