Tommy had been living underneath Techno’s house for less than a fucking day when everything went to shit.
He’d heard the yelling from his bunker below the ground. The yelling, the cursing, the clang of metal on metal, the thumping as what was probably corpses hit the ground.
He didn’t dare check his communicator to see who Techno was killing, he didn’t care. He just desperately hoped that none of them came down HERE.
So Tommy had curled up on his rackety bed, tried to stifle his coughing fits, and tried to ignore the sounds of fighting coming from above his head.
He had been trying to ignore a lot of things recently.
Like how his limbs didn’t obey him half the time.
Like how his lungs never seemed to stop burning.
Like how his brain screamed at him to go back to Dream and apologize but his brain also screamed to stay away from Dream.
Like how his fingers were almost constantly numb.
Like how sleep never seemed to come.
Like how his whole body was sore.
Like how he could count his ribs without even trying.
Like how severe his hunger pains were, but whenever he tried to eat more than a single apple, he’d puke.
That’s why he had stolen a stack of golden apples and was essentially living off of them. They gave him energy, and they soothed the hunger pains from his stomach for a little while.
The screams died out after a while, thank god. And the house was thrust into silence. Tommy couldn’t even hear Techno walking around upstairs, so he must have stalked off in a huff.
Whatever. Techno being gone meant one thing. Tommy could go upstairs and warm up.
The bunker was fucking freezing. The only time Tommy really got a break from the cold was when he went up and sat by the fire for a few minutes to thaw his fingers and toes.
So that’s what he did.
Tommy climbed out of the hole that he oh so lovingly called his “dnret”. He pushed at the false stone above his head until it lifted, and he could place the heavy piece of shit on the ground above him.
He hauled himself out of the ladder tunnel with a huff, brushing the dirt and coal dust from his clothes uselessly. When was the last time he had a bath? Tommy didn’t fuckin’ know. A bath in this climate just seemed counterintuitive. He wasn’t about to jump in a frozen lake just to be clean. That’s one way to freeze to death.
Tommy pulled himself onto the main floor of the building where the fireplace was, instantly sighing with relief as warmth ran over him. He practically threw himself across the room to get closer to the flames, sliding to a stop and stretching out on the floor in front of the fireplace with a content sigh. He closed his eyes and basked in the heat of the fire.
“Hello Edward,” Tommy greeted the enderman without opening his eyes.
Edward made a soft mrrrp sound, and Tommy felt large, thin, claw-like fingers start to run through his hair.
If he had been in a better, more stable state of mind, Tommy would have been concerned about the sometimes-hostile monster that was his brother’s pet/roommate petting him. Yet he did not have a stable mindset, so he didn’t particularly care.
In fact, the gesture, even from a monster, was quite nice. Tommy wasn’t sure when the last time he had been touched without ill-intent behind it was. So he didn’t push away the enderman’s hand.
His fingers and toes were tingling, a semblance of feeling coming into them at a very slow rate. That was alright. Tommy was content to lay next to the fire for a good long while. He didn’t expect Techno to be back any time soon.
Even when they were kids, when Techno would go on a rampage, he’d be gone for several hours. Tommy guessed he had a while before he needed to head back into his hidey-hole.
His intention was not, however, to fall asleep. Once he realized how quickly he was drifting off, he tried to fight it. But the dark wave wrapped in warm air that was sleep dragged him down faster than he could fight back.
In a way, he was thankful. It was the first time he’d been able to sleep in days.
He was awoken to the sound of a door swinging open violently, and then slamming shut.
Tommy’s eyes snapped open and he shot up. The front door was partially blocked from his view by Edward, who made a soft guttural noise as the enderman turned towards the doorway.
Tommy instinctively kept his gaze low and away from Edward’s face as he oh so carefully peered around the enderman.
Techno was standing just in front of the door, breathing heavily. Instead of netherite armor, his brother wore iron, and held only a netherite pickaxe that was drenched in blood.
Techno himself was drenched in blood, which wasn’t too strange of a sight to see. But what was strange was the hazy look in Techno’s normally bright red eyes, and the hunched posture.
Techno was staring at him, but Tommy got the feeling that his brother wasn’t truly seeing him in that moment.
His suspicions were confirmed when, quite suddenly, his brother collapsed to the ground with a thump.
Tommy jumped at the noise, staring at Techno’s presumably now unconscious body, stunned. He was only snapped out of his trance when Edward made a concerned screech and Techno didn’t move in response at all.
Tommy shook his head, trying to dislodge his spiraling thoughts of: techno’s here techno’s here I’m about to die he’s going to kill me I'm sorry please don’t kill me I’ll be good I promise don’t kill me I’m sorry
He scrambled to his feet, shaking off the sleep still sticking to him. A quick glance out the window revealed it to be dark outside, when it had been about midday when he’d heard fighting. That mean anywhere from six hours to twelve hours could have passed, but he was still tired. A result of not having slept for days, probably.
“Techno?” Tommy asked wearily, approaching his brother’s form. He was breathing shallowly, not a good sign.
Techno didn’t even fucking react, and he was the lightest sleeper Tommy had ever met. That was saying something.
He nudged his brother’s shoulder with his foot, receiving no response. He did it again, this time poking Techno’s head with his heel. Nothing.
Tommy was alone. In the middle of nowhere. Unsure of who to trust. With a most likely injured big brother who would definitely kill him when he woke up.
“Fuck, I’m going to help you, aren’t I?” Tommy said to no one in particular as he crouched down on the floor next to his brother’s unresponsive body.
First step, flipping him over and assessing his injuries.
Tommy wasn’t stupid. He had healed and cared for many wounds throughout his life, especially in recent times with the back-to-back wars he’d been through. The wars that seemed to carry the most horrific of injuries that left the faintest of scars once he was done with them.
Tubbo was the only of his patients to have healed so severely scarred. Tommy could barely even look at his friend without the feeling of failure ringing through his chest.
Tommy shook away his thoughts and bent down, wiggling his arms underneath Techno’s chest and straining to lift him.
Techno was fucking heavy, and Tommy didn’t have the strength he used to (malnourishment was the cause, but he ignored that thought). It took him an embarrassing amount of time to be able to roll Techno over and onto his back. But he finally managed to do it after what was probably several minutes of trying.
Tommy could see Techno’s chest rising and falling, but he tilted Techno’s head back anyway, fingers finding his brother’s pulse point on his neck as his ear hovered over his mouth and nose, listening intently.
Short, shallow breaths came from his brother, and his pulse was quite fast, but that was normal for someone in pain.
Tommy pulled a golden apple from his pocket and sank his teeth into it, thankful for the flood of energy it gave him. He was surely going to need it. He couldn’t afford to be distracted.
He couldn’t spot any external injuries currently, other than a shallow cut across Techno’s left eyebrow that was encrusted with dry blood but not actively bleeding.
The armor had to come off. Techno could have broken ribs or internal bleeding for all Tommy knew at this point. He was soaked in blood that Tommy had no fucking clue if he was actually injured on the outside or if the blood was someone else’s.
“Wash your hands,” Tommy chided to himself, standing up and moving to the sink instinctively.
Once he’d done that, he returned to Techno as muscle memory of treating others flooded through his mind. Tommy unclasped the chest plate first, removing it delicately as his arms strained to lift the iron. The chest plate thudded to the ground, Tommy having dropped it as soon as it was off of Techno. He kicked it away, eyes remaining on Techno.
The armor pieces on Techno’s legs went next, followed by the boots and his helmet. Tommy kicked each of the pieces away and he examined Techno carefully.
A quick search of the main floor revealed a well-stocked medicine cabinet. There was everything from sterilized gloves and gauze to an I.V drip, powerful anesthetics, and the necessary sanitized tools to perform a minor procedure if the need arose.
“Paranoid, aren’t you?” Tommy muttered to himself as he washed his hands once more before donning a pair of sterilized gloves. He removed what he thought he would need and left the rest before returning to his brother.
There were tears in Techno’s once-white shirt, but Tommy couldn’t tell if there were actual injuries beneath it.
“Sorry Techno,” Tommy apologized to his unconscious brother’s form as he picked up one of the pairs of surgical scissors and cut his way up his brother’s shirt. He put the scissors down once more and pulled the shirt aside, exposing his brother’s bare chest to the air.
Bruising littered Techno’s ribs, but not enough of it for Tommy to be concerned about internal bleeding. His fingers ghosted over his brothers ribs, gently pressing down in places and glancing up at Techno’s face to gauge a reaction. Even unconscious, most people’s facial expressions would react to pain.
He came to the conclusion that Techno had one or more hairline fractures on his ribs, and nothing was poking or floating around inside his chest. Especially if he had been able to walk all the way here from wherever he had been.
Tommy’s attention shifted upwards to the large swollen area near Techno’s shoulder and neck. It was also bruised, and when Tommy gently ran his finger over it, he found it warm and tender.
His left collarbone was most definitely broken. There wasn’t anything he could do about that for now, so his gaze shifted elsewhere.
It was a good thing it did, because he noticed a rip in Techno’s dark pants, on his right thigh. Gently moving the fabric revealed a wound in his thigh, just above his knee, bleeding sluggishly.
Tommy picked up the scissors again and cut Techno’s pants at around mid thigh, pulling the fabric down and away from the wound gently.
There was a deep cut in his thigh, like someone had tried to bury an axe there but missed. It hadn’t reached the bone, thank god, and it seemed to be old enough for the bleeding to not be so severe.
Tommy grabbed several wads of gauze and pressed down on the wound, applying pressure in order to stop the bleeding completely. When his first layer of gauze soaked through, he grabbed more with one hand while not relieving the pressure.
It took several minutes and multiple wads of gauze for the bleeding to stop, or at least slow considerably further.
Tommy cleaned the cut with a soft rag he’d found in what he was now calling the medical cabinet, dressing the rag with soap and wiping down gently from the middle to either edge of the wound, just in case there was any debris inside that he hadn’t seen.
This action started the bleeding again, but it stopped once more with only a minute or two of pressure.
He picked up a sanitized needle and thread he had found inside the medical cabinet and methodically began to stitch the wound. Muscle memory guided his hand, and the stitches were neat and uniform, if not a bit wonky due to his shaking hands.
Once he tied off the thread and cut it, he wrapped gauze around the now-stitched wound and taped it, just in case the bleeding started again.
Finally, he moved on to the gash above Techno’s eye. Tommy cleaned the wound gently and used a butterfly bandage to secure it shut, resolving himself to deal with it in more detail later.
Despite his body’s demands for sleep, Tommy cleaned up the mess he had made with the gauze. He left the items he had used on the nearby table, resolving himself to sanitize and put them back later.
Exhaustion was overwhelming him, drowning out the thoughts of needing to hide once more, before Techno woke up.
Instead, Tommy climbed upstairs, retrieved two blankets from Techno’s bed, and came back down. He laid one across Techno, so he wouldn’t get cold, and draped the other around his shoulders like a cape, sitting back down at the fireplace with a tired sigh.
“Hello again, Edward,” Tommy mumbled, staring at the flames as the enderman gave a soft chirp in greeting. The same long, slender fingers placed themselves on Tommy’s head, and he leaned into them with a sigh.
“||𝙹⚍↸╎↸∴ᒷꖎꖎ, ||𝙹⚍リ⊣𝙹リᒷ,” came a garbled tone that Tommy didn’t understand. It’s words seemed comforting, though.
“Thanks,” Tommy said, the word slurred with sleep as he let his eyes flutter shut. His head tilted and his body leaned until he was resting up against something soft and fluffy.
The slender fingers migrated from his head until Tommy felt an entire long, lanky arm wrap around his shoulders in a side-hug.
He drifted off to sleep once more, exhaustion pulling him down.
Tommy woke to soft mrrrrrps from the enderman beside him. He blinked his eyes open, fighting off sleep that tried to drag him down once more as his head turned to look at what he was being urged towards.
Techno was awake, struggling to pull himself into a standing position as he breathed heavily through gritted teeth.
“Woah woah woah!” Tommy yelped, bolting up and grabbing onto Techno, stopping him as his brother’s now-bright eyes blinked up at him in anger and confusion. “I swear to whatever fucking god may exist, if you tear my stitches I will kill you, Technoblade.”
“What?” Techno grunted, eyes narrowed. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
“What the fuck are you doing UP?” Tommy countered, shoving weakly at Techno to try and force him back down into a sitting position. “You’ve broken at least one or two ribs. You have a broken collarbone and eight stitches in your thigh. Sit your ass back down.”
“You did the stitches?” Techno sounded stunned. “Wait, no. What the fuck are you doing here, Tommy?”
“Sit your ass on the fucking ground and MAYBE I’ll explain things, dickhead,” Tommy snapped, feeling slightly dizzy now.
“This is my house!” Techno retorted. “What are you doing in MY HOUSE? I don’t have to listen to you! Even injured and unarmed I could knock you flat on your ass! What are you doing here?”
“It’s a long story, now SIT DOWN!” Tommy shouted.
Techno slammed the fist of his good arm into the center of Tommy’s chest, right on his sternum. It wasn’t that hard of a punch, but it was enough to send Tommy sprawling.
He stumbled back a few steps in surprise, before hitting the ground when his legs gave out underneath him. His eyes squeezed shut reflexively and he felt himself scoot backwards until his back was against the wall and his knees were pulled up to his chest. His arms were raised in a protective x above his head, bracing for another blow.
He was breathing too fast. He couldn’t get enough air. Where was all the fucking oxygen?
He couldn’t breathe. Fuck. He had to get away. Dream was going to hit him again. Please no. He had to get away. He had to go. Dream had found him and he was going to kill him for running away.
“I’m sorry—” Tommy burst into a coughing fit that shook his rib cage. His lungs burned, and it seemed to take forever until it subsided. “I’m sorry. I won’t run away again I’m sorry please no. Please don’t hit me again I’m sorry—”
Hands were on him. Grabbing his raised arms with a firm, but gentle grip as they lowered them down and away from his face. Tommy was trembling, bracing for whatever Dream was going to do next because he obviously wouldn’t have lowered his arms if he wasn’t going to hit him—
“Breathe, Tommy,” Dream said, sounding a lot different than usual. His voice was deeper, in a familiar way. One of Tommy’s hands was guided forward until it pressed up against a bare chest. “With me. In for four seconds, out for eight seconds. Come on. Fuck, that hurts. Maybe you should do this on your own. Fuck.”
Tommy took a shaky breath in, trying to count the seconds like Dream had said, and then let it out, not quite reaching eight seconds, but close to it.
“Good, good, that’s good, keep doing that,” Dream— Dream still sounded odd. Not quite right.
As he kept doing the breathing thing, his racing heart slowed, and his mind cleared slightly. And Tommy realized. That wasn’t Dream. Dream wasn’t here. That was Techno.
His eyes opened, and he was met with Techno’s worried face mere inches from his own. He flinched back instinctively, his head slamming into the wall with a loud thud, and he winced.
“Sorry,” Tommy muttered, snatching his hand away from Techno and shakily exhaling to relieve some of the stiffness in his shoulders. “Wait, how the fuck did you get over here? Did you tear my stitches?”
Techno blinked at him, before bursting out in a laugh. It startled Tommy enough that he started laughing too.
“Sit down,” Tommy grumbled, with no heat behind his words. “I will kill you if you tore open your thigh again. You have no idea how long I spent on those.”
Techno raised his hands in mock-surrender, sitting down on the wooden floor and stretching out his injured leg with a wince. There were spots of blood on the gauze around his thigh, meaning he definitely tore open a stitch or two.
Tommy peeled himself off the wall and shakily stood up, hoping his legs wouldn’t spontaneously give out on him again. He went over to the sink, washed his hands, and pulled on new gloves. He grabbed another sterilized needle and thread, as well as more gauze, more tape, and another rag that he put soap on, before sitting down next to Techno’s outstretched leg.
He peeled back the layer of gauze, finding that indeed, Techno had ripped open his stitches.
“Dickhead,” Tommy grumbled. “You want numbing or something? ‘Cause I have to take these out and restitch it.”
“I can do it myself, you know,” Techno pointed out.
“I didn’t spend an hour or two cleaning you up after you fuckin’ passed out to be slandered like this,” Tommy retorted, standing up once more and returning to the cabinet for a numbing agent. When he turned around to head back, a dizzy spell washed over him, and he had to brace himself on the counter to keep from falling over.
“Tommy?” Techno asked, something that sounded like worry in his voice.
“Wait a minute, it’ll pass,” Tommy grunted, squeezing his eyes shut to stop the room from spinning so much. His legs were trembling, and he did not want to fall over again if they decided to give out on him.
“What’ll pass, Tommy?”
He didn’t answer, just swallowing a cough that was building up in his throat as the dizziness faded and he opened his eyes. He pushed himself away from the counter and carried the numbing agent and surgical scissors back over to his brother.
Situating himself on the floor once more, Tommy wiped down the half-stitched wound with the numbing agent, waiting a few seconds for it to kick in. Once he was sure that the area was throughly numbed, he cut off the knot at the end of the stitch and gently pulled the thread out.
Techno grunted slightly, but Tommy didn’t stop. Once it was out, he took a wad of gauze and pressed down.
“I didn’t think you knew how to do all of this,” Techno said, and Tommy shrugged.
“I guess you’ve forgotten that I’ve been in at least two major wars,” Tommy said dryly, anger evident in his tone. “As well as several other “minor” skirmishes. I kind of became the fuckin’ medic in the first war, and I got plenty of practice since then. I was the one who took care of Tubbo after the festival. Niki helped, sure, but I did most of it because I was more used to taking care of burns than she was.”
Techno fell silent, which was pretty much the point of Tommy bringing it up.
The bleeding had stopped once more after a few minutes, and Tommy wiped down the wound again, the same as he had done before. This time, no bleeding restarted.
He immediately got to work with stitching the wound again, trying to hide the shaking in his hands as much as possible, though he was sure Techno noticed. Still, the stitches came out mostly even. If a couple of them were wonky, Tommy wasn’t going to say anything.
Tommy tied off the thread and cut it, before wrapping and taping the wound once more.
“If you tear out your stitches again, you can clean yourself up,” Tommy said bitterly as he gathered up the bloody gauze and the previously used thread, disposing of it and the gloves he was wearing.
“Sir yes sir,” Techno responded sarcastically, shuffling to get his legs underneath him. “I can take care of myself, you know.”
“You couldn’t last night,” Tommy snapped, shooting him a glare that held a warning. “And you clearly can’t now, if you think you can just walk this off.”
“I’m not “walking this off”,” Techno retorted. “I’m getting a healing potion.”
Tommy snorted so hard he nearly lost his balance. His hand flew to the wall to steady himself, closing his eyes briefly before opening them again.
“Have you ever broken a bone before Techno?” He asked, amusement in his voice.
“Wait really?” Tommy was startled enough into giving a short, dry laugh. “That explains it, then.”
“Explains what?” Techno sounded annoyed.
“The way you’re rushing off to get a healing potion when you have three broken bones,” Tommy grinned at him, though it was more of him baring his teeth. “You haven’t even let me set them yet, big man. Chill. I’ll get you a healing potion in a minute.”
Techno bristled slightly, and Tommy pretended to not notice, tugging the same golden apple from earlier out of his pocket and taking a bite out of it. He shivered at the rush of energy it gave him, and he had to shy away from eating more.
“Is that my golden apple?” Techno demanded. “Have you been stealing my shit?”
“Perhaps,” Tommy bared his teeth at him again in a false-smile. “I’ve only eaten like, two. Relax, dickhead.”
“They’re MY golden apples!”
“They’re the only thing keeping me upright, asshole!”
The conversation screeched to a halt with Tommy’s words, the anger melting from Techno’s face and being replaced with confusion, and a semblance of concern.
“Keep your fuckin’ mouth shut,” Tommy hissed, stuffing the apple back in his pocket. “You’re lucky I even fucking helped you instead of letting you bleed out on the fucking floor. Unlike you, I actually give a shit about my family members.”
“I said shut up, asshole. Do you want me to set your bones or not?”
Techno sighed, his expression unreasonable as he nodded.
Tommy nudged Techno against the wall and sat down in front of him. “I will admit, this is going to hurt,” Tommy told him.
“Can’t hurt more than it already does,” Techno grunted.
Tommy laughed dryly. “Oh you have no idea.”
“What is that supposed to—”
Techno got immediately cut off as Tommy started feeling around the swollen spot on his broken collarbone. Techno sucked in a breath and held it, body tensing.
“Don’t be a baby,” Tommy said nonchalantly.
“Like you haven’t fucking broken something before,” Techno growled through gritted teeth.
“I’ve had five broken ribs at once, one of which nearly killed me by almost puncturing my fucking lung,” Tommy snapped back, recalling the event that had caused that. “I had no choice to drink a regen potion to save my life. You have no idea what pain is until a potion starts eating away at bone and then reforming it. Don’t fucking start with me, Technoblade.”
Techno didn’t respond to that, only grunting slightly as Tommy kept running his fingers over the swollen spot. Satisfied that the bone was still mostly intact, and that it was probably just a fracture, he shifted attention to Techno’s ribs instead.
“I’m not saying that you haven’t felt pain before,” Tommy said in a slightly softer tone. “I’m not saying that this isn’t painful, because I know for a fact it is just based on your body language. Just— just don’t assume I don’t know what this is like, because I do. God knows I wish I didn’t, but I do.”
Techno again didn’t respond, and Tommy didn’t explain further, just focusing on his brother in front of him.
“How hard is it to breathe?” Tommy asked. “I know deep breaths must hurt, but what about shallow ones? Does it feel like something’s poking at you?”
“Yeah, your goddamn fingers,” Techno said bitterly. “Shallow breaths don’t hurt.”
“Anything feel out of place? Like something pokin’ at the ol’ organs?” Tommy asked lightheartedly.
A long suffering Techno sighed. “No.”
“Alright, stay here,” Tommy got up and moved towards the ladder, glancing back at Techno briefly. “Edward, you make sure he doesn’t tear up his stitches, yeah?”
The enderman in question made a murp in response.
“You’re talking to Edward now?” Techno raised an eyebrow at him.
“He talks to me too,” Tommy grinned. “Isn’t that right Edward?”
“ℸ ̣ ⍑ᒷᓵ⍑╎ꖎ↸リᒷᒷ↸ᓭᓵ𝙹ᒲ⎓𝙹∷ℸ ̣ , ╎ᓵ𝙹ᒲ⎓𝙹∷ℸ ̣ ℸ ̣ ⍑ᒷ ᓵ⍑╎ꖎ↸,” responded Edward, though neither Techno nor Tommy could understand him.
“See? Anyway, stay there,” Tommy pointed an accusatory finger at Techno. “If I come back and you’ve stood up at all, I’m gonna beat your ass and then make you sow up your own fuckin’ leg.”
Techno grunted in response, and Tommy descended down the ladder.
Once his feet hit the floor of the basement/storage area, a coughing fit came over Tommy. He leaned up against the wall, struggling to breathe for a few minutes, until it finally cleared, and he managed to take a deep breath again.
“That was a bad one,” he mumbled to himself as he started rifling through Techno’s chests, looking for the potions. He tried to ignore how even though he had eaten a bit of golden apple mere minutes ago, his limbs already felt heavy again. He tried to ignore a lot of things recently.
He found the chest and discovered that there were no health potions inside. That was fine, regen worked just as well. It’d hurt a bit more, but it would work.
Tommy scrambled up the ladder once more, hauling himself onto the ground floor and tossing the potion towards Techno with a sigh.
“Don’t drink it all at once,” he advised. “Unless you’re planning on passing out.”
“I’ve drank regen before, Tommy,” Techno sounded annoyed as he uncorked the bottle. “I’ll be fine.”
“But not for broken bones, you haven’t,” Tommy reminded him tiredly. “That shit’ll knock you out if you down it all at once, and trust me, it’ll fucking hurt. Take small sips, don’t chug, until you’re about halfway through. Then you can down the rest.”
Techno, despite looking pissed, took his advice as Tommy sat himself down next to the fireplace and Edward, staring at the flames with dull eyes.
“Hey Tommy,” Techno said a few minutes later, startling Tommy out of the daze. “You should eat something.”
“Can’t,” he grunted. “I’ll puke.”
“You had a bite of the gapple literally ten minutes ago.”
“I can’t,” Tommy repeated, annoyance creeping into his tone. “I’ve TRIED. I fucking stuffed myself with steak and shit when I first got here. It was the most amount of food I’d had in weeks. I vomited it all up less than an hour later. I ate less after that, I think only a couple of regular apples or something. I threw that up too.”
Silence, except for the crackling of fire in the fireplace. Tommy had no idea how it was still lit, all things considered. Was there netherrack in there? Probably. That must be it, that was the only logical explanation.
“Tommy do you know how bad that is?” Techno asked quietly.
“It fuckin’ sucks, I know. I’m always hungry but if I eat too much I throw it up.”
“No, you don’t get it,” there was quiet shuffling from behind him, but Tommy didn’t turn to look. “When was the last time you had a full meal?”
“Before I got fuckin’ exiled,” Tommy said, annoyed. “Even then, I didn’t really eat much. Haven’t had the stomach to, I guess.”
“...You need to eat.”
“I told you, I CAN’T,” Tommy snapped, slamming a fist down in anger. His hand immediately throbbed, and he hunched in on himself, cradling his hand. “You aren’t even asking about how the fuck I got in your house or some shit. Or why I’m here. Or why I’ve been stealin’ shit. The big bad Technoblade concerned about my fuckin’ eating habits, what a joke.”
“I’m calling Phil,” Techno said. When they were kids, that was used as a warning to each other, to knock it off. But this didn’t sound like a warning, this sounded like concern. Which was ridiculous.
“You do that,” Tommy muttered.
He didn’t pay attention to the conversation that followed between his father and his once-brother. He wasn’t even aware that it was happening. He just stared at the fire, watching it dance, as time seemed to speed by like as if on a clock, the minute hand was the second hand, and the hour hand was the minute hand.
His ears were ringing, the ringing growing louder and louder and louder and louder until it was all he could hear and he was sure that his eardrums were going to burst. It hurt. It hurt a lot, but he couldn’t move.
Was someone calling his name? He thought there was, even though he couldn’t hear them. It was like as if he was underwater, and someone was trying to yell at him from in the air. He couldn’t hear them, but he knew they were calling.
Fingers. A hand on his shoulder, nails digging into his skin. Someone was there.
He blinked, and inhaled, and suddenly the ringing cut out, thrusting him back into the world like he’d never left.
Something tickled in his throat, and he started coughing again, hunching over and clutching at his chest as if that would help air come into his lungs. There wasn’t anything to cough up, but he just couldn’t shake away the fit.
“Welcome back to the land of the living,” Techno said from somewhere behind him, but too far away to be the one who was touching him. “I’ve been trying to get your attention for an hour and a half.”
Tommy’s eyes watered as the coughing subsided, and he blinked in confusion, staring at the hand on his shoulder. He followed the hand until it led to a person, and he kept looking up until he realized who was touching him.
Phil was staring at him, concerned. There were shallow cuts on his face and his clothes were wrinkled in a way that showed he’d been in a fight recently. The feathers on his wings were all ruffled and sticking all over the place, definitely uncomfortable.
“You look awful,” Tommy informed Phil before his dad could say anything.
This seemed to startle Phil enough into laughing, and Techno also barked a short laugh from wherever he was.
“Let’s get some food in you, mate,” Phil suggested, and Tommy deflated, a somewhat angry look surely passing across his face.
“I can’t,” he protested.
“You have to,” Techno insisted dryly.
“Just one bowl?” Phil asked, glancing back at someone, and Tommy glanced back as well, finding Techno standing up straight and stirring something on the stove. Techno was also wearing different clothes, and even though one arm was in a sling, he didn’t look any worse for wear.
“Did you rip your stitches?” Tommy demanded with narrowed eyes.
“No,” Techno scoffed. “The regen potion worked, Theseus. No stitches needed anymore.”
“One bowl?” Phil repeated, drawing Tommy’s attention back to him.
“No promises,” he grumbled, knowing full well that within an hour whatever was in that bowl was going to be in the trash can, along with some stomach bile. “And stop fuckin’ calling me that.”
Tommy managed to eat the bowl of stew that was given to him, which apparently had some regen abilities thanks to some flower that was put in it. To help with his cough, Phil had said.
Now, an hour later with an uncomfortably full, turning stomach, Tommy was helping Techno preen Phil’s messed up feathers. He had asked about the state of his father’s clothes and wings, and apparently there had been a fight in L’manburg that Phil had been a part of. Just a minor skirmish, he’d been told, though he didn’t quite believe them. They were definitely hiding something, though he wasn’t sure what.
There was something unbelievably domestic about the situation, reminding Tommy of years ago when he’d help Phil with his wings after he got back from trips. Wilbur would also help, as would Techno. They were missing Wilbur, sure, but it still felt nice to be doing something normal and as a family for once.
The semblance of normality after the shitshow these past few weeks have been was nice, and though he wasn’t going to admit it, he really needed this. It also took his mind off of how bad of a state he was in.
Tommy wasn’t stupid, he knew that he was sick, and that not eating certainly wasn’t helping him at all, but what was he supposed to do? He couldn’t do anything, that’s why he tried to ignore it.
Tommy was startled out of his thoughts as his stomach lurched, and he felt bile rise in his throat. He tried to swallow it down, but it didn’t work.
He scrambled to his feet and just barely made it to the trash can before the meager amount of food he had eaten that day was coming back up. He retched into the trash can, throat burning and tongue heavy as his stomach emptied.
Tommy was vaguely aware of a hand gently rubbing circles into his back as he trembled, head staying over the trash can just in case he puked again.
Once he was confident in the fact that his rolling stomach wasn’t going to make him throw up again, he sat back on his knees, wiping the drool from his chin with the back of his hand.
“I told you,” he said shakily. “I told you.”
“It’s okay, you’re okay,” Phil reassured him. “We’ll do something less rich next time. I should’ve known, and I’m sorry.”
What Tommy missed was the heartbroken look Phil exchanged with Techno from behind his back. He’d eaten so little, just over half of what he used to eat back in L’manburg, and his stomach had rejected it.
Tommy was hurting, and even though they knew he wouldn’t admit it, they were determined to help him through this. No matter what.