Ranboo stood there awkwardly, his long pointed tail flickering against the snow-dusted ground of the wooden porch in front of Techno’s (and by extension Philza’s) home. He raised his arm to knock but hadn’t quite gotten up the courage to do so. He should just bite the bullet and knock, he was shivering due to the cold and his little house did nothing to keep out the chill.
It was hardly a house at all, didn’t even have four walls. He pretended that was just so he could leave, so it was nothing permanent. He didn’t want to seem like he was picking sides. He was just here because he needed a break from… everything and Philza offered it no questions asked.
He wouldn’t mind him asking another favour from him. Phil had already done so much for him, Techno too, he’d just…
The cold didn’t usually affect him so much but he felt extra cold tonight for some reason.
Or maybe it was something else that he didn’t want to admit…
He didn’t realise he’d knocked on the door whilst lost in thought until his pointed ears picked up the sound of his fist hitting hard against the wooden door. His hand was so numb he hadn't even felt it himself.
At first, there was so reaction and Ranboo let out a sigh of relief. Maybe that was a sign that he wasn't wanted. This was fine, he didn’t wake anyone, he could go back to his bed and-
A torch flickered to life in the window and any hope of not having disturbed the pair of men was dashed away. He shuffled where he stood, lanky legs moving from foot to foot as he internally debated on what to say. What was his excuse?
‘I’m cold?’ No, he’d already insisted to Phil that he doesn’t get cold much and that was why his temporary home was fine, if he immediately used that excuse he’d think he was either lying before or now. ‘How about lonely? ’ What was he? A Child? ‘Sick?’ There was no way he could play off faking being-
“Ranboo?” Suddenly came a voice from in front of him, the half enderman startling suddenly where he stood since he didn’t even notice the door opening. The shorter man’s eyebrows furrowed as he rubbed sleep out of his eyes, torch in his left hands. At least it seemed like Techno either wasn’t here or was still asleep. He needed to think of an excuse. Quick . “What are you-?”
“Mister Minecraft, uh, I’m sorry, I threw up.” Ranboo blurted out before internally grimacing. Really? Really?! That was the excuse he was going to use? Gods, he was such an idiot. He should just apologise and-
“What?” Philza looked more awake now and he gestured for Ranboo to bend down a little. The teenager obeyed awkwardly, having to bend his knees and stretch his tail out for balance as Philza reached up to feel his forehead. His eyebrows were knitted together in concern now and Ranboo just felt bad. He pressed his palm against the place between his horns and Ranboo waited for him to realise how cold he was.
He was going to realise he was lying and then he was going to hate him and-
“Bloody hell mate, you are burning up.” Phil cursed, pulling his hand away in order to pull ranboo into the cottage. The teenager almost tripped over his own feet in surprise as well as almost hitting his head against the doorframe. He ducked just in time. He swore, one day his height would be the death of him.
At least it was plenty tall enough inside Techno’s home for him. He appreciated that.
Despite being out out the cold, Ranboo continued to shiver as Phil mutter to himself, lighting the rest of the rooms torches as he went to give the room some more light. Ranboo had no idea what he was doing.
“Uh… Mister Mine-”
“Son, just call me Phil, okay, don’t worry” Phil turned his head in order to give him a calming smile before returning to rummage through a chest. Ranboo was already feeling the knot that had formed in his chest start to loosen. “Dammit, all the health potions must be in the basement.” He fussed, but instead of heading straight to the basement, he walked right over to Ranboo.
He couldn’t help but notice the way that Phil was purposely avoiding making eye contact with him as to not spook him and relaxed even more.
The older man grabbed a hold of the kid’s arm and gently pulled him over to Phil’s own bed and Ranboo took the hint to sit down. Phil leaned forward to check his temperature again before letting out a soft chuckle, surprising the other.
“There, shorter than me now. Easier to keep my dignity intact that way.” He joked before ruffling Ranboo’s hair, mixing the black and white split curls together before he walked over to the ladder. “Just going to grab a few potions, I’ll be back quickly, but give me a yell if you feel like you’re going to vomit again.” He climbed down a few notches before pausing. “And don’t worry yourself with waking anyone else up, Techno isn’t home.” He added and then he was gone.
Ranboo was still reeling from the physical affection, slowly raising a hand to fix his curls slowly. He hadn’t expected that. No one usually… touched him. Not because they didn’t like him, no his friends in L’Manburg hung out with him all the time, but they usually bumped shoulders with him or briefly patted him on the shoulder. He was always really awkward though, so they didn’t often repeat it. It made sense.
But Phil didn’t seem to take any notice of Ranboo’s incapability to respond properly, he didn’t seem to care.
As well as that, he’d made sure to tell him that if he were to yell, he wouldn’t have to worry about waking Techno, which was exactly what he’d been worrying about. Was he that easy to read, or was Phil just good at this?
He pressed a hand against his head. He was a little hot… How long had had he had a fever for? How had he not noticed? Well… he guessed that explained why he’d been feeling so cold tonight. Fevers did that, right? And his pounding headache and shortness of breath… Oh okay, he really was sick. Maybe not vomiting sick, but sick nonetheless.
He had potions in one of his secret chests, he shouldn’t be using Phil’s. He shouldn’t be bothering-
“Here you go, mate!”
Ranboo practically jumped out of his skin when he opened his eyes (when had he closed them?) to find Philza in front of him, holding out a health potion for him to take. Phil winced a little. “Sorry… I didn’t mean to scare you there. Drink this, it’ll help you feel better in no time.”
Ranboo accepted it and Phil shuffled awkwardly. The teen was confused and was about to ask why when suddenly the winged man gestured to the space on the bed beside him. “Do you mind if I-?
“Oh!” Ranboo exclaimed. Yes. He was sitting on Phil’s bed! It was rude of him not to move, now that he had the potion he should leave and let him sleep. “Shit, of course, let me just get up and-”
“No no no!” Phil exclaimed, pushing Ranboo back down onto the best. “You stay here and drink up, I’m not letting you out of my sight until that fever at least calms down.” He sat on the space beside him. “I just wanted permission to sit with you, is all.”
Permission to… “Phil, it’s your bed. You could kick me out of it if you wanted to? You could do anything with it if you wanted to.”
“Well, I wanted to ask your permission.” He smirked cheekily before gesturing to the potion. “Now come one! Drink up. Don’t make me spoon-feed you it, young man. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.”
Ranboo snorted in amusement, taking the cork off the top of the potion bottle. “To who? Wilbur right?” That would make sense, Phil was his dad and kids could be so fussy.
“I was actually thinking of Techno, but sure, let’s say Wilbur.” Phil winked and Ranboo laughed again along with Phil this time. It was so easy to just… relax with the man.
It was almost hard to believe that this man, sat beside him in old-man pyjamas as he threatened to spoon-feed him a health potion and refused to let him leave his sight until he felt better, was the same man who blew up New L’Manburg with a wicked grin.
It needed to go… but the way they demolished it… It was something else. It was almost barbaric.
Ranboo turned back to him as Philza smiled encouragingly and the teen smiled back. For once on this server, Phil felt like someone who kept his friends and actions as separate as possible. Someone who he could have as a friend without Phil having the expectation that Ranboo was now on his side.
It was refreshing.
He threw his head back and downed the potion with a quick swig, making a face at the taste. Was it really that hard for people to start putting flavourings in their potions? He made a face and Phil chuckled a little yet again before reaching out to feel his forehead, acting like he already expected an immediate recovery.
Phil fussed a little when the temperature was, obviously, the same. “Your head must ache something awful, I should see if there is anything around here that will help kill the pain in the mean time.”
“No, it’s fine, don’t fuss over me.” Ranboo insisted. Headaches weren’t uncommon in his life. “Honestly I didn’t even notice my head hurt until you pointed out I was hot. Uh…” He hesitated. How should he put this without sounding utterly insane? “I get- there- sometimes I hear-”
Ranboo blinked a few times, the glow of both his eyes flashing as he did so. He wasn’t expecting Phil to pick up on that so quickly. “Yeah… How did you-.”
“Me too.” Phil admitted and Ranboo went silent. There were… other people with voices too? “And so does Techno. He, uh, is out trying to silence them right now… he tends to go to the Nether… He finds it relaxing. The heat, the danger, the mobs… I think it’s because that’s where he’s from, but I don’t know much about his past.”
“He hasn’t told you?”
“I haven’t asked.” Phil shrugged. “He’d tell me if I did, but it would make him uncomfortable… I know that. If he ever wants to let me know, ever thinks I’ll need to know, then I’ll listen to him with open ears.”
Ranboo tilted his head at that. That made sense, Techno seemed like a very secretive person. “Techno doesn’t seem to like me very much.”
“That’s a lie, I think he sees you as a younger him, he just…” The older man paused, closing his eyes. “He’s struggling to trust recently after what happened with… Let me just give you some advice. A good way that Techno trust you, will fight for you, will bond with you, is if you gift him something.”
“Really? That easy?”
“Techno bonds far easily then he’d ever like you to think. I’m pretty sure if you gifted that pig a flower and told him that you spent hours finding the perfect one, he’d die for you.” Phil laughed, shaking his head fondly. The smile on his lips spoke from experience. “He pretends it’s because he owes you a favour, but it’s really because he’s grown attached.”
“Huh.” The cogs in Ranboo’s head started turning. He had the perfect idea of what to gift Techno to show him that he was a friend, to thank him for letting him stay. It certainly wasn’t a flower. Ranboo shivered again, not completely having stopped shaking since he had come inside. “Alright.”
“But don’t worry about it too much. Let’s just get you better.” Before he knew it, there was a fluffy dark grey wing wrapped around his shoulders, the presence comforting. “Here, let me keep you warm until you start feeling your actual temperature.” Ranboo was pretty sure with a fever, Phil was supposed to make him cool down, but… he wasn’t complaining.
He’d just sit here with Phil until he felt better than he’d thank him and go home. It was perfect. He could let himself just sit here curled up in Phil’s wing until then. It wouldn’t be too long…
Techno sighed as he entered his home, hooves heavy against the hardwood floor as he hung up his blade beside the entrance and shut the doors behind him before he let in too much cold air. He shivered and pulled off his snow-covered cloak.
A trip to the nether always eased the mind, though sometimes he tended to lose time in there. He hoped he was only gone the one night like promised.
“Phil, what day-” He turned to face the main room before silencing himself.
It seemed his oldest friend was having a sleep in today, but what surprised Techno the most was the lanky enderman boy curled in his wings. Phil was nearly falling off the bed in his efforts to keep him comfortable and Techno couldn’t help the smallest smile.
Surprised was the wrong word. No. Techno had expected to see Phil awake was all. He knew the second that Phil brought Ranboo home because he ‘needed a place to stay for a while’ that it would end up like this.
He shook his head in amusement before quietly climbing the ladder up to his own room so he could peacefully read a book whilst the two slowly woke up in their own time.
He supposed that was just another of Phil’s sons he was going to have to try and protect.