Work Header

the flames of passion grow cold

Work Text:

 "Where are you going?" Tommy questioned, trailing after the piglin who, at the moment, was stacked head to toe (or, well, hoof) in armor and stuffing potions and food into a satchel.

 "L'manburg." The word made him freeze in place, Why was Techno... was he leaving him? Tommy whined, burying his face in Techno's back, hooking his claws in his cape as his tail swished behind him.

 "Do you," Techno cleared his throat. "Do you want to come?"

 "But I don't-"

 "I have some spare armor you can use." He punctuated his statement by swiftly turning around, detaching him from his cape.

 Techno's face was deadly serious, his brow furrowed and snout creased. His piercing red eyes were steely, and the set line of his jaw made his tusks seem all the more prominent. Tommy swallowed heavily, Techno's intense gaze drawing a minute tremble to his hands.

 "I am not going to L'manburg to be nice, Tommy. You have to understand that."

 "W-what are you gonna-" Tommy took a deep breath, trying to remove the wobble from his voice. "I thought you were retired?" He absolutely did not squeak.

 "They hunted me down like a dog and tried to execute me."

 "Is that what- oh. 'M s'rry," his voice faded as he spoke.  He tore his gaze away from Techno's piercing stare, unable to handle the way it seemed as if the piglin was boring into his very soul. He should have put the pieces together at this point, but he was stupid and naive. He guessed a part of him just didn't want to believe that the people who he thought of as his friends, despite how they had hurt him, would be so cruel and unforgiving.

 "Are you coming or not?" Techno grunted, returning to his previous task.

 Did he want to? On one hand, Tommy was perfectly content to stay in his den and never leave. But, on the other, he wanted the chance to see his- the people he used to know, again, even if he couldn't interact with them.

 "Yeah, bitch!" He exclaimed, hoping his voice didn't come off quite as dead as he felt.

 Techno nodded firmly, whisking away to a chest farther down, his blue patterned cape swishing behind him dramatically. He came back, arms laden with a spare set of netherite armor. (Who just has a spare set of netherite? More than one, as a matter of fact, because Techno was currently in his other spare set.)

 "Here," the piglin huffed, shoving the metal hunks into his arms unceremoniously, Tommy left scrambling to hold on to it all, before grabbing a few more invisibility potions from the brewing stands.

 Tommy quickly put the armor on, buckling the leather clasps that held it all together with slightly shaky fingers. He double checked each clasp just to make sure he didn't fuck it up somehow, making sure he has his diamond sword in his inventory as well. (Tommy preferred the ease of the axe- it was a brutal, deadly, straightforward weapon- but Techno had been training him to use the sword. He wasn't the best at it, but, he had to admit, it did allow for more complicated maneuvers.)

 "Turn around," Techno spoke, towering over him unintentionally. He nodded quickly, not wanting to displease the clearly irate piglin, and did as ordered.

 There were hands in his hair, then, gentle despite their brutish nature. They combed through his blonde locks with a purpose, catching any stray strands and dragging them back to the main mass, before pulling it all back and securing it tightly- but not painfully so- with a leather band. The shorter strands still fell in front of his eyes, but, he had to admit, that this was far better than constantly pushing his hair out of his face.

 "Thanks," he mumbled, gaze on the floor below. Techno placed a hand on his shoulder.

 "C'mon, kid. Let's go. I wanna get there before noon."

 "I'm not a kid, bitch boy!"


The sight of L'manburg thriving sent a spear through his heart. The city was uniform and well kept, with ample, bustling roads and an even busier, livelier marketplace. There were children running through the streets, smiling, and flowers grew under nearly every window. It was neat, tidy, and full of joy- and it hurt. Were they really, truly, better off without him? Was he really the one holding everyone back?

 In exile, he had tried to convince himself that it wasn't true, despite what his friend Dream had said every morning when he came to visit.

 "Good morning, little one."

 "Morning, Dream... How's, uh, how's L'manburg doing?"

 "They're doing better than ever. They really thrive without you there."

 But now, with irrefutable proof of the contrary, of the truth, he wanted to crawl back in his den, surrounded by soft furs and woolen blankets, and cry himself to sleep.

 "C'mon. We haven't got all day, and I need my items back." Tommy nodded, tearing himself away from the edge of the rooftop they perched on. Techno handed him a potion of invisibility, the hazy, opalescent liquid sloshing around in its glass container. The piglin chugged his with no problem, his form slowly disappearing from his vision as the concoction took effect nearly immediately. Tommy, however, couldn't help but hesitate. 

 The thought of potions always made him uneasy. He knew, logically, that they were safe, tested recipes, but the idea of putting the ingredients that made them up into his body? It was a no thanks, from him. Their colors were also rather offputting, to say the least. Hot pink? Translucent purple? Acid green? Why would he want to ingest something that looked like that?

 He sighed, yanking the cork out of the bottle and knocking it back, wincing at the bitter almost fiery taste and the way the sludge seemed to crawl down his throat. The sensation of the effect taking place, though, was arguably worse. It was like ice was creeping through his veins as bugs crawled across his skin. He shivered as the last of it faded away, quickly storing his armor in his inventory so he wouldn't be seen.

 "Where to now, Big T?" He asked, staring in at least the vague direction of Technoblade. (The particles around the piglin were hard to spot but definitely there.)

 "We get leverage," Techno grunted, crouching down to stretch before taking a running start and leaping to the next building, closer to the market square. Tommy winced, hoping no one was in the home Techno landed on, as the thump of his hooves against the spruce was quite audible. But, Techno knew best, so he swallowed his misgivings and launched himself across the gap between the roofs.

 Tommy yelped, missing his landing ever so slightly, his ankle twisting as he skidded across the wood, tumbling to the surface. He groaned, Techno's hearty chuckles ringing out beside him.

 "Fuck off, bitch," he flicked his tail sharply to punctuate his sentence (despite the fact he was invisible) as he dragged himself up, fur puffed out in indignation. he tested his weight on the ankle he twisted, shifting from one foot to the other before nodding to himself, satisfied as he didn't feel any twinge.

 "Let's go." And Tommy followed, keeping his gaze on the small, transparent particles that trailed after the piglin's otherwise invisible form.

 It wasn't long after their (his) mishap that they found the perfect candidate for their plans: Mr. EatsPants himself. The furry ("I'm not a furry, Tommy! It's a onesie!") was all alone, just ripe for the taking- so they did.

 They swooped down, pinning the man on the ground before he had the chance to hear them coming. Connor's yelp was cut off by Techno's heavy boot on his chest, and Tommy almost felt bad. Connor wasn't bad for a human- he was actually quite friendly, if a bit forceful at times. But, he knew it was all in good fun. Tommy knew that they weren't going to actually hurt the man, though, so he settled his mind, tying his wrists together with the lead Techno had shoved into his hands before they attacked. He made sure the rope was tight, but not enough to cut off circulation or cause harm.

 "What the fuck, guys," Connor wheezed, eyes wide, breath coming in pants as he gazed up at them, their potions having worn off before they sprung. His expression held no real fear, though, and that reassured Tommy. He didn't want to scare the man- they just wanted to scare L'manburg into handing over the items they had stolen from Techno.

 "Hi, Connor!" Tommy chirped, tail wagging behind him in excitement. Connor was his friend, and, loathe as he was to admit it, he kind of missed him. (For business purposes only, of course. What good was a landlord without tenants, after all?)

 "What's this for, Tom? Bit dramatic, don't ya think?" Connor smiled, gaze warm, if a bit dim, as the Technoblade was still pinning him to the ground.

 "We're gonna get some stuff back!"

 Techno let up on the pressure, allowing Connor to sit up. If Tommy didn't know any better, he'd say that Techno's features had softened in response to their friendly conversation. The piglin, though, had had enough of their delays.

 "You're our hostage."

 "Bit rude to put it like that, innit?"

 "Quiet, Tommy. Anyway, you will be cooperative, and if you aren't..." Techno didn't even have to finish the sentence for Connor to be nodding frantically, his nervous gulp audible.

 "Right, um, no need to get violent! We're all friends here!" Tommy decided that he wouldn't comment on the way his voice pitched, nearly a squeak at the end of his phrase. He'd save the man some dignity. That's what friends were for, after all.

 "Tommy," Techno started, once more drawing his attention. "Drink another invis. I want you to stay hidden."

 "But-!" he tried to protest, but the piglin didn't let him get another word out.

 "I want you as backup. They'll never know what hit them if things go wrong." Well, Tommy did like the sound of that. The great TommyInnit being the Blood God's backup? Well, it's a role that suited him well. Such an important role could only be left to a big man such as himself, after all. No one else was quite as skilled or talented.

 "Aye, aye, Cap'n," he chuckled, excitement buzzing under his skin. He uncorked another potion he grabbed from his inventory before knocking it back with far less hesitance than before. It was still awful, though. At least it wasn't as bad as strength.


 "C'mon, Tubs. Just give the guy his stuff," Connor pleaded, hair dripping and throat sore from where he'd been practically fucking waterboarded to try and get the Butcher Army to listen. Tommy was on a roof above them, waiting to swoop down should he be needed. He wouldn't lie, though, seeing Connor be hurt, even if not much, sent an ache through his chest. Tommy really didn't like being the bad guy. (It reminded him too much of Wilbur.)

 "No," Tubbo drawled, face passive as he tilted his head to the side like a curious puppy, flicking his wrist. A glowing, netherite axe appeared in his grip, and Tommy shuddered. He knew firsthand how brutal Tubbo was with that weapon.

 "I don't think we will," he finished.

 The rest of the meager army followed suit, although Quackity looked quite nervous. But, if the scar that trailed up his face from his mouth was anything to go by, Tommy had a pretty good idea of why.

 "You see, Technoblade, L'manburg is no longer a nation of pushovers. The president of Manburg may have died in a pitiful manner after running it into the ground, and Wilbur may have given up with nary a fight, but I am not them. You've already seen what we can do, after all." It was terrifying, hearing that tone used on someone besides himself. That was Tubbo's punishment voice.

 "I'm sorry, Tubbo. I'll be better. I didn't mean it."

 "I'm sorry Tubbo. Please, no more. I can't take it."

 "Yes, Tub- sir. Of course. I'll behave. I'll be better for you."

 "Of course you're my best friend, sir. You've always been there for me."

 Tubbo raised a golden apple to his lips, preparing to bite down so that the skirmish could commence on more even ground, but Tommy was not having any of that. So, deeming the situation to be 'out of hand' and 'in need of backup,' he put his plan into motion.

 He leaped off of the roof, landing with a soft, hardly noticeable thud. The only one that reacted to it was Fundy, an ear twitching in his direction. He paused for a moment, making sure no one was suspicious, before dashing forward on silent paws. He rushed past all of them, taking the weapons out of their grasps and the gapple out of Tubbo's as well with deft, nimble fingers, never giving any of them the chance to fight back.

 He grinned, a bright, feral thing, his long, wickedly sharp canines on view as the potion faded from his system, revealing him in all his glory next to Technoblade. His tail flicked back and forth, and he could feel the slight breeze ruffling his Antarctic uniform. He thought he did quite well, disarming the enemy so quickly, but Tubbo didn't even look mildly shocked- he looked downright furious.

 His face was scrunched up in rage, brow furrowed and brutal burn scars twisting and pulling in ways that looked truly sickening. His normal, baby blue eyes were alight in flame, and his hair, usually so carefree and fluffy, was slicked back unnaturally. Even his suit was finely pressed and well tailored.

 "Tommy," the brunette seethed, jaw clamped as he clenched his fists, knuckles turning white as he did so. Tommy held back his instinctual flinch, reminding himself that he was a Big Man now.

 "What in the fuck do you think you're doing?" Tommy just chuckled nervously, stopping himself from taking a step back to get away from the raging president. He couldn't hide the way his ears flattened and the way his tail stopped flicking, tucking itself between his legs like a scared dog, though.

 "We're, uh, we're gettin' Tech's stuff back." He forced his voice to remain level, grin now more of a grimace.

 Tubbo didn't bother to say anything else, though, he just raised his hand next to his face with a wicked smirk, and snapped.

 The click of his fingers rang through the air, and Tommy threw himself back, curling in on himself, trembling from his spot on the ground. He knew what that sound meant, after all. It was the signal Tubbo used when Tommy fucked up and was going to be punished later. Tubbo used it often when they were in public, or cabinet or foreign affairs meetings. He used it even more once Tommy had unintentionally provoked Dream's wrath.

 "I'm sorry- didn't mean- I'll be better, sir- don't-" he sobbed, broken pleas falling from his lips. All he could see was that damn room- Tubbo's office. (That's where it had been the worst. He still shivered at the thought of the back of the camarvan, though. Tubbo didn't like him very much during the revolution either.) The white walls and marble floors. The way their constant chill always felt wonderful on fresh wounds, bruised, and red hot handprints as he was left there alone on the floor after a punishment.

 He hated this side of himself. The side that bent to other's wills and crumpled at the threat of violence. He knew Tubbo was his best friend, and that he deserved it, but it still terrified him. It's why he was so quick to lean on Dream.

 "What the fuck," he faintly heard Quackity exclaim through the sharpening metal and scathing words that rang in his ears.

 He wanted to remember the way Tubbo held him afterward, though, like Dream would in exile. He'd run a hand through his hair and praise him as he held him to his chest like a child, telling him that he did so well  as he made him promise he wouldn't act up again. His deft fingers would ghost over his wounds, and he'd give him a healing pot if they couldn't be explained away as 'accidents' or 'you know how reckless Tommy is,' and a few laughs.

 "Thank you for taking it so well, Tommy. I know it hurts, but you have to learn. You'll be a good boy from now on, though, right? For me? I'm you're best friend, after all. No one cares for you like I do."

"It's us against the world, Tommy. Remember that? Remember our promise? We made it over the discs. You'll behave for me, right? I just want to keep you safe, bubs."

 A shrill whistle penetrated the haze in his mind, and he wasn't sure where it came from or why. All he knew was that he fucked up and now he had to pay the price. There was the loud, buzzing sound of a teleport, and then-

 "Edward! Get him home- now!" Techno shouted, and he could hardly differentiate between Edward's high pitched trills and Ranboo's confused mrrps.

 He was being scooped up in cold, scaly arms. He weakly gripped the enderman's bony chest. He whined lowly as the cool, earthy scent of the creature- his pack- enveloped his senses.

 His body erupted in a tingly sensation, like that of an effect taking place, but much more potent. He whimpered as the world around him became cooler than even the Antarctic for a moment, and then all was quiet. It was just him, Edward, and the crackling of the fire.




 The fire?

 Tommy shot up, head whipping around the room, still being cradled in Edward's arms. He was back home. He was back at the cabin, and Techno was still in L'manburg.

 Oh Notch.

 He fucked up.

 He ruined everything.

 He- he left his brother in the clutches of the enemy because he couldn't keep it together.


 What had he done?