Retirement Never Sticks - RevenantMotif (2024)

Chapter Text

The boy had gotten taller by a good five inches. He was in what looked like a private library, standing over a desk with a handful of papers and the posture of someone with a rubber spine.


The boy whirled around, dropping the papers in his hands and reaching for a letter-opener on the desk.

Techno stayed leaning against the wall, keeping his tone conversational. “How’s the family?”

“How’d you get in here?” Tubbo replied tersely. His face had gone white.

Techno waved a hand behind him. “Oh, you know, through the front door. Nice place you have here. Very scenic. A bit confusing, but it’s got a nice personality, you know?”

“What do you want?”

“Calm down, I’m not here to kill you or anything, that would just be stupid. What kind of idiot would do that?”

Tubbo didn’t relax. That was probably reasonable considering the circ*mstances. Orphankiller.

“Tommy sent me, actually. To give you a message.”

Tubbo did perk up at that, curiosity seeping through his wariness. “Tommy? He’s al—” he stopped himself, changing directions. “What’s the message?”

“He says, uh, ‘I’m alive, I didn’t mean to abandon you, I just got shot really bad and almost died and I wasn’t able to contact you until now’ . . . or something, I may not have listened to the exact words he used, but that’s the basic message.”

Tubbo’s face did a couple of complicated things before it settled into an unreadable expression. “Is that all?”

“From Tommy, yes.” Techno didn’t move from the wall. “I was thinkin’ of asking a few questions though. You wanna tell me how Tommy ended up a bleeding mess on my doorstep, alone, refusing to talk about his older brother and not knowing anything about where his father has been for an entire year?”

Tubbo shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “That’s family stuff, and none of your business.”

Techno’s eyebrows went up, an incredulous smile lifting the corner of his lip. “Tommy bleeding out on my front porch is very much my business, which also makes the other things my business by association.” He paused, watching Tubbo’s face. It was cold as stone. “Look, I’ll gladly pass this off to Philza and let him deal with it if I knew where to find him. Problem is, I haven’t seen that man in years. And I’ve looked. So now it’s my problem.”

Tubbo hopped up to sit on the desk, and then leaned forward to look suspiciously at Techno. “Alright, listen. I’ll tell you what I know, and then you can leave me alone because I don’t want to hang out with you for obvious reasons.”

Fair enough.

“All I know is Wilbur’s been acting weird for a while, and it’s gotten on Tommy’s nerves. I didn’t think much of it, ‘cause the guy acts weird as a hobby, but apparently this time was different. I was upstairs when I heard yelling, so I went down to see what was up. Tommy was yelling at Wilbur stuff about how this wasn’t him, and to stop it . . . stuff like that. He was tellin’ off Dream and yelling at him to lea—”

“Dream was there?” Techno interrupted. The voices stirred at that, a rising murmur Techno tried not to encourage.

Tubbo’s face darkened. “Yeah. He was there, holding a duffle bag and standing behind Wilbur like they were buddies or something. I don’t know. There was smoke coming out of the study, so I ran inside to put out the fire. Tommy was still yelling, and then the gun went off.”

Tommy’s voice came back to him: “. . . probably thinks Wilbur got me killed and—”

“Wilbur shot Tommy?”

Tubbo shrugged, looking away uncomfortably. “I guess. He was the only one holding a gun when I came back. It was a weird day, man. Tommy was bleeding on the floor and Wilbur was, like, in hysterics. Dream was basically dragging him out the door. I kinda passed out from the smoke and woke up with firemen around me and neither of my brothers in sight.”

If Techno had been told who had been in the room and then had to guess who’d shot Tommy, he’d have bet all his money on Dream. He’d been the one who tried to hire Techno to shoot the kid years ago, after all.

Dream had his fingers in a lot of everything, most of it causing him to brush shoulders with Philza, and not in a friendly way. Ultimately, the man seemed to understand exactly where to cut to make it hurt. Was he attacking Philza’s kids because the man was away? If that was true, why’d he wait a year, and why was Wilbur the one holding the gun?

How had Wilbur been the one with the gun?

Tubbo was eyeing him warily. “If you want to figure it out, be my guest. Looks like Tommy isn’t talking though, and Wilbur’s gone too. I hear you used to be friendly with Dream, maybe you should ask him.”

“What about you?” Techno asked.

“Me?” Tubbo put a hand behind him on the desk and leaned on it. It would look relaxing if every muscle in his body wasn’t tense. “What about me?”

“You need a place to stay? Wanna talk to Tommy? Are you looking for Wilbur?” Techno tilted his head. “You said you passed out from the smoke, shouldn’t you be at a hospital or somethin’?”

Tubbo’s face shifted into a glare. “I’m fine. I don’t need you, and what I’m doing is my business. I’m not telling it to you, Orphankiller.”

Techno pulled away from the wall and turned around. “Alright, point taken. I’ll just meander out the way I came in, in this totally normal, up to fire code building.”

“. . . wait.”

Techno stopped and half-turned his head, listening.

Tubbo’s voice was smaller, softer. Tired. “Um, tell Tommy I’m fine, and I’m glad he’s alive. Truly.”

And something about the way he said it reminded Technoblade of spiderweb cracks in a pane of glass. He was almost certain if he turned his head a little farther and looked at his face, he’d see something Tubbo never wanted to show. Especially not to him.

The boy had already lost one father, and now the second one was missing, leaving him in the middle of this mess. He was just a kid.

So Techno didn’t look, and instead he nodded and left the way he came.

* * *

Tubbo was having the worst day. The worst couple of days, actually. Today ranked top in the list of ‘highest number of unpleasant and unexpected visitors’.

And neither of them had the decency to knock.

Tubbo was still holding the letter opener, though he’d had plenty of time to set it down after Technoblade left. Of all the places for Tommy to end up, why’d he go to him?

Or maybe, was the address that Philza had told them to go to in case of emergencies . . . Technoblade’s? The fact that the hitman wasn’t dead after the stunt he pulled with Tubbo said volumes about how much Philza thought of the guy. Tubbo had always wondered what would have happened if the medics hadn’t been able to pull him from death’s door. If that would have been enough to break whatever friendship they’d had and end it in blood.

Well, if Technoblade was on Tommy’s side, then fine. At least his brother was safe.

Now Dream was standing in front of him, his mask smiling at him in a creepy, hollow way. The sight sent a jolt through Tubbo’s blood. “I thought you might be here. Awfully sorry about the house. That fire was supposed to have been lit somewhere else. It’s good to see you made it out alright.”

“Cut the fluff, Dream.” He hoped he sounded at least a little intimidating. “You’re here because you want something.”

Dream tilted his head to the side, and Tubbo imagined his mouth sliding to match the mask he wore. “You say that like it’s a bad thing. At least I know what I want, can you say the same?”

Tubbo gripped the letter opener like it could save him. “If I didn’t know what I wanted, I wouldn’t be here.”

“Here.” Dream said, deadpan. “Reacting to happenstance. Man, really reaching for the stars there, kid.”

Tubbo shrugged, holding his ground. Ignored the ache in his chest. “What can I say, I’m an opportunist. Sometimes patience pays off.”

“Whatever helps you sleep at night.” Dream said airily. “It doesn’t matter to me, I don’t wish to take what you want, if this—” he waved a hand around the room, “really is what you want. In fact, I’ll help you keep it. Don’t pretend you couldn’t use my assistance with daddy gone.”

“I don’t need your help.” Tubbo spat out.

“Yes, you do.” Dream said. “More than you think. See, there’s a certain politician who came to me recently. What was his name, something something . . . Schlatt?”

Tubbo’s body went cold.

“Seems you and him have a connection. He made me a sizable offer to help him take away everything you have. And as you can see, you’re awfully vulnerable now that you’re alone. I could turn it down, however.”

Tubbo grit his teeth, pushing away the nausea that threatened to rise. “In exchange for what?”

Dream shifted, his shoulders set, his body leaning forward. Tubbo imagined if he could see the man’s eyes, they would be gleaming. His voice held none of the casual weight from before. “I want to know where I can find Tommy.”

* * *

Techno half-expected Tommy to be talking when he walked in, despite there being no one else for the kid to talk to. The wall, perhaps. There was something eerie about finding him quietly sitting on the couch.

“He was at the Nest, like you said.” Techno said, entering the room. “It was a lovely chat, real nice guy.”

“You got inside?” Tommy sat up straighter. “Do you know the secret way in? Did dad tell you?”

No, Philza hadn’t told him. It was a recurring theme in Techno’s life. “No, I went through the front door, overlooking the street. You know, like any reasonable person would do.”

Tommy stared. “The front door . . . on the second floor? Opens up to a sheer drop?”

“That’s the one.”


Techno shrugged. “Ladder.”

“You had a ladder with you?”

"Not originally, I’ve found they’re a bit hard to carry around everywhere I go. I also don’t encounter many places where the front door is on the second level.” Techno flopped into a chair. “I know a guy.”

“You know a ladder guy.”

“Yeah, kid, I know a ladder guy. You get to my age and you’ll know one too. You’ll probably know five.”

“No I won’t, I don’t need five ladders. I’m tall enough that I wouldn’t even need a single ladder, I’ll just reach up and leave a handprint on a third-story window.” He grinned.

Techno sighed, leaning back in his chair. “How’re you feeling, Tommy?”

The question seemed to give the kid whiplash. He was speechless for a few seconds while he frowned and looked down at himself, as if he had to look at the damage before he could know how he felt. Not that he could actually see the area he’d been shot very well, the shoulder sat very close to the chin. “Uhhh, pogchamp. It hurts a lot though, and I don’t like sitting around for ages. Why?”

Why? Because how he was doing . . . that was the point. Because despite talking at the drop of the hat, the kid could be surprisingly difficult to read sometimes. Because maybe Techno had been gone much longer than he’d anticipated because of a stupid ladder and he wanted to make sure nothing had gone terribly wrong while he’d been gone.

“Actually, wait, no, you’re distracting me again. What did Tubbo say? Is he alright?”

“He’s fine. Doesn’t like me much, but that’s alright. He said to tell you he’s glad you’re okay.” Techno watched Tommy’s face, debating with himself if he should go on. In the end, his curiosity won out. “He told me what happened.”

To his credit, Tommy didn’t dodge the subject. His voice did get quieter, however. “Does he know where Wilbur went?”

“Apparently Dream dragged him off. Tubbo passed out so he didn’t see much else.”

Tommy scowled. “That’s not good. I need to get him back, before Dream does something to him.”

“You know, there’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you for a while now,” He shouldn’t push it, but Tommy seemed to be in a sharing mood. “I get why Dream clashes with your family, especially your dad, but I’ve picked up the sense that he dislikes you specifically.” Like the ‘wanting to hire Techno to shoot him’ kind of dislike. It was the closest Techno wanted to get to seeing how much of that Tommy remembered. “Do you know why he hates you so much?”

“Oh,” Tommy said immediately, “yeah, that’s because he’s an idiot and a loser who lies to everyone and is cringe and stupid and bad, and doesn’t like people saying so because he doesn’t have a mommy for him to cry to.”

“Oh.” Techno said.

“And I might have said that on national television.”


“Yeah, so we need to get Wilbur away from him because they’ve been getting chummy and it’s weird and I don’t like it and I don’t trust Dream farther than I can spit.”

“How far can yo—”

“I can’t.” Tommy said; and then promptly demonstrated, resulting in drool dribbling down his chin.

“Alright.” Techno said. “Maybe I’ll ask around and see if I can find out where they are, and then when you can move around we’ll go get Wilbur.”

Tommy nodded firmly, and then attempted to suck the dribble back in.

“For now,” Technoblade said wearily. “I’ll get you a tissue.”

Retirement Never Sticks - RevenantMotif (2024)
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