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what the living do

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It's early. The first bitter shards of morning light peek through the windows of the Camarvan. The birds sing greetings. Outside, Fundy, Niki, and Jack converse as they eat breakfast by the water's edge. Inside, Tubbo sits alone at the table.

Wilbur left at dawn, back straight and hat in his hands. Tubbo had always known Wilbur to be the epitome of cool and collected, but now the older man just seems like smoke and tissue paper. A light drizzle away from disappearing entirely.

According to Fundy, the note on the table explains that President Soot had left to deliver news of Tommy's passing to his loved ones. Tubbo didn't bother looking it over himself. He wonders what everyone's deal with notes is. Why they can't just say what they're thinking instead of putting it in ink for those left behind.

Wilbur also left orders to not worry, that he'll be back sooner than later, and to continue with the building projects they began the days before.

L'Manburg has only just begun. The future holds so much in store for their new nation.

 

In another world, there is no Declaration of War .

For once, Dream's heart is louder than his pride. He laughs it off with his signature wheeze.

Sapnap leaves them be with promises of a future supply of “goods."

George does not care.

 

Sapnap came to him yesterday, head down and armor off. 

The people of L'Manburg and Dream SMP had generally stayed out of each other's ways since the end of the war. The L'Manburgians had been occupied with reconstruction and no Dream SMP member dared to cross into L'Manburg's walls. That was how it was until Sapnap's visit.

Tubbo had been down by the river, washing rusty stains out of torn uniforms. He didn't bother looking up as a shadow fell over him.

"You're not allowed here," Tubbo says coldly.

Sapnap shifts on the balls of his feet. "I just want to talk."

"I don't want to talk to you." He scrubs harder. How difficult could it be to get blood out?

"Come on, Tubbo, we were friends once, right?"

Liquid fire fills his eyes.

"Go away."

"It's me. Sap. Snapmap. Please, just talk to me."

His movements get a little too rough, fabric tears in his hands.

"Remember the things we built? The MLG's?"

His head snaps up. 

"My best friend is dead because of you! Leave me alone!"

"I'm... I'm sorry."

"Leave!"

 

In another world, Eret says he has a secret weapon and means it.

They win the war, forcing Dream into a surrender. They sign the Treaty of L’Manburg and part on neutral terms.

Wilbur and Tommy are President and Vice. Tubbo is still Secretary of State. Eret becomes the Secretary of Defense.

L’Manburg is a proud and prosperous country. 

 

Midmorning, Fundy leaves L'Manburg in a huff, radiating righteous fury. Shortly after, Niki heads to the shore to work on her own house, leaving Tubbo and Jack Manifold with the job of construction in the area immediately around L'Manburg.

Jack claims a piece of land outside the walls as his own. Together, they place wooden fences marking off the suburbs of L'Manburg. They expand the space program into a large building of quartz and yellow stained glass.

In the afternoon, they step back, climbing on a small hill to take in the beginnings of their new nation.

"It's quiet around here," Jack says.

Tubbo says, "Tommy would like it."

"You think so?"

He studies the shape of the trees. The uncertain figure of Eret's new tower. The gentle slope of the hills. The straight lines of the walls. The border where the river meets dirt. The wooden path rising in the distance.

"No," he says, laughing a little. "He'd hate it."

Jack joins in with a chuckle. "He would, wouldn't he?'

"He'd want something more exciting. An attraction of some sort. A park. A McDonalds. A rollercoaster. Something ridiculous he could turn into a scheme to profit off of."

"Like his casino back on SMPEarth. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person he got with that."

"Scams never really worked out in his favor."

I guess playing it straight didn't either.

They stand there. Breathing in and out. Feeling the sun on their shoulders and the uneven patches of grass underneath their boots. Chickens cluck somewhere behind them. The river whispers.

Jack shifts. "I better go finish up construction of Ze Haus, you know?"

Tubbo pulls his eyes away from the expanse. "Yeah, of course." 

Jack clasps his shoulder. "Take care of yourself, Big T."

He offers a small smile.

"I'll see you later, Jack Manifold."

 

In another world, Tommy wins the duel. Shoots Dream straight through the heart. 

In another world, Dream wins the duel. Shoots Tommy in the shoulder.

In another world...

In another...

And another...

And another...

 

Tubbo hoists himself up the final rung of the ladder. Shoulders slumping, brow dripping, he surveys the land that used to belong to his best friend. The area around the Embassy is still in shambles. The cuck shed, he notices, is in pristine condition. The Power Tower and the Embassy were not so lucky. Scorched grass and wood litter the area. He moves forward, kicking up ash and dirt with every step. His boot catches on a blackstone brick, and he crashes down, down, down into the space beneath the Embassy.

He lands in a heap on smooth stone slabs. The fight club is an empty shell. The air is completely silent. Dust particles float about, illuminated by stray streaks of sunlight. He feels like Alice, taken a tumble down the rabbit's hole or Lucy stepping through the wardrobe. It's a ghost town. It's a time capsule. It's a tomb.

He climbs out using a pile of debris. He does not go for the stairs.

Golden hour is in full effect when he continues on his journey, the sun heavy on his cheeks. He walks the path next to Dream's no-longer-secret base. The faintest notes of Mellohi drift by in the breeze. Tubbo strides on past. 

Tomorrow, he wants to build docks and a floating city at the beach by Niki's house. He wants to repair Tommy's land. He wants to visit his jungle base. Tonight, he wants to go on a walk.

 

In another world, he and Tommy run away. They make it to the woods.

They—mostly Tubbo—build a cabin. There's a potato farm and a pen full of cows.

They go fishing. Listen to music discs. Watch sunsets.

Wilbur visits on the weekends. Fundy and Niki send letters. Jack Manifold comes with them.

In this world, Dream can't touch them.

 

In this one:

Three cows graze on an empty hill.

Tubbo settles down in the grass at the base of a newly planted oak tree. The sun dips beneath the horizon line, disappearing into the ocean. His fingers curl into soft dirt, cool grass poking at his palms. He imagines a familiar warmth at his side.

"I miss you, Tommy."

 

So why don't we go? 
Somewhere only we know.