WilburSoot was crazy.
And for the first time in his life, TommyInnit was helpless.
They’d built a nation together, been through war together, been betrayed together. And now, his best friend was losing his sanity because of a fucking Visa.
This couldn’t be the end. Wilbur would come back.
He had to.
Tommy looked across the expanse of the courtyard, at Dream.
He tried to offer a reassuring smile to the masked man, but it fell short. Dream snorted and lifted his head slightly, turning away, a clear sign of dismissal.
The boy tried to settle his nausea. What the hell am I doing?
This couldn’t be a good idea, no matter how sick Wilbur was.
But that was the problem, wasn’t it?
Wilbur was sick. And Tommy didn’t know what else to do—
Other than to bargain for their safety.
This, this was just insurance, while Wilbur recuperated.
Jschlatt entered the clearing sometime around dawn, which Tommy could tell, because Dream immediately stood up and strolled to Tommy’s side, axe poised in front of them both.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, a voice piped up He doesn't trust you to protect yourself.
He pushed it down.
The President was certainly intimidating, in a creased black suit and a blood-red tie, but his eyes were smiling when he stopped in front of them.
Dream walks between them, and Tommy felt a shiver of regret run down his spine.
Was it worth it?
They begin before he can decide.
“I’ll be your witness. If the agreement is broken, both parties will be informed that they have free reign.” Dream steps back and fires a shot onto the wood roof.
Fire blazes into life behind them.
Jschlatt laughs sharply, “My decree states that you are no longer welcome, little boy.”
Tommy seethes, all uncertainty gone.
“Why, maybe you should spend more time on security, instead of drinking, you alcoholic wan—“
Dream shakes his head slowly behind a plate of white.
The boy glances to the crackling sparks, which are spreading rapidly. The ground is already charred.
“You leave us alone, and I’ll give you your villain.”
The President blinks, “Who said anything about a villain?”
Tommy snarles then, fed up with the man. “You want a villain to make you look like a hero, so I’ll help Wilbur be as destructive as you need him to be.”
The President pauses, regarding.
“I can't trust you.”
"Damn right, you can't. But I want safety, so you can trust that instead."
Jschlatt frowns. "I need the name of your traitor.”
"There isn’t one.”
“Don’t bullshit me, Tommy.”
He watches him murmur under his breath, and then look up, questioning.
“Fundy?” Tommy doesn’t move, determined. “Quackity... no.”
Jschlatt clicks his tongue, and says quietly, “Tubbo. Ah, I should’ve guessed that only my youngest member could be so naive.” Tommy freezes.
“I suppose that we’ll have to kill him, of course.”
The boy’s eyes widen, almost imperceptibly.
But the President can see it.
He catches his mistake too late.
Jschlatt beams and turns away at the confirmation, the festival stalls withering into ash just short of the podium. The voice speaks up again, near silent now, Tubbo spent ages on those.
His shoes tap against stone. "Deal.”
Dream nods shortly, “Mister President.”
Tommy folds against the pavement, and closes his eyes, mind racing.
What just happened?
He’d been so, so careful—
And nobody is safe, anymore.
Dream returns and curses under his breath, rushing over to pull him back towards their base.
Afterwards, Dream sits him down by the river, and rinses the dirt from his hair. Tommy lets him for a while, watching his reflection in the water, and then pulls his hand away, halting the motion.
“I messed up, didn’t I?”
He looks down at his fingers. There will be blood on them.
“It’s just— I can lead, and I can help, but this... isn’t the right way.”
They're not talking about Jschlatt anymore. The man shifts his mask.
“What’s this really about, Tommy?” The fallout will be unimaginable.
Tommy shudders, and lets his eyes close. It's childish, and foolish, and stupid, but-
His mind is still on Wilbur, with his wide, barren smile, and crazed eyes, and twisted, giggling tone.
“You’re never gonna be president.”
Wilbur Soot ticks his head to the side, surveying Manberg.
Maybe the tree would be a good place to camp out? But it is a bit far, and they would certainly spot him on the way to the room...
He pulls Percy to a stop.
Tommy is by the building; watching him, covered in ash and dirt, and smelling distinctly of fire.
He raises an eyebrow, and thinks, What is it now?
“I’m with you.”