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Years past

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The kid was good, Techno had to admit.
The newest addition to the family hadn’t been very open to the whole, family thing. He was maybe 8 years old. Phil had found him nearly dead wandering the desert near their house. He was tall for his age, but so skinny you could count his ribs even with his t-shirt draping off his frame. For a month, Tommy stayed in the room that had been deemed his. When Phil realized on the second day that Tommy wasn’t coming out, he began to leave plates of food and bottles of water outside his door.
He did this every day at 6, then he knocked twice and disappeared down the hallway. It went on like that for a month. They barely saw the kid. Technoblade had only seen him twice in that month. Once when Phil first brought him home, then again three weeks after. It was the sixth or seventh time Tommy had snuck out of his room at 3 am to shower and use the bathroom.
Techno wasn’t sure if Wilbur and Phil knew it was happening, but he knew from the first time. He didn’t sleep much, and he was never ever asleep before 3, so he had heard everytime the kid opened his door and then quietly tip-toed down the hall. He was scarily quiet, Techno had noticed. Only someone who had lived in the dangerous, mob filled world could be that quiet. Or someone with years of training, like himself.
The second time he saw Tommy, he had just gotten home from a patrol, which Phil had begrudgingly let him start doing on his 14th birthday. There was blood on him, his armor and his sword. So, all around, not the best time for him to be meeting this kid.
But Tommy hadn’t been scared of him. He had just turned when Techno entered the bathroom. His blue eyes sparkled curiously as he watched Techno watch him nervously. He never had been very good with people.
“Hi,” Techno said, awkwardly. He really wanted to take a shower, but he was scared if he moved too fast or did something the kid wasn’t expecting, that whatever trust was there would be gone.
“Mobs?” The kid’s voice was scratchy with disuse. He gestured at the state Techno was in.
Techno didn’t like the implications of that, “Yeah.”
The kid nodded, then slipped out of the bathroom as quietly as he had surely entered. Techno stood for a moment, then decided he was too tired to deal with that right now and promptly got in the shower.

The next breakthrough they had was when Phil had come home late and therefore started dinner late. He went to deliver Tommy’s dinner at 6:30 instead of the usual. He was shocked when he turned the corner and saw the kid leaning against the door frame. Tommy turned at Phil’s approach.
“You’re slacking, old man.” Phil ignored Wilbur cackling from the other room. Tommy had the ghost of a smile on his face as he took the plate of food from a shell-shocked Phil.
After that, Tommy started appearing in the dining room ten minutes before 6. It was another week before he actually said anything. But it had been progress.

Techno almost didn’t recognize the kid standing in front of him as the one from two years ago. He was ten now, glowing and happy. It was a stark comparison from the gaunt, pale, cautious Tommy Techno had first met.
A year ago, at Tommy’s insistence, Techno had begun training the kid proper. Of course, with his two years of being by himself and having to learn how to survive, he was good. But under the training of the Blade, he could become some to fear.
Tommy learned fighting and swordplay from Techno, he learned survival things from Phil. That included how to cook, read and write. Wilbur taught Tommy music and art.
He excelled at pretty much everything that the boys tossed at him. (Except redstone. That had been a proper disaster.) He was an incredible leaner, fast on his feet and adaptable. And Techno loved him endlessly.
He would never admit that, and neither would his brothers, but they all adored the newest family member.
Techno took a step forward as Tommy blocked a blow that would have toppled him a year ago. It had taken two years, vigorous training, and lots of food to repair the damage the two years on his own had done to Tommy. But now, he was already 5’7 at 10 years old and he was still skinny, but you couldn’t count his ribs anymore. Muscles replaced them.
Tommy conceded the step, but quickly lashed out with his wooden training sword. Techno blocked the blow, but he hadn’t seen the kick to the gut coming. He groaned dramatically and allowed Tommy to tackle him to the ground. His little brother sat triumphently on his chest. Wilbur chuckled under his breath from where he sat under a tree, writing in a journal.
The twins' 16th birthday had been the previous week. Wilbur had gotten a new guitar and journal, the one he wrote in now. Techno had gotten his first diamond sword. That was enough, and frankly all Phil could really afford, but he had also gotten a velvet cape from the guys he patrolled with.
The same cape was now sprawled under his body as he started tickling Tommy’s sides. The blonde screeched indignitantly, swatting at Techno’s hands.
“This would never stop someone,” Techno commented, still ruthless in his assault.
“You’d never hurt me, Techno,” Tommy let out between giggles.


Two years later, Techno left. On his and Wilbur’s 18th birthday, Techno went out in search of adventure and danger. He knew it had shattered Phil’s heart to see him go, but his oldest brother didn’t object. He thought Tommy would’ve had a more adverse reaction than he did, but his baby brother just hugged him tightly.
“Promise you’ll come back,” He whispered through tears into Techno’s cape.
“I promise, Tommy.” And everyone knew Techno didn’t break promises.
As Techno went to open the front door, Tommy pressed something into his palm. The boy didn’t wait to see his reaction. Instead he scurried into Phil’s awaiting arms, tears still running down his face.
Techno waited until he was half a day's walk away to look at what it was. He wasn’t sure if he looked any sooner he would have been able to leave his brothers behind.
He was right to wait.

Technoblade returned home months after his 20th birthday. But the man who walked through the front door was not the same boy who had left 3 years ago.
No, this was the Blade.
All the attention turned to him. Everybody froze. He knew what they saw. He knew they saw the scar that ran from his jaw to just under his nose. He knew they saw the crown. He knew they saw a stranger in the body of a brother.
Techno’s eyes scanned the room. Phil stood frozen at the stove, a pan in his hand. Wilbur was gaping at him from the head of the table. Tommy was nowhere to be seen.
Techno made eye contact with Phil and frowned, “Where’s the brat?”
That seemed to shake both brothers out of their stupor.
Wilbur stood, “I’ll go get him.” Then he stumbled down the hall.
Techno casually turned back to Phil, “He got tall.”
“Wait until you see Tommy.”
“Phil,” Techno said, his lips quirking up in amusement, “You’re gravy is gonna burn.”
He huffed out a laugh at the panicked cursing and rushed movements that ensued. He pulled out a chair at the table that was the same beaten up old thing he had left. He plopped down and began to study the room. While the dining table was the same, although there were more knikes and scratches that were no doubt Tommy's fault, a lot had changed.The stove Phil now fussed over was new and the cabinets had been redone. The floor had gotten an upgrade from the old, dingy oak wood to fresh, polished spruce wood. It had to have been expensive.
“I took over your old patrol routes.”
Techno turned his head and met the bright blue eyes of his little brother.
But Tommy was hardly little anymore. He was 15 now and definitely taller than Techno, though Wilbur still dwarfed them both.
“They pay a lot,” Tommy finished, still staring.
“They always did,” Techno returned, rising from his seat at the table.
“You came back.”
“I promised I would.”
Tommy finally broke from his position in front of Wilbur at the door to the kitchen. He all but threw himself into Techno’s arms. And while it was a lot more weight than it used to be, Techno took it all with ease. He hugged his brother back just as tightly as Tommy was currently clinging to him.
After a tearful (Phil) family reunion, they sat at the dinner table over a meal, just like the old times.
But it wasn’t the old times, and Techno knew it was only a matter of time before they asked the questions they really wanted to. About his reputation.
“I heard you died six months ago,” Wilbur said conversationally.
Phil glared at him, “You never told me that.”
Wilbur scoffed playfully, “Do you blame me?”
Oddly enough, Tommy had been the quietest during the dinner, but he spoke now. “Technoblade never dies.”
Phil and Wilbur laughed, probably writing it off as a little brother’s hero complex for his older brother. But Techno paused. It had occurred to him that his family would hear the rumors, but he never suspected Tommy would run in similar circles to himself. Tommy knew far more than the others. And, apparently, he had never shared what he heard.
“As much as I would like to pretend I came home just for a catch-up,” Techno said, once again drawing the attention to him, “That’s not the case.”
“What’s up, Techno?” Wilbur asked, resting his chin on the back of his hands. Techno didn’t answer right away, instead he carefully lifted the crown off of his head and held it out in front of him. He spun it once, twice.
“He rules an empire,” Tommy said, staring at the emerald in the center of the crown. The same emerald a 12 year old Tommy had pressed into his palm as he left home.
“I do,” Technoblade agreed, cutting off Phil’s laughter. Wilbur leaned back in his chair, face closed off now.
“Is that how you got the crown?” Wilbur worded the question carefully, which made Techno both proud and annoyed. The inference was there.
“If you’re asking if I murdered a monarch and stole his crown and empire, the answer is yes.”
“Techno,” Phil breathed out, running a hand across his face.
“Is that how you got the scar?” Tommy questioned, almost like he couldn’t help himself.
“No,” Techno answered. A smiley face mask popped into the front of his mind. He violently shoved it away. “That’s a different story for another time.”
Tommy mumbled some stuff under his breath that Techno chose not to hear. Wilbur drove his elbow into the blonde’s side, scolding him silently. Tommy smacked Wilbur away and glared at him.
“Turns out ruling an entire empire by yourself is pretty fucking hard,” Techno stated. Phil chuckled, then placed his hand to his mouth. He was clearly disappointed in himself for laughing. “I need your help.”
“You want us to help you run a country?” Wilbur asked, shocked.
“No,” Techno tsked, “I want you to help me rule an empire.”
“What is it?” Phil inquired.
“The Antarctic Empire.”
There was a bout of silence as the statement sunk in. The Antarctic empire stretched thousands of miles and was rich beyond comprehension.
“Fuck yeah!” Tommy shouted, Wilbur jumped. “I’m gonna be a fuckin’ prince!”