Tommy’s family was never permanent.
Even though he was only almost 17, the time he stayed with Phil, Wilbur, and eventually Techno felt like years and years of good memories. Only at 13 did he and Wilbur take their leave for the last time.
His older brother was known for lashing out at times and leaving the house for a few hours up to a couple days. Even if Tommy had only been a preteen, he noticed his adoptive brother and father’s relationship straining, the latter not normally being around due to his business with Techno.
So just half a year after Wilbur turned 18, they both packed their bags and left for somewhere, anywhere else. Tommy didn’t realize at the time that it would possibly be the worst choice he could’ve made.
Phil tried contacting them for god knows how long, and looking back on that time, Tommy could only wonder the kind of turmoil he was going through. But the two started their own life, far far away from the people Wilbur saw as uncaring. He took care of Tommy as best he could, and when they finally found what looked like a stable town, they settled, Tommy being 14 and Wilbur 19.
That summer was probably the best of Tommy’s short life. He befriended Tubbo, he picked up the art of scamming, Wilbur taught him brewing..everything seemed ok.
Obviously, it hadn’t turned out ok. Tommy figured out what fully dying felt like in the small, dark Final Control Room, and not even a day later, another at the hands of his enemy. He was exiled from the country he and Wilbur had made for the first time, fighting tooth and nail for even a chance at getting it back.
Techno, Phil’s student and business partner, may have showed up to help them, but Tommy never really considered him part of their family back then. But he was older now, and could admire the tactics and skill the so called Blood God acquired over years of battle. The Blade-as Tommy took to calling him-was now a part of their group, and simultaneously, who Tommy thought of as family.
But what little family he had never lasted. Wilbur’s own dread and outlook on the world drove him to madness, with Tommy seeing the mad who stuck by him through everything finally dying in the arms, at the hands of their own father.
Techno turned his back on him as well, Phil once again choosing Techno over him. Tommy would be endlessly bitter towards his dad for a plethora of reasons, but in his mind, that would always be the first.
He may have ended up reconciling with Tubbo after his exile, but deep down, a tear was still present in his heart. The betrayal and pure heartbreak he’d experienced on that December day would never leave his memory.
Dream made Tommy believe he fit in his family, if only for a short while. The few weeks Tommy spent with just Dream had been torture looking back on it. He’d known something was amiss from the start, but picking his loyalties and his enemies had always been something the boy struggled with. So now, endlessly turned upon and left behind by people who he thought he could look to, Tommy only had Tubbo in his little family tree. Dream was locked away, Wilbur was long gone, and he was sure Techno and Phil despised his very being.
Tommy was perfectly fine with only having Tubbo. They’d been best friends for years, with each time they got separated only bringing them closer together. Tommy told himself he didn’t need anybody else. He could finally rest, focus on what he needed and what he wanted to accomplish. And right now, his goals didn’t cross with anyone else’s.
No interest in the “Eggpire'' his voices had been screaming about. No interest in whatever the arctic anarchists were up to. No interest in Snowchester’s nuclear affairs, although he still did check up on Tubbo whenever it felt needed.
They still tried to go on stupid, childish adventures like they had years ago, now that they finally could. They each had their own goals that were separate from their true friendship. They still cared for each other so, so much.
But right now, Tommy didn’t have time to reminisce, he had to figure out a way to construct his newest project.
Now, if only he could find someone worth hiring…
Sam never had people who he considered family.
Those years he spent wandering town to town never lasted, always packing up and leaving to the next village over several times a month. No permanent friends or home for his adolescence and early adult years.
When he finally settled down as one of the first eight people in the newly formed Dream SMP, he was never the most..talkative. Yes, he was on friendly terms with most every member, but he never partook in whatever faction or affairs were going on, only sparsely checking in with Dream and his accomplices.
After close to a year of mind numbing isolation, he finally reintegrated himself with the new and old member of the SMP. News of a newly elected tyrant from another nation, several new citizens and a new faction of demon-Dreamon?-hunters sent him reeling. But as the next year came to pass, he slowly came to be a well respected engineer and builder within SMP boundaries. He was still never the most active participant when it came to whatever conflict the major factions created that week.
The Badlands were probably the closest people he had that could fit the definition of a family. They were a tight-knit group, always making decisions together and welcoming any new members or allies.
The Egg, in hindsight, most likely only sped up the destruction of their group. Even if they all agreed to keep away from the major conflicts for the most part, that didn’t stop Bad from getting in over his head when they had been. Sam’s ambitious projects, Skeppy’s indifference to almost anything around him, and later Puffy’s unusual-or, unusual for this server at least-sense of morality. Maybe their little alliance was always doomed to fall apart.
So now, with the head of the SMP in his own prison and half of their faction losing their heads over this parasite, Sam had virtually no choice but to stick with Puffy and focus on his newest project: his bank.
If only a certain hotheaded child with a strong sense of self-reliance had gone to anyone else for help with his own project.
Tommy thought of Sam as a friend.
Well, Sam Nook at least. He couldn’t place whether the NPC-like man was actually different from Sam himself or just the creeper hybrid putting on a persona. Either way, he wasn’t complaining. The man made doing menial work seem like a game, one Tommy was more than willing to play.
He’d protected Tommy, and by extension Tubbo, from the people under the control of the Egg and made good on his promise of getting the hotel started. He called Tommy his friend, too. Sam Nook was a good guy.
Though..regular Sam wasn’t all bad either. Although his prison warden persona was scary as shit and he was practically sleepwalking while recovering from the Egg’s damages, he wasn’t awful to be around. Regular Sam kind of reminded him of a golden retriever dog, in a way.
In the back of Tommy’s mind, there were voices that talked of the possibility of a new family. The sheer audacity they had to even speak of family almost astounded him. As if Awesamdude would ever want to be more than just business partners, hell, even being friends may have been pushing it.
It was in the contract they’d signed that Sam had to protect him. He was being paid to help Tommy. Years of betrayed trust and his childlike view of the world being beaten down and snapped in two made Tommy see how the world truly was.
Back when he was with Wilbur, he could see the way it could be. Tommy could see the good in just about everything, he could fight for a future he believed in. But Tommy saw how it was now. This world, this SMP didn’t care for lonely children.
He pushed back and internally ridiculed the voices calling out for Tommy, asking and pleading for him to try and trust in people again.
He didn’t understand why they were so keen on letting someone tear down his walls so easily, when it was so fucking clear that monetary gain was the main factor for why. Almost everybody on this server was like this.
There would be no goddamn family as far as Tommy was concerned. Not for a long fucking time, anyway.
Sam perceived Tommy as what he was; a teenager.
He was a good kid, in all honesty. A little brash and impulsive, sure, but it was clear his personality had changed a great deal from even just months ago.
Maybe Sam wouldn’t have noticed if not for the things Dream told him on a whim one visit. He wasn’t supposed to stay for long, but his ever growing curiosity pertaining to the prisoner rooted him in the cell, unable to leave until the information was too much.
“Do you know why I keep him around, Sam?” He’d asked the warden. “Do you know why I keep playing along with those games of his?”
Piqued curiosity had earned him new information, but also a new view on how the boy acted. Every word Dream told him made Sam more and more nauseous, leaving the cell as soon as the prisoner was done talking.
Most of Tommy’s behaviors and mannerisms took on a new light. The lashing out in anger at seemingly random moments, the refusal to take off any piece of armor unless necessary, the hesitance and quickening of breathing at small pits in the ground. Sam was painfully aware of it all.
The contract made it easy to hide behind the excuse of a signature on paper. Sam wasn’t sure if Tommy would be too keen about Sam knowing the extent of what exactly Dream had done, especially without his knowledge.
The games Tommy would make out of the busywork Sam gave was entertaining to watch, and sometimes he’d use his communicator to join in on the shenanigans from afar. Tommy looked to be fond of Sam Nook, and even if he had to drag himself over to the site every day with his body practically screaming at him to sleep for the next 72 hours, he took pride in seeing a genuine smile on Tommy’s face.
The realization nearly slaps him across the face on a regular day at the construction site.
Tommy and Tubbo had been going off on another side task after Sam Nook had asked for more scaffolding. He partially reprimanded Tommy through his communicator about staying safe when using the trident, promptly receiving the typical Tommy response along the lines of “fuck you, I’ll do what I want” before promptly almost dying from an accidental fall. He practically scolded Tommy for his lack of awareness.
You whisper to TommyInnit: TOMMYINNIT, WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT STAYING SAFE WITH THE TRIDENT? PLEASE BE MORE CAREFUL, YOU COULD’VE DIED FAR AWAY FROM YOUR HOME...
TommyInnit whispers to you: Sam Nook you sound like a dad scolding his kid and that is very cringe.
TommyInnit whispers to you: Cringe Nook
Sam read the message on his communicator a few times over, not caring about the insult the kid threw at him. The phrasing of the message stuck with him, rooting itself in his thoughts.
Like a dad?
Sam hadn’t thought of his interactions with Tommy and whatever friends he strung along in any other way than casual banter and business. Tommy making the small comparison...resonated with him, in a way. He knew the kid needed some kind of guidance and proper, stable adult in his life, but..maybe he’d have to step in and take up the role himself. It wasn’t like much would change if he had some of a say. He didn’t want to meddle with Tommy’s personal life.
Another message pops up on the device with a ping.
TommyInnit whispers to you: puffy said that calling you cringe was rude and to apologize to you. accept my apology or else, Nook. This is a threat.
The creeper hybrid chuckled at the message, quickly typing out his response.
You whisper to TommyInnit: OF COURSE I ACCEPT YOUR APOLOGY, TOMMYINNIT…
He doesn’t get a response from Tommy, and Sam is content with that. He smiles to himself, opening up another contact in his communicator.
You whisper to CaptainPuffy: Thanks for looking out for him, Puffster
CaptainPuffy whispers to you: no problem at all, sam! :D
Tommy was having a shit day.
Managing a growing business and keeping himself far, far away from any funny business with the hive mind proved irritating at best and downright provoked his deep rooted traumas at worst.
Today had been one of the worse days, with Bad and Ant pestering and trying to chase him down when off of the build site property. He had to call Sam Nook more than twice to protect him, all the while on edge and trying not to snap at Sam.
The creeper requested more oak wood, which Tommy gladly took up to distract himself. He thought about his apparent “hero complex”, being dragged into conflict against his will for god knows how long.
Tommy knows he used to dive head first into battles and petty complications, but he’s well past learning a lesson. Nearly every adult around him either hates his guts or avoided him entirely, with Sam and Puffy being the most prevalent exceptions. Quackity too, he supposed, but technically he was still a teenager as well.
The menial task proved to be the exact opposite of relaxing, having to dump his inventory and travel out farther and farther just for some stupid fucking logs. Goddammit he was gonna have a lengthy talk with Sam Nook when he got back.
“SAM!” Tommy approached the build site, nearly shaking from nerves and stress. “Got those fuckin’ logs you wanted. God, took to goddamn long, ‘m already peeved enough.” He handed the items over to Sam, who counted and inspected to make sure the wood was the right species and the amount was how much he needed.
“I’M SORRY TOMMYINNIT…” He started saying. “...BUT UNFORTUNATELY THIS IS NOT ENOUGH WOOD TO CONTINUE THE PROJECT. I’D NEED ONE MORE STACK BEFORE THE HOTEL PROGRESS CAN CONTINUE…”
Sam’s words grated at Tommy, the chatter becoming incessant to the point of being unbearable. Tommy’s rational thought knew that he was about to explode over some wood, but piled with everything else that had been happening over the past week or so finally boiled over.
“Fucking— DAMMIT Sam! You can’t expect me to get all these fuckin’ materials for you and work myself to exhaustion while you just sit here!” In his anger, Tommy threw a punch at the other’s shoulder, not noticing how he didn’t even move retaliate. “How much of this shit are you even gonna use?! I’m sick of being dragged around by everyone on this SMP, I don’t want to be this fucking..protagonist or whatever the fuck people seem to think I am!”
What little reasoning Tommy had was drowned out by the overflow of pent up anger and exhaustion and long-time hurt. He kept shouting at Sam, who did nothing but stand and stare with mild concern as he was on the verge of a full blown breakdown.
“Are you just gonna fucking stand there or what, man?!” Tommy opted to grab at the creeper’s gold plated armor on his upper arm, still blinded by emotion. This time when Tommy reached, Sam reached out to grip Tommy’s wrist, presumably out of reflex.
Both of them froze, Sam immediately loosening the grip on Tommy’s wrist. But Tommy stilled completely, mind flashing with images of a porcelain mask and salt water and the smell of gunpowder and oh god why won’t Dream let go of him, he was good today, he was good he listened he listened it won’t happen again please please he won’t be such a fuck up this time—
“-mmy. Tommy!” The teen snapped his eyes up to where Sam was crouching in front of him, lowering his towering figure down to where Tommy had crumpled to the floor. His breaths were shaky and sporadic, and his vision was blurred by tears that were still falling.
“Hey, Tommy, it’s alright, it’s just me, ok? ‘S just Sam.” Sam’s voice grew softer and more hushed. Tommy’s breath started to slow as his surroundings became clearer. He was unexiled, he was at the hotel site, his friend-his real friend-was here and talking to him.
An attempt to speak ultimately failed, Tommy’s vocal cords closing up and his eyes dropping to the wooden path.
“Can’t talk right now?” Sam seemed to pick up on his failed attempt, and Tommy nodded in confirmation. “‘S alright, that’s alright..”
There was an underlying fear that Sam was angry at him for not speaking up. Even with his reassurance, Tommy still kept himself tense.
“Are you good to stand?” Tommy looked up at the other and quickly attempted to get off the ground, almost immediately stumbling over himself and bracing for the feeling of wood smacking against him.
Instead, he felt Sam put his arms out and catch him by the arms, careful not to grip as hard as before. He let Tommy rest against him, slowly guiding them both back onto the Prime Path. “Okay, admittedly not the best idea.” A quiet laugh was heard from where Tommy rested on Sam, who let himself slowly become more relaxed. “You ok, Tommy?”
“Mhm..” Tommy managed to make a noncommittal noise in response before wrapping his arms around the taller man. Sam tentatively returned the hug, letting Tommy rest against him. God,he was exhausted.
A quiet sigh came from the other. “Hey, ‘m sorry for pushing you to do all that. If I’d known you were so strained, then..” He trailed off. “I’m sorry, Tommy.”
The boy took back one of his arms in favor of pulling out his communicator and typing out a message to his friend. He finished writing quickly, going back to quietly laying against Sam.
You whisper to Awesamdude: it’s ok, sam. and thank you for helping me.
A quick buzz sounded from Sam’s device. Tommy allowed his eyes to close, his exhaustion finally catching up to him. Faint voices were getting quieter, but he could hear them unanimously talk about Sam and how nice he was, which Tommy had to agree with.
But still, even after he shut them down, some voices were chanting about family, some having taken to calling Sam “Awesamdad” for whatever reason Tommy couldn’t place.
Maybe it was the semi delirious state he was in, but Tommy couldn’t bring himself to shut them down again. Maybe a small, much quieter part of him now entertained the idea. Maybe, if they both put in the effort, he could have a stable family again.