The blood pounded in Techno’s ears as he practically ran down the sidewalk from the bus stop, his home coming into sight around the corner. All he had to do was make it in that door, then everything would be okay.
He wasn’t being chased, not physically at least. He did feel like he was running from something, though. The voices, and the promises that came with them.
Not good enough.
All he’d done was lose to Dream. That was it. He’d gotten second place at the competition, out of hundreds of students, but Dream had beaten him and that wasn’t good enough.
So here he was. Seventeen years old and running home from school to his father’s home like a little boy who’d found out his crush didn’t like him back.
Lost in thought, he only realized he reached his home when he felt his hand turning the doorknob.
He heard laughter inside. Wilbur’s loud cackle, Tommy’s guffaws, Philza’s happy chuckles.
What Techno wouldn’t do to go sit down with them, talk about his feelings, and decompress like a normal person. What he wouldn’t do to fit in with them, the extroverts who find happiness - without a sharp pain of anxiety - every time they talked to another person.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t good enough to do that either.
So, as quietly as he could, he inched open the door and snuck inside. Thankfully, it seemed like no one heard the door open, but when he tried to sneak through the room to the stairs, Wilbur saw him.
“Technoblade!” he called. “Come play with us!”
As many people knew, Technoblade had an incredible poker face. Wilbur would have no way of knowing what was going on behind his eyes. That didn’t stop it from hurting that his own twin couldn’t tell that he was falling apart.
Monopoly was out on the table between the rest of his family.
Maybe that was what broke him. That they were all playing Monopoly together, and he wasn’t with him.
For some reason, it didn’t matter to the voices that Wilbur had just invited him.
It didn’t matter that he wasn’t even home when they started playing.
It didn’t matter that he fully intended on saying no because he just wanted to be alone in his room right now.
Despite all of that, they still whispered to him.
Unwanted , the voices said, You stick out like a sore thumb in their happy little family. They don’t even want you.
All he could do was frantically shake his head and run away.
Technoblade didn’t cry.
Some people saw it as him being tough. Blood for the Blood God , and all that.
He just saw it as another sign of how different he was. How weird .
Technoblade didn’t cry, so he broke down in other ways. Some days, he broke things. He smashed bottles and plates and ripped his notebooks to pieces. Other days, he screamed. He blew up in someone’s face, most of the time Wilbur or Phil, and he said the things he knew would cut deepest in some misguided attempt to show them how horrible he was feeling.
But most of the time? Most of the time he froze.
He curled up, or laid down, or stood in the center of a room, and went completely still. He let his thoughts and the voices and every other godawful thing going on around him just wash over him, and he let himself overflow.
Sometimes, every once in a while, he thought these moments would be the ones when he finally cried. When he finally proved his humanity.
He never did.
Today, Technoblade was frozen. He sat on the floor, his back pressing painfully into the frame of his bed, with his long legs stretched out before his, and he stared at the wall.
The voices were louder the ever, but Techno was barely able to comprehend them.
He guessed this was what Phil would call “wallowing,” but he thought it seemed more like a panic attack than anything.
No, he told himself , this isn’t a panic attack. Wilbur has panic attacks because he has anxiety. You’re just being a melodramatic perfectionist.
The voices certainly didn’t tell him otherwise.
Sometime later, Techno wasn’t keeping track, there was a knock at his door. Another one a minute later.
He tried to answer. Tried to move. Couldn’t.
Eventually, the door opened without his permission.
He’d expected it to be his whole family. Equipped with a tirade of questions and a loud, overwhelming presence that would only force him to spiral more, he was certain that they would come barging into his room and demand to know what was wrong with him.
Instead, it was only Wilbur, holding his guitar.
“Hey, Techno,” he whispered. Techno appreciated it, his senses felt like they were on fire.
Technoblade didn’t (couldn’t) respond.
“Are you okay?” his twin asked.
“Do you think you can talk?”
Techno managed to just barely jerk his head to the left.
“Okay, let’s do this differently then. Can you blink once for yes, twice for no?”
What is he doing?
“Good job.” Wilbur situated himself on the wall across from Techno. “I didn’t know you got panic attacks.”
“What do you call this then. I’d certainly say it looks like a panic attack.”
“Are you sick, then?”
“Okay, we can come back to that later. Right now I want to know what happened. Ranboo texted me, I heard Dream beat you in Olympiad? Is that it?”
“Techno, you know that you’re one of, if not the , smartest person in school. One loss isn’t going to change that.”
Technoblade didn’t know how to respond using blinks. How do you say, Well, actually, that’s not true. Because I’m a weirdo and a freak and I hear voices in my head all the time and I don’t even fit in with my family, but being smart was my thing. I was the smart one, which meant I had a place. But Dream is better than me, which means I don’t have a place anymore , with a yes or no answer?
Wilbur was silent for a few minutes before he spoke again.
“Is there any way I can help?”
“I’m going to take that as a maybe. Do you want me to get Dad or Tommy?”
“Okay, that’s cool. How about I play my guitar, something quiet?”
That… actually sounded really nice. Wilbur’s music never failed to calm him down.
Wilbur began to quietly strum at his guitar, softly singing the tune to one of Techno’s favorite songs, Hidden in the Sand .
Slowly, oh so slowly, Techno’s body began to relax. First, his hands started to fiddle with the carpet beneath his fingers, then he managed to release some of the tension from his back and shoulders until he finally started to hum along to the tune.
“You feeling good enough to talk?” Wilbur asked after he finished with the chorus for what must have been the twentieth time.
Technoblade shook his head.
“Alright, that’s fine. Do you mind if I talk?”
“Alright, here it is, bud. More than one twin can have a mental illness. Even if you don’t have anxiety, or if you don’t have anything at all, that was definitely a panic attack.” Before Technoblade could… do whatever he was going to do to argue in his nonverbal state, Wilbur kept going. “Hey, listen. Panic attacks aren’t all the same. You’ve seen mine, I cry and throw things and scream. But other people react differently. Sometimes, they act like you did, freezing up for a long period of time. Other times, they get really angry, or really depressed. But no matter what, everyone deserves to get help when they go through what you did. So, I think you should go talk to a therapist.”
Technoblade furiously shook his head.
“No, okay, listen to me! A lot of things suck for you right now, am I right?”
He reluctantly nodded.
“Alright, progress! And I’m sorry I didn’t notice sooner, and I’m so, so, so sorry I can’t help you more, but I think a therapist could. Please, at least think about it. For me. Brother to brother.”
“Good enough. Okay, do you want a hug now?”
Too much too much too much too much.
He shook his head.
“Do you want me to leave?”
He shook his head again.
“Do you want me to shut up?”
“Okay. Why don’t you get in bed, try and get some shut-eye, and I’ll turn off the light and lay down here? That sound good?”
He nodded again and rose from the cramped position on the floor he’d been in for far too long, his bones creaking like an old man’s.
He situated himself on top of his covers, and the room went dark.
Technoblade couldn’t comprehend what had just happened, his brain was far too fried for that. All he knew was that from now on, things were going to be different.
Maybe he wasn’t doing very great right now, but hopefully, with Wilbur’s help (and maybe, just maybe, a therapist’s), he’d get better.