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Thus Always to Tyrants

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Wilbur doesn’t know what he’d expected being taken as a prisoner of war— but he didn’t think there’d be so much mud.

 

He’s coated in the stuff, thrown down into it and restrained as he thrashes, ash-gray wings swirling up a windstorm as they beat against his captors.

 

It doesn’t do him any good, only serving to get the grit and mud in between all of his feathers. 

 

And look— Techno likes to call him a spoiled brat just to get Wilbur pissy, but he never considered that Technoblade wasn’t joking. Not until he was tossed into a half-flooded cage in the middle of the enemy camp without even a wetskin of water.

 

He snarls and lunges for the soldiers on the other side of the bars, but he’s never been all that good at violence, and these people know it. They only laugh at him.

 

Wilbur is the smooth-talker of the family. He carries just as powerful of a reputation as his other family members, but in an entirely different way. 

 

Technoblade is pragmatic, and the finest military leader this side of the green mountains. He wields the terror that he instills as aptly as a blade.

 

Phil is similarly level-headed, but more open minded, more experienced, calmer and in a way, more merciful. 

 

Not that Wilbur thinks there’s going to be any of that mercy found once he gets word that his son has been captured. Prime knows no wrath like Philza Minecraft in a bad mood. 

 

The prince spits a mix of blood and mud out onto the ground— if it can be called that. A large puddle takes up ¾ of the cell, and mud squelches beneath his boots even in the drier patches. 

 

He can’t help the way his nose wrinkles as he takes in his environment. He’s dead center of the military camp, no shelter from the elements save for his mud-stained trench coat. He never actually considered what it’d mean to be a prisoner— a hostage. In a way, he’d always figured that he’d be treated with basic respect as a hostage, taken back to the enemy’s capital, locked in a room, starved maybe but at least given a roof. This— this is just fucking rude, call him a snob but he was raised better. The empire would never treat their high-status prisoners like this.

 

As the adrenaline winds down, Wilbur’s bones begin to ache with the weariness. He’s exhausted and beat to shit. 

 

That morning feels like a lifetime ago. He’d been bickering with Technoblade over breakfast in their tent, the latter arguing that Wilbur should go back home before the real battle broke out. He’d only come along to try and broker peace, and failed miserably. But he wasn’t willing to return. He needed to see a battle, the death, the carnage. To know what was at stake whenever he wasn’t able to come to an agreement with the opposing side.

 

It had proven to be his greatest mistake. 

 

Wilbur sighs and let’s himself sink to the muddy ground, the soft earth sinking into his clothes as he leans against the bars of his cage. 

 

This is quite literally the worst experience he’s had to date, and he wishes it would be over with already. He wants to be home, even if it’d likely mean Phil wrapping him up and confining him to the nest for the foreseeable future. 

 

He’s so tired, he doesn’t even realize when his eyes slip shut, and he falls into an uneasy sleep.

 


 

 

He’s awoken with a stabbing pain in his face. He cries out sharply, both with surprise and pain as he clamps a hand over his nose, now crooked beneath his fingers and dribbling blood down his chin. 

 

He glares up at his attacker, blinking angry tear from his eyes. 

 

The general grins down at him where he’s crouched before the prince, his eyes sharp and malicious. 

 

“Have a nice nap, your highness?”

 

Wilbur snarls, wings flaring behind him, even as they prickle with discomfort at the sensation of dirtied feathers. 

 

“You know,” The brunet begins, voice muffled and slurred. “I think you’ve committed half a dozen war crimes since I’ve arrived. Do you really imagine that’ll end well for you?” 

 

The general’s face flickers with something like amusement. He’s always been a cruel bastard, a vicious dog no longer on his master's leash. King George should have thought twice before letting him go to war. 

 

“I don’t think we’ll have much trouble coming from the empire anytime soon.” He croons, white helmet glinting in the torchlight. 

 

Wilbur scoffs at that. “Oh? Surely you’re not foolish enough to believe Philza won’t come for your head. For your foolish king’s, hmm? I bet his head would look lovely in our trophy room, crown and all—”

 

A sharp smack rings out as the general backhands him with his gauntlet.

 

Wilbur spits another glob of blood onto the mud. “…I wish you luck, Dream.” He rasps . “You’ll need it.”

 

Dream only chuckles, standing straight once more. “How kind of you...enjoy your stay, Wilbur.” He bites back before moving towards the door of the cage. 

 

Wilbur can only watch in mute disdain as the door opens for the general, and he stalks off into the night, not even glancing back at the metal clangs shut. He sags, watching carefully as guards mill around his cell. They don’t seem to be eager to provide him with food or water.

 

This is going to be a rough stay. With a wince, Wilbur does his best to stem the flow of blood from his nose, but he only serves to bring more tears to his eyes. He drops his hands with an angry huff, and resolves to not touch the open cuts on his face, courtesy of Dream’s armored hand. 

 

At this rate he’ll be dying of thirst or infection within the week. 

 


 

 

Dream doesn’t come to visit him the next day, no one does. Wilbur is left to watch the clouds pass above his head and pick at his scabs. His nose will surely heal crooked and he’s not sure how he feels about it. At least Techno won’t be the only family member with a marred face. 

 

The night is cold and Wilbur shivers himself into a restless sleep. He’s not given any food or water today either, and he’s forced to piss in the corner of his cage because the guards won’t let him out. 

 

He’s never been so degraded in his life, and he burns with seething anger until he’s tired himself out, and is too desperate for respite to feel anything but longing. 

 


 

 

He wakes in the middle of his third night.

 

At first, he’s not sure why. The campsite is silent, the guard sat outside his cage on ‘watch’ is asleep. It’s no different from how the other two nights, and yet–

 

Wilbur is awake. 

 

His eyes narrow as he scans the area, ears perked, but his vision blurry from dehydration. 

 

Something moves, and he looks towards it quickly. 

 

A smudge of brown and yellow in his vision, moving slow and silent across the ground towards his cell. The prince’s wings mantle as he prepares a warning hiss, but the noise dies in his throat–

 

It coos to him. Soft, like a dove. A timid little noise, as though it fears being too loud. The air gets caught in Wilbur’s throat, and he’s not sure why. 

 

Another coos has him grasping the bars of the cage, blinking rapidly to clear his sight. The shape is still indistinct as it comes close, and Wilbur jolts when something is shoved through the bars quickly, a tiny chirp following the action. 

 

Wilbur fumbles for the item, and realizes it’s a glass bottle. 

 

His fingers are scrambling to pry the cork off, and he downs the cool water before he can even consider it may be a trap. 

 

He’s already their prisoner, though. What end would it serve?

 

He sighs and sets his head against the cool metal as the pounding of his head recedes. He’s already drained the bottle, but he can find it in himself to regret it. He’s not sure how much longer he’d have lasted without it. 

 

He blinks at the person who snuck him the water, and sits in complete bafflement for a moment. 

 

He’s just a boy– maybe four or five? What on Prime’s green earth is he doing in a warzone? 

 

He stares up at Wilbur with bright blue eyes, half-hidden by a dirty-blond fringe. His clothes are nearly as muddy as Wilbur’s but far more frayed, not enough for the cold they’ve had lately. Wilbur gapes for a moment, leaning closer to study the boy better. As the kid flinches back, Wilbur notes something else–

 

He’s an avian too. Tiny little wings flutter as he jolts away, feathers a dark maroon with hits of brown– that may only be dirt though, it’s hard to tell in the dim light. 

 

Wilbur’s heart siezes. 

 

…He’s just a baby. 

 

“Hello,” He whispers, eyes nearly as wide as the boy’s. “What’s your name?”

 

The guard on the other side of the cage grunts in his sleep, and Wilbur glances back for a moment. The glass bottle is yanked from his grasp, and by the time he turns around the avian has disappeared back into the camp, not a single word spoken. 

 

Wilbur’s shoulders sink. He’s not sure what he’d been hoping for– some kind of indication? That someone here was on his side? Maybe just to speak plainly with someone else. 

 

It doesn’t matter now. He’s gone. 

 


 

 

Wilbur keeps an eye out for the little bird the next day, but he never catches a glimpse of him during daylight.

 

He’s half convinced he’ll never see him again, until a tiny trill rings out later that night. 

 

Wilbur looks around sharply, checking that the guard is sleeping before returning the trill with his own. 

 

He’s rewarded with a pair of bright blue eyes peeking out behind a barrel. 

 

Wilbur grins broadly, beyond thrilled that he’s got something in this dreadful place to look forward to, to distract himself with. 

 

He chirps a greeting and the boy glances around the camp once before darting forward and falling to his knees beside the cage, grasping one of the bars in a small hand. 

 

“Hi.” Wilbur whispers softly, careful not to move quickly. “I’m glad you came back. I never got to thank you for the water.”

 

The blue eyes dart around the ground uneasily. 

 

The older avian tilts his head. “My name is Wilbur by the way…do you have a name?”

 

The boy shakes his head minutely, and Wilbur can’t help but frown. “You don’t have a name?”

 

His hands are twisting nervously as he kneels beside Wilbur’s cage. 

 

Wilbur isn’t sure what to think about that. He seems scared to even utter a word. “...Alright–”

 

A little hand shoots forward, practically throwing a large carrot into Wilbur’s lap. The brunet blinks, saying “Oh– Thank you.” 

 

He’s furiously hungry, but he wants to keep talking to the avian until he leaves again. If the pattern holds he won’t have long. 

 

“I need something to call you.” He bargains with a slight smile. The other only shrugs, eyes flicking around, watching their surroundings carefully. Wilbur hums, trying to think of something. “You look like a Tommy to me.” 

 

The avian pauses, blinking up at him with wide eyes. 

 

“Hmm?” Wilbur presses. “Can I call you Tommy?” 

 

He nods, the tiniest smile tugging at his mouth. Wilbur’s heart skips a beat– they’re making progress. 

 

“Well, thank you Tommy. You’re a little hero, you know that?”

 

Surprisingly, Tommy doesn’t seem to agree. His brows furrow at Wilbur’s comment, and his wings ruffle up defensively. 

 

“Or, uh–” Wilbur scrambles to backtrack. “Not little? Very big hero. The biggest.” 

 

Tommy nods stoutly at that, smile returning as he leans forward. He’s so small he could probably fit his head between the bars of the cage. His shoulders would likely get stuck though. He chirps, soft, but excitedly, and reaches for the outer edge of Wilbur’s left wing. 

 

The prince freezes, not even breathing as tiny fingers ghost across his feathers. His head is buzzing, and his throat is tight as he swallows back a warble. Tommy is just a chick, he’s so little and the sight of him is making Wilbur’s instincts go haywire. 

 

The blond whistles, and then his hand is pulling back, and Wilbur twitches, nearly moving to grab it again. He clears his befuddled thoughts with a shake of his head, and realizes that the little avian has gotten to his feet once more and is scurrying back into the darkness. 

 

Wilbur can’t even switch from twitters to words in time to call for him. It’s probably a good thing. He doesn’t need to wake the guard up. 

 


 

 

The camp is tense come daylight. Wilbur can sense, just from the weight of the air, that something has changed.

 

When the sun has passed its zenith, Dream arrives at his cell. 

 

He stalks around the outside, looking down at the avian as though he was an animal on display. Wilbur lets out a croaky hiss as the general gets close enough to touch him if he only decided to reach through the bars. 

 

“Your highness.” Dream begins flatly, pulling a glass bottle of water from his green cloak and offering it to the prince. 

 

Wilbur takes it with narrowed eyes, sniffing the liquid once before deeming it safe. “...What’s happened?” He demands, knowing full well Dream wouldn’t come chat just to give him water.

 

Dream’s head tilts, and Wilbur catches a flash of green eyes from behind the visor of his helmet. “In retaliation to your capture, Technoblade has taken one of my most important general’s hostage and is threatening his death if you are not returned.”

 

Wilbur can’t help the sly grin that curls across his face. He chuckles lowly, even as Dream tenses dangerously. “I told you, didn't I? How does it feel? To know even your boldest move can’t prevent the empire’s victory.”

 

Dream is still. 

 

“...Wilbur…do you truly think I’d give in that easily?” 

 

Wilbur controls his expression carefully, but his gut twists with anxiety. Would Dream really let his general die? Just to hold onto his bargaining chip? He raises his chin, “Then why did you bother to tell me? If this changes nothing.”

“Oh, it changes something alright.” Dream chuckles, the grin audible in his voice. “I’m not happy with you, or your family. I think you deserve a punishment.” 

 

Oh, great. This sadistic motherfucker. Wilbur rolls his eyes, feigning nonchalance as he grumbles, “Do your worst, dickhead.” 

 

Dream rolls his shoulders back, and barks a sharp order. “Bring the boy.”

 

Wilbur looks over sharply as a soldier comes forward, dragging along a bruised, thrashing avian. Angry tears stream down his face as he writhes and claws at his captor. Dream is moving forward in a moment, grabbing the boy roughly by the chin. 

 

“Enough. Fucking traitor.” The general hisses, and Tommy– wonderful Tommy– goes still beneath his crushing grip and angry eyes. “We gave you everything and you go helping out the enemy at the first chance you get? Pathetic.” Dream roughly drops the boy’s chin, and the blond looks up at him pleadling, head shaking back and forth violently. 

 

Dream ignores him, nodding stiffly to the guard holding Tommy’s arm. 

 

The soldier drags him across the mud as the door to the cell is unlocked, and throws the young avian inside, sending him sprawling across the puddle of muddy water. 

 

Tommy scrambles back to the door as the bars slam shut once more. He grips the metal with white knuckles, and chokes out a tearful–

 

“Dream!”

 

The general turns on his heel and kicks the boy square in the chest through the bars with an angry huff. 

 

Tommy cries out, and in a moment Wilbur is there, scooping him up and hiding Tommy from view with his wings, snarling up at Dream. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!”

 

“Carrier pigeons don’t talk. He knows better.” The general snaps back, before turning and pushing through the group of soldiers, cloak fluttering behind him as he goes. 

 

Wilbur is practically shaking with anger. Tommy is so light he barely even feels the boy sitting in his arms, only hearing his pained sobs. The sound of it is sending the prince into an instinct-fueled spiral, and he quickly sits back, pulling his wings over their heads so that they’re safely out of sight. 

 

“Oh, Tommy,” He murmurs, pulling the boy’s face up and examining his injuries. “Tommy, Tommy, Tommy,” He says softly, like a chant. 

 

The boy doesn’t even respond, just turning to burry his bloodied face in Wilbur’s coat with a sob. 

 

Wilbur skin is alight with fire, anger burning in his veins.

 

Hatchlings were revered amongst avian kind. So few avian eggs had hatched in the last decade, and Tommy was the first child under ten years old he’d ever met. 

 

Wilbur cradles the shaking, sobbing boy in his arms as though he were made of gold.

 


 

 

When the sky grew dark, no one came to retrieve Tommy. 

 

He was left in Wilbur’s cage, looking in nearly worse condition than the prisoner himself. 

 

The brunet couldn’t help but fret over him, wasting a bit of the little water they had to dampen part of his trench coat and wipe Tommy’s face and neck clear of mud.

 

The hatchling had finally stopped crying, and froze beneath Wilbur’s careful ministrations, eyes blown wide and wings stiff. 

 

“You’re alright,” Wilbur assures, little more than a murmur. “I won’t let them hurt you anymore.” He promises, even if he’s unsure how he’d be able to prevent it.

 

He feels a sense of responsibility for the boy. He is avian too, and all alone. Wilbur is just like him, in a way. There’s something primal tugging in his chest, insisting that he must protect the fledgling, that he’s far too young to be on his own, to be so hurt.

 

Tommy’s lip trembles as a broken chirp falls from his lips.

 

It’s like a piece falling into place before Wilbur’s eyes. This little bird in his lap, huddled in the protective cover of Wilbur’s wings—

 

Mine. 

 

His hatchling, his chick, his to take care of.

 

He pulls the blond close, blown pupils hidden in the dim light, and hushes him until he stops shaking and relaxes against Wilbur’s chest. 

 


 

 

Wilbur was captured three months ago.

 

Every moment since has been an agony. Philza is silent, and cold, plotting to get his son back, and Technoblade—

 

Techno is many things. 

 

At first, he was bloodthirsty. He went to battle with his family member’s name on his lips, and came back with blood-red eyes, dragging a shackled Royal general through the dirt behind him. 

 

They’d thought Sapnap would be the tool they needed to secure Wilbur’s safe return. 

 

They had been wrong. 

 

Neither King George, or Dream ever responded to their messages.

 

Weeks later, Sapnap was still sitting in an icy imperial cell beneath the castle, and Wilbur was Prime knows where. 

 

The empire is growing restless. The family cannot sit still and wait to hear that Wilbur’s captors have grown tired of waiting. 

 

Technoblade knows the battle is on the horizon, and the day Phil comes looking for him, wings armored in glinting metal feathers, he knows that the day has finally arrived.

 

The imperial army gathers, and then they move. 

 

 


 

It takes weeks to make any progress. 

 

They move alongside the green mountains, slowly making their way along the ridge, and heading to the coast where they hope to pin their foe down. They’ve crushed several enemy camps in their path of destruction, but none of them held Wilbur.  

 


 

 

The twilight is filled with the smell of blood and ash. Techno tastes it on his tongue as he cuts down enemy soldiers, painting the earth red in their gorey demise. 

 

Despite the way his senses are bombarded, one thing stands out. 

 

He can smell him. 

 

Wilbur is here, he’s close, closer than he’s been in months and Technoblade is animalistic in his determination to find him, to pull him to safety, free him from whatever hell they’ve kept him in. 

 

The ringing of steel from above sounds Philza’s presence, his wings singing with the scrape of metal as the armored limbs shift in the air. 

 

Technoblade follows him, eyes locked on the dark shape in the orange sky. He knows that Phil will spot Wilbur long before he does. 

 

The piglin hybrid gives a breathless laugh, his sword buried to the hilt in someone’s chest plate as he catches sight of Phil swerving suddenly, heading for the ground. 

 

Wilbur. 

 

The sea of soldiers, friend and foe alike, part before him as he takes off in the same direction. 

 


 

 

He hears Wilbur long before he sees him. 

 

Because he’s screaming. 

 

He won’t even have a voice tomorrow with the way he’s surely shredding his throat to yell. Technoblade can see Phil’s wings glinting, and he’s beside him as quickly as he can manage, chest heaving by the time he reaches the blond’s shoulder. 

 

“Wha–” He begins, but he’s cut off by Wilbur. 

 

“WHERE IS HE?! WHERE IS HE?!”

 

“Wilbur–” Phil consoles breathlessly, wings flared where he stands in the doorway to a crude cage, made of bars driven into the mud in the center of the camp.

 

And Wilbur– 

 

Well, he’s nearly unrecognizable. 

 

Scars, scabs and mud litter his face. His nose is crooked and his hair has grown shaggier, a streak of white indicating either high stress or magical torture and Technoblade isn’t sure which possibility is worse. 

 

The most unnerving part of his appearance is the unmatched fury scrawled across his face. The way his eyes are blown wide, and he looks about three seconds from going for Phil’s throat. 

 

Phil is holding him by the wrists, pleading. “It’s me! Wil it’s me!”

 

The brunet snarls wordlessly, and Technoblade decides it’s time to intervene. He shoves Phil aside rather gracelessly, and seizes Wilbur roughly, throwing the man over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and spitting feathers out as Wilbur’s wings start flapping with fervor. 

 

“Prime–” The piglin mutters, while Phil yells at him.

 

“What are you doing–?!”

 

“Phil,” Techno deadpans as he starts off, heading away from enemy territory. “He’s clearly off his rocker. They did something to him, and we aren’t going to get through to him while we’re here.”

Phil hesitates, watching his son snarl at him like a wounded animal. 

 

“...Wil?” He begins again timidly, following Technoblade as they leave with a group of soldiers circling around them protectively. 

 

The sound Wilbur makes, has the emperor stopping in his tracks. 

 

It’s a devastated warble, a noise radiating into his core. 

 

It whispers of lost hatchling. 

 

Phil’s feather’s ruffle as he turns back. “Niki?!” He calls, pushing through his own people to try and find Techno’s second hand. 

 

The pink-haired soldier find him quickly, and Phil pulls her aside to give her orders. 

 

“Have you not found Wilbur yet?” She asks, brows furrowing at the directions. 

 

“We’ve found him.” Phil confirms. “...It’s a different avian we need to locate now.”

 

Niki nods, and turns on her heel to gather her cohort and carry out the task. Phil watches her go before spreading his wings with a creak of metal. He has faith in Niki, so for now it’s time to leave. The battle is over. The tents are burned and the enemy slayed. Dream was nowhere to be found, but it was only a matter of time. 

 


 

 

Wilbur only gets worse once they’re safe in the capital. He’s bathed and clothed and fed, but the brunet still struggles and makes a break for the closest window at any chance he gets. Techno is clearly discouraged by the behavior, and Phil hates to see his family in such disarray. 

 

After a particularly rough morning, Techno finally manages to get Wilbur restrained in a blanket and securely in Phil’s nest. The piglin sags against the pillow with a heavy sigh, rubbing his temple tiredly. 

 

“How did they do this?” He wonders aloud, not even sparing Wilbur a glance as he gives a fearful trill. 

 

Phil smoothes Wilbur’s hair back and offers his own croon. He knows it won’t be of any consolation unless they can find Wilbur’s missing piece. 

 

“I don’t think they did anything, mate.” He confesses finally. 

 

Red eyes meet blue as Technoblade frowns. 

 

“Heh?” He questions. “He’s completely lost in his instincts– you think he did that himself?”

 

Phil settles back as Wilbur hisses at him, unkempt feathers ruffling from where they stick out of the blanket. 

 

They look awful, and Phil desperately wants to preen them but Wilbur won’t let him. He doesn’t blame him, he’s so far gone he can’t even manage words at this point.

 

“Listen,” Phil insists, leaning down and directing a questioning whistle at Wilbur. 

 

The man freezes, blinks, and answers with his own coo. 

 

Phil looks to Technoblade, but he’s clearly confused. 

 

“I don’t speak bird, Phil.” He says flatly, face entirely unamused. 

 

“He’s calling.” The blond explains. 

 

That makes the other narrow his eyes. “...For what?”

 

“For who.” Phil corrects, then shrugs. “I don’t know. But I hope they’re found soon because it’s stressing him out.”

 

Techno is silent for a moment before looking away with a mumbled, “It’s stressing me out.” 

 

“It’ll be fine.” Phil assures, but the longer the hatchling goes unfound, the more concerned he gets. He doesn’t want to pull Wilbur out of the haze of instincts by bringing him a dead body instead of a living chick. 

 

They wait. For Niki, for Wilbur, for a hatchling that might not even be alive anymore. 

 


 

 

Phil has been called out of the nest. As he leaves, Techno shoots him a glare, muttering something about ‘babysitting bird boy’, and Phil can only give him an apologetic grimace. 

 

Hopefully it’ll end soon. 

 

He told them to only pull him from his nest for one reason. 

 

He’s still scared to find what greets him.

 

A battered cohort stands in the main hall, leaning on the table and sitting bonelessly on the benches. 

 

Niki turns when he enters the room, and Phil doesn’t like the look on her face. 

 

“What happened?” He asks, mouth dry and throat thick. 

 

“Dream,” Niki answers. “He took the avian and ran. I’m sure he knew that you’d want him, though I’m not sure how.” 

 

Phil wants to answer that it’s because he’s not blind, and Wilbur clearly imprinted on the hatchling. He doesn’t though, instead he asks, “Do you have him?”

 

Niki grins then, and her cohort gives a tired cheer around them. 

 

“I’ve brought the avian…and Dream’s head.”

 


 

Phil is led to a guest room, where the hatchling was being attended to. When he gets there, the avian is sitting on a stool, a towel wrapped around his shoulders as a servant brushes out his dripping wet hair, and a medic tends to the scrapes on his knees. 

 

The moment the boy catches sight of Phil, he raises his wings and hisses. 

 

The man only chuckles though, crouching beside the chick and examining him with interest. 

 

His hair is a light gold, his eyes an angry blue. Freshly washed feathers colored a brilliant red stand up defensively on his back. Phil can’t help the way the sight catches his eye for a moment. 

 

There are a few scars scattered across his face, but nothing fresh. Wilbur had protected him. That’s probably why he looks so beat to shit now. 

 

“Hello, little bird.” Phil greets. “What’s your name?”

 

The boy bristles immediately. 

 

“I’m Tommy, bitch.” He snaps, catching everyone in the room off guard with his abrasive words. “...And I’m not a little bird. I’m the biggest, so fuck you.” 

 

Phil has to bite his tongue to keep from laughing. “...Oh my, that’s some pretty colorful language mate. Wilbur teach you that?”

 

Tommy immediately stiffens. His wing twitches, and he curls in on himself. “...You know Wilbur?” He asks, voice much softer than his previous tone. 

 

Phil nods. “Mmm-hmm. He’s safe, and so are you. When you’re ready I’ll take you to see him. He’s very upset that you were separated–”

 

He’s cut off by Tommy grabbing at his arm abruptly, insisting, “I’m ready! I’m ready! Can I go now? Can I see him?!” 

 

Phil only chuckles and squeezes his hand assuredly. “Soon, I promise. Let's get those matts brushed out and find you some nice clothes first, hmm?”

 


 

 

Tommy’s hand is held securely in Phil’s own as he leads him down the hall. The younger blond takes in everything as they walk, eyes wide as he stares at the walls open mouthed. He asks about two different paintings and reaches out to touch a sculpture once. 

 

“Do you live here?” He asks breathlessly. 

 

Phil hums a confirmation, and Tommy’s awe is written clear across his face. The older man has to suppress a coo. Wilbur did good, finding this hatchling. 

 

“Where did Wilbur find you?” He asks as they pad down the thick rug. 

 

Tommy’s nose wrinkles. “He didn’t find me, I found him. Then I saved him from dying, and I got into a lot of trouble. Now we’re a flock, and he’s going to be mad you guys killed Dream before he could.” He says with nothing short of sheer confidence.

 

Phil can’t help but snicker at that. “I’m sure he will be.” He agrees. “I’m sure he’ll think it was worth it to get you back, though.”

 

Tommy peers up at him, an unreadable look on his face as his eyes slide to the black wings swaying behind the emperor. “...You’re a bird too.”

 

“We’re avians, not birds.” Phil laughs, smiling broadly at the boy. 

 

Tommy seems to be debating something before he finally asks, “...Does Wilbur live here too?”

 

“He does.”

 

“Oh.” The hatchling says softly peering up at Phil. “You’re…you’re his flock?”

 

“I am.” 

 

Tommy scowls at that, turning away again. “Yeah, well he’s my flock, not yours.”

 

“Ehhh, that’s not how it works, Tommy.” Phil chuckles, before slowing to a stop. 

 

Tommy glares up at him, entirely unconvinced. “Fuck you.”

 

The emperor sighs, reaching for the door. “Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out eventually.”

 

The door opens to reveal the dimly lit room, occupied by a large nest, and two people, one of which trills loudly, causing Tommy’s feathers to stand on end. 

 

The chick drops Phil’s hand and darts into the room, launching into the nest and tumbling head over heels before scrambling up and throwing himself on Wilbur with a tiny peep in response to his call. 

 

“You tied him up!” Tommy shrieks, sounding absolutely betrayed. 

 

Phil only laughs as he closes the door, and Techno begrudgingly reaches over to undo Wilbur’s restraints. “Better not attack me, bird brain.” He threatens as the blanket comes loose. 

 

Wilbur doesn’t even look at him though, he swoops up Tommy and pulls the shrieking boy to his chest with a series of happy clicks. The hatchling giggles and chirps back, and then he can’t even be seen as Wilbur wraps his ash-colored wings around him. 

 

Phil settles on the opposite side of the nest with a tired sigh. 

 

Wilbur has his chick, and everything is okay now. They’re finally home. Dream is dead. 

 

For a while they sit in silence, Wilbur’s chin buried in Tommy’s hair and eyes squeezed shut, only twittering occasionally. 

 

Eventually, Wilbur opens his eyes, blinking slowly. 

 

He meets Phil’s gaze first, and his face breaks out with a sheepish grin. 

 

“Hi Dadza.” He whispers. 

 

“Hello, Wil.” Phil replies, matching his volume. 

 

“G’d evenin’ Technoblade.” Techno grumbles. 

 

Phil laughs loudly as Wilbur turns to the other and uncurls a wing, stretching it out to his brother figure. “Techno,” Wilbur says softly. “...Missed you.” He admits. 

 

The piglin grunts in acknowledgement, leaning towards the other and letting his wing drape across his shoulders. “Yeah, yeah, I missed you too, stupid.”

 

Wilbur blinks. “How am I stupid?”

 

“Well, for one, I told you to go home, but no, you had to go get your scrawny ass captured–”

 

“Alright, I get it,” Wilbur grits out through clenched teeth. 

 

“–then you had to go imprint on some random kid and go ballistic when we came to rescue you.” 

 

“Tech,” The emperor laughs, “Leave him alone, he couldn’t help it.”

 

Wilbur flushes at that, shifting with a glance to the chick in his arms. “Uh– yeah, about that–”

 

“He’s a good kid, Wil. He told me that he saved your life.”

 

The brunet winces at that, as Technoblade goes, “Imagine getting saved by a child! What a loser!”

 

“Shut the fuck up, Technoblade.” Wilbur grumbles, rubbing the space between Tommy’s wings and earning a happy peep. 

 

“Yeah!” Tommy crows. “Shut the fuck up Technoblade!” He repeats. 

 

Wilbur freezes under the pointed looks from both Phil and Techno. “Look, that’s not my fault–” He tries to defend. 

 

They continue to talk above Tommy’s head, but he’s not listening anymore as he stretches his wings out briefly and falls limp against Wilbur. 

 

He knows, instinctively, that this is where he belongs. This nest is as good as his, and no one will ever pry him from Wilbur’s arms again.