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notes: Next chapter! I was very excited for this one cause I finally get to write for everyone I like to write for in this chapter. Also, first chapter is also under the “Finding Family” tag if you haven’t read it <3
And oh boy we may be starting to get into plot here >:)
The next morning was seemingly as normal as always as Schlatt woke up, stretching and reaching to take his phone off the charger. He groggily checked to see if there were any missed messages and was a bit more than surprised to see over 50 missed FaceTime calls from…Charlie of all people? Huh. That was…odd. Schlatt was about to call him back when the phone started to vibrate in his hands, showing Charlie’s profile picture.
He accepted the call to see Charlie looking more tired than he’d ever seen him, along with Minx just slightly farther from the phone, petting a giant guinea pig. Well, not giant, but on calls it was easy to forget just how small Charlie and Minx really were, so the sight off-put him a bit. “Jesus Christ, dude, finally! We’ve been trying to call you for like 40 fucking minutes!” Charlie shouted, interrupting Schlatt’s thoughts. “Yeah, I noticed. What the fuck is this urgent?” “There’s more borrowers coming to your apartment.”
Schlatt raised an eyebrow as he sat up and turned his lights on. “So? There’s a lot of you coming here already, what’s a few more?” “You don’t get it. My captain’s coming here. He ran the colony when the extermination happened. Y’know, in that apartment.” Schlatt winced at that, especially when he saw Minx’s eyes fall to the ground in the background. He knew that she had been in the colony longer than Charlie, and he expected that she had been there when it happened, but he never clarified it with her. If she didn’t want to talk about it, he wouldn’t force her to.
“I get that there’s been some bad shit that happened here, alright? But I didn’t have anything to do with that, and you know it. Just tell your captain that and-“ “He doesn’t get it.” Charlie interrupted. “He doesn’t think humans can be like us. He thinks you’re all soulless sociopathic monsters, he’s not willing to give human-borrower relations a chance.” “Then what do you want me to do?”
“Hide anything that could let the captain know that Tubbo is there. Ladders, ropes, anything you made to fit Tubbo’s size, hide it. Lock up his room and make sure he’s out of the apartment for the day.” Minx said, lifting her head in the background and joining the conversation. She stood up from Mochi’s side and walked closer to the screen. “I don’t think the captain would hurt him, but I don’t think he’d be to happy to know that a borrower as young as Tubbo has lived with humans for so long. I wouldn’t hold it past him to…take measures into his own hands.”
Schlatt sighed, swinging his legs off the bed and getting ready to start his day which was apparently going to consist of hiding all the small ropes and ladders he had set up for the borrowers’ convenience. “Alright, I get it, it’s urgent or something.” He said, running a hand down his face as he tried to make sense of the (apparently very non-specific) threat that this random borrower posed to his son. “When is this happening?” “Tomorrow before dawn.” Charlie answered. “Make sure Tubbo knows to stay away.” “Got it. Now if you’ll excuse me-“ “Go tell him now before you forget.” Minx interjected, crossing her arms. “I know how you are, Schlatt, your gonna put off tellin him and I’m gonna have to go and yell at you in person.” “How about you don’t tell me what to do you little bi-“ “Don’t fucking start with this it’s too early...” Charlie sighed.
“Jesus Christ fine, I get it, I’ll go wake him and tell him what you told me. He can stay in Quackity’s apartment tonight into tomorrow, is that what you want to hear?” Tension that Schlatt hadn’t even noticed before drained out of Charlie and Minx, their shoulders dropping and both of them seeming just a bit less stressed. “Yeah, that’s what we wanna hear.” Charlie answered, Minx nodding right next to him. “Sorry to bug you this early, dude, I wouldn’t if this weren’t important.” Charlie sighed. “Don’t worry about it, you ever need anything just call. But I have a kid to go wake up, so…” Charlie laughed slightly. “Yeah, man, go do that. I’ll see you later!” Charlie smiled back, him, Schlatt, and Minx waving as he hung up the call. Schlatt set his phone down fully got out of bed, stretching and letting his joints pop into place. He needed to go warn Tubbo about whatever was going on tomorrow. And, as much as he liked to pretend Minx didn’t know anything, she was probably right about him forgetting if he waited too long to tell Tubbo.
Tubbo sat up, stretching as he yawned. He leaned over a pressed a small black button just to his right. The large duck nightlight (a gift from Quackity when he was very young that he had promptly named “Benson”) glowed brightly, illuminating the small corner of the cupboard he called a room. As he stood up and opened the little chest full of his clothes he flicked a few more switched stuck to the walls, turning on bee shaped fairy lights that had been stapled to his ceiling, fully lighting up the rest of the room.
He wasn’t sure what a normal room looked like for other borrowers, but he liked his room. Back when he was younger, on his 10th birthday if his memory served him right, his dad had cleaned out and fully re-purposed a cupboard in the kitchen for Tubbo to turn into a bedroom, and had given him full say over what went in it. He and his dads had spent hours online looking for decorations to make it feel like a normal human room. And that it did.
There were a weird number of things perfectly his size that humans used for things like school lockers and dollhouses, and he had found him-sized normal appliances like shelves, vanities, beds, and other things. Did he choose to use these things? Admittedly…no. Not most of them, anyway. He took advantage of having a few chests, chairs, and a nice little bee carpet that he found on Etsy, but there were still plenty of things in his room that were fashioned from bigger things than him. And while some borrowers might have jumped at the chance to have a room that didn’t remind them of their small stature, Tubbo couldn’t bring himself to care. After all, apparently beanbags make great beds! And Schlatt had the great idea to install an outlet in his room and glue a phone case to the wall, so it was like having a giant tv screen right across from his bed! He didn’t know many humans who had that. Well, he didn’t know many humans, period, but it made him feel good anyway. And it certainly beat the drawer in Schlatt’s room that he slept in for the majority of his life.
His morning routine was interrupted by a short knock on his “door” (and by door he meant the entire wall that faced away from the kitchen). “One second!” He yelled as he finished changing from his pajamas into regular clothes. He ran to a small lever to the right of his bed and pulled, releasing the wall and lowering it down till it was an extension of his floor.
That was another thing he liked about his room: both walls did that. It reminded him of the mystical castles in fairy tales he was told as a child, where a door would be lowered over a dangerous moat and allow entry to a some magical kingdom, which he thought was cool as shit. One wall could fall down towards his kitchen and give him a view of the window, where he could see the whole city. The other would fall down towards the living room, and he could interact with his family from the comfort of his own room. And that wall specifically was lined with a fluffy carpet! How cool was that?
The wall fell and Tubbo made his way onto the extension where Schlatt was standing, plopping down onto the carpet and idly fiddling with the course fabric. “What’s up?” “I got a…weird call from Charlie and Minx earlier. They said some other borrowers are coming over tomorrow and-“ Tubbo’s eyes widened as he cut of his father. “New borrowers?” He couldn’t help the excitement that rose up on his chest. New borrowers. More people like him. As much as he loved his human family, he knew so few borrowers, and the idea of conversing with someone new and his size was more than intriguing. “Hold on,” Schlatt interrupted his train of thought. “Charlie said it was really important that you absolutely don’t make contact with them. He and Minx were being really cryptic and shit, but they seemed serious. Said their captain and some others were coming by and Minx said she didn’t know what would happen to you if you were spotted.” Tubbo tried to process that. Why couldn’t he meet them? Would they hurt him? Were they cruel? Would they not want a borrower that wasn’t in their colony intruding in their territory or something? But Schlatt said Uncle Charlie and Aunt Minx referred to the new borrower as their “captain.” Uncle Charlie and Aunt Minx wouldn’t live with cruel borrowers, they were too nice for that. Schlatt apparently saw how much Tubbo was thinking about it, and began to lightly trail his fingers down Tubbo’s back, causing the borrower to snap out of his spiral of thoughts. “Look, I don’t know what the fucks going on either, but you should probably spend the night at Q’s place while I hide your ladders and shit, how about that?” Schlatt said, concern obvious in his tone. And though Tubbo would absolutely love to know what’s going on, he realized that whatever was happening was happening for his own good. He trusted Uncle Charlie and Aunt Minx and he definitely trusted his Dad.
“…Ok,” Tubbo nodded. “Sounds good. I can bug them about this in a few days.” Schlatt laughed lightly. “Me too, bud. Now what do you say we go get some breakfast, huh?” Tubbo grinned, nodding his head and stepping off the wall extension back into his room. He jokingly saluted as he pulled the lever once again and the wall began to rise. Schlatt smiled and saluted back. Tubbo laughed as the wall clicked back into place and he turned around to the lever on the left of his bed, pulling it and lowering the wall adjacent to the kitchen. The moment the wall was lowered enough, Tubbo jumped out. He knew Schlatt wouldn’t let him fall. And sure enough, he fell for approximately two seconds before he was caught, his father mumbling something about “lack of self preservation instincts,” but Tubbo was too busy laughing to care. Schlatt set him on the windowsill and began to get ingredients for breakfast out. Tubbo leaned against the cool glass of the window and watched the sunrise over the silhouette of the city, the colors blending together mesmerizing him.
He sat and stared until the sky was fully blue and the sun hurt his eyes. He turned to his dad, who was putting a very small amount of yogurt and very crushed up granola into a tiny bowl (that had been probably been made to go in a dollhouse set) with the ease that only someone who had done this everyday for twelve years would be able to do. “Hey Dad?” Tubbo asked. “Yeah?” “Can me, Ranboo, and Tommy have a sleepover?” Schlatt finished filling the little bowl and gave it to Tubbo, scruffing his hair with one finger. “Sure thing, kiddo, just don’t get into too much trouble.”
“…So apparently I’m just not allowed to meet them! What kind of bullshit is that?!” Tubbo ranted, pacing back and forth across the floor of Ranboo and Tommy’s “house.” In reality, it was a few small interconnected rooms in the walls with little light and more dust than he would ever consider ok if he lived here, but neither other borrower seemed to mind it. That, and the one time Tubbo had brought it up, both of his friends had mocked him for being “extremely wealthy” and “too upperclass to be in the dwelling space of peasants like them” for a month. And don’t even get him started on the “eat the rich” comments, he still gets those. So yeah. Tubbo would deal with the shoddy living space that his best friends apparently preferred, all of them sitting in the one room that was just slightly larger than the other three, apparently making it the living room.
“That’s…weird.” Tommy said from where he sat on the floor. “I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? They don’t like you, so what? They’re not gonna murder you if they’re friends of Charlie’s.” “That’s what I was thinking!!” Tubbo shouted in frustration, flopping backwards onto a stolen cornhole beanbag that Ranboo was sitting on, laying directly on top of him. Ranboo didn’t seem to mind. That, or he had just gotten used to this. Tubbo assumed it was the latter, but like hell was he getting up. Ranboo was comfy.
“Are they a threat to you specifically or to any borrowers in this area? Cause if they were dangerous, Charlie would have told us, too, since we’re pretty close to your apartment.” Ranboo added, completely ignoring the fact the Tubbo was on top of him. “That’s a good point. But what would they want with me?” Tubbo thought aloud. The three of them sat thinking for a minute before Tommy turned to the other two with a mischievous grin on his face, his cat like eyes narrowing the way they did every time he got a bad idea.￼ “Why don’t we find out?” He said simply, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “No…” Ranboo started, turning to Tubbo who, to his horror, seemed to be actually thinking over the idea. “No! Absolutely not! We don’t know who these people are, and even if they’re not a threat to me and Tommy, are we really willing to risk you like that?” Ranboo finished, pulling Tubbo off of him to look him in the eyes. Tubbo sighed.
He didn’t like disobeying people he cared about, since he knew that they did everything for his well-being. He shouldnt want to spy on random borrowers. But…his dad was confused, too, wasn’t he? He knew what was going on about as well as Tubbo did, and Tubbo was confused as hell. So, maybe he was spying for the both of them? A flimsy excuse, but an excuse nonetheless. Besides, when had Tubbo ever just denied a chance for adventure? “…as long as we aren’t seen it should be fine.” Tubbo finally answered. Ranboo groaned and put his face in his hands as Tommy whooped in excitement. “But we absolutely can’t be seen!” Tubbo rushed to clarify. “Even if we figure out those borrowers aren’t an actual threat, I’d get an earful from Uncle Charlie and Dad. We have to be sneaky about this.” “Don’t even worry about it, Tubs, sneaky is my middle name.” Tommy said, moving to the shorter borrower to sling an arm around his shoulder. “Uh huh. Because trying to steal an entire can of coke out of a fridge and then cussing out Sapnap when you got caught is the definition of sneaky.” Ranboo deadpanned at his roommate. “Tell me, is ‘Sneaky’ before or after ‘Careful Danger Kraken’?” “Why don’t you shut up, boob boy? My many middle names are just too cool for you.” Tommy shot back, sticking his tongue out at Ranboo. Tubbo laughed at their antics, the lighthearted banter helping ease some of the weight off his chest. This was gonna go well. It had to. So why was he so nervous on just spying on a few borrowers? Maybe it was just the lack of specified risk. His dad said Charlie wasn’t specific about why Tubbo had to stay away. That had to be it. But he didn’t have anything to be afraid of, it wasn’t like he was doing this alone, he had his two best friends coming along. And he didn’t think they were dangerous borrowers. So, there wasn’t anything that could go wrong…