Ivy Tones on Your Lips (I've Always Loved Green). Chapter 1
5 times Ranboo helps Tubbo with his appearance and 1 time he can’t
1: Hand-me-down Suit
The heavy doors of the white house slam shut, the echo reverberating down the long hall. President Tubbo hates speeches. Easily the worst part of his week if he’s being honest. (He’s not.) The podium mocks him with its built-in stool, and the hundreds of eyes in the crowd burrow under his skin. Every carefully practiced word will be scrutinized by tomorrow, but for now he just wants to ditch this tie and peel off the plain black eyepatch from where it’s rubbing against his scars. He’s so close to the sanctity of his office.
But nothing’s ever easy.
Tubbo’s better ear catches the pitter patter of quick footfalls from behind, prompting him to whirl around. His body falls into a stance by pure instinct, quickly scanning the space. It feels needless when he notices the only one there is an anxious looking enderman dashing down the long corridor.
Tubbo drops his arms. “Minutes man?”
“Mr. President!” Ranboo finally catches up, taking a breath. Tubbo is rather unimpressed. For being such a tall motherfucker, he expected them to move faster. “Good speech! I mean, you did a good job!”
Tubbo continues his trek to his office, strolling now. “I hope so, I spent all night memorizing it.”
Ranboo’s mismatched eyes go wide, looking too big for their skull. “Well, I, um…all night?”
Tubbo hopes his nod looks professional and not as exhausted as he feels. The duo passes by a portrait of President Soot on the wall, looming tall and regal, strokes of oil paint reflecting the light. “There’s lots to do.”
Ranboo spares no glance up at the painting. “Maybe, um, you could take a break? I read that there’s supposed to be a meteor shower next week if you want to go? Or we could just hang out.” Their tail flicks back and forth, gaze flitting between Tubbo’s ear and the floor.
The mention of a meteor shower nabs Tubbo’s attention. Is there meant to be one? Months ago, he would have been aware well in advance, eager to explore the world with flowers in his hair. He’d just been so caught up with the never-ending stream of paperwork flowing through his desk these days. He knows Purpled would surely have heard about it if no one else. That UFO he built was an admirable feat of engineering, particularly the transport beam. Maybe Tubbo could set up a similar method of fast travel for New L’Manburg--
With the slip of his focus, Tubbo’s pantleg sags, getting caught under his heel. He skids with a yelp, arms flailing. The hard tile collides with his back, sending a sharp pain up through his bones. It stings, but it’s bearable compared to everything else.
The distressed warble of an enderman hovering over him has Tubbo changing his mind. This has gone straight from bearable to embarrassing.
“Are you alright? I’m sorry for distracting you! Are you hurt?” By the time Tubbo’s picked himself up, his companion has already fished out a healing potion.
“I’m fine,” Tubbo brushes off. “Just wasn’t paying attention, big man.” He stoops down and sets to rerolling the excess fabric around his ankles. Ranboo watches with rapt attention. If Tubbo thought they were someone harsher, he might shrivel under the scrutiny. “You mind?” he still says, though it lacks any real bite.
Ranboo chirps sheepishly. “Your suit doesn’t fit.”
“It used to be someone else’s,” explains the president as he rises to his full height again. Still nothing special compared to the hybrid beside him. He uselessly straightens his spine.
Tubbo expects the topic to be finished and is ready to comment on astronomical bodies, but Ranboo beats him to speaking, inhuman pupils sweeping over the wrinkles of the suit. “Does New L’Manburg have a tailor?”
Tubbo’s brows furrow at the question. “Of course. But I don’t have time to go get a suit.”
“Well…” Ranboo wrings their hands together. “I could try and fix it for you instead.”
Tubbo’s sleep deprived brain struggles to keep up. “You…hem my suit.”
Ranboo’s fingers twitch. “Only if you want to! Um, if you want me to. It just might be more comfortable.” He looks so genuine, it makes something in Tubbo’s chest twist.
Ranboo looks up, ears flicking. “Alright?”
“You can fix the suit if you want to so bad. I don’t get it, but you can go for it.” They reach the door of the president’s office and Tubbo fishes his key out of his pocket. “When are you free?”
“Anytime, I think.” Ranboo pulls a journal from his jacket and flips through it. “Before next Wednesday’s cabinet meeting?”
Tubbo’s key clicks in the lock and he pushes the door open. “Better give enough time to change back before the actual meeting.”
Ranboo’s quill is already scratching across the page. “Of course.”
“There’s a reason you’re the minutes man,” Tubbo remarks with a small, satisfied smile.
Lavender particles float up as Ranboo brightens. They fidget, shifting his feet and tapping a claw against the leather cover of the book. “While I’m writing the schedule…uh…would you— meteor shower?” He stumbles through, looking like he can’t quite get his tongue to work.
“Oh,” says the president. “It’s just…Dream is probably gonna check up on things soon and…” His throat feels tight. “We have to be ready.”
“I know…” says the minutes man, but Tubbo knows he doesn’t. He can’t. Lucky bastard. “But you work hard.”
Tubbo looks up at the enderman with a sunken blue eye, not quite meeting concerned green and red. The eyepatch is really starting to bug him now. He just wants to wrap this up so he can take it off, even if he’s no longer so eager to be alone. Left to scan through pages upon pages of legislation and agreements. If keeping his nation standing takes reading until his vision blurs, so be it.
If keeping his nation standing means missing out on this…so be it.
Tubbo swallows the lump in his throat. “I’ll see you around.” The president of New L’Manburg closes the door.
Tubbo’s got his head supported by one bandaged hand, scanning over documents held in the other. A soft rapping of knuckles at the door jolts him out of his bored haze, and he quickly swaps the papers for the eyepatch at the edge of his desk. He snaps it on as he gets up from the chair, making sure it’s properly secured before opening the door.
As expected, the minutes man is on the other side, hunched over and wearing a crisp suit. Their bicolored eyes dart around Tubbo’s shorter frame. Mouth opening and closing uselessly, he looks to be at a loss.
“Something wrong?” Tubbo leans against the doorframe.
“Nothing!” Ranboo is quick to assure. “I’ve just never seen you wear anything but a suit.”
Tubbo tugs on his gray tee, a coffee shop’s logo plastered across the front. “Well, you’re kinda fixing the suit.”
“Right!“ he chirps, holding up the small sewing kit in their hands.
Tubbo backs off the door to let him in, falling back into his spinning chair: one of the parts of the room that reflects his own presence rather than that of a president. He spins idly as Ranboo ducks his head to step through the doorway. They set their journal and supplies on the desk with the fabric, pulling out a roll of measuring tape.
Unwinding the tape, Ranboo pipes up. “I have to take some measurements to see how much to hem on the pants.”
Tubbo finishes a final spin and hops up. “You done this before?” The answer should be obvious, but it never hurts for an ex-spy to check.
Ranboo holds the tape up against Tubbo, crouching to measure the height of his leg. “I think so?” They jot down a number in their book.
Not what he was expecting, a bit mysterious. Nice. “Well, you’ve got my only suit, so I hope you know.” The only wearable one, at least. The minutes man doesn’t need to know about the mess of burnt fabric in the back of Tubbo’s closet.
Ranboo nods, looking equal parts serious and nervous. Tubbo thinks it would be funny if their expressions could split down the middle too. “I…I won’t mess it up.”
Tubbo watches the enderman pick up the pants somewhat awkwardly, angling their claws away from the cloth. His tail swishes as he frowns down at the clothing, eyebrows knitted. Something heavy settles in Tubbo’s gut, weighing open his mouth to say, “I know you won’t. I trust you.” The words, albeit rusty, still taste familiar on his tongue.
Ranboo has crouched on the floor, previously focused gaze pulled up from where they’re drawing dark thread through a small metal needle. Their multicolored eyes have gone impossibly large again, making him look like a bug. Tubbo quite likes bugs. “Thank you, Mr. President,” he breathes, a smile tugging at their lips.
Tubbo drops back into his chair, rotating a few times. It helps the energy buzzing in his nerves. “You can sit in the other chair, big man.” Honestly, he doubts Ranboo would be less hunched over no matter where he sits in the room. Even the first president was a whole head shorter than the minutes man. Ugh. Tall people.
Ranboo looks over to the cushioned chair on the other side of Tubbo’s desk and gets up, limbs stretching out in a vaguely horrifying way that Tubbo can’t find himself looking away from. What is their other half, anyway? Would other endermen look so awkward if they confined themselves to suit jackets and stuffy offices? Ranboo’s long tail curls around their leg as he sits at the desk; he tucks one ankle behind his knee, taking up an awkward position. Tubbo mentally scratches out the previous hypothesis, starting to think these are just Ranboo things. He needs to learn more.
“So, what do you do when you’re not here?”
Startled, Ranboo fumbles the needle. “Uh…I like…writing. And…cats.” His tail swishes wildly around his leg as he hunches in on himself even more. That really can’t be comfortable, Tubbo thinks.
“Cats are cool,” Tubbo adds, ideally to make Ranboo straighten back up. Even if they are closer to eye level like this. “I like bees.”
Ranboo tugs the needle through the dark fabric of the pants. “Me too,” he says softly, seemingly surprised.
Tubbo plants his damaged palms on the wood of his desk, stopping mid-spin. “Did you know,” he begins eagerly, “that male bees only have one set of chromosomes because their only purpose is to fuck? That also applies to wasps. And hornets are a type of wasp, but most people think of them on their own.”
Ranboo keeps their eyes on the project, but their ear does flick a bit. “I didn’t know that. That—that’s really weird.”
The scarred portion of Tubbo’s lip hurts from how much stretching it’s doing accommodating his grin. “It is weird!” he enthuses.
Ranboo’s long fingers loop the needle and thread around to tie a small knot. “What else do you know about bees?”
Oh. Tubbo loves this guy.
The president spends the better part of an hour talking his minutes man’s ear off, describing migration patterns, coloration, and colony structure. Every so often, Ranboo pipes up to ask a question, or for clarification. Tommy always used to talk about loving women and wanting to marry them; Tubbo thinks this kind of joy from someone else must be what he meant. There’s a ball of sun bundled within his chest, growing warmer every time the other’s particles float up at a particularly interesting piece of information.
“-and they just die! They fuck and instantly die!”
Ranboo’s tail curls around their leg as he slides a pin through the sleeve of Tubbo’s suit jacket, careful not to prick the scarred skin underneath. They grimace, a few particles floating out. “Oh…”
Now that Tubbo’s thinking about it, other people might find that more disturbing than interesting. But how’s it meant to be interesting without a little something morbid? Anyhow, Ranboo hasn’t left yet, simply sliding the garment off Tubbo’s shoulders from where he was testing the hem.
Distantly, Tubbo considers toning it down, so he doesn’t lose this one too.
“Do they, um…why do they die?”
The position of minutes man is the greatest idea anyone has ever had, ever, actually.
“Their abdomens get ripped out in sex!” It’s a great fact, as far as Tubbo’s concerned.
Ranboo looks like they regret asking, trying to grin politely. Tubbo, on the other hand, is positively delighted. He hasn’t had this much fun in a long time. It’s this thought that loosens his tongue enough to say what’s next.
“We should hang out more often, big guy.”
Ranboo looks up from his work so suddenly that it sends their braid flipping. His eyes are big and glossy. “Really?” Their black and white tail thumps against the cushioned office chair.
“Yeah.” Tubbo decides he’ll let himself have this. “Really.”
Ranboo’s sharp ears flush and they look back down at the fabric in their lap. What a peculiar reaction. Tubbo had thought the staring would be okay since it was directed toward their hair rather than their eyes. No matter, he can adapt.
Ranboo slides the pins out from the fabric and sticks them back into their small container. Tubbo tracks the motion of his claws as they finish. They’re dull.
“Done!” Ranboo chirps, holding the jacket aloft. The sleeves are noticeably shorter, but that’s not what draws Tubbo’s gaze. The enderman hybrid looks delighted with the work, sharp teeth on display. Their smile exemplifies the freckles –small scales? Tubbo is going to have to investigate-- dusted across their high cheeks. He takes a mental note before glancing back at the fabric. “It’s not perfect, but it should at least be easier to work without rolling up your sleeves.”
Tubbo takes the jacket in his hands, rubbing a calloused thumb over the careful stitches. They’re lopsided but oh so delicate. Ranboo’s wrong; it is perfect. “Thank you,” he says softly. He hopes Ranboo understands everything he’s saying in those two words.
Across the desk, the aforementioned enderman only gets up, rubbing at the back of his neck. “Well! Um, I’ll let you…yeah. I’ll see you at the meeting!”
Tubbo smiles and waves as Ranboo backs out the door, long tail nearly getting caught. What a dork.
The suit jacket still hangs too large on his shoulders; the red tie still feels like it’s choking every breath out of his lungs. There are still remnants of duct tape on his dress shoes from his scarred fingers’ refusal to cooperate with the laces. But maybe, Tubbo thinks as he smooths out the hem, there might be some good things about his presidency.
After all, the meteors are beautiful.