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gift from an arti...
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By Cat Bountry
(Author’s Note: This is part of a series of prequels to Respawn of the Dead, and it does contain some adult material. It is recommended that you read RotD first before reading the Companion Tales, much as how one would watch the original Star Wars trilogy before one watched the prequels. Also, this was written before the WAR! update, so newer information about Demoman and Soldier was not included in the original writing.)
As soon as he had stepped off of the train, Medic felt that he was going to hate it here.
The RED and BLU bases were directly across from each other, in the middle of the desert no less, with no sign of civilization for miles. The brush surrounding the base just outside of the chain-link fence that encircled both bases was dry and brittle-looking, like paintbrush tips sticking out of the parched soil. RED base, the one that Medic had been assigned to, looked like an abandoned barn, whereas BLU’s was a much more modern-looking facility, made of concrete. Wooden cut-out cows were staked outside the fence on RED’s side, for no discernable reason that Medic could think of. He ignored his teammates as they also disembarked, a few of them making awkward introductions. Medic felt that such a thing would be redundant; he had the opportunity to go through the medical files of each of his team members while he was sitting on the train.
This whole operation was suspect, really. Opposing fortresses stationed in the middle of nowhere, regularly scheduled fighting for enemy intelligence, an unexplained device that would insure that nobody stayed dead… it seemed more like some sort of odd experiment rather than a proper mercenary job. Not that Medic considered himself to be a mercenary; he was a scientist, first and foremost, and he was only really doing this because it paid well and he would be able to test out his invention, the Medigun, extensively. The mindless fighting was merely a means to an end.
Going past the gate from the platform to the base, Medic noticed that he was only coming off the train with six other men. Another man, the Sniper, if he remembered correctly, was already waiting for them. He leaned against the beam alongside the entrance, not making any real effort to be friendly and introduce himself. He merely tipped the brim of his hat upwards slightly with his thumb, revealing a pair of aviator sunglasses, and scanned over the group with narrowed eyes.
“Well, howdy!” someone chirped in a friendly manner. Medic turned his head to see it was the Engineer, a short, stout American man from Texas. All Medic knew about Texas was from those deplorable American western films, and actually hearing someone speak like the cowboys from those film made the doctor’s stomach churn.
The Sniper turned his head to Engineer, and smirked. “‘Mornin’,” Sniper said.
“You sure showed up early,” Engineer noted. “Yer th’ Sniper, right?”
“‘S wot it says on my résumé,” Sniper replied with a shrug. “I’m guessin’ you’re th’ Engineer.”
“Guilty as charged,” Engineer stepped forward and offered the assassin his gloved hand. “Pleased t’ make yer acquaintance.”
Medic watched as Sniper cautiously offered his hand, filthy and covered with gun oil and God only knew what other grime, and Engineer took it enthusiastically, shaking the man’s hand perhaps a little too strongly. Sniper’s glasses were thrown askew and slid down his nose, and the Demoman let out a very loud, short burst of laughter. The doctor cringed a bit at the sound. He had looked over Demoman’s papers with interest, wondering how on earth a Negro could possibly consider himself to be a Scotsman. There was little information to be found, though, as he was apparently orphaned at a young age. The doctor dreaded having to deal with a man who was a combination of the two.
Sniper tucked his hand into his back pocket. “So, ah, yeah. Anyway, I just got ‘ere yesterday. Soldier’s been ‘ere for about a week, now, by ‘imself. I ‘ad t’ deal with ‘im plenty yesterday. Guy’s completely raving starkers.”
“I HEARD THAT, PRIVATE!” A loud, authoritative voice boomed from inside the barn. The Soldier came marching into view, and Medic found himself trying to suppress vicious laughter. The man seemed to be more a caricature of an American G.I. than a real human being, as he strutted forward, chest out and back straight, looking like an absurd peacock. He stopped just short of Sniper, stomping his boots firmly on the ground, and peered out at the new arrivals from underneath his helmet.
“You’re the sorriest sacks of walking vomit I’ve ever laid upon,” Soldier snarled. “You honestly think any of you spineless, lily-livered momma’s boys have what it takes to be able to beat any of those BLU bastards on the battlefield? HA!” The other men exchanged puzzled glances, and Medic merely locked his gaze onto the American, smiling with a quiet sort of amusement. There had been some very brief notes in Soldier’s medical file about him being rather unstable, to say the least. RED seemed to have a very liberal policy regarding hiring standards.
“I expect to see the lot of you down in the War Room at 0900 hours,” Soldier barked. “Show up late, and you’ll be dropping and giving me 50! Dis-missed!” And with that, he turned on his heel and marched off.
“Th’ hell is that guy’s problem?” asked the Scout. Medic looked the young man up and down. Lean, athletic build, boyish features… he would almost be appealing if it weren’t for that voice.
“Ya don’t wanna know, trust me,” Sniper said. “Th’ ‘War Room’ is Soldier’s room, by th’ way. ‘E already staked one out.” He gestured to the rest of the new arrivals. “Now, git on over. Bastard wields a mean shovel.” With that, he turned inside, and the Scout was already at his heels. The others followed as well, and Medic watched the Pyro waddle past him. Had he really come over on the train wearing that gas mask and gloves the entire time? Out of all the men, Pyro was a complete mystery, most of his file being left blank; his gender wasn’t even marked down. Medic made a note to try and catch the man without his mask on… if it even was a man.
Medic watched the rest of his new teammates go inside. He noticed that one of them was missing. Suddenly, he heard a very loud “HELLO, COMRADE!” A large hand patted him rather harshly on the back, sending him pinwheeling forward. He whirled to see their team’s Heavy behind him, laughing loudly at the doctor’s reaction.
“Vhat is matter, leetle Comrade?” the Heavy asked. The man was built like a large, bald gorilla, and his voice rumbled from deep within his barrel chest. “Am I too strong for tiny man?”
“Do me a favor und do not touch me anymore,” Medic snarled. “I prefer not to have mein bones broken before I even get a chance to fight.”
The Heavy chuckled. “You are team’s doktor, da?”
“Ja,” Medic answered dryly. “Truly, your powers of observation ah unsurpassed.”
Heavy’s brow furrowed, trying to process the very large words that the doctor had thrown at him. Medic snickered at the larger man’s mental struggle, and started to follow the other members of RED team inside.
“Vait! Comrade Doktor!” Medic cringed at the sound of Heavy’s voice, and could hear the massive footfalls as the Russian jogged up to meet him.
“Don’t call me ‘comrade,’ bitte,” Medic said flatly. It made him ill to here a bastardization of “Kamerad” used by a Russian.
The giant of a man paused for a moment. “You are from vest side of vall, then?”
“I left Germany after ze var.” Good God, why was this man so insistent on talking to him? It’s not like Medic was acting particularly friendly or anything. Hopefully, putting up that armor of aloofness would get this boisterous man off of his back.
“Oh.” Finally, the Russian fell silent. He was still trailing behind Medic a bit too closely, and the doctor tried to put more distance between the two of them as they descended down further under the barn, and into the actual base. During the entire trek, the much larger man would continuously catch up closer to Medic, and Medic would repeatedly take much wider steps to get away from him. Once or twice Heavy managed to accidentally step on the doctor’s heels, eliciting an angry cry from Medic, followed by him muttering softly under his breath in German.
They could not have arrived at Soldier’s “War Room” sooner. The door was open, and most of the other members of RED team were already there and seated around a long table. There was not much room for the actual chairs, and Medic scooted past Sniper and Demoman to an empty chair towards the end of the table. He had just sat down only to look up and see the Heavy, trying to suck in his huge gut as Sniper tried to pull himself in as close to the table as he could, and Demoman found himself being pushed forward as Heavy mumbled a half-hearted “sorry.” Medic sighed as Heavy took a seat next to him, grunting as he sat down and the chair creaked under his weight.
Soldier was standing up at the far end of the room, arms crossed over his chest as he peered out from under his helmet, scanning over the faces of the new recruits. “Someone’s missing,” he growled. “Where’s the Spy?”
“Right behind you.”
Soldier immediately jumped, and whirled around to punch the materializing Spy in the face, only to have the Frenchman deftly dodge blow, sliding up behind the American and pounding a closed fist on Soldier’s back.
“If I had my knife on me, you would be a dead man right now,” Spy said, his voice low and threatening, and the grin on his face wide.
“I let you do that,” Soldier said gruffly.
“Of course you did,” Spy said dismissively. He slinked off to a corner of the room, and leaned against the wall, pulling his cigarette case from inside his coat jacket while he did so. “You may start now.”
“I don’t need your permission to start, you sneaky, snail-eating sonuvabitch!” Soldier retorted. Spy reacted by only raising an eyebrow, and this served to further provoke the American. “Who the hell do you think you are, anyway?”
“I zink I am ze only person in zis room who ‘as worked for RED before signing on for zis particular job,” Spy said casually. “Am I correct in assuming zat?”
None of the other men in the room contested this, looking over at the Spy and waiting for him to continue. “I zhought so,” Spy said, flipping the case in his hand open as he plucked out a cigarette. “Well, gentlemen, I suppose I should inform you on how we do business here with RED…”
“I was just about to do that!” Soldier barked.
“Oh, were you, now?” Spy asked, his cigarette now held between two fingers as he replaced his case and fished for his lighter. “Well, zen. By all means, make a fool of yourself in front of all us.”
“I will, thank you very much!” Soldier retorted, causing several of his teammates to start snickering. He shot the offenders a rather nasty glare, and then thrust out his chest as he started to speak.
“Welcome to RED base, ladies! This base right here, is now the complete center of your very existence. You have no other purpose in life than to fight, defend our intelligence from getting captured by the enemy, and capture the enemies’ intelligence! Even when you are not fighting, you will be thinking about it, talking about it, and living and breathing it. Do I make myself perfectly clear?”
“Oh, yeah, perfectly,” Sniper leaned back in his chair a bit. “I think we’ve been all made well aware as to just how absolutely off yer rocker you really are, Sarge.”
Everyone else in the room sniggered at the Soldier’s expense. Sniper seemed rather pleased with himself, basking in his own wit for a moment before the broad side of Soldier’s shovel came down upon the crown of his head, sending his chin crashing onto the table.
“OW! Jesus, wot th’ hell was that for?” Sniper took off his hat and rubbed the top of his head.
“I think you know what the hell that was for,” Soldier sneered. “Where are you from, son?”
“Australia,” Sniper grumbled. “Though, I’m sure ya couldn’t tell by me accent or anythin‘.” He shielded his head to protect himself from another shovel blow.
“That’s the problem with you foreigners,” Soldier spat. “No respect for authority.”
Medic found himself trying to stifle his laughter, holding his hand over his mouth and letting out a few odd nasal noises. Soldier turned quickly towards the German. “Is there something wrong, Doctor?” he asked.
“Nein… Nozzing is wrong… I’ll be fine.” Medic has regained his composure, for the most part. The thought of a loud, boisterous American lecturing these goons on discipline struck him as both sad and hilarious.
Soldier cast a wary glance at Medic, and his upper lip curled into a sneer as he looked over the doctor. He turned away, and started to pace back and forth alongside the table. “Around here, men, we have some rules; rules that exist in order to maintain order. Obey these rules, and you will manage to survive.”
“I don’t think we gotta worry too much about dyin’,” Scout said. “They got that ‘respawn’ thing, right? So, we won’t be dyin’ or anythin’ anyway.”
Soldier rounded the table and loomed over the Scout, getting his face uncomfortably close to that of the younger man’s, causing Scout to wince a bit. “Wise guy, eh?” Soldier asked. “I’ll be making a note of that.” He straightened back up again. “One of the first rules around here is, that under no circumstances are any of you ever to give out your real name. We will identify each other by our class titles only.”
“Yeah, why is that, anyway?” Scout asked.
“Stop asking questions, maggot!” Soldier snapped. “You will be silent when a superior officer is speaking to you!”
“A shame zat zere are no ‘superior officers’ here, zen,” Spy said casually, before taking a drag on his cigarette.
“What’s that?” Soldier asked.
“We’re all ze same rank, Monsieur Soldier,” Spy said. “Zis job requires zat each of us works togezzer as a team. RED never gave any ranks to any of us.”
“Oooh, tough break, big guy,” Scout said. “Looks like ya ain’t runnin’ this show after all.”
“What’s your name, Private?” Soldier asked, bending over so that his face was level with Scout’s.
“Ya jus’ told me not t’ tell ya.” Scout said warily.
“NAME AND RANK, PRIVATE!”
“Okay, Jesus, my name’s-” Scout was quickly cut off by a quick whack over his head with Soldier’s shovel.
“WHAT DID I JUST TELL YOU ABOUT NAMES?” Soldier shouted.
Scout was clutching his head in pain and grimacing. “But you said-“
“EXACTLY!” Soldier bellowed. “Nothing like a little negative reinforcement to keep your trap shut.”
“Hey, now, that was jes’ uncalled for.” Engineer stood up from his chair, leaning over the table and supporting himself with his palms. “Th’ boy was jes’ followin’ yer orders. Ya shouldn’t go an’ send mixed signals to ‘im.”
“I don’t recall giving you permission to speak, Tex!” Soldier hollered.
“But th’ Spy just said-“
“Are you seriously going to listen to him? He’s French!”
“Well, fuck you, too,” Spy scoffed.
“I think we’re off to a bad start, here,” Engineer said, trying to sound as calm and controlled as possible, although his annoyance was quite obvious. “If we’re gonna be livin’ together an’ workin’ as a team, we’re gonna need to reach an understanding.”
“We are,” Soldier said. “And that understanding is that this team needs a strong, fearless and also quite handsome leader, which is why I nominate myself as commanding officer.”
“Fine,” said Engineer. “We’ll put it to a vote. ‘S only democratic.”
Medic raised an eyebrow at the Engineer, and turned only to notice that the Texan’s choice of words had a very definite and profound effect on the Soldier, who seemed to be reeling back a bit. “What are you implying, exactly?” he asked cautiously.
“It just seems t’ me that it would be far more prudent to put this sort of thing to a vote, instead of initiatin’ a hostile takeover,” said Engineer.
Soldier snorted, and crossed his arms over his chest. “Fine. We’ll put it to a vote then. But you group of women should know that a team without strong leadership is hardly a team at all! It’s like a chicken running around with its head cut off, flapping around the barnyard spraying blood all over the place. And most of the time, they die eventually, but sometimes, sometimes it lives, and then before you know it you’re feeding it with an eyedropper down its gullet and going on tour with it all over the country, so people can pay to money to see your hideous freak-chicken, which is our team. We are that hideous, headless freak-chicken, and don’t you forget that!”
There was a very long, awkward silence that followed, with all of the team members simply staring wordlessly at Soldier. Soldier seemed to be equally confused by their reaction.
“Yeah, I think ya just about killed your chances a’ bein’ elected leader a’ this outfit,” Sniper said dryly. Soldier grabbed for his shovel and Sniper shielded his head with his arm again.
“Ve do not need team leader,” Heavy spoke up. “Team works together, ve all be equal. Is fair that vay.”
“What do you think we are, goddamned dirty commies like you?” Soldier sneered. “Well, I refuse to be a party to any pinko commie shenanigans. So there!”
Heavy stood up from his chair. In the small, crowded room he appeared to be even larger than usual. His eyes were narrowed and his expression was stern, and he stepped forward a few paces so that he could look down upon Soldier. “Vhat did leetle man just call me?” he asked.
“You heard me, Goliath.” Soldier said, puffing out his chest. “I’m not afraid of you.”
Medic laced his fingered together in front of his face, trying hard to fight the smile that had crept over his face. To see two representatives of the Allied forces potentially beat the snot out of each other was enticing, to say the least. It was a win/win situation, really, especially if they managed to incapacitate each other. It was hard to pick, really, which one he wanted to see go down more.
“See, this ain’t gonna work!” Engineer said. “Look, we’re all workin’ fer RED here, an’ we need to learn t’ all git along despite our differences, otherwise we ain’t gonna be able to fulfill our job requirements. Our first battle against the BLU team is tomorrow an’ if we’re having ideological arguments instead a’ plannin’ our strategy, we’re gonna lose to ’em.”
“Th’ Engineer’s got a point,” the Demoman said, speaking up for the first time since he arrived. “We should be usin’ this time tae be plannin’. Much as I love me a good ’bout, we should be savin’ our energy fer those BLU dandies ‘cross th’ bridge.”
Engineer seemed to be a little startled by Demoman’s voice, but quickly shook it off and nodded. “Exactly,” he said nodding. “Thank you. Ah… yer our Demoman, right?”
“‘Course I’m th’ Demoman!” The Scotsman replied. “I look th’ part, don’ I?”
“Sorry, I just, ah, was told that our Demoman would be Scottish,” Engineer said nervously. “An’ well, ya sound th’ part, but I really wasn’t expectin’ ya t’ be… y’know…”
“Tae be wot?” Demoman asked, his good mood suddenly melting away.
“Well, uh…” Engineer was floundering now, deeply regretting having turned the conversation in this direction. “To be… uh…”
“SAY IT!” Demoman commanded, slamming his bottle on the table for emphasis.
“Well, I dinnit’ even know they had Negroes in Scotland!” Engineer blurted out. “Ya can’t blame me fer bein’ a little confused!”
“Oh, yer jes’ confused now, are ye?” Demoman asked condescendingly. “Lissen’, pardner, I’ve had enough racist shite comin’ at me from me own homeland. I donnae need any o’ it ‘ere!”
“I wasn’t bein’ racist, jes’ cool yer jets!” Engineer said defensively. “You were agreein’ with me just a minute ago ’bout how we all gotta git along an’ now yer bein’ confrontational…”
“Oh, so it’s my fault now, innit?” Demoman said. “A Scottish black man’s practically a freak a’ nature, innit? Ye ‘ad tae go aboot pointin’ it out tae th’ whole team like th’ backwards hick ye are!”
“Listen ‘ere, I ain’t backwards at all. I got 11 PhDs, boy, an you best-“
“‘Boy?’ D’ye jes’ call me ‘boy,’ now?”
Spy started to laugh hysterically at the exchange. Demoman growled and threw the bottle in his hand at the Frenchman, who only narrowly dodged it as it shattered against the wall.
“NOT SO FUNNY NOW, IS IT, YE PRANCY FROG?” Demoman bellowed.
“You got your cheap moonshine on my suit,” Spy sneered. “I would tell you to start sleeping with one eye open, but you seem to be lacking in zat department, don’t you?”
Demoman immediately stood up from the table, backing his chair into the standing Heavy. Heavy immediately tried to restrain the Scotsman, only to be headbutted in his massive gut. As Heavy doubled over, Soldier stepped in swinging his shovel and screaming incoherently. Demoman stepped backwards to avoid the blow, tumbling onto Sniper in his chair, and the broad side of the shovel collided with Heavy’s bald head, causing the Russian to roar in pain. Heavy retaliated against Soldier by grabbing him by the collar and lifting him off of the ground, throwing him into Spy, who was unable to move quickly enough to avoid being crushed by the American. Demoman got his wind back and was trying to make his move towards the Engineer, who had found himself backed up against the wall. Sniper was trying his best, however, to pull the Demoman back, and received a blow to the face for his trouble. Pyro, who had been silent and uninvolved the entire time, slid out from his chair and hid under the table, cowering with his hands over his head and making muffled little whimpers, and Scout seemed to throw himself onto Heavy’s back, attacking him almost solely for the sake of being involved in the fight. Medic was still sitting in his chair, watching all of these events unfold. Suddenly, this wasn’t amusing anymore.
“YOU IDIOTS!” he shouted, standing up from his chair and causing the members of RED team to pause in their battle against one another. “You call yourselves men? You ah nozzing more zen a group of screaming children! Und tomorrow, vhen ve fight ze BLU team, ve ah going to lose! So, go ahead! Keep fighting, you Dummkopfe. I don’t care. I’ll be in mein quarters. Good day!” And with that, he kicked his chair violently out of place, marching past his team members and squeezing between them to reach the door to Soldier’s room, which he slammed violently behind him.
He hadn’t noticed the silence as he continued to march down the hall, poking his head through various doorways in search of the Infirmary. He had been told that there would be a room for him in there, and he wanted nothing more than to flop down on his bed and take a nice, long nap. A trunk of his belongings should have arrived before he did, and he was looking forward to listening to one of his records. Perhaps some Bach to calm his nerves.
He jumped at the sound of that voice, and turned to see the Heavy behind him. He had been so deep in thought he hadn’t heard the massive Russian. “Ach, it’s you,” Medic said, trying to mask his disgust. “Vhat do you vant?”
“Doktor vas right,” Heavy said. “Everybody has stopped fighting. They do not vant to talk, though.”
Medic sighed. His new role on this team seemed like it was going to be playing the nanny to these men. “I don’t really care anymore. I just vant to be alone.”
The Russian chuckled. “You sound like that actress… vhat is her name? Garbo?”
“Greta Garbo?” Medic asked, raising an eyebrow. “You know she is Svedish und not German, right?”
“Oh, da,” Heavy said. “I am sorry. I have seen her in some American movies. I have not seen very many, though. But the vay you talk sounds… same, a leetle.”
The doctor tried his best to mask his surprise that the Heavy had any knowledge of cinema at all. “Ah you suggesting zat I sound like a woman, Herr Heavy?”
“Nyet! You sound like a man!” Heavy was now fumbling to recover from this horrible implication. “Tiny, leetle man, but still man. And I am happy to be fighting vit you, Doktor!” He patted the doctor on the back, much more gently this time. “RED tell me ve should stick together in battle. Ve vill make good team, da?”
“Ve shall see,” Medic said, brushing off Heavy’s hand. “Now, if you vill excuse me, I vish to take a nap. Do not disturb me, bitte.”
“Da, Doktor!” Heavy boomed. “Have good rest!”
Medic found the infirmary door, and slid inside without a further word with the Russian, letting out another sigh as he closed the door behind him.
There was a sudden but gentle knocking at the door, and Medic found himself jolting up out of his sleep. He really did not want to be disturbed. “Vhat do you vant?” He asked loudly, not bothering to get up from the bed.
“S’me, doc.” The Engineer replied. “Just brought ya some dinner. Can I come in?”
Medic was still too groggy to put up any sort of resistance to this invasion of his personal space. Besides, he reasoned, it would probably be wiser to just let him in, and hope he would leave quickly. “Ja, come in.” He forced himself to sit up from the bed as Engineer came in, holding a plate for the doctor with a smile on his face.
“Hope ya don’t mind meat an’ potatoes, Doc. Shame we don’t seem to have any gravy around, I’ll hafta see if RED can hook us up.” He placed the plate gingerly on the doctor’s nightstand, and then pulled up a nearby chair and sat down.
Medic sighed inwardly, feeling as though he had already made a grave mistake. “Is there somezing I can help you viz?” Medic asked.
“I actually wanted t’ talk t’ you about that Medigun you invented,” Engineer said, pointing to the device in the corner of the room. “Well, I was allowed t’ look over the original notes you made while developin’ it, an’ I wanted to let you know that I was very impressed.”
“Vere you, now?” Medic asked stoically.
“Well, yeah!” Engineer said. “I was actually lookin’ quite forward t’ meetin’ ya, actually. Heck, I’m jes’ tickled t’ be workin’ with another man a’ science.” He extended his hand towards the doctor, beaming. “It’s a pleasure t’ meet ya, Doc.”
Medic looked over Engineer’s hand like he had just been handed a dead fish, and cautiously returned took it, finding the Texan’s grip to be firm and strong, though not as excited as he had been with Sniper. “Nice to meet you,” Medic said rather half-heartedly.
“Pleasure’s all mine!” Engineer said cheerfully. “Actually, I wanted to show you somethin’ I had been workin’ on. I actually got th’ idea from seein’ your plans for the Medigun, an’ well, I got t’ thinkin’, there’s only gonna be on a’ ya on the field out there, an’ yer not gonna be able to help ev’rybody at th’ same time, right?”
“Well, I’ve developed a machine that will release the vapor that you concocted for the Medigun, only it’ll remain stationary,” Engineer was practically gushing at this point, as though he had wanted to tell somebody, anybody about this for a very long time. “Not only that, but I managed to work it out so it’ll be able to provide ammunition for us as well. I don’t really have a patented name for it, since I sold it t’ RED, but its workin’ name is just the Dispenser.”
The doctor raised a curious eyebrow. What exactly was Engineer expecting out of him? Approval? A pat on the back and a “Well done!” from him? The man was expecting some sort of reaction of Medic, as he sat there, with that rather goofy expression on his face, waiting for Medic to say something. “Ve shall see how it vorks tomorrow, zen,” Medic said curtly. “Zank you for bringing me dinner.”
“Don’t think nothin’ of it!” Engineer said, getting up from his chair. “Listen, you need anythin’ at all, jes’ let me know. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go pay a visit to our Demoman. Seems we had a bit of a misunderstandin’ durin’ th’ meetin’ earlier, an’, well, I ain’t one t’ leave any animosity between me an’ another fella’ if I can help it.”
“Good luck viz zat,” Medic said flatly. He honestly could not see any sort of attempt to appease the drunken, black Scotsman going well at all.
“Thanks,” Engineer replied with a smile. “Sorry to have bothered ya. You take care now.” And with that, he headed to the door and left, but not without casting one last glance at the doctor before closing the door behind him. The doctor looked to the plate. High in starch and protein, he noted. He stood up off of the bed, and lifted the plate off of the night stand. He might as well take this to his desk in the infirmary, he thought. As soon as he was sure Engineer had left, he opened his bedroom door, plate in one hand, and crept out to his new desk. There, he would eat in silence, and dread the inevitable humiliation his team would no doubt have to endure tomorrow.
“MISSION BEGINS IN 60 SECONDS.”
“All right, men, listen up! A lot of you are probably thinking this is just a test-run, like this doesn’t actually matter. Well, you’re wrong, and it does! If we lose today, I will personally gut the lot of you like rainbow trout! Does everyone remember their positions?”
“Actually, Soldier, ya kinda glossed over th’ whole thing…”
“Quiet, you! Just build your sentries where I told you to! Now, men, I expect each and every one of you to perform at the best of your abilities. You are fearless! You are merciless! You are going to give those BLU bastards hell, and I’m damn sure that you will be- WHERE THE HELL IS OUR PYRO?”
All the other men in the room looked around, and noticed that the Pyro was absent.
“MISSION STARTS IN 30 SECONDS.” The Announcer boomed.
“You mean he wasn’t walkin’ in here with us?” Scout asked.
“Well, apparently not, numbnuts! Otherwise he’d be here, wouldn’t he?” Soldier barked. “Goddammit, how are we supposed to spy check if we don’t have a goddamned Pyro?”
“Maybe he’s on ‘is way?” Sniper suggested.
“A fat lot of good that will do us!” Soldier roared.
“I got a bad feelin’ aboot this,” Demoman said, shaking his head.
“MISSION BEGINS IN 10 SECONDS.”
“Stop having bad feelings!” Heavy roared. “Ve go and show cowards how real men fight! Ready, Doktor?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” Medic grumbled, keeping his Medigun trained on the giant Russian.
“FIVE… FOUR… THREE… TWO… ONE… MISSION BEGIN!”
The doors to the Resupply room opened, and the members of RED team scrambled to their positions. Heavy let out a battle cry as he trailed behind Scout, Soldier and Demoman, who were all charging towards BLU base. Medic looked down at the Ubercharge meter on his Medigun for a split second, only to hear a gunshot ring out. He looked up to see Heavy collapse onto the ground, a bullet hole in the center of his forehead. Medic let out a panicked shriek. “SNIPER!” He cried out. “LOOK OUT FOR ZE SNI-“
Suddenly, there was a loud cracking sound, and Medic found himself back in the Resupply room. The sensation of being displaced so swiftly had left him feeling a little dazed. Only a second ago he had been outside… had he died? Was that respawn?
“DOKTOR!” Heavy shouted, running out in front of Medic. “HURRY! TEAM NEEDS US!” It took a second for Medic to remember what his job was. He glanced down at the Medigun, noting that the Ubercharge meter had gone back down to zero before training the beam back onto Heavy. This man was so slow, but he was bulky enough to be a perfect meat shield, as long as Medic kept healing him. Medic stayed close behind the massive Russian as they charged back outside again, as Heavy released a massive spray of bullets from his weapon, perforating the BLU Scout and Soldier with more holes than a sponge. This seemed to be working out better than the first time around, especially since Heavy seemed to catch onto the BLU Sniper’s presence, and was now zig-zagging in front of RED base, making sure that at least the front entrance would be protected.
Medic whirled around. Their Scout was calling out for healing, and he was on the other side of the bridge, just outside of BLU base, and was bleeding quite profusely. Surely, he wasn’t worth running across the bridge for, Medic thought. He could just respawn. The boy could suck it up.
“DOC! C’MON, MAN! I SEE YOU OVER THERE!”
Dammit. Persistent little bastard, Scout was. “A LITTLE BUSY HERE, HERR SCOUT!” He shouted back. He could see the BLU Demoman running closer to their Scout, and was perfectly content to let him get blown up were it not for Heavy breaking into a run and charging in the direction of BLU Base.
“HOLD ON, LEETLE SCOUT. VE ARE COMING!” Heavy boomed, slowing down as the barrel of his minigun started to spin. “DOKTOR, GO HEAL SCOUT!”
“NO TIME FOR TALKING,” Heavy roared, keeping his weapon focused on the entrance of BLU base. Medic let out a frustrated groan and reluctantly trained his Medigun onto the Scout.
“Took ya long enough.” Scout said, as if the doctor were a waiter that had arrived late with his meal. It took all of the doctor’s willpower to keep from whipping out his bonesaw and hacking the boy to pieces. He hadn’t been expecting the rain of blood and the pelting of his head with meaty chunks of what used to be the Heavy, and turned out just in time to see the BLU Demoman fire a grenade in the direction of both him and the Scout. The doctor let out a horrified yelp and turned to run, but wasn’t fast enough to avoid the blast, and found himself back in the Resupply room, again, alongside a very irritated looking Scout.
“Nice goin’ there, doc,” Scout said, before taking off like a greyhound chasing a mechanical rabbit. The doctor said nothing, grumbling to himself under his breath about what an ungrateful little bastard Scout was. He quickly found the Heavy again, and fired up his Medigun. Hopefully this time he could stay alive long enough to build up his Ubercharge. He hadn’t noticed his target moving far too quickly behind him. Medic tried to turn to figure out what was happening, only to have his head pulled back and be overwhelmed by the sensation of a cold steel blade plunging into his spine, and the sound of BLU Spy’s low, malicious chuckle.
In fact, the entire day seemed to go like this. Just as he learned to avoid one kind of enemy, a new one would spring up. As soon as somebody called out for him, Heavy would always insist he go to the teammate in need, and most of the time Heavy would end up dying horribly as a result. If Medic managed to survive after that, he’d usually latch onto Demoman or Soldier; Medic hadn’t seen Pyro during the entire battle. It was hard to decide which of them was more erratic and unpredictable, since the two of them had a flare for running head-first into situations which could only end in death. Medic had been repeatedly shot, stabbed, slashed, hacked, incinerated, blown up, bludgeoned, and even punched to death. On top of that, not once had he been able to build up an Ubercharge. In any other war, shooting the Medic would be a crime, but here, it was not only condoned but actively encouraged. Hours had passed of this repeated and unrelenting abuse, and he grimly thought to himself that this must be what Hell was.
“THE ENEMY HAS CAPTURED OUT INTELLIGENCE! YOU FAIL!” The Announcer cried, and the sound of a bell ringing signaling the end of the fighting could not have been more welcome to the doctor. He was still healing the Heavy, who let out an angry bellow upon the announcement.
“HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?” Heavy cried out. “Is like I am fighting alongside babies!”
Medic didn’t even dignify the insult with a response. He looked over to the other side of the bridge, to see the members of BLU team triumphantly mocking them, making several rude gestures. Their Sniper even took a few potshots by Medic’s feet, causing the doctor to dance around a bit and give out a shrill, girlish shriek in surprise.
“INSIDE THE BASE, LADIES,” Soldier shouted, his pride visibly wounded. “NOW.” The members of RED team all slowly filtered back inside, their heads hanging from shame or exhaustion or both. Medic let out a great, heaving sigh as he trudged back with the others. He could hear Heavy behind him, silent now, but he was practically stomping on the ground as he walked, pouting like a small child.
“Vhat ah you so upset about?” Medic asked. “Zis is only ze first day.”
“‘Only first day?'” Heavy repeated in shock. “Ve still lose, Doktor! BLU team make us look stupid!”
Medic merely sighed in response. He was also upset, but more because he hadn’t had the chance to use the Ubercharge in battle than his team losing. As far as Medic knew, their pay would not be affected by whether or not they won or lost, and he really didn’t much care about the intelligence. Nobody on RED team would be looking at it anyway, and any captured intelligence would be sent straight to RED headquarters for evaluation. He headed downstairs, his head hanging in exhaustion, not looking forward to the meeting in the War Room only a few minutes away.
“Let me just start out this meeting by saying that every one of you is a GODDAMNED DISGRACE TO YOUR UNIFORM!”
Soldier had wasted no time cutting to the heart of the matter, and a few of the men sitting in the room with him winced at the sheer volume of his voice. He let his statement sink in for a moment before he continued. “We were BLU team’s bitch out there today. They had their way with us and penetrated our open, willing defenses with the long, hard cock of their offense, and we just laid back and thought of England! You know what that makes us? PUSSIES!”
“Yesterday, we were a headless chicken, and today we’re twats,” Sniper commented dryly. “You might want t’ choose your metaphors better, ’cause it seems t’ me you’ve got a thing for BLU’s long, hard cock.”
Demoman nearly choked on his grog as he tried to stifle his laughter. The rest of the RED team joined in with their laughter, though Engineer seemed to be trying his damndest to suppress a wry chuckle.
“Oh, you think you’re pretty funny, eh, Sniper?” Soldier asked. “I’ll bet you weren’t laughin’ when that BLU Spy was cutting up your scrawny ass like you were a goddamned Christmas turkey!”
Sniper crossed his arms and his grin faltered. He shifted a bit in his chair and cleared his throat. “Just haven’t gotten into th’ rhythm of this place, yet.” He said. “S’ my first day out here.”
“Like that’s any excuse!” Soldier snorted.
“Hey now, Sniper’s got a point,” Engineer said. “We went in there without any real strategy, and we were licked pretty hard. I think we can use this as a learnin’ experience so that we’re more prepared next time.”
“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that,” Soldier said. “You can put whatever positive spin you want on this, but it doesn’t change the fact that we lost. We didn’t even have our whole team with us! The goddamned Pyro went AWOL!”
“Yeah, I ain’t seen him the entire time we were out there,” Scout said. “Did any of you?”
“I dinnit’ see ‘im,” Sniper said with a shrug. “Maybe he abandoned ship.”
“Pyro is coward!” Heavy said. “Vhat kind of man does not even show up to fight?”
“Maybe he got nervous,” Engineer suggested. “Poor lil’ guy might not a’ ever fought before he came out here. Prolly got cold feet.”
“Zat would be shirking his responsibilities, which is a violation of company policy,” Spy said. “Unless he was seriously ill, zat could be grounds for termination.”
“Well, he does kinda wheeze through that gasmask a’ his,” Engineer said.
“Listen, I don’t care if his guts are coming out of his stomach, I want him in the Resupply room, ready to fight with the rest of us!” Soldier slammed his fist down on the table for emphasis, startling the others. “Now, I want that sonuvabitch found, or I’ll bash your skulls into paste! And that is an order!”
“What, right now?” Scout asked.
“YES, NOW, NUMBNUTS! GO, GO, GO!” With that command, everyone got up from their seats and scrambled for the door.
Medic really had no intention of trying to find the missing Pyro. He had a very long day, and was perfectly content to retreat back to his quarters and listen to his records. He opened the door to the infirmary, and checked to make sure he wasn’t being followed by Heavy. He had seen more than enough of the man for today, and he wanted his privacy. Closing the door behind him carefully, he then walked over to his desk, pulled out the chair, and sat down. His feet then bumped into something large and round, and he scooted his chair back in surprise. He looked down under the desk to see the team’s Pyro, curled up in a ball, hands over his head. He was in full uniform, and was whimpering like a small child.
“Vhat ah you doing under zere?” Medic asked. “Come out.” Pyro winced a bit at Medic calling him out, but obliged, crawling out from under the desk tentatively, looking up at the doctor through those smoky black lenses. His eyes could not be seen, but Medic imagined his expression under his mask was equally pathetic as his body language.
“Soldier is looking for you, you know.” Medic said, his arms crossed over his chest. “Ve lost today und your absence certainly did not help matters.”
“Urrhm surreh,” Pyro said, twisting himself around to sit on the floor. “Urrrh gurrt surrk thsssh murrninnng, urrrn urr ceerrm turr suurr yuurr, burrt yuuur wuurrnt thuurr.” He hung his head. “Suurr urr wurrted.”
“Take off your mask,” Medic commanded. “I cannot undahstand a zing you ah saying.”
“Nuurr! Urrr currnt!” Pyro said, pulling down on his mask for emphasis. “Duurrrn tuurrk eeerrf muh mrrssk!”
“DOKTOR! ARE YOU IN OFFICE, DOKTOR?” Heavy’s voice could be heard echoing in the hallway. Medic groaned, and before he had the chance to respond, the infirmary door flew open and the massive Russian was halfway inside. “Oh, there is Doktor! Have you seen tiny coward Pyro?”
“Urrrm nurrt urr currweerd!” Pyro protested, popping up from behind Medic’s desk like leathery mole.
Heavy’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “Vhat vas Pyro doing under your desk, Doktor?” He asked.
“He vas hiding in here,” Medic said simply.
“Oh, I see,” Heavy said, his face twisting into a scowl. “Ve lose today because of you, leetle Pyro. I get stabbed by BLU Spy many times.” Pyro retreated back under the desk as Heavy lumbered closer to the desk.
“To be fair, ve probably vould have lost anyvay,” Medic said.
“That is not true!” Heavy protested. “Ve could have von! And now tiny Pyro vill be fired for not showing up and making team lose!”
“Nurrr! Urr durrn wuurrn turr burr furrd!” Pyro yelped, and crawled underneath Medic’s chair, peeking out from between his legs.
“Stop zat,” Medic said sternly. “No vone is getting fired.”
“He is not?” asked Heavy.
“Urrm nurrt?” asked Pyro, poking out his head.
“If ve report Pyro, he vill be fired, leaving us viz no vone to fill his position until RED sends anuzzah vone, und ve have no idea how long zat vould take,” Medic said calmly. “Besides, if I heard him correctly, he vas sick zis morning, and unable to fight anyvay. Bettah to have a sick Pyro zat can easily be treated zen no Pyro at all.”
“Pyro… vas sick?” Heavy looked down at the fire starter for confirmation of this.
“Urr frreew urrp thrrrsh murrninng. Urr lurrt.” Pyro admitted bashfully. “Urrm surruhh.”
Heavy laughed. “Leetle Pyro looks like bad leetle dog!” Heavy said. “Is okay, leetle Pyro. Doktor has point. You get off easy thees time, but you go avay again, I crush you!”
“Durrn crrrssh muur,” Pyro begged.
“I’m sure he does not mean it,” Medic said. “Now, get out from under zere. You are a grown man, ja? You should not be behaving like a child.”
Pyro shuffled out from under Medic’s chair, standing up and brushing off his knees, staining them further with soot. “Durrr yurr weerrnt turr eerrksshurrmern mree, Mrrderk?” Pyro asked.
“Don’t vorry, about it,” Medic said. “I’m going to guess you simply had an anxiety attack und got an uneasy stomach. I’ll fill out ze necessary papervork latah. Now, go to your room und get some rest. Und try to avoid Soldier. I don’t vant you coming back viz a concussion.”
“THURRNK YUURR, MRRDERRK!” Pyro exclaimed, and wrapped his arms around the doctor’s neck in an overly-enthusiastic hug. The doctor’s body tensed at the contact, but Pyro didn’t seem to care or notice as he let go and waddled out the door. Medic looked down at his coat in disgust at the soot now dusting him.
“Vas nice of you to do for Pyro,” Heavy noted.
“I vas simply being practical,” Medic said, trying to dust himself off. “Vhat ah you still doing here, anyvay? Unless zere is something I can help you viz…”
“Nyet, is nothing, Doktor,” Heavy said, suddenly looking a little uncomfortable.
“Good,” Medic said. “Now, if you don’t mind, I vould like a little privacy before ve have dinner.”
“Oh. Sorry.” Heavy turned to leave, but stopped. “Doktor?”
Medic tried to hide his annoyance. “Ja, vhat is it?”
“You fought vell today, even if we do lose.” Heavy said. “Ve make good team.”
Medic seemed a bit taken aback by the compliment. “Danke, Herr Heavy,” he said. “You may leave now.”
“Da, Doktor,” Heavy said, and walked out of the office, closing the door behind him gently. He stood outside the door for a moment, lingering and listening for any noise from inside the infirmary. There was none. Heavy’s chest heaved with a great sigh as he plodded back to his room, silently cursing his poor grasp of English.
Heavy walked into his room, having eaten his fill at the dinner table, and sat down on the tiny bed. It creaked and sagged under his immense weight, though Heavy didn’t much care or notice. He was too busy thinking.
When he was at RED headquarters, originally being briefed on his new job requirements, the mention of wanting to stay close to a Medic stuck with him. He had asked the man in that tiny office if he knew anything about the Medic on their team, and the man simply said that the Medic was a German gentleman. Heavy was a bit uneasy about the prospect of being saddled alongside an enemy of the USSR, but he was quickly reminded that there were three Americans, a Frenchman, an Australian, a Scotsman, and a mysterious masked man on his team as well. Out of all of them, the one who might be most likely to be a fellow Communist had to be the German, assuming he was on the eastern side of the wall. That didn’t turn out to be the case, sadly.
However, it hardly mattered when he finally got off the train and saw the Medic for himself. They had all been in separate cars, and finally seeing the other teammates for the first time was a bit jarring until he saw the doctor. Right away he could tell that this man was the Medic. He looked to be a man of science; strong jaw, dark hair graying at the temples, small, round spectacles on the bridge of a Roman nose… he seemed far too immaculate for this dusty, sun-scorched place. Heavy decided that, this being the man he was going to end up working with on the battlefield, he should probably introduce himself.
It didn’t go very well. The man was cold to him from the get-go, looking over Heavy with what might have been disgust. He tried to be as friendly as possible, hoping he could reach over whatever barrier this man had set up around himself. It didn’t seem to be working. Normally, Heavy would leave well enough alone, but there was something about this man he couldn’t figure out. There was an air of mystery about him, almost, and despite better judgment, Heavy kept after him. Part of it was curiosity, he supposed, but another part was that the doctor was… pretty? No, not pretty. Handsome was the right word.
Heavy felt a nervous, sinking feeling deep in his gut just from the thought alone. Pursuing those kinds of thoughts get men arrested and sent to Siberia, to the gulags. That’s why he had married. To make matters worse, his wife seemed to pick up on this. He had loved her, he really did, but she knew, and she left him. Having a woman to share his bed with was better than having no one at all, but he had no choice. He suppressed those feelings for as long as he could, and looking upon that stupid, pretty Medic undid all of it. He hoped and prayed the doctor didn’t pick up on it. Heavy thought that when they first arrived, the doctor was checking out Scout’s ass, but that could have just been him projecting.
He lay back on the bed as it groaned underneath him. It was so hot here. He had never been to a place this hot and dry in his entire life; he had been convinced that such a place only existed in photographs. He wasn’t wearing his vest at the moment, and peeled off his t-shirt from his barrel chest. His skin cooled from being exposed to the air. It felt good to get that shirt off, sticky with the days sweat as it was. Tomorrow, they wouldn’t be fighting, but they would start up the day afterwards. It might not be a bad idea, Heavy thought, to relieve some built-up stress.
It didn’t take him long to get completely undressed, and his body was responding quickly to his own touch. He closed his eyes and breathed slowly and deliberately, conjuring up images of the doctor in his head. In his mind, the German was kinder, smiling with a cat-like satisfaction as his hands trailed over Heavy’s chest, and he looked up at him over those round little glasses, his eyes no longer cold and distant, but warm, intense and focused. The doctor now wanted Heavy as bad as Heavy wanted him, and that feeling of wanting, of needing, swelled with every stroke. He tried to conjure up the way the doctor smelled after that long day of fighting, the sound of his voice, what his body was shaped like under that uniform… it was still fresh in his mind. As the pressure built up he became more desperate in his movements, picturing the doctor on top of him before finally erupting with a quiet, suppressed groan.
He laid still for a few moments, catching his breath and feeling the afterglow burn up like fog under a steadily climbing sun. When he opened his eyes, he was alone, lying in bed completely naked and sticky. There were tissues in the room somewhere, but he didn’t get up right away. Instead of feeling relieved, he was overwhelmed by a creeping melancholy. Medic wasn’t there, curling up next to him with his body head pressing under Heavy’s arm. No, he was on his back, having just fantasized about a man who he had only just met yesterday.
He was going to have to use the showers alone tonight.
Today was an off day for both of the opposing bases, and Medic decided that physical examinations of the team members was in order. While it was true that the members of RED team already had physicals before their arrival at the base, Medic wanted an opportunity to know what he was dealing with, so to speak. His announcement of this at breakfast that morning got him a few puzzled glances, but no one questioned him, and this was perfectly acceptable to the doctor. He would be expecting them to arrive one-by-one at regular intervals throughout the day.
The first to arrive for his examination was the Scout. As lithe and nubile as he was, any attraction Medic might have had to him was killed whenever the boy opened his mouth.
“You know we already had our physicals before we came here, don’cha, Doc?” Scout asked. He had been surprisingly quiet up until now, and he was sitting on top of the examination table, stripped down to his skivvies.
“I am aware of zat, Herr Scout, but I prefer to have zis for my own personal records,” Medic replied in a very slow and deliberate manner, wrapping the cuff of a sphygmomanometer around the young man’s arm.
“Yeah, whatever,” Scout said dismissively. He was quiet for a moment as Medic pumped the bulb on the device and inflated the cuff. “So, what’s your deal, anyway?” He finally asked after a few moments in thought.
“My ‘deal?'” Medic asked.
“Yeah, man, why are you all fuckin’ snobby an’ shit, like you’re too good for th’ rest of us?” Scout asked. “Yesterday, every time I called for you, you acted like a jerk an’ you either ran off or came over when Heavy yelled at you, like I wasn’t worth th’ trouble.”
“You veren’t.” Medic said flatly, letting the device deflate. “Your job is to go in und get ze intel. Unless you ah carrying it, I hardly see vhy you should waste my time on ze glassjaw vhen I could be healing my own meatshield.”
“‘Glassjaw?'” Scout asked. “Is that what you think I am? You sayin’ I’m a wuss?”
Medic unwrapped the cuff around Scout’s bicep and smirked. “How old are you again, boy?”
“I’m twenty friggin’ years old!” Scout exclaimed. “An’ stop callin’ me ‘boy,’ you fuckin’ Nazi faggot.”
The doctor bristled a bit at the insult. “You have not exactly inspired a lot of respect from me, young man.” The doctor said, picking up his clipboard and scribbling down Scout’s blood pressure. “I’m just trying to do my job.”
“Yeah, well, your job is to friggin’ heal people.”
“Mein job, Herr Scout, is to help ze team capture ze enemy intelligence,” Medic said, his irritation showing through as he dabbed an alcohol-soaked cotton ball onto the crook of Scout’s arm. “It’s not like you vould not respawn, anyvay.”
“Jeez, you’re a dick, you know that?” Scout said, retracting his arm from Medic’s grip and sneering. The doctor yanked Scout’s arm back and quickly tied a surgical tube around his bicep.
“Und you ah annoying,” Medic retorted, plucking up a syringe from a metal tray beside him. “Now, hold still. I’m going to need ein blood sample.”
“Wait, whoa, what?” Scout suddenly became very visibly nervous. “That thing’s fuckin’ huge. You could fuckin’ gore somebody with that.”
The grin that broke out slowly over the doctors face was enough to make Scout shudder. “You are not fond of needles, zen. Am I correct, Scout?”
“N-no, of course not, don’t be stupid,” Scout said. “Just, you know, most of ’em aren’t like fuckin’ harpoons.”
“Zis vill only take a second,” Medic said, grabbing the young man’s arm harshly. “Just try not to zink about it, und it vill be ovah quickly, ja?” He tapped the vein he was searching for, and took his sweet time before penetrate the soft, trembling flesh with the tip of the needle. Scout was looking away and gritting his teeth, and the doctor pulled out the plunger at an almost leisurely pace, humming to himself as he did so. The glass tube gradually filled with dark red blood, and Medic found himself taking much more than he could possibly need.
“I think that’s enough, Doc,” Scout said weakly.
“So it vould seem,” Medic said, still smiling as he removed the needle, letting the hole bleed a little bit before he placed a square of gauze on top, and bandaged over it. “Zank you for your cooperation, Scout. Zat is all I need from you today.”
“Yeah, whatever, freak,” Scout said, jumping off the examination table and grabbing his clothes. “I’ll bet ya got off on it.”
“Oh, you have no idea,” Medic said softly under his breath.
“Let me just say right off the bat that I don’t trust you.”
“Is zat right, Herr Soldat?” Medic asked.
“Soldier. Call me ‘Soldier,’ goddammit. This is America, we speak American here!” Soldier was crossing his arms over his bare chest, sitting on the examination table. As Medic has requested, he was stripped down to his briefs, but still wore his dog tags and his helmet. The doctor couldn’t help but think the man looked comical as he sat with his chest thrust out and back arched, trying to look imposing when he was completely at Medic’s mercy.
“English,” Medic said.
“I beg your pardon?” Soldier asked gruffly.
“English, dummkopf!” Medic repeated. “Zere is no such language as ‘American.’ Ve ah speaking English.”
“Oh, sure,” Soldier said, “that’s just what they want you to think.”
“Of course,” Medic said indifferently. He pulled the stethoscope that was looped over his shoulders and put the buds into his ears, and placed the disc over Soldier’s chest. It had a very strong, steady beat. Physically, Soldier seemed to be in very good health for a man his age. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for his mental state.
“You like the sound of that, Doc?” Soldier asked. “You’re not gonna find anybody else on this team in as good of shape as this man right here.”
“I’m sure,” Medic said, moving the bell up Soldier’s chest. The man’s body was well-sculpted and battle-scarred, and Medic couldn’t help but admire it. He couldn’t let his gaze linger too long, however. It was hard to predict exactly how this man acted. Insanity had a way of doing that to people.
“Like I was saying, Doctor, I don’t trust you,” Soldier repeated, waiting for a response from Medic.
“Und I should care vhy?” the doctor asked.
“Because you’re a goddamned Kraut, is why,” Soldier huffed. “You’re the enemy. We licked you in the War, and if you cross me I’ll rip out your guts and jump rope with them!”
“It vas Russia zat really defeated ze Nazi forces, Herr Soldier,” Medic reminded him, bringing out his blood pressure meter. “Perhaps, if I were Japanese, zat threat might carry a bit more veight.”
“That’s not how I remember it,” Soldier grumbled as the doctor wrapped the inflatable cuff around his arm.
“Vell, considering zat you vere not actually in ze Var, you may remembah zings differently zen ze rest of us,” Medic said. “Hold still, bitte.”
Soldier was completely silent as Medic read his blood pressure. As soon as the cuff came off, however, he could no longer contain himself. “It’s not my fault the War ended before I could get over there.” Soldier said. “Besides, there were still Nazis over there. I know there were.”
“Of course zere vere,” Medic said in a very patronizing tone. “I’m sure you vere vell received ovah zere, vhat viz you cracking open innocent people’s skulls und vhatnot.”
“You’re certainly one to talk,” Soldier said simply.
Medic’s sardonic smirk faded into a very stern, stoic expression. During the rest of Soldier’s examination, he was totally silent, and it was now Soldier’s turn to watch over the proceedings with a smug grin. By the time Soldier got dressed and left, Medic’s mood had turned completely sour, and not even drawing blood from the man had gained him any satisfaction.
Next time Soldier needed healing in battle, the doctor was going to go out of his way to ignore him.
“Please, Herr Pyro, take off ze suit und ze mask.”
“How am I supposed to examine you if I cannot see you undah zere? Off viz it!”
“Nuhh-urrhh. Urrr durrn gurrt drssshed furr nurrburrdeh.”
Medic sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose with his pointer finger and thumb. “You ah being difficult. I am your doctor. I need to examine you.”
“Urrm scurrred.” Pyro said simply, covering his head with his gloved hands. “Urrh duuurn lurrk purrpurrl suuurrn murr feesh.”
“Stop being childish,” Medic said, arms akimbo, looking down at the man sitting on his examination table. “You ah a full grown man, ah you not?”
“Yurrsh,” Pyro admitted sheepishly.
“Zen take off ze suit. NOW.”
“NURRVEER!” Pyro shouted, leaping off the examination table with a surprising amount of agility. Medic tried to grab a hold of the man, but found him slipping through his fingers. He stumbled over and found himself tripping over his own rolling tray, spilling his supplies onto the floor where the landed with a loud, metallic clatter. Pyro had fled out of the infirmary door, which was now swinging ajar.
“GET BACK HERE!” Medic shouted after him. “YOU COME BACK RIGHT ZIS INSTANCE YOU… YOU…” He found himself suddenly inarticulate, and turned to picking up his instruments off of the floor, grumbling to himself in German, where he had no shortage of insults for the fire starter.
“Me wot now?”
“Your eye, Herr Demoman. How did you lose it?”
“It donnae say in me records?” Demoman asked with concern.
“It simply says ‘Accident,'” Medic said, glancing over Demoman’s file.
“Well, there’s a story tae that,” Demoman said. “D’ye wan’ tae ‘ear it?”
“Sure, why not,” Medic said with a sigh. He figured he would end up hearing it eventually, anyway.
“Well, I was jes’ a wee lad of abou’ six years,” Demoman started, “an’ I lived along th’ Loch Ness, wi’ me folks. See, if ye were growin’ up aroun’ there, ye’d ‘ear th’ stories abou’ th’ beastie in th’ lake.”
“Ze Loch Ness monster,” Medic said, his eyes half-lidded.
“Isn’t zat a hoax?”
“IT’S NOT A HOAX, YE BLOODEH FOUR-EYED BASTARD!” Demoman said, the words practically exploding from him. “Ye say that again, I’ll skin ye alive an’ wear ye as a hat!”
“How crude,” Medic replied, recovering from Demoman’s outburst. He adjusted his glasses nonchalantly. “Continue, bitte.”
“Fine,” Demoman said, slipping back into his storytelling voice, leaning forward with a glint in his remaining eye. “So, I was jes’ a wee lad at th’ time, an’ I dinnit’ care fer beasties. Far as I was concerned, th’ monster needed tae be dealt with. An’ well, me father ‘ad gotten rich from a minin’ operation a’ some sort. I think it was coal.”
“You zink it vas coal?”
“Ach, I donnae even remember. I ‘anded o’er th’ business a long time ago. But tha’s not wot this story is aboot. Me father, ‘e ‘ad a knowledge o’ explosives, an’ I picked up some things. Dad always said I was a bright boy for me age.”
“I’m sure you were,” Medic said sarcastically.
“So, anyway, I was set on blowin’ th’ beastie tae kingdom come. I set up th’ charges an’ th’ bombs all aroun’ th’ lake. I hadn’t really done any calculations at th’ time, an’ I were only six, so I really wasn’t sure of ‘ow exactly tae go aboot it. But, anyway, I had th’ whole thing set up, an’ unfortunately, bein’ six, I knew I couldn’t get th’ bombs wet, so I placed ’em along th’ edge o’ th’ lake. It made sense at th’ time, y’see. So, I got th’ whole thing set up, an’ I set aff th’ charges, an’ KABLOOIE!” He gestured wildly with his arms, trying to simulate the force of the explosion. “Before I know it, I got a bit a’ shrapnel in me eye, an’ I’m rollin’ aroun’ on th’ ground, screamin’ in agony!”
“Serves you right,” Medic said. “Zat vas stupid of you.”
“Oh, aye, trust me, I learned tha’ right quick,” Demoman said glumly. “Turns out me mum an’ me dad were walkin’ along th’ edge o’ th’ Loch when I detonated th’ bombs.” He looked down at the floor, with a haunted look on his face. “I was only six, fer Christ’s sake. Six years old, an’ I killed me own parents. I dinnit’ ‘ave any other family, least not in Scotland, anyway, an’ nobodeh else wanted anythin’ tae do with me. I spent th’ rest o’ me childhood in an orphanage. Soon as I turned 18, they booted me out an’ wished me th’ best a’ luck. So, I sold off th’ family business, an’ got inta demolition, an’ next thing ye know, I’m signin’ up fer RED an’ ‘ere I am.”
“Interesting zat you decided to get into explosives, considering zat zey killed your parents und took your eye,” Medic observed dryly.
“It’s wot I knew best,” Demoman said with a shrug. “Ye wanna see where me eye used to be?”
Medic suddenly leaned forward with interest as the Scotsman lifted up his eyepatch, revealing his empty left eye socket. To his delight, Demoman pulled the lids open so that Medic could better see inside. It was completely hollow, and the doctor was fascinated by it.
“May I get a light?” Medic asked.
Demoman laughed. “Oh, aye, sure, knock yerself out. Most folks r’ a bit sickened by it, really, start boakin’, but I dinnit’ wannae go aroun’ wi’ a glass eye. It donnae look right, ye know?”
The doctor was now looking around his desk for his pen light, then returned, leaning over the Scotsman and prying his eyelids open, and shining the light inside. He could see the bone and muscles and tissue inside, and took delight in being able to see the man’s sinuses up close.
“Ye enjoyin’ yerself, lad?” Demoman asked, flashing a pearly white grin.
“Very much, danke,” Medic said, smiling.
“Ye know wot? Yer not so bad,” Demoman said. “I thought ye were a right prick when I first saw ye, but ye donnae seem like a bad man. Jes’ like I was wrong aboot Engie. Nicest bastard I e’er met, I swear it.”
Medic’s smile faded, and his demeanor turned icy again as he turned off the pen light. “Ve should move onto ze rest of ze examination,” he said flatly.
“Suit yerself,” Demoman said with a shrug.
As soon as Heavy walked into the infirmary, Medic felt himself tensing up a bit. Each of the men on RED team were enemies of the Reich (assuming Pyro was not from a country that was part of the axis powers), but it was the Russian that made the Medic most uncomfortable. The fact that he seemed to be fond of following the doctor around outside of battle and sitting beside him at dinner certainly didn’t help matters.
“Hello, Doktor,” Heavy said with a nod. “How are you doing today?”
“I’m fine,” Medic said, not even looking up at the man from his clipboard. “Strip down to ze unterpants und step on ze scale, bitte.”
Heavy did so obediently as soon as the doctor turned his back towards him. One he was down to his boxers, he walked over next to the scale against the wall. “Am ready, Doktor.”
Medic turned around and glanced over the now almost-naked Russian. Seeing him like this, Medic realized just how much of his body was pure muscle, with layers of fat that probably served him well in the cold, Russian winters. A barrel chest, trunk-like arms, wide shoulders… the doctor felt as though he were only just now noticing the monstrous but fascinating proportions of this man.
“Ja, coming,” Medic said, marching over to the scale. “Vell, go on. Step on it.”
“Da, Doktor,” Heavy said with a nod, stepping on the scale, as it gave an odd, metallic creak under his weight.
Medic took his pen in his hand and nudged the weights on the scale until the weights were perfectly balanced. He peered over the rims of his glasses. “159.1 kilos,” He said aloud.
Heavy chuckled. “I lost some veight.”
The doctor didn’t respond, and merely extended the height rod up, bending it on its hinge so that it rested on top of the Russian’s head. “204 centimeters.”
“Zey already measured me before I got here, Doktor,” Heavy said.
“I know zat,” Medic said. “Hop on ze examination table, bitte.”
Heavy stepped off the scale and pulled himself onto the table, causing the table to rattle and creak underneath him. Medic flipped through the Russian’s files, looking for anything particularly noteworthy.
“It says here you vere a boxer before you signed up for RED,” Medic said, raising an eyebrow.
“Da,” Heavy said. “Vas good at it. Not vhy I came here, though.”
“Oh?” Medic asked, removing a tongue depressor from a box off of his tray.
“RED vas interested in Sasha,” Heavy said proudly. “I built her myself.”
“Sasha?” Medic asked.
“Da, my gun,” Heavy answered. “Is my, how you say, ‘pride and joy?'”
“How interesting,” Medic said. “Open your mouzh und say ‘ah.'”
Heavy opened his mouth and stuck out his tongue, letting out a long “ah” as Medic pressed the tongue depressor down and peered down Heavy’s throat. The size of the man’s mouth was enormous, almost cavernous. His teeth seemed to be well taken care of considering his background. Medic found himself slipping the stick of wood further back into Heavy’s throat, and noted curiously how the man didn’t seem to gag. He removed the depressor from Heavy’s mouth and tossed it into a nearby, metallic wastebasket.
“Everything all right, Doktor?” Heavy asked.
“Fine, zank you,” Medic said. He picked up his clipboard and scribbled down some notes, and Heavy leaned forward and tried to peer over his shoulder. Medic shielded the clipboard from the Russians view defensively, hugging it to his chest and casting a rather annoyed glare at the man.
“Sorry,” Heavy mumbled apologetically.
“I’m sure you ah,” Medic said, putting the clip board down. He wanted to get the formalities out of the way as quickly as possible before he was able to get to the drawing of blood, though he had a feeling that getting it from Heavy would not nearly be as satisfying as it was from Scout. He pulled his stethoscope from around his neck, placed the tubes into his ears and pressing the disc onto Heavy’s chest. “Take a deep breazh for me, bitte.”
Heavy complied, his massive chest swelling and relaxing. Medic could hear the man’s giant, steady heart thumping through his chest; it was indeed far more impressive than Soldier’s. It seemed to flutter a bit at Medic’s touch, though it was probably due to the cold metal touching bare skin. Medic returned to his clipboard and wrote down his results.
“Vhere are you from, in Germany?” Heavy asked.
“Stuttgart,” Medic answered, pulling out the sphygmomanometer from on top of his tray and wrapping the cuff around Heavy’s arm. He could barely get it all the way around.
“Oh,” Heavy said as Medic inflated the cuff. He watched as the doctor took his reading and deflated it again, unwrapping the cuff and jotting down even more notes.
“You do not like people much, do you, Doktor?”
Medic paused, surprised by this observation at first, but then found himself amused by it. Heavy had made an earlier remark on their first day at the base, but the massive bear of a man was apparently far more perceptive than he would have previously thought. “Vhat makes you say zat?” he asked, plucking up the surgical tube and stretching it out.
“You are alvays vanting to be by yourself,” Heavy said. “You don’t like to help anybody. Is not good vay to vork in team, Doktor.”
“Is zat so?” Medic asked. He was not in the mood to be lectured by this half-witted ape of a man.
“Da, is so,” Heavy said as Medic tied the tube around his arm. “I feel sorry for you.”
Medic was very visibly jarred by this statement. “You vhat?” he asked, his eyes narrowing.
“You must be lonely man,” Heavy said, sounding a bit more cautious now. “I vould not vant to be lonely.”
The doctor was scowling at Heavy now, swiftly picking up a cotton ball and dousing it with alcohol, his movements giving away his irritation. He yanked forward on Heavy’s arm as he swabbed at his arm. “So vhat?” He asked. “I prefer to be alone. Do you have a problem viz zat?”
“Nyet,” Heavy replied. “I just tink you need friend, is all.”
“A friend,” Medic said, eyes narrowed as he picked up a fresh syringe. “Und I suppose you zink zat you could be my friend zen, is zat it?”
Heavy nodded silently, looking more than a little hopeful.
“I don’t need to make any friends here,” Medic hissed. “I’m just here to do mein job, not socialize viz a bunch of mentally defective degenerates.” With that, he stuck the needle into Heavy’s arm, quickly drawing a very generous amount of blood. Heavy winced a bit and a satisfied smirk broke onto Medic’s face. “Und I certainly do not to need to make friends viz a stupid, clumsy brute like you.” He retracted the needle, careful not to break it off in the man’s skin, however tempting that may have been. “Ah ve clear, Herr Heavy?”
“Da,” Heavy said, scowling back at the doctor. “You are sadder leetle man then I tought.”
“Zink vhat you vant,” Medic said, putting down the needle. He then quickly slapped on a strip of gauze and medical tape over the wound, and then stepped back, crossing his arms. “Now, get out.”
Heavy hopped off the Examination table with a grunt, picking up his clothes off of the chair he has placed them on, and getting dressed quickly. Once dressed, he stomped off to the door, but stopped short of it. “You are terrible liar, Doktor.” He said. “You tink you are scary and mean, but I know better. I saw vhat you did for Pyro. If you vere evil man, you vould have had him fired.”
“Ah you quite finished?” Medic asked.
“Da,” Heavy said. “You just remember this tomorrow, vhen ve fight again.” And with that, Heavy left, slamming the door behind him.
Medic grumbled to himself as he wrote some very insulting observations about the team’s Heavy for his files. There was another knock at the door.
“Vhat do you vant?” Medic shouted.
“S’ me, Doc,” Engineer said, peering inside. “I’m, uh, here for my examination.”
“It’s been rescheduled.” Medic said. “Come back Vednesday.”
“I said, ‘Leave!'” Medic snarled. “Und tell Sniper und Spy not to come here, eizzah.”
Engineer recoiled a bit from the outburst. “Uh, sure, Doc, whatever you say,” he said simply, and quietly closed the door behind him.
Medic waited a few moments after the Engineer had left, listening in the hallway for any approaching footsteps. He then scooted his chair cover to his desk, and took off his glasses with a shaky hand, before letting his head fall into his crossed arms with a heavy sigh.
Bullets whizzed past Medic’s head as he watched the Übercharge meter climb. Eighty percent. Higher than he had ever managed to reach the other day, though having learned from past mistakes and having their Pyro out on the battlefield fighting certainly helped matters. He stuck to a similar strategy as before, sticking behind Heavy, who was noticeably less vocal as they fought. Two days ago Heavy had been barking for Medic to respond to every single call for aid, and today when Medic had ignored Soldier’s cries and let him get riddled with bullet holes from the enemy Heavy’s minigun, the Russian didn’t seem to notice or care.
In fact, during the entire course of the battle, Heavy was unusually stoic, as opposed to his rather boisterous, cocksure behavior during their previous battle. Medic supposed he was still sore over the confrontation they had yesterday. Heavy hadn’t spoken a word to him for the rest of the day. This suited Medic just fine, really. He wouldn’t have to listen to the man’s awkward attempts at striking up conversation or have him following him around.
Ninety percent on the Übercharge meter, now. It was so close, so very close. If they could manage to stay alive for only a few more seconds, Medic could finally deploy it. He was finding it hard to contain his excitement, snickering to himself as he watched the meter rise. He was so near, he could practically taste it.
When the moment came, Medic could feel the jolt in the Medigun as it started to buzz and crackle with raw, caged power. He could feel it hum and vibrate in his hands, and it had the most beautiful tingle. So this is what it felt like to be fully charged, he thought. He could feel himself shudder in anticipation.
The moment of bliss was broken, however, when he noticed a blue dot on the back of Heavy’s head. Without any hesitation or warning, Medic triggered the Übercharge, and everything just went red. Both he and Heavy were enveloped in a bright, red glow. The fumes of the Medigun were healing so rapidly, the gas becoming denser and the pair of them appeared to be shining red metal monsters. Time seemed to slow down as the BLU Sniper’s bullet bounced off of Heavy’s skull harmlessly. Medic found himself letting out a triumphant laugh as Heavy pushed forward, minigun blazing upon a group of enemy BLUs. Finally, he had activated it in battle, finally feeling as close to Godhood as he would ever get, in command of an unstoppable killing machine. Heavy, too, let out a roar of laughter, as the minigun suddenly stopped firing bullets, clicking as it continued to spin.
To make matters worse, enemy BLUs were still standing in front of them.
“DUMMKOPF! SVITCH TO ZE SHOTGUN OR SOMEZING!” Medic shouted.
Heavy scrambled to equip his shotgun, and the Übercharge fizzled out. The BLU Soldier, currently being healed by his team’s Medic, took the opportunity to fire a rocket straight into Heavy, blowing him up for what could have easily been the fifth time that day. Medic was being showered in blood and gristle, again, and didn’t even bother trying to avoid the rocket that headed directly to him. “Zat’s just perfect,” he said before it collided, and he found himself back in the respawn room, next to a very embarrassed looking Heavy.
“Sorry, Doktor,” Heavy said, still lingering inside the resupply room. “That does not happen to me, most of time.”
“I’m sure you say zat a lot,” Medic said with a sneer.
The barb seemed to go over Heavy’s head, and before he had a chance to let the meaning sink in, Medic was ushering him back out onto the battlements.
“THE ENEMY HAS CAPTURED OUR INTELLIGENCE! YOU FAIL!”
“Goddammit!” Scout shouted, having only just re-emerged from the resupply room. “Again!”
“Somezing tells me ve ah going to be hearing zat a lot,” Medic sighed, looking across the 2fort bridge at the cheering BLU team.
“You gave me charge from healing gun too soon!” Heavy said. “You vait longer, ve take out more BLUS.”
“You ran out of bullets, you big, fat, shtupid ape!” Medic hissed. “Besides, zeir Sniper had his sights aimed on you und I had to deploy ze Übercharge, ozzervise bozh of us vould have been taken out by him!”
Heavy’s anger seemed to melt away slightly. “You charge me… to save me from Sniper?”
“Ja, because if I didn’t, I vould be out zere, alone, und Soldier, Demoman, und Pyro vere not close by, so I’d be out zere viz only ze needle gun und ze bonesaw to defend myself viz against bullets und rockets!” Medic thrust out his chest and got up in Heavy’s face, getting on his tip-toes to better harangue the massive Russian. “Do you have any idea how hard it is doing zis? Running around trying to heal you amateurs vhile I am getting shot at constantly? Und zen I get fully charged, und you run out of ammo, leaving us open und vulnerable as soon as ze Über vears off? Do you have any idea?”
Heavy found himself letting out a low, rumbling chuckle.
“Vhat’s so funny?” Medic asked, scowling up at the Russian.
“And here, I vas tinking you vould let BLU Sniper shoot me,” Heavy said. “But you charge me instead.”
“I vould not vaste an Übercharge,” Medic growled.
“WOULD YOU TWO WOMEN QUIT HAVING YOUR PERIODS OVER THERE AND GET YOUR BUTTS INSIDE?” Soldier was standing in the doorframe, no doubt giving the two men the nastiest evil-eye he could muster from underneath his helmet.
Medic had whipped his head around when Soldier was shouting, and he slowly turned back to Heavy. “I’ll deal viz you later.”
“Aren’t you going to meeting?” Heavy asked.
“Vhy bozzah?” Medic scoffed. “I do not need to listen to a madman yelling at me for half an hour. I’ll be in ze infirmary.” He turned and walked away, but stopped in the doorway to RED base and turned back. “Und don’t follow me!”
“But zis is only vay inside,” Heavy said. “Except for sewer.”
“Zen take ze sewer,” Medic spat, and retreated inside.
Heavy stood outside, watching Medic as he left. He had absolutely no intention of taking the sewer entrance inside the base. He figured he would wait until Medic was far enough ahead of him before he would go in. Such a strange man, Medic was. Heavy was questioning if it was even worth it putting up with this man, who seemed to do nothing but yell at him and mock him and make him feel stupid. And yet… perhaps it was wishful thinking on Heavy’s part, thinking that Medic might have cared enough to shield him from the Sniper’s bullet. It probably wasn’t the case, but at the same time, he wanted to believe that it was.
He sighed, and finally trudged into the RED base, Sasha feeling so much heavier in his hands.
The aftermath of this battle had not been as humiliating as their first one. RED team had less deaths overall, but this meant more men who had sustained injuries during their battle would require medical attention, instead of simply leaving their wounds to be treated by the many, many respawns they had to go through. When Medic finally managed to make it back to the infirmary, he quickly saw that he was not the only one who decided to skip out on Soldier’s scheduled post-battle ravings.
In fact, every member of RED team with the exceptions of Soldier and Heavy had been standing outside of the infirmary. Had Medic not been so exhausted, he would have no doubt relished this, but now, it was something of a chore. The occasional agonized scream he could get from them, however, provided a bright spot in having to work twice as long as the rest of these lowlifes. He had finally gotten to his last patient of the day, Spy, whose injuries were the least severe. He had several bits of buckshot embedded in his left calf from the BLU Scout’s scattergun, and he was now lying on his stomach on the operating table, his pant leg rolled up and exposing his wound. Medic had just come over with a freshly sterilized tray of instruments, when he stopped, noticing the smoldering cigarette still between Spy’s lips. Medic noisily cleared his throat.
“Is zere a problem, Docteur?” Spy asked indifferently.
“Put zat out,” Medic said. “I’m trying to keep zis room sterile.”
“It keeps me calm,” Spy said. “And given zat I’m being treated by a quack like yourself, I zink I’m going to need it.”
Medic sneered at the Frenchman and prepared the local anesthetic. “Ze painkillers vill keep you calm enough,” he said. “Put it out.”
Spy sighed, taking a very long, final drag on his cigarette before carelessly tossing it into a corner. He cast a glance back at the Medic, looking rather smug. “Zere, it’s out.”
The doctor grumbled to himself in German, something Spy only caught bits and pieces of, though he did recognize the word “Franzmann” in there somewhere. Spy had stopped his sniggering as soon as Medic painfully jabbed the needle into his leg, causing him to cry out in pain.
“Oops,” Medic said, smiling now. “I seem to have missed ze vein. Perhaps I should try again.” He jabbed the needle into Spy’s leg again.
“Fils de pute, you’re doing zat on purpose, aren’t you?” Spy hissed.
“Shut up, Herr Spy, I am your doctor,” Medic chided, and he pushed the plunger in. “Ze vorst part is over.”
“It had better be,” Spy muttered under his breath. “Stupid Scout caught me off guard somehow.”
“Such a shame,” Medic said without the smallest ounce of sympathy. He disposed of the needle in a nearby waste basket, then placing the syringe back onto his tray. “All ve have to do now is vait for ze local to kick in. It should only be ein moment.”
“Doktor? Are you in?”
Medic turned to the voice coming from the doorway, to see Heavy peeking in rather sheepishly, most of his body still outside in the hallway.
“Vhat do you vant?” Medic asked, turning his back to the Russian and picking up his scalpel, holding it up to the light for a moment to admire the cold, steel beauty of it.
“Pyro is making dinner,” Heavy said. “But I guess you are busy right now.”
“Very,” Medic said curtly.
“You are letting ze pyromaniac handle ze stove?” Spy asked. “Whose brilliant idea was zat?”
“Pyro insist,” Heavy said with a shrug.
“I’m sure he would,” Spy said, flinching a bit as Medic started to carve into his flesh.
Medic was concentrating intensely on his work. Exhausted as he was, he still appreciated the dark beauty of cutting through living flesh. Blood pooled out onto the surface of the table from the incision, widening it enough for the tweezers. He loved this much more than the battles… he almost wished his days could consist of just operating on these men, instead of getting blown up and shot at all day. Though, if he could manage to get more Übercharges in a day, it would certainly improve his outlook.
There was an overwhelming feeling that crept over Medic, a distinct feeling of being watched. He turned around and saw that Heavy was still in the doorway, watching him with intense interest. “Is zere somezing I can help you viz, Herr Heavy?” Medic asked in a rather clipped tone.
Heavy snapped out of his daze and retreated farther back into the hallway. “Nyet, Doktor, is nothing. I go now.” He slipped back out into the hallway and shut the door awkwardly behind him. Medic sighed, and returned back his work.
“What was zat about, I wonder?” Spy asked slyly.
“Ach, I do not know, ze man has been following me around like a lost child,” Medic said dismissively, picking up his forceps. He could see one of the pellets he was searching for, and dipped the instrument into the wound, pinching around the foreign object.
“I could not possibly imagine why,” Spy said, smirking.
“I don’t eizzah,” Medic replied, pulling out the pellet and examining it briefly before dropping it on his tray, where it fells with a clang and rolled, leaving a tiny semi-circlular blood trail. “I’m finding it razzah distracting.”
“I’m sure he is finding you razzer distracting as well,” Spy said under his breath.
“Vhat vas zat, Herr Spy?” Medic asked.
“Nozzing, Docteur,” Spy said. “I’m just talking to myself.”
Medic said nothing in response and returned back to his work, as Spy lay there patiently, smiling like a cat that had just caught a canary.
Heavy was already getting into the habit of showering after the rest of his teammates had already gone to their rooms. It seemed to be safer this way, Heavy thought, as he left the showers. He was shirtless, letting his gut hang out over the top of his pants, as he dried off his face with a over-starched towel. He was making a conscious effort to hang around the other members of the team a bit more, though having only been at RED base a few days, socializing was something everyone seemed to be feeling their way around with. But shower time was his time, and he preferred to keep it that way.
Already, he had drawn conclusions about his teammates. Engineer would go around, trying to strike up conversations with everyone, and though Heavy liked him, he felt as though he were in a bit over his head when he was talking with the man. Scout, too, was talkative but not actually… friendly, really. The boy just liked to talk… Constantly. Demoman was moody and hard to predict, going from friendly to irate at the slightest provocation. Sniper kept to himself, not really seeming to make any effort to talk with much of anybody, though he would occasionally acknowledge Demoman or Engineer. Soldier was loud, abrasive, and had a hatred for Communists, and Heavy was pretty sure he already hated the man. Spy was haughty and snuck around like a creep, and Pyro was simply… odd. He seemed to behave almost like a small child, if a small child were to be turned loose and set people on fire with a flamethrower.
And then there was Medic…
The Russian heard the sound of a violin being played down the hall. It was coming from the infirmary. Heavy had heard Medic playing his records before, but this sounded much sharper and clearer than the record player he had used before. Curiosity got the better of him, and he wandered over, placing a hand gently on the infirmary door, and pushing it open just enough to peek inside.
There was Medic, standing up straight, with a violin resting underneath his chin, his back turned to the door. He was no longer wearing his labcoat and gloves; they were draped over a chair which sat off to the side, along with a well-worn violin case. The melody was played was graceful and distinguished, and it had an air of solemnity to it, with the faintest hint of sadness. Medic seemed to not even notice Heavy’s presence; he was both lost in the melody and completely focused on playing. As he drew out the last note with his bow, he seemed to move slowly, like a man in a dream.
“Vas beautiful, Doktor,” Heavy found himself saying softly.
Medic whirled around, obviously startled. Upon seeing the owner of the voice that broke his reverie, he sighed. “Oh, it’s you,” he said. “Vhat ah you doing here?”
“I just came from showers,” Heavy said. “I heard you play and I vanted to listen.”
“Ze showers?” Medic asked incredulously. “Zis late?”
“I prefer to shower alone,” Heavy said. “Vhat vas zat you were playing?”
“A piece by Vivaldi,” Medic answered. “Usually I do not play many compositions by foreign composers, but I am quite fond of him.”
“Foreign composer?” Heavy asked.
“Ja, he vas Venetian,” Medic said. “Ze Italians, zey certainly knew how to write good music.” He seemed to be in a much better mood suddenly, when he wasn’t discussing battle or taking blood. There was a genuine glow in his features, faint as it was, and Heavy decided to seize the opportunity that was laid out before him.
“Could you play it again?”
Medic seemed a little surprised by the request, as though it were hard for him to fathom Heavy having any sort of taste in Baroque composers. At the same time, however, he seemed to take some pride in having an audience. “Very well,” he said. “You’re not going to leave me alone anyvay. Sit down. Preferably, not ze chair my coat is on.”
Heavy edged into the room, closing the infirmary door gently behind him. He saw an empty chair sitting up against a wall, and pulled it over, scooting it across the floor next to the chair draped with Medic’s coat. He sat up straight, trying to look as refined as he possibly could while being shirtless and having a damp towel draped around his neck.
Medic cleared his throat, and brought his instrument back up to position, resting it under his chin and playing starting Vivaldi’s Siciliano. Medic started up again, building up into it with the same warmth and passion as he had done before. It was a short piece, three minutes long, but Medic was clearly taking his time, his movements deliberate and precise as he seemed to firmly coax the notes out of his instrument. By the time he brought it to a close for a second time, Heavy was no longer sitting up straight, but now leaning forward, completely enraptured.
“Amazing,” was all Heavy could say.
“You really zink so?” Medic asked.
“Da, I do tink so,” Heavy said. “Vhere did you learn to play like that?”
“Meine Mutter taught me, vhen I vas a boy,” Medic said. “She used to tell me I vas a prodigy, zhough, I zink I have… stagnated since zen.”
“I do not tink so,” Heavy said. “You play vell. Better than any man I have known.”
Medic smiled a bit. Perhaps, he thought, the Russian was not completely beyond hope. He seemed to have good taste, anyway, and Medic certainly loved to be flattered. However, when he realized he was smiling, he had to make an effort to become straight-faced again, clearing his throat as he did so. “I should be going to bed,” he said, placing the violin back into its case. “You should leave.”
“Zere is no battle tomorrow,” Heavy said. “You could play some more.”
“Don’t push your luck,” Medic said, closing the case. “Go to bed.”
Heavy didn’t say anything in response. He got up from his chair with a grunt, and turned to leave. Medic watched him as he walked to the door and stretched his arms over his head, his back muscles rippling under his skin. The doctor averted his gaze; he did not want to be caught staring at him.
“Vhat is it, Herr Heavy?” Medic asked, looking back up at Heavy, who was idling in the doorway.
“Vould you play again for me tomorrow?” Heavy asked.
“Ve shall see,” Medic said. “No guarantees.”
“Da,” Heavy said with a nod. “Good night, Doktor. Have good dreams.”
Medic tried not to roll his eyes. “Good night, Herr Heavy,” he said.
Heavy gently pulled the door shut behind him, smiling as he walked back to his room. He sung to himself happily, but not loudly. Today had not gone well on the battlefield, true, but it had been salvaged.
All in all, things were looking up.
Two weeks had passed. By now the members of RED team were starting to form something of a rhythm, not just in their daily lives but on the battlefield as well. It was far from clockwork, but as the men grew accustomed to battle, they started to bumble less and communicate more. They still had lost every round they fought in, but today was going to be different.
By some divine providence, Medic had not died yet. Whether his luck would continue to hold out was unclear. Heavy had died multiple times, but would always come back, completely undaunted. A few times, Medic would break off to follow around Soldier or Pyro, and Medic had been lucky enough to Übercharge the Pyro once, completely destroying the BLU Engineer’s sentry, as well as setting BLU Engineer on fire, watching him scream and run around like a flaming scarecrow. All things considering, today was going very well. Perhaps they might even win today’s arbitrary battle over the intel.
Things had come to a head. RED team was keeping BLU firmly out of their base and slowly encroaching on BLU’s. Medic was currently healing Heavy. Their assault was blocked, however, by the BLU Engineer’s sentry.
“Vhen do you get charge, Doktor?” Heavy shouted over gunfire.
“Almost zhere,” Medic said, glancing down as his Übercharge meter go dangerously close to being full. “Be patient!”
Just then, from the halls of BLU Base, came the RED Scout, being chased by almost the entirety of BLU team. “OH GOD, THEY’RE AFTER ME!” he screamed, having not gotten this far with the enemy intel before today. He ran as though his ass were on fire, and given how close the BLU Pyro was getting to him, it probably soon would be.
Medic could feel his Medigun tingle and crackle with life. “I AM FULLY CHARGED!” he shouted. “GO GET ZEM!” And he activated the charge as soon as Heavy stepped in front of the doorway.
The sentry was the first thing destroyed. Scout had managed to avoid the spray of bullets, practically leapfrogging over Heavy as he landed on top of the roof of the 2fort bridge. Heavy laughed as he and Medic plowed forward, bullets ripping through enemy BLUs as they tried to turn tail and flee. Most of them never made it down the hall before the charge fizzled out. The screams of the surviving BLUs could be heard as they ran into the RED Pyro and Soldier. Heavy and Medic made their way further inside, only to see their Soldier come around the corner, followed by the Pyro.
“Good work, privates,” Soldier said. “You put those goddamned BLUs in their place! Now, that is what I like to see!”
“Is no problem!” Heavy said. “I could not do it vithout Doktor.”
“Just doing mein job,” Medic said, keeping a straight face.
“THE ENEMY HAS CAPTURED OUR INTELLIGENCE! YOU FAIL!”
“Vhat!” Heavy exclaimed. “But leetle Scout had suitcase!”
“Ve’re still on BLU’s side,” Medic said with a wry smile. “We’re hearing ze announcement meant for zem. Look outside.”
The four of them stepped out of BLU base, to see their own team members hollering and whooping excitedly. Demoman was the first to rush over the bridge to greet his teammates.
“WE GUBBED ‘EM!” he shouted, hoisting his ever-present bottle into the air. “Bunch a’ fannybawz dinnit see it comin’, ‘ey?”
“ENTIRE BLU TEAM IS BABIES!” Heavy shouted, loud enough so that any BLUs who happened to be nearby, his confidence in his team fully restored.
“Boys, you’ve finally done me proud,” Soldier said, beaming with pride. “This calls for a celebration! Everyone, into the base!”
Soldier marched forward into the base triumphantly. Sniper had come down to the ground level of RED base and was standing just inside. “Wot’re ya thinkin’, Solly? Time t’ crack open a few beers an’ ‘ave a shindig, then?”
“You’re lucky I’m in a good mood, son, otherwise I’d smack you in the mouth for that hippie talk,” Soldier said.
Sniper raised an eyebrow, looking incredulous. “D’you just call me a hippie?”
“You’re dirty enough,” Soldier scoffed.
“I’ll drink th’ lot o’ ye unner th’ table!” Demoman said, his challenge directed to anyone within earshot. “Show ye all how tae git proper drunk, boyos.”
“You’re inebriated most of ze time, anyvay,” Medic said flatly. “I fail to see how zis vould change anyzing.”
“Eh, goan an’ bile yer ‘ead, sauerkraut,” Demoman said dismissively. “Yer no fun, anyway.”
“Come on, Doktor, drink vit us!” Heavy said, wrapping an arm around the doctor and pulling him close in a jovial manner. “Ve von today because you charge me! Stop being grumpy and have good time.”
Medic pulled himself away from Heavy and dusted himself off. It was true, today had been a good day, and getting two Übercharges in one battle without dying was certainly an astounding achievement. He wasn’t sure if it could be chalked up to pure luck, or if he was actually getting the hang of this sort of thing.
“Very well,” Medic said reluctantly. “But I vill probably only have vone bottle. I have vork to do tonight.”
Medic downed his eighth bottle of beer, and let out an undignified belch. “Two Übercharges!” He said, holding up three fingers. “In ze same day! You know vhat? I could… I could get zhree. I’ll show you. I’ll show zem all!”
“Doc, I think you’ve had enough,” Engineer said, tuning his guitar idly.
“I’ll tell you vhen I haff had enough,” Medic slurred, leaning forward and pointing his finger at Engineer. “You… you ah so short. You know zat, Engineer? You ah like… ah… like…” He was having trouble coming up with a simile.
“Lurrk uhh hurrbiit?” Pyro suggested, looking up from the bonfire that the entire team was gathered around.
“I don’t… I don’t even know vhat zat is,” Medic said.
“I think he just called Truckie a hobbit,” Sniper said with a chuckle.
“I heard him!” Medic said. “I just… don’t haff any idea vhat zat is…”
“They’re… like these little short people with ‘airy lil’ feet,” Sniper explained. He was obviously a bit tipsy, but he was still sober enough to collect most of his thoughts. “They’re from those ‘Lord a’ th’ Rings’ books. I read ’em back in university… least, I think it was back in university. How many years ago those books come out?”
“Thurrterrn,” Pyro said.
“Oh,” Sniper said. “That’s not right, then. They came out a few years afterwards. Doesn’t seem like that long ago, though…” he trailed off, his eyes landing on the bonfire in front of him.
“What was yer major, if ya don’t mind me askin’?” Engineer inquired.
“Doesn’t matter, ’cause I dropped out anyway,” Sniper said. “Wasn’t for me, mate. I only went t’ make me mum an’ dad happy. Dad hated th’ fact that I dropped out. Dinnit’ want me takin’ this job. Pretty sure he hates me.”
“Man, you should be able ta do what ya want, man. Fuck ’em!” Scout said. Scout had drank less than Medic, but seemed to be just about as drunk, gesturing wildly and nearly slipping off the crate he was sitting on. “Whoa… I’m all right… I’m okay.”
“Tiny leetle Scout cannot stay on box,” Heavy said with a chuckle.
“Shuh… shut up, butterball,” Scout said. “I can sits just fine. Not like Demo ovah there…” He gave an exaggerated nod over to Demo, who had fallen over onto his back, his legs still draped comically over the crate he had been sitting on.
“Ah ken gi’ up whene’er I feel li’e it!” Demoman protested, his speech more slurred than usual. He lifted up his arm as if to signal that he had not, in fact, died. “Ah jes’ donnae feel li’e it righ’ naow.”
“You know, Demoman, I can barely understand a word you just said,” Soldier said. “Quit that jive talk or whatever it is you’re saying.”
“S’not jive ye stupid… ye stupid git,” Demoman seemed far too incapacitated to put up a proper fight; that would involve having to stand up. “M’Scottish.”
“Like that’s any excuse,” Soldier growled.
“Ah’ve ‘alf a mind tae smack ye in th’ puss!” Demoman said. “Soon as ah ken git up.”
“Somezing tells me zat ‘e’s going to be down on ze ground for quite some time,” Spy said, still slowly going through his first bottle.
“Man, whuzzah mattah with you, anyway?” Scout asked. “Ya hardly been drinkin’ nothin’.”
“It’s not my fault zat American beer tastes like piss,” Spy said with disgust.
“I know,” said Medic, lifting up his bottle. “Und yet, I keep drinking…” He brought the empty bottle to his lips and tilted it back. When nothing came out, he drew back, looking disappointed and confused before haphazardly tossing the bottle behind him. “Somebody give me anuzzah.”
“I think you should prolly get goin’ t’ bed,” Engineer said firmly. “Believe you me, any more an’ yer only gonna regret it.”
“Fack you, you’re not meine Mutter…” Medic said, his head bobbing as he tried to maintain eye contact with the Texan. “You’re… vhat Pyro said. Ein hobo.”
“Hurrbiit.” Pyro corrected.
“Ja, ein Herbert,” Medic affirmed.
“Dang it, will ya knock that off?” Engineer was clearly getting annoyed. “You should just go t’ bed or somethin’, sleep it off.”
“I can take him back,” Heavy volunteered, getting up from the crate he was sitting on.
“Thanks,” Engineer said. “You think you could take Demoman back too?”
“I don’t zink ze Heavy is very interested in taking ze Demoman back to ‘is room,” Spy muttered with a smirk.
“Whuzzat supposed ta mean?” Scout asked. He was sitting right next to Spy, and apparently was the only one that heard him.
“Nozzing,” Spy said with a shrug. “Forget I said anyzing.”
“I come back for Demoman,” Heavy said to Engineer, lifting Medic off of the ground and slinging him over his shoulder. Medic found this development hilarious, and burst out laughing, gibbering in German as Heavy walked off.
“Ah donnae need yer ‘elp, ye big galoot!” Demoman shouted to the Heavy’s feet as he passed by. “Ah’ll be fine. Ken take care o’ meself.”
“I doubt zat,” Spy said wryly.
“Gute Nacht, everybody!” Medic said with a wave, his head bouncing up and down with each step Heavy took, and the two of them disappeared back into the building.
The rest of RED team watched them go. Scout was the first to speak up. “That guy… that guy is fuckin’ weird.”
“Do you mean ze Medic or ze Heavy?” Spy asked idly.
“Th’ Doc… he’s weird…” Scout said, leaning back on his crate. He leaned too far back, however, and fell backwards with a “whoa!” onto his back, landing next to the Demoman.
“Ah, Scoot, nice a’ ye tae join me,” Demoman said, laughing. “Now, go git me another beer, would ye?”
Heavy opened the infirmary doors, still hoisting a giggling, drunken Medic, and flipped on the light switch. The long, fluorescent lights flickered to life, and Heavy looked around. There was the examination area, Medic’s desk, and three doors; one off to the right, the left and one off to the side on the wall facing Heavy, which came out farther past the examination area. Heavy’s brow furrowed. “Vhich is your room, Doktor?”
“Zat vone,” Medic said pointing to the door they had come in.
Heavy sighed, and headed to the door across the room. He opened it, and sure enough there was a neatly made bed inside. At the foot of the bed was a trunk of Medic’s belongings, and beside it was two stacked crates forming a make-shift nightstand, upon which rested a book and a simple desk lamp. Heavy lumbered over to the bed, and lifted Medic off of his shoulders, placing the man as gently onto the bed as he could.
“Good night, Doktor,” Heavy said, and turned to leave. He found himself stopped, though, by a hand gripping his wrist.
“Don’t go,” Medic said softly. Suddenly, he wasn’t so giddy. “Stay.”
Heavy was surprised by this. Most of the time, Medic was trying to get rid of Heavy. Even when he visited the infirmary to listen to Medic play, the doctor would always make it very clear that he was only allowing Heavy in because he wanted an audience. Now he was looking up at him, his eyes having trouble focusing, but still looking distinctly sad. Heavy was certainly not one to deny this man company. He sat down on the bed next to the doctor, not really sure what to do next. Medic crawled across the bed and fumbled to turn on the desk lamp, before turning his attention to Heavy.
“You… you ah ze only vone here who is nice to me, you know zat?” Medic said, putting a hand on Heavy’s shoulder and leaning on him.
“Engineer is nice to you,” Heavy pointed out.
“Engineer is nice to everyvone,” Medic said. “You… you ah nice to me. Vhy… vhy ah you so nice to me?”
Heavy was hesitant to answer. Medic was very drunk, and Heavy wasn’t sure if he should give an honest answer. The doctor probably would not remember any of this in the morning, but that feeling of apprehension still hovered over him. He found his head being turned by Medic’s fingers, and was now face to face with the drunken man, who was studying Heavy’s expression, trying to concentrate as hard as his intoxicated state would allow him.
“You got quiet,” he observed. “I zink I have… a zheory, zhough.” He closed his eyes, and stumbled forward, trying to keep steady as pressed his lips against Heavy’s.
This completely took the Russian by surprise. He was not expecting this. He hadn’t even thought he would be in this position. But here he was, sitting on Medic’s bed, with his lips locked with Medic’s as the doctor wrapped his arms around Heavy’s neck and climbed into his lap. He felt Medic’s tongue flicking past his own lips, and opened his mouth. Heavy could taste the beer on Medic’s breath as that tongue invaded and started to twist and writhe against his own. This couldn’t be happening, Heavy thought. This shouldn’t be happening. Medic broke the kiss, pulling back with a smirk on his face.
“So… I believe zat hypozhesis has been proven correct,” Medic said, rubbing Heavy’s chest. “Zis… zis explains everyzing.”
“You are drunk, Doktor,” Heavy said, trying his best to regain his composure.
“Und you vould take advantage of a drunk man, zen?” Medic asked, smiling slyly. “You ah sneaky for such a large man. I do not give you enough credit.”
“You keesed me first,” Heavy said, averting his gaze from Medic.
“Und you could have stopped me,” Medic said, jabbing his finger into Heavy’s chest. “But you didn’t. You even… even let me put mein tongue into your mouzh…” He pulled Heavy’s head back so that the two of them were face to face again. Neither of them said anything for a moment, merely looking into each others’ eyes. Heavy braced himself for another kiss, and Medic started to lean in again before he rested his head on Heavy’s shoulder.
“Are you okay, Doktor?” Heavy asked, wrapping his arm around the doctor to rub his back.
Medic didn’t respond. His chest heaved and spasmed, and he started to make pained, choking noises, before a stream of soupy, liquid bile all erupted from his throat and over Heavy’s shirt and vest. Heavy cried out in disgust, pushing the doctor away back onto the bed. He immediately got up and left, trying his best not to dribble the mess all over the floor.
Heavy found a small hand washing sink in the examination area and stripped off his vest and shirt, throwing them into the sink. He turned on the faucet, trying to rinse off the foul mess, when he heard sobbing coming from the bedroom. He turned his attention back to the room, and let out a sigh. There was a laundry bin inside the infirmary that seemed to only have Medic’s dirty uniform coats piled inside. Heavy turned off the faucet, wrung out his sopping vest and shirt, and tossed them in the laundry bin before going back into the bedroom.
Medic was lying face down on his bed, face half-buried in a pillow, sobbing uncontrollably as snot ran out from his nose. He looked absolutely pathetic, not at all like the proud, dignified man of science that Heavy had first seen stepping off the train. Heavy walked over and sat back down on the bed, and put a hand on Medic’s back.
“Oh, Heavy,” he sobbed, sniffling back tears and mucus. “Entschuldigung, I did not mean to do zat…”
“I know you didn’t, Doktor,” Heavy said, rubbing the doctor’s back affectionately. “Is okay.”
“You must hate me now,” Medic said in a choked voice.
“I do not hate you,” Heavy said reassuringly. “Stop crying. You are grown man. You should not cry. Babies cry. And you are not baby.”
The doctor let out a choked little hiccup, and nodded. “You ah right… I am sorry. I’m sorry for everyzing. You… you ah nice to me, Heavy.”
“You should blow your nose, Doktor,” Heavy said with a chuckle.
“Oh… I should…” Medic sat up, pawing his own pockets until he found his handkerchief. He held it up to his face, blew his nose noisily and then tossed it over his head behind him, onto the floor. “Ugh… I am so sorry…”
“Is all right, Doktor,” Heavy said. “I have had much vorse tings happen to me.”
Medic managed a very small, wavering smile. “Danke, Heavy,” he said.
“You’re velcome, Doktor,” Heavy said, patting Medic on the back. “I tink you should sleep now, before anyting else happens.”
“Sleep viz me, Heavy.”
Heavy recoiled in surprise.
“Not… not like zat,” Medic said. “Just… sleep in mein bed. Viz me.” He patted the bedding to emphasize his request. “Bitte.”
Heavy considered this for a moment. Medic wasn’t asking for sex; just company. He had to admit that sharing a bed was someone was something he had not done in a while, and to potentially share a bed with a man whom he had affections for… well, this opportunity probably wouldn’t come up again. He finally accepted with a nod. “Okay, Doktor.”
“Ah… das gut!” Medic said, already starting to unbutton his labcoat. “Gut… now, help me get undressed.” He kicked his foot on top of Heavy’s lap, waiting expectantly for him to take off his boots.
The Russian bit his lip and nodded, holding Medic by the ankle and gently wiggling his foot free. He barely got the first boot off before Medic switched his feet in anticipation. By the time Heavy managed to get the second off and place it by the floor besides its brother, he noticed that Medic was no longer moving about. His jacket was half off and his suspenders were hanging from his shoulders. His head was resting on his pillow, but his eyes were still open. “You need more help, Doktor?” Heavy asked.
“Ja… I am tired…” he said rather absentmindedly. “Take off mein shirt and pants.”
“Da,” Heavy said with a nod, trying his best not to give in to his impulses. He undid the doctor’s belt with trembling hands and tugged off his pants, taking care to fold them carefully and to place them on top of the trunk at the foot of the bed before going to lift Medic up gently so that he could remove his coat. Medic watched him do all of this, removing articles of clothing and folding them neatly, until the doctor was stripped down to his boxers, undershirt, socks and garters. Heavy tried not to stare as he removed his boots.
“Admiring me, vere you?” Medic asked lackadaisically.
“Is hard not to,” Heavy admitted.
“I appreciate your honesty,” Medic said. “Now, come to bed.”
Heavy took a deep breath, inhaling and exhaling slowly. He climbed onto the bed, not bothering to get under the covers; it was too hot here for that. He laid down on the bed, and found himself surprised how eagerly Medic snuggled up to him. Heavy smiled, gently plucking the doctor’s glasses from his face, and placed them on the crates.
“Good night, Heavy,” Medic sighed, already starting to fade into unconsciousness.
“Good night, Doktor,” Heavy said, turning off the lamp and settling into the bed, as Medic fell asleep at his side.
Medic found himself being woken up by harsh beams of sunlight on his face. His head was throbbing, and he grabbed his pillow to cover his face. How much did he have to drink last night? What on earth did he do?
Suddenly, he became aware of a warm, breathing body pressed against his. Panic was the first thing that went through his head. Oh God, what had he done? Had he slept with one of his teammates? Who was it? Medic slowly lifted his hand from the pillow, feeling the body of the other man in bed with him. Very large, well-muscled, a layer of fat around the midsection… oh, no.
Despite how much the light hurt, Medic sat up and took the pillow off his face, and gazed in horror at the big, fat Russian man who had been sleeping back to back with him, completely shirtless. Medic looked down at himself, noticing that he was stripped down to his socks and underwear. Heavy shifted his weight a bit before rolling over like a great, sleepy bear to face the German, his eyes slowly opening to see Medic staring at him, his face twisted into an expression of shock and outrage.
“Get out,” Medic hissed.
“Vhat?” Heavy asked, barely awake.
“I said, GET OUT OF MY ROOM!” Medic shouted, startling Heavy so much that he rolled off the bed. Medic grabbed one of his boots from on top of the trunk and held it over his head, poised to throw it at the larger man. “SCHWEINHUND IWAN, GET OUT! GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT!” He threw his boot at the Russian, who was trying to gather his own footwear, and it bounced off of Heavy’s head.
Heavy paused, not moving for a second as Medic grabbed his second boot and threatened to throw it. The Russian straightened up, his own boots under his arm, and glared at Medic. Medic found himself backing further into the corner of the room.
“If you vere any other man, Doktor, I vould have crushed you for that.”
Medic didn’t respond; he only tensed up more. Heavy turned and left, closing the bedroom door behind him. The doctor was still tensed up, listening to Heavy’s footfalls until he passed through the infirmary doors and was out of earshot. When he was sure the Russian was gone, he backed into the corner, and slowly sunk to his knees, burying his face in his hands and groaning in defeat.
Heavy hadn’t seen Medic all day, not since he had been kicked out of the doctor’s room so rudely. He was probably still hung over, given how it seemed as though he couldn’t remember anything that had happened the night before. Last night had been so pleasant, and the revelation that the only reason Medic had been kind to him was because he was drunk… well, it was a harsh blow. Fortunately other members of RED team also seemed to be nursing post-revelry hangovers, and nobody asked any uncomfortable questions.
It was evening now, and Heavy left his room for the showers. He left his room at the same time every night, and every night after he was done, he would head to the infirmary to listen to Medic play for him. He wasn’t sure if he’d be allowed back there, though. Medic did not handle waking up next to Heavy very well, and Heavy could only imagine what Medic thought had happened. A part of him felt that it was worth it, just to have Medic’s body curled up against his, and to have kissed him. His heart fluttered just thinking about it.
He walked inside, taking off his shoes and placing them against the wall before he started to remove his clothes. He had gotten his vest and shirt off before he paused, noticing a faint, but acrid burning smell behind him… like smoke.
“I know you are there, Spy,” Heavy said. “Come out vhere I can see you.”
Spy uncloaked in front of Heavy, his cigarette dangling from his lips, as he gave Heavy a slow, congratulatory golf clap. “Bravo, Monsieur Heavy,” he said. “It would seem you are not as slow as I zhought.”
“Vhat are you doing here?” Heavy asked.
“I merely wish to talk to you,” Spy said, feigning innocence. “I wanted to get you alone, however. I would not want any unwanted ears listening in on our conversation.”
“You could have just asked,” Heavy said.
“Not my style,” Spy said dismissively.
“Vhat did you vant to say to me?” Heavy asked.
“You never came back for Demoman last night,” Spy stated flatly.
Heavy tensed up a bit. Only now did he remember that he was supposed to have gone back to take Demoman to his room. “I am sorry,” Heavy said. “Medic got sick. I had to stay and take care of him. He would not let me leave.”
“I see,” Spy said. He took a slow drag on his cigarette and exhaled smoke through his flared nostrils. “Is zat why he was screaming at you as you left ze infirmary wizzout your shirt zis morning?”
“Is not unusual for men to share bed vhere I come from,” Heavy said, his voice wavering a bit. He was averting his gaze from the Frenchmen’s, looking down at the tiled floor. “He did not understand.”
“You’re a terrible liar,” Spy observed.
Heavy looked back up at Spy, noticing the Frenchman’s expression was much more serious, his eyes half-lidded and his mouth drawn into a thin, straight line. Heavy sighed. “Ve did nothing together. He get sick on me, I take off my shirt, and he ask me to share bed with him. Then he vake up and tink ve did someting. I did not have time to explain. That is all.”
Spy seemed to consider this a moment, taking another thoughtful drag. “Zere is still somezing zat you are not telling me,” he said. “And I have a feeling I know what it is.”
“I tink you should leave now,” Heavy said, the menace in his voice very clear.
“It would seem zat I have struck a nerve,” Spy said, his smile returning. “How long ‘ave you ‘ad zis crush on Medic?”
“I do not know vhat you are talking about,” Heavy said, looking away from Spy again.
“Au contraire, mon ami… you know exactly what I am talking about,” Spy said, shaking his head. “Really, you have done a very poor job of hiding it. I zink ze only reason zat no one else suspects anyzing is because you do not appear to be ze type to be interested in men. But I know better.” He was grinning now, looking like a shark about to tear into its wounded prey. “And I can tell zat you have fallen for our Medic quite hard.”
Heavy didn’t answer. He merely looked at the floor tiles in shame. Spy knew. He knew, that bastard, and the way he was talking made it sound like he was going to do something with this information.
“Are you going to… dark-mail me?” Heavy asked, obviously unsure of his choice of words.
“You mean ‘blackmail,'” Spy corrected, “and no, actually. It is… such an ugly word, I zink. He’s way out of your league, anyway.”
“Vhat?” Heavy’s confusion was painted all over his face.
“Let us not beat around ze bush here, Heavy,” Spy said, sauntering up closer to the large Russian man and putting a gloved hand upon his shoulder. “Our Medic is a very good-looking man. And being as handsome as he is, he could probably ‘ave ‘is pick of any man on ze team… ze Scout… ze Sniper…” He paused, briefly, a lecherous smile creeping over his face. “Ze Engineer…”
“Engineer?” Heavy asked.
“Just naming people to make a point,” Spy said. “Point is, wiz all zese men for him to choose from, why would he choose a big, fat, hairy Russian man such as yourself? I’m sure he’d sooner drug anozzer member of ze team zen sleep wiz you.”
Heavy swatted Spy’s hand of his shoulder, causing the Frenchman to recoil in surprise. “Zat is not true.” Heavy said.
“Is it now?” Spy asked. “Come now, Heavy, be reasonable. He was drunk. And zen he goes and screams at you ze next morning. Surely he’s not worzh ze trouble.”
“Vhy do you care, anyway?” Heavy asked.
“I feel pity for you,” Spy said with a shrug. “Really, it’s just painful watching your awkward attempts at courtship wiz ze Medic. I’m doing you a favor. Save yourself ze trouble and give up on him before zis turns into a fiasco.”
Heavy’s large, paw-like hand lashed out, grabbing Spy by his necktie and yanking him forward. He then bent down to eye-level with the Frenchman, his face now only inches away from Spy’s. “You stay out of this,” he said.
“Are you zhreatening me now?” Spy asked, seemingly entertained at the thought.
“Yes,” said Heavy.
“Touchy,” Spy observed. “Very well, zen. I shall take my leave. Don’t say zat I did not warn you, zhough.” He tugged at his tie, and Heavy loosened his grip. Spy slunk past him, tucking his tie back under his vest.
Just as Heavy was about to take off his pants, he was interrupted by the voice of the Frenchman.
“Just out of curiosity, Heavy… if by some divine intervention you do manage to sleep wiz ze Medic… how do you intend to ‘ide it from ze rest of ze team?”
“I tink about that later,” Heavy growled. “Leave.”
“Fine,” said Spy, holding up his hands in a gesture of defeat. “But ze ozzers, zey may not be so accepting of zis as I am. Especially ze Soldier…” With that, he left, not even waiting for Heavy to respond.
Once he was satisfied that Spy was gone for good, Heavy got undressed and to the showers. He was glad he did this alone; he was going to need the time to think.
Medic had been pondering the events of last night over the course of the day. The katzenjammer was gone, thank God, but so were most of his recollections of the night before. He could vaguely recall being slung over Heavy’s back like a saddlebag, being laid onto his bed… and then…
Everything after that was a blank.
When he had awoken, he immediately assumed the worst… that the Russian had taken advantage of him, possibly even molesting him in his intoxicated state. Seeing Heavy’s shirt and vest in his laundry bin only intensified his fears. It took a while for him to gather up the courage to examine the discarded articles of clothing. They were still slightly moist, as though washed quickly and haphazardly. After much hesitation, he brought it to his face and quickly sniffed it. Much to his relief (and disgust), he couldn’t smell any traces of semen. Instead, his olfactory senses were assaulted with the pungent odor of vomit. He quickly tossed the offending vest back into the laundry bin. He didn’t recall Heavy being that drunk; he had been drinking, but the man seemed to possess a tolerance for alcohol that put Demoman to shame, and hardly seemed buzzed. When he realized what exactly had happened, Medic suddenly felt something that he had not felt in a very long time.
He was filled with an overwhelming sense of guilt.
The man had taken him back to his room, had been puked upon for his trouble, stayed with him the night, and had even neatly folded the doctor’s clothes… and what was his thanks? A boot to the head. Medic had trouble recalling the last time anybody had bothered to be so kind to him… nobody else on this team was terribly nice to him; most of them kept their distance. Sure, Demoman was friendly enough when he was in a good mood, and Engineer made it a point to get along with everyone, but Heavy… he was the only person who continually would try and make him feel welcome, try to strike up friendly conversation, cover for him during battle… and, most importantly, he listened to him play.
He immediately felt his pride come swelling back up. Heavy must not know of this, he thought. Give that man an inch, he would no doubt take a mile. For the rest of the day, he spent most of his time filling out medical reports. He was hardly paying attention to the things he was writing before he noticed that he had repeatedly written Heavy’s name in the place of other words. He tossed out the reports, and leaned back in his chair, while his hubris and his loneliness waged battle with each other. Would Heavy even be willing to talk to him again, after what he did? Did he really want to talk to him? And why on earth was he suddenly feeling this way towards the man? These thoughts gnawed at him all day, as he sat holed up in his office.
When it came around the usual time Heavy would be leaving the showers, Medic found himself sitting in his office, his violin sitting in his lap, not being played. He had gone over the bow with rosin, tuned it precisely, fiddled with it… but was not actually playing it.
He wasn’t coming, Medic thought gloomily. He had frightened off the person who was the closest thing he had to a friend in RED base. He looked down at the violin in his lap, and sighed. He might as well pack it up.
Medic whipped his head to face the infirmary doors, and to his relief, there was Heavy, standing in the doorway, towel draped around his neck and looking slightly embarrassed. Before the doctor had a chance to say anything, Heavy spoke up.
“I have something I vanted to say to you, Doktor,” Heavy said bashfully. “May I come in?”
“Ja, of course,” Medic said with a nod, trying not to seem too excited. “Sit down, bitte. Zere vas somezing I vanted to say to you, as vell.”
Heavy pulled up the chair he usually sat in for these sessions, and wrung his hands nervously. He didn’t speak right away, chewing on his lip in thought. “Maybe you should go first,” he suggested.
Medic nodded. “All right,” he said, taking a deep breath. This was going to be difficult. “I… I vanted to apologize to you. For zis morning.”
The Russian looked up, looking bemused. “You vhat?”
“I vas rash,” Medic said, rubbing the back of his neck with his hand. “I had… jumped to some conclusions… und you did not deserve zat. In fact, if vhat I zink happened actually happened… zen I should be zanking you. For taking care of me.” He looked back up at Heavy, not sure exactly what to expect.
Heavy seemed to consider this a moment before he broke into a soft smile. “Is okay, Doktor,” he said. “I forgive you.”
“You do?” Medic asked. “Even aftah everyzing?”
“Da,” Heavy said with a nod.
“Vhy?” asked Medic. “I have not exactly been very kind to you, you know. Vhy ah you so nice to me?”
It was now Heavy who was shifting in his seat uncomfortably. “That vas vhat I came here to talk to you about,” he admitted. He was now rubbing his arm and trying his best to maintain eye contact with the doctor. “I… I like you, Doktor.” He paused. “A lot.”
The silence was so all-encompassing that Medic could have swore he heard the other man’s heart beating in his chest from across from him. It was probably his own, he thought. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed after hearing this confession before Heavy spoke up again.
“Ja?” Medic asked, almost without thinking.
“Are you all right, Doktor?”
Medic let out a nervous little laugh. “I’m fine,” he said. “Vell… zat does explain a lot. Perhaps I should have picked up on zat sooner.”
Heavy said nothing. He was embarrassed, actually blushing like a schoolboy with a crush. “I should go,” he said quickly, standing up from his chair. “Vas stupid of me to say. You are… out of league, for me.”
“Vait!” Medic cried out, causing Heavy to stop and look back towards him. “Don’t leave. Not just yet.”
Reluctantly, Heavy took his seat again, and stared at the space between his feet. “I’m sorry, Doktor.”
“Stop apologizing,” Medic said. “You are a proud man on ze battlefield, Heavy. You have confidence out zere. Try showing some off ze field for vonce, hmm?”
“Sorry,” Heavy mumbled.
“I said, ‘stop apologizing!'” Medic chided. “Really, it’s like you ah a completely different person vhen you have zat gun in your hand.”
“Sasha,” Heavy reminded him. “Her name is Sasha.”
“Ja… Sasha,” Medic said.
There was another uncomfortable silence between them, as both men seemed to be trying to figure out what to say.
“I have something else to confess, Doktor,” Heavy said.
“Oh?” Medic asked.
“Last night… vhen I take you back to your room… you keesed me,” Heavy’s voice was steadier now, and he spoke more clearly. “I let you do it.”
Medic winced. What little chance there was of him hiding his own sexual preferences from Heavy was completely gone now. “Und… ve did nozzing else… right?”
“Ve did not,” Heavy said. “I could not do that to a man. Especially not a man that I like.”
The doctor smiled, and quickly tried to cover it up with his hand. He cleared his throat and tried to return to his stoic expression. “I appreciate zat, Heavy,” he said carefully. “I… I don’t hate you. I actually… enjoy your company.”
“Really?” Heavy asked.
“Ja,” Medic admitted. “I do like to have an audience vhen I play.”
The smile that came over Heavy’s face seemed to illuminate his features completely. Causing somebody to beam like that was not something Medic was used to. “Does zat Doktor likes me too?” He asked.
“Let’s not get hasty now-” He was cut off when the Russian stood up from his chair, made his way over to the doctor and embraced the doctor in a bear hug, lifting him from his seat.
“I AM VERY HAPPY, DOKTOR!” He boomed. “Oh, zis is good day for me!”
“Put me down, Heavy,” Medic said as he was being squeezed against the larger man’s chest.
“Oh. Sorry,” Heavy gently put the Doktor back in his chair, then retreated back to his own, realizing he had overstepped his boundaries. “I get excited,” he explained.
“I noticed.” Medic said, adjusting his glasses. “Listen. I vant to make somezing perfectly clear. I vas very drunk last night, und I may have done und said zings I did not mean. I am not interested in you like zat… zhough, I am flattered zat you find me attractive.”
“You do not find me handsome,” Heavy said. It was less a question than it was a flat-out statement.
“I did not say zat,” Medic said. Heavy could certainly stand to lose a few pounds, and Medic had seen handsomer faces, but Heavy was certainly not bad looking… and Medic was a sucker for a muscular build. “It… it vould be fraternization, Heavy. Ze ozzers vould not be happy about zat. Besides… I do not zink I am interested in having any sort of relationship right now.”
“Oh,” Heavy said quietly. “But we can still be friends zen?”
Medic took a deep breath. “Ja… friends.” He hadn’t thought of anyone being his friend in years. It was odd to think of somebody else as being a friend again. “You can be mein freund, Herr Heavy.”
Heavy could not suppress the big, goofy grin on his face. “Am very glad, Doktor!” Heavy said. “Is good to have you as friend now!”
“Ja… das ist gut…” Medic said with a nod. “Now, I assume zat you vould vant to listen to me play, ja?”
“Da!” Heavy said. “I vould like that very much!”
The doctor took up his bow and violin again, and played for Heavy. Brahm’s Hungarian Dance No. 5 could be heard out in the hallway, and Spy stood outside the door, leaning against the wall and blowing lazy smoke rings towards the ceiling. He closed his eyes to better absorb the sound; Medic was probably more skilled at playing his violin than he was at performing surgeries. He became so absorbed in it he almost didn’t notice Engineer walking down the hall.
“Well, hey there, Spah,” Engineer said with a friendly nod. “What’re you up t-“
“Shush,” Spy hissed. “Ze good docteur will hear us.”
“Ya don’ want ‘im to?” Engineer asked.
“I zink Monsieur Medic prefers to ‘ave ze Heavy be his only audience,” Spy said slyly.
“Is that right?” Engineer asked, hands on his hips. “Huh. He an’ th’ Doc are turnin’ out t’ be somethin’ of an odd couple, ain’t they?”
“You could say zat,” Spy said. “What brings you around here, anyway?”
“I could ask you th’ same thing,” Engineer said.
“I appreciate good music,” Spy said simply. “Yourself?”
“Heck, same here, actually,” Engineer admitted. “I could hear this all th’ way down in my workshop, an’, well, I had t’ come by an’ have a listen.” He went quiet for a moment. He was still wearing his goggles, though Spy imagined he was closing his eyes as he listened. “Ya don’t think th’ doc would mind us, would he?”
“‘E woke up wiz a pretty bad ‘angover zis morning, from what I ‘eard.” Spy said. “I would not approach him again until tomorrow.
“I suppose yer right,” Engineer said with a sigh. “I guess I’d best be goin’ t’ bed anyway. ‘Nother battle against th’ BLUs tomorrow, we’ll see if we can’t win twice in a row. You take care now.” Engineer walked off, humming along with the song Medic had been playing. Spy watched him go, taking another drag from his cigarette as he ogled him with a sensual eye.
“Bon nuit, Laborer,” he said in a hushed voice, before cloaking and slinking off to his quarters.
RED Team was losing badly. All around, Medic’s teammates were being cut down by enemy BLUs. Medic searched frantically for ammo; his syringe gun was empty and he was desperate for any kind of protection. The BLU Pyro had him cornered, and eerie, muffled laughter could be heard coming from through the gasmask filter. Medic found himself splayed against the wall, sucking his stomach inwards in a futile attempt to flatten himself completely, and avoid the fire that would belch forth from the enemy’s flamethrower like the foul breath of a terrible dragon.
“HELP!” Medic screeched, as the flames licked forward, spewing ever closer. BLU Pyro was taking his precious time, savoring the doctor’s terror. “SOMEVONE HELP ME!”
Medic looked up, and the BLU Pyro, too, turned around, only to get hacked roughly in half by a double-edged sword. There, coming down from the sky, surrounded in a brilliant light, was the Heavy, outfitted in chainmail armor and a Viking helmet, riding upon a giant, almost monstrous, overweight white stallion. No, not a stallion. It was a unicorn. Medic wasn’t sure where Heavy had gotten it, or why he hadn’t noticed the ivory, spiraled horn sticking out of the center of the beast’s forehead sooner.
“Heavy!” He cried out. “You’ve saved me!”
“Of course!” Heavy said triumphantly. “Is Doktor okay?”
“I’m fine… just a bit singed,” Medic said with a nervous laugh. “Vhere did you get zat?” He gestured towards the Russian’s steed.
“Oh, this?” Heavy looked down at his mount, and patted its flank affectionately. “Vas gift from Pyro for my birthday.”
“I didn’t know it vas your birzhday,” Medic said curiously.
“Da!” Heavy said. “Hop on, Doktor! Or else you vill miss party!” He extended his giant, bear paw of a hand to Medic, who took it eagerly. He pulled the doctor up onto the unicorn with a grunt, so that the he was seated on the animal behind him. Medic tried to wrap his arms as far as he could around the mighty Russians back, and found himself leaning forward against him. Heavy whistled, and the unicorn galloped forward, with far more speed than Medic would have expected than an animal of its size. The raced forward, leaping over the buildings of 2fort and into the sky. The desert looked serene from up here, like a delicately rendered impressionist painting. Medic clutched tighter to Heavy, and suddenly he could no longer feel the chain mail against him, but rather only the warmth of Heavy’s body against his, and the serene feeling of the working muscles of the mythical beast beneath him.
“Oh Heavy,” Medic sighed, his eyelids fluttering in complete and total bliss, “let’s get married…”
Medic’s eyelids flew open as the morning alarm bell sounded off, and he jolted upright from his bed, eyes nearly bulging from their sockets. He quickly remembered that there was a battle scheduled for today; the bell wouldn’t ring unless there was one. The dream he had was still fresh in his mind, and now that he was awake, he felt horrified. A Unicorn? Really? With Heavy? What Heavy had said to him last night must have gotten under his skin worse than he thought.
He groped for his glasses on his makeshift nightstand, plucking them up and placing them on his face, blinking as his vision went from fuzzy to sharp and crisp. In less than two hours he would have to be fully awake and dressed, ready to die in at least a hundred different ways. And this time, Heavy would not be there on a giant unicorn to swoop in and rescue him.
It was Soldier’s voice. Medic sighed. “Soldier needs me!” Medic shouted, shutting off the Medigun.
“Go to him!” Heavy shouted as Medic ran off towards Soldier’s cry. “Good luck, Doktor!”
Medic ran inside the BLU base, looking around for Soldier, only to find the BLU base’s halls strangely empty. He could have sworn he heard his voice come from in here. “Herr Soldier?” He asked, eyes darting around nervously. “Ah you here?”
“Right behind you.”
The doctor whirled around quickly, smacking the BLU Spy upside the head with his Medigun, purely by a fortunate accident. The enemy Spy was sent reeling backwards, colliding into the wall. Medic immediately whipped out his syringe gun and fired, pumping the Spy with needles before he even had the chance to react. The BLU Spy collapsed and slid down the wall to his knees, before finally falling to his side, looking like a human pincushion. Medic snickered to himself. He had not gotten nearly as many kills as most of his other teammates, due to being stuck with healing duty, but when he did managed to kill someone… well, every kill he got was precious. He treasured each one, and he tried to savor the moment, gazing over Spy’s corpse before it would disappear and respawn.
He had not expected the BLU Pyro to come up behind him, swinging his axe and bellowing a muffled war cry. Medic got lucky again, dodging the blow, and fired more needles at the BLU Pyro. The Pyro looked down nonchalantly at the needles sticking from the chest of its suit, yanking out them out, much to Medic’s horror. That suit, that horrible suit, it had to have been too thick for the needles to penetrate. Medic then quickly switched to his bonesaw to see the Pyro had pulled his flamethrower off his back, chortling through his gas mask and pinning Medic against the wall that BLU Spy had found himself backed up against only moments earlier. Medic could not help but feel an eerie sense of déjà vu.
“HELP!” He found himself crying out in a very undignified, girlish shriek. “SOMEVONE HELP ME!”
Pyro snorted, and fired up the flamethrower, only to turn around quickly at the sound of a minigun spinning to life, and a spray of bullets ripped through the Pyro’s suit. Medic turned to see the Heavy come in, bloodied and in dire need of healing, turning to look at Medic.
“Heavy…” Medic said, catching his breath. He couldn’t finish that thought. He did not want that godforsaken unicorn to show up.
“You okay, Doktor?” Heavy asked.
“I’m fine,” Medic said, trying to straighten up and pretend that he had not called out for help like he were some kind of damsel in distress. “I can take care of myself, zank you.”
Heavy chuckled. “If you say so, Doktor. Come! Ve have many cowards to kill!”
Medic equipped his Medigun again, and trained it on the Heavy. As the thought of how the one was always in need of the other crossed his mind, he wondered if there was a way for Heavy to be able to heal when Medic wasn’t around, or when he couldn’t find a dispenser.
Perhaps, he would look into the matter further that evening.
The battle had been long and hard, and it was eventually fought to a draw, with neither team getting a hold of the opposing team’s intelligence before the Announcer boomed that they had reached the time limit. Once they had retreated back inside their base, Heavy had, for the first time, decided to shower with the rest of his teammates. He took the shower head farthest away from the others, and much to his relief, no one was bothering him. He preferred it that way, keeping his eyes trained on the floor tiles below him.
He did notice, however, the sound of bare footfalls against the tiled floor, as Heavy saw someone step up next to him and turn on the shower head. He looked up next to him, almost without thinking. It was Medic, standing next to him, completely naked and already scrubbing himself over with a bar of soap. Well, of course he was completely naked, Heavy thought, correcting himself. They were in the showers after all. He quickly averted his gaze. Just ignore him, he thought. Finish up as quickly as possible and just leave before anything embarrassing happened.
“Guten tag, Herr Heavy,” Medic said casually.
So much for that, Heavy thought, wincing a bit. “Hello, Doktor,” Heavy said, not looking back up at the doctor. He hoped that Medic couldn’t see his face turning red. Why was he doing this? Medic knew how Heavy felt about him, surely he could put two and two together and realize that there was a reason that Heavy preferred to shower after everyone else. Why had he decided to join the rest of them all now, anyway?
Medic barely seemed to pay attention beyond his brief greeting. He continued to wash himself humming under his breath as he did so, suds streaming down the curves and indentations of his musculature in tiny rivulets. He was a fairly lean man; his body had been well taken care of, and there were thin patches of hair on his chest and down his stomach. His stomach protruded only the slightest bit, and aside from the gray hairs on his temples, it was the only prominent physical feature that betrayed his age. Medic looked back up and to the side, and it was only then that Heavy realized he had been staring. His eyes were now locked with Medic’s as the two of them stared at each other.
“Enjoying ze view?” Medic asked slyly, finally breaking the awkward silence between them.
Heavy jolted in surprise, his face bright red as he turned away, turning off the shower head and walking away as quickly as he could on the wet, slippery floor. He quickly grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist hastily, leaving the showers frantically and only calling more attention to himself as many of the other men turned to watch him leave, before resuming without any more thought.
He didn’t even bother getting dressed, as he scooped up his clothing and boots in one arm and rushing out across the hall and retreating back to his room, past a very startled and confused Pyro. He locked the door behind him, and looked down at himself, noticing that his nether regions had decided to pitch a tent from his towel. He leaned his head back and groaned, hoping that nobody noticed it.
“Stupid pretty Medic,” he murmured.
Heavy was busy cleaning Sasha, trying his best to forget about the incident in the showers only hours earlier. He ended up skipping dinner because of it, too embarrassed to face his teammates. Someone might ask him about it, and he did not want to be put in the position of explaining himself. Hungry as he was, he decided to wait until he was sure nobody else would be in the mess hall. He found his thoughts being interrupted by a gentle knocking on his door.
“Who is it?” He asked.
“It’s only me,” said Medic from the other side of the door. “May I come in, bitte?”
Heavy sighed. Medic had a lot of nerve, coming here after what he had done… but Heavy found himself humoring the doctor regardless. He got up, propping his precious minigun up against the wall, and lumbered over to the door, unlocking it and opening it to see the doctor standing before him. Medic was holding a plate, which he lifted up slightly. On it, there was a neatly made sandwich, cut in half diagonally, with meat and cheese and lettuce and tomato, and a toothpick skewering an olive sticking out of each half.
“I’m afraid zat zere vere no leftovers,” Medic explained, offering up the sandwich rather pathetically. “Und I knew zat you vould be hungry, so I made you zis.”
“A sandvich?” Heavy asked. Was this some kind of apology?
“It vas ze Scout’s idea,” Medic blurted out, uncharacteristically quick to explain himself. “Zis American bread, it’s so soft und disgusting. I don’t undahstand how anybody could eat it…”
The Russian wasn’t really paying attention. He was hungry, and that sandwich looked delicious. He lifted a grubby, oil-covered hand to grab one at the sandwich, only to have his hand slapped away by Medic.
“Vhat vas that for?” Heavy asked, rubbing his hand and looking hurt.
“You ah not eating anyzing until you vash zose filzhy hands of yours,” Medic chided. “Honestly, is zat how your parents raised you?”
“I’m sorry,” Heavy said. “Vas not tinking.”
“Obviously,” Medic said. “Now, go vash your hands.”
Heavy nodded sheepishly and retreated to the bathroom. He emerged a few minutes later, hands looking immaculately clean, and walked back into his room, where Medic was standing over his minigun, inspecting her curiously.
“You like Sasha?” Heavy asked, beaming with pride.
“A very impressive weapon,” Medic said. “How did you go about making zis?”
“It took very long time,” Heavy said proudly. “I started many years ago, vhen I vas-DON’T TOUCH HER!”
Medic jolted, retracting his hand in surprise. He stared at Heavy, looking confused. He had never been yelled at like that by the Russian man, and Heavy, realizing what he had done, tried to explain himself.
“Sorry,” he mumbled. “I do not like it vhen people touch my gun.”
“Oh,” Medic said quietly, scooting away from the metal monster, and sitting down on the bed, hands folded onto his lap. “I did not know.”
“Is okay,” Heavy said. “She is… like lover to me. Am very… vhat is vord?”
“Protective?” Medic suggested.
“Da. Am protective of her.” Heavy said. He looked around the room. “Vhere is sandvich?” He asked.
“Right here!” Medic said, grabbing the plate that had been sitting neatly on top of the Trunk at the foot of Heavy’s bed. He offered the plate to the Russian, and waited expectantly for him to take it.
“I have never seen you so friendly before, Doktor,” Heavy observed, finally taking the plate from Medic’s hands.
Medic straightened his posture and cleared his throat. “Yes, vell, I appreciate you coming to mein aid vhen I needed it earlier today.”
“Vas no problem, Doktor,” Heavy said. “I could not leave you alone to be hurt.”
“I vould just respawn, zhough,” Medic pointed out. “Not zat I am ungrateful, mind you…”
“I know that,” Heavy said. “I just do not like to see you hurt.” He took a bite out of his sandwich, and immediately wondered how on earth Medic could think of any part of it as disgusting. Good God, it was delicious.
Medic didn’t respond right away, twisting his hands in his lap. Heavy ate his sandwich rather noisily, obviously enjoying it thoroughly. The doctor got up from the bed, and pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose. “I should be going.” He said curtly.
“Already? Heavy asked sadly.
“Vell, ja… I have vork to do,” Medic said. “I need to modify ze syringe gun, it needs adjustments…”
“You alvays have vork to do,” Heavy said. “Stay here vit me. Talk.”
The doctor hesitated, looking as though he were silently debating with himself. “Fine,” he relented. “Vhat is on your mind?”
Heavy quickly wolfed down the other half of his sandwich, and sucked a dollop of mayonnaise off of his thumb. For a moment, he wanted to confront Medic about the showers, but looking at him, Heavy felt nervous. The doctor would bring it up on his own, since he must have come back to apologize… right? “Not much, Doktor,” he said. “I, ah, vant to know more about you.”
“Me?” Medic asked. “Vell, vhat is it you vant to know?”
“I do not know,” Heavy said with a shrug. “How did you come to vork for RED?”
“Zey found me, actually,” Medic admitted. “Zey had managed to track me down und asked if I vould be interested in joining zeir company. Zen somehow, I end up being a mercenary in zis silly war.”
“Var is not silly,” Heavy said. “Is important.”
“Is it really?” Medic asked. “Vhat kind of var has its fighters coming back from ze dead constantly? Honestly, I feel like I should be punching a time clock every time I go out zere.”
Heavy frowned, and put a hand on Medic’s shoulder. “Is hard on you,” he said. It wasn’t really a question.
“I honestly have no idea how I’m supposed to last a year out here,” Medic sighed. “At least it pays vell.”
“You have good company,” Heavy said. Medic looked up at him and the Russian offered him a soft, warm smile.
“I suppose I do,” Medic said.
The two of them were quiet for a bit. Heavy removed his hand from Medic’s shoulder, sensing that he had left it lingering there too long. He set the empty plate aside and clasped his hands together, pressing them between his thighs and blushing like a nervous teenager on a first date. This did not escape Medic’s notice. He tried to find a way to relieve some of the tension before his mind wandered to the rec room.
“Tell me, Heavy, ah you good at chess?”
He looked up, surprised at this sudden turn in the conversation. “Uh… nyet, Doktor,” he admitted. “I never learned to play.”
“Vhat kind of Russian does not know how to play chess?” Medic asked quizzically.
Heavy shrugged. “I trained more for becoming boxer. Vas taught to fight. I vas never taught to play.”
“Zat is unacceptable,” Medic said, getting up from the bed and grabbing Heavy by the hand. “Come. I zink it is about time you learned.” He tugged at Heavy’s arm and the giant of a man offered little resistance, allowing himself to be led out into the hall by the German. They walked down to the rec room briskly, past Spy, who had been walking towards his own room.
“And where are you two going?” Spy asked casually.
“Ve ah going to play chess,” Medic said, whipping around and glaring at Spy. “Mind your own business.”
“Oh, is zat what zey’re calling it now?” Spy remarked under his breath.
“Vhat vas zat?” Medic snapped.
“Nozzing, Docteur. Carry on,” Spy said, making a dismissive waving gesture to the two of them. “You two enjoy yourselves.”
“Ve vill, zank you.” Medic said smartly. He looked down at his own hand only to realize that he was still holding onto Heavy, and released the Russian awkwardly. “Come, Heavy.”
“Da, Doktor!” Heavy rumbled, and followed Medic like a trained dog.
Spy watched the two of them leave, and sucked deeply on the cigarette between his fingers. He then tilted up his head and blew out hazy rings of smoke, watching them dissipate slowly into the air. “Ah, Docteur,” he said to himself in a soft, husky voice. “You could have done so much better for yourself.”
Spy retreated back into his room, locking the door behind him. While he was fairly confident that his teammates would not be snooping around like he usually did, he felt that he could not be too careful.
He removed his suit jacket and looked up at the mask he had hanging to dry from a clothespin and a string above his desk. He plucked it off the string, noting that it was mostly dry now, and slipped it on over his face. A plume of red smoke surrounded him, before the form of the RED Medic solidified over Spy, missing his usual pinkish lab coat. He turned to a long mirror in the corner of his room, and examined himself. The disguise seemed to be in perfect working order. It was an unusual request he had made of RED, true, but he felt that having disguises for all the members of both the RED and BLU teams would be useful. And it certainly was, to be perfectly honest. He removed the mask from his face and another cloud of red smoke washed over him, turning him back into the Spy. He picked up his jacket from his bed, fishing through an inside pocket for his disguise kit, and delicately placed the RED Medic mask back inside.
This wasn’t working at all like he had planned. Trying to pry the big, stupid Russian away from the team’s Medic was proving impossible, and by now, Spy was beginning to think it wasn’t worth it. No piece of ass was worth all this effort, even if Medic was the most likely to be seduced by him… maybe. He had never been cock-blocked by anyone quite like the Heavy. What made it worse was that the Medic was becoming fond of the giant cretin.
Fuck it. Fuck the Medic. He was an uptight ass of a man and he was deranged and dangerous on top of that. Let Heavy have him, Spy thought. If Medic was content to settle for that, then Spy saw no reason to pursue him. His standards were not that low, and the only reason he had even considered going after Medic at all was because he just knew Medic was gay. He was a Spy. He could tell these things.
But there were plenty of other men on the team to choose from, right? There was the Scout, for starters… wait, no. Scout was loud and annoying and hyperactive and Spy barely had the patience to deal with him, even if he was young and lithe and nubile. Ugly teeth, though. Stupid buck teeth made the boy look like a rabbit. Sniper? Handsome, yes, and Spy had to admit that he was probably one of the best looking men on the team… but that was until he went to bother him in his loft and noticed the jars of piss sitting around. It was even worse when Spy saw him lob one of the jars at an enemy BLU. No thank you, Spy thought. No way in hell he’d try and get involved with that. Demoman? Lord no. Not to say that Spy did not appreciate his lovers to come in more exotic flavors, but Demoman was a bi-polar, psychological train wreck waiting to happen, and Spy wasn’t sure how much of that was due to him being constantly drunk. Soldier was even worse, and probably extremely homophobic on top of that, and Pyro… Spy didn’t consider Pyro to be a human. This left him with the one man on the team he desired most…
Sure, Spy didn’t think he would like him at first. He was short, completely bald and had that terrible, hick accent. But he had a certain Je ne sais quoi that Spy could not deny. Perhaps it was just how friendly he was, how patient he seemed to be when he dealt with a team of madmen. Perhaps it was the fact that the man was startlingly brilliant and still modest, almost painfully so. Maybe it was how well-built the man was, despite his height… he was stocky, muscled, and that jaw… but alas, the Engineer was a forbidden fruit. Spy found that out when he had snuck into his workshop in one of those rare moments Engineer was away. Spy took it upon himself to inspect his trunk and the drawers of his desk for anything that might be useful for him to know… he always liked to know the secrets that the other men wanted to keep. After jimmying the lock on one of the desk drawers, hoping for some juicy bit of dirt on the Texan, he opened it to be greeted by a framed photograph.
It was Engineer, without his usual hard hat and goggles, his arm around a woman slightly taller than he was, cradling a baby in her arms. Spy could feel his heart sink into his stomach. Underneath it, there was a sheet of paper with words scrawled onto it in pen. Spy picked it up, and started reading over it, and the proverbial knife in his chest was twisted. It was an unfinished letter to his wife, and it was almost sickeningly sweet in the sheer adoration that seemed to gush from every line.
My Dearest Irene, it had read, I trust that you are doing well. I have yet to receive any of the letters you said you would write, and I think the first train for new supplies and mail will finally arrive within the week. Every day, my heart aches over leaving you and Rosie alone, but you and I both know that this is for the best. I tell myself that every day, but it hasn’t gotten any easier. There’s a lot I can’t tell you, Irene, even though I wish I could. I haven’t even been allowed to go by my real name anymore. It’s odd, to the say the least, being called “Engineer” as though it were my name. I can’t say why they don’t want us to use our names, mostly because we haven’t been told. But I don’t ask questions, because we’ll have the money we need again.
Spy raised an eyebrow. He wondered why a man of Engineer’s brilliance would be stuck out here to begin with. He searched over the rest of the unfinished letter, and found no explanation. Well, shit, Spy thought. He’d had plenty of both men and women, but none of them were quite like Engineer… and Engineer’s heart belonged to another. It was looking unlikely he could ever seduce this man.
He thought about this, lying on his back on his bed, taking a drag on his cigarette and breathing out smoke in a tired sigh. He was denied any chance at having the Engineer before he could even ask, and now the Heavy was looking as though he was actually going to get Medic in the sack. That big, stupid, loud, fat oaf of a man was going to get some tail and Spy wasn’t. It was insulting.
Spy sat up and leaned forward for his coat, and removed his disguise kit from one of the inner pockets. He flipped through the masks, landing upon the one for RED Engineer. He looked at it for a moment, hesitating before he slipped it over his face, the smoke transforming him into his Texan teammate. He looked up at the mirror and saw the laborers face staring back at him from behind smoky black goggles, and smiled.
“Ah, mon cher… how I have waited for this,” he said in a husky voice, and loosened his invisible tie, his eyes never leaving Engineer’s face.
“Bah!” cried Heavy, throwing up his arms in frustration. “Is stupid game. I never win it.”
“Is zat ze only reason you zink it’s shtupid?” Medic asked with a laugh, arranging the pieces back in their starting positions.
“Rules are hard,” Heavy grumbled. “Horse piece moves funny and so does queen.”
“Ze ‘horse piece,’ is called ze Knight, Heavy. I have told you zis before.”
“I still say does not look like knight. Knights have armor. They ride on horse. They are not horse.”
“Ze horse is just a symbol, Heavy. Now, are ve going to have anuzzah match, or vhat?”
Heavy grumbled. This would be their third match in a row, and they usually ended very quickly. “Fine,” he said. “Ve play again.”
“Ze problem, Heavy, is zat you rush und make moves vizzout zinking,” Medic said. “Not unlike how you fight on ze battlefield.”
“Has vorked fine for me before,” Heavy said with a shrug.
“It vill not serve you vell on ze chessboard,” Medic said. “You make ze first move.”
Heavy stared down at his pieces. He looked back up at Medic, who was resting his chin on the palm of his hand, smiling like a cat toying with a caught mouse. Heavy hesitantly picked up a pawn and moved it forward. Medic responded in kind, almost without any thought at all. Heavy knew better, though. He brought another pawn forward, mindful of a previous game where he moved his pawn up next to Medic’s and it was captured. Medic responded in kind.
Just then, Pyro peered into the rec room, regarding Medic and Heavy playing their game briefly before he waddled up to the television and turned it on, adjusting the dial and flopping onto the couch. Medic looked up slowly, and cleared his throat noisily. Pyro turned around, peeking over the back of the couch. “Whurrt?” he asked innocently.
“Do you mind?” Medic asked. “Ve ah in ze middle of a game, here.”
“Buurrt Strrr Trrrk issh urrrn!” Pyro protested, as William Shatner’s introduction could be heard from the television.
“You can vatch it some ozzah time,” Medic said.
“Irrsh murrr furrvurrt shurrr!” Pyro whined. “Pleessh lurrmeh wurrtch.”
“Leave him be, Doktor,” Heavy said. “Ve can still play.”
“I came here to unvind, Heavy, not to be subjected to listening to zat… Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers or vhatever zat drivel is.”
“STRRR TRRRK!” Pyro corrected loudly. “NURRRT FLRRSSH GURRDEEN!”
“It’s all ze same, as fah as I’m concerned,” Medic said dismissively. “It’s all mindless garbage, anyvay.”
“Yurr meerndlsssh gurrbuge,” Pyro retorted. Heavy found himself trying his best to suppress his laughter and gave up completely when Medic glared at him.
“Very funny,” Medic said, moving one of his pawns forward. “Vhere did you learn zat vone, on ze playground?”
“Urrr lurrrnnd eert frruum yuurr murrm,” Pyro said.
It took a moment for Medic to decode what Pyro had just said. “Zat vone, I know you learned from Herr Scout,” he said as his eyes narrowed.
Pyro chortled to himself as he turned his attention to the television set before him, no longer interested in exchanging insults with the team doctor. Medic turned back to his board, and noticed Heavy seemed to be distracted by the television.
“It’s your move, Herr Heavy.”
“Oh!” Heavy’s attention snapped back to the board in front of him. He looked up at Medic, back at the board, then back up at Medic. He took hold of a pawn between his large fingers, then looked up at Medic, who shook his head disapprovingly. He let go, then grabbed hold of another piece, looking back up at Medic, who simply rolled his eyes and sighed. Heavy let it go, and then picked another pawn. Medic smiled and nodded, and moved it forward, grinning. Medic then captured his pawn and grinned even harder as Heavy’s face fell.
“Vhy did you do that?” Heavy asked, feeling betrayed.
“I’m playing to vin, Heavy,” Medic said. “Perhaps you should not rely so much on visual cues from your opponent und focus more on ze board.”
The match was going by slower than the previous two, as Heavy seemed to be trying his best to keep his pieces from being captured more than going after Medic’s pieces. Every time he got bold enough to try to capture one of Medic’s pieces, it only provided ample opportunity for Medic to come in and capture a piece of his. By the time Heavy had fallen into a trap of going after one of Medic’s rooks and found that it had left his King wide open for capture by Medic, he was just about ready to give up out of sheer frustration.
“Checkmate,” Medic said simply.
“I lose again!” Heavy cried. “How did you get so good?”
“I stahted playing zis game before I even knew how to read und write,” Medic said wryly. “Und ze first zing I vas taught is zat you must alvays be willing to sacrifice lessah pieces in order to vin.”
Heavy grunted. “I have had enough of this game tonight,” he announced, pushing his chair back and getting up.
“Quitting already?” Medic asked, sounding more than a bit disappointed. “You sure you don’t vat to play vone more round?”
“Maybe later,” Heavy said. “Am going out to valk for a bit.” He left the room, leaving Medic sitting alone at the table, arranging the pieces back into their starting positions. Pyro turned his attention away from the television very briefly, before turning back, deciding that the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise was ultimately more engaging then whatever was going on between Medic and Heavy.
Medic stared at the chessboard for a bit, almost blankly. He heard another set of footfalls, lighter and faster than Heavy’s come closer and closer until they reached the doorframe.
“What’s up, Doc?” Scout asked, leaning against the doorframe.
“Ah, it’s you,” Medic asked. “You vould not happen to be any good at chess, vould you, Herr Scout?”
“Chess?” Scout asked, grimacing as he said the word as though it left some foul taste in his mouth. “No way, man. That’s a nerd’s game. Nerds an’ old people. Kinda like you.”
By the time Medic had stood up from the table with a murderous scowl on his face, Scout had already gotten the message and bolted down the hallway as fast as feet would carry him.
Heavy sat on the walkway alongside of the RED Base, staring up at the stars. At night, the desert was cool, and not unbearably hot like it was during the day. His legs dangled off the edge, and he swung them back and forth idly. He had a lot to think about. His feelings towards Medic were becoming more complicated, and he was afraid he would not be able to find the right words in English to convey these feelings. For now, he could only stew, and try to collect his thoughts enough so that he could have some idea of what to say to this man. If only Medic spoke Russian, he thought. This would be so much easier for him.
He turned his head to see Medic standing in the doorframe closer to the entrance of the base, only peeking out. His usually cold, indifferent demeanor was gone now; he was worried and looking slightly guilty. “Is it all right if I join you?”
“I do not mind,” Heavy said. He patted the space next to him. “Sit vit me.”
Medic emerged from the doorway, clasping his hands in front of him and taking a seat by Heavy’s side, his posture rigid as he stared over the desert directly ahead of him. He turned to Heavy, who was looking rather pensive.
“Vhat is wrong, Herr Heavy?” Medic asked.
The Russian didn’t answer right away. He looked at the ground, and tried to think of the right words to say. “I tink… that you are trying to… ah…” His brow furrowed, and Medic leaned forward with interest.
“I am trying to vhat?” Medic asked.
“You embarrass me, Doktor!” Heavy blurted out. Yes, that was the right word. He was sure of it. “You do tings to make me look dumb.”
“Is zis about ze chess matches?” Medic asked.
“A leetle,” Heavy said sheepishly. “And also in the showers earlier.”
The doctor tilted his head. “The showers?”
“Da,” Heavy said. “Vhen I vas… staring at you and you… come onto me.” He turned away, trying to hide the fact that his face had flushed, and grown men do not blush like little girls. “And then you act like it did not happen.”
“I vas not in the showers viz ze ozzers, Heavy.”
“Vhat?” Heavy looked back up at Medic, his confusion written all over his face. “But… you vere right there, next to me.”
“I vent to take a nap aftah ze battle yesterday,” Medic said. “I did not get to ze showers until latah.”
“Zen who vas in showers viz me?” Heavy asked.
The two men stared at each other, as horrifying realization dawned on them.
“BLU Spy,” Medic said simply. “It had to be.”
“But vhy vould BLU Spy come in showers vit us?” Heavy asked.
“Obviously he is ein deviant und pervert,” Medic muttered. “He must have felt sore ovah ze fact zat I killed him earlier und tried to get revenge.”
“Zen vhy did he not stab me?”
“I don’t know!” Medic cried, looking flustered. “Like I have any idea vhat goes on in ze mind of a sick, twisted Franzmann!”
“Do you tink he is still in base?” Heavy asked.
“I don’t know, Heavy,” Medic said, pushing his glasses up and pinching the bridge of his nose. “I have ze feeling zat if he vas going to stab someone in ze base, he vould have by now… unless he vants somezing else.”
“The intelligence!” cried Heavy.
“Ze room is shut off on ze off hours,” Medic said. “Ze Spy vould have to know ze passcode, which apparently only our Spy knows.”
“It does not make sense Doktor,” Heavy said, scratching his head. “Vhy vould BLU Spy come into showers just to… embarrass me?”
“It is very strange,” Medic admitted. “Ve should probably tell ze ozzahs of zis. If ze BLU Spy has zat kind of disguising ability… zen he is fah more dangerous zen ve zhought.” Medic got up from his seat on the ledge, only to feel a harsh tugging on his coat.
“VAIT!” Heavy cried out.
“Vhat is it?” Medic asked.
“If you tell team… they will know,” Heavy said. “About me.”
Medic stiffened a bit. Heavy had a point. Someone could ask the obvious question of how they knew BLU Spy had gotten into the base, and an answer would be needed. “Zey vould not need to know ze exact details, Heavy.”
“I am terrible liar, Doktor,” Heavy said, looking ashamed.
“I have noticed,” Medic said dryly. “I’m sure ze BLU Spy has already figured it out, zhough.”
“I did not know!” Heavy said. “I thought he vas you! He come up next to me and start showing off and make me feel embarrassed and I only stare at him because I tink he is you and you are so pretty and…” Heavy looked back down at the ground.
“Because you like me,” Medic finished. “You told me zis before, Heavy.”
“I vant you, Doktor,” Heavy said softly, looking back up at Medic and meeting his eyes.
The doctor bit his lip. He sat back down next to Heavy, slightly closer to him now than before. His hands were folded neatly in his lap, at first, as he looked down at the ground below him. Heavy, too, turned his gaze downwards, and hung his head in shame. He was surprised when a rubber-gloved hand took his, clasping it and pulling it between the two of them. He lifted his gaze to confirm that, yes, Medic really was holding his hand. Medic took a deep breath, and his gaze wondered about nervously, but he did not let go.
“I know, Heavy,” Medic said softly. “I… I have become quite fond of you as vell.”
Heavy looked up at Medic and their eyes met. The seemed to study each others expressions for a bit, before they found themselves being drawn together, as though they were magnetized. Their lips met, brushing together in a very brief, cautious kiss. Medic grew bolder, head dipping in for a deeper kiss, and Heavy offered little resistance as Medic pushed closer, pulling Heavy in towards him. He had wrapped his arms around the larger man when he broke the kiss and rested his forehead on Heavy’s shoulder.
“Mein Gott…” he whispered. “Vhat has come over me?”
“I did not tink you felt like this about me, Doktor,” Heavy said, chuckling a bit.
“I didn’t eizzah,” Medic admitted, turning his head so that he was resting his cheek on Heavy’s shoulder, looking out back to the desert. Heavy brought his large arm around and started to rub Medic’s back affectionately.
“Is okay, Doktor,” Heavy said. “I am here for you.”
Medic sighed. He felt himself surrendering to this moment, that feeling of Heavy rubbing his back as he embraced him. He closed his eyes and hummed happily to himself. His mind started to wander, before his eyes flew open as one sharp, terrible thought pierced his mind. “Ve cannot let ze ozzahs know about zis.”
“Do they send men to prisons here for that?” Heavy asked.
“Nein… nozzink like zat,” Medic said reassuringly, pushing back against him so that he could speak to the man face-to-face. “But zey probably vould report us to headquarters und ve could lose our jobs. I cannot imagine zat zey vould be too happy knowing two of zeir teammates are… involved viz each ozzer.”
“If they have problem, I solve it vit my fists,” Heavy rumbled.
Medic couldn’t help but let out a barely suppressed chuckle. “Let’s… let’s just try to keep zis a secret zen, okay?”
“Okay,” Heavy said with a nod. “Ve tell no vone.”
“Sehr gut,” Medic replied, patting Heavy’s shoulder. “Now, I do believe ve have more dire mattahs to attend to, vhat viz ze Spy zat could still be in ze base.”
“Should ve get Pyro to do spycheck?” Heavy asked.
“Please, don’t give ze Pyro any ideas,” Medic huffed. “I really don’t zink ‘setting your teammates on fire to see if zey turn into ze BLU Spy’ is a very efficient vay of confirming zeir identity.”
“Then vhat do ve do, Doktor?”
“Ve could interrogate ze ozzahs, check zeir alibis… if zey ah suspicious, ve kill zem, und if zey ah not ze BLU Spy, zey’ll respawn anyvay.” A wicked little grin broke out on his face at the thought.
“I tink you are just looking for excuse to kill teammates and get away vit it,” Heavy said, internally making a note of Medic’s self-contradiction.
“Me?” asked Medic, feigning innocence. “Perish ze zhought! I am ein doctor, zat vould be irresponsible und mean-spirited.”
Heavy rolled his eyes. “There is no vay of talking you out of this, is there?”
“Nein,” Medic said, grinning wringing his hands mischievously. “Let’s do some spychecking.”
“You look like Peter Lorre vhen you do that vit your hands, Doktor.”
Medic stopped, looking at his hands briefly, and then looking back up at Heavy with a bemused expression on his face.
“Much, much more handsome, though!” Heavy said, visibly fumbling as he tried to save Medic’s good mood. “Is just, when you rub your hands like that, and you get look on your face…”
“Let’s just go spychecking before you make an ass of yourself any furzzah,” Medic said, getting up from the ledge and dusting off the seat of his coat. Heavy got up as well, and followed the doctor back inside the old barn. They had only just gotten inside when they saw Sniper climbing down from the above floor, with a portable radio under his arm, looking to be in good spirits.
“Oh, ‘ello,” he said, noticing Medic and Heavy as they walked in. “Beautiful night out, eh?”
“Indeed,” Medic said. “I’m afraid I have only grim tidings to bear, Herr Sniper.”
“Why, what’s wrong?” Sniper asked, suddenly looking quite worried.
“I have reason to suspect zat ze BLU Spy vas in our base earlier today, disguised as vone of us, und I zink he may still be sneaking around.”
“Aw, Jesus,” Sniper said. “You have any idea who he was?”
“He vas me, earlier,” Medic said. “But I do not know who he is now.”
“Ya need help findin’ ‘im, then?” Sniper asked.
“All I need from you, Herr Sniper, is your cooperation,” Medic said. He snapped his fingers and pointed at Sniper. “Heavy, Spycheck.”
Sniper backed away cautiously as Heavy lumbered forward, close enough so that he was looming over the man. Sniper was the second tallest member of the team, and he still looked tiny in comparison to the giant Russian. Sniper pulled out his kukri from its sheath and waved it in front of Heavy.
“Back off, mate,” he said threateningly. “I’ll run ya right through, I swear t’ God.”
Heavy grunted in response, and lunged for the Sniper’s face with surprising speed, holding the Australians face in his hands. He turned it side to side as he pawed at the man’s cheeks, and finally let go, pushing Sniper back a bit. The Australian was too stunned to speak, and seemed to be frozen in place
“Is clear, Doktor,” Heavy said.
Medic gaped at Heavy for a moment, and then at Sniper, who was certainly not a corpse lying on the ground with all of his blood punched out of his body. “Vhat kind of spycheck vas zat?” Medic asked, throwing up his hands in exasperation.
“He does not have leetle mask on. Vould have come off if he vas Spy,” Heavy explained. “He is not. Is our Sniper.”
“You could have at least punched him or somezing!”
“Vhy vould I do that?” Heavy asked. “He shot many BLUs who try to get jump on me last match.”
“It’s uh… no trouble, mate,” said Sniper, finally finding his voice. “Jes’ doin’ me job.”
“See, it’s his job, you don’t owe him any favors!” Medic said.
“Yes, he does,” Sniper interjected quickly.
“Maybe if ve come across someone I do not like, then,” Heavy said. “Sniper is fine vit me, even if he does sit up in roost all day like baby.” Sniper responded with a sneer and a murmur, crossing his arms and muttering something inaudible under his breath.
“Vell, fine zen!” Medic said, putting his hands on his hips. “Is zere anyvone here zat you don’t like, zen?”
“‘Ey, what’re you cockmuchers doin’?”
All three men turned to see Scout leaning on the doorframe leading down to the RED base, looking smug as usual. “What’s goin’ on, huh? Wombat havin’ some kinda little tea party with Grandpa an’ Tub o’ Lard here?”
“Ah, Herr Scout,” Medic said, sounding absolutely delighted. “Just ze person I vanted to see. Heavy?”
Heavy cracked his knuckles and started to close in on Scout. “Vit pleasure.”
Medic and Heavy burst into the infirmary, laughing loudly as they entered. The doctor pulled out his chair from his desk and sat down, rubbing away tears with his knuckle. “Oh… oh, zat vas fun.” He managed to get out between giggles.
“I tink Soldier has respawned,” Heavy said, as angry shouting could be heard down the hall.
“YOU GODDAMNED GOOSE-STEPPING, JACKBOOT POLISHING BASTARD! I AM GOING TO GET YOU FOR THIS, SO YOU HAD BETTER WATCH YOUR BACK! I SWEAR TO GOD, I WILL-” Soldier’s hollering was muffled by Heavy shutting the infirmary door.
“Does door have lock?” Heavy asked.
“Nein… ze only room viz a lock in here is mein bedroom,” Medic said, catching his breath. “I would certainly like to have vords viz whoevah built zis place.”
“Should ve go to bedroom then?”
Medic smirked at Heavy, who was only now just realizing the implications of what he said. “Eager to get me into ze bedroom, aren’t you, Heavy?” He asked foxily.
Heavy looked down at his feet and tried his hardest to concentrate on not letting the blood rush to his face. It wasn’t working. Medic laughed, and got up from his desk, slinking up to Heavy and lifting the man’s chin with the tips of his fingers, so that their eyes met. “You ah kind of cute vhen you get all bashful like zat.”
“Cute?” Heavy asked. “You tink I am cute?”
“Vell, you have grown on me quite a bit,” Medic said, trailing a finger down Heavy’s chest. “Vhat can I say? I suppose I have ein soft spot for big, brawny men.”
“I vould not have guessed,” Heavy said.
Medic smiled, and grabbed Heavy’s hand. “Come along zen. Soldier’s going to figure out vhere ve ah soon.” With that, he tugged the larger man along, leading him into his bedroom. Once they were both inside, Medic locked the door behind him, and put his ear to the door, listening for and signs of Soldier or any other possible intruders.
“Is he gone?” Heavy asked.
The doctor didn’t answer. Instead, he quickly pounced upon Heavy, hungrily attacking the man’s mouth with his lips and tongue, and frantically clawing at the man’s clothing, as though he had completely forgotten how to properly undress someone. Heavy found himself startled by this quite sudden heated frenzy, but offered no resistance to this new development, letting Medic explore the inside of his mouth with his tongue. He noticed the man was rutting against him, practically dry humping him, and when Medic managed to pull his face away for a moment and push Heavy onto his bed.
“Vhy, Doktor,” Heavy said, letting out a breathy little laugh, “you said I vas eager vone.”
“Do you have any idea how long it has been since I’ve bedded anuzzah man?” Medic asked, his voice low and husky, as he worked on pulling Heavy’s vest over his head. “Let alone anuzzah man zat I actually liked?”
Heavy gently pushed Medic back a bit. He took off his own vest and shirt, and Medic dove back onto him again with unbridled enthusiasm. Medic felt as though he was a man dying of thirst in a desert, and he had finally come across an oasis. A large, Russian, oasis, but Medic was past being picky, at this point. This man had been incredibly kind and patient with him and seemed only fair that he got some kind of reward. As Medic thought this, he was already unbuckling Heavy’s belt with trembling hands. Heavy was concentrating on trying to undo the buttons on Medic’s coat, though it was difficult with Medic writhing around on top of him, and the smooth little buttons seemed to slip from his grasp. The doctor looked down and noticed the difficulty Heavy was having, and sat up on top of Heavy, popping open the coat buttons as quickly as his own excited hands would allow him. Heavy laid back and watched as Medic quickly disrobed, shaking off his coat and loosening his tie, before slipping it off from his collar and looping it around the back of Heavy’s neck, using it to reel the man in more another kiss.
“Is not moving too fast for you?” Heavy asked, as Medic nipped at his neck.
“Vhat do you zink I am, some timid teen-aged girl?” Medic hissed, as he leaned back again and unbuttoned his shirt, revealing a white undershirt. He panted as he tried to remember the order in which to properly remove his clothing, as his sleeves had to be tugged out from underneath his gloves and he was trying to kick off his boots. Heavy leaned back onto the bed and watched, smiling as Medic had discarded his shirt and boots and was wriggling out of his pants.
“You need help getting them off?” Heavy asked.
“I’m fine,” Medic said, kicking off his pants onto the floor. “You just lie back und let me take care of everyzing until I say ozzahvise, ja?”
The Russian leered at Medic, his eyes trailing down his body. He wasn’t naked yet; he was still clad in an undershirt, boxers, socks with garters and his gloves, and Heavy could already see an erection straining against the fabric of Medic’s boxers. The doctor slid Heavy’s unbuckled belt off of his hips, biting his lip anxiously as he tried his best to show some tiny sliver of restraint; he failed at it, grasping for Heavy’s fly.
Medic looked up, surprised and a little hurt. “Was ist los?”
Heavy looked at Medic with a knitted brow, obviously confused.
“Vhat is wrong?” Medic corrected himself.
“I did not tink classy man like you vould be rushing so much, Doktor,” Heavy said. “Does not seem like you at all.”
Medic leaned back, looking annoyed. “Oh, come now, is zat really bozzering you? A big man like yourself?”
“Is first time in long time for both of us… and first time together,” Heavy said, bringing a hand up to rub Medic’s thigh. “Ve should enjoy it.”
The doctor’s face broke out into a soft, mischievous smile as he trailed the larger man’s chest with his gloved fingers. “Very vell, zen,” he said, and leaned forward, so that he and Heavy’s faces were mere inches apart. “Ve shall savor zis zen, ja?”
“Sounds like good plan,” Heavy said. He scratched the back of Medic’s head, and the German leaned in for another kiss. This one was much gentler, slower this time, as Heavy’s hands grazed over Medic’s body. He slid his enormous hands underneath Medic’s undershirt, sliding it up so that he could better feel his skin against his fingertips. Medic let out a throaty groan as his hips undulated against Heavy’s. He could feel his own heat pool in his groin, and he could feel Heavy’s body starting to respond in kind. Medic was getting into a steady rhythm now, and Heavy’s hands were now sliding now his smooth back, and drifting down to slide underneath his boxers, before squeezing and kneading Medic’s ass. Medic let out a tiny gasp at this new touch, and arched his back slightly. Heavy chuckled, and hooked his thumbs around the rims of Medic’s boxers and slowly slid them down, and found himself licking his lips like a cartoon wolf.
Medic shuddered as he was released from his undergarments, feeling the cool air on his bare skin. Heavy slid the boxers down to Medic’s knees, and Medic leaned back again, not only to get a good, long look at the man beneath him, but also give his partner a view of his fully erect member. He pulled up his undershirt with a gloved hand, exposing his chest and stomach, and used his other hand to slowly stroke himself. “You like vhat you see?” He asked.
“Is good,” Heavy said with a grin. “Is very good.”
“Sehr gut,” Medic said, leaning forward again and letting his hands wander down Heavy’s stomach and to the top of his fly. “Now let’s see vhat you have under zere, shall ve?”
Heavy was content to lean back and watch Medic unzip his fly as though he were unwrapping a Christmas present. The doctor was getting excited again and having trouble maintaining the leisurely pace that the Russian had tried to set before. When he yanked down the Russian’s underwear, his eyes nearly bulged from their sockets.
“Mein gott,” He stammered.
“You like vhat you see too, Doktor?” Heavy asked.
“Vell,” Medic said with a nervous laugh, “I can see zat you certainly ah not compensating for anyzing viz Sasha.”
“‘Compensating?'” Heavy asked. “Do not know meaning of vord.”
“Obviously not,” Medic said. He wrapped his gloved hand around Heavy’s cock and started to pump his fist. Heavy grunted, propping himself up on his elbows so that he could better watch the doctor work.
In the back of his mind, Heavy still couldn’t believe that this was happening. Less than three weeks ago this man wanted absolutely nothing to do with him, and his touch was something he could only imagine. But now, now this man was clamoring over him. He practically tried to rip his clothes off and was now getting closer to Heavy, loosening his grip on the Russian’s throbbing erection so that he could slide in his own against it.
The only sounds in the room were the creaking of the bed as Medic shifted positions, the squeak of Medic’s rubber gloves and the sound of his shallow breathing as he jerked off both himself and Heavy with one hand, and he steadied himself on Heavy’s thigh with the other. Heavy leaned back his head and moved his hips in time with Medic’s frantic thrusting, as their cocks rubbed together and he felt waves of pleasure wash and break over him. This… this was pleasant. Heavy could lay back and just enjoy it.
“Oh, Heavy,” breathed Medic, as he pressed himself closer to the giant Russian beneath him. He looked up at his lover, who was lying on his back, eyes closed, lying very still. Medic stopped what he was doing for a moment and frowned.
“You didn’t fall asleep, did you?”
Heavy jerked up his head. “Nyet, Doktor.”
“You’re not looking like you ah very into zis,” Medic said.
“Am enjoying it,” Heavy said with a shrug.
“You’re lazy!” Medic cried out.
“You said you vould take care of everyting!” Heavy retorted.
“Vell, you could at least show some sort of enzusiasm!” Medic said, crossing his arms.
“Vhat, you vant me to start moaning like whore now?” Heavy asked.
“Ach, nozzink like zat,” Medic said. “But it certainly vould not kill you to participate a bit more.”
“Come up here.”
Medic sighed, and crawled over Heavy, so that their faces met. “Vhat is it?”
“Sit up for me,” Heavy said.
Medic obeyed, sitting up on top of Heavy’s chest, his legs straddling the man’s wide torso. Heavy reached up, grabbing a hold of the German’s buttocks and pulling him closer over him, further up his chest, and craned his neck up, taking Medic’s cock into his mouth. The cry he got from Medic was sweet, music to his ears and even more satisfying than the private concertos that the doctor had given him before. He hummed around it, taking it as deep as his present angle allowed him to, bobbing his head gently as he flexed his tongue up underneath the length of Medic’s shaft. The doctor was giving out soft, low moans now, almost bucking into Heavy’s mouth at this point while he leaned over the Russian, supporting himself by propping his forearms against the wall behind his bed. Oh God, that mouth, all warm and wet around him, and at such a lovely, rhythmic pace… it was like Heaven. Heavy shifted his weight, sitting up more so that he could take Medic in deeper, and that’s when Medic let out a long, loud groan. The doctor prayed that there was no one within range to hear that, as he could feel the head of his penis venture further back into Heavy’s throat. Just as when Medic put the tongue depressor back there, the Russian did not gag. Medic wasn’t sure how he pulled that off, but right now, he was very, very grateful, as he found himself getting louder and louder with each bob of Heavy’s head.
Heavy took that sweet, lovely mouth off of Medic’s cock, and looked up at him. “Doktor.”
“Vhy ah you stopping?” Medic gasped. “I don’t remembah telling you to stop, get back to sucking.”
“You’re getting too loud,” Heavy said. “Team vill hear.”
“Right now, zat is ze least of my concerns, ze biggest being vhy ah you still not back to sucking mein schwanz.”
“It will be concern if team finds out,” said Heavy.
“Vell, zen,” Medic said, “vhat do you suggest ve do, zen?”
The Russian seemed to consider this for a moment, but not without his hand up gently stroke Medic again. Medic had to stifle a whimper as Heavy brushed his giant thumb over the head. Well, that got the doctor to stop whining at least. Now, he thought as cautiously jerked Medic off, to think of a way to keep him quiet. The obvious choice would be asking the man to start blowing him as well, especially since his own aching erection was calling for attention… but perhaps he could try something a bit more intimate.
Without saying anything, he slid Medic backwards, while he pulled himself into a sitting position. They were now both sitting on the bed, and Heavy pulled Medic back up between his legs, and gripped both of their cocks in his hand. Medic groaned again at the touch, and Heavy pulled him close. He gave the doctor a sly little grin. “Ve try this again,” he said. “You need to scream, you bite your fingers.”
Medic nodded, his breathing becoming ragged. When Heavy started to pump his fist he let out an excited gasp, and rested his chin on Heavy’s shoulder, biting his knuckle as Heavy rocked his hips in time with the movement of his hand. Medic was getting more frantic, and Heavy picked up his pace. He sounded like he was coming close. The Russian tilted his head towards Medic and breathed into his ear, causing the German to shudder and moan again, taking his knuckle out of his mouth. Medic bit into Heavy’s shoulder, causing Heavy to give a surprised grunt. He was more surprised than hurt; this pain was nothing, really, and it only made his blood pump harder. He yanked at both of their cocks harder and faster, causing Medic to give a muffled moan as he dug his teeth into Heavy’s shoulder hard enough to break the skin and draw blood. The taste of blood in his mouth, Medic could not hold himself back much longer. He arched his back and bit his lip hard, trying his best not to scream as he gave a few frenzied, frantic thrusts before his balls tightened and he threw his head back. He had to suppress a primal howl before he came onto Heavy’s hand in several long spurts. His eyelids fluttered and he wanted to fall onto his back, but not before Heavy caught him and brought him forward again, mashing their lips together as the larger man gave his cock a few more quick, solid pumps before he, too, came between them with a shudder, creating a sticky mess between both of their stomachs.
As their lips parted and they caught their breaths, Medic nuzzled the crook of Heavy’s neck and purred like an affectionate cat. Heavy slid his clean hand up and rubbed Medic’s back. “Vas good for you, Doktor?” he asked.
“Ja… it vas.” Medic said. He turned his head to plant a quick kiss onto Heavy’s cheek. “Danke, Heavy.”
“You’re velcome, Doktor.”
For a few brief, blissful moments, neither of them moved or said anything, soaking up the afterglow. Medic eventually broke it pushing himself into an upright position, and sighing.
“Ve should probably clean zis up, zen,” he said.
Heavy nodded, and Medic got up off of him and swung his legs over the bed. He got up, rounded the foot of the bed and popped open his trunk, and pulled out a box of tissues. He pulled out a few and climbed back onto the bed, handing Heavy a wad, only to see Heavy sucking his fingers. Medic smirked, and handed a few of them to his partner, before he wiped off his own stomach. He noticed a small glob of semen had gotten onto his undershirt and muttered to himself in German before stripping it off and balling it into his hand. He hopped off the bed again, gathering all his clothes into his arms, as Heavy watched.
“You probably should not stay ze night,” Medic said as he straightened up. “If someone sees you coming out of my room in ze morning zey’re going to suspect somezing.”
“You are kicking me out already?” Heavy asked.
“I did not say zat,” Medic said. “I don’t vant you to leave yet. I simply do not zink it vould be vise to have you sleep here, is all I am trying to say.”
“Oh,” Heavy said quietly. He remembered what Spy had said to him in the showers. Even though Heavy had peeked out into the hallway before he had left the morning after Medic’s drunken incident, he had still been seen. Who knew what would happen if Spy saw him coming out of the infirmary a second time?
“I don’t like it eizzah, Heavy, but ve ah going to have to be very careful about zis,” Medic said apologetically. “If anyvone finds out about vhat ve ah doing…”
“I know,” Heavy said solemnly.
Medic nodded as he unlocked his door, “Putting zis in ze laundry,” he explained briefly. His eyes traveled down Heavy’s figure. “Ah you wearing your boots on mein bed?”
Heavy looked down. His pants and underwear had been pulled down to his ankles, and yes, his boots were still on his feet. “Sorry,” he said, and bent over to remove them.
“You know vhat? Forget it. Leave zem on,” Medic said dismissively. “I’ll be right back.” He opened the door and closed it gently behind him.
Heavy shifted himself on the bed, and took off his boots, setting them down on the floor beside the bed, side by side. He slid out of his pants, and folded them neatly, placing them on top of Medic’s trunk as the doctor came back inside. Medic smiled, and sat down on the bed beside Heavy.
“I notice you took your boots off,” Medic noted.
“Vas rude of me to leave them on,” Heavy said.
“It’s all right… ve had ozzah zings on our minds,” said Medic. He scooted up closer to Heavy, snuggling up next to him and resting his head in the crook of the larger man’s arm. He closed his eyes, and breathed softly. Heavy delicately plucked the doctor’s glasses from his face, and placed them onto the stack of crates beside the bed next to the lamp.
“Danke, Heavy,” Medic cooed.
“You’re velcome,” Heavy rumbled, as he wrapped his arm around the doctor. He planted a quick kiss onto the doctor’s forehead, and leaned back against the wall, closing his eyes and listening to Medic’s gentle breathing.
Heavy opened his eyes and looked back down at the Medic. “Da, Doktor?”
“You… you’re like a big bear, you know zat?” Medic said. He was sounding tired now. “You ah so fierce vhen ve ah fighting but vhen I have you like zis… you ah so… cuddly. You’re like ein big, cuddly bear.”
“Do not tell rest of team,” Heavy said with a laugh. “They will get wrong idea. Tink I am pushover.”
“Of course not,” Medic said. “Zat vill be our secret.”
Heavy leaned his head back again. Their secret. Heavy liked the sound of that. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed since Medic last spoke, but it had felt like a long time when he heard Medic speak up softly again.
“Ve shall do zis again sometime soon, right?” Medic asked sleepily.
“Vhenever you vant, Doktor,” Heavy said.
“Good,” breathed Medic. “Good night, mein Kuschelbär.”
A few minutes passed before Heavy realized Medic had fallen asleep against him. Heavy sighed. Remembering what he had been told, he got up as carefully as he could, trying not to wake his doctor. He lifted Medic up in his arms, pulling the covers back and placing him on the bed again, pulling up the sheets over the doctor’s sleeping form. He set Medic’s head gently on his pillow, and bent down to place another kiss on his brow. He then gathered his clothes, quickly getting dressed. Once dressed, he stood up and walked to the door placing his hand on the knob before he turned for one last look at the doctor. He looked so delicate as he slumbered, not at all like the fearsome, sadistic man he could be when he was awake. It pained him to leave him alone, as Heavy wanted nothing more to fall asleep against that man again, but Spy already knew too much, and he did not want to give the Frenchman anymore ammunition against him.
“Good night, Doktor,” he said, as he opened the door and closed it gently behind him.
Spy sat on his bed, looking over his disguise kit. He took a deep, solemn drag on the cigarette between his lips, holding it in before letting it out in several lazy rings. The cigarette was almost spent, and it was of little comfort to him.
He thought back to this morning. Medic had been unusually chipper when he was helping Pyro prepare breakfast in the kitchen that morning. For a moment, Spy was convinced that the Medic he saw before him was the BLU Spy in disguise.
“Guten Morgen, Herr Spy,” Medic said, turning to him with an oddly sincere looking smile on his face. “Did you sleep vell?”
“Who are you and what did you do wiz our Medic?” Spy asked dryly. A cheerful Medic was something that should not be, and Spy wondered if the man had secretly laced the team’s coffee with poison, or experimental drugs. Or perhaps both.
Medic laughed. “Vhat, a man cannot be allowed to be in a good mood for once? If you must know, I had ze best night’s sleep since I came to zis miserable place.”
“Is zat so?” Spy asked, raising an eyebrow wryly.
“Ja! For vonce, I do not feel like cutting open each und every member of ze team wiz ze bonesaw.”
“What, have you been huffing zat Medigun of yours or somezing?”
“Nozzing so crude,” Medic said, his mood souring a bit. “Pyro, you had bettah not burn zose eggs, ze ozzahs vill not be happy viz you.”
“MORNING, DOKTOR!” Heavy pushed his way past Spy as though he simply did not notice that the Frenchman had been there. Spy regained his footing as though nothing happened, and noticed Heavy walked straight up to Medic, looming over him much closer than would normally be considered acceptable.
“You are making breakfast this morning, Doktor?” Heavy asked.
“Somevone has to make sure zat ve don’t end up eating charcoal for breakfast again,” Medic said, looking in Pyro’s direction at the mention of “charcoal.” Pyro recoiled under Medic’s gaze.
“Urrmm shhurry,” Pyro said sheepishly. “Irrssh hurbit.”
“Is okay, leetle Pyro,” Heavy said. “I have eaten vorse.”
Pyro said something that was more incomprehensible than usual, and turned back to scraping fried eggs off of the frying pan in front of him. Pyro, however, was of little interest to Spy. Rather, he lingered inside the kitchen for a few brief moments to watch Medic and Heavy. Heavy being in such close proximity was no accident, and they conversed casually, softly enough that Spy couldn’t hear from where he was standing. At one point, Medic actually laughed at something Heavy said. And not the usual derisive laughter that was most common from the doctor… it was frighteningly sincere. What cinched it for Spy, however, was a sideways glance from Heavy who had a distinctly smarmy look on his face.
That motherfucker, Spy thought. Suddenly everything fell into place, and Spy left in as dignified a manner as he possibly could. He swore every single obscenity he could think of in all the languages he knew, all under his breath. That bastard was rubbing it in, wasn’t he? Spy almost wanted to think that Heavy managed to tame the team shrew, except that Medic, well, simply could not be one by definition. He decided ultimately, however, to keep the insult in his own mental catalog of witticisms for such occasions. Might not be a bad idea to use if he wanted to emasculate the quack.
For the rest of the day, Spy was in a nasty mood, made even worse when the supply train came in around noon, and already there was mail. Spy never expected to get any due to the nature of his job. In fact, only three members of the team actually received anything at all; Sniper, Scout and Engineer.
“Geez, how many letters did ma send me? I haven’t been gone that long,” Scout said, looking over the small bundle of envelops in his arm.
“Yer a big boy, you can count ’em,” Sniper said. “Mum only sent me th’ one.”
“Yer ma still sweet on you too?” Scout asked. “I swear ta God, I got seven older brothers, an’ Ma still treats me like a kid.”
“You’re th’ baby, though. That’s just natural for her t’ do,” Engineer said.
“Either a’ you got any brothers or sisters?” Scout asked.
“Nah. Only child,” Sniper answered. “Dad never really liked kids. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was an accident.”
“Good Lord, Sniper, why wouldja ever think that?” Engineer asked.
“‘E says it when he’s drunk all th’ time,” Sniper said glumly. “‘You weren’t supposed t’ be born, ya little drongo,’ ‘e says. ‘Biggest mistake we ever made was forgettin’ th’ bloody rubber.'” Spy had been nearby, listening in, and had to suppress a wicked little laugh.
Engineer’s jaw dropped in shock. “My God, that’s horrible!”
“I got used to it,” Sniper said with a shrug. “Always hated th’ bastard. I love me mum, though. Glad she’s writin’ t’ me, ya know?”
“You got anybody else at home, then?” Engineer asked.
“Nobody ‘cept an ungrateful bitch of an ex-wife, an’ th’ less said about her, th’ better,” Sniper said. “Why, do you?”
“Well,” Engineer said, “I got a little lady back at home waitin’ for me when I come back, an’ I already miss her somethin’ awful… but I finally got th’ letters she’s been writin’ me…”
It was at that point Spy decided to leave them to their conversation. He was not interested in listening to Engineer gush about the love of his life, and nobody noticed him leaving anyway. Spy had never met Engineer’s wife, but he had already decided he hated the bitch. Was Spy in love with the Engineer? Well, he never liked to use the term “love” in any relationship he had been in. No, he told himself. He lusted after Engineer. He wanted him, he wanted to steal him away and have him for his own like his own precious toy, but he did not love him.
He slunk off to his room, where he read for a bit. He did not bring very many books with him, and re-reading the works of Ian Fleming could only be so amusing for so long. After a while he set the book aside, and was sitting on his bed, looking over his disguises, and replaying the morning events in his mind, soaking in his own envy.
He flipped over the disguises for the RED team members, and lingered over the mask for Engineer. He hesitated before he picked it out, and held it in his hands, staring down at it as he studied the mask. It was a fairly innocuous-looking paper mask, like something a child might cut out of the back of a cereal box. He could only guess that the scientists over at RED or Mann Co. or whoever it was that had invented these things had an odd sense of humor. The emitters along the edge of the mask were so tiny that most people would not even notice them unless they were looking for them. They were what made the masks work. Tiny particles of dust would cover the wearer when it was worn, refracting the light in a way that would project the image of whoever was depicted on the mask. Spy had to admire the man who invented this ingenious bit of technology. The disguises themselves were very experimental, and as such, Spy saw fit to play around with them a bit. One particular feature of the disguise that got his attention was the fact that the hologram actually responded to the removal of clothing by the wearer.
Spy had to admit he saw no practical reason for such a feature to be included, especially considering his usual job on the battlefield. Outside of these missions, it certainly could be very useful. Obviously, the disguises were a work in progress, though, as the removal of the holograms clothing had certain bugs that could shatter the illusion. But at this point, Spy was willing to work with what was given to him. He donned the mask, and turned to the full-length mirror in the corner of his room and watched as his reflection changed into that of his teammate in a cloud of red smoke. It was already becoming something of a ritual for him. Getting undressed in front a mirror was… awkward, at times. Spy’s hands were on his own suit, and Engineer’s hands moved over his chest, removing an invisible jacket. This had been hard to get used to, as Spy had to get used to removing his clothing in an order that made sense in the reflection. On top of that, that the hologram clothing just evaporated when removed. But Spy could look past it for his purposes.
The belt was the next to go, and Spy took his off slowly. The shoes and socks followed shortly after that. These actions were most natural that he could get out of the man in the mirror. “Ah, cutting to ze chase, mon cher?” he asked.
“You know it, Spah,” The man in the reflection answered as he loosened an invisible tie. The disguise kit could not change a person’s voice; Spy had a separate piece of equipment that could sound off phrases commonly said by each of the classes, but this was not being used. Spy had developed the uncanny ability to imitate voices and mannerisms on his own, and the tiny speakers were only used when absolutely necessary. He suspected that was why he was chosen for this job. Imitating the voices of the Heavy or the Demoman or the Soldier were much harder for him, and he usually tried to avoid disguising himself as any of them whenever possible. It was funny, really, how similar the members of RED team sounded like their BLU counterparts. If he wasn’t being paid so well, he might have started to ask questions.
“Oh, how I have missed our time togezzer,” Spy purred, slipping off his vest. Engineer mimicked this same motion in the mirror without removing anything at all. It did look rather strange, but Spy thought it was oddly comical.
“I missed you too,” Engineer said.
Spy almost went to unbutton his shirt, but remembered how odd that looked for the man in the mirror to be missing his shirt before those overalls came off. He slid his down pants, and watched as the Texans overalls somehow became unfastened and slid down the same way. It was a bit jarring, but Spy could look past it. As he unbuttoned his shirt, he saw Engineer do the same, and Spy felt his breath hitch. So too, did the Engineer’s. Both of them opened their shirts, with the white undershirt on Engineer’s chest flickering before disappearing. Spy didn’t wear an undershirt, and that caused a weird hiccup in the hologram’s image. He had to wonder who programmed this image to sync up with his clothes in the first place, and whether or not he should thank them or shoot them in the head.
“Talk to me, Engineer,” Spy breathed, getting up off the bed and standing in front of the mirror.
“I want you, Spah,” Engineer responded.
“I know you do,” Spy cooed, walking closer to the mirror and pressing his hands against the glass, watching the man in the mirror do the same. Spy yearned for that glass not to be there, so that he could touch the man himself, and feel his warmth, instead of the smooth, flat surface of the mirror. “And I am here for you now. Do not fret.”
The man in the mirror offered Spy that warm, goofy smile that Engineer seemed to wear far too often. This offering pleased Spy, as he used his free hand to graze down his chest and stomach before finally groping himself through his boxers. He let out a grunt that sounded like it came from the Engineer.
“Oh, Spah…” Engineer muttered.
“You like zat?” Spy asked, looking up at the reflection in the mirror.
“I need more,” Engineer answered, as both he and Spy slid off their underwear, displaying their twitching cocks. Spy wondered if the person responsible for designing these holograms guessed at what the genitals of their team members looked like, or if they had actually referenced them. All the more reason to try and find out for himself, he thought.
Spy looked up at Engineer’s face, and noticed that Engineer looked… sad, almost. The desire was still there, but it was now more like longing. “What is wrong, my pet?” Spy asked.
“I was just about to ask you th’ same thing, Spah,” Engineer said. “You don’t look too happy.”
“No, my dear laborer, I am not,” Spy confessed. “I may have you here, in this room, and I may watch you and hear you, but I cannot touch you.”
“Seems to me like yer puttin’ a bit more thought inta this than ya should be,” Engineer said with a nervous laugh.
The Frenchman said nothing. Yes, he was fully aware that he was fantasizing about a man he could not have in a mirror with his disguise kit. He was not crazy. He was talking to himself. And yet, his own illusion was making observations that Spy would rather not think about. He cast aside those thoughts and slid his hand down his stomach before gripping his shaft, and slowly started to stroke himself.
He wasn’t sure if the gasp that came from his throat was his or Engineer’s. It didn’t matter. He pulled himself farther back to get a better view of Engineer masturbating, and they both let out low, throaty growls.
“Yer enjoyin’ this, aintcha, ya goddamned, filthy Spah?” Engineer asked, as his hand pumped over his swelling erection.
“Every second of it, mon Ingénieur,” Spy breathed. He had tried his best to sound witty, but it was already hard for him to maintain his normal stand-offish attitude while he was watching the Engineer on full display before him.
Spy was rock hard at this point, his member now throbbing underneath his gloved hand. Engineer still had his own glove, goggles and helmet on, and Spy found his eyes wandering up Engineer’s face. Should he remove those goggles? He had seen Engineer remove them on a few occasions, and he had seen the man’s small, beady eyes. He wondered what color they were. His fingers on the mirror started to curl as each stroke on brought a rush of pleasure to his loins. By now, he was muttering to himself in alternating voices, sliding down to his knees and dragging the hand upon the mirror down the surface. He screwed his eyes shut and held his breath, before letting it out again.
“Need you, Spah,” Engineer panted.
“Wanna fuck you stupid,” Engineer growled.
“Keep talking to me,” Spy said. He was enjoying this, making his own exchange of guttural growls and moans between him and the Engineer, as he went back and forth, muttering what he wanted to do to Engineer and what he wanted Engineer to do to him.
“What else do you want to do to me, dear laborer?” Spy asked.
“Take off yer mask.”
Spy paused for a moment, looking up at his reflection, panting and giving a sly little smile. “You know I can’t do zat, mon cher. I have an identity to protect.”
“Take it off for me,” Engineer pleaded. “Nobody’s gonna see.”
Spy hesitated, not even sure why he was hesitating. He then remembered that taking off the balaclava would break the illusion, since his disguise was on top of the mask. He slipped off his gloves (and watched as Engineer took off his own glove and an invisible one), and then yanked off the disguise over his head as though he were pulling off a bandage. He then pulled off the balaclava in one clean, swift motion, and caught a glimpse of his own face in the mirror. It was gaunt and had tanned spots where his mask did not cover, and his hair was slick with sweat and starting to stick up now that it was finally free. He quickly pulled the disguise back over his face, and with a plume of red smoke the Engineer was back, now without his goggles and helmet. Spy leaned in closer to the mirror and studied Engineer’s face.
“Your eyes…” Spy said. “Zey are blue.”
“So are yours,” Engineer said.
“I was wondering what color zey were,” Spy said. “Good to know.” He resumed his slow, careful strokes, before picking up his pace, letting out a sensuous moan. He wanted to rub Engineer’s bare chest, taste the salt of his skin, and feel the man’s legs wrapped around his back as he fucked him senseless. He thought of these things, and he looked at the man in the mirror before him, panting and grunting like an animal as he worked over his aching cock. They were both thrusting into their hands, biting their lips, and Spy could feel himself coming close.
“Spy…” Engineer panted. “Oh God, Spy…”
The Frenchman was no longer coherent. He held his breath, giving his member a few more quick jerks before he came, his cock twitching and spewing a few meager streams of semen. It splattered against the mirrors surface, perfectly aligned with the seed of the man in the mirrors. He panted, and sank further down, so that he was seated on his own arched calves.
As the afterglow faded, he looked back up at his reflection in the mirror. Engineer stared back at him, looking as spent as he was. “Was it good fer ya?” He asked.
Spy didn’t answer himself, looking down at the floor between his knees, and quickly sank back down to reality. He pulled off the disguise from his face and morphed back into himself, staring now at his own face in the mirror. He looked upon himself, at his narrow face with bags underneath his eyes, and suddenly he looked ten years older than he was. The man staring at him from the mirror was a wretched creature, and the salty slime that ran down the mirror’s surface only drove this observation home.
Why did he keep doing this? Surely, this was the sort of thing only lonely, depraved men would do. Never had he done these things until after he had fallen for this man. He was so used to having anyone he wanted, be they man or woman, and he never thought in a thousand years that he would resort to this.
After wiping down the mirror with a rag he kept on hand for such a purpose, he stood up, mask in hand, sat down on his bed. He opened the disguise kit, and placed the mask of the RED Engineer back in its place. He then plucked out a cigarette and shut the case closed. After briefly rummaging through his jacket pockets, he located his lighter, and he placed his cigarette between his lips as he flicked it open and lit up. He inhaled deeply, and held it in for a minute before releasing it in a steady, hovering stream.
“To be honest, my dear laborer,” he said, “it could have been better.”
“There’s somethin’ funny about those two.”
“Wot d’ye mean?”
“Th’ way they’re always hangin’ around each other like they always do… I swear, Doc don’t like any anybody else on th’ entire team except that giant fucker,” said Sniper, gesturing with his head towards the hallway that both Heavy and Medic were walking down, having passed by the door to the rec room only seconds before.
“Th’ ole sawbones finally made a friend,” Demoman said with a shrug, his eye not really leaving the television screen. “Donnae see anythin’ wrong wi’ that.”
Sniper grunted, his eyes narrowed and lingering over the doorframe. “I s’pose,” he said. “Just… somethin’ about them… I can’t put me finger on it, but it’s botherin’ me.”
“Botherin’ ye? Wot, ye think they’re plannin’ somethin’ behind our backs, do ye?” Demoman asked, suddenly much more interested.
“Maybe, I dunno,” Sniper said with a shrug.
Neither of them spoke for a few moments, and the only sound in the room came from the television, which was playing a cigarette jingle.
“D’ye think they’re buggerin’ each other?” Demoman asked.
The both of them stared at each other for a moment, before Sniper found himself snorting and sending a spray of spittle from his lips in a poor attempt to restrain his laughter. Demoman was less self-conscious, throwing back his head and nearly falling off the couch in his mirth.
“Oh Christ, mate, don’t even joke about that,” Sniper said, trying to regain his composure.
“Sorry,” Demoman apologized, wiping a tear from his eye. “S’a ‘orrible mental image, innit?”
“God… dammit,” Sniper said. “You evil, evil wanker.”
“Show’s back on,” Demoman said, trying to change the subject as the episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle resumed.
“I’ll get ya for that, ya bastard,” Sniper grumbled, and turned his attention back to the television.
It had been a month since Medic and Heavy had their first sexual encounter, and it had quickly become a regular “thing” for both of them. Very rarely did it strike the doctor that having sex regularly with a native of the country that had defeated the Fatherland might have been something that, in the past, he would have frowned upon. Nowadays, he only saw Heavy for being a giant, beefy bear of a man that had been somehow engineered specifically for his own sexual gratification. The fact that he doubled as an effective meat shield on the battlefield was only a bonus.
Calling the Heavy away whenever he needed a good lay wasn’t that hard. The hard part was doing it without provoking the suspicions of the rest of the team. Most of the time, Medic would wait patiently until nightfall, when most of the other members were no longer up and about, but he found himself growing bolder, and wanting to have these trysts during the middle of the day. At first, Medic would call Heavy into the infirmary for “tests,” or an “examination,” but after the first few times he quickly realized that such frequent “examinations” might raise some questions. Medic eventually would try and catch Heavy if he happened to be alone. However, today Heavy was preoccupied with wrestling the Scout. Medic found the two of them scuffling outside of RED base, Scout clinging onto Heavy’s back like a particularly loud monkey.
“C’mon, blubber-butt, that’s the best you got?” Scout shouted.
“I am going easy on you, leetle tiny baby man,” Heavy laughed. “You should know better after last time.”
“Pssh, I wasn’t prepared,” Scout said dismissively, now sitting on Heavy’s shoulders. “Whatsa’ matter, vileness fats, ya chicken or what?”
“Me? Chicken? HA!” Heavy yanked the Scout off his shoulders, put him in a headlock, and ground his knuckles into the younger man’s scalp, causing Scout to squirm in a feeble attempt to free himself.
“Ah, God! Stoppit! Uncle, man, uncle!” Scout pleaded.
“I am not your uncle, tiny Scout, and if I vas, I vould still pummel you like coward you are!”
Medic cleared his throat with a loud “ahem,” which caused Heavy and Scout to cease their horseplay.
“Aw, jeez, here comes Dr. Killyjoy himself,” Scout groaned.
“How droll,” Medic said, standing up straight with arms behind his back. “Ah you two quite finished?”
“Leetle boy is no match for a giant man like me!” Heavy boasted, letting go of the Scout and thrusting out his barrel chest. “I am strongest man on team!”
“Yer also the fattest man on the team,” Scout quipped.
“And you vill be deadest man on team if you do not stop talking,” Heavy retorted.
“Ach, please, don’t get mein hopes up,” Medic grumbled. “Heavy, I vas hoping I could borrow you for a bit, bitte.”
Heavy tried not to let his face light up too much, although his initial joy had not flown past the doctor’s radar. He tried his best to look completely nonchalant, and straightened his posture a bit. “Of course, Doktor,” he said, trying his best to suppress an excited shudder.
“Ah, excellent!” Medic said, clasping his hands in front of him. “Sehr gut! Come viz me zen, Herr Heavy.” With that, Medic turned to go back into the RED base, and Heavy followed him, barely concealing his own eagerness.
“Geez, what is it with you ‘borrowin” him all the time, anyway?” Scout asked, sulking. “I notice you been callin’ him down to the infirmary a lot lately. He sick or somethin’?”
“Zat is none of your business!” Medic snapped. Upon seeing the younger man’s startled reaction, Medic returned to his usual, icy demeanor. “He is not ill, Herr Scout. But he takes and retains more damage zen anyvone else on ze field, und I must make sure zat he is at ze peak of his performance.”
“Oh,” Scout said softly. “Hadn’t thought a’ that.”
“Of course you hadn’t,” Medic said in a clipped voice. “Now, if you vill excuse us, ve have vork to do. Come, Heavy.” He retreated back inside RED base, and Heavy followed after him like a loyal dog.
Scout watched them leave, no longer sure what to do with himself. He needed to find somebody else to bother now, but Heavy was always his favorite. The enormous Russian was far more patient with him now, and it had been a long time since he had been punched to death under the pretense of a “spycheck.” He considered going up to pester Sniper in his nest, or maybe track down the Pyro and light stuff on fire. He scuffed his feet on the dirt as he walked, and set out to find some company to relieve the boredom of 2fort during a ceasefire.
Medic did a quick, cursory glance of the hallway in front of the infirmary doors, before he closed them and turned back to Heavy.
“Is it safe, Doktor?” Heavy asked.
“Ja… zere’s no vone zere,” Medic said. “Mein Gott, I hate zat noisy little brat. I have no idea how you put up viz him.”
“Is not so bad,” Heavy said with a shrug. “Is like nephews I had back home. He just needs to be put in place sometimes.”
“You should ‘put him in his place’ much more often,” Medic said, sauntering up to Heavy and pressing himself against him. “I like vatching you beat up ozzah men.”
“It make you feel… hot?” It took Heavy a moment to think of the right word. He still wasn’t used to talking like this in English.
“Oh, ja,” Medic said, wrapping his arms around Heavy’s shoulders. “You know how I love seeing ozzahs in pain.”
“Da, I know vell,” Heavy said. He embraced the doctor, wrapping his arms around the man’s waist, as Medic craned his neck up for a hungry, desperate kiss.
As Heavy found his mouth engulfed by that of the doctor, he was also being pushed back to the examination table, and he offered little resistance. He soon found himself lying on his back on top of the table, and Medic climbed up on top of him, still kissing him and panting into Heavy’s mouth like a dog in heat.
Medic finally broke the kiss and sat up on top of Heavy, running a hand through his hair and slipping back into his normal, professional demeanor. “I zink zat you ah in need of ein examination zen, ja?” He asked, and Heavy could see the pure lust in his gaze.
Heavy nodded silently, but not as eagerly as he usually did. This didn’t escape Medic’s attention, and the doctor slumped forward a bit. “Vhat is wrong?”
“Is nothing,” Heavy said, shaking his head. “Do not vorry about it.”
“Nonsense,” Medic said. “You can talk to me. Tell me.”
Heavy hesitated before he finally spoke his piece. “That is vhat is wrong,” he said. “Ve never talk anymore. Vhen ve start fucking, you don’t talk vit me. I am tinking you only use me for sex.”
“You say zat like zere is some sort of problem viz ze sex!” Medic said. “You seem to be enjoying it plenty!”
“Is good!” Heavy said, trying his best to assuage the Medic’s wounded ego. “Is not problem! But…”
The Russian sighed, his mighty chest heaving and causing Medic to lean back. “I miss you playing for me, Doktor.”
The annoyed expression on Medic’s face melted away to one of hurt. “Vhat?”
“You do not play your violin for me anymore,” Heavy said. “Ve never just talk. Is alvays having sex. I like having sex, but I feel like that is all you vant from me.”
“Is zat so bad?” Medic asked, looking more than a bit sheepish.
“I vant more than that,” Heavy said. “You do not love me, Doktor.”
Medic averted his gaze. “Don’t do zis to me, Heavy,” he muttered. “Don’t bring zat vord into it…”
“Is someting wrong vit me?” Heavy asked.
“Zere is nozzing wrong viz you,” Medic said, pinching the bridge of his nose with his forefinger and thumb; something he always did whenever he was becoming frustrated. “I said zat I like you, Heavy. You ah mein Freund…. Ein Freund zat I happen to have sex viz a lot.”
“I know,” Heavy said. “But I feel… like that I am not your friend so much. I feel like I am your whore.”
“Zat is not true!” Medic cried.
“Ve have not played chess together in veeks. You do not play violin for me anymore. And ve alvays have sex vhen you vant, never vhen I vant.” Heavy’s eyes were boring into Medic now, and it was hard for the doctor not to suppress a shudder at that scowl.
“You ah fah too needy, you know zat?” Medic said, crossing his arms.
“I am not needy!” Heavy protested. “I just vant to feel like you… appreciate me.”
“Und how can I do zat zen, hmm?” Medic asked.
Heavy considered his answer carefully. Almost every time he and Medic did anything together, Heavy felt as though he were just a plaything. He certainly didn’t mind it; if he was making his doctor happy, he was happy, for the most part. So many times he found himself told to lie back as he was ridden like a mechanical bull, regardless of who was penetrating who. Lately, Medic was starting to get bolder, and was biting him, making tiny incisions in his flesh with a scalpel, and Heavy put up with it because he loved this man and wanted to please him. He thought about this, and then yanked Medic’s tie, pulling the man down in front of him as a truly diabolical grin spread across his face.
“You do vhat I say for a day,” Heavy said. “You do not complain, or argue. I alvays do vhat you vant. Is only fair.”
“Judging by zat look on your face, I cannot imagine zat you have anyzing good in mind,” Medic said, feeling both apprehensive and extremely turned on.
“Good for me,” Heavy said.
“You have a funny vay of vanting to be appreciated ,” said Medic.
“Shut up and kees me,” Heavy commanded. Medic was more than happy to oblige. Heavy kept his grip on the doctor’s tie as they sucked on each other’s tongues. When Medic started to rub his growing erection against Heavy’s crotch, Heavy broke the kiss and grabbed the doctor by his shoulders.
“Get off for a leetle bit.”
“Vhy, vhat ah you planning?” Medic said, sounding a bit confused.
“You vill see,” Heavy said, smiling.
Reluctantly, Medic slid off his lover, and stood beside the table. Heavy got up, walking around to Medic. He loomed over the doctor, before twisting him around and violently bending him over the table, causing Medic to let out a startled cry.
“Sorry!” Heavy said, surprised by the force of his blow. “Is Doktor okay?”
“You know, if you ah going to try und be ze more aggressive vone for vonce, you should not be so apologetic,” Medic grumbled. He was still sprawled out over the table, his ass up in the air expectantly.
“Da, Doktor,” Heavy said, but then realized what he was saying, and cleared his throat. “I mean, like this, don’t you, sweetheart?”
“You ah not very good at zat sort of talk, mein Heavy,” Medic said.
Heavy ignored this quip and grabbed Medic’s hips, sizing him up. He reached around for the doctors, belt, loosening it and tugging it off. He held it in his hands for a moment, and looked at Medic, who apparently read his expression and was now smiling.
“Und vhat ah you planning to do viz zat?” He asked.
Another wide, toothy grin broke out on Heavy’s face, as he pressed himself against the doctor and trapped him under his immense weight. Not that Medic was showing any real signs of resistance, as Heavy grabbed his wrists and bound them together with the doctor’s own belt. Medic seemed more tickled by this than anything else, chuckling as Heavy moved onto pulling down his trousers.
“Cutting to ze chase, I see?” Medic asked slyly.
“Stay quiet for a leetle bit,” said, sliding his hand down Medic’s stomach, before gripping his half-hard member. He quickly tugged on it, and it didn’t take much coaxing to bring the shaft to full attention. Medic bit his lip as Heavy breathed hotly into his ear, and he started rubbing his exposed posterior against Heavy’s crotch. Heavy groaned, and could feel himself becoming almost painfully hard. He fiddled with his own belt, for a bit, before leaning back over Medic again. “Vhere is lube, Doktor?”
“Inside coat pocket,” Medic said, gasping.
The Russian reached down inside Medic’s coat, pawing around until he found the tube that he had been searching for; funny how Medic seemed to be making it a habit to keep it on his person. He pulled it out and popped off the cap with his teeth, while his other hand worked on unclipping his belt and unzipping his fly. He then stroked his eager, flushing cock, as he slicked up the writhing doctor spread out before him. He then pressed the tip against Medic’s ass, and then slowly, carefully, slid inside.
The cry that came out of Medic’s throat sent as much of a surge through Heavy as the feeling of his tight, clenching muscles around the length of his shaft. Heavy grunted, pulling back and slamming back into the man below him, eliciting another barely restrained moan. Heavy offered the man below him two of his fingers, which Medic took into his mouth, as he bucked his hips with a steadily increasing rhythm. Medic’s muffled gasps and moans were becoming louder and louder with each thrust, and he bit down on Heavy’s fingers hard enough to draw blood. Heavy swallowed a roar of pain, and sped up his pace, furiously ramming into Medic and consistently hitting the man’s prostate, causing Medic to all but howl out in sheer ecstasy. He wasn’t holding anything back as rocked the both of them back and forth; this was going to be quick and frenzied. Partially because Heavy didn’t have quite the endurance Medic did, but also because were more important matters to attend to afterwards. He reached down and began to jerk the doctor off, which caused Medic to bite down harder on the fingers Heavy had offered him.
Medic tilted his head to the side, and spat Heavy’s fingers out of his mouth. “Sc-… Sc-…” he sputtered.
“Be quiet, Doktor,” Heavy said through clenched teeth. “Team vill hear you!”
Heavy stopped moving all together. Initially, he was confused. Why would the doctor be calling out for their Scout? He noticed Medic was staring in abject horror at something to his left. Heavy whipped his head around and looked up, and his expression immediately mirrored that of the doctor’s.
There stood Scout, totally blanched, jaw hanging open in dumb shock, simply staring. Nobody was sure how long they stared at each other, but when Scout’s knees started to tremble, and he turned ever so slightly, Medic suddenly found his voice, barking out an urgent “GET HIM!”
Heavy pulled out, and Scout tried to make a run for it. Had his legs been steadier, he probably would have made it out, but instead he tripped over his own feet, his athletic prowess and sense of balance seemingly bailing out on him. He smashed his face on the floor, and before he could even pull himself up, he felt himself being dragged back by his ankles. Heavy yanked him up, holding him upside down like he had just caught a marlin, while Scout started screaming.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God, please don’t kill me!” Scout cried, trying his best to squirm out of Heavy’s grasp and failing.
“I am not going to kill you,” Heavy said sternly.
“Says you!” Medic said, propping himself up on his elbows.
“Don’t rape me!” Scout pleaded, shielding his face. “Oh God, I regret everything I’ve ever done!”
“Vhat ah you doing here?” Medic demanded.
Scout was too hysterical to properly respond, whimpering like a small dog. He finally managed to choke out “Aw, Jesus, put that thing away…”
At first, Heavy wasn’t sure what Scout was referring to, but then looked down at himself and noticed his dick was still hanging out of his pants, and it was quite level with Scout’s terrified face. He meekly tucked himself back in and zipped his pants up, much to Scout’s relief.
“I zhought I told everyvone on ze base zat I vas not to be disturbed unless zere is ein emergency,” Medic said, still somehow terrifying in spite of the fact that his wrists were tied with his belt and his pants were hanging around his thighs. “So, zere’d bettah be somebody bleeding to death out zere, ozzahvise I vill arrange it myself.”
“I heard screamin’!” Scout blurted out. “Aw, jeez, I know you told me never ta bother ya, but I thought you were bein’ hurt an’ then I see Heavy all over ya an’ then I see you an’ Heavy are goddamned queers!“
“‘Queers?'” Heavy asked. He hadn’t heard that particular word used in such a way.
“It means what you an’ the Doc are, ya fags!”
“Heavy, untie me, bitte,” Medic said, not even looking at the man he was addressing. He was glaring at the Scout as though if he stared hard enough, the nosy little brat might burst into flames.
Heavy didn’t loosen his grip on the Scout, and dragged the boy along with him as he loosened the belt around Medic’s wrists with one hand. Medic freed himself and pulled up his pants, fastening his belt and muttering about blue balls under his breath. All the while, Scout was trying his best to remain calm, and failing miserably, sweating and making small, high pitched whining noises and praying to God to just kill him right on the spot. He screwed his eyes shut and tried to think happy thoughts, but that only made things worse.
Scout opened one eye to see an upside-down Medic staring at him, face-to-face. Of course, Medic wasn’t the one upside down, but that was not really on the forefront of Scout’s mind.
“If you’re gonna rape me or kill me or whatever, do it quick,” Scout said, his voice coming out much more shaky than he wanted.
“Dummkopf. Even if I did kill you, you’d respawn anyvay,” Medic grabbed the boy’s face, and pulled him closer. “But if you tell anyvone, anyvone, about vhat you have seen, I vill personally make you beg, und shcream, und plead for death. You vill vish you had ze release, but I vill deny you of it. Do you undahstand me?”
Scout nodded, and could only let out a terrified little squeak.
“Gut,” Medic said. “Heavy, vould you be so kind as to escort ze Scout out of ze infirmary?”
“Da, Doktor,” Heavy said. He dragged Scout out, not really caring that the young man’s head was bumping against the floor, and tossed him out into the hall. Scout tumbled into the wall with a yelp, and scrambled to his feet. One look at Heavy’s face was enough to get him running as far away as he could. Satisfied that no one saw them, Heavy ducked back into the infirmary.
Medic took a seat at his desk, his expression grim. Heavy looked around for the chair he had sat in when Medic had played for him many times before, and pulled it up and sat down.
“Ze boy is not going to stay quiet,” Medic said, his voice deadpan.
“But you said-“
“You honestly zink zat ze Scout could actually keep his mouth shut for five minutes, let alone keep a secret like zis?” Medic let out a sad, doomed little snicker, and shook his head. “It’s only going to be a mattah of time before ze ozzahs know.”
“Is my fault,” Heavy said. “I should have taken you to bedroom. I knew doors did not have lock.”
“Ze blame lies on ze bozh of us,” Medic said. “Ve got too bold. I liked ze zhrill of knowing ve could be caught. You vent along viz it.”
“I am sorry, Doktor.”
Neither of them said anything. Medic lowered his head and buried his face in his arms, and took deep, shuddering breaths. Heavy got up out of his chair and walked over to the doctor, and placed a large, gentle hand on the doctor’s back. Medic looked back up at Heavy, and offered him a faint smile.
“Hold me,” said Medic.
Heavy scooped the doctor up out of his chair and held him close. Medic breathed slowly and deliberately, nuzzling Heavy’s shoulder. Neither of them was sure how long they stayed that way. It didn’t really matter. They were together like that for as long as they needed to be.
Scout couldn’t eat. His appetite was completely gone. Everyone else was eating, and most of them were talking. Heavy and Medic were completely silent, both of them seemingly ignoring everybody else at the table. Soldier was rattling off about something very loudly, but Scout wasn’t paying attention. Every time he tried to banish the image of Heavy and Medic fucking out of his brain, it only seemed to be burned deeper into his mind’s eye. The rippling of the flesh, the moaning and grunting, that look of absolute terror as Medic turned his head to the Scout… Scout had walked in on his parents having sex, as a child, and he thought that he couldn’t happen upon anything worse than that. He was wrong. So very, very wrong.
“ARE YOU LISTENING, PRIVATE?”
Scout jerked up from his previously slumped position, turning his head to look at the Soldier, who was looking at him expectantly from underneath his helmet. “Whuh… what?” He stammered.
“I asked you a question, maggot, and I expect an answer!” Soldier barked.
“I… uh… I didn’t hear,” Scout answered, wincing as he spoke. Soldier had recently gotten into the habit of taking with entrenching tool with him everywhere he went, and he did not shy away from clobbering anybody and everybody that gave him lip.
The blow Scout expected never came. Soldier sneered and made a dissatisfied noise, and relaxed a bit. “Goddamned kids these days don’t listen to authority,” he muttered. “When I was your age, I listened to my elders! None of this ‘civil disobedience’ or ‘rock and roll’ crap.”
“An’ I’m sure ya walked 15 miles t’ school every day in th’ snow, too, eh?” Sniper quipped.
“As a matter of fact, it was twenty miles!” Soldier barked. “Bet they don’t have snow like that in Australia!”
“Depends on where ya are,” Sniper answered. “Most of it’s desert.”
Soldier snorted. “That’s what I figured.”
“Wot’s that supposed t’ mean?” Sniper asked.
“Oh, God, not zis again,” Spy muttered.
“You would not last a day if you lived where I’m from, you gangly wombat!” Soldier challenged, jabbing a finger in Sniper’s direction. “You’d go missing and later turn up as a goddamned popsicle come springtime!”
“Ha! That’s a laugh,” Sniper said. “You ever been to Australia? Every living thing on th’ bloody continent is trying to kill you.“
“Oh no! I sure wouldn’t want to run into a surly koala bear!” Soldier said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
“Drop bears, mate,” Sniper said simply.
“Drop bears?” Soldier asked. “What in the bright blue hell is a ‘drop bear?'”
“They’re like koala bears, but bigger,” Sniper explained. “And they’re carnivorous.”
“Is that so?” asked Soldier incredulously.
“Yeah,” said Sniper. “What they do is they sit up in th’ trees, waitin’ fer anybody stupid enough to walk underneath them. An’ when they see somebody walk by, they let go an’ WHAM!” He clapped his hands together for emphasis. “Bite their bleedin’ faces off th’ poor wanker.” He looked over to Soldier, trying to assess whether or not the American bought his story or not.
“Drop bears… huh…” Soldier said.
“Aw, c’mon, Soldier, ya don’t actually b’lieve that, do ya?” Engineer asked.
“I b’lieve ‘im,” Demoman said.
“Stop encouragin’ him, Demo,” Engineer chided.
“I’m not encouragin’ ‘im!” Demoman said with questionable innocence.
“About how big is a drop bear, anyway?” Soldier asked.
“Oh, pretty big,” Sniper said. “Most of ’em can get up t’ be about th’ size of a sheepdog, but I’ve heard rumors about a small few that get up t’ bein’ th’ size of a man.”
“Jesus,” Soldier muttered, turning his head as Sniper tried his best not to burst out laughing.
“Very funny, Sniper,” Engineer said. “Ya wanna tell us about some man-eatin’ kangaroos, next?”
“Oh, you’ve heard of ’em?” Sniper asked wryly.
“Ze sheer amount of intellectual stimulation from zese dinner table conversations is staggering,” Spy deadpanned.
Scout let out a nervous little laugh, and looked up, his gaze accidentally meeting Medic’s. Medic’s eyes were smoldering, burning into Scout, serving as a reminder of what would happen if he dared breathe a word of what he had seen. This, in turn, only reminded Scout of their terrible secret, and suddenly he felt sick to his stomach all over again.
He pushed his plate away and got up. “I’m, uh, not feelin’ so good,” He said. “I’m gonna go lie down.”
“Maybe you should have Doc look at ya,” Engineer suggested, looking concerned.
“I zink he’ll be fine if he sleeps it off,” Medic said, his voice tinged with menace.
“Yeah… that…” Scout said, nodding almost violently. “Bye.” He walked out of the dining hall rather quickly, and the rest of the team members watched him go. Heavy reached across the table and grabbed Scout’s plate, pulling it in front of him.
Soldier shook his head. “Kids these days,” he grumbled. He then turned his attention back to Sniper. “So, about those man-eating kangaroos…”
There was a light rapping on the door to Scout’s room. He hugged himself tighter, and curled his body into the shape of a question mark. “Who’s there?” He asked.
“It’s Engineer,” said the voice on the other side of the door. “Can I come in?”
He didn’t answer right away. He realized he had forgotten to lock the door when the knob twisted with a click and the door swung open with a creak. Scout picked his head up to see Engineer standing in the doorway, holding his hardhat in his hands.
“What’s wrong, boy?” Engineer asked.
“It’s nothin’, I’m fine,” Scout said, turning away from the Texan. “Just leave me alone, all right?”
Engineer didn’t listen. Instead, he closed the door behind him, and sat on the edge of Scout’s bed. Scout waited for him to say something, but nothing came. He suddenly realized Engineer was waiting for him to speak first. He sat up and looked at Engineer, who was sitting patiently, his helmet in his lap.
“I thought I told you to leave me alone!” Scout said.
“Yer not sick, are ya?” Engineer asked. “‘Least not th’ kinda sick yer wantin’ us t’ think.”
Scout didn’t answer. He rolled back over on his side away from Engineer, and stared at the wall.
“Look, nobody’s gonna hold it against ya if yer feelin’ homesick,” Engineer said. “Yer in a new place, far away from home, it’s only natural t’ start yearnin’ for yer family.”
“I’m not homesick.” Scout closed his eyes, as though this would make Engineer go away. He didn’t want to talk about this. He didn’t want to talk about his feelings like a goddamned girl, and he certainly didn’t want Medic carving him up like a jack-o-lantern if he dared so much hint at what he saw. Just go away, Engie, he thought. Just go away and do us both a favor.
“Well, somethin’s th’ matter,” Engineer said. “Listen, you need to git somethin’ off yer chest, you can tell ole’ Hardhat. I know how t’ keep a secret.”
That last word caused Scout to stir a bit. Could he trust Engineer? He’d always seemed to be the most reliable out of all the members of the team. He suddenly wanted to spill his guts to this man, if only to alleviate this horrible feeling, just like he used to do with his mother as a young boy. The thought of vivisection at the hands of the team doctor was now battling with the desire to confess to Engineer. But he couldn’t give this up so easy.
“It’s none a’ your business,” Scout said.
Engineer sighed. “Suit yerself,” he said, getting up. “Thought it was worth a shot.”
Scout could hear his footsteps fading away. He sat up, and saw Engineer’s hand was hovering over the doorknob. Dammit, that son of a bitch knew Scout was going to talk, and he was just waiting.
“Jesus, what are you, my mom or something?” Scout asked.
“Last I checked, I wasn’t,” Engineer said with a chuckle. “I’m just a man who feels a compulsion to solve any problem that he comes across.”
“Ya know, fer a guy who holes himself up in a work shop all day, ya sure are a nosy motherfucker,” Scout said, crossing his arms.
“Watch yer mouth, son,” Engineer said. He turned away from the door, walking back to the bed. Scout wasn’t sure who was playing who, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to think about it too much. “Cursin’s a nasty habit.”
“This comin’ from a guy who invented a robot gun with rocket launchers,” Scout said.
“I didn’t come here t’ argue about our priorities concerning civility, Scout,” Engineer said, more serious now. “Now, you ready t’ open up t’ ole’ Engineer, or should I jus’ leave?”
Quite suddenly, Medic’s warning rang in Scout’s head again, and the hesitation came back. He could practically feel his emotions ping-ponging back and forth, and Engineer seemed to sense this.
“I don’t think I should be tellin’ you man,” Scout said. “Doc’ll kill me if I tell anybody!” That last sentence spilled out of his mouth unconsciously, and he clapped his hand over his mouth as though he were attempting to catch those treacherous little words and shove them back inside.
“Doc?” Engineer asked. He sat back down on the bed, and lifted his goggles, placing them up high upon his brow. “What’s th’ Doc got t’ do with this?”
“Nothin’, forget I said anythin’,” Scout said quickly.
“Is he hidin’ somethin’?” Engineer asked.
“Y-yes?” Scout stammered.
“Look, I’m not fixin’ t’ play ‘Twenty Questions’ with ya here, Scout. Somethin’s eatin’ at ya, an’ if this secret between you an’ Doc is dangerous, I think th’ rest of us have a right t’ know.” He put a hand on Scout’s shoulder and leaned in close. “He’s not turnin’ traitor on us, is he?”
“Naw, it’s… nothin’ like that…” Scout said. “It’s worse.”
Engineer became visibly tense as worst-case scenarios played out in his head. “Worse?” He asked gravely.
“Yeah,” Scout said, obviously stalling. “Oh God… what I saw…”
“S’all right, Scout, take yer time,” Engineer said. He knew he couldn’t rush the boy, as much as his curiosity and several increasingly grisly scenarios were gnawing at his brain. “What d’ya see?”
“Promise me you ain’t gonna tell anybody,” said Scout.
“I promise,” said Engineer. He hoped he sounded as confident as he wanted, because by the sound of things, he wasn’t sure if that was a promise he could keep.
“All right…” Scout said, looking down at his lap and trying to gather both his thoughts and the words he was going to say. “So, I was walkin’ past the infirmary, lookin’ for Pyro, since I was bored an’ I didn’t have anybody to hang out wit’, y’know? So, I’m walkin’, right, an’ I hear this screamin’, like somebody’s in pain, an’ I just stop in my tracks.” He looked over at the Engineer, who only nodded for him to continue. “An’ of course, y’know, I hear screamin’ like that, I think somebody’s in trouble, like maybe the BLU Spy got in the base or somethin’. An’ I heard another one, an’ it’s the Doc, an’ he sounds like he’s bein’ tortured or somethin’. I dinnit’ remember that he had called Heavy in there earlier, an’ I rush over there with my bat out, not thinkin’, to find out what’s goin’ on.”
He brought his hands up over his head, and his voice got shakier. “An’ so, I go rushin’ over there, an’ I’m listenin’, and I just hear more moanin’ like Medic’s about to pass out or some shit, an’ I go in there, tryin’ not ta make too much noise, so I figure I can surprise whoever’s attackin’ him. I dinnit’ see em’ until I got past Doc’s desk an’ turned my head, an’ then I saw them…”
“Saw who?” Engineer asked. “Medic an’ th’ Spy?”
Scout shook his head. “No… BLU Spy wasn’t there… It was Medic an’ Heavy… an’…” His throat bobbed and that horrible mental image came rushing back into his brain. “An’ Heavy was fuckin’ him.”
Engineer’s face went blank. His first immediate thought was being thankful that Medic hadn’t turned traitor or was being tortured or was torturing somebody else. But this was quickly cast aside when what Scout had said sank in, and Engineer found himself unable to come up with a proper response. Scout was looking at him, his eyes wide, and obviously the boy was traumatized. Engineer found himself letting out a nervous little laugh. “Well,” he said. “I gotta admit, that ain’t nearly as bad as I was expectin’…”
“What, what were you expecting?” Scout asked, sounding very offended. “That ain’t fuckin’ funny, man, you try walkin’ in on two guys doin’ it… ‘specially an ole guy an’ a fat guy!”
“What’d I tell you about that swearin’?” Engineer scolded.
“Fuck you, ya didn’t have Heavy’s dick in your face, didjya?” Scout exploded. Engineer tried to shush him, and Scout lowered his voice to a harsh whisper. “They fuckin’ saw me and my bat fuckin’ dropped out of my hand an’ then Heavy’s liftin’ me up by my ankle an’ his junk was in my goddamned face after it had just been in Medic’s ass…”
“Take it easy, Scout,” said Engineer. “You’ve been through quite the ordeal there, I can’t blame ya for bein’ upset.”
“Yeah, that’s puttin’ it lightly… Christ…” Scout covered his face with his hands. “Medic said he would friggin’ torture me if I told anybody an’ I told you an’ you gotta keep this a secret, Hardhat!”
“I don’t think that’s th’ sort of thing we should be tellin’ ev’rybody anyways,” Engineer said.
“You sure?” Scout asked, his attitude shifting so fast Engineer felt he was going to get whiplash. “I mean, we got two fags on the team, shouldn’t the rest of the guys know?”
“Boy, Doc threatened your life if you told anybody, an’ then ya tell me, then tell me t’ keep a secret, an’ now ya wanna tell th’ whole team?” Engineer shook his head in disbelief. “Do you even know how dumb you sound?”
“You guys could protect me!” Scout said. “We could get ’em kicked off th’ team, ’cause I’m pretty sure cock-suckin’s against the rules.”
“That’s none a’ our business,” Engineer said firmly. “We ain’t tellin’ anybody.”
“What?” Scout looked at Engineer as though the man had grown another head. “Seriously? You’re just gonna let ’em get away with that shit?”
Engineer sighed, not bothering to admonish Scout further on his foul mouth. “I’m not sayin’ I approve a’ what they’re doin’, ’cause I don’t. Personally, I was raised t’ think that homosexuality is… unnatural. Perverse, even.”
“Then we’re on the same page here,” Scout said. “What’s the problem, then?”
“Th’ problem is, son, that Doc is fixin’ to slice you open like a frog in a junior high science class, an’ I really don’t wanna see that happen to ya,” Engineer placed a hand on Scout’s shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. “‘Sides, I’ve been told it’s more like a condition, an’ they might not be able t’ help it, an’ it got nothin’ t’ do with them bein’ able to do their jobs. An’ as long as they’re doin’… y’know, that… to each other, then nobody’s getting’ hurt.”
“What about me? I’m traumatized ovah here!” Scout cried. “It’s gonna be hauntin’ my nightmares!”
“Th’ way I see it, it could a’ been a lot worse,” Engineer said. “An’ as long as we keep mum on this, then we’ll both be safe. ‘Cause I sure wouldn’t want anythin’ t’ happen t’ ya, y’hear?”
Scout nodded. “Yeah, sure. Thanks, Hardhat.” He said, sounding a bit morose.
“Hey, buck up, son. Let’s not dwell on such unpleasant thoughts, eh?” said Engineer, wrapping an arm around Scout’s shoulder and giving him a pat, which caused Scout to flinch a bit. The Texan withdrew his arm, and sighed, pulling his goggles back down over his eyes. “If ya need t’ talk t’ me again, I’ll be in th’ workshop.” With that he got off the bed, and left, shutting the door softly behind him, leaving Scout alone again.
He paused in the hallway, sniffing the air tentatively. For a brief, fleeting moment, he thought he could smell the acrid fumes of a cigarette. He glanced both ways down the hallway, and suddenly felt anxiety chewing at him. He had to be imagining things. And even if he wasn’t, that scent pretty much lingered wherever Spy happened to be. And it wasn’t like he was the only one who smoked. Yes… he was just being paranoid. Nobody here, he thought. Just mosey along like nothing happens before anybody sees you acting like a dang fool.
Engineer scuttled back to his workshop, and tried to look as inconspicuous as possible. And as soon as he was out of view, the timer on Spy’s cloak ran out, and he materialized by the door to Scout’s room. It was a close call, to be sure, but it was worth it. Spy, of course, already knew about the affair between the doctor and the Soviet, but now that Scout and Engineer knew… they were fair game. The cat was clawing its way out of the bag, and all it needed was a little push towards the opening. Why not give it the nudge it needed?
He strolled in the opposite direction, until he stopped in front of the door he was looking for. Gently, he rapped his knuckles on the door, right underneath the crudely painted sign on it that read “WAR ROOM.”
“State your name and rank, Private!” barked the voice from inside.
“It’s me,” Spy said. “I wish to request an audience wiz you. I have just gazzered some information of vital importance.”
Soldier opened the door, peering up at Spy from under his helmet, and then looking him up and down suspiciously. “Anybody with you?”
“Of course not,” Spy said. “Now, are you going to let me in or what?”
“Affirmative! We were just having a think tank. Enter.”
The American stepped aside, letting the Spy in, but never taking his wary gaze off of him. He quickly shut the door behind them, and Spy scanned over the table still set up in the middle of the room. Seated at the table were the Soldier’s entrenching tool and a sack of potatoes, both of which were propped upright in chairs. Spy could not help but notice the absence of any other members of RED Team.
Before Spy had a chance to make a scathing comment on this oddity, Soldier spoke up. “So, Spy, about this information you’ve gathered… Anything on any new strategies BLU might be testing out? Or theoretical secret weaponry?”
“Nozzing like zat, I’m afraid,” Spy said. “Zis is somezing far more… internal.”
“Internal?” Soldier asked. “Do we have a traitor in our midst?”
“Not a traitor, per say, but I have recently stumbled upon word of members of zis very team in flagrant violation of company protocol.” It had been fifteen minutes since Spy last had a cigarette, and he pulled out his disguise kit, plucking out a cigarette and twirling in between his fingers. “I zhought zat zis should be brought to your attention.”
“Rule breakers, eh?” Soldier asked. “Well, then, don’t leave me hanging here, Spy. I demand names. And I assure you, they will be properly disciplined.” He cracked his knuckles for emphasis.
Spy placed his cigarette between his lips, and deftly pulled a lighter from his pocket, flipping it open and lighting the tip of his drug of choice with a soft, orange glow. He took a deep breath, and let it out in a steady stream. He knew the Soldier was impatient, but he could not help but drag thing out for some beautiful dramatic tension. Satisfied, he met Soldier’s steady stare with a smirk.
“It’s ze Medic and ze Heavy,” he said. “And you will not believe what ze Scout caught zem doing…”
Medic had noticed something was… off in the behavior of his teammates in the battle that day. Scout acting nervous whenever he got into close proximity of the doctor was to be expected, but he started to notice odd behaviors towards him in his other teammates. When he had asked Engineer to set up a teleporter for him and Heavy, the Texan obliged, but seemed a bit jittery, and too eager to please. It was as though he were deathly afraid of upsetting the doctor. Soldier, too, was acting different. He never was fond of Medic, but now he was never bothering to call for him, and every time Medic went to heal him, Soldier would rocket-jump away, sometimes blowing himself up into an explosion of blood and gristly little gibs.
This lack of cooperation led to their defeat that day. The match was over rather quickly, and this was an especially low blow, since the team had only just started to function as a unit and win the last few rounds. BLU took the opportunity to add insult to injury (or, perhaps, just injury to more injury), by giving their enemies one last trip to their Respawn room. Both Medic and Heavy had been done away with by the BLU Demoman’s grenades, and found themselves standing back in Respawn, with most of the other team members.
“Man, this is bullshit!” Scout exclaimed. “It’s supposed to be a friggin’ cease-fire after the match is called! What is this?”
Spy retreated into the Resupply area, and threw off his flaming jacket, stomping it to put it out. He noticed that the rest of his teammates were coming out of the Respawn area, and not one of them looked too happy about it.
But the unhappiest of all was Soldier. He was livid, looking like steam might come out of his ears or a blood vessel on his face might burst from the pressure alone. “Briefing room,” he growled through gritted teeth. “All of you. NOW.”
“You okay, Solly?” Engineer asked. “Yer lookin’ redder than a beet over there.”
“I SAID, GET TO THE BRIEFING ROOM, MAGGOT!” Soldier bellowed. He stormed out of the room, stomping loudly as he walked.
“We ‘ave a briefin’ room?” Sniper asked. “How come nobody told me?”
“We’ve yet to use it, since ze Soldier prefers us to meet in his room,” Spy explained. “It’s near ze intelligence room. If you will please follow me…”
Spy led the RED Team down further in the base. Medic could have sworn he saw Engineer and Scout exchange uneasy glances, but he hoped he was just imagining things. Something was wrong, and he hoped to God it wasn’t what he thought it was. Heavy seemed to sense the doctor’s apprehension, and offered him a smile when their eyes met. They didn’t say anything; that look Heavy gave him spoke volumes. Everything will be okay, the Russian suggested nonverbally. Don’t worry so much.
And they descended.
The briefing room was dimly lit, with most of the light focusing on the long table underneath. There were nine chairs surrounding it, four on each side and one at the head. Naturally, Soldier claimed the head of the table, not bothering to actually sit, and the others took their seats. Medic and Heavy sat next to each other, and Medic found himself shooting Scout a cautionary glare across the table. Scout was seated by Soldier, and Engineer was beside Scout, drumming his fingers on the table nervously; Sniper and Demoman took seats beside him. Pyro claimed a seat next to Heavy, and the Spy was on the other side of Medic, up next to Soldier. Once everyone was seated, Soldier leaned over the table, and scanned over the members of his team.
“Glad to see all of you here, Gentlemen,” He said, sounding much more collected than he had only minutes prior. “I can imagine you have a few questions; questions that I will answer. One of them being, ‘Why are we meeting here instead of the War Room?'” A few of the men at the table gave wary nods. Soldier stood up straight and held his arms behind his back. “The answer is because the meetings in the War Room are reserved solely for matters concerning the battlefield. What I am about to discuss with you today is of a totally different nature, and I dare say it’s much more threatening.”
Soldier was now pacing back and forth as he spoke, his eyes glinting from underneath his helmet. “Men, yesterday, I got some rather disturbing news from a source that wishes to remain anonymous. And let me tell, you, I was shocked and disgusted, but I was not surprised. Something like this always seems to happen in situations like these…”
“Somethin’ like wot happens?” Sniper asked, annoyed. “Get to th’ bloody point already, we don’t have all day.”
“You obviously have no appreciation for dramatic tension, bushman,” Spy said sardonically. “Let ze man continue.”
“Thank you, Spy,” Soldier said. “Now, I’m sure you all know me well enough to know that there are three… no, wait, four things that I hate more than anything else on God’s green earth. I hate hippies. I hate Communists. I hate Nazis. And yet, I have tolerated the presence of all three on my team.”
“How many times do I have t’ tell ya, I’m not a bleedin’ hippie!” Sniper shouted.
“Could’ve fooled me, what with those… Rolling Rocks or The Why or whatever the hell that garbage is that you call music.”
“Th’ Rolling Stones and Th’ Who,” Sniper corrected, sounding clearly annoyed.
“Whatever! I don’t care! I didn’t bring all of us down here to talk about your goddamned devil music!” Soldier barked. “Like I said, I’ve tolerated a lot from you people. I have tolerated far more than any normal, God-fearing, red-blooded American patriot should. But yesterday I learned something that made me sick to my stomach; that we’ve been sharing space with something worse than hippies or Commies and almost worse than Nazis.” He stopped pacing, his bugged out eyes peeping out from under his helmet. “We have homosexuals among us.”
Medic went rigid. Soldier could see him bristling like a cat in a room full of ghosts. Heavy remained stoic, but Soldier could see the Russian’s fear in his sweating brow. The American grinned inwardly. He had them both where he wanted, and he was going to enjoy watching them squirm.
With his entire audience dumbstruck, he stalked along the length of the table, still pacing back and forth. “Now, I know this sort of thing is known to happen in places like prisons, or anywhere where there are lonely men with no access to women for miles. Doesn’t make it any less wrong, mind you, but it happens. Some of you could try and justify this behavior by saying that. It wouldn’t make a lick of difference, though, because these are not lonely men we are talking about. These are cock-worshipping, pillow-biting, fudge-packing, limp-wristed fairies who would turn down fifty good pussies just to get at a fat boy’s asshole!”
“Take it easy there, Soldier,” Engineer said, sounding quite nervous. “That’s a pretty weighty accusation there. Maybe yer jes’ jumpin’ t’ conclusions…”
“‘Jumping to conclusions?’ HA!” Soldier threw back his head as he laughed. “If I didn’t know any better, I would think that you were hiding something, Engineer.”
“Ain’t hidin’ nothin’,” Engineer said. “‘Sides, ain’t no rule in our contract here that says you’re not allowed t’ be a homosexual.”
“WRONG!” Soldier bellowed. “Section eight, paragraph five, line three of said contract states that ‘Any employees of RED co. engaging in fraternization with fellow mercenaries or employees of BLU co. may be reprimanded up to and including termination of their employment by RED Co. and its affiliates.’ Isn’t that right, Spy?”
“Yes, zat is correct,” Spy said nonchalantly. “Alzhough, zat clause refers specifically to actual encounters. Ze company does not much care who you fancy, so much as you keep your ‘ands to yourself.”
“Well, I do!” Soldier said. “And I’ll be goddamned if I subject myself to living with deviants!”
“Ya don’t even have any proof, do ya?” Engineer challenged. “Why don’cha jes’ drop th’ whole thing ‘fore ya go makin’ yerself look like a dang fool?”
“Oh, but I do have proof,” Soldier replied without missing a beat. “In fact, I have a witness sitting right here in this very room. Isn’t that right, Scout?” He loomed over Medic as he said this, and all eyes turned to the young man, who had been uncharacteristically silent the entire time.
“Who, me?” Scout squeaked. “I dinnit’ see nothin’.”
“That’s not what I heard,” Soldier said. He leaned closer over Medic, who twitched involuntarily. Scout looked at the doctor helplessly, pleading for mercy with a sad puppy expression on his face. This seemed to inspire more revulsion from the doctor than any sympathy.
“Don’t look at him, look at me,” Soldier commanded. “In the eyes. Now, tell me what you saw, and I swear to God if you lie to me, I will send you back to your momma in a box.”
“I can’t,” Scout said, wincing and trying his best not to look at Medic. “I promised I wouldn’t tell…”
“Well, you told somebody, all right, didn’t you?” Soldier said. “You couldn’t keep your goddamned mouth shut and you told somebody.” He looked at the Engineer. “Am I correct?”
“You best stop this right now, Soldier,” Engineer warned. “Ain’t no good gonna come of this. It ain’t yer business an’ they ain’t harmin’ nobody.”
“Is that so?” Soldier asked. “You know who they are then.”
Engineer hesitated before admitting, “Yes. Yes, I do.”
“Well, who are they, then?” Sniper asked. “Yer buildin’ up so much bloody suspense over who here are poofters, why don’cha jes’ spit it out an’ be done with it?”
Everyone sitting at the table turned to Heavy. His expression was calm, in clear contrast to that of Medic, who was starting to panic.
“Heavy, please, don’t do zis,” he pleaded softly.
“I tink everyvone suspect us anyvay,” said Heavy. “I do not care if they know. I love you, Doktor.”
An uneasy hush fell over the room. Soldier backed away from Medic and Heavy, as though their sexuality was some sort of contagious disease. Medic looked both dumbfounded and horrified, though his expression softened when Heavy grabbed his hand and squeezed it.
“Jesus,” said Sniper, breaking the silence. “I thought you were jokin’ around, Demo.”
“I dinnit’ actually think they were arse bandits!” Demoman said, throwing up his hands in exasperation. “‘Though, lookin’ back on it, I prolly should a’ known.”
“Yeah, that does explain a lot…” Sniper said, rubbing the back of his neck.
“Heavy, let go of my hand, bitte,” Medic said in a monotone voice. “I am going to need it for strangling Herr Scout.”
“Nyet, Doktor,” Heavy said. “Do not be mad at leetle Scout. Is not his fault he is stupid.”
“Hey!” Scout protested. “‘Least I’m not suckin’ wrinkly old man dick every night!”
“Do not push your luck,” Heavy said threateningly.
“Well, isn’t that cute,” Soldier sneered. “But it’s wrong, and I will not tolerate any queers in my unit, and I don’t expect the rest of my team to do so.”
“Urr durrn currr,” Pyro said with a shrug.
“I didn’t understand a word you said,” Soldier shouted. “I’m not counting you unless you take that mask off and speak with us face to face.”
Pyro recoiled, shaking his head sheepishly and looking as though he was going to duck underneath the table. “Nurrr.”
“An’ wot if I said I dinnit’ care?” Demoman asked. “Would ye say I dinnit count either?”
Soldier looked surprised at Demoman’s outburst. “Well, do you?”
“No,” said Demoman. “Th’ way I see it, we’re all a bunch a’ freaks out ‘ere anyhow. I donnae see how two o’ us bein’ fannybaws makes much a’ difference.”
“That,” added Sniper, “an’ I’m not particularly lookin’ t’ be on Heavy or Doc’s bad side.”
“What?” Soldier cried out. “Don’t tell me the two of you are queers too!”
“Course not!” Sniper said, looking insulted by the accusation. “I’m just not lookin’ to have my face mashed into a pulp!”
“‘Sides, I know wot it’s like tae be singled oot fer bein’ different,” said Demoman. “You try growin’ up as a black orphan in Scotland sometime, see ‘ow you fare.”
Soldier snorted with disapproval. “That’s different. I don’t have any problem with colored people.”
“So, as long as you donnae ‘ave a problem with somebody, they’re fine, eh? Is tha’ ‘ow it is, then? An’ wot if ye did ‘ave a problem wi ‘colored people?’ Would ye be tryin’ tae git me kicked off th’ team too?”
“Of course not!” Soldier barked. “There’s no rule against you being here!”
Demoman stared at the Soldier, completely aghast.
“What?” Soldier asked, unaware that he had deeply offended his Scottish teammate. “What are you looking at me like that for?”
“Soldier, I think you should do yerself a favor an’ stop talkin’,” Engineer said sagely. “This was a bad idea from th’ get-go an’ yer only diggin’ yerself into a deeper hole.”
“You’re defending this perversion too, Tex?” Soldier asked. “And here I thought you were protecting your own ass.”
“It ain’t interfering with their ability to perform their jobs, as far as I can see,” Engineer said. “I personally don’t approve, but I don’t think anything I could say or do would discourage ’em, an’ as long as they keep t’ themselves, I don’t care what they do.”
“Engineer, Sniper, Demoman and Pyro are all credit to team,” Heavy said, smiling as his confidence was rising.
“They’re all traitors to the team,” Soldier snarled. “I’m disgusted by the lot of you.”
“You ‘ave not exactly made ze most convincing argument,” Spy said. “Zey broke part of ze contract, plain and simple. Ze real question is whezzer or not we are going to report zis to ze Announcer.”
“YOU REALLY SHOULDN’T BOTHER. I’VE BEEN LISTENING THE ENTIRE TIME.”
Just about everyone besides the Spy jumped in their seats at the sound of the Announcer’s voice booming from the loud-speakers in the top corners of the room. Medic felt his heart sink and found himself squeezing Heavy’s hand in anxiety. Heavy reciprocated the gesture, only much more gently.
“You have, eh?” Soldier asked. “And what do you have to say about this, then?”
“DO YOU HONESTLY THINK I CARE ABOUT YOUR PETTY SCHOOL YARD GOSSIP?” She asked. “I DON’T CARE IF THE LOT OF YOU WERE TO OIL YOURSELVES UP AND HAVE ACID-FUELED SEX PARTIES EVERY NIGHT.” There was a full-blown pause before the Announcer spoke up again. “THE ONLY THING I CARE ABOUT IS YOU DOING YOUR JOBS.”
“B-but what about the contract?” Soldier stammered. “They’re in clear violation of-“
“NOBODY CARES.” The Announcer said curtly. “AS LONG AS YOU’RE NOT FUCKING ANY MEMBERS OF BLU TEAM, I FAIL TO SEE ANY CAUSE FOR INTERVENTION ON OUR PARTS.”
“Interesting,” Spy said, pulling over the sole ash-tray on the table and tapping off his cigarette. “One ‘as to wonder why such a clause would be kept in ze contract, zen.”
“YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN THAT, SPY,” said the Announcer. “YOU KNOW HOW THE HIGHER UPS ARE.”
“True,” Spy mused. “How silly of me.”
“NOW, ALL OF YOU GROW A SET AND HANDLE THIS LIKE ADULTS. ANNOUNCER, OUT.” And the speakers buzzed back into silence.
“Is it just me,” Scout asked, “Or did she seem a little too excited about the whole ‘sex parties’ thing?”
Medic got up from his chair, staring blankly in front of him like a man in a dream. He looked at Heavy briefly before he headed for the door. On his way, he brushed past Soldier, who shouted something at him, but he didn’t hear. He left the Briefing Room and found himself walking down the hallway, not even entirely sure where he was headed, feeling like a ghost walking a familiar path it had haunted for years. He almost hadn’t noticed Heavy coming up from behind him, and putting a gentle hand on his shoulder. Medic turned around slowly, and saw the Soviet behind him, offering him a faint smile.
“Is okay, Doktor,” he said. “Ve do not have to hide anymore.”
He couldn’t hold it in any longer. Wrapping his arms around Heavy, he buried his face in the larger man’s chest, and cried. He hated himself for how undignified he must have looked, how pathetic and weak and girlish, squeezing Heavy as though he were a giant teddy bear. He expected the Russian to tell him to stop being such a baby, but Heavy said nothing. His lover simply hugged him back, rubbing his back and holding him tight. Medic felt as though he had been drowning, and only now had he come up to the surface for air, gasping for breath. He was, in fact, taking deep, gulping breaths as his tears were soaking into Heavy’s vest. Once his chest stopped going into spasms with choked sobs, he caught his breath, and leaned back away from Heavy, looking at his lover’s calm, friendly face.
“I’m sorry, Heavy,” he said, looking down in embarrassment. “I should not be crying.”
“You can cry this time,” Heavy said, lifting Medic’s chin so that their eyes met. “I vill tell no vone.”
“Zank you, Heavy,” Medic said, nuzzling the man’s shoulder. “Mein Liebling.”
“Vhat does zat mean?” Heavy asked.
Medic craned his neck up and brought his lips as close to Heavy’s ear as he could manage. “It means, ‘my Favorite,'” he whispered.
Heavy smiled. “You are my favorite too, Doktor.” He kissed the doctor’s forehead delicately. “Ve go back to Infirmary now, da?”
Medic nodded. “All right,” he said, and let himself be led off by Heavy. His lover’s hand almost enveloped his own, and they walked back to the infirmary together, feeling a beautiful kind of deliverance wash over both of them.
Soldier was doing push-ups on the floor of his room. He usually did this when he needed to think. His teammates had proven to be spineless worms; Spy especially. He was the one who brought this whole mess to his attention, and was satisfied to give it up when the Announcer declared her utter indifference to the subject. He felt most hurt by the Announcer, really. Being a Soldier, he was trained to follow orders, and he had no choice but to back down. That didn’t mean wasn’t bitter. He was. In fact, he was feeling like a blood-thirsty pit-bull on a chain, with his prey just out of reach.
His teammates, the Announcer, whoever else was running this… they didn’t care. He felt as though he were the only sane man among them. Well… Scout seemed to understand, but the kid was simply too threatened by the Commie and the Nazi to actually do anything against them. For all his talk about how tough he was all the damn time, he couldn’t prove himself to be tough when it mattered the most.
And now, there were faggots out in the open, sharing food, shelter, the showers with him, and all he could do was sit back and watch. He knew what queers did to people. They could look like anybody, anybody at all… they could live in your home and pin you on your bed and touch you and threaten to kill you if you dared squeal to your mother like a girl… or so he had heard.
Soldier jerked his head up, and stopped his push-ups. He looked around the room, checking to see if anyone was there. He was alone, though his entrenching tool and the sack of potatoes were propped up in the corner. He hadn’t been hearing things. He had heard his name clearly being said.
“Who’s there?” he asked, his eyes darting around for any spies that may have joined him.
It’s me, Soldier.
He whipped his head around to face the shovel. It hadn’t been just him. That voice clearly came from his melee weapon. He got up off of the floor, and walked over to it. He kneeled down in front of his weapon to inspect it. “Who’s ‘me’?” He asked.
Me, it said. It’s Shovel.
“Huh,” said Soldier. “So, you can talk, after all.”
I’ve always been able to talk, Soldier, Shovel said. I was just too busy listening.
“Last time something talked to me that wasn’t supposed to talk I got kicked out of army,” Soldier said warily. “Why should I listen to you?”
Because I know how you feel, Soldier. I know your pain.
Oh, Jesus, listen to you, said another voice, this one coming from the sack of potatoes. Leave the poor man alone, he doesn’t need you preying on him.
“Oh, what, now you’re talking too?” Soldier asked. “Listen here. I can buy Shovel being able to talk. But a sack of potatoes? That’s just silly.”
I take great offense to that! the sack of potatoes protested.
Don’t listen to the Colonel, Soldier. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, said Shovel dismissively. He hasn’t known you as long as I have. Why, he only just got here on the last train! Besides, who’s going to listen to a sack of potatoes, anyway?
He brought me in here, the Colonel grumbled. Besides, Soldier. You’re sick. In the head. I cannot possibly beat around the bush about this sort of thing, because quite frankly you’re one twist short of a Slinky.
“I’m not sick,” Soldier growled. “And I’m not a Slinky, either.”
Of course you aren’t, Soldier, Shovel cooed. I know that. Colonel Taters is just rude and should know better than to speak out of turn. Why, he’s not even a real Colonel.
How dare you! The Colonel gasped.
Pick me up, Soldier, Shovel commanded. We should move this conversation to somewhere more private.
Soldier grabbed Shovel by the handle and picked it up gingerly, taking it to the far corner of the room, and turned his back on the Colonel.
Fine then, Soldier! Don’t listen to me then! See what I care! The Colonel huffed.
Don’t you worry about him, Soldier, Shovel said in a soothing voice. You’re right. The team is in danger. We may not be able to do anything yet, but we can still make plans.
“I like the way you think, Shovel,” Soldier said. “I have to say, I’m glad you finally started talking. I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have somebody on my side.”
I know, Soldier, Shovel said slyly. I know.
There was a weird sort of tension in the air around RED base that evening that hung around like a thick fog. That prevailing awkwardness permeated the atmosphere, inhibiting casual conversation, crippling any and all thoughts aside from dwelling on the bombshell that had been dropped on them all earlier that day. Understandably, Medic and Heavy were not in the showers with everyone else. They hadn’t joined the rest of the team for dinner, either. Heavy was sent out to the kitchen to grab plates for him and the doctor, and he gave the Soldier a Look before he left. Later that night, the sound of Medic playing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A could be heard again, after a lengthy absence of private concerts for his lover. After it was over, not ten minutes later much different sounds came from the Infirmary. Whether this was because the doctor felt that it was no longer necessary to silence himself and simply did not bother, or if he was being loud as a deliberate act to rub it in Soldier’s face, opinions in the matter would vary. Demoman, who slept in the closest room to the infirmary, was already questioning if defending the two of them had been such a wise idea after all, as he proceeded to carry out his nightly ritual of drinking until he eventually passed out.
Engineer, too, had been agonizing over whether or not he had made the right choice. Though it was true he had 11 PhDs, none of them were in psychology, and he found himself at a loss to assess whether or not the behavior of his teammates was a cause for concern. Any mental instability in the team’s doctor seemed to have little to do with him fancying men and more to do with him fancying pain, specifically dishing it out at the slightest whim. And Heavy, for as loud and frightening as he was on the battlefield, seemed to be one of the more well-adjusted members of the team, though that wasn’t really saying much. But Engineer had been raised believe that love was meant to be between a man and a woman. Simple as that. It wasn’t really a religious conviction either, at least not in his conscious mind. He never was too religious a man, even though his grandmother tried her best to imprint her beliefs on him when he was a boy. He was simply a man of science and logic, and though he believed that God existed, he focused more on trying to be amiable and getting along with people, rather than trying to take to heart the words of an archaic tome written thousands of years ago by people who thought the world was flat and the sun revolved around the earth. Even though he had defended Heavy and Medic’s affair that day, and it seemed to be the most logical choice to leave them be, he was still doubting himself.
He was sitting at his desk as he was thinking this, with a pen in one hand and several blank sheets of paper in front of him. Had he been back home in Texas, he probably would have discussed the matter with his wife. She would know what to do in a situation like this. She was always better with people than he was, and she had helped him come out of his shell in college and become more sociable. He owed her so much, really, and he felt lost without her there, always ready to lend him an ear, give whatever was on his mind some careful thought, and dispense her unfalteringly sound advice. But would she be able to advise him on this? He never had to come to her with anything like this before, and he wasn’t sure if this would violate the privacy of the two men in question, although judging from the faint, distant sounds coming from down the hall, privacy didn’t appear to be on the forefront of their minds. He looked back down at the virgin sheet in front of him, as he tapped his pen on his draft table, and tried his best to filter out the doctor’s groans from his ears.
Irene would listen to him, he thought. She would know what to do. He already had an idea of what she would say, but he needed to see it, to spill out his tumultuous thoughts to her and have her assure him that he did the right thing.
After much deliberation, he finally put his pen to the paper, and started to write.
Soldier was outside, alone, jogging around the RED base under the light of the steadily rising sun. He always saved the laps for last, after many one-armed push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks. Occasionally, Scout would join him for these early morning runs and remind Soldier of just how much older he was getting. Scout would wait for him and jog in place, looking at his watch as he checked his pulse and yelled at Soldier about how slow he was. The boy wasn’t with him this morning, and that was fine with Soldier. His shovel and a sack of potatoes he was using as stand-ins for actual company had started talking back to him, and he needed some time alone to himself. Their constant bickering was getting on his nerves.
Once satisfied by his morning workout, he walked back into the barn and deep into the RED base. He could smell the scent of sausage and eggs and toast from the kitchen, and his stomach growled in anticipation. When he arrived there, he saw Pyro by the stove, prodding sizzling eggs on the skillet with his spatula, humming to himself.
“MORNING, PRIVATE!” Soldier bellowed, causing Pyro to jolt, nearly flipping an egg out of the pan and onto the floor.
“Duurrn durr thuurrt!” Pyro whined. “Urrr skurrrd murr.”
“‘Scared you?’ Private, you should be used to that by now,” Soldier said, marching over to inspect the eggs currently sizzling in the pan. “Don’t you have any bacon or anything?”
Pyro turned to Soldier and simply stared at him, tilting his head to the side slightly. Soldier could only guess what Pyro’s expression underneath the mask looked like, but he didn’t have time to question Pyro further when he heard the pantry door open.
“I could have sworn zat ve had anuzzah sack of potatoes in zere, I don’t know vhat happened to-” Medic was backing out of the pantry, and had stopped talking all together when he laid eyes on Soldier. His jaw clenched shut and his eyes narrowed, and Soldier reacted in kind. He was completely silent as he walked over towards Pyro without taking his eyes off of Soldier, looking like some dangerous animal defending his territory. Soldier sneered back at him, and found himself side-stepping away from the man. Pyro looked back and forth between them nervously, moving over to the side to check on the sausage.
“Sleep well?” Soldier asked, his voice tinged with vitriol.
“Fine, zank you,” Medic said icily.
“Is that so?” Soldier asked. “Because, from what I heard, it didn’t sound like you were doing much sleeping last night.”
“Oh, did ve keep you up?” Medic asked with mock innocence. “I’m so sorry, how zhoughtless of us.”
“You disgust me,” Soldier sneered.
“Ze feeling is more zen mutual,” Medic said. “Don’t you have somezing you should be doing? Like yelling to yourself viz ze door closed?”
The evil eye that Soldier was giving Medic right now was so intense, that Pyro half expected the doctor to turn to stone. Medic seemed more amused by this than anything, regarding Soldier with a smirk. They stood that way, staring each other down, assessing the others weaknesses. All Soldier could think of was beating Medic’s smug face in with his Shovel, over and over again, until it resembled raw hamburger meat. He could feel the blood rushing to his face and he could see Medic’s lips curl back to reveal his teeth, looking like a shark that smelled blood in the water. It made him sick to his stomach.
Soldier turned on his heel and stomped off angrily. He wasn’t hungry any more. His mind was buzzing with rage and humiliation and it felt like a nest of angry hornets. As he marched down the hallway towards his room, he stopped to notice Heavy carrying a trunk from out of his room. Soldier stopped in his tracks, and Heavy noticed him, looking up momentarily before turning his head in seeming indifference, opening the door to the Infirmary with a push of his shoulder and trudging inside.
This had gone too far. Soldier felt powerless, like a neutered dog muzzled and caged, without any way of biting back at the injustice of it all. He made his way into the War Room, his sanctuary, the only place of light in a cave full of madness, stupidity, and sin. There, he saw Shovel and Colonel Taters, waiting for him, ready to lend him an ear. Though, he couldn’t say that he liked the Colonel’s attitude. That would have to be dealt with later.
Medic smiled, looking up from the chessboard and smiling. “You have gotten bettah at zis, meine Liebe.”
“Heh, tank you, Doktor,” Heavy chuckled.
“Don’t get too cocky, mein Heavy,” Medic said. He moved his knight and took another one of Heavy’s pawns. “See?”
“You are too good at this game,” Heavy sighed.
“I have been playing much longah zen you have,” said Medic. “You vill get bettah.”
Heavy sighed. “Is hard.”
“It’s supposed to be. If it vere easy, it vould not be much of a challenge, now vould it?” Medic reached his hand over onto Heavy’s and gave it a reassuring pat. “You’re doing fine.”
“‘Evenin’, boyos!” Demoman said, walking into the rec room. “‘Ow are th’ two o’ ye doan’, eh?”
“Demoman!” Heavy looked up from his game, face lighting up like a light bulb. “Is good to see you! Doktor and I vere just playing chess!”
“Oh, aye?” Demoman said, looking over the board. “I kin play a decent game. Beat Spy by a baw hair th’ one time I played ‘im. Bastard was pretty riled ’bout that.”
“Really?” Medic asked, raising an eyebrow. “Perhaps ve should play sometime zen.”
“Ah, s’not really my type a’ game. I weren’t even really tryin’. Just pissin’ aboot,” Demoman said with a shrug, going around the couch and kneeling onto the seat, crossing his arms over the back. “I’m bored out a’ me skull, though. Kin I watch?”
“I don’t see vhy not,” Medic said, and turned back to the game. “Your move, Heavy.”
“Oh, sorry,” Heavy said, turning back to the board, staring intently as he pondered his next move. He put a lot of thought into each move, often making a false grab for a piece before retracting his hand and shaking his head.
“Christ, Heavy, ye move slower ‘n a pissed turtle,” Demoman observed. “Make a move already!”
“Don’t rush him, you vill only cause him stress,” Medic said.
“Ye know, I never fig’gered ye fer th’ patient type ‘fore I saw ye wi’ Heavy ‘ere,” Demoman said.
Medic tried not to smile too hard. “I suppose I have learned to make an exception.” As he said this, Heavy finally picked up a rook and moved it, only for Medic to capture it without even putting much thought into it. “You ah not here to just vatch us play ah you?”
“I jes’ wanted tae make sure you were farein’ okay,” Demoman admitted. “Ye know, af’er yesterday.”
“We’re fine,” Medic said. “Zank you for your concern.”
“And tank you for kind words, Demoman,” Heavy added. “You are good man.”
“I woul’nt go tha’ far,” Demoman said with a chuckle. “Like I said, we’re all freaks out ‘ere. Not a one a’ us is totally normal, ye know? We’d ‘ave tae be a wee bit off tae take this job in th’ first place.”
“I resent being called a freak,” Medic said. “I’m not some sort of circus sideshow attraction, zank you very much.”
“I’m usin’ a very broad definition a’ ‘freak,’ ‘ere,” Demoman said. “An’ no, yer not some bearded lady or a mumblin’ midget or ‘alf a set a’ Siamese twins, but tha’s beside th’ point. Yer diff’rent. I know how tha’ is, since I been livin’ me whole life bein’ different. Almost me whole life I grew up not seein’ anybody outside a’ me own parents th’ looked like me, an’ I already tol’ you tha’ story.”
“Vhat story is that?” Heavy asked.
“Demoman accidentally killed his own parents as a child trying to blow up ze Loch Ness Monster,” Medic explained.
“Oh.” Heavy glanced down briefly at his chessboard. “Vhat is Loch Ness Monster?”
“It’s like Sniper’s drop bears,” Medic said. “It’s ein made up creature zat’s supposed to scare tourists.”
“IT’S NOT BLOODY MADE UP, YE BASTARD!” Demoman exploded. “Nessie’s real, an’ she’s a great, giant sea monster left o’er from th’ prehistoric ages an’ livin’ in th’ Loch Ness, waitin’, ready tae eat any daft choob who goes out alone a’ night an’ wanders too close tae th’ water’s edge!”
“How big is monster?” Heavy asked.
“Fah too big to actually live in ze tiny body of vater zat it’s supposed to live in,” Medic said dismissively. “Can ve not get into zis nonsense?”
“Fine,” Demoman grumbled. “Don’ b’lieve meh. But when yer proven wrong, I’ll be there tae say I told ye so.” His eye wandered down to the chess board. “Ye might wan’ tae move yer queen, Heavy. Medic’s closin’ in on ye.”
Heavy looked down at the board and his eyebrows arched in realization. Laughing, he moved his queen away from Medic’s encroaching rook, and chuckled.
“Don’t help him!” Medic groaned. “He’s nevah going to learn how to play if you’re looking ovah shoulder. Zat’s cheating.”
“Jes’ tryin’ tae lend a hand,” Demoman said with a shrug.
“I do not mind,” said Heavy. “You have been very helpful for me and Doktor.”
“Think nothin’ o’ it,” Demoman said. “Us freaks, we got tae stick together. Soldier’ll come aroun’, if he knows what’s good fer ‘im. Donnae worry too much.”
“I’m sure zat ze two of us vill be able to handle ze Soldier on our own, zank you.” Medic making his next move with his regular unthinking instinct.
“Jes’ sayin’,” Demoman said. “Ye know, th’ two a’ ye are lucky. Ye’ got each other, an’ tha’s more ‘n I ever had. Bein’ poofs out here’s prolly better ‘n th’ rest a’ us. We donnae have any lasses around. Naught but th’ nood books Sniper got up wi’ ‘im.”
Medic found the side of his mouth twitching into a half-smile. “Danke, Herr Demoman,” he said. “It’s nice to know zat you’re trying to undahstand.”
“I’m tryin’,” Demoman said. “Th’ two a ye’ ever need anythin’, ye let me know. Jes’ doan come knockin’ on me door if I’m sufferin’ from… ah, wot’s th’ word ye use in Germany? Katzenjammer?”
“Vhere did you pick zat up?” Medic asked.
“Some bloody comic strip or somethin’,” Demoman said, getting up from the couch. “I’ll leave th’ two a ye be. Gonna see if there’s anybody else aboot. Good luck beatin’ that wily bastard, Heavy.”
“I vill be needing it,” Heavy said.
“Ye’ll beat ‘im yet,” Demoman said encouragingly. “He’d better let ye win at least once. Dead rude of ‘im not to.” He was halfway through the door before he peered back in. “Th’ two a’ ye take care now.” And he slipped back into the hallway.
As Heavy scooted his queen to the side, Medic found himself re-evaluating his first impressions of the Demoman. Out of all his teammates, the Demoman had perhaps been the most supportive of them. The only Negro on the team had been the most understanding and least prejudiced, and now saw a kinship with them. He felt a little sick, having previously looked down on the man, not only because of his constant inebriation and the violent moods swings he was prone too, but also his descent. He remembered being disgusted by the man’s dark, muddy skin, his scent, the structure of his face… and now he felt guilty about it. Perhaps, he thought, the Reich had been wrong about the inferior races. Perhaps they were not inferior at all. Besides, he had already bedded and was now intimately involved with an enemy of the Axis, a Russian. Before he could ponder what else he could have been wrong about, he heard someone calling for him.
“Ja?” Medic lifted his head, and noticed Heavy was looking at him expectantly.
“Is your move, Doktor,” Heavy said.
“Ah, of course,” Medic said. “Must have drifted off for a moment.” He captured Heavy’s queen with his bishop, and watched as Heavy’s face fell.
“You are no going to let me vin, are you, Doktor?” Heavy asked dejectedly.
Medic chuckled. “Nein, mein Kushchelbär… you have to earn zat.”
The battlefield was really the only place Soldier felt at home, and the fire of war flowed through his veins and lit up every nerve in his system. They had lost their last bout against BLU, but that wasn’t going to happen again. This time, Soldier would be even more on the offensive than usual. Without telling anybody else on his team, he decided to go straight for the intelligence himself.
This caused some confusion on both sides, as Soldier would rocket jump ahead of Scout, charging into the line of BLU Engineer’s sentry more than once. Scout was not terribly pleased with this turn of events, hollering at Soldier to do his own damn job, only to have Soldier yell back orders to the young man that could barely be heard over wall-rattling explosions and constant gunfire. Purely by chance, Medic was trailing their Pyro, building up an Überchargeand Soldier happened to be close by when he finally triggered it. As Pyro unleashed a torrent of flame upon the BLU Engineer and his sentry, Soldier took the opportunity to saddle the intel on his back and make a mad dash out.
However, he was quickly beginning to realize why they usually left this job to Scout and Spy. He was not a very fast man, and he was made slower by the briefcase on his back. On top of that, he only had so many rockets to fire, and the time it took to reload was precious. He ran to the sewers, where he would have a better chance of not being so easily spotted. He had to breathe through his mouth, treading carefully, trying to splash as little as possible. He swam across the moat between the two opposing fortresses, and could hear the usual sounds of war over his head. Nobody appeared to have seen him. Good. He managed to make it all the way to the other side. He was in his own base. Not much longer before he could win this thing.
He went up the stairs into the base, blinders on, focused on one thing and one thing only, and that was delivering the intel. By the time he smelled the cigarette smoke, it was too late. He whirled around to meet the BLU Spy, and before he could react, he heard several firing noises, and the Spy fell forward, his blade barely missing Soldier. Spy landed face down on the stairs, and his back was covered in needles, making him look like some absurd porcupine. Stepping up from behind the Spy was Medic, lowering his syringe gun looking very annoyed.
Soldier tried to hide his surprise. “What’re you doing down here?”
“Covering your back, Dummkopf,” Medic answered. “Somebody has to make sure zat you get ze Intelligence.”
Soldier grumbled, and Medic cast his Medigun onto the Soldier. The two of them made their way upstairs, and came across the BLU Scout, with their own intelligence. Soldier promptly blew up the young man with his rocket launcher, showering the both of them in a rain of blood and human tissue. Medic cackled at the sight.
Finally, they were closing in on the intel room. They made their way past Demoman, who was laying a few sticky bombs on the doorframe, and finally, to the intel room, where Engineer stood behind his level 3 sentry, and Soldier yanked the briefcase off of his back and slammed it down triumphantly, letting out a loud “HA!”
“VICTORY!” The Announcer exclaimed.
“HOO-HA!” Soldier shouted, arms akimbo and chest thrust out, looking like a proud rooster. “How about that?”
“Vell done,” Medic said. “Zhough, I zink perhaps next time you plan to do somezing as foolhardy as, say, changing ze agreed upon plan at ze last minute, you should at least let us know in advance.”
“They would have seen that coming,” Soldier said. “Besides, we won, so I don’t see why you’ve got your panties in a twist all over it.”
“Hey now,” Engineer said, coming out from behind his sentry. “You two were jes’ workin’ together to help us win, an’ yer fightin’ already?”
“I vas just commenting on Soldier’s razzer gung-ho attitude towards ze battle today, it’s not mein fault he took it personally.” Medic cast a glare in Soldier’s direction.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Soldier said. “Besides, I didn’t need your help. I could have handled that Spy on my own.”
“I’m sure,” Medic said. “You’re velcome.” With that, he marched out, leaving Soldier and Engineer alone in the intel room.
Engineer sighed, and pulled out his PDA, destroying his sentry. Destroying his work always made him a little melancholy. He looked over at Soldier and frowned. Soldier, naturally, just got defensive.
“What?” he asked. “What’d I do now?”
“Ya didn’t even thank ‘im,” Engineer said glumly.
“Why should I?” Soldier asked. “He was just doing it so that he could make me feel stupid.”
“He was doin’ it because we’re a team an’ we gotta work together,” Engineer said simply.
“I am not thanking a Nazi or a queer for anything, thank you very much!” Soldier said, crossing his arms defiantly. “Nor am I going to take the advice of somebody who sympathizes with them.”
“Would you listen t’ yerself?” Engineer asked, picking up his toolbox. He walked closer to Soldier, and balanced his toolbox on his thigh as he lifted up his goggles. “He’s a member of our team, an’ it don’t matter what he was in the past or what he is now. A team needs t’ work together, an’ he realizes that. You don’t. An’ that’s prolly why you were never accepted into th’ army.”
“How do you know about that?” Soldier asked. His voice was low and raspy, and Engineer had to suppress a shudder.
“Ain’t none a’ yer business,” Engineer said. “An’ I ain’t told nobody else. But Doc knows. An’ I know. An’ if yer fixin’ t’ keep that a secret, I’d recommend that you treat him with a lot more respect.”
“You’re blackmailing me then, eh?” Soldier asked.
“Not blackmailin’ you,” Engineer said. “I ain’t gonna tell either way. But I can’t say th’ same fer th’ Doc. So… jes’ try t’ be a little more understanding, all right? ‘Cause I don’t want to be a part a’ any unnecessary drama.”
Soldier grumbled, and averted his eyes. “So what do you want me to do then?”
“Thank him, an’ apologize,” Engineer said. “Trust me on this. It’ll make things go smoother for ev’rybody.” And with that, Engineer took his leave, lugging his gigantic toolbox in his arms, leaving Soldier alone.
The door to the intel room would be locking soon. Soldier tilted his helmet down further over his eyes, and trudged out, staring at the floor and dragging his feet behind him. Damn the Medic, and damn the Engineer, too. He hated being humiliated like this. Medic’s ties to the Nazi party were so obvious he might as well have had a giant neon sign over his head that said “NAZI” in bright red letters and giant, flashing arrow pointing to him. And for him to be gay on top of that? Disgusting.
He thought about this, as his teammates saw him and gave him congratulatory pats on the back, as he was in the showers, as he ate his dinner and finally when he retreated to the War Room. Shovel and the Colonel were there, waiting for him.
Congratulations, Soldier! Shovel said. You did well today.
“Tell that to Medic,” Soldier grumbled. “Can you believe that son of a bitch had the nerve to tell me that my actions, the ones that helped us win today, were foolhardy?”
Well, you didn’t tell anybody what you were doing, said Colonel Taters. You were extremely lucky. Think about how badly the day could have gone.
“Luck had nothing to do with it!” Soldier barked. “The hell would you know, anyway? Shovel was there with me, but you sure as hell weren’t.”
Word gets around, Taters said. I have ears, you know.
No you don’t, said Shovel. If you had ears, you’d be a sack of corn. You just have eyes.
I find that remark racist, huffed the sack of potatoes.
“Shut up, Colonel!” Soldier barked.
No, you shut up! the Colonel shouted back. Medic helped you today, didn’t he? He helped you even though you have been extremely unpleasant to him, and what thanks does he get? You insult him.
“You should have heard how he talked me!” Soldier said. “That elitist, snot-nosed, cock-sucking maggot talked down to me!”
Can you blame him? He thinks you’re crazy, Taters said. And why shouldn’t he? I mean, look who you’re talking to. I’m a sack of potatoes. Shovel’s a shovel.
“Entrenching tool,” Soldier corrected.
Whatever, said the Colonel. What I’m trying to say is, you’re a sick boy. You’ve had a lot of bad things happen to you that screwed you up pretty bad. Maybe if you talked to him about it, he could help.
“I am not talking to him about that,” Soldier grumbled. “Besides, I am convinced that he is not a real doctor at all, let alone a psychiatrist. And I hate psychiatrists.”
Oh come on, Soldier, the Colonel pleaded. You can’t keep all those bad things that happened to you bottled up forever… what happened to your father, what your mother did to you… what your brother did to you…
“DON’T YOU MENTION THAT BASTARD IN MY PRESENCE AGAIN!” Soldier roared, lifting up Colonel Taters to eye level and shaking him, spilling most of him onto the floor.
There there, Soldier, Shovel cooed. Don’t mind him. The Colonel cares about you, but he’s just… misguided, is all.
“Misguided, my foot,” Soldier growled. “He knows what he did.”
I’m sorry, Soldier. I spoke out of turn, said Colonel Taters. Just apologize to Medic, already. I don’t care if you don’t like him. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be making enemies in a place like this.
“He’s my enemy by default,” Soldier said.
Just pretend to get along with him, then, Colonel Taters said. You’ll thank me later.
Yes, said Shovel. Lull him into a false sense of security. Make him think he’s safe. Excellent idea, Colonel.
That is not what I meant at all! said the Colonel, horrified.
“Colonel, I was wrong about you,” Soldier said, putting him down and picking up the potatoes on the floor, stuffing them back inside his sack quickly. “You’re a wily son of a bitch. I like that.”
You’re not listening to me! Taters spat. Damn you, Shovel!
Shovel just giggled.
Listen, Soldier, that’s not what I meant, now let’s just… hey! Soldier had walked out on him, and was already marching to the infirmary.
Soldier swung the infirmary door open, startling Medic, who was sitting at his desk, going over his files while listening to one of his records. Upon looking up at the intruder, the doctor’s mood instantly soured.
“Come to insult me some more?” he asked.
“Not this time,” Soldier said, suddenly feeling very, very awkward. He was not good at this. “I… uh… I wanted to let you know that your quick disposal of the enemy Spy earlier, and your decision to heal me as I had the intelligence… well… it did help us achieve our victory today.” He shifted uncomfortably as Medic looked over him, scrutinizing him.
“Ah you zanking me, Herr Soldier?” Medic asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Of course not!” Soldier barked. “I still do not like you. At all. Not one itty, bitty bit. I hate you and everything you stand for. But you played a crucial role today and… uh… I wanted to say… good job.” He gave Medic a stiff salute. “Keep that up.” And he marched back out into the hallway.
It took Medic a moment to process what just happened, as the experience was almost completely alien. But then he found a pleasant smile creeping over his face, and he returned to his papers, humming along with “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”