Someone requested a ‘fic based on this animation. Being contrary, I went in a different tack than what was presented.
Respawn going bonkers again? Check. (Didn’t the Administrator promise to have that fixed already? This was starting to cut into his ability to do his job.)
Scout reverting to an infant instead of coming back good as new like he’s supposed to? Check. (At least he didn’t sprout tentacles, or his limbs didn’t go wonky, or he didn’t grow a second head. Everybody contemplated suicide during that hellish week.)
Sniper drawing the short straw for babysitting duty three days in a row? Check, check, and check. (The lottery was rigged, he was sure of it, but whatever. Somebody had to take one for the team.)
Even pint-sized and unable to form proper words, the hooligan was a pain in the arse. And it wasn’t just that he always wanted attention or wouldn’t stop gumming on the Sniper’s chest, but that the shrunken Scout seemed dead set on calling the Sniper “Mum”.
“Okay, repeat after me,” the Sniper intoned, holding the squirming blob of flesh at arm’s length. “Dad.”
The Scout giggled at being held. “Da?”
“Dad.” The Sniper repeated, emphasizing the second ‘d’. “Dad.”
“Dad,” the Scout parroted back at him.
The Sniper went back and forth a few times before he was satisfied that the Scout had gotten the lesson. He set the Scout back on the bed. “Roight, then. Who am I?”
“Mum!” The Scout chirped, reaching his stubby little arms towards the Sniper.
“Dad. Dad. Dad.” The Sniper pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling the onset of a headache.
“Mum. Mum. Mumumumumum.” The Scout grinned a gummy smile.
The Sniper sighed. He didn’t want it to have to come to this, but if he had to play dirty, he could play dirty. “‘ere we go, ‘oo’s getting a Dispenser?” He cooed, holding up the child-sized plush toy the Engineer had made after the Scout refused to sleep on Day One.
The Scout’s gaze went to the object at once. “Ooh!”
“And—” the Sniper dangled it just out of the Scout’s reach. “‘oo am I?”
“Mum!” the Scout answered at once, his gaze still fixed on the toy.
“No, you’re not getting this until we get it sorted out.” The Sniper stood up, towering over the Scout now.
The Scout laughed at first, the Sniper held firm. Then the Scout tried a different tack, looking all teary eyed, but once again there was no response. The fake tears soon turned to real ones as comprehension began to dawn that he wasn’t getting his way this time.
The Sniper waited until the crying stopped to speak again. “Okay. We ‘ad enough?”
The Scout nodded, smearing snot all over his face.
“All roight, ‘ere we go. ‘oo am I?”
The Sniper rewarded the Scout’s obedience with the toy he wanted, giving him a pat on the head.
The Scout clung onto it with stubborn tenacity, mumbling to himself.
Though the Sniper prided himself on being able to snap awake at the the slightest bit of noise, he slept through most of the Spy’s attempts at re-indoctrinating the Scout on account of sheer exhaustion. He knew he shouldn’t have trusted the Spy to be up to any good, but the makeshift fort of furniture and cardboard boxes wouldn’t stand a chance against an infant of the Scout’s caliber once there wasn’t any more hats to gum on.
He cracked an eye open and was amused to find the Spy hunched over the Scout, pointing to a picture of the Sniper. “Maman,” he whispered, keeping his voice as low as he could.
“Dada,” the Scout whispered back.
The Sniper let this exchange go back and forth a bit before he sat up and cleared his throat. “Thanks, Spoi, I’ve got it from ‘ere.”
The Scout padded over to the Sniper and sat on his legs. “Dada!”
“Ah, well,” the Spy tried to play it cool, but it was obvious he knew that he’d been caught. “Glad to see you enjoying yourself for once.”
The Sniper shrugged. “We’ve come t’ a bit ‘f an understanding, I suppose.”
Then he reached into his pocket and granted the Scout a cookie, eliciting another joyous: “Dada!”