The REDs minus a certain fire-starter stared at the smoke in the distance. “Well, I guess now we know where tha Pyro went.” The Scout jerked the binoculars from the Sniper to peer into it. “Do ya think Mumbles left any survivahs fer us ta pick off?”

“That crazy son-of-a-bitch!” the Soldier exclaimed, looking like he couldn’t decide if he should be delighted or furious. “Why didn’t he come to the rest of us with such a genius plan?”

“Leetle Pyro should have let us get some kills, too,” the Heavy agreed.

The Sniper, for his part, was one hundred percent irritated, though of course the Scout played no small part in that. “Because it’s against th’ rules. Th’ BLUs aren’t about t’ take this loying down. Thanks t’ that idiot ‘ot’ead, we won’t get any sleep for at least a week.”

“Ah, it won’t be that bad.” The Engineer finished upgrading his Sentry to level three. “I’ll just leave one ‘a these ta guard tha back entrance, and tha rest ‘a us can draw straws ta make patrols.”

“Leave me out of zis,” the Medic huffed. “I have important research to do.”


“Ye heard th’ quine!” The Demoman slapped the Spy, staring into the distance with a blank expression, on the back. “Gie doon thaur an’ see whit she wants thes time!”

“Yes, duty calls,” the Spy replied, his voice distant as if he were in a trance.

The first time the Spy found the Pyro’s campsite, she spotted him first and killed him with an axe to his back while he was still contemplating what to say to her.

The second, she shot him as soon as he uncloaked and watched him, impassive, while he gasped for air and bled to death.

The third, she found him out with the last few bursts of her flamethrower.

Still, his deaths were not for nothing: in trying to avoid him, she was circling back around towards RED territory, the van running out of gas near Dustbowl. He shadowed her as she continued forward on foot until he had herded her towards the Respawn, and then stabbed himself so he’d be waiting for her when she got there.

She raised her shotgun and readied it to fire, her finger hovering over the trigger. “You’ve passed the line from fucking persistent to creepy stalker, Spy. Don’t make me kill you and then make sure you stay that way.”

That she was willing to talk to him at all instead of just killing him on sight again was, all considering, a good sign, even if all she had to say was a threat. He leaned back against the wall and lit a new cigarette. “At least hear me out first,” he gave her his best ‘dashing rogue’ smile and slipped into his fake accent. “See voo play?”

She narrowed her eyes at the Spy, no doubt contemplating whether she could follow through with killing him and sabotaging the equipment before he could respawn. “Talk fast.”

Though his gut told him that he faced less risk of getting shot the longer he could drag this out, the Spy decided to cut to the chase. “RED would like to continue with the terms of your contract—minus any inevitable deductions from your paycheck once BLU sues for damages, of course.”

She blinked at him for a moment, not believing his words, and then scowled. “That’s it? That’s what they sent you to chase me for?”

“That’s what it comes down to, yeah. Our employers are always looking for the best talent, and you’ve proved you that you’re worth keeping.”

She scoffed at that. “And if I don’t want to be ‘kept’?”

“RED and BLU own half the world each. There isn’t any place on earth where you could hide. But here, you have already dealt with the ones who know your true identity.” The Spy spread his hands in a gesture of surrender when she raised an eyebrow at him. “All except myself, of course, and I am certain RED will ensure that we never meet again after this.”

She scoffed again, but this time she also lowered her weapon. “How convenient.”

The Spy forced a smile and offered her a cigarette. “RED is nothing if not efficient.”

One year later:

The RED Scout, wanting a taste of the pot before it was ready, couldn’t withdraw his hand fast enough to avoid getting smacked in the hand with the spoon. “Aw, c’mon, Mumbles! Just a little taste!”

“Whht yrr trn lhhk hvrhnn hlss.”

“But–” A second smack, this time on the Scout’s arm, sent the boy running. “Okay, okay! Ow, geez!”

The Spy smirked as he extinguished a spent cigarette into the mound that used to be the ashtray and lit a new one. “I don’t weesh to say ‘I told you so’, kiddo, but–”

“Oh, shut your trap, Spy.” The Scout plopped into a chair and drew his knees to his chest, sulking.

The Pyro, seeing this, let out a muffled laugh and kept stirring.