Disclaimer: All of the characters of Team Fortress 2 belong to Valve. I own nothing and I am not making any profit from the following story. The story is for nothing else but my (and the reader's) twisted pleasure. Please don't sue me… Or I'll stop purchasing games from Steam! (Ha. No I wouldn't.)
Chapter One: Professional Courtesy
It was a scorching afternoon on the fort's battlements. The sun seemed as though it were inches from the earth, the air was so thick that taking a deep breath meant risking drowning in the thick, humid air. Adding to the less than pleasant environment were the sounds and scents of warfare. Gunpowder, sweat, blood and screams of panic were almost as thick as the muggy air.
For the Sniper positioned on the deck of the fort, the heat from a recently fired gun did little for his personal comfort. A high-powered rifle with a smoking barrel; personal safety at a scalding price. Compounding the hell of battlefield was the Scout, with a heavy satchel slung over his shoulder, racing towards the battlements.
Usually the Scout had no control over the external temperature surrounding the Sniper, but this Scout was unique: he was on fire.
"Cover-me-cover-me-cover-me-cover-me!" the Scout screamed as he barreled past the expert marksman. Papers from the suitcase on the Scout's back fluttered to the Sniper's feet.
"An inconvenient time for stop, drop and roll, I see," the Sniper noted in a cheery tone as he adjusted his scope.
Seconds after the Scout cannoned away, the source of the Scout's third degree burns appeared in the doorway across the bridged valley. The Sniper smirked and placed the Pyro's masked head in his laser's sight, "Wave goodbye to your head, mate…"
His finger squeezed the trigger at the very moment his leg gave out. A stray bullet from some unnamed assailant found it's mark in the Sniper's left calf. In what could only be described as a tragic domino effect, the bullet that had been destined for the interior of the Pyro's skull ricocheted off the wall beyond it's intended target and the Sniper's gun fell to the wooden floor with a muted clatter.
The Sniper, who had collapsed in a heap beside his gun, hissed at a number of inopportune things: missing a perfectly lovely shot, his gushing leg wound and the lack of proximity between himself and the team Medic, to be precise.
With a touch of finesse, the Sniper rolled to safety behind a barricade. He achingly pulled himself upright and began to inspect his leg. After a moment of entirely useful staring, he cocked his head in curiosity; was that white bit bone or cartilage?
No matter what that was sticking grotesquely from his leg, the Sniper knew he was in danger of severe blood loss. With the locker rooms just feet away and the Medic nowhere in sight, he began a painful struggle to stand on his good leg. A task that had seemed so simple in his mind was suddenly difficult, for every time he attempted to stand more blood poured from his leg. He gave a grunt of discontent at the entire situation and resorted to more a demeaning method of movement: he began to crawl.
The Sniper gave a sigh of relief as he crawled into the safe zone that was the battlement locker room. With a grunt of exertion, he pulled himself onto a bench beside the medicine cabinet and began searching the cabinet for anything useful: bandages, bottles of antiseptics, liquor…
His hand had barely grasped a package of linen bandages when a resounding, victorious cheer boomed from beyond the locker room door. It seemed the Scout that he was supposed to be covering had been successful in his run; perhaps it was the fire that encouraged him to run a tad quicker…
The metal door of the locker room rose and the Scout, with his clothing singed and wafts of smoke trailing from his person, bounded in. The state of his clothing aside, he looked, surprisingly, no worse for wear.
"Speak of the devil," the Sniper tipped his hat to the Scout, "Congrats on the capture. Well done and all that."
"Yeah, yeah, thanks," the Scout picked a piece of smoking cotton off his shoulder and flicked it into the air, "But we need to talk about what I mean when I say 'Cover me'. I was kinda hoping ya woulda painted the wall with that psycho's brains, ya know? But that damn pyromaniac chased me so deep into our barracks I thought-"
The Sniper interrupted the Scout by raising a hand, glaring vehemently and pointing to his mangled leg.
"Never mind then," the Scout wisely dropped the subject, "Need me to get the Doc?"
"I'd appreciate it," the Sniper answered as he began to unravel the bandages he had previously selected.
"YO! DOC! UP HERE MAN!" the Scout called down the staircase beyond the locker room. His voice echoed and reverberated through the tiled locker room. The Sniper winced at the obnoxious crescendo.
The sound of boots clicking the wooden steps announced the arrival of a very weary, very exasperated Medic, "If you vould stand still for one second I vouldn't have to chase you around this damned-"
"Relax, Doc, for once it ain't me," the Scout snorted and pointed to the Sniper before adding, "Though whenever you feel like treating these burns of mine a bit more…"
The Medic ignored the Scout and glanced down at the Sniper's leg with keen interest, "Ahh, Sniper…Nasty vound there. Who vas the culprit?"
"Your guess is as good as mine, Doc," the Sniper answered as he lifted his injured leg onto the bench, "Someone's lucky day, I suspect."
Opting to look away from whatever treatment the Medic was about to instigate, the Sniper spoke to the Scout once more, "So what didja managed to get?"
The Scout shrugged, "Beats the hell outta me. Dropped that stuff down below. I was on fire the whole way, lemme tell ya! Good thing the Doc saw me on my way in, otherwise I mighta been a charred mark on the floor right about now, eh Doc?"
"Yes and vouldn't that have been a tragedy for us all?" the Medic noted with a touch of regret in his voice.
The Sniper gave one, rough laugh before gasping in pain. He didn't care to watch what was being done to his leg, but he snarled through clenched teeth, "That didn't feel like an improvement."
"I'm sorry, did you vant your tibia exposed for the rest of your life?" the Medic asked in an affronted tone before throwing the switch on the health pack, "I barely touched you. Besides, you should be thanking me, ja? You vill be able to walk in ten minutes and, thanks to our speedy comrade here, you vill have a day or so took take a load off."
"Splendid. A vacation sounds lovely," the Sniper noted as he laid back on the bench and allowed the Medic to finish mending his wound. The Medic's health pack whirred to life as he pulled the handle back and began to pump whatever healing ions it contained into the Sniper's leg.
"A vacation? I'm the one gunning my ass around these grounds all day long!" the Scout griped indignantly.
"What was that about a charred mark on the floor, mate?" the Sniper ignored the jab at his occupation and gave the Scout an amiable smile, "Sounds like you missed out on a very exclusive vacation opportunity."
It was the Medic's turn to chuckle as he flipped the handle of the health pack back into place. The Medic finished tending to the Sniper's leg by wrapping a tight bandage around the once injured limb.
The Scout, high on his own ego, snorted at the Sniper's remark and the Medic's accompanying amusement, "Laugh it up, boys. It's my praises you'll be sing'n tonight! And I think I-"
"Howdy," a lazy, Southern drawl interrupted the Scout. The Engineer's goggled head popped up, with startling speed, from behind the Scout (who jumped comically at the sudden appearance of the Engineer), "You boys busy?"
"Not now. We're finished here, vhy? Is there a problem?" the Medic asked as he gave the Sniper's arm a rough tug and forced him to his feet. The Sniper, who protested momentarily with an "Oye!" placed his once injured leg on the floor and, with a mild look of surprise, slapped the Medic's shoulder, "Thanks Doc."
"I would call it a problem, yeah…" the Engineer explained as he scratched his head with one hand and gestured over his shoulder with the other, "Lets just say that our Demolition expert has…well, maybe you should just come and see for yourselves."
"Some'n wrong with my intel, Tex?" the Scout demanded in an offended tone.
"Wouldn't know, the Spy hasn't had a chance to check it out, but that's not the issue," the Engineer gestured over his shoulder once more, "I've really got no words for it, gents. Best just to follow me."
They exited the locker room as a group with the Engineer leading them into the winding hallway. The Scout was grumbling as they marched into the labyrinth-like basement of their fort ("Worked my ass off for that intel, no one's tell'n me it's useless!"), the Sniper glanced down at his leg after every few steps in an attempt to correct the slight limp he now had and the Medic waved his hand to dismiss the worry that the Sniper was not voicing ("Stop vorrying. That vill be gone in a week.").
After following the Engineer into the bowels of the giant fortress, the group stopped short of a closed door at the end of a typically abandoned hallway. The closed door did little to mask the sounds of the bellowing Scotsman.
The Scout cocked his head and looked to the Engineer, "Our empty supply closet?"
"It's not as empty as it once was," the Engineer turned to the Medic and Sniper, "I told him we weren't equipped to handle something like this, but the Demo caught him and the Soldier insisted we decide as a team as to what to do with him."
The Medic and Sniper exchanged a confused glance as the Engineer unlocked the door. The Engineer stepped aside and held the door wide for his teammates, "After you…"
Bright fluorescent lights flooded the tiny, concrete room. It was entirely possible that the supply room had once been labeled a barrack; it had a sink, drain on the floor and a toilet placed carelessly in one corner of the cramped room. There was a spare six feet that could have accompanied a cot and turned the room into a perfectly acceptable military dorm; however, none of the men had wanted it. It was too deep into the base, too far from the action of the front line. So it had been transformed into a makeshift supply room, stocked with tools that were rarely needed.
The room was hot and crowded with the entire team packed inside. In one corner stood the Spy, his shoulders backed against the wall, a cigarette hanging loosely from his lips and his eyes focused on the center of the room. Next to the Spy stood the Soldier, who was stroking his chin in way that would have made any sane man concerned about whatever distorted plan he was cooking up. Standing beside the Soldier was the team's Pyrotechnician, a man of a few, muffled words with an axe slung over his shoulder. In a corner all to himself stood the Heavy weapons specialist; he was gazing into the center of the room with utter fascination. Finally, standing in the center of the room, arms crossed and head high with pride, stood the Demolition expert.
Behind the Demo expert, kneeling on the hard stone floor with their arms bound behind their back, was a tenth individual. The tenth member of the awkward meeting was the source of the ruckus: the tenth member was a second Pyrotechnician specialist, decked out in the blue garments of the opposing team.
"What in the hell?" the Scout was the first of the newcomers to speak, "The hell is he doing down here? And why is he alive?"
"I caught 'im, lad! One of me grenades knocked him for a loop when he was chasing you down," the Demo man threw his arm around the bound Pyro, "Ain't that right, my boy?"
The BLU suited Pyro made no response.
"Good for you. Vell done. A fine catch there," the Medic noted with more than a hint of sarcasm, "Now vill someone shoot him so we can be on vith our lives?"
"Nah, no, no Doc," the Scout had a malicious grin spreading across his face, "Hold on a second. Why make it easy for him? He lit my ass up less than an hour ago and I doubt he feels even a bit sorry about that… Yeah, you remember me, don'tcha?"
The BLU Pyro had glanced up at the Scout momentarily before shrugging; he didn't care or couldn't be bothered to care.
With lightening speed, the Scout reared a clenched fist back and swung, with frightening force, at the BLU Pyro. There was a stomach churning crunch as his fist connected with the Pyro's masked head. The Pyro swooned forward just as the Demoman grabbed the straps of his suit to prevent him from crumbling to the floor. Blood began to trickle from the filter on the Pyro's mask.
"Yeah! Bet you're real sorry about lighting me up now, huh? HUH?" the Scout shouted into the Pyro's hanging head.
"Oye! A bit uncalled for, don't you think?" the Sniper growled.
"In his defense, that gentleman has done far worse to all of us," the Spy flicked his cigarette in the Sniper's direction, "A touch of revenge never hurt anyone, no?"
"Vhatever. So ve'll let the little punk beat him to death, ja? Then ve dump the body on the other team's doorstep and call it a successful day," the Medic grumbled, "Are ve through here?"
The team exchanged a series of glances, but no one said a word. The Scout was dancing on the balls of his feet and making quick jabs towards the Pyro's head, ready to deliver another painful blow. The Sniper sighed and turned to leave the room.
It was the Heavy's booming voice that stopped the Sniper and forced all of the team members to look up in surprise, "Ransom!"
There was another moment of silence before the Soldier shouted his support, "An outstanding idea, soldier! Why when I was in Germany-"
"Vait, vait…" the Medic cut the Soldier off before he could begin any deranged story that involved the slaying of his countrymen, "Ransom? You vant us to demand a ransom for his capture?"
"Our enormous compatriot might be on to something," there was a wicked gleam in the Spy's eye as he stepped towards the dazed Pyro, "Perhaps zis one's team would make an exchange? If not, the lack of his presence will be more than helpful to me. I can take advantage of this time and infiltrate the other side with little concern about being caught…"
There was a murmur of agreement.
"And when he's lived out his usefulness, we kill him, right?" the Scout smacked the top of the Pyro's with an open hand, though the strike was hardly gentle. Then the BLU Pyro began to tremble slightly, jerking convulsively and shaking his head. All eyes turned to the shaking captive.
"What's the matter with him?" the Engineer asked lazily.
"He is coward," the Heavy shrugged.
"He is choking on his own blood," the Medic corrected, "Pull the mask off and let him breathe. Might as vell take his gear. Surely you can use it, herr Spy?"
"That I can. It will make my infiltration all the easier," the Spy nodded and reached forward, grasping the Pyro's mask, "And thank you, kind sir."
The Spy gave the Pyro's mask a forceful tug, lifting it off it's owner's head. Blood poured from the mask and splattered on to the floor… and a mass of curly, red hair fell around the Pyro's bloodied face.
There was a collective gasp of shock as the BLU Pyro tilted her head back and gasped for air. Milky white skin and bright green eyes were accentuated by the fresh blood smeared around her mouth and nose.
It was then that everyone began to speak at once.
"Well, well," the Engineer crooned and tipped his hard hat, "Howdy do, little miss."
"Blimey," the Sniper whispered in shock.
"Mmmph?!" the RED Pyro cocked his head in complete confusion.
"What in the hell?" the Scout had backed away from the BLU Pyro, "What in the hell, man?"
"I do love surprises…" the Spy chuckled.
The Heavy, who had begun stroking his chin in contemplation when the Pyro was unmasked, finally seemed to make the connection, "Lady likes fire, yes?"
The Soldier barked with laughter but couldn't seem to bring himself to say anything.
"Guten tag, fraulein," the Medic gave a mocking bow.
"Ah caught meself quite a little surprise, didn't I boys?" the Demoman roared with delight and grasped the BLU Pyro's chin, "Do I get a kiss, love?"
The Pyro jerked her head away from the Demoman's hand and snarled, "Go to hell, all of you!"
"Oooh she's a feisty one, lads!" the Demoman crooned, "A fiery personality makes plenty o' sense for ya, aye?"
"Gentlemen," the Spy spoke above the uproar, "As interesting as this little event has become, it doesn't change a thing: we must decide what should be done."
"I thought ve did decide," the Medic scowled, "We keep her until she's useless und then ve let our youngest beat her to death."
The Scout began to stutter, "H-hey, woah now. Wait. My mom told me never to hit girls…"
A chuckle slowly made it's way around the room.
"I'm…I'm sorry about that," the Scout pointed awkwardly at the BLU Pyro's face and took a step towards the kneeling woman, "Why don't you let the Doc take a look and-"
It was then that the Scout was interrupted by a splatter of blood and saliva; the BLU Pyro had spat, with enormous force, directly into the Scout's face. The young Pyro leaned back on her heels and smirked devilishly through the blood plastered on her face.
The Scout backed away, gagging and wiping his face. The Sniper gave a low, amused chuckle while the Medic, trembling with restrained laughter, held out a clean handkerchief. The Scout snatched the handkerchief from the Medic's hand. There was a look of pure contempt on the Scout's face as he vigorously scrubbed the gore from his face.
"My moms has been wrong before," the Scout snapped. In a flash, he had removed his metal baseball bat from the holster on his back. He took one step forward, arms raised high to strike the BLU Pyro a third time and swung the bat down with immense force.
And his left wrist was caught in the Sniper's vice like grip.
"Enough, mate," the Sniper whispered dangerously, "You're outta line. Try to be a professional."
"Professional my ass! Let go of me!" the Scout snarled.
The Sniper twisted the Scout's arm with one smooth motion, causing the young man to yelp and drop his bat.
"Hey! Let me go man!" the Scout's voice cracked with pain. Everyone in the room but the Sniper and the BLU Pyro snickered.
"Standards even among enemies, dear boy," the Sniper muttered as he applied more pressure to the Scout's wrist, "I could break it to teach you a lesson, you know?"
But just as smoothly as he had grabbed the Scout's wrist, the Sniper released his grip. With his pride and wrist bruised, the Scout glowered at the Sniper as he backed away.
"You blokes were saying?" the Sniper glanced from the Medic to the Spy.
The Spy crossed his arms over his chest, "We vote now. What's to be done?"
"Keep the lady. Ransom for information and helps the Spy sneak into enemy base," the Heavy nodded his head in a sagely manner.
"Aye, me mates," the Demo nodded in agreement, "We keep her."
"Prisoners of war are extremely useful and rare commodities," the Soldier stroked his chin before adding, "Strategically she's worth the risk of a counter attack."
"Mmph mph, mpht mpphmhm mphh wmph mppmhm mpph mmphe," the RED Pyro shook his finger as he rumbled his response.
"What?" the Engineer looked to the RED Pyro.
"He said, 'Keep her, but remember she's worth more alive'," the BLU Pyro spoke suddenly. She was greeted with an awkward silence, so she muttered, "Spend enough time in that gear and you can understand anything anyone says."
"Did you really say that?" the Engineer glanced back to the RED Pyro.
The RED Pyro nodded, "Mph!"
"Excellent. Ve have a translator now," the Medic groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose, "Kill her, keep her, vhatever is best for zhis team."
"I agree. Whatever is best for us," the Sniper shrugged.
The Spy clapped his hands together, "It's settled. Majority vote rulez all."
The Scout was fuming, "What about me?"
"What about you?" the Spy smirked, "Majority rules."
"Kill her. We don't need her and didn't you say we're not equipped to handle prisoners?" the Scout pointed to the Engineer.
"Throw an old mattress on the floor and make sure we slip her some scraps of food. She'll live," the Engineer shrugged, "I'll set up a sentry outside her door as well. She won't bring us any trouble."
The Scout grinned, "And when we don't need her?"
"I'll take care of that," the Sniper said sternly, "A rifle at point blank range is merciful enough."
The Scout, for once in his existence, was silent. He crossed his arms and tapped his foot before he finally spoke, "Fine. I don't care. Do whatever the hell you guys want. I'm out."
His feet slapped the concrete floor in suppressed fury as the Scout exited the room and gave the heavy metal door a vicious slam.
"Majority rules," the Spy repeated, "Gentlemen, we have work to do. Off to our respective duties, si?"
The Spy tapped his watch and disappeared. The Engineer shuddered, "Does anyone else hate it when he does that?"
The Sniper grunted in agreement before the Engineer spoke again, "I'll get my tools to set the sentry up. I could use some help with the heavy lifting. You boys up for help'n a partner out?"
"Aye, got nothin better ta do meself," the Demoman gave the BLU Pyro a rough slap to the shoulder, "'Ave yerself a fine first night, lass."
"I'll help," the Heavy thundered as he followed the Demo and Engineer.
"I'll guard the front, men!" the Soldier shouted as he marched from the prison, "Best keep our wits and eyes about us. If those BLU bastards know we have one of their own there will be hell to pay!"
"Mmph mmrph, mmsh mah," the Pyro said and, with once last glance at his unmasked parallel, left the newly appointed prison cell.
"Vhat did he say?" the Medic asked the BLU Pyro.
"'I'm tired, busy day'" the young woman grumbled, "You've been living with him for how long and you still can't understand him?"
The Medic glared at the BLU Pyro as he spoke to the Sniper, "Watch her. I vill assist the others."
"I could use some medical assistance, in case you haven't noticed?" the Pyro snarled.
"Learn some manners and ve vill talk about your medical treatment. For now you have a sink vith cold vater to clean avay the blood; that should do," the Medic gave the woman a demeaning smirk and left the room with his coat flourishing behind him.
The door clanged as the Medic exited the cell. The Sniper glanced down at the young woman in blue and sighed. Slowly, the Sniper slipped a handkerchief from his vest pocket. He limped to the sink, his wary eyes never leaving the woman in the middle of the room, and turned on the tap. He soaked the handkerchief in icy water before turning to face the young woman on the floor.
The Sniper knelt in front of the Pyro with the wet cloth in his hand.
"Get the hell away from me," the Pyro snapped as the Sniper raised his hand to clean the woman's face.
"Have it your way," he dropped the cloth on the floor in front of the Pyro, "But doing that with your hands tied is going to be difficult."
"Then untie me," the she growled.
The Sniper paused and considered the consequences before he spoke, "Move and I cut your throat."
"Fair enough," the Pyro murmured.
The Sniper placed one hand on the hilt of his kukri and leaned forward, placing his other hand on the knot of ropes that held the Pyro's arms behind her back. A few moments of blind tugging and the ropes came free.
"Never trust a Demolition expert with knots," the Sniper wrapped the excess rope around his wrist, "Now then. Better?"
"In the grand scheme of things? Not really," the Pyro grumbled as she picked up the wet cloth and dabbed gently at her face.
The Sniper stood, crossed his arms and placed his back against the prison door. He glanced down at his watch as the Pyro tended to her wounds. He counted a whole five minutes before he looked back to the young woman. The dried blood was gone, though her face was swollen and bruised from the trauma.
She held the handkerchief up to the Sniper, who waved his hand dismissively, "Keep it."
The Pyro shrugged and tucked the bloodied cloth away. She sat back then, stretching her arms and legs. It was then that she noticed the Sniper glancing her way.
"Thank you," her grumble was almost inaudible.
"For?" the Sniper cocked his head.
"The handkerchief," she muttered bitterly through clenched teeth, as though it physically pained her to thank him, "And for defending me."
"Don't make it more than that, sheila," the Sniper answered plainly, "It's just professional courtesy."
The Pyro scowled, irritated at her captor's tone, "Fine. Thank you for your courtesy."
The Sniper tipped his hat, "Welcome."
A/N: Oh dear, I'm back and I'm taking on another fic. Isn't it fantastic how I abandoned my last one? Here's my goal: don't abandoned this one. Lets see if I can succeed, shall we? (Placing bets is highly encouraged. You're bound to win something.)
So I'm a Team Fortress 2 addict. Addiction typically leads me to doing something in the fandom; writing a fan fiction, for example. Me putting this on paper (er, screen?) is entirely NarcissisticRiceBall's fault. Blame her and check out her stuff right now!
On to the story itself: I'm so damned obvious and I don't care. It should be no surprise or mystery as to where I'm headed with this one, so sit back, relax and enjoy.
As always, I'm a review whore: questions, comments, complaints and constructive criticism are always welcome.
That's all for now. I'll be back! :D
I have edited some things that stuck out and have annoyed me for ages. Some typos, sentence structure, a conversation here or there… The story remains the same, though. ;)