A/N: So, so, so sorry for dropping out. I've had this chapter sitting on my computer for the past couple of months. I'm going to try like hell not to disappear again and get this story moving some more. Thank you to all who reviewed, stayed with me, favourited and so on! Much love!
She knew before she even hit the ground that the impact was going to be bad, but even as she braced herself for the collision nothing could stifle the intense pain that shot through her nervous system when her body met the floor. That moment of pain and shock dragged on, the seconds it was to the Scout were hours to the writhing Pyro. She bit her lip hard, gnashing teeth together in a pathetic attempt at keeping herself from crying out. Her head swam, the room spinning like a Merry-Go-Round out of control. It made her sick and it wasn't just an illusion. She rolled on her side, unable to force herself to her feet, the pain stiffing her entire body. The Scout watched as she turned, curling knees into herself in an obvious display of upset before his teammate threw up all over the pristine floor.
"Aww, gross!" he complained, screwing his nose up in obvious disgust.
She hated to admit it, but maybe the Medic was right. Only a few hours in that room and she had already gotten stir crazy – and where did it leave her? Curled up on the floor next to a puddle of her own regurgitated bile. "Yeah, you're not the one tasting it," a poor attempt at humor, anything to mask the embarrassment of puking up in front of her teammate. She managed to uncurl herself, dragging herself weakly to her feet. She could feel the other's eyes on her, like a vulture sizing up its prey. No one had ever, EVER seen the Pyro's face and for the first time in the history of their careers, they saw one another for who they really were. No masks.
"What?" she snapped. Even having just vomited up everything she'd eaten in the day, she snapped back quicker than a rubber band. But the quickness in retort only caused another shock of pain to her already throbbing head.
"Uh, well, yanno," the usual energy in the Scout seemed to dissipate through the floor. It was the first time she had ever seen him look so utterly lost. If she hadn't known any better she would have thought someone had just ruined Christmas for him. He scratched an itch an itch just out of sight, hidden by the body of his ear, his hat tilting from back to front with the motion. "You...Uh...Medic said you was better..." he stated simply, as if it were any excuse for the way he acted.
If he called throwing up all over the place better – then yes, yes she was much better!
"Help me get to the bathroom," she grumbled, holding out an arm for Scout to scoot under. "Yeah, yeah Ok, just don't get all faggy on me or nuttin," with little protest, the runner sidled up beside the fire starter, allowing her to lean on his shoulder. It was the first time she had ever seen him slow down to help someone other than himself. She was glad it was him though, she would much rather the obnoxious jawing of the Scout to someone like the Sniper. Her skin crawled at the thought. He would have figured it out right away, nothing got past the Sniper. He was trained to look and when he did, he saw.
"You ain't wearin' your mask." If he kept this Detective work up he could very well be the next Columbo. She offered a small snort of a reply. Pyro wasn't necessarily a quiet person, but without the protection of her beloved gasmask she was at an incredible danger of being found out. On the other hand, had she been wearing the gasmask just moments earlier she'd be floating around in her own spit up. The thought had her mentally gagging.
"I think I left it behind during the fight," she couldn't recall for certain if that's where her mask was. It seemed like a legitimate bet, but she couldn't quell the spinning in her head, her timeline of data a jumbled mess of events with no particular rhythm or rhyme. Her stomach dropped at the thought of battle, feeling the brunt of the blame resting on her shoulders. Or perhaps the weight was just that of the incredible bruise. Her head dropped, eyes watching her thick boots take one step at a time. Amazingly the Scout had slowed his usual brisk pace to match the uncomfortable ambling of the Pyro.
"Man that sucks."
"What happened anyway?"
"What did Medic tell you?"
"That you caught one upside da head."
"That medical terminology?" she managed a small smile and a snort of laughter, "Ya, fucking Scout cracked me over the head with a bat. Still hurts like a bitch." She didn't have to look to know the Scout was grinning, despite the work being of an enemy Scout, he always reveled in the accomplishments of his class. And that's exactly why she didn't want to look – of all the people to be knocked out by it had to be the Scout. Pathetic. A fist to the head from a Heavy would have been more acceptable, hell, even getting knocked out by the brunt of a Soldier's shovel…Ok, maybe not that. Still, she wasn't about to flaunt about her injuries. Her free hand rose to her head, rubbing at the sore curvature, hoping in some way her touch would ease the pain. Unfortunately the rubber of the gloves only helped to generate a bit of static electricity through her short hair, the broken strands sticking up comically. "We lost?" The question she so eagerly sought to avoid, seeped forth from her, as if the Medic's admission held no value with her.
"Yeaa..." he sounded positively dejected. For the second time the fire starter felt her stomach flip on itself, that queasiness returning in its depths, rising to the back of her throat. Her one chance to shine and she had let her entire team down. It wasn't like any of their previous plans had failed before, but this was her plan. Her free hand slapped to her mouth, covering the portal of exit in an efforts to keep back whatever food remained in her system.
"Aw! You ain't gunna hork are you?"
"Just get me to the goddamn bathroom," she grumbled between the spacing in those mitts.
The trek back to the bathroom was a short one, by the time they made it Pyro was able to stand on her own two feet, hobbling up to the sink basin to clean out the sour taste in her mouth. Fortunately for the Scout, the urge to vomit for a second time never fully played out. She leaned heavily into the porcelain, assuring that if her head decided to take another swim she wouldn't fall over so easily. She swished, spit, brushed and repeated, obtaining the freshest she possibly could. Scout, in the meantime, lazily leaned against the metal cubicles, hawking his teammate's every move. She wasn't exactly worried about his scrutiny, she had a better chance of winning the lotto than having the Scout find out "Holy crap, I'm workin' widda girl!" But the constant surveillance was making her a slight bit uncomfortable and annoyed. How ironic, the kid who so annoyed the team with his constant prattle, annoyed her just as much in silence. No matter what he did, he was a nuisance. Regardless of his help, the way he eyed her up caused her skin to prickle, his silence uncanny and unfamiliar. It was what he was thinking that made her nervous – no matter how hard she tried to decipher it through small glimpses in the mirror, she couldn't read that set expression.
She gave her toothbrush a wave, tapping its head on the edge of the basin to free it of the excess water. She allowed him a moment's inspection before interrupting his train of thought. She couldn't help the inquiry, already knowing the answer to her question, "What happened with Spy?" She wondered if in the hours of her unconscious state, had the masked man identified her to the others? Had any of the other teammates witnessed his underhanded conference with the enemy?
The Scout shrugged, touching his shoulder to headset, "I dunno man, he just kinda dumped you on Medic an' left. He looked kinda pissed." It wasn't an exactly helpful observation, generally the Spies tended to look quite irritated, expressions as bare as a stone's face hiding the pulp of their personality. But, she did interfere with his plans to capture the Intel, had she not gotten her brains splattered all over the floor he would have been free to lift the suitcase. Because of her blunder he was left empty handed and his usual pristine red, pinstriped suit was left dripping with blood. If there was one thing the Spy hated in the world, it was a dirty suit. She couldn't blame him for dumping her on their German practitioner, after all, what did she expect? For him to stay by her side, hold her hand, bring her flowers? That was all bullshit, left for phony romances. This was war where workplace relationships formed out of necessity, not out of desire and they never included such emotion as "love." The Spy helped her because he felt obligated as a teammate, not because he cared. Then again – would a concerned teammate be sneaking visits with the opposing color's masked anonymity?
In the moment of their collision she had nearly forgotten the two Spies. She had been so wrapped up in the pain and nausea brought along with it, that all unimportant data that had nothing to do with either feeling, was tossed out the window. Upon a clear moment of reflection she was able to recall the incident. Half of her wanted to believe she had been mistaken, hallucinating from head trauma, mistaken the man for someone else on the team, but the rational side of her knew what she had saw. He was a liar and a double-crosser. Ok, maybe that was a little harsh, maybe there was something she was missing…or maybe the prior still stood.
"Yanno, you ain't really what I expected."
Pyro cocked an eyebrow to the Scout's reflection.
"Nah, nah man! It's just, yer da Pyro, figured you was all like, monster movie under there, like Freddy or some shit," he made a claw gesture with his hand.
The fire starter slipped the hand towel from its rack and dried her mouth, clearing any excess toothpaste that had fled to the corners of her lips. With a flick of her wrist she discarded the piece into the pile before the laundry chute. "I don't typically go shoving my head into lit fires, so no. I'm just as normal as you. Sorry to disappoint." She paused a moment, weighing her words before she continued, "Ey, Scout…did any of the team…seem off tonight? Uh..After the match?"
The ball player thought for a moment, well, maybe a fraction of a second, but for a Scout that was an incredible amount of time to give up to thought – "Nah, well, cept the Spy, but he's been weird for the past coupla nights. Pissier than usual, if that's possible. I know you guys ain't get along, being like mortal enemies and shit, but you do something to piss him off? Other than, yanno, getting knocked the fuck out?"
Well, she had "come out of the gas mask" to the agent, but she couldn't flat out admit that to the Scout. Even if she did, she doubted his intelligence would put two and two together, with the mediocre haircut she no longer retained much of that femininity in her face. "Don't know…I think I'm gunna head back before Medic figures out I'm gone." Initially she had had her mind (and stomach) set on food, but the thought of it now just made her want to barf more. Not to mention all the risks: Medic would no doubt be in the café eating along with everyone else. The prior meant getting yelled at for near two hours in a thick heavy accent and the latter, well, not many of the others were as thick headed as the Scout.
Pyro shook her head no, "I'm alright. Thanks, man." She had barely made it to the bathroom doorway when she realized the answer to her own question. Of all the people acting funny in the base, she hadn't thought…about the very one she was talking to.