No Place Like Home - Chapter VI: An Aggressive Assembly.

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3 hours had passed since the match was supposed to begin. Engineer sat down in his workshop, which connected to his bedroom, and began drawing away at the blueprints he has been working on that morning. Truly, he wasn't angry at Soldier any more, not really, but he knew that if he kept himself busy, then he wouldn't feel the niggling need to seek him out and talk things through.

Talking with Soldier would not result in an apology, it would result in a heated discussion, and then an argument, and then no one would win. Engineer had learned this much in the last year he had known him, that you did not mess with him unless you had the time and the patience to put up with him.

A knock at his workshop door surprised him, and he turned to look at it with a mixture of suspicion and curiosity lining his features. He crept over to the door, shotgun ready, and pressed a hidden panel on the wall with the toe of his boot. The metal door hissed open, and none other than Pyro stood on the other side of the door.

"Nngie?" Pyro tilted it's head, posture friendly and open. "Wrrld yw lhk tw jwn us n hr lwrnge?"

"Join yeh in the lounge?" Engineer smiled warmly at his team-mate. He stepped outside of the workshop and subtly clicked the door shut by resting his heel against a tiny button that was the same colour as the wall it was concealed on. "Sure thing."

The personal locks he had set up on his workshop wasn't just to show off his expertise, but for security reasons as well. Of all the members on the RED team, Engineer knew that there were important documents in that room that should never see the light of day, and he could never reveal their secrets to the rest of his team.

"Drrmurmurn und Srrjrr rr plrring chss." Engineer raised an eyebrow at this. He had been planning on avoiding Soldier for the rest of the day, but this was just too good to miss.


The game of chess did not last very long, the pair of them quickly becoming too drunk to care that you can't move a pawn all the way across the board in one move, or you couldn't take up to 4 pieces at once. Finally, with an angered cry, Demoman threw the board off of the lounge's coffee table with a sweep of his hand and promptly passed out on it. Soldier stood up and staggered off to bed, leaving their spectators to all look around at each other.

"Mrrdrrk?" Pyro looked over at Medic, who was reading. The fire-lover leant over and plucked the book from Medic's grip, who frowned with disapproval at his comrade. "Mrrdrrk, nrrw thrt Srrjrr's grn, crn we drrcrss thr lhttrz?"

"Vhat about zem?" Medic raised an eyebrow, to which Pyro chuckled behind it's mask.

"Whrr rr yhh ghhrng frr hr trn wrhks?"

"Ah yes…zhe ten weeks. Vhell, I believe zhe letters are real. I haven't thought much about where I will be going. Have you, Herr Heavy?" He turned to the larger man, who instantly beamed.

"Bahck to Russia." Heavy clapped his large hands together, and looked down at Medic. "Is perfect place for me."

At this moment, Spy appeared in the doorway of the lounge. The silence in the room was deafening, and Spy was half tempted to leave immediately.

"Good evening." Spy said neutrally, walking over and sitting down on the arm rest of Soldier's now empty chair. He could feel everyone's eyes on him, and decided to fall silent. It took a while for anyone to say anything, but eventually, Heavy nudged Medic, who coughed into his hand.

"Good evening, Herr Spy." Medic managed a thin smile, but it offered no comfort to Spy, who's eyes flitted to Engineer. He had felt the man's eyes boring a hole in the side of his head for a while now, but he frowned deeply when he noticed Engineer looked almost, happy? "Vhat is it you need?"

"Nothing." Spy stood up, the day's strain on his emotions has tired him, made him feel slow. He and Sniper had sat out on the ledge for another few hours after that, not always talking, most of the time is was just thinking with the lanky man gazing through his scope at the surrounding area. It gave Spy comfort to know at least he had one friend in RED, and he appreciated that more than Sniper knew.

As he passed Heavy and Medic and out into the corridor again, turning invisible on his way, he could have sworn that he heard the large man 'whisper' to his friend:

"Docktor…Vhat is wrong with leetle spook? He is always quiet and sad."

"Nozhink, Herr Heavy, he is better left alone." At this, Engineer nodded, and chimed in.

"Well yeh right there, darn them Spahs."

Spy sighed, rubbed a hand over his face slowly, and strode quickly back to his room, seeking the comfort of his cigarettes and a long nights sleep.


Scout had watched the whole miniature episode with his mouth agape. Then he remembered the Spy's taunting words and strode into the lounge through the other door to the one Spy had left in, to plonk himself down in Soldier's armchair.

"What's up?" He addressed the whole room, gesturing with a hand.

"Nrrt Mrrch" Pyro shrugged, looking up at Engineer, who seemed to be thinking. Almost cautiously, it poked his shoulder. "Nngie?"

"Yeah?" The Texan smiled, snapping out of his thought chain to look back at the masked face. The two exchanged a 'look' before Pyro began to talk quickly, too for the others to understand, gesturing wildly and pointing at Heavy every now and again. Engineer chuckled and nodded along with the conversation, patiently decoding what the masked mercenary was saying. The rest of the team that were present - having not understood a word – waited with baited breath, until Engineer turned to the rest of the team.

"Pyro here's got a point." He declared, and Scout threw up his arms.

"Yeah? What did it say hardhat?" He drummed his fingers impatiently, hating being out of the loop of things.

"Pyro says that we ought teh talk about what we're gonna do in these 10 weeks. S'been coming up teh half a week already and no one's got a plan." He cast a goggled gaze around at the team, before folding his hands together. "We need teh assemble the team together tomorrow at mid day to discuss this." He then added as an afterthought, thinking about his argument with Soldier this morning "In a civilized manner." He concluded his instructions, and Pyro nodded in agreement.

At this, however, Scout let out an amused snort.

"Okay then, but I can't see it being 'civilized' with Solly and Demo bein' there, or you and Spook as a matter-a fact." With this, he stood up and headed for the door, feeling a little smug.


At 11:30 the next morning, only one member of Team RED was already present in the communal lounge. Engineer, much to nobody's surprise, had been ready at 10:00, and was reading while he waited for the others to arrive. He was not sure how this discussion would turn out, but he had faith that the team would come to some agreement.

Medic and Heavy turned up shortly after, bringing (dragging for the better part) a hung over Demoman that they had found behind the washing machine with them. Heavy was given the job of poking him in the head to make sure that he did not fall back to sleep again, much to his delight. They exchanged morning greetings, before looking towards the door, where Pyro had just wandered in from.

"Grrd Mrrnng." Pyro waved, going over to sit next to Engineer.

"You too Pyro." Engineer looked up from his book, closing it and scooting up for his comrade. The Texan viewed Pyro as a good friend, and had a lot of patience for it, considering the major communication barrier on their friendship. He didn't know a lot about Pyro, but then again, no one did, so it was an accepted thing that the little firebug was a mystery. On the battlefield they had spent a long time together patrolling and fighting back against the BLU's, especially the enemy Spy, while a lot of the other members of the team, such as Scout or Soldier either misunderstood it, or ignored it.

A few minutes rolled past before Medic looked around the room.

"Um, Herr Engineer?"

"Yeah Doc?"

"Vhere are our missing team mates?"

"Oh, well, I woke Sniper up, he should be here soon. Scout will probably be here soon or late, and Soldier?" He stood up. "I guess I better go wake him up too."

Medic frowned, sensing the tension was still thick between the two, and stood up aswell.

"Sit down Engineer, you must watch for Scout. I vill go wake Soldier." And without waiting for any response, the doctor promptly strode out. Heavy stared after him, then grumbled something before giving Demoman an extra hard poke. He didn't like being away from Medic, and it was Demoman's fault he couldn't go with him.

Pyro observed the way Engineer seemed to be trying to distract himself. This in itself was an almost amusing sight, as Pyro knew the man hated to leave things unfinished, and it was plaguing on him. Pyro poked Engineer on the arm, earning a raised eyebrow, before it spoke in an almost admonishing manner.

"Nngie…Yrr rr frrgrrting Sprry." It folded it's arms and tried it's best to look scolding, and it had the right affect, as the Texan frowned deeply.

"I know Pyro, I know." Sulky? Well two could play at that game.

"Wrrll yr srrd wr wrrrd rll br hrr."

"I did…didn't I? Well we will eventually 'all be here', Spah included."

"Nr, Grr Grrt Hrrm. Nrw" Pyro gave him a light push, to emphasise it's point.

At this moment, Medic returned with a less-than happy Soldier, having heard about their little 'holiday meeting', no doubt they were all in for a lot of grief. Engineer waved lightly to both of them, heading to go through the opposite door to go and get the Frenchman. His feet seemed to be made of lead as he walked towards Spy's room. He wasn't tired, he just despised Spy, that was all.

Sniper met him at the door, Scout by his side. The Bostonian seemed to be a little…angry? Hmm, this was strange. Had something happened between the two?

"Not teh worry, Engineer. Spy said 'e would be here." Sniper reassured him, and Pyro gave a little muffled huff from the couch.

"Alrighty then." Turning around again, the shorter man returned to his seat all too happily, and looked around at the other 7 members of RED. They all appeared to be conversing in one way or another, except for Soldier, who seemed to be trying to burn him to death with his stony gaze. Not to be put off, he met the glaring man's gaze and simply smiled, which intensified the glare tenfold.

Scout was having a heated debate with Demoman, who was more awake now, about places they had visited. He was just about go on to talk about this one time when he and his brothers had been skiing, when suddenly the arm-rest next to him had become occupied by a certain lanky, suit-donning Frenchman.

"Shit! Don't do that kind of crap Spook, and why sit next to me anyway?" Scout glowered, then hissed at him. "It aint like nobody's gonna talk to you anyways."

"Oh do shut up boy." Spy countered, turning his gaze away from the aggressive Bostonian. "I am only here for ze meeting."

"Yeah yeah, well I hope it's a short one."

"Same here."

"I might actually end up shooting you in a s-" Scout was interrupted by Sniper growling out:

"Will the pair o'yeh shut up, now. The meetin's started." The dangerous tone in the Australian's voice was mostly directed at Scout, but it had a silencing effect on both of them.

Engineer, having been waiting patiently all this time, looked at his watch. He then stood up as the eyes of RED turned towards him, and began to speak.

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