I s'pose I should be thankin' you.

I didn't mean for it to go this way. You resisted. That was mostly your fault, on your part. Y'see, I don't like it when people fight back. When they lay down nice and quiet-like, well- that makes my job a whole lot easier, and a whole lot more enjoyable, because I don't have to do much. But you subverted that. You did exactly the opposite of what I told you. You didn't give me a chance, like you should've.

We could've kept it purely a business matter.

You're pretty strong for such a wiry little feller. Didn't think it'd be that bad when you threw that left hook. It's already swelling, just in case you were worried. It's not the first time I've been clipped on the jaw, however, and boy have I had worse. I might just have to stick to soft foods for a while, but I might be able to tough it out.

But I did get ya', ya' yellowbellied coward. Almost got away from me with that stinkin' cloak. My Gunslinger ain't just for show, buddy. I still gotta work out some of the specs on it, but holdin' down people, that ain't too hard.

You're a lot like a baby cattle when ya' struggle. When you take one from its mama, because you're sendin' her off to slaughter?

That same fear. That same knowledge that you ain't never gonna be the same again. It's tantalizin'. To see men reduced to that state. Mind you, I didn't want it to have to come to this: remember, all business. Man to man. I would have been just as satisfied with that as I am with this.

This was just better for me in the long run.

I got the feelin' that you didn't like it when I tore open those fancy duds a-yours. I almost laughed at that mile-wide frown. Don't get me wrong, I can respect a good suit just as much as the next guy: Texans are raised to look their best, even though we don't get much get the opportunity. Usually only church Sundays. Ya' think they would have made it stronger if it was to keep, though. It ripped off ya' like wrappin' paper.

And God, if you didn't just have the most beautiful chest. Ivory skin. A well-defined set of abs that I'm rightly jealous of, and thick, curled hair 'cross your pecs, leadin' down to your... ah, gives me shivers just thinkin' about it.

And yet, gives me shivers of the not-so-good kind at the same time, to think what ya' did with that knife. I can feel the wound throbbing even after three painkillers. Three! It felt like gettin' burned with a brandin' iron made from a chainsaw. Medic said it was pretty deep. But because you dip your knife in antiseptic after each kill, he says there ain't any risk of infection. Says I might have to go to therapy for most a' my life now. Guess that's revenge enough.

I guess you'll wanna know why I let you keep your mask.

It wasn't for any particular reason. It was gonna be awkward to see your face, really. Nobody ain't never seen your face; and Spies like their secrecy, don't they? Everything else was already enough. I could let you keep that one dignity.

I remember our Scout askin' me one time, 'Why do you keep that extension chord on your ass, Engie?'

And I told him, 'To tie people up, boy.'

He didn't believe me.

Do you believe me, Spah?

Those welts on your legs and the marks on your wrists should attest for it pretty good.

I still mull over that look you had on your face right before it happened. You were proud. I didn't expect anythin' less from a man like you. In your eyes, there was somethin' else. Somethin' that wasn't confidence, but it wasn't fear, either. I couldn't tell. It baffles me. I told Medic the exact same thing; he told me that it was natural for a human to want to know everythin', and for it to become an obsession, because we're social creatures. You think you'd tell me, if I asked right nice?

No, I knew you wouldn't. Don't wanna know. Might make me feel bad.

It wasn't a feeling of love that made me do this. Me an' you, we're mortal enemies on the field. I've lost too many a good sentry to your damned sappers. I hate you with every fiber of my being. I could have stricken you down but you wanted to struggle.

Respawn isn't horrible. Just a little painful. Only lasts a sec.

Want and need are, supposedly, two different emotions- but then again, I don't know much about the human body. I tend to keep to the machines myself. I can't say that it was want or need definitely. A little bit of both I s'pose.

Did you know that you bleed a lot? More than I had hoped for.

I guess you ain't ever done that before with a man.

First time for ev'rythin'.

Convulsions; shivers so violent that you had to enjoy it. Screams of pain that told me that I wasn't just raping you physically. Your soul was scarred; maybe forever, I'm not sure, I still have yet to ask.

I wiped those tears from your eyes. Don't worry. I won't tell anyone.

Don't take this to heart. Tomorrah will be jus' the same as everyday. I'll do my job and you'll do yours. We'll go back to how it was before this day, and pretend like it never happened. I don't think I ever told you why I'm thankin' you, Spah. I wonder if you've figured it out by now. Ah well, I'll tell you anyway- I've kept you in suspense this whole time, haven't I!

Thank you for showin' me that I'm too protective. Like I said. I didn't do this out of love. Merely protection. She's my wife. She's my love. She goes with me wherever I want her to, obedient until the end. We've got an unspoken bond.

Well. Unspoken to you or anyone else.

She talks to me.

Sap my sentry one more time.

Please.

I beg you.

Thank you, Spah.

Thank you.


The reel landed with a hollow thud on the body, rolling off and clattering to the ground as the empty, dying wail of a soul escaping the body echoed through the room.

He loomed, an unavoidable characteristic to his person, over the corpse. The goggles had long since been removed; eyes, dull and haunting, stared back. It made no difference. The man reached down and removed the knife from the spine. It made a wet, heavy sucking sound; the sign of a job well done.

His gaze lingered upon the knife for the longest amount of time. Slathered with red. The messiest job he'd done in a while.

The knife wouldn't be cleaned this time.

Her eyes settled on the overalled man drawing closer for a mere moment before continuing her survey of the room. Yes, her lover had returned, the man who cared for her, gave her everything that she could ever ask for. He drew closer. The caress of the glove and flesh. She realized that it was a gesture of love. No sense of touch deprived her of the actual joy following such a motion of touch.

What she could interpret as pain came at the application of a small, gray box to her flesh. Everything slacked. Gears whirred down.

Vision became fuzzy.

She screamed.

The dying wail that every Spy prided himself upon.

The overcharge caused the sentry to explode. Spy quickly shielded himself from the hot pieces of shrapnel flying at an amazing speed. A few pieces sliced open the threads of his suit. One or two embedded themselves into muscle. He looked at the wounds with disinterest, picked the pieces of metal out, and simply let the cuts clot by themselves. He'd already visited the Medic once that day- he'd had his fill of German sadistic ridicule for one day.

He passed the body once more on his way out.

Perhaps it was the dying grin on the lips, the spots of blood staining his teeth accented by the single strand of blood that had slid down his cheek, the arch of the eyebrows, that made Spy pick the man up and throw him over his shoulder. The original plan had been to simply let the other members stumble across the corpse the following morning.

Light rain misted upon the man's face, begging for entrance past the balaclava while crossing the muddy, moon-lit field to his own base.

The Engineer's soul had gone to hell. Spy would make sure to desecrate his lifeless body to such an extent that mere mention of necrophilia would be sure to sentence him a millennia more in the firey depths alongside that Texan bastard.

And then he would get his revenge.