Authors' note: 'First Encounters' is a direct prequel to this fic, dealing with why the Medics can hold a civil conversation. We hope it will not be necessary to the story, but just in case it is, it's been uploaded. The short of it is that one's professional life is difficult if no one else on your team wants to talk about intestines or parasites.

Oh yes. We don't own Team Fortress 2. We're just sneaking in after hours to play.

BLU Medic ducked the swinging fists and rammed his Ubersaw through the Heavy's esophagus, yanked it back and grinned at the expression on the RED Medic's face as the Medigun abruptly stopped working. "Guten Morgen, colleague!"

RED's surprise turned to irritation in an instant. "Fess... I vas almost at Uber." He reached for his Blutsauger as he backed away from BLU Medic. "He is going to be very upset vhen he respawns. Being killed by a Medic is supposed to be humiliating."

BLU grinned at him. "Oh? I thought zhat he vas used to being...stabbed...by you on a regular basis by now. Or haff you not even gotten enough courage to proposition him by now? You're a bloodthirsty murderer, Herr Doktor, not a schoolgirl."

"I don't know vhat you're talking about, und if I did it would be none of your business," RED Medic said flatly as he opened fire. "As it is you need to keep your mouth shut vhen fighting. You are too easily distracted und vill make everyvon zhink we are easier targets zhen we actually are."

"As if they need any more encouragement zhen zhey already get from you," said BLU, diving in close and swiping at RED's middle. "Und come on. Ve need to talk. Vithout zhe murdering, please."

"Ach!" RED clutched at his abdomen; the Ubersaw had left a shallow but painful cut there. He glared at BLU with his gun still raised, though for the moment he'd stopped firing. "Talk about vhat?"

"Our Scout. How zhe hell do I get zhe damned donkey legs off, Herr Doktor? I did not major in neuroscience!"

"I zhink zhey suit him quite well, personally." RED rolled his eyes. "Has respawning not worked? I vould zhink... though it really depends on zhe nature of zhe respawning mechanism. I don't know nearly enough about how zhat works yet."

"Zhe vee bastard vill not let me kill him. He vill not hold still."

"LET you?" RED gave him an incredulous look. "Vell... just... let him go get himself killed zhen. He never lasts long vithout respawning anyvays. If zhat doesn't vork, zhen perhaps I can be of assistance. If we could do it secretly."

BLU grinned. "It vould be nize. But I just...vhanted to give you zhe reason zhat your Spy vill be...upset vhen he manages to slip the manacles."

RED frowned. "Our Spy? Vhat are you talking about?"

"You'll see. I vill simply say his suit vill need extensive modifications." There was a French-accented roar somewhere above them. "Ah, voops, zhere he goes. I vill be going."

"Vait a moment, vhat did you do?"

"Just try not to laugh," said BLU, already in flight.

"Don't run avay from me, I'm asking you a question!" RED shot a few syringes after BLU, but he was already gone. "Verdammt," he muttered. The slice across his belly had already healed, so he had no trouble mounting the stairs. "Spy! Spy, are you alvight?"

Spy was clinging to the railing and pulling himself along. "Do I look all right?" he demanded in withering tones, gesturing to where his legs had been. They were a jarringly blue mass of tentacles. "'e ruined my suit! And my legs, but ze suit, it was my favorite..."

RED Medic's hand went to his mouth. He hoped he looked shocked, because really he was trying not to laugh.

"Ah... yes, vell. Perhaps vhe can, ah... find a tailor to make you a new suit, vith... vith eight legs in zhe trousers."

"Non," said the Spy, taking a cigarette out of his jacket pocket with trembling hands. He lit it, stared morosely at it. "Docteur, I would like you to repair me as soon as possible. I am useless to ze...the... team in this condition." He raised the cigarette to his lips, took a long drag, then started to cough, flinging it into the water. "Sacre merde!"

"Yes, perhaps I can replace your lungs vhile I'm at it," RED Medic said dryly. He took Spy's arm and pulled it over his shoulder. "It should not be too difficult, mein Freund. Vhe shall haff you back in proper vorking order before long. Now if vhe can only get you down zhe stairs und back to zhe base..."

"My lungs are fine!" the Spy screamed, shaking. "'E put somet'ing in my cigarettes! Sacre merde, 'e put 'air in my cigarettes!"

The Medic gave him an odd look. "Ah... yes, of course he did. But zhis is actually a good zhing, you... nevermind, I vill get you more if you vant." He just realized what a bad idea chiding him on the dangers of smoking was when Spy was in this condition. "Here, vhe are almost out of zhe sewers, maybe no one vill see us."

The Spy shuddered. "Merci, mon ami. Je te remercie."

"It is nozzing."

"Oi, Doc, is that you?" There was the sound of wary footsteps and the unmistakable slosh of Jarate.

"Get back to your post, Dummkopf!" Medic called, sounding a little panicky, but it was too late. Sniper stepped around the corner, and for a moment he just stared at the bizarre figure in front of him.

Then he burst out laughing.

"Fils de un chien," said Spy, wearily. "I would shoot you," he went on to Sniper. "I will shoot you, when I get my gun back."

"Ah, I'm sorry mate." Sniper put the jar of Jarate down and went to help Medic support Spy's weight. "But I did need a laugh; we're getting trampled out there."

"Yes, vell, perhaps if you vould do your job instead of getting distracted by silly little zhings like us coming up through the sewers..." Medic said. He sounded rather grumpy for someone who'd almost laughed at Spy's plight himself.

"Why am I not surprised," said Spy. He shuddered a little. "Just keep me away from the other Sniper. Please."

Medic nodded curtly. "Ov course I vill."

Sniper rolled his eyes. "Stop being so melodramatic. If it was me wot got turned into kalamari you'd be throwin' every snoide remark you could think of my way."

Medic glanced at Spy and said nothing. This was most likely true, anyways.

Spy growled a long low litany of expletives, and ended with, "And they are blue. Blue!"

"Yeah, they are. If they weren't I'd have thought it was our doc that got ya, not the other side's."

RED Medic looked affronted as they finally got Spy into the surgery. "I vould not ever do somezhing like zhat to a fellow team member! Certainly I might, ah... make certain beneficial adjustments to zhem, should zhe opportunity arise, but zhis is just pointless tampering."

"Nah, not pointless. Havin' tentacles makes it hard to sneak up on people I bet. It might even keep him from disguising or cloaking properly." Sniper looked thoughtful. "You know, if you could do the same thing to BLU Spoy..."

"I haff more important zhings to do zhan play practical jokes. Now, Spy, if you could climb onto zhe table please, I vill begin a preliminary examination."

Spy gave him a profoundly dirty look and wriggled a few tentacles pointedly.

Medic rolled his eyes and muttered something under his breath as he took Spy's arm again. "Fine, since you haffen't figured out how to use your new appendages properly yet... Sniper, help me get him on zhe table."

With another snigger, Sniper stooped next to Medic and began to roughly shove Spy up onto the gurney with his shoulder. "Bloody hell, wot have you been eatin'?"

"That's coming it pretty 'igh from a barbarian that smells like piss," Spy retorted.

"I wasn't talkin' about the smell mate, though that's pretty bad too." Sniper gave another shove and with Medic's help got Spy onto the surface. "And I don't smell loike piss, for the record."

"Vill both of you shut up for three seconds?" Medic had darted over to the counter to pull out a stethoscope, a light, some scary-looking instruments, and a tongue depressor. He used his foot to push up the switch for the light over the gurney.

"Ze smell is not my fault," snarled Spy, ignoring Medic. A tentacle slapped Sniper hard across the chops. "Well. It seems zat I am getting ze 'ang of zis."

Sniper staggered, then started toward him with a growl.

"Vhat are you doing?" Medic said sharply.

"I'm plannin' on tyin' his tentacles in a knot, that's wot."

"My tentacles," said Spy, sounding like a petulant child, and moved all of them to the side.

Just then there was a thunderous hammering on the door to the infirmary, and the RED Scout shoved his way in. "Yo, doc, Solly wants to know where tha frick you been." A pause, as he stared at the Spy. "Hey, Spy, didja get eaten by an octopus? I thought you frogs had it tha other way around, you ate them. Doc, Solly wants you guardin' tha intel like, yesterday. He's cussin' pretty hard."

Medic looked from Spy and Sniper staring daggers at each other to Scout. "Ach... I haff somezhing important here," he said distractedly. "Could you tell Soldier to get his Black Box und Equalizer and just- TAKE ANOZZER STEP TOWARD HIM UND YOU VILL BOTH BE ON GURNEYS," he shouted to Sniper. Sniper looked close to throttling Spy, but at the threat he fell back looking mutinous.

"So what, I'm s'posed ta tell Solly ta get his panties outta a twist cos Spy got an octopus stuck to his butt? That ain't gonna go over well, doc. You might wanna lock da door when Solly gets back." Scout inched closer. "Daaaamn it's like they're actually growing outta his skin!"

Spy glared at him. "I am not a freakshow, boy."

"Ya are now, spook," said Scout.

"Oh vhat is he going to do, shout until he ruptures his vocal cords?" Medic looked worried despite the derision in his voice. Soldier was likely to do a lot more than shout. "Egh... Scout, you are upsetting my patient, und I vould be very happy if you vould leave. You too." He gave Sniper a pointed look.

"Aw, man. You're no fun, doc." Scout shrugged and turned his back, heading for the door. Before he closed it behind him, he said, "Hey, Spook."

"Oui?"

"This is goin' all over da joint. I'm even gonna tell da BLU poser. Be seein' ya, Spook!" The door swung shut to the sound of running footsteps, and a fading, "Hey guys, guess what, tha Spook has an OCTOPUS STUCK TO HIS ASS!"

Spy let out a low wail of despair and buried his face in his hands.

"Vhe vill haff you fixed before anyvon can see, don't worry," Medic said in what he thought might be a reassuring voice. Though really, he'd rather not rush it too much. A functioning Spy was important to their team's success, sure, but he did want to evaluate his BLU counterpart's handiwork properly. "It may take, ah, a few days, perhaps, but it shouldn't be so bad as long as you keep moist."

Sniper grumbled something barely audible and slunk out the door.

"Und I vould appreciate it if you vould not help zhe little idiot spread zhis around!" Medic shouted after his retreating back.

"A few days?" Spy stared up at him. Then, "Give me ze scalpel. Now, docteur."

Medic looked entirely taken aback. His immediate reaction was to make sure the scalpel and anything else pointed was a good distance away from Spy. "Vhy?" he asked shrewdly.

"Respawn would be faster, it seems, and if it does not get ze damn tentacles off, you can disconnect zem anyway. Ze scalpel, please."

Medic hesitated. He still had misgivings about this, but... well, he'd be able to study the corpse at least, wouldn't he?

"Fine, if you feel zhis is zhe best solution." He reluctantly handed over the scalpel.

"Merci. Also, I do apologise for ze mess I am about to make." With that, Spy rolled up the bottom of the balaclava, located his carotid artery, and slit it. If he'd had his knife, he could miss this thrashing about, but he died far more nastily at least a dozen times a day, so he didn't find it too disturbing.

Relatively speaking.

"SCOUT! SCOUT, WHERE IS THAT DOCTOR?!" Soldier burst out of respawn and grabbed the RED Scout by the front of his shirt as he passed. He looked deranged. Well, more so than usual.

"Yeah, whadya want?" said Scout, who was used to this sort of thing.

"I TOLD YOU WHAT I WANT, YOU STUPID LITTLE PIECE OF MAGGOT CRAP!" He shook Scout. "I WANT TO TALK TO THE MEDIC RIGHT- EFFING- NOW!"

"He's in the infirmary, dumbass," said Scout. "Say, shouldn't you be helpin' us capture the intel?"

"SHOULDN'T YOU KEEP YOUR TRAP SHUT?" Soldier let go of Scout's shirt and tromped toward the infirmary, growling profanities under his breath.

"Who were you looking for?" The Spy stood by the infirmary door. He hadn't had a good day, and he was throughly willing to pass it on to the Medic if it involved the Soldier's wrath. Especially as Medic had turned respawn off for a good hour and a half so he could dissect the be-tentacled corpse properly. Well, at least when he HAD respawned the things were gone.

"I WAS LOOKING FOR THE- WHY ARE YOU BACK HERE, HAVING A CROISSANTS-AND-BRATWURST PARTY WITH THE MEDIC?! GET OUT THERE AND STAB BLUS FRENCHIE, THAT IS AN ORDER!"

The Spy blinked at him. "Ceasefire is in five minutes," he pointed out. "I doubt one could do much good in that time."

'THEN WHY WEREN'T YOU OUT THERE EARLIER?! YOU AND THE... NNGH!" He shoved his way past the Spy and almost screamed, "WHERE WERE YOU TEN MINUTES AGO, HERR DOKTOR? BECAUSE I KNOW WHERE YOU WEREN'T! HELPING ME AND THE HEAVY DEFEND THE INTEL!"

Medic looked up from a tray of recently cleaned surgical tools, looking surprised. "I'm sorry, vhat?"

"YOU HEARD WHAT I SAID!" Soldier lunged forward; Medic just moved the tray aside in time for it to not get thrown onto the floor. As it was set down on the counter, Soldier's hands closed around the lapels of his lab coat. "WHAT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT YOU COULD NOT FIND TIME TO FIT HEALING PEOPLE INTO YOUR BUSY SCHEDULE? WERE YOU HAVING A TEA PARTY WITH YOUR STUPID BIRDS? BECAUSE THAT IS JUST RIDICULOUS AND BIRDS DO NOT NEED TO DRINK TEA!"

"I vas NOT- let go of me!" Medic grappled with Soldier's hands, looking alarmed and angry. "I vas doing research, it's very important if you do not want- I said let GO!"

Spy cleared his throat. "Soldier? I do believe that the Engineer wanted to consult with you. He was looking for you a moment ago."

"THE ENGINEER CAN WAIT JUST A DAMN MINUTE!"

"I vas doing research to see how my counterpart modified Spy earlier!" Medic snarled, and finally he managed to wrest himself away from Soldier. "In case you don't remember, Herr Soldier, our team suffered considerably vhen he vas, ah, not available, und if respawn had not corrected zhe problem vhe might have done vorse. Now just ZHINK vhat might happen if zhey did zhat again, but respawn did not fix it!"

"WELL JUST MAKE SURE TO DO YOUR JOB OR I WILL MAKE YOU DO IT!" Solider bellowed. He spun around to face Spy. "WHERE IS THAT TEXAN ANYWAYS? THE SENTRIES WERE BLOWN UP WHEN HEAVY AND ME GOT DOWN TO THE INTEL EARLIER!"

"Engineer is in the Intel room," said the Spy placidly, lighting a cigarette.

"FINE, I WILL GET DOWN THERE AND TELL HIM TO STOP LETTING PEOPLE BLOW HIS CRAP UP, AND THAT I'M NOT BEING UNREASONABLE BECAUSE HE ALWAYS SAYS THAT!" Soldier stomped out of the room, still livid.

Medic sighed and straightened the collar of his coat. "Danke. He might have continued on for some time if you had not intervened."

"There is no difficulty," said the Spy. "However, if you find yourself in a position to put a syringe in BLU Medic's throat, I would very much appreciate you putting a word in on my behalf before you do so."

"Vhat, to tell him not to play vith your genes in the future, or to tell him you're going to kill him in a particularly unpleasant way next time?" RED Medic snorted as he carefully put the tray of instruments away. "Even if he listens, it vill do no good. BLU is... excitable. He does not alvays zhink before he sets out on a project, und interrupting him in zhe middle of one is, ah, inadvisable."

"Either will do," said Spy, in withering tones.

"I vill make sure of it zhen." RED Medic rolled his eyes. "Look at all zhe time und energy he's made me waste."

"Indeed. I wonder how much time of his team's he wasted today." The Spy smiled a little and left.

No sooner had the door closed behind him than a dove slammed into the window.

Medic frowned. "Vhat...?" He opened the window to let the dove in. He removed the message in the container on its back once he was sure it was all right.

Meet me in BLU sewers at 9. it's important the message read, hastily scrawled and badly capitalized, and with a hole in the paper where the pen had gone through on the i.

Medic's brows rose. "Vell Archimedes," he muttered to another dove sitting a little ways away on a pile of yet-to-be discarded entrails. "It looks like I have an appointment at 9."