Pit-Trap: I do not own these characters, TF2, etc.
"Bloody Mann Manor," Sniper spat as he slammed the door to his camper van shut. "She had us drive all the way back ta bloody Mann Manor!"
"S'for a good cause, Sniper," Engineer said as he approached the other. "We're get ta be normal an' all now. We're gettin' fixed."
"Still," Sniper crossed his arms as he the two approached the rest of the BLUs. "Don't see why the Administrator could've given us our cures back at Teufort."
The entire BLU team gathered on the map of Mann Manor. After beating the REDs fairly easily the day before, they had gotten instructions on what to next, just as Miss Pauling said they would. The instructions had instructed them to go Mann Manor, which the BLUs really had no choice but to do. It was annoying, but they were all sure it'd be worth it. They only had one problem after getting to Mann Manor: what were they supposed to do next?
"You sure them instructions don't say anything else?" Scout crossed his arms and looked towards Spy.
Spy, who had the instructions and was re-reading, narrowed his eyes at the slip of paper in his hand. "Quite," he frowned. "Zhe instructions simply say to go to Mann Manor and to bring our weapons. Nothing else is on zhe paper." Spy looked on the back of the paper, but just shook his head when he found nothing else on it.
"That's a bit weird in itself," Sniper commented as he adjusted the Huntsman slung on his back. "Why do we need ta bring our weapons anyway? We're jus' gettin' fixed, right?"
"Must be for the Horseless Headless Horsemann," Soldier reasoned. "Just because we're not currently fighting at Mann Manor, doesn't mean he's not here!"
"Sol's got a point," Engineer nodded in agreement. "That monster's prolly snoopin' 'round as we speak. We should keep our guard up."
"Oui, we should, but," Spy sighed as he crumpled the instructions in his hand. "But zhat still does not tell us what to do next."
"Should go inside Mann Manor," Heavy piped up. "Boss lady might be there, waiting for us."
The BLUs were actually gathered outside their resupply room, where they'd start whenever they'd fight the REDs there. Bit of a habit it was, starting off there. "Sounds like a plan to me," Soldier bellowed. "Let's move out, ladies!"
The rest of the BLUs gave mixed responses as they started towards the manor. They walked at a leisurely pace. As they walked on, Engineer fell to the back of the group to speak with Spy. The balaclava-clad man, despite learning how to walk with the tentacles fairly easily, was still the slowest at the moment. "You doin' all right there, pardner?"
"Fine," Spy glanced over to the Engineer, suspicious. "Something is bothering, oui? What is on your mind, toymaker?"
Engineer's face was graced with a brief look of surprise, but it disappeared into a more serious looking one a second later. He hesitated a moment before saying, "It's weird." He glanced around the map and fingered the pistol hanging at his belt nervously. "We been here fer a good ten minutes and no sign of the Administrator or Miss Pauling. They told us ta come here, so where are they?"
"Odd indeed," Spy pulled out his knife and flipped it in his hands a few times. "Let's check zhe manor before we jump to conclusions though. If zhe two ladies are not there, zhen we 'ave reason to be suspicious."
"If ya say so-" Engineer cut himself off when he noticed Scout and Soldier raising their voices from the front of the group. They were arguing more than likely. Soldier was threatening Scout with his shovel. Not an uncommon occurrence. "Sol, Scout, if you two don't stop arguin', I'll tell the Administrator not ta fix ya!" The Texan warned the two arguing mercenaries.
"Solly started it!" Scout yelled back to the Texan.
"C'mere, fairy boy! I'll tear those wings right off so the Administrator doesn't have to bother with 'em!"
Scout gave a yell as Soldier lunged at him. He sprinted ahead of the group and rounded a nearby corner. Soldier made to run after him, but stopped when he heard a sudden, short scream. The rest of the BLUs stopped as well. That was Scout.
"Scout?" Engineer immediately called.
Said Bostonian rounded the corner again. He was going so fast he nearly ran into the Soldier as he sped back to the group. "I…I don't think they saw me," Scout gasped. "Yer not gonna believe it!" his eyed were wide and unbelieving. "The REDs are here!"
"What?" Soldier was the first to react. "Explain!"
"All of 'em are standin' in front of the manor!" Scout explained rapidly. "I only got a glance. They're jus'… there!"
"They got any weapons on 'em?"
"Vhat are zhey doing here?" Medic asked.
"I bet they got wind that we would be here and now they're here to stop us from gettin' cured!" Soldier snarled.
"Perhaps we should ask them," Spy suddenly said from the back of the group.
Everyone turned to stare at him.
"Why not? Eet is suspicious zhat they are 'ere, but," Spy went on. "For all we know, they could be 'ere for the same reason as us. There is only one way to find out, oui?"
"I commend you for wanting to actually face the enemy head on for once, Spy," Soldier frowned. "But need I remind you the REDs will probably shoot us as soon as they see us?"
"Maybe not zhis time," Spy shrugged. "If they are 'ere for zhe same reason as us, zhen they probably got zhe same instructions as well. Meaning they are probably as clueless as we are. And we 'ave no idea if respawn is on 'ere. There was never anything about eet in zhe instructions. And since we are not actually doing any fighting 'ere, why would respawn be on? If we go out now, they will 'esitate."
"Wot makes ya so sure?" Sniper questioned.
"RED or BLU, we are all used to relying on respawn now," Spy explained grimly. "Now we don't know if eet's on 'ere at zhe manor. We could actually kill each other, oui? But do we really need to? We are not 'ere to fight after all."
Everyone glanced at one another uneasily.
"Eet is just a theory," Spy shrugged again.
"Well, if it's a theory," Demoman grinned. "We best go test it out then, eh, lads?"
"REDs or no REDs, I'm going into Mann Manor!" Soldier agreed.
"Brought Sascha for reason," Heavy smirked, patting his gun.
"We will approach them then," Spy nodded as he pulled out his revolver. "Alright. Walk, do not charge, towards them. Keep weapons at zhe ready. Do not fire unless I give a signal. And Soldier, try not to say anything stupid."
"What's that supposed-"
But the Spy had already lurched forward, cutting Soldier off. The rest of the BLU team was quick to follow. Guns out and loaded, they rounded the corner that brought them all into view of the REDs. Both teams visually tensed at the sight of the other. The REDs scrambled to get together from their spot at the front steps of the manor. They soon had their weapons out as well, but like Spy predicted, they didn't shoot. The REDs just aimed and watched the BLUs approach. The BLU team eventually stopped, leaving a fifteen foot gap between the two groups.
There was a long, awkward pause after that. Usually, when the two teams saw one another they would just start shooting each other. Not having a long awkward silence. Spy was the one to break it. "We received instructions to come 'ere," he called to the REDs. "None of which mentioned the likes of you all being 'ere. What is your business 'ere?"
The REDs were clearly just as uneasy as the BLUs. They glanced nervously at one another. The RED Soldier was the one who answered after a tense moment. "Why should we tell you BLU pansies anything?" he yelled. "Our instructions said nothing about you being here! What's your business here?"
"Instructions?" Spy repeated with a smirk. "Zhen you all received instructions to come 'ere as well?" He didn't wait for a reply. "I figured."
"Nice going," the RED Spy grumbled to his Soldier.
"Shut it!" The RED Soldier snapped at his teammate before turning back to tell at the BLUs, "So we got instructions to be here, what of it? What's it mean to you, BLU wimps?"
"Eet means we 'ave no reason to fight," Spy flicked a tentacle towards the RED's pointed weapons. "If your instructions are any similar to ours, zhen they said nothing about fighting." He hoped the REDs would get the message, and not start randomly shooting or anything of the such. It's not that Spy wasn't confident they couldn't beat the REDs, he just didn't want to fight the REDs again. They came here to become normal again after all, not fight. "It also means," Spy went on. "Zhat you all are unsure as what to do next. You're all just sitting 'ere after all."
The RED Soldier was about to say something else, but the RED Spy cut in. "We were instructed to come 'ere so we could become normal again," he replied evenly, fastening his BLU counterpart with narrowed eyes. "You were told zhe same thing, I presume?"
"Obviously," Spy sighed. "But eet seems something is amiss, non? Zhe ones who promised us zhat we would be normal again are not present."
"Well, I'm here! That's all that should matter!" And suddenly the Horseless Headless Horsemann was there. Just standing between the two groups of mercenaries with a big grin on his face. How he got there, the mercenaries would never know. But they were too busy gapsing in surprise at his sudden appearance. Needless to say, everyone, RED or BLU, now pointed their weapons at him. The monster just giggled. "Oh, did I scare you all?"
"You're outnumbered, monster," Soldier tried to threaten. "Leave while you still can!"
"Pffft, I could kill you right now if I wanted, Mr. Soldier," the Horseless Headless Horsemann said nonchalantly. "But what's the fun in that? I came here for fun after all!"
"Well we didn't!" The RED Soldier yelled back. "We're here on strict business!"
"Strict business, right," the Horseless Headless Horsemann smirked. "You're all here to get fixed, right? To become normal again?"
Everyone froze. How did-
"Oh, that's right," the monster surveyed both teams. "I know why you're all here. You all have terrible issues. Wings, invisibility, and tentacles, oh my! You were told to come here to get those issues taken care of. Can't see why you'd want them gone, though," the Horseless Headless Horsemann shook his head. "I think they're all magnificent! Demomen," the monster addressed the two Demomen. "Your little eye trick could really come in handy, you know? I'd kill for that ability!"
Both the RED and BLU Demoman looked puzzled.
"Engineers," the Horseless Headless Horsemann said in a sing-song like voice. "I don't know what you two have to complain about!" He reached for his head and promptly took it off with ease. "I personally like being able to take my head off. You'd be surprised how fun it can be!"
Both Engineers looked aghast.
Grinning, the monster held his head out to survey both groups of mercenaries. His eyes lingered on the Spies. "Oh, and you Spies," the Horseless Headless Horsemann gushed as he put his head back on. "You two are definitely my favorites! Tentacles! Do you like them? I'm very proud of them! My best work yet! They turned out so lovely!"
"Your work…" Spy mumbled to himself before snapping his head up. "'e is zhe one who did zhis to us!"
"What?" Everyone shouted, gaping at the Spy before moving on to gape at the monster still standing between the two groups.
"Took you long enough to figure it out," the Horseless Headless Horsemann snorted.
"Then the Administrator didn't do this?" Sniper looked at Spy with a raised eyebrow.
"Does this mean she can't fix us?" Scout wondered anxiously.
The Horseless Headless Horsemann's roaring laughter interrupted anymore questions either side could have asked. "Oh, that's good!" he giggled, pointing to Scout. "You… you though the Administrator was going to fix your issues? That's rich!" He bent over in laughter, clearly amused. Then, he suddenly snapped back up, pointing a finger at the RED Scout. Purple smoke seemingly shot from his finger and swirled around the Scout. It completely enveloped him, blocking him from view.
The RED screamed.
"Scout!" Just as distressed as the RED Scout, his teammates yelled back.
The Horseless Headless Horsemann then pointed his right finger at the BLU Scout and the same thing happened.
Smoke cascading around him, Scout screamed as well.
"Scout!" The rest of the BLUs were caught between leaping forward to help him and jumping back in fear.
"You all have much to learn," the Horseless Headless Horsemann said. "If you think it's the Administrator who's going to fix you all." He pulled his arms back and the smoke immediately stopped flowing. After a few moments, the smoke wafted away, revealing the two Scouts. They were both cringing, but otherwise appeared unharmed.
Both REDs and BLUs gasped.
"What?" Scout looked at his teammates. "What're you guys lookin' at? What happened? What'd he do?" His voice rose as he got more panicky. What had that monster done to him now?
"Scout," Medic was gaping at him. Or, more specifically, his back. "Your vings," he said. "Zhey are gone!"
"Huh?" Scout turned his head back as far as he could. Sure enough, no wings. Hell, there was hardly even any evidence they had been there! Save for the rips in his shirt from where they had once poked though, nothing was there. "They're… they're gone!" His mouth dropped in shock. Just like that? They were gone?
The RED Scout's reaction was nearly the same. He was patting his back, as if checking if the wings were really gone. His fellow REDs gaped as well.
"Ah, ah, ah," the Horseless Headless Horsemann tsked, regaining everyone's attention again. "Let's not get too excited, shall we?" He snapped his fingers. In a poof of purple smoke, the wings appeared on both the Scouts' backs again.
Both Scouts' frowned at the return of the wings.
"As you all can see, I am the one who will be changing you back to normal," the Horseless Headless Horsemann said, surveying the groups. "And I have no problem with that. I can do it all in a flash! But," he paused and grinned. "I'd like to play a game first."
"Hold it!" Soldier crossed his arms. "Fighting the REDs yesterday was the last straw! We were told after that fight, we would be returned to normal! I am not fighting, playing any games, anything, until I get fixed!"
"That goes double for our team!" The RED Soldier bellowed in agreement.
"Oh, that's too bad," the monster sighed. "Here I was, about to return you all to normal after one little game…" the Horseless Headless Horsemann shrugged and turned around, as if about to walk away. "Well, who says I have to turn you all back?"
"The Administrator said-"
"Well the Administrator can't turn you back, can she?" the Horseless Headless Horsemann snapped. "Only I can. And if you don't feel like playing one little game, then I don't feel like returning you to normal." The monster started walking towards the nearby graveyard. "Goodbye, mercs. Enjoy your wings, invisibility, and tentacles!"
Everyone jerked, glancing at each other uneasily. Was… was this monster serious? He wouldn't fix them unless they play a game?
"Oh, zhe Administrator is going to get an earful from me after zhis," Spy grumbled to no one in particular before shouting, "Wait a moment, monsieur!"
The Horseless Headless Horsemann stopped.
"I am not one to gauge monster's intelligence levels," Spy said, frowning at the monster's back. "But you must be stupid if you think I want to 'ave tentacles for zhe rest of my life. I do not speak for zhe rest of my team, let alone zhe REDs, but I will play zhis… game if eet means returning to normal."
The Horseless headless Horsemann whipped around, grinning. "You will?" he gushed. "Oh, I knew someone would! What about the rest of you BLUs?"
There was a tense and long pause. They clearly didn't want to, but… After a moment, Scout shrugged. "It's a game," he reasoned. "Could be fun."
"Yeah, playin' a game with a bloody monster," Sniper lightly whacked him on the back of the head. "Sounds real fun."
"But I'm in," Grinning, Sniper said as he dodged a punch from Scout.
"Like I said, could be fun," Scout glared at the Aussie, but had a playful smirk on his face.
"Mph tff," Pyro said.
"Ve haf no real choice," Medic sighed.
"Will play too," Heavy nodded.
"Oi, I've faced the Loch Ness Monster before an' lived," Demoman smirked. "Playin' a game with a monster should be easy!"
"I suppose I'll have ta hop on this bandwagon as well," Engineer nodded.
"If my team is doing it, you can be sure as hell that I am too!" Soldier said.
"Oh, goodie!" The Horseless Headless Horsemann clapped his hands in delight. "That's the entire BLU team!" The monster turned to face the REDs. "What about you REDs? Want to play a little game?"
The REDs were silent for a moment. They then broke out into whispers amongst themselves. "This game," the RED Engineer spoke up after a moment. "It's, uh, not gonna be harmful to our health or anything, is it?"
"Of course not!"
The RED Engineer looked back at his team before looking back to the monster and nodding. "We'll play," he said.
"Excellent!" The Horseless Headless Horsemann boomed. "I'll explain what we'll be doing then!" The monster snapped his fingers and jack 'o' lantern seemingly fell from the sky and into his right hand. "The game is simple: each of the three points here at the manor will have one jack 'o' lantern on it. To win the game, you all must simply smash each one." He then crushed the jack 'o' lantern, sending bits and pieces and juices flying.
"Hah!" The RED Soldier grinned. "That's sounds easy!"
"I'm not done yet," the Horseless Headless Horsemann said. "I will be guarding the jack 'o' lanterns, trying to stop you all from smashing them."
"Wait a minute," the RED Engineer piped up. "Yer gonna guard 'em? Try an' stop us from gettin' to 'em?"
"As in using fightin' an' violence ta stop us? Prolly with yer axe an' all?"
"I thought ya said this wasn't gonna be dangerous to our health?"
"Oh, your little respawn system is on," the Horseless Headless Horsemann waved it off. "No need to worry."
The RED Engineer looked doubtful, which mirrored many off the mercenaries' looks. Could they really trust this monster? Believe him?
"Yeah, grease monkey," the RED Soldier patted his teammate on the back. "Besides, we outnumber him!"
"Oh, I won't be alone," the Horseless Headless Horsemann grinned. Bringing a hand to his mouth, he let out a shrill whistle.
All the mercenaries' faces turned from confusion to horror a second later. It was mostly caused by the people the suddenly approached the Horseless Headless Horsemann. If they could even be considered people. The witch that came floating down from the sky on a broomstick looked to be the closest to a human. Save for the fairy-tale green skin, pointy nose, and warts. Surely there was a human beneath the wrappings of the mummy that came sauntering up. That was iffy though. The ghost that appeared from thin air was probably human once before, but not so much now. The fact it didn't really have a face wasn't helping. It was just blank, no nose, mouth, or eyes. It was creepy.
And if the ghost was creepy, the werewolf that came running was flat out terrifying. It came to stand next the Horseless Headless Horseman, growling and glaring at the mercenaries. The grinning scarecrow that came to stand on the other side of the Horseless Headless Horsemann wasn't as scary as the werewolf. Nor was the drooling zombie that slowly moseyed on up. The mercenaries didn't even notice the vampire until it, well, turned into a vampire. It had been a bat fluttering next to the witch a minute ago. The group of monsters all gathered around the Horseless Headless Horseman.
"See?" The Horseless Headless Horsemann cooed. "I won't be alone. I've got some friends who want to play too!"
Both the REDs and BLUs couldn't help but take a step back and gape. Were they scared? A bit. Who could blame them? They were monsters! And each monster was just about the same size as the Horseless Headless Horsemann, who was a good seven or eight feet tall. And if they were anything like the Horseless Headless Horsemann, then they probably enjoyed chopping heads off or something similar to that sort of thing.
"We're fucked," the RED Scout muttered, still gaping at the monsters.
"This can't be bloody fair," the RED Sniper piped up. "You blokes are huge!"
"Yes, but there are eighteen of you," the Horseless Headless Horsemann reasoned. "And only seven of us! That evens it out!"
"'ardly," Spy rolled his eyes. He was about to comment on something else, but stopped. "Wait a minute… Eighteen of us?" he raised his voice, causing everyone to turn to look at him. "Are you… expecting us BLUs and REDs to play your game… together?"
"But of course!" the Horseless Headless Horsemann frowned. "I thought that was obvious. We don't have time to play separate games! It'll be easier for you two teams to play together anyways."
Despite the rather scary and unpleasant situation all the mercenaries faced, both the REDs and BLUs burst out laughing.
"REDs and BLUs… t-together…" Soldier chuckled. "That's a good one!"
"In case you haven't noticed, spooky," the RED Soldier had managed to stop laughing, but was still grinning. "We fight each other almost everyday! Working together is next to impossible!"
"Well you all better make it possible, then," the Horseless Headless Horsemann crossed his arms. "Because that's how we'll be playing."
The REDs and BLUs tore their eyes away from the monsters to stare at each other. Work together? Just to play a game? Could this could get any worse?
"Oh, and another thing!"
Apparently it could.
"There's only one rule to the game: no guns," With a snap of the Horseless Headless Horsemann's fingers, all the mercenaries' guns disappeared in poofs of smoke.
The response was immediate. REDs and BLUs both shouted in surprise and protest.
"Yer bloddy kiddin' me!" Demoman shouted.
"Sascha!" Both Heavies cried out.
"What in Sam Hell?" Engineer looked at his empty hand, where his pistol had once been.
Both Spies were checking their suits. Any extra guns they might have brought along were gone as well. They only had their knives and disguise kits.
"Alright," the RED Sniper snapped. "Now this really ain't fair!"
"Of course it is!" The Horseless Headless Horseman said. "Out of me and my friends, I'm the only one with a weapon here! And it's not even a gun! So why should you all guns?" The monster glanced at both the Medics briefly. "The only guns I'll allow are the Medics' heal-y guns."
Both Medics looked at their Medi Gun, both of which hadn't disappeared.
Both REDs and BLUs erupted in more protest, but a howl from the werewolf shut them all up.
"Now, now, mercs," the Horseless Headless Horsemann cackled. "No need to worry: your guns will all be returned at the end of the game. But I'll remind you: This is my game and my rules. You all need to smash the three jack 'o' lanterns, guarded by me and my friends. And, yes, by all, I mean both RED and BLU." He turned and started walking towards the manor. The rest of the monsters followed as well. "We'll start the game at sundown, whether all you mercs decide to play together or not. And you all best win the game before sunrise," the mercenaries couldn't see his grin and he walked away. "Or else."
As the monsters disappeared, REDs and BLUs looked at one another. This was looking worse and worse by the second.
"This sucks on ice," both Scouts said.
A/N: Ngk. This chapter is over 4,000 words long. Whoops.
And if you all couldn't already tell from the text, I'll say this now. From this chapter on, when you see me writing "Spy" or "Engineer" (for example) I will be talking about the BLU ones. If they're a RED, it will always be said beforehand (like "the RED Spy" or "the RED Engineer"). I will never say "The Engineer" and be talking about the RED one. (This story focuses on the BLUs after all).
Up Next: The REDs and BLUs have a major decision to make: work together in the Horseless Headless Horsemann's game or not? Spoiler: they do. And so an epic fight of epic proportions begins!