Joan backed away from the BLU Demoman, running her flamethrower in bursts to conserve what little fuel she had left. She wasn't aware that he'd set a trap and was now herding her straight into it. She learned too late, as she felt the shrapnel of a sticky bomb tear through her midsection. Now she wasn't retreating for fuel, she was running for her life, even as her whole body shuddered with the pain.
At the same time, Mick tried to move as quickly as he could from the bunker to the lower entrance of the RED base – his target was cleverly using the roof of the bridge as cover; he needed to move if he was to hit him. As he left the courtyard, Joan unexpectedly crashed into him and collapsed. Even through the gas mask he could hear her gasps and wheezes of pain. The Pyro got to her feet and fell sideways against the wall, clutching at the spot where the twisted metal had lodged itself in her gut, blood trickling down over her gloves in alarming quantities.
The Sniper's reaction was reflexive. "Medic!" he shouted, steadying the Pyro and trying to keep her from hurting herself any further. No! she thought desperately. She was disoriented and panicked, more than the average fighter would be by injury. Surgery would blow her cover, and she wasn't sure she could trust the Medic. She knew better than to hope she could be healed with the medigun; this wasn't a bullet or something small – this was a large piece of metal lodged through her internal organs. The doctor hadn't finished his proper medigun, the one he had on hand was just a prototype. Joan's thought process became increasingly scattered and nonsensical as she grew dizzier and her vision darkened. She was vaguely aware of voices, and then she blacked out.
The Sniper retreated from the conflict as soon as he could. It felt like hours he was stuck there, peeking his rifle out around the doorframe and firing. He wasn't able to land any headshots, not from there, in that situation, unable to take time to aim, but he was fairly certain he shattered more than a few arms and legs. As soon as he got the chance, he withdrew into the base. He knocked on the door of the Medic's office.
"Herr Mundy," he was greeted almost immediately, "you will not believe what I've discovered!"
Ah, piss, was the first thing that ran through his head. He knew what was coming. He could only hope the doctor would be sympathetic. "Oh, really?"
"Zhe Pyro is a woman!"
"I know mate, I know. You told anyone else yet?"
"No, I just finished." The Medic stepped aside so Mick could come into the room. The doves looked at him curiously. "How did you know zhe Pyro's gender?"
"It's a bit of a long story. How's she doing? What happened? She was bleeding like crazy." The two men walked over to where the unconscious Pyro was recovering. The medigun had patched her up just fine after the shrapnel was removed, but she would still take a little while to wake up. Archimedes was perched on her shoulder, though he fluttered away at the Sniper's approach.
"Sticky bombs. At least four. She'll be perfectly alright when she comes around." The Medic brushed the young woman's hair away from her face with his hand and tucked a few loose strands behind her ear – a motion of compassion, so simple, yet so unlike him.
"If you say so, Doc. I'm going back up to the bunker. I'll come back a while later to check in with ya. I've got a job to do. Don't let anyone know, alright? Not everyone on this team would be so… supportive."
"I was not planning to."
The fighting raged on, but there were occasional pauses in the action, rendering Teufort still and silent. It was during these breaks that Mick would check on his ally's condition. On the fourth visit, he asked, "Should she be taking this long to wake up?"
"She shouldn't be out much longer. I wouldn't worry, yet."
"I'm not," the Sniper replied calmly.
"Worrying about a friend is perfectly natural, Herr Mundy."
"I'm not worried," Mick repeated. The Medic just shrugged and didn't argue with him; he knew the Sniper had a problem with admitting that he had any emotions at all. Hell, sometimes he even had trouble admitting that he considered someone a friend.
The conversation was interrupted as the Pyro stirred. Archimedes was startled off her shoulder and landed on a nearby table instead. Joan opened her eyes and sat up.
"How are you feeling, fräulein?"
The Pyro locked up in panic for a moment until she saw Mick standing nearby.
"He's on our side," the Sniper reassured her.
The Medic nodded. "Zhe secret is safe wizh me, ah…" he paused, as he realized he didn't know her name.
"Joan. My name is Joan." The German nodded again in acknowledgement.
Joan looked to the side as she felt the dove settle back onto her shoulder. "Archimedes here seems to have taken a liking to you. He would not leave your shoulder for more zhan five minutes at a time." The Medic suddenly grinned and glanced sideways. "Much like your Sniper friend." Mick rolled his eyes. "Anyway, since you were zhe last one scheduled for the ubercharge procedure, I decided to kill two birds wizh one stone – sorry, Archimedes – and go ahead wizh zhat while you were out."
"Lucky," Mick said under his breath. "Didn't put the rest of us out."
"I would have preferred to be awake for it," Joan said.
"No, trust me, mate: you wouldn't have."
"I just feel like if the rest of you had to go through it, I should have too."
"What's done is done," the Medic said. "But I do respect your bravery, Joan. Courage is an admirable trait… One I wish I had more of."