I know this was a long time in coming. Thanks for your patience and I hope you enjoy the read.
Jane seemed to be a little more like himself after that afternoon with Engie. Cutting his hair and joking around seemed to put him at ease and blow a little fresh air into his sails. He was more talkative by dinner and played cards with Tavish and Pyro that night. So, everyone but Solly2 cheered and clapped him on the back when Jane appeared in full uniform that morning to support his team in battle. The men returned to finishing their pre-battle preparations; Medic adjusted his medi-pac, Heavy did a last minute spit shine on Sascha, Scout continued his ligament stretches. The engineer leaned over as Jane loaded his rocket launcher. He whispered low but assuring, "You sure you're ready, partner?"
Jane looked over at his friend and grunted with a smile, "Dammit private, I was born ready. Hell, I'm so wound up I could eat nails and shit barbed wire."
Dell grinned at Jane's blustering as the familiar announcement echoed over the com system and the countdown began. The mercs dropped into their stances, ready to charge. As the gates opened a violent blast of dirt and rust spewed into the room. The shockwave that accompanied the ruble knocked most of the RED team off their feet. Sniper beat the pebbles from the brim of his hat, "Bloody BLU wankers mean business today."
Tavish leapt to his feet and marched to the twisted remains of the battlement gate. As light filtered through the thick dusty air, he screamed "AYE! YER MAW IS A FILTHY MINGER BUT THE MUNT GIVES GOOD HEAD!" and then hurled a grenade through the entrance. Not giving the offensive time to recover after the blast, he charged through the gate with his sticky bomb launcher to carve through the BLU encroachment. Laughing terribly, Heavy trundled out behind him unloading Sascha's magazine on anything and everything that moved. His Doktor followed behind with a grim set jaw.
Jane scrambled out of the ruined entrance. The respawn wave was getting fired up as body parts that lay strewn from the Demoman's work began to disintegrate. Scout dodged past Jane and hollered, "Yo, Pops! Cover me!" as he vaulted over an oil drum. Jane did his best to cover the runt but he'd be damned if that prick wasn't fast and it was getting difficult to keep pace with the kid. He could rocket jump to clear obstacles that would normally take him way longer than Scout but when he'd go zipping down through corridors and get too far ahead Jane began to get irritated. He had to stop and try to listen over his own heaving breath for where the Scout had gone when he approached a dark passage that branched into two corridors. Above his labored breath, all he could make out were the explosions and battle cries that issued from above. "Hurry it up, Captain America!" a jeer echoed from the left most corridor. He bolted in after Scout. The darkened corridors wound about like intestines and presently he saw the dim exit up ahead as Scout's foot disappeared past the threshold. But as he approached the weak daylight that filtered in from the exit a salvo ripped up the side of the old wooden tunnel struts. Scout stumbled back against the splintered wood and blood began to pour from his wounds. Another barrage rained down from the opposing Heavy just outside the exit. Jane screamed Scout's name but couldn't be heard over the racket. Scout's body lay in a broken heap. The ravaged wooden struts of the old corridor creaked and then broke and Jane ran like mad to try and find a way out as dirt and rocks bombarded him from all sides. He felt trapped as he rushed on in the dark. He could hear the battle raging from outside but got turned around in the maze of corridors in this damn place. Just as he thought he might spend the remainder of the battle trapped in the darkness but he saw a sliver of weak daylight springing from a crack in the wall ahead of him. A cursory brush of the fingers told him it was a corroded metal panel warping away from its original fitting. He jerked it back well enough to squeeze himself through. On the other side, he could tell he was in some sort of culvert between buildings. A sudden explosion from the other side of the building almost rocked him off his feet. He was about to set out to find the rest of his team when another noise caught his attention. To his right, there is the sound of low whistling and a soft crunch of gravel. Jane turned and his breath stopped.
The BLU engineer stood about twenty feet away happily fiddling with the controls on three massive sentries that surrounded him. They all appeared to be in some state of damage and it looked like the BLU was sacrificing some parts to get at least one of the behemoths working. His back was to Jane and did not see the soldier in the shadows.
Paralyzed with fear, Jane's brain couldn't decide whether or not to have him squirm back into the pop hole unnoticed. What is HE doing so close to base?
A crackle came over the BLU engineer's walkie talkie. "Truckie, ya there? Where's the fuck'n back up, man? I'm dyin' out hea."
The engineer radioed back in on the device. "Well, hold on son. I'm work'n as fast as I can. We'll skull fuck these REDs yet."
It was then that Jane decided he had had enough of running. He swallowed his fear and stepped nervously from his cover. With each step, he grew more confident and his anger consumed him. He tread lightly and the Engineer spun around when the banging of his wrench no longer overtook the sound of Sollie's footsteps. He swore and struggled frantically to switch on the sentries but Jane knocked the control from his grasp like an angry bear. The engineer quickly countered by whipping out his pistol but Jane grabbed his arm and deflected the aim as the weapon discharged near his ear. Jane was so angry he could feel the engineer's radius and ulna cracking as they compressed under his grip. The BLU should have cried out in pain but the look of utter shock on his face told Jane he clearly didn't think the soldier would overpower him. Without looking away, he reached up and wrenched off a turret barrel from the sentry next to him. His face was almost purple with rage as angry tears streaked down. "Yer not gonna skull fuck nobody today." and the turret whistled as it raced through the air to crack against the engineer's face. The BLU fell over from the blow and the next belt took off half his head.
. . .
Dell had to fall back because the BLU Spy was being unusually effective today. Pyro was doing the best he could but the slimy bastard sapped every last sentry he could muster. No sooner had he repaired one, another would turn up out of commission. Dell suspected something was up because BLU was coming down especially hard on them today.
He had to fall back and regroup. There was a back lot between the eastern tunnel and the storage sidewall. He should know. He designed it. It was nondescript enough to go pretty much unnoticed so he could have some time and space to form a new offensive. It was a complete surprise when Dell rounded the corner to find Jane flogging the body of a BLU engineer with his shovel. His face was purple as a beet and the body beneath him flinched and jolted from the impacts.
Dell knew they were not reactions of pain. The area where the head used to be attached to the body was now only a pulpy ruddy mess. What was left of the nervous system at the stump of a neck was reacting to Jane's blows. Deep fierce gashes carved straight through the thick overall fabric of the BLU engineer. His abdomen lay open in great hunks that Jane's knees were buried in and viscera draped and oozed out of the cavity.
Dell was suddenly terrified by Jane's savagery. Not that he could actually blame Jane but the scene was gruesome and Jane was acting like an animal. A large hand encompassed his shoulder. Dell looked up to see Heavy had come up behind him. He gave Dell's shoulder a rough squeeze as he passed him and threw his head back to indicate he had the situation and maybe Dell should head back to check out his machines. In his heart, he knew he should sit this one out. He turned and retreated from the bloody causeway.
Jane was on the down swing when the respawn field kicked in and began to retrieve the body's remnants. As the corpse began to disappear Jane got angrier, "I'M NOT FUCKING DONE WITH YOU, YOU COWARD!" He began to claw and fling at the bloodied soil that remained. The large form of Heavy appeared in his periphery. "WHUTERYU LOOK'N AT?!"
Heavy just considered him through a stony expression, his mini-gun resting against his thigh. His English was getting better but it was still rough and he often deliberated over which words to use in his limited vocabulary.
He lifted his head to speak but shards of mortar exploded from the brick wall behind him and strafed his cheek as a sniper bullet missed his head. When he flinched and instinctively threw his arm up, he accidentally dropped Sascha and the next bullet buried into his shoulder. He charged forward and caught Jane by the collar with his good hand to drag them both under a battered steel awning. Clutching his spurting shoulder, he looked forlornly out to Sascha. At least he could still see her. He looked above their heads at the old battered steel that protected them. "Sniper." he cursed.
Jane scrambled up but stumbled back down when Heavy snagged his collar again. "Get off me, maggot!"
"You are so quick to respawn?"
"I can't just sit here, Commie! I got bastards to kill!"
There were sounds of explosions in the near distance. "Demo is soon coming and taking care of leetle man with tiny gun I think." he sniffed. "Will not kill us to wait." A shot ricocheted off the gravel near their feet. "But sniper might." he added. Another shot clanged across Sascha's large magazine housing, leaving a painful dent. "I WILL KEEL YOU DEAD!" Heavy roared from where they were pinned. They could hear a chuckle from the sniper's hiding place. "Avstraliyskiy ublyudok." Heavy hissed and then snarled at his frustration. He looked next to him to see Soldier clenching his fists in equal frustration. Softening his anger, he let out a sigh of sympathy for the man sitting in a uniform saturated in thick dark blood.
"You are thinking it will never end- the pain." The Soldier froze. "It won't." Heavy squeezed his weeping shoulder in thought. "But it get less . . . with time."
Jane's expression became caged, "What do you know about it?" It sounded more like an insult than a question.
"I escape from gulag." Heavy replied, peering down at the soldier. "Still see things, sometimes."
Jane got quiet and Heavy sat back against the cracked cement wall. The Soldier looked over at him expecting him to elaborate but Heavy simply stared out with furrowed brow to Sascha and worked his jaw. He looked like he was chewing on his thoughts. Jane thought that was the end of it. He was about to make another break for it when he heard Heavy quietly speak.
"They took us; Mama, and sisters, and I. I make good challenge to break." His eyes turned to meet Jane's. "They, how you say, make sport of me . . . You know the terrible things men do . . . I take much. Is okay, I not break. But," and Heavy's voice began to quaver, "then they hurt Mama and sisters." Jane was pinned in place by Heavy's gaze and what he was revealing. "That is when I escape. I kill all men in dat place." He clenched his oozing shoulder wound as he dropped his eyes. "I save Mama and sisters. But, I do not forget." He looked up again at Jane. "We know what men can do." He tapped the heart of Jane's gore soaked combat jacket with two massive blood stained fingers. "I help eef you need help. You talk. I listen. Eef you nee-" Clang! A new bullet engraved a fresh dent in poor Sascha.
"YA VYRVU TEBE YAYTSA!" bellowed Heavy to the sniper above him.
The furious Russian burst out of the cover and got a bullet to the chest. A thunderous blast from overhead shook the earth and the BLU Sniper was thrown from his nest. Striking the corrugated roofing, he rolled to fall near Heavy. Jane crawled out from the cover to hear Demo cackling and cheering. Heavy lay dying as he coughed out a great splatter of blood. In a last attempt at revenge, he reached out and grabbed the BLU Sniper by the throat and crushed his windpipe, breaking his neck. His great body heaved as he drowned in his own blood. Jane tried to pull him up and drain his airway but by the time he got him up, the great Russian coughed out a clot along with his last breath. He looked at his friend's eyes staring away at nothing. The respawn wave presently filtered in and retrieved both Heavy and the Sniper. He knew he'd be seeing Heavy again soon. Why did he have this feeling of loss?
As bullets rang out in the distance, Jane stooped and hauled Sascha up and began to lug her back to RED base. Jane gained a renewed sense of awe at how Heavy was able to carry great burdens.