Another day, another hours-long cavalcade of gunshots, explosions and shouts of an old woman over a loudspeaker system. Or so it felt to the mercenaries of RED and BLU. Whether it be an attempt to bag the other team’s intelligence, push or derail a bomb-filled cart, or attempt to gain more ground than the other as it was on this day, it still held the same amount of organized chaos.
And unfortunately for RED, they seemed to be the ones losing ground to the other team, though this only instilled a much more ferocious fight from the mercs in the face of potential failure. None could see this better than the non-mercenary unintentionally forced to watch from the sidelines.
Mars looked on as they watched their team fighting back with all they had to stand their ground from a short distance behind somewhat staggering cover. In the past they’d preferred to stay in the most secure and quiet parts of RED base, away from any and all action, as they found themselves growing more proficient with firearms and less afraid of being caught in the fight, they also found themselves closer and closer to the actual battlefields. They also couldn’t help their own possibly morbid curiosity to see things for themselves, as well as try to help formulate plans or deliver supplies when needed.
Their focus on their surroundings and everything taking place before them left them with a near heart-attack when Scout suddenly jumped back, sliding behind the cover they were crouched behind. As soon as he saw them he gave a surprised look that was quickly replaced with a knowing nod.
“Hey Marsy! Gettin’ any ideas?” he asked, knowing their habit of watching over the area.
They shook their head, also ducking behind the cover when gunshots started hitting the makeshift wall more frequently than before.
“I’m trying but there’s not a whole lot I can figure out here.” They groaned, trying again to catch a glimpse of the other side.
“Ayy, that’s fine! I’ll just kick ass and save the day myself, like normal!” Scout boasted, reloading his gun and jumping back into the fray without warning.
With the shots being more aimed in his direction than theirs now, Mars peaked out of the cover again, trying to visually follow the other man’s path but shortly losing sight of him. They groaned in frustration again, seeing as they currently held a pretty shitty view from where they were. The thought crossed them again to try and find another vantage point somewhat out of the way enough to not draw attention as well as be able to oversee more of the field, but it was risky. Maybe too risky considering the already losing circumstance and the probability that even with a better vantage they might still not be able to come up with a helping strategy.
Still, it’s not like there was much else they could do as they saw their teammates run past them into the fray they couldn’t quite make out. After considering it onec more, they caught the sight of a spot in a small potential nest up a flight of stairs. The height would certainly help the view, as well as the closeness to the field. With the more BLU was pushing it was either that or possibly retreating, which Mars didn’t like in the slightest. If they could help their team, then it was worth the risk.
With a last moment of hesitation, they crouched back and reloaded their revolver before making a quick dash out towards the spot. Being around the smaller side, they were able to weave between covers and stay generally hidden for the most part. By the time they successfully managed to get up the stairs to the vantage point they could feel the adrenaline rushing through them as they peeked out. The cover was less than preferable to the last spot, but like they’d suspected they had a much better view of things, and were able to somewhat see some details most on ground level wouldn’t, such as a BLU sticky-trap set up along the upper half of the main tunnel towards the point. They caught sight of Scout starting to run towards it and felt their heart race.
“SCOUT!” they called out, causing the man to stop in his tracks and take cover, looking around for the source before he spotted them.
“Don’t go the main way, there’s a sticky trap! Go around!” they said, gesturing to a side exit seemingly uninhabited by the enemy. Scout looked over to where they pointed before looking back at them with a grin and nod, running towards that area, followed by a few other REDs.
Seeing another opportunity, they took out their radio and was delighted to see one of the dispensers online they could connect to.
“Engie? You there?” they asked.
“Loud and clear, son. What’s the issue?” he responded hardly a second later.
“If you can, you could put a teleporter in one of the side exit tunnels you could get the team to the point faster and help avoid the main firefight.” They replied. After a beat of silence they heard the knowing chuckle of the Texan, undoubtedly nodding at the suggestion before responding.
“Fine spottin’ partner, can do!” he replied before cutting out of the feed to likely do just that. Mars smiled to themselves, now feeling somewhat of a sense of accomplishment at their potential helping the team.
Looking out onto the filed they saw Engie moving towards the side exit, tool case in hand, as well as another movement catching their eye on the opposite side. They saw Spy uncloak himself, disguised as an enemy Medic leaning against the wall and quickly moving back before a rocket flew past him.
Mars found themselves watching him more than the rest of the team, and unfortunately for them less than their surroundings as they suddenly found themselves momentarily blinded by a small blue light before catching a glimpse of the BLU Sniper at the opposite vantage point…..aimed right at them.
Separating paths from Engineer as he cloaked himself, Spy found himself against the wall, attempting to peek over to get an idea of the setup. There’d been a BLU sentry set up past that hall causing his team problem and he aimed to put a quick end to that. He pressed back against the wall as a Soldier’s misfired rocket launcher sent a missile past him, though thankfully he remained unnoticed.
What he didn’t miss noticing however was the distinct sound of a sniper rifle being fired followed by a loud yell of pain. Though the voice wasn’t one he was used to hearing, and it was one that made his heart skip a beat. He hoped it was paranoia, but the second he saw Scout draw his attention to it as well, running towards the source instead of the battlefield, he knew something was wrong. Taking a last look over the wall he knew he had to put aside his previous mission for the more pressing matters.
In no time at all he ran around the other side and up the stairs, quickly dispatching the BLU Sniper and looked out to what the bushman was previously focused on. But when he caught sight of Scout running up and attempting to bring an all-too familiar silhouette back to cover he felt his stomach drop.
There was nothing that could’ve prevented him from getting back to the opposite side of the field as he finally came across exactly what he’d feared as he saw Scout trying to help Mars, his lover, as they were sitting against the wall with a hand pressed against a bloodied part of their chest with a look of pure agony on their face.
Scout looked up at the older man as he approached with a look of desperation in his eyes. Unable to keep that gaze, Spy quickly turned and felt his prayers answered as he saw Medic coming back from respawn towards the field, whom he was quickly able to call over.
Upon catching sight of the poor Mars tensed and nearly writhing in pain, Medic gasped in horror before quickly using his Medigun to heal their injuries. It thankfully only took a second, but Mars still shook with stress as they removed their hand from the now nonexistent wound. They were alright, but it was clear they were in no state to stay on the field.
Spy shooed Scout and Medic back to the field, but crouched down to his lover as they looked up at him with a scared but thankful smile. He didn’t share the same sentiment, instead placing a tense hand on their shoulder.
“Get back to the base!”
Their smile quickly fell and eyes widened with surprise and concern.
“Wha—but Spy, I can—”
“Get out of here, now!” he repeated with more vigor. They only gave another short glance before nodding in agreement, getting to their feet and running back to the more secure area of RED’s base.
In the end, thanks to some of Mars’ last-minute help, as well as some luck and hard fighting, RED was able to pull a come-from-behind victory on the other team. While the rest of the team cheered and celebrated, Spy instead still felt the pulsing of his own heartbeat in his ears he’d felt ever since the incident.
He didn’t hear the sound of his own name being said to him until he was touched on the shoulder, leading him to turn on his heel in alarm, seeing a concerned Engineer looking up at him.
“Spy! Partner, you alright?”
No he was certainly NOT alright, but Spy pushed through the dryness in his throat to respond.
The Texan obviously wasn’t convinced, and neither was Mars as he saw them also walk up to him with a look of worry over his behavior. But before they could speak he turned around, adjusting his tie.
“If you’ll excuse me, I’d prefer to be elsewhere.” He said plainly, walking away.
Thankfully he wasn’t followed to his smoking room, as he quickly found the closest bottle and poured himself a glass to hopefully cure the tightness in his throat and his chest.
He muttered curses to himself as he sat himself down and rubbed his hands over his face.
He knew something like this was inevitable, but it didn’t horrify him any less. Seeing the sight of his lover writhing in pain was something he hoped he’d never have to see. On top of the desperate look of his own son and the very real fear present in the situation, the whole thing shook him to his core.
The thought of what’d happened had he not taken out the BLU Sniper before a second shot also sent him to his feet, taking a long sip of his glass before looking over the fire in front of him that raged alongside the turmoil in his mind.
How could he have let himself be shaken so much by one incident? He’d seen oceans of blood and surpluses of corpses – a good amount caused by him – on the daily, and yet one small incident left him unable to process the amount of emotional grief left in its wake that he’d tried so desperately to avoid.
One thing was for sure, he couldn’t let himself slip up like this again.
Just as he assured himself of that, he heard a knock on his door.
“Leave.” He said uncaringly, taking another drink from his glass. Of course, like normal he heard the door open.
Mars peaked in the room, seeing their lover’s darkened silhouette in front of the roaring fireplace.
“Hun?” They hoped the shortened nickname would ease the clear tension, but the man stayed silent and refused to face them. Taking his lack of clear hostility as an invitation, like normal, they let themselves in, closing the door behind them.
“I know you’re not okay.” They continued.
Spy merely hummed in response, taking a prolonged sip from the glass in his hand as the other held a tightened fist behind his back. Still, they continued walking up to him, putting a soft hand on his back that made him tense and try to move away. While the act was nothing new, it was certainly telling that this problem was one of the worse ones, and their mind went back to the incident earlier.
While the painful tears had been blinding them in the moment, they could still make out his fearful look when he came across them, as well as the one when he told them to leave.
It was clear this was affecting him more than he let on.
“You know it…..could’ve been worse. I mean the Sniper technically missed, I got out of the way before he could really hit me.” They said. Their light-hearted and somewhat humorous tone, while they to leave him retorting with his normal wit and sarcasm instead seemed to work in the opposite direction, as the man finally looked at them with an angry look.
“And what if he didn’t miss? What would’ve happened?” he asked, turning to them. They moved back at his sudden question, before looking away sheepishly and rubbing their arm.
“I….I mean, I don’t know, you know none of us know if respawn works for me.”
“And you could’ve very easily died because of your carelessness!” he responded, voice now growing louder and more aggressive.
“Carelessness?! Wh—Spy I was helping the team, we needed a strategy and I couldn’t have thought of one from all the way behind the lines!” they replied, now growing just as angry.
“So you’d have died trying to be a hero and try to lead a group of idiots to victory.”
“Spy, you know that’s not true.”
“Oh? And what is, then?” he asked, leaving them silent for a minute before letting their anger simmer down with a deep breath and reaching out and pressing their hands on his shoulder.
“Spy……..I didn’t die. I’m right here. Please, please talk to me, I know how much this is bothering you, just talk to me.” They pleaded. For a moment he seemed to relax, the anger leaving his eyes before it came back just as strong and he stepped out of their reach.
“I think you’d be more useful somewhere else.” He said, voice low.
Mars looked up at him with hurt and anger. Normally he’d have relented by now but this…..
“Wh….what?” they asked, stepping back in shock as he turned away from them again.
“If you know what’s good for you, leave me now.” He continued. They wanted to respond again, either angrily retort or try to plead once more to help with the pain they knew he felt alongside them. But his words and tone pierced harder than a knife, more than they could bare to deal with as they were admittedly still shaken from the whole deal. Perhaps they were looking for their own comfort as well, and for both of their sakes they decided to leave without another word.
Hearing the door shut behind him, Spy felt his chest tighten once more. He knew he’d been more hurtful than he’d liked, but it was for both of their own good. They’d both heal with time.
However the following days only brought more hurt, as another few attempts from them to get him to open up were each quickly shot down, and eventually they gave up and the two refused to speak to one another. And though they both tried to hide it, unbeknownst to them the rest of the team could easily see the pain and yearning for the other they each felt. Though each member knew they wouldn’t be able to talk sense into either of them, especially the Frenchman, the remaining 8 still took it upon themselves to gather in the meeting room against the knowledge of the other two.
“Alright then. With everything goin’ on it’s clear these two need to talk things out. And seeing as they’re both bein’ more stubborn than mules right now, it’s up to us to figure out how we’re gonna get ‘em talkin’ again. Fellas, any ideas?” Engineer asked, standing at the front of the table while the rest of the mercenaries looked on.
“What if, hear me out, we send flowers to Mars, from Spy, and flowers to Spy from Mars. And then BOOM they like each other again.” Scout said, smugly leaning back in his chair.
“The flowers…..make Spy and Mars talk again?” Heavy asked, leaning over the table.
“Well…..yeah, I mean what else?” Scout replied matter-of-factly, though the rest of the group was clearly unimpressed.
“I’ve got ah question! Why are we all caring aboot their stupid relationship problems anyhow?” Demoman asked, leaning back and taking a swig from a bottle, while a few of the other mercenaries hummed in thought, though this also made Medic stand up.
“Well, psychologically speaking with their own emotional well-beings being compromised as an effect of the emotional turmoil stemming from their argument remaining unresolved, we could very well see a decline in their work ethics und focus in battle as well. Simply speaking, this could very well affect all of us.” The doctor warned, making the rest nod in agreement.
“We should already know this, whatever problem one of us has we ALL have, and we gotta find a way to help. Think fellas, how can we fix this?” Engineer said, leaning over the table as now many of the others started talking over each other with their own suggestions.
“We get ‘em both drunk!”
“Tell them to talk or ELSE!”
“Mmph mmph, mmph!”
“I say we lock ‘em in their rooms until they figure out a way to get past their pathetic little arguments!”
Everyone turned to Soldier at this suggestion, the wheels starting to turn in each others’ heads.
“Or….we get ‘em in the same room so they work it out from there.” Sniper continued.
“Pfft! Fat chance. You’d have to tie Spy up to get him to stay there.” Scout added, though was surprised when the rest of the room looked at him quizzically before sharing another knowing look to each other.
This certainly wasn’t going to be easy.
The time without Spy around made Mars realize just how much of it they’d normally be spending with him. And it made them miss his company even more so, as they stayed back in their room attempting to busy themselves with a book they’d found lying around and collecting dust. Though any slightest hint or shred of romance left their heart aching as they closed it once more and laid back on their bed, staring at the ceiling.
There’d been arguments before, and times where he didn’t want to open up but it’d never been this long since they’d talked to him. They missed him so much, and the fact that he was only a few rooms away made them all the more miserable as their eyes teared up with the thought that he might never speak to them again.
The thought was interrupted by a knock on their door, and they quickly sat up and wiped the growing tears from their eyes and glasses before clearing their throat and replying.
The slight hope they had fell when it was just Scout who peeked in the door, opening it fully when he saw them on the bed.
“Heeeyyy there………slugger.” He said hesitantly.
“Hey Scout.” They replied rather unenthusiastically. At this his shoulders clearly fell and he dropped the fake smile.
“Come on man, it’s been days and you’re still acting like this! You can’t mope around forever!” he said, walking in and sitting on the bed where they laid.
“Wanna bet?” They said half-jokingly, though he for once was unamused.
“Come on man, let’s go.” He said, standing up. They sat up in response, looking at him curiously.
“Outta here, Mars, you gotta get outta here! We need, to go out.” He pointed at them. They rolled their eyes and attempted to lay back again but he grabbed their hand and pulled them to their feet.
“You don’t have to do this, Scout.” They said as they let themselves get pulled out of the room.
“Come on man, we’re goin’ OUT! I know this great place, it’s a new place too it’s super great. They got uhhhh, food! Good food and uhh….good…..things.” he stuttered, not looking at them.
NOW they were somewhat interested. Not by the proposition of course, but the way he was clearly trying and failing to hide something.
“Scout, what’s this all about? What’s going on?” they asked.
“Uhhh, nothin! Nothin’ goin on AT ALL. I’m totally just bringin’ my best friend, to a cool place, where they can forget about that dumb, backstabbin’ – okay shit NOW, do it NOW!” he interrupted himself, suddenly pulling them in front of him and pushing them into the doorway beside them before shutting the door in their face. They stumbled back for a minute, completely thrown off by the situation before walking back and trying to turn the handle of the door, finding it locked.
“Scout? Scout this isn’t funny!” they called out, attempting to push against the door but to no avail. They could clearly hear the shuffling of more than one pair of feet on the other side of the door, but couldn’t make out their words.
“Guys? Guys let me out, this isn’t FUNNY!” they called out again, pushing more feverishly against the door once more before stepping back and looking around. They hadn’t been paying attention to where Scout had been dragging them, but now saw it was the intelligence room, where said RED briefcase sat on a desk, though the rolling chair normally behind it was notably missing. They figured it was to prop against the door, or whatever else odd reason that they were now stuck in there with no other exit as they looked back at said door.
They weren’t sure what else to say or do as they huffed a sigh and went towards the desk before they heard a small sound catch their attention. They turned back to the door to see a slip of paper being slipped under the door. Hesitantly, they looked over it, looking back at the door and then behind their shoulder. They had a bad feeling about this that only grew worse when they picked up and read the paper.
‘Look in the closet!!!!! – The team.’
Mars looked over their shoulder, around them before eyes settled on the one closet in the room, now having a very foreboding atmosphere. They looked back at the door once more, hoping it would open and reveal whatever prank was being pulled on them, but none such thing happened and they were instead left to look at the closet.
They read over the paper again, before tossing it to the ground and slowly walking over to it.
Unbeknownst to them, the rest of the team watched their movements eagerly over the surveillance systems, all lit up in the same camera feed from the room.
Still, no one could help as they hesitantly looked over the closet door, one hand hesitantly hovering over the gun in their side holster. Quickly, and hesitantly they pulled open the door and trained the gun in front of them, only to jump back in surprise at the sight.
Looking just as bewildered at the sight of them, Spy sat tied up in the missing rolling chair with tape over his mouth and a sticky note on his chest reading ‘We need to talk.’
Calming their own beating heart, they rolled their eyes and reholstered their gun. They then reached over and took the note off of him, then also leaning over and quickly ripping the tape off of the man’s mouth, causing him to grimace in pain.
“Sorry.” They muttered, tossing the tape aside as they turned and started walking away.
“My thanks.” He replied softly, making them turn in surprise at the first words he’d spoken to them in days. While overall he looked downright pissed, they knew it wasn’t directed at them, rather the ones who put them in this situation.
“So…….you wanted to talk?” they asked. He rolled his eyes, scooting himself forward and out into the room.
“Yes, I wrote the note after I tied myself up and taped my own mouth shut.” He replied sarcastically. While they had missed that wit, they still felt disappointment wash over them at his hostility as they turned and continued walking until they pushed the briefcase aside and sat on the desk.
“So you……don’t wanna talk then.”
He looked back at them, feeling somewhat guilty as they didn’t meet his gaze and instead looked to the floor with a forlorn look. He stayed silent for a moment, instead focusing on moving himself more towards them using the tips of his feet that were able to touch the ground.
“I suppose we won’t be able to get out of here if we don’t.”
Now it was his turn to avoid eye contact as they looked back at him. Silence hung over the two once more, eager to hear who’d go first before Mars sighed.
“Spy I’m…….I’m sorry I was being so careless. You’re right, I wasn’t paying attention and I put myself in danger. I never meant to scare you or Scout, or anybody for that matter.” They said. They looked up and finally the two were able to make eye contact with each other, both sharing pained and guilty looks. When the other man didn’t speak up, Mars continued.
“And I know this has been hurting you, and it’s been hurting me too! I know you well enough to know when something’s bothering you, and that you don’t like talking about stuff like this, but I know it scared you. I know it scared you because……..because it fuckin’ scared me too.”
Their voice wavered with every word and they couldn’t help the tears that started welling up in their eyes at the memory of the incident, a hand reaching up and grasping at the spot on their chest they’d felt unspeakable pain in just days before.
Spy looked up at them in awe, now feeling more acutely aware of the guilt of his actions than ever before. They were refusing to look at him now, but now nearly within arms reach in front of them he looked up with a soft look.
“I was really scared, REALLY scared. It hurt so much and all I can remember is falling, and Scout’s face and your face before Medic healed me and I thought……I thought what if that was it? What if that was the last time I saw you and what if…….” They trailed off, having to choke back their own sobs as they failed to keep their shoulders from shaking. They still refused to look him in the eyes, though not in a pitied way, rather they were afraid seeing whatever expression he held would lead to a full on breakdown. They let the tears stream down as they attempted to wipe them away, only to catch a glimpse of him in front of them and realize how close he was now. Albeit he was still tied to a chair, he looked up at them with pain and worry.
“You don’t have to apologize for being shot at. Or for my own arrogance. Mon chou, had I known how much this was hurting you I……” he trailed off just as well, looking away guiltily. How badly he wished he was the one wiping away their tears as he cursed the ropes that bound him, and the fact that the team had confiscated his knife before tying him up. He made an attempt to brace against the restraints again, but the effort was fruitless and instead he looked back at them.
“I know I can be…..difficult. The fact that you’ve stayed by myside this long in the face of my arrogance has surprised me to no end, and for that I am thankful. I apologize for my actions, I shouldn’t have pushed you away, mon amour.”
Looking up at them, hoping his words could make up for his previous ones, and to his surprise they reached a hand out and touched the side of his face. A touch he gladly leaned into, closing his eyes and sighing. How he’d missed their touch.
“I was……scared. Terrified even, at the thought of losing you. I couldn’t handle it and resorted to pushing you away. I can see how misguided that was now.” He continued, looking up at them. To his relief, they seemed to crack a small smile through the tears that started to flow with less frequency. He closed his eyes once more, turning his head to kiss their palm.
“Please forgive me, mon amour. Je ne sais pas quoi faire sans toi.” He whispered.
Even without fully understanding the statement, it was the emotion behind it that made Mars clearly understand the sentiment, and Spy felt their body shift as he opened his eyes just to close them once more as they softly pressed their lips to his. He melted into the kiss that lasted all too short for him, but as they pulled away he could see the soft, loving smile on their face that was soon mirrored by his own.
“Apology accepted.” They said softly, chuckling at his clearly touch-starved state.
“Now….if you would do us both the favor of untying me, I can easily get that door down within two minutes. He said, using his eyes to gesture to the door at the other side of the room. Mars laughed, wiping any of the remaining wetness from their face before hopping down from the desk and walking around him to get their lover free.
It only took a few minutes to get the restraints off, starting with his wrists and knees that were bound together and then the rest of his chest as he stood up, letting the rope fall to the floor and gratefully stretching, sighing contently.
He looked to the door for a moment, but a smug smile grew on his face as he looked back at them instead. It took them seconds recognize that familiar expression and before they could respond, he quickly stepped towards them and held them by the waist, quite literally sweeping them off their feet as he dipped them back and kissed them passionately.
They hadn’t even been aware at how touch-starved THEY were until his arms were wrapped around them, and they did the same, pulling themselves as close to him as they could.
The heated embrace broke if only for them to breathe as he pulled them back to their feet, flashing the charming smile that made their heart flutter once more.
“I’ve been wanting to do that for days. Now, what say we get back at our ‘entrappers?’” he asked glancing mischievously at the door once more and they felt themselves laugh, holding onto his hands and leaning against his chest.
“I think I can get behind that.” They replied, laughing and looking up at him lovingly in a way that made his head spin.
The rest of the team, once ‘aww’-ing and fawning over the couple’s resolution now found themselves jumping to their feet and running off in several directions, knowing the hell they’d just unleashed for themselves.
The rest of that night was more wild and chaotic than any battlefield, but it was certainly the most fun the couple had had together in days. It’d take more than death to keep them apart, that was for sure.