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End Of The Line

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If I had known it would have been like this, I would have let the BLU Spy kill me when he had his knife to my throat.

 

Logically, I knew the instant my beam broke that Heavy was dead. I didn’t want to believe it, I had hope for a few shining moments. The Spy took me and the Soldier rescued me. We searched the debris, I don’t know how long. Exactly as long as it is took to find his bandolier, shredded and broken. Part of me shredded and broke when I lifted it from the ground and felt its weight, cold and warped in my hands.

 

I wanted to fall to the ground and scream and cry, but I knew he wasn’t my only priority. Heavy was dead, and I would find the time to mourn him after I confirmed the safety of my other lover, the Scout.

 

I never got that confirmation. Scout was wounded terribly in the blast when the train car exploded overhead. I found him lying on his belly, gasping in the grass, his back torn open with shrapnel. My medigun was lost in the explosions of the train, I had never felt so helpless before.

 

Soldier and Demoman helped me lift him and bring him into one of the half-destroyed buildings. We cleared just enough space for him to rest comfortably on a few torn cushions. I did my best to tend to his wounds, but he was so torn up.

 

He asked if I would fetch Heavy so he could be with both of us. I had no choice but to tell him Heavy was dead. Scout didn’t react much, he closed his eyes for a moment and his lips trembled, his eyes shone with tears, but he was too tired to cry. He was panting, I knew he was slowly asphyxiating, but he was so young, I didn’t want to frighten him. It didn’t work.

 

“I’m scared, doc,” he gasped, and I held his hand. “Tell me a story, please.”

 

I told him a story of two men who had been married for several years when a boy came along. A boy with too much personality and fire, a boy who was underestimated over and over by both men before they fell in love with him. I told him the story of how the younger, bearish husband learned he was in love with the spunky boy, when he spent a weekend with him camping in the forest and he found out about the boy’s love of family and how strong and passionate he was about children. I told him the story of how the older, cranky husband learned he was in love with the spunky boy when he realized just how much the boy reminded him of himself when he was younger, but with even more joy and curiosity and love.

 

Scout never got to hear the end of my story.

 

I sat and watched him for a long time. I thought maybe if I stayed by his side long enough he would start breathing again. The tears didn’t come for a long time. Clinically, I knew I was in shock. But that didn’t soften the ache I felt when reality came creeping back into the edges of my mind, and it sank into my bones; I had just lost both of my lovers in the span of an hour.

 

One I had been with for years. Handsome and brave and serious and gentle, large as a mountain and as immovable. He was a simple man, I learned everything there was to know about him in less than a month, but five years later he still found ways to surprise me every day. I would miss him the most.

 

The other I had been with for less than a year, but somehow an eternity, it seemed. Charming and energetic and carefree and compassionate, fast as a jackrabbit and confident as an eagle. He always seemed to wear a halo of his own light. He was an angel with wings he never earned, but he would have flown with them to heights that I could never see with the best telescope and a thousand years. I would miss him the most.

 

I screamed. It was all I could do. I screamed long, and hard, and loud, until I had no more breath in me and screaming hurt, and then I screamed again. It didn’t feel like enough, there was no way I could scream loud enough to express my pain. I could scream for the rest of my life, I could die screaming, and it wouldn’t be enough.

 

The tears left me after only an hour. Left me with a sodden face and a headache the likes of which has never been achieved by man. I finally let go of Scout’s hand.

 

I was in limbo. I felt disconnected from my body. My ears rang, my head was full of cotton, my limbs were full of sand. I was at once too warm and too cold, empty of everything and full of sorrow. My life suddenly became a spider web of contradictions.

 

I wanted to die. Oh, god, I wanted to die.

But I wanted to live forever, because nobody else in the world would remember the two most beautiful, kind and important men on the planet like I could.

 

I wanted to cry for eternity, shed a tear for every second I had to live without them.

I wanted to never cry again, to be strong. They would want me to be strong.

 

I wanted to lay down beside them one more time. Even if they were dead, just to be near them.

And I wanted to never see them again, never see their bodies side by side, perhaps some time years from now I would be senile enough to forget they were dead, and spend my hours eternally and blissfully anticipating them for lunch.

 

I wanted revenge.

For this, there was no contradiction.

 

I took Heavy’s gun. Sascha was too heavy for me to carry comfortably, but I would carry her anyway. I strapped Scout’s baseball bat to my back, Heavy’s shotgun to one thigh and Scout’s to the other. Outfitted in my sturdiest boots, thickest socks, best coat, and one of Heavy’s thick winter coats, I was ready.

 

“Where are you going?” Spy asked me when he saw me step onto the mangled train tracks and begin my trek.

 

I told him in a voice that wasn’t my own, I was going up the mountain. On a one-man mission to kill every BLU I laid eyes on.

 

 

 

Sascha is the single heaviest thing I have ever carried. My muscles and bones ache, my body begs me to put her down. I’m wearing thick mittens and I can feel her cold metal through them. My fingers and toes are in the beginning stages of frostbite, but I’m willing to lose a few extremities if that’s what it takes. I will not put her down.

 

Carrying her weight is carrying the weight of my sorrow. She isn’t anywhere near as heavy as my heart, but she will do in a pinch. I’m only halfway up the mountain and I’m already so cold I’m delirious, but single-mindedly climbing through the snow, still. The tracks provide me with some shelter from the ankle-deep snow, but they do nothing for the cold withering my bones.

 

I wonder if I am already dead. If this is my purgatory. Perhaps I killed myself as soon as Scout died, and I don’t remember. And now I am dead and doomed to carry Sascha up this endless mountain for eternity, falling deeper into despair with every useless climbing step to nowhere.

 

I know I am not dead. But if I died killing even one BLU I would be at peace.

 

I am plagued by memories as I climb. I remember the first time Heavy asked me if I would be with him. I thought he was teasing me, I thought he’d seen the pink triangle on my wrist and he was taunting me. I hit him, and I cried, and he kissed me.

 

I remember the first time Scout approached us. He’d been confused about his sexuality for years and promised his brothers he “weren’t no queer” when they threatened to beat it out of him. We sheltered him, we taught him, and then we loved him.

 

I remember our first Christmas together. Our last as well, I realize, and my heart gains a new weight. The gloves I wear now are the gift Heavy gave to me. The last gift he ever gave to me. He made them, clumsily, but with love. I will wear them to my death.

 

The farther I climb, the more sluggish I feel. I know hypothermia had begun to set in a long time ago. The shivering was a clear indication, the nausea and muscle fatigue. Even if I had not been carrying Sascha I would be exhausted now. I am not made to carry a 330 pound gun, but I will not put her down.

 

The shivering is increasing. Stage two is settling into my bones. I stumble on the slats of the train tracks. Sometimes my ankles do not obey and I trip on my own feet. The wind is bitter and the snow is biting. My glasses are useless, even if it wasn’t snowing I could not seen through them. My eyesight is blurring, another indication of stage two.

 

I won’t give up now. I have to get there before stage three takes me and I start to forget where I am going. My teeth chatter and my body has gone so numb I can’t feel the cold anymore. I almost feel warm.

 

I see the base. It’s only a couple hundred yards away. The lights look so warm.

 

I trip, I fall hard. My body is stiff, I land face down in the snow. Compared to my frozen face, the snow feels hot.

 

I see Scout and Heavy. They’re climbing the mountain behind me.

 

“Doktor!”

 

“Yo, Doc!”

 

I know I am hallucinating. Their boots do not crunch in the snow as they approach me. They aren’t even dressed for cold weather. The snow passes right through them. I know I am hallucinating, because stage three is setting in. I know I am hallucinating… but I don’t care.

 

“Doc, ya takin’ a nap here?” Scout crouches beside me and laughs at me, like I am making a great joke.

 

“Doktor must come back down mountain with us,” Heavy says. He puts his hand on my back, I imagine I can feel the weight of it. “You will freeze toes off in snow like this.”

 

“I think I will rest here.” I don’t say it out loud, but they hear me anyway.

 

“Then we will rest with Doktor,” Heavy says, and lays beside me. “Come, Scout.”

 

Scout lays on my other side. I know I am hallucinating, but I also know that my cellular activity is decreasing, and my brain will take longer to die than the rest of my body. So I will enjoy this tenderness and this love until the last light flickers out in my mind.

 

I close my eyes, and I am warm.