“What was noise?” Heavy asked.
The Medic was hit with a mild panic attack, but he managed to smile and say smoothly, “the sound of progress, my friend.”
He wanted to be able to say “mein schatz,” and be able to call him his treasure, but he wasn’t sure where he stood with the larger man. It’s not that the big oaf wasn’t caring― he was actually the most gentle person one could find when he was off the field. But they hadn’t been dating for long, and considering the lack of a romantic air within the base (and the near-constant time they spent there doing their jobs), it was hard to gauge what their relationship might have felt like had it progressed normally.
As of then, their most romantic moment of whatever their relationship was― lovers, boyfriends, or something else― had consisted of two minutes alone in front of a fireplace in the base, before Scout came in trailing Sniper.
“Ya just gotta watch where you throw those things, man! Maybe ya hit the guy next to me but I still got your piss all up n’ down my pants! These were good pants!”
Scout shook the khakis that he was holding in between two fingers― a dark stain now obvious― and threw them into the fire. The Medic wanted to throttle him for that, because even though Scout and Sniper left as quickly as they came, the odor now coming from the fireplace tempted both of them to sneak in one last kiss and retire for the night.
The Medic pondered all of this as he scoured the lab for the pieces of Heavy’s heart. It was a good thing that his heart exploding been the only major biohazardous accident in the room that day; it was reassuring to know that he wasn’t getting pieces of Heavy’s heart mixed up with, say, pieces of Scout’s spleen.
Oh, there’s his rib. Verdamnt, had he really said ribs grow back?
“Oof, how am I going to explain zhat?” he said, at first talking to himself, but then looking to Archimedes for an answer.
Obviously the birds didn’t talk, but they were very good at communicating with the Medic; he could have sworn Archimedes had shrugged. The bird then flew off to give himself a bath, which meant “you’re on your own, friend.”
He found all of the pieces of heart and put them in a serum to disinfect and re-invigorate the muscle. The Medic would try and repair it, but odds were low it would be usable, even without the Übercharge implant.
“Ach, Archimedes,” he said, turning his attention back to the bird, now in a sink with some stagnant water at the bottom. “You are a walking biohazard.”
He turned on the water and started to rub the dove’s head, where there were red stains. “You stay in Scouts chest for five seconds― five seconds ― as I happen to be aiming the medigun. I get you out ten minutes later, and the first zhing you do is try to peck the boy’s eyes out.”
“Meanwhile,” he continued, grabbing a hand towel and lifting the newly clean bird out of the sink, “you stay in Heavy’s torso for as long as you can until I shoo you out of zhere, and when I turn around you just hop back in. I bet if I sealed you in him by accident there would be no pecking at all! Zhere would not even be an attempt to get out!”
Archimedes cooed in soft agreement, rubbing his head against the doctor’s fingers. It’s nice in there, he seemed to be saying. I like that man.
“Ja, you and I both, Archimedes,” the Medic talked to the silent bird.
But as the Medic took out the pieces of Heavy’s heart and set out stitching them back together, he thought about the man.
The loud and boisterous laughter that came from his gut whenever he heard an amusing story on the operating table, compared to the quiet smile behind his reading glasses as he looked through his books of Russian writing, already thumbed through enough times to earn himself a PhD on the subject.
How he was so overprotective of his gun, Sascha, and the day he’d asked the Medic if he would help him by cleaning the barrel. the Medic had taken a solid minute to process the question― he’d seen the man nearly implode when he’d found out someone touched Sascha without his permission.
How as they were on the battlefield, Heavy would turn to face him, smiling, every so often.
The strong hugs and soft kisses he’d give, quickly, when the hallways emptied for a few seconds.
The way he trusted the Medic― who, quite frankly, didn't trust himself.
The way he’d caught his hand one day after battle, and said in the most nervous voice he’d ever heard from him, “I would like to be with you, doctor.” When the Medic had asked him what he’d meant, he’d simply lifted his hand and kissed it. Heavy’s eyes held so much fear, until the Medic raised his head and kissed him back, this time lips meeting lips.
Heavy’s heart was as repaired as possible by the time the Medic was done pondering. It was floating in a large jar, the rib in a small arch underneath it, almost as though it was displaying it.
“Nein, Archimedes,” the Medic sighed, startling the bird from its near-slumber. “I don’t just like that man.”
“I love him,” he whispered, truly to himself that time, and chose to sleep curled up on his surgical table.
When he woke up in the morning, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and pressed the crinkles from his vest (or tried to, at least). He’d caught Heavy in the hallway and gestured for him to come in.
“Yes, my doctor?” Heavy said as soon as the door closed behind him. the Medic’s pulse leapt at his phrasing.
“Erm, Heavy,” he began. “About the operation yesterday,”
“What is it?” Heavy asked in a much calmer voice than most people would have in response to that sentence.
“You are perfectly healthy,” the Medic said, attempting to cut off doubts the other man didn’t seem to even have. “But during the surgery zhere was a complication I didn’t tell you about. I’d decided to use a higher-voltage implant than I should have, and so had to adjust the surgery’s process.” he said. He was stalling, he knew. He decided to cut to the chase. “I had to replace your heart.”
“Replace?” Heavy asked. His hand was on his chest, not out of shock but out of someone feeling for changes in their ribcage.
“Yes, you now have a baboons heart as your heart, supporting both your circulatory system and the Übercharge implant.” the Medic answered.
Heavy smiled at that. “Wouldn’t trade for world. Made me bulletproof.”
The Medic nodded. “Your old heart― and your rib, I’m sorry, ribs don’t grow back, I don’t know why I said zhey did― are right… here .” he said, slowly raising the jar that had the aforementioned parts inside of it. “I had to stitch up your heart, it wasn’t looking too well after the attempt to put in the implant.”
Heavy blinked. At first, his expression was blank― which one would expect from someone who’s just been handed their former vital organ in a jar. Then, it turned to something akin to determination.
“You must keep it,” Heavy said, pushing the jar back into the doctor’s hands.
“Heavy, I do apologize―”
“You must keep it. Is metaphor. You have heart which is organ, you have heart which is not organ.”
The Medic glanced into Heavy’s eyes. The larger man took a deep breath.
“I love you, my doctor.”
“I love you too, mein schatz.”
They kissed, breaking apart only when they heard the voice announce that the battles were about to start. They walked out of the lab together, not caring too much about appearances.
As the countdown went to zero, the Medic aimed his medi-gun at his sweetheart, a veritable flock of doves behind them as they marched into battle.
Heavy turned around and smiled at the Medic, then bellowed above the sound of Sascha firing, “I love this doctor!”
And the Medic may not have been focusing on Archimedes, but the other doves were in agreement on what he had just chirped out: they would all likely end up flying in one last wedding.