((Hey, sorry I've been inactive a while. A little bit of explanation for this one:
For those who follow my tumblrings, you may know that (with much prompting and brainstorming help from CosmicTuesdays), I've written bits and pieces about a Medic-created race of (mostly) tentaspies.
This is technically the first prologue in that universe, but does not contain tentacles, nor even any allusion thereto, so you could read this if you weren't a tenta-fan, and it would just be a Sniper/Spy story. But, if you happen to be familiar with those bits (which I have yet to clean up and put in order and post to the 'chan or AO3), then... you know, this gives the Sniper and Spy some depth.))
SPAIN, AUGUST 1963
"I work alone." The Spy frowned, following his prospective employer down the hallway.
"I assure you, he won't get in the way." Montoya promised, his hands raised. Palms open, but sweaty. "Think of him as a... safety measure. A precaution. All he will do is watch your back. Only in case!"
The Spy didn't trust Montoya-- in fact, he had never trusted anyone who had hired him, a policy he credited with a lot of his success in staying alive in his field-- but he trusted Montoya's money. Whether he could trust Montoya's 'safety measure' in any way, he had yet to determine, but he had to allow that a fellow professional would have little reason to betray him if Montoya wasn't keeping any secrets.
"If I don't like him, I won't do the job." He said, but he followed Montoya down to the meeting room anyway.
"What is not to like? You won't see him! You won't spend any time with him! You will hardly even notice he is Australian!"
"You put my chances in the hands of some hairy bushman?" He hissed.
"I told you--"
By then, they were at the door. Montoya was opening it even as his voice died away.
He had been right about one thing-- the Spy never would have pegged the man waiting for them as Australian. He was lean-- handsome, in a sharp and hungry way, even. And no moustache.
"You're the little weasel who's arse I'm in charge of saving?"
"You can watch my ass all you like, Monsieur, but I can assure you, the one thing it will not need is saving." The Spy riposted, striding into the room. He faced the stranger from across Montoya's desk, his hand moving to the files there.
The stranger's covered it, just for a moment, before the man stepped back and raised his hands, a grin too predatory to be truly harmless and a gesture of 'only joking'.
"What is it you do, anyway?" The Spy asked, air dismissive in spite of the other man's speed and the strength of his grip. The just-as-quick withdrawal, the grin, and Montoya's presence all stopped him from answering with a knife.
"Sniper." The man shrugged. "Watching your back from across the way."
"I see. To kill me if I am caught? I am hurt. I have never compromised a client." He chuckled.
"To make sure no one gets close enough to catch you." The Sniper answered with a chuckle of his own. He reached out again, his thumb brushing the Spy's chin. "Just if you need it."
"I won't." The Spy caught the Sniper's retreating wrist, grip momentarily punishing. "But by all means try and spot me yourself. I'll be impressed if you come close to following my progress."
"Well. I look forward to impressing you." The Sniper laughed, shaking his wrist out.
It is three days yet before the Spy can get into the building, where the files Montoya wishes to pay him for are kept. Whatever they mean to him, it's a lot, for him to employ a sniper just to ensure the Spy can make a clean getaway. The Spy avoided his new coworker during that time, but he thought of him, once or twice, and his assessment is almost fond.
The man was cocky, or merely wanted to seem that way. Either his confidence is earned, delusional, or put-on, and the Spy hoped it is the first-- as satisfying as the second or even the third would be, he would rather his safety measure be among the best. He can't tease him for being green, if he's caught.
The man was attractive. A little weathered and burnt, a little wolfish and wiry. The Spy remembered the glint of sharp teeth, and pale eyes. A certain teasing quality.
The day before, they met by accident in the hotel bar.
"Just tonic water." The Spy ordered.
"You're not at work yet." The Sniper laughed at him, leaning on the bar.
"Fair." He leaned a little closer. "You drink after work?"
"There is no 'after' work." The Spy let out a bitter laugh.
He shrugged, giving the Sniper a measuring look. "Not if I am offered an invitation, I suppose."
"Good. Consider this an invitation. After work. Pitcher of sangria."
"Tinto de Verano." The Spy shook his head. "And you will thank me later."
"Is that a promise?" The Sniper asked, and there was a low note to his voice.
The Spy smiled. "Maybe it is. That all depends on how you impress me."
"Cheater." The Sniper whispered in his ear, as they returned to the Spy's hotel room to drink. "I had my eyes on you right up until you were invisible. Lucky me I found you again on the fourth floor when you were getting the door open."
"Nifty trick, isn't it? It doesn't last long, but it gets me past the cameras. So. You go to bed with men?"
The Sniper's predatory expression faltered a moment. "I don't... I don't talk about going to bed with men."
"But you do it."
"Sometimes. If I like the man. And I get the itch. Been a little interested since you told me I could watch your arse. Didn't need saving. What does it need?"
"You tell me." The Spy loosened his tie. "And pour me a drink while you're at it."
Not a tentaspy fan, but I'll stick around for the prologue here.
Always have loved your work, Anne. Eager to read more of this. Please continue.
This made my day. Oh wow. Yessss. So happy to see you back on the chan, as well as on tumblr. So looking forward to this...
They both knew the smart move was disappearing. It would be a while before anyone discovered the Spy had been inside, though, and the Sniper hadn't needed to pull the trigger...
They both knew the smart move was not just disappearing, but staying away from each other as well, but Montoya had skipped town, and for the Spy, that was good enough, to keep his hotel room for as long as the Sniper wanted to use it with him.
The Tinto de Verano wasn't strong. He felt more off-balance on account of the Sniper than he did from the drinks they'd put away... the radiating heat and the light scent of sweat when the other man drew close, that was heady and sweet as any alcohol could have been.
"I want to be fucked." He set his glass to the side, pulling the Sniper's hand to his chest. "Hard."
"I can do that." The Sniper swallowed, abandoning his own drink and pushing the Spy to the bed.
"Nightstand. Left side." The Spy directed, letting the Sniper move and maneuver him, reveling in the roughness of the hands that stripped his shirt away.
"Optimistic, were you?" The Sniper laughed, pulling out a condom and the jar of Vaseline.
"I know an offer when I get one." He grinned up, wolfish. "You didn't try to buy me a drink in that bar because you didn't want to fuck me."
"Oh, you bought these after I started sniffing around you? That is encouraging." The Sniper chuckled, softly, before pulling one of the Spy's legs up, brushing a kiss across his knee before even struggling his trousers off.
"I don't know how much more 'encouragement' you need, at this point." The Spy said drily.
"Like encouragement." The Sniper shrugged, cupping a hand over the Spy's crotch, squeezing until he could feel a responding twitch. "Like that. That's very encouraging, that is..."
"The condom is just in case, you know...? I mean, I don't need one." He shrugged a little as well, less comfortably than the Sniper had, helping to get the last of his clothes off.
"I don't exactly do this often." The Sniper chuckled ruefully, giving the now-bare knee another nuzzle. "Enough to know what I'm doing, not so much as to go picking up the clap or nothin'."
"By all means, take me how you like, then." The Spy smiled, shifting to reach for the Sniper, getting the other man's shirt open, until a hand over his stopped him.
"My turn, remember?" The Sniper leered, cupping his chin briefly before giving him another little push back down to the bed.
The Spy was perfectly happy to lie back and watch him strip. He itched for a chance to touch, but it was an itch he could wait to scratch, when just looking was a pleasure. Beneath his shirt, the Sniper's tan was barely paler than his forearms. His legs were a little paler still, but not very pale at that. When he turned to pick up his jeans and toss them back into a pile with the Spy's own discarded clothes, his ass was tight-- a little flat, but nice enough at that, still well-muscled if on the small side. More importantly, there was little enough difference that the Spy had to assume the Sniper was given to the occasional nude sunbath.
The Sniper returned to the bed, to grant the Spy an embrace, to leave long sucking kisses and sharp nips along his throat.
"How rough do you like it?" He whispered, breath hot, hands resting on the Spy's waist and thigh.
"As rough as you want. I can take it, I assure you. It's been too long, since someone's given me a good, hard fuck... You don't have to play kinky if that isn't your bag, cher, but you do not have to treat me with care, either."
"Mm." The Sniper shifted his grip on the Spy's thigh, spreading his legs open to nibble his way down the inside of his thigh. "Think I can take care of you, yeah."
The Spy groaned, let himself go lax under the Sniper's hands, just for the time being... Relaxation was something it was hard to allow himself, often impossible, but at least for the time it took them to satisfy each other, he was willing to relax as best he could. Physically, at least. The Sniper let go of him long enough to get the Vaseline open, and then there was a mouth, hot and wet, around his cock, and a slick finger tracing his hole.
He'd had one-night stands with more technical skill, but not ones he'd responded so well to... He liked the Sniper, in ways he wasn't used to liking people. He liked being chased just as much as he was in pursuit, for once. He liked the air of unmistakable masculinity that didn't come with all the hang-ups of machismo, the lean body that didn't put on muscle 'for show' but was built practically and neatly... He liked the scent of the man, liked how easy it was to sit across from him and drink. Liked to imagine the Sniper stretched out nude in the sun... and he very much liked the cock-- like the man himself, long, not over-sized, but proportioned well enough, just a little bigger than the Spy-- that finally slid into him.
The Sniper didn't take long to develop a good rhythm, hard, thrusts that rocked the Spy, pushed him back up the bed by degrees. He was flushed and sweating, breathing in hard grunts and gasps, biting at the Spy where he could reach and soothing the abused skin with kisses, with wordlessly whined apology even as the Spy urged him to go harder.
He came, with the Sniper's hand helping him along, and the Sniper's teeth deep in his shoulder, and the thrusts that followed were faltering, until finally the Sniper slumped against him with a sigh. A kiss was smeared across his shoulder, as the Sniper withdrew and rolled away.
"Sorry." He panted, with a loopy grin.
The Spy tried to get a good look at the bite, his own head still hazy. He reached up instead, feeling the indents, and the slickness of saliva, and the one little nick where his skin had been broken by one of the Sniper's odd fangs, a little thread of blood pink in the Sniper's spit.
"It's nothing." He chuckled, fumbling for his cigarettes. He lights two, before passing one to the other man. "I liked it, anyway."
"Mm." The Sniper took a drag, his eyes on the rising, mingling plumes of smoke. "You make a man want to stay the night. Not to invite myself..."
"Please, do. It would be ungentlemanly of me not to offer breakfast." The Spy bobbed his eyebrows. "Of course, if it is not breakfast you have in mind..."
"We could call it breakfast."
They both laughed, the Spy reaching out to run a hand across the Sniper's chest.
"Tell me something." He smiled, warm and wistful. "Nothing important-- Do not tell me your name, do not tell me of your family, or your home... But tell me something. I would like to remember you as more than merely a phenomenal fuck. Tell me something inconsequential that will make me smile to think of, someday. Tell me what you have liked about Spain."
"Liked that drink, and you." The Sniper shrugged, before giving the Spy a serious half-smile. "Dunno. The food. Love the food. Had something called sarsuela, other night. You like seafood?"
"It's fine." The Spy shrugged. "I haven't tried the sarsuela... maybe I will. It might convert me to seafood."
"It might." The Sniper laughed, reaching past the Spy for the ashtray. "What about you, then?"
"I went to a museum, after my meeting with Montoya and you, before the job... Beautiful. Even the building was beautiful."
"Dunno about art, myself." The Sniper smiled. "Guess we don't have so much in common, do we?"
"Maybe it's for the best. I mean... maybe it would be dangerous, to... to find we liked each other, for more than this."
"Yeah." He nodded.
"So. I do not care for seafood. Good bread, maybe-- and good coffee! I am mad for good coffee! But fish? I am indifferent."
"Strong coffee." The Sniper nodded again, smile going dreamy. "The coffee here's all right. The coffee in Italy's great."
"I didn't know you had been..."
"Killed a man in Parma. Not that I stayed in Parma long, but I made a couple stops on the way. Italy's got good seafood, in the south-- not that you care about that, reckon. And good coffee, just anywhere. And Parma's got... well, cheese."
"Please." The Spy frowned. "Do not talk to me about cheese from Parma. Beaufort, that is a cheese."
"You would get french about it." The Sniper rolled his eyes.
The Spy gave an uncomfortable cough. "Well. Clearly I cannot get too attached to you, if we are going to butt heads over cheese. And culture... what would we talk about?"
"I'm plenty cultured." The Sniper poked the Spy in the ribs. "I don't see the point in looking at a bunch of paintings of landscapes and sunsets when I could just go out and look at the real thing, doesn't mean I lack culture."
"Kangaroo boxing is not culture."
"Oh." The Spy frowned a moment. "I appreciate poetry."
They avoided looking at each other for a moment, and the Spy smoked his cigarette down to the filter, before giving into temptation and rolling back into the Sniper's arms.
"Is Byron your favourite?" The Spy asked softly.
"Nah, not hardly. Not my least favourite, though."
"Ah. I will miss you, I think..."
"Don't talk about missing me. We'll have a couple days, and then we'll both move on." The Sniper insisted, his hand tightening on the Spy's arm. "And maybe our paths cross again, but it's not the end of the world, they don't. Men like us... men like us... we don't get happy endings."
"Because we are killers, or because we fuck men?"
"Take your pick." He snorted.
"So fatalistic." The Spy sighed. "At least let it be because we are killers. Do not punish yourself for taking a little pleasure where you find it."
"Okay. But I am a killer. You might only do it when you really have to, but my job's nothing but pulling that trigger. This is the only time I've been paid to not shoot a man, and it's only the luck of the draw I didn't."
"I think my skill has more to do with it than your luck, but all right. I am not asking you for a happy ending, I am only saying I will miss you, in my own way, when we part. Is that a crime?"
"Is where I'm from."
The Spy kissed his cheek to hush him, before settling into his own pillow to sleep.
In the morning, the Spy was surprised to wake feeling well-rested, with dawn peeking through the curtains, and the Sniper curled at his back.
Sex he does. Sleeping? Comfortably? Turning his back on a man? Those things were new, and troubling. Still, he could feel the Sniper pressing into him from behind, and it made it easier, to put the troubling ease aside. He reached back, hand sliding between them to wrap around the Sniper's half-hard cock and tease him awake.
"Ooh... you are nice to wake up to..." The Sniper moaned.
"On rare occasions."
There were no kisses-- the Spy wasn't ready for the kind of intimacy that allowed for morning breath kisses. He was happy to trade lazy handjobs and share a shower, where they pretended to steal freely-given touches in between soaping each other's backs.
He toweled himself off and let the Sniper have the bath a while, while he ordered room service sent up, coffee and torrijas for two. He wasn't sure about that, didn't feel at ease with the decision until the Sniper was digging into his breakfast.
"What do you do, when you're not working, just for fun?" The Spy asked, between bites.
"Camping. Hunting. Fishing." The Sniper was terse, between swallowing down the last of his own meal and a swig of coffee. "You?"
"Ah... I am no outdoorsman." He chuckled. "There. We are incompatible after all, then? The theatre, sometimes. Or museums. Sightseeing, when I am in a new place... I am at home in cities... I could not survive the wilderness, I think."
"Yeah? I'd go mad." The Sniper snorted. "Like being away from it all. Have to do most of my work in cities, like to get away from the noise."
"Well... I suppose a little relaxation is good, of course. I just don't find living off the land very relaxing. To me, that sounds like work, and not the kind I enjoy."
"Y'ever lived off the land for a job?" The Sniper raised an eyebrow.
"I have. No choice. I missed my rendezvous, I had to cross almost sixty kilometers of countryside on foot. And because the idiot I was working with nearly had us caught, I was being searched for, in the town and in the woods. So, you can see why I do not much work with partners now."
"Sounds like an adventure." The Sniper nodded.
"The scar on my shoulder is from being shot, escaping. I was lucky, they hit the wall behind me, but the shrapnel was bad. There wasn't much I could do about it. There was no handy trick to disappear, then. But I made it out."
"Scar stories." Another nod, and the Sniper pulled his leg up, displaying the long red welt that traveled around his calf.
"Recent?" The Spy asked. It looked it, and mild, likely to fade completely. He couldn't fathom what had left it, too meandering for a whip, not quite a burn.
"Nah. This is it for good. Looks like the least of my troubles, don't it?" He grinned. It was nothing next to a couple of the scars he had, or at least, that's what the Spy had thought. The Sniper's tone indicated otherwise. "This is the one I thought for sure would kill me."
"What is it?"
"Box jelly. I was lucky not to drown-- not that I felt too lucky. Most excruciating pain I ever felt. Dunno for how long. Remember wishing it would kill me. People say you're supposed to piss on it, but it doesn't help any."
The Spy made a face, and the Sniper laughed.
"They might as well tell you to." He continued. "You get hit with it and you won't be able to help yourself. Someone pulled me out of the water. I couldn't control a damn muscle in my body. Couldn't tell how much time was passing. Came in and out of it a bit. Bad one, but not the worst. I mean, just that year there was someone killed by one, not far from where I met mine."
"Is that why you fish? To punish the sea creatures?" The Spy joked, a little weakly.
"First, you don't fish for jellies-- or, at least, I don't. Second, that's... you don't punish nature, you respect her. I fish 'cause I like to. Best meal's one you catch yourself."
"I have been in some of the best restaurants in the world." The Spy folded his arms.
"Pah. Where's the satisfaction?" The Sniper grinned at him.
"I am perfectly satisfied."
"You couldn't keep me out of the water, less something really did kill me." The Sniper shook his head. "Fishing, sure, but diving... Love diving. Out on the reef, it's like... like another world."
"A world where jellyfish sting you."
"Nah. Well, sometimes. Not much. I was in the wrong place for it, that's all. Plenty of safe dive sites, though."
"I am not one for beaches... lovely, as scenery goes, but I burn too easy. A shame, hm?"
They sighed, almost in unison, staring at each other a moment.
"You don't burn?" The Spy stretched a leg out, towards the Sniper, so that their feet touched.
"A bit." He shrugged. There was a little pink that never quite left his face, the Spy had noticed, but it was mild, seemed to fade fairly well into that largely-even tan. "Not too bad, though. If I'm out in the sun enough, but it's not so bad, nah. Tan, mostly."
"I noticed. All over." The Spy leered.
The Sniper laughed. "Yeah. Too bad you're not a beach person, isn't it? Or you could come out with me."
A small frown passed between them.
"Only not really." The Spy murmured. "Can I?"
"Not really." The Sniper shook his head. "We could pretend, for the day. Forget each other tomorrow."
"Forget you? Ah, never. But I suppose the yearning will fade. I will keep you a pleasant memory, though. Because I do like you, a little more than is wise."
"A little more than is wise." He agreed, leaning forward to yank the Spy into his arms, their breakfast plates empty and ready to be forgotten.
They talked a little more, shared other scars, played at wrestling, and wound up between the sheets once more, before staggering out of the hotel at two in the afternoon.
The Sniper bought them both sarsuela, laughed as the Spy sniffed and picked around the squid.
The Spy bought drinks, which went over better, and let the Sniper eat what he wouldn't, from the bottom of his bowl. They talked about food and travel, and were deemed as unremarkable as any pair of diners, and when they left the little restaurant, there was no question at all between them, before their return to the Spy's bed.
"Best meal's one you catch yourself." Wholly agreed, sir. A few summers ago I caught a trout as big as my arm, battered it up in some flour and fried it in some vegetable oil-- best tasting fish I've ever had. Only thing that keeps me from fishing, mind you, is after you pull the thing from the water and before you messily cut its head off with a pocket knife, I'm fairly convinced they die the most excruciating death. Anyhow.
I like this a lot. Sniper and Spy are in lovely company of each other, the creative tellings of their excursions are humblingly revealing. Also the subtlety of their actual sex is supplemented by their interactions, as opposed to the other way around. I have things to learn, lol.
Also Box Jellyfish, another reason for me never to go to Australia.
This is beautiful! Please continue soon, your style of writing is very pleasant to follow.
Thank you very much!
In the wild weekend before they parted, they exhausted the Spy's sexual vocabulary, with repeats. It's a lot of touching, for a single partner, not only the sex but the times they spent arm in arm on the street, taking advantage of the standard of personal space that many of the people around them live in. The touch of the Sniper's hand to the Spy's face, the way their legs tangled together, lying side by side in bed to talk... There were lingering strokes, not every one a sexual overture, in the shower, over coffees and sweet rolls at breakfast on the second morning, over drinks and cigarettes...
"I fly out tomorrow." The Sniper murmured, pulling the Spy into his arms after a post-sex smoke, the last night of their time together.
"Travel safe, then." The Spy frowned.
"You don't want me to?"
"We both knew we would leave this place. No one lives in a hotel room forever, just because the sex is good and the company agreeable."
"Right. So you're not mad."
"Of course I am not mad." He rolled his eyes, then cuddled closer. "I just was... not supposed to feel I would miss you. Oh, a little, of course I was going to miss having your company. But you can pick up company anywhere, when you need to feel not so alone for an evening or an hour. I was not supposed to miss you. Not supposed to miss the man who loves the outdoors and the sea and reading poetry, with the scar from a jellyfish."
"You will miss me?"
"For a while." The Sniper nodded. "Sure. I-- I will."
"Tell me how you will remember me?" He smiled. "It is only fair."
"I'll remember you told me I could watch your arse. And you always ordered in perfect Spanish, with that little lisp when you did it... and the coffees were too white, but I didn't care so much, because you told me about ducking the cops for sixty kilometers in the woods. And you're prissy."
"I am not 'prissy'."
"You are. The sound you made--"
"I just think pissing in the shower is disgusting."
"You'll remember all that?" The Spy smiled again, stroking the Sniper's chest. "For a little while?"
"Yeah. For a while."
"Kiss me goodbye? Before you go,"
"Be early morning when I duck out."
"Kiss me anyway." He sighed, rolling over to his own pillow.
He woke, when the Sniper first stirred, claimed his kiss before the other man left him. He lay in bed for hours after, trying to hold onto the feel of it, the stale early morning taste and the softness of breath on his cheek in that still moment when he last had the man near.
He chartered his own flight home that afternoon, but it was days before he could stop looking over his shoulder for someone who wouldn't be there.
AMERICA, APRIL 1968
"I work alone." The Spy shook his head, rising from the table.
"You'll hardly interact with the team, in your role." The young woman placed her hand on his, keeping him there. "We need someone to do the real work, while the rest of them shoot at each other."
His eyes flickered over her, ultimately dismissing the gesture, instead of reacting against it. He sat, withdrawing his hand with a little sneer.
"Sorry." She apologized. "I wouldn't be so insistent, but you are one of the best in your field--"
"Only one of?" He smiled humorlessly, found a little chuckle in her resulting blush.
"From the records we've pieced together, you're about even with the man RED already has filling the role. I was hoping to find someone who could beat him, but of course, if you don't think you're the best..."
"I think I am, or damn close." He regarded her coldly. "Not the kind of rank amateur who rises to bait like that. You have provided me with very little incentive."
She slid a piece of paper across the table. The number was very high.
"And what is the job?"
"Sabotage, largely. Getting your hands on their intelligence, that's also an important factor. And I was led to believe you wouldn't balk, if there was some bloodshed... But mostly, we need a man who won't be seen, or who won't be seen as himself, and we need him to take down the enemy's defenses. You won't have to concern yourself much with your own teammates, I assure you."
"And what sort of barely-competent, semi-literate oafs have you hired for me to babysit-- and do not tell me I will not need to concern myself with them, they are the ones I am taking down enemy defenses for, the ones I am capturing intelligence to give to. The usual assortment of hired goons?"
"A couple. Dumb muscle is an important part of any operation." Her smile aimed to pacify. "But you won't be the only babysitter. One of the men on defense is an engineer, and you won't be alone on support, we've just contracted a medic and a sniper."
His hand tightened on the slip of paper, with the pleasing number. He wasn't thinking about it, when he nodded. "All right. Tell your boss I will take the job."
Anne, I love this so far. So very much.
I assume the Spy will be pleasantly surprised when he meets his team ;)
Or his enemies? I've been waiting for this part since the first post.
((Thank you, glad you guys are enjoying! This is the last chapter, though there's an intermediary fic about the war itself before getting into tentacle business.))
He told himself he shouldn't have expected better.
The Sniper was Australian, yes, and atypical at that, was physically similar, but he wasn't the same man, didn't hold himself the same way... the eyes behind his tinted glasses were a little darker, not the pale grey-blue that the Spy still remembered after nearly five years. And there was no flickering of recognition in them, either.
He hid his disappointment, preparing for his first day at the job, and avoiding the team.
Of course it wasn't the same man... why should it have been? He'd taken the job on the slim chance of seeing a man he'd spent a weekend with five years ago, and now...
Well, now he had a paycheck to look forward to. The weekends would be his own... during the week, he had a room of his own on the base, with a small toilet where he could shower without being seen. The balaclava was always a part of jobs, but this was his first nine-to-five, and he wasn't sure how to juggle that, keeping his face a secret from his teammates as well as his enemies, but it was important to him that he be able to.
Monday morning began badly. The drip machine produced weak coffee, which no amount of milk and sugar could fix. The men known as 'Scout' and 'Soldier' were loud, in different ways, the 'Demoman' boozy, the 'Engineer' incomprehensibly southern, and the less said about the thing called 'Pyro' the better.
Work was better. The equipment he had at his disposal was fantastic-- no more relying on hours of carefully applied makeup and latex and fake hair, when a strange little mask could give him the perfect disguise, no more little shocks and burns in the course of bending over machinery to disable it, when the electrosapper destroyed the RED Engineer's buildings with a touch.
He had not been told to look into the intelligence they captured-- had only had it in his hands briefly, before throwing it to the Scout, while the boy shouted to him that someone needed to take out RED's Sniper.
He crept up to where the man was perched, to pick off his team, ready to secure them just a little more safety in their push. Like the rest of the RED team, the uniform was the same as BLU's, colour aside.
As the knife slid in between the man's shoulderblades, and the Sniper fell back into him, he recognized him.
It was too late to apologize. He cradled the other man, shocked, lips forming the apologies anyway. When they hadn't been working together, he'd given up on seeing him, and now that he was holding the body in his arms, that idea seemed incredibly myopic.
He was lucky-- he was hit by the RED Demoman's explosives before the man even came around the corner, wasn't seen in his moment of weakness.
When the day ended, leaving BLU the winners, he ran back to the Sniper's nest, ignoring the potential for carnage around him, stopping only when he reached the cowering Australian.
"I'm sorry." He shook his head, helpless, watched the dawning recognition.
"Spy? I mean--"
"I know." The Spy nodded, dropping to one knee, leaving his weapon behind and reaching out, his hand wrapping around the Sniper's calf. "Yes. I'm sorry."
The Sniper shook his head. "Doesn't matter much here, does it?"
"Just do it." He shrugged, frowning. "Before someone else."
The Spy nodded, getting to his feet, gathering the Sniper into his arms before stabbing him in the back.
"I am still sorry." He whispered, lips brushing the side of the Sniper's head.
He lowered the other man carefully to the floorboards, removing the tinted glasses to close his eyes. Nothing to keep them closed, but the gesture was something... and of course he would be fine. Thinking too much about how was still strange, but the Spy had respawned twice that day himself, he trusted it would work even if he didn't know how.
More importantly, he wanted to find a way to be able to talk to the man, outside of battles even, some way to recapture some of what he'd had for one weekend, just a little bit.
He wasn't yet sure how he would do that, either, but he knew he would. It was the only thing that made his situation acceptable, to be able to talk again, or touch again, to banish the thought of having to kill the Sniper, when he still remembered him so fondly.
And now for the tentacles! You're pretty good at writing Sniper/Spy. It just feels comfortable when you describe it.
This is such a wonderful fic! lookin' forward to updates!(hint hint)
Why? Just... Why.
Eh, this is a finished story with two sequels and an extra side-story on Anne's tumblr. Not like the lack of sage could have meant an update on this particular thread.