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A Higher Law (50)

1 .

Okay, so... I needed to fill a prompt, because it included themes I'd toyed with and ideas I'd wanted to write about. Knowing it would be another long one, I elected to start (yet another) new thread for it.

It will be jumping back and forth between the 'present' and the past, and I'll apologize in advance, because in the past, I will be giving Medic a name, and I know that bugs some folks, but there's no working around it in flashbacks...

And I'm returning to the world of first person, so again, apologies to anyone put off by that aspect.

Okay, I've rambled just about enough on the non-fic portion of this post, but...

~The Initial Prompt:

I'm a sucker for major angst, h/c, and happy endings.

Medic is always taking shit from the others about being a Nazi, anything from slight distance to flat-out verbal abuse (Hi Solly!). But the truth is Medic (and his father perhaps?) were thrown in a concentration camp after they had been caught helping Jews. Sometimes healing on the battlefield is tough because the others are reluctant to go to him for help. It burns Medic that the others are mistaken about him, but he does not want to be seen as a victim so he hasn't bothered to correct them (maybe showers alone so no one can see his camp tattoo). Heavy is the only one who seems to accept him, and they're just beginning a relationship but Medic is hesitant on being physical because he does not Heavy to find out about his past.

Of course everyone ends up finding out - he gets hurt or knocked unconscious and his tattoo gets revealed or something - whatever it is causes Medic to freak out. The others feel like shit, and Heavy goes to Medic and they have wonderful sexytimes.

And later Medic is relieved that the others don't flood him with pity, but end up trusting him in battle from then on and they become a great team together.

~~~ Ch. 1~~~


"I'm thinking of becoming a field medic. Maybe." Max says.

I drop the book I've been trying and failing to read. "You are joking!"

"Why should I joke?"

"Maximilian Bergstrom, you are not joining the Army! To start with, they won't let you in!"

He laughs. "I'm not talking about marching for miles or shooting a gun, I will just be... doctoring. Off in Poland or... or wherever. It's safer than not joining!"

"No it is not." I stand. "What about the examination? Even if you are just going to be a doctor, there will be a whole process."


"And I was your roommate for seven years! You think I don't know? You'll be lucky to be turned away!"

Max scratches at his ear, his one nervous habit. "Emil... It is nothing. I'm sure... sure it wouldn't be the first time someone's... "

I challenge this wordlessly, folding my arms across my chest.

"Then you join first." He grabs my wrist.

"The hell I will! I didn't devote my entire life to study so that I could run off to Poland to be shot at! I am going to stay right here. I'm going to work in the hospital."

"Join first, and then you'll be the doctor who looks me over, you can tell them there's no reason not to make me a field medic."

"And then what?"

The muscle along his jaw tightens. "Maybe we won't win."

"Don't let anyone else hear you say that." I roll my eyes.

"So maybe I'll disappear. I'll volunteer to serve at the front, then I'll escape. It's foolproof!"

It sounded the furthest thing from foolproof in my mind, but he's been strange for a while now... alternating between mania and despondency over every little thing, not that I can really blame him. I have been on edge myself. I was never one to openly pursue romance in my life-- who would ever go to a queer doctor? What hospital or university would hire one?-- but my worries were always for my professional life. Then they started arresting homosexuals, along with political dissenters.

For the first time in my life, I want to be anywhere but here. I don't like it. I don't know who between us would have it the worst, and I don't like Max's plan.




The team is lined up outside my infirmary. Eventually one of them must enter... You would think a group of seven hardened mercenaries, they wouldn't all be afraid of needles.

I go to the door, my intention to drag one of them in by force if necessary, but before I get the door open, I hear them, the Soldier and the Scout.

"You don't for serious think that guy was a real-life Nazi, do you?" The boy asks.

"You think he wasn't? Look at him. Crazy-looking German in a lab coat? Probably a Nazi scientist. You might not be old enough to remember the war, son, but I was there."

I let the door fall closed again. Is that what they all think of me, or did the Soldier frighten them off before anyone could come in for their mandatory check-ups? Maybe it doesn't matter. Even if they don't all believe it, they will be thinking it, always, in the back of their minds. The question will be there...

Well... Well, so fine if it is. I can still do my job, regardless of what my new colleagues might think, I can do my job. Maybe... maybe it's better, to let them think that. Better than letting them see me as a victim, as a weakling... I can do my best to earn the trust of my team, by doing my job and doing it well, but not if they look on me as some poor wretch always in need of rescuing, the half-starved mess I was at twenty-six, twenty-seven... Damn it all, the half-starved mess I was through half my thirties, the recovery was not easy. They would think of me as damaged if they knew, shell-shocked. You cannot trust your life on the battlefield to a man shattered by his trip through Hell... cannot trust him not to flinch or run.

I'll be a monster instead, then. Only until we all come to know each other. They'll see then. They'll trust me then. I can prove myself still.

The door swings open-- the man who strides into the infirmary is not one of the seven I'd seen huddled outside.

He does not smile, he does not extend his hand, but he nods to me. "What Doktor need me to do?"

"Ah... bitte, behind the screen you can cha-- Ah..." I look at the paper gowns RED has supplied. None of them will fit this mountain of a man properly.

He just waits.

"You can undress behind the curtain, but I suppose there is nothing for you to change into. I'm sorry."

He shrugs, does not bother to step behind the curtain at all before removing his bandolier and his vest. He drops them to the floor and kicks off his boots, then proceeds to strip in the middle of the room.

I do my best to tread that fine line, between looking and not-looking. It is important, to never be obvious in not looking at a naked man. To avert your eyes too quickly just shows you have something to be ashamed of. Still, my face heats and that I cannot help.

He looks at me and laughs. "Is no big deal. You are doktor. Besides, soon will be showering with other men, so is silly to be... too modest, yes? Little curtain we do not need."

"You're the patient." I manage. As per our contracts, we none of us have names. "Not that it needs saying, but I am the Medic. You can call me that."

"Doktor is Medic. Okay. I am Heavy Weapons Guy. Can call 'Heavy'."

"Heavy. It is a pleasure to meet you. Step onto the scale please."

He chuckles dryly and shakes his head, and the scale groans when he steps onto it. "Is mostly muscle."

"Mm. It would have to be." I have to step up onto a chair, to adjust the rod that measures height. There is not such a terrible difference between us, just to see our heights written out on a chart, but when it comes to navigating past the bulk of him, to be able to measure him properly, the distance seems greater.

I carry on with the basic measurements, though he will have already been fully scanned for the respawn system. They will have a sample of his DNA as well, but I also take some blood. He makes no complaint, he doesn't even flinch once.

It's difficult... my first patient, and already I am attracted to him. I don't let my gaze linger too long on any of the interesting portions of his anatomy, but all of him is fascinating to me. His noble face and bearing, his immense size, the boom of his laugh and the way his accent rolls around his awkward English.

"You can dress now." I cough. I should have let him do so before drawing his blood, I can hardly even think with him near.

It will pass... Every infatuation I have ever had has passed. Every once in a while now I sometimes have dreams about boys I once felt fondness for, but there is no acuteness in it, the dreams are just a jumbled collection of my past, and on nights when I am lucky, I dream about my school days or my first apartment or my youthful young loves. I confessed nothing to any of those boys, and I will confess nothing to the Heavy, and these feelings will pass just as surely as all those old ones have.

Probably we have nothing in common, outside of our employment.

I listen to his heartbeat and do my best not to romanticize it in any way, in my own mind. I listen to him breathe. I attach the sphygmomanometer and test his blood pressure-- surprisingly good, for a man with such a large belly on top of all his muscle.

"Please lie down." I instruct him. He does so, and it is easier to bend over to examine his eyes, to look into his ears, than it would be to have to stand on something. The table is too high for a man that tall."Good. And up again, thank you. Could you open your mouth wide, please? Tongue down."


"Good." I offer a tight smile and finish making my notes.

He tugs his boots back on and picks up his vest and bandolier again. "This is all done?"

"For six months." Six months should be enough time, to get over this... this crush. I'll be able to remain professional. "Could you send the next patient in when you leave?"

He chuckles again. "Babies all get here before me and stay out in hallway afraid of little needle and some poking. But, will tell them to come in. Is not so bad."

"Thank you."

We regard each other, perhaps for a moment too long, and I hover on the edge of a nervous smile and so does he, but finally he claps me on the shoulder and leaves.

2 .

stoked stoked stoked stoked stoked

3 .

Anne, start as many threads as you like, I'll read every single one because I'm a creepy obsessed stalker who wants to have your storys' children you're a fabulous writer.

4 .

I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for more.

5 .

Yes. just, yes. cannot wait for more! Anne yer amazing and every time i see a new thing on the Afanfic boards i hope they are yours.

6 .

I want your children.
Failing that, I'd make do with some more of this.

7 .

It's odd. I dislike your style of writing. So every time I read one of your fics, I decide to myself "concrit! You can do this! Give friendly advice to make better!"

But then I can't find anything wrong, and before I know it, I'm at the end of your chapter, and desperately wanting to know what happens next.

So. Good for you.

8 .

warm fuzzy feelings

9 .

Wow, I'm definitely excited for the next chapter of this. Though I'm not the requester of the prompt, it's right up my alley, so please continue.

10 .

Please, do go on...

11 .


I am so excite for this aaaahhhh

12 .

Oh wow... I can't believe in the relatively short time since I posted this, ten people have commented... You guys, I'm blushing/cackling evilly and rubbing my hands together re my literary takeover.

~~~Ch. 2~~~


In the end, I go along with Max's plan, as terrible and as dangerous as it is. He'd pestered me and pestered me, and around us the war spun out of control, until I really did feel as though I couldn't be any less safe anywhere in the world.

It's just as well I didn't help him escape into Poland, anyway... he wouldn't have fared any better if I had.

When they send us both to the Russian front, the soldiers we travel with are all pale and nervous. Max is practically bouncing with excitement.

"You need to calm down." I hiss, smacking his arm. "Nobody else is happy to be going."

"I'm going to do it." He whispers. A few men look at us, and he coughs, polices himself. "I'm going to brave the worst horrors of the war, for my country."

They all may think he's crazy, but at least they think he's fervent, and at least he's been a good medic. After all, none of them were there months ago in the little apartment in Stuttgart where he wept and said he had no country.

We set up a little field hospital as soon as we arrive. There are already wounded, from battles past.

"Whose brilliant idea was it to invade Russia during the winter?" I complain, as we have to work on thawing wounds out before we can even treat them.

"Vogel." The Major overseeing us snaps. "I did not know it was your place to question."

"N-no. Of course not. I just..." I look to Max, he shrugs back helplessly. "I'm sure it's merely something I don't understand."

"Vogel... what kind of name is that, anyway?"

"It's my name." I answer. The Major is a hard man-- and I have a hard enough time around most of the military men, they've always made me nervous-- and I'm split between trying to say the right thing to him and trying to keep the man in front of me from dying.

"It's just so..." He makes a small fluttery motion with one hand and glances dismissively down his nose at me before leaving.

"Tomorrow night." Max whispers, when the only men around us are not properly conscious. "You could come with me."

"I don't need to."

"You could. I got you into this, I know you wouldn't have..."

I shake my head. "I'll help you, but... Once my service is up, I can go back home... I will have some credentials, the hospital will take me on for a while. Then when I have established myself... I could go back to the university to teach."

It had always been my plan, when I plotted out what I wanted my life to be. I would put my years of hard work in at the hospital and then, the hallowed halls of learning, guiding promising young minds through fascinating experiments, uncovering new things.

This whole business was something of a detour from my master plan, but... it was not so bad. As much as I found the officers intimidating, there was a strange calm in the battles themselves. When I ran out into the field to recover a fallen man, I had a singleminded focus, and the roar of the guns almost faded away. The knowledge, afterward, that I had done something so dangerous... it left me with a pleasant buzz of adrenaline. And for all my dislike of the officers, the gratitude of the boys themselves was nice. Most of them were not so bad, not frightening military men at all, just boys stupid enough to go off and get themselves blown up and shot at.

I may not like the war, but I could like the battles, just a little bit...




It's hard to make my feelings for the Heavy fade when he is the only one on the team who treats me as though I am really a part of it.

The Spy gives everyone the cold shoulder, and sometimes I can tell myself he does not make it a special point to dislike me, but unlike the Scout, he is old enough to remember the war, if not quite old enough to fight in it. And I know what my country did to his, in those days. He may not be kind to any of our teammates, but if he believes, like the Soldier does, that I was... that I was really one of them...

The Scout believes the Soldier, and he is wary of me. He shouts for my aid in battle when he needs it, sometimes, but he is always quick to run off once he is healed, sometimes before he is quite healed.

Most of the team ignores me, unless-- or even when-- they are gravely injured. The Demoman and the Engineer both, and with the Engineer's Dispenser, it's not as if he ever really needs me... The Sniper as well, does not give me the time of day, but his role is a solitary one anyway, he is unlikely to need my help.

It is the Soldier who is the worst. Not only did he begin this whole-- this whole slanderous notion, but when he requires assistance, he is not shy to ask for it, he does not make my job any easier, he berates me constantly if I do not live up to whatever expectations he sets... He may shout at the others, the way that type does, but he saves the worst of his rancor for me.

I don't suppose I really know what goes on in the mind of the Pyro. I wasn't even able to examine him properly, though I did finally manage to drug him and wrestle him half out of his suit to get a blood sample and to check his ears and throat. Maybe he is only sore over that... I can't understand the things he says, but I don't see much of him.

The Heavy, though... Maybe I should tell him not to be so kind, warn him away from me... He would misunderstand, if I told him. If I said he should not like me, that I was... that I was not worth it, sick... Then he might believe the way they do, might think I referred to the war and what I did then. I could allow this kind of thinking from the rest of them, from the enemy, from my employers, but... But not from Heavy. As much as some distance between us would be for the best, I feel I would die if he hated me.

Stupid. I should forget him. I should let him hate me like the others do. I don't know how long I have to heal them before they accept that I am not really a bad man-- maybe not a good one, no, I can't claim to be, but not... not a monster.

A deviant to be sure, and a mercenary, but I am not a monster. And the burden should not be on him, if I must wrestle with my feelings.

13 .

Ah, a two-chapter day... is good day to be writer.

~~~Ch. 3~~~


Max has a bag prepared. He's asked me more than once if I want to go with him, even though I don't think he knows about my... 'illness', I suppose they would call it. I don't think he really understood I would not be, until now, when he has his bag and I have none of my own.

"This way." I snag his sleeve.

"The guard post--"

I shake my head. "There is a guard post that way as well. This one, at least, has no guards. Well... None that are awake."

He smiles. "You drugged them?"

I nod. They'll be killed if they're caught sleeping on the job, but those two... it would be no great loss. The half-moon offers enough light to see by, but hopefully not enough to be seen-- not if we go past the men whose coffee I'd doctored.

"How will you survive when you get to the other side?" I press. "You speak only German."

"Not only."

"You don't speak any Russian." I point out. Neither of us do, really. I go with him, further than I had planned, out towards no man's land.

"I stole some plans. I'll turn them over to... to somebody. Eventually they'll be able to find someone who speaks German and I'll explain everything."

"You what?" I hiss.

"Stole some plans. I'm defecting anyway, aren't I? Why not defect all the way?"

"I can't believe this... It is dangerous to know you!"

"So go back, then, if it's so dangerous to know me. I suppose your life would be so perfect without me in it?"

"My life would be terrible without you in it, Max." I clasp his shoulder. "I hope they don't shoot you."

"Thanks. So do I."

"I... I could have been arrested, too. Just on sympathies." I say. It's near enough to the truth.

We walk a few steps more, but in the near dark, I must have misjudged the distance, not turned back soon enough, because lights turn on us.

There are four men, in a haphazard assortment of Russian uniforms and work clothes, ragged and worn. One has the light, the other three all have guns.

We both raise our hands, and after a moment, of Max failing to communicate to any of them in German, and us not understanding Russian, the man I take to be their leader steps forwards.

"Speak English?"

"A little." I answer. Max does not-- I think he's never had a head for languages. I suppose he will need me a little longer.

"Very little." The man shrugs. "Business?"

"My friend wishes to defect. He has stolen plans from our army."

The four men confer, though two of them still train their weapons on Max and I.

"Show plans." The English-speaker barks at Max, and I translate. He pulls them from his bag, slow, and there is another conference, between the English-speaker and the man with the light.

"He speaks no English?"

I shake my head.

"Sergei will take to base, find someone... translating? See if plans good."

"I think they're real. He said he stole them."

Another quick conference, and one of the gun-bearers takes Max off.

"You defect?"

"I... No, I-- I mean... I'm a field medic. I'm not a soldier. I didn't even want to be... I just... Are you going to shoot me?"

He laughs-- none of them had so much as cracked a smile until now-- and presumably relays my question to the others. They all have a chuckle over it.

"Shooting medic... this against rule for war, yes? Also, not very good enemy if you help friend defect."

"No. I suppose not. Max is a doctor as well."

"Then probably this Max not get shot. If plans good, will be fine, but if plans bad, then is spy and we shoot."

"They're good." I say, even though I don't know if it's true, or if they'll stay good once it's discovered they've been handed to the enemy.

They confer again, and he treats the man holding the light with some deference. Perhaps he is not their leader after all... it's hard in the dark to tell how old any of them are, and I haven't really learned much about their military insignia.

"You go back. Pretend never see each other." He waves me off, frowning again.

I can't trust they won't shoot me in the back, but he did cite the Geneva Convention... and I did prove myself to be a poor member of the German army, helping a defector. I turn and go.

The guards are still sleeping when I pass them, but when I reach the little field hospital, the Major is there, one of his Sergeants half-awake and standing by.

"And where have you been, Vogel? Where are my doctors?"

"Max is gone." As long as he's safe wherever the Russians are keeping him, I can spin things. "I tried to follow him, but he made it across no man's land."

The Major takes two quick steps towards me, pushes me to lean backwards so that he can loom over me. "What?!"

"He... he defected. I couldn't catch him, I'm sorry."

"Bergstrom was your friend, Vogel. You vouched for him. In fact, you are the only person to ever sign off on any of his medical exams, the only person he ever spoke to... I find it difficult to believe that his treason was a great surprise to you."

"It is in my notes--" My voice wavers. I close my eyes a moment. "It is in my notes that he has suffered from some delicate injuries and has something of a condition. Perhaps the additional stress of working at the front caused him to snap. I cannot pretend to understand what went so wrong, he used to be a very patriotic man."

The slap turns my head before I even register the movement of his arm. Pain blossoms, second to shock.

"I think you are lying to me."

"Any one of the men who made the journey with us could attest to his fervor then. Many young men imagine they will be valiant in combat only to discover the truth about war for themselves and to find they lack the necessary bravery."

"Sit down." The Major barks, points to a chair.

I sit.

"Why did no one see you chase after him? Even if he managed to evade the guards on his own... did they not hear you shouting after him?"


"You are messy." He snarls, bends over me. "You cannot steal drugs from my hospital without my knowing, Vogel."

"Drugs?" I feign ignorance. "They didn't come after because Ma-- Because Bergstrom drugged the guards?"

Another slap, the pain in my neck worse than the sting across my face. "If I were you, I would think very carefully about lying to me one more time. You did not shout for the guards, someone would have heard, even if two of my guards were incapacitated. I cannot prove which one of you did the deed, but I think you are as much of a traitor as your friend."

"Major," The Sergeant coughs. The two men whisper. I strain to hear, but I catch little.

The Major turns back to me. "Sergeant Heine will question you. I have greater security measures to see to than a little hick doctor. I have to post more guards. Sergeant... don't go too easy on him."

His smile is nasty, in that moment before he leaves, but once he is gone, the Sergeant's posture relaxes.

"Vogel... Emil." He smiles. "I do not think you are such a bad person. You seem upset over your friend's sudden treason. This is natural. Do you smoke?"

"N-no. Thank you. I don't."

"Do you mind if I do?"

"Of course not, Sergeant!"

Another smile, though the warmth feels off. He takes a moment lighting his cigarette and taking a drag, pacing a bit. "Ah, there, that's better. Hard to feel awake without a good smoke and a cup of coffee, when you've been pulled out of bed in the middle of the night. I suppose the cold is bracing enough, though, if you have to chase your roommate across no man's land." He chuckles.

"I suppose. It... is cold outside."

"Now tell me honestly, did you know about this beforehand?"


"Come now. Emil. We can be friends. You had no doubts?"

"Well... he has seemed strange, just the past couple of days. Only stress, I thought."

"Mm. In the future, perhaps if you notice something like that, you will inform your superiors."

"Of course. I will be much more vigilant, in keeping an eye on the men. I just never dreamed..."

"You trusted your friend. That is not a crime, if you really did not try to help him escape to the other side. But, the Major... he does not like you. This is nobody's fault, he is just that kind of man, you know? He will get an idea in his head about someone and then he will not be able to change his opinion. Sometimes he is right, but maybe not every time."

"Well, it isn't my place, of course-- I don't mind being disliked."

"That's good, that's fine. But of course if you are innocent, you should not have to pay for your friend's crime."

I relax a little, not a lot. I'm not accustomed to much friendliness, and I'm not sure this isn't an act, to lower my guard. But there is a seductive note, in hearing I am not entirely at fault in the way the Major treats me. In believing someone might side with me.

"I can tell him I think you are innocent. He does not like you much, but... he likes me. Our families know each other, you see. He treats me... like a mentor with a student, sometimes. And he might give my words some weight."

I sense a 'but'. "That is very kind of you, Sergeant..."

"Of course, I expect you to do... maybe, a favor for me, in return?" He smiles. It is not friendly, not wholly predatory.


On the one hand... do I really want to prostitute myself, put myself completely in this man's power, on just his word that he will speak on my behalf to a man I know hates me? The risk is great, the reward uncertain.

Then again, if he really does want... want that, then... is it not its own reward? I've never taken a lover. It's been dangerous even to consider, since the law began cracking down, and even before that, I just never...

Heine is young enough, and... he is not the kind of man I most find myself drawn to, but he is not unattractive, he is certainly masculine, strong. I could enjoy myself with him, if that's what he wants.

But what if I am misreading things? Suppose he is an addict, one who hides it well, and he wants me to sneak him morphine? I would have to be more careful in hiding it, but... could I do that?

We don't have enough even for the men who truly need it. But do they need it so badly? A little pain and suffering is good for the soul, isn't it?

"It would be a pleasure to do you any favor you require." I say carefully.

"I was hoping that would be your answer." His smile now is definitely sexual. He touches my chin. "You know the kind of thing I have in mind?"

I swallow, nod.

"Say it." He orders, voice velvet over steel. "Tell me that you would enjoy it."

"I would." I whisper. "I want to."

"Want to...?"

"M-make love? I-- I mean... Sex. I want to."

His hand falls away from my face, the door swings open. The Sergeant's laugh is cruel, the Major's sneer triumphant.




"Doktor... is problem?"

I look up from the chessboard, startled. I have only one move and it is obvious from the set-up.

"I'm sorry." I slide my queen over. "Too much on my mind, I suppose."

"Fight with Soldier?"

I shrug. There is that-- it hasn't gotten better, if anything it's gotten worse. It feels like I can never do enough to earn my place among my colleagues, and the Soldier's constant accusations make up the driving thrust of that problem. There's also the Heavy... he is not just my only friend on this base, he is... he is such a good one. He protects me in battle, shields me from the other team's fire when I follow him into the fray, sometimes even follows me when I have to run and heal the others, to cover me until we can once more take the field together. This would be enough, to make me fond of him, but...

But there is his sense of humor, his intelligence... he does not always possess the words in English to explain his deeper thoughts, but I can tell they are there, can tell when the language barrier frustrates him. He also suffers the burden of being misjudged, though not so harshly as I am. Chess, at least, is spoken through the universal languages of mathematics, logic, strategy. He says he is not so good, though this is modesty. Or maybe he just feels that way because chess is not his forte, but he is good enough to beat me a little more than half of the time.

We both enjoy classical music, though I am more familiar with German composers and he with Russian ones. He does not play, but he has some records, and he puts them on sometimes when we play in his room.

Being there is... It is the most dangerous place for me. After all, respawn can bring me back from dying in the field. Nothing will save me if I let myself slip with him. In his room, everything around me is a reminder of him. The very scent in the air is somehow like him.

"Soldier does not know what is talking about." Heavy puts me into checkmate. "Doktor is credit to team. Should be polite if wanting you to help him."

"It is my job to heal him. It is my job to heal all of them, whether or not they like me. It is fine."

"Is not fine." His frown darkens. "Do not think is true. See how Doktor is always upset by this."

My heart speeds. I didn't think anyone noticed-- after all, the others keep right on accusing me, or ignoring me. The fact that Heavy noticed, that it informed his opinion of me... I shouldn't assign importance, but I do.

"No. Even... even... Most people were not, not really. Things just... happened. And sometimes there was little choice. But, many people were just... people. It was a bad time, and a difficult place."

"Sometimes Russia was hard place to live also. Is funny... we work for company called 'RED', but sometimes when Soldier says this to me, he means... differently. Am not even very good communist." He shrugs.


Another shrug. I wish I could lay my head on one of those massive shoulders. I wish I could stretch one of my arms around him.

"Is hard to like after gulag. But... is still my country, and not everything is bad. Sometimes just needs new revolution. This is why we have them so often." He laughs.

I nod and smile, even if I don't quite understand all of the joke. Maybe I'm just too distracted by trying to fight off those thoughts of him, the ones that always end with kissing him, unless I am alone and the room is dark and my will is weak, and the thoughts don't quite end there...

"I ignore him, most of time. Sometimes, remind him I am teammate and like getting big paycheck from same boss as him. Sometimes, remind him I am big man, and good at boxing. Then for a while he will leave me alone."

"Yes, well, I am not a big man, or good at boxing." I push at my glasses. "And I don't think my paycheck will change his mind much."

"Then if Soldier is not polite, remind him that Heavy is big man and good at boxing, and that Heavy likes Doktor very much and wants everyone to play nice." He smiles, with just a hint of meanness, and I smile back.

"Maybe I will."

We clear away the chess board, and he walks after me to the door. "Should make this official. Next time, we will have toasts to friendship. Is very important."

"That sounds..." Lovely, wonderful, like a terrible idea... "Fun. Maybe after a few toasts, I might actually beat you."

He laughs. "Heavy is lightweight. Is... irony, da? If Doktor holds liquor better, then yes. Definitely win game. But sometimes Doktor wins when I am not drinking..."

I feel too lightheaded around him sometimes even without drinking. The idea of letting myself become tipsy in the dangerous warmth of his room is frightening, but... apparently toasting our friendship is very important... And maybe it will go all right...

14 .

D: poor medic! he got tricked! i loved this chapter, i hope Max is ok too! cant wait for next part!

15 .

I love this story so much! looking very much forward to the next part

16 .

I'll admit that I'm a stickler for historical accuracy and that when writing fanfic, doing massive amounts of research for such things is probably a bit excessive, but the lack of detail in this story's "past episode" portions sort of irks me. Even a few details, things to help solidify the time and place in which the action is happening would help to make the scenes come across as less vague. Additionally, though I am a fan of a 'softer' Medic, he comes across as just a little too passive, (almost feminine) in the way that he deals with stressful situations. Seeing him voice some honest-to-goodness irritation with how his teammates are treating him would seem a little more authentic; in a stressful situation, nobody can remain a saint forever, and being constantly brushed off by his teammates or outright harassed by them would shred the nerves of even the most phlegmatic Medic.

I do like this story, but felt I should offer some honest-to-goodness critical feedback to go along with the smiley faces.

17 .

I'm with Yang. I love the idea and I'm glad someone ran with it, but you're leaving the 'combat' out of 'combat medic'. While there's something to be said for the differing characterization of medic dependent on author, I think he can probably only take so much before hauling off and smacking somebody.

18 .

Can't wait for the next part! I want more development between Heavy and Medic.. mmmm....

19 .


That's silly. I think medic's reactions are completely plausible, when you remember that the medic and everyone else haven't known each other that long. I don't think there's been enough time to really shred any nerves, especially the nerves of a patient person who says he doesn't mind not being liked. At least, that's the impression i got of him.
Plus saying "a little too passive, (almost feminine)" is a bit insulting.

20 .


I feel kind of bad, because I actually usually do ridiculous amounts of research for fic, but because I'd written about the time period a few months back for something else, I didn't re-research any of the proper WWII dates, so I apologize for the vagueness. Anyway, appreciate the concrit.

Probably part of the problem with the lack of 'combat medic' feel is that I haven't properly written any battle scenes-- and of course, the past!Medic scenes are of a younger man who's been through a lot less and is genuinely terrified of his superior officers, his tactic there being to keep his head down and stay submissive and hope not to be noticed.

Rest assured, he will blow up eventually.


Yeah (and thanks)-- while it's still early days, he is patient, particularly in light of the fact that the others don't know the kind of things he has faced.

But, like I said, we will see some angry and vindictive Medic eventually. I think it's the chapter after this one...

~~~Ch. 4~~~


"I may not be able to drag you out and shoot you as a traitor, but by God, I will have you locked away as a pervert." The Major threatens.

"No!" I stand. I don't know where the sudden boldness comes from-- desperation, I suppose. At this point, there's nothing I can lose by arguing. "I'm not-- I've never-- I thought I had no choice! I thought it's what HE wanted! I only said what he told me to say!"

"The testimony of two upstanding officers is going to be more than enough, no matter how you argue." He looks almost amused. "We'll see how well you can manage to survive... where you are going, Vogel... You are going to be the lowest, dirtiest maggot in the world, and everyone will treat you accordingly. I already have new doctors coming in, they'll arrive on the twenty-seventh September, with the rest of the troops for the push."

"That's nearly a week!"

"We have other field medics."

"Not surgeons."

"No." He sneers. "Not surgeons. But they'll learn. They'll learn faster than you. Besides, the men know the dangers. They know they're lucky to get any aid at all."

Learn faster than me? A bunch of undergraduates?

Well... at least if I'm arrested, I won't have to face the move to Kalinin... Not that I think being sent to a prison camp is going to be any better, but... the hardships will be... different. I'll have to break rocks, maybe. The food will be even less. But it might be warmer. It seems like winter in Russia starts when it is barely fall on the calender.

It's not much to hold onto, the idea that there might be a little less biting cold, a few fewer bullets flying past my head. But without hope, what have I got?

I remain still and silent, as they lock me up to wait. There are no prisoners of war here, only me... soon enough I won't be kept here, either.

I hope whatever comes is something I can survive, but I don't hope for anything silly. I don't hope for rescue.




The weekend is a blessing. On weekends, the Soldier has someplace else to be, and does not live on the base as he does during the week. If I had to put up with him on the weekends as I do during the week, I think I would have far less patience.

I'm one of the few who stays, even on weekends. I have my room off of the infirmary, and research to work on when I won't be interrupted by teammates who are on fire.

It's on the weekend, that the proposed toasting takes place.

"Is not quite same..." He explains. "Because we are speaking English... not enough pronouns. But, this means, if I were speaking to you in Russian, would use familiar 'you'."

"I wouldn't really know the difference." I laugh.

"Even so." He pours drinks and places one in my hand. "Just means friendship is close, officially. So we can speak freely with each other about anything and there will be no offense, all right?"

"All right." I say. It's a white lie... after all, there's nothing he can say to me that will offend me, not that I can think of. If I still need to hold my tongue...

We link arms, and I drink when he does. It's only a small amount, I feel fairly confident it won't be enough to make me foolish. Then he leans in and kisses me. I freeze.

"Ah... Doktor? Sorry... is part of brudershaft... Guess you do not kiss other men in Germany."

"No." I swallow. My mouth feels dry. I suddenly feel much drunker. "I guess we do not."

"Should really do it twice..." He says, uncomfortable.

"If it's tradition." I nod. Too quickly...

It's just a little kiss, the same as the first. No different than a kiss between relatives or children. Knowing that doesn't stop my head from spinning or my face from heating.

"Chess?" He refills both glasses.

"I'll set up the board."

"Hm." He examines the bottle. "Too much for just the two of us... Unless you can hold liquor much better than Heavy."

"Not that much better." I shake my head.

"You drink it all in one go," He tells me, as we pick up our glasses again. "To our friendship."

"To friendship." I echo weakly, before knocking back the vodka. I was never much of a drinker-- beer, of course, and a little wine now and then, when there is wine to be had. Liquor... liquor not so often. I've always held myself as well as the next person, more or less, but when he says he can't hold his liquor I don't know what kind of scale he is using. Maybe by the time I am loose and silly, he will still be perfectly lucid.

He refills the glasses quickly, though his next toast is in Russian, and I cannot repeat it with any accuracy.

We both play a little less sharply, but the game is fun. We laugh over little jokes that might be less amusing in perfect sobriety.

In the end we let it go at a stalemate, but I don't leave. In the past, when I've left too quickly after a game, he'd frowned a bit, and in spite of my better angels, I always find it easy to stay...

"So... So," I ask, I can feel the words coming to me even knowing that preying on his friendship makes me the worst sort of man. "In Russia, is it normal, for two men to kiss?"

"For good friends, yes, is not strange. Can even give a man flowers. Not the same flowers you give woman. Is normal to hold hands when talking." And here, he places his hand over mine.


Oh? Oh? Does it really only take three drinks to make me into a drooling, monosyllabic idiot?

"Yes. Is strange to me, that no one else touches at all when talking. To me, this means, something is wrong." He snorts. "They smile right away but then they never touch on arm during friendly conversation? Something to get used to."

"I'm not really used to being touched much." I say-- again, just a white lie. I'm used to being crammed against other people, or to being elbow-deep in someone's torso, to bumping into people in a crowd, to being hit... Just not to this. "It is nice, though."

He kisses my cheek, when I finally do leave, stepping outside his room to bid me goodnight. I shouldn't let him, but I do...

I can establish decorum when I'm sober, but fuck it all, now I can enjoy this. It may be all I'll ever have, I can enjoy the easy camaraderie just for one night. I can fall asleep with the memory of his lips against my skin.

21 .

Oh, this. Just...this. I don't have anything to offer but a fond "keep going", because this is simply lovely so far.

22 .

Thank you!

(And oops, I was wrong-- it's the chapter after this where Medic gets to get angry/even, this chapter just has some Heavy smooching...)

~~~Ch. 5~~~


There are other homosexual prisoners, when I am finally transported to the labor camp. Some are picked out as good candidates, for marriage and fathering children, to be 'cured' through the force of their own will. I am not. Not strong enough, not blond enough, not worth enough.

Most are simply worked to death, the same as everybody else. I am not, yet.

I am strapped down and studied, as though somewhere in me is written the secret of my deviancy and once it is found, those worth curing can be cured and the rest of us discarded. I do not know if such a gene exists, I only know they will never find it. But I am too tired-- and too stubborn in my desire to stay alive, no matter how awful the circumstances-- to say anything.

"You'll appreciate this," One of the assistants tells me. "You were a doctor."

I am a doctor. I don't say it, as I don't point out any of the other problems, but I think it.

"Anyway, you're lucky." He continues, laughs at my clear disbelief. "If you saw what happened in the next room, you would agree with me."

I didn't want to see. I didn't want to know. The tests themselves were not painful-- that is, they did not need to be. But the rough treatment, the guards who would take any excuse for a beating, the being spat on and the jokes and the constant aches...

This doctor's assistant, a man whose name I never get, is the one who takes the samples of my DNA before handing me back over to the guards, and he does not feel the need to hit me, but he whispers other threats, half-ideas for future experiments, some meant to cure me, others completely unrelated to his purpose.

When he can see no reaction from me, he lets me go, bored with me. He has other 'patients' he can see to, and if they have not been here too long, they will react to whatever he says to them.

My lot could still be worse-- I see worse every day. That is the worst part, knowing there is something lower I can fall to, knowing it could be a matter of months, weeks, even days, before I am no different from the worst of these. It does not even have to be days, if I am ever singled out, if I am ever beaten so badly that I cannot drag myself out to work. Even the healthiest of us can never be sure, that we are more than an hour away from death's door.

I could not even say why I care so much... why I want to keep living. I do, more than anything I just want to live. Even without any hope for something better, I still want to live...




Sunday, Heavy invites me for another evening of chess-- less drinking, he promises with a wink, just tea-- and resolved to do the honorable thing in regards to our friendship, I accept the invitation.

Nerves twist at my stomach, and I lose the match with barely a fight.

"Something is on Doktor's mind again, and this time is not fighting with Soldier."

I don't know how much to tell him. His hand wraps lightly around my wrist, warm. Even if I knew how much I could say, I wouldn't know how.

After a moment of my silence, he pulls his chair around the table so that we sit side by side.

I take my hand away from his. "I appreciate... I appreciate your friendship more than I could say. But maybe it would be best... if there was not so much touching."

"How much not so much?" He stays leaned in close, thoughtful frown ever in place, but he does not reach out for me again, and I should be grateful but I am not.

"I just-- It is for your sake, not mine. I am... I am sick."

"Only this?" He laughs and slings his arm around me. "Heavy never gets sick. Is no problem! Thought you did not like it."

"N-no, I do like it. I don't mean-- It's not that kind of--" Tucked up against him, with his arm around me and the warm of his body and the scent of him, I cannot think. "It's a different sort of sickness."

The thoughtful frown returns, and he turns us both so that he can regard me closely, though what he is looking for, I do not know.

"What kind?"

"I can't..."

"Is fine to just say, you do not like to be kissed. Does not hurt my feelings. We are still friends." He promises this, his hands still on my shoulders, his eyes a dark blue and boring into my soul, and his smile... barely even there, but something about it...

"I like to be kissed!" The words come out before I can do a damned thing about them. I chalk it up to his hands and his eyes and his smile, but that doesn't make it any better. I can see the confusion, but it will not last long... he is a smart man. He will put it all together. I wrench away from him, jump out of my seat. "I-- I'm so sorry. I told you-- I told you I was sick, I..."

"Doktor..." The confusion is gone, and I can't read what's replaced it. He moves slowly, but by the door he catches me, one hand curving around the side of my neck, his thumb resting along my jaw.

He doesn't seem interested in choking me, though. He hasn't made any accusations, he hasn't become violent yet or even shown any signs of anger.

"I'm sorry... I shouldn't have let you kiss me in the first place,"

"If Doktor likes to be kissed... then I do not think is good solution, to not kiss. But... maybe... different kind of kissing. But, this is just what I think..." He shrugs, then leans in.

This time, his lips linger on mine, move against my mouth in a caress instead of a hasty peck. I may not understand completely, but I know when I am being kissed, and right now I am. I'm just stunned to be so fortunate.

"You...?" I breathe.

"Did not know if you would like. Or how to ask for this. Kind of thing... most say is not right. And, I like women okay, to look at. Very nice. But, like art. Pretty if you do not touch it. For this... for this, I like men."

"O-oh?" By now I can manage a smile. My heart is still in my throat.

"Da. Smart man who is good on battlefield, this is what I like. And, this describes Doktor. And Doktor likes big men?" He grins down at me.

"Oh, yes." I run my hands up his chest, finally place my head against his shoulder. "Very much. Big, and powerful... and intelligent. And kind..."

He laughs, loud and sudden. "I am not called this often."

"You're kind to me." I don't add that he's the only one who is.

"Well... All right. Happy to be kind to Doktor." He places his hands on my waist, and I feel up his arms, squeezing lightly, tracing over each muscle.

He kisses me again, one hand sliding up to hold my head in place, his body flush to mine. It's wonderful, those giant hands on me, the heat of him, the way his tongue pushes into my mouth. There's so much strength in it, but not dominance, a hardness but not a forcefulness. Everything he gives to me is a thing he expects me to push back again, trusts me to meet, and I answer with strength of my own-- and physically, I may be no match for him, but in this moment, I feel perfectly unstoppable with every answering touch and kiss. I feel superhuman.

He loosens my tie, my collar, ducking his head down so that he can nibble at my throat, and I keep touching him, stroking his shoulders, twisting my neck so that I can kiss the side of his head even as he works love bites into my skin, right where the collar will hide them come Monday morning.

He pulls one of my gloves off and sucks at my fingers and the sensation goes straight to my cock, but when he starts to remove the second, the spell is broken. I freeze.

"No, I can't. I'm sorry, I can't. Please..." I babble, trying to put myself back together.

"Doktor, is okay," He returns the first glove, and keeps a respectful distance, but he looks so... so sorry about it, I never meant for him to feel at fault. "I push too fast, maybe."

"No," I caress his cheek, lean back against him. "I am sorry. It isn't anything you've done wrong, believe me. I just... It is my fault. I want you, but... I have spent all of my life trying so hard not to want these things, and I have spend so long hiding so much... I want you. That is not the problem."

"We will take time. Stay, little bit longer. Just to relax together. Next time?"

I nod. I don't know, of course. I don't know when or how to explain the rest of my past, the parts I have not already shared with him, but if I let him undress me, he will see... I cannot very well take off all of my clothes but leave the gloves on, that would look rather strange. He would think I truly was a deviant if I did that.

I don't want to spoil things... he protects me while we are on the field, but only because we work most effectively together that way-- maybe because he cares for me and would rather not see me hurt-- but never before have I ever felt that he saw me as weak... If he knew about this, there would be pity, perhaps some imagined idea that I need special pains taken with me. Cautions I do not need or want.

He has to know some time.

The how and the when are still a problem.

23 .

Aw, screw it, I'm still awake. Two chapters tonight!

~~~Ch. 6~~~


It is still difficult to believe, sometimes-- every morning there is a moment of confusion where I almost don't-- that it's over. That I have just woken up in my own bed, in my own home. That I have a life now, a job.

It is below my skill level, but it is more than fine, to live on. When they came to liberate us, I discarded the shirt of my prison uniform, told one of the soldiers that I was a political prisoner. It worked... I had a clean slate, and a medical degree. It was enough to let me come to America, a post-war refugee.

I am working late at the hospital, when I am summoned to one of the private rooms. There are two men there when I arrive-- one, perhaps a little younger than myself, smartly dressed and standing at attention, like a valet. The man in the bed, I cannot estimate any age for. His head is wrapped in bandages.

When the two confer, it is in German, though I cannot understand the patient through his bandages. Still, the valet I hear. 'I found you a German doctor, like you told me'.

"I'm afraid that I might not be the best-suited for your case. I will be happy to assist and to translate for you, but if you require facial reconstruction-- that is not the kind of surgery I perform." I apologize.

"I don't need facial reconstruction." He says, as the valet unwraps the bandages past his mouth. "I have cancer. I had to come someplace where they can treat it. Karl!"

The valet stops unwrapping, leaving just the lowest bit of nose visible.

"First, tell me, Doctor Vogel, what did you do during the war?"

During the war. I grimace, but it's not as though he can see. "For a while I was a field medic and surgeon on the Russian front. That was before they sent me to Auschwitz."

"Good. Karl,"

The valet continues unwinding the bandages. There is a certain something familiar, but it isn't until he finishes, until the eyes are uncovered, that I recognize the man.

"You may go." He tells the valet, Karl. Karl leaves.

With the valet gone, I bring over an IV stand. A paralytic would be good... would be important.

"I am afraid you have made an error." I say, strapping his wrists to the bed.

He coughs. "You haven't even examined me yet."

"No. I remember you-- my appearance has changed much more than yours has, though it's funny you don't recall my name. Well, after a time, they all run together, don't they? Still, for a time, you knew me. They sent me to Auschwitz to work."

"You were another one of the research assistants?"

"No. They sent me. To Auschwitz. To work."

His eyes widen. Fear. It's a remarkably nice sight. He tries to jerk away.

"Get your filthy Jew hands off me,"

"I was raised Lutheran, actually." I say mildly. "Not that I think you will be much happier to have a homosexual doctor."

"... Vogel?"

"See, you do remember me." I smile. "I remember you, more than any of the doctors and more than any of the guards, even if you were just an assistant. You joked with me-- remember? One of those experiments you didn't have the time or the authorization to do. Something about cutting my arm off-- ah, we laughed about that one, didn't we?"

"It was my job!"

"It was your job to take samples, and even that was done poorly." I say, dismissive. "It was not exactly your job to posit that I had hollow bones."

"I..." His voice sounds strangled. When he tries to shout for Karl, he barely makes a sound.

"Of course, all jokes aside, I am a human being, and therefore I do not have hollow bones. Which as a... 'doctor' yourself, perhaps you ought to know. But, if you need a refresher course, I can help you."

He shakes his head. I pick up the scalpel.

"Oh, don't worry. I take my work seriously. If I find any cancer, I'll be sure to remove it."

His eyes dart to the side, towards the IV stand.

"Oh! Silly me. You're right, the anaesthesia is separate. You're not hooked up to any. I thought it was appropriate, all things considered."

He passes out, before I can even show him a cross-section of one of his own bones. Ah well.

I remove the whole set anyway.




Monday morning, everything gets off to a good start. With the medigun and I behind him, my Heavy is an unstoppable force, cutting through the enemy as though they were nothing.


"The Engineer?" I pause. "He had his Dispenser set up, I had not heard that it was destroyed..."

"I go with you. If Dispenser is good, get more bullets. Kill more cowards." Heavy flashes me a grin.

"Yes, but..." But if the Dispenser is working, why does he need me?


Well, clearly he does.

When we reach the Engineer's nest, we find all his machines in operation, and the Soldier slumped against the Dispenser with his arms around his midsection.

"Can't find any blood, wound's been healed up, but there's something my Dispenser just ain't fixin', and I can't find a problem." He pauses to scratch at his forehead, under the hardhat. "Figured you might know what was wrong."

I begin my examination, despite his weak protests. My Heavy and the Engineer's Sentry keep the rest of us safe, as the Engineer holds the Soldier down and I try to find the cause of the problem.

"Does it hurt when I do this?" I prod at his midsection.


"And here?"


I stand. "That's enough. I am a doctor, Herr Soldier. And I am going to spare you a lot of pain and suffering, because contrary to your beliefs, I am not-- I have never been-- If you call me a Nazi one more time while I am trying to help you, I may enjoy a little exercise in sadism, but I promise you, I am your teammate, and your health is my priority. Do we understand each other?"

"I... don't understand... anything right now..." He squints. "A whooole lot of weakness is leaving my body."

I snort. "I'm afraid to break it to you, but pain is not weakness leaving the body. It appears to be appendicitis. When is the last time you died?"

"Thursday." Engineer supplies. "Remember he made it all through Friday, it was in the scores."

"Mm. Respawn will have kept bringing him back to life in a less advanced stage, but a long weekend without dying and-- and re-setting himself-- will have pushed things too long."

"We're in the middle of a battle." The Engineer says.

"Keep the Dispenser operational, it will be necessary. And you will have to make sure the updates are made so that he respawns without his appendix next time, or I will have to do this all over again."

I set down the medigun, keeping it close at hand, and employ the bonesaw. It's all I have.

It has been a long time, since I've done a real field surgery. Still... some things are like riding a bicycle. The constant low healing beam of the Dispenser keeps him from bleeding out while I work, and once I have his appendix out, I grab up the medigun-- I don't dare charge him completely, the diseased organ will only come back, but enough to put him almost into one piece.

"Go to the infirmary." I tell him. "Sit out the rest of the battle. I will see you at the end of the day. The follow up will be much more pleasant... Unless, of course, I catch you out on the battlefield before you have my permission."

He opens his mouth to argue, but both my Heavy and the Engineer are behind me on this one, and he slinks off, his rocket launcher dragging along the ground.

I find him in a bed in the infirmary afterward, perform a proper surgery.

"I cannot use the medigun on you again, I'm sorry."

"What? Doc, when will I be able to fight?"

"As soon as the respawn system is updated." I blink. "Once you are sure to come back without the problem appendix, you are free to rush out into battle. After the first respawn without, I will be able to use the medigun on you freely."

"Yeah, well... How long do you think it'll take?" He crosses his arms, wincing when it pulls the IV lead.

"That is a question for the Engineer. I am sure he will bring you the good news before long."

"Look, the appendix isn't a problem, Doc, I need to be on that battlefield. If I just get killed every day, it won't get that bad!"

"No!" I snap. "Herr Soldier, you may not like me very much, and I accept that. Worse men than you have held greater hatred. But I am your doctor, and when I give you a medical order, you will follow it, the same as you would expect me to follow an order in combat. If I tell you you are not to fight until your health is no longer in jeopardy, then you will stay exactly where I have put you, or so help me, I will keep you drugged to the gills until you cannot move! And while I am healing you, I demand your respect. I am not asking for your friendship, I cannot force your opinions, but you will treat me in a civilized manner when I am the man saving your life! I deserve this much."

He opens and closes his mouth several times.

"Thanks." He finally says, not looking at me.

"You are welcome. An alarm will sound if you try to leave this infirmary without my approval. Try to rest and feel better."

From the infirmary, I go outside. Heavy is on the battlements, watching the sun set.

"Doktor. How did you know to find me?"

"I didn't." I admit. "I thought I would be alone with my thoughts out here. But... We can both be alone with my thoughts."

"Your thoughts will keep company with my thoughts." He smiles, slipping his arm around my shoulders. "Is fine... what you say the other night. Understand this. Loving other men this way illegal also in Russia. Did not take many risks. Never wanted to go back to gulag."

"That's... like a prison, yes?"

"Not prison, exactly. Work-camp."

"You-- You were sent to a labor camp?"

"Labor camp, yes. Politics. My whole family is sent. But we escape."

My heart is thundering in my ears. I don't have to keep this a secret, then, don't have to worry that he will think differently of me, when all along he has been the one man who might understand...

"I want to explain, about last night." I say. "The reason I was so scared."

"Is fine, I already understand."

"No, more than that--" I start.

I don't get to finish before the blinding pain, before things go dark.

When I wake up, I am in the infirmary bed next to the Soldier's, and everyone is staring at me.

24 .

"It gets better. When the patient woke up, his skeleton was missing, and the doctor was never heard from again!... anyway, that's how I lost my medical license."

... oh my god.

25 .

I would like to point out that you mention that you say they took a sample of his DNA, which I find very perplexing since DNA's structure wasn't even known until 1953 and DNA sampling as we know it wasn't done on any kind of scale until the mid 70s.

Also, genetics at the time was very crude, subjective, and more pseudoscience than anything else.

He may have been sampling, but it wasn't DNA.

Anyway, aside from that, your story is amazing; I can't wait to read more.

26 .

I love Meet the ___ call backs!

27 .

I hope we get some Demo and Sniper and Spy interaction with Medic after this.

As for the DNA thing...well it's an alternate world where they had cloaking and such since the 1800's thanks to Australium. I'm willing to believe their science advanced enough for DNA when the Third Reich was around.

28 .

The suspension of belief may be possible for some, but considering the way this story is told, I find it jarring.

29 .


Well, with a name like Vogel, who could blame him for wondering if the Medic's bones were hollow?

30 .

When [the patient] wakes up, [he is] in the infirmary bed next to the Soldier's, and everyone is staring at [him]. >>24
It gets better. When the patient woke up, his skeleton was missing, and the doctor was never heard from again! My first thoughts on >>24.

31 .

I am so quickly falling in love with everything this story is. I want more Forceful Medic and Scared Medic and just generally Strong in the face of his s%!t life Medic. Pst, I love your Medic.

"But... We can both be alone with my thoughts" I'll admit, when I first read this I thought, 'ouch, deep intelligence jab there' Lol.

32 .

In response to Samoaqueen, though I am not the author and in no way speak for her, I would like to note that the original BLU team consisted of Billy the Kid, Stonewall Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Alfred Nobel, John Henry, Nikola Tesla, Sigmund Freud, Davy Crockett, and Fu Manchu. Also, that in 1857 Abraham Lincoln invented stairs. Given the times the TF2 universe diverges from real world history (coupled with the existence of teleportation devises and machines that defy death, even if not in widespread use or even known at all outside the RED and BLU corporations) I think that the dates of some things can be fudged. Especially if it is within the same century.

Of course, if the author wishes to keep more strictly within the realm of historical accuracy, that is fine and I am in no way suggesting that mistakes shouldn't be pointed out with regard to that. I simply felt like sharing my POV.

33 .

Hm... Captcha just asked me to type 'sorry', I guess it knows about my terminology fumble... Yeah. No. I totally meant the crude pseudoscience, since there were tests to find the 'gay gene' and cure homosexuality, but my brain broke and I used anachronistic terms. Probably because it is impossible to look up those tests without getting way more information than I required on the other not-really-very-scientific experiments that were run, and then I had to look at pictures of kittens to make myself stop thinking about things...

But I will go ahead and accept 'divergent history', since it sounds better than 'author is a moron sometimes'. Still sorry about jarring the willing suspension of disbelief, though.

I'm so ridiculously happy that someone commented on that.

A) Glad I could make you fall in love with my story/Medic. B) I can kind of see that interpretation now, oops... Meant it more as 'came up here to be alone with thoughts, but as long as you're here instead of being alone I could talk to you about said thoughts'... Ah well.

And just, general giant thank yous to everyone who's kept with me through this. Your feedback always means a lot to me, be it lengthy concrit, brief 'more please', to anything in between. You guys make me want to be a better writer.

~~~Ch. 7~~~


I knew, of course, the moment I started disassembling the man, that I would be leaving my comfortable old life behind. Someone would be able to trace it back to me. Karl, at the very least, would know I was to blame.

Still, I felt good. I felt righteous.

It was a week after the incident, after a quick flight, a hastily packed bag and a midnight train journey, that I found myself living hand-to-mouth in the middle of nowhere. If I could not find work soon, I would lose the cheap motel room where I lived now. I would not be able to eat. I could not get work as a doctor, not after what I had done, I could not even use my real name...

Whatever happens, I've survived worse, at least I know that, but I had only just begun to get used to security again... to lose it all over again is not the ideal situation.

I am in a dusty diner, where at least I have a place to sit for the price of a cup of coffee, where at least I can read the newspapers that other patrons abandon. That is where the young woman finds me.

"Dr. Vogel?" She coughs, her hands folded politely. Her hair is neat, dress modest enough for young ladies these days. She does not look like the sort of person they send to hunt down men who rip out their patients' skeletons.

"Might I ask who is looking for him?"

She adjusts her glasses and slides into the booth. "Someone looking to hire a doctor with your skills."

I laugh. "And what skills would those be, my dear?"

"My employers could explain the job better than I could, if you would like to come with me. I have a car outside."

Her car is purple, something I find more than a little ridiculous, but even that is reassuring-- even if some law enforcement agency had sent a harmless-looking young girl to entice me with a job offer, they would not have sent a harmless-looking young girl who drove a purple car.

She takes us out of the small town, through a long stretch of desert, until we reach a large building of glass and steel, set into the red cliffs and standing dark and shining against the clear blue skies overhead. It is not a hospital, nor a university, but it could be a research laboratory, and that excites me. I have not had the funds to pursue any of my ideas. A research job would allow me to finish them.

The inside of the building does not disabuse me of the notion. There are people in sharp uniforms and sharp suits, watching monitors or walking briskly with clipboards.

I am led into a clean room, everything chrome and white plastic and very minimal. One table, two chairs, and in one of those chairs, a woman.

She is older than the girl they sent to fetch me, though I hesitate to guess at any woman's exact age. There is an ashtray on the table in front of her, already half-full. Her gaze is hard.

"Might I ask--" I begin.

"You may call me the Administrator. You don't really need to know my name. Much like you don't really need to keep your own. Do you, Doctor?"

"I suppose not."

She motions me to sit. I accept.

"If you sign your life over to Reliable Excavation Demolition, no one will ever look for the man you used to be again. I can promise it." She smiles, so cold and sharp that I absolutely believe this is a promise she can deliver. Still...

"Excavation and demolition? I'm afraid neither is a field I have any experience in."

"Don't let the name fool you." She waves my concerns off. "You'll sign the papers, and you'll be known only as the Medic. You will care for the health of a group of mercenaries, you will go where RED sends you and, if necessary, fight the men they tell you to fight. I assume from your background as a field medic in the war that you know how to fight."

I know how, not that I much needed it then. "I know how to comport myself on the battlefield, although the Genev--"

"The war between RED and BLU do not abide by the rules of the Geneva Convention. Not only will you not be protected, you will be targeted, especially."

"And what are the odds of my surviving, if I agree to be your field medic?" I press.

Her smile widens. "One hundred percent."


"Walk with me." She stands. "And I can show you the respawn system. I think you'll like it, Doctor. I think you'll like it very much."




"Good, you're awake." The Engineer tips his hat to me and goes back to working on-- to working on the medigun? "Have this baby up and running in a second, hope you don't mind. We'd have fixed you right up, but it got hit pretty bad in the accident."

"The act of aggression!" The Soldier corrects. "OUR MEDIC was targeted by the enemy, AFTER HOURS! THIS WILL NOT STAND!"

"Lie down." I order him, before he can get out of bed completely and injure himself. Since when am I 'Our Medic' to him? Since when will my injury not stand? Since when... since when have I been undressed? "Oh... No..."

"It wasn't an act of aggression, Solly, don't get your knickers in a knot." Our Sniper rolls his eyes. "Saw the whole thing. Some kind of accident over at the BLU base, and I'm sure more of theirs got hurt than of ours, but I was on the roof when it happened. Just out of range when you two got hit."

I glance up at Heavy. He smiles warmly at me. He's bandaged, but... but he doesn't look too badly hurt.

"Carried Doktor inside. Had sandvich. Is okay, as long as you are okay."

"Yeah, well, after he got you in, BLU sent a man out with a white flag to explain the whole thing. I got my arse down there to hear 'im out, but it sure looked to me like they took more damage than we did."

"Well..." The Soldier seems to think a moment. "Did you at least kill the messenger?"

The Sniper doesn't dignify this with a response.

"Doktor is feeling all right?" Heavy strokes my forehead.

"I'm fine, bitte, I'm fine, but... what happened to my clothes?"

"You're wearing most of 'em." The Scout supplies, as if I had somehow not noticed. But my gloves were missing, and my coat, my tie... I'd been stripped down to my trousers and undershirt.

"Anyway, Solly has-- Well, everybody has-- Well--" The Engineer hits the medigun with his wrench-- it makes me wince, but apparently the rough treatment does the trick, and he is able to turn it on me.

"Doc, we are sorry." Soldier says. "On account of I kept calling you a Nazi and I shouldn't have."

"Uh, thank you."

The Scout has been staring at me for some time, wide eyed. "Demoman said you probably hid people in your attic or something, and Spy said you probably smuggled information to the allies, and Soldier said you probably killed a assload of Nazis."

"And I said you leave him alone." The Engineer points his wrench at the boy. "He doesn't have to tell you nothing. Though I sure wish you'd at least set us straight before now."

"I... It didn't seem important."

"Didn't seem important?" The Spy laughs. "Do not expect me to believe that."

"Which was it?" The Scout hisses, glancing back at the Engineer, now too busy squabbling with the Spy.

"A little bit of all three." I smile. It's close enough to the truth for him, and far enough from the truth for me.

I finish putting myself back together, and then I turn the medigun on my Heavy.

"If you will all excuse me... I don't like to talk about it much, and it is late. We should all turn in, if we want to be an effective force tomorrow."

"Good plan." Engineer nods, dusting himself off-- an unnecessary measure, since fixing my equipment does not produce much in the way of dust... "Solly, you got the green light. Respawn'll bring you back without that pesky appendix come tomorrow."

"Right." He grins broadly. "Thanks again, Doc!"

"You're welcome. Goodnight."

Heavy walks me to my room, his hand coming up to the small of my back as soon as we're around the corner from the others. They all go the other way, anyway.

"What was Doktor trying to tell me? Before explosion?"

"Oh, you know," I sigh, pulling my gloves back off. "Just what you already saw. I... I had not realized, before, that you would understand. I'm surprised all the others were so... I thought they would see me as weak."

"Doktor is never weak." Heavy kisses me. "This is why I could not get you naked before?"

I nod. "As long as you know now, I don't see any reason why you couldn't. Stay?"

"Would be rude to leave." He chuckles, undoing my tie with surprising deftness. "I... love this Doktor..."

"Mm... I you, and I you..." I wrap my arms around him and let the kisses come. After the medigun, he needs to re-mark me, after all...

He sucks at my throat, flicks his tongue over the skin where my pulse lies. His hands work their way up under my shirt, inside my undershirt, until they rest broad and flat and hot across my back and my chest.

He has to pull his mouth off of me, to finish taking my clothes off, and to remove his own. It is a pleasure to watch, his shirt coming off, the slight flex of his arms and the way they raise over his head, his body appearing, bare and hairy.

I take my turn, to touch him. His big hands wrap around my wrists and guide my hands across his chest, and I watch his face, to find which touches he likes best. I love the texture of his chest hair under my palms, he loves the pass of my hands over his nipples. I slide my arms around his waist and bend my head to one, to lick and suck at it until he is groaning and cradling my head in one hand.

We go back and forth for a while-- when he has had enough stimulation, he pushes me back and returns to his own explorations, touching and kissing me everywhere, a smile or a chuckle breaking through his look of serious concentration whenever my own moans are too loud.

"You like?" He rakes his nails lightly up my ribcage, not hard enough to scratch, just enough to send shivers running through me. Like a tickle, only laughter is the furthest thing from my mind.

"I like it, I like it..." I pull him towards the bed. He stops me short.

"I lie down first. You get on top of me. This way, no one gets crushed, da?"

"That sounds like a good plan." Of course, he could tell me to do anything and I would think it sounded like a good plan at this point.

Draped over him, I'm able to bring so much of our bodies in contact. There is a moment where we cannot figure out exactly how to align ourselves, but I did not get to where I am in life without learning how to adapt. A bit of negotiation, and we are... we are perfect. His mouth devours mine in a fierce kiss, his hands travel over my back and squeeze my ass, mine grip his powerful shoulders... Our chests touch, rub together as we thrust, my cock sliding against his belly, his rubbing high on my thigh, as we pull ourselves against each other.

I come, hard, harder than I ever have and too quickly, and I reach down to try to bring him off manually. The angle is difficult, I can't yet move myself far, but it doesn't take me too long. My wrist is glad of that, as much as I might have liked drawing it out a little more... But, there will be a next time.

I stay where I am, the both of us messy and panting, his body solid beneath mine.

"Let me know if you need me to roll over," I say, though there is not much space to roll to...

"Doktor stays here." His hand rests firmly over my shoulder.

This is fine... eventually, torpor will fade and discomfort will set in, we can move then...

For now... for now, his shoulder is a fine pillow and his heartbeat against mine is lulling and sweet... as long as I move before we fall asleep, before I can get a crick in the neck... I should order myself a larger bed...

34 .

Where do you get the time to write all of this, Anne? I mean, this can't possibly be something you sit down and crap out in five minutes. It's too good to be crapped out in five minutes.

35 .


I'm just never not-writing, I guess. I don't have much of a life, so that helps... But seriously, I'm always at least coming up with or refining story in my head, even if I can't get to a computer or notebook to write it down for a while. When I'm washing dishes or in the shower or trying to sleep at night, my brain is still either coming up with something new or 'editing' the thoughts I had earlier. If I repeat a short enough scene to myself often enough, I can usually remember it until I can get it down on paper/computer.

(of course, if I slip up and do it out loud, I sound crazy, but usually I can keep it in my head...)

(and every so often, I do just crap something out in five minutes, but generally only if it's, like, a five-minute-challenge type thing)

Um, and thanks!

36 .

.. but what the hell happened? I re-read the entire thing, but i cannot figure out what the hell happened to medic. What was the accident? What did he even get hit by? WHERE did he get hit? Did Heavy get hit as well? If he got hit, where did he get hit, was he bleeding? Just some questions to ask yourself as we the reader cannot enter your mind and know these things.

Also, what is on his wrist? I AM assuming it's his wrist, possibly lower for-arm. What is it? Is it a serial number? scars? SOMETHING? I'm just a bit off put as a reader as you gloss over things that are rather important little details.

The pacing of this seems off as well, like things are happening too fast, but that could just be me.

37 .

To the second point, you don't know much about what happened to homosexuals during the holocaust, do you.
Things like what he has on his arm should go without saying, considering where he's been, and I don't think they need to be restated here.

I do agree on the 'what happen' aspect of things, though. I would like more detail about what hit him, but at the same time, it feels sort of realistic. Medic's preoccupied with everyone possibly seeing his secret, and the others have already known what happened, so they might not explain everything like it's a bloody exposition. Because that would just look stilted and clunky.

38 .

Anne, I realize I haven't commented yet on this piece, which is pretty darn hypocritical of me as a writer myself.

I like that past!Medic is a scrappy young thing with a knack for survival. It might be just me, but the vindinctive streak re: removing skeleton seems to come out of nowhere, since Medic's been described as so even-tempered and resigned about his lot. I suppose prison camp will leave its share of mental scars on any person. I do love the call back to 'Meet the Medic'.

I'm glad that present!Medic has gotten to standing up to Soldier. I somewhat imagined him losing his temper and loosing a sharp tongue on him, but your Medic seems to be above all that temperamental nonsense. And can I say I love the idea of Medic performing field surgery? I like any detail that highlights the 'combat' aspect of Medic's past.

Also Miss Pauling drives a purple car? SO her.

As for >>36 - I just assumed the BLU base suffered some kind of explosion that sent flying chunks of debris that knocked Medic out. Also since Medic was in prison, I guess it would be a concentration camp tattoo on his lower arm. However, I agree that more explicit details would be helpful, would make things clearer.

It does seem like things are happening a little fast, but as with >>36 I'm not sure if it's an actual issue or my own preference for a slow burn/explosive denouement saying that.

In no way does this mean this is a bad piece. It was quite enjoyable, and I look forward to seeing more.

39 .

Oh man, now I NEED to know what took place for the other guys while Medic was knocked out!

40 .


I'll admit, i did not. I never felt the urge to research it. But, i generally have a rule, if it does not happen in the original cannon, explain it, not everyone will automatically know what it is, even if you think they should.

Though it's really that the author constantly refered to it, over and over again, and that the internal problem the medic had with his teammates knowing was centered around something that was never described. It was just something that bothered me.

41 .



not an update.
fuck you.

42 .

(This might be the first time I erred on the side of not info-dumping. It seemed too awkward to have someone else explain every little thing that happened while the Medic was out, and some of the information got pushed into the following chapter-- which normally would have been posted sooner, but I had an off night where I just was not up to final revisions and postings-- so anyway, some things that weren't explained get explained, and for the rest, I can only apologize for to anyone rubbed the wrong way and try to be clearer. I guess my pacing is usually slower than this, too... this one does have gaps/fast moving time, which I don't do as often, so I can accept that there might be issues with the pacing itself as opposed to a style thing, not sure... Anyway, thanks for the feedback/concrit, you guys! This is the last chapter.)

~~~Ch. 8~~~


"--And this is the base where you'll be starting." She clicks a button, and several monitors come to life. This seems to be the end of the tour of RED's Headquarters-- if these are the headquarters.

There are cameras set up throughout the base. It is not terribly modern in construction, but as she had promised, the equipment is all of the highest calibre, and I will have everything I require to complete the medigun, a half-designed invention I'd always lacked the resources to see through.

Even if the construction is not modern, it is certainly fine, much better than the field hospital on the Eastern Front, so much better than the living conditions I'd endured after leaving Russia... Yes, just as fine as where I'd lived when I had worked in the American hospital, before my ill-thought bout of revenge...

Well. I learned something from it, anyway, and it brought me here. The opportunity is exciting. The respawn will provide a comforting fail-safe-- I will do my best to keep my team from dying, but if I am going to be made into a target, well, it's nice to know I will not be permanently killed. If that means a thousand deaths, that is nothing I cannot handle, either.

"You will, of course, probably want to clear out the local wildlife." She waves dismissively towards the monitor displaying what is to be my operating theater.

Birds, a handful of them-- not just any wildlife, either, they look as if they were once domestic-- roosting in the rafters and the cabinets. I laugh.

"I am sure it will be fine. As long as I can restrict them to one side of the room, anyway... I-- I like birds."

The Administrator shrugs. She does not seem to see much humour in it...




The explosion seemed to be the combined efforts of BLU's Engineer and Demoman, an attempt at building some new cannon, I do not know. It does not matter precisely what, only that because of the damage to both bases, we have all been granted vacation time.

Several of the men are going home to visit their families-- it is all the Scout will talk of. I have no family to speak of, but... Heavy has a home, and I have been invited.

Our flight gets in very late, we drag ourselves into bed-- his bed is large enough to hold us both, and comfortably-- too tired to make love.

His Sascha has her own bed. It is not... usual, but a little eccentricity is nothing to complain over. Better than having to share my space in the bed with his gun.

His relatives will be visiting... In the morning, he kisses my cheek and hugs me close.

"Do not worry about being lonely-- most family speaks only Russian, but, cousin Anya is bringing friend, Katya."

"Katya speaks English?"

"Nyet. Katya has husband from Germany. Maybe you will have something in common. If not, can always hide in bedroom with your books until I come keep you company at night..."

The last comes with a suggestive chuckle. I roll onto my back and pull him down to kiss me properly.

After that, we get ready, for the day and for the guests we have coming. There are little rituals to be seen to, and cleaning, and cooking-- though someone must keep the house from falling into disrepair when he cannot get out to it. Perhaps one of his sisters...

I hang back, when the family arrives, though I nod politely and shake any hands that are offered. I can only guess at how he explains me, but no one thinks it strange he's brought a colleague with him.

Anya is the last of Heavy's cousins to arrive, and with her, Katya and the German husband.

The last time I recognized an old face, it had been terrifying, had filled me with a strange quiet rage and a burning want for revenge I'd not felt before or since. This time, it is anything but. Instead, a cool relief that butts up against a warm bubbling joy, a sense of rightness in the world.

"Max Bergstrom?" I step forward.

"Emil?" He laughs, turns to speak quickly to his wife in a mix of German and Russian-- and I wonder, if Heavy tried to teach me, if we might someday sound like that with each other-- and she rushes to kiss my cheeks.

"My husband tells me you rescued him." She says, on releasing me.

"I wouldn't say rescued."

"Helped me, then." Max places a hand on my shoulder. "You did that."

"I did that." I allow.

"Well, I wouldn't have met him otherwise." Another several kisses, before she rejoins the group of Russians, now all speaking excitedly.

Max and I retire to the corner, while Heavy catches up with his family. There is a chess board there.

"How have you been since... everything?" Max asks me. Every so often, his eyes stray back over to his wife.

Which is fine. Every so often, mine stray to Heavy.

"I've been well. I live in America now. I work as a doctor there. For a private company."

"How exciting. I'm just a small-town doctor myself. I have children, though. They're staying with their grandmother. If I'd known you would be here, I would have brought pictures of them. Two boys and a girl in the middle. My oldest is going to University."

"Congratulations. A doctor like his old man?"

He shakes his head. "He says anything but that. He's looking at the law, but also at religion. Either one, so long as he tries harder than I did when I was at school."

We both laugh over that, the countless nights that I spent studying, and he spent trying to convince me not to.

"His sister wants to go as well."

"Oh?" I reach forward-- he has left a knight untended, and there is no immediate consequence to my taking it.

"Yes, her mother says if-- Emil..."

I glance up from the board and follow his eyes to the numbers on my wrist. Funny, all the years of trying desperately to hide it from the world and now I don't even notice when my sleeve is pushed back... what a little unexpected acceptance will do, maybe.

"It's nothing." I tug my cuff back into place.

"It should have been me,"

"Don't be ridiculous. You... You have a lovely wife, and three children. And besides, it wasn't for helping you."

For a moment he regards me with open skepticism, but then he shrugs and makes his move on the chess board.

"They caught you out, then? Don't be surprised-- I always knew. I tried to set you up with so many girls."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"I didn't care then, and I certainly don't care now. You kept my secrets and saved my life, you think I would judge you?"

My shoulders slump. "So I have always been an obvious homosexual?"

"No, no. Well, you do keep looking at your big friend there... You were never obvious, but either you liked men or you had absolutely no interest in any sex at all. Tell me, which is most unnatural?"

"I wouldn't know." I take another of his pieces. "How have you not gotten any better at chess since University?"

"No matter. I haven't played since you finally gave up on me."


He shrugs. "Not much. The children could all beat me by the age of ten. I have the wrong mindset for chess. It seems my brain can only hold one or two things in it at a time, it's better for everyone if I hold onto medicine and give up hopes of being a chess champion."

"If your wife taught the children, presumably she could sharpen you up."

"I can only hold two things, remember?" He laughs. "She had to teach me Russian. Well, and other things..."

I watch him send another fond look her way.

"Three children." He sighs. "She still looks like the girl I married to me..."

I can't help a glance of my own towards Heavy. He turns and smiles at me over the head of one of his sisters before returning to his conversation. Max laughs at me.

"After twenty-five years together, I hope I still see him the same way." I confess. I also kick him under the table for laughing, but he only laughs harder at that.

"You still kick like a girl."

"No I don't. But it is impolite to cripple company. Besides, most of the time, I use a bonesaw to deal with people who irritate me."

"You do not." He grins.

I shrug and pretend to have been joking.

"Was it as terrible as the stories you hear?" He looks down at my wrist again, even though my cuff now covers the camp tattoo.

"Worse than the stories you hear." I shrug. "But it happened a long time ago now, to a different man."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. Tell me more about the children. What are their names."

"The youngest is named after her father, Lazer. Our daughter is Rifka. Don't let it go to your head or anything, but our oldest boy is Emil."

"Thank you." I murmur.

"Yes, well."

"Do you want me to name a bird after you?"

He looks up from the chessboard and his own impending doom thereupon. "You can't have any children."

"Birds, Max. I keep birds. Little animals with wings? Obviously I can't have children, don't be an idiot."

"Name all your birds after me." He demands, with the cavalier grin he'd had as a boy.

"Checkmate." I say.

Late that night, after the last of the guests have gone, Heavy and I retire to the bedroom.

"So, he was an old friend after all? Katya says you saved her husband in the war." Heavy picks my hand up, to disappear into his and to rest over his heart.

"Helped him defect, before they sent me... Well, you know. He named his first son after me."

"That's nice."

"And your family is doing well?"

"Very good. Get money I send. Only one sister is married... But, this means, one can raise babies of her own, other one can care for Mama. And, all the cousins doing well, except for Piotr, but he is always in trouble, and next week he always gets out of it."

We have another full day in his house-- one without any guests-- before we have to travel back. Hopefully our own Engineer won't attempt to duplicate the experiment that sent large chunks of BLU's base into ours... Hopefully things will just go well for us. Even if they don't, though...

Even if they don't, tomorrow I will have a whole day just to make love in. Even if they don't, I will be returning to a base where my teammates respect me, where they might even come to like me. Things may not always go well, but things will never go so badly that we cannot handle them. There is a great deal I can handle on my own. If I cannot handle it on my own, there is my Heavy to lean on. And if there is ever any obstacle the two of us cannot endure, then we can rely on the rest of the team.

With the entire team to back us on the battlefield, the most pressing concern I feel the need to deal with is the matter of getting a bed like this one into one of our bedrooms back on the base...

43 .

Aww very nice. I like the ending very much. Well done, my friend!

44 .

When Heavy mentioned Katya's German husband, I was like 'MAX! IT'S TOTALLY MAX!'

Man, I was so excited. You have no idea.

45 .

Aww, thank you, you guys! (Hee, and I'm glad Max's return got some love...)

46 .

"And I was your roommate for seven years! You think I don't know? You'll be lucky to be turned away!"

Max scratches at his ear, his one nervous habit. "Emil... It is nothing. I'm sure... sure it wouldn't be the first time someone's... "

What's wrong with Max?

47 .

Oh, I enjoyed this a lot, I really did. I mean, I enjoy all your stuff, but this was really nice. A+!

Now, if only I could figure out why Max looks like Bucky Barnes in my head...

48 .

Chessolin - I think it's because Max was a Jew and thus circumsized, and would get in trouble when given a medical examination before joining the army.

49 .

I'm so glad this was bumped, otherwise I may have never seen it!

Your version of Heavy is so sweet, I want to cuddle him up!

50 .

I agree with >>49 this was great.

Funny how that works, huh? When an old work is bumped to the top, people are excited because they get to read something they might not have found otherwise. When a WIP is bumped to the top (without there being an update), rage-fests ensue.

51 .

I am the reading-maniac who will read all the old threads and then the recs also, just incase there was a gem hidden under it all. I don't rage but it makes me sad when ever I see a WIP that I loved but was seemingly on hiatus get bumped to the top only to find it was a comment. Though, again, reading the rage-fests that ensue or the derpy comments that generally follow it getting bumped sometimes makes it worth it.
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