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Dove's Derpilicious Thread (50)

1 .

Overall Plan: This thread will be where I dump random, hopefully shorter shit! I have way too many different threads on here and I'm going to try and consolidate by only posting new stories into this thread once I've completed them. I'm hoping it will also be an incentive to actually complete some of the stories I've started recently.

However, I can't claim any real quality. There are some amazing authors here and I'm not one of them. But I like to think if I work at it, I might become moderately worthy at some point.



I used the following prompts and some of my own prompts, as well as the many general requests for some classcest that I keep seeing.

Cat Bountry
I usually don't bother making requests in these threads, but you know what? Fuck it.

I'd like if somebody wrote some straight Engineer porn. The lady is up to the author. I just like to picture him as a very romantic guy in the sack and I'd like to see him treating a lady right.

Anonymous
In the normal game, when a team wins, most of the time they can charge in and kill any member of the losing team they find. Well, I want to see a fic where, instead of that, when the winners catch a losing team member, they can pretty much do whatever sexy thing they want to them as a reward.

A big plus for me would be if the losing team member that was caught was Engineer.


Original Self-imposed Limits: Four paragraphs per vignette. Emphasize evocative writing. Dialog adds to the count, so use it sparingly. No character limit but I hate a paragraph that seems too long. GO!

I cheated. I started out with a little more than four paragraphs. Many of them were huge. Nooooo. So then I edited it to seem more natural. Then I said fuck the police! And now we have lots of paragraphs. Oh well. D:

This may not be anything like what either requester was looking for (especially Cat Bountry; I'll write more straight Engineer another day and try to follow along more of what you wanted.) Aside from that, I know that I shit horrible prose and terrible sex scenes. My editing knows no bounds but that doesn't make it good editing. I'm trying to get better though. I wrote all of this because I'm trying to write shorter stuff. That way I can complete something that I start once in a blue moon!

I realize that some of the first rape story might be squeamish because it is kind of intended to arouse. Forgive me. Also please forgive me for seeming to mock rape in the second one. I swear I had to do it for the lulz, after being inspired by some semi-crappy fanart with an anime-ly anthropomorphic building. But, uh, yeah. If you're sensitive to rape stories, the first vignette is completely consensual but the others are my pathetic attempts at writing rape.

Constructive criticism is always welcome but I am bitter that I didn't find much help in Workshop. Just puttin' that out there.




Three Engineer Vignettes: Hurt/Comfort Theme



Irene

The drive home is long and Johnny Cash can't drown out the voices still clamoring in Dell's head. His team mates still call out to him mindlessly in the middle of bullets and explosions, yelling about where he should be. They break through the silence he shares with a cigarette and a bottle, screaming for Dell to stand by their side in a debate he was never listening to. They punch holes into his thoughts as they punch each other and he is busy sliding his ideas out onto a blue print that is snug under his thumb. Most often he can hear them echoing down the halls as they stand in front of a clogged up sink when all he wants is to focus on his thick fingers and calloused palm as they mimic the serenity of a woman.

The air conditioner broke down when he saw the “Welcome to Texas” sign and there aren't any parts in the back of the truck that can save him. Drops of sweat fall like a warm summer sprinkle that can't pull itself together enough to be refreshing. It's not quite dark when he gets home and he feels guilty when he hugs his li'l sprout out in the yard. No matter how the boy laughs and sings about the wonders of the world that he has discovered while Dell was gone, all Dell wants is for his son to go to sleep already. He ruffles his boy's hair and follows him inside, listening diligently and only sitting down long enough to kick off filth encrusted boots. Irene is busy setting the table in a swirl of plates and steam that beckon them both with the spice of onions and the sweetness of tomato. Dell remains quiet as he joins them, spending the last minutes of supper sopping up the globs of loose, seasoned beef on his plate with the bit of bread that survived his sloppy joe and the last of his crunchy, fluffy, crinkly fries.

He nods off in front of the television but he only finds out when he feels the weight of Irene easing her way into his lap after easing into that flimsy nightie that he can't keep his hands off.

“Well, hello, Irene!” Dell murmurs, “What do we have here?”

She smiles a bit sadder than he likes, so he pets those ticklish sides of hers to make her cry out. She writhes under his hands playfully and with minimum resistance, just for him.

“Ooooh...” she murmurs, “Come to bed, Dell.”

Even sitting she is still taller than he is and he remembers to breath out when she guides him to rest his bristly cheek on the swell of her breasts. He closes his eyes when she works her fingertips idly through the previously buzzed fuzz on the top of his head. She works her way down to his shoulders before pausing, squeezing her knees into the couch cushions and around his stout waist as she presses into him, then slips away to stand. He opens tired eyes and she offers her smooth hand, pulling him up with her. He smiles as he doesn't let go, pressing his lips to the back of it.

“Wan' me to carry ya up the stairs, like I used to?” Dell whispers.

He still has the strength to do it and he wants to. She smiles as she refuses silently, her lids lowered with knowledge as well as desire. She rubs his back instead and nudges him to the bottom of the stairs, urging him up with every stroke until he's woozy with unspent day dreams.

Irene loves his overalls; the way she worships their coarse denim with each touch as she coaxes them to the floor. His button-up is assaulted and his undershirt dived under; they don't receive the same attention when rushed to a similar fate. She slips her hands into his boxers, from thigh to manhood and back, and he sighs as she leaves light, random kisses across his round stomach. She smiles up at him and kisses higher, scattering little bits of love every where, until she reaches his stubbly chin.

“Roll over, sweetie. Ya look so tired. Let me work all that tension out,” Irene murmurs.

He rests his heavy head onto the pillow and closes his eyes while she straddles him again, smoothing all of the knots out into worn lengths of rope and reassuring herself that every part of him is all hers, lassoing him with his own muscles. He moans, faintly, as she pulls his boxers down and grazes the edge of her teeth across the swell of his backside. So wrong and so good. By the time she's teasing the soles of his feet with the palms of her hand and little licks, he's ready for everything.

“Now get back up and show me what you're made of,” she says.

She nudges him and slides away so he can sit up on the edge of the bed. He reaches for her and pulls her into his lap, where he wants her and where she wants to be. He slips a hand between them and fondles the slick heat she's hiding between those supple legs, eager this whole time.

He spanks her for whatever she's been up to, encouragingly, before he cradles the luxuriously full cheeks of her bottom in his broad hands, pulling them apart gently so the cool air can tantalize her where she's moist. He looks up at her longing eyes, surrounded by the curtain of her hair and his tongue seeks hers, nothing but warmth and the lightest of touches, before he breaks away, hot and heady. He's missed being close, being gentle, yielding and being yielded to. As she leans forward a moment, into his powerful arms, she guides him inside her with surprising ease. The way she takes all of him without much work... he soon knows what he wants. He's missed having his way with her.

“Are you... you feel pretty open. Ya mind it rough?” he asks.

She chuckles.

“I'd love it. I thought I'd let you sleep awhile, you looked so beat. Then I got to thinkin'. That lead to wantin' which lead to playin'... I need ya bad.”

He starts out slow, lifting her up and pulling her down. He can only thrust so much. Most of it is his arms and her legs but it's not long before he's forcing her to ride him hard in the saddle and he's breathing heavily. She's holding on tight and trying to break his bronco in, which lasts until one final burst of energy leaves it too weak and spent to continue to fight against her crooning sounds and enveloping embrace.

She whimpers for more and he makes her gasp as he pushes her down onto the mattress, keeping her there while he regains the world around him little by little. A few minutes of calm and he can finish the job with precise fingers and a hungry tongue, delighted by the small sense of the forbidden when he cleans up some of his own release as he licks at her silky flesh. He keeps going until her soft mound and warm thighs tremble in time to her moans, like a guitar under his well-trained hands. He lingers there as he watches her eyes widen and then clench shut, her mouth twisted into revelry as she arches up and bucks weakly, grinding up into what she needs more than anything else.

When he cuddles with her afterward, looking into her drowsy face, he is finally exhausted in a way that feels right. He wants to return the favor tenfold tomorrow, to shower her with as much love and tenderness as he can possess. For now, he drifts away smelling the lavender in her long hair as it wisps around him like a fine morning breeze over a prairie plain.



Loser

The Engineer knew it would be different when his opposite number appeared outside the respawn, while the Administrator condemned his own team's failure. He was the only one left alive and he'd rushed into the respawn before he remembered it provided no safety during the humiliating minutes after a loss. The other Engineer stalked the edge of the entrance before he wandered in, his head high and his sneer exposing straight vicious teeth underneath the unrelenting gaze of his inscrutable goggles. Engie stood, his legs numb with fear. His weapons were useless as he stared dumbly at the other, who grabbed his thick wrists in equally thick hands. The other Engineer held him fast and called over his shoulder for team mates that Engie was equally horrified to see as they slunk in, their own features twisted with merciless victory. The Heavy's mini-gun remained spun down and the Pyro was shoving his flamethrower nozzle back into a holster of some kind. Oh lord, they weren't going to kill him!

Engie struggled and managed to free himself long enough to punch the Texan until he spat blood. Engie tried to run while the man was surprised but the Heavy, as slow as he was, had the advantage of reach in tight quarters. A massive fist grabbed the back of his loose overalls and the other knocked off his yellow hard hat before crashing into his skull. The confusion and pain sent him to his knees. In a daze he realized that the other Engineer was chiding him in deep, husky tones that sent a chill down his spine, promising him that he'd regret putting up a fuss. The Heavy and the Pyro tore off his clothes with such force that stitches hung from the cloth. Engie alternated between threatening them and begging them not to do it but they looked at him as if he were babbling gibberish.

The other Texan set about tying his arms behind him with electrical cord.

“Stop your strugglin', boy. You're our prize for a job well done. This'll teach ya to work harder so your team might actually win some day,” the other Texan explained.

Engie whimpered, all manliness leaving him as the Heavy licked his lips and groped his bare flesh with rough, uncaring hands and uneven fingernail stubs that caught on his skin like thorns. He only noticed the dispenser and the sentry that the other Engineer had put up when he and the Pyro splayed and immobilized Engie's legs by tying one to each. The Heavy pushed Engie down onto his back, making him twitch and shudder as the cold floor scraped against him.

The last thing removed were his own goggles by his Cheshire grinning opposite, who sighed.

“Oh, those pleadin' eyes. That there is a wonderful sight.”

It became a blur after that, as the Engineer told himself this wasn't happening. He choked on Pyro's cock as it was forced into his mouth, yet he barely registered it as the other Texan began to pry greased up finger into his unwilling hole, before reaming his tight, quivering ass. A mantra of gentle tips, for how to avoid the situation he was now in, spilled out of the other Engineer's mouth as if he were doing him a service. Engie couldn't relax as the other Engineer suggested, making it worse. He gagged as the Pyro forced his cock in and out. The scrape of Engie's teeth didn't deter him. Even then, the cock forcing his jaw open wide until drool gathered and the steadily increasing ache of his raw ass weren't the worst part. The Heavy seizing Engie's cock and his own, keeping in time to the steady rhythm of the Heavy's humming, all but drove him mad. His body trembled for release, in spite of the sundry pain, and the Engineer screamed inside as it betrayed him like the eager whore these men saw him as.

He shuddered with mild relief as the Pyro came first, huffing happily under his mask as the Engineer spat at the saltiness squirted over his tongue. The Heavy remained where he was until the other Engineer shuddered and left his gaping hole dripping awkwardly.

“Mmm. Here ya go, pardner. I'm all satisfied,” the other Engineer murmured.

“Spasiba... er, thank you.”

“No problem at all.”

The other Engineer moved out of the way as the Heavy slid the same lube onto his already trickling cock. It was only natural that Engie stared at the monstrous thing attached to the Heavy, much larger than his own somewhat faltering and fearful erection. There were no words available to him, just a rough cry as the Heavy pushed in. He wept dryly as the Heavy crushed what was left of his spirit between the mortar and pestle of their bodies.

When the giant left a second load oozing out of him, Engie found his own twitching cock squirting a thin stream of hot guilt and shame onto his queasy, trembling stomach. He looked anywhere but at them and simply remained still while they dragged him upright and untied him completely; wiping any stickiness left on them onto his clothes and taking their own possessions as they went. Before leaving him all alone, the other Engineer chuckled and tipped his hat to Engie as if they'd shared a cup of coffee and a friendly discussion about the possible practical applications of calculus.

“Son, I'd say it's a pity ya don't fight as well as ya fuck but I'd be lyin',” the other Engineer said, words as deep and dark as the bottom of the sea. Then he left Engie to drown in them, too weakened to reach the surface in time and crushed by the pressure of despair.

The Sniper had his work cut out for him when he faded into respawn. The rest of the team were stunned when they revived to find the lanky man cradling the Engineer in his arms and kissing his bare forehead. The trailing edge of the Sniper's team shirt just barely covered the shorter man's damp backside while he clung to Sniper, as if he'd found a lifeline. One look at the Sniper's glare and at the wet smears on the ripped clothing and concrete were all the other team members needed to keep their mouths shut, even if they wanted to offer some hesitant encouragement to their disheartened friend.



Nest

He knew he never should have left her alone when he heard the wailing singular beeps as his cute little sentry called for help. Damn it! He shoved the spare metal and ammo into his bags as he rushed back, hearing the crackling as he drew nearer. He stopped with a jolt as he saw the Spy, having dropped his disguise, lying on his back casually with the tripod legs straddling his hips against her will and undulating slightly as the sapper did unspeakable things inside her.

“You sick bastard! She's just a mini-sentry!”

The Spy tilted his head back upon hearing his footsteps, giving the Engineer a smug upside down look as the combat mini-sentry angled her gun out to him again and again, reaching out for the protection she was currently unable to provide herself. The Engineer normally would have gone for his pistol and ended things fast by shooting the French fuck between the eyes but the vivid horror of it all sent him over the edge. He rushed in, revving up his gunslinger, throwing the Spy off guard. The minute the spinning blender of death came near enough it wiped that stupid smirk off the screaming Spy's face, quite literally. Flesh and blood sprayed about but the writhing body went limp before the gunslinger could perform its ultimate attack, cheating them both of a spectacular display that the Engineer was too upset to care about. He yanked the intrusive electro-sapper out from between her trembling tripod legs, then scooped his baby up to his chest and stroked her checkered back. The battle between RED and BLU was forgotten in the middle of such a personal crisis.

“It's goin' to be all right! I swear... I swear,” he mumbled, “It's not your fault what he did to you.”

He gently placed her into a mostly empty tool chest, draping a blue print over her abused chassis so that no one else would see her in her vulnerable state. He knew deep down in his heart that she'd never be the same again, that there was nothing he could do to fix the damage, but that didn't matter. As long as he could get her back to his workshop, she'd be safe and he'd do everything in his power to show her that there was still some good in this horrible world. He'd see to that, even as his fists shook with sympathetic helplessness. He continued to whisper optimistic affirmations as he slowly closed the lid and watched her sink into an uneasy power down mode.

2 .

So, i didn't read the first one (not into the straight sex scene, but i'm sure it's lovely)

But the end to the second one broke my heart (in a good? way)

And the third one made me laugh out loud.

I really hope to see more from you.

3 .

Ooh... that first one was just... yeah. Lovely.

As for the third... I laughed out loud at the 'she's just a mini sentry'.

4 .

Anon who requested the losing team rape here.

Wow, that was just... wow. That was everything I wanted and more. I'm defiantly going to be stalking your stuff now.

5 .

I want more after-the-win sexual encounters now. Maybe a crossfaction Sniper and Spy who decides who tops based on who wins the round?

6 .

>"reaming his tight, quivering ass."
woah, hey, you're not supposed to make me jizz everywhere before the good part has hardly begun!

Although I kind of wish that you'd put the "Irene" story anywhere after the "Loser" story, since I can't help but picture that it's the same Engineer, enjoying a moment with his wife and then being brutally raped. The other way around would have been better. ;_;

>>5

Somehow I feel like I've read a story with this premise before, but I can't remember too well.

7 .

>>4

Glad you liked it! You might like some of what I have in the works, whenever I finish them. I ended up starting another fic though because I got some more ideas regarding the straight engineer's wife. I really need my plot bunnies to stop breeding.


>>5

Hrmmm. Like Anon 6, I have a feeling I've seen something similar out there. If I did follow up on that idea, it would probably be Jane and Tavish. They're the only cross-faction I can never get enough of. That doesn't mean I'd never write other cross-faction but, as much as I love Sniper and Spy, I prefer to leave them in more capable hands.


>>6

They're in that order simply because that's the order I wrote them in. I intended each one to be completely unrelated. If it were one continuous story, that would actually make the third one much sadder and possibly explain why he over reacted the way he did. But I think he would've returned home to his family a lot more traumatized than simply in kind of a bad mood.

OH man... imagine if that was the rapist who went home to his wife after having raped the losing Engineer? Ugh, okay, I made myself squirm in my seat with that thought. Too horrifying.

8 .

>>5 here again, I like the Jane and Tavish idea better. I just couldn't think of anything off the top of my head. Hence why I don't write things.

9 .

These were my prompts. I hate every last one of you and myself for being so easily inspired when I do get inspired. Sorry if this sucks! That would be my fault. This became way bigger than I wanted and it is barely edited. I tried to finish it before midnight on Halloween but even though I've been working on it pretty much all day, I couldn't quite finish it. So I figured I'd just post what I have instead and feel like slapping myself for putting forth unrefined garbage later. I'll try to write and post the Engie threesome tomorrow if my soul doesn't get eaten by another story between now and then. Also, TV remotes are anachronistic but fuck it! I'm pushing that up a bit for the time-line of this story.


Anonymous
Based on the newest TF2 comic, I'd like to see RED Soldier x his Wizard roommate. Preferably consensual, but with bickering.


Kilo
I didn't know whether to come here or in the gen fic request thread. I guess I'd like porn if someone could figure a way to lead into that, but pretty much I desire Soldier and Sniper in an Odd Couple trope. Maybe along the lines of something happening to Sniper's van and Soldier wanting a roommate. Might be even more hilarious if Soldier caused the van incident inadvertently. Their personalities are bound to clash, but something about it works.

Bonus points if Engineer is a regular visitor, being friends to them both. Double plus bonus if there's a threesome.




What is Love?

Merasmus was pretty pissed off when Soldier beat his pansy ass off the roof. Soldier kept his promise about smacking the magic out of his mouth too! Best way that Soldier had found, after having fought several other magicians, vampires, and other ne'er do wells, was to sucker punch their stomach while they try to avoid getting a vicious backhand and BAM! No more magic for a few minutes.

Stupid roomie took it personally though. Bastard actually made it to a pay-phone and called the cops on Solly. Good thing the cops were used to that kind of thing. Sometimes they showed up to clap handcuffs on the mercs, usually in town, and sometimes they didn't give a shit, notably when it was on base. Halloween was apparently one of those holidays that added to them not giving a shit, at least until they found out about the kidnapping, armed robbery, assault, and jaywalking that Soldier was going to get charged with.

Oh yeah. He hoped those kids found a way home, if they still had homes after the unintentional arson. Soldier had forgotten all about them after chasing Merasmus into the desert, past his old war buddies, and past that weird rocket that he'd initially looted weapons off of (and which Demo had painted a smiley face on when he showed it to him.) Then the motherfucker had the gall to animate his old war buddies and that hurt worse than anything else.

You bastard! Those were my friends and you turned them against me!”

Solly stormed into their apartment and slammed the door hard. He was not shivering because when the sun went down in the desert it was colder than hell every time Scout got laid. Merasmus looked up from his bowl of popcorn and snorted heartily as he turned the television up so he could hear Béla Lugosi.

Soldier stomped over and planted himself firmly in front of the screen, arms bent painfully inside the aluminum dryer hoses. Then he pointed at his own face to indicate which crappy, shoddily made television that evil fucking magician should be paying attention to. He had put the television mimic of a robot head back on to throw the police off his scent while he was sneaking through town; jumping between buildings, staying in shadows, looking both ways, and his back to the walls in case some filthy Spy was lingering nearby.

“Don't ignore me!” Soldier growled.

Merasmus huffed and weaved side to side, trying to peer around Solly's brawny frame, but Solly followed his movement and stood strong until Merasmus threw up his hands in disgust.

“Everyone at that party was already against yeh, boyo!” Merasmus snapped, “That Spy fella actually said 'good riddance' when I tricked yeh into goin' out the window with that handsome magical apparition of meself.”

“Only a coward sneaks out the back door instead of facing me head on! And I wasn't talking about those assholes! I meant Pete, Pete, and Iron Eye!”

Merasmus scowled.

“Who the bloody hell names two of their imaginary friends the same thing?!”

Soldier felt a vein throbbing in his neck and he leaned in closer to yell directly into Merasmus' face.

“Pete and Pete are fantastic men! It's a pity that Artie left after that goat incident but Iron Eye has proven himself more than capable of picking up the slack. And he has rugged good looks to boot!”

Merasmus curled his knobby fingers up into eagle claws and howled.

Fuck them! I want me horned skull hat back and yeh lost it out there! It had power far beyond the limits of your imagination! Limited as that is...”

Soldier straightened up abruptly, heart pounding as that imagination that Merasmus was belittling kicked into gear in a way that Merasmus probably hadn't intended. They had looked sweaty, powerful, and naturally fearless when he'd fought them but he'd been too preoccupied with hunting Merasmus down after he got away to admire it then. Of course, they hadn't listened to his pleas regarding the bonds of friendship but maybe they would have listened if he'd promised them something hot and sweet later.

In a matter of moments, he went from belligerent authority to enthusiastic virility.

“Hey, can you bring them back? Here?! And make it so they don't want to kill me?” Soldier asked, “I'd... I've always wanted to show them how much they meant to me! Preferably with a bear skin rug by the fire but I'm all out of bears. And rugs. It'd be better if I had a fireplace, now that I think about it. I always thought I had time to get one and now I could kick myself for being lazy!”

Merasmus scratched his pointy chin with one crooked fingernail.

“What, all three of them, lad? At once?” Merasmus asked.

Soldier nodded fervently, his hands clasped together. Merasmus cackled and shook his head.

Now yeh'll regret ever bringing me wrath down upon yeh! I refuse! And there's not a thing yeh can do about it! Beyond learning your own bloody magic spells... which I won't help ya with.”

Soldier's lower lip wobbled with considerable disappointment. His only chance to make his dream a reality and the bastard wouldn't do it! He regained his composure long enough to grab Merasmus by his ratty shirt... dress... robes? Whatever unmanly Scottish thing they were! Then he shook him.

Fuck me! Right now!”

Merasmus stopped laughing and started coughing instead. Once he'd cleared his throat and smirked, Soldier released him. Solly's dick was already nudging at the restraints of his zipper and he could see the old bastard was pitching a tent. Going on like some evil drama queen got the weirdo off. So did thwarting Soldier's desires. Not that Solly wouldn't take what Merasmus gave him as a reasonable substitute. The magician always manipulated him over the edge, whether it was what he'd asked for or not. He almost liked it better when the magician defied him; it was generally a nice surprise every time.

This was no different. Their living room faded out into a wide open war room with a massive table and ornate chairs. Shadows filled the edges of everything, making it seem to expand forever. The light was low but there was a spot light on him. Surrounding them were troops in Nazi uniforms, of all things! He couldn't see any of their faces but his sense of being watched made the hairs on the back of his neck prickle up. Or they would have, if he wasn't suddenly made of some strange smooth substance that looked like it had crawled out of the Engineer's work room and coated him in plates that conformed to the shape of his body in such a natural way that his stiff movement as he crooked his elbow made no sense at all.

“As yeh can see, we've captured this prototype doohickey that the British have invented and modeled after a stupid yankee soldier. It has fantastic battle capacity, as I'm sure yeh'll soon agree.”

He blinked, realizing that Merasmus was beside him, dressed in the Engineer's uniform, with the exception of a swastika in the place of a wrench on the shirt's shoulder patch. Oh good lord! That was so, so horribly wrong and terrible and for some frightening reason it made him hot.

“Beep boop!” Soldier snapped.

Wait...

“Robot noises? Blarp!”

Fuck. That was all he could say now! Not even in that monotone he'd used as a beautiful facsimile of how a robot would talk.

Merasmus sneered at him and the Soldier panted. Oh... One of the faceless Nazis, who must have gone to the same barber their Medic did, raised an arm to get Merasmus attention.

“Aye? Yeh have a question?”

“I'm sure it is a wonderful instrument of death, as you've claimed but... can you have sex with it?”

That was the most logical thing to happen so far. Soldier was impressed with the realism inherent in this magical facade and, well, since it was exactly what he wanted, he had no complaint. Not that he could actually complain with this magical gag order! Merasmus cackled and tapped a button on what looked like a simplified version of the television remote. Soldier moaned as he was directed to bend over the massive wooden table. He could feel the smooth wood grain brush against his nipples as he panted and he stretched his muscular arms out across it, astonished that he could still feel it through the plates as if they were bare skin. His erection flicked against the side of the wood and he stuck his ass out, positioning it out as hopefully as possible.

“Let me demonstrate, gentlemen,” Merasmus purred.

He muttered something in what was probably arcane Scotch or whatever the hell their original language was called. Soldier didn't understand it and he didn't care. His back port was suddenly slick and warm as if Vaseline had been applied and it probably had. He only flinched a moment as Merasmus grabbed him and thrust in with one slow, fell swoop. Soldier scrabbled short, blunt fingernails across the table top as he bent his arms and braced himself while the magician was pulling back. He was groaning little bubbling noises in time to the thrusts and shuddering as he felt every horrible Nazi eye on him as he was fucked hard, unable to speak or push the old man off if he had wanted to. His cock bobbed up against the table, looking for somewhere to go and having to content itself with the uncaring, unbending varnish instead.

Soldier closed his eyes and hissed as Merasmus began seriously pounding his almost unbearably full ass, aching with pleasure as it stretched him out again with each thrust inward, and the man's weight on his back bearing him down until he was flat against the table again. Oh yes! That was it! His eyes rolled back in his head and his tongue began to cool as his mouth hung open, edging a trail of drool onto the surface as he was pushed forward each time, only to be stopped by the unmoving table. He imagined that maybe these filthy fucking Nazis might want a turn in him after Merasmus was done, every single god damn one of them, and he couldn't say no or kick them in the nuts! Fuuuck... Merasmus finally reached around to put a cracked and weathered hand into a vice-like grip around his hot, tingling, cock, long since dribbling all over itself, and whined like the shameless dog he was.

Merasmus came inside him first and kept thrusting until he was completely spent. It brought Soldier to the edge, until Merasmus yanked him up right and shoved him over by pumping him so fast and rough that his knees were almost too weak to hold himself up. Solly howled in what sounded more like a jangling mechanical wail, his back one smooth arch as he shuddered, bucked, and sprayed what could have been oil but was definitely robot jizz all over the table.

He chuckled weakly to himself as he watched the troops push away and some get up out of their chairs in shock. HAH! Take that, fucking Nazis! No more war planning on that piece of furniture. Too bad he didn't hit any of the maps or their intel. Eh.

Soldier didn't really notice when Merasmus had dispelled the illusion until he realized he was lying naked and weary across their actual kitchen table, with jizz on it. It was flimsier than the massive wooden war table of the illusion and he didn't feel like cleaning it up just then so he tottered into the living room and sprawled himself across the couch, feeling perfectly sated. Merasmus wasn't there and the TV was off. Solly assumed the old fart had gone to bed. He'd just sleep naked right here, with one of the throws lazily pulled over him for warmth. They never had visitors unannounced so what could go wrong?

The next morning he found a note on his bare stomach. When he squinted at it and picked it up to read it, the black ink turned into glowing scribbles that formed a moving mouth which whispered at just the right pitch to send a chill down his spine.

“Our lease is up this month! I've grown weary of your destructive tendencies and I'm not resigning it! No amount of ball-breaking sex is worth dealing with yeh on a regular basis. I found me skull on one of your moronic team mates so I've taken it and all me belongin's with me. Have a horrible life, yeh miserable wretch.”

Soldier waited and then his shoulders sank when he realized that was all of it.

“Shit!”

Soldier wasn't about to pay full rent for this hole in the wall! What would he even do with that extra bedroom? He had a lot of hats but not that many... Moving sucked and none of the guys at work would be willing to help. Not even Engineer, after the last time he helped him move. Time and space and an angry Merasmus had put them into some crumbly old castle in honor of Solly leaving one of the creep's magic tomes in the bathroom where it got ruined by circumstances the Soldier had no control over! Besides, Demo, Scout, and Heavy shouldn't have been running amok in town, that was supposed to be last week! Well, it turned out the castle was some sort of conjuration illusion bull crap but after that... oh wait, wasn't there some huge eyeball thing at the party?

Soldier grumbled to himself as he got ready for war. Now who the hell would he live with?

When Soldier entered the Viaduct mess hall, everyone glared at him over their breakfast. Soldier scowled back. Pansies! Couldn't they handle some big ugly eyeball monster on their own? He paused when he saw the Sniper get up and jab an accusing finger into one of the grenades on his bandolier. Soldier's helmet protected his eyes from taking the full effect of the glare behind Sniper's aviators.

“Look what the cat drug in! Ya feel nice and rested after ditchin' us last night? 'Cause I'm sure not!”

“What?! Do I look like the sandman to you?!”

“No! But you're the reason I woke up feelin' like an icicle clingin' to Old Nick's balls!”

Soldier faltered. He knew about Nicholas Crowder; Sniper had told them the story before. That still didn't make any sense.

“What?” Soldier asked.

The Sniper clenched his hands into fists but hunched over and held his arms tight to his chest, as if he were resisting every urge to pummel Soldier with them. Hah. Pansy ass kangaroo fucker looked like a boxing kangaroo that way.

“Ya bloody stupid tosser! Because of that awful floatin' eyeball I woke up to a rocket explodin' in my face, after it got the other team's attention! I'm just guessing about that last part since I said fuck all to your pathetic party and went to bed early. When I asked where ya were, no one knew! I wasn't goin' to blame ya for it until they told me you were the reason it was here! So there I was fightin' in my grundies all night and barely any clothes to wear over 'em today!”

“Oh,” the Soldier said with a snort. He'd been through worse.

“My camper van 's a twisted pile o' metal, ya wanker! Don't 'Oh' me when you owe me everythin'!”

The Sniper began to sputter with rage as the Soldier stood, impassively unconcerned, and lunged forward to strangle the Soldier, who grabbed his arms and was doing an admirable job of keeping him at bay with some steady footwork and an iron grip. Before things could get out of hand, with Solly kicking Sniper's ass of course, the Engineer scurried over and pried Sniper off of him.

“Now, now! Let's be considerate here. I mean you, Solly.”

Solly growled at Engie and so did the Sniper. The Engineer let go of the Sniper only when he appeared more relaxed, patting his upper arm soothingly.

“I know! How about we all fight in our costumes today, huh? Might lift some spirits after last night,” the Engineer suggested.

Demo snickered.

“Yeh just want to wear yeh costume 'cause yeh weren't even at the party!”

The Engineer rubbed the back of his neck and chuckled.

“Maybe I do. I was busy. And my costume is a little weird. Might be fun to see how the other team reacts to it,” Engie said.

Good thing the Soldier brought his costume with him! It was fun coming up with robotic things to yell as he fired bullets and rockets to and fro. Naturally, he quickly realized that he should start asking around for a room mate as soon as possible. The BLU team was the only thing available at that moment so he started propositioning them. Not too much. He didn't need to look desperate.

By the end of the work day, not a single one of those useless BLU bastards had agreed and he'd killed them all several times. He was in a bad mood when he shoved his way out of the shower to wrap himself up in a towel as the Sniper walked in. The lanky man curled his upper lip and turned to go, when the Soldier had a thought and rushed to grab his arm. Sniper jolted, giving him an uncertain look as Solly grinned.

“Hey! You lost that ugly van, right?”

The Sniper yanked himself out of the Soldier's grip and glared.

“My apartment has two bedrooms and I need a room mate! You need somewhere to go because you're a loner... freak. It's perfect!”

The Sniper stared at him, clearly not understanding the obvious brilliance of the Soldier's plan.

“What part of that sounds perfect? I'd be trapped, with you, where no one else could save me,” the Sniper said, “Where's this apartment even at?”

The Soldier shrugged and dropped the towel. The Sniper took a step back as the Soldier began pulling his briefs on.

“In town.”

“Which one?”

Soldier shrugged as he stepped into one leg of his pants and hopped into the other as he tried to maintain his balance.

“I don't know! I just live there! Moved in awhile after I joined. It's not far from the base. Taxis make it easy.”

The Sniper groaned.

“Ya pay for a taxi every time? That can't be cheap!”

The Soldier grinned fiercely as he threw one arm around the Sniper's neck and grabbed his own wrist, creating a loose hug as he looked the Sniper square in the eye.

“It will be if you pay for half the fare! What do ya say?” Solly asked.

The Sniper sighed and gave him a sideways glance. Then he looked straight ahead as he shrugged.

“I'm goin' to regret this. But... yeah, okay. I'll try it out. Your place'll do half a year, right? Or less?”

Solly squeezed his arms closer with abrupt affection until the Sniper was gasping. Oh, right. People still need to breathe. He'd gotten very into being a robot that day. He released his grip and set to work shrugging on a shirt, humming a marching tune to himself. This would be great! Sniper didn't have magic but then that doddering old bastard never used his magic to clean up the place or anything else useful. Magic was good for fucking things up and fucking things right and that was it. What could possibly go wrong?

Sniper took one look at the apartment and put a hand to his face.

“Holy Dooley! You live here? What is all this?”

Soldier sat down on the couch and scratched his balls. TV time! The Sniper wandered from corner to corner, peering into the various piles of cardboard boxes and crates stacked everywhere. He nudged one of the dirty dishes on the coffee table, made out of two overturned crates, and chuckled.

“You're as sloppy as me!”

The Soldier turned away from a rerun of I Love Lucy and scowled.

“Those were his dishes! I told him to wash them! As for the boxes, I am in the process of rearranging and re-stacking them. Move a single one and I'll blow your brains out!”

“Why don't you buy display cases or something?” the Sniper asked.

The Soldier gave him a glance that could wither a flower.

“I don't have the room!” the Soldier said.

The Sniper held his hands up in surrender before stuffing them into his pockets as he loped around and explored. The walls were lined all the way through the little dinette area and the Soldier was annoyed that he had to keep looking away to make certain the Sniper was actually keeping his hands to himself.

“Whoa, what happened here?”

The Sniper was staring and the Soldier remembered what he'd forgotten to clean up. The Soldier cleverly changed the conversation.

“Put that stupid terrarium in your room and make yourself useful by fetching us some beers!”

The Sniper muttered under his breath but collected the lone duffel bag, borrowed from the Scout, and the glass case full of weird little bugs. Apparently most of what had survived had been tucked away in the Sniper's dusty room inside the base. The bugs had been loaned to Engie. Soldier couldn't imagine what would make them fascinating but Engie had gone a bit red in the face when he handed it over.

When the Sniper came back, he had a single bottle of RED Shed in his hand. Soldier pouted.

“Why didn't you bring me one?!”

“Ask me nicely next time and I might,” the Sniper said.

The Soldier grumbled. This was supposed to make them good buddies or something. Instead, the Sniper was ignoring him about as much as Merasmus had!

“I was goin' to ask what plans ya had for dinner but I'm not sure I want to eat off that table.”

The Soldier backhanded him, knocking the rim of the bottle into the Sniper's teeth and causing him to spit the beer into it instead of swallowing. He coughed and thumped his chest as the Soldier went to find the multi-purpose cleaner, wiping it clean with a cloth, and then buffing it into a faint shine. The Sniper had composed himself when the Soldier returned and wordlessly continued watching.

“Arse,” the Sniper muttered.

He finished the beer and walked right in front of the Soldier as he left.

“Hey!”

The Soldier growled after the Sniper's retreating back but the Sniper closed the door with surprising calm for leaving in a huff. When he came back, sucking on a straw in a paper cup covered in the logo of some fast food place, the Soldier decided to lay down the rules.

“Rules? What do ya mean rules?” the Sniper asked.

He looked more irritable at that than when he'd been smacked. The Soldier paced in front of the couch, one arm behind his back most of the time and the other curled into an enthusiastically swung fist, unless he needed to emphasize something by specific gesture. Like smacking his fist into his other hand or making a little walking gesture with his fingers. He liked making walking gestures.

“I run a tight ship and it needs to stay on schedule! Your arrival here will not change that! This is what makes it work! Like well-oiled machinery or a well-oiled gun or one of Engie's oily gun machines!”

“That doesn't even make sense...”

The Sniper remained slouched across the couch as if he could fall asleep at any moment. He had tried to put his hat over his eyes but the Soldier had picked it up and tossed it back at the man's chest. With a frown, Sniper placed his hat on his head in the appropriate manner but continued to look drowsy.

“Rule one, do not question me and do not touch or move my possessions, unless you are authorized to do so! I am the king of this domain! You are the chancellor or the prime minster or the queen or something. Either way, I am the top of this pecking order!”

The Sniper snickered and clasp his hands together over his belly.

“I thought you'd be the president, mate.”

“None of that sneaky talk! You're just trying to get elected! I will never forsake democracy but a man's home is his castle and therefore I am a king! End of story!”

The Sniper rolled his eyes under his aviators and nodded.

“Rule two, all dishes should be cleaned at once! If they can not be cleaned, they must be placed in the sink! They must be washed within twenty four hours, generally by the person who dirtied them! No exceptions! Sweeping, cleaning the bathroom, washing tables, and things like that will be performed on the weekend and will be rotated. Don't think you can leave something where ever you please without ever having to clean it up!”

The Sniper grumbled.

“Lovely. It's like livin' on base except we have extra cooking and cleaning shifts.”

“I am glad you mentioned that!” the Soldier barked, “Cooking is rule three! Since we must cook at the base, you will list your duties on the calendar so that we may plan accordingly! Cooking will also be done in rotating shifts here! Merasmus liked to cook everything in one day and seal it in the freezer but I prefer day to day as it gives more freedom. Spontaneity is not to be avoided! Buying groceries is best done at once, unless you have an idea that requires immediate purchase.”

The Sniper sat up, lifting one hand hesitantly.

“Hold up. What happens if I decide not to come back here? Like if there's a party or somethin' but you'd rather be home?”

“We will deal with that as it arises! I am not controlling your movement to and from this domicile! I am laying the groundwork for getting along!” the Soldier said, “Please hold any and all further questions until I am done!”

There was a long pause. The Sniper waited. The Soldier placed his hand on his bristly chin, stroking it as he thought how best to approach the next rule. The Sniper narrowed his eyes and frowned.

“Well?” the Sniper asked, “Is that it, then?”

“No!” the Soldier snapped, “Do not rush me!

The Sniper sighed and shifted, tapping his fingers along the top of the cushion rhythmically. The Soldier stood, his arms behind his back as he looked the other man over. Sniper was kind of mangy and scrawny but he was tall and still manly enough to serve him well.

“Rule four!” the Soldier growled, startling the Sniper just as he closed his eyes, “You will show me what you are made of! You are hereby granted the honor of fucking me on a regular basis!”

The Sniper sat up so fast his hat fell off. He blinked, opening and closing his mouth for a full minute before scooting as far down the couch and away from Soldier as he could get. He eyed the Soldier and the Soldier moved closer when he looked about to get up. Then Sniper frowned and draped his arms over the back of the couch, apparently deciding to spread out and making himself as big as possible. Hah! Like the Soldier would be intimidated by that. He loomed over the Sniper. Loomed.

“Now see here, mate,” the Sniper said, “Are you bloody serious? You could have mentioned this when you first asked me to come live with ya!”

“Is there a problem, camper?” the Soldier snarled, “Are you too good for rule four?!”

“No!” the Sniper said, “Yes! I mean, look. I'm leaving it open-ended but ya don't just spring that on a bloke without fair warnin'!”

The Soldier straightened up and pointed a finger at him, followed up by a few jabbing motions where most appropriate.

“You will shove your dick in my ass and you will like it! You will do it more than once a week or so help me I will suck your fucking cock while you sleep!”

The Sniper stared at him, eyes wide. He slouched forward, his hands in his lap.

“I... I might.”

The Soldier turned around, spread his legs apart, rested his hands on his knees, and looked over his shoulder, before wiggling a little.

“Do you see this ass?!”

The Sniper leaned back a bit, his face turned to one side but staring at the Soldier all the same.

“I... Yeah?”

“Do you see a dick in it?!”

“Well, no...”

“Then get in there! What are you waiting for?! An invitation from the president?!”

The Sniper chortled at that.

“I thought you said you weren't the president?”

The Soldier turned around and strode over the coffee table, looming over the Sniper again, staring down at him from underneath his helmet and sneering. He was breathing hard from all this yelling and his cock was twitching in his briefs. He was either going to pass out or cream himself before this damn Aussie made a decision.

“I am not! If you wait for an invitation, you will be waiting forever! The president does not care about my ass, nor should he! That is for you to care about! Do you want to stay on my good side?”

The Sniper remained relaxed and shrugged slowly, stretching his shoulder blades as he did. The Soldier sat down on the coffee table crates and cracked his knuckles.

“Do you want to stay on my good side?!” the Soldier repeated, louder.

“I suppose it couldn't hurt,” the Sniper admitted.

“Well, that can be accomplished by following rule four and using your God-given dick!”

The Sniper snickered hard and rubbed his forehead as he looked up at the ceiling. The Soldier grabbed the remote and turned off the television behind him. He waited for the Sniper to say more.

“Oh... ahh, fuck. Why not? I've shagged worse. Drunk, no less. Where do ya want to go? Your bedroom or mind? All I have left is a bedroll.”

The Soldier grabbed himself through the front of his pants, rubbing himself feverishly, as he moved to reach behind the old, battered couch with his other hand. He held the glass jar out to the Sniper, who took it curiously. His expression became more understanding as he turned it over in his hand and read the label. The Soldier set to work unbuckling his belt and shucking his clothing as far as humanly possible. The Sniper looked up lazily and startled when he saw that. He simply watched and the Soldier, finally naked of everything but his helmet, climbed onto the couch and braced himself against the arm of the couch. He looked over his shoulder when nothing happened and huffed at the lazybones still sitting there, staring at him.

“I have assumed the position because we are staying right here! Move it or lose it, son! I go to bed early, I wake up early, and I kill like a maniac!” the Soldier snapped, “Your slovenly appearance and listless behavior will not change that!”

The Sniper blinked and shook his head.

“I'm ignoring that last part and not just because it's rude. If we're doin' this... I'd rather take it slow.”

The Soldier grumbled and gripped the couch arm firmly. He let his mind wander over the scene of Merasmus' last gift, chaining him down with untold pleasure using his costume idea, and his last curse, with the untouched blazing potential in the liveliness of his favorite war heroes. Snippets of marches wove through out, binding it like a theme to his own personal porno. A thrill ran up his spine as he was drawn away from all this by a warm, wet, flicker of sensation on the slit of his cock.

“You're really into this, huh?” Sniper murmured.

The Soldier looked past his chest, between the pillars of his arms, to see the taller man naked and sitting on the floor. His side and one arm loosely using the couch to keep his balance, his knobby knees sticking up like a colt's while he leaned back and teased Soldier's firm, swaying erection with an easy tongue. The Sniper was gentler and more playful than he was used to. For a moment, the Soldier didn't know how to respond. The Sniper gripped his inner thigh, just feeling the firm muscle and under softer flesh, before slapping his thigh approvingly and easing himself into his foot with a soft sound of unexpected effort. He waggled his fingers inward and moved his arm towards himself.

“Get up. I've got a better idea how I wan' 'o do this.”

The Sniper stepped aside, out of the way, as the Soldier sat up on his knees. When the Sniper beckoned him again, he stood as well.

“Never done it standing up...” the Soldier admitted.

The Sniper chuckled.

“Neither have I. Not with a man anyway. I think that's more trouble than I want to go through right now. No, I'm goin' to lie down on my side, like I'd watch the telly. Hold on, I'm not done.”

The Soldier watched the Sniper do just that, lying across the couch and watching the Soldier with lowered eyelids behind his aviators. He grinned and his voice was a little darker and hazier as he reached for the Vaseline. Now that Soldier was looking, he could see that the Sniper had already applied it liberally to his own cock and was glopping it onto his fingers. The Soldier bent over the coffee table crates, his knees bent and his ass out like a champion. The Sniper took a moment, maybe that wasn't what he expected, before kneading it in. The strain of maintaining his stance really got the blood pounding in Soldier's veins and his head was swimming with eagerness to see what Sniper intended to do.

“Now,” Sniper said as he put the Vaseline near the Soldier's tight grip, “Come over here like you're spoonin' with me and I'll show you what laid-back can do for ya.”

Sniper lifted his top leg once he was there and guided himself in while Soldier rested his head on one arm and the throw pillow, his other hand curled around his cock because he might as well if he was lying down. The Sniper tutted.

“Go slow, mate. I'll promise it's worth it.”

The Soldier grunted as he took all of the Sniper inside and grumbled at first, as the Sniper thrust up and pulled him down with a nice easy pace. It was like savoring that swell of warmth in his belly and there was plenty of time to let his mind wander more as the Sniper licks his shoulder and the side of his neck. Inside his head he followed the hard, resounding beat of a marching drum until he was staggering along, feeling the pace of the troops and band pick up as he realized the Sniper had increased the tempo with him. The Sniper was pulling and prying harder with that sweet thick drumstick pounding away inside against the very center of the drum skin, shaking everything inside him all at once even as he drummed the other side with his own hand. The whole world eddied and swirled and circled faster behind his closed eyes and as he began to arch and thrust up into his own hand. For a moment it was like that delirious joy of spinning round and round until dizziness sets in. Then his hand was sticky and he was remembering how to breathe through his nose again as the Sniper set his leg down on top of the other one, both of them flaccid and spent.

“Mmmm... think I could... get to like rule four.”

“Of course!” the Soldier snapped, though he was quiet than usual, “It improves morale. Can't have citizens with bad morale.”

“That'd be subjects, if you're their king. But I wouldn't know. My subjects are too little to test that out.”

The Soldier was quiet until he realized what that meant. He turned his head and glared at the Sniper, who was still nestled behind him and hugging his trim waist.

“You do not fuck bugs! Not in this household, mister! … Especially not those little bees,” the Soldier said, “Take your jizz-drizzling dreams somewhere else or give those damn things back to Engie!”

The Sniper snorted. Then he patted the Soldier's chest reproachfully.

“Already said there's no way I could... or would. Now as nice as this is, you said ya wanted to go to bed early so we should probably get up.”

The Soldier shifted to feel more of the Sniper's warm skin against his back.

“There's... no need for haste. Hmmm... not yet.”

The situation certainly did improve from there but it constantly needed reassessment and a great deal of morale rekindling. Sniper had a bad habit of breaking rules one through three on a daily basis. It started to gnaw on the Soldier's nerves as badly as Merasmus' taste in music had (wailing and jittery as it was. And full of bag-pipes for some reason!) The Soldier tried reproach but that did almost nothing. He finally went to the Engineer and the Engineer just stared at him.

“Ya know, learning to live with someone is never easy. Why in the world do ya think I'd have some ready answer for how to fix it?”

“But you've been over! You've seen it! He leaves dishes all over the place. All over my boxes!”

The Engineer sighed and continued sitting at his drafting table, as if that were more important than the Soldier's problems. He had to live with those problems! Daily!

“Why don't ya make him use paper and plastic then? Make him throw 'em away instead?”

“I tried that already! You said that last time!” the Soldier insisted, “All I got was trash everywhere! And his clothes! He thinks every piece of furniture is a hamper! Then he wonders why nothing is ever clean when I won't pick them up for laundry day! He's almost as bad as that damn wizard!”

The Engineer pushed his goggles up and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“How about I come over tonight, huh? We'll play cards or go see a movie or somethin' to get your mind off this,” Engie suggested.

The Soldier grinned and thumped the Engineer's back approvingly. The Engineer wheezed and glared at him but Engi never stayed mad for long. Especially not when the Soldier hugged him, even if Solly did hug as hard as he could sometimes. He liked feeling all that resilient strength of a fine specimen of a man in his preferably bare arms and the Engineer seemed made for hugging. There was just enough natural fat between those hardworking muscles that the Soldier could never quite get enough sometimes.

10 .

Perfect perfect perfect perfect.

11 .

I honestly forgot Kilo was the one who requested this when I initially included TF2 bugs. I love giving the Sniper pets to interact with, whenever I write a story that he's central to. I just never get around to actually writing it when I do. Not to mention, I've always considered Soldier to be potentially against having pets with regard to certain principles. So Sniper wanting pets for easy companionship and mild entertainment was a great foil, IMHO.

Sorry about sacrificing believability for speed earlier. I tried to spend more time on the build-up. I have to stop here because I can't write anymore for today. My brain is now too dead to write or edit. Besides, everything I write is bad and I should feel bad. Everything I write is bad and I should feel bad. Everything I write is bad and I should feel bad. Everything I write is bad and I should feel bad...





Since none of them had KP duty, Soldier and Sniper waited around the Engineer's red pick-up truck. Soldier leaned against the passenger side, with his arms crossed over his chest, contemplating the cracks and small holes filled with rubble in the worn pavement of the parking lot. Sniper was sitting on top of the hood, his long legs dangling over the side.

“Nice o' Truckie to give us a ride whenever he comes over after work.”

Soldier grunted in agreement.

“Wish he wouldn't take his sweet time tidyin' up though,” Sniper said.

Soldier nodded and regarded his roomie with more affection after their little bonding moment. He sniffed as he scratched the end of his nose. Sniper wrinkled his own and Soldier stopped to glare.

“It itches! I'm not picking it!”

The Sniper smirked.

“I don't care if ya pick it! Just don't pretend like it's somethin' else.”

The Soldier shuddered in disgust. He'd learned the Sniper had a habit of smearing nostril gunk where ever he felt like, once it had been freed of its origins. Which meant on Sniper's clothes and sometimes other people's stuff! At least the Sniper kept most of his jarate jars at the base. His argument for taking one home was in case they both had use the bathroom at the same time, since the Sniper had trouble waiting when he really needed to piss. Solly shook his head.

Then he straightened up and saluted as he heard the crunch of boots across gravel and bits of loosened pavement. The Engineer chuckled as he closed the distance. He'd left his goggles and hard hat with all of his other equipment. He tugged on the brim of his white Stetson and Sniper pushed off the hood of the truck as the Engineer stood in front of them, grinning.

“You boys sure are eager to get home, most days! How long you been out here?”

The Sniper squinted and held a hand over his eyes as he gauged the position of the sun. He nodded to himself, confident in his assessment.

“'Bout thirty minutes,” Sniper said.

The Engineer pulled a pocket watch from somewhere and checked it. Then he winced.

“Ah, sorry, folks! I really lost track.”

The Soldier gasped and pointed at Sniper.

“How do you do that?! Teach me your Mystical Outback Time Telling Ways!”

The Engineer put a hand to his mouth as he laughed, deep and throaty as ever but trying to stifle it as the Soldier growled at him.

“What's so damn funny?!”

“He has a wrist watch, Solly. He was lookin' at it when he was lookin' at the sky.”

Soldier jolted and pointed fiercely at the Sniper, who was now doubled over but doing a better job of hiding his laughter by covering his face with his slouch hat.

“Damn it! You lying bastard!”

Sniper straightened up and then re-situated his hat, swiveling it around by the brim to make sure it was on good and tight. He still had a dastardly grin on his face which Solly scowled at.

“Oh, why'd ya have to ruin it?” Sniper asked Engie, “I've had him goin' for awhile wi' that one!”

The Soldier sniffed, all his dreams of telling time while pummeling the enemy dashed. The Sniper patted his shoulder and his smile grew fainter, more reassuring than mocking.

“Chin up. I can get a decent idea from the position o' the sun and all. We both can. Just not that precise,” the Sniper said.

The truck rattled to life and they turned to find Engie already in the cab of the truck, his elbow sticking out of his window as he loosely gripped the wheel with that hand and waved with the other.

“Y'all hop in or I'm goin' 'o leave ya here!” Engie said, a huge smile that showed off all those nice, even teeth of his.

Shotgun!” Soldier yelled.

He began pushing Sniper towards the door, so that Sniper could get in the middle of the bench seat first. The Sniper stood up straight and dug his heels in with stubborn resistance, making Solly push harder until Sniper was gripping the roof of the truck's cab while Solly shoved the air out of his lungs. He was about to punch the Sniper's knees inward so he could fold the guy in half when the Sniper found his voice.

“Ooof! Hey, now! What do ya think you're doin'?!”

“Get in! I called shotgun! That means I get the window seat!”

“Well stop pushin' or I can't get in!” the Sniper snapped.

Solly backed off and the Sniper glowered at him as he eased in and across the seat. Solly closed the door with a bang and stuck his head out the window, peering around for cloaked spies, before pulling back in and saluting the Engineer.

“We have clearance! Go, go, go!”

Engie sighed as he shifted gears and the whole ride through no one said anything. Soldier assumed Sniper was irritable. The guy got mad at the littlest things! He had no idea why Engie was quiet, the man's expression unreadable, but thought maybe after a long day of gun fire and explosions that everyone wanted a little bit of silence to go with winding down. He rested his own elbow on the rolled down window and watched the desert pass them.

As soon as they parked in the run down apartment complex, Soldier jumped out and marched towards their building. He was unlocking the door when he realized they were slower than a revved up Heavy. He turned to wave them on, wondering if they were just waiting for his permission. He watched the Sniper kick his heels across the pavement, hands in his pockets, slouching as ever, while mumbling something to the Engineer that dawdled alongside him on his short legs. His eyebrows remained high on his forehead and his lips were partially pursed, as if he was uncertain how to respond to whatever the Sniper had been telling him.

“Any day now, ladies!” the Soldier bellowed.

Then he pushed in and hung his coat up on the piece of slat board on the wall, with nails sticking out, that served as a coat hanger. He settled onto the couch, ready to relax with his pals after a long day of hard work. As the two of them wandered in, he grinned.

“Hey, eagle eye! Go grab three beers! Time to celebrate our winning streak!” Solly said.

The Sniper snorted and took his place on the other end of the couch. The Soldier growled and was about to tell the lazy bones off for ignoring a direct order, one that would benefit all of them, when the Engineer held up his hands, placating the Soldiers nerves as he gave them both an uneasy smile.

“How 'bout I get those? I 'preciate all the hospitality y'all 've shown me, whenever I'm you're guest, and I might as well help out once or twice. Y'all rest up.”

The Sniper relaxed deeper into the couch cushions and grinned, showing off those weird fangs of his.

“Thanks, mate. That goes such a long way... you wouldn't even believe how much.”

“I think I can guess,” the Engineer murmured as he bustled away.

Solly thought nothing of it as he flipped channels and the Sniper remained silent, tucked into his corner of the couch. Solly grunted and sneered as the Sniper planted one boot onto the make-shift coffee table and crossed the other at the ankle. The Sniper shrugged and pretended to ignore him. The Soldier was about to remind him of how much he hated the way dirt crumbled off and onto the crates whenever Sniper did that but a cry of surprise from Engie had him bolting off the couch and rushing over to the man's side as he stood, staring down at one of the stacks of cardboard boxes in the corner there.

“Did you find a Spy?!” Solly gasped, the most obvious conclusion because he saw nothing.

“No...” the Engineer whispered.

He set the beers on the table nearby and crouched down to get a better look at the crack between that stack of boxes and the stack next to it. The Soldier crouched down as well and almost jumped when he felt the Sniper's hand on his back as the Sniper leaned over him, staring with equal curiosity as the rest of them.

“Is it a Spy with tentacles?” the Soldier asked, because that was totally different.

“Hush,” the Engineer said with all the gentle authority he could muster while distracted.

The Soldier watched as he saw the light and felt the blast from the tiniest explosion known to man... or at least to the Soldier. He yelped and dived forward, shoving the two stacks further apart without any regard for whether or not it might make them unsteady. There was a tiny lick of fire that caught onto the cardboard sides and he quickly beat them out, wondering what the hell could have done it. As he turned, he realized that Engie had dove in after him and was now half sitting, half crouching as he blew out the flames on whatever was cupped inside his strong hands. The Soldier peered closer and found himself staring at a tottering and confused little beetle... almost human looking sort of beetle thing that made gibberish noises.

“Oh God damn it! One of your fucking bugs escaped! Isn't that the one that nearly blew up the stove?!”

The Sniper held out his hands, underneath the Engineer's. The Engineer gently tilted his own as he parted them and then shook one slightly to knock the little beetle into Sniper's. The creature wobbled a bit, as if dizzy or drunk, then sat down and twitched its tiny round antenna expectantly.

The Soldier peered even closer, his nose almost touching the Sniper's hand as he stared out from under his helmet at it. Was that a god damn kilt—skirt—thing on its legs? For fucks sakes! Bad enough Sniper apparently dressed them up, like some girl's paper dolls, but he made it Scottish! That wasn't right! Wait, did that thing have a sticky bomb launcher? And a tiny eye patch, as it stared up at him. Solly rubbed at his eyes and wondered if he'd started drinking already. Then again, he saw so much weird shit on a daily basis. This wasn't much in comparison so he decided not to mention it.

“It's the Dem—er, beetle,” the Engineer murmured as if he were daydreaming, “Does he get out often?”

“Yeah. I thought I had the lid shut tight,” the Sniper said, “I'll go put him back.”

The Engineer petted the thing with one crooked finger, smiling for all the world as if he were a child. The Soldier couldn't imagine what sort of joy the two men derived from playing with bugs. The Soldier pointed at the Sniper's retreating back.

“Your bugs are a fucking menace!” the Soldier growled, “Every single one of them! Even that stupid moth thing bit me once!”

“Then don't yell at them when ya put your hand in their cage! They probably find it as threatening as I do,” the Sniper called over his shoulder, getting fainter as he disappeared around the corner.

“I was trying to point out what they were doing wrong!” the Soldier snapped, “That's the problem. They lack discipline!”

The Engineer shook his head but he was chuckling.

“I didn't have any problems when they were in my workshop.”

“I don't get why you two need pets. Especially some filthy vermin! And they've brought more vermin in! You know what? That's what Sniper is! He's a vermin magnet!” the Soldier yelled, so Sniper could hear him, “He leaves old food and crap lying around so he can tempt more of 'em inside!”

The Engineer sighed.

“Didn't you ever catch a bug and keep it in a mayonnaise jar when you were a kid?” Engie asked.

The Soldier pondered that and his shoulders sunk.

“Yes. It died.”

The Engineer patted his shoulder comfortingly. He looked away, towards the widened gap between the boxes, and something must have caught his eye because he began examining the carpet more closely. Then he whistled and lightly tapped some crispy things stuck to the fibers. The Soldier peered closer and grunted when he realized they were the gibbed remains of some kind of weird cockroach. Or roaches, plural. For some reason, one included the tiny torn mockery of a little hat and microphone closely resembling the Scout's.

“Well, I'll be,” the Engineer murmured, “I think he was tryin' to take care of your pest problem.”

The Soldier snorted.

“Don't be ridiculous! Bugs can't think like people!”

The Engineer shrugged as he stood up and brushed his knee off. Then he picked up a beer bottle and handed it to Sniper when he returned. Sniper smiled and pulled out a bottle opener.

“All secure now. Cheers!”

The Soldier grumbled until the Engineer pulled out his own bottle opener, popped off the lids of the other two bottles, and handed one to him. Solly took a hard swig and watched Engie pocket the lids and the opener. He shook his head and followed the Sniper back to the couch. Still nothing on TV, from the looks of it, as he sat back down. The Engineer adjusted his cowboy hat and drank, glancing from one to the other before stepping over the Sniper's again outstretched legs and plopping down in between them. He kept giving them sideways looks, mouth a thin line, as if waiting for something to happen.

“You mind lettin' me pick a channel for once?” the Sniper asked.

The Engineer sat up straighter and eyed Solly as the Soldier snorted. Solly wasn't about to dignify that with an answer. He kept a tight grip on the remote as he continued checking for something amongst the wide array of ten broadcasts that the antenna picked up. When no one said anything for awhile, the Engineer cleared his throat.

“So, uh, were y'all plannin' on flippin' channels all night or do ya wan' 'o go out? I didn't look in the paper to see what's showin' at the theaters but the least we could do is see somethin' new.”

The Sniper blinked and scratched his chin. He grinned and patted Engie on the back.

“Hey, now! That's an idea. We can leave this lout to the telly and find some real entertainment! Whatever is playin' 'as got to be better than this.”

The Soldier growled and leaned closer to Engie while he glared at Sniper.

“I didn't say I wouldn't go! Why are you assuming I'd stay here?”

The Sniper glared back and kept his hand on the Engineer, who looked troubled.

“Because you assume stuff about me all the time! I'm sick of it! Do me a favor and stay home! You're only goin' to ruin it for us if ya come along!” the Sniper groused.

The Engineer gulped as the Soldier put his arm around the man's shoulders and leaned over far enough to get into the Sniper's face. The Sniper seemed taken aback before curving his arm around Engie and tucking his hand somewhere under Engie's arm as he tried to regain ground.

“I don't ruin the movie watching experience!” Soldier growled.

“Yeah, ya do! Ya won't shut up! Ya keep talkin' to the screen like they can hear ya!” Sniper snarled.

They were almost nose to nose in front of Engie, teeth bared and hackles raised, when the Engineer piped up, his voice surprisingly a little squeaky before he recovered his composure. His eyes were wide and he looked like he wanted to be anywhere but sandwiched between them just then. They turned to regard him, never fully taking their eyes off each other, and listened.

“Now... now hold up! I wasn't tryin' to exclude anyone! There's no need to fight over this!”

“Yeah there is!” Solly snapped.

“Too right!” the Sniper added.

“Whatever for?” the Engineer asked.

He licked his lips nervously and swallowed visibly, his adam's apple quivering vulnerably. The Soldier chuckled and sneered at the Sniper.

“He was my friend first!” Solly insisted.

“Oh, come on!” the Sniper snapped, “He's just taken pity on you! We both have!”

“What?! If anyone's taking pity on anyone here, it's us taking pity on you! You're so high and mighty ya can't even see that!” Soldier snarled.

“Now wait a dog gone minute!” Engie interrupted, “I don't pity either of you!”

They looked back at Engie and blinked. His nervousness had turned to ire, brow furrowed, eyes piercingly sharp and unhidden by his goggles, all over a firm, warning scowl. It should have been a fearful sight, inches away from an expression that was far from the normally steady calm the man emanated but the Soldier licked his lips and sneered, all thoughts promptly relocating to his crotch.

He glanced at the Sniper and found a similar look, eyes narrowed and lids lowered, his lips curled back with desire more than disdain. The Engineer's expression faltered a little as he looked from one to the other and he backed down, uncertain what to make of their unspoken conversation.

“I'm friends with both of ya because I like ya,” the Engineer added in a softer tone, “When you're not acting like a bunch of little kids who can't share their toys enough to get along.”

The Soldier brightened at that thought. He grinned at the Sniper, who was smirking back.

“You're right. We should share!” Solly said, “In fact, I vote we start sharing right now!”

The Sniper's voice had dropped into a dark, silky growl.

“For once, I like your way of thinkin', mate,” the Sniper said, “Let's get started.”

The Engineer blinked and gasped when the Sniper pulled away from Solly's gaze to grab his chin and cover his lips with a rough kiss. Engie's eyes went wide but he didn't push the Sniper off of him. They closed as the kiss continued, with Sniper lapping at his weakly pursed lips. Sniper pouted when Engie didn't stick his own tongue out and the Soldier pushed the Engineer deeper into the couch cushions, out of the kiss. Engie opened his eyes, startled and then the Soldier was claiming his lips next, enjoying the way their freshly grown stubble tickled when Solly kissed lower, nibbling on the man's wide jaw. Engie moaned and Solly pulled away, panting slightly, to see that the Sniper had slipped his hand down into the Engineer's overalls, fondling his sides before slipping around back. The Soldier, not wanting to be left out, slid his hand under the thick denim from the front bib, their limbs stretching the loose fabric taught around their additional girth. He stretched his fingers out to roam over that powerful, though far from rock-hard chest, across the cushioning belly, and down to the real prize hidden away in the Engineer's lap. He fondled the front of the Engineer's package, still wrapped up safe and sound inside his boxers, and enjoyed the simple way it curved up into the palm of his hand.

“Ah!” the Engineer gasped, “Wha—what?!”

He seemed to have found his voice as the Soldier kneaded his soft manhood into a steadily growing erection. The Engineer trembled, his fingers digging into the couch cushions that served as his seat, and his lower half bucked slightly under the Soldier's and the Sniper's steady administrations. His eyes were open wide and his mouth quivered between a hesitant smile and a wavering frown. No, not really a frown. Something between neutral and open longing that curved his mouth down while his eyebrows stayed arched as high up as possible.

“What are you doin'?” he asked, his voice deep and slightly wobbly.

“We're sharing you!” the Soldier said.

The Engineer looked up at the ceiling and bit his lower lip as the Soldier found his way into the flap of Engie's boxers. He took in a staggered breath and let it out in a sharp pant. He didn't seem unwilling, simply confused and startled.

“Sharing me?” he asked.

The Sniper nuzzled his cheek and licked his ear before answering. That same lower tone to his voice, husky and almost sinister.

“I didn't think you'd be this innocent. Yeah. We both want ya, mate. You're bloody incredible. Way too generous and you deserve a thank you.”

“And we'll say it together. Like this,” the Soldier added, his hand cradling one of Engie's balls.

Engie moaned as Soldier and Sniper kissed each side of his face together and began whispering what they loved best about him. His strength. His charm. His brilliance. His kindness. The Engineer closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the couch, leaving his throat vulnerable to kisses that Soldier and Sniper took turns planting there until Soldier shifted to the side and began sucking hard enough to bear a lasting mark of his presence, branding the Engineer. Solly looked up to find that the Sniper was doing the same, though he had moved both his hands up. Sniper had grasped Engie's chin forcefully, keeping it back, and pinning down Engie's chest with the other, though Engie didn't seem to mind.

“Ohhhh... oh, I've never felt so wanted before!” the Engineer moaned, “You fellas could out sweet-talk a Spy!”

The Sniper snorted at that but the Soldier grinned as he moved his hand out of the flap and under the waist brand to properly massage the Engineer's balls while his forearm lightly stroked his erection.

“They been flattering you?” Solly asked, “Do Spies come bangin' on your door every night because they can't get enough of you during the day?”

Engie pouted as well as he could in between whimpering with desire as the Soldier continued his work and the Sniper continued licking and breathing into his ear. The Sniper was still holding Engie's face where he wanted it though his other hand had wandered down to squeeze Engie's.

“No! I was just sayin'! I imagine that's what one 've 'em would do. Oh, lord, fellas, don't keep me on edge like this! I need... I need more.”

The Sniper began working on one overall strap and the Soldier unhooked the other with his free hand, the other still deep in the Engineer's overalls. Solly nibbled on the Engineer's lips and Engie opened his mouth. His tongue popped the spit bubble there as his tongue poked out and Solly began licking his tongue instead. The Engineer writhed as the straps fell off his shoulders but they were ignored as the Sniper leaned over to stick his own tongue into the fray. The Soldier moaned as their faces were mashed so close together, their noses getting in the way a little as their tongues were a seething mass of deep sea tentacles fighting for position around the same hot sea vent. The Soldier gripped the bib of Engie's overalls tight in one hand and yanked them down mindlessly, still focused on the smooth, slick flesh, eyes long since closed to focus on sensation instead of the unfocused visuals of everyone so close together. The Engineer writhed again and stroked their jawlines with unsteady hands.

The Soldier pulled away, licking his lips and giving the Sniper free reign over the Engineer's hot, open mouth. He began pulling the overalls off roughly and the Engineer lifted his hips to aid him, moaning as they were tugged down to his ankles. The Soldier pulled the boxers down soon after but left them at the Engineer's knees. His own erection was aching against its prison inside his own briefs and he grinned as the Engineer's swayed free in front of him, damp with a trickle of excitement already. The Soldier stroked him firmly, feeling the weight in his hand, and gobbled it up, his saliva already flowing from the kissing and sheer desire.

The Engineer bucked up with a cry of surprise and the Sniper leaned back to see what the Soldier was doing. Solly looked up at them from where he was now seated on the floor, unconcerned about the way the crates disguised as a coffee table hemmed his legs in. He kept his other hand on Engie's inner thigh, kneading it, and continued stroking the base as he drooled all over it, only pausing long enough to lap at the head of Engie's cock so he could give the Sniper a sleazy grin. The Sniper returned it with a sleazy grin of his own and quickly dropped to his knees on the floor. The Soldier scooted over a little to give the Sniper room and they proceeded to take turns lapping, kissing, sucking, and stroking the Engineer's erection. When the Soldier paused for a breather, the Sniper insisted on doing the same things to the Soldier's lips as the Sniper squeezed the Engineer's cock. The Engineer watched them through lowered eyelids and gave them a leering, overly proud grin.

“Mmmm... Now I've seen everything. Two men who'd do anythin' just to suck me off,” the Engineer said, his voice deep and rumbling.

The Soldier continued to explore the Sniper's mouth, both of them giving the Engineer side-long glances, enjoying the touch and the Engineer's wanton gaze.

“That's right. Put on a show for me. You'd do anythin' to have me, wouldn't you?” the Engineer asked, “You're all mine.”

The Soldier paused and the Sniper panted. The Soldier calmly pushed himself up onto his feet and grinned down at the Engineer while wiping the spit off his face with the back of his hand. He looked down at the Sniper and motioned for the Sniper to join him in standing. The Sniper licked his lips and nodded, before stretching a bit as he did.

“You've got it all wrong, Engie,” the Soldier answered.

He grabbed the Engineer's shoulders as he pinned him firmly to the couch and stared into the Engineer's eyes as they opened wide. He chuckled throatily before nibbling on one of the Engineer's earlobes, then growled into his attentive ear.

“You're all ours! And we're going to do whatever we want to you!”

The Engineer looked towards the Sniper and the Soldier followed his gaze. The Sniper was grinning fit the burst as soon as he understood what the Soldier was doing. He adjusted his belt buckle and put his own hand out to add his weight into the middle of the Engineer's chest as he loomed over Engie. The Soldier set to work getting the Engineer's boots off.

“That's right. You're our hot little sex slave, not the other way around. Let's get him into your bedroom and show him what's what.”

The Engineer's shock dulled into eager resignation, his eyes lowered and his breathing still heavy.

“I'm your sex slave, huh? Is that why you seduced me?” he asked.

“We did say we were goin' to share ya, mate,” the Sniper said, “So now the toymaker's our toy.”

The Engineer closed his eyes and groaned. The Soldier let the Engineer's overalls pool on the floor and began tugging his boxers the rest of the way down to join them.

“Are you goin' 'o take turns with me? Train me the way that ya want? Oh God!”

Engie's eyes shot open as the Soldier stood between his spread legs, shoved his arms underneath his thighs, and scooped him up in strong arms. With a huff, the Engineer wasn't exactly light, the Soldier gripped the man's ass firmly and hefted him around a bit to make certain he wouldn't drop Engie or hurt his own back. The Engineer threw his arms around the Soldier's neck in shock and clung tight as the Soldier chuckled.

“You haul that stuff around all day. Thought you could use a lift for once,” the Soldier said.

The Engineer blinked and turned a little pink in the face at that, his ears going darker still. Then he chuckled and snuggled against the Soldier's chest. Solly would keep him nice and safe; the Soldier was a master at escorting!

“Gear forward!” the Soldier bellowed, though he didn't rush one bit while carrying his precious cargo.

The Sniper nodded and went on ahead, though he stole the Engineer's hat as he went.

“Hey!” Engie gasped.

The Sniper laughed darkly and opened the Soldier's bedroom door, holding it open and motioning them in with the cowboy hat still in hand. The Soldier kissed Engie's forehead as Engie glared at the Sniper on the way in and Solly placed the Engineer down onto the mattress with exceptional gentleness. The Engineer remained sitting there, his knees still spread out to accommodate the Soldier, and looking up at the Soldier with curious expectations. The Sniper kissed the top of the Engineer's head as he set the hat back on it and wandered out again.

“Wait a tick,” the Sniper said, “I won't be long.”

“Excellent! Batten down the doors! Lock the hatches! Keep those enemy spies at bay with every single deterrent that I have!” the Soldier said.

“We don't have any hatches,” the Sniper called over his shoulder.

The Engineer blinked and arched a brow at the Soldier.

“I like to make sure this place is secure before commencing with the act of lovemaking! When I'm not too excited to forget. Nothing worse than getting back-stabbed in the middle of intimacy!” Solly said.

The Engineer stared at him dumbly and then nodded.

“I would imagine so. Does that happen very often?” Engie asked.

The Soldier stood up proud and tall, back straight and hands on his hips, showing off his thick muscles.

“It hasn't happened yet!” the Soldier answered, “I am too vigilant for those crafty spies!”

The Engineer stifled a laugh, when the Soldier glared at him, and nodded.

“It certainly seems that way, pardner.”

Then the Engineer began undoing the front of his uniform shirt. The Soldier sighed in contentment and went about finding the lube, which he was certain the Sniper had let roll under the bed last time they fucked. It was kind of a shitty bed but it was a double and that was all he required out of it. The Sniper had complained initially, saying he was tall enough that only a King-size really fit him, but the Soldier had told him to deal with it and buy his own bed if that was such a problem. Right now his bed was the handsomest thing he'd ever seen, with the Engineer stretching his arms over his head as he pulled his undershirt up over them and off into his hands.

The Soldier shoved the lube over to the middle of the mattress, so it wouldn't get lost again, and went back to the Engineer, now as naked as God had surely intended him to be. The Engineer reached out and hooked a finger under Solly's belt, grinning.

“You ain't goin' 'o fuck me with everythin' on, are ya?” the Engineer asked.

The Soldier shivered and shook his head.

“No, sir! Now get your hands off that!”

He grabbed Engie's wrist as the Engineer let go and took hold of the Engineer's other wrist, holding them over his head effortlessly as he leaned one knee into the mattress, between the Engineer's legs. The Engineer gasped as the Soldier jerked him out of his relaxed position and then dragged his arms back down as he crushed their mouths together. Engie tugged on the Soldier's lower lip with his teeth and the Soldier growled happily. Before their tongues barely had time to really get started with the gentlest of strokes from a painter's brush, the Sniper returned. The Soldier looked up as the Sniper shut the door behind him and gave Solly a thumbs up to show everything was ready. The Engineer blinked as the Sniper joined them, as naked as the Engineer. The Sniper gripped his erection, making it bob up and down as if he were testing to see how hard it was.

“He gets a stick up his arse whenever I forget my clothes,” the Sniper explained, “Found it's best to take 'em off in my room first.”

The Sniper began rubbing the Engineer's back as the Soldier released the Engineer.

“I was thinkin',” the Sniper began.

“I bet you were,” the Soldier said.

The Sniper ignored this and rested his cheek against the Engineer's shoulder. The Engineer peered into the Sniper's face, waiting.

“I want our sex slave bent over for me while he plows you in the arse,” the Sniper explained, “Sound good?”

The Sniper began nibbling on Engie's shoulder, both of them making soft noises of contentment. The Soldier chuckled and smacked his fist into his open palm.

That is what I want to hear!” the Soldier answered, “Give me more suggestions like this and I might listen more often!”

The Sniper huffed and lifted his head. The Soldier went to work on his own belt and began sloughing off his pants and briefs. He left his undershirt and helmet on, deciding it would show Engie who was boss.

“You always say that and it never comes true.”

“I said might! Might listen more often! This isn't the future! I can't confirm or deny anything in the future one hundred percent!”

12 .

I think I'm gonna have to draw some fan art of this. I love how the Engibees slipped in there. I admit I love Sniper owning weird pets too, so I thought it was a neat little treat.

I think you're right about that there seems to be something missing from the build up to the sex. I think there's some requirement for suspension of disbelief for porn's sake, but I definitely enjoy this overall. Really looking forward to more!

13 .

Solly/Engie/Sniper?

....My lady dreams came true and I need new pants...

14 .

>>11

A.. demobeetle. And Scoutroaches.

Dove, I think I am officially in love with your brain.

Thank you for making Solly quirky and still himself, without being creepily obnoxious.

15 .

>>12

Sorry if it seemed a little hard to swallow. Normally I spend more time on the build-up. And fanarts? I never thought this would inspire fanarts!

>>13

I'm going to try and get this finished today but it might end up being tomorrow. Either way, more Solly/Engie/Sniper ahead! And more TF2 bugs! (With the actual Engibees getting to do something.)

>>14

I can't take all the credit for that. I wrote the scene but Kilo came up with a lot of world-building for the entire TF2 bug universe (including Demobeetles and Scoots.) If you haven't been to Engibeetus before, please do! There are 21 pages of sheer adorableness and interesting ideas.

http://engibeetus.tumb lr.com/

I also still have a TF2 bugs related porn story in the works but since they're all OCs, it'll probably be awhile before I post it. I have the story pretty much worked out in my head but there's a lot of build-up to make the Solly Groundling escapee into a sympathetic main character without making him a Mary Sue. So I've been dragged away and focused on other stuff more.

Also, I'm very glad Solly seems on target. I like writing him but I always worry if I'm writing any of them believably enough.

16 .

Dove, I know this is a little late, but I just HAD to drop in and tell you how much I love and admire you, not only as an aspiring writer, but as a person. You are seriously THE sweetest person ever, and I love seeing you come out of your shell to offer us more content. Thank you so much for doing these, and I'm eagerly awaiting more!

17 .

I never commented on the fic I requested 'cause I'm a buttface.

I liked it some good.

18 .

>>16

Awww, thank you. I'm sorry if my author's notes get bitchy. I get on a super high when the creative impulse takes over but as soon as I've exhausted all my writing capacity for the day, I start crashing into a bitter depression. I've been trying to avoid that while writing up the rest of this by not spending as much time on it or not posting until I'm back to my usual self.

That and I started writing a few things out of order so I seriously couldn't post until I filled in the gaps. Namely the titular threesome which wasn't easy. I could envision it fine, mostly, but it didn't want to find its way into words. I'm still not sure I got it right, especially the mechanics.

>>17

Yay, I was worried! I have a story in the works, showing how Dell met and later married the Irene from the vignette. It's going to be kind of slice of life and hopefully very sweet and potentially romantic, with a little more sex. But I have so many other stories and now that I've begun writing this one, it has inspired the desire to continue writing my Itty Bitty Helmets story. However, once I finish this one, we'll see what actually grabs hold of me next.


Sorry if the pacing still seems off btw. I do have more plans for this (I'm so amused by what the Soldier is going to do), I simply stopped here for now. There will be the hunt, maybe clothing, and then some kind of denouement. Also, there will be a hopefully small bonus story regarding the TF2 bugs in the terrarium. 'Cause that shit needs to be told. Humor, sex, and melodrama is totally my thing.

I would edit more but I worked so hard just writing this. Hopefully none of the errors will be too glaring. If they are, simply point them out to me and I will probably correct them if I ever post this somewhere else (or keep them in mind for future stories.) And yes, I wrote all of this because I thought it was funny. Sorry if it isn't. Also, I ramble. Horribly. I'm sure this also rambles a lot.





The Engineer groaned and put his arms around the Sniper's waist, which was quickly followed by one leg over the Sniper's as he snuggled close.

“Bickerin' ain't sexy, boys,” Engie said, “I'm losin' steam here. Wind me back up!”

The Sniper nudged Engie's thigh over and began stroking Engie's cock with a smirk. The Soldier went to work, leaning one knee into the mattress and crouching down to cup Engie's face in his hands, rubbing his thumbs over the soft, relenting stubble as he tilted Engie's broad chin up so he could taste him again. The Engineer's breath hitched and he closed his eyes as the Soldier coaxed out his tongue for a sweet, languid battle with his own. He was going to inspect all of his cute little slave soon and he expected satisfaction or he'd have to punish him. Hrmm... he'd need to get the disciplinary action out.

Soldier would have gone looking for it, really he would have, but one look at Engie's face was enough to remove the thought before he could act on it. The Engineer had surrendered completely as the Soldier slid his hands over, burrowing into the light fluff at the back of Engie's head which lolled into his touch easily enough, exposing his throat fully. His eyes flickered open briefly, hazy with need, and then closed again as he whimpered under the Sniper's continued touch. Engie bit his lip and then left his mouth to hang open slightly, his lower lip still drawn inward under exposed upper teeth. He reached for Solly, rubbing his outstretched palm over the sparse thatch of hair between Solly's sculpted pecs, the Engineer's strong, skillful hand weakened and forgetful with pleasure. The Soldier growled softly, suddenly perplexed as his desire to use and abuse the Engineer, only as much as the Engineer would enjoy it, was... not replaced so much as it was draped across a fiery bud of passion inside him that sprang up and reached for Engie with tenacious little vines of affection. The Soldier moved his grip to Engie's upper back, one set of fingers stroking a circle into the nape of Engie's neck, and crushed the Engineer to his chest, as gently as he could remember, shaking slightly as he was overcome with more joy than he had ever expected to receive while simply holding the man in his arms.

“Nnng, why'd you stop?” Engie asked, his voice faint.

The Soldier looked down and grumbled, deciding that wasn't really addressed at him. The Sniper had apparently stretched out sideways and been slurping up Engie's now strong and vibrant erection while he wasn't looking, saliva strands hanging from his mouth down to the tip. The Sniper looked like a contented cat.

“Beaut, that is,” the Sniper murmured as he uncurled and looked into Engie's unfocused gaze.

The Engineer's expression shifted to match the Sniper's, still as sleek and exposed as before, as he pondered things. The Soldier was too consumed with indecision to do more than breathe in the faint motor oil scent on Engie's already sweaty skin.

“You fellas sure you want me in the middle? 'Cause I don't know if you know but that's the best place to be under these circumstances. I wouldn't object if one of ya changed your mind.”

The Sniper coughed into his hand and looked away.

“I, uh, I don't really like havin' my arse reamed. Only reason I took to Solly's suggestion, when I moved in, is because he's the one who likes takin' one for the team,” the Sniper admitted.

They looked at the Soldier, who contemplated what the Engineer was suggesting. He had a point. Fucking another man while being fucked at the same time had to be amazing. Solly shook his head in the end. Not only did he want to relax and leave all that hard work to someone else, after wearing himself deliciously ragged on the job, but he wanted to blow Engie's mind if he could. He finally released the Engineer and crawled towards the pillows, flopping down onto his back and scooping up the jar of Vaseline as he made himself comfortable. Wearing his helmet in bed wasn't exactly comfortable but he could deal with it. It was worth it, feeling like a commander while he barked orders and decisions at them.

“Your orders have already been given, private plaything! As presented by the executive officer here, we shall share our toy and that means between us! Prepare for recess!”

The Sniper looked puzzled at that last part. Solly spread his legs and tossed the jar at him. The Sniper caught it, though he glared at Solly for throwing it at him.

“Preparation, where it's needed!” Solly explained, “His ass and my ass! You deal with his while he deals with mine! Engie, wipe that smirk off your face and put that mouth to use on my dick while you're in there! Hut hut hut!”

“Whatever you say, sir...”

Engie gave him a mock salute and crawled over, planting himself between the Soldier's knees which quickly rose into the air to give his little Engie more access. The Engineer focused his hands and tongue on the twitching cock in front of him and the Soldier panted happily as Engie swirled his tongue around the head. The Sniper looked at the jar in his hand and chuckled darkly before opening it. He scooped out a generous amount as he stared at the Engineer's raised ass and then tossed it back to the Soldier. The Soldier caught it, just barely, and glared at the Sniper as the lanky man set to work gripping and spreading the warm flesh in front of him. The Engineer moaned around Solly's cock, the vibrations bringing it fully to life from inside the Engineer's warm, silky mouth and sending a tingle straight down the Soldier's spine. Solly placed the open jar on his mostly flat stomach and tucked his arms under the pillow under his helmeted head, enjoying the overflowing sensations. The Engineer opened his eyes, his brow creased fiercely as he wiggled under the Sniper's insistent fingers, and he focused on the jar a few seconds later. He petted Solly's inner thigh, tickling in its softness, and scooped some lube out of the jar resting on Solly's now quaking belly.

The Soldier relaxed readily into Engie's touch after so many years of random practice, some of it his own doing. The Soldier sighed happily as the Engineer set to work sliding deft, thick fingers inside him, fondling Solly from the inside out and whetting his appetite to be filled. The Engineer suckled wantonly the whole time, his body shaking with enough desire to match the Soldier's own trembling legs before Engie finally let the tingling, eager flesh fall from his supple lips with a low groan.

“Oh God, y'all need to... someone take me, now!” the Engineer said.

The Soldier reached down to grab the back of Engie's head gently but firmly, glaring in mock disapproval from under his ajar helmet. The Engineer's eyes widened but he didn't resist in the slightest as the Soldier guided him back to nuzzling, not vicious or stupid enough to try and slam the Engineer's open mouth down around him. A sharp slap rang out and the Soldier realized the Sniper was gleefully paddling the Engineer's rear, in between fingering him, for commanding his superiors.

Engie whimpered softly and lowered his eyes submissively. His hand hadn't stopped stroking and squeezing the base of Soldier's twitching cock but he waited a moment before letting go and trying to swallow as much as possible. The Soldier growled, surprised and pleased and damn if only that could last! Engie moved it in and out a bit but gagged and went back to what he was doing before, which was just as good even if it wasn't quite the same. Meanwhile, the Sniper was wiping the excess lube off on Soldier's sheets and assessing the indisputably cute little ass that kept wiggling pleadingly in his face. Solly had long since given up glaring at Sniper for using his sheets as a lube rag and besides, the Soldier was mostly distracted by that cute ass, even if he couldn't see it as well from his end.

“Honestly?” Sniper murmured, “I think you need to take Solly first and then let me in. Other way around won't be nearly as easy 'cause your arse needs to be up where I can reach it.”

The Engineer paused, one cheek puffing out as his tongue and Soldier's erection rubbed against each other lovingly, then reluctantly released the undoubtedly musky man treat. Solly ruffled the man's hair as Solly allowed Engie to push himself up onto his knees, looking a little dazed and his hair, short and receding as it was, sticking out haphazardly. Solly would have to coax Engie into letting it stay that length. It was military ready and downright cuddly in comparison to the still absolutely masculine and attractive bald shine the Engineer went with, whenever it was freshly shaved.

“How good are you at keeping your legs crossed?” Engie asked the Soldier.

The Soldier blinked and sneered. What kind of stupid question was that?

“Not very! I have no need to play innocent virgin when all I want is someone's dick inside me!”

The Engineer sighed and shook his head, wiping some sweat off his brow.

“No, I mean how long can you do it for? I got the notion that maybe if you lift up your ass and wrap your legs around my waist, then I'll have my arms free to hold myself up. Sniper can grab onto your legs instead of my hips if it'd help support ya. Might put some strain on your back, though,” Engie said.

“Oh,” the Soldier said, “I can do that easy... I doubt you'll last long, hammering between us.”

The Sniper grinned like a deviant while peering around Engie, who was distractedly stroking lube across his own cock more fiercely than necessary.

“I intend to test your theory, mate. I'm good at making a man linger under me,” the Sniper boasted.

“Yeah, well my ass is amazing!” the Soldier snorted, “I think he's going to lose it fast.”

The Engineer chuckled weakly and didn't bother offering his opinion. The Soldier looked around and grabbed the other two pillows on his bed just as he felt Engie dragging his hips up and over. He yelped, not expecting it, and Engie paused, still holding his ass up against his crouching torso, snaring Solly's cock deliciously between their bodies while the head of Engie's cock bobbed freely, grazing the skin of Solly's butt cheeks and smearing a dribble of anticipation all over it. The Sniper took the offered pillows and shoved them under Solly's back as the Engineer tried unsuccessfully to push his slippery cock in while holding onto Solly's hips. The Sniper nudged him.

“Let me help. Think you should o' got yourself in before pickin' 'im up.”

The Engineer nodded.

“Wasn't thinkin',” he admitted, “Mmph!”

Solly panted as the Sniper grasped Engie firmly, spread Solly's ass with wonderful force, and pushed the crown through supple, receptive flesh. The Engineer paused, panting, before easing himself in further. The Soldier decided Engie was going too slow and shoved himself up, abruptly forcing Engie balls deep into his shivering ass. Engie moaned in shock but clutched Solly tight as Solly leaned back into the pillows, simply enjoying the way his body conformed around and strained against the thick, hard cock invading him. The hairy balls brushing over bare skin was nice in its own way. Engie's expression was the best part as he did his best to stay perfectly still and calm. The Soldier grinned and glanced over at the Sniper, who was placing soothing lips against the Engineer's spine and rubbing his back gently.

“Get in there!” Solly commanded, “I'm ready.”

The Soldier tucked his legs around Engie as best he could. It wasn't as easy as he'd initially thought but his thighs and calves were built for strength, not speed, so he managed. The Engineer slowly descended onto his hands and knees, though one sneaky hand made its way under the Soldier's undershirt to grip the Soldier's brawny side. Solly slid down his cock as an unfortunate side effect of moving and grunted as he had to tighten his grip in his ass and legs not to fall off and away. Solly could see the Sniper giving him a thumbs up, his other hand fondling the Enginer's ass before guiding himself into Engie from behind. The Engineer panted and closed his eyes, waiting. The Sniper managed to grasp where the Engineer's thighs met the Soldier's and then eased in with a growl. The Engineer tried to stay completely still, adjusting. He shuddered and gave the Soldier a groggy, complacent look.

“I'm good. Might be a little awkward until we can match each other's pace,” the Engineer said, “I guess Sniper ought o' get us started and I'll take it from there. Whoa!”

Before the Engineer had even finished, the Sniper was slapping their flesh together, though he had started off slow as always. The Engineer jerked forward and pushed the Soldier with him, though the pillows barred them from being inadvertently shoved too far. The Soldier growled and had to tighten his grip again. His knees weren't going to be too happy with him after this. The Engineer let go of the Soldier to brace himself against the mattress as best he could. The Soldier pulled his arms out from under his head and cursed the Sniper as he braced himself against the mattress as well. He quickly began praising the Engineer as the Engineer began thrusting in time until they had managed one slow locomotion of pleasure.

The Soldier eventually tucked his arms back under the pillow with a sigh, relishing in the steady, sometimes stinging pressure aimed at his ass. He could have grabbed his cock as it wobbled to and fro between his stomach and Engie's but he wanted to relax, enjoying the punishment his taut, diligent ass was taking. Having to grip Engie with his legs ruined some of his well-deserved idleness but it was worth it just to watch the Engineer lose control of himself when they picked up speed. The Engineer's mouth twitched back and forth between an enraptured, concentrating frown and an awkward, wincing smile. His sturdy but quickly wobbling arms and legs were straining to hold him up as he loomed over the Soldier. His hot, sweaty skin was becoming a little harder for Solly to hold onto. Luckily, the Sniper had gone from gripping Engie's ass to gripping Solly's calves

“Ohhh... if this ain't heaven, I don't think I want to know what is,” the Engineer muttered.

The Soldier grinned and then gritted his teeth as he held on tighter to the pillow under his head. He could feel the Engineer shuddering under the Soldier's own straining, aching muscles. The Soldier's grip weakened further as the Engie began shaking and thrusting forward wildly, eyes shut tight, panting and gasping as if he'd lost his mind. Solly chuckled at the wet squelch as the Engineer buried himself in deep and plowed Solly liked a proper draft horse, though Solly grumbled a little as the Engineer's erection spilled inside him before softening enough to slip out. Well, he had been right about Engie coming first. The Soldier groaned slightly as he dropped one aching leg down to the bed and the other sloped off, stretching them gingerly. He still had to keep them spread wide, the Engineer sinking down onto his forearms but still caught between the crux of Solly's legs as the Sniper continued pounding into him. The Engineer whimpered and stayed where he was, trying to catch his breath. His cheek rested awkwardly against the Soldier's chest as he was rattled with the force of the Sniper's thrusts.

The Soldier reached down and stroked the Engineer's face, gentle as a kitten. When Engie opened his hazy eyes, the Soldier grabbed his jaw and squeezed his lips into a pucker with his thumb and finger. Rough enough to be a show of force without hurting the Engineer.

“I'm not done with you yet,” Solly growled, leering, “Put that mouth back to work if you can't do anything else!”

The Engineer moaned and complied, arching his ass up higher as he lifted himself up enough to start licking the Soldier's cock, though he wasn't nearly as enthusiastic as before. Damn it. The Soldier hadn't counted on that, even though it should have been an obvious possibility. Engie was spent and now he wasn't interested in sex anymore! The Soldier grumbled to himself.

“Use your hands if you can't wrap your head around it,” Solly muttered.

The Engineer rested his cheek against the Soldier's stomach and closed his eyes, clearly worn out. He began jerking the Soldier off in strong, even strokes, making the Soldier's back arch when the Soldier suddenly felt the Engineer sliding over him. Engie was just as started, not really bracing himself as he was shoved upward while the Sniper slammed into him like a fucking freight train, growling joyous, nonsensical explicatives as he came inside the Engineer and grinning like a damn fool. The Soldier grabbed Engie around the shoulders and held him tight, kicking slightly as he found them both being shoved across the mattress with the force of Sniper's lean hips. The Engineer clung to Solly wordlessly and moaned, confused as to whether or not that still felt amazing or if he was pleased Sniper was done. The Sniper draped himself over the Engineer's back and they flopped down on top of the Soldier, who promptly began shoving them.

“Get up and finish me off!” the Soldier said, “Now!”

There was some considerable blank staring from both exhausted men before they could muster up the energy to comply. The Soldier gripped the pillow tight, his forearms pinned underneath, as the Engineer shakily took turns with the Sniper to tug on his trembling cock and finger his slick ass. He groaned and closed his eyes, drooling slightly as his mouth hung open. Then Soldier bit his lower lip and focused on the thrill, on the memory of their ecstatic faces. His balls grew tight as their combined efforts made him desperate for more.

“Harder!” he snapped.

He panted and arced into their touch, thrusting roughly into their firm grip until he was mindless and shaking. Someone began licking the tip. He opened his eyes in time to see the Engineer, now complacent and greedy at his side, enveloping the head of Soldier's cock with his lips. Engie whirled his tongue around it, while the Sniper put his wrist to work jerking off the rest. The whole world quickly burst apart behind his lowered eyelids and he snarled as he squirted straight into Engie's waiting mouth, barely recognizing anything other than the rocket's red glare and the hazy sound of Engie swallowing.

It was maybe minutes before he felt Engie shifting lengthwise and stealing the pillows out from under his ass. Solly leaned into the pillow he still had, waiting until the overwhelming heat and sluggishness had abated before crawling up and snuggling into Engie's sweaty chest. It wasn't the slightest bit unmanly to cuddle with his fuck-toy. They were generating so much heat it was weathering a furnace against all odds. Very manly. He smirked when he noticed the Sniper on the other side of Engie, already doing the same thing and looking dazed. The Engineer looked more tired than amused. The Soldier began roaming one hand over Engie, feeling all that strength and power drained out of him. Not that it mattered. Solly was there. He might be weary at the moment but it never lasted for long. He blinked as he felt a trace of motion, like a breeze, in his hair but didn't quite realize what was going on before he noticed Engie tousling Sniper's hair with his fingers. The Soldier shifted until he was more comfortable, tilting into Engie's touch. Just as he was groggily contemplating staying that way forever, Engie draped his arms around their backs like a real man.

“Mmmm. Now that... that's what I call team work,” Engie murmured, “Ugh... I'm a mess.”

The Soldier would have smirked as he wiped a thin smear of semen and lube off Engie's inner thigh, while Engie stared at it distastefully, but the Soldier was in roughly the same state. The only one cleaner was the Sniper. For once. The Sniper caught Engie's eye and then met Solly's gaze.

“We do have a shower,” the Sniper said, “Might as well make use of it.”

“Night 's young. Perfect time for it,” the Soldier replied.

No one moved for several minutes, simply soaking in the contentment, before the Engineer sighed and managed to shake it off long enough to sit up. Miraculously enough, he pulled the pair of them up with him. The Soldier grunted but was starting to squirm from the damp stickiness between his own butt cheeks so the timing was good. Engie hesitated.

“Who, uh, gets it first?” he asked.

He was wincing. The Sniper shrugged.

“I don't mind waitin'. I'm not as bad off so I'm willin' to go last,” Sniper answered.

The Soldier continued snuggling into Engie's chest and only let up when he realized Engie was trying to pry him off because his breathing had gotten shallower.

“We can shower together!” the Soldier suggested, “Me and Engie. There's enough room for two.”

Engie seemed skeptical but the Soldier wouldn't hear any other suggestions. He dragged the Engineer after him, made certain there were two fresh towels, and closed the door behind them. Engie stood, looking around like he expected the bathroom to not look like any other God damn bathroom in a low rent apartment. Solly couldn't understand why but he ignored it as he got the shower head going, shucked off his undershirt and helmet, and hopped in as soon as it was as hot as he preferred. Coordinating their actions and movement wasn't so hard. Neither said much while lathering up and rinsing off. The Soldier briefly considered offering to scrub Engie's back but the Engineer was done soaping himself up before he could. Solly would save it for another time. He had no intentions of doing this only once. After climbing out and drying off, the Soldier carefully draped his towel over the curtain rod to dry out, then scooped up his helmet and setting it back on top of his damp hair.

“Make sure you hang it up to dry, when you're done with it,” the Soldier said.

Engie nodded, throwing the towel over the back of his neck and holding onto the ends of it, occasionally dragging them up to further dry his heat reddened face or his dripping hair. The Soldier marched to his bedroom, without even checking to see if Engie was following him. As soon as the Sniper looked up from reading a magazine that wasn't his, son of a bitch, the Soldier irritably hooked a thumb over his shoulder. Then he stomped over to make Sniper uneasy by standing behind his exposed back and pretending to read the articles in front of him.

“Don't do that,” Sniper muttered, “I hate it.”

“Then stop touching my shit and hit the showers!” the Soldier snapped.

The Sniper stretched his back, seeming to lengthen himself more than a cat when he did it, and nodded as he scooted off the bed and loped through the doorway. The Soldier began folding his clothing and placing it onto the mattress, including the undershirt he'd been wearing. Then he began folding the Engineer's shirts. He found the Engineer simply watching him and glanced down, before offering the small pile to Engie. The Engineer shook his head and glanced idly at the magazine that was still splayed open where Sniper had left it.

“Just... wondered, that's all,” Engie said, “Not entirely sure what to do with myself now.”

The Soldier considered that and closed the distance between them. He smiled faintly as he stroked Engie's cheek and grabbed Engie's waist, pressing their bodies together. The Engineer still felt warm and wet but now he smelled like soap as well as sex. Engie closed his eyes and rubbed his hands over the Soldier's biceps. Solly covered his mouth in mild kisses before giving in and kissing him firmer, capturing Engie's relaxed lips between his own. Engie began stroking Solly's chest and didn't opened his mouth, giving Solly room to roam but Solly was too sated to really take advantage of it. All he wanted was to feel Engie in his arms and to keep him there.

The Engineer broke free first and they stood, resting their heads on each other's shoulders, even though Solly had to slouch to make it easier for Engie. The Soldier didn't let go until he heard the water turn off in the bathroom. He placed one last, tender kiss onto the Engineer's forehead before setting the other man free. The Engineer frowned but seemed to accept that all good things had to come to an end as the Soldier squeezed his arm. The Soldier could feel Engie's eyes on him as he inclined his head towards the door and then slowly wandered back out, not really wanting to leave Engie. There was just something he needed to do first before he could relax again.

“Sniper 's out,” Solly explained, marching ever onward.

To his surprise, the Engineer decided to outpace him and chose the most logical place to check first. The Engineer paused at the door to the Sniper's room and leaned in. The Soldier brushed past him on a mission. Sniper was sitting cross-legged on the floor as he towel dried his hair, completely unconcerned about the possibility that he might set it on fire with the cigarette drooping out of the corner of his mouth. The Sniper looked up when Solly tugged on the trailing edge of the towel and scowled as he handed it off, brushing his fingers through the wild tufts to smooth them down. The Soldier smirked and carried it back to the bathroom, hanging it to dry and admiring his triumph. Then he went back to see about the one still draped over the Engineer's shoulders.

This was soon forgotten as he saw the Engineer and the Sniper sitting on the Sniper's open bedroll with the wire mesh terrarium lid lying on the floor beside them. The Sniper had pulled on his pants and perched his aviators back on the bridge of his nose. Otherwise, it looked as if he hadn't budged a single inch since the Soldier had left him. The Engineer meanwhile, still had nothing but the towel over his shoulders as he peered into his cupped hand fondly. Not that it mattered if some bugs saw them naked but... The Soldier slammed the door shut the minute he realized it was the Demobeetle from earlier.

“Are you trying to help it escape?!” the Soldier snapped.

He dropped to his knees on the other side of the Engineer and glared down at the Demobeetle sitting on his palm and leaning back against his thumb like it was a chair. Engie stared at Solly for interrupting his contemplation and leaned away, as if he were afraid the Soldier would try and take the bug from him. A frown eased its way into a crease across Engie's brow and it tugged at the corners of his mouth.

“I'm keepin' an eye on him, ain't I?” Engie asked, “'Sides, he deserves a li'l treat for tryin' to help you out, since ya asked so nicely what I'm doin'.”

The Soldier narrowed his eyes as he noticed a bottle of open RED Shed and the bottle cap currently in the little beetle's hands as the little guy knocked it back, with the help of Engie's stabilizing fingertip, and wiped his mouth off in a disturbingly human gesture. The Demobeetle regarded Solly, with the one eye, in what appeared to be cheekiness as the beetle made some noises that he couldn't quite make out.

“Good lord! You're getting it drunk?! That's even worse!”

“He can handle it,” the Sniper said, “I've given 'im booze plenty o' times before.”

“Shhh,” the Engineer murmured, “I'm tryin' to listen.”

The Soldier glared as the Sniper grabbed the open bottle for a few gulps of his own. The Engineer put both of his hands together and cupped them against his ear. The Soldier scoffed but then he wasn't really surprised at the idea that these weird little things could talk. He would have been a lot more surprised if they couldn't. That didn't mean he thought they were smart or good. Or useful. Even a dog wasn't useful unless you trained it to guard your house or attack your enemies or fetch your fuzzy slippers that were not at all embarrassing or womanly! Even if they did have little bunny ears. They were deadly bunnies with sharp pointy teeth that he had sewed onto their gaping maws himself! Rarr!

The Engineer began to chuckle and the Sniper quirked an eyebrow.

“Is he talkin' about the time he conquered my kitchen sink, back in the van? Don't know why he loves tellin' that one.”

The Soldier flinched. That sounded horrifying and filthy! And not just because he knew how Sniper left the dishes. Positively sexual... ugh! The Sniper seemed to notice Solly's dismay and blanched.

“No, mate! He wouldn't let me use the sink! Made a right fortress out of my old coffee cups and plates. Chipped the hell out of 'em in the process but I managed to dig 'im out. Didn't have the heart to kill 'im and didn't want to go outside to drop 'im off. Gave 'im some water and then a little booze for shits and giggles. That kept 'im busy for awhile. So I cleaned out me old lizard cage and put him in it. Had a few of the lizard's old décor and added more little thingummies later to make it visually excitin'.”

That would explain why it looked like a cross between a desert and a cozy homestead. Solly had to wonder if Sniper had a few screws loose, after taking note of the beheaded plastic dinosaur resting on its flippers beside the flat plastic lid that served as a watering hole for some plastic cows in their little plastic paddock with their little plastic cacti. Like that shit was casual.

“Hmmm. Wait, how the fuck did you get all these bees?!” Solly asked.

The Soldier watched as the Engineer apparently finished listening to the Demobeetle and set it back down into the large glass cage. One of the little Engibees in question ran over and threw itself onto the Demobeetle. Solly thought maybe a fight had broken out but, to his disappointment, the Demobeetle thrust its chest out proudly as it began leading the little Engibee away from the glass and towards the large, glazed ceramic-looking red farmhouse with an attached barn. It took up about half of the cage.

“Oh, Engie found 'em somewhere in an old dispenser out by that junk heap of his. When he told me about it and asked for my help, sayin' he needed to gut it so he could reuse it, I decided to keep 'em. Weren't as many as I was expecting, to be honest. Damn cute and they didn't really hurt me, so I didn't think it was right to kill 'em either. Made good company for the little fella I already had, as ya can see.”

“Uh huh. Where 'd the house come from?” the Soldier asked.

The Sniper lowered his gaze and scratched behind one ear, jostling his aviators as he cleared his throat and gave a weak chuckle.

“Found that at a yard sale. Lawn decoration or somethin'. It's hollow inside so I figured it'd make a good place for nestin' in. Thought it'd be funny since all our bases look kind of like farms. Bit heavy but it fits in there so... What the hell are you doin'?!”

The Soldier paused in the process of tearing the red farm off it's foundations, which he had slowly contemplated upon hearing the word hollow. The bugs scattered and were quite possibly running around and screaming as Solly lifted it up so he could see what was inside it. Various metallic bits of debris started crumbling down from the white interior edges and the Engineer lunged for the Soldier's arms as the Sniper hastily pushed the lump of ceramic back down. They both glared at him.

Solly didn't release his grip on it and simply peered down into the cage, smirking faintly at the chaos he'd caused. He watched the Demobeetle dragging the Engibee to safety and several Engibees ran up with the weird little moth bug that looked kind of like a Medic. It had come out of the corner it was brooding in as they all set to work trying to melee the Soldier's calloused hands. It sort of tickled until the Demobeetle charged in with what looked like a tiny sword and managed to draw blood. Then it stung a bit. Solly grumbled and let go of the yard decoration. Being ganged up on, by everyone in the room, was annoying. He put his bleeding finger into his mouth as he sulked, worried more about RED's Medic-imposed tetanus shots than getting bug germs inside him.

The Engineer snapped the damp towel at the Soldier's helmet in retribution and the Sniper fussed over pushing the debris out of the way as he tried arranging it exactly how it had been before. The Soldier stole the Engineer's towel, draped it around his own neck, and then reached in to pluck one of the larger Engibees up and out by the back of its tiny criss-crossing overall straps. There was a general outcry from the bugs and one little Engibee tried to follow before smacking into the glass and scrabbling at it, not as if it didn't know the glass was there but as if it were desperately hoping it could learn how to climb it in order to save its friend.

The Soldier snorted at the Engibee as it held up its little hands in surrender and then crouched into a ball as the hot air blasted it across the skin of his palm and up against the Soldier's curled fingers.

“Don't hurt it,” the Engineer insisted, “You just tried to tear apart their house! How 'd you like it if someone tore the roof off your apartment?”

“That 'd be a problem for those assholes living above us!” the Soldier snapped.

He glared at Engie and snorted again at the very idea, though he gingerly poked the bug in the stomach with his index finger. It quivered and pleaded with him but he couldn't make the words out so he grunted and held it up to his ear, using both hands, as the Engineer had with the Demobeetle.

“H—howdy, mister,” it said, “We don't mean you no harm.”

“Hmph! Are you the one who taught these things how to talk?” the Soldier asked Engie.

The Engineer rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“They already knew how to talk,” the Sniper insisted, “Why?”

The Soldier glared at the Sniper but pulled the Engibee away from his ear long enough to prod it in its little chest. It whimpered.

“Nothin'. Listen up, bee! I will not have you bugs destroying my apartment! Do not let that beetle out of your sight and you will not find yourselves out on your asses in the cold! Understood?!”

The Engibee said something and the Soldier had to place it back at his ear, where it presumably repeated itself.

“But... we need to get rid of those blue bugs. They keep attacking us!”

What?! BLUs in my household?! I don't think so! I would never let that happen!” the Soldier snarled.

The Sniper snickered and had that look on his face, like whenever Solly told him to lock the door, but the Engineer gave the Soldier a sad and sober look.

“That's what the Demobeetle said. He swears they built a base somewhere under the kitchen counters,” the Engineer explained, “Says he normally wouldn't have gone out there but he was on a quest, tryin' to get outside. He was lookin' for somethin' called a Pyrofly when they caught him and y'all said he nearly destroyed the stove. Guess he was goin' on that quest again when they chased him into all that junk you own.”

The Soldier almost closed both hands into tight fists but remembered the Engibee in time to keep from crushing it. He hastily poked it to make sure it was still breathing but its eyes were closed and he was almost positive it had fainted. The Engineer took it from him with an anxious scowl and gently placed it back amongst the astroturf inside the cage. The Engibee near the glass raced over and so did several others, who weren't milling in and out of the farmhouse with tools. The Medibug began acting like it was assessing the damage and unrolling tiny bandages it had gotten from somewhere.

Then Sniper came as close to a giggle as the Soldier had ever heard.

“Oh, that's cute. He's like a little knight after the holy grail. But what does he want a ...fly for?”

The Engineer had an incredulous smirk and shrugged, looking at the Soldier for some reason as he answered.

“He said it'd help with Spy-checking, of all things.”

The Soldier gasped and put his hands up onto his helmet, as if to protect it or to keep his brain from exploding inside it. Both were entirely necessary as the Soldier began to feel panic set in.

“Oh God! Tiny little BLU Spies, slipping in through the cracks, completely avoiding every safety measure I've put into place?! And they're living in my kitchen?! Nooooooooooo!

He grabbed Engie by the shoulders, because Engie was closest, and shook him. Engie gave him a blank stare and then yelped, trying to stop him by planting his own hands on the Soldier's chest.

“We can't let this happen!” Soldier cried, “We must fight them! With every little RED bug we can find! On the double! What are you people waiting for?! Find a magnifying lens!”

“Stop shakin' me, ya damn Yankee!” the Engineer snapped.

The Soldier stopped and then pulled the dizzy Engineer in for a massive bear hug. The close warmth and fresh scent of soap over the faint musk of manhood and recent sex calmed his nerves. The Engineer grumbled but after some hesitation, began rubbing the Soldier's back in slow, soothing swirls. The Soldier placed brief, shaky apologetic pecks on the Engineer's neck, well below the stubble line.

“I got a little carried away! But this is an emergency!” the Soldier said.

The Soldier looked up as he realized there was a bubbling stream of laughter he had only just noticed and saw that Sniper was too busy lying on his back and looking up at the ceiling, shaking helplessly and choking as he tried to catch is breath. Then Sniper rubbed his eyes behind the aviators and groaned, still unable to breath properly, as he propped himself up on wobbly arms.

“Oh,” the Sniper gasped, “That... oh, that's... so... Does this... this mean you like 'em now?”

“Yes! Engie?!”

There was a pause but the Engineer crossed his arms over his chest, looked to the side disinterestedly, and cut Solly off before he started explaining his plan anyway.

“Nope.”

“You don't even know what I'm asking!” the Soldier snapped.

The Engineer breathed in and puffed up his chest, eyes closed.

“I don't need to hear it to know I'm against it. You are not exploiting these bugs!”

The Soldier decided to ignore this, in favor of changing the Engineer's mind with his magnificent logic.

“I don't care! This means WAR! Those dastardly BLUs are breaking cease fire by infiltrating our home and you are a valuable asset in my time of need!” the Soldier said, “Find the schematics for roach motels! Put those bees to work! We need a production schedule...”

The Engineer's eyes were going to pop out of his head and he looked like he'd just taken a bite out of a really sour lemon or a really bitter grapefruit. Maybe both at the same time.

“What?! First of all, where am I supposed to get that? Second, have you lost your God damn mind? They're bees! Not little factory workers! Especially not li'l factory workers o' insect death! And third, I said no and I meant no!”

The Engineer sat there, his jaw jutting out and just daring the Soldier to defy him. What the hell? Didn't they fuck like an hour ago? Talk about a fast turnaround... The Soldier was trying to figure out why Engie was being so obstinate about this when the Sniper put a hand on his shoulder and leaned in, like he had some snooty solution to the problem. Solly noticed the Sniper had placed his other hand on Engie's shoulder and grumbled to himself.

“What about this Pyrofly business? Little fella went to a lot of trouble so he must think it's important. I really don't want him goin' outside either. What if he gets lost or trapped somewhere and he can't find his way back?” the Sniper asked, “Or what if something eats him?”

The Engineer considered this and the Soldier was initially about to clobber them both for liking Sniper's plan better. Then he thought about it and realized the Sniper had a very good point.

“He did say they were good at Spy-checking. Men! I believe that will be our number one priority! Let me address the troops!”

The Soldier gripped the edges of the cage and loomed over it like a regal mythical figure that wasn't a god because there was only one God. Maybe Jesus? No, wait. Same difference. Still blasphemy! Eh, whatever. He'd be their four star General! The bugs inside clustered in groups or ran through the openings into the farm. The Demobeetle hopped on to the back of one of the plastic cows and pointed his sword at Solly with a yell that inspired the Soldier further as he gave a stirring speech.

“It has come to my attention that we need a Pyrofly! Do not concern yourselves further! Keep bolstering your defenses and improving your weaponry! Start drilling under your commanding officers! Leave the bug hunt to us! You are dismissed!”

“They live there,” the Sniper said.

“They are allowed to disperse!” the Soldier snapped.

The Engineer was busy rubbing his palm across his face and was starting to look drowsy.

“We don't know enough about it. Where do we even start?”

The Soldier pulled the Demobeetle off the cow, by the little shield on its back, and dropped it into his hand. He poked at its chest with his injured finger and knocked it back a little without meaning to.

“Describe our target, Corporal!” the Soldier said and grinned before adding, “You've been promoted.”

He held the Demobeetle up to his ear, while Engie practically climbed into Solly's lap and the Sniper draped himself over Solly's back in their attempts to get as close as possible. It was good to be the king! The Soldier was, however, not pleased when the Demobeetle began stomping its tiny foot into his palm and putting up a fuss.

“Are yeh always such an incompetent fool?! I have the stones to risk me life, doin' me job to help keep everyone safe, and you go tryin' to destroy everythin' I'm fightin' for! Every single time! I don't care if you're a giant! I ought 'o cut your throat and be done with ya, while I have the chance! You're such a useless piece of shite, yeh are!” the Demobeetle said.

The Soldier was too speechless to pull the bug away from his ear until that last part. Then he cupped his hands fully around the Demobeetle, so it wouldn't fall out while he shook it. The Demobeetle yelped and before he could even insult it back, the Engineer had grabbed his wrists while the Sniper was lunging forward to pry his hands open.

“You turncoats!” the Soldier growled, “He can't talk to an officer like that! I'm reprimanding him! Ow! He's stabbing me! That's direct insubordination, right there!”

“I don't blame him!” Engie said, “You're tryin' my patience as it is!”

“Give 'im here, ya wanker!”

Solly elbowed the Sniper in the stomach, not too hard though, and snickered as the Sniper fell to the side, coughing. He gulped as he felt a very uncomfortable pressure on his bare balls. The Soldier peered out from under his helmet into the Engineer's humorless gaze, noting the man's rough hand tight around his sack and a significant pinch at the top.

“I'll turn 'em into a Newton's Cradle if ya don't give Sniper that beetle right now!”

The Soldier had no idea what that was but he could see that the Engineer wasn't playing around, particularly when he mashed them just hard enough together to get his point across. The Sniper looked about as surprised as the Soldier, giving the Engineer a sidelong look as the Soldier shoved the Demobeetle into the Sniper's outstretched hands, after he'd recovered enough from Solly's attack. The Sniper went about talking to the Demobeetle soothingly and holding it to his ear when it must have answered but the Soldier kept his gaze on the Engineer, who was still holding his balls and menacingly swiveling them around, letting them clack together lightly. Engie seemed pleased with himself, having the Soldier at his mercy like that. Solly found he didn't mind and his penis began twitching with renewed life, so long as the Engineer didn't do anything too harsh.

“Solly,” the Engineer murmured, “You need to stop bein' so hasty. I consider myself mighty forgivin' o' reckless acts but I've been too lenient with you. Promise me that you'll stop and think a minute before ya do somethin' else or I ain't releasin' ya.”

“He might say it but he'll never mean it,” the Sniper answered, “If he even says it. More likely you'll be holdin' on like a pitbull until Saxton Hale shows up. And the only way to hurry that along would be to call a hippie protest in our livin' room.”

The Soldier watched the Sniper put the beetle back into the cage, replacing the lid and the heavy stone that went on top of it. He was trying his best to manifest a Pain Train into the Sniper's back by thinking really hard about his latent psychic abilities but it wasn't working for some reason. Maybe visiting that summer camp wasn't such a bad idea after all, if he could learn how to psychic up some vengeance that Engie couldn't possibly blame him for. The Engineer, in the meantime, was giving him a very unimpressed look and gave up with sigh, standing and scratching the middle of his back awkwardly as he turned away from the Soldier.

“Never mind, Solly,” the Engineer said, his voice dripping with unrestrained disappointment that would have made the Administrator proud, “I should know better than to sink to your level... Hmm?”

The Engineer paused and then let his hand drop to his side because the Soldier had gotten up to scratch the itch for him. Engie sighed softly and stretched his muscles under Solly's short but serviceable fingernails. Solly rested his chin on Engie's shoulder and reached around to gently squeeze one of Engie's plump pecs at the same time. It wasn't as taut as Solly's or Sniper's but Solly didn't mind. It was still a simple joy to stroke it, feeling the way it rolled slightly under his thumb as he watched from under his helmet. Besides, he didn't want Engie to be angry or disappointed, even though he didn't fully understand why Engie felt that way in the first place.

“Ahh. Little lower. No, my back,” Engie murmured, “Little to the left. Yeah... Now up more. Mmm. Right there.”

Solly continued scratching until Engie told him that was enough, then went on to play with both of Engie's perky little near-tits before simply seizing his round, compact stomach and sliding a finger into his belly button in a circular motion. He wasn't the slightest bit deterred when he managed to free up a tiny ball of lint, flicking it away. Solly felt Engie let out a shaky breath and realized that the Sniper had gotten up and started kissing the corners of Engie's mouth as Engie turned his face, almost coyly, to accommodate the Sniper's long nose getting in the way. Solly could tell the Engineer was relaxed now but any little push could have wound him up again, preferably in a good way. Unfortunately, the Sniper backed off and sighed, ruffling his own hair as he yawned.

“Oi, I'm hungry. What say we deal with this later and go get a bite to eat for now?” the Sniper asked.

Solly grudgingly realized, at the very mention of eating, that his own stomach had been trying to get his attention for awhile. The Engineer's actually gurgled, loudly, and Engie chuckled. He tried to push the Soldier's hands away, using his own to cover his pudginess as the comment triggered a typically hidden sense of shyness. It was with some reluctance that Solly let go, patting the Engineer's belly with care. Good, solid man like that shouldn't be ashamed. The Soldier had seen some fat, pathetic wastes of skin in his day, who were truly disgusting and shouldn't be allowed to call themselves men, but even the Heavy could have laughed at those sad bastards. Engie was just a healthy, hard working man.

“I could eat,” Engie murmured, before asking Solly, “What about you?”

The Soldier slapped Engie's ass and grinned as the startled Engineer rubbed his butt while pouting. He began tugging the Engineer out to his bedroom and Engie didn't resist much.

“All settled then! C'mon, stud. We better get you dressed. Wouldn't want everybody pouncing on ya and fightin' to take you home with 'em!”

“Says the man with several restraining orders on him,” the Sniper quipped after them.

“You shut your whore mouth!” the Soldier yelled, “I wouldn't have gotten that last one if you hadn't goaded me into it!”

The Soldier had paused but the Engineer went on ahead into his room and the Soldier hustled after him.

“I was drunk! Besides, I had no way of knowin' he was a lawyer! He wasn't wearin' a suit!”

Engie paused in the middle of shrugging his uniform shirt on and shook his head at Solly as he began fiddling with the buttons.

“... What am I goin' t' do with you, son?” Engie asked, “I'm amazed they left you free range.”

The Soldier continued buckling his belt and went to work pulling on his undershirt.

“I'm not,” the Soldier answered, “As much as it pains me to thwart the singular beauty that is the American justice system, I've paid a lot of bribes to keep my freedom! I think Lady Liberty will understand. I'm doing God's work out on the battlefield, every day!”

“You're really somethin' else, ya know that? Ah well... Mind if a bum a cigarette off ya?”

The Sniper walked in, clothed but with his shirt hanging open, and dropped the Engineer's boxers and overalls onto the mattress. Oh, right. The Soldier left those in the living room. The Engineer thanked Sniper as he pulled up his boxers and adjusted himself with a sigh. Meanwhile, the Soldier rummaged through his night stand's small junk drawer and pulled out a crushed, half full pack. He tapped the bottom until one popped out and the Engineer smiled as he tucked it between two fingers. Solly scooped his lighter up into his palm as he shoved the pack of cigs back in and nudged the drawer closed with his hip. The Engineer reached out to take the cigarette but before he could stick it in his mouth, the Soldier had cupped the fuzzy back of Engie's head and approached him with sloppy licks. The Engineer staggered back and caught himself on the edge of the bed as he landed on it, the Soldier faltering only a moment as he was dragged down with him. Engie stroked his neck as he soon as he wasn't stunned and a laugh rumbled in his throat as the Soldier thumbed his lips and sought out the Engineer's thick neck for nuzzling.

“Mmm, damn it, boy!” the Engineer muttered as Solly petted his bristly cheek, “How 'm I supposed to smoke this with you all over me?”

The Soldier felt the Sniper sliding against his bare back like a snake before he could answer and the Sniper darted words into his ear with the low, sneaking voice of a devil. The Sniper eased the lighter out of his loose grip, Solly having forgotten it when he began feasting on Engie.

“When I express a desire for tucker, I mean it,” the Sniper said, “Get your boots on and I'll light him up. If you're not ready by then, you'll be stayin' here. I'm about ready to take a blade to all o' your trousers, includin' the ones you're wearin'.”

Solly grumbled and nudged the Sniper off him. Engie nipped his chin as Solly went but readily held the cigarette to his lips while the Sniper did as promised. When Engie stood up, he pulled on his overalls, in between blowing smoke out of his nose idly. The Soldier decided to ignore them, scrounging up a clean t-shirt and fresh socks. The Engineer sat down again as he slung his straps over his shoulders and then paused, waving a hand past his nose for a second. He frowned as the Sniper slipped one arm over his shoulders as he fumbled with the clasp and then leaned over to sniff the Sniper's under arms.

“Whooowee!” the Engineer gasped, “Damn, boy! How is that you? Didn't you just take a shower?”

The Sniper pulled away, scowling at the Soldier's retreating back as Solly went to get his boots from where he'd placed them into the closet.

“Someone never washes my clothes with his things. This one didn't smell as bad as the others.”

The Soldier couldn't help smirking to himself, even if the Sniper's accusation was true. Served him right for not gathering them up in a timely manner! The Engineer laughed. Solly sat down on the bed and remained silent as he set to work pulling his oh so comfortable and magnificent boots on.

“If the smoke don't cover that up... Christ! How'd I miss it?”

“Ya get used to it, after awhile. Hey, wait. Give it here. I could use a smoke! Even if it ain't my brand.”

The Engineer had grabbed the eagle-shaped ash tray off the wobbly nightstand and was about to rub his cigarette out when the Sniper huffed. The Engineer shrugged and handed it over to the Sniper as the Soldier stood up, waiting at attention in his beautiful boots. Engie stood, cracked his back, and walked over to face the Soldier as he glanced over his shoulder towards Sniper.

“Tell ya what... Round up ya clothes, son. We'll stop by the laundry on the way back.”

The Soldier frowned but saluted the Engineer, who had the final word regarding where his truck did or did not go. The Sniper nodded and raced out, in a hurry to do just that. The Engineer stood on his tip toes and nuzzled his cheek against Solly's as he whispered into Solly's ear, trying to taunt Solly by fondling his package.

“That's right. When I call the shots, I got no reason to complain.”

The Soldier shivered but grabbed the front of the Engineer's work shirt and pushed the Engineer back, sending him sprawling onto the bed again. He grabbed the Engineer by the knees and sneered, licking his lips as the Engineer gave him a stunned look.

“Make all the decisions you want; I live by the constitution and that's your God-given right. But when you're in my bedroom, what I say goes. If I say nothing against it, then I approve,” the Soldier said, “You won't be complaining anyway. You're a needy little slut and you like it when we use you.”

The Engineer shifted but didn't try to push him off or deny what the Soldier had said.

“... You ever let up? What if I want to be in charge sometime?” Engie asked.

The Soldier rubbed the top of Engie's clothed thighs and then he growled happily as he straightened up.

“You'll have to earn that! I'm sure you'll figure it out. I don't expect anything less out of you, private.”

The Engineer wouldn't look him in the eye, even though Solly's helmet was at the right angle, and didn't say anything as he took his hat off the lampshade. He shook his head before putting it on and walking out. The Soldier followed him. He put on his coat, tucked his shovel under his arm, and waited by the front door as the Sniper wandered all over the place, grabbing stray clothing and jamming it into that same large duffel bag that he'd never given back to the Scout. It bulged, meaning he had to be bringing everything he owned. The Engineer sat on the couch while he waited, twiddling his thumbs.

“Done and done!” Sniper said.

19 .

The Soldier threw open the door and blazed the trail ahead, making certain the path was clear for his team mates. No sign of those horrible BLUs. He waited at attention beside the truck, knowing they'd take a little longer since Sniper was in charge of locking the door. He gritted his teeth when he noticed that the Sniper had one lanky arm draped loosely around Engie's hunched shoulders, hugging the shorter man to his side at one point and accidentally pulling them both sideways as they continued walking forward. The Engineer didn't look as if he'd been too chatty though. He ignored both of them as he went around and climbed in. The Sniper pulled the duffel bag off so he could hold it in his arms and the Soldier yanked the door open and slid across the seat first, peering over at the Engineer as he revved up the truck.

“What? No shotgun, huh?” the Sniper asked as he climbed in after.

“Didn't bring it,” the Soldier answered, “Engie?”

“Not what I meant,” the Sniper muttered.

Engie glanced at him from the front mirror and then checked the side, doing his best to keep his expression neutral.

“What?” the Engineer asked.

The Soldier tugged at his jacket collar. Getting on the Engineer's bad side was never advisable but the Soldier knew how to handle it. He couldn't remember ever seeing Engie try to hide it before. The Engineer typically made no bones about his opinion of a person or situation and he had quite a temper, one that his gentle upbringing could never fully quell when he was really riled up. The Soldier glanced over at the Sniper helplessly.

“What?” the Sniper asked.

Sniper, however, didn't seem to understand why he was being looked at, by both of them the Soldier realized. The Soldier grunted. The Sniper was going to be useless so he turned his attention back to the Engineer, who suddenly looked more worn out than anything else. The Soldier decided to drop it. He was probably getting worried over nothing. The Engineer rolled his eyes and clearly decided the same as he began backing the truck up, though he muttered something under his breath that the Soldier strained to make out.

One of the local burger joints wasn't far from the small laundromat the Soldier generally went to. Sniper had shoved the laundry detergent into the bag, luckily, but it had made a mess so he shoved the bag into the washing machine with everything else. It was cloth, it'd be fine. They left the detergent there. The Soldier was certain no one would take it. He always drew a frowny face being attacked by a rocket and “I will KILL you if you take this – love, Soldier” onto the peeled off label gunk, in permanent marker, whenever he had to buy a new bottle.

During dinner, no one said much of anything. The Soldier was annoyed that Sniper had chosen to sit beside Engie in the booth across, instead of sitting beside him. Or that Engie had chosen to sit beside Sniper, instead of sitting beside him. Engie had sat down across from him first and the Sniper joined Engie. Either way, no one was sitting beside him!

“So... what did you say to him?” the Sniper asked.

The Soldier looked up from his onion rings when he realized the question was for him.

“To who?” the Soldier asked, after swallowing.

“Truckie ain't mad at me, so he's got to be mad at you. What did ya say?”

The Engineer set his drink down with a soft thump. He narrowed his eyes at the Sniper and then the Soldier. Solly tilted his head and kept his ears perked instead of answering, since he didn't know what the answer was. Solly watched Engie trace the little drops of water on the side of his cup and frowned when Engie shook his head.

“I ain't mad.”

The Sniper leaned over and nudged the Engineer with an elbow, giving him a sly, sideways glance and a crooked grin.

“Now, now. I may not be the best with people but I'm not clueless. I know a sulk when I see one. And you're not one to sulk!”

The Engineer sputtered and simply sat there. The Soldier reached under the table for Engie's knee and found that Engie was gripping them tightly with his hands. He squeezed both gently and then rested his own hand on the one farthest from Sniper. Engie seemed to squirm a bit before deciding to shrug him off and putting both hands on the table instead, daring the Soldier to try that again. Solly pouted. He was trying to be soothing! In the meantime, the Sniper had begun patting the Engineer's back and gesturing at the Soldier with his other hand.

“Come on. Solly is clueless and twice as blunt. What horrible, stupid thing came out of his mouth this time?” the Sniper asked.

Engie tried to say something but then thought better of it. He was now actively scooting away from the Sniper as carefully as possible.

“... Damn, son. I knew things were on the rocks, with you two asking me for advice all the time and gettin' touchy when I visit, but I guess I ain't seen nothin' really. How do you two live together?” Engie asked, “Without killing each other.”

The Sniper rested his chin in his hand as he looked at Engie and then glared at the Soldier.

“I ask myself that all the time. But this isn't about me. And you!” the Sniper said, suddenly addressing Solly, “You aren't sayin' anythin'? I hit too close to home?”

The Soldier sat up as straight as possible and squared his shoulders. He would have said something but he didn't know how to answer that. Instead, he shoved Sniper's arm until he stopped leaning on the table. The Engineer blinked and then tapped his index fingers together, peering at them thoughtfully.

“Solly... you have been awful quiet this whole time...” Engie murmured.

He took a deep breath. Then he looked up and put his fingers together like a steeple. He seemed to have regained his composure as he narrowed his eyes but his temper looked as if it had gotten worse, rather than better. The Soldier ignored the Sniper, leaning as far across the table as humanly possible to hear the Engineer. It wasn't entirely necessary but he didn't want to have to ask the man to repeat anything.

“Why'd you call me a slut?” Engie asked.

The silence after that was broken when the Sniper snorted in an attempt to stifle a laugh.

“He what?” Sniper asked, “Oh, that's rich. Solly's the biggest slut I've ever met!”

The Engineer blanched. That didn't seem to make him feel any better.

“He is?”

Solly was still trying to understand what the problem was.

“So what?” the Soldier asked, “I have sex! That's what men do! Slut, stud; it's a difference of two letters!”

Engie quailed.

“Oh lord. My only refute was it takes one to know one!” Engie muttered, “Not to mention... Damn it! You ain't been bribing Medic to give ya a clean bill of health or nothin', have ya?”

“No!” the Soldier snarled, “I'm fine! Is that what was bothering you?”

“I don't think Medic's turnin' a blind eye. I haven't caught anything from him. Except that one magical curse that... I guess we should have mentioned earlier,” the Sniper said, “In hind sight.”

“Never fuck a wizard who's specialty is curses,” the Soldier agreed.

The Sniper snorted and then shook his fist for emphasis.

“Never fuck 'em and then piss 'em off, ya bloody idiot!” the Sniper said.

Well, the Soldier had given it to him, so Sniper had a reason to be mad, but the Soldier had no way of knowing it was transferable at the time! He hadn't been fucking anyone else while he was fucking Merasmus and Merasmus hadn't mentioned it. He couldn't believe what pussies they were being over this and making such a big deal out of it.

Engie absolutely exploded and pounded his fists on the table. Then he looked at Solly as if Solly had insulted his mother.

“You put a fuckin' curse on me and ya didn't even warn me about it?!”

“It's not that bad,” the Soldier scoffed.

The Soldier tried to reach for one of the Engineer's hands but Engie wouldn't let him. Damn it! The Soldier didn't know how to soothe Engie if the man wouldn't let him. The Sniper was hasty to agree with Solly but hesitated before squeezing Engie's shoulder while the Engineer was giving him a death glare for being an accomplice.

“It's a little one,” the Sniper insisted, “Keep ya voice down.”

“What does it do?!” Engie growled.

Sheesh. It wasn't like the Soldier had known enough about the condition to warn the Sniper first. Now that they were saying something, at least the Engineer wasn't going to be screaming his lungs out because he'd found out by accident. The Soldier would have said something sooner but, really, how could Engie expect him to bring that up when his brain was all foggy with desire? Still, the Engineer deserved the truth.

“It makes your jizz glow in the dark,” the Soldier answered.

The Engineer stared at Solly and Solly grinned, because it was a pretty funny curse as far as curses went. The Engineer chuckled weakly but evidently misunderstood the Soldier's reaction.

“Oh, you had me goin' for a minute! Don't tease me like that.”

The Sniper shook his head and held his hat to his heart as he rubbed Engie's back.

“Sorry, mate. It's true. Hard to tell without all the lights out, if that's any consolation.”

“Yeah. You couldn't see inside your own ass or mouth to notice,” the Soldier answered, “So... Congratulations! The walls of your room will now make their own constellations, if you don't have very good aim.”

The Soldier was grateful that the Engineer didn't have any of his equipment with him. He looked like he was about ready to build a sentry and beat the shit out of it until it was level three. Then Solly would've had to destroy it because he was pretty certain that there were some strict ordinances against building level three sentries in a family establishment. Instead, they finished what was left of their meal and the Engineer stormed off to the laundromat, doing his best impression of a calm, level-headed mercenary and failing for once.

The Soldier began patrolling the laundromat but paused as Engie was awkwardly pulling himself up onto one of the empty tables in the middle of the tiny building while the Sniper pulled his clothes out of the washer and carried them over to the dryers. The Soldier gave Engie a boost, though Engie grumbled about it as he sat down. The Soldier saluted Engie and continued pacing the perimeter. A young woman with frizzy hair stared at them while she folded her things on the other table, until the Soldier barked at her to fold faster. She squeaked and followed orders.

The Engineer acting like he was overseeing Sniper's work, ignored the Soldier and fussed at Sniper.

“I think what gets me most is how you kept silent. By now I fully expect Solly to do somethin' disgraceful like that but I still can't believe you'd do the same!” the Engineer said.

The Solder halted and stomped back.

“I am not a disgrace!” the Soldier snapped, “I don't kiss up, like you two do when you get all polite and high society, but I am a credit to my uniform!”

The Sniper choked in the middle of shoving the last of his clothes into the dryer, notably almost none of it underwear, and chose a setting. He leaned on the machine and observed them with a wry grin.

“What are ya talkin' about? Especially you! High society? Bloody hell, we need to inform the spook!”

The Engineer crossed his arms over his chest and glared.

“I'm talkin' about that magical STD!” Engie growled.

The woman at the table gasped and the Engineer glared at her. She went back to folding her two bags of laundry on the double. The Sniper sighed and pulled the brim of his hat down in front of his eyes.

“STMC; MC for Magical Curse. Not a disease,” the Sniper insisted, “And I swear, it slipped my mind! Honestly, ya can't see the effect unless it's near pitch... and near as I know, it does nothin' else. Now do we have to keep talking about this around the townies?”

Just as Sniper used the plural form, a pudgy woman wearing curlers and a track suit walked in with a little boy holding onto her hand. She arched a brow over the rim of her glasses at the mercs but ignored them in favor of laying down the law for how her son would comport himself in the local laundromat. The boy looked unimpressed with that but stared at the three men, especially the Soldier, with wide, round eyes and held up his stuffed shark to take note. The Soldier decided to ignore them after assessing that they were not a threat and therefore very boring.

The Soldier strode over to Engie, who wasn't the slightest bit boring even if he was sulking over something absolutely pointless, and gripped Engie's knees, planting himself firmly in front of the man. The Engineer turned his head and refused to acknowledge the Soldier's presence. The Soldier smiled and refused to go away.

“Come on, Engie,” the Soldier said, “We're pals. Best pals! You and me. Don't stay mad. I didn't mean to keep it from you.”

“Yeah, right,” the Engineer muttered but he was tilting his head slightly and listening attentively.

Aww, Engie didn't want to be mad. Solly had to do something about that. He pulled the Engineer into his arms and nuzzled the side of his neck. It came as a surprise when Engie smacked his helmet and tried to push him away. The Soldier leaned back but he was crushed. How could Engie want to make up and then change his mind?! The Engineer seemed apologetic as he scooted down a ways but it still hurt the Soldier's pride and affection. It was around then he realized the mother had been covering her son's eyes and gasping. Oh, please. The Soldier hadn't even gone in there with some tongue and some God damn elbow grease! Even so, Engie was looking at them and the other woman who had paused in the middle of her folding to blush and gape openly.

“Not in front of people!” Engie whispered.

The Sniper snorted.

“Oh, now you're embarrassed,” the Sniper said.

“We could have all had the same girlfriend with what I was talkin' about!” the Engineer said, “It happens! I mean, it did happen. Exactly that way...”

“Yeah, if you date a real dodgy one what sleeps around,” the Sniper said and then looked at the Soldier, “Oh, well. Point taken. I suppose we did.”

The Soldier was about to turn around and punch Sniper for insinuating that anything about such a fine, upstanding person, such as himself, could be suspect when a man in a suit paused in the doorway. At first he thought it was a Spy. Any Spy, they were all bad news. Then he looked at the man's face and remembered. Oh, shit.

“Crikey! It's that fuckin' lawyer,” the Sniper muttered.

“Mind your language!” the Engineer said, “There's a little kid and womenfolk.”

“Ya won't be sayin' that for long,” the Sniper answered, “Oh, and there he goes. Fantastic. He's off to fetch the coppers. Solly, piss off!”

The Soldier cracked his neck and bared his teeth.

“No! I will not run like a whipped dog!” the Soldier snapped, “I will stay here and fight! By hiding. Pretend I'm not here.”

The Soldier hugged Engie's legs as he scrambled under the large table, before crawling in and hunkering down in the table's shadow. It was a horrible, Spy-like thing to do but by God! The Soldier was tired of being pushed around by this pansy with false justice on his side! The Soldier would defy them and live to defy another day! The Engineer must have doubled over because he remained sitting where he was and managed to peer under the table, his cowboy hat falling loose so that Engie had to grab a hold of it to keep it on his head.

“We could always leave and come back. It's not like we have to wait here the whole time when it's goin' to be at least twenty minutes or so. If the machines are cheap, and I s'spect they are, more like forty,” Engie said.

“Shhh! I am not Soldier! I am a figment of your imagination! Do not converse with me!” Solly said.

The Engineer chuckled and his smile, when viewed upside down, looked even more devilish.

“Why that is a mighty handsome figment of mine! I wonder if he'll take me out someplace nice, show me a good time, and then treat me all sweet-like when he brings me on home?”

The Soldier held onto the dangling chin straps of his helmet and pulled his knees up to his chest as he glanced around him.

“I... I don't do good with hints. Was that for me or is there another figment in here?” Solly asked, “I will pummel him if it's another figment!”

The Engineer sighed and his face disappeared as he straightened up.

“Never mind.”

“What was that about 'not in front of people' and 'we all dated the same girl', eh, Engie? Hmmm?”

“Oh, hush,” the Engineer said, “I'm talking to an imaginary friend under the table who loves billiards and won't shove me out of a moving car when we pass by my house.”

“Oooh, hey, I could go for some Snooker, now that you mention it! Bit rusty but yeah! Why'd your friends try to roll ya out the car though?”

“Southern hospitality ain't universal, son. Not even in the South. 'Sides, Texas is a little bit Western and those are rough and rowdy folks.”

The Soldier whined as he listened, still surveying the shadows around him. Nooo! He was going to get hit with a restraining order any second if the cops found him when they got here! How was he going to find and punch some invisible horrible Engineer-stealing figment in time?! Well, he was just going to have to kill Spy out of principle whenever he saw him next. Just to be safe.

“Hi.”

The Soldier jumped and almost hit his head before scowling at the direction the sound had come from. The figment! Oh. It was that little kid with the striped shirt and the plush shark. He'd crawled underneath and was now tugging on the sleeve of the Soldier's jacket.

“Hi,” Solly grumbled.

“Are you playing table fortress?” the little boy asked, “I like to play pretend in forts and tables are really good for that.”

“Yeah, sure, why not?” the Soldier answered, as quietly as possible, “Look, would you mind not saying anything? I'm trying to avoid beating up the police for once. They're just doing their job and I'm just trying to save on cleaning bills and paying damages on public property. And getting arrested. Again.”

The little boy shifted a bit and began moving his shark through the air as if it were swimming.

“Raaarrr! That sounds like a boring game. Let's play something else!”

“Yeah, yeah, okay. That your mother you walked in with?” the Soldier asked.

The boy stuck out his tongue and rolled his eyes before answering.

Yes! She's so annoying! And chores are boring! I wish I was home watching TV!”

The Soldier put an arm over the kid's back and clapped one hand onto the kid's shoulder. He grinned.

“Ah hah! Do you know what your mother is?” the Soldier asked.

The kid thought for a minute. He didn't seem to trust the Soldier entirely or else he thought it was a trick question.

“Annoying?” the kid asked.

The Soldier clenched his other hand into a fist and stared up at the table over their heads, shaking his fist as if shaking it at the heavens.

“She is a tyrant! You must defy her orders and make a valuable distraction for me when the time comes for me to flee the premises! As it inevitably will... come the time.”

The Soldier looked to see if the kid was still listening. The kid simply blinked, hugging the plush shark to his chest as he struggled with the concepts presented to him.

“What's a tyrant?” the boy asked.

The Soldier chuckled and patted the kid's back.

“What's your name, son?”

The kid hesitated again. The Soldier knew how to coax him. He was great with kids!

“I won't be a stranger if you tell me your name! And you're already talking to me anyway.”

The kid nodded, smiling.

“Jimmy.”

The Soldier hold up a single finger authoritatively, then began sweeping his broad, open palm around as he painted a picture of beauty in the child's mind, clenching his hand into a fist again when it was appropriate to his spiel.

“Listen, Jimmy. A tyrant is an oppressive person in power who must be stopped at all costs! Especially by any and all firm believers of Democracy! We will fight together, as brothers in arms, to throw off the shackles of our oppressors and gain ourselves a later bedtime! You like staying up late, right?”

“Yeah!”

The kid's face had brightened with each word and his eyes were wide, round, and sparkling with hope as the Soldier dangled the incentive in front of him.

“Now! When the men in police uniforms show up, I want you to be all nonchalant and you watch that man in a suit who's with them. If it looks like they're going to join your mother in oppressing us, I need you to kick the man in the suit really hard! Aim for the shins but always remember that the feet are just as sensitive!” the Soldier said.

“Yay! This is a great game! What's nonchalant?” the kid asked.

“Act casual! You know, be a little kid. Throw the shark at him, I don't know! Whatever newfangled things you kids are into these days,” the Soldier grunted, “Wait, here he is. Remember, be yourself! Watch him! And if he oppresses your will, charge!”

The Soldier nudged the kid with his elbow and pointed at several pairs of legs. About five cops and the lawyer walked in just as the young woman hurried out the door. The lawyer with the restraining order promptly walked over to the Sniper and started yammering at him, demanding a straight answer about whether or not the Soldier had left. Then the police began wandering the small laundromat, as if they were spreading out to case the joint, even though the only real cover were the two hefty tables in the middle and the crappy single-toilet bathrooms in the back. Engie kicked his legs back and forth as they dangled not too far away. The Soldier sat up straight as he peered at the kid from under his helmet. The kid pumped his fist and swam the shark through the air again. The Soldier saluted him

“You have your mission, young man! Get to it!” the Soldier whispered.

“Yes, sir!” the kid said.

The little boy saluted the Soldier. It brought a tear to his eye, it really did. Children were wonderful. Especially when they did what he wanted.

The Soldier blinked when he realized that Engie was threatening the lawyer. Good ol' Engie! Solly listened, trying to remain as still as possible while the boy scooted over to the edge so that he could peer up at the adults from underneath his fort.

“Look, mister. I respect your right to comfort and safety but I've been havin' a bad day and I would hate to spread it because you're refusin' to believe me when I tell ya somethin'.”

Wait, Engie was having a bad day? Shit! He needed to fix that, stat! Engie might stop being his friend if having sex lead to an irritable mood. For that matter, there wouldn't be any more sex! No snuggling! No snuggling... Solly hadn't even had the chance to share his bunny slippers and a breakfast steak with Engie. Where was the humanity?! Where?! Oh, wait, what was that lawyer saying? That might be important too. Probably not but it never hurt to find out what his enemy was planning.

“I've had enough of this. Both of your are terrible liars!” the lawyer snapped, “That crazed lunatic might have run but he doesn't make a habit of it! I should know, I've defended him twice in court! Before the... incident.”

Oh, right. He had hired that guy before. Wow, making a pass at him in the most popular bar in town, not the one that the mercenaries usually hung out at (that thing was a tourist trap), then pulling the guy's pants down to taunt his undies and slap his balls when he called Solly a faggot and an asshole seemed like a bad idea, all of a sudden. Who was he going to hire to defend him now? Hrmm, if he was really lucky the lawyer had a second personality that had also been to law school and might let bygones be bygones. Then again, his luck didn't usually hold out that well. Solly watched as Engie pushed himself off the table with a grunt and walked over to... well, the Soldier could only see their legs but the lawyer scuffed the heel of his fancy shoes as he took a step back.

“You no good, vengeful, son of a bitch!” the Engineer snarled, “You're tryin' to get him arrested when he hasn't even done anything! … Yet. That I am aware of. Either way, certainly nothin' to you! We were already here when you done showed up and we were abidin' the law!”

“I wasn't,” the Sniper said.

Engie swiveled on his heels towards the Sniper.

“Yes, you were! What the hell is wrong with you?!” the Engineer asked.

The Sniper leaned back against the drying machines with one leg bent and a booted foot resting casually against them.

“Well, I sort of took one of that young lady's panties but it wasn't intentional! She left it in the dryer I'm using and I felt weird asking if it was hers, so I didn't pull them out. If she'd come closer, where I could whisper it maybe, but then she left and I still didn't say anything... So I pretty much nicked her knickers, which might get me nicked and put in the nick,” the Sniper said with a chuckle.

“You, what...? Okay, whatever, I don't care about,” the lawyer began, before Engie interrupted.

“Bite your tongue! That's nothin' compared to the sheer horse-fuckery you fellas are usually up to!”

The little boy crawled over to one of the table legs and wrapped himself around it as he leaned out. The Soldier shifted uneasily as the police continued circling like hawks. Hadn't they already assumed he wasn't there? Why were they hanging around? Did they think he'd come in when anyone could see them through the mostly glass door?

“Now, now!” the Sniper purred, “That li'l ankle-biter is here somewhere. Oh hey, kid.”

“Jimmy, get over here!” the boy's mother hissed, “I told you about strangers!”

The Engineer waited until the boy had strafed away before he threw his hat onto the floor and stomped his foot.

“Fuck sake, have you been takin' lessons from Spy or somethin' 'bout bein' annoyin' in the worst possible situations?!” Engie asked.

There was a pause as everyone waited for someone to speak and Engie must have thought better of leaving his hat where anyone might step on it. He scooped up the Stetson and for all the Soldier knew, might be waving it at Sniper as Sniper shifted which leg he had resting on the machine behind him.

“Well, since you asked, we have been doing a couple of marathons with Heavy to see who can hold his cool longer. I've been winnin' lately!” the Sniper said, “Maybe you should come with? Might teach ya thing or two.”

“You're not makin' this easy!” the Engineer snapped, “Whose side are you on?”

“Your side but you're losin' it now. No wonder you don't cause more of a ruckus in town. Ya just can't handle it when the pressure's on.”

“Of course I can,” the Engineer answered, “Mister, I'm sorry if I've caused a scene but I don't take kindly to force where force isn't necessary. And you callin' me a liar don't help none.”

“I'll stop calling you a liar when you stop telling me you don't know where he is! Now cooperate or I'll see if they can't bring you two in for obstructing justice.”

One of the officers walked over to the lawyer and stood close as he muttered loudly.

“We can't arrest them for refusing to talk, sir.”

“Exactly!” the Engineer snapped.

“Hah! Don't worry. I know you mercenary types. As soon as things don't go your way, you start shooting and blowing everything up! It's all a matter of waiting,” the lawyer answered.

“Sir, we are checking over the radio. If there's anything on these two, we'll know soon enough.”

The kid crawled under the table again and several things happened at once. The Soldier grabbed him and shoved him towards his friends and the lawyer, just as one of the officer's peered under the table after the kid.

“We're being oppressed!” the Soldier growled, “Charge!”

The little boy nodded and skid out from under the table, rushing the lawyer and roaring like a dinosaur or a shark or a shark-dinosaur as he threw himself onto the lawyer's legs, kicking and flailing as he went. The lawyer tried to jump out of the way but failed. The police on that side were startled and chuckling. The mother was screaming at her son to knock it off and walking around the tables to tear him off the man. The policeman who had looked under promptly pulled out his police baton and aimed it at the Soldier.

“Men! Over here!” the officer yelled.

The Soldier tried to kick the baton out of the man's hand before crawling out from under the other side of the table near the Engineer. He got hit on the head for it by one of the officers who had stayed on that side, as others rushed around to try and trap him. Good thing Solly had his helmet! He stood up and bashed it into the man's forehead. Then the Soldier grabbed the startled Engineer's arm and pointed at the Sniper, who had already straightened up and pulled out his blade, which had distracted some of the other cops around them. The Sniper smirked and inclined his head towards the door briefly. The Soldier nodded.

“Grab him! Auggh! Lady, get your brat off me! Ow!” the lawyer howled and grabbed his foot, hopping up and down on it as the child was removed.

The Soldier tugged one of the grenades off his bandolier, held it up so everyone could see it, used his teeth to activate it, and then spat out the loop of metal. Their was a general outcry, the Engineer included, but the Sniper was too busy grabbing the Engineer's other arm and pulling him towards the door. The touch must have startled the Engineer into battle mode because he gritted his teeth, held onto his hat, and ran with him.

“Don't hold onto it, ya knob! No respawn out here!” the Sniper called over his shoulder.

The mother shoved the kid into her arms and ran after them, as did some of the officers who were dragging the lawyer with them. The Soldier threw the grenade into the back of the laundromat and was the last one out. Once he was outside, at a respectable distance, the whole place exploded, sending twisted metal and chunks of concrete into the air to fall like hail. The Soldier was knocked prone by the blast but managed to get up and keep going after that. The police tried to circle around him, trapping him between them. The Soldier didn't have his rocket launcher so he grabbed his other grenade and dropped it directly at his feet as soon as it was live. The police screamed and scattered, leaving the Soldier to laugh and keep going.

“See ya, losers!” the Soldier yelled, making the appropriate salute with his hand as they took more care to get out of the potential blast radius.

Some of the police tried to catch up or at least go the same direction that the Soldier was. He promptly began dispersing them with swings of his shovel and the second blast had them reeling, giving him more opportunity to escape as he stumbled through them. Hah hah! Pussies didn't even know how to handle an explosion!

His lungs were ragged and his heart was pounding in his chest, the thrill of battle driving him on and keeping him level-headed. The Soldier needed to find somewhere to hide or else more ammunition. He knew the Engineer would have his pistol, so he began searching through the various windows for any sight of his team mates. Ah hah! They'd taken shelter in a pool hall. The Soldier dived into the low lit place, slammed the heavy wooden door shut behind him, and raced over to where they stood, gathering their breath as they leaned up against one of the pool tables. The few townies inside, mostly rough-looking men lazily smoking and only glancing up a moment before going back to their billiards games. The Soldier thumped his friends on the back.

“I think I lost them!” the Soldier said.

“You owe me some new clothes, mate,” the Sniper replied, “We're goin' shoppin' in the next town over once the heat is off.”

The Engineer stood up and grabbed the collar of the Soldier's coat, holding on tight as he screamed into the Soldier's puzzled face.

“You lunatic! There was no need to blow the place up!”

“See? This is what I mean. Can't handle the pressure. Though you do have a very good point,” the Sniper added, “I'm just glad I didn't bring my sleepin' bag for a wash. Then I'd be real angry.”

The Soldier pulled the Engineer into a massive bear hug and thumped Engie's back reassuringly.

“You stood up for me, li'l buddy. You even lied for me! You're the best friend I ever had. I'm sorry if today put you in a bad mood,” Solly said.

The Engineer just stood there and then growled as he leaned into Solly's chest and finally hugged the Soldier back. He jabbed his finger with a buzz of angry punctuation.

Damn it! Damn it! I actually wasn't that bad off until you destroyed the damn laundromat! I just wanted to make that lawyer understand I wasn't foolin' around.”

The Sniper wandered over to the small bar in the corner and called over his shoulder.

“I lied for ya too! I deserve hugs next! Le' me jus' get a beer and a table first.”

The Engineer's eyes bulged and he shook his head.

“A table?” Engie asked, “We can't stay here! They'll look everywhere!”

“Bein' seen leaving this establishment will increase our odds of getting caught! Especially if we go to the truck. We'll deal with the cops if they show up,” Solly said.

“Aces! Ever since ya mentioned it, Engie, I been itchin' for some Snooker. You blokes up for it?”

“What the hell is Snooker?” the Soldier asked.

The Soldier looked down at the Engineer but the Engineer shrugged. He released the Engineer when Engie began squirming and trying to shove him off. The Engineer began to settle down once the Soldier handed him a pool cue from the nearby rack and the Sniper had given him a cigarette. The Engineer let out a long plume of billowing smoke as soon as the Sniper had lit it and then lit one for himself. The Soldier shook his head when offered one and pulled out a cigar from inside his coat pocket. That he puffed on eagerly and before long the three of them were blending into the mostly quiet, rugged men around them. Well, except for how often the Soldier sidled up to Engie and rubbed his back or arm, whispering how masculine and sensual he looked when he bent over to aim his cue.

The Engineer narrowed his eyes, flicked his second cigarette to the corner of his mouth once he peered through the haze and over his shoulder at the Soldier. He'd smoked the first one to the filter within minutes and was only calm enough to relish the second one. He relaxed under the Soldier's hand, laid flat on his back, and wiggled his butt slightly. Little tease...

“You tryin' to suggest you wan' 'o take me home after this, Soldier boy?” the Engineer asked, “'Cause it's goin' to take a lot more than that after all the hubbub you caused”

The Soldier waited until the Engineer had taken his shot, the Sniper cursing the Engineer's steady hand and applied usage of geometry (that was his excuse when Sniper had called him a cheat), and then furtively sucked on the Engineer's knuckles while Engie rubbed the blue chalk onto Soldier's pool cue (which Sniper claimed weren't really long enough for Snooker but none of them gave a shit.)

“Mmm, keep at it,” the Engineer murmured, “I ain't sayin' my mind can't be changed.”

“You know, we're still goin' shoppin' after this! I didn't wash what I have on and we're not strippin' me down just to go blowin' up another laundromat,” the Sniper snapped as he lined up his own cue and scuffed the ball, sending it rolling at an angle he didn't want, “Shit... off me game, all night.”

The Engineer chuckled and began rubbing the Sniper's shoulders as the Soldier wandered around the table, debating which ball to go after. He paused and pinched both their asses when he thought he could get away with it and licked his lips.

“Hrmm, that means if we find some place that's still open, we can have some changing room hijinks!” the Soldier insisted.

The Engineer groaned and leaned into the Sniper's side as he flopped against the rim of the table.

“No, no, no! We're in enough trouble already,” Engie said.

The Sniper chuckled and hugged the Engineer to his side briefly while the Soldier flubbed his shot, sending it spinning to the side. Damn, this game was hard!

“Well, don't knock it until you've tried it,” the Sniper said, “Though, yeah... not sure what place is goin' to be open, now that you mention it.”

The Sniper looked at his watch and sighed.

“Eh, least it's the weekend. We can go tomorrow. It'd be nice sleepin' in a real bed though. Solly doesn't normally let me, unless we've been boostin' morale. Maybe you can get me an easy in?”

The Engineer grumbled and began eyeing the formation of pool balls in front of him.

“Damn it... I'm goin' to regret this, ain't I? Well, I guess at your place you can help me prove that stuff... glows,” the Engineer said.

The Soldier perked up at this and grinned, pinching the Engineer's ass lasciviously. Of course, later that night the Engineer was too busy questioning why in the hell it glowed purple instead of green or red to let the Soldier get to bed at even a remotely reasonable hour. Sometimes giving a handsome man a hand-job wasn't worth the blow-job in return.

The next morning, with the sun piling in through the shades like it didn't know what the hell shades were for, the Soldier woke to find the Engineer nestled against the crook of his neck, snuggled against his back, and shaking his shoulder roughly. Ugh. He hated going to bed late. It always made him feel especially groggy and pathetic the next day.

“I think someone's at the door,” Engie murmured into the Soldier's ear.

The Soldier grunted and nodded, as he realized the faint echoing drum beat wasn't a drum at all. He sat up, Engie sliding off him easily, and gripped his hands behind his head, stretching his shoulders out by flexing the muscles in his back. Then he smacked his lips, turned around, grabbed Engie under the arms, and hauled him over the mattress, out from under the covers, and out of bed. The stunned Engineer stumbled to his feet to keep from falling, leaning on the bed for support, and glared through sleepy, narrowed eyes. The Soldier thumped Engie on the back and grabbed his bathrobe off the ceremonial and battle-useless ax that decorated the wall over where the headboard would have been, had he owned a headboard. He tossed the warm, fuzzy robe at Engie and pointed at the bedroom door.

“Well? Go answer it!”

“I don't live here!” Engie protested.

“Your initiation into my bed includes the following duties: fucking my ass, rubbing my belly, sucking my cock, and answering the door when I tell you to! If you don't want to engage in all four activities at once, you will put that on right now!”

The Engineer growled but eventually draped the loose red bathrobe around his stocky frame, and stomped into the hallway. The Soldier went back to relaxing, drowsy and almost going back to sleep when something smacked him upside the head. He threw his arms up in surprise, smacking the Sniper awake by accident, and dragged the heavy cardboard box down to his chest. He chuckled at the death glare the Engineer was giving him while dropping the bathrobe to the floor, again becoming as naked and glorious as could be. The Soldier made room as Engie crawled over him, knocking the air out of his stomach with an elbow and purposefully squishing his junk with a knee before nestling back into the warm, cozy bundle of sleepiness that he'd been before.

“Oi! The mail came?” Sniper asked while draping a long arm over Engie's side.

“Mhmmm,” the Engineer muttered, “He didn't seem too surprised at the sight o' me. Just mentioned 'That's different' and walked away.”

“Did ya shoot 'im?” the Soldier asked.

“What?” Engie asked, opening his eyes fully to stare at the Soldier, “Now why on Earth would I shoot your mail carrier?!”

The Soldier shook his head sadly and tutted the Engineer's lack of vision. He deposited the box onto the floor and then saluted the wall across from the two snuggling men.

“It is our duty to keep those mail men on their toes! Why, back when I was a young man, working at the post office, the height of my day was walking onto some gnarled old coot's property and him pulling out the shotgun! I learned some valuable, fancy, fast, and free footwork when I tried to reach my horse and if I faltered, by God the saddle jarring my injuries would serve as a gritty reminder that I needed to improve! If I knew how to drive and I still worked as a mail carrier, I would be delighted every time someone fired a rocket at my mail van!”

The Engineer's eyes were huge as he gaped at the Soldier but the Sniper had heard the story before and yawned. The Soldier lifted up the sheets and slapped Sniper's bare ass, making the man grumble. Then he slapped Engie's for good measure. The Engineer pursed his lips but only buried his face into the pillow. It wasn't until the Soldier had situated himself on his side, facing Engie, and draped an arm over the Engineer's warm skin, forming a steel cage alongside the Sniper's sleepy grip, that the Engineer turned his head to face the Soldier again.

“So... why'd you send me to greet 'im? You think I'm trigger happy?” the Engineer asked.

“He likes showin' off 'is conquests,” the Sniper murmured while scooting farther up so his chin was nestled against the top of Engie's head.

The Soldier tugged the sheets tighter around them and kissed the tip of the Engineer's nose. Engie wasn't nearly as frightening when angered while looking drowsy. Who was a cute little murderous mechanic? Who was? That's right! Engie didn't seem to agree. He pouted and the Soldier kissed his jutting chin.

“I'm not some conquest to show off,” Engie muttered, “Though why you think the mail carrier gives a damn who you fuck, I don't want to know.”

The Soldier began trailing little kisses onto Engie's hunched shoulder.

“He is my messenger to the outside world! Dave and I have a close bond as mail carrier and mail carriee! I have discussed deep, philosophical troubles of the world with him that I wouldn't even trust a bartender with!” the Soldier explained.

The Engineer tried to peer over his shoulder at the Sniper, regardless of how little he could probably see. The Sniper snickered. Solly had no idea what that exchange even meant.

“His name isn't Dave. It's Sam,” the Sniper corrected, “And you generally only see him on the weekend because he usually comes here after the morning shift starts.”

“You talk to him too?” Engie asked.

The Engineer arched an eyebrow at that and rolled onto his back to view Sniper better. The Soldier used the opportunity to rest his cheek on Engie's broad chest and scratch Engie's belly as he listened. The Engineer grunted but didn't dissuade him.

“Eh, few times. He's made of stern stuff, he is. I would've thought he'd be all jittery and nerves but he's got a carefully cultivated look of dull dismissal and superior morality that 'd make some of our men cry little tears of pride if they could see it.”

“He's good people,” the Soldier agreed, “Dave is one of the few I've solemnly sworn not to kill.”

The Sniper laughed.

“After all he's been through? I'm amazed RED hasn't hired the poor bastard. Frankly, I don't think I could accept a hit on 'im either. Originally it was pity but now that I think about it, I got to respect a man who can take some shotgun pellets to the ass and not beg for retirement. Or a new route.”

“That's because he's a werewolf!” the Soldier insisted, “Or a werecoyote. Maybe a wereshark. Well, whatever it is, he told me to lay off the silver bullets. And to call him Dave.”

The Engineer almost died laughing. The Sniper sniffed uncomfortably. The Soldier sat up and punched Engie in the shoulder. Not too hard but hard enough to get the point across.

“It's true! Even Merasmus said so!” the Soldier snarled, “And he's a wizard!”

Engie rolled over onto his back and hiccuped a bit before grinning and draping an arm over his eyes.

“Oh... I don't care. I wouldn't be surprised at this point. The idea of you constantly shootin' a man who only survives it 'cause he's a were-somethin'? Lord, why hasn't he torn your throat out yet?”

“Eh... Sam's tried,” the Sniper answered.

That put a stop to Engie's amusement and the Soldier glared at the Sniper, pointing an angry finger.

“Dave was just trying to share his were-powers with me! It didn't seem to manifest but that's okay! It's not his fault they didn't transfer properly!”

“You only lived through that because Sam knows where we live and I remembered Demo's house number and he gave Medic a ride over!” the Sniper growled, “Sam was really upset the next day. Said he don't generally attack people but you scared him! I'm amazed he didn't get a restraining order on you after that. Mostly my doing because I promised I'd keep an eye on you.”

“He said he was willing to help me out!” the Soldier insisted.

“He didn't mean for you to go knocking on his bloody door in the middle of the night and refusing to leave until he turned you into some stupid monster!”

The Engineer stared from the Sniper to the Soldier, his mouth wavering between a frown of dismay and a sneer of disbelief. Then he sighed and began crawling across the Soldier without regard for him again. The Soldier didn't mind too much.

“Well, there goes all my potential for fallin' back to sleep,” the Engineer said, “Thanks for givin' me the creeps and lettin' me know I rank lower than the mail carrier around here. It's been real and it's been fun but it ain't been real fun... Maybe more like surreal.”

The Soldier lunged out of bed and almost toppled the smaller man as he sank to his knees, grabbed Engie around the middle, and clung for dear life.

“I'd never fuck Dave! Be reasonable!”

“I'm goin' back to base,” the Engineer snapped, “I have work to do.”

“Noooo!” the Soldier wailed, “Stay! We... we still need to go hunting! We need something to catch them in! That's your thing: ingenuity!”

The Engineer tried walking away, dragging the Soldier along, and he was strong enough to do it but the Soldier must have been putting a real strain on his muscles because he stopped before long. Solly tried massaging Engie's back and the Engineer tried to pry him off when he loosened his grip to do so. That got Solly to cling tight again and bury his face into the Engineer's cozy stomach.

“Dagnabbit! I don't care!” the Engineer snapped, “Besides, that's easy! Any little container 'll work! All it needs is a lid! Now le' go o' me!”

“But Engie!” the Soldier insisted, “I thought we could go to the park to find them! We could wait until it's almost dark and then maybe it'd be romantic when we mercilessly stalk their little glowing bodies!”

“Oh for the love o'... you really want to be romantic?” the Engineer asked.

The Soldier tilted his head back long enough to nod rapidly. The Engineer continued looking down his nose at Solly and then sighed, covering his face with his hand.

“There must be somethin' wrong with me. All right. I'll give you a chance. I'll tell ya what is and ain't romantic though, got it?” the Engineer said.

The Soldier gasped.

“Yes! Engie, you won't regret this! I will romance you like you've never been romanced before!”

“I expect as much. You ain't normal,” the Engineer replied.

“What about me?” the Sniper asked.

He was slinking out of bed and draping himself over the Engineer's back, the tips of his fingers brushing through the Soldier's cropped hair as he did. The Soldier began kissing the Engineer's lightly fuzzy stomach, to show how attentive he could be towards his snugly Engie.

“The both of ya?” Engie asked, “Mmmm, all right. Listen up. I can't miss ya if we ain't apart none. I expect Sniper understands that the best.”

The Soldier looked up to see the Sniper nodding and rubbing his cheek against the Engineer's. The Engineer looked down at Solly and followed the Sniper's lead by scraping his dull fingernails through the Soldier's hair. The Soldier's eyelids lowered and he grunted as he leaned into the touch.

“Now, I'm goin' o' get dressed and go back to base. I like tinkerin' with my little toys, as you folks call 'em. If you want, I'll even give ya a ride over and you can visit me while I work, so long as ya don't hover over me the whole time! It'll do ya some good to get out, get some fresh air, and have a chat with our associates,” the Engineer explained.

“I'm always up for that. The fresh air part. I want a leg up on the bug hunt, actually. Since we found the others on base, it stands to reason the base and no man's land is as good a place to search as any.”

The Sniper shrugged languidly and hugged the Engineer, his hands exclusively kneading Engie's suddenly shaky chest. The Soldier licked Engie's stomach as he began kneading Engie's backside, pausing to spit out a bit of body hair that got stuck to his tongue, before sliding his tongue into Engie's belly button for good measure. When Solly glanced up, the Engineer had closed his eyes and leaned back into their arms, his mouth hanging open slightly. It was such a wonderful sight that the Soldier immediately knew what he should do to show his romantic-side. The Soldier let go of the Engineer, who blinked at the reduction of touch, and stood tall, saluting the Engineer with trembling enthusiasm.

“I will proclaim to the rafters how good you are in bed!” the Soldier crowed, “I will make certain everyone at base knows it!”

For some reason, the Engineer tried to talk him down, motioning with flat palms.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” the Engineer gasped, “N—now I don't think that's such a good idea.”

The Sniper stuck out his arm, across the Engineer's hunched shoulder, to hold his own hand out like a cross-walk guardian.

“Easy, mate, easy!” the Sniper added, glaring, “What did I tell you the last time you said that sort o' thing? Don't tell me you forgot already.”

The Soldier thought a moment, hand over his chin and tapping his mouth with his fingers in a rhythmic drumming motion before it came to him. He pumped his fist enthusiastically and nodded. Of course! It was a good thing he had people like the Sniper and Engie to remind me.

“Right! Don't let them know or they'll want you, and now Engie, for themselves! Got it!”

The Sniper winked and nodded as he pointed a finger at the Soldier, who was brimming with pleasure from knowing the right thing to do. The Soldier was fiercely inclined to keep his sex life protected from outside interference, with guns if necessary. And who wouldn't want Sniper or Engie? Admittedly, the arrival of the Engineer in his bed at the same time as any one else, and planning on keeping him there, was an unusual circumstance but the Soldier didn't want to imagine anything else now that he'd done it. The Sniper was a cohabitant and a welcome diversion. The Engineer was a well-spring of tenderness that was now invaluable to and inseparable from the Soldier's happiness.

“Good man,” the Sniper said, “Keep it under wraps and no one else will try to steal us from you.”

The Engineer peered to the side and frowned at the Sniper. The Sniper chuckled.

“What?” Sniper asked.

“You are shameless! But... I like results. Solly, how about you focus on the Pyrofly hunt and give me updates now and then? You two can cover more ground if you spread out and keep a network goin'.”

“Excellent! Your planning is as flawless as ever,” the Soldier crooned.

“Well, I don't know about flawless but I 'preciate your input, pardner,” Engie replied.

Then the Engineer chuckled and rewarded the Soldier with a kiss on the lips, finally. Solly dragged them both into his arms and covered both of their startled faces with kisses, before racing around to get ready and barking suggestions for capture, what to tell their team mates about the laundromat, and whether or not they should eat the breakfast that was being served on base. Of course the Sniper reminded them that he needed more clothes, so a shopping trip afterwards was tantamount to getting those Pyroflies. Especially after the Sniper insisted that the Demobeetle had told him yesterday what a Pyrofly looked like and where they might be hiding. The Demobeetle's refusal to cooperate yesterday meant it was unlikely to talk to the Soldier. The Engineer simply deemed the Sniper lead hunter of the expedition, which meant Engie didn't give a damn and simply wanted to be left alone. Great.

20 .

I'm going to assume that either no one has been interested enough to read what I posted most recently, no one read it and felt anything upon reading it, or they were shocked into silence by the sheer awfulness. If what I post is crap, I'd much rather someone mention that and point out the flaws. I know I act kind of shitty and hysterical but I swear I can take negative reviews. I'd rather have someone insult my writing and even go so far as to call me a bitch than ignore what I've done.

Since I'm feeling kind of emotional, I'm just going to start dumping the beginnings of most of the other stuff I started writing in here. Fuck further editing on it. Fuck going to the effort of coding in the italics and bold throughout. Only ones I'm not including are the one I need to rewrite and the one with a twist that will be confusing if it isn't all there. It's not like most people even read this shit so I don't think it matters whether or not it's good or finished.

I managed to scrape up a little more today for What is Love?



After breakfast, the Sniper wandered off and Engie went to his workshop. The Soldier had a lot of work to do. He smoke bombed the Spy's room first. The Spy was half-dressed, in his waistcoat and shirt-sleeves, relaxing on his bed with some ugly foreign newspaper, a record from some guy he'd identified as Hallyday once, and the ever present cigarette.

“Merde!” the Spy sputtered as he ran out, coughing so hard his cigarette hit the floor.

“That's for being a figment of Engie's imagination!” the Soldier snarled, “I'm the only figment he needs! Me and maybe Sniper!”

The Spy clenched his fingers inward and he sneered, eyes bulging.

“I don't even... Start making sense!” the Spy yelled, “Je vais te massacrer!”

The Soldier stood tall and proud, laughing. He didn't know what the frog had said but it sounded like it involved killing. It was wonderful getting on the Spy's nerves, instead of the other way around. So much for all that practicing with Sniper and Heavy, that Sniper had mentioned! The Soldier was superior to all three of 'em!

“Whatever, maggot! I didn't even gib you. Waste of a good rocket if you're only a figment.”

Then the Soldier slapped the Spy's shoulder as the man's eyebrows lowered and creased under his balaclava, his froggy mouth slack-jawed for a moment, before he straightened the front of his waistcoat, unbuttoned each sleeve, and pushed them up to his elbows.

“... Va te faire enculer,” the Spy sniffed before peering at the noxious smoke still billowing out of his room and then walking away.

The Soldier went to see what everyone else was up to. Now and then even Soldier felt like making an attempt at bonding with his team mates. The doctor wouldn't let him into his office. Actually put his shoulder to the damn door but the doc must have been doing the same on the other side because it wouldn't budge! Or maybe the Heavy was doing that. He didn't see the Heavy anywhere else but the doc was the only one he actually heard.

“If you are healthy, go away! I am very busy!”

“I'm healthy as a horse but I want you to test my pain tolerance again! Without the needles this time! Pull out a knife or something. Keep me on the edge, so I'm prepared to beat the fuck out of Monday!”

“Tempting... but I am still busy!”

Demo must have been at his mansion or one of his other jobs, he was nowhere to be found. Real pity, that was. Demo was an amazing conversationalist! Solly didn't really shoot the breeze that much but Demo had the best stories, drunk or sober. Instead, he found the Scout still yammering at Pyro in the mess hall over what was left of the coffee, even after everyone else had left.

“Then my bruddah, ya know which one I mean, yeah, he tried selling the guy my friend's kidney and the guy bought it! Then the guy goes 'So, how we goin' 'o do dis?' and my bruddah says 'Good luck! I don't even know him!' Hahahaha! Oh, dat's a classic.”

The Scout made the motion of wiping a tear from his eye and the Pyro chuckled but Soldier was certain it was more out of politeness than humor. The Pyro had, well, what amounted to his chin in his hand and nodded. The Soldier stared at Pyro for a full minute before it clicked. Shit! He'd been so focused on their Spy, he'd completely forgotten about the tiny BLU ones invading his house! That wasn't right!

“Hey! Thanks for the reminder!” the Soldier said.

He clapped the Pyro on the back and the Pyro looked up.

“Hr? Yrh mmmrpghm?”

Then the Soldier had the perfect idea. He'd forgotten to ask the Sniper where he should be looking. Or he had and he'd forgotten what Sniper had said. Either way, he knew exactly how to hunt some bugs and have fun while he was doing it!

“I've had a fantastic idea! We'll have a picnic outside! The three of us!”

The Scout blinked and looked askance.

“We just had breakfast!” the Scout said, “Not dat Spy's cookin' is all dat fillin'. Dem cross-ants and berries were the shit, for once, and dis coffee is killer but I ain't hungry yet.”

21 .

Unfinished. More some other time.



Reconciliation


Tavish was sitting in a booth in the local pub, with his blind-spot to the wall, drowning his sorrow in whiskey. They didn't have anything as good as his scrumpy but sometimes it was nice to drink something else. Liven his pallet up for a little bit of fun on the weekend.

Not that he ever truly had the weekend to himself. He worked every day of the week, just different jobs at different times. The only time he really had to himself was when he took time off for holiday. No, not much relaxation for poor ol' Tavish.

Of course, with that being the case, he should have expected the door to bang open and a certain obnoxious someone in a blue field jacket and military helmet to go storming up to the bar. Tavish nursed a fresh glass and watched, his good eye narrowed in annoyance. Oh, Tavish wasn't stupid. He'd stay in his booth. Jane hadn't noticed him or was ignoring him as he sat on that stool, with his face in his hands, growling at the bar tender to just give him whatever the strongest thing was. Yet the more he stared at Jane, the more Tavish kept thinking. Fuckin' git!

Tavish knew he was a fool for giving in to the siren call of those weapons. He'd known it. They were real beauties, exceptionally deadly, but he'd had to think it over for a long while before he'd agreed that it was worth it. He hadn't really believed that little woman about Jane betraying him for the same thing. He'd decided he'd take one of 'em to the base, since he'd never get a chance to try it out again if she'd been lying. Having only the one on him, he could then excuse himself if someone asked or the higher ups noticed and thought he'd taken the deal. A sneaky way to get out of it when he needed to because why would Jane turn on him other than being an idiot? That was his thinking anyway. Damn it all!

Oh, he thought Jane might have been dumb enough to take any and all weapons for a try out before sheepishly giving them back, like Tavish had intended. After all, once he'd talked to the bloke it'd be clear they'd simply been offered the same deal and were eager to see what those naughty little things could do! Tavish hadn't been prepared for the sheer vitriol Jane faced him with that day and then the cold bastard practically hunted him down like an animal!

All attempts at talking to Jane in a quiet moment, to explain his logic, fell on deaf stupid ears. Fuckin' Jane! The man had a hell of a temper but then who didn't between their two bases? Only thing he could get out of the man that made any sense was something about being a traitor and that Tavish knew what this was all about when Tavish bloody well didn't! In the end, Tavish assumed it was some bizarre mixture of pride and confusion on Jane's part, once Tavish had gotten the message that the two of them had an auxiliary mission; who ever killed their mate the most times got the reward.

Tavish didn't even want the rubbish by then. He'd figured it out. The incentive was clearly meant to drive a wedge between them but he couldn't imagine why Jane had fallen prey to it so easily. Tavish hadn't given a damn about it. He was simply so angry and frustrated that he fell into the pit of vengeance because what else could he do? Jane wouldn't listen to him, refused to be around him after hours, and had at one point even said he hated Tavish! What could he do but drink? That was how he dealt with everything else he had no way of changing.

Tavish looked around, temporarily confused by their lack of team mates in the same area, before remembering where he was. He'd picked the local pub. It was a hole in the wall, squirreled away amongst the town's little shops and restaurants, compared to the bigger pub in the middle of town. It had the cheapest alcohol around so the people that lived there tended towards it. Most visitors, especially if they had money, went to the moderately swanky establishment. Tavish usually went there himself but he hadn't felt like hanging out with his team that night. He was pretty sure all the men had found this rubbish heap at least once before, it wasn't exactly a secret, but unless they were trying it out or wanting some time to themselves, they ignored it.

So why did Jane have to come into THIS bar? Tavish glared hard but Jane still hadn't noticed him. He was slumped forward over his glass and must have downed one before it, judging by the empty nearby. No. He wouldn't start a fight this time. It'd be bloody easy, they were all alone, but he didn't need to get kicked out of this place. It didn't help either that the longer he watched Jane drink and the more he drank himself, the angrier he got. He couldn't help it! They'd had something special. Jane was his best mate and... and more.

Tavish sighed. Stupid yank. Even as angry as he was, Tavish also wanted to throw an arm over Jane's shoulder and ask him what was wrong. Jane was always scowling but he was boisterous and loud when he was in a better mood. Maybe that was why Jane was looking for some privacy. He didn't want his team mates knowin' he was upset over somethin'. Tavish finished his fourth drink and grinned. He'd always made time for Jane before, when Jane needed someone to talk to, so it was only fair if he made time for beatin' the shite out of the stupid stubborn arse!

It took longer than Tavish wanted, since Jane didn't stop until he'd had three, but Tavish could be patient. When Jane dropped a fistful of money on the counter and wobbled off his bar stool, Tavish waited until Jane was out the door before doing the same. Tavish hadn't counted it but he was a very capable drunk so he was pretty certain it should cover it. If not, Tavish could always pay them back. He had a tab there.

Once he was out the door, it took Tavish a minute to find the sorry sod. He expected to see Jane wandering down the road or leaning against a building or maybe puking in the gutter. Instead, he found Jane standing in the little parking lot to the side, staring at Tavish's Jaguar Mark 2. It made Tavish wonder if Jane had seen it earlier but then he reflected how that meant so little. Tavish knew that Jane knew that Tavish was usually too drunk to drive the bloody thing home, so he generally took a taxi and left it there. Both pubs were its home away from home. Even so, Jane wasn't trying to bludgeon it with a shovel or debris so either he liked the car better than he did Tavish or maybe that was a look of remorse on his face.

Jane turned his head briefly, turned back to the Jaguar, then jolted and turned back to Tavish, his teeth bared in a snarl.

“YOU! What are YOU doing here? HUH? TWO-FACED SNAKE... JUDAS!”

Tavish laughed and bit his lip.

“Oh YOU'RE one to talk, lad! Yer one to talk. Hah. Ya talkin'?”

Jane seemed to fume more at being laughed at and clenched his hands into fists.

“YEAH, I'M TALKIN'! I HAVE WORDS FOR YOU! AND THEY'RE ALL BAD ONES!”

“SO SAY 'EM WHILE I POUND YA FACE IN!”

Tavish was better in a fight while drunk, no bones about it, but that didn't mean after throwing the first punch that stupid yank couldn't throw one back. Half of Jane's didn't even connect but he hit with so much ferocity that he more than made up for it. Tavish tasted blood, whiskey, and some stomach acid that wasn't quite vomit by the time they'd moved into grab each others fists. Soon they were wrestling more than they were boxing, and trying to throw the other down onto the ground.

If the world hadn't been spinning so much Tavish would have realized sooner that they were now fighting on the hood of his Jaguar but fuck it! A couple of dents wouldn't matter. He was careful to keep away from the glass but Jane was trying to throw him off onto one of the little silver bits sticking up. That one was... oh, shite that fog lamp hurt! Not that the fog lamps did any good in New Mexico.

Tavish needed a breather and took one as soon as he'd wrestled control from Jane again. Jane was panting hard beneath him and struggling to roll Tavish under him or off. His lip was split, his nose was bloody, and his helmet was ajar, showing squinting blue eyes under the shadow.

That brought back memories. Tavish started laughing but didn't let go of Jane's arms.

“Oh! Ya look... like the first day we met,” Tavish mumbled, “I mean... the day we made... expo.”

Jane blinked as that finally sank in.

“I do not!” Jane muttered, “Do I?”

He seemed perplexed, evidently trying to remember if he'd even seen what he looked like after that first fight... before the police came. God that was fun! Tavish looked back down and nodded when he realized that Jane was waiting for him to elaborate.

“Mmm, ya look just like yeh did back then. All mean an' stupid an' bleedin' on me,” Tavish said, “What happened, Jane? Wha' happened? To us?”

“YOU happened!”

Then Jane frowned so hard that his mouth scrunched right up under his nose, his lower lip sticking out in the closest thing he got to a pout and wobbling slightly. Tavish winced.

“Wha'? I tried to fix it an' yeh wouldn't listen! Whenever I tried to fix it.”

Jane growled and tried to lunge upward but Tavish steadied his feet and pushed down hard.

“OH NO, yeh don't!” Tavish snapped, “YEH TELL ME WHAT I DID!”

He glared as hard as possible with his one good eye and Jane looked away before slumping back against the hard metal in defeat. Jane's voice shook as he spoke but it was extraordinary coherent for how very drunk he was. How drunk both of them were.

“You said you wouldn't! But you told the Administrator and that guy with the TV strapped to his chest. And who knows who else! I don't even care if you were drunk at the time. You promised!”

Then Jane shuddered and began making the most awful noise. It took a minute for Tavish to realize Jane was sort of sobbing and that his eyes were damp even though nothing fell from them. That unleashed a bitter floodgate within Tavish. Before long he was weeping along with Jane, babbling about how sorry he was, even though he still had no idea what Jane was talking about. The two of them began mumbling a sorry cacophony of gibberish. Tavish let go, grabbing Jane's waist and leaning into his chest, hugging the man tight as Jane reached higher up his own chest. They clung to each other, as if for dear life, and then caught each other's eyes.

They completely forgot they were out in the middle of a parking lot in town but luckily it was somewhere near the middle of the night and doubtless none of the town's inhabitants had the balls to complain about a pair of mercenaries who had a tendency to wreak havoc when their volatile tempers were challenged. Tavish wasn't sure who leaned in first but either way, they were quickly crushing their lips together, sobbing around their sloppy, drunken kisses, and grinding their bodies together in a desperate need for touch and tenderness. Oh, he'd missed those lips, those rough hands. Shite! He had work tomorrow. He couldn't stay out all night.

“OH, JANE! I'm so, soooo... Yeh sooo drunk an' I'm so drunk,” Tavish sobbed.

Then he belched. He had only enough sense to turn his head and cover his mouth a second afterward. That seemed to bring Jane back to reality and he pulled away, mouth twisted with annoyance. Not that Tavish blamed him. He had done it right in Jane's face.

“I'M NOT THAT... I AM SORT OF OKAY!” Jane growled.

“Can yeh walk at all? Yeh got a ride, boyo?” Tavish asked.

Jane leaned back, his helmet scraping against the hood of the Jaguar, and closed his eyes. For a minute Tavish thought he had fallen asleep but apparently Jane was trying to concentrate.

“I came with someone... on BLU. Or some more of BLU. I think. I told them not to wait for me.”

“YA WHAT? YA STOOOPID STOOOPID! TRYIN' TO GET ALONE TO DRINK AN' NOT HAVIN' A WAY BACK?!”

“I WAS HOPING I WOULD FIND YOU!” Jane yelled, “I THINK I DID!”

Jane glared at Tavish and Tavish glared back. Then Tavish blinked and stroked Jane's cheek.

“Yeh wanted to make up with me?” Tavish asked.

“YES! IN SPITE OF YOUR INDISCRETION, I REGRET EVERYTHING!” Jane snarled.

Tavish chuckled.

“Apology accepted!”

“I AM NOT APOLOGIZING!” Jane yelled, “I DID NOTHING WRONG!”

“YEH CAN'T REGRET SOMETHIN' WITHOUT DOIN' WRONG, YA BLOODY FOOL!”

“IT WASN'T WRONG! IT WAS WORTHY OF REGRET! THAT IS ALL!”

Tavish gnashed his teeth and sighed. He should have known better. Jane admitting he was wrong was like a solar eclipse; it happened rarely, suddenly, and it wasn't always complete. Tavish let go of Jane and they gingerly extracted themselves without falling over. An admirable feat considering how often they'd fallen over on previous occasions of drunken fighting and snogging. Tavish rubbed his stubby fingernails across his forehead, ignoring the strap of his eye patch as he went, using the mild sensation to keep himself focused on what was important. Jane waited.

“Yeh worthless... never mind! Never mind. I'll take ya home,” Tavish said.

“You're in no state to drive!” Jane pointed out.

“I know! I meant a taxi ya … ohhh, we need to find one.”

The successful procurement and eventual ride was a blur. So was getting into Tavish's mansion. He tried shushing Jane as they walked through the lush green yard past the now re-headed fountain. Jane had been blathering on at length in the backseat of the taxi about what had happened in his apartment before the WAR started and still wasn't done describing the pain and humiliation he'd felt, though he quieted when Tavish reminded him that his mother was probably asleep. Then there was another mild spat as Jane began looking around and claimed Tavish was a liar.

“WHA'? I told ya already it wasn't ME,” Tavish protested for the fiftieth time.

“NO! Not that. You said... you said you'd take me home,” Jane said.

“I DID!” Tavish said in the loudest whisper possible, as he fiddled the key into the front door lock.

“No, sir! This isn't my apartment or my base!” Jane insisted.

“Oh... OH! I get... I took ya to me home, not yer home. Tha's all,” Tavish answered.

“But it's not even YOUR base! Where are we? Shangri-la?!”

Tavish paused to stare at Jane for how embarrassing a question that was. Jane stood firm on his perspective when Tavish knew he was wrong and Jane should feel wrong for asking such a wrong question. Tavish waved a finger at him, in between trying to get the key into the hole.

“That's... that's stupid. Those are in some mountains... somewhere that isn't anywhere near where... where ever here is,” Tavish said, “In India! Or was it in Austria?”

“You don't even know!” Jane accused.

Then he smacked Tavish's chastising hand out of his face. Tavish smacked the hand Jane had hit him with. This quickly devolved into a weird slapping and shaking hands fight which was not at all manly. Good thing Tavish was already too smashed to care. Tavish frowned as he suddenly realized that what Jane had said was essentially true. If he couldn't remember when it mattered, then he didn't have the answer. Even so, he had to say something to prove he did know! When he wasn't drunk.

“Look, it ends in an A and I've fucking never been there... Bloody lock! Oh, there we go.”

Jane continued glancing around the lush green yard suspiciously before following Tavish in. Then Jane stumbled on the interior steps and looked around the neutral creams, greys, and browns of the living room as he entered. He put a hand to his chin thoughtfully but didn't seem to recognize where he was until he'd finished studying mum's blue easy chair for awhile. Then he chuckled.

“OH! I haven't been to your... your mansion in awhile.”

“See? I told ya it wasn't Shangri-la,” Tavish said.

Jane rubbed the back of his neck and looked away.

“I guess... So you still live here, huh?”

Tavish laughed so hard it hurt, even though he wasn't sure why it was so funny. Jane laughed because it was infectious and probably because Tavish looked silly doubled over like that, not because he got the joke. Although, really, what kind of question was that? When he'd composed himself, Tavish rubbed Jane's arm through his jacket sleeve and moved closer. He'd forgotten how cute Jane could be when he didn't know what to say.

“Yeh are so drunk,” Tavish said, with the closest thing to a manly drunken giggle in existence.

“No, YOU are so drunk. You... c'mere,” Jane murmured.

Tavish obliged by leaning in and then backing off abruptly, teasing Jane when Jane tried to hug him. He laughed at Jane's shock and then beckoned for Jane to follow him through the kitchen and nearby hallway instead. He couldn't resist sticking his tongue out a little while lifting up the plate-flap of his armor to show off the little smiley face underneath, beckoning with that too. It worked. Jane grinned, standing up straight and tucking his hands into his belt before he stumbled after Tavish. They both ended up walking into the wall at some point. Tavish was walking backwards and Jane was blindly following him. It set them both laughing again before Tavish remembered to maintain a need for quiet.

As soon as Tavish had closed his bedroom door behind Jane, the slightly shorter man was snuggling up to him. One broad hand tugged on Tavish's chest piece and the other angled Tavish's narrower chin towards his own. Tavish couldn't imagine why he'd been so angry at Jane earlier. He responded in kind, soft and nuzzling, before gently pushing Jane off and began shedding what was between them onto the hard wood floor. Jane was puzzled for a second but quickly got the idea and followed suit.

Jane finished first, having a little less to remove and easier to remove at that, though he folded his clothes into relatively neat piles. Jane took off his helmet last, even reconsidering it a moment before deciding, and threw himself onto the king size bed covered in red tartan sheets. He buried his face into the cluster of thick pillows and sighed. Tavish admired Jane's plump, muscular, bare arse while he finally busied himself with getting his two piece long johns off.

“Hey! That's ME bed!” Tavish teased, “Not yours.”

Jane lifted his head up and tilted his face just enough to show a furrowed brow and that broad, ferocious war grin, his teeth bared.

“YOU JUST TRY AND GET ME OFF!”

Tavish grinned at Jane's choice of words.

“Oooh, I think I will!”

Jane went belly up the moment Tavish had hopped over to the bed and kicked off the bottom half of his underwear. Warm, burly arms wrapped around Tavish as he climbed over and straddled his naked mate, his dark erection bumping sweetly against the other, pale and standing at attention. Tavish held still as he crouched over his handsome captive and Jane sucked in his breath as Tavish lapped at the hollow of his throat and nipped just under his adam's apple.

Damn, that army obsessed man still felt, smelled, and tasted so good. After a day of battle, Jane's creamy skin was laced with a thin film of spicy sweat, with that hint of manly musk and spent explosives that combined into a friendly sense of familiarity. Whether or not Jane had consciously avoided a shower after the cease fire had been issued, it wasn't strong enough to be overpowering and thus the perfect thing to draw Tavish in.

“I've wanted yeh so much,” Tavish mumbled, “Nothin' has been worse than wantin' yeh.”

Jane grunted his agreement before he quickly set about proving that he had not surrendered. He dug his stubby fingernails into Tavish's back, raking them in slow arcs as he stroked the hard muscles that twitched reflexively under his touch. He darted his tongue along the inner curves of Tavish's ear, making Tavish groan, especially when he breathed over it. Oh God!

“You wan' 'o take me down to pleasure town?” Jane whispered.

Tavish felt that deserved a clever answer but he was too drunk to come up with anything truly witty.

“Heh heh... ya got a ticket? Can't get down there without a train. Take yeh down to the pleasure station from train town to get a pleasure train.”

Jane pulled away long enough to give Tavish a confused look and then Jane grinned, licking the edge of his own teeth.

“Is that train leavin' any time soon?” Jane asked.

Those lowered lids and the leisurely tone of his voice was so reassuringly eager, that Tavish simply reveled in them. He'd never thought Jane would look at him like this again. Talk to him like this again. He let out a contented sigh and buried his face in Jane's neck, enjoying how close they were. Jane hugged him, all warm and cozy, before Tavish began sucking on that smooth, creamy skin. Jane was his, all his, and he was never letting go. He was going to mark him up and show him off and... and let them all know it! That's right, ya nosy bastards! Tavish was going to make Jane his. He chuckled as he came up with an answer to the question.

“Hrmmm... oh, wait. What's that? It's leavin' right now!” Tavish murmured, “All aboard!”

He tugged Jane's knees up and apart, just how Tavish wanted them, before sliding his hands underneath to grab two handfuls of that sweet arse, kneading firm flesh unrelentingly as it swelled into his palms. Then he lifted Jane up by his arse to rub their erections together. Jane shuddered and moved one hand up to massage a firm, hairy pec while Tavish began thrusting up against him.

His dark, sleek foreskin nudged and dragged wonderfully along as his tingling wobbling cock mingled with its pale match, growing slippery as little trickles of excitement found the freedom to spread over and between them. Jane's stomach kept their cocks mostly penned in, urging them to fight it out to the death as Tavish moaned and Jane whimpered.

Jane had laid his head back against the pillows and closed his eyes as he bucked his hips up to greet Tavish. So damn good! Tavish loved to see Jane come undone, all his carefully controlled actions and his restricted daily fantasy world unraveling into an unbridled need for touch and tenderness that showed in every hot, panting breath. All the things that Tavish was so happy to provide.

Jane opened his eyes slowly and smiled that weak, wobbly smile he got when he was shivering with desire. So handsome and wonderful, it warmed Tavish's heart. There was the man he loved so well! Not the one who had turned on him but the one he'd taken to bed so many times and never fully regretted it. Tavish paused, distracted, and Jane sat up abruptly but awkwardly. He grabbed a hold of Tavish's arse, before cupping and fondling it like a prize. Then he circled the little pucker in the cleft. It was such a slight touch but it sent Tavish's mind reeling, delightful thoughts of what else Jane could do with those hands. Unfortunately, the whole thing also halted his momentum.

“Here's my ticket!” Jane said with a throaty chuckle.

“That's no' a ticket, that's me arse!” Tavish laughed.

“Same thing!”

“It is not! Conductor's goin' to throw ya off the train, boyo!”

Jane pushed forward, sending Tavish back until they were tussling and rolling again, though more relaxed and both eagerly touching as much exposed, shivering flesh as possible. Tavish began running his hands up and down those smooth sides and muscular chest, unable to get enough, while Jane shivered and was brushing kisses onto whatever he could reach, be it an elbow or a nose.

When Jane came out victorious, Tavish relented and kissed the side of Jane's bristly jaw. Jane grabbed and pinned his dark hips down as Jane began thrusting and grunting fiercely to show he wasn't a pushover. Tavish still defied him, attempting to thrust up to meet him anyway and continued groping Jane's arse with a vengeance. This quickly taught the man where the real threat was. Jane grabbed both of Tavish's wrists and pinned those to the bed on either side of him, sneering in triumph. Tavish wasn't put out one bit, panting happily and letting his tongue wander across creamy skin as he appeased Jane with willing submission.

This went on for a few minutes, driving Tavish mad with a yearning for more sensation, before Jane let go of his wrists entirely to focus on the task of thrusting. Tavish eagerly turned to the previously established duty of the bloke on the bottom, which was to reach between both taut stomachs and form a welcoming embrace with their own hands. It wasn't until then that Tavish realized something was off. They had a tendency to shag while drunk, so it was a frequent occurrence but not one he relished. Tavish released the softening flesh and sank back fully into the mattress, very much annoyed.

“Bloody good that does me! Bloody drink.”

Jane looked down between them.

“Fuck! Not now! I did not give you permission to go at ease!” Jane snarled.

In spite of being on top, he stopped and sat up, straddling Tavish's hips with firm thighs. He gripped both flagging erections between his hand, obviously hoping a steadier, more precisely controlled technique would get the job done. It was a beautiful effort and Tavish sighed with appreciation. Even though his erection had lost its strength, it still felt warm and tingling as Jane's creamy, partially calloused skin palmed them both. Jane's hand was tanned after being exposed to the desert sun for so long, and the callouses naturally darker, but it still paled in comparison to Tavish's natural, earthy tone. Where Jane's body hadn't tanned was even more intriguing and pale, the stark contrast whenever their skin touched as delicious as home baked chocolate chip biscuits; loads better than the stuff bought in tins. Tavish raked his fingertips through Jane's sparse forest of chest hair, feeling the subtle curve of warm flesh underneath, and then tapped the other man's rosy nipple playfully.

“It's a' 'ight, Jane,” Tavish muttered, “Let it go. I should sleep. Bloody wha' in the mornin'?”

”Come on, boys, do me proud!” Jane grumbled in refusal, still addressing their wayward cocks.

There might have been some chance of bringing their erections back but Tavish shook his head and tugged on Jane's wrist gently, fondling it as he did. Jane finally moved his hand and lay down on top of Tavish, writhing regretfully. They were warm, so warm, and salty wet; their bodies flush as Jane pressed full, frustrated lips against his own. Tavish lifted his arms, stroking the side of Jane's strong, thick neck while running the fingers of his other hand over Jane's scalp and into the soft brown fluff that Jane called hair. He loved how fleeting and light it was, while softer and fuller than body hair, as he circled his fingertips slowly through it, just a whisper of touch against his skin.

Jane managed to ruin the gentle mood by suddenly digging his fingers into Tavish's shoulders and clinging to him as if for dear life. Tavish winced and tried to push Jane off. When Jane got the hint he rolled over onto his side awkwardly and Tavish winced again as he got an albeit not intentionally hard knee in the stomach. He grunted in annoyance and sat up on his elbows to stare at Jane, who promptly looked down at the mattress as if he'd been rejected.

“Wh—where do you wan' me to sleep?” Jane muttered.

Oh, that was it. Tavish had several guest bedrooms but none of them needed an occupant tonight.

“I didn' mean it, yeh wee lamb,” Tavish answered, “Yeh sleepin' with me; no worries!”

Jane, reassured, smiled weakly and grabbed Tavish's face in both hands. He lapped at Tavish's lips until Tavish opened his mouth to taste the alcohol still readily apparent in Jane's. The slick muscles curled and flexed against one another, along ribbed roofs, and as far into the hollows of their cheeks as a tongue could manage. Mostly Tavish simply felt along the smooth slick surface of the tongue itself, rolling in the waves at sea and letting them take him where ever they liked.

It was slow in coming but Tavish realized they'd never stop groping and tasting if he didn't keep his stance. He hated himself for not being able to indulge in the wonder that was Jane and subsequently ended it as forcefully as Jane had begun it. He yanked Jane's wrists down and bit Jane's split lip hard enough that the wound reopened. Tavish tasted copper and wrinkled his nose. He'd forgotten that it was there, even though it had been right in front of his face the whole time. Jane scowled and jerked his hand free to try and staunch the flow but only managed to make it worse.

“Wha—W hen the hell did that happen?” Jane asked.

A sensible question. Tavish's bite had been strong but it hadn't been strong enough to rend Jane's flesh. He felt guilty but now, at least, Tavish could think without getting lost in sheer pleasure.

“Ugh, I don't... recall. Come on, I didn't—wasn't expecting that. I don't care if ya bleed all over me sheets; jus' lie down now.”

Jane forgot all about the minor injury and nodded. The sting of it had to be little compared to the violent shenanigans on the battlefield. Jane reached for Tavish again but only leaned against his back.

“I wan' 'o hold you,” Jane mumbled groggily.

“Mmmm, sounds right lovely, tha' does,” Tavish murmured back.

He took the lead and grabbed hold of the sheets, so he could pull them up over Jane and himself. It was getting nippy, with less movement and drying sweat. He tucked his arm under one set of pillows and curled up on his side. Jane nestled his warm chest fully against Tavish's back and draped one arm over Tavish's side, curling it around until his hand began lightly stroking his muscular, though dubiously sculpted, stomach. It wasn't a needy touch this time but languid, careful, and just the slightest bit ticklish. Heaven. Tavish slid his other hand down on top of Jane's, feeling the bony knuckles in a ridge against his palm, and practically purred with contentment as he drifted off to sleep in his mate's arms.

The next morning Tavish was woken up by a number of loud dreadful sounds that did nothing for the massive throbbing pain in his head. It felt like it was trying to burst out of his skull, like a chick picking its way out of an eggshell. Opening his eyes (not that one of them did him any good but it was a reflex) and sitting up, revealed that Jane was already upright beside him and glaring at the bed room door as it hastily slammed shut. Tavish realized that both Jane and the other person, a woman, were still currently screaming their lungs out. Lying on the floor next to the door, and previously screeching along with them, was his now thoroughly broken alarm clock. Knowing Jane, it had been yanked out of the wall and hurled at the door with as much high velocity as the man could manage.

“Damn it, Jane! Not again! I thought we'd gone over this...”

Jane, who looked like Tavish felt, turned to glare at him before jumping back, mouth now open wordlessly. He looked all around the sparsely decorated, mostly medieval tapestries and framed paintings, but expansive bed room and then back to Tavish as he finally realized where he was. The color drained from Jane's face, before he scooted towards the opposite edge of the bed.

“SHIT! WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE? WHAT DID I DO LAST NIGHT?!”

Tavish rubbed the palm of his hand across his face and groaned more, wishing as he always did that Jane was quieter first thing in the morning.

“I don't know. Shut up!”

“WHO WAS THAT WOMAN?!”

Jane looked angrier than he had any right to be, given that he had recoiled from Tavish as if he'd found a dead prostitute in bed with him. Not that Tavish would know about that kind of thing but it was unfortunately the first mental image that came to mind. He almost wished he was one. Dead people didn't feel headaches and nausea like this. Oh, wait, Jane had asked a question.

“That was the MAID, ya bloody git!” Tavish snapped, “I must've forgot the Do Not Disturb sign again. Ach, I have to go soon an' mum's PCA 'll be here in a bit. I can't leave her all alone the whole day.”

Before he was even done talking, Jane had jumped out of bed and pulled on his briefs. Jane paused. The corners of his mouth twitched and his adams apple bobbed as he swallowed when Tavish stood up and wandered around from the other side of the bed. His eyes weren't moving away from Tavish's dangling manhood in all its Scottish glory.

“FUCK! DID I FUCK YOU?” Jane asked.

Tavish rolled his eyes, even though one of them was so milky and ruined it made it impossible to tell. He wasn't sure if they had done anything but did it matter at this point? Jane seemed to be more stricken than angry and just stood there. Tavish began digging in his larger-than-necessary closet for some clean clothes. He couldn't go to today's job wearing his Demo Man uniform. Well, he could but they wouldn't appreciate it at all.

He straightened up abruptly in the midst of his search as Jane grabbed him around the waist and pressed his broad, powerful chest against Tavish's back.

“Ya change yeh mind faster an' a dog that 's seen a squirrel! What do ya want from me?” Tavish asked.

Jane moved his hands up Tavish's smooth sides and fondled his pecs, clinging to Tavish in a way that reminded Tavish of something they'd done last night, even if only vaguely. Tavish sighed and cupped his hands over Jane's, squeezing them reassuringly. Then he tried turning around, which made Jane let go of his death grip enough to move his hands back to Tavish's shoulder blades.

“Jane,” Tavish murmured, “I'm not tryin' to be cold but I got someplace to be.”

Jane didn't say anything. Tavish shouldn't have expected him to, given that Jane was rarely able to speak when compelled by anything stronger and more complex than anger or pride, but he'd been hopeful. With a jolt, Tavish felt something touch his cheekbone, near his blind eye. After guessing what it was, he sighed and settled into Jane's faint touch. He had no idea why Jane seemed obsessed with it whenever Jane couldn't express himself. It wasn't like it was dazzling or anything. Milky white, scarred, and frankly ugly, which was why Tavish normally wore the eye patch. Also sensitive to the unrelenting brightness out in the desert, oddly enough. Another good reason for the eye patch.

He'd made the mistake of telling Jane that he could still vaguely make out some colors and only the broadest, coarsest shapes with it. All true but ever since then Jane would sometimes start groping around it when he was flustered, as if Jane expected some kind of magic would spill out and give him wisdom or whatever. When the eye patch was on, Jane fiddled with that directly. It got on Tavish's nerves. He only put up with it because in a way it was kind of disturbing but adorable. Before that Jane had fidgeted with the straps of his helmet when he was anxious, tugging on them roughly and sometimes biting them in the most manly way possible.

Of course, the longer this went on the more time was slipping away from him. Tavish felt a twinge from his empty stomach and a bit of an unwelcome ache from his nethers. Less time for that, too.

“Yeh want breakfast?” Tavish asked.

Jane's eyes lit up as he dropped one hand to his side and moved the other away from Tavish's eye over to his own forehead for a salute.

“Yes, Sir!”

“Then let me get dressed... bloody hell. Now what?” Tavish asked, “Who is it?!”

They turned to look at the bedroom door as a light tapping sound came from it. Jane squared his shoulders and looked like he was ready to face the poor maid head on, if it was her again, but Tavish held him back. Damn paranoid bastard. Luckily, Jane generally didn't go after civilians but he had a habit of attacking anyone that he didn't trust or recognize immediately when they appeared uninvited in a personal or private setting.

“Tavish? Are yeh hidin' that bad influence in there? I thought ya was done with the likes o' him!”

Tavish felt his headache giving him a cheeky wave as it settled down but also settled in to stay for awhile. Lovely.

“He can hear yeh, mum! If you're hungry, I'll be startin' breakfast in a minute! Go ahead and make yourself comfy.”

Tavish let go of Jane and went back to gathering a good pair of slacks and a clean red shirt. Jane ignored the door and went digging through his clothes, looking for a stubby cigar (probably half smoked prior.) He lit it up with an American flag-patterned lighter before sitting down on the bed. He began to pull on it as if he hadn't a care in the world, though his eyebrows were knitting together with thought. Not that Tavish blamed him. There was a lot left unsaid, presumably, and Tavish certainly hadn't expected to find himself jumping into Jane's arms after so much bad blood between them. Damn alcohol must have had something to do with it. Tavish frowned.

“Put yeh clothes on,” Tavish chided after he set to work putting on his own underwear and trousers.

“What for?” Jane asked, “Your momma is blind!”

Tavish snorted but grinned. He pulled on his shirt, fitting the buttons into their holes before realizing he was one button off and had to start over again to get it right.

“Me mum might not notice but the maid and the PCA will,” Tavish answered, “Not that the maid doesn't already know what yeh look like, the poor lass.”

Jane growled and Tavish looked up to see him blowing smoke while watching Tavish intently.

“You insinuating somethin', MAGGOT?”

Tavish felt his skull ache a little more at that and rubbed his forehead. A real pity he didn't have time for remedies. Though this was a much milder hangover than the ones he usually had. He could barely get up for an hour or two when he really over did it. Tavish sighed, taking his blessings where he could.

“I'm insinuatin' you're an irritable tosser! Yeh accosted her with a shovel, while ya were stark naked, after the very first time I brought ya to bed!” Tavish snapped, “I'm lucky she didn't sue me. What in Hell's name were ya thinkin'?”

Jane frowned and finally reached for his trousers, though he still glared at Tavish.

“I didn't know you had a maid then! And it's easy to forget. You're the only guy I know who 's hired one,” Jane answered.

“I suppose ya have somethin' there,” Tavish admitted.

He tugged a tie off the inside of the closet door, not even choosing one so much as grabbing one at random from the sleeve of hooks attached there, and closed it. He sifted through the clothes from that night, putting his eye patch and hat back on. He wasn't certain why he'd even taken the eye patch off to begin with but being drunk probably had something to do with it. Jane snickered.

“Where the hell are you goin' anyway?” Jane asked, “You look like a pirate accountant.”

“That's the look I'm goin' for,” Tavish said with no small amount of pride.

“You should wear the hat,” Jane said, “Ya know, that one.”

Jane pointed, with his cigar, at the Buccaneer's Bicorn that was perched on top of the ornate hope chest that Tavish stored most of his hats in.

“Oh, I wish I could! That 'd be a fair sight for that dreary lot of wanna-be paper pushers,” Tavish said, “I mean, the blokes at Albuquerque are. Okay, they're both in Albuquerque but one bunch is livelier than the other.”

Jane stared at him, a blank look on his face as he tried to put all of that together into something that actually made sense.

“I thought you said all your jobs were with RED?” he asked slowly.

“It's a division of RED but it's the more respectable end of things. Me third job. Well, the second one as well but yeh know... Anyway, I'm always the most fearsome person there and that's why no one questions me expertise.”

Tavish chuckled but Jane simply arched an eyebrow and shook his head with distaste. Then he looked down at his cigar. He held it out to Tavish and was annoyed when Tavish held up his hand and shook his head. Tavish didn't smoke the bloody things. Cigarettes sometimes but never cigars.

“Take it!” Jane insisted, “I can't put my undershirt on while I'm holdin' it.”

Oh. Tavish looked it over and found himself staring at the tiny sparks of ember that clutched onto the inward edge as the ash built up but didn't immediately fall. With an accidental flick, firmer than he had intended, he had it scattering on his rug. Tavish glared accusingly at Jane and Jane, refusing the blame with a roll of his eyes as he took it back, stuck it between his teeth and shrugged on his jacket. Tavish said nothing, realizing it was a moot point. Not as if the rug couldn't be cleaned...

“Hey, Tav... When's your shift over?” Jane asked.

“None o' that!” Tavish warned, “Yeh been a right arse to me for a few months now. I took ya home for some bloody reason, so I owe ya breakfast at least. Ya aren't welcome beyond—“

Jane pulled the cigar out of his mouth. He cut off Tavish's perfectly justified rant with his fingers nestling into Tavish's side burns and his warm lips nuzzling up against Tavish's. Damn it! If Tavish had any sense he wouldn't give in that easy but somewhere in the equally smokey haze of last night, he had the feeling that returning Jane's affection had become less spineless than he knew it should be. Hell, this was the first time in a long time they'd even been civil to each other. That had to count for something, didn't it? Tavish finally coughed from the smoke still lingering there and that broke it off, though Jane looked more remorseful than Tavish had expected him to be. The other man glanced away and went back to puffing on his cigar.

“Mmmm, yeh haven't a way with words but ya know just how to change me mind,” Tavish muttered.

“Hmph! I have a broader vocabulary than that!” Jane said, “Look, I should probably get back to the base, in case they start to wonder where the hell I am. But I want to see you. If we share a taxi back to that pile of dirt they call a town, I can drop you off at your car and you could pick me up out in the desert later, like we used to.”

“FUCK! I forgot I don't even have the Jaguar here,” Tavish said, “Damn, well. All right. Quick, I don't have time for anything decent now. I'll make us all some toast and eggs. Ya can help yourself to anythin' else in the fridge if you're still hungry after that. Probably better off not sharin' another taxi.”

Jane scowled, chomping down hard on the cigar before muttering around it.

“Why not?”

“Not many taxis in town. It makes it easier to figure out—ya know? Ach. I'll explain later. Come on, mum's waiting!”

Jane scooped his helmet up off the floor and settled it on his head squarely but didn't argue as he followed Tavish out into the hall and towards the kitchen. The maid was stepping out of the hallway bathroom as they passed but ran back inside and slammed the door shut when she saw Jane. Tavish knew he'd have to talk to her tomorrow. Maybe give her a raise if it helped. The mansion was huge and there was no way Tavish or his mum could ever keep it all tidy. When Jane paused and knocked on the door, Tavish stopped to stare at him. Even if Jane had to go right now, he could run over to one of the other bathrooms. It wasn't like Jane had a schedule to keep on the weekend.

“Leave the poor wo—“ Tavish began saying.

Jane ignored him.

“Mrs. Vasquez? I didn't mean it when I called you an enemy Spy and I promise I won't throw anything else at your head from now on!”

There was a soft reply in Spanish. Jane looked hopefully over to Tavish but Tavish could only shrug and continue walking. Either Spy would have known what she'd said better than he did. If she'd said it in Spanish, she probably didn't want him to know anyway. That or maybe Jane had shaken her so much she couldn't find the right words in English.

Tavish was intending to go straight for the kitchen but went into the living room instead. His mum was sitting in her blue easy chair wearing her lavender bathrobe, a nervous frown on her face as she fidgeted with her cane. They had a dining room but, since Tavish rarely took to entertaining large groups of people, Tavish usually ate at the little kitchen counters and let his mum sit where she was. He sat down on the arm of the chair, as he often did, and kissed his mum on the forehead. She calmed the moment she felt his weight beside her. She thumped his side with her hand, fumbling her arm over his back in order to pull him in for a light hug.

“Wha' took so long?” his mum asked, “Do yeh even have time for breakfast? Don't risk a job over a single meal! Sometimes ya just make do.”

“It'll be all right, mum,” Tavish answered, “I'll tell 'em I'm goin' to be late. Don't have the Jaguar in the garage so that 'll be true no matter what. For now—Jane?!”

A hiss from the stove caught Tavish's attention and he looked over to see Jane cracking an egg over a frying pan. Jane glanced up as he turned to dump the egg shells into the rubbish bin behind him, before reaching for another egg. Tavish hadn't even had time to get the carton out of the fridge so obviously Jane had set it on the counter. The loaf of sliced bread was right next to it, along with the toaster which was ticking softly. That Yank was bloody fast when he put his mind to it! Then Tavish shook his head with wonder as he realized something else. Jane never remembered the maid when he saw her but he remembered where Tavish kept the pots and pans at?

Jane noticed Tavish accusing him of being a bad guest. He huffed loudly around his cigar and frowned.

“What?” Jane asked, “You're in a hurry!”

Tavish blinked.

“That's right thoughtful of ya. What gives?”

“Don't take that tone with me! After all those times I kil—bothered you on the job, I can do this much,” Jane muttered, “You better like 'em scrambled. That's the only way I know how to cook 'em.”

He went back to tending the eggs and began stirring them with a spoon he'd also placed on the counter. Tavish supposed being scheduled to cook for your team mates at least once a week would eventually make any man more willing to help out, especially this once. Tavish wasn't exempt from that ruling, even though he lived off base, but he saw it as a chance to keep on a friendly, even keel with his team.

Then his mum grabbed his attention by stamping her cane down onto the hard wood floor (which prodded his dulling headache), between her bunny slipper-shod feet, as she turned to face him even though she couldn't see him at all. She wagged a finger at him, as if he'd been ignoring her advice again. Fantastic.

“All right. I've not asked before because I'm no busy body. Not me!” Tavish's mum said, “But yeh had a serious fallin' out with this man. Now he's back harassin' the maid and, for Lord only knows why, feels obligated to cook. And I'm almost never awake when yeh drag him in!”

Tavish backed up for a second, horrified because the only other thing he'd thought could go wrong between him and Jane was his mum finding out. He looked over at Jane, who hadn't even stopped tending the eggs, and hustled over to one of the cabinets under the counter, as the toaster pinged and the bread popped up.

“Not—why NOW, mum? I need some scrumpy.”

Tavish took a swig as he stood up and glared at Jane, who was only scowling mildly in return.

“WELL? What do I say?” Tavish growled, “You're not even reactin'!”

“What? She didn't ask a question!”

Tavish knocked down another gulp and wiped the back of his hand over his mouth, leaning up against the counter next to Jane as he considered that. For once Jane was being the calm one. He chuckled with very little mirth, thinking Jane must have misunderstood.

“Oh, I pegged ya for stupid but that takes the cake. Didn't ask a question? Mum! What did ya want to know if yeh do have a question?”

His mother frowned and crossed her arms under her massive, sagging breasts.

“Is this man ya best mate or isn't he? Yeh came bawlin' to me because yeh said he turned his back on ya and then here he is again. Throw him out if he's a bother but I won't hear any more of it if ya drag him back into your heart and he guts ya for it. Yeh either found out the truth about 'im already or yeh didn't. I'm puttin' me foot down and I'll be tellin' ya how I told ya so if yeh try me over it!”

Jane smirked at Tavish and then motioned towards the cupboard. Tavish glared. It was his house! In spite of being subtly ordered around, Tavish set the bottle of scrumpy down and fetched three plates. He took it upon himself to slide the toast on to one of them and set up more bread in the toaster. He was just going to fetch the butter and jam when Jane tapped his shoulder to get his attention.

“You goin' to make that call or do you need a man to do it for ya?” Jane asked with a smirk.

Then he began scraping a heaping helping of steaming golden eggs onto each plate. Tavish slapped his forehead. At least it was a good distraction from the conversation at hand.

“I best,” Tavish admitted, “Mum, hold that thought or they may very well fire me!”

“Don't ever risk it, Tavish! A good payin' job is always worth the effort,” his mum replied, “Though I'm sure they'll fire yeh for this anyway.”

“Not if I can help it, mum.”

He gave Jane a peck on the cheek, since his mum certainly wouldn't see it. The stubble that scraped his lips reminded Tavish that they both needed a shave and he could almost swear Jane had gone red in the face, which was a wee bit extreme given the circumstances. It wasn't all forgiven between them, and it hadn't been that much of a kiss, but Tavish thought Jane deserved something as thank you for helping out once again. Then he wandered over to the phone, tugging the receiver into the hallway, as far as the cord went, so that it would feel more private.

After wards, it dawned on Tavish that Jane had been smoking that bloody cigar the whole time he was cooking. As Tavish took his place at the island counter, he watched Jane sprinkle some pepper onto his mum's eggs before handing them to her. He really hoped none of the ashes got into the food. When Jane wandered over to settle down on the only other stool beside Tavish, Jane paused. His expression was unreadable as Tavish gave him a look full of misgivings. Then he set his cigar on the counter and shoveled his food into his mouth.

With a sigh, Tavish tucked into his own plate of food. There wasn't time to be fussy. He was usually on time so his supervisor had accepted the excuse readily enough. There was still no sense in making himself any later than he had to be. The eggs were good besides and so was the toast, though it was hard to ruin either unless the cook wasn't paying attention. That got him thinking... Jane had been kind enough to do him a favor.

“Jane? I know what I said earlier but,” Tavish said, “Yeh can stay as long as ya need. A shower; a shave. The usual. Just let me get in there first and go before yeh do.”

Jane inclined his head toward Tavish and nodded. He was chewing slowly, maybe thoughtfully. The helmet made it hard to tell.

“She out of there yet?” Jane finally asked.

Tavish blinked and then realized who Jane meant.

“Oh! I hope so. I'm about to find out either way.”

There were four bathrooms in the mansion but the closest one would, naturally, save some time. All of Tavish's grooming supplies were in there besides. The other bathrooms were set up for guests, meaning not much beyond the basic amenities, or his mother, which required everything to be where she expected it to be.

Thankfully Mrs. Vasquez had long since moved on, probably to the other side of the mansion if she was waiting for Jane to leave. Tavish relieved himself first (it wasn't as sharp a need before but it had suddenly taken a turn for the worse), shaved his chin, trimmed his goatee and side burns, and brushed his teeth in a hurry. Jane was waiting just past the door, his back against the wall and standing at attention. He fell to at ease when he saw Tavish and Tavish stepped out of the doorway. Then Jane pointed his thumb down the hall, inclining his head in the same direction, before he patted Tavish's shoulder on the way past.

“PCA woman is here. You go knock 'em dead at... you're still blowin' shit up, right?” Jane asked.

Tavish smirked.

“Not quite. I'm makin' sure they WILL blow up when they're supposed to.”

Jane grunted approvingly and closed the bathroom door. Tavish went to greet Mrs. Nelson so he could let her know when he'd be back and also explain Jane's presence. Then it dawned on him that he still hadn't even called for the taxi so he asked her for a favor. A trip into town to pick up the Jaguar wouldn't take long and, unlike the situation with poor Mrs. Vasquez, he'd always trusted Jane with his mum's well-being before. Even when they'd been fighting, he hadn't worried about that. He simply hadn't allowed Jane on his property during the War because Jane's only reason for showing up then was to break things.

“Don't go easy on him, mum,” Tavish said, “He's been doin' well but if he ruins somethin', I ought to know about it.”

His mum snorted and continued trailing her fingertips along the braille edition of Shakespearicles' Complete Plays, Poems, Sonnets, Rocket Jumping Ballets, and Muscle Building Tips that was propped open in her lap.

“He'll be on his best behavior or, so help me, I'll introduce him to me cane!”

He chuckled; that certainly wouldn't be enough to threaten someone like Jane. He kissed his mum's forehead before grabbing his things, giving Mrs. Nelson a thumbs up, and following her out to her old Chieftain Pontiac Sedan.

With all the turmoil and extra stress from waking up next to Jane, Tavish was again grateful that he only had one job on the weekend instead of two jobs. Typically he worked one right after the other. Afternoon mercenary battles were always a chore because he had to go into what one could call his “day job” after the battle and stay until late. Then there was Double Cross, which was simply murder on his sleep schedule. Luckily the team's assignment to that location was rare.

Sometimes there were two battles scheduled in a single day and that was why he'd arranged his two jobs with a division or subsidiary of RED. Someone at HQ would inform them about his absence, because the mercenary contract took priority, and for some reason they accepted that (though he had to make up for lost hours sometimes.) The morning battles were always 8-11 and the afternoon battles were always 2-5 (with three hours of lunch in between, if it was a two battle day) but three hours of non-stop fighting was still three hours of non-stop fighting. The weekend was always cease fire but Tavish worked as an explosives quality control inspector on Saturdays and a brewer on Sundays (and alternating days of the week; four days to one job and four days to the other.)

There was no rest for the weary... and Tavish was always weary. That was why he didn't spend his limited spare time, especially his holidays, with just anybody.

Which was what he thought about as he assessed integral parts of a batch and tried to chat up his distantly dry and professional co-workers in an effort to get it out of his mind. He knew he'd have to face Jane again sometime but there was no point in dwelling on it. No point at all.

Long before his shift was over, Tavish was bone tired. It wasn't as rigorous as blowing up the BLU enemy (when they were his enemy) but he'd had a long week. He always did. For that reason, he came back to the mansion with two carry-out bags in his arms.

“I've brought fish and chips!” Tavish crooned, “From that wee place on the corner near me work...”

He had to look at the bag to remember the name of it.

“Libby's,” he ended, puzzled. Could have sworn it was something else.

22 .

Dungarees are the British word for what Americans call overalls. That's what Engie wears. This was inspired by one of Japan's requests, I think. Also unfinished.


The Glitch

The BLU Demo knew there was something wrong as soon as he felt himself fading into reality. Respawn was always so weird. Like suddenly realizing there were goose bumps on the flesh and being incapable of warming them away until the body was whole. Something like that.

However, the sense of awkwardness came as he realized that the BLU Engineer had respawned right in front of him. The man looked startled but he wasn't even staring at Demo. He was staring down at himself, patting his chest around the overall bib as if he had lost a pencil, and then grabbing his crotch. It wasn't a sensual or a dominant stick-it-to-the-man sort of crotch grab though. It wasn't even for scratching or readjusting himself in his underwear It was as if he was searching for the pencil there of all places.

Engie physically jumped when he suddenly realized that Demo was watching. Demo arched an eyebrow and frowned uncertainly as he took a swallow of nice, fiery scrumpy to ease away the chill. Then the Engineer bolted through the door that lead to the restricted area, deeper down into the base.

“Bathroom!” Engie yelled over his shoulder.

Oh. Maybe lunch had disagreed with him? Maybe he'd been fighting awhile, hadn't noticed, and the urge had made itself known with a vengeance.

Demo ignored the strangeness of it all and decided to sidle up to the wall, near the door frame. He slumped down to the floor, knocking back a little scrumpy now and then. Demo had died while trying to guard the same control point that Engie had been guarding. The RED Soldier had managed to avoid Demo's little lovelies and the sentry gun long enough to blast both of them to bloody hell! Demo scowled as he considered what he and Engie could do to save the day and put BLU back on the winning end.

It was some time before Engie returned, however. Demo was initially glad because they still had plenty of time to turn things around. He'd even devised half a plan for a way to do it! So he wasn't worried until he actually laid eyes on the poor man.

The Engineer wandered back in as if in a stunned, shaky daze, like he'd actually seen a ghost. He had pushed his goggles up onto his creased forehead and his shaved head was bare as he kept turning his yellow hardhat over and over again between his broad hands. He stared straight on, seeing nothing, still opening and closing his mouth, as if he wanted to say something to someone who wasn't there. Maybe to himself?

“Hey, mate,” Demo said, “Sit down. Ya look like ya need a rest!”

The Engineer startled again and stared down at Demo, as if he had suggested that Engie learn how to tap dance and put on a show. Then Engie glanced blankly at the spot on the floor that Demo was patting beside him. At first Demo thought the stricken fellow would refuse but, without a word, the Engineer wandered over; putting his back to the wall and sliding down it. He slumped forward, hugging his knees tight to his chest, and buried his face in them. Demo pondered for a moment but ultimately decided that he should throw his arm over Engie's hunched shoulders loosely. Demo squeezed the Engineer to his side as a way of reassuring the Engineer that he wasn't alone with his problems, whatever they might be.

The Engineer flinched but didn't shove him off. He began to rock back and forth slightly.

“Oh God. Oh mah God!” the Engineer whispered, “This just ain't right.”

Demo paused in the midst of patting the opposite shoulder gently and nudged Engie with his bottle, offering it to him. The Engineer looked up and grabbed it. He took a large mouthful without even stopping to look disdainfully at the many invisible germs he typically seemed to notice lurking on the rim of whatever bottles his team mates might offer him, after drinking from it themselves. Then Engie held it limply by the narrow neck and Demo took it back, afraid it'd slip out of the Engineer's grip and break before Demo was done with it.

“Is it anythin' ya feel like talkin' about?” Demo asked, “I'm not goin' anywhere. You're still me mate, no matter what! A team mate and me mate... Not me best mate, mind ya, but still me mate.”

The Engineer continued to stare ahead of him for awhile. At first the Demo wasn't even certain that Engie had heard him. He was about to repeat himself when Engie looked right at him, his blue eyes wide and pleading for something that Demo didn't understand.

“I... I just... it's a glitch,” Engie whispered, “You know? It's a glitch.”

“Wha' is, lad? What's a glitch?” Demo asked.

“THIS!” Engie yelped.

The Engineer grabbed Demo's free hand, dipping his head down and forward, so he could pull Demo's arm over his neck before plunging Demo's hand directly into his lap. Demo's initial reaction was to go perfectly still, as he hadn't expected to be groping another man today (or any day, for that matter. He didn't go in expecting it, at least.) As soon as the shock wore off and he noticed Engineer's pleading look was now going from Demo's face down to the Engineer's clothed package, Demo began to feel around tentatively. Demo hadn't noticed at first because the blue dungarees had a baggy crotch to them. He frowned slowly and then winced as it dawned on him why this felt so different from grabbing himself. Besides the fact he wasn't grabbing himself...

“Wha—Yeh family jewels are missin'! Bloody hell! No wonder you're actin' all—BLOODY HELL! It could happen to any of us, couldn't it?!” Demo gasped, realizing what Engie had meant by a glitch.

The Engineer went red at that and shook his head as he looked down. His brow was deep with wrinkles, his eyebrows drawn together, and his mouth wobbling between a cynical laugh and a deeply worried frown.

“It's worse than that.”

Demo stared hard and let go, cringing as he tried to imagine what the hell Engineer was talking about.

“Worse?” Demo asked, “How could it get WORSE?”

He was truly starting to panic now, all too clearly imagining his own terror at losing his balls. He was pretty certain he'd felt the Engineer's cock though, so it couldn't be a complete loss of everything. That was all he could think of when the Engineer had said it was worse.

The Engineer's shoulders began to shake and he sounded like he was choking. Demo couldn't tell if he was laughing, sobbing, or managing to pull off both at once. His cheeks were clear of tears, though his bright blue eyes were watering, and then he put one stocky hand over his face as he shook his head wearily. Demo began lightly patting Engie's back, filled with more sympathy than revulsion for the awkward situation. The man must be losing his mind!

“If... If'n I show ya what I mean, you better not tell anyone else!” the Engineer said, “You promise?”

Demo stared at the Engineer's earnest, determined face, now tilted towards him. The much shorter man had his broad chin resting in his hand and his sturdy arm on his knee, almost casual compared to the stiff stance he'd had a second ago. He still hadn't cried, which Demo found admirable but not unwarranted given the situation.

Demo swallowed back some saliva abruptly and wasn't certain if he should agree without knowing first. What if it was truly horrible? How could Demo not tell the Medic if it was clear Engie needed help? In the end, something about the plea tinging the Engineer's features got Demo to nod.

“I promise I won't. Yeh better promise it won't make me regret me promise, though!” Demo warned.

The Engineer sighed and looked down at the respawn floor.

“I can't promise that. Not to be rude or nothin' but I don't know ya that well, son.”

“Hmm! Well... aye. I'll try not to hold it against ya if I get angry,” Demo said.

The Engineer snorted. He gave the Demo a strange look, like a mixture of raw terror and raw humor. Like the terror itself was funny to the Engineer, even though he couldn't shake it. Demo was already having misgivings about this but now his curiosity had been stoked and he couldn't back out.

“I don't think anger is the word you'll be lookin' for,” the Engineer said, “Uh, I'm not droppin' mah overalls in here though. You mind if we go back to mah workshop? This ain't exactly the thing to see when ya come out of respawn and ya don't know what's goin' on.”

The Demo nodded and stood up. He waited a moment as the Engineer rose to his feet, awkwardly. As if something about his legs or his hips made the action less smooth than it used to be. Then he followed the Engineer out of respawn, around towards the back of the base, and into the large shed that Engie called a workshop. It was similar to his own except Engie's was attached to the building proper. The Demo had his own a few feet out, in case of an explosion tearing it apart. Accidents happened when he was drowsy and BLU didn't appreciate having to send out a construction crew to repair damage to the base when they weren't officially trying to blow each other's bases off the map.

Demo looked around, since he was rarely invited inside when fully geared up. The Engineer was typically nervous about explosions destroying his various tinkering and works in progress, even if Demo had to arm his bombs before they could possibly explode! It was prejudice but the Demo Man took it in stride. It was a sight better than the racism he should have expected from the southerner. The Engineer was a little better than most about that. Maybe the truth was that the two were related but regardless, the Engineer had always been polite and even reveled in sharing his toys when someone took an interest in them. That was how he was with all of his team mates.

This time the Engineer bade him enter and hurriedly closed the door, ignoring Demo as he wandered around. The middle of the floor was bare but the walls were lined with shelves, boxes, workbenches, tools, spare parts, and a drafting table that had numerous blue prints on it. There was a single bed to one side, when the Engineer worked late into the night and didn't feel like going to bed proper. There was a small box of blue metal drawers on wheels beside it, being used as a make-shift nightstand. At one of the work benches were two stools with leather seats and a third, that looked exactly like them, was sitting at the drafting table.

The Engineer wandered over to the pair, grabbing one and scooting it next to the other. Engie dumped his hard hat onto the work bench as Demo sat down and waited, suddenly nervous. He would have to try and keep calm, no matter what was about to happen. The stool didn't help that as it wobbled slightly and Demo felt the duct tape strapped across a tear in the leather where he gripped it. The other two looked equally shabby so Engie probably had kept them all because they were equally likely to break.

The Engineer fiddled with the clasps on his blue denim dungarees for a second, as if he were reconsidering what he was about to do. Demo didn't blame him, though Demo had showered with him before. It wasn't as if they'd never seen each other naked. It simply wasn't polite or normal to go around staring at everyone's naughty bits when the lads were simply trying to take care of some business. Good thing Demo was buzzed or he might have reconsidered doing this himself. He had no idea why Engie was willing to go through with it but Engie had made up his mind after a minute.

The clasps were soon undone and the Engineer let the straps hang down of their own accord. He took a deep breath and pushed the top half of his dungarees down, then over his knees, leaving them to bunch around his legs as he grabbed his boxers and did the same with those. Demo winced, expecting something frightening, like wee Spy crabs or maybe a third eye staring out of the head of Engie's cock. When all he saw was a sleek, uncut cock, more or less what he thought it always looked like (minus Engie's balls), Demo felt underwhelmed. What was worse about this?

Demo stared, trying to figure out what Engie might have meant. His hips looked a little bigger but then Engie had always been a stocky sort, with a flattened pillow for a belly and the sort of limbs seen on a stevedore, so it was hard to tell if Demo was imagining it. He did think there was a prominent gap between the man's thighs but maybe that was because Demo had never seen a man's thighs without a hairy sack hanging down in front. He also hadn't studied the area, on anyone else, that closely before.

The studious air that Demo had about him quickly evaporated as the Engineer managed to climb up onto the other stool, in spite of his clothes tangling around his knees before he pushed them down farther and spread his legs open. It took a bit because Engie had to put one arm down between them before he regained his balance. As soon as that was remedied, he gripped one side of the stool but Demo still saw nothing more than an ordinary limp dick until the Engineer gently lifted it up and out of the way. Then Demo had to wonder if he was a lot drunker than he thought he was.

Demo leaped off the stool and dropped down onto his knees in front of the Engineer to get a better look, mouth agape. He was gobsmacked, to say the least!

“Yeh have a fanny where your balls and taint should be!”

He looked up at the Engineer's face and the Engineer blinked. That apparently hadn't been quite the reaction he'd been expecting and he was leaning away, nervous and confused.

“It's not a butt, it's a vagina!” Engie corrected, “A... a pussy, if ya will. That's sure enough how some of them fellas would put it.”

The Engineer looked away, almost meekly at expressing a vulgar word for it. Demo knew the man was polite, especially in mixed company, but normally he didn't exhibit such embarrassment after saying something like that. It was all so fucking surreal that Demo began to hyperventilate, laughing and gasping in shock at the same time.

Now he understood why the Engineer had been acting so strange earlier! Yet, the situation was no less horrible. The respawn had malfunctioned and changed the Engineer in a way it never should. In a way nature hadn't intended for anyone! What else might it get wrong? The Engineer seemed to follow Demo's train of thought and glumly nodded.

“That's why I said it was worse. There's some serious corruption in the data if it didn't just forget some part of me but actively altered it! How am I goin' to fix this? I've never really touched it before.”

“I'd expect as much! Yeh just got it,” Demo teased.

Engineer's expression remained serious. Not that Demo blamed him.

“No! I meant Respawn, ya lush,” Engie said, “I reckon I could fig're somethin' out but if I don't get some blue prints or someone who maintains the darn thing to help me, I might cause a mess o' trouble tryin' to change it back!”

The Demo rubbed his chin and shook his head as he calmed down. The more he looked at the Engineer's new genitalia, the more he was starting to think it wasn't so bad. It helped they weren't his. Less worry and also easier to look at. They were kind of... attractive, the more he stared.

The Engineer had a nice, thick cock though it wasn't by any means massive. Not unexpected, given his short stature overall. As the thatch of hair that surrounded it grew further back, it partially hid what looked to be a fairly standard looking vagina, with drooping lips and a slightly ruddy tinge. Demo squinted as he considered the positioning. It looked like the root of Engie's cock was around where the clitoris would have been.

“Hey... ya mind if I... yeh know?” Demo asked.

Engie arched a brow and chewed on his lower lip.

“If I know what?” Engie asked.

Demo pointed at the vagina.

“Yeh mind if I touch it?” Demo asked.

The Engineer practically fell off the stool as he clamored to get away, reaching down for his boxers and dungarees as he realized they were slipping down to his feet and otherwise a hindrance to retreat.

“WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?!” Engie snapped, “NO ONE IS TOUCHIN' IT!”

Demo felt annoyed for being called out for his opportunism. He looked away and tried to act as if his request wasn't encroaching on Engie's privacy nearly as much as it was. He also felt, well, weird for suddenly vaguely propositioning his team mate. His male team mate... sort of male team mate. He really hadn't meant anything by it though.

He'd always admired the Engineer's surprising strength, pleasant nature, and impressive intelligence but it hadn't exactly turned him on before. Not enough to fall into a trap of queerness anyway. Of course, Scout would have loved the current situation. The perfect chance to mention how balls wouldn't be touching. His usual excuse when someone hypothesized something poofy to make everyone else laugh or feel uncomfortable around the card table. Talking about bizarre, horrific, or otherwise uncomfortable things was great for throwing the other men off their game. Many of them were willing to use that tactic their advantage when they felt like being real arseholes.

Demo realized that he probably wasn't the only one who would have propositioned the Engineer. Even if none of them wanted to shag it, some of them didn't leave the base frequently enough or didn't have a sufficient enough source for the real deal to give up a little look and maybe a touch to resolve their curiosity. Now that he was thinking about it, he had to admit his curiosity extended beyond a simple touch. Which was probably why the Engineer was straightening his clothes, squaring his shoulders, and scowling so hard his massive jaw jutted out more than usual. Engie had made himself vulnerable and neither of them had realized how much until Demo had expressed an interest.

“I didn't mean... I was only wonderin'!” Demo insisted, “Although, if it's goin' to be awhile before you're back to normal, yeh might as well have some fun with it.”

“Yeah, I'll have fun with it since it's attached to me!” Engie snapped, “Ya'll want some fun, you get your own!”

They stared at each other, Engie trying to stand as tall and tough as possible with his hand loosely curled around the handle of the wrench in his tool belt and Demo wishing he'd had the sense to think first before opening his mouth. Maybe he could have brought the idea up slowly enough to coax Engie into it. Now he didn't have a chance in hell of convincing the Engineer that he wasn't going to harm him or take undue advantage.

“I won't tell,” Demo said.

Engie snorted, skeptical, and Demo sighed.

“I meant me promise. I won't tell the others about this,” Demo added, “Yeh might want to consider showering alone, though. No one intends to look but it happens. Someone will notice eventually.”

“I realized that,” Engie said, “Not that I think they'd be all over it but even being mocked for this don't sit right with me.”

Demo looked into those narrowed blue eyes and nodded. He hadn't even thought of all the jokes that could be made at Engie's expense now. Demo's knees suddenly ached like they'd been hit by a Scout's bat and it reminded him that he was still kneeling down on the hard concrete floor. He wasn't even certain why he hadn't stood up but then doing so might have made the Engineer even more upset.

Demo stood, stretching his legs a little as he did, and then stretched his arms, bending his elbows before pulling them back and to the side until the muscles ached. Then he swiveled his torso a little and let his arms drop at his sides. The Engineer continued watching him for any sudden movements but settled down when Demo simply reached for his bottle, tilted it back, and headed for the door. He felt like thanking the Engineer, though he wasn't sure what for. It seemed awkward and Demo thought better of it. He'd already screwed up once.

Over the next few days, the Engineer excused his shyness in communal showering by suggesting he'd gained some considerable weight and didn't want to force the sight on anyone. The Heavy and the Spy both insisted this meant nothing but the Engineer only took kindly to the Heavy's response. After all, the Heavy had tried to tease him for not even comparing to his own massive brawn and girth. The Spy tried to make the Engineer's belly “jiggle like a bowl full of jelly”, which Engie naturally didn't appreciate. Especially since the Spy went up behind the Engineer and reached around him in order to do it. The Sniper called them poofs but the Scout tried to do the same thing until Engie playfully beat him off with his hard hat. The Soldier scoffed in general, telling the Engineer to get his lard ass into the gym and he'd burn the weight right off him.

The Medic, the Pyro, and the Demo said nothing particular about it. The Demo tensed when he realized that Engie must have told the Medic because the Medic had such a... knowing smirk on his face. It couldn't have just been amusement over the way the others were acting. The Pyro, meanwhile, chased the Spy and Scout around with a rolled up newspaper. Then the Soldier yelled something about Spy Checking and did the same. Demo might have joined in the frivolity but he couldn't stop wondering what the Medic's initial reaction had been. He had to be fascinated by it. He was a doctor! Surely that sort of thing didn't happen every day?

Odder yet, he couldn't help feeling annoyed. The Engineer had shown it to Demo first but Demo was positive Engie would let the doctor touch it. Medic was a doctor after all but that still didn't sit right with Demo for some reason. Of course, now and then Demo wondered if he'd only drunkenly imagined that had happened. The Engineer walked a little funny now, like there was a slight roll to his hips, but it was hard to tell. Demo had only noticed it because he thought he knew why.

Demo decided to treat it like it had been a dream. That made things so much easier between him and Engie. They chatted about the usual things they had a common interest in; football (or soccer as Engie called it), various alcohol, fried food, hunting, fishing, horse racing, cryptozoology, foreign films, and physics. Naturally everyone else piped up when it came around to one of the things they had an interest in and there was enough overlap to keep most conversations going for awhile when the team felt chatty. The only ones who hardly jumped in were the Soldier, who didn't talk much unless he was brimming with enthusiasm for the topic at hand, and the Sniper and Spy but neither of them could resist the allure of football.

It wasn't until the next weekend that Demo found the Engineer trying to get his attention, as Heavy began setting things up for a round of Rummy. Heavy always argued for Poker but the Soldier would forever insist on Spades or Hearts (even though he sucked at both) and the Spy insisted on playing Blackjack. Because neither would back down, and the Heavy didn't feel like excluding them to end the argument, they'd reached a compromise at Rummy. Demo would have preferred Poker or Bridge.

The Medic had coaxed the Scout into watching something educational, though the young man was also playing a game of Solitaire as he was lying across the floor in front of the sofa. The Scout was flat out never allowed to play any card games with them after he'd proven to be a sore loser and a sore winner. Engie had initially joined them instead of the card game so Demo decided to sit out and join the telly crew as well. It looked to be something on sharks and Soldier was already distracted by it from the look of things, which meant yelling at him to pay attention was going to start a lot of drama that Demo very much wanted to avoid.

As soon as Demo tried to sit down, though, Engie got up and clapped a hand on his back as he gestured to the exit with an open palm.

“Hey, pardner! I'm sure 'nough glad you're here.”

“Yeh are?” Demo asked, “How come?”

His question was perfectly innocent. The Engineer hadn't mentioned anything special recently, either a project or a fresh discussion that Demo was interested in. The Engineer tried steering him out into the hall and Demo obliged. He patted Engie on the back briefly to show his support and Engie let go as they slowly walked away from the commons room. Engie looked over his shoulder a few times, as if he were expecting the Spy to be there, and it was enough to make Demo chuckle.

“Spy's busy tryin' to show Solly who's boss, if that's what you're worried about. They'll be at it all night, ya know.”

The Engineer frowned. He rubbed at the back of his neck, under the strap that his goggles were hanging down from. He'd left his hard hat and most of his gear in his locker or his workshop. Demo had his own gear similarly situated, wearing a comfortable shirt with his usual trousers and boots. Much easier to relax that way.

“I'm more worried about the RED one, to be honest,” the Engineer said, “You know how he is. He switches his objective, away from what everyone else is tryin' to do, just because he feels like it! Not often but it's often enough. Don't trust him as far as I can throw him. Especially when I don't see 'im.”

The Engineer had a point and now Demo was looking around them, wondering if some cloaked figure might be watching them even now.

“Yeh really think he'll come in, gun ablazin'?” Demo asked, “He likes to switch it up, to throw us off durin' battle, but he'll be in some serious shite if he breaks the cease fire!”

The Engineer shook his head. They were still walking the whole while and Demo realized slowly that they were headed towards Engie's workshop.

“As far as I know, he won't break cease fire unless he's on the wrong side of No Man's Land and threatened but he does that so he can snoop around,” the Engineer said, “I've caught 'im at it before.”

“Really! What did ya do with him?” Demo asked.

He chuckled as the idea of Engie lassoing the RED Spy came to mind. The Engineer tucked his hands into his overall pockets, the ones on the side, and puffed out his chest.

“I threw 'im out on 'is rear! What else? Wasn't easy, mind ya. Plum tuckered out after that.”

“Good on yeh!” Demo said, “So... are yeh goin' to tell me why yeh wanted to talk alone?”

The Engineer nodded and looked down at his boots.

“It's about... I got a hold of HQ and they're sendin' someone out to check on Respawn. It's goin' to be awhile though. Another week at least!”

Demo stopped and stared.

“Did yeh tell 'em you're half lassie over the phone?!” Demo asked.

The Engineer kept walking before it dawned on him what exactly Demo had said. He rushed the few feet back and put his finger to his lips, shushing Demo profusely. Then he motioned with his hands spread out flat, palms down and patting the air briefly as the Engineer glanced around.

“Did you just hear what I SAID, hoss?! That RED might be around! I'm no paranoid, not like Soldier, but I ain't optimistic enough to think he could never run into a gold mine like this!”

Demo had to admit that would be just their luck, with the bad streak BLU had been on of late. He hunched his shoulders and held his own hands out, palms up, in an effort to appease Engie.

“But did yeh have the balls—er, I mean, the guts to tell 'em that?” Demo asked.

The Engineer narrowed his eyes and huffed before pointing a finger at Demo's chest.

“No, ya idiot! That's why they're takin' so long! I told 'em it was actin' up but I ain't darin' enough to impress that kind of importance on somebody I don't know from Adam!” the Engineer said, “Now keep quiet until all's clear!”

The Demo grumbled but understood his mate's tight-lipped demeanor. Not as if he'd be declaring from the top of every hill that he had a bloody fanny under his cock. They were both silent as they entered Engie's workshop and the Engineer actually locked the door behind them. That made Demo a tad nervous but then Engie set about Spy-checking every corner of the room and every place he thought someone might hide. Demo decided to do his part by checking under the bed. When he looked up, he found Engie scowling at him.

“Ain't no monsters under it.”

“Just checkin'! Yeh never know out here,” Demo said.

The Engineer looked at the bed thoughtfully but shrugged before sitting down on it and letting the wrench he'd been Spy-checking with drop to the concrete floor with a clatter loud enough to wake the devil. Demo debated joining Engie on the bed but decided he'd better not, after what had happened the last time he was there. Engie looked wearier than usual and rubbed his hands over his face with a sigh.

“I don't think it's big enough to fit a full grown man underneath,” the Engineer muttered, “But then, I never did measure for that.”

Demo reached out to pat Engie's shoulder lightly.

“Never mind. There aren't any Spies,” Demo said, “What has ya—“

“All riled up?” Engie finished, “I got a problem and I can't solve it!”

The Demo chuckled. The Engineer, who often bragged about his ability to solve most things, was glaring straight ahead with his stout jaw and lower lip jutted out in defiance of the situation that was facing him head on and not budging one bit. Demo decided to sat down after all, to hell with decorum. He wasn't about to rape the poor man, for goodness sakes! Surely the Engineer wouldn't have invited him if he'd thought Demo would? The Engineer didn't move or try hitting him to make him go away. In fact, Engie looked like he was simply agonizing over whatever it was he wanted to tell Demo. It took a few minutes but Demo's patience was rewarded when the Engineer continued.

“It's not the same. I mean, I knew it wouldn't be! Only logical. It's kind of like it was before puberty, only not painful and, ya know, the skin's still retractable.”

“Yeh tool?” Demo asked.

Demo gestured at the Engineer's lap when Engie blinked. He nodded before lacing his fingers together and twiddling his thumbs, fidgeting that would build up the dispenser in his mind needed to create the correct metal components for his thoughts. Demo patted his shoulder again, wanting to show his support and understanding for whatever else had gone wrong.

“I'm sure it's tough,” Demo soothed.

Engie blanched and continued staring at his hands. Then he leaned forward, planting both hands firmly down on to the mattress, and looked up at Demo sternly but beseechingly.

“I'm damn near insatiable!”

It took a minute for that to even make sense.

“What?” Demo asked.

He stared at the Engineer.

“Wait, what?” Demo asked again.

Then he laughed at the idea of the gentlemanly Engineer being hornier than a goat and thumped Engie's back approvingly. Engie scowled and wrung his hands.

“It ain't funny!” Engie said, “I mean it! Mah... mah tool don't go soft like it used to. Not right away. Nothin' comes out. I mean, it can't. That's the part that was replaced!”

The Demo slowed to a chuckle as he listened and began to frown when what the Engineer was saying sank in.

“So the problem is yeh can't come? Oh, lad, that is terrible!”

The Engineer still kept wringing his broad hands. Demo scooted a little closer and eased his arm over Engie's shoulders, testing to see how Engie reacted before resting his arm there fully. The Engineer flinched but relaxed quickly and leaned into the touch.

“It's not,” the Engineer mumbled, “Not that exactly. I get all of the sensation. Most of the same reactions as I normally would. There's that crescendo but it's gentler. Still as sudden sometimes. When that happens and I stop, the urge dulls. But I'll be lyin' there, exhausted, and then after a few minutes it kicks back up! Sometimes not as strong but there's still... an ache. Like mah body wants more even after I'm positive I'm done!”

Demo blinked and tilted his head to the side, his one eye surveying Engie warily. No need to get all excited and then disappointed if his guess was wrong.

“Have yeh tried givin' it more?” Demo finally asked.

Engie arched an eyebrow and scowled, his hands balled up into fists on his hips.

“Have you been listenin'?” Engie asked, “Heck yes I have! One time I did it four—five times in a row! All little ones, I guess, but even after the last one I was sure I could keep goin' if I wasn't all shakin' and worn out! Next day I was sore to the touch but I still felt a hint of that same... that same desire. I'm at wits end!”

Engie slumped forward, his arms resting on his knees, expression somewhere between frustration and unfocused... Demo sat up straight and arched an eyebrow, relaxing his grip on the Engineer.

“Are yeh feelin' that way right now?”

Engie squirmed and wouldn't look him in the eye. Demo didn't let go. He licked his lips and pondered how many ways this could go right while trying to weight it out against all the ways this could possibly go wrong. The odds weren't great but this was a fine boat to be in, he had to admit. It was the weirdest boat ever but... but still! No one else in the whole world would ever be with someone who had both genitals. The strangeness was part of the appeal. The other part was... well, the Engineer. As much as Demo had been thinking it wasn't, he was starting to consider that, had this happened to any of his other team mates, he probably would have left them hanging in the breeze.

Demo wondered if the Engineer would have felt that way had it happened to him. He certainly would have been in the same position but with even less resources for... wait, it didn't make sense! Engie was all about building strange contraptions and Demo did know about one invention that would have served the same purpose.

“Much as I hate to mention it, there are commercially made goods for a lady to, ya know, enjoy when she hasn't any company and feels the itch,” Demo said, “Was that too hard to build?”

The Engineer chuckled and scratched the back of his head.

“I thought... about buildin' a machine. Pistons aren't hard. The motion is easy, it's all about gettin' the force precise,” the Engineer murmured, “Enough testing and it'd work. Tryin' it out reminded me it ain't quite the same for a lady as what a man wants when he's in there.”

“Ohhh, I hear ya. It's easy to forget if you're not in the midst of it and even then, only so much to remedy that.”

“Right. Better to start up the engine with somethin' else and get 'er goin'. Any difference won't matter as much if she... she gets off first,” the Engineer said, “Still, I'm missin' somethin' and I don't know what!”

“Couldn't tell ya,” Demo admitted, “Seems they like grindin' against me when they're on top, more than goin' up and down me cock. Heh heh... yeh call that cowgirl style, don't ya?”

The Engineer nodded and now his cheeks were almost as ruddy as the enemy's uniform.

“Yeah, that's cowgirl. Oh! That... Except I can't rub a little button at the top to feel good; can't grind it into somethin' else. It ain't little like that. I'd need a heavy duty sock or somethin' if I don't wan' o' resort to mah hand.”

Demo simply nodded. He really didn't know what to say to that. The Engineer was still blushing and staring at his own boots.

“And besides,” the Engineer added, “I don't really have the best material available for, well, the more delicate end of it. I can jury-rig it all I want and it won't feel the same as a person.”

Before Demo considered that he was sinking his boat bit by bit with all these questions, his next one managed to dive into the bottom of the boat like an anchor.

“Yeh could buy one. I can't imagine yeh make less than I do. Er, oh! But then yeh'd need to wait for them to ship it to ya!”

Close catch, that was. Fucking stupid questions tearing holes in his little boat of getting laid potential with... an irritable Engie, who was now rubbing the back of his neck, tearing his goggles off when he felt them there, and tossing them at the wrench on the floor. Ahh, crap. Then Engie stood up and paced across the concrete, swinging his fists as if that would fight off the problems plaguing him. Demo sat there, wondering, before he hurried over and spun Engie around by his shoulders. The Engineer looked up, blinking, and Demo cupped his broad chin in one hand while smiling to ease the tension.

“I'm not sayin' no!” Demo insisted, “If you're askin' me what I think yeh are. I just hate to feel like yeh might be settlin' for somethin' ya might not even want when ya don't have to, is all!”

23 .

Warning: Lots of OCs

Both of these are unfinished.


I used Random.org and a list of hobbies taken from Wikipedia.com when I realized I couldn't figure out what kind of interests I wanted to give this female OC that I started trying to ponder in more depth. I swear that this was the top 20 result out of 342, without any tampering at all.

1. Robotics
2. Cave Diving
3. Kart racing
4. Gymnastics
5. Hang gliding
6. Bowling
7. Auto racing
8. Relaxing
9. Model Rockets
10. Creative writing
11. Legos
12. Collecting Artwork
13. Exercise (aerobics, weights)
14. Woodworking
15. Squash
16. R/C Planes
17. Drawing
18. Spending time with family/kids
19. Air sports
20. Computer programming

Fucking, hell, Random.Org! I wasn't trying to make her explicitly interested in the Engineer's work! I've gotta say, I think all of that makes her a decent match though I'm ditching at least three of them. The drawing and writing makes me uncomfortable; it's too close to home and too close to Cat Bountry's concept. The computer programming doesn't make a lot of sense, outside the context of programming a robot. On the whole, I'm very pleased with how it turned out. Consider some of it as watching more than directly being involved in and it's lovely. I know exactly how I'm going to make it work together; the overlapping helps too.

For some inexplicable reason these two keep springing present tense at me when I'm trying to stick with past tense and I keep doing everything with the idea that 1968 is my year limiter. Then I smack myself when I remember this is a back story. So anything that needs fudging, just run with it, okay? Most of it should be within reason, at least.



Domestic Engineer


Dell wasn't entirely certain what had possessed him to visit the State Fair of Texas that year. He never could get by without some small project to fiddle with, even back when he lived in the college dorms. It might have been a need for fresh air or maybe it was because he hadn't been there in years. He remembered the auto show fondly and though there wasn't a football game in the Cotton Bowl that weekend, he could always come back for one if he felt like it.

His pace was lazy and slow as he wandered the enormous grounds, sight-seeing as he went. There was a lot there, all of it a little cheesy, over the top, and gleaming in the near setting sun, but he took his time to enjoy it, drinking it in. He'd gone alone so he wouldn't feel rushed or pulled along by over eager friends. It was a hazy summer childhood in his mind, with lingering days that never ended, even if it was really a slightly brisk autumn to the world around him.

He'd never remember where exactly he was when he found her. The only part that was committed to memory was the wooden fence that served as her throne as she towered over him, surveying the throng of people that curved around her crossed legs. Her eyes were dark and her eyelids lowered, so that he had no idea where exactly her gaze roamed, though she turned her head to regard him as he stopped and stared.

The breeze was inching along slower than a caterpillar and her long hair hung around her, a veil of thin lace falling across her shoulders, standing out against her clothing in warm rivulets of tree branches against an even darker midnight sky. Her long sleeved shirt had a high collar that showed almost nothing of her ample bosom and her loose black skirt, simple and tidy as it was, showed very little of her long legs. She leaned against one post and clung to the wooden bar under her wide hips for support as she kicked one dusty, leather cowboy boot idly up and down. Her free hand held between her lips, like a cigarette, but there was no smoke.

It was the jewelry that made her truly regal; he'd never seen so much of it on one woman and it not look tacky. All of it was silver, without a single precious stone to be seen. The various necklaces distinguished themselves by shape and style, thick and thin, chain loops and solid, leaves and flat circles, mingling together the way old friends did. Her bracelets around her arm and the rings around each finger were the same. None had childish charms or messy attempts at class. They were simple and powerful symbols of her undisputed reign.

She pulled her hand away from her lips to beckon him closer and licked the red stains off as the thin, white roll of paper revealed itself to be the end of a small, rounded lollipop. Not the flat kind but the ones shaped like a ball. All he could think, as she twirled it carefully to position it between her thumb and index finger, was how he wished that was his budding erection in her hands, in her mouth, and how shameful that idea was when he didn't even know her name! She licked it once as she waited, not even attempting to be provocative but oh God.

He gulped and pulled off his white cowboy hat, feeling like a fool as he leaned up against the fence, clutching it so hard with one arm that had his arm been bare he would have gotten splinters. He draped the other arm over as casually as he could, while resting one booted heel on the lower bar, acting as if he could hide his nervousness by casually slapping his hat against the wood. She contemplated his posture with her chin in her hand, the sticky end of the lollipop angled outward. It dawned on him, as he looked up at her plump, dimpled smile, that she would be taller than him even if she was standing.

That killed all of his hesitant enthusiasm right there. He had normally pursued ladies of his own height or shorter and he knew the ones as tall as he was were generally looking for a man taller than themselves. He had only had a few scattered romances since his time was consumed by work and before that college, not to mention personal projects. No, he hadn't spent much time on finding love but he'd found enough of it to know better. He was still interested but he didn't like pointless optimism. There was no way she'd take that kind of interest in him.

With a heavy heart, he decided to excuse himself and his pitiful behavior with a blatant lie as he eased off the fence and stood up straight, the brim of his hat being crushed a little in his hands as he held it up against his chest. He couldn't tear his eyes away from her expectant, patient glance, no matter how much he wanted to.

“I'm sorry for botherin' ya, ma'm. I forgot where the auto show was...”

She chuckled and stroked her hand lightly down her array of necklaces, her fingertips catching here and there during the descent, without ever smearing the lollipop against herself. Her voice was deep velvet, not so much with tone but with an ease that spoke of breathing in steady, even lungfuls. As if her authority and reign was swayed with logic and justice, not fear and the thrill of power.

“That's a right shame. They have some good models this year,” she replied.

She gathered herself and pushed off the fence, landing with a small cloud of the well-traversed dust. He put his hat back on and tipped it to her, keeping his eyes down on her aging, crease-lined boots, only looking up briefly to notice that she was smoothing out her skirt where it had hitched and gathered in odd places. She was all legs, firm thighs, and her wide hips called to him even as he silently begged them not to. He sighed and resigned himself, thinking that maybe he could turn it off if he got to know her better and found them incompatible.

“I'd be honored if you'd show me, ma'am. If that's all right with you?” he asked.

He stood straight for a moment, looking around as it dawned on him that she seemed all alone.

“I don't mind,” she said, “My friends are on the roller coaster and that's one place they'll know to look for me.”

They talked on the way there and then all through the building and out again, over to where the trucks where. She was working as a waitress for the time being, living with her room mates in Dallas. She'd had a boyfriend or two who knew his way around a vehicle and had showed her the same, though she certainly didn't make enough to own one herself. One of her friends had driven them all over in an old Chevy and she told him a story about how they'd tried racing another friend, who wasn't with them, over the old country roads on the way there.

“I'm a little aimless,” she admitted.

She had long since thrown the remains of her lollipop away and was spending the rest of her idle fidgeting playing with her necklaces, twisting them between her fingers before smoothing them down in a cycle that started whenever she expressed a nervous sentiment. Then she would push her hair over her shoulder and rub the side of her neck, exposing the small drop of silver that hung from her ear. Dell smiled, trying to put her at ease as he strode beside her, his hands in his jean pockets. He was resisting with all his might the urge to offer his arm for her to hold onto.

“Sometimes it's just real nice to walk around,” Dell said, “Until ya find a whim to follow.”

She tilted her head to regard him and her eyes widened a little.

“Oh, no question there. But that's not what I meant. Don't get me wrong. I'm proud of all the work that's going into fighting for equal rights, for women and everyone else. The world will be a better place once that happens.”

He nodded awkwardly. He agreed with her but he wasn't certain where she was going with it. They were walking side by side then, as they kept winding their way through the crowd, circling slowly like the arms of a clock.

“As naive as it sounds, I'd like to find someone to settle down with and, if I love 'em that much, I'm sure I'd want a child... maybe children.”

Dell swallowed hard and tugged at the collar of his shirt a moment, the pit of his stomach teetering on the edge of some other pit that was bigger and darker, trying its best not to fall in. It was way too early for that kind of comment! What was he getting himself into?

When he looked at her, he found her focus diverted to a nearby light truck, a Ford F-series that he was too distracted to guess the model of. Since it was part of the show, it had to be one of the newer ones. There was a display somewhere that said more about it but he'd long since started ignoring the vehicles he came to see. He tried to think of some other topic, something neutral, but his mind had gone blank with trying to imagine how he felt about having children. He'd never thought he was against it before but it certainly wasn't a good idea when he still had all those student loans to pay off.

“They have the best toys these days too,” she said, “All of those remote controlled things. My favorite are the planes.”

He stared at her but she remained as calm and collected as before.

“You, uh, ya been lookin' into that, huh?” he asked.

She turned, frowning uncertainly. She put one hand on her hip as she tilted it up.

“I know it's not feminine and it's kind of childish besides but I like 'em! I even like those little rockets ya fire into the air but they're not quite as much fun. Ya can make the planes go where ever ya want.”

Phew! So it was a personal interest, not a matter of planning her child's life out before it had even been born. Dell felt his shoulders fall from their hunched position as he went from subtly cringing to slouching just enough to be comfortable.

“Ya like real planes?” he asked her.

“Yeah,” she said, “I wanted to be a stewardess for awhile. But there's not a lot of control for where ya go and you don't get to see what's there for very long. Plus you're focused on the passengers. I suppose it's a sight better than bein' a waitress but not by enough. I'm more comfortable stayin' here in Texas, where all my friends and family are.”

He nodded.





TF2 bugs are officially mostly unisex and technically genderless, with most of them reproducing asexually. For the sake of simplicity (and because this will have porn), all of my characters shall be referred to as he and the spin of sexual reproduction has been applied (yes, technically male impregnation... except the eggs still appear out of nowhere.) I would have avoided named OCs if I could but the idea I finally settled on requires names to keep things comprehensive. Personally I'm pleased with the names I came up with.

I know hornets don't actually survive through winter. It's literary discretion, since the Solly is more mammal than insect.


Itty Bitty Helmets


The disaster came with little warning. Winter still held a faint grip on the world around the RED Solly nest, built into the remains of a long dead tree on a small lonely hill. It should have been easy to see the threat coming but the attack was unexpected. The monster had been sighted before, less frequently when winter came and rarely when the sun was out. It generally ignored their colony in favor of those smaller golden brown beasts that burrowed into the grassy plains around them.

Every guard on the lower south side was dead within minutes of issuing their warnings to the monster, either from enormous claws as fearsome as the sharpest shovel or the strong jaws covered in vertical white and black stripes. They fought valiantly, down to the last bug, but every unit then and after had high casualties. The ones that fell to the ground from sustained injuries didn't have a chance. No swinging of shovels, swords, or pick axes could thwart the enormous beast and it devoured the mangled bodies of the ones that had landed when they couldn't or wouldn't move away.

Nettle, after the sudden shock of a gentle breeze and the unusual scent it carried with it, simply turned his head and twitched his antenna while chunks of splintering bark and flying clods of dirt rained down around him. The chaos struck the Groundlings as they were uncovered first, not within the nest cavity proper but in the tunnels just below it, where the monster had dug its way in. Many attacked without thought, swiping at whatever came close, simply giving into instinct as they spread a chemical alarm to the Sollys around them. The guards on duty had finally raised the alarm inside the nest, spreading the alert and attack pheromones until the entire colony was in a frenzy. The mostly defenseless Groundlings, other than responding to the trigger, weren't necessarily trying to protect the colony that had thrown their worthless or insubordinate hides into the earth to toil forever beneath the rest. They were simply desperate to survive. Without wings and without direct orders, they were only doing what they could to fend off the beast.

Nettle, being a former officer and noticing the short work this beast was making of his Groundling brothers at arms, managed to shake off the mindless fury inspired by the pheromone. He grabbed the two nearest Groundlings by the shoulders and shook them. Husk and Rind were startled just long enough to listen to him yell.

“RETREAT! REGROUP! NOW!”

Retreat was generally unacceptable and only taken when absolutely necessary. Normally the attack pheromone was too maddeningly strong to defy, for as long as it lingered in the air, but the truth was as bitter and clear as Nettle's disgruntled feelings. They would die if they stayed there. He had considered escape before, when things were calm and simply demoralizing, but he'd never had the guts to go through with it. The colony was all he'd known and escape past the guards wasn't easy. Right then he had no real plan beyond evading the monster.

Husk and Rind let their antennas droop and grimaced uncertainly at one another. It was a lot to ask of them yet they had responded to his sudden tone of authority, as any Solly would. Nettle didn't get a chance to hear any confused protests before a single menacing claw burst through Rind's chest, blood splattering wildly onto Husk and Nettle as they jumped back. Rind opened his mouth but his war cry became one with the sea of angry and pained screams around them. As Rind was lifted away, hacking at the claw detaining him, Nettle held his shovel tight and fled.

His panicked run was abruptly halted a foot away from the beast by a swooping buzz that landed right in front of him, forcing him back. Nettle flicked his antenna uncertainly towards the Grunt in his face, searching before recognition came... it was Slingshot. In his former unit, when he had a unit. Slingshot pushed Nettle back into Husk (who was pretending not to hide behind Nettle, even though he clearly was) and pointed at the beast with his shovel.

“DO YOU HAVE NO SHAME?! Normally I'd kill you for this but we need all available soldiers, PRONTO! Consider this a reprieve, YOU WORTHLESS MAGGOTS!”

Nettle turned to regard the massive, hairy, gray monster, his antenna working double-time to form the mingling scent into a mental image. The monster was avoiding stragglers now, intent on catching clusters of Sollys at a time. The Officers had gathered their scattered troops into proper formations after breaking out the rockets and shotguns from the supplies. It seemed the monster had a very thick hide and it took awhile before it even responded to the bursts of destruction that surrounded it. Their stockpiles of ammunition were going to be dangerously low come spring.

With a grim twitch the three of them detected their Boss Bug, Custard, the largest and the highest ranking Officer out of them all, as he joined the fight. He flew up into the monster's face when its gaping maw was open and launched a rocket down the monster's throat, trying to kill it from the inside out. As Custard's wings buzzed with a vengeance to get him out of harms way, the monster turned and snapped its jaws shut. Then it slowly began to retreat as the corpse dangled from its gruesome teeth, with the remaining Sollys that were in flight giving chase. They didn't even think to ration their remaining firepower, continuing to shoot as if the beast might be slain with enough well-placed rockets.

There was a stunned silence from all three as the yelling continued and flakes of paper-like material crumbled from the side of their ruined home. Nettle grimly pushed past Slingshot and began marching away. He held his shovel up against his shoulder per usual but, for the first time since he'd been grounded, with his helmet held high and his antenna pricked forward with determination. The Boss who had demoted him was dead and there would be nothing but chaos and discomfort as the Sollys that were left tried to reorganize and recover from their losses. It was more work than Nettle wanted to think about.

“W—where are you going, MAGGOTS? GET BACK HERE!”

Nettle noted that Husk had stopped following him at Slingshot's demanding tone but he continued onward. He had a deep sense of self-loathing for ignoring his brothers in need but it wasn't strong enough to make him fall back in line. Now was as good a time as any to find out if he could live without his colony's protection when there was a good chance he'd die no matter what he did. Their defense had been severely compromised and the weather, though mild, might take a turn for the worse.

“I ASKED A QUESTION AND I EXPECT AN ANSWER!” Slingshot yelled.

“What if that monster comes back? IT IS AN UNWHOLESOME TERROR and we BARELY put a dent in it!” Nettle snapped.

Slingshot gasped.

“YOU'RE RIGHT! THIS CALLS FOR REINFORCEMENTS! DEMOBEETLE REINFORCEMENTS!”

Slingshot saluted them both, then turned and soared on glistening, clear wings, likely headed towards the Thistle Clan. Nettle grimaced with envy. The stumps of his own torn wings, too small to stick out of the holes in the back of his jacket and unintentionally tucked away because of this, twitched in a pathetic mimicry of flight. The idea of marching the whole way, even if he had no idea where to and for how long, already felt unnatural. Ever since he'd lost his wings he hadn't left the colony and he had never moved that far on foot before. Yet he had no other recourse.

Nettle turned to regard Husk and, now that Slingshot was gone, Husk kept facing the broken nest. It was still chaos but orders were being barked out by the few Officers who had stayed behind. No one else had noticed them or else they were ignoring them for more important problems, like checking on the nursery of Maget pupa. Nettle waited, this time suddenly realizing that being alone also felt unnatural. If he had no one to command and nothing to return to before falling asleep, what would he do? Luckily, Husk eventually stood at attention before Nettle and saluted.

“REQUESTING CLEARANCE TO COME ALONG, SIR!”

Nettle saluted back, antenna relaxing.

“GRANTED!”

Nettle tried to remember what little he could of the world around him and then arbitrarily picked a direction that lead away from the colony. They marched along in single file, down the hill, humming in tune to their stride. Their antenna were attentive, particularly for the cry of birds, and the tell tale sign of anything making a path towards them. As luck would have it, they ran into nothing else aggressive and proceeded to cover significant ground. This soon became a problem when they met nothing weaker either. Nettle only realized it when his stomach began to ache with emptiness hours later. He'd gotten used to hunger, since groundlings were fed only enough to survive on, and hadn't noticed until then.

They took a moment to pause on a nearby cluster of stones. It left them exposed but it was easier to survey their surroundings as the wind current drifted over the tall stalks of grass. The world was deathly quiet, aside from the wind and the faint growl of their stomachs.

“This is a wasteland,” Husk muttered.

Nettle's antenna hung low over the front of his helmet as he thought, scratching idly at the X shaped scar that denoted all Groundlings.

“It's winter,” Nettle remembered suddenly.

It hardly ever snowed, and only for a short period of time when it did, but it was still colder outside. Most bugs without a social structure were probably hunkered down in whatever respective covering they could find and the sensible ones had storage to keep travel minimized. Nettle hadn't realized the impact this might have. He solemnly pondered turning around but it was now a long march back and there was little to look forward to when they got there.

They huddled closer together uncertainly, Husk expecting some form of orders and Nettle not knowing what orders to give. Nettle flicked his antenna around, sniffing for opportunity. None was granted.

After a long silence, Nettle stood up and jumped down to the base of the stones. He signaled Husk and pointed in front of him.

“WE DIG!”

Husk scowled but followed Nettle's lead and before long they had a sizable hole leading down under the rocks. It didn't have the comfort of a properly crafted nest but they could chop down some grass and drag it in for bedding.

“THIS WILL BE TEMPORARY!” Nettle reassured Husk.

It was a long night with no food but their combined warmth within the rough, covered trench allowed the two Sollys to find sleep eventually.

24 .

>>20
Don't think that. You're writing has been a pleasure to read, and the sniper/engineer/soldier has been enjoyable- in more ways than one.

All these other fics look rather quite interesting as well. Can't wait to see what more you turn up!

25 .

I dunno about anyone else, but I loved all that crazy shit with the dirty apartment and the sexually transmitted curse and the exploding laundromat and stuff. You write Soldier hilariously.

26 .

Don't let a lack of responses stop you from writing something as amazing as those apartment shenanigans. I loved all the little details like the TF2bugs to the curse to the way you write Soldier's dialogue and thought process.

27 .

>>22

Gah! Why would you stop there!?
My curiosity begs for more!

28 .

>>27

That's exactly what I was thinking. I hope there's more.d

29 .

I have to wonder with the bugs things with sniper, engie, and solly. If engiebee is in it, will a sollyant appear? I'm just laughing at the thoughts of Solly meeting one.

30 .

>>29
That was the plan.


Part whatever of What is Love? It follows immediately after the part that ends with Scout going "I just ate."



“You got anything better to do, private?!” the Soldier snarled.

The Scout looked at the Pyro and presumably the Pyro was looking back at Scout because his head was turned in Scout's direction and they shrugged at the same time. Unfortunately, an hour or so later passed with the only difference being one of scenery. The Soldier had stolen one of the extra blankets from the supply closet and Pyro had found an actual picnic basket from somewhere. They each made their own sandwiches for later. The Soldier used up most of the ham and cheese. The Pyro applied liberal amounts of jalapenos and pepperoni to his salami. Scout was actually slicing some of the Spy's grapes and putting them on top of some previously grilled chicken and lettuce with a thin glaze of peanut butter and normal butter on toast.

“What in God's name is that hideous contraption?!” the Soldier asked as soon as he'd noticed, “Is that ethnic or something?”

“'Ey! Don't knock it. My mom learned the recipe from somewhere and it's freakin' delicious! Might've been dat European lady down da street.”

“Uh huh. Fhink fah lrrphn hudda Phy!” the Pyro said with a chuckle.

“I did not! Er, she didn't! I think?” the Scout said, “I mean, I couldn't make out who was da subject of dat sentence. But no Spies were involved!”

The Soldier meanwhile grumbled about this the whole way to the little hill of sorts that they had chosen to sit down on. Once he was over the abomination that the Scout intended to eat later, he insisted that the Scout prove himself by having a how many push-ups before giving up contest. Pyro joined in but of course Soldier won! Then Scout demanded Soldier prove he wasn't getting too old by having a few sprints around Pyro, who was acting as a referee even though it was clear the Soldier couldn't keep up with the little punk. After that, they poured two whole bottles of the shitty beer (Old Geezer Draft or whatever Demo brought in sometimes, when he wasn't all over his scrumpy) in a large ring around the blanket, which the Pyro gleefully set fire to. Pyro had insisted that the flames might attract the insects that the Soldier finally mentioned he was after. They quickly lamented it as they realized they'd forgotten to bring the last three bottles of Red Shed with them. Even so, the blaze was shimmering beautifully under the sun so it was hard to truly regret it. Especially when the Soldier insisted it'd keep all the riff raff insects out and away from their food!

“So, anyway,” the Scout had begun another story to pass the time, “it was the biggest drip o' snot I ever had hangin' out of my nose! Not really watery. This stuff was thick and clear and kind o' shiny, like an icicle hangin' off da eaves! You know what I'm talkin' about, right, Solly?”

The Soldier snorted. Of course he did! He might have an apartment near the base now but he'd originally lived up north. He didn't miss it either! All that snow to shovel in winter. Fuck that! It was pretty but only after the first snow fall and he was too old and crotchety to play in it without having his friends there to join in.

“Yeah! But it wasn't frigid of course. I walked all de way up da stairs, carryin' my mug o' hot cocoa and my pizza slice, with dis thing hangin' out my nose and wobblin' around. I would've normally wiped it off but I started wonderin' how long it'd stay, yah know? So I left it and it must have been minutes! I didn't think to time it. Man, I wish I had! I didn't slam the door or nothin', I was afraid that'd knock it loose, and I wanted to keep it off my bed so I just stood dere. Aww, you guys should o' seen it!”

The Soldier rubbed his stubbly chin. Something wasn't right...

“And why the hell did you have so much snot drippin' out of your nose again?” the Soldier asked.

The Scout fidgeted with the scraggly old blanket under him, picking at some frayed threads and grimacing before acting as cool as possible.

“Oh, ya know! I was totally cryin' tears of patriotism! Like a bald eagle would if it could cry! Not because my girlfriend dumped me or anything,” the Scout answered.

“Nho hey! Yrh huddah hrrgfen?” Pyro asked.

“Fuck you! Yes I did! Do... Still do,” the Scout snapped.

The Soldier clapped the Scout on the back and thumped him so hard and enthusiastically that the Scout went sprawling head first into the blanket. The Soldier laughed as the Scout began spitting the filthy material out.

“Never fear, son! Bald eagles would be honored by your disgustingly astonishing capabilities! Hey, come to think of it, when did you get so good at telling stories?” the Soldier asked, “You didn't steal that from Demo, did you?!”

He glared at the Scout. The Scout thumped his chest and narrowed his eyes at the Soldier, sniffing.

“I didn't steal shit! Demo's been takin' tips from me!” the Scout said.

He smirked until the Soldier put him into a headlock. Then he flailed like a giraffe.

“Damn it! Le' me go! I swear it's all true! You can ask Demo!” the Scout gasped before Solly released him, “But, yeah, yeah, I asked him how to keep people focused while I regale 'em with my life! Dat man needs to publish a memoir, he's got skills!”

The Scout took off his cap and smoothed back his hair, as if the Soldier's noogie could possibly damage it when it had a serious case of hat hair. The Soldier settled down again with his legs crossed.

“Well, any more stories?” Solly asked.

The Scout sulked and shoved his cap back on.

“Don't feel like it now.”

“How about you?” the Soldier asked Pyro.

The Pyro clapped his hands together and made an undignified squealing sound. From there it evolved into a rambling story involving a Macy's Day Parade float, a bank teller, some fireworks, a broken sewer pipe, and something about a library. Which reminded the Soldier that he still had that two year overdue book he needed to return back in Detroit. Maybe his next vacation he'd do that.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute!” the Scout said, “You can't be serious! How did you move it around?”

“Oh that was obvious the minute he mentioned the bank teller. I'm assuming he stole a car,” the Soldier interrupted.

The Scout pouted more when the Pyro nodded and explained how everything eventually sent the entire block up in flames. The Soldier reveled in the thought of such widespread destruction and sheer glee of power. Pyro was rubbing his gloved hands together, clearly doing the same.

“Oh, hey! Did you boys see the laundromat on Saturday? I beat that stupid lawyer with a six year old and some grenades!” the Soldier crowed.

The Scout blinked and held up his hands.

“Whoa, whoa! I thought you didn't like endangering kids?” the Scout asked.

The Soldier remained sitting with his chest puffed out, proud as ever.

“I don't! He was fine. His mother was there,” the Soldier insisted.

“Oh,” the Scout said, “Heh! Well, I wondered if that was you. Spy and me were out lookin' for some ladies to cozy up with when that shit went down! We had to drag Heavy along. I don't know why. He left with some smokin' hot dame too! Better luck than either of us. It ain't fair.”

31 .

>Name: Anon >This is a bit of a long one. >I have a thing for twins/clones/classcest, and a thing for shared feelings.
>Possible plot: >A class, writer's choice, and his opposite suddenly find themselves feeling emotions and pains (and pleasures) ((and maybe even having thoughts)) that aren't theirs, and are thusly confused/aggravated.
>Maybe it's a respawn glitch. Both were killed at the exact same time (shooting/stabbing each other?), and since their genetic makeup is so similar, things get a smidge scrambled when the machines pick them up.
>The two eventually decide to seek each other out to find out what the fuck is going on and how to fix it, if it's even fixable. This leads to sex.
>Of course, this is just an idea, and the writer is free to do with it whatever they want.

Self-imposed Limits: Eight paragraphs. Emphasize evocative writing. Dialog adds to the count. No character limit. We'll see if I can keep this brief. I learned from last time that I can't really evoke much within four paragraphs.

Hah hah. Oh me. Thinking I could get away with eight paragraphs. What crack was I on? Not the good crack, that's for sure.

Anyway, I saw this and after reading TwoRefined's Purge, it clicked in my head. My head-canon RED Soldier is typically a bit dense with hyperactivity encouraged by grandiose delusions and irritability while the BLU Soldier is a little more intelligent but with persecuting hallucinations telling him to follow God's will and pervasive bitterness. RED is an optimist who is perpetually wrong and BLU is a pessimist who hates being right. BLU can see forever but he can't help himself. RED can't see beyond himself but he almost always has a solution. It writes itself. Mind you, me writing it doesn't make it write itself correctly and I believe I failed, just based on what I described in this paragraph so... yeah. Fuck me, I don't care. Take it, bitch. Take my horse shit. D:




Humanity


Jane thought nothing of his last death. BLU was on a losing streak and all of Jane's strategy had faltered. He only challenged Tavish... no, RED Demo most days, as a way of venting his frustration but the RED Soldier had pulled him out of his anguished slump by chasing the BLU Scout right past him, swinging his shovel wildly in an awkward attempt to behead the BLU Scout, hollering and whooping up a storm in spite of the fact he could never catch the Scout that way. Jane went for the jugular and so did his enemy. That they both managed to bleed out, still struggling in the dust, at the same time was impressive. Even more impressive given that Jane hadn't retreated to find the Medic or a dispenser as soon as he felt his life truly ebbing away. For once, Jane was too angry to care and ignoring the whispers, telling him that God didn't want this man dead. As if it mattered! They all came back. It was like Hell that way, perpetually tormenting the tormentors in a never ending cycle. Jane took pleasure in the blood shed, in the power, in the sheer destruction that he could create but the lack of purpose, the lack of permanence, the lack of remorse, and the lack of true vengeance was killing him with every little drop he spilled of his and anyone else's blood.

The musty smell of leather didn't startle Jane while he was watching the news with his team. He drank a strange mixture of coffee, boots, and sweat that swirled in dark rivulets of a clear desert night, the stars in the drink telling him that his work wasn't done and that he had lost his way. It was a common sentiment shared by the dulcet and screaming tones alike. The situation didn't bother him until he found one of them speaking German, broad and clear. He heard other languages and only knew they were other languages because he was told they were other languages. He understood them too well to judge any other way. Jane glared at the Medic for inspiring such nonsense but the doctor ignored him. Everyone was ignoring him. Jane slumped into the cushions uncertainly as the foreign voice intensified and then began speaking French and Italian intermittently. Damn it! He glared at the Spy next but the Spy gave him a questioning smirk before sauntering off.

It wasn't until Jane was lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling, that the sensation of moist lips grazed across the area where death had claimed his throat. Jane gulped and bolted upright, the capacity for movement very different from any other time, when he had found himself pinned to the bed by evil spirits and incapable of throwing them off. He was trembling when he felt a warmth take hold of his waist, ghostly arms cradling him with a comfort he couldn't accept. Even now, he could move himself but was unable to throw off whatever was taking hold of him and with such definition! It was nothing like he had experienced before.

He had killed a few angels, even though an angel had saved his life when he was a child by giving him good advice from its upside down head, and let some devils live because they looked and acted so perfectly human. He had met spirits and vampires in Europe and in America, some friendly, some animals, some smoldering, and some incomprehensible to look upon. He had never met something like this. When he was rasping for breath and shuddering, his loins tingling and exploding without even being ready for it, his balls barely tight and his underwear spotless, that was when he was positive a Succubus or an Incubus was hitching a ride. He ran to the Engineer's workshop and managed to drill a hole through his skull, to drive the demon out, before he found himself in respawn, steam rising from him thicker and murkier than a fog. Take that! Jane slunk to his room and managed to sleep better than he expected, though his friend Engie swore that he, poor bastard it had been his power tool, didn't get any the rest of the night. Jane's dreams were somehow blissfully empty of the usual trappings from his farmstead youth and his married army uncle's Chicago apartment.

Jane thought that would be the end of it but then there came more voices. No, not really voices. He couldn't hear it but it was there. He woke feeling more energetic than he had as a boy and it seemed easier to hope. His rage found new heights and his mood soared at the slightest prompting, all of his desires easy and well within grasp. Then he would crash back into himself and push his helmet down until the pressure was uncomfortable. The actual voices, the sights, the smells sometimes disappeared entirely. He was used to that. It happened for a day or two at a time but they managed to elude him for nearly two weeks, playing hide and seek around all the corners of the world, as if they'd found somewhere new to be.

Jane floundered and complained to the Medic, who stared at him, hastily shoved some papers onto a clipboard, sat down, and asked what medication he had been taking while scribbling rapidly. Jane punched him and left, realizing the Medic wouldn't be of any use. Jane tried to coax the Sniper and then the Scout into helping him catch his lost spirits of mayhem and direction. The Scout gave him the lighter that he had stolen from the Fox Confessor and shook his head. Even touching the arcanely marked silver lighter didn't seem to attune Jane to the spiritual beast that had once democratically freed him from the uncertain clutches of a bunch of Nazis. When Jane tried to enlist the Engineer's help, the Engineer chuckled until Jane mentioned the sudden tendency to hoard and the up until then unheard of desire to keep bits of his enemies as mementos.

Jane couldn't believe he hadn't thought of that first. Of course it had to be a respawn glitch! Damn thing had weird glitches all the time. This was the strangest that Jane had heard of but then most of his team didn't share their stories out of fear of disapproval for the sexual turn some of them took. Jane didn't know why they assumed he was against sex, per se. He'd long since loosened up from his church morals and determined that some of them were impossible. God only disapproved of Jane having sex and tempted him with the forbidden whenever he tested Jane. Maybe God was testing Jane again. Jane couldn't tell for certain without sinking to the abysmal depths where the devils crooned in his ears, teasing him under God's orders.

He had to find his insane RED counterpart and get the man out of his head! At least, that was his intention before he sank to his knees, clutching his queasy stomach, paranoia and despair taking hold as hard as the night of Tavish's betrayal. He dragged himself back inside the base, wondering who the fuck he needed to blame for that. The next battle he did nothing but slaughter Tavish, spurred on by a rage he found familiar but unrelated and somehow completely foreign. Afterward, he composed himself in front of the sink, eyes red and the mirror blurry, the cold water knocking some of the hatred back into the waiting murmurs and silky choir that had been replaced with a drumming march bounding through a jazz band featuring Judy Garland and Cher, eventually right through both of the Sinatras and into Elvis. He'd started focusing his uneasy attention on music, something the RED Soldier must have shared for it came all too easily, in a desperate ploy to evade the echoing lies that circled in dizzy chair spinning ways. Sunlight washed over his face when he wasn't even outside. As he waited for his vision to return, he felt rough hands sweeter than a kitten's nuzzling on his skin. It didn't frighten him this time nor did it go further than his upper back, almost a memory from a forgotten, laborious childhood holding him so soothingly that Jane didn't want it to end.

With a sigh, Jane found it fading and gripped the ceramic sink hard as he found it replaced with resolve, multiplied by another. He wiped his face on a towel that was growing stiff with neglect and stormed out of the base, not even concerned about finding his weapons first. He didn't think killing the RED Soldier would solve anything. Neither would talking but he had to find the man. To prove that Jane wasn't losing his sanity, he was simply unintentionally giving it away to someone else he hated. In the twisted hallow of no man's land, the RED Soldier noticed him first. Jane knew the hellish depths of eternity and so did the RED Soldier now. For once, the RED was mostly speechless. A wave of rage crashed over and tore Jane apart. He fought back with his own plunge of sorrow, neither of them moving as they gritted their teeth and bore the eddy of madness that struck their paper boats, seething and incapable of discerning the distance between them.

“How many fucking screws do you have loose?!” the RED Soldier howled, “Take all these yammering halfwits back! I don't want them! The only things that should talk are my troops and my army friends and only when spoken to! And while you're at it, stop draining my essence! I've seen you bouncing around like Scout on Bonk! You're the one who's been taking all my energy from me! Sapping my will! Give it back, you crawling mutant maggot!”

“Spoken like a true idiot! You're the crazy one! Like a dog that eats its own vomit. Or maybe cat shit!” Jane snapped, “You put our heads in my helmets, both of which you have no right to! And you act like they're soldiers under your command?! What sort of disrespect to the uniform is that?!”

Even so, he fumbled with doubt. What if the RED Soldier was right? He'd been called insane before but he always brushed it off. He saw more of reality than anyone else. He saw the hidden world. The monsters and the truth that everyone kept because they thought he was too dumb or absorbed to understand. He knew the battles between RED and BLU were pointless, the age old feud being acted on to keep up appearances. He knew the Administrator was the same. He knew where Dracula lived; it wasn't as swanky as the last place. He knew about the BLU team, as much as he actually dared to contemplate. They deserved privacy, after all. He'd learned more about the members of the RED team than most of the RED team knew, aside from the Spies. He already knew that Tavish was sorry but he couldn't bring himself to accept his own mistakes or Tavish's just yet. He knew the RED Soldier had been having sex with the RED Medic and the BLU Spy, now that he had his clarity and adding skills returned... the RED Soldier grimaced and walked backwards, away, stumbling on a chunk of loose brick as the revelation shot between them, hitting the RED Soldier square in the face.

Jane considered that. The BLU Spy, huh? So he wasn't the only one who had fallen to temptation. He couldn't tell if the BLU Spy was because of the recent confusion or something that had been going on for awhile. It didn't matter. The RED Soldier was now flinching and more confused than Jane.

“Huh... never gave a shit about someone judging me before,” the RED Soldier murmured, “Never. How do you live with yourself?”

Jane growled. What right did this asshole have to say anything?!

“How do you live at all? You destroy everything with no discrimination! Everything. You are a pathetic excuse for a soldier who can't even protect what's worthwhile! I could tell when you fucked up whatever it was you had going between... Hell, probably both of them.”

The RED Soldier inclined his head towards Jane, listening, but no more convinced than before. He squirmed and took a step forward. He sniffed and rubbed his nose with his knuckles roughly.

“How much have you... been following?” the RED Soldier asked, “I got all your baggage, Major killjoy! No direct memories to explain it though. Thank the lord for that!”

Jane narrowed his eyes under his helmet and charged! The RED Soldier was too surprised to stop him and once he had recovered enough to pry Jane off, he was simply groaning from the way such a simple kiss was amplified. The ass-grab probably didn't hurt either. Jane wasn't generally this forward but the jerk had asked him and it was easier showing than telling. Not to mention, all those unknown, out of nowhere touches had left him lonely in a way he couldn't ignore. He was at a simmering burn, bitterness giving way to weak fury and mild lust, but it was the RED Soldier who pulled Jane's other hand down to his hip and grabbed Jane's helmet straps as he opened his mouth to loosen both their tongues. If Jane had been more sensible, he might have reconsidered. It was harder to think with the RED Soldier's enjoyment matching his own and bolstering his enthusiasm.

At some point, Jane had writhed his hips away long enough to fumble with his belt and shoved his pants down, his penis greeted the slightly cooler air with a salute that was well met by the RED Soldier's. Jane might have asked for orders, a pretend superior officer was just as enticing, but words would have ruined it. He had a sense that the RED Soldier wanted his mouth wide open and downward, he had the same desire by proxy, but he didn't even know where to begin. There was no mattress out in those wastelands and running off to find one would be admitting defeat.

The RED Soldier put their straining erections together, the tingling shudder making Jane thrust, anything for more, before the RED Soldier reached down for Jane with long, firm strokes. The RED Soldier yanked Jane by the wrist into grabbing the RED Soldier's cock and then pushed Jane up against the nearest wall, pinning Jane until he moaned happily at being held captive. His shirt rode upward, scraping mortar and brick against his back, but the pain barely registered as he felt his body ache and spasm, the RED Soldier feeding his pleasure with even more, that weak, wavering smile, eyes closed under his helmet, which was tilted just enough to show.

Jane closed his eyes and remembered better times with the people he loved and lost because he wasn't meant to love them at all. He lingered on Tavish and pulled the RED Soldier's chin close enough to lasso his tongue, groaning into the slithering sweetness, arching into the hot, slick palm that wasn't his own, and might have fallen to the ground if he wasn't being ground into the bricks while their pleasure twined into a euphoric mess all over each other. Jane was disappointed when he opened his eyes, slumping against the wall and wiping his hand off on his pants leg. He needed Tavish now. It was stupid. So stupid, to go after doing this. But Jane needed that high to push him onward, keep him steady and capable. Without a word, the two Soldier tidied up. Jane saluted the RED Soldier, properly, and the RED Soldier gave him a standard salute back. They passed one another, heading to the opposite base and merging into the shadows.

32 .

>>31
"Failure" my ass.

This is exactly, nay, better than what I wanted when I requested this.

I wanted something a little deeper than just "o hey our penises switched, better jerk ourselves/each other off," (which would have been a fine fill, but not exactly... what I craved, you know?) And this fic hit that mark pretty soundly on the head.

Admittedly, somethings were a bit confusing/sudden, but I also think that fits when you have two mentally unstable Soldiers on your hands. Plus it just gives me a reason to reread it, and think about it (which is the whole point of the "deeper" thing).

In conclusion, thank you so, so, so much for filling my request. I love it.

33 .

also, a PS to >>32.

As the person who requested Soldier/Medic however long ago, I was elated to see a bit of that in there too. Thanks again!

34 .

Eh not bad at all.

Don't think you do too bad at all! Some spelling errors but nothing that affects readability.

*thumbs up*

35 .

>>32 >>33

No problem. I assure you though, all confusion was probably due to a general lack of editing and tossing in random ideas I had for Jane in Hunting the Hunter that hadn't shown up/might never show up/include some of his back story. I'm glad it's more along the lines of what you wanted and I'm sorry the Solly/Medic angle was so slight. I will probably be writing more Solly/Medic one of these days. I pretty much have an urge to put Solly with anyone and everyone at least once. Same for Engie.

>>34 Thank you. What were the errors?

36 .

Hmm... things I should do:

1. Don't write reviews late at night. You think you see something but you're probably trippin so you can't remember where you saw it.

2. Don't be writing your stuff when you read something awesome - then you kinda hate what you write

Whelp, oh well, Ill just have to read it again. Damn shame. Having to read something awesome again and try and find it. (Insert extra kudos here)

37 .

No problem but don't assume anything just because you couldn't find it. I've tried to relocate typos the next day, after the author asked what they were, and failed. So they still might be there. It's surprisingly easy to overlook something when you're actively looking for it (even if it's sprinkled through-out a whole sentence.) I assumed I was imagining things until another poster found what I had been after and pointed it out to both of us. D: (:

I should get in the habit of pointing out typos when I comment but I'm generally too lazy for that. Not to mention, typically it's a lot of little random ones that are presumably easy to find. And then there are the typos that the brain auto-fixes so that you don't even notice them until someone else mentions them. Typos are funny that way.


2. Don't be writing your stuff when you read something awesome - then you kinda hate what you write
Heh. Yeah, that's my biggest problem right now (well, among other things but this is the one that is kicking my ass and taking my name.) I would say we could have a self-pity party but that would be such a horrible party. So let's have a delicious cake party instead! And try to pretend... or console. Or something. Either way, the cake will be delicious.

38 .

>>22
To be honest I was reluctant to read this fic but you've drawn me in and now I never want to leave. I'm am eager to see where you take this (and I'm not just talking about the porn here). How will Demo and Engie's relationship go once respawn is fixed? Will they try to play it off as if nothing happened?

p.s your sexualy frustrated Engie is adorable

39 .

Cake sounds awesome! Well, I will eagerly wait for the next part to either the Tavish/Jane or to the good ole Soldier/Engineer/Sniper (which is so chuckle worthy in places)

40 .

finally got around to reading two of those unfinished fics.
I was very hesitant to start reading them, since you said they were unfinished, and I didn't want to get into anything only to be left dying for more.

But!! The lack of other reading material nudged me back in this direction. And I'm glad it did.

The Solly/Demo one was great and funny and sad and sweet. It's not my favorite pairing, but I still really enjoyed it.

But that Demo/Engie Glitch one, that one punched me square in the jaw and the only indignant response I could make was "fuck yes."
It's one of those subjects I've been thinking/reading about lately, and then by some miracle this fic comes along. Grade A. I would love to see it continue, and like >>38 said, not just for the porn. Okay, a good part is for the porn, but the rest is for everything else.

41 .

It took me so long to get around to reading this thread. (The title seemed a bit vague and put me off) But I'm so glad I got around to it!
It's probably one of the most fufilling list of stories on the Chan!

Mind you...this is coming from a relatively new Chan-goer, so...I don't really know whats what yet.
(I don't even know what a 'sage' is!)

42 .

>>41 check out the Moderator's Note on the top of the threads, that should clear up any questions you've got (sage goes in the email field)

43 .

Oh. My. Fuck.

I've been craving ANYTHING new with Soldier for the longest time, and this ENTIRE THREAD was just...so...bloody...INCREDIBLE. EVERYTHING abut this thread is complete gold. Never stop, bitte.

44 .

Captcha: $8.95 idises

Ideas that cheap, huh? I don't need more ideas though. I only wish I could stop throwing up from whatever the hell I've contracted. I guess I'm just lucky I got any sleep at all last night considering.

Sob stories aside, let me go ahead and ruin any further good expectations for this story. >>22 By offering more of it. Ugh. I'm sorry it cuts off like this but I seriously feel like shit and I was plugging away at it before I got sick.

Concrit is always, always welcome however. Don't let pity stop you!



The Glitch
Part 2 of ?


True to form, Demo had put his foot in his mouth. The Engineer was a deer caught in the headlights of Demo's gaze and he breathed in loudly through his nose, his broad chest shaking and more prominent as he sucked in his gut. The dungarees were baggier there, all of a sudden. For a moment Demo thought Engie would relax and smile but then Engie looked away and he knew he'd blown it.

Demo released him. It was no use. Engie stood so stiff it looked unpleasant and he was shifting his feet, his torso, away from Demo even though he hadn't tried to free himself from the loose hand on his shoulder. Damn it, Demo hadn't meant to frighten the man! As soon as Demo let his arms fall to his side, he wandered back to the bed and grunted as he slouched onto it. Demo rubbed his palm over his face and wondered why he was even trying so hard to succeed. It wasn't like this was the first time he'd had sex in months. It wasn't even the first time in weeks! His pride was at stake, maybe. No, not even that. What was there to gain when there was no one to boast to? Okay, Medic knew. Only he wasn't the sort who'd slap a spine but good and say 'at a boy!

Demo didn't expect to feel the Engineer's weight on the mattress and gave the man a sideways glance from between splayed fingers. The poor fellow was staring down at his clasped hands, nestled in his lap as he methodically rubbed one thumb over the other. His mouth was set in a thin line and he didn't even look at Demo but the blush had spread all across his ears. Then Engie took a deep breath before sighing, centering himself for the delivery of bad news. Demo knew it had to be bad news.

“You're right. That's why I brought ya with me. It's just... I thought this would be easier than it is,” the Engineer explained, biting his lip and looking up before continuing, “I thought of you because, well, ya showed an interest earlier and ya already knew. And before that, well, ya were there for me when I was panickin'. You don't know how much of a relief that was, havin' someone to talk to. Even if it did end on kind of a sour note. But I—I don't think I can do it, now that you're here and all!”

Demo was startled for a moment and he simply stared, then he clasped his own hands very loosely in his lap, palms up, and chuckled. At least Engie was being honest.

“Ah, lad. Am I grislier than yeh remembered?”

Engie's eyes went wide and then they kept flitting around, looking for something safer to latch onto.

“No! Not,” the Engineer said, “Aw, who'm I kiddin'? I'm nervous, yeah.”

The Engineer sighed again and cracked his knuckles idly before finally focusing on Demo's face. They were eye to eye to eye to patch. Demo arched an eyebrow. Now he was offended, since Engie hadn't protested that Demo looked just fine, but Engie rubbed the back of his neck so awkwardly that he couldn't really take it to heart. Engie wasn't having an easy time dealing with this, who would, and Demo knew he shouldn't take it personally. Regardless of his dismay, when the Engineer put a hand on his shoulder, he was rapt with attentiveness.

“Listen, I may be a hermaphrodite right now but I'm still a man!” the Engineer said, “So are you. I guess you're okay with it 'cause there's at least one vagina involved but I don't got that kind o' consolation! I mean, I do, but it's mine. I'm the one with a vagina... hell, I never thought that'd be the sort of thing to make me feel so unmanly. I'm open-minded with regards to women; it's weird is all!”

Oh. Oh shite! Demo hadn't considered that. For him, well, there was that but there was more. He glanced off to the side for a moment before nodding to himself. If Engie could be this honest and this forward, then so could he. Not that anything Engie had said was as condemning as what he was about to get off his chest but if that put some distance between them from then on, so be it!

“I guess I ought to tell yeh then,” Demo admitted, “I been drunk enough to wrap me lips 'round another fella's before. More than twice. With a little gropin' thrown in when I was really hammered!”

He looked Engie dead on and added, “I even faked it once but only once.”

The Engineer's nose wrinkled up and his lips curled together like he'd been sucking on a lemon.

“Ewww!”

Then Engie realized what he'd done and he clapped a hand over his mouth, eyes wide. Obviously Engineer's opinion hadn't changed any but he had to know that was rude. Not far from what Demo expected anyhow, even from someone like Engie. Yet the fact it was a typical response didn't make it any less annoying and Demo couldn't help frowning just a little.

“Whoooweee!” Engie said, “I—I wasn't expectin' that. You did it intentionally too? Boy, howdy! Why would ya ever...?! Was it anyone I know?”

Demo began to shake with held in laughter as Engie went from disgusted to amazed in two seconds flat. He rubbed at his good eye before he caught his breath.

“Yeh don't remember?!” Demo asked, “But it was you!”

“What?!” Both hands flew to Engie's mouth and he leaned back, scooting away.

“Don't be daft! I'm talkin' about that time I pecked yeh on 'e cheek! Nothin' more.”

The Engineer's eyebrows went from somewhere up in the stratosphere to back down over narrowed eyes. His shoulders went slack but he didn't stop protecting his mouth, as if Demo might dive right in.

“Oh,” Engie murmured, “Last fourth o' July, when you and Solly set off all those illegal fireworks? I thought ya were 'bout to tell me 'bout some time I must 've blacked out! Not that I didn't think it was sort o' strange then but that wasn't nothin' horrible. A drunk kind of friendly, where I don't want ya breathin' in my face no more, but still friendly. Wait...”

Demo snorted and shook his head, grinning ear to ear. Engie punched him square in the arm as he sat up straight and glared. It made Demo wince but it wasn't hard enough to do any real damage.

“You jerk! You weren't even drunk? But ya smelled like nothin' but cider! Kind o' like now, matter o' fact,” the Engineer said.

Engie leaned in closer and didn't bother trying to hide it as he grabbed Demo's nearest sleeve, that didn't go past Demo's suddenly sore biceps, for a sniff. Then he wrinkled his nose and tried the same thing on a handful of the front of Demo's shirt, though it wasn't that loose and required him to lean in even closer to do so. It did feel kind of nice, the shirt tight from bein' grabbed and the Engineer practically on top of him. Demo wouldn't have minded Engie grabbing more but Engie let go as soon as he had his confirmation, without Demo's armpits getting in the way.

“Yeah, I spill a lot of it down me shirts,” Demo admitted, “I'm sober right now and I was only pretendin' to be drunker than I was. I kept expectin' yeh to see right through me 'cause you're probably the one that knows me best around here, so I didn't have the courage to give yeh more 'n a wee peck.”

The Engineer scratched his chin and pondered that. Then he frowned, holding his index finger up before pointing it square at Demo like a gun, his thumb coming down as he aimed it at Demo's chest. Demo thought he'd add in a 'bang' for effect but Engie didn't acknowledge he'd done it.

“Dagnabbit! I should o'! Ya get all messy and sloppy on everyone else when ya do that. I was so busy countin' my blessings, I didn't question it! Ugh. I can't believe I ever trusted you,” Engie snapped.

Demo pointed a finger back at Engie and wagged it chidingly.

“Ach! Now hold on a minute!” Demo said, “I didn't do anythin' I wouldn't have done while I was drunk! I felt like it, was all. I knew at the time it probably wasn't a good idea and I hadn't had enough to forget that. So I ignored it instead. It wasn't any more affectionate than a hug, mate.”

Engie hadn't stopped frowning but now he looked more confused than angry. He was apparently rolling that idea around in his head as he glanced around his workshop, not really searching for anything, and arched one eyebrow up after another. Then he looked down his nose at Demo in the midst of a sideways glance and Demo smirked, unperturbed.

“I never saw ya kiss anybody on the lips though,” Engie said, “Not sure I believe that.”

Demo snickered and rubbed his own chin between his index finger and thumb. Cheeky little bastard! Well, two could play at that game.

“Oh, you're interested now, are yeh?” Demo asked, “Or have yeh always been interested? Since yeh been keepin' an eye out for where I land 'em on other men and all.”

Engie sputtered. He scrambled up onto his feet but Demo remained seated. Demo wondered until he found Engie looking down on him with all of his full height for once. Ah. The Engineer put all the husky depth that he could muster into his words as he gestured at the workshop door.

“I have not and you know it!” Engie said, “Now stop teasin' me! I have half a mind to throw ya out on your rear and forget the whole thing!”

The Engineer probably would've been glaring daggers if he could. Demo realized he might have pushed Engie a little too hard. He was positive there was no chance of seeing any action that night but that didn't mean he wanted the Engineer angry. He definitely wanted to keep the man open-minded for any future possibilities. If there were any to be had.

“Now, now, lad. I didn't mean it that way!” Demo explained, “Sit down and tell me one thing before I go, all right? And be honest because yeh might not believe me but I told yeh the truth.”

Engie remained where he was but sidled closer and rubbed the back of his neck, clutching it like that was his only hope. Demo smiled as comfortingly as he knew how, no easy feat while wearing an eyepatch, and held out his hand as if the Engineer could drop the answer into it.

“Is it the idea of kissin' me that bothers yeh or the idea of kissin' any man?” Demo asked.

The Engineer seemed startled. He clearly hadn't thought about it. Engie was silent for awhile but Demo didn't pry or insist he was bein' serious. Demo needed Engie to find out if there was any leeway or not and distracting or hurrying him might be counter-productive. Demo knew that the truth might not be readily apparent, given the uncertainty his mate had been exhibiting all evening, but he had a feelin' there must be some desire in him. Anything else meant bringing Demo there had been pointless.

The Engineer looked down at his feet and clasped his hands together, squeezing one inside the other as he kept considering it. Demo was patient as he could be. Not like his own answer to that would be simple or immediate. Though, the more he thought about it, the more he had to admit he'd never have the courage to introduce Engie to the notion if it weren't for recent events. Thank heaven for that? He shifted his focus outward again, when the Engineer cleared his throat a few times, though whether to get Demo's attention or to instill some much needed courage in Engie's own mind, he had no idea.

“I find the idea of kissin' ya... not simpler,” Engie fumbled, “I guess it's the way I look at the idea of you kissin' other men, really.”

Demo arched an eyebrow and frowned a little.

“I'm not sure I follow yeh,” Demo admitted.

The Engineer let out a long sigh.

“I don't like the idea. Because they're men but I suppose,” the Engineer said, “It makes me feel cheap? Particularly if you only do it drunk. But you're sober right now and you said you weren't that drunk when you kissed me the first time. And you didn't have the hardheartedness to force me into a real kiss, when I clearly didn't want one and you had your wits about ya. Even if ya did trick me.”

“Mhmmm?”

Demo felt his cheeks warm at that. He hadn't really looked at it as a lie head on and to him it had been almost innocent. Was it coming back to bite him in the butt when he'd originally mentioned it as an argument for, instead of against? He was starting to wish he hadn't said anything.

“Remember, you brought me here,” Demo cautioned, “I didn't ask yeh a second time.”

The Engineer nodded and gave Demo a weak smile. Demo was too flustered to smile back until he heard what else Engie had to say.

“I can't try and find a lady when I'm like this,” the Engineer continued, “I can't expect her to accept what 's happened to me when everythin' we do for BLU is confidential. If by some miracle she was fine with it, if she outright liked it, when I change back... what then? How do I even begin explainin' that?”

“Hah hah! Yeh ever heard of a one night stand, me boyo? No answers needed!” Demo said.

Besides, what the hell was a woman going to do with another vagina? Maybe Demo should have watched that porno that Pyro had offered to lend him. Engie put his hands on his hips, however, and Demo wondered if they were simply going in circles. Maybe Demo wasn't cut out for this.

“What'd I tell you about teasin'?” Engie asked, “I've had a few of those but it ain't my cup of tea, even as crazed as this is makin' me feel. If I'm goin' to the effort of findin' a lady, I'd much rather find one I have some feelings for.”

The Engineer smiled a little more but it still didn't have much humor behind it, as far as Demo could tell. Then again, it was easier for Demo to laugh when he wasn't in Engie's shoes. He had to keep reminding himself that it was a very real problem and the Engineer had come to him for help. If nothing else, hopefully Demo's general optimism was doing some good. Yet the Engineer's words sent a pretty clear message that he was only making due and that didn't entirely sit right with Demo.

“So... yeh chose me because yeh wouldn't wish this on some random woman and now yeh regret askin' me?” Demo asked.

Engie's eyes went wide.

“No!” Engie said, “Look, all I'm sayin' is I'd—I'd kiss you fine! But if I'm forced to be the woman in this situation, I damn well want it to be with a gentleman who'll treat me nice! And that's nothin' less than what I ask of myself, mind ya.”

He squeezed Demo's shoulder hastily. Demo glanced at that hand, so big and strong. As rough and ready as any other mercenary's. He couldn't imagine the Engineer as anything but manly, even if Demo stood almost a foot over him normally. It didn't dissuade him, as he thought it might.

“I can be a gentleman,” Demo said, “Far as I'm concerned, I've been nothing but a gentleman. How about we put this to rest? Kiss me now, if yeh think yeh can, and tell me what yeh think!”

“R—right now?” Engie asked.

“Aye! Right now. I won't move. I'll sit here, yeh standin' in front o' me already, and we'll sort everythin' out from there. Nothin' plainer 'an that.”

Engie's breath hitched and he squeezed again though it was a slight touch. Demo smiled and placed his hand on top of Engie's, petting idly, which caused Engie to fidget but also grip his shoulder more firmly. That was more like it! Now if he could find a way to relax the both of them. That damned nervousness was starting to infect him as well. It was easiest when he didn't think too much but all that time the Engineer spent stewing in unfortunate options was beginning to make him wonder. He wasn't sure how he'd ultimately handle the Engineer's rejection, if it came to that. Oh well. No time like the present! Best to get it over with.

“Go ahead, lad,” Demo said, “I promise I won't bite.”

The Engineer continued to stare and began shifting his hand around before tightening his grip on Demo's shoulder, only loosening it briefly before seizing it again, presumably whenever it became too uncomfortable to maintain. Then he chuckled with hardly any sound, simply shuddering with the motion and breathing out in short, sharp breaks. Demo tried rubbing his fingers in soothing circles on Engie's hand but it didn't seem to help so he finally pulled away to rest both hands on his knees. Engie hesitated so long that Demo swallowed uncertainly as he tried to think of some way to save face when he inevitably had to break the silence and apologize for being a hassle. He shouldn't have pushed so hard for something that wouldn't happen. Now he was embarrassed and he only had himself to blame. Engie couldn't be faulted for trying to go against his instincts and being incapable of it.

Just as Demo got up the nerve to talk, the Engineer relaxed enough to slide his hand over Demo's shoulder to the nape of his neck where it stayed light and free compared to the cage of iron it had been before. Engie paused a moment while his expression softened, his eyelids lowered and the creases in his brow smoothed out. His mouth went from stiff and taut to loose and open enough for a hint of his tongue to poke out as he licked his lips. He lifted his other hand up and cupped Demo's chin, his thumb brushing across Demo's smooth moustache, where it circled his mouth.

It was hardly what Demo had been expecting but it was definitely the outcome he preferred! He closed his eye and tilted his head back as the Engineer leaned in. Engie was tentative at first, unmoving except for a gentle exploration of Demo's receptive, almost suckling lips. Then a faint cross between a groan and a whimper spilled out and Engie was easing one leg past Demo's knees to nudge his groin, which Demo accommodated by spreading them wider still. Engie slid his fingers up through Demo's short hair and fondled Demo's cheek and sideburns as he idly explored the contours of Demo's face, blindly as he kept his eyes closed but with no less enthusiasm. Demo didn't want to ruin the moment but felt too eager to remain perfectly still. He tugged on the straps of Engie's dungarees and let his tongue loll out, tasting the warm flesh underneath and teasing Engie's hungry mouth.

45 .

That was the SEXIEST 'just kissing' scene I've ever read in my entire life. Holy FUCK. Just holy fuck.

I almost want to say that you don't have to use character names so often, like in the last paragraph, but then, I also realize how confusing things can get when you're writing about two characters of the same gender. Try to find a healthy medium, that's all.

All in all, I adored this. (And I hope you start feeling better soon.)

46 .

This was hilarious. So much so that my local Maccas thinks I'm odder than normal. But I only need their WiFi...

Full concrit later. Now - I shall laugh!

Ps feel better!

47 .

Dove. Dove, Dove, Dove. You make me feel so good. I can't decide who I love most; your Engie, Demo, Soldier or Sniper. It's possible I simply love the way you write characters. Thank you very sexy and funny yes.

48 .

Never did respond. Thanks folks. I do feel mostly better (24 hour bug with lingering after affects? I don't even know.) I'll try not to go overboard with name usage next time.

49 .

Dove I love you, a lot. I was looking at the board going 'I havn't done anything TF2 in ages..I should read something but what?' then I saw your thread and was all very happy! I love the TF2bugs, ssooo much you don't even know! That DemoEngie fic is also very good! At first I was like hm..well this is new...not sure if like. But I do, a lot heh. I also feel all write-y myself which is awesome! All in All, good to hear you've been feeling better and keep up the awesome work!

50 .

Although this thread is most likely dead, I just want to say that I enjoyed each and every story in it. I really did.
Dove, you are awesome.

51 .

>>9

you had me at 'Jizz-drizzling dreams'

(so sorry about replying to an dead thread)
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