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A Lousy History of Tomorrows (0)

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Every repost is a repost repost. By Kievan.

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So I don't quite know what to call this, or how to introduce it. Basically, it was inspired by a strange series of coincidences and I felt I should post it. Concrit is appreciated, but not absolutely necessary.

Special thanks to Khorosho and Ashsflames for Beta-ing and to Owl for Frenchfrying my spyalogue.

~~~~~
Title: A Lousy History of Tomorrows

Pairing: Spy/Medic, Implied Heavy/Medic, Spy/Sniper, and Engineer/Scout (and Demo/Pyro if you squint.)
~~~~~

There’s no more shampoo, but that’s beans considering the hot water is out for the third time this month. Medic shivers violently as he dances in and out of the sputtering spray, trying his best to wash himself as well as possible without actually getting wet. It’s not working too well, and he can feel his teeth chatter as a cold rivulet runs down his spine, gliding over skin made too taut, frozen into goose-bumps. His hair sticks to his scalp in freezing mats, and a particularly large droplet of water runs down his nose. Medic grits his teeth to stop the annoying muscles spasms in his jaw and reaches for a towel. Of course, the first two on the rack are damp, but the third isn’t and he relishes in this small relinquished pleasure.

It doesn’t last for long; the towels are military-regulation, so they’re as cheap as possible. It’s saturated before he can get done drying half his body, and its inefficiency shows when Medic tries to pull on his pants and finds that they stick uncomfortably to his still-damp legs. He’s irritated, but there’s nothing he can do about it now, just walk out of the bathroom and continue with his day. Mornings like this are too common to lament at this point – Medic realizes that while he may be miserable here, he isn’t alone. They are all miserable, but none are willing to admit it – even when the towels are damp and the boiler has gone down the shitter again, they still have their pride.

Medic bumps into Sniper on the way to the kitchen. Already, he can smell burning bacon and overcooked eggs but there’s no coffee so he might as well have run into a thin, slightly-sentient and unshaved pole. Sniper mutters something about echidnas and proceeds to run into the bathroom door, repeatedly, until Medic opens it for him. The dark circles under his eyes are so prominent he could easily have been punched in both eyes. Medic knows that while he was asleep, Sniper was probably vigilantly watching up in his nest for any BLU ambushes, as he’d been doing for the past few nights.

As a doctor, Medic really should have drugged him into sleeping, if only for the sake of his own health, and while the prospect of stabbing a needle into one of Sniper’s steady arms is tempting (so tempting), he wonders how long exactly Sniper can keep it up. The limits of the human body had always fascinated Medic, but he’d never had the chance to experiment with them… yet here was one subject already testing the boundaries of sleep deprivation. Observing him would be intriguing.

Medic ignores breakfast for now and peeks into the bathroom as Sniper steps under the freezing spray without removing a single article of clothing. The Aussie squints up at the showerhead before turning it off, turning it back on, and repeating. After about the fifth time, he turns it off with such force the handle breaks and he collapses where he was standing, unmoving, and probably staying as such until Spy collects him.

Fascinating.

Yet not wholly surprising. Medic lets out a huff of air that might have been construed as an irritated sigh. He’d been dragged away from his work, his science, to join in the war and for what? Playing nursemaid to a bunch of whiny frauleins crying for the Medigun at every scrape and scratch? Medic growls to himself, then plops down to another breakfast of burnt eggs and cold toast. He doesn’t touch the milk; it’s probably not pasteurized. The orange juice is tasty enough, though with the amount of pulp in it he might as well have been drinking a mashed orange.

But he’s learned that this is simply how it is in the mornings, and there is no complaining about it.

Before Medic can finish his breakfast, the Demoman stumbles into the room, hand ever-clenched around the bottle of alcohol. The doctor gives a glance at the clock, raising an eyebrow at the fact that it’s barely eight in the morning, yet the Scot is already more than a little tipsy. He frowns; he doesn’t exactly have a formal medical degree, but any university student could tell you that the amount of liquor Demo consumed would have long led to alcohol poisoning.

Demo is suffering from a hangover; this much is obvious. It’s probably because it’s early in the morning (He’s usually not up until much later) and he had challenged Heavy to a drinking contest the night before. Medic would feel sorrier for him if it wasn’t painfully self-induced, so he continues with his breakfast as Demo groans and slaps his face into his oatmeal. He is probably going to die if someone doesn’t pull his head out, but Medic is not worried; Pyro is in the kitchen and of course he’s not going to let his destruction buddy die of oatmeal drowning.

So he finishes his breakfast with a grimace and returns to his office in the clinic to prepare for the upcoming battle today. Heavy is still asleep on their tiny bed, probably thinking of Russia and vodka and beautiful women named Sasha and Natascha. His back is to the wall, and he’s naked, so Medic can see in the dappling morning light all the scars that bullets and needles and sharp blades and fire have left across the large man’s body. His entire body is a painting of scar tissue. Medic has memorized and treated almost every one of those, but he knows that it’s too far gone to worry; today there will be new wounds that will scar as well, and tomorrow, and the next day. They will never cease, so long as Heavy can wield his minigun and the Medic can wield the Medigun.

For now, he does what he can and picks up his empty Blutsauger from the bedside table. There is a ration of chocolate under it, which surprises Medic because he KNOWS that he finished his ration yesterday. This is almost untouched, and Medic almost – almost – smiles as he looks back over to Heavy. The Russian knows about his fondness for chocolate, just as he knows that everyone on the bedside table is immediately Medic’s property, no matter what. It’s these little things that make his day just slightly more bearable, that manage to (if not convince, at least delude) that he’s understood, if even nominally, in this hellhole.

“Heavy,” He calls, as he loads the Blutsauger and breaks off a tiny piece of the chocolate.

“Da, Doktor?” is the sleepy reply from the bed. Unlike Demo, Heavy can handle his vodka and he begins to blink the sleep out of his eyes at Medic’s voice.

“Get up, schnell, it is time to fight.”

“Da, Doktor.”

<>

“MEDIC!” Soldier calls. He’s coming from the right, and he sounds desperate; Medic decides that Heavy can deal on his own for now and runs toward the voice, tired legs pumping up more dust as he sprints towards his wounded teammate. His legs are dry now but the pants are still a little damp, and that means that every movement is uncomfortable. Medic finds him, so covered in blood he can’t tell where the injury is, and trains the gun’s beam on Soldier as he watches the wounds fade away.

“You deserve a medal, Doc!” Soldier calls over his shoulder as he rocket-jumps away. A medal, Medic scoffs in his mind. He deserves a vacation. Somewhere nice on the beaches of Tahiti, with a sun so warm he wouldn’t care if the showers were perpetually cold and an ocean so clear it might have been made of dreams stretching towards an unknown expanse. Out here the only seas are the ones of dust, and Medic can feel his dreams vanishing, like the rain in this forsaken land before it even hits the ground.

Medic takes a furtive look around, notes that nobody seems to be in dire need of his help, and turns back in the direction of the Minigun’s whirring. His legs are blocks of raw pain; he’s used to running, but he’s not as young as Scout and this battle has been especially brutal. But he can’t let himself slow down, from experience he knows that standing around in the open like this is suicide, he has to get back to Heavy before the man seriously needed his assist-FUCK

Medic screams as a bullet passes clean through his left thigh. He plants into the ground face-first and immediately rolls behind a large rock, clutching the wound. In the distance, he hears the sniper rifle reloading, then the telltale sound of a Sniper getting backstabbed. Medic squeezes his eyes shut as his Medipack starts to work at the wound. He counts down from three and then hears the puff of the enemy Pyro’s flamethrower, followed by Spy’s “FIYA, FIYA, FIYA!”

Groaning, Medic props himself up against his Medigun, stumbling forward while clutching his thigh. Putting even the slightest pressure on it nearly makes him fall over, and he would have if Scout (where did he appear from Medic wondered) didn’t catch him.

“Hey Doc watch where yer fallin’!” He snaps, eyes widening when Medic pulls out the Ubersaw. “Hey, the hell are you doing, man?”

If he’s wrong in his assumption and this is actually Scout, Medic decides, he’ll defect. It’ll be simple enough. He’ll defect and there will be no more damp towels and broken boilers; maybe they’ll let him go back to Germany, back to his research. But if he’s right and it’s the BLU Spy, he’ll stay, if only for one more day. Ignoring Scout’s protests, he swings the Ubersaw in an uppercut. The mask falls off, and the BLU Spy, spurting blood, retreats as far as three whole steps clutching his throat before dropping dead. This is the fourth Spy BLU has gone through this week – Medic’s learned all their tricks now, and he seems to have a knack for finding them.

“DOKTOR!” Heavy yells to his left. Medic tests his leg – it’s still painful, but he manages to limp to Heavy, locking the Medigun’s beam to the large Russian. With a weary eye he watches even more wounds heal up, gaze switching between Heavy and the hole in his leg. It’s just another day, Medic has to remind himself, just another lousy day that will be undeniably proceeded by another lousy tomorrow.

“Docteur,” A weak voice next to him mumbles. Medic inhales a sharp breath of air; his first few battles, every time Spy searched him out he’d half-jump out of his boots in surprise. Now he’s become too used to the sudden intrusions, and in time has even come to expect them. Their Spy uncloaks next to him, also hiding behind Heavy’s bulk. His suit is covered with soot and blood (and from the look of those injuries that blood isn’t all from the BLUs) and his skin is welting with burns. “I require assistance.”

Keeping an eye on Heavy, who seemed to be ambling along with little regard for the opposition, Medic turns the beam on Spy, watching as his skin knits itself back together under the suit, burn welts disappearing and leaving various degrees of scarring. Medic’s hands are twitching; he wants to see, study, examine the burn scars, but he only clutches the Medigun tighter, knowing that if Spy didn’t kill him for intruding like that, Sniper would later and he has no wish to be on the sharp end of an angry kukri.

“Many thanks,” Spy says, applying a Sniper disguise as Scout (the real one, he has to remember) whizzes past with the Intel on his back. He clutches his bat in his right hand; his left side is completely ruined. The sentry must have taken him by surprise today, Medic decides. He gives Scout a quick shot of the Medigun – not enough to fully heal him, but to at least revitalize that arm, as the boy runs by.

Seconds later, the Announcer comes back on the loudspeakers. “Success,” She says, without any hint of real enthusiasm or happiness, “We have secured the enemy Intelligence.”

That’s their cue; Heavy stops spinning his minigun and they start retreating back to their own base. Medic still can’t run without limping, so Heavy picks him up, slings him over his shoulder, and carries him back. Across the battlefield, in the BLU base, Medic can see their Soldier stomping in disappointment, then turning to yell at their Scout, who is sulking behind their Engineer, who is waving a wrench in his defense. It’s a hauntingly familiar scene; the only real difference is that on the wall behind them is a giant BLU wrench rather than a giant RED bomb.

Medic sighs and allows himself to be taken to his own clinic, making a mental note to ask Engineer if somehow he could speed up the Medipack’s progress.

<>

It’s hardly been a few hours but the wound is already infected, and Medic hisses as he dabs some rubbing alcohol on the hole in his leg. It’s mainly healed at this point, but there’s only so much the Medipack can do. So here he is, with his pant leg rolled up to near obscenity, stitching his own leg as the sounds of a meager dinner drift into his clinic. He’s not hungry tonight, he decides. It’s not worth the effort to hobble all the way down the hall, pull up a wobbly chair, and eat whatever badly-cooked food is on the menu tonight.

The needle passes in and out of his flesh mechanically. He’s not on any of his precious sedatives, but Medic makes no sound as he ties the thread and breaks it off to start on the other side. He can’t afford to slip up his own operation, after all, especially if his hands went sluggish from his own medicine. It was mostly reserved for Scout anyhow, because hell would freeze over before that child would stay still.

The door creaks slightly as someone walks into the clinic, but Medic dismisses their presence as he passes the first stitch through the other side of his leg with a hiss. He expects one of his teammates: sweaty, bloody, and probably unwashed; instead, there is luxury cigarette smoke and French cologne. Medic would have passed the person off as their Spy, but he knows that their Spy doesn’t wear that brand. He recognizes it immediately, but wonders how popular that cologne happens to be, jabbing the needle back into the wound after a moment’s hesitation.

“Mon dieu,” The voice begins, “Still ‘ere I see.”

Medic ties the last stitch and breaks off the thread. When he closes his eyes, he can see the face; when he opens them, it seems like they’re still closed. He hasn’t changed. The same scruffy, blond hair, the same light blue eyes (now behind glasses), the cocky smile arranged on his face even though his right arm ends pathetically in the middle of the humerus. Medic suddenly drops the needle and moves to reach the bandages, which are behind the spectre of a man.

“Spy,” Medic starts, suddenly warm from how his blood starts to rush everywhere at once thanks to his voice coming out completely wrong. The veteran Spy shakes his head, straightening his grey civilian clothes with his left hand.

“No, just Jonathan,” he says, reaching behind him to hand over the bandages to Medic. “No use as a Spy wit’ only one arm and vision blown to ‘ell.” He sounds cheery despite the gravity of his situation and ignores how Medic sounds like a record with worn-out grooves.

“I… You defected, ja?”

“Oui. I was passing t’rough ze area. Zey do not know I am ‘ere.”

“Vhy?”

“Why what?”

“Vhy come back? It has been… so long.”

“Only a year, cheri. It must simply seem longer.” The Spy in grey smiles, then leans over and helps bandage the wound; Medic is fumbling despite his professional glare, but Jonathan expertly ties the knot with one hand, winding the bandage through his lithe fingers. He rests his palm against Medic’s thigh, then looks up with all seriousness. “Dietrich,” he starts.

Medic flinches at the name for no explicable reason. It’d been so long since he’d heard his name, his identity. Leave it up to Sp- Jonathan to bring it back to him, reminding him that he was not just an occupation, he was a human. On his own, he forgets this more often than remembers.

“Ja?”

“Defect wit’ me. No one will ‘ave to know. We can leave, right now, I can arrange for you to come wit’ me back to France. We can even stop in Tahiti for a week or so on ze way back.”
Medic doesn’t ignore the golden band wrapped around the ex-spy’s pointer finger. He hadn’t worn that for the longest time, but it’s proof enough. Jonathan is ready to go back to France, to go back to his lovely French fiancé. He must have stopped by from some sense of duty, not because… not because of love, certainly not; that was a silly notion, especially on the battlefield like this.

It’s a testament to his persistence and patience with his life right now that Medic really, honestly, has to think about this choice before shaking his head. He can’t even speak right now, not after seeing that ring, the weight of what all it meant pressing down on his lungs and filling his throat with sand. Despite his rejection, Jonathan still has peppiness in his eyes; it’s hope, he’s still sure he can convince Medic to come with him.

“Come wit’ me,” he begins again, “It will be fun. You know I can get you out of ‘ere, sans poser questions. I may not be a Spy anymore but I am still a damn good sneak.”

Medic shakes his head again, gloved hand gripping the bandaged thigh, the pain keeping him from moving forward and tackling that son of a bitch to the ground in desperation to escape. If he stays, there will be more bad days and bullets through his legs and frustration, and if he leaves, there will be Jonathan. But he won’t be his, he’ll be someone else’s, and being reminded of that on a day-to-day basis would be worse than an eternity of cold showers. Shaking his head more vehemently, he sees the hope in Jonathan’s eyes begin to flicker.

“Dietrich, please,” the spy starts one last plead, inching forward to the medic as he lays out each point. “I know you miss it, waking up in ze mornings wit’ some sign that the day might not be completely ‘orrible, breakfast watching ze sun rise on ze roof,” his voice drops to a purr, and Medic finds that despite the year of being off-duty, clad in grey civilian clothes rather than his RED suit, Jonathan has not forgotten how it is to be the sexy, seductive Spy he once was. “ambushes in ze hay at midday, zen again after dinner,” He nuzzles into Medic’s neck, speaking mostly into the jugular at this point, “or if you do not want me,” He sighs, “we can always find you a nice French girl, no?”

Nein, Medic wants to say, nein, nicht, nein, it is not like that, I could love none of those dummkopfs, sex does not equal love, the only one I’d ever loved is you, you, you, you, you, you schweinhund, you. But his brain shuts down and he still can’t swallow; it’s like the Sahara fucking desert in his vocal cords.

“And speaking of nice French girls, guess who contacted me last night.” A gentle, if subconscious, thumb over the engagement ring as he pulls back. From that single motion, all the suavity is gone; he looks like a Scout that’s just found his favourite baseball. It’s this shift in mood that seals Medic’s decision, and all the beach houses in Tahiti couldn’t change his mind now.

Jonathan snags two cigarettes from his case and sticks them both in his mouth and lights them, then offers one to Medic. It’s a small gesture that tells him, like Heavy’s chocolate, about the bonds that tie them both. Stiffly, Medic accepts the cigarette but that Sniper’s bullet must have been rusty or something because suddenly he has lockjaw and can’t bring himself to smoke it, to place his lips on the filter that Jonathan had just held.

“Come, Dietrich,” he continues when there’s an apparent lack of response, “you would not miss me?”

“I could… take a leave.”

Jonathan frowns around his cigarette. “If you are going to go t’rough zat trouble zen why not just leave now?”

“I could not.”

“Not even for me?”

It’s his trump card. Before he’d defected and gone back to writing long letters to Adela, he could get Medic to do anything for him with those four words, that question. Jonathan was banking on the idea that in the year he’d been gone, they’d still have their desired effect. But time had dulled the edges of once-sharp blades, and Medic barely feels a soft rubbing as he harshly declines, the first time he’d ever done so.

“Mon dieu,” Jonathan repeats as he starts to slide off the table, realizing he has no more footing. “Found a new lover already?”

“Ja,” He manages to croak out, and it’s not completely a lie.

Jonathan is as cheery as ever as he laughs and lands on his feet, but the syllables are flat and heavy in the air. “Zen I guess I ‘ave no basis for my argument,” he says, and this time it’s his voice that sounds all funny. “I am sorry for intruding, I will go now.”

After a long pause, Medic replies, “Ja.”

“Good luck wit' ze rest of your life.”

Medic nods and stares at the floor. Inwardly he’s screaming. He hates his life, he hates himself, please, please, can I take back what I said take me out of here and let’s go to Tahiti and have breakfast at sunrise every morning and sex on the beach at night Jonathan Jonathan Jonathan –

“Ja.”

The former spy stays for a few more moments, as if trying to formulate a proper farewell. When Medic looks back up, he’s alone again in the clinic with nothing but a displacement of cold air to testify to the visit. He stays there, sitting, with his hand over where Jonathan had laid his on his thigh, for what feels like hours (though it is hardly minutes, if even that.) When he moves, he feels like his joints are creaking with the effort, and it takes all his energy just to lean over and replace the roll of bandages on the shelf. He’s still sitting there, staring after the Spy, as footsteps thud down the hallway.

“Is Doktor good?” comes an inquiry from the door.

No, this is the worst day of my life. He does not respond, only turns and gives a blank stare, contemplating chasing after Jonathan as Heavy comes through the door with a bowl of something that smells absolutely scrumptious. “Did not see Doktor at dinner.”

He manages to swallow enough to choke out, “I vas not hungry.” His tone of voice suggests irritation, not at anything in particular, and Heavy’s concerned visage gives way to a lighter expression. He places the bowl on a table close enough that Medic wouldn’t have to get up to reach it, along with a spoon (the same spoon he used for the eggs this morning, Medic notices) and a loaf of bread before backing out of the clinic.

“Feel better,” Heavy adds as a leaving remark.

The minute he’s gone, Medic reaches over and attacks the food. He tears savagely into the slightly-stale bread with his teeth and gulps down the watery soup. It’s quite good tonight actually, Medic decides, Sniper probably made this batch while Spy was locking him in the base trying to force him to sleep. His spoon clinks against the bottom of his bowl, and suddenly Medic feels an overwhelming surge of weariness. It’s hardly nine and he needs a shower, but he dismisses both concerns. It’s been a long day – too long of a day – and all he wants to do now is sleep and dream of Tahiti and spies in grey.

Hobbling over to one of the clinic’s cots (his bed is close, but that’s just more steps to walk) Medic realizes that Heavy probably grabbed the bowl intended for Sniper, and that Spy probably snuck a sleeping pill or something into it, as he was wont to do. Medic doesn’t even undress as he collapses into a deep sleep, his leg throbbing.

He doesn’t feel Heavy picking him up or undressing him and carrying him over to his bed. He doesn’t hear Scout and Engineer getting into a row about where the damn dispensers go, and he doesn’t notice Soldier as he makes his rounds through the base at midnight. He’s dreaming, and his dreams are brilliant, as always.

Sometime around four, the boilers turn back on.
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