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Nottim makes me happy in a sad way. (0)

1 .

Every repost is a repost repost. By Fennic.

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Uhm, so, when I said I wanted to write a NotTim thing, this isn't at all what I was intending. This is rather more neurotic and strange than I was intending; but hey, shit happens.
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Six nails. There are six nails in the underside of the kitchen table, and a wooden bracket at each corner to keep it straight. At some point, someone has dropped a cigarette on the table cloth and turned it over to hide the scar, so it hangs down on the left if he sits with his feet towards the sink (and who would burn a tablecloth and just hide it? That's not right. Someone will find it and blame him, because he smokes so much, but it wasn't him. It's not his tablecloth to burn.) In the middle is a no man's land where he can scrunch himself up, arms around his knees, and be almost sure of no feet brushing him which might give away the secret - unless Sniper sits in the middle and leans back in his chair, which has only happened once. (He was trembling for hours after that, curling up in Engineer's room, lighting one cigarette off the end of the last.) All Sniper did was huff and refurl his knees, giving nothing away (which is why it's so stupid that he got so scared, so fucking stupid.)

The first time he ended up under there was only a day or so after defecting, sneaking into the kitchen in the dead of night to peel a thin strip of glaze off of Soldier's apple pie (he knows it's wrong, very wrong, it's stealing and it's a bad idea and they might even throw him out; but it tastes so good and he'd only ever take the tiniest bit, just for the sweetness) only to be interrupted by Demo and Pyro (punishment for the crime, no doubt.) Of course he wasn't seen, but spent an hour under the table, listening to Demo curse and bitch and Pyro snigger and mutter. It's a good place to hide if surprised in the kitchen, it's a reliable place at least; but it's not very easy to escape from unnoticed (always have an escape plan. ALWAYS have an escape plan.) It was five people this time, too many to deal with coming in all at once, and too many to slip past cloaked (so of course the best course of action is to get under the table like a child; idiot, fucking idiot.)

From under the table, he can hear them all talking (which is sort of like Spying on them, but he doesn't mean it - it's not his fault they come in so suddenly and scare him under there.) People talk about such strange and trivial things. The weather, the food. Their aches and pains, their annoyances. Each other. Him, sometimes (and he really hates that, even though they're usually nice and don't call him Tim, at least.) It's unfair, the way they get to talk about such meaningless stuff and he can barely ask the time of day without making an idiot out of himself. For a while, the world consists of nothing but shoes and muffled conversation (the most shameful thing is that he sort of likes the world like that. He feels included, and merde, that's the stupidest thing he's thought all day.)

There's four pairs of boots around him, and striped socks wandering the kitchen (Medic sat behind him, which is bearable, Heavy to the left and Pyro in front of him and oh god, Engineer to his right. Is that a good thing? Engineer is safe, but hiding under a table is embarrassing.) Heavy is bickering with Scout about food; his voice rumbles in the wood and makes a cobweb dance in front of Spy's head. There are always cobwebs under and behind things, people never think about these places when they dust, if they dust. Twisting the delicate fluff onto a finger and crumbling it away feels like a small service to his team mates. Who else, after all, is going to do this? (Maybe one day someone will drop something and look under the table, or something will slip down the back of a filing cabinet. Maybe he'll overhear someone talking about how clean it is in all the forgotten spaces and know that it's appreciated. Maybe he should just stop thinking all together. Maybe sitting under a table makes you stupid.)

Medic laughs (and Medic's laugh always worries him a little bit) and Pyro's boots quiver; Heavy's foot kicks out in annoyance and he reflexively scoots right (and oh, no, Engineer sitting there is not a good thing at all; did he accidentally touch the man's knee?) Above him everyone is laughing (do they know he's there?) Heavy's irritation fleeting or feigned (No, they can't know. How would they know? Even if he had touched Engineer's knee, it would just seem like Heavy had tapped him under the table perhaps, although Heavy's legs are rather short.)

Scout has sat down next to Pyro now, leaning back on his chair dangerously far; Medic is telling him a horror story about an early case of his involving a man who swung too far on his chair and fell on a spike. Medic always seemed to have treated someone who'd injured themselves on any given household object, and all his stories ended in punctured lungs and broken bones, impromptu tracheotomies and skewered eyeballs.

A light touch on his shoulder and he nearly jumps out of his skin (fuck, fuck, fuck, he's stammering in his head now because Engineer's gloveless hand is reached out towards him under the table which means he knows, oh god he KNOWS.) He can't shift away because then he might hit Heavy, or Medic, or anyone else and that would be infinitely worse (he couldn't move even if he could move, because he can't even breathe, digging his nails into his legs through the leather and fabric.) All he can do is stare at the casually out-stretched hand (is that...?)

A sugar cube. Now he really feels like a child, or maybe a dog. A stray dog, a bloody feral cat or a wild horse or something, only one that sits under tables and hides like a fool from his own team mates (just one idiotic thought after another today, isn't it?) He won't take it, (but he would like it,) but he WON'T take it because that make things worse, and besides, maybe Engineer only thinks he's there, maybe if he doesn't take it then Engineer will think he was wrong, and take it away (but it is so very tempting; there was only four cubes left in the box that morning and four is too few to take one, someone would notice.) The conversation over his head has moved on to the late arrival of the post the last few times, difficulties in communication with HQ. Engineer is joining in, which means no one else knows he is under here (of course they don't. Engineer wouldn't give him away. Engineer is safe. Engineer is safe and offering him a lump of sugar. Perhaps he should take it, then he could sit nearer Engineer's legs and be sure no one else would touch him.)

The hand doesn't move at all as he lifts it, as lightly and quickly as possible, and slips his hand over his face even though no one can see him here and laugh at him for sucking on sugar cubes (but some habits are so deeply ingrained they feel like part of him.) When it does move once more, reaching out to brush against his arm, he still freezes up but not so badly (he can breathe, at least, he was half expecting it this time) and yet he lets himself be gently tugged sideways, arranged by tiny nudges so he is leaning against Engineer's legs, a thumb gently stroking the back of his neck (and slowly he unwinds, bit by bit, till he's resting his head on Engineer's knee and the thumb has worked its way under the balaclava to brush the edge of his hair.)

Time, and another lump of sugar, passes his way, till the others meander off. He's not even sure when they leave, or left because suddenly there's no more chatting, just Engineer lifting up the table cloth to look at him (did he fall asleep under here? That's almost as embarrassing as being under the table in the first place.)

"You can come out now, y'silly lil' Spook"

There's no mockery in that voice, but Spy still feels his face redden under the balaclava. Climbing out is uncomfortable - his legs have drifted off, whether or not the rest of him did - it's too bright all of a sudden and he blinks (only making him look more dishevelled, godammit.) Engineer helps him, strong arms settling him on his feet (he wants to run away, but he doesn't want to; he wants Engineer to maybe hug him, but he can't ask, he can't even talk, especially not right now. What if Engineer is sick of always having to calm him down?)

Warm hands are on his shoulders, pulling him closer (not so close he can't get away though.) Engineer leans down a little, pulls the balaclava up with the same care Spy has seen him employ so many times on his mechanical creations.

'"Son, if you didn't hide all the time, you wouldn't end up stuck like this. This is your kitchen as much as anyone else's, you know that."

Spy can only nod, not trusting his treacherous tongue not to make a mess out of replying, but he knows he's not being honest and Engineer evidently knows it too; he sighs, smiles, and presses a kiss to Spy's forehead (he doesn't flinch away, either, which fills him with a quiet pride.)

"Come on then," Engineer takes him by the edge of the hand, steers more than leads him toward the door. "Let's git out of here."

"Engineer?" The word is choked, but understandable.

"Yes Spah?"

"Th-thanks." He smiles, very slightly, shyly, not daring to look directly at his companion, but the grin on Engineer's face shines in the corner of his eye.

END
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