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The Burning Question (1)

1 .

Every repost is a repost repost. By VKnight.

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Decided to do a little story. This is the first part, and the rest is soon to follow. It's mainly my ideas as to where the Pyro came from.
My first work, would enjoy some concrit (constructive criticism, right?). Still, I hope that since I've started a fan-fic, I don't turn into one of those animu junkies who write about love stories of their favorite characters from Naruto.
BUT I BABBLE. ONWARDS TO VICTORY.

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As Soldier would say, it was another glorious victory, and everyone deserved a medal. The RED team had a successful run that day, capturing all of BLU’s control points within 2 hours of the mission’s start. The battle was quick, the adrenaline was full throttle, and the Administrator was pleased. Thus, the team was able to take a much needed break.
The day passed without incident. Scout practiced his fastball, Engineer tinkered with his newest blueprints (something he calls a ‘Portal-Gun’), and Demoman drank until he passed out. Of course, he started again when he woke up. It wasn’t until dinner time that things took an interesting turn. Halfway through the meal, as Heavy was getting up to get seconds and Pyro – the chef – was putting away his cooking equipment, Medic stood up with an announcement.
“It has come to my attention that I have not yet filed a psychological evaluation of all the members of the team,” he explained. “Please visit my office around 8:00 tonight so that we can get it out of the way.” Medic noticed Scout starting to raise his hand. “No, this is not where you turn your head and cough.” Reassured, Scout put his hand down. “Just feel free to speak your mind with me so I can get a basic report. It will help give me a better understanding of the team, allowing us to work more effectively.” With that, dinner resumed without anymore interruptions, aside from Soldier accusing Heavy of poisoning his potatoes.
As Medic had expected, no one showed up. A little disappointed (but not at all surprised), he started to pack up his materials and notes when there was a knock at the door. Looking up, Medic saw the familiar mask of Pyro. Tentatively, he entered the room.
“Ah, Pyro!” Medic said with a smile. “It is good to see you again! Please, take a seat!” In truth, Medic never really had any extended conversation with Pyro. Sure, he had to give him check-ups and fix any severe wounds he may have suffered in battle, but these were quick occurrences. Pyro would merely strip down to his undergarments and mask, Medic would heal him, and that was that. But the fact that Pyro had come to him now and actually wanted to talk with him perplexed the doctor.
Once he settled down, Medic asked Pyro why he was there. Pyro shrugged, muttering something that sounded like ‘talk’. “Do you mean you’re here for the evaluation?” Medic asked. Pyro nodded. “You do realize,” the doctor began, “that in order for me to get a proper report, you must remove your mask.” The rubber suited man glanced around nervously, particularly at the door. Following his movements, Medic told him, “There is no one here but you and me, mein friend. The door is locked, and no one will know about this but us.” Somewhat assured, Pyro reluctantly removed his mask.
Medic did his best to hide the shock he experienced upon seeing that face. He could only describe it as... unique. His eyes, an empty gray, were surrounded by deep, dark rings (from lack of sleep, Medic guessed) which stuck in contrast to his pale, nearly ghostly skin. His nose curved slightly downward, and some freckles were dotted around it, giving a sort of symmetrical feeling. What was most odd was his hair: jetting off into sharp curls, it glowed a vibrant red. It seemed so fitting of his character. And then, of course, there were the scars. Several burn marks littered his face, the most noticeable one consuming a quarter of his lips, showing off his jagged teeth. Looking over his patient, Medic concluded that he was once an attractive, though out of place, man, now in his early thirties.
Medic realized that he must have been staring longer than he intended to, as Pyro let out an uncomfortable grunt. Coming back to reality, Medic took out his notes. Pyro’s eyes followed his movements, his face emotionless. Medic returned his gaze, trying to see if he could read anything about this man. After an awkward pause, he cleared his throat and began.
“So,” Medic said, “what would you like to talk about?” Pyro laid back in his seat, staring at the ceiling. Trying to avoid me? the doctor thought.
“Anything,” Pyro said, his voice low and somewhat scratchy. Medic also picked up a bit of a Romanian accent. “And everything. I just need... to talk.”
Chewing on the tip of his pen, Medic pondered what he should ask. “Pyro,” he said, “why haven’t you come to talk before?”
“Didn’t think...” he said, his charred mouth struggling to form the words, “you would care. Didn’t think... anyone would care.” He paused and seemed to stare more intently at Medic, his eyes appearing to water. “Do... you care?”
Medic was amazed. This man, one of their most enthusiastic killers, one of the most dangerous of people to encounter, was in need of help. Emotional help. Despite his harsh character under the mask, Pyro looked so defenseless right now. Sure, Medic had seen the same type of emotions during his life as a Nazi youth (but that’s a story for another time), but this was different. It was someone looking for a friend to listen. Well, Medic decided, he’ll be that friend. Straightening his glasses, he replied, “Of course I care, Pyro. I’m here to help, no matter what the wound”.
Surprisingly, Pyro managed a smile, though it quickly disappeared. He laid back once more, facing the ceiling. Medic crossed his legs and said, “If just want to talk, let’s start with something simple: why are you here?” Pyro scrunched his face, obviously confused about the question. “What I mean is, how did you end up here, working for RED?”
Without turning, Pyro asked, “Are... you sure you want... to know, doctor? It is... long story...”
Medic nodded. “I have all the time in the world, mein friend.” Pyro smiled again at the mention of the word friend. He drew in a breath and began...
Marked for deletion (old)

2 .

Part 2 up in this bizz-itch.

“You should put a coat on,” Angela said in her usual soothing tone. “It’s suppose to get colder later today.” Adrian grunted, putting his hat on. Another Romanian winter was coming in, much to his displeasure. Fixing his coat, Adrian headed for the door. “I’ll see you later,” Angela said before pecking him on the cheek. This small transfer of heat cheered him up a little.

Closing the door behind him, Adrian began his trek to the factory. Already, a few snowflakes were starting to fall throughout the small town. Like most places in the country, poverty ran rampant. Adrian was still grateful he was even able to find a job. Steel-working wasn’t his initial choice, but it was all he could find, and the pay wasn’t too bad. As long as he kept Angela content and food on the table, there wasn’t much for him to worry about. As he rounded a corner, Adrian noticed a group of men standing by a burning barrel, enjoying a smoke. Tempted as he was to join them, Adrian fought back the urge. Besides, he thought to himself, they’re gangbangers; best not to get involved with them.

As bizarre as it was, the town did, in fact, have a small, ragtag gang. While made up of grown men unable to keep a job, they were not too big of an annoyance. The main trouble they’d cause would be vandalism and money laundering. Adrian did his best to avoid them.

After some time, he made it to the steel-working factory. As usual, the air inside was hot and dry, just the way Adrian liked it. Putting his coat away and fastening on his gear, Adrian reminisced on his previous night with Angela. He remembered the small dinner they had, followed by a few drinks in front of the fire. The warmth he felt as she laid her head on his shoulder was indescribable, relaxing every muscle in his body. And it was about then that his memory got a little fuzzy, as sleep befell him as it did Angela. Already he missed her, with her blonde hair and smooth skin, her-

“Ey! Adrian!” Snapping back to reality, Adrian turned to see the origin of the call. His friend Alex stood over his shoulder, a goofy grin on his face. “How goes it, fellow? Angela doing okay?”

Adrian cleared his throat and turned to his giant of a comrade. “Yes,” he muttered, “she is doing fine. How are you?”

Alex chuckled. “Good, good. Or at least as good as someone can do in this shithole.” He smirked at Adrian, stroking his beard. “Why don’t you laugh, my friend?” Alex asked. “Work has not even started yet, and already you are unhappy.”

Adrian sighed and ran a hand through his thick red hair. “I, uh, suppose it’s Angela,” he muttered, trying not to bother Alex with his troubles. But Alex was a good man and listened attentively. “I love her. I want to marry her. But,” he turned to Alex, who looked at him sympathetically, “I can’t afford a ring. Not in these conditions. Yet... if I don’t let her know how I really feel soon, I know she’ll leave me for someone else. Someone rich.”

Alex patted Adrian on the back with one of his heavy hands. “Adrian, you worry too much. She loves you. I’ve seen it in the way she looks at you. You were made for each other,” he said. Adrian started to brighten up a little. “If you really want a ring, though,” Alex began, quickly looking back and forth, “I know of a guy who can give you some money.”

Perking his head up a little, Adrian stared at the man. “Really? You know someone who would?” Alex nodded. “Could you perhaps...” Adrian sheepishly said, “introduce him to me?”

Alex let out another hearty laugh. “Of course I can, my friend,” he exclaimed. “Just meet me at the back lot of the factory after our shifts are over.”

Adrian smiled, most of the worry gone from his face. “Thank you, Alex,” he said. “You are a good friend.”

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With his chipper mood, the day seemed to pass quickly for Adrian. He worked at his usual station, pressing down the lever that would shape the still-hot mound of metal into a straight beam. It was boring, repetitive work, but he didn’t mind it. Plus, from his view at the station, Adrian could easily see inside the machine from where the metal came out. Within it, the flames that heated the metal danced around, licking the sides of the walls with an unstoppable ferocity. Amazing, Adrian pondered, how such a destructive force like fire, destroying, rotting anything it touches, could help humans, protect them in ways nothing else could. And the fact that they could control it...

Adrian tried to not think about it so much, but these thoughts always teased him. Fire was just so... fascinating. Shrugging off his curiosity, he got back to work. When his shift ended, Adrian walked to the factory’s back lot as Alex instructed. His friend was already there, chatting with a strange figure smoking a cigarette. Adrian could only assume it was the man Alex had mentioned earlier. For some reason, he looked familiar. As he came closer, Alex turned to face him, beaming from ear to ear. “Simion,” he said, addressing the man beside him, “this is Adrian. As I explained, he’s in need of a little financial aid.”

Simion snorted. “Who isn’t,” he said, offering Adrian a cigarette, which he declined. “I can give you some money, sure. Just name the amount and you have it.”

Suddenly, Adrian remembered why he recognized the man: he was one of the gangbangers he saw earlier. He started to back away. “You’re one of those crooks,” he said, his voice sounding a little more panicky than he preferred. “I don’t do business with crooks, no matter how desperate I am.”

Alex glanced to Simion nervously, who only let out a slimy chuckle. “Is that what they call us now? A shame.” He put an arm around Adrian, who tried to jerk away at first. “Alex was right about how much you worry,” he said, a smile forming on his lips. “We are just honest men trying to make a living in a world that doesn’t want us to succeed. So are you. Thus, it’s our job to help other honest men.” Simion looked at Alex, who nodded in agreement. “We will give you some money, whatever amount you desire, and you pay us back later. Besides, it would take you too long to get that money yourself.”

Adrian thought this over. He raised a good point. It would take months for him to get that kind of money, and he could lose Angela in that time. Gulping, he turned to face Simion. “Alright,” he said, somewhat reluctantly, “I suppose it’s for the best. But you say I can pay you back whenever I want, without interest?”

“Of course,” Simion said. With everyone satisfied, the transaction took place. With a fresh wad of bills, Adrian ran to the only jeweler’s store the town had. Purchasing the most expensive ring there, he quickly returned to his home. No sooner did Angela open the door that Adrian picked her up in his arms and swung her about. He laughed and she laughed, even though she was unsure as to why Adrian was so happy. When he finally settled down and let her go, he looked her dead in the eye. Angela was still a little dizzy, but was able to focus after a few seconds.

“Adrian,” she said, rubbing her head and giggling, “what has gotten into you?” Adrian leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead.

“Do you love me?” he asked.

She looked at him oddly. “Of course I do.”

Excitedly, Adrian reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring to show her. “Then will you marry me?” he asked. Angela stared at the object in his hands. “I know it’s sudden, but I was too excited to-” Before he could finish, Angela had wrapped her arms around Adrian’s torso. He felt the same warmth he had felt earlier, and it felt wonderful.

She leaned in to his ear and whispered, “Yes”. They were locked in embrace for what seemed like hours. And Adrian enjoyed every moment of it.
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