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Breaking Point ( Mark 3 ) (140)

1 .

A rusty door swung open, flooding the dim, windowless cellar with a warm, yet somehow malicious, red glow. A Spy sporting the same color of dress strolled in, flanked by two other RED associates – an Engineer and a Heavy. The shorter man was carrying around a box of supplies, and began laying them out neatly in a specific order on a stainless steel table in the midst of the room. While he was busy, Heavy paused and closed the dank cellar from the outside world by shutting and latching the heavy bolts.

Spy flipped open a cigarette case, lit one up, and took a deep draw. He exhaled slowly, directing his cool, icy eyes at the shackled figure on the ground as his two associates bustled about.

The shackled form glared back boldly. “Well. If it ain’t the fat bald bastard, the skinny bald bastard, and the short bald bastard.”
“Fuck off, ya shape-shiftin’ rat.”

“Pardon me, but I don’t t’ink you are quite in zee position to make demands, boy,” the man drawled in his light French accent, twirling his cigarette around between his fingers. “You’ve been, eh… ‘escorted’ to a secret facility of ours, over 800 kilometers away from zee nearest BLU base, and I’m zee only object standing between you, and a long, painful death.” the man casually pulled out a beautifully engraved revolver from the inside of his vest. “So I recommend you ‘ave an intelligent thought for once in your pathetic life, and cooperate.”

The boy shackled on the ground just snorted. He was around 19, and had short cropped hair that was looking pretty messy, with parts of it matted together as if he hadn’t been to a shower in a while. His wiry body was garbed only in a loose undershirt and a pair of blue camo-boxers. The bronze tan he sported was starting to fade slowly but surely from the lack of sunlight. However, he was covered with a layer of grime so thick, one could barely tell. The Scout’s entire body was covered with harsh bruises, and his wrists and ankles were rubbed raw due to the tight shackles, but his blue eyes still burned with that cocky, resolute flare. Pity. It would have easier on the both of them if he’d just given up after the first beating.

“Yeah right, dumbass. I heard about you fuckin’ around with my mom. You really think she’ll let you anywhere near her if you had anything to do with my death?” the boy snickered in his quick, fast-talking Bronx accent.

“Heh…” The man took another long draw on his cigarette. “Just like a child. ‘iding behind your mozzer’s skirt until zee very end.”
A deep flush. “Y-Yeah right. I’m not hidin’ behind nobody – I’m just tellin’ you like it is.”
The man smirked nastily. “Do you really t’ink zis is zee first time I’ve disposed of a relative of someone I’m physically involved with? Please. I’ll get rid of you quickly and quietly, and when your body finally shows up, I’ll be there to comfort ‘er, telling ‘er zat I did everyt’ing I could to save you.” Spy knew from experience that it usually wasn’t difficult to convince people that he was the good person they thought he was. Especially if they already wanted to believe him.

“Yeah, right. My mom would never believe ya, ya fuckin’ coward.”
“We’ll see. Now…” The RED Spy flicked away his half-used cigarette and pulled a fresh one from his case, lighting it up. The orange glow highlighted his gaunt, predatory face from below, casting many odd shadows over his face. “Enough stalling, boy. Tell me everyzhing you know about zee whereabouts of zee RED intelligence.”

Another infuriating smirk. “Uh, buddy? I don’t know if you noticed, but… I’m just a Scout. What makes you think I know where they took that suitcase fulla junk? I’m pretty low down on the pecking order, ya know what I’m saying?”

His mischievous eyes sparkled, as if saying, “Yeah, I know something, but I ain’t telling you what it is.” It pissed Spy off to no end, but he couldn’t be seen losing his head. This was a job that called for cool, calculated ruthlessness.

“Well.” Spy calmly placed the revolver down on the table. “I suppose there’s no ‘ope of reaching compromise civilly.” He snapped his fingers crisply to call his two assistants to attention. “Unchain him, restrain him, and bind ‘is face.”

“Wh…What are you doing?!” the BLU Scout cried, growling as Heavy unlocked his chains and roughly seized him by his thin arms. He tried to fight back, but his arms were too weak from being weighed down from the heavy shackles, as well as the lack of movement for days on end. He found that he could barely move them. “Hey! Hey, let me go!” He tried to twist away and even tried to bite the two as a black cloth was tied around his face, making him unable to see, and barely able to breathe or talk.

“Hold ‘im.” The Spy’s measured footsteps drew ever-closer as his two assistants forcibly pressed Scout to the cold stone floor, pinning him by his neck and limbs.

Suddenly, a rush of ice cold water flooded his senses. Scout screamed and tried his best to wrench away, but Heavy forced him still by brutally twisting his arm in on itself. More water poured down, sending his body practically into convulsions.

Scout had never been afraid of water before – hell, swimming was one his favorite hobbies after running and playing ball. But this… This was something straight out of a nightmare. It was starkly reminiscent of the swimming accident he’d suffered when he was eight or nine. It felt like he was drowning.

There was nothing that he wanted to do more than to suffer the abuse silently and laugh in that masked freak’s face and boast how there was nothing that creep could do to make him spill the beans, but… Holy hell. He was already shaking like a leaf during a violent storm, and, God, he knew it was just starting.

He wanted to cry. A beating, he could take. This was… something completely different. But still, he had to keep quiet. Whatever this fucker could do to him was nothing compared to what his own team would do to him if he gave away the location to that stupid suitcase full of crap.

God, what had he gotten himself into?


Reposting. AGAIN.

So, hey, I'm doing a little bit of tweaking of Spy's accent AGAIN with the help of Izzy, the almost-fluent-native-speaker of Canadian French... stuff. Close enough. It was a little too heavy last time, and I didn't like it. I want it to be consistent, but not distracting, you know?

Just like before, you guys, if you have an irresistible urge to shower me with praise and monies comment, feel free to do so! I love comments, like, burning. Also, if you want to drop me an email, that's fine and dandy, too! That's what it's there for!

Enjoy, you crazy bastids!

2 .

The boy twisted violently, some primal instinct within him springing alive, demanding that he not die without a fight, at the very least. The massive Russian bear growled and jerked him back into place, nearly dislocating Scout’s left arm in the process. The boy gave a startled yelp in response, but was soon cut off by the unforgiving torrent of frigid water the Spy was pouring in his face.

After what seemed an eternity, the water stopped, the cloth ripped away from his face soon after. The boy gratefully gulped in a lungful or two of air, coughing and sputtering. His shirt was plastered to his thin chest, showing his ribs as he sucked in breath after laborious breath.

Spy tsk-tsked, examining a fancy gold pocket-watch attached to a chain. “Oh, please, boy… After all zat big talk, I would ‘ave expected you to survive at least thirty seconds.” Another one of those slimy, shit-eating smiles.

The BLU Scout couldn’t even muster the effort to offer one of his vain, snide remarks in return. All he could do was glare up at the older man, eyes smoldering with weak hatred, teeth chattering with the cold and dull fear as Heavy shackled him up once again.

Spy slowly raised one of his eyebrows, and replaced his pocket watch within the folds of his suit. “Zat…” he began, taking another draw on his cigarette, “was just a taste of what can be expected if you do not talk. And also a warning. My threats are not to be taken lightly, you illiterate street rat.”
“I meant what I said. I ain’t tellin’ you nothin’,” Scout whimpered, voice cracking. He couldn’t help but dread whatever that psycho had planned next.

Spy snarled, and roughly grabbed the boy by his cheeks. “Zis is not a GAME, you pig. You WILL tell me what I need to know, or—”
Suddenly, Scout jerked his head away, and snapped at Spy’s hand, biting down viciously on one finger. He hadn’t really meant to – it was mostly instinct. He was just SO determined to show that bastard to be careful where he put his hands – that there was some fight in him, yet.

Spy howled, jerked his hand back, and promptly backhanded Scout for such a show of insolence. “You DOG!” he snapped, trembling with shock and rage. It didn’t hurt him much – he still had his thick, leather gloves on, after all – but the AUDACITY of that little wretch to…

He sneered once again at the boy. “It’s time someone do somet’ing about those deplorably crooked teeth of yours, boy. Engineer!” he snapped, removing his expensive, leather gloves and stashing them in his coat pocket. They were promptly replaced by thin, latex ones. “Zee dentistry instruments, s’il vous plaît. Quickly, now.”

Scout’s stomach dropped. God, he hated the dentist. Always had. His teeth were really messed up for a reason. “Y…You touch me again and I’ll bite your fucking nuts off next – I mean it!”

“I’d like to see you try,” Spy chuckled mirthlessly, as the Engineer wrenched his jaws open. Paying no heed to Scout’s protests, he hooked an oral speculum in his mouth so that biting would no longer be an issue.

Scout growled and twisted, trying to work the thing out of his mouth, but Heavy was quick on the scene to hold him still once more.

“Light, please.”
Engineer, now standing from a slight distance shone the light into the Scout’s mouth so that Spy could see what he was doing.

Scout coughed forcefully into Spy’s face, glaring and trembling with fear.
Spy shot him an unimpressed look, donned a spare surgical mask, and snapped his fingers. “Pliers.”
Scout’s blood turned to ice as he watched the Engineer hand over a rusty, wicked looking pair. Shaking, he tried to twist away, but Heavy held his face rigidly in place.

Spy began poking around nonchalantly, an unimpressed expression on his face. Scout was watching him intently, eyes wide with unspeakable terror. Every time he felt the cold, harsh metal clank harmlessly against the hard enamel of his tooth, his entire body went taunt as a rope.

“Let’s see ‘ere…” Spy hummed idly, continuing to prod at the boy’s mouth. He was at a bit of a bind here. As much as would have liked to rid himself of the boy’s repulsive, crooked incisors, he didn’t want to risk making the boy’s already inarticulate mutterings even more difficult to understand. He didn’t want to finally get a confession out of the boy and be completely unable to understand a word the dolt was saying.

Suddenly, the man’s ice-blue eyes flashed. “Come closer with zat light, Laborer.”
The Engineer shot Spy a quick glare of contempt, but inched closer so that he could see what he was doing.

Scout couldn’t see the shit-eating smile on Spy’s face, but the bastard’s eyes spoke volumes by themselves. “I see you ‘ave matured enough to develop wisdom teeth…” the man chuckled, prodding at one. “What luck. I hear they are zee most painful to extract.”
Scout felt his breathing getting shaky and irregular. It was all he could do to not scream and beg for mercy. This was a nightmare. Unable to control himself, he began trembling once more. His wide eyes, glassy with unshed tears, were silently pleading for mercy.
The Spy just smiled at him from behind the paper mask.

“Last chance.”

Scout whimpered as he felt the pliers loosely grasp his bottom-right wisdom tooth. Shaking with absolute terror, he scrunched his eyes shut, and waited for the consequences of his decision.

Suddenly, Spy’s left hand was grasping the boy’s skull in an iron grip, and a foot planted itself in his chest for balance.

Then excruciating pain. Spy clamped down forcefully with the pliers and wrenched as hard as he could, disregarding the blood spurting out of the boy’s mouth. Scout howled and tried his best to wrench away, fighting as hard as he possibly could.

Scout was expecting pain, but not pain like THIS. And certainly not those horrid SOUNDS. Even over his shrill, panicked screaming, he could hear alarming popping and tearing sounds as the tooth was ripped away from bone and vital nerves. The taste of bitter copper was upon his tongue in no time at all, and sooner, still, Scout found himself choking on his own blood and spittle.

He was hyperventilating. His chains rattled as he tried to blindly claw his way out of this hellish torment. Anything to take his mind off of that pain. That horrible, blinding pain…

“HOLD HIM, you imbecile!” the Spy snapped. For some reason, he sounded so far away…

It was unreal. Scout had suffered through more broken bones, minor gunshot wounds, and blunt trauma than he could remember, both in his rough childhood and on the battlefield. None of them compared. This pain RADIATED. His entire jaw felt like it was made of red-hot iron, and any flesh around the tooth burned as if it was being disintegrated by hydrochloric acid. His cheek and tongue were numbed from the overwhelming sensation, and his head throbbed with a migraine that shook his brain loud enough to wake the heavens.

Suddenly, a sickening crack, and then a crunch. Scout gave a strangled, garbled shriek as he felt something sharp drive further into his gums. Spy gave an irritable huff. “Look what you made me do, you stupid boy.” He held up a bloody, broken mess of what could only be shattered remnants of the tooth he was pulling. “Now I’ll be here all day pulling out zis infernal tooth bit by bit.” An annoyed smile. “I hope you’re ‘appy.”

Scout couldn’t quite remember what happened right after that. The pain was too much – he’d probably passed out. All he knew was that moments after everything went black, he was ripped back to horrid consciousness by some putrid smell.

Spy grinned down at him, holding a handkerchief that seemed doused with something. “Sorry, boy, but I simply can’t allow you to escape into zee luxuries of sleep. I’d be undoing all of my hard work.” Scout’s eyes widened as he pulled out the pair of pliers again. “Now, where were we…”

Panic. “NOH!” the young man cried, voice loud and shrill with panic. “Nah ah-gin! Ah’wl tahlk!”
Spy paused and placed the pliers down. “… Pardon?”
More hysterical sobs as burning, salty tears streamed down Scout’s face. “Ah’wl tehwl ‘ou ANEHDIN’! N… Noh mohr, ‘M beggin ya…”

He’d done it. He’d betrayed his own fucking team when they were depending on him. All he had to do was keep his stupid mouth shut, and he couldn’t even do THAT right… He didn’t think he could show his face around them again. He was nothing but a screw-up and a punk.

There was a long, painful moment of silence filled only by Scout’s sobs and pitiful whimpers. The Engineer and Heavy looked up at Spy expectantly. Finally, he nodded, and the Engineer undid the device holding Scout’s trembling mouth open.

Spy was going through another fresh cigarette and putting back on his standard gloves as Engineer worked. After the mechanic was done, Spy decided to wait until Scout stopped sobbing before pressing his case. Seconds later, he decided it was taking far too long.

“Zee location of our intelligence, boy. Do not make me ask again.”
Scout swallowed painfully, the taste of blood bitter on his tongue. “I…I don’t know all the… details…” the boy started unsteadily. “B…But… I heard them… uh…” A pause as he choked back another sob. “Mention some place… Cold… U…Up north. Think it’s some stupid fuckin’ European country or some sh—”

“Names, boy,” Spy sighed, voice obviously impatient.
“I-I’m g…gettin’ to that…” the boy whimpered. He furrowed his brow, staring down at the floor in earnest concentration. “Um… I… I think it was called… N… Norra Scocha or something…”
“Nova Scotia?” the Spy demanded.
“Somethin’ like that…”
Looking away, Spy took another long draw of his cigarette, and silently let the tendrils of smoke curl out of his nostrils. “… Interesting…”

There was another painful silence as Spy mused this over. The Engineer and Heavy were talking in hushed voices at the other end of the room, but about what, Scout couldn’t say. Finally, the boy cleared his throat nervously, and inquired in a cracked voice, “S…So, am I free to go now…?”

Spy bit back the incredulous laugh tickling the back of his throat. Better the boy not know. Not yet. “I’m afraid not.”
Scout shifted uncomfortably. “I told you what you wanted to know.”
“Oui. But allow me anot’er question, s’il vous plaît.”
“ZAT was not a request,” Spy snapped irritably. “Now zat we know where OUR intelligence is, you will tell us where YOURS is.”
Scout felt his blood freeze up again.

Anything but that…


Captcha: orgali community

3 .

“Sorry, man – I-I can’t answer that,” the Scout replied quickly. Too quickly.
Spy snarled and jammed his foot squarely into Scout’s chest, knocking the wind out of him. “Don’t insult my intelligence with such transparent lies, boy.”
“It… ain’t a lie,” Scout gasped out with an infuriating amount of resolution. He squared his shoulders stubbornly, and clenched his jaw. “Sorry, man – that’s all I know.”

He couldn’t help but think about his team. BLU had been on the run for weeks now with a series of devastating losses of land. The Intel grab was supposed to put them back on the map again – put a little more wind in their sails. If RED stormed in and recovered their Intel… Well, there would be casualties, sure, but BLU was likely to have decoded most, if not all, of the information already.

But if OUR Intel is stolen, Scout thought, his heartbeat escalating with panic, we’ll be worse off than before. RED’ll wipe us off of the friggin’ map.

Scout didn’t want to be in any more pain. But the thought of his entire team getting slaughtered – for real – just because he couldn’t stand the heat… No, that wasn’t going to happen. He wasn’t going to pussy out again.

His eyes flickered up to glare at the Spy, the bold, smoldering fire alight in his eyes once more. Spy returned it with his falcon-like gaze.

“Honestly, boy,” he sighed, crouching so that he was eye-level with the little BLU wretch. He twirled his cigarette idly between his finger-tips, trying to maintain his patience. “I’ve already ‘ad you water-boarded and I’ve pulled out one of your deplorable teeth. Do you really want more?”

Scout was glaring off to the side now, so Spy pressed the cherry end of his cigarette to the pale flesh of Scout’s exposed neck. There was a slight hissing sound as the flesh blackened and blistered around it. Scout sucked in a tight breath, clenched his teeth together, and let out a weak whine of pain, but still refused to look at the man.

Spy growled dangerously and seized Scout by the collar, bringing him close to his snarling face. His breath was heavy with the scent of tobacco and Brandy. “What are you trying to ACHIEVE, you imbecile?! You WILL tell me what I desire to know, whether it takes hours, days, or weeks! Why do you resist?!”

When Scout didn’t reply, he drew out his beautiful revolver and bashed the boy on the skull with it, tarnishing its intricate designs with the dark, red stain of blood. Scout drooped, threatening to lose consciousness once more, but Spy seized him by the collar again and slammed him to the wall, growling like a feral animal. The chains rattled noisily with the sudden, violent motion.

“I already told ya,” Scout mumbled dazedly. He tried to focus. “I… dunno nothin’. Ya wastin’ ya time, big guy.” It came out surprisingly easy, despite how thick and dry his tongue felt in his mouth.

Spy gave the little snot-nosed brat another firm back-hand, and stormed to his feet, pacing around in a barely-controlled rage. The Heavy and Engineer stared wordlessly as the man began neurotically drawing a fresh cigarette, lighting it up and barely taking a single draw before he tossed it away and pulled out another. As he did so, he hissed venomously, “I’m not finished with you YET, my boy. Oh, no. No, no… I’ve got many more tricks up my sleeve! Perhaps I’ll start ripping off the nails from your fingers and toes! Hmmm? Would you like zat?!” he snapped.

Silence was all that met him. Spy was sure that nothing could be more annoying than the little delinquent's shrill, grating voice, but this deliberately defiant silence was much, much worse.

RED Soldier had made himself clear that Spy wasn’t supposed to utilize any interrogation methods that would kill the BLU Scout. At least not right away. He was supposed to get all information from him as quickly as possible, then kill the boy and dispose of all evidence once they investigated if the information was legitimate. But they needed the information first. And they needed it quickly.

There was no margin of error. Period.

But what was he supposed to do? He could sense the Scout was retreating back into a protective mental shell. It was very possible that he’d been tortured before with such tenacity. And it was clear that the boy had the stupid, but noble idea that he was a hero by saving his teammates – as if there WERE any heroes in this game they played – as well as the idiotic thought that he would actually be let go if he stayed silent long enough. Unfortunately, he also seemed to recognize that he was too valuable to kill with his information. Or to psychologically scar past his limit, for that matter…

The man’s mind whirled frantically as he took in a deep draw and flicked another cigarette away. He’d never been under such restraints for interrogation before. He was used to terrorizing his victims with a slow and painful death until they begged for a merciful shot between the eyes and were willing to tell whatever they knew to receive it. And if they died before information was yielded… Well, there were always other men to “ask” instead.

But this Scout was the only one they could get their hands on – assisted by the RED Spy’s relationship with his mother. The only BLU mercenary they’d been able to get since the damned war had started. There was no room for error… No second chances if he made a miscalculation…

He continued on his fanatical ranting tirade, his threats getting increasingly sadistic as his own panic escalated. “OR, per’aps I could force-feed you your own filthy waste! I could even get zee Medic down ‘ere and—”
The Engineer suddenly pulled him aside as the boy winced at the threat. “Easy there, pardner,” he warned in a low, solemn voice. “You can’t bring the Doc into this. Soldier made sure to specify that.”
Spy jerked away from the Engineer’s grasp, and jabbed a thin, pointy finger into the man’s chest, hissing back, “And ‘e ALSO specified zat I was to be zee ONLY one to speak, and zat YOU moronic commoners are not to get in my way!”
Engineer just shook his head. “It’s no use right now. We should try again tomo—”

Spy suddenly waved him off. “Shush, Laborer.” His brow was creased thoughtfully.
The Engineer snarled and was about to object to Spy’s offensive nickname, when he caught sight of the expression on the man’s face. He grudgingly stayed silent, if only to hurry this uncomfortable and highly unpleasant process to its end.

It was possible… Very possible that Spy had been going about this the wrong way!

Yes… His focus had been all wrong. His techniques were painful, to be sure, but would not serve as a continual physical, as well as psychological, reminder that would stay with the boy for the remainder of his life. Something that would hit him hard – something he’d be most certainly afraid of losing forever…

The answer came immediately.

There was a sudden relaxing of Spy’s posture that warranted an uneasy glance from Scout. Spy didn’t return it immediately, taking time to finally enjoy the smooth essence of his luxurious Dunhill Special Reserve cigarette. The panicked haze he’d momentarily gone through was over now; the information of the whereabouts of the BLU Intel was as good as his.

The slow, cobra-esque grin that split his face in two somehow made Engineer and Heavy feel just as anxious as the very Scout the grin was meant for.

“We all enjoy various activities…” Spy began vaguely, pausing for a moment to deftly blow out a ring of smoke.
Scout watched him warily, jaw set tight.
“Zee Laborers, for example—”
A low growl from the Engineer. Again with that nickname.
“They like to build their fancy little toys for me to destroy. Zee ‘eavies like their big guns. Zee Medics like… well… You know. I like getting my information and keeping a lucrative career in which it is my duty to simply stab anyone stupid enough to stand still. And you…”

The man poked Scout in the chest with deceptive – mocking, even – tenderness. His predator-like grin softened. “And you like to run.”

A pause as Scout tried to see where this was going. Spy continued softly, sounding everything like a father lulling his child to sleep with a bedtime story. “Like? No… You LOVE it. Don’t you? You love zee wind in your hair, zee feel of your feet slapping against hard pavement, zee burning in your legs, zee rush of your heartbeat, zee sting of every exhilarating breath…”

Scout nodded unconsciously, eyes dreamy. He closed his eyes for a moment, and took a deep breath, imagining it was from the fresh outdoors. He’d hardly been able to MOVE since his capture – much less have a good run. He missed it more than he missed NOT feeling like a drowned rat with a nail jammed into the inside of his jaw and a hammer beating on the side of his head.


Scout couldn’t hold back his pained cry as the drummer inside his skull beat at double-time. Spy stood, the barrel of his revolver coated with yet another thin layer of blood from the Scout’s forehead. His smile stayed professional and refined, even as his eyes burned with the insane glee that came with a knowing victory.

Everyone in the room flinched as Spy unexpectedly fired a round just a hair away from the boy’s thigh.

“What would you do if you could never run again?”

4 .

Scout’s heart skipped a beat, and he immediately drew his knees up to his chest. “H-Hey… Easy, now… I… I already told ya what I know!” When he saw that the Spy was calmly reloading his weapon and no longer paying him any sort of mind, he blurted, “O-Okay! So maybe I DO know something! But I still can’t tell you!”
“Oh, you’ll find zat you most certainly can,” Spy muttered, clicking shut the chamber.
“No – you don’t understand!” Scout screamed, frantic voice going shrill. “You don’t know what they do to traitors over there, man! I CAN’T!!!”
Spy only raised one, dubious eyebrow.
Scout trembled, eyes darting over the floor, as if the answers to his dilemma were spelled out on the filthy, damp concrete.

Finally, there came a stifled sob. The boy lowered his head further, ashamed of crying for the second time in front of the grown, battle-hardened men before him.

Spy waited patiently.

“P…Please…” came the cracked whimper. “Please don’t make me tell… I… I just can’t…”
“You can, and you will.” Spy cocked his revolver meaningfully.
“NO! NO, no, no, no, no!” Scout cried, shrinking back in on himself. “Please… Please! I… I’ll never cause any trouble for you guys again! I’ll quit the war! I’ll drop off the face of the fuckin’ planet if you want me to – just don’t make me tell you! PLEASE!”

Spy gazed into the Scout’s eyes, expression as grim and hawk-like as ever. Although it was incredibly difficult for Scout, he stared back, eyes bloodshot and unsure.

Eventually, Spy lowered his gun and softened his gaze with a considerable amount of effort. “Boy, I really don’t want to do zis,” he lied in a soothing voice. “I’m ‘ere for one t’ing only: and zhat’s to get zee information I desire. I’ll gladly let you go – I’ll even personally escort you to your new-found freedom and ensure your lovely mozzer you ‘ave not been ‘armed.”

His voice dipped into that gentle, father-like tone again. “But you ‘ave to tell me what I want to know first, Cameron.”

He paused. “Please.”

There was silence for several long moments. Scout opened his mouth, paused uneasily as he mulled over what he was about to say in his mind, chewed his lip, and took a deep, shaky breath.

“I-I… I really can’t tell you, but I—”

Spy didn’t even remember pulling the trigger. All he knew was that he was that one moment, he was patiently listening to the simpering little imbecile, and the next, he was scowling ferociously as he fired again and again into the boy’s kneecap, shattering it in a matter of seconds.

The pain shot through Scout’s leg like a bolt of lightning, every bullet sending his body into a convulsion of anguish. And, oh God, did he scream. He screamed as loud as he could manage so that everyone in the entire world could know the pain he was going through. The fear he felt, wondering what else these cruel bastards could put him through. And, most of all, that the one thing that mattered most to him was taken away forever.

Spy seized him while he was in the midst of writhing in his restraints, and squeezed his cheeks forcefully, making the dull ache pulsing within his mouth return at full force. “I don’t t’ink zat you were listening,” the infuriated Frenchman hissed, eyes blazing. He brought his face nose-to-nose with the terrified boy’s. “Now do you want to tell me where zat Intel is, or do you want to go for two?!” He pressed the barrel of the gun to the boy’s other knee, finger hovering dangerously on the trigger.

Scout couldn’t seem to stop shaking. He convulsed more, eyes rolling into back of his head. It was too much – the pain, the stress, and God, Spy’s breath – he felt like he was choking… Couldn’t breathe…

Spy withdrew as the boy started gagging forcefully, but when nothing came, he resumed his position straddling the helpless teen on the ground. He shook Scout forcefully by the shoulders, growling as the boy’s eyes flickered and rolled back in their sockets yet again.

“TELL ME!” he screamed, shoving him against the wall.
“TELL ME!!!” Spy repeated, slamming those frail shoulders yet again over the cold stone.

“Iceland!” the boy choked out between his sobs and whimpers of pain. “Th… The Intel… It’s being held i…in… Iceland…”

Spy withdrew, allowing the boy a moment to control himself and speak in more than barely understandable blubbers. chest heaving, Scout continued, “Th… There’s this huge v…volcano… Off the south coast… Can’t remember what it’s called… Th…They have a base there… Only one entrance… and it’s crawlin’ with Engies and Heavies. That’s… That’s really all I know. Just… Just please… Don’t… No more…” Another sob, followed by violent coughing and a sickening retch.

Spy smirked. “Well done, boy,” he cooed mockingly, patting the trembling soul’s cheek. He stood, glancing back at his two visibly uncomfortable comrades. “You two ‘ave served your purpose – you may be excused. I’m charging you wiz zee task of relaying zee whereabouts of zee RED and BLU Intel to Soldier on zee way back to your quarters. Zhis has been an overwhelming success.”

Engineer exhaled, suddenly becoming aware that he’d been holding his breath. “So we’re done now? We can leave?”
“Yes. Goodbye.”
Engineer was already making a beeline towards the door, but Heavy stopped and glanced back at the masked villain. “You are not coming vit us?” he asked in his heavy Russian accent.
“No, unfortunately not. I have some matters to attend to in order to make sure our ‘ard work is not undone,” the Frenchman answered vaguely, spinning his cigarette between his fingertips. “But your duty is finished. You may take your leave.”

The heavy-set Russian man stared at Spy a moment longer, then shrugged and left along with his smaller, Texan counterpart.

Scout watched, trembling as the heavy steel door opened, flooding the dimly lit cellar with the blood red glow of the setting sun. The door swung shut, extinguishing the light all at once, and with it, Scout’s last hope of freedom.

5 .

Caution: Things get rated M up in this bitch. Skip this installment if that's not your cuppa, but I really don't know what you're doing here if it's not.

Also, forgot this little tidbit after the last chapter's update:

... I think it's worth mentioning that I actually did some research on kneecapping, and apparently it's done at the BACK of the knee to sever some kinda nerve or something - idk. I wanted to try to fit that in to show, "Hey, I actually DID look this up," but I couldn't quite fit it into the story smoothly, so I'm going to call Artistic License on this one, and ask that you guys just assume that all the effects of a NORMAL kneecapping took place, even though it was executed differently.
And why is the Intel located in the middle of a huge, badass volcano? Author appeal. I mean, c'mon. They're kind of the shit. So, yeah.


If there was one thing Spy loved, it would be the intoxicating feeling of power wrought from fear. His was a different sort, he knew. He wasn’t like that brute of a Russian bear or the psycho-patriotic Soldier; he couldn’t FORCE his victims to fear him by sheer brute strength or physical intimidation.

His was a creeping kind of fear – the one of a child afraid of the eerie shadows cast by what was supposed to be a comforting night-light. The chill that invariably creeps up one’s neck when they find themselves walking alone after dusk.

He thrived on this fear – uncertainty was what gave him power, and it never felt as sweet as when it came from someone who was so infuriatingly overconfident. Be it a filthy bushman too busy staring through his scope to survey his surroundings every-so-often, or a Heavy roaring with laughter as he slowly mowed down the ranks without noticing that his precious Medic was no longer with him.

Maybe that’s why, he told himself, that he found the terrified look in Scout’s eyes so intricately alluring.

The boy’s eyes followed him as the man drew forward. He was still shaking and sobbing, the shattered remains of what could have been called his knee still bleeding profusely.

Suddenly, Spy whipped his revolver out again, aiming the barrel directly at Scout’s face. The boy gasped, immediately shrinking in on himself. Spy smirked placing it back in his holster. “Are you afraid of me now, little Scout? And here I was, t’inking you were a big MAN…”
Scout averted his eyes to the ground, still shaking. “You… You shot me i…in the knee…” he muttered, feebly trying to justify himself.

Spy chuckled, lighting another cigarette. “Yes. Yes, I did. And do you know why?” He paused to blow a few smoke rings. “Because YOU disobeyed a direct order from me. And let me inform you right now zat your short life will become VERY difficult should you continue to disobey.”

Something about the way Spy said that made Scout shift uncomfortably. “Hey… Wait. Didn’t you say you were going to let me go?”
“Yes, I did.” The smile widened into a terrifyingly mirthless grin. “But zat was before you practically spat in my face and refused my offer, despite my kindness. What I said before zat incident is now null and void.” At the expression of horror spreading through the boy’s features, he added, “Oh, don’t worry, you little hooligan. If it makes you feel better, I never planned on keeping my promise, anyhow.”
“You… You bast—”

Spy flipped open his butterfly knife, eyes glinting. “Pardon?”
Scout lowered his eyes, immediately realizing his mistake. “N-No – I didn’t mean—”

And suddenly, the glinting blade was as the boy’s neck. “Are you STUPID, you pathetic, bucktoothed mongrel?! I’m only going to tell you zis ONCE: you belong to RED Co. now. More specifically, you belong to ME. I’ve been authorized to do anyt’ing I can to make your life miserable, and, trust me, zee more you whine like a stupid, pathetic little GIRL, zee more ideas I get. So I’d suggest you keep your mouth SHUT.”

Tears welled up in the boy’s eyes, and he nodded meekly, ever mindful at the knife pressed against his throat. He bit his lip in order to hold back another sob.

Spy scoffed, and made a few quick, clean cuts in Scout’s undershirt, which was still cold and damp from the water-boarding. He hastily lifted Scout’s wounded leg (prompting a few painful screams), and fashioned a crude bandage around the knee. “There. Zat should ‘old you until I can be bot’ered to hire someone to maintain you.”
Scout whimpered. Maintain? What does he…

That’s when it hit him. Spy had meant everything he said completely literally. Scout was no longer a person. He was a thing now – a belonging in every sense of the word. He didn’t have a future. He didn’t have a family. Hell, he probably didn’t even have a name anymore. All he had now was a purpose – to serve and survive.

He was brought back from his grim realization by the sound of a zipper. A gloved hand yanked his chin up so that Scout’s eyes were level with the undone fly and lovely silk boxers.

“Mouth open. Time to test your resolve.”

It took a moment for Scout to understand exactly what Spy was asking of him. He blinked for a second, and the next moment, his eyes were wide with disbelief. “You… You’re into dudes?!”
“No, of course not – don’t be ridiculous,” Spy snapped back, obviously irritable and partially mortified by his own request. “And even if I WAS, I’d find someone like YOU about as desirable as a dead, half-rotted pig. However…”

He took a deep draw, then exhaled again, cigarette resting between his fingers as he clutched a fistful of the boy’s hair. His other hand pulled out his flaccid member and wiggled it slightly in front of Scout’s face.

“This isn’t about desire. This is about power.
“N’ what if I bite you?” Scout growled softly, bristling despite himself.
“Do you honestly even want to know zee answer to that question?”

Scout winced, and glanced back at the man’s member. It smelled clean, at least, and it was well groomed, but… It took all the boy’s will power to not start gagging all over again.

“I…” The boy’s voice wavered. “I can’t—”
Spy promptly drew his gun again and struck him on the forehead, just barely missing his temple. Scout gave a startled shriek as his brain pounded mercilessly against the inside of his skull.
“Okay! Okay…” Scout sniffled, lower lip quivering as he pleadingly looked up at the older man.

He took a deep breath, and swallowed back the bile tickling the back of his throat. He closed his eyes tightly, hesitantly extended his tongue, and enveloped as much he could of the flaccid cock in his mouth.

Spy gasped slightly, arching forward into the boy’s mouth. He’d been trapped in this God-forsaken base far too long – had he really almost forgotten the feeling of getting sucked off? Maybe not, but still, he hadn’t expected Scout’s mouth to feel quite so warm…

Scout felt his stomach turn as Spy let loose a soft, guttural moan and pulled his head closer. It hadn’t taken him long to get hard, and now Scout could even taste what he could only guess was… Oh, God… Was that… Precum?

He held back a gag, and glared up at Spy in bitter resentment, thankful that the man didn’t have his eyes open to see his expression. “Not interested in guys” my ass… Only a total fag would get off from this. Only a total fag would ask for me to DO this!

Suddenly, a feeling of defeat washed over him. What was he doing? He was sitting here sucking some fag off like a little fucking whore! He should have fought more – said something, bit, tore, fought tooth and nail until every bone in his body was broken… It was useless, he knew, but he should have fought. He should have fought because that was what a real man would have done.

A sob swelled in the boy’s chest. He wanted to go home. He’d had enough of trying to prove himself on the battle field or trying to be a “real” man – he wanted his mom, damn it. He wanted to be in HIS house, warm and wrapped up in a blanket and listening to the radio and eating soup his mom had made from scratch.

He wanted to sleep in his bed. He wanted to be reading HIS comic books. He wanted to hug every last one of his big brothers. He wanted to go outside and RUN.

Will I ever get to do any of those ever again?

Scout was already on the cusp of breaking into hysteria, and Spy’s gentle prodding of, “Come on, boy… Take it all, now…” proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The boy spat out the throbbing cock with nothing short of disgust, and began wailing as loudly as he could. Spy was taken aback for half a second, then growled, shaking the boy’s shoulders. “What are you doing?! I didn’t say you could stop!” he snapped.
“I… WANT… MY… MOOOM!!!” Scout screamed at the top of his lungs.

Spy was infuriated. “Open your mouth!” he demanded.
Mommeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Scout continued sobbing shamelessly.
Spy pressed his gun against the boy’s temple, enraged. “NOW!!!”

The boy’s quivering mouth opened hesitantly, as he continued to sob. Paying no heed to the annoying little bother, Spy plunged into the open orifice.

The reaction was instantaneous. Scout’s stomach heaved, and Spy managed to back away just half a second before the boy was bent forward, body shaking as he vomited violently and painfully. Before long, his entire front was covered with acrid, yellow bile.

There were some dry heaves and coughs at the end as Scout spat, trying to rid himself of the horrid taste, but he hardly had any time to regroup before Spy wrenched his head back by the hair, and plunged in again.

He face-fucked the boy soundly, driving himself in as deep as he could go without any concern of whether Scout could breathe or not or if he was in any pain. The boy did his best to keep up, still whimpering and sobbing and gasping for air whenever he was allowed time to breathe. There were more dry heaves, but he simply didn’t have anything left to expel. As soon as Spy caught on, he began ignoring them all together and simply pushed past them.

“Oh, merde…” Spy groaned hoarsely, starting to break out into a sweat. As he glanced down at the boy under his control, he suddenly became acutely aware of how much the frightened, tear-streaked face resembled that of his mother’s. Only Spy had made love to the boy’s mother. Scout now only existed for a cheap, brutal fuck.

An aroused growl emitted from Spy’s chest. This was his first time ever taking someone else without their express consent. He took pride in his ability to charm the ladies, and wouldn’t even take one home if he suspected she’d had too much to drink. He was a passionate, kind, and understanding lover – one that many women could only fantasize about.

How surprised he was to find there was a beast hiding inside him all this time. There was a feral, sadistic hunger that craved to push Scout past every limit – to break him in every sense of the word. Seeing him sitting there, chained up, broken, terrified, and utterly helpless… It was everything his hidden, twisted self had ever wanted.

He knew he’d be back for more.

There was a strangled cry from Scout as Spy pressed himself deep into the boy’s throat with a curse, releasing inside of him. Then, he hurriedly pulled out and came over Scout’s face and hair, wanting it to serve as a physical reminder to the boy as to whose he was.

Scout coughed and gagged, trying to force out the semen trapped inside of his throat. He didn’t want it inside him forever. God, he wanted to forget… But Spy clapped his gloved hand against the boy’s mouth and nose with a stern, “Swallow it. All of it.”
Scout whimpered, eyes welling up as he did what he was told. Spy removed his hand, and let the boy cough and gag some more, the salty, bitter taste on his tongue not leaving him.

After lighting up another cigarette, Spy left wordlessly, making sure to turn off the dim, pale light-bulb in the center of the lonely cellar.

Scout sobbed quietly, cold semen running into his eyes, his mouth sore and swelling, and his leg screaming in pain. He prayed to whatever God there might be left to forgive him of any sin he’d ever committed.

Then, he fervently prayed for death.

6 .

Sniper was up on stage, swaying unsteadily as he belted out the words to the song playing on the jukebox. “If I should call you up, invest a dime, and you say you belong to me, and ease my mind,” he croaked softly, as if knowing he SHOULD have been a lot more ashamed of what he was doing, even if he wasn’t. “Imagine how the world could be, so very fine, so happy togetheeer.

Pyro cheered and clapped along gleefully with the tempo as Sniper’s singing grew to a crescendo at the chorus. It even began singing along in its muffled voice with him: “I can’t see me lovin’ nobody but you! For all my life! When you’re with me, baby the skies will be blue! For all my liiife!”

It was now ten days after Scout leaked the information of the RED Intel. Soldier had allowed his team a night celebration after RED’s successful recapture, and they sure as hell were going to use it. Now most of the team (excluding Soldier, who never went out of War-mode, and Spy, who’d become quite the recluse as of late) was jam-packed into the company-provided bar that was built inside of the base itself.

Demoman had provided the booze, Scout had provided the tunes, and everyone was having a great time. Well, all except one.

Engineer was huddled over in a dark corner near the back of the bar, clutching his drink as if it was the last beer on earth. He kneaded his brow, muttering softly that all the loud music and drunken sing-alongs were giving him a headache.

Heavy was sitting beside him, watching Sniper perform as his audience whooped and cheered and sang along. Then, he glanced back at his comrade. Engineer hadn’t quite been the same since Scout’s interrogation, he’d noticed. He seemed tense all the time – as if he were lost in troubling thoughts that plagued his mind constantly. He also disappeared in his workshop for hours at a time. He’d always done that before, but now it was getting to the point where he’d start missing meals.

Heavy had been hoping that this night out would help relax his friend, but he seemed even more distraught than before. It didn’t take much to figure out why.

“You are still thinking about BLU Scout,” the big man rumbled, eyeing Engineer carefully. It wasn’t a question.
Engineer paused, and nodded. “… Yeah. Guess I am,” he muttered back, fiddling with his bottle restlessly.
Heavy sighed. “You are good man. But there is no need for you to feel guilt for leetle Scout. Is our job.”

Engineer clenched his jaw. “You don’t gotta have morals t’know what happened back there was wrong n’ you know it. I’m far from a saint, boy, but… I ain’t never…” A shudder.
Heavy shrugged. “Spy just does job like we do. Is not bad.”
Engineer barked a laugh, prompting a startled look from Demo. “Please, Heavy, don’t even try t’defend that scum! Yeah, it was our job to get the locations of the Intel. But he could have stopped there.”

A scowl. “Heavy, I done seen it, alright? With my very own two eyes. I know EXACTLY what he’s been puttin’ that poor soul through, and it’s appalling. Hell, he has the nerve to even PAY me to clean up after his mess, which I do, because if I’M not the one to take care of ‘im, there ain’t a person in the world that WILL! And the damned sunnuva bitch KNOWS it, too!”

The stocky man slammed his fist on the countertop in a barely-contained fit of rage, then rubbed his temples, trying his best to calm down. Demoman sauntered up, scrumpy held tightly in his hand. “Oi, lad, wot’s goin’ on here? Ye alroit, Engineer?”
“Yeah, ‘m fine…” Engineer muttered, glaring at the wall.
Heavy rubbed his back soothingly and looked up at Demoman. “He is not happy. Thinks Spy should leave leetle Scout alone.”
Engineer just grunted, scowling.

RED Scout, getting a slight wind of the conversation, popped in unannounced, a sloppy grin painted all over his face. “Wut? We talkin’ about dat BLU, squealin’ faggit? Man, whadda loser, am I right? Man, if those BLU mudderfuckers captured me, I wouldn’ta told ‘em NOTHIN’. What a frickin’ pansy-ass!”

Engineer looked like he was about to retort (and maybe even throw some punches), when Demoman cut in and looped his arm drunkenly around Scout’s scrawny body. “Ach, listen to ye! Yeh don’t have the slightest idea of wut happened, an’ yet, here ye are, flappin yer gums like yer damn Superman!”

The bar rand out with applause as Sniper attempted to bow to his audience, but only succeeded in toppling over. Pyro helped him back to his seat, as everyone had a good laugh over it – including Sniper, himself.

Demoman jammed the flat end of his bottle into Scout’s skinny chest, grinning. “Anyways… Seems loik Snoipah’s dun wit ‘is caterwaulin’. How’s aboot we show ‘im how REAL men sing sappeh love songs?”
“YEAH!” Scout laughed, stumbling over to the stage with a mug of bubbly, amber liquid in his mug. Demo followed suit, taking a swig from the old Scrumpy bottle.

Heavy watched with more confusion than amusement as Scout fell over himself, spilling a great quantity of his drink, and exclaiming, “I’M SO DRUNK!”
He turned to Engineer. “I thought you replaced Scout’s drink with sparkling white grape juice.”
Engineer allowed himself a small smile at this. “I did.”
Little did they know that Demoman had been topping the boy off all night.

Engineer sighed and leaned back for a moment, and pretended for a moment that the forgotten reminded of the ugliest side of mankind currently chained up in the cellar simply did not exist. That he was enjoying a night of drinking with his friends and comrades and that he’d never seen the horrifying images that haunted his dreams.

He let himself believe, just for a moment, that things would go back to normal.

Music sprang from the jukebox and filled the tiny bar with a light, upbeat tune. Demoman went first with a slightly off-key, “Listen, baby! Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low, ain’t river wide enough, baby!”
Scout cut in with a blissful, high-pitched, “If ya need me call me! No matter where ya are! No matter how far!”
“Don’t worry baby!” Demo crooned.

Scout did a little jig in place, careful not to lose his balance and topple over, continuing, “Just call my name! I’ll be there in a hurry! Ya don’t have ta worry!”
Demo joined in, slinging an arm over Scout’s shoulder. “Cause, baby, there—”

The entire bar joined in, gleefully ignoring any call for tone quality or pitch or the right notes, or, hell, sometimes even the right words. “AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH! AIN’T NO VALLEY LOW ENOUGH! AIN’T NO RIVER WIDE ENOUGH! To keep me from getting to YOU, babe!”

Engineer was grinning. He was actually grinning for a split second as he saw Scout’s drunken, carefree smile. But the moment didn’t last long. He was immediately reminded of the beaten, broken, bloodied face of the boy’s counterpart, and he felt guilty for ever enjoying himself, even for a moment, while that poor boy was left alone, in unimaginable amounts of pain, and abandoned in the dark.

Heavy blinked and watched as the man wordlessly rose to his feet. “Engineer—”
A pause, then a tired, “Yeah?”
Heavy gave him a stern look. “Do not do anything stupid. BLU Scout is not our problem. Stay avay – Spy vill get in trouble, not you.”

Engineer didn’t reply as he left the boisterous bar.

There wouldn’t be any time for pretending anymore. Things had changed, possibly for good, and he had work to do.


Scout coughed feebly as the man towering over him gave a satisfied sigh and zipped up his trousers. Spy hummed and leaned casually against the wall and lit up another cigarette. He’d come down here for a celebration of his own.

The stupid boy had done well, he decided, blowing a few smoke rings. The least he could do was let him get off with just a simple blowjob for tonight. He could continue his various experiments later – besides, Scout had become quite good at giving head. Anything to avoid the alternative.

He flicked his cigarette away casually, and began making his way to the stairs again, not even throwing his living sex-toy a backwards glance.

“Ya… ain’t gunna kill me…?”

The soft, raspy voice made Spy stop in his tracks. This time, he did turn around and give Scout a searching stare.

“Ya said y…you’d kill me… Once efferythin was all accounted fuh…”

He was barely the same person he’d interrogated just over a week ago. His entire body had atrophied, making his face much more gaunt and his ribs start to show. The color of his skin was now pale and slightly grayed, and there were dark, haggard circles under his eyes. His cheek was swollen from where Spy had attempted to pull his tooth, his lips were dry and cracked, and his hair was now a completely matted, tangled mess. It was even falling out in some places.

The most change, however, was seen in the boy’s eyes. They used to shine with a vivacious icy blue that just barely succeed in containing the energetic spirit bursting from within.

Now, they were a dull, grey color similar to that of an overcast day. They were tired. Defeated. The eyes of an old man on his death bed. And yet, there was a faint glimmer of hope as he awaited the answer to his inquiry.

That’s when Spy felt an odd whisper of an emotion flit through his chest. One he was quite sure he’d rid himself of many years ago.


He’d done this. Somehow, he’d broken the boy – demolished him from the ground up, made him truly fear and agonize for the first time, and had brought him to the point where death was seen as the only, merciful release.

There was a pause. He could still redeem himself. Grant the boy his wish, and give him a quick, merciful death. Maybe even provide Scout with a proper burial, and forget all the wretched deeds he’d had committed in this horrid chamber.

He mused over this for a moment.

“No. Sincerest apologies, but… I’m not allowed. Soldier orders me to keep you alive until he gives word otherwise. For tactical purposes, of course.”

It was all true. But he knew Scout knew the real reason. The dim flicker of hope vanished from within the boy’s eyes. Spy couldn’t remember anyone ever looking so forlorn.

“Oh. Oh…” he murmured gaze dropping to the grimy floor. “… Oh…”

Spy left, closing and bolting the door behind him, locking the boy in total darkness once more.

He wondered if there was any champagne left over at the party.

7 .

The following morning, Engineer went to check up on Scout, as always. The boy didn’t even look at him as Engineer snapped on a pair of latex gloves and slid his hips on top of a bedpan. He pulled down the boy’s boxers with an awkward, muttered apology, and left the cellar to give the poor kid some privacy. He retrieved it after a short while, washed it out, gave Scout a quick, modest sponge bath, and left again to retrieve Scout’s breakfast.

The first few days were hard. Scout used to try to talk to him, then. He would sob and plead to be released. Try to appeal to the better side of Engineer’s nature. Would cling desperately to his every visit, would hail the man as a savior, and eventually even broke down to the point where he’d tearfully admit everything Spy was doing to him, unaware that Engineer already knew for the most part. The odd marks and bruises told the whole story as it was.

Engineer, though, never spoke. He acted as if he didn’t even listen. What else was he going to do? He couldn’t save the kid. Not now, not ever. Removing himself from the entire, ugly reality of what was happening was the only way to keep himself sane.

A smarter man wouldn’t have taken the job to play nurse for Scout in the first place. But Engineer would be damned if he ever trusted Spy to care enough for human life to treat his victim after his abhorrent encounters. It was just something that would never happen. Scout was his burden now.

Engineer poured some gruel into an empty bowl, brow furrowed in agitation. He couldn’t help remembering the last time Scout had spoken to him. It’d been after a few days of Engineer coming twice daily to clean and care for him.

The first few minutes went as always. Scout was painfully admitting what had transposed the night before, as if the bruises didn’t speak for themselves. Engineer was trying desperately to tune him out, when it happened.

“Ya dun efen care, do ya?”

Engineer wondered how silence could be so deafening. He’d only been able to stare at Scout, stunned at the soft, quivering accusation. Scout glared up into his eyes with his lip trembling and fresh tears streaming down his broken face.

“Why do ya efen come he’ah?”

There was no way to respond to that. Engineer couldn’t respond with something like, “Because Spy pays me to,” but what else would he say? He wanted to say something else like, “Because I DO care!” but if he really did, he would have stopped being so selfish and broken the kid out earlier.

There had been a long, awkward silence as Scout stared resolutely into Engineer’s eyes while the man opened and closed his mouth dumbly like a freshly caught bass. Eventually, Scout gave up and lowered his eyes to the floor again. End of conversation.

Engineer’s mind flickered back to present day. He stared down at the strange, warm, mushy mixture in his bowl as he made his way back to the cellar. Spy had been particularly specific when he told Engineer what to feed Scout.

“Rice and corn. You can grind them together while dry, then put them to boil. Or you can cook the rice and mash canned corn into it until you get a uniform consistency. It doesn’t matter which. It will be just enough to keep his body going, and his mind weak.”

He’d wanted to sprinkle a bit of salt into the mixture, but he couldn’t. Not yet. Spy could still be watching him. He had to play his cards right.

He was standing in front of Scout now, spoon in hand. He knelt by the silent captive’s side, and offered a bite of the gruel. To his surprise, Scout didn’t move. He didn’t even acknowledge the presence of food.

This made Engineer feel uncomfortable. He cleared his throat awkwardly and tried again to spoon-feed the boy, but Scout just looked away from it quietly.

Usually, Scout would be so hungry, he’d be wolfing the stuff down by then. Engineer panicked and began checking the boy’s forehead incase he had a fever, then checked his pulse and both of his main injuries. His mouth was still swelling up like crazy – maybe that could have been what it was? Somehow Engineer doubted it. He was sure Scout’s mouth had been hurting plenty for the last few days, but he’d still been eating fine.

A few uncomfortable minutes ticked by, Scout silently staring at the wall and Engineer nervously wringing his hands and hoping Scout would change his mind and eat. Eventually, he rose to his feet and began making his way back to the stairs, deeply troubled.


Engineer stopped, shocked at the voice that should have been Scout’s but was indisputably not. It sounded like dead leaves being blown across pavement. He turned around. Scout was looking up at him. Eyes wide. Suddenly lucid. Pleading. Frightened and vulnerable.

“Dun leafe… Nah yet… Please…”

Engineer fumbled around, uncomfortable with the anxious silence. Finally, he settled for an, “I’ll… be back.” A pause. “Promise.”

He left regrettably, but quickly. He could feel Scout’s eyes on him all the way back to the door.

He couldn’t. Not yet. But he would be back. That afternoon, of course, for Scout’s second feeding, but that wasn’t what he meant.

Scout, not knowing the stocky older man had meant anything different, slumped against the wall, too exhausted to even cry anymore.

8 .

It didn’t take Engineer long to figure out something was wrong.

Scout was shivering with his head tilted downwards when the man had entered the next day. Not from terror. Not because he was crying. He’d never done that before.

Drawing closer, Engineer noticed that the boy’s lips and fingers were blue. He also seemed to be asleep. He never slept, really. It was damp, cold, and he was forced to be upright, sitting on ridged cement in an uncomfortable position all day. Sleep was hard to come by.

A surge of panic hit engineer. He felt the kid’s forehead, only to shudder at how cold and clammy his skin felt.

Engineer bit his lip, pausing for a second, then violently shook his head with a curse. “Oh, ta hell with this…” he muttered, retrieved the key stashed away in his pocket.

His hands were shaking as he undid the heavy chains binding the boy. Every breath became raspy and labored. A bead of sweat rolled down the back of his neck. He wasn’t completely ready yet. But Scout couldn’t wait for it to be perfect. Something was wrong. He had to help now.

He caught the skinny, shriveled form in his arms, high-tailed it back to his room, and locked the door.


Engineer could never thank RED Co. enough for providing each bedroom with a bathroom suite. A few quick sponge baths couldn’t fix a layer of dirt caked up all around the kid like a filthy exoskeleton. He had to get him clean – maybe then, the problem would be easier to fix. Cradling Scout in his arms as he sat on the edge of the tub, he began running the bath water.

Truth be told, out of all of his eleven PhDs, the medical sciences wasn’t one of them. Oh, sure – he’d started out in college, seeking a medical degree, but he soon found it boring and not quite for him. He managed to get a bachelor’s degree out of it, but never pursued it any further, opting to look into mechanics and engineering instead. The rest was history.

He had to admit, though – his years studying medicine DID benefit him – he probably wouldn’t be able to build something like dispensers otherwise. But he never thought he’d see the day that what he’d studied all those years ago would serve much more help outside of the battlefield other than patching up minor scrapes and bruises.

Finally, the water was the right temperature – Engineer hoped it’d be enough to raise his body temperature, too. He glanced back down at Scout, and jumped about a mile out of shock. The boy’s eyes were open. He was staring straight up at Engineer, though he didn’t move or speak.

Engineer swallowed thickly, hating to have to look into those dead eyes. “H…Hey there, Scout… Uh…” He glanced around anxiously. “This is th’RED Engineer. I think ya might be very sick. I’m gonna give you a quick bath and see if that don’t clear somethin’ up for us. So, uh…” He cleared his throat, not expecting this to be quite as awkward as it was. “I’m gonna have t’take off yer boxers, okay? I WON’T hurt ya – I promise.”

Scout didn’t respond.
Engineer squirmed again. “Is that… okay with you? Say somethin’ if it’s not okay.”
Still no response. Engineer wasn’t even sure if Scout heard him.
“… Well… Alright. I’m takin’ ‘em off now. If you want me to stop just say somethin’, and I’ll stop, alright?”

Engineer undressed the boy, keeping a sharp eye out for any signs of distress, but Scout might as well had been unconscious. His eyeballs kept rolling around the sockets restlessly, as if he were trying to find something not of the realm of men. It gave Engineer all sorts of the creeps.

Within moments after Engineer submerged the boy and started to scrub at Scout’s exposed skin, the water was clouded with filth and dirt almost to the point where Engineer couldn’t see more than a few centimeters under the surface. Engineer thought about maybe letting the filthy water drain out and running a clean bath. Ultimately, he decided not to, fearing that Scout’s body temperature would drop even more.

He found he couldn’t save the kid’s hair. It was too far gone, caked with dirt and weeks-old blood. It looked more like a rat-nest than a head of hair. Engineer thought of RED Scout and how much he obsessed over keeping his hair tidy. He wondered if all Scouts were that vain.

The man shook his head, bringing himself back to the present. He cut the worst of the hair crudely with a pair of scissors, thinking to himself that he could always give the boy a real haircut later.

All the while he worked, he was careful to keep Scout’s worst injury – the boy’s wounded leg – out of the filthy water. He’d bandaged it and cleaned it a few times since Spy shot his kneecap out, but he didn’t want to risk it getting infected. Assuming it wasn’t already infected and the problem behind Scout’s turn for the worse. He’d have to take a look later.

By this time, Scout had drifted off again. Engineer wasn’t sure if he preferred him being asleep and awake. Throughout the routine, the kid would make all sorts of awful noises, as if he was forced to relive his torment over and over again in his dreams. They were like a combination of a tiny moan crossed with a helpless whimper emitted from within his bony chest. Engineer didn’t notice the noises at first, but as soon as he did, he knew he wouldn’t ever be able to rid his mind of them.

The filthy water drained out with a sickening gurgling sound. Engineer sprayed Scout with a quick, warm blast from the shower to make sure he was completely clean, then wrapped him up in a huge, soft towel. The company had ordered several “one size fits all” towels. Meaning “one size fits Heavy”. As small as Scout was, it could have doubled as a blanket.

Engineer gave the kid a pair of his own boxers – a little too big, but better than nothing – and carried Scout into his closet. He hoped – prayed – that this would work. For Scout’s sake and for his.

9 .

Captcha: avwdef szanakozo. I thought it sounded cool, st least...

Oh, God, bed. I'll repost more tomorrow. Remember - I'd appreciate it if you waited until I'm done reposting all chapters before commenting! Thank you!


Knocking came at the door.

“Yes, yes. I am coming, hold on…” the man grumbled, feeling his way over to the door in the dark. He swung it open, bleary-eyed and a little annoyed. Then, surprise crossed his face. “… Engineer?”

The short, bald Texan grinned nervously, wringing his hat in his hands. “Yeah, it’s me. Sorry – did I wake ya?”
Yes,” came the passive, yet venomous response, “but it is no matter. Come in and sit down.” The man’s voice was now as pleasant and nonchalant as always. With a small smile, he stepped aside, and motioned the Texan inside.

Engineer’s grin widened out of fear and general discomfort. “Uh… Yeah. Thanks, Doc, but I don’t plan on staying long.”
Nonsense, I inzist,” the German pressed.

Engineer didn’t know whether to take that as Medic just being overly friendly a subtle threat, but either way, he wasn’t going to get anywhere by refusing. “Welp…” A tiny gulp. “I… I guess I could spare a few minutes…”
“Excellent,” Medic chuckled as the jittery Texan stepped inside. The door swung shut behind them.

“So.” The tall German sat on his bed and crossed his legs, somehow managing to look as regal as always, even with just a dark red robe on, a pair of slippers, and a particularly bad case bed hair. He made a bridge with his long fingers, raising one eyebrow. “Vat is it zhat I can do for you, my friend?”

Engineer fiddled with his hat a little more, shifting his weight from foot to foot, eyes glancing around. He didn’t like having to be alone with Medic in his dark, unlit bedroom with the door shut. It smelled like a bad fanfic just waiting to happen.

“Um… Nothin’ much, Doc – I’m sorry to have even bothered ya this early—”
“Sit,” Medic interrupted.
Engineer paused. “Pardon?”
Medic nodded meaningfully at the sturdy chair behind the stout Texan. “Sit.”
“O-Oh. There’s no need for that, really – thank you – but this shouldn’t take more than a—”

Engineer sat.

“Well, uh… Anyways, Doc, I was wonderin’ if I could borrow the key to your lab for a bit.”
Medic’s eyebrows raised slightly. “Oh?”
“Y-Yeah. I need ta borrow some of your older medical equipment an’ the likes. Been working on some designs for a Level Four dispenser before that no-good, cow-pie lickin’ sunnuva bitch from BLU beats me to it. Heh…”

It was a sound excuse. Engineer had borrowed old equipment from Medic before in order to get his dispensers up to date with his foe’s. It wasn’t surprising that he’d try to get ahead of the curve by building his own upgraded dispenser before the enemy.

“Ah, yes. Good zhinking as alvays, my friend. I shall accompany you.” The German rose to his feet once more to retrieve the key from his desk drawer.
“Uh—that won’t be necessary, pardner – you should get summore sleep and rest up – I already know where the lab is, anyway, and—”

Medic gave a good-natured smile. “Oh no – it’s no problem! I could use zee valk, and since I’m already avake because SOMEVUN couldn’t POSSIBLY vait until a reasonable hour to make his request…” Engineer winced as Medic’s voice dropped into that throaty, semi-threatening tone once more, only for him to go back to his usual, chipper attitude. “I might as vell.”

“Oh… Well… Okay, Doc. If’n yer sure…”
“I’m sure.”

The two left the room with Medic taking long, decisive strides towards his destination and Engineer straggling behind nervously, glancing behind his shoulder every once in a while.

“So, how have zhings been viz you, mein hard-hatted friend?” Medic asked with a smile, trying to make light conversation.
“Oh… ‘Bout the same, more or less…”
“Really? I haven’t been seeing you much lately. I vas… vorried zhat you might have fallen ill.”
“Oh no! No, no, doc, heh… I’m fine. Just been… Busy tryin’ to get my Level Fours up n’ ready, heh heh…”
“Ah, yes. I suppose zhat makes sense.”

There was a pause in their conversation. Engineer was just starting to thank himself that it was over when Medic continued, “Vun more zhing.”
“Huh? What is it, Doc?”
Medic pursed his lips thoughtfully. “It is about zhat… BLU Scout. Zee vun zhat vas questioned.”

Engineer’s blood froze. He swallowed thickly. “Y…Yeah…? What about ‘im?”
Medic paused. “Haff you any idea of his whereabouts, Engineer?”

How the hell could he have found out so fast?! Was Spy tracking me this entire time?! Oh, fuck, I knew this was a bad idea from the start!

Engineer was just about to argue his reasons for taking the kid, when Medic continued, “I didn’t even get to see him zee entire time he was here! In fact, I didn’t know of his existence until zee party a few days ago! So many opportunities lost!” He clenched his fists with bitter frustration.

Engineer exhaled slowly, heart thumping in his chest. “Yeah, well… I’m sure Solly had his reasons for not gettin’ you involved, Medic. Don’t fret ‘bout it.”
“Auch…” Medic sighed, face set in a stern pout. “No vun evah tells me anyzhing… I don’t know vhy I even bozzer…”

Medic continued grumbling all the way to the lab. He unlocked the door and motioned inside. “Go ahead and take everyzhing you need zhat is marked as no longer for use on zee battlefield. I am going to get some breakfast before Scout eats everyzhing in zee fridge AGAIN. Here is zee key – I entrust you to lock up ven you are done and to return it to its proper place.”

Engineer nodded. “Y’kin count on me, Doc.”
“Good.” Medic smiled, giving his shoulder a friendly pat. “I know I can. Goodbye, Herr Engineer.”

Medic left. Engineer exhaled deeply, looking around the expansive lab at all the possibilities now within his grasp.

10 .

Some more uploading before I head off to workinz. Once again, I didn't even attempt editing this chapter because cock n' balls.


Engineer’s room wasn’t quite like the other mercenaries. His room was connected directly to his very own private workshop. He’d even taken to sound-proofing the walls so that he wouldn’t disturb anyone by working late at night.

It was originally supposed to be a storage room, but when Engineer found that it wasn’t being used, he asked Soldier for permission to renovate it. So he removed and sealed up the doorway that lead to the outside corridor for privacy, then built another doorway to his workshop from the wall on the far side of his closet. The newer initiates of the RED base didn’t even know there was originally another room there, his work was so flawless.

Engineer’s walk-in closet served as a sort of hallway between his workshop and his room. He still used it as a closet, of course, but he have many clothes to speak of, anyway. The door to his workshop was heavy and required his full weight leaning on it to give.

Now Engie wasn’t a very tidy person. Organized? Well, sure… In his own, unique little way. But definitely not tidy. His workshop was usually piled high with scrap metal, abandoned projects, useless prototypes, and crumpled blueprints. After several days of cleaning almost non-stop, he’d stripped everything not of use into scrap metal, and melted all of his scraps into refined, which is now kept in a corner. The rest of the workshop basically cleaned itself after that.

Engineer had needed all that extra space for the tiny jail cell occupying a good third of his workshop. All that was in it was an occupied bed next to the wall and a nightstand. Small, yes, but not claustrophobic, and definitely several steps up from the pit Scout had been kept in. Here he’d be warm and dry and safe. That was good.

Setting everything up in the workshop definitely made things a tad more cramped, but Engineer somehow made things work. The first thing Engineer did was check up on Scout using a thermometer. As the tiny machine started working, he began to hook the boy up to an antiquated vital sign monitoring screen.

What he found wasn’t encouraging in the least. Scout came out to be 86 degrees Fahrenheit, his heart rate was elevated, and his blood pressure was down. Engineer didn’t know too much about medicine, but he’d bet his right hand that the poor kid had an infection from that that horrible tooth extraction.

Goddamn it… I hope all them trips to the dentist pays off… he thought as he flipped through a book he’d borrowed from Medic’s extensive library. It was helpfully labeled Makeshift Dental Surgery für Dummkopfs.

He didn’t have all the medical equipment necessary, but he found he was able to make due with a Dremel drill for the root canal. He was able to jerry-rig two mechanisms to help things go easier – one that squirted water when needed, and the other to suction it out. He kept a pair of needle-nose pliers on hand just to be on the safe side. Scout still had a great deal of tooth shards in his gums that needed to be removed.

It’d taken a few hours, but Engineer was finally able to operate. Snapping on a pair of latex gloves, a surgical mask, and his miner’s light, he went to work on the kid.

There was a wince as Engineer got his very first good look inside of Scout’s mouth. The gums were broken, purple, and oozing some sort liquid that couldn’t have been blood or saliva. After applying a local anesthetic, the Dremel drill whirled to life.

A wave of nausea hit as blood and pus gushed out as soon as the drill hit. Engineer forced himself to push past it, wincing as the drill made a harsh whine as it dug into the bone. Remembering a section of the book, Engineer quickly rinsed, not wanting to roast it. Using the suction mechanism, he mid himself of the water and filth before Scout could choke on it.

Suddenly, there was a quiet whine, and Engineer nearly jumped a mile out of his chair. Had the anesthetic not worked? Could Scout actually feel everything that was going on? He cautiously peered into the boy’s face. Aside from flickering eyelids, he didn’t stir. Engineer continued his work.

His labor was difficult and tedious, but it was over relatively quickly. Engineer sat back with a sigh, and wiped his forehead with the back of his sleeve. In a pan beside him was all of the tooth shards he’d pulled out and a heap of bloody, pus-filled gauze that’d become too saturated for him to leave in the boy’s mouth. Hopefully he wouldn’t have to be up all night replacing gauze, but at this point, the chances of that seemed slim.

Now Engineer had a different problem to solve. The illness itself. He couldn’t be sure, but with the help of Medic’s dichotomous key, Engineer was pretty sure Scout had something called Blood Poisoning. Highly dangerous, and almost always fatal, if not treated right away. Scout needed antibiotics, and fast. Luckily, while digging through the lab, Engineer happened upon some old cow pills – back when RED still had cows to speak of.

God damn that Medic.

Anyways, they weren’t expired, and he’d read in the old, worn medical textbook, that antibiotics were antibiotics – they’d still work on Scout, as long as he accounted for the weight difference.

Sighing, he flipped through a book that indicated how much antibiotic a boy Scout’s size should take. From then on, it was just a simple matter of proportioning. He ended up grinding the pill up, weighing it to about a third of its original mass, and fed it to the unconscious boy by mixing it with pudding.

Engineer was exhausted now. He’d meant to keep watch on the kid through the night, but he could barely keep his eyes open. He returned to his own room with a yawn, leaving the door to his workshop open so that he could hear if anything went awry, and double checking to make sure his bedroom door was locked.

With everything accounted for and in place, Engineer allowed himself to drift off, as the beeping of Scout’s electrocardiogram lulled him to sleep.

11 .

Here’s a not-well-known fact.

He hated the circus.

More than doctors, dentists, or even flat soda.

The clowns were the worst. They were creepy, face-painted FIENDS with no souls and no friends.

He’d gone with his mom to the circus to see the elephants. Because what fucking little kid DIDN’T want to see fucking elephants? Honestly.

Music trickled out in the background as he munched on his funnel cake and wandered around, trying to find a good spot to see the show. His mom was holding his hand. There were people around. But there were always people around. It was the circus. People liked going there.

For some reason, eating the funnel cake was really hard. He kept remembering biting into it and chewing, but he couldn’t seem to taste anything. After a moment’s frustration, he realized he’d never bitten into it at all.


Suddenly, he realized he wasn’t holding his mom’s hand like he thought he was. He whirled around, eyes widened in panic. “Ma?” Had he let go without thinking? Did she tell him to stay put and he hadn’t heard her?

He thought he’d heard his name, but the music and the murmurings of the crowd were too loud. “M…Ma?! Has anyone seen my ma?!”

His young voice was peaked with fear. He was lost in a dark jungle of legs. He didn’t know where to go. That stupid music… WHY didn’t it shut up?!

“Hello? Hello?”

None of the people had faces. They should have had faces, but they didn’t. They were still talking in that low, droning murmur. He could still feel them looking at him. They didn’t have eyes, but they were looking at him.

The music swirled crazy. He felt dizzily. Heart racing. Eyes darting. Racing.

“Mom! MOM! Please! Somebody!”

In the bathroom now. Still music. Looks into a mirror.


He couldn’t see past the yellow eyes, white face, and red hair. Crimson lips.


Screamed. Stepped back. Lost his balance, and falling.

Falling backwards, into the darkness, and screaming.

He saw his mother now. She was on the edge screaming. For him.

A hand lead her away from the edge.

Alone now.



There was a ragged gasp as Scout’s eyes fluttered open. He panted harshly for a moment, heart pounding. He still wasn’t quite sure if it’d all been a dream or not. He was drenched in sweat, his mouth ached and tasted like shit warmed over, and he was… laying down?

There was one bleary blink, then two as he tried to clear his vision. That’s when he realized the music from his dream had never actually stopped. He listened carefully, and before long, it transformed from its loopy, warped, circus-like tune into a pleasant, upbeat melody.

Peering between the bars of a cage he was inexplicably in, his eyes came to rest on Engineer’s stocky form, sitting with his heels kicked up on a nearby desk, strumming his guitar, and singing in a low, husky voice.

“Near a tree by a river, there's a hole in the ground, where an old man of Aran goes around and around…” the man crooned softly, stroking the instrument with an odd tenderness. “And his mind is a beacon in the veil of the night; for a strange kind of fashion, there's a wrong and a right. But he'll never, never fight over you…”

There was a pause as Engineer’s eyes flickered up to Scout’s face. A grin. “Oh, man. Can’t tell ya how glad I am t’see ya awake. You had me worried, there.”

Engineer wasn’t sure what to expect the kid’s response to be. He’d imagined an entire list, from a heartfelt, “Thank you…” to a fearful, “Where am I? What’s going on?”

He was sorely unprepared for Scout’s actual response, which was a venomous, “Fuck you.”

The man nearly fell over in his chair from the harsh words. “E-Excuse me?!”
“You heard me. Fuck. You,” the boy sneered, sitting up as best as he could. He glanced around the bars of the cage he was locked in. “I know what this is. You’ve come to bargain for fuckin’ sex. You save me from the Masked Psycho and I become YOUR pretty little ass-slave instead. Well, fuck you, pal.”

He clenched his jaw with a smoldering determination. “I’m NOT becoming this entire base’s fucking slut. You’ll have to kill me first.” Even as he spoke, a small quiver overtook his voice. He swallowed forcefully past the lump forming in his throat and choked back the tears.

It took a moment for Engineer to recover from the vicious retort. He laid the guitar down and raised his hands in a nonthreatening way. “Look… Calm your horses, now. I’m not here to—”
Scout cut him off with a snort and a nasty smile. “Oh, hey. Looks like you CAN talk, after all, huh?” It turned into a horrid snarl just as quickly. “Would’ve been nice to know when I was rottin’ in that fuckin’ cellar in the DARK all those days.”

Engineer returned it with a scowl of his own. “Well, this ain’t really the way t’treat someone who just saved your damn life.”
Scout barked out a laugh. “Yeah right. ‘Someone who saved my life’ my ass! WHERE WERE YOU THE LAST FEW FUCKING DAYS, HUH?! Why didn’t you save me THEN?!”

Engineer winced, and tried to respond, but Scout wasn’t done yet. “I BEGGED YOU! You KNEW what he was doing to me! You KNEW it, but you didn’t do SHIT! You’re just as bad as he is – no – WORSE!!! Because you saw it and knew it was wrong and didn’t do SHIT! Or did you want to wait until you were sure you could have me all to yourself, you fucking fa—”

Engineer jumped to his feet, crossed the room with two easy strides, and slammed his fist on the bars of the cage so hard, the medical equipment rattled. Scout jumped out of his skin and hid behind his blanket, trembling.

“God DAMN it, you FUCKING little idiot!” he exploded, eyes blazing like the sun. “I’M NOT LIKE HIM!!!”

Scout just stared at him from behind his blanket, still shaking like a leaf. There was silence, and then a tiny sob filled the silence. Engineer immediately felt guilty, seeing the kid’s fearful, tear-filled eyes, but was too proud to admit it.

He sighed, took a step back, and folded his arms. “Alright… Sorry. You’ve got e’ery right to be suspicious an’ e’erythang,” he muttered, glaring off to the side. “But I’ve taken a lot of risks to getcha here, and I don’t appreciate it bein’ thrown back in my face like that.”

Scout wiped his eyes, trying to put back on his best brave face. His voice still quivered as he asked, “Well, what is it that you want from ME, then?”
Engineer thought about this. “Well… Nothin’, I guess—”
“Bullshit. Everyone wants somethin’.”
“Well, it’s true,” Engineer snapped back. Another sigh. “Look. I’m not askin’ you to trust me, alright? I’m just asking you to… Let me HELP you,” he fumbled out.

There was a pause as Scout glared holes into Engie’s skull, as if trying to read his mind. Engineer just gazed uncomfortably back.

Finally, there was a smirk, and Scout sank back on his pillow, eyes knowing. “Oh, I see… You’re one of THOSE types… You doin’ this to ease your conscience? To help you forget what you saw? To convince yourself you’re still a good man or some shit?”

At Engineer’s wince, Scout chuckled and closed his eyes. Several uncomfortable seconds of silence ticked by as Scout took some time to rest after his emotional outburst. Engineer was just about to assume he’d drifted off to sleep, when those icy blues opened once more.

Determination shone in Scout’s eyes. “You really wanna help me out, Cowpoke? Set me free.”
“I cain’t do that, pardner.”
“Ha! I knew it.” Scout glared bitterly at him. He should have guessed. Want of redemption only went so far, after all.

“Oh yeah?!” Engineer ground his teeth, clutching one of the bars and pressing his forehead against the cool metal in order to quell his escalating headache. “And what would you have me do, you gotdamn MORON?! Where the hell are you gonna run on THAT leg?! Where can you go where they won’t find you?! Do you even know where you are?! Where the nearest BLU base is?! You’ll get us BOTH killed!”

Scout somberly thought this over, the color draining from his face. Finally, a sigh. “Well then… Guess the only other option is to kill me,” he muttered. “Just end it all.”
“I can’t do that, either.”
“WHY the hell not?!” Scout snapped, tears of fury burning his eyes. “You said it yourself – there’s nowhere I can go at this point! Hell, even if there was…” He glanced down at his shattered leg, and gave a heartbroken sigh. “I… I wouldn’t really be livin’, anyways. Not like this.”

Engineer shot him a look of sympathy, and sighed, lowering his gaze to his boots. “Well… I can’t do that. Soldier’s my superior, an’ he ain’t given the orders to… yanno. Not yet.”

Scout rolled over and stared at the wall. “So. You’re tellin’ me that you can’t let me go, but you can’t kill me, either? I’m not really livin’, but I’m not allowed to die?”
Engineer rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. “I… I guess so, pardner,” he muttered.
“… Well. Alright then.”

Engineer waited, but after fifteen solid minutes of silence, he figured the kid was done talking for the day.

As he shut the heavy door to his workshop, he pretended not to notice the stifled sobs coming from the trembling form on the bed.

Things were going to be a lot tougher than he’d previously thought.


The song mentioned is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DcfXVL0mh0 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN04vtNcrek (original version)

12 .

Another dream about him… That boy.

Spy rubbed his eyes groggily, fishing for the cigarettes he kept stashed under his pillow and adjusting his mask. It’d been an unusually warm night. He could feel sweat beading under the thick rubber on his face, making him feel even more uncomfortable than he already was. The dim glow of the tiny flame illuminated his face as he lit up, and took a long draw.

He didn’t even need to glance down at himself to know he had quite an embarrassing erection tenting his blanket. It was salt in the wounds, knowing who it was for.

Spy had quite the dilemma on his hands, he mused. Not the predicament considering the state of his morality – no, his concern was of something much, much more dire.

Simply put, he was concerned about his manhood.

He hadn’t meant for this to become such a problem. It was simple and easy to understand, at first. He had the opportunity to end his month-long dry spell, and took it, the first chance he got. But now, he was having his doubts.

He stood and began pacing as he contemplated everything. It was odd to say, but… in a twisted sort of way, he’d developed feelings for the boy under his control. Not love, of course, but a malicious and terrifying obsession. He had emotional attachment to the idiotic little whelp – he saw him as his territory.

This wasn’t all terrible, but most terrifying of all, he’d started to have bizarre fantasies of the boy. At the start, the boy was just a tool used to vent his sexual frustration. While taking him, he’d imagine he was making love to beautiful women instead – his favorite being the boy’s mother.

Maybe that had been a mistake. Somewhere along the line, the fantasies of torturing Scout and making love to his mother had blended together. He’d begin with thoughts of her curvy form and her alluring lips, but by the end, he’d imagine himself face-fucking Scout until the kid got another case of the dry heaves. For the last few days, he’d purposely stayed away from the boy. He’d tried to masturbate without images of Scout’s broken body and humiliated sobbing entering his mind even once. He simply couldn’t do it.

What if he’d captured someone else? A woman – beautiful and voluptuous – and done the same to her? If he’d tortured and raped her instead? Would she take the place of Scout in his obsession? He couldn’t be sure. Just thinking about leaving the boy completely made him uneasy. The end result would probably be that he stored both captives together and visit them both.

Spy took a seat on his bed, giving another puff of his cigarette as he stared up at his ceiling. He couldn’t imagine why someone so unattractive and unappealing could have such an effect on him. Perhaps, he thought, it was in the timing. Scout may have not been much, but he was there, and he’d satisfied Spy for the first time in well over 30 days. Not only that, but he’d made his first discovery of his love for the more… twisted desires when it came to sex because of the boy.

Was it enough to defend his heterosexuality? Maybe not. But he simply couldn’t get up the effort to care anymore. Not to mention it had been days since his last visit, his erection wasn’t going away, and, hell, he just wanted to fucking fuck.

With this new outlook, he dressed and headed to the cellar. Maybe he’d make Scout beg again.


“You just gonna stare at me like that all day?”

Engineer was stirring something up in the pot bubbling quietly on his portable hotplate. It’d become a habit to get up early and take care of the kid. As irritating as it was, the routine was still useful to him even now.

Predictably, Scout’s eyes hardened at the question. “I’m makin’ sure you don’t put no drugs in it.”
Engineer just sighed. “Trust me, boy, you ain’t got nothin’ to worry about.” He checked the pot, and shook his head with a sigh. “Still ain’t ready yet… Ah well.”

Scout watched with alarm as Engineer grabbed the set of keys hanging on the opposite side of the wall, and let himself into the tiny cage. “Wh…What are you doing?! Stay away from me!”
“Calm down,” Engineer grunted. He held up a slender, glass thermometer. “I just wanna take your temperature, is all. Gotta make sure you’re doin’ alright.” He sat next to the kid, and angled it towards his mouth.
“Fuck off.” Scout pouted and pulled the blankets around himself stubbornly.

“Oh, c’mon…” Engineer sighed. Suddenly, a grin popped onto his face, and he slyly whispered, “If you don’t open up, I’ll just have to take it from ya rectally!”

He’d meant for it to be a joke. In hindsight, nothing about what he’d said was a good idea in the slightest. The color drained from Scout’s face, and he stared at Engineer with his lips pressed into a straight, thin line. “I… Um… I didn’t mean it that way… I wouldn’t force you to… um…”
“Yeah… I got it,” Scout replied quietly. He steeled himself once more. “Alright, fine, ya fag.”

With a satisfied smile, Engineer plopped the device into Scout's mouth. Under the tongue, just like his mom used to do to see if he was just trying to get out of school. Scout knew that it was just how you took someone’s temperature, but it still made his heart ache.

Engineer gave a low whistle. “A solid 100.” A frown. “I’m… I’m actually not sure if that’s better or not.”
“Better n’ what?” Scout asked, burying into the blankets. He blinked away the tears stinging his eyes.
“When I brought ya here, you had a temperature of 86,” Engineer replied, going back to check on the stove.
Scout didn’t know how to respond. He didn’t even know it was possible to still be living at a body temp that low.

“Ah, good.” Engineer began spooning the stuff into a bowl, and began sprinkling salt, cinnamon, and a few spoonfuls of sugar into the mix.
Scout’s lip curled up slightly in disgust. “The hell IS that?” he asked.
“Oatmeal,” Engineer replied. “You’re under my care now, so I’ll feed ya what I damn well please. But we’ll start ya off easy first.”
“Aw, jeez…” Scout groaned. “I fuckin’ hate oatmeal!”
“Just eat it.”

Correction. Scout USED TO hate oatmeal. But he found that, after days of being fed the same bland mixture of corn and rice together, oatmeal was practically gourmet. He gobbled up the treat up hungrily, though he stubbornly insisted he was strong enough to feed himself, and wouldn’t let Engineer so much as touch him while he was eating.

Engineer sighed and smiled, happy to see the kid appreciated something he did for once. Even if it figured that he’d win a Scout over with food.

He was just about to offer something to drink, when he heard a frantic, buzzing noise. Scout curiously looked up from his bowl of oatmeal, and Engineer explained, “It’s my custom-made doorbell. Handy when your workshop is soundproofed.”
A shrug and a nod.

He turned on the intercom, and asked, “Yeah?”
“Engineer! Come outside immediately! I have a pressing matter to discuss!”

Scout froze, eyes widening. He quietly place his spoon in his bowl, and dropped his gaze to his lap. He was shaking again.

“… All right, Spy. I’ll be right there.”

Engineer glanced at the trembling form behind him. “Don’t worry. I’ll handle this, kid. You ain’t got nothin’ t’worry ‘bout.”
Scout couldn’t respond.

Sighing, Engineer exited his little workshop, and approached his bedroom door. He opened it to see Spy tapping a cigarette, as if to rid himself of the ash. It was still unlit.

“We’ve got a problem,” Spy hissed before Engineer could even get out a word. He paused to take a draw on his cigarette, then noticed that it was unlit. He shakily brought a flame to the end, and huffed without pleasure. “He’s gone.”

Engineer just blinked, staring up at him. Then, he glanced behind the thin man’s frame, noting the conspicuous trail of hardly smoked cigarettes leading to his room. “… Holy hell, pardner. Was that all you?”
“Don’t mind those for now!” Spy snapped irritably. “Did you hear what I said?! ‘He’s. Gone.”

Spy leaned in close, hissing between his teeth. “Who do you zhink, you imbecile?! Zee BLU Scout!” He pulled away from the Texan, glancing around nervously as he flicked away his cigarette and lit up another. “Mon dieu! If ‘e ‘as escaped, zee blame will be cast upon ME! We have to find ‘im! Tell me – when did you last check up on zee little wretch? We have no time to lose, though I doubt ‘e got very far with ‘is injuries.”

“Oh, him.” Engineer leaned casually on the doorframe. “I have him.”
Spy actually looked surprised. “… What?”
“He’s with me. He ain’t escaped. He was suffering from a very serious illness, so I took ‘im in.”

Suddenly, Spy exhaled, and an oily grin spread over his face. “Oh. So zat is what has ‘appened?” A chuckle. “I was worried for a moment zhere. I zhought zat maybe you had made a careless error and zat I was going to have to pay for it.” He blew out a casual plume of smoke. “Tell me. When can I expect to see him in my chambers again?”

Spy froze, his smile melting off his face in disbelief.
“I ain’t givin’ him back. He’s with me now.”

There was a long, uncomfortable pause as Engineer glared Spy down behind his goggles. Spy just stared back, as if he didn’t know how to take this unexpected revelation. Then, there was another grin. Spy’s eyes glittered malevolently as he laughed.

“Oh, I see…” he purred.
Engineer raised an unimpressed eyebrow.
“My dear Engineer, I understand your plight. I am not as heartless as you make me out to be! We can share him – zhere’s no need for selfishness. As long as my schedule isn’t interrupted, you can do whatever you please with zee little wretch.” He eyed the stout man up and down, and blew out a little plume of smoke thoughtfully. “Perhaps we can even… meet up together somewhere down zee line.”

Engineer couldn’t have looked more horrified if someone had called his mother a whore. “I take OFFENSE to that!” he snapped viciously. “I ain’t like you, ya god damned sicko! I want nothin’ to do with you! I ain’t rapin’ the kid, and I sure as hell ain’t givin’ him back so that YOU can rape ‘im! He’s with me now!”

Spy looked taken aback for half a second before his face broke out into an ugly sneer. “If zat is how you want to play it, zhen fine! Let’s see what Monsieur Soldat ‘as to say about your unauthorized aiding of zee enemy! About you disobeying his orders that I was to be in charge of zee boy!”

“Go ahead; tell ‘im.” Engineer crossed his arms decisively. “And I’ll tell him how you disobeyed his direct orders to keep the boy in decent living conditions in case we needed to question him more. That boy was on the brink of death when I got to him.” A snarl. “Matter of fact, how about I tell him about your sexual relationships the kid? Which is against regulations that was set by Redmond himself?”

At Spy’s horrified look, the stout Texan smirked. “And you can be sure that I’ll give Solly VERY detailed accounts of your various deeds with Scout. And it won’t stop there. I’ll make sure the entire base knows. You won’t be able to walk down the halls without everyone looking at you and knowing you for the ugly, perverted rapist you are. You’ll never be respected or admired again – I’ll see to it.”

Spy was redder than his suit and spluttering with anger. “B…B-But—”
Engineer smirked. “Now, I’ll admit. I’ll probably get in hot water, too. But it’ll barely be a slap on the wrist compared to what you’ll suffer. You probably won’t get in TOO much trouble officially, but the entire base will despise you.”

“And as for me…” he continued, “Heck, Soldier might even let me keep the kid. I mean, the set-up might be a little… cushier than someone like Solly would like, but it’s definitely not paradise. It’s still a prison.” His smirk got wider. “But that doesn’t even compare to the biggest advantage I have over you. Solly just plain likes me better. He’ll probably side with me just ‘cause he can’t stand your scrawny ass to begin with.”

He paused a moment to let it all sink in. “Now we don’t HAVE to go through all that icky reportin’ to superiors stuff. You just go about your way, and I’ll go about mine, and we never have to talk about this again. But I’m keeping the boy.”

Spy clutched his cigarette in his hand and ground his teeth together so loudly, it sounded like two rocks were being scraped together. Engineer was inwardly wincing, but he wouldn’t let himself be seen backing down.

Finally, Spy let out a low, animalistic growl. “You… You will pay for zhis, Laborer…”
Engineer paused. Carefully, he raised his goggles so that they were resting on his forehead, cracked his neck few times, and glared directly into Spy’s eyes.

His words were soft and utterly dangerous.

“What did you just call me?”

For a moment, neither of them moved. Spy knew he had Engineer by at least three inches, but Engineer was sturdy and muscular, and he’d had his skull cracked open by enough wrenches to know that sedating him by force would be a walk in the park for the Texan.

So. Spy had two options: initiate a fistfight with the man, and end up looking like a complete fool in front of the entire base, or make a strategic retreat.

There was another low growl. “Zhis isn’t over,” the enraged Frenchman spat. He backed away, willing Engineer to burst into flames from his falcon-like gaze alone.

Engineer just snorted, posture relaxing. “Yeah it is,” he grumbled, giving Spy one last warning glare as he shut and locked his door.

When he returned to his workshop, he found Scout curled up into a little ball, trembling like a leaf. His bowl was tossed haphazardly to the side and his blankets were soaked in a foul smelling vomit. His thin arms were wrapped around his skinny body as he sobbed as quietly as he possibly could.

“Please…” he whispered. “Please, don’t let him get me again… Please…”

There was silence for a bit. The bed groaned as Engineer took a seat next to the boy, and shakily stroked his hair.

“I won’t.”


Officially past the point where I stopped re-uploading last time and started putting up new stuff! Excitement! One more update, then I'll go get teh monies.

13 .

Last post before I go out to make the monies. Won't be back probably til about midnight, so if you've got any comments burning on your brain, feel free to send me an email instead of commenting here! I'd like to get everything reposted before new comments start. Thanks, guys! You're all AWESOME.


“You ever wonder why we’re fightin’ this war?”
Engineer looked up from the draft he was working on for his new secret project. He scratched his stubble thoughtfully. “Well, no… What makes ya ask that, pardner?”

Scout had fallen into one of his silent fits again after Spy’s arrival a few days prior. Whenever he could, Engineer tried to encourage him to speak, and was met by a fair bit of success, but this was the first time Scout had actually started a conversation on his own. Engineer felt that was a good sign.

Scout continued staring up at the ceiling with his hands resting on his stomach. “Well, why not ask? I mean, think about it… We’ve been running around killing each other over and over again based on the color of our shirts, man. That’s it.” He shifted a little. “Why would anyone do this? Much less PAY us to do it? It’s just the same… Cap the point, defend the point, push the cart, block the cart… Guess I’d only want to know what’s the point of it all…”

Engineer didn’t like where this was going. He cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, uh… they never told you?”
“Told us what?”
“How the war started. I remember that was the first employee briefing I ever got!” He raised an eyebrow, taking a bottle of Red Oak beer and popping it open. He had time to talk. “You’re tellin’ me they never told ya’ll?”
Scout shook his head earnestly. “No, man! Never!”

Engineer just raised an eyebrow and took a swig. “You sure they didn’t brief ya’ll at least once on that? Or did ya just sleep through it?”
Scout cracked a very faint smile. “Eh. Same difference.”
Engineer kicked back and took another swig of his beer. “Well, the way I remember it… Redmond and Blutarch were brothers, right? And their rich old man was dyin’. They never got along to well to begin with, but Blutarch got really upset when he heard Redmond was getting alluv their poppa’s land, even though Blutarch were the oldest. But here’s the kicker – them two is actually twins, and Blutarch was only first by twelve seconds! Long story short, Blutarch forged the document at the last second to make it look like they both got equal shares of the land, and the two fellas’ve been fightin’ ever sense.”

Scout frowned. “Wait. That don’t sound right.”
“I think I heard this story before, yeah, but it went different, I’m pretty sure.”
Engineer sighed. Loudly. “Well, don’t go askin’ me to tell ya stories if yer just gonna argue discrepancies,” he grumbled under his breath. “That’s just the way I remember it.”

Scout nodded, then sighed. “Well, in any case, it’s nice to know I went through what I did just for a huge fuckin’ patch of dirt.”
Engineer winced for a second, then paused. “Well, that just begs the question why DID ya go through with it, huh? I… I’m no wimp, but I don’t think I coulda held out nearly that long,” he said in a low, respectful voice. “Does your loyalty to BLU really run that deep?”

Scout just shrugged and gave a sniffle that was embarrassingly loud. “N… Naw… I didn’t do it for some huge-ass company or a faceless old fag that just wants to get his hands on some quick cash… I did it for my pals back in the base. I wasn’t gonna let them get wiped out just because I was a weak-ass pussy. And…”

There was a pause, and then a bitter chuckle. “When it was over, I… wanted somewhere to go back to. Yanno? Livin’ there with all those crazy-ass dudes… Reminded me of back in the day when all my brothers were around. Before it got all quiet an’ shit.”
Engineer nodded empathetically.

A sigh. “There was… a lot of reasons I held out like that, but I guess none of it really matters now…”

There was silence for a while.

“Yanno…” Engineer started awkwardly, keeping his eyes down. “You’re… You’re a good kid.”
Scout rolled over to face the wall. “Ya think if… well, if things woulda been different… We might’ve been friends, hard-hat?”
Engineer rubbed the back of his neck with growing agitation. “Well… It’s… hard t’say,” he muttered, fumbling his words like a moron.
“But what’dya think.” Scout’s voice was almost inaudible now.
“I… guess.”
Scout seemed like he was about to say something, then changed his mind and simply nodded. “Yeah, alright,” he sighed.

Engineer didn’t like the awkward feeling the conversation had left him with. He crept towards the door like a bandit.

Hearing the knob turn, Scout turned around again. “Hey, wait. Y’leavin’ already?”
“Well, yeah,” Engineer fumbled, every word irritating the knot in his throat. He felt like he needed some time to himself. It wasn’t very often he was with someone for such an extended period of time. “Why?”

Scout shifted uncomfortably. “Well, it’s just… I’ve had enough of bein’ alone, y’know? I was locked in a room in the dark by myself for, like… Fuck, it feels like forever.” The kick choked back a sob, even as his voice broke. “I mean, if you wanna go, that’s alright, too, but I… Fuck, man, you’d be doin’ me a solid.”

Engineer sighed, immediately feeling guilty. “Alright, alright. No need to get emotional on me, now.”

To Engineer’s relief, Scout didn’t say much after that, leaving him to sketch possible new ideas or play his guitar or just drink. Scout had to face it – he was starting to like the stout Texan. More alarming was the fact that he was starting to TRUST him.

But what else was he going to do? Like it or not, he was completely dependent on Engineer now. He had to make the most of it and worry about the future later.

But it felt nice to have someone there to fill the silence.

14 .

Huge chapter thingy incoming!


“You’re leaving?!”

Engineer couldn’t help but wince at the tinge of panic underlying the question. “C…Calm down, alright?” he soothed. “I’m just gonna… be getting some more supplies for us. We’re just about outta food, so I thought I’d raid the kitchen and stockpile some more.”

Scout shot him a look that cut into his very soul. “Call me crazy, hard-hat, but… I… I don’t think you’re being completely honest with me.”

Engineer cursed inwardly. Damn him and his inability to lie! “Alright, alright. I’ll fess up,” he sighed. “I’m gonna get a few drinks with the guys, alright? Just to keep up appearances. It’s been more than a week since I brought ya in, and I’ve barely left my room since. I don’t want anyone getting suspicious.” Well, any MORE suspicious, he added in his head.

“W… Well…” Scout buried himself under the blankets some more. “Alright… But you’re gonna lock the door, right? And you’re gonna be back as soon as you can?”

“Yeah.” A tired smile. “Trust me, kid. You don’t have anything to worry about – Spy ain’t gonna touch a hair on your head – I’ll see to it.”
Scout shuddered but said nothing. He stared at the wall.

Engineer sighed and left the little workshop and its captive behind. He was sure to put the safety lock onto his door, bolting it shut as if he were Soldier having a psychotic, paranoid episode. Could never know if that damn spy was watching.

Which he was.


“Aye! Look who it is, mate!”
Heavy looked up from Demoman’s comment and rose to his feet. “Engineer?!” The gargantuan man’s face broke out into a grin, and he gave a great, belly-shaking laugh. “Is not possible!”
Engineer smiled and waved sheepishly. “Heya fellas. Missed me much?”

Heavy flung his arms wide and gave the short Texan a bone-crushing hug. “YES!” he laughed. “Come! Sit vit’ us! You have drink now, yes?” Demoman was already propping up a cheap folding-chair for him.

Engineer flushed and rubbed the back of his neck. “Aw, shoot, fellas… Thanks for all this.”
“It’s nae a problem, lad!” Demoman exclaimed, raising his bottle of scrumpy as if making a toast. “We’ve missed yeh! Come on, now – si’ down and take a load off.”

Engineer smiled and did as the Scot suggested and took a seat. When he inspected the cooler resting at their feet, he was touched to find that they’d kept a few bottles of Red Oak beer chilled just in case he showed up.

“You guys are the best, ya know that?”


If you asked Engineer, he couldn’t tell you exactly when this had become a ritual of theirs. Every Tuesday and Thursday, he, Demoman, and Heavy would come up to the rafters and watch the sunset. Most of the time, they drank, talked a bit – anything to pass the time. Life in a top-secret base got dull fast, so anything was welcome.

“So, how ye been feelin’, mate?” Demoman asked, raising an eyebrow. “We’ve barely seen a head or tail of ye!”
“Eh…” Engineer removed his cap and scratched his bald head. “Well, I just been… thinkin’, is all. Nothin’ big.”
Heavy shot him a suspicious look. “I hope not about leetle BLU.”

Engineer rubbed his chin, gazing out in the distance. “Nah. I’ve been thinking about what you said, and… I’ve kinda come to peace with that, yanno? Just let fate play out n’ all that.”

Heavy nodded. “Is good philosophy to have.”
A weak smile. “Yeah. It’s hard to not worry sometimes, but… Like you said – me getting all bent out of shape about it won’t help none.”

Demoman sighed, taking a drink. “Aye. ‘Tis a shame, though. Can nae imagine he was much older n’ our Scoot.”
“Younger,” Heavy murmured quietly. He almost sounded regretful.
“Ach.” Demoman winced. “Poor lad. But tha’s just what you’d expect from those BLU scum. If the lad is nae old enough to drink by law, he’s nae old enough to fight, the way I see it.”
Heavy nodded sagely. “Babies fighting. Is reality now.”

“Well…” Engineer cracked an uncomfortable smile, and glanced down the neck of his bottle. “Like ya said, big guy. Not our place to get involved with all that, right?”
Heavy smiled and nodded, clapping Engineer roughly on the back. “Da. Is hard thought for now, but gets easier. Only way to keep brain in dis war.” He tapped his forehead to illustrate his meaning.

Heavy certainly was right. But Engineer had already lost his mind. Simply shutting himself off from all reality just didn’t work for him like it did with his friends. He wouldn’t try to be a superhero and stop all of RED’s injustice single-handedly, but the least he could do was protect the Scout under his care.

After Heavy’s last words, the topic shifted to something more pleasant – probably something about cars. Engineer had meant to leave much sooner, but enjoyed himself so much, it was almost midnight before he said his goodbyes and began stumbling back to his room.


“Trust me, kid. You don’t have anything to worry about – Spy ain’t gonna touch a hair on your head – I’ll see to it.”

Anyone else see the irony that the first thing Spy does when he gets Scout back is grab a fistful of hair? No? Too subtle? Okayface.jpg

15 .

Every second ticked by felt more like a needle pushed in until it hit bone. Scout tried to ignore how terrified he really was and just focus on the fact that Engineer would be back in no time.

How long had he been sitting there? He didn’t dare look at the clock.

C’mon – just a little longer and he’ll be back and I’ll be fine and nothing will happen. Come on.

His heart raced.

Nothing to be scared of. Nothing to be scared of…

His brain whirled. He tried to block out the his imagination – to create a blank slate in his mind, but it wasn’t working.

The shadowy specter of his mind would prowl across the floor. His eyes would gleam in satisfaction, and he’d give that horrid, toothy grin. He’d make short work of the lock, and the door to the little prison would swing open. Smoothly. Silently.

Scout closed his eyes. No. No. Shut up. It’s not gonna happen again.

He imagined the horrid feeling of that fine leather against his skin as Spy’s hand closed around his neck. The cool, metallic terror as Spy pressed his gun against his temple. He would say – softly… almost like a gentle croon to a lover – “Do it, and maybe I won’t make your life miserable, mon cher.”

Mocking, horrible, horrible word. Scout didn’t know French, but he knew enough to know that those words Spy called him were not meant for what he did to Scout. Horrible man.

Scout’s heart was pounding in terror now – his breathing restricted and tense. There was no stopping the nightmarish scene from playing out now. He felt paralyzed from his own wicked mind.

That smell again. His breath would smell like Brandy and cigarettes. It made him sick just thinking about it. His thumb would squeeze on Scout’s fragile trachea as his other hand would make short work of the loose clothes Engineer had given him. Scout wouldn’t resist. Spy was so vicious when he was angry.

He’d flip Scout over.


Force him on his knees – even the bad one. He never did it from the front. He didn’t like to be reminded.

Please no… Not again… Don’t…

Press Scout’s face into the pillow. Sobbing as Scout clutched at the sheets and brace himself. He would be shaking. So scared. So scared.

And then the zipper would—

Scout froze. There was someone at the door to the workshop. He was sure of it.

He listened in silent terror as unsure hands fumbled with the lock. Engineer would know what he was doing. It couldn’t be him. It couldn’t be.

Scout froze, holding his breath. As if it would save him if his nightmares were realized. His heart thundered in his chest.

When the door opened and he saw that it was just Engineer, he could have cried. “FUCK, MAN!” he exploded, sniffling and wiping at his eyes. “Longest fucking hour I’ve had in my entire life!”

Engineer leaned on the door frame, grinning like an idiot. “Sorry,” he chuckled. “Time got away from me, there… I had a greeeeat time.”
“Glad to hear it,” Scout muttered with a scowl. “I had a fucking shitty time. But at least ONE of us enjoyed themselves.”

Engineer raised an eyebrow slowly. “Now what’s that attitude for, pardner?”
“You were fucking gone all night. Something could have happened and you wouldn’t have known. Plus, it’s just damn fucking scary. Course I’m pissed!”

Engineer narrowed his eyes. “So, what? I’m not allowed to go out n’ enjoy myself just because you get the willies from being alone? I’m supposed to drop EVERYTHING for ya and spend the rest of my life in this damn room keepin’ ya company?”

Scout paused. “Well, I… I dunno…” he admitted softly.
“Get this straight, kid. This is YOUR prison. Not mine. Now, I’ll do all I can for ya, but I want to live my life, too. Understand?”

Engineer’s voice was stern and a little annoyed, but not aggressive. Scout still winced. “Yeah… I do… Sorry, Hardhat.”
Engineer grunted and exited.

Scout lifted the blanket over his head and wrapped up like it was a cocoon. Everything Engineer said made sense. It wasn’t even unreasonable. Hell, he was a life saver! He was still going to take care of Scout and feed him and protect him, after all. His request – that his life not totally revolve around Scout – was totally understandable.

So why did it still hurt?


The urge to kill had never been stronger.

Spy watched the stout Texan exit his room, and begin locking his door in an overly convoluted manner. He huffed, nostrils blowing out twin, invisible jets of smoke. Please. As if he’d try to sneak into that mad man’s room – he probably had the place crawling with filthy, disgusting sentries.


The assassin brushed his thumb against the sharp blade of his butterfly knife almost sensually.

It would be so easy. He wouldn’t hear the sound of his invisibility cloak dropping – not until it was too late. He’d creep up behind him like a terrible angel of death – so silently… The knife would slide in like a thing of beauty – would sever the spine with a sickening crunch.

A one last, shuddering jerk as the muscles in the Texan’s back seized around the foreign object. Blood would gush everywhere – Spy could barely believe he’d once thought of the crimson liquid as something so deplorable; it now had an effect on him that all the money and expensive Italian suits in the world couldn’t buy.

He’d stop the shorter man from screaming – would clamp his gloved hand over his mouth – “Shhh, shhh,” he’d whisper as the man’s knees buckled. He’d press their bodies together, grunt as he drove the blade in deeper, and twisted just for good measure. He’d make Engineer watch, helpless on the floor with his life’s blood gushing out in rich spouts as he’d break into the room and—

“Merde…” Spy hissed, backing away as Engineer suddenly turned around and strolled right past him without a care in the world. He stood still and waited until he was around the corner, then decloaked with a sigh. Too close. He couldn’t let his mind wander like that. There was a disbelieving moan as he realized that his fantasizing had left him with quite an embarrassing erection as well. Damn, he needed to get laid.

He scowled, brushing the worn, rusting metal with his fingertips. How infuriating! Scout – HIS Scout – was naught but a few feet away, and Spy couldn’t even lay an eye on him, much less lay a hand!

A low growl. There was no doubt about it – if brutally murdering Engineer would have been a viable option to get to Scout, he would have without any qualms.

Strike that – even if there were other ways, it’d be the first on his list! Even if he had to endure having to do it with a barbaric weapon like Soldier’s shovel, and risk getting brains in his perfect suit, he would do it.


He sucked on his cigarette as if it were a God-send, and slowly exhaled. He flicked it away and got started on a fresh one.

But there was no use fantasizing. Murder was NOT an option. He was doing this entire charade just so that the stubby little dwarf wouldn’t ruin his reputation. Killing him would only prove to achieve the same feat – only everyone would be actively PISSED at him for doing it. Especially if he killed one of their best (and favorite, for some inexplicable reason) members just because he wanted to fool around with some boy. He could get in actual, legitimate trouble. Maybe even get fired! Or worse.

A shudder. No, no, no. Scout was worth plenty, but he wasn’t worth that. There had to be another way…

Yes. There WAS another way. It would be difficult, but nothing was beyond Spy’s abilities, he reassured himself. He strode off, carrying himself like a man with a purpose.

After all, he thought, eyes flashing. Everyone… EVERYONE has a skeleton hiding in their closet…


Whoa... Calm down there, Spy, Buddy. You're actin' KER-RAAAAY-ZAY.

16 .

It was hard guessing when Scout was going to speak or not. He’d be quietly staring up at the ceiling one second, and the next, he’d say some offhand comment. Engineer wasn’t quite sure he liked it. He preferred his people like he preferred his machines: predictable.

Today he was treated to the statement, “Ya know what? I don’t even care anymore. As soon as I’m outta this hell hole, I’m quitting this war.” A humorless smirk. “I mean… Assuming I make it outta here.” He laughed as if he’d cracked a joke.
Engineer gave an uncomfortable smile of his own. He put aside his guitar slowly, as if it were rigged with explosives. “Y’don’t say? Why’s that? I thought ya liked yer time over there with them BLU fellahs.”

“Yeah. I guess I did,” the kid muttered. “But I… I just can’t anymore, man. I’ll be fucking lucky to walk without a limp after this.” A pause. “And, even if I could, I wouldn’t. I’m fighting for this rich, old fag that just wants piles of dirt. He don’t care about me. He don’t care about none of us. Fuck – he doesn’t even know our names.” His little rant picked up in speed and intensity as he continued to ramble on. “We’re like… like, faceless soldiers to him, man! It’s like we’re fuckin’ bees and he’s the queen just sittin’ there all fat on honey and shit! All he wants is more fuckin’ honey, and if I fuckin’ rot in this shithole, it’s just one more fuckin’ number down the drain for him!”

“Whoa, whoa!” Engineer cried, trying to sooth the boy. “Just calm down there, pardner—”

“NO, I FUCKING WON’T!!!” Scout exploded, thrashing about on his tiny bed with rage. “God fucking DAMN it!!! I was so STUPID! What the fuck was I thinking, taking this fucking job?! How the FUCK did I end up here, fucking crippled as HELL, without a fucking single person in the next ten miles that gives a SHIT about me?!”

Engineer watched as the kid screamed profanity and pounded his mattress with his balled up fists and kicked out fruitlessly with his good leg. He carried on this way for about five minutes, until his screams of rage finally gave way to wails of grief. He curled up into a little ball, screaming as much as he wanted and sobbing and pounding his fist into his pillow over and over again.

After it was all done – after the screams had quieted to muffled sobs, and he was curled up, weighed down by his despair to the point of motionless – Engineer entered the little cage, and sat on the bed. After a moment’s hesitation, he pulled the kid into a tight, comforting hug. He could ignore his own discomfort to make this poor soul feel a little better, after all. Couldn’t be good for him, just constantly being watched through the bars of a cage like an animal.

There was a sigh. “C’mon, kid… That’s not true…” Another pause as he carefully considered what to say next. He settled on an awkward, but obviously heartfelt, “I care about you. Okay? I do.”

Scout sniffed a few times. His pride wanted him to push the older man away and gnash his teeth at him, but he couldn’t. Hell if this wasn’t good for him. Yeah – he needed it. A lot.

After a moment of just taking in the sensation of actually having human contact, the boy finally asked, “How much?” His voice was raw and weak.
This caught Engineer by surprise. “Uh… Well… I don’t rightly know.“ A pause. “But I reckon it’s a lot.”
Scout shot him a suspicious look. “You sure?”
“Dead certain.”
Scout cracked a small smile. “Well, alright. Thanks, man.”

Scout suddenly began jabbering about what he’d do after he quit, as if moment wasn’t totally weird and awkward at all. Engineer admired his fortitude to do so.

“I ain’t gonna move back in with my ma, though. I mean, I might… Maybe just for a while – I miss ‘er and stuff – but I ain’t gonna stay for long. Maybe I’ll be one of them wanderin’ musicians, yanno? I always wanted t’play the trumpet. I gotta brother that’s in a band – I ever tell you that? He don’t make much money, but he stays outta trouble. I think I’ll be like that.”

“Mmmhmmm,” Engineer responded idly with a nod. Well, it was better than him screaming and crying or being really, inhumanly quiet. Still, was it too much to ask that not all Scouts talk so much?

“An’ what about you?”
“Eh?” Engineer blinked. “What was that?”
“What about you? What do you plan on doin’ after the war?” the Scout asked again.
Silence. Engineer thought frantically as Scout sat and waited. Damn. Seemed like he actually wanted a legitimate answer.

“Well…” the man drawled, scratching at the stubble on his chin. “I… don’t know.”
“You don’t know? What’s that supposed to mean?” Scout wrinkled his nose as if that was the stupidest thing he’d ever heard the man say.
“Well, just that,” Engineer huffed moodily. “I don’t know.”
“Why not?”
“Well…” Engineer tilted his head back staring up at the ceiling. “Guess I never thought about it.”

Another pause.

“Guess I just… kinda figured I’d be fightin’ this war forever.”


“Hey, fellas. What are ya thinkin’ about doin’ after th’war?”

Tuesday again. Demoman, Heavy, and Engineer were all sitting out under the stars, drinking and talking. Engineer kept running Scout’s question again, over and over in his head. He was interested in knowing what his pals had to say on the issue.

Heavy hummed softly. “Vill probably go to cold country. Like Russia. But not Russia. Maybe Canada. Spend days being nice to Sasha and build tiny houses. Birds like.”
A laugh. “Didn’t know ya had it in ya, big guy!” Engineer chuckled, patting the huge man’s shoulder.
Heavy frowned at him. “Do not laugh. I like birds. Can do. Does not make me baby.”
“Of course, Aleksey,” the short man replied, stifling the rest of his laughter with a snort. “I didn’t mean t’laugh. You got every right t’like what ya like, and it don’t emasculate ya none.”
A grunt. The huge man went back to sipping his fine tea.

“An’ what about you, Alasdair?” Engineer asked, taking another casual swig of his beer. “What are you plannin’ on doing?”
The Scot laughed. “Well, that’s an easy one, lad! I’d find another war an’ join it, and I’d fight ‘til I don’t have an eye left t’see with!”
“And you?” Heavy rumbled quietly.

Engie took a deep breath. “Can’t be sure… I personally cain’t wait to get outta this hellhole, but… the thought of never seein’ you fellers again… It’s a right scary one,” the man admitted quietly. “So even if we do go our separate ways… Y’think it’d be outta th’question t’ask that… Shoot, I dunno…” He rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. “We… still meet up every now an’ again?”

There was a thoughtful silence. Then, Heavy lifted his cup in a toast. “Is good idea. Da, I agree.”
“Yeh – tha’s a bloody great idea, it is!” Demoman agreed, smiling and raising his bottle of Scrumpy, as well. “Coount me in, lads!”
Engineer beamed happily, and raised his bottle of Red Oak, as well. “Then it’s settled. Cheers t’us, fellahs. In hopes that, no matter where life takes us, somehow we’ll manage to meet up again.”




It’d taken days of waiting. Of carefully preparing.

Spy knew he didn’t have long. The huge, lumbering, American sociopath would be back any minute, and this area was strictly off limits. Even for him. He’d have to find what he needed, get it, and get out.

Casually, he clutched the flashlight between his teeth like a cigar and got down to business. He made short work of the lock to the filing cabinet and slid it open as silently as he could manage. He began running his deft hands over all the folders.

Not there.

Cursing, he closed it again, and began picking another lock. He glanced at his watch. How much time did he have? Another heavy cabinet slid open. Spy fingered through all of the folders once more, eyes darting around nervously. Still nothing he could use.

He hissed like a feral animal. Where were they? Where WERE they?! He didn’t have time for this! His eyes glanced at his wristwatch. He’d try one more. If it wasn’t in there, he would have to wait to strike another time.

Nothing. He was disappointed, but he knew it wasn’t over. He’d be back. He’d be back as many times as it took.

There was a flicker as Spy put away his flashlight, and took a moment to light up. Then, the tiny flame was extinguished, and Spy was gone.

17 .



“I hear similar story to vhat you tell, Demoman,” the big man rumbled with another sip of tea. “BLUs catch RED Soldier vhen he go on holiday. No one knows vhere is. Probably dead. I think maybe is revenge for BLU Scout.”

Demoman sighed. “Aye. Seems like the war’ gettin’ nastier and nastier by the day. Can’t wait ‘til it’s over. Got a mate up in Iceland with the rest. The BLUs are holdin’ strong, but they’re hidin’ somethin’ in there, alroit. It’s jes’ a matter o’time before it’s ours.”

“Still. Extra security is… not stupid, but…”
“Annoyin’?” Demoman snorted, taking a swig of scrumpy.
“Yes! Yes, annoying. Hear that all bases on lock down now. Not just us. Now no one leaves.”
“I’m sure they’re having a bloody good time wi’ that!” Another snort.

Engineer was fiddling idly with his old, beaten, two-way radio. Nothing was getting through thanks to the ten-mile RF jammer, but it was worth a try. He missed his music.

Demo elbowed his leg slightly. “Oy, ye alroit, Engie? You’ve been actin’ a mite distant tonight.”
“Oh, yeah.” A small smile. “Aw, it ain’t nothin’. Y’know how us science types are.”
Nodding along a few chuckles.
“Say, fellahs,” he began slowly. “Looks like the supplies are comin’ in early t’night. I put in a special order so I’mma go right quick an’ pick it up, alright?”

Demoman held his gaze for a few seconds. “Ye gonna be comin’ back, lad?”
“Hmmm…” An apologetic grin and Engineer patted the Scotsman's thigh softly. “Sorry, fellahs, but I don’t think so. I’ll be back on Thursday, though. Same time as always?”
Heavy smiled and nodded. “Da. Same time. Ve vill vait.”


“All right, lil’ buddy!” Engineer chuckled, nudging the door to his workshop open with his foot. “I got the things y’asked fer last time around. Wasn’t easy – Solly didn’t like havin’ t’put in an extra request, but I get stuff done.”

Scout gasped, bouncing slightly. “SWEET!!! Lemme see, man! C’mon! Lemme see, lemme see!”

Engineer placed the heavy crate on the ground with a huff, and pulled open the box with a crowbar. Scout gave a totally legitimate man squeal of excitement, squishing his cheeks together. “They’re… beautiful!”

Engineer smirked. “Yeah… It wudn’t easy, but here they are. All issues of the Bonk Boy comic issues 1 through 142, plus a bonus issue that ain’t even been released yet! I also got ya Spiderman and Batman and Superman, yanno, if yer interested in those sorts of comics – I wouldn’t know.”

“This is the BEST, man! Thanks so much!” Scout cried, taking one in his hands, and flipping it. He took a deep breath, loving that new comic smell.
Engineer cracked a small smile, trying not to let off how weirded out he was by that. “Yeah, well… I figgered ya needed somethin’ t’do while I was out pallin’ around and doin’ whatever. The wall can’t be THAT dang interestin’.”
“Yeah.” A frown. “It isn’t.”
“Well, here ya go, then. And here’s a flashlight so ya can read while I’m asleep and got the lights off.”

Scout gasped in delight and took the slim instrument. “Oh man, oh man! I can’t tell you enough how great this fuckin’ is, man! Thanks again!”

Engineer chuckled and sat at his work desk, taking up his guitar and strumming it. “Not a problem, kid. Enjoy.”


Spy had to admit. After the last two failed attempts, he was almost ready to give up his little search. But this feeling of unrelenting success… It couldn’t be matched.

It was with trembling hands that he began sorting through the files of all the mercenaries residing in the secret base. As much as he would have liked to go through them all, the clock was ticking.

The first file of interest he came across was his own. After having a short laugh over the contents, he tucked away the secret information with a mental note to forge replacements at posthaste.

Ah-ha! His icy blue eyes flashed as he plucked out another folder.

RED Engineer: Serial Number 1386
Xander Christianson

A thrill of excitement ran through Spy’s bones.

Found you.


Happiness? In MY story? Something has to be done.

18 .

Somehow, a new fantasy made itself known to Spy. His anticipation – his craving to kill that blasted Engineer – to stab him and stare him in the eyes until he breathed his last… It was almost greater than actually securing his boy again.

However, unlike with reclaiming Scout, killing the Engineer was one fantasy that would never happen.

Well, not in actuality. He’d never be able to kill Engineer, but he would make that fool wish he had. He’d wield the information he’d gathered like a knife and drive it into the man’s very SOUL – make him regret ever getting involved.

Make him realize that Spy’s possessions were his OWN, and not to be trifled with.

But. There’s a certain aspect missing, the Spy realized as he went over his findings once more. I can’t come to him with this. He’s as docile as an old dog, but even mutts still have their teeth. I don’t want him to fly into a rage – he might not be able to control his own barbaric impulses.

Once again, Scout was worth a lot, but not worth getting injured. So the solution was simple. He’d track Engineer for the next month or so. Chances were he’d find SOMETHING more to use against the inbred bastard.

And so he watched, and waited, and bid his time.


“Well, it looks like yer checked out jes’ fine, kid,” Engineer said, smiling over his clipboard. “Fever’s finally down an’ it looks like it’s gone fer good. Yer mouth’s drained out and there’s no more swelling, and it looks like you can start goin’ through physical therapy fer yer leg in no time. Maybe we can even get ya walkin’ again.”

“Aw, sweet, man!” Scout yawned quietly and grinned up at the man. “This is… This is fucking great.” An awkward cough. “I know I… Hmmm. I guess I don’t say this enough, but, uh… Well… Thank you. Seriously. You are the BOMB, for real.”

“Aw, shoot…” The stout Texan rubbed the back of his neck. “It’s nothin’. I’m just…” A pause. “I’m just the sort of feller that believes that… everyone should have a chance, I guess.”

The boy blinked. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Ah, nothin’ – didn’t mean ta get all philosophical on ya.” The man glanced at his watch. “Now it’s gettin’ late. You want the light on or off?” He hovered beside the door, his finger on the light switch.
“Eh… Off, I guess.” The kid stashed the comic he’d been reading in the crate beside his bed, making sure to mark it so that he knew where to begin in the morning. “I had enough Bonk Boy for t’night.”
A chuckle. “Right ya are.” The light flicked off. “G’night, Scout.”
“Night, Hardhat.”

Scout yawned and snuggled into his pillow as Engineer shut and locked the door.

The older man gave a yawn himself, and stretched, popping his back a good few times. He’d stopped by for dinner earlier in the evening, but he already felt a case of the munchies coming on again. He’d just decided to go grab another bite to eat, when there came a slow, deliberate knock at his door.

He was instantly suspicious. Now, who would be up an’ about at this hour, knockin’ like that? Smells fishy. His fears were quickly affirmed as he opened the door and smelled a wisp of smoke. A snarl. “What the hell do you want?”

Spy smiled down smugly at the guarded Texan. “Bonjour, Monsieur Ingénieur. Apologies for visiting when it is so late, but I have a very pressing issue I’m sure zee both of us would like to see resolved posthaste. May I come in?”

Engineer tried to shut the door, but Spy had anticipated this and stuck his foot in the gap. Engineer glowered at him. “Oh, please, Monsieur,” Spy begged again, smiling like a viper wooing a rabbit. “I must insist. It really is important.”

“Mister, I’m assuming you like that foot ya done jammed in my door. If yer plannin’ on keepin’ it, I’d suggest you move. NOW,” Engineer snarled.
Spy just smiled again. “Monsieur, I didn’t know you had a daughter. How old is she? Do you even remember?”

Suddenly, the door was flung open, and two thick, strong hands grabbed Spy by his collar. Engineer yanked the Frenchman down to eye level, and sneered like a wild animal, his eyes wild. “How the FUCK do you know about her?” came the low, unnatural growl.
Spy just continued smiling, even in the face of his apparent demise. “I t’ink zat we understand each ozzer clearly now, don’t you agree? Now, please, I would prefer not to discuss such sensitive topics out in the open.”

Engineer trembled with rage, wanting nothing more than to wipe that smug, self-satisfied smirk off that bastard’s face, but after a few intense moments of glaring directly into Spy’s eyes, he finally relinquished his grip.

“Get in.”

19 .

Once again, you guys have NO FUCKING IDEA how long I'd wanted to do this scene! I HOPE IT'S BEEN WORTH THE WAIT.


Engineer shut and locked the door behind him, then turned his searing gaze to the man who had casually taken a seat on his bed. “Alright, you son of a bitch, tell me how you know about her,” he repeated. “And if I get the feelin’ you’re lying to me, I’ll shoot you where you fuckin’ stand.” He clenched his fists, eyes burning.

Spy laughed, flicking ash all over the Texan’s bed sheets. “Oh, Laborer. You’re so naïve, it’s almost funny.” There was a broad, oily smile that showed all of his teeth. “I have… many sources, you see. And many allies. You’ve taken something very… important to me. I just ‘appen to have enough connections to make your life miserable because of it.”

Engineer crossed the room in two easy strides. “If you’re thinkin’ about threatening my family, I swear to GOD, I’ll—”
Spy immediately raised his hands as if surrendering, though his expression never changed. “Oh, ‘eavens, no, mi amigo! You have me all wrong! I would never even THINK about ‘arming innocents because of our little dispute,” he lied.
Engineer huffed, and raised an eyebrow. “Then why even bring her up?” he growled softly, eyes watching Spy’s every move.

Spy puffed idly on his cigarette, and stamped it out on Engineer’s bedpost. “No reason,” he murmured, lighting up another. “I mean, what’s zee point of using somet’ing you obviously don’t even care about as leverage?”
Engineer’s eyes flashed. “An’ just what the HELL do you know, ya slimy snake?!” he snapped. “I LOVE my little girl!”
“Zhen why don’t you ever visit ‘er, Monsieur?”

This question caught Engineer by surprise. “… Pardon?”
“Oh, I’m quite sure you heard me.” Spy smirked. “Laborer, it’s widely known zat, even during zee few vacations we earn, you prefer to spend your time here, working in solitude of zee base, or vacationing elsewhere with your other comrades. According to my reports, it has been an entire eighteen months before you have returned to your… ehem… humble abodes. Why is zat?”

There was an uncomfortable silence. Spy smirked again. “Ah, but I know what zee problem is, non? None other than your wife.”

At this, Engineer tried to interject, but he had lost much of his previous fire. Spy continued talking over him. “Oh, but zat couldn’t be, could it? My sources inform me zat she is beautiful, level headed, and doggedly faithful, almost to a fault. She is everything one could desire in a woman.”
“S-Spy, what are ya—”
“So what could it be? A simple lover’s quarrel? No, such a thing would surely be resolved after all this time.”
“Spy, that’s none of yer goddamn—”
“So, per’aps…” The man blew out a ring of smoke deftly. “Zee problem lies much deeper.”

Engineer was horrified. He couldn’t know, could he? Could he? “JUST TELL ME WHAT YER GETTIN’ AT!” he shrieked, voice cracking with panic.
“With pleasure.”

Spy reached into his suit jacket and held up an unmarked black folder. He stood, holding it out towards the shorter man. “Simply put, my dear laborer, zee reason is no other than guilt. And shame. You’ve been hiding a secret from her, ‘aven’t you?”
Engineer covered his mouth, face growing pale. It couldn’t be. “I… I…”

A resounding cackle of glee as Spy threw the folder into his face, sending pictures scattering everywhere. “Oh, but you have good reason to, Monsieur! How do you t’ink she’d react when she hears you’ve been sleeping around with a Russian fat man and a nigger?!

Engineer looked about wildly as several compromising pictures of him with his buddies floated to the ground. Most were… somewhat innocent. A flirtatious caress here, a small peck on the lips there… and others…

The man gulped though his throat felt like sandpaper. “How… How did you…”
Spy chuckled darkly. “I have to say, I didn’t have to wait long for you to provide me with all zee… ah… material I needed.” His smile grew. “Your precious wife would be more than furious with you… She would be appalled. Horrified. Bad enough zat you cheated on her, but you did so with two MEN. One communist, zee other a Negro, and both foreign. She’d leave and make sure you never saw your darling little girl again, wouldn’t she?”

He picked up one picture casually, and grinned at the man. “Tell me… do they even know about your happy little family, Laborer? Did you ever have zee courage to tell them you were using them for not’ing more than an… an experiment?
Engineer slumped to the floor weakly. “That’s… That’s not—”

“And ‘ow could we forget a major infraction you and your… partners… have committed?” Spy continued, strutting along the room with his hands behind his back. “Didn’t you know zat sharing legal names is strictly prohibited, Laborer? If I went to Soldier with such information, you and both of your ‘friends’ could find yourselves in a very unfortunate situation.”

Engineer was trembling now. One hand was clutching tightly to a picture of the three of them together sharing a mutually passionate moment. He bit his lower lip quietly, letting out a few dry sobs as the reality of it all came crashing down. He’d done this. He’d been the one stupid enough to give Spy ammunition, and no matter what he did now, someone was going to get hurt. All because of him.

Spy was grinning wickedly as he towered above the heartbroken Texan. Words couldn’t describe how satisfying this was to him. He could envision his statements being as sharp and deadly as a blade, sinking into his heart with growing ferocity.

It was time to twist the knife.

“I t’ink we have an understanding now, Laborer,” he spat. “You see, while you can only ruin my reputation, I am fully prepared to ruin, not only your life, but zee lives of every single person close to you.” There was a pause as he allowed to words to sink in. “Now. Take me to my boy.”

Engineer shook, eyes darting wildly at the pictures that littered his floor. He unsteadily rose to his feet, feeling as if he were forty years older. “Th… This way…” he murmured numbly, leading Spy through the closet and to the workshop.

Spy’s blood surged, boiling hot, through his veins. Finally.


Oh, wow. There was a point to all those scenes with Heavy and Demoman, after all. Yes, they're... "friends with benefits". Meant for it to come as a surprise, but not quite to the point where it was unbelievable and out of nowhere. That's why I spent a little more time on them.

Also, I'm reeeally sorry about the... offensive term used in this chapter. I was debating whether or not to use it, since it's definitely not a term I take lightly, but I saw Spy as enough of a dick to use it just to kick Engineer while he was down.

One more to go! JOY.

20 .

Whoops. One more after this. For real this time!


Engineer barely felt his fingers as they clumsily fumbled with the lock. He could feel Spy’s aroused breathing on the back of his neck – could sense the perverted man’s anticipation radiating from his being.

No, no. Don’t think. Don’t think about it. Don’t think about what’s going to happen. He felt sick. After all his efforts, he’d still let the poor boy down in the end. Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it.

The door silently swung open. Pale light filtered in from behind them, casting their dark, looming shadows on the ground and faintly illuminating the tiny workshop.

Scout was still curled up and sleeping comfortably in the tiny bed provided for him. His thin arms were wrapped around a pillow like a stuffed animal. Spy sucked in a tight breath at the sight of him, and he felt his blood surge once more. The payoff for all his hard work was within his grasp. Literally.

Engineer shoved the keys to the little cage in Spy’s hands, frowning. “Take the kid and get out,” he hissed. “I won’t have that filth in my workshop.”
Spy smirked at him, and went to open the cell door. “I’ll leave when I’m ready, and not a second sooner.”
“Wh—but I—”

Maybe it was the light coming in from the other room. Maybe it was the voices of the older men. Or maybe it was the sound of his cell door being opened. Whatever the reason, Scout stirred, and seconds later, his eyes sleepily fluttered open.

He felt as if all the oxygen had been sucked out of the room. Time stood still for what seemed like hours as he stared at the man before him, grinning nastily at his prize. Scout was holding his breath and lying as still as he possibly could, as if he were a mouse hoping it hadn’t been spotted by the sneaky cat crouching in front of it.

There was movement from the corner of his eye, and the boy glanced over quickly enough to see Engineer making a speedy exit. “H… Hey…” His voice felt thicker than a milkshake. “Engie, don’t…!” He glanced back at the approaching spy with growing panic. “Don’t leave me here! Engineer, HELP!”

Spy seized a fistful of his hair, grinning nastily. “Save your breath, cretin,” he crooned in a soft, mocking voice. “You’ll need it.”

Hmmm. On second thought, maybe that wasn’t the best idea ever.

Seconds later, Scout rewarded him with a swift, vicious right hook to the jaw. Spy stumbled slightly and shielded himself as Scout began kicking and punching at the man with all the ferocity of a cornered animal. “I’m not goin’ back! I’M NOT GOIN’ BACK!!! You hear me, ya fucker?!” the boy sobbed. “You’ll have ta KILL me first!”

Absolutely not. Not even Spy was degenerate enough to fuck a corpse. That was out of the question.

Spy quickly composed himself and knocked the rest of the boy’s fruitless attacks aside. What Scout had in passion, he sorely lacked in any sort of coordination. When he found a proper opening, he dove in with a punch of his own. He might have not been the fist fighter Heavy was, due to his lack of raw strength, but he made up for it by being quick and precise in his attacks.

Scout reeled back in a daze, feeling as though his body was made of lead. He struggled blindly to keep Spy off of him, but it wasn’t long before he was being straddled by the sadistic Frenchman anyways.

There was an amused smirk as the younger boy tried vainly to push him off. “Why do you even resist?”
“Because I ain’t goin’ back!” Scout screamed, voice wavering. “I can’t! I fucking can’t! I WON’T!”

Scout felt his stomach lurch when Spy began unbuckling his pants. “NOOO!!!” There was another surge of energy, and he heaved Spy off him with all his might and tried to scramble away. “Engie, PLEASE! Don’t let him! Oh, God, don’t let him – I’m sorry!!”

Once again, Spy regained his composure and pounced on Scout, pinning the boy’s arms to the bed with his long legs and wrapping his hands around the kid’s neck. Then, he pressed down on the bobbing Adam’s apple.

This feeling of power. It was intoxicating. Scout’s eyes went wide with horror at the familiarity of what he was feeling, and struggled underneath, but it was Spy who was in control now.

Such absolute, inarguable control, even over life itself! He was only a step away from the gods, themselves! Grinning wickedly, he squeezed harder on the boy’s fragile trachea, feeling as though his blood was fire through his veins. The man’s erection pressed earnestly against the boy’s chest, throbbing with excitement.

Scout gagged and tried to beg for mercy, but no words came out. He felt as though his temples were going to burst. The blood pounded in his head angrily as his heart pounded with terror and chest heaved, begging for air – please, please – just a little!

Scout’s eyes filled with tears as he looked up at his captor. Again. Again, it was happening again. Spy had him. For some reason, Engineer was gone, and he wasn’t going to save him, and hurt and pain would be all Scout could look forward to.

Why? Why?

What had he done? What had he done to make Engineer so angry? To abandon him like this? Whatever it was, he was sorry – oh, God, he’d never do it again – never, never, never—

Scout’s entire body convulsed, and he opened his mouth in a silent gasp. AIR!

Just a little bit, please – no, he didn’t want to die – not yet! Maybe Engineer would come back for him – save him again—

Air, please!

God, he couldn’t even beg for it, this time! He’d do anything – again – all over again – he just didn’t want to die. He took it back, what he’d said before – he didn’t want to die, please—

He gagged, and Spy’s grip tightened, shaking him a little. The whole room was going dark. Scout’s eyes rolled up to the ceiling.

Please, please, no, please.

A feeble retch.

I don’t want to… I don’t want to…

Don’t let me…

Then, everything went black.

21 .


Rated M for mind fuck.


There was a convulsion and a gasp as Scout was ripped from his restless slumber. A weak groan – his neck felt stiff, his face was swollen, his throat ached, and there was a terrible pounding feeling at the base of his skull.

He coughed to rid himself of the terrible taste in his mouth and moved to rub his face, but he realized he couldn’t move his arms.

Wait a…

Scout jerked fully awake with a gasp, eyes darting around as he tried to pull his wrists free. They were bound to the headboard by something thin and silken, but strong. He was still in Engineer’s workshop, thank God, but the stout Texan was still nowhere to be found.

Immediately, his eyes came to rest on the grinning cobra in front of him. Spy was grinning and stroking himself blatantly, proud erection swollen with desire. The man had taken off his coat and tie, but still wore his unbuttoned dress shirt and unzipped pants. He’d also donned thin latex gloves for the occasion, and Scout could see an opened bottle of lube lying on the bed.


His terrified, blue eyes flashed back up to the man, and spy grinned even wider. “Ah, Madame Sleeping Beauty. You’re finally awake, I see.”

Scout gave a low, pitiful whimper as he realized he was stripped bare, as well. Panic began setting in slowly, and he took a shuddering breath. “Please… Please…” he whispered, trembling. “I… I’m sorry. Don’t…” A small sob. “Don’t…”

“I hope you’re fully prepared to make up for zis little vacation you’ve been on, boy,” Spy continued idly, squeezing some of the lube onto his gloved fingers.
“I’m sorry… I’m sorry…” So scared. He felt powerless. He couldn’t resist. Fighting only made it worse.


“I’m afraid ‘sorry’ simply isn’t enough. You’ll have to pay. And stop looking over at zat door, you stupid boy. He’s not coming back. ‘e’s come to see just how much of a hassle you really are, and I assure you, he won’t ever want to come within ten yards of you ever again.”


Scout felt a jolt of frigid electricity shoot up his spine as one of Spy’s fingers wriggled inside of him. “Now, where was I…”

Scout couldn’t help it. He burst into tears, trying to wriggle away from the thin, intrusive digit. “NO, no, no, no, no, no, no!” he sobbed. “Please, Spy, PLEASE! Not that! Anything but that – PLEASE! I’ll do ANYTHING!”

“Really?” Spy chuckled, slipping in yet another lubed finger and stretching the kid out as best as he could. “Are you sure?”
“Yes! YES!!!” Scout screamed, voice cracking. He sobbed harder. “Please… Please, anything else…”

There was a smirk as Spy twisted the two fingers inside of Scout, pumping his throbbing cock the whole time. “Would you suck me off?”
Scout trembled silently. It might start with a blowjob, yes, but Spy always got so rough – so heedless… His stomach turned.
Spy forced his fingers down to the knuckle. “Well?” he hissed.

Scout groaned with discomfort, and whispered, “Yes…”
Spy scissored his fingers. “Yes to WHAT, boy?”
A sharp cry of pain, and Scout gushed out, “I-I’ll do it! I’ll blow you! I’ll blow you real good! Just… Just don’t… Don’t…”

Spy didn’t stop his ministrations, pumping his hand in and out of the boy, making sure to stretch him out as he had been before he’d suddenly been whisked away. “Not good enough. I want you to BEG, boy. Beg to suck my cock, and I just might heed your request.”

Scout gasped as he felt a third finger probing his entrance, and all of his resolve crumbled. “Yeah, yeah…” he rasped, eyes wild with desperation and fear. “God, please, Spy – I… I want your c…cock. I want it so bad, man. I’ll suck you better than you’ve ever had in your entire life – I swear. I really… I really want it. You.” His stomach rolled again, even as he added a thin little, “Please…”

“‘Please’, what?” Spy prompted softly.
“P…Please… Master…”

Spy removed his fingers roughly, grinning like the snake he was. “Very good, mon cher!” he praised mockingly. He removed his tainted glove and roughly grabbed the kid’s hair. “Asking so nicely certainly does warrant a reward… Open your mouth and say, ‘Ah,’ s’il vous plaît.” He readied his cock, stroking the tip.

Scout feebly obeyed. This didn’t look like it was leading to a simple blowjob, but what could he do? If he refused, he’d just take what he needed from elsewhere… The boy closed his eyes, tightly, tears streaming down his cheeks. “Ahhhh—kkrgh!”

As expected, Spy simply plunged in, and Scout’s already upset stomach heaved. Spy pulled out again expertly and turned Scout’s head so that the stream of vomit went cascading into the waste bucket by the bed. Weak coughs.

Spy did this again and again until he was certain Scout’s poor, abused body was empty, and started fucking the poor kid’s mouth long and hard, huffing with pleasure.

He’d go as far as he could, forcing himself past the gag reflex and into the esophagus, would feel the panicked contractions of the boy’s throat against his swollen head and revel in it until Scout threatened to lose consciousness once more.

It was gloriously brutal and fun. Scout would gasp for air every time Spy came back up and would sob and plead for mercy, but Spy had already extended all of the compassion he could take for today. Besides, Scout looked so much better in tears. Still ugly, of course, but torment shone so plainly on his face. It was a wonder to see all the different stages of agony play out on his young features.

Spy supposed he should have thanked that blasted Engineer, after all. Scout most certainly did look much better than he did the last time Spy had paid him a visit. With any luck, he’d make the little wretch last for weeks to come, especially since his wounds had all heeled up more or le—

There was an indignant squawk from the Frenchman as a large hand roughly grabbed him by the back of his collar and yanked him off of the gurgling boy.

“Changed my mind,” came the low, raw voice. “Take your stuff and get out. Deal’s off, frog.”


Phew! That took a while! Now here comes the hard part!


Have fun in the meanwhile!

22 .

So this was uploaded because people were bitching about the bumps people made ? Can I now leave a comment without putting sage in the email ?

23 .

No, it had gotten autosaged, so the thread wouldn't have been bumped at all.

24 .

Yeah - once you get over the 200 post or so, the thread gets so big that it won't go to the top anymore, so you have to make a new one. I use that as an excuse to go and brush up earlier chapters. It's also easier for new readers to get started in the story without having to scroll through all those comments to get to the next part.


25 .

Yay! Engi saves the day again! (after being part of the cause of the problem in the first place, of course. Better late than never I guess...)

26 .

Yeah. Like I said before, Engineer isn't a saint. He's just... a little better than most of the other mercenaries.

In >>15 he said he didn't want to stop living his life because of his new responsibilities of taking care of Scout. And he didn't. He got a little cocky and started doing all the things he was doing before Scout showed up (hinthint).

But, as he's probably seen now, it just doesn't work that way. You can't just kind of "half do" things and tell yourself, "Well, I did more than _____, so I'm totally good." At least not when you have someone like Spy on the loose.

He screwed up. Royally. In more ways than one. I mean, yeah, endangering Scout was really bad, but messing around when you have a wife and kid? That you actually care about? Repressed or not, that's kind of a dick move.

Anyways. Yeah, Engie messed up. But hopefully he'll redeem himself in the next chapter.

27 .

I have been lurking on this for a while, and its a delight to read without the comments in between (it said, while making a comment).

I sincerely await the next chapter with baited breath. It seems as if you always end each installment with a 'shit just got REAL' moment, keeping us on the edges of our collective seats.


28 .

Wrench to the head, wrench to the head... Come on Engie, wrench to the head..

29 .

If he cares about them, why hasn't he seen them in over a year?

30 .


Like I mentioned earlier on, he avoids them purely out of guilt. He loves his daughter, and respects his wife, at least, as a woman - he just... doesn't love her, and kind of only go married out of peer pressure. He tries to use that as justification for sleeping with Heavy and Demoman, but in the end, hurting someone else because you were too much of a coward to be frank with them.... That just ain't cool, man. I understand that this IS the 60s, and a man living in Texas can't just go up and say "HEY, HONEY - GUESS WHAT - I'M GAY", but he could at least tell her the truth about his feelings (or lack of thereof) for her and save her the heartbreak.

At least, that's how I see it. Thoughts?

31 .

I had thought he was bi, and just felt REALLY guilty about sleeping around, but with that news, I think it makes more sense that he probably loves his wife more as a really good friend, or something like that.

Basically, what you say makes sense. Not the first or second conclusion I would make, but it makes sense.

32 .

Haha, getting a little philosophical here I see? Peer pressure's a dilemma many gays probably have to face, it's a good thing you brought it up here. Very adequate and adds depth to the story.

Looking forward to your new chapter, man. Keep that ass movin' - I mean, take your time, no pressure.

33 .

I'm only posting because my captcha said "Psychodrama", and I felt that was a sign. sorry, guys - no update yet. I keep going back and nuking every other sentence. I feel like once I get started on the right foot it'll be a lot easier to get done.

Yeah - Engineer knew it from around his teenaged years, but understandably didn't want anyone to find out. At first, he could hide behind the guise of, "Oh, he's just a huge machinery geek - he doesn't know anything about women!", but eventually, when you get to be in your thirties or so, people start saying stuff like, "Wow, you haven't married YET? Well, my friend has a daughter - she's really young and pretty - you should really get to spend some time with her..." and on and on and on, so eventually, Engineer just gave up, and married her, even though he knew it wouldn't be much. I guess he just didn't expect to fall totally in love with his little girl.

I'm telling you all these spoilers because I'm too lazy to write the actual chapter in which Engie actually tells Spy Scout Heavy and Demo Soldier The Administrator SOMEONE his feelings and how he ended up doing what he done did do.

34 .

Hi TwoRefined.
This is my first post on the chan and I just wanted to say that I look forward to every update with my heart in my mouth. I love your characterisations and emotions you make us feel through the story. Never give up writing! This story doesn't deserve to fall off the front page.

35 .

Of every story ever written on the chan, this deserves this bump more than any other.

36 .

Awww, thank you guys dearly for your support. But I'm afraid I don't think I deserve it. You can probably see that I'm going through a terrible bout of writing block, and it's difficult to write even a paragraph without getting frustrated and deleting it all. The ideas are there - this fanfic is (sadly) something I tend to mull over nearly every waking moment - planning for future scenes and how to write them, etc etc.I just can't seem to get any of it down on paper, and it's terribly frustrating and depressing.

I have been a little down lately, so I'm thinking it's just a short phase. I hope it is. I've gone 9 months or longer without writing a single word in the past. I was hoping that wouldn't happen with this story - I was doing really well - but who knows. Hopefully it won't get to that extreme, but in any case, I'm sorry again to all the people I've let down. I feel like I've let myself down as well.

37 .

Hey, don't worry, don't push it if you're not in the mood. As an artist myself I can very well understand the frustration that comes with having an utter lack of inspiration, especially when you need it and desire it the most. You're not letting us down by not updating. I think that's perfectly understandable and anyone who's decently, well, civilised, and also truly in love with this story of yours, should have no problem dealing with the wait.

Inspiration doesn't come to you if you push it. Just rest up, clear your mind a little, and make sure you deal with the more important things in life first before worrying about us. We'll deal. All the best and I hope whatever is currently troubling you will be resolved soon.

38 .

It's ok we'll wait! Hell I've been waiting months for TNI to update. Last update was 7 months later. Good stories are always worth it, and yours is great

39 .

Jesus christ, this fic was way more powerful than I expected. When Engie let Spy into his workshop I could feel my eyes welling, which I can honestly say is not my usual response to fanfic. Normally I kind of enjoy seeing Scout be on the short end (so to speak) but this just evoked a ton of sympathy. This is a story worth waiting for!

40 .


41 .


PLEASE don't bump ok ? Falling off the first pages does not delete the thread. Falling of the fifth pages does ! Besides, a fic that doesn't update for months and months on end deserves to make place for new stories in my opinion.

And the author can always make a new thread when the old one falls off. So please. Don't. Bump.

42 .

Chill, man, I just like seeing it up here. Like >>35 and >>34 said, it's just too good for the second page. Also, the story hasn't updated for a few WEEKS, not a few months. lol

43 .

But bumps get my hopes up and make me sad. :C

44 .

They make a lot of us sad.

45 .

This post has been deleted.

46 .

I am overwrought with delight that there is a genuine update.

47 .

Spy was a bit of a cackling villain here, which was a bit odd, but I guess he didn't like losing, or something.

48 .

Stereotypical Villain!Spy is my new favorite spy.

All other spies go home.

49 .


Aw, fuck. That wasn't my intent at all. Mind giving some examples and tips? Iunno if I can change it, but at this point, I'd like to know if I can. Wow, I'm still babbling like an idiot.

50 .


Take break. Read a day later with fresh mind.

Also, this line:

“You are a fool! A FOOL!” Spy raved madly, scrambling out of the door. “I’ll make sure you regret this! I’ll make SURE of it!”

51 .

Hey stereotypes are based on some truths aren't they? Spy's evil and crazy, I don't know how else to depict him.

52 .

I think what they meant was the sort of...wicked desperation in Spy's tone as he tried to gain control over the situation. Things like "I'll make sure you regret this" probably sounds quite stereotypical for a villain, especially a villain who's just lost his footing in the duel.

Though I don't think there's anything to fret about; you pulled it off pretty well, because the desperation, however stereotypical, shows Spy's thirst (or rather, need) for control as well as his tendency to use underhanded means to gain leverage. All in all it portrays him very accurately and I believe you should continue describing him this way, if it suits the rest of the story.

53 .

I agree that you don't have anything to worry about. It's amazing that you updated, and your fans will eagerly but patiently await more - regardless of how long it takes you. Don't push yourself.

I loved this, though. And your Engie. Hrnggg.

54 .

Yeah, I admit I got a bit of a "Next time, Gadget, next tiiiiiiime!!!" vibe there.

But like >>52 said, it's very very fitting, and I like it. We don't see Spy losing his cool like that all that often.

55 .

Thanks, guys, for the encouragement. Still not sure about classical villain!Spy, but I'll look over it a little later. For now, an update. Breaking Point has already been on a pretty long hiatus, and I just wanted to give you a timeline for what I plan on doing for the next few moons.

Not anything fancy. It's just that I've signed up for the Secret Santa, that's main focus. I might get some work done tonight, actually. Since I don't have the prompt yet, and I'm off tomorrow for some well needed R&R! (Ever worked at Walmart during Black Friday? Don't. EVER

So, yeah. Be patient! I'm sorry again!

56 .

Just finished reading this for the first time. Me gusta.

This was probably asked in a previous thread, but why didn't Engineer think to use a dispenser or the Medigun to patch Scout up initially? It makes sense that neither would work due to Scout being a BLU, but I expected to see the idea mentioned somewhere just to get it out of the way.

Also, though I didn't see its former incarnation, I really like how you've written Spy's accent here. It slips in some of the later parts (watch those 'h' words), but overall it effectively captures how he sounds without being hard to read.

Speaking of French: I'm not a native Francophone, but a couple of Spy's lines caught my eye:
"Bonjour, Monsieur Ingénieur. Apologies for visiting when it is so late..." "Bonjour" literally means "good day". "Bonsoir" (good evening) would be more appropriate after dark. There's no ironclad rule about it, but it is far more commonly used as a greeting than "good evening" is in English.
"Ah, Madame Sleeping Beauty." This reads a bit awkwardly. For one thing, I think "mademoiselle" is more appropriate than "madame" here, given Scout's relative youth and Spy's condescending attitude. Ideally, a complete phrase in French (like "ah, ma petite endormie" or something), would be more natural-sounding. Then again, that'd probably be less effective since it forces most readers to stop and look up the translation.

I don't think you need to be too concerned about Spy's 'villainous' dialogue in the last bit. Perhaps he wouldn't normally speak or react so exaggeratedly, but in context it serves to show how frustrated and obsessive he's grown--to the point where he's clearly losing his shit over the whole situation. It works for me, especially since the story is rather dramatic in general.

Finally, thanks for updating even though you weren't completely satisfied with the latest installment. When you're struggling with writer's block, please don't be too hard on yourself if you have to post some stuff that isn't perfectly polished now and then. And don't feel guilty about making us wait a while!

Good luck with Secret Santa in the meantime.

57 .

Semi-improved version.

The silence that followed was deafening. There were some more gasps and retches from Scout, but Spy was too focused on defying his murderous impulses to really notice.

There was a cool exhale as Spy craned his neck backwards to gaze up at the short, stocky Texan. Engineer’s eyes were red and a little puffy, but had a steel like temper to them. Everything in his stance suggested a resolute state of mind – from the squaring of his shoulders to the way his jaw was set. This whole situation was quickly headed in the wrong direction.

“Need I remind you of the expected consequences if you do not let me ‘ave my way?” Spy asked as civilly as he could muster, even though his stabbing hand was itching for blood.

“Yeah, I know what ya told me, you slitherin’ snake,” Engineer hissed, fist clenching tighter.

“Your wife will leave you. You’ll never see your child again. You’ll be a disgrace to your entire ‘ometown. Zee black man and zee fat Russian will never speak to you again. I might even be able to get you demoted, with any luck.”

“I SAID I heard you before,” Engineer hissed, shaking Spy by the collar a little bit. “I know you’ll tell everybody my dirty secrets if I don’t let you act out your own, sick, twisted little desires. And you know what else?” he continued with a growl. “I deserve it.”

Spy blinked. Was the man insane?! “You… WHAT?!”

He tossed Spy roughly to the ground and huffed. “You fucking HEARD me. I deserve ‘xactly what I’m gettin’. They deserve it, too. To hear the truth. From ME.” A snarl. “But I’ll tell you what – Scout does NOT deserve what you’re doing to him. Not in the least. And I ain’t gonna let him suffer just because I’m too much of a coward to own up to my own mistakes.”

Spy hadn’t planned for this. He hadn’t planned for this! He tore himself away from Engineer’s grasp, and brushed himself off, finally tucking himself back into his pants. “It’s obvious zat I over-estimated your intelligence if you are truly willing to make such an idiotic decision,” he spat. “Whether I’m involved or not, zis boy will die. Soldier hasn’t forgotten ‘im – did you honestly t’ink he would? He’s only waiting for orders, and when zee order comes, zee boy will DIE!” A snarl. “You would really ruin your life – and zee lives of others – for a dead man walking?!”

“I sure as hell would, if it’s worth makin’ sure he has more of a respectable end than in your filthy chambers.”

“What about Demoman? And Heavy? You shared NAMES wiz zem, Laborer – zat’s strictly against policy. I could tell Soldier. He could get orders to dishonorably discharge you all!”
“Hmmm. Tell ya what. You DON’T tell Soldier about that, and I won’t kick your ass.” That was one thing Engineer didn’t regret and never would.

Spy forced himself to take a deep breath. “Engineer. T’ink about this. T’ink about your daughter. Could she really live ‘er life not knowing ‘er father? Is she to suffer because of YOUR mistake? Your lust? Your manipulation? Your lies?”

Engineer was grinding his teeth together and clenching his wrench tightly, but Spy continued. “Saving zis worthless boy isn’t going to change what you’ve done! You cannot be redeemed – zee best t’ing is to put it all behind you, and I’m willing to let you do that for zis one meaningless soul! Don’t be a hero, you idiotic fool – just give me what I want!”

Engineer lost it for a second. In a fever of blind rage, he hurled his wrench directly at Spy’s face. The Frenchman ducked just in time; the tool clanged harmlessly on the bars of the cage and slid under the bed.

Engineer wasn’t done, though. He grabbed Spy by the collar and planted his large fist directly in the center of Spy’s incredulous face. He repeated the process two or three more times and threw him to the ground.

“Get out,” he growled, shaking with rage. “I know what you’re up to, snake, and I’m not having any of it. You lost. As soon as I fess up for my mistakes and take the consequences that go along with ‘em, you’ve lost all yer leverage and I’ll still be takin’ care of the kid. Plain and simple.”

He raised his fist as if to strike Spy again, making the masked man flinch and shield himself with a hiss. A huff as Engineer straightened himself again.

“Get. Out. Don’t expect me to ask again.”

“You are a fool! A FOOL!” Spy raved madly, scrambling out of the door. “I’ll make sure you regret zis! I’ll make SURE of it!”

Engineer watched him go a second time, then sighed, and turned his attention to the shaking form still tied to the bed. His heart sank. What was there that he could say that would ease the damage already done?

58 .

Wow, thanks, friendly Anon! Everything you've given me tips about has been noted in the original document. It's nice to have a French lesson from someone who knows their stuff, because, really, I'm clueless.

I'm glad you like my Spy speekinz, though. I ignored it for the time being on the previous chapter because, again, needed to get it down first and revise later. I just hope the accent matches up with the earlier chapters. Since I'm so clueless about French, how consistent his accent is worries me. Especially since I'm trying to balance it with readability now, too.

Again, thanks for giving my story a chance, and I hope you're willing to hold on for the ride in the future! Assuming I ever get off my ass and do anything. Ever.

59 .

I'm exceptionally hesitant to bump this, but is this story dead or...? I know that it hasn't been updated since late November, but having this be on the first page would be an effective way for TwoRefined to answer.

60 .


No, this story is not dead. I'm really sorry for the huge delay, I am just terrible at all things ever, especially getting things done in a timely manner. I'm still thinking about breaking Point, it's just that this next part is NOT something I've been looking forward to, considering how hard I can imagine it being. And, being OCD and all, I feel that if I can't do it RIGHT, I might as well wait until I CAN. But usually what happens is that nothing gets done at all. Fuck.

Anyways, I promise that I will be getting back to this story updated... eventually, but in the meanwhile, here's something that might hold you over: http://tf2chan.net/zombies/res/466.html

61 .

Oh god, I hope this gets updated soon. I didn't expect to enjoy this story so much, but I love it! It's got a lot of depth to it, and I feel so terrible for poor Scout. It's been so long since the last update!

62 .

It's a shorty. Or, perhaps I should say... A "shawty".
It's also five in the morning - can you tell?


Turning to face Scout was probably the longest, heaviest moment of Engineer’s life. He could only imagine what the boy thought of him for abandoning him to save his own ass and giving him up to that snake. Chances were, he’d never let Engineer talk to him again. Not that there would be much to say, he’d imagine.

There was no eye-contact as he entered the cage. Not even as he helped Scout back into his boxers and undid his restraints. Poor kid – he was still crying. Engineer wanted to cry, too.

He had no sooner undone the boys hands before Scout hugged him tightly, trembling like a leaf and sobbing. Engineer was speechless for a while.

“You… You came back…” the boy whimpered, his voice raw. “I was so scared… I really was… But ya came back…”
Engineer looked down at his hands, too numb for any sort of emotional response. “… Shoulda never left,” he finally admitted.

Scout just sniffed. It was easy to think what Engineer had done was terrible. In fact, it was. But even he understood. He’d had a life outside of taking care of Scout. A family. Heavy and the Demoman. It didn’t matter that he’d faltered – the main thing that Scout was focusing on was the Engineer could have shipped him off to Spy and never have to deal with him again and his entire, pristine life could have gone unchanged.

Instead, he came back.

Engineer was silent for a long time, his mind replying the scene over and over again – not wanting to think ahead. Not wanting to comprehend what it would all mean for him. What it meant he would have to do.

Should have done a long time ago.

Suddenly, he felt so tired, but there were things to be done.

He took Scout to the bathroom to get cleaned up after Spy’s assault – he still reeked of vomit and had some slobber dripping down his chin. Then, he took off the sheets to wash, scrubbed the mattress, and replaced them with his own. Somehow, he didn’t think he’d be sleeping much tonight, anyway.

Lastly, he checked the kid over for any serious injuries. The bruises around his neck were scary, to be sure, but he was sure they’d heal with time. In the meanwhile, Scout would probably have to lay off talking for a while. Even though it’d heal, chances were that it was still pretty tender.

Scout was pretty shaken up by the whole thing – mostly scared to death over it. He tried not to mention it, but he jokingly insisted, when Engineer laid him down to bed, that he wouldn’t be able to sleep a wink that night. Engineer just gave a tight smile.

Despite his prediction, Scout fell asleep almost instantly, aided by the late hour of the night, and how stressful his experience had been. Engineer closed the door to the workshop, paced around the room aimlessly, grabbed a few of the dumbbells he kept under his bed for a while, then finally went out in the hallway for a smoke.

It was only 1 a.m. He had no idea how to pass time until the morning came, and he’d have to confront his biggest fear.

63 .


I will eagerly await your next update. Its too short... and poor Scout...


64 .


I will eagerly await your next update. Its too short... and poor Scout...


65 .

Pardon me, just reading this for the first time, and I have to ask... did you do research regarding serial killers for this story? Because it seems like you did.

All my favorite characters in shows, movies, books, etc. are all the sadistic ones, the mad scientists, and the like. I say this because the brief explanation still leaves me slightly ashamed to admit that I read about serial killers for fun. And there's one thing in this story that I find deliciously accurate.

Certainly not all serial killers do it for sexual pleasure, but of the ones that do, many of them find it becomes a habit. Well duh, but the point is that several found it very difficult, or in some cases impossible to get off without brutally mutilating the person. This is partially because their brain starts associating violence with sexual pleasure. The fact that the Spy suddenly found himself addicted to the Scout reflects this beautifully. I imagine that after Soldier had the Scout killed (though I don't imagine Spy would resign to that quietly) that he would probably do the same to someone else at some point in the future, even if not right away.

Another of my favorite moments was the Spy's brief moment of guilt.; his struggling with his inner demons, realizing the kind of person he's become, but choosing in that moment to ignore it and allow himself to continue down the path he put himself on. Hard to imagine, seeing what he is like now, that he ever had that moment of guilt.

My gosh it would require far too many words to tell you exactly how much I absolutely adore this story. Please tell me it's not quite done?

66 .

Wow, no that wasn't at all intentional, but I'm happy it played out so nicely!Truth be told, I was more invested in making sure the medical shit and Scout's reactions to everything that happened to him were accurate rather than worrying about Spy. I find it a little disturbing that I can apparently write terrible serial murderers/rapists with such ease...

Also, yes. In that brief moment of guilt, I wanted to show that, yes, Spy IS (or, maybe, WAS) a human being. Maybe a terrible, TERRIBLE fucking human being, but a human being all along. He has a conscience. It's just that he studiously ignores it because listening to his conscience has never paid off. He tries to pretend that he's an elegant gentleman that can simply hold himself in a fight, but all things considered, he's nothing but a hedonist.

He dresses nicely because he wants to look nice. He kills because it pays well. And he acts classy because he actually tends to care what other people think of him, even though he'd deny said fact up and down if you asked him.

But what happens when there is something more at stake than other people's perceptions of him?

The gloves come off.

67 .

This post has been deleted.

68 .

Spy is insane and I am terrified.

Please continue.

69 .

Oh SNAP! There are no words to appropriately describe my reaction to this.

70 .

"he expected this flan to fail."
I didn't know spy knew how to make flan.
I am loving the feeling of pure insanity I get when reading about this spy. He is so crazy, I almost (ALMOST) feel bad for him. keep up this amazing work.

71 .

Oh god DAMN it. While I don't think such a small typo is worthy of a reboot, it does annoy me how much it takes you out of the moment. I blame not being able to proofread this - I was hurriedly trying to get it up before mom looked at the TV and saw "Adult Fanfiction" as one of my tabs.

72 .

The intense emotion I felt when Scout was hugging the Engineer and knowing all was forgiven, it was enough to almost make me cry.
It's just admirable the lengths Engineer is willing to go through to protect Scout from being hurt.
And Spy, Jesus... It's so strange seeing such a cool, calm, collected guy devolve into such a deranged, rabid psychopath.

73 .

R-R-R-Repost! And, also, new content. (!!!)


This was more than an embarrassment.

This was an OUTRAGE.

An absolute affront on dignity that would NOT be ignored – oh, he would pay. OH, he would pay!

It was dreadful what he – a once proud and dignified man – had been reduced to! Scurrying away from conflict with an unsatisfied erection pressing against his thigh, with blood spewing from his face with such fervor, one would mistake his nostrils for being the barrel of a water gun!

The thought of it!

Spy slammed the door to his room like a moody teenager, drew his knife, and began FURIOUSLY stabbing the blade through his mattress as if somehow it would rewind fate itself.

He was so incensed, the state of his arousal couldn’t even be addressed. Somehow, even with his mind controlled with the animalistic bloodlust of a charging bear, he could piece together that nothing could go RIGHT, jacking off mid-murderous rage.

Dozens of soft, downy feathers were littering the air now, but it still wasn’t enough. Spy raked his hands against his scalp, fuming, muttering senselessly to himself, so ANGRY. He couldn’t even stand anymore. He slumped to the floor, as if he were devoid of bones.

He wanted to kick and scream and hammer his fists against the floor and kick against the wall like a child – he didn’t CARE about the early hour or what people might think! HE WANTED TO—wanted to—!

For fear of screaming, he forcefully bit down on several of his fingers, huffing like a demon.

Calm down, he told himself, trembling. You are NOT a child – you are a killer. This solves nothing. Making HIM pay, and getting HIM back is the only thing that will make you feel better now. Not this senseless nonsense.

After a while of taking deep, shuddering breaths like this, he began to calm. Feeling was starting to come back – his face stung like an annoying insect, but he couldn’t be bothered to care for it properly. Instead, he rested his face against the cool hardwood of his floor, and broodingly slipped his hand in his pants. Hmmm… Still slick. He might as well complete the job while the experience was still fresh in his mind.

As he resumed Scout’s abandoned work, he considered the best plan of action against the Engineer. The miserable little slime had both called his bluff and would be sure to destroy all hope of following up on the threat by the morning. He could always beat Engineer to the confessions, but all that would earn him would be a fresh coat of his blood to stain the savage’s knuckles, and hurt feelings from the laborer’s filthy, degenerate partners. Assuming they believed him, and why WOULD they believe him over the Engineer?

Never in his wildest dreams had he expected this plan to fail. It was just ONE boy Spy had asked for. Many people – powerful people! Leaders of nations and armies! – had bent to Spy’s will for prices much more than these! For sums of money, for land, for power, for substances, drugs and women, and sometimes all of the above!

Engineer – that backwards, gutter-dwelling degenerate of a man… he was insane. Of this, Spy was sure.

One final thrust of his hand, and the dull routine was complete. Sour, he stood, and went to the bathroom to clean himself up and tend to his broken face.

For the first time in years, he felt… defeated.


He had to tell the boys first. Had to.

Scout was still tossing and turning on his sheets when Engineer checked up on him, so he shut and locked the door carefully. No need to go through all this trouble just to screw up and let that snake just waltz in after he’d gone.

It actually took a little longer to get his nerve up than he’d expected. For an hour or so, he just wandered the halls aimlessly, feeling as if there was a rock sitting at the bottom of his stomach. He felt queasy just thinking about it. What was he going to say? How would they react?

He couldn’t stop fretting over the upcoming conversation, so to calm his nerves, he lit up another cigarette, and went to the kitchen to pop open a few beers. Seven in the morning, and he was already buzzed. Lord help him.

Still, it worked, somehow, and he found himself making his way over to the gym. Heavy and Demoman were more sociable than him and didn’t mind pumping iron in public – usually together just to make the hours go by quicker. If he hurried, he might still catch them.

To his luck, they were just making their way back from the exercise room to the kitchen when he bumped into them. Good, this was very good. A little more private. He didn’t want anyone eavesdropping on them. Somehow the hallway seemed safer. Could have been the alcohol speaking.

Demoman grinned in a way that made his heart sink. “Aye! Look who’s up n’ aboot without us havin’ the drag ‘im out by ‘is ankles!” he crowed, slapping Engineer on the back enthusiastically. “Good t’see yeh for once!”

With this, he snickered and winked at Engineer. It was charming, really, how he could be the one man in the world to figure out how to wink with just one eye and still make it seem natural. Engineer wish he’d drank a little more. “Heya, fellahs…” he croaked.

Heavy’s face lit up, and he smiled with the simple joy of seeing someone he cared about. “You are going to exercise, Engineer? We just come back from room! Soldier is in one of moods, but will not snap unless you come near. And Scout hogs treadmill as always, but is quiet morning. Good for body and mind.”

It was also strange how someone as big and intimidating as heavy – someone who was an absolute OGRE on the battlefield – had such a quiet and gentle side to him as well. Not docile exactly – he still had a wild, untamed spirit to him, but it just felt so… free…

Okay, maybe Engineer was more than just a little buzzed. Focus.

He just shook his head, pulled away his goggles, and rubbed anxiously at his eyes. “No, I ain’t come to lift weights, fellahs. I actually came lookin’ fer you two.” He heaved a huge sigh, rubbing the back of his neck. “It’s important.”

The smiles fell away like dead birds. “Engineer, what is wrong?” Heavy pressed, eyes filled with concern.
“Yeah, ye feelin’ alright, lad?” Demoman piped up. “Ye look awful! Maybe we should get yeh somewhere to sit—”

“No, no, I’m FINE,” Engineer asserted, shaking them off as they tried to lead him away. “It’s just that… Well, I’ve been meanin’ to talk ‘bout… Well… Us. Y’see?”

The two glanced at each other. “… Go ahead,” Demo finally murmured.

Engineer gave another deep shuddering breath – in and out… For a moment, he wasn’t sure he could do it. But he had to. HE HAD TO. No turning back. Ever. It’d be better to hear it from him than from that slimy, French son of a gun.

“I can’t… be with ch’all anymore,” he muttered softly, voice raw. “I know I’ve said it before, but… Well, this time, it’s for real, and it’s fer good.”
“Oh, for cripe’s—Ain’t we been over this before, Xan—”

“I gotta stop ya right there, Alasdair,” Engineer sighed, rubbing his eyes again. Goddamn it, he couldn’t stop fidgeting… “It’s different this time. It ain’t because of you or me or… anything like that. Hell, I don’t even WANT to, but…”

He stopped, the words thick in his throat. He quietly wrung his hands, nervously looking down. He would fucking KICK himself if he actually started crying. He would.

The two men waited for a long time. “… What is reason behind this?” Heavy finally asked, voice hushed and broken.
“Jesus, Alexei, if I could tell ya, I would,” Engineer finally blurted out, turning away from the two.
There was another long pause. “You are ashamed of us,” Heavy finally muttered.
“Then disgusted?”
“No! Fer God’s sake no!” Engineer cried out in frustration. “I don’t even wanna DO this, damn it! Y’all are… Well, the best pals a fella could ever ask for, and…” a quiet sniff. “And if I were tortured inta sayin’ I regretted what I did with ya’ll… Regretted what we had… Well, I wouldn’t! I wouldn’t in a million years!”

He wiped away one rogue tear and sniffed again, voice breaking. “That’s the honest to God truth. But…” A shuddering sigh. “I got… I got loyalties elsewhere, and I done realized that… What I was doin’ weren’t fair to her… Or y’all…”

A heavy silence.

“I’m… I’m sorry…” he offered again, wiping at his face with his sleeve. He couldn’t face them. He didn’t want to see the looks of horror and betrayal on their faces. He couldn’t bear it.

“I’m sorry for what I put y’all through…”

He shuffled away, leaving the two in shocked silence. He didn’t look back. Couldn’t.

74 .

OH! you responded to one of my comments?! I thought it kinda added to the insanity in my mind and thought it was kind of a cute typo.
but i like the re-post version a lot more, flows nicer.
and wow a second post!
ah the tension and sadness I feel for Engie right now is deafening.
as always cannot wait till the next installment.

75 .

Nah, typos bug me. I'm glad you thought it was cute or added to the feeling of insanity, but, really, that would have stuck in my mind as "You are a lazy hoe who thinks he's too good to change something small in order to look professional." My brain can be a little self-judgemental, sometimes.

Thank you for enjoying this - I was a little nervous about where this was going, since I typed it all at once in a sleepy night of stubbornness, and I was afraid I was making everyone too OOC or the whole scene too much like a highschool drama or whatnot. I'll still be peering over it with a critical eye, but your comment comes as a relief, at least.

76 .

If it's any consolation, I thought the flan line was on purpose.
Eddie Izzard once said something about something "slowly collapsing like a flan in a cupboard."

So I thought it was, like, an idiom or something.

77 .

Spy is one freaked out guy.
I eagerly await the next update.

78 .

Heavy! Demo! Stand by your man and help him beat six kinds of tar out of that Spy. Then, have a four-way with him and his wife. It's the only way to make things right.

79 .


80 .


Then write it, man! I don't think there's anyone on this thread that wouldn't read it, especially if it's by you. Just say it's a fanfic of a fanfic and work your brilliant TF2-voodoo.

81 .


82 .

This post has been deleted.

83 .

Yeeeah, I didn't like this update. I'll leave it up here since it's SOMETHING, but I'll work on making it better in the future. Thanks to Izzy for helping me think of how to make the scene more powerful.

84 .

I really enjoy this fic! I love the way you make the Spy a bloodthirsty, selfish brute who only thinks of his own goals. Usually the Spy is a kind gentleman in fanfictions, so this is truly refreshing from all that. Please, do continue soon!

85 .


Two, I love this fic. I love it a lot. It is *delicious*

However, I found that theres something missing - that sense of urgency? Or the relief that he is no longer within the Spy's web of lies? Is it that he feels a higher purpose?

I'm a little lost, which does make me sad because this is one of the few fics that I love - both for its deranged depravity but also for its quieter, tender moments between Engineer and Scout that are filled with that fatherly compassion that the Engineer has. The only thing I would love to see is the Scout a little gutted that the Engineer has given up everything he holds dear to protect the boy that normally he wouldnt be too fond of.

Jeez, I just miss this fic. Let me read it through again.

86 .

Whaaaat is happening in my pants. This is seriously the best fanfic I've ever read. The best anythingfic I've read in a long time.
You sir have a gift for creating the perfect blend between emotional, deep art and the hot, fucked up insanity we crave.

87 .

Repost! Here's the mo'e drama reboot of the last chapter. New content coming soon! I hope. Still not sure about the emotional resonance, but I gave it my all, at least.


There was only one phone in the entirety of the base. It didn’t make any kind of sense how a company that was so damn rich couldn’t bother getting more than one fucking phone line installed. Of course, more phone lines meant more chances to get tracked, but after another six pack of beer, Engie was way too drunk to think sensibly.

He had to do it now – while his courage was still up. He told himself this was like a Band-Aid – if he dealt with all this emotional shit ASAP, it wouldn’t hurt as much. Stumbling over to his position, he slumped beside the phone hooked to the wall, and began dialing, squinting at the numbers. “3… 1… 0… 2.” He finished, sighing. It felt like eternity as the phone rang on the other end.

Suddenly, the other line picked up. “Hello? Jennifer Christianson speaking.”
“Jen? It’s Xander.” A small gulp. He was so nervous, he wanted to vomit.
“Oh! Hey, Sweety – what are you doing calling this early? Did you want to talk to April? You just missed her – I just sent her off on the school bus.”

Engineer had to take a deep breath. “No, I needed to talk to you, actually. You might want to sit down…”
The woman laughed. “You always sound so grave, Xander! I’d think there was something wrong…”
“… Everything IS okay, right?”
“No…” Engineer finally whispered, voice breaking. “Nothing’s right – nothing’s ever gonna BE right…”
Alarm. “Baby, tell me what’s wrong!” the woman pleaded. “What’s going on that’s got you all tied up like this?”

“Jen, I… I want a divorce.”
“I… I screwed up – I ain’t never been right for ya anyways. I’m sorry I put you through all this, but… It’s time I be honest for once… I ain’t right for ya… I never was. And I’m so sorry…” Sobbing. “So, so sorry…”
For a while, the only sound was him sniffling. Then came the horrified whisper of, “Alexander… Are you… drunk?
“Yeah, but that’s beside the point, Jennifer. We can’t be together no more.”

There was some obvious discomfort as she lowered her voice to a whisper. “Xander, I know you’ve tried to protect me from knowing things that might hurt my family. I’m not sure if I should be asking over the phone, but I have to know… Is there someone MAKING you say this? Are you saying this to protect me and April?”
“Please, Xander, give me a sign…” she pressed, barely holding back her grief. “It can be anything… I need to know the real reason you’re doing this to us!”

It would be so easy to lie. To come up with some bullshit security threat that had forced all the men to severe ties with their family. To come back to a family that was still loving once the pretend threat had blown over.

But he was tired of living a lie. And tired of feeding her one.

“Jennifer…” he sighed, feeling as though his limbs were made of lead. “You’re a good woman. In all the eight years I been married to you, ya ain’t once been anything less’n faithful. That’s why I’m… coming to you with the truth now. You deserve it. And ain’t no one forcin’ me to, neither.”

He took another swig of his Red Oak. This was hell. He couldn’t do it alone.

“You wanna know the truth, Jenny? Why I… Why we gotta go our separate ways? Truth is… The truth is…” Another long swig, followed by a sigh as he clutched his weary face. “… I… Fancy other men. That’s why.”

A long silence followed.

“Oh my God…” came the dry sob. “Oh my God…
“Jenny?” He pressed himself closer to the phone, as if it would somehow provide some sort of physical comfort to either of them. “Jennifer, I…” Wasn’t any good way to finish that. His head felt like it was swimming.

“I…” More sobbing from the other end of the line. “I… Always suspected… I suspected something when you never seemed interested in me.. when it took us two long years of trying to finally have a child…”

Engineer was silent, feeling as if her words were digging into his very soul. He bit at his knuckle silently, allowing a few tears to stream down his face.

“And to think…” Jennifer continued, voice raw. “That all this time, I… I thought it was me. That I wasn’t attractive enough or a good enough housekeeper or exciting enough… When all this time I was just married to some sick pervert that is attracted, not to women, but young boys!”

Engineer cut in with a, “Now that ain’t—” but was cut off by an agonized shriek.
“April!” the woman cried. “APRIL! My poor BABY! Did you ever, EVER touch her, you abomination?!”
“No! Never! Darlin’, I would never do that – honest to God. I LOVE her and would never—”
“YOU’VE LIED TO ME BEFORE!” the woman screamed, pounding something in the background. “How am I supposed to trust you?! I know of your kind – you’re sick! You need help! You should be locked up somewhere where they can FIX you and keep you from doing harm to anyone else!”

Engineer was sobbing shamelessly now, slumping against the wall helplessly with the phone cradled in both hands. “Jennifer… Jenny, let me explain… I ain’t never hurt nobody nohow in my entire LIFE, ya hear? Never! I… I know what I done to ya was wrong – that’s why I told ya… Because…” An embarrassingly long sniff. “Because I wanted ya to find someone to do ya right, is all. Yer a fine woman – you deserve someone else – someone better than I could be for ya, but… April…”

More sobbing. The very thought of never seeing his little girl again was enough to drive him insane.

Jennifer was still crying, but softer, now. Eventually, she croaked a soft, “Xander, don’t call back again.”
“I never laid a hand on her!” he shrieked. “Don’t take my little girl away from me, Jen, PLEASE! You don’t ever gotta hear from me again – just let me send you checks for her education and lil’ gifts for her birthday—Hello? HELLO?”

He slammed the phone back on its hook and curled up on the floor, sobbing in agony. He didn’t care if he made a scene – this was too important for that. He’d blown it. He’d never see his little girl again.

At some point, it became a little too much to bear. He couldn’t handle it – everything hurt too much. He couldn’t.

Couldn’t handle it.

As if driven by a feral, ancient part of his mind, he downed the rest of his bottle of Red Oak, retreating to his bedroom. It was done now. Everything was done. Spy didn’t have shit on him now.

He just needed to escape the pain.

88 .

That's a legitimate concern, but trust me - the story isn't going to slow down just because Spy's out of the picture! (For now.) Any good writer knows that conflict is the key to success in a story. Spy was making it too easy. He's a great obvious evil, but I felt it was about time to start looking into a different kind of hell-raiser.

Thank you to anyone who leaves comments on this story! I read all my comments ever, and they all make me the HAPPIEST camper inside. You guys are the reason I keep writing, tru fax.

/end gushing

89 .

I'd like to see a dark side to Engineer. Like a fleeting temptation to do something terrible to Scout, but nothing acted upon. He's been through enough to warrant it.

90 .


91 .

anon u cray

92 .

Good lord you must continue. You've captivated me!

93 .

I started reading this some hours ago. Is 4:30 now and I've just read the last part you wrote and I really cannot put on how nice this fic is. I really like the characterization you give and also the overall situations, they're wrote in a way I feel quite empathetic,like in that last part made me felt really sad for the Engie, damn man. Also I'm not cryign because I'm emotional ok I'm jsut a bit drunk alright. You, tworefined, are amazing, thank for this. Gonn be following this closely.

94 .

You are too sweet. I hate to get everyone's hopes up, but... with the blessings of the good lord of Fanfiction, I should have the next installment up in... a few days...? Maybe...??? Very, very, VERY timid time frame there, but I feel like if I make a public announcement of my timeframe, the fear of letting you guys down will spur me into action. So let's say... By next Friday. Yeah, sounds good. (Serious tho, don't get your hopes up, but if you want to pretend that you are to put on more pressure, uh, that's fine, too, I guess?????)

Wow omg. Drunk anon is best anon. Thank for commenting.

95 .

Okay, guys, I hate to bump my own thread, but this is kind of important.

My story has been almost directly plagiarized by someone on DA, and I want your help to get it the fuck off. Here's the link:


Please report it with a link here and leave a helpful comment reading (All caps necessary) "STOP RIGHT THERE, CRIMINAL SCUM! YOU HAVE VIOLATED THE LAW".

Your help is appreciated.

96 .

Better link: http://desertpunked-canada.devian tart.com/gallery/38357070#/d598tjw

97 .

Reported! The part 5 is now gone ^^

98 .

Was it like, word for word plagiarism? The little idiot is spewing 'Oh, but I was just inspiiiiiired by it'. Sounds like bullshit to me. Keeping my eye on this bitch.

99 .

She deleted all the parts now. Sounded sincere when she told she was sorry

100 .

Thanks, guys - your help was appreciated! No more need to bully the poor girl anymore - she did everything we asked (even though it was a blatant lie that she was just "inspired" by my work - having the same locations, plot points, character roles, and eerily similar responses is just too much). Best to just leave it alone, now.

On the bright side, seeing my hard work mangled like that has given me a big hankerin' for the written word again! And, since I'm feeling better sickness-wise, and I just got done with a huge, terrifying test today (cross your fingers - I hope I did well!), I'm sure I'll be free to at least get in another chapter by THIS WEEKEND! (gasp)

For now, though, a nap is sorely needed. Goodbye, all.

101 .

She won't even admit to outright stealing it. Her apology is nothing but an attempt to get people to leave her alone, so she doesn't get in trouble.

She used Nova Scotia in her story. Red flag right there. When's the last time you ever saw anyone use anything in Atlantic Canada in a Tf2 fanfic?

102 .

Oh my god.
I started reading this at 2:00 AM (when I get up to get ready for school). Now I'm just sitting here like "IT... OKAY. DON'T... BE CRY."
I need the next part of this. My heart simply cannot handle the suspense. My poor babbus ;A;

I am so sure that there is a special place being made in hell for Spy.

103 .

I'm Anon 92 from earlier. And I am super excited that you are going to be continuing this soon! (Hopefully?! I know how writer's block is!)

Fun fact: I actually live in Nova Scotia so I lol'd at that part.

104 .


Just kidding, take whatever time you want. I'll refer to my headcannon'd ending for solace.
This makes me have so many questions about ethics. Like, is the person who witnesses injustice and ignores it as bad as the perpetrator? If others witness the same, is the responsibility to help divided or multiplied? How much are you obligated to risk, or sacrifice for someone else?
These things I've actually been wondering for a while, since I recently was in a real analogous situation to Engi's, and I still wonder if I did enough.

105 .

I'm really sorry for the lack of an update. This weekend was a lot crazier than expected, and my computer keeps trying to kill itself by randomly shutting off and not wanting to reboot afterwards. It's sad to say, but after $150 spent trying to repair this damn thing, I think it's finally time for it to KICK THE BUCKET. I'm sick of trying to wrestle this stupid machine to do what I want and basically having my face farted in for my efforts.

Of course, my mom is the one who's bringin in the ~*c@$h m0ney$*~ so that's unlikely until she signs off on it. In the meanwhile, keep your eyes open and just know that I'M TRYING MY BEST, boohoo.

Also, I have to wake up in about 4 hours, so I really should sleep. Internet, let me sleep, please. please.

106 .

I'm sorry, that was mean. I'll take my ban gracefully now.

107 .


108 .


If that April fools was supposed to be funny, it was NOT!

109 .

Two Ref, why

110 .

Ahah, well you got me.
but still

111 .

Aw, and here I was, getting ready to laugh at some poor hapless anon.
Oh well, good show and all that.

112 .

No! Nonononononononono!! Why would you torment us this way!? My heart jumped in happiness just to sink to the bottom of my stomach... But at least we know you're still alive! Unlike anon 110.

113 .

this is the most beautiful thing my eyeballs have seen! you probably wont update anymore but if you could it would be greatly appreciated I actually stayed up until 3 in the morning before I had to stop myself from reading! best tf2 fanfiction I've read! ALL THE GOLD STARS!

114 .

Wh.. Why would you bump this? Why would you break my heart so?!

Put sage in the email field next time to save getting our hopes up

115 .

Fuck you, anon. Just fuck you.

116 .


117 .

My heart is bleeding. I hope you're happy, #113

118 .

what have you done, 113.
im legitimately upset there are no updates for this.

119 .

#113 sage next time, you fuck

120 .

God fucking damit.
I thought there was an update, you got me exited!

121 .

So like, jaysus.. I can't no more..I haven't a response for this, Icantenglishanymore.
Leave An.#113 alone ò ^ ó
Pick on moi instead for not saging pls.org

I'd always thought bumping was a gut thing... BUDDA-BUMP


122 .

I hate you! I hate you so much! You didn't need to bump the damn thread AGAIN! Do you have any idea how frustrating that is to people who have been waiting for an update for over a year? Are you trying to be some kind of hero here defending an anon who bumped this over one month ago? I have seen you've been bumping threads before and just fucking stop it. Type "sage" into that fucking e-mail box before posting comments that don't even say anything people need to read or know.

123 .

Are you fucking kidding me? I've gotta say that I'm totally behind #122. It's so goddamn annoying when people bump your favorite threads for nothing and push the other updates down. Not like there's been any for a while but still. And what the hell for?

"Leave An.#113 alone ò ^ ó"

Go back to DeviantArt, kid. This is a place for adults. I've been waiting for this story to update for over a year just so some fucking kid can come here and play a goddamn saint. Don't. Bump. unless you're the author or have something I-M-P-O-R-T-A-N-T to say. I wonder if I can report her post. She's clearly not over 18 years old.

124 .

hello it is I #113 sorry about bumping the post I know I would have flipped if a fic that hadn't updated in a year suddenly did a thing. Again sorry I don't really go on 4chan so I didn't know it would do that

125 .


126 .

>>125...over a year after the last post...I have a feeling you're attempting to make a point about what happened with 113, but I'm a little too angry at you to care. DO NOT NECROBUMP PAST A YEAR LATER. Probably not even after a few months, but definitely not after more than a year later. This is infuriating to those of us actually patiently waiting for an update. Please, no bumping.

127 .

I know it's been like 4 years since you've seen anything from me. It might take even longer (a year max) for me to finally start updating this again, but I swear by the power invested in me, this fanfic WILL be finished!

If you care about my life's story, mosey on over to http://tf2chan.net/offtopic/res/13798.html#13798 to learn more. But tl;dr, I've been gone so long because of anxiety, depression, tumblr, and Homestuck. Also I enrolled in Job Corps.

I'm getting my life back on track now, though, and that's what's most important. Eventually, all the effort to better myself will lead to more of this story, and when that happens, this site will be the first to see it.

Until then, I humbly ask you to extend your patience just a tad longer. I promise that it'll be worth it.

128 .

This post has been deleted.

129 .

This post has been deleted.

130 .

Hurp-a-durr, I reposted like twice because of a weird error message I got. Holy hell, I'm out of practice.

131 .

http://tf2chan.net/afanfic/res/2244.html (Mark 1)
http://tf2chan.net/afanfic/res/4594.html (Mark 2)

132 .

Minutes dragged by like days, days dragged by like years.

Engineer hardly went outside of his room following that fateful day, preferring to hole himself up in his room and drinking himself into a stupor. Scout doubted that he ever journeyed outside, even for food or water -- only to restock his dwindling supply of alcoholic drinks. When he depleted the base’s supply of Red Oak, he quickly moved on to more potent stuff.

Scout, for his part, tried to stay quiet and out of the way. Engineer barely spoke to him anymore -- barely came into the modified workshop at all. Scout had to make do with surviving on the modest stache of snack foods and soda pop Engie had snuck him during better times. It hardly felt fair to ask for anything better. After all… what right did he have to complain? At least he was safe, right?

Truth be told, it was all he could do to stay sane. The experience in the cellar with Spy was… Well, in a word, horrific. Something he’d probably relive for the rest of his life. But at the very least it didn’t feel like it was something he deserved in a twisted way. Trying to protect Scout had ruined Engineer’s life. He’d sacrificed everything for someone who, by the sounds of it, was slated to be executed in a matter of months, if he was lucky.

For Scout, the fuckup. The idiotic teenager who had landed himself in this mess in the first place due to his big mouth and bigger ego. The last in a long, proud line of eight idiotic blowhards that seemed to accomplish nothing in life more than just giving their mom reasons to worry.

He could hear Engineer crying sometimes when he was especially out of it and saying someone’s name. Maybe his wife or his daughter’s -- Scout couldn’t tell for sure. He knew it was someone Engie wouldn’t be getting back. All to protect someone who he owed nothing to. If it meant Scout would have to go a while without good food or good conversation, well, he supposed it was a worthy toll. He just hoped that the poor guy would be alright.

Wishful thinking. After another exhausting day of sleeping until three in the afternoon, Engineer was roused awake, thanks in part to a skull-splitting headache. He groaned softly, trying to shield the light from his eyes, and scratching at his ratty, unkempt beard, wishing he could stay asleep a little longer. Preferably forever. But his hangover didn’t seem to be going away, and he found himself stumbling around to locate some aspirin and a shot of liquor to knock it back with before he started puking.

The bottle of pain pills had been easy -- he kept them close at hand for mornings like these, but apparently he’d gone through his easily accessible stash of tequila the night before. He sighed with barely repressed rage as he popped the pills dry and clomped into his workshop, giving no mind the clinks of glass of discarded beer and tequila bottles carelessly tossed to the floor. Hopefully this would be quick.

Scout had been rereading an old issue of Bonk Boy when Engineer made his surprising entrance into the workshop for the first time in days. Oddly it looked like he was wearing the same clothes, but there was no need to dwell on that. Scout tried to sit up and give his friendliest grin. “Hey, how’s it goin’ Hardhat?”

Engineer ignored him, not even throwing an errant glance his way. Instead, he made a beeline to his desk, and started digging out one of the supply crates hastily shoved under it. After rubbing his temples to stave off the growing pain, he quickly popped the bottle open and took a hearty swig of the liquor in the desperate hopes that it would quickly dispel his intensifying headache.

Scout winced, and looked down at his lap as Engineer took his seat facing away from the boy, apparently too exhausted to even make his way back to his room. He could tell that Engie didn’t want to talk much, so he tried to make it quick. “Hey, uh… You wouldn’t happen to have more food or something, would ya?” he asked. “I’ve been trying to make this one bag of chips last three days, and… Well…”

He trailed off as Engineer rummaged through his shirt pocket to find a cigarette and lit it up. He didn’t seem to be listening, preferring instead to stare blankly at the wall as he puffed away. Or maybe he was actually listening and he didn’t care. Scout just frowned and anxiously buried his nose inside his comic again. He didn’t want to risk agitating Engineer any more, after all.

Engie just glowered at the wall as he tapped the ash from his cigarette and took another subdued drink of his booze. That damn kid… What had he been thinking, trying to save him? Thinking there was any way to rescue him and come away from this whole thing unscathed?

Damn him… He should have left him completely in the hands of Spy, to hell with whatever happened to him. Nevermind that he'd tried that. Nevermind that sometimes it kept him up for two days straight just imagining what that poor kid was being put through. This had to be Scout's fault somehow…

As if to dispel the stormy thoughts clouding his mind, Engie tilted the bottle of tequila back for yet another long draught, prompting a startled glance from Scout. It seemed like he was nearly half way through the bottle already, and he’d likely just woken up…

There was a long hesitation before he spoke up again. “Hey, man… You might wanna ease up on that stuff, okay?”
Engineer gritted his teeth, clutching the bottle tightly in his hand. “Thanks for the input. Got any more sage knowledge ya feel like sharin’?” he asked wryly with a puff on his cigarette again. At least his headache seemed to be going away due to the influx of fresh alcohol. Seemed his stomach wasn’t as easy to please, though… He gave a wet burp and quickly descended into a coughing fit, wiping his mouth free of the taste of the threatening vomit.

Scout furrowed his brow a little. “Hardhat, I’m serious,” he pleaded. “You look like shit, man. You’re gonna run yourself into the ground like that!”
"Son, if i wanted your goddamn input about my drinkin’ habits, I woulda asked ya!” Engineer snapped, clutching his bottle possessively. “But I didn't, so shut your goddamn mouth before I shut it for ya."
“Look… Engie. I just wanna help you, alright?” Scout sighed.

Engineer slammed his glass on the table with so much force, Scout was amazed it didn’t shatter instantly. Engineer jumped to his feet and whirled around to face the kid, fire in his eyes. “HELP?!” he barked with an incredulous laugh. “How in the hell d’ya think you can HELP when YOU’RE the reason I’m in this goddamn mess in the FIRST place?!”

Scout was silent for a while after that, practically withering under the man’s furious gaze. "You… You really blame me for what happened, Hardhat?" he asked softly, feeling as though a knife had been stabbed between his ribs.

Engineer just scoffed. "I don't got my little girl anymore, Scout. Instead, all I've got is you. I betcha can figure out which one I'd rather have right now." He sucked on his cigarette irritably, then threw it to the ground. Not enough nicotine… Not nearly enough. He told himself he’d quit when April was born. No real use in that now… His head was swimming again… Needed another drink. He swayed unsteadily, holding onto the bars for balance.

The harsh words dug into Scout’s chest with a searing hot intensity. So he DID resent Scout for all this. Blamed him… Probably wished he had never existed. That he’d never met him. And yet… Even though his words echoed the feelings Scout often entertained while he was alone… He couldn’t help but get pissed off to hear it spoken out loud like that. Especially since Scout was just worried about his own damn safety!

“Well, jeez, it’s not like I went and made you have an affair on your fuckin’ wife!” he snapped, slamming his fist on the pillow before it even registered what he had said. Then, there was a startled gasp as he pressed his hands against his lips with terror. Why the hell had he said THAT of all things?!

There was a long pause from Engineer as he seemingly froze in place. The hand clinging to the bar for balance slowly curled into a tight fist. After a while, he went and unlocked the cell door letting it swing open with a terrifying deliberate squeak. “Y’all wanna run that by me again?” he asked softly.

Scout watched him warily, then glanced back at the bed with a gulp. “I…” He paused again. “I didn’t cause this, Engie. You made a mistake, but it’s alright. We all do. You’re hurtin’, but it’s not because of me.”

The volume was so sudden and so loud, it made Scout jump near out of his skin with fright and cover his ears. But Engineer wasn’t done. He stomped over to Scout cowering on the bed, looming over him like a huge, ferocious giant.

“You’re nothin’ but a goddamn snake. Like he is,” he seethed. “You’re enjoying this, ain’t cha? Watchin’ a good man lose all he has to live for? I bet you think this is all reeeal funny. Well I’m fixin’ to wipe that smug smirk off your goddamn face, boy.”

Scout was flung into a full fledged panic, trying desperately to get away from him. “Engie, NO!” Too little, too late. Engineer seized him by the shirt collar, dragging him over to the edge of the bed with terrifying strength. His eyes seemed cold and unfocused, almost as if he didn’t really see Scout for who he was.

Scout squirmed, trying to fruitlessly to pry Engineer’s fingers off, nearly hyperventilating now. “Let me go -- I didn’t do anything! Don’t hurt me -- PLEASE!”

He couldn’t break out of the man’s grasp. He was too strong. That scent on his breath -- tobacco and alcohol. Cigarettes and brandy. Engineer and Spy…

Scout broke down into a mess of tears, sobbing and telling the enraged Texan, “Sorry,” over and over again. Engineer barely heard him past the blood rushing in his ears. He was going to teach this kid a lesson. Going to make him really sorry…

Engineer’s weight shifted as he pulled back his fist, prompting another frightened shriek from Scout and an attempt to shield his face with his hands. Engineer might have followed through with the punch as well, if not for one thing.

He needed to puke. He needed to puke RIGHT NOW.

As quickly as Scout was grabbed, he was released again. Engineer collapsed to his knees, thankfully having the forethought to grab the trashcan stowed next to Scout’s bed as his body purged itself of all the hard liquor from this afternoon and the late night before.

Scout rubbed the sore spot on his chest, still trying to calm his breathing after that stressful episode. He had no idea if Engie might still try to pummel him the second he was feeling better, but it still pained him to see his friend going through something so awful. He was even more broken up than Scout had realized.

Finally, it seemed Engineer’s body was empty. Silence fell over the room as he panted into the open end of the waste basket, too exhausted to even lift his head. Scout paused a moment, and then tentatively tried stroking the man’s back. “... Feeling better, man?” he asked softly.
Engineer flinched away from the boy’s touch, instead turning to face the bars of the cage. “Don’t touch me,” came the weak grumble.

Scout frowned a bit, shaking his head with a sigh. “Hardhat, look… I’m sorry about what I said, alright?”
Engineer shook his head. “Don’t do any good to go apologizin’ for bein’ right, son…” he muttered. “I’ve been a right ass to ya, when really… The only reason I won’t get to see my little girl again is because I… I…”

Scout frowned, watching helplessly as Engineer began sobbing into the waste bucket, his entire body wracked with despair. “I don’t know…” the Texan confessed softly, shaking his head. “I don’t know where the hell to go from here… I don’t even know how to keep goin’...”

Scout paused for a moment, staring down at his once-shattered leg. It hadn’t been so long ago that he didn’t know exactly how Engineer was probably feeling right now… But Engineer had given everything he had to help Scout through it all.

It was time to repay that favor.

Scout took a deep breath as he swung his legs over the edge of the little cot that had been his home for the past month or so. Using the bed frame for support, he painfully struggled to his feet, keeping most of the weight off of the one Spy had shot. It was difficult to stay upright, but he managed somehow.

Engineer gasped as he saw Scout limp into view. “What in the Sam Hill do you think you’re doin’, kid?” he asked incredulously.
Scout gripped the bars on his cage for support with one hand, offering the other for Engineer to take. “C’mon. We’re gonna go get your mouth washed out, and then you’re gonna tell me everything that’s bugging you. No holding back. Got it?”

Engineer hesitated for a moment. Then there was a determined nod as he took the boy’s hand. With a combined effort from both of them, he rose to his feet. Using each other for support, they slowly made their way out of the workshop.

133 .

(( Just a quick note to say that the definitive version of all chapters, especially new ones, will be uploaded to AO3. Here's the link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/744566 . I've made some attempts to improve things from feedback I got on this site, and while I'm not 100% satisfied with the final product even now, it means a lot to me that people on here and elsewhere have supported me so much through the years. You guys are why I still have my drive. ))

Engineer was solemnly quiet as they made their way to the bathroom, the haze of his latest binge still following him like a fog. Still, it wasn’t enough to let the way Scout shifted his weight and give a short hop whenever any pressure at all was placed on his bad leg. He felt bad for putting the kid through pain just for his own sake. “How’s that knee treating ya, son?” he asked softly.

Scout gritted his teeth a bit, giving another short hop before answering. “If we’re bein’ honest, it hurts like hell,” he mumbled. Still, it felt good to be standing on his own feet again. Walking instead of being uselessly caged all day. In a way, this was his first small taste of freedom in a long while.

Inside the bedroom, Scout was met with the sight of the landfill of empty beer and tequila bottles. He shot a look of concern at his friend, as Engineer tried his best to ignore it. How embarrassing, having how fast and far he’d fallen practically tattooed across his face like this… He really ought to tidy up before anyone else happened to see.

But finally, they reached the bathroom. Engineer muttered something about his stomach still “hurtin’ somethin’ fierce”, so Scout left him to rest a while in front of the toilet before limping over to rest at the edge of the bathtub. There was another awkward pause as Scout caught his breath and Engineer dreaded the ensuing conversation.

“So, what happened, man?” Scout asked at last.
Engineer rubbed his temples, already finding his annoyance starting to build. “What kinda question is that, boy? You know well enough what happened.”
“I wanna hear it from you,” Scout pressed. “The whole situation, start to finish, yeah?”
“It’s pointless,” Engineer muttered gruffly, shaking his head. “Ain’t gonna make me feel any goddamn better to sit here and talk about how I destroyed my own damn life.”

“You’d be surprised,” Scout shot back. “Look, Hardhat, I think I know you better than ya think. For the last few weeks or whatever, you’re basically the only person I’ve been stuck with. And trust me, dude, I know how much you hate talking.” He made a fidgeting motion with his hands. “You like… Tinkering with shit, yanno? Messing with your doodads and playing guitar and that’s about it. It’s like human emotion is a fuckin' foreign language with you.”

Engineer gave Scout an unimpressed look. “Yeah? You gotta point to this or what, kid?”
Scout huffed. “The point is that, like it or not Hardhat, you ain’t been able to replace the hunk of meat in your skull with wiring and circuits just yet. You’re still human, like me. If you keep bottling this shit up, you’re only gonna feel worse and worse.”
It was hard to meet the boy’s eyes after being caught dead to rites like that, so Engineer instead turned his eyes to the placid bowl of water in front of him. “... Yeah? What do you know…” he grumbled softly. “You’re just a kid…”

Scout sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. “I know from experience, okay?” he replied softly. “Look… Growing up, I was always getting into trouble. Always scrapping with my brothers, always getting into brawls on the street, always getting into shit with the adults. I had anger issues a mile long. My ma ain’t know what to do with me.”

He twiddled his thumbs awkwardly. “It was like that for years until she set me up with a shrink. And at first, I was pissed! I was like, ‘What the fuck, Ma! You think I’m a fuckin’ screwball or somethin’? I ain’t fuckin’ crazy!’ But she promised she’d let me take her car and go to the movies every day after I went, so I was like… Sweet. I just gotta go to this dumbass doctah thing and then I have the whole day to myself! I basically treated it like a joke at first.”

“Yeah?” Engineer offered, nodding to let Scout know he was listening. “And what changed?”

Scout took a deep breath. “Well… It started making sense, is what. See, I always grew up mad as fuck at the world because, well… My dad wasn’t around anymore. Ma and him separated basically since before I could remember. If it wasn’t for that one picture Ma had of him holding me after I was born, I might not have even known what he even looked like.”

He waved his hand. “It’d be one thing if he, like… Died in a horrible fire saving a litter of kittens or some shit, but… He left. More than that, he left after I was born. You meanin’ to tell me he stayed for seven kids, and then left at the eighth for no reason? ‘Nah, fuck this, sweetheart. Seven was just right, but eight is too much. I’m done.’ Yeah, I don’t think so!”

He paused a moment, seeming to relive those dark emotions before continuing. “I didn’t realize it at first, but… I felt like he left because of me. And it hurt too much to admit that to myself, so I went off on everybody else. But discovering that made me feel like I lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. And you wanna know what the crazy part is? The shrink never told me any of that stuff. He just asked me a few questions and let me talk and figure it out on my own.”

He shrugged. “That don’t mean it made everything better… I got counselling for years, and I still had problems with my temper and… Yeah. Part of me still wonders if I ain’t the reason my dad left. But I’m still better than I was before, and I wouldn’t have gotten there if I didn’t ever open up.”

Engineer was staring into the toilet again, like it held a piece of his soul inside. It still felt dubious to him. After all, it wasn’t like there was any doubt as to why his life had fallen apart. “... So what do I even talk about?” he asked flatly, still not entirely seeing the point.
Scout paused for a moment, considering his question. “Tell me about your daughter,” he replied softly.

Engineer clutched at the toilet bowl rim so hard his knuckles turned white, fighting back tears. “Her name… was April,” he started, keeping his voice as level as he could manage. “She turned eight this year, and… She was the first person I think I ever loved. I knew it from the moment I first held her that I’d do anything for this little creature… Anything.”

Scout nodded sadly, rubbing his back as he sobbed into the toilet. He waited, having a sneaking feeling that there was more to say on the subject. Engineer just shook his head, not wanting to face him just yet. This felt like hell on Earth, having to relive this pain.

“She had these bright brown eyes that sparkled with excitement every time she learned somethin’ new… The spittin’ image of me, some would say -- and I’m assumin’ they meant it as a compliment, too.” A snort of derisive laughter cut through the tear filled admission at his own joke. “She looked a lot like me and took to learnin’ quick as a whip, but… She was always more like my wife in terms of her personality. Bubbly and outgoing. Real friendly-like.”

He rubbed at his eyes, then. “Jen… Gods bless her, she was her mother. She deserved way better than me. Always did. Felt like us gettin’ together weren’t much of a choice, really. Her daddy knew my daddy, and, well, it went from there.”

Engineer sighed, shaking his head. “You said it right, boy. When it comes to emotions, I’m like a fish outta water. But I knew myself well enough that I had my lil’ secret figured out by my teen years. I couldn’t do nothin’ but hope and pray that nothin’ gave me away. It was useful to hide under the guise of just bein’ too into mechanics and computers and all that hogwash to understand women -- for a while. But all it really did was buy me time.”

He gave an annoyed huff. “Once you get into your 30s, boy, suddenly it’s everybody’s goddamn business why you ain’t gotten yerself hitched yet. It was all I could fuckin’ do -- ‘scuse my language -- to keep batting away every offer, every ‘helpful’ attempt to set me up with some neighbor of theirs or coworker or whatever. I just wanted to be left alone, but that weren't never enough for anybody. I started to panic -- what if they found me out? The longer I put it off, the more likely it felt. So finally… I went back to Jen. At least we knew each other. At least we were friends once.”

He rubbed his temples. “She’d been through all kinds of hell in her personal life before I ever got involved. I guess she was yearnin’ for something safe and familiar, too. So… We got married. A bunch of tears and flowers and hubbub for something that was a sham to begin with.”

“What, she didn’t love you, neither?” Scout finally asked, breaking his long silence.
“Nah, that ain’t what I meant…” Engineer sighed. “I think she did love me… And, honest to God, I wanted to love her back. I wanted to. But… I just couldn’t. At least she can be together with someone she deserves now…”
“Yeah…” Scout nodded, then paused for a moment, wondering if Engineer had anything to add. When it seemed clear that he’d gone quiet, he couldn’t help but clear his throat in preparation for his next line of questioning.

“Sooo… You, Heavy, and Demo, huh…”

Engineer’s face flushed a deep red that couldn’t be blamed on the alcohol in his system. “Ah, hell…” he muttered, rubbing the back of his neck. “Shoulda seen that coming…”
“I-It’s okay if you don’t wanna talk about it!” Scout insisted in a hurry. “Um… I just thought maybe it’d be helpful for you to talk about that, too, I guess… Yanno?”
Engie shot him a small -- very small -- amused smirk. “More like yer just bein’ nosy. Don’t try to hide it, now.” At Scout’s look of embarrassment, he gave a soft chuckle. “Well, alright, but only because you think it’d be ‘helpful’, hehehe…”

It seemed like Engineer's earlier concern about vomiting was proving to be a false alarm, so he got in a more comfortable position, sitting on the faded tile of the bathroom with his back against the wall as he reminisced. “I think it was somewhere ‘round five years ago… I’m actually the third newest on the base, behind Pyro and our Scout. I’d only been working with RED for about a year, but kept bouncing from base to base until I got stuck here as a promising R&D technician. Seems I’m one of the few that can keep up with the cowpoke BLU’s got up their sleeve. I was new to the base, and not all too keen on making any pals.”

He smiled fondly, as his eyes clouded over with nostalgia as fond memories washed over him. “Ala--Demo. He was the one who first showed me around. He’s also the one who introduced me to Heavy. And… After a while, we got to talkin’... And…”

He held back a snicker as Scout leaned forward a bit, clearly expecting juicy details. “Honestly, boy, there ain’t no intrigue to what happened between us. It was simple as anything. One fateful night, a few too many drinks lead to a few too many other things. I’m pretty sure you don’t want me goin’ into much more detail than that, Stringbean.”
“Haha… No, that’s alright, I’m good on that,” Scout confirmed with an embarrassed smile.

“...” Engineer sniffed again, trying to wipe his eyes free of tears. “It’s hard to tell, really, who I’ll miss more… My little girl, or those two…”
“Hey… Maybe it doesn’t have to be the end, huh?” Scout asked hopefully. “Maybe you just gotta talk things out like we did today?”

Engineer tried to regain his composure, shaking his head. “Nah… Nah. They deserved better than me anyhow. I must’ve ended it with ‘em ‘bout twenty different times by now. There’s too much drama with me. Too much baggage… I’ve been with ‘em for years now and never once mentioned anything ‘bout a family. That’s basically lyin’, Scout. Relationships based on lies always fall apart.” He stared at his hands dejectedly, wishing there was someone to hold it. “They deserve someone better, too. Someone… stable.”

“Can’t say I agree with that all too much, Hardhat, but it’s your life…” Scout sighed with a shrug. “... I’m sorry, though… About uh… When we first met… Yanno. That.”
“Pardon?” Engineer asked, looking up with a hint of surprise. “That, what?”
Scout fumbled with his words. “Ya… Yanno… That word that…” Engineer was still looking at him with confusion, so he just sighed. “The F-word.”

That prompted an unexpected laugh from Engineer, making the boy’s cheeks flush slightly with embarrassment. “Oh, hush. You’d been through hell, and I knew you had no way of really knowin’. Water under the bridge.” He waved his hand dismissively.
“Well… Still,” Scout insisted. “I’ll try not to use it anymore, alright man?”

Engineer smiled warmly at him and nodded. “Deal.” He followed that up with a fond pat on the boy’s good leg. “You’re a good kid, Scout…”
“Yeah… Same to you, Engie…” The boy softly patted the thick, calloused hand on top of his leg with a hopeful smile. “You feelin’ any better yet?” he asked hopefully.

Engineer paused and offered a soft, sad smile. “Maybe just a little… But it’s still hard to think about…”
“That’s normal, man. Really, you did awesome today,” Scout replied, patting the hand again. “If you need someone else to talk, you know where to find me, alright? It’s not like I’m going anywhere.” A soft snort of laughter.

Engie gave a chuckle of his own with a nod. “I’ll try to keep that in mind, kid…”

134 .

Though the state of his life was still just as dire as when the two of them entered the small bathroom, Engineer had to admit to himself that he did feel a great deal better after “talking it out”, as Scout put it. The kid had a way of putting complicated emotions into words far better than someone twice his age. That wasn’t nothing. The kid was pretty gifted, whether he realized it or not.

The rest of the afternoon played out simply enough. Engineer sobered up enough to wash his face and brush his teeth like they’d planned, and he helped Scout back into his bed in the tiny caged room. The poor kid still needed something to eat, so he dug through an old ration box Soldier had distributed to everyone “in case of emergency”. Scout was given a bottle of water, a candy bar, and some crackers with chicken liver pâté that he could spread on them. Scout eagerly took to the crackers and spread, proving once and for all that the boy’s attention span was too short to carefully read a food label, because Engineer was certain he’d protest if he knew exactly what it was that he was eating.

Engineer left him to it and went back to his own bed, keeping a trashcan handy in case his stomach started raising hell again. At some point, he must have drifted off, because when he opened his eyes again, it had long gone dark outside. The pounding headache brought on by his strengthened hangover made him quickly down some aspirin again with a healthy gulp from his mug of water. Ugh… It was difficult not to try to take a sip of some tequila again to soothe the pain, but Scout made him promise not to…

“... Scout?” Engineer called softly, suddenly picking up the faint sound of sobbing from the neighboring room. There was no answer, so he reluctantly rose to his feet and started picking his way through the dimly lit room to investigate what the problem was. After a moment’s hesitation, he picked up a discarded beer bottle as well, just in case he needed to fend off an uninvited guest.

Thankfully, Scout was alone in the small room, tossing and turning in his sleep. Engineer breathed a sigh of relief, placing the bottle aside. “Scout?” he called again trying to wake him.

Scout rolled over, whimpering as he rolled in his sheets, apparently trying to defend himself from an invisible attacker. His mind painted that vivid scene in his head again and again, like a short movie on loop. Engineer making a hasty retreat as Spy seized his prize. Hands on his neck, thumbs on his Adam’s apple. He couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t beg for mercy. Couldn’t do anything to deter his attacker -- nothing but submit.

A terrified scream was ripped out of his chest as a hand gently shook him awake. He recoiled automatically, pressing himself against the wall and panting in terror as his brain tried to register the situation in front of him.

Engineer froze in shock at his reaction. “Lord almighty, Scout,” he mumbled softly, trying to coax him back over. “That was some nightmare you were having.”
Scout blinked, still not quite trusting his mind wasn’t playing tricks on him and he was actually awake and in no danger. “N… Nightmare…” he repeated softly.

Engineer nodded, reaching for him. “Yeah. Need anything from me, or--”
Scout recoiled again from his outstretched hand. “Don’t touch me!”

Engineer huffed, exasperated. “Now what’s all this about, huh? What’s gotten into you? It’s just me,” he replied, trying to get the boy to settle down. “Are you still upset about what happened before? I’m truly sorry for that.”

Scout sighed, shaking his head. Seemed like he was dealing with the real deal, even if that illogical side of his brain screamed the contrary. He tried settling into his bed sheets, avoiding Engineer’s gaze. “It’s not that… Forget it, okay? It’s nothing.”

“Scout, we just had a long chat about talking yer feelings out, and you expect me to just ignore you crying in your sleep about something?”
Scout glared at the wall. “Yes.”

Engineer placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Not happening.”
Scout slapped it away angrily turning to glare at him. “Look, I’ll talk later, alright?!” he snapped. “I just wanna get some shuteye! Is that so fuckin’ wrong?!”

Engineer paused for a moment, studying his face. Scout quickly averted his eyes with a sigh. “... It was Spy again, alright?” Scout muttered softly. “He came back.”
Oh jeez. No wonder he’d screamed like that when he woke up. “Scout, I’m really sorry about that,” Engineer sighed. “It ain’t gonna happen again -- promise.”

“Don’t be sorry!” Scout snapped, nerves still frayed and making him irritable. “It makes sense, okay?! It STILL makes sense! To the point where I don’t even know why you still bother taking care of me at all!”
Engineer paused, seeming stricken by the boy’s comment. “... What?”

“It means what I said. Practically anyone in your situation would’ve done it, too.” Scout wiped away a few tears that were quickly replaced with fresh ones. “Engie… Look. I think you’re a great guy for what you’re doing, and it means the world to me. I’d rather be anywhere than back with Spy. I’d rather be scooping up my own guts with a fork than be back with him. But nothing you’re doing now makes any fucking sense to me! And that’s fucking terrifying, because it means you might still change your mind, and there ain’t a damn thing I could do about it. It was different when you were just helping me out of the kindness of your heart, but now…”

He gave a few heartbreaking sobs. “I mean… look at me, man. I’m a fucking Scout that can’t run. I can barely even fucking walk. I’m only in this mess in the first place because I was such a cocky, loud-mouthed idiot, I got my own damn self caught. I’m the last in a long line of screw-ups that never accomplished nothin’ more than giving their Ma something new to worry about. And I’m going to be dead in what could be months or could be fucking tomorrow.”

He shook his head, burying his face in his hands. “Who the hell would do that? Who would give up everything -- their wife, their kid, their two buddies -- for someone who they might have to kill? Why? Why the fuck do you care about what happens to the person who ruined your fuckin’ life?!”

Engineer listened to the kid’s tearful confession in a stunned silence, only reaching out to pull him into a tight hug once he was sure he was done. Truth be told, he didn’t know why he had made the decisions he did. But there was no way he could leave the poor kid to an eternity of suffering Spy’s care. Something deep within him knew he’d never back out on his responsibility, even considering the consequences he’d incurred by protecting him. And that was because…

Suddenly, it dawned on him, and his grip on Scout got a bit tighter. “... You’re right,” he murmured in a quiet voice. “It doesn’t make any sense for me to give up everything, only for you to go and die… And that’s why I’m gonna bust you out of here.”
Scout went completely still, brain obviously working overtime trying to comprehend what Engineer had just said. He pulled away so he could stare warily into the older man’s eyes to gauge his seriousness. “... Uh. Come again?”

“I said I’m getting you out of this damn hellhole,” Engineer repeated -- louder this time to show his strengthening resolve on the matter. “You’ve been through too damn much in your short life to lose it in this goddamn pointless war. And after seeing RED’s atrocities for myself, I think it’s safe to say I’ve lost my appetite for it, too. So I’m helping you escape -- and I’m coming with you. And that there’s a genuine Christianson promise.”

Scout ran his fingers through his short, cropped hair, trying to rationalize this to his panicking brain. “Engie, I… Okay, let’s just think about this. Okay?” he pleaded.
“What’s there to think about?” Engineer asked with a smirk. “Thought you’d be jumpin’ at a chance to get the hell out of here.”

“I’m being serious, okay?!” Scout snapped irritably. “Engie, going against the bigwigs in this war is bad news… You’re gonna have Redmond AND that bitch after your head the second they smell that you turned your back on ‘em. You…” He gulped quietly, fighting back tears. “You said it yourself before. There ain’t nowhere we could run where she wouldn’t find us. You could die…”

Engineer paused a moment, touched that Scout considered Engie’s life worth saving over his own. Poor kid had probably picked the wrong career in a group mercenaries with a heart that big. He shook his head. "Look, kid,” he sighed. “Whether I realized it back then or not, I'd already sacrificed everything to give you a better life the second I threw that snake out of my workshop.” He lowered his gaze, somberly reflecting on the fact that he’d never see his little girl again. “... Compared to what I've already given up… My life ain't worth hardly nothin’. Might as well go all-in."

Scout dove forward and wrapped the burly man up in a tearful embrace, sobbing. “Thank you, Engie -- thank you! If you’re serious about this, I… I dunno what else to say. I owe my fuckin’ life to you -- literally…”

Engineer gave an exhausted smile, patting the kid gently on the back. “... It’s Xander, son.”
“Huh?” Scout drew back, wiping at his eyes with the heel of his palm again. “What was that?”

“My name, half-pint,” Engineer responded, ruffling his hair fondly. “It’s Xander. Don’t think I can call myself an Engineer anymore than you can call yourself a Scout, at this point.”
“Oh…” Scout gave a sunny grin, the weight of this moment not at all lost on him. “My name’s Cameron!”

Engineer just shook his head, smiling. “I already knew that, son.”
“You did?” Scout asked, his face scrunching up in confusion. “But… how?”

The smile faded away quickly. Engineer furrowed his brow and scratched at his bald head, feigning bewilderment. But it was no mystery to him. He thought back to that first day in the cellar during Spy’s questioning. How convincing he was at selling his act as a kindly father figure who didn’t “really” want to hurt Scout in the end. How Engineer -- if only for a moment -- almost bought it before Spy reminded him why he was considered the king of backstabs. He suppressed a shudder. He could barely believe it’d been a few weeks since that interrogation. Felt like years.

“Hmmm… Can’t rightly say. You musta let it slip on accident one day,” he replied with a shrug. Before Scout had time to mull over the likeliness of that statement, he stood up and gave the boy’s shoulder a gentle pat. “Point still stands. I’m not letting that sick freak get his hands back on you, and I’m not letting Solly kill ya, neither. You may have just been a BLU Scout to me before, but now you’re a 19 year old kid named Cameron. You deserve a chance at livin’ a full life, and I’m gonna help you.”

Cameron just nodded again, still frankly in disbelief. “Y… Yeah. And you’re more than just some geek that fiddles around with mechanics and shit. You’re Xander… The only guy I can rely on.”

Xander smiled at that. He ruffled the kid’s hair one more time. “Try to get some sleep, yeah?” he chuckled. “I’ll start thinking up an escape plan in the mornin’. And eventually, I’ll figure out what to do ‘bout that leg of yours.”

Oh yeah. Cameron almost forgot how tired he was during all of this excitement. He yawned, stretching a bit as he got comfortable in his bed again. “Yeah, you’re probably right…” he muttered softly. “... G’night, Xander,” he called softly as the man was leaving the room.

Xander paused and poked his head back in. “Sweet dreams, Cameron.”

Cameron grinned at him, and settled back into the safe comfort of his bed, giving a sigh of contentment. Instead of reliving his torment at Spy’s hand, his mind turned to greener pastures.

He dreamed of home.

135 .

[Three days later…]

“So whaddya think, Doc?” came the gruff, surly voice. “Think ya can fix me up or wot?”


Medic leaned forward, stroking his chin thoughtfully, seeming either unaware or unconcerned with the amount of blood he was smearing on his face as he did so. The battle hardened merc on his operating table couldn’t help but shudder as the German scientist appraised his open body cavity like a butcher appraising meat. “Zhis is really quite fascinating Herr Sniper… And you say you first noticed zhe pain vhen you took your… Vhat did you call zhem, again?”

Sniper squirmed on the table again, still a bit unenthused about literally being vivisected and having the unique pleasure at staring at his quivering insides under the soft glow of the mounted Medigun. “Jarate pills, mate. They make you, er--”

“Urinate quite frequently, ja?” Medic finished, his spectacles glinting ominously from the harsh fluorescent lights above as he grinned at the man.

“Y-Yeah… That’s about roight,” Sniper mumbled, unable to meet his gaze for very long.

Medic chuckled in a way that made the Aussie’s blood run cold. There was an almost tender caress against his swollen, pink organ. “Wunderbar… I’ve seen zhe advertisements, but zhought zhey vere just any ozher diuretic… I had no idea zhey make your kidneys triple in size! I’ll have to procure a sample for myself to see vhat else zhey can be applied to…”

Sniper didn’t like the sound of that. He knew that coming here was a mistake, but when the sharp pains he was having at all hours of the day were coupled with vomiting and blood in his urine, he knew there was no other choice for him. After all that he’d lived through, he’d be damned if he was going to lose his life to a bottle of unregulated steroids. Pushing that thought aside for now, he gulped and cracked a faint smile. “Roight… Well, d’ya think you could help out with the pain, then? The bloody pills they gave me do piss all to help.”

Medic gave a slightly disappointed sigh. Ah yes, here came the boring part. Having to actually heal Sniper. It was a pretty dull diversion from the mystery tickling his brain about the workings of these enlarged, overworked kidneys. But… There was always the possibility he’d be able to both relieve his teammate AND get his hands on those beautiful specimens… He just needed to play his cards right.

He turned to the Sniper with a hopeful smile and wide, puppy-dog eyes, batting his lashes almost comically. “Herr Sniper… Vould you possibly be interested in… parting wizh zhese kidneys of yours? I promise zhat I have satisfactory replacements zhat vill likely be able to meet zhe demands of your quota of urine vhile remaining compact and painless… Vhat do you say?”

Sniper just gave a suspicious frown at the man. “Wot animal’s it from, then?” he demanded, having fallen for this exact same trick at least twice before.

Medic rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, feigning innocence. “Vell…”

A knock sounded on the door, startling them both. Medic’s seemingly innocent expression snapped to one of unmitigated fury. “LATER! I AM BUSY!”

Xander gulped, but opened the door to the lab anyway. “Uh… Doc? Mighty sorry to interrupt -- I’ll be in an’ out in a jiffy, I promise.”

“Engineer?” Medic’s eyebrows rose. “... Very well. Come inside and shut zhe door behind you, bitte schön. I can spare a moment -- just for you, mein Kumpel.”

This was definitely a welcome surprise. Engineer was one of the mercenaries he saw the least. Perhaps other than Soldier and, more recently, Spy. As one of the few men on the base with any sort of higher education, Medic tended to welcome any conversation with him, despite the fact that he clearly made the man nervous. Medic tended to make everyone nervous. Not that he had any idea why -- it was just a part of his reality that he’d come to accept over the years.

As Xander slowly and cautiously made his way towards the gruesome scene, Medic busied himself with carefully cutting Sniper’s massive kidneys free of their fleshy prison. “So… To vhat honor do I owe zhis rare visit, Engineer?”

“Well…” Xander tried to choose his words carefully, while making sure not to stare too long at how the German scientist was wrist deep inside of Sniper’s abdomen. “Nothin’ much, Doc. Like I said, I wanna let y’all get back to… whatever it is you’re doin’ -- I was just wonderin’ if I could borrow a few more books of yours.”

“My library is quite extensive, as I’m sure you know. You’re going to have to be more specific,” Medic replied, casually tossing Sniper’s displaced intestines back into his body. Seemed his kidneys had gotten entangled as they rapidly grew in size. It was amazing he’d lasted as long as he did.

Xander rubbed the back of his head, wracking his brain for an explanation. “Well, I was hopin’ you might have some books on physical therapy an’ whatnot? Y’see, I’m not as young as I used to be, and my trick knee’s been acting up, so I was thinkin’--”

Medic’s head jerked up as suddenly and unnaturally as if he was a puppet attached to strings. Wild eyes turned to appraise the stocky Texan like a ravenous dog eyeing a dropped steak. Xander cursed under his breath and backed away slowly with his hands raised in surrender. Medic slowly rose to his feet, spectacles glinting with an unholy light as he approached. Sniper mouthed the word, “RUN,” and God, he wished he could have. But unfortunately, Medic was probably the only person who could help him. Again.

“Oh, no. No, no. N-Now Doc,” he said slowly. “Let’s not get any funny ideas, yeah? I’m. Fine.”

“You are sure?” Medic asked, mouth practically watering, eyes eagerly scoping for any sign of weakness. His fingers twitched with anticipation. “If zhat knee is bozhering you, I could easily just--”

“NO,” Xander asserted firmly. “No surgery, Doc. I don’t need it -- my knee’s perfectly fine -- I’m just gettin’ old is all.”

“But Engineer…” Medic’s voice was basically nothing more than a throaty growl of a whisper as he eagerly pressed forward. “I could easily -- EASILY -- turn back zhe very hands of time! I could make you… reborn.” His voice steadily increased in volume and tempo as he grew more animated. “You could very well never have to feel zhe morning sting of a stiff neck or an ache in your back again! Your knees and arms moving as if zhey vere parts of a vell oiled machine! Aches! Pains! Stiffness! Popping and clicking! GONE! I could gift you zhe FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH!”

“No thanks,” Xander replied as calmly as he could with his back pressed up against the far wall and a crazy German screaming in his face about rebirth or whatever the fuck. “I just want the books, if ya please.”

Medic gave a long, terrifying pause, not moving to blink or even breathe. Xander wondered if he’d broken the man, with Sniper watching, bug eyed, from his operating table. Eventually Medic sighed and shook his head.

“Zhird shelf on zhe bottom right,” he grumbled, defeated, as he went to return to Sniper.

Xander let out a breath he didn’t quite realize he was holding. “Thanks, Doc,” he mumbled, hurrying over to the shelf in question.

“Ja, ja, vhatever,” Medic sighed, sticking his freshly harvested kidneys in the refrigerator as he dug around for a replacement.

Engineer made sure to grab what he needed as quickly as he could, and after a cursory glance through the pages to ensure they were in English, he sped out of the lab in a flash. Medic sat next to Sniper with his tray of ill-gotten animal body parts, and adjusted his glasses with another terrifying grin.

“Tell me, Herr Sniper… How do you feel about miniature horses?”


The past few days were admittedly pretty difficult for the unlikely duo. Xander needed a bit of time to detox and Cameron helped him clean up the mess of alcohol bottles littered around the room. Xander even returned the crate of tequila bottles back in the kitchen when the kid begged him to -- though Cameron secretly suspected he’d stashed a few away. But at least he wouldn’t have as much temptation to overindulge when he was feeling upset. Cameron was thankful Xander trusted him enough to listen to his advice at least.

Now there was nothing to do but wait for Xander to get back with Medic’s books. Thankfully, now that he was feeling a bit more stable, he was able to cook real food for Cameron again. And boy, was the kid glad for it. He didn’t seem to think of himself as much of a cook, but Cameron thought that was bullshit. He was busy chowing down on some chalupas Engie made for lunch right before leaving with not much more than a crockpot, some beans, and a hunk of pork he’d let simmer overnight. To the kid, it might as well have been magic.

He was just finishing up when the stocky Texan returned with his haul of books. Cameron shouldn't have been surprised by the show of effortless strength after seeing his BLU counterpart packing up and moving out with a full level three sentry in tow. But still, he swore he felt the room shake when Engie dropped the stack of heavy-looking books on his work desk.

"Uh… Wow." Cameron blinked. "All that's supposed to just be about physical therapy and shit?"

"Yeah, mostly," Xander replied, patting one of the spines. "Gonna have to try my best to take all the notes I can before Doc wants 'em back. Shouldn't be too hard, for me, though. I'm technically a 'doctor', m’self," he remarked with a chuckle. Not THAT kind of doctor, really, but still. If all those years in college taught him one thing, it was how to speed read and take notes.

Cameron bounced a bit in his bed, obviously excited for the future. "And THEN I'll get to run again, right? You'll help with that?" He could barely believe that his freedom was only a few dusty old books away.

Xander shot him a sympathetic look and sighed, rubbing the back of his head. "Look, uh… Cameron. I want you to understand what's in store for ya here. Learnin' how to walk again… It's not gonna be quick. It's not gonna be easy. And… It's going to hurt. A lot. But you gotta trust that I know what I'm doin', alright?" A sigh. "And even after all the work we put into it, it'll prob'ly never be perfect. You might need a cane or a helper for the rest of your life, and there ain't really nothin' I can do about that. The chance you'll be able to run again, well… Well, it’s lookin’ mighty slim."

Cameron's smile faded a bit, and he gave a look of muted disappointment. "Oh…" He tried cracking a faint smile. "Well… If it’s the best I’ve got, I’ll take it. I'll be sure to work hard, even if it gets tough, alright? After all…" He grinned brightly, puffing his thin chest out with pride. "It'll all be worth it to come home and see my ma and brothers again!"

Xander's frown just deepened a bit. "Er… That's the other thing, Cameron. There ain't no way you can go back home to see your family again. Ever."

Cameron's jaw dropped with shock. "S… Say WHAT?! Why the fuck not?!"

Xander shook his head. "Just think about it, kid. That snake already knows all about your mama, and I'd bet anything that She knows about her, too," he replied, pointing ominously towards the ceiling. "If we were to up and disappear, Boston’s the first place they'd look. Same with my hometown, too. We can't ever go back. Sorry, kid… It's just the honest to God truth."

Cameron exhaled carefully as he dragged his hand down his face in disbelief. He couldn’t help but recall the last time he saw her. She'd hugged him tight and told him to come back safe. He hadn't known then that it would be the last time he ever saw her… In fact, it still didn't feel quite real. When he was back in that cellar rotting in the dark, sometimes the only thing that kept him going was imagining her holding him tight again and saying things would be okay…

He tried to discreetly wipe at his eyes as he averted his gaze. "Alright, fine. I get it. But still…" He looked up at Xander again, eyes slightly bloodshot. "If we can't go back to my home and we can't go back to yours… Then where CAN we go?"

"Mexico, son," Engie sighed, pulling up a seat. “I gotta friend in Guadalajara that owes me a favor or a dozen. That’s where we’ll go.”

Scout's jaw dropped. "N… No way! You're tellin' me I'm gonna have to learn how to speak Mexican?!"

"Spanish, son," Xander replied tersely. "The language is called Spanish. And yes, you will." He cracked a faint smile. "What, you didn't think all the books were just for me, didja? You gotta do some homework of your own, boy."

"Aw, jeez…" Cameron sighed. "Guess it's a bad time to mention I suck at school, then? I barely was able to pass English for fuck's sake…"

"Don't worry, kid," Xander chuckled. "You only gotta learn a few phrases, and I'll help you with your pronunciation. But I want you to be able to have a fighting chance in case we… ever get separated. I gotta plan for all possibilities, y’see. And even that might not be enough." He rubbed the back of his neck with discomfort. “... And even that might not be enough when all’s said and done… Lordy, I hope that it is.”

“Hey…” Cameron sat up a little, hoping to catch the world weary mechanic’s eyes. “Xander, seriously. You’re one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met. If anyone can get us out of this mess, it’s you. I’d bet anything on that.”

“Aw, shucks…” Xander chuckled. “I hope you’re right, kid.” He stood up, handing Cameron a worn English to Spanish dictionary, a pencil, and a workbook he’d found in the library. “Try gettin’ through the first five pages if ya can, and then you can kick back and read all the bonk boy ya want. I’ve got some studying up to do,” he remarked, tousling the kid’s short, honey blond hair.

Cameron swatted him away, laughing. “Yeah, yeah. Beat it, old man.” He settled down, nibbling idly on the wood of the pencil as he buckled down to finish his task. Xander carried the rest of the stack of books back to his room, and sighed, fishing out an old pen and composition book from his desk. Time to get to work.

136 .


137 .

Hello, the overexcited Anon here! Having actually READ these last three posts through, I am absolutely in love with every scene where Medic appears. Having him on the "screen" is just pure joy to read, just like it was back then when Engie first visited him in your story.

Another thing, I do hope we haven't seen the last of our wonderful asshole Spy. I hope we'll be seeing him in the "near" future again (whenever THAT will be, ahahah!), my money (and hopes) is on him catching Engineer with the books and figuring out their plan.

So yeah, that's about that. Thank you for the update, too bad this place is so friggin' dead you aren't getting the praises your work deserves. Please keep it up!

138 .

Hello, anon!!! I can't believe the timing of your comment. I legit just finished the next installment today after nearly another year of nothing. I just got possessed to finish this chapter yesterday out of nowhere. Funny how things go, huh? :p

I won't say too much about what's in store for the future, but I will confirm that this is NOT the last time we'll hear from Spy. That's all. ;P


"Try it again, Cam. Practice rolling your R’s a bit more. El perro de san Roque no tiene rabo, porque Ramón Ramirez se lo ha robado.”

“Ugh, okay…” Cameron let out a slow exhale, trying to keep his shoulder blades flat on the bed as Xander gently pressed his knees to one side, resulting in a lackadaisical supine twist. After practicing rolling his tongue a few times, he gave the tongue twister another shot, trying to be mindful about his stretches and mindful about his pronunciation at the same time.

The little workshop had steadily transformed into something more accessible for Cameron to navigate through. Metal railings had been bolted to all the walls and welded to the bars of Cam's little cell. The door of which was frequently kept open so that he could wander about when he wanted, and get some exercise in, though he usually needed more help than the railing provided.

It also had a few touches to make it feel a bit more like home as well, with posters of famous bands like The Temptations and Creedence Clearwater Revival up on the walls. Xander had even moved his old record player to the room, so that it could provide some nice ambient music for the kid.

Ringo Starr's voice filtered through the record player, singing softly to the tune of a pleasant little ditty. "What do I do when my love is away? (Does it worry you to be alone?) How do I feel by the end of the day? (Are you sad because you're on your own?) No, I get by with a little help from my friends… Mm, get high with a little help from my friends… Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends…~"

"Cam, you gotta loosen up a bit, son," Xander gently reminded, sensing the boy tensing up under him. "Breathe through it; we've still got a lotta ground to cover."

Cameron groaned, covering his eyes with his arm. "I'm tryin', man, I'm tryin'," he whined, trying to keep his back flat.

Xander paused, taking a close look at Cameron's strained expression. His face was as red as a tomato, teeth gritted… "Alrighty, how's about this. Let's take a little break for now, huh? Getcha batteries recharged, so to speak."

"Oh thank Christ," Cameron sighed, going limp as Xander released him and got up to turn the record off. "I can't feel my fuckin toes anymore -- or anything above the neck, for that matter. If I cram any more Spanish I'll forget my fuckin' name at this rate!"

Xander chuckled as he poured them both some southern style sweet tea and then rolled up a set of blueprints into his large hands. "Don't sweat it, Half-Pint. It'll get easier after a while. You're doing great," he commended, handing over the filled glass.

“Yanno, you’re really fuckin’ good at this whole speaking another language bullshit. Where’d you learn how to do that, huh?” he asked, taking a sip of his drink to soothe his raw throat.

Xander shrugged a little, kicking his legs up on his desk as he relaxed with his own glass. “My momma taught me. She spoke it a lot around the house, and I kinda picked it up as a young’un. Her entire side of the family moved up from Mexico, in fact.”

Cameron’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “N… No way. I never woulda guessed! You speak English so good, though!”
The man had to pause and rub at his eyes a moment. “... Cam. That’s ‘cause I grew up speakin’ English, too. It ain’t a hard concept.”

“No kiddin’...” Cameron sipped at his drink thoughtfully, relishing how sweet Xander had made it. “... I only knew one person growing up who spoke Spanish, and you could barely understand anything the guy said…” He swirled the ice around in his glass, frowning down into it. “... We used to take the piss outta him all the time and make fun of him and call him an idiot. Wish I knew then what I know now, though… This shit’s fuckin’ HARD.”

Xander nodded sympathetically. “That it is, Cam. But I’m here to help ya. And, ‘sides, I think it’s pretty fair to say that we’ve both come a long way from the people we once were.”
Cameron just nodded silently, looking down at his glass. “I wonder if that’s the sorta shit my granddad had to put up with when he first came here…”
“Oh yeah?” Xander quirked an eyebrow. “And where was he from?”

Cameron puffed out his chest a bit in obvious pride, grinning at Xander. “Italy. He moved to New York sometime after the Great War and had my ma there. Ma moved to Boston some time after she got hitched. Most of my relatives are still up in New York City, though. Spent a lot of summer vacations down there, arguin’ with my dipshit cousins about whether the Red Sox or Yanks were the best. Good times...” A deep sigh as he seemingly deflated, remembering the task set in front of them. “... Sucks that we won’t be having any more days like that, tho…”

Xander just sighed, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. “Well… I know it ain’t much of a consolation, but… I’m sure the two of us’ll make it up in spades, arguin’ about everything else on God's green earth.” He blinked, as if suddenly remembering something. He put his half emptied glass on the table and began rummaging around in his desk for a rolled up blueprint. “Speakin' of, I've been meaning to go over my plans with ya for a while now. So everyone's on the same page when it's go-time."

Cameron gave a small smile and a nod as the Engineer entered his cell once again. "Alright, Egghead. Lay 'er on me. What brilliant scheme do ya got cookin' up for us?” He gave an almost conspiratorial smirk. “Are we gonna fly out of here on a giant mechanized bird or some shit?"

Xander bopped him on the head with the rolled up papers, grinning. "You been reading too many comics, boy. Don't you think a giant bird might invite too much attention?"
Cameron swatted him away. "Hah, that's why you're the brains of this operation and I'm the looks!" He declared, puffing his chest out with pride again.

"Heh…" Xander shook his head with a roll of his eyes. "Sure, let's go with that. Anyways…" He rolled the paper out on the bedspread, his expression turning grim. "Let's get down to business. See this here, Cam? It's my blueprint for our new vehicle. The thing that's hopefully gonna get us out of this place."

Cameron blinked, looking it over. It was an oddly shaped little thing… low riding and pretty small -- about the size of a two seater with a dome-shaped cabin and little rounded enclaves where the wheels sat in. The front windshield just looked like a small, horizontal slot, the back windshield and the windows for the doors were nonexistent, and it didn't even have side mirrors or lights. Honestly, it looked like something out of a sci-fi movie more than a car.

"What's this for, Hardhat?" Cameron asked, puzzled. "Don't you already have a truck or somethin’? The Engie at my base did…"

Xander scoffed. "Yeah, one assigned to me by RED. I’d bet anything that it's bugged, and even if it wasn't, it's too loud and easy to spot to be of any use. If we tried escaping in that thing, the sound of it backfiring would give us away more n' 5 miles off." He shrugged. "Suppose I could fix it up if I really wanted to -- or scrub it from cabin to wheel cap looking for tracking devices. But I think startin' over completely would be the smartest bet. That way I can tailor make it to our needs. It's got four wheel drive, for one. And it’ll be bulletproof… Even if I ain’t figured out a way to make it rocket-proof yet."

Cameron tilted his head to the side, trying to make any head or tail of the odd design. "So… this thing is what we're gonna be getting out with? How's it even work? I don't even see a tailpipe on it."

Xander smirked. "That's because it don't have one, son. It's fully electric. That'll make it as quiet as a whisper when we finally make our escape. Its low profile also helps in case I can't get the main gimmick to work. See this here?"

He pointed at a small scribble on the side. "Few years back, I managed to reverse-engineer an invisibility cloak I took off a dead opponent. But it didn't turn out to be that useful -- the version I made turned out to weigh nearly as much as one of my machines. I'm guessin' I was missing one piece of the snake’s puzzle. But that weight won't mean nothin' to our little buggy, assuming I get it workin' right. As you can see here, I tried covering as much surface area with the technology as possible. Even the wheels needed to be mostly concealed if the illusion is gonna work."

Cameron was sipping his drink quietly, looking down at it all. "... So… If the whole thing is covered up with invisibility-whatsit, how the hell do we see where we're goin'?" He asked, raising an eyebrow. "Are we gonna be able to see through it, too?"

Xander shook his head. "Fraid not. It'll likely be completely dark in that cabin, aside from what light comes through that small opening in the front. That's because you don't really see THROUGH the invisibility cloak -- it just replicates whatever's showing on the other side, like an illusion or somethin'. But not to worry, Half-Pint. I thought of that, too."

He pointed to another drawing further down. "Radar system. It'll even be 3D, so we don't just know when there's a rock in the way, but how big it is and how it's shaped. If anything, this'll be even better for us, because we won't have to worry about lighting our way to be able to see."

“So, wait… I still don’t get it,” Cameron cut in. "How exactly are we gonna make it out of here, anyways? Aren't you guys on lockdown or whatever? How are we supposed to leave without tripping off some alarm or whatever and getting caught?”

Xander sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose as he got up to return to his desk. "… Sorry, kid. I keep getting bogged down in the details and technicalities and specs and whatnot. You know how I feel about these things. Here's what the escape plan is, as of now."

After briefly rummaging through his desk, he came back inside the cell with an old, worn map that was neatly folded into squares. In a mountainous area that seemed to be mostly devoid of any human settlement for miles, a seemingly random circle was drawn.

"See this, kid?" He asked, pointing to the circled area. "This is where the base is. And this…" He drew a bigger, looser circle around it. "Is the RF jammer our base has that prevents any radio signals from carrying. Everything within the range of the RF jammer is RED’s territory."

He nodded at Cameron, tapping the weathered piece of paper. "Security in this place is more concentrated around keepin' intruders out than keepin' us in, to be honest. I still need to figure out a path around all the security cameras without anyone seein' us, but I’d say our best bet for escaping undetected is to do it in the dead of night when no one’s really around to notice anything. Once we're out of range of the jammer, we're basically home free. We'll be gone and across the border before they can keep up."

Cameron nodded enthusiastically. "I getcha, I getcha! So the plan is that we wait for you to get done building the Invisi-Buggy or whatever, then as soon as it's done and I'm able to walk and know enough Spanish, we take off in the dead of the night and escape the Circle of Doom?"
"Well…" Xander laughed at himself. So much for keeping it simple. "In so many words, yeah, I guess it is, Cam." He paused, looking down at the papers spread before them. "... Well. At least, it's ONE of the plans…"
Cameron perked up. "Oh wait, we've got more than the one? Let me hear it, then, Hardhat!"

Xander heaved a great sigh and looked up at the boy with a grave expression. "Cameron, I need you to understand just how serious this is. It's high treason, what we're doin'. I don't expect Her to take it on the chin." A deep sigh. "So… Let's talk about what to do in the off chance that I… That I don't make it out with ya."

“No way,” Cameron snapped immediately, his eyes narrowing. “No fuckin’ way! We’re gonna be in this together, man. There’s no way I’m gonna be able to do this without you!”

“Cam, that’s enough,” Xander responded, just as sharply. “Now look, buddy. I'm an engineer. And engineers build contingency plans. There ain’t no tellin’ what’ll happen between now and when we’re aiming to leave, so it’d be irresponsible for me to not think of what we oughta do in case things get hairy, alright? So just listen.”

He pointed down at the map again. “Remember what I said about that RF jammer? I’ll be installing a portable two-way radio inside the buggy that you can carry on your back if need-be. If you manage to get out of here by yourself, make sure you’re well clear of the RF jammer’s radius, and call BLU for help. Don’t worry about gettin’ to Mexico or any of that nonsense.”

"Go back to BLU?" Cameron gasped. "But… why?"

"It makes no sense runnin' off to a country you don't know with a language you don't speak and pissing off the entirety of BLU and the damn witch off. Go back to BLU and don't mention nothin' about me helping you, ya hear? Say you stole all this stuff and escaped on your own. They'll likely take you in, and you won't have to worry about being on the lam for the rest of your life. At least that way, you’ll get to go back to your family once all of this is all over..."

At the boy's lingering expression of discomfort, Xander's face softened a bit. "Listen… I ain't gonna go without a fight, alright? We've both been through too damn much for me to just give up. But I just wanna make sure you're well taken care of… Just in case the worst happens. Alright?"

The boy sighed and nodded glumly. "Yeah, I get it… But so long as I've got anything to say about it, it's you and me til the end, pal! I'm not gonna let you go without a fight, either! We're go riding off into the sunset like cowboys on our next big adventure, and that's a fuckin' PROMISE!"

"Attaboy!" Xander laughed, clapping him on the back. "We're gonna fight for our freedom if it's the last thing we do. No one left behind. Just like the cowboys!"

He returned to his desk, pulling out his guitar for a quick jam session while he was feeling good. "Now how's about I treat you to another of my favourites, huh?"
Cameron settled in with excitement to listen. "Yeah, go ahead, Engie! Whatever you're in the mood for!"

Engineer grinned back at him and strummed a quick lick on his instrument. Something that kind of reminded Cameron of a music box his mom had back at home. "There is a house in New Orleans," Xander started in that deep, rich baritone of his. "They call the Rising Sun… And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy -- dear God, I know I was one…"

139 .

I kind of didn't know how to end this chapter, and I think it shows. Something I'm really struggling with atm is, like... The pacing of this thing. I think it always had pacing issues, as some have noted before, but I honestly feel like it might be a bit worse with these current chapters? At least back then, Spy was highly visible scheming in the background, and everyone was wondering what he's going to do. Right now, the principle conflict is coming from the whole plan to escape, but the chapters while they're getting ready for it are kind of just... Scout and Engie hanging out and getting to know each other a little more.

Do people like this? Do *I* like it??? I have no idea. I've been uploading these newer chapters pretty soon after finishing them to AO3, but I might hang on to this one a bit longer and see about uploading more chapters on here so I can determine how much or if I'm going to cut some stuff. I also kind of feel like it's clear I didn't really know how to end this chapter, either... So, basically, there's a lot of doubt involved with these decisions. I guess it's just what you can expect when you try to revive a fanfic that's nearly a decade old.

Trying to capture that lightning in a bottle again is really hard, especially since I didn't have anything really in stone about what I wanted to happen between the last chapter I uploaded back then and all the stuff leading up to when the next Plot Things happen. I just knew I wanted to show the dynamic duo getting closer and working on their escape. I hope I'm doing that justice these days. As soon as the rubber hits the cement again, though, we're in for much smoother sailing, I bet.

One last note. How does everyone feel about inserting more period appropriate music? I'm super into it, but idk if it's a little Much. If you're lurking and have an opinion (even if it's days, weeks, or months later), let me have it. I don't want to upload it to AO3 and then immediately after go "what have I DONE I've SOILED IT" days later.


The walk-in closet quickly became the most challenging arena Cameron had ever faced in his short life. Like the rest of Xander’s living quarters, it had been outfitted with new railing going straight down the middle on both sides. Since both of the handrests were close enough to hang on to and it was a straight shot, that meant it was probably the best suited to being where he could take his first few unassisted steps again.

That being said, it was anything but easy.

“C’mon, Cam,” Xander coached. “Use your core more. Stand up as tall as you can, okay? Don’t hunch over -- you got it.”

Cameron’s face was a red as a boiled tomato as he inched forward bit by bit, feeling his heart race and seat roll down the back of his neck. How the fuck was it THIS hard just to move forward a few feet? Had his muscles really atrophied that much during the time he was captured?

“Remember to breathe, Cam,” Xander reminded. He was focusing so hard on his task, he was unintentionally holding his breath. “Inhale… exhale. That’s it. Keep coming forward.”

Now Cameron was huffing and puffing like a steam engine, wincing as pain shot up from his bad leg. He bit back a yelp, faltering mid-step.

“Easy does it, kid,” came the grave warning. “Remember what I said before. Heel to toe. Roll your foot--”

“I’m TRYING. Fuck, dude,” Cameron growled out, resorting to a little hop to ensure he at least could keep going forward. Unfortunately, he landed wrong, and his grip hadn’t been secure enough to stop him from collapsing onto the ground with a curse of visceral frustration.

Xander scrambled by his side as quickly as he could come, trying to help the boy off the ground. “Holy hell -- what happened?” he asked, pulling on one of the Scout’s arms. “Didja lose your balance, or--”

“LET GO OF ME, DAMN IT!” Cameron screamed with little warning, shoving him away. “Holy SHIT, you’re the most fucking annoying idiot I’ve ever had to share a room with! You think I don’t know how to fuckin’ WALK?! You think I don’t know what to do without your fucking NAGGING?!”

Xander blinked, briefly taken aback. “Cam, I was just--”

“I KNOW WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO DO, DAMN IT! SHUT UP!” Cameron fruitlessly pounded at the ground in a blind rage. “I fucking HATE this! All this fucking stretching and warmups and bullshit exercises, and I STILL can’t fucking do it! Fuck my GODDAMN LIFE!” He paused and sniffled a bit, rubbing at his eyes. “... It’s fucking hopeless, man… I'm not getting ANYWHERE. I’m gonna be hobbling about on crutches for the rest of my fuckin’ life, if I’m LUCKY. What’s even the fucking point.”

Xander just gave a long, exhausted sigh. He went back to Cameron, rubbing soothingly at the boy’s back once he found he wasn’t going to be shoved away again. “... Look, kid… I’m sorry, okay? I’ve been pushing ya way too hard. It’s not hopeless… You’re just frustrated, is all.”

With a bit of combined effort, he pulled Cameron back to his feet again, paying close attention to the way he winced when even the slightest amount of weight was resting on his bad leg. “We’re done for today. Let me help ya back to your bed and we’ll take some time to relax. Sound good?”

“Whatever…” the boy grumbled, too exhausted to continue his earlier outburst, no matter how he was feeling personally. He just wanted to lay down.

It wasn't long before Cameron was reclining on the mattress with a cold compress pressed against his knee to reduce the swelling in his knee a bit. He was still feeling a bit too sullen to talk, so he just stared at the wall.

Xander rubbed the back of his neck with a sigh. After a pause, he pulled out his guitar again, strumming it softly. The kid really seemed to like music, even if he didn't always feel like being an engaging audience.

He strummed slowly, closing his eyes. Thinking back to the days when little April was still in diapers and as fussy a sleeper as anything. How he’d used to sit beside her crib in his old rocking chair, singing to her until she fell asleep.

“Earth Angel, Earth Angel… Will you be mine? My darling dear, love you all the time. I'm just a fool… A fool in love… with you…”

It was always the same song for her… The one he and Jenny used for their first dance as a married couple. But when he played it these days, he always thought about his little girl, sucking her thumb and staring up at him with those wide, innocent eyes until they slowly drifted shut. He wondered what the two of them were doing these days… If they were both doing alright now that their pretty little life had been turned upside down.

“Earth Angel, Earth Angel… The one I adore… Love you forever, and evermore. I'm just a fool… A fool in love with you…”

Xander continued playing and singing, his mind whisked away to better, or perhaps simpler times. When the song finally reached its natural conclusion and he finally opened his eyes again, Cameron had rolled over again, and was watching him through the bars of his cage. In an odd way, it echoed his memories of little April staring up at her through the bars of her cage, and he felt a twinge of something strange tug on his heart.

Shaking off the strange thought, he smiled gently at Cameron. “Feeling any better, Stringbean?”

Cameron just shrugged and nodded a bit. His eyes were a bit red and puffy, so it came as no surprise when his voice came out in a soft croak. “Ma used to play that a lot growing up… Feels a lot like home.”

“That’s good, son,” Xander chuckled, continuing to strum idly.

Cameron watched him a little longer, eyes focused like a laser on Xander’s deft hands. “You’re really good at that, man… How’d you learn it, anyways?”

Xander hummed quietly. “Taught myself, mostly. Grew up with a love of music for as long as I can remember. Sang in my church’s choir, then picked it up to fill out the band durin’ praise and worship. I’ve loved it ever since. I always used to joke that if engineering didn’t pan out, I could always do the hard work of becomin’ a rock n’ roll star.”

The boy cracked a small smile. “Church, huh? You Catholic?”

Xander chose his words carefully. It usually didn’t take much for this to become a touchy subject for some. “Grew up Protestant, actually. Or, rather, in that sorta household. Can’t say too much about that these days, though…”

At Cameron’s puzzled expression, he continued, “Look, son… Being… ‘differently inclined’ as I am, I won’t lie, it’s led to a lotta doubt on my end. Gettin’ a higher education didn’t help much, neither. Course, I believe in the possibility that there’s a God… I just don’t know for sure, or what He’d be like. Does that make any kinda sense, kid?”

“Yeah, and it’s stupid,” Cameron shot back, eyes narrowing. “Of course there’s a God, dummy.”

“Oh yeah?” Xander asked in a sharp tone, bristling despite himself. “And just how d’ya figure, Small Fry?”

“Because He hates me,” the boy replied bitterly. “It’s obvious as anything. God exists and He hates my guts, and that’s why all this shit is happening. That’s why I don’t even bother prayin’ anymore.”

It made him think back to every missed Communion or all the times he scoffed at the thought of going to a confessional to ask for forgiveness when he was just a good guy who was just trying to have some fun. Of all the violent outbursts, all the vicious beatings he was known around the block for, of all the nights he spent out late making his Mom worry about him while he was up to no good.

Thinking back to his days in that cellar, he honestly wondered if it was all divine retribution. He wondered if God heard him at all back then while he was crying for help. Or maybe He just didn’t want to listen… It was all the same to him. He glared down at his useless leg spitefully.

Xander just sighed quietly. He always hated seeing the kid’s mood take a sudden turn like this… It was unrealistic to expect him to be peppy and upbeat all the time, but it was no less heartbreaking when it happened.

He shook his head. “I’m sure that ain’t true, Cam…” A smirk eventually crossed his lips, ill fitting as the moment might’ve been. “Sides, even if it was true… Well, sufficed to say, the man upstairs chose the wrong kid from Boston to mess with, yeah?”

Cameron snorted with amusement despite the dour mood he was in, and rolled back over to face the wall. Xander took that as a good sign and chuckled, strumming his guitar again.

“Last Saturday night I got married…~ Me and my wife settled down… Now, me and my wife are parted… I'm gonna take another stroll downtown…~ Irene, goodnight. Irene, goodnight…~ Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene, I'll see you in my dreams…~”

140 .

About the pacing, it's not distracting, at not for me. Not much is happening anyway but Scout learning to walk again and Engineer building their escape vehicle. I would lie if I said I didn't want to see Engie interacting with his teammates again (have Heavy and Demo just abandoned him altogether?) and I am just thrilled to hear Spy is going to show his masked face again at some point.

About adding song lyrics, I don't have an opinion about that. This is YOUR fic. If you enjoy adding certain things to it, do it. With Engineer it's perfectly understandable too since he plays a guitar. If you are into it, then go for it! Those who don't care about reading song lyrics can very easily skip those parts if they want to.

141 .

Thanks for the feedback. Guess I'll just keep hammering away at things, same as always! This is the last "filler" chapter before things start ratcheting up again. Just a cute bonding experience... Again, I hope this isn't overstaying its welcome LOL.


Cameron was chewing on the end of his pencil, eyes scanning over the pages when the door to the little workshop burst open. Xander strutted in, carrying a particularly heavy looking crate in his stocky arms, grinning almost ecstatically. At Cameron’s enthusiastic waving, he chuckled, setting it down. “Hola… Buenas tardes, Cameron. ¿Cómo estás?” He pronounced his words as clearly and slowly as possible, to help the poor kid out a bit.

Cameron paused, rolling his eyes up to the ceiling as he translated Xander’s greeting, and then tried to remember the best, most natural way to respond. Then he shrugged. “Uh... Más o menos, ¿y tú?”
Xander nodded approvingly. “¡Muy bien! Attaboy, Cam. You’re comin’ right along.”

“Thanks Hardhat! Hah… Or, should I say ‘Gracias’?” He looked on curiously as Xander shoved a crowbar into the wooden crate, trying to pry it open. “What’s all that, anyways? Did the train come in today?” he asked curiously.

“Sure did, Halfpint!” Xander grunted, pulling the wood free of the nails holding the box together. “I got a buncha stuff that’ll help us on our way outta this place.”

“What, like stuff for the InvisaBuggy?” Cameron asked, tilting his head to the side slightly with confusion. He tried inching forward to get a better look.

“Nah -- not in this box at least,” Xander replied, digging around in the crate. “Miscellaneous stuff. Like this here.” He held up a box of chestnut brown hair dye with a grin.

Cameron just blinked owlishly. “But… Ain’t you bald?”
“Har har,” Xander responded, rolling his eyes. “It ain’t for me, kid. It’s for you.”
“What’s makin’ me into a brunette supposed to do?” Cameron asked, pulling a face. “I like my hair the way it is!”

Xander set the box on his work table and pulled out a second item -- a RED polo shirt with a grin. “Well, it’s not like we can have some BLU city slicker wanderin’ around when it’s time to get you outta here. If we color your hair and dress you like the Scout we’ve got on base, we should be able to slip right out from under their noses without anyone bein’ any the wiser. Plus you’ll fit in a little better where we’re goin’.”

“Oh, shit!” Cameron exclaimed with a grin. “You really thought of everything, huh?” He shot a curious glance down to the still-full crate. “What else ya got?”

“Odds and ends, mostly!” Xander replied, digging into the box. “Let’s see here… Civilian clothes for when we’re out free… More comics for you when you’ve got down-time… A cane that might help you get around easier… And some more albums for us to listen to, too!”

He pulled out a few, grinning at the boy. “I even got some from the Latin America to help you with your Spanish! All the classics. ‘Cerezo Rosa’, ‘Cuando Caliente El Sol’, ‘Besame Mucho’... Not all of it’s from Mexico, but hopefully it’ll still help ya out.”

“That all sounds great, Hardhat!” Cameron exclaimed, practically bouncing in his bed with excitement. “Are we gonna listen to some now? I ain’t heard of ANY of those songs before!”

“Naaah,” Xander replied, sticking them onto his rapidly growing record collection on his shelf. “Not really in the mood for that right now. Wanna listen to somethin’ a little more modern. That alright with you, Halfpint?”

Cam couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed, but whatever. Music was music, right? He settled in comfortably as Xander picked out his Bayou Country album for the record player. And then, to the boy’s utter delight, he also pulled out his guitar to sing and play along with the first song.

“Now when I was just a little boy… Standin' to my Daddy's knee! My poppa said, Son, don't let the man get you -- Do what he done to me!~”

Xander usually sang an octave lower and usually focused on harmonizing with the singer rather than try to copy the lead vocals exactly. He even added neat flourishes here and there, showing off his skill with the instrument. To Cameron it felt like magic. He watched the entire live performance, spellbound.

It wasn’t like Xander minded having an audience -- if anything, it tickled him pink to see how the kid’s eyes always got all wide whenever he started playing. It was like he thought it was impossible for a mere mortal to produce sounds like that.

As the song ended, he momentarily took the needle off the record and turned back to Cameron, holding out the guitar. “Wanna give ‘er a spin, kid?” he chuckled.
Cameron balked. “M… Me?!” he asked, as if he couldn’t believe it. “I don’t even know how to hold one of those things!”

“It ain’t hard, Shortstuff,” Xander laughed, coming into the opened cell. “Here… I’ll show ya. Rest it on your thigh like this… Yep, the big curve goes between your legs. Angle the neck up just a little more…” He fussed over his posture a bit, shifting Cameron’s arms here and there. “Back straight… Elbow here… Balance the neck between your thumb and forefinger… Hold the pick just so… And there!” He gave the boy an approving grin. “You’re already lookin’ like a genuine rockstar, boy!”

Cameron blinked, holding the guitar like it was a stick of dynamite. “B… But… How do I play?” he squeaked. It still seemed impossible to make actual music with it. That was something only professionals who knew what they were doing could do, right?

Xander scooched behind him, guiding his fretting hand into a particular configuration. “Here, I’ll show ya. Hell, I can show ya how to play a good 90 percent of a Creedence song on your first try. Try holding your fingers like this on the guitar… Good. Keep ‘em there.”

He guided Cameron’s strumming hand as well. “Now this part’s simple. Just try to strum in time to the beat okay? Up, down, then up again. Don’t worry -- it’ll all make a lot more sense when you get to feel it out for yourself.”

To Cameron’s utter amazement, he began slowly playing the main refrain of “Proud Mary” with Xander’s guidance. Xander grinned down at him once realization started blooming over his facial features, and began singing the accompaniment. “Rollin’! Rollin’! Rollin’ down the river!~”

As they continued playing, he explained, “See, Cam? This is a song you can do pretty much with just three whole chords, and most of it is this very one. Keep at it and we’ll pause to show you the next ones when we get there.”

He began belting out the first verse on the chord they were playing. “Left a good job in the city! Workin' for the man ev'ry night and day! And I never lost one minute of sleepin', worryin' 'bout the way things might have been!~”

There was a pause as he rearranged Cameron’s fingers. “Alrighty now -- we’re shiftin’ from the D chord to A. Same rhythm as before. Big wheel keep on turnin’!~ Now B minor… Riiight… Here, yeah, there we go. Proud Mary Keep on burnin’!~ And now we’re back to D, right where we started. Rollin’!~ Rollin’!~ Rollin’ down the river!~”

“How the hell do you know where to go back and forth like that?!” Cameron cried, amazed.
“Eh, comes with experience. Don’t worry about playin’ the bridge if it’s too tough for now. Just pause and wait for the chorus to come back and you’ll be fine.”

Xander shifted off of the bed and stood back to watch the budding maestro at work. “Alright, Cam, lemme see it. Let me hear your best Fogerty impression.”
“I think I’ll leave the singin’ to you for now, Hardhat,” Cameron replied, face going a bit red. “But, Uh… I’ll try…”

He strummed a little clumsily without Xander’s guidance, but he seemed to have a great feel for staying on tempo and held the key just fine. Xander motioned at him to keep playing as he returned to his closet, joyfully singing the rest of the song. “Rollin’!~ Rollin’!~ Rollin’ down the river!~ Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis! Pumped a lot of 'pane down in New Orleans! But I never saw the good side of the city, 'til I hitched a ride on a river boat queen!~”

To Cameron’s surprise, Xander walked back out of the closet with a second guitar in tow -- this one highly ornate and beautiful. As Cameron paused his playing, he continued the bridge with no problem at all, and a few extra flourishes just to show off. “Big wheel keep on turnin’!~ Proud Mary keep on burnin’!~”

Cameron joined back in with excitement as they both reached the chorus with a triumphant, “Rollin’!~ Rollin’!~ Rollin’ down the river!~”

They wrapped up with a few fanciful licks from Xander, as he chuckled. Cameron blinked, tilting his head slightly with confusion at the second, previously unknown guitar that Xander had pulled out for the occasion. The man snickered quietly, playing a few more notes. “What? You didn’t think that was the ONLY guitar I had, didja? Nah, that there’s my cheapest one. It don’t even have a name. That way if it gets lost or broken on the road, I don’t feel as bad about it.”

Cameron nodded. “So what’s that one named, huh?”
“Adelita,” Xander responded, smiling warmly at it. “After my ma. She’s been with me for years now.”

There was a pause as he looked up at Cameron, thoughtfully. “... Yanno what, Cam? I’m thinkin’ I might let you have that one and take it with ya to where we’re goin’.”
Cameron gasped with sheer delight. “YA MEAN IT?!”

Xander grinned and nodded. “Yeah, ‘course. We can’t let it get in the way of your studies or recovery, but it’d do you good to have a hobby to spend time with…”
Cameron just furrowed his brow in confusion. “Uh… Egghead, I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about. I’ve already GOT hobbies. Like readin’ my comic books and listening to music and stuff!”

Xander shook his head. “Those ain’t HOBBIES, son… Those are just INTERESTS. Hobbies are about doin’, makin’, and creatin’ stuff. Stuff that’s got a little bit of you in ‘em… Not just consuming media. It’s the difference between playin’ baseball yourself and watchin’ a game on TV.” There was a small smile. “You’ve got one heck of a head on your shoulders, Cam, and a real ear for this kinda stuff… I can’t wait to see what you make of it.”

Cameron blinked, looking down at it. “Well… I guess that makes sense… But, wait, are you really serious about me keepin’ this thing?!” he asked with a grin.

“Yeah, sure, Halfpint. I’ll teach you how to take care of it a little later tonight, but for right now, let’s just enjoy some tunes, alright?” Xander chuckled, putting the record on. “Here, I’ll go slow, so’s you can try to copy what I’m doing in some of these songs. Just try your best.”
“Ready Hardhat!” Cameron cheered in response with a little fist pump. “Let’s fuckin’ groove, man!”
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