TF2 and Reader
(Part 2 to Flak)
The heavy thuds from the hallway indicated Soldier’s morning visit, preparing myself for his piercing loud scream. I ducked under my pillow long enough to drown out his voice before rolling out from under the covers and strapping on my boots. I knew to sleep in my uniform, there wasn’t enough time to dress in the mornings before breakfast, and things happened at night that prevented me from giving into pleasurable sleep. One eye always had to be open.
While the other trainees mumbled and cursed in their bunks, I slipped past them quickly, making it to the bathrooms and prepping a toothbrush. One hand cleaned my teeth and the other organized the mess of (H/C) curls that had formed, trying to look at least a bit presentable before making my way down the stairs to the main hallway.
It was there that I tried to get my day straightened in my head, to figure out the schedule we faced on a somewhat regular basis. The Announcer said we were getting closer to the end of training, much to my surprise, and that mock battles we’re to be started soon. If we failed that, all the hard work we accomplished would be crumpled in the desert dust for good. To think the Hell I’d been surviving in was just a waste-
I thought I had the stairs memorized down to a ‘T’, but I forgot that the third flight had thirteen steps, not ten, and I had once again tripped myself up halfway down the damn thing. But instead of the usual face planting into the cold cement, a hand had grabbed my arm and hauled me back into their body, keeping me from falling.
Rubbing the strain out of my arm, I was braced for an eventful bashing but none came. Instead, I had fully turned to see Scout standing there, very close to me with a concerned expression.
“That was a close one ______. Ya nearly broke your nose! Glad I have fast reflexes to save you and all.” He grinned playfully, like it was funny he saved me from such a travesty. I dealt with those basically every week, so his out of the blue kindness was shocking to say the least. Before I could shyly thank him, he side stepped me, patting my shoulder goodbye before skipping down the rest of the way.
Well that was weird…
Finally at the entrance to the mess hall, I gave a hearty salute to Solider and stood in place, remaining as still as a statue. He approved, giving a grunt before shoving me in through the doors. Thankfully the others hadn’t arrived yet, even though they were three minutes behind, so I quickly sped to get a few strips of bacon, a biscuit, and a cup of coffee before graciously thanking Pyro for the food and planting myself at a table far away from the other’s.
I never ate near them, mostly because I never got the chance to eat much, so being as distant as I was kept things manageable. Besides, the team actually seemed to be going easier on my training. There wasn’t as much yelling now, and the incident on the staircase wasn’t the first thing to start changing my ideas about them. Although, the trainees seemed to really not like me now, and I was starting to feel my stomach tighten at the thought of their hatred.
The others started to arrive, some looking disheartened by Soldier’s reprimands and glaring off in my direction when they could. I just pretended to be distracted by the chips in the table, to not bring any attention to myself as the actual team members came in, rallying for food. There power still amazed me and my respect for them preceded my fear of the ‘skills’ they once practiced on me. It still concerned me that they didn’t react with the same amount of hate they used to.
As I bit into the warm biscuit, two bodies suddenly appeared before me, plopping down into the seats like I wasn’t the social outcast they decided to chill with. I nearly choked on my mouthful when I noticed the orange emblems on their shirts, belonging to Sniper and Engineer. Oh shi….
“Good monin’ _______. Sleep well?” I was still choking as Engineer greeted me warmly, choosing to nod and fluster in my coffee. “I hope so, because me and the marksman here need your help sweetheart.”
“Why the blood company won’t just make smaller shipments every two weeks insteda’ huge ones every month is still against me. It doesn’t even make sense!” The fiery passion Sniper was feeling made me uncomfortable quickly, shrinking into myself as he ranted. What did they want from me? Where they going to ship me out?!
I’m guessing Engi caught my paling nervousness, because he gave the bushman a look before turning his attention back to me. “It ain’t too hard, only helping us move a few boxes of precious cargo into the workshop and stuff. It’s nothin really, I just need a good set of steady hands to not drop the fragile items.”
“Yeah and lets face it, the others are too clumsy for such a task. They blunder around like drunken Heavies.” With a small smile, I returned it back to Sniper. If that was all, then maybe it could be my chance to get on their good sides.
“W-wait, what about Soldier? I still have training-”
Engineer waved his hand at the matter. “I’ve already gottcha covered for that. Sol says you’ve been doing great, so today can be spent helping us. A nice break for once.”
I could feel my soul flicker with an odd feeling of rejoice, but it was stifled by all the walls I had built up. There was no more room for emotion, so I agreed and followed after them once we were done.
The truck really was huge, and I was sure this would end up taking a good portion of the day to do. But the two trainers seemed enthusiastic by my presence and told stories the entire time we worked, sometimes stopping to breathe and admire the beautiful day developing. The sky was so gorgeously blue, clouds like huge chess pieces going into play across its vast royal board with a breeze billowing tumbleweeds across the sands.
“And that’s how we finished the war in Coldfront. Never imagined it would take us that long, but we won in the end and that’s all that matters.” I gave a box to Engineer as he finished his story, placing it beside the others and motioning me to take a break beside him on the crates sitting out beside Sniper.
“Wow….and the transfer happens once a year right? You’ll be going back soon, won’t you?” I gave my legs a break but to be honest, I didn’t hurt all that much. My muscles were finally filling in.
“Yep, and I heard it’s going to be colder then last years. With all this global warming and such.” With three beers in hand, Sniper handed Engi a bottle then tried to give me one. “For our hard earned work!”
“Oh, errr….I don’t actually drink.”
The faces they gave me would have had me rolling with laughter, if I hadn’t suppressed that feeling long ago. But I truly meant it, not a drop of alcohol since I turned twenty, about four years sober since reaching the age limit.
“Nope, I ain’t having that.” With a twinge of fear, I thought he was going to strike me for my insolence, but he instead took my bottle and twisted it open. “Alcohol is one of the many traditions we withhold, especially after fighting. And if Demoman gotta hold of ya, I’d recon he’d turn ya into a drunk real fast.”
“Once your on the team officially _____, it will make sense. Plus it keeps you from loosing your sanity.” I took a tentative sip, both making approving noises, as the liquid froze in my throat.
“You….” My voice sounded so quiet, the realization of words stilling time around us. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “You really think…I’ll make it?”
The two of them looked at each other and smiled. “Yeah, you’ve done amazing up to this point. The only thing standing in the way now is the mock battle! From there, we’ll find your spot and you’re an official (RED/BLU).”
There was this pain that developed inside my chest, like my heart couldn’t pump properly, and my eyes stung but with no tears to produce. Did….they truly believe in me? The silence soon forced them to view what they had said, what they had meant. But there was only honesty in their words, and…it scared me. Was my destiny truly that close now?
Engi kept looking down at his boots, like he was suddenly ashamed, and Sniper had this frown growing. Maybe they didn’t mean it, maybe they just got into the moment, and that was okay. It gave me a slight boost of confidence, one that I hadn’t felt in so long. Even if it was all just a lie.
“Oh my gosh.” I had glanced up at the clock and saw how much closer the hands had reached the number 3. It was time for our battle run through. “So sorry you two, but I have to get to the training room. Soldier’s going to have my head on the fence if I’m late!”
“Don’t run too fast or you’ll trip again!” I tried to keep up my pace though, it had been so many weeks since I was last late to Sol’s exercises and I really would hate for the day to be ruined by one. But how did Engi know about me tripping, unless Scout told him and the others? Did that mean they were talking about me, laughing at me, my failures or my successes??
I almost tripped once more, but not by a misleading step. It was Ballonicorn, a plush that was the firebug’s beloved. She was just lying out in the hallway, all alone and forgotten. I hoped Pyro wasn’t burning the building down in a panic as I snatched up the unicorn and ran further into the Base.
The room was quiet, everyone lined up and prepared for instructions. Good, I made it just in time. Soldier loved to give a good rant on Sun Tzu before starting anything. It was nice to at least have a bit of normalcy to his teachings. I hopped in line at the end, squaring my shoulders and looking as prepared as I could with a pink pony riding shotgun around my neck.
Sol came out screeching, hefting his shovel over his shoulder and going on about how we should be perfecting our fighting skills and what the mock battles would hold for us. Each individual will be tested for key abilities, such as stealth, speed, strength, ect. If we ended up capturing a point in one and taking a team member down in another, we would literally be upon the threshold of graduating.
With that note, my blood ran chill with the feeling of failure. If I stumbled during any of this, I might as well ask someone to take me out into the desert and pop a bit of lead into me. There would be no way of escaping this burning ache of fear and utter helplessness.
“Hug haddaaaaaaa hugh!” Pyro came running in, practically wrapping himself on Soldier with this sound of wailing rising out of his mask. He looked distraught as hell, and I had almost forgot about his sparkling girl perched on my arm.
Tentatively, I stepped out onto the mat and waved Ballonicorn in front of the masked fire spewer. “Um, I found her in the hallway on my way here. She mustav been going for a walk and got lost-!”
Upon seeing his precious unicorn safe and sound, he grabbed me in his arms and just held me there in what I would think is called…..and embrace? He was chirping happily and just kept hugging me, leaving my ears to burn red. When did he become so touchy feely?
“Hah hudi huuuuh mauhp!!” With one last hug, he ran off, squeaking with affection and absolute joy.
Soldier gave me a small nod of approval, but I heard someone whisper in the group about ‘being an attention whore’, and that’s when my stomach decided to twist up with pain. I wanted to hurl as I wore my best poker face and stood back in line, wondering how much longer it would take till we had a good ol’ military slumber party in the bunks at night. These people were literally going to kill me.
After more ranting and queasy feelings, Soldier decided to take us up to the Intelligence room, where we would possibly be protecting the precious briefcase from the opposite team. It looked practically simple, a place that could easily be ransacked at any moment. Demoman was chilling beside the table, drinking with Spy and playing Old Maid with a worn deck. They both cocked a glance over such cards in my direction when Soldier commenced his discussion of how important the information was.
But no one had expected the lights to dim, alarms to blare, and smoke to suddenly start filling the air.
“(RED/BLU) SPY IS IN THE BASE!” The Administrators recorded voice blared overhead, as I ducked to avoid the worst of the thick air and breathe as the trainees panicked, Spy and Demo controlling defense around the table. Soldier was screaming at everyone to evacuate, causing more chaos as the lights fully went out and left us in darkness.
It was then that I found a wall to stand against, and then that I heard breathing.
There was control in each gasp, like it was trying to hide the intake of air with the rhythm of the alarms. No one could hear it but I, only because that’s how our Spy had always snuck up on me and that…It was right beside me.
Feigning innocence and fear, I slid down to a crouched position, like I was going to go fetal, but reached around to where I had a knife strapped to my ankle. The cold blade and heavy hilt provided me comfort and courage as I forced all my strength to my legs and leapt up at the disguised enemy, blade jamming into his shoulder. His camouflage fell away as he shrieked, falling back into the wall and hitting it with a good amount of force. But it wasn’t enough to stop him. His hand held up a revolver, which went off three times before I was able to cut through his throat, the blood splashing my face and drenching me as it opened into a huge gaping wound.
The body dissolved into Respawn and I collapsed to the floor, heaving from exertion and excitement. So that’s what killing is like. The energy was sweeping through me, but tinged with…pain. When Demo grabbed me in his arms did I realize that those three shots didn’t go off at random. I had been hit in my stomach, shoulder, and chest. All of which started to burn like fire.
And I wasn’t chipped yet.
“Shit, where the bloody hell is Medic!?!”
“I-I think he’s down in the mess hall?”
“Scout, for the love of the Gods, go get him. Tell him to meet us at the MedBay.”
“Do Not Fall Asleep _____! Or I’m going to beat the ever living shit out of you maggot!!”
Their words were mini tornadoes running around in my ears, the lights coming back on and throwing this weird world of watery colors up in my eyes. I couldn’t focus, couldn’t do much but flounder for a breath in Demo’s arms, as the hallways passed by with glaring speed. I’ve never seen them all move so fast. What was the rush for?
The doors to Medic’s bay were almost kicked off their hinges, Soldier scrambling for a stretcher as Spy kept a hand on my neck, probably looking for a pulse that was barely existing. I already could tell from the wet, gasping sounds I was making that one lung had already collapsed. This wasn’t going to be pretty.
“Come on lass, just a bit longer. You can do it, I’m right here for you.”
Thankfully, as my eyelids were about to close for good, Medic came charging into the room, followed by the rest of the team. Their faces looked warped, like they were wearing the masks of fear, but I think it was my failing ability to imagine their actual looks.
“_____, dear, please tell me you’re still awake. Can you hear me at all?” A hand, covered with a Latex glove, took mine and squeezed, looking for any evidence that I was still even aware to the world fading around me. I squeezed his back, but with very little force. There wasn’t much left for me to muster.
“Damn Doc, she’s turning blue now!”
“I know, but I can’t save her if she isn’t even alive.”
“Just use Medigun. Little girl will be alright.”
“But she hasn’t been tested yet for its side effects. I could end up making this much more painful!”
“Medic, if we don’t save her soon…”
“Hug hidid herrr.”
“The sheila isn’t going to last much longer in this condition.”
I could hear their bodies scampering and shuffling around my bed, my eyes closed and unable to open. Their panic was almost entertaining, their arguing like that of some comedy film. Why was death so hilarious? When did it become so fucking funny?? My blood just kept pumping out, the air harder to suck in.
“….If anything starts to happen, if she starts to get worse…..”
“We won’t let her suffer….She doesn’t deserve that.”
And with those lasting words, my world fell into darkness, streaked with ribbons of (RED/BLU) dancing around.
My dreams were empty of thought, void of darkness or light, just nonexistent planes. I was everything and everyone, without meaning, without purpose. It was the freakiest and most inspiring concept I surfaced from when I finally awoke.
The MedBay was dark, the predawn streaks of light peaking in through the windows and giving my eyes the ability to adjust to the dim room. I wasn’t in any pain, I didn’t see any deformities that could have arisen. With an IV attached to my hand, the bag of saline dripping gently beside me, the only thing that felt different was this ache to move deep in my muscles, like I hadn't stretched in awhile. Other then that, I felt like I usually was.
Except, nine different types of snoring had somehow accumulated into my range of hearing as my senses awoke. They were unique, pertaining to their individual producers, which had drifted from a pillow fort at my feet on the floor, the other beds in the bay, and one that had found a spot beside me on mine. It had seemed my near-death experience had inspired some weird sleepover by the ‘death bed’ of a simple trainee. One of which, was still sleeping beside me, curled up under a spare set of covers and his head resting on my arm adorably.
Wait….What the hell was going on?!
I started to sit up, jostling Scout in the process and stirring him from his sleep. The surprised and elated look in those deep blue eyes nearly sent me over the bed. He looked so happy, but why?
“_____!” He shouted, much to my annoyance as the others. “You’re finally awake!” Trying to wrap my head around every possibility possible, he had taken the opportunity to hug me intensely, like Pyro had, squeezing my bones till everything cracked and popped. I will admit though, I felt ten times better as he held me there, a comfort to all the fear I felt rising in my chest.
“Scout, what exactly…”
The eight other trainers came shuffling out from their beds and carried with them a happy, cheerful air, congratulating me and comforting the confusion I was under. This was so different, to see this side of them that never appeared when I first arrived at the Fort.
“But what happened? I can’t remember much of anything!” It felt like pieces of me had completely gone missing, fallen off into the darkness I was once enveloped in. I was scared.
“______, you did a really brave thing. Taking on the enemy Spy of all people for the first time!” Medic cheerily squeezed my hand.
“And with so little training, you sure showed him up.” Sniper ruffled my hair, that was thankfully already messy.
“A real credit to team you are _____.” Heavy, with those warm, kind eyes nodded in approval.
“Hudgh a dir pomph.” Pyro clapped with Ballonicorn balanced on his still masked head.
“And ta think you were once the runt of the pack.” Demo grinned ear to ear wit a bright smile.
“We were worried about you….” Scout awkwardly rubbed his neck, trying to be sheepish about his emotions.
“You ______, have become one of the best trainees I have ever seen recruited.” Soldier squared his shoulders and gave a valiant salute, one that I returned.
“It was quiet impressive to see _____. You gave your all in the end.” Spy shook my unoccupied hand with a hardy grip.
“And damn it all, you pulled through withouta hitch!” Engineer didn’t prepare me for the slap on the shoulder, laughing with everyone as I watched in shock. Was I really being praised this much, just for one Spy attack?? But…something nagged my thoughts, biting roughly at tendrils that wouldn’t rear their ugly heads.
“Um, why do you all look so tired? Surely the sleeping arrangements haven’t been too rough on you, right??”
It was the million dollar question. The silence rung out, killing what good feelings had once existed. They had all some form of sleep deprivation, baggy eye lids, sagging shoulders, and half lidded eyes. Did I cause this to them? Wait…..
“How….how long was I out for……”
No one was answering me. They just looked at once another, goading someone to tell me the truth, a very horrible realization. It made my skin crawl and stomach ache with anxiety.
“______, listen to me very carefully.” It was Medic to tell me to my face. “The Medigun isn’t supposed to work on normal people. It’s only to work with once who have been chipped and….you weren’t.
We couldn’t just watch you die, not in the way you were dying. So we were forced to use it without knowing what it could have caused. And, everything worked. Your wounds closed, your body healed, it’s just….”
He wouldn’t look at me. “You’ve been in a coma for almost three weeks.”
“…..What….” My thoughts were unable to understand that so many days had been taken from me, stolen from the life I was living. The team staid with me that long, not knowing if I was going to make it. And-“Oh god, oh god, I slept through the mock battles! I’ve missed graduating, I’ve failed!!”
It felt like my lungs had collapsed again. I wasn’t going to be on the team, I wasn’t going to be able to go twice for training, and I had failed myself more then anything. I just did once simple thing that should have earned me everyone’s respect, but instead it blew my dreams into bits, what was left at least. The painful, utterly devastating feeling of it all just came crashing down, and I wished more then anything that I had died on that fucking gurney.
“Now hold on sugar cube.” Engineer gripped my arms as I yelled, trying to calm me down from the hysterics I was raising. “No one said anything about you failing, alright? So just breathe for a moment.”
“I-if I didn’t participate in those battles, I couldn’t have-”
“But you did.” Scout, looking all proud and cocky, produced a document on the table beside us. He plopped it in my hands, giving me a moment to read it in stunned silence.
“The Administrator saw your actions on camera and decided you made the cut in the end. Your hard work paid off after all.” Glancing up from the paper that stated my role as a member to (RED/BLU), I could feel every emotion I once kept bottled up overflow, tears pooling in my eyes and falling onto my lap. Every moment of sadness, anger, and happiness, boiling up into my chest.
“Welcome to the team _______!” Everyone cheered, causing more crystals to escape with small sobs, Scout taking me into his arms as comfort. “We knew you could do it.”
I finally made it. I couldn’t believe it, but I finally had my dreams come true.
I was finally on the team.