Spy has to admit it is a little nerve-wracking to watch her take a seat at the table set for two, the candles highlighting the look in her eyes and the quirk of her lips. For a moment, he feels inadequate in his three-piece suit, which is ridiculous because it had cost him a whole month’s pay, or would have, had he not stolen it. So instead, Spy directs his gaze to her earrings—a gift from himself, actually bought (albeit with stolen money)—and admires how they play lights against her cheeks like twinkling freckles.
“You look beautiful,” he says, as the waiter brings them the menus.
Her head tilts—the freckles disappear—and her eyes are downcast, though not from any sense of modesty. No, they’re too busy surveying the table, from the delicate champagne flutes to the crisp folded napkins. There are three spoons more than what she is used to, but somehow Spy just knows she’ll choose the one on the right and stick with it.
They open their menus in silence, but it doesn’t last long because neither of them are really good at it.
“Hun, I don’t need all this,” she says, in the same accent as her son, and though it’s grating on him, on her it fits, just like her dress: defined, casual, and somewhat at odds with the five-star restaurant.
But for all her words, the grin on her face implies that she rather likes it anyway, spoons and all.
“Perhaps we ought to go to the diner across the street, then,” he shoots back, snippy. Her foot connects with his shin under the table.
“Are you kidding? I’m ordering the lobster,” she says, pointing her finger at bouillabaisse, written in a gaudy cursive font and worth twenty American dollars. The entire menu is in French and how she knew bouillabaisse was a seafood dish, he doesn’t know, but she does have a knack for picking out the very best.
They order, the soups are brought, and she takes the spoon on the left.
“What is it?” she asks when she catches Spy frowning at her.
His eyes dart to the silverware on the table. He does not like being wrong, but he has the feeling that he’d better get used to it.
“Oh, nothing,” he says.
Like cigarettes, lies come in packs, but if you are anything like Spy, they’re kept in sleek silver cases.
“So you took down the engineer, his sentry, and swiped the intel?” she asks, leaning against him. They are sitting on a cold park bench where the grass disappears under a good layer of snow. Her arm wrapped around his is more for warmth than affection. Still, Spy thinks, it feels nice.
He offers her a cigarette and a light.
“Oui. After I shot the demoman, though I am not sure if I really sent him to the respawn room. Really, ma chérie, it is nothing,” he says, struggling for a moment to pull off one of his leather gloves to work the lighter. He clicks once, twice, and she bends her head until a puff of smoke blows from her mouth.
“Sounds like somethin’ to me,” she laughs. “It’s not like I go around killing people for my day job.”
He gives her a look, one that she can’t see since her head is resting on his shoulder. Spy knows what she’s implying, but that is a talk for another day—preferably in a warmer place and many, many weeks from now.
“It is not actually killing anyone,” he huffs, noticing a little too late that she has taken the last cigarette. He doesn’t quite sigh and she doesn’t quite snicker. She opens her mouth, but he speaks before she can press on. “Are those new earrings?” he interjects, because they aren’t the ones he gave her. They’re bright blue loops, cheap and plastic. They make him feel like he’s missed something about her.
“Nope, old ones,” she says, plucking the cigarette from her mouth and sticking it in his. “Yours are just too lovely to wear every day.”
Spy takes a long drag and hands it back.
“If you say so.”
Spy is always on his guard, but there are differences between expecting a rocket launcher in the middle of a battlefield and expecting a verbal interrogation in bed. He avoids both in their respected environments—he’s good at that—so he only has himself to blame when he walks out of the bathroom, sees her holding his revolver in his bed and completely freezes.
He thinks, for a moment, of the time they held hands in the middle of a grocery store. She wears the same expression now—laughter in her eyes and a wide grin.
“What’s it called?” she asks, turning the weapon over in her hands. The holster lies over her bare thighs.
His mouth goes dry, but he thinks of the pistol he keeps behind the bathroom mirror. “What?”
“My son calls his Force-A-Nature. I was wonderin’ if you named your gun too,” she says, pursing her lips.
Seeing his confusion, she bursts into laughter and, of all things, throws herself back on his bed, careful to keep the revolver pointed at the ceiling.
She strikes a pose, her free hand behind her head and puts on a sultry expression that doesn’t last long before Spy jumps on the bed with her, trying in vain to reach for the gun.
“That,” he says, with great dignity, “is called the Ambassador. Now give it back before you shoot something.”
“Love what you did with the barrel, dear,” she says. “But is it something I should be worried about?”
“Oh, you know who it is,” Spy says crossly.
She relinquishes the gun and kisses him from mouth to neck. “No need to be embarrassed, doll.”
Spy puts the Ambassador in the bedside drawer, dimly wishing it had a lock, but right now the heat from his face is rushing to a more gratifying region of his body. He runs his teeth over the soft curve of her jaw, eyes drifting shut.
“Embarrassed? Not at all.”
When he wakes up the next morning, she’s holding his gun again and her gaze is thoughtful. Spy tenses, half his face buried in the pillow while she leans against the bedrest.
Their legs are still tangled together when she turns to him and asks, “So, do you shoot my son with this?”
Spy feels like he needs a cigarette before he answers that one, but even if he wasn’t too weary to reach over to grab his silver case, he’s run out anyway.
“Yes,” he says, and she leaves, taking the revolver with her.
For every letter Scout writes back home, Spy kills him about twenty times. Spy doesn’t think he could ever explain how respawning works to the boy's mother. He doesn’t even try to argue that Scout gets him back plenty of times (though far less often than Spy gets him, naturally).
He has gone a week without her, and he thinks he’s doing pretty well, until he sees her in the last place he would ever want to—on the battlefield, in her simple blue mod dress and high heels. She looks exactly as she did when she left him, except now the Ambassador is in her hand, finger held on the trigger. Even better, her son follows behind her, looking like the child he pretends not to be.
“Ma! Are you even listening to me? Ma, it’s not safe,” the boy whines, looking more embarrassed than actually concerned. After all, the worst that could happen is a trip to the respawn room. “We gotta get back to our base before the time starts and I don’t wanna get fired or nothin’!”
Before they can cross into the RED’s territory, Spy climbs up from his hiding spot under the bridge, uncloaks, and scares them both.
“Why did you bring her out here?” Spy snaps at the BLU Scout.
“Oh, was it that obvious that I wanted to walk her to the middle of a freakin’ bridge right before a freakin’ battle?” Scout drawls.
They glare at each other before the boy’s mother points the revolver up, almost delicately, and says, “Hold on a minute, boys. I want to try something.”
And that is how Spy becomes the first casualty of the day.
When he shows up twenty seconds later, Spy finds her hovering over his dead body as the bullets fly around her and her son. It’s a miracle neither of them has gotten hit, but Spy suspects that both the teams are trying their best to fight around the two. It’s ridiculous to see the RED Heavy fire a line of bullets, step politely over the mother and son then continue to roar past them as if they aren’t there.
“You said he’d come back to life!”
“He will! You just have to wait, ma,” Scout says, rubbing his temples.
Spy uncloaks next to them once more, allowing a brief pause to let them swear in their typical Bostonian way, and opens his disguise kit to offer her a cigarette.
“Oh,” she says in a way that means she is going need some time to think. She returns the Ambassador to him, still warm from her hand, and takes a cigarette, opening her mouth to ask for a light—
—or so Spy assumes. A rocket lands in front of them and, to make a long story short, a lighter would have been extremely redundant.
The next time they have dinner together, it’s nearly midnight and there is no one else at the diner, save for the cook who has enough sense to keep his greasy head in the kitchens. Spy sits on a stool, pushing around two greasy sausages he can’t bear to try, especially after a cup of very bad coffee. An old jukebox plays Bob Dylan in the background and he thinks about attaching a sapper to it, just to see if it would improve the sound at all.
She glances at him, reading his—most likely—pained expression.
“How ‘bout some radio, then?” she asks.
“You do not have to,” he says, just to be polite.
She snorts, hopping over the counter to beat the jukebox into submission, hard enough that Spy swears he sees the fluorescent lights flicker. Bob Dylan dies with a short, merciless scratch, and she turns on the radio.
“Spiral Starecase,” she adds, meaning the music, which doesn’t tell Spy anything until he hears the approval in her voice, so he supposes that they are not all that bad. She walks to beat of the music, swiping the coffee pot as she does. “Want another cup?”
“No, thank you,” he smiles winningly.
“Oh, I see. I suppose you’d rather go to that fancy French restaurant across the street,” she sniffs, setting the coffee down.
“Well, I’m only here because your shift isn’t over yet.”
Spy thinks she’s going to kick his shins again, but instead she takes his hands, bounces her hips from side to side, and swings their arms.
“Dance with me, hun,” she grins.
“Oh, so that’s what you were doing,” he drawls, but he stands up and twirls her in a not-so-perfect line down the diner floor. She giggles, moving her hands to rest on top of his shoulders.
For an instant, Spy’s mind is blank; he doesn’t care if he’s in button-down shirt and a pair of old slacks, or if her eyes only glow because of the tacky neon sign outside. She’s beautiful even though her hair’s a mess and smells like fries and she is not wearing the earrings he gave her. With another little spin, he takes her by the waist and dips her in what must be the most terribly clichéd dance move while Spiral Starecase sings something about more today than yesterday.
She laughs, catching his expression. “What’s wrong?”
And that’s just it, isn’t it?
“Oh,” he says, smiling. “Nothing at all.”