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Gathering of the team

Chapter Text

Imaged a world where the Great War, better known as the First World War never happened. Instead of plunging into a senseless war, the European countries decided to form allies between each other. Forming a world power strong enough to stand beside Russia and America in strength, but never really used it against either as they would rather form allies with the surrounding countries. That was fine by the two other world powers along with anyone else. It kept the peace and that was so far the common people cared about these three world powers.

However this world couldn't avoid the next war, it didn't entirely start for the same reason, though. This war started because of the Church, an organization that controlled most of Europe. Not in a cruel overlord manner, many liked being part of the Church.
But many failed to realize how strong of a grip the Church have around people and made sure every man, woman, and child shares their philosophy of the nature of daemon. To believe that the form their manifestation of their souls settles into in their adolescents reveals who they are for the rest of their life and thus their role in this world has been set.

People in Europe didn't mind the Church's teaching, it has been part of their lives for what seems like forever. Also, the Church teachings didn't harm anyone and it did help a lot of people figure out their role in life by these teachings. In many ways, it helped people to know where they would of best use for the world just by looking at their daemon settled form. If a dog, then they would suit best as a servant or a soldier, A snake; the person would be best as a spy or cunning businessman, a cat and this person was the best option as a designer or sociology. A person with a bird - depending on the species would either become a tracker or a person knowing exactly how to communicate with their voice.
A child might not like in the start that their daemon will settle into, but over time they will accept that is just how it is and will come to appreciate whatever form their daemon take.

However, not all people liked this teaching- this lack of control over their own lives and would rather have their own belief in the nature of daemon.

The arguments among the countries were at first small, nothing worth worrying about. Especially for two brothers in America, there have started their own war against one another over land their father left them after his death.
The third brother was made to fight over this worthless land as well, but he left his land to his brothers, went to join the Church and aid them in making the fast approaching war turn in their favor. His two brothers barely noticed his departure, too busy pitting their nine mercenaries against one another. These two brothers never saw the start of this world's Great War, they died as they lived; fighting against one another over completely worthless land. And because neither of them had any heir, all the land, all the riches of their father's company went to the third brother, or rather to his daughter, who; like her father was a powerful supporter of the Church and would make sure everything went to her family's favor and made sure her own son would understand how to turn everything into their favor like her own father taught her.

Unlike the war you know where Germany, Italy, and Japanese fought against several countries such as France, USA, and Russia and lost because they got themselves surrounded from each side. The lack of the first war and the Church cleverly creating allies instead of forcing themselves into other countries, France joined them and a big chunk of Russia as well thanks to the that world's equivalent of the Spartan people: the Tatarian: powerful and brutal people there knew little else but conquest. The Tartarian did not live by the same philosopher like the Church, but the world power made sure to stay on very good terms with these warrior people, promising them they will get Russia if they aided them in the war. The Tatarian agreed and since they already have conquered most of the East already, the Chruch did not have to worry about getting attacked from that front and could, almost calmly turn their full attention on the United States of America, the final world power standing in their way of world domination.

The American's were strong, strong enough to keep the war going for seven long years, but in the end. The great power of the United States of America could not overpower the European world power and lost the war. The Church was swift with their retribution of struggling against them. Any man of Congress, any general refusing to promise their loyalty to the Church would be executed and those civilians there was set on stay as a true patriotic American would mysteriously disappear, never to be seen again. When certain that the USA was completely crippled, the Church allowed France and Denmark to claim America as their own as thanks for the many supplies the two countries gave their soldiers during the war but also ensures they would stay loyal to the Church. The upper part of America's states became New France and the middle became New Denmark. Thus the USA was no more and only a few books and stories about this once this great world power would remain, over the years, the fall of USA would become the reminder of what would happen if a country went against the Church.
Texas and Mexico weren't touched as the people from there have been smart enough not causing too much trouble and thus the benevolent Church left the only remnants of a once great power alone, however, did enforce their laws and belief onto these two countries.

With the fall of USA and Russia too weak to fight thanks to the Tartarien, the Church have free reigns spreading their belief onto the world and how they believe is the best way of life, and no one can stop them.

Well, almost no one. During the war, a resistance sprung up very suddenly. At first, it was small and more of a nuisance than a threat, but quickly became a painful thorn in the side of the Church and would continue being so for the next one hundred years. No one knows how this resistance started, except from the nine people that were the first resistance members, they were very good at their job and that inspired a lot of people to take up arms against the Church as well. This resistance group spread like wildfire the Church could not contain as more and more people joined the ranks and kept on messing up the Church's plans. So much so that the world power created a army fully made to fight this growing thorn bush: this army soon got known as the Magisterium and would do anything to stop this fire of the resistance members— or terrorists as the Magisterium and most people would call them since this growing army of common people has ever since its creation destroyed hundreds of buildings and killed countless of soldiers. But for those who believed in a future where the Church did not have a say what they should believe in, have a say over their role in life, only one name suited this crazily brave resistance group and along with the resistance itself always will call them this name to either the day they defeat the Church or they will get eliminated like so many before them.

 

 

They are the Brothers and Sisters of Team Fortress.

Chapter Text

A heavy rain cloud is hanging over the city of Boston, everyone that can have sought cover from the rain; no wish to get wet this early on the day. One person did not have the luxury seeking cover for the rain, though; he is late enough as it is. Nathan runs as fast his legs can carry him, water splashing around them from each step he takes through the streets he has called home ever since he was born.
His daemon; a grey-brown wild rabbit and like him completely soaked to the skin from the heavy downpour. "This sucks!" She complains loudly up to her human, trying to avoid the bigger pools of water but eventually just gives up and runs through them to keep up with him. "I told you drinking Bonk before bed was a bad idea!"
"Yeah yeah." Nathan huffs down to her, not really in the mood hear her complaints or rather his own mentally complaining.

Every person has a daemon; it is a manifestation of one's inner self and will take shape of an animal that is closest to their human's personality. When a person is young, the daemon can take many forms but when their human reach maturity they will settle into one permanent shape. Whatever that shape might be will reveal to both their human but also the world what kind of person they are and that makes it easy to appraise what that person is best suited for in society.

"It's also your fault and you know it." He tells her after all Nalini was the one who kept delaying their departure.
Nalini takes shape as a seagull and flies up before him. "Come on." She whines playfully. "Tom Jones was on the radio! So what we're coming a bit late?" She flies a bit beforehand, only stops when she feels the discomfort from the limit of the invisible bond between them. She turns around in midair, remarking. "It is only a one in a lifetime we might hear one of his speeches."
Nathan grins, so right she is. "Yeah, I admit it was awesome hearing him call out to his fans."
"Like having him talks directly to us." She agrees and lands on his shoulders, taking shape as a bull frog in hope the rain will bother her less. Nathan continues running through the rain, not wanting to risk losing this job.
Dell hasn't said anything but Nathan will not risk losing practically the only place that has accepted him as who he is. Nathan might look like any other person but he's not, all because of his daemon.

See, Nathan has long reached past the time period where a daemon should settle into a permanent form but that never happen to Nalini, even in the age of nineteen; she continues to change form like a child's daemon.
For Nathan get in contact with people, that's no problem. The problem is keeping the contact with said people. Every time people realize that Nalini can still change forms, they start to shun him away. Wondering what is wrong with this young man and hoping the Magisterium might be able to help this poor soul so he can be like anyone else.
Nathan was at first not really bothered by it, but as he got older and had trouble supporting himself, and practically unable to live a normal life because people was unable seeing a person instead of some kind of freak; well he began to wish Naline would settle.
Only one person has been willing to give him a chance, and that's the same man he works for.
Nathan arrives at the factory he has been working at for about two years, relieved seeing that his boss is too busy melding a metal frame that he hasn't noticed his assistance has been running late.

"Trouble getting out of bed again, eh boy?" The man's daemon, a golden brown beaver remarks from her spot on the floor, putting down the wires she has been braiding together.

Can't say the same about Naira. Nathan flinches from getting busted and Nalini turns into a moth in embarrassment. He tries avoiding further embarrassment with a cheeky remark. "Oh no, the freaking rain made it terrible to move."

"If you say so." The golden brown beaver rolls her eyes with a light chuckle. Her human, a bit short and stocky man from Texas stops his welding and turns to face Nathan, he doesn't bother removing the welding goggles from his eyes. "What matters that you are here." Dell says with that southern drawl of his. The man gets up and leaves the metal frame he has been working on, gesturing for Nathan to come over. "Let's find you some dry clothing, can't have you get a cold."

"You're not making me walk in your clothing." Nathan tells him right away, he would look twice as skinny that he already is, not to mention ridicules since he's a head higher than the Texan.

Dell turns to him, giving him a look behind those welding goggles. "Good thing your mother thought ahead then." He walks into his office and returns with a small box filled with old clothing Nathan recognizes, some he has been searching for.

"So that's where it went." Nathan takes his favorite t-shirt he bought at a baseball game. It is worn but still has several years lifetime of worth. He takes the rest of the clothing, then stops, realizing what his boss had just told him. His mother did this for him; she must've known that he might one day get to the job wet and cold. He's lucky having such an awesome mom.

"Be sure thanks her when you get home, string-bean." Dell remarks and leaves the room, allowing Nathan to change. "When you have changed, come to me. I got a few errands for you."

And he's lucky having such an understanding boss. Nathan does not like working this place at all; he finds construction too boring, always the same thing going on. But he likes Dell, he's cool. Although Dell can be a bit boring as well, a trite man to the almost blissful extent. The man knows exactly how his day— hell probably his life is going to be and seems completely okay with it. Nathan has trouble understanding that, if that has been him he would have gone insane, but he respects Dell enough not to try to change the man's boring way of life.
"Better get dressed before he throws a wrench after us." Nalini remarks.
Of course, Dell would never do such a thing, but Nathan does quicken the pace changing from cold wet to the dry and comfortable clothing and hurries over to the worktable where Dell is currently taking out a huge sheet-like bag that one day will be filled with gas for the zeppelin he builds. "So what do you want me to do?" Nathan asks the Texan.

Dell doesn't even stop his work when he says. "I have some tanks I would like you to move over to the pumps."
His daemon nods towards the place where the gas tanks are located. "When you're done and have the energy for it, I would highly predicate it if you could give this letter to a client of mine."
"He doesn't trust the mailman delivering it in time." Naira remarks amused, Dell in the other hand aren't and scowl to the smug beaver. "That's not it you silly girl, simply making sure he's getting a little out from this old place." He smiles to Nathan.

Did he mention that Dell is a cool guy? He is and that is why he can deal with working this boring place. "I can do that." Nathan says and leaves to do the first task. The tanks in the storage room do not look like much, and with them merely holding gas which does make a zeppelin fly; Nathan guesses they probably won't weight too much. He grabs the tank and pull— okay they are a LOT heavier than he estimated! Seriously, how can mere gas weight like a barrel of water?! He lets go, takes a deep breath and tries again, this time bending his knees like his oldest brother once taught him. "Alright, I can do it." And lifts it. He almost topples over by the weight. How can Dell make it look so freaking easy?! Nathan has seen him carry these like they are nothing.
"Never mess with the guy who can lift these with ease, huh?" Nalini remarks from his shoulder, taken the form as a field mouse.
Nathan just nods and carries the first gas tank to the pump that fills the huge balloon looking things lying around the workshop.
Dell glances up from his work for a moment, watching Nathan straighten up and sends the man a grin that says he shouldn't worry. No way in hell he's going to show Dell that carrying a single gas tank has him winded. Dell gives him an encouraging nod and returns back to work. Nathan lets out a breath, claiming as much air he can get as he returns back to storage for another tank. After placed the second and going for the third, he wonders out loud to his daemon. "I wonder why Dell wants us to deliver that letter?"
Nalini rolls her eyes, she turns into a cat and jumps onto one of the tanks. "He does it as sign he trusts you." Both turn to where the man and his daemon beaver work. "You know how important he considers his work."
"Yeah, still weird he trusts me with such a thing" Nathan muses and grabs the third tank. Of course, he is flattered by the gesture but he hasn't exactly proven himself being the most reliable person.
Nathan does have bit of a problem keeping to a schedule and his record isn't exactly clean either. He and his seven older brothers are almost like a gang in these parts; they often get into fights with other gangs that try to take over their home terms and sometimes Nathan and his brothers even fight the police. That is also one of the reasons why people doesn't trust him and why he haven't been able to keep a job for long, so yeah; he's lucky Dell has been so patience with him.
"Bigger reason why not to screw this one up." His daemon says, and he cannot agree more. He might dislike working at this small factory, but he has it a lot better here than any other place. With the last tank placed at the pump and regained his breath. Dell hands him this important letter and where he want it delivered.

"Don't lose it." The man tells him in his rare harsh tones. Clarifying just by that how important this letter is.

"I won't." Nathan promises and puts the letter deep into his pocket, Nalini even turns into a mouse and crawls down the same pocket in the sign she will not allow it fall out.
Satisfied Dell explains that the letter needs to get directly into the hands of his client; a man with a horned owl as daemon before he shoos Nathan out and the young man runs once again down the streets of his home city, and the young man is happy the rain has finally stopped.

Nathan loves running, he enjoys the feeling of the air passing over his skin, how his entire body reacts to each step he makes. He prides himself being the fastest runner in the area and takes his own speed and agility very seriously. Nathan is the youngest of the gang of seven brothers, the runt of the litter actually and he learned at a very early age that if he wants something, then he better be the first to it. So he began running, and his speed has saved him out from many nasty situations he from time to time gets himself into.
Nathan arrives at the fancy building Dell wanted the letter delivered, not even winded from the run he checks his pocket and when sure the letter is still there. He walks over to the door and knocks three times, a moment later a man in a black suit with a dog as his daemon arrives, looking at the young man as if he's some homeless dude. "Whatever you have, we aren't buying."
Okay, THIS is why Nathan does not bother to strike up a chat with rich people; they always look down on the common people like they are not worth their times. He takes the letter, almost squeezing Nalini in the progress and angrily shows the fancy-pants the letter. "I'm here to deliver this, dumb-ass."

The man sends him a glare for the name-calling but does take a look at the letter from the now pissed young man. He frowns. "Oh, so you're Mr. Conagher's delivery boy?" He says like it comes as a huge surprise, the man reaches out for the letter. "I take it from here—"
But before he can take it, Nathan puts the letter back into his pocket.

"He prefers being called Dell and he specifically told me to give this directly to the client." Nathan tells the man, getting the feeling this jerk-face is just a butler. Wouldn't surprise him since this guy's daemon is a dog, servants and soldiers always has dogs as daemon for some weird-ass reason. It makes him wonder how rich these people are.

"No way I'm letting some street-rat into—"

"Garrett, who is it?" A female voice question interrupts the butler, unbeknown saving him from a punch to the face.

The man named Garrett turns his head away from the fuming Nathan and into the house. "It's nothing miss, just a delivery boy."

"Oh, Lenard has been waiting for that." The voice replies and commands the butler; much to his dismay. "Let him in."

"Yes, miss." The butler replies dully, he steps away from the door, allowing Nathan inside, but does stop him by pointing at the young man's shoes. "Take those filthy things off."

Nathan sends the man a glare, then smirks from an idea of small revenge popping into his head. "Nah, I think you need do a little work around here." And leaves the butler, making sure to step extra hard so the dirt and water from his shoes fall off, making the butler fume in rage but cannot do anything about it.
Grinning, Nathan walks into this mansion of a house, forgetting the ass butler by the view of this place. This room looks like something coming out of those romance movies his mother likes watch so much, darn these people must earn what his family scrapes by in their lifetime every single day. He passes by an oil painting of a beautiful garden; its frame is made from oak, Nathan whistle at the sight.

"This way please."

Turning around, Nathan's eyes lands on the prettiest girl he has ever laid his eyes on. She looks to be around his age, except she is dressed like a million in that purple dress, her black hair braided into a ponytail, allowing her beautiful green eyes to stand extra out. Beside her stands her daemon, a middle-sized and snowy white dog with bright blue eyes. Okay, he is in love with this gorgeous—a sharp pain at his left-hand snaps him out from his daze and shoots a glare to his daemon; the one there has bitten him.
Still, in her mouse form Nalini returns the glare. "Get a move on dumb-ass, you look like a fool."
Oh right, Nathan follows the angel through the room. At a door down a small hallway, the angel knocks and a man, probably her father appears. Nathan notices the owl on the man's shoulders, this is the guy. He takes out the letter and hands it to the client.

The man takes it and reads the message. Whatever Dell wrote apparently pleases the man since he nods. "Ah, I knew I could count on him. Could you return my answer?" He asks, catching Nathan a bit off guard.

"Eh, sure?"

"Wonderful, wait just a moment." And the man leaves, going back to his room to write his answer to Dell. Leaving Nathan and his daughter alone.

"So..." Nathan starts but before he can come with any good lines, his dream girl leaves. Much to his disappointment. He wishes he can follow but that will probably be a bad idea, he won't be able to pay if he accidentally breaks anything. So that leaves him to stand really uncomfortable while he waits for the man to write his answer.

"Hi."

Blinking, he turns around, spotting a child around the age of five. Like his new dream girl, this young one has green eyes, her hair is brown, though. Her Daemon on her shoulder has currently taken shape as a squirrel.
"Are you the street-rat Garrett speaks about?" The little girl asks.

"Um.. yeah." Nathan replies but does quickly recover, he does spend a lot of time around smaller children. They rarely get uncomfortable around him and his unsettled daemon. "Don't listen to him though, I am not no street-rat. He's just angry I made him look bad."

"Okay, I'm Clovey and this is Acario." The girl point at her daemon which now has taken the shape as a shaken mouse, saying with just as shaken voice to his human. "Y-You shouldn't talk with strangers."

Nathan smiles, kneeling down so he is at her eye level. "Names Nathan, Nate for short, now you know my name so I'm no stranger." The girl smiles and her daemon stops shaking, heh, works every time.

"You wanna play a game with me, Nate?" She asks hopefully.

Glancing back to the door where her father is at the moment, Nathan decides he might as well keep the kid and himself entertained. "Sure, as long it's inside this room, alright?"

"Okay, let's play hide and seek." Clovey says and tells she will be the one hiding. "You count and no peeking!"

Grinning he cover his eyes and start counting out loud. Listing to the girl scrambling around for a good hiding spot. He finishes counting and calls out. "Ready or not, here I come!" And uncovers his eyes. Nalini crawls up on his shoulders and leaps off, now in shape as a hawk. She scouts the room for the girl before landing on a table with a nod towards the out folded curtain. Nathan smirks but does not go over to Clovey's hiding spot right away, he will let the girl have some enjoyment first. "Now where can she be?" He asks loudly and walks over to a table, making sure the girl can see him from behind the curtain. "Are you... here?" He looks under the table, smiling at the giggle Clovey tries but failing to hold back.
"What about here?" He checks the lamp.
The giggling gets louder.
Nathan walks over to the curtain, acting like he's lost and unable to hear her. "Wow, she is really good." He tells his daemon who grins in return. "Maybe I should give up— wait, you hear it?" And he turns around and removes the curtain, cheering. "There you are!"
Clovey squeals before bursting into laugher, her daemon takes shape as a sparrow and flies chirping around Nalini who joins him in the air.

"Now you hide." Clovey says and runs over to count.

Nathan sends one glance to the door, but when Clovey's father shows no sign of coming out, he starts looking for a good hiding spot, not too good since he does want Clovey to find him. He hides behind the bookshelf with Nalini taking form as a rabbit, curling down and looks like a fluffy rock.

"Ready or not, here I come!" And a very happy Clovey runs into the room, searching for her playmate with a squirrel Acario skipping around to help his human to find Nathan. The moment she spots Nathan, she runs over with: "Found you!" And the two Daemon leaps around each other in a small game of tag.

And just about there, Clovey's father walks out from the door. "I hope I didn't make you wait for too long." He hands Nathan the letter.

"Aww, does Nate has to leave?" Clovey asks sadly. Her father blinks a bit confused so the girl explains. "We have been playing hide and seek, he's very bad at it."

"Nah, you're just too good." Nathan remarks grinning, making the small girl beam. But he can't stay and play with her anymore; he has a letter to deliver. "Sorry, but I have to go."

"Will I see you again?" Clovey asks hopefully.

He doubts that. He never has any reason coming to this part of the city. But he can't tell the girl that so he just smiles and waves goodbye. She returns the wave, although with a sad look on her face.
Nathan leaves the area and just as it begins raining again he returns to the zeppelin factory, handing Dell the letter.

Dell blinks but does take the letter, remarking as he opens it. "Man's always replied no matter how many times I tell him there is no need. Recon he didn't even offer you anything to drink while waiting?"

"No, and would've been bored out of my mind if his kid hasn't dragged me into a game of hiding and seek." Nathan replies while going over to the water tank in the corner of the workshop, pouring himself a glass of water.

"How was the kid?" Dell asks.

Nathan shrugs. "A little shy but nothing my charm can't handle. I'm practically her best friend now."

Dell laughs hearing this, although not surprised; Nathan does have a talent with children. He throws the fancy thanks-for-informing-him letter from his client out in the trash and asks Nathan if he can help carrying the newly repaired gas balloon over to the rest.
The young man does and with that done, Dell honestly sees no need for Nathan to stay as the rest he can do on his own. "That's about all the help you can do for today. Remember your wet clothing and I will see you tomorrow."

"Alright, see ya Hardhat!" And Nathan runs home. All the way thinking of that beautiful lady he met today, but knows— with Nalini reminding him as well, that him having any chance with that woman is practically zero.

Chapter Text

'riiiiinnnng- click' Nathan turns off his alarm clock more asleep than awake, yet having no wish running late this early after the first he grumbling sits up, making the rabbit shaped Nalini fall off his chest, he doubts she even noticed it. He leaves the bed and has to carry the still asleep rabbit daemon along with him to the bathroom since apparently that part of him refuses to wake up. He does wake a bit more up after have gotten water on his face, yet not enough to wake Nalini. Too tired to be bothered by it, he places his daemon in the bathtub while he washes the last sleep dust out from his eyes.

"Ey Nate! Move your ass out, I need the bathroom more than you!" One of his older brother's shouts and appears at the door.

Nathan barely reacts, too tired to come with any good comebacks to his least favorite brother other than; "You get it when I'm done." He reaches out for the brush but forgets all about getting his messy hair under control when he feels pain- as if someone has pieced a giant needle right into his thigh.
Nalini probably feels it way worse for it is her who got stung by his jerk brother's wasp daemon. She jumps a half meter up in the air, turns into a feral cat and whacks the wasp right the same time Nathan shouts furriers at his brother. "What the hell man?!"

The wasp daemon lands on her human's shoulder, letting him do the talk. "I told you to move it small-fry, or Keelea's next hit will hurt a lot more."

Nathan knows that Bernard's threats are rarely just that, he might be the third youngest but Bernard surely is the most aggressive of this pack of brothers. Still did not mean he has any right threading him like this. "I was here first! If you want it, get up earlier!" Nalini jumps onto his shoulder, hissing at Keelea that looks ready to strike again.

"And you should be a little faster changeling!"

"Stop calling me that ass-hole!" Nathan snaps, he hates getting reminded that he is not like anyone else. Any daemon will take a permanent form when a child reaches puberty, showing they have become an adult and know who they are. People call it Settling: its part of growing up and will happen whatever the child wants it or not. But for Nathan, well... he's now nineteen and still waiting for his daemon to get a permanent form.

"Then get a move on!" Bernard snaps back, he didn't really mean calling Nathan that hated nickname but Bernard isn't known to be the most thoughtful. There is a reason why his daemon settled into a wasp: he strike first and thinks later. In truth Bernard is a bit jealous that Nathan's daemon is still able to change forms, he often misses having his Keelea turn into bigger animals than a wasp.

Before this fight can escalate, the oldest of the brothers still living in the house steps between the two. "Cut it out Bernard or I'll promise you I will step on Keelea!"
Bernard snorts and stomps back to his room, closing the door with a loud bang. The third oldest brother; John rolls his eyes at this before turning to Nathan. "Ignore him, he has no idea what he's talking about."
His daemon, a basilisk lizard walks over and nudges the cat at Nathan's feet but Nalini sends her a glare and walks away.

"Yes, he does..." Nathan muses, not hiding the hurt and anger over what Bernard has said and leaves John at the bathroom door, only finding a little glee hearing his older brother lectures the crap out from Bernard the moment he thinks Nathan is out from hearing range.
Nathan walks into the kitchen and pours himself some cereal, he's not in the mood for food he knows he will regret it later if he doesn't eat. His mother, a small, yet the one most strong willed person he knows turns away from her cooking and asks as she hands him a piece of toasted bread with butter on. "Isn't it a bit early getting into a fight?"

"Bernard's the one who started it..." Nathan grumbles, he lets out a sigh and asks something he has asked himself so many times. "Ma, why am I so different? Why haven't Nalini settled?"

His mother stroke her favorite son through his still bit messy hair, of course, she loves all her sons very much, but Nathan and his father have a special place in her heart. "I honestly don't know." She tells him, turning to Nalini there has taken shape as her favorite form; a brown wild rabbit. "Whatever she settles or not; I will always love you."

Nathan nods slowly, watching his daemon getting nuzzled by his mother's which has the form of a cat that looks a bit like a lion. His mother often tells him this and how much she still loves his father. His brother's- especially Bernard remind him that he is only their half brother, unlike his seven other brothers; Nathan has never known his father and even when his mother keeps saying she still loves the man; she doesn't really talk much about him. It makes him wonder why he left in the first place? But in all honesty, he doesn't really care as he has bigger things to deal with than thinks about a man he has never seen in his life.
Checking the clock he realizes he better leave before he runs late again. "Crap, I need to go, can't get late." He kisses his mother goodbye and leaves the house, but not before he spots Bernard sends him a glare. Usually Bernard's words do not bother him, usually, he just picks on him only being their half-brother, but getting reminded being practically a freak... that really bothers Nathan.
He arrives at the workshop, grunting a hello to Dell and heads straight to work. Not really in the mood for a chat.

___

"Alright, what is wrong?" Dell asks after about a half hour into work, the man leans up against one of the huge frames to the soon to be Zeppelin.

"Nothing."

"Boy, you haven't been your usual chatty self." Dell remarks with his daemon adding with eyes on the gloomy rat lying beside Nathan. "And Nalini looks like road kill."

Nalini shoots the beaver a glare for that remark, yet not in the mood coming up with a snarky comeback. Nathan lets out a sigh, not really seeing any reason not telling Dell about it, he is a very understanding man after all. Yet he does not expect anything coming out from this. From what Dell has told him; Naira settled to her form awfully early. "It's about Nalini, why she hasn't settled."

Dell blinks, looking a bit confused for a moment which does surprise Nathan. No way has the man been unaware of Nalini constantly changing forms. Not even Dell should be that narrowed sighted. Then Dell starts to chuckle. "That's what's bothering you? Shucks. There's nothing wrong with your daemon, that's just how she is."

"What do you mean?" Nathan asks rather confused, nodding to Nalini who still lies gloomy in her rat form. "Every Daemon settles after puberty." Every book about daemons and every person keep saying that.

"Almost every daemon." Dell corrects him. "It is rare but there does exist people whose daemon keeps the ability to change form. So you shouldn't worry what people say about your daemon, instead be happy she can change form."

"But a settled daemon tells you who you are." Nathan argues. People keep telling him that and from how easy he can see people's personality in their daemon's form he believes them. "What you suppose to do in life, right?" Nodding to Dell's daemon. "I mean isn't that why Naira settled very quickly with you?"

The other man chuckles. "True, but her form is sort of a family tradition. My father and grandfather both had beaver daemons as well. But isn't that a bit boring?" Nathan blinks at this, so Dell explains by gesturing to his own daemon. "People don't see me; they see my old man and grandfather. They expect a Conagher, a great inventor, nothing more." Dell explains in a somewhat sad tone and yet he is still smiling.

That does explain why Dell refuses to let anyone call him by last name. Still, doesn't explain why the man isn't bothered being stuck in his family's shadow. "Doesn't it bother you? If it had been me I wouldn't like it if people saw my father instead of me." not that anyone besides Ma knows who the heck his father is.

The man chuckles but it is not him explaining, it is his daemon. "It can be irritating from time to time, but the constant reminder shouldn't put a cog into our job. What Dell is trying to tell you that you should be happy Nalini still can change forms." Turning her black eyes to Nalini, now in form as a sparrow. "With Nalini not having a permanent form, people cannot judge you from her shape; they have to learn who you are by actually talking with you."
"Do you understand what we're trying to say?" Dell asks him calmly.

Well, what they are saying does make sense. He has noticed people is judging his personality a bit too hasty from what form Nalini chose when he meets them, yet every time people realizes her form is not her permanent shape, it always makes them uneasy and never sticks around long enough to know who he is as a person. "I know what you're saying, except the world doesn't really work that way." he muses to the only two (except his family) that has been around him long enough to learn who he is without looking at his daemon. "No one wants to know who I am because Nalini hasn't settled. It scares them."

"It's their loss, then." Dell simply says.

Nathan cannot help but laugh, grateful having such an understanding man as his boss. "Yeah, thanks."

"You welcome."
And the two returns back to work.

______

After Dell has closed up shop for today, Nathan decides not heading home right away. He would like having a few hours for himself before going back and getting into another fight with one of his brothers- mostly Bernard about his constantly form changing daemon. He runs through the streets of Boston, not worried he might get lost, he has run through the area so many times that he practically knows every street and can easily find a shortcut home if he stays out for too long. Nalini takes shape as a pony but only after five seconds has to take a smaller form, a big animal such as a horse drains her too quickly. So she chooses the form of a swallow and flies around her running human. Nathan watches her fly gracefully around, thinking of what Dell told him today, and is happy having that man as a friend; otherwise, he might still feel depressed about having a daemon that hasn't settled. Now with a calm mind, Nathan is not sure if he wants Nalini to settle, there are so many of her forms he likes and doubts he can settle with only one form. So yeah he can see what Dell mean he is quite lucky having a daemon that hasn't settled.
He heads out to the water and runs as close he can get to it without getting into the water. Nalini uses this opportunity to change into a salmon, following her human in the water; occasionally leaping above the surface. Nathan has a lot of fun watching her, but this blissful moment breaks when he suddenly hears people laughing and not in a good way. He stops and turns towards the shop used by many teens and young adults as their meeting ground, he spots a group of people, some of them he recognizes as those he and his own gang of brothers have kicked their asses when this gang has dared to move into their territory. And what do you know, these morons still haven't learned their lesson. The shop they hang around is part of the seven brother's territory.
Nathan is smart enough to know that if this gang spots him without any of his brothers, they will certainly beat him to a pulp— if they can catch him of course.
"We better leave." Nalini says, landing on his shoulder as a falcon. But instead of being the reasonable guy and listen to his daemon, Nathan walks closer as he is curious what amuses these morons that much.

"Back off, I'm warning you!"

Oh boy, it seems like someone has been caught by this pack. The gang merely laughs at their victim's misery and the leader of them: a roguish man with a fox as his daemon steps out from the circle, grinning. "ohh the little pup knows how to show some teeth. We can back off, but that depends on how much money you have underneath that fancy dress of yours, toots." He grabs the victim's arm, forcing the same woman Nathan met a few days ago closer to towards him as if he wants a kiss from her. The purple dressed young woman does look really scared, although her daemon is growling at the red fox rather fearless.

Nathan gasps, startled seeing a rich girl like her in this part of the town, then he feels rage; how dare this guy threaten such a fine thing as her like this?!
"Hey!!" He yells at the group, making everyone- daemons included turn to him. "What about you pick someone your own size moron!" He challenges them, although he is far from being their size when it comes to muscles and the gang knows it.

The leader laughs at him mockingly. "And who would that be? All I see is a pipsqueak and his freakish daemon!" The gang laughs at his taunt but stops when a stone hits him square in the face.

"I'm sorry what was that?" Nathan asks grinning to the currently down leader, he is not afraid of this guy; especially not now when he can save a girl. "Couldn't hear you from how much you suck!" And he laughs mockingly at the fuming gang leader.

"Get him!"

"Oh crap!" And Nathan takes the run for it, however, he cannot run too far away since he still needs to get the rich girl out from this. He lets the gang of morons chase him a bit around, pissing them more off by throwing stones at them and Nalini annoying their daemon in her swallow form. Then with them far enough away, Nathan speeds up and runs between the not at all coordinated gang and right back to the stunned girl. "Let's go!" He grabs her arm and pulls her away from the approaching gang. She follows, much to his relief. However, he does not get very far with her. The gang leader's daemon suddenly appears out from nowhere and grabs the rabbit shaped Nalini around the throat, forcing her to the ground. Nathan gasps, falling to the ground, struggling for air. The young woman and her daemon stop, but he does not want her to see what will happen next now that he is caught. "Go!" He gasps, waving her off.
She hesitates but after a nudge from her daemon, she leaves the area and him to whatever the gang leader has in store. Nathan struggles to get back up, but it is hard with the strong sensation of getting strangled. "Cheap shot man!" he shouts, paralyzing someone by daemon is really low in his eyes.

The gang leader kicks him in the stomach, sneering. "You should've stayed out from this, Freak!" Another kick. "But no, you just had to play the hero!" He goes for the second, but gets interrupted by the rulers of this area,

"Hey, Lokk!" The middle of Nathan brother's appears from the alleyway with his coonhound daemon close behind, she is growling in sign of her human's anger. "What did I tell you not picking any of us?!" Dean demands the gang leader that still has the youngest of his family trapped.

"fight one of us, and you fight us all."

Lokk's daemon almost lets go of Nalini when two more of the gang of brothers appear beside Dean. The second youngest with a spotted turtle in a side bag crosses his arms with Bernard cracking his fits in a sign he is more than ready to fight; his wasp daemon flicks her wings in the same eagerness of a fight.
Lokk have no trouble fighting one of them, especially not the youngest but against the whole gang is a death wish. If he was alone that is and he is not going to let this freak off the hook for letting that girl get away. The other gang leader smirks, just as his own pack appears. "I could say the same for you... get them!" Lokk's gang attacks the three older brothers, keeping them busy from saving the youngest of the gang. "Now where was I?"
But Nathan and his daemon did not have in mind being the weakling that needs saving from his older brothers.

Nalini changes into a big lizard and although still held around the throat, she can at least now get free by whacking the fox over the face with her tail. The fox let's go with a startled yelp, releasing Nathan from his paralyze and kicks Lokk right over the leg, he could've broken it if he has been at full strength but his still recovering from the daemon strangulation. The red haired man shouts in pain, however quickly recovers and punches Nathan right in the head, almost knocking him out. Stunned and very much in pain, Nathan does not have the time to recover and get away from the upcoming kick. Didn't have to for Bernard tackles Lokk down and punch the red haired hard in the stomach.
Nathan recovers and joins his brothers fighting the opposite gang, like Lokk's group, the brothers do not have much unity or tactic other than punch or kick everything not on their side. Only a few times aiding one another.
Nathan runs over to one of the boys of the other gang and tackles him, stunning the one long enough for Dean to punch him in the head, knocking that person to the ground. One by one, the gang of Lokk has gotten enough and flees the area.
The pack of brothers shouts after the fleeing people they better not see them in the area again before Ken turns to Nathan and whacks the youngest over the head.

"What the hell man?" Nathan demands, caress the now also sour back of his head.

Ken shoot him a hard look. "That's for making mom worry you little shit." Turning to Bernard there says. "She would've called the police if John haven't stopped her."

Nathan freezes for a moment, he didn't realize he has been gone for that long. Glancing to fourth oldest of his brothers and probably also the one who tracked him thanks to his daemon keen sense of smell. "How long have I been gone?"

"About five hours, you missed dinner two hours ago." Dean replies with crossed arms, he seems more relieved than angry they found their youngest brother picking fights with one of the local gangs.

"What the hell kept you this long?" Bernard asks, he sounds angry, then again he always does around Nathan.

"None of your business." Nathan retorts, shooting a glare to Ken forcefully checking his swelling eye. He slaps Ken's hand away "I'm fine, it's just a bruise— argh that hurts!" He cries when Ken pokes him hard on the stomach.
Nathan shoots the three others a death glare when they start laughing "Shut up..."

Ken crosses his arms, not amused by this one bit. "That's what you get fighting Lokk and his goons without backup. Nate, be a little more stupid the next time." His spotted turtle daemon shoots the wildcat shaped Nalini a disappointed look, making her wince in embarrassment.

"Yeah, I mean Lokk is not really that much of a threat." Bernard grins at Nathan's torment, he nudges Ken in the side. "He's slower than you in the morning."

Ken pushes him away for that remark, completely ignoring the others laugher. Every one of brothers knows that if they do not get to the bathroom before Ken, they might as well give up as Ken can spend a full hour in the bathroom and will not speed up for anyone. There is a reason why his daemon is a spotted turtle. That and he can take hits like no other, Nathan and the other of the brothers often consider him the defense of this pack as he can get beaten by four and still shake it off like it was nothing.

Nathan and his daemon send the third youngest a glare. "His gang had caught a girl, alright." Crossing his arms with a very amusing scowl on his face, which does not really help him getting more respect from the older brothers. "Who knows what that bastard would've done if I haven't stepped in."

Alright, that makes so much more reason why the fastest of them got caught by Lokk. Bernard learns up against the nearby wall, his daemon for once calm. "Was she pretty?" He asks with a goofy smile on his face.

Nathan grins. "Yeah, the prettiest thing I've ever laid my eyes on."

"So how did she thank you? A little one-on-one?" Bernard winks, grinning widely when Ken starts laughing loudly while Dean rolls his eyes while his coonhound daemon hides her face with a paw.

"N-No! I told her to run when Lokk caught me." Nathan explains angry and embarrassed by what Bernard has said. But he's mostly disappointed, not from he didn't get the so called one-on-one as Bernard so fancy calls it. He's disappointed he couldn't speak with her; maybe get a thanks for his noble sacrifice.

"How did Lokk catch you anyway?" Dean asks, both worried and confused how the youngest but fastest of this pack got caught by someone like Lokk, that guy is slow even for his standards.

"His freaking daemon caught Nalini, bit her around the throat hard enough I could barely breathe."

Bernard whistles. "Dang! That's low; even for him." And three others nod in agreement. After a moment of silence, Ken breaks it with. "We better get home before Ma throws a fit her little baby haven't gotten home."

"Shut up! I'm not a baby!" Nathan retorts angryly and attracts Ken who easily throws him off.
Bernard and Dean merely laugh at Nathan's whiny behavior and they slowly heads back home with the satisfaction they both found their brother so their mother doesn't have to tear up the city just to find her little baby, and also got the chance to remind Lokk and his gang that this part of the city are their turf.
They leave the alley way. No one of them sees a figure dressed in a blue suit with a ski mask covering most of the face appears out from thin air behind them. The person watches the gang of brothers for a moment before he disappears once again, leaving no trace of being there in the first place.

Chapter Text

"I told you I'm— auch!" Nathan jerks away from the sharp pain Dell unintentionally did from touching his sour sides from the beating he got yesterday.

The older man gives him a look. "Sit." He tells him sternly, not taking no for an answer. Nathan lets out a groan but does what the man tells him. He sits down in the chair while Dell fetches something to sooth the pain around his stomach. The mechanic returns with a bottle of special oil. "What in sam hill were you thinking boy?" He asks Nathan harshly as he pours some of the bottle content onto a cloth and places the surprisingly cold oil onto the sour skin.

Nathan flinches from the sudden cold feeling, but quickly welcomes its soothing effect against the painful swelling. "I got a reason this time." He defends himself towards Dell's look of disapproval; he hates when the guy does that, always makes him regret picking a fight even they deserved it. "Those guys were hurting someone else."

Dell keeps his blue eyes locked to Nate's for a moment, then break the stare with a sigh. "In that case, I shouldn't blame you for doing the right thing." He lets Nathan hold the cloth and leaves the young man for a moment, voice saying from the deport room. "But I would prefer if you were a bit more careful in the future."

"I'll try to remember that the next time some ass-hole decide to torment some defenseless girl." Nathan remarks dryly.

Dell returns, rolling his eyes, but it's Naira there speaks. "Keep up the cheek and we'll make you work regardless the pain."
Nathan shuts up quickly after this. The man chuckles and returns back to work with: "Wish it would be that easy with your old man."

"You know my father?" Nathan blinks, this is the first time Dell has ever mentioned his father.

"Yeah, I know him." Dell replies, not even stopping his work while he speaks. "We go way back."

"Why did you never tell me about him?"

"He asked me not to."

That catches Nathan off guard; his father didn't want him to know about him? "Why?"

This time Dell stops his work and turns so he can fully see the young man, and to Nathan's surprise, the man is grinning. "He didn't want you to live in his shadow. Does that sound familiar?"

Yeah, almost his exact words from yesterday, but it also strikes him if this is the true reason why Dell hired him. "So you only let me get this job because you know my father?" Nathan asks, angry and hurt about this conclusion.

The man shakes his head. "He only asked me to look out for you, not offering you a job. In fact," Dell starts to laugh, much to Nathan's confusions. "He strongly suggested I did not give you this job. He didn't want to owe me more than he already did." And that man owes him a lot.

"Oh." Nathan honestly has nothing else to say about this. What he has to asks about: "What can you tell me about him? How did you meet?"

Dell chuckles but before he can speak any more about Nathan's father, the doorbell to the shop chines; signing they got a customer. Dell gives the old teen an apology shrug and leaves to service his customers.

Nathan feels very disappointed in this interruption, oh well; he can always ask the man later.

"He's in here."
Turning to the shop door Nathan spots, much to his surprise the beautiful girl he helped last night.

She walks carefully over to him with her white daemon dog close beside her. "I never got to thank you for saving me." She says, giving him a weak smile. "So... thank you."

"It's nothing." Nathan brushes her off, straighten himself up to look a bit tougher than he feels at the moment. "I beat knuckleheads like them for—" He winches from a bolt of pain go through his side, completely ruining his heroic image. Dammit....

"You're hurt." She points out sadly, knowing it is sort of her fault. The mentally kicks herself. "Ugh. I shouldn't have gone there without support!"

Nathan blinks, not entirely sure what she means by this.

She quickly changes topic though. "How old are you? You look about my age but that can't be since I clearly saw your daemon change shape last night." Her daemon eyes the cat shaped Nalini with a bit of a deadpan look as she is trying to impress him.

Oh, here we go again... "I'm nineteen, and yes I know it's not normal my daemon hasn't settled..." The last he grumbles, this subject wasn't funny the thirty time someone pointed out the fact and it still isn't. Nalini proves his words truth when she changes into a raven and flies up to his shoulder, much to the young woman's shock.

".... How's that possible?" She asks with her bright green eyes wide of what she has just witnessed.

"The hell if I know."

"Oh, touchy subject?" She asks.

Nathan shrugs. "It just sucks people keep asking me about it." He briefly explains, lifting his hand up to his raven shaped daemon and she nibbles it affections in a hope it will lighten up his mood.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to offend you." She muses, still caught off guard that this young man has a daemon that can still change form. Glancing to where Dell works. "So, do you like working for Mr. Conagher?"

He shrugs, glad for the topic change. "Eh job boring as hell but Dell's cool. And don't call him Mr. Conagher, that was his grandfather's name." He adds to her since he knows how much Dell dislikes being called by his last name.

"Oh okay, I have heard about his grandfather. He was the one who invented anbaricity, Mr. Co- I mean Dell is using his grandfather's invention for the Zeppelin right? Oh, and is it true his father has invented all the machines the Magisterium are using? Is he planning to make anything for the Magisterium as well?" She asks him, her green eyes wide in curiosity. Her daemon in the other hand display only a mild curiosity about the subject, he's more interested in the now swallow shaped Nalini.

Okay, Nathan can now see why Dell has such big problems stepping out from his families shadow, he knows the man is smart but this is a lot of pressure. Everyone that knows his name must expect him to invent something that can change the world while Dell pretty much only wants to build zeppelins. And to her questions. "No idea, all this technology crap goes right over my head." He only continues working here because Dell isn't bothered by Nalini constant form changing and treats him like a normal person. Something he highly appreciates, being seen as a freak is annoying as hell.

She blinks, now getting confused why this strange one works here in the first place. "But aren't you his assistance?"

"More like my helper." Dell replies, walking past the two; he startles Nathan, making the young one jump while the woman did notice the man and gives him a confused look from his words. Dell sits down beside them, giving the two his well-known smile. "And to answer your question miss, yes, my father did do that. I'm using some of his old blueprints for your boss's zeppelin."

She turns to him. "Have you put some of your own inventions into it as well?" She asks with eyes filled with curiosity, probably of what new technology her boss; the man with the horned owl Zeppelin might get, Nathan thinks.

"Nope." Dell replies still smiling which turns into a grin from her look of surprise. "Sorry to disappoint you miss, I just build what Mr. Sharif wants; nothing more, nothing less."

"Oh okay." She muses, having a bit strange tone in her voice. Turning back to Nate. "Thanks again for yesterday." And back to Dell. "Have a good day Mr- I mean Dell."

"You too miss." Dell tips his yellow hardhat and she leaves the two. With the young woman gone Dell claps Nathan on the shoulders, and returns straight to work.

Nathan watches the beautiful woman leaves and like Dell— although reluctant goes back to work as well.
Near closing, they get another visitor; this one catches Nathan's attention for this man does not look like he's from here.
This man's skin rough and tan- Nathan has a strong suspicious this fella spends most of his time outside and from the scars, he can see, he's pretty sure this man is a hunter. He wears a brown slouch hat that has a band of crocodile teeth around the crown, and he also has a teeth necklace slightly hidden behind that brown skin shirt of his. Nathan is curious if this man has bought those teeth or gotten them by killing an actual crocodile if it's the latter; then this guy is seriously bad-ass. The man eyes him behind his yellow-tinted aviator making it is hard to say what his eye color is, all Nathan can say that they have a very intense gleam in them like nothing goes past this one's sight. On the man's shoulder sits his daemon, it's a small bird of prey; a falcon maybe, Nathan is not sure. It is rare to see any people with that sort of bird daemon in these parts, but this reddish bird is just as interesting as the man himself. The red falcon gives them a look— Nalini shifts a bit uncomfortably on his shoulder by this daemon's intense gaze.
The man turns his eyes away from Nathan and walks over to where Dell is working.
The bird of prey leaves the man's shoulders, flying over to where Naira sits and from how the beaver greets the bird; it is clear she knows the other daemon and has a good relationship with her. Dell turns around and like his daemon; smile and greets the seemly hunter with a firm handshake. "Long time no see Down Under."

"It sure has." The other man replies, his accent sounds to be from the Kingdom of Auister. That does explain why Nathan did not recognize the daemon, people's daemon's do have a tendency getting a shape from their home country.
The man from Auister learns up against the worktable in a relaxed manner. "How has work been faring?"

"The usual, the rich think I'll give them more than they pay, expect I give them something mind-blowing; you know how it is." Dell replies with a casual shrug, "But enough about me, how are you doing? Been a while since we last spoke." He remarks in an eager tone Nathan hasn't ever heard him use with any of his employees.

The man grabs the tip of his hat with a sigh, hiding his eyes underneath it. "The prey seems to know exactly where we are, been difficult staying hidden and hunting even harder."

oh, so this man is a hunter, Nathan thinks, proud of himself that he made the right conclusion about this guy. Still, doesn't explain why Dell is somehow friends with this guy, Dell is not exactly an outdoor person.

"That sounds very bad." Dell muses and no longer smiling. He lets Naira jump onto his lab and asks while stroking her back. "Anything I can do to aid you with the hunting trip?"

The man glances shortly to Nathan, his eyes sharp and suspicious, he quickly turns back to the Zeppelin engineer. "Can the kid be trusted?" He whispers, nodding to Nathan.

Dell nods. "He can, Nathan." The man turns to the younger one. "This is one of my friends." Gesturing to the Aussie who gives him a single nod.

"Sup." Nathan simply says, honestly not sure how he should react to this man. He seems cool and all, which does confuse him why someone boring as Dell would hang around a bad-ass looking hunter like this guy. Okay, now he just has to know. "Are those real crocodile teeth?" He gestures at the necklace and crown of teeth.

The man touches the necklace with a smirk. "Yeah, killed the bastard with my own two hands. But not after he took a bite out of me." He pulls up his right side of the pants, revealing a huge ragged scar over the leg. Nathan swallows hard at the sight, he's shocked this man has fought a crocodile and lived to tell about it! The man hides the scar again with a satisfied look on his face, but it fades when he tells Dell seriously. "Scottie and Kreel are death."

"How?" Dell asks hard.

"Ambushed, the enemy knew exactly where they were, rest of the teams are gone as well." The man replies and crosses his arms. "Spook thinks they have found themselves a new alethiomist— after we got rid of the last one." The man smirks proudly.

"Y-You killed someone?" Nathan asks. He's getting a strong feeling that this man did not speak about animals when he mentioned prey moments ago.

The man glances at him. "Yeah, I kill people. It's part of the job, mate" He says awfully casual about killing people as if they're just another form of hunting game.

"Easy Sniper, I haven't told him everything about the Resistance." Dell tells the man with the title name Sniper.

Nathan blinks. Resistance? What resistance is Dell speaking about? And how does a zeppelin worker have any part in it? "What are you talking about?" He asks his boss.

Dell turns to Nathan, he let out a sigh and takes his yellow hardhat off before he speaks. "Sniper, I and your father work for a resistance group called Team Fortress. This group has for many years been fighting against the oppression of the Magisterium. I have been aiding the group with my inventions." Dell proudly smiles.

"After the Great War, the resistance formed and has over the decades forced the Magisterium into a sort of stalemate, one that ensures safety to people those wankers otherwise would've eliminated. That until recently." The Sniper growls, he moves over to stand up against one of the Zeppelin frames. "The Magisterium has changed tactic, they have begun kidnapping children from their families, and in big scales. We do not know where they are been taken or what they are doing with those kids. Some of the teams tried to track them down but this whole year we're forced on the run; somehow the enemy always knows the teams' locations." Sniper lowers his head, hiding the pain in his eyes with his hat. "We have lost a lot of good people in such a short time..."

All of this does, unfortunately, sound a bit farfetched for him, if the Magisterium is at war with someone, then why haven't they said anything? Tried to rally the people against this Team Fortress Resistance? Sure there is the occasional news of terrorist attack but the Magisterium keeps ensuring those terrorist are more of a nuisance than anything, so hearing the world power is also dealing with a resistance. Well, he has a hard time believing that Dell, this guy— and his father is part of some kind of group that fights the juggernaut that is the Magisterium. "Is all of this for real?" For he's more than ready for those two to start laughing and say they were only joking. But they don't.

Dell nods seriously. "Yeah, it is."

"Is this why my father left ma?" Nathan asks, not sure who he aims the question at.

Again the man nods and the Sniper says surprisingly somber. "Leaving you behind was the hardest thing he ever did."

So his father left out of love, just like ma always told him. It does make Nathan respect the man but also makes him wish he can remember anything about him. Meeting him will probably never happen, so he guesses he can only do the second best. Nathan turns his brown eyes to the Sniper. "Can you bring him a message if you see him?"

"I can." Sniper replies, looking a bit surprised by this.

"Can you tell him that I... don't hate him for leaving us." Nathan scratches his neck sheepishly from the two men's question stare. "My older brothers hate their dads for leaving, even hate mine for leaving ma, so... yeah. Tell him I don't hate him."

Sniper gives him a friendly smile. "I'll be sure to hand him that message— crikey did that daemon just change shape?" He asks both surprised and amused when Nalini turns into a peregrine falcon in try to copy the Sniper's daemon's form. Tilting his head at the bird on Nathan's shoulder before he lets out a barking laughter. "Nice shape there Sheila!"

Nathan blinks, this is the first time anyone but Dell has not shown discomfort or fear when realizing that Nalini is still able to change form. "You- You're not scared?"

Sniper grins. "Me? Scared of a form changing daemon? Nah, I actually find it rather interesting. It's like finding a blue tiger among all the reds."

"Thanks.. I guess." Nathan muses, not sure if that had been a compliment or not.

The clock chimes makes all three look at the work clock inside the office.
Dell stretches his arms. "Well, I got enough work for today. You better head home, boyo." He tells Nathan, adding with a wink. "Can't have your mother calls up half the city in search for you again now can we?"

Muttering a incoherent reply, a red-faced of embarrassment Nathan shuffle out from the workshop, leaving the two men alone. With him out, Sniper glances to Dell. "He seems like a good kid."

Dell smiles with a nod. "That he is."

Nathan has many thoughts on what the man calling himself Sniper and Dell had told him not long ago, it's clear this is not something he should speak about at home. He doubts his brothers would believe him that his father and boss are working for a super secret organization that fights against the Magisterium. His ma will believe him but he does not wish to worry her about what her lover is doing. She might already be aware of this, he doesn't really know. Speaking of father, this is the first time he has heard anything about his old man from others than his mother.
Nalini changes to a small dog form, walking beside him. "You should ask Dell more about him tomorrow." She suggests with her tail wagging in excitement knowing more about their father and his daemon.
He nods in agreement, he will definitely ask Dell about his father; if he's lucky the man might share a few stories or even tell him how he met his father.
Nathan is so deep in thoughts that he does not notice three suspicious looking people walks right behind him, if he had then he might've run and gotten away. But because of his deep pondering, he did not have a chance and is knocked out before he can react.

The three men, hired to take people and bring them to certain places for the Magisterium takes the unconscious young man and drags him away from the home he knows, unaware that people that has seen his ever changing daemon has snitched him to the Gobblers in hope the people from the Magisterium could fix this young freak show and maybe help him to become like one of them. All of them blissfully unaware that what the Magisterium did to some people they take suffers a fate worse than death. But the people didn't know and neither would care when a certain mother and seven brothers would search the town far and wide in search for their son and younger brother.

Chapter Text

Meanwhile and unaware of Nathan's kidnapping, Dell has invited Sniper back to his humble home to share some of his Texan home cooked food.
"Thanks mate." Lawrence smiles to the shorter man, he has over the years come to trust Dell enough to share him his real name. The Aussie take a bite of the Texan barbeque, happy to get something else than can food he mostly lives on when traveling.

Dell smiles and takes a seat on the other side of the table, they eat in silence for a moment, only broken by Lawrence saying. "The team down in Mexico asked if you could make more of the portable sentries."

"Can't do, it will just give me unwanted attention." Dell replies serious, but adds with a smile. "But I can give their Engineer the blueprints in returns for some of her inventions blueprint." He has never met any other of his fellow Engineer's, a few of the teams really has but still every team across the world are somehow united. Dell likes to think they work together towards the same goal: defeat the Magisterium. Many of the members in the Resistance has a reason to fight, from what Dell has heard of the Engineer stationed in Mexico, it is because she lost her husband to the Magisterium soldiers when he demonstrated against them. Even though he has never met her, he still admits that female Engineer has guts and someone the other Engineers around the world can look up to.
Not many in the Church consider women worth anything other than make babies and support their husband, but Dell and any other males in the Resistance knows that is a lie; women can be just as strong and deadly like any man. The female Engineer is a prime example on that.
Dell doesn't really have a reason to be part of this secret war, his family has in fact been very loyal to the Magisterium for generations and in return the world power has granted them access to rare resources. Dell only turned his back on the Magisterium after he'd met Lawrence and Nathan's father and saw the horrors of what the world's so called protectors does to people that do not live the way they want. Even though he is granted the title Engineer and is partially part of the Team Fortress resistance, Dell does not fully consider himself a part of the resistance, he merely builds and sell weapons and blueprints to his fellow Engineers who are— unlike him out there fighting.

"You are aware all her blueprints are stuck in her head?" Lawrence remarks dryly, but realizes that Dell actually doesn't know from the deadpan look the Texan gives him.
The Sniper smirks. "Oh right, I forgot; not official in the battle." Pointing his knife at the man. "I'm sure she will do an exception and draw some blueprints- or just hand you one of her machines in return for –"
A buzzing alarm interrupts him, making his daemon fly up in the air from his bit startled reaction. "What the bloody hell is that for?" he asks, turning to the other man. He fears the worst with the face the Texan has.

"Someone is in the factory." Dell replies and abandon his food, going over to claim his jacket. "It's where I have all the weapons to the resistance."

"Ah bugger..." The Sniper muses and leaves the food as well; his daemon flies over to her human and returns onto his shoulder. Lawrence reaches out for his submachine gun and kukri. "I'm coming with you."

"Predicate it, cus Dell doesn't know how to aim." Naira remarks up to him and runs out from the open door as Dell takes a simple gun from a shelf.
Hearing that makes Lawrence happy the passive Engineer got his factory robbed the same day he decided to come on visit.

___

The two men hurry to the factory that show clear signs that someone is in there, the lights are on and a car and a truck the military uses is stationed outside. Lawrence frowns seeing that. "What kind of robbers brings an armored truck?"

"One that knows what else I have stashed." Dell points out tense and is a bit scared on who is inside. He sneaks up to the door, Lawrence is right behind him, or Dell thinks he is. The Sniper is incredibly stealthy and makes this Texan footsteps sounds very loud in comparison. But the short man hopes that the intruders won't hear his footsteps or heavy breathing. They sneak up to the broken door; here they hear voices from inside the small zeppelin factory. One of them is wheezing in pain.

"Shit I didn't expect he had a sentry gun as security." One of the intruders speaks tensely near the door.

Lawrence blinks at this but he cannot hold back a smirk that even a none fighter such as Dell can be deadly when he wants to.

"...Help..." The wounded wheeze, but the only help he gets is a bullet.

Dell freezes on the spot, whoever these intruders are; they mean business.

"He was death anyway." The shooter says like shooting someone is like throwing out worthless trash. "Keep an eye out, I don't want waste any more bullets."

"...Never thought he had it in him."

"I have shot a lot of people."

"not you fool, I mean this guy; Conagher. I always thought he was a wuss, always staying out from politics and never wanted any inclusion with the Church. Some excuse that he build zeppelin for personal transport, not war machines."

"I call that bullshit. He clearly knows how to make weapons from that sentry gun that just shot Mike. Of someone who can make ships out of scrap metal, he isn't very smart. Only a fool would turn Grey down."

Lawrence did not like the sound of that, he is aware that Dell's family has through three generations been working for the Magisterium and he got a target on his back by leaving, they should have known the Magisterium takes a Conagher leaving this personal... after all, if they cannot control something, they will destroy it.

"Hey! Less talking and more searching!"

"Alright, alright... what are we looking for anyway?"

"Blueprints, prototypes, anything we can use against the terrorists."

The voices are growing distance, meaning they are moving away from the door. By a sign from the way more battle experience Sniper, the two men sneak inside the factory, hiding behind the half finished Zeppelin. Here Lawrence signs Dell to keep his head down and gun ready, his daemon fly high up and watches the oblivious men with her sharp eyes. From their outfit it is clear these men are the Magisterium soldiers.

"Can't we just take him instead?" One of the men asks annoyed.

"No, the boss was very specific of what should happen to Mr. Conagher. " The bit more fancy dressed replies- sign he is the commander of this small platoon. He is having a evil smirk over his face and his dog daemon looking ready to tear something apart.

"Hey guys, I think I found something!" Someone from the office calls, making the three others turn towards the room.

"They found the entrance." Naira informs Lawrence horrified from her spot.

The sniper nods and tells Dell: "Aim at the chest." Before he moves out from hiding and shoots the one at the door right in the head, his daemon disappears like a light has been blown out before he hits the ground. The shot and seeing their death comrade makes three of the men leave the office room.

Here Dell takes a shot and hit one of the Magisterium goons, however due to his lack of combat skills and never really has used a gun before, the shot does not kill the man, only causing tremendous pain as the bullet embeds itself into his left lung. The second and third shot kills the man though and the bulldog daemon disappears by her human's death. His comrades quickly retaliate and the two freedom fighters seek cover behind one of the frame works of the zeppelin with bullets flying past their heads.

Lawrence's daemon Laraine lands on one of the roof frames, away from harm yet still very able watching the whole scene and aids her human and their friend. Her sharp eyes quickly catch what the Magisterium soldiers are trying. "To the right." She warms them and Lawrence moves to shoot, the man gets out of the way the last second and his daemon glares up to the small falcon watching them from the metal frame. She is not really worried though, there is an untold rule that humans should never touch or harm another person's daemon. Only other daemons may make physical contact. However, the Magisterium has apparently forgotten this world wide rule. A shot and Laraine falls to the ground, paralyzed from the electric shock that have hit her. Lawrence let out a cry of pain, stunned by the hit on his daemon.

Dell, in anger of these people committing a taboo about hurting someone's daemon moves out to shoot but sadly he is not fast enough. The only lucky thing in that that it's not a bullet that hits him, no it is a bolt of lightning, powerful enough to send him flying.

"Engineer!" Lawrence cries but before he can move over and help the man, another shot of lightning sends him sprawling through the room.

The man that had shot them laughs, looking at the shotgun he found from the hidden room the two resistance members have tried so hard keeping them away from. "I'm in love right now." The man from the Magisterium says and points the gun at its creator. "I'll think I keep it."

Dell and his daemon glare at the man, somewhat relieved that this fool haven't yet realized that the gun hasn't been sat on lethal mode, if it had then his inside would've been fried. He wants to but can do nothing but watch the other soldier loot his hidden room for any of his inventions, all of his years of inspirations made to aid the resistance is now turned against him.

"Thanks for the business" the one holding the lightning gun against him smirks and shoots him again, but all that does is knocking the air out from Dell and giving him a numb feeling as if he has been hugging an electric fence for too long. The goon blinks to then glare angrily at the gun. "Useless piece of crap, should've known you made your guns none lethal!"

Naira jumps on Dell's chest, hoping to protect him from another possible blast. Even if the shots are none lethal, getting hit by several can cause severe damaged against the muscles and in a worst case scenario cause a heart attack.
Of course the man wouldn't know that, nor check the gun and see the switch that will turn the shots deadly. Instead the man improvise and after have left he send three shots to the ceiling, making the whole place fall down on the two men.
The men from the Magisterium leaves, thinking that these two from the resistance won't survive something like that.
That has been their mistake.

about ten minutes after the soldier have left, Lawrence emerges out from the debrief of the fallen roof and destroyed zeppelin, his aviators is completely broken and half his body is filled with blood from the many cuts he got from digging himself out, but other than that; he is alright. "Now this is downright embarrassing." He grumbles while brushing dust off his hat that has fortunately not gotten damaged by the collapsed ceiling. To think he almost got killed by getting a building down on him. He would've prefered going down in a fight or by an animal, not some snotty soldiers that didn't even know how to shoot a bloody gun! He hear Laraine voice under a piece of metal and removes it, his ruffled up daemon flies out from the hole she was trapped under and looks really offended she got shot by that dimwitted soldier. He strokes her head before going out to search for his comrade.
"Dell?" He calls, scanning the destroyed factory for any sign of the Engineer.

"...Over here..." Dell replies weakly.

Laraine spots source of his voice and flies over to the spot.
Lawrence follows and fears the worst as Dell has gotten almost half the zeppelin down over him. He removes as much as he can, slowly but surely digs the other man out, then he's forced to stop. Removing the last part will make one of the frames fall down over them both.
He carefully moves over to the trapped man, a bit taken aback that Dell is conscious but also happy he is since he do not want make the choice himself of how to get the man out from this situation. Dell's right hand is trapped, one of the frames has fallen over it and there is no way Lawrence can lift or remove the huge metal frame without making the whole thing drop.
Lawrence turns frowning to Dell, but from how deadly serious the shorter man eyes are; it is clear Dell has come to the same conclusion.

"How sharp... is your knife..?" Dell asks him through his pain from both getting electrocuted and has his hand crushed by a metal frame.

Not even going to bother correcting the man, Lawrence sheath his kukri. "Sharp enough for this."

"Dell no..." Naira whispers and climbs on her human's chest. "There must be some other way." If he do this then he won't be able to do what he loves doing so much. Dell shoo her gently away. "...It has to be done..." He tells his daemon and eyes the Sniper. "...Do me the favor... and clean it..." He says and the man from Auister cleans it by pouring the remaining oil Dell had used on Nathan earlier this day, also fetching some clothing he can use to stop the soon to come bleeding.

With the now disinfected blade, Lawrence crawls back into the cave of metal. "You ready?"

Naira learns up against his chest in sign of support and Dell wraps his left arm tightly around her. He nods to Lawrence, readying himself for what is about to happen.

Lawrence nods as well and with a swift move he chops the blade into the arm, Dell tries but the pain makes him let out a scream. The Australian did not stop; he continues cutting the flesh and bone. Blood flushing out, painting the floor and most of Dell's clothing into a nasty pool of red.
With the last flesh cut, Lawrence just as swiftly wraps the clothing tightly around the stump that once has been the lower part of an arm. With that done, the Sniper grabs the barely conscious man and half drag- half carries him towards the nearest hospital.

___

hours later, Dell wakes up in the hospital, he takes a moment to realize where he is and when does he turns to his right arm, or what's left of it.
"Dangit!" He growls, angry and hurt that he has both lost his inventions AND his hand to the Magisterium. What did he do to deserve this?! Sure he is working against the Magisterium, but never in a way to get the attention. Did they really take his decline working for them this bad? If that's the case then those people has issues! A knock on the door gets him back to the present and Lawrence walks inside.

"How are you feeling?" He asks. His daemon lands beside the curled up Naira, giving the beaver a sorry look of what has happen to her human.

Dell tries to sit straight up but a jolt of pain stops him, grimacing he answers. "Feels like I got run over by a combine." He holds his remaining hand on the stump that once has been his right hand.

"At least you're still alive." Lawrence says, he glances to the stump for a moment before turning back to the man's face. "Live and fight for another day as they say, mate."

Dell simply nods although he isn't happy that he has lost one of his hands, working on his inventions will be hard with one hand. Wait a minute... hand. "Aw hell... How could I have forgotten about that!" Turning to the now confuse looking Sniper, grinning. "Before his death my grandfather invented artificial limbs. If those sons of bitches haven't taken them as well..." His excitement drops a bit by that thought for he doubts he can recreate his grandfather's work.

Smirking Lawrence crosses his arms. "I'll go check for any artificial limbs in your workshop after this visit. Before I do;" The smirk disappears. "We need to figure out the next course of action for you."

"Yeah, I doubt this attack will be the last." Dell muses. No matter; this just means that he now has a good reason getting into the fight. He eyes the Sniper with a cocky smile. "Consider this my official inscription to the resistance."

"You're going to fight?" The sniper blinks.

"Yup, the Magisterium should've known not to piss off a Texan; we do not fight unless provoked and when we fight; you'll get hit twice as hard."

He believes that, Dell might not look like much but Lawrence knows that this man can be very deadly if provoked and the Magisterium definitely succeed doing that. "They're gonna need a lot of coffins when you're done with them."

"I pay them with bullets." The Engineer grins and moments later they both burst out laughing.
___

 

Nathan hates to admit it but he is scared, the men who took him away from his home has brought him to an old decayed school and thrown him into a classroom where four kids in the age of ten are trapped, all having the same scared look in their eyes of being torn away from their families. The men leave Nathan and the children alone in the room. With his captures out, Nathan checks the windows for a possible escape but quickly realize why the men haven't bothered boarding the windows; the room they are trapped inside is on the third floor where jumping will be suicide and if he survives, he wouldn't be running anywhere since such a fall will definitely break bones. He leaves the windows with a hand on the swallow shaped Nalini for some much needed self-comfort, never thought he would realize what Sniper said about kids getting kidnapped first hand.
Speaking on kids, Nathan turns his attention on the four kids; all of them hugging their daemons and look ready to burst into tears. Poor kids, Nathan thinks. He is a bit luckier being older and having enough experience dealing with sticky situations to keep himself from panicking. These kids doesn't have that small luxury, all they know and think about is that some men has taken them away from their loved ones. "How long have you been here?" He asks the scared kids.

At first none of them answers him, too scared and probably also thinking him being one of the gobblers. Then one of them, her daemon taking form as a terrier says. "I've been here three days... Lucy and Ben came yesterday." Pointing at the girl and boy standing very close to one another. Nathan presumes those two being siblings. The girl speaking then points at a girl hiding in a corner, struggling holding back her tears. "She came this morning, has just stopped crying... Are you one of the g-gobblers?" She asks him, trying but failing sounding brave.

"No." Nathan shakes his head. "Got taken just like you. Names Nate." He adds, thinking that them knowing his name will ease up their fear just a bit.

"I'm Heather." The girl with the terrier daemon introduces herself and after some hesitating she walks over to him, asking: "Do you know where they will take us?" Hoping an adult might give them some answers.

But unfortunately Nathan has no idea, nor that will these people do to them. All he knows for certain that he won't let them succeed and since he doubt no one will come to his aid; he has to use his own wits in try getting out along with these kids. "No, but I'm not going to stick around to find out."

"You going to escape?"

"Yeah, will you help?"

The girl nods and turns to the three others. The two siblings eye one another, then to Nathan with a united nod. The girl in the corner leaves her spot with a weak "I-I try..." still in shock from being taken away. They all are but having someone older and determent to get out comforts them.

Nathan is glad his presence can ease up a little of their fear. Barely ten minutes after his arrival his and the kids capture return; telling it is time to move.
Nathan is the only one who got cuffed and his daemon held down by the gobblers jackal and vulture daemon, he isn't really surprised though. The kids are too weak to put up any fight, all they can do is try and resist getting shoved outside the building and toward the truck waiting outside. The gobbler pushes them into the truck and leaves them into complete darkness. The kids start crying, overwhelmed by fear of this suffocating darkness now surrounding them. "Daemons, turn into night animals." Nathan voice breaks through the darkness and the kids calm slightly down now they can see just a little thanks to their daemons forms. His own daemon has taken form as a barn owl, holding her wings over the three bats and one firefly daemons. The kids sit closely around Nathan who is admittedly just as scared as them but does his best staying calm for their sake and also needs a clear head if he should have any chance getting out.

Chapter Text

Back at Boston, Nathan's mother has just told Dell that Nathan hasn't come home and feared the worst. Dell does as well; many from the Magisterium will be very interested in Nalini's ability in continuing changing form even after Nathan has passed pubescence and become an adult. He wants to save the kid but sadly; no one knows where Gobblers takes those kidnapped children. The many teams around the world would've made Gobblers stop, but they can't, all thanks to this mass genocide that has eliminated many of the teams. Still, it won't stop this small team of friends. "Don't worry Saffira, we will find those sons of bitches and get your son home."

Nathan's mother; Saffira smiles, happy someone wants to help her. "Thank you, the police wasn't much help... bastards." Her daemon Adrastos lets out a sneer, angry that the men supposed to help did it in a very halfhearted manner, as if they didn't dare enrage the Magisterium or just wanted Saffira to leave so they can get back to work and helping the Gobblers taking more innocent people. Turning back to the wounded man. "But wouldn't it take a while before you can leave the hospital?" She asks, not wanting Dell to get more hurt than he already is. "Isn't it best you ask someone else to do this?"
Saffira is aware of the secret resistance the Magisterium has been fighting for several decades from her lover, he never told her the name of this resistance though, for fear it might endanger her and her family further; but he did tell her that Dell is part of it.

"I will be leaving the hospital very soon." Dell says, glances to the missing arm; it still bothers him seeing a part of his body missing and looks forward getting the gunslinger attached. Much to his luck, the Magisterium goons hadn't found his grandfather's inventions. "It's only matter of time before they realize I'm still alive." His bright blue eyes meet her bit duller blue. "And I'm not planning going down easily."

She can understand that, unlike his father who has never questioned the world power and just did what he was told. Dell might look like a laidback and docile Texan but like her lover; that is all a ruse. Dell is a fighter and will not hesitate to use his smart brain to build machines that can wreck a whole army if that army has been stupid enough to provoke him. "I know, and when you find Nathan." Saffira places her hand on his remaining, giving it a small squeeze. "Tell him to kick those men asses."

Nathan's mother is probably the only woman who does not try and stop her boys fighting against the police and local gangs. Dell did once ask her about it and she came with the explanation that she will not stop her boys fighting for what they believe in, so long they do it with good intentions. That way of thoughts had mixed effects on the boys.
He smirks. "I will ma'am." Nathan is one a fine proof of that belief of hers. He will fight if he sees injustice even if he will get in trouble for it. "And I will bring him back home safely." He promises.

"Bring them both back home."

She doesn't need to say who the second person is, Dell already knows. Sadly he cannot make the promise that he can reunite her with her lover. That choice has to be Antoine's and his alone.

Early the next morning and after having taken a stash of painkillers and antibiotics, Dell leaves the hospital without the doctors knowing in case they decide to inform the ever watching Magisterium. He heads back to the now destroyed factory, here he finds the Sniper, looting the place for anything useful and placing it in the middle sized airship hidden behind the building.
Dell cannot help but smile when he sees that airship, unlike the ones he makes to those rich people this airship has a lot more of his personal touch. This airship is made so it both light enough to fly in the air and strong enough to sail on the water. The mast is made so the owner of the ship can change it to either sea or water. At the middle of the ship are the helium tanks, having enough gas to let the ship fly for about a week, then it has to replenish. The deck is mostly free and open, allowing people to walk freely around and need little worry falling over board with the high glass railing. Below deck Dell builds a small kitchen, which is the hallway to the sleeping quarters and machine room, above the machine room is the storing room; big enough to transport supplies to the many teams stationed around the world. This ship was made as a sign of friendship to Lawrence and Antoine, both have been using the ship to its fullest potential over the years.

"Don't worry." Lawrence comes up beside the creator of this airship, carrying a box filled with food supplies. "I have taken good care of her."

"You better." Dell says smirking. "Cus I would hate bashing your head— oh did you find my grandfather's secret stash?"

The sniper nods, gesturing with his head towards the airship. "It's in the living quarters. You can look at it if everything is there before we take off. Oh, and your official class uniform is on the table."

With a nod, Dell walks up to the ship and heads downstairs to see if everything he's going to need will be there. The living quarters has a very roomy feeling with its tree coated walls, the kitchen is located just a bit further down, not far away from a long seat with soft light brown pillows; giving it a feeling being a sofa people can find back at their homes. Before the seat is a table made out of tree as well, and on it is the box with his grandfather's last inventions. Dell sits down on the sofa and empties the box. He smiles seeing the gunslinger, a robotic hand that can move just as well as a real hand but ten times more powerful. Dell takes the wondrous machine, remembering how excited he felt when his grandfather showed him the gunslinger for the first time and how he actually considered chopping his own hand off just to try it out. But both his parents talked him out of it, so he merely had to admire it from its shelf.
"At least one good thing came out from all of this." Naira remarks besides him. He smiles, still with his eyes plastered on the metallic hand. "Remind me to thank those people."
"With a handshake or a bullet?" She asks dryly, jumping onto the table and eyes the gunslinger. "Heck, with the gunslinger you can give their heart a handshake."
Dell cannot help but laugh at his daemon's remarks, putting down the metallic hand. "Let's us not go too much overboard with ideas." Or he might follow her suggestion, which does often end up with him hurting someone terribly bad, he doesn't really know why, but his daemon really has a twisted sense of humor which he somewhat lacks.
Naira grins. "Alright, but you shouldn't try and attach it without help." She remarks calmly, yet her tone has the hint she's worried what might happen if he tries do it on his own.
Dell hates to admit it but she got a point, it would be best he has another engineer or and medic around when he attaches this machine to his arm.
The gunslinger is made to read the nerves system and that means he has to cut open the wound in order to attach it, and he doubts he can do it with one arm and in his currently weaken state. "Alrightly then, I will wait."
"Good." And his daemon turns to two shirts, one red and one blue. They do not look very special at first glance, but Dell knows how important these shirts are for the resistance. His gaze lands on the icon on the shoulders on one of the shirts. It's a round and yellow, having an icon of a wrench. Dell picks up the blue shirt; still remembering the day Antoine gave him a red shirt when he invited him to join Team Fortress Resistance, but back then he had declined it; saying that he will help the resistance but did not consider himself a true member.
Naira looks up to him, but she does not need to speak, a simple nod is enough. He returns the nod and put on the blue shirt, looking a bit proudly at the logo for a moment and the Engineer heads back to the deck.

"You got everything?" The Sniper asks, like the Texan, also has a shirt on. His red shirt has a sniper scope logo on the shoulders.

"Yes." Dell answers, nodding towards the stairs. "Predicate it."

Lawrence smirks. "No worries." And after he has put the last crate's contents to their proper places, he starts removing the ropes and with the ship leaving the ground he explains to the Engineer that they will be heading to the team in Mexico. "They were the last who saw Spook, not to mention they still want those portable sentries from you."

"Of course." Dell nods, he can see reason in that but he still would've preferred if they tried to find Nathan and his kidnappers.
Sadly Dell knows that sometimes people have to sacrifice one person so several can survive, especially in a war like this...
After having reached the needed altitude and dressed to the colder weather but also protect them against the sun's rays; the two men can do little but wait to get to their location. Lawrence put the ship on auto pilot and kills the hours cleaning his weapons to once and a while look up to watch his daemon fly around beside the ship.
Dell spends the slow hours drawing an easy to understand blueprint to the Engineer in Mexico, or at least he is trying but soon has to realize that drawing anything with his left hand is practically impossible. He groans; reminded that how worthless he has become without his dominating hand, and how happy he is that his grandfather invented the gunslinger. Without it, he might as well been dead since an engineer is not much worth without his ability to build.

A day plus a couple of hours of travel, Lawrence put the airship down in the middle of the desert, but from what Dell can observe the Sniper has been here before since he packs the ship and makes them both push it into a cave located nearby. With the airship hidden, Lawrence brings the engineer to the nearest city which is located about an hour walk from the cave where the Sniper loans a vehicle in form of an old truck, drives back to the cave, fill the truck with supplies and then finally taken them to where the resistance is at the moment. Lawrence stops the truck near what looks for Dell a mining town- or rather what is left of it. Many of the buildings have been burned down or blown to bits, sign there has been a battle here. "Wait here." Lawrence tells the shorter man and jumps out from the truck with his sniper rifle drawn and daemon on sharp lookout on his shoulders.

Sniper scans the area briefly and when at least a little certain the place is safe; he runs over to the destroyed buildings that were the Mexico's teams headquarters a week ago. Inside and to his horror he finds several bodies of fallen comrades, from the looks of it; they have only been dead for a day or two. He knells down before one which has been the teams pyro and a good friend of his. "I'm sorry mate." He muses to the body, taking off his hat in sign of respect; noting himself that if this place is safe then he should give these people a proper burial. He leaves the body to check on the rest— from what he can tell from the building's destructions and how close the bodies are to one another the Mexico team got hit very fast and very hard, barely giving the survivors a chance to recover. That is bad news since this team has been known to be very good hiding their tracks as they have specialized in the hit and run tactic. The only reason he knows about this place is because the team told him and if he know this team right; then they won't be here anymore. He leaves the base, but jumps back inside when Laraine makes one of her warning sounds. From his hiding he scans frantically the area for what she spotted, there, on the roof. That's a sniper's scope reflecting the sunlight. Lawrence draw out his own rifle and aim to shoot, then he stops when he realizes who it is. He smirks and steps out when the other sniper realizes they are on the same side, the same aged man on the roof straighten up, pulls down his hood and waves which Lawrence gladly returns.

Moments later the other sniper dressed in blue joins Lawrence on the ground and shakes the other sniper's one's hand with a chuckle and his bobcat daemon playfully whacks out after Laraine. "I'm sorry about that, glad you spotted me; might have shot you otherwise."

"That wouldn't have looked good on your record mate." Lawrence smiles, he does not know this blond sniper's name but he does respect this man and consider him a friend. Before joining, this Canadian spends his time hunting out in the wild and like Lawrence; knows the beauty of it. When meeting they do share some of their hunting stories, but now is not the time for playful bragging: now it's time to figure out what happened to the team. Lawrence nods towards the base where half the Mexico team is. "What happed?"

The blue Sniper frowns deeply and the hash sun illuminates four long scratch marks over his face he got from a fight with a cougar in his youth. "We're still trying to figure it out. The enemy arrived so darn suddenly it was like—"

"Like they knew exactly where you were." Lawrence finishes for him, he has heard that one before and he hates admitting it that they are losing too many people because of this. "You are not the only ones who got attacked like this. The team from Florida and Colorado got ambushed as well."

"How many survived?" Sniper asks.

"None, Florida's Medic survived just long enough to tell us about a new alethiomist from the prisoner they interrogated before they got attacked." Lawrence explains, he and Antoine found the man more dead than alive and yet he used the last of his strength to give them this crucial information. "My partner: a Spy is currently following on the lead. Last I heard from him that he was here." Eyeing the Canadian. "Did he pass through lately? He's dressed in blue and has a ladder snake for a daemon."

The older man nods. "Oh yeah, a spy with such a daemon visited us only a week ago; warned us of an attack so we fortified the base and planned several escape routes." Eyeing the remnant of their former base. "Probably what saved the rest of us."

It's nice seeing some of the teams are still alive, speaking of team. "Where is the rest of your team?" Lawrence asks and guides the other sniper to where he left the truck and Dell. "I have supplies, weapons, and someone your engineer might want to meet."

"I'll take you there." Sniper says, he jumps into the truck and makes a polite greeting to Dell, noticing right away that this engineer is wounded and missing half his of his lower arm. "Your team got attacked too eh?"

"No, just me." Dell explains him, holding his left hand over the stump. "The Magisterium does not take no for an answer."

The other Sniper narrows his eyes slightly by this, he does not fancy the thought brining a Magisterium main target to their current base. Besides, for all, he knows this one could work for the enemy.

"You can trust him." Lawrence tells him, eyeing the man deadly serious. "I trust this Engineer with my life."

The blue dressed Sniper blinks, coming from his Aussie co-worker who is bit of a lone wolf; that's saying something. "Alright, and sorry about this, but I have to keep an eye on you." He warns Dell with his bobcat daemon staring suspiciously at Naira.

Dell blinks how this sniper said it, not many people warn him about such things. Glancing to Lawrence he notices the Aussie is struggling not to laugh. "Um thanks?" he says, but does not blame this blond sniper for being suspicious of him, no need seeing what's inside the buildings to know this Sniper has lost co-workers and friends.

The other sniper guides them to this team's new base which is an old gravel mine, inside the Canadian asks Dell. "You got the uniform?"
A bit confused the engineer nods and remove his jacket so the sniper can see the blue shirt with the wrench logo on.
That seems to satisfy the man. "Good, otherwise you will be shot." Just as a familiar bibbing sound echo's through the underground hallway. Dell and Lawrence turn, spotting a sentry placed at the second hall at the crossway. The machine's scanners did spot them but never turn hostile against any of them. The engineer smiles seeing one of his inventions have been put to good use.
The Canadian sniper blinks a bit baffled seeing this engineer look at the sentry gun in calm, almost proudly way; like he has seen it before. But only the Team Fortress Resistance has this kind of machines, so how in the world would this new engineer know to it? "How do you know this machine? I thought you said you are new."

Dell turns to the sniper, still smiling. "I invented it."

That catches the sniper off guard. "You.. invented the sentry gun eh?"

"Yuep."

"Told you, your engineer wants to meet him." Lawrence smirks, many of Dell's machines have been very popular among the other engineers, everyone has blue prints to a sentry gun and boy has those machines made life hell for the Magisterium soldiers.

Sniper scratches the back of his head, a bit shocked that he actually would meet the man who has created the portable sentry guns and a load of special weapons, hell his favorite weapon is made by this guy. He grabs the bow hidden behind the old rifle and after it has unfolded itself, he shows it to the engineer "Recognize this?" The man's face light up as if he just received a million bucks.

"The Fortified Compound." Dell takes the metallic bow, it hasn't been the first bow he has made, but it is the first made out of metal. He's still proud of how it came out, though. "I recon you're the fella Sniper spoke about; he said one of his fellow snipers preferred using a bow instead of a rifle and asked if I could build a stronger bow which can be hidden very easily as well." He draws the bow as if he's aiming a none existence arrow at the wall. "It doesn't shoot as far as a sniper rifle, but I'm sure the incendiary arrows I made will make up for it. It's firing well I hope?" He asks and returns the weapon back to its owner.

Okay, this is diffidently this bow's creator, for he hasn't told anyone about those perks; not even his Aussie counterpart knows about the incendiary arrows that came with this weapon. Sadly he can't set people on fire anymore since he has already used up the last incendiary arrow and cannot get more since it had been their Pyro who made him those arrowheads. "It sure is." He puts the once again folded bow back on his shoulders, this time smiling and trusting this fellow a bit more. "But I do have a few... let's say suggestions I would ask you could do. Can you build arrows that can hold tear gas eh?"

"I can, but I would need two hands for it." Dell replies, gesturing at his missing right hand. "And I would need your engineer or medic's help for that." Hoping one of those two has survived the onslaught.

Sniper blinks, not sure what this Engineer means but he is sure he will find out. He takes the two into the base. At the entrance of the base stands a man with as much bulk as he has fat, he wears a pair of brown pants, covering over his military shoes. His blue shirt is covered in dirt and blood, yet the yellow logo with a fist can be clearly seen on his shoulders. Besides him stands his boar daemon, narrowing her eyes at the beaver which makes Naira quickly seeks cover behind her human.
Sniper greets the man with a hand sign before introducing him to Dell. "This is our Heavy."

The Heavy fits his right hand and put hit left flat on top on it, bowing towards the engineer and sniper with "Ni Hao." They both return the gesture by the other sniper's suggesting them doing the same. The Heavy seems satisfied with it and returns back to his guard duty.

"He's still learning our language." Sniper explains the two, leading them away from the Heavy. "It's bit hard. This big guy is quite the stubborn oak learning English."

"Where's he from?" Dell asks curiously.

"China, don't know his story of why he's fighting, though." Sniper replies with a shrug. "Spy was the one who found him, but I can't ask him since he's dead... I might not have liked him but Heavy did, so... yeah... this way." He leads them through the base, and it is clear that the team hasn't been here for long since as is pretty nothing down here. The only place having any sense of this place being a base in is a shaft where several tables filled with papers, machines— most of them are broken lies around. Before these tables stand two people, a male and a female; both in a heated argument.

"— I don't care, he's my brother!" The darkly skinned woman snaps, glaring at the man in the ruined and bloodied blue shirt before her. She has a red shirt with a wrench logo on; both her hands are covered in black gloves, looking ready to fall off when she makes an angry hand-move against the male. "No way in hell I am letting him get eaten by vultures, he deserves a proper burial!— they all do!" Her daemon, an Aardvark digs his powerful claws into the dirt in sign of her frustrations.

"Don't you think I want that too?!" The man retorts, besides from being quite muscular, this man is very normal looking, and by first glance most would mistake him for another class by his attitude and his daemon which has the form of a gray fox with a bit deformed face from a huge scar. But his class logo reveals what he is. his dog-tags starts swinging from side to side when he begins pacing around before the enraged woman. "They were my comrades— my friends as well! But—" The two newcomers notice that this man has a small limp. "We cannot return before Sniper says it is safe, I do not want to lose any more people and you will stay fucking right here until I say otherwise!" He steps over to the woman, giving her a stare that dares her to defy him. "Do I make myself clear?!"
They glare at one another for several moments, with the gray fox barking at the aardvark to stand down as he looks ready to charge out from the base. Then the woman's daemon backs away and seconds later she does as well with a hash. "Fine!" And she stomps deeper into the mine. The man lets out a long tired sigh and drops down onto the makeshift table, right that moment; looks older than he probably is.

"Scout." Sniper calls, the man with the title Scout snaps his head up and notices right away the two other people behind him.

"Who are they?— wait I know the Sniper." He points at Lawrence, before turning with a frown over to Dell "But I don't know this one, who are you?" He demands in a tone that clearly reveals he is the leader of this group, explains why the engineer backed down when he commanded her and why the sniper went to him after having returned.

"I'm Engineer." Dell replies he does remember Antoine once explained to him that no one in the resistance calls each other by name unless they truly trust one another. The reason why people use title instead of name is a way to make sure that if one of the groups gets a traitor then that person cannot snitch the others by name.

"He's the guy who builds us all our weapons and invented the sentry gun." Sniper explains the Scout.

Scout nods slowly. "I see." But unlike the Sniper he does not seems to calm down and for some reason, his eyes are plastered on Naira who sense something is wrong and steps closer to her human. "It's nice having all your inventions and all, but..." The Scout turns his blue eyes back to Dell. "I do not fancy having a Conagher in my base."
Dell eyes wide of this man knowing his last name, the Scout looks at him with eyes filled with anger and before anyone can really react: Dell has a gun pointed straight to his face. "So you better give a fucking good reason not to blow your goddamn head off!" The Scout sneers and his fox daemon jumps at Naira, quickly dominating her and keeps her down onto the ground.

"Scout! What are you doing?!" Sniper demands in disbelief of their boss is aiming at one of their own, his comrade; the Aussie Sniper clearly does not like this one bit and proves how much he cares for the other man as he is ready to shoot Scout with his submachine gun. The Heavy and Engineer both come over to see what all the fuss is about, however; like Sniper not drawing weapons as none of them are certain what is going on.

"This man is not one of ours." Scout sneers and completely cold he has a gun pointed at from Lawrence, he keeps his eyes right on the startled Dell. "His family has been working for the Magisterium for generations! His fucking father tried to kill me!" Nodding down to his daemon large scar across her head. "We still deal with migraines from that— surprisingly how deadly a beaver's teeth is when used against someone, especially when she was just as nice and calm as yours is this very moment."

Even when forced down by the fox daemon, Naira stays calm not to enrage both further. She only moves so she can speak to the fox's human. "I'm awfully sorry you had to go through that, but I and D- I mean Engineer is not like his father and I'm not like his daemon." She feels the fox loosen her grip for a moment of the surprise she actually spoke directly to her human, but she does not use it to her advantages and overpower the other daemon in fear the Scout will shoot Dell. The fox places a paw onto her head so she can let go with her jaw. "And why should we believe you?" The gray fox asks, baring her teeth at the beaver, Naira tries her very best not to show how scared she actually feels towards this other daemon.
"Because I am not like him." Dell answers calmly, all the time keeping eye contact with the Scout in case he decides to shoot. "But I do not think words can convince you."

"Darn right you are." Scout snaps.

"Then use me." Dell says, catching the man and his fox by surprise. "Tell me what you need and I'll make it."
"You're forgetting something." Naira muses, and points to his missing hand.
"Oh right, well..." Dell turns sheepishly back to Scout. "After your Engineer has helped me install my new hand, then I will build you whatever you need."

Scout only removes his eyes from the man to look at the missing arm, then he turns his attention to the still gun aiming sniper. "From how you're treating to shoot me I say you trust this man."

"I trust him with my life." Lawrence answers calmly, yet his eyes and how his nankeen kestrel is angry glaring at the fox shows what he truly feels about this situation. "And I would appreciate it if you didn't smear his brain over the walls and I have to return the favor for it."

After what feels like hours, Scout finally lowers his gun. "Fine... but I want eyes on him all the time. Heavy; you're guarding duty." He looks to Heavy and points at Dell to which the big man nods, understanding the order just by the gesture.
Scout turns to the female Engineer. "Help him with this hand, whatever the hell that means. I'm allowing you to shoot if you feel threatened."

"Aren't you just a bit paranoid?" She asks him unconvinced that this new engineer with apparently the name Conagher is any threat.

Scout snorts annoyed over her question. "I think I'm not paranoid enough with this man. For all I know he can turn our weapons against us with a switch of a bottom." Turning to Dell with a glare of pure disdain. "Don't let his amiable demeanor fool you; I got a bullet shot into my stomach and my daemon half her face chewed off the last time I let my guards down around a Conagher. If he tries anything: kill him." To then turn to Lawrence. "If your words are true; then it won't come to that— Sniper how is the status at the former base?" He asks dumbfounded Sniper, and leaves the others while the team sniper explains the situation from their former and now destroyed base.

Lawrence stares pissed after the Scout. "And that's why you never should make a Scout the boss. They let their emotions control their action."

"He has kept us alive so far." The female Engineer points out dryly to him, glancing to where Scout and Sniper left. "Even if he can be infuriating at times."

Dell can't help but chuckle. "Reminds me of someone else I know, not a Scout mind you." He smiles friendly to the other Engineer there now looks a bit confused at him. "He's a Spy."

"Oh, well spies are a pain in the ass, ours was especially, never knew where he was half the time." She remarks with a smile and adds a bit apologizing. "I would like to shake your hand but well, Scout's orders."

"I understand." Dell simply says, he can't say he blames this Scout from being suspicious of him, or rather at his father. Ever since he left the family business of serving as a head engineer for the Magisterium to "build" zeppelins, he and his father no longer see eye to eye. He can't say they hate each other; no in fact they both still care for one another. It's just... well their relationship was never strong to begin with and now with their so different point of views on the world has slowly torn them apart. Dell actually had a stronger relation with his grandfather than his old man, kinda sad now that he thinks about it. But now is not the time to dwell on the past. "If your boss would allow it, I would like you to help me attach one of my grandfather's invention onto me."

Engineer blinks. "Depends on how complicated it is. I'm more specialized in radio waves than the machine itself." So without the aid of other engineers, she wouldn't have been much of an asset for her team.

That explains why the sentry hasn't attacked anyone with the blue/red shirts on, Dell is confident that this lady has used her talent in radio waves to convert the "shield" he made to keep his sentry from shooting anyone on the team by putting a smaller vision into each teams uniform. Very smart of her. "I recon you used my contraption on the wrench I send you to keep the sentry shooting anyone on the team."

She nods. "That's right- with the help from another Engineer stationed at Colorado, we built a smaller vision of the shield you made and Cypher made sure each uniform has it in each class's logo." Pointing at her own wrench logo on her red shirt. "Every team has it now, even those stationed in Europe."

"Impressive." Dell says sincerely, he has been working together with the Colorado Engineer to several projects, such a pity they lost him... but who this Cypher is she talks about? That sounds like an important person. "Who's Cypher?"

The female Engineer smirks. "He's the Elite Engineer— do you know the Elite?" Dell nods, yes he has heard about those guys from other members. "Good, means I don't have to explain. Well, Cypher asked me and the Engineer from Colorado to do the same thing on the guns but..." Engineer's proud smile fades away, replaced by grief. "After we lost contract with the other teams and from how we barely survived that attack... I fear the worst..."

Lawrence lowers his eyes. "They are all gone." He tells her somberly, not seeing any reason keeping the truth away from her or anyone else. Truth is an important factor that keeps the teams from falling apart.

Engineer's head drop. "I see... thank you for... telling me." She steps away from the two, staring out to this far from perfect hideout. "The spy that warned us refused to say anything but I knew something terrible had happened to the other teams. He only promised he would put a stop to it." Her daemon places one of his front claws up against her leg in hope to comfort her. She scratches his head.

"And we will." Lawrence promises, she turns back to him and he nods towards the still limp missing Dell. "But right now we need your help."

She gives them a determent look and fully back to business again. "What do you need?"

The female Engineer did voice her concern that she might not be able to help Dell install the robotic hand, but Dell is confident she can and he is proven correct. After a couple of hours of explaining and attaching the gunslinger; Dell can finally look at his new hand and move it with relative ease. It is not fully functional yet as his body is trying to reject it by giving him a fever. He would need to spend the rest of the day and maybe also the next to recover from this small surgery.

Engineer does her best speeding up the recovery by keeping the skin around the metal clean. She watches the hand flex slowly and must admit that her inner engineer is really intrigued by this piece of machinery; not enough to attach one to her own arm though. "Your grandfather must've been really smart if he could build machines like this." She remarks with a smile to the fever stuck man beside her.

Dell nods slowly, flexing his new hand a bit. "That he was." Eyeing it with a smile. "I always wanted to be able doing the same; invent machines that will blow people away."

"I say you succeed that quite literal." Engineer giggle on the thought what this one's sentry gun can do to an enemy soldier. "I have met a lot of smart people in my lifetime but never one who can build a sentry that can pack itself up and be light enough for travel, yet strong and deadly enough keeping the enemy from steamrolling a team of nine. From what I heard you also are the one who builds most of our weapons, and not many can make weapons as fast or effective as you." Her Aardvark daemon gives Dell beaver a friendly nudge as his human tells him. "So I am happy you are on our side. You could be a dangerous but spectacular enemy and if your father is just a fraction of what I see in you: I fully understand why Scout is wary around you."

"Ah shucks." Dell looks away, he is not used to this kind of praise. Most people just praise his work on the zeppelins he has made, but they never gave him any sort of joy. This Engineer, however, did not really praise his work, no she praises his abilities to build said machines. "I appreciate your kind words and—" Turning back to her, no longer smiling. "Hear your warning. Do not worry ma'am, I will keep my head down."

"Good, Scout's not a bad guy." She says and glances with her dark eyes to where Scout stands and speak with Lawrence about the situation of the other teams. "He just... really does not trust the Magisterium. He was once a soldier for them."

Dell blinks, it does not really surprise him hearing that this Scout has a dark back-story with the Magisterium; that is the only reason why his old man would've tried to kill him. What does surprise him that if Scout has been a soldier and actually gotten away, then why is his daemon not in the shape of a dog? For some reason he still cannot wrap his head around: all soldiers in the Magisterium has a dog daemon. Clearly, the world power doesn't go around and pick out any person that just happens to have a dog daemon. He is about to ask her about it but decides that question should be asked to the Scout instead; if the man ever comes to trust him that is. What he can ask her though. "How did he get away? The Magisterium does not take someone leaving very nicely." Nodding down to his right arm.

Engineer shift a little uncomfortable. "I am not sure I should be the one telling you... only that your father attacked him because of his desert."

"I see." Dell nods, that small explanation has been enough. He needs to be careful not to accidentally enrage the Scout, for if he knows his father correctly then his old man attacked the Scout because the scout did something to piss off the Magisterium.

Chapter Text

In middle of the ocean, on a ship of the Magisterium is Nathan and although he is trapped and don't have any way getting away from his captures: he sure hell aren't making life easy for them. The crew quickly figured out that locking this young man into a cabin like the other kids and leaving him alone is just asking for trouble, in his life as the runt of a gang and often gotten into trouble Nathan knows how to get out from tight spots. So getting out from a cabin is child's play for him. At first he used the door, unlocking it by homemade lock picks and when out he kept on trying to get into the radio room in hope he could call someone. He did get caught and the Gobblers put a guard on the door but that did not keep this one down for long and in matter of days on the sea, the crew can be sure that the young adult is most likely out and annoying the shit out from one them.

The man that has been guarding the door checks and lets out a tired groan when seeing the room empty once again. "He's out again!" He calls out to the ship, more annoyed than actual worried about this. His daemon, a komodo dragon starts searching for Nathan's scent with her fogged tongue, leading the tired guard outside.
Another man hears the guard's warning and starts searching as well, muttering to himself. "You must've thought this brat soon will—Argh!" His complaining gets rudely interrupted by Nathan who has landed right on him.

The young man grins. "Look up next time chucklehead." And throws the knocked out man into one of the life boats with Nalini traps the man's Grey hound into a pile of ropes. That will slow the man down when he finally comes around. With that one out, Nathan easily sneaks past the guard who is still following the fake trail he left behind and without much trouble gets into the control room. One of the Gobblers is in there but it does not worry him too much. Nalini turns into a small bird, flies past the huge man, elderly man and starts reading the reports they have received from the place they are going. She does not find much of interest at first but does read further on the message of a stash of weapons they have received from Boston. She removes a paper to read on the next but is stopped when a pair of jaws appears in the corner of her eye. Nalini react by mere instinct and takes off, barely missing the huge wolf daemon teeth.

"Don't you ever learn?!" The man roars furies although he haven't yet spotted Nathan, but know this little pest is near with his freak of a daemon. The man spots Nathan when the young man takes off like a cannon ball with his swallow daemon right behind him. The man and his wolf follows but have no chance catching up to the swift Nathan. "Get back here you little freak!"

"Catch me if you can pancakes!" Nathan taunts back, yes he is aware that sooner or later he will be caught but until then he will make life hard for these thugs, them having their attention on him means they will leave the kids downstairs alone. His door guard jumps out from a corner but the only thing that guy gets is air as Nathan spotted the guy a mile away. "Too slow! Try sneaking the next time if you know what that mean!" And he's gone, much to the two's men's great frustration. More so as they cannot shoot him. Nathan learned from his last visit at the control room that their boss wants him alive and unharmed; giving him the advantages being a huge jerk to them.
"Are you even trying?!" He mocks another Gobbler and just to be a bit more annoying he uses the man's head as a ramp, getting on the roof of the control room. "Come on guys! I'm not even winded!" He taunts the men with spread out arms like he owns the ship— in his eyes he practically does. One of the guard follows him, but in a incredible clumsy and that is hilarious for this speedster, Nathan kneels down with his hyena Nalini grinning at the poor sight. "Nice hustle chucklehead, you really know how to make someone feel nervous." And with Nalini in her hawk form, they both take off in a carefree manner before the man trying to catch him can even get near. However just when he dodges the big man with the wolf daemon; a jolt of pain hits him and sends him sprawling to the ground. His whole body hurts, reminding of the time when Dean dared him to grab an electric fence, except this is way more painful than the fence.

"Did you kill him?" The huge man asks, almost sounding hopeful it has been the case.

"No, merely stunned him." Someone Nathan hasn't heard before says but accent does sound awfully familiar. He just can't place where he has heard it before because of the shot he took. "Take him back to the room."

Nathan feels the big guy pick him up and he's too much in pain from the attack to do anything about it, not even throw a snarky remark when the man says. "Pity, wouldn't mind if you had 'accidently' killed this nuisance." The man carries him back to the room where he gets thrown down onto his bed.

"Leave, I got it from here." The voice of the one who shot him command the bigger man there snorts in return. "You? Don't make me laugh Conagher."

And just by that name, Nathan knows why that accent sounded so darn familiar, it is a southern accent but there is no way he would shoot him! Dell would never work for the Magisterium nor shoot him like this!

"Get out, now." The man— Nathan refuses to believe this is Dell says with a dangerous low tone. This man is dead serious, even Nathan can say that. The other man's wolf daemon growls but she and her human leave the two alone. The man with the same last name as Dell let out a sigh and asks the slowly recovering young man. "What in Sam hill were you thinking boy? Are you trying to get yourself—"

"Shut up!" Nathan snaps; he can't take it! This guy even speaks like Dell! He gets his weaving sight under control and can finally see this man's face, to his relief it is not Dell; this guy is way too old. "Don't you lecture me like he does!"

The older man blinks. "Like who?" His daemon— much to Nathan's shock is also a beaver, except this one has the natural brown color like a real beaver compared to Naira's golden brown fur.

"No one." Nathan grumbles, as if he's going to tell this man about the closet thing he has gotten to a father figure.

"Your father?"

"Mo!" He snaps again which makes Nalini turn into a fox, sneering at the beaver who only gives her a leveled stare. "He's a friend, my boss actually." And kicks himself from screwing up by revealing this.

The older man takes a seat before him, eyeing him with his blue-grey eyes. At least this guys doesn't have Dell's brighter blue for if he has then Nathan would seriously has thought his boss and friend somehow has gotten very old very suddenly and turned evil. "I presume your boss has a beaver as his daemon as well?"

Nathan nods slowly, still glaring daggers at the man although the turns into a shocked one when the man let out a sigh and says tiredly. "Then Dell didn't do a very good job, if he had then you might have stayed in the cabin instead of going out asking for trouble."

"How the hell do you know him?" Nathan asks but he has a very strong feeling who this man is, the age and his last name sure are good evidence. "You're his dad or something?" The look in this man's eyes is proof enough. Nathan throws up his arms in disbelief. "Great! Now I'm held captured by Dell's old man— why the hell are you working for the enemy?!" He demands the man.

Mr. Conagher stays calm under the young man's small temper tantrum, only a small frown appears on his forehead. "Who to say I am the enemy?"

"You're working for the Magisterium, right?"

"Correct-"

"Then you are the enemy, your own son and his friends are fighting against the Magisterium." Nathan tells the older man hard.

Mr. Conagher's frown deepens. "I had hoped Dell wouldn't join the terrorists but," he let out a sigh. "It is to be expected; he did spend a lot of his childhood around my father no matter what I said."

"What's wrong with your old man?" Nathan asks, thinking that the Conagher family history is a bit more complicated than Dell ever let on. When speaking about his family Dell always praised his grandfather being a genius with a strange spark in his eyes while he always made only faint explanations about his father.

"Dell has probably already told you about my father's genius mind, even I admit; the man can build wonders but like my own son... he was too much of an idealist. A dangerous thing being in the world we live in-" Mr. Conagher explains very calmly that it is almost scary for Nathan.

"But aren't you like them?" Nathan asks slowly but from how he has seen so far; Dell's father might act very much like his son but his ideals is completely somewhere else.

"Every Conagher is the same boy." He replies, unlike Dell who merely shrugs it off with that sad smile of his. His father seems to fully believe that just how it is. "We are the builders, the greatest inventors the world has seen and the Magisterium has always cherished that talent and paid us well. Our ancestors have helped the Magisterium to rise and that's a title I proudly stand by like anyone else in the family has. My father and my son are unfortunately the exceptions and I fear that if Dell doesn't soon remember his place in the world; then he will get killed."

Nathan stares at the man, completely in disbelief that Dell's own father sounds like he has accepted being a mere tool for the Magisterium, worse, that he doesn't seems to mind that his son will be killed! "How can you say such a thing?" He asks the man, not hiding his disbelief. "He's your son for crying out loud!"

Mr. Conagher nods sadly. "Yes and my heart ache knowing he might get killed because of my own father's silly ideas of how this world should work. I can only hope that he will see reason and leave the terrorists before it is too late." His tired eyes lands on Nathan. "The same goes for you. Remember your place, stay in this room and no harm will come to you."

"Is that a threat?" Nalini asks, baring her teeth at the man in her cat form.

The man does not pay her any attention. "A warning and boy." He gets up to leave. "Daemons shouldn't speak to humans, it is very rude you see."

Nathan snorts. "Naira does it all the time." He remarks dryly and he admits that he kinda misses hearing the beaver's wisecrack comments. He eyes Mr. Conagher's daemon who is acting more like living ornaments than actual part of the man's soul. "Doesn't your daemon ever speak?"
He gets no answers for that and he is once again left alone in the room.

Nalini turns into her favorite form: a wild rabbit and jumps onto the bed with: "Have you noticed none of the daemons speaks?"
No, he haven't really. Nathan turns to his own daemon, frowning at her small observation. She continues, "I wonder why they don't speak, has their humans forbidden them doing so?"
"That's stupid." Nathan snorts, he lies down onto the bed, staring up to the ceiling. "It would be like making a part of yourself shut up." Why would anyone make their daemon stop talking? He won't make Nalini stay quiet; her quick-witted nature has helped him several times, not to mention that she has more than once talked him out from doing stupid stunts like bashing someone's skull with a baseball bat just because the guy pissed him off.
Nalini lies down beside him. "Maybe they don't wanna hear what their daemon has to say?" She suggests.
Nathan doesn't know and thinking about what these people doesn't want to hear about makes his head hurt, so he decides to drop it. "Well I am not going to listen to that old geezer." He declares.
"Good." his daemon says and adds much to his amusement. "If you did I might settle into fly just to piss you off."

Chapter Text

Scout has been running a lot in his lifetime, very few out of joy. First he ran away from his family, for a time stopped beside his fellow Magisterium soldiers, later he ran away from them to now running with a new kind of soldiers, except this time he is not running away. Scout admits that his life hasn't been the greatest and he has very little experience on how to be genuine happy, but the feeling he has towards his fellow team is the closest thing he has ever come to it and that is more than enough to make him stay and fight alongside them. Scout cares for his team, they had become like family, and so losing six of this new family of his has been incredibly hard. He felt like he failed his team, they chose him as their leader and he let them down.
"Jack, it wasn't your fault." His daemon tells him softly. Hearing her voice again after years of silence by that stupid yet clever Magisterium rule is such a pleasure and a kick to those bastards' balls.
Still not even her voice can make him stop feeling like an utter failure. "I could've done more." He tells her, still running through the desert they currently are in. He needed to do something, so he does what his class is so darn good at: scouting the area while running. "If I had just been more vigilant, set stronger protections up around the base, maybe... they would still be alive." He stops, finally stops after have run for so long and it's not physically running. Jack collapsed onto his knees, with only the creatures of the desert and his own daemon as witness he weeps for his fallen comrades. The reality of what he has lost has finally hit him.
Adara sits down beside him, gently licking his arm. "You did everything you could." She tells him softly and this time, he listens to her words. After what feels like hours of finally letting his bottled up emotions out, Jack dries off the last of his tears and gets back on his feet. "I know..."
He eyes his daemon, once a dog like he was to the military, but now she represent the broken chain he got free from the Magisterium by using his cunning and quick-thinking. When she changed he felt like he has stepped into heaven, like he finally knew who he was. It was a change he welcomed with open arms. The Magisterium hates change, those people wants to stay as they are; people fully believing that when a daemon settle in their teenage years, its shape dictate the person's whole personality and thus destiny.
Jack once believed in that as well, but now; when he saw and felt his own daemon change when he called for it, he knows for a fact that daemon- people cannot change is utter bullshit. And that is why he joined the Team Fortress Resistance: he wants the world to know that daemon does not dictate their personality or destiny in life. The person does and no one else should tell them otherwise.

Of course the resistance cannot attack the world power such as the Magisterium head on, his own time working for those fuckers has made that clear. So he has trained his team in guerilla warfare; hit hard and disappear before the enemy will realize what has happen. But now, with most of his comrades are dead, Jack cannot satisfy himself screwing with the Magisterium soldiers stationed here in Mexico or blow up some buildings as they usual did. Those that made that possible are dead and this Scout want vengeance, but where can he and the others hit where it can be felt with so few of them? "Question; what would be the best 'fuck you' to those bastards?"
Adara scans the area for a moment, her eyes swiftly lands on the nearby city or rather what is outside the city. She smirks and turns her head up to her human. "What about using their communication against them?" Nodding towards the mildly guarded radio tower.
Jack grins. "That'll work, but it won't work if they know what we will be doing it." He remarks, for if the enemy figure out they are using their tower to their own need, well they just take it down.
"We have two engineers: use them." His grey fox daemon tells him and that is exactly what he is planning on doing. This will be a good opportunity to see if that Conagher is truly on their side, the man has so far proven friendly but Jack's past experience has taught him that family is like a sleeping giant that can and will kill if someone is stupid enough to underestimate them.

Jack returns back to the base, all the time making sure he is not followed. Back at the base and winded from the many detours, but not wanting to waste time his whistles loudly out to the other members.

His team knows right away what it means and gather around the table, the two others follows after a moment of hesitating.
"Alright people, I know some of you are still grieving." He does his best not looking at Engineer, he have no wish letting the men think her weak. Took him a while getting that line of thoughts out from his head thanks to the Magisterium considering women below men, but back to business. "But I need you back on duty and let those fuckers know that no one— and I mean no one screw around with us!" He looks at the three remaining of his team, happy to see they too seek vengeances with that fire in their eyes. "Since we are low on people we cannot do our usual work, so instead we are going to take something of theirs." He takes out a map and points at the location where the antenna is located. "This antenna is one of their main communication sources, and we are going to use it for our own."

"You mean strengthen our own communications?" Engineer asks.

Jack nods. "That and listen in on what those fuckers say to each other. So, Engineers," he eyes the two of the same class. "You think you can build us such a thing?"

"If my fellow engineer can build a long ranged antenna, I can build the perfect disguise for it." The Conagher man says with that eerie calm smile of his. Of course Jack refuses to let this guy know that he is wary around him.

His team's Engineer grins confident. "That I can!" And she's off with the other engineer not far behind.

Jack turns back to the rest. "Right, while they are working; I want the rest of us ready for the distraction." He point at the map where the city is. "The Magisterium has one of these Mann's iron factories, before the attack we kept stealing their melted iron and used it for ourselves. Now with us pretty much out of the way they are spitting out trucks of ammunition to their soldiers. I want us:" eyeing the two snipers and one heavy, "to attack this factory, cause as much havoc as we can so our engineers can install that radio right under their nose."

"Sounds like a good plan, but I don't like how you make the teams mate." The Kingdom of Auister Sniper remarks.

"Then what do you suggest?" Scout asks, in his time in the Magisterium made him loath being corrected , but in his time with people that was a far cry being a trained soldier and having different viewpoints on things, he came to appreciate their output.

The Aussie Sniper glances to the two working engineers. "Let me go with you engineer, I can protect her while she installs the antenna. My Engineer friend should go with you." Turning to Scout. "He will be most useful there."

Jack is hesitant having this sniper's engineer fighting besides him, but as he can't really come up with a good argument. Only a lame one that his teams engineer might need help installing the antenna which would just insult her abilities. He turns to his two team members, silently asking for their opinion.

"We could use a sentry gun for this." Sniper points out, after all only an engineer can activate that machine for some weird reason. Not to mention that Sniper has come to trust that Engineer enough not to be shot in the back.
Heavy merely nods with a few words in his own language.

Well, the team has spoken. Scout let out a sigh. "Alright, he's coming with us and you will keep our engineer safe."
The Aussie Sniper sign he will.

when everything is ready, the teams head into the city and after been split up they go on foot the rest of the way. Lawrence and the female Engineer sneak over to the guarded tower, hide and wait for the other team to make their distraction.
They have to wait for a while since the other team needed to go further. When Scout's team reached the goal, he signs to Sniper and the man leaves to find a good place where he can nest and pick out the enemy by bow and arrow. Then the Scout turns to Heavy and gives him a wave of hand signs as the only way to communicate with their language stubborn man. With the order of not being too reckless has been signed, the Heavy frowns but nonetheless nods as sign he got it. Lastly the leader of the Mexico team turns to Dell there already has sat up a sentry gun. "That thing better not shoot any civilians." He tells the man, the Team Fortress Residence has a few rules: one of them is not to harm innocent people as that would make them just as bad as their enemy. People consider them bad guys enough as it is.

Dell takes out what looks like a gun with a handle on top and instead of a barrel of a gun is a radar satellite. He activates it and the sentry gun moves to where he is pointing this strange object, he grins to the baffled looking Scout. "I and my fellow engineer came up with this beauty last night, let me pick any target I want." He admits that working with someone sharing his joy inventing and is specialized in something he only has a mild knowledge about sure can create some cool new toys as this sentry remote control.

Heavy whistle impressed on how quick this guy came up with a new invention. Scout in the other hand, well this did not help on his vigilant on this guy. "Great," He muses and with a sign to Heavy they move. They run to the factory. Inside, the Scout aims his shotgun at the ceiling and sends a waves of shot, Heavy does the same except he aim his dragon shaped minigun towards the huge containers that hold the lava hot iron. As hoped their attack scares the factory workers, making them flee the building and away from the two shooters. Completely unaware of the third and fourth members watching them on top of two buildings and should be happy these people are not out to harm any of them; if they were then a lot of people would be dead by now. It did not take long before the Magisterium guards arrive; trying to get the situation under control and make the workers return back to work. But all they got from that is a bullet or arrow to the head by a remote controlled sentry gun and a bow. The Team Fortress Resistance is back once again.

Back at the radio tower Lawrence and Engineer watches the guards have begun to move tensely around, clear sign that they know of commotion the other team is doing. Waiting about ten min and half of the soldiers have left to aid their fellow soldiers against the distraction team. The rest that stay behind are easily to snuck past by the Sniper and Engineer.
Engineer swiftly climbs the antenna with the bug she and Dell had made. Lawrence places himself so he can watch the confused soldiers without them seeing him and also be able to protect the female engineer if it does come to a fight. So far no one of the guards have noticed anything from their side, while at the distraction team is struggling with the waves of Magisterium soldiers coming at them.

"Sentry down!" Dell cries and pulls out his shotgun, he kills one of the men that succeed destroying the sentry and the rest backs away; allowing him to seek cover with Sniper who does his best but is having trouble keeping the soldier's off; only keeping them at bay and barely able keeping heat off Scout and Heavy, he takes out an explosive arrow and shoot at the approaching soldiers. With the soldiers either killed or thrown to the ground by the explosion, Sniper activates the radio. "I and Engineer cannot aid you anymore, we're about to get overwhelmed!"

Scout hears the message and commands everyone to pull back. "Hopefully Engineer got the bug up by now." He muses and along with Heavy leave the well tattered building, shooting everything that stands in their way. They join Sniper and Dell and the four leave the area, planning on disappearing as they have arrived; without a trace. However one Magisterium soldier somehow succeeds to follow and got a lucky shot. Scout lets out a gasp of pain and surprise from the hit in the leg he received and the man tumbles to the ground; unable to draw his gun in time.
Before the soldier can shoot the Scout though, Dell arrives and slams the man into a wall with his new robotic hand, it did not kill the soldier but that one wouldn't get on his feet right away from that concussion. With the soldier dealt with, Dell helps the wounded Scout up on his feet.

Scout hesitates but does accept the offer to help, only one truly on their side would've done something like that. "Thanks." He muses and lets the man support him back to their hideout while Sniper keeps an eye out for any other soldier there might be coming for them.

Back to base, Scout is relieved that everyone has gotten back with only a few scratches. He's being the only one with a serious wound but nothing Heavy can take care of.
With the big fella cleaning the wound, the two engineers turn on the radio and cheer when they hear reports from the Magisterium soldiers, in sign this mission has been a complete success. "Nice work everyone!" Jack tells the team proudly to then winch slightly from pain as Heavy dress the wound in a very roughly manner: that big guy is very good at his job but is not known to be the careful type, not even when it comes to injuries. Scout turns to the Sniper and Engineer that is not on the team. "Thank you. We couldn't have done this without your aid."

The two nod with a smile on their face, fading when Lawrence asks the Scout. "Did the spy tell you where he was going?" They still need to track down Antoine.

Jack shakes regretfully his head. "Sorry, he never told us." But all hope is not lost and Scout now trusts these two enough that he will allow them to their equipment. "But he did take a long ranged walkie talkie with him. You can call him over the radio— if you know his frequency that is." He adds.

Lawrence thanks the man and leaves to make the call as he is the one who knows that spy the best. Dell turns to leave as well but to his surprise the Scout stops him. "Could we speak in private for a moment?"

The engineer nods and the rest of the team leave them alone. Dell walks over to the Scout there ask him a bit hesitantly. "Any chance you have information about the Magisterium we can use? I know your family has been working for them for generations." Everyone who has been working for the Magisterium knows that, the leader of that world power has never tried doing anything keeping that knowledge hush hush.

Dell takes out a chair and sits down before the man, frowning slightly. "I think you know more about that place than I do." He admits, after all he turned his back on that family tradition before he ever got a job in that place. "I didn't see much of the place beside the few times my old man brought me. And after I met Sniper and Spy... well I never wanted to set my foot into that place ever again." What they saw is still burning in his mind, feeling him with a rage and that's saying something since he is hard to anger.

Scout nods. "I see; I presume your old man wasn't happy of you leaving?"

"Nope, but he accepted my excuse I rather would build zeppelins than being the Magisterium's head engineer." Dell replies and cannot help but chuckle. "When he realizes I have joined the resistance; I can only hope our family bond means something."

Scout frowns at this it seems that even that man's son knows how deadly he is around the enemy. "What would you do if you had been in his place?"

Dell's smile drop, in fact he might one day end up in a familiar situation since he does have a son. If his son joined the Magisterium and one day forced to fight him, Dell honestly cannot make the shot; he would rather die than harm his own son. And it does not matter how little that kid knows of him thanks to his ex. However there is a huge difference between him and his father. Frank Conagher is incredibly loyal to the Magisterium, enough to make him turn against his own family, Dell still remembers the fights his father had with his grandfather about that subject and no matter what his grandfather said; his old man would not budge when it comes to the Magisterium's ideals, not even for his own family. "I couldn't make myself harm a loved one." Dell replies after a long silence, taking off his welding goggles as he explains the Scout. "You see, I have a son, he will turn eleven in about three months. But well..." He let out a sad chuckle. "I'm not really allowed seeing him after the divorce— my ex and I has very strong diffidence point of views about certain things, one of them is about what would be best for our boy..."

Scout stays silent, both taken aback and intrigued that this man is sharing his back-story with him.

"Maybe it will get better over time." Dell finishes, hoping that will be true. His former wife was very loving in the start of their relationship but the moment she realized he was abandoning his job as head engineer for the Magisterium; she showed him her true color that she only wanted him because of the wealth being a head engineer for the Magisterium, including the fame followed by it. Only one good thing he can take out from that messy affair is Logan. Even in such a young age, the boy is very smart, but does not have much interest in the mechanic. Dell doesn't really mind though, in fact he encouraged the boy's interest about animals the few times he gets the chance to see him. He does not want his son to grow up with the same pressure he got as a kid, in fact he want that cruel family tradition of every Conagher shall work for the Magisterium as an engineer to stop. A child should decide their own fate, and their parent's job is guiding and preparing them the best they can. That's what he believes in anyway. Turning to the man beside him. "Do you have any kids?"

"No," Scout shakes his head. "Right now, I'm merely trying keeping the rest of my team alive and finishes this war. Then," he smile glances over to where the female engineer works. "Maybe then I will make a move."

The look did not go unnoticed for Dell but he chooses not to stick his nose into Scout's personal life, if the man wants to share then Dell is sure he will say it. Beside; there is something he much rather want answers on. "If you don't mind me asking," his eyes lands on Scout's daemon. "I have been turning my brain on why your daemon is a fox if you have been a soldier for the Magisterium, I might not know much about this philosophy but I do know every soldier's daemon is a dog."

Scout's tense and eyes narrow slightly. "Who told you?" He does not like getting reminded about that past, especially not by someone who isn't on his team.

"Your engineer." Dell replies, taking his hands up in defense. "You don't have to answer if you don't want to." Although very curious about this Dell knows not to step over the boundaries with this man.

Scout watches the shorter man for a moment, trying to see anything that might points out that this Engineer wants him any harm. But all Jack sees is a sincere curiosity, a need to get a better understanding. Letting out a sigh, the scout lies down on the poor excuse for a bed. "She was a dog once, a shepherd actually. It was the form she settled into in my teens... the form she stayed in for six years."

"How did she change?" Dell asks, he only thought Nathan's daemon could change after puberty but he always saw that as a lucky genetic defection.

"She changed when I finally realized that I'm not a fucking dog of the military." Jack explains and without really thinking he place a hand on his daemon's scarred head. "The feeling when it happens... there is no word explaining that feeling, only it made me thinks: this is who I am. What the Magisterium— what everyone says that daemon will not change when settled is utter bullshit." Eyeing the man hard, someone who, like him and many other people fully believes that when a daemon settles then it will stay like this; showing anyone what kind of person the human will be to the day they die. Jack always hated that fact, that his teenager self, how his personality was as barely an adult will determent who he is as a person for the rest of his life. As if no experience after that will change that person. "People changes all the time, we get wiser by experience or whatever the hell we see throughout our life. And yet people keep saying that our daemon- our soul will stay in a form from when we only faintly understands the world we live in. no, daemon should change alongside us."

What the man says does makes a lot of sense, Dell has seen elderly people walking around with a daemon that still act very much like they did in their youth. But like anyone else; he paid that little mind for it was normal. And yet maybe a daemon that never does change is the true defect. Eyeing the fox beside Scout, he must admit that he has a hard time seeing her as a dog. Naira scratches her chin before asking the fox daemon. "Are you agreeing with him?"

The fox daemon and her human send Naira a startled look, letting a daemon do the speaking is very frowned upon by most people, but Dell's grandfather often told him that a daemon always speaks the truth of what their human feels, and he saw people very stupid if they do not listen to what their animal voice of reason has to say, but it's not like they should agree with their daemon. If Dell listened to Naira all the time, then a lot of people that has annoyed him would've been turned into grated cheese. His daemon has a very twisted sense of retribution.

After a moment, Adara glances up to her human before she finally speaks to the beaver. "Yes, I find this form way more comfortable than my former."
And Jack cannot help but comment on the second time that beaver has spoken for her human. "Does your daemon always speak out like this?"

Dell smiles. "Yup,"
with Naira adding teasingly. "He's too soft to correct me"

Jack can't help but smile at this although he still has to get used to having his own daemon— let alone someone else's soul animal talking, but it is nice be around someone who doesn't treat that part of their soul as something that should be quiet all the time. He lets out a small chuckle of this small irony, only yesterday he distrusted this man like a snake lying in the grass, and now they are sharing small life stories after a measly battle. There is some truth in what people say about soldiers on the same team becomes like brothers in arms, too bad the Magisterium soldiers never understands that; he might have stayed if they did. "You're not such a bad guy." He muses to the other man.

"Neither is you, partner." Dell smiles and gets back on his feet, he and the other engineer has still a lot of work to do.

Chapter Text

The jungle of South America is one of the few places where the Magisterium has little to no influence, it has allowed the tribes living in the beautiful but hash jungle to form their own tradition and gotten quite unaware on how other people see the nature of the animal spirit people call a daemon. To any newcomer; there only know the Magisterium's teachings will get quite the culture shock coming to this frontier. That what is was for a certain ex-spy for the said world power. Antoine regards himself as a very composed man, someone who can keep his emotions in control no matter the situations. And so far that has been the truth, very little can rattle him out from this composure... been a piece of cake from two things. One of them is Lawrence; ever since their first meeting that bush-man to a man from Auister has always been able to get a reaction out from the spy, which still to this day frustrates and yet intrigue Antoine. The other thing is the Facilities, although he can quickly come up with a name better suited for these buildings; like Gates to Hell. The Facilities are buildings made by the Magisterium, hidden away from the public eye and for a darn good reason. People were taken and going into such a place never gets out and if they do, then they no longer should be called human anymore.

One of these Facilities is here; in the middle of the Andean Nations jungle. And the former spy can only dread whatever the Magisterium is doing to the locals. The thought sickening him— sure Antoine can make himself get over it, see it as another part of the terrible things he has to watch but he doesn't want to see this as another thing on terrible things he has seen or might do such things himself. He wants to be engrossed and reminded of why he turned traitor to the Magisterium— why he never should let the thought of going back cross his mind, no matter how more comfortable his life can get off doing it.
Watching the Facility from a distance, Antoine considers if he should risk infiltrating the building and accidentally warn the enemy that even here in the middle of nowhere the Team Fortress Resistance exists.

Usually, that question would've been piece of cake, getting the Magisterium aware makes the people tense, easy to mess up and makes a good sabotage so much easier, which in turn will take months, maybe even years of work go up in smoke for the so-called indestructible world power. However, as things stand now, one wrong move and the Magisterium will use their new secret power: using the truth device called Alethiometer on him. Usually, the Magisterium spends more time destroying these rare objects as they despise having someone spewing out the truth they have so fiercely tried to hide away from the world— unless the reader of this object is on their side, then it suddenly is okay. Having an Alethiometer is not the problem as not everyone can read the darn thing. The last person Antoine knew could read it had been a pencil pusher of an old man who spends all his waking hours reading the truth device to find the leaders of the resistance— that until a certain spy and sniper cut open his throat. But that old man had been nothing compared to this new Alethiometer reader.
That old man took weeks to figure out just a single team's location, and unless the team has been incompetent and never moving to another location, or if they never tried changing their tactics, then the old man's readings had been useful. In fact, dealing with that man had been more annoying than dangerous since no big plans that could take months to prepare would be made. That has been the reason why the Team Fortress leaders asked Lawrence and Antoine to deal with that person. They did and with him gone; three teams united to blow up one of the Magisterium's headquarters which did allow the people get way more personal freedom. Although they did not realize it at the time, since most consider the Team Fortress resistance as mere terrorists. The people of the area only realized the truth when the Magisterium tried seizing control again. The resistance got a lot of new members from that. And Team Fortress Resistance wasn't anxious when the news the enemy has found themselves a new Alethiometer reader a year back, but that all changed when this new reader showed to be quick and impossible to hide from. They have lost so many teams because of this person... Antoine doubts that the Mexico team survived even with his warnings. Eyeing the Gates to Hell, the ex- Magisterium spy can only ponder if the Alethiomist knows about his presence but he can hope the reader hasn't as the guards haven't shown any sign searching for a man that can hide in the shadows.

"A car is coming."

Antoine's trains of thoughts break by his daemon's words and turn his full attention on the car coming down the only route to this place, and from how expensive that vehicle looks: this is one of the big guys. The hiding man raises a brow when a way to familiar person steps out from the car, and this place might be more what it appears to be if she is here. For why else would the administrator of the Magisterium be here? Surely not just to watch some helpless sods getting their heads blown off, no, that woman is after the same thing as Antoine: the Alethiomist. His daemon turns to him, asking, "Will she compromise the mission?" After all, if the Administrator moves the Alethiomist to the capital, the source of the Magisterium's influence, then Team Fortress can kiss the decades-long fight goodbye. Having her here is bad, so whatever he likes it or not; he has to move.

Antoine leaves the area; he needs proper equipment if he will have any changes infiltrating that building. Back at his current base, Antoine takes out a bluish colored suit along with what looks like a regular watch but like him; looks can be deceiving. This withholds can "disappear" by copying the colors from the surroundings; it is not perfect as he can catch get revealed if someone bumps into him or if the watch that activates the suit's disguise will malfunction. The dampness of the rainforest has made that small issue into a big one; hopefully, the suit can survive just long enough for him to get a proper disguise on. He dresses up and checks the watch's power level, relieved to see that his safety precautions has saved it from any further damaged it got from when he arrived. One thing he can praise the Magisterium: they know how to make quality equipment, then again, the Elite are just as good- at times better making equipment for a spy like him. After he joined and shared this technology with the resistance. Every Team Fortress spy have this cloaking ability, making them even harder to find... If there are any more spies left... he kinda hopes there are, for if he's the only one left; well that means he will have to train new spy recruits and he would rather not being the one doing that as he doesn't consider himself a good teacher. Hopefullys they haven't killed Shade, if they have then there is no hope for the spy class anymore and the resistance can call that class extinct.
His ladder snake daemon slithers over the table, raising her head towards the walkie talkie which light keeps flashing as if someone is trying to communicate with them. She titles her head in wonder, only one person knows of this frequency. "Lawrence's calling."
Blinking and bit taken by surprise of Sabrina's words Antoine grabs the walkie-talkie, replying the one calling. "Took you long enough catching up to me, Bushman." he drawls taunting his partner. Last time they saw each other was when they separated in Boston with Lawrence meeting up with Dell while he... watched how big his son had gotten but still unable to speak with him. No, he can't think about that now, he and Lawrence did actually split up so he could track down the new Alethiomist, which is why he is here.

"It would've been easier if you told the Mexico team of where you were going— hell the Headquarters would too now you're at it, you bloody snake." Lawrence's voice retorts back.

Ignoring most of the Aussie's words, Antoine is relieved that the Mexico team survived, that's good news "I presume my warning saved them."

"Some of them," Lawrence replies hesitantly. "The Scout, Engineer, Sniper and Heavy survived."

Better than the whole team dead like the two others he and Lawrence came across. Still a bit too bad the Medic perished, he has come to like that man. The Engineer of that team must be grieving the hardest; after all, she is the older sister of the now deceased medical man.

"So, where are you?"

"The Amazons, the coordinates are..." He checks the map to be certain and tells them to the sniper. To then glare daggers at the walkie-talkie when the said sniper starts laughing.

"Crickey, how have you succeed survive that long without me in a bloody jungle?!" Lawrence howls in laughter; he is one of the few people who know how bad Antoine is to survive out in the wild. He saw that first hand when this spy was paid to kill him but ended up almost dying when the hunt went out to the outback. It was so hilarious and sad that he couldn't make himself kill the bloke, probably one of the reasons why the spy is still alive today.

Antoine chooses not to answer that. "If you are done, I will cut this conversation short and do my actual job. Hopefully, the Alethiomist has yet to know about my whereabouts."

"How good are they?" Lawrence asks, serious again

The Spy glances down to his daemon who returns it with her worried look. "Too good, the Administrator is very interested in this person. I spotted her about ten minutes ago."

"With that old Crow on the prowl always ends up bad. You better move then, mate."

Antoine cannot agree more; he turns off the walkie-talkie, lets Sabrina hide under his sleeve and leaves his hideout to see what horrors lies behind those walls.

Getting inside the Facility proved rather difficult but nothing he can handle. With one disguise as the now retired guard, Antoine tracks down his former boss. He finds her not far inside; being guided by another guard. The Crow- as Lawrence so nicely named her stops at the section that reminds a bit too much about a prison. He did expect to hear the prisoners cry for help or out of distress but no such thing come from the cells and that disturbs him greatly, in his head that shows the people are already dead or worse. But no time thinking about that, he keeps moving and passes by the Administrator and her guide, all the way making sure to know where they are going when they decide to move again.
A doctor passes by him and out from the corner of his eye watches the man very zealous greeting the Administrator, but he's too far away to hear what he is saying. The doctor gestures for her to follow and when they start moving, he does the same; acting like he is on patrol.

"— The progress converting these lost souls has proven highly successful thanks to our new set of tools." Antoine hears the doctor explains after he gets the chance to move in close. The doctor shows the Administrator a small army of dark-skinned people, all having signs of torture and yet standing like loyal soldiers with their Doberman daemons by their side.
"These have chosen to accept the truth of the Church."

She walks over to one of the "converted" people, eyeing them with such a cold stare it would make most tremble, but not these people, and it is like they are not aware of her existence. Her cold dark eyes land on the dog daemons, and scoff of how weakly they stands, "Their daemons are in a pitiful state."

"Ah, that is one of the... unfortunate side effects from Intercession." The doctor explains briefly, adding quickly from the disapproval look the woman's daemon sends him. "B-But the people are 100% loyal to the Magisterium; they will not turn their back on us."

She turns back to the more zombie acting people; a smirk appears. "Good. Now, I would like you brought me to the real reason of why I am here."

The doctor makes a small bow, "of course, right this way." and takes her away from the zombie people. Antoine does not follow right away; he sends these people a look; their whole behavior is bothering him to the utmost, but something else about them straight out disturbs him and that's how their daemon is acting. He has seen this — heard the word intercession before. He, Lawrence and Dell saw the same thing on their very first mission together in Dustbowl, however those people back there did not survive the procedure for very long. It seems the Magisterium has refined this horrible art.

He leaves the people, knowing far too well that there is no hope for them anymore and follows the Crow to whatever she is truly after. He spots them going into a room with a guard steps out from the room, closes the door and finally stands firmly between the hidden Antoine and his goal. The spy rolls his eyes, walk casually towards the guard their first eyes him a little suspicious but lets his guard down when Antoine gives him a friendly wave. The guard opens his mouth to speak but no word never leaves his mouth as Antoine slice open his throat with his knife hidden inside his sleeve. The spy quickly blocks the blood with a cloth and hides the body into the closet room— which is an empty office before he takes the guard's spot. Here Sabrina comes in; she slithers down and under the door, hiding underneath it with eyes and ears fully out to the scene before her. In the middle of the room sits a scarred woman, signs that she too has been going through some kind of torture. The most horrific of all those scars is the one on her right arm: which is completely mangled from a burn, starting at hand and ends near the shoulders. The face also has signs of burns, but not as bad as the scar on the arm. Sabrina turns her head to the corner of the room when rapid movements catches her attention; she withhold a gasp of the sight that meets her. Trapped inside a cage; a very big otter squeaks angrily up to the two humans from the Magisterium.

"Quiet!" The doctor snaps and by a push of a button sends a jolt of electricity through the cage and with a cry of pain the otter collapses on the button of the cage. The woman flinches from it, yet still, manages to send him a glare with her amber colored eyes.

"Feisty one aren't you?" The Administrator remarks almost amused.

She gets no response and Sabrina doubts the Crow expects one. The woman places one of her hands onto the table and her daemon: a crow (reason why Lawrence calls her that) flaps and lands before the scarred woman, eyeing her with his piercing yellow eyes. "You know what to do." The Administrator says, removing the hand and reveals what looks like a compass made out of pure gold, but Sabrina knows better. This object is the Alethiometer— also known as the Golden Compass: a device that can tell its reader anything they want to know and that what makes it so dangerous.

The scarred woman at first refuses but another jolt against her daemon makes her reluctantly takes the device.

"Good girl, now tell me: which Rebel leader causes most trouble by now?" The Administrator asks gleeful.

The woman opens the compass, revealing several small pictures that encircle four needles, three of them small and able to be moved. The fourth and the biggest cannot be moved by hand. The woman hesitates, but from another shock against her daemon makes her turn the three needles. The first goes to the angel, the second to the horse and the third on the helmet. With all three needles in place, the fourth begins to move. Sabrina eyes wide of the realization that this woman is the one who has caused so many teams death, this is the Alethiomist. But unlike the last one; this woman is an unwilling subject for the Magisterium, but it still does not change the fact how dangerous it has her around. To the snake daemon's bigger shock, the scarred woman does something even the smartest people take years to learn and weeks to translate the answer from big books: she does it in a matter of moments, like an instinct.
"The leader currently in Britain is going to gather more people in Durham: many will join him." the woman replies, pain and anger evident in her eyes.

The Administrator smirk widens. "I never thought I would meet someone who can read an Alethiometer without any books for translations." and the smirk is gone. "Pity you won't use your gift willingly." Her daemon moves closer up to the scarred woman while his human says softly. "The Magisterium can offer you so much."

"All I want is my people's freedom."

"That's all?"

The woman nods, "yes, you leave them alone, let them continue their way of life and I will answer your questions."

The Administrator takes out a cigarette and after have inhaled the smoke she replies. "Of course dear, we will leave your people alone." Of course she is not planning on keeping her words; the people living in the Amazon are filth that needs to be purged from the purity of the Magisterium.

Sabrina decides that now is the time to leave; she slither back to joins her human there takes her up from the floor.
"This is worse than we thought." She tells him in his hands. "The woman the Administrator is interested in can flawlessly read an Alethiometer." And Antoine would have gasped is not for their years of training. Instead, the man simply leaves the spot, letting his daemon walks beside him in form of a white wolf while continuing up to him. "And she will read it in return Helen will leave her people alone."
"A promise that woman will never keep." Antoine sneers, he knows from personal experience that the Magisterium does not keep their words against people they consider heretics or below them. He stops, saluting a higher ranked officer before moving deeper into the building. He needs to figure out a way to sabotage this place, enough to create a panic so he can move in and get rid of that woman without getting seen.
"What are we going to do with that woman?" Sabrina asks him. "She did not look loyal to the Magisterium, and she could be a useful asset."
She has a point, getting such a talented Alethiometer reader on their side will surely help the resistance. And if she's refuse, well he can always kill her.

Chapter Text

"Steady, steady" Lawrence muses as he steers the airship down towards one of the many rivers of the Amazon. The moment the ship touches water, Dell deactivate the helium tanks and let the balloon fall back into the cavity where it will stay until it is time getting up in the air again.
Lawrence activates the motor to the underwater rotor and sail the now water ship towards the coordinates Antoine gave them. About a half hour later, the ship steers towards a small dock and with it properly strapped to the dock, the two men head towards the town; dressed as civilians. And a good thing too for this seemly backwater town sure has a lot of security. Lawrence glances over his aviators towards one of the Magisterium guard's armed to the teeth watching the completely unarmed civilians. "This is some shonky business right there; those wankers are practically prepare for war."

"Yeah." Dell frowns at the scene of the many guards walking about, "question is now: who are they expecting to cease war against?" Hopefully, the Magisterium hasn't yet realized about three of the resistance are already here, if they do then he, Lawrence and especially Antoine will be screwed.

Lawrence opens his mouth to answer but stops when his eyes catches a familiar shimmer at one of the buildings, he nudges the engineer on the shoulder. "Over there." He leads Dell over to the spot where he saw their third member. At the place, a man dressed in a bluish colored suit and face hidden by a balalaika appears, on his shoulder is a yellow logo of a knife. "Gentlemen." Antoine greets them both before turning Dell, noticing the still apparent wounds from the attack back at Boston. "I see the Mexico team didn't hesitate putting you to work-" he remarks and pulls out a cigarette from his chest pocket.

Dell chuckles lightly. "They sure did but these scratches are not from Mexico: I got them in Boston." The Frenchman eyes him but shows no sign of what the man is thinking. Dell's smile drops, he hates being the one giving the man this news but... "You're right; the Magisterium does not take punishment toward traitors lightly." He removes the top of the glove over his right hand, showing Antoine what now lies behind.

Antoine's eyes wide for a moment of what he sees, Dell's hand and part of the arm has been replaced with a robot hand. Clearly, he has missed a lot after he and Lawrence split up, but asking such questions out in the open can compromise everything. He signs for the two to follow and leads them into his small hideout of a rented house. Inside and away from prying ears, he asks Dell. "What happen?"
The Texan tells him about the attack, how the guards' primary goal had been stealing all his gear. Antoine dread the thought of facing the enemy carrying Dell's weapon inventions but knows it will only be in matter of time before all Magisterium soldiers will carry guns that shoot bolts of electricity instead of bullets. And when Dell tells him about how Lawrence had to cut his hand off, the spy find himself impressed of how well the engineer dealt with the whole situation. In fact Antoine has the suspicion that this "incident" saved Dell from doing it himself and thus gave him the perfect excuse installing the gunslinger. "I'm glad you survived the whole ordeal." He tells the Texan sincerely, losing one of the few who actually knows his name and he considers a friend would be a huge blow. So yes, he's glad Dell survived and jumped back into action this fast.

Dell smiles, but it quickly fades; for now, it is time for the bad news "there's more, and... well, you're not going to like it." The spy sends him a look, Dell would've like to ask him to sit down, but he doubts Antoine will do it anyway. "It's about Nathan he—"

"Was he with you when they attacked?" Antoine interrupts, already fearing the worst that Dell will say his son is dead.

"No, he's still alive so far we know. Someone took him the same night under the attack." And Dell stops the Frenchman from interrupting him again by lifting his right hand. "Let me finish. We have the suspicion it is the same people who take the other children."

Antoine feared this would happen; he had hoped that his son wouldn't get the same anomaly. "His daemon hasn't settled."

"Nope," Dell replies and Lawrence adds with a grin. "She changed as often as you change your fancy suits."

It's not like the bushman who walks around in the same clothing for over a month would understand the word 'hygiene,' Antoine takes a slow drag of his cigarette; thinking- more like worrying what the Magisterium will do to his boy. God, he hopes they won't put Nathan the same thing he went through when they trained him to be their spy. And the situation here isn't much better. It seems that they need the Alethiomist alive and on their side, whatever she wants it or not. "We are in luck; the Facility nearby holds an Alethiomist under their custody."

Dell blinks, the word Alethiomist sounds familiar, but he can't exactly say what this person does. "What kind of person is that again?"

Another drag from the cigarette. "It's a person that can read an Alethiometer; a device that can tell the reader anything they like, what I hear the device cannot tell lies. Not everyone can get the message out from the Alethiometer, and those few who can have to spend most of their lives studying how to read it."

"Ah," the shorter man nods understanding, he has never seen an Alethiometer but he sure would like to tinker with one and see how in tarnation it is able revealing practically everything the user asks it about.

Lawrence leaves the wall he rests up against, handing the spy a big piece of paper, "show us what you know." Letting the other man draw the building's layout from his sharp memory. While Antoine does that, Lawrence glances to Dell but none of them speaks as they do not wish break the Frenchman's focus.

About a half hour later, Antoine has made a rough blueprint of the building, the masked man points at specific points he found the most interest. "This building is very alike to the one we broke into at Dustbowl" the two others frown deepens, the mere mention of that name brings up bad memories but the mission in hand makes them all push back the memories and focus on this issue.
The spy points at the section filled with cells. "The prison cells are located here, however," he straightens up, taking a drag of his cigarette, his mask hiding a deep frown of what he witnessed in there. "I'm afraid they have refined the horror, none of the prisoners made any sounds."

"You're sure they were still alive?" The sharp-shooter asks after all the ones they found at Dustbowl were dying from whatever those bastards did to them.

"I'm sure" Antoine replies, pointing at the room placed nearby the prison cells. "I encountered a small platoon, very much alive-"
"but something was terribly wrong with them." Sabrina finishes for him, the feline shudders of what poor state those people's daemon was in.

Dell and Lawrence did not like the sound of that, less so when Antoine's daemon actually shows discomfort of the situation. Like her human, that daemon is incredible good hiding emotions so when she finally does, then they know it is a big deal.
Tthe engineer turns his attention back to the map. "What's in here?" He asks, pointing at one of the biggest rooms, Antoine has made a rather poor drawing of what looks like a machine.

"That's, my dear toy-maker is the placement of their generator." Antoine hands Dell what looks like very colorful sphere glasses. "I took a few pictures of it for you to study the machine." The engineer takes out a small and bit strange looking projector from his backpack and puts one of the glasses into it. Lawrence turns off the light so all three can see the picture of a spinning generator appearing from the stone. Antoine glances to the engineer already intensely looking at this machine. "From what I could tell; this machine powers most of the facility. Sabotage it and the whole building gets thrown into chaos."

"It looks like the one we found is Dustbowl" Lawrence remarks, wondering why Antoine hasn't slapped one of the Sappers onto it like they did to the one in Dustbowl. Eyeing the spy, "run out of Sappers Spook?" He asks the other male with a smirk.

Antoine rolls his eyes and opens his mouth, but Dell's voice stops him. "I'm glad you didn't, this machine might look like the other one, but it holds a lot of power compacted into such a small frame. If damaged incorrectly, this thing would've taken more than a building with it— Why would they have such a powerful machine- let alone an Anbaricity generator in the middle of a jungle?" He wonders out loud.

"Do you think you could short-circuit it?" Antoine asks the engineer.

Dell looks at the pictures again, Anbaricity generators are powerful but so darn unstable that if the engineer did not know what he or she is dealing with, then they can kiss their behind and the whole area goodbye. Luckily Dell is one of the few people who know how to work with these Anbaricity generators, in fact, he's put something like this into those weapons that got stolen— except they were way more stable that this big mother hubber. Scratching his chin, he replies. "I reckon I can- at least there's a smaller chance I blow up the darn place."

Lawrence frowns but does not say anything that he did not really fancy the thought of Dell going inside the facility, sure the man can fight and all but that is by using his machines. Going in there means he has to be undercover as a mere Magisterium engineer and he cannot bring any big weapons inside and this Australian has seen his friend shoot. It's not something he would brag about. He isn't sure if Antoine is aware about Dell poor aim, he probably did so that only means that the former Magisterium spy would not ask Dell doing this if it wasn't important. The man might not show it, but this Aussie knows that Antoine cares very deeply for those he call friends. "I'll go with him."
Dell gives him a surprised look while Antoine simply nods.

"Alright, but you can't go in there as the rugged bushman you are."

"Thanks for saying the obvious you bloody piker." Lawrence retorts dryly; he doesn't like doing the dress up game Antoine does on every mission they have been on over the years. Admittedly this Australian is not very good acting like someone else he's not. But he will make an expectation this time. Glancing at the spy. "Do you have some guard uniform lying around?
Antoine smirks, and Lawrence knows that whatever the masked man is thinking will not sit well with him or his pride. "I was thinking on something else more useful."

**

Early the next morning, after having spend all night planning this. Dell and his now blond and pale-skinned 'apprentice' heads towards the facility.
it takes a lot from the disguised Sniper not to scartch his itchy skin from whatever that Spy put on to pale it. This is why he hates doing dress up. "I'm going to strangle him when we're done," Lawrence grumbles beside the both amused but also highly nervous engineer.
Dell feels almost naked not having any of his weapons or machines on him and he does not feel comfortable having merely a small hand pistol if— or rather when it comes to a fight. The Aussie notice the tension coming from the shorter man and his anger towards Antoine fades "breathe Truckie, it will be fine-"

"Easy for you to say..." Dell muse back, almost tripping over Naira who stays incredibly close to him and wishes he can take her up in his arms, but he knows that the Magisterium guards will just find that suspicious. The higher-ups from the Church doesn't see daemon as someone closest friend, mere a sign of the person's personality. "You at least have a weapon you are comfortable with."

True, the submachine gun hidden on his back might not be as great as his beloved sniper rifle, but Lawrence still knows how to make head-shots with it. "You can always use the hand." He suggests with a smirk before he shifts into his persona being the actual apprentice and thus not the one coming with advice.
His usual stoic Laraine pretends to be nervous by tipping around on his shoulders, which did make the guard turn his attention to them instead of the real danger.

"What's wrong with him?" The guard asks, nodding to the disguised sniper.
The Texan smiles at the guard. "Never mind him, it's his first time on the job." And hands the guard the papers Antoine gave him to enter this facility as the engineer. He is not going to question how the man created these pretty much flawless counterfeit documents this fast.
The guard accepts his explanations, turns away from the now pretending to be curious looking around Lawrence and looks at the papers.

After a few painful moments, the guard nods and returns the papers. "I didn't know the generator needed repairs." He remarks in wonder why he hasn't heard of this.

"The last guy didn't like the noise it made," Dell says and is happy he for once can speak about something he feels comfortable speaking about. "And trust me, if your generator makes other noises than a soft humming, then you're lucky this place haven't blown sky-high."

The guard eyes wide and his bull terrier daemon lets out a small whimper, the man shift a little nervous. "Th-then I won't keep you waiting; go on inside." And he moves so Dell and Lawrence can go inside.

"Nice touch." The sniper muses, very certain the Texan did not lie about that last part. Dell is not a spy that's for sure.

Dell lets out air he did not know he held, "thanks." Happy they have gotten so far without much trouble. Another guard meets them and leads the two down a long hallway, filled with metal doors that reminded Dell about a prison, but as Antoine said; no sounds comes out from the doors. He tries not to think about what had happen to these people; it would just make him unfocused. Halfway down the hall, two other guards guide a awfully calm and almost blissful looking man into one of the cells. Dell glances at the man, trying his best not get grossed out at this disturbing sight that meets him— or rather what he doesn't see anywhere around this man. Naira lets out a whimper, he wants to comfort her but can't in their current situation.

"Here it is."

The guard lets them inside the room where a big generator stands and if Dell hasn't been so preoccupied about that person they passed on the way, he might have been more fascinated in this fine piece of machinery. Instead he merely nods to the guard and begins packing out his tool box; pretending he is repairing the machine. With the guard out, Naira no longer can hold herself together and jumps onto his lap in desperate need for comfort. "That person didn't have a daemon." She says, pressing her body against his. Dell wraps his arm around his beloved beaver. "I know." He is horrified and furies of why someone in their right mind would try and remove a daemon from a person. A daemon is the soul of a person. Removing it would be like removing a part of someone. He hugs Naira tightly, not afraid to admit he still does that from time to time as an adult. In Dustbowl the people didn't survive for long, but they were very aware of that they had lost. The man they met in the hallway wasn't aware. Dell cannot call these people alive anymore. "Why would they do such a thing?" He asks, not really aiming the question to anyone.

"I don't know, mate," Lawrence replies, also trying to wrap his head around this gross discovery. He cannot comprehend living without his daemon and it angers him knowing what these people do towards the locals, just because they have a different living style. "But at least we can make sure no one else in these parts meets this fate."

Yes, that they can. Dell lifts his own and still scared daemon on his shoulders and says with a hand on the side of her head. "Darn right, so; let's blow this place up." She nods in agreement, sharing his determination to stop anyone else losing their daemon. The man takes out a very big wrench and with precision only an engineer of his caliber can, he whacks the machine hard; breaking it beyond repair. The generator's former soft humming transforms into a loud screech with sparks flying around. That's not enough for them though, Naira jumps off his shoulders and with her powerful teeth; sever several wires, making the generator blow up and send the two men flying into the nearby wall.
Dell laughs at his handiwork. "I like to see them repair that!" It's the first time he's actually happy destroying a machine.

"Reminds me never to piss you off." Lawrence remarks and gets back on his feet, a ruffled Laraine lands back onto his shoulder as her human eyes the screeching machine. "You sure you didn't go a little overboard with this?" He asks a bit disrupted by the sound it makes. He would like if it didn't blow up and take their asses with it thank you very much.

"Nah!" Dell laughs.

"Right, better get out before—" but before Lawrence can finishes his sentence, the door to the engineering room slams open and three guards storms inside. Only one look at the scene of the half-destroyed machine and the two men standing before it tells them everything of what made the whole building run out of power and thus control of the building.

The guards pull out their guns, "kill them!" one of the shouts, but before they can Dell cries; "Don't! One shot and the whole place going to blow!"

It made the men hesitate, which gives Lawrence just enough time to pull out his own submachine gun and fill the three men with bullets, he only stop when the three dog daemons disappears; the clear sign these men are death. Dell walks over to the three dead guards, searching them briefly for anything useful. He let out a small grunt in disappointment and pulls out his small handgun.
Lawrence leaves the room. "Stay close." He tells the Texan and takes the lead down the now red flashing hallway; their job is done; now they merely need to check the place for possible survivors and kill every guard they meet on their path so their third member can get their true objective out..

Meanwhile and a bit deeper inside the building, one of the guard's fall with a bleeding throat, the daemon gone before he hits the floor. Antoine retreat his knife back under his sleeve and moves on with a snake shaped Sabrina wrapped around his left wrist. Even with the alarm of intruders ringing and people on high alert he still keeps to his cover. A small flock of guards, unaware of the cloaked spy of the Resistance and pass by the hidden man. They head towards one of the hallways; probably going to where Lawrence and Dell are at the moment. Antoine lets them pass before he pulls out his gun and shoots all four of them right in the head. The recoil of his weapon makes the cloak shimmer for just a moment. With them dead, he restarts his cloaking device when again hidden, moves over to the cells. With the lack of power, it is easy getting the doors open, he calls for the people to get out, they follow his command, but none of them shows any awareness of the situation, merely waiting for another order... Antoine lets out a sneer; all of these people have been lost to the Magisterium. He shoots the prisoners right in the head and moves on.
That woman the Crow was interested better not be another Interception victim or taken away already.

Through his memories from yesterday's visit, Antoine easily finds the room where they held the woman but just to his luck; she is not there. Great. He starts searching for her, hoping this woman hasn't gotten herself killed.. or worse. Down at the laboratory section, a scream made from pure terror catches his attention, and he moves over to check. He finds a pitiful excuse for a doctor crawling over the hospital room floor, unable to run thanks to the scalpel stuck into his leg. Still he does a worthy try getting away from his former victim; the same woman that can read the Alethiometer. And the look in her eyes is straight out disturbing.

"No, no stay back!" The man cries up to the person but is completely ignored by the sinister— by being too joyful of this situation woman. The woman's daemon appears from behind a table— to Antoine's shock and surprise finding it in a different form. Instead of that big otter Sabrina descried to him, he is now in form of a... well Antoine can only describe that as a monster- a hellhound perhaps. This... hellhound is about the same size as a shepherd; covered in black scales, revealing a red-fiery glow underneath the raised scales on his neck and back, the eyes and inside of the mouth has the same fiery color. He lets out a demonic snarl before lungs at the man's daemon. The rat daemon tries to get away but she has no chance getting away from this terror and soon caught in between his jaws and trashed around like a real terrier would've done to a real rat. The doctor screams in pain his daemon suffers through, begging for the human to stop. But all the former victim does it watching him suffer from her daemon's ferocious attacks on the rat while humming some happy melody with that almost joyful yet terrified look of hers. The cheery humming woman reaches out for a fire ax placed on the wall in case for fire, but she is clearly not planning on using it on what it supposed. She plays a bit around with it for a moment in her scarred hands. Then with a ferocity equal to her daemon; swings the ax right into the man's face watches fascinated half of the head rolls away from the body, and to Antoine's dumbfounded shock; she starts poking to the body like a child poking to a shored jellyfish.
The hellhound shakes his body like a dog just gotten out from water, and in a moment shimmer, he is back to his big otter form. With softer chatter walks over to his human who seems to snap out from this eerie joyful behavior and behaves closer to how a normal person should be acting by taking her daemon up in her arms, hugging him tightly in the form of self-comfort.
However the second she realizes they are not alone, the otter begins making aggressive squeaks and shimmer like he's ready to turn back into the hellhound again in her arms.

Antoine decides that he better make his intentions clear that he mean her no harm before he get an ax to his face. "I mean you no harm—" but before he can explain, the woman let out a battle cry and attacks him, forcing him to action. Seeing this one is not up for talking, he moves in, easily dodging this woman attempt on putting that ax into his face and hit her over the neck, knocking the woman to the floor but not unconscious.
Her daemon cries seeing his human down and when Antoine gets too close to her, the otter; without a second thought turns into the hellhound and lungs at the spy, completely ignoring the untold rule that daemons shouldn't touch another human. But this soul beast is too upset that this man might hurt them like the others did to bother about that taboo and lashes his sharp teeth into Antoine's arm, shaking his head and only the spy uniform spares a large chunk of flesh getting torn off.

Antoine lets out a yelp; both in pain and shock this daemon broke the taboo for his human's sake. He did not try getting the dog off by hand though; he is too professional for that.
Sabrina quickly steps in, she lungs at the pissed daemon, biting him in the head and forces him off her human. The two daemons land on the floor, hissing at one another. The dog jumps a bit back and forward, eyeing his smaller opponent up for a moment, then attacks Sabrina. Sabrina's superior agility makes her dodge his first attack and bite him in the face again, but one jerk from him makes her slip up and he does not hesitate put his teeth into her scaly skin. Sabrina hisses in pain and to the other daemon's shock she changes shape and throws him off. Now he is facing a bigger daemon in the form of a sneering white wolf. The dog stares wide eyed at the other daemon; a typical reaction when people realizes that Sabrina is not like any other daemons. With the other one no longer in the offensive Sabrina can finally speak to him "We're not your enemy!" She tells him hard.

The hellhound hesitates for a moment, then shimmer and is back at his otter form. He quickly returns back to his human who has recovered from Antoine's defensive attack. She sits up, stroking her sour neck with her amber eyes warily on him. "What do you want?" She asks him, her daemon barring his teeth at the man.

"The same what the Magisterium wants," Antoine answers her, thinking it will probably be for the best being honest with this one, whatever those people did to her clearly made part of her snap; hence why her daemon can take such a grotesque form. The woman shoots him a death glare and he does not really blame her. "However for a different reason."

"They all say that!" She snaps, getting back on her feet, still glaring at him. "I'm sick and tired being their puppet, so you better kill me before I kill you!" Her daemon grows and from how he shimmer it is clear she means her words.

He has fought people like this woman before, people that has lost everything, even part of their sanity. Those people are very unpredictable and just as deadly. Better play nice, for he seriously cannot risk either of them dying. "I merely want to know where my son is and then you are free to go."

"Bullshit!" She snaps. "You're not much different from that woman I met yesterday. You have the same coldness in your eyes."

"I ensure you, I will keep my words."

But she does not believe him and after have reclaimed the ax, she leaves the room. Every part of Antoine wants to stop her but he restrains himself from doing it as that will only prove her point and her daemon looks ready to pond him again if he tries.
He does slowly follow her out from the room, and to his relief, she stops.
"...if I survive this then I will consider helping you." and with those words, she runs off.

Seeing that there is no way persuade this woman unless he wants to risk a fight there probably going to end with one of them dead, the spy leaves the area to find his two other teammates.
It did not take long before Antoine find- or rather hears where Lawrence is.

"You bloody piker!" A wave of shots, followed by a bark of laugher; "Thanks for standing still wanker!"

Antoine heads towards the yelling of an Australian that enjoys the situation maybe a bit too much. And Lawrence calls himself a professional. "Sniper," He calls near where his two comrade are, sneaking up on Lawrence is usually a bad idea since the Aussie will punch or shoot someone right in the face if getting startled; he learned that the hard way.

Lawrence and Dell turn to the corridor behind them and smile seeing their French friend, the smile fade slightly though when they realize he is alone. "Where is the Alethiomist?" Lawrence asks frowning.

"She has major trust issues," Sabrina replies sullenly.

"Oh, doesn't that remind you of someone." Lawrence smirks,

Ignoring that allusion, Antoine continues, "and since we need her fully cooperation, I was forced to let her go."

"Where is she now?" Dell asks worried.

The Texan did not have to, though. That demon of a woman has shown she is more than capable protecting herself. "My guess; she is killing everyone who has held her prison in this place." Taking out a cigarette from his chest pocket. "Do not worry, she is not defenseless." He lights the smoke and after a brief drag he suggests they should leave." She will join us when done steaming off."

"Alright, but it doesn't feel right just leaving her." Dell muses, leaving a comrade behind doesn't sit right with him.

Lawrence glances to the spy, reloading his submachine gun with a grin the other man knows far too well. The spy groans but gives in, "fine..." and pull out his own revovler. "Might as well clean up while we're at it."
And that is exactly what they did, tThey kill everyone on their path even those who has lost their daemon; they saw it as a mercy kill more than anything since these people did not have a life worth living anymore.

"This is too easy. I'm actually feeling I'm getting worse." Lawrence remarks after have killed three soldiers with barely no effort. Glancing to the spy. "Are all Magisterium soldiers this easy?" For if they were then he is surprised why the resistance; who train their newest members has so much trouble defeating the world power.

Ignoring the insult to his own training, "I do not think the Magisterium trained these people." Antoine gives one of the dead guard a extra glances; noticing that he looks very much like the local population. "My guess: these guards were former farmers and fishermen that couldn't say no to a good paycheck."

"Don't make us feel bad for killing them..." Dell muses darkly, he would prefer not thinking about what family these men are leaving behind.

Taking another drag from his cigarette. "I won't, only the reminder what war does." The former Magisterium spy reload his revolver, "and how far our enemy is willing to go." Which does kinda makes him happy that the past generation of the resistance made unambiguous rules of what lines Team Fortress never should cross. One of them is dragging unaware civilians into the battle. Every member that joins will get the cold hard truth of what the resistance is doing and fighting with them can get them killed.

Lawrence eyes the hallway filled with people he and the two others has killed, slightly wondering if these people truly knew what has been going on in here? Unlike the two others, he hasn't ever been part of the Magisterium so he cannot really say if this is normal for those people. It didn't really matter in the end for him though, "we should get moving." He tell the two others. Dell and Antoine merely nod and they head deeper into the buildings.

However they cannot get much further, they have to stop when they find one of the many hallways engulfed in fire. A guard flees out from one of the room's, he turns and shoot at something which quickly reveal itself being the woman. The guard falls with a gaping hole from the ax in his chest, one gurgling sound and his daemon disappears. The woman leaves the body in search for more she can kill, She walks through the fire in a way it's like not even there.
The spy clears his throat, catching her attention. She stares at them for a moment, but when it's clear they won't follow because of the fire she turns and walks down the on fire hallway.

"Wait!" Dell calls, wanting to go after her but he won't risk his life going through those flames.

The woman's daemon notices that the masked man hasn't tried to follow themand mutters up to his human. "He seems to keep that promise." She stops and turns her attention back to the three men in the middle of the burning hallway. The scouring heat does not bother her, fire in fact made her feel safe. Gives her control she hasn't gotten for years. This fire will help her take this hellhole down. "You better leave." She tells them, the first people who has shown her just a gram of humanity after what felt like a lifetime being imprison and tortured. "I'm going to burn this whole place down."

"I can help you with it." Dell offers, much to his friends and the woman's surprise, ignoring the odd stares from the three, the Texan points over his shoulder. "There is a generator that can make this place blow sky high: nothing will be left behind."

The man sounds sincere but she has been lying to for so long that she does not trust people's words anymore, the woman narrow her eyes. "And why would you do that?"

Dell can't help but chuckle. "Well, I want this place gone as much as you miss. Also.." His smile grows wider. "It's not every day I get the chance see a Anbaricity generator overload. I hear it can make quite a spectacular fireball"

Lawrence laughs, thinking people underestimate how destructive Dell can be when he really wants to. "As long I'm not part of that fireball." He eyes the wary woman. "You coming Sheila?" and leaves with a face palming Antoine close behind.

Dell gives her a weak smile. "If not, then you better get out." Before heading back to the generator as well.

The woman hesitates, not sure if she can trust these people. Her daemon returns to his otter form and takes out the only thing she has from her bit more innocent childhood: the Alethiometer. "Ask it." He tells her hard. Again she hesitate, she does not find the same joy asking the truth device as she did back when her family were still alive. Before those Magisterium bastards took her away, forced her to watch them slaughter her family and to asks the Alethiometer anything that will strengthen their grip around the world. Yet, her need to be around people again and her curiosity about these three override her dislike using the device. She takes it from Dahanain and turns the first pin to the anchor, the second to the hourglass and the last on the caveman. With the question: 'can I trust these men' in mind the needle begins to move, giving her the answer.

'They need your abilities if they wishes to save more people who soon will meet same fate as your friends and family. Joining them is your only chance for survival. Trust can come with time if you let it.'

"A simple yes would do." She grumbles that the device always needs to make a whole speeches. Still the answer calms her wariness and makes her follow the three men. However, she does not leave her weapon behind as the Alethiometer did say between the lines that she cannot trust them fully right away.

**
The remaining soldiers still in the town and not heading towards the Facility all flinch when a huge explosion followed by a bright fireball appears right where they know the Facility is located. All of them know it can only be the terrorist, only those people would be insane enough to blow up a whole building and murder everyone on their path. A few of the soldiers have fought and survived an encounter with the terrorists and knows that if they do not kill these people, then they soon will have a bigger problem on their hands as the terrorists have a habit staying where the Magisterium is trying to spread their influence. The bit more experience soldiers command the rest shooting at everything that moves, yes even at the civilians. The terrorist will try getting the civilians on their side, and the chance many from this village will is too great for the soldiers. They just can't risk having their enemy raise their numbers.
The soldiers start shooting at the terrified civilians, one of them chases down a mother and her two children; completely ignoring her begging not to kill her children. He aims but before he can shoot, his head explodes, and the scared mother spots the person who did it. A bit oddly skinned man with yellow glasses and crocodile teeth decorated hat. "Run Sheila!" He calls with a strange accent, aiming his rifle again and another soldier ends up dead.
He did not have to say that twice, the woman and her children run past the man, but stops when she sees a familiar face. The scarred woman with the otter daemon gives her a weak smile before telling her to leave. The mother thanks her and with other survivors; flees into the forest with the cries of dying soldiers.

When the backup from the Magisterium arrives, only a town filled dead people will greet them. The survivors, terrorists and most of the useful supplies will be gone.

Chapter Text

Nathan is frustrated, ever since Dell's old man shot at him and he accidentally revealed that he worked for his son. Mr. Conagher has refused to leave him alone. He visits him in the room at least once per day, asking Nathan innocent questions about his life. But Nathan is not stupid, he knows the man is trying getting information about his family, but unfortunately; Mr. Conagher is smarter than him and knows exactly what he needs to say to make Nathan slip up. It frustrates Nathan, he doesn't want the man around and yet... he does. Mr. Conagher is the only person he sees and can speak with throughout all the day, Nathan is not used to be alone or surrounded by silence for so long; having a house full of brother's; silence is a rare thing. The hours of silence is putting both him and Nalini on edge and thus more willing to talk when the old man comes for a visit... and they both hate him because they both know what the man is doing.

"You look troubled boy." Mr. Conagher remarks in his always soft-spoken voice.

The tone always reminds Nathan of Dell and how he could tell the man everything that was bothering him. Like when he had been troubled by Nalini ability to still change forms. Dell's soft-spoken voice coming with good pieces of advice and Naira's sense of humor always would him cheer up, however, this man before him does not share the same sentiment. "Because I am." He tells Mr. Conagher short, refusing to look at the man.

"What troubles your mind?"

He does not answer the man, giving Mr. Conagher words to play with has proven again and again to be a huge mistake.

Mr. Conagher watches the boy for a while, Nathan has been giving him much information he could use if the boy try doing stupid stunts again. Yet he might have underestimated the boy a bit too. After Nathan told him that Dell did not hire him because he knows about engineering- in fact, this boy can't even make heads and tails at this ship's motor which would've been child's play for his own son. Mr. Conagher didn't consider this boy very smart. Yet it seems that Nathan is smart enough to know what has been going on between them as he has over this week has gotten very carefully of what he speaks about. Yet Mr. Conagher here has dealt with enough people over the years to know what action is best to get this one talking. "Do not worry, you will see your family again very soon." He ensures the boy, over the time he got Nathan talking has revealed that this boy really cares for his family. As expected the boy turns his attention fully to him; he is tense and past conversations with him have taught Mr. Conagher that it is unwise speaking badly about those he cares about since this boy has grown up in a place where fighting has been something of the daily. "Every child will be returned back to their families after they have helped us getting a better understanding regarding the nature of daemon."

"Why didn't you inform the families then?" Nathan asks suspiciously with Nalini glaring at the man in form of a hawk.

"We do, but not all share our need protecting the youth from the terrors in the world. So sometimes we are forced to take the children away without informing the parents." Mr. Conagher explains softly as if speaking to a naïve child. "And we sincerely hope for their forgiveness when we return them back home: we do only want the best for the next generation."

Nathan is not sure what the Magisterium wants to protect the children from and he is not sure Dell's old man knows fully the details himself if he did; he will probably never tell him about it. "You going to do the same to me?" He asks slowly, admittedly afraid what the world power wants to do with him.

"Yes."

"What will you do to me?"

Mr. Conagher gives him a soft smile that says he shouldn't worry. "Make your daemon settle." He turns to Nalini who freezes at what the man has said. Disliking the sudden attention from the man she turns into a wildcat and hisses at him. Mr. Conagher is unfazed by the daemon's behavior and turns back to the boy "It's about time you become a man."

Placing a hand on his understandable very upset daemon, Nathan asks: "Is that's why you keep calling me boy?" Even after he told the man his age and how he is practically adult, Mr. Conagher has kept on calling him a child.

"Only children's daemon change." The older man explains, glancing down to his own daemon who hasn't moved from her spot ever since he got in here. "When a child's daemon settles they are ready to join the adults' ranks and embark on the goals life sets before them. Did Dell ever tell you about his daemon's settling?" Eyeing the boy in a curious manner, wondering if his son did share his personal life with this one.

Nathan nods. "Yeah, he told me Naira settled really early. He never told me how old he was though but I guess he was about thirteen or something close." That is early for a daemon to settle but not completely unheard of either. Usually, a daemon settles in the age of seventeen.

"He was ten when she settled." Mr. Conagher says proudly.

Okay, that is REALLY early, Nathan thinks shocked, how in the world would a ten-year-old know who he is?! He sure didn't in that age, way more occupied keeping up with his brothers and throw rocks at bullies in school than thinking what he would do when he grows up. "How—"

"Dell has always been interested in the mechanic and obedience doing his duty in society." The father of Dell explains still in a very proudly manner. "We all knew his place in this world when he got old enough, he did as well and that's why Naira settled so early." The smile he has on the lips fades. "It's a pity that all those years of study, all that talent wasted on building mere Zeppelins... and now playing war with his so-called friends." He should've known something had been amiss when his own father made Dell goes on that two-week long trip and how different Dell began acting after he returned. Something big must've happened that made Dell decline the offer the Magisterium gave him to become the new head engineer for a measly job such as a private zeppelin builder. Eyeing the boy before him. "Hopefully you will be smarter, it would be such a waste disposing of one of our future."

Nathan tenses from Mr. Conagher words, if this hasn't been a warning that this man can and will kill him if he did not stay in line then he don't know what would. The beaver daemon finally moves and the before hissing Nalini literarily shrinks under the dark brown daemon stare.

The older man sends the boy a smile. "We're reaching land soon, if you behave, then I will allow you on deck. Can you do that?" He asks, still smiling but the former warning still hangs clear in the air. Nathan is too afraid of the warning to argue with him and merely nods. Satisfied Mr. Conagher raise from his chair, opens the door and gesture for the boy to leave the room.

Nathan does and only briefly glances down to the floor where Mr. Conagher's daemon is holding a sparrow Nalini in her mouth, so even if he wanted to; there is no way he can run so long that beaver has his daemon trapped. After having been stuck in that small cabin for a whole week, Nathan admits it is nice being out in the fresh air again. His body feels rather stiff and Nathan would like move around but didn't dare in case Mr. Conagher's daemon did not like him moving too much and will chomp down on Nalini. He follows the older man over the deck, they pass by the guy he landed on under the last escape and Nathan just cannot help himself seeing how crouched that man walks. "How's the back?"

The other man shoots him a glare. "You be thankful they want you alive." He sneers with his greyhound bare her teeth at him.

Getting death threats from this guy doesn't have the same impact on him as Dell's old man has, in fact hearing this one doing it amuses him more than anything. "Uhh I'm so scare—" his taunting gets interrupted by a sharp pain thought his back, the scared and hurtful tweet coming from Nalini makes it clear what that beaver did to her.

"Behave," Mr. Conagher tells him still in that soft-spoken tone of his, but Nathan is very aware of the warning behind that soft voice. "You too, this boy is part of our future after all," the man says to the soldier who stops grinning at Nathan's predicament.

The soldier salutes. "Yes, sir." And quickly leaves.

With the soldier gone and acting completely unaware of Nathan's discomfort having his daemon held prisoner by his own. Mr. Conagher begins telling him of what will happen when they reach land. "You and the rest of the children will be lead to one of our Facilities, here a doctor will give you all a quick check up on your mental health. Being taken away from loved ones is always hard." He signs to Nathan to follow, again seemly unaware that the boy doesn't really have a choice in this. "But fortunately they always get used to the situation and willing letting us help them without the distraction from their parents. The testing you will go through is harmless and from what I hear: it hurts as much as when you need a vaccine. You would need a bit more testing though as you are the first "adult" with a child daemon, but don't you worry; I'm sure the doctors can fix your little problem."

"What happens after the tests?" Nathan asks carefully. He does not want to anger this man again.

The older man eyes him, smiling. "After that, we will help the older children get a better knowledge about the dangers we wish to keep them from. When they understand, then a team will send them home. We will of course check up on them to make sure none of the tests has any long term symptoms."

"The same going happen to me?" Nathan is not sure he likes having people from the Magisterium checking him like some kind of big brother that does not know the term of privacy.

"Correct, that doesn't sound so bad now does it?"

"I guess not..." Nathan muses, of course he won't deny that forcing children away from their homes is really bad, but he must admit that from how Mr. Conagher explains everything he cannot see the danger in what they are doing. The only danger he can see in all of this is the people doing it. Mr. Conagher is a prime example; the man is very friendly when people behave or share his sentiment but the second someone (like Nathan) tries to counteraction him then he will not hesitate to do whatever it takes to stop them and that what makes that man so dangerous. And Nathan fears that most people from the Magisterium have the same worldly interaction, it does explain why it has become such a powerful organization.

Mr. Conagher is very satisfied with that answer.

The ship docks just as the sun begins to set, the Magisterium soldiers take the children very calmly off the ship which calms the before scared children significant down as they did not feel they are in much danger anymore. Under the trip the soldiers have been very nice to them, even letting those most well behaved up and play on the deck. Of course, the children still miss their family and often ask when they will see them again. The elderly man with the beaver daemon has told them more or less the same thing he did to the oldest of those they have taken. The children slowly stopped asking for the parents, trusting this man that reminds many of them of their grandfather they soon will see their families again. Back on land, the children begin looking almost awestruck around the new place they have ended up at, most of them have never left their home country so being an in a completely new environment of another country is quite enthralling.

"Don't wander off." The soldier with a wolf for a daemon tells the group of children a bit harshly and those that have been trying to explore this new place quickly returns back to the group. The big soldier turns his grey eyes back to the ship where Mr. Conagher leaves with that boy there has been a pain for everyone ever since they caught him. Well, at least the old man has dealt with that one so he doesn't have to worry chasing that brat down. The two men from the Magisterium give each other a small nod before the big soldier tells the children to follow him. They do, all the while looking wide-eyed around the area.

Nathan can't help but do the same, from how long they have traveled and the diffidence in the city's architecture he can easily say they are no longer in New France, heck he doubt they are in America anymore from how long they have been on the sea. "Where are we?" He asks Mr. Conagher.

The older man smiles. "Bristol."

He has heard about this city before, the teachers told him about this place when they taught him and his fellow students about other countries. "Holy crap, we're in Brytain!" The hopes someone he knew would come for him drops drastically. No one from his family has ever left America, and even if they wanted to; his mother nor his brothers would be able to scrape enough money for a ship or a zeppelin traveling over the sea. He wants to get away but Mr. Conagher's daemon has complete control over Nalini like the old man has over him, so for now he just has to follow the soldiers and hope for the best.

They walk for about an hour and when most of the children have gotten tired, the soldier with a Komodo dragon as daemon calls someone over his radio while the one with the grey hound daemon hands each child a sandwich and a bottle of juice, Nathan gets the same. While eating the lunch, Nathan realizes that the soldiers purposely made them walk so none of the children would do much resistance when the trucks arrived. In fact most of the children are happy to drive and every one of them steps into the back of the truck, a few of them needs the big soldier to lift them. Nathan admit that is rather clever, and although he is far from being as exhausted as the kids and actually can take the run for it because that blasted beaver has finally let go of Nalini. Well, Nathan can't make himself leave the children, pretty sure the soldiers know that as well since they only expect him to head into the truck when the last child has been seated.
Frustrated, and feeling like a dog dragged around by a leash, Nathan reluctantly joins the kids in the truck. Only barely biting down a snarky lash when the soldier with the grey hound asks taunting. "Now that wasn't so hard was it?" Before closing the door.

The truck starts driving, reminding Nathan on the first time he and four other kids were stuck in a familiar situation a few weeks past. Except for this time the truck is fully lit and builds more like a bus than a vehicle made to store furniture. He glances to the children he met in that abandon school, watching them sleep peacefully.
"It's like this whole situation doesn't bother them anymore." Nalini remarks on his shoulders, the swallow daemon turns to her human with a frown. "this whole situation smells like rotten fish."
He didn't like this either, the soldiers are just too nice for him to call it natural. Magisterium soldiers has always been known to be a fearsome elite that will strike anyone down who is a fool to cross them, of course the media always say they did that for protection but after what Dell has told him and watching how these soldiers are very determent to get the next generation on their side, Nathan is certain there is more to it. He just isn't sure why.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

After about an hour of driving, the truck stops and the soldiers take the children out, again they are met with no resistance. Nathan jumps out from the truck as well and before he can even think about pull off a stunt he did on the ship, Mr. Conagher's daemon grabs Nalini around the neck and the man gestures for Nathan to follow him and the rest of the children. They head towards a huge building, it is entirely made out of tree yet it somehow still success looking like something from the future. Above the double doors is the grand Icon of the Magisterium: an M with a cross behind it. Even the youngest of the children know of that sign, for no matter where people look they will see the banner and thus influence of the Magisterium. Yet none of the children are scared seeing that sign, in fact, it made them calm down further as most of the adults have told them that the Magisterium keeps them safe. The double doors open and out walks a small middle-aged man with sleek brown hair and unusual green eyes. On his left shoulder sits what Nate can guess is a rat but he is not sure as it does not look like any rat he has seen before. Her snout is longer than a rat, and most rat daemon has black or brown fur, this one has grey fur and a white head. He wonders what kind of species this one is.

The man with the strange rat smiles eerily cheerful down to the children. "Ahh, I am happy so many of you could come." He opens the doors for them. "Come inside, you must be tired from such a long journey."
The soldier with the wolf daemon leads the children inside and with the last one gone, the rat daemon man's eyes lands on Nathan, his smile falters slightly. "And who might you be?" Eyes to Mr. Conagher. "Your new pupil perhaps?"

Mr. Conagher shakes his head with a chuckle. "No, the boy is with the rest." He places a hand on Nathan's shoulders just as his daemon lets go of Nalini. The young man's daemon turns into a wild rabbit and runs as far away the bond between her and Nathen would allow her, glaring daggers at the beaver who completely ignores her.

"Fascinating." The man muses, moving over to the rabbit daemon. Nalini snaps her attention over to him and turns into a terrier, growling a warning of getting too close. The man clearly did not get the warning since he kneels down painfully close to her; only thing saving him from getting chewed on is the taboo of daemon is not allowed to touch other people other than their own human. "I wasn't aware daemon could change after maturity, I wonder what caused such an abnormally?" He turns to Nathan, unfazed by the death glare the young man gives him. "Yes, this requires some testing. Come." He waves them to follow and heads into the building.

Still, with a firm grip on Nathan's shoulders, Mr. Conagher leads the young man into the building, only letting go when the doors have closed and locked behind them. "Do not worry, he is only going to help." He ensures the boy.

Nathan is not sure he will let that rat person help him, but as it stands right now; well he doesn't really have a choice.

Chapter Text

"Frank, you got a moment?"

Mr. Conagher turns away from repairs he is doing on the security turret and his blue eyes lands on a person he can go so far call a friend. They do not have many secrets between them at least. "What is it Vigil?" He asks, already taking off the work gloves since his comrade would only interrupt his work if it important.

The thin man before the Texan motion for him to follow, Frank does. Away from possible listing ears Vigil speaks; "We got reports from the facility in the Amazon. The terrorists found it."

And here he had hoped they wouldn't find that one, Frank thinks dryly and annoyed. He has put so much effort on that generator, well if those terrorists have been clever they would've left the Anbaricity alone. If not, well at least he can relish in the thought the overload would've taken the terrorists with it. "How much damage did they do this time?"

"The whole building is gone" Vigil replies.

"So they went for the generator," Frank concludes, sighting he dries off any remaining oil on his hands. "I worked so hard on it... at least it took the intruders with them" after all, not every man who knows how to use a wrench can work with an Anbaricity generator.

"Not quite." And the thin man hands him the latest report from the Amazon Facility, along with a security picture of the intruders.

Frank's brow furrow of who he sees in that picture. "Dell." Knowing his own flesh and blood destroyed one of his generators fills him with icy cold disappointment. If it was his son who sabotaged the generator then he and the others of his "friends" would've gotten away. Dell knows how to work with an Anbaricity generator and can make it blow with himself and the others out from the blast radios. Returning the papers back to Vigil. "Does anyone else know of this?" Why does Dell have to be so disobedient? He was such a dutiful child, even looked forward becoming the head engineer for the Magisterium, to then suddenly change his mind after that trip. All this is his father's fault, that man just couldn't put his silly ideals to rest and realize that what the Magisterium did for the family is for the best. Because of that old fool, Frank might have to kill his own son.

"Leonard and Paul know, neither doesn't like the situation. Paul suspects you're on their side but Leonard knows you are loyal so he doesn't blame you having such a wayward offspring. It made Paul back off." Vigil explains their team's engineer, he put the papers back into his chest pocket. "Still, he does expect you to report this, he said it would be best you report about it than someone else; so Grey would know you are loyal."

"Well, better get this over with.." Frank sighs. The two men head to the debriefing room, inside, two bulky men awaits them, the biggest and having a wolf as a daemon; the same guarding the children on the ship is standing with crossed arms and a deep scowl over his face. Besides him is the boss of this group, he is the expert in explosives but just as much as a soldier like the rest. His Rottweiler daemon shows that. Frank gives that man a small nod out of respect. "Leonard," who returns the gesture with his own nod before turning on the video link between them and their boss.

The figure of a man appears on the screen, face completely hidden in the dark room he resides in. No soldier knows the face of their boss, only those with the privileged will be allowed and that is seen as a huge honor. Frank is actually one of those few people who has seen Gray's face. The man on the screen moves slightly forward. "Report." He commands in a very direct manner, this man does not like beating around the bush; prefer merely getting onto the point.

Frank gives Grey a small bow in form of respect before saying the report. "We have gathered fourteen children from New France, all of them are children of rebellious parents but soon will see the Church's way. The men found a very special case in Boston; a young adult with a child daemon."

"Elaborate."

"This young man is nineteen years old, yet his daemon still changes shape as it would to a child. Our doctors are currently investigating the reason for such an abnormally."

Grey muses to himself for a moment, he leans back in his chair. "Good, such an abnormally is best getting fixed than left alone. Anything else Mr. Conagher?"

This time Frank hesitates, brazing himself for the possible punishment from his disobedient son. He does notices that Paul is watching him very suspiciously at this moment. "Yes sir, latest reports from the Amazon Facility reveals that the terrorists have located and disposed of the facility. No survivors."

"That is unfortunate, but at least not waste of time." Grey muses with a hint of annoyance that yet another building destroyed thanks to that blasted resistance. "The doctors from that estate did not die in vain, I have already sent their work to the doctors located at Bolvangar."

"That's good to hear sir, but..." Frank lets out a sigh before he explains. "It saddens me to say this, but I think it was best I reported it." He can literally feel Grey's eyes bore into his, he swallows but does continue. "My son, Dell was the one who caused the destruction," and with that said, his three co-workers awaits quietly for what Grey has to say about this matter.

"So, you own flesh and blood have turned against the Church?" Grey asks, his voice icy cold. The four men daemons shift uncomfortably.

"I admit I am hoping the terrorists have forced him to work for them." Frank inquire, letting himself have this spark of hope his son can be persuaded that what he is currently doing is foolish and needs to stop if he knows what's best for him. "He is one of the few people who can sabotage an Anbaricity generator without getting killed in the progress, and he has been very absent minded lately, making him a perfect target for the terrorists lies."

"And you think he can be turned around?"

"I am hopeful yes."

"And if he doesn't see reason?" Grey asks calmly, but Franks knows the man is considering something sinister towards him if he doesn't prove his loyalty. "Are you willing to do what needs to be done?"

"Yes sir," Frank replies, only slightly hesitant, this is after all his own son but... he will do anything to prove his loyalty to the Church.

"Good," Grey seems satisfied with the answer, for now at least. "Commander," turning to Leonard who salutes and awaits his orders. "I want you and your men at Durham, the last reports from our Alethiomist revealed that the terrorists are trying to gather people there. I want the rebel leader alive, but don't hesitate shooting those who resist the capture. Bring them to this base."

"Yes, sir."

"Dismissed."

Frank and Vigil salute, only lowering their hands when the screen turns black. The thin man glances to his comrade. "Well, that went better than expected."

"Agree." Frank muses and turns his eyes up to Paul from the man's words: "For your own sake, you better not hesitate with the trigger like you did with your words."
Frank sends the man a leveled stare, replying him calmly but now with a greater certainty of where his loyalty lies. "If diplomacy does not work, then you don't have to remind me of my duty." And with that, he leaves the room.

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Being at this place is not so bad, boring as hell and a bit unnerving, though, but he could've been through worse he guesses. However, Nathan is getting tired of all the testing this particular doctor keeps putting him through. "Yo, you done already?" He asks the doctor impatience, he could do better things that sitting on his ass and letting Nalini do all the work. Her changing form every second does drain his mentality quite a bit. The doctor is very interested in that little fact.

"A few more." The doctor replies and takes up another picture, this one of a cheetah. "Make her take this form and tell me how it feels."

Rolling his eyes but complying, Nathan turns to his daemon, who like him is getting annoyed by this stupid game. The mouse turns into a cheetah and the doctor gives Nathan a curious look. The young man takes a moment to feel what this form gives him. "It feels good."

"Elaborate bitte?" The doctor asks with that strange accent of his.

The testing might be annoying but it did teach Nathan something he did not know. Every form Nalini takes affects him in some way. Example the wild rabbit form- her favorite could very well have been her settled form as that shape has most of his personality traits, but since she is unable to settle, other forms are taken when a certain emotions dominate Nathan; such as the wild cat when he's angry and ready for a fight and the swallow or mouse when he's scared and just wants to escape a situation.
Nathan shifts his position, contemplating his emotions this form brings up. "Well, it makes me angry- no feeling powerful, like I can run circles around some chucklehead and get away with it." That form reminds him of the wildcat, just bigger and faster. He thinks he will use this form the next time some moron asks for a bat to the face. He's sure the flimsy guard he landed on wouldn't mind a quick fight.

The doctor writes it down, his whole face brightens up like it's early Christmas, his excited scribbling almost makes his white dove daemon fall off his shoulders. She lets out a 'coo' and flies over to sit on a chair's backrest. "Fascinating, it seems this form suits your personality better than the mouse. What about this one?" He shows a picture of the straight opposite of the cheetah: a tortoise.

Again Nalini takes the form, but like many other forms, the doctor made her take, Nathan did not feel comfortable with this form; it's too slow. Sure he wouldn't mind if she takes this form if something takes a bite into her but that as far this form goes, only useful for a quick defense, although he and Nalini can easily pick other forms that suits that situation and be more comfortable about it, besides, a tortoise form suits Ken better. Nathan briefly explains the doctor his thoughts and asks for probably the tenth time. "Are we done? I have better things to do than this freaking boring test." And finally, the doctor lets him go.

Nathan leaves before this crazy man changes his mind and runs to one of the rooms where the children reside. The huge white painted room did not really have anything interesting, some paintings on the walls, two boxes with random toys the children could play with and a long line of tables where the doctors or teachers would make them sit under their lectures. Nathan hates those lectures, all the teachers spoke about is how awesome the Magisterium is and how they made world peace under the terrible world war that happened almost one hundred years ago. He read that in school along with anything else the teachers says. But besides from that; everything seemed right, so why does Nathan smell something fishy? Why do he keep getting the feeling that something is wrong with the picture he is staring at.

"Nate!"

Blinking, the young man turns to one of the kids, her name is Heidi, sweet girl.

"Do you want to play tag with us?" She asks him, behind her stand a small flock of children, waiting and hoping his answer will be yes. Having him in the game always makes it a bit funnier.

Nathan smiles, "sure" and ready himself as the chaser. "Ready or not, here I come!" and he begins chasing the squealing children. Playing with them always lighten up the boring atmosphere of this place, Nathan is pretty sure that's why the children keep asking him to play with them. He always got a knack for lightening up the mood.

"Nathan, come over here if you please." Mr. Conagher calls interrupt the game. Of course, someone always has to ruin the fun... Nathan reluctantly leaves the children and walks over to the man, well aware that going against Dell's old man will only mean pain to both him and Nalini.
"I would like to introduce you to Viper." The head engineer a gestures to a simple black dressed man beside him, his face has very sharp features, which makes him look quite intimidating. Even though he is older than Mr. Conagher, the way he looks at Nathan makes the young man uncomfortable as it reminds him how a hunter would look at some prized animal. His daemon did not make it any better, she's a huge black snake, looking ready to swallow the fox-shaped Nalini.

She quickly changes form and seeks protections on her human's shoulder as a swallow. Nathan glares at the man named Viper but he doesn't feel as confident as he would like around this intimidating man.

Mr. Conagher did not seem to notice the tension in the air between the two and continues somewhat cheerful. "Viper has been send by Grey himself, he would like to test and see you're worth training."

"Training in what?" Nalini asks warily on her human's shoulder. Flinching from the cold stare Viper gives her.

"Do you always let your daemon speak for you boy?" Viper asks in slow and calculated tone. His daemon turns her own piecing stare at the other daemon, making Nalini shrink in fear.

"N-No," Nathan replies, he tries to sound tough but all his confidence has left him from this man's unnerving aura.

"Good, a daemon should be seen, never heard. Now come." The calm but very intimidating man gestures for Nathan to follow. "I would like to see if you actually have skills worth my time."

Nathan hesitates but after a nudge from Mr. Conagher, he follows the other man. Too intimidated to ask why this Grey has found him enough interesting to send probably one of his best men to train him.

Viper leads him into an empty room, he walks into the middle of the room. "Attack me," he says.

"Wh-What?" Nathan blinks, not really seeing that one— before he can even finish his own thoughts, Viper slams hard him onto the floor.

"Lesson 1: never hesitate." Viper lets go of him and with Nathan back on his feet, repeat his former command, "attack me."

This time Nathan does not hesitates, he charges at the man who easily dodges his fits and a single kick to the leg sends the young man back onto the floor. "That's all you got?" the man snorts, "pathetic."

Growling Nathan gets back on his feet again, he has been taught by his mother and Dell that picking fights with people for no reason is what only a fool or a coward would do. But this man is so asking for a fight, and he has been pent up with nothing to do for too long. Nalini changes into a cheetah and he jumps on his feet, this time out to hurt for real. He charges at the man, but this time he does not merely go for the punch as that clearly does not work on this guy. Instead, he changes direction just the last second and when behind he can with satisfaction watch the other one land on the floor from a very well aimed jump-kick. The man does quickly recover though and unlike most who would be pissed getting kicked by the runt of his gang of brothers, this man is actually smiling. "Ah, that's much better, good. Thought I had to force you." And he attacks in such a graceful manner that it startles Nathan.
Nathan did try defend himself but to his frustrations Viper's old age is barely slowing him down, and his years of professional training dominates Nathan's occasional gang fights back at Boston— only his speed made him able to get a few hits in.

The young man let out a cry of pain, again on the floor, this time with a dislocated shoulder. No surprise, he gets no sympathy from Viper. The man merely knells down beside him with a almost predatory smirk. "I can make good use of you." And with those words he leaves Nathan on his own.

Nathan slowly gets on his feet, not sure what Viper meant, only that he doubt he is going to see his family for a very long time. Cradling his at the moment useless arm, Nathan limps over to the door, he does not reach far before the same doctor from earlier comes for him. The man gives him a scowl of disapproval over what he is seeing. "It seems Viper has gotten his fun." The doctor muses dryly with that strange accent of his and gestures for Nathan to follow. "Come along."
Nathan follows the doctor into an infirmary, it looks like the one the doctor with the strange rat daemon has, except this one is filled with white doves. Does explain why this one has one for a daemon.
"Take a seat junge." the doctor says.

"What did you just call me?" Nathan asks in a wonder he should be offended or not, but when he gets not response and answer on what the word meant, he merely takes a seat.
The doctor grabs the dislocated shoulder, sending a jolt of pain through his body and Nathan let out a cry.

The doctor's sharp steel blue eyes shows no sign of sympathy, in fact, he seems to enjoy watching Nathan in pain a bit too much. "Yes, diffidently dislocated. Hm, that's too bad." And with a quick move; snaps it back into place.

"Fuck that hurt!" Nathan cries, glaring at the man and actually wishes the one with the rat did this, he was annoying to listen to as he wouldn't shut up about the Church but at least that guy would be gentle. "What kind of doctor doesn't warn their patients first?"

The doctor keeps smiling but suddenly looks very intimidating. "Welcome to the Magisterium." He says coldly yet cheerful, making Nathan feels a cold shiver down his spine. The man leaves to find something in his medical closet. "Now, anything else that hurt?" Again back to his more friendlier self.

Nathan does not answer at first; he is too much taken aback by the sudden change of demeanor from this seemly cheerful doctor, he only snaps out from it when the doctor sends him a questioning look. "Oh um, my neck hurts a bit." Gesturing at a certain spot where Viper hit him.

The doctor returns, now holding a bottle with some reddish liquid inside, only taking out the substance after have checked the neck. "Your neck's going to be fine, but do tell me if you starts having trouble feeling your feet." He chuckles in such a manner that it makes his patient very nervous. "But don' you worry, I have fixed severed nerves before. Now where did... ah, here it is!" And he takes out a huge needle.

Okay, Nathan doesn't care what will happen to him if he tries to escape, he rather gets his ass kicked by Viper again than wait and see what this mad doctor is going to use that thing for! He leaps away from the doctor, but just as he reaches the door, a sharp pain in his back followed by an unnerving drowsiness, Nathan drops to the ground.

"Dummkopf," the doctor muses as he put down his personally made syringe gun and walks over to retrieve his patient, he places the half conscious young man onto the table. Why did they always have to run away? Oh right, he isn't exactly the most sane doctors. Chuckling the doctor takes out the big syringe, take out some of his own made liquid medicine and stick it into the boy's arm.
With that done he merely waits for the medicine to do its job.
'coo' the white dove on his shoulder says, he pets it with a small hush before turning his gaze out the window, allowing his mind to wander for a moment.

The world returns back into focus and after a while of recovery, Nathan sits up from the bed, blinking he realizes that his body does not hurt at all anymore, in fact he feel great. Checking his arm, he realizes that the cut he receives there is completely gone, not even a scar can be seen. Okay, how long has he been out? Nathan turns his gaze away from his completely healed body and over to the crazy doctor. He is about to speak but something stops him. The doctor is staring almost longing out at the window while petting his dove daemon. It makes Nathan wonder what the doctor is thinking about. He shift position and the sound of his move snaps the doctor back to reality.

The man smiles widely to him. "Ah, you're up. How do you feel?" In a long stride is back to his side and checking his before battered body for any wounds.

"Um, I feel great actually." Nathan muses, he glances down to the strange liquid. "What the hell is in that stuff?"

The doctor laughs, "Oh a lot of things, this is quite fascinating. First time I used it on anyone— oh don't give me that look." He brushes the horrified and quite angry looking Nathan off. "It worked as expected and if it didn't: I am sure it wouldn't have killed you."

"It could have!" Nathan shouts with Nalini growling at the man in her terrier form.

"Then I would have revived you." The doctor points out as if it's that simple. Pushing his glasses back on his nose the man adds. "I do not kill people on my operating table, I am a doctor after –" the doctor suddenly flinches, jerking his right hand over to his left. For a moment Nathan fears the doctor might have a seizure, then slowly realizes that the doctor has flinched because of another reason, but that's impossible; the doctor's daemon is perfectly fine.

"Doc? You..." Nathan hesitantly steps over to the doctor whose eyes is wide of shock and horror. "You alright?"

The doctor turns to him and smiles. "Yes, I'm fine." And suddenly is very eager getting him out. "If you'll excuse me, I have other patients I should attend to."

Nathan leaves, wondering what has made the man flinch as if something has harmed his daemon.

The Doctor locks the door and returns back to his desk, flexing his still hurting hand. He did not like this one bit, something terrible must've happen to her.

'coo'

"I know Archimedes." He muses and gives the white dove and its other friends a handful of birdseeds, watching his beloved pets eat happily. He smiles yet he still can't help but worry about what is causing him pain in his hand and feeling him with such dread, looking out the window; he just knows that something terrible has happen to her.

Chapter Text

Meanwhile, out on the Atlantic ocean, a small airship flies towards the continent of Brytain as that is where the Alethiometer told where Nathan would be. Lawrence, being the best navigator on the ship does spend a lot of time watching the weather for any changes, well most of the time. At the moment the sniper is taking a nap, much to a certain Spy's irritations. Usually, Antoine can deal with Lawrence taking a nap on the job, as the sniper spends most of the day and night keeping watch and steers the ship when on the go. But that patience and respect that Lawrence needs his rest cannot be found this very moment. Being a former Magisterium spy, Antone knows what those people are capable of, not to mention being a father searching for his kidnapped son is not a good combination for the usually stoic spy.

"Now's not the time for a catnap, Bushman!" He snaps and would've taken control of the ship if that blasted sniper doesn't keep on stopping him.

Lawrence looks up from below his hat, the brown eyes behind the aviators have a gleam of annoyance, sign this isn't the first time the spy has snapped at him this day. "Now is exactly the time for a nap." He huffs, pulling the hat over his eyes again. "I won't get much sleep the next hours." At the railing, Laraine ruffles her feathers once before going back to her own nap.

"And why's that?" Dell asks, looking away from the new revolver he is building for Antoine.

The sniper doesn't even look up when he answers, merely waving out to the sky. "Storm's coming, and it's a big one."

The two men blink and start scanning the so far cloud-free sky for this apparent storm the other man speaks about. But the only change in the weather lately has been the wind has gotten slightly colder. The spy turns back to this seemly weather expert. "You have been too much out in the sun; clearly you're starting to hallucinate," he remarks dryly.

"Says the wanker who couldn't even survive a week out in the outback." Lawrence retorts, sending Antoine a glare which the spy happily returns. "Trust me, mate. A storm is coming and I wants some rest before we get thrown around like bloody ragdolls by the sea."

Dell blinks from the Aussie's last comment. "Sea?" Already getting uncomfortable where this is going. He doesn't like sailing on the ocean.

"Yeah, gonna put this girl down unless you can make her immune against lightning, in a matter of a few hours."

Dell can do a lot of things in short among of time, but he hasn't yet been able to make a rod that actually can make a flammable airship survive against a lightning bolt. "Even I aren't that good..." Dell muses and again looks around for this upcoming storm. "You sure there's a storm coming?"

Lawrence nods.

"How do you know?"

"The air has changed and Lareine's feathers keep raising." The sniper explains, pointing at his daemon who again ruffles her feathers from the tension in the air. He leans down to return back to his power nap. "That's signs a storm is coming- or we heading towards it. I would've preferred going a detour to avoid it but I rather face a storm head-on than listing to Spook's nagging for one more day."

Antoine shoots the man an offended glare. "I do not nag!"

Mostly annoyed he won't get his nap, Lawrence retorts back to the spy. "Oh, yes you do! And you nag worse than my mum and that saying—"

Seeing where this is going, Dell decides to leave before he gets trapped into this upcoming fight between Lawrence and Antoine, he can always return when they are done beating each other down to a pulp. Getting downstairs is a strange relief, the quiet and homely atmosphere is always predicated. Heading into the living quarters, Dell finds their newest member sits- more cowering in the corner of the sofa, hugging her otter daemon tightly. She does not look comfortable- in fact, Dell dares to say that she is scared, which he does finds a bit odd. This woman- she hasn't yet told them her name, showed to be a fearless and straight out deadly fighter back at the Amazon. She wasn't fazed at all by leaving everything she knew behind and go with them, but the moment they boarded and left her home, the woman has been cowering in the living quarters like a scared little child. "You alright there, miss?" He asks her kindly, finding this sudden change of behavior a bit offputting.

Hugging her daemon tighter "...No..."

Dell sits down, keeping a polite distance from her and waits patiently for her to explain.

The woman sighs. "It's just... I don't like small spaces... or heights." She muses almost sheepishly.

Ah, that explains why she hasn't tried getting up on deck. Can't blame her for it, though. He has the exact same feeling when the ship is on water. Speaking of water. "Sniper said we're soon going down to the sea."

"Because of the storm, right?"

How did she...? "How do you know?" He blinks. She gestures at the Alethiometer and everything makes sense. "Ah, does water bothers you?"

She gives him a deadpan look "I have an otter for a daemon, what do you think?"

Dell takes hands up in defense, "I didn't try and offend you miss." He chuckles weakly. Naira appears from below the table with; "Especially when he doesn't like the ocean one bit."

He friendly kicks her, "hush you."

That catches the woman off guard, she might not know the name of the species of this man's daemon but she can see this thing has many features like an otter such as wet feet and waterproof fur "Why the hell do you have a water-based daemon, then?" She asks, her yellow eyes filled with confusions.

"It's a family thing." Dell shrugs.

"So everyone in your family has..."

"A beaver." Dell finishes for her and nods in affirmation. "Yes, my grandfather and my father both have beaver daemon."

"Oh."

Silence.

"That's dumb."

Dell raises an eyebrow and she explains. "Your daemon is supposed to be who you are, not something going down generations. Bet your father and grandfather were engineers as well." She adds with a toothy grin.

And for the first time, Dell actually feels a little embarrassed confirming that. "That's right, runs in the family." He has gotten so used to people praising him following the old family tradition that suddenly been told how stupid it actually feels- well pretty odd. And in a bit pathetic try to regain some of his broken egos. "But a beaver is an interesting animal, they can build a dam in a matter of days and topple even the strongest trees with their teeth." He doesn't have much interest in the animal kingdom, but his son is and Dell's happy Logan taught him this little fact about his daemon's form.

"Yeah? Well did you know an Amazon otter sometimes hunt alligators?" She returns now smirking.

Dell blinks about this small fact. "I thought otters only ate fish and shellfish." Eyeing the big otter now towering in an intimidating yet playful manner over Naira who put him down a perk with a small headbutt, as he remarks with a smile. "But I'm sure you know more about animals that I do. I'm more into the mechanical myself."

"So I can see." She smiles, gesturing to his mechanical hand partly hidden by his glove, she only spotted it by accident. "How did you end up replacing your hand with that fancy one?"

Returning the smile. "I tell you my story if you tell me yours." Pointing at the large burn scar on her right arm. Dell must say that he isn't really surprised seeing it after she showed her use of fire inside that Facility.

She eyes the scar, frowning slightly. It's not like she feels bad or regret having this scar, no she just really dislike people paying it so much attention and thinks she needs pity. But this man, this Engineer doesn't look interested in knowing if it still hurts or anything like that. He's merely interested knowing how she got it. "I think I was around the ten or so, doesn't really remember. Only that my family was having this party and decided to make this huge fire. It was the first time I saw fire that big. So beautiful, unlike some crappy small fireplace. That huge fire was dancing; showing such a personality. I remember I wanted to join its dance and stuck my hand into the flames, didn't even hurt when it burned my flesh." She laughs at the memories what happen afterward, absently touching the huge scar."Everyone was so scared of what happened, all except me. All I could think about was how beautiful the fire was... how beautiful the mark it gave me is."

Guess that was when she realized she has a thing for fire, Dell thinks. He does find her fascination with the fire a bit disturbing and yet he does also recognize a bit of himself in that fascination. Except his fascination is when it comes to building something new. She looks at him, waiting. He smiles and tells his story about his new mechanical hand. "Not long ago a couple of the Magisterium goons came and ransacked my workshop for weapons and any of my creations. I and Sniper tried to fend them off, we got a couple of them and they retaliated by sending the whole darn building down over our heads. My hand got stuck under a big mother hubber piece of metal; so Sniper had to cut it off. Losing the hand wasn't funny let me tell you, but it did give me the excuse installing this beauty." He removes the glove and flexes the gunslinger's metallic fingers. "My grandfather designed and build it just before he died."

"Do you miss him?"

Dell nods, feeling no shame or reason not telling her this. Lawrence and Antoine might still distrust her, probably being in their line of work does that, but Dell has always wanted to give people a chance, even if it meant being seen as a bit naive. "Yeah, he was the one who taught me everything I know today. You see, my father wasn't much around when I was a kid... What about you?" He asks a bit hesitant, so far the woman hasn't been willing to tell anything about herself.

The smile drop instantly, replaced with pain and anger, but the anger is not pointed at him "...I'm not ready telling you such a personal thing..."

And he can respect that. "Alright. I am sorry if I stepped over the line."

"No, it's okay... say;" yellow meets blue and how she titles her head with those curious eyes remind the engineer about a child, which is really ironic since this woman can chop a man's head off with a single swing with an ax. "Could you tell me more about the group you're working with?"

Dell blinks, taking a bit by surprise of this question. "You haven't asked the Alethiometer about it?" She can know anything with that thing, which is a bit unnerving really.

She shakes her head. "No, I don't like asking it such questions. Prefer getting them the old fashion way."

He can respect her for that. "Alright," leaning back in his seat, the engineer begins explaining her. "We are working for a group called Team Fortress Resistance, according to the few people I knew within this resistance, it has been around the last 100 years and that's also how long we have been fighting against the Magisterium."

"How did it form?"

"There are many origin stories about our founders." Dell shrugs, pretty sure Lawrence and Antoine have heard them all from the other teams scattered around the world. "The most popular is that they were ex-soldiers that got sick of the Church's rule and rebelled. Whatever they were, one thing is for sure though: they were nine and each had a class."

"Engineer, Sniper and Spy are three of them, right?"

Dell nods. "So right you are, the rest is Demolition—Demo for short, the Scout, the Medic, the Heavy, the Soldier and lastly the pyrotechnic or Pyro for short, but many are seriously considering renaming that last class."

"Why?" She titles her head along with her daemon.

Again struck by the thought that this woman is more a curious child than a fearless killer is incredibly amusing, but Dell restrains himself from laughing at the thought as he does not want to offend her. Instead, he continues explaining her. "Unlike the other classes, not many people can do what the Pyro class is meant to." He glances to his daemon, seeing Naria lying comfortably beside the otter, already looking like friends. It struck Dell a bit strange how quickly their daemon seems to have gotten a liking to one another, maybe because they're both water creature? The heck if he knows, he's no expert when it comes to the daemon. Where was he? Oh right, the Pyro class. "As you probably can hear from the title. The Pyro class fights with fire, and those few we have is a force to be reckoned with, that's for sure. But over the years Team Fortress has accepted people into that class even if they don't use fire, I've heard Sniper met one who sprays his own chemicals at people. Guy calling it Jarate." He nods towards the closet where the weapons are locked inside. "Sniper has a small stash of the stuff. It is mostly used for crowd control and when hit: people look as if they've ticked off a beehive and smell like they gotten sprayed by a skunk, but I must admit it works."

The woman cringes slightly hearing what these people are using to chase people away, then again that jarate stuff surely is better than her choice of keeping people away: setting the whole place on fire. "Better than how I would've done it, people mostly end up dead when I do crowd control." Engineer winches slightly from her words, and honestly, she does not blame him. but back to the subject at hand. "So, how does a person join the Team Fortress?"

Dell blinks, a bit taken aback by the question, but still answers her question. "Usually the teams track down small pockets of resistance and offer them among the Team Fortress Resistance where they can get proper training and a team they can count on. However, people cannot join the ranks just like that. For all, we know some of them could be on the Magisterium side."

Both look back to the stairs when a muffled yell can be heard, however, what is going on deck is quickly forgotten.

"How do you sort them?" she asks, her daemon still staring towards the stairs to the deck.

"Well, I'm not sure how other teams do it but in my case, I became a candidate to join when I... when I helped Sniper and Spy destroy a base very alike to the one we rescued you from," Dell explains, the memories of that place still haunt him, unfortunately, he thinks the one from the Amazon now will replace those dreams... quickly shaking away the thoughts. "But I didn't fully join right away, found it too dangerous- not for myself mind you." He quickly adds, he never stayed away from the resistance because of his own safety, if that would've been the case then he wouldn't have joined when the goons took his hand.

She is not fully certain what he means and yet she thinks she understands what kept this Engineer away from the battle. "Your family, right?"

Dell nods sadly. "Yup, have a son back at Texas. Haven't seen him as often as I would like..."

"Why?"

"His mother and I don't agree with a lot of things— I rather not talk about it."

He respected her wish to keep something private and she will do the same. "Alright," turning her eyes back to the metallic hand, she wonders... "Can I touch it?"

Dell blinks, not sure where this question comes from, then again; it's not often anyone meets a person with a fully functioning robotic hand. "Sure." And he reaches out but stops when she flinches away. "You alright?"

She doesn't answer his question, too busy trying not make Dahanain attacks this man. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she asks, "can you place it on the table?" He does; a bit confused, though. She reaches out and lets her hand touches the cold metal, any sign of her former fear is completely gone, replaced with a genuine curiosity. "Can you feel anything from it?"

"No, I do get a few signals when I grab something with it, but it's nothing compared to the sensitivity of a real hand," Dell explains, eyeing the woman carefully touching the gunslinger, not feeling anything like he would if he still had his real hand. However; "but it was a sacrifice I was willing to pay."

"I know the feeling."

He eyes her with a questioning look, she nods to her burned right arm. "The doctors told me my nerves would never heal correctly, so I cannot feel much when I touch something... unlike the rest of my body." Her eyes change into something way more sinister, mixed with an unnamed fear... it scares Dell.

"Miss?" He calls, with Naira backing away from the other daemon there has turned into a growling demon dog.

But she doesn't seem to hear him, she stares at the gunslinger with that empty but very sinister look, almost like she isn't really there. She only snaps out from it by a sudden shock to the whole cabin, closely followed by the sound of waves. She notices how tense the man beside her has become while she actually begins to relax. "Not much water in Texas, huh?"

"Nope, only been at a few lakes," Dell replies with a strained smile, glad she's back to normal. And yes, the ocean mere size makes him feel at loss and also not in control when it starts showing teeth. So knowing they soon will be stuck out in a storm... yeah he does not look forward to that one bit. But dealing with the ocean seems like the least of his problems now, whatever happened to the woman moments ago really scared him. He has some ideas what she meant before she went into that phase, but he thinks it's best not poking to that subject, at least not until she is either ready or really need to speak with someone about it. But he would like to know what can trigger it so none of them will accidentally make her go into that phase and probably kill them like those Magisterium soldiers from Amazon.

"Truckie!" Lawrence voice suddenly calls from the stairs and a bit battered sniper appears, drying off some blood from a small cut over the left hand; "Gonna need your help packing the balloons."

"I'll help with that." The woman interrupts before Dell even can open his mouth, she gets up from her seat. "Engie should stay down here, maybe make sure the motor doesn't die under the storm or something mechanical."

Highly appreciate her way of help, Dell is happy to tell his friend "Been a while since I last took a look at that beauty, never know what it might do under a storm."

"If you say so, mate." Sniper smirks, well aware that the engineer is trying to avoid the 'big scary sea' outside. Still, with the Sheila finally offering a hand, he can let Dell stay down here, eyeing the woman. "You better not be afraid of the sea Sheila, it's getting feisty."

"Then the sea and I have one thing in common," she remarks with a grin and heads upstairs, laughing loud at what she sees on deck. "Holy hell what made you try to kill each other?!"

"...minor disagreement." Antoine's irritated voice replies.

The sniper and engineer glance once to each other before Lawrence heads back up on the deck just as the minor battered Spy remarks to the woman. "Glad see you joining us for once."

The woman huffs "Being on a ship with three men is scary you know." She looks serious but only a moron wouldn't hear the sarcasm in her voice.

The spy sends her a 'yeah right' look, well aware that if anyone one of them has tried anything, she would've used that ax on them or sat the whole ship on fire. Besides, this unruly fireball of a person is not his type, he prefers women with class; like Saffira, of course, he likes when she shows the lioness in her too. This woman before him, however, is too much of a wildcat for his taste.

The sniper laughs loudly at her remark but doesn't comment on it, like the spy well aware that this woman is more than capable handling herself. His amused smile quickly drops though when a hard wind almost blows his beloved hat out to the sea. "Crikey...alright mate— and Sheila, better gets packing before this storm tears it to shred."

The two stop their small glaring contest and goes straight to work, Lawrence does as well- after he has thrown the hat downstairs where it wouldn't get blown away, he would really hate losing that hat.

Lawrence was right, none of them got much sleep that night. Everyone too busy keeping the ship on course and fighting against the monster waves that kept trying sending them to the bottom of the sea. And how the four people dealt with the constant danger was a bit comically to say the last. Lawrence and Antoine kept bickering and yet somehow still succeed doing their job keeping the ship afloat. Dell cowered down in the machine room, only snapping out from his fear and gets into a deep concentration when the machine began complaining about the stress a certain Frenchman is putting it through, the engineer wasn't complaining about it though, he's just happy he has something to do instead of shaking in fear like some scared child. And the woman, well, she was actually having a lot of fun being thrown around at the huge waves, her only complaint was that water wasn't really as fun to play with as fire was.

Chapter Text

"Where are we going?" Nalini asks her human. He hushes her and keeps sneaking down the empty hall, listing intensely for any sound other than his own breathing. The guards do not like when someone sneaks around in the middle of the night, especially not the guy with the wolf daemon, but Nathan is willing to take that chance. Nathan sneaks into the dove doctor's room, and after he has made sure, the coast is clear Nathan begins searching the room for any clue that his suspicious is correct.

'coo'

A white dove lands on the medical shelf Nathan is rummaging through. The young man looks up, it takes him a while due to the darkness, but he is certain this bird is the doctor's daemon as it is the only dove with blood on the feathers. Nathan does not want to think about how she got that on her, no he's more worried that she will alarm her human as it is clear she is aware he is here.
But to his bt surprise; the dove takes flight and lands right on top on his head, cooing in a very curious manner. Looking up at the dove sitting on his head, he voices his thoughts out loud. "You're not a daemon are you?"

'coo' the dove replies.

"But if that bird isn't his daemon, then where is she?" Nalini asks nervously, the human and rabbit both freeze on the spot when the light gets turned on and at the door stands a very pissed doctor.
Still with the dove sitting on his head, Nathan gives the doctor a sheepish smile with Nalini musing nervously; "we're so screwed..."

The doctor locks the door behind him, his steel-blue eyes filled with rage and with a surprising speed slams Nathan up against the nearby wall, holding a bone saw against his neck, the white dove takes flight and joins its friends at the big bird cage. "Schweinhund! You just had to stick your nose where it doesn't belong!" The doctor sneers with bared teeth like a very angry and deadly wolf.

"Wait! You- you can't kill me!" Nathan gasps startled and horrified this man looks ready to put that saw through his chest. "Viper wants me alive!"

The doctor's eyes turn slightly distance. "Hm yes, I must come up with a reasonable excuse for your untimely demise." And they are back to full homicide mode again, but the hint of fear did not go unnoticed for the trapped young man.

"Is because you don't have a daemon?"

"Dummkopff! Of course I have a daemon! I wouldn't have a soul if I didn't!" The doctor snaps angrily.

"Please..."

The doctor snaps his eyes down to Nalini, her eyes wide and on edge to tears from the combined fear of death and the helplessly of being unable to save her human. "Please let us go... "
It is rare Nathan hears his daemon beg like this, and when she finally does, she is scared enough to bite down her own indignity. To be honest, he is more than ready to throw away his pride if it means not getting killed by this man "I promise, we won't tell anyone."

The grip around his neck loosens, but only slightly. The doctor feels conflicted, in one hand the boy does look as he means it, but on the other hand, this one is getting trained by the master spy to Viper, so this can all be an act. No, he can't take the chance. "I cannot trust the apprentice of Viper." The young man's eyes wide in horror.
The doctor slightly lowers his gaze, killing children is not a line he thought he ever would cross. "I'm sorry..." and he readies the saw for the strike.

"I'm with the Resistance!"

"What?!" The doctor blinks, truly taken aback by this proclaim, then again a person facing death can say so many things.

The doctor's thoughts are not much far off, but right now Nathan just hopes his small knowledge about the resistance will save his skin. "I'm part of the Team Fortress Resistance." He tells the man, unable to hide the quiver in his voice from the fear he feels.

"Of all the..." The doctor tightens his grip but at least he drops his 'weapon' "Of all the things you could say, this is your best excuse?!" He growls this child cannot be part of the resistance that has been a thorn in the Magisterium side for decades, he's too young and from how uncoordinated he is it's clear he hadn't been trained like those few Resistance members he has encountered. "Do you have any idea what you just said? If anyone knows you're part of the resistance. Trust me when I say; you wish I would've killed you!" For he would've at done it quick.

Okay, maybe not such a good idea saying this. However before Nathan can redraw his proclaim, Nalini speaks before him; "Exactly, if this information leaves this room, we both will be in big trouble."
Oh, he wish he can make her shut up by now...

"I see."

And to Nathan's big surprise the doctor lets go of him. He scrambles away from the man who is now smiling rather insanely. "I don't believe you are part the resistance, but that doesn't matter. If I say you are part of the resistance; they will torture and kill you." Turning to the dove that disguises itself as his daemon, the man starts petting it in a very loving manner. "The same they will do to me if you reveal my lack of daemon, so junge." He looks back to Nathan the creepy smile widen. "There is a saying; 'if I die, you'll come with me', ja?"

Nathan thinks he get it now, boy is he happy having such a quick-witted daemon. "Y-Yeah, but none of us will tell right?"

"I won't if you don't." The doctor smirks and offers him a hand.

Nathan hesitates but does nonetheless takes the hand and let the crazy doctor help him back up on his feet. The doctor puts down his former weapon and starts feeding his doves. Nathan curiosity overrides his fear from almost getting killed, "So, uh... where is your daemon?" He asks, for that mystery still hasn't been solved and this doctor did say he has one but not where she happens to be at the moment.

The doctor laughs. "Mein gott, you're cocky asking such questions this quickly" It is in a mocking tone and yet something in the man's tone tells Nathan that this man won't try and kill him anymore. Still chuckling the doctor gestures for him to sit, which he does. The doctor heads to his desk and starts heating water. "I do not know where she is. Haven't seen her for almost two years now."

Not having a daemon by his side for two years? First, he has never heard of such a thing and second. "Isn't that lonely?" Nathan has his daemon and yet he still feels lonely from time to time without his brothers or friends around.

"It is. Tea?"

"Uh... sure, but how did you get separated from her?" Nathan asks, looking down to Nalini in his arms, remembering all the times they got too far away from one another; how much it hurt. Oh, right. Nathan turns his eyes to the doctor. The man doesn't seem to be in the pain he knows comes from being too far away from ones soul. Sad yes, but not in pain. "Doesn't it hurt?"

The doctor stops midway in his tea-making, he hesitate with the answer. "The separation was pure agony." He admits and put the leaves down the boiled water. He returns back to the boy with the tea and two glasses. "Over time, the pain sustained."

"And you haven't seen her since? Why aren't you searching?"

The doctor hesitates again, getting asked these questions about such a personal topic feels wrong and yet he cannot admit it is also kinda nice having someone talk without the fear getting thrown in the fire for his heritage. Eyeing the child, the doctor contemplates on how to explain this small fact about himself. "Well you see, I can search for her as long as I want and yet never find her. She will return when she is ready."

"That doesn't make any freaking sense at all," Nathan remarks, causing the doctor to laugh.

"Neither does a daemon unable to settle."

Okay, the doc got him there. Speaking of his daemon. "Hey doc, figured out why my daemon is unable to settle?"

The doctor's eyes light up, as if he just got told he has won a million. "Ah yes I did actually, very interesting. It is the cause of part of your genetic. The gene where the daemon is created reveals that the switch is missing"

"The what?"

"Switch, that's what I decided to call a certain protein that helps the DNA- a person's genes do whatever their purpose is. With most people- like myself, this switch is not activated when they are children. So when someone reaches maturity, the switch gets turned on and thus this is why the daemon is stuck in one form when it settles into what suits out personality best. However, according to the research on your genetic code from the samples, I got from you. I was unable to find that part- the switch in you is completely lacking." The doctor explains like this he is telling his friends about some awesome vacation he has been on.

Most of what the man said has gone right over Nathan's head but what he did get does make one thing clear to him. "So it in my genes?"

"Correct, it is a very strong genetic abnormally." The doctor nods, having a very excited- almost freakish smile on his face. He takes a sib of his tea, remarking. "Wouldn't surprise me if half your family has a none settled daemon."

What did the doctor just say? "Hold up." Nathan takes his hand up to stop the man from continuing his speech. He wants to be sure he heard that comment right. "Are you saying my parents should have a daemon like mine?" Nalini turns her eyes back to the doctor, having a very baffled look on her dog face.

The doctor nods enthusiastically. "Ja, your siblings as well- if you have any. Granted only one of your parents need this genetic abnormally for the offspring to get it, high chance your children will get a daemon unable to settle as well, that gene seems to be the dominating-"

Nathan did not listen to the doctor anymore, his mind too boggled with this newsflash. His mother did not have a none settled daemon that's for sure, also explains why none of his brothers has one either since it is not from her side of the family. "Dad's daemon is like mine." He realizes. His father must have this strange gene the doctor keeps rambling on about. He can't help but laugh at this, never thought all of this would come to genetic. But he's glad he knows what causes this 'abnormally' as the doctor calls it. it puts some relief on him. "Thanks, for telling me this"

"You're quite welcome." The doctor smiles, adding after have taken a sip of his tea. "It's been a while I last had so much fun running tests on people, which reminds me; can you give me a skin sample from your daemon?"

Nathan and Nalini blink, none of them really saw this one coming. Nathan is the first to respond. "Eh.. sure?" He can't really see anything harmful in it.

"Wunderbar," and the doctor hands him what looks like a hand held grater and a glass. "A few hair samples will be appreciated as well."

With a small nod, Nathan carefully removes the top layer of skin on his hairless cat daemon, the feeling he got from that act is weird, but fortunately it did not hurt. "What are you planning with it?" He asks the doctor after have finished this small task. He hands the man the skin and rabbit hair from Nalini.

The doctor eagerly takes the samples. "I've always wondered if daemon's has DNA like us." He explains with that creepy wide grin of his. He heads over to his desk and begins doing experiments on the samples right away. "Would've done it sooner but I did not have the equipment back when Silvia was by my side and none of the soldiers or other doctors would let me do this project. Say it waste of their time, bah." He grumbles and put some liquid Nathan is certain is not water to the skin sample. "And they call themselves docto..." he stops midsentence, blinking at the reaction he gets. "Huh, not the reaction I expected..." and the smile is back. "Interesting."

"What?" Both Nathan and his daemon ask at the same time.

"I do not know if this is the case for any daemon, need run more tests, but-" the doctor turns, still smiling that creepy smile of his to Nathan "-this sample points out that daemon's are indeed the soul of the human, a construct of our inner self."

Nathan cannot see why this got the man so excited, everyone knows that. "I know, everyone knows that."

"Yes, but no one knew for certain!" The doctor cries grinning, his pet dove flies startled away from its master and lands back on the hospital's bed, already forgiven its owner. "This proves that the daemon is the soul, the body you see beside you is a genetic construction of who you are. It explains why she prefers certain forms and why she changes when you are in certain moods!" and as if someone has turned on a switch, the doctor's huge smile drops. "It explains why the Magisterium is taking children away before the daemon settles..."

"Huh?" Nathan blinks, no longer sure what the doctor babbles on about now.

And the doctor does not want to share this with someone who can easily ruin everything, true he will stay quiet, but for how long? In a couple of years, this young man might be enough important for Viper that the master spy is willing to look past the silly boy's proclaim being a resistance member. "It's nothing." Speaking of the boy, why did he even let his mouth run wild around this nosy kid? No matter, it was fun as long it lasted. Getting up from the chair he signals the young man to follow. "Better get you back to your room before someone sees you out from bed, you will get enough beating from Viper tomorrow."

Nathan does not look forward till tomorrow, why does he even has to be trained by this Viper anyway? "I rather want to go home with the rest of the kids," He remarks.
He did not notice the look of pity from the doctor.

Chapter Text

A routine has come over Nathan's life inside this building of the Magisterium. He would wake and eat with the rest of the kids, then gets dragged to the so-called training with Viper- although he would closer call it 'beat Nathan to a pulp ' kind of game. The man did enjoy beating him up a tad too much for his taste and that reminds him of Lokk; and like that rival gang member, Nathan does not like Viper one bit. After that the doctor with the lost daemon would then fix him up with that strange medicine of his, and then Nathan will go to lunch before a new round of beating from Viper will commend. And before bed, the doctor will fix him up again.

Nathan is happy the doctor keeps healing him even if it's just part of his job. But what he is most happy about is that this bit crazy guy wants to listen to him.

"Mein Gott! Do you know the word quiet?"

Although Nathan is sure he does drive the man crazier with all his chatter, but what can he do? The doc is the only one he can talk freely without worrying about getting in deep trouble for saying something bad about the Magisterium. The doctor does not kiss up to the world power like the other people at this place, in fact, Nathan has the feeling this doctor hate the Magisterium. Why? Nathan has no idea, not that he cares.

"Nope." He grins to the exasperated doctor, "but what do you expect from someone having seven brothers?"

The doctor lets out a huff. "I guess you could be worse." And 'accidentally' sticks the needle with the healing serum too deep into the young man's arm. Nathan lets out a cry of pain, followed by a wave of swears, the doctor smirks at the very creative words coming out from this one's mouth. "Clearly your mom did not wash your mouth often enough."

The young man shoots him a glare, but that only amuses the doctor. He does not want to say it out loud— mostly because he does not want to stroke this hyperactive and rather obnoxious kid's ego, but he does enjoy the company this chatterbox offers him. Returning the equipment back to the shelf, the doctor notices a sad look appearing on the young man's face. He can ignore it; it will be so easy and save him from yet another night without sleep thanks to troubled thoughts, but... ugh, blast his own need having company and that stupid high curiosity of his. He lets out a sigh and turns back to the boy. "What's on your mind junge?"

"I miss ma— I mean I miss my home, my brothers, friends ... you know what I mean, right?" Nathan looks hopeful up to the doctor, the only one who has so far actually gives a darn about what he feels and not trying putting his own ideals into his head like any other adult in this freaking place.

The doctor hesitates, unbeknown for Nathan, this question has brought up some bad memories. No, he shouldn't be thinking about that now. Shaking the crawling memories away, the doctor replies surprisingly softly. "Ja, I know the feeling wanting to go home but unable."

"You think they will let me go home soon?" Nathan asks the doctor, many of the kids that got taken has already been taken back home according to Mr. Conagher.

Again the doctor hesitates, not sure if it's in his right telling this boy the hard truth of what the Magisterium is planning for him- for all the children. Then again, he hasn't really followed the rules- always done things his own way. So why should he start now? Now the question is: what will the boy do if he knows the truth that he will never go home?

"Doc?"

It will be interesting see the reaction, but Viper will know it has been him telling the boy and he prefers keeping his windpipe intact. No fun stitching it back together. "It's nothing." He smiles at the boy. Deciding it might be better keeping this little info for–

suddenly the alarm starts ringing through the building, startling the young man and makes the doctor snap his attention towards the door.

"What's going on?" Nathan asks confused over the sudden alarm.

The doctor does not answers, without a word he heads towards the door and checks for the reason of commotion outside. It did surprise him seeing those people here, yet he can't help but wonder if he has the 'honor' doing a few experiments on them. He better checks, but one thing first. Turning back to the confused boy behind him. "You need to go back to your room." He fetches his black lap coat, whistles, and Archimedes; reacting to the whistle flies over and lands on the man's shoulder.

"Doc, what's going on?" Nathan repeats his question, he does not like this one bit, less so when the doctor is in his incredibly serious mode.

He figures the boy would learn this one way or another, the doctor eyes the boy. "They've brought people from the Resistance."

Nathan's eyes wide, the Resistance is here? "W-What's going happen to them?"

The doctor hesitates, telling the boy the hard truth that every member of the resistance will be tortured for any information's of their comrades before cruelly executed. He might have a very loose sense between experimenting and torture, but even he will admit that what Rahul does to his victims is not something he wishes, not even on the enemy.

One of the guard's- Paul; the biggest and meanest of them all steps through the door along with his wolf daemon and the man did not look happy. Then again this one never did.

"You're still here? Get a move on!" The huge man snaps with his wolf daemon glaring at Archimedes that starts flapping nervously on his shoulder.

"Right, right." The doctor replies Paul and gathers his medical equipment, but before he leaves. He stops and turns to the still very horrified Nathan. "Go back to your room- I mean it boy." He tells the young man hard. He doesn't want this one see what fate awaits him if he ever says this one is part of the resistance.

Seeing that the doctor means it, Nathan leaves the room. Outside the medical, he spots several guards dragging four badly hurt people with them. One of them, a man with probably most blood on him screams at every guard in rage and Nathan can't help but think that one does look a bit mad with the crazed look in those blue eyes– somehow still able to struggle against the four men restraining him even though he looks close to dropping dead any minute. "You think you have us beaten?! Ha! I have fought against bigger odds than this you cowardly maggots! And if you think I will let you destroy the rest of my team you are dead wrong! I will fight to every last man if that what it takes!"

His shouts of being more than ready to fight the Magisterium soldiers dies slowly down as he gets dragged away. Behind, a woman who struggles just as much as the bloodied one; although her words are in another language so Nathan has no idea what she is saying. Like the mad-angry man, she has the same strange icon of what looks like a rocket on her shoulders. Beside her walks the biggest daemon he has ever seen, it's a tiger, but he only knows this species from books so its size startles him. Nathan always thought tigers were the same size of a cougar, but boy was he wrong. In the Komodo dragon's jaws is a bald eagle, presumably the screaming man's daemon from how it continually struggles against the Komodo dragon and dog biting her right wing in an attempt to keep her in check. The tiger doesn't struggle, but he does make the pack of dog daemons surrounding him very nervous with his death-glares and snarling, and Nathan can see why the Magisterium daemon are scared of these bigger daemons; wouldn't surprise him if those two humans have been free and not wounded, then the tiger and eagle would've eaten the dogs and Komodo dragon as breakfast. The last member is a lanky man, but unlike the two others, that one is too wounded to walk so he is getting dragged by two men with their dog daemons dragging a deer daemon behind them. Just as they pass by the man raises his head and makes eye contact with Nathan, the look is filled with pity, as if he knows what will happen to Nathan in the near future.

That look confuses Nathan, and he turns away from that one's eyes, his own eyes then lands on the icon on the man's shoulders. Like the two still able to struggle, this icon is yellow but having a key difference that it did not form a rocket but a winged shoe.

"Nathan, what are you- oh, never mind." Mr. Conagher walks over to him smiling proudly over this whole scene. He places a hand on the stunned Nathan shoulders. "Today is a good day for us, we finally caught us some of those blasted terrorists alive; they have a silly tendency fighting to the death." He explains in such an amused manner that is actually freaking Nathan out further. What kind of person is willing to fight to the death like these guys? And Dell is part of it? What are they fighting for? "Do you know why they keep fighting?" He asks the older man carefully.

Mr. Conagher chuckles as if he asked some silly question. "People like the terrorists thinks they fight for the greater good, but all they do is destroying buildings and killing people for no real reason. And that's why we need to stop them." the man eyes Nathan as if he's asking Nathan to help him fight against this threat there is the terrorists or Resistance as Dell and that man from Auister called these people. But that only makes it so much more confusing. Dell and that other man said they fight against the Magisterium to help people, while the people from the Magisterium says they do nothing but killing people for no reason. Who is the right one? He wishes Dell was here to explain this for him, that man has always been good at making complicated topic simple to understand.

"What's going happen to them?" Nathan asks Mr. Conagher, for whatever fate awaits these people, Dell will face the same consequence if he ever got caught.

Mt. Conagher eyes him softly. "One of our people will interrogate them for any information's. he's... very good at his job." Maybe too good but he shouldn't be complaining, Rahul effective at his job and that's what Grey excepts from everyone.

"And after that?"

"... Then we will throw them to prison." The older man responses just as the doctor passes by. The doctor sends Mr. Conagher a crossed look, unlike Nathan he knows that reply is one fat lie but before he can say anything, Paul shoves him off and towards where the terrorists will spend the last days of their lives. Mr. Conagher seemly didn't notice the doctor's look and continues his small speech. "Of course they will never be released from all the people they have killed, but that's only fair."

"I guess..." Nathan muses, but he isn't fully convinced. Looking down he notices that Nalini wears an expression that she does not believe the man's words. He must admit that something about how Mr. Conagher explained it sounds a bit fishy, those people are too wounded to get such a tame punishment.

"You're lying." Nalini speaks, much to Mr. Conagher daemon's annoyance. The beaver tries to stop her, but she escapes her grasp by turning into a small hawk and flies up to Nathan's shoulders, up there she eyes the still soft-eyed man. "You're going to kill them."

Nathan thoughts exactly.

Except the slightly tighten jaw, the older man's expression hasn't changed "I thought I told you daemon shouldn't speak." Mr. Conagher lectures Nathan, getting annoyed he refuses to listen.

"No offense sir." Nathan says but all respect for this man is practically gone. "But I prefer your son's pieces of advice. He at least doesn't try stuff his ideals down my throat."

The hand on his shoulder tightens. "Nathan." Mr. Conagher still smiles but it is forced and the tone of his voice has gotten slightly darker, clear signs for Nathan that he is pushing it. "I think it's about time you go back to your room."

Nathan hit the hand away and leaves, he may not know which side to side with, but he refuses to be on the same side as Mr. Conagher.

"I'm only doing this for your own good."

The young man has gotten about enough with these people keep seeing him as a confused and lost child. Nathan stops and calls angrily back. "Screw you!" Before turning his walk into a fast-paced run. He needs get away from that man. He wishes he could speak with the doctor but he is busy doing who knows what on the resistance. Can he even trust that man? He doesn't know, he just doesn't know anymore...!

"I trust him more than Dell's old man." Nalini says on his shoulders and Nathan cannot agree more. The doctor might be crazy as hell and maybe not telling him everything but so far the doctor has been honest with him. He does not return to his room, instead, he heads back to the doctor's personal quarters, keeping the small flock of white doves company.

Later that night the doctor finds Nathan sitting with a small pile of seeds in his hands, watching the doves eat with a very troubled look on his face. The doctor is very aware of the conversation between the boy and Mr. Conagher, but he honestly did not think this one actually had the guts going against the head engineer's command. Just to feed his birds. He closes the door, watching the boy snaps his attention away from the doves when the bloodstained Archimedes joins his brethren. The young man stares for several moments at the bloodstained dove.

"Did you hurt them?"

The doctor doesn't answer, not sure if it's his place revealing such things. The boy eyes him with a strangely serious gleam in his brown eyes. "Come on man, don't be like anyone else..."

"Do you really want to hear the truth." The doctor asks although it sounds closer to a statement, is this why the boy trusts him? Because he tells him the truth? Well, at least most of the times. He takes off the also blood-stained lab coat, it is hard to see the blood because of the coat's dark coloration. "The truth is not pretty."

"Better knowing the god-awful truth than living in a freaking lie."

Nathan snorts and offers the remaining seeds to the only dove he knows the name of, Archimedes is more than happy to rid him of the seeds.

So true, the doctor cannot help but smile at that statement. Now the question is: can this boy handle the truth? Well if the boy doesn't he can always put that memory removing theory to the test. "Alright." He takes off the once white gloves, throwing them into the nearby trashcan. "I did not hurt those people, I kept them alive for the one who did hurt them." But he could very well have been the one hurting them. He can be quite creative if he needs people talking, unlike those three prisoners current torture. All Rahul wants is to see people in as much pain as possible, that man has no style. Glancing at the boy, the doctor cannot help but smile watching him stiffen up from his short explanation. Is that enough truth to him he wonders.

"Do I wanna know what that other person does to them?" Nathan asks hesitantly.

The doctor starts the kettle so he can brews himself a can of tea. "It depends on how curious you are about what a man who enjoys watching other in pain can do to another person. Tea?"

Nodding for the question, Nathan is quite startled that this doctor is willing to actually tell him what is happening to those resistance members "You... You really willing to tell me about that?"

"You asked for the truth ja?"

"Yeah, but everyone else keeps telling me off, even you do."

The doctor rolls his eyes, sometimes this kid is just too dense. "Because you are still not loyal to the Magisterium, and well, most here still consider you as a child."

"Do you?" Nathan asks while trying not show how annoyed he is being considered a kid.

"It depends on the situation." The doctor admits with a small shrug. At this very moment, he will consider this one a young man, while other times- he will consider this one an annoying child. "You do still act very much like a child, but sometimes— like now you let the adult in you show." Putting the leaves into the water. "Most others, like Mr. Conagher, sees you as a child because of your daemon." He heads over to where the young man sits and hands him a cup and the tea,

Nathan pours himself some of this leaf tea, not the best but certainly not the worst he has tasted either. "Will they ever see me as an adult?" He asks the doctor.

"Only the day your daemon settles." The doctor muses, Nathan looks up from the tone is has been said. "Are they trying to make her settle?" he asks the older man.

The doctor nods and smirks amused at Nathan's next question. "And you?"

"I would prefer she stays like this." Gesturing to the now grey pigeon shaped Nalini teases the real doves. "There are still so many tests I would need, oh and a few experiments to see if it's possible making the daemon change after it has settled, think of the possibilities of it!" The doctor giggles at the mere thought how useful such a thing would be for people. Nathan's daemon can pick whatever form she wants and never has to worry about losing them because of a stupid settling. The possibilities of having such a useful ability in one's daemon are endless.

"Eh...?" okay the doctor is creeping him out again.

The doctor realizes he has lost the young man and chuckles amused. Nathan calms down again now the creepy phase is over, but he prefers been crept out by the truth than being frustrated by lies.

And now the topic is on the daemon, Nathan still has a lot of questions about the doctor's. He just hopes the man wouldn't mind getting asked, for he really doesn't want that bonesaw near him again. "Uh if you don't mind, I.. um was wondering if I could ask you about your daemon?"

The doctor eyes him, he steel-blue eyes have gotten very hard and serious. This has always been a fragile topic for the doctor so Nathan knows he needs to be careful what he says.

"You see, I... I'm curious about the bond you have with her, in some ways you are special like me."

And to his surprise, the doctor starts laughing.

"mein gott, noch nie gehört, dass man vor!" The doctor laughs, usually when people realize the truth about his daemon they will get scared. But not this one, this young man only sees a fellow comrade. It is almost touching. Getting himself together, the doctor decides that maybe this one can be trusted with this secret of his. "This never leaves the room, understand." He warns Nathan, for if the others know about this, then he is a dead man.

Nathan put his hands up in scout honor. "My lips are sealed."

That's good enough, if the boy does spew out his secret then he will make sure to test his new bonesaw before the guards capture him. "Have you ever heard about witches?" He asks the young man, wonders how much he has to explain.

Not exactly what Nathan expected to hear, getting an answer to a question. Well, might as well humor the doctor. "Teachers told us a bit about them in history class, only women can become a witch I hear, and they can fly and use magic. Deadly towards humans so the Magisterium decided to declare war on them- they won of course and now the witches are only part of the myth."

"Ja, the Magisterium did win per say, but the witches are still very much alive." The doctor remarks, he turns his eyes towards the window. "Now they live in remote places of the North, a place where humans cannot live for long. Of course-" He chuckles to himself. "Some humans do encounter witches if they didn't then I wouldn't be here today."

He wouldn't be alive if humans did not encounter witches... Wait what? Is this man for real?! "You're a witch?" Nathan asks dumbfounded.

"No, as you said; only the female offspring becomes a witch. The male always becomes human— with a few magical abilities." The doctor explains in a matter of fact, he blinks when Nathan leaps up from the chair, and his still dove-shaped daemon startles the doves when she takes flight.

"You- You... holy shit! Does that mean you're not human?" Nathan doesn't even know how to think about this. Yes, he did expect something weird, but never would he be speaking to a male witch!

The doctor cannot help but find this whole reaction amusing, there is no fear in the young man's eyes. Only utter confusions and desperately trying to wrap his mind together from his possible biggest mind blow. "oh, I am as much human you are mein freund. As I said, only the females become a witch."

"Is that why your daemon can be so far away from you?"

"Oh no, that was part of the witches coming to age ritual, granted I spend years working up a healthy relation to the clan lived with. " The doctor shakes his head and while pouring himself a new cup of tea, he explains. "Witches doesn't trust humans as you might understand from the history books. Only two years back I was permitted going through the ritual, but before I could rejoin Silvia..." His smile drops, the happy memories of studying with the witches get replaced by the horrors of what the mercenaries of the Magisterium do to anyone they do not consider worthy. Sighting he admits. "I do not wish to relive those moments again, maybe one day. But for now, all I can tell you that day: I saw the true side of the Church."

If he saw the true evil of the Church, then why the hell is her working for them? "Why did you join them?"

The doctor laughs, not the amused one from before, this time it is dark, like's there is actually nothing to laugh about. "You clearly do not understand the world junge, if you do not side with the Church; you are against it." He takes off his glasses and starts to clean them in his sand-colored shirt. "And no better off than the prisoners." After having put the glasses back on, the doctor eyes the young man before him. "The question is now; which side are you on? the Church? those who control the world and so long you agree, you are safe. or the terrorist? people there cause millions of deaths for a future they might never reach."

Nathan cannot answer that question, and from how the doctor looks at him, he doesn't think the man expects an answer from him. Instead, he turns the question back to the doctor. "What about you?"

The man smiles, not the creepy smile, this one is a genuine neutral smile. "Whoever is protecting my daemon."

Nathan blinks, not sure what the man means.

The doctor chuckles. "It's hard to explain, all I know that someone has been taking care of Silvia this past year. I can from time to time feel their hands touching her."

But touching someone else's daemon is the biggest taboo of all, it's a rule everyone knows and respects. Not even Nathan's own family touches his daemon, for touching someone else's daemon is like touching that person's soul. The thought of that's happening to the doctor is something Nathan has trouble to comprehend as his mind keeps telling him that it is wrong on so many levels. "That person is—"

"I do not think they know she's a daemon." The doctor interrupts him, nodding to the still pigeon shaped Nalini. "A daemon can hide as an animal, we only know which is which when the daemon reacts to their human's worldly reactions and vice versa. Whoever has Silvia is someone I can trust, I can feel it." He takes the empty cup from Nathan with; "So whoever side that person is on, that is the side I am."

"Isn't that a bit hypocrite?" Nathan asks.

The doctor laughs. "I never really been the one following the rules."

Nathan can't help but join the crazy doctor's laugh, yes the doctor is crazy and dangerous when he wants to but Nathan feels he can trust this guy. He just hopes that whoever has the doctor's daemon is not some psychopath who kills everything on sight and just has a soft spot for critters- or whatever form the doctor's daemon has.

Chapter Text

Trust is not something that comes easy for Antoine. His training in the Magisterium had made it very hard for him to show genuine emotions and open up for people. So accepting complete strangers he knows nothing about and trusting a pyromaniac woman's words that these people will help them rescuing his son does not sit well in his head. "Absolutely not."

Of course, both Dell and Lawrence are not surprised by their friend's reluctance. Letting their fourth ship member join the ranks of the Resistance and if circumstances have been different, then Lawrence would've been on the Spy's side on this one. Said that she needed to go through the introduction training like any other new member, but at the moment they do not really have that many options. "We're going to need all the help we can get." The sniper tells his old friend, nodding towards the horizon where they can see the city of Bristol where Nathan and the other kidnapped kids should reside inside this city's Magisterium Facility. "No bloody way this place will have as crappy security as the one in Amazon." He locks his eyes with Antoine. "We have to trust her." Like the spy, Lawrence is slow to trust others, but unlike Antoine; he does know when it is the time to give someone the benefit of the doubt and take a leap of faith that the person will keep their words. If he couldn't then he would have taken the shot on spy's head that day instead of taking a chance with him which became the starting point of their friendship.

"No, we're going alone." Antoine snaps at Lawrence in a very controlled tone, no need raising his voice to show that he is angry by this mere suggestion. "I will not let some crazed gunmen and a pyromaniac compromise the life of my son." He doesn't care if she says those people will help them. For all he knows; those people will mistake Nathan for the enemy and shoot him on sight. He refuses to take that chance.

"Going in with only three men is suicide!" Lawrence retorts back. In case this dimwitted spy has forgotten. "Snipers does not do well in close proximity and spies are only useful when the enemy is unaware of their presence. And don't you dare tell me this will be like the Amazon and Dustbowl." Angrily, he pokes the spy's chest hard. "It's not! This time they have numbers on their side. Not to mention a bunch of human shields which includes your own son!"

Antoine glares up at the taller man, asking. "And you trust mercenaries keeping their trigger happy fingers in check?" Lawrence opens his mouth but a robot hand stops him. Both turn to Dell who has so far kept to the sidelines and not joined the conversation, merely listing to them with crossed arms. It seems their engineer finally has something to say. Dell eyes the two hard, reminding a certain spy about a parent lecturing a child.

"Arguing won't solve anything." He starts and before Antoine can start an argument with him, he continues. "You both have a valid point. Going in just the three of us will be a death-wish and I am still planning to visit Logan this Christmas. So as I see it:" Lowering his right hand now he's certain the two won't start yelling again. "I suggest we check out these possible 'allies' Pyro spoke about, see what kind of people they are."

"She hasn't earned the right for that title." Antoine snaps, yet lower his gaze from the disproving glare the usual soft Texan sends him.
"She will soon enough." The engineer ensures him calmly. Still, the hint of impatience can be heard behind the softness. "And I would predicate having her around when the enemy destroys the sentries."

"If they destroy them." The sniper muses.

Engineer glances at him but chooses not to correct the man. Seeing his creations get destroyed is never fun but a sacrifice he is willing to make for this upcoming battle. Turning to the stubborn spy. "You might not trust her, but I trust her enough that she will not put an ax through my skull."

Antoine does not like it but he can see the reason why Dell wishes the fireball's assistance, he and Lawrence cannot protect his back properly in the middle of the battle with their skills set. "Fine... She can come with you." Antoine is reluctant but he can accept her. The woman has proven to be willing working together with them and genuinely trying to gain their trust. Although her at times odd behavior and love for fire make him wary, he only knows she means them no harm because of her very genuine attitude and disability hiding her true emotions through her expressions. He gets the sense that she isn't even trying to hide what kind of person she is. In some way, he respects that in her, especially when it is so hard for him to show— as Lawrence calls it; his human side. She, he can accept but that doesn't mean he will let a bunch of mercenaries or whatever the hell those 'willing to help' people she spoke about aid them in a very sensitive rescue mission. Why couldn't she have been more specific in the details? Right, because the Alethiometer did not want to tell her. As if that gold covered object has a will on its own. That woman is more unhinged than he thought. "But I refuse to let any other into this, too many lives are on the line." And one of them is his son.

"Can't we at least—" Dell tries but gets rudely interrupted by their fourth member. "You stupid piece of monkey shit!!" And the priceless truth device gets flung through the air and hits Sabrina right in the face which makes both daemon and man sneer in pain. Rubbing the throbbing head from the pain Sabrina sustained from that sudden assault, Antoine glares to the one who caused him this embarrassing pain. "And what might I ask is causing you such... destructive distress?" He asks her with a voice filled with venom and is honestly not in the mood for this sort of crap coming from her. The Sniper and Engineer both blink when Sabrina, in one of the rare moments changes into something else than the small ladder snake, white wolf, and clouded leopard. Now she is in the form of a highly pissed king cobra, seeing the new form in the sign of how angry the spy is and that is pretty scary. The two take a step back, wary if Antoine will start a fight with her.

Of course, the woman does not seem to notice Antoine's anger or how close she is to get a knife stuck in her spine. She continues to grumble curses on her native language against the Alethiometer as if it has offended her.

"Femme!" Spy yells, ignoring the hand of Dell on his left shoulder.

"What?!" She snaps at the spy there points at the golden object in his daemon's mouth, now in shape of the white wolf. "Why did you throw it?" He asks with a trembling voice, having trouble keeping his anger under control. The woman blinks, staring at them for a moment like she didn't even realize that she has thrown the Alethiometer moments ago. "Oh" And her anger is gone, although she is still very annoyed at the object in the wolf's mouth. "It refuses to tell me anything! I ask it what we can expect to meet inside the building and it tell me that unless we find those allies in Gloucester; we will all be killed. I can take such answers just fine, so I asked it about those people we are supposed to ally ourselves with, but all it tells me that we share the same goal!" She throws up her arms. "Yeah sure, the same goal killing Magisterium scum, wouldn't be a problem but what about the children or Spy's son?! Did you forget about that detail you useless piece of junk?!"
The three men do honestly have no words for that, all staring blankly at her. The woman lets out a sigh, sits down and starts playing with a lighter she got from the spy. "Sorry I couldn't be more of use..."
It has been so long since she last has been part of something, even longer where people weren't afraid of her small quirks. She likes these guys, they are interesting in their own special way.

Dell turns to the two others, taking his welding goggles off to give them a look. Lawrence hides a smirk by covering his face with his hat and Antoine lets out a sigh of defeat before saying. "Fine, let's see what who those people are." He claims the Alethiometer from Sabrina's mouth, putting it into his pocket. "And I will be keeping this." The woman did not seem bothered by it and lets him keep it 'safe' from doing any further harm.

"Right, let's get moving then." The sniper declares and takes control of the rudder, steering the ship towards their new goal and hopefully, the detour will raise their chance storming the Facility and save the kids without casualties.

They arrive in the city of Gloucester near nightfall, a good thing too since Europe holds the capital to the Church and thus Brytain is one of the places littered with people loyal to the Magisterium, making it extremely difficult moving around.
"Should we go civilian?" Lawrence asks the three others after once again have avoided another Magisterium ship.

"No, you have to wear your uniforms." The woman says before the two others can say anything, the three men turn to her and she shrugs to their confusions. "It's the only way you can get the supporters of your side."

"Alright, you heard the lady." Lawrence says and steers the ship toward a good hiding spot underneath a glade of trees. With the ship hidden underneath the low hanging tree branches, the three men each take their weapons, ready for a fight for whatever is going to face them in these next hours.
The woman sits on a barrel, watching them with a titled head. "Wish I can join you." She muses wishfully.

After having exchanged a look with Dell, the sniper turns to her, thinking she better not make them regret this. "It's your lucky day, then."
Dell fetches one of the class uniforms from the storage room, offering the woman the uniform to the Pyro class. The woman let out a squeal of delight, jumping like a school girl gotten the honor being the prom queen. She takes on the fireproof suit, boot, and gloves. The suit is a bit too big for her but that didn't matter, in fact, the woman is happy the suit hides certain curves. She takes the gas mask but hesitates taking it on. "This might sound strange to you." She muses.

"Sheila, most what comes out from your mouth is strange." Lawrence remarks in a joking manner, earning a smile from her. She chuckles but says her wish. "I would like if you did not reveal who I am while in this uniform." She eyes them seriously, showing them the mask. "With this mask on, I'm the hellhound the Magisterium created." And she takes on the mask.
The three men's eyes go to the otter there shimmer and change into the hellhound. Just like that, the playful woman they got to know under the weeks of travel is gone, replaced with the killer they watched inside the Facility in the Amazons.
Pyro takes the ax she got from the Amazon and awaits the next course of action in such a calm yet deadly manner that it is kinda freaking them out.

Antoine is the first to snap out from the sudden personality change and explains the team. "I have been in this city before, it has an underground black market. I suggest we check there first for information and perhaps get ourselves some extra supplies."
The three others nod and let him take the lead.
Thanks to Spy, they find an entrance to the underground market, a good thing since they did stand out in their uniforms. Two of them carrying a sniper rifle and a shotgun on their backs and the two others are dressed up like they are about to do a robbery.

The group walks through the labyrinth of the old sewer system, but thanks to Spy's sharp memory arrive at the underground market, unlike the city above their heads, the underground society is more active under the cover of darkness. Many of the people in the market are all dressed up to hide their faces, so seeing Pyro and Spy did not cause any suspicion. No, the sight of their class logos do.
Several of the people stop what they are doing when they realize that four from the organization called Team Fortress is here. Their view of that organization are all different, some see them either as a bunch of hooligans and killers of soldiers. Others see them as freedom fighters and the only organization crazy enough to fight the world power. But all agree on one thing: when the members of the Team Fortress are around; trouble always follows. Many of the people back away from the four, a few watch them with a wonder of what they are doing here and then there are those thinking they can earn easy money from the pasters the Magisterium has up against this infamous group.
Ten people start to surround the four, many of them craving to spill their blood and the money they can get handing them to the Church, something these people down here all need. A few of these people are smart enough to be extremely wary if picking a fight this is a good idea. After all, there must be a reason why the Church yet haven't been able to destroy the organization of Team Fortress like it has with many other terrorist groups.

"Did you little toy tell you about this?" Spy asks Pyro dryly, of the ten people now surrounding them all have makeshift weapons such as a pipe and a bat filled with screws, one of them has a gun, but he isn't really worried about these punks. Pyro turns around to him, but that emotionless mask does not show what she is thinking, only her low growling daemon shows what she will do if these people decide to attack.

"We're not looking for trouble fellas." Engineer tells the group surrounding them, he doesn't want to spill blood if they can avoid it, but they will if these people do not back down. He slowly flexes his right hand underneath his yellow glove.

Sniper easily spots one there is shaking in his pants, like Engineer, will much rather avoid a fight if they can help it. "So you better head home before you end up dead."
Pyro's daemon lets out a demonic snarl with Pyro weighting her ax, chuckling sinisterly. The mask makes her husky voice sound deeper and whole body language dares these punks to pick a fight with them.
The threats make four of them back out. Rest of them is either too stupid or overconfident as they do the huge mistake attacking the four.
Pyro does not hesitate for a second and embeds the ax right into the gun-wielding thug's chest with her daemon using a second as a chew toy, Engineer does that guy a favor by breaking his neck with the gunslinger.
Sniper and Spy both pull out their guns and shoot the remaining four before they can get in close and use their makeshift weapons on them.

"Anyone else wishes to waste their lives?" Spy asks out the market street. Every person cowers away from them, the four has made their point and now most people just want them gone.

Except one.

"Depend on tiny men." A deep and rumbling voice of a man speaks with a thick Russian accent. The four turns around and takes one step back from the huge and rather broad man, skin littered with scars walks up towards them. Behind him stalks his daemon; a huge brown bear. The man's brown/green eyes lands on each member's shoulder icon, the eyes narrow slightly. "Why little men here?" He asks them in his broken English.

"We're looking for some people." Sniper replies, wondering if his submachine gun even can kill this daemon-bear of a man if he decides to attack, the man does look fairly hurt but it doesn't seem to slow him down one bit.

The huge man shifts his eyes to each person, then removes his jacket, revealing a red shirt with a yellow icon of a fist. Sniper, Engineer, and Spy gasp seeing it. This man is part of the Resistance and no surprise; he is a Heavy.

"I wasn't aware there are members this close to the capital." Spy admits and along with the three others, lowers their weapons. Pyro hesitates but follows the three others example. This Heavy must be what the Alethiometer spoke about.

"No team here. Everyone but few dead." Heavy explains the four sullenly.

"Ambush?" Sniper asks.

"Da."

"You're not the only one big guy." Engineer tells the man before anyone can discuss further Spy cuts in. "Let us speak without so many prying ears around." the people in this marked all stare scared at them, the chance they will get attacked again or one of these people will alarm the Magisterium is great.

Heavy nods in agreement with Spy and heads down a side alleyway. "This way." He leads them through the sewers, out to the edge of the city and into a ramshackle house. Inside they find another member of the resistance, a black man with his left eye covered by an eyepatch and from the icon on the red shirt; this man is a Demoman. Not a useful one right now as this Demoman is sleeping heavily up against his scarred wolverine daemon, surrounded by a pile of whiskey bottles. The Heavy gives the Demoman a small kick and man jerks awake and starts yelling like the drunken man he is "You're not getting me alive you bastards! I show them what a black Scottic—"

"Relax," Heavy says and Demo calms down almost right away. "other team here."

"Wha... ohhh." It dawns on the Demoman and he turns smiling at the staring four. "Never thought I would see another friendly face again. Bloody bastards have been hurting us for weeks- but they aren't getting us!" He let out a battle cry before falling over one of his bottles and ends back on the floor, his daemon isn't much help as she has already gone back to sleep. Spy and Sniper stare in disbelief at the man, both wondering how a drunken fool could even join the resistance. Engineer is suddenly very interested in the house and Pyro is staring straight at Demo, looking as if she is wondering if she should attack or leave him be.

Heavy turns back to the four, explaining them. "Demoman not bad, very good fighting enemy babies."

"Perhaps but where we are going, we can't have anyone blowing up the whole place." Sniper remarks, giving the completely wasted Demo a disapproving glance.

"Why not?" Heavy asks frowning.

"A lot of children has gotten kidnapped these past months." Engineer starts explaining the big man, although unsure if this Heavy knows enough English an. Hopefully, the man is not as stupid as he sounds. "We have been following one of them to Bristol, but it is too fortified for the four of us."

"Heavy and Demo can help team get children out." Heavy says. Down on the floor Demo raises his half-empty whiskey bottle in agreement.

Spy does appreciate the offer but a heavy and a demolition man is not exactly what he has been hoping for. Sure having some of the resistance is way better than of a bunch of mercenaries, but those two classes are known to cause a lot of destruction and noise. Not good at careful attacks as this one needs. "We appreciate your offer but we sadly have to decline."

"And why is that?" Demo asks, his eye narrowed and suddenly he seems a lot more aware than before. "We can help."
Heavy simply nods in agreement.

"Perhaps but this is a rescue mission." Spy explains the two. "There are a lot of children, fiercely protected by Magisterium soldiers."

"We know it's a rescue mission, we have been doing something very familiar before our team got destroyed." Heavy says, suddenly his English has improved, although the thick Russian accent is still there. He eyes the four hard. "And if what you say is correct then there is a big chance some of our team are imprisoned there as well."

So that's what Pyro meant they shared the same goal, Sniper glances over his aviators. "How come you were faking your knowledge of English?" He asks, not really taken aback by this, but it did surprise him the sudden improvement in Heavy's English.

Heavy let's out a sigh and crosses his strong scarred arms. "I wasn't sure if I could trust you. The ambush that killed most our team members was too deliberate."

"Like we had a traitor among us." Demo adds in, taking a swig of his bottle he wonders out loud. "But that doesn't explain why they got fooled by our leader decoy, anyone on the team knew about that."

"Leader decoy?" Engineer asks. He hasn't heard that one before from any of the other teams.

Heavy nods. "Da, our spy learned the Magisterium wanted to capture the leader of the team, perhaps trying to force the team into disbanding. She was the one who suggested we made a decoy in case we got attacked. One of our Soldiers is currently acting out as the decoy, keeping the Magisterium eyes away from the real leader and the rest of the team." Heavy eyes Demo sadly. "What's left of it, anyway..."

Spy takes out a cigarette from his case from his chest pocket. "Let me guess;" he lights it and takes a deep drag, eyeing the Heavy. "You are the true leader of the team."

The big man nods again. "Yes, the team chose me after the Magisterium bastards killed our former four years back. It has been hard but I managed. If you do not like I will be the one bossing you around; I am willing to let someone else take the spot." Heavy explains, ignoring Demo's objections for his possible step-down.

"Come on Heavy, I am not letting some newcomers give me—"

"This is their mission." Heavy interrupts the black man, he did not even have to raise his voice to quiet the other one down. "And we will follow them. So who is the leader of your team?" His eyes back to the other four.

Engineer, Sniper and Spy glances to one another, Engineer steps forward but not because he considers himself the leader of this group. "We don't really have one." He admits.

"I and Spy have been part of a team but that was ages ago." Sniper explains, him, Dell and Antoine have kinda been their own team with them doing small side missions for the other teams in America. None of them were really planning on staying as a full-fledged team more than necessary. He figures when they are done saving Antoine's son, they will find a new place to hide the spy's family and Dell will again work as their bodyguard. Sniper gestures to Engineer and Spy "I, Engie and Spy aided other teams in America our own separated way; we only came together when the time called for it." Turning to Pyro. "Under the last mission, we encountered Pyro here."

Pyro gives the two a hello wave, letting her true personality shine slightly through.

Demo asks them something on the floor, but no one understands what he is saying and before anyone can ask, the man passes out and fast asleep. Heavy doesn't look surprised, in fact he has a amused gleam in his eyes. "The weeks have been hard on him, we have been doing a lot of running." Turning back to the four, the amusement in his eyes are gone. "So you have been nomad members. We had a few of those."

"Are they still alive?" Spy asks.

Heavy shakes his head with a sad expression on his scarred face from all the fighting he has been doing over the years, his bear daemon lowers slightly her head in their thoughts of how many they lost in a matter of hours.

Spy takes another drag of his cigarette. "Cutting off your supplies lines, it seems they finally learned something from all the plans we have put a cog into over the decades."

Putting off his own regret of what happened to his former team, and turning his full attention to these four's mission. "Agree, so what is your plan?" Heavy asks them.

Straight to the point, he likes that. Spy thinks and trashes his smoke on the damp floor. "We're going back to Bristol, you may accompany us but rescuing the children is this mission first priority."

The heavy nods, he does not like the thought sacrificing the remaining of his team but they all knew the risk becoming a member of the resistance. He signs the Spy to continue with a single hand motion and the spy do so. "I will infiltrate the building, learn the layout and possibly figure out where they hold the children. Sniper will scout the area outside while Engineer-"

"I usually spend that time checking our weapons for any malfunction." Engineer takes over, he smiles. "and preparing the sentry gun for battle."

Again Heavy nods, he can see these three men have been working together for a long time. They know their role in this deadly game of chess, but what about their newest member? He turns to Pyro who is absentmindedly pokes the sleeping Demo. "What about him?" From what he has gathered with this man; Pyro will be a wildcard so long he hasn't any clear role among the team. Heavy admits that having a wildcard member can be good but with the wrong person it can be a disaster. Demo is a wildcard member and with his wide versatility of how to fight, he will continue being one.
The three men look to one another, Heavy can see they have not really thought about it. Yes, these men are indeed a nomad team, but unlike those he knew; these four seem willing to give the whole team thing a try.

Engineer lifts his hardhat to scratch the short blond hair underneath, after some quick thoughts, he says. "Pyro is going to stick close to me. I figured he will be useful keeping me safe when the sentry gets destroyed."

Heavy ponders a bit about that, it does not take him long seeing a huge flaw in this plan. Sure, that tactic would work very well, but only if it's only the enemy around. A sentry gun is designed to shot at anything that does not have the special Team Fortress uniforms on. Heavy will admit that what that his former Engineer told him about this went mostly over his head but he did gather that the team logos have a special signal that both will make Headquarters aware of their location and keep the sentry gun from accidentally firing at a friendly member. Anything else is dead meat, which includes a bunch of children. "Do not bring the sentry gun." He tells Engineer, catching- in his eyes the hilariously small man off guard.

"Pardon?"

"The sentry gun doesn't know different from an enemy soldier and an innocent child."

Engineer feels really stupid not thinking about that. "Oh, right..." He has been used to place the sentry and let it mold down the enemy without the fear it shooting a civilian because they had already been moved out of the way. He could use the Wrangler to remote control the sentry though; he explains that to the Heavy. And the bear of the man agrees that it is better than letting the sentry gun kill everyone on sight.

"How do you wish I and Demo can aid you?" Heavy asks.

"A good distraction is always appreciated." Sniper remarks.

Heavy nods, he and Demo can do that, not sure how much it will work against an enemy with enough soldiers that splitting the army into smaller parts won't weaken them much. But he decides to keep quiet, this is these men's mission. Heavy does somewhat hope he can take the weight of leadership off his shoulders, he does prefer being a mere grunt and following someone else's orders but his many years in the Resistance and fighting alongside countless of different people has made him one of the most experienced Team Fortress members and that has made people turn to him for advice. "Very well." He heads into the room he has claimed as his in this measly house. "We rest for tonight, tomorrow you leads us where the fight will happen." And he closes the door behind him.

Sniper turns to his two old friends, not sure if they noticed it too;
but that Heavy is way smarter than he gives out and from how he made that last command, it is clear he has a lot of experience keeping a team function. He can see why the former team chose him as their leader, in fact, most of the best leaders of the teams are chosen that way. It's not the one who can yell the loudest, the smartest or most aggressive, that kind of leaders most often gets the team killed. In most cases, the one who gets things done and can gather the team behind them like the Scout from Mexico. Or like this Heavy: one who listens and takes the team's words into consideration but aren't afraid to put his foot down when needed. Those are the people who make the best teams. Eyeing Engineer and Spy, Sniper sees they have realized this too. The Australian reaches his hand up to his shoulder and his daemon jumps onto it as he asks. "Anyone up to take big guy's place?" He sure hell won't, he is a bit of the lone wolf type. Lawrence doesn't mind working together with people, but he has trouble being around too many for long extended of time thanks to having been living out in the Outback for so long.
Spy has more or less the same issue, although he is way more social with his huge natural curiosity, but his great distrust and reluctance to share his knowledge do often make him seen distrustful towards others. Now that Sniper thinks about it, he hasn't met any team with a Spy as their leader. He presumes it is because of their working style of always has to be hiding in the shadows.
Engineer is the best choice actually, he listens to people, rarely afraid speaking his mind and effective getting things done. However his calm and hard to anger personality makes it hard for him getting louder people's attention and Dell also has that issue that he often gets so caught up in his work that he completely forgets people around him.
Sniper glances to the two last people in the room but both Demo and Pyro are out of the question. Whatever that drunkard to Demoman says he will not take seriously and he doubts the explosive expert does either. Pyro is a nice, though strange Sheila, she is dangerous and could easily get people's attention but she is a follower through and through, she listens to commands and does them with little fuss if she sees reasons in them.

"Well, this is getting awkward." Spy dryly remarks when no one replies on Sniper's question, going about without leader with just the three of them have been fine. they know each other after years of friendships and even though they argue a lot, they do get things done. But now, with Pyro, Heavy, and Demoman. He prefers having someone around to give them clear orders, much rather want a bossy leader than dealing with a constant squabbling team. "My suggestion? Let the Heavy keep his role, it's not like we're permanently joining his team." They only need the Heavy and Demo saving those kidnapped kids. After that they will go their separate ways again. Engineer and Sniper can agree to that and slowly begins searching for a good spot to rest in this ramshackle building. Noticing them leaving the room, Pyro follows the three men like an obedient dog, wondering how the rescue mission will be now with the Demo and Heavy on the team.

Chapter Text

Three knocks on the door snap the huge man out from his deep thoughts about these four new members and the mission they brought up yesterday, must admit the part about the children was troubling.

"Heavy?"

"Come in Demo." Heavy replies, gently stroking a wounded but very tame magpie's back with his huge hand. Behind him Demo steps through the door, he still looks drunk but Heavy knows better. His wolverine daemon's eyes have a tense gleam in sign nothing goes past her.

"So, we're going to blow up one of the big building now, eh?" Demo remarks grinning, leaning up against the nearby wall with crossed arms. "And with new teammates, that's outta be interesting."

Heavy doesn't consider himself a smart man. He did not have to be most of his youth. His people only needed his strength and loyalty. But after the conquest, after having watched the Tartar's- his own people eliminate innocent with the only reason to do it because they can. It made him think, a lot. So much thinking that he lost weeks worth of sleep, thinking about his father's and his clan words that they deserved the lands they claimed, that the people they killed were weak and lucky the Tartar's put them down before the weakness would spread as if it was a sickness. For so long he never thought about it, but that fateful day; he did and after months of thinking and watching his people's way of life in a different light. He came to realize that he did not want to be part of it. He only acted on his thoughts when his father died during a conquest. With the simple thought that his family mattered more than the clan; he took family and left so his mother and sisters at least didn't have to be treated as simple pawns with the only purpose to keep the men fed and birth more soldiers. His choice made life very hard for them, but his mother often told him he did the right choice. It gave his younger sisters the chance to become more than simple farmers and birth machines. His oldest sister became a warrior; strength worth any man, the middle an amazing keeper for animals and his youngest a clothing designer, none they could do if they had stayed.

When he joining the Resistance he back then thought he could stop trying wraps his head around something he barely understood. Oh, how wrong he had been. The years working with different people in the resistance has forced him to think about a lot of things, like the difference of culture and how it is best not let the history of each country get in between him and his comrades. He fairly quickly learned that if he did not think about those things; then he would've gotten into fights with his comrades as well, and it wasn't like he could just kill them like he would back in his home country. He and Demoman would probably have killed one another if he wasn't self-conscious about all those facts. People of Brytain and Europe are still very bitter from all the times the people of Tartary has been attacking and stealing land from them. So the moment Heavy heard that their newest member in form of Demo joined, he made it clear for dark-skinned Scot- like he did to anyone who showed signs they had a problem with him being a Tartar that he left his clan behind to fight for the Resistance alongside them and will not let his country's ideals compromise his own moral. Unlike most new members, Demo had accepted him fairly quickly and over time the two supposed enemies have become quite good friends. "Perhaps, this mission is going to get tricky, though." Heavy answers the possible only member left of their old team. "We are after all going to save a flock of scared and possibly brainwashed children." He tells the Scotchman in a matter of fact.

"And our team?" Demo asks, his remaining eye narrow ever so slightly.

Turning away from the wounded bird, Heavy glances back to him, he hates to say this but he knows that at times... sacrifices must be made. "Thet won't be our first priority."
Demo looks as if it doesn't bother him, but they both know it does from how his daemon is sneering. Heavy admit that this really bothers him as well. "I'm sorry." But they all knew what they were getting themselves into when they joined and... the laws of the Resistance command they take the children as their first priority.

"You better." Demo snaps, he's not even going to try hiding it anymore. He does not like this plan one bit. "Are we really going to let our team- our friends die for a bunch of people- that for all we know already are on those bastards side?!"

Putting the magpie back into its cage, Heavy slowly gets up from his chair and turns fully to the only member of their former team. The black man glares up at him, one of the few not intimidated by Heavy's size and strength. Heavy returns the glare with his own, asking hard. "How do you think I feel about this?" Unlike Demo, he actually has a family member among those there were captured.

Realizing his mistake Demo lower his gaze.

Heavy let out a sigh. "We all knew the risks." If it had been different, Heavy would've done anything in his power to save them, but he knows that if they try saving their trapped members first, then they might lose the chance saving the children and perhaps lose even more members by trying saving the others.

"Doesn't make it feel better..." Demo's daemon; Taipa growls up to him. And Heavy's Sasha nudges the wolverine gently with her snout. "We know." She says with her own thick Russian accent.
Both man and daemon anger deflate and replaced with a cold dreaded feeling of the fact what has to be done. Demo does not like it one bit, but like Heavy... he understands why they have to put the children's safety first. Unlike their trapped members, those children did not choose this and have no way defending themselves against the Church's soldiers. "I hate every ounce of this, but... I understand." He admits reluctantly and turns his gaze back up to Heavy, determined to make those scum pay for forcing such a choice on them. "Every soldier I kill will be for our comrades."

"Da, our enemy will pay with blood." Heavy agrees, he too wants to kill every single Magisterium soldier for what they have done to their team as much Demo would. They might not agree on anything but they can agree on who is going to die by their weapons. Speaking of which, better see what the four has been discussing this team-up. "Did the other team say anything interesting last night?"

Demo grins, oh how many strange conversations he has heard over the years by fooling people he has been too drunk to understand or sleeping. "Not much, only they agree to let you keeping the leader role-" Their Pyro however almost broke that facade of his, though. Stubborn little bugger that one was. And good god, what kind of person has a hell-hound for a daemon?!

Heavy nods and returns back to his working table, he figured they would do something like that. Not sure why but he would've been surprised if one of these Nomad members had stepped up and taken the role as the team leader. Nomad members rarely have the leadership qualities, if joining a team again; a former Nomad works better as a self-sufficient member, one there not always needed to be told what to do. He had kinda hoped one of them would, though. Being the one everyone looks for answers is hard. It is so much easier just being the dumb muscles. Fewer days without a headache. But if everyone wishes he keeps the role, then he will do it and they better not complain about it; for he did give them the chance to claim the title for themselves. "Tell them we will leave in ten minutes."

"Ay, I can do that." And Demo leaves the room.

Sasha turns her eyes up to her human, once again worried for him. "|At least these people aren't incompetent.|" She tries to cheers him up in his mother language, but they both know that's not really his problem. Mikhail eyes his beloved daemon, however both his thoughts and upcoming words get interrupted by another voice.

"I have no idea what you said mein leibe teddybär, but I am sure it's the same what I am thinking." The magpie says with that chiming voice of hers and jumps out from the cage but lands incredible ungraceful on the table thanks to that wounded wing of hers. Heavy quickly moves over to help her back up. She gives the huge man a thankful smile. "Danke." And walks onto his huge hand with: "True you are not the smartest person I have known, but you sure make it up in strength and heart."

Mikhail smiles at her, Silvia always has been good getting his mood up in her own sassy way. He sure hopes her human is just as straightforward and witty as her. Finding her is probably one of the best things that have happened in his life. At first, he thought she had been an ordinary bird and had taken her home so his sister could take care of the wounded bird he found. That until she suddenly started talking to him. Boy did that catch him by surprise, and he has fought enough witches to recognize a witch's daemon. Only a witch's daemon can be so far away from their human. He did find it a bit strange she was female, having a same-gendered daemon is rare but not unheard of.
She could've easily have left him when she recovered, more so when he showed her he can and will kill witches, but she told him that the weeks he took care of her had made her feel safer than she and her human ever have felt before and did not want to leave him. He smiles fondly down to the bird. "Having a nagging witch daemon on your shoulder do that to you." He teases her, and she peaks his finger for that remark. Silvia really likes to tell people what she thinks about them. It is rather funny seeing such confident behavior in a bird daemon.

"I do not nag you, big oaf!" Silvia exclaims greatly annoyed by his words, but do know he meant it in good fun.

"Good at persuading men to do your bidding then?" He suggests, chuckling at her bemused look.

Silvia rolls her eyes but cannot help but laugh as well. "You silly bear."

Still chuckling he strokes her wings, it's her favorite spot to be touched he observed. Apparently, her human is often dealing with sour hands from her work, which confuses him. What in the world is a witch doing to make her hands hurt? Granted he does not know anything about what it takes being a healer witch, he only knows how to stop bleedings with a rag. He doesn't fancy witches the slightest, but he does hope Silva witch will join his side. He has grown quite fond of her daemon.
"How's the wing?" He asks, gently taking her right wing out. It still looks as bad as when she got hit by that shrapnel when the Magisterium soldiers ambushed them.

"It still hurt, but I'm healing." She replies softly.

Mikhail nods solemnly, even with his (own opinion) low brain capacity he can see that she will never fly unless her witch fixes her up. The only problem is that he does not know where her witch is and Silvia doesn't want to tell him for some weird reason. He has the feeling her witch might be from one of the warrior clans. They do have a habit killing first and ask later, and that is bad news for the both of them. Unless her witch allows a moment to talk and willingly join— which he highly doubt, Mikhail will be forced to kill her and that means the death of Silvia too. He does not look forward to the day where he returns only to find the room empty. "Good, now be quiet." He tells her, Silvia sends him a look but do what he told her. Sasha walks over to the corner of the room and grabs the minigun lying there and Mikhail's puts it onto her back before reclaiming his own: a shotgun he got from the black marked onto his own back. After have put on his class's armor in form of a bulletproof vest, Heavy takes the birdcage and leaves the room where the five others are waiting.

"You're taking that bird with you?" Spy asks, giving the magpie a bored glance.

Heavy nods, eyeing the others he asks with his rumbling voice. "Everyone ready?" They nod and by his words, they leave the house. Heavy and Demo follow the four back to their hidden and a very interest looking ship, it does not look anything like the Magisterium ships his team often stole when they needed to get around by water.

"Where did you get this beauty?" Demo asks wide-eyed at this beauty of a ship. Engineer grins and explains that he build it from scraps, both the Demo and Heavy are impressed hearing this. Their former engineer was good, but never in the league of this one. He had been more the kind of guy repairing and upgrading stuff he found lying around with all the roaming he often did. Boarding the ship, Demo can't help but ask Engineer. "What can this lassie do?" Being a man who has sailed a lot of ships are always fascinated when he comes across a new one. Engineer gives him a tour of the ship while Heavy merely listens with a half ear. Ships do not interest him.

"First time I have seen anyone weaponizes their daemon."

Heavy glances over to Sniper, giving the man a smirk. "Sasha likes to hear the gun sing." Talking about weapons interests him way more.

"Did you make that gun?" Sniper asks, interested knowing more about this man. Yes, he has met many Heavies but none of them had a daemon in that size. Seeing a daemon bigger than a wolf is practically unheard off and if the old Australian tribe's stories about daemon's size reveal the inner power of a person are correct, then this guy is not one who will go down easily. Hell, it wouldn't surprise him if this guy would keep on fighting even with his body filled with bullets.
The heavy nods. "Da, made the gun just for Sasha." He explains proudly, adding with a sternness in his voice that he is deadly serious about this. "And she does not like others than I touches it." The man's daemon bares briefly her teeth's before going back to her nap.
Alright, Sniper will not touch the gun and anger the bear- man or daemon.

"Where are you from?" Heavy asks, mostly just to be polite but also to learn what topics he shouldn't pick up around this man.

"I'm from the Kingdom of Auister, but I do consider myself more an Australian." Sniper replies, apprehensive watching his own daemon fly just above the water.

Heavy frowns, he does not know much about that country. Not even what their daemon usually takes form as. "I haven't heard about that country." He admits and asks mildly curious. "What is your country like?" He has always been fascinated by other countries and their way of life even though it is often very confusing, to be honest.

Sniper learns back in his chair. "It's not much different from Brytain inside the cities, except it rarely rains."

"So Magisterium way of life." Heavy muses, then notice something the sniper has said. Eyeing the tall but scrawny man. "What do you mean by 'inside the cities'?"

"What my lizard eating comrade is trying to say." Spy cuts in the conversation, his comment earns him a glare from the sniper and raised an eyebrow from the heavy. He ignores both their reactions. "Is that out in the wilderness lives small tribes of people."

"The Australians." Sniper says.

"Yes, these tribes moved away from the Church's teaching and created their own belief about the nature of daemons."

"Such as?" Heavy asks, this does perk his interest. Listing to others belief of the nature of daemon has caught his interest ever since he found Silvia but it is a conversation not many want to talk about. The philosophy about their manifestation of the soul is a very sensitive topic.

Spy claims a cigarette from the case inside his chest pocket, however, he does not explain further, instead gesturing to Sniper he has the spotlight again. So the Sniper explains for the big man. "Well, before a daemon settles, the child- along with a few hunters heads out into the outback where the child has to go out a spiritual journey while surviving the wilderness. They call it the Walkabout. The hunters are only allowed to help if the child's life is in danger. They will be out in the Outback for about a month and the main goal for the Walkabout is to teach the child they cannot take anything for granted, not even the form their soul companion will settle into." Sniper explains calmly while looking up to the sky where his Nankeen Kestrel daemon is flying around. "I may not be born into one of those tribes but I respect their way of life and the lessons the Outback taught me every time I went."

"My people have similar teaching." Heavy points out, although there is a huge difference between the Tartar's coming to age from these Australians. "When the male child's daemon starts showing signs of settling, the clan send the child out to find and claim the form they want their daemon to settle into. Most chooses to kill a wolf and reclaim its strength and form for their daemon."

Sniper and Spy give the man a bemused look. "So... why is your daemon a bear then?" Sniper asks hesitant, he has a guess to why but he would prefer to hear the answer from Heavy first before he jumps to conclusions.

The heavy smirks wryly. "A wolf was too weak for me, so I killed a bear. He gave me a good fight." He pulls down his red shirt, revealing four long and deep claw mark scars covering most of the chest. "Almost claimed my life but I was stronger, so I took his form to my Sasha."

Sniper whistle impressed and decides to show Heavy the bite scar he has on his left leg from the crocodile whose teeth he wears. "I know everything when it comes to a good fight with a mighty beast. Got this from a crocodile there mistook me as prey." He explains grinning, still remember how scared and yet deadly calm he was when he fought that beast and how relieved and proud he felt when his kukri snuffed out that crocs life.

Heavy found himself respecting this sniper for surviving a battle with a river monster. "We should go hunting together someday." He suggests.

Sniper laughs and is curious what kind of beast he and this heavy can take down.

Pyro says something but no one understands the mumbling speech coming out from the mask. So she instead swings her ax like she is killing something.

"You wanna join us, mate?" Sniper asks, well aware she has been living a place with a lifestyle very similar to the Australians. Pyro replies with jumping up and down with an excited giggle.

Heavy frowns at this. "Your Pyro is very strange." He remarks and has trouble getting a proper read on this one, not sure what words might send this person into a rage or make them jump like an excited little child. "No offense." He adds when this wildcard of a Pyro sends him what he can only guess is a crossed look. He does not want to anger someone who has a demonic dog as their soul animal, no matter how innocent they seem to be.

Spy, on the other hand, finds himself wondering if France is the only sane place in this godforsaken world. Then again he's not really in the position to judge as France's beliefs on daemon are the same as the Church and he has a daemon who is unable to settle into a permanent form, which has automatically made him an outcast towards his own people.
Engineer and Demo soon join them which ends up with Demo sharing a crazy story about him fighting a monster there took his eye inside a cave before he blew it up.
Heavy and Sniper bursts into laughter of the story with Pyro applauding as if it's the best thing she has heard in her life. Engineer simply chuckles before turning to Spy who asks the probably only sane person on the ship besides him. "What do think of this rabble?"

Engineer turns his gaze back to the two new members, watching Heavy gives Sniper a friendly pat on the back— which sends the Aussie sprawling to the ground, to Demo telling Pyro another of his crazy stories. "Well," he might still be wet behind the ears when it comes to being out in the field but with those of the resistance he has encountered so far: "I find their bombastic personalities rather endearing." The engineer replies the spy whose brow disappears underneath his mask. "Is that so?"
Engineer grins at his friend's response. "Sure beat building zeppelins and listens to a bunch of stuck up rich people demands." Turning his gaze back to the spy, smile's still there but the serious tone does not pass over the ever observant spy. "I feel like I belong here— not wanted, I could get that working for the Magisterium. I mean to be around people who see the person and not just the family name."

Yes, Spy can see why. Dell has been struggling a lot with the weight of his family fame inside the Magisterium; back when they first met him. Dell was like a younger clone of his father. All that changed after their first mission together and Antoine must admit that he is happy Dell succeeds tearing himself free from his family's tradition of working for the Magisterium. Maybe when this war is over and people can do what they want without the Magisterium constantly breathing down their necks, the man can make a proper name for himself. This spy here sure would like making the fantasy of being a family man into a reality. Of course, he doubts he ever can put the spy thing down. But being a secret spy with a loving family by his side doesn't sound so bad either. He throws the smoked cigarette down into the water. "I know what you mean, the Resistance does have a strange way attaching people."

Engineer laughs from that remark and silently watch their two new team members share hilarious and maybe not so real hunting stories with Sniper and Pyro.

Chapter Text

Arriving at Bristol, Heavy suggests that Engineer and Demo should go civilian and check the surrounding areas for possible escape routes to when they will leave after the attack on the Facility. "It's always best having such a plan." The big man says. He can't do it himself due to his very recognizable daemon and a lot of people of the Magisterium here in Brytain know he is part of Team Fortress Resistance.
But it should be fine. Engineer and Demo should be able to catch some information from the locals, Heavy thinks Engineer's friendly demeanor might lower a quite few people's guard and loosen their tongue. Demo, on the other hand, is in very good terms with the local gypsies from his well-rooted trade from his family and can get information from them by simple appearing before them in person.
"Spy and Sniper, you do what you said yesterday." Heavy tells the two others, they nod and is off doing their own recon of the Facility itself. Demo leaves as well, but when Engineer moves out, Pyro stops him.

"What is it?" Engineer asks the firebug a bit confused, Pyro stare intensely at him behind those emotionless goggles, making it hard to see what the person behind is thinking.

Heavy turns his gaze to the Pyro, still not sure if he feels comfortable around that one. "Do you know what Pyro wants?" For all he knows, Pyro just wants to world around him to burn. He has seen how fascinated that one looks when playing with that lighter.
Pyro nods down to their daemon, blinking Engineer knells down to the demon dog's level and listens to what the daemon has to say. No matter how much Heavy tries he cannot hear what the demon dog is saying, only that whatever she said the Engineer jerks and gives the hellhound a bemused look.
"What did she say?" He asks the man.

Dell is both surprised by this request and yet he can also understand why. Scratching his neck he replies the big man. "Pyro wants to come with me."

"Is that good idea?"
Pyro gives the big man a long empty-eyed stare, the only time the bear of a man actually shudders. The masked turns back to Engineer; whole body language just begging for him to say yes.
Engineer let out a sigh, then smiles. "Alright, you can come."
Pyro cheers and runs downstairs, only to come up and say something to Heavy he did not understand, but Engineer somehow is able.

"Oh, right." Dell remembers their agreement and turns to Heavy "Pyro... strongly request you do not look at him when we leave."

And he is sure Pyro will turn him into a crisp if he does. Heavy nods and for good measure put a blindfold on both himself and his daemon Sasha. Moments later he hears- presumably Pyro returns from downstairs since Engineer asks. "You ready? Alright, let's go." And they are off. When sure the two are gone, Heavy takes off the blindfold and heads downstairs to be with Silvia; if he's lucky she might have seen what is underneath that mask.
Turned out she hasn't, the magpie had been fast asleep.
___

It feels strange being out from the uniform of the resistance, walking around in a grey-blue shirt and dark brown trousers, his welding goggles and hardhat left behind back at the ship, even his working glove that usually hides the robotic hand is off. Of course, Dell can't walk around as a civilian with a metal hand that can break a man's neck. So in cases like this, he made a skin colored glove, completely hiding the fact his right hand is not out of flesh, so long people don't shake his hand course. Pyro, on the other hand, looks happy being out from her suit, skipping around in that pretty fire colored dress Antoine brought her. Dell is sure it's the spy subtle way saying he did not predicate her choice of clothing. Of course, none of them can really blame her looking like someone has been living in the wild- or in her case, just gotten out from a prison. The clothing she wore in the Amazon's has been ragged and more than ready to be thrown out.
She stops at each shop they pass, staring fascinated at the many new things and indeed enjoying her newfound freedom. She might not, but Dell sure takes notice at the stares her scarred body received. Sure the burn scar on her arm does look nasty and he admits he did stare a bit as well on that one but her scars aren't that bad when getting used to them, in fact, he actually finds the burn scars rather intriguing. Not many people wear scars like that with pride; it reminds him a bit of himself wearing the gunslinger.

"Engie, can we go in here?"

Her question snaps Dell out from his thoughts, turning his gaze to the shop she points at. It's a food store proudly calling itself 'Foreign Food Market' the outsides decorated with exotic vegetables. From the looks of it, he is sure that some of it could come from the Amazon's jungle, probably the closest thing she will come to home. So why not let her check it out? "Sure, why not?" He shrugs and can't help but smile at her happy cheer and follows her inside. Barely three steps inside, she has already claimed a bag filled with blackberries. "You want something, Engie?" She asks him, looking at the shelves where the vegetable is. "Pretty sure I can make something even Spook would like, he's kinda picky isn't he?" She asks with a giggle.

Dell chuckles in agreement. "He sure is." Lowering his voice for only her ear to catch. "You shouldn't call me Engie out in public, we don't know who would be listing."

She gives him an apologetic look. "Sorry but it's the only name I know." She muses, turning back to the vegetable, picking up a mango. "Would Tex or Truckie be better then?" She heard Sniper and Spy use that to Engineer when they notify him.

"What about you just call me Dell?" He trusts her enough with his name, and he's also not as reluctant as other members letting people know what his real name is. Dell doesn't think she is going to turn their back on them. In fact both her daemon's original and battle form points at her loyalty to the 'pack'.

She looks startled at him for a moment, then after a second of hesitating says. "Keahi."

"Nice meeting you Keahi." Dell smiles and offers his hand, she giggles, takes it and they shake hands like it's the first time they actually meet instead of being traveling with one another for weeks. With the reintroduction over, Dell turns his attention to what Keahi is getting from the selves. "Anything special you're planning?"

"Not really, just wants something else than crappy can food." Keahi shrugs, giving the man a smirk. "The food the Magisterium gave me was better than what you serve on that ship."

Yes, he admits the canned food is not the greatest, but it is kinda the only thing staying fresh in a long period of traveling time, but maybe they should try and buy so they can get some real food for a change. Dell sure wants to make one of his Texan dishes and certain Antoine wants the same with his home country food. Ah, what the heck. "You know what, buy whatever you like. When we get back I'll build a proper storage room for it." He throws up his arms laughing.

Keahi grins and returns back gathering all kind of stuff, much of it Dell is sure Antoine can use. Well, except one thing, he takes up the bag in question. "I don't think Franchise eats this." The man eats weird stuff such as frog legs but Dell doesn't think even Antoine will go this far.
Laughing Keahi snatches the bag out from his hand. "It's not for him, silly. These are for me."
Dell blinks at her comment, never thought her being that kind of person who eats this kind of food. Then again, he guesses living in the Amazon's you can't really get picky. He smiles at the thought of the others reaction seeing Pyro eats this kind of candy.

The two leaves the shop with three bags filled with food.
"Should we return this or what?" Keahi asks, however before any of them can make a decision, two Magisterium soldiers, presumably off-duty pass by them, one of them is complaining about someone sounding a bit too familiar. "I don't care what the boss says. If that freak just as much swings a bat around me again; I'm going to put a bullet through his head."

Dell watches the two soldier heads towards the nearby bar and gets an idea. "I'm going speak with them."
Keahi blinks at his words, however, unlike most she does not consider it crazy or stupid, that word doesn't really exist in her world. "You think they will tell you anything useful?" Won't stop her from worrying about her friend's well being, though.

Dell shrugs. "Only one way to find out, wait here." And he heads inside. Finding the two Magisterium soldiers is not hard, those two has practically has taken a whole corner of the bar. At least these two doesn't demand respect from the people around them like some others might have done. Dell takes a seat, close enough to hear them if they raise their voices but also far enough that he did not look suspicious. Can't have they realize a member of the Resistance sits near them. The bartender walks over to him, he gives her one of his iconic soft smiles. "Would like a beer, thank you." She returns the smile and moments later hands him the beer. "Anything else you need?" She asks him smiling, clearly appreciating his friendly demeanor.
"I holler if I do." Dell replies and she leaves him to tend to her other customers, letting him eardrop on the soldiers while enjoying the beer; it's not like the one back home but he has tasted worse.

"I don't understand the higher ups." One of the soldiers suddenly exclaims, like any other soldier he has a dog daemon. Dell can't say what breed it is, though. Only it looks like it has gotten its legs pulled and hasn't gotten proper food for years, giving it a very slender and speedy look. He does wonder if that guard is just as scrawny underneath that jacket as his daemon. "Why invite rabbles into our ranks?" The soldier asks the other, clearly annoyed.

"What are you on about?" The other one asks somewhat confused. He has a small stocky dog for a daemon, again Dell cannot say the breed is, only that it looks kinda stupid with undershot bite.

"The children, I'm talking about this cache of children. All of them are picked up from the streets; why do you think they keep misbehaving? They don't give a crap about the Magisterium." The soldier with the scrawny dog drinks some of his beer, grumbling. "We should just have sent them to Bolvanger and get over with it." He points at the other one annoyed. "And don't get me started on the freak. I had hoped he would stop misbehaving with Conagher around."

What? Is his dad here? That is not good, in fact, that its really bad news. His father has machines that can detect Antoine's cloaking device. Also, why is his father so interested in who he can presume is Nathan? His guesses are that the old man wants to force Nalini to settle.

"You mean that young man with the child daemon?" The one with the bulky dog asks, the other one nods and the other one asks confused. "What's the deal with that anyway? Did that quack doctor experiment on him or something?"

"No, the daemon could change form before we came here. Trust me; I had to watch it all the way back here. The doctors are supposed to make it stop, though."

"Good, watching it change like that is creepy. Say, do you think that's why he keeps causing trouble? Even seen him pick a fight with Paul."

"The hell if I know." The one with the scrawny dog shrugs. "Wouldn't surprise me, though. Children always seem so darn rebellious to me. Only calms down after the daemon settles."

"Do you think that's why the boss wanted us to train those children?"

"Don't know, don't care. I just want their daemon to settle." The man with the scrawny daemon massages his forehead. "I did not sign up to babysit a bunch of rebellious brats."

"Reminds me of my own kids." Dell speaks up, making the two soldiers turn, both stare at him with anger of him ear-dropping on them. He gives them both an apology smile. "Ah, sorry about that, just couldn't help but overhear you having trouble with some kids."

"Yeah, and what it's to you citizen?" The soldier with the bulky dog asks suspiciously.

Dell did notice the man is reaching out for his baton but acts like he hasn't seen or felt the tension in the air between them.
He shrugs casually. "It's nothing really, just reminded me of all the times I got help from that sweet neighbor of mine. He really knows how to make kids behave, even that nasty one you just wants to-" He chuckles to the soldier with the scrawny dog. "Well, I'm sure you know what I mean." Naria, just as calmly as her human walks over to the two growling dogs, pretending not to notice the tension between them.

The soldier nods. "I sure do, but this isn't exactly a daycare"

"Of course not, but my kids aren't exactly kids anymore." Dell smoothly lies, good thing Antoine taught him a thing or two about this. He is not a good liar if he has to come up with a completely new backstory, so Antoine taught him to bend the truth to suit the situation. "The misbehaving one I told you about, well, he is actually going to join the military all thanks to my neighbor." Glancing down to Naira who does her very best being friendly towards the two still growling but fortunately not attacking dog daemons. "He got this way teaching kids the importance of the Church."

"Really?" The soldier with the scrawny dog muses, not even noticing his daemon is getting played by Naira's friendly behavior and thus making him more agreeable to persuasion. Dell found is strange and yet hilarious how the Magisterium seemly has forgotten how important daemon interaction is between people.
He nods to the guard. "Yeah, I could get in contact with him if you ever need a proper daycare." He checks the clock on the wall, acting like he just has noticed the time. "Boy time flies, better get home before the wife gets home." He pays for the beer and leaves by giving the dumbfounded soldiers a polite nod. "Nice speaking with you, keep up the good work."
Naira leaves the two now curious dogs and follows him out from the bar, outside and safe from prying ears she asks: "You think they fell for it?"
"We will see in a few moments." He replies back.

"Mister, wait a moment!" The soldier with the scrawny dog trots out from the bar.

Dell and Naira send both each other a smug look before Dell turns around to the soldier like he is completely unaware why a soldier would call for him. "Yes?" He asks curiously. Naira looks away so the dog daemon can't see the smug look on her face.

"I was wondering if your neighbor was interested in a job for the Magisterium." The soldier suggests, nodding towards a huge facility between the many other buildings of the city. "Of course I would have to request my ranking officer and do a background check- I'm sure everything is alright, but you know; just in case."

"Of course, but my neighbors aren't the best in English." Dell says, he is still not sure who will take this role but he presumes Antoine will be the one. He is a master of disguises after all.

That comment did make the man frown. "Where're your Neighbor from again?"

"France, I sure hope that wouldn't be a problem."

"... We see, well if he is interested in the job, tell him to come here as soon as possible- here." The soldier hands him a number to call before he leaves.

With the soldier gone, Naira looks up to Dell. "We better tell the others about this." Dell nods in agreement and after has found Keahi, they head back to the ship.

___

"The gypsies have agreed on bringing ammunition and helping us to move the kids if we succeed with the infiltration." Demo explains the same evening after the first day of recon. Taking a swig of his Shrumphy he continues. "Some of their own kids have been taken as well, so they see them helping us out with the rescue as a fair trade."

Finishing writing down the last note of this good ally outcome Heavy turns to Sniper and Spy. They have not been so lucky.

"It will be almost impossible getting inside without help." Spy explains coldly, Sabrina is curled together around his arm, glaring at anything getting near her human, the sign of how irritated he is about this observation. "I could get in if we had a couple of weeks watching their patton—"

"Don't." Dell interrupts the spy. "You'll be spotted the second you get close to the building." His blue eyes harden, he hates revealing this, especially after how Scout from Mexico reacted on this revelation. "My old man is in there." God, why did he has to have a father who works for the enemy? Right, because he chose to join the other side...

Spy and Sniper blinks, both very aware of Dell's relation with his father. Sniper snorts but this reveal do explain a lot. "So that's why this facility has such a ass-tight tight security."

"I don't understand." Heavy turns to Engineer, frowning. "Your father is working for the Magisterium?"

Engineer shrugs helplessly. "It's a family tradition..." Already branching himself for an upcoming attack by either Demo or Heavy, Heck maybe Keahi might feel betrayed by this, she had after all been imprisoned and gone through horrific torture by the hands of the Magisterium. But to his surprise, nothing happens. Blinking behind his welder goggles, Enginner scans the three. Keahi- it is impossible to read her with the mask on, but from how both human and daemon title their head, Engineer presumes they are actually more confused than angry.
Demo at first doesn't look like he has much care for this news, but his true emotions are revealed by how tense his daemon is. And Heavy keeps staring at him like he's trying to figure out what the best choice of action should be.

Well, this is quite the dilemma. This Engineer has family inside the Magisterium and Heavy here knows from experience how hard it is turning against family. "What made you turn your back on him?" He asks Engineer, for it is clear that Engineer has made his mind about this for quite some time. So, Heavy doubts this one will betray them on a whim.

Engineer lowers his head. "It's a long story..."

"Tell us anyway." Heavy says, true he does try to keep the Elite point of view of not caring about members background story, but sometimes knowing such things is important. He feels he needs to know about this story.

Dell eyes his two friends, Antoine and Sniper nods slowly and with a sigh, the man begins the story that started it all for him.

Chapter Text

Like he had done ever since leaving school with the 11 Ph.D., all of them he was putting to good use out in his family's workshop. In about a year from back then, he would become one of the lead engineers for the Magisterium. His family had for four generations kept that spot and no one was going to take it from them his father kept telling him. Dell had at times rolled his eyes when his father said that, but never argued, past experience taught him that was a losing battle. He hadn't really minded getting that job placed on his shoulders, it sounded like something just for him. He could build whatever he wanted and never had to worry about resources, sounds like a dream job to him.

"What are you making?"

Dell turned off the welder and turned away from the machine he was building, smiling to his grandfather. "A lightweight turret gun." He explained before he returned back to the welding. Dell had always been fascinated in the machines of war, he couldn't really explain why but there just was some beauty in how much destruction they could cause, all with a flick of a bottom or whatever the creator was going to place the machine. Many of his fellow students found his interest a bit creepy, but it was incredibly hard to dislike the soft-spoken and friendly Texan. Everyone would say Dell was friends with everyone in the town of Bee-cave, but if they would ask the young genius, he would say that they weren't really his friends; more good acquaintances. But no one really asked Dell about such things, all they asked him about was his future job as the head engineer and how proud his father must be. Dell would always just smile and return back to his work.

Everyone thought Dell was happy, even the young man thought that. But his grandfather, the famous Radigan knew better. When Dell asked him about it a few weeks into the future. Radigan would tell him that he knew his grandson shouldn't be working for the Magisterium. In his years working for the Church, he had seen what horrors the Church does to people who don't follow their ideal of life and with Dell's brilliant mind... he doesn't dare think what horrible machines his grandson could build them. Besides even if Dell refused refining those death machines for the Magisterium, the young man won't be able to do what he liked the most: create new machines.
Dell did not know about it back then, but his grandfather thought it was for the best to give his grandson the toughest sign of love a man ever could give someone. "Dell, I would like you to meet someone." Radigan said and left the workshop, Dell would follow him not long after.

The two Conagher's head into the family ranch where two other men awaited them. Dell had frowned at these two guests appearance, the tallest of them looked years older than he probably was with the weather-worn face. He had noticed that one have several scars on his exposed arms underneath that slightly ragged red shirt, all of them except one looked like it came from animal teeth and claws. The one on his right side of the face looked like it came from a knife. The one beside him had made the young engineer feel wary, his face was hidden underneath a bluish balalaika and stood in such a composed and confident manner in that fancy blue colored suit of his that Dell remember he thought this man could kill him if he wanted to and no one could stop him. Both of them have a yellow icon on their shoulders, the masked man's was a dagger and the weather-worn man had what looked like a scope icon.

"Who is this?" The weather-worn man asked with an accent Dell hadn't been able to put his name on where it belonged. Back then, he did not know much about the Kingdom of Auister. The man's small falcon daemon eyed him suspiciously, making his own daemon Naira hide behind his legs.

"This is my grandson." Radigan had told the two and placed a hand on the nervous Dell's shoulder. "He's the one coming with you."

The weather-worn man glanced over his yellow aviators, revealing brown but just as sharp eyes as his daemon. However, it hadn't been him who spoke but the masked one. "With all due respect, but this mission is too sensitive for a... laborer." The man almost sneered with his French accent, it came to no surprise for Dell that this man's daemon was a snake. "Besides, we need the best."

"He is the best." Radigan told the masked Frenchman in a tone that he wouldn't budge in his decision. It took time for Dell to understand the two reluctance to why they wanted his grandfather over him. The resistance has always been wary about newcomers, especially when it came to this family. The only reason these two even dared to contact Radigan was that he helped one of the teams a couple of years past. And If it hadn't been for his old age then Radigan would've agreed on the two men's request that he should go with them. But Dell now understands that his grandfather wanted him to go; so his eyes would open and truly see what his future job required of him.

Dell back then sensed that something very important was going over his head and he never liked not like not knowing stuff. "What's going on?" He had asked his grandfather, but the old man had never been much for words and simply told to the two hard. "It's him or no one."

The masked had let out a huff of annoyance and told Dell clearly annoyed by this forced agreement. "You better be worth it." Which haven't helped on feeling Dell more comfortable with this just as forced on him agreement.

___

With little to no choice from his grandfather, Dell followed the two Resistance member to wherever they were going. He remembers the train ride towards their location had been long and awkward him, Naira had paced back on forward on the floor; all the time keeping an eye on the two other daemons there had completely ignored her.
The man with the small falcon for a daemon, like his soul animal; was ignoring Dell, sleeping with his crocodile teeth crested hat over his face while his comrade kept staring intensely at Dell. In the future Dell knew that the man did that for two reasons, the first was to test him and the second, well it was rather silly.
The silence soon got too much for the young Texan, so Dell decided he probably should get some information out from these two on what they needed from him. "So, what kind of practical problem do you fellas need my aid for?" He asked them friendly, not letting his anxiety for the masked man show, even though Naria's pacing showed that it was working, but Dell refused to let himself get scared by this scrawny masked man he even back then could break in half like a stick. To his huge surprise, the masked man let out a groan and without a word handed the weather-worn man a pack of cigarette. There he realized those two has secretly had been betting on him.

The man with the falcon lifted up his hat, revealing the grin on his face. "Told you he wouldn't get intimidated, mate."

Dell had frowned hearing this, thinking if these two really thought he would cower like a sheep by someone staring at him? Who do they think they were? But his country mannerism made him do his best not letting his annoyance show. So he had kept his mouth shut and signed the two men to explain the situation they were getting them- including himself into.

The masked man corrected his fancy jacket before he explained. "Your job is simple, we need you build a disrupter to a certain machine."

Dell remembers he found that a bit strange why they would bring him all the way for something he could do back at his own workshop. "Do you have any blueprints for this machine?" He had asked, wondering how advanced this machine was, not long after Naira asked her own question to the two men. "And what kind of machine are we talking about?" He gave her a small nudge with his feet to remind her she shouldn't talk to people.

The two men stared at Naria, taken by surprise hearing a daemon speak directly to them as a daemon usually only speaks to their human.
"Crikey, does your daemon do that often?" The weather-worn man had asked with Dell remembering that his daemon had been eyeing Naira curiously in response to her human's emotions.

"Sorry about that." Dell chuckled embarrassed, he knew it was wrong letting Naria speak for him. but all his attempts making her quiet had always been halfhearted as what Naria often said made him smile or think twice. Like there where Naira had used a tone as if she was lecturing them like a mother would towards her misbehaving children. "And you two better get used to it unless you want a wrench through your skulls, for I am not going to keep my mouth shut."

The two men had looked at one another, then slowly back to the beaver, nodding dutifully. Back then; they both sensed it might be best staying on this man good side like it was with Dell's grandfather. The masked cleared his throat and explained Dell as if he had asked both questions. "For your questions: no we do not have any blueprints for the machine nor do we fully know what its purpose is."

"We only know that people going into that place are not coming back." The other man explained, his voice had been in a dark and serious tone.

"I reckon the two of you are going inside to check?"

"Correct," The masked had said, eyeing Dell with an intense gaze in his reddish colored eyes. "But since I and my partner have little knowledge about machines; we would need you come with us. Look at the machine and then build a disrupter. Can you do that?"

It had sounded such an easy job, something he thought would only take a few days max and then going home, how wrong he was. "Sure, giving I if have the right materials," Dell replied and thought he wasn't a Conagher for nothing. Their explanation hadn't answered all of his questions, but enough knowing what they needed him for. However, there had been one thing he really wanted to know. "Whatever we're doing, is it dangerous? Cus I would like to see my child's face when they get born." He noticed the masked man's daemon form began to shimmer. Dell remembers that he thought he merely imaged it and fairly quickly brushed that bit weird sight off since the masked man showed no signs of what happened to his daemon.

"We will make sure you will get home safely to your family." The masked man told him surprisingly softly and he reclaimed a cigarette. Dell didn't know it back then, but years later he would understand that this masked man could relate to that subject being with his family. "Any more questions?" He had asked, snapped Dell out from his small ponder of the sudden soft tone from one he thought didn't care about others.

"Yeah, what are we suppose to call the two of you?" Naria spoke for Dell. Even then Dell knew that these two men wouldn't share their real names with him. "I am aware you won't say your real names. Granddaddy made that pretty clear when he introduced the two of you."

The man with the crocodile necklace smirked under his hat, it had been clear he had listened to the whole conversation. "Very observant of you mate. You can call me Sniper."

"May I ask where you are from? You're diffidently not from New Denmark or other countries of what's left of the States." Dell remarked to the man, if that had been the case then he would've recognized the accent.

"I'm from the Kingdom of Auister, but I consider myself more an Australian." Sniper told him.

Dell would only learn what Sniper meant by that a year later. But that day on the train, he only faintly knew about the country Sniper came from and was quite surprised meeting someone coming from the other side of the globe. He just couldn't help but remark to him. "You're a long way from Auister, boy." He teased Sniper, concluded that this man could take it.

And right he was, Sniper lifted up his hat, revealed an amused grin on his face. "Oi, I'm bloody darn sure I'm oldest here, ankle-snapper." And he disappeared back under his hat. When the two would speak about their first real conversation, Sniper would admit that Dell's tease made him like the man almost right away. The only reason he never said it before he got asked about it months later was that he considered himself a professional and thought it wasn't really worth anyone's time saying it out loud as back then Sniper thought this partnership would be fairly short.

Dell had chuckled at the retort from Sniper before he had turned to Sniper's partner in form of the masked man. "You can call me Spy." Dell had simply nodded, he hadn't bothered asking Spy where he was from. The accent had already revealed that Spy was from France, but Dell had asked if it was old or new France, in which Spy had refused to reply.

"We already know your name." Sniper had remarked to him, still pretending he was sleeping with his hat over his face.
Spy trashed his smoke with a swift but smooth move and explained the still quite confused Dell. "However we will not address you by that name Mr. Conagher. Mainly because we cannot have people knowing we're working together. If they do; they will kill you."
Dell remembers he was horrified hearing this, more so from how calmly Spy explained him that fact and asked him just as calmy. "What name should we address you during this mission?"

Dell wondered what in tarnation of a mess has his grandfather had put him into? Pondered why Radigan send him to such a dangerous mission when so close to the day he would get hired by the Magisterium. If they ever heard about this then he could kiss what he back then considered his dream job goodbye. Why would his grandfather make him help two- what he thought were two assassins in whatever shady business they were planning. After he heard what danger he had gotten himself into, Dell refused to sit idly and pretend he doesn't care what he was practically hired to do. "And you two only wants that machine destroyed?" He had highly doubted it and must admit he wasn't surprised hearing Sniper admit just as calmly as Spy.

"We might have to kill a couple of people."

"But all of that will be on us, we only need you to destroy that machine." Spy had told him, but it wasn't really that ensuring. Dell would still become an accomplice in whatever they were going to do when that machine they wanted him to sabotage would be down.

"What if I refuse?" He had asked and learned that these two men could communicate with only a few words when Sniper gave Spy a disappointed glance and the masked man smirked at Sniper, saying almost smugly. "Told you he would back down."

It had pissed Dell highly off getting mocked by Spy, more so that he was certain those two had been betting again and the most likable of those two was losing. "Now you listen here, you masked scoundrel." He pointed angrily at the man he thought he would never come to like from how much Spy got on his nerves. "If there is one thing you should know that I am no belly yellowed coward, but I am no fool either. Either you tell me exactly your plan is or I am taking the next train back home."
"And you are going to deeply regret it if you ever think about put a bullet into his head." Naira added with her fur on edge of the anger her human felt, her threat had been enough to catch the two other daemons full attention.

Dell would later know that Spy had been impressed that what he back then considered a useful coward had a spine to stand up against them. Of course, they needed Dell, so he told the pissed Texan. "What about we let you see it for yourself.. Laborer." It had made Dell roll his eyes but he agreed on at least going with them to the location and see what all the fuss was about. He thought if it got too much danger for him he could always leave. Dell just never thought how big of a slap in the face this mission would be.

When the trio had arrived at the place called Dustbowl, Dell remembers that he thought that place sure lived up to its name. The town was practically nothing but dust and measly buildings in form of a ghost town. The few people they saw looked like they almost were bathing in dust instead of water, Dell was caught off guard how poor these town people looked while Sniper and Spy were simply just happy the inhabitants weren't curious in what the three tourists were doing in their dust-cloud of a town and instead did their own thing.
Spy rented them a room in the only place they could do such a thing. The room was barely big enough for the three of them and barely stepped in inside, Spy told the still very confused but also quite sullen Dell. "I and Sniper will be out scouting for a couple of hours, try and not cause too much trouble." And before Dell could argue, the two left the room.

"That Spy has some nerves." Naira had growled over Spy's irritated behavior against Dell, she began walking angrily over to the nearby bed where she jumped up on it with some difficulties. When up on the bed, she told Dell. "You should make a machine that blows that smug look off his face, that outta teach him." Dell must've admitted that if she had made that suggestion in the present then he probably would've done it, but back then, he did his very best in not listing to his daemon. But even back then her sassy ranting cheered him up. "No shooting the same team Naira, you know that." He lectured her lightly, she was still annoyed and retorted back.
"Are we really on the same team as them?"
That had been a good question, one Dell pondered while he unpacked his toolbox. He came to a conclusion when he began adjusting his newest invention in form of a mini-sentry gun. "Grandfather seems to trust them." And that was saying something. Radigan rarely trusted people as far he was aware. Back then Dell was always so confused why Radigan never trusted Frank; his own son. Dell never really understood why until he saw what horrors the Magisterium was doing to people.
"I still say you should test out the turret on them." Naira remarked dryly, causing Dell to laugh but he wouldn't answer his grumpy daemon. He knew she would calm down soon enough and realize that her idea was very impropriated.

Near sundown Spy and Sniper returned, but Dell was so engrossed in his work that he hadn't noticed them, and it was a good thing those two were good a hiding their tracks and be on his side, otherwise, he wouldn't have noticed he if got attacked before it was too late. Dell only noticed the two return when Spy tapped him on the shoulder. He turned to the spy, and the man gestured him over to a projector "If you please." Dell had wondered why he hasn't noticed the man set that contraption up, later realized to his embarrassment that he had a tendency of closing the world completely off when working. Sniper returned not long after, ensured both him and Spy they weren't followed. With that ensured, Spy turned on the projector and the large light image showed Dell the machine he and the Sniper wanted him to sabotage. It hadn't taken him long to see what kind of machine that place was dealing with. "From the looks of the tank and heater over there, I say this is a generator running on coal." And asked the two as this projected picture of the machine cannot produce sounds. "How did it sound?" For he had a strong suspicion about this machine but he needed to be sure before he jumped to that conclusion.

Spy raised a brow but he had been smart enough to reply Dell's bit weird question. "It was incredibly noisy, we didn't have to be silent with all the noise it made." Sniper simply nodded in agreement.

"Did that noise sound like a big mother hubber of a storm?"

"Yes, mixed with the sound of what I can only describe as stones getting thrown around inside the tank."

He thought so, even from the projected image Dell could see that generator was getting pushed past its limits. The sound Spy described was the nail in the coffin on that thought. "I knew it."

"Care to elaborate." Spy had requested.

Dell pointed at the picture of the machine and explained the two men. "This kind of generator is mainly made to keep a small house-block powered, warm water, light and so on. But if what you said is correct then this generator is being used on something it isn't designed for. Whatever it is, it uses a lot of power."

"Impressive." Spy mused although his expression looked for Dell like he couldn't care less. "Now we know what it is, it is time you put your family name to good use and build a disrupter for this machine. We do not want it completely destroyed, only enough for the... experiments seized." Dell chose to ignore Spy's mocking of his family name, instead of having his focus on the man's last words. "What experiment?" But he never got any answer from the two. Both were set on keeping him as much in the dark as possible. He did not know it back then, but the fact was that Sniper and Spy couldn't tell him anything because it was against the laws of the Resistance and they already were running a high risk dragging him into this in the first place. Annoyed by all the secret they kept from him but knew he wouldn't get anywhere with these two, Dell decided he better get this job over with so he can return home."Give me two days, and you have the disrupter."
Spy and Sniper left him to work in peace those three days, only stopped his work when they brought him food.

Two days later, Dell handed a small electric generator; the disruptor he promised them. Spy took it and hid inside his jacket while Dell explained the man. "Place this on the machine and it will screw up the generator's power." Spy had nodded and without even a thanks other than the money for his service- much to Dell's irritation, Spy told him. "We no longer require your service. Go home." And before Dell ever could consider listing to Naria suggestions for a chance, Sniper and Spy left the room.

Dell thought about just listing and go home, but as fate would have it, he decided he wanted to stretch his legs after been pretty much trapped in that hotel room for days before going home. After he had cleaned himself up and packed his equipment for the travel back home. Dell went out to town for a quick look around. The town of Dustbowl had nothing to change his first impression this being a dusty ghost town. It was quite the wonder for him why Dustbowl was a ghost town as the town clearly had enough shops to keep a steady flow of people and even travelers satisfied, but the more he looked around, the more Dell realized that this town had become this poor because of a great lack of people. Those few people Dell saw all refused to make eye contact or even acknowledge him.
"They look scared." Naira remarked after have cast a glance at a woman's mallard daemon there was so jumpy that he took flight over even the smallest things. It was only later they realized why people in Dustbowl was so afraid.
Dell couldn't understand why the few townspeople around were so afraid and paranoid, shouldn't they have felt safe with Magisterium guards patrolling the area. Dell thought that surely there wasn't something prowling around the Magisterium guards couldn't handle. But if that was the case, then Dell would like to know what he needed to keep an eye out, at least until his next train would arrive. He tried asking some of the town's people but always got the same response that they shouldn't talk and left before he could stop them. That sign of fear brought up a lot of red flags in him, but none of them were pointed at the Magisterium guards. If it had been the case then he would've never approached the soldiers and asked what was going on with the people and why they were so afraid? At first, the guards ensured him that everything was fine, but the second Naria spoke her mind that excuse was a load of bull. Their dismissive attitude towards him suddenly changed and they asked him to come with them, forcefully grabbing him by the shoulders. He was about to ask why the sudden change, heck he became more than ready to fight these two soldiers but before he could though. A soldier came from behind him, knocked him out. with what, Dell would never know, only it hurt and it was lights out almost instantly.

When Dell woke again he found himself inside what he only could describe as a prison cell, he was confused but mostly scared of what was going on and why those Magisterium soldiers brought him here. He tried to call for the guards but it was impossible getting his own voice heard from all the cries there reminded him of wounded animals coming from the hall. It scared him and Dell remembers that he had tried to find a way out but when he realized that Naira was trapped inside some cage, so even if he succeeded getting the door open he wouldn't be able to leave.
That had been the first time in his life he was that scared and felt utterly helpless from he could not do anything about getting out from his cell. Dell wasn't sure how long he was trapped inside that cell, only how relieved he felt when lights began to flicker and the noise coming from what he realized was the generator Spy and Sniper was after volume down, it was the sign there was yet hope for him to get out from the cell. He started calling for the two and was for once happy see Spy's face when the man appeared before the cell door he was trapped behind. Spy was not happy to see him though. "We told you to go home." He grumbled but at least he started picking the lock to his cell.

Sniper appeared at the door not long after, asking rather baffled seeing Dell again and in this place. "Cricky, how did you get yourself trapped?"

"I'm not sure." Dell admitted and while Spy picked the lock, Dell explained the two how he merely was stretching he legs before going home. "I asked two Magisterium soldiers why the townspeople were so jumpy and when Naria called them out for their bullshit excuse that things were not alright, they threw me in here." The cell door opened but Dell could still not leave. Spy quickly realized why and moved over to free Naria.
While the spy was busy putting his lockpicking skills to good use, Sniper remarked dryly. "Apparently they didn't like you going around asking questions."

"Yeah, but why?" Dell asked the man confused, more so when he realized this place had several banners with the Church's logo on. Which meant this place was under the Chuch's jurisdiction and that both confused and terrified him further. "What is the Magisterium doing here?"

Spy opened the cage door and let the beaver daemon out. "That's what we're going to find out." He said and went over to the next cell door. When he unlocked the door, the three stepped inside where they found a middle-aged man lying on the floor. Dell ran over to check on the man. The man looked fine as there was no sign of visible wounds but even then it was clear something was terribly wrong from how much in pain the man was in. "Can you tell us what's—" Dell's tried to question the man, but before he could finish his sentence. The man suddenly grabbed Naira. It was and Dell pray would be the last time he ever felt someone else touching his daemon and revealing why it was such a great taboo. Having someone holding his manifestation of his soul was such a grotesque feeling that Dell had no way of explaining how horrible it felt. Only that he felt greatly violated and he would've tried making the man let go of Naria but having someone else man-holding his daemon robbed him of all his strength. He couldn't remember much about that episode, so Lawrence had to explain that the man holding Naria had said these words: "Keela, that's you? It hurt Keela— please make it stop..." Before he went into some agonizing convulsion and died not long after. Even in death, this man was staring at the terrified and just as weak as her human beaver, as if searching for his own in her.

It had been around there Sniper got Naria free from the man's death-grip, he had to be careful not accidentally touching her and make the whole situation worse for Dell. The moment Naria got free she ran back to her human. Dell, relieved he got her back hugged her tightly, both to reinforce their bond from getting violated of someone touched his daemon. He also hugged her to calm himself from something he never wanted to ever feel again.
Spy and Sniper hadn't interrupted Dell in what many might've considered childish behavior, although they never would know how horrible it felt. They understood enough that Dell really needed this self-comfort and they never mocked him for this moment of weakness.
Sniper turned to the dead man, remember he contemplated the man's last words. "He was asking for a Keela-- do you think that was his daemon?" He asked Spy.

Spy never answered him, but the disturbed look in his eyes was enough. Without a word, Spy left the cell and began lockpicking the other doors. Inside the first door, he opened Spy found a dead woman, so he moved to the next. In there he found a still alive woman, but from how she was in the same state of pain and weakness as the man from before. Spy scanned the room and even to this day, he realized to his great horror that this woman's daemon was nowhere in sight. His decision was quick and swift, the only mercy he could give these people: he shot her, killing her instantly.

"What in sam hill are you doing?!" Dell cried in horror of Spy had just killed someone in what he back then thought was in cold blood. He had thought they could save them, it was first way later he realized that Spy was saving them. "This is mercy." Spy had told him hard, it made Dell take a step back and it allowed Spy to moved on to the next cell and hand the man inside that cell the only mercy they could give them and another shot rang out in the hallway. Sniper had joined him with this task, he took out his own gun and asked Spy for a pair of lock-picks even though he wasn't as good at that skill as Spy. Still, he could get inside the cells and save these people from a slow and painful dead. Dell remembers he at first wanted to stop them killing these helpless and in so much pain people but couldn't bring himself to do it. For really? What could he hope to help people there had literally lost part of their soul? He tightened his grip around Naira, unable to comprehend a life without her by his side. Dell gaze slowly returned to the logo of the Church. Taunting him that this was what he would sign up to do when he would become the next head engineer for the Magisterium. Anger and disgust welled up in him by there mere thought of his own father aiding the Magisterium doing such a horrible act and still saying that the Church did what was best for the world. But after having seen this... how can his father expect him to work for them? Build them machines that can take away someone's daemon? No, he refused to turn a blind eye to such a horrible act, he won't work for people doing such things to others.

When Sniper put the last person down, the trio left the Factory of Dustbowl.
Spy once again told Dell to go home, but Dell couldn't go home and face his father after have learned what his father was part of. So, Dell requested to travel with Sniper and Spy for a while. They refused his request, but slowly, although reluctant allowed him to travel with them. Dell was quick to show that having him tag along was well worth it with his craftsmanship in buildings and weapons.

___

"Before I returned back home I had formed a decent enough relationship with Sniper and Spy that they would let me aid them to build weapons for their future missions. When they told me what organization they worked for and asked me to join, I refused at first, as I was still recovering from that wakeup call my grandfather gave me. About two years later I still refused to join the ranks but became willing to aid the Resistance by trading my inventions to the Engineers on each team." Dell finishes the story for the surrounding members, he notices that Pyro is hugging her otter daemon like a child and is happy Heavy and Demoman are too occupied with him to notice the Firebug's daemon is currently not a hellhound.

"I can say with certainty I trust this Engineer with my life." Spy declares if anyone besides him and Sniper has any doubt about Engineer's loyalty. He trusts Dell, enough that he asked the man to look out for his wife and son when the Magisterium caught scent he had a family.

Sniper simply nods in agreement.

Demo starts chuckling seeing this tight loyalty among those three even with this Engineer having family on the enemy side. "And here I thought I had family issues." He takes a swig of his whiskey and eyes Engineer with his remaining eye, grinning. "You sure you can go against your old man? Blood is thicker than water after all."

It is times like these that makes Engineer wonder how drunk this Demo really is, however, he ignores this small conundrum about the one-eyed man's awareness and answers him honestly. "I don't know if I can kill him, but I have for a long time turned my back on him." He fiddles with his right hand but does not remove the skin colored glove. "If I face him inside the Facility, it will be the first time he realizes my loyalty does not belong to the Church. And to be honest... I don't know if he is going to shoot me for this betrayal."

"Mmrrhh..." Pyro mumbles with a sad tone. No one knows what she is saying but the gesture is still there. Engineer gives her a weak smile. "Thanks, partner."

Heavy who has been still as a stone and just as silent as one under the whole story finally moves, turning his gaze to the engineer. "Can you counter your father's machines?" He knows it is asking a lot. Going against family is incredibly hard and Heavy admire the Engineer has been able to do that, more so because he couldn't. Heavy still follows his father's example of fighting the enemy with little to no mercy. Good against the Magisterium soldiers, not so good when innocent are between them.

Engineer nods. "That I can, I will start working on it after told you the next information I learned today." And he tells the team about his conversation with a very tired guard there failed to notice he had been played by a Team Fortress member.

Heavy burst into laughter, slapping his knee hard enough to knock a person out cold. "Ha ha ha! Enemy soldiers are stupider that headless chicken!"

Spy smirks amused but also quite impressed that his small lecturing about persuasion has giving Dell a few tricks up in his sleeves. "Well played." The smirk fades, leaving only a calm and composed expression behind as the spy tells the others. "We should use this to our advantage, getting someone inside there can both disrupt the security machines and get the much-needed information about this building's layout."

"And getting the children on our side." Demo adds, he points at the Spy with his half-empty bottle. "At this moment we're no better than the family splitting bastards for them."

Sniper glances to Spy. "You think you could do it?" He asks as Spy is after all the infiltrator of the team.

Spy reclaims a cigarette, for the first time in years doing this and taking on so many roles as different people. He feels he gets in doubt if he can do this task. And he hates having that feeling. "I admit I do not have much experience with children, but giving enough time I am sure I can gain their trust." He muses with a ghost of an annoyed frown, he just hopes the children will be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and offers him a chance gaining their trust. Turning to Engineer. "Tell me everything you told the guards, don't leave anything out." He needs every information so he can shape the correct personality and thus be seen less suspicious. But he cannot meet the guards tomorrow, he will need time making up a good background story and the right paperwork for this new persona in case some of the higher-ups will make a background check on him.
With a nod, Engineer begins telling everything he told the guards.

Chapter Text

Nathan follows the doctor with the weird rat daemon into his lap, wondering what this nicer doctor wishes from him.
"Take a seat, please." The doctor requests and Nathan does. Moments later the doctor returns over to him with the same pictures of animals the crazy witch doctor showed him some time past. "Alright, your daemon can take all of these forms, correct?"
Nathan nods, wondering what all of this is about.

"Which form is the most comfortable?"

"I don't know, depending on the situation, I guess. Nathan replies with a shrug, but apparently, that is not the right answer since the doctor repeats his question in a tone he is dealing with a slow person. Nathan's annoyance makes Nalini change into her wildcat form and growls at the weird rat daemon.

"It is the most utmost you tell me which form you like best." The doctor says.

Nathan rolls his eyes, guess he's not getting anywhere unless he tells the man. "Fine, maybe the wild rabbit. It's one of her favorites."

The doctor checks his notes, musing to himself. "Guess that has to do. Alright, please turn your daemon into that shape."

"Don't feel like it."

"It is important you turn your daemon into that form." The boy refuses, well, seems like Viper got his work cut out with this one. The doctor does wonder if this one is too old and a lost cause. "I require you to make your daemon into a rabbit."

Nathan shoots the man a small glare. "Fine" and just as annoyed as her human, Nalini takes the shape of a wild rabbit.

"A domestic rabbit, please."

"Forget it, that form or nothing."

"I need you to turn your daemon into a domestic rabbit." But no matter how many times the doctor requests it, the boy's daemon sticks to the wild rabbit form. Realizing this boy does not care about him being a higher ranking, the doctor asks him to stay for a moment and leaves to find Viper. Explaining him the situation.

Viper is not impressed of what Ross is telling him. "You're letting a Defiled push you around." And he did not ask for a rabbit, what use does he with a person having a rabbit for a daemon. He wants something more useful, something less wild and prone to recklessness.

"I admit he is a stubborn one." Ross admits and does wonders out loud. "Perhaps you can aid me?"

It's not like any work with that kid gets done unless he is around, Viper does admit that the boy is very feral compared to the last one he trained, but like any Defiled; he will convert this one. Viper follows the doctor back into the infirmary, the second the boy sees him, the daemon changes into a cheetah and sneers at his own black mamba. Again a form too feral for usefulness. Ignoring the tense boy, Viper asks the doctor. "Anything useful it can turn into?" The doctor gives him the files and Viper skim down the forms and according to the files on how the boy reacted to them. The boy did not like any reptile forms but he knows a snake form but that is what Viper wants, reptiles are so much easier than mammals. "Turn your daemon into a snake." Of course, the boy refuses, still think he can fight against the flow like the rest of his kind. Without a word or warning, Viper throws him to the floor, the boy struggles even after he dislocated his arm. Must give this one credit for durability. Still, Viper does not stop beating this one down until he is either dead or realizes that fighting him is futile.

With more bruises he can count and probably also with a few broken bones from this beating, still, it does not lie in Nathan's nature to give in and less so when Viper for some reason want Nalini to take the form of an ugly snake. Something is not right and he is going to fight to avoid it. It does end up with Viper knocking him out and when Nathan wakes he finds himself in the witch doctor's room. Turing to the missing daemon man, he notices that the doctor is tenser than he has ever seen him before and that frightens him. "Wha—" He tries to ask but the doctor hushes him down by putting a finger to his lip, Nathan gets the message and keeps his mouth shut. Letting the doctor heal him up with that awesome medicine of his. Barely finished Viper appears out from seemly nowhere and before Nathan can react, he lets out a scream of pain when the older man slashes his chest with his knife. To his terror, Nathan quickly realizes that this blade is not a simple knife, for this newly made slash wound feels like it's on fire and eating away his skin. He has never felt such a pain before, he screams, struggles; tries everything to make this burning sense to stop, but it only feels like it is getting worse.

The doctor watches in horror the usually tough young man breaks into a fit of screaming from the slash Viper left on him. He has seen a lot of horrible things in his life but is not afraid to admit that getting cut by Viper's specially made acid knife is on that list. He knows how that acid works, how it will slowly eat away the skin and muscles tissue and if deep enough, it can kill the victim in a slow and incredibly painful way. The wound Viper gave the boy won't kill him, but it will cause him months of pain and leave a permanent scar. Exactly like the one on his left cheek.

"Heal him."

The doctor does not hesitate one second in doing that, no need having Nathan in pain longer than needed. With the acid cut healed away, Nathan stops trashing in pain, now lying on the floor, barely moving from the fallout of the attack and the doctor does not blame him. Viper is a very cruel man doing this to a young man such as Nathan, not even an annoying chatterbox like him deserves getting hurt like this.
Not that Viper cares. The man grabs the boy shirt, forces him up so their eyes meet.

"Disobey me again and you will be staring at child body while squirming on the floor."

Nathan's eyes wide of the man's words, if someone of the people he fought back home in Boston had said this he would've said they were bluffing and hit them over the head for it, but Viper is not the man that bluff. Every word he says can and will be action, Nathan has been around Viper long enough to know that. Nathan is, of course, afraid of this man, but at least he can fight. Those kids, they can't.
Viper throws him towards the door, sneering. "Now turn your daemon into a snake."
This time, Nathan obeys and straight away feels greatly uncomfortable with the form Nalini now has.

**

That night Nathan has a guest in his room, not that he wants Dell's old man around. Frank does not understand and Nathan is getting sick and tired hear those words; 'It's for your own good' the hell it is! "What good comes out from getting beaten and my daemon forced into a form I am not comfortable with?!" He sneers at the man. For once Frank's expression is not calmness, the man stares at him in worry and mild shock.

"Viper is not a patient man, he only lashes out at you because your... rascal nature rubs him off the wrong way." Frank explains the boy, he is startled to hear that Viper has beaten Nathan but figure it's because Nathan does have a tendency of fighting back when pushed too hard as Viper has a tendency of doing. "I am sure he will lay off if you just listen to him."

"What about you go and fuck yourself?!" Nathan snaps back, Frank's eyes narrow of his tone but Nathan does not care, the tension his body feels from Nalini being in a form is incredibly uncomfortable with makes him quicker to anger. "Or go fuck one of your machines, I am sure they would like the attention."

"Nathan."

"I sure hell don't need your ugly face around, it hurts more staring at you than Viper breaking my arm. Not that you care you unfeeling fucker. Bet you are happy I got the beaten I deserves, it's a surprise Dell didn't turn into an unfeeling fucker like you!"

That last one did sting, Frank admits that, but brushing Nathan's sudden very venous words aside. "That wasn't very nice of you to say, Nathan." He says calmly, his own daemon tries to get the snake formed daemon under control but the moment Haina touched the sneering snake she got attacked and Frank is horrified watching how aggressive and out of control the shapeshifting daemon has gotten. Turning to Nathan, he can see that the boy looks ready to attack him as well.
Frank can see that this is not working the way Viper wanted. Is Nathan really a lost cause? Frank pray the boy isn't, that he still can be corrected. But first, he needs to make sure the boy doesn't do something they both will regret. "Alright, Nathan. Let her take a form you like." He sighs.

Nathan has been very close at attacking Frank, mostly because he is the nearest thing he can hurt but hearing Mr. Conegher's first time of giveing in to him dissolve his anger just enough to make him reconsider lashing out on him. It helps way more when Nalini takes her favorite form of a wild rabbit and jumps onto his lap. Now that she has fur, Nathan is willing to touch her. Calmer but still angry, he tells Mr. Conegher. "Don't think this changes anything, I still hate you."

"I am aware..." Frank muses feeling very tired of the slow to none development with this wild boy and again wondering if Nathan truly is a lost cause.

___

A couple of days later, Nathan finds himself wandering aimlessly around the facility. He has done his best avoiding both Mr. Conegher and Viper, sure he could visit the doctor but knowing him, the doctor would probably just endanger himself by making Nalini change into more forms and see how Nathan reacts to it. That thought both makes Nathan cringe and chuckle at the same time. That doctor is really some crazy but likable fella.
"We should visit the other kids." Nalini suggests on his shoulders in her swallow form and that's what he did, being around the other kids did often improve his mood, reminding him why he should keep on fighting.
Stepping into the hall where the people keep the children, Nathan notices right away that something is different. The children aren't rebellious out of boredom or cowering in fear as they used to, now he finds most of them playing normally like kids should do.
Easy to say that Nathan found that a bit strange. None of the people working here really knew how to deal with the children, less so when their 'leader' in form of him often encourage them being rebellious, which did end up with a lot of stuff— food included to be thrown around.
Scanning the room Nathan notices a new person, watching a group of children draw with an incredible respectfully demeanor. His daemon has the form of a white wolf and lets the children's own daemon— unlike the soldier's daemons there snaps at them if getting to close, this one allows them to play around and even on her, like her human she is incredibly patient with the younger rascal daemons. Although Nathan gets the feeling that she does not really fancy her current situation from how stiff she is. He doesn't blame her, He's sure he too would feel uncomfortable having a young badger biting his tail.
Curious who this new guy is, Nathan walks over to the table. "Sup." He greets the man, noticing he is about- maybe the same age as this Aussie guy, maybe younger, he can't really tell. This new guy has short light brown hair there hangs a bit over his blue eyes and rather crooked nose, but besides from that, there is nothing really special about this guy. The man turns to him and gives him a weak, nervous smile. "Bonjour, you new soldier recruit?" He asks with a heavy French dialect, so it takes Nathan a second to actually know what the man has been saying.

"*Ehh no,*" Nathan answers deadpan on French, thinking it will be easier for both if he speaks France. This does catch the man off guard, Nathan ignores the man's reaction and continues. "*Do I look like a soldier to you?*" Sure Viper and Mr. Conagher makes him wear the uniform of a soldier but no way he will join the ranks of the Magisterium. He doesn't mind obeying commands if the one giving him them has a very good reason, but these soldiers in here are the biggest boot-lickers he has ever known and that is not how he does things.

"*No, you don't and that worries me.*" The man replies in French as well and titles slightly his head, asking curiously. "*Where did you learn to speak French?*"

"*From school, I'm from New France.*" Nathan replies, scratching his neck. Yes, he can speak French; enough to keep a decent conversation but he does still have trouble with the dialect. But he figures this new guy will have less of a problem understanding him than the other way around. "*Most kids here are from New France as well, so you shouldn't have problems speaking with them.*" He remarks, nodding to the surrounding kids. All except one nod that they understand them just fine. Nathan gestures to the one who doesn't understand, changing back to English for the boy's sake. "Ivan here is from Brytain, but he is a quick learner."

The boy in question waves a small hello and returns back to his drawing. The man notices right away how relaxed the children suddenly have gotten the moment this young man stepped into the room and started speaking with him. "*They seem to trust you.*" He remarks softly, it took him several days of hard work just to get this far with the children.

"*Yeah...*" Nathan muses, eyeing the kids sadly. He's still trying to figure out a way they can get out but it has become practically impossible with Mr. Conagher constantly watching him and Viper keeping him busy beating him up under their so-called training sessions. Nalini shivers out of the memories from the last session, Nathan's chest still aches from Viper's last lash out. Yeah... neither of them looks forward to the next time they see that asshole, but he can think about that later. "*Who are you anyway?*" He asks this man quite plain looking man, Nathan knows this man wasn't around a week ago.

The man smiles weakly. "*I'm merely just taking care of the children, never you mind me.*" He says like he is nobody. Well maybe he is, Nathan can't really see anything special about this fella and he is friendly with the children but so were the soldiers. He better keeps an eye out on this guy.
"*If you don't mind me asking.*" The man's hesitant question snaps Nathan out from his thoughts. The man's blue eyes land on the few bruises the witch doctor didn't heal because of Viper's command. "*How did you get these?*"

"*I got into a fight.*" Nathan merely replies, not feeling up to explaining to this man that he got them from resisting against Viper and these bruises are nothing compared to what he has endured these past weeks. Many of the bruises hurt but they don't really bother him as getting wounds like these is something that happens daily back in Boston. So he can deal with them, much rather than having to suffer through that cut Viper gave him last time.

"*Does that happen often?*"

He just can't help himself, Nathan smirks. "*They had it coming. I mean I have been—*"

"Nathan."

Oh great, here he goes again... Nathan internally groans but knows that resisting will only cause a lot of pain on him and Nalini, so he leaves the French-guy and follows Mr. Conagher back out of the room while making sure Nalini is far from that stupid beaver's reach.

___

Two weeks later, nothing seems out of the ordinary for the common soldier inside this Facility, but that's where they are so wrong. Their enemy has, unbeknown to them gotten inside.
Spy removes the blue contact lenses, the mask hiding his strongest features, not bothering to wash the color out from his hair, he can do that when the mission is over. With his disguise gone, he puts on the spy class's uniform but does not activate the invisibility cloak, knowing it will just reveal his position to the enemy. Sabrina, once again back in her snake form conceals herself underneath his left sleeve and under the cover of the darkness, the man sneaks silently through the facility, towards the first goal of the mission. He finds the target and attaches a small disrupter onto the machine that makes electronics not with the Magisterium frequency get spotted on the enemy radar. Of course, the enemy will know he's around when they find the destroyed machine but they should've started the next phase before that happens. Spy turns on his radio. "Can you hear me Tex?"

"Loud and clear." Engineer replies through the radio, everyone on the team can let out a breath of relief. The second phase has succeeded. "How are the children doing?"

With Sabrina keeping watch in her small snake form Spy replies. "Being kept against their own will has not made any mental improvements on any of them. A few of them has gotten quite rebellious and that has caused a lot of trouble for the soldiers." Including himself, Spy thinks a bit sullen, but at least they haven't thrown food at him yet.

"Did they hurt them?"

"Not physically." Spy replies, frowning at the memory of how one of the boy's had cowered when Sabrina got too close to his daemon. "The people here are hurting the daemons to make the children behave." He admits it is rather clever, every human's instinct is not to let their daemon get hurt and thus will do almost everything to stop the pain, that includes toeing the line towards their kidnappers.

"... And your boy?"

The question makes the spy stop for a moment, seeing his son again has been a bittersweet moment for him. It was good seeing that his boy was doing fine, still having that strong life spark his mother also have and seemly still giving the Magisterium workers some trouble. But it also made him sad, being so close and yet so far from Nathan, watching him being pulled around like a show-dog and can do nothing about it. "Don't worry about him." He replies Dell, probably the one Nathan consider more of a father figure than he does to his real father, but Antoine knows leaving his family was for the best. "He's strong."

"And stubborn." Dell's answers teasing. "Just like someone else I know."

Spy rolls his eyes at that. "Oh please." But cannot help and smile at the compliment. He leaves the room and can finally use his cloaking device, he activates it and heads towards the prison area. "Going Rouge." He muses, signing to Dell that he will now play his role as the silent stalker and thus will not acknowledge the radio nor the people listing in.
He sneaks past the two guards, careful not to alarm their Doberman daemons and without a sound gets into the prison cells where the survivors of Heavy's team reside. He finds two of them inside the cells. A woman, chained to the wall along with her tiger daemon. Spy notices the familiarity between this woman and Heavy appearance; he better check if Heavy happens to have a sister. If this woman is indeed related to Heavy then Spy can suddenly understand the dark cloud of sadness looming over the huge man when they told that saving his team was not a priority. The woman is in bad shape, but still staying strong and he admires her for that. Moving on he spots another and can't help but consider him tiny compared to the woman, the mark on his shoulders reveals why. The Scout is not as bad shape as the Soldier woman, but his roe deer daemon looks near death, only the small voice from her that someone will save them reveals she is conscious. Spy notices to his horror that this Scout's daemon has gotten paralyzed from a broken back and yet both she and her human hangs onto their hope someone will come for them. Spy forces himself away from the two, reminding himself that he cannot let them out, which will just endanger the whole mission. No, they have to endure a bit longer; they need to make a foolproof plan saving the children. And having three, wounded people high on vengeance will endanger those they came to save. Hang on, where's the third member? Spy blinks, and looks into the remaining cells but find no third member. Did they already kill that one?
Leaving the two, Spy heads towards the chamber where he can hear voices.
Inside this room- no torture chamber Spy not only find the third member— another Soldier by the logo on his shoulders, like the two others he looks terrible with all his wounds... many of them are new. His daemon, in shape of a bald eagle is trapped inside a cage, unlike the two others; she is unharmed

A rather broad male leaves the Soldier, cleaning a spiked whip with a very satisfied look on his face. "As you can see my dear Ross, the body has higher pain resistance if no harm comes to the daemon." He explains to another man- presumably a doctor from the dark grey lab coat he wears. This doctor writes down what the torture has said with his possum daemon skipping excited around on the table.
Spy sneaks as close as he dares without getting spotted and listens to the two's conversation for possible useful information.

"Fascinating, so much different from what you showed me with that other specimen." The doctor says with excitement in his voice, eyeing the gagged Soldier that still has enough energy to send the two death-glares which both men completely ignores. The doctor turns his attention to the prison cells. "If you aren't playing with the female for the moment, I would like try out your theory." He says awfully casual.

The torture gives the doctor the 'by all means' hand gesture and turns back to the Soldier, now holding two wires attached to a small generator. "Just make sure you don't harm her body too much, can't have she dies before you're done. Who knows, she might even like it." And they both start laughing of their in-between joke, unaware it made not one but two from the resistance's blood boil.

Finishing laughing the doctor with the name of Ross asks the torture curiously. "Have you gotten any useful information out from this one?"

"No, he's a stubborn as hell I give him that." The torture admits frowning. "So far all I have gotten out from him is his class— which he is sickly proud of and how willing he is to die for his team. Sure lives up to the nonsense about the captain going down with his ship."

"Getting soft in your old age, Rahul?" Ross asks the other one smirking. Rahul sends him a cross look. "I say I have gotten better over the years, if it wasn't for the cowardly doctor miracle drug, I would've killed this one three weeks ago."

"Hm, maybe you have gotten too good my dear friend." The doctor muses, not hiding his amusement of this little fact.

"Can't say the same for you." Spy hears a way too familiar voice whisper behind him and before he even can counter, Viper sends him across the floor and his invisibility suit malfunction thanks to the assault from the Magisterium spy.
The doctor and torture both send surprised glances down to the man on the floor, even the gagged Soldier looks surprised.
Spy quickly recovers and in desperate need in the evening the odds he now finds himself in. He uses his hidden knife onto the doctor, sending the man sprawling to the floor with a heavily bleeding thigh.

Rahul tries to stop the bleeding but quickly has to realize that the wound is lethal and nothing can be done to save him. "Sorry old friend." And with the doctor's last breathe and the daemon dissolves, Rahul turns to the killer there is held down by Viper. "I'm going to kill him for that." He says so calmly that it is actually rather disturbing.

Viper, however, is not fazed by the man cold, murderous demeanor. They both know who is the higher ranking in this room. "No, you're not." He says, removing the hidden knife in Spy's sleeve while his black mamba daemon has a tight grip on Sabrina snake's head. "You can torture him all you like, but I need him alive." He checks the side pockets and blinks when he finds a certain golden object. "Hm, that explains why we can't find any resistances members anymore." and puts the Alethiometer into his own pocket.

"And why's that?" Rahul asks coldly, he didn't hear the Magisterium's spy last words nor saw the Alethiometer, too busy wanting his revenge on this intruder. His badly scarred siamese cat daemon glares at Spy.

Viper smirks up at him. "I need a subject for my student to kill. And what's better than one from Team Fortress?"

Rahul's eyes go down to the yellow patch logo of a knife on Spy's shoulders and smirks, seeing what the Magisterium spy means. "How alive do you need him?" For he is really pissed this terrorist killed his comrade.

"Conscious enough that he can look the kid in the eyes." Viper replies and while Rahul drags the dismayed Soldier away, the man struggles but cannot do much with his wounds and has to realize yet another member of the resistance has been caught. The former mentor of Spy chains him, making sure the younger spy doesn't have anything on him that can help his escapes. "I'm disappointed in you." Viper muses, removing the watch that activates the invisibility in the suit. "You have let feelings such as comradely cloud your better judgment, and looks where that got you." He looks into Spy reddish eyes, both having no feelings towards the other, not even with the long and complicated history they both share with one another.

Antoine does not try saying anything to Viper, knowing the man wouldn't understand why he has let emotions back into his life. It's hard to believe that he did once feel a sort of respect for the master spy before him, but all that disappeared when he met Lawrence and learned the true meaning of comradely.

"Is Team Fortress really worth your skills?"

"No." Antoine admits, he does at times feel like his talents of infiltration gets wasted by the rabble he surrounds himself with. However, he wouldn't go back to the Magisterium just for better missions. Team Fortress Resistance has given him something the Magisterium never could get him. He doesn't really know what is truly causing it, for many of the people he has been working with often makes him wants to pull out his own hair, and yet being with the resistance has given him a sense of belonging. "But that's is where I belong." He answers to his old teacher and no torture will let him betray the resistance.

And Viper knows that. He can see it in the younger spy's eyes. But that does not really come as any surprise; he did train Antoine here to endure all kind of pain of torture. "Pity, you were the best student I ever had." Too bad this fool let himself get dragged into Team Fortress by such idiotic promises of belonging somewhere. But at least Antoine can do one last thing for him, and that is to die for his newest students hands and well, what that young man is to Antoine. "This feels like deja vu." Viper smirks amused of soon will happen between his former and newest student. "You killed your only family at the age of seventeen and now." Grey meets the enraged red. "Your own son will do the same, but I must admit: he is way more defiant than you ever were." and the old master spy leaves the Spy of the resistance to Rahul's hands.

If it was luck or not, no one really knows but Viper did not find the hidden intercom on Antoine when he searched him. Whatever the case all the team on the other side know that they can do nothing to help their now trapped comrade, only listens to their Spy trying to endure whatever horror this Rahul puts him through. Lawrence has to leave when Antoine begin screaming, as hearing his friend suffer like this got too much for him.
All they can do for Spy and the others trapped inside the Facility is preparing for the fight and hope their captured comrades will survive long enough for the gypsies to arrive with their ammunition.

Chapter Text

Early the next morning, Viper brings his new student to a very special room, where he makes sure the young man sees the three children behind the one-way mirrored glass along with Rahul. "My colleague hopes you refuse me." He tells his stunned student before turning Nathan's attention to his former, now beaten bloody and restrained in a chair in the middle of the room.

Nathan does not his situation one bit, he feels like he has been forced up against a corner with no way to escape, Viper really meant his warning that the children he has befriended and somewhat protected now are in danger if he does not do whatever Viper wants him to do against this badly wounded and gagged person.

Viper walks past him and over to the barely conscious man, turning the chair so the yellow logo on the shoulder can be seen clear as day. "In case you do not know, this man is part of the terrorists- our enemy." Viper explains him, he leaves the beaten man side. "The terrorists have nine classes, the three captured were the Soldier class: the horns of the beast. They are specialized in long-range missiles such as rockets and very often become the leaders of a team since people chosen for this class do have a tendency being people with headstrong personalities. The other is the Scout: the legs. They are fast and agile, very hard to catch but very weak, so they are often the best class to choose if you want information. One of their tasks is to scan the area before any other member arrive, so that's where it's best to capture them. And this one:" He gestures to the chair-bound man. "is the Spy: the shadow that makes up the beast of the terrorists. They are specialized in infiltration and gather information for the others. I will tell you about the other classes as we encounters them. But for now:" He hands Nathan a pistol. "I want you to kill him. Not only this will weaken the beast the Magisterium constantly fights again but this will also prove your loyalty to the glory of the Church."

Nathan hesitates but with the children behind him being in danger from that man with the scarred and freaky looking daemon cat. Nathan takes the gun and aims it at the Spy, somewhat happy the man does not make eye contact with him. And just as the thought crosses his mind, the man's reddish eyes meet his. Nathan feels like he has seen this man before but cannot place where, too many cuts, burns and other horrific things this fellow has been through— not to mention the dried up blood on his face makes it hard to identify him.

Outside the building and watching the whole scene lies a certain Sniper, having his aim right at the soldier aiming at Spook. He wants to shoot the Magisterium soldier standing before his friend, but stops when Spy makes the hand-sign he shouldn't make the shot. "Have you gone bloody insane?" He whispers into the intercom, the only communication he had with his friend throughout this painstaking night. He aims at the soldier's chest as his position makes the window he's aiming through cover the upper body, still, a shot to the stomach should do the trick. "I'm taking the shot."
But again Spy signs him not to make the shot, adding a sign that says he should be silent. That sign did confuse Sniper, why did Spy want him to be silent. Laraine takes flight and quickly returns when she sees the face on this soldier. "It's Nathan"
"Cricky..." Sniper muses and just like that; everything makes sense. He removes the rifle from Nathan and tells his friend somber. "I won't tell him." It will be for the best Nathan never knows the truth that he has killed his own father. It will break the kid's heart.

Back inside the Facility, Spy lowers his gaze, waiting for the killing blow. He admits there is a cruel irony to this situation.

Nathan hesitates again, everything in him screams that this isn't right, even Nalini trembles of the pressure they both feels from he is about to kill someone for no apparent reason.

"Shoot him." Viper commands him.

Nathan wants to fight back, wants to refuse but he knows if he does then three innocent children will die. Aren't they more worth than a Spy from the resistance? This guy must've known this could happen, still, this doesn't make it feel any less wrong.  

"Rahul, kill one of the children."

"No!" Nathan cries, he removes the safety from the gun, fighting back his tears. "I-I'll do it."

Viper smirks, now he knows how to make Nathan listens to his commands. "Stand down." and the man with the oblivious children returns back to his seat.

Nalini looks up to her horrified human, she can feel his distress of the whole situation and wants to make it go away but there is nothing she can do to help him. Only to make this situation stop is to shoot this chained man, she knows it is wrong and wants to remind Nathan it is but she keeps quiet. Reminding him will only make him feel worse, all she can do is maybe make it a bit easier. She curls up against his leg in her favorite form: the wild rabbit, looking towards the man's snake daemon inside the cage. She looks at her, which confuses Nalini, why did this daemon look at her when her human is clearly about to die? Didn't this snake want to be with her human in his final moments? That's what Nalini wants. Then, much to the rabbit's shock, the snake changes form, turning into a big streamlined cat with a long tail and beautiful markings. That form looks so familiar to the rabbit, why does it feel so— then it clicks. At that second Nalini did not care about the children, her very being just wants to ensure this man's survival because of his daemon's essence is half of what created her. She spins around and tells her human. "It's him." She gasps, still shocked by this discovery. Nathan eyes her confused. "It's dad...!" She whispers, not wanting Viper or his daemon to hear her.
Nathan eyes wide of her words, and like his daemon makes a snap decision.
To protect- to kill.
But not the man Viper wanted. Nathan turns the gun towards the window and shoots, hitting the adult in there. It does not kill the man but it did scare the children to run and thus out of harm way.
Viper is not thrilled by that and before Nathan even could try an aim at him, the young man finds himself onto the floor with a dagger to his throat.

"Listing to that wimpy daemon of yours keeps getting you in trouble boy." Viper seers. "About time she learned her place." And his own daemon grabs that shape-shifting daemon, strangling it with her powerful body. The cheetah daemon cries in pain but even in that form, it does not stand a chance against his daemon.

Nathan struggles but Viper has too tight a grip on him, and he can do nothing but watch the snake maul his beloved Nalini and feels the pain for it.

BANG!

"Argh!" Viper cries, falling backward in a cloud of blood, and even though in a lot of pain and barely able to breathe; Nathan still kicks Viper off him and runs over to the man's daemon. For a split second, he considers breaking the taboo to get that snake off his Nalini. However, before he can, a white wolf jumps at the snake, biting her head and forces the snake away from the barely breathing cheetah. Nathan kneels down and lifts Nalini head up to his chest. "You're safe now."
"A-About... time... you... so.... slow..." Nalini wheezes with a cheeky smile, he's happy that attack didn't remove her attitude.    
He smiles weakly down to her. "And you suck, can't even fight a freaking snake."

"Ahem."

Both look down to the small snake on the floor, giving Nathan a crossed look. For a moment he is confused where this snake came from, then realized whose daemon this is and smile sheepish but not going to apologize for his former words. "What? I don't like snakes." He remarks down to the smaller snake.

Sabrina rolls her eyes and turns back into the white wolf form. "If you're quite done insulting me, someone needs your assistance." Nodding over to her still trapped human. Nathan trots over to get the man free, while Sabrina notices right away that Viper is gone, only a track of blood reveals the man has left the room along with his daemon. She narrows her eyes, not looking forward meeting either of them. Turning her gaze to the blood pool coming from the gunshot wound from Sniper, from the flesh pieces lying around she can guess Viper won't be using that arm for a while. He shouldn't be a threat at the moment.      

With the last binding chewed over by Nalini, Nathan helps his dad up on his feet but cannot help feeling awkward by this meeting. It's not exactly how he imaged meeting his father by almost shooting him in the head.
His father lets him support half his weight, but doesn't say anything to acknowledge him. Did Nalini make a mistake?
"Um, weird question." He muses to the man, but he just wants this mystery solved so this whole situation can stop feeling just a less awkward for him. The man's eyes turn to him. "Are you my dad?"
"Of course he is!" The now terrier formed Nalini snorts up to him, her ears down in annoyance. "I told you already dummy!"
Nathan nudges her with his foot to make her quiet.

Antoine turns his eyes down to Sabrina, she returns the look with a smug one. He should've known she wouldn't sit idly by when he was about to get killed. Good thing Nalini recognized her favorite form. Back to the young man. "Nalini is correct." He answers.

Hearing the man acknowledge it and knowing his daemon's name proves it. And that gives waves for so many questions, the most important and one he asked himself many times throughout his childhood. "Why did you never return home?" But the man shakes his head.

"I will answer all your questions, but now is not the time."

Oh right, they are inside a place that wants him dead and his father is not exactly in the condition to fight at the moment. "I know someone who can help." and he drags his father towards the doctor's living quarters. "He has this crazy healing stuff— what was that?" He stops by the loud explosion ringing through the halls, seconds later the alarm starts.

In her wolf form, Sabrina turns her attention towards the sound as well and it did not take much to figure out what it came from. "The others have arrived."

"Others? You mean the resistance?" Nathan asks confused.

Antoine nods, although a bit worried that three of the team can very easily mistake Nathan for an enemy with that Magisterium uniform on. "We have to move." He tells his son, no way in hell he's going to risk Nathan's life now he finally got him.

"But isn't it best going to your allies?" Nathan asks confused.

"Not so long you wear that uniform. Sniper would've shot you if I hadn't told him off."

Nathan winches by this fact, to think he almost got killed by one of the good guys is not a pleasured thought. "Some good guys you are..." He remarks sullenly but continues his way towards the doctor's room.  Blinking that his father lets out a small chuckle, musing; "We're not the good guys." Nathan is confused by his father's words. If they are not the good guys then who is?

It's not hard seeing that Nathan is utterly confused by his words, but explaining the reason why people in the Team Fortress keeps fighting the Magisterium is a bit complicated for the situation. "I'll explain later."

"You better." Nathan muses, tired being kept in the dark for something seemly so important. He takes his father into the small infirmary, encountering a very tense doctor who looks about ready to put that saw of his into someone's chest. "Easy there doc, it's me."

The doctor calms down but is confused by what he sees. "Junge? What are you—"

"No time to explain, I need your help." Nathan interrupts the man and helps his father to the table. "He's hurt."

"Yes I can see that." the doctor remarks coldly, feeling quite insulted that this boy thought he couldn't see that for himself. His steel-blue eyes land on the yellow icon on the wounded shoulders. "And I can also see you're asking me to heal our enemy."

"Please, he's my dad." Nathan begs and notices his father tense up for some reason. Did he do something wrong?

That catches the doctor's attention, he turns his eyes to the snake daemon who stares suspiciously and wary at him. He would like do a few testing but with the whole place under attack, he will be lucky if he survives this. Especially when this father to the young man is a Spy, he has seen what this one's last night's prowl did to one of his co-workers. At least this Spy is too hurt to do anything towards him at the moment. "It doesn't matter, if I heal him I will be an enemy to the Magisterium. Yes, his allies will kill me when they reach this sector but at least it will be quicker and more humane than what my so-called allies will do if I betray them." The look on the young man's face is devastating, the doctor let out a sigh, wondering when he started going soft. "I will look the other way this time... guess you were right being part of the resistance after all." He smiles, but it never reaches his eyes.

Nathan feels betrayed that the doctor— the only man he felt he could trust has turned his back on him now he has sided himself with the resistance. "Yeah..." He muses, not hiding the anger he feels. He walks over to the shelf where the bandages are stored, not daring give his father that healing liquid as he has no idea how much he should use and for all he knows too much of it might be lethal. He returns back to his father with cloths for the wounds and starts removing the blood.
"Don't blame him for this." His father tells him, Nathan blinks at his words and his father explains with eyes towards the doctor. "There's no good versus evil, only people fighting for what they think is for the best."

"You people sure have made life hard for us." The doctor remarks still with that fake smile of his. "The destruction in Amazon pissed off a lot of people."

"Good." Spy replies casual, letting Nathan bandage the deep cut on his right arm. "For we weren't happy what you did to those people."

"You aren't happy about a lot of things." The doctor muses, wondering what the teams in the Amazon saw to make them so angry that they killed everyone and blew up the whole building. Usually, the terrorists would merely sabotage the building and harass the soldiers until they would leave. Whatever it was must've really been against their belief... whatever those were. "You're here for the children." He asks although it sounds more like a statement.

Spy nods, Sabrina eyes him like a real snake ready to strike when he asks. "Will you try and stop us?"

The doctor lets out an emotionless laugh. "I'm a doctor, what hope do I have against people like you?" Besides, the boss would have him waiting for soldiers coming with wounded, probably the worst part of his job: waiting for people coming to him instead of going out and heal them before they bleed out getting dragged to him. Speaking of wounded; "You better get out from here." He suggests, knowing his infirmary soon will be flooded with wounded soldiers if all the gunshot noise is going where he thinks it is.

Spy nods yet again and jumps off the bed, limping out with Nathan close behind. He pretends he doesn't notice the last look his son gives the doctor before they leave the room. Outside he contacts the others through the intercom Viper miraculously oversaw. "I have the oldest of those kidnapped; he's currently dressed as an enemy soldier. We will try and release the prisoners."

"Very well." Heavy's rumbling voice replies and says after a wave of gunshots. "Pyro and Demoman have cleared out the east section. Engineer is currently trying getting the children out... he's having a bit trouble."

"And you?" Spy asks.

Another wave of gunshots, followed by Heavy roaring laughter, he replies still chuckling. "Bit stuck for a moment, don't worry, these puny men are no match for me and Sasha."

If that man say so, but he would prefer they did not lose their big gun just because the Heavy thinks he is invincible. He turns the intercom to Sniper. "Do you have Heavy in your sight?"

"Glad hear you're still kicking, mate." Sniper replies and adds. "No, he's too far inside the building. And I can't move at the moment, bit busy bagging these pikers— hey Pyro, can you protect Heavy's back?"

Pyro does not reply with words, instead, a humming noise says she got the message.
With the new goal in order Spy signs Nathan to follow and fortunately they only meet dead soldiers on the way, all blown, burned or beheaded by the two radical fighters. They encounter Demo decapitating one of the soldiers with his medieval sword. "Ey!" he greets the two, resting his sword over his shoulder. "Glad see you didn't die."

"I was lucky; they wanted me alive for a special occasion," Antoine replies with Nathan shifting uncomfortably beside him. But enough about his traumatizing night. "Is the path clear?"

"Ay, I and Pyro got all of them." Demo grins, fading slightly with his eye scanning the corpse-filled hallway. "Good for us, not good for a bunch of scared kittens."

"They trust this one." Spy places his hand on Nathan, startling the young man a bit. He ignores it, all attention on the Demoman. "They will follow him."

Demo's eye narrows slightly, usually, someone wearing that uniform wants them dead. "And we can trust this wee lad?"

"Yes, but first we're going to save your comrades."

Demo nods and lets them pass, the man empty his bottle and smirks down to his wolverine daemon when an explosion from one of their placed bombs goes off. "And that's what they get for touching that!" His Taipa bursts in laughter before the two runs off with sword in hand and bombs in mouth, going to keep soldiers from coming near this hallway.

Antoine and Nathan head down to where the prisoners are, not a single soldier has tried to stop them as they are too busy fighting Heavy, Demo, Sniper and Pyro, which is good for Antoine seriously is too wounded to fight at the moment. He has trouble enough just walking, it goes a bit slow but they reach the prison. Here Antoine starts unlocking the cell doors. "Can you walk?" He asks them.
The woman nods and replies. "And fight." Only showing mild surprise when the male Soldier suddenly grabs Nathan and throws him to the floor, but before he can do any harm Spy stops him. "Stand down! He's on our side." He sneers to the male Soldier.
The soldier straightens up like a real soldier would do to a higher officer. "My apologies! Never knew who was friend and who wanted us dead!" He eyes Nathan with; "Aren't you a bit too young playing soldier boy?"

"Fuck off, I'm legally adult!" Nathan snaps at the man but makes sure this gorilla is out of reach in case he wants to attack again. The man opens his mouth but his father stops him with a single hand move. "Soldier now's not the time." The spy eyes the two with the rocket mark on their shoulders. "Your Heavy and Demoman are here, aiding us rescuing several children. I would ask you put down petty revenge and aid us saving them."

"How many?"

Everyone turns to the man with the winged shoe mark on his shoulders, he is in bad shape but not as much as his daemon, he has to carry the paralyzed roe deer on his shoulders.

Spy turns to this Scout, relieved seeing this one are up on his feet "Forty-four. If you're not too hurt my team's Sniper could use your assistance."

The Scout nods. "Sure thing, I can keep any mongrels off his back. What about your Scout?" Turning to Magisterium dressed scout, probably just to get a better chance of recon.

"Huh?" Nathan blinks, not sure why this man called him a scout like him.

"This one is not a scout." Spy explains and the Scout blinks. "Huh? Could've fooled me, he sure has the build for it. Throw the uniform and give him a decent pair of shoes and I'm sure he's off like Solly's rocket." He smiles to Nathan there cannot help but return the smile of this compliment. The Scout shifts his wounded daemon to a better position on his shoulders. "Blow up some Magisterium scum for me eh Solly?!" He grins at the male Soldier and the two fists bump before the Scout runs off.

With him out, Spy signs the two Soldiers to move out. "Stay close." He tells Nathan.
Nathan simply nods and follows his father back out to the war zone again.

Meanwhile Heavy is laughing at a bunch of soldiers scrambling away from Sasha aiming the minigun at them. "Run babies!" He shouts and starts laughing again when they do just that, but did not get far before they- including some that were dumb enough moving towards his yelling got mowed down by the gun. One got away but that one did not live long as his wimpy face got filled with shotgun pellets. "Heh," Heavy chuckles at his and Sasha's handiwork. "Cry some more," and they move further into the building.
"|Getting low on ammo|" Sasha muses, weighing the gun on her back.
Heavy eyes her and check his own ammo, he's running pretty low as well. Seems like their fun is over for now, better return back to the others. He reloads the minigun with the bullets he has strapped around the chest, giving Sasha about one more mow down round before running out. They head back to where the others should be, on the way they encounter a couple of soldiers, but all of them are too wounded to be any real challenge. Sure he can leave them but his former tripe never taught the mercy and thus not even these defenseless soldiers are safe from this human killing machine. After have filled most of them with bullets, Heavy grabs one of them and throws the man into a door that breaks on impact, he moves over to makes sure the soldier is dead, but a sharp pain from his right side snaps his attention to whoever has attacked and managed to break through the bulletproof west. To his surprise he realizes the one who had attacked him is a doctor, using a bone-saw as a weapon. The doctor retracts the saw and goes for the second attack. "I'm gonna saw through your bones!" He shouts and would probably have done it if Heavy hasn't grabbed the hand with the saw, holding this feisty doctor in a bone-crushing grip. The doctor hisses in pain and although he is scared Heavy must admit he is impressed that this doctor is not like the others— all they did was screams for mercy and cover behind their desks like babies. This one is a fighter.
"Not baby coward, first time for me." He remarks, making sure he sounds stupid, just in case this one has something else hidden behind that black coat of his.

The doctor glares at him. "Of all the people... Ein wütender Dummkopf wird mich töten" The last he sneers.

Heavy might not know what this one has said, but the language and the attitude give him a startling revelation. No, it can't be! This man already has a daemon, although he can't really see why this feisty doctor should have a dove for a daemon. But what if he's wrong? What if he kills this man and Silvia will be gone when he returns?
He has to be sure. "How is hand?" He asks.

The doctor sends this big brute a glare, even though he is very scared being literally kept in an iron grip by one of the terrorists. "You are crushing it." He answers in a matter of fact to this big idiot, maybe humiliation is closer to what he really feels. Never thought he would get killed by a moron.

Well, the attitude is surely there, so many people cower in fear by his size alone but not this one, this one actually dares look down on him and that is rather amusing. "No, other hand." Both their eyes go down to the dangling left hand. "It hurt, no?" For if he's correct, then this man's left hand will hurt from the wound Silva received when they get ambushed.

".... How did you?" The doctor asks baffled, how the heck does this brute know he has phantom pains in his left hand from whatever injury his— he gasps. "You?!" The brute looks back to him, giving him an almost friendly smile, yet the doctor has trouble believing this dunderhead has been the one taking care of his Silvia. He scoffs "Clearly there must be some mistake."

"So no pain from Silvia's wound?" Heavy asks, now a bit confused, everything points to this being her human. More so when this one actually appears he recognizes her name. "Doctor is her human, da?"

"If we're talking about the same magpie daemon, then yes." The doctor sullenly replies, not sure he likes this situation or not. He did say he would trust the man who took care of Silvia but this man... is nothing like the hands he felt touching his daemon. He let out a gasp when the brute let's go of him, he caress his definitely broken hand. Glancing at the brute that watches him with a renewed fascination but makes no move of attacking. The doctor starts healing his hand with the magic his mother's blood gives him. With the hand healed he turns back to the brute. "So, what now?" He asks the man, seeing they are both in bit of a dilemma. He cannot kill this man, his earlier attack proved that will just be a death wish. And this brute clearly does not want him dead now he knows his pet will disappear if he does.  

Heavy watches the doctor for a moment, watching this one heal himself with magic proves he's a male witch. The first time he has ever met a male witch, actually quite interesting. Too bad he's on the enemy side. "I do not want Silvia dead, so doctor lives." He explains the man.

"And what about my daemon?" The doctor demands.

This time Heavy hesitates, he knows it is wrong but he really doesn't want Silvia to be part of the Magisterium. If he could have it then he would've kept her, but keeping her caged will be cruel and she will hate him for it. "Need ask her what she wants." He muses.

"Have you kept her caged all this time?!"

"No, Silvia can leave if wants." Heavy replies, then remember why she couldn't leave at the moment, he muses to himself before he explains. "Cannot fly in moment, got shrapnel into wing when enemy attack base."

The doctor blinks hearing this, she could've left this man all this time and yet she did not do it? And the only thing keeping her from leaving now is an accidental wound to the wing. Explains the pain in his left hand. But what made her stay for so long? What does she see in this idiot? The man turns to leave but the doctor can see this one won't get far with the wound he gave him, it will be so easy let this one die but if that happens who knows if he ever gets to see his Silvia again. "Wait." He fetches his powerful healing serum and injects some of it around the bleeding wound. "Can't have you die before you show me where you keep Silvia."

Heavy chuckle but quickly stops when the doctor sends him a glare for moving. Sitting as still as he can Heavy watches the doctor heal him with that strange serum, with the wound completely healed, not even a scar is left behind, he thanks the man for the aid. "Thank you doctor." the man brushes his thanks off, seemly more annoyed than anything. It reminds Heavy of the first time he met Silvia, "Yes, you are Silvia's human." He chuckles when the man gives him a degraded look.
"входящий!" Sasha suddenly shouts, readying herself to an attack when a small platoon of soldiers comes their way. Instinctive and not really thinking about it, Heavy pushes Silvia's human behind him and his own daemon. "Get behind me doctor!" and starts shooting at the soldiers with a roar equal to the shape of his daemon. They got about half of the soldiers, rest of them got away and that is quite lucky for Sasha has just run out of bullets. Still, it does not bum these two down and Heavy shouts after the fleeing soldiers. "Run cowards!!" with Sasha roaring beside him, only to stop when her human gets whacked by the doctor. Both man and bear stare dumbfounded at the clearly pissed man.

"Dummkopf!" The doctor yells at Heavy's face, making the bigger man raise a brow as he did know what that word means thanks to Silvia but not sure why the doctor calls him a fool. "Now they think I am your side!"

Sasha's face lights up from this opportunity. "|that's great! It means he can fight alongside us, Silvia doesn't have to leave if he join us!|"
Heavy smirks by her words, more so when the doctor seems to realizes that they did not see this as a bad thing.

"No." The man growls.

"Stay close doctor. Bad if soldiers kill you." Heavy says with a huge grin on his face, pretty sure he will get that bonesaw through his chest when this is all over but it will be all worth it.

Reluctantly and already planning trying out a new and rather horrific experiment on this dimwitted idiot, the doctor follows. Thinking that maybe this brute thinks Silvia cares for him and she actually is doing her own experiments on him? That is his only explanation to why she stuck with this brute for so long.      

"Scout!"

The doctor snaps out from his thoughts and cannot help but stare at the weirdest sight he has ever seen. The big brute of a man, one that has mowed down hoards of soldiers and shrugged off bullets like they are pebbles; Now getting tackled down by a fragile-looking man with a wounded deer daemon on his shoulders.

"Big guy! I knew you would come for us!"

Heavy laughs relieved seeing his team's Scout hasn't lost his happy-go spirit and no way will he tell Scout that rescuing him and the others haven't been the first priority. He hates to break Scout's spirit. "Good see little Scout again." He hums and with no trouble gets back on his feet again. His eyes land on the barely conscious deer. "How is she?"

Scout eyes the deer, smile's completely gone. "I don't know... they were really hard on her..." He turns back to Heavy, then notices the doctor behind him. He stances up to a fight as he recognizes this as one of the doctors on the other side of the bars, but Heavy stops him. Scout blinks, he didn't know they had an undercover ally, least at all a Medic. "I didn't know we had an undercover Medic."

"I'm not on your side." The doctor grumbles, however, intrigued watching this softer side of the brute of a man. It is clear he cares for this man.

Scout titles his head in wonder. "Then why the hell haven't you been killed by Heavy— why haven't you killed him?" He asks the Heavy, baffled his team's fearless leader hasn't killed every enemy on his path as he usually does.

Heavy smirks down to the Scout. "Long story, explain after battle." He signs the doctor to follow and they walk down the hallway. "Is Soldier alive?"

"Yeah, both of them, currently kicking ass along with a Spy and a civilian."

"Good, and decoy plan?"

Scout smiles weakly. "They completely fell for it, thought Solly was the leader all the time." The smiles drop, replaced with a frown. "I'm surprised he can still stand- let alone fight after what that monster put him— holy crap!" He jumps back when a door beside him suddenly spew out flames, seconds later a gas-masked figure jumps out from said doorway. The Scout stares three seconds at the Pyro before giving them a weak smile. "Hey..." He greets awkwardly, not sure how this Pyro is compared to theirs, who had been quite an outgoing person.

Pyro simply nods before turning their 'eyes' to the deer on Scout's shoulders, they mumble something incoherent with a titled head to the wounded daemon.

"Pyro, where is rest of team?" Heavy asks them.

Snapping away from the wounded daemon, Pyro points down the way they came come. The hallway they came from is littered with scorch marks and burned soldier corpses. The Pyro then turns their attention to the doctor, starting to tense up and their daemon growls with raised scales, showing the fire red skin underneath.

Heavy is not sure he should be impressed or worried that the doctor has only enough self-perseveration to flinch from Pyro's glare. Hoping to distract that humanoid demon, Heavy points down the way Pyro pointed at moments ago. "Team this way?" Snapping the Pyro out from their I'm-going-to-kill-you position.
Pyro nods up to him and runs back the way they came, their daemon taking the lead and searching for any survivors. They did encounter two soldiers, but those two did not live for long. Pyro lets out a muffled cheer before the still burning bodies, lifting their flamethrower over their head. And like a rapid personality change; turns and waits almost docilely for the others to catch up.  

Scout backs away from the now docile acting Pyro as if they haven't delightfully burned two people into a crisp. "That one is insane, they should be in a mental hospital not fighting—" He flinches and seeks cover behind Heavy when Pyro snaps their head at him, mumbling something in a crossed tone with their hellhound daemon giving him a dark stare.  

"Do not insult Pyro." Heavy advice the Scout, but also the doctor. Yes, he will admit Pyro is insane but also quite useful. Still, he is relieved when they find Engineer trying to get a couple of scared children down the path where the gypsies are waiting. He has noticed Pyro is quite fond of this man and hopefully, the engineer can make the fire user back off if they decide to attack Scout or the doctor.
"Engineer." He calls, the short man turns around and smile, not noticing the scared children has run back to the barracks there has been their bedrooms while living here. "Oh good, feared I might have to put a sentry up." He points to a second-floor balcony. "I'm having trouble with a sniper, almost got me once."

"I got him!" Scout calls and is off, Pyro stands for a second before she decides to check the area for enemy soldiers.
A couple of moments later Scout makes the okay sign and Engineer walks back inside to see if he can get the children to follow him. It took him longer than wanted but his soft-spoken voice and Nalini friendly attitude against the youngster's daemon calmed six of them just enough down that he could guide them down the path where the gypsies are waiting to take them. With them safely delivered to the awaiting gypsies he returns for the next batch, but not before he shows some manners to the man beside Heavy. "Howdy, one of Heavy's old team I presume?" He offers the doctor his hand.

The doctor does not take it. "No, but he has something of mine I would like to be returned."

Engineer lowers his hand and glances to Heavy but only gets a look that says that it is not to be talked about. "Alright, well good luck with it then." He shrugs with a small chuckle and asks the big guy a bit worried about the rest of this mish-mash team. "Have you heard from the others? Pyro accidentally broke my intercom when he got a bit too excited with his new flamethrower."

Heavy activate his intercom so everyone on the team can hear him. "Everyone, return back."

"About bloody time." Sniper replies with an annoyed huff, he has been forced to retreat more times than he likes to admit.

"Aw~ but I and Solly are having a blast!" Demo replies in a teasing whiny tone before bursting into a fit of laughter from whatever Soldier did on that side of the line. "Bloody brilliant!"

"I don't care how much fun you two have." Spy voice says, he shoots at something before he continues. "I and the young man beside me would like going home in one piece and not in a basket."

"Alright, we're coming, ey Soldiers! Time to go!" Demo calls the two soldiers.

Good, Zhanna is alive and fine since she still able to fight. Heavy turns off the intercom. "Team are coming." He tells Engineer, the shorter man nods and starts calling for the Pyro there is currently setting a whole hallway on fire.  

"... I am beginning to understand why she stayed..."

Heavy glances down to the doctor, smiling but not saying anything. There is no need for wor— a loud kachank shot rings through the place, making everyone look up to the floor above them. They see Scout fall, bleeding from his stomach, but cannot run away as his daemon is lying on the floor, completely unable to move from her paralyze of a broken back. The attacker, an old man aims a brown, almost futuristic shotgun at Scout.

Engineer recognizes the man right away and runs out so the old man can see him. "No!" He cries.

The man turns and eyes wide seeing Engineer here. "Dell?" He signs his daemon to hold down the deer while he speaks with Engineer- no Dell. "What in tarnation are you doing here?"
Dell does not answer his question, only nodding to the bleeding and trapped Scout. "Let him go."

Franks' eyes land on the logo on his son's shoulders, mocking him of what has become of his legacy. "Please tell me this was forced upon you..." He turns his eyes to the wheezing terrorist. "That they gave you no choice." But from how Dell moves to help the one he shot, he knows the answer that he joined by his own free will, which means... "Dang it Dell!" He curses, noticing the masked one moving up to him but a couple of shots forces that one away. "Do you have any idea what you're getting yourself into?! Being with them will do nothing but cause you misery!" Franks walks over to the wheezing man, putting the gun to his chest, right where the heart is. "These people are nothing but terrorists! They only fight because they aren't anything else they can do!" He fires his gun and the deer disappears like a candle being blown out. Looking up he stares angrily but mostly disappointed at Dell. "You are not like them."

Dell moves slowly forward, all the time keeping his eyes locked at his father. Ready to draw his own gun if that shotgun ever gets aimed on him. Naira soon joins his side, being the one who speaks. "He's not you either."
The other man gives her a disproving look that wants her to keep quiet but Naira refuses, the biggest sign for Dell defiant towards his father. "We cannot look past what you are doing to people, what you have done to us. You have been trying to mold him into you and from the form I took; you almost succeed."  

"Be quiet." Franks commands her, turning his eyes back to Dell "Daemons shouldn't talk, how many times do I have to tell you?" He lectures Dell as if he's still a child.

"You only want me quiet so I can't say what he truly feels!" Naira snaps angrily, nodding towards the brown beaver at Frank's feet. "That's why Haina never speaks, so you will never get in doubt of the Church's doing!"
Haina looks up to her human but does not speak because her human will not allow it and Naira knows it. "But after what we have witnessed, I will never hold my tongue."

"Dell"

"No dad." Dell shakes his head. "This is my choice, and whatever's going to happen afterward, well it's going to happen." He picks up the dead Scout and leaves the enraged man, knowing this is the last time he ever can turn his back on his father. "Do me the favor and keep Logan out from this."

"You know I can't... especially now you're on the wrong side." Frank replies surprisingly softly, all his former anger gone by the mention of the boy back at Texas.

Dell stops for a moment, considering giving his father a warning if he ever going to consider removing Logan's daemon— but decides against it. He doubts his father will allow it, but he never knows this man anymore. He leaves the scene, soon followed by Pyro who keeps checking if his father suddenly decides opening fire at him. He returns back to where the others are, noticing that Nathan and Antoine are here but does not feel like doing a happy reunion and simply walks past them with their lost member in his arms.

Nathan has no words, seeing Dell confront his own father like that had been both exhilarating and nerve-wrecking. But mostly good seeing his friend and sort of father figure is here. Yet like with his father, the reunion could've been better and be speaking to Dell while the man carries the one everyone has called Scout body just seems disrespectful. So instead he helps the team to make the scared children to follow them, ensuring his younger friends that these men will bring them home. Because they knew him, all the children trust his words and follow him and the team towards the blown up hole the black one-eyed man made.
Heavy, the two Soldiers and Demo takes the rear, making sure no Magisterium soldier would attack while they left, the doctor reluctantly follows them although he did more than once look back as if considering staying behind.

Soldier eyes this Magisterium doctor. "Prisoner?" He asks the boss of their team. The big man simply rumbles and does a small nod, that is good enough for Soldier and he returns back to making sure no scum would shot them in the back.

About halfway out, Rahul appears on the upper levels catwalks, too high up to be noticed by the leaving resistance members. He's bleeding from the shot Nathan fired at him, but it doesn't even seem to exist for him, all that is on this man's mind is he will make these intruders pay. "If we can't keep them, no one will." he smirks and throws down four gas bombs that explode and releases an orange cloud around the remaining members.
Demo realizes what this cloud is right away. "Get back! It's mustard gas!" He warns the others, making the two Soldiers and several of the children back away from the deadly gas cloud. Heavy, the doctor and the remaining children, however, cannot get away as the cloud has them surrounded and some of the children already gagging from the poison in their lungs, others letting out screams as the gas burns their skin like hot ember been thrown at them.

Like Heavy did when that small platoon of soldiers tried to kill him, the doctor reacts pretty much the same way. "Everyone, behind me!" He cries and Heavy, not even going to question what the man is planning drags the suffering children near him. The doctor uses all his knowledge gathered from both the witches and the medical school to pull this off, using the magic from his mother's side to forms a sort of shield dome around himself and the other people around him. The gas engulfed them but as hoped the shield keeps them safe. However because this is the first time he has ever done something like that and not really adept in magic, the shield quickly drains him, yet he keeps the shield up and moves towards the exit, refusing to let anyone die like this. But his mind cannot fight against the limits of his body and the last thing he sees before passing out is the shield breaking and the gas engulfed them.

Chapter Text

The first thing he notices the moment he awakes is that pretty much his whole body hurts as if he has just jumped into a fire and survived. His lungs and throat hurt the most. The doctor choughs and instinctive tries to heal himself, his magic is practically drained but he has just enough to remove the gas still stuck in the lungs and repair any damage it did. His lungs still hurt like they are on fire but he can breathe better now, sitting up he realizes that his arms and part of the chest have several yellow blisters, again created from the gas. This time he uses his healing serum as he does not think he has enough magic to remove all of the chemical wounds properly. He also swallows a small dose to heal his throat, twitching from its horrid taste. More or less healed, the doctor finally can look around the room he is in. From the looks of it, he will say he is currently on a ship of some sort from how this room gentle rocks from side to side, and he is not alone. Most of this room is filled with children, all of them has the same symptoms as he had moments ago. Not really thinking about it, he goes to work right away, not wanting these poor young souls to suffer any longer.
Just as he treats a boy whose skin around the eyes have become swollen and badly infected from the gas, thankfully the rest of the body isn't as badly inflicted as feared. A couple of people appears from upstairs, however, the doctor does not look up to see who they are, he's too busy making sure this young boy keeps his eyes.

"Will they be alright?" A deep male voice asks the doctor in a calm tone with a hint of concern.

"This boy will survive." The doctor replies without looking up, he already knows who this is. He wraps a cloth around the boy's eyes, so they can heal properly without having to deal with constant light. "I managed to save his eyes, but I recommend he keeps them covered the next couple of days." He moves to the next but hesitates, the girl before him is not only covered in blisters but most of her body has what looks like third-degree burns and from the sound of her raspy breathing, her lungs is badly damaged, he doubts this one has long to live. He might be able to save her life, but he is low on the healing serum and his healing magic is completely drained. The man that spoke walks up to him, proving his conclusion right that this is indeed the one Nathan called his father. He has a brown-red mask on now as the blue one he wore before was pretty much destroyed thanks to Rahul, once again hiding most of his face but not the concern shining in his reddish eyes. His blue suit like uniform has also been replaced with a red one, covering the wounds he got from the torture. But at least Spy does not seem to be in a life threatening situation.
The doctor turns back to the girl. "I can't save her." He muses in a hard matter of fact, he turns around to the ten other children, all in great need of medical care. "If I try I might not have enough to save the others." It makes sense, it is the most logical way. It's against the oath that it's a doctor's duty saving anyone asking for him, that it is not his place deciding who lives and who dies, but if he's not making that choice then who will?
He glances at the girl, thinking he can at least shorten her suffering. "Do you have a knife on you?"

The man hands him a butterfly knife, not flinching or show any discomfort when the doctor staps the knife up through the back of her head, killing her instantly. For like the doctor, he understands why he had to decide who is worth saving. "Do you need any assistance?" He asks, letting the doctor put a sheet over the girl's head. "A few of us has some medical knowledge." They need to as the teams don't always have a healer and when they do it's not always time for a Medic to come for a wounded's aid.

"I'll be fine." The doctor brushes him off, heading towards the next patient, thinking these people the man suggested probably would just get in his way. No, it is best he does this on his own. He checks the girl quickly before he extracts the healing liquid and put it into her blood-stream, letting it remove the blisters and burns she got on her arm and feet. "Are these the only casualties?" He asks the Spy who has been wise enough keeping his distance so he can work properly.

"No, only the child victims are down here."

The doctor stops his examination of a boy's second-degree burned chest, hesitates then returns back to work with: "How many of you got wounded?" He does not really fancy the thought aiding the enemy, but it does sit wrong with him not helping wounded when they are before him.

"Both our Soldiers are dealing with physical trauma from a man named Rahul, so I am surprised they got out after that gas cloud attack. Our explosive expert took a bullet in the leg but we managed to stop the bleeding so he should be fine." Spy explains, not sure if they should consider themselves lucky or not. For when that gas cloud separated the two Soldiers and Demo from the rest, the Magisterium soldiers attacked and although the two Soldiers and Demo managed to make the enemy pull back, several of the children perished in the crossfire and he fears the fate for those there took the run for it. Either they died or the Church has finally claimed those children. Whatever the case, there is nothing they can do for them now. Every team knows how stupid and dangerous it is attacking the same place twice in short among of time, so perhaps they should consider themselves lucky that they did not lose more than they did- considering they weren't a well-oiled team and the attack had been rushed.

"Ah yes, that man always loved playing with his victims, he got you as well." The doctor remarks with a nod to the sign of blood coming from underneath the suit. He did consider requesting he could take a look but chose to keep his mouth shut about it, reminding himself that these people were the enemy and it's only dumb luck he's still alive. He figures it's only because they needed a doctor.

Spy shifts position, ignoring the pain from the many cuts and electronic shocks this Rahul gave him over that night. "I say he ranks on the worst torture I have been through, but I'll— including the others will survive." Like they always have.

"And your boy?"

Antoine does not feel up to reveal this doctor that Nathan is not doing so great mentally. Seeing so much death really took a toll on him. But he will say this as it seems this doctor has sort of taking Nathan under his wing in the time there. "He got some scrapes, but is fine physically."

The doctor glances back, he can see the man is not saying anything but decides it is not really his place stick his nose in this matter. Especially since they are practically enemies. He returns back to heal the boy before him, this is one of the luckier ones, only his feet and right leg got hit. "Good, I see there is no need for my expertise... wait." Before he passed out, he remembers there has been one other person stuck in the deadly cloud other than the children.
"What happened to that big brute?" He does not like how the Spy hesitates. "Did he die?"

Spy shakes his head, eyeing the doctor to see what his relation is to Heavy. The doctor does a good job hiding it but he would be a bad spy if he couldn't read the subtle signs of worry on the man's face. He wonders if Heavy and this Magisterium doctor know one another. "He's alive, for now at least. After you passed out the man- the Heavy dragged you, including every child trapped in there out from the gas. He had to go three times." Watching carefully this German man's reaction to this reveal.

The brute went into the death cloud three times? Just to save everyone? For such a merciless killer that laughs in the face of the enemy, well that man really has a big heart. Or maybe he's just really stupid and thought he was invincible or something, the doctor wants to point to the latter but no matter what made the brute save them all. The doctor decides he can forgive the man for crushing his hand, he did, after all, cut him with his bonesaw, so he thinks they are even on that part.
He lets out a sigh. "...Guess I have to heal him as well." For he still has a bone to pick with that idiot.

"What happened with; I shouldn't help the enemy'?" The man asks seriously yet the doctor did spot the tease in the tone. Making the man of medical science replaces the other one a twisted grin. "Oh don't get me wrong, I will only heal him so I can be the one killing him."

Spy raises a brow from that reply, highly doubting this doctor will do it from the concern showed moments ago. With a smile, he leaves the man. "Sign when you do, I would like document the outcome."

To the doctor's own surprise he cannot help but laughs at the other man's casual tone in him actually killing one of them. He doesn't know if the man meant that he did not think he can kill that brute or if he actually wanted to see him kill this Heavy. Hm, Heavy must be the codename for the brute. It suits him more ways than one. But enough about the Heavy, he has a job to do. The Doctor returns back to heal the gas victims of the children.

___

The two ships, one gypsy and the one Dell made sail towards an island, a place where they can be safe from the Magisterium for the time being and get the much needed time to grieve over those they have lost.
The male Soldier carries his team's Scout over to a bed made out of tree branches Pyro has been so kind to make. The female Soldier, Demo, Engineer, Spy, Sniper and couple of the gypsies carries the fourteen children they lost thanks to the gas, those they lost during the firefight they sadly could do nothing about but they could at least give these a respectful burial. Like Scout, the fourteen children get carefully placed on the bed made of branches. The Scout gets a deerskin laid over him.

"It was his wish." Soldier explains to everyone who might find this gesture strange and is very thankful that the sniper allowed them to use one of his hunting trophies for their Scout's burial wish. He steps back and salutes the former teammate and friend, his bald eagle spreading her wings on the stone she stands on as her human speaks. "You were a good soldier- a good Scout, every future scout will do well remembering what you did for the team."
The female Soldier and Demo both salutes beside him, closely followed by Engineer, Spy, and Sniper.
After a moment of saluting his respect for this friend, Soldier lowers his hand and turns to the awaiting Pyro. "Do it."

Pyro nods and puts down the torch on the beds and lets the fire engulf those they have lost. The fire user looks up to the sky, watching it take the deceased up to the stars and find solace in the thoughts that the fast runner and the children, along with her family she lost in Amazon will watch them up there. At least that's what her mother told her when she was just a child.
Everyone's daemon looks up to the sky as well, before slowly gathering together before the flames.

From the ships Nathan watches the whole funeral, the whole situation feels so surreal. This is the first time he has truly lost someone, all of the kids have looked up to him as a big brother, he knew all of their names and back-story. The man everyone called Scout— true he might not have known him but like the children, Nathan still has trouble comprehending that he will never speak with any of them again. He almost excepts one of the deceased children to run over and asks him to play with them, not getting burned away on an overgrown campfire.

"How are you feeling?"

Nathan turns around, not sure how to feel seeing the doctor here. He should be confused, maybe a little angry but all he feels is an uncomfortable numbness. His eyes return back to the funeral. "...I promised them I would get them out..." He explains the doctor somberly. He wants to hug Nalini but his brothers kept telling him only babies hug their daemon when they are sad and he is pretty sure the doctor thinks the same. But he does not push her away when his dog shaped Nalini lies down onto his lap.

The doctor hums, looking at the gathering on the island. "The losses could've been greater." He tells the boy, yes it might not be what he wants to hear but this doctor has never been good being sentimental. "Your friends saved many others, all of them will be grateful for that."

"Doesn't make it feel better..." Nathan muses, all he can think about is those they lost.

Yes, people have a tendency looking towards the bad in situations like these. The doctor sits down beside him, making the boy look at him. "No, and you will feel this regret for a long time, asking yourself if there was anything you could've done differently." He takes off his glasses, cleaning them even though they didn't need it but he needed to do something with his hands. "I have been in this situation more times than I can count, the worst was when I witness soldiers' slaughter my mother's clan. I did nothing, too afraid and you have no idea how many times I dream back to those hours; rethinking how I might've saved some of them if I had just done something. But-" He puts the glasses back on his nose, eyeing the young man beside him. "I've learned that dwelling in the past like that causes more harm than good. We cannot change the past, only learn from it."

"What is there to learn from this?" Nathan asks the doctor, what can he possibly take from this other than losing people is freaking hard?

"I do not know what you will take from this, but I learned I should practice that shield I made, maybe save more if a similar situation will occur." The doctor muses thoughtfully and does slightly wonder why he hasn't realized this ability of his before now. Well, this has been the first time he got a deadly gas cloud thrown at him. Speaking of which. "Oh and never follow a brain-dead brute as that is clearly a death wish." The last one made Nathan laughs, a pitiful laugh but a laugh nonetheless and that is a good sign. It means this young man will recover over time. That does remind him, he should check on that brute there threw him into this mess to begin with, see if he's still alive. "You should join your comrades." The doctor suggests the young man, he clearly needs a shoulder to cry up at and he does not think he will be the best suited for that. "I hear being around those close to you can help on such things." He says like it's just a silly theory and leaves the boy.

"Thanks, doc."

The doctor smiles weakly."Sie sind willkommene Kaninchen"

Nathan watches the doctor leaves, then he turns back to the scene on shore, thinking what the doctor has told him. He can't really see anything he can learn from all of this, losing someone hurts and he can't image how much more it would hurt if he lost someone close to him like his mother or Dell. Yes, losing his father would hurt too but as it stands now he knows that man just as much as he knew the one everyone called Scout. The men will continue fighting, so much is clear and there is nothing he can do to stop it. Only that he can stay back home and worry or be out there with them and risk his life like they did today. Both choices aren't exactly glamorous, far from it. But Nathan thinks he rather will do something and see people get killed than not knowing how it happened, doing nothing does not sit well with him.
Nalini muses for a moment before telling him seriously. "You have to kill people." Eyeing him with her brown eyes. "Can you do it?"
That Nathan cannot answer, he is not sure he can, just thinking about it makes him sick. Yet, when he realized the trapped man was his old man, he had aimed at Rahul with the mind to kill. Can he do that again? Maybe.
"You might get killed." Nalini warns him.
He scratches her behind the ear. "I know, but at least we will go down fighting." Fighting for a better future, maybe also for a place where people don't see him as a freak.
"I don't think neither mom or dad will approve." The wild rabbit remarks, she gets up on her hind legs so their eyes can meet. "But you're right, better fighting than lying down and take it."
Yeah, he better keeps this choice to himself for now, at least until they get back to New France and recovered from this whole ordeal.
"You should join the others." Nalini advise him, turning into a robin and flies towards the group, Nathan can refuse following her but to do so will create the "pulling" which not only hurt but causes such a great distress that no one wants to feel that willingly. Nathan has felt the effect several times over his life, most of them have been when he and Nalini have misjudged a jump and he ended up falling to the ground. Those failed stunts always took longer to recover from as reaching the limit of his bond to his daemon caused such a great sense of distress that it felt like his brain shut down for a short time. He leaves the ship and follows his daemon over to where the others stand, joining his father's side. No one speaks to him, only giving him an acknowledged nod and his father places a hand on his shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. Nathan is happy no one speaks to him, he has enough trouble keeping himself together as it is but he feels this necessarily, that he needs to pay proper respect and... say his goodbye to those kids.

***

In the cabin of the terrorist's ship, the doctor stops, barely holding back a gasp of the sight before him. The man everyone calls Heavy looks like hell, the exposed skin is filled with huge blisters and burns, parts of the body are disfigured from the exposure towards the poison. The breathing is raspy and struggling like the girl the doctor has to mercy kill. His daemon is not faring better, although she is only dealing with the blisters and some burns. But what shocks the doctor the most is seeing his own daemon, standing beside the bear daemon and trying her utmost getting rid of the blisters on the bear's face.
"Silvia." He gasps and moves over to her.
His daemon turns swiftly to him and smiles with tears in her black eyes. "Josef." She tries to fly over to him but her wounded wing makes her drop right back to the floor. Josef reaches out to her, letting her jump on his hand and with little magic he has left; he heals her wing.
She nuzzles her head against his, enjoying the moment of finally being together with her human again. Sadly the moment has to be cut short and she turns to Heavy and Sasha. "|We have to help them.|" She tells him in their native language.
Josef still has trouble understanding why she stayed with this brute for so long. "|What so special about him?|" He asks, also in German but does nonetheless moves over to Heavy and start giving him the last of the healing fluid he has left.
Silvia eyes him on his shoulders. "|He makes me feel safe.|"
Josef stops what he's doing for a moment, the answer itself is rather simple but only he knows the complication behind that single word. "|Really?|" He muses, eyeing the more death than alive man before him. Silvia wouldn't have said it if she didn't mean it, she hasn't felt safe when he studied medicine in Germany, risked the nights experimenting with his magic and other theories the other soon-to-be doctors wouldn't tolerate. She didn't even feel safe when they were among the witches. No, this man made her feel safe. "|How?|" and returns back to work, although he doubts he can do much with these drops of medicine. All he can do with it is make Heavy's breathing a bit easier.
Silvia eyes Heavy and his daemon, smiling almost fondly. "|It's really hard to explain, but there is more to him that he gives out.|" She says, flying over to one of the shelves, explaining her human. "|He might not look like it but Heavy here is quite the thinker, you have no idea how many times I caught him in deep philosophy thoughts.|"
Well, that's quite interesting, Heavy doesn't look like he's the man doing much thinking. Maybe he should wait to lunge his bonesaw into him... if he survives that long. "|Silvia, can you do me a favor?|"
She titles her head.
"|I have more of the healing serum back at the lap— where's a map?|"
Silvia points at a shelf with her wing. Josef takes the map and shows her the location of his former lap. "|Here, second floor. The window should be open- oh and could you get Archimedes and the others out?|"
"|Of course, can't have anyone hurts our birds.|" She nods, looking down at the map again, she thinks she knows the way. "|Where is the medicine?|"
"|Behind the secret shelf wall, as usual.|" He smirks, takes her on his hand and back outside. "|fly swiftly my dear.|" and lets her fly off, before going back and make sure Heavy doesn't die. He finds the whole situations incredible ironic, a Magisterium doctor healing a terrorist member who has killed countless of his co-workers. He can't help but laugh at the whole situation.

Chapter Text

With Heavy out of commission at the moment, it is his second in command's duty to keep everything together, and that job falls onto the male Soldier.

Cade knows there is a lot that needs his attention, but nothing a soldier like him can't handle. First, he has to speak with the gypsies about what to do with the children they have rescued, after that he thinks it is also best getting a better read on the new members. He knows for a fact how important it is keeping the team on good terms with one another. Team members with tension or distrust are most likely a death one. Oh yes, he should also make sure that Magisterium doctor Heavy captured is actually keeping the big guy alive.

"I recommend you make a list." His daemon, Camelai- although he has renamed her Liberty after they both discovered the glory of the old America in that old book they found during their training as Magisterium soldier. Soldier gives her a nod and starts searching their temporary base for paper and a pen, nothing and he refuses using the children's crayon. First, because it would look stupid and no one would take him seriously and second; that crayon belongs to the children and he has no right taking what little fun they have. Maybe the Engineer has the equipment he needs, he has observed the man really likes to draw blueprints to his machines. Heading in a b-line over to the ship the four new members came with, Soldier easily finds the Engineer fiddling with a small sentry gun. "I need a blog and a pen." He tells the Engineer in his drill-sergeant tone, after all, he was trained to be a Magisterium soldier before he left to join the resistance. No way was he going to support those maggots there had been the cause of his home country's fall, he may be the last true American Soldier left in the world but he can live with that.

Engineer jumps from the hard tone from the Soldier, almost stepping on Naira. It takes him a moment to realize the man has requested something from him. "Oh, one moment." He searches for a pen in his toolbox while Naira grabs his blog to when he doodles down new inventions. He hands both to the Soldier. "Here."

Soldier takes the paper and pen. "I'll return them when I'm done, carry on." and he leaves the Engineer. Not seeing the smaller man exchanges a look to his golden brown beaver.

Soldier writes down the tasks he needs to finishes before sundown, adding that he also should check their ammunition stock and maybe report all of this to Headquarters, but will wait with that last one as he yet haven't received the second Mark and he only knows Heavy is a second mark member left of their former team. Soldier is unsure if the new members have a second mark since only those having it can contact Headquarters. It's a bit annoying but a safety precaution this Soldier here understands. Brushing that issue asides, for now, he hands the blog to Liberty before going over to today's first task: figuring out how to get every child safely back home in the shortest among of time.

"I suggest you take Tavish with you to this one." Liberty suggests and starts flying over to where the Scot is hanging out, Soldier follows her, he hasn't realized it before she said it but Tavish is on very good terms with the Gypsies and having him around when he speaks with the Gypsies leader can make them avoid any confrontations. Fighting amongst allies should be avoided, but Cade has at time trouble listing to civilians. Their point of view how to tackle certain things is so different from his and that has more than once caused tension and- he hates to admit it- blows.

"Demo!" He calls loudly, making his friend and that boy there is fortunately no longer dressed as a Magisterium soldier turn to him. "I'm going to speak with the gypsies and I need you to smooth things out!"

"Ay, that I can do." Demo smiles and after giving the boy a friendly whack on the shoulder. "Nice speaking with ye laddie." He follows Soldier over to the gypsies ship. He offers Soldier some of his scrumpy but Soldier has to decline, explaining he's on duty and needs a clear head with all the tasks he has to finish before day's end. Demo shrugs, once again happy he's not second in command and takes the drink himself, asking after he has almost emptied the whole bottle. "So, what's the issue with the gypsies about?"

"The children." Soldier replies before he requests the guard gypsy to get their captain. Moments later an elderly man appears and heads down to meet the two resistance members. Soldier decides to skip the long and needless formalities and go straight to business. "Can your people take the kids kidnapped from Brytain home or do we have to take them as well?"

The gypsy captain frowns at this Team Fortress member's straightforwardness but his people aren't exactly the most polite ones either, so he let it slide. "Ay, we will bring the children from Brytain back home."

So far so good, and yet Soldier has noticed these gypsies doesn't really have any proper defenses if it comes to battle. "You better be careful. My team cannot protect you since we will have to bring the rest back to America."

"Are you inclining we cannot defend ourselves Mr. Soldier?" The gypsy asks in a low threading tone, his people are not defenseless as this Team Fortress member thinks and finds it quite insulting this man thinks that way.

Soldier, however, is not the slightest intimidated by this man, he has dealt and killed bigger fish than this one. "Yes, according to Demo; your ships are made for speed but one ram from a Magisterium ship and everyone- including the children will drown. Which- must I remind you one of my team died to save those children!" So no way in hell he will let a bunch of fishermen let this sacrifice go to waste.

"They will have to capture us first." The gypsy captain objects with a hint of a growl in his voice, his cormorant and Soldier's daemons start circling around one another with their feather's ruffled up. Liberty lashes out at the other bird when her human snaps back. "That's not good enough! This is war, not a fishing trip!"

Demo decides to step in before the humans start to fight. "How about this:" He turns to the gypsy captain, giving him a friendly smile. "You will let the Engineer give your ship a weapon and checks your motor before departure." His own daemon headbutts the two birds away from one another, making sure the temperamental bald eagle did not strike the smaller bird. Her human turns to Soldier. "And you give these guys some benefit of a doubt, they have sailed on these waters for generations. They know what they are doing."

Soldier grumbles but can see reasons in Demo's words. "Fine, but I'm going to speak with Engineer and will inspect your ship before you depart." He warns the gypsy captain.

The gypsy captain narrows his eyes, yet he can understand this one's strict behavior. Like his people been sailing these waters for generations, many of the Team Fortress members have been fighting an unseen war for three- almost four generations. The people in the resistance knows war and how to fight it, just like his people know how to sail the sea. So yes, he can see why this Soldier considers his ship, his pride as an inferior vessel. Still pisses him off though, but if agreeing can make this soldier created out from this hidden war lay off, then he can bite down his pride. "If that will make you feel better."

"It will." Soldier replies.

"Great, we got that settled– now I hear your grandniece is getting married." Demo grinning takes the gypsy captain with him, not wanting to be let these two stays around one another so another cockfight can happen. "Who is the lucky lad?" He asks, knowing this captain loves to speak about his family and it will calm him down immensely during so.

He sends Soldier a thumbs up before returning back to listing to the captain gush over this upcoming marriage and how much he looks forward to the union of his and the lucky husband's family.

Liberty lands on her human's shoulder. "Mission accomplice?"

Soldier grins. "Yes! And I need the blog." She hands him the blog and he writes down the note that if he has the time he should really try and hang out with Tavish as thanks for doing such a great work with the civilian.

He crosses over this task on the list and moves out to do the next: checking up on these four new members. That task takes him longer than expected, for starters both the Sniper and Spy has been hiding somewhere on this island and tricky to find and when found neither is up for a chat. Soldier's not really aiming for a chat either, he merely wants to see what kind of people he is dealing with. His team did have a spy, a woman in fact and like this male spy, she had been very secretive but also ridiculously good finding dirt on people. Pissing her off and she would show the rest of the team some very embarrassing pictures. God, he hopes this Spy has a better sense of privacy than she had. This male spy does seem to have trust issues, refusing other than talking pure business with him with that cold demeanor of his. Soldier can accept that attitude, so long he will do his job. He's not trying getting this spy to open up, doing that is as hard as taming a hungry snake. Something he doesn't have the patience for.

The Sniper acts friendly enough, although he too seems a bit uncomfortable speaking other than business with him. Soldier asks them both about their reluctance to speak with people and Sniper gives a short explanation that Spy has trust issues (no surprise there) and he isn't much of a people person.

That is not something Soldier is used to, most from of his former team had been very sociable. Except from Heavy, he was the only guy who preferred being alone from time to time. Soldier will see how things turn out if they stick around for the next battle. Not sure Heavy will be up when the time comes. Whatever going to happen to that big guy, he will keep things running, can't have the whole team fall apart like the last time they lost their leader.

Leaving the unsocial members, Soldier finds the Pyro. Unlike their former Pyro who only wore a mask when going into battle and had been a rather reversed fella, this Pyro always wears the mask and practically acting like a child half the time. Like now the Pyro is playing tag with the children, no care of how silly he/she looks by acting like a five-year-old. Soldier is not sure how to make of this, outside of battle he/she are friendly and playful, but the moment he/she stands before an enemy. Well, there is a reason why the daemon is a hellhound. Good thing that one can take orders, otherwise he would've considered discharging he/she from the team because of their unpredictable behavior like he seriously thought about doing when Demo joined the team more drunk than sober. God, he really doesn't like these wildcard people as Heavy tends to call them, he wants order and people like Pyro and Demo are anything but order. Took him over a year getting on good terms with Tavish and he sure hopes he doesn't have to go through the same hassle with the Pyro.

Lastly, he checks on the Engineer, Immediately striking him as the heart of that group. This Engineer is calm, collected and very friendly. Maybe too friendly Soldier cannot help but think. This friendly behavior is not something he wants when around the enemy, and yet Engineer's three team members let this pushover go right out in battle? Clearly, they do not know what strategy means. If they stick around he better drill that into them and make sure the Engineer stay out of battle until he knows how to put up a proper fight. Can't have the team loses their best source of protecting a base.

With a better idea on the four new members, Soldier heads into the ship where he finds the Magisterium doctor doing his best nursing Heavy back to health, but Soldier has his doubts, for all he knows this doctor could be the one killing him. Why did the big guy risk his own life saving this one? A prisoner is not worth his own life.

"You better not let him die Maggot!" He tells the doctor harshly, smirking when the man jumps. the doctor eyes meet his and it catches the Soldier a bit by surprise that this one isn't cowering, he's afraid yes but not terrified. "Yes, yes I am sure I will meet a horrific death if he does." The man brushes him off sarcastically and returns back to his task. The prisoner got that right, and Soldier here won't hesitates to crack this one's skull open if Heavy should perish.

"That's right! And I will make sure not even your own mom will recognize you!"

He has gotten enough death threats over the years that they don't really bother him anymore. Loud sounds on the other hand... well, that still bothers him. Josef pinches the bridge of his nose with a sigh, trying not let his unease show for this very loud character. "You're a bit too late for that..." He muses.

"What was that?!"

"Oh nothing." The doctor brushes him off, no way he's going tell this loudmouth that he doesn't have any family left. "Is there anything you need, or can I return back to my patient?" He asks coldly.

Soldier sends him a glare and but leaves, he still needs to check on their ammunition.

The doctor returns back trying to remove the many blisters on his patient's body, to then jump startled when Heavy suddenly speaks. "Do not worry about Soldier, he is good man." He says with a voice hoarse from the damage still lingering in his throat but he doesn't seem much affected by having burns and blisters all over his body, the doctor observes. Most people would've been screaming in pure agony from this. Not this one, though.

And that impresses the doctor, but also worries him for the Heavy might have lost the ability to feel pain. "Are you in pain?"

Heavy nods

"Where does it hurt?" The doctor blinks when the man starts to chuckle, it does quickly stop when from what the doctor can presume is because laughing makes his still burned throat hurt more than it already does. Heavy then settles with a smile. "What does not hurt?"

The doctor frowns from this man's behavior of his condition. "You seems very calm about it."

"Only those alive can feel pain." Heavy replies, trying to shift position but his wounds won't let him. He must admit this pain is the worst he has ever felt, wouldn't surprise him if this is the thing getting him killed. But he is sure the others can handle themselves without him looming over them. He can die in peace knowing he did at least save several people. "Doctor did good job." He muses, closing his eyes.

"I couldn't save every child." Josef admits a bit taken aback by the praise and by an enemy in fact. However, he does not regret what he did to those he couldn't save. He eyes the big man before him, remarking somewhat dryly. "And if Silvia doesn't soon return with my equipment, we have to build you a funeral fire as well." Most people would've gotten in denial or become incredibly angry when he tells them the hard truth. Whatever that truth would come in he has to remove a limb or he cannot save them. They want him to comfort them, but Josef cannot give them what they want, he is not a sentimental a man. All he can give them is the truth. Heavy is not like the soldiers he has healed these past two years, though. Not the patients he has dealt with when he was a doctor in Stuttgart. This man merely nods; already seems to come to terms with his demise.

Josef feels sort of split of this, in one hand it does not surprise him, but on the other it does. The man is fearless, that's for sure, but every man has something they fear. "You're not afraid?"

"No, been good life, good fights." Heavy lifts his right arm, watching the damaged the gas did to it and frowns. "Not very good dead." He muses, did hope he would've died out in the heat of the battle but at least this way his comrades have a body to moan over. "But this will give team chance say goodbye." And he is confident enough that Zhanna can take care of their two younger sisters and mother. Cade will help her, he may be harsh and not the smartest man but he is loyal and he loves Zhanna, so that's good enough for Heavy. Eyeing the man beside him, he will admit. "Only one regret; not getting to know Silvia's human better." He has for as long he realized Silva was a daemon been curious what kind of person would create a magpie like her, but it seems he wasn't meant to get to know this man better. Heavy blinks when the doctor suddenly places his hands onto his arm, a sooth tingling flows through it; he recognizes it instantly as the witches healing magic; this is not the first time he has been healed by one.

"Mein gott! Why do you keep doing this to me?!" Josef sneers, but he isn't really angry at the big brute, more at himself for getting soft by those dumb words.

"Do what?" Heavy blinks, not sure what he said to tick off Silva's human.

"Making me help you!" The doctor snaps back, hitting the Heavy over the head which breaks one of the blisters. The man winches from the pain caused by it and Josef feels a touch of satisfaction seeing that. "We're enemies! I work for the Magisterium and you are one of the terrorists; get it into your thick head already!"

"Join us, doctor." Heavy says, completely unfazed by the other ones yelling, in fact, it amuses him more than anything since there aren't many people brave enough attempting to lecture him. "Become our Medic." He takes hold of the doctor's hand, careful not to accidentally crush it like he did last time.

The doctor blinks, taken aback by this so out of place offer. He quickly recovers, though. "Don't be ridicules." He snorts loudly. "My talents will only get wasted here, besides; none of your people will trust someone like me." He tries to jerk his hand out from Heavy's but the big man has it trapped by his mere strength.

Heavy thinks otherwise, the resistance has always welcomed outsiders and from what little he has gathered from the many talks with Silvia, this doctor is just what they need. Plus if the doctor joins the resistance Heavy doesn't have to worry he needs to kill him in the future and at the same time get to know this male witch better. "They will trust you, doctor."

"And why's that?"

"They trusted me." The doctor gives him a confused look so Heavy figures he will have to explain this a bit further. "Do not make accent fool you, I'm born in Russia... taken over by Tartary."

"Y-You're a Tartar?" Josef asks startled and admittedly scared, again trying getting his hand free but to no avail. The people from Tartary have always been known to be warlike, they strive in war and every sane person does well in fearing them. Knowing where Heavy is from explains his fearless attitude and how much he loves being out on the battlefield, it is part of his people's culture. But why would the resistance accept a Tartar? The Tartar's has allied themselves with the Church, they have become the Magisterium's go to mercenaries. It did not make it any better that the soldiers that killed his mother's clan were all Tartar's.

Heavy nods. "Yes, I am Tartar by blood, like doctor is witch. We should be enemies like you said." He lets go of the doctor, not at all surprised seeing the before rather fearless man now steps as far away as he can, true fear in his steel-blue eyes. Again, not the first time this has happened when he reveals where he's from. Heavy turns his calm gaze down to his arm; most of the burns and blisters are gone from the doctor's magic. "You will not be the first witch that tries to kill me." He lies back down again in bed and waits, not sure what he waits for though. Maybe for the doctor to leave him to a slow and rather painful death, maybe he will try and finishes him off, he doesn't know, only he can wait and accept for whatever will happen next. He is a patient man.

Hours passed and this strange waiting game only breaks when the doctor finally leaves the corner he went to after the Heavy let go of him. He thought he could've outmatched the man in this strange waiting game, making the Heavy make the first move on this tense situation, giving him a reason to kill this man, but he slowly came to realize that this man- this Tartar is way more patience than he ever will be. "Gah!" He growls, annoyed that he has to make the next choice. He would like if he can leave this room, but that will most likely only gets him killed by the other members. Killing the Heavy will result in the same thing except he can satisfy something silly like revenge, killing the Heavy will not bring his mother's tripe back after all, yes it will make him feel better... but Josef does not want to die, he feels he still has a lot to live for. He's just not entirely sure why he feels like that though, as most of his life had been mostly him hiding in fear because of what is coursing through his veins. Sounds of wings snap Josef's out from his thoughts, he turns and before he knew it he is surrounded by white doves and his dear Silvia lands on his shoulder. She takes off the strapping that held the bottle with his greatest creation inside: a fluid that can heal practically any physical wound. He takes the bottle but does not try to heal the Heavy, much to her confusions.

"|What are you waiting for?|" She asks him in their father language.

"|Do you know what he is?|" He asks her in German as well, keeping his eyes on the huge man, ready to bolt or even strike if the Heavy suddenly decides to attack.

Silvia simply nods.

He blinks. "|And it doesn't bother you?|"

She shrugs. "|It did in the start, but now... it doesn't really matter. He wasn't part of the genocide of the Nania clan; he has been in the resistance for decades.|" she explains her human and flies over to Heavy's daemon, landing on the bear's shoulders. "|Please help them my dear.|"

Mow can he say no to her? Sighting in defeat Josef takes out some of the healing fluid and puts it into two needles, one of them he hands to Silvia there gives it to the bear, the other goes to Heavy. The bear completely recovers, only a few blisters remains but nothing some old fashion medical care can't handle. Her human, on the other hand, needs more shots in the future. Josef could easily give him more, but his healing medicine is still in its prototype stage and he hasn't tested how much the body can handle before shutting itself down. He will test it, but not on the Heavy, not after how much Silvia seems to care for the man.

When done what he can for now. Josef takes a seat beside the man, not even looking up when one of the members appears with some food, he has too many thoughts about the conversation with the Heavy. The most pressing subject is the offer the man gave him. He knows where Silvia stands in all of this, but he wants to make sure if he really can make himself work with the enemy, let alone a Tartar.

Chapter Text

After three days on the island, the Team Fortress members and the gypsies finally think it is time to get the children back home. Soldier wishes the gypsy captain good luck— along with the warning of not getting too reckless even if they have gotten themselves new and stronger guns.
With that done, Soldier commands the team to gather the rest of the children and leave as well. "We have a long journey ahead of us, so get on the pace, ladies!"
Engineer, Pyro, and Demo gather the children while, he, Sniper and Spy ready the ship for the sea. Flight would have been faster but both Sniper and Engineer told him that because of the many people, the ship would not be able get up in the air, so they have to take the sea route instead.

An hour later, the ship was out on the sea and steadily returning its passages back to America. Having so many people on board this middle-sized ship did cause some problems, like Sniper's discomfort being in tight crowds and got a tendency to snap at people more often than normal when his discomfort would start to reach the limit.
When Sniper almost got into a fight with Spy over something as silly on how to brew coffee, Engineer got enough and told everyone to leave Sniper alone, even went so far putting up a sentry gun that would shoot spoiled berries at anyone but him if they got near the rudder.
As Nathan did when he first met the man; the children quickly learned that it would be a very bad idea making the usual calm and friendly Texan angry. Although, every child and some of the adults admit that it was fun watching this short and soft-spoken man making a certain Demoman cower in shame like a child after he almost blew up the mast when he entertained the children with his bombs.
After Engineer was done with him, the black Scotsman sat like a naughty child with Pyro watching him. To everyone's surprise, their fire happy member hadn’t tried once starting a fire. They are too busy eating their strange snacks through their gasmask filter.
Pyro offered the snacks to Nathan, the young man had been about to take it, until he realized that the snacks, in fact, was fried ants, and he went into a rant on how disgusting that was.
Everyone, yes even Spy agreed on that but Pyro didn't seem to give a crap of what they thought and continued eating the ant snacks, which did earn quite the laugher and 'ews' from the children.

"You alright ya mumbling little devil." Demo told them in his slurred speech, for a moment everyone feared Pyro would get offended and maybe set him on fire, to let out air of relief when the two started sharing a bottle of scrumpy.
Nathan tried some too, but Spy wouldn't have it. Coming with the excuse his son was not old enough for drinking. Easy to say that started on their very first father and son argument, and for Nathan it felt sort of nice having a father he could yell a bit at, but he is sure he soon will get sick of it as his father is just as stubborn as him when it came to winning a fight. This only ended when Engineer send them both in the ashamed corner— the spy conveniently disappeared at that point.

After a couple of days on the sea, Heavy emerged from his sickbed, only a few scarring was left from his near death experience. Everyone rejoiced seeing their big gun up and at it. The female Soldier- Heavy's oldest of his sister was especially relieved knowing she had not lost her older brother, enough that she was willing to accept the doctor joining them on deck.
The others were not sure how to react with a seemly enemy with them on deck but slowly began to calm down when Nathan spoke to the man as if he knew the one. Spy did keep an eye on the doctor just in case, he hasn't come all this way just to let some Magisterium prisoner kill his son as revenge getting taken. He never said it aloud of course.
Engineer, on the other hand, was a bit more direct. "I'm grateful you saved Heavy and the boy seems to trust you, but if you harm anyone I happen to care about— I will personally send you down to the gates of hell." The doctor learned just by those words that this man there doesn't look much of a threat at first glance is not one to be trifled with.
After that threat, though, Engineer was probably the friendliest towards the doctor- besides from Nathan and Heavy.

The days passed by on the ship, the resistance members spend most of the time keeping an eye on the children they have rescued and kept them entertained, each their different way. Soldier was probably the worst candidate as he didn't have any experience taking care of children and really didn't have any patience with them either. Soldier would start yelling at them like he would when he was training soldiers, which did scare a lot of children, making everyone else send the man disapproving stares. So Soldier only got to interact with children that did not behave, a few lectures and pushups from that one could make any child behave. Spy was kinda bad at childcare as well; sure, he could speak with them, but often found himself unsure what to say around these ankle snappers as Sniper so fancily called them. He only spoke to them if he was asked a question (which most often involved the mask) otherwise he preferred keeping an eye on them from a distance and warn the others if he spotted trouble among the young troublemakers.
.
The rest knew how to handle the children better. Pyro, Demo and Nathan were great putting up games. The others would keep an eye out when Demo was the one playing with them, though; as his games tended to involve explosions. Pyro was incredibly friendly, yet not all children dared to play with her because of the masked face and hellhound daemon, but those who could get over their fears. They could look forward to a lot of hours spend in several fantasy worlds with Pyro; always ready playing the bad guy they should vanquish by tickle her to death. Tame the monster with some food, which gave the child doing it a neck-breaking ride on the mumbling person's shoulders. Whatever they did around the Pyro or Demo, Nathan was always close by, ready to make the game funnier with his cheeky nature, it did get him into trouble from time to time from the older members but the children loved it.

Engineer, the female Soldier, Heavy, and Sniper did not play with the children. They worked more as the stand-in parents, comfort those that dealt with homesickness. Their tactics were rather different but worked wonders each their way. Engineer, being the one with the friendliest attitude would speak softly to the children, giving them a comforting hug if needed and let those who just needed some one-one time "help" him with one of his new inventions.
Sniper and the female Soldier did almost same tactic, although a bit more straight with their words, not all children liked this slightly harsher behavior, others welcomed it, as Sniper straight and honest nature made them, strangely enough, feel worth an adult's attention and not looked down upon. Not to mention's the female Soldier's warm but strict behavior made many of them feel safer as it reminded them of their own mother.

Like Pyro, the children were at first scared at Heavy, mostly because of his huge size and rumbling voice. However, over time on the ship, several of the children realized that Heavy was actually a very kind person- as long they respected his boundaries. Like Engineer, it was a really bad idea anger this man. He was like a bear, a bear that liked to read. When the children realized that they could make this huge man read practically anything up for them, it soon became a thing that Heavy would read them a story before bed. For many, it would be hard taking a man seriously if they saw him reading a sickly sweet story with a bunch children sitting around, with the youngest cuddling on his lap. And yes, some of the team found the whole scene hilarious and did tease the man about it. Those ended up getting thrown out in the cold sea water or get their daemon almost swallowed by Sasha. So everyone on the ship learned the lesson not to piss of the Heavy.
The only person not allowed to interact with the children was the doctor, most members didn't trust him around them and that suited the doctor just fine. He did not mind children, but like Soldier, his patience with them was very small. It did not help either that he was trapped inside a room with little to no interactions with the others most of the trip and when he was allowed outside, the doctor could easily sense the tension from the terrorists. Strangely enough, none of them didn't really seem to mind him personally, only that he used to work for the Magisterium, which did catch him off guard.

___

Other the few mishaps, everything went rather well on the ship. Still, everyone, mostly the adults are relieved when they finally reached America after two weeks of travel— who knew that taking care of a bunch of children could be that exhausting. And yet.
"If fighting the Church gives these ankle-biters a brighter future, then I gladly continue doing so." Sniper remarks to Spy, both watching the kids chasing Nathan around on land from weeks being stuck in a rather cramped ship.

Spy simply nods in agreement; he does from time to time forget there is more than just his own family he should fight for. It's good to be reminded once and a while of why they fight. The children are one of these things. There is still a long way from home for many of the children, but every adult agrees that letting the kids have their moment of fun before they move on once again. Watching Nathan, Antoine is relieved that his son has recovered from the battle in Brytain, still it will be best he gets home as soon as possible. He admits it has been nice getting to know Nathan better than just letters with pictures from Saffira and getting the taste how to be a father has both been exciting but also one huge headache. Dell wasn't kidding when he said Nathan has inherited his stubbornness. "It's a good reminder of why we fight." He voices his agreement and frisks out a cigarette pack from his side pocket, offering one to Sniper which the other man takes.

"Yeah, you sure you aren't going to stay with him?" Lawrence asks, nodding towards the young man keeping the kids entertained and inhale some of the very unhealthy smoke. Still, these are better than what crap he usually buys.

Antoine watches the scene for several seconds before he answers. "I can't. Viper knows my relation to Nathan; it’s only matter of time before he starts tracking me down again." Eyeing the Aussie hard. “We were lucky the first time.”

Yeah, Lawrence remembers, still gives him the shiver of how close of a call that was. "Will you relocate them?" He asks Antoine.

"I have to ask the Headquarters for help this time... requesting that not even I knows their location." Antoine removes the cigarette from his mouth, watching the smoke leaving it up to the sky. "It will be too risky otherwise." Nathan does not know, but he has visited the house several times over the years. Watching from the shadow the boy grows up and kept his mother warm all those lonely nights. He and Saffira agreed that it would be safer if none of the boys knew to his existence, for them he would just be another man who left their mother behind. However he cannot leave Nathan without an explanation this time, like himself, the young man before him will seek out the truth; one way or another.

Lawrence muses to himself before saying. "I doubt your boy will like it."

Antoine snorts, playing a bit absent minded with his snake formed daemon whose tail is wrapped around his hand. "Of course he wouldn't. None of them will, but reality rarely lets us have what we want." Adding sullenly after a drag on the cigarette. "If it had been the case I would've been a bigger part of his life... not a mere shadow."

"Keep on that dream spook." Lawrence places a hand on his friend's shoulders. "It will keep you going."

Antoine merely hums before they return back watching the scene down below. He does turn his gaze away from his son and the children when he notices that Heavy is heading back to the ship where their "prisoner" is, beside him flies his "pet" magpie but Antoine knows better, he know that bird is a daemon and from what he can observe, it belongs to the doctor. He smirks; this is just too much an opportunity for a good bet. "I say the doctor will join us before dinner."

"And I say it only happens when we kick him of the ship...the usual?" Lawrence asks, already knowing what the spy is doing. Antoine nods and both places some money on the table behind them, Sniper's daemon makes sure the money won’t be taken by the wind. With the bet running, the two turn their gaze to Heavy.

___

"[sister, come and join us outside. No need being stuck on the ship.]" Heavy tells his sister there has been standing guard almost all day now.

"[What about the prisoner?]" Zhanna asks him, nodding to the room the doctor has been trapped inside since they got to shore. No one really knows what to do with the man anymore, killing him would be easy but after he willingly helped them; saved several children and Heavy's life. It is now against the Team Fortress Resistance law to harm him. She is one of them that did not groan over this law, but she does not want him to reunite with the Magisterium and tell them about their whereabouts. "[Someone should keep an eye on him.]"

"[I will stand guard.]" Misha replies, raising a brow when she starts frowning.

Zhanna crosses her arms. "[No offense Misha, but I know you are smitten by this man.]" Her tiger daemon gives the bear a nudge with his head, making the bigger daemon step back as her human looks flustered away.

"[It won't affect me, the team matters more.]" Heavy grumbles, he is still quite embarrassed that he does not have same preference in partners like most other people. For his people, being drawn or involved romantically to the same gender is almost as a big taboo like touching another's person daemon. Both he has unfortunately done in a very short time-span. He has been very good hiding this flaw of his over the years, even tried fixing it by being with several women, some of them had been witches but never really felt any romantic feelings towards them. It was disappointing for the woman, and deadly for him when that partner was a witch. Not his fault he didn't want them like they wanted him. However even when he got feelings towards other men, Mikhail has never let it get in between his loyalty to the team. And this silly crush won't either. "[Do not worry about me, Zhanna.]" He ensures his sister he has this under control. And moves towards the door, however, a hand on his chest from her stops him. He notices she looks quite worried.

"[Maybe, but I still will. Like you always will worry about me and rest of family as well.]" Zhanna tells him, however, she isn't worried he won't keep his feeling between his duties and those there manages to catch his fancy. He has proven repeatedly he can ignore his own feelings for the sake of others. And that's what worries her. "[I want you to be happy as well, and this man.]" Her daemon looks to the door where the doctor resides. "[I sense he makes you happy, but he is still our enemy and I hates to see you get hurt because you have to kill him.]"
Misha gives her a weak smile, squeezes her shoulder lightly before he goes inside. This time she does not stop him and moments later leaves the spot, knowing it is not her place to eardrop.

The doctor has been listing to the conversation but might as well not have as he had no idea what the two Tartar's have been saying, and he doubts Heavy will tell him about it. Instead, he asks the huge man. "How long are you planning to keep me here?"

Heavy takes a seat in a chair, it whines under his weight. "When children get home." He replies, eyeing the man standing beside the makeshift desk. "Then doctor free to go."

"Killing me would've been easier."

"It will." Heavy agrees, turning his gaze down when Silvia lands on his arm. "But rules say we do not kill civilians."

The doctor glances at him, trying his best not being bothered that his daemon sits on the man's arm. Trying instead wondering why these terrorists are willing to let him go, they haven’t even been trying to force information out from him. "You do know I am a Magisterium doctor." He points out, flinching when Silvia learns up against the man's arm giving him a mix of good and bad feelings through his body.
Of course, the dimwitted fool does not realize he is TOUCHING a daemon!

Heavy chuckles, both at the doctor's words but also his daemon seeking him out; now common behavior around him. "Doctor turn civilian when helped us." In the past, he would've gently touched Silvia, but restrains himself in politeness for her human. He already looks uncomfortable with her sitting on his arm. His smile fades. "But if doctor return back to old job. And if we meet again, I will kill you." He eyes the man standing near the desk. "I do not look forward to that day. Do not wish Silvia's death."

"Silvia is not your pet." The doctor states out, eyeing the magpie on Heavy's lap; he admits he hasn't seen her so relaxed since he was just a child and it does not really help him stay vigilant against this man, begrudgingly he is, in fact, starting to relax.

"She is not." Heavy agrees. "Silvia is doctor's soul like Sasha is mine." The two turn their respective eyes to the sleeping bear in the middle of the room. "They are us, not always looks that way." He chuckles down to Silvia, there unlike her human is very relaxed. Speaking of human, Heavy turns his gaze back to the doctor. "How is doctor's hands?"

"Better, I managed to heal the wound she sustained from whatever battle you dragged her into."

"Good, but not what I meant."

The doctor blinks, so the larger man explains by pointing at Silvia's wings. "Her wings often hurt, says it comes from you. So... "

"You touched her."

Heavy nods slowly, no apologies can make up for crossing that untold rule. Only he can explain why he did it. "I did not know she was daemon when I first touched her, thought she was a normal bird."

"Yes, the first... touch was rather displeased." The doctor replies sullenly, the memories of him passing out from that experience still lingers, so he is very relieved that the touch doesn’t fill him with same dreadful sense anymore. He doesn't really notice that the brute's grammar has suddenly gotten better.

"I did not mean to cause you any harm, I didn't know what she was back then. If I did, then I would've never touched her." Heavy tells him truthfully, not even in battle against his worst enemy he will ever cause harm to their daemon. Only cowards will cross that line.

The doctor nods, he guess can't really blame this one for not knowing, most people recognize the daemon because it is right beside their human and has better facial expressions than the real animal they take shape as. Silvia was alone and probably doing her very best acting like a real bird before the man. He knows from the sensation going through him now, is nothing compared to when Heavy touched her the first time. Now it is no longer unpleased, in fact, it is a quite nice feeling. Of course, he will not admit that to the man— not to anyone. Still doesn't explain why he asked about the condition of his hands, yes Silvia told him it came from him, but did she tell him why he has hands that hurt? "Did she tell you why my hands hurt?"
"I wanted you to explain him that." Silvia tells him before Heavy can reply.
Again the doctor nods, and guess there isn't really any danger telling him, the man already knows he is half witch and even though Heavy is a Tartar, he hasn't tried killing him once. So he can grant the man the benefit of the doubt. "My hands start hurting when I have too much magic in me. It gathers around my hands you see."

"Do they hurt now?"

About to answer but stops when he realizes that his hands do not hurt at the moment, in fact, they haven't hurt this whole week. For once not feeling that constant ache he has been dealing with for years. "Huh, now that you mention it; no." He rubs his hands together and feels quite happy he can feel normal sensations in them instead of that annoying ache. "I did spend a lot of magic healing your cadaver." He smirks weakly to the big brute.

So that's why the doctor's hands hurt, well guess when they start hurting again he will throw Demo at him, that Scotsman always has a nag getting hurt some spectacular ways.

Now feeling safe enough that this man won’t hurt him. "Say, out of curiosity." The doctor takes a seat on a chair not far from Heavy, his eyes have a gleam of curiosity. "What does a Tartar do for fun other than smashing people's head open?"

The sarcasm from the doctor's voice is rather amusing. "When not fighting my people train, I remember my clan leader made us fight against one another, weakest would get night sentry duty. After training we would eat, rest and clean weapons, then we would prepare before going to battle."

"Your people truly are bred for war."

For that, all Heavy can do is nod. "We are made to like war in very early age. That or herd livestock like women and slaves, those made that choice always end up dead." He muses to himself, no need explaining what happen to those men. The doctor's expression already shows he knows what caused those men's fate.

That's quite interesting, this man does have a lot of his country's mannerism and yet Heavy also seems very... tame compared to those he met. He wonders if Heavy is willing to answer him this. "What made you leave your own people?"

Heavy frowns but thinks he owns the doctor this much, but if he's going to explain some of his life story; he wants to be entertained. "I tell if doctor plays a game." Sasha 'wakes up', heads out to the living quarters and returns moments later with a chess board, much to the doctor's surprise. Heavy takes the game and places it on the desk with a smile. "Favorite game, but not many worth playing." So far only Spy has proven worth a game- when the man finally wants to socialize with people other than the Sniper, the young man and Engineer. Still, the Spy is not much of a talker, too secretive.
The doctor rolls his eyes, yet with a smile, he agrees on a game and after they have put all the pieces in their rightful place, the doctor starts moving one of his white pawns. Heavy moves one of his Pawns and begins his little life story. "Many in my tripe liked to kill people, I do as well and I am very good at it." The doctor moves another Pawn. "But I do not enjoy killing mother and children, not even men there have nothing but a rake as a weapon, too afraid to fight." He moves his Knight.

"You killed civilians?" The doctor asks, moving his Knight.

Moving another Pawn. "Yes, those there survived were forced to work on fields along with women."

The doctor hums to himself for a moment, it does explain the bit weird rule the Heavy said they do not kill civilians. He moves the Bishop. "Did you join the ter- I mean the resistance after that?"

"No." Mikhail shakes his head and also moves his own Bishop. "I killed chief first- he was in my way, then I hid my family deep in Siberia. I protected them for anyone coming near, killed a lot of men, a lot of witches too." The doctor moves the King. "One day, when out hunting, I met several Team Fortress members, we tried to kill one another. But their leader stopped the fight; he recognized my strength and gave me an offer." He moves a Pawn. "I followed the team and saw some of them had families, like me, they tried to keep their and others families safe. So I joined, helped the team in keeping that small village made of Resistance members refugees protected, in return they allowed my own to join the village and thus keeping them protected like the rest. I have been team Heavy ever since."

"How long has that been?" The doctor asks curious, he just can't help himself. Also, this man is rather good a chess he admits that and moves a Pawn.

Mikhail smirks, he also moves a Pawn. "Twenty years, maybe more, I do not really count. But sure I know more about Team Fortress Resistance than anyone else in this group- even Spy." He turns his eyes to his opponent, in two ways asking the man to make a move. "Now it is doctor's turn."

Seems fair enough, he doesn’t expect the Heavy to understand but he is content just as long the man listens. He starts his own story by moving his Knight. "When I finished medical school in the capital, I was an ordinary doctor for a couple of years but left the job when it got too boring, too many restrictions. I wanted to become one of the best doctors in the world, and for that, I needed more knowledge than the medical schools back in Germany could offer me, so I sought out my mother's clan... what?" He blinks, noticing the confused look on the Heavy's face.

"Doctor not male witch?"

The doctor can't help it, he laughs. "What? You-you think I'm a witch?" He continues laughing of this seemly professional when it comes to witches. "What kind of Tartar are you? Can't even see the difference between witch and human!"

Heavy frowns, although not really offended being laughed at. He's frowning because he is confused. "Humans cannot do magic, only witches can." And he moves his Knight.

"Never seen what happens when a witch and human get together hm?" The doctor teases the bigger man, doing pretty much the same when he moves his Bishop in a spot where it has to be taken unless the Heavy wants to lose his own Bishop.

Heavy hesitates for a moment, his hand hovers over the chessboard when he replies "I do, but I thought children of a witch always become a witch too." He takes the doctor's Bishop and not surprised when the doctor takes it with the Queen. He manages to smirk to the other man. "Witches like this Heavy very much."

Josef can see why, the Heavy might not be handsome looking but he surely has a strong aura- or soul, depending on who he's asking. Looking at his daemon's size proves that. He admits this strange strong aura does intrigue him greatly, but no way will he reveal that. He might end up getting ridiculed or worse by voicing these thoughts. "I fail to understand why."
Heavy moves his Bishop, and the doctor reaches out to do his move while saying with a completely straight face. "All I see is bear without its fur." He is, however, unable to stop smirking when Heavy bursts into a booming laughter, almost ruining the game with his strong movements. Correcting his glasses before he moves a Pawn. "But just to be clear, I am no witch, merely a son of one." Heavy nods, still chuckling from the last remark he moves a Pawn and sign for the doctor to continue, which he does. "Right where was I?.. ah yes, I joined my mother's clan."
"I wouldn't call it joining them." Silvia remarks darkly from her spot on Heavy's shoulder.
Josef frowns but can see what she means. "Yes, even though my mother was part of the clan, none of them, her included did ever fully trust me." Heavy moves his Bishop as he continues. "It took me years to gain enough trust before they would let me study their art in healing magic and perform the ritual that enables daemon going a long distance from their human. I was allowed the ritual two years ago, but was unable reuniting with Silvia because my body did not take the ritual as well as I had hoped." He moves a Pawn.

Heavy merely nods as he moves his Queen, he can now see why he found Silvia in such a weakened state.

Moving the Knight. "It took all my strength just going back to my mother's clan, she helped me recover but..." The doctor stops, watching the Heavy moves a Pawn and threatens one of his Knights, finding it bit ironic that like in the game he either has to move or get taken. He hesitates, both in game and story. He wishes Silvia can help but she wasn't there when it happened.

Noticing the hesitation and remembering how fearful this man got when he revealed what he was, Heavy can make a very educated guess what happened. "My people killed your mother's clan." And although Tartar and witches do at times wages war against one another, the Tartars does most often leave the witches alone in exchange the witches would let them pass through their territory unharmed. Heavy guess those Tartar there attacked the doctor's mother's clan were mercenaries for the Church.

The doctor looks up to the Tartar, surprised the man seems to know what happened. Before he can ask though, Heavy explains.

"You only showed me true fear when I told you I am Tartar."

"Yes, your people killed my mother's clan..." Josef admits hesitant, and after some more hesitating, he moves the Tower to take out the Pawn. "Never been so scared in my life, I...I don't remember much what happened during the battle, only the screams, the men murdering the clan in such a gleeful manner— I had never seen a human tear another apart like they did... it was like watching a pack of mad wolves—I somehow got away from it all." Heavy takes the Tower which he takes with a Knight, feeling more at ease telling this part of his story. "I kept away from cities; understandable people will get scared if they saw a person without a daemon." Heavy takes the Knight and he takes the Pawn with his Tower, chuckling at the memory. "But I did ruin a good wedding by stealing a catering van, got a decent meal and that's how I got Archimedes." Nodding to the white pigeon with faint blood stains on its feathers, nesting on the bed along with some of its friends.

Heavy cannot hide a smile hearing the man ruined a wedding with no care in the world. He moves a Pawn, asking. "Did you see wedding pair faces?" The doctor lets out a cackling laugh before returning his Tower back to its former place.

"Oh yes, their faces were quite amusing." Heavy moves a Pawn that got taken by a Knight right away as the doctor explains the scene when he took the van. "The bridegroom looked like she was ready to throw a fit and her soon to be husband just stood there like he reconsidered marrying her! I think I did him a favor ruining their wedding!"

"Maybe," Mikhail smiles, and moves his own Knight before turning his eyes to said birds. "did you use birds to hide?"

The doctor nods and explains that he has trained Archimedes to stay near him. "He is a very smart bird." He remarks proudly while moving a Pawn. Just at that moment the said dove flies over and lands on the doctor's shoulder, cooing for attention which the doctor gives it.

Mikhail simply nods and will not ask further about the doctor's background story, he thinks he has heard enough to know what kind of person he is dealing with. So he instead returns his whole attention to the game. He only speaks when he put the doctor into checkmate.
"Thank you for sharing this with me." He tells the man sincerely and adds just as sincerely. "I do not care you are part witch."

"I think I understand why Silvia stayed with you for so long." The doctor muses while petting his dove, still surprised he got beaten in chess by someone he until now considered a dimwitted man. Well, guess they were right about the saying 'never judge the book by its cover'. Also, the more he thinks about it the more he realizes that he cannot go back without hiding like he did the last time. Staying with the resistance will be the best option, maybe he won't be as safe or have access to the best medical equipment, but it seems at least one of them will treat him as a person and not a monster or whatever people calls the witches nowadays. Eyeing the bigger man over his glasses. "Do your offer still stand?"

Heavy blinks, his daemon looks up from her 'nap' when the big man nods rather enthusiastic. "Yes, it does."

The doctor reaches out for Silvia and she flies up to land on his hand. "Then consider this my enlisting, however, I do have a few... demands." He voices, wondering if the resistance will allow him to make these demands as he only sort of could as a Magisterium doctor. The Church is very set on putting a title on people and makes them stick to what they have in mind for that particular job.

Heavy gestures for the man to say his demands and he will listen.

"I need my own room, an infirmary if you like. Everything medical will be under my supervision and no one will take anything without my say so. Oh, and I would like do a medical examination on all of you, I need to know what I am dealing with."

Heavy muses to himself for a moment, he can see why the doctor made these demands, figures many new doctors would when joining. "This ship is made by Engineer, so I will speak with him about the room. And Medics on teams always have control over medical supplies, all the resistance demands from you are you keep a medical report on supplies and team. You need to get the team to agree on medical examination; whatever their terms are." He eyes the doctor hard, wanting to make this very clear. "Trust is very important, without it we will die. Lost too many already because of lack of trust. So you need to give team reason to put their lives in your hands."

The doctor nods, he can see reasons in that. "Of course, it's not easy trusting a former enemy." Oh, and before he forgets. "What is the deal with these title names? Why don't you use your own name?" The Magisterium soldiers never went this far not addressing each other by mere title.

"It's a very long story so I will give you the short version." Heavy says. He is one of the few that actually knows the truth about the origin of this resistance. "Team Fortress started with nine mercenaries— they became the first nine classes of the resistance. The first team used their names among themselves but over time, as the Magisterium began fighting back and threaten the growing resistance. The first nine began requesting their recruits using their class name among their fellow team members. The first nine soon got called the Elite by their recruits— and because they were the faces of the Team Fortress, they decided to cast away their names and give themselves special title names. That first rule of sticking to our class name has stuck ever since and now; knowing someone's real name among the team is a sign of great trust."

The doctor ponders for a moment about this explanation and thinks he knows the reason. "You are one among many with only a class name and hard to pick out. With a name, friends and foe can separate you from the flock."

Heavy nods. "Yes, that is also why trust is shown by sharing real name. The male Soldier and Demoman shared their names a half year ago and I think Spy, Sniper, and Engineer know each other names too."

"And you?"

"Only female Soldier knows my name. For the team; I will always be Heavy." Heavy replies, then get up from the seat. "Come, we have talked long enough. Time to meet the team."

"Ja," Medic nods and follows Heavy outside the room, Heavy brings him to a wardrobe where he takes out two sets of what looks to be uniforms, one in reddish colors, the other blue. "Chose which color suits you best." Heavy tells him.
The doctor is curious about the story behind the choice of why the teams have chosen these two colors, but right now is not the time. He takes the blue one and moments later returns in the dark blue, trousers, with the brighter blue gloves hanging from the belt. He takes the white lab-coat over his shirt, giving the yellow icon of a medical cross on his shoulders a small glance. Before going back outside as the new team Medic.

Every team member look up, having each different expression of the not long ago Magisterium doctor now has become a team Medic. Engineer is a little worried along with Soldier, although the latter is a way more vocal about it, so Heavy can look forward to a long argument with him about this change of event. Fortunately for Heavy, this argument of choice will be not throughout the night thanks to his sister who also happens to be Soldier's girlfriend. Demo is a bit worried as well but trusts Heavy choice this one can be trusted not to kill them in their sleep or examination table. Pyro doesn't seem to care, but it's hard knowing what that one is thinking behind that mask. Nathan is happy Medic has decided to join and no longer has to worry about the man going back to his old job. For the first time Spy shares Pyro's indifference to the situation; he is busier reclaiming his prize from a very grumpy Sniper.

Chapter Text

"Does everyone understand the plan?" Heavy asks the team, they have all realized that the quickest way getting the children home would be splitting up and take each group of children to the area where they got kidnapped.
Everyone nod but before Heavy signs them to head out, he asks Sniper from this potential ally he and Spy spoke about during this meeting. "And you are certain this man will listen to you?"

Sniper nods, however, it is Spy there speaks. "He's the only one that moron is going to listen to. Everyone else has to survive his ridiculous urge to wrestle everything before getting the chance to discuss business." Sniper rolls his eyes just thinking about this businessman from the Kingdom of Auister there is so fantastic about his country that only a fellow Aussie can have a normal chat with him. "He'll listen to me." Sniper promises.

Heavy frowns lightly but trusts that Sniper knows what he is talking about and lets him and Demo take the children there got taken on the Eastern coast, before heading to the artificial island of New York where this weapon dealer lives. Hopefully, this Hale will listen and reestablish the secret aid to them as he did to the former teams located around in New France. Turning to the others. "Move out." He commands and the team splits up.

Engineer and Pyro take the two children there got taken in New Denmark, before they will be heading to Texas so Engineer can check on his son who he hasn't seen for months now.
Spy and Nathan will take the children further up north the coast since that is where they will be going anyway to reach Boston. Both Soldiers, Heavy and Medic will handle the rest of the kids that got taken further into the mainland. They all for a while thought this would be their last mission as a team, but after several discussions of their future plans where Engineer, Pyro, Sniper, and Spy all admitted that they would have one hell of a time returning back to their old way of life or work from all the trouble they have caused in their search for Nathan. Engineer especially was at risk. So, the more they spoke about it, the more everyone realized that they have more or less become a team during the travel over the sea and have proven to be able to work together as one. So staying with Heavy's team would be a better choice actually. Engineer asked to stay pretty quickly when he came to that conclusion- Pyro followed in the request not long after. Spy and Sniper were a bit more reluctant as they did have a bad experience with the last full-fledged team they were with before, but after a bit talking among themselves; they decided to stick with Heavy's team and see how things would play out. Heavy was of course very relieved hearing their decision and during the discussion, Engineer suggested a good place as a temporary base in form of a hidden farm which was built by Engineer's grandfather. Heavy had heard of Radigan Conagher and knowing his new Engineer is the grandson of that well-known inventor, he knew that place is as good as Engineer promised. That and he trusted Engineer enough that one wouldn't trick them into a Magisterium trap. So by Heavy's command, the team would meet up at that location when this delivery mission was over so they could figure out their next course of action.

After have giving Spy and Engineer a quick wave, he and Demo take Engineer's ship. While he lifts the anchor, the rest drive off in the "borrowed" vehicles for their delivery mission and when sure every child for their own mission are counted for, the ship sails back out to sea.
"Alright, where to first?" Sniper muses, taking out the map with locations to the three children he and Demo would bring home. Laraine lands on the table beside the map just as he finishes calculating the shortest and safest route they can take. "Right, Demo, help me with the sails." He calls as they won't be needing them where they are going. The scot nods; leave the three kids currently watching the small school of fish and after has emptied the rest of his bottle, the one-eyed man helps Sniper put the sails back into the storage. With that done, Sniper starts the motor and takes the ship a bit further out to the ocean. Only sailing back to land when they near the first home for two of the children. Like always, Sniper hides the ship from any Magisterium eyes, before stepping on land with the two siblings in tow. Demo and the remaining child will stay on the ship.
Near the middle sized town, the children said was their home, Sniper asks the oldest. "Recognizes anything?" For right now he is more escort than a pathfinder for these two ankle-snappers.
She nods and by his request leads them to a cute little house with two adults- presumably the parents tending a garden with both their daemon wandering as if looking for something they know is missing. Sniper has a very good guess what that might be, good thing he found what these two have lost.

"Mom! Dad!" Both children call, making their parents look up and after a moment of disbelief, they both run their children with tears of joy and relief seeing their children again. The two kids jump into their arms, crying of sheer happiness they are finally home. Sniper watches the scene, happy this family got reunited.
The father looks up and his eyes meet Sniper, but before he can say anything, Sniper shows that mark on his shoulder, tips his hat and leaves. He is in no hurry of leaving though, very sure this family won't rat him right after he brought them their children back, and if he is lucky. Perhaps this family will start supporting the resistance just a bit. But he won't stick around to find out which side this small family is now on. It is best not take the chance, especially when they are so few now and although these two parents surely are grateful, Team Fortress Resistance is not exactly the most popular among the civilians thanks to all the Magisterium's propaganda. Besides, he is not good at gratitude parties.

The next day and bit late in the evening, Demo takes the last child to their home which is on the island of New York, Sniper waits at the ship this time, not wanting a mentally overload before they are going to Hale. At the apartment, where the boy lives, and with sad boy knocking on his home's door, Demo backs a little away. Moments of waiting is awarded when the mother lets out a cry of sheer happiness seeing her little boy when she opens the door. She hugs him tightly and keeps telling him how much she had been worried.
"The nice men saved us." The boy says, pointing at Demo.
The woman turns her teary eyes up to him, saying very genuine. "Thank you, oh thank you so much returning my boy back to me. Why don't you—"
But Demo has to decline whatever offer she is making. "Sorry lass, but it will be best if I do not stay for long."

She blinks, now confused. "Why? Aren't you...?"

He replies by removing the jacket, revealing the yellow logo of a bomb. The woman gasps, as she clearly thought he would've been one of the police, some random and kindhearted person or maybe one of the Magisterium men; not one of the terrorists the media keeps saying are cold-hearted murderous that destroys everything on their path.
Demo is not surprised by her reaction and with a goodbye wave along with: "You have a good boy there, lassie." He leaves the two, not seeing the boy waves goodbye after him with his mother being split between letting him say goodbye to his rescuer or stop him from doing it.

With their first mission over, Demo watches a bit dumbfounded Sniper prepare himself in making an appearance for this Hale, preparing by arming himself up.

"You better take that sword with you, mate." Sniper suggests while doing a quick calibration to his sniper rifle before strapping it onto his back. Even though he were the one who made the alliance with Hale along with three other resistance groups, and the alliance most likely is still there. Sniper just cannot make himself trust Hale to welcome them with open arms. That man is more brain than muscle and that is putting this Sniper a bit on edge as he feels like he's going to deal with a crocodile instead of a human. Think he would prefer a crocodile over that brute.

"Isn't this one an alliance?" Demo asks a bit confused to why Sniper told him to arm up for this upcoming visit.

Sniper checks how many bullets his submachine gun has, not enough so he refills the clip. "He allied himself with the three teams stationed here, but after their destruction, I am unsure if he still wishes to keep the deal with us." He puts the submachine beside the rifle, turning to Demo. "I may give us the advantages being a fellow man of Auister, but I do not trust Hale. As Spook said: this moron is known to attack first and ask later, so I would like come prepared if we're not welcomed."

"Makes sense." Demo shrugs and grabs his medieval sword, right that moment, a ghostly voice leaves the old piece of metal. "heeaaads...!" Demo ignores it and puts on back, turning around he cannot help but smirk seeing the never going to get old reaction everyone gets when hearing his weapon speak for the first time.

"Is that sword... talking?" Sniper asks, completely dumbfounded from hearing a voice from that rusty old sword.

"Aye."

Sniper did recover quicker than most though. "Where in bloody hell did you get a talking sword?" For he has never heard of anyone wielding a sword begging for heads. Now he can see why Demo decapitated the Magisterium soldiers when he used that thing.

Demo grins; for this is not the first- and probably not last time he hears that question. He straps the sticky bombs bag onto his wolverine daemon's back-- Heavy's not the only one weaponizing his daemon. "You don't want to know, might tell you... when I'm drunk."

Sniper rolls his eyes and yet is unable to hold back a grin of this dark-skinned man's reply. "You're always drunk, mate." Demo whole heartedly agrees and after a good laugh, the two heads out.

___

"Do you think he will let us in if we knock?" Demo asks Sniper, both watching the large building having the name of Mann Industry; the company owned by Hale and Demo can see why those past resistance members wanted that man as their ally. Turns out Hale is a very successful weapon dealer.

Sniper pulls out his rifle and watches the building through the scope. Out of habit, Lareine turns around to watch his back. Down below, Sniper takes notice that there are a few Magisterium soldiers walking about, from the looks of it; Hale has just sold them a truckload of weapons, no surprise there really. "Maybe, but I doubt the Magisterium soldiers will." He remarks to the scot, turning the scope to the edges of the building. If his past memories from his earlier visits serve him correctly, there should be a way for them to get inside with little risk of getting spotted. He smiles when he finds the path and signs to Demo that he should follow. The two sneak inside without getting spotted by either guards or soldiers. They did have to knock one person out, though, when a worker just happens to walk down the path they went down. That unlucky person got gagged and thrown into a closet, besides from several aches and a wounded pride; he will be fine. With that small issue done Sniper signs Demo to follow and takes the not-so-drunk man through the seemly countless hallways.
"This is too easy." Laraine muses worried, they haven't spotted one single guard and for a place like this, Sniper knows that something is clearly not right as big industries like Hale's should be swarming with guards. This smells like a trap, yet still against his instinct telling him to turn around and get the hell out, he pushes forward and steps into Hale's office– to then get thrown across the hallway along with the door.

Demo quickly pulls out his sword. "Bloody hell!" and is ready to attack whatever there not only broke the door but also threw Sniper to the floor.
What is behind the now thrown to pieces door is a huge man- very close in challenging Heavy in size, beside him is a just as big daemon in form of a muscular dark-grey bull with golden brown and sharp horns. This just as muscular man eyes the two residence members once and a wide smile appears underneath his big mustache. "I WAS WONDERING WHEN YOU WOULD DROB IN." He says loudly as if shouting. He eyes Sniper who is getting around from being flung through a hallway along with a door. "HELLO THERE MY FELLOW AUISTER! BEEN A LONG TIME EH?!"

"Not long enough..." Sniper grumbles while getting back on his feet, maybe he should consider himself lucky it was only a door that got thrown at him. Correcting his aviators and hat, Sniper introduces his new team member. "Mr. Hale, this is a new co-worker of mine." He nods towards Demo, the scot is still in a fighting stance and Sniper does not blame him. Meeting Mr. Hale is always a gamble as that man has a tendency mixing up a handshake with arm wrestling. "He's a Demoman."

"ARE YOU THE ONE WHO BLEW UP MY FACTORY IN MEXICO?!" Hale asks loudly and with little to no warning his bull daemon headbutts Demo's Taipa so hard he sends her flying into the nearby wall and almost knock her and Demo out. "I DO NOT LIKE WHEN PEOPLE BLOW UP MY BUILDINGS!"

"He wasn't the one who blew up you bloody factory!" Sniper steps in before they will lose another team member. Hale, fortunately, stops his attack, turning to his fellow countryman. The former teams realized Hale obsession when this brute of a man ceased his attack and even let them get a few weapons with only a minor warning they shouldn't destroy his factories when he realized that Sniper was from Auister like himself. That is why Sniper always has to be the one discussing business with Hale; even though Sniper here really wishes he didn't have to. Saxton Hale might not realize it but most people from Auister saw this one as an abnormally big man with an attitude a tad too bombastic for their taste. The only reason most people from the Kingdom of Auister tolerated Hale was that they listened to money which Hale has a load off. The Australians would've accepted him more, but Saxton Hale never spoke to those backwater blokes as he called them. Like the Australians out in the bush, Sniper didn't care much for Hale personally nor the rumors swirling around him. One of them is that Hale has cut his chest hair to look like
The Kingdom of Auister. If that's true or not Sniper doesn't- and never wants to know.

"WAS IT ONE OF YOUR PEOPLE SCOUT?"

"I'm a Sniper." Sniper grumbles annoyed he always has to correct this brute of a man of what class he is. "And yes, it was us who blew up the factory- but it was a necessary sacrifice." He adds, although not really worried that Hale will get mad at him. again, Saxton here is obsessed about his country to the point of ridicules.

"HMM, WELL IT DID GET THE MAGISTERIUM PENCIL PUSHERS OFF MY BACK. SO I LET IT SLIDE." Hale murmurs, but it still sounds like shouting for the two other men. Turning to the Sniper that currently helps Demo back on his feet. "BUT NO MORE BLOWING UP MY FACTORIES ALRIGHT?" He points at Sniper as if lecturing the man.

Sniper resists the urge to roll his eyes, he knows it will be best for both him and Demo to stay on Hale's good side. "Of course Mr. Hale." He instead replies in a somewhat stained politeness.

"GOOD, NOW WITH THAT SETTLED, I PRESUME YOU ARE HERE FOR SUPPLIES. BIDWELL, TAKE THEM TO THE STORAGE." Hale commands his personal assistance and heads back into his office that is filled with stuffed animals. "NICE SEEING YOU AGAIN SCOUT!"

"I'm a Sniper you dimwitted bloke!" Lawrence snaps, but of course, the fellow Aussie did not hear him. Grumbling he turns to Demo. "I look nothing like a Scout." But the Scot is not any help.
"A wee bit you do, mate." Demo grins. Sniper shoots him a death glare and if they weren't on the same team, then he might've shot the man.

Hale's assistance clears his throat, getting the two men's attention. "This way if you please." He and his just as calm Saluki daemon lead them down to the storage which is a room filled with pretty much everything they need for future missions.

Taipa jumps up on a crate filled with gunpowder. "We could blow up a whole building with this!" She grins wickedly, it fades as she wonders out loud. "What's the catch?"
Demo agrees with her, why would Hale give them all of this to wage war against the Magisterium; which is his best buyers by the looks of it. "What does he get in return for helping us?"

"Hale thrives on war." Sniper explains, pointing to Bidwell that he would like a crate filled with scrap metal and gunpowder. "As long we're fighting the Magisterium, they keep coming to him for weapons."That's why Hale secretly supports both sides, so he can keep this war going as long as possible.

Demo nods, he sees the reason now. "Sneaky plan."

"But dangerous," Sniper remarks. "if the Church ever realizes he gives us supplies, they will overthrow him. One of the reasons why he only hands us scrap and leftover materials."

"Good thing we have a bloody good Engineer then." Demo grins, packing a box with several ingredients for his bombs.

Sniper smirks in return, yes it is good they have Dell on their side. Otherwise, they might not be able to turn scrap into worthy weapons.

____

With his task done helping those two resistance members Bidwell walks into the office. He clears his throat to get his boss's attention. "Sir, the two have left with the resources." His daemon sits down calmly beside him.

"GOOD!" Hale bellows and turns back to wrestling his beloved daemon but does stop when his assistance says with his usual calm voice. "Oh, and Mr. Grey are requesting us to restock his old weapons with some newer ones his men found four months ago."

"THE ONES HE STOLE FROM THE CONAGHER GUY?"

"From the looks of it, yes."

Hale snorts loudly and no longer feels in mood wrestling his daemon. "VERY WELL, I WILL GIVE HIM HIS BLOODY STOLEN GUNS. BIDWELL, TAKE ONE OF EACH MODEL AND SEND THEM BACK TO THE ELITE!"

Bidwell nods. "Of course, anything else?"

"YES, SEND MY WRESTLING BEAR AND A GOOD SOLID WALL UP TO MY OFFICE, I'M GONNA NEED IT AFTER HAVE SPOKEN TO THAT FLITHLY BUG TO GREY!"

Chapter Text

Nathan watches the last child gets reunited with her family, it's a wonderful sight, just too bad the parents can't thank them personally. "What's the deal with this 'staying in the shadow' crap anyway? Shouldn't we let them know what happen?" He asks his father, annoyed why they cannot say a proper goodbye to the kids, let them know who saved them... and why some of them cannot come home.

Antoine withhold a sigh, his son has the heart the right place, but he still has a lot to learn. "We stay in the shadows because that is the only place we're safe from the Church." He leaves the area, expecting Nathan to follow. "If we stay out for too long, they will kill us." He frowns of the dreadful fact how important that truly is now. "There are so few of us now, we cannot afford getting seen."

"Why are there so few?" Nathan asks and follows his father back to the car.

"The Magisterium had not long ago an Alethiomist- a person who can read a truth device." Antoine adds, figuring Nathan has no idea what an Alethiometer, let alone the person there can read it. They used the device tracking us down." He explains to his understandable confused son as they drive away from the small town.

"Did you find that person?"

"Yes, and we're once again safe in the shadows."

Nathan nods and for a moment watches the scenery passes by, broken when another question surfaces in his mind. "Why did you never visit us?"

"I did."

Nathan blinks, taken greatly by surprise of his father's answer, more so that he has little to no memories of him. "You did?" Looking at him but Nathan cannot say what his father is thinking as the man has the best poker face ever and the mask's not making it any easier. "When?"

"I have been visiting you from time to time, most of them was when you were just a toddler. My latest visit I saw you defend a defenseless young woman, very noble of you, but I would suggest you practiced a bit more on your dodging." Antoine explains with a faint smirk on his lips. Nathan looks away as if hoping he can hide his fluster and his surprise that Antoine has been watching this whole scene. Antoine smile fades when his mind returns to why he had to leave. "When the Magisterium truly began hunting me for my desert, I simply couldn't risk you getting hurt after a very close call with one of their assassins— that's how you got that scar on your left cheek."

Nathan touches the small scar, never really wondered how he got it, well now he knows. The spy continues quite somber on his explanation.

"After that, your mother and I agreed it would be best I was just another man that left her. It would be safer that way... didn't make it easier leaving you all behind, though."

"Dell and Sniper said the same."

Antoine glances at him with mild confusion. "Then why did you ask me?"

Nathan smiles weakly, the answer is simple and maybe a bit silly but... "I wanted to hear it from you."

Antoine lets out a huff, not of annoyance, more from mild amusement, guess he can't blame his son for thinking that.

They stop near a pit stop where after some hesitating, Antoine changes into casual clothing in the small restroom. When he returns, his mask and suit are hidden in a backpack. Replaced with a reddish brown west and fine dark brown pants. The man stroke a hand through his very dark brown hair with the sides and the bit on the forehead has signs of grey hair, sleeking it a bit backward with: "Feels like forever I last went civilian." It feels strange not wearing the uniform or face hidden by the mask. Lawrence is right, he needs to do this more often.

"... Will you disappear again?" Nathan asks after a moment of hesitating, this is the first time he has seen his father dressed up as a normal guy and thinks it kinda suits the man; pun so much intended.

"I have to." Antoine turns his eyes to his son, no longer the hyperactive toddler he watched goof around on the floor along with his kitten daemon but a young man with a strong heart and just as strong daemon. "Viper will try and use you against me. You have seen what he is capable off." And seeing his family hurt is something he considers worse than death.

No need to remind him, the German doctor might have healed the major wounds, but his body still hurt from the attack Viper did on Nalini. "Yeah... what is your connection to Viper, anyway?" Nathan asks for it seems his father and Viper share some connection. Could they be long-standing enemies?

"He's my adoptive father."

Nathan turns fully to his father, can't help but stare in disbelief at him. "You're kidding." He hasn't been expecting that answer; how can someone so cold as Viper even consider raising a child?

"Wish I was." Antoine muses darkly, Sabrina looks to Nathan in her snake form as he explains. "Before Viper, I was a mere kid living on the streets in Paris. Didn't starve though, for I was very good at getting what I needed, let it be stealing, sweet-talking or do small but at times shady jobs. I am certain my talent staying on top with so little resources was what caught Viper's attention. He took me in and started training me to be the perfect assassin. He often told me I was his best student; the perfect killer and I believed him. For when the Magisterium gave me a target, it would only be in a matter of time before the target— the person would be dead, nothing else but hunt on that target mattered."

"How did you meet mom then?" Nathan asks slowly. "Did you meet her in one of your missions?"

"No, I only met her after I was hired to kill Sniper." Antoine lets out a small sight, guess he might as well tell the whole story, they do after all have a long drive.

_________________________________________________________________________________

 

Empty reddish eyes stare out at the dark room he and his mentor resided in, before them is a projected image of their boss, however, the young man had never seen the boss's face nor his daemon. He only knew him by this name: Grey.

"Do you understand the mission?" The black figure in the shadows asked.

"Yes sir." He replied without a moment of hesitating. Hesitating for an assassin like him was a weakness he knew he couldn't allow. If he ever did, then he wouldn't be staying here in the first place. He had to be under complete and professional control like the tool of death he had been trained to become. "Find the target and dispose of it without anyone knowing."

"Correct, how soon do you think you can remove this wannabe assassin?"

He made a mentally count on how much time he needed to track down this freelancer of a sniper. Antoine remembers that the papers he got on Sniper revealed very little, all he knew was this man was from the Kingdom of Auister and he had the crossing thought that the barren country was barely worth the Church's attention. Anyway, the reports told this sniper was quite good at this job, never leaving anything behind other than his kills, and the only reason why the Magisterium even knew about this freelancer assassin was that one of his employees told them in return for his life. Antoine back then refused to let those thoughts cross him, but now he would admit Sniper's superb tracking skills for three days later, they found the man dead from a blown brain.

Usually dealing with freelancer assassins would never get much attention, but after the freelancer killed his former employee, mocked the Magisterium soldiers of not being able to do their job and the rumor had it that the terrorists were planning to recruit this man; Grey decided to get rid of the man before he would strengthen their long-standing enemy.

And that was where Antoine came in.

Antoine Lachance was Viper's top student, trained from a very young age about infiltrating and assassinate without a moment hesitating. He made his first kill at the age of fifteen and he had been killing for the five long years he had been a Magisterium spy. He was the perfect killing machine, one that never will stop the hunt before the target had been eliminated. Antoine had killed a lot of people, never once felt regret doing it, he prides himself as the perfect hunter. His cold reddish eyes move up to where Grey's eyes would be. "Give me a month." He replied calmly and confident. Antoine in the future often finds himself chuckling on how much this- what he back then thought was an easy mission has changed his life.

"Very well, I except your report in that time. You are dismissed." Grey ended the connection and the screen went dark.

Antoine and his mentor left the room, their daemon, both in form of a serpent slithers beside them. Both snakes revealed a bit of what their humans preferred hunting style.

"Your zeppelin will leave in two hours." His mentor told him in a matter of fact, the closet Viper ever could come to being friendly to someone else. "If you're quick then you could be lucky getting a two-week vacation. I hear the women there are quite... lovely."

Antoine pulled out his cigarette case, one he still has but only because it was the only thing he had left of his home country. "Perhaps I will." He replied with a smirk. Back then, he made it a hobby in flirting with women. The sadistic side of him found it amusing how he could make women bend to his will with sweet words and empty promises. Like many from the Church, Antoine found women weak and only worth his time if he wanted something from them. However, he did pride himself that he never needed to strike a woman; even to this day, Antoine would never cross that line as that would be the greatest sign of weakness on his part.

The Magisterium took the first zeppelin to the Kingdom of Auister and was quite taken aback of the Auister weather. He was used to working around the capital, a place more humid and cold compared to Auster's dry and scoursing heat. Antoine remembers he had mentally kicked himself for feeling surprised by the great weather difference and remind himself that he was a professional; meaning nothing should bother him, that was a weakness after all.

He went to the hotel he rented beforehand and after have gotten his new base for this hunt up and running, the Magisterium spy began preparing for the upcoming hunt.

Antoine remembers how he thought it would be a bit tricky tracking down the sniper but not something a spy like him couldn't do. He was right of course after having done a deeper study on the sniper former kills, he found a way to get the freelance sniper where he wanted. The sniper only would make an appearance if he had been hired, and if the target was dirty, in other words: the sniper was a vigilante so; Antoine gave this wannabe man of justice a worthy target. The target he gave the sniper was a measly bank director, not someone worth the Church's attention but still high on the ladder and doing enough dirty work to not cause any suspicious for the freelancer assassin.

He hid under the cloak all Magisterium spies wore and waited for his target to appear. After a couple of hours, and as expected; a man arrived on the roof there gave the best shot. Antoine allowed himself a moment to get a proper look at his target. Unlike most, he had been assassinating there was a leader to a wannabe resistance group, a diplomat or a rich man thinking he could screw with the Church. Most of those people were neatly dressed and sort of pale from being inside most of the time. This man was nothing of the sort. His skin very tanned not to mention rugged and carrying several scars, it was clear this sniper spend most of his time outside than inside. Antoine remembers he found himself thinking on the posters depicting the tribes living out in the bush of Auister; calling themselves Australians and this was the perfect image of them with that shirt made out of animal skin, slouch hat with teeth around the crown along with a necklace and yellow aviators covering most of his upper face. His daemon was a sort bird of prey, and although Antoine wasn't good at animals, he had seen a few of those small falcons flying around to know it was a common bird here in the Kingdom of Auister.

Antoine almost snorted at the sight of this spitting image of an Aussie stereotype. Never thought the posters were correct, but it made sense this rugged bushman was the freelancer assassin instead of a pencil pusher which most people inside the cities of Auister were. He snuck closer as the man took off the bag, unpacked and put the sniper rifle together. The man readied his rifle, muttering a few words to himself as he took aim against the decoy target. But then, when Antoine readied his own weapon in form of a knife hidden underneath his sleeve, the sniper's daemon made screech and her human reacted instantly. He grabbed the large blade lying beside him, span around and slashed the blade out against the cloaked Antoine. The blade sliced into his right arm, leaving a large cut and broke the cloak as well. Antoine hissed in pain and jumped back from the sniper's blade, annoyed he got spotted Antoine searched for an opening as he dodged the aggressive swings from the sniper, at the third strike he spotted one and swung his own blade at the man. The sniper must've seen the attack, for just that moment, he had stopped which made Antoine miss the jugular and instead leave a long slash over the left side of the man's face. The sniper briefly touches the newly made wound, aviator crocked from the strike, but like before he quickly recovered and before Antoine could finish the job, the man of Auister caught his armed hand and threw him over the edge of the roof. Antoine isn't sure if it was dumb luck or faith, whatever it was, he caught the edge and managed to pull himself back up. He saw in last second the sniper trots down the stairs, realizing his target was getting away Antoine followed, annoyed this bushman managed to survive the encounter. He followed the other man through the city, it was there the Aussie realized he was still alive and lead the chase out to the outback. Antoine lost him out there and no matter how long he searched, he found no clue where the sniper went.

Antoine hated to admit it- still does, but he had back then and still to this day very little experience how to survive out in the wild without resources and from how easily the sniper disappeared out in the bush. He knew that the outback was where the sniper ruled and staying was just asking for a bullet. Antoine begrudgingly had to abandon the hunt, he returned back to the hotel and was sort of happy he was quite good doing first aid.

****

"Status report-"

"The sniper is better than calculated." Antoine sullenly explained his superior over the phone. He and the sniper had been playing this cat and mouse game for over a month, and no matter what he tried he hadn't been able to get in close a second time. In fact, every time he tried to bait the sniper out, he almost always ended up having to seek cover when spotting the glint of the sniper's scope, there had been too many close calls for Antoine's taste. He back then thought it would've been easy, that he would get the sniper the next time, not that he more than once found himself thinking he was not the hunter but the hunted. He at one point got so frustrated that he chased the sniper out to the outback, tried to set a trap for him there, but much to Antoine's sour ego, the sniper had gotten past every trap, snuck into camp in the middle of the night and stolen every supply the spy had. At first, Antoine had stubbornly stayed out in the Outback, but when he almost died out there, not only from thirst but also from infection when the wound on his arm re-opened. He realized that there was no way he could beat the man out in the wild and returned back to the city. Forced to wait for the sniper to return, which the sniper, of course, took his sweet time in doing so.

Viper wasn't happy, Antoine still remembers the sneer on the man's face for what he saw as a huge failure. "This will not look good on your report." He remembers how angry he was at the sniper from making him look bad in front of his mentor.

"Kill that sniper, or face the consequence."

"Yes sir."

Weeks turned into months and before Antoine knew, he had been after the sniper for a full year. Now that Antoine thinks about it, he realized how strange that year was. Usually, a hunt would never last that long and would've frustrated him to no end, but not this time. He had over that year come to consider that sniper as a worthy opponent, someone there forced him to go past his limits in order to survive.

He looked up to the roof, spotting a lone figure watching him. Antoine asked Lawrence what he thought that day, both shared a small laugh that they had pretty much been thinking the same. Antoine is sure that was the day where the respect between one another started their tightly rooted friendship, sure they both still tried to kill one another, but neither could deny they have gotten more casual about it. They both saw themselves as hunters, and this deadly game tested which would slip up first.

Antoine kept his eyes on the person on the roof, a bit tense waiting for the light of the scope, but the glint never came. He merely stood there, waiting. Antoine remembers he found himself wondering what the sniper was waiting for, it made him take a reckless act, one; if his superior knew would shoot him on the spot for. He headed towards the building and up on the roof, the two hunters stood face to face, for the second time close enough to see each other's eyes. Although their hunt had turned more casual, the sniper knew he was hunted so he made the wise choice in standing right beside a fire escape if the Magisterium spy wanted to go into yet another chase.

"You're good, I give you that, mate." The sniper said, Antoine, wishes he could say it was the first time he heard his voice. But even to this day, Lawrence has that annoying habit of yelling at his opponents when knowing he has the upper hand. So Antoine back then had more than once the honor hearing to the sniper shouting taunting remarks after him when he fled from the scene. "You're one of the few people there got a hit in." Touching the only wound Antoine succeed giving him, the one across his face. "Only one leaving a lasting mark." The sniper smirks weakly, although it was also clear he was annoyed from have gotten that soon to be scar.

"The feeling is mutual bushman." Antoine replied calmly, gesturing to his own forming scar on his arm. He took out his gun. "As fun this has been, this game is over."

The sniper smirks grow wider. "You has to catch me first, Spook." and jumps off the edge.

Antoine followed but had to back away when a wave of bullets flew up to him. When sure the sniper no longer shot at him, he followed. He chased the man all through the city before the sniper once again disappeared like an animal inside a dense forest. He might not have followed if he knew what the sniper was thinking. Then again, if he hadn't then Antoine might never have discovered who he really was.

"Tell me Spook." The sniper's voice could be heard, but Antoine couldn't spot the man among the many trees. "Can all Magisterium spies daemon change form?"

"The outdoor must be getting your head bushman; forgetting the fact daemon will stop changing after puberty?" He had retorted back, the sniper's words made something stir in him, but Antoine had chosen to forget that unique ability of his. One that Sniper was determent to make him remember.

"Really?" The sniper had asked intrigued. "Then how come your daemon turned into a white wolf when I almost blew your head off last week?"

That was what made Antoine stop, that stirring thought had almost reached the surface, but after having pretty much brainwashed of what Viper, the Church— what the world around him kept telling him: he fully believed that what the sniper said was impossible. "Preposterous, you must've seen—" He still remembers that pain and never want to be shot by a sniper-rifle ever again, he went sprawling onto the ground, Sabrina had appeared from her hiding place under his sleeve, and although just as much pain as him, she still tried to protect him from the approaching sniper.

"Maybe, maybe not." The sniper said, putting his rifle onto his back and completely ignoring the hissing snake daemon. He stepped lightly onto Antoine wounded leg, making the spy sneer in pain but unable to fight back. The Sniper checked Antoine's pockets the revolver. "But I'm a sniper, and I do a lot of observing, part of the job mate." Antoine tried to retaliate by slashing his hidden knife at him. The sniper dodged, grabs the arm and after have forced it up against Antoine's back, the sniper removed the knife from the sleeve. "And you have a very special daemon, like a blue tiger among the reds." His own daemon tackled the Sabrina, forcing her away from her owner, causing the snake and human a lot of distress. Instinctive Antoine had tried to get over to Sabrina but the sniper kept him firmly in place. The Aussie grinned at Antoine's distress and took out his kukri. "So, let's see the blue tiger." He pressed the kukri up against Antoine's jugular, eyeing the very distressed snake daemon trying desperately getting back to her human."Show me unique ability Sheila, use it to save your human." He told the daemon.

Sabrina hissed at his daemon as she desperately tried to dominate the small falcon but the bird was too mobile and physically stronger than her ladder snake form. "You need a bigger form than a worm to beat my daemon."
Antoine can still recall how furies he was of this sniper dared to taunt his Sabrina not to mention holding him hostage like some weak bank clerk. He didn't know that being pushed that hard made him showing genuine emotions for the first time after years of hiding behind a wall, it made his daemon shimmer. The sniper did though and when the sniper realized it was emotions there controlled this unique ability, he had made it his personal goal to make this cold spy show his emotions.

He started that by pissing Antoine off.

"That's the best you can do? I've fought old women struggling harder than you. And you call yourself a pro—" It was there it happened. Back then Antoine at first though some other got the sniper from how he stiffed up. Then, for some strange reason he collapsed, but still very much alive as the sniper chuckled weakly, but it took Antoine a moment to realize that the sniper's eyes weren't on him. "...Told you have a special daemon..."

Confused Antoine turned to the daemons, his eyes wide in shock and disbelief of what he saw. The sniper's daemon was trapped in the jaws of a beautiful white wolf, it took several moments for Antoine to realize that the white wolf was his daemon, longer to remember why she could do this.

Sabrina noticed her attack on the kestrel daemon saved her human and dropped the barely moving falcon, trotting over to Antoine and placed her head against his. "You're alright?"

All he did was merely nod, unable to comprehend what his mind was trying to tell her. "How?" He asked her in the hope she could clear his utter confusion up.

Sabrina turned back into her snake form, her answer was simple. "I have always been like this."

But for that young Antoine, he found it wrong. She had after all been a snake ever since he turned eighteen, it was late for a Settling but one his mentor was very pleased to happen. Antoine wasn't for his Settling caused him a lot of distress, which he back then found strange as people kept telling him a Settling should give the human an enlightenment of who they truly are.

"I'm more than willing to endure the pain stayed the same form if it means protecting you." Sabrina had explained, reading his thoughts as his soul she is.

She did not have to explain who she protected him against.

The sniper, who had recovered from his daemon been used as a chew toy, offered the spy a hand.
Antoine was suspicious and wary of the offer, he was expecting a stab in the back if he took it. Viper taught him not to trust anyone, not even him."
Are you going to take it or what?" The sniper asked annoyed, when not, the Aussie rolled his eyes and hauled him up to his feet, completely ignoring the spy's refutation of getting helped by the enemy. "And they say I have trust issues."

"Why?" Antoine had asked, confused about why the man he had been trying to kill since day one was helping him. It didn't for his once small world and that made him feel he's not in control... he has gotten better but back then he hated not being in control of a situation.

The sniper smirked."Let's just say it will be a pity if the blue tiger dies before I get to know it better." That was the words the sniper left him with at the nearest hospital. He left not long after.

****

A couple of weeks later after that episode, Antoine and the sniper found themselves face to face once again, however that time, the spy was not out for a fight. He hadn't fully recovered from either the shot he took to the leg and less from the bomb of how truly different he was from others. Antoine made them meet in a crowded station. A way to show that he was not looking for a fight. The sniper understood the gesture fairly quickly.

"Glad to see you up and at it again, Spook, but I am afraid I have to say this game of ours has to end." The sniper told the Magisterium spy.

Antoine rose a brow of that statement. "Who said you could leave?" He was still determent to finish his job, although he often found himself thinking he would miss this guy when gone.

"Yeah I know, I'm your target." The sniper laughed lightly. "But I am sure you will get the chance soon, maybe get a few extra points for taking out a terrorist."

That caught Antoine's attention. "They contacted you?" The sniper nodded. "When?"

"Sorry mate, that's confidential."

"Presume you're going to become a sniper there too."

The sniper tipped his hat, smiling. "You got it, and you better be the one catching me, mate."

Antoine found himself returning the smile, none of them could deny the genuine respect they felt towards one another, but none aware how much more than once simple respect would turn into in the future. "I will look forward to the day and I will make it quick. Don't want blood on my uniform."

The sniper barked a laugh before he disappeared into the crowd.

Antoine returned back the capital not long after that and took the punishment for failure without complaint, he was secretly thinking the experience he got from meeting Sniper and was already looking forward to the day they would meet again.

That meeting came sooner than expected, If Antoine remembers correctly, he had been on a minor assassination mission and had just gotten the target when he spotted a sniper's scope out from the corner of his eyes. Almost a year hunting down a sniper had sharpened his senses for such things and bolted to the nearest safe spot. Even cloaked, he was careful not to get spotted. For if the sniper he hunted could spot him under a cloak, others could as well. He was however pleasured surprised and uncloaked when he realized the sniper was the same man he played cat and mouse with only a few months ago.

The sniper, now dressed in a red shirt with a yellow sniper scope on his shoulders tipped his hat to him and put the rifle on his shoulders. "Nice seeing you haven't forgotten looking out for snipers, Spook."

"I learned from the best." Antoine replied.
He remembers he found that whole scene quite surreal. They were two enemies, supposed to fight and kill one another on sight; instead, they were having a casual chat like old friends. It made the spy wonder; were they friends? He wasn't sure, being a Magisterium spy, friendships weren't allowed as those people could be used against him.

"What brings you here?" He asked after have shown Sniper he wouldn't attack by laying his knife down on the roof. It took him greatly by surprise when Sniper handed him a red vision of the spy uniform. Antoine was, of course, dumbfounded that Sniper dared to give him- a Magisterium spy such a suggestion."Really?" He had asked Sniper as if he was kidding.

Sniper smiled weakly at him. "They want the best, and you are the best bloody spook I know."

"True, but I am also trained in loyalty to the Church." Antoine retorted, his life in the Magisterium had been all he knew and the thought of leaving everything behind for this Sniper. He remembers how uncomfortable he felt by that very thought.

Sniper had smiled to him, a real genuine smile, not the wicked one Viper always gave him. "I know, mate. Still, if you ever need a partner, I will be honored working beside you." He left right after those words.

Antoine had a lot to think about that night and had come to the conclusion he wouldn't abandon the only life he knew. He didn't want to walk into the unknown and especially not for that bushman. The irony was great to say the least. For when they met again, Antoine had become a reluctant partner to an extremely loyal but highly egotist man with no sense of professionalism. He reminded Antoine very much about Viper, except this one did not know when to shut up. He and his so-called partner was chasing Sniper, tracked his parents down and used them as bait. Something all knew Sniper couldn't ignore, and they were right. Sniper almost willingly went into the trap, demanded they left his parents alone.

Antoine had been using hostages a few times to get his target and in his sense of professionalism would honor his words that the bait would leave when the prey has been caught. But the other spy held no such code, he killed Sniper's parents right in front of the Aussie. Understandable, the sniper broke in tears and rage when his parents fell to the floor with a bullet through their skulls.

Antoine did not feel sorry for the Sniper's loss, but he did feel disgusted by the lack of professionalism, more so when his "partner" began torturing Sniper, he would understand if the man wanted info, but merely for the joy of it? Antoine quickly got enough by this lack of professionalism, kicked the other one away, pulled out his revolver to give his probably only friend a deserving death. Sniper gave him a thankful look, but before Antoine could finish the task. The other Magisterium spy stabbed a knife into his back, miraculously avoids anything major.

Both spy and Sniper turn surprised their eyes to the man, which quickly turned into rolling them in exasperation when the fool started to blabber he had been waiting for Antoine to turn his back on them and had been itching for the chance to kill him.

"This is what you so loyal towards, mate?" Sniper had asked him that very day, although heartbroken over his own loss, he never blamed Antoine for it.

Antoine isn't sure what made him do it, was it for the sniper? Was it because he realized that he wasn't like the others? Whatever it was, he made a choice there would change his life forever. "No." He attacked the other spy, Sabrina, embracing her shapeshifting ability, turned into a wolf and attacked the other spy's rattlesnake daemon, she bit the snake, weakened the man and thus making the finishing blow incredible easy for Antoine.

Antoine had at first considered killing Sniper and show the body to Viper. It would regain the respect he lost from failing to kill him in the first place. His superior would be happy he did the job done, more so when Sniper now was part of the terrorist group. They would give him a nice bonus and then life will return back to normal... without this uncanny comrade. He found that thought very depressing. He had turned to Sniper, surprised the man hadn't said anything ever since he had killed the other spy. He had realized that Sniper was letting him decide what would happen next and respect whatever choice that would be, for at that moment, he had nothing. Just like Antoine.

"...Merde..." He groans under his breathe and cut the bindings.

Sniper got up and after a small thanks, the Aussie began to attend to the bodies of his parents. He had left the house, found himself at a loss. So when Sniper returned from the soon to be burning farm, Antoine was so much at a loss that he merely accepted the other man's choice taking him with him.

*****

It was very hard for Antoine being a Team Fortress Spy, it was nothing like being a Magisterium spy, for starters, there weren't any real schedule, no true boss he could report to. Sure, there was the Elite, but they only gave out missions if it was an emergency. Instead, all the missions and targets had to be found by the team itself. The lack of a schedule really threw Antoine for a loop and the many people he constantly had to deal with was incredibly stressful for someone who was used to only speak with a single, maybe two people before being out on a mission where he would be alone for most of the time. The only reason he stayed was because of Sniper; although the two of them a had their ups and downs. Both of them were good at their jobs, but none of them really good letting out their feelings and that often showed when they got frustrated with one another and their fights came to blows. And yet, somehow they made it work, never really stepped over the line there would make the other one leave for good. Working side by side with Lawrence proved to be a whole experience on its own, no other person could infuriate or make him laugh like Lawrence could; the Aussie was the only one he felt he could trust with his life. Even to this day, Antoine thinks, that when he and Lawrence work together, he feels they are an unstoppable duo, and the teams they aided better see that as well.

The two were once part of a team, but unfortunate circumstances made them leave to America, both needed to get a bit away from everything and decided to become a nomad team when arriving in America; none of them feeling like joining another team.

Antoine and Lawrence did through that time mostly do information gathering for the other teams. That had been how he met her.

He did an infiltration job at a fancy office that was rumored to send valid information to the higher-ups in the Magisterium. He thought the job was simple, done it many times before. Pretend to be the new worker, wait a couple of weeks, then flirt with the office clerk so she would let him into her boss's office and he can get the information that he wanted. However, that clerk did not play that way. She wasn't some hopeless romantic young thing there fell head and heels over some younger man finding interest in her. No, she saw right through his ruse and she told him straight out to cut the crap and tell what he needed so he could get out from her hair and she could return back to work.

Easy to say that it caught Antoine off guard, it was both the first time a woman had resisted his charm and said woman offered to help. He had been reluctant at first letting a woman help him, but relented in the thought this would only be a one time thing, but over time, this passive information gathering relationship between him and this older but very beautiful woman with the lion appearance cat began turning into much more than they both expected; they fell in love.

That had been a new feeling for Antoine, his training with Viper had forced him to push such feelings aside and usually, he would've done it. But he just couldn't with this woman, every time he tried, she would drag him right back in, showing him what he has been missing. Being with her was more addictive than his smoking, hell bigger than the thrill his missions with Lawrence sometimes gave him. He just couldn't get enough by this beautiful lioness.

Lawrence noticed almost right away what was going on with his usual cold spy friend, and he knew that being with his Belle Lionne would be good for Antoine and did nothing to stop the blooming relationship; in fact, he supported Antoine in it which made it even harder leaving this woman. Today, however, Antoine is grateful Lawrence supported him as he found himself a very lucky man meeting Saffira. When he met her six boys, Antoine had realized why she refused to fall for his flirting. She revealed that most of her former boyfriends were like that and only stayed until she became pregnant. One of her former husbands stayed though, but unfortunately, that one had died thanks to a freak accident. Antoine wanted to be there for her and the boys, but he was doubting his abilities to care for them. Caring for others was still a new thing for him. So it was a good thing his love and best friend were patient with him and always ready help him back up if he stumbled.

After having been with her for over a year, Antoine decided it was about time he proved himself be a true gentleman and proposed to her under a fine dinner. They got married not long after with Lawrence being the first man and of course annoyed the hell out of Antoine when he wore that stupid crocodile crested old hat under the wedding.

Antoine told his friend that he highly considered quitting his job as a Spy, he wanted to be there for his newborn son- for all the children. He wanted to be the father they all deserved and he couldn't be that by going on deadly missions all the time.

Lawrence respected his wish, and Antoine began only take small jobs, none of them really dangerous. But that did not matter, his past from desertion the Magisterium eventually caught up with him.
Antoine's adoptive father and mentor found where he lived and when Antoine had been out, the Magisterium spy attacked. Only pure luck warned Antoine and Lawrence about the danger and they got back just in time. They fought Viper off, but the man had made his point.

Saffira was bleeding from the cut over her neck from the awfully close call of Viper trying to kill her right in front of the children- all which were scared half to death from the experience. She hadn't been the only one wounded. Viper biggest point that Antoine was never free from him was shown from what he had done to his son. Nathan was crying loudly from the horrific pain he felt from the acid cut he got from the master spy.

He had watched his wife, the older but horrified boys and lastly to his crying son. He hated himself for even thinking about it, but he and Saffira both knew it was for the best. It would only be in a matter of time before Viper or someone else from the Magisterium would find them again. They spoke long and hard about it and she agreed she would move to Boston as a lone mother. And Antoine would leave her like he was just some other man who couldn't take her strong personality and responsibility being a father to children not his own. His heart broke when he walked out the door, leaving behind a life he realized he wanted but never could get as long Viper or his former co-workers were still alive.

Saffira would understand, but her boys, with most of them had come to care for him like their father, they would all hate him for leaving in their time of need... but he knew it was for the best.

Chapter Text

Nathan watches his father all throughout the story, from the man being rather casual and passive when he told about his life at the Magisterium, to amusement about the meeting and year-long cat and mouse chase with Sniper. Nathan got quite startled when his father told he has indirectly been helping that other assassin murdering Sniper's parents, but that is quickly forgotten when his father told rather bashfully how he fell in love with ma to then show sadness when he explained how hard it was leaving. Nathan is pretty shocked hearing that Viper has been the one who gave him the scar on his left cheek, he wonders if the man recognized him when they first met in that building. If he did then Viper wanted the son of his former student to kill– that man is the devil himself! It's a wonder his father turned into a decent person, still with his flaws though for even though his father knew it had been a bad idea. He still returned to his mother's new home, something about he just couldn't stay away. Yeah, Nathan can see his father still loves ma, even if he doesn't wear the ring anymore.
The car drives past the mall his mother often send him to buy groceries. At first, he doesn't really pay it much attention, that until he spots ma and she has spotted them as well. Nathan is about to call her, but his father stops him. "Wait." He says, eyes narrowed in suspicious towards her. Blinking Nathan turns to his mother, surprised she now seemly ignores them in order to chat with some guy selling fruits, what is the deal? Why isn't she happy seeing them?

Antoine is very aware of why she is ignoring them, in their time working together, they taught one another in nonverbal signs and she just gave him one that meant danger. "She's been watched."

"Can you see them?" Nathan asks, looking around for that bastard watching his mother. His father drives away. "No, she told me."

Blinking, Nathan asks. "When?" He didn't see her make any signs.

"When she used the fruit seller as her decoy, she gave me a sign she's not safe to be around at the moment." And explains after Nathan gives him a confused look. "We invented certain signs when we worked on missions together. Your mother could be a good spy if she wasn't such a dedicated mother." Antoine does a seemly causal gesture for most people seeing it, but he knows his beloved will know it's true meaning.

Nathan notices that his mother glances at them with a faint smile before returning back to shopping. "Did you sign her?"
His father nods. "Yes, I told her we will return at dusk." Then muses to himself for a moment before thinking out loud. "Isn't there a baseball game going today?"

Nathan snorts. "Yeah, but the Diamondbacks aren't worth watching." At least not in his eyes.

"Perhaps, and baseball doesn't interest me." Antoine remarks as he flicks a cigarette out from the window, completely ignoring his son's look of disbelief. "But it will give us the cover we need."

"What do you mean?" All this being mysterious is really confusing and also quite annoying, but Nathan knows better than jumping headlong into this if his father says against it. His mother might get hurt, or worse, end up dead... just like some of the children.
His father explains the small plan he has cooked up and Nathan admits it is rather clever and will for the sake of his mother and brothers endure a lame baseball fight, can't be worse than Viper's training.

___

At evening, Nathan and his father return back to the house, both holding a few souvenirs from the match, although Nathan no way will keep those things, that team was terrible!
His father doesn't knock on the door, he merely strolls inside the house, calling as if he and Nathan have just come home from a father and son time and not been across the sea and escaping the Magisterium. "Honey, we're back!" He calls cheerfully, which in Nathan's ears sounds strange since his father has rarely shown many emotions around him.

"How was the day for my two favorite men?" Nathan's mother calls back and walks calmly towards them with only her eyes and daemon showing how relieved she is seeing her youngest son has come home after months of worrying.

"The match could've been better." Antoine replies, he shoots one glance outside before closes the door, spotting the person that keeps an eye on his beloved lioness, the only good thing that that person is merely just a goon. So if they keep it neutral, they should be safe.
Turning to his beloved he let the facade drop. "It's only a lowlife thug, he won't be a problem."

Saffira lets out a sigh and finally allows herself engulf her son into a hug. "Thank goodness you're alright."
Nathan returns the hug, wishing he can say he is alright but... well he isn't exactly alright, his mind is still troubled by the death of the children.
She lets go of him and walks over to his father, she does not gives him a hug, the two shares a passionate kiss.

"Ma belle lionne." Antoine whispers to her, stroking her through the hair, oh how he has been missing her. He glances to Nathan, amused how awkward he seems about this, there are some matters he wishes to discuss with Saffira in private, but that can wait.

Saffira catches on there is something on her beloved's mind, but she has been around him long enough knowing that now is not the time. "Let's get something to eat— Boy! Looks who's back!" and in a matter of minutes, Nathan is literally surrounded by four of his seven brothers, all, yes even Bernard is relieved seeing their youngest brother has come home and is unharmed.

"Boys." Antoine greets them, the oldest, John recognizes him right away and is one of the one of the three actually remembering clearly what happened that night and is smart enough to figure out why the man left, he respectfully shakes his hand. The others are a bit more hesitant and aggressive towards Antoine as they still think he left for no apparent reason but slowly follows the oldest example after their mother scowling at them.

Ken nudges Nathan, whispering. "The hell is this guy?" Wondering if this is another man dating their mother. Like Nathan; he was too young to remember Antoine when the man lived with them.

Nathan smiles. "It's my dad." Smiles widen from the startled look Ken gives him.

"Let's eat." Saffira calls and the whole family sit down around the table, enjoying her home-cooked meal.

"If you don't mind me asking." John starts, eyeing the father to their youngest brother. "What happened to Nathan?" He is pretty sure he isn't the only one who has taken notice their youngest and also most talkative brother is awfully quiet.

Antoine eyes the oldest of the four brothers, not sure if he should tell them about this. "Do not take this the wrong way John, but I cannot reveal what has happened." He eyes Nathan. "Only if Nathan wishes you know the truth, however:" His reddish eyes land on each of the older brothers. "If he does, then what is getting told can never leave these walls. If you do, then your life will be in bigger danger than they have ever been."

"What is he talking about?" Dean asks confused, eyeing Nathan who does not meet his eyes. The older brothers turn their attention to their mother who tells them hard. "Do not take his warning lightly. Especially when two of your brothers has a family of their own." She sternly looks at each of her sons, all can be reckless in their actions, so she wants to make clear this is no joke. The four look at one another, then slowly Dean turns back to Nathan. "Tell us what happened." He requests, softer this time.

Nathan nods slowly, keeping this secret does not lie well with him but from what his father told him, telling them the truth will make them a target for the Magisterium. Still even against the danger Nathan wants them to know and begins telling them about how he met four children not long after he got taken, to how he made life hard for the soldiers on the ship— he did earn a few laughs when he told them about how he drove the soldiers nuts and also got cocky enough using one of them as his landing pad. He tells them what Mr. Conagher told him what they were planning, the father to Dell and the soldiers took him and the kidnapped children all the way to Brytain; where they got locked up in a fancy facility. He told them about Viper, the training the man put him into and... how the man has threatened to kill some of the children if he refused to kill a prisoner– he refuses to reveal that man had been his own father. Getting to that part of the story changes the mood in the house, every brother is completely silent hearing their youngest brother has been through.

"Did you do it?" Bernard asks slowly, true he and the others can be hard on people, especially gang or police trying taking over their turf but never have they ever killed someone, not even accidentally. So hearing their youngest runt brother has been told to kill someone, that's just wrong.

Nathan shakes his head, happy Nalini chose to jump onto his lap this very moment. "No, I refused." He tells them, stroking his squirrel daemon's back. "Viper wasn't happy though... pretty sure he would've killed me for it."
His brothers gasp at the fact. Nathan then tells about the Team Fortress members breaking into the building, trying their best rescuing the children. And... and how they partly failed. "Fourteen of the children died... seven of them because of poison gas... not... some of them suffered for three days, for three days they screamed for their parents and there was nothing I could do!" He hides his face, forcing back the tears threating to fall. The memories seeing those dead children still haunts his dreams. And he promised them he would get them home, he had broken that promise fourteen times.
Nathan feels a hand on his shoulder, he looks up, realizing it is his father's hand. The man's eyes are soft, but not out of pity, more from understanding what he is going through. Glancing to the others Nathan notices his brothers all share the same horrified but also pitiful look in their eyes. He looks away, not feeling up to get pitied by this like some wimpy child. "Anyway, the team got the surviving children back home. And that's how my months of imprisonment have been..."

Not one utter a single word in the room for several minutes, too shocked to say anything that Nathan has told them about the Magisterium. So when someone knocks on the door, every brother jumps. Antoine and Saffira both tense up with the spy leaving the table, having his knife ready if it's the goon outside deciding to barge in. He opens the door and calms down right away when seeing who it is.
"In the neighborhood miss?" He asks her, a bit taken aback by how quickly one of the Elite's assistance reacted on his call.

A young woman with black hair sat up, bright green eyes are partly hidden by a somewhat big pair of glasses. Like most other of those working for the Elite, she wears a purple dress to show her alliance. This assistant to the Elite steps into the house, giving him a weak smile. "Yes, been undercover these past months." She explains and turns to the family.
Nathan recognizes her from what seems like ages ago, except she does look rather different now, no longer nervous as she did when he spoke with her in Dell's factory. "Hey, it's you."

"My name is Miss Pauling." She introduces herself to the family, eyeing Saffira. "I am here of the request from your husband, it seems one of his enemies are getting too close for comfort and he doesn't trust himself keeping you safe this time."

Saffira nods, she understands what is going on. "Viper?" Antoine nods slowly. "I see, how much time do we get?"

"About an hour before they realize their sentry has been taken out." Miss Pauling replies, glancing to the spy when he walks over to the family around the table; telling them. "The man Nathan told you about is after both him and me, and he will go after you to get us. I asked the Headquarter to relocate you all to a safer location".

"What about Peter and Ian families? What about Leon?" Dean asks, he knows right away that Nate's father is not bullshitting them. The look from both their mother and Nate's face reveals that much.

"It will be troublesome but we can hide them as well." Miss Pauling replies, checking her papers. "In return some of your works for us– nothing dangerous." She quickly adds from the disapproving look the spy gives her. "Merely a bit laborer work like transport, schooling, farming or other minor things we need to keep everything running."

Nathan's brothers discuss a bit back and forward and one by one they all agree, better working a crappy job and be safe than working a dream job in constant fear for their family.
Miss Pauling is very satisfied with their answer and tells them she will right away make the preparations.
Antoine tells the brothers to pack or make the calls they need. "The window staying hidden is closing." And the four brothers scramble away to do their business. Nathan the only one who didn't move.
"You too Nathan." Antoine tells him.

But Nathan has other plans, he shakes his head, telling his parents. "I'm joining the resistance." That made Miss Pauling drop her pen and Antoine lets out a small sneer.
"No you are not." His father says hard, pointing to the outside. "I'm not letting you go back to the fires!"

"Better than doing nothing!" Nathan snaps back, he does not want to hide while his father and his friends are out there fighting. "I am going to join the resistance, and you're not going to stop me!"

Antoine opens his mouth, but before he can utter a single word, Saffira speaks. "Let him."
He turns in disbelief to her. "You can't be serious." Her eyes reveal that she is deadly serious.

"I rather want you near him than Nathan running around with some strangers." Adding in a softer tone only meant for him to hear. "He got your stubbornness and my sense of loyalty. You of all people should know what that mix will do." In other words; trying to stop their boy will be a losing battle. Antoine groans loudly, realizing the same. Admitting defeat as, like Saffira, he would prefer knowing what Nathan is doing if he has to fight in this war. He turns to the overly taken aback Miss Pauling. "Do you have a training base my team can use?"

The young assistance recovers, and starts checking her papers "Um, yes, there are several bases still safe to use." Miss Pauling replies after have checked the many bases the teams can use in case they need to stay in a location for a long period.

Antoine nods. "Good, I will need to inform my team about this."

That made Miss Pauling blink, according to from her files, this spy is a loner, only working together with a sniper from the Kingdom of Auister. "Your team?" and the spy briefly explains her about the people he, the sniper and the Conagher engineer has encountered in their last couple of missions. She writes everything down but can see that the Elite needs better info than this, but this spy is not going to give it to them. Fortunately, there is one who can give the Elite the new information of this forming team. "Alright, thanks for the information Spy. I.." Glancing at his wife she feels a bit split on letting them have this hour alone or not, the Spy did make it clear that he shouldn't know where they relocated the family. Eyeing the woman, she makes her decision. "I will return for you in a half hour." She leaves the family alone.

Saffira hugs her youngest son, doing her very best not showing her tears. "Listen to your father and the team." She tells him softly.
Nathan returns the hug. "I will ma."
Nalini gets licked by Adrastos like a mother cat does to its kitten.

Sabrina joins them as her human walks over to mother and son, placing his hand on Nathan's shoulder. "You are aware this will not be like the gang fights with your brothers." He points out, wants to be sure Nathan is sure about this, what he will have to do if he becomes a member. "You will have to kill people."

"I'm sure." Nathan answers, he still does not like the thought killing people, but he has already stepped over that line when he shot that man Viper commanded to kill the children. He's sure he can do it again... he hopes.

"You will have to take orders, running around like you boys do here in town will not be—"

"I get it." Nathan rudely interrupts him, but he can't really help it. His father's attempt at making him change his mind is getting on his nerves. "It won't be easy, I will do things I normally won't do, but I am going through with this; so shut the hell up about it already."
Antoine facial expression is neutral, while Sabrina smirks ever so slightly by his small outburst. His father lets out a sigh. "Alright, let's see if you keep this attitude when your training is done."
Nathan is certain he will be way more determent when he is done with the training, for right now he feels like he was born to this.

Chapter Text

Somewhere in Texas, Keahi sits inside the truck she and Dell have 'borrowed' and currently watching her friend walk up to a small house. He told her to stay in the truck, she did argue with him about it— not about her staying in the truck per say. No, that she didn't really care about, what she did care about is Dell had gotten quite tense the closer they got to where his son lived. Keahi did not like seeing the usual calm and always have things under control Dell suddenly reacts as if he's stuck out to the sea again, except this time she did not know what made him so tense that even Naira did not want to play with Dahanain. It made her uncomfortable. She tried telling him about it, asking him what made him so tense but he kept brushing her off. She did not like this one bit and wish she just can storm inside and burn whatever that made her friend this uncomfortable but burning down people's houses is usually a bad idea. They tend to get really mad when she does that and she is pretty sure the engineer will react the same way. So sullenly she waits in the truck for Dell to return, Dahanain stares intensely at the house. Both otter and human tense up when a woman voice starts yelling inside the house, none of them can hear what the woman is saying, only that she is really angry about something and Dell is still in there.
Dahanain turns to his human. "We should go in and help." He suggests and in most circumstances, she would've completely agreed with him but not this time. "We can't, Dell told I need to stay put..." Keahi muses, still sullen that he made that very clear. She does not like being unable helping her friends, it's easier as Pyro. There she can destroy everything that tries harming her friends with her flamethrower.
Dahanain narrow his dark brown eyes, feeling twice more frustrated about this situation than his human does. He wants to argue with her, but before he can; a young voice speaks.

"Is that an Amazonian otter?"

Both otter and human turn, beside the truck, a blond and flimsy looking boy stand; his bright blue eyes focused on Dahanain.
Keahi and her daemon look to one another before the human turns to the child, answering. "That he is."

"Cool!" The boy exclaims, his daemon takes form of a beautiful butterfly from his excitement. "I read about those, they live in the Amazons and the biggest the otter species— hey is it true a pack of otters can kill a full grown caiman?" His eyes have a shine Keahi recognizes when Dell goes all 'nerd' as Spy's son calls it. She cannot help but smile at this boy, already liking him. "That they can, but they only do it if the caiman doesn't back off. Mostly the ariranha only kill young caiman if the fish is scarce."

"Is Ariranha the name of the giant otter?"

"For the people in Amazon yes, it means water jaguar."

The boy's face lights up of this new info. "I can see why; otters can be quite aggressive." And then realizes he speaks with to a person who has an Amazonian otter, the most aggressive otter species as their daemon. He backs a little away, no longer feels so sure around this person.

Dahanain notices the boy's fear towards them and warns his human about the boy's observation and since Keahi did not want to scare this boy away, she quickly explains him. "Don't be scared little boy, I'm not aggressive to people I like." She gives him a friendly smile "And I like you."

The boy and his own daemon calm down, said boy's daemon turns into a sparrow and flies up to the truck's window for a better look on the otter daemon. He is just as interested in her as she is at him.
Keahi turns her attention back to the boy when he asks confused "What are you doing at my home? Pest control?" He asks teasingly. Smiling Keahi shakes her head. "Nope, I'm here with a friend; he is currently getting yelled at some mean woman." Nodding towards the house where the woman is still yelling, Dell's voice can be heard as well. Keahi frowns at this, Dell is usually hard to anger so hear him raise his voice like this is worrying. "Wish I can help, but he told me to stay here..."

The boy turns to the house as well, blinking. "Hang on, that sounds like dad."

"You must be Logan then." Keahi states out, she can see the resembles now, although Logan has hairstyle and body closer to Spy's son than her engineer friend. "Dell's son."

"Yeah, that's me..." Logan nods but he isn't smiling, in fact, he looks quite annoyed for some reason. Keahi blinks at this, not sure if she said something wrong. "You don't like your father?" She asks a bit confused, Dell sounded so proud when he spoke about his son.

"Of course I love dad!" Logan tells her hard, but quickly lowers his gaze again, seemly more interested in his shoes. "I'm just not very good at machines like he is..." People keep reminding him about his heritage and literally, everyone expects him to walk in his father's, grandfather's and great-grandfather footsteps; becoming a great mechanical engineer. It's frustrating really, but Logan just doesn't have the confidence going against their wishes...

Keahi watches this sad looking boy for several moments, forgetting about the fight inside the house. "Do you like working with machines?"

"...No..."

"You seem interested in animals though." She remarks, nodding towards her daemon that carefully plays with the sparrow. "You have a good knowledge about them." Then remembers the small boasting competition she had with Dell the first time they actually spoke to one another, she smiles down to Logan; getting the idea who helped Dell with that info. "Hey, you're the one who told Dell about beavers; how fast they can build their homes and take down a tree."

Logan looks up at her. "He told you about it?" He asks surprised.

Keahi nods then turn her eyes back to the house, the yelling has stopped. "I wonder why that woman is so angry at him. He only came to see you."

"Mother and grandfather say dad has been involved with some bad people." Logan explains although he has trouble seeing his father works for bad people like those he read in his history books. His expression saddens. "She probably doesn't want him to see me anymore..." It is hard to think about, his father has practically been the only one who lets him nerd out with his interest in the animal kingdom.

"Do you want to see him?"

"Sure, but mom—"

"Why don't you hide in the truck then?" Keahi asks him innocently, giving him a mischievous smile.

Logan blinks, is she referring him to— yes she is. He hesitates, not really the type doing such things as running off with friends without telling his mother, but this isn't friends; it's with his father. He jumps into the back of the truck, keeping his head down in case his mother will look out from the house.
Not long after the door to the driver seat opens and he hears his father's voice grumbling some incoherent words before driving off.
"We should go to the zoo." The woman that suggested this says out in the blue, catching both Conagher's by surprise, however, their reactions afterward are quite different.

"Look, I'm really not in the mood for—"

Logan decides to peak his head up. "Can we dad?" Only to cling for dear life when his father almost steers them into another car.
His father gets the truck under control, stops it and turns fully around, looking startled back to him. "Logan? Wha..." Then turns to the woman that smiles almost innocently at him.
Fearing he might be in trouble Logan quickly points his fingers at the woman. "She told me to do it!"

Dell is admittedly startled seeing his son in the back of the truck, right now at the moment pointing accusingly at Keahi who doesn't seem to notice. Yet he can't really be mad at for suggesting this form of behavior from his son, he's just happy seeing him. He chuckles and Naira jumps up behind to give Logan's daemon a proper hello. "Right now I don't care who thought this up." Giving Logan a warm, fatherly smile. "So, you want go to the zoo?"

"Yeah!"

"The zoo it is then!" Dell laughs and drives the truck towards the nearest zoo.

___

Barely paid the tickets for the zoo and Logan is already dragging him towards the first animal enclosure and eyes soon glued on something called a ringtail cat, the information on it said it does live in Texas but Dell has never seen this small fella before, granted he never really went on trips out in the wild like Lawrence does; he preferred staying in a workshop, building new wondrous machines.
Being in a zoo and looking at animals do not really interests him, but it does to Logan and that what matters. They move to the next enclosure, this time looking at monkeys.
Keahi points at the monkeys with white "ears" and is incredibly small. Dell is certain one of these can fit in the palm of his hand. "I've seen these before, except they were wild and really high up in the trees."

"They stay high up in the trees avoiding predators but also getting the fruit and insects they eat." Logan explains her a bit shyly but quickly turns confident when Keahi begins asking questions about each species they encounter.

Dell merely strolls along, he does listen to what his son explains both him and Keahi but must admit that most of what Logan says goes right over his head. Must be how the others feel when he starts explaining how a certain machine works.
Good thing Keahi then can keep up, or at least pretend she does, he doesn't really know with her. Keahi can be quite unpredictable with that childish behavior of hers, but it seems she and Logan are getting along nicely.
At lunch he almost has to drag Logan away from the animals and make him sit at the picnic area, didn't really bother him though, Logan is happy and that makes him happy.
They order burgers to eat and while eating Logan asks him mildly curious. "Still working at the Zeppelin factory dad?"
Dell catches there is more to this innocent question than it first appears, he figures his ex and father has told him the "bad news" as they see it. He could lie about it, but that would be hypocrite of him as he keeps telling Logan to be honest.
"No, I stopped working there." Logan waits for a further explanation, Dell sigh, checks the area for unwelcomed ears and when sure no one is nearby; he explains. "Your mother and grandfather probably already cracked up this can of worms, so I might as well straighten it out. But just to be sure; what did they tell you?"

Logan hesitates, already fearing that his father is working for the terrorists. He doesn't want to hate his father! "Grandfather told me... that you have joined the terrorists... you killed several children." Flinching when the woman's otter suddenly lets out an angry squeak.

Dell sends Keahi a warning stare, she hushes down her daemon and quietly returns back to her food. He lets out another sight, doing his best not letting his anger show. "There are... some truth in what he said. Yes, I have joined the terrorist but we did not kill any children." He tells Logan hard, his son's eyes wide but the boy stays quiet, letting his father explains his side of the story. "Logan, what I am about to tell you cannot be said around anyone, not your mother, your friends, and especially not around grandfather, understand?"
Logan nods.
Guess he shouldn't beat around the bush anymore. "About five months ago some people broke into my workshop, they were looking for some of my free time inventions. I and one of my friends tried to stop them but failed. These men were from the Magisterium and they wanted the both of us dead... almost succeed." He pulls slightly down the skin colored glove around the gunslinger, revealing the metal to Logan. The boy jumps at the sight and realization that his father has lost his right hand. Dell hides the robot hand again. "I was lucky I only lost the hand. Not long after I and my friend got the news that a young man I have been looking after since the divorce for another friend of mine has been taken by the same people. We had to take action. We followed the Magisterium soldiers all the way to Brytain, where we met several other people from this group and they aided us saving the young man, along with forty other children. Sadly, things did not get as planned. Our infiltrator was supposed to gain the children's trust, but before he could he got captured, forced us to take action earlier than planned. The break-in on the building scared many of the children. We tried to calm them, telling the children we wouldn't do them any harm, but several of them did not listen. They ran and... and got killed in the crossfire between us and the Magisterium soldiers. We tried doing the best keeping them safe but it ended up with one of us got killed... he was killed by Frank."

"...Grandfather was there?" Logan whispers while hugging his now silk monkey shaped daemon. The story his father is telling him is scary and for a good reason. This is not a silly campfire story, this is something that has actually happen.

Dell nods sadly. "Yes... your grandfather was there. He is after all the head engineer for the Magisterium, he will be where they want him. And as fate would have it, they needed him in the same building I and my team would break into. I confronted my father— partly because of my choice joining "the other side" if you want to call it that, but my main reason for it was because I wanted to retrieve the body of our fallen comrade. Frank wasn't happy I have joined this group; I'm pretty sure that is why your mother wouldn't let me see you. He let me leave that time, but I highly doubt he will the next time we see each other. After the battle, after we gave the fallen a proper burial. My team and I returned back to America with the surviving children."
"You can get the list of their locations if you wish." Naira says up to her human's child, adding after Dell hands Logan the paper. "But you have to keep it away from Frank."

"I will." Logan promises and hides the paper with the locations of these children his father helped to get home. He will check if what his father said is true, or if grandfather's story is actually the true one. Turning back to the woman, Logan wonders out loud. "Is she part of this group as well?" For she does not look like a pest control with that nasty burn scar on her right arm along with the other scars on her exposed skin.
His father nods that she is, turning to the woman who seems busier watching the passing people than listing to what they are saying. She only turns her eyes to them when his father says. "Let's not dwell on this at the moment, we should enjoy this trip."
Logan can't but agree there, and soon back watching many new and fascinating animals in this zoo.
His father and the woman soon joins him and they enjoy the trip together.

At evening Dell drives Logan back to the house, making sure to keep a proper distance so his ex wouldn't know who has kept her son away from the house all day. Logan told him he would tell his mother that he has been home with a friend and completely forgotten time. Dell isn't much for lying but will look past this one.

"Are you leaving tonight?" Logan asks sad, he doesn't want his father leave this early. Especially now he knows what his father is truly doing. For all, he knows this can be the last time he sees his father.

Dell hesitates, like Logan, he does not want to leave, yet knows he should get back to the team very soon. But looking into his son's eyes he decides a few days here shouldn't do much damage. "I will stay in town for a few days."

Logan's face lights up hearing for what— in his eyes are the best news ever. "Can I see you again tomorrow?"

"Yes, after school, you can take a few friends with you if you like."

"Sure, where are we going?" Logan asks while pondering who of his friends he should take with him, someone he can trust not to snitch on him.

Dell smiles. "I was thinking a trip to town, I do have a few things I need to buy."

Not as exciting as the zoo and pretty sure his dad buying list will be parts to whatever he will build now, but Logan can deal. "Okay, see you tomorrow." He hugs his dad goodbye, trying not thinking about what causes the right hand to feel harder than the left and leaves the truck.

With Logan back in the house, Keahi turns to Dell smiling. "I really like your boy."

Dell chuckle. "Thank you kindly, miss." and drives away from the area.

Chapter Text

Out in the desert of New Denmark, a lone person dressed in a purple suit for extreme cold-- which is weird since he is walking out in a desert. This man watches along with his Ibex daemon an empty road for seemly no apparent reason, however, this strange person has a very good reason. He turns on a computer attached to his arm, showing a digital map with several dots moving around on it and this person is very interested in the four dots moving towards his location. Shifting the container on his back, the person heads down towards the road and when a middle-sized truck appears. The person steps out on the road, forcing the truck to stop. His daemon looks up from her phantom grazing when a huge man steps out from the truck with his bear daemon close behind, closely followed by three others. The purple dressed person hits his chest two times as a greetings towards Heavy before saying his reason of stopping them. "The Elite is requesting your appearance."

Heavy knows this purple dressed Pyro. They have met several times over the years, most of the time when the Elite wanted to speak with him. Sometimes Cryo visited his former team to promote someone, other times he visited just for the heck of it. He likes Cryo, this ice based Pyro is a nice fella, someone taking his job as the team's psychologist rather seriously— he does that job by chatting with the teams when he pays them a visit.
"What do the Elite want from me?" Heavy asks the Elite Pyro, unlike the one he has been working together with these past weeks, this Pyro does not wear a mask, only a pair of goggles that protects his eyes when firing his freeze rays.

"Well, for starters we would like a full report on what happened in the Facility in Brytain." Cryo shrugs and checks his files on that arm held machine of his. "Reports are sketchy at best as we don't have any Elite members there at the moment." Before turning his face to Medic. "Also, we need a proper dossier about the members you picked up along the way." Cryo notices the Medic's is showing sign of discomfort and notes himself to be extra careful with that one's dark secrets. after all, they all have something they don't want the world to know. Turning back to Heavy. "A pyro, a medic, and an engineer; correct?" The big man nods.
"Good, we will have more info for you when you get there. Oh and—" Cryo turns to the male Soldier and bit comically straightens up. "For your undying loyalty to Resistance, the Elite hereby grant you the second Mark of Team Fortress." He walks over and hands Soldier a gold medal with the logo of the whole resistance. Getting one of these is a huge honor among the members, plus it grants the person some extra perks. "You are now allowed to the headquarters, weapons upgrades, and learning battle tactics from past Soldiers."

Soldier salutes the man, doing a very good job hiding how zealous he actually is from reaching the second highest rank among the members. The highest rank is becoming an Elite member. They are the one handing out missions and making big shot decisions.
Before he even can lower his hand, Zhanna puts him in a bear hug. "I knew my dear Soldier would be recognized for his bravery!"

"Well done." Heavy says with a smile, also happy for Soldier's promotion— much different from his own promotion, he wasn't surrounded by friends when it happened. Turning away from the two lovebirds Heavy eyes the purple and high ranking Pyro who smiles at the scene. Then remembers his first reason coming here, puts down the machine from his back and activates it with a code only he knows. The machine folds itself out, forming a form of a door with a purplish glove. Cryo gestures for him and Soldier. "They are waiting, oh and don't take Assault's shit if he comes with any— you know how he can be at times. "
That comment made both Medic and the female Soldier raise a brow, the former wondering what kind of resistance this is if the lower ranked are told not to put up with any shenanigans; not even from what seems to be the generals.

Heavy eyes Soldier once before he walks into the glowing door, instead of coming out on the other side of the metal door in the desert, Heavy and soon Soldier arrives at an underground base filled with purple dressed team members.
An Engineer with a marten daemon on his shoulder turns the portal off the second the two and their daemon has appeared and tells the two with his Nordic accent. "Right this way."
Heavy and Soldier follow the Engineer, they pass by a room filled with screens, each having an assistances paying it close attention, the biggest of these screens has a digital map on the world with about two hundred dots in both red and blue around the globe. Soldier looks up to this map, very awestruck of what he sees. "Holy Mary Mother of Jesus!" He exclaims, first now fully realizing the sophisticated size of this whole resistance and here he thought his team and few others just happen to work on the same side with the same class, uniform, and weapons. Boy, has he been wrong.
The Elite Engineer brings them to a seemly empty room, unlike the most other rooms that have been filled with almost futuristic technology and having mostly the grey colors, this room looks like it belongs to a house's living room or something like that.

In the middle of this room stand three people, all of them are Elite members, a male Spy, a female Medic and a male Soldier, all dressed in purple. The Spy, like most other spies are dressed in the invisibility uniform and face hidden behind a mask. His mask, however, is strangely enough very festival looking, which does fit his laidback and mischievous personality. The Spy turns the moment they step inside, his black cat daemon does the same beside his feet. This man smiles and turns to Elite Soldier. "Our guests have arrived." The Elite Soldier, a bulky man, with a large scar on his face there almost had taken his left eye back when it was made. He has blue eyes and short brown hair, like most others of this class, he has a dog daemon, his is a German Shepherd. This Elite Soldier looks up from the map on the oak tree table, turning his full attention on the two middle ranked members. "Heavy, reports say your team got destroyed about five months ago. Both your Soldiers, the Demoman and Scout survived—then the Scout's signal disappeared— presumably he died. A team of Nomad Sniper and Spy, both keeping to America gets an Engineer on their team. After my men had told them to find and dispose of the Alethiomist that has destroyed half of the teams across the globe. A month later they get themselves a Pyro after have been in the Amazon."

The Elite Spy, picks up a single paper, swiftly re-reading it. "According to the Nomad Sniper's reports, there had been an Intercision factory. They destroyed the place and got rid of the Alethiomist. Then they happen to find you and your Demoman." His blue eyes shift up to Heavy, however, what the man is thinking is a mystery, like any spy, the Elite is terrible good keeping his emotions hidden and in full control. "Have you seen or heard about any of them before?"

"No." Heavy answers truthfully, must admit that those four has been traveling a lot in such a short among of time.

The Elite Spy muses to himself and returns back to the report in his hands. "Let's see... oh, you got your remaining team members back— except the Scout, pity; reports on him were good." He eyes the two. "Not much of a consolation I know, but we had sat him as Elite potential."

"They didn't come here for a pity party." The Elite Medic says in a harsh tone, her green eyes hard but not icy as many would think. She is a strong woman, both in body but also mind, her long red braided hair is laid over her right shoulder, on the left lies her diamondback rattlesnake daemon.

The Elite Spy send her a look before continuing on this bit sketchy report. "Two weeks later and just arriving to shore of America; a Medic join your ranks." He puts down the papers, eyeing the two calmly yet firmly. "I have seen a lot of strange thing in my life and this is one of them, never before have I seen people with such great distance form a team this quickly. So you two better explain what exactly happened."

So Heavy starts telling him and the two other Elite about the first meeting with the nomad Sniper and Spy, how he has observed that they already knew the Engineer as they trusted the man fully. The Pyro, on the other hand, had been a newbie and thus still working on trust and their role on the team.

"Why are you calling the Pyro 'they?'" The Elite Medic asks, her rattlesnake daemon shifting position on her shoulder so he can get a better look at the two.

Heavy turns to her. "I do not know what Pyro's gender is; they do not take off the mask. All I know about them is they are unpredictable and deadly with their fire but very loyal to people on their side."

The Elite Medic frowns by this small report. "If this Pyro shows any negative changes: contact me immediately, understand?"

"I will." Heavy replies, his years of working for the Resistance has taught him many things, one of them is that if an Elite Medic asks for a medical report, then the one they asks better give it; especially if it’s Angel who is doing the command; she's not a woman someone should mess around with. There is a reason why her daemon is a venous snake.

"If that's all, continue." The Elite Soldier says after having giving Angel a small stare, which she returns almost defiant. Heavy chooses not to involve himself in whatever is going on between the two and returns back telling them about how the three asked them for help to save children from the Magisterium grip.
"So we finally found some of them." The Spy muses before gesturing the big man to continue.
Heavy then explains about the rescue mission, how they had to move sooner than expected when the Spy got caught and his meeting with the doctor there now has become their Medic. He did not tell the man that he had Medic's daemon under his care for two years, but he did tell the Elite that Medic is a son of a witch which made him a target by the Chuch and that was the reason the man joined them.

"Interesting." The Elite Spy muses with a gleam in his blue eyes, then sign Heavy to continue.

Heavy then tells them about Scout's death by Engineer's father's hands and how the Engineer confronted him to retrieve the body of Scout. The Elite Soldier daemon tense up there and bare her teeth in anger, the Elite Medic does look surprised while the Spy is a calm as always. Heavy gets the feeling they know his team's new Engineer family story, but like a certain Spy, he has decided not to let such baggage get in between the trust needed to stay as a strong team. He tells them about the gas attack, them losing fourteen children to both the gas but also gunshots as the gas forced a separation. The children panicked when Soldier and Demo tried taking them another route out from the Facility when their planned route was blocked by the gas. He tells them how Medic saved eight of the poisoned children plus his life willingly; the reason why he offered that man a spot as a team Medic. He then explains how the team had at first decided to split up after they had returned the children, but changed their minds and decided to become a team.
Then to both his surprise, the Elite Soldier tells— no command him. "I'm fine you form a new team but you better find yourself another Engineer, Pyro and Spy."
It does make his two fellow Elite send the man odd looks. Like Solder and Heavy, caught by surprise.

This is the first time Heavy hears about this, usually, the people in the Resistance can decide on their own which people they will work together with as a team, as long as there are not more than one of the same class. The higher ups only guide people to teams that need a certain class, that's how Demo and his team's former Sniper joined. "This is not how it works." He argues the Elite Soldier with the codename Assault, he's a brilliant strategist but Heavy does not like how he at times look down on people. This Elite Soldier won't gather population points from Heavy for this. "They wanted to join my team and I agreed." And Assault can't come and say he doesn't know better, Heavy has been in Team Fortress Resistance long enough to know every single rule, plus he has the honor holding a certain... perk, one there makes sure his words will be heard by the Elite.

And Assault knows this, and he respects Mikhail's strength in battle, that's why he feels like he has to warn him. "Do you have any idea who they are?" He asks the man, snapping at the Elite Spy when the man opens his mouth to argue. "Save it Shade, I don't want to hear one of your lectures." The spy with the codename of Shade closes his mouth but does not look happy about this. Assault turns back to Mikhail. "The Engineer is the son of Frank Conagher; the head engineer for the Magisterium. The Pyro— from how you explained it; is unpredictable and dangerous, I know that type well and it's only a matter of time before that one snaps and goes on a killing spree. And lastly—"

"Assault don't you dare." Angel warns him, her rattlesnake daemon starts to shake his rattle in warning.

But the Elite Soldier ignores her, he thinks the agreement Shade made to this ex-Magisterium spy is beyond stupid and dangerous. It's only a matter of time before that one turns on them. "Your spy has practically grown up working for the Magisterium, he is the student of Grey's personal master spy. A man calling himself Viper." To his small surprise, only this eagle daemon Soldier was startled hearing this.

"I know." Heavy replies calmly, Engineer told him his connection to the Magisterium through his father and he heard what Viper said to Spy when that man caught him. But it does not matter where they came from, their actions spoke louder than any words. "And they will stay on my team." He notices that Shade smiles hearing this. Like Cyro, Heavy knows this Elite Spy. Shade is and is without a doubt in Heavy's mind the best spy in the world. No one, not even the other Elite members know Shades face, for all Heavy knows this form standing before him can be yet another of the man's many disguises.
"Let him keep those three." Shade tells Assault, having a tone Heavy recognizes from the man.
Shade is not the type of person that lets matters drop, especially when it comes to the Resistance. The codename Unity would suit Shade better, for this spy is the closest thing anyone can get on the embodiment of what the Resistance is all about. Rumors have it this spy was born into the resistance, Heavy has his doubts that's the case but then again, everything possible when it comes to Shade.

Assault opens his mouth to argue but before he can, one of the assistant walks into the room and hands Shade a report before leaving again. The Spy reads it and says to the two team members. "The Spy you worked together with has requested a base, and asked if the Scout from team 51 can train another new member." He turns to the two with a mischievous smile. "If you keep this up you can resupply our loses at the end of this year."

"Spy found a Scout?" Heavy blinks, turning to Soldier. The other man grins. "Must be the city boy, Scout did vote he was a good candidate for the class."

Angel quirks a smile of this news and returns to the map on the table, she easily finds their new base where they can train their newest members. "Gather your team Heavy, you are going to Teufort." Turning her green eyes to the big man with the bear daemon. "It will be your base for operations. There are minor problems there you can take care off but your main objective is team building."

Still grumpy about the two others choice letting those three stays, but must admit defeat about the subject for now. So instead Assault tells those two-second mark members. "When you find your teamwork fitting for missions. Ships are bringing weapons to several Magisterium bases, reports reveal they are docking in New York." And it has become a grave problem after the destruction of so many of the teams. At least that soon to be traitor spy did get rid of that Alethiomist.

Heavy nods and when sure they have nothing else to say, he signs to Soldier it is time to leave.

With them out the Medic turns to Assault, like Shade not approving on his choice revealing certain things about their members. "What's gotten into you? Have you forgotten the solemn promise we made not to reveal personal information to other members unless they give their consent or if they have turned traitor?"

Assault waves her off, unlike most members of the Resistance, he does not consider women equal to men. The only reason he even tolerates Angel is that she has proven her skills in the medical field, still, he does not think it's good for a woman's mind to get this high ranked. As Angel clearly shows; it is getting to her head. "You would've done the same if you have—"

"Come with that bullshit again and I will leave you to die the next time you take a bullet!" Angel retorts, her daemon hisses loudly down to the German Sherperd there growls back. The red-haired woman steps over towards the soldier, completely ignoring his glaring. "You broke protocol Assault, you broke the trust every member have on us, you broke the promise you would threat every member taking on the shirt as an equal! I do not want to see any more of the teams die because of incompetent choices!" and she storms out from the room.

Assault snorts. "Women." She— no one has seen what he has. This is war, not a hospital as she likes to think it is.

"She got a point." Shade remarks calmly, hiding the cold disappointment he truly feels. He eyes the Elite Soldier. "You broke protocol telling Heavy about that Spy's dossier."

"It was necessary, he needed to know what he was dealing with."

"Not really." Shade says, Assault eyes his a bit confused so he explains the clearly not that smart man. "The spy has been on our side for almost twenty years, if he was a traitor, I would've known about it. I promised him not to reveal his past because he is ashamed of it and the Engineer: well according to Miss Pauling; Dell Conagher hates it when others only see his family name and not the person before him."

"Your point?" Assault asks impatiently for Shade to just say it.

Shade rolls his eyes but does comply. "My point is; they will not turn against us. The resistance has what they want and that is comradely and respect. Respect you broke." He remarks, crossing his arms, his daemon stares disappointed at the dog- who pretends she isn't there. "I will need to take this up with the others and discuss a suitable punishment."

Assault is dumbfounded hearing that. "You can't be serious!"

Oh he is very serious about this. "We may be the generals of Team Fortress but that does not put us above the laws our predecessors made." Shade says and with that, he leaves Assault to his own thoughts, Shade closes the door after himself and heads to the main room of the Headquarters.

"A penny for your thoughts."

Shade turns to Angel, she is still in bit of a sour mood but fortunately is quick to recover from her anger outbursts. He glances back to where Assault still resides; hopefully putting a lit on that annoying superiority the man has ever since he became an Elite. "If he dosesn't start working with us soon, then I have to suggest we demote him to find a new Elite Soldier. This power is getting to his head." And it can cost them the whole Resistance if one of the Elite suddenly goes all power mad.
He and Angel pass by the Elite Engineer going by the codename Cypher, the Nordic man looks up from his work, knowing that look on Shade's face. "What happened this time?" A snort from Angel is all he needs. The man sighs. "Good lord... I am starting to think Lance didn't think when he chose this one as the next Elite Soldier." and leaves the two.

Angel turns to Shade with a small frown on her face. "Cypher got a point, but even though I am pissed at Assault, we do need his battlefield experience. We should we call for a meeting."

"Agree. " Shade nods, for like an assassin, he has a code and one of them is never to break an allied member's trust. "He was lucky Heavy already knew about this. Try and think how those three would feel knowing that no team would have them because of their past. I do not want any person in this army to think they are any different from the others. Who we were before taking on the uniform should not matter, with the uniform on we are part of a team and the actions we do there is all that matters, all you should be judged on."

Ahh yes, Shades really loves talking about this unity of the many teams, why he refuses to let anyone without a mark getting any special treatment. A newcomer is a newcomer in Shade's eyes and he does not care if that newcomer was a former Magisterium soldier or a beggar. All that mattered was what they do in the Resistance and if anyone, let it be a first mark or Elite breaks the rules. Shade firmly believes that retribution must be made. Angel must admit that this old cat's way of thinking has kept the Resistance together and even made it easy for teams to meet up on bigger missions. Stories go the teams couldn't do that when the First Nine formed the Resistance. She would hate seeing Shades hard work uniting the many teams into one giant force would break just because Assault has a problem with the members there decides to join.
A problem they need to correct before things gets out of hand, last thing this greatly weaken Team Fortress need is a torn Elite force. "Let's make the meeting"

Shade nods and asks Cypher to call for their three members currently out in the field.

___

In the desert, Medic and the female Soldier waits slightly impatiently along with this purple dressed Pyro, who hasn't moved from this strange door device and refusing them getting near it. The Pyro only moves when the device activates again and the Heavy and Soldier steps back out.
"What happened?" Medic asks, but the purple dressed Pyro beat down that question with: "You have not yet proven yourself for such answers. Prove your loyalty and answers will come."

Cryo turns to Heavy and Soldier. "Good luck." He packs the device and with no further words leaves the group as if this whole deal did not happen. Returning back to his truck, Cyro turns on his intercom and starts frowning deeply what Cypher tells him over the intercom. Being one of the oldest Elite Cryo knows for a fact that it's a really bad idea the Elite is not working together, especially not in a war like this.

Only having a faint idea of the drama happening inside the Elite group but deciding he has enough to deal with in form of his own team, Heavy heads back to the truck. "Come, we have much to do."

"The longer I stay the more I realize there is more to this organization..." Medic muses, he and countless other working for the Magisterium has always thought the Resistance was only pockets of people around the globe, just barely being in contact with one another. But it appears that is not the truth. Explains why it has been so hard for the Magisterium getting rid of the Resistance even when they had an Alethiomist. He, along with the two Soldiers returns back to the car with the Heavy.

Chapter Text

Back in Texas, Dell has bought supplies for the travel back to whatever will come for him and his two friends next, they all decided to join Heavy's team but Dell has no idea what that will bring. All he has known is helping teams on the sideline and he's not sure if Lawrence and Antoine would thrive in a group after have been what the Heavy had called Nomad style for years. Also, what about Keahi?Dell turns around, watching the woman play a crane game with his son and his friends. He is happy seeing them both getting along so well, yet he can't help but think what will happen to her if she hadn't decided to join Heavy's team. Keahi does not have a family she can return back to from what he has gathered, and if Heavy's had refused her because of her quite... unhinged personality, the rules demanded them to abandon her, but leaving her behind can be very disastrously if the Magisterium realizes she has an uncanny ability reading an Alethiometer flawlessly. So, yes, it is good Heavy agreed in letting her join. At least with a team she will be more or less safe and if they end up captured, then the chance the Magisterium figuring out she can real and Alethiometer is slim as they most of the time kills a Team Fortress member on the spot.

Speaking of team, they should leave before his dad comes on an unwanted visit, or ex his realizes he has been around Logan these past two days.
Dell heads over to the group, just as Keahi got that fat pink unicorn plushie she has been fishing after. The three boys all give her an odd stare, which she of course completely ignored; too busy being excited she finally got the thing.
Dell can't help but laugh at the whole scene, no matter how much he watches her, Keahi can still take him by surprise. If that's a good thing or not he is still debating.
"Having fun boys?" He asks Logan friends.

They nod and one of them remarks. "Your girlfriend is weird, but cool too." Turning to Keahi now cheering while her otter daemon play-fights the unicorn plush, while not long ago told them the awesome story how she got the scar on her arm— unbeknown to them; that story was the friendly vision.
Dell smiles. "Glad to hear it, but she's just a friend." He corrects the boy before he turns to Logan. "It's getting late, better get you boys home."

"Aw... do we have to?" Logan asks disappointing, he hasn't gotten this much excitement for a long time. Mother and grandfather only take him to educational places they consider best for his future: which is him following the family tradition of becoming the head engineer for the Magisterium.

"Sadly yes." Dell replies softly, he can't stay much longer without dragging attention to the fact that Logan has been seeing him instead of only been with his friends his ex-wife believes at the moment. He signs the boys and they follow him back to the truck. Keahi follows them not long after.

After have returned Logan friends back to their homes, Dell drives back to the house, making sure he is out of sight but when Logan ensures him his mother won't be home before an hour. "She's seeing someone else." He explains and leaves the truck.
Trying not to feel pity for whoever his former wife is seeing, Dell eyes Keahi. "Stay here." She nods and he follows Logan back into the house.
They both heads into Logan's room, where the boy sits down on the bed, watching his father standing at the door. "Are you leaving?" He asks sadly.

"Yes." Dell answers him, also feeling sad leaving his boy but he needs to do this. "My team needs me."

"I need you too..."

"I know."

Logan watches his father's daemon nuzzle Celandia in a sad manner, he hesitates but asks as he knows he will keep thinking about it if he doesn't. "Why did you join them?" He looks up to his father with the same blue eyes. "Why do you fight against the Church? I mean, the world is in peace." He weakly argues, for other than being in constant war with the terrorist- those his father now has joined. There is no major war in the world the Church has created.

Dell walks into the room and sits down beside his son, he lets out a small sigh before he answers the two very important questions. "Well, you are one of the reasons to why I fight."

" Me?" Logan blinks.

Dell nods. "Yeah, I want the best possible future for you— for all the children. The Church has just too tight a grip on people, around the nature of our daemon. I admit that I do not know and probably never going to know the true nature of our daemons. But in my time with the resistance, I learned that there are people out there who do their Settling differently, some go on a spiritual journey, others fight the animal they want their daemon to settle into." Dell puts his left hand on his son's shoulder. "The Church wants us to believe that their way is the only way. It's just my thought but I think they should not dictate our future by making the daemon turn into the form they find most suitable for their "perfect world." This grip on people's daemon has left its mark on me." He eyes Naria, she turned into a beaver long before he ever realized who he was as a person. He is trapped in what his father wanted him to become. "It is too late to change that. But not for you." He gently but still firmly squeeze Logan's shoulders. "Do not let your mother and grandfather— heck no one should decide what you or anyone want to do with their life. We should all have the freedom in choosing our own path; that is what I am fighting for."

"Dad?"

"Yes?"

"I... I don't want Celandia to settle into a beaver..." Logan lowers his gaze, feeling really disrespectful saying that but he fears so much that Celandia is destined to take that form. Grandfather keeps saying that and there is nothing he can do about it, and Logan hates that very fact.

Dell smiles softly, for to be completely honest. "Neither do I."

That makes Logan look up, blinking at what his father has just said. "You don't?" His father shakes his head, saying; "I want her to take the form you want her to become; when the time comes." He smiles that affection smile that always makes Logan feels wanted. "Whatever her form will be, I will be proud of you."
Logan hugs him, so happy someone- let alone his father has ensured him that it is more than okay if he does not follow that old family tradition. His father wraps his arms around him and this time the robot hand did not bother him.

They sit like this for a minute or two, before Dell has to force himself away from his boy. "... I have to go." He muses sadly, "Remember what I told you." He smiles and slowly leaves the room.

"Dad wait."

Dell turns, blinking when Logan takes his favorite teddy bear and hands it to him. "I want you to have Roosebelt." One he got under his baptism and has been his most cherished toy ever since. This teddy bear has red overalls, goggles, and a yellow hardhat, pretty much a bear engineer but Logan still loves the darn thing. Dell takes the old and bit worn Teddy Roosebelt, the memories of how the plushie got its name still brings a smile to his face. Logan had been about five years old when he told him and his wife that the bear's name was after the president, except the boy has mispronounced the name but Dell found it so funny and adorable that he never corrected the boy so the name stuck.
Dell knows that Logan would not give him this beloved toy as a goodbye present, no it was sort of Logan's way ensuring he will return. Dell smiles weakly down at his son. "I'll be sure to return him."

"Good." Logan muses and with one last hug, he does his very best not showing any tears as he watches his beloved father drives away. He does let them fall when the truck is gone, the dread that this will perhaps be the last time he sees his father is just too much for his young mind. Still, Logan wants to be strong for his father, so he won't shed any tears or tell his mother or grandfather anything what has happened these past two days.

In the truck, Dell stares at the engineer teddybear for several minutes, considering many ways he can bring this plushie around without harming it, but also will get reminded of the promise he made Logan. Finally, he comes to a simple conclusion, one that also will force him to be careful when out on the battlefield. He empties his ammo pouch and puts the teddy bear down there, making sure it won't fall out when running around. When sure it won't he returns back to the road, that until he notices that Keahi is looking curiously at the teddy bear. Guess he might as well explain her. "Logan gave it to me as a promise I will return it back to him."

"I will help you keep it." She replies, having a bit deeper meaning than just making sure the toy gets back home. Dell seems to understand that and gives her a smile but otherwise does not say anything, merely returning his attention back to the road.
He does glance down to the Walkie-Talkie when Sniper's voice suddenly calls for his response. Keahi hesitates to take it, still worried who else might be listing on Sniper's side.

Seeing that, Dell stops the truck and grabs the Walkie-talkie. "Engie, here." He responses to the call, figuring using his real name won't be a good idea.

"About time you got into range." Sniper replies with a somewhat relieved but also annoyed tone. Sounds like he has been trying to get the hold on them for a while. "We're been commanded to a base located near a town called Teufort. It's near the edge of Texas's borders."

Engineer grabs the map and when he finds the town, "Alrighty then, We'll see you there." and after Sniper has ended the call. Engineer turns the truck towards the new location.

 

***
Heavy and his team is the first to arrive at their new base for the next couple of months, the base- or fort seems to have been a sort of mill before being abandoned by the locals. Heavy steps out to the bridge connecting the mill to the small factory on the other side, out from the corner of his eyes Heavy notices that this place has a sewer big enough for a human going through if they decide jumping down into the dirty water. If they are ever going to protect this place, he does not want any surprises. "Soldier." He calls, no need pointing out who he is referring to. If he calls at the female Soldier he would have spoken in their mother language. Soldier walks up to him and Heavy points at the sewers. "We should—" and before he can finish the sentence, Soldier has head dived into the water, when surfacing from the very dirty water, he declares almost proudly. "I will figure out where they lead, I got you covered!" and begins heading through the sewers with his eagle daemon flying up ahead.
Heavy turns to Sasha with a raised brow, he was going to say they should check it out from inside their bases and maybe block them off but like many times before; Soldier acts before he thinks. Sometimes a good thing while other times; not so much. Like many other times when this has happened, Heavy shrugs it off and after have told his sister and Medic to check the other side, he heads into the base from above.

Inside the old granary, Heavy doesn't find much, only a few things the former team had left behind. Sasha takes the shotgun ammunition box from the ground and places it on a crate where a broken shotgun lies. She notices something and calls her human's attention, Heavy follows her towards the place, scratching his chin when standing outside in a courtyard. It looks like it has been smaller but past teams did not agree on that as they have removed an outer wall and expanded with the field lying outside. It is quite exposed but it seems not many people take a walk out in the surrounding scrub desert. This somewhat barren is however been turned into something useful by having a training course and a shooting range.
"/I can see why Angel wanted us here./" Sasha remarks, this place is practically built for training new members.
Heavy merely nods.

"Hey Heavy, come and check what I found!" Soldier's voice calls from downstairs.

Heavy follows the voice and a bit to his surprise find more signs of updates from former teams, a whole section of the mill has been removed, replace with computers and a single map somewhat familiar to the one the Elite has back at Headquarters, except this map did not show the locations of Resistance members. That is understandable, they can't risk such exposure if the Magisterium suddenly decides to claim this base. Going to the underground area, Heavy finds the living rooms to nine people along bath, kitchen, heck even a fine sized infirmly is located here.
Heavy has been at many bases, but this base is one of the better ones he must admit.

"I will begin the schedule for training." Soldier says beside him, already searching his pockets for his notebook while Liberty holds a pen in her beak. "For everyone. We need to know each other's strength if we have to succeed in the upcoming mission." He finds his notebook and starts writing what needs his attention in the coming hours.

Heavy nods, he always can count on Soldier giving the whole team the workout. "I will check on what supplies we need."

"I will hand you a list when I know what weapons and ammunition we lack." Soldier replies.

___

Days later the rest of the team has arrived and they have already inserted themselves into this new base. Yet the training did not begin right away, they still needed some people. Fortunately, they arrive after a week of waiting.
Heavy shake hands with the team 51's leader: a Scout with a soldier's attitude and someone he happens to have heard about, much to the man's surprise.

"You know about me?" Scout asks, he didn't know the resistance members across the ocean know about him. He hasn't really done anything to get attention from the Headquarters and the Magisterium can't have spread that many rumors around them as he has always kept his team out of sight when attacking their target. But apparently, he hasn't been that quiet as thought if this Heavy knows about him.

Heavy nods. "Yes, my former team Pyro sometimes spoke about you. He often joked you are what happens if a Scout and a Soldier got a child."

"Did he now?" Scout laughs, yet still can't place when he met another team's Pyro. He has helped to recruit several people over the two years he has been a member, and the faces have a tendency melting together. "Well, he got that right!" He smirks to the Heavy and glances over to Engineer having a drink with the female Soldier. "Maybe when I'm old and slow I'll take the Soldier class more to heart, but right now; I stick to leave them in the dust." Speaking of this Heavy. "Oh and I happens to know about you as well." He smiles up to the huge man, someone who will stand out no matter what he does, not that this Heavy bothers if the stories about him are correct. "Not many people in the resistance, let alone in the world has a bear for a daemon."

"Only what you heard?"

"Nah, most stories go that your team leaves the scene with a lot of dead Magisterium soldiers lying around. Subtlety is not your strongest suit, it seems."

Heavy let out his rumble of a chuckle. "I do not like being all sneaky, never worked for me."

Scout smirks then turn to the training area where Soldier is already busy playing the drill sergeant by putting everyone to run the training course which did highly amuse this scout, even if he hates his past as a Magisterium soldier, he does have a few fond memories of when he and his fellow soldiers bonded through training. Unfortunately, most of them are soured by the propaganda the Church kept throwing at them during that time, but that training taught him a lot of things that have helped him survive countless times in this war. Scanning the members, Scout right away spots the one he has been called to teach, it is the smallest but fastest of them all. He does frown when noticing that scout candidate is having a bit of an attitude problem, a surfacing arrogance there will cause a lot of issues if not taken care off. "I would like to train your new Scout on my own."

"Of course." Heavy nods, not at all surprised by this request. Older and more experience classes have always trained never ones, best if they are from the same class for a Heavy cannot train a Sniper properly, any fool can see that. "That's why we asked for you."

"Yeah, for all I know with this Team Fortress genocide the Magisterium has been doing lately I might be the last experienced Scout out here— does the Elite even have a Scout anymore?" Scout asks, must admit his knowledge about the best team of Team Fortress is very limited. He has only met Cryo back when he got his second mark and thus allowed to lead a team.

Heavy shrugs, not sure if that one survived the genocide. "If he survived then the Elite Scout is Zeus, I have only met him once." and that was doing a mission at the edge of Berlin. Heavy got the impression that man liked the thrill of high-risk missions.

"Zeus huh? Like in the Greek god of the sky? Sounds like someone to be reckoned with, unlike Newbie over there." Scout remarks and leaves Heavy's side with; "Send him up to the battlement when he's done showing off his running skills."

__

After training Nathan heads up to the battlement as told by Soldier, where he finds a man in the late twenties resting up against the wall while cleaning his dog tags. His grey fox daemon is standing near the edge, checking the area for something. One look and Nathan realizes this man has the same logo as the one that died in Bristol.
"So you wanted to see me?" He asks this other scout.
The scout nods, not even looking at him for apparently his dog tags are way more interesting. "The spy thinks you have what it takes to become a scout." And when he does look at him with his blue eyes, Nathan just knows that impressing this man will be hard, more so when he says. "That remains to be seen, you might have the build and speed, but do you truly have what it takes to claim the title Scout?" This blue dressed scout steps away from the wall and very suddenly he and his daemon leap out from the battlement, startling Nathan as they are high enough for the scout to break both his legs if falling. But the scout does not fall to the ground, no he jumps and almost flies through the air before landing safely on the roof of the bridge. The blue scout turns around to face the flabbergasted Nathan. "Any person in the resistance taking the Scout class can make this jump. In time I will teach you."
But Nathan is confident he can do it now, he has been doing a lot of daring jumps back in Boston; why should this be any different? "I can do it." He tells the Scout and readies himself for the jump.

The Scout's daemon rolls her eyes with the man crosses his arms. "Then go ahead." Having a single thought about this cocky attitude this kid is showing: he might as well let this one learn the hard way and get a good laugh about it.

Nathan is more than ready showing this Scout that he is not an ordinary one, that he is born to this class! He takes a runup before leaping out towards the bridge— and fails spectacularly. He splats into the edge of the roof before he falls flat onto the ground, crying in pain from dislocating his foot from the incredible disgraceful landing. He does not feel any better when Scout is laughing at him from the bridge's roof. The scout jumps down beside him, still smiling very amused by his agony. "Well, you certainly don't lack confidence. And with you wounded, it gives the perfect training for your other team's newest recruit: Medic!" The last he calls into the building and not long after Medic walks out. one look at the scene and the German starts fixing up Nathan, rolling his eyes when the young man starts swearing from the pain.
"Oh, don't be such a baby." Medic tells him and when done he straightens up, turning to the grinning Scout. "I suggest you try not making him fall off the roof again."

Scout nods. "Thanks for the aid doc, and don't worry, I won't make him leap anymore today." He turns back to the recruit, his blue eyes turn hard and drop the smile, for now, it's time to be serious with this wannabe showoff. "And Newbie; when I tell you're not ready: you fucking better listen!!" The recruit flinches from the anger steaming out from him and he better remember this for if he makes a jump he's not ready for somewhere else: "Taking a jump like that without knowing what you are doing is incredibly stupid and if that has been somewhere else you wouldn't have ended with a measly dislocated foot but left in a basket!" Scout points angrily at the bridge before whacking the kid over the head, not hard enough for it to hurt, but Scout is not out to hurt the recruit, only making his point clear. "Try and think the next time before you leap!"

Nathan lowers his head from this one's hard lecturing, and Medic watching him with that hard calculating look of his... man, he wishes he could disappear right now....
That evening, Nathan limps back to where his team living quarters are located. Even if Medic could've healed his wound completely, the doctor has refused to heal the strained foot as this was made out of stupidity. Nathan does wonder if he made the right choice, for apparently, he is not as good for this class as he thought.
"Giving up already?" Nalini taunts him, she is not happy he is having second thoughts after the humiliation they both got today.
Nathan shoots her a glare. "No! I can do this." He will show that scout, he will leap over to that bridge and prove Scout he has what it takes. "I got it, in no time I will be jumping over all kind of edges."
The dog shaped Nalini smirks up at him. "Atta boy, that moron better sees our talent before we leave him in the dust." Shaking her body, she turns into her swallow form since she too is dealing with a hurting foot. "Can you go to De- I mean Engineer and let him take a look at the foot, for the pain is driving me insane!"
But Nathan will not go to Dell, if he does then he might have to explain how he got this injury and the man will probably just lectures him— not to mention anyone else will laugh at him. It is one thing getting beaten up by a psychopath such as Viper but it's an entirely different thing when he gets hurt by a misplaced jump. "He'll just laugh at me." He tells her, sure hopes the foot will be fine tomorrow as Scout has booked that whole day— along with any other with obstacle training. "I can walk it off."
Nalini did not believe Dell would make fun of Nathan for this, but she can see he's not in the mood seeing the engineer, so she lets it drop. "It better or I am going bird all day tomorrow." She grumbles and follows him back to his bedroom.

Chapter Text

Up in the highest tower of the base, laughter can be heard. Both of the Snipers from the teams have been putting up a nest up there, doing target practice while sharing hunting stories. The Sniper from Australia has just told his Californian comrade about how he killed a kangaroo that made such a spectacular roll in the air that he almost wet himself in mere laughter.
"That must've been some sight, eh?" The other Sniper snickers and corrects his cape before aiming at the targets down below. "Reminds me of the time of where I shot a salmon right out of a bear's mouth." He shoots the tin can off the plank with one of his arrows. "You should have seen its face, it was like 'where the hell did my fish go?'" Turning to his Aussie comrade. "I didn't know a bear could get such a face."

"I do, that's my team's Heavy's face if someone is brave and stupid enough stealing his sandwich." Sniper says and is not sure if he should feel very amused or disturbed by that fact. "He loves his bloody mediocre lunch that's for sure."

"Did he chase that someone who took his lunch down the whole river as well?" The Canadian asks, watching his team's Heavy put back up the tin cans down below.

"Nah, he breaks your spine and eats your daemon for lunch."
And both men burst into laughter, unaware they got an audient.
After the Heavy has gone far enough away from the cans, Sniper aims at the newly set targets down below as his comrade says still chuckling. "The spine makes a brilliant story, the other thing..."
"A bloody embarrassing one." The Aussie finishes for him with a grin and shoots the target, it flies off the plank and he turns to the other Sniper. "and shooting shitty tin cans does not makes up for an interesting story either, mate. I feel I'm getting worse."

The other Sniper shrugs. "Hey, not all can shoot a target 60 miles away." He sure heck can't, arrows aren't meant to shoot that far, that's why they asked Heavy to set up cans close enough for his choice of weapon. Big guy doesn't seem to mind have gotten such a tedious task, though.

Letting out a huff the Aussie puts his rifle down. "It would've been impressive if it was a moving target." By the movement of his daemon, he follows her stare and glances to the door, noticing movements at the corner and years of training (and surviving) with Antoine has taught him a lot about spies and their hunting style. He sighs. "Stop hiding and get out from the shadows... bloody spook." He mumbles annoyed that Antoine still hasn't gotten over the habit of not ear-dropping on people. His fellow Sniper turns to the door as well and his bobcat daemon heads towards the door, stepping back when a rabbit greets him, much to Lawrence surprise. Moments later Nathan appears, scratching his arm sheepishly from being caught ear-dropping.
Lawrence narrow his eyes slightly. "Going spy on us Newbie?" He asks the kid. Nathan hasn't earned the title Scout just yet and his father has already told him not to share his name with the others. It took the boy a while to understand why. So now everyone calls him Newbie, much to Nathan's huge annoyance.

Nathan looks annoyed away. "No." He grumbles.

The Californian Sniper puts down his bow with a smile as his daemon returns back to her spot at the window. "Let me guess, Scout is giving you a hell of a time. Don't worry; he's like that to everyone." Adding to his Aussie companion. "I heard Scout gave him one hell of a time for not being able to make some of the stunts the class is known for. Not that–"

"I can do it!" Nathan snaps angrily, he has been training with the Scout for three weeks by now but all the training is doing is making him angry. The other scout keeps training him in the same stupid stuff, always expecting him to mess up. "And when I do; I will prove that smug bastard that I am better than him, just you wait!"

The bobcat daemon titles her head slightly, her human turns his gaze to the outside. "Eyes on the prey, not the horizon." The Californian Sniper says in that calm voice of his. The Kingdom of Auister Sniper nods to him in agreement from that small statement.

Nathan eyes the man as if he has grown two heads. "Sorry, but I do not speak sniper." He snorts and runs off, not even sure why he came up here in the first place. Maybe in the hope, the snipers would ensure him he is doing a good job. He doesn't really know, all he knows that he feels like everyone is looking down on him. "I don't even know why I am speaking with you two campers." His voice can be heard down the stairs.

Lawrence and his fellow sniper eye one another and in a shared agreement, they both sigh. "Scouts." The Aussie muses, returning back to the target practice. "Always letting their emotions get the better of them."
The Canadian Sniper leans up against the wall beside him, playing a bit with one of his arrows. "And according to that line of thought, we snipers are the cozy campers. Perhaps it's true the two us needs a bonfire and a tent, and we're all set camping up here with our hunting stories, eh?"
Lawrence gives him a look and after a moment of silence, they both start laughing.

__

Nathan heads to the room Dell has claimed as his workshop, the room looks very much alike to the one he had back in Boston and like there the man is in full swing building something; except this time his helper is that person everyone calls Pyro. And so far Dell and his own father are the only ones who understand that mumbling fella. "I'm sure they will like whatever you make." The engineer tells the Pyro with his usual smile. The masked person mumbles something, making the man look at them with mouth open for a moment before he starts laughing. "That's going to one heck of a sight!" and returns back to work still chuckling.
Nathan hesitates for a moment, he has been so busy with his training that he hasn't spent much time around his old boss. It feels a bit strange not being the one helping Dell with his buildings, no... he feels replaced, replaced by this... thing.
Nalini looks worried up to him, but he's not in the mood to hear what she has to say. Well, might as well make his appearance. Nathan knocks on the doorframe, making both engineer and freak look at him.

Dell gives Nathan a smile, pleasured surprised to see him here. "How's training been doing?" He takes the screwdriver Naira hands him, screwing a frame onto his newest invention. "We don't see the two of you much throughout the days."

And there is a reason for that, Scout has a tendency training him different places, last time it was at a construction site where he almost got a metal frame in his face. Almost dying he could take, getting yelled at by the scout how worthless he is in the other hand... not the scout's exact words but for Nathan, it felt that way.
"It's been going great." Nathan replies, smiling as wide as he can, not really want to admit that the training is going horrible and he feels like he's stuck doing the same thing: and that's failing even the simplest tasks.
"Soon I'll be kicking all kind of Magisterium butt and they wouldn't even know I did it!"

Pyro looks back to him. "(Not from what Scout says.)" and turns back to Dell, he too knows the boy is lying, except he knows it because he has been Nathan boss and friend for years. "Boy, what is really troubling ya?" He asks Nathan, taking off his welding goggles in a sign of how serious he really is about this subject.

And Nathan knows that from personal experience. He wants to share this to Dell, but not so long Pyro is around, but like many others on the base; he has no idea what can make this one aim that flamethrower or their hellhound of a daemon at his face.

"Py, could you give us a moment?" Dell asks the firebug, and Pyro leaves with no complaints. She closes the door after her and unbeknown to the two; sits in the room leading to the workshop; making sure no one else will disturb them. With the third person out, Dell signs Nathan to sit. "Well?"

Nathan sighs and does take a seat. "It's just... no matter how much I try, nothing seems good enough for Scout— it's like he wants me to fail!" Not once has Scout praised his work, only mocked him for how bad he is. He think he preferred Vipers training, at least that guy could see talent in him. Nalini strokes her head against his leg in hope to cheer him up, but even she is angry as the fur on her neck is showing.

Dell- heck pretty much everyone knows why Nathan keeps failing, but so far Nathan hasn't heard their words. Maybe his words can get through that stubborn head of his. "Of course he doesn't want that."

"Oh yeah?" Nathan turns angrily at him, although he isn't really angry at Dell, not sure what he is angry at really. "How do you know? You aren't been training by him." Dell's machines have been praised by the team as far as Nathan knows, so it's not like he is dealing with such problems.

"No, Soldier has been training him." Naira replies dryly, scratching her ears. "My ears still ring from the last time..." That man can shout to the point of ridicules.
Dell chuckles down to her. "I'll try and see if I can invent a mute switch to him." He turns back to the dumbfounded Nathan and is very amused by this.

"Soldier been training you?"

"Yeup."

"In what?" Nathan asks and gestures at the many metal parts to future machines lying around. "No one is better building machines out of scrap like you."

He very much appreciates the praise, but this is not about him but Nathan's problem to why he's not getting anywhere with the training. Dell nods towards his shotgun lying on another working table. "In my aim, gotten better with his help."
"Yeah at least now you can hit something" Naira teases him, Dell gives his grinning daemon a friendly shove. "I ain't that bad." Turning back to the still quite dumbfounded Nathan. "and your old man has been teaching Medic in some basic hand-to-hand combat. So you see, you're not the only one going through some training."

Okay, so he's not the only one but that does not change the main issue. "Then why does he keep beating me down?" Nathan asks by waving his hand annoyed. "Why can't he see I got what it takes?!"

Dell crosses his arms. "Well, you haven't exactly been taking his training to heart."

"What's that suppose to mean?" Nathan asks, feeling quite offended by that remark. He hasn't been dealing with Scout's yelling for the fun of it.

Naira rolls her eyes, it seems they have to spell it out for him. "It means you are too busy showing off than actually listen to what he is trying to teach you."

Nathan blinks, yet still not entirely sure where this came from, he listens to the scout. "All he does is yelling at me." and not seeing he has the skill, but even when he does something right, the scout still lectures him that wasn't the correct way.

"Nathan." Dell learns forward, his eyes hard. "He yells at you because you give him every reason to do it. You have what it takes- and yes you can become a great Scout, but skills are not what keeps you from claiming that title." He gets up from the chair, walking over to the worktable filled with all kind of weapons and most of them are not meant for his use. "This is not a one-man team Nathan, this is not about you or how much stronger you are compared to others." Dell gestures to the table filled with weapons. "Like anyone else, being on this kind of team is all about how you can aid the others with your skills. I aid them by building, you will aid them with your speed, so:"
"Bite down that pride of yours and learn from the scout." Naira tells Nathan hard. Dell nods in agreement with his daemon, he turns back to his work. "Now go out and prove you are worth that title."

Seeing the man has said what he wanted to say, Nathan leaves Dell for his work to the team. Must admit he feels quite embarrassed for not have realized that this is not like when he is teaming up with his brothers. That this is not getting to the goal first– He stops outside the room when he realizes that the Pyro has been sitting like a guard dog before the door. That's... quite unexpected. "Um.. thanks?" He says to the Pyro unsure.
The masked gives him a thumbs up and heads back to the workshop again.
Nalini flies upon his shoulders in her hawk form. "Dell might be right."
This is indeed not like back home where Nathan had self-taught himself pretty much everything in the past, none of his brothers had been good teachers and often left him behind. Nathan leaned at an early age that he better learn fast otherwise he would get left behind.
While here, everyone on the team should help one another, aid with whatever skill they bring to the fight.
He lets out a sigh, not really looking forward to this but... well as Dell said it; he has to bite down his own pride.
Nathan heads back to the other building where he left the scout after a rage quit, to his surprise he finds Scout talking with his father, which in itself is a bit of a strange sight. Scout doesn't really like his father, Nathan is not entirely sure why but he has the idea it's because his father is a very secretive person while Scout is a very blunt kind of guy; when something is bothering him, he says exactly what's on his mind. Nathan quickly learned about that side of him as he had dealt with Scout's at times hurtful remarks on what he did wrong. Then again, Nathan realizes he too threw some offending comments back to the man when the tempered flared, so...
Nathan may not know why those two are talking but he knows the only reason Scout and his father haven't tried to kill one another is because they are on the same team.
Whatever they talked about ends right away when the men's daemon sees him, the fox and ladder snake, like their humans seems very tense around one another.
"Um..." Nathan is not sure he wants to say what he should say with the two looking at him, both men he wants approval from and admitting this will make him look weak. Nalini headbutts him to speak what he came to say, taking a deep breath. "I'm sorry what I said about you earlier... I uh, look I really need your help with this." Nathan speaks to the two, not even trying to bother reading his father, he's hard enough to read without the mask.

Scout's eyes widen ever so slightly by the younger one's words, this is the first time the Newbie has been apologizing or even asking for help. He's suspicious right away about this sudden change in behavior. And with narrowed eyes. "And who made you say that?" He highly doubts Newbie here realized his own shortcoming so the only reason why Scout is not calling bull is because he can hear the genuine tone in Newbie's voice. So, the question; who on the base has guilt-tripped him in apologizing and asking for help at the same time? And how long before the egotistic brat he has been dealing with these past three weeks will return?
The kid is not the only one highly considering making a rage quit here, his will, however, have a lot more consequences though than this wannabe scout.

".... I spoke with the male Engineer." Nathan explains slowly.

Well, that is a pleasured surprise, he can ask the Engineer about what he did to handle this kid's annoying pride. That and the Spy has also given him some useful info how to make this work instead of giving him a bigger headache, the migraine he gets from Adara's wound is enough to deal with, thank you very much. "Humph, at least someone can get through that thick skull of yours." Ignoring the glare the Newbie sends him, Scout turns to the Spy. "Thanks for the talk." and leaves, expecting the Newbie to follow him.

Nathan does, and in the room leading to the training area, he asks the Scout curious. "What did you speak with Spy about?" Took him a while getting used to calling his father by that title.
The Scout eyes him, still with that angry scowl of his. "None of your concern Newbie, now; you know what to do." Nodding to the running course. Nathan rolls his eyes but starts running, not even looking back anymore; he knows the Scout is right behind him.

"Let's try this again, tell me the rules about the civilians," Scout says in a commanding tone.

Again Nathan rolls his eyes, annoyed he keep has to repeat these rules. "How many times do I have to say them?"

"Till you can say cipher them even when I wake you in middle of the night." Scout replies simply, and he will do it IF this brat starts showing his worth. "Now, rules of the Civilian."

"Do not harm a civilian, only in self-defense, but never kill. If we do then Headquarters will decide a suitable punishment.
If asking a civilian aid, we are only allowed to reveal the most basic information of the current mission. Never anything about the Resistance." Nathan summons up, he is pretty sure he got these rules by now, also still surprised the Resistance even has such rules.

"Good, at least you did listen this time." Scout remarks and after they have climbed over the wall, he asks. "And what happens if an enemy helps us by his free will?"

That one is probably the one he remembers the best. After all, this rule did enable Medic to join them and not get himself killed. "The rules of the civilian lands on them. Only if they start endangering the teams or the Resistance they return back as an enemy and the team may shoot them on sight." They leap over the poles placed over the track with ease and when running on a straight track again Scout asks him. "and what about the rules of a new member?"
That one Nathan can't even remember the beginning off, much to his embarrassment. "Umm..."

Scout lets out a sigh but does summarize this rule that still is in play with this young man. "If a civilian chooses to join the Resistance, the team that finds them is required to make sure the civilian is trustworthy if so the team shall train this person to fit one of the nine classes. If unable they must contact the Headquarters or other teams for aid. Any new members of a team shall know the rules of Team Fortress Resistance and go through required training for the chosen class. Only with former tasks complete and certain, they're trustworthy; they may receive the First Mark. If the new member fails in any of these tasks or proves untrustworthy; the team must abandon this person."

Nathan frowns at this rule, now that Scout said it he has heard it before but did shrug it off. With his ego down a perk, he can see that if he does not pull himself together then the team will throw him back home. Boy, that will not look good, his brothers nor his father will never take him seriously again.
"Am I... close to failing?" He asks Scout slowly and can't help but think he is currently doing a crazy allegory of an exam and the one giving him the grades wants a perfect score.

"If you don't soon get your shit together and starts working like a team member, then I have to tell the others that I won't have you on any team as I cannot trust you protecting anyone's back." Scout replies flatly, he eyes the younger man there almost cringe under his harsh words, not that this scout here cares. Such things need to be said in his mind. "Whatever gang they picked you up from might have accepted this one-man crap you have been doing, but not in the Resistance and especially not with so few of us." He leaps over another wall, when Newbie lands beside him he tells him something he has said several times before but only now this one is hearing them. "I won't let anyone die just because some snotty whelp wants to show off. If you want to continue this wannabe attitude you have been going, then do it in your gang. The Resistance does not have time to deal with shitheads like you."

Nathan has honestly no words to combat this, the truth in Scout's words stings, more so when he knows the Scout has warned him about it before but he kept brushing it off. He has reached the edge and the Scout is just about to abandon him at it to let him fall over.
"I won't let you down..." He muses, repeating the words when the Scout gives him a deadpan look. The older man lets out a snort. "I'll believe it when I see it."
The rest of the training course happens without further words. And when done the Scout tells Nathan to wash himself up and read up on the rules he got last week.
Nathan did what he was told without complaints, even though he wanted, he didn't dare after realizing how close he actually is to get kicked out.

Chapter Text

Everyone except one of the two teams sleeps in the base, the Aussie Sniper has been to many bases in his time as a resistance member, but very rarely he sleeps in the beds those bases have. He spends all his nights inside the airship Dell has built him, the silence from being completely alone is an appreciated welcome and greatly helps the sniper have the mentality of being around the louder members and most importantly; do his job as the team's sniper. Lawrence is also the first who wakes, 5 am sharp; a habit he got in his time when he lived out in the bush and one he probably never will get rid of. The sniper gets up from the bed and like every morning does his small routine by making himself some coffee, washing himself up while it is brewing and is done right the moment it is ready to drink. Taking his 1# Sniper mug, Lawrence sits down in the airship's living room with a day old newspaper, enjoying the alone time before he has to be part of the team again. He admits that official being part of a team again is quite the turnabout from how long he and Antoine have been nomad members. He quickly gets mentally tired around so many people but if they keep on respecting his need being alone when he asks, well he can make himself deal with this bunch.
He flips the page on the newspaper, glancing over the articles for something interesting.
His peaceful moment is broken though when he realizes someone has appeared in the room, usually, he can resist jumping when getting startled or having Laraine spots them before the intruder gets in close, but it's still early and neither he or his watchful daemon isn't fully awake just yet. So his fight and flight instincts get completely free reigns and for this man; the fight instinct always wins. Lawrence grabs the nearest object and hurls it straight at the intruder, to only realize who it is when the blue dressed spy lies on the floor, howling in pain from having gotten a half-full coffee cup thrown right at his face and getting all of the hot liquid over said face.
"Bloody hell Antoine! Don't sneak up on me like that!" Lawrence yells angrily at the spy on the floor. Of all people, Antoine should be the one knowing that sneaking up on him- especially in the morning is a really bad idea.
The man on the floor sits back up, trying desperately getting the boiling coffee off of him. "Get this off me!" He demands harshly, like the sharpshooter, angry at this outcome and once again reminded not to sneak up on the Aussie. Lawrence grabs a cloth from the kitchen and throws it to the spy, then first now realizes what he had actually thrown. "It better not have – aw piss..!" He grumbles and picks what has once been his coffee cup, now a puzzle of shards.

"Thanks for showing me such concern you backwater bushman." Antoine sneers, removing the mask as it has gotten soiled wet by that disgusting liquid Lawrence calls coffee.

Lawrence shots the for once maskless man a glare. "It's your own darn fault." He returns back to the table, putting his hand on his puffed up daemon in order to calm her- thus himself from this loss. The sniper eyes the shards, feeling worse by the second and soon reaching the boiling point, he slams his hand onto the table, hard enough to make Laraine jump. "What am I suppose to do now?! You bloody good for nothing stalker of a snake!"

Antoine returns the glare with his 'I don't care about your coffee mug' look. "It's a mug, get a new one the next town we visit." He returns his attention to the soiled mask, adding sullenly as he tries to wring the coffee out from it. "I'm sure there is someone out there who can boost your ego again with that self-proclaimed title."
He does forget all about his mask from the sniper's next words. "Dan made it for me!"
That has been enough to explain why Lawrence lost his temper over a simple mug, Antoine knows too well the feeling being far away from a loved one and only an object is there to remind him about them. Letting out a sigh, the spy sends his friend a sincere look. "I'm sorry I made you throw the mug. I shouldn't have snuck up on you." However, he knows he won't be forgiven for that old habit of sneaking up on someone this time from his old friend. Lawrence snorts and turns his back to him, returning back to the newspaper but it did not go unnoticed for the spy that the Aussie more than once glances to the shards still lying on the floor and seemly gets grumpier about it for every glance.
Well, coming here this early and asking the man for the favor seems very unlikely now.
Antoine lets out another sight and begins the task removing what's left of the mug before someone steps on the shards and gets their feet cut.

"Why are you here?"

Throwing the shards down in the trashcan. "I was coming to ask you a favor, but I can clearly see that's not going to happen as long you're in that mood." Antoine eyes his friend, not in an insulting manner, rather his reddish eyes show he is indeed sorry startling the sniper and made him ruin that cup.

Lawrence resists the urge to snap at Antoine, it wouldn't be professional now the man has made an apology and shows he meant those words. He has known Antonie long enough to know when the man is sincere and this is one of those times. His daemon flies over to the spy's clouded leopard and pecks Sabrina once over the head before the small kestrel cease her angry assault on the bigger daemon as her human takes a deep breath to calm himself. The sniper finds himself thinking that Antoine better has a good reason for him to say yes as he asks still very grumpy about what happened to his favorite mug. "What is it you need?"

Well, at least Lawrence is willing to listen and in this situation; that's better than the usual where this bushman needs almost a whole day alone to just calm enough down before a proper conversation can be made between them. "I would hear if you could train Nathan in some hand to hand combat" Antoine requests his friend and has an idea why they both get into a fist-fight that often, it relieves them both quicker of this tension they have a tendency to build when annoyed over something.

That request does take him by surprise. "Why don't you do it yourself?" Lawrence asks, looking at the man with a confused look in his brown eyes. "Does training Medic really take that much time for you?" If that's the case then he's not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but most likely means that the doc is very bad learning how to fight up close and the risk they have to abandon him as a member increases. Quite the pity if that happens, the doc is very good at his medical skills and has taken the task getting them to trust him very seriously.

Heading over to the sink Antoine washes the coffee out from the mask and when sure it's clean, he wrings the water out from that piece of cloth but does not put it on. There's no reason while around the Aussie; Lawrence knows how he looks like underneath, not to mention he does not want to be seen as the Spy right now. Leaving the mask to dry, Antoine walks over to the table where his closet friend sits. "The doctor is doing well, and if this has been another person, then I would've done it."
Lawrence sends him a look there demands he needs more details. Antoine did not notice it but the sniper notices the clouded leopard change into the ladder snake from the mental debate her human is having.
Antoine looks away, for even towards his closet friend; he still has trouble giving out personal information's. The only thing keeping him from not cutting this chat short is the many years Lawrence had spent gaining his respect and trust. He trusts Lawrence with his life, so why does he has so much trouble trusting Lawrence with his past?
Letting out a sigh, Antoine sits down at the table and the clouded leopard returns. "I fear my training will remind Nathan about Viper." He finally explains, brushing his fingers through his dark brown but starting to grey hair.

Lawrence turns his eyes away from Sabrina and back to his friend, frowning of what he has said. "You really think your training will be like that wanker?"

"It's the only way I know."

Silence, only sound heard in the ship is Laraine's talon clicking against the kitchen table from her small pacing. It breaks when said kestrel's human remarks with a small grin. "Then what the bloody hell is that you do when fighting me?" Antoine eyes him, the small frown is the only sign of his confusions what he is talking about. Oh, Lawrence is pretty sure Spook knows exactly what he is talking about, his friend here has picked up some of this bushman's tricks. "I am pretty sure Viper never taught you to fight dirty, only started that after I punched you in the face one too many times." and Antoine's head drop, a groan can be heard from him. "Fair fight does apparently not count on bushmen like you..." Antoine grumbles and Lawrence just can't help but laugh at this, yeah, he knew that those few tricks his spy friend has picked up came from him. "Talk about fair to the dead guy there is you. Alright, I will train him."

The blue dressed man nods, Lawrence is only faintly aware how grateful Antoine feels from the answer. "I will make up for it."

"He's part of the team, not to mention your son." Lawrence brushes him off with a hand wave, unlike Antoine, he does not really see this as a big deal. Leaving the table to put on his own uniform, the Aussie points out. "It's the least I can do, besides; shooting tin cans is boring as hell and it's only so much I and my fellow Canadian Sniper can talk about." As there isn't really any need for him keeping watch and the small missions they have been doing haven't really required a sniper. So yes, this sniper is very bored.

Antoine smirks amused. "You do know there are other people you can talk to other than the other bushman. Might do you some good speaking with new people."

"Oi! At least I'm doing a better job than this anti-social Spook I happens to know!" Sniper retorts grumpily, he puts on his hat and leaves the ship, all the way he can hear Spy snorting laughter, much to his annoyance.

____

Later that day, Sniper leaves the nest he and the other Sniper has set up, going to where he last spotted the Scout train Spy's boy. Like when he spotted them up from the nest, Sniper finds the Scout train Nathan how to shoot with pistols. The kid has a decent aim and will get better at it when he gets used to shooting while being on the run. Scout watches the young man running through the field while shooting the dummy targets, he seems very satisfied with what he sees but doesn't say anything to the trainee scout.

"Scout."

The blue dressed scout turns around, giving Sniper a small confused look, none of them has really talked with one another ever since coming here.

Sniper steps up beside the man, going directly to businesses of why he is here. "Spy requested I train Newbie in some hand-to-hand combat. So I am going to interrupt your training for today."

Scout frowns at this, yet he can't really get angry for the reason, still confuses him a bit though. "I have been training him the basic in close combat." Glancing to the Newbie currently reloading his pistol for another round. "He knows a lot more about that than using a gun, take that as you like." Scout isn't really surprised by this fact though, what he understands Newbie was once part of a gang where fights pretty much all the time are close up and personal. The young man knew how to fight with his fists, Scout simply taught him how to coordinate those punches. "Hey, Newbie! Come over here!" Scout calls for the trainee. The young man runs over to the two, giving Sniper a small, confused glance before turning to Scout there says to him. "Sniper has requested you go with him for some hand-to-hand training. We will return back to this tomorrow." Scout then turns to the Aussie Sniper. "He's all yours." and walks off, first now realizing he hasn't gotten much time for himself ever since coming here, been so busy training Newbie. Well, he can use this sudden free time to hear what the others are doing.

Nathan turns to Sniper, frowning. "Since when did you train anyone?" He asks in a way that could be easily mistaken for being rude, but Sniper has dealt with this one's father for years, so comments like this one pretty much bounce off him.

"Since today." Sniper replies back and waves Nathan to follow. The two heads back to the base. "Your old man asked me to give you a training round."

That catches Nathan's attention. "Why didn't he do it himself?" Thinking it would be nice spending more time with his father, but that has been hard as the training with Scout often made him too tired to speak with any of the other team members, so even after having spent weeks around these people. Nathan knows little to nothing about them, only what he gathered from the trip back from Brytain.

Sniper hesitates for only a second with the answer. "He's been rather busy training Medic." He lies, thinking that giving the boy the right reason might put the proud spy in a bad light, besides; he rather not open that can of worms that involves the relationship between Antoine and Viper. Not even sure Nathan knows about it and he's not going to ask. "And because he would like you to survive this war, he asked me to train you the best way of self-defense if you ever end up losing your weapons. But first:" He stops at the small yard, stepping into a fighting stage and invites Nathan to attack him. "Let's see how much you know."
Nathan nods and engages in the fist-fight.
Sniper did slightly get caught off guard by Nathan's fighting style, the boy fights very much like Spy which did counteract the training Scout has been giving him.
Sniper blocks one of Nathan's strikes. "I see Viper has been training you." He twists the young man's hands around and throws him to the ground. "You fight like Spook." and that's not a good thing in this situation.

Nathan gets back on his feet and returns back to the fist-fight, although now quite annoyed from the tone Sniper here used. "Why do I feel like that's an insult?" He asks, not sure what spook means but he has only heard Sniper use it towards his father like it's some sort of nickname.

"Because Viper's training is holding you back." Sniper says and puts Nathan into an armlock, but does make sure he doesn't strain the arm too much. "Don't fight like a spy." He speaks into the young man's ear, letting him go with: "Fight like a Scout, use your bloody speed!" and he strikes, grinning when Nathan dodges him rather easy. "That's more like it." He returns back to the fist-fight. "Spies uses stealth and trickery, they strike when people least expect it." He forces Nathan back into defense. "But you don't like doing that do you? You're a Scout."

"And how does a Scout fight?" Nathan asks, thinking how the Scout has been fighting, but can't really come up with anything special. His thoughts get cut short when Sniper kicks his feet off the ground and he lands back onto the dusty ground, making the world spin for a moment, he blinks up to the sniper watching him with a cheeky smirk.

"Scouts are quick-witted," Sniper says and offers Nathan a hand, the young man takes it and Sniper helps him up, explaining. "They have to, being the one most of the time first into the action, being stealthy and careful only works so long you haven't been spotted." And he starts the hand-to-hand combat again, the young man has still the spy fighting style but is slowly going to the faster scout style, that did please Sniper very much, knowing that when Nathan embraces his agility, then only adept fighters will be able to keep up with him.

____

Meanwhile, inside the mill's biggest hallway, Spy teaches Medic the best way to deflect a knife attack. It is important the healer knows this as many of the enemies will go for him and it is not always the team can be there to help. He shows him the best way and the tactic and let the doctor try to deflect his attacks. Spy is happy seeing that the German soon has the tactic in mind.
"Well done, now; let's try some offensives tactics." Spy inform him and asks the doctor to take a melee weapon he feels most comfortable with, Medic returns from his infirmary with a bone saw, much to Spy's bemusement.
"Still planning using it on Heavy?" He asks the Medic.

Medic let out a short laugh, carefully stroking his hand over the saw. "Nein, but I am going to cut him up."

"Medical examination?"

The doctor nods. "ja, I was planning merely doing a quick examination like I did with Sniper and Soldier, but he proved that is out of the question. I'm surprised he hasn't died from lead poison." He explains as he swings his weapon for a bit while trying to get a proper sense of its reach.

So Heavy has bullets embedded into his flesh? For some reason that does not surprise Spy, Heavy does seem like the type that can't remove bullets from his wounds and from what he hears; Heavy's former team only had a Medic four years ago. Yes, it is surprising that Heavy has survived this long. Also surprisingly Medic reveals this info so casually. "Does Heavy know you spew out his secrets?" Spy asks dryly and his thoughts not talking about private subjects around this man increases.

"I wouldn't call this a secret." Medic argues this very suspicious man. "and he clearly doesn't mind I tell his fellow team members that he won't die after a shower of bullets." He feels quite offended the spy thinks he will reveal anything that his patient doesn't want anyone to know. Granted Heavy's body hasn't really revealed any apparent secrets, only proved that a Tartar's life is constant fighting.

Spy quickly corrects Medic's stance to use his 'weapon' better. "I hope for both our sakes you don't reveal anyone about what secrets my body holds." Spy remarks dryly. He does not really like having anyone know about the story of his scars, Lawrence knows most of the stories but even some the sniper does not know the story behind.

Yes, Medic thoughts as much, Spy here really wants to keep everything about him a secretive as possible. "Of course." He figures that's just how all spies are, those he met when he worked for the Magisterium sure has the same attitude. Although Spy here is a tad friendlier, but good grief way more secretive.
Spy nods and starts explaining to him how to use put his weapon to its best use if it comes to close combat.
____

After the training, Medic and Spy return back to the infirmary. It might not be as big or resourceful as the one he got from the Magisterium but it is still decent enough for what Medic needed for his new team.
"Take a seat on the bed, bitte." Medic requests Spy, going over to fetch what he needs for a minor examination.

Spy does and as he takes off his suit, the man's reddish eyes land to the cage filled with doves. "Are you making them fly freely around?" He asks, not really fancying the thought having what he consider flying rats flying around and contaminates the medical equipment.

Medic returns with an amused smile. "Of course I am, do not worry, I keep all the equipment locked and clean." He tells the deeply frowning man. Spy let's out a snort and takes off his white shirt, revealing a very pale body and to Medic surprise has several very clear-cut scars. seeing this catches Medic off guard, he didn't expect that Spy, a very cautious and proud man bears scars like he has been harming himself. Taking a closer look Medic notices that all of these cuts are old, like really old. The still healing wounds he received from Rahul is covering a few of those decades-old scars. "Let's heal you first before we begin." He tells the man. Medic grabs the box where he has the red and very powerful healing liquid and starts using it to remove the burns and close the wounds Rahul probably had a lot of fun making.
Spy watches the whole thing very intensely, reminding Medic about a cat there is watching a mouse while considering if it should attack or not. Bit ironic as Medic has never seen Spy's daemon take the form as any feline, in fact, she never changes any forms than between the white wolf and the snake. Bit strange compared to his boy whose daemon changes form every five minutes.
Right now Spy's daemon has the form of the snake, seemly her favorite form. "There that should do it." Medic says with the last torture wound gone, he puts down the healing liquid, replacing it with a stethoscope. "Now, take deep breathe."
Spy does and Medic is not really surprised hearing that all his smoking has damaged the lungs, but still. "Sounds good, considering all the smoking you're doing."
Spy simply gives him a deadpan look and Medic moves to listen to the heart, again the same. After checking blood pressure, Medic writes down on his cupboard that Spy is relatively healthy, although he is a bit worried about how high the man's blood pressure is. Smoking does such things to a person. "You should really cut down the smoking, your blood pressure is a bit too high for my liking."
"It's not the smoking there does that." Spy replies but does not go into further details for the now curious Medic, still the doctor has good guesses what also be causing it; stress.
Unlike the others Spy here does never changes his uniform into something a bit more casual. And he does not think it's his place telling this man that he might also cut down working as the team spy all the time. Might if this gets worse. With an idea what he is dealing with Medic's eyes lands on the scar on Spy's right side of his collarbone, unlike the others there has turned white when scarring, this one looks very alike to the one his boy has over the left cheek, made by the same weapon and acid. He wonders how it came to be. But that scar is nothing compared to the tattoo the man has on his back, the words besides this bird of prey are in Latin but that is alright, he can read it just fine. Still, even when he can read it, the words don't make much sense, like half of the two sentences are... missing- Oh.
"I wasn't aware the two of you were this close." Medic remarks and is very curious about the story behind the owners of these two tattoos.

Spy eyes narrow to the doctor, as dreaded Medic has been able to put two and two together. He puts on the shirt, thinking this one has seen enough. "Not a word to anyone."

Ah, seems like they both wishes to keep this as a secret, pity, he would like to know more but he is also aware when it's not wise sticking his nose into someone else's business. "Of course, one question though: does your boy know?"

"No."

"I see." Medic nods and cleans up the equipment he has been using. "That's all for now, I got what I needed."
"Good." and Spy puts the suit on and with a curtly nod to the doctor, the man leaves with his snake daemon hiding under his right sleeve.
After having cleaned up Medic opens up the cage to his birds.
His favorite dove leaves the cage and its friends first and lands on its human's shoulder, cooing for attention. Medic obeys the small command, he pets to the bird with a smile. "It has been some interesting weeks." He tells Archimedes who coos in response.
The doctor spends some time giving his beloved birds some needed attention, only stops for a moment when he feels a very familiar feeling. He recognizes it right away and knows he soon will get a certain brute on a visit. So right he is, not long after he gets three knocks on the door and he lets Heavy inside.
Silvia sits on the big man's shoulder as if she is Heavy's daemon and not his. Medic still debates with himself of the case why she is so attached to the man, always coming to the same conclusion but he refuses to let his mind go down that path in fear he won't be able to go back. Whatever the case, he has become more relaxed having his daemon around Heavy, it is clear the big man cares too much for the magpie to ever harm her.

"Bad time?" Heavy asks, he doesn't want to interrupt the doctor's time of relaxing but Medic brushes that worry away quickly. "Nein, I was expecting you herr Heavy." And the big man heads into the infirmary. Sasha takes her usual spot in the room for a seemly nap.

Medic eyes the bear briefly as he has observed that this daemon only takes these naps when Heavy is calm and relaxed.
The owner of the bear daemon takes his seat on the infirmary bed, actually one of the few types of furniture that does not complain under the big man's weight.
Heavy turns to the doctor. "What do you want me to do?"
"You can start taking off your shirt." Medic replies, going over to his supply closet for what he needs to remove the bullets still stuck in the man's flesh.

Heavy nods and starts removing his red shirt, making Silva take flight and decide to roost on Sasha's shoulders. With the shirt off and his skin exposed, most people will either look at these many scars in admiration or flinch in dread of how terrible some of them look.

Medic stands in the former, he has always been very interested in the story behind people's scars, and this bunch has some very interesting scars. Not all have told him the story behind those battle scars. Demo has about how he lost his eye but Medic's doubt the Scotsman lost it to a swamp monster there wanted him for lunch. But out of all the members, Heavy has the most scars, every single one is from a battle Heavy has been through. The biggest and in Medic's mind the most impressive are the claw-mark scars the big man has on his chest and left shoulder. According to Heavy; the man got these scars when he fought and killed a bear in his youth, the bear there made Sasha settle into that same form.
Medic must admit that story has been incredibly fascinating as it did give an insight how the brutal race such as the Tartars consider the Settling of a daemon. An explanation why all Tartar soldiers have a wolf for a daemon, Heavy would have a wolf as well; if he hasn't considered that form weak and went for a bigger prey.
But now it's not the time thinking about the philosophy about daemons, now it's time to remove shrapnel from a certain Tartar's body. Medic goes right to work, he gives Heavy a small dose of pain reducing drugs, not too much as Heavy does not like having a hazy mind and didn't mind pain as much as the others.
After have removed the metal pieces from the big man's arm, Medic wonders out loud. "Why haven't your former medic done this?" It is easy work for any decent doctor.

"My team did not have a Medic for four years." Heavy replies with a frown. "We could've asked civilians doctors for help but many feared us thanks to the Magisterium."

"Except that unfortunate man you called Scout, your team isn't exactly the most friendly looking." Medic remarks, in fact, the male Soldier, the Demoman, the Pyro and Heavy all look rather intimidating. The children they saved needed to be around those four for a while just to know they aren't dangerous. A chance not many people will allow if they have the chance getting away first.

Heavy nods in agreement. "Yes, and the enemy always blamed us if anything bad happens." The bigger man frowns, not from the feeling Medic cuts up his shoulder, no it is from the memories of their last Medic. "Our former Medic was good, but he did not put past behind." Sasha looks up with an unseen worrisome expression on her face of what her human feels about this memory.

Medic notices the change in the big man, yet his curiosity is bigger than the respect of not poking a healing wound that is personal matter. "How did he die?"

"I said he needed to hide, and I will keep him safe. He did not trust the words of a Tartar so the enemy killed him when he ran." Heavy replies, it was his very first failure when he was chosen to lead the team. That medic was one of those who did not accept him as the team leader.

Medic freezes for a second, this does remind him of how he felt compelled to fear and greatly distrust Heavy the moment the man told where he is from. This other medic did never get over that little fact and that cost him his life.
"Well, as long you don't run into a death-cloud like last time." He removes the last bullet fragments he has found. "I can ensure you I won't make the same mistake."

Heavy smiles at this, he would really hate seeing this doctor die as the last one. In fact, he is getting very tired watching team members die, he knows there isn't anything he can do about it, only that he just has to do his best and hope the others will as well.

"Thinks that's all." Medic closes up the wound, satisfied he got rid of this little nuisance of a problem. "If you feel any pain in the future, do me the favor and tell me so I can remove whatever that's hurting you before it gets stuck between layers of flesh." Not that he really mind, searching for old fragments of bullets and see what impact they left the surrounding flesh has been quite interesting.

Chuckling as he can see the doctor hasn't gotten annoyed doing this, it seems the man really likes to have his hands inside a human body. "I will, thank you doctor." He puts the shirt back on, covering the scars on his back and chest, only the ones on his arms and face can still be seen. The big man steps to leave, then decides against it. The doctor looks to be in a good mood, so why not see if the male witch wishes to keep him a bit entertained. "Do you wish play bit chess with me?"

Medic smirks. "Thought you never were going to ask mein freund." He has hoped the big man would ask for a game, and maybe this time he can beat Heavy- highly doubts it though; the man is really good at this game. If not winning, then at least he can get some enjoyable hours with a person he can- without hesitating say is a friend. Medic never had many friends as a child, so having one feels nice, especially when the irony of this particular friendship makes him giggle.