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Taming the Peacock

Chapter Text

             

 

                It began with the strangest offer.
                Technically, it was a reassignment to another base for an indeterminate time. The only optional one Spy has ever heard of, to a base he never knew existed until now. He had three days to mull over the decision. More than enough time to ask around.
                As he expected, it was almost fruitless. None of his teammates knew of this strange base. The enemy that knew what Spy was referencing was his counterpart. The most he was told was that the base had looser sexual practices, and he wouldn’t be forced into anything he found personally objectionable.

                It was enough to pique his curiosity.

                The base itself, didn’t seem very different from other hellholes in the middle of nowhere.
                Except for the Medic.

                It wasn’t that Spy was unaccustomed to the smiling man, all Medics have a similar eccentricity. It was the smell of leather over blood (or disinfectant), the firmness of his handshake, consistent eye contact, and the amount of warmth the man radiated.

                “Welcome, just to be transparent, I am aware of your…” he starts.

                “Status.” Spy replies.

                Not that surprising, he gave his former Medic the okay to provide this information.

                “Let me know if there are any problems relating to that.” Medic says, “I want your stay here to be enjoyable.”

                There was something in the way he said it that made Spy suspicious. It’s not as though the subject never came up, more that… It was usually his choice significantly more often than it wasn’t.
                He didn’t have the chance to question it aloud, there was only so much time for a ‘tour’ and introducing himself to the others. It’s there he quickly figured out what sort of ‘looser sexual practices’ were going on.
                He’s been around enough obscure clubs to know what a sex dungeon is.

                Almost everyone was polite at the start. This is considering battle would start in about an hour or so, he expected most of them to be significantly more hostile. He considered that it could have been because he was around the Medic.

                He found that theory true when the Sniper found him alone. Spy was far too distracted, Medic gave a couple of warnings and suggestions that he was mulling over. Then he finds the bushman right within his personal area, glaring with the kind of seething he sees from enemy Spies.

                “Don’t you dare think you can bully me like the last one.” Sniper says.

                “… okay.” Spy says.

                Sniper visibly recoils, eyes unfocused. Medic did warn Spy that he is replacing someone who was almost essential to making the team a cohesive unit. Spy crosses his arms, but he keeps his stance neutral and relaxed. Honestly, he isn’t going to be able to fill the role the previous Spy held from what he’s garnering here. There’s no way he can mimic whatever personality the other Spy had.

                “I… I didn’t mean it.” Sniper says.

                There’s a slight tinge of fear in Sniper’s tone. The other Spy must have reported wrongdoings. It’s not something Spy ever found a kink in, and he doubts he would take up that mantle.

                “Let’s get this out of the way, non?” Spy starts, “I am not the other Spy. Whatever he has done, I doubt I could mimic.”

                “Then who is supposed to-.” Sniper starts, trailing off.

                Report to the Medic, Spy could sort that out.
                Given the previous misgivings, and his own preferences, Spy did come up with an easy solution.

                “You could fill that role.” Spy says.

                “W-Wot? Me?” Sniper asks.

                “Yes. Who else keeps an eye on all events of the battlefield?” Spy asks.

                It’s a true statement, he can see Sniper working it out in his mind. The man merely scratches the back of his head, almost reluctant to admit that this would be anywhere near what he knows how to do.

                “I-I… Dunno mate.” Sniper says, “That seems like your job.”

                “Before coming here, the Sniper I used to work with had a keen sense of detail. Are you saying you don’t?” Spy asks.

                As Spy expects, this offends Sniper. He’s quick to spit at the ground beside them, almost growling like a feral animal.

                “No! I am a professional! There’s no bloody way there would be anything I would miss!” Sniper says.

                “Then perhaps you should speak with Medic in private about this, non? It’s a good suggestion, is it not?” Spy asks.

                He sees the bushman consider what he says. Sniper doesn’t fully relax, but Spy presumes the two of them have an understanding.

                Oh how wrong Spy was.

                To say battle didn’t go well was an understatement. To say that everyone (sans the Medic) was blaming him for throwing their system off… Spy considered the worst part about this entire situation was that it wasn’t a loss, it was an overly prolonged stalemate. But Spy fit in this so awkwardly, he knew that if he was receptive to the sort of team composition they had, they could have won. A shoddy one, but he missed killing Pyro once.
                The Sniper noticed, because the Medic did approach him after the battle.

                “I presume you sorted out what’s special about this base, ja?” he asks.

                “Of course.” Spy says.

                “I do recall saying that I would give you a few days to adjust to this new living situation, and I don’t want to take that from you…” Medic starts.

                “But we’re both aware this match could have went better if I hadn’t missed the Pyro.” Spy says.

                “I don’t want you to presume mistakes made the first few days would be forgotten.” Medic clarifies.

                Spy inhales through his nose, thinking over that statement. He already knows some of the mercs are waiting by his infirmary, probably for punishment. He would be given a reprieve, but he would have to be cautious the next few days.

                “I.” Spy starts, “I understand, docteur.”

*

                As he expects, Spy couldn’t sleep fully in the new base. Probably gotten five hours of sleep, if that. He knew methods to help with sleep, but most involved being in the common room.
                And he had to be careful, considering it was around three in the morning. Most wouldn’t take him for the kind of person willing to sleep in a public place, but he’s such a light sleeper that he could do so. That, and he’s found that the common room is far enough away from the private quarters that lighter sleepers would not notice if he listened to music softly.
                The music didn’t do much, nothing he could find that would comfort him. He did tune into a newer station, but he could only recognize half the words. Whoever was singing was just using a couple of Arabic terms, otherwise the language was probably similar.
                He tried, for a while. When he gave in, he kept the music playing while he explored the kitchen. Plenty of things around, and the food was above subpar. He didn’t know a lot about his new teammates, but he knew a great deal about the similar preferences.

                Cooking late at night was an art. Doing so quietly, to not disturb anyone… that took practice. All the times he has wanted a complicated dessert at an ungodly hour has proven his skills. But, he still had limited idea of the other’s sleep patterns. Or if they would awaken to the smell of food. As much as Spy wanted to make complicated dishes, he knew he would be better off making smaller ones.
                He knew a Spanish variant of an Olivier salad, knew how to make fried prawns, enjoyed making pinchos… Well, wouldn’t be the first time Spy made an excessive amount of appetizers. Usually they get eaten, he just has to be perceptive of what he thinks everyone will eat.

                That was easier than he thought it would be. The difficult part was minimizing the noise of frying. But he knew a couple different tricks. As far as he knew, most people wouldn’t notice there was anything going on until the morning.

                It never takes him long to finish things. He has a knack for cooking, more than many would suspect. He’s seen the atrocious attempts other Spies made, the French ones could never make anything worthwhile. Pity, really. What would take time is the chilling for certain dishes, but Spy covers the prepared dishes (because he doesn’t doubt there’s… masked bandits. He’ll remember the English word for the vermin later) and lays on the sofa.
                He doesn’t remember falling asleep.
                Nor does he recall bringing a blanket with him.

                Someone turned up the volume of the radio, which he woke up to Dalida. Spy’s immediate reaction was to curse out the person who touched his radio. He’s more than a bit sheepish when he sees that it’s the Medic that done so.
                The man looked far too amused at his curse than what Spy found reasonable.

                “Oh?” Medic starts, “Do you actually mean to follow through with that?”

                “Quoi.” Spy says.

                First time he met a Medic that understands French. He’s almost tempted to test what else the Medic knows, but this seems the wrong place to do so. Also, he vaguely recalls phrasing being akin to using his knife in a colorful manner.
                Instead, Spy unravels himself from the blanket he was wrapped in, gently straightening his night attire.

                “Pardon my words docteur.” Spy says.

                “I’ll think on it.” Medic says.

                Spy shivers, more than a little tempted to flee to his own room. Just for a bit, he needs to eat and he hopes the others haven’t finished everything. From what he saw of the kitchen, seems that most people were waking up. Perfect opportunity to slip away and get dressed.
                When he returns, everyone has congregated in the common room, and each of them found what he made. Even the things he believed he hid especially well in the refrigerator were out and available. Well, it was made to be eaten… Even if he wanted to hide portions for later.
                No matter, plenty of pinchos, he suspected no one was eating the fish (sans tuna). He only made enough for himself, plus a handful extra that he leaves alone. When Spy gets in a corner that’s clearly made for ‘him,’ Medic slips into his personal space.

                “Amazing how you made all this, in the middle of the night, without waking anyone else.” Medic says.

                “Practice, I suppose.” Spy says.

                “Even I barely heard you. I heard the radio, but it was so soft I didn’t think much of it.” He says.

                So the Medic must be a night owl, and runs on as little sleep as the rest of them do. Eccentrics of the same fold, Spy supposed. Speaking of the radio, he completely forgot to tuck it back into his room. Though, he wasn’t sure why no one changed the station. He doesn’t think anyone on the base speaks Arabic.
                Then again, Spy was wondering why everything seemed so peaceful. The others were chatting, certainly was about the typical incidentals as well as the battle up and coming. But, Spy came to expect significantly more chaos. And complaints, no one enjoys everything he makes. Sometimes he’s gotten complaints that he wasted his time, making things no one would eat.

                “I’ve heard all kinds of music, but certainly wasn’t expecting this. Arabic, isn’t it?” Medic says, “Doesn’t seem to be your type.”

                “Others have said the same. Though, I hope I continue to surprise you in pleasant ways.” Spy says.

                “Currently, I am equally uncertain of what to make of you… and finding your eccentric tendencies to explain a great deal of your personality.” He says.

                Spy has to remind himself that this transfer is supposed to help him, so of course Medic would be examining his behaviors. On how that aid manifests, that remains to be seen.

                 Their conversation pauses when the Soldier walks over to the table, poised and perhaps a little nervous. The man covers half his face, but Spy doesn’t see the typical grimace he associates with all Soldiers. This expression was so relaxed that Spy wondered if there was something wrong with his face.

                “Thank you for providing provisions this morning. Out of all the mostly French bastards I have encountered, I never thought one of them could cook.” The Soldier said.

                “All this?” Spy asks, “Thank you, but think nothing of it. I don’t particularly think it as impressive.”

                It was the truth, Spy just thought it was a skill he knew. The Soldier vehemently disagreed, going into detail of just how badly dinners have gone when the previous Spy was made to cook. No one knew who was supposed to be punished, considering what sort of mess was made, considering who ate it anyway. Then…

                “I have decided, based upon what I know of you so far, that you should be rewarded for your forward thinking. A good meal like this does not come from nowhere, and I am more than willing to service you.” Soldier says.

                It was such a forward offer.
                Far more forward than what his personal comfort level allowed.
                Spy lurches when he stands, finding it difficult to regain control when he kindly (but firmly) says no. As he expects, he gets everyone’s attention. The Medic has a look of concern, and seems he’s trying to sort the best way to step in. Soldier was more than just confused at Spy’s no, seemed he failed to understand what was making Spy so uncomfortable.
                None of them would know what was causing this until Spy told them.
                And it also explained why Medic wanted to know if Spy was having issues: Spy may have to explain his status sooner over later.

                “… Was it how I said it?” Soldier asks.

                “Non.” Spy insists, “I am unaccustomed to people being so upfront.”

                Spy knew that things would get sexual, even had a couple suspicions. But, he saw from everyone’s reactions… This would go beyond what he expected. In a month? That would have been soon for his tastes, but with enough trust, he couldn’t see why he would say no.
                Barely day two? This was more than unnerving.

                “I… thought Frenchies like you enjoyed a forward nature?” Soldier says.

                Most Frenchmen did, and Spy emulated it at times. When he trusted people, when he was sure they could handle his status. Or when he was wearing his packer (not today, for some reason). He didn’t know how to explain without getting into too many details.

                “Sometimes. Occasionally. Maybe?” Spy says, sounding as uncertain as he feels.

                People are noticing his mood. Confused glances all around are turning into concern. The Medic is slowly standing, partially because he must suspect Spy will run.

                “Everyone.” Medic starts.

                Spy hears this commanding tone, and somehow, it’s enough for him to relax. He doesn’t quite feel safe, but it’s enough for his comfort to increase. He could tell everyone else listened to the Medic, significantly more than Spy had suspected originally. The entire mood went from awkward to pacified, and it was a change he appreciated.

                “Let me remind you that our friend here is new, and has warned me he is particularly skittish around sudden offers. I should have told everyone, my mistake.” He says.

                That wasn’t something Spy outwardly said. Unless Medic was taking a liberal use of what was meant by how secretive he was about his status.

                “Non docteur. It isn’t a problem.” Spy says.

                “Spy, your comfort is my problem.” Medic says, “I will take nothing less than assuring that everyone feels safe.”

                Spy considers the Medic’s words. It wasn’t that he disbelieved the Medic, not this one. It was more that he always mistrusted many Medics.
                Maybe this was his way of saying he wouldn’t be like the others that used the secret in nefarious ways. Spy can only hope that’s what Medic means…

*

                Today went better. Not perfectly, Spy still saw there was a clear disconnect in team unity and it started with him, but everyone managed a good fight. Spy even saw fit to be a little unorthodox. It’s been a long while since he broke someone’s neck by just using his legs, but everyone else was fighting in unorthodox ways. It saved the Medic from certain doom.
                That Pyro on the enemy team is still the bane of his existence, but that was with any base. He’s certain the Medic has already noted it, probably from the Sniper.

                Spy more than likely has one more day of reprieve, but he thinks he’s comfortable enough.
                Thinks.
                He can try.

                He waits for the others to receive their punishment and rewards. It was a smaller number than last time, or perhaps the Medic saw fit to keep sessions short. He saw the Sniper leave the room, seeming significantly upbeat and whistling a tune. Spy waits for the bushman to go around the hall before heading for the infirmary doors. He doesn’t have the chance to knock.

                “Come in Herr Spy.” Medic calls from inside.

                When Spy enters, he wasn’t quite sure what he was expecting. Certainly not an assortment of toys spread out on the table. Well, Medic was cleaning them and Spy only processed that information for a moment before walking inside and perching himself in a chair.

                “I thought you would come in tomorrow.” Medic says.

                “I surprised myself.” Spy admits, “I thought I would wait until tomorrow as well.”

                “I presume this means you trust me?” Medic asks.

                Spy thinks over that question. Does he actually trust the Medic? He couldn’t say no, Medic has gone beyond what others have done. But, something held him back from giving his entire trust.
                Perhaps enough, in this context. To consider what may happen here.

                “Maybe enough as I’m willing to give you to do… this.” Spy admits.

                “If you need another day-.” Medic starts.

                “Non. I am here. I thought it over long enough.” Spy says.

                The Medic taps a finger on the desk, debating Spy’s words. He knows he said it firmly enough. Yes, Spy is nervous. He would admit it if asked. But he finds that prolonging the inevitable (as well as what he knew he signed up for) is pointless. He had plenty of opportunities to change his mind, and he’s still here.
                Medic finishes his cleaning, changing out his gloves and gets out an empty box.

                “Your tools. They will be locked in a safe, and you will know where the keys are.” Medic says.

                Spy inhales slowly, reaching for his invisiwatch. That was easier to surrender first. The disguise kit came next. Then his revolver. Then, slowly, his knife. Though Medic waits, only giving a polite ‘ahem.’ Spy thinks to double check himself, he doesn’t think he had another weapon on him. He trails where most of the secret ones are, just so Medic can see the impression of where a weapon would reveal itself, and finds nothing.

                “… Unexpected.” Medic says, “Sehr gut, I hope you understand I had to be sure.”

                “No one likes surprises like this.” Spy says.

                As Medic promises, he locks up the weapons and the key is placed on his person. It’s tucked onto a necklace, which helps Spy feel safe enough.
                Mostly. He’s still nervous.

                “Now then… what can I do for you?” Medic asks.

                Spy thinks over this question, as seriously as he can. The man keeps his smile, had Spy not seen concern earlier today he would have suspected Medic didn’t have another expression.
                What could the Medic do for him? Spy knew how this all worked in theory. He never had the luxury of seeing how far this could go, given the current setting. It wasn’t safe to, not for people like him. He doesn’t mean to sound indignant, but the tone did slip out.

                “I’m not sure what you could do for me.” He admits.

                “That is fine. Many people don’t know, immediately.” Medic says, “Let’s start with what you do know. How familiar are you with this sort of setting?”

                Spy considers, glancing at the pile of toys that are still spread out on the desk. He knew every single one of them: what they could do, the sort of training was required for them, and most of their names. Some he has as part of a personal collection.
                They’re not for beginners, but even he knew this was only a portion of what the Medic could have.

                “I am not a mere voyeur, but I would not say I know everything.” Spy says.

                Medic nods, slowly rising and trailing deeper into the infirmary. Spy follows him, keeping his distance and his arms clasped behind him. No real reason, perhaps a distraction. Or to keep Medic from noticing too many of his preferences, Spy found it a good way to keep from reaching out to things.
                There was an assortment of objects out, though Medic was quick to shove some of the more intense devices away. Secret panels, in little crooks and crannies that Spy will want to memorize for later. The Medic eventually helps give Spy a guided tour, testing his knowledge of all the terms, and common uses in certain cases.
                It’s when they stop at the leather cuffs and spreader bars that he tenses.

                “These are popular with most of the team, especially around this time of year.” Medic points out.

                “No.” Spy says.

                Medic pauses, looking to Spy critically. He leans into his personal space, but it wasn’t meant for intimidation. Well, it might have, to see if Spy was actually ready for things to start.

                “Popular, but not for me.” Spy clarifies.

                He backs away, chuckling as he’s clearing away a small table. Something about the man changed, slightly.

                “Of course. I would not push your limits, yet. Not without discussing them with you.” Medic says.

                Yet.
                Spy focuses on that thought for a couple moments, watching Medic set up a small selection of toys and objects. Simple things: a crop, blindfold, gag, paddle, some rope… There was more, but Spy focused on those items. Medic encourages Spy to examine them all, and says there was no limit to things he could pick.
                As he expected, this was a difficult choice. He knows a hand never seemed to leave the area of the gag, but there were a variety of reasons why he couldn’t consider it. Main reason was the rope, and he knew he needed something to distract his mind with, since he would be restrained he would have limited chances of signaling issues. It was also purely because said gag was a ball gag, if it were anything else, he could think about it. Something he could spit out if he must, same attitude with ropes. He’s more than certain the Medic knows that he would maneuver his way out of the ropes if things gotten too uncomfortable.
                Eventually, he settles on the blindfold, rope, and crop.

                The unselected objects are taken away, and much to his surprise, Spy finds himself forced onto the table. He’s almost slammed onto it, stomach on the table, feet unsteady on the floor. Medic keeps a hand firmly on Spy’s neck, all while he presses his body against Spy’s.

                “Hm.” Medic notes, “you’re significantly more familiar with this than what I presumed.”

                Spy did have a retort, one that dies in his throat when he feels Medic slip a leg between his. This was far from what he was expecting, though… He could almost say it was pleasant. Medic steps away, commenting that he was skipping a couple of steps. He waits for Spy to slowly stand back up, even lets him dust off parts of his suit jacket, before he makes a firm command.

                “Strip for me.” Medic says.

                Spy pauses, “Everything?”

                “What you are comfortable with going without.” Medic clarifies.

                Spy processes this, for a couple of minutes.
                What is he comfortable going without, for a first session? He presumes there will be a punishment, but on how intense it is…
                Spy ponders this as he’s carefully taking off a couple articles of clothing he can stand to go without. Suit jacket, gloves, belt, and his shoes. Then, he thinks further. He’s careful with how he places his clothing, knowing that things wouldn’t start in that area.
                He slips off his shirt, but doesn’t fold it. He needed to take off the undershirt, and he’s careful when he slips the shirt back on. Partially due to the tattoos, he knew the Medic had to be documenting them in his mind.
                Just the shirt, and his mask, he thinks he can strip everything else off.
                It was difficult, Spy reconsidered a number of times. He even heard how Medic shifted, as though he was ready to intervene, but it would give him a stroke of confidence. Once he was stripped of everything sans the shirt and mask, he honestly couldn’t help but cover up the opening. A force of habit.

                Medic carefully comes in close, muttering how Spy should have his arms to his side, which he obeys. As Spy expects, he sees Medic slowly opening the shirt once more, fingers hovering over some of the detailing of his rose tattoos. He goes into a few of the details of some odd scar at places, though Spy found himself looking away when Medic trails towards his groin.
                He expected the fingers rubbing right on his clitoris. He was not expecting the lubricant. Thank the lord, he didn’t have to go through that awkward explanation, this Doctor knew what he was doing.
                He wanted to lean against the table, grip onto the edge of it. The Medic... was exceptionally good with his fingers. He heard the Medic speak, but couldn’t translate a word of it.

                “Quoi?” Spy asks.

                “Too intense?” Medic asks, “Hm. Seems you continue to surprise me.”

                Medic pulls his fingers away carefully, wiping away the excess lubricant with a handkerchief from his pocket. Once done, he gives a distinct command for Spy: palms pressed together, behind his head. Spy raises a brow at such a position, though he dutifully lifts his arms up, feeling slightly ridiculous at such a posture. It was almost like a strange stretch, with the elbows pointing up. Medic positions himself behind Spy, working with some of the rope. Wrists bound, he can feel Medic set up some slack in the rope.
                Spy expected Medic to bind his wrists with the bottom of his shoulders, so that moving his arms would be painful. He did not anticipate Medic looping the rope around to the front. He saw where it was going, it would work to where the rope would go through his mouth and would work like a gag. Medic pauses, probably at Spy’s hesitation on biting down on the rope (though Spy did consider doing so anyway).

                “Ah. Should have asked about safe words, but I saw you trailing over that gag for so long that you merely protested the type.” Medic says.

                Spy ponders, for a moment. This type of gag he could spit out, if there was a problem. It would make the bindings hurt, but that wouldn’t be much of an issue.

                “This is fine. I am not in the habit of selecting things that make me uncomfortable.” Spy says.

                With this agreement, Spy allows for the two strands of rope in his mouth, getting a feel for it as Medic finishes tying him. He sees now that with how tight the ropes are, there was an assortment of consequences that would come from not keeping it steady. Struggling would chaff his wrists and lips (despite how the rope is made of quality material), it could also put strain on his arms if he didn’t hold it just right. Certainly would cause a cramp after a while, but he suspects this is only temporary.

                “Can you speak, at all?” Medic asks.

                Spy does attempt, but it is more of an unintelligible mumble than anything. Simple words could work, but he could not speak sentences. Once Medic confirms that the bindings are firm, the blindfold slips on. It makes his nerves act up, for the moment, but he manages to steady his breathing.
                He feels himself lead away from the current spot, Medic cautiously warning him where the edges of tables are and an assortment of things near his feet. Medic does tell him what they’re moving to, one of the padded spanking stands. One so that most of his body would be supported by it when positioned on it. Medic warns that past where his arm ‘begins,’ Spy would feel no support.
                It was also set to be a bit too tall for him, and Spy thought that was intentional. He ends up being correct, even with how his legs are spread, his feet would have to be pointed for any kind of purchase on the ground.

                “Let’s add something interesting to this, ja?” Medic starts, “Keep your legs and feet from moving.”

                Spy partially wondered why, thinking such chairs typically had-
                Restraints. Leather cuff restraints, typically. Medic was following his restrictions, but his legs were free to move. Spy could not see the spanking stand, but he presumes it was impractical to tie him on it.

                “How about if you cannot, I’ll find a new rope position for you, and have you on your back.” Medic says.

                The implications gotten to Spy, shivering when he thought of that position. He doubted Medic would spank anywhere sensitive, but it was enough of a warning. Medic does ask Spy to respond with a particular kind of grunt on if he agreed to this ‘game,’ and after getting confirmation, Medic lifts his shirt out of the way of his ass and back.
                Spy reminds himself to keep his breathing steady, trying hard not to focus on the sounds around him. Touching, that was difficult. Medic knew just how to use slight touches, ones that perhaps are close to grazing. That was the distracting part.

                He did not expect the first hit from the crop. It hit the meatier part of his thigh, and he almost lost control of his legs. Spy didn’t even try to hold back the yelp, he even groans when the sting starts setting in. The Medic…
                Well, seems Spy has caught him in his element.

                “Do you know ballet, Herr Spy?” Medic asks, “that’s quite the point work I see.”

                Spy actually did, he doesn’t practice it all that much, but he supposes the lessons stuck around. Been so many-
                Another smack with the crop, opposite thigh. Only, Spy suspected this was the intent. Distract him with information, then another flick of the crop. Was this a game? No, Spy thought this was a punishment…
                Well, he could mull that over in between his pressing arousal, that lubricant was not doing him any favors. Whatever Medic was using he would have to steal. It felt far too good on him, and even with all the time that has passed… hasn’t offered to dry up yet.

                He’s reeling slightly when he feels fingers, lubricated once more, edging for his hole. Not his first one, but he feels a finger trail at the entrance of his ass, mewling when it presses inside. He’s drooling, he knows it, Medic must know it.
                The lubrication is the same kind, it drips down and he can feel it. He almost wants to curl his toes, but that would throw him off balance. Spy instead focuses that movement in his stomach, fingertips, and his elbows. Slightly painful on the arms, but it distracted him well enough.

                “I wish you could see how easily you open up for me.” Medic says.

                Spy feels a second finger push inside him, inhaling through his nose at the slight burn. He sarcastically thinks about mirrors, almost wishing he could point that out for Medic, for suggestions. The thought slips out of his mind when he feels the Medic’s other hand slipping to rub at his clit. Spy shivers, basking in the sensations.

                He barely has any warning when Medic slips away. There’s even less when he feels the lashings once more. Spy thinks it would probably be an inconsistent habit, a way to test his stamina.
                He was half right. He wasn’t expecting the edging. Sure, he done this to himself at times. But, as this intense session went on, his moans were starting to strain to his ears. Right when that happens, he feels the ropes slacken almost immediately. Spy drags them off his body, spitting out the bit in his mouth and taking in some deep breaths.

                Hasn’t orgasmed, yet. He could hope, or do it himself later. Spy finds himself lax against the spanking stand, unwilling to move just yet. His mind is focused on the lacking permission, and finds that was close to the right thing to do. He feels the Medic’s hands against his thighs and ass, feeling a kind of salve rubbed into some places. It at least smelled decent.

                “I will remove the blindfold once you’ve caught your breath Herr Spy, give you some time to get back to the present, ja?” Medic says.

                “Oui Docteur.” Spy says.

                “You done well, for someone who I thought to be a bit of an amateur.” Medic says, “Seems you are a bit past intermediate, though no master of this sort of scenario.”

                Oh, if only Spy had the energy, he could get into an assortment of explanations. He knew of a couple that would explain why he knows so many things. Instead, Spy focuses on what Medic says, hearing the lull of the doctor’s voice. Pleasant, even if some bits of information slips past him. Medic was going into details about how he’s sorting Spy out, which does interest him, only he cannot seem to recall some of the things said.
                Perhaps it was for the best, the doctor did admit that a couple of behaviors were throwing him off.

                The Medic slips off the blindfold, which when Spy opens his eyes, he finds that the lights are dimmed. Thank goodness, he doubts he could handle full brightness. Pity he’s still aroused. When Medic helps Spy sit up, and makes him drink water, he suspects that Medic is unaware. Spy will correct it, next time. He has no issues sorting this out himself.

                “When you get the chance, come back to the infirmary with your private collection of sex toys.” Medic says.

                Spy spits out the water, coughing slightly.
                How did Medic know he has a collection? Why does he want it?

                “Quoi?” Spy asks.

                “Is there anything about my orders you do not understand?” Medic asks.

                There is far too much mirth in his tone. Spy tries to focus through the haze that he feels, from the ‘sub crash’ that he’s heard about.
                He can crash later, this is important.

                “I-. For what reason?” Spy asks.

                “I control the team’s orgasms, and since you are part of this team… this includes you.” Medic says, “I would be more surprised if you didn’t use toys to control your urges.”

                Spy thinks this over. Refusing was dangerous, aside from this not sounding like a request at all. Besides, many toys Spy’s not legally supposed to have. He would have them mysteriously ‘confiscated’ otherwise. Well, Spy could always hide one. He’s not sure if he actually wants to risk that, but his mind is so focused on having an orgasm that he just might.

                “Oui Docteur.” Spy says, “After dinner.”

                Medic thinks over Spy’s statement, almost dissatisfied. There is no explanation that Spy can give that would be satisfactory, not from what he is seeing here.

                “As soon as you shower bring them here. There is a private one in here if you are uncomfortable doing so in the public showers.” Medic says, “Then there are other topics we have to discuss.”

                Spy did consider arguing over it, but the exhaustion and mention of a shower gotten him thinking. He drinks more of the water, finishing it off. At least he now understands why there are no private showers in his quarters.
                Arguing seemed pointless anyway.

                “Oui Docteur. But no peaking.” Spy says.

                “Of course not! But I will be listening.” Medic says.

                Not that Spy would actively think of masturbating where Medic could hear him. That risked far too many things.
                Medic helps Spy on his feet, guiding him to where the shower stall was. There was a set of dressers, which Medic pulls out a couple bits of clothing in his size, including a balaclava. Once Spy was set to take the shower, he asks for his disguise kit, explaining he typically smoked after a shower.
                With that little bit of privacy, Spy found it easier to take off his mask. It felt more than liberating to have it off, though he equally found it a shame. He was never one to dally with showering, as much as he likes feeling a certain way, he wishes he was afforded more privacy.
                Spy predicts that Medic would take about seven minutes to get his personal effects. He was off by three minutes, it takes Medic ten. But, Spy was already cleaned up from the mess and partially dressed, though he was restlessly tapping on his leg.

                It got a bit better after a cigarette, helped his nerves at least. Medic saw fit to go for his shoes while he smoked. At least Spy didn’t have to try to find those again.
                Something was on the Medic’s mind. While Spy could barely see his eyes given the glare of the light, Spy knew body language well enough to pick it apart. Leaning against the wall, arms crossed, lips pressed, seems like Medic is tapping a finger on an elbow.

                “Docteur, is there something on your mind?” Spy asks.

                “Plenty of things, most of which I think can wait.” He says.

                Spy knows a good lie when he sees it. It theoretically can wait, but Medic may be uncertain if he trusts Spy to wait. Well, Spy knew how to lead with those types of issues.

                “I suppose that depends on how trustworthy you find me.” Spy says.

                “Not all that much.” Medic admits, “Perhaps it is a habit. Though I was not expecting to suddenly see your eyes change colors.”

                Oh.
                Right, he takes out his contacts when he takes a shower. They were more than likely dirty, wasn’t as though he could put them back on.

                “Have to look like the rest of the Spies, somehow blue eyes were the most common.” Spy says, “Besides, most people asked if I had red hair when they saw.”

                “Do you?” Medic asks.

                “Non. It’s such a gaudy color on me.” Spy says.

                Spy puts out his cigarette, working on buttoning the rest of his shirt.

                “Although, now I can see it wasn’t wrong to think of you like a peacock.” Medic says.

                Spy pauses, “A peacock?”

                Out of all the birds… Spy didn’t see any doves (yet), but knowing the habits of all the Medics, there’s bound to be some sort of similarities. Birds are the common link, if German wasn’t.

                “Do you not see the color similarities?” Medic asks.

                The tattoos more than likely don’t help. Blue roses, green leaves, blue clothes, green eyes… But he does not ‘fan his feathers asking for a mate,’ no, Spy has significantly more class and taste. Well, he wouldn’t mind something significantly more serious and personal with the Medic, if that comes on the table for the future.

                “Fine. I suppose I am your peacock.” Spy mutters.

                Spy doesn’t hold any malice in it, though he was far from amused. Maybe the pet name will grow on him, but he is thinking about one particular irony…
                Does he still have that outfit? Probably. He always finds it when he least expects it.
                When Medic attempts to help Spy up from his seat, he’s more than a little bewildered when Spy remains comfortable. Eventually, Medic’s hand trails away, and he pulls over a chair, sitting in it backwards. Spy finds himself staring into the Medic’s calculating eyes, almost getting lost in them.

                “You would like to talk now, ja?” Medic asks.

                “Something is bothering you, the least I can do is discuss it now.” Spy says.

                It takes a bit, but Medic does start to explain. Spy did not expect him to know so much about bodies. A great deal. Even knows up to date information on transgender topics, which was a massive surprise. And Medic knew a great deal about orgasms.
                Which he already disclosed he controls orgasms.

                “I want to trust you Spy.” Medic says, “but I’m sure you can see my issue.”

                Everyone else Medic can tell if they’ve orgasmed and they’re trying to hide it.
                Spy? Medic would have to take his word, or use other signs to know. Or utilize a chastity belt, though Medic immediately states he would use it as a last resort only, when Spy brought up the device.

                “This is a… warning?” Spy asks.

                “You can see it this way.” Medic says, “I’m good at finding things out, if you ever decide to hide anything from me.”

                This was as much of a warning as Spy would get. It was equally an admission that Medic would trust Spy to be honest, a tall order indeed. Spy inhales, considering his options.
                Medic is trusting him, he’s trying to trust someone who often has no reason to be trusted. Spy should trust back. He should. On if he will, Spy will determine that after sorting through all his toys.

                “Thank you Docteur.” Spy says, “For trusting me.”

                With that conversation done, Medic helps him to his room, and waits outside. Spy checks through everything he can, knowing he will have to separate out the packers and hopes he doesn’t have to explain their purpose (but, just to be sure). Spy even found an assortment of broken toys, ones that he thought were long gone. Some were quite obviously smashed, from an untimely throw against the wall when the motor suddenly gave out. He snickers at a couple of them, and he thinks he gone through all the hiding spots.
                Some hiding spots he forgets exist. Though, Spy is more than certain he found everything. He packs the ‘confiscated’ ones in a box, but he places the ones he knows he will have to explain for Medic in a bag.
                It’s not that much of an explanation, Medic finds himself fascinated with the packers (thankfully the man waits for the privacy of the infirmary instead of insisting in his room). He doesn’t even ask what they’re for, he takes one out and seems content with knowing what it looks like. Medic is being exceptionally casual about this too.

                “I never knew they could be so realistic…” Medic says.

                “I enjoy the details as well. I pay for quality.” Spy says.

                “I have no issues with these, I’m sure you knew exactly what I meant by sex toys. Though, what is this cream?” Medic starts.

                Spy tries to explain, knowing that he immediately loses Medic when he says its estrogen cream.

                “It’s… Medical.” Spy says carefully, “I know you wouldn’t say much of it, but just so you know what sort of shipments I am receiving.”

                “I see.” Medic says, “Are you positive this is everything?”

                “Oui. Everything I can think of.” Spy says.

                There were an assortment of toys, many of which Medic already has, many are new that Spy knew where to hunt for. Some are Australian, which Spy shouldn’t have given how advanced they are. Spy even threw in the gag gifts he has no use for (very real fleshlights that Spy could only use as decorations), the broken toys, the subpar lubricants, and even obviously pornographic magazines.

                “Any novels?” Medic asks.

                “… novels?” Spy asks.

                He cannot possibly mean the romance novels. No. Spy would refuse. If there’s anything about his book collection he accepts, it’s the guilty pleasure romance novels have a place in there. And he has a lot.

                “You know, romance novels.” Medic says.

                “That I do not masturbate to and I openly poke fun at.” Spy says, “And they are great for casual reading, when you skip over certain bad plots.”

                “If you say so.” Medic says.

                At least Medic drops the topic. For now. Spy suspects that Medic will be checking to see if he’s telling the truth. Well, Spy could always read them in the common room, he would be significantly less tempted to do anything then.

Chapter Text

                The next night, Spy finds himself restless once more. He tries music, a book (three, actually), even attempts to dance. He surrenders to knowing he is awake for now, accepts that he slept in a bit more, and he finds himself quietly cooking before light has even started to shine.
                What he wasn’t expecting was Medic. Spy hears a chair creak, glancing behind him to see the Medic easing himself in a chair. Spy waits for a moment, seeing the man lean back in the seat, nodding once. Spy takes in a breath, returning to focus on the next dish. He chose something that took it’s time, and then the assortment of smaller finger foods.
                Spy doesn’t know why, but it helps relax the mind. When he finishes the smaller dishes, Spy checks the meat for a soup. Still some time left over. He leans against the countertop, having steady eye contact with the Medic.

                “Why do you cook?” Medic asks.

                “I… know how to?” Spy says, “A way to pass time, quietly.”

                “I noticed. The music is playing softly, there’s three books on that table that must be from your collection, and now you’re back at this.” Medic says, “While I am sure the team would appreciate a good breakfast every day, I want to know what’s inspiring the habit.”

                Spy wouldn’t call it a habit. He does it often enough, but he wouldn’t cook on the weekends, nor on certain Wednesdays. But he didn’t know how to describe this. He also paid mind to how Medic said the statement, picking that apart in his mind.

                “Is there a problem with this, aside from doing so early in the morning?” Spy asks.

                “You don’t seem to enjoy it.” Medic says.

                Spy almost wants to say ‘of course he didn’t.’ Almost wants to explain what makes him think so little of his own cooking. He’s barely trying here, what he’s doing ‘passes.’ But it’s more than pointless to bring up dead people. Spy checks the meat in the soup, still not quite cooked. He relaxes back against the counter, pondering.

                “I don’t think I need to enjoy it.” Spy says.

                “Maybe not.” Medic says, “But it’s telling when everyone else likes what you’ve made… while you do not.”

                The Medic soon clarifies that it isn’t as though he wants Spy to stop, per se. If this is how Spy manages to get a few more hours of sleep, so be it. Only, he warns that he will be checking to see if this ‘habit’ develops into something different. If it starts to awaken people, or if Spy becomes unable to rest through the night, Medic will intervene. Otherwise, it’s Spy’s prerogative on if he cooks breakfast on a regular basis. It would do the team some good to have something filling and full of healthier calories, considering what most of the mercs normally eats, but Medic wouldn’t force him into it.

                “I’ve mastered the art of cooking in the middle of the night.” Spy promises.

                “That’s I can tell. One of your burn marks on your hands shown you know what happens when you don’t pay attention.” Medic says.

                Spy looks at one burn on his right hand, examining it. That was the one he suspects the Medic was referring to, it has a strange pattern. It’s why he wears gloves: the scars were hideous.

                “I never received burns from cooking.” Spy says, “This one came from a hookah. I learned I should trust my gut about rowdy teenagers.”

                “Scheisse!” Medic says.

                “I said an assortment of colorful words that day. That particular word might have been in three languages.” Spy says.

                Medic doesn’t ask about the burn on his left hand, thankfully. As Spy goes to check on the meat once more, he hears Medic stand up, bidding Spy a goodnight. There was still a couple more hours where he could get some sleep, and encouraged Spy to try after the cooking had finished. Chorba never takes too long, once the meat is tender. Spy might consider falling asleep at the sofa again.

*

                Before the day begins, Spy learns the schedule of sessions. Very few people are once a week, and it’s the same for those who go every day. Spy presumed he would be placed at twice a week, maybe three times a week, and finds himself surprised when he’s asked to come in every other day. Spy agrees, more due to his unwillingness to argue about it in public.
                He’s not sure what all of his personal file that Medic would have access to. The one he knew he scrubbed clean was an assortment of ‘suspicious respawn logs,’ though with enough poking the information would easily come back up.
                The work day was decent, Spy supposed. Could have gone significantly better, he found that today, the Pyro was more than a little relentless. Couldn’t catch a break, didn’t know what to do, and Spy was afraid to ask for help.
                It was stupid, he ended up being saved by the Sniper on multiple occasions. When Spy leaned against the dispenser, he found that the Engineer was asking about what was causing this issue.

                “I don’t know. I always had issues facing a Pyro.” was Spy’s answer.

                The Engineer did not have much of a response for him after that, aside from he suspected it was a mental block.
                That battle was a loss, Spy completely thought it was his own mistake. He knew exactly what the problem was, and he found that instead of waiting around for the Medic’s punishments, he’s in the training room.

                Nothing was wrong with his gun, he cleans it regularly.
                His aim during practice was fine.
                Spy even knew how to run an assortment of stress tests, make the scene as realistic as he could.
                Why is this Pyro being such a-.

                “Oi Spook.” Spy hears.

                Spy’s tense, at first, directing his attention to where he hears what he presumes to be the Sniper. The man looks to be chipper, like yesterday. He’s not even wearing his sunglasses, showing off bi-colored eyes.
                Interesting.

                “Oui, Sniper?” Spy asks.

                “This where you holed yourself at?” Sniper asks, “Don’t really seem your type.”

                Spy takes in a deep breath, placing his revolver away and double checks to make sure his assortment of blades do not suddenly slip out. He should take some of them off soon, to avoid potential problems. The only answer he gives Sniper is a shrug.

                “You see the Doc yet?” Sniper asks.

                “I presume he will not be pleased if I don’t.” Spy says.

                While Spy went yesterday, Medic sorted that he wanted to see how Spy would react to a schedule with everyone. It made more sense that those that required more frequent sessions be on a similar schedule batch.

                “Not like Doc would pressure you if you decide not to come today. But he will record you didn’t show up, and he tends to use ceasefire days to catch up on missed sessions.” Sniper says.

                That sounds like Sniper knew from personal experience.

                “Good to know. Merci.” Spy says.

                “No worries, mate.” Sniper says.

                Only, Spy doesn’t go. He hides elsewhere, within the base, one of the many alcoves that are uniform through the varying locations. No one could find him, and he heard people wonder where he ran off to in casual conversation, then immediately conclude he must have been doing ‘Spy things’ like the other one used to do. Neither does he show for dinner, which brought different concerns when he listens to the casual conversation.
                It was a strange bout of restlessness. He wasn’t trapped, there wasn’t any reason why he should be feeling this way, but Spy thinks about all the things going on and-

                It’s intense here. He’s feeling the pressure to succeed and he’s usually exemplary at doing so. Here he is, unable to handle the enemy team’s Pyro.
                It’s his fault. It’s his fault. It’s his fault.

                He sits in that spot for hours, pondering. Eventually, he does go to his room, avoiding contact with anyone. Even when it approaches midnight, with him in nightclothes and trying to sleep…

                Spy goes into the common area once more, knowing that most people may still be slightly awake. But he wasn’t there to cook. If he had gotten started, he would cook through the night, and have such limited sleep the next day that he will be useless.
                The common area happened to have the best signal for a long distance call. Spy sets up his watch, setting it near a certain pole in the room that connects to the satellite outside.

                “/Peace be upon you. How may I-/” the voice starts, “Oh! Petal! You usually don’t call this early.”

                The Arabic brings Spy some form of calm, and he sighs happily. It was always great to talk to Nube, when he can steal the chances, when it’s private enough. He always finds time for his old friend, and she could help sort his head.

                “/Upon you be peace./” Spy returns, “It has been a while Nube.”

                “Hm. Maybe two weeks. You did warn me you may take a while to contact again, but here you are… Are things not going well?” Nube asks.

                Spy leans against the wall, fingers twitching for a cigarette. He would, if it weren’t for Nube’s perchance to surprise him so fiercely that he has swallowed a cigarette. That was an unpleasant experience he did not want to repeat.

                “I don’t know.” Spy admits, “I think I am intimidated.”

                “Rarely anything intimidates you, Petal.” Nube says, “Reassigned to a new place?”

                Nube knew vaguely about what MannCo did. Whomever she was currently working for, she knew enough to work around his descriptions. And she did the same to him, when he asked. He’s suspecting that they work for the same company, but neither wishes to discover they work for opposite teams.
                Proclaiming ignorance was the best outcome, especially considering what has happened to people who fraternized with the enemy.

                “Yes. The reassignment… It’s…” Spy starts.

                He has no idea how to go about this.
                It wasn’t that Nube was prude, but what happened here went far beyond her own preferences.

                “Well you already said intimidated.” Nube says, “You never sleep well the first couple of days either.”

                “I’m cooking again.” Spy says.

                Nube makes a choked sound, taking a couple moments to compose herself.

                “You hate cooking.” Nube says, “Vehemently hate it. You’re damned good when you want to, even that restaurant we had once was so successful because of you, but if ever was there someone who was great at something and hated every-.”

                “I get the point.” Spy deadpans.

                “I think you’re smitten.” Nube says.

                Smitten? Spy was confused, at first. He thought of it in terms of afflicted with some disease. Probably, his life was a massive mess, and it was a matter of time it done things to his psyche. Then he connects it to stricken with adoration.

                “Non.” Spy says firmly.

                “Then why are you trying to impress him? Why would you do the one thing you hate if you weren’t smitten?” Nube asks.

                Spy does not bother trying to say there was no ‘he’ when she knew his preferences. But then he hears the clicking of a particular boot heel, and it sets him in a panic.

                “Forgive me.” He says.

                He ends the call, taking the watch and turning on the invisibility feature. As he knew, the Medic walked into the common area. The Medic hums, walking inside and looking around cautiously. Spy was going to wait him out, he was so sure from where he was at, no one could have heard what was being said…

                Medic directs his attention to the kitchen area, and saw that it was pristine. He hums again, seeming to want to pinpoint where Spy was. All while Spy has affirmed he would not move. The doctor looks around a couple minutes more, and his shoulders slump. Spy is suspecting the Medic is giving up, for the night.
                Then he stands to attention, having his attention towards where the phone lines are. It wasn’t quite where Spy was, but it was close enough in his direction for Spy to feel that the Medic was staring at him.

                But he says nothing, he leaves the room as suddenly as he came.
                Odd.
                When Spy was certain that the Medic was away sufficiently enough, he looks over his watch and debates on contacting Nube again. Then again, with the Medic already suspicious of him…

                Spy surrenders, deciding that for the night he should sleep. Though, he presumes that Medic would be pacing between the common area and his room, finding it more prudent to find a private spot that he can lay down at-
                And wakes up at the time he typically does when he’s restless, per usual, his solution was to cook, see if he could sleep more later.
                He doesn’t sleep.

                Dammit.

*

                Limited sleep, a new situation, on top of the general frustration at the Pyro
                It came to a head, sooner than Spy would have liked to have admitted. All his frustrations have earned him was numerous deaths, far more than what he has gotten the past couple days.
                The next respawn, he stares at the walls surrounding him, reaching the doors leading out when an assortment of thoughts gotten him to pause. The voice was what caused the bulk of the problems, not what he heard, per se.
                Spy reaches for a cigarette, listening to the voice of his old mentor insult his abilities. He barely gets a couple steps away from the door when he tries taking out a cigarette when he stops, shaking slightly. One scathing comment from the gruff voice, always the ‘did you think this was some haughty competition between other women?’ comment that gets him crushing his cigarette, using that fist to punch the wall nearest to him.
                He knew he screamed, who knew if it was because he was in pain or out of frustration, but he doubted anyone heard him. When he pulled his hand away from the wall, he could feel the damage he done to it.

                He went to the Engineer enough times, and a hand with broken bones would arouse suspicion from the Medic. Spy absolves that he would find some sort of health pack, it would do the same thing.

                The battle is a horrendous loss, in his mind. He does not wait for anyone, storming away, no destination in mind. He’s not surprised when he ends up on the roof, and starts smoking. He leans against the railings, letting the stale air settle his mind and keeping watch over the looming sunset. The unfortunate thing was his hand was throbbing still, must have done more damage than he suspected.

                What he was not expecting was the sound of the doors to the roof opening.
                Spy turns, half expecting to see the Medic, but seems baffled he sees the Engineer, gripping onto his helmet meekly as he’s looking at Spy. Still had his googles on, but Spy already noticed the nervous behavior in the laborer over the past few days. Must be a habit of this Engineer.

                “Ah, Spy?” he starts, “You uh, gonna go to the Medic over that hand? He’s been looking for you, heard the damage you done to yourself was bad.”

                Someone did see him punch the wall. Spy glances to it, knowing it would be wise to go to the Medic, but there is still this looming-
                Why is he so scared?

                “Oui Laborer.” Spy says.

                He barely hears what else the Engineer says to him, walking to the doors to reach the stairs. These thoughts that have entered his mind, done nothing but cause him grief. He handled that first session well, why couldn’t he handle another?
                This is especially considering Spy has seen most of the infirmary, with all the sex objects and items he could not identify. If that did not stave him off in the beginning, he could certainly handle another session.
                Spy settles that he is still nervous by the time he reaches the infirmary doors, but his desire to face this strange bout of hesitation overweighs his own nervousness. He listens for the inside of the room, straining to hear anything. He doesn’t think a session is occurring, but he knocks to be polite.

                “Come in.” the Medic calls.

                Spy steps inside, looking around the room as he walks to the Medic’s desk on the far end of the room. The doctor scribbles away on an assortment of paperwork, glancing up and the pen pauses. He directs his attention to Spy, setting the pen down and has that smile once more.

                “Ah, Herr Spy, to what do I owe the pleasure?” he asks.

                Spy reaches the chair in front of the desk, slowly sitting in it. He finally decides to check the wound on his hand, peeling away the glove. There’s some swelling around the knuckles, with the discoloration and all.

                “Hm. I would suggest an x-ray, but I think we both know that is a typical boxer’s fracture, and you’re here to have that treated with the medigun.” Medic says.

                “That would be… preferable.” Spy says.

                He hoped the Medic would not make him heal naturally. That fear vanishes as soon as it appeared, Medic waved him to an examination table, and it was already set with the medigun. As Spy lays back, letting the waves wash over him...

                “Anything you would like to talk about?” the Medic asks.

                The temptation to leave when he’s not healed. Spy inhales deeply, trying to pick a topic he was fine with talking with. Not the hand, not his growing feelings of some sort, not the time Medic was searching for him…

                “I seem to have a mental block when trying to fight the Pyro.” Spy says.

                “A common fear Spies have.” Medic says, “Anything you think could be causing it?”

                Who knows, he doesn’t. But, he keeps comfortable, closing his eyes as he’s trying to sort what it could be. The RED team’s Pyro is loud, never stops talking. His own teammate has barely uttered a word, most of the BLU Pyro’s desires are known through actions. Mute? Or perhaps it is a similar mental block.

                “I don’t know.” Spy admits, “I tested my weapons, I am not freezing at practice…”

                “It’s fine to not know, but recognizing the issue is the first step. I have an idea I think would serve you well, I have found that it takes being distracted with other thoughts helps. Either it tells you what the root of the issue is, or it’s enough to get you past the initial block.” Medic says.

                Distracted?
                What would distract him enough?

                Spy glances over to the Medic, who was beside him- Well, not anymore. The doctor is at a different part of the room, getting out a selection of rope.
                He sits up in the table, feeling significantly better from earlier. Although, he’s at a loss on the ropes. How would wrapping them around his body do anything?

                “Normally, I would wait for the morning, since I know how uncomfortable this can get when asleep.” Medic says, “But perhaps it would sort your sleeping issues as well, if I tied these loose enough.”

                “I am lost. What do you mean?” Spy asks.

                It wasn’t as though Spy didn’t know what the ropes were for, he was bound a couple of days ago. But he had no idea how the Medic would assure he could move without being inhibited.

                “Strip, Mein pfau. Everything, aside from your mask.” Medic says, “And I can show you.”

                While the command surprises Spy, he doesn’t hesitate. He stands slowly, keeping a similar pace for taking off his suit. The Medic waits patiently until he is in only his balaclava, directing the Spy to come to him. Spy does not hide his discomfort, tucking his arms close to each other.
                The doctor was patient, waiting for Spy’s comfort levels to increase and walks through every step of the process. A roughly seven meter rope, stopping right at the middle and hangs it at his neck, with a wide base. He mentions that some people use knots, and he would do so tomorrow when he redoes the binding. Instead, he twists the rope a few times set up the typical ‘diamond’ shape, passing the rope under his crotch, looping behind him and through the rope around his neck.
                While Spy had a small concern that he could cause an unfortunate accent he would respawn from, Medic looped the ropes in such a way that it would be improbable. Looped three times: once before the twisting starts, the other two through the twists to start the diamond shape. Once tied on the back, Spy looks at the harness this makes, getting a sense for the kind of ropework the doctor knows.

                “Walk around for a few hours, see how you feel. I wouldn’t let you sleep in them if you don’t feel entirely comfortable, but I think you can manage.” Medic says.

                Then, after checking the ropes once again, Spy was commanded to redress. He originally thought that the ropes would peak through his suit, but seemed his suit had enough ways to hide this, especially with the vest and jacket.

                “Sehr gut.” Medic says, “Do not feel so intimidated that you cannot come back here if you find this to be uncomfortable, but do be mindful of the risks.”

                Keep elevated when resting.
                Make sure he can breathe.
                Try not to ignore anything that feels off about his body.

                Spy was sent out without much more, and he participated with some end of the day tasks. Food had done him some good, especially since he has inspired some of the lazier mercenaries to make an attempt. It wasn’t completely awful, though he has much to say about the burnt brisket that he did not say aloud.

                He manages to rest through the night with it on, waking up at least closer to six in the morning. It was early enough that he could find an excuse to cook again, and was even in the mood to deal with eugh eggs, bacon, sausage, and whatever the hell grits were. That was all he had the time for, honestly. No one complained.

                Nor did they complain when it became obvious Spy was off once more.
                It seems they were aware he was being punished, because of all the positions Spy was putting himself in. As the Medic promised, the feeling was significantly different with knots. It made him more self-conscious of the ropes.
                One was obnoxiously pressing against his clitoris, and he especially felt it when he was running. Which was often, given that Pyro. There was still that hesitation, but the smile the Medic had on his face when he explained that respawn would not register the rope harness, and Spy would come back without it on.
                The implication that if Spy died, there would be hell to pay during the session.

                That was more than enough for Spy to actively recall the gun in his holster and shoot the RED inferno demon. The person in the asbestos suit collapses, and Spy can barely believe he has managed without dying.

                “Putain!” he says.

                It was going so well, Spy even whistled when he pulls out his disguise kit, intending on running around as the RED Pyro. That was, until he woke up in respawn with a splitting headache. An arrow, he vaguely recalls.
                Sniper.

                Well, one problem down, another to sort. Spy huffs, heading out on the field, finding that he was missing the harness. Not that he would admit that to the Medic.

Chapter Text

                What do you mean you hurt and the doctor cannot find anything?

                It’s been about two weeks, Spy thinks. The time is starting to creep in, where he will stop tracking how long he has been at a place. The pain has loomed over him, slowly beginning to suffocate once again. He thought the last flair a couple months ago was awful, and this one…
                The Medic has been trying to treat Spy’s insomnia in many ways, seemed his favorite was exhausting him. Not really sensory overload, more that the Medic found that keeping him bound and suspended, almost incapable of refusing (aside from a safe word) with a vibrator at the tip of his clit. Sometimes he came, sometimes he didn’t. Usually, it was enough for him to find some rest, without interruption. He could ignore the vague bit of pain that was a constant reminder of the past.
                Except for tonight.

                Petal, this is ridiculous. You have to give pain medication time to work.

                Spy always replays the conversation he had with Nube a long while ago. He knows how much pain he’s in, but following her advice has done him some good. He has an excessive amount of oxycodone, a thirty milligram pill, sitting on his tongue. He’s heading for the kitchen, knowing he hears some movement.

                You want something that you can combine? You really cannot find some hashish? No? Fine. I want you to listen to me carefully Petal. You get a drug of choice, I do not suggest an opiate. But, if you must, just five milligrams.

He’s already ignoring the first step.
He’s done this enough times to know what he’s doing, the risks he’s taking.

                Next, find some alcohol. Nothing too strong, a wine will work. Just. A swallow. I would take the drug first and wait for it to hit, then get the alcohol.

                In the kitchen was Demoman, nursing a clear bottle with a clear spirit. He stops his drinking, watching as Spy approaches him. No words exchange when Spy takes the bottle, taking a couple of sips from it.

                What happens? It should speed the process of the drug, all while feeling that happy tug of alcohol.

                Spy returns the bottle, breathing a word of thanks and decides to sit with Demoman. They chat, marginally, about incidentals. Demo admits he shouldn’t have this spirit, but he gotten it from town and Medic didn’t think to check through the harness again.
                Spy would report it, but he feels like a hypocrite for partaking.
                Everyone here has their problems.
                The Demoman cannot control his drinking, and often combines an assortment of substances with it. Just like what Spy was doing right now.
                The Sniper hoards items, and is paranoid of everyone at times. It manifests into abandonment issues, given Sniper expects Spy to act like the previous one still.
                The Engineer… He fears that respawn will never work for him, fears fighting, and a slight germophobe.
                The Scout and Pyro has issues with confidence, the Pyro’s is so bad that they refuse to speak.
                Soldier cannot express himself without getting violent, and his triggers are exceptionally specific. Spy narrowly avoided a respawn incident because of one such tantrum.
                The Heavy has abandonment issues as well, though Spy has not deduced much more. All he knows is that the man is not affectionate with anyone, sans the Medic. Nearly refuses to look anyone else in the eye, nor speak with them. Spy almost thought he was mute for a while.
                And himself?

                Well.

                He has issues with pain. The Medic has only concluded it was insomnia. Spy hasn’t offered to correct the doctor, sawing no need to disclose the truth.

                Oh, and Petal.

                He feels things get far too foggy after thirty minutes, the mixture of feeling far too dizzy, as though he is suddenly intoxicated. It’s horrendous.

                If you fuck up on anything I tell you because you weren’t paying attention. Or you decide one day to not listen to me.

                He tries to stand, collapsing onto the floor for his efforts. He claws onto his chest.
                He can’t breathe.

                You’ll die.

                He’s vaguely aware of Demo above him, trying to sort out what happened with Spy. No words come out of his own mouth. Were this any other scenario, Spy would be concerned about death.
                He would just respawn and it would all go back to normal, he just wanted a temporary high that distracted him from the pain. Dying typically put a damper on these temporary drug hazes, it was too suspicious with the kinds of records Engineers can get.

                But, let’s say you somehow don’t.

                When Spy awoke on the familiar floors of respawn, he knew something was wrong.
                He could feel the pull of a bad drug trip on top of being drunk. He tries dragging himself to his feet, but he could only fall to his knees, coughing. Breathing was still difficult. His vision was blurred.

                You will wish you did.

                Spy does not recall much for a while. He’s aware of movement, of voices that he cannot distinguish, and this impending sense of doom. He thinks he asked all the voices to kill him, the response being a firm ‘no.’
                It’s hours until it all begins to sort out, when he feels the aura of the medigun.

                He’s processing the lost hours, only vaguely connecting the many dots. There’s a couple of devices monitoring his health, and the incessant noise was relaxing from the warning buzzers to steady ticks. He’s vaguely aware of the IVs inside him, something in his nose… Ah, lovely, he must have had his stomach pumped. Strange, but he heard of how respawn works slightly differently at the bases.
                And the wrist restraints.

                More than enough for him to start struggling, already knowing the same would be for his ankles. It’s a blessing there’s no similar straps across his body, at least… he could find a way to relax. Tense, but he managed to calm down enough to stop struggling. It wasn’t as though he should be surprised: he did die. Only… why didn’t he return to normal through respawn?

                Spy glances around, trying to sort if he was alone. At his side, sitting in a chair a reasonable distance away from the bed was the Medic. There’s a deep seated frown, that he could not tell was out of anger or concern, and Spy had such limited vision in the dim light that he could not tell much more. Resting in the Medic’s hands were his horn rimmed glasses, which he slowly puts back on with a sigh.
                Then he takes his clipboard that was sitting on a nearby table, checking over an assortment of notes.

                “One bottle oxycodone, prescribed by your previous Medic Isaak.” The Medic says, “Unspecified what this is for, but this is not a drug you fool around with. Not at any dosage, but I wonder how you’re already up at thirty milligrams.”

                On the table by the Medic is the bottle of oxycodone. As was the bottle of liquor he took a couple sips from, only less than half full. He taps onto the liquor bottle with a certain level of disgust.

                “The alcohol you drank is a two-hundred proof moonshine. Which, our beloved Demoman is surprised you managed, and is more than sufficiently terrified after your reaction.” He says, “He presumed that the brew was poisoned, due to improper distilling.”

                With the way the Medic shrugs, seems that this was completely on the combination. Spy had no idea that he ingested moonshine, especially at that sort of strength. Not that it would have changed much, but he would have practiced a little more caution… He looks around, seeing barely that on another bed nearby was Demoman, fast asleep. And not restrained.
                Of course not.

                “You have nothing to say?” Medic asks.

                Inhaling through his nose, Spy focused on the ceiling, knowing he would likely be staring at it for a while.

                “What more is there to say?” Spy asks, “You’re going to place me on a three day observation, assure that I won’t try to off myself and check my mental state. Even if this was an error of judgement.”

                “Herr Spy.” Medic says.

                The tone was enough for him to shiver. Stern, asked for no nonsense. Spy looks back to the Medic, seeing the man slowly stand on his feet. It was difficult to garner much from him in this lighting, but Spy presumed the doctor must be disappointed.

                “As aware as we are that respawn will always catch you…” he starts, “You nearly did die. For real. Respawn was going on scheduled maintenance, and I do not think you are unaware of this.”

                That…

                Well, it made sense. It explained why Spy did not immediately feel better. But he didn’t know about this maintenance, at all. It’s not that Spy wants to die, he wants the pain to stop. No one has managed to understand this distinction.

                “It was not my intention-.” Spy starts.

                “Intention or not.” Medic interrupts, “I spent the last few hours trying to make sure you would come back alive, without complications. The medigun is not a device that can be turned on at a whim, and doesn’t mean it heals every ailment. It took a while to get you stabilized. Then once you were, I find surprising results in your bloodwork. I had to comb through your room, with Demo watching over you, to find out where the opiate came from. Certainly, you are aware your file neglected to mention you are on a high grade painkiller.”

                Spy cringes, knowing what sort of tone the Medic is inferring. He should have told Medic about it. Whatever trust they have garnered in the coming weeks was gone. Most likely, there would be a thorough examination of his file- Well, if the Medic actually can access it. Not many people, Spies or Medics, can get such unadulterated access. Given his status, it was a highly classified one.

                “My file doesn’t mention a lot of things.” Spy says carefully.

                “Would you care to fill in the blank spots?” Medic asks, tossing the clipboard onto the chair.

                It was such a sudden action that it bewildered Spy, until Medic walks away from him. He tries sitting up as much as he can, seeing the Medic approach Demo, checking on the expert and wrapping a blanket on the sleeping man.
                He did not expect an answer from Spy.

                “No one trusts me, nor believes me.” Spy says.

                “I trusted you.” Medic says, “You could have come to me at any time.”

                He didn’t expect Medic to understand. Sighing dejectedly, he lays back down and looks at the ceiling. There was no point, Medic has already made his conclusions, and an assortment of other thoughts. But, he tries again. This Medic is different, and he knew it.

                “It was hard enough, deciding to let Isaak inform you of my status.” Spy says.

                “I am sure you believe this.” Medic says, “But this is related to your health, I should have known from the onset about the oxycodone. Everything else would have fell into place, you would have displayed the symptoms of withdrawals sooner or later, though keeping an eye on the dosage you take and pinning down why you needed it when you felt comfortable… would have made a world of difference.”

                This was all the more frustrating.
                Spy was not suffering from withdrawal, he barely takes the damned things. Though, he sighs, attempting to get as comfortable as he can, and closes his eyes. There was no point to this, especially not this late at night.

                “Goodnight Docteur.” Spy says, “I am sure we will talk in the morning.”

*

                It was every bit as uncomfortable as Spy expected, though Medic found ways to bring compassion in this… situation.

                The first was that the Doctor insisted Spy have a chance to shower, after getting the tube through his nose out. Thank goodness, that was annoying to deal with, but the stomach pumping was finished a long time ago. Spy sorts the shower was so that he would be stripped of the remaining weapons on his person, but he supposes the blessing was in being clean during the observation. The Medic did not even want to look at his face, just gave him enough privacy to sort his morning ritual (sans a razor).
                He was supplied with a fresh balaclava and ‘comfortable’ clothes, pajamas that was meant for his body type, but the thread type was unfortunate. Sterile, but the cotton was itchy. He’s directed back on the bed, not restrained for the moment. The Demoman was awake, and he keeps Spy company while the Medic runs off for errands.

                “What you do that to yerself for?” Demo asks.

                “I… made a couple miscalculations.” Spy admits, “I honestly just wanted a high, I didn’t mean to…”

                He stops, not wanting to admit what happened, though Demo bluntly stated ‘off yerself.’ Spy could only agree, sighing as he shifts in bed.

                “Hadn’t seen the Doc this worried in a while.” Demo says, “Ye sure it was just a ‘miscalculation?’”

                “There are significantly easier ways of killing myself and assuring I remain dead.” Spy deadpans, “But I understand the precaution.”

                Spy could not avoid the one eyed stare. Most Demomen saw right through him, and this one is no different. Perhaps it was that ‘supernatural expertise’ that helped them determine when a Spy was lying. Most typically kept their findings to themselves, usually they did not want to bother.
                But not this one.

                “A wee too familiar with this ‘process,’ aren’t ya?” Demo asks.

                Spy merely shrugs, “Perhaps I made similar miscalculations.”

                Closest to a direct answer that he would give, Demo can make his own conclusions. Before Demo could state another observation, the Medic returns with a plate of food. Spy shouldn’t be surprised that it was full of all the things he would bother to eat, though he suspects he was too accustomed to the incompetence of other Medics. What did surprise him was that the doctor insisted to Demo that he should go eat breakfast. It takes the man a moment to consider, his one-eyed stare going between both the Medic and Spy. Who knew what Demo was thinking of, Spy saw him leave without a word.
                A table is rolled to the bed, with the plate of food placed on it. Spy takes one of the sausages, intending on taking as long as possible while the Medic goes to a corner of the room. Spy saw him in the corner of his eye, placing a mug full of water on the table.

                “I am going to give you a choice.” The Medic sits down in the chair, “I have requested your file, but it will come tomorrow through a direct delivery. We can spend today talking about it, if you would prefer I did not peak through your record. Or, we can both discuss the file’s contents tomorrow.”

                Didn’t feel like much of a choice, and Spy equally doubted that Medic would have such a clearance. Many Medics didn’t, the explanation he always saw was that some doctors could not be trusted with a full file. Minor details, small things, general facts that are hard to hide were part of a typical file. That was what Spy thought would be available. Spy thought he could call this offer a bluff.

                “It can wait until tomorrow.” He says.

                The Medic offers no response, and he takes out a clipboard as well as a book that was hiding in a drawer. Spy… He continues to eat, still taking his time. He would not be intimidated into an answer.

                There was an air to this false silence. The occasional clink from touching an item on the plate, the turn of the page, a couple scratches on the clipboard. A chat would have killed the bad air, Spy thinks. Although, he wills himself to remain silent. He feels as though his concerns would be ignored, as they always were. He understands this is a sort of persistence… But Medic would need to prove himself further.

                When he finishes, Medic stands up, making Spy believe he would be locked into the restraints. But to his own surprise, Medic was ushering him up.

                “Herr Heavy can keep watch over you while I complete some sessions for today.”

                What.
                No, that made zero sense. Spy knew the protocols, he knew what the Medic was supposed to do. He’s been through this process four separate times, and the only other Medic that was somewhat sympathetic was Isaak, who only apologized as he went through the process. What does this Medic hope to accomplish?
                Of course he notices Spy’s hesitation, and the two stared at each other.
                Spy often wondered why this one wore horn-rimmed glasses instead of round rimmed ones. He thought that round ones was protocol, much like him wearing contacts...

                “Is there something wrong Herr Spy?” the Medic asks.

                That man smiles far too much, almost as though he expects Spy to say anything to incriminate himself. No matter how much deflection he gives, or reasonable explanations, it would only serve to explain that Spy knew far too much. It was one thing to know he would be observed given the circumstances. It was another to be eerily familiar with the process.

                “Ah… you’re the Doctor, it’s your call.” Spy concludes.

                If the Medic hoped for an easy answer, he is sorely mistaken. Spy simply allowed Medic to wrap a blanket around him and lead him to the Heavy’s room. Seemed that this was discussed prior, for the large man was setting up what looked to be… a poker table?
                Well, could be worse. As much as Spy hates poker, he supposes it could pass the time for-

                What he thought would be an hour. Poker is not an interesting game between two people, even with the variants that allowed two people to play comfortably. What made it worse was that Heavy refused to chat. Spy attempted so many times, only to give into the silence. And he thought he was being friendly, asking about what made Heavy enjoy poker, asking what Heavy enjoyed doing during break (which Spy received a one fingered point to the table. Poker. Amazing.), and he thought he was being polite by avoiding questions about the family.
                Only for Spy to get mind-numbingly bored, seeing that he was going to get next to nothing out of what the doctor thought might be great ‘mental stimulation.’ Heavy already refused to let Spy shuffle the deck anymore, despite how Spy was allowing Heavy to win every time he did it. There was nothing to bet, nothing to win. No one to talk to, Heavy did not count.

                Why did the Medic do this to him? Spy wasn’t sure what was worse: being stuck in bed and restrained to it, or this.

                Oh, Spy complained at every game, for long enough to hear himself speak. He wasn’t going to attempt the usual ruses (water, bathroom, food), knowing that would not get a result he would like.

                “You have to know more than poker.” Spy says at one point.

                He couldn’t stand it, the games gotten to where he could not comfortably recall them and the order and who won. Not that those things mattered, but he had no other way of keeping time, no clocks in the Heavy’s room. When he was only met with silence, Spy sat his cards down, intently staring into those eyes that still avoided his own.

                “I know infinitely more games than this.” Spy says.

                Silence.

                “It’s not Baccarat.”

                Still silence, but Spy gotten an eyebrow raise out of this. Faint, most people would miss this.

                “I know Euchre, that one is my favorite. Typically takes four, but… I know a two person variant, I could teach you.”

                To the Spy’s surprise, Heavy takes the cards, and starts picking out all cards two through eight. Then, seems that Heavy was familiar with the two person variant as well, setting up the game so that there were four players: two people, with two dummies.
                Good enough.

                It’s not that the games go quicker, but Heavy would have to make his communication a little more noticeable. With this small change, Spy did feel as though he was being spoken to, just a little. That and he likes Euchre, infinitely more fun with a better set of variance. Occasionally Heavy throws the sevens and the eights in, just to heighten the variety.

                Despite the game change, Spy lost sense of time. He knew the poker games lasted two hours, Euchre… good ones can last a half an hour, and there were a couple of good ones. He ventures when he hears the sobbing come from outside that it should be four hours past. Heavy was the one that stops the game they were currently playing, going to the door and opens it to the Demoman tumbling inside. There’s a bottle of strong scotch in his hand, and it smells horrendous.

                “I thought you weren’t supposed to have that during off hours.” Spy says.

                “I dinnae want to hear it! Ya no good junkie.” Demo says.

                Aside from how this wasn’t true, that was awfully rude of Demo. And hypocritical. Spy keeps sitting, watching the drunken man shuffle up and have a new fire in his one-eyed stare. Spy knew he was going to get an earful, and what made this all the more unfortunate and awkward was the Heavy that decided to remain standing with the door open.

                “Ain’t got a lick to say? Because you know it’s true. Ya dinnae care at all. Won’t talk to the Doctor, won’t talk to anyone, even this big lug.”

                Spy tilts his head, wondering what all he was supposed to take from this.
                Demo did not expect him to be like the previous Spy, did he?

                “And all you’re doing now is keeping that yap shut. What, such an awful Spy that you think you can’t talk yourself out of nothing?”

                He did.
                It was all starting to click into place, he thinks that everyone still has that expectation, and the previous Spy sounded like an asshole. Spy knew he had his moments, it was unavoidable with how much he has to put up with and the stress he deals with, but this was getting ridiculous.

                “How much have you had to drink?” Spy asks.

                “I dinnae want to hear that neither!” Demo says.

                The man stumbles onto his feet, almost close to collapsing back down. Spy knew Heavy would not help, most of the others he has associated with would have used their force and voice by now. But here Spy was, taking hold of Demo and taking the risk to help the man stand.

                “Sounds like too much.” Spy says, “Why don’t we go see the Docteur?”

                “Dinnae want to go.” Demo says.

                “You’re going.” Spy says.

                The next problem was Heavy. Spy was uncertain if Heavy disagreed or was uncertain on what to do. The avoidant gaze did not help matters, at all.

                “I need your help.” Spy says to Heavy.

                Silence, except for the mumbling Demoman who mouths that the Heavy did not care for anyone.

                “You can see that he needs help.” Spy says.

                More silence.

                “If you have grievances against our Demo, fine.” Spy says, “But you are supposed to keep an eye on me, I would hate for you to get in trouble all because you did not follow.”

                Spy presumed that Heavy would not stop him from leaving, considering the circumstances. He was right, and it only took a couple of steps out the door for the large man to follow in a slower pace. It was easy for Spy to keep Demo on track, he’s handled belligerent drunks before. The main problem came after he needs to release said belligerent drunk from his grip. Typically, that would involve a punch to the face.
                With what he was holding onto, the arm that stubbornly held onto the mostly empty scotch bottle, Spy suspected it would be a bottle breaking on his face.

                Oh well.

                Somehow, there was no one around, Spy has to find out how everyone spends their weekends. He gets Demo to the infirmary doors, glancing in to see if there was a session. He didn’t hear anything that would suggest it, nor did he know if the Medic was inside.
                Spy sighs, pressing against the door. Opens without a hassle, so that meant no session. Though he hears shifting in the room, seeing that the Medic was unaware of their entrance. Spy made the mistake of loosening his grip, Demo yanking away and acting as Spy expected, insulting and raving at him.

                “I ain’t got a problem! Why dinnae ye worry about yerself? Or is that too much of a problem for ya?” Demo says.

                The Medic looks over to them, having an owlish look as he seems to be deciphering how this is occurring. In his infirmary.
                Spy does not make matters any better, holding his arms out and stretched. He knew he was getting hit, so may as well get it over with.

                “I am right here. Settle whatever anger you have!”

                And just as Spy expects, he gets knocked with the bottle. It does not shatter, unfortunately. Spy stumbles away, knocking into the Heavy that has stood at the door. Spy considers going after the Demoman, but sees that the Medic has taken a hold of Demo. Besides, when Spy attempted to move away, Heavy only had to barely move his arm in the way.
                Spy taps his hand against Heavy’s arm, muttering about how he knew the large man cared a lot more than what he shown.

                “What is the meaning of all this?” The Medic asks.

                Spy opens his mouth to respond, but could only see anger directed at him. Well, Medic was too hung up over Demo to truly have such a pointed ire, but it was enough for Spy to not give his response. All he did was wait for the Medic to settle Demo into a bed, getting him prepared for detox. Then, Spy was next, back into his bed and restrained in it. Medic used curtains to give Spy complete privacy, and the Medic works between the two.

                Heavy was still in the room, and he does begin to speak in Russian. Medic must understand enough to speak to Heavy, but his accent and ability to speak some of the words could use some work. But, whatever Heavy said, he was able to calm the Medic down. He saw it when Medic returns to him a third time, and Spy swears the man seems a little guilty.

                “Herr Heavy explained what happened.” He says, “And… I should have let you speak, before making conclusions.”

                “Demo was drunk, I don’t hold what he says against me.” Spy says.

                “You should.” Medic says, “The other-.”

                Medic pauses, realizing his mistake far too late. Spy knew exactly what Medic would say: the other Spy would. He feels Medic apply another IV, getting some fluid and something for the throbbing pain in his head. Nothing too strong, but takes away the edge.

                “Well, you likely have a concussion, but I need you to stay awake long enough for me to get you the medigun. You were right in your suspicions, I gotten out of our Demo that he drank far too much. He would have went through respawn.” Medic says.

                Which was likely going through maintenance still, such a maintenance can take as long as a week, and there’s an assortment of issues that happen the day after maintenance. But, Spy waits, and he manages to be patient enough.

                He spends the rest of the day resting, there was no getting out of this bed. Not for tonight, even with the medigun, he still felt residuals of the concussion. Good enough. After he eats, he does request medication to help him sleep, feeling close to that edge of falling asleep, but could not get there on his own. Going on a sleep medication was not something Spy typically did, but the Medic obliged him. He mentioned that he knew Spy was not resting fully at night, right when Spy passes out before he could ask what the statement meant.

*

                Spy awakens to voices, casual chatting.

                “Yes Doctor, everything in the briefcase is his. I think there are three files that the Administrator thought was beyond your clearance.” A Spaniard voice says. This one sounds familiar.

                “That is quite a great deal…” the Medic says.

                Spy hears some chuckling, “You’re the one who asked for everything you could get. You got files from eight out of ten of the bases he was in, and just a small abstract of the other two. Something tells me you have your work cut out for you mon loup-”

                Eight. Out of ten. That was what made Spy want to sit up, mentally cursing when he doesn’t get that far and makes noise. But through his mind he wonders how. Given what happened in three of the bases, he doesn’t understand how this Medic has the level of seniority needed.

                “And that’s my cue to get going.” The Spaniard says.

                “Thank you again.” The Medic calls.

                There would be no escaping the record. So many things happened during his contract, things that he cared not to speak of, and he knew there would be no avoiding this. He was first thankful for the curtains, figuring the guest (whom he presumed to be another Spy) would leave.
                Spy honestly was not terribly surprised when the other man peaks through. Nothing remarkable about the other man, nothing to go from the barest he could get. Brown eyes though, must not wear contacts.

                “/You look like shit./

                What caught Spy off guard was the Basque. The number of Spies that would know the language is few. Does he dare?
                Spy dares.

                “/Thanks, you would too if there was a tube put through your nose a day ago./” he says.

                The other Spy opens up the curtains, his frown is curled, but his forehead is pressed in a hard line. Some twinges of confusion, then there was the curiosity.

                “/Are you the one called the Spook from Basque? I wondered who took my title. Hm. Wow, those eyes are striking. Those rumors are true./

                “What are you doing?” the Medic asks, “Is there something wrong?”

                The tone was inquisitive, not overly concerned with what was going on, presumably because they weren’t acting hostile. Spy decides to respond, before the other one could take control.

                “I am fine Docteur, we’re having a casual conversation.” Spy says.

                “/that’s a word./

                “/Oh shut up. I could have lied and said you were needlessly insulting me./” Spy says, “/I know a couple others who say they hailed from Basque… are you Osprey?/

                “/You’ve sorted me out./” Osprey admits, “/you must have it bad to be here. I didn’t look through your file, but I heard rumors. With that one base with most of the team dead, I am surprised it took you so long to get here./

                Spy had no idea what was meant by the statement, but he heard Medic rise up from his chair. Osprey smirks at Spy, walking away before he could make any sort of comment.

                “/By the way, there’s some old fucker they call Viejo in these parts asking for you./” Osprey calls out, “/You might want to talk to him./

                Great, his day just keeps getting better. The Medic has his files. His old mentor is searching for him. And he’s still dealing with the observation as a whole.
                Interesting times, Spy supposed. All he could do was face this head on.

Chapter Text

                Spy wonders for the twelfth time if the Medic was testing him, it was starting to get frustrating.

                It’s been hours since he was in the infirmary. He was allowed out of observation early, spending the time free sprawled out on his bed. The Medic had done a thorough check of the room earlier; made him open safes and other hidden locations in his room to confirm there were no hidden drugs. Spy didn’t show every hidden crevice, which the Medic expected, but Spy did confirm that there was nothing dangerous hiding around.

                Without much to do, Spy thinks about every angle and possibility.

                As much ‘fun’ as it was to take his day job and turn it into an obsession, he was trying to masturbate so that the thoughts would subside. The Medic mentioned that he was going to return his attention to the Demoman, clearing Spy of the mental health commitment (with the Medic reminding Spy that he was going to tailor the sessions given some new information), and…

                He was trying to distract himself from the earlier prodding, and his attempts at doing so fell short.

                It didn’t go as far as he suspected. Sure, the Medic looked over an assortment of notes… They both had a laugh at some of the names the other Medics gave him (one called him Asmodai).

                But he didn’t understand why the Medic didn’t go further. Aside from sorting that Spy did not have a drug problem (surprise), he didn’t expect records of similar incidents. Spy didn’t know that respawn could detect a previous alcohol drug mixture, a few of the bases he was at previously had advanced systems. His ‘saving grace’ was that said incidents were rare and never deadly… the Medic decides to trust the Spy based upon a certain factor.

                Come on, he needed to return to the earlier image-

                Spy didn’t need to mull over the what, the Medic told him. It was because Spy helped Demoman in his time of need yesterday, something the Medic highly doubted that the previous Spy would do. Nothing that any Spy would do, really.

                There were so many things wrong with this ‘mercy.’ Spy couldn’t say that the Medic was going to scrounge through the files in private. They’re locked in a safe, and Medic went so far as to give Spy the key to it. Of course, Spy was warned that he could lose the key all he wants, the Engineer could work his way into the safe. This was supposed to be a sign of good faith. More to show that if Spy wanted to go the ‘official administrative route,’ the Medic proven that he could obtain access to them any time he wishes.

                This was not what he was hoping to think of while he was palming himself.

                What was that image… There was the woman with orange hair, like a flame. She was fun, freckled, and a joy to be around. Robust laugh, sizable breasts. Good for a night, was good that one night. Didn’t even ask many questions, and the next morning the flame haired woman mentioned she felt lucky to be with another-

                Then the image changes. Someone more masculine than Spy would ever be. Taller too. Short hair, allowed to grow out a bit, styled. Brown, with some grey. Then Spy focused on the glasses, they’re horn-rimmed. He’s imagining the Medic.

                Well, Spy would be a fool to say that the Medic was not attractive. But he would equally be a fool to think anything would come from trying to tail an infatuation. Spy doubted he could handle another burn… and no other image would satisfy him. Choices, neither were particularly grand.

                However, masturbating to the image of the Medic would suit him better than all the other thoughts of the man. He was thankful for his oversight in forgetting to check a false back in one of his safes. In the back was a couple of toys and lubricant. Spy would have a hell of a time cleaning the spots from his sheets, but he thinks he can avoid an inspection for another day. There was no schedule to them, from what he knew. Therefore, the best time to fool around was a little late at night, after an inspection. Most people were asleep, and he usually falls asleep after an orgasm, no worries on that end.

                It just took so long. He didn’t bother with his toys; too high a risk for someone hearing them. He already made a makeshift gag with a handkerchief, one he was going to toss anyway given a particular stain he couldn’t clean out. But without a toy, he was slow to start and to finish. It takes him time to grow comfortable with his own parts when he’s alone. Something about another person touching them makes a word of difference, just the way he touches them feels wrong. Usually he can work through this inadequacy, but tonight…

                Sometimes he gives in during the middle, just to turn into a comfortable sleeping position. Aroused, and unable to bring himself off. Tonight, he surrenders, taking out his gag and tosses the fabric onto his nightstand. He doesn’t bother ripping off the sheets, nor cleaning the lubricant off him. He can wash off the evidence tomorrow when he hates himself less.

* * *

                The Scout is going to get on Spy’s last nerve, he knows it. Yes, the boy chats, just like every other Scout that Spy has met in all his tenure at BLU. But it didn’t make for an enjoyable breakfast…

                Usually he can ignore it. He knows his mood has been off since he woke up. Unceremoniously cleaned himself of the mess he allowed to dry on him, change out his sheets, and hide the remaining evidence back in the original spot. But his options are focus on the present, or return to that feeling. The present was everything around him, going through things almost habitually. He had a few newspapers he could read.

                Quite unfortunately for him, the Scout wouldn’t stop talking about his sudden realization: this war that they fight in is pointless. And as Scout drones on, Spy focuses on the contents of one of his French newspapers.

                Spy receives so many that he sometimes has to put articles together, to see if they were any different. This time, he’s looking at a peculiar gossip tabloid. What was strange was all of them having the same gossip topic: some sort of company, implied to be foreign, was seeking to buy the entirety of ‘the camp in Gurs.’

                The thought of Gurs sent Spy into a state, slipping back into the past when he remembered the incidents. He did not need to be thinking about Gurs. Not about his traitorous uncle.

                Spy tries to stack the papers together, trying to let the rustling distract his mind.

                “So yeah, like, everyone’s here for just a shitton of money. Are all wars this pointless? Kinda sounds like they are.” Scout says.

                It turned into pleading with himself to stay out of it. He knew exactly what comment he would make, and it would be rebuffed.

                “This war is pointless, but most have a little more complexity to them.” Spy says.

                Dammit.
                Just as he thought, that boy has a smirk, like he won some sort of award. He’s got a captive audience, and Spy provided a new outlet.

                “I dunno how a bunch of old guys make things so touchy, y’know? No offense.” the Scout says.

                Spy should ignore it. He could ignore it.
                He blames it on his mood, when he rises with his collected newspapers. His other issue was he barely touched the food. Pyro prods him, who grabs a hold of his arm to point at the mostly picked at plate. Damn the food, he needed out of here.

                And the Scout considers it a battle won, continuing with how it was all just old men fighting each other. Something in the statement he couldn’t quite place gotten to him. Pyro lets go of him when he crumples the papers in his hands, fingers tearing through them.

                Scout cuts himself off quickly when Spy speaks.

                “You are perhaps the most oblivious Scout I have had the misfortune of working with.” Spy says.

                The Scout sputters and stutters, gripping onto the back of his chair as he’s backing into it further, to make him smaller. Spy walks closer to the table Scout sits at, and he’s vaguely aware of the others focusing on him. He couldn’t recall if the doctor was in the room, he would have been stopped by now, surely.

                “Man Spy, you’re taking this far too seriously.” the Scout croaks.

                Spy chuckles, it was close to being ironic, “Really? I couldn’t tell!”

                “Y-Yeah.” The Scout tries relaxing, lowering his hand away from the seat, “It was just... what’s that kind of phrase Engie uses? ‘Beating around the bush?’ Something like that.”

                It was some Americanism phrase that Spy didn’t understand. It was likely the wrong phrase, if he knew Scouts well.

                Spy sat his palms on the table, leaning in closer. To his own credit, he was rather calm, “I was thirteen, boy.”

                “Huh?”

                “Your comment, about how it was all old men.” Spy couldn’t stop the tremble in his voice, neither could he control the volume, “You want to, how you say, ‘run that by me again’ now that you’re aware that I saw soldiers storm my home at thirteen? How about my first murder? Oh, I think I was sixteen, but I could have been fifteen. Hard to recall. I’d have to kill you afterword, but I have many war stories. I wasn’t an old man.”

                Spy had to stop himself from saying he was a lost, foolish girl. He could recall the image of her, as the brat who thought she could change the world. What did he really change?
                He vaguely hears Scout try to apologize. He knows he yelled, it was in French. Then he became immediately aware that someone lifted him up. He wasn’t suddenly high up as though he’s many feet higher, so it wasn’t the Heavy nor the Sniper. Then he saw the slight detail of a black mask.

                “Let go of me!” Spy tries hard to struggle, but the Pyro simply takes him out of the room.

                No mumbles, no complaints, not even a grunt. Spy recognized that he was taken a distance away from the kitchen, and Pyro moved quickly to take the two of them to a quiet spot. Spy was deposited on a random chair that sat outside a cluster of them in one of the hallways. Pyro sits across from him, swinging his legs as though there was nothing wrong.

                Spy crosses his arms, internally groaning, “I am not a child.”

                Just as he expected, he gotten nothing, except for looking into the abyss of the gas mask lenses. Who knew what Pyro was thinking, but hearing no sounds unsettled Spy. He takes out his cigarette case, deciding he would smoke away his worries. The Medic would come, eventually.

                It would take five cigarettes worth until he hears the heel of the boot approach them. Spy has calmed down, something about being around Pyro helped him. He guessed.

                The Medic sat down by the Spy, groaning as he eases himself in, “This was not what I was expecting out of you, Herr Spy.”

                “Call it a bad day,” Spy dismisses, waving around the cigarette in his hand. The Medic takes hold of it and stubs it out. “I was smoking that.”

                “Herr Spy.” The tone demanded obedience. Spy refused to look at the man, but even he knew when to listen.

                Spy inhales, counting in his mind in French. He knew exactly what the Medic wanted. Unfortunately for him, the Pyro was still around, staring at Spy intently.

                “I don’t expect you to understand why I gotten frustrated.” Spy starts, “It’s not as though many people went to war.”

                The Medic gives a polite cough, saying, “I was a field medic in the second world war.”

                Spy sits up straight, turning to look at the Medic, “You too?”

                The Medic has far too much mirth in his expression, chuckling as he says, “Seems we have a bit more in common than anticipated.”

                Indeed. It wasn’t enough to calm Spy down, but it was more than enough for him to entangle himself on more thoughts. A field medic, Spy wonders if the two of them ever met.
                He hopes not.

                “Then you should know why I gotten angry.” Spy says.

                “It is certainly understandable, having a conflict that impacted you in such a way dismissed as something trivial.” The Medic says, “It is something I have been trying to explain to the Scout, since he toys with this realization every so often. We do receive war veterans, and believe me when I say he used to say worse. But I don’t think shouting at him to ‘suck his mother’s innards’ is an appropriate way to get him to understand.”

                Did he really say that? Someone else must know French, maybe the Heavy does. Wasn’t quite in his style to say things like that, and it at least explained why Pyro took him out of the room.

                “We will have more time to chat during our session.” The Medic says, interrupting his thoughts, “but we need to prepare for battle. Are you alright to fight?”

                “Oui.” Spy says it a little too quickly, and finds himself correcting to, “I will have to be.”

                “Ja, our job is not known for providing for many sick days.” The Medic jests, “But please Spy, take it easy. You have been dealing with a lot mentally.”

                The Medic rises up, as does the Pyro who goes to amble down the hallway. Medic offers a hand to Spy to help him up. There was a brief mention of having someone to pass old war stories, should Spy choose to share. But Spy found himself lost in thought, unsure if he could ever admit many of the tales that he has acquired over his so called service.

Chapter Text

                In his years of dealing with Builder’s League United, and as an extension Team Fortress Industries, he did not understand the appeal of making bases very similar. This base was stylized like a ‘sawmill,’ complete with the forest and even a waterfall in the distance. The desert made him miserable, so this was preferable. But the dreary weather and rain and wetness… Then there were a couple of fixtures that seemed random, spinning blades that served no purpose but to kill anyone who was not mindful.

                Spy’s complaint was that during the games of capture the intelligence, it was very easy for games to enter a lull. No one seemed to want to do much for the first round, and gotten as much from those he spoke with (and was coherent enough to respond).

                It was unprofessional, but with no REDs, no action, and at the risk of going out of his mind, Spy finds a little corner that very few people would bother with… And he masturbates. Wasn’t a comfortable wank, and he doesn’t get off. There was a thrill in the risk, though that wasn’t his kink on normal occasions. The last time he dealt with a mission this boring, Spy came close to entertaining exceptionally obtrusive thoughts. Besides, he was paying attention, who would really bother to look in this out of the way area?

                There were real answers to that hypothetical question, but Spy sorted if the impossible happened, he would deal with the problem as it formed. Despite how well his gloves felt, his mind continued to feel the disconnect from earlier. The parts didn’t match, and his restlessness settled back into self-loathing. He eventually goes back to wandering the battlefield, dealing with the static of his mind.

                And he sees something so unexpected that he almost thought he died for real.

                It wasn’t that he wasn’t expecting REDs. No, he wasn’t expecting the RED Engineer. The man was much like all the others, staying by their little sentries and dispensers. Until today, given for whatever reason the man decides to act like the gun wielding madman like everyone else on the base. Spy suspects it’s something about a gunslinger that makes him think those Engineers off hinged. Even Spy couldn’t avoid the madness, all his jobs made him a healthy amount of paranoid.

                The RED Engineer’s boldness caused his own teammates to run in fear. At least, that was what he concluded until he saw the Medic run from the man. One such action was that the Medic leaped from a second story doorway down to one of the rotating sawblades. Spy had no idea if it was intentional or an accident, but he sorts that the RED Engineer must enjoy bullying the BLU team when it suited his mood.

                Unfortunately for the RED toymaker, Spy has his dead ringer.

                He wasn’t going to take it, the static in his mind was far too much, he would lose himself if he gotten on that competitive edge. But it was tempting, he was a little susceptible to a small suggestion. And those suggestions became louder, Spy finds himself… agreeing.

                It was easy to slip back, and let Ambroise be his confidence.

                Ambroise wasn’t anticipating on trying, and still, he makes many goals.
                Surprise the RED Engineer.
                Kill everyone on RED twice.
                Get a dominating streak on the RED Engineer.

                The first would be easy. It appeared that the RED Engineer was exclusively going after the Dom. Seemed even the RED Medic was following, and he was easy to dispatch. Ambroise gives it to the doctor, he can run. There was a little difficulty keeping up with the chase, but eventually they get to the waterfall.
                The RED Engineer turns around, moving to shoot him. Ambroise anticipated this, and already had his dead ringer out. He moves in the shadows, listening to the RED’s words.

                “Some new prancy Spy you got, still as stupid as that other one.”

                Ambroise heard the loud static, happens whenever things are getting iffy in his own mind, and typically he can ignore it. But there was something about being compared to whoever that previous Spy was, something about this description bothers him. The distinct chime of his watch gives him away, contrasting the standard issue one that makes an entirely mechanical static sound. By that time, he was already behind the RED Engineer, and stabbing him in the back.

                Ambroise hits into the spine, but he doesn’t twist into the lung. Yet.

                “Is that so?” Ambroise asks.

                “Guess a snake can strike once in a while. Your just… lucky.” The Engineer says.

                Rolling his eyes, Ambroise twists the knife, hearing the man suffocate on his own blood and collapse on the ground. The Dom has stayed still, staring at Ambroise. The gaze made him feel eerily self-conscious, almost as though he done a horrendous thing. No, couldn’t be. The Dom must be speechless.

                “Mon maître?” Ambroise asks.

                The Dom tilts his head, having that calculating look before he says, “Was?”

                Blinking, Ambroise was unsure how to proceed. What he was expecting of the Dom was something akin to a ‘thank you Spy’ or ‘excellent work, I am sure you can handle the rest’ or. Something that was not stating ‘what.’ Far too impersonal, Ambroise thought the two of them knew each other better.

                Oh well, battle makes people a little frazzled. Just a momentary setback and Ambroise was back to smiling. He stands to attention, giving a slight bow with one arm behind his back.

                “Oh don’t worry mon maître, I can handle the rest of those imbeciles.” Ambroise says.

                He’s vaguely aware of the Dom calling out a ‘wait’ when Ambroise runs to find someone else to backstab. He has two, and he needed significantly more to meet his criteria.

                So many of the other RED members were such idiots, fell for far too many of his tricks. Such as him leading them up the stairs, to which he jumps over them, and it ends with the knife in their back. The Dead Ringer was really to get him out of miscalculations, but sometimes he would use it to show what a farce that RED Spy was.
                Not someone Ambroise could recognize, must be one of the younger ones. Pity, he could see wasted talent when he saw it, the RED Spy clearly could thrive in a different environment. The other pittance was that Ambroise’s goals were too, what was the word for it? Easy. Aside from having to hunt down the RED Sniper that always seemed fooled by the watch, it was too easy for Ambroise to have the lot at respawn. His teammates were helping, a bit.

                Ambroise found joy in tormenting the enemy team, especially when they were already demoralized. He could hear the RED toymaker rant and rave about ‘that blue snake’ that was running on a lucky streak.

                Ambroise suddenly remembered he wasn’t dominating the RED toymaker and thinks for just a brief moment as he’s tricking the overly angry man into following him. It was fun to turn around and shoot him in the head. Ah, the lovely yowl he heard from RED’s respawn many minutes later. Making the rest of RED fear him was child’s play.

                And to Ambroise’s credit, he only died once. It was near the end, someone thought to try to kill him while the Dead Ringer was on standby. Hardly mattered, his team managed to get ahead and his teammates were likely off getting their revenge kills that he has been stealing. Humiliation rounds had a certain kind of fun to them, although Ambroise already gotten what he needed.

                He waited in respawn, finding no point in joining what he thought were festivities. He knew something was wrong when the Scout came in and immediately avoided him.

                Was it something he did to the boy? No, couldn’t have been what he did, Lazare must have made a fool of himself, as usual. No matter, Ambroise could fix whatever problem Lazare made, like always.

                Ambroise was getting worried when the others were streaming in, and it did not seem that the others were… appropriately happy. Yes, there were some celebrations, of doing well during battle. And such chats immediately ceased when they saw him. It was almost as though no one knew what to think of him.

                Was Lazare that disliked? The thought made Ambroise bristle internally. Lazare knows how much he hates being disliked. And Lazare always made it so damn difficult to become beloved, always knew how to ruin relationships. The idiot.

                When the Dom entered, Ambroise thought that perhaps he would get some sort of reward, or a word of praise the barest. He worked so hard, he done so much, was the Dom going to ignore him too?

                The Dom focused on others first, that was bearable. Sure, he’s conceited, but he’s not stupid. He knows that the Dom has to direct his attention to the other seven, barely an issue there. It gave Ambroise time to clean and check his Dead Ringer and knife. Not that there would be any problems with either…

                Oh. This dagger must be a year old, Ambroise can tell from the chips in the blade and the case. Just as he was making a mental note that he needed to order replacements, since Lazare wasn’t responsible enough to handle it, he hears the Dom nearby. Ambroise tries to have some sort of mixture of the ‘gaze of indifference’ and ‘this thing right in front of me is significantly more interesting than you ever will be’ to keep from smirking, he’s aware of what’s far too rude.

                "Oh Spy, are you really no better than a butcher?"

                The dagger slips out of his hand, he almost couldn’t believe the admonishing tone that came from the Dom. A butcher? Was that the best the Dom thought of him? After everything he done today, considering the circumstances? With the Dom walking past Ambroise, he pushes aside the static in his mind that’s likely trying to see reason. With this unjust description thrown upon him, there is no reason, only anger.

                “You fucker.” Ambroise says as he’s standing up, “You bastard.”

                The Dom pauses, glancing back at Ambroise. He was vaguely aware that the others were still in the room, watching at a distance. Whatever murmurs there were, he couldn’t hear them.

                “/Are you going to say anything at all? Had many words to say, especially at him. Thought you’d get some docile thing? Fuck you!/” The French was instinctive, not that he thought the Dom could understand. Ambroise recalled German commands, but not French.

                The Dom had no response, which he expected. Then Ambroise made the mistake of looking away, not anticipating the Dom would shove him against the wall. He’s reminded just how quick the man be, and stealthy. The Dom keeps him against the wall with his forearm, and has a firm grip on his wrist, twisting it against his back. No matter how Ambroise struggles, he could not yank himself free. His demands went mostly unheard, just the barest hum of acknowledgement. From the position he was in, he could see the lower half of his face, fitted in a frown. There was an improbable glare on the glasses, only seeing the barest outline of himself.

                “Warum bist du so wütend..?” Ambroise’s German wasn’t perfect, it would take him far too long to mentally translate what The Dom says.

                Huffing, Ambroise was considering just how he would get out of this position when the Dom leans closer. Feeling the weight of the other man, Ambroise vaguely considered his words.

                “I will consider forgiving this transgression, if you apologize and never speak to me in that way again. Are we clear?”

                “/Fuck you./” Ambroise says.

                The Dom’s position changes, gripping onto the collar of his suit and dragging him backwards. Ambroise was turned to face the Dom, a hand gripping on his tie. He can see that the man is angry, Ambroise does not seem to recall such a firm expression with gritting teeth. Not even the incident where Lazare was stupid enough to make a lethal combination of drugs was enough to hit on ire.

                “You are digging yourself a hole you do not want to be in.” the Dom warns.

                Ambroise clenches his fists, taking that one brief consideration of reason. Then, when he feels the Dom’s hand on his shoulder, likely in an attempt to force him on his knees, he came upon a decision. He feels his mouth water, looking right at the left side of the Dom’s face, right under the rim of his glasses, and spits. It didn’t quite have the result he was hoping for. Despite hitting the mark, making the Dom pull away in shock, Ambroise wound himself up to punch him.

                An assortment of hands and arms grab a hold of him before he could. Feeling as though the room was closing in, Ambroise struggled to get away, only barely managing to get one arm free. He isn’t sure who he hits, but the others manage to get hold of him once more. They work as a team, and Ambroise finds himself pinned to the floor in no time. There was one person holding each of his limbs, and someone even keeps hold of his head. It doesn’t do much for his mood, he swears and curses in French, trying fruitlessly to pull out of their grasp.

                “The hell’s wrong with him Doc?” someone asks.

                “Was only a matter of time…” another says.

                The Dom gets in his line of sight once more, the bit of spit that was on his cheek long gone. The only evidence that remained was the little specs on his glasses. The Dom brings out a pair of bandage scissors from his coat, sighing deeply as he crouches down on Ambroise’s left side.

                “Ah, Feuervogel, I need you to move your hands, I have to get to his arm.”

                Ambroise pauses, the realization sitting in. Aside from the fact the Dom was going to cut his suit (an expensive replacement, Lazare will not be happy with this), but he knew exactly what the Dom was going to do. It wasn’t his first brush with sedation, but he hated it. His breathing speeds up, and as much as he furiously tries to struggle, the others were keen on pressing their weight against him.

                “No no, please, no.” Ambroise begs, “Not this, not this.”

                "It will be all right, Schatz, stop fighting." The snips of the scissors click, and he hears the fabric cut away as though it was nothing.

                There was a word, Lazare and the Dom agreed to it. He’s trying to remember it, as he’s still trying to beg his way out of this situation. It was something stupid, because Lazare couldn’t be assed to remember something easy like pomme. Lazare picked a weird one, something about-
                Hunting.

                “Chasseur! Chasseur!” Ambroise calls, “S'il vous plaît, Chasseur!

                The Dom was double checking the dose of the medication. He hummed, and Ambroise almost thought that the Dom would reconsider, only to hear him mention ‘a slight pinch.’ Ambroise saw red, screaming out just to hear it echo. He used the word, he’s sure that’s the right word, and he was ignored.

                “I’m sorry Herr Spy.” The Dom says, rubbing his hand on Ambroise’s arm when the injection was done, "It's all right, everything will be all right. I will help you."

                “/You monster./” Ambroise says, “/I hate you, how dare you say you’re sorry. You like torturing me./

                “I know you don’t mean that.” The Dom already sounds distant, his stomach is twisting into uncomfortable knots but there won’t be anything he can do about it now, “And I will be there for you when you’ve calmed down. Or wake up, if this happens to make you fall asleep. I will help you, I promise.”

                Ambroise tried forming a curse, the words slipping from his tongue as he’s feeling the medicine kick through his body. Quicker than normal, either this is a stronger drug or it was due to his panicked state earlier. He knows he must look calm, his limbs feel sluggish and unresponsive, and it was getting harder to keep his eyes open. But he feels sick, darker thoughts in the edges of his mind resurfacing. This is cruel, the Dom doesn’t realize how cruel he is.

                The Dom won’t know that his face isn’t the last one Ambroise sees.

Chapter Text

               Lazare feels a sickening twist in his stomach when he rouses. It’s this sudden awareness that he is awake, and the instant he was, he feels he is suffocating. His distinct reaction is to sit up as high as he could, get over to the side. He sits up too quickly and his stomach is retaliating. Someone’s helping him, even as he feels the bile in his throat come up. Doesn’t hear the typical splatter on the ground or the muted sound of it hitting on clothes, but he supposes that is an improvement. The lights are too bright for him to see, sounds were tricky as well, but he could hear.

            Lazare eventually feels well enough to lay back down, feeling this same person wipe a rag on his mouth. His vision is hazy, but he does make out the distinct color of blue of the Medic’s gloves.

            “That’s quite the reaction.” Medic says.

            “I feel like I was sedated.” Lazare says.

            “You were. You don’t remember?” Medic asks.

            Lazare remembers being angry, but aside from that, he cannot recall what justified the Medic’s course of action. Ambroise was not always so forthcoming with what occurred, leaving Lazare to fit in the pieces. The lights were still too bright, he felt so nauseous, to where he had to close his eyes.

            “A little, vaguely.” He says, “/God I feel sick./”

            He hears the doctor sit down, listening to a shuffling sound that Lazare recognizes as someone twisting knobs. He soon hears Arabic music coming from what he now knows is the radio, and while it does not do much for his stomach, it helps him mentally.

An image of the Spy (Lazare) resting in a hospital bed with his eyes closed while the Medic twists the knobs of a radio in a seat beside him

            “I’m going to get some fluids in you.” Medic says, “You should feel a lot better.”

            And likely talk about whatever it was that Ambroise did, all while Lazare had to avoid revealing that he has no true memory of the event. While he listens to the music, he does try to recall what it was that made Ambroise so angry, but seems that there was nothing further he could glean.

            Great.

            It does not take long for the saline solution to do its work. He’s not sure he feels better, less likely to puke, but he can feel those small reminders.

            He’s been sedated. It’s been a while since he was, without memory of what happened. The old, horrific thoughts clutches deep inside, it reminds him of the time when he could not remember a month, not without great strain. And during so much of it, he was barely coherent, forcibly sedated so much that he continues to have problems.

            Medic warned him, in the very beginning. It was an aside statement, that anyone who gotten out of hand would be sedated. Lazare had thought at the time, obviously not me.

            The lights didn’t feel so bright when he opened his eyes, seeing Medic remove the needle in his arm and bandage the injection site. He sits down on the edge of the bed, focused on him. Lazare couldn’t tell if he was angry or concerned. Perhaps it was both.

            “Let’s talk, ja?” Medic asks.

            “Of course.” Lazare says.

            “I’m rather surprised at you, spitting on me.” He starts, “On top of the violent outburst that required your companions to restrain you, and your behavior during the day’s match.”

            Ambroise spat on the doctor? Lazare knew he could get a little eccentric, but never so crass. While he has no idea what happened during the match, Lazare can easily find out with match records. He does not believe Medic is lying, Ambroise could be violent. But it still takes him at least a minute to respond, hoping that it is dismissed on the sluggishness that is expected after sedation.

            “It was a trying couple of hours.” Lazare says.

            “Do you care to explain?” Medic asks.

            Not really, but Lazare knew something that was close to the truth, “I haven’t felt well the entire day.”

            Medic inhales, raising a hand and pushing his glasses out of the way, rubbing his eyes. Lazare recognizes his frustration, sighing as he leans back on the bed.

            “Docteur, I woke up in a bad mood. I read a newspaper talking about a camp in Gurs, a rumor tabloid that was likely just hearsay, but who would joke about using it for such a-.” Lazare noticed how the Medic was slowly moving his hand down, “That doesn’t matter. It was enough to bother me, and Scout… Ah, I don’t know what to do about him. I know the battle had gotten away from us, that RED Engineer can be so vicious. But aside from that, I don’t know what you want from me.”

            Lazare usually expected a near immediate response from Medic, the man was a wellspring of ‘sage advice’ or therapy talk. But he relaxes his arms on his legs, humming and Lazare believes Medic was lost in thought. Or was utterly confused, who knew what a wide eyed, almost owlish look would suggest.

            “I know talk therapy does not help everyone.” Medic says, “I can see why you do not, or cannot, see value in speaking of events and memories that are close to things you consider secret. But I am a little confused, why are you considering this to be a conversation where you must reveal things to me, instead of a process where you determine what you need?”

            Lazare didn’t understand, “but don’t people reveal very personal, almost intimate information in these sessions?”

            “You can talk about your feelings.” Medic says, “Or your concerns. The day to day struggles. But you are not obligated to give me your past. Will it be helpful in your treatment? Of course. But it is not necessary in the way you think it is.”

            Lazare brings his arms into himself. Medic’s explanation did not make him feel any better. The reasoning just reeked of suspicion, of someone saying things to make him feel better. It went contrary to what he previously understood of Medic’s behavior.

            “I don’t believe you.” Lazare says, “Who doesn’t want to know secrets? You have those files, and you. You don’t want to know. But you hold them over me, if I’m too. Something. I don’t know the word in English right now.”

            Taking in a breath, the Medic is exceptionally cautious with his next words, “Alright. I will not pretend that I do not want to know the secrets that you hold deep within you, because I know my nature as a curious man. But my desire to know is all so that I can help you. While I will now admit requesting all your files was excessive, it was the only way to see the original short file without your meddling. Administration likes being a little peculiar at times when it comes to files. But I should have said as such instead of holding it over you while you were in such a sensitive state.”

            Given the amount of times Lazare has interacted with Administration, he knew just how irritating they could get about the process. He can believe what Medic says about that, it takes so much effort that Lazare has often debated on not bothering with important wrangling.

            He’s not sure how much more he feels like saying. It isn’t that his trust in Medic was broken, it was more that his mind was fighting him. The conflict was not from Ambroise, there was none of that suggestion or the ire he felt from earlier. It was the memories, trying to equate what Medic did to what happened in the past.

            Ridiculous, irrational, but he was aware of the thought process.

            “You are… so patient with me.” Lazare says.

            “All because I want to help all my patients.” Medic says, “I understand that many Spies have to be this way, it is a self-defense mechanism. You don’t necessarily mean to come off the way that you do. Yes, it does get frustrating at times, but you Spy…”

            When Medic pauses, he leans forward, resting his hand on top of Lazare’s knee, finishing with, “Do not think yourself incurable. You will come to me in your own time, and you are trying. Sometimes you try a little too hard, I can see your efforts in ways that are not obvious to yourself, but you are not beyond redemption.”

            It’s strange, this little bit of praise. Lazare didn’t feel he deserved it.

            “Thank you. I am not sure what prompted this, but thank you all the same.”

            “You are very welcome, Herr Pfau.” He moves his hand away, “There is more we need to discuss, but I think you will feel more comfortable when dressed.”

            Lazare was unaware that he was not in his suit. There is a pause when he realizes his suit jacket and shirt were cut on the sleeve, likely for the doctor to be able to sedate him comfortably. Dammit. His good one too. Ah well, he has a couple more, and he should have a few replacements come the next shipment. Once dressed, they move to Medic’s desk, where Lazare sits down and…

            He’s not sure talk was the appropriate word. Medic asked a few leading questions, ones that were clearly digging for what sort of mood Lazare was in. But, they ended up talking about a few goals, one such that Medic mentioned was that he did not think it was healthy for Lazare to be at the base during Ceasefire. As a casual suggestion, Medic wanted him to make a trip to town. Lazare said that he would consider it, passing it off as concern for leaving alone. He did not know how the REDs were, since the closest town was likely the exact same one RED would go to. Lazare leaves the session knowing that Medic accepted this reasoning, but then suggested that Lazare traveled with one of their teammates.

            Lazare goes to the kitchen, he’s hungry. There’s food already made, the Engineer was setting up things for one of his dishes. They look at each other, but neither of them says a word as Lazare makes a plate and leaves with it.

            He cannot eat this. But he knows the Engineer. It’s drugged. Lazare wasn’t the one who cooked, how can he trust this meal? Everyone is suspicious of him. But he cannot make such a conclusion about their Engineer.

            The food sits on the desk. The fork in his hand is trembling. The smell is getting to him, it makes him hungry and sick. He could take a bite, push through the rest.

            The food was difficult to swallow. He wanted to puke. No matter how much Lazare tried, he ended up dumping the food in his personal trashcan. He can clean it tomorrow.

            The next day wasn’t restful. Work went as usual. He didn’t go to his session. He thinks he nibbled at an apple, he doesn’t have the energy to cook. He thinks they expect him to leave the dining hall with dinner, he made some excuse that allows him to hide in his room. He barely looks at the mush, just enough to pin it was a vaguely Southern dish, and throws it away. He will clean the trash tomorrow, else it will start smell.

            It happens again the next day. Work was productive, even if Lazare felt his stomach curdle and grumble. There was no session to go to. He knows the Medic is looking at him a certain way, perhaps it is concern or maybe it was frustration. Lazare doesn’t eat again, he thinks the Medic is noticing but not saying anything. This is the third day he tosses things in his personal trash, with promises to himself he will clean it tomorrow. It doesn’t have a smell, he’ll worry about it when it does.

            The next morning he is awake at five, and he rummages through the kitchen. He takes a couple cans of food, mostly fruit preserves like peaches and strawberries with one can of fish. Perhaps not the best, but it was food. He did a similar thing with lunch, barely surprising anyone when he took that peculiar can of ‘likely made of ham bits, but it is not ham.’ He ate two without anyone noticing the second. Then he grabs a package, one of the Soldier’s individual rations that he buys too much of. Lazare does ask, the Soldier was surprised that anyone would want it. He eats part of it on the field, having to toss out the rest when the Medic came close. Pity. He wanted more.

            Dinner was horrendous, while everyone else was busy with sessions or a shower, Lazare took many more cans. He barely cared what they were, he remembers the count being at seven. He didn’t eat a few days ago, people knew he didn’t eat, people barely touched them, they were going near their expiration date. Who cares that he ate this way?

            Well the Medic might care that he didn’t go to his session (again), but Lazare couldn’t face him. Couldn’t admit to his problems. Not today, not this week, not now. Not when Ambroise is sitting so close, when he can appear and ruin everything again. He did enough damage, it was Lazare’s job to fix the pieces. But there were no fixing things when Lazare could not handle himself, so he hides.

            It’s a cycle that often takes Lazare weeks to resolve.

            As it turned out, the Medic will not leave him alone after one.

            Lazare forgets what day it is, but he has taken to hiding food in his room. Just cans and packages. He has no energy to cook for himself. He has no desire to eat food that could be tampered. As much as he’s aware that he should eat some of them heated, more for the taste than safety, Lazare found he was far too self-conscious and lazy. With today being Ceasefire, he thinks he can hide in his room. He’s only mildly aware of the flies.

            Lazare was unaware of the time when he hears the Medic bang on the door.

            “Herr Spy.” He calls.

            Lazare rises from his bed, looking to the door and sees that he cannot pretend to be asleep. Especially since Medic calls out, insisting that if he was asleep that he needed to wake up now. Rolling his eyes, he walks to the door, opening it without a word. He regrets his decision immediately, just from the fiery, pursed lipped expression Medic has. That expression vanishes the moment he takes a breath to speak, and Medic takes a cautious step back, his expression curdling into clear disgust.

            “Herr Spy.” He says slowly, “Did something die in there?”

            “I…” Lazare starts, “There’s not a dead body in here, this time.”

            “This time?” Medic finds it in himself to come into Lazare’s room, making a muted sound of disgust as he’s looking at the flies, “You bring your espionage work in here?”

            “Sometimes.” Lazare admits, “But it hasn’t necessitated a dead body yet.”

            Mostly it was codebreaking, stuff he does for Administration. Paid decently enough, otherwise Lazare would hardly bother with the sorts of ridiculous things they send to him.

            He watches Medic edge towards the overfull trash can. Medic stops a couple feet from it, and Lazare sees that was the source of the flies, all nested in the cans at the top. There is silence for a couple of minutes, then Medic beckons him to come closer. When he does, Medic takes hold of him, and he can see the glare once more.

            “Do you think it is acceptable to live in filth?” Medic asks.

            Lazare tries to speak, and finds that no explanation would be good enough, so he admits, “This week, I suppose I do.”

            “It stops now.” Medic says, “This mess needs to be cleaned. You are going to have a couple of new rules, Herr Spy.”

            He lets go, stepping away to comb through his room. Lazare moves while he observes, getting a couple of trash bags he has set aside, carefully picking up and packing the mess. Medic collects the remaining cans and packages that he was hiding for later, setting them on his bed. Lazare does get the mess organized, and he’s even throwing away the trash can. He will get another one, he does not want to go through the effort of sanitizing this one. Medic glances at Lazare once, humming as he looks through the inventory of food.

            “You know where to toss that out.” Medic says, “And you are to report to the infirmary immediately after. Do not make me come after you, do you understand.”

            “Yes Docteur.” Lazare was not challenging this, at all.

            “Well, what are you waiting for?”

            The tone gets Lazare to move, picking up all the trash and leaving in a hurry. He does not pay any mind if there’s anyone else watching. That did not matter as much, Lazare knew that there were plenty of others who went through their own issues in cycles. He supposes it was his turn.

 

Chapter Text

                Lazare was not sure if being blindfolded was a blessing. Currently, he suspects that Medic was pondering the next course of action, or this was intentional. For the fourteenth time, he tests the bonds of the ropes. He knows what knots are used, but trying to undo them would likely attract the attention of Medic.

                Medic was already livid, he was in no hurry to exacerbate the situation.

                It’s far too cold in the infirmary to be mostly nude. He has no sense of in what position he’s bound in, aside from being made to bend down. Too many ropes, too disoriented, and blind by a fabric during the entire process. He obeyed all orders without question, knowing that Medic would not do things beyond his comfort level no matter how angry he was. They did discuss this, many weeks ago. Lazare had some ideas of what occurs during these sorts of sessions, primarily Medic prefers spanking as a form of correction.

                Lazare was mentally adding sensory deprivation to the list. He can see the appeal, it was the best way to distract him from how long this was taking. He knew a sure method to take time, but then he would be focused on the numbers and not Medic’s location. Not that he was entirely sure his guess was right, though he can hear faint bends from shifting weight and wood knocking against each other.

                He almost wants to ask if this was a test, the anticipation for what’s to come was getting to him.

                “Herr Spy.” Lazare stops shifting his position, tensing so that he can focus on Medic’s words, “I will ask first that you do not interrupt me. I have a great deal that must be said.”

                All Lazare can manage is to swallow, keeping his breathing steady as he hears footsteps. Medic must be pacing, then he hears something swishing in the air, hitting on his palm.

                “We have made great progress. We could be going much further if you would talk to me, but I understand the need for secrecy.” Medic stops walking, and Lazare hears the crinkling sound of a clenched fist in a glove, “What I refuse to accept is that mess and vermin you invited in the base. Rotting food, flies, and rats…”

                Medic coughs once, likely stopping himself before he irritates himself further. Lazare hears him pace once more, only the steps become a lot closer.

                “Missed sessions, inviting vermin, and potentially impacting the health of your fellow mercenaries as well as your own mental health. It’s unacceptable Herr Spy!” The swishing sound starts again, “Let me help set a reminder, Ja? Seven days you lived like this. Nine mercenaries you impacted. Sixteen strokes, you can handle this, can’t you?”

                The silence hangs thick in the air while Lazare thinks this over. The punishment sounds fair, it was more he did not expect to be in this position. Medic prods when he waits too long, “I am waiting for your answer, Herr Spy.”

                “I-. Yes Docteur.” Lazare barely recognizes his voice, he sounds so hoarse.

                He is made to count, which he does in French. Each mark is punctuated with a loud smack, and he does eventually feel welts forming. By the time Medic finishes, Lazare feels the cool and comforting touch of the gloves. One more slap hits against him, he hisses from the stinging welts.

                “Don’t do it again.” Medic says.

                “O-oui Docteur.”

                Lazare feels the ropes taken off, the seasoned ritual of aftercare that comes in the form of a salve, likely to keep the welts from becoming too severe. He’s allowed to wait on the ‘bench,’ catch his breath and-

                They talk, mildly.

                “You mentioned last week that you were not having good days.” Medic says.

                “This is connected, yes.” Lazare says.

                Medic hums while he continues massaging some of the aches. Some spots were handled with more forceful than others, though Lazare decides to appreciate the concern. While he normally waits for Medic’s instruction, though Lazare finds that he wants to remove the blindfold. Just as he reaches for the strip of fabric, Medic grips onto his wrist.

                “Oh Herr Spy, we are just beginning.” Medic says, “I simply did not want to hurt you between sessions, much. You did miss quite the number.”

                Lazare was moved once more, he’s lost for a while. He has no idea what part of the infirmary this is. He’s soon instructed to reach up, and his hands grip onto a cold pole. The momentary panic sets in, though Medic insists that he will not be restrained. Well, not traditionally. He feels Medic use his knees to adjust Lazare’s position, having his legs spread out to the point that it’s uncomfortable. Some sort of barrier was placed, all to keep his legs spread. It’s not a spreader bar, he knows what that feels like.

                It’s all so strange, the numbness in his limbs and feeling open and exposed. Medic paces around, and Lazare is left with this feeling that he will be here a while. Although, he’s not certain how long he could last. Preferably, he would be in the position where he could move. Suspension bondage is interesting, fits many bills that Lazare enjoys.

                But it’s also dangerous.

                He must keep track of time, and finds that the Medic steps in tune with half beats. About two seconds. Easier to count by twos. He keeps his breathing steady this way, it’s fast for his tastes, but it will keep him from hyperventilating. Medic is quiet, just the sound of the pacing, with the occasional swish in the air of the crop. Eventually, Lazare sorts that he was a couple seconds behind Medic’s internal count.

                He counts out to ten minutes, feeling more than a little strained. His legs quiver, his fingers are growing tired. Letting go will make him tumble on the ground. It’s starting to hurt. Groaning, Lazare rubs his face against his bicep. He feels the sweat, but that did not matter.

                “Why?” Lazare asks.

                “What do you mean Herr Spy?” Medic sounds behind him.

                “Why this?” Lazare clarifies.

                Ten seconds, he feels Medic’s hand trail down his back. Normally, Lazare would feel comforted, though he’s finding that the action irritates him. Medic leans in close, and Lazare tries to focus on the sound of his breathing.

                “Are you exhausted?” Medic asks.

                “Of course I am!” Lazare jerks his head towards the sound of Medics, “I’ve been like this for at least ten minutes! I don’t know what you want of me! I don’t know what this is supposed to do!”

                There’s silence between them, until Medic eventually says, “You know what to say when you are truly done.”

                Medic pulls away, returning to his pacing. The statement made Lazare stew, a bubbling pit of anger was threatening to boil over. What sort of test is this? He thought it irresponsible, especially considering that Medic always assures no harm would come to his wards. But this just felt so rude, not leaving Lazare with a-

                No, there was. Lazare was so focused on his anger that he had forgotten. There was always a way to end sessions, even punishment ones that were going too far.

                “Chasseur.” Lazare says.

                He thinks he was stewing for another five minutes, fifteen minutes was a long time to be ‘restrained’ this way. He’s thankful that Medic moves quickly, kicking away the pseudo restraints and helps take a hold of him. It takes Medic’s assistance to get him to an infirmary bed. His legs felt like jelly, but with a couple of stretches he could feel the blood flow return.

                It’s only then the blindfold was removed.

                “I thought you were going to remain stubborn.” Medic admits, “you’ve only used the word once in what felt like a dire situation, it just seems as though you would accept whatever was given to you.”

                “What are you talking about?” Lazare asks.

                Medic pauses in his massage of his arm, looking him in the eye critically. Lazare stares back, exceptionally confused at what Medic means by using the word before. This was the first time Lazare has used it, whatever could Medic mean by what he claims?

                “Herr Spy. You said your safe word while you were being prepped for a sedative.” Medic says, “Do you not remember this?”

                Lazare remains silent, unsure of what to say. He’s surprised that Ambroise knew the safe word, he knew that his own memory could be shoddy when Ambroise took control. Sometimes he knew what Ambroise did, sometimes he didn’t. He thought Ambroise didn’t pay much attention.

                It was enough for him to push Medic away, standing on uneasy legs. He walks over to his pile of clothing.

                “Herr Spy, it might be best for you to rest.” Medic says.

                “I’m done for the day Docteur.” Lazare slowly starts to dress, “If you have nothing else, I would prefer silence.”

                And silence there was, he thought briefly that he must have stunned the doctor. He dresses casually, without haste as he’s making sure not to rip anything. Lazare was finishing the last buttons of his shirt, feeling all set to walk out the door. Medic grips onto his shoulder, startling him enough that he wonders how Medic snuck up on him. He stops at the top buttons, yet he was too reluctant to meet Medic’s eye. Medic gives an exasperated sigh, “There’s a few more things we need to discuss. I would offer a seat, but I suspect you would rather lay down.”

                “What is it Docteur?” Lazare finishes his buttons, now working on arranging his tie.

                “A few new rules.” Medic says, “As it stands, I cannot trust you with food in your room. I will be checking every day for any signs of hoarding behaviors. And you need to report to the dining hall for meals three times a day, since it seems you have also taken to skipping meals.”

                “You cannot make me eat.” Lazare states, shrugging his shoulder away.

                “I would prefer if you did not force me.” Medic corrects, “I am told feeding tubes are uncomfortable. But I think we can see what happens for a few weeks, determine if I do need to make that judgement call.”

                Lazare remains silent, not particularly seeing much need in arguing over the matter. Medic waits politely, but after about a minute of silence he sighs once more.

                “In any case, do remember to come to your sessions. I prefer doling out rewards over punishments.” He says.

                “Of course.” Lazare understands, though he knows he is uncertain on if this lesson taught him anything.

                With him free to go, Lazare spends the time in his room. He has codes to break, thoughts to process, and most of all Ambroise to quell. He thinks he succeeds with little interference by the time it turns to dusk. He surrenders to his growing exhaustion-.

*

                He knows he’s dreaming. The backgrounds simply do not exist, he is a witness to the vague bits of the past. They’re horrifying, he wishes he could stop seeing it.

                A headless body too feminine, hips too wide and bits of flesh on the chest that should not exist. That aura that comes from the strange device all Medics have, the medigun, keeping it alive. A red gloved hand trails along the stomach, pinning? Adoring? The Medic’s face is obscure to him, mostly. He could see the man’s smile, with one sharp tooth skewing the otherwise straight teeth.

                “Interesting to see the process reverse, isn’t it?”

                “Kill me.” He hears.

                “Later, you should appreciate the science behind this…”

                Lazare never cared. The man made a mockery of all the progress Lazare made on his body. It was vomit inducing to see it- Well, Lazare would have if he had the stomach to do so. As always, he was shoved into the refrigerator, dealing with the penetrating cold and darkness. The smell of blood, organs, and sandwich making foodstuff was all around him as well. Nothing, but being alone in his thoughts. Screaming never did anything.

                It’s all a monotony of thoughts from there.                                                                

                Kill me. Kill me. Kill me kill me killme killme killmekillmekillme-

                By the time he’s out, he’s stumbling in a room of light, whole. Oh no, not this one. He cannot control himself, he’s walking through the slim dark pathway, going for the mirror. Of course he sees himself, as he is currently. He is older than the first image, clearly exhausted, but he’s managed to keep toned but he’s dangerously close to being underweight. Somehow, he doesn’t look quite forty, and he’s-
                He wouldn’t describe himself as attractive. Average, he thinks. A couple of unfortunate scars that detract from his appearance. He hopes he’s the forgettable sort, the kind of face that appears in the mind, without anything attaching to it.

                Then she appears, that foolish young woman who thought herself able to withstand a war. It was sickening to see her, confused and impressionable. Even under the appearance of a nun, it was clear to him that she was no saint. Just naïve, with weird eyes that wasn’t the same colors, and with large round spectacles that continued to support just how foolish she looks.

                The man in the black suit and black balaclava always sneaks up on her, encircling a hand around her throat. There’s the barest outline of a tremble on her lips, eyes widened in terror.
                His other nightmare, his mentor.

                “Tonya, you think you can handle the next lesson?

                He feels sick, the way the dream shows hands appearing everywhere. They capture the nun, force her to hold a certain position. She’s just sixteen, he pleads. He hates seeing this happen to her. To that past version of himself. He’s not sure who screams, maybe they both do.

                There’s cracks on the mirror appearing, with a thunderous boom echoing around him. He covers his ears, it’s so-

                “… door… open… maggot!

                It was difficult to hear past the constant banging, but Lazare sits up in his bed, untangling himself from the blankets he wrapped himself around. He is confused, but only for a moment. The banging on his door continues.

                “Soldier!” Soldier says, “I have the prime authority to ask you to open this door and speak with your commanding officer.”

                So that’s what woke him up. Another Soldier who likely heard screaming, and is going to yell at him for daring to interrupt a time of rest. Despite how the next morning is a Ceasefire day. Groaning, Lazare climbs out of bed, and tugs on his mask. He opens the door, seeing Soldier in comfortable pants and a plain white shirt, without his helmet. Great, there was no avoiding his gaze.

                Lazare steps outside, closing the door behind him, and asks firmly, “What do you want?”

                Lazare barely cares that Soldier is in his personal space. Neither does he care about the drunken ramblings he hears from Demo nearby. He expects the deep-set frown, further anticipating the ‘stern talking to’ that comes from these American typed mercenaries.

                But what he did not anticipate was Soldier using soft tones, “I heard you crying bloody murder, thought you were getting killed in there. When I didn’t hear anyone else in there, I figured you were having a bad dream. I wanted to know that you were alright.”

                Lazare stares at Soldier, looking for any kind of tell that said he was lying. His hands tremble, when he goes to twist the fingers together to disguise the tremble, he suddenly grips onto Soldier’s shoulders instead.

                “You’re serious.”

                It wasn’t a question. Lazare cannot understand, why was Soldier so friendly? Why was everyone giving him so many chances? Why does very few people in the base truly hate him?
                Soldier offers more soft words, but a wave of emotions that Lazare has kept back for so long crumbles to the surface. It starts with a sniffle, vaguely aware of tears falling down his cheeks, and he presses his face against Soldier’s chest. Lazare could not hold himself up, dragging them both down to the floor. He feels himself moved, but Soldier had no desire to try to lift him back up. The most he feels was that Soldier sits down over kneeling. What helps the most was that Soldier had his arms holding onto him… Although, such an action gets him wailing.
                How can he receive such compassion? Even Demo seems to want to figure out what has Lazare acting this way. He cannot find a way to answer either of them.

                “Ach, it’s the Doc…” Lazare hears.

                “He just crumbled and started crying I swear!” Soldier says.

                “Calm down Schatz, I believe you.” Medic sounds a distance away, but when he speaks again he is much closer, “Herr Spy?”

                Lazare still cannot find it in him to respond. Medic offers to make tea, bring a blanket, get Lazare back in bed. Demo vaguely mentions music, while Soldier simply asks if what he was doing was good enough. The barest response that Lazare could manage was gripping on Soldier harder. Medic directs Soldier to rub on his back, and Lazare hears someone groaning. Lazare now feels almost sandwiched between two people, hearing the Medic speak softly to him all while he gets to bask in the warmth that comes from Soldier.

                He doesn’t know how much time passes, but the sobbing lulls to a stop and Lazare could barely hold his eyes open. He hears the Medic speak softly to him, asking for some sort of prompt. When Lazare does not respond, he hears someone shuffle around, likely standing.

                “Ah, I think he cried himself to sleep.” Medic says, “Let’s help him in bed, I will speak with him in the morning.”

                He feels three sets of hands get him in the arms of someone, he cannot tell which person. They open his door, using only the barest light from a lamp to guide them. Lazare is placed into bed gently, feeling the blankets wrap around him.

                “Mother o’ mercy, It's awfy cauld in here.” Demo’s accent is thicker than normal.

                “Must explain the blankets.” Medic notes, “I will have to ask him if he prefers the room at this temperature, although I think this is the standard.”

                For some reason, they wait. Lazare can understand Medic waiting around, even if he is mad over the food and missing sessions situation, Lazare knew that he would not wish undue harm upon him. The other two seem to be taking in as much as they can about the room.

                “Never thought that Spy would run a dump in here.” Demo comments.

                “Demo…” Medic’s reproach in his tone was clear.

                “Aside from how everyone found out he was the one that invited the house flies.” Demo pauses for a long while before he grunts and gets to the point, “Most of the other Spies had such nicer things. This one’s got a lot of scraps and junk. I can’t even see alcohol.”

                Lazare groans, shifting in his bed. He was too tired to vocalize a true complaint, perhaps the truth as to why his room looks the way it does. There is silence for a few moments.

                “I’m going back to bed.” Demo says.

                “I shall head back to my cot as well.” Soldier says.

                The statements petrify Lazare. He’s trembling once more. All of them are going to leave. It was going to be dark, he will be cold, and he will be alone. It takes all the energy he can muster to speak, only it was in French.

                “/Don’t leave me alone./”

                Demo mutters something about Lazare being awake the entire time, though Medic disagrees, stating that he believes Lazare was sleep talking. He feels a hand gently caressing his cheek, then…

                The words blur, it may as well have been low mumbling.

                It’s warm, Lazare feels like he’s on a cloud. He rests about as well as he could. He wakes up at the usual time, pulling away from-
                A body. He jolts awake, seeing that Soldier was in bed. Even from the violent jerk, Soldier awakens in good spirits.

                “Good morning crouton!”

                “… What happened?”

                Soldier sits up, making an interesting recount of what happened, “You were yelling in the middle of the night. By all accounts, I had to strike back against the enemy! But, the enemy as it turned out was not the nefarious REDs… it was your own mind! Bad dreams, happens. You started crying at one point, I still have yet to determined why. You tired yourself out eventually, Demo, the Doc, and I helped you back in bed-.”

                Lazare barely comprehends what he hears after. Soldier claims he asked for someone to be with him, and Soldier was the one he warmed up to. This wasn't the only surprise, when Lazare sits up and looks to his leather sofa, he sees Medic curled in many of his blankets and still asleep.
                How. The sofa was just for show. Lazare slept on it by accident once, it was not comfy no matter how many blankets he was on top of. That abomination of a sofa in the recreation room was infinitely more comfortable, and who knew how long that was there.

                “It's too early in the morning for this.” Lazare says.

                Lazare lies back down, fully intending on going back to sleep. It's a ceasefire day, who cares what he does. Soldier wasn't even questioning it, he was out of bed and doing his daily exercises. Lazare couldn't piece why he was doing them in his room, but he was too tired to care.
                Until he recalled something exceptionally important: he's supposed to report during the regular hours everyone decides to eat.

                Groaning loudly, he drags himself out of bed and he heads for the large wardrobe. He doubted he could get Soldier and Medic out of his room, but he could change clothes inside the wardrobe. He changed in tighter spaces. Lazare does not even care that he slams the wardrobe doors, hearing a couple of startled sounds coming from outside. He hears a murmur of voices as he works through the contents of the wardrobe as he undresses. Night clothes off, old balaclava replaced with a fresh one. Socks without the garters, pants, one of his well worn white shirts, a vest. Aside from the shoes, gloves, and tie, that was as dressed as he wanted to get. He steps outside, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt as Soldier and Medic were discussing-

                Well, whatever it was, the subject immediately changed. Soldier pointed at him, saying, “You must know some sort of magic!”

                Lazare stops in his tracks, tilting his head, “Quoi?”

                Magic did exist, vaguely. He heard the tales from other Spies about one particular Soldier’s exploits with a mysterious magical figure. And heard of the tale of the Horseless Headless Horseman.

                “You know, you must have gone on an adventure with Aslan!” Soldier says, “Although your clothes are different!”

                Medic chuckles, while the statement only confuses Lazare further.

                “I just decided to come out of the closet.” Lazare says, “Preferably I would like for some solitude.”

                There was a few more rituals he needed to do for himself, some grooming and cleanliness. As much as Soldier wanted to ask more questions, Medic finds his glasses against the end table and convinces him to leave. It was perhaps the scruffiest he seen Medic, with wild, unkempt hair, and ruffled day clothes. Medic wishes Lazare a good morning and mentions that he’s expected in the dining hall.

 

*

                Lazare lays his head in his arms on the dining room table. Sitting in front of him is Medic, who he suspects has a critical look. Lazare is completely disinterested in food, it’s sitting across from him and he thinks that someone will take it off his hands. He’s tired, he wants to go back to sleep. But rules are rules.

                “Aren’t you going to eat…?” Medic prods.

                “/I would like to go to sleep./” Lazare says.

                Lazare used Ceasefire days to catch up on missed sleep. Most people presumed he left the premises because they never saw him around the base. That was because he was quite literally asleep in bed, and seems only Medic knew Lazare remained on the premises. Those were Lazare’s conclusions.

                “You can eat a little then go back to bed.” Medic says.

                Lazare sighs obnoxiously, the type that would attract the attention of others, “No. I am not hungry.”

                Today he was apathetic about food, he could likely go without until some time between lunch and dinner. Could probably eat a can of fruit, in the kitchen, under the scrutiny of Medic. He heard Medic make a sound that was cut off by the Engineer giving a mail call. Today is Sunday, wasn’t it? Then he hears that the delivery system was late overall, and that it included more food. He heard someone toss around that there should be apples and strawberries, decent enough for crepes. He would settle that craving later. For some reason, it was considered rude to make food Lazare would rather eat instead of eating what was provided to him. Well, he’s not firm on that, he’s too accustomed to people complaining about the picky tastes of a Spy.

                Then he hears the Engineer make a comment about the amount of mail.

                “Someone’s got a lady lover or so.” He jests.

                Must be a package from Miss Pauling, or a couple of them that has meant to get to him. His mail was typically on the lighter side, but he wouldn’t be surprised if he gotten a couple of parcels that were meant for him.

                While Lazare did not have his eyes open, he could hear and feel packages being placed on the table. Some had to be for Medic, likely for ease of access. Then, he hears the flick of a card, maybe it was some tiny postcard, Engineer places it close to him.

                “I ah-.” Engineer starts, sounding significantly more hushed than he normally is, “Happy Birthday Spy?”

                Lazare grunts in response. Engineer mumbles something about getting the others their mail. As he steps away, Lazare thinks long and hard about what the Engineer said.

                Lazare jolts up with a start, wide eyed and confused, “Quoi??”

                His rustling catches the attention of everyone, especially since in his confusion he knocks the plate across the table. He briefly examines the mess, fortunately it was just an assortment of bread items and the cleanup would be relatively easy. But his focus returns on Engineer, and the man stutters on his words.

                “I didn’t mean to, but you ah, have a postcard wishing one to you.” Engineer says, “though it’s crudely worded.”

                Lazare slowly tilts his head, not- No, he was refusing to comprehend what the Engineer was saying. Even when he notices there was a significant bit of mail on the table, for him. It’s all labeled to a number, Spy 34. That’s him. And then there’s the offending postcard. There’s a woman wrestling a crocodile in water. On the other side, it’s no one other than Lawrence’s handwriting. The Sniper from the previous base, the man hates him. Why-

               Lazare reads the contents, he needed answers.

               Spy.
                You’re a cunt.
                But this new Spy is a bloody bastard.
                Thanks for the knife sharpener. You’re getting spite gifts because of something that Spy did.
                Happy Birthday, you bloody mongrel.

                Lazare sets the card down, hand instinctively rubbing on his eyes, “Oh Lawrence. Putain.”

                Lazare knew that while the dining room was noisy, people were paying attention. Even the Medic was curious, and vocalized it, “Isn’t he your friend?”

                “Oh, Lawrence is not my friend.” Lazare takes the next box he sees, trying to get a feel for what he was dealing with, “We tolerate each other, at best.”

                “So is wishing you a happy birthday part of a joke?” Medic asks.

                That Lazare was uncertain, and he ends up asking what date it happened to be. While a Sunday, it was indeed March first. Lazare almost forgotten his own birthday, but he ends up slanting the truth by saying that it occurred last month. The actual date doesn’t exist this year, but he typically celebrated on March first. He’s surprised his throwaway comment to the Scout of the previous base, Juste, reaches the ears of everyone else in that base, though he doubts that the real date was revealed.

                “Quite the number of gifts… You must be missed in your base. It’s equally rare to know a Spy’s birth month, let alone their own birthday.” Medic says.

                Lazare does not offer an argument, knowing it would only increase suspicion. The others have heard, and there are a variety of guesses tossed around on what the actual date is (the current argument was Valentine's Day and the twenty-second for some reason).

                Then Lazare hears a certain… sound. One that typically comes from overly excited Pyros, although it sounded like gasping instead of laughing. Everyone, even Lazare, looks at Pyro in some form of astonishment. He was nowhere near done with his food, given how many pancakes and croissants and whipped topping was spread all around. But there he was, clapping, shoulders moving in a sign of laughter.

                Just as suddenly as it started, Pyro takes his tray of food and almost bounces over to Lazare. He sits in a chair a few spaces from Lazare, and he sways in the chair. Pyro gestures to the boxes, and Lazare gets the hint.

                “You’re really going to make me open these in front of everyone.” Lazare says.

                And Lazare does the most appropriate thing he could do.
                He opens box in his hand. This one has no return address, which Lazare found exceptionally odd. It was a small box too, too big for the palm of his hand.

                He discovered why when he unpackaged a knife. It came from MannCo’s accepted catalogue of knives, but was a rarer variety. Mystery and True Love, in blue, the gorgeous Black Rose. Genuine, had the certificate and all. Lazare couldn’t help himself, he had to do a couple of knife tricks with it. And while he did, he sees the note stuffed into the side. When finished showing off, he looks at the written message, in French.

                “For watching over my son.

                Lazare has many guesses on who that could be from, and at the top was the RED Spy he tormented at the base before this one. So strange, giving him such a brilliant knife in the correct colors. He wants to set it back in, just so he would have the chance to use it first. Ambroise would squander such a knife. But, Lazare pockets it in a spot in his vest, and it fits wondrously.

                Pyro seems focused on the largest parcel, which prompted Lazare to work on getting that one open as well. He vaguely looked at the handwriting, but the use of crayons was more than enough of a tip.

                But he still was not expecting the massive blue Balloonicorn plush toy to expand out of the box. The sound startles everyone, but while everyone else watches in bewilderment, Lazare finds himself transfixed on the mouth. A slip of paper catches his eye, and he had to see. It looks cut out from a book, merely having the text “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” He doesn’t understand the meaning, unsure if it came from a book or a line of poetry. That too he pockets.

                He finds Juste’s gift, a box with an assortment of pens of a variety of colors and styles. Calligraphic in nature. Juste included a personal note, a lovely read for him.

                Hey so I asked Ma about sending stuff to you ponce-y type of guys and she suggested all these expensive things that just didn't sound like you and this new Blu Spy wasn't very helpful. So. Uh. Money's pointless, kinda. But I found this. I get it, it's just a couple of pens but. They looked really nice. Like super nice. The kind that those other super ponce-y Spies use, but I kinda know why you don’t. Got all kinds of ink, most of them should be shades of blue though.

                Indeed, Lazare tested them on the extra bit of paper. Brilliant blues, a few red colors which will help with forging RED Spies handwritings, and there’s even a few purples and greens. He was more surprised there was no black colored ink. That’s fine, he has plenty of those.

                He was not expecting the next book to hold a cognac, from 1947. Approaching historic, with a few more years it might be well sought. The Medic Isaak enjoyed his brandies, although Lazare never had such a taste for frivolous things. Lazare frowns, setting it aside immediately and reaches for the next gift. He hears someone grab the bottle, seeing that Medic considers it intently.

                “This is a peculiar vintage…” Medic starts, directing is gaze to Lazare, “Are you going to drink it?”

                “No. Have it.” Lazare says.

                “Are you sure?” Medic asks, “I would share this with you, it looks to be sealed.”

                “Just have it. Isaak picks pricey things, not alcohol that people prefers.” Lazare says.

                He thinks this is the end of the conversation, only for Medic to prod further, “I will let you go with that explanation, except I must know who this Isaak is. Is he a friend?”

                Pausing his attempt at getting the next gift, Lazare sighs and says, “Just the doctor at the previous base I was in. I did reside there for almost two years."

                Lazare sees Medic stiffen at this explanation, looking back down to the bottle in his hands. Whatever sort of issues Medic has, Lazare does not care to ponder. He reaches for an oblong gift, round and circular. There’s a few rolls of film, with a variety of markings. This catches everyone else’s attention, especially when they see the name of the first film.

                Goldfinger. There is a note, only Lazare finds it is entirely in Scottish Gaelic. He cannot read it. As much as it is his stuff, already others are wanting to take hold of the silver container. The few comments he heard, it’s obvious they have not seen many movies for a while. He was told these are more modern, even if they were Spy films. Although Medic attempts to regain control, especially considering how Pyro has been reaching out for the Balloonicorn still perched in the box.

                Lazare settles the issue by shoving the box of films down the table and tells the others to keep them in their containers. But he takes Balloonicorn out of his box, and speaks with Pyro, saying that Lazare knows he would keep such an important gift safe.

                The next package Lazare could only chuckle at. So many bruises and dents, with large blocky handwriting that says Bobbie Mae, the Soldier from the other base. Opening it, he was not sure what he expected. A broken shovel was not it. But on the metal trowel, with an assortment of dried blood splatter was two sticky notes.

                “It broke on the RED Medic.
                “Bobbie Mae never forgets a promise.

                Lazare rests his hand on the box. The gift moves him in a way he was not expecting. Inhaling slowly, Lazare closes the box. He’s not sure what he will do with this gift.

                The next box is a Russian recipe book, translated into French. Another little gift that had an assortment of care he was not expecting. He does not even know that Heavy’s name, though he spoke a lot more than the current one.

                With three left, Lazare had difficult options. Mostly, he is confused. He knows one gift should be from the Engineer Holt. The BLU Spy that replaced him likely did not give him a gift. So what of the other two…

                He manages to pick Holt’s, finding that there’s very specific parts for the model scooter he drives. They’re both entire assemblies, from the looks of what he can pick out. He really needed to fix his clutch and part of the transmission, and he can handle this himself. The others are already discussing what film to watch first, while Pyro continues watching intently. He glances to Medic, who seems split between interjecting with the other teammates or on him.

                The next box has a decent size, but he cannot seem to understand the contents. A small tube, something between two cardboard slabs, and a strange dome. Odd. He didn’t recognize the handwriting, and there’s no return address anyhow.

                He opens the small tube, and it suddenly explodes with a loud pop. He had the opening pointed at himself, and he feels a burst of air. He remembered to close his eyes this time. Everyone has come to a panic, thinking that one item was a bomb. Well, it was, but not the sort that suddenly puts them in respawn.

                He opens his eyes and sees all sorts of sparkles on him. Glitter.

                He throws the tube, cursing loudly, “Rishmawi…”

                While everyone else was trying to sort what happened, Lazare grumbles as he takes out the cardboard fixture. His friend he has called Nube for so long found him, and she sent glitter bombs. At least the next gift was lovely. He cuts the cardboard where it was taped, opening it to see a drawing on a textured paper. It’s gorgeous, in blues and greens with a few bits of black, calligraphic Arabic in the shape of a peacock. He will need a frame for this.

                The dome still escapes him, but he sees that there’s a top. He has to twist it open, pulling out a strange cylindrical container. It looks like inside is a pint tub, and a burst of smoke comes from the dome. It smells peculiar, though someone mentioned in passing it seemed like it was liquid nitrogen. This wouldn’t be the first time he experienced Nube’s eccentrics, but what in the world would she need to keep cold?

                Getting the pint out of the container was tricky. And seems that she has included an ornate spoon.

                No, she couldn’t have.

                He opens the pint, seeing the firm cream substance. There’s salt crystals on top. Taking that spoon, he has little resistance with the cream. And the taste…

There is a figure in a white shirt, blue vest, tie, and balaclava, as well as black gloves. He has bi colored eyes, one is green and the other is blue. There is a spoon and tub of ice cream in his hand. There's glitter all over him. He's smiling.

                It’s been years since he had this type of sea salt vanilla, and he can’t help but smile. She gotten him an entire pint, managed to ship it without the concern of melting. He could hear people calling for him, but he finds himself with a second spoonful of the ice cream in his mouth, and lets it melt. Given he was in a sea of bad memories, this washed away the concern. Not one to waste perfect ice cream, he covers the tub and sets the spoon on top. There was one more gift to look at.

                At that moment, he did not care who sent it. It could be the worst jape for all he cares. He thinks it must come from the BLU Spy, who else would send him something? He’s in good spirits when he opens the box.

                Inside are a box of chocolates. He pulls his hands away, rising slowly.
                They’re seashells and seahorses, mixed with white and milk chocolates, and have a hazelnut filling.
                Lazare finds it hard to breathe. They’re drugged. They’re a message.

                His mentor-

                He couldn’t process any of his thoughts, and the first person he sees is Pyro.

                Burn it. He doesn’t know if he said it aloud.

                He moves away, there’s too many people. Too many sounds.

                Someone grabs a hold of his shoulders. Someone calls him Herr Spy. He cannot pull away. Let go. Let go.

                “Let go of me!

                There’s blood on his gloves. His new knife is lodged in a shoulder, the white coat is blooming with blood.

                The person lets him go, there’s shouting. Loud. It’s so loud. They’re so angry, they’re angry at him.

                Lazare runs.

Chapter Text

 

                Ambroise couldn’t understand- Lazare couldn’t stop-

                Ambroise. Takes control. It’s never usually a fight, with bits of the other in him trying to regain some semblance of-

                Ambroise stops. Lifting his fingers away from his arm, long reddened and bleeding from constant scratching. No gloves, strange, Lazare likes the gloves. Taking in a breath, Ambroise wonders what he’s trying to solve.

                The swimming memories were not pleasant, they were all centered around that monster. Ambroise tries figuring out where he is, must be some closed part of the base, there’s not a lot of light. Good thing all bases are the same, he’s able to find a tucked away med kit to wrap his arm up with gauze.

                And all he had was just memories of that monster.

                “Come on you stupid…” he mutters.

                Pacing around the strange desk in the center, Ambroise takes the time to think. Get the blood flowing through his body. He’s trying to catch up.

                What day was it? The first of March. Ah, a birthday, not that his body was actually aging in this place. Neither of them usually receive much in the way of gifts, except from Miss Rishmawi. Who knew what she gave this year. A couple of thoughts tickle in his mind, that this year was different.

                What did he get…? More gifts? No, can’t be. No, as foggy as his memory is over the situation, he remembers a couple of packages. Contents escapes him, but included were small necessary things.

                And. Chocolates.

                He shivers, almost ready to retch. Disgusting little things.

                They should be burned.

                Ambroise calms down enough to look around. A conference room, likely closed, given that the maître utilizes the kitchen for his meetings. The kitchen was the last spot he could reliably pick from the flow of memories. With the bleeding settled, and a strong need to fix the problem, Ambroise leaves for the kitchen.

                He can’t explain why he uses his pocket watch to creep through the hallways unseen. He comes across a few people, in a varying number of groups, pacing around. Searching. Is there a RED Spy in the base? Ambroise didn’t know, and was more interested in his own goals. If he saw the RED Spy, he would kill him.

                For some reason, Ambroise is still surprised when he walks into the kitchen and sees the RED Spy leaning against a table. There’s a paper on it, with curiously shaped… calligraphic… art. Rishmawi’s art. His gift.

                “That’s mine.” Ambroise says.

                The RED Spy jumps, backing away slowly. His eyes are shifty, and his body is uncentered and twitchy. Ambroise was uncertain as to how this would play out, he had no idea if he had weapons on his person. Although, seems that the RED Spy was disinterested in fighting, he starts speaking in Arabic.

                “/What do you mean this is yours?/” he asks.

                “/What does it matter? It’s mine./” Ambroise replies, “/My friend worked long and hard on that, and she will be upset to hear someone damaged it./”

                For some reason, Ambroise notices the fact that he spoke Arabic was shocking to the RED Spy. He knows this look, it was the look people gave him whenever he decides to 'surrender' information to others. Enough so that the man goes invisible and runs away. Ambroise does not care enough to stop him, leaning away so that the RED Spy can run without hindrance.

                What a strange occurrence. Ambroise doubted it would happen again.

                The kitchen gave him a timeline. It was past midday but it was not getting anywhere close to dusk. There are many open packages, although he notes that some of the contents were missing from some boxes. The main thing he wonders is who thought to send him ten packages. Well, one was from Rishmawi, because there was a peculiar smoke coming from one package. And a few of the names from the remaining boxes clued Ambroise in that…

                His old team sent him things.

                Ambroise files that information away, instead taking the time to look at the calligraphic art. Letters in blue and green to make the tail, sporting a glorious yellow beak, and it’s all words to describe the peacock, while the main body was literally “peacock.” Calligraphic art, when done right, was breathtaking. Even Ambroise could find the moment to smile. Gorgeous.

                He couldn’t find the chocolates. Pity.

                He considers that problem solved for him, and there’s something else boiling in the pit of his stomach. Doubt. He knew one way to fix it, and he heads for the wired line that’s also in the kitchen. It was the best way to contact Miss Pauling.

                Well, one of them. The one that Ambroise and Lazare typically handle, she can be a real… Actually he knows she’s overworked to hell and back.

                “Miss Pauling speaking, thank you for calling the…” she sounds completely bored and tired, “Okay, which Spy is this?”

                “I think you call me Spy 34. Usually.” Ambroise says.

                “Oh joy.” He hears the shuffling of papers, “Are you requesting a base transfer out of the rehabilitation center? You’re supposed to inform your base leader first.”

                “Actually I just called you Miss Pauling because I wanted to hear your voice.” He lets the sarcasm hang for a moment, “I’m bored here. Is there more work I could be doing?”

                “Again, you think you could ask your base leader for more work?” Miss Pauling asks.

                “Miss Pauling, I’m in the middle of a sawmill typed base. If this was the desert, at least I could have fun elsewhere. Most things people would consider fun get notably questionable for me.” Ambroise says.

                “Right. Your file says you’re not very good at swimming.” Miss Pauling shuffles through more papers, and sighs deeply, “There is a base reconstruction coming up in a few months, you will be placed on a two week leave at the least. I know how you are about free time.”

                “So far away?” Ambroise asks.

                “it’s hard to send you away on a mission.” She explains, “You are technically bound on rehabilitation. It would have to be approved by your base leader, and with you calling me I presume you do not have this.”

                “To be fair I didn’t ask him.” Ambroise says.

                “And you likely think you won’t get it anyway.” She has him there, “Look. Spy. That’s the best I can offer. Keep it on mind when the announcement becomes official, since I technically wasn’t supposed to tell you. But, given that there’s always work, I’m more than certain there will be missions to suit your needs. Now let me get back to work.”

                She hangs up on him, and he sighs deeply. Great. Two-week furloughs are the worst. No. A month furlough is the abso-

                He hears a huff from behind. Ambroise sets down the handset on the cradle, slowly turning part of his body to see who stands behind him. It’s Heavy, with perhaps the angriest glare he’s seen. Already, Ambroise reels. This isn’t good.

                “H-Hello?” Ambroise asks.

                “You. Hurt. Doktor.”

                The voice is graveled and soft with disuse, but Ambroise gives a higher pitched groan as he’s realizing he is missing an exceptional number of details. Large hands circle around Ambroise, and he’s lifted into the air. Great. It would be like the most unusual hug if it weren’t for how terrified he was at this current moment. He feels the strong urge to piss- a man like Heavy could crush him like a toothpick. It was among the worst ways to die. What happened?

                “/What did he do??/” Ambroise defaults to French, more out of his own fear.

                “You. See. Doktor.”

Chapter Text

                Getting to the infirmary was not the worst part. For Ambroise, it was the sudden and constant urge to piss. Far too terrified that this Heavy would break him, as well as too prideful to let his own terror to make him make a fool of himself in such an undignified way, Ambroise tries to think of something else.

                Mainly, what the fuck did Lazare do.

                Usually it’s Ambroise getting into trouble for very stupid reasons. In his defense, he makes the best decisions that he possibly could, and sometimes he’s lacking key information. Ambroise works best with a plan, and he just cannot figure out why Lazare would hurt the maître.

                It was so against Lazare’s entire outlook on the maître that Ambroise wants to presume that someone else made it look like Lazare did it.
                There was no believing that, there was hardly anyone who could frame a Spy, except maybe the maître, considering he is a Medic. And the maître would not harm himself, so Lazare had to have done it.

                The why was the elusive part.

                Well, Heavy dumped him at the infirmary doors, shoved him inside, and kept the doors shut on the other side. Bastard. Ambroise looks at the doors, furrow browed and wondering, just briefly, what sort of-

                He wasn’t expecting a touch on his shoulder. Ambroise yanks away, turning and landing against the infirmary doors. Well. There was no escaping the maître. But…
                The maître looked worried. The tells are slight, a partially sunken cheek, probably chewing on the inside of his mouth. And while the maître is shirtless, with a couple of bandages and wrappings around his shoulder, he’s more focused on Ambroise.

                “Ah… I’m sorry mien pfau. I forgot your reaction earlier. I could have spoken.” He says.

                Why is he apologizing…?
                There is an awkward silence between them, given Ambroise has zero response. Not even a simple ‘what,’ he is too confused, out of his element. The maître coughs, taking in an even breath and directs the conversation.

                “Let's sit down, speak about what has happened. I think we both need this."

                Without any bargaining power, Ambroise follows the maître to his desk. They sit down, continue with their silence. The maître normally knows what to say, at least that’s what Ambroise thinks. But he’s being cautious, methodical. Slowly, from a drawer of his desk, he pulls out a knife.
                Ambroise recognizes it as the Black Rose. But he doesn’t own one.

                “I recall you received this as a gift earlier today.” Who the fuck would give him that expensive piece of equipment as a gift? “And when you panicked, you stabbed this into me. I will admit, I grabbed hold of you while you were in a different state of mind, I am uncertain if that may have influenced your behavior. But, perhaps you could explain the situation from your perspective.”

                The entire context. Something caused Lazare to do this to the maître, and it was likely an accident. Ambroise would not know if his presumption that this was an accident until much later, and he must craft a tale that Lazare would not question. Else, if this was intentional, there would be a missing brunt of the punishment times an amount, and knowing his own luck, Ambroise would bear it.

                “I…” he starts, “It’s hard to say. I was in a great panic. I couldn’t tell friend from foe. All I knew was that I needed away from the problem.”

                Ambroise thought he was being too vague, keeping his expression neutral. Somehow, it was the right answer. Because the maître pulls out the box-

                He stands, instantly backing away, managing to trip over the chair. He crawls backwards on the floor. He’s a fool for thinking he was going to burn that stupid box, “No. Oh no. We’re not doing this. I refuse.”

                The maître stands, cautiously having his hand on the box. Ambroise wants to say many things: put it away, burn it, throw it out, keep it away from me. But all he could do is scatter away, taking many attempts at getting on his feet-
                Slams into the infirmary doors. The Heavy is standing outside still.
                That’s not going to work.

                “Herr Pfau.” The maître calls.

                Ambroise thinks quick on his feet when he sees the maître approach. Normally, he could slam into people, knock them off their feet, then run away. The maître was trained to handle such unruly people, it would only result in his capture.
                Groaning, Ambroise waits as long as he dares, seeing the maître approach far too cautiously for his own liking, and Ambroise uses a couple of side tables to leap to and from. The maître is disoriented, although one he landed on was far too unstable, and he ends up on the ground once more.
                All just to clamor back up, and he spots a door he’s not seen before. He knocks more things in the way, getting there and testing the knob. Locked. Even with hearing the maître’s threatening tone, Ambroise pulls out his lockpicks he always has stashed on him, and it doesn’t even take two seconds to break into the door.
                It’s a plain, utilitarian bedroom. With windows. One of which is open. Ambroise doesn’t think to look down, thinking that it could only be one floor up.
                He was mistaken by a couple of floors.

                He lands on his feet, upon which he hears a sickening crunch. Ambroise collapses on the ground, inhaling sharply and curses, “Putain!

                He stares up at the sky and building, knowing one of his legs must be at an obviously broken angle. He is not sitting up to see the damage. From the window, the maître peaks his head out, and he cannot tell how upset he is.

                “Are you going to stay there, or do I need to rally the team?” the maître asks.

                “I can go exactly nowhere, mon maître.” Ambroise says.

                “Good.” The maître says, “I will be down as soon as I can. I will have someone to help me carry you back.”

                And with that, the maître goes back inside, shutting the window as well. Ambroise could only lay back, feel the misting rain spray on him. He’s wet, growing cold, and there are throbs of pain when he attempts to move. He hears the crunching footsteps, not bothering to turn to look. The maître gets into his vision, as does the Heavy. Both are unreadable, there may be some small part that they’re worried.
                The maître crouches down, going through the motions to check on him. And pulls out a needle.
                Ambroise is quick to panic, but he cannot get anywhere. His attempts at moving gets him in so much pain that his eyes water.

                “It’s not exactly a sedative.” The maître says, “It’s a couple of things, should help you not care about the pain. You might fall asleep, or not remember what happens. But you will be out of pain.”

                The maître spoke the truth. All Ambroise remembers when the medicine kicks in was just how great he felt. It was funny, really. The pain was excruciating when the maître was setting his leg back, binding it so that he was ready for transport.
                But Ambroise ceased caring.

                It’s many hours later when he’s able to start caring, and recall. The maître could have used the medigun, but he decided to put Ambroise in a cast. It was just one leg, and the cast went a bit above his knee. Clothing would not be fun, he was even changed into plain hospital garb.
                But he wasn’t restrained to the bed.

                At least the cast was dried, some sort of newer material that would dry within an hour instead of typical ones that took days. He gets out of bed, limping carefully through the room. His foot was uncovered, and he manages to look to the wall, seeing on the x-ray scans that the main fracture seemed to be close to the knee. Interesting decision.

                Well, as awkward as it was to maneuver in the room, he was able to get to the maître’s desk. He finally spots a few diplomas. He’s reading them, getting a feel for the schools and the name. University of Bristol, highest degree is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology. He has an honorary degree in science, but the font and typeface was unreadable for the school. Must be an American school for the honorary degree, he was unaware of their existence until coming here. The names on the degrees were spelled differently. One was Walter Summer, the other was Walther Sommer.

                Ambroise picked up the degree from Bristol, the one that has Walter Summer.

                “A shame that they Americanized the name, it’s so slight too.”

                Ambroise drops the framed degree on the desk, turning around to see the maître. He was without his coat, having his shirt sleeves rolled up. He’s smelling food, but he’s not sure where it’s coming from. The maître comes up to the desk, setting the degree back where it’s supposed to. He leans against the desk by Ambroise. Despite how nervous he is, he knows he cannot move very far with the cast on.

                “So it’s Walther Sommer.” Ambroise is certain he is giving too much emphasis on certain syllables, but it would be how he says it.

                “Yes. But I would prefer you not call me this.” The maître says, “I have asked that everyone else call me Verwalter. I should have told you sooner, since you would have seen this eventually.”

                Tilting his head, Ambroise was not sure what was the significance. It sounded similar to Walther that he didn’t get if this was a new name or if it was an obscure German word. Sure, he could try to remember what German he knew, but that was something Lazare did. He didn’t care for the language.

                “Verwalter.” Ambroise repeats, “I suppose, but I really like mon maître.”

                “Well…” the maître crosses his arms, and radiated enough discomfort in the position that Ambroise shifted away to give them some space, “I am not sure how sincere you are when you call me that.”

                “What.” Ambroise’s attempts at flinging himself away almost gets him to the ground. Thankfully for him, the maître was nice enough to reach for him and help him out.

                “Let’s get you back to bed.” And without any sort of warning, he lifts Ambroise up, getting him into bed. Just to cement it, he pulls over a side table, positioning it to where it was over Ambroise’s lap. On it was an assortment of foods, must have been a mixture of lunch and dinner. Lunch looked a little congealed, such a pity since it was a sandwich.

                “Herr Spy.” The maître sits down in a seat near the bed, “Consider my preferences. I understand slipping every now and then, calling me Medic must get boring, and I would rather you not call me by name. Verwalter, Medic, or just Doctor will work.”

                Ambroise considers. He sees that his gloves are off, and goes right into the sandwich. He picks it apart, too soggy for him to bother eating as is. But he would pick out the pieces he cared to eat. And check for hidden poisons, he cared little for the mess on his hands. Easy to wipe away with a napkin.

                “I will try.” He promises, “but, is the cast a punishment?”

                “For trying to fling yourself out of my bedroom window.” The maître says, “By the way. I will forgive your reaction as a state of panic. But I do not want to catch you in there without express permission.”

                “Oh what would you do?” Ambroise asks, “Kill me while there’s a respawn maintenance?”

                Not that it would work the way the maître would intend. The maître did recognize the tease that comes from his tone, but the chuckle was a little unsettling.

                “It’s actually going on right now.” The maître says.

                No. That can’t be right. He had to do some mental calculations, think through the haze that was what Lazare recalled. Most respawn maintenances are roughly in six-month intervals. There’s a second one, so soon?

                “No.” the firmness of Ambroise’s statement makes the maître frown, he stares at Ambroise critically, “I am not an ignorant grunt mon maître, whatever is going on is not due to a respawn malfunction.”

                The silence between them goes for a while. Eventually, he loses interest in the topic, and returns to tearing apart the sandwich. Barely half of it was worth eating, some slime ridden concoction of canned tuna, mayonnaise, pickles, and smaller vegetables that all combined and tasted awful. He wipes his hands of the mess with one of the napkins in a stack by him, now trying to decipher dinner.
                Whatever it was, it had to be Russian.

                “Herr Spy.” The maître says, “Keep that to yourself, ja?”

                “I know, I know.” Ambroise rolls his eyes, “I just cannot believe you think I’m that stupid Mon- Agh. Verwalther.”

                “Verwalter.” Verwalter corrects.

                “Verwalter.” Ambroise repeats.

                There is more silence, and he sees Verwalter stand. He walks over to his room, opening the door with a lock and closes himself in. Ambroise doesn’t think much about this, but he did think of the lock.

                “Verwalter, you should probably upgrade the lock.” It was genuine advice, “If I could pick it in such a short amount of time, it’s bound to be close to breaking.”

                He hears no sound from Verwalter. He’s presuming the man went to sleep, until some music comes on. It’s soft, the closed door blocks off some sound, but he can tell the music from a typical American music station. Some crones of lost loves never had, and it was probably popular with teenagers. Well, Ambroise is unsure if that remains the case, but it was…
                It said more about this mysterious Verwalter.
                There was more he needed to learn.

Chapter Text

                Late at night. Ambroise couldn’t tell if it was one or two. Still in the infirmary. Sleep eluded him, and he taps on his cast nervously.
                There’s a phone. He was told to stay in bed, Verwalter trusted him to stay there, leaving him unbound when he retired in his room. But, he had to call.
                Couldn’t use the watch. Wasn’t on his person, but the watch would cause undue strain. Not when he doesn’t want to be traced back. A landline was significantly more secure, at least, it was on any base.

                It takes some maneuvering to get to the desk.
                Takes longer to remember the code, decipher it, and make the call.
                The tone rings three times.

                “Egun on?” Good morning. He caught the worst time to call. Fuck. And he’s speaking Basque. Fuck.

                “Ah, Father Mendoza!” His mentor.

                “Tony? /Is that you?/” Neither Ambroise nor Lazare could get him to stop calling him that name.

                “Yes Father Mendoza, it’s me.” He accepts defeat.

                “You have to speak English to me? /Come on, you know Euskara. Speak it. Or at least speak French./”

                “… /yes. Of course. I apologize./” He picks French out of habit.

                “/Already forgotten!/” Mendoza responded in French, “/Ah, a day or so late, but happy birthday./”

                “/Thank you./”

                “/New base? You were able to get out to Maxime that a bunch of the other ones didn’t have much of nothing./” What was he talking about?

                “/Oh, you know I can’t talk about my job…/” It’s the truth.

                “/Tony./” Father Mendoza’s tone has reproach in it.

                “/I haven’t spoken to Father Maxime in years./” Ambroise refuses to be cowed here, “/I know I used to talk to him a lot, but there was a mail mix-up. Once. Father Maxime said it was better we didn’t contact over unsecure lines. Especially after I gotten in trouble./”

                There is an uncomfortable silence between them. “/Or is it because you don’t want him to know the company’s performing experiments? Considering you’re no longer aging./”

                The phone slips out of Ambroise’s hand, in shock. How did Father Mendoza come across this information? He scrambles to pick it up, hearing insidious laughter from Father Mendoza.

                “/Whatever your reasoning is Tony, all members of the Monastery knew there was something shifty about the Manns. I still don’t understand why you won’t let us get you out, but you’ve long accepted this course of action. It’s just a pity you appear to be choosing limitless youth and life, so long as the company exists, and the only expense is misery. Or is there something else going on I don’t know of?/

                Ambroise tried to develop a response, unsure of how to make Father Mendoza to believe the truth, when he hears a massive shift in Verwalter’s private room. Pacing, is he awake? He covers the receiver, straining to hear. There’s a sudden mantra of yelling.

                “They’re screaming! The soldiers are screaming! I need to help them!”

                The doorknob shakes and rumbles, far too loudly for his tastes. Father Mendoza is none the wiser, but Ambroise needed to sort out what was going on with the maître.

                “/Compromised. Call later, much later./” He hangs up, knowing that Father Mendoza should leave them alone for two months, maybe three if he felt generous.

                Ambroise stands, uncomfortably limping to the door. While it was clear the door was locked, he could see there was an intense struggle for Verwalter to get out of the room. He knocks, wondering if perhaps this would do much of anything.
                There is a strange sort of silence. Eventually, he hears the sound of the door unlocking, an overly mussed, half dressed, and confused Verwalter stares at Ambroise owlishly.

                It takes a great deal of resistance to not roll his eyes, given he knows Lazare would be concerned, “Verwalter, you were screaming, are you alright?”

                “Vas?” Verwalter says.

                “Yes, indeed, what.” Ambroise deadpans, “You were so loud you…”

                He was originally going to be rude, state that his sleep was interrupted. Instead, he inhales sharply, taking the time to calm down and speak truthfully for Lazare, “I was worried.”

                “Ah... I apologize Spy.” Verwalter rubs his eyes, Ambroise noticing just how different he looks without glasses, “I will help you back to bed, and I promise I am fine. Realistic dreams, is all.”

                As much as Ambroise wants to disbelieve him, there is much research he needs to do, things to refamiliarize himself with, just to assure this.
                Verwalter helps him back to bed, going back to his room. And Ambroise stays up through the night.

*

                Two days of dealing with a broken leg, Verwalter surrenders and heals him. It helps that Ambroise was quiet, and would always find ways to leave. Equally helped that he has stayed up for two days straight, mentioning just how hard it was for him to sleep while feeling as though he could be attacked at any moment.
                Ambroise was lying profusely, he could handle injuries where he was indeed in a safe place. But, he simply disliked Verwalter demanding such control of him, it was suspicious.
                 Verwalter relents after the latest session, with him admitting that keeping Ambroise in the cast was doing him some mental strain that he was not anticipating. He also notes that their chats were productive, which Ambroise credits that to the chocolates not coming up once more. Ambroise intended on finding out so much more about Verwalter, after catching up on the lost sleep.

                That was the fun thing about respawn being on ‘maintenance,’ it meant there was so much free time there was so many possibilities. And sessions typically went on as normal, with one or two days of reprieve so that everyone would have their ‘break’ as intended. Said breaks were usually near the end of the maintenance period. With this being around day three or four out of seven, Ambroise took his opportunity.

                As much as he dislikes that his weapons were confiscated, he still has his watches. It took some observation, knowing when the sessions were commencing, determining some habits. He hand-picked a session, suspecting that he would be able to sneak in on the Sniper’s session. All he had to do was pick an innocuous spot with the cloak and dagger, remain still, generally not get caught.
                He thought it would be easy.

                He followed Verwalter, believing that he had been quiet enough to uphold his ruse. The only true trouble was the infirmary doors, which would close far too quickly. He had to wait for them to swing out, step inside as they came back in. The real tricky bit was hiding in a corner, keeping still while he waited for the watch to recharge. When it did, he was able to find a spot he could stand at, leaning against the wall. A little place that seemed out of the way enough, a column like spot, nothing nearby except for tables with implements, some medical and some for the dominating treatments.
                Ambroise thought he had Verwalter fooled. But, as the man set up the table, he noticed a tenseness in his back. He worked without restraint, except…

                “I will give you one chance to fix your mistake.” Verwalter warns.

                No.
                He refuses to believe that Verwalter noticed him at all. Ambroise has been nothing but quiet. He steadies his breathing, matching Verwalter’s careful breaths. It was a mysterious standoff, and Ambroise refused to believe he was at fault.
                He questions this decision when a tray of objects nearby was thrown against him. Yelping, Ambroise feels winded, and it gets no better when he feels Verwalter pressed against him.

                A moment of uncertainty, a few prodding hands all over him. Then, there are fists at his lapels, moving him away from the wall and slamming his back onto the table Verwalter was setting up.

                Winded once more, Ambroise had to fight to breathe. While his mouth was open, something was shoved in. He’s spooked, but every attempt to struggle was met with Verwalter restraining him. His arms are bound behind him, the gag secured, and he is carried over Verwalter’s shoulder when he tries to kick. Attempts at kicking in this new position only met firm muscle or air. Verwalter held onto the knots at his wrists, his fingers unable to find any way out.

                “I cannot believe you would do this Spy.” Verwalter says.

                He’s carried further into the infirmary, passing through a set of curtains he has noticed, but never saw the inside of. He’s sat down against something, and before he could look around, Verwalter quickly produces a piece of fabric, blindfolding him. There’s barely a pause, feeling quick movement against his clothing. He’s being stripped, feeling his chest exposed to the air while everything below his waist is removed completely. Ambroise didn’t resist as much, mostly focusing on the knots of the rope, hoping he could slip a hand away. He could figure out the rest.
                Verwalter was keen on this, Ambroise felt him press close, gasping when he feels fingers gripping onto his crotch, a grip that approaches painful. He trembles, but he’s focused so that he could hear what Verwalter has to say.

                “As much as you seem to want to jump yourself to the front of my schedule, you will have to wait the queue.” Verwalter says, “But I know the spot for you to wait in. It should teach you some patience.”

                Ambroise did not expect Verwalter to suddenly undo the ropes. He remains in pure shock when Verwalter picks him up and moves him once more. There was far too much stimuli, the feeling of being forced against a wooden frame, wrists and neck encased in something wooden, and some effort made in binding his ankles at the base of the apparatus.
                Stocks, it had to be something with stocks. Ambroise would swear up a storm if he could. He’d have to break his thumb to even think of trying to get out of this. Just as he was adjusting to this position, he feels freezing water thrown on his back. Intentional, but he was unsure if it was meant to increase discomfort or as a distraction. As a final touch, he feels his ears plugged. The sound dampening was enough for everything to sink in.

                He couldn’t tell when Verwalter left. He could hardly manage the passage of time.

                At some point, Ambroise does not remember slipping away. All he has is this feeling he is trapped, with the strain of holding a restrictive position, the cold water against his skin, and the inability to ground himself. He can do many things lacking some of his senses, but it went too far.
                He cannot keep track of time.

                It’s too surreal, he’s seeing things that aren’t there. Catching bits of a disembodied voice, the scolding tones of Mend-
                No.
                He needs out.
                He needs out.
                Out.

                Time is funny thing. He doesn’t believe what he sees when Verwalter was getting him out. Neither does he believe many of the other things. Ambroise is so out of it, he gives up. Lazare can figure out this mess.

*

                Lazare should be used to waking up on an infirmary bed, but he wasn’t used to his blankets and the sound of a radio going. The Doctor must have been nearby, he bursts into his line of sight just as his eyes open.

                “Mien Pfau, I am so sorry.” He says.

                Lazare blinks, processes the apology, then says, “What.”

                “Don’t tell me you don’t remember any of what happened…” the Doctor was mussed; hair and shirt were less than pristine, and it bothered Lazare.

                Well, that was the tricky part. Lazare knew Ambroise made a very stupid decision, and he deserved what he gotten. The reaction to said punishment was fuzzy.
                As far as other recent events, he can recall the barest of details, but he would have to hope that Ambroise left a note of them. Else, he will find them out later at inopportune moments.

                “As far as I know, I made a stupid decision and I was punished for it.” Lazare says.

                “Ah. Yes. Well.” Medic scratches the back of his neck, “I may have set you up in a prime sensory deprivation position. I, ah, gotten the advice from another Spy a long while back…”

                Upon receiving the description of the setup, Lazare waits patiently for Medic to finish the explanation, and says gently, “you mean torture rig.”

                There was a slight… disagreement. Medic insisted that there was nothing torturous about the setup, for all the wrong reasons. Whoever that Spy was, either Medic was gullible, or he was replicating the methods wrong. Lazare was presuming it was the second.

                “I am very sure you believe you are right for your own reasons.” Lazare starts, “But, you had me in a disoriented state, and you never let me see what you were doing next to heighten the state. You then had me in a stress position, the way you had me kneeling was not comfortable, and the stocks themselves likely made me self-conscious about breathing. The ear plugs completed the sensory deprivation. Although I will say, the water was a nice touch. You’d make a decent torturer.”

                Medic seems conflicted. He wrings his fingers together, and Lazare has the chance to see some of his age seep through. Concerned wrinkles, there was no other way to describe this. Medic looked great otherwise.

                “I see.” Medic sighs, standing slowly, “I am still cross that you thought you could sneak in on another person’s session, but I did not mean to cause you to enter a psychosis-like state.”

                Upon hearing what Ambroise did, all Lazare wanted to do was curse at him. He would do it in private, when the man’s whims went so counter to everything Lazare would do.

                Medic relents for the night, telling Lazare to eat and rest. Tomorrow they could sort out some of the other issues, such as narrowing down acceptable punishments and rewards, since it seems what little they spoke of was insufficient. Lazare agrees, and he even relents long enough to go eat.

                There was some fresh fruit, taking an apple and a bowl full of raspberries. Enough for him, and there were an assortment of prying eyes. He’s hearing whispers, from a Scout and a Sniper. Whispers in front of him mean that there was enough time for them to travel to other prying ears. Lazare had other concerns in mind, and he finishes his meal without bothering to check on them.

                His main interest was his room. He examines a couple of spots, finding the hidden notebook. Ambroise did scribble in it, and Lazare discovers a few bits of information. The name Walther Sommer, the fact that Medic has asked Ambroise that he be referred to as Verwalter, as well as Ambroise’s distaste for him. The reason was specified as seeking too much control, although Lazare rolls his eyes at it.
                This is a medical recovery facility, of course Medic demands control. He’ll let Ambroise’s whims be what they are, but he needed to nip in the bud the desire to seek out information on their doctor.

                On the dresser mirror, he leaves a slip of paper, a note that he writes carefully in English.

                I am not tolerating your interference Ambroise.

                Not that he thought it would stop Ambroise, but it was insurance. Medic examines his room every day. He will note the little reminder, wonder briefly who Ambroise is. Throwing Ambroise off was Lazare’s best bet in getting him to cooperate.