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Second chances

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The young blonde-haired man? Boy? The curly, black haired man wasn’t sure. He just knew the young Bostonian was trying desperately to show the Australian assassin some stupid stunt that was going to land him in Medic’s infirmary with a broken arm or leg, again.

The assassin, still in his early twenties understood the need to impress his friends, or appear older than he was… sort of, his pale skin, sharp turquoise eyes, quiet demeanor and stoic features commanded an amount of respect from his peers, and he had never been a rambunctious kid, or even too much of a hassle of a teenager.  Adventurous and curious and always experimenting with new ideas, sure, but he had always been calm and collected. He knew his place in the social hierarchy, but he also knew what he needed from his companions, getting most of the angsty teenager out with friends and equally lusty boyfriends and girlfriends in highschool and into the first few years of collage. Now finishing up his primary school in his spare time, thanks to online school, he was budgeting out how he was going to go into medical school the following year. He knew he could still do it online so that wasn’t an issue, neither was paying for it.  He was an assassin, a good one at that, and if someone is willing to pay for a murder, they’re willing to pay a lot more than minimum wage.

Most of his side clients were taken aback at his age, but once the Sniper had proved himself to them, his age turned to his, and their, advantage, since he had many more years they could still call on him.

As for his full time job, he enjoyed the steady, reliable pay, three meals a day and a small circle of like minded companions.  He would prefer to work alone but their companionship and aid had proven useful to him more than once.

Especially with the Medic. He was knowledgeable and his years were starting to catch up to him, so he was in a good position to take an intern student on.  Of course it was it was an uneasy alliance and young yet.  Sniper spent most of his time with Medic sorting paperwork or splinting Scout’s broken limbs, but patience was a virtue Sniper had plenty of and he knew Medic was acutely aware that he looked like he was in his mid-thirties, but his life was suspended in a fragile balance between time and the workings of a madman.

Like everyone else on the team, the Doctor weirded Sniper out, a lot. Sniper got the idea he had some bipolarism or multiple personality med laying around that he chose not to take for some reason, since one second the man was sweet and gentle and wouldn’t hurt a fly. Next he was berating, yelling at and criticizing every little thing that anyone would do. The next he would get quite, shy, reserved and introverted, even timid. However the truly terrifying one was the one where the nearest living thing became his new plaything, and would be subject to live dissections and other horrid, psychotic things that Sniper shuddered to even try and imagine.

But Sniper had noticed that Doctor mellowed significantly since he had come around, and staying in the more quiet and timid mindset, letting Sniper do his homework, exams or applications in peace. Allowing Sniper to come to him with questions rather than barging in, which was both a blessing and a curse, since Sniper knew he wasn’t going to be subject to dissections he felt safe around Medic and he was always very patient with his questions no matter how idiotic. On the other hand, sometimes he had no idea on how even to phrase his questions and sometimes without the chattering Medic did with himself and his birds it seemed very empty, and upon occasion without the anxiety of being snapped at, Sniper would drift off and wake up in either Medic’s quarters, or sometimes his own van if Medic wanted to be alone.

As for the moment Sniper was trying to go pay Medic a vist having just gotten confirmation he was getting into med school and he needed someone who would understand his excitement. Abandoning his computer in Spy’s quarters but not really caring. Spy could go digging through Sniper’s stuff and not learn anything new other than what he spent his free time googling or his netflix que. Even then Spy knew most of it having spent a good much of his time with Sniper laughing at him for googling crazy hypotheticals, or watching cat videos, or fan-girling over the newest season of stranger things or whatever. Even so, Spy knew everything, About everyone,

More important at the time though Scout had pounced on him in transition and was prodding at him, with the thought of the cause of his internal excitement.  Under his skin it was annoying.  He just wanted to be left to do his own thing for once.

“Watch! Watch!” Scout insisted, Sniper rolled his eyes

“Grow up a little will ya?” He growled

“I just want to show you--” Scout ‘asked’ again

“Later.” Sniper said flatly turning down the corridor to the infirmary.

“Aww going to visit your boyfriend?” Scout couldn’t help but jeer, and Sniper paused, almost turning around.

“He’s not my boyfriend.  He’s my teacher. Though I guess that be hard to tell the difference from someone who can’t even read.” Sniper said flatly and Scout froze for a moment stunned by the aggression.

Scout looked hurt, but Sniper knew it was true, kid had flunked out of middle school and had spent his time butting heads with his 6 older brothers and 7 older sister.

Scout was the runt of the litter, always had been, he had come out and took this job to try and make something of himself, to show the world that he was good for something. Of course the rest of the men on the team were older and knew what their talents were, and knew how to command respect from one another. They had practice. Scout, who didn’t know any of his talents other than running, was a tangled web of hormones and confusion, was often trampled underfoot at their curt ‘I’m in charge of you’ attitude and struggled to keep up, but was determined to learn quickly all the same. Taking minor victories such as coming to terms about his sexuality and fueling himself with it, he was still runt of the litter now sure, but someday…

But Scout knew he had lost this battle and it finally got through that maybe Sniper wanted to be left alone for a while, the comment rammed home more than Sniper would, could ever know. He ignored his vision becoming blurry and he did the one thing he knew how to, run.

Sniper stared after him for a moment, he didn’t like being mean to the kid, but had learned from Sniper’s father that sometimes it took small acts of cruelty to get through a teenagers thick skull.

Sniper then turned and stalked into the infirmary. The Medic was standing over a desk eyes perusing a document.

“Sniper.” Medic greeted him fondly without looking up “Hear from the board yet?” Sniper nodded even though Medic couldn’t see it.

“I start next semester.” He said subconsciously puffing his chest proudly. Medic straightened and looked at him for the first time, a small smile flickering across his weary face, and his deep gray eyes sparking with life for just a moment.

“Zhat’s great! Vhen are you leaving?” Sniper shook his head,

“Doing it online from home.” He explained “I like living on my own, being paid and fed.” He offered “Besides classrooms bore me to tears.” Medic chuckled and led the taller man to a door on the other side of the room.

“Like a more hands-on experience ja?” Sniper smiled

“So long as I’m not the demonstration.” Medic huffed, amused at the jab. He opened the door, it opened to a small side room with paper floating around the air thanks to the tiny fans scattered around, a few stacks of neatly place sheets were scattered around the tables and against one of the walls was a chalkboard powdered in chicken scratch.

“Vhen I vent” Medic reminisced even though he was pretty sure Sniper was only half listening snatching a sheet out of the air and scanning the label of the document with bright turquoise eyes now out of habit more than necessity. “You had to be a zird year to visit the hospital, zhat still true?” He asked and Sniper raised his gaze from the label for a minute

“I think so.” The marksmen responded setting the paper in one of the organized stack of sheets.

“My helping you, von’t prevent you from obtaining your license vill it?” Sniper pondered for a moment before shaking his head.

“Doubt it, but I won’t go bragging about it or anything. Anyways, it could be an early internship.” He mused.

“If you zink so.” Medic than busied himself with sifting through papers. Sniper approached and leaned his back against the edge of the desk a short distance away from him, arms folded over his chest and legs crossed he stared at the chalkboards across the room for a moment trying to decipher them before uncrossing his hands and stretching them out onto the desk. The office was calm, Sniper spent most of his ‘professional’ time with Medic here, learning to translate some German phrases, sorting through Medic mad ramblings he had written down frantically in the middle of the night, studying Medic’s old textbooks or just lounging if he needed a quiet place to rest without disturbance.

Sniper reached out to one of Medic’s hands that happened to be unoccupied and twined their fingers together. Medic paused for a moment in surprise but didn’t comment. Before Sniper had been Medic’s apprentice they had been friends, and before that even, lovers. Sniper liked what they had, affectionate and loving when they were together but no real commitment, it gave him the freedom to choose his company, if Medic was in the middle of a mad brainstorm or if he was in one of his *moods* Sniper had the freedom to roam. But if he wanted to try some crazy thing that probably wouldn’t work but he wanted to try it anyways, or if he wanted to sit and watch Grey's Anatomy through the critical lens. Doctor Medic was his man. It was clean, painless and it gave everyone what they needed.

“So Doc.” He said after a few long, comfortable moments. “About tonight…” Medic raised his head at the seeming sudden change of subjects, not having known Sniper had transitioned to more pleasant thoughts than schooling

“Do I need to take a second one before…?” Medic asked more of a breath than a question. Sure he had been a young man at the start of the second world war and a child during the first, and his years were catching up to him but that wasn’t the issue. Since Sniper was alright and even enthusiastic about trying new things so long as his two rules of 1) everything stays where it's supposed to, 2) no incisions, were followed, he was alright with whatever Medic was up for, and prior to him regularly taking his all-day multiple personality meds, he had taken a more spontaneous med to help him controlling the swings. Not as powerful and nullifying to the others but it did the job, Medic feared that at some point he might flip his shit, whether or not they were together was irrelevant, most of the mad ramblings he did before he was totally rendered out of control he’d lock himself in his office with nothing but Archimedes and his notes to tempt the insanity. But if he was away from his safety net he wasn’t sure what he was going to do. Sniper promised Medic that he wouldn’t let him do something he’d regret. But all the same, he was grateful for those damn meds

The man was insane but Sniper’s undivided attention was among the few scenarios he felt like a human being instead of an insane doctor who wanted to brutally vivisect everyone just for the hell of it. He knew the Sniper’s body and attention was being split with at least one other regularly if not the whole team, save maybe Pyro and Scout. So Medic was acutely aware that the time the marksman spent with the Medic was a choice. He didn’t have to be there yet he chose to be anyways, if he wanted something more stable than Medic’s massive mood swings, then he could look anywhere else for it. Yet he chose to spend time with Doctor Ludwing, despite his flaws. Medic knew this and therefore treated this time as one would treat something very fragile and dear to them, and took great pains to not fuck it up.

“Well no, just wanted to ask if you had taken your normal meds today.” Sniper said after a pause, meeting his steely grey eyes and seemed to scry for an answer.

“I did.” Medic responded truthfully, running a large hand over Sniper’s facial features. Sniper adjusted so he faced Medic more evenly and so his legs uncrossed, gently disconnecting their fingers, and closed his eyes offering himself in a way. Letting Medic make the first advances.

These began with the recapture of the marksman's palm, moving his other hand off his face and onto his chest, settling his own face next to it. Listening to rhythmic yet struggling beating of Sniper’s malformed heart and the inhale and exhale of his lungs and he knew if he really listened for long enough he could hear slight movements in his intestines or stomach. It was a weird thing but the clockwork mechanisms working as they should was relaxing to him, Sniper snorted in amusement then the Australian ran a hand  through his lover’s graying hair.

“I offer the reins and all you ask of me is cuddles.” He teased lightly, Medic nodded. Sniper hummed happily and relaxed into the affection.

Medic knew that he and the Sniper we're not together, he wished they were, he was envious of the others because of the attention they got. He wished to a god who abandoned him when his first husband died during the second world war.

He slammed his eyes shut as the memory flooded back to him. Medic saw only the pillar of fire that was so tall it licked at the heavens. Its fuel. Skeletal corpses who never woke from their bunks, small figures of children who were gassed. The shambles of the once city now in ruins. He gently brought his husband back, away from them, away from those who were hurting him. Together they had survived starvation, the march from Auschwitz, the stars, the tattoos that marked them as homosexual jewish freaks . Forever they would bear that shame. They had survived the ghettos, they had survived kristallnacht, they had survived nearly being gassed twice by slipping into the other set of jews who were transferring. Together they had been within months of Medic fleeing, running and running until he collapsed in a street in somewhere he didn’t know. Yet his husband hadn’t made it. He had insisted that it was his turn to fast so Medic could have both of their measly portions, despite his protests, Medic had done it. The love of his life didn’t have the ability to heal from the day before without those few hundred calories they had lived off of for years now.

He never woke up from his separate bunk. It had been Medic’s task to take him to the crematorium or risk the body being desecrated. He was beat for being late. He was beat for staring too long at the colosseum of flame that consumed his last remaining humanity. His love was dead, Ludwing was told that if he didn’t report to first shift on time, he would join his husband in death. He wanted to then. He wanted to now, he felt his heartstring pull painfully in his chest as he admitted to himself, he wanted to love Sniper, he wanted to so much it hurt.

But the black ink on the crest of his shoulder still stung when he thought about it. He was a freak . He was a homosexual , jewish freak , he always had been, even though he went for years without looking sideways at another man, even though he lost all faith in the god who abandoned him when he needed it most. Yet with the marksman he felt he could be himself, Sniper had always soothed him whenever he was anxious. He made him feel like a human for the first time in a hundred years.

He thought all of this, he wanted to find some courage to tell the marksman how much he loved him. He wanted to feel that permanence in a partner again, yet he couldn’t.  His terror consumed him so, even when Sniper nuzzled into his lover’s hair and murmured soft comforts, sensing the panic. Even listening to the sounds of the Sniper’s body working, even knowing how much the Sniper loved hearing him be passionate about his work.

He said nothing.

Yet he heard Sniper’s heart skip a beat and him take a breath in very suddenly.

He knew.