The worst thing about the match being caught in a stalemate was the energy of it. Being trapped in that strange place between fighting and resting, between alertness and relative relaxation. The fact that it made the day drag on longer was no good, and the looming fear that any moment something would change and they would lose was also no fun, but really, the feeling of being a coiled spring just waiting for the action to start back up, weapons all reloaded and wounds all patched and healed, knowing the if but waiting on the when, it was awful.
Sniper in particular was fairly irritated about them, mostly because generally during stalemates, he would be tormented by the enemy Spy, who seemed to get bored extremely quickly. That left Sniper with an additional layer of tension going on, with the only real measure he could take to try and not get backstabbed a few dozen times in a row to be changing nests fairly frequently, which left him only a little less frazzled.
He’d only just sat down in the barn that made up the outskirts of the current battlefield when he got lucky enough to hear the telltale sound of a dispersing cloak and a knife flipping open.
No. Absolutely not. The bastard had killed him four times in the past twenty minutes. He would not get a fifth.
In the space of a moment he’d leapt to his feet, seized his knife and spun around with a snarl, a vicious swing going a long way to make the Spy reel backwards and to buy Sniper a moment to get bearings on where he was and where he might move next.
The Spy’s next move was to back up and glance for the nearest door or window, but no, he would not be getting away, not after being such a bastard. Sniper darted forward, feigning a swing at his kneecaps only to instead thrust upwards, knife sliding cleanly up into the Spy’s ribcage.
“Why don’t you go ahead and stay dead for a while?” Sniper snarled, and yanked the knife out, and kicked him to the ground.
Relative silence for the three seconds it took for the Spy to stop struggling on the ground. Full silence for the five seconds it took before Respawn pulled the corpse away.
“That was kind of hot,” chirped a voice from up above him, and Sniper nearly had a heart attack.
He glanced up, and there, looking down at him, lying in the rafters that supported the loft with a hand propping up his chin and a grin on his face, was Scout.
“How the hell’d you get there?” Sniper asked, trying to shake off his alarm.
“I’ve been up here, man. I was up here before you showed up and went all one-liner action hero. I was asleep.” Indeed there was a layer of laziness to the way Scout spoke and moved, usually reserved for shortly after the team woke up in the morning or for late, late at night.
Sniper exhaled, relaxing minutely, moving to wipe his knife off and pick back up his gun, glancing it over to see if it’d been damaged when he dropped it. “I’m not gonna ask why you were up napping in the rafters instead of out doing your job,” he said dryly.
“What job?” Scout scoffed. “It’s a stalemate.”
“There’s still bastards that need killin’. That means you’ve still got a job to do,” Sniper said firmly.
“Yeah, plenty’s guys around to fight,” Scout said sarcastically. He pulled his pistol from the waistband of his pants, aiming it at make-believe enemies. “Pew, pew. Really givin’ me a workout. Pew, pew-pew. C’mon Snipes, I need backup here against all the just, the waves of guys attackin’ us right now.”
“I get it,” Sniper said flatly.
“Just the crazy amount of dudes currently attackin’ is that I’m supposed to be stoppin’. Because you told me to do my job.”
“I get it, Scout.”
“Just the absolutely bonkers number of totally real people I’m totally in combat with right exactly now, this like, action hero movie’s worth of enemies. With like, me being the protagonist. Just that many guys.”
“Scout, I get it.”
“And you’re just like, sittin’ around lookin’ pretty while I’m doin’ all the work here. Shittiest love interest ever, in this, the movie where a bunch of guys attack us.”
Sniper shot Scout a glare, then went to start adjusting his scope.
“Hey, but y’know what’s weird, though?” Scout asked, voice perking up as he changed subjects abruptly.
“How you always just like, glare at me or don’t respond when I say flirty stuff like that, instead’a tellin’ me to knock it off.”
Sniper turned his head to glare again, not speaking.
“I mean, sometimes you say stuff like “Oi, bugger, go away, I’m concentrating” or “Bloody hell, can this conversation wait, piss” or somethin’, but you never tell me to actually stop.” Scout tilted his head just to one side. “What’s that all about?”
“I don’t sound like that,” Sniper grumbled.
“See, even now when you’re all pissed off for some reason, you’re still not telling me to quit. You’re just changing the subject. I just thought that was kinda funny, y’know?”
“Hilarious,” Sniper drawled.
Scout sat up, and dropped down to hang from the rafter he’d been perched on, swinging once and dropping to the ground. For a brief moment Sniper was convinced he was about to watch Scout break both his legs, but Scout dropped into a roll and ended up back on his feet again, brushing hay from himself, otherwise unscathed.
And then he was walking up towards Sniper, crowding into his space. Sniper took a step back instinctively, and Scout took two forward. Sniper’s back collided with the wall, and then Scout was stood practically on his toes, looking up at him with that same curiosity, that same half-grin. Sniper’s pulse pounded in his ears.
“So what’s the deal, then?” Scout asked with a surprising amount of neutrality, eyes flickering to give him an up-and-down. “Is it that you’re… scared of me, or something? Is that it?”
“Of course not,” Sniper half-scoffed, glancing away, only to have his credibility instantly put into question as he jumped at the feeling of Scout fiddling with his vest’s zipper.
“Funny way of showin’ it,” Scout commented in turn.
“Look, this just isn’t something that…” Sniper managed to stamp down a shiver before it could roll through him at the feeling of Scout’s right hand moving from fiddling with his vest to instead slide to rest under it. “…That coworkers should do, particularly in our line of business.”
“What, you don’t trust me?” Scout pouted, nonetheless keeping his hand on Sniper’s waist, his left one moving to mess with the bullets Sniper kept stocked in his breast pocket.
“S’not that,” Sniper gritted out, looking away entirely to stare out over Scout’s shoulder, trying to ignore how nice all this contact felt. Admittedly, it wasn’t something that happened to him often outside the context of battle. “It’s just… not very professional.”
“So we keep this quiet,” Scout shrugged, tilting his head to try and goad Sniper into looking at him again. “I ain’t askin’ for some whole big thing, roses an’ chocolates an’ all that. Not unless you’re about that. I just wanted to… y’know, try somethin’ out. See if we’d work.”
“If we’d work?” Sniper echoed, eyebrows drawing together, still not quite able to meet Scout’s eyes.
“Yeah. I mean, I’m pretty bored, talkin’ with you is almost always pretty fun, and you’re just pretty. Figured we could work somethin’ out. But then you went an’ started playin’ some game where you didn’t give me a straight answer or anythin’ to go on even though it was pretty damn clear I was hitting on you.”
Sniper’s jaw tightened.
Scout’s subtle motions stopped for a second, presumably as Scout considered him. “Look, I’m not gonna like, force the issue, here. You tell me you don’t want nothin’ to do with this, I’ll leave you alone. Won’t even be mad, just like, a little disappointed. Because I’m serious. Cards on the table? I really wanna try this. But this definitely isn’t gonna work unless you show up voluntarily. So you tell me straight up, “Get away”, and I’ll walk away and I won’t ever bug you again like this. I’ll cut it out with the makin’ passes at you and we’ll both get outta here like none’a this ever happened. That’s all you’ve gotta say, is “Get away”. And I will.”
“Fine. Get—“ Sniper started, eyes locking on Scout’s again, only to pause.
Scout’s expression was something Sniper had never seen on him before. A bit serious, largely earnest. There was hope pretty clearly written across his features, and the whole pretense of smugness was gone. He wasn’t playing around, he was making a very honest, open offer.
Sniper’s breath caught in his throat. “Get…” he tried again, because he’d meant it, this wasn’t something coworkers should do. He was a professional, he had standards for himself, standards that pretty clearly meant not doing this sort of thing with any of his teammates. And besides that, Sniper really wasn’t in a position where he should be… dating, or whatever else Scout planned to propose. And he’d never even been any good at dating back in the past, and he wasn’t sure if he’d even enjoy it. But both of Scout’s hands had migrated to his waist beneath his vest, and stroked over his sides with a surprising and uncharacteristic gentleness. Like Scout was waiting for that second word. Like he was almost sure it was going to come, any moment, and Sniper’s voice caught.
Scout looked at him. He looked at Scout.
Then his eyes flicked up, and widened slightly.
In the space of a moment, he’d seized the pistol from Scout’s waistband, firing one, two three shots off towards the doorway. The first pinged off the wood, but the second two connected, one with an invisible chest, the other with an invisible forehead.
Scout half-turned, eyebrows raised, to regard the Spy that slumped to the ground just inside the barn, and the way it disappeared after a second. “Nice shot,” he commented, voice appraising. “How’d you catch that?”
“Saw the hay on the ground move,” Sniper replied, hands falling to tuck the pistol back where Scout put it, only to linger there for another few moments.
Scout hummed. Silence between them for a few seconds before Scout turned to look back at him again. He didn’t speak, just looked up at Sniper, displaying an amount of restraint just then.
Sniper finally let out a sigh, shoulders sagging, pulling Scout in a half-step closer. “Y’know what? To hell with it. Fine.”
Scout perked up immediately, lighting up like a firework show. “Really? You mean it?” he asked, his smile stretching across his face wide and unabashed.
“Yeah. Not like I’ve got any real reason to say no. You’re not so bad,” he managed to joke, his own face making a valiant attempt at a smile.
Scout laughed, and the pressure of his hands increased as he leaned into Sniper a bit, positively glowing. “Yeah. Not so bad.”