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Sniper wasn’t a man known for his stealth, regardless of how he was when still, so when he moved around the house Spy could hear him no matter where he was. He’d been in the lounge when he heard his heavy-footed partner stomp towards him and drop something unceremoniously into his lap.

“Happy anniversary, luv.”

“And what is this?” He put his book down, picking up the heart shaped box with a raised brow, “Did you make this?”

“Yeah, how’d you guess?”

He put the box back down, careful of a patch in the rough wood that looked near splintering, “Observation.”

The box was quite well made, splinters aside, and had been painted a bright red. The metal lock on the lid, that hadn’t been spared from the man’s shaky paint job, was oddly shaped and didn’t seem to take a regular key. The ‘U’ shape drew him to trace it with a finger, humming quietly in his curiosity.

He was interrupted when a metal chain wound over his shoulders and hung down in front of him. He managed not to attack the bushman, barely. “I had assumed I was only getting the box.”

“Aw, nah. Not that bad.” He walked around the couch and sink down into the spot beside him, “Go on, open it.”

He sighed, rolling his eyes, and picked up the key that had been hung from his neck. It was a custom-made key, the teeth missing in favour of a thin curve that matched the lock. His name had been engraved on the back of the U in thin script that looked suspiciously like his own handwriting.

He slid the key into the lock, turning it and flipping the wooden lid open. He cringed when it started emitting a grinding noise, most likely something inside the box grating together, and closed it quickly.

“Give it a second, c'mon it’s good.”

He looked at Sniper with a frown, “It sounded like you’d trapped a small cat inside this 'present’.”

Sniper pouted, nudging his shoulder.

“All right, all right, but if it makes that awful noise again you’re sleeping out here.”

He got another affectionate bump which prompted him to open the box again. It only screeched for a moment this time before settling into a calm chiming.

“Did you make me a music box?”

Sniper shrugged, grinning as Spy’s lips slowly twitched upward, “Maybe, something else too.”

“Is that so?”

“Look at the key.”

He pulled the key free, having to close the box before doing so, and looked it over, “What about it?”

“What’s it the key to?”

He looked between the box and the U shape of the key and then finally let his gaze rest on the man beside him.

“You didn’t.”

He grinned a bit wider.

“Oh Dieu.”

“Get it? You get it?”

“I can’t believe I married you.”

“See, it’s nice because that’s the key to the heart.”

“I’m not here right now.”

“And I made it so it’s mine, and that’s your key.”

“I can’t hear you, I am in France where even the fromage isn’t as cheesy as you.”

“So, you are the key to my heart.”

Spy looked at him, drawing out a long stare before shoving him back, “I can’t believe you.”

Sniper laughed, “Aw, too much?”

He stood, walking around the couch and turning his head to address the Australian, “There better be something waiting for me in the bedroom or I may have to punish you for such a bad gift.”

“Both sound pretty good.”

He paused, considering his options, before nodding, “If you hurry, maybe. Just maybe.”




“Hey, stretch.”

Sniper looked up from his monitoring of Pyro, “Yeah?”

“Just wanted to tell you that the boys went upstairs, that all right?”

He shrugged, “S'long as they don’t touch anything besides the loo then it’s fine.”

“Not sure, the lot went into a room with a brown door-”

The Australian jumped, pushing past the short Texan and ascending the stairs onto the upper level. Demoman and Medic made way for him as he came through to stand at the doorway to his bedroom, panic and fury taking equal amounts of his expression.

“Hey Snipes, what’s this?”

“None of your bloody business!” He pulled a photo album free from Scout’s grasp, successfully pulling the Bostonian off his bed.

“Private, why is there a prissy MUSIC BOX in your room?!” Soldier picked it up roughly, making the man drop the book as he jumped to pull it free from his grasp.

“I made it for someone! Prick.” He held the box carefully, kept tight to his chest, “Not any of your business either.”

“I bet it plays some stoner shit!” Scout yelled, bouncing over to try and grab for it.

“Son, calm yourself.” Engineer made an appearance at the door, watching the Australian shove the American onto the floor, “Could we have a listen, Stretch? Just a bit curious is all.”

“You can’t.”

“Aw, c'mon! We won’t make fun of your hippy crap.”

“It’s not-” he sighed, “I lost the key.”

The Texan cocked his head, “Shouldn’t be too hard to find, ask your lady friend where it is?”

“It’s gone, all right?” He frowned, putting the box down with a gentleness that surprised even Soldier before he ushered the men out, “Just leave it and go eat.”

The others slowly went back downstairs, some more quietly than others, until Sniper was left alone with Engineer. The Southerner watched him for a moment, Pistons in his hand whirring, “Where’s the key really?”

“Gone. Like hi-her.”

“Oh. Sorry to hear that. Bet she won’t find someone like you-”

“Dead. They’re… She’s dead.”

He paused, hand in the air as a stalled motion of comfort. It fell to the man’s side, blue eyes betraying an uncertainty. He eventually just muttered some kind of encouragement, something about the key being somewhere around the house, and then left to join the others.

Sniper stayed a moment longer, huffing a small, humourless, laugh, “Yeah. Somewhere out there.”