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Experience Points

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Over time, Spy had forgotten that he’d invented the points system himself. It seemed ubiquitous and important to his everyday life. The more points he earned, the better he was. If he didn’t break or tie a record from the day before, he’d punish himself by reading books on war strategies or psychological dossiers on his teammates and enemies outside of battle, an hour for every point he had been behind by. No smoking, no interruptions for food or drink or even bathroom breaks. He’d failed, and he needed to not fail. When he started having to reread the limited BLU library for the third time, Spy doled out punishments to himself ranging from refusing to allow himself to smoke for days at a time to drug-induced nausea. Each punishment earned a single beat of satisfaction with his job performance and relief from the sharp static in his chest that made it hard to breathe.

By the time Medic started to notice his bottles disappearing, Spy moved on to more serious applications of the points system. Each point became tied to even more point values: sapped buildings were worth less than kills which were worth even less than backstabs but more than headshots that didn’t kill anyone (like the time last Tuesday when he’d shot at a Heavy only to be able to see the bullet pop right out as the medi gun’s red haze sparked and the RED Medic’s übercharge went off). Spy told himself that those points would eventually rack up rewards like new lighters and wine, but as the days turned into weeks, the system became fully developed and the relief even more fleeting.

Soldier thought that all of Spy’s efforts were a marked improvement, especially when Spy gave him back his copy of The Art of War. Soldier’s scribblings had at first started out as incomprehensible until Spy copied them down and sounded them out. Soldier may not be the best speller, but he had some complex ideas about strategy and death. Spy soon consulted him on all quotes that he failed to remember, knowing that if he had even a syllable wrong, Soldier would be quick to repeat the line verbatim. Besides being a Sun Tzu encyclopedia, Soldier also served as a great punishment: Spy could give himself a headache from lack of nicotine and then stroll out back to find Soldier talking to his heads, practicing his rocket jumps, and screaming. The noise bounced around every crevice of his skull, and Soldier took Spy’s interest and attention as a sign that Spy was ready to talk in their morning meetings. A typical morning meeting was a small affair consisting of Medic and Heavy giving short reports and Soldier talking for half an hour, mostly to himself. Spy took Soldier up on his standing offer once or twice, but didn’t like the way that Scout, the only participant of their meeting who said nothing, kept popping his gum or how small he felt standing in front of only slightly more than half his team.

With all their effort, BLU even started to win more battles, too. They had no real way of knowing who was ever winning such a long war, but it seemed more days than not it was BLU. Engineer started hosting small barbecue tailgating parties close enough to Sniper’s van to entice even the most private of their team to join them (but far enough away that they didn’t have to smell the Sniper’s camper van, which smelled strongly of urine even on its cleanest days).

Spy didn’t go to most of the events. He was too busy finding copies of the other Seven Military Classics in libraries and stealing them from other local libraries to compare translations. He swore up and down to Soldier, who never listened past “it’s not Sun Tzu, but—“, and Pyro, who sometimes would sit and watch Spy read, that in between the translations were some of the most important lessons on strategy and diplomacy. Soon, however, Pyro stopped coming around to watch, and Soldier knew that Spy had moved on from Soldier’s favorite book, leaving Spy alone to mutter and scribble notes and continue explicitly counting points upon points.

One morning, about nine months after Spy had started, he’d woken up to find the locks on his door forced and every scrap of paper dedicated to writing down the details of every point he’d ever earned had disappeared. His screams tore through the halls of the base, but very few of his teammates even woke up. The sound of screaming was not unusual or cause for alarm.

Spy thought desperately about how much blood would be spilled if he went through each of his teammates’ bedrooms, stabbed them, and asked what they’d done with his papers. There hadn’t been a single footprint, fingerprint, handprint, or even obvious remnants of what weapon had been used to break his door down. He imagined the ribbons of blood, the yellow puff-pastry fat, and off-white splinters of bone clearly, as if he were seeing them. He imagined taking his knife and cutting through limbs and carving “traitor” into their skins. Their skulls would fall apart like hard-boiled eggs, layers of bone and marrow falling onto the floor. In Spy’s visions, he had drills and scalpels and could watch layers of skin come up, bleeding holes as he wrestled out fat bullets, and leaving his teammates’ skin covered in concentric circles of hot infection.

These thoughts didn’t bother him, but similar thoughts bothered Spy when he was quiet or alone. He conjured these images of inflicting these horrible, violent ends onto people who never had the chance to respawn. Spy didn’t like anyone and hadn’t for years, but people he used to have mild affection for didn’t deserve the deep cracks in their skull that came from pressing too hard onto concrete or their own burning flesh sticking to deeper flesh after being dipped in hot tar. On days where Spy didn’t measure up to his high standards of performance, these thoughts coated the inside of his chest so thickly every beat of his heart struggled in protest.

Feeling mildly ill, Spy fixed his door so that it closed, ignoring the hurt locks, and decided that he’d pretend it didn’t even matter. Whoever had done this obviously had a reason, and maybe they were looking to see how Spy reacted. Hell, maybe it was someone on the other team sent to mess with him. He’d discover it much easier if he simply waited and watched.

Despite his decision, the images of his own gloved hands mercilessly slaughtering both REDs and BLUs didn’t fade from his mind as he curled up under the blankets.


Spy’s morning nap was interrupted when he heard a knock on his wall. Annoyed that it would be Pyro jumping up and down on their bed again, Spy ignored it until he heard the knock again and he was sure that it was some ill-fated attempt at communication.

“Not now, Pyro!” he called.

“Is not Pyro,” Heavy’s voice boomed near the door. “Door is broken.”

Grumbling, Spy told Heavy he’d be there in a moment and he groggily stood up to just as many images in his head as when he’d gone to sleep. He thought of using some of the splintered metal from his door locks to cut Heavy’s throat and let him bleed out in the hallway until he respawned, but tried to ignore it as he put on one of his suits.

“What is it, Heavy?” Spy asked, weariness leaking into his voice deliberately.

“I want to talk about points.”

“Ask Scout. He’s the last person I saw with—“

“No. Your points.”

Before Spy could say anything, Heavy shoved his way into Spy’s room. His bulk alone forbade argument.

Spy’s only real time spent alone with Heavy had been brief. Occasional brief meetings in the kitchen or dining rooms, seeing Heavy leaving Medic’s office or the infirmary, and having small talks about what they might say to the other members of their team in the mornings before battle. As the defensive strategist who spent much more time communicating with both Medic and Soldier than Spy would ever care to, Heavy commanded respect in ways that Spy had no interest in cultivating.

There wasn’t a whole lot of furniture, so Heavy took a seat on the trunk that Spy kept at the foot of his bed. He placed his elbows on his knees and leaned forward, massive hands clasped together. Spy stood near the door, ready to leave if their conversation became annoying or if this was all just a trick by the RED Spy to get a rise out of him. Spy planned exit strategies based on all of the windows, based on attack movement and speed, and tried to judge the difference in reaction times if it really were his own team’s Heavy or if it was the RED Spy pretending to be Heavy.

“Soldier told us about the books.”

Us must have meant Heavy and Medic.

“… So what?”

“You read too much. Soldier says pages filled with many notes.”

“Some of them are his.”

The edge in his voice did not go unnoticed and Heavy paused to chew on how best to proceed. Spy was rapidly growing angrier as Heavy waited to say something else. What the hell was going on? If Soldier didn’t have the decency to come in and complain to Spy about his own books himself—

“Yes. Some are Soldier’s. A lot are Soldier’s. I am worried, Spy.”

That seemed to come out of left field. Frowning, Spy furrowed his brow and tapped his foot impatiently on the ground.

“About what, Heavy? Please, spit out whatever concern you may have so that I can dismiss it.”

“Is not normal, Spy. Is not good to be thinking so much.” Heavy’s brow was equally furrowed. Whether it was from translating his thoughts into English or from the content itself, Spy wasn’t sure. Before Spy could ask, though, Heavy continued. “You obsess, Spy. You compulse. I do as well. It is your head making panic inside you that no one else has.”

Now Spy was angry more than anything else.

“I have not once panicked about the books in question, Heavy! I simply don’t know what you’re talking about and if you’d like to discuss it at another time—“

“No.” The no reverberated around the room uncomfortably and Spy avoided meeting Heavy’s gaze in favor of surveying the walls.

“Spy, you stole from Medic’s supplies. Rvotnoye. Pills that make you sick. No one has been sick but you. I see in notes when and how much. Is punishment—“

Heavy stopped his explanation when suddenly Spy was attacking him. Flown into a flurry of rage, Spy had picked up one of his knives from his desk and managed to connect it with Heavy’s thick forearm. He pulled the knife out quickly and blood poured from Heavy’s brachial artery. Spy sunk his knife into Heavy’s bicep, too, but when he went to pull it out, Heavy used one thick hand to cover Spy’s and crush the knife even further into his arm. Off balance, Spy tried to recover by using his other hand to press the heel of it to Heavy’s nose, but Heavy brought his forehead crashing into Spy’s. Spy reeled and let go of the knife, leaving it in Heavy’s arm. Spy went for Heavy’s throat next, unsure of what limbs he was even using, but Heavy cut him off with a punch to his chest before going back to holding the knife firmly inside his arm and standing his ground.

On his back, Spy kicked his leg out in the vague hopes of connecting with a part of Heavy’s body, but when he felt at where Heavy had punched him combined with his abdominal muscle movement, he winced and moaned, trying to stay perfectly still as he breathed. Still, each inhale came with a white-hot stab and Spy imagined that he could feel splinters inside his lungs and heart.

“Sorry. Rib is broken. Just one, I think. Come, let us see Medic.”

Spy kicked again and doubled over from the pain, which only put him in more pain. Hissing, he ordered Heavy to leave his room and never come in again.


Before leaving completely, even with his arm still gushing blood, Heavy paused and turned back to look at Spy on the ground.

“I want to help, little Spy.”

“I’ll show you where you can shove your patronizing help, Heavy Weapons Fat—“

After a few minutes of lying on the ground in agonizing pain, Spy eventually gritted his teeth and clawed his way over to his desk, pulled out one of his spare guns, and shot himself in the head.


Spy avoided Heavy. It had been easy enough when Heavy hadn’t seemed to be watching his every move, but now it was like Spy couldn’t shake him. Heavy was there at every meal waiting for him, usually sharing some large plate of fried foods with Medic and sometimes Pyro. Heavy was there before and after every battle, his body pressing into Spy’s own as Spy twisted away. Heavy was there every time Spy seemed to go to the bathroom to shave or shower or otherwise.

Spy didn’t say a word to him. Every time he even thought of speaking to him, he felt paralyzed with anger and a wordless sense of loss for all of the time and energy he’d spent pouring into the point system that was now completely gone.

He tried to remember how it all went. He remembered the basic formulas and the conversion rates of kills to points, even as they shifted based on “level” and how many matches and battles they’d fought recently. Still, all of his precise data, his record keeping for months and months of work, was gone. He didn’t know where he’d left off, and starting over at 0 made him sick to his stomach.

Eventually, Spy settled on 10,000. That seemed like an easy enough number to start out with. It wasn’t zero, but it wasn’t high, either. Discretely, he began to keep track again. He couldn’t take the pills any more, but he could still punish himself in other ways. Between avoiding cigarettes and smoking so many in a closed, unventilated space that he passed out and/or died, Spy wasn’t leaving himself alone. He still hadn’t earned a single reward, and with Heavy breathing down his neck Spy was doing worse than usual.

After a week, Spy was down to 8,923 points. He’d gone down. Between taking them away for losing, or for the stabs of guilt that he had for starting at 10,000, Spy was doing worse. He spent more and more time in his room, writing things down and making copies upon copies so that Heavy couldn’t destroy his notes once again. Thoughts of killing Heavy and ripping out his cardiovascular system occurred as often as thoughts of ripping out his own mother’s heart and eating it in front of a father long dead. The bite would be thick and meaty, with a small globule of fat like a rich steak that marbled the meat near an artery. The blood would gush in a hot stream onto the floor.

Soldier came to talk to him once about Spy’s latest fighting.

“Just kill the other team, Frenchie! Do not stop! Do not pause! No mercy, no mercy—“

Spy stabbed him in the back. Soldier didn’t stop by again.

Engineer invited Spy to one of his cookouts. Spy brushed him off.

Pyro pulled at Spy’s sleeves to watch cartoons. Spy ignored Pyro’s pulling until Pyro managed to pull off one of Spy’s sleeves. Annoyed and angry, Spy snatched it back and whacked Pyro with it, but Pyro got revenge with a single lighter, leaving Spy’s entire jacket burned and ruined.

And then Medic stopped by.

“Spy, this is ridiculous.”

“Did I invite you in—“

But Medic ignored him and briskly entered Spy’s room and headed straight for his notes. He stopped momentarily when Spy pressed a gun to the back of his head.

“Oh, what are you going to do? Shoot me? I’ll be back here in less than a minute.” He headed for the notes and picked them up.

“Was that really a good use of your time, Spy?” Medic asked moments when he returned from respawn, Heavy leading the way after having broken down Spy’s door.

“What do you two even want!? Can’t you just leave me alone?” Spy cried out, more whining in his voice than he’d wanted.

“Listen,” Heavy said, taking up his seat on the trunk as he had last time. “You did not before. I said is a lot of trouble to think this much. Let me explain.”

Spy glared as Medic took a seat at Spy’s desk and began to rummage through all the papers.

“All negative,” he remarked casually, as if he’d expected nothing less. Spy flushed underneath his mask, but tried to turn it into more angry looks.

“I have obsessions and compulsions. Like you, Spy. I go along and then I think a thought that is very bad. Very bad. Like my sisters dying. My mother dying. Horrible, bloody deaths.”

“We all think about our family dying. We are mercenaries. It is a risk we run,” Spy said sourly.

“Not everyone is like us, little Spy.”

“What Heavy is trying to say delicately, and that I will not, is that you both suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions, particularly obsessions that are relieved, temporarily, with compulsions. The most common of these is checking, such as checking to make sure that an oven is turned off to prevent a house-fire several times a day, necessitating frequent trips home in order to make sure. Hoarding is another. You and our dear Heavy both seem to have violent and aggressive intrusive thoughts.”

Spy was silent, his arms crossed over his chest. None of that made any sense to him.

“A person like Medic, who does not obsess, thinks of a loved one dying. He lets go of the thought. We? Do not. It stays for a long time. Until we do something. For me, it is counting.”

“Oh, goodness,” Medic agreed. “He does not stop counting. Sometimes we’ll be in bed, myself half asleep, and then he starts counting under his breath. He gets somewhere into the hundreds before I fall asleep, no matter how often I try to soothe him.”

Spy hadn’t needed that slice of Medic and Heavy’s life, and he’d been about to say so when Heavy started to speak again.

“I must. I reach 815, I stop. If thought comes back, 815 again. When I was a baby, I had to count 815 815 times. Took very long.”

“That doesn’t make any sense!” Spy spit out finally. “Counting doesn’t make thoughts go away, and I don’t even do anything like that!”

“You have points. If reach bad points, you must do bad to you. Point are not bad, Spy,” Heavy said after a moment of thick silence passed between the three men. “You must learn to use them for you. Not against you.”

“And it’s true. Heavy was in much worse shape when he first arrived. He had to count everything. His thoughts were very awful and his social life was drastically impeded because he had to stop and count so often. He has gotten much better.”

“I know is all silly,” Heavy said. “Counting does not keep family safe. Not really. Now, in battle, I do not count out loud to 815. I count übercharge time to charge. Or time it takes for teammate to come back from death. Keeps Heavy alive to keep family safe.”

“Useful applications and/or practical compulsions, while not ridding someone with OCD of their need to combat their intrusive thoughts, allows someone to take greater control of their life.”

“Other methods work, too,” Heavy grinned over at Medic, who laughed.

“… I have heard what you two have told me. I will take it all into consideration. Now, may you leave, please?”

“Yes, of course, Spy. Once I have all of my emetics back.” His outstretched and gloved hand provided Spy no chance to argue. He rummaged through the drawers in his desk to hand Medic his pills again.

“Thank you for listening, Spy,” Heavy said after Medic had left. “I am sorry for taking your points away before. I wish you take them away for yourself now.”

Unable to provide argument, Spy gestured again for Heavy to leave. Heavy clapped Spy on the shoulder as he left again, not bothering to shut the door that hung so tentatively off of its hinges.


For two days, Spy didn’t come out of his room. Not to eat or battle or even go to the bathroom (after borrowing a technique from their Sniper and dropping the jars out the window for Scout to hopefully step in on his morning jog). He spent the entire time categorizing all of his notes and organizing them into a set of folders and binders, just like all of his notes on all of his teammates.

And then he put them away.

That had taken the first hour of his self-induced seclusion. The rest of it was spent waiting for when he felt like he could leave them. After eight hours, Spy was frustrated and wanted to just kill himself over and over to stay respawning for the majority of his time left, but then Heavy and Medic would absolutely know what was going on if he kept leaving the infirmary over and over. He refused to give them the satisfaction.

He was dizzy after a full day of leaving them there. He refused to enter anything, and in doing so felt like his whole mind was on fire. He beat his fists against his legs and then smoked all of his cigarettes. Feeling sick, he kept his nausea down by sleeping on and off through the next 15 hours.

Finally, just as he’d approached 48 hours, Spy burst out of his bedroom and stomped down to the infirmary where Heavy and Medic were playing cards and drinking tea.

“Alright! You win! Congratulations, Red and Boche! You win! I obsess, I have compulsions!” Spy was spitting out the words as he spoke, waving his arms around in the air. “Now what!?”

Heavy had the audacity to shrug and turn back to his hand. Medic watched him for a moment, then glanced at Heavy, and then back at Spy.

“Well, I don’t know.”

Spy started to scream.

“Then what was the purpose of barging into my room and telling me all of that useless information! Now I just have a name for all of what I was doing before! Now I know it is just a ‘problem!’” Spy even made little air quotes with his fingers. “Apparently I have some big bad disorder that keeps me invested in points that I made up, oh noooo. I was fine on my own and then you two came in and destroyed my door—twice!—and then… and then what!?”

“Now you know. Now, if you want help, you know what to ask for,” Heavy said as he picked out a card and laid it on the table for Medic to study glumly.

“We were trying to help by arming you with information, Spy,” Medic added. “We cannot offer solutions, especially if you do not want them. What took you so long to come down here anyway?”

“… The information you gave me is useless,” Spy said icily, annoyed at Medic’s question.

“Is not. You know it,” Heavy countered. When Medic played another card, Heavy did not have to think as he played his next one. Medic made a sound of annoyance and glared at his hand.

“Play cards with us, Spy. The game is over.”

Heavy looked at Spy and waited for him to do something. Spy sputtered like an angry cat and watched as Medic pulled at Heavy’s hand to reveal his cards. Medic threw down his own hand in disgust shortly after. But Heavy didn’t look away, implying that it was another game entirely that was over.

“… Fine.”

After an hour of cards and tea, Spy returned to his room. Nothing had been touched. Pyro hadn’t come in on some secret mission to destroy his papers. Soldier hadn’t stolen anything. Scout hadn’t exacted revenge for making his running shoes smell like piss.

Instead of trying to calibrate his new total score of a whopping -10,000 points, Spy counted to 815 before he fell asleep again.


Weeks went by faster. Struggling to put down his point system all at once, Spy found himself talking to Heavy about little things he could do, usually consisting of three word snippets of advice from Heavy as he cleaned his guns or made food for himself and Medic.

“Take it slow. Stop counting one. Do another compulsion. Pick different punishment.”

When it wasn’t that, Heavy was telling Spy to shuffle the deck or make them all more tea.

Spy envied how easy Heavy made things seem sometimes. Now that he knew what to look for, every so often Spy could see Heavy counting under his breath as he glanced around frantically, usually with Medic in respawn or when a dispenser or ammo pack was far. Yet, most of the time, Heavy didn’t seem nearly as controlled by his thoughts as Spy was. Even with Heavy’s help, he still cheated and counted buildings sapped even when he said he’d stop, or counted headshots when it wasn’t Sunday, or felt like he was going to cave in if he didn’t write down his latest play.

“Is okay. Slow process, Spy,” Heavy said when Spy expressed his frustration one day. They had given up cards in favor of alcohol. Medic and Heavy shared a bottle of vodka while Spy took sips out of a wine bottle that he’d earned in his latest illicit point-counting. Both bottles were starting to get low as their conversation took them further into the night.

“I’m so tired of thinking and thinking and being here, Heavy,” Spy confessed, watching Medic doze on Heavy’s shoulder. “And I’m alone! You have someone to help you and distract you all the time. I don’t even work with someone on the battlefield.” He knew he was whining, but even seeing the two of them sometimes made Spy’s belly burst into flames. Spy was the third wheel of even this borderline therapeutic relationship and, drunk as he was, he couldn’t help but say something about it. He hiccuped as he watched Heavy’s face contort as he concentrated.

“You are not alone, Spy. You have me. You have Medic.” Heavy stroked Medic’s arm firmly, making Medic jump and blearily look between Heavy and Spy before returning to sleep and snoring.

“No, You have Medic,” Spy said. “I have this bottle and two friends in between endless war.”

“Glad we are friends.”

Spy’s face was already a rich pink from the wine, but if it could go any redder it might have. Yes, he considered Heavy and Medic friends, but he’d never referred to them in such embarrassingly close terms in front of them before.

“What are you looking for, Spy? You do not leave base to date women. Or men.”

“Like we have the time for dating,” Spy said bitterly.

“So, a date?”

“Yes. I want a relationship, Heavy,” Spy snapped, annoyed. Who wouldn’t? The fact that Heavy was still holding Medic while the doctor slept was aggravating. “I want someone to romance and fuck and, more than anything, understand what my thoughts are doing and keep me from doing them. Like you have with Medic.”

“Medic and I do not fuck.”

The news came as a shock to Spy. He had to close his jaw with his free hand and then took a long swig out of his bottle before it came back empty. He set it on the ground at his feet as he thought of a decent way out of that assumption.

“My apologies. I assumed.”

“Is understandable to assume.”

Spy sat in an uncomfortable silence while Heavy took a swig of vodka. Spy beckoned for the bottle and Heavy handed it over reluctantly. Spy choked on his own swig and had to hand it back.

“Is cheap,” Heavy explained as Spy coughed.

“Is there a reason?” Spy interrupted, emboldened by the excessive alcohol. “That you two don’t…”

“Medic does not like sex. Is not big deal.”

“Oh,” Spy said. Well, it made sense. Medic had never seemed the kind of person interested in any kind of relationship, let alone a sexual one. Turns out, it wasn’t even sexual. Just oddly romantic. Or something. Still, it sounded like they’d talked about it.

“So you’re… homosexual.”


“… Does that bother you that Medic doesn’t…?”

“Used to,” Heavy admitted. “In early days, I thought something was wrong with me. Had bad time with obsessions for a while. I broke own legs twice for compulsion.”

Spy winced.

“Da. Was bad.”

“But… doesn’t bother you any more?”

“Sometimes still. Now, Medic and Heavy talk better to each other.”

“… Do you just not have sex?”

“Spy is full of questions tonight.”

Spy waved off the accusation.

“It’s my job. I’m always full of questions. Do you want me to stop?”

“Spy, we can fuck if you want.”

Spy gaped. That had not been the direction he had been going, but he easily connected the dots that Heavy had. Sputtering and stammering, Spy started to say no but stopped. After a moment, Heavy began speaking again.

“Medic does not mind. Besides, he sleeps.” Heavy stood up, only the slightest bit off-balance. Spy envied him as he gently picked Medic up and carried him to the bedroom accessible to the infirmary. He returned quickly and sat down again, patting his thigh as if inviting Spy to sit on it.

“Spy, you are good teammate and friend. You want distraction from thoughts? Come. It can be what you want to be, no more.”

Spy’s head was swimming. Maybe part of it was alcohol, but it certainly hadn’t been that way just a moment ago. Heavy was offering what felt like a dream come true in that moment: no-strings-attached sex to help distract him from the binders upstairs and his still-dropping point count (even if it had admittedly started to even out) and the subsequent disgusting thoughts.

“… What do you get out of this?”


Spy laughed so hard he snorted. Of course. Heavy only smiled back.

“Is deal?”

“Yeah, Heavy,” Spy relented with another laugh, getting on his knees in front of Heavy. His hands made short work of Heavy’s belt and fly. Heavy let him and only helped when Spy was having trouble lowering his underwear enough to pull his cock out.

Spy kissed the tip of Heavy’s cock before sucking on as much of it as he could fit into his mouth. Heavy’s large hand went to the back of Spy’s head and encouraged him with low mumbles of Russian. Bobbing his head, Spy choked only once, his nose pressed against the thick bush of pubic hair that smelled of soap and sweat, but after that he switched to wrapping his fingers around the base of Heavy’s cock to jerk him off as he sucked, tongue running along the underside.

Heavy tasted like more sweat and something else that Spy couldn’t name right away. He realized after a few particularly hard sucks that had Heavy groaning loudly, his left thigh twitching, that he tasted like hot mint. Pleasant and mild on his tongue, Spy had definitely had far worse tasting things in his mouth. He almost pulled off to tell Heavy that, but Heavy’s hands moved down to grab at Spy’s shoulders to keep him from moving too far. Spy used his other hand to stroke Heavy’s thighs with his knuckles and, when he got tired of that, rolling Heavy’s balls in his palm.

Just as his jaw was starting to get tired, Heavy pushed at Spy to get him off. Heavy took the initiative to pick Spy up and lay him on the examination table.

“Is cold,” Heavy warned as he started to take off Spy’s pants and underwear. Spy only had a few seconds to nod before he hissed when he felt what Heavy was talking about. Heavy went to take off Spy’s sock garters as he settled in between Spy’s legs, but Spy asked to keep those on. Heavy said nothing about it and favored wrapping his entire hand around Spy’s cock.

Heavy was rough and hairy and calloused just about everywhere, but his hand was warm and he applied the most immaculate pressure against the entire length of Spy. Spy bucked his hips despite himself, which Heavy took in stride. Heavy pressed the palm of his hand to the top of Spy’s cock and made small circles, making Spy moan and shove fingers into his mouth to keep himself from being too loud and accidentally waking Medic or alerting anyone else on the base just what he was getting up to.

“What is Spy thinking?” Heavy asked, stopping not at all his ministrations with his hands.

“Nothing,” Spy moaned happily.

Heavy chuckled and then let go of Spy’s cock, letting him twitch for a moment unattended. Spy sat up on his elbows to ask what Heavy was doing, but Heavy answered that for him when he grabbed Spy’s ankles and rested them together on his shoulder. Having gotten ahead of himself, Heavy had to put Spy’s legs down momentarily to get lube from in Medic’s medicine cabinet. Relief and anticipation flooded Spy’s chest, and Heavy stopped long enough to ask if Spy was alright. Spy nodded enthusiastically. Heavy smiled and then hoisted Spy’s legs together again. After a brief moment to apply some lube, Heavy slid his cock in between Spy’s legs, rubbing it against Spy’s own.

“You missed,” Spy whined, reaching down to take hold of both of their cocks and jerk them off.

“Did not,” Heavy laughed. He squeezed Spy’s thighs together with one of his hands, which almost completely encircled both of Spy’s skinny thighs, and started to roll his hips and rub their cocks together. Spy felt almost silly as he breathlessly pushed back against Heavy to make it easier for him to thrust, but he ended up having to abandon that idea in favor of jerking them both off when he could while Heavy pounded away at his thighs.

“Okay, Spy?”

“I’m okay, Heavy,” Spy gasped out, sure that his orgasm was only a few seconds away. Unfortunately, he was wrong, and he had to lay off his frantic pumping of their cocks to rest his aching bicep. His exasperated groan earned another chuckle out of Heavy.

“Is okay, Spy. We have as long as you want.”

Suddenly, unbidden, an image of Heavy’s skin melting off penetrated Spy’s mind. The dermis and epidermis layers sloughed off in big thick chunks, like wax, and his eyes looked like butter as liquid and goop dripped down his face. As if that weren’t bad enough, sharp bones broke and burst forth out of whatever remaining skin Heavy had left in Spy’s imagination. Spy shuddered and turned to stare at the ceiling, unmoving.

Heavy realized something was wrong and let go of Spy.

“Spy?” he asked, concern obvious.

Spy breathed heavily and in the end had to push Heavy away entirely to gather himself. He suddenly felt like he was having a heart attack. Sitting up, Spy clutched at his heart and his words came out halting and awkward as he asked Heavy not to touch him when Heavy put a hand on Spy’s shoulder. White-hot feelings tinged his entire vision. He felt like he was in pain, or that his heart was punishing him for stopping his thoughts for even a few minutes. Worse still, Spy felt tears sting at the corners of his eyes. The image echoed in his mind every time he blinked or tried to think of something else, and Heavy came back with tea and Spy didn’t even know how much time had gone by.

He took it and drank a sip, burning his entire mouth. He set it down.

Heavy was saying something.

Then, he was in bed, his heart aching much less than it had been before. When had he gotten there?

On his bed-stand sat an alarm clock that glowed 4:23 made up of big red dots. Spy rolled out of bed with a groan and, holding his throbbing head, went to the desk. He had to turn on the desk lamp to read the words written on a scrap piece of paper.

“Sleep well.” The script was almost unintelligible, but Spy knew it had to be Heavy’s. The concern delighted him and mixed with the roaring waves of embarrassment he felt at having had to have been put to bed.

Silently sneaking down the stairs, down the hall, and past Pyro watching cartoons, Spy found his way back into Medic’s bedroom where he could see Heavy and Medic were both snoring loudly through the small window in the door. They had their backs turned to each other, Medic nearest the door, but when Spy opened the door, both men sat up as if been spooked.

“Sorry,” he apologized. Medic made a sound of annoyance and settled back into sleep, but Heavy beckoned Spy over.

“Okay, Spy? You were very scared.”

“I guess so,” Spy said to address both aspects of Heavy’s concern. After a moment of staring, neither of them sure what to say next, Heavy scooted closer to the middle of the bed and patted the empty spot he’d made. Spy crawled under the covers into it and was soon enveloped by the soapy warm smell of Heavy, who wrapped an arm around him. Medic farted in his sleep, making Spy wrinkle his nose and Heavy laugh.

“Will not be so bad forever,” Heavy said, pinching his nose and smiling at Spy.

Spy had the smallest inkling that Heavy meant something else entirely.