djsoliloquy: (Default)
DJ ([personal profile] djsoliloquy) wrote2012-08-13 06:00 pm

[ac/tf2] 3 fics

If the AC assassins were TF2 mercenaries AU. Yeah.

initial synergy
(G/PG | the team is scheduled to get a new spy)

If there was an instigator to the tradition of mandatory meetings on their team, the individual at least had the survival instincts not to own up to it. Food was provided to increase voluntary attendance at team meetings, so they tended to be marginally less banal than the individual class meetings, and easier to stomach than the offensive, defensive, and support group meetings. Though it didn’t make any of them less boring.

As the man standing at the front of the room reading the agenda, Ezio was the prime suspect. Or possibly the more fastidious Malik, who generally sat beside Ezio and threw pointed looks at the rest of the team, particularly the ones dozing off. He sometimes lugged his largish medicine bag with him—merely placing it at his side under the table, forebodingly unopened and with who knew what inside. Nobody slept at those meetings.

So the matter rested. Team meetings became the hour to catch up on sleep or caloric intake, to the point where most of them could only muster the effort to catch Ezio’s last item of the day.

“And finally,” he said, causing a few heads to lift off the table and eye him hopefully. “Maria, you’re getting a new transfer in this week.”

The team’s new head Spy looked up from a game of dots and boxes with their Engineer, Leonardo. “Why me?” she said.

“Ah.” Ezio consulted his sheet of paper. “It says he’s an espionage specialist.”

A few chuckles broke out along the table. “Only like most of the people here, you mean?” Maria shrugged and added, “We already have too many spies. Tell him he’ll be on his sub-specialty class or send him back and ask for something else.”

Shaun snorted. “Handy that transfers started coming with return postage, isn’t it?”

“He comes highly recommended,” Ezio said and narrowed his eyes at both of them
“The last person who came highly recommended was the fox man,” Maria reminded him, “and we all know how that turned out.”

“Rather well, I think,” La Volpe said with a sneer. “Also, I’m sitting right beside you. You realize that, don’t you?”

Maria glanced at him. “You are a terrible sniper and everyone knows you would rather be spending every waking moment spy-checking. Excuse me if I can scarcely contain my appreciation for your work. You drab whistleblowing busybody,” she added evenly.

Very highly recommended,” Ezio said, clearing his throat before another meeting descended into name-calling. He slid a manila folder down the table and Maria pinned it to a stop with her finger. “He’s going to be a part of the team and we’re starting him on his preferred class,” he said, now with everyone’s attention on him. “Behave.”

In a fort of mercenaries adept at seizing enemy Intel on a regular basis, the sanctity of confidential documents had become something of a joke. To save time and effort Maria glanced perfunctorily at the new spy’s folder before tossing it somewhere obvious in common area for everyone else.

“Altair,” Rebecca read, idly toying with her earpiece as she passed the rest of the file to Leonardo. “So when exactly did bird-themed aliases come into style? You got to admit it’s bizarre.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I think they’re agreeable enough,” Leonardo said. They had claimed their seats at the table early, using it as a temporary workbench and the workbench as an excuse to examine the contents of the folder. The heavier traffic passing through the room that day was mostly around them as people tried to sneak glances at the paperwork spread across the table. “This man appears quite accomplished, in any case.”

Shaun paused on his way through the room to glance over Rebecca’s shoulder. “Speaking of appearances, does he seem familiar to anyone?”

“Like you have seen someone who looks exactly like him on the other team?” Bartolomeo looked up from polishing his weapon. “This has happened to me before.”

“No, not… like that.” Shaun frowned. “No, he kind of has Desmond’s bone structure, doesn’t he—is there something you’d like to share?” he said when Rebecca snorted.

She blinked up at him, eyebrow quirked. “Did I say something?”

“You guffawed.” Shaun planted his hands on his hips.

I didn’t notice he looked like Des,” she said. “You medics sure zero in on certain types, huh?”

Shaun drew himself up with a measured breath. “First of all, I take the odd medic shift now and then and suddenly I’m one of them, is that it? I do it less often than he does,” Shaun said, pointing at Leonardo.

“You mean Mister I-like-eagle-themed-names over here?” Rebecca said. “Yeah, about that…”

Leonardo laughed behind his hand. “You shouldn’t tease him. You know he has trouble keeping up.”

“Thank you, Engie, but I’m perfectly capable of handling one Scout without your participation,” Shaun said. He held his hand up to count on his fingers. “Or one Scout-Engineer. Whatever. Secondly—”

“There are certain skills that would serve you well beyond the limits of your professional work,” Malik said. He came up behind Shaun, stepping between him and Rebecca and scanning the papers fanned out over the table. “Recognizing when you’ve been outmaneuvered is one of them. File?”

Shaun glared but handed it to him. “Yes, here. Secondly—”

“Oh no, he’s still going,” Rebecca said to Leonardo, not even trying to suppress a snicker.

“—the transfer is a spy! Which is entirely different from Desmond or Ezio so I fail to see what basis you have for assuming my jobs influence what sort of types I, as you imply, zero in on in a social context and don’t—don’t laugh—don’t think I’m not aware of the implications of zeroing in on, yes, that was very clever of you—”

“The sniper doth protest too much?” Leonardo said, and Rebecca made a spot-on gesture.

“Would you two stop that? As though being either Sniper or Medic would have anything to do with who I—”

“I know this man,” Malik said suddenly, eyes narrowing as he flipped through Altair’s profile.

Shaun appeared to collapse somewhat, shoulders sagging as his posture lost its severity. Rebecca threw her head back in a laugh. “Oh yeah, nothing to do with it at all! Straight from the top Medic an’ everything,” she said over Shaun’s grumbling (“You want to talk bloody professional skillsets, Malik? How about a sense of timing?”).

Malik took the seat beside Rebecca, quietly immersed in reading despite the squabble over his head. Leonardo watched him sit. “If you don’t mind me saying,” he said, “it doesn’t seem you’re… very excited at the prospect of working with your colleague again.”

“Cross your fingers,” Malik said finally. “If we are lucky we won’t even know he’s here.”

life & limb
(PG, Malik, Ezio | even from across the battlefield Altair manages to be a pain in medic!Malik's rear.)

Malik worried about a lot of things.

Small things mostly, and almost never work-related matters. He was good at his job, and Ezio, Bartolomeo, and the rest of the team held themselves to similar high standards of professional competence and responsible work ethic. Counting on them to do their job wasn’t difficult.

It had been years since Malik had to worry about Altair.

Altair radiated talent. Malik could admit that if only to himself. And there was the chance, however small, that Altair had matured since the last contract they worked on together. So Malik ultimately chose not to tell the rest of the team the details from that incident involving Altair, the glitchy respawn, and the origin of Malik’s expertise on the invisibility watch’s less-observed quirks—namely its tendency to malfunction upon the entire limb’s dislocation from the body. It was frankly embarrassing to think somewhere in the world an enemy Soldier had Malik’s left arm mounted over his fireplace.

Though it was easier to sleep at night dreaming of the interest cumulating on the revenge kill he owed that Soldier, to be piteously exacted the next time they met. He would probably take the arm back, too.

Now Malik regretted his decision to not alert the team. He crouched with Ezio inside the base, looking out from behind the walls as Altair sauntered into another mess. Out in an open confrontation with the enemy Pyro, for crying out loud. It didn’t take a seasoned mercenary to see in the situation and arrive at the conclusion that Altair was about to fuck his entire team over. Again.

More surprising was the number of enemy mercenaries doing the exact thing as Malik and Ezio—peeking out from the windows and doors of their own base at the spectacle unfolding out in no-man’s land. At least it might give the squad infiltrating the enemy’s base a better chance, with such a large audience centered on the courtyard watching Altaïr as though mesmerized.

“Where is La Volpe?” Ezio said under his breath, more frustrated than concerned about concealment, as no one was around to hear them. His eyes narrowed. “Or Shaun? That pyro should be an easy shot.”

“La Volpe hasn’t come out of respawn. And Shaun’s on medic duty,” said Malik bitterly. He specifically pulled Shaun in for that, which triggered an onslaught of complaints and heel-dragging but Malik thought they could afford to be a sniper short for the day. Obviously he was mistaken. More so by the minute as the enemy gathered and their intentions came into better focus. If it wasn’t their plan before, they certainly were taking advantage of Altair’s cockiness now.

Malik groaned. He could practically read the enemy pyro’s mind and see, as though in prophetic foresight, the trap being laid. And Altair knew exactly what he was getting into, that was the worst of it. As usual he chose to overestimate his capacity to handle it. The only reason he wasn’t dead yet was the enemy’s bewilderment at his stupidity, like a butcher’s curiosity at a cow strutting boldly into the slaughterhouse.

Malik caught Ezio’s arm before he could charge out of the base. “Don’t be stupid.”

“But we could—”

“Their snipers are in position.” Malik tried to look into his face, but Ezio was staring out at the Pyro and Altair’s absurd dance of posturing. “Even if I was fully charged I would not want to waste it for his sake.”

“He is part of our team.”

“He is an idiot. That’s what respawn is for.”

Harsh perhaps, but Ezio sighed and eased out of the doorway. Just as slowly, Malik let go of his arm. Even after months of working with this group, he still wasn’t entirely used to teammates listening. Ezio was more than capable of handling himself without Malik there, and if he had really wanted to advance into the nest of gathering enemies there wasn’t a lot Malik could do to stop him. But Ezio hadn’t. Just another difference between working with this team over Malik’s last one. The team which had included Altair.

They watched from behind the wall as the enemy Pyro finally got bored of toying with his prey.

They winced.

And they continued to wince.

Bartolomeo charged into the yard from somewhere on their right. He went down before reaching the moat, followed by the slightly delayed crack of rifle fire from one of the other side’s snipers. It broke the spell over the two teams and a wave of enemy uniforms flooded the courtyard.

Malik massaged his forehead. It was going to be a season for migraines, he could tell. Ezio coughed and stood up. “At least going in now couldn’t make it worse,” he said thoughtfully. “It would be more like…”

“Maintaining the status quo of bad?” Malik suggested.

“When you put it that way, we can only make it better.” The crash of artillery and yelling rose from outside the base, a decent cover mingling with the sounds of burning yelling catastrophe. He smiled back at Malik. “Shall we?”

Malik adjusted his spectacles as hefted up his medigun. “After you.”

(PG13, Robert de Sable & Maria Thorpe | Maria goes all-out Spy and transfers the hell out of Team Templar)

Robert received warning of Maria’s plan the day before she fled.

It came from their undercover spook and he put mild confidence in it at best. It never occurred to him that Maria might actually be that stupid, and he trusted Al Mualim about far as he could hit him with short range artillery.

Later it was almost a relief, or so he convinced himself. Some deep kernel of doubt confirmed.

There were no transfers. Relocations, occasional rumors of mercenaries who went missing and men with eerily similar facial structures appearing days later fighting for the other side. But hasty contract terminations tended to result in the hasty termination of employees’ pulses. The courtesy of respawn technology really only extended to men under contract.

And obviously some of the enemy would have eerily similar facial structures. The enemy was comprised almost entirely of spies.

Apparently there was nothing dramatic or stealthy about the way Maria entered the Intel room and grabbed a couple briefcases. The whole damn team waved hello as she passed on her way out. She even smiled and waved back before kicking the door open and heading outside.

When he found out he issued orders and chased her into the desert, not stopping till he reached the company truck, her dusty beat-up getaway vehicle.

She waited for him to catch up.

Her helmet was gone, he noticed that right away when he saw her. As though her altered silhouette confirmed it more than anything.

There were things he could have said. That she was a good Soldier, he shouldn’t have made her take the mask to substitute for him. That there was time for her to change her mind—though that wasn’t true necessarily. She would always be a traitor now, flawed with that impossible moment of failing.

“I wondered if you would come say goodbye, Robert,” she said. Not denying, not hiding anything from him. Not letting go of the briefcases. They stood apart, facing each other in the cold desert nightfall.

He said nothing.

She said, “Well?”

And Robert shot her dead on, right through her head.

He lowered his arm with a sigh, waiting for the tiny bits of her to stop raining down on them. He considered that he felt calmer and would be in better shape to meet her at the respawn room. The rest of the team was there already, hiding in ambush.

Robert stepped over the corpse to retrieve the briefcases. The last expression on her face before she died was obviously lost. He hadn’t considered that when he pulled the trigger. Now she looked like she had tried chewing her way through an unpinned grenade and only made it about halfway through before it went off.

“You had to know this would happen, Maria.” He could call her that here, none of that John Smith inanity. No one was watching. “You know how we handle spies. What else could I have done with a traitor—?”

The attack came from behind, registering as intense constricting pressure along his spine before his face hit gravel. The pain hitched for a breathless moment then slammed into him a second later, pinning him to the ground. With the air knocked out of him all he could do was wheeze.

Maria’s voice filtered down from above.

“If you had any style you could have offered the traitor her last cigarette,” she said, calmly toeing his gun out of reach. “Still, I couldn’t have you showing up in respawn before I was ready to leave. Fortunately I’m better at this spy thing than you were. It’s too bad they only really consider the French for that position.”

Robert watched her shoes as she stepped around him, briefly straddling his back as she claimed the briefcases from her dropped body’s hands.

He could have moved but he also couldn’t feel anything below his chest and wasn’t certain the contents of his abdominal cavity would be joining him for the journey. He wet his lips and closed his eyes. “Maria,” he said when he could.

“You don’t know how nice it is to look in a mirror and see myself,” she said distantly, opening the truck door and tossing the briefcases inside. “It might sound backwards to you, but how do I say this? You never really were on my side.”

Maria was not smiling. He couldn’t see her face and he still knew it. For a moment he felt the knife penetrating his back, he knew it was, he could feel it, the cold edge scraping an intimate hello as it slid between his ribs.

It never happened. Behind him, the truck engine puttered to life. He heard the passenger door slam. Footsteps.

“I knew,” Robert said finally, unsure if she heard him. His laugh was wet. “After that enemy spy wouldn’t kill you, everyone did. Have they already made an offer? Or do you think because you have the briefcases they’ll welcome you in, just like that? You can’t leave. Company transfers are not done.”

“You have not seen it done, and you will not see it done this time,” she said. “It’s part of the trick.”

Robert laughed again, coughing red onto the dirt. He found her confidence enraging and hilarious, a joke trying to be taken seriously. “Maria, they will know. We have agents in their ranks. Who do you think you are?”

Click of a cigarette lighter, her composed breath. The joke is holding a gun, he thought.

“Whoever I want to be, Robert,” Maria answered. “You won’t see me again, and that is not a consolation.”

She finished him with a highly impersonal bullet to the back of the head, without a thought to wetting her blade on him. For his part, he had an appreciation for the more inevitable ironies and died laughing.

(And stumbled out of respawn twice. Once after Maria’s headshot and a second time after being slaughtered when the team immediately took him for the traitor-Spy after he stepped out of the room.)