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Let's Set Pyro on Fire

This piece has been uploaded to Ao3 here, if you prefer to read things that way, or if you want to save it/download it.


For this one I basically just wanted to get an idea of what this AU would actually play out like. Battle-wise, I mean. Experimental piece, not doing a lot of storytelling so much as just trying to block out a picture of the world. It's actually out of date by now, too! Some of the things described just. Aren't part of the world anymore. So. Yeah.

Rated Teen and Up/PG for TF2 being TF2. Features most of the mercenaries, except for RS!Medic (Engineer) and RS!Spy (Sniper) who unfortunately are stuck in respawn the whole time.
Depictions of cider may be innacurate. Which is probably why I changed the item to a harder form of liquor.

Author's Note

I don't know what map I'm on. In my brain there's just a flat white plain with three routes to the point and some silly men frolicking around with guns and high explosives.

Work Text

If you've been a mercenary for more than a month or so, you're probably aware of the unfortunate truth that some combat sites are just worse than others. Whether they present you with some sort of disadvantage, drag on and on in cramped conditions, or are just in a perpetual state of damp, it is inevitable that some days will be less glorious than others, no matter how much you're being paid to sustain an eternal loop of fatal battlefield vivisection. If you're worth anything near the amount you're being paid, or course, you'll figure out a way to work around it - or with it, as it may be. At the end of the day, maintaining the status quo of back-and-forth is all that matters.

This doesn't make those days any less painful, though. Physically or mentally.

It was summertime, and the enemy had entrenched themselves firmly on the second-to-last control point, and to top it all off, it was a Monday. The only mercy the day had in store for anyone was the fact that Pyro was too busy being out cold with the consequences of badly-mixed cocktails to go tearing around the base at 5 AM; and the payoff for that little treat was that nobody had remembered to put the coffee pot on.

It had taken Sniper four hours to come down from the high of eating raw coffee grounds, and everyone else an equivalent amount of time to stop feeling stupid for failing to come up with the idea themselves.

The day, to put it concisely, sucked ass.

The clock ticked over to 3 PM, the air reached its peak temperature, and a trio of mercenaries found themselves crouching next to a corner, waiting to either ambush any enemy who might overextend, or push in when an opening came.

"It's no use, gentlemen."

The voice seemed, to the waiting group, to come out of nowhere. Soldier jumped slightly, shovel half-raised before he realised who was speaking; Heavy startled, scrambling to realign the barrel of his gun; Demo whipped their head around at a frankly terrifying speed. The newcomer collapsed against the wall next to them, breathing heavily, staining the blank walls with reddish blotches. It was odd that none of them had heard him approach - but then again, stealth was a not-insignificant part of Scout's job, and his understated variation on Spy's cloak didn't much help matters.

"The crap did you come from?" Soldier hissed. "You're meant to be pressing the flank!" He cast his eye over the tattered appearance of Scout's uniform and Scout's pale, bloodless skin. "Hey, what happened to you? You run into their fricken Heavy or something?"

"Their sentry, actually," Scout muttered. "As I said, there is no use; the area is far too well covered for one such as myself. Heavy, what's in that bottle?"

"It's been crits since noon," Heavy told him apologetically, and Scout groaned, mourning the semi-permanent loss of a not-insignificant portion of his blood.

Demo waved a hand. "Soldier and I could push the sentry," they suggested. "Engineer breaking's our specialty! It wouldn't take longer than a minute."

There was a moment where the four men considered the suggestion, and then the enemy Sniper leapt around the corner, shot Heavy in the foot, and was promptly obliterated by a rocket directly to the chest. The revving of the gun died down before it was properly started, and Soldier lowered his rocket launcher.

"Ah, shite," Heavy muttered, and inspected the arrow sticking out of his leg. "That's bloody annoying."

"You're staying here to guard the passage," Scout said shortly to Soldier, who took the statement as some sort of obfuscated praise and preened. "Where the hell is Spy?"

"Well, last I checked he was strangling the enemy Heavy," Soldier shrugged. "But then the noises cut off, so he probably got" - he made a snapping motion with his hands.

Scout pinched the bridge of his nose. "God help us. When was this, exactly?"

"Uh, I dunno, three minutes ago?" Soldier began counting something on his fingers, but was promptly cut off.


The Pyro's arrival was heralded by his loud shout and the smell of burning hair. The yelling was normal. The smell was easily explained upon looking at the Pyro, who was haloed in gold and red and looking slightly crispy, like an undercooked piece of bacon.

"I found a rat and introduced him to the greatest American invention!" Pyro hefted his flamethrower; it spluttered. "FIRE!"

Demo squinted at him from behind his visor, but elected not to contest the statement.

"Kinda looks like the fire got introduced to you too, pally," Soldier said.

"That is the price we must pay for incendiary grenades, Private!" Pyro declared, and thumped his chest with his fist. The neglected end of his flamethrower hit the ground with a solid thunk and spat sparks all over the floor. "Also, the enemy Demo stole Medic's head again," he added, as an afterthought.

Heavy looked from his bottle, to Pyro, and back again. Scout caught his eye.

"That is an awful idea," he said flatly, and Heavy shrugged.

"Someone's gotta break their hold, and it's not gonna be my wee self with the immovable artillery."

Scout glared at him, and Heavy stared back.

Demo wandered off.

Scout and Heavy continued staring at each other.

Demo wandered back, and tapped Scout on the shoulder. "Got a medicine kit," they said, words lopsided on account of the bottle in their right hand. Heavy made a triumphant noise at the necessary break in eye contact and Scout let out a huff of irritation.

"Thank you," he said, grudgingly, and cracked the top of the bottle open.

"What's in those things, anyway?" Soldier asked, peering over his shoulder, and Scout gave it a cautious sniff. Sour and metallic. Wonderful.

"I think it's blood," Heavy said, cheerily and only half-insincerely.

"The blood of our enemies!" Pyro agreed, waving his arms eagerly and somehow making his fire situation worse.

"...why would I not put that past our Medic?" Scout muttered. The idea was nauseating, but he downed the bottle all the same. It tasted like television static. Or perhaps that was the buzzing in his ear.

"Ah, yes?" he asked, tapping the comm, and was greeted by an irritated hiss.

"Where are you all? I can't do my job properly with you all cowering behind corners!"

"Good afternoon, Mister Sniper," he sighed.

There was a muffled screech of frustration. "Aren't you meant to be pushing the flank right now? And where are Medic and Engineer? I'm being scorched through my only window! Some sort of movement or progress would be nice, you know!"

"Medic will be dead for the next" - Scout checked his watch - "Six or seven minutes. As for Engineer -"

"Right here," Engineer interrupted, voice crackly over the radio. "Holding left flank route. Difficult task. My dispenser was exploded. Enemy soldier is VERY persistent."

"...I see," Sniper said, tightly.

"We're gonna pour Crider over Pyro and sic him on the main path," Heavy chirped.

"We are NOT -"

"Aw, c'mon, I want to see that," Soldier complained.

"I concur with the Private!" Pyro exclaimed, which really didn't lend much hope to the plan's sanity.

"Whatever you do," Sniper said shortly, "I would hurry up. Their Medic just respawned, and I'm not sure I can take him out again without my counterpart putting a hole through my grey matter."

There was a pause.

"I vote fire," Demo said, movements sharp. "I got a whole can of black powder and a full pocket of stickies."

"C'mon, Scout," Heavy wheedled. "Split the pack, you and Demo go right, the rest of us take the corner. You're outvoted anyway, y'know."

"Fine," Scout said shortly. "But we're all going to die."

"Death is a lie made up by commies to stop you from setting their houses on fire!" Pyro yelled.

"Atta boy," Soldier said, slapping Pyro on the back and yelping as his gloves caught fire.

"Good; I will cover you as best as I can, then," Sniper said, crisp tone muddled by the static on the comms. "There is nothing more distracting than melting skin, you know. Tell me when you charge, ja?"

"Yeah, we gotcha," Soldier said, hefting his rocket launcher onto his shoulder with a grunt.

Demo nudged Scout. "You're good for me to cover you, right? After I destroy the sentry, I mean."

Scout hummed, and pulled his scattergun from his belt. The chipped-out scars glinted in the afternoon sun. Beside them, Demo upended the bottle of Critical Cider over Pyro's head, and as the flames flared with a powerful whoosh, despite the uphill battle awaiting them, Scout smirked to himself.

"But of course."