shankie: (a little prick)
[personal profile] shankie
A lovely person in the TF2 Circlejerk showed me how to somehow magically resurrect threads, so, I will be reposting the whole bit so far.

This is the backstory for Monster In The Water; Team Fortress 2 Tentaspy fic, mmkay? No pairings or sex, but it's still fucked up.

----

They called him Ten. The men in the white jackets, that was; not directly, of course, always around him as if he didn’t understand the pidgin of French and English they spoke. He did. By the time he was old enough to wonder if it was a designation or a joke he’d already stopped asking any questions at all.

He could remember being young, feeling like the concrete pool was as big a place as he would ever want to be, and being curious about things. Why he was different. Why they always had to run tests and look him all over when he didn’t think anything was ever different than before. Why the men in the white coats were always afraid of him. He figured all these things out shortly before the Doctor began taking a vested interest in him.

The Doctor had a white coat, too, but the others were more afraid of him than Ten, always doing as he said and getting out of his way and cowering from his anger. Ten didn’t seem to scare him at all. First he just would come to the pool, or the tests, then he was running the tests. At first, the Doctor’s presence delighted Ten; he spoke to him directly and without fear, interested in his thoughts and feelings and the acts of play he would engage in while swimming through the water of his pool. He didn’t treat Ten like a person, but did treat him like something better than a lab rat for a long time.

Then the Doctor’s interest in Ten went elsewhere.

How long could Ten live without water? Would electrical current disrupt his cloak? How quickly would he break under torture? Could he survive in extreme environments? Those sorts of questions interested him now. He found his answers through methodical testing, never letting Ten come too close to death; Ten was horrified to recover from the time of delirious weakness that came all too frequently with more and more keywords in his head that made him do things.

In time the Doctor would only come to Ten, or have him caged up in his laboratory, to practice making him do things with the words. Ten suspected it was out of boredom.

Ten broke his own boredom by retaliating against the other men in the white coats, that didn’t have the words. Sometimes new ones could be lured near the water, all too easily tangled in his limbs to end their lives thrashing against the cement at the bottom of his pool (it always seemed to grow smaller). Other times, even the knowing, wary ones would be careless about wandering near his bars, bringing him from one place to another, or their perplexing efforts in educating him, falling within reach of his claws or his teeth. The Doctor never seemed to mind; he often smelled of gore, himself, something Ten did wonder about on occasion; whose blood and fear had been recently washed off his gloves.

The time came when Ten only had one real question to ask, holding it on the tip of his tongue more frequently, but he’d told himself it was better not to bother offering anything, even that, as enough was already wrenched out of him. It didn’t take the Doctor long to notice, but he didn’t ask for months.

Then, he did.

“Whatever it is you hide, today I will know. This can be done an easy vay, or hard vay. I do not care at the moment.” The Doctor crouched at the blue-painted edge of Ten’s pool with his fingers woven together.

Ten let himself float with his belly up, lazily moving his limbs about him, the water distorting his hearing. Only hiding at the bottom would prevent the words from reaching him, but if he did that, the other white coats would come with their snares to fish him up snarling and clawing. It seemed he was not in the mood to fight, however.

In a moment, he righted himself again and glided over to the side, moving some of his limbs up over the edge before using his arms help push himself out of the water. He was almost as good as the ones with real legs at moving where it was dry, but didn’t like it; he felt heavy and slow. Ten didn’t move far, just sank down near the edge wondering if it were possible to hate anything or anyone else as much as he hated the Doctor.

“So, vat is it mein creature?” He looked and sounded entirely friendly, as he did from time to time, but it meant nothing.

Ten raised his chin and crossed his arms defiantly, wanting it to be clear it was his choice to say anything at all. “I ‘ave been thinking I would like to know why I am ‘ere.”

The Doctor smiled with deceptive warmth. “In a philosophical sense or literal sense?”

Ten shrugged and looked instead at one of the suckers underneath a limb, a small one swollen and red from catching on a barb left on a grate. He rubbed beside it with his thumb as if it were of great interest. “If I am not ze only one like me, I do not know.”

“I vill tell you a secret,” the Doctor replied, quietly, reaching out his hand and nodding at the limb. He didn’t continue until Ten placed it in his hand, where he peered over his glasses at the small damage as if he cared about Ten being in pain. “Our superiors will not have us here much longer.”

‘Our?’ Ten frowned. As far as he knew, they’d been the Doctor’s while Ten was little more than the Doctor’s pet project.

“They grow tired of my hiring so many new assistants. Not all your fault, my creature, I have my own veaknesses.” He still held Ten’s limb, and began stroking the smooth, wet top of it affectionately, his pale flesh so different from the faintly spotted blue skin he seemed to be enjoying. “We are to be given veapons and sent out to see how well I raised you.”

Ten didn’t know if he should feel like a pedigreed hunting dog or a child reaching adulthood. He had little basis for comparison, but couldn’t believe the Doctor would ever be considered a capable father to him. The idea turned his stomach and he pulled his limb back sharply in distaste.

“You have no wish to go outside?” the Doctor asked, sounding genuinely surprised at the reaction.

Outside. Ten hadn’t even thought of that. He’d seen pictures of the outside, of cities and people and animals and landscapes in books, and he’d grown up under the open skylights that were the main source of illumination over his pool. One of the white coats that taught his younger self languages had thought it important to talk about the places those languages came from.

A strange feeling bubbled in his gut, one he couldn’t quite identify. It was similar to the moment before flesh tore in his teeth, or when the Doctor hooked jumper cables to his cage, but it was.. pleasant. Nicer, and spread up through his chest, making his heart skip.

“I do,” he whispered, mulling all this over. “Very much.”

“Gut, gut mein creature.” He stood up, then stretched his back easily before reaching down to grab Ten’s hair and urge him up, too, where it was more comfortable for the Doctor to cradle his face, not minding that Ten growled at him and bared his teeth for doing so.

Ten’s hands itched to claw at him, but remained still at his sides. The impulse was always fought with the Doctor’s conditioning screaming “You don’t want to do that!” in his head.

* * *

Six months later, after exams and tests, training and waiting, the Doctor became a Medic; the Medic in his mind. As for Ten, the men in blue suits had made it clear whatever might have been Ten wasn’t important; he was a Spy. It was his purpose, his only reason for being anywhere, and one he could accept, so he did.

Not long after he began to think of himself as Spy, he was put in a crate and waited in rumbling darkness for the Outside. He wondered what dirt would feel like under his limbs, if unfiltered water smelled differently, if stalking an enemy was more thrilling than it was in his training. The wait wasn’t overly long, as he became used to wearing clothing he was given, turning the objects in the pockets over and over in his hands. Warm from his body, they were smooth metal, a pocket watch on a chain and a knife he enjoyed playing with, opening, closing, spinning it about.

When the crate finally opened, he had to restrain himself for bolting toward the smell of water; and it did smell different. He was parched and hot, a dry wind blowing past the Doctor-no, no, the Medic standing in silhouette to the dazzling light of the outside. He was different now, a heavy pack and weapons over a coat now decorated with an arm band identifying himself as a combat Medic for the BLUs.

Medic nodded at the knife in Spy’s hand. “Ven you hunt, mein creature, use the knife.”

Spy cocked his head a bit questioningly, but his tongue felt too dry for speech.

“You vill see. Now go. Hunt.”

* * *

Loathe as he ever was in admitting Medic was correct, it did happen. After learning the joys and challenges of stalking REDs with cloaking and shifting, he learned the thrill of leaping on them, watching them die in utter shock, sometimes living long enough to babble in confusion. If he used the knife it stayed that way, always the shock of the completely unexpected. The others saw the work of any Spy, not giveaways of a monster in teeth or claw marks. (But sometimes he gave in to them. Sometimes. There was something so personal about them he never stopped enjoying.)

He kept it sharp to cleave flesh and bone with delicious efficiency.

The first time he caught a RED Spy unawares, the man was wounded, hiding behind a wall near the RED base, smoking a cigarette. He was holding his bleeding side as he puffed away, eyes warily darting about, but not seeing Spy there watching. He died quickly and mostly out of Spy’s curiosity with those smoldering sticks of tobacco, so the silver case could be plucked out of his still hand. More were found in two packs inside the jacket, also taken.

Spy took this treasure to the concrete canals that reminded him so very much of where he grew up, coughing and sputtering as he tried them that first time. He couldn’t understand the look of relief it had given the RED Spy, but wanted to, so he kept at it until the burn in his throat and the smoke filling his lungs left him feeling strangely fulfilled.

Dirt felt scratchy and gritty on his limbs, the water in the canals was colder and more dynamic than that of a pool, and no words could properly express how satisfying it was to hunt prey here in the outside world. Best of all, Medic lived above, with the others, more often than not too busy to torment him.

He considered all this while relaxing just inside a tunnel, small waves off the canal lapping against his limbs, the breeze that caused it ruffling his hair. The shirt and jacket he liked well enough, the mask he was still growing used to, so he held it in a limb just then to feel air on his face. He took a long drag off another stolen cigarette and took the time to mourn young Ten, the naïve creature that still took pleasure in swimming circles in the pool, that had not yet learned to cherish death. He never spent time wondering what it would like to be truly human, but on occasion, he did wonder what it would be like to be something other than a monster.
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