EDIT: I went back and fixed a few errors, besides puttin in a lot more stuff and some other perspectives.

Chapter 1: A Cage Without Bars and Flight Without Wings

Scout always seemed to be running towards something, crude and snarky, living for the thrill of battle. However, he wears a mask better than Spy, for he hides a dark secret all his own. . . And not in the least that "he" is actually a "she", his loud mouth and bravado are all a farce to hide his fears and pains.

One late night, when the inaction becomes too much and his own demons threaten to overwhelm him, a teammates catches him running away from his demons. Will they be able to figure out how to help their Scout? Or is it already too late?

Groaning, Scout rolled over, bundling himself tighter in the thin blanket, struggling to get comfortable on the lumpy mattress. After tossing and turning for a few more minutes, he finally stood and sighed, rubbing at his eyes. It was no use; he couldn't fall asleep.

The numbers on the clock glared 3:24 A.M. back at him, and he flopped back over on the bed. It was way too early for him to get up and be active. But the longer he lay there, the more intolerable the thought of stillness became. Cursing under his breath, he stood and started pacing in his room, falling into such a rhythm that he didn't even need to look to avoid crashing into the walls.

The room soon became too small, too tight, and he felt like a caged animal, cornered and unable to escape. Cursing once again, Scout pulled on a T-Shirt and threw on his cleats. Opening his door slowly, he cautiously peeked down the hall, listening carefully. When it was apparent that no one else was up at this ungodly hour, he shut the door behind him and sprinted down the hall.

Navigating the dark corridors like a pro, a hand lightly brushing the walls at times to help him make a quick turn (without ramming into anything, that is). He soon burst his way outside, taking in a gasping breath of air.

He stood stock-still, just outside the doors, suddenly uncertain what he intended to do. The nearest town was too far, and he didn't necessarily want to revisit the battlefield just yet. . .

Finally, he decided it didn't matter where he went, so long as he was moving. Running, always running. He felt wetness against his face and ignored it, weaving and dodging around obstacles, losing himself in the motions, the speed.

Coming to an abrupt halt, he realized he'd looped back towards the base. Heaving a sigh, more exhausted than ever, Scout headed inside. But instead of returning to bed, he wandered through the base, stopping at one of many elevated walkways.

Moving up to the very edge, he didn't even bother looking down, instead closing his eyes and sticking his toes all the way out over empty space. Balanced so precariously on his heels, he breathed in and held out his arms, imagining a fall into oblivian. How blissful, it would be, to feel nothing, at least for a little while.

With a sharp sigh, he withdraws, shaking his head sharply. Yawning, he glanced at the edge once more, before finally slouching off to bed, curling up beneath the covers silently.

I'd awoken, restless and craving a cigarette. Not wishing to don my full suit at this time of night, I simply pulled on my mask and threw on a robe and warm coat over my nightclothes and stepped outside, cloaking myself and slipping into the shadows with ease.

I'd been outside for less than a minute when the door suddenly slammed open and there stood Scout, panting softly as he glanced around. He seemed a little lost, before his jaw tensed and he threw himself forward, a blur of color in the pale moonlight. At first he seemed to be headed towards the exit of the base, before abruptly swerving away, into the battlefield.

. . .what was he doing at this time of night. . .? Curious, I trailed after my teammate for the better part of an hour, but he seemed to have no goal or destination in mind. I frowned slightly as he paused, turning on his heel and darted in a different direction, zigzagging here and there as though dodging enemy fire.

When he headed inside, I trailed more slowly behind. It wasn't difficult to tail him, considering the caphacony he raised with each long stride.

When silence rung out, Spy paused, and hurried his pace, just in time to see Scout teetering at the edge of one of the raised walkways.

Eyes closed, his expression equal parts peaceful, exhausted, and all around unsettling, he spread out his arms, rocking ever so slightly on his heels. Considering his heels were barely on the edge of the railing, he looked like he was either going to fall and end up with some nasty wounds, or else leap away and take flight like a bird.

I was moment from stepping forward and pulling him back, when he drew back from the edge with a sharp sound, partway between irritation and defeat.

Scuffing his toes over the ground, he turned and trotted back to his room, opening and closing the door cautiously.

There was something very off about all of this. . . Resolving to look into it more in the future, Spy returned to his room for the night.

5:02 A.M.

. . .


With a groan, Scout forced himself out of bed, knowing that if he didn't leave soon Soldier would break down his door. Which always ended up coming out of HIS paycheck. . . Fucking jerk.

Stumbling his way into the kitchen, Scout slumped into his chair, mumbling a greeting to the other mercenaries present at the table. Before he knew it, he was snoozing once again, having been too lethargic to get a cup of coffee.

With a good-natured chuckle, Engineer found the lads favorite mug and filled it, setting it before his comrade. "Up 'nd at'em, pardner."

Scout didn't budge and inch, even when the Texan shook his shoulder, gentle at first, then a little firmer. Frowning at their teammates near-comatose state, he sighed and took a seat, attending to his own meal for now.

He'd noticed this behavior more and more often with their Scout recently. The exhaustion, the lack of enthusiasm on the battlefield. . . He wasn't sure what was wrong, but he wasn't going to leave a teammate to struggle alone, whatever was wrong.

For now, the coffee seemed to be waking his comrade from the smell alone, so with the small peace offering, well, perhaps he could work on wearing down the kids tough outer shell. He was the youngest of them, despite being an adult he did act much younger. It wouldn't do to patronize him, that would only rile him up and make him defensive. . .

It would take some time to devise a proper plan, but Engie was patient, and really wanted what was best for his team. If it took time, so be it. He'd help in small ways in the meantime, until then.

*slides over my first TF2 fanfiction* Please read and review! Constructive criticism is welcome!