"Well-behaved women seldom make history." – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Author's note: Yes, I am aware Meet the Medic doesn't take place in 2fort. I'm also aware that the sniper bunker doesn't have doors, but I've included them anyway. Also, my version of 2fort isn't surrounded by a chainlink fence. These are all small changes I've made for the sake of narrative. So, without further ado, Loyalties Undying. Enjoy.

She couldn't take it much longer. The isolation, the fear, everything. Her own teammates were afraid of her, and it showed. They cowered away from her, and some were openly cruel. She'd become mostly numb to their cutting remarks, but some still hit home. All she was trying to do was help them.

At the moment, she was trying to lend her aid to the Scout, who, of course, didn't want her help. He flinched away as though she had the plague, his silver eyes shining with fear and hate at the same time. Did he really think he could go up against BLU on his own? He was going to get the crap beaten out of him! Her thoughts were interrupted by one of those horrible comments, the ones that still cut to her soul.

"Stay away from me, you freak! No, you know what? Just go drown yourself under the bridge! Solve a few problems. Nobody'll miss ya, creep. You just drag us down." And then he took off running.

The Pyro stood there, dumbstruck. Her gut felt like a cold pit of emptiness. And yet, she wasn't surprised. This was how they treated her. She honestly couldn't blame them; she must seem freakish, always wearing the fire suit and gas mask, never saying anything intelligible through the filter. All they ever saw of her was a nameless, voiceless, faceless maniac with a flamethrower. She was okay with the last bit, but the first half tore her apart. She longed to speak to someone; to share her secret. Just to have some human contact. She was not, however, willing to give up her life for it – and that's precisely what she knew would happen if anyone knew anything about her. No, they wouldn't kill her – probably – but her life would be over all the same. She'd be relegated to a kitchen or a second-rate job with a bulletproof glass ceiling hanging just above her. She refused to be banished to such a world. She'd sooner go mad from isolation as a mercenary than from frustration as a housewife. She figured it was better to have no literal voice than to be able to speak and have no voice in the world anyway.

So, she persevered. She had to be strong. Even if she wasn't proving anything to anyone else, she had to prove to herself that she was strong enough to last in Teufort. Her namesake had led an army, so she, Joan, would at least prove herself as a mercenary. This, she was determined to prove. She wanted to fight alongside these men. She only wished that she could do so openly, as Joan, instead of Pyro.

Joan was snapped out of her contemplation by the sounds of combat. She pressed the trigger of her flamethrower momentarily, checking that it wasn't jammed, and then rushed to join the fray.

The Medic continued to talk as he worked. He found that letting himself chatter on helped his ability to focus. "So," he said, "zhis former… S.S. Officer" he spat the words like they left a foul taste in his mouth, with a corresponding expression of disgust, "zhinks somehow it's a good idea to insult zhe doctor for his opposition to zhe Nazis. Zhen, he calls him a spineless coward. Can you imagine zhe stupidity?"

The Heavy laughed heartily, drowning out the sound of cracking glass as the Scout smacked into the window. The Russian continued to listen attentively, waiting for the punch line. Whatever was going to happen to the Nazi, he obviously had it coming, and it would most likely be ironic.

The Medic grinned. "Wait, wait, it gets better! When zhe patient woke up, his skeleton was missing! And zhe doctor was never heard from again!" He laughed gleefully. The Nazi bastard had deserved it for what he'd done. The German's smile faded as he continued. "Ah, anyway… Zhat's how I lost my medical license."

The Heavy suddenly looked worried, but any questions were swiftly put aside as Archimedes the dove decided to interrupt the conversation by landing inside the man's abdominal cavity.

"Archimedes, no! It's filzhy in zhere!" the Medic said as he shooed the bird away.

The Pyro blocked the Engineer's wrench with the strongest tube in her flamethrower, darted to the side, and tried to light him on fire. He backpedaled out of the way, trying to switch to his shotgun. He could feel the heat of the flames singeing the hairs on his arms. Neither one of the combatants could see too well through the cloud of dust they were kicking up or the roaring flames that raged between them.

The Sniper watched through his scope, waiting for an opening to attack, but it became increasingly clear to him that he wasn't going to get an opportunity to line up a headshot, so he tried the next best thing; he fired at the first patch of blue clothing he saw through the chaos. The BLU engineer let out a cry of pain and his shotgun fired in a random direction as his left arm went limp. At this point he retreated, and Joan gave chase, still running her flamethrower in front of her like an angry, fire-breathing dragon. When it became clear to her that she wouldn't be able to catch him, as he disappeared back into his base, she stopped to catch her breath and turned to locate her ally. She caught a glimpse of him, hiding behind a piece of corrugated metal, and waved. He didn't respond – he'd just been doing what he was paid to do. Still, this simple act of support was not lost on the Pyro.

In the end, it was good for the Sniper that his favor was not soon forgotten. As the fighting continued, and he moved from place to place, trying to stay hidden, his worst enemy was finally able to track him down. Fortunately for him, the Pyro had a favor to repay, and this was her chance to do it. The spy crept up through the winding corridors and lobbies of the RED base, doing everything in his power to evade the one merc he feared most: the Pyro. She had caught sight of him, and like a hunting dog, would not relent as long as she was anywhere near his trail – she was a hyper-persistent predator, and the Spy was her prey. The quiet assassin worked his way up onto the balcony, and quietly, quietly opened the door to the little bunker in the middle of the deck. There was his target, focusing through the scope of his rifle. The Spy raised his knife – and his heart sank as he heard the click and whoosh of an igniting flamethrower. The sound also caught the Sniper's attention, and he turned just in time to see the Pyro set the assassin ablaze. The Spy crashed into the opposite door, flung it open, and leapt down off the balcony to make a mad dash for the river.

After a pause, the Sniper adjusted the brim of his hat and said "Thanks, mate. I owe ya one."

She just responded with a thumbs-up gesture. "Mphh Mhhmmm."

And thus, a partnership, odd as it was, was cemented between the two.