Gavyn wasn’t going to press further about Mikey’s private romantic life; divorced was enough of an answer. He didn’t personally know a lot about relationships, but he knew enough to know that ‘divorced’ rarely means ‘but we’re still good friends.’ Usually there was a lot of negative feelings still involved, and it was probably best he avoid that topic if he wanted the Medic to stick around a little longer. Maybe they should talk more about his daughter, that topic seemed safe enough.
He smiled and shook his head, “No no, no one back in Russia for me, just my parents.” It’s always just been him and his parents, or rather, him and his mother. It’s not as though a man of his age hadn’t had previous relationships, while off for school he’d met a few people he shared a dinner and night with, had a couple of romantic partners, but nothing that had held long.
Looking into his coffee cup, Gavyn noticed he didn’t have much left, a swallow or two, small mugs didn’t do much for his size. Perhaps, if Michael wasn’t interested in sticking around the christmas party, they could go the medbay, perhaps Michael needed help. “Are you staying here long? At Christmas party?”
Even with his companion’s current lack of a love life, it was somewhat of a relief just to have his own off the table for discussion. It wasn’t that he hadn’t yet gotten over the woman, it had been nearly five years since their separation, but rather his bitterness for the affair came from his security of his daughter. Luckily, Elise seemed to hold little to no memory of her mother, having been too young to truly be impacted by the abandonment, and thus the relationship became even more of distant ghost with little to no power to haunt them.
From what little time he had spent with the Russian during work, the man seemed like he would make a rather caring husband one day, always the first to willingly help out with chores when everyone else had dispensed for the day. With the money they were making it would be easy to provide for a family long after retirement, at least for those who were able to make it that long. Being a single-father made even the thought of dating rather difficult, even if he actually wanted to date, his career taking up the rest of the time his family didn’t, and his research consuming whatever was left.
“Hm, nein, I had only really come to refill meinen coffee.” Speaking of which, he should probably get back to his paperwork while he still had the caffeinated boost to keep him going. His own mug was looking rather depleted at this point having spent so much time talking with his teammate, and it would probably be best to get a refill on that refill before he left. He moved to grab the coffee pot, seeming to not catch any hint of what the Heavy was looking to ask. “I should probably getting back now, excuse me.”
“She is very little, must be excited for seeing father at Christmas,” Gavyn commented. He watched the doctors face flip through a series of expressions, wondering exactly what was going through his head. At times he wondered what it was like to be a father, something that was very unlikely he’d experience personally, but other times he felt as though he’d had enough of fatherly love for one lifetime. He hadn’t noticed he’d frozen at his thoughts, holding a mouthful of coffee until he tried to speak again, swallow quickly before answering. “Yes, I spend holidays with my parents. My mother needs help with her chores, she isn’t as young as she once was. We have many dogs, I look after them when I go home too.”
He was interested to know more about the Medic, not realizing how much he missed and craved having a human being in his life rather than a chunk of flesh and guts with a gun. RED wasn’t usually hostile towards each other, in fact their team could be fairly pacified (for being a bunch of mercenaries) while off the clock, but it was difficult to talk with someones who’s only apparently common denominator was killing for a living, especially when you try to forget about that.
“You have daughter, and you have wife too?” Gavyn asked curiously, eager to know anything about life outside the base.
"Ja, she is still quite young, I suppose." Young enough to still get excited around Christmas time, to still believe in St. Nikolaus, and that her father was a noble man. Speaking of which, it was rather curious, though perhaps not all too odd, that the Russian had mentioned helping his mother with chores but nothing of his father. Perhaps the man was disabled, or the family separated. Then again, he may just be thinking too much into things as always.
"Zhat is good of you, I am sure you Mutter appreciates zhe help." Briefly, he wonders what that must be like, but doesn’t stray too far into the thought. The Medic’s commitment to his family wasn’t as much welcomed as it was expected, but luckily it was something he would only have to endeavour during the holidays. His mother wasn’t as young as she once was, either, and with any fortune he would no longer have to worry about that either in the upcoming years either.
While he would rather keep the subject of his own family life as toned as possible, what it changes to isn’t exactly welcomed either.
"Divorced." Comes the terse reply, clearing his throat into his coffee mug. His tone makes it apparent that he does not wish to discuss the matter any further, but doesn’t appear to be fazed, even as he sways the attention away from himself. "Und you? Do you haff a vife? Perhaps a sweetheart vaiting for you?"
It wasn’t so much unlikely as it was impossible. The company superiors never paid any unneeded attention to Viaduct, only stopping by a few times a year for check-ups and even then they were never concerned for much else other than how high the kill counts were. For a majority of the time, the mercenaries at Viaduct were left to their own devices, like an inattentive babysitter dumping the knife drawer out at playtime. But Viaduct and the company were a discussion for another time.
Gavyn watched the Medic over the rim of his cup as he took another mouthful of coffee, putting the coffee pot back in it’s place with his free hand, swallowing before he answered. “Parents, my parents are back at home,” He used the term ‘parents’ and ‘home’ loosely, it was easier to say and usually didn’t bring up any curious questions about any issues he may or may not have back in Russia. “How old is she?”
It was a little sad to think of how many employees here were fathers; the hours were long and the work was dangerous. All those children growing up without fathers in their lives, but hopefully they had loving mothers at home to look after them, supported by the fathers pay check. Why anyone would work here for a reason except money was beyond Gavyn, it really was too bad the pay was so good.
Even without the possibility of their superiours being the one’s who had set up the Christmas event, it hardly seemed important now. The Medic had figured it part of a tradition he had yet to be infused with, that some members of the RED base would get together regularly this time of year to prepare for the upcoming holiday. He would have thought the large Russian to be the type of join in on these type of festivities, seeing as he was by far the friendliest member he had yet to encounter since transferring to Viaduct, but with his equal ignorance on the situation it seemed some other forces had been at work.
“Elise? She is eight as of October.” There seems to be a thoughtful look on his face as he says this, eyes wandering while he takes another sip of his coffee. In another eight or so years she would be a full grown adult, half of her childhood already swept away, the years flying by so fast these days. It seemed like only yesterday she was asking to be picked up, wanting to be at a similar height as her father, eyes full of wonder as she was carried about. The coffee felt thicker suddenly as he swallowed hard, all at once reminded of the fear that she would most likely grow up to resent him.
“You are visiting your parents for zhe holidays, I take it?” A part of him wanted to ask the Russian if he had any children of his own, or perhaps a sweetheart somewhere wistfully waiting for his safe return. It wouldn’t be too surprising if he didn’t, most of the men here seeming to be an outcast of sorts, having nowhere else to go and no one whom relied on their presence. With his own love like a wreck, he wasn’t one to presume other had theirs in check, either.
“Merry Christmas, Doktor,” Gavyn glanced at the coffee pot and decided that, he too, would appreciate some java now that he was warmed up. He stepped beside Michael and grabbed the coffee pot, quickly pouring himself a cup. He motioned to the room with his cup and a nod, “Do you know who did this? The decorations? Whoever did this made base look welcoming, I almost forget I am here for battle.” Acknowledging his profession always left a strange feeling on the Russians tongue. Work felt like a trip he would soon go home from and never return to, spending the rest of his days doing something mundane and uneventful. He rarely thought about how long he would be here for, and just went by with things day-to-day. It was easier to digest in smaller bites.
Decorating all the base must have taken an enormous amount of time and effort, The Russian mentally applauded whoever had done this. His home back in Russia would no doubt be no where near as decorated as the base was, his mother wasn’t the type to grab a ladder, go outside and start stringing lights up, and she hadn’t the strength to go out and chop down a tree herself. He hoped to get back in time to help with the tree, at least, and even without decorations there would be a bountiful spread of baking and cooking to eat. He missed the home cooking, food always tasted better when you didn’t cook it yourself in his opinion.
“You have home somewhere, da? Family you must see this holiday?” Gavyn asked and took a swallow of the bitter beverage, already feeling a bit more alert from the taste alone. Usually everyone there had family to see, and the occasional old mercenary without children at least had friends to attend Christmas with, he couldn’t recall a time he met someone without anyone at home for them.
Being a part of such a demanding career could be queer at times, especially one that focused the employees to be uprooted from their home and, for the most part, live in their assigned housing until given permission to leave. Everyone had their own reason for being here it would seem, but he still couldn’t help but wonder how he came to end up in such a situation, even if it had been his own hand to sign the red dotted line that sealed his fate. It had been for the best, deep down he was still able to convince himself of this, still, his research could never compare in importance to his family.
“I cannot say I do. It seems unlikely zhat our superiours vould haff put together such an effort zhemselves.” The last part was slightly muttered into his mug as he stepped aside to allow Gavyn easy access to the coffee pot. It was a well known fact that such joyous things as ‘tradition’ and ‘good will’ were frowned upon by their bosses, any little escapade that allowed them to forget their purpose for being paid generally crushed before the thought even had the chance to form in their heads. Luckily, Viaduct appeared rudimentary unfazed by the dictating glare of their employers, almost as if it were somehow misplaced amongst the hungry blanket of snow.
At the question, the Medic nodded, coming back from his train of thought as he glanced over the room. It was best not to think too hard on the reason behind his transfer and just enjoy what little benefits came with it. “I vill be taking meine daughter to Germany to visit her grandparents.” A rather normal custom, one would suppose, though he would rather not get into why he dreaded it. “Und you? Any family vaiting back in Russia?”
Gavyn had been surprised when he left his room to find the base covered in Christmas decorations. Who had done it? The Scouts perhaps, but this seemed far too organized and nicely done. There was something about the fact tinsel wasn’t thrown on every inch of the base that told the Heavy Weapons Specialist they probably weren’t behind it. He had spent his time awake quietly appreciating the festive décor while tending to his daily chores. The base somehow felt warmer now that decorations littered the halls than it had for weeks previous, an appreciated fact after taking his dogs out for an extra long walk.
He knew there was a Christmas party taking place sometime and had taken extra time with his dogs to avoid going earlier than needed. It wasn’t as though he didn’t want to go- he did, he liked the company his teammates gave him but he also liked the crunching footsteps of frozen snow under his boot while Sasha and Natasha effortlessly dashed through the powdery white layer on top, and maybe he enjoyed that a little more than two young adults hyped up on sugar running around like chickens without heads as the rest of the team tried to ignore or murder them.
His dogs accompanied him to the common room, he greeted his teammates with a friendly smile and hello before grabbing a cup of hot chocolate (maybe a drink or coffee later.) He settled down somewhere with enough foot space for the canines to lay by his boots and took a swig of the hot liquid. Luckily for him, and everyone, at the moment things were relatively calm; the Scouts were playing a (so far) harmless game of catch as they sat a fair distance apart. The Spy was rearranging a pot of Poinsettias and casually enjoying a smoke while chatting with the Sniper and Demoman. The Pyro was seated quietly, burning a bunch a collected pile of mistletoe and holly. The Engineer and Soldier were both MIA, which in one case was for the better.
The fact their Medic wasn’t there was a fact Gavyn didn’t miss, having been the first person he scanned the room for. That’s why when he walked in, just as he finished his cup of hot chocolate, Gavyn was rather elated. His dogs perked up by the Russians movements, but both laid back down moments after he stepped away.
Gavyn waved to Michael as he walked towards him, empty hot chocolate mug in hand. It looked like the Medic was coming for a refill as well. “Hello, Doktor.”
It felt strange thinking of a military base as homey, but whoever had bothered to garnish the walls with decorations had succeeded in masking the bitter truth of their professions. Part of it made the Medic yearn to be home again, to nestle into the security of his homeland’s traditions and share them with the rest of his family. War left little time for such mundane things, his daughter seeming to grow up too fast that each little break he could spare to spend with her almost left him feeling like a stranger rediscovering the magic of a child’s mind all over again.
Venturing into the common room left him feeling much of the same impression, the faces of the men scattered about still just photos on a medical file to him. It had been been a few months since his transfer to the frozen wasteland, adjusting rather quickly even if the cold had negative repercussions on his mental state, but he had never truly bothered to connect with the rest of his team. The battlefield was only a small part of his job, the rest of it usually spent sealed away in his research, his office not generally a welcoming atmosphere aside for those seeking medical attention or a refill on any necessary medications. Work was work, after all, his coworkers just an avoidable distraction when they couldn’t help him further his studies.
Still, he couldn’t help but feel the awkward sense of unfamiliarity as he strutted over to where the refreshments had been displayed, the coffee maker having been removed from the kitchen for easier access at the party. An annoying inconvenience, but then, he had the right to be here just as everyone else, his posture conveying this as he stiffly glanced over the rest of the room. That’s when he heard the familiar Russian accent greeting him with his title, placing the coffee pot back into it’s holder before turning to face the larger man.
“Ah, hallo.” It was somewhat relieving that it was Gavyn and not someone else, the Heavy Weapons Specialist having always been welcoming of him despite his lack of social mingling. “Or perhaps I should say Merry Christmas, seeing as zhat seems to be zhe reason ve are all here.”
Red and silver adorned the frigid walls of the robust concrete base, a vivid contrast to the bleak weather outside. Who had bothered to hang the decorations seemed to be a bit of a mystery, but whoever had done it appeared to drape them with care, some of the tassels looking almost handmade. It was a nice little allusion to the holidays that were to come in the up and coming weeks, but it appeared that they were going to be celebrated much earlier than first expected.
A company Christmas party for an industry that hired blood-thirsty mercenaries to kill each other on a daily basis seemed like a less than ideal proposal, but without the official release of their vacation beginning the weekend before the holiday itself there wasn’t much else to do in order to keep entertained. It would be his first white Christmas in a while, the transfer to Viaduct having at least one positive, with the thick blanket of snow making the idea of leaving anytime sooner nearly impossible. That wouldn’t keep the Medic from skipping his break, however, even if he still didn’t have a car to get back to his home.
If he had it his way he would have just stayed in his office most of the night, or at least until the festivities were over, and try to get done as much paper work as possible before being forced away for the next two weeks. Without a desk, however, it was rather hard to stay organized, and with his mug running dry of coffee many hours ago the doctor found himself wandering into the main common room where the rest of his teammates had gathered.