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There are cracks in Amélie’s conditioning.

She can visualize them when they happen: thin spiderwebs upon a frosted pane of glass. Sometimes the fog descends, covering them completely, sealing her in silent grey numbness. But other times? Other times, the web is all she can see. Its sharp, angled lines burn into her brain, cracks of white-hot sunlight shining through.

These cracks grow brightest whenever Amélie sees her. The thin, willowy omega. Even when her conditioning reasserts itself, she can call the woman’s face to mind: spiky brown hair, a messy grin, a glowing blue hole in her chest. Tracer, the monkey had called her during their skirmish in the museum.

(Amélie remembers lying awake for nights after King’s Row, wondering what the omega’s name was.)

Her fascination has grown since then. Against her own will—what will she has left—Amélie has spent hours wondering ‘why’? Why does this omega stir her frozen heart into beating? Why does Tracer’s smell linger in her nose after they have parted? And why, when she looks into the omega’s eyes, does she see… pity?

There is nothing to pity. She is perfection. Talon has made her so. And yet.

And yet, as she finds herself watching Tracer through her scope yet again, Widowmaker melts away, becoming background noise. Amélie rises up through the shadows to find that her mind is unnaturally loud, full of swirling questions she has no answers to.

Amélie isn’t sure why Tracer is here. She isn’t entirely sure why she is, either. Perhaps she’s searching for answers to fill in the cracks, to bring back the comforting greyness. That has to be the reason, she tells herself as she watches the omega approach a nearby building. Her movements are unusually fast, and Amelie wonders whether that is always the case when the omega isn’t fighting, or if circumstances are different today.

Different, it seems, because as she zooms in, she notices that Tracer is panting. Her face is flushed and the way she holds her body screams urgency. Amélie continues watching. Is she afraid? In pain? Excited? Perhaps all of those things. She remains in her hiding place as the omega passes through the doorway and out of sight.

Adjusting the settings on her visor brings the omega’s figure back into view. Small and slender, but red hot against an ocean of blue. Amélie feels mild surprise at the readings. Tracer’s temperature is well above normal. Over the past few months, Amélie has fought her often enough to establish a baseline. She follows Tracer’s path up three flights of stairs and into, presumably, an apartment.

She should leave. There is no reason for her to be here. Talon has not sent her to London to follow a lone omega, even if that omega is a member of Overwatch. And yet… the cracks glow brighter. It is like drinking in sunlight after the passing of thick black rainclouds. She can see it in front of her, close enough to touch if she just… if she just…

It is a simple thing to scale the side of the building. Her grappling hook does most of the work for her. In short order, she is hanging outside the omega’s window, peering into the sitting room of a modest London flat. It’s nothing special. ‘A bit rubbish’ would be an apt local description. Still, Amélie’s breathing speeds up, because her nose has picked up a hint of scent. Omega. Tracer.

Perhaps it is Tracer’s scent that makes Amélie think of her when she isn’t there. It has imprinted on her brain for reasons she cannot understand. She could, she suspects, pick Tracer out of a line of other omegas with her eyes closed. But, as fractured as her mind is, she still has enough logic left to wonder, ‘Why is her smell so strong from outside?’

The window flies open.

“Wotcher, luv,” Tracer says, only six inches away from Amélie’s face and grinning with her usual cheek. “Come for a visit? S’polite to call first instead of just dropping in. Get it? Heh. Drop in?”

Amélie scowls. The indignity. The rudeness. The lack of fear. It is unthinkable. A very rare emotion bubbles within her, one she has not felt the grip of in ages. Anger. Her foggy prison is no longer grey, but red. The cracks grow wider.

She tugs her grappling hook, flying up toward the roof. If she’s quick, Tracer won’t catch her. The omega’s blinking tricks are impressive, but Amélie has outrun them before without issue. This will be no different. She lands on the roof on cat’s paws, retracting her grappling hook and shouldering her rifle.

“Decided to hang around , then?”

Amélie snarls. Tracer has followed her up somehow—probably the stupid blue machine she uses to cheat physics. Looking at it makes Amélie angry. She aims, her finger twitching on the trigger.

She doesn’t pull.

For the first time in years, Amélie lowers her rifle in shock. Never before has she hesitated. Never before has she failed to fire her weapon. Her purpose is the hunt, and she always catches her prey. And now, this fat pigeon is standing on the ledge of the roof, smirking at her, and her training has deserted her.

It is unthinkable.

“No worries, luv,” Tracer says, holding up both hands. “You don’t shoot me, I don’t shoot you. Deal?”

Amélie doesn’t speak. She nods, however, an action that the white static in the back of her brain protests against. She winces and clutches her head, gritting her teeth against the splitting headache. But it soon passes. Tracer’s scent is in her nose, and somehow, that makes the pain… almost bearable?

It is pleasing. Yes, pleasing. She likes the scent. She takes one of her rare breaths, inhaling more.

“I knew it! I’m right about you, aren’t I?” the omega says. “They’ve… done something to you. I mean, blue skin’s a giveaway, innit?”

Amélie remains silent. She does not move from her position as the omega steps down from the ledge, inching forward, but her shoulders tense in preparation. If Tracer attacks her, she will respond. Neutralize the problem. Escape. (Hopefully. If her own mind allows it.)

“Blink twice for mind control,” Tracer says, still with that same grin.

While Amélie ponders this, wondering whether she should blink or stare in silence, Widowmaker resurfaces. The grey fog descends. Her emotions are sucked away, leaving only emptiness. She fires her grappling hook, moving so fast that even Tracer cannot escape in time.

For a moment, Tracer remains standing, wrapped shoulders to knees in a coil of thin black rope. “Bollocks,” she mutters, before tipping over and hitting the asphalt.

***

When Lena opens her eyes, it’s to a dimly lit room and a pounding headache. That bit isn’t surprising. The last thing she remembers is a high heeled boot stomping down on her face—not anywhere that’ll cause her mug permanent damage, but it definitely still hurts.

After the room and the pain, the next thing Lena notices is the smell of alpha. Widowmaker is nearby. Very nearby, Lena realizes as her vision clears. She can make out a slender shadow in the dimness, the curve of a hip and the flash of a sniper rifle. Its nose is aimed right at her.

Lena coughs, trying to clear her throat. “Easy! No need for that, yeah?”

Widowmaker steps into a shaft of pale, swirling sunlight. It’s faint, but offers enough illumination for Lena to see her expression. She isn’t wearing her visor, which makes her look… beautiful? No, that can’t be right. But it isn’t the first time Lena’s thought so, and that was with the visor on.

She takes a deep breath. This next part will be delicate. “I don’t think you wanna leather boot me.” Despite her precarious position, she can’t help grinning at her own joke. “Get it? Boot? ‘Cuz it’s a rhyme for shoot, but you also stomped on me?” A long silence follows. “No? Aw.”

After an uncomfortable pause, Widowmaker speaks. “Why am I unable to finish you?”

“Dunno what you’re talking about. You’d be the one to know, luv.”

“Tais toi.” Widowmaker’s eyes flash, and a shudder races down Lena’s spine—one that’s not entirely unpleasant.

It’s her heat. Got to be. Lena feels bad for this alpha, sure. She’s obviously under Talon’s control somehow, but that doesn’t mean Widowmaker is harmless. Quite the opposite, actually. Lena knows she should be terrified for her life, but for some reason, she isn’t afraid. Whenever she breathes in, Widowmaker’s scent is in the air, and it’s almost… comforting?

“Not sure what that means, but not finishing me sounds like a good start. Maybe untie me? If you let me go, I won’t haul you back to Overwatch. You c’n go on your merry way. Sound good?”

Widowmaker growls from between clenched teeth, which Lena can’t help but notice are perfectly straight and white. “You are not in any position to negotiate with me, omega.”

“Worth a try.”

Once more, Lena wonders why she isn’t afraid. By all rights, she should be pissing herself. But some part of her just knows this alpha isn’t going to hurt her. She sighs, squirming against the ropes Widowmaker has used to tie her hands and feet. Her mitts are a little tingly, now that she’s thinking about it, and her clothes are starting to get itchy too.

Oh.

Oh bugger. She’s been so distracted by being taken prisoner that she’s forgotten why she was in such a rush home to begin with. Today’s the day. Of course a beautiful alpha has decided to come and tie her up in her own apartment at the very start of her heat. She can feel the first signs already—clammy sweat on her forehead, trembling in her limbs.

“Look here, luv. I’m, er, actually in a bit of a state at the moment, and I’m betting you don’t want to be around when it hits. Catch my meaning?” She grins and waggles her eyebrows, partially because she knows it will annoy the alpha even more.

Widowmaker doesn’t reply. She doesn’t even twitch.

Lena huffs. “Don’t be thick. I’m always up for shagging a pretty alpha, but you’ve tried to kill me loads of times. Not to mention you’re pretty much two people, and I’d rather not shag the evil mind-controlled version of you. So unless you want that to happen, I’ll thank you kindly to piss off.”

That earns her another snarl. The sound gives Lena another shiver, stronger than before. Her forehead is dripping onto the carpet and she’s pretty sure other, lower places are leaking worse. Not with sweat, either. There’s a hole forming in her belly, and though it’s small for now, Lena knows it’ll turn into a yearning pit in a matter of minutes.

“Non. I am not going anywhere.” Widowmaker steps closer, until the toe of her boot is right next to Lena’s nose. “You will answer the question. Why do I find it impossible to kill you?”

“Dunno,” Lena pants. Her core is starting to ache, and Widowmaker’s smell is getting stronger. “Sex appeal?”

Widowmaker moves so swiftly that even Lena, usually the fastest on the field, doesn’t expect it. Suddenly, Lena finds herself suspended in an unnaturally powerful grip. Widowmaker’s slender, manicured fingers are wrapped around her throat, and Lena’s breath is completely cut off.

“I will not ask again,” Widowmaker hisses as Lena fights for air. “Tell me, what hold do you have? Why are you…” Her voice trails off, and her grip softens just enough for Lena to gulp in a desperately needed breath.

Once her swimming vision clears, Lena knows what’s happened—or, rather, what’s about to happen. Widowmaker’s nostrils are flaring. Sniffing. Taking in her scent. Despite Lena’s warnings, the alpha has only now realized the urgency of the situation. Lena can see it in her eyes. A cold, harsh black before, they now burn with hunger, and with more emotion than Lena has ever seen in them so far.

“Put me down,” Lena whispers, giving Widowmaker a pleading look even as her eyes and scent plead for something much different. “Put me down and leave through the window. Please…”

But it’s too late. Lena knows it, and Widowmaker is rapidly discovering it. The alpha pulls her close, until their faces are only an inch apart. They’re near enough for Lena to smell Widowmaker’s breath, which shouldn’t be as sweet as it is. “J'ai envie de toi,” the alpha purrs, words Lena can kind of understand thanks to her mediocre schoolgirl French.

I want you.

It isn’t an invitation, or even a threat, but a statement of realization. Widowmaker seems almost shocked as she says the words—or, well, as shocked as a woman who’s practically a blank slate when she isn’t shooting can look.

Lena chews her lip. She’s at a crossroads here. If they do… this… there will be all sorts of nasty consequences, with them being from enemy agencies and all. And yet—oh, the wanting. It’s horribly wonderful, and she can’t push it from her mind or her body.

Even more complicated is the issue that Widowmaker is, well, not really Widowmaker. Lena isn’t sure precisely who she is, but there’s a woman beneath the cold killer. She’s absolutely sure of it. She’s equally sure of the fact that the woman is who she’s attracted to, rather than the brainwashed Talon agent. But is there enough left of that woman to consent to mating?

“What’s your name?”

Widowmaker blinks, as if she’s coming out of some sort of trance. For a moment, her eyes clear, and for the first time, Lena realizes they’re green. A beautiful, brilliant green.

“I am… Widowmaker…” she says, but her voice has the slightest note of uncertainty.

“Your real name, pet.”

There is a long silence, during which Lena isn’t sure she’s going to answer. Then, in a soft voice, it comes: “Amélie.”

That name rings a bell. Lena’s almost certain she’s heard it somewhere before. Maybe from Winston? Or…

She can’t remember. Widowmaker—no, Amélie—is leaning in, and all Lena can focus on is how close her lips are. Her wrists and ankles might be tied, but she can still bend her head a little, and she does.

Fuck it. Fuck it all.

***

The omega—Tracer—tastes better than Amélie is expecting, mostly heat with a little sweetness. She will only take one kiss, she tells herself. Just one kiss to sate this foolish curiosity of hers and put it to rest. Then her control will return, and she will be able to do what needs to be done. But when the first kiss ends, another one begins immediately after, and Amélie realizes it is her fault. She is still kissing the omega, and she can’t seem to stop.

Perhaps it is because Tracer smells so appealing, like warm vanilla. Or maybe it has to do with the sounds Tracer is making, soft whimpers that hold a mix of frustration and eagerness. “Merde,” she growls, taking the omega’s lower lip between her teeth and tugging sharply. Part of her wants to hurt this obnoxiously appealing creature, but a larger part of her wants exactly the opposite.

Widowmaker would be horrified, but Widowmaker’s control is slipping rapidly as Amélie, or at least a selfish version of her, takes the reins. It’s like coming up for air after a very deep dive. Color is bleeding into the world, filling out the monotonous grey, and it all starts and ends with Tracer.

Tracer. The omega is in heat, Amélie realizes. In fact, it’s less of a realization and more of a smack across the face. Widowmaker had known it logically, but hadn’t cared. She was above such urges. Amélie is not. Every single feeling is rushing back at once, but one rises above the others, sweeping them up in its current: lust. For the first time in years, Amélie’s clit twitches and begins to swell.

“Pummedown,” she hears Tracer mumble between kisses. “Pummedownanuntieme.” The words are smushed together, and they spill out so fast that Amélie can hardly make sense of them. But she can’t claim this omega standing up, with one hand wrapped around her throat. She pushes Tracer onto the ground, not gently, but not with unnecessary roughness either. She doesn’t want to damage the body she’s about to enjoy.

Before Amélie can kneel, Tracer does something surprising. She squirms, rocking from side to side until she manages to flip onto her stomach. Although her hands are tied behind her back and her ankles are bound, there is one position she can enter: face flat against the carpet, knees bent, rear raised enticingly into the air.

Amélie’s clit extends further, throbbing as it fills with blood. The omega is presenting for her. Asking to be mounted. Widowmaker’s voice screams in Amélie’s head, telling her to aim her rifle and shoot, but it’s weak and distant. Amélie ignores it, setting her rifle on the couch and removing her visor. She stalks toward Tracer’s trembling form, pulling down the zipper at the front of her catsuit. This omega will be hers. She needs some outlet, any outlet, for this unexpected surge of feelings.

Tracer seems all too willing to be her vessel. The omega waves her rear, rocking eagerly against the empty air. Amélie can smell her arousal, a scent that grows twice as strong as she yanks down Tracer’s tight brown pants. For a moment, Amélie simply stares. It has been ages since she has seen this sight: a willing omega arching in search of her cock. The last time was Gerard.

Gerard. That name…

The spiderweb cracks in Amélie’s mind spread further. The world becomes more colorful, the scent and taste of omega-heat more captivating, the sound of Tracer’s whimpers all the sweeter. Yes. For the first time in years, Amélie remembers what it is like to want something with all of her being. To crave.

Tracer’s underwear is already a sopping mess. Amélie tears it down and out of the way, revealing Tracer’s slickness to the air. The omega’s lips are full and swollen, pouting open as if in invitation. Clear fluid drips from her entrance, spilling over her bright red clit to stream in rivers down her trembling thighs.

Amélie’s mouth waters. She is usually a patient huntress, one who waits for her prey to come to her before selecting the perfect moment to strike. Now, she has no patience at all. She is not a spider, but a beast: an animal unchained, filled with emotions she has not felt for what seems like a lifetime. She fists her cock in one hand, lining the tip up with Tracer’s entrance.

“Fuck!” Tracer’s hips buck, and Amélie’s cockhead slides off-target. It catches Tracer’s clit unintentionally, and she releases a desperate whine. “Fuck fuck fuck put it in put it in putitinme .”

Amélie cannot resist. Her conditioning is merely background noise, overwhelmed by instinct, and her instincts are telling her only one thing: get inside. She grasps Tracer’s hips, positioning herself back at the omega’s entrance and thrusting forward.

Hot. Tight. Wet. Tracer’s walls are a warm, silky glove around her shaft. They strain to pull her deeper even though Tracer yelps at the stretch, clearly not prepared despite her wetness. Amélie does not care. This omega’s scent is sending different signals entirely, and she is drunk with it. She plunges deeper, snarling and digging her fingers into Tracer’s burning flesh. She adores the way it yields to her grip, how the layer of softness feels shifting atop lean and toned muscle.

Yes. This omega will be hers, and she is going to savor every moment. No returning to the world of grey. Of nothingness. She is alive, her heart beating fast and hard. That is how she starts her thrusts: fast and hard. There is no finesse. There is none of the care she puts into her kills. She simply fucks, sloppily and savagely.

Tracer makes no objections. The omega mewls and cries and arches, wiggling constantly—not to escape, Amélie realizes, but to take each and every thrust. The bindings on Tracer’s wrists and ankles don’t seem to slow her down. She is as determined as she is desperate, and she fucks herself back onto Amélie’s cock with all the strength in her small, lithe body.

Amélie growls. The fullness within her is growing rapidly, pressure that sends shuddering twitches along her length. More feverish memories return, recollections of how it feels to rut, to knot, to come. Some dim part of Amélie wonders if these memories should be painful, but she is far too aroused to care. Perhaps later, if the grey doesn’t return, she will grieve their passing, but not now. Not in the present, when she is buried to the hilt in greedy omega heat.

Tracer squirms beneath her, uttering a stream of filth. “Fuck… fucking stuff me. That the best you can do? I want you to pound me bloody raw.”

Amélie isn’t sure if the omega even knows what she’s saying, but it doesn’t matter. She pumps harder, adding all the force she can to each stroke. It is heaven to push in and hell to pull out, and she cycles between both over and over. The whirlpool sucks her in, and she is a slave once more: not to Talon any longer, but to her own needs. She has forgotten how liberating it feels to be her own Mistress.

***

Lena yelps with each of Widowmaker’s thrusts, her vision blurring through tears. They aren’t tears of pain or fear, however. Her eyes are watering from pure, primitive joy. She’s been with female alphas before. In fact, they’re her exclusive preference. But none of them have ever fucked her this hard, this deep, or this well.

Widowmaker’s lean, lithe body gives few hints of the strength within, but Lena can feel it now. The force of each thrust rocks her forward, and the burning friction between her legs has her chewing the inside of her cheek. This is paradise. Whoever this alpha was before Talon, she must have been some kind of sex goddess.

Oh. Talon.

In spite of her heat, guilt churns in Lena’s stomach. She’s all right with this if Widowmaker is. She does a fair bit of dogging about with lady alphas even when she isn’t in heat, and her current vulnerability only turns her on more. But, bollocks. The mind control. She’s seen signs it’s slipping, but the thought some part of Widowmaker still has hold of the woman underneath… What had she said her name was?

“Amélie!”

Behind her, Widowmaker—Amélie—stops. It’s only for a second, but in Lena’s current sensitive state, it feels like an eternity. She says the name again, “Amélie,” a moaned plea rather than a cry.

Suddenly, Amélie starts pumping again, harder than before. Lena hadn’t even known that was possible. Amélie’s strokes are savage but deliberate, as if she has more control even though her need has grown wilder. She hits Lena’s front wall again and again, and a moment later, Lena feels an incredible stretch at her opening. The knot. Oh shit, Amélie is about to knot her.

Lena isn’t worried about the consequences. She’s on suppressants to keep her from getting pregnant. But knotting is an intimate act, one that requires trust, and less than an hour ago, Amélie had been trying to kill her. Then again, that had been Widowmaker, and Lena is growing more and more certain that the alpha fucking her isn’t Widowmaker anymore. In that case…

“Amélie,” she whimpers, arching her back and lifting her rear as high as it will go. “Do it. Do it do-it-do-it knot me knot me fuckingknotme.”

She isn’t sure if her chanting does the trick, or if Amélie’s need has simply grown too great, but either way, the bulge at Lena’s entrance starts pushing forward. It hurts. Motherfucker, it hurts, but it’s the best hurt she has ever felt. The stretch is incredible. Even as her body struggles to adjust, pleasure signals race through every nerve ending she has.

Lena feels a brief spike of fear—part of her isn’t sure something so huge can actually fit inside her—but then her omega instincts pull through. She releases another flood of wetness onto Amélie’s knot to ease the way, and her muscles loosen, allowing it to pop past her opening.

She comes a split second after her muscles seal around it, screaming the entire time. Full. Fuck, she’s full, so full her walls won’t stop fluttering. The ripples carry her to a lovely floaty place, a plane of existence where nothing exists but pleasure. A worthy alpha has knotted her, and the yearning emptiness within her has finally stopped howling for a mate.

“Merde! Je vais jouir!”

Reality comes crashing back as sharp spurts of heat flood Lena’s core. She whines and clenches when she realizes what it is. Amélie is coming, spilling what feels like rivers with each throb of her cock. Before Lena’s first orgasm can even fade to aftershocks, she comes again, clutching desperately around Amélie’s knot to draw out every drop. Her body doesn’t care that she’s on birth control. It wants this alpha’s litter despite any consequences.

“Shit-fuck-fucking fill me,” she groans, panting with each jet. “Want it. Want it so bloody bad.” Lena’s voice cracks, but she isn’t embarrassed. She’s far past that. All she wants in the world is for Amélie to keep coming inside her, to flood her until she can’t hold anymore.

She gets her wish. Amélie continues emptying for a long time, until Lena is too exhausted to rock backwards or strain against her bindings. She’s almost forgotten about them. Her fingers flex uselessly against her palms, and part of her wishes she could grab some part of Amélie’s body. Just to… just to feel her. To find out how warm and smooth her skin is.

Too soon, it’s over. Amélie collapses with a groan, and Lena exhales loudly, accepting the alpha’s weight on top of her. It’s only then that she realizes how sore she is. Her shoulders have been wrenched back for what feels like hours, her thighs are trembling from the effort of supporting her, and her cheek has a nasty bit of rugburn on it.

“Mind popping those knots on my wrists? Getting a touch sore. Heh. Pop. Knot. Yeah?”

Lena isn’t sure Amélie will oblige her request, but a moment later, the cord holding her wrists loosens, and she regains the use of her arms. The first thing she does is bring them forward and rotate her wrists to get the blood flowing. Then, she simply rests them at her sides, not trying to wriggle away or undo the tie.

“Brilliant. Thanks. Guess I’m not going anywhere for a while, though, right?”

Amélie makes a noise of agreement. “Non.”

“So, are you ready to tell me why you’ve been following me?”

There is no answer.

Lena sighs. “Stop being a bellend. I let you fuck me. You c’n at least tell me why you’re here.”

Instead of remaining silent, Amélie does something strange. She laughs. It’s not a cold or cruel sound, but light and warm like a summer breeze. “You assume I know.”

“You don’t know your own reason?” Then it hits. “Ah. Mind-control. Right. Er… how’s that going right about now?”

Another pause stretches between them. “I am… I am Amélie. It is—I am overwhelmed. I had forgotten.”

“Forgotten what?” Lena asks. “Who you are?”

“Non, ma bichette . How it is to feel.”

Lena is more surprised by the answer than the pet name, which she can’t discern the meaning of anyway. It’s almost impossible for her to imagine, not feeling anything at all. It makes her happy to think that, at least for a few minutes, Amélie has felt something.

“What happens now?”

Amélie sighs. “It will not last. Already, I feel her pressing at the edges of my mind. The grey leeches away the colors.”

“Overwatch could help you,” Lena protests. “We’ve got doctors. Scientists. Somebody there could—”

“Perhaps,” Amélie says. “Perhaps they will also kill me. They have reason to do so.” After a while, she adds, “If you take me alive in one of our battles, you will bring me to Overwatch.”

“I could bring you now,” Lena says. “After you pull out, I mean.”

“You will not. Already I suspect Talon knows of my location. You are in heat. This will make you vulnerable.”

“You’re mental. I’m not just going to let you spider-swing out of here now we’ve shagged—wait, what are you doing?” Lena groans unhappily as the fullness inside her shifts, sliding out with a slick sound. Amélie’s knot has shrunk enough for her to withdraw.

Lena turns, but doesn’t have the strength or speed to clamber up as Amélie stands and zips up her catsuit. She still smells like sex and alpha, and Lena’s insides quiver as her desire stirs again.

“Adieu,” Amélie murmurs, staring for a long moment before she picks up her rifle and grappling hook. Then, quick as a flash, she leaps out the open window, swinging off into the night.

She’s gone so suddenly that Lena blinks in confusion, wondering if Amélie had even been there at all. But the proof is everywhere: bruised wrists, sore naughty bits, ruined knickers that are getting damper thanks to the mess still leaking out of her. With a sigh, Lena rolls over onto her back, gathering the strength to pick herself up and head for the bathroom. She’s going to need a shower and forty winks. Her heat’s satisfied for now, but it’s going to be a difficult three days. Plus, after this, she’s going to have to ask Winston some very pointed questions.

***

There are cracks in Amélie’s conditioning.

It takes several hours for the color to fade, for Widowmaker to reassert her control. Amélie spends them wandering through London in the rain, sticking to the shadows so no one will see her. When Talon contacts her, she will be ready with an excuse. However, she cannot resist smelling her gloved hands. They hold Tracer’s scent on them, and when she inhales, the grey fog, both inside and outside of her head, recedes, allowing some light to filter through.

There are cracks in Amélie’s conditioning, and when it shatters for good, she suspects her first sight will be a pair of warm brown eyes, wind-tousled hair, and a lopsided grin.