“Smoking is bad for you, you know.”
“Fuck off.” Ashe takes an extra-long drag of her cigar to prove her point, and then spits into the ashtray on her nightstand, glaring back at her.
As far as obnoxious rich assholes go, Ashe isn’t too bad. Her bedroom décor is chintzy and tasteless; there’s mounted animal heads and animal skin rugs and cowboy paraphernalia and gold-plated, diamond-encrusted whatever adorning every free inch of real estate, but at least she knows it’s tacky. Ashe’s cowgirl shtick is performance art. She rides a fucking hoverbike. She’s probably never touched a saddle in her life, let alone raised cattle. This is all a game to her, playing make-believe with other people’s lives and money. But Sombra appreciates Ashe, and for one reason and one reason only: she knows just how shitty of a person she is, and she’ll own up to it.
“Do you always smoke after having sex?”
“Only if it’s bad.”
The rooms in Ashe’s mansion are huge, with big windows and lots of sunlight. It’s too clean, like a model home, and it’s obvious she doesn’t spend a lot of time here. She bought it so she could show off, flaunt her dirty money, play at being a mob boss without suffering any of the consequences. Sombra knows everything about her: her parents, her upbringing, her allies, her enemies. She knows how to cut her off from her supporters. She knows how to sink her. She doesn’t have a reason to, but she can, and Ashe knows, she will.
Ashe isn’t scared. The good ones never are. It’s not like she’s ever had much to fear in the first place, but her confidence doesn’t stem from her ignorance. She’s level-headed and quick-thinking, resourceful and decisive. The Deadlocks wouldn’t control every major criminal operation from Houston to San Diego otherwise. Money is part of it, for sure, but anyone can have money. Not everyone can run a gang.
“You know, I make a living destroying the lives of people like you.”
“I’m aware.” Ashe looks straight ahead, puffing on her cigar. “Hasn’t happened to me yet, but you’re welcome to try.”
“You think you could bribe your way out of it?”
“Something like that,” she says disinterestedly. “But you know what gangs are like. Money won’t make you invincible. If I’m not dead by then, then I’ll pack up and start a new life somewhere else. Maybe Hawaii.” She dumps a few ashes from her cigar into her tray.
She smirks at that, briefly, but says nothing.
Sombra grins and leans in. “What, you never pictured you and him with a bunch of little Jesses and Elizabeths running around? This house is so big; it must get pretty lonely sometimes…”
Ashe pushes her face away. “You are such a little…”
“I don’t blame you for finding him charming.”
Ashe looks away. “Goddammit, Colomar, don’t make me regret this.”
“You mean you haven’t already?”
“I don’t have the time for it.”
Sombra clicks her tongue. “Good.”
“You’re still working for Los Muertos, aren’t you?” she asks, casually. “Everyone says you don’t pick sides, but I know whose side you’re really on.”
“I don’t burn bridges, mi amor. I just build new ones.”
“I’m surprised you don’t hate me more.”
“Oh, I do. But too much would make me a hypocrite.”
Ashe gives her a withering stare. “Didn’t think you cared about something like that.”
Sombra sits up on the bed. “You hardly know me.”
“But to think Los Muertos’ secret weapon was a single woman… There’s something admirable about that, I’d reckon. Reminds me a little of Jesse. He’d always brag about how he was self-made, even though he hardly had anything to start…” Her gaze is far away. “Then that black ops guy strutted in and suddenly he was all about Overwatch. I don’t blame him. He’s exactly the type to be doling out vigilante justice. Always thinks he knows more than everyone else,” she puffs hard on her cigar, waves it around in the air, “always think he’s God’s gift to the highway… That dumb fuck. He tells me I’m the one who needs to change, but looking at him is like staring into the past. No one’s changed.” She taps a few more ashes into her tray. “All Overwatch did was reinforce what he learned from working with us: that the people you care about will only disappoint you, in the end.”
“You’ve had a lot of time to think about this, huh?” Sombra asks.
“I’m surprised you’re still listening to me instead of staring at my tits.”
“I can multitask.”
She chuckles. “I don’t know. I don’t care who you really are, I guess, or what you could do to me. None of it matters, when it comes down to it.” She snuffs out her cigar and leaves it in the ashtray. “Who I fuck, where I live, what I do… What I don’t.” She looks totally lost without something to occupy her hands or her mouth. “Bein’ rich is like bein’ a celebrity. Your whole life becomes your job. People think it’s easy, but they don’t realize just how much shit can go wrong. Money can’t buy happiness.”
“But it makes it a hell of a lot easier,” Sombra laughs.
“Does it?” Ashe looks at her, then.
“I don’t know. And you’re right. I don’t give a fuck, because you’re sitting on piles of money while people are dying of poverty and there is nothing that makes you more deserving of having all this useless shit,” she gestures around the room, “than anyone else, and you waste it all enriching yourself and protecting your own fortune when you’re already beyond more than comfortable. Rich people think they’re fucking gods, and I bring them back down to earth where they belong.”
Sombra’s heart is pounding. She clenches her teeth. “You didn’t have to be a criminal. You had a million other options. Me…”
“You wanted to be the good guy, huh?” She looks almost sympathetic.
“I’m not going to pretend I had no other choice.” Sombra looks down. “When you’re a kid, you think you want one thing, and then you get it and when you grow up you realize what you really wanted was something different.”
Ashe is quiet.
“I didn’t show up so I could lecture you or blackmail you. Carajo. I didn’t even come here to talk.”
“Gathering intel?” she ventures.
Sombra looks at her.
“I figured you might use last night against me somehow, but you already knew that, didn’t you? We’re criminals, after all. You can never be too sure in our line of work.”
She doesn’t tense up. She doesn’t even feel scared, really.
“So what’d you do? Hack into my house? Steal the keys to my bike? Call up McCree?” Her tone is patient, unassuming. “Should I expect my house to be surrounded by cops? I’d even believe you if you said you just wanted to get into my pants.”
Sombra searches her face. She doesn’t even know what she’s looking for; she hadn’t expected Ashe to be so, well… grown-up. Where was her legendary temper? Why wasn’t she shouting? She’d been looking for a weakness that she’d only find on her in person, but nothing stands out as particularly obvious. There’s no hostility in her face or her voice, only calm and self-assurance.
Well. This is Deadlock turf, after all. She has no reason not to be.
“Just curious, I guess,” she lies. “I’m a hacker; it’s in my nature.”
Ashe smirks. “That so?”
“I’ve been known to take a few risks every now and then.”
“Calculated ones, I’m sure.”
“Less than you might think.”
A look of surprise flits across her face before she subdues it. “You’re tellin’ me you had nothing planned?”
“Were you expecting me to gloat about how I stole all your money, or something?”
“You’re free to take it if you can get your hands on it.”
“What is the Deadlock Gang to you, anyway?”
Ashe is silent. Then, her expression hardens.
“It’s not too late to pop the question, you know.” Sombra grins. “If you’re lucky he might even take you back. Hell, I’m pretty sure the reason he’s so dedicated to taking down the Deadlock Gang is because he can’t stop thinking about—” Sombra barely dodges a punch. Ashe’s fist sails past her face, and then she grabs Ashe’s wrist and smiles. “That’s what this is all about. Isn’t it? Overwatch is dead; Gabe is AWOL; McCree is disillusioned, so he goes back to the one thing familiar to him.”
“You sneaky little rat,” Ashe hisses.
“I could have kept it to myself,” says Sombra, “but I just did you a favor by letting you know. And hey—I get it. I never had much of a family either. I don’t blame either of you for sticking to what you know.”
“You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“I usually don’t,” she says.
Ashe glares at her.
“You think you can handle me?” Sombra purrs. She trails her fingertips along the bedsheets until they meet the inside of Ashe’s thigh. “I have to admit, it’d look pretty bad if the Deadlock Gang couldn’t take care of one puny little hacker.”
Her eyes narrow. “What are you gettin’ at, Colomar?”
“Just screwing with you,” she laughs, pulling away her hand, and this time she’s being truthful. “I don’t have to come to your house to fuck you over, and I definitely don’t have to touch you. If I didn’t like you, then I wouldn’t be here.”
“Oh yeah?” She looks unconvinced.
Sombra shrugs. “You knew it was coming.”
Ashe looks to the side. “Reckon I did.”
Sombra is quiet, for a moment. Then she says, “You know, some people, all they care about is getting their way, and they’ll walk all over anyone or anything that tries to stop them. They have no empathy, no shame—no nothing that makes them decent human beings. Just arrogant bastards who don’t know when to quit. We’re all guilty of it, I guess, but some people take it further than others. You know why he keeps doing it.”
Ashe doesn’t look back at her, but she gets the message.
Because you let him.
“If you really tried, you know, you could get rid of him. And now I know your weakness.”
“You must not have a lot of friends, huh,” Ashe says.
“I have a reputation to live up to, you know? I’d hate to disappoint—especially someone as pretty as you.”
Ashe stares at her. “You’re full of shit.”
“Touché, blanquita. I won’t judge—but if you don’t take care of that problem, then eventually someone else will. Just a thought.” She slips out of bed from underneath the covers and starts picking up her clothes.
“You’re gettin’ off on this, aren’t you?”
“Kind of late to be scared now, isn’t it.”
Ashe is quiet while she dresses, but Sombra can feel her eyes on her.
“Who is it?” she asks, with a sort of quiet desperation. “Is it Reyes? Lacroix? O’Deorain? What do you want from me, Colomar? You know Jesse is ex-Blackwatch and you know Talon is tryin’ their damnedest to—”
Sombra wets her lips. Now for the hard part. She stares at her and rubs her thumb against the palm side of her index and middle fingers. “You want Talon intel, you gotta pay up.”
“With what?” Her voice seethes with anger.
Ashe is small-time compared to some of Sombra’s other “friends,” and she actually likes McCree. She would have done it anyway. But if she’s offering…
“We should do this again,” Sombra suggests.
“Have sex?” She looks baffled.
“No, like,” she makes a vague hand motion, “well, yes, but also… I mean, it’s a nice place to crash when I’m in town, and you’re kinda hot, and you’re not so bad for una rica, así que… deberíamos…”
“What in tarnation are you jabbering on about?”
“Go out with me?”
Ashe stares at her.
“What can I say?” She smirks. “Sometimes I like a fixer-upper.”
Her face turns from white to bright red. “That is the last time…” she rises from the bed, stark-naked and somehow all the more terrifying for it, “you ever…” she pulls a gun out of her nightstand drawer, which Sombra had been expecting, “toy with my feelings again.” Ashe presses the barrel of the gun to her forehead.
Sombra holds up her hands and looks her in the eyes, hopeful. “Is that a yes?”
She considers it for a moment, and then scowls at her.
“Fuck it.” She drops the gun to the floor and kisses Sombra roughly, pushing her back onto the bed. “But the next time you cross me,” her hands close around Sombra’s neck, “you’re dead.”
She grins. “I’m looking forward to it.”
“Good.” Ashe straddles her hips. “Now shut up and let me fuck you.”