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Strange Addiction

Chapter Text

Bangalore grunted as a hail of bullets impacted her shield. “Shooter on the roof! It’s Pathfinder!” She watched as Bloodhound, who was going through a death box, was cut down. As she entered the nearest building, Gibraltar, who was right behind her, took multiple shots and was also knocked down.

Something clicked in the back of her mind. Isn’t Wraith in a squad with Pathfinder now? As soon as she had the thought, there was the distinct sound of a portal opening. Bangalore heard the sound of a Peacekeeper fire and felt the pellets dig into her chest and neck. She stumbled and fell forward, passing Wraith and her portal on the way to the ground.

She had that shit-eating grin, just like always. “Surprise,” she said smugly, picking up the rifle Bangalore had been carrying. Wraith checked the gun was loaded, aimed at Bangalore’s head, and fired once.

Bangalore woke up soon after that, head pounding. The last moments in the arena replayed in her head. Wraith stealing her gun and using it to finish her. That’s my move . Well. Bangalore clenched her fists. She would get her revenge.

~~~

Wraith and Pathfinder had split up momentarily. Pathfinder was headed to a respawn beacon to bring Mirage back, and Wraith wanted to loot a few more buildings, find a few more rounds for her R-301, or maybe a helmet. 

She heard the voice just as she opened the door. Someone's got you in their sights.

She turned around to close the door and was greeted with a bullet to the head, knocking her to the ground. The shot had come from a far distance. 

A few moments later, she heard footsteps making their way closer. Bangalore stood tall over her, confident grin plastered across her face. “You know,” she said, crouching down. “I've seen training dummies that are harder to hit than you.” She shook her head. “Let's face it, we both knew it was gunna end this way. I'm a professional shooter. You? I've seen F.N.G.s with better aim.” She unholstered a pistol, pressed it to Wraith's temple, and fired.

Later, after Wraith had woken up and went home, she spotted a news headline. “ BUDDING NEW RIVALRY? WRAITH AND BANGALORE TRADING KILLS ”.

She's a threat, the voices said. She's in your way. You have to take her down.

“That, I can do.”

~~~

They decided to drop into Bridges, with Pathfinder and Mirage going into the wall below. Wraith landed on the high cliff, and pushed into the nearest house. Trouble was, there was no gun in there, and someone else opened the opposite door.

It's You Bangalore. getneed her. a gun.Run!

The voices crowded together, unable to come to a consensus. Wraith clenched her fists as Bangalore stopped to assess the situation. She smirked at Wraith. “Go on, rookie. Run into your little portal and get out of here.”

Wraith took just a second, turned, and closed the door behind her. She faced Bangalore with a wolfish grin. “No, I think I'll kill you right here, right now.”

Bangalore laughed, shook her head. “I got bad news for ya. One of us is gunna lose. And it’s not gunna be me.” She cracked her knuckles. “Let’s dance.”

They both raised their fists, approaching each other, waiting to see who’d take the first swing. Wraith struck first, jumping and aiming a kick at Bangalore’s stomach in hopes to surprise her. It didn’t work. The soldier simply stepped past the kick and delivered a right hook that staggered Wraith into the wall.

Watch out!

Wraith slipped into the void just as Bangalore’s fist was about to meet the back of her head. Instead, it found the wall. Wraith came back into reality with a hand on Bangalore’s head, slamming her face into the wall before she could recover. Bangalore managed to kick backwards, hitting Wraith hard in the knee. She spun, delivering a jab right into Wraith’s nose, knocking her onto her back. Bangalore straddled Wraith, delivering two harsh blows into her gut. As her fist fell for a third, Wraith caught it, pulled her closed and used the momentum to sit up and headbutt Bangalore, who rolled off onto her side. Wraith managed to recover first, using the wall to get to her feet. She reared back and delivered one hard kick to Bangalore's ribs, leaving her wheezing and curl upon herself. Wraith took the opportunity to take a few deep breaths and massage her temple. She nudged Bangalore's head away from her chest, raised her knee, and stomped.

Wraith stood triumphant above Bangalore's death box, wearing her smug grin. “Maybe in another time or space, you could have kil-”

Wraith's one-liner was cut short as Bloodhound opened the door and shot her.

Later that day, headlines touted the vicious brawl as a must-see. Holovids everywhere read out:

MUST SEE CLIP! Wraith and Bangalore engage in gritty melee! Click to see what happens next!

~~~

“Heeeeeeeeeeeelllllooooooooooooooo everyone and welcome on this fine Saturday afternoon, I am Cotton McKnight along with my partner Pepper Brooks, and you are watching The Climax! Your number 1 source for all Apex Games coverage, day and night.”

“Ha, I get it, it’s night like your name.”

“Well, not quite Pepper, but let’s not focus on us, let’s focus on the biggest story of this season, the Bangalore-Wraith rivalry. Pepper, I cannot think of a time when we’ve had two legends who went at each other with so much bitter ferocity.”

“Yea, Cotton, I gotta tell ya, I don’t think they like each other.”

“That deep analysis is why we keep you around Pepper. Now, after the brutal scrap our two Legends had last week, we’re going to go back and remember some of our favorite kills between the two.”

“That’s right Cotton, and I want to start off with a month ago, we’re at Artillery, and Bangalore gets the drop on Wraith. Now that doesn’t happen often, it’s like Wraith has a sixth sense. But instead of finishing Wraith with a bullet or a fist, she called in her rolling thunder barrage, and dropped one of those giant missiles right onto Wraith’s helpless body. Word is, that gave Artillery a permanent paint job.”

“And did you notice how the next few matches, there were a couple less squads willing to drop Artillery. But if we’re talking brutal, you can’t forget a few weeks ago when Wraith was low health, trying to escape Bangalore’s near perfect aim, and opened up one of those portals. Little did Bangalore know, Wraith had set a trap for her. Bangalore entered the portal, Wraith snapped it shut, and that was that. About five minutes later, when Wraith set another portal to flank some enemies, Bangalore’s death box came sliding out. That's what I can cruel and unusual punishment!”

“Now Cotton, if we’re talking about portals, let’s not forget that Bangalore learned from her mistake. Two weeks ago, instead of following Wraith in, she sent a few arc stars through the portal. Wraith may look like a ninja, but she was the one to get shurikened. And blown to bits.”

“Straight out of an anime, Pepper. I have a feeling that next week, our bitter rivals will pull out something especially savage for the season one finale. Now, we have to take a short break to hear from our sponsors. When we come back, you’ll be getting an in-depth look into the newest legend in the Apex Games, ready to speed his way through the competition next season, Octane!”

~~~

Mirage was three ahead of her in the entry line. There were security checks before everyone loaded into the dropship, to make sure legends weren't bringing in anything other than their approved kits. Wraith watched as Mirage fumbled about, activating his holo-decoy on accident. She shook her head. He managed to play it off with the security guards. He said something that had them both chuckling, though Wraith didn't catch what it was. In any case, the guard let Mirage pass and enter the dropship.

The procedure was fairly simple. A quick visual check, a check of any pouches or compartments in your gear, and a half-hearted pat down, and you were through. Wraith had no issues, and found a seat next to Mirage on the dropship. She leaned in close and whispered, “You get it?”

He smirked and rested his head against hers. “Yea, I bamboozled him good.” Wraith nodded and sat back in her seat, mind already at work imagining the look on Bangalore's face.

Speaking of, Bangalore was boarding the dropship and walked by Wraith, staring daggers at her. “I hear,” Wraith said tauntingly, “there will be rare gear at Water Treatment.” Bangalore didn’t respond to Wraith, but the look she gave her told Wraith everything she needed to know. Bangalore would be there.

The dropship’s path passed right over Water Treatment. Wraith’s squad, Bangalore’s squad, and an additional squad all dropped. As they were jetting down to land, Mirage flew close and held out a white and red canister. “This is gunna be good, huh?” Wraith smirked as she pulled up, preparing to land. “Only for me.”

The fighting began almost instantly. The scramble for a gun saw few winners, and those without one took off across the open. Wraith landed in a safe spot, where she could watch the chaos unfold. She saw Bangalore running across the open area, gunning down two legends. Wraith pulled out her canister, twisted, and grinned as red smoke began to pour from the top. She gave it a good toss, aiming in Bangalore's direction.

A second later, a rain of missiles came crashing to the ground, coating the area where Bangalore was. A few seconds after that, detonation. Wraith let out a hearty laugh as the announcer called out, “We have a new kill leader!”

~~~

“What. A. Final. Day. Cotton.”

“I couldn’t have said it better myself, Pepper. We knew it would be a good one on our final day of the 124th season of the Apex Games! Now, we're going to be talking plenty about our new champion, Lifeline, BUT, before we get to that we're gunna cover the story that barely takes a back seat to our newest champ, the insane situation between Wraith and Bangalore. Pepper, have you EVER seen something like that?”

“Cotton, that missile barrage didn't belong to Wraith.”

“It certainly didn't, but that didn't stop her from tossing it out on in the canyon. She picked up four kills from that, catapulting her into the kill leader position. She and her squad ended up coming in third, but that's not what mattered.”

“No, Cotton, this was a message. And I hate to break it to you Wraith, but the Game Masters have a message for you!”

“That's right, in a brief press release, we learned that there would be punishment handed down to Wraith for her actions, both for smuggling in foreign kit and using another Legend's kit. There was no mention of what that punishment might be, but you have to figure it's going to cost Wraith in the prize money department.”

“I don't know about that one, Cotton. This whole season, Wraith hasn't been focused on winning. Neither has Bangalore. They've been at each other's throats for months. This isn't about money for them. This is personal.”

“I think you're right, Pepper. Alright folks, time for a word from some of our sponsors. When we get back, we're gunna take a look at the top 10 kills of the season, and you know you'll be seeing Bangalore and Wraith.”

~~~

It would be good for the ratings, of course. And any victories they had would bank her extra cash due to the fanfare. Even if she was in it for the money, that didn't do a damn thing to calm Bangalore down. For season 125, she would be in a squad with the F.N.G. and Wraith . She couldn't even think the name without baring her teeth.

I'm being punished for her shit.

Bangalore clenched her fists. It was going to be a long season.

Chapter Text

Anita turned down the hall to find her new squad’s housing unit. With her heavy backpack and a duffel bag over each shoulder, she felt more like a pack mule than a person, but there was no way she trusted some random worker to carry her gear.

The Legends were housed in a massive building. Every season, when squads were changed up, they were assigned new rooms. The whole building was modular, so each Legend got to choose what facilities they wanted in their rooms. Each member of the squad’s choices were fit together to become their squad housing for the season.

Anita had never been one for changing routines, so she requested the same quarters as last year. A bedroom, an armoury, a workout room, a shooting range. “Octane” had requested a workout room as well, so they'd only get on. Anita wasn't thrilled about the idea of sharing her space, but there wasn't much she could do.

She reached the door that led to her housing. There was a fingerprint scanner mounted to the wall as a lock. Anita pressed her index finger to the glass, and there was a click as the door unlocked. She pushed it open, sliding the duffels off of her shoulders to maneuver them through the doorframe. Apart from the open entryway, the door opened into the communal living space. Much to Anita's disdain, her first view upon entering was of Wraith asleep on one of the couches.

Not feeling any shame for being petty, Bangalore slammed the door behind her as loud as she could. Wraith didn't seem to stir at all, and Bangalore just rolled her eyes. She moved through the living area to her bedroom, where she dropped one of her duffel bags. She could hear heavy breathing, a steady rhythm of thuds, and the whir of a treadmill doing its best to go just a little faster than it was meant to. She placed her other duffel down and tossed her backpack onto her bed.

She moved back through the living room, into the hallway and down to the workout room. She leaned against the doorframe and saw Octane on the treadmill. He was faced mostly away from her, so she felt content to just watch for a few moments as he ran at speeds that would rival a car. After a minute or two, he noticed her out of the corner of his eye. Without missing a beat, he spun around and began running backwards, almost as fast, now facing Bangalore. “Hey Amiga! Good to meet you. Hey, you wanna go for a run? I’m almost finished my warmup.” Bangalore rolled her eyes, moving into the workout room and sitting on one of the weight benches.

“Heard you were fast. Guess I should have believed the rumors.”

His mouth was covered by his training mask, but Bangalore could see the grin in his eyes. “That’s right. You’re looking at the undisputed record holder of the Gauntlet speed run.”

Anita chuckled. “And it only cost you both your legs. Was it worth it?”

There was no hesitation in Octane's “Hells yeah! I'm famous now! It was kinda lame though. I mean, the run. Only 12 seconds! That's nothing, you know?”

Anita smirked. “Right, blowing yourself up was lame.”

“In the ring, I'll be running circles around bad guys all day long!” Suddenly, he spun around and began to run normally on the treadmill again, pushing it to it's maximum speed. With one last huge step, he stopped running, rode the tread to the end, jumped off and did a backflip. He would have stuck the landing, too, if his momentum didn't send him halfway across the room smacking into the wall. Anita sighed as he got up, chuckling as if nothing happened. “I can't wait, amiga!”

“Try not to get a concussion before our first match,” she said, turning and leaving Octane to his 'warmup’. She noticed as she moved back through the living room that Wraith had disappeared from the couch, probably into her own room. Good riddance.

Bangalore would have to carry her team on her shoulders this season. What else was new.

~~~

Wraith was asleep on the couch again. Where else would she be? She'd barely moved in the two weeks they'd been living together. Anita wasn't sure she'd seen Wraith move once. She simply appeared or disappeared when Anita wasn't in the room.

She walked over to the couch and kicked the leg. “Wake up!" she barked. "We have to get to the dropship. We deploy in an hour.” Wraith didn't stir. Anita scowled as she reached to shake Wraith awake. “Wake uh-”

Wraith eyes shot open as Anita's hand neared her shoulder and her hand clamped onto Anita's wrist. “Don't touch me,” she spit, pushing the too-close arm out of the way and standing quickly. “Let's go.” She brushed past Anita and out the door, where Octane was waiting, giving him a curt nod as she passed.

“Freak,” Bangalore muttered as she followed, closing the door to their room behind her.

~~~

To say their first match was a disaster was putting it lightly. Octane was the jumpmaster, which was probably for the best. Wraith and Bangalore had been busy staring holes into each other on the dropship, sitting on opposite sides. Meanwhile, he couldn't sit still. Gibraltar had joked that he should save his energy for running from the ring, but the adrenaline of entering his first match was unbearable.

He decided they should go for a hot drop to start off the season, and what place better than Skulltown? As they descended down to imminent chaos, however, Wraith silently split off from Octane and Bangalore, veering towards Thunderdome. Octane changed direction to follow, but was a bit late. He and Bangalore ended up on the opposite side of Thunderdome, with two other squads landing in the area. Octane raced to a loot location but found that Gibraltar had beat him to a Peacekeeper. One clean shot knocked him down.

"Sorry brudda. Can't let you run this time, haha!" As the larger man aimed to finish Octane off, he shouted as he was hit from behind. Suddenly the area was filled with smoke, and the faint image of Bangalore was shoving a syringe into his chest. There was gunfire almost immediately, however, and Bangalore cried out.

She dropped to her knees, and everything went dark.

~~~

Octane rubbed the back of his head as he sat down at the table. "Sorry about that, Amiga. First day jitters got the best of me."

Bangalore looked up from her bowl of oatmeal, first to Octane, then to Wraith, asleep on the couch. "Trust me," she said, a sneer in her voice. "It's not your fault."

Seemingly in response, Wraith shifted on the couch, tossing for a bit. She let out a noise that Octane couldn't place, something like a mix between a growl and a whimper, or maybe in between. She finally settled with her back turned to Bangalore and Octane, head pushed against the armrest and backrest, and didn't move for as long as Octane remained at the table.

Chapter Text

“You’re fast! And that’s coming from me!”

Anita chuckled as she stretched her arms over her head. When Octane invited her for a run around the compound, she had been prepared for a marathon sprint. For the first time in years, she could admit that a workout kicked her ass. 

As they reached their dorm, Anita wiped her hand on her shorts to clear off the sweat and held her finger to the scanner. 

Wraith was on the couch, again. Anita balled her fists at her side. Always asleep on the couch. Never training. Never preparing. Never in her own fucking room. Always taking up the whole couch. 

She moved to the kitchen to prepare a protein shake. It was uncanny that they couldn’t make the damn things taste good, no matter how many years went by. She reached into the pantry and grabbed a jar of peanut butter, adding a healthy glob to the shake. There was a fine line between adding too little and not getting the flavor through, and adding too much and making it too thick to drink. Of course, Anita made it perfectly every time. 

Octane had gone to use the shower, and while they each had their own bathroom, the water pressure was not great when two showers ran at once, so Anita would wait until Octane was finished. That gave her time to stare at Wraith, who was as still as a corpse on the couch, laid on her back, stomach barely moving up and down to indicate breathing. It took a minute before Anita realized that Wraith's eyes were actually open. 

She continued to drink her shake as she stared at the quiet woman. Finally, annoyance and curiosity got the better of her and she stood, walking over to the couch. Wraith's eyes stared straight ahead, drilling holes into the ceiling. "What are you doing?" Anita asked, disdain in her voice. Wraith's eyes flashed to her, just for a millisecond, then back to the ceiling. She didn't respond. Anita took another sip of her shake. "You know," she said with mock friendliness, "if you can't sleep, you could go shoot in the range." Anita smirked cruelly. "Have you seen your stats? Your accuracy is pitiful so far. Worse even than last season." 

Wraith's eyes shifted back to Anita, full of hatred. If looks could kill. She didn't back down from Wraith's stare, though. As she held her gaze, she noticed just how bloodshot Wraith's eyes were, and the dark bags that accompanied them. But another sip of her protein shake, and she was finished, and she could hear Octane getting out of the shower. "Sleep tight," she said mockingly as she turned and walked away from the couch. 

~~~

They were pinned down behind a large rock outcropping. The enemy team was across a large open space, holed up in a building. Bangalore popped up and unloaded a few shots from her G7 before ducking back into cover. "We gotta make a move here. We're sitting ducks!"

'I hear ya, chica! I'm ready to run." Octane looked at Wraith. "You ready to go?" 

Wraith nodded. Bangalore reloaded quickly. "Alright. I'll lay down some smoke." She pulled out her smoke launcher. "In 3...2...1…now!" She popped up from cover and shot two smoke canisters, one close and one further towards the building. Octane stuck himself with an injection of Stim and he and Bangalore were off to the races. 

Wraith, however, went around the other side of their cover. She watched as Bangalore and Octane drew the enemy's fire, watched them duck though the smoke. She saw Octane throw down a jump pad and both of them launch up onto the roof of the building. Wraith, however, stayed low and made it to the door at ground level undetected. She double checked that her Spitfire was fully loaded, took a breath, and kicked the door in. 

There was no one on the first floor, but Wraith could hear heavy gunfire coming from upstairs. Bangalore and Octane were likely trying to push in from the rooftop staircase. "I'm down!" Bangalore called out over comms. 

Time to end this fight. Wraith ascended the staircase, just peeking over the railing, and pulled the trigger. She knocked Bloodhound first, quickly moving to Gibraltar, and finally Lifeline, before all three disappeared and death boxes took their places. She pulled off the large box mag and snapped in a new one as she ascended the stairs to the room. Octane was administering himself with a med kit while Bangalore had moved just below the roofline to stay out of sight. Wraith smirked down at her. "Did your weapon malfunction?" She asked, voice as smug as she could muster. "Or did you?" 

Bangalore snarled at her. "Pick me up." 

Wraith let out an amused 'huh' and turned, choosing instead to begin looking through the loot of the dead enemies. She could hear Octane behind her giving Bangalore a syringe. 

Behind you.

Wraith sidestepped just in time to avoid Bangalore shoving her. "You just couldn't be a team player, could you," Bangalore spit at her. "We had our plan, but you had to run off on your own."

Wraith gave her an incredulous look. "Maybe you didn't notice, but it worked. You were the bait. I got all three kills." 

Wraith took great satisfaction in watching Bangalore struggle with the truth. Still, she pushed through to continue her angry rant. "It worked this time. What if they weren't looking at us? What if they rotated. You set out on your own. It's gotten you killed multiple times already." She pressed closer to Wraith, shoving a finger into her shoulder. "You're holding us back."

Wraith smacked Bangalore's hand away, snarling. "I told you not to touch me." 

Bangalore curled her fists, and so did Wraith. Wraith grinned, itching for this fight. It's been almost a month since their last match against each other. She could see Bangalore was ready too. She never got revenge for Wraith stealing her missile strike. Just as they were about to come to blows, Octane stepped between the two.

“Chicas please, save this for the other Legends. We gotta go!” He pointed out the window of the building. “The ring is closing! Let’s run!”

Wraith and Bangalore shared a long, angry stare before Wraith broke away first, purposely knocking her shoulder into Bangalore as she walked by. 

~~~

They ended up coming in 8th. It was fucking embarrassing to have to deal with Wraith and her constant temper tantrums. The media's spotlight was constantly focused on them. Her phone was blowing up with articles about the fight in the match today. She couldn't sleep, which was only making her angrier. 

She slumped back in her chair. Get it together, Anita. You're a professional. You do your job. Doesn't matter the circumstances. Ain't no sea too rough. She sighed. Her motivation internal monologue wasn't helping her feel tired. 

Her thoughts were soon interrupted by an ear-piercing scream. There was no way Octane could make that sound, which left one suspect. Anita stormed out of her room, heading towards Wraith's bedroom. 

"What the fuck is yo-" she snarled as she doing open the door to Wraith's room, though the sight before her made her bite her tongue. Wraith was sitting up in her bed, sheets pooled on her waist as though she'd suddenly sat up in the middle of her sleep. She had no top on, and was covered in sweat, her hair matted to her shoulders. Her eyes had turned white, as Anita had noticed they sometimes do when she used her phasing technology. She had a real thousand yard stare going, and was breathing heavily. She was topless and -

Fuck, Anita, stop staring at her tits, not this again. Get yourself together. 

She wiped her hand over her face. Wraith had still not seemed to notice she was there. "What happened?" Anita demanded. 

As if a switch had been flipped, Wraith's eyes shot to Anita. She looked absolutely terrified. She was like a deer in the headlights. A twinge of pity struck Anita. After a moment of them staring at each other, Wraith scrambled out of her sheets and darted to her bathroom. Anita averted her eyes in at the appropriate time, and looked up again when the bathroom door slammed shut. She paused for a moment, unsure of what to do or say. 

"Get out of my room," Wraith growled from beyond the door. There was a pause. "Get out!" Her voice shook that time. 

Anita took a few steps backwards, out of the door. "I'm going," she called out. More gently, more caring than she intended. There was no response, and Anita didn't want to wait for one. She pulled the door closed behind her. 

Octane was standing in the common room in a cheetah print onesie. He looked concerned, but Anita shook her head. "Whatever is up with her, she doesn't want our help. Better to just leave her be." Octane looked dejected, but turned around and trudged back to his room. Anita couldn't believe he could ever move so slow. 

She headed back to her room as well. She flipped down on her bed, burying her face in her pillows. The image of Wraith looking so vulnerable and fragile came back to her. It was hard to believe that existed behind her usual cocky, callous demeanor. The image of her naked from the waste up also came to mind, which made Anita curse into her pillow. 

You are not developing a crush on Wraith, Anita. What is wrong with you?

She needed to clear her head. She slipped on her running shoes, grabbed her earbuds, and slipped out of the dorm to go for a long, hard run.

Chapter Text

You need to heal.

"I know!" Wraith grumbled, out loud even though the voice was in her head. She was sprinting through the small buildings of Skulltown, on the run from a full squad. She ducked around a corner and into a small hut. She pulled out a syringe and shoved it into her arm. 

They’re coming, hurry!  

She felt the healing medicine rush into her bloodstream, but it was too little, too late. Bloodhound had tracked her down, and two shots from a Wingman finished her off. 

~~~

That was your fault.

“I know.”

You dozed off. You let them sneak up on your team.

“I. Know.” 

You let them down.

“And who’s fault is that?” Wraith shouted at the shower wall. She let her head press against the wall and felt the water run down her back. She felt confident that Octane and Bangalore wouldn’t come investigate her yell, as they were blasting music while they worked out. 

The voices didn't have an answer for that. Just the white noise of dozens of alternate realities blending together. She hadn't slept in two days. It was almost unbearable. 

Earlier, in the ring...she'd meant to keep an eye out the window for enemy squads. They'd just escaped the closing ring, but had heard gunshots behind them. It was likely another squad would be trailing them. Easy targets. Bangalore and Octane moved through the cluster of buildings looting,, but Wraith was content with her gear. So she perched her Longbow on the windowsill and waited. And yawned. And the next thing she knew, she was getting shot in the back. Both Bangalore and Octane called out that they were downed. She phased out, but couldn't hide from Bloodhound. 

A stupid, careless mistake. She didn't feel like sleeping much now, either. 

~~~

A few hours later, after Wraith had collected herself and dressed after her shower, she sat at the table in the common room and waited for the water on the stove to boil. She fiddled with the wrapper containing the dried ramen noodles as she waited. She sighed. Mirage’s cooking was so good. If only he was here to make his pork chops…

Someone approaching.  

Wraith spun around in her chair, standing slightly with a balled fist to see Bangalore walking over. 

Bangalore rolled her eyes. “Relax, would you? So uptight.” She had a mug in her hands, a bit of steam coming off the top. She placed it down on the table in front of Wraith. “Drink up,” she said, nodding to the mug.

Wraith looked at it for a moment. Dark liquid in an off-white mug. It smelled like tea. She looked back up at Bangalore. “Didn’t think poisoning was your style,” she deadpanned.

Bangalore rolled her eyes at the quip. “You need to get some sleep,” she said. “This will put you out. Special brew, my friend swore by it. He was an insomniac.” 

Wraith huffed. “I don’t need your insomniac friend’s favorite tea. And I don’t need your advice.” She stared coldly at Bangalore. “I don’t need anything from you ,” she said, spitting the last word. 

Bangalore growled. "What the hell is your problem? I need something from you!" She took a step closer, pointing her finger at Wraith. "You're the reason we're doing so poorly! Octane knows how to follow a damn order! You're the one who never stays with us, never communicates, never shares loot. And the whole time you have to have a shitty attitude with me!"

The soldier took a moment to wipe her hands over her eyes. "You know, it was fun when we were on different squads. A rivalry pumped up the intensity, gave me that competitive edge. But I'm ready to move past that. I want to get some wins. But you couldn't give a shit about that. You started this rivalry. You still have this vendetta against me. So what is it, Wraith?" she asked, leaning in close, nearly yelling. "What's your fucking problem with me?" 

Wraith shook her head and let out one short, humorless laugh. "You shouldn't ask questions that you don't want the answer to." Bangalore straightened up as she tried to figure out what Wraith has meant. She pushed the mug away from her and stood, staring coldly at Bangalore. "Thanks for the tea," she sneered. Turning and heading to her room, she closed the door loudly, leaving Bangalore stood by the table alone with her tea. 

~~~

Hours later, as Wraith laid away in bed, sleep warded off by the constant voices, she thought again of the tea. Thought about how she'd do anything for a real night's sleep. 

She fought with herself for a few minutes before sitting up and getting out of bed. She slipped on a tank-top that was on the floor and slowly, quietly opened up her door. The lights in the common area were off, but her eyes were well adjusted to the darkness. She tiptoed over to the kitchen table. 

Her heart sank when there was no mug still sitting on the table. She moved over to the sink and found the mug, not empty, waiting to be cleaned. Wraith stood there, motionless, staring at it. She wasn't sure how long. The pot of water she'd boiled was still on the stove. The burner was off but no one had moved the pot. She hadn't eaten. She didn't feel like it anymore. She turned and made her way back to her bed, more upset about the tea than she should have been.