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Rush of Electricity

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Natalie ‘Wattson’ Paquette,. Fresh yet familiar face in the games. Daughter of the Games’ lead electrical engineer. She found her calling. Being ground by electricity and her love for new break throughs. Wattson wanted a new foundation to begin.

Being a certified genius and one of the creators of the Apex games. Building the functioning circle that shrinks as the game intensifies. She decided to take her skills to the next level and test herself in the Apex matches and become a legend. A champion. To succeed beyond her papas expectations and her own.

After taking her one way hovertrain ride to the HeadQuarters for the Apex competitors. Wattson made her way inside ecstatic, after sliding her wrist ID against the scanner. Eyes blown and fascinated by the buildings structure.

The buildings architecture was sleek and simple. With revolving doors and elevators everywhere. She noticed the lack of stairs before turning back towards the front desk and spotting the huge spiral staircase in the middle. With a large tree spewing out from the center.

Apex must have been making so much revenue on the games that they upped the headquarters by a large percentage. The last time she was here was with her father and it was much less expensive looking.

Walking over to the lady at the front soon after gawking at the architecture— she was so easily distracted she almost forgot why she was here.

“Hello, How May I help you today?” The older woman said with a straight face as a device suddenly turned on in front of Wattson causing her to flinch back as she seemed to be getting facial recognition done to her. “Ah, one moment. Ms. Paquette—“

“Here is your Identification.” She said placing a card atop the counter before typing extremely fast into the computer. “Room S57... S is for South wing and the last digit is the floor. Get it? Got it? Good.”

Wattson grabbed her ID and the small notepad given to her with her room number on it. “You will be sharing with two other people.. Don’t get too comfortable as every season you will be moved to a new room and sometimes even a new wing.” The woman was speaking so fast she was beginning to doze off a bit, but tried her best to stay grounded in the conversation instead of rudely dozing off like usual.

“Got it..”

———

Bringing her two suitcases inside one large and one small. She looked around the apartment and stood in silence as she tried to figure out if anyone was here too.

“Hello?” She could hear a smooth alert voice echo throughout the apartment. With a nervous laugh she greeted back sliding her suitcases with her. “Yes, Hello?”

From behind her she heard footsteps. Spinning around on her axis she smiled softly. A woman. Athletic. Seemed around the same age. Lovely curls’.

“Hello! I am Natalia Paquette, and you are?” She starts putting a hand out to which the female had gladly shook it.

“Lifeline.. You can call me Ajay though if it’s weird saying ma stage name,” the woman said with a light chuckle seemingly breaking the ice much easier.

“Okay, Ajay,”

“Neva seen you before.. You new here I’m guessin’?” She said taking out a flask with some kinda pink drink inside.

“Kind of new? I’ve been here before just not as a contender, so is it just you and me or?” Wattson trailed off looking around the apartment before back at Ajay

“Nah we got anotha one living with us Octavio.. He’s annoying but he’ll grow on ya,” she laughed to herself remembering some of the dumb things he’d say in the middle of matches.

“I hope you don’t mind but I gotta go meet with my.. friend Anita in a little, why don’t you join me our roommate should be comin’ too. Two birds wit one stone,” giving an amiable smile Wattson agreed. She needed to know people to avoid being a loner.

Lifeline explained she needed to pick up equipment and soon left, she’d be back to come get her. Was a quick introduction, but she’ll probably get to know her better later.

After unpacking her things leaving her large suitcase in the closet that held her Interception Pylon and Permitter Security Nodes.

A low grumble erupted from her belly bringing back remembrance of how she hadn’t eaten all day and it was almost 5 in the afternoon.

Tucking a hair behind her ear she found herself gently caressing the scarred skin of her cheek. She remembered the day. Wattson was just so easily distracted she had forgotten to secure the wiring in the Arc Stars core design she was making, that it ended up short circuiting in turn causing a lethal static reaction. The explosion left a lighting bolt of scars up her arm, slowly scorching it way up to her cheek.

Walking over to the semi-big mirror in the living room she glanced at the scar. A frown set deep on her face as she furrowed her brows. It may be seen as a small flaw to others but to her it bothered her. In her opinion it was: What beautiful females do you see walking around with big scars across the body let alone the face? None.

So caught up in following the lines of her scars she hadn’t heard the door open and close behind her.

“Aye don’t make your face so hard and furrowed, you’ll become stuck like that,” she joked

“You ready?”

“Yes, just a moment,” Wattson could feel her cheeks burning in embarrassment. Caught staring at herself.. She couldn’t help but feel worried about what Ajay thought of her at the moment.

After grabbing her jacket and crossbody bag she walked out with Ajay.

Tonight was gonna be fun.

————

Chapter Text

Octavio ‘Octane’ Silva. He’s been competing since Season One. Already a familiar face, beloved by his fans for his eccentric and dangerous stunts posting holovids.

Over his break from the first Season he returned for season two. Excited for the ranked matches and to work his way up all over again to being an Apex Predator. Octavio pumped music in his ears blasting some type of EDM while gliding on his hover board at top speed to HQ.

Oc would be rooming with his friend Ajay again. He was excited to see her and his new girlfriend Anita whom he’d previously met last season in an interesting way.

Passing by a few crowds, some recognizing him and gawking at him, and some annoyed by him gliding around and whirling wind in their faces.

Chuckling to himself as he happened to piss off a business man who was on their phone and abruptly stopped walking on a busy side walk instead of watching where they went and blew their papers all over the place.

“For a guy with legs you sure as hell don’t know how to use them!”

“Oh, fuck you— you—Freak!”

“Better than being boring like you!” Octavio exclaimed laughing at the banter they exchanged as he could see HQ out in the distance.

———

“Anybody home?”

“Yeah ova here,” a tired voice rang from the kitchen

“Why’re you here so early? I’d expect you to come around later tonight,” Ajay said as she then sipped at her large overly sweetened coffee

“Ehh I dunno, decided I’d get all my stuff together in advanced.. Trying to be more organized—“

“Mr. Mayhem tryna be organized? Ha, that’s the last thing I’d thought I’d see you doin’,”

“Oh alright you got me— I just wanted to get my hands on the biggest room..” Octavio admits with a laugh Ajay joining him in the laughter before he’d re-pick up his bags and make his way out of the kitchen

“I’m gonna pick out my room, maybe second best ain’t so bad.”

After setting up his room with his fluffy blankets along with his speakers he had sent earlier in the mail for his music setup, he headed out afterwards promising to meet up with Ajay and Anita at a party being held at a famous sponsors home who loved watching the games.

————

After finishing up filming with a talkshow host on their cooking show. He was in the need for speed as he was running rather late to the party despite being so fast.

“Gotta go fast come on! She’s gonna be so mad,” he said as he full on sprinted into the fancy complex and made his way up.

Being escorted inside he greeted everyone that greeted him.

“Heyo,”

“Hola amigo!”

“What’s up ese?!”

Till he finally caught a glimpse of Ajay in his peripherals and made his way through the crowd and calling for her through the music blasting through to home.

“Hola Ajay! Where’s Ms. Steel huh— uh—“ he stopped mid sentence taking in the female right across from Ajay who seemed to be talking about how fascinating some science stuff was. He was smart but not in that expertise. But oh the conversation went in through one ear and out the other as he looked at her. Admired her from what felt was so far away yet so close he could reach out and touch her.

“Wow, who’s this?” Octavio said motioning towards Natalia

“Oh right, Oc this is Natalia, Natalia, Octavio—“ Ajay rolled her eyes and gave her own forehead a pat as she realized they didn’t know each other yet. “He’s our roommate” she said making a motion with her hands and making a triangle between the three.

“Oh, Hi, I’m ecstatic! To meet you,” Natalia smiled to herself at her own inside joke and stuck a hand out to shake with Octavio.

“Me too señorita,” he smiled behind his mask shaking her delicate hand back. “Let’s dance! We can’t just stand around all stagnant that’s boring~ come on guys,”

The night was full of drinking, dancing, singing terribly to the lyrics of songs and doing the robot to techno music. Everyone was having a good time. Anita and Ajay were glued to each other. Ajay knew Anita wasn’t much of a dancer so getting her to sway with her was enough for her. Natalia wasn’t comfortable dancing with people but seeing Anita who apparently never dances dance gave her a tinge of confidence to dance, that and the fact that Octavio was hyping her up getting her to loosen up.

The night was full of fun and making new friends like Mirage and Wraith, but there was a moment where it all seemed to be becoming too loud. Too bright. Too toxic. Natalia couldn’t breathe. Everything around her slowed down and sped up, blurry and unclear. Her skin grew goosebumps as her effort towards dancing, slowly decayed leaving her standing there in a mushed up crowd suddenly feeling small and crushed. She needed air even though it was there.

Quickly making her way through the crowd she completely forgot about her dancing with her new made friends and just made way towards the balcony. Shutting the door behind her and running towards the balcony’s fence clutching it tightly. Breathing labored as she looking to the sky, taking deep breaths as the music became muffled and the feeling of being crushed had gone away.

Too caught up in her own breathing she didn’t hear the balcony door open and close behind her. Natalia could cry. feelings of suffocation getting to her so easily. She hadn’t had an episode like this since she was a young teenager. It was embarrassing as small welded up tears made way down her cheeks. Sniffling softly to herself.

“Wow am I really that bad of a dancer?” She heard Octavio behind her causing her to instinctively cover and wipe her face not wanting to face them like this. So vulnerable. But the joke made her feel even just the smallest bit lighter.

“No, you’re a great dancer,” she chuckled slightly choking up as she hadn’t calmed down just yet.

“Well then! Was it my breath? You ran off while I was talking to you.. I was asking if you were okay mamita,” Nat held back a frown looking to her left towards Oc.

“It can be too much sometimes..” she whispered voice cracking under the pressure of holding her emotions in. “I don’t know why but it just makes me feel.. Scared, nervous, suffocated.. Being crowded by people AND loud blasting sound? I was bound to feel some type of way but I still pushed myself.. I wanted to have fun tonight,” she explained rubbing her right arm to calm herself.

“Oh..” Octavio couldn’t relate whatsoever, but he could comprehend what she meant. “It’s okay.. uhm,” he began to think about his little cousin who is like this. She liked to hold hands or have Octavio cover her ears while he held her to calm her. “If you want I’m here.. You can tell me if anything becomes too much okay? Or just I dunno.. Hold onto me I guess—“ Natalia looked towards him confused with the proposition “ah— or not! Just an offering!” He explained with an awkward laugh causing Nat to smile back at his quick efforts to keep her comfortable.

“No, It’s okay.. Thank you I’ll keep that in mind my friend,” Nat leaned up against the balcony playing with her hands. “I think I’m gonna leave early—“

“I can come!— To make sure you’re okay and stuff.. Also I’m kind of tired anyways,” he lied shrugging his shoulders. He just wanted to be around her.

————

They ended up taking the hover train back home meaning more time to walk and talk. Nat ended up speaking a lot more than Octavio. He asked her questions back to back. Some of them left unanswered or left with a vague answer, but other questions she happily answered. She noticed he didn’t really want to talk about himself but she didn’t mind it. She’ll find out more later- there’s time for it.

“Home sweet home,” he sighed stepping into the AC blasted apartment in front of Nat before turning around and seeing the exasperation clear on her face.

Nat gave him a soft smile and nodded her head in agreement. “I’m gonna go clean up..”

“Uh okay— I’ll be in my room if you get scared- or- or anything,” He shrugged rubbing at the nape of his neck not knowing what else to say as she walked off towards the bathroom.

———

After rinsing the day away and reflecting over the events of today she played with her short locks relishing in the warmth of the water she hadn’t realized she had been sulking sitting in the corner of the shower for so long until she heard a soft knock on the door.

“You okay señorita?” Echoed Octavio’s voice as he cracked the door respectively knowing his voice would be muffled by the door.

“You’ve been in there for an hour I think you should get out before you transform into a prune!” He joked knowing she must’ve been lingering in there because of an underlying issue.

Octane could hear the shower being turned off and the glass door being opened and closed. Taking that as a queue to shut the door as there was shuffling heard inside.

“I forgot to tell you Ajay will be spending the night at—“

The door had opened and a damp Nat walked out. Her heavy metal band t-shirt he recognized and pastel puffy pants gave him whiplash.

“You were saying Tav?” She said using her small towel to dry the ends of her hair. Her face fresh and freckles clear as day as her makeup had been washed off. Eyes sparkling more than usual.

Nat was also taken aback. No longer rocking his mask Octavio’s face was out. Black hair with a fade, and green tips slowly fading out. Eyes a forest green mixed with an emerald green towards the iris, and deep-set almond shaped. One of his eyebrows were permanently brushed up from a deep scar.

“Wow uh— What? Oh yeah! Anita— I mean Ajay will be staying with Anita tonight she’ll be back tomorrow.. Just thought I’d let you know so yeah see you later—“ he said words coming out in a fumble not wanting to embarrass himself further.

“Wait Tav..” She said reaching out for his forearm. “Thank you for coming back with me, I know you’re a party animal” Nat said feeling the air thicken between them before releasing her arm. Unknowing of what the thickened air meant. “I’m going to bed now.. Goodnight,”

As she walked away Octavio watched giving her a small wave before speaking up. It went completely over his head how she had given him her own nickname. Tav. He liked it. He liked her. “Goodnight Nat..” he said after she’d already shut the door behind her.

He’d went to bed that night. Sleeping soundly and falling asleep with Natalia in his mind. Racing with so many thoughts and reflections of today.

As did Natalia. After shutting her door she put her back to it nervously. Feeling her chest tighten and her cheeks flaming. She went to bed with a small squeak and recovery from the events of today. Octavio was nice. She liked him. But she was confused of what she felt. Confused of that aching feeling in her chest yelling at her to touch him more, talk to him more.

Nonetheless she slept soundly. Dreaming of her new friends and unknown feeling towards Octavio.

Chapter Text

It had been a couple of days since the party at the advertisers home and since Natalie had met Octavio and Ajay. She was glad her roommates were so naturally kind towards her and in showing her the ropes to some things for the match coming soon.

She was learning some tricks to do with the zip line with Octavio. Nat was not a fan of heights but she preserved, climbing up the practice platform with Tav while chatting about a puppy he was thinking about getting.

“Hm.. I think a fluffy puppy would be the best! The best for cuddles,” she giggled remembering her father’s old husky he had. She adored that husky, his name was Zaron. Loyal and cuddly.

Nat had been too busy talking about what kind of dog to get that she hadn’t realized how high they were truly going till they reached the top.

“Alright! Let’s get started,” Tav said grabbing a big flexible hook.

“Uh- wait,” she nervously began to make her way back down the platform holding the railing tight in her hands.

“Oh, come on don’t be scared come here Nat” Tav began to hop around the platform demonstrating how sturdy it was to stand on.

“I know it’s sturdy! I-“

“Relax~ it’s fine! Besides if you wanna play in the games this is a skill you need. If not you’re gonna get stuck in the storm or by people,”

He was right. Nat needed to learn this and get over her fear. It was now or never anyway. She was a grown woman still afraid of heights.

“Okay. Okay. Just give me a moment,”

“Just come here already no point in being all slow about it,” Tav made his way over to Nat who was still clutching the railing for dear life— making no clear effort on moving to the zip line he firmly grasped her forearm and gently made her release the railing.

After taking shaky steps towards the edge with Octavio, Natalie took the hook into one of her shaky hands that he’d given her with a firm grip.

“All you gotta do is make sure it’s clipped shut when you swing onto the zip line and then just zip down. Pretty simple if I say so myself,”

Nat puffed her cheeks up with air as she neared the zip line with shaky steps causing Tav to stifle a laugh, “Come on! I’ll guide you down the first time and then after that you’ll have to do it yourself,”

“Lets go!” He exclaimed grabbing Natalie by her hips, bringing her to his chest in the action as he sprung them into the air instinctively making Nat hold him for dear life. Forgetting about the height damage devices.

“Octavio!”

“Yeaah!”

Eyes wide open as they slid down the zip line, her eyes became dry and ready from how fast Octavio put his jet pack on. ‘Did he really need to go so fast all the time?’ She thought to herself

After a some built up strength Natalie loosened up. If he wasn’t afraid then she shouldn’t either.

That’s when she let go and fell down to a zip line below.

Just a touch of confidence from someone was what she needed and maybe a little crazy.

“Natalie?!” Octavio yelled out before watching her secure herself to another zip line. He’d been watching her glide the whole time he almost smacked into the pole that held the other side of the zip line.

“Woo-hoo!~” Natalie yelled with excitement as she glided down the zip line, detaching from it with a graceful spin she rubbed her eyes a little. They seriously dried her eyes a bit. Maybe goggles would be a good addition to her outfit.

Being the speedster Octavio is he was already down there by the time she’d landed off the zip line. Whipping some dust off him he spoke.

“Look at you! You might take the daredevil title away from me at this rate señorita,”

“Ha! I don’t think so, I’m feeling just a bit of motion sickness” she explained as a light blush formed on her face from the praising she received.

“No, really I thought you were a bit of a scaredy cat, but boy was I wrong! You looked like a fierce warrior Nat,” He said causing an unknown tightness in Natalie’s chest to form as someone from the sidelines walked over.

“Woah Natalia that was pretty awesome—“ came from Mirage before being cut off quick

“It’s Natalie-“ Octavio unknowingly corrected, he could feel the growing warmth in his face trickle down his chest in butterfly’s as Natalie looked at him with a look he wished he could understand. He didn’t have to say that.

“Huh-? Oh, it’s alright uhm... I forgot your name,” she apologized looking back and forth between Octavio and Mirage.

Mirage gasped clutching his chest semi-dramatically. “It’s Elliot. Elliot Witt,” he winked brushing his slicked curls back.

“Oh right, Elliot..”

“So uh anyway— If you ever need help with guns and aim practice I could ya know sh-show you the ropes n’ stuff... one on one tonight,” he said quite suggestively

Natalie was naive, but not that naive. She knew she was being flirted with, but she was as uninterested as she was in a cold bread.

“Thank you Elliot but Im working with Octavio today. He is a very fun teacher!” she explained with a grin looking to Tav for his reaction but was only met with a mask. Sometimes she wished he didn’t wear it all the time outside.

“Oh-Uh okay that’s cool.. Well if you ever wanna hang lemme know.. I’ve got some stuff to do but I’m sure I can make time or-wh-whatever,” he smiled before giving them both a friendly wave heading off in the opposite direction.

“Does he stutter like that all the time?” She asked turning to Octavio

“Yeah, but he especially doesnt know how to act with a beautiful woman in front of him.” He said inadvertently making Natalie pause for a moment as she lulled over what he said for a hot minute.

“aye mami mírame,” Octavio snapped her out of her thoughts

“Come on Ajay just texted me saying she brought food home with Anita let’s go,”

———

Even as they walked into the apartment Natalie had what he said in her mind, over analyzing every minuscule of a thing trying to figure out if it was a compliment or not.

“Natalie! Come e’re we got the best pizza in solace we’re eva gonna get,”

“Yeah my friend who works there was able to put some orders in for us— they get like a hundred something a day so getting an order within a day is rare,” piped up Anita from the island of the kitchen.

Stepping out of her shoes while Tav had already made his way towards the hot and ready meal.

———

It was later in the day after their lunch when they had went to a different part of HQ for target practice. Anita was a trained soldier so her offer for help was tempting to Natalie but she couldn’t help but want to practice with Tav. Maybe she’d get to ask him questions as they practiced to pass time.

Natalie liked long distance fights so she morally stood with single fire weapons, and snipers. Her personal favorite the Kraber and Longbow.

Octavio enjoyed rapid fire weapons like the R-99 and Havoc with the Turbocharger. But there was a distance between them as they practiced that he wanted to close.

“Hey Nat!”

She was too focused on trying to land two shots with one shot she’d completely blocked out the outside noise. Natalie wanted to get better at hitting moving targets so she wanted to get them moving while lined up.

Octavio noticed he’d gotten no response so he made his way over. Expecting her to feel his presence and say something, but when she didn’t he leaned in close. Trying to look in the scope too.

“Whatcha looking at chérie?”

That’s when she snapped out of it. Ma chérie? Natalie guessed he may have learned it knowing of her French heritage, but guessed that maybe he didn’t know what he meant.

“Uhm- the targets,” she said quickly snapping her neck towards the voice that popped her personal bubble.

“Do you realize what you said to me Tav?” She was soft spoken as though what she said was bad.

“Yes, that’s why I said it of course.” He said in a matter of fact tone shrugging slightly.

“Would you rather me say it in English?”

Natalie ignored the question not only to avoid her soon to be blushed up cheeks but to ignore that right feeling in her chest. It wasn’t bad but it was new. She was all for new break throughs but this wasn’t electrical engineering.

“Why do you wear that mask all the time?” Abruptly came from her lips. This was so not the time nor place.

The question caught him off guard completely. It had nothing to do with the topic at hand. But he could understand where it came from.

“How about we chat somewhere else? I don’t feel comfortable talking about that here... In a shooting range with lots of other people,”

———

“So uhm..” He started although he didn’t know how to explain himself. “At first was to hide my identity as this figure.. Octane, I wanted to be known as that and only that,” Natalie was removing her gloves tinkering with it a bit as he talked. Nodding here and there to show she was listening as she leaned against a locker.

“But I also felt like.. Who the hell would wanna look at my face anyways? Better a mask than my face..” he shrugged suddenly feeling his shell crack a bit. As did Natalie’s.

She could relate to the feeling of wanting to hide her face. Natalie suffered from a self induced scar. So she had no one to blame but herself for her unfortunate ugly flaws in her eyes. But she also felt it was a part of her story. Her growth.

“Octavio.. You’re very handsome and whoever says otherwise must need glasses,” she started off placing her glove atop a round table where he sat and made her way next to him.

“You are you. With or without a mask.” She explained feeling her eyes a bit teary. Natalie was easily brought to her emotions.

“I feel so.. So ugly at times.. Looking at the scars I have on my body and face..” she covered her face rubbing gently at her eyes. “But we are meant to look this way.. One way or another and—“ Tav reached out to hold her wrists from rubbing her eyes too much. “And I think it makes us special in a way.. Our scars.. Our marks.. Our handicaps..”

“Honestly who cares what people say about you’re face anyways!” She sniffled “I like it.. So does everyone else that knows you.. What’s one persons opinion matter over majority?”

“That was beautifully said by a beautiful woman,” Octavio murmured taking her hands in his. “Are you saying you want to see my face more often?” He asked with a chuckle removing his mask from his face to reveal his own faintly red eyes.

Their touch barrier was being broken in tenfold.

“Maybe,” she murmured leaning into his touch against her cheeks where he utilized the pads of his thumbs to wipe her tears away.

“Maybe isn’t a straight answer..” a sly grin crept up onto his face one of humor and curiosity.

“Yes, is my answer...” she trailed off before quickly explaining why due to the air between them and the worry that she weirded him out by her answer.

“Well I mean— it’s hard talking to a mask! I can’t tell what you’re thinking or the faces you could be making secretly,” Nat blew air up towards her bangs in a slight frustration— but morally embarrassment.

“Hey, it’s fine it’s fine I get what you mean,” he said giving her a gentle shove making her smile in turn.

“I feel like I may have made it all... Awkward from being so emotional,” Natalie says as the hair behind her ears fell forward, she looked downward playing with the fabric of her training pants.

“Señorita it’s fine~” he emphasized

“You’re just being overly nice to me,”

“Maybe, but maybe not.” He lifted his scarred brow up with a smolder in an attempt to make her laugh, and it succeeded.

“Don’t look at me like that!—“ she laughed covering her face as she continued, “You look so silly!”

“What~ no way?” He played along mocking her laugh playfully causing a snort to escape Natalie.

Thats when it became utter silence. Natalie never was one to snort or laugh from her gut. She opted out for covering her face in embarrassment, something she seems to feel a lot around Octavio.

Octavio on the other hand was shocked. He didn’t know what happened to him, but when he heard that adorable snort he felt his body scorch up in flames inside. He didn’t exactly understand why and where this feeling came about.

“It’s Alright Señorita Piggie I love piglets,” he joked in turn only adding to the blush she hid behind her hands.

“Oh come on it’s alright keep laughing— and hey! Why’re you covering your face weren’t you just complaining about not getting to see mine?”

“I don’t remember saying that..” She uttered rising to her feet from the mini couch that was in the locker room. Making her way for the door Octavio was on her heels prying at her wrists to pull her hands back.

“Are you blushing? What did I say? Am I being mean or?”

“N—I’m just— I need to pee!” She hollered as her hands were pulled from her face revealing her peachy cheeks.

“Oh really?” He closed the gap between them a bit getting a closer look at her flushed face.

“I’m no Doctor, but I doubt that blushing has to do with someone’s bladder,”

“Well maybe it has to do with mine..” she murmured back only just realizing he still held her wrists in his hands when she felt her skin start to yearn there.

“Doubt it..” Octavio spoke just above a whisper. His thumbs inadvertently rubbing the skin between her wrist and palm.

Natalie could’ve sworn Octavio was moving closer to her. But maybe it could’ve just been her eyes, or wrong perception due to their height difference.

“So I said why don’t we do this the old fashioned way with Ikaika brother!” Came a voice with a strong presence entering the public locker room.

Octavio sighed in slight annoyance as he let go of Natalie and moved away, but Nat was completely still and stiff. Looking to their left as Gibraltar and a random fighter came into their sights.

“Hey man, I haven’t seen ya in a while you’ve gained some weight that’s good brother!” Gibraltar made his way to Tav being a big hugger he pulled him in tight before releasing him and reaching out for Nat. He was a gentle giant with her giving her a warm hug before letting go.

“I see you’re with the pretty misses, hows practice? I can’t wait to beat you guys in the upcomin’ match,” he half-heartedly joked.

“We’ll see about that Gibbs,” Tav said taking a sort of stance, “Plus, I’ve got a hot shot of a partner here you might wanna watch yourself big guy,” he played her up way too much in her opinion, but she didn’t know what he saw in her of being a one shot.

“Eh, Yes I’m quite the shot! Might wanna watch that head of yours my friend,”

Gibbs let out a loud chuckle as did his partner. “We’ll see my friends! Let’s go celebrate after the match, loser treats”

“Deal.” Tav said with extreme confidence as they shook hands and separated ways. Something about needing to feed the bear Gibraltar had said to the duo.

———

“That was quite the bet... I don’t know why you would make such a bet.. I’m no fighter,” she said leaning against a cushion on their shared couch.

“I know but you’re smart, I’ve heard of you before.. So I know that brain of yours will give us the edge we need in that match soon,” tav was relaxing on the cot across from her playing with his own poofy hair. “Besides~ you’re a good shot. You said so yourself to me.. Long distance is where you win, don’t get too close cause that’s my job mamita,”

Natalie could only giggle at what was said, she found it endearing the way he spoke to her. She wasn’t of Latino descent but their languages were derived from the same roots meaning she somewhat understood what he said at times.

“How come you say such sweet things to me?” This was the third abrupt question today. She hoped it wasn’t getting annoying to him but she wanted to ask.

“What do you mean?” Tav moved on the cot making his line of sight meet hers.

“Well.. you know the stuff you call me,” she shrugged feeling her hands become a bit palmy.

“Oh- It’s- I dunno,” he shrugged before lying back on the cot. Natalie bit her lip stopping her from pressing, but it seemed he wasn’t done speaking yet. “I like saying it to you,”

“Oh.” Was all Nat murmured back as they continued like this. Sitting in silence. Sometimes chatting about random things like: snip-bits of their childhoods, who their least favorite family member was, what foods they still dislike now from childhood, what schools they went to, and then soon lead into the topic of crushes they’d had. Although Natalie was lost during this topic and let Tav speak the most to which he’d noticed.

“What about you Nat? Ever have a crush?” He seemed to be way more focused on this part of the conversation then the rest. His whole body facing her waiting for her response.

“Uhm— Well.. Since I was home schooled I wasn’t exactly exposed a lot to.. People other than family, so I’ve never really formed a relationship like that.” She explained bluntly with a nervous laugh to lighten the air. “I mean! Oh, no I realize how I sound.. I’ve had friends Tav just never like liked any of them,” At that moment being the way Tav was his mind went all over the place. Piecing together things he didn’t need to know and wasn’t going to ask about. But curiosity was killing him and his tongue beat him to the finish line.

“So you’ve never kissed anyone?”

Chapter Text

3:45pm Wednesday May 22nd, 2707

 

“Yeah kick harder will ya!” Ajay gave praise from the sidelines watching as Anita gave her some last minute training before the match soon.

“Yeah Nat what’re you, the FNG?” Anita added in giving a bit of a backhanded approach. She liked to be rude to the people she was training to make them better themself and also put some anger towards a skill.

Nat was far from a fighter she said so herself. “No! I’m am the best electrician!” she yelled out before giving her last blow to the punching bag making Anita move back a bit from the impact.

Anita smirked with a small proudness but quickly put it away trying not to show it, she gave tough love— although Ajay could see through everything the woman does.

“Nice job kid, you may not be strong but hit where it hurts and you might down someone. Take a break go grab a snack or something we’ll be right here.” She said leaning into Ajays side in an exaggerated way once Nat turned to go get a snack. Anita wasn’t one for PDA but she liked to slip in small kisses if she could.

“You know what i just realized?” she said whispering into the giggling woman’s ear.

“what’d ya realize?” Ajay playfully pushed Anita away making flirty eye contact with her, lips pursed to depress a cheeky smile

“It’s been awhile since i’ve been between those—“

“Hey! Have you seen Natalie? I got to ask her something,” Both women snapped there heads to the cheery voice and separated themselves with embarrassed looks.

“You guys are so terrible at hiding shit like that you know that right amigas?” he laughed running a hand through his newly dyed hair.

“Oh shut up! If ya think we’re so obvious what about you?” Ajay poked fun at him as Anita joined in. They loved tormenting the speedster.

“Yeah~ If it weren’t for the mask you wear all the damn time she’d see the goggly eyes you make at her,”

“Maybe das why he wears it!” they both laughed in unison as Octavio just stood there impatiently tapping his foot.

“Well Im not wearing it today! And if it’s just make fun of Tav time i’ll look for her myself and let you get back to your lovey dovey stuff,”

“Oh relax Tav were just pokin’ fun at ya!” the two ladies returned back to what they were doing once he’d left to search for Nat.

 

4:42pm

Natalie had found a vending machine while walking around the training area and decided to get a sandwich of some kind.

“On a baguette?” was all she had to read before she quickly dispensed the surprisingly fresh sandwich.

She was originally going to eat it at a table but she didn’t want to sit alone and instead rushed back to the training room only to get bum-rushed by someone.

“Oh my g-” thankfully whoever she had been rushed by had caught her and the sandwich simultaneously.

Once coming to the realization of who it was due to the familiar robotic sounds below. “Octavio! You know one day I’m gonna snap in half from always bumping into you at full speed,” she scolded seriously with a hint of playfulness.

“Uh- Ha- Ha, you’re so funny mamita anyways I wanted to talk to you for a second,” he explained as they began walking back to the training room.

“We’re already talking,” she pointed out jokingly.

“So uh- I just wanted to uhm apologize for the other day,”

“Oh- No- Im sorry i got so upset it just kind of reminded me how out of place i am sometimes,” Natalie was quick to apologize after having gotten upset like that she ran off to her room and hadn’t talked to him for the rest of the night and up until now.

“No- You don’t have to explain yourself you’re in the right, I shouldn’t have asked something like that I apologize— I hope you don’t hate me or think I’m some pervert— You probably think I’m a pervert now right? I was just curious because you’re a woman and most women here have done other things fast like-“ That’s when Natalie cut him off with a loud shush.

“You’re being too much, relax please?” Tav forgot she didn’t like that kind of fast talk. Made her nervous or something like that. He didn’t understand why but he knew she didn’t like.

“Oh right.. Sorry, I mean sorry for that and sorry for asking that-”

“It’s okay Tav.. You just need to be more aware,” she had a point he had bad habits like speaking over others and just straight up not listening and zoning out. Octavio wanted to get better at it though especially for his new friend he liked.

“But uhm, I shouldn’t of just ran off from the question.. I didn’t know how to answer that and I was embarrassed because i hadn’t even kissed someone and i was sure you have even Ajay.. Anita.. Other legends.. I thought you might make fun of me,” she explained fiddling with the the extra hair that hung on the sides of her face that didn’t seem to make it into the bun. Octavio didn’t respond to that and allowed them to walk in a comfortable silence back to the training room despite how much he wanted to continue talking.

“Why don’t you practice with Tav his fighting style is annoying as hell to fight against without a weapon especially with how fast he can go you’re bound to learn something from him,” Natalie nodded her head moving away from the punching bag she was originally gonna use and looked over to her confused friend who seemed to be getting teased by Ajay about something- She couldn’t hear the conversation but it obviously flustered Tav even as he’d already made his way over. Natalie quite obviously noticed he hadn’t been wearing a mask today, but as he waltzed his way over she couldn’t help but ogle a bit at him.

“Alright so i want you to try and hit me and then i’ll evade, Got it?”

Natalie nodded her head bringing her hands up to her cheeks in the form Anita taught her before spreading her legs. Waiting in an awkward silence she waited for Tav to do that impatient toe tap he always did before going in for the strike- But then she was easily taken by surprise and was evaded with ease causing her to stumble a bit before turning back to her opponent.

“You’ve gotta be quicker than that!” he said as he began to run around the ring like the speed crazed man he was, but natalie didn’t waver and instead studied his movements watching and counting his steps and leaps creating a formula before she made a quick one footed step out to trip Tav into busting his ass before she followed in suit pinning him down. “Consider your circuit broken, Get it?” she giggled from where she was seated on Tav’s lap before standing up and helping him up too.

“My whoda what-?”

“You ran in a circle a bunch of times— Not really a fancy evasion,”

“Oh Whatever~”

 

7:11pm

During practice where Anita had taken over Tav was on the sidelines with Ajay. Octavio wasn’t a pervert but he could tell Natalie did some type of workout outside of the training they did together. Her body was already in the shape of an hour glass but the way she filled out towards her hips made it hard to focus on the conversation he was forced into having with Ajay about Anita.

“I’m gonna report ya for harassment if you don’t stop staring at ha ass,” Ajay pushed at Tav’s cheek averting his eyes from what he was looking at and towards her.

“Hasn’t even been a month and you’re looking there?” she chuckled looking at the way his face scrunched up in embarrassment before giving her an awkward smile.

“Listen. All i was doing was admiring her workout results.” Tav’s face became unbearably serious as he tried to lie to his best friend, but he couldn’t and ended up smiling all cheeky to her.

“Jesus.. How deep?”

“I’m not that far gone Ajay.. Just a little crush.. It’ll probably go away don’t get your hopes up,”

“I dunno about that... I say it’ll be about two months or so before you snap and fess up,” she further explains her reasoning, “That’s what happened with me and Anita.. i won’t say it’s gonna be the exact same but i believe someone is gonna snap and it’s definitely gonna be you,”

“Yeah right.. I’m not gonna snap that would be embarrassing,” he diverted “She doesn’t like me like that anyway, she finds comfort in me like a close friend does..”

“You know that from asking her?”

“No..”

“Well then ask Nat ya nitwit,”

“Ask me what?” both Ajay and Octavio turned to Natalie like deers in headlights trying to play off what they were talking about.

“Oh yeah he wanted to know if you liked his new hair color,” Anita suddenly said after getting a signal of desperation from Ajay, she didn’t know it but she just saved Tav a headache.

“Oh? Oh! I’m sorry i didn’t realize it sooner,” Natalie reached a hand out without hesitation and ran her hand through his hair trying to see if he got rid of the green highlights. “I like it.. You look very handsome with black hair,” she complimented before brushing his hair back into a style all while he kept his head down and face out of her sight. Her hand felt like a warm body of water flowing on him giving him a calming yet exciting sensation like a cold shower does to an over heated body.

“Thanks.. I was waiting for you to comment about it,” he said standing up from where he was seated making Nat retract her hand. As the group made their way back to the dorm Natalie was to herself, only sometimes commenting on the conversation.

“I’m gonna go to my room now i’ll see you guys tomorrow for the match,” Anita spoke up once they made it to the door and gave Ajay a gentle kiss on the forehead goodbye before heading out— once Anita had cut the corner to another hall Tav and Nat spoke up in unison, “That was cute~” although Tav had more of a sarcastic tone causing him to get a punch whereas Nat got a small thank you from Ajay.

“Ow- the hell!”

“Shut up ya so damn loud!”

Natalie only could laugh at the two as they made it inside. Their comebacks to each other never failed to make her laugh so when they did argue she was all ears. Although it seemed to die down quickly with them going off to their own rooms leaving Nat to do her own thing for the night.

Chapter Text

11:57pm, May 22nd

Looking out at the horizon in the silence of the night as the two moons proudly dawned the night skies Natalie was seated on the far side of the shared balcony. She couldn’t fall asleep and she couldn’t figure out whether it was because of a man on her mind or the nerves thinking about the upcoming match.

She needed to focus on the match coming up soon. Natalie needed to get this win. To make papa proud. Especially after reading the letter sent to her from papa. It gave her an empowerment to keep going full speed ahead.

But she was too distracted by her interesting new friend and possible feelings she’d been ignoring. Natalie was sure it was just because they were basically becoming best friends and bonding but she couldn’t help but feel maybe it was similar to her mama and papas love. She wasn’t sure, and she was doubtful of herself in that sense.

Shutting her eyes for what felt like a moment she lulled over everything that’s happened since she’s gotten here, and what was to be coming up very soon, but her thoughts were interrupted by a tired rough voice.

“You wake up randomly too cariño?” Tav’s voice could be heard coming onto the balcony. Hands rubbing at his eyes and prosthetic legs making their way towards a silent Nat.

She hadn’t said a response till he was sat next to her on the mini couch causing them to press up closer to each other more than usual, but neither parties were complaining about that.

“Can’t sleep..”

Tav looked over to Nat with tired eyes and noticed her drained ones he took an educated guess, “So you’ve been up all night?” She nodded her head without missing a beat as she leaned her left cheek to her knees facing Tav to her right, but her hair was disheveled and in her face, “The coming up game bothering you?” His voice was so gentle to her ears it made her melt inside from head to toe as she kept her half-lidded eyes on him as he reached a hand out to brush her bangs back.

“No.. I don’t know, it’s just everything’s.. Too much,” she spoke vaguely as she shut her eyes and furrowed her brows in frustration. There were too many things on her mind to lay out on the table for him and there was also the fact that some of her frustrations came from the man himself.

“We can talk later if you want.. But let’s go inside, solace has pretty cold nights we don’t need you catching a cold—“

“No..” she agreed mentally that it was pretty solid at night, but she didn’t wanna go to her room just to be stuck in her thoughts all over again looking at four walls. “I don’t wanna go in.. It’ll make me-“ Natalie decided not to finish that sentence but Octavio knew exactly what she meant.

“Then come to my room, it’s not dirty so don’t worry about that-”

“No I don’t want to be-“

“You’re not going to be annoying Nat relax,” he couldn’t help but chuckle at the way she was being— absolutely adorable and considerate despite the fact she definitely needed some sleep and usually people who needed sleep were grumpy and mean.

“Come on let’s go, it’s too cold out here for the way I’m dressed right now.. Let’s go mamita,” he pushed on despite her reasons being that she would be bad company which were extremely petty in his mind. He adored having her around especially when she was tired like this— she’d fall asleep in weird positions and make soft snores and stirs in her sleep. They’d fallen asleep on the couch together multiple times so seeing her sleep was something he’d already seen and experienced.

“Ay dio mío,” sighed tav as she continued to protest. He didn’t wanna hear it anymore and let them both freeze to death, so he took action. Lifting her up from her seat he put her over his shoulder, putting her off balance for now but he just wanted her to sleep at this point. The woman didn’t let up so easily, trying to lift herself up and moving her hips so he would wring her loose but the walk to his room was short and he quickly let her go and let her land on his bed.

“Lay down.. I’ll be right here,” Tav pointed to his couch on the other side of the room, confirming with her where he would be, knowing very well she was way too tired to be having a conversation. “okay..” Nat has gotten under the covers and laid her head against the pillow before she processed what just happened and flew up. “I’ll sleep there you sleep on your bed!” She whisper-yelled sliding half off the bed.

“Uh, no Nat that’s not how it works,” he laughed pushing his hair back from his face as he moved to where she was seated on the edge of the bed.

“Sleep here.” Tav brushed his fingers through her hair again almost instinctively and just marveled at the way she seemed to lose all tension in her body and gravitate her weight into his hands, the whole sight made his chest tighten up with something— like he wasn’t deserving enough to see her like this. To be this close to someone like this.

Natalie shook her head bluntly speaking, “Just lay with me please..” She shut her eyes and allowed him to cradle her face in his hands. “Am I revolting or something?” She was genuinely asking this— vulnerable in that moment, opening herself up to whatever he had to say. Nat would never do this but her conscious was eating at her not too long ago so she asked.

The question caught Tav off guard making him lull over his next words carefully to understand why she would think that but he didn’t see anything wrong with what he said prior. “No.. You’re anything but Nat..” there was a long pause in the air before he made a decision.

“Come on let’s go to sleep,” he made a motion for her to roll over and make room for him to get in bed and she complied. Doing a funny barrel roll to the other side of the bed, almost falling off as she overestimated how big it truly was.

As she rolled around he simply looked at her adoring her messy hair, puffed up face, the little bit of mascara she missed on her top lid, and the tint that was left behind by the lip stuff he knew she wore. After shaking himself out of those thoughts- he quickly changed out of his long sleeve into a tank top and got under the covers with an already knocked out Nat facing the opposite side.

7:23am, May 23rd

The sun shone brightly from the outside slowly bleeding it’s ways through Tav’s shades and against his eyelids. Slowly but surely he started to stir and wake up, but his movements felt restricted as he tried to sit up.

“Como?” he whined before coming to a complete stop as he tried to force himself up, a low whimper was heard rumbling against his chest. He opened his eyes fighting to keep them open from the bleary sun that got through the crack between his shades and quickly spotted the blonde that tightly clutched his chest in her sleep.

He’d only realized how close she was to him when he realized how warm and plush her chest felt against his and the way he could feel her right leg rise up closer towards his belly button. Completely enamored in the moment— body stiff as a board— Octavio didn’t know how to get out of this situation nor did he really want to. He definitely didn’t want Natalie to wake up but he also didn’t want her to get embarrassed and end up moving away like she usually did.

As he lied there scenarios swooshed back and forth in his mind and one in particular made his throat tighten up and fingers wiggle nervously. Octavio swore he wasn’t a pervert but the thoughts he had in that moment screamed otherwise. A more sweet thought popped up soon though of playing with her puffy hair and caressing her arm that was strung over his chest, but he sufficed for just her warm presence against him and shut his eyes to relax with her.

After almost half an hour Natalie began to twitch in her sleep to which Octavio just looked down at her where she rested on his chest. Cheek pressed firmly against him as she began to rub her face into the warmth she could feel against her face. To say Tav wasn’t literally vibrating with tingles was an understatement, his skin had growing goosebumps the more she began to toss and turn in her sleep against Tav before she had cracked her eyes open for a moment. Feeling her surroundings become less melted together and more clear.

As she ran her hand against Tav’s chest in confusion she soon came to the realization she wasn’t laid up against her fluffy bear tonight causing her to fling herself up. Filled with the jitters and butterflies she began to remove herself from him with reluctance. Natalie would’ve liked to stay there in his arms but she felt that was going over boundaries.

“Hey- why’re you getting up?” Tav reached out for Natalie’s wrist. “Stay here with me, Today is a chill day..” he explained gently coaxing her back to lay with him.

“Sorry I slept on you like that- I didn’t mean to Tav,” she said as he sat up against the headboard and motioned for her to sit next to him. She of course obliged and sat next to her friend, keeping her eyes focused on anything but the shirtless man next to her.

“Nat,” he nudged her shoulder hoping she’d look to him but she didn’t. His heart began to ache with a sensation of rejection. “Natalie.” Tav said this time with more meaning causing her to whip her head towards him. Cheeks with a tint of pink and bottom lip caught by her teeth.

“It’s okay that we were— You know..” he shrugged making a couple of hand motions. “I liked it anyway, you’re like a hotpocket,” he joked trying to bring a smile out of her, and surely he did. A bright one too but she seemed rather confused too.

“What is a hotpocket?”

“It’s some sort of snack that looks like a burrito you microwave-“

“So you think I’m a snack?”

“I mean well- Uh- I was just comparing how you were warm and stuff like the snack- I don’t know where that analogy came from,” he explained rubbing at the nape of his neck with his heart in his throat. He felt like he was always saying dumb things when next to her and decided to stay silent even though he wanted to keep talking.

“I feel like I’m more of a bread.. I eat too much of it— It’s addicting actually,”

“I noticed, watch out you might become half bread and half french,” she laughed at the joke laying her head on his shoulder inadvertently. This made him stiffen up at first of course but he eased into it. She’s leaned on him before so this shouldn’t be any different.

“So i guess you were right, i am a snack” she said to which Octavio threw his head back with laughter. She said the sentence so innocently it made meaning behind it even funnier.

“Jesus you’re so dense cariño,”

Natalie furrowed her brows to this and shook her head “I’m not dense, what do you mean?”

“Nothing~ lets just relax until we smell breakfast being made by Ajay,” he diverted the question leaning his head over hers. They stayed like this for a while before falling back asleep. Missing the smell of morning breakfast.

“Oui Tav have you seen-“ Ajays sentence was cut short spotting the duo on the bed. Her heart melted at the sight, but she didn’t have the heart to wake them up. So she let them sleep in a little more letting their moment prolong.

“‘Just a little crush~’ he says ‘Don’t get your hopes up~’ yeah righhht lyin’ Pinocchio,” Ajay says towards Anita in the kitchen as she shuts the bedroom door behind her.