“I’ve gathered you here today, to make an announcement.” As Winston’s deep voice reverberated through the Watchpoint briefing room, Brigitte Lindholm slouched in her chair. She’d grown fond of the big guy in the month or so since they had met in Paris, but he was terrible with speeches.
“As I’m sure you all know, we’re a little short on resources right now. After all, we aren’t exactly operating legally. However, I am thrilled to announce that we have secured…” Winston’s voice seemed to get further and further away as Brigitte became lost in thought. D.Va was supposed to be streaming right now, and between that and Winston’s boring announcement, she knew where she’d rather be.
It was pathetic, really, her crush on the Korean superstar. She was a world-renowned idol, as handy with a gun as she was with a video game controller. She was out there defending her country, fearing neither death nor destruction, fighting glorious battles that Brigitte could only dream about being a part of. Whereas Brigitte was, well, not a nobody , but still. A young Swedish engineer living in the shadow of two former Overwatch legends didn't stand a chance.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a massive elbow poking her shoulder.
"You might want to pay attention, Brigitte," Reinhardt said with a softness that only his goddaughter ever heard. "It seems we're getting a new recruit. From MEKA. Very hush-hush."
Brigitte snapped to attention. Maybe they'll know D.Va! She thought, before mentally slapping herself. Get it together, idiot.
"... This deal is, obviously, very dependent on the public reaction to the Overwatch recall, which thus far has been mostly positive," Winston continued. "MEKA wants to make an alliance early, and if this goes well, we may receive further support from them in the future. They have not informed us who they will be sending, but they have said they wish to make 'an impression.' Regardless of who arrives, it is extremely important that they be welcomed as family, and made to feel at home. I know you all have good hearts, so I have no doubt things will go smoothly. Lena, Angela, and I will form the welcoming party when our new teammate arrives early tomorrow afternoon. You will each have the chance to meet them one-on-one once they have settled in. With that, you are all dismissed, except for Lena and Angela. I need you two to stay here for some further briefing."
Brigitte made her way out of the briefing room as quickly as decency would allow, and once she was out the door she sprinted back to her room. She flung open the door, the sudden draft rustling the collection of posters on her wall, leapt into her chair, and pulled up D.Va's stream. She let out a heavy sigh.
She had missed it. There wasn't even a listed time for her next stream, which usually meant that it would be a long time before she would be able to stream again. Brigitte slumped back in her chair. "I can't believe I missed it!" she groaned, throwing her head back and holding it in frustration. Upset, she made her way to her bed and curled up, looking at the empty bed across from her. The Watchpoint facility had been designed to house well over a dozen people in communal rooms, but for the sake of privacy Winston, Lena, Brigitte, and the others had converted many of the various storage and maintenance rooms into 2-person dorms. They had hoped more people would answer Overwatch's call, but the small group that was there now barely filled it to half capacity. Nobody had a roommate, and even with Lúcio's arrival there were several rooms that were left unclaimed. Most of them were scattered about at various points on the site--Winston, Lena, Angela, Reinhardt, Genji, Mei, and Echo had claimed the 7 rooms closest to the main building. Brigitte, though, had drawn the shortest straw for the room selection, and since she struggled to see any of her teammates as permanent roommate material, had chosen one of the two adjacent rooms near fuel storage. Lúcio had insisted on taking one of the more remote rooms--formerly a large storage closet near the hangar--so as not to bother anyone with his music.
Brigitte didn't mind having a room to herself, but there were days when she felt profoundly lonely, and today was one of them. It didn't help that there wasn't anybody her age at the facility who shared her interests. Lena was always a sweetheart, and she tried her best to listen whenever Brigitte was rambling on about mechanical engineering, but it was clear she only had a very basic grasp of what Brigitte was saying. Lúcio was pretty cool too, and he and Brigitte had already bonded over the design for his sonic amplifier, but he didn't have the same passion for big machines that Brigitte had. She snuggled up to the big stuffed kitten she kept on her bed--the only company she had on blue days like these.
After some time, Brigitte heard her phone beep. It was Lena.
[You got a moment, luv?]
[All the time in the world :sadcat:] Brigitte texted back.
[Well I have some news that might cheer you up a bit] [Properly I can't tell you any of this, but what's Winston gonna do?] [Anyways, I know who the new recruit is, and I think you'll like her.] [She's about your age, and from what I understand she does a lot of the work on her MEKA herself.]
Brigitte perked up a little bit. [Do you know her name?]
[That, I will get in trouble for. But we're thinking of putting her in the room next to your's if you're okay with that?] [I know how lonely it can get up there.]
[I guess she'll probably be good company, right?]
[I'd say it's a safe bet ;) So it's a yes?]
Brigitte closed her phone. Something about Lena's confidence seemed strange, and Brigitte couldn't shake the feeling that she knew even more than she was letting on. She sighed. She wouldn't know if Lena's hunch would be right or not until tomorrow afternoon anyways.
After laying quietly in her bed for a few more minutes, Brigitte picked up her phone again and decided to do some research to see if she could figure out who MEKA might be sending. It took some digging, including running multiple incident reports through Google translate, but she was surprised to see that, beyond the five famous pilots like D.Va and D.Mon, there were at least a dozen other active pilots who seemed to have no public-facing image. Brigitte was eventually able to figure out the genders of four of these pilots--three female and one male, but there were still 8 other pilots who had no official mention of their gender, or whose genders didn't seem to be getting translated correctly. What's more, she couldn't piece together much about any of their personalities.
Brigitte sighed. Lena had confirmed that the pilot MEKA was sending was female, but that still meant that there were up to 11 different people who could be arriving tomorrow. 13 if she counted D.Va and D.Mon as possibilities. Suddenly a message popped up on her phone screen.
Brigitte checked the time. It was 1 am. "Fan! How did it get so late?" She groaned out loud. She got up and put her phone on its charger, her entire body feeling twice as heavy as usual as the exhaustion started to catch up to her. Not even bothering to change out of her day clothes, she let her hair down and flopped into bed, her head barely touching the pillow before she was out like a light.
When Brigitte woke up the next morning, it was from a very embarrassing, and very enjoyable, dream. She, D.Va, and a bed were involved, and clothing was most definitely not . As her mind reviewed and processed her dreams from the night, she found herself getting quite flustered, and it took a couple minutes of careful breathing before she felt that it was under control. She gathered up her nicest clothes, which were a light green polo and tan slacks, and headed to the shower.
She washed herself very thoroughly, shampooing and rinsing her hair twice, and taking great care to scrub every last spot of grease from her face, arms, and hands, before stepping out, drying herself off, and pulling on her clothes. They were from her younger, scrawnier years, so their fit was quite snug, but a look in the mirror confirmed that she still looked reasonably presentable. As she walked down the hall back towards her room, she glanced out the window overlooking the courtyard to see Lena, Winston, and Angela escorting a person who must have been the new recruit, each helping to carry a few bags and suitcases. Brigitte tried to get a good look at the stranger, but she was too far away to see any sort of detail. Suddenly, Brigitte realized that they were heading away from Lúcio's room, which meant that hers would be next!
Fan! How late did I sleep?? She rushed to her room and checked her phone. 2:00 pm. Her late night had come back to bite her. They'll be here any moment! There's no WAY I'll be ready in time! She started to do up her hair, and then sighed. If I'm gonna be late anyways, I might as well try to look as nice as I can. She picked up her hair brush and began combing through it, carefully untangling any knots she came across. Then, she began to work on the tresses that would frame her face, carefully arranging them and then holding them in place with her favorite silver and yellow hair clips. Lastly, she pulled back the rest of her hair and tied it up into her usual high ponytail.
Next, she dug out her makeup. Brigitte didn't use a lot of it, preferring just to stick with a simple wing and cat-eye, but as she started to lean into the mirror to get a better look she heard a knock at the door.
"Brigitte?" Lena's voice called from the other side. "Is it okay if we come in?"
"Not right now Lena!" Brigitte called back. "I, uhh, I lost track of time! I'm still getting ready!" She hated to admit it, but there wasn't really anything else she could have said.
"No worries luv! We'll be right next door, just come over when you're ready!"
"Okay!" Brigitte leaned back into the mirror and started to carefully apply her makeup. She had gotten pretty good at doing it quickly, but today she took a bit of extra time to make sure she got it perfect . At last, she leaned back and took a moment to double check everything in the mirror. Satisfied, she stood up, opened her door, and stepped out into the hall.
Angela and Winston seemed to have already left, but Lena had stuck around to help introduce Brigitte to the new recruit. "You look great, luv!" Lena whispered encouragingly, before guiding Brigitte into the doorway. "Brigitte, say hello to our newest recruit!"
Brigitte's jaw dropped. Sitting on the bed, looking down at her phone, was just about the last person Brigitte expected to see. "D.VA??"
Alright, now things are starting to move! I've got a lot of great plans for this fic, and I can't wait to share them all with you! As always, feel free to leave some feedback, and enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Hana Song looked up from her phone to see quite possibly the most beautiful woman she had ever laid eyes on. Tall and broad-shouldered, she cut a striking figure against the cold colors of the hallway. Her long auburn hair fell down on either side of her soft face, and her gorgeous hazel eyes and lightly freckled skin seemed to glow in the warm light of the room. And then there were her arms ... Hana was so busy trying not to swoon that she completely failed to process the utterly dumbfounded and starstruck look on the big girl's face.
Lena, however, had seen everything she needed to see to know that the two girls would get along just fine. "Brigitte," she said cheerily, "this is Hana Song. Hana, this is Brigitte Lindholm." And then, just in case the two girls needed a bit of help getting things started, she gently pushed Brigitte the rest of the way through the door, pointing at her and mouthing "She's a huge fan" to Hana as clearly as she could, before blinking out the door and closing it behind her.
"Hej," Brigitte said timidly, giving a small wave with one hand as the other reached up to scratch the back of her neck. "I'm Brigitte--b-but you already knew that! N-not because you'd actually, like, know me, of course! Just cuz, like, Lena already told you and all…" Nice one, idiot.
Hana giggled. Okay, she's adorable . "Don't worry about it!" She said, closing her eyes in a bright smile. "It's a pretty name! I don't mind hearing it twice!"
Brigite felt her cheeks growing warm. She hadn't expected D.Va to be so… laid back. "It's so cool to actually like, meet you in person! I'm… kind of… kind of a big fan…"
Hana felt a blush starting to creep into her own cheeks. She's so cute! She's going to be SO disappointed when she finds out the whole "D.Va" thing is just an act. "You are?" She managed to say. "That's so cool!"
"Yeah!" Brigitte said excitedly. "I've watched a ton of your streams and I have posters all over my room!" Brigitte felt her cheeks burn as her brain finally caught up with the conversation. "Wow, I'm so sorry, that must have sounded so weird."
Hana shook her head, feeling her cheeks grow warmer as well. No, you sound REALLY adorable. "Trust me, if you'd met some of my fans, you would not be worried about sounding weird. You actually seem pretty cool." At that moment, Hana's bubbly and aloof facade finally fractured. "Maybe I could sign some of your posters for you! I mean, if you want. It probably doesn't make much sense though, I mean--we'll probably be seeing each other almost every day, right?"
Brigitte felt the heat in her face spread down into her neck. It should have been obvious that she and D.Va would see each other quite often, but hearing her say it was… Brigitte found herself so overwhelmed that she physically could not respond without bursting into tears, screaming, or likely a combination of both. "They, uh, when they told me we were getting a MEKA pilot… I assumed it was going to be some, like, random person or something. I never expected them to send you!" She stammered, quickly changing the subject.
Brigitte's deflection didn't go unnoticed by Hana, but it certainly was misinterpreted. Good job, Hana. You've fucked it already. It hasn't even been five minutes. Urrrgh, you should have KNOWN a comment like that would make her uncomfortable. Whatever, you might as well try and let her down gently at this point. Baegchi. "The truth is, MEKA is struggling," she admitted. "Anybody who tries to tell you differently is either in on the act, or one of the people fooled by it. The Gwishin gets stronger each time it attacks, and we can't keep up anymore. At the rate things are going, we maybe have half a year before they break through to the city--eight months if we're lucky. MEKA needs Overwatch's help to fight the Gwishin. We can't risk this alliance falling through--the fate of the entire country hinges on its success. That's why they sent me. They figured that I had the best chance of making a good impression here, and securing the help we need." And I've already failed. The way Lena talked about Brigitte, she must be popular here--if she doesn't like me, nobody will.
Brigitte's words cut through her thoughts. "I mean, it makes sense."
Hana felt her dark thoughts wash away as she dared to perk up. "What??" She's just cool with it??
"I saw about the most recent attacks in a holo-vid." Brigitte explained. Hana's honesty had almost completely released the tension in the conversation, and it had given Brigitte's brain a chance to finally catch up and process the fact that D.Va was here!!! and they were going to be teammates!!! Now that her initial Gay Panic had faded, Brigitte was starting to find it surprisingly easy to chat with her. "They said at one point the--how do you pronounce it, 'Gee-shin?'"
"Close enough," Hana confirmed, also feeling the awkwardness starting to fade.
"They said the Gwishin had attacked two weeks in a row, and that you single-handedly fended off the second attack. But you wouldn't have been alone unless the other MEKA were still being repaired, and there was no way that those repairs would have taken that long unless your squad took much more of a beating in the first fight than anyone had let on. So I'm not that surprised that the situation's… not as good as they say."
"You're right, but how would you know how long it takes to repair a MEKA?" Hana asked, curiosity overpowering the last of her nerves.
"Mechanical engineering has always kind of been my thing," Brigitte said, leaning back against the wall. "The MEKA have interested me ever since I first heard about them. They're incredible feats of engineering--packing so much offensive and defensive power into such an agile platform. I've pored over blueprints for all the models I could find. Mostly the discontinued ones, since the current models are still super classified, but still. It's some pretty intense stuff, but unless there's been some sort of completely insane change in the core design, there's no way an experienced mechanic would have needed more than a couple of days to repair the kind of damage the news said you guys took."
"Well, maybe I could let you take a peek under Tokki's hood sometime!" Hana offered, excited to have someone to geek out with about her mech. "You could learn about the current state-of-the-art MEKA design, and in return… maybe you could help me work on it between missions?"
"Sure!" Working with D.Va on her MEKA was almost a dream come true for Brigitte. "I'd love to!!"
"Awesome!" Hana was excited to have made her first plans with someone at her new home. Speaking of which… she glanced at the pile of suitcases and bags in the corner of her room. Lena and Angela had helped her unpack and set up her gaming rig and monitor, but there was still a lot left to do before the place actually felt like home. She was going to be here a while.
Brigitte followed Hana's gaze and realized that she was probably expecting to have to do all the unpacking herself. Here was her chance to return the offer. "Hey, do you want help unpacking all that? I don't have anything planned today besides raiding the kitchen for donuts!"
Hana perked up. "Oh? Sure! Thanks!" More time with Brigitte sounded like a very good thing.
"Awesome!" Brigitte smiled brightly. "Let me just get changed into something more comfortable! I'll be right back!"
"Okay!" Brigitte left the room and Hana bit her bottom lip as she watched her go. Joh-eun eongdeong-i...
Brigitte returned to her own room and closed the door. She made her way to her closet, then hesitated. There was a chance that Hana might see inside her room at some point, and having D.Va posters scattered across her walls when that happened would be awkward, right? Better take these down, just in case. She pulled down all the posters and rolled them up, stowing them up on the top shelf of her closet. Then she stripped out of her nice clothes and slipped into a white tank top and a pair of tan cargo pants, double-checked her hair and makeup in the mirror (again) and made her way back to Hana's room. "Alright! Where do you want me to start?"
Hana looked up from her phone and felt her brain briefly freeze up. M--muscles… "You can, uhh... Hang on." She hopped up from her bed and started rummaging through her bags.
As Hana bent over to look through her bags, Brigitte felt her cheeks grow hot. Fin röv …
"You can help me with this ," Hana grunted, trying to extract a very large suitcase from the bottom of the pile. She managed to pull it out, sending the suitcases on top of it tumbling to the floor. She slid it over next to her desk and popped it open, revealing a pink, disassembled gaming chair. "I figured that since you like fixing things, maybe it'd be fun to help me put my chair back together? You know, just as a start?"
"Of course! Just tell me what you want me to do!"
Hana started pulling pieces out of the suitcase and laying them out on the floor. "The actual seat is in two parts and they're a bitch to get together on your own. Would you mind holding the back upright while I screw it to the base?" She asked as she fished through the suitcase for the screws.
"Sure!" Brigitte picked up the seat back and looked over it, before slotting it into the base. "Like this?"
Hana looked up and nodded. "Yep!" She lay down on the floor and began screwing the two parts together.
Brigitte watched, struggling not to stare at Hana's bright pink leggings, which just fit her so well… Behave, Brigitte. Behave.
"Ok! That's one side done!" Hana announced, crawling around behind Brigitte to work on the other side. She inserted the screws and cranked them down with her screwdriver until the two parts were properly secured. "Awesome! Now we have to put the base together!"
"What do I need to do for that?"
Hana laid out the five arms, the five casters, and the main hub. "First, you snap the wheels into the ends of the arms like this--" she demonstrated with one of the sets. "And then, you clip the arm into the slot in the base! That's one down, so there's two left for each of us!"
So Brigitte set about assembling the base with Hana. It was extremely easy work, but Brigitte didn't mind. It gave her an excuse to hang out with The Hana Song, who was turning out to be a really cool and very sweet person.
"The pneumatic cylinder and the main bracket are already put together," Hana said, sliding the cylinder into the hole in the base hub and locking it in place. "So all that's left is to screw the seat onto the bracket!"
"Nice!" Brigitte said. As simple as this task was, she was enjoying her first project with her new friend. "I assume I just need to hold the seat still?"
"You got it!" Hana said with a cheery smile. Brigitte lifted the seat up onto the bracket and held it in place while Hana screwed the parts together. "Goengjang!" She exclaimed. "All done!" She turned to Brigitte. "You can go now if you want! Or you can stay and help me unpack my clothes and some other random stuff! Up to you!"
Brigitte shrugged. "I have nothing better to do, so I'm happy to stick around if you'll have me!" It was true that she had nothing better to do, though it was also true that there wasn't much Brigitte would have considered better, anyways, so perhaps it was more of a white lie.
"Well, in that case…" Hana went back to the pile and unearthed a moderately-sized suitcase. "Don't touch this suitcase--this is all stuff I'll unpack on my own." She set the suitcase down next to the foot of her bed. "Everything else is fair game--just let me know what you got and I'll tell you where to put it!" She returned to the pile and started digging through it.
Brigitte looked through the pile and decided she might as well help with the biggest one.
"Careful," Hana warned as she saw Brigitte squatting to lift it. "That one's really heav--oh!" She felt her heart skip a beat as Brigitte effortlessly lifted the heavy suitcase. Oh, that's hot.
"It's not that bad," Brigitte dismissed obliviously, setting the suitcase down on Hana's bed. "What's in here?"
"All my tops," Hana replied, walking over. "Jackets and dresses, too."
Brigitte popped open the suitcase and took out a bright pink hoodie with D.Va's signature angry bunny logo emblazoned on the front. "You wear your own merch?" She asked.
"I gotta represent!" Hana replied with a giggle, pulling out a plain blue t-shirt.. "Besides, it's really warm and comfy. You can hang that in the closet, by the way." As Brigitte fit the hoodie onto a hanger and hung it up, Hana put away the shirt in the dresser next to the closet. The two returned to the suitcase and as Brigitte started to pick up the next item, a light black MEKA jacket, Hana noticed the gear symbol tattooed on the Swedish girl's left shoulder. "What's this?" She asked, lightly touching Brigitte's shoulder with the tips of her fingers.
Brigitte felt her heart flutter at the unexpected--but not unwelcome--touch. "It means I'm in the Ironclad guild," she replied. "Well I was, before I joined Overwatch. I guess technically I still am, but I haven't done any work for them in a while."
"They built a lot of the old omnics, right?" Hana asked. "The ones from the first crisis?"
Brigitte sighed. "That's what they're best known for, sadly. But they've done a lot of peacetime work as well."
"What did you used to do for them?" Hana asked, selecting a baby blue dress. "And you can hang that jacket up next to the hoodie."
"Right," Brigitte said, walking over to the closet and hanging up the jacket. "Honestly, I didn't do a whole lot. I helped develop a few basic defense systems, but aside from that, just some fairly basic smithing." She returned to the suitcase and picked up a cute pink crop-top. "But, they taught me most of what I know, and I have some good memories there."
"That can go in the middle drawer of the dresser," Hana said, taking a black tank top.
"You know, on the topic of tattoos, it's actually weird to see you without your bunny whiskers," Brigitte commented. "I mean, I know they're not actual tattoos , but it feels relevant."
"You mean my war paint?" Hana asked with a smile.
"Oh! I always thought they were bunny whiskers!" Brigitte said sheepishly.
Hana giggled. "No, they are! I just like to call them 'war paint'. And I guess not many people see me without them. They are part of my 'look,' after all!"
They continued to chat as they unpacked the suitcase. Occasionally Brigitte would find a shirt with text written in Hangul and briefly interrupt the conversation to ask what it meant, and Hana was all too happy to translate. After the first couple of shirts, she began asking Brigitte how to say the phrases in Swedish.
"What's this say?"
"Geim sijak! It means 'Game start!' How would you say that in Swedish?"
Eventually Brigitte started providing translations without Hana needing to ask her.
"What about this one?"
"Keogi kkeojyeo! That basically means 'flack off!'"
"Ooh! In Swedish we'd say 'släng dig i väggen!' And this?"
"Geim-eul hamyeon, igyeoyaji! That means 'I play to win!'"
"In Swedish it would be 'jag spelar för att vinna!'"
They continued to unpack and converse, frequently laughing at each other's attempts to pronounce the other's language, going through all the bags and suitcases until there was nothing left.
"That's the last one!" Hana said as she put away a pair of black sweatpants.
"Wait, really?" Brigitte asked. "What time is it??"
Hana opened her phone and her eyes widened in surprise. "10 pm?? You've been here for almost eight hours already!?"
"It feels like I just got here," Brigitte said.
"I know!" Hana agreed.
Brigitte heard her stomach growl. Fan! I haven't eaten all day!
Hana laughed. "I heard that! You should really get something to eat. It's getting late." Hana hoped that Brigitte didn't feel like she was being kicked out.
"Yeah." Brigitte started to walk out the door before pausing. "I'll uhhh… I'll see you tomorrow I guess?" she asked nervously, rubbing the back of her neck.
"Sure thing!" Hana replied excitedly.
As the door to her room closed, Hana flopped down on her bed and resisted the urge to scream into her pillow. Brigitte was cute, smart, and funny, and most importantly she seemed just as eager to hang out as Hana was. Maybe being sent here wasn't such a bad thing, after all…
As Brigitte made her way to the kitchen, her stomach growling painfully the entire way, the high of hanging out with Hana started to wear off and her initial awkwardness began to make a return. It was, after all, that time of night for overthinking. She arrived at the kitchen feeling much less sure of herself, and found Lena brewing a late-night cup of tea. "There you are, big girl!" Lena said. "Nobody's seen you all afternoon. You even missed dinner!"
"I know," Brigitte said, opening the box of donuts on the counter and grabbing two. "I was helping Hana unpack. She has a lot of stuff."
"I take it you two got off to a good start then?" Lena took her cup of tea and sat down at one of the tables, gesturing for Brigitte to sit next to her.
"I think so," Brigitte replied, taking the invitation and sitting down on the bench.
"You think so?" Lena asked. "Brigitte, you spent all afternoon with her!"
"Yeah, I know," Brigitte sighed. "I'm being silly. But what can I say? She's a world-famous pro gamer and war hero, and what am I? Just a random girl living in the shadow of two former Overwatch agents. She was probably only being nice because I was a fan."
"Brigitte," Lena chided. "You know that's not fair! You could just as easily say that you're a badass shieldmaiden who's saved countless lives, a dragonslayer who was raised by two of the most legendary Overwatch heroes to ever live, and she's just a girl who drinks Mtn Dew, eats Doritos, plays video games, and lets her mech do all the fighting for her." She put a hand on Brigitte's shoulder and her tone softened. "When you think about how 'awesome' she is, you have to remember all you've ever seen of her is the purified version that the news shows--" Brigitte started to interrupt but Tracer already knew what she was going to say. "And yes, I know you know it's all a load of rubbish, but that's not the same as seeing her faults with your own eyes, like you've seen yours. You've got to remember it's all just an act."
"That was one of the first things she told me..." Brigitte admitted.
"Then it sounds like she wants you to know her as Hana Song, not as D.Va. I know it's easier said than done, but try your best to see her as an equal--not better than you somehow. It's a really important mindset to have on a team--and in other relationships as well," she added with a wink.
Brigitte blushed. "Lena, I--I'm not even thinking about… well, okay, I guess I am thinking about that, but… ugh!" She buried her face in her hands, feeling the tips of her ears turning red. "There's no way it would ever happen!"
Lena scooched closer so that she could hold Brigitte by both shoulders. "When and where you apply this advice is up to you, luv. But if you ever need to talk about crushes, especially on pretty ladies, I'll be here. Advice, comfort… whatever you need, I'll be happy to help any way I can."
Brigitte looked up from her hands. "Thanks, Lena," she said with a small smile.
"Any time, luv," Lena said, standing up from her seat. "I need to go call Emily. You should finish your donuts and get some sleep. Your whole schedule got thrown out of whack today, and you'll feel a lot better once you're back on track."
Thanks, Auntie Lena," Brigitte replied sarcastically.
Lena chuckled and ruffled Brigitte's hair. "Have a good night, big girl."
"You too." Brigitte finished her first donut and brought the second back to her room, where she finished it while scrolling through her phone, before she finally turned in for the night.
Hej - "Hello" (Swedish)
Baegchi - "Idiot" (Korean)
Tokki - "Bunny" (Korean)
Joh-eun eongdeong-i... - "Nice ass..." (Korean)
Fin röv… - "Nice ass..." (Swedish)
Goengjang! - "Awesome!" (Korean)
All translations provided by Google Translate
Brigitte woke up feeling well-rested and extremely hungry. She checked the time on her phone: 8am. Good, she thought as she got out of bed. Back on schedule . She got dressed and headed for the kitchen, too hungry to bother with her hair and makeup yet.
The Watchpoint kitchen and dining area was originally the crew's quarters, but it had been retrofitted with the arrival of Lena, Mei, and the others. This included bringing in a single, large table, and this was where Brigitte found Reinhardt, Winston, Lúcio, and Mei sitting.
"Good morning, Brigitte!" Reinhardt boomed in the closest thing he had to an 'indoor voice'. "Did you sleep well?"
"Great!" Brigitte replied. "What about you?" She addressed the question to everyone.
The others talked over each other a bit but they all expressed the same sentiment. Brigitte grabbed a pair of breakfast wraps from the freezer and put them in the microwave.
"Could you tell if Hana was awake?" Winston asked. "I need to give her a proper tour of the site."
Brigitte shook her head. "I couldn't tell." She thought for a moment. "I thought you gave her a tour yesterday?"
"I showed her around a bit, yes," Winston said, "but that was mostly just so she could get her bearings. Where everyone's rooms are, where the kitchen is, the bathrooms… just the stuff she needed to know for her first day. Now that we're not dragging her bags around everywhere, I can give her a more in-depth tour."
"Oh." Brigitte hoped her disappointment wasn't as obvious as it felt. She had been looking forward to hanging out with Hana today, but knowing Winston's tendency to ramble, an "in-depth" tour with him would likely occupy most of the day.
Winston and Mei didn't notice Brigitte's slight change in attitude, but Reinhardt and Lúcio did, and they both gave Winston a subtle kick under the table.
Oh!" Winston exclaimed. "Don't worry, I'll try not to take too long! You'll have plenty of time to hang out with her after!"
Brigitte blushed, Reinhardt groaned, and Lúcio put his hand to his forehead. The awkwardness was thankfully interrupted by the sounds of Lena's chronal accelerator propelling her down the hall, and a split-second later she appeared in the room in a blur of baby blue. "Mornin', luvs!" She chirped brightly. "Everyone sleep well?" Everyone present confirmed that they had, in fact, slept well. "Excellent!" She zipped over to the sink and started pouring herself a cup of water for tea.
The microwave dinged and Brigitte collected her wraps and headed back to the table. As she passed Lena, she felt the Brit give her a soft pat on the back. Sitting down next to Reinhardt, Brigitte began to eat.
"Winston?" Mei spoke up. "Would there be any chance you could meet me in the labs after your tour? I'd like to study some of the interactions between barriers and my endothermic stream."
"Oh, of course!" Winston replied. "I'll head right to the lab once I'm done!"
"Okay! Have a good day, everyone!" Mei stood up and left the kitchen, and Lena put her water in the microwave.
"So Brigitte," Reinhardt asked, "what do you think of the new recruit? Is she everything you expected her to be?"
"Well I wasn't expecting her to be D.Va ," Brigitte admitted. "And, honestly… I wasn't expecting her to be so friendly. She always comes off as so aloof during her streams and interviews!"
"Now I never met Hana personally before yesterday," Lúcio said, "but I had heard that, when she drops the whole 'D.Va' thing, she's actually kinda sweet!"
"Yeah, she totally is!" Brigitte confirmed.
"So, do you still like her?" Reinhardt teased.
" Reinhardt! " Brigitte snipped, blushing. "She could walk in here at any moment!!"
Reinhardt chuckled. "Okay, okay. Let me rephrase. Did you get along with her?"
"I did, thanks for asking." Brigitte said flatly, crossing her arms in a huff.
"So... I've heard we're supposed to have lovely weather this week!" Lena offered before the silence got awkward.
"Really?" Lúcio asked. "I don't pay much attention to the forecast."
"Yeah! It's supposed to be sunny, and a nice temperature!" The conversation continued for a bit before Reinhardt stood up.
"I'd best be going. I've got Hasselhoff to listen to, at full volume!"
Lúcio rolled his eyes. "Come on, man! That's how you get tinnitus!"
"I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the ringing in my ears!" Reinhardt's voice echoed as he walked into the hallway.
"I still can't tell if that dude's serious," Lúcio said.
"His ears only ring because he has nothing in between," Brigitte deadpanned.
"I should… probably get going too," Winston said. "I still have to do some paperwork before I give Hana her tour. Speaking of! If any of you see her before I do, send her to my office. Just in case she forgot."
"We gotcha covered, big guy," Lena assured him.
The three friends chatted for a bit, before eventually Lena and Lúcio both took their leave. Brigitte had long since finished eating by now, but she was wanted to stick around a bit longer, just in case Hana showed up.
The next people to arrive for breakfast, however, were Angela and Genji. Angela looked tired, though this was nothing new. "Good morning, Brigitte," she said.
"Morning Angela," Brigitte replied. "Morning, Genji."
"Did you sleep well?" Brigitte asked.
"I did," Genji answered. "And you?"
"Pretty well! What about you, Angela?"
Mercy gave a low chuckle and began making herself some coffee. "As well as ever."
"What do you two think of Hana?" Brigitte asked. "I bet you're excited to finally have some competition on our game nights," she added with a look at Genji.
Genji laughed. "You're getting better every week! You almost beat me last time!"
"Almost," Brigitte smiled. "But not quite. You still need to be put in your place!"
"We will see if she has what it takes," Genji said with a smile.
The three chatted for some time before Angela and Genji both headed off to continue their days. Brigitte checked her phone. It was almost 10:00. Just as she was about to give up, she heard a yawn and Hana walked into the room, looking very tired.
"Morning, Brigitte…" Hana murmured.
"Morning Hana… did you have trouble sleeping?" Brigitte asked, concerned.
Hana shrugged. "I always have trouble sleeping in new places. I'll be fine after a few days." She started rummaging around in the cabinets. "What do you have for breakfast here?"
"Well, Angela usually does most of the shopping, so if you want anything specific you should talk to her. But for now, we have breakfast wraps, bagels, donuts--"
"Wait!" Hana perked up slightly as she pulled a green cereal box out of one of the cabinets. "You have Lúcio-ohs?!"
"Well, yeah," Brigitte replied. "We have Lúcio!"
"Oh yeah… I didn't even think about that." Hana poured herself a heaping bowl and grabbed some milk from the fridge, pouring some into the bowl before returning the jug.
"By the way, Winston wanted to make sure you remember to meet him in his office for your tour."
Hana drooped. "Oh… right. Any idea how long that will take?" She sat down next to Brigitte.
"Well, depending on when you two start, and how much he feels like talking… you'll probably be done sometime around 4 or 5… Why? Do you have any plans?"
Other than hanging out with you, no… "Nah, just… trying to map out my day." Hana ate a spoonful of her cereal. "...What about you?"
"Well, I'll probably do some work on my armor in the workshop," Brigitte said, absent-mindedly twirling a lock of her hair. "And then I'll have lunch, and after that I'll probably spend some time at the gym, but most of my afternoon's free after that!"
Hana felt her heartbeat quicken slightly. "Oh! Do you… do you think we could... hang out after I'm done my tour?" This is ridiculous! Why am I so nervous? I've talked to cute girls before! It must just be because I'm tired. Yeah, that must be it.
"Of course!" Brigitte exclaimed, trying not to sound too excited. "You can meet me in my room once you're done!"
"Great!" At that moment Brigitte's phone beeped and she pulled it out of her pocket to check. It was a text from Winston.
[Have you seen Hana yet?]
[Yeah she's here eating breakfast.] [I'll send her up as soon as she's done.]
"That reminds me…" Hana began, before trailing off.
"Reminds you of what?" Brigitte asked, glancing up from her phone.
Hana's heart started to pound in her ears. "I--never mind… It wasn't that important anyway." Dammit, Hana!! She cursed herself. You had the PERFECT opportunity to ask her for her number and you just chickened out! What is WRONG with you?! She looked down and started eating her cereal again, hoping the move hid her face well enough that Brigitte couldn't see her flustered frustration.
Brigitte was too busy hoping her own disappointment wasn't as obvious as it felt. A part of her had hoped that Hana had been about to ask for her number, but that was evidently just wishful thinking, and Brigitte didn't have the courage to ask Hana for hers.
Hana finished her cereal and stood up, still blushing slightly. "I… don't want to keep Winston waiting… I'll, uh, I'll see you later?"
"Yeah, see ya," Brigitte replied, trying to sound excited. And she was--very much so, but as Hana left the room her immediate emotions were those of distress. Hana's withdrawal from the conversation had been strange and abrupt, and Brigitte spent the next several minutes trying to figure out what she might have done wrong. Did I come on too strong somehow? Was my crush on her really that obvious? She sighed and began the long walk back to her room to properly get ready for the day.
She put up her hair and changed into her work clothes; a gray grease-stained tank top and brown, oil-streaked cargo pants. She didn't bother to shower or do her makeup yet, since she'd be getting greasy and sweaty today anyways. She walked down the hill from fuel storage to the hangar, through the heavy steel garage door at the back of munitions, and into the workshop. As was usually the case, she was the only one there. Reinhardt occasionally stopped by to help work on his armor, but smithing and mechanics weren't really his thing. She flipped on the lights and a small section of the workshop was illuminated with harsh, cold light. Reinhardt and Brigitte's armors were mounted on stands on this side of the shop, but much of the room remained empty, even with a new silhouette standing just outside of the light.
Brigitte immediately knew what it was--there was only one thing that could have appeared in the workshop since she was last there, and it was D.Va's mech. Curious, she
started the forge before flipping on the next row of lights and walking over to take a look. It was hunched down right now, but even so the bright pink machine was a bit bigger than she had imagined. From a distance it looked pristine, but upon closer inspection she could tell it had seen its share of action. Small imperfections in the surface of the metal showed where bullet holes had been patched, and where dents had been hammered out. There were patches of paint that just didn't quite match the rest. The thick polycarbonate window over the cockpit showed hundreds of small scuffs and scratches, and the cradle that held the operator prone at the controls had splotches of discoloration--possibly bloodstains that never quite came out.
She made her way around the mech. She couldn't see the top without climbing up, which she wasn't about to do without Hana's permission, but she could still see some parts of the design. Heavy canvas sheathes protected the powerful hydraulics in the mech's legs, but the joints in the arms were uncovered. She made a mental note to ask Hana about that. She walked around the back of the mech--nothing particularly interesting there besides the cockpit hatch, and around to the other side, where she examined the fusion cannons.
The three rotating barrels were stained with smoke from the countless shots that had been fired from them, and though she couldn't get a good look, the scorching at the base could mean their bearings were starting to go. The armor on the "forearms" had also seen better days, with dozens of small scratches, dents, and other imperfections that hadn't quite been fully fixed. Whoever does the work on Hana's mech is good, but they're no metalsmith.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the workshop door opening. "This is the workshop," she heard Winston say from the other side. "Brigitte's the only person who really uses it, but sometimes Reinhardt--"
"Brigitte!" Hana interrupted Winston as the door opened wide enough for her to see inside. "I didn't think I'd see you again until later!"
"Neither did I," Brigitte replied with a small smile. I hope she's not upset I was checking out her mech…
"I see you and Tokki are getting to know each other," Hana bounded over to her, her usual energy starting to make a return. "What do you think?"
Brigitte felt her nerves fade. Thankfully Hana didn't seem to mind her curiosity. "It's so cool to see one in person!"
Hana giggled. "All the MEKAs are a bit different," she said, leaning against the side of hers. "Some of them it's just the way they look, but a lot of them have custom tech! My micro-missiles aren't standard issue, for example, and there's one guy who replaced his defense matrix with a projected hard-light barrier! But they all have the same fusion core design--here, lemme show you!" She started to climb on top of her mech, but she froze when Winston spoke up.
"Uhhh, Hana? There's, um, still a lot I need to show you…"
"Ugh, fiiine," Hana sighed, sliding off her mech and back to the ground. Winston was right, after all, and she could always show Brigitte around another time. "We still on for hanging out later?" She asked Brigitte as she walked backwards towards Winston.
"Of course !" Brigitte replied with a bright smile.
"See ya then!"
As Hana left the shop and the door closed, Brigitte felt much better. Whatever had been bothering Hana earlier, it didn't seem to be a problem now. She walked back to her armor, and began examining it. It was still battered and banged up from their last mission--she'd been so busy repairing Reinhardt's armor that he regularly obliterated any time he stepped outside with it, she hadn't had the chance to start working on her own until now. As she looked over the damage, memories of their last battle came flooding back…
"Reinhardt's down!" Mercy called out as bullets and rockets shot by overhead. "Cover me while I help him!"
"I'm on it!" Brigitte moved in front of Mercy and deployed her barrier. It wasn't big enough to protect Mercy from all angles, but it would have to do. "Tracer! Draw their fire!"
"You got it!" Tracer reloaded her pulse pistols and zipped around a Null Sector unit. "Oi! Wanker!" She yelled as she drilled an entire clip into the side of one of the omnics' heads. "Over here!"
Brigitte could feel her barrier shake as dozens of bullets pounded at it, the glassy surface rippling as it absorbed the impact of the attacks. "How much longer, Mercy?" She asked, cracks beginning to form in her barrier. "I can't take much more of this!"
"Just a few more moments!" Mercy called back.
As the rain of bullets continued, the cracks spread, until with a loud Crash! Brigitte's barrier shattered. "My barrier's dow--AAUGH!" She screamed in pain as a sniper bullet tore through her right leg, dropping her. "Arrghhh!!" She gritted her teeth in pain and covered her head with her shield. She had gone through a great deal of effort to design a barrier that, when broken, would collapse into a traditional metal shield, and as bullets clattered against its surface, it seemed as if those efforts were saving her life once again.
"I've got you, Brigitte!" Mercy called as her caduceus staff locked on to her, and the pain began to fade. At almost the same moment, she heard Reinhardt grunt, and a massive wall of blue light spread out in front of her. After a second or so, the pain subsided enough for her to stand, but it was far from gone. She--
Brigitte shook her head, forcing her mind to return to the present. Maybe this is why Reinhardt has such an active imagination… she thought as she set down the right greave on a work table. "No," she said aloud, forcing her dark thoughts away. Don't think about that. Think about happy things. Like Hana. She grabbed her metal grinder and began the process of grinding the ragged, twisted bullet hole into a smoother, more regular shape. Once she was done, she took some measurements of the new hole and selected an appropriately-sized piece of scrap. Putting on a heavy pair of gloves, she grabbed the scrap with a pair of tongs and began heating it in the forge.
Over the next couple of hours, she slowly hammered the scrap into the same size and shape as the hole it would fill, heating it whenever it became too firm to work with, and periodically checking it against the hole. Once she was satisfied with the fit, she heated it once more and hammered it into place. Then, she donned her welding mask and welded the parts together, before returning to her grinder and shaving the surface down until it was perfectly smooth. Once she painted over it, it would be impossible to tell that there was any damage in the first place. But as she wiped the sweat from her brow, she felt her stomach growl obnoxiously. It was well after lunch time, after all. I suppose painting can wait for another time.
The dining area was empty by the time she arrived, which she should have expected--after all, she'd gotten off to a late start in the workshop. Still, she was rather disappointed that she'd missed Hana. She tossed together a big lunch and chowed down on it alone, before heading to her room.
As she flopped down on her bed, she pulled out her phone and checked the time. 2 pm. By the time her lunch digested enough for her to work out, Hana would probably be done her tour anyways. Welp, I guess I'm not exercising today , she thought, more accepting than disappointed. Guess I'll get my shower out of the way now. She sat up and went to her closet to pick out the clothes she'd wear for later in the day. She settled on a pair of blue jeans, and her favorite "I like exercise" crop-top.
She took some extra time to make sure her hair and makeup were perfect after her shower, but even so she'd been lying on her back staring at her phone for nearly two hours before she finally heard a knock on the door. "Brigitte? Are you there?" Hana asked from the other side.
"Yeah, I'm here!" Brigitte replied, sitting up. "You can come in!" The door slid open and in walked Hana, wearing a white off-the-shoulder top and a pair of jean shorts. "How did your tour go?" Brigitte asked.
"Not bad," Hana replied, looking around at Brigitte's room. "Winston definitely rambled a bit, but it was cool to see all the different areas of--wait! Is that a PS4?!?" She rushed over to Brigitte's desk and examined the black box sitting on top of it.
"Yeah!" Brigitte said proudly, standing up from her bed and walking over next to Hana.
"You're into retro games, too?! " Hana asked in disbelief. Brigitte was big, strong, really pretty, interested in mechanics, and a gamer? It was almost too much! "You just got, like, a thousand times cooler! And you were already really cool!" Subtlety and nerves had temporarily flown out the window for Hana as her excitement bordered on overwhelming. "Can I pick it up?"
"Thanks," Brigitte said, feeling her entire face burn red. "And yeah, it's not on."
Hana picked up the PS4 and turned it over in her hands. "Where did you even find one of these?!"
"My grandmother was a big gamer," Brigitte said. "I was the only one in the family who really wanted her old stuff, so I kind of inherited it?"
Hana set the console back down on the table and looked up at Brigitte, barely resisting the urge to hop up and down with excitement. "What games do you have for it?" She asked.
"Well, I have a bunch of the classic Assassin's Creeds, all of the Uncharted games, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last Of Us… there's some others I don't have with me. It's mostly just the mainstream stuff but, I like it."
"Do you have anything we could play together?"
Brigitte seemed disappointed. "I uhm… I don't really… wait!" She perked up. "I do have one! It's called Starwhal"
"Lemme grab my chair! I'll be right back!" Hana rushed out of the room, across the hall, grabbed her chair, and rolled it back into Brigitte's room, hopping into the seat as it crossed the threshold. "Look out!" She rolled through the room, the seat spinning around its axle until Brigitte grabbed it and brought it to a stop.
"Gotcha, Kanin!" Brigitte laughed.
"Thanks!" Hana giggled. "Wait," she turned around in her chair to face Brigitte. "What did you call me?"
"Oh," Brigitte blushed. "Uh, 'Kanin.' It means 'bunny.'" She rubbed the back of her neck nervously. "Sorry, it, uhh… it just kinda… slipped out…"
"What? No!" Hana scrambled up to kneel on her chair so that she was close to eye-level with Brigitte. "No, I like it! It's cute!" Her cheeks warmed a bit at her own boldness.
"Oh, okay!" Brigitte's cheeks reddened further, but a small smile touched her lips. "By the way, here's your controller."
"Player two?? " Hana asked with mock indignation as she took the controller. "I've never been so insulted in my life!"
Brigitte laughed, and Hana felt her heart flip-flop. Of course her laugh's adorable, too. Everything else about her is.
"My room, my console, my rules," Brigitte said with a grin. "If you want to be player one, you gotta play me for it."
Hana raised an eyebrow. "You think you can take me? In a video game? I used to do this for a living, you know!"
"Don't get so cocky, Song," Brigitte warned. "I bet I know this game way better than you do."
"Oh, we're on a last name basis for this?" Hana smirked. "Alright, Lindholm, you're on! Uhhh… how do I play?"
Brigitte chuckled. "It's really pretty simple. You just hold down the right trigger to move, and you use the left stick to turn. You have to try to pierce my heart, and I have to try to pierce yours!"
"That sounds easy!" Hana scoffed.
"We'll see about that."
Round 1: Pierce the heart!
The two narwhals began their awkward, floppy advance towards each other.
"What is this??" Hana exclaimed. "This is impossible to control!"
"I warned you!" Brigitte laughed.
Hana's narwhal got itself wedged in a corner. "Dodaeche! I'm stuck!"
Brigitte's narwhal dove in for the kill. "Gotcha!" Brigitte cried triumphantly.
"No fair!" Hana whined. "I've never played this before!"
"Oh, does the great D.Va need a redo?" Brigitte teased.
"You're so mean!" Hana gave Brigitte a playful smack on the shoulder.
Right from the start, Hana's narwhal made a beeline for Brigitte's. Brigitte expertly ducked underneath Hana's charge and tipped her nose up, stabbing her tusk clean through Hana's heart.
"Jenjang!" Hana cursed.
"Best three out of five?"
"Best four out of seven?"
"You can put that eyebrow down, Lindholm."
"I think I've got it this time!" Hana flung her narwhal towards Brigitte's, ducking down at the last second and then pitching its nose up as Brigitte's narwhal flew past above her.
"Nice try, Kanin!" Brigitte teased, aiming downwards to arch her narwhal's back, pulling its heart just out of reach of Hana's tusk. Continuing the turn, she looped around behind Hana's narwhal and gave chase. Hana tried to loop back over and dive onto Brigitte's exposed heart, but Brigitte twisted up and parried the attack with her own tusk.
"Dammit!" Hana growled. Brigitte's narwhal pushed forward, trying to get its tusk in range of Hana's heart. "Oh no you don't!" Hana twisted her narwhal back, and for a second they raced across the arena back to back, before Brigitte dropped back and let her narwhal fall to the ground on its back, its vulnerable heart completely exposed. "Are you taunting me?!" Hana asked with feigned offense.
"Come on, bunny!" Brigitte smirked, as her narwhal let out an antagonizing chirp. "Or are you more of a chicken ?"
Hana gasped. "You did not just say that!" Brigitte's narwhal chirped again. "Okay, now you're toast!" Hana's narwhal looped around and dove aggressively at Brigitte's exposed heart. At the last second, Brigitte took off, and Hana's tusk slammed into the ground just behind her tail.
"Get back here!" Hana's narwhal gave chase, and for a moment the two raced around the perimeter of the arena. Brigitte peeled off of the edge and swam to the other side of the arena. Hana tried to follow, but she wasn't as experienced at piloting her narwhal, and wasted crucial time flopping about.
Brigitte saw her chance. Pirouetting around, she charged at Hana, who couldn't move out of the way in time. Time slowed as Brigitte's tusk found its mark, Hana's heart shattered, and her narwhal broke apart, the pieces falling to the floor of the arena. "Ha!" Brigitte exclaimed triumphantly.
Hana put her controller on the desk in defeat. "Whatever. It's a dumb game about dumb floppy neon narwhals. There's no skill involved!"
"If there's no skill involved, then how come you couldn't even beat me once?" Brigitte gave Hana's stomach a playful poke.
"Dagchyeo!" Hana giggled, pushing Brigitte away and sending their chairs rolling in opposite directions. "What do you want to play next?"
Holy crap, this one ran away from me! I didn't want to end it on a cliffhanger, but it's already almost as long as the last two chapters combined! As always, I hope you enjoyed the chapter, and feel free to let me know what you think!
"Dodaeche!" - "What the hell! / Why!" (Korean)
"Jenjang!" - "Damn it!" (Korean)
"Nongdam hae?!" - "Are you kidding me?!" (Korean)
"Dagchyeo!" - "Shut up!" (Korean)
All translations courtesy of Google Translate.
Brigitte awkwardly rubbed the back of her neck. "Well… I don't really have anything else we can play together…"
"Awww, man!" Hana glanced around Brigitte's room, hoping to find something to keep the conversation going. "Wait… didn't you say you had posters?"
"Oh, I…" Brigitte blushed slightly. "I did…"
"Where are they?" Hana asked.
Brigitte's felt her cheeks growing warmer. "I, uhh… I… I kinda took them down…" she admitted quietly. "I felt like it'd be weird to have them up…"
"What?" Hana bounced up from her chair. "No! I already said it's not weird!" Brigitte looked away in an attempt to hide her blush. "Come on!" Hana exclaimed, grabbing Brigitte's arm and trying to pull her out of her chair. "I wanna see what you've got!"
"Okay, okay!" Brigitte stood up and grabbed the posters from her closet as Hana jumped onto her bed. Brigitte sat down next to her and unrolled the first poster, which featured Hana holding a glass bottle of Nano Cola and winking against a light blue background.
"Oh wow!" Hana exclaimed. "This was the first ever poster from my Nano Cola partnership! I forgot how skinny I was back then!"
"Wait, that's real?" Brigitte asked, surprised. "I always thought that was edited!"
Hana shook her head. "Nope. That was just before I drank Nano Cola regularly! I've gotten some crap for my weight gain, but screw it. I'm happier and healthier now."
"What?" Brigitte asked, stunned. "People gave you crap for it?? You're still-- I mean…" she trailed off awkwardly, unsure of what Hana's boundaries were for this topic.
"Still kinda skinny?" Hana finished for her, her warm smile showing that she wasn't bothered.
"Yeah," Brigitte confirmed, glad that Hana didn't seem to mind.
Hana shrugged. "Haters gonna hate," she dismissed. She patted the posters on Brigitte's lap. "What else you got there?"
Brigitte unrolled the next poster, which showed Hana in a Nano Cola themed jumpsuit, proudly holding up a can of the soda and looking over her shoulder at the camera.
"Ooh!" Hana gasped. "This one is one of my favorites!"
"The photographer for it was really nice. Each take, he'd tell me a joke right before he took the shot, cuz 'real smiles always look better than fake ones.' I felt like I got to show a bit more of the real me than I usually do on these shots!"
"That's awesome!" Brigitte smiled.
"What's next?" Hana had scooched a little closer to Brigitte with each poster, and now their thighs were just barely touching. For Brigitte, it was enough to make her heartbeat flutter like a hummingbird as she opened the next poster, a promotional piece for Hero Of My Storm . "Oh no!" Hana laughed as she saw the poster. "Not this movie!"
"What?" Brigitte asked. "It's gonna be that bad?"
"Oh no, the movie's gonna be great! But the director, Hal-fred Glitchbot? Rrrgh!" Hana growled through gritted teeth.
"Really?" Brigitte asked in disbelief. "What was he like?"
"He demanded a personal escort every time he wanted to go from his parking spot to his trailer. It wasn't even 600 feet, but he wouldn't move unless someone walked next to his car! And if you moved too far away from him, he'd start going backwards , until he either got to a gate or someone started walking next to his dumb limo again! And he had the nerve to insult us the entire time! It was the most ridiculous, stuck-up power fantasy I've ever seen!"
"Holy shit!" Brigitte gasped. "That's awful!"
"I know right?" Hana steamed. "Eolgan-i."
"It's a shame," Brigitte said, disappointed. "I really wanted to see that movie, but there's no way I'm buying a ticket if he was like that!"
"I can take you when it comes out if you want to go!" Hana offered. "Cast members get to view it for free, and we get a plus one! You can see the movie, and you won't have to give Glitchbitch a single credit!"
"You'd use your plus one on me?" Brigitte asked.
Hana shrugged. "I won't be in Korea when it comes out, so it's either you or or some random stranger I find at the theatre. And personally, I'd rather use my plus one on a friend." She gave Brigitte a meaningful smile.
"Wait... friend?" Brigitte wasn't sure if she heard correctly.
"I mean, yeah…" Hana said, suddenly worried she might have overstepped her bounds. "I… I know we've only known each other for two days, but you're nice, and funny, and I like hanging out with you. That's… that's what friends are, right?"
"Oh! Yeah!" Brigitte exclaimed, blushing. "I just… never thought I'd be lucky enough to be friends with the Hana Song! Sorry, I hope it didn't seem like I… don't want to be friends! I do!"
Hana giggled. She's too cute! "It's okay! Buuut… you still haven't answered my question…"
"Well, yeah, but…" Brigitte didn't have enough confidence in herself for this. "I mean, what about the other people here? I'm sure some of them want to--"
Hana put a hand on Brigitte's shoulder. "Brigitte, do you want to go to the movies with me or not?"
"I- I do! But--"
"Then shut up," Hana interrupted with a warm smile. She felt a blush creep into her cheeks. Why am I blushing? Hana thought to herself. It's just two friends going to the movies, right? It's not like it has to be a date… why do I kind of want it to be a date? There's no way I have a crush on this girl already. It's been two days! I'm not that useless! "So, uh, what other posters do you have?"
A few posters later, Hana felt her phone buzz in her pocket. She checked it to see a text from Lúcio.
[Yo Hana, you coming to dinner?]
"Hey, wanna get food?" Hana asked Brigitte. "I didn't realize how late it was getting!"
"What?" Brigitte checked her own phone. "Yeah, good call!"
Hana texted Lúcio back as they stood up. [Yeah! Sorry, I've been hanging out with Brigitte and we lost track of time! We'll be right down.]
"And then Torbjörn said, 'I'm more disappointed the jetpack doesn't work!'" Reinhardt's voice echoed through the hall as Hana and Brigitte arrived at the dining area to see him talking to the entire Overwatch crew. "Oh, Brigitte! I was just telling everyone about the time you tried to make a jetpack for Nisse!"
"Herregud…" Brigitte covered her face with her hands. "Reinhardt, please !"
"Wait, who's Nisse?" Hana asked. Does she have a boyfriend?
"My cat," Brigitte groaned from behind her hands.
"You made a jetpack for your cat?"
"I was seven! " Brigitte defended, dragging her hands down her now very red face. The story was embarrassing enough on its own, but having it told in front of Hana made her want to disappear on the spot.
"In fairness, the cat was never in any danger!" Reinhardt added. "The jetpack had no moving parts and she tried to fuel it with water!"
"It was harmless, really! She tried to solder it together with pencil lead!"
" REINHARDT! "
"That's adorable !" Hana giggled. She turned to Brigitte. "So you knew you wanted to he an engineer pretty early, huh?"
The question may have been innocent, but, to Brigitte, Hana's bright and lilted tone sounded more jeering than friendly. She was on the verge of bursting into tears from embarrassment and anger, and she stormed over to the fridge and swung the door open without a word. Reinhardt always told this story to new people as a way of teasing her, and as embarrassing as it was, it had never bothered her this much before. But this time was different. It was in front of Hana, a literal celebrity who Brigitte was just starting to be friends with, and who somehow thought she was cool. Of all the people in the room, Hana was the one Brigitte desperately wanted to impress. And now she looked like a fool.
Hana felt her heart drop into her stomach like a rock. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean--" she was interrupted by Brigitte slamming the fridge door shut and stomping over with a plate of food to a small table in the corner of the room. Hana turned back to the main group at the table, the distress clear in her face. "Did-- did I say something wrong?!"
"She'll be fine," Reinhardt assured. "She just gets embarrassed when I tell the story in front of pret--" Brigitte shot him a death glare from the corner of the room. "...In front of new people." Reinhardt sighed. "It was my fault."
Lena put a small hand on Reinhardt's massive back. "He just gets carried away when he tells his stories," she said, as much to Brigitte as Hana. "He didn't mean anything by it."
Hana stood rooted in place. She knew Brigitte probably wanted to be left alone, but she couldn't shake the feeling that her comment had pushed her over the edge, and it felt horrible . She had to apologize, at least. Hesitantly, she made her way towards Brigitte and gently put her hand on her shoulder. "Brigitte, I--" Brigitte sharply shrugged off Hana's touch. "I'm sorry," Hana said softly. She stood there for a moment, but there was no response.
"Give her some space, Hana," Lúcio called over. "She'll talk when she's ready." Hana stayed for another moment, before finally tearing herself away and going back to the main table, where she sat down next to Lúcio and looked down at the table. "You're not gonna get some food?" He asked.
"Not hungry," Hana said flatly. Her heart currently felt like it was taking up all the space in her stomach. She felt Lúcio give her a gentle pat on the back.
"You should try to eat something, at least," Lúcio said softly. "You'll be hungry later."
"Then I'll deal with it later," Hana replied coldly.
Dinner passed by quietly. There were a few attempts at conversation, but they all died quickly. Brigitte's feelings for Hana were well-known by the team, and her reaction under those circumstances was understandable, but it had left an uncomfortable weight hanging over the room. Hana's reaction also raised some questions in the minds of those at the table, but the air was too heavy to even consider broaching them.
One by one, as those present finished their food, they made their exit quietly, until Lúcio, Hana, and Brigitte were the only ones left.
"Come on, Hana," Lúcio said gently. "We should get going." He led Hana to the door, but the Korean paused, clearly conflicted about leaving Brigitte behind. "There's nothing you can do right now. The best thing is to leave her be."
Hana sighed. She hated leaving her friends angry, but Lúcio was right. There was nothing she could do. As they left the hallway into the hangar she spoke up. "Hey, do you mind if I hang with you for a bit?"
"'Course not. My door is always open. Metaphorically, of course."
Lúcio's room was cluttered, but not messy. Frog-themed memorabilia was scattered about the place, and much of the room was occupied by various instruments and his DJ deck.
"So, how are you liking the Watchpoint?" Lúcio asked, sitting down in his chair.
"It's nice," Hana replied, taking a seat on Lúcio's bed. "It seems like there's a lot of stuff to do."
"Did Winston show you the docks?"
"What docks?" Hana was surprised that in all of Winston's rambling, he'd managed to leave out any part of the base.
"You should ask Brigitte to show you them," Lúcio suggested. "They're one of her favorite places to hang out!"
"Are you trying to set us up?" Hana asked suspiciously.
Lúcio laughed. He was, but he wasn't going to make it that obvious. He shook his head. "Nah, I just know that you two like hanging out, and that's a good place to do it!"
"If she even wants to hang out anytime soon," Hana said, a hint of bitterness in her voice. "Seriously, I'm really worried that I hurt her today."
"Don't be. Brigitte's got the biggest heart of anyone I know. She's loyal to a fault--you probably couldn't drive her away even if you tried. You've already gotten her to like you. The only way she's leaving now is if you ask her to."
Hana sighed, absent-mindedly playing with a lock of her long hair. "You always make everything seem like it's going to be okay."
"In my experience, it almost always is." Lúcio leaned back in his chair and kicked his feet up onto his desk. "People worry too much. If you think about it, everything is either in your control, or out of it. Anything that's in your control you can fix, and anything that's out of your control is gonna no what it wants no matter what. So there's really no point in stressing about anything."
"I… I guess that's true…"
"Hey, you're not gonna believe it right away. But keep telling yourself it, and you'll find that it'll start to come true." Hana gave a thankful smile in response, and Lúcio decided to move to happier topics for a bit. "Wanna hear the song I'm working on? I'm trying to find another healing beat, and this one feels like it might be promising!"
"Sure!" Hana exclaimed, thankful for the distraction. "You know how much I love your work!" Lúcio was a master of his craft. Something about his music could make your pain feel like it was fading away, or invigorate you with an energy you didn't know you had. She had heard that it was even enough to make a difference in combat, and even Angela had confirmed it to be true when Hana had asked about it during their first introduction. Perhaps it could help her today.
It was late when Hana finally left Lúcio's room, and as she arrived at the hallway that she and Brigitte shared, she hesitated next to the Swedish girl's door. She didn't want to bother Brigitte, but it she found that she couldn't go back to her room without at least trying one more time to make Brigitte feel better. It was clear that the older girl still felt that Hana was somehow above her, and it was already starting to cause friction between them. Hana decided to try telling Brigitte an embarrassing story of her own--perhaps it could help knock her down a peg or two in the Swede's eyes.
She raised her fist and gently knocked on the metal door. "Brigitte?" She said softly. She heard sounds from inside the room, and after a moment the door slid open. Brigitte was wearing a set of loose, cat-patterned pajamas, her hair was down, and she had taken off her makeup. She still looked a little upset, and it was clear she hadn't planned on seeing anyone for the rest of the day, but still, she seemed willing to talk.
"What?" Brigitte asked. There was an irritated edge to her voice, but she didn't sound hostile.
"I want to tell you about the time I accidentally punched myself with my own mech."
Brigitte's tone shifted to one of confusion. "What??"
"I want to tell you about the time I accidentally punched myself with my own mech," Hana repeated.
"So that we'll be even," Hana said with a soft smile. "I know an embarrassing story about you, so it's only fair that you learn one about me."
"Sure, I guess?" Hana's request was a strange one, but Brigitte didn't feel any reason to turn it down. In truth, she hadn't even given much thought to the idea that Hana might have her own embarrassing stories. She sat down on her bed and Hana hopped down next to her.
"So," Hana began, her tone bright and cheerful. "About two years ago I got back from a late-night mission and had to rebuild the hydraulics and fly-by-wire connections in Tokki's left arm as part of the repairs. Not exactly routine, but I've done it enough times that it shouldn't have been difficult. Buuuut, I was tired, and while I was doing the repairs I accidentally mixed up some of the connections. Specifically the ones for forward and back, and left and right."
"Oh no!" Brigitte laughed.
"I finished putting the arm back together, and I decided I'd run some tests before I went to bed. I started with a punch--it's the biggest workout for the hydraulics, and if there was still a leak or a loose part, that's the quickest way to find out. Now, it's worth noting that officially we're supposed to run any and all tests from the pilot's seat, but a lot of people didn't bother with that for simple tests, and I was one of them. So, when I jammed the flight stick forward to punch the arm, I was standing right next to it, with my back against the cockpit. Wham! " She punched her fist into the palm of her other hand. "Full force, right to the fuckin tits."
" Oh my god! " Brigitte exclaimed. "How… how hard does that thing hit??"
"I don't know the exact numbers," Hana admitted, her tone still as upbeat as ever, "But it was enough to break five of my ribs, crack another three, knock the wind clear out of me and fuck up my back enough that it took two surgeries to fix it. If I hadn't been pinned against the cockpit, it probably would have thrown me about fifteen feet."
" Oh! " Brigitte gasped, eyes widened in horror. "Were you okay?" She immediately felt silly for asking.
"Of course not!" Hana replied. "My teammates still give me shit about it!"
"No! I mean, that must have hurt !"
"Oh absolutely, but it doesn't anymore. All that's left is my embarrassment from being used as an example in a MEKA safety training holo-vid. They may have changed my name, but I still know." She dramatically threw her arm up to her forehead and collapsed backwards onto the bed. "My pride shall never recover!"
Brigitte laughed, a sound that Hana was quickly becoming quite fond of.
"So," Hana grunted as she sat back up. "Between Jetpack Cat and Hana Pulverizing Herself With Her Own Mech, who wins?"
"I have to say you have me beat on this one," Brigitte chuckled. "Congratulations."
"Awesome!" Hana said in D.Va's classic, high-pitched voice. "Score one for D.Va!"
"Do you have to make everything a competition?" Brigitte asked, laughing again.
"Only when I know I can win!" Hana replied. She yawned and her voice returned back to normal. "Honestly though, it's getting pretty late, and if I don't head back to my room now I'll probably wind up falling asleep on your floor." She turned to face Brigitte and gave her a soft smile. "You feeling better?"
Brigitte returned the smile. "Much. Thank you, Hana."
"Anytime." She gave Brigitte a pat on the shoulder and headed for the door. "Sleep well!"
Once Hana had changed into her pajamas, brushed her teeth, and turned off her lights, she went to bed and closed her eyes with a smile. Looks like Lúcio was right! There was nothing to worry about! Brigitte took that really well!
A minute later a realization hit her like a truck and her eyes shot open. AND I STILL DON'T HAVE HER NUMBER!!
"Eolgan-i" - "Jerk/Asshole" (Korean)
"Herregud…" "Oh my god..." (Swedish)
"Gah!" Hana Song gasped as she snapped awake, her heart pounding in her ears and her sheets damp with sweat. Her nightmares tonight had been mild by her standards, but they still left her shaken. Grasping her stuffed bunny, she curled up in her bed and forced herself to take deep, measured breaths. It's okay, Hana. Just a dream. That's all. Just a dream. It took her a few minutes, but she eventually managed to steady and calm herself enough to get out of bed. She gathered a set of clean clothes--a pair of ripped jeans and a pink "Nerf This!" t-shirt-- and headed for the shower.
As the warm water ran over her body, she felt some of her tension fade away, and she began to think about her day. She wanted to get Brigitte's number, first and foremost, and she resolved to ask her for it at the very first opportunity, no matter what. Secondly, she wanted to show off her mech to Brigitte, which would be easy. Brigitte had already expressed an interest in it, and she'd probably be going to the garage at some point anyways. Lastly, she wanted to get Brigitte to show her the docks. The fact that Brigitte featured prominently in each of her goals was not lost on her, and she was starting to have trouble explaining this without admitting to herself that she had a crush, so she instead decided to just ignore it for now. The "real" reason would come to her eventually.
She finished her shower, got herself dressed, and took some time to do her makeup and make doubly sure she was ready for social interaction. Once she felt physically and emotionally presentable, she headed for the kitchen. There she found the entire crew with the exception of Echo, who had little reason to visit the kitchen aside from socializing. She was greeted by a combination of various "Good morning!"s and waves.
"Morning everyone," she replied. "I wasn't expecting to see all of you here at once!"
"Yeah," Brigitte piped up. "It's rare but once in a while the stars do align!"
"Don't get used to it!" Lena giggled.
There were several open seats at the table, and there wasn't anyone missing who could come in and claim them, but nevertheless Hana set down her phone on the table next to Brigitte in order to claim the spot before pouring herself a bowl of Lúcio-Ohs.
"How come you never told me you liked my cereal?" Lúcio demanded jokingly.
Hana shrugged and shoved a spoonful into her mouth. "Never came up." She sat down next to Brigitte and gave her a smile, which she returned.
"I wasn't expecting you to be up this early," Brigitte said. "I was just about to head over to the workshop!"
Hana steeled herself. This was her chance to offer to exchange numbers. "Well," she said, trying to sound as confident as possible, "Maybe if I had your number , I could have asked you to wait up!" She slid her phone over in front of Brigitte, quite aware that she was doing this in front of the entire Overwatch team, but fuck it. She'd made a promise, and she wasn't about to miss her third opportunity to get Brigitte's number.
"Oh!" Brigitte blushed. "Yeah, I guess that's true. We don't have each other's numbers yet, do we? Here!" She fished her own phone out of her pocket and handed it to Hana. Picking up Hana's phone, Brigitte punched her name and number in. After a moment's thought, she added a cat emoji next to her name and handed the phone back to Hana.
Hana returned Brigitte's phone as well, and Brigitte saw that Hana had put a bunny emoji next to her own name. "Looks like we both had the same idea!" Hana said with a smile.
"So, what are everyone's plans for today?" Hana asked.
"Angela and I are going into town to buy food and supplies," Reinhardt said. "If there is anything you want to make sure we get, I suggest sending one of us a text."
Hana nodded. "Got it."
"Winston and I were planning on running some more tests in the lab!" Mei exclaimed.
"I'm going to be scouring the news to see where we should go for our next mission," Lena said. "After that, I'll probably be holo-calling Emily."
"I'm gonna be working on my new song," Lúcio said. "I've got a new visualizer that I want to hook up to Genji's lights!"
Genji groaned. "We've been through this. That's not what they're for!"
"Then what are they for, Genji?" Lúcio challenged.
"Angela, help me."
Angela sighed in amusement. "The lights were your idea, Genji. If you still can't explain why you wanted them, it is not my problem."
"Ooh!" Reinhardt exclaimed. "You should hook him up to my Hasselhoff! I bet he'd look amazing!"
"We're not hooking me up to anything !" Genji protested.
"I know some good K-Pop if you need more variety!" Hana teased.
"You are all horrible."
Hana finished the rest of her Lúcio-Ohs and stood up. "Mind if I follow you to the garage?" She asked Brigitte. "I still need to let you take a look at Tokki!"
"Sure!" Brigitte replied, standing up and walking out into the hall with Hana. "I can't wait!"
Back at the kitchen, Angela waited until Hana and Brigitte were safely out of earshot before speaking up. "Those two are spending an awful lot of time together, aren't they?" She asked rhetorically as she took a sip of her coffee. Her usual dry wit prompted chuckles from the others in the room.
"They've certainly become fast 'friends,'" Reinhardt agreed.
Lena laughed. "Yup! Just gals bein' pals, amirite?" She paused a moment, then added, "Twenty quid says Brigitte asks her out first."
Lúcio immediately slammed his wallet down on the table. "Oh you're on!"
At the garage, Brigitte punched in the code and the door slowly rose open. Hana didn't even wait for it to finish before ducking underneath and rushing in.
"Careful! It's dark in there!" Brigitte called after her.
"I'm fiiine!" Hana called back. Once the door had opened far enough for her to comfortably walk underneath it, Brigitte stepped inside and flipped on the lights. Hana had already reached her mech and was waiting impatiently. "Come on, slowpoke!" She teased.
Brigitte chuckled as she made her way over. "Patience isn't your strong suit, is it?"
"Uh, hellooo? Didn't you say you watched my streams? You should have figured that out by now!"
Brigitte laughed. "Well I'm here now, Kanin. What do you want to show me?"
Hana felt a small blush creep into her cheeks. She liked Brigitte's nickname for her a little more each time she said it. "We'll start with these!" She said, composing herself as she patted one of the barrels of her mechs guns. "Twin Fusion Cannons. They fire 11 shots per round, and a combined total of up to 400 rounds per minute! And, since they draw their power from the reactor core, they never have to reload!"
"They must get incredibly hot!" Brigitte observed.
"I can feel the heat on my hands all the way from the flight sticks," Hana confirmed. "It helps keep me comfortable during cold weather! The triple rotating barrels help spread out the heat so it doesn't damage anything."
"I bet they go through bearings like crazy."
Hana chuckled. "You saw the scorching, didn't you?" Brigitte nodded. "They were supposed to get replaced before I came here," Hana continued, "but we couldn't get the parts in time, so now I have to wait for them to ship them over here."
"I could probably make some for you if you want!" Brigitte offered eagerly.
"I mean, we'll still need to wait for the new parts anyways, since you'll need a clean base, but sure!" Hana gave Brigitte a bright smile. "It'd definitely help with future repairs!"
"Moving on to the arms," Hana said with a wry smile. "I'm sure I don't need to go over how powerful those are again, do I?"
"Break ribs, mess up spines, throw small people fifteen feet." Brigitte replied. "Yeah I think I got it."
"Are you saying I'm small?!" Hana exclaimed, feigning offense. She poked Brigitte's stomach playfully.
Brigitte laughed. "Well, to me, a lot of people are small!"
"Nice save," Hana winked. "Next up we have the legs! Fully articulating, with electro-gyroscopic stabilization. You couldn't knock this baby over if you tried!"
"Good thing I'm not trying," Brigitte joked. "By the way, what are these for?" She patted one of the canvas bags over the mech's legs. "And why do only the legs have them?"
"Those protect the heating elements," Hana said. "The hydraulics there are the most powerful ones in the entire mech, and they use a special fluid that has to be kept within a certain temperature range!"
"That's pretty cool!" Brigitte said, impressed.
"Actually, they're pretty hot ," Hana replied, giving Brigitte a pair of finger guns.
Brigitte groaned and softly thunked her head against the mech's thigh.
"We might as well talk about the armor," Hana said, "since that's what you're leaning on. Half-inch adamantine steel, capable of stopping an RPG dead in its tracks."
"I'm familiar with it," Brigitte said, standing up straight and looking at Hana again. "I worked with it a ton when I was in Ironclad. The crusader armor uses it too. Same thickness and everything. I also use it in my own armor, but only a quarter-inch. Saves on weight."
"That's a relief," Hana said. "I can tighten a bolt, crimp a wire, I can even do some simple welding, but I don't have the skills to keep this armor in shape. I'm glad to know you can though--I mean, if you want to!! No pressure!!" She felt her cheeks growing warm and she silently cursed how awkward she always felt around Brigitte.
"Of course!" Brigitte replied with a smile, once again failing to notice the redness in Hana's face. "Working with you on your mech is a dream come true! Don't worry about me!"
"A-awesome!" Hana reached up and brushed her hair out of her face.
There was a brief moment of silence before Brigitte spoke up. "So, uhm, what else do you want to show me?"
"Oh!" Hana exclaimed, having briefly forgotten what they had been talking about. "Right. This way!" She led Brigitte around to the back of the mech. "This is the escape hatch."
Brigitte crossed her arms. "What's so special about it?"
"During the eject sequence, it uses compressed air to open as quickly as possible. In the event that the doors are damaged and can't open, it has enough force to blow them clear off their hinges."
"With how often I've had to bail from this thing, yeah. It is." Hana made her way around to the side of the mech and reached awkwardly into the cockpit to flip a switch.
"What's that?" Brigitte asked.
"Micro missiles," Hana replied. She scrambled up to the top of the mech and reached down towards Brigitte. "Come on up!"
Brigitte raised an eyebrow. "You think you can lift me?"
"I'm being chivalrous, you nerd." Hana beckoned and Brigitte grabbed her hand and leapt up. " Wugh! " Hana grunted as Brigitte struggled to find a grip on the mech's smooth surface.
"It's all muscle," Brigitte replied, managing to find a grip.
"That's what they all say!" Hana strained as she finally managed to heave Brigitte up onto the top of the mech. Hana collapsed on her back, panting.
"Wow, out of breath already, Kanin?" Brigitte teased, lying down next to her.
"Just give me a moment." Hana said breathlessly. She looked over to Brigitte just in time to see the bigger girl close her eyes. She looked so peaceful, a soft smile on her lips as her chest gently rose and fell with each breath. Hana found herself wanting to roll over and press herself against her. To rest her head on Brigitte's chest. To feel her strong, sturdy arm wrapped around her waist…
Hana shook herself out of her daydream. "Wake up sleepyhead," she said, gently swatting Brigitte on the shoulder. "I still have more mech to show you!"
“Micro Missiles, right.” Brigitte sat up.
Hana patted the pods that had popped up from the top of the mech's wings. "These babies can fire a volley of 9 missiles each. Dae-Hyun and I drew up the design from scratch!"
"They fit right in," Brigitte complimented.
A knot formed in Brigitte's stomach. Wait… Dae-Hyun? Does she have a boyfriend? "Who's Dae-Hyun?" She asked, figuring the question was innocent enough.
"He's one of my friends in Korea," Hana replied. "We've known each other since we were kids, and he was my primary mechanic before I came here." After a moment, she added "He's basically like a brother to me." Hana didn't want Brigitte thinking she was taken, but just outright saying she wasn't dating Dae-Hyun without being asked directly would have been weird. She hoped her addition did the trick well enough.
"Ah, I see!" Brigitte replied, relieved.
Hana scooted forwards and pulled Brigitte over with her. "Here's the Defense Matrix targeting computer," she said, indicating a sensor mounted just above the cockpit windshield. "A super advanced threat detection system is able to identify hostile projectiles and shoot them down using bursts of high-energy particles from these ." She proudly indicated two round protrusions on either side of the mech's roof. "The Threat Deletion cannons. I also have manual control over these, so I can shoot down anything the computer misses!"
"So you have to keep track of every single projectile that enters your matrix?" Brigitte asked incredulously.
"The computer's pretty good at accurately identifying threats," Hana dismissed. "The manual control is mostly just a fail-safe, and I can count the number of times I've had to actually shoot something down on one hand. Plus, it catalogues any threats it misses and adds them to its database."
"So it has an AI?" Brigitte asked.
"In a broad and archaic sense, yes," Hana said reluctantly. "It's really just simple machine learning. Maybe in the early twenties it might have been considered AI, but it's nothing like what's in an omnic."
"Makes sense," Brigitte said. "So… is there anything else you want to show me?"
"Just one last thing! Hang on--" Hana slid down off of the mech and on to the ground. "Hey, do you have a mag-wrench anywhere?"
"Over by my armor," Brigitte replied, pointing. "In the red toolbox with the cat stickers on it."
"Got it!" Hana returned with the wrench and climbed back on top of the mech. "The reactor core is right in here." She patted the unpainted metal hatch in front of her, before unscrewing the magnetic bolts that held it shut and flipping it open. Inside, the polygonal core floated in its hemispherical chamber, pulsing with a soft orange glow. "This powers the entire machine," she said, setting the mag-wrench down on the top of the mech. "Entirely self-contained, never-ending power. Over here is--" As she leaned over to point, her knee knocked against the wrench and sent it tumbling into the inner workings of the mech. "Jenjang!" She cursed. She bent over and reached into the small gap where the wrench fell.
"You need some help?" Brigitte asked, looking over Hana's shoulder.
"Nah, I got--ugh! It's stuck! Hang on…" She tugged at the wrench until it finally came loose. As she yanked her arm out of the mech, though, she gasped in pain, clutching her forearm and dropping the wrench down onto the floor. "Ow!! Ssibal!!"
"Are you okay?" Brigitte gasped. "Hana?"
"I scraped my arm on a fucking bolt!" Hana hissed through gritted teeth.
"Can I take a look?" Brigitte asked. "I can help!"
"Here." Hana held out her injured arm for Brigitte to look at. Brigitte gently took it in her hands.
"I'm going to need you to move your hand for a second, okay?" She asked softly. Hana nodded and let go of her forearm, revealing a nasty scrape about four inches long. Blood filled the ragged groove in her skin. "Okay," Brigitte said, her voice gentle but confident. "I can patch this up, but I need to get the medkit. Are you okay if I carry you down, or do you think you can get off the mech on your own?"
"You… you can carry me," Hana replied. Immediately she felt Brigitte's arms shift around her and lift her into a bridal carry. The feeling of being held by the larger girl brought about a rush that made Hana almost forget her pain. Damn , she wanted this.
Brigitte slid down the side of the mech and carried Hana over to the medkit on the wall of the garage. She gently set the smaller girl down, grabbed the medkit, and began sifting through it. "I'm going to need to wash the wound with alcohol," she said, putting her hand on Hana's shoulder. "It's going to sting, a lot. Are you ready?"
Hana nodded and gave Brigitte a smile. "I've been through a lot worse than this, you know," she said.
Brigitte returned the smile. "Doesn't hurt to check." She poured some alcohol onto a clean rag and began gently dabbing away the blood. Hana winced. "You're doing great, Kanin," Brigitte assured.
Hana rolled her eyes, but her warm smile and blush broke through her facade.
Once Brigitte finished cleaning the wound she looked it over again. "It's not as bad as I thought," she said. "The skin's only broken in a couple places, so a bandage should be plenty."
"So you're a medic, too?" Hana asked, looking back at Brigitte.
The Swede chuckled, and Hana could have sworn that the sound made her pain fade, just a bit. " Someone has to fix Reinhardt up every time he gets himself into trouble," she explained, gently taking Hana's arm and wrapping a bandage around it.
"Well, you're really good," Hana said with a smile.
Brigitte blushed. "Thanks." She finished wrapping Hana's arm and tied off the bandage. "There. Is that better?"
"Much," Hana confirmed. "Thank you, Brigitte." She leaned up and wrapped her arms around the Swede's broad shoulders. Brigitte tensed, and for a moment, Hana thought she might have made the wrong move, but perhaps it was just surprise as the larger girl quickly relaxed and returned the hug, which lasted just a bit longer than it needed to.
"So," Brigitte asked once their bodies finally separated. "Want to help me paint my armor?"
"Ssibal!" - "Fuck!" (Korean)
"Jenjang!" - "Dammit!" (Korean)
"You sure you don't want to join me?" Brigitte asked, pausing her pull-ups and hanging from the bar while she looked at Hana, who was perched on top of a pile of gym mats. The two had finished painting the greave that Brigitte had repaired earlier, enjoyed an animated lunch with Lena and Lúcio, and were now hanging out in the gym while Brigitte finally caught back up on her workout routine.
"I've already told you, I'm not working out on this arm," Hana replied, waving her bandaged arm in the air.
"And I've already told you, we can do squats or sit-ups or something!" Brigitte replied.
"You already did your sit-ups," Hana protested. "I don't want to mess with your routine!"
"My routine is flexible," Brigitte countered. "And even if it wasn't, we could still do squats!"
Hana simply shook her head. There were two reasons why she was content to sit on top of those gym mats, and she didn't want to admit either of them to Brigitte. The first was that she didn't want to embarrass herself in front of her, and the second? Well, she just really, really enjoyed watching Brigitte working out in a white cropped tank top and a tight pair of shorts.
Brigitte sighed and decided to shoot one last shot. "You know this is pretty much the only time we'll get the gym to ourselves, right?" She asked, returning to her pull-ups. "Reinhardt's in here almost all the time, and Angela is trying to get everyone else to start exercising more, too."
Hana thought for a moment. As much as she enjoyed the view she had right now, this did sound like a rare chance to work out one-on-one with Brigitte, which was also a tempting prospect. "I'll think about it," she said finally.
"Suit yourself." Brigitte dropped down from the bar and let her arms swing loosely. After a moment, she got down on the floor and began doing push-ups.
Hana watched hungrily, unable to tell whether she'd rather stare at the bulging and rippling of Brigitte's shoulder and arm muscles, or the strong, round profile of her ass. She bit her lower lip. You may still deny that you have a crush on her, she thought to herself, but at least you've never denied how hot you think she is…
Brigitte looked up from her push-ups as she heard Hana let out a wistful-sounding sigh. "You okay, Kanin?" She asked.
Her question seemed to startle Hana slightly. "What? Y-yeah, I'm fine. Just… daydreaming…"
"What about?" Brigitte asked, propping herself up with one arm so that she could face Hana directly.
The Korean blushed as she caught a square-on view of Brigitte's abs, tense from the effort of holding her body straight. "Just… stuff… things… you know how it is…" She cursed herself for not having a better answer and decided to change the subject. "So, what got you into exercise?"
Brigitte returned to her push-ups. "Food," she replied. "I love eating. Which doesn't necessarily mean I have to exercise, but I'm also told that nice muscles are a great way to pick up cute women."
Hana's heart fluttered. "You're into girls too?" She asked, barely daring to believe her luck.
"Girls, guys, and everyone in between, above, below, and to either side," Brigitte confirmed. "Though, I definitely lean most towards girls." Her voice was just beginning to sound strained from her workout and sweat glimmered on her skin, and it was starting to make Hana a little hot and bothered. "You?"
"Pretty much the same," Hana said. "Wait, you didn't know? You have to have seen me fawning over Kim from Mecha Guardian on stream!"
Brigitte let out a chuckle that really sounded more like a gasp, and Hana felt a heat wash through her body. "I did," the Swede admitted, "but I didn't want to make any assumptions!" She finished her push-ups and sat down on the floor, breathing heavily, and Hana could have sworn that somebody was messing with the gym's thermostat. "Last chance to join me, Kanin!" Brigitte called over.
Hana sighed. "Fiiine…" She slid down from her perch and made her way over to Brigitte, who stood up.
"Awesome! Let's do some squats together!" Brigitte planted her feet and put her hands behind her head. "Normally I use weights for this, but I don't think I'll bother today." Hana mirrored her and looked over for confirmation. "Relax, bunny," Brigitte said. "Working out while tense is a great way to get hurt."
Hana hadn't even realized how tense she was. She let out a deep breath and allowed herself to relax.
"Okay now," Brigitte said. "Slow and steady. One…"
Hana slowly lowered herself down and raised herself back up as Brigitte did the same.
Hana's legs strained to push her back up. Her breathing was heavy, her skin was slick with sweat, and she felt like she might collapse at any moment.
"You're doing great, Kanin!" Brigitte encouraged. She had abandoned her own squats after seventeen in order to dedicate herself to cheering on Hana. "Just one more! You can do it!"
"Nuh-uh!" Hana gasped.
"I believe in you!"
Hana slowly lowered herself back down, every fiber in her legs burning from the exertion. Her knees wobbled as she started to raise herself up, but she barely made it halfway before her legs gave out and she collapsed backwards.
"I got you!" Brigitte cried out, lunging forwards and grabbing Hana under the smaller girl's arms before she could hit the ground.
"I feel like I'm made of jell-o…" Hana groaned. "Everything hurts! My legs, my ass, my pride…"
"You did awesome!" Brigitte replied. "I'm proud of you!" She hoisted Hana to her feet and gently released her, but the Korean's legs started to buckle and Brigitte had to hold her up.
"I'll never stand again!" Hana moaned dramatically.
"Eh, give yourself five minutes," Brigitte dismissed. "Need me to carry you to the showers?"
"I wouldn't mind."
Brigitte scooped Hana up into a bridal carry and began walking to the showers. "You know, for a pro gamer, you're spending an awful lot of time being carried today," Brigitte teased.
"It feels nice to be in my teammates' shoes once in a while," Hana quipped back, producing a breathless laugh from Brigitte.
They arrived at the showers and Brigitte gingerly set Hana down next to her locker. "Aren't you glad I talked you into taking a spare set of clothes?" She asked with a wry smile.
"Alright, you don't have to rub it in," Hana chuckled as she opened her locker. "Wanna meet back here after we're done?"
"I don't see why not!" Brigitte replied with a smile, before heading off to her own locker.
Hana took a moment to enjoy the view of the Swede's backside as she left, before gathering up her own towel and clothes and heading to the shower, where she took full advantage of the removable head.
"There you are, Hana," Brigitte said, standing up from one of the locker room benches as Hana returned from her shower. "I was starting to wonder if something happened to you!" Brigitte hadn't done up her hair yet, and her long auburn locks hung down around her face and shoulders, still heavy with water. She had changed into a loose yellow tank top and blue jeans.
"I dissociate in the shower a lot," Hana replied. Which was true, though that wasn't what had kept her this time. "Hey, is there any chance you could show me the docks after dinner?" She asked. "Winston forgot when he was giving me my tour."
"Sure!" Brigitte said. "I have an appointment with Angela after dinner, but that shouldn't take too long." She and Hana began to walk back to their rooms.
"Angela does appointments ?" Hana asked flatly.
"Well, she does check-ups before and after every mission, but she'll only see you outside of that if you have something else going on medically, or if you ask."
"So what are you seeing her for?" Hana asked, before immediately regretting it. "Sorry, that's a personal question, isn't it?"
Brigitte decided to answer anyways. "I… got shot pretty bad on our last mission. That's why I needed to repair that greave. She patched me up on the spot, but she always checks in a week later just to make sure everything healed the way it should."
"And did it?" Hana asked, the concern clear in her voice.
"I think so," Brigitte said with a smile. "We won't know for sure until she runs the tests, but if there was something wrong I'd probably be able to tell by now."
"What… what does go wrong?"
Brigitte shrugged. "Nothing major. Side effects from the accelerated biotic healing. Bones healing a little weird, strange scarring, that sort of thing. It's extremely rare and not really dangerous, but it's just easier to fix if you catch it early."
"How does the healing work?" Hana was starting to sound more curious than nervous.
"I'm not entirely sure," Brigitte replied. "But it accelerates the natural healing process drastically. Angela usually doesn't use it any more than is necessary, because of the possible side-effects. She'll patch you up enough to keep fighting, but she'll leave your body to heal the rest. That's why she checks in a week after each mission--just to make sure your body finished the job properly."
"Does that mean it'll still scar?"
Brigitte shook her head. "There's a blocker in it that forces the body to construct normal tissue instead of scar tissue. It does mean it heals a bit slower than it could, but the end result is better."
"And Angela invented this?" Hana asked, awestruck.
"She was the head researcher on the team that discovered it, and her work was what made it viable."
"That's so cool!"
They arrived at their hallway and stopped in front of Brigitte's door.
"Do you… mind if I hang out until dinner?" Hana asked.
Brigitte smiled. "Of course not! It's nice to finally have someone I can hang out with!"
"Great! Let me just drop off my stuff in my room, I'll be right back!"
Dinner came and went, and Hana found herself outside of Lúcio's room while she waited for Brigitte to finish her checkup. She waited for the sounds of his music to stop between songs, and knocked on the door. "Lúcio?"
Hana slid the door open. Lúcio was chilling at his desk, and he took his headphones off as Hana walked in and flopped face-down on his bed. "What's up?" He asked.
"I think I have a massive crush on Brigitte…" Hana groaned, her voice muffled by the pillow.
Lúcio laughed. "Congratulations, Hana! You're officially the second -to-last to know!"
"That obvious, huh?" Hana suddenly sat up. "Wait, ' second -to-last?' Who still doesn't…"
"Brigitte," Lúcio snorted.
Hana drooped. "Oh…"
Lúcio sat down next to her and put a hand on her shoulder. "Look, Hana. I really think you should tell her--"
"No way!" Hana recoiled at the suggestion. "We've only known each other for three days and she probably doesn't even like me back! That'll just make things awkward!"
Lúcio sighed. As much as he wanted to just tell Hana that Brigitte felt the same way, that wouldn't be right without Brigitte's permission. "Brigitte's not the kinda girl who gets thrown off by that stuff," He said. "Even if she doesn't like you back, nothing bad's gonna happen."
Hana shook her head. "I can't risk that! She's so sweet, and funny, and she really seems to like hanging out with me! Plus, our rooms are right across from each other! If I do something to scare her off, it'll be unbearable!"
"Well it wouldn't hurt to at least flirt with her," Lúcio suggested.
"No!" Hana said, her discomfort causing her to draw out both letters of the word.
"Well, if you're waiting for her to flirt first, you'll be waiting an awful long time," Lúcio said. "Bri's a sweetheart, but she has the romantic awareness of a brick."
"Or maybe she's just not interested," Hana retorted.
"Hana, you miss every one of the shots you don't take."
"Noted. Next time I play soccer I'll kick for the goal every time I get the ball, no matter how far away I am, or how many people are in my way."
"Yeah, except you're really close, and there's nobody in your way." Lúcio put his hand on Hana's shoulder again. "She wanted to like you before you even met, she does like you now that you have, you two clearly get along well and enjoy your time together, and there's nobody else here Brigitte would be interested in. You're basically right in front of the goal, and the goalie's out to lunch. You got the clearest shot anybody's ever had! All you gotta do, is take it."
At that moment, Hana's phone buzzed with a text from Brigitte.
[Just finished my appointment. You still hanging out with Lúcio?]
[Yeah] Hana texted back. [Want me to wait for you outside?]
[Sure ^_^ Be right there!]
Lúcio waited for Hana to put away her phone. "That Brigitte?" He asked.
"Yeah," Hana replied. "She's coming to show me the docks." She stood up and made her way to the door. "I'll… think about your advice," she said reluctantly.
"I'll be here if you want any more," Lúcio replied with a smile.
"Hej, Hana!" Brigitte waved as she approached.
Hana looked up from her phone and smiled. "Hey, Brigitte! How'd it go?"
"Great! Angela says there's nothing to worry about!"
"I'm glad!" Hana shifted her weight restlessly. "So, which way are we headed?"
"Follow me!" Brigitte led Hana through to the other side of the hangar and into a side room with some stairs leading up onto an overlook, and another flight leading down into a dip in the pavement that Winston had referred to as "the car wash." They walked down the stairs and came to a door, which Brigitte unlocked with a code. They took an elevator down and emerged in a large cave, facing west. Golden light flooded in from the sunset, gleaming off of the water and bathing the entire cavern in a warm glow. A long dock stretched out towards the sea, littered with old, rusting equipment from Overwatch's heyday, and Brigitte led Hana to the end of it and sat down.
"It's so pretty…" Hana murmured.
Not as pretty as you, Brigitte wished she could say. "Yeah, it's my favorite place to go this time of day. So quiet and peaceful." She sighed contently. "It's nice to share it with someone for a change."
Hana looked up at her and smiled. "It's nice to have it shared with me."
"I wish I'd brought my bathing suit," Brigitte thought aloud. "The water looks really nice…"
Hana cocked her head. "You like to swim?"
"I love swimming," Brigitte replied. "There's something so… freeing about it."
"Yeah, there is!" Hana agreed. "It feels like flying!"
Brigitte bit her lower lip in thought. "Fuck it," she said, standing up and kicking off her shoes and socks.
"What?" Hana looked up in confusion.
"CANNONBALL!" Brigitte leapt off the dock and curled up in the air, smashing into the water with a massive Splash! that peppered the front of Hana's outfit with water.
"Hey!" Hana exclaimed as Brigitte's head popped up on the surface. "You got me all wet!"
Brigitte laughed. "Might as well come in then, bunny!" She teased. "The water's just as good as it looks!"
"You're crazy!" Hana giggled.
Brigitte swam up and crossed her arms on the dock. "Pleeease?" She asked, looking up at Hana with her best doe eyes.
Hana groaned. It should be illegal to be that cute. "Fine, but only since you asked so nicely…" She pulled off her own socks and shoes and set them aside. "Swim clear!" She warned, backing up and taking a running start. She sprinted down the dock, leapt into the air, and did a front-flip before splashing into the water.
"Show-off," Brigitte said, playfully splashing Hana. Her tone feigned disgust but her whole face was smiling.
"You should know that by now," Hana quipped back, splashing Brigitte in retaliation.
They floated in amicable silence for a minute before Hana spoke up. "It's kind of random, but I've been wondering. Why do you have a German name if you're Swedish?"
Brigitte chuckled. "Reinhardt saved Papa's life back when they were both in Overwatch. Since Papa promised Reinhardt he could name me, I decided I'd let him help me pick it out!"
"Cool!" Hana said. "Wait-- you decided he could help you pick…" Brigitte could practically see the gears whirring in Hana's head. "Oh! Yeah, I get it now! Sorry, that took me a moment."
Brigitte laughed. "It's okay!" She paused to see if Hana had anything else to say, but the Korean was just smiling warmly. "So… how did you get your name?" Brigitte returned the question.
"'Hana' means 'One' in Korean," Hana answered. "Appa was a pro gamer before I was."
" I'm number one! " Brigitte chirped, raising her pitch to mimic the tone of Hana's celebrity persona.
Hana laughed. "Yep! Destined for greatness!" She leaned back into a backfloat, and it was another moment before she spoke again. "So… what was it like growing up around Overwatch? Must have been cool!"
Brigitte floated on her back next to her. "I… I guess so? I mean, when I was little, everyone thought it was so cool that I was the kid of a famous Overwatch hero. I was basically a celebrity to my classmates until I was fifteen. But… then the Venice Incident happened. Suddenly, people didn't trust Overwatch anymore. Being an Overwatch brat stopped being cool. Nobody wanted to be around me. I wasn't the daughter of a hero anymore--I was the daughter of a criminal. I lost a lot of friends because of that… And that's not even touching on the danger. Mama tried to shelter me from it, but I still knew there was a chance that Papa might not come home some day…" She let out a heavy sigh.
"I… I'm sorry that happened to you," Hana said softly. "And I'm sorry for bringing it up."
"It's okay," Brigitte replied. "It's not your fault." She swam over to the dock and pulled herself out of the water.
"Would you prefer I leave you alone for a bit?" Hana asked, swimming over and crossing her arms on the dock.
Brigitte shook her head. "I'm just not in the mood for swimming anymore." She put her shoes back on and started to wring out her hair. "I'll wait for you here. Take your time!"
Hana climbed up out of the water and sat down next to the larger girl. "I'm not gonna stay in there alone, " she said, looking up at Brigitte affectionately. "There could be sharks! Or crocodiles!"
Brigitte chuckled. "Thank you, Hana," she said, returning her affectionate gaze.
"No sweat," Hana said warmly. She looked down at her drenched clothes and groaned. "Ugh, we should head back and get changed before these get even more uncomfortable." She tried to shake the water off her arms. "Mind if I come back to your place? I still need to get back at you for beating me at Starwhal yesterday!"
Brigitte cocked an eyebrow. "What, didn't have enough punishment last time?" She realized her playful tease may have sounded a bit more sexual than she'd planned.
Hana tried to return a confident smirk, but she could feel a blush burning in her cheeks. "Well, there are many things you still don't know about me, Lindholm ." At least her voice managed to sound confident.
Now it was Brigitte's turn to blush. Hana had been more receptive than she'd expected. "Last-name basis again, huh, Song ?"
Hana locked eyes with Brigitte and her lips parted in a sly grin. "Only until I finish kicking your ass."
"Appa" - "Dad" (Korean)
Warning, this is an angsty one. Inspired by Lesbianlenaoxton's excellent "Child Soldier," and my own personal love of angst, this chapter dives deep into the darker parts of Hana's mind, and explores the mental trauma she's endured as a defender of her homeland.
It's important to note that this chapter is not intended to romanticize PTSD. Caring for a loved one who has suffered intense psychological trauma is difficult and demanding in the real world. If you suffer from PTSD or similar disorders, it is important to seek professional help.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"NO!" Hana's scream echoed off the walls of her room as she thrashed at her sheets, briefly unaware of what was real and what was not. Her heart was pounding and she gasped for breath as she sat up, her entire body clammy with a cold sweat. Slowly, she began to process the room around her, which had been her home for five days now. Almost a week, and yet this was her worst nightmare since she had arrived. Still, her room didn't seem to care. It was exactly the same as she had left it when she went to bed--messy, but familiar. She put her hand to her forehead, as if trying to steady her brain itself, and brushed aside her bangs.
As her other senses returned to her, she became aware of a painful emptiness in her stomach. There was no way she would be able to fall back asleep without having something to eat, first. She slipped on her fluffy bunny slippers and headed outside, not bothering to change out of her pyjamas.
It was pitch-dark and raining heavily, but fortunately the walk to the kitchen was mostly sheltered by the massive rock that the base was built in to, and the rest was inside the hangar itself. Still, the wind managed to whip a few drops against her skin now and then as she started her walk down the hill towards the hangar. Her mind wandered a great deal, still thoroughly shaken by her nightmare, and she only maintained the dimmest awareness of her surroundings. She didn't expect anybody to be up at this time thoughthough, so she wasn't concerned with being presentable. The auxiliary lights set into the pavement were the only source of illumination, which meant it was sometime after 2 am.
A loud explosion caused her to jump, and it was a moment before she realized it was thunder. "It's okay, Hana," she said to herself. "It's just thunder." She took a few more steps before she heard another BOOM! "Just thunder, just thunder!" She felt herself starting to panic and she began to pick up her pace. BOOM! " Just thunder! "
But it was no use. The world started spinning around her, her heart was pounding once more, and it felt like something was wrapping around her chest, restricting her ability to breathe. Raindrops pounded at her skin. Were they raindrops? Or bullets? They felt like bullets. Water--or was it blood?--ran down her arms and face, and soaked into her hair. BOOM!
Her mind raced back to Busan, in the middle of town. Bodies and debris flew through the air as a massive explosion ripped through the building in front of her. Gwishin omnics flew by overhead, the shrill sound of their engines echoing off the buildings surrounding the square. Rockets spiraled across the sky, their trails adding to the smoke that billowed from the dozens of fires that burned around the city, and shrapnel tore through the crowds of screaming people around her. A MEKA drone crashed into the train station, its sensors jammed by the Gwishin's latest adaptation…
Hana pressed herself into a corner and curled up, clutching her head and trying desperately to stay grounded in the real world, to rid her mind of those horrific memories...
Brigitte lay in her bed, staring blankly up at the ceiling. She had woken up about half an hour earlier, and hadn't been able to fall back asleep. It was one of those nights where her mind just wouldn't stop buzzing. Finally, she decided to take a walk to try and clear her head. She'd heard muffled strikes of thunder, but she wasn't concerned as she put on her slippers. If lightning was going to hit something at Watchpoint Gibraltar, it wasn't going to be her.
As she made her way down the hill, she heard the sound of panicked, gasping breaths and turned to see Hana curled up in a corner, her head tucked down into her arms and her knees pulled up to her chest, shaking. "Hana?" Brigitte asked. But there was no response. "Hana, are you okay?" She knelt down next to the smaller woman, who seemed completely unaware of her presence. "Hana, can you hear me?!" Finally, Hana seemed to realize that Brigitte was there, and Brigitte could see the top of Hana's head move back and forth in what might have been a nod.
"Are you okay?" Brigitte asked. Hana shook her head violently in response. It was obvious, but seeing her admit it so readily was heartbreaking. "Can you speak?" Brigitte asked softly. Another violent shake.
"Do you recognize me?"
"Do you know where you are?"
Hana shook her head and curled up even more tightly, her shaking becoming more pronounced as she began to sob.
"Easy, easy," Brigitte said softly. "You're at the Overwatch base in Gibraltar, in a thunderstorm. That's what all the loud noises are, okay?" Hana managed a nod. "Is it okay if I pick you up?" Brigitte asked. "I want to bring you inside, but I'm not going to do that if you don't want me to touch you."
Hana nodded, and Brigitte gently wrapped her arms around her and picked her up. Hana immediately threw her arms around Brigitte's shoulders and pulled herself close, burying her face in the crook of the larger girl's neck. Another crash of thunder echoed off the walls, and Hana yelped, her feet kicking uncomfortably against Brigitte's thighs as she tried to push herself further into the safety of the Swede's arms.
"Shh, shh, shh," Brigitte whispered gently, tightening her arms around the smaller woman. "It's okay, Kanin. I've got you. You're safe. I won't let anything bad happen to you, okay?"
Hana nodded, but she continued to sob and shake uncontrollably. She still couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't--except for Brigitte. The gentle cooing of her voice in Hana's ear was the only sound the poor brunette could trust. The warmth of her strong arms holding her close, the only touch. The light scent of cinnamon in her hair, the only smell. She was Hana's only anchor to the real world, and the smaller woman clung to her for dear life.
Brigitte did her best to steady and comfort her poor friend. "I'm going to take you back to your room, okay?" She asked gently. Hana shook her head. "No? So you didn't get whatever you came out here for, did you?"
Hana shook her head.
"Were you… looking for something you lost or forgot?"
Another shake. Brigitte could feel Hana's tears starting to soak into the collar of her top, and she felt the younger woman's gasping, choking breaths blowing raggedly against her neck.
"Were you… hungry?"
"Ah, so you were headed to the kitchen for a midnight snack, huh?" Brigitte's voice was gentle and affectionate, as it always seemed to be.
Hana nodded again.
"Shall I bring you there?"
Thunder struck once more as Brigitte began to walk towards the hangar. Hana whimpered and clutched at the back of Brigitte's pyjama top, her hands bunching up the fabric as her tears continued to flow freely. "Easy, Kanin. Easy," Brigitte cooed. She entered the hangar through the small side door and awkwardly punched in the code to close it behind her, trying her best not to disturb Hana in the process. As the door closed, the sounds of the storm faded, but it did little to help Hana. The storm may have brought her demons out to play, but they seemed happy to stick around without it, and her sobs echoed off the high walls of the hangar as Brigitte carried her to the kitchen.
Hana wasn't heavy--far from it, and normally Brigitte would have had little trouble carrying her, but she was tired, and Hana kept squirming as she tried desperately to find some comfort in Brigitte's embrace. By the time they reached the kitchen, Brigitte's arms ached painfully. "Is it okay if I set you down for--"
Hana wailed and shook her head violently, her arms tightening around Brigitte's shoulders with a strength the Swede hadn't thought her capable of.
"Shh, shh," Brigitte whispered softly, slowly rocking Hana back and forth. "I'm not going to let go of you until you're ready, okay? Jag lovar; I promise." She brought Hana over to the table and sat down, allowing her lap to support Hana, taking the weight off her arms. She gently started stroking Hana's hair, and softly began to sing an old Swedish lullaby that had always helped her on her own rough nights.
" Jag såg en liten kissemiss som satt och sola sig,
Jag såg en liten kissemiss-tänk om han såg mig!
Har du sett min lilla katt?
Har du sett min lilla katt, lilla katt, lilla katt?
Den är vit och den är svart, den är vit och svart.
Mjau, mjau, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, mjau, mjau kiss kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss. "
To Hana, Brigitte's voice was that of an angel. Soft, sweet, and ever so slightly smokey, she found it deeply soothing, and though she didn't understand a word of the lullaby, by the time Brigitte finished the last verse, Hana's uncontrollable sobbing was reduced to a tearful whimpering.
"Let's go get you something to eat, okay?" Brigitte asked softly.
Hana nodded in response.
"Do you know what you want?"
"Okay, nod if it's in the fridge or freezer, shake if it's in the cabinet."
Hana shook her head.
"I have to let go of you with one arm to open the cabinet," Brigitte warned. "Nod when you're ready."
After a moment, Hana nodded and Brigitte quickly reached up and opened the cabinet. She heard Hana's whimpering get slightly louder, and felt the smaller woman's arms tighten around her shoulders, but she seemed to recover when Brigitte put her arm back around her. "You're doing great, Kanin."
Brigitte took stock of what was inside the cabinet. "Nod for cereal, shake for noodles."
Hana whined in distress.
"If you don't want either, just pick the one you'd prefer," Brigitte said, gently rubbing her hand up and down Hana's back. "Don't worry, I'm going somewhere with this."
"Okay, nod again for cereal, shake for cookies."
Hana nodded again.
"Nod for cereal, shake for chips."
Hana shook her head vigorously.
"You want chips?" Brigitte asked.
Hana nodded definitively.
"Okay, I have to grab them now. Let me know when you're ready."
Hana still took a moment before nodding, but it wasn't as long as before. Brigitte grabbed the chips and set the bag down on the table before going to the fridge.
"Now we need to pick out a drink," she said. "Are you ready for me to open the fridge?"
Hana nodded, and Brigitte quickly swung the fridge open.
"Nod for soda, shake--"
Hana nodded vigorously.
Brigitte chuckled. "How did I know? Ready for me to grab them now?"
Hana nodded, and Brigitte grabbed a pair of cans from the fridge, pushing the door closed with her butt so that she could put her arm back around Hana, and brought them to the table as well. As Brigitte sat down, she felt Hana stir in her lap and looked down to see the smaller woman pulling away just enough to look up at her.
"Hey there, Kanin," Brigitte said softly. "You feeling better?"
Hana gave a small shrug.
"Still can't speak yet?"
Hana shook her head in confirmation. She reached out and grabbed the bag of chips, keeping one arm wrapped tightly around Brigitte's shoulders the entire time.
"You're going to have trouble opening that with one hand," Brigitte observed. "Want me to help?"
Hana nodded again and held up the bag. Brigitte grabbed the bag as well--also keeping one arm wrapped securely around Hana.
"On three," the Swede said. "One, two, three!" They both pulled and the bag popped open. Brigitte held it up as Hana reached in and grabbed a handful of chips, immediately stuffing them in her mouth. No sooner had she finished swallowing, than she grabbed one of the soda cans, deftly cracking it open with one hand and downing the entire can in one gulp.
Brigitte gently rubbed Hana's back, keeping a firm hold on her with her arm. Hana's shaking and whimpering had stopped now, but she clearly still needed comfort. "Careful, you're gonna give yourself hiccups," she warned.
Hana shook her head and reached for the second soda can.
"Hey, that one's supposed to be mine!" Brigitte chuckled. Hana seemed visibly disappointed by this. "I can get another one though," Brigitte offered. "You can have this one if you want."
Hana managed the faintest hint of a smile and took the can.
"I can carry you with me if you need me to," Brigitte said, "but my arms are getting really tired. Are you able to wait here? It'll just be a few seconds, and I'm only going to the fridge."
Hana took a long time to think, before nodding hesitantly.
"Thank you, Kanin." Brigitte pulled Hana in for one last tight squeeze, before gently helping her off her lap. As soon as Hana was settled on the bench, Brigitte bolted to the fridge, grabbed a can of soda, returned to the bench, and sat down.
Hana immediately scrambled back into Brigitte's lap and curled up, her arms wrapped tightly around the Swede's broad shoulders. She was shaking again, though it wasn't nearly as bad as before.
"Hey there, Bunny," Brigitte cooed softly, wrapping her arms back around Hana and steadying her. "You're okay. I've got you." Slowly, Hana's shaking settled, though she kept herself pressed firmly against Brigitte's body. "It helps when I hold you, huh?" Brigitte asked, gently tucking a lock of Hana's hair behind her ear.
Hana looked up at her and nodded. "Mm-hmm." It was her first coherent vocalization of the night. Progress.
"If this happens again… is that something you want me to do right away?"
Hana thought for a moment, then nodded again. "Mm-hmm."
"I'm sorry I wasn't quicker this time," Brigitte said, regret clear in her voice.
Hana shook her head. "Mm-mm."
Brigitte began to slowly stroke Hana's hair again. "Can you tell me what happened?" She asked.
Hana finally managed to force her words out. "I-it isn't u-usually this b-bad," she explained, every word a struggle. "I h-haven't c-completely shut down l-like this i-in over a y-year. Th-this only h-happened b-because I'm in a strange place, a-and I was tired, a-and I just w-woke up from a r-really bad nightm-mare."
"How often does this happen?"
"I-i-it depends. I h-have m-minor flashbacks a-almost every day, b-but those u-usually o-only last a c-c-couple seconds. S-s-sometimes other people don't e-even notice. Th-the bad ones o-only happen o-once or twice a m-month, but a-after a m-mission I'll usually h-have them two or th-three nights i-in a row."
"Oh, Hana!" Brigitte cried out softly, feeling her heart break for her friend. "Have you talked to anyone about this?"
Hana shook her head and sniffed, and Brigitte could see fresh tears starting to run down her cheeks. "Y-you're the only o-one who's ever s-seen a bad o-one," she explained. "Th-they o-o-only happen when I w-wake up from a bad d-dream, so I'm a-always in my r-room for them."
Brigitte reached up and gently cupped Hana's cheek, using her thumb to wipe away Hana's tears as she felt the smaller woman press her face firmly against her hand. "Why haven't you told anyone?" She asked sadly.
"Wha-wh-what are they going t-to tell me that I d-don't a-already know?" Hana asked rhetorically. "It's n-not worth the t-trouble. B-besides, they'd j-just pity me."
"You can always talk to me, Kanin," Brigitte offered. "I know what you're going through--I've gone through it too, and I'm here for you."
"I don't w-want to bring back a-any bad m-memories for you," Hana said quietly.
Brigitte gave Hana a small smile. "I have a lot of people here I can lean on if I need to, Bunny. I can manage if someone else needs to lean on me."
Hana managed to return the smile. "Th-thanks. I know i-it may not look like it, but you can lean o-on me too, if you need." She briefly let go of Brigitte and wiped her face on her sleeve. "I've a-always handled other people's problems better th-than my own."
"I appreciate that, Hana."
"Once you f-finish your soda, I think I'll be r-ready to go back to my room."
Brigitte smiled and finished her soda, before gathering up the three cans and lobbing them each into the recycling bin.
"Y-you're a good shot," Hana said.
"Thanks," Brigitte replied. "Turns out all my whip shot practice comes in handy in other ways, too!" She rolled up the bag of chips. "Okay, I need to put this away."
Hana climbed off of Brigitte's lap, and walked with her to the cabinet, where Brigitte sealed the bag of chips with a clip and put it away.
"Do you want me to carry you back?" Brigitte asked.
"I… I think I'll be okay," Hana replied hesitantly.
"I don't want you to hurt y-yourself…"
"As long as you support some of your own weight and don't squirm too much, I should be fine," Brigitte said. "Don't worry about me."
"'Sh-should' be fine?"
" Will be fine." Brigitte was adamant. "Will carrying you help at all ?"
"I mean… y-yeah," Hana admitted.
"Then shut up and hop up, Lilla Kanin," Brigitte said.
Hana reached up and wrapped her arms around the back of Brigitte's neck, jumping up as Brigitte bent down and put her arms around her. Even with Hana's help though, Brigitte let out a strained grunt. Carrying Hana was taking a lot more effort than usual, and Hana could tell.
"If it gets to be too m-much, put me down," Hana said.
"I'll keep that in mind," Brigitte said, trying to hide the strain in her voice.
"If you drop me I'm gonna be upset."
"I'm not gonna drop you!" Brigitte dismissed the idea as if it was silly, but as Hana rested her head against Brigitte's chest, she could feel the Swede's heavy breathing and hear her thumping heartbeat. Brigitte stopped as she arrived at the door she had closed earlier. "I need to put in the code."
"I… uh… I need you to hold yourself up," Brigitte admitted.
"O-or you could just put me down," Hana offered. There was no gloating in her tone, no triumphant 'I told you so,' only a soft concern.
"Or you could let me do something nice for you, Kanin," Brigitte replied gently.
"You've a-already done more than enough," Hana said quietly, though she pulled herself up and wrapped her legs around Brigitte's waist anyways, allowing the larger girl's hips to take some of her weight. Brigitte punched in the code and put her arm back around Hana as they headed outside.
Thunder struck once more as they began their walk up the hill, causing Hana to flinch again, though it was subtle enough that Brigitte might not have even noticed had Hana not been literally wrapped around her.
"Is thunder always a trigger for you?" Brigitte asked.
"I-it's not enough to do anything to me on it's own," Hana explained. "But if I'm already shaken up, i-it does make it worse."
"Is there anything else I should know about?"
Hana shook her head. "The o-only actual triggers I have now are my own nightmares… anything else can only get me when I'm already spooked. Even combat doesn't do anything to me in the moment--it just fucks up my dreams for a few days."
"The nightmares are always even worse than reality already is, aren't they?"
"You don't even want to know…" Hana said solemnly.
They arrived at Hana's room and Brigitte set the Korean down gently in her bed.
"Is there anything else you need from me, Bunny?" She asked.
"I… I…" Hana's words caught in her throat as her nerves flared up.
Brigitte kneeled down next to the bed so that she was at eye level with her. "Whatever you need, Kanin, just say it," she said softly.
"I… don't want to be alone tonight," Hana admitted, almost inaudibly.
"You want me to stay over?" Brigitte asked.
Hana nodded, clutching her pillow.
Brigitte gently put a hand on Hana's shoulder. "Do you want me to take the other bed, or do you want me to share yours?"
"Can… can you share mine?"
"Of course." Brigitte began to climb into Hana's bed. "Scooch, Lilla Kanin. I take up a lot of space."
Hana moved aside to allow Brigitte to settle in, before snuggling back up until their bodies pressed firmly together. She hesitantly wrapped her arm around Brigitte's waist, her heartbeat calming as she felt Brigitte's arm wrap around her own shoulders.
"Thank you, Brigitte," she murmured as she closed her eyes.
The song Brigitte sings is a Swedish lullaby that, according to Google, translates to "I saw a little pussycat sitting and sunbathing, I saw a little pussycat think if he saw me! Meow, meow! Have you seen my little cat? Have you seen my little cat, little cat, little cat? It is white and it is black, it is white and black. Meow, meow, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, meow, meow kiss kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss."
"Lilla Kanin" - "Little Bunny" (Swedish)
Note: Next chapter is going to be a week or two late, life's been busy :(