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She can’t really believe this is happening - thinks it must be a fever dream - and with the way things are going lately, that’s not too much of a stretch. McCree is having the time of his life, off in a corner whispering in Genji’s ear, pretending like it’s part of the undercover act but they know the truth: he’s just flirting with his boyfriend. (That seems like too insignificant a word for what they are to one another. Angela would trust them with her life.) And Mercy is here, leaning against the bar in a saloon like she knows how to navigate this situation. She had been told to wear a tank-top and jeans on this ‘covert op.’ Pharah leaning into her, doing the same thing as McCree as old 20th century country music blared over the speakers, well - Angela could see the appeal for just a moment. She was wearing something similar to Mercy, and was now the poster child for ‘women don’t like to wear low-riding pants but sometimes they make them look good, checkmate: Pharah.’ She would be victorious in anything and everything she set her mind to, and unlike McCree - was whispering in Angie’s ear something a little less savory. That didn’t stop her from the thought that Fareeha was beautiful - that she was everything.

“Tango on our six.”

Mercy hums her affirmation as much as to the song that would now be (unfortunately) stuck in her head for the rest of the night. Something about a tractor. Maybe it was green. It was awful, and it was wonderful. She hates it.

“Understood.”

McCree’s eyes snap up in tandem with Fareeha’s movement. Genji meets Angela’s eyes for a brief moment. They all know what to do - like they’ve been transported to a different place; there are no longer any distractions, only them and the mission they’ve been sent on. (Angela contends that it wasn’t always like that. McCree would whine at Lena, asking her to, “Tell Angie to quit makin’ fun of me. That was one time.” She didn’t. She wouldn’t - Mercy or Lena.)

Genji immediately looks away, excusing himself to the restroom. To follow in a large group would be too conspicuous, and they could not afford to lose this Talon lead - no matter where they’d needed to go to find her. Eyes follow Genji as he excuses himself, noticeable in a room of antiquities: beer, music, and people. The beer and music more than the latter. They had been counting on Genji’s movement to draw attention - McCree taking point as Pharah and Angela leave from the side door, McCree following the woman out the back. The pistol concealed at her ankle, hidden by the bell bottom of her jeans, burns at Mercy’s skin. She does not ache to use it but is aware of its presence all the same. If all goes well, it will stay in its place, and even Peacekeeper will go unfired tonight. The music from the saloon muffles all the quiet of the cool desert night.

The woman lighting the cigarillo reminds Angela of Jesse when she had first met him, a struggling child attempting to fit into a black ops organization, always more injured than not. She thinks that the reminiscent feeling came solely from the smell of the American Southwest mixed with smoke. This woman was not Jesse. She was the one sent to speak with Elizabeth Ashe - to recruit Deadlock, to organize them and incorporate them into Talon’s ranks. To have an American gang committing espionage was a move too powerful than the newly rebuilding Overwatch could afford.

“Alexandra Day?”

She turned slowly, both Fareeha and Mercy hidden in the shadows. “That depends. Who’s askin’?”

“The name’s Donovan Morgan - headed through this way here from New Mexico.” It was only a partial lie, and a partial truth. The best lies often were; Genji would argue this point. Angela thanked God McCree was a bit smoother speaking than she.

“State yer business, Donovan.” Her voice lowered as she added, “I’m a busy woman, with idle hands.”

McCree raised both of his gloved hands, one cybernetic - the other not so much. “Sorry, Miss Day, I’m thinkin’ of a more monetary transaction, and one that involves your bosses.” McCree lit a cigarillo of his own.

She made a noise of assent - nodding her head. “Though disappointin’, I am intrigued.”

“Ya see, I know who ya are. And I know Talon. I want to work for ‘em, and I want you to help me help you. The information I’ve got is invaluable.”

Mercy’s eyes are locked on the woman from where she is stationed, the burning in her lungs everything to do with the situation and nothing to do with the cool of the desert night. He had spoken the words exactly as Winston had suggested, exactly as it had been discussed. The cool sweat rising on the back of Angela’s neck did not care about this.

Alexandra seems to consider, nearing an expression of amusement. Her eyes were dead. Angela vaguely registers Genji has climbed to the roof of the saloon - Mercy surprised that the glint of hard metal beneath the orange moon had not given him away. Perhaps it did.

“Why should I trust ya, Mr. Morgan? Seems to me that if you know what I’m up to, I’m in a world a’trouble.”

McCree laughs, and laughs. He’d be believable even to Pharah if she’d never heard what he sounds like when he’s genuinely happy. This was bitter, sardonic, casual and cruel. “Donovan, please, ma’am. No need for formality between aspirin’ friends.”

The bullet that Genji took for her was the beginning of the end.

It had started like this: McCree saying there was no need for formality, Alexandra Day still full of doubt. Her worries were confirmed when light crossed Pharah’s face, the most minimal glimpse of Fareeha Amari giving them away in the dark. Mercy moved to her, quickly, but was not as fast as usual in the awful street clothing she had been asked to wear for this op. It was fine, and it wasn’t.

None of them saw the gun before it was too late, the pistol holstered in the seam at Miss Day’s back, raised in Angela’s direction as she was in the plane of existence between Pharah and potential death. She was the one who was supposed to save them after all. She couldn’t always save them.

The bullet fired, and Mercy could tell it would rip through her like it was nothing - high calibre and specialized; she’d expect nothing less from an associate of Talon, particularly one assigned to win over the Deadlock gang. She heard a soft thud as she closed her eyes and awaited the pain. She doubted Alexandra often missed. She didn’t.

Genji’s trajectory from the roof had allowed him to land directly in front of Angela - perhaps in an attempt to deflect the bullet, perhaps in an attempt to block it. Mercy could tell it had gone through an air vent. Genji wheezed, and wheezed, and wheezed. The second bullet that hit him was a warning not to move any closer - to him or Miss Day.

“I dunno who you people are, but get any closer to me and I’m sendin’ a bullet through what I’m thinkin’ is his skull. I don’t miss. So you’re lettin’ me walk away.”

So yeah, the bullet that Genji took for her was the beginning of the end as Alexandra Day disappeared into the night, gun trained on Genji till she was no longer visible, till the latent danger subsided and Angela could collapse next to Genji on the ground, caduceus staff nowhere in sight. She yanked the debris from the vent as carefully as she could, Pharah offering her words of comfort as she began to believe that she had failed him again. She would always fail him, just as she would one day be unable to protect Fareeha. Failure.

McCree rushed over, taking his place next to Angela, muttering under his breath something too low for any of them to hear. The panic on his face was far more real than anything else Angela had ever seen from him, however. He radioed; they’d be extracted in less than ten minutes. The blood that stained the ground of that alley behind the saloon was blood that had once covered Mercy’s hands as she had tried and failed to make a man whole again - blood she had sworn she would never cause again. She told herself she’d have done the same for Genji, and she was sure it wasn’t a lie - but Pharah’s hand resting on her shoulder as they began to move, McCree careful not to jostle Genji too hard as he lifted him - was little comfort.

The desert offered many vacant spaces to be removed, but proffered the sight of blood-stained sand and desolate memories. She kept Genji alive on the plane ride. Fixed his vents fully when they returned to Gibraltar. Made him stay in the med bay, watched as McCree fell asleep with his head on his arms at Genji’s side.

She climbed into bed with Fareeha and thought about how it could have been her. They would debrief tomorrow, and Angela thought on how she had been in this line of work for far too long for someone of her age - had become acclimated to an emotional climate most never had to endure. She sighed as long arms wrapped around her from behind, hot breath at her neck as muffled words reached her. God, she loved her.

“What is wrong, Angela?”

Mercy’s arms came to hold Pharah’s wrists where they locked around her waist - Mercy’s own side atop Fareeha’s arm. “Genji was willing to be shot for me. He could have died.”

Pharah hummed, lips making minimal contact with the back of Angela’s neck as she spoke - words making patterns across her skin. “Genji loves you. I’d have done the same.”

“I can protect myself and I -” Angela cut herself off, turning in Pharah’s arms to face her as they lay. “I wouldn’t want you to.”

“The funny thing about someone being in love with you, Angela, is that sometimes my needs come first - in this sense, as I wish for you alive, and happy, and healthy.” Pharah’s lips met her nose, her eyelids. Mercy closed them before lips briefly met her own. “You think I don’t feel the same about you?”

“Fareeha, I-”

“Always flying out to save our friends, rushing into danger. Genji risked his life because he knows you would have, and have done, the same. You are a beautiful person with a kind heart. And you don’t know the implications this holds for others.”

Mercy sighs, tucking her face against Pharah’s collarbone. “I love you.”

Fareeha’s laughter cuts across their quiet quarters, her smile radiating even through the darkness provided by Mercy’s eyelids. “I love you too, Angela.”