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Shadows of Stars

Chapter Text

“Looks clear, love.”

“Copy that.  Heat scan is negative,” Winston’s voice buzzed through her earpiece.

“And what of Talon’s agents that do not emit heat signatures?”

Tracer smirked from her position on the roof; Angela had someone particular in mind.

The gorilla sighed, “Unfortunately, we don’t have much of a choice.”

“Relax, Mum,” Tracer teased with glee into her wrist communicator, “Winston secures the payload, you grab some supplies, we nip to the pub to celebrate.”

Winston’s promptly serious response hinted at the look that must have been on Angela’s face.  “We’ll rendezvous in the courtyard and escort the payload to the hanger.”

“Roger that.  Eyes in the sky, ready!”

“Let’s go.”

The three figures in the distance disappeared through a door.  Adjusting her goggles, Tracer scanned the main entrance of the facility again, squinting and inspecting the shadows that covered the large grounds. It was a cloudy, windy night; the woman flipped the collar of her leather jacket to better cover her neck against the chill.  Luckily the rain hadn’t followed her from London.  Instead, her hair just decided to keep blowing in front of her eyes.

She trusted Winston and knew he was beyond smart, but even she thought he was a bit loony for wanting to return to the Gibraltar Watchpoint, especially after Talon’s attack on the base. The scientist had quickly locked down and evacuated the facility, and while Talon agents likely hadn’t simply moved in, returning was dangerous.

Tracer glanced towards the higher levels in the back of the base that housed the launch pad.  His plan seemed straightforward.  Winston would locate the droid he had been working on before the Recall, programmed to make repairs to the Overwatch satellite station.  Genji would escort Angela to gather as many medical supplies as possible.  They would meet in the middle and ensure the robot caught a flight to space.

Overwatch’s resources and funding were dangerously low.  If the automated droid wasn’t successfully launched in order to get the station back online, the organization's global communication, already on the verge of crashing, would surely fail.  They already lacked infrastructure and a rigid leadership hierarchy.  Talon really didn’t need to do much work to beat them at this point.

Angela’s voice through her earpiece interrupted her thoughts,  “We have what we need.  Winston?”

The young woman on the roof leapt to a walkway that bridged two of the upper-level sectors.  The light gusts whistled in the night, making it difficult to hear anything besides the creaking of the old buildings.

“The payload is secured.”

Another sweeping glance towards the entrance and exterior walls.  “Still no movement out here.”

“Exiting the Research wing.”

“We’re leaving Medical. One minute to rendezvous.”

Wicked. Tracer blinked, pushing off the wall of an opposing building, launching to catch one of the higher ledges. She expertly swung up to the top.

“Maybe I should check out what’s in my locker while we’re--”

“We’ve got company!”

She immediately bolted across the roof, dashing towards the rear of the base.

“Where?”

Gunshots greeted her over their comm-link before Genji’s stoic voice answered, “Six hostiles, West corridor.”

Tracer willed herself forward at intense speed, the accelerator on her chest whirring with each burst.  She blinked across a massive gap to one of the main hallways, imagining the interior of the building she had once roamed. The West corridor leading from Medical to the courtyard had been a frequent path on her visits to Angela.  Maybe she could enter through the second floor barracks and travel down—no wait. The West corridor was always filled with light. There was a glass skylight.

Once she spotted her entry point, she propelled herself upwards, then sent her herself plummeting down at lightning speed, shattering the glass of the skylight, descending into the chaotic sounds of gunfire amongst the falling crystal fragments.

Dramatic landing, success.

“The cavalry’s he—oof!” her bubbly, signature war cry was interrupted by something heavy smashing into her torso, sending her flying onto her back.  She heard heels click on the floor before a foot pinned her down.

She was staring down the barrel of a familiar gun.

Salut,” purred her assailant.  Tracer smirked at the beautiful woman that stood above her.

“We’ve got to stop meeting like this, love.”

She winked playfully before sending herself backwards in time, recalling the past few precious seconds, returning to her descent into the hallway midair. This time, her weapons were drawn and she was emptying her clips before she landed.

Widowmaker disappeared from her peripheral, likely diving to a side hallway for cover.  Tracer lurched forward in a blur, slamming her pistol into an enemy’s skull before zooming again to punch a Talon member heading for Angela.  When he did not instantly crumble to the ground, the young woman rewound, darting back, only to immediately push forward again.  Her speed the second time sent the opposing soldier flying.

“Deja vu, yeah?”

A quick glance towards Genji told her he was doing more than fine; three bodies lay at his feet.  However, more figures appeared to be charging down the hallway towards them.

“You two go check on Winston.  I’ve got this lot,” Tracer called over her shoulder while firing at the new arrivals.

“Are you—”

“Take the South hall. Go!’

Angela responded with a firm nod, and Genji immediately followed her as they turned down the corridor at full speed.

Turning back to face her foes, Tracer immediately ducked with a shout; a grappling hook narrowly avoided her head and buried itself in the wall behind her.

“So cheeky!”

The young woman bolted away with a laugh as Widowmaker propelled herself towards her victim, a sweeping kick just missing its intended target.  Her pursuer quickly kicked off the wall and flipped to a new position, sending a wave of gunfire.  Tracer giggled as she blinked in and out of sight.

“You haven’t gone soft on me, have you?”

The assault of bullets halted, and Widowmaker grew still.  Tracer thought the manner in which she rested her weapon her shoulder was almost elegant and posh, if not for the fact it had been just firing at her.  The visor lifted to reveal a pair glittering, golden eyes.  

A smirk danced on her lips as she replied, “Perhaps, though I do not think they have.”

Tracer snapped out of her trance and looked around at the circle of men that now surrounded her with their guns aimed at her head.  Oh, right, those guys.

“Getting a bit crowded. Next time, let’s do just us, yeah?  More intimate,” Tracer quipped with an eyebrow wiggle, “Cheers!”

Then she dropped her pulse bomb right in the middle of the group and blinked away in a flash.

Tracer heard the small explosion a mere second later, but her speed had already carried her well beyond the blast range.  The hallway shivered as she zipped down towards the courtyard.

She’ll be fine.

She burst through the door, guns blazing, easily spotting Angela’s white uniform in the dark night. Winston desperately defended a levitating platform that appeared to be carrying a body.  It looked as if they had managed to navigate the droid halfway across the courtyard to the building that housed the launch pad before a group of Talons had joined the party.  Their ink black uniforms were just a shade darker than the night that surrounded them, and this is where she aimed. This dark shadow moved closer and closer to the figures protecting the payload.

Suddenly, a massive dragon of glowing green valiantly charged through the mob that surrounded her friends and burned across the courtyard, subsequently slamming straight into the giant generators that powered the entire facility.  Sparks and flames erupted from the electrical equipment, quickly engulfing the nearest section of buildings while chunks of rubble began to descend upon the courtyard.

Talon’s agents were no longer the main problem.

“Get out! Pull back!” Tracer jumped the field to the group, shooting down a pursuer that had avoided the explosion.  She turned back to the three Overwatch agents, waving them away with her hand.

“I’ll cover ya, go!”

“The payload--”

“I’m the only one that can get it there, just move!” she screamed as a wall of the main compound collapsed.  She rushed to the levitating platform and began pushing the droid towards the launch pad.

The medic of the group paused before issuing a firm nod.

“Be safe!” Angela cried and began moving to the buildings not yet burning.  Genji followed.

“It will activate when it reaches the shuttle,” Winston shouted over the burning chaos before charging away with the others, “Just get out of there in time!”

They could reach the North exit of the base before the fire reached that side of the building.  She was the only one fast enough to get the job done and pull out before the whole watchpoint went up in flames.  The door she needed to reach across the courtyard wasn’t far, even if she was pushing a metal robot the size of a grown adult.  The light of her accelerator was dimming with overuse, and the levitating platform was surprisingly still heavy to push.

A door, a corridor, the transport wing. That was it. She could totally do this.

Digging her heels into the ground, Tracer grunted as she pushed against the transporter, and it slowly began to move.  She focused her speed and what energy she had left into her legs.  She sped up what time she could with what power she could still muster. The empty, metallic face of the droid reflected the light of the flames that were beginning to surround her.  Sweat began coating her face from the heat of the fire.

Come on, be a hero.

She sighed with relief once she made it back to the interior of the base.  It was eerily quiet when she entered the building in contrast to the chaos outside.  The hallway seemed so incredibly long with the droid in her possession.  The air grew warmer with each second, and she knew she was running out of time.  She pushed onwards.

Be a hero.

She managed to push the gurney far enough to have a visual on the entrance to the transport wing.   A few yards away, she blinked to the door, desperately typing the passcode Winston had provided during their briefing the day before to enter the hanger. If only she could rewind that far…

Once the door opened, when she turned around to dash back to the gurney and make the final push, a figure hovering over the droid made her heart plummet.  The man’s helmet and visor covered his entire face except for his mouth, but his posture shook with deep, failing breaths. Deep, bloody gashes cut through his black uniform, and Tracer knew those originated from Genji’s blade. The gruesome burn marks on exposed flesh, however, could have come from anywhere within the hellish base.

The Talon agent held up a grenade.

“No!”

An evil snicker flashed across his face.

“Cheers, bitch.”

The explosion sent her flying backwards, slamming her arm against the wall of the corridor, and debris began pouring into the narrow passage.  Rolling to her side, she coughed profusely against the dust that filled the air.

Then all was still again.

“Oh, no, no, no,” she murmured, staring dumbfounded at the spectacle before her, trying to sit up.  She was sealed in the passage.  The droid was destroyed.  She had failed.  The operation had failed.  Overwatch couldn’t take another failure.

She struggled to her feet, trying to ignore a shooting pain in her left arm. Turning around, she saw the door she had opened moments before.  There was only one way to go now.

She quickly keyed her commands on the master control panel at the front of the transport wing to open the blast doors that would allow her to exit the base before the fires reached this side of the compound.  They slid open, revealing the open night air, and with just a blink, she would be out.

But then she looked up and saw the shuttle, and the pilot swore it spoke to her.

Be a hero.

She knew what she had to do.

Something collapsed in the distance, and the foundation shook.  Tracer jogged to the ship, opened the entrance hatch, and climbed aboard.  It was an older model but a fair size.  It smelled like home.

Reaching the cockpit, she turned on the engines and flipped on the fuel switch.  Signs of life began to breathe into the ship as it awoke from a heavy sleep.  Visuals and diagnostics started proudly popping up on the display screens, and she began initiating the pre-programed launch sequence while she took her seat.

Her earpiece buzzed with Winston’s voice, “Come in, Tracer.”

“All right?” she asked, checking the hydraulics and electrical readings. She winced from bending her injured arm to speak into the communicator on her wrist.

“We made it out, heading towards the safe house. What’s your location?”

“In the rocket.”

The gorilla made a noise of surprise before he asked, “Did the droid's automated protocol not engage to get inside the cockpit?”

“Droid's toast, mate,” Tracer sighed, clicking her seat belt into place, “We need those systems online.”

They only had one shot at this.

“We abandoned that satellite station years ago, who knows what repairs it might need to operate,” Winston bellowed over the comm-link, the desperation apparent in his voice, “Have you even ever flown that kind of aircraft?”

“I can fly anything,” the woman laughed, even though it sounded hollow, “The base has gone critical; the only way out is up.”

“Tracer, you can’t, there’s only enough fuel for--”

“It’s just a hop and a skip, Whinny, I’ll be back for dinner,” she stated softly.  She knew it was a lie.

A pause. Everything was quiet except for the growing hum of the engines, and the steady vibration reached Tracer’s bones.

“Lena.” It was Angela’s voice that broke the silence.

The young woman took a deep breath, trying not to let her voice crack with tears she was holding back.

“See you later, Mum.”

A brief moment followed before the other responded, “Heroes never die.”

The view of the open night sky, still hazy with clouds, beckoned the pilot forward.

“Tracer, over and out.”  She removed the earpiece; soon the distance would be too great to keep the connection.

She hit the throttle, and the engines roared to brilliant life under her control.  They had liftoff, and the Overwatch agent began her ascent to the sky.

When the auto-pilot took over, she leaned back and closed her eyes.  Her right hand gingerly massaged at the pain in her left arm, assessing the damage.  At least this part she had managed to get right.

She really shouldn’t have been surprised at that exact moment to find the end of a rifle once again pressed against her head.

“Silly girl.”

Amber eyes gleamed at captured prey.

Chapter Text

Tracer looked away from the gun pressed against her forehead, casually slouching in her seat.

“Sorry, love, launch sequence is on autopilot until we reach the tip top,” she quipped with a small yawn, “Think you’ll be able to fly her by yourself after that?”

Widowmaker’s eyes flickered towards the sea of buttons on the control panel.

The younger woman lazily titled her head before airily asking, “They taught you how to pilot at assassin school, right?”

Their gazes locked.  Even the mistress of time was painfully aware of the seconds ticking by while she waited to see the result of her gamble.

She swore she saw the Talon agent’s body deflate ever so slightly.

The gun was lowered, and Widowmaker turned towards the other empty seat of the cockpit.  Meeting Tracer’s eyes once more, she slowly lowered herself down into the chair, buckled in, and smoothly crossed her long legs.  She quirked an eyebrow.

Even when she was acquiescing, she was immensely intimidating.  Nevertheless, the pilot assumed her terms had been accepted.  For now.

Yikes.

Tracer had been avoiding having any type of internal dialogue about the woman now sitting beside her.  Keeping busy and speeding to the next thing was easier than contemplating the massive paradox that was Widowmaker. She teased, they fought, and neither killed the other despite their warring organizations. Was the woman who had once been one of the good guys still in there?  She had so easily taken down Mondatta, exterminated someone who wanted nothing but peace, and did so in the name of an organization that seemingly did not inspire passion nor demanded her allegiance.  When asked why, she had laughed.

But then how could a supposedly emotionless murderess have laughed at her?  How could those eyes be so alive and vibrant if there was nothing secretly driving the woman forward?

How was the little game they played supposed to end?

The ship entered the mass of clouds that lined the sky, powering continuously upwards. Grey, foggy, and uncertain.  Tracer sighed; sometimes it would be nice to just fast-forward to the happy ending, save the day, and take a nap.  Not blow up a base and have an impromptu work trip to space.

However, when they finally broke through, an ocean of stars lay before them, twinkling fiercely, she couldn’t help but marvel at the little miracles her life allowed her to witness.

“Wow, that’s something, innit?”

A glance to her right told confirmed that the other woman remained expressionless, offering no reaction to the view or her comment.  Tracer didn’t bother prodding her for one; at least the universe had decided to keep things peaceful for five minutes.  She smiled as she gently grabbed the yoke, the autopilot program slipping away from the display screens, and vessel almost happily responded to her.

She loved flying.  It was like making love—the tentative first touches, the building confidence, the igniting passions, the freedom, the soaring, the falling.

Their dance began easily enough, and they were soon smoothly swimming amongst the stars at a steady pace to the coordinates of the station.  A display lightly beeped, and Tracer lowered their speed.  She proceeded to make quick work of inputting passcodes to begin the landing sequence.  The view outside the window was nothing but the vastness of space and stars.

Widowmarker intoned, “Empty.  The cloaking device is strong.”

“The ship is sending out Overwatch docking codes.  Should lift the cloaking on the station so we can land,” Tracer replied with a smirk and a wink, “But good catch.”

She heard a small huff, and she struggled to hide her smile as she plugged in the final digits of the last code while the vessel inched forward.

The space before them turned hazy, like silver fabric rippling in the wind.  The veil materialized and lifted, the sleek, dark grey of the station emerging from thin air. The sphere-like base was large; Tracer once heard it rivaled the size of the Horizon Lunar Colony’s station before the start of the Omnis Crisis. Solar panels gleamed at opposite poles, and the antennae and technology that decorated the sides of the base were impressive to witness, even at their far range.

The blast doors slowly rolled opened, and the interior of the station shined a bright white in contrast the black sky of space.  Tracer began her approach gently and carefully towards them. The station grew bigger and bigger as they neared.

“Those turrets are moving,” stated Widowmaker resolutely, tightening her grip on the gun sitting in her lap.

A line of guns lining the horizontal axis of the station followed their movements.

Tracer shrugged, unalarmed, switching on the stabilizers. “Probably a security protocol, no one’s there to actually--”

The ship violently jerked and a panicked beeping issued from the control panel.  

Widowmaker deadpanned, “Those turrets are firing.”

“Blimey, I can’t win today!” Tracer shouted over the alerts and blasts of impact.

Screw this. She was gunning it.

Slamming the thrusters forward and aggressively turning the yoke, the ship took a massive dip at high speed, spinning to evade the wave of lasers that shot at them.  She continued plunging, hoping to best the range and movement of the turrets.  Another shudder rippled through the cockpit, alerting them to another direct hit on their rear.  Readings started dropping, and they were quickly losing fuel.  Pushing further downwards, they lost sight of the bay doors, dipping under the station.

Overwatch build.  Older.  Automated.  Following a protocol.  Limited to forward range.

Tracer flipped switches as quickly as her racing thoughts, diverting the remaining power to keeping them moving, but it was draining fast.  She firmly grabbed the yoke and kept them on a straightforward path, beginning to bend the ship to follow the circumference of the station above them, pushing the ship dangerously close to the surface.  Faster and faster she pushed along the direct trajectory, readying for when they came full circle. As they completed the orbit, hugging the station, the turrets only triggered as she fully twisted upwards to the shining white light of the open bay doors.

Then she immediately jerked back, redirected the thrusters, and held her breath.  The ship dropped, smashing against the floors of the open wing, grinding the ship to pieces as it flew forward.  Tracer turned hard, sending them drifting, and she prayed they would stop in time before they hit the interior walls. Her body fought against the straps that buckled her in as the ship continued turning, her arm shooting in pain from exertion. The vessel shivered as the wing clipped the wall, and they finally halted.

Time stopped.

A distant noise buzzed in the background, but the cockpit was terribly still.  Tracer slowly released her death grip from the yoke and stared out the window for a moment at the large, bright hanger now decorated with a black trail of wreckage.

“Totally nailed it!”

Widowmaker issued no response, and while she had remained silent through the entire ordeal, she was currently staring daggers at the pilot who was excitedly unbuckling her seatbelt.  

The ship was a disaster, to say the least.  The closer they walked to the exit, the sharper the buzzing noise rang.

Tracer hit the release panel to open the main door, but nothing happened.  She pried open the panel and began inspecting the wiring, but she sighed in defeat.  It could be one of a dozen things after a crash like that. Time was not her ally right now.  She stepped away, glancing around the rest of the ship, pondering a secondary solution to escape it.

Widowmaker fired her gun at the control panel, sending sparks in every direction, and the door immediately released, opening into the hanger.

Tracer shot her a look.  “That really necessary? Damage the already damaged ship?”

“Oui,” she stated simply, walking down the ramp into the grand room.  The younger woman quickly followed with a sigh.

Stepping into the massive transport wing brought good and bad news to the duo.  The good news was that the blast doors had shut following their stunning entrance, and they could properly breathe in the enclosed area without any trouble from the vacuum of space.  The bad news was the buzzing from inside the ship was in fact a cacophonous screeching sound that projected throughout the entire transport wing, deafening both women.

A robotic woman’s voice blared throughout the large hanger, “SECURITY BREACH. SECURITY BREACH.”

“Bloody hell!” Tracer tried to yell over the blaring alarm, hands flying to her ears, as they ran to the only door on an adjacent wall.  A small screen beside the door flashed with the word ‘warning.’

“SECURITY BREACH. SECURITY BREACH.”

“Stop it, you!”

The noise immediately stopped.  Athena’s familiar logo appeared on the screen, and the door swiftly slid open to reveal hallways with walls as white as the hanger.

“Identity Confirmed. Codename: Tracer. Clearance Level Four granted.”

The Overwatch agent wiggled her eyebrows at her companion.  “Not too bad, eh?”

Widowmaker looked as if she was doing everything in her power not to roll her eyes.

“Indeed.”

“Identity Confirmed.  Amélie Lacroix.  Guest Clearance granted.”

An awkward pause followed the computer's announcement.

“Have you been here before?” Tracer asked. She received a glare.

“Right. Well, me either. Maybe it just chats with the other watchpoints and remembers us from there.”

An overly sweet voice questioned, “And where would these other watchpoints be, cherie?”

“Nice try, love.  The real question is why the system thought we were friendly enough to land but bad enough to fire at us,” Tracer stated with a devious smirk, turning to the newly opened door,  “Not proper manners, that.”

Widowmaker’s visor clicked into place, and Tracer swiftly withdrew one of her pistols; she wasn’t trying to lift her injured arm more than she had to, especially after that wild ride.

With a glance behind them, she noticed there were no other methods of transport in the bay; a hanger that size could have easily fit ten ships the size of the one they had flown.  With a frown, she turned and led the way through the door and down the initial hall, gun pointed forward.  She had expected the base to be empty, but that was before it had shot at her.

Even more terrifying than the thought of one of their own bases attacking them was the fact her and Widowmaker worked terribly well together.  They switched positions with ease, checking corners and covering the other as they navigated the hall.  Communication occurred with a simple look or gesture.

They trusted each other to watch the other’s back. That was a thought for later.

Every corner they inspected and every hallway they checked was empty.  The handful of rooms they inspected in what appeared to be a type of dormitory or barracks were void of any life.  When they entered a crossway, they turned towards what looked like a large, open room at the end of the chosen hall.

They had reached the central control room, the cockpit of the entire station.  While some screens presented Athena’s logo and others displayed the Overwatch symbol mingled with graphs and numbers, the space itself was devoid of any sign of life to monitor them.

Tracer walked up to a line of surveillance screens, returning her gun to its holster.  Half of them appeared to be blacked out, but those that were on presented empty room upon empty room.  She blew her hair out of her face.

“Suppose Winston was right about it being abandoned.”

With a turn, she walked closer to the largest screen in the front of the room.

“‘Ello, computer.  Status report.”

The screen switched from the standard logo to a 3D model of the base.

“Overwatch Watchpoint Space Station operating at sixty percent capacity.  Sectors Five, Seven, and Eight remain on lockdown.  Sectors Six and Nine are offline."

“Huh?  Why is almost half the base locked or offline?”

“Access Denied.  Higher clearance required.”

Tracer frowned.  Even Winston didn’t have a higher clearance at the other watchpoints, and he was senior management at the moment.

“Remove all sectors from lockdown and provide entry.”

“Access Denied.  Higher clearance required.” Something was wrong.

“Provide date of last synchronization with home base.”

“Last synchronization with Watchpoint Headquarters was completed at 13:03 CDT on the 1st of May, Year 2067.”

Her and the other woman shared a look.  That was almost ten years ago.

“Few years before the Petras Act.  Odd,” she murmured before glancing to the other woman, “Would explain why you’re still in the system.”

“Your technology is shabby, no?”

Tracer chuckled, “A bit dodgy.  Just needs an update, which is why we’re here.”

She took another step until she was within arm’s reach of the master screen.

“Map, please.”

The grids and outlines of the facility populated on the display.  She heard Widowmaker’s visor lift with a click as she analyzed the image before her.

“Looks like the entire North half of the base is where the problem is,” she mumbled before issuing another command,  “Computer, show me my access.”

The two south quadrants lit up in green, as well the central room Tracer assumed they were in now. The color continued down the main hall until it reached the entry point to the north corridors, a barrier of red.

“So that’s our door.”

“And what if it does not open?” the other icily questioned.

“It will.  But there might be something waiting on the other side.  I should probably fix our ride before we go poking around.  Abandoned watchpoints tend to have surprises, like Talon agents, or spiders, or both,” she surmised, giving the other woman a pointed look.

Widowmaker crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes.

“What makes you think I will assist you in this endeavor?”

“I’m not forcing you to help.  You always have a choice.  But I do expect you not to cause trouble,” she said, putting her hand on her hip, “I’m the only one that can repair and fly your ticket out of here.  You might have noticed there weren’t too many other ships out there.”

Yet again, their gazes were in a deadlock. Tracer’s fingers itched for her pistol at the sight of Widowmaker’s tight grip on her weapon, but her gut told her to hold steady. Without her, the other was stuck.  She would honor a stalemate to guarantee their safe return before they went back to their separate lots in life.

Her voice softened when she said, “I’ll get you back. You'll be free to go.”

Without each other, they would fail. Those golden eyes shimmered.

The taller of the two lifted her weapon and rested it on her shoulder before stating, “Overriding your security could take days. Weeks.”

Tracer took her statement as a sign of truce and impishly countered, “Got plenty of time. Worried, love?”

With an empty scoff, Widowmaker practically whispered, “Perhaps you should be.”

Tracer leaned against one of the dashboards housing numerous controls lining the walls near the screen, choosing to ignore the negative comment, turning optimistically to the map.

“Engineering wing is behind that door.  That’s where we’ll need to fix the communication grid to get the station talking to her friends again.  Probably a good idea to figure out why the blasted defense system fired at us too.  Medical, Research, and Armory wings are all blocked too.  So that leaves us with the Main Control room we’re in now, Transport, the Galley, and the Barracks. I’ll even let you pick your own room,” she finished with a playful smirk, preferring to deal with Widowmaker’s annoyed glares than her distant, cold glances.

She pushed up from where she leaned on the table and immediately felt woozy.  They made it, and they were relatively safe—now she needed to find a corner to lick her wounds and rest.

Tracer forced a smile and cheerfully tilted her head towards the hallway, “Now let’s see what stores are like in the galley.  I’m peckish.”  She received no response and assumed she was taking the trip on her own.

Hero or not, she was nervous as she walked down the hall.  The presence of any food in the kitchens was going to seriously determine how much fun their little vacation was going to be.

Immediate entry indicated the galley was well supplied with pots and pans among an assortment of other items used for cooking.  She glanced around until she found another door, and held her breath as she opened the storage room.

Oh, brill.  There was enough food to feed an entire space station full of people; the two of them would have meals to last them until the mission was complete.  Admittedly, there was little besides rows upon rows of canned goods, but a few packages of snack bars and freeze-dried meals added some character.  Either way, bland or not, they had food.  Maybe Tracer’s luck was on the upswing.

But she was so tired.

Glancing out the corner of her eye, she realized Widowmaker had actually followed her.

“What a poor date I am.  Next time, somewhere with only the freshest ingredients,” she teased, but it lacked its usual luster. She grabbed a granola bar from a box, ripping it open with her teeth. Her left arm was aching; the adrenaline was gone, and she didn't want Widowmaker to see her struggle to open a plastic wrapper.

Then she shoved the whole thing in her mouth.

“You do eat, yeah?” she questioned with her mouth still full.

“Besides drinking the blood of those I kill?” Widowmaker sarcastically drawled.

Tracer huffed, “No need to get your knickers in a twist.”

Once she swallowed the necessary food, she turned back towards the hallway.

“I’m going to kip down for a bit,” she stated casually, trying to keep her posture and walk as normal as possible, “If you wander, behave.”

If there was a response, she shuffled out before she could hear it.  She navigated down the hall, swaying slightly, following a mental map towards the barracks with a grimace on her face.

Picking the first room she came to, she walked towards the bed and promptly collapsed.

 

Chapter Text

Tracer loved sleep. Any place, any time.  Her friends often found her sprawled across floors or tightly tucked into compartments on ships. If the woman wasn’t moving at lightning speed, she wasn't moving at all.  Her life was a constant whirlwind; sometimes passing out for a few random hours in random places was the only rest she was going to get.

Waking up in the unfamiliar room therefore did not alarm her, and she was pleased with the fuzzy sensation that came from a successful, deep sleep.  Her left arm tingled, and upon closer inspection, she found the limb mostly healed; she could rotate and twist with minimal pain.  The woman patted her chronal accelerator affectionately, and stood up to examine her surroundings with a stretch.

Then she realized she really had to use the loo.

The room consisted of four small beds, each with a nightstand, and a door that led to the basics in regards to toiletry.  After completing her business, she tested the sink to find it functioning and the water clean, making a mental note to ask Athena how the station’s overall water supply was.

She instinctively looked up to inspect herself in the mirror, noticing the boxy shape likely indicated the mirror itself was the front opening of a cabinet.  That door was slightly opened.

She opened the cabinet, expecting it to be empty.  Pills, bandages, and a tube of toothpaste rested on the small shelves inside.  She poked the tube, finding the contents rather firm, likely dried out.  With a frown, she returned to the room, glancing around at the furniture.  On one nightstand rested a simply decorated box.  The bed’s comforter was overturned; this was not the bed Tracer had slept on.  

Her stomach growled angrily, and she decided to worry about oddities of the base later.  After all, Tracer also loved food.  Moving faster than time itself required a lot of energy, and so she left the room to return to the galley and the stockroom with hundreds of cans.

All those cans were troubling.  If the base was properly decommissioned, supplies would have been taken back to Earth along with the crew.  Gibraltar theoretically served as a storage facility after the Petras Act.  Overwatch leadership could not have assumed a return to space would be feasible if the program was shutting down.  Nor had the United Nations found the base, swept in, and confiscated it.  So why was it all still here?

She sighed, moving forward with the task at hand.  After perusing her limited options, she selected a unique breakfast of chicken noodle soup, heated it up in the kitchen, and proceeded down the hall with her food to the control room.

After contentedly sipping her meal and running a few reports (and admittedly checking to see if her clearance had magically changed overnight), Tracer felt satisfied they had the food and water necessary to survive.  Air supplies were fine.  The base was cloaked once more and operating normally.

She would worry about the locked doors and the reasons why the crew seemed to leave everything behind after their ship was fixed.  However, the thought still made her a tad jumpy.

With a satisfied burp, she lowered her goggles across her eyes and marched to the transport wing, ready to seize the day.  Opening the door to the hangar produced the image of a dramatic streak across the floor and a rather withered looking ship sitting the in the corner.

“Really botched up this one, Oxton,” she muttered as she walked up to assess the damage.  After investigating the cockpit and finding the controls unresponsive, she returned outside to connect the vessel’s computer to the nearest docking station in the wing so Athena could talk with it.

Tracer eyed the blackened, charred exterior as she stood next to the docking station’s computer.

“How bad is she?”

Auxiliary power is offline.  Bay area and stern took direct hits, and hull sustained minor damage.  Engines are, however, intact.”

“Long as engines made it, we can fix her,” Tracer declared triumphantly, turning away from the ship, “Would be wicked if you had some tools and a spot of fuel for me though.”

Last inventory inspection suggests availability.”

A small section of the wall across the wing slowly began to rise, revealing a garage.

And so, with her signature smirk, Tracer went to work.

Hours sped by as Tracer blinked back and forth across the room and around the ship, focusing on repairing the exterior, physical damages first.  The task was almost enjoyable; in the face of all that had happened in her life recently, sitting down to fix up a ride relaxed her.

She excited sung as she worked, “Through adversities we’ll conquer—go Athena!”

Blaze into the stars,” the computer contributed without adding the least bit of musical finesse.

“A trail of glory,” Tracer continued histrionically before dissolving into a whistle, popping off an exterior panel to get a better look at the fuel tanks.

There was a sudden noise behind her.

She whipped her head around at the sound, immediately drawing a pistol and pointing it towards the unknown interruption.

Widowmaker paused in the process of pulling a chair through the doorway, lifting an eyebrow.  Tracer lowered her weapon with a sheepish, apologetic grin.  The woman standing a few feet away merely tilted her head.  Without breaking eye contact, Widowmaker proceeded to drag the chair with exceptional slowness, drawing out the obnoxiously loud scraping sound of the chair’s legs grinding across the hangar’s floor.  Once she found a spot that suited her, she pointedly positioned her chair at a particular angle and then carefully stepped around to take her seat.

“Tick-tock, agent.”

Tracer snorted, turning back to her work.  She made sure to whistle extra loudly in the vast wing, producing a shrill echo.

 

*****

 

“All right?”

The room remained silent except for the clinking of forks against plates.

This was their third meal together.  Everyday, Tracer would wake up and work on the ship.  Widowtracer’s attendance was sporadic at best; the pilot was at least grateful she appeared to be staying out of trouble.  After a day of labor (and cursing), she would make a hot meal with some of the cans in the kitchen, enough for two, and Widowmaker would show up.

Then they would sit in silence for the entire meal.

For two nights, Tracer had managed to endure the quiet, her leg bouncing underneath the table, not losing heart whenever the woman sitting across from her ignored her light attempts at conversation.  But blast it all, if she was going to make this woman some food, the least they could do is bloody talk.

“Maybe next time Athena can play us some music, yeah?”

Widowmaker ignored her remark and deposited the fork directly next to her empty plate.

Before she could get up, Tracer asked, “Want the rest of mine?”

Eyes looked down at the offered food.  “That is from your half.”

“Yeah, and I’m seeing if you want it,” Tracer stated firmly, not understanding why the other woman refused to just answer the question.

The Brit expected her dinner partner to ignore her or snap at her in annoyance, but she instead received an attentive stare. Her eyebrows were slightly wrinkled as if she were puzzling over a riddle.

“I have already had my half,” Widowmaker replied slowly.

Either she was a terribly good actress or she wasn’t being intentionally difficult.

“We have enough to last years. Don’t expect to be here that long,” the younger woman tried casually, “You’re allowed to have more. You seemed to eat the vegetables faster than the other bits, so I thought maybe that means you like ‘em.  Do you want more?” she asked again, sliding her plate towards the woman across from her.

But she still received no answer, only stares.

Fine.

Tracer stood with a sigh, and left the galley, the door swinging behind her like a pendulum.  Widowmaker glanced back at the food now sitting before her.

What did she want?  It was a foreign concept, and she lacked an answer. Was there an aspect of joy or preference in eating one was supposed to consider?

Choices.  Wanting.  The officious little Overwatch agent was continuously presenting her with alien concepts she did not fully comprehend.  There was the mission.  The chase. Feeling alive when she claimed a target.  Everything else was just an inconsequential, insignificant blur.

Until the overtly chipper, spunky little girl entered the scene.  An annoyance.  A naive ‘hero’ who saw the world in black and white.  Widowmaker had been so ready to pull the trigger, had stalked her prey so carefully to that ship.  The pilot would unknowingly aid in her escape of the burning base, and when they landed at destination, she would end her. This time she finally would.

But who could have predicted that the last gasps of Overwatch’s pathetic remains would be a mission beyond Earth?  Now she was stuck.  Her tracker would not work across the distance of space to summon Talon.

She kept telling herself that was why a bullet did not rest between the girl’s eyes.  Certainly the girl would not simply eliminate her; she lacked the constitution to have cold blood on her hands.  Now she had to withstand her aggressive cheerfulness for an indeterminate amount of time.

However, even annoyance and irritation were emotions, and now she was intrigued.

Wow, that’s something, innit?

You always have a choice.

Do you want more?

Now there were more emotions besides annoyance that felt much warmer.

It had been eleven days since her last treatment.  They told her side effects would begin to occur on day nine if she went beyond the weekly schedule.  She could push herself a little more through the fog spreading in her head, could she not?  Just a taste of what emotions felt like before she retreated back to the emptiness.  A test of endurance.

You’re allowed to have more.  Widowmaker reached out for the plate with the remaining vegetables.

The very next day, Tracer spent the morning and afternoon alone in the hangar.  When her stomach alerted her to dinnertime, she was exhausted from her work but overall satisfied with the progress.  As she had done every night, she prepared enough for two people, but she found the usual chairs still empty; the Talon agent, if not present during the day, usually emerged from wherever she hid for a meal.

She grabbed one of the plates and exited galley, trusting her feet to take her where she hoped to go.  Someone that preferred the shadows would be tucked in the back, right?  As she maneuvered to the back of the barracks hallways, she discovered a single door was open at the corner.

Her fingers brushed against the door in a light knock, but she was already peeking her head through the opened door.

“Brought your—” Tracer paused, “What’s that?”

Widowmaker’s visor was sitting on the bed beside her.  She leaned over the edge, hunched over, inspecting a small case that rested in her hands.

A long needle reflected the dim light of the room.

Widowmaker did not look up from the item as she stoically answered, “A syringe.”

“I can see that.”

Her eyes flickered up to meet the woman standing at the door.  The skin beneath them was a deeper shade of purple than the lavender of her skin.

“A gift from Talon,” she said almost too evenly, “If I am unable to return for weekly reconditioning treatments.”

“Oh.”

Tracer suddenly felt awkward standing there, holding a plate of food.  She did not know how to respond, and Widowmaker merely stared as the room went silent once more.

“Did you know her?” the woman on the bed tentatively murmured.

Tracer quickly asked, “Know who?”

The glare she received gave her chills.  Widowmaker tilted her chin regally.  Challengingly.

Her.

“Yeah,” the Overwatch agent mumbled, shuffling her feet, “Not well.  More like acquaintances, really. ”

The next question was a whisper, “What was she like?”

“Stubborn. But very kind.  Constantly volunteering in the hospital ward,” Tracer recalled, leaning against the doorframe, “If she didn’t hate guns, she would have made a great agent.  She was our biggest fan, far as I could tell.”

An empty chuckle. “My condolences for your loss.”

Angela had told her what they did to Amélie. Her heart was slower, her body was colder, her memories were gone, and her soul was numb to emotion.  But when their faces had been inches apart that night in King’s Row, when she had really looked into those eyes, she had begun to wonder.  Tracer bit down her tongue on the unasked question that had been nipping at her brain like an itch for weeks.  

But the woman sitting on the bed saw the query written across her face.

“She is dead.  Her memories are ghosts.”

“You still have them?”

Her gaze returned to the object in her hands.  “When I am away too long.”

The young woman’s hand not holding the plate lightly touched her vest.

“I understand.”

“I do not need your sympathy!” Widowmaker suddenly snapped fiercely, shooting up from the bed, posture rigid and aggressive.  Her fingers clung tightly to the syringe.

Shock slowly bled into her veins at her own loss of control.  Her eyes dropped to the floor while the new, sharp sensations washed over her.  The silence screamed in her ears.

Tracer slowly walked deeper into the room, her shoulders slack with exhaustion. Neither looked at the other.

“You’re not the only one with ghosts, you know,” she rasped softly before depositing the plate on the foot of the bed and exiting the room.

Widowmaker crumbled back onto the bed; her chest ached. It still felt empty, her heart slow and sleepy, but was it stirring?  What was waking up inside her?  Her eyes darted back to what lay in her hand.

A choice.

She closed the small case that housed the needle and quietly returned it to the hidden slot of her metal bracer on her arm.

 

*****

 

Once again, Tracer spent the day alone tinkering with her ship.  She did not sing.  A wrench fell into the hull never to be seen again, the electricity still wasn’t working, and at one point the whole bloody thing almost fell on top of her.  By then, she was throwing her work gloves on the ground and stalking down the hallway to the galley for an early dinner.

But when she opened the door, the stovetop was already in use.

Gloveless, slender hands adjusted the knobs controlling the heat, flexing a webbing of tattoos on a toned forearm.  Eyes of gold moved from a pot to the new arrival.

Tracer’s mouth fell open at the image of the assassin delicately stirring what appeared to be soup.

Widowmaker stood a bit taller as she firmly stated, “I wanted to try this one,” gesturing towards the empty can now on the counter bearing the label ‘cream of mushroom.’

“Works for me, love,” the brunette replied softly, a grin etched across her face.

She walked up to the counter as the other woman began to spoon the meal into bowls. When one bowl passed between them, their hands brushed, and Tracer felt the chill of Widowmaker’s cold skin.

This time, the silence at the table as they ate didn’t feel so maddening to the young woman.

After a few moments, Widowmaker asked, “What are your food preferences?”

Tracer frowned deeply in confusion, stopping her spoonful of soup in midair.  “What, like, outta the cans we have?”

Her companion’s eyes narrowed slightly in thought, while a hand errantly tucked a piece of hair that had escaped the tie behind her ear.

She then clarified, “When your choices are not restricted.”

Tracer sighed dreamily, her mouth watering as she pictured the perfect meal, “Nothing beats fish and chips with a pint.”

The other gave a firm nod, but offered no other response.

“What about you?” Tracer asked with a grin.  It was not just the meal making her feel warm.
Widowmaker paused the stirring of her soup and replied with a small, almost unnoticeable smile, “Yet to be determined.”

 

Chapter Text

Tracer’s body was lean and agile, and while Widowmaker had certainly admired her athleticism and movements, as one warrior respects another in battle, witnessing the agent’s form remain in one place for an extended period of time was foreign. Intriguing. Even the slight chill of the transport hanger did not hinder Tracer from working up a sweat lifting battery cells and toolboxes while repairing the shuttle.  Yes, Widowmaker knew she was more attentive on the days when the other woman discarded her jacket.  A thin tank top beneath the mechanical vest with the glowing center hid little.  Her strong shoulders and toned arms, the sweet smell of gasoline, and the constant, almost musical tinkering of metal parts and electrical hums pleased the older woman.

Pleasure. That was new.

She had gone fifteen days without treatment.  

The pilot blew her hair out of her face as she inspected a panel. Widowmaker smirked; that was the fourth time this hour.  The girl had removed an internal component of the system out into the open, wires crisscrossing madly over the floor.  The observer contentedly thought it almost web-like.

A bright spark flew and a loud pop exploded, the sharp sound ripping through the vast hanger.

“Shite!”

A trail of smoke began to ascend from the area where Tracer worked.  Widowmaker blinked, and the younger woman was suddenly on the other side of the ship, yanking a massive wire.  Another split second brought Tracer speeding back to the electrical grid, rapidly fanning away the smoke.

Once the immediate danger had passed, she turned to look at her companion over her shoulder, teeth flashing in a grin.

“Well…’spose we know which fuse not to use, yeah?”

Widowmaker’s lips twitched.  “Silly girl.”

The Brit laughed, turning to face the woman fully, “So you can smile. It’s nice.”

Desire.  That was new too.  But so much more potent.

Widowmaker quickly turned away.

“I expect many laugh at your actions.”

Tracer took the teasing in stride, placing her hands on her hips dramatically, “Someone’s got to keep spirits up.”

The woman sitting on the chair rolled her eyes, but the corners of her mouth still tugged upwards.

After checking up on the wires and inspecting the remaining fuses, Tracer haphazardly threw on her jacket and pushed her goggles up to rest on her head.  Her hair slicked back as a result, revealing a streak of grim across her forehead.  She grinned as she walked over before collapsing into a nearby chair.

The assassin tried to remind herself this girl before her was an annoyance.  An adorable annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless.

“Another week, I think,” the young woman mused happily, rubbing her shoulder, “Once I get the power back, I can get the battery cells integrated.  Only enough fuel here to get us through liftoff.”

“Only one chance then?”

“All we’ll need,” she replied with a wink.

“Cocky.”

Tracer’s voice took on a heavy, artificial French accent “One shot, one kill,”

“Touché.”

“Yeah, I liked it better when you said it before the lot of us fell into that museum,” she replied almost wistfully, “More intimidating.”

Widowmaker tried to understand the playful tone. The thought of dueling and dancing with the Overwatch agent provided the familiar vividness, but that thrill no longer hindered on the possibility of eliminating her.  It simply came from the woman herself.  Was this a mutual understanding?  The uncertainty was irritating.

Before she could further ponder the complexities of her ever-fluctuating new emotional capacity, Tracer quickly stood, shoving her hands in her jacket’s pockets.

“Let’s take a peek at the security systems.  It’ll give me something to mull over while I finish the ship,” she said as she nodded her head towards the door.

As Widowmaker stood up to leave; however, Tracer walked back towards the ship, plucking an item that rested on top of a toolbox:  a touch tablet bearing the Overwatch logo on the screen.

She tucked the device under her arm, returning her hand to her pocket with a smirk.  “Athena likely won’t help us crack her own security, yeah?”

She hummed as they walked down the hall to the control room and merrily plopped in what was likely the captain’s chair when they reached it.  Widowmaker took her seat at a nearby worker’s station while Tracer fished around the main control panel for the port she needed.

“Rotten cord, where—here we are!”

Tracer snickered with success as she plugged in the tablet, inciting a tired sigh from her partner.  The action only made her smile bigger as she turned back to the turn on the device and began to input commands.  Over the course of the next few minutes, however, her smile started to fall.  Widowmaker watched her as she bit her lip in concentration, fingers gliding across the screen and tapping away.

“Code don’t look right.  Ugh,” she grunted, slouching in her chair, “Ship computers’ usually look different than this.  ‘Universal language’ my arse.”

As she continued to scroll through, a churning sensation began to grow in her stomach.  Her past experience was limited to changing other pilots’ codenames to something inappropriate or removing safety features on certain transports so she could really fly them. This was a level of hacking way beyond her.

“Security programing is tip top.”

The mission would fail.  Overwatch would be eliminated and it would be all her—

“Perhaps changing your clearance would be easier, no?”

The agent paused, slowly turning to look at the speaker.

“Overriding a single number on an agent’s profile rather than fighting the whole security system.  Very clever.”

Her smile was back in full force.  She immediately went back to the screen to try the new approach.

An annoyance. An annoyance. An annoyance.

Widowmaker got up to leave as the young woman tapped away at the tablet. Needing a moment away from the pilot’s smile was perhaps one reason for her brief absence, but she did return with a handful of protein bars. Her growing appetite in the past few days had begun to rival even Tracer’s, and she now spent the late afternoons experimenting with what food they had and cooking dinners.

She noted all the flavors of the bars before selecting one; Tracer grabbed one without looking away from the tablet, ripping away the plastic, and shoving it in her face. Her companion shook her head before carefully removing the wrapper of her own choice.

Besides the occasional grumbling and muttered curses, the room stayed fairly quiet while one worked and the other perused her form, noting the small characteristics that she suddenly found fascinating.  The earring in her cartridge.  The pattern of freckles across her cheeks.  Widowmaker could not see her eyes, and she thought this was a waste of one of the few times Tracer removed her goggles.

Disappointment.  Another new feeling, among so many others.  Guilt for staring.  Wanting to know more.  Irritation at her own lack of focus.  Terror.  Need.

Tracer’s form suddenly hopped up from her seat, jumping Widowmaker from her daze.

“I need a break.  Let’s check back in on our girl.”

Our.

And so back they went.

The return to the transport wing was anti-climactic, and the Overwatch agent focused on smaller aspects of the repair, plopping herself down on the ground next to the other woman’s chair to tinker away.  Widowmaker again observed; Tracer looked so content to sit on the floor of the wing, legs crossed, unscrewing some metallic box that performed some unknown task she could never guess.

She wanted to know more.

“Where does one learn to hack a computer?” she asked smoothly.  
Tracer’s eyes flickered up from her work.  “Probably the same place an assassin learns to cook, hm?

Widowmaker snorted before sarcastically replying, “Perhaps you were born with it, along with the talent of repairing spacecraft?”

“Mhm.  And don’t forget being an ace pilot.”

Her signature smirk complimented her confidence, but Widowmaker sensed the subtle evasion.

“I doubt either of those skills were self-taught or a matter of predestination.”

Tracer’s eyes twinkled deviously as she looked up again.  “You’re awfully curious.”

Widowmaker paused. Wanting was new. Identifying the reasoning for something as irrational as an emotion was just as, if not more, peculiar as the emotion itself.

“My current existence and skillset was determined for me by a particular group of men with particular needs.  I am interested in the more organic path.”

Tracer held her gaze for a moment before sighing in defeat.  She looked back down to the device in her hand and continued working the screws.

“Well, Mum was never around. Dad was always a bit barmy. Pissed at the pub most of the time. He fixed up cars for a living though, and he was great at that. Mostly bangers, but made ‘em run better,” she explained, removing the casing from the cube in her hand, “I knew my way under a bonnet and how to drive by the time I was twelve.  Sort of translated to other things.  If I fly it, makes sense to be able to fix it, don’t it?” Tracer glanced up with a shrug.

Widowmaker’s gaze slid down to the glowing circle at the center of the Brit’s chest.

“Creating a device that manipulates time seems beyond the realm of standard aircraft.”

“I’m not that good.  Winston’s work, this,” she stated simply with a gesture towards her vest, staring intently at the interior of the box.

“What did you do to receive the honor of wearing it?”

The agent breathed an empty laugh and muttered, “Wouldn’t call it an honor.”

She plucked a burnt coil from the cube, depositing it on the floor beside her.  The silence made her look up at the woman sitting on the chair in front of her.  Widowmaker’s expression was almost unreadable.  But the knitted eyebrows and dark amber eyes made her look back down again.

She set the box on the ground, wiping the grime from her hand on the arm of her jacket.  Tracer’s fingers instinctively rose to gloss over the patch on the sleeve, following the red, blue, and white rings of a circular logo they had long memorized.

She awkwardly cleared her throat while still looking at the floor.  “Long story.”

Currently, the two women maintained a truce. Tracer felt no reservations helping the Talon agent and even secretly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know her better.

But her friendly nature did not extend to telling an assassin that had held a gun to her head how the machine on her body was the only thing keeping her alive.

A soft voice interrupted her thoughts, “It is your story to tell or not tell.”

Tracer looked up, searching for the golden eyes that were starting to feel familiar.

The visor was gone, and openly seeing her whole face was oddly refreshing.  Her long mane was still meticulously pulled back, but the stiffness seemed to have dissolved away into a healthier shine. Her legs were crossed casually, and her body was slack against the back of the chair.  Tracer tried to respectfully ignore the revealing outfit that no longer seemed to match the gentleness of the eyes looking at her.  Not tauntingly seductive, sharp, and cold but attentive and inquisitive.

This wasn’t the same woman that had tried to kill her.  But could she be trusted?

Tracer took a deep breath.

“Joined the RAF a week after I turned eighteen. The Omnic Crisis was over, but the world still needed saving. If my stomping ground at King’s Row was still buggered up, I figured it was worse other places.  Was never very good at much besides football and fixing cars.”

She picked up the screwdriver and began spinning it in her hands.

“Turns out I was brilliant at flying.  Best in my training class.  They said I spent more time tracing smoke trails in the sky than I did on the ground.  A tracer,” she smiled fondly, “Then Overwatch rang me up.”

She pointed the screwdriver at Widowmaker and proudly declared, “I was the youngest pilot to ever join.  A few months later I was going to fly the first aircraft to travel through time. Me.  Some girl from East End that never had more than twenty quid to her name.  A hero.”

Her excited rant died off, and her grip tightened on the screwdriver as she lowered it to rest on her knee.

“But, well, didn’t quite go as planned.  The time matrix buggered up.  They say the ship disappeared for months, me with it.  Then just showed up one day.”

She winced as she looked at the wall across the room while she tried to think of how to explain the impossible.

“My body...I don’t...I’m not apart of time no more.  When I got back, I was never really back.  I’d slip away to different times, and I could never exist enough to touch things. To be.  Like a ghost,” she murmured, placing the tool in her hand on the ground.  She curled her legs up and wrapped her arms around them.

“Chronal disassociation is what they call it. Or named it.  Probably the only person to ever have it.  So that’s something,” her breathless laugh was hollow, “If I didn’t wear the accelerator, who knows where or when I’d be.”

Widowmaker slowly crossed her arms, drawing inwards, and leaned forward to almost whisper, “What was it like?”

“Lost in time?  Empty. Very...empty.  Dreams you can’t quite remember when you wake up.  There was a serving girl at an estate. Lifetimes ago.  Still don’t know if she was real or...or me. A part of me? Forgotten in a different time.”

Widowmaker tried to hide the shiver that quivered down her spine as Tracer so accurately described the haunting sensation of Amélie’s memories.  The large hangar stood still in heavy silence.

“There’s a song in the RAF,” Tracer murmured, eyes glazing over, heavy with melancholy.  Then she began to sing:

 

Through adversities we'll conquer.

Blaze into the stars,

A trail of glory

We'll live on land and sea

'Til victory is won.

Men in blue the skies are winging

In each heart one thought is ringing.

Fight for the right,

God is our might,

We shall be free.

 

A small tear quickly fell down her cheek as she finished with a sad little gasp.  With a sniff, she was trying to force a smile.

“Not all so bad,” she pushed on, trying to encourage her voice back to its chipper tone, “I heal up faster.  Though Winston’s afraid I might not be aging right.  Probably rubbish.  Been a bit busy to worry about it.  I got...I got plenty of time, I guess,” she finished with a shaky breath.  She stilled nervous fingers that were pulling at the straps of her vest, subconsciously checking it was on.

“Lena?”

Widowmaker said her name with such wonder.

“Yeah?” she answered simply, looking up at the beautiful woman whose eyes went wide.

“Is that your name?”

“Yeah.  Talon got some kind of record on me?

“Not with your name,” she whispered, gaze dropping to the floor between them.

Tracer’s eyebrows wrinkled with confusion before the slow realization set in; the kind French woman from years ago had known her real name.

She offered a sad smile.  “Lucky guess then?”

After a beat, she was soon frowning.

“You’re crying.”

Widowmaker made no sound nor contorted her face in any manner to suggest the act, but a delicate stream had begun its journey down her cheeks.  In fact, she appeared surprised at Tracer’s comment, her hand slowly rising to touch the unfamiliar wetness. Then a choked sob broke from her lips, and she began to cry in earnest, crippling forward and weeping.

Tracer sat up on her knees from her place on the ground before Widowmaker.  She reached up and gently laid her hand on a now trembling arm.  The skin beneath her fingers produced a slight chill, but did not sting with intense cold. She could not think of the right words to say, not sure if she had caused this. Her thumb moved back and forth, trying to at least do something to comfort and soothe.

Widowmaker lifted her head with a sniff. Her hand moved to the thick bracer on her forearm, opening a small compartment to produce a familiar case.  Tracer recognized it as the case that held the syringe.

“Take it,” she gasped desperately, “Take it.”

“Ok, ok.  Want me to hold on to it?”

Widowmaker nodded through her tears.  When a hand enclosed on the container, she closed her eyes as she continued to cry, profound relief now mingling with her sadness.  The burden was gone.

Tracer slipped the case into her jacket pocket, and her hand instinctively moved to rest on Widowmaker’s knee. Its partner continued to gently rub against periwinkle skin on a toned arm.  Before she could even question if this was comforting or irritating to the crying woman, Widowmaker’s gloved hand moved to rest on top of her own.

“Désolée, désolée,” she murmured, squeezing their fingers together.

Tracer continued to kneel beside her as her words dissolved into gasps of grief.  The young woman did not embrace her any further, wanting to give her any space she needed.  However, based on the death-like grip of Widowmaker’s hand on her own, she knew that simply sitting near her was enough for now.

Chapter Text

After multiple days of attempting to manually override her own profile in the Overwatch database, Tracer resigned to using her backup plan.  The tablet from the ship was equipped with a handful of algorithms of Winston’s design, minor programs to help a stranded agent unlock doors or whatever else one might find useful on a mission into enemy territory.  Plus, Athena software toying with Athena software should hardly be considered hacking, especially when she told the computer it was an Overwatch approved system update.  Between her friend’s incredible skills, her minor dabbling with code, and the seemingly attainable goal of changing one number, she was hoping against hope it would be enough.

All she could do was wait as she left the program to run its course.  And she hated waiting.

She stayed in the hangar to keep her spirits up.  The ship was getting close to completion, and that fact kept her in a pleasant mood; at least she got something right.  She had managed to find an abandoned bottle of body wash in the barracks’ showers the previous night.  There was a delightful view of a full moon from their side of the station.  Life was good.  Or so she kept telling herself as she kept herself busy.

The sound of muffled footsteps that did not match the familiar click of Widowmaker’s heels jostled her from her thoughts, and she whipped around in surprise.  Her mouth fell open at the sight.

Gone was the skintight purple jumpsuit.  No more visor, no more gloves, no more bracers.  In their place was a standard issue Overwatch uniform from a time when the organization actually had masses of agents.  A simple design, the black pants with an orange stripe down the side tucked into black boots.  Rather than the accompanying black shirt; however, the woman had donned what had likely been provided to the station’s crew as casualwear.  An adorable blue sweatshirt with the familiar orange logo in the corner hung loosely over her slim frame.

“I was cold,” Widowmaker stated simply, carefully inspecting Tracer’s face still frozen in shock.

“Oh.”

Tracer decided she rather liked the notion that her companion was dressed like an Overwatch agent.

“Looks hot.  Warm,” she corrected, clearing her throat, “Very smart.  You get cold?”

“Not until recently.”

“Oh, right. Should’ve guessed that. Space is, uh, cold,” Tracer stated, trying to add a confident nod to cover her floundering.

She turned around and took a deep breath, attempting to not make any more of a fool of herself.

“Find anything else interesting in the barracks’ closets?”

“Perhaps,” the voice behind her replied, “What do you consider interesting?”

Tracer grunted as she lifted a heavy metal panel. “Well, this was a military and research facility, yeah? Probably not allowed to have nothing too naughty.”

“There were no skeletons in the closets.”

She almost dropped the load she carried in her arms.  “Blimey, I don’t mean murder.”

There was a pause before she heard, “Is that not an English expression?”

“Oh.  Right,” Tracer replied, looking over her shoulder, “Hard to tell when you’re serious or not.”

She smiled at the woman shaking her head before returning her gaze to the ship and lifting the panel to the exposed section of vessel it was to cover.  However, she stupidly stood there holding the rather weighty siding when she realized she would need one hand free in order to screw it into place.

“Do you require assistance?”

“That obvious?” she threw over her shoulder with a laugh.

Widowmaker’s lips were tugging slightly upwards when she came into view to hold up the panel.  “Subtlety is not one of your key features.”

“Yeah?  Been admiring my features?” Tracer countered, before blinking away to quickly grab a screwdriver.  She returned to begin to twist away at the metal before Widowmaker drew a breath to answer her.

“I am stranded on a space station, thanks to you.  I have little to do but observe.”

A smirk.  “Fair.  But ain't it wicked to look out the window and see stars?”

The tall woman glanced down as Tracer contentedly screwed the panel in place with a grin, watching as a strand of hair fell across her eyes.  In their close proximity, it was hard not to notice a floral scent.

“The views are tolerable,” she answered more softly than she intended.

Tracer made quick work of securing the siding, and Widowmaker continued to either help or sit in her usual chair as the day progressed. The ship looked like the real thing again.

At some point, Widowmaker left to go start dinner, and the pilot took another deep breath. Widowmaker as an Overwatch agent.  Wow.

While the thought made her feel warm, she did not allow herself to ponder it too long.  The world they would return to was a very different place than the quiet of space. And so, in typical Tracer fashion, she sped on to the next thing, keeping herself busy as she finished her day’s work on the spacecraft.

By the time she tossed her gloves and goggles into a pile by the dock station’s computer, she was content.  When she arrived at the kitchen for dinner, she realized she was in for more surprises.

She walked over to where Widowmaker was beginning to plate their meal and instantly titled her head at the interesting combination on the menu.

“Potatoes and soup?” Tracer hesitantly questioned, trying to cover her surprise.

The small frown on Widowmaker’s face was almost unnoticeable.  Almost.

“Clam chowder was the closest item in the storage room to fish,” she intoned before gesturing to the plate of chopped potatoes, “It was also lacking any form of ‘chips.’  Those were freeze-dried.”

She then looked up from the meal to the young woman with uncertain expectancy.

Tracer continued to stare in confusion before realizing exactly what the meal was:  Fish and chips.  She immediately broke out into a smile she couldn’t hold back.

“Thanks, love.”

Widowmaker merely nodded, returning spooning the soup into another bowl.  But her frown was now gone.

It was admittedly an odd selection, but Tracer decided she was going to every bite of the meal prepared specifically for her.  She eagerly devoured her dinner once they both sat down.

“Food’s good.”  She meant it.  Weird.  But good.

Her dinner partner paused in the process of bringing a potato to her mouth, inspecting it.

“Options are limited here.”

The agent swallowed a bite and encouragingly added, “When we get back, you’ll be able to try cooking with fresh stuff.”

Widowmaker’s eyes fell down to the table.  The kitchen grew quiet.

Tracer shook her head at her own idiocy.  Get back...to what? A world on the brink of a second crisis?  Two warring organizations that either saw her as an assassin or, potentially, as a traitor?  Or would she return to her previous life as if nothing had happened?

“I’ve said the wrong thing,” she muttered, an apologetic grimace spreading across her face.

Widowmaker shook her head.  “You’ve merely presented a logical problem.”

“But it made you sad.”

Her eyebrows wrinkled with confusion.  Tracer tried to press on.

“Are there things you’d like to do when you’re back?”

“We do not know the current state of the world we will be returning to.”

So they had been thinking the same thing.

“If the other stuff didn’t matter,” the Brit said with a wave of her hand, “Just what would you like to do?”

It never failed to surprise Tracer when Widowmaker did not have an answer ready or did not give the typical social cue of a prolonged ‘hm’ before excitedly answering.  The woman still learning her emotions and wants always donned a countenance of extreme concentration, as if meticulously searching to find an answer deeply buried within herself.

And the proud little gleam in her eyes when she managed to secure that answer is what made Tracer’s heart do backflips.

“Bread,” Widowmaker stated clearly, almost triumphantly, “I would like to bake bread.”

Tracer winced.  The two stared at each other while she tried to think of an appropriate response.

“Bread’s, uh, a bit plain, innit?  You could do anything.”

Widowmaker leaned back in her chair and fixed her gaze on a nearby wall.

“There is very little that captured my attention beyond a mission.  And yet, after monitoring a target in a small town for a few days, I remember that particular scent every morning around dawn,” she glanced back to Tracer, “If something then could give me pause, perhaps now it might be something I enjoy.”

“That’s brilliant.  Remember anything else?  Something that caught your attention before all this?”

With the shake of a head, she answered, “I have travelled all over the world but have truly seen very little”

Tracer leaned forward against the table before softly asking, “Nothing?”

Widowmaker slowly closed her eyes, her head delicately tilting in the process.

“There were gardens in Versailles,” she replied almost wistfully, “Roses.”

The sight before her made Tracer smile; it was a shame she didn’t have access to a garden here if the memory made Widowmaker looks so peaceful.

Golden eyes opened. “You.”

Tracer’s smile vanished as she stuttered, “Me?”

She did not receive clarification right away.  Widowmaker, in her slow, deliberate manner, picked up the empty dishes and walked them over to the sink, gently placing them down.  She turned, resting her hip against the counter.  Her eyes were far away.

“All of this.  It is like waking up in an unfamiliar place.  Existing in the unknown,” she murmured, “Dépaysement.”

She squared her shoulders as she turned around to face the woman still sitting at the table, her voice growing firm.

“You were the first face I could clearly see.  That made me think there was more.”

Tracer felt her heart practically take flight at the confidence with which Widowmaker spoke.

She ran a hand through her hair and said with a cheesy smirk, “So not the end of the world you’re stuck in space?”

Widowmaker rolled her eyes, turning back towards the sink.  Her smile was hidden.

“You are only a mild annoyance.”

 

*****

 

She woke up with a gasp.  Her skin was scorching.

She felt as if she had just emerged from a scalding ocean, panting for air.  The salty liquid clinging against her was unfamiliar.  Her body had never been able to sweat so profusely before.

The nightmares were also new.

Her heart was hurting with each pulsing beat.  She had never felt it so strongly before.  It was a new feeling, and a horrible one at that.

She sat up in bed to realize she had kicked off the covers in her sleep.  The second her feet touched the floor, she launched herself towards the closet to search for new, clean clothes.  The sweatshirt she had worn before was folded on the nightstand where she left it before retiring to bed, but the tank top she was wearing was soaked.

Her eyes adjusted to the darkness, faint starlight glowing through a small circular window in the wall.  Light peeked under the door from the hallway.

She opened the closet door to find this particular room was not as well supplied as the one where she had found the first set of clothes.  A pair of pants donned a hanger, but they were clearly much too small of her.  She knelt down to pick through the duffle bag on the floor, desperately clawing through the dark for something to free her from this disgusting feeling.

When her hand felt cloth, she pulled the item out to discover it was only a scarf, which she quickly discarded with a toss.  Returning to the bag, her fingers hit a sharp corner, and her newfound curiosity incited her to pull out the mystery object.

It was a small picture frame housing the image of a man.  His face sported whiskers and his hair as well groomed.  As she looked at the photo of this stranger, blurry in the darkness, the whispers of her nightmares returned.

The scratch of a beard against skin.  The smell of cologne.  Whispered sweet nothings.

Her own hands gripping a man’s throat, squeezing out every last breath of life.

She screamed as she hurled the picture at the wall, the glass frame shattering as it collided violently with the surface.  Uncontrollable sobs broke free, and she curled into herself on the floor by the closet.

Seconds later, the door flung open, Tracer’s eyes wide with worry.  She paused mid action in tightening the straps of her accelerator’s harness, having flung it on before dashing out her room.

The sight before her broke her heart.  The breath she was holding slowly released as she inspected the damage to the wall and fragments on the floor.

Her bare feet quickly carried her across the room while avoiding the broken glass, and, without hesitation or question, she bent down to scoop the crying woman into her arms.

“It’s ok, it’s ok.  You’re ok.”

The lavender face disappeared into the crook of her neck, and she felt the tears press against her skin left exposed by her tank top. She pulled the taller woman on her lap as best she could before her hands rubbed circles across her back.

“You’re ok.”

The body in her arms continued to shake with pained sobs, and all she could was proceed to murmur her mantra and hold on.  She rested her cheek against the top of Widowmaker’s head and closed her eyes.

All she had was time, and that was an easy thing for Tracer to give.  And while time ticked by, the tears slowly but surely began to lessen.  Eventually, the breath against her neck grew steady and rhythmic, and she stilled her hands against Widowmaker’s back.  If it were not for the occasional sniff, she would have assumed the woman had fallen back asleep.

She glanced over at the shards of glass twinkling in the light flooding from the door she had left open.  Tracer sighed.

Widowmaker’s choice had not been an easy one.

“What made you decide not to take the, uh,” but her voice died off in uncertainty.  Medication? Chemicals? The thing that allowed Talon to control her?

She felt Widowmaker’s head turn towards her and supply, “Treatment?”

“Not the word I would use,” the Brit mumbled, delicately brushing back strands of hair that had escaped Widowmaker’s ponytail, “Makes it sound like it helps.”

“It does,” the other’s voice grew stronger, almost angry, sitting up slightly, “I am erratic now. Weak. Crippled by the smallest sensation.”

A hand spread warmly against her cheek, tilting her gaze until the two met in a flash of gold and hazel.  The gentle, blue light from the accelerator illuminated their faces.

Tracer offered a sad smile.  “I think it’s bloody brave.”

C’est absurde,” Widowmaker whispered fiercely, eyes brimming with tears once more.

“What made you decide not to take it?” the other asked calmly, moving her hand to a shoulder.

Widowmaker glanced down at the glowing circle on Tracer’s chest before looking back up.   “You said I had a choice.”

“You chose to take back your life from them to decide your own fate.  Brilliant, that,” the young woman summarized softly, giving the French woman's shoulder a squeeze, “Your chemistry will be buggered up for a bit.  Emotions are hard even for those of us that’ve had ‘em our whole lives.  You’re doing great.”

She finished with a smile, hoping to see it mirrored back.  Widowmaker’s eyebrows, however, wrinkled in confusion and the body beneath Tracer’s hands tensed.

“You want her back.”

“No.”

She countered, “You want someone ‘good’ you can recruit?”

“No,” Tracer murmured simply.

“Why?” Her voice hitched as desperation leeched onto her face.

The other woman paused.  Widowmaker had not clarified her question, but it was one Tracer had asked herself countless times since their first meeting, since the attack on Gibraltar, since they blasted their way into space.  Why?  Why did she care?  Their original truce? Pity?  

Why did she want to help give this woman the world?

She was terrified she already knew the real answer.  An answer that went as deep as the hot ache in the pit of her stomach when she thought of the night she tackled Widowmaker to the ground in King’s Row.  Of her beautiful, dark laughter.

“Hard not to feel like all of this wasn’t meant to happen, yeah?” she finally replied, her voice barely a whisper.

Widowmaker’s eyes searched hers in the dim light of the room.  After a moment, the tenseness in her body melted away, and her head wearily dropped back to Tracer’s shoulder.

She shakily breathed, “What if you’re wrong?  What if what I was is what I am meant to be?”

Tracer tightened her embrace.

“You should get a chance to be happy.  Whether that’s killing for Talon or doing something else.  But you pick.  Not them.”

Her hand began the process of tracing circles on Widowmaker’s back once more.

“Don’t scare me like that,” she mumbled, snuggling closer, “Heard the noise and thought you were hurt.”

Her periwinkle skin was no longer cold.  Tracer did not feel any heat emitting from where they touched, but it certainly did not have a particular chill as it once did when their hands had brushed.

She suddenly realized how intimate their embrace was.  Her hands stopped rubbing.

“You must be knackered,” she tried with a small smile, giving a quick pat on the back, “Let’s get you to bed.”  She could feel her own heat rising to her cheeks.

Widowmaker gave a nod and stood.  The Tracer followed suit and gently placed her hand on the other’s back, guiding her towards the door; there were dozens of other rooms, and a fresh start seemed in order.

Like many other items over the past few days, Tracer decided to ignore the picture that had been abandoned at the station along with a closet full of personal belongings and clothes belonging to an absent crew.

 

*****

 

“I feel like such a twat.  She’s been in her room all day,” Tracer sighed, throwing her head back and looking up at the tall ceiling. “Some help I am.”

She was leaning on the wall next to the docking station’s computer.

She crossed her arms and mumbled, “Imagine getting all your feelings at once like that.”

“I cannot.  I am incapable of feeling.”

Tracer ignored the comment from Athena and continued her musing, “Omnics figured it out. We should’ve listened better before things went arse-up,” she grumbled, beginning to pace, “How’s a freakin’ soul born?”

“I am unable to find an answer to your query in my database.”

“Try looking up ‘rhetorical,’” she retorted towards Athena’s screen before frowning, “She's so gentle. Cheeky, but gentle. Just want to help.”

“Professionals recommend support from friends and family for significant emotional and mental trauma.”

Her fingers slipped into her pocket to graze against the plastic case she was charged with keeping.

“Not that easy, mate, she sighed once more, leaning back against the spot directly next to the computer.

After a short pause, Athena’s voice again filled the hangar, “Do you require assistance synchronizing the battery cells to the power grid and performing the diagnostic?”

“‘Course not, I'm not daft,” the frustrated pilot scoffed before turning to the screen, “Why you ask?”

“Your station has been inactive for approximately ten minutes.

“Oh. Maybe a bit daft,” Tracer chuckled before cracking her knuckles, “Alright then, let’s get her flying.”

The next hour was spent in front of the keyboard.  The subsequent hour was spent cursing at another blown fuse and some misplaced wires.  However, by the end of the day, and another round of keyboard commands, Tracer felt satisfied.

The second she left the transport wing, all her previous worries came flooding back.  Did she go check up on her?  Did she give her some space?  Should she go make her some food?

Tracer frowned deeply, glaring at the floor.  Too bad there wasn’t any bread or roses or something else on the limited list of things Widowmaker liked.

But Widowmaker did like cooking, and bringing her food was as good a place as any to start.  Tracer walked towards the galley only to find it occupied when she arrived.

A can of beans sat on the counter next to a clean pot.  The woman that had been the focal point of Tracer’s anxiety had seemingly abandoned the task of cooking, and was instead sitting at the table with her head in her hands, as if massaging away a headache.  Her eyes were closed, and the room was quiet.

The young woman in the doorway shuffled in place, murmuring, “All right?”

Widowmaker shook her head no.

Tracer awkwardly looked around the room before asking, “Want me here or someplace else?”

The woman at the table’s eyes slid open, staring at the surface where she rested her elbows.  Her hands dropped from her face, and she slowly crossed her arms until they were tight against her.  Her gaze moved from the table to the floor.

“That is your choice.”

Tracer took a small step into the room and firmly asked, “But what do you want?”

There was neither movement nor a response.  The agent felt the heavy burden of time seemingly freezing; the room was too still.  Sensing she wasn’t wanted, she sighed and turned to go.

“Please stay.”

She glanced back over her shoulder, her eyebrows hitching in surprise at the plea. Widowmaker’s eyes had finally found hers.  With a nod, she walked back into the room and grabbed the chair at the head of the table.

“Budge over.”

Widowmaker acquiesced without complaint, inching her chair to make room for Tracer on her side of the table.

As she sat down, the other shivered, her crossed arms tensing.

“Cold?”

The response was a single nod.  Tracer held out her hand, almost touching Widowmaker’s own resting on her arm.

“May I?”

She received a questioning glance but Widowmaker’s arms loosened from across her chest, surrendering her hand.  Tracer lightly wrapped the lavender fingers between both of her hands and began to gently rub.  Warmth soon began to spread with the friction.

“Tracer.  Lena—”

“Sometimes we just feel sad,” Tracer interrupted, continuing to stare at their hands and focus on her task, “Don’t have to be a reason.  Don’t even need to talk about it, if you don’t want.”

She did not hear a response.  Her fingers massaged Widowmaker’s remarkably soft palm, inching towards her wrist and the web-like designs of her tattoos ascending her forearm.  What she found there caused her fingers to still.

“Didya feel that?” Tracer breathed, “Your heartbeat.”

The response was just as hushed.  “Still slow.”

“Strong though.”

With a small squeeze and a smaller smile, she released her grip, and shoved her hands in her jacket pockets.  She stared at the table while she nibbled on her bottom lip.

“I finished the ship.  Still need to do a flight test.  But I think she’ll make it.”

“You are very skilled,” Widowmaker replied, a hint of warmth returning to her voice.

Tracer offered a light chuckle before replying, “Just doing my job, miss.”

“Where did the cocky girl from before go, hm?”

“She's not so confident right now,” the pilot explained, glancing about the room, “Wants to help. Doesn't know how.”

The room once again fell silent and Tracer wondered if it was a mistake mentioning it.

“Lena,” Widowmaker murmured as she looked down at the table.

“Yeah?”

Her voice was barely a whisper when she asked, “Do you still have it?”

When Tracer did not immediately respond, she looked up and met the gaze quietly searching her features.  An unvoiced question hung in the air.

Tracer glanced away and gave a slight nod.  The hand from her pocket emerged holding the small case.  No emotion registered on Widowmaker’s face upon its unveiling, and Tracer simply reached out to deposit the object on the table between the two of them.

Widowmaker kept her face terribly still and unreadable. But amber eyes now poured over the new presence before them.  Tracer saw them twitch with fire.  With need.

“Twenty days,” she intoned, as if she remembered each minute vividly.

Tracer watched in silence as she slowly reached forward to open the case.  The sleek shape of the needle glistened under the direct light above the table.  She swallowed a lump building in her throat; after seeing the pain Widowmaker was in the previous night, even she saw the temptation of relief glittering before them.

Widowmaker’s voice was airy and almost dreamlike when she asked, “What would you do if I used it?”

Tracer looked between her and the syringe.  “Nothing.”

Inconcevable. You are an agent of Overwatch,” the other drawled coldly, eyes remaining locked the syringe, “You would not allow me to return to what I was.”

“I said you always had a choice, didn’t I?  Even fading back to all that. But I’d be awfully sad if you did,” Tracer murmured.

Widowmaker hesitated before practically whispering, “Why?”

“I’d miss you,” she replied with a sad smile, as if it was the most obvious thing in the universe.

“I would still be here on the station,” was the practical response.

“Is it really you? Or their version of you?”

Widowmaker sighed as if deflated, “I do not even know who I am.”

“You’ve only had twenty days to get to know her so far. But I like her,” Tracer said somewhat sheepishly, trying to offer another smile.

“Amélie?” Widowmaker questioned hesitantly.

“Not Amélie. Not Widowmaker. Just you, love,” she replied, her voice confident but warm.

Widowmaker’s eyes grew glassy.  When she turned back to face the tube, Tracer withdrew her hand; this alone was her decision.

She gingerly picked up the syringe from the case and slowly pushed back her chair.  Her grip grew tighter as she stood up.

“I am both,” she muttered, her thumb sliding to the top, as if itching to plunge down and push the pump.  The arm at her side tensed.

Tracer held her breath.  Widowmaker looked directly at her.

“I am neither.”

The instrument slid from her hand, hitting the floor with a dull thud.

À la vie, à la mort,” she rasped before lifting her leg and sending it down with all her strength.  The plastic crunched beneath her boot.  She repeated her assault, continuously stomping, until even needle snapped.  Three swift kicks ended with the hard floor glistening with new, clear moisture that had escaped the tube.

And then it was over.  Widowmaker again returned her gaze from the floor to the woman sitting with her mouth hanging open.  Destroying the vial had made her somewhat out of breath.  She blinked as if waking up, seeing her surroundings for the first time, fully realizing her new freedom in what she had done.

She was greeted with an overwhelmingly brilliant smile.  In the stillness of that victorious moment, she found herself able to genuinely return it.

The Brit practically laughed, “You know, I—”

Agent Tracer.”

“Oi?” She called over her shoulder with a frustrated sigh towards the small computer on the kitchen counter. It couldn’t wait, Athena?

You requested an alarm upon completion of the system update.”

It was time.

She whipped her head around with wide eyes towards Widowmaker.

“Athena,” she stated breathlessly, daring to hope, “What's my clearance?”

“Agent Tracer, Security Clearance Level Five.”

Tracer immediately pushed back her chair and punched a triumphant fist into the air with a dramatic jump.

“God save the Queen. It worked,” she exclaimed, her hands flying to her forehead, “You actually did it, Winny! Ha!”

She would have to remember to thank Winston for that tablet later.  But for now, it was time to be a hero.

Looking over at her companion, squaring her shoulders, Tracer asked, “You with me?”

Widowmaker’s hands curled into fists.  Her yellow eyes were fierce and fixed.

Oui,” she confirmed with a firm nod, “I am with you”

Chapter Text

Tracer’s hand extended forward, a small earpiece sitting between her fingertips.

“In case we get separated.”

Widowmaker’s eyebrow twitched upwards as she accepted the device.  “Expecting company?”

The other ran a hand through her hair with a playful smirk as she answered, “I do love surprise parties.”

An eye roll. A responding chuckle.  This routine was easier than thinking too seriously about what they were about to do.

It had been a long night.

The two women had decided to take the evening to prepare before opening the newly unlocked door.  Tracer had ensured her ship could hover off the ground with no dangerous beeping in the cockpit.  A real flight test could have taken days...and now she was itching to know what lay beyond the door.  Heroes didn’t wait. Tracer was very aware that time was continuing on Earth without them. Her mission had to be completed.

It was hard not to bounce as they walked down the hall to the door.  She glanced at her companion and thought she looked too composed, even given her typically calm exterior.  The assassin somehow stood straighter with a gun strapped to her back and her specialty black visor sitting on her head.  The equipment clashed with space station’s jumpsuit she now wore.

“Well,” the Overwatch agent said hesitantly once they reached the door, “whatcha got, Athena?”

“No heat signatures present.”

“Gee, that was so helpful last time,” Tracer muttered, sliding her goggles down onto her face, “Lock the door behind us.  Only open up for me or my friend here.”

“Confirmed.”

Her right hand withdrew her gun from its holster while she silently prayed she wouldn’t need it or the second still against her hip.

“Ready?”

Widowmaker removed the large weapon strapped to her back and practically purred, “Always.”

With a shared nod, Tracer clicked the button on the panel beside the entrance.  She held her breath.

The blast door slid open to reveal a hallway that matched the one where they currently stood.  Minimal emergency lights were operational, floors and walls appeared clean and white even in the dim setting.  Tracer raised her pistol and took a step forward.  At the movement, the main lights turned on.

Everything looked fine.

She cautiously stepped down the hallway, lifting her weapon to aim at the emptiness.  Widowmaker’s soft steps echoed behind her, and together they slowly moved down the hall.  They continued towards an intersection in the distance, the eerie quiet only broken by their own muffled movements.

Tracer took a deep breath, the air immediately catching in her throat.  Something was wrong.

“Smell that?”

Widowmaker intoned behind her, “Rotting flesh.”

“Not good,” she muttered, her grip on the gun growing firmer.  Something was very, very wrong.

Tracer turned the corner, grimacing at the sight lining the hallway.  This was the moment she had feared since they landed on the station.  The secret she knew was lurking in the shadows waiting to swallow them.

She could barely summon the breath to mutter, “Omnics.”

The heaps of metal lined the hallway.  Human bodies also lay among the wreckage.  The silence changed in a split second from new and unknown to stinging and terrible.

Widowmaker forced herself to look at the bodies, at the horrific stillness of their limbs and decaying forms.  Nothing stirred.  The sniper wondered when under the cloud of Talon’s manipulation had she had completely lost the ability to fear the sight of death.

The agent next her tried to appear as unfazed as she firmly stated, “This can’t be all the crew.”

The emptiness in Tracer’s voice is what made Widowmaker’s chest tighten.

They moved towards the nearest doors, and previous study of the map indicated this would be the Medical wing.  When the doors slid open, however, there was very little of anything left to indicate what the room was.

All that greeted them was the twisted mix of metal and flesh, all stained black from burning.  The two women were no strangers to the horrors of war and death, but Tracer still let out a shaky breath as she stepped forward to inspect the charred and burned remains.

Dark lines patterned the ground.  The smell was purely death.

Widowmaker kneeled on the floor, inspecting the direction of the scorch marks on the floor.

“There was a bomb.”

Eyes followed the direction of the blast back to the source.  The nervous energy seemed to leave Tracer’s body as she realized it came from the inside corner.

“They locked themselves in with the lot of them,” she murmured with disbelief, glancing around at the smoky trails, “Medical wing’s walls would’ve been enforced without computer generated shields.  Enough to contain a blast and not nuke the whole ship.”

What could have left the agents with no choice but to sacrifice themselves along with the omnics?

“Not good.”  Her grip tightened on her pistol.  “Really not good.”

Unable to look any further, she turned and exited the wing.  They had to keep moving.

The dead stillness was heavy as the duo slowly stepped to the blast doors across the hall.

The next room was lined with computers, and there were no signs of them ever having been disturbed. Screens presented their data in glowing light for viewers that no longer sat in their seats in the empty Research Wing.

Tracer sat at the first computer in the row while asking, “Athena, what happened?”

“My apologies, I am unable advise.”

Growing frustrated, the agent grunted, “I have the ruddy access, tell me.”

“My archives are incomplete, I lack the data you are requesting.”

Widowmaker murmured, “Deleted files.”

“Security footage is available during the time in which I am missing records.  Initiating playback.”

The hallway suddenly swam into focus.  One or two people walked about in the same looking suit Widowmaker now wore.  A flash. Darkness. When light returned, omnics were firing at those both on and off screen.  Fallen bodies collected in the hall.

“Shite.”

They stared in silence as mobs of the robots managed to trap groups of men and woman in rooms, then slaughtering them like animals.

However, any video feed of the Research Wing was missing.

Turning away from the gore on the screen, Tracer asked with a shaky breath, “Got bits from in here?”

Athena did not respond. There was a brief hiss of static and a flash of pixels as the new images came to life before them.

The video displayed the very room in which they now sat, perfectly empty and still.  The door slid open, and a man stepped into the hazy view of the camera. Widowmaker felt her first dose of fear begin to pound through her veins.  The figure was one she respected but now her new emotions showed her the shadowy side of how that respect was earned.

She breathed, “Reaper.”

“What?”

Her voice was firm as her eyes focused on Tracer.  “That is Reaper.”

The Overwatch agent turned back to the monitor, face twisted with confusion as she further studied the figure, “But that’s Lieutenant Reyes.”

“His face has...changed under the mask,” the other explained, trying to keep her voice steady, “But that is him.”

The Brit winced, staring intently at the man that was supposed to be a hero.

“He attempted to hack your mainframe at Gibraltar.”

Hero or not, she heard the desperation Widowmaker’s voice failed to conceal.  Her eyes narrowed as the Blackwatch leader typed away at the very computer where they now sat. Another video feed repeated the earlier play through with agents walking down the hall or performing their duties in certain wings.

The cameras then followed a large shadow that slithered from the Transport Wing. Tracer gasped as it moved into the light of the hallway.  Two red eyes glinted maliciously, but even more exotic and surprising was a purple jewel that rested just above, centered neatly on the robot’s forehead.  But it was so much more than a simple omnic.  The large form that was barely contained in the hallway as it moved forward appeared like a giant cobra.  Every door the massive snake encountered was seemingly opened by Reyes from his computer. A clear path was opened to Armory. Bright flashes and subsequent blackouts hindered the camera from capturing a clear shot, but the feed was soon swimming with omnics. The following horrific images they had already witnessed began once more.

Tracer turned away and tried to focus on the here and now.

The basilisk-like robot looked mythological, like the figure of Anubis Tracer remembered from various debriefings.  The realization made her heart plummet.

“He let a God Program just waltz in.  Where did he even get one?”

“Your organization was responsible for the extermination or capture of numerous God Programs.  A bountiful source.”

The leader of Blackwatch would have had all the clearance he needed to override the computer system.

The numbers of timestamp on the video feed made Tracer’s stomach twist.

“That was a week before Switzerland.”

Widowmaker tilted her head questioningly.

“Reyes died in an accident,” the other explained before shaking her head, “But blimey, if he was working for Talon the whole time. Was it a set up?”

She knew the whole thing was really friggin’ bad.

Her attention returned to the computer once more, and she dragged her finger to make a selection on the touchscreen. “Get me all the video feed you got for these five minutes.”

The word “ERROR” momentarily flashed on the monitor, but it quickly disappeared to reveal new video.  There was an emergency signal that summoned the entire crew to the side of the ship where the omnics had begun their assault.  The video showed newly emptied rooms and the pristine kitchen as they had found it.  It showed the main blast doors closing and sealing them to their fate.  The power of the God Program was immense.  When more images of the slaughter appeared, Tracer quickly clicked through them.  Then the Transport wing video feed popped up.

Ship after ship rose from their individual docks, drifting towards the opened hangar door out into the void of space. All except one disappeared from the range of the screen.

“Those transports do not have pilots,” Widowmaker stated darkly.

“He launched them from the computer.  So no one could escape.  Left one bloody ride for himself.”

Why?  None of it made sense.  

Tracer slammed her fist on the control panel.  “How did Overwatch HO not know about all of this?  Those people—”

“Lena.” The interruption was soft.

“Now’s not the time to ask why,” she murmured, offering a firm, apologetic nod, “We do the job and get back home.”

She swiftly stood up from the chair and started marching towards the door.  Walking away from the screen did little to alleviate the replaying of images swimming in her head.

Widowmaker dutifully followed, but she still tightly held her weapon.

“Where do you suspect the beast is now?”

“Probably blown to bits with the rest of ‘em in Medical.”

She glanced down at the shorter woman as they walked.  “A God Program’s strength is difficult to surpass.”

“Said it yourself, no one bests ‘em like Overwatch.”  Tracer’s eyes remained locked on their destination.

The blast doors of the Engineering wing quickly opened.  The room was vast, and Tracer knew from the map it was one of the largest sections of the station. Massive computers lined the walls, and the floor shifted into catwalks that laced between large generators and the critical systems that kept the station functioning.  A main terminal sat just a few feet before the entrance, the master control for the entire chamber.  Tracer turned her eyes away from a pair of dead bodies that also resided near the entrance of the room; she even pitied the omnics that had lost their autonomy under the mind control of a God Program.

But these were thoughts for later.

“Athena, why we offline for Comm systems here?  Looks fine.”

“Hard shutdown was initiated.  Restarting requires manual input by top ranking agent.”

Tracer frowned. Yet another hiccup. Getting the top ranking crewmember would be a problem if all the crew gone.

Widowmaker glanced towards her expectantly.

“Oh. ‘Suppose that would be me now, wouldn't it?”

“Please proceed to initiate start up.”

A screen began glowing beside the computer station, and as they stepped closer, Tracer realized it was a palm scanner.  Suddenly, she felt relief.  A quick palm scan, a flick of a switch on the control panel, and then they were one click away from finally being done and avenging these people.

Her fingers eagerly reached out to touch the surface.

“Wait.”

She obeyed the stern command, but couldn’t stop herself from turning to lift a questioning eyebrow at the woman that had issued it.

Widowmaker’s hand rested on her hip.  “This is what connects all of your facilities together, yes?”

“Sort of, yeah.  Back in the good ol’ days, this station was just a back up really.  Satellite visuals, what not,” the young woman explained, beginning to pace, “Now that all our bases have been asleep for so long, this is the only way to remotely connect them all back together.  Get them online and talking without going to each and every base.”

“Reaper did not shut down this system. It was performed manually. Your agents did this.”

Tracer crossed her arms and frowned in thought.

“Virus AI is set free.  Omnics decommissioned and safely tucked in Armory storage go crazy.  This side of the station is locked.  Communication grid is completely shut down...before a God Program syncs up with the entire Overwatch network,” she looked back towards the bodies, “These people are heroes.”

“Please proceed to initiate start up.”

“Why so hasty, mate?” Tracer called over her shoulder before freezing in place.  Her eyes slowly slid up to meet Widowmaker’s.

Her gloved hand inched towards her gun.

“Athena,” the agent called sweetly, “You’re not yourself today.”

“System failure.” Static drowned out the weakened voice.

“Please proceed to initiate start up.”

Darkness fell upon the room as the power seemed to vanish from the technology that surrounded them. Even the light from the hallway had disappeared.  The steady hum of electricity was gone, and a deep silence clung to the still air.

Tracer aimed her gun forward at the shadows, instinctively taking a step closer to Widowmaker. Their backs touched as they stared and surveyed different directions.

“Oi, love?” Tracer whispered, gaze not moving from the depths of the large wing, “You might’ve been right.”

“Not shocking,” was the muttered reply, “On what count?”

“It's still here.”

Bright, blinding light flashed on the monitors as the facility suddenly surged with power. Tracer winced, her goggles doing little to help the shocking intensity. Shrill static buzzed through the air.

A robotic voice proclaimed through the crackling, “BASILISK ENGAGED.”

The massive snake from the videos emerged from the behind the towering generators, summoning a wave of omnics that climbed from the depths and leapt onto the catwalks, shooting from their weaponized ligaments at the two women.

“Run!”

Widowmaker obeyed Tracer’s command, but not without firing back.  They both bolted from the room and charged down the hall.  The young woman’s speed easily surpassed hers; Tracer pivoted by the entrance to the Research wing and fired at their growing number of pursuers as her partner raced towards her.

“In here!”

The doors behind them shut, but they had little time if the master Program was synced with the station.

“Where’d they come from?” The agent squawked, immediately smashing her gun against the control panel. A second set of emergency doors slid into place.

“Waiting in the shadows, perhaps?”

“Or we opened the door keeping ‘em locked up,” Tracer spoke quickly, unloading her gun’s empty clip, “New plan.  Kill the God Program, then we can safely get the Comm systems online to connect all the watchpoints.”

A series of crashes began railing against the doors.

Widowmaker hips swayed as she calmly took a few steps into the room.  “What of the other omnics?”

Tracer adjusted her goggles before grabbing her second pistol.  “Can’t hack a global network like a God Program.  Might be a bumpy ride out of here though.”

The assassin turned back towards the door and the woman beside it.  She raised her rifle and aimed at the door.  The violent banging was denting the metal, on the verge of piercing it.

“Leave the big one to me,” she purred, her mask leaving only her devilish smile visible.

Tracer smirked.  “I’ll play crowd control.  Cover me.”

The omnics burst through the door, and Tracer leapt in the air.

“‘Ello!”

She blinked away as they fired, only to have Widowmaker’s bullets kiss the sides of their heads.  As she reappeared, a hand shot at her face.  But she was faster.

“Ah, ah,” she chided as she swiftly blocked with a pistol, metal hitting metal.  Her second gun blasted a hole through the omnic’s exposed torso.

“Not proper manners, that,” Tracer huffed before firing at another assailant.  She sent a spray of bullets, and multiple heads turned her way.

Perfect.

Her feet carried her away as quickly as they could muster.  The sounds of the running horde soon drowned out the shots from Widowmaker’s rifle.  

It was time to stall.

Tracer kicked off the wall and launched herself down an intersection in the hallway.  Images of the map flashed through her mind just as quickly as her feet moved.  She zigzagged through the corridors in order to avoid the shots fired at her back.

The basilisk roared in the distance.

Plowing through the nearest set of open doors, Tracer skidded to a halt as she again faced the wall of the Medical Wing.  She immediately dove behind an overturned metal table, a mere second before the robots were shooting at her.

“Your lot on Earth knows how to be a touch nicer!” she shouted over the noise before disappearing.

With a quick rewind, she was back at the entrance laughing at the backs of her pursuers.

“Sorry, gotta run!”

The quick press of a button sealed the blast doors, and the sounds of clashing metal had Tracer giggling as she turned to race away.

Another group of omnics were rounding the corner and firing.  She plowed towards them at full speed.  

Widowmaker’s typically smooth voice grunted with frustration in Tracer’s ear over the comm link, “Main target isn’t leaving the computers.”

The Overwatch agent immediately rewound away from the approaching horde and quickly turned around before dashing towards Engineering.

“Mind if I stop by with some mates?”

She surged on and sped through the open doors to the wing, entering the confusion and madness.

Tracer continuously blinked across the grand room, drawing the fire of at least a dozen omnics.  In the chaos, she heard the sharp sound of metal hitting metal that trumped even the loud frenzy of robotics around her.  She could see in the corner of her eye the large basilisk tossing its head, and Widowmaker’s carefully aimed shots were ricocheting off the steel cobra’s sides.  The sniper herself was nowhere to be seen, but the Overwatch agent could sense the direction of her attacks changing; she was moving.

Tracer unloaded her clip at the mob around her.  Then she ran deeper into the chamber.  The gunfire followed her.

Widowmaker’s voice buzzed through, “The snake is impenetrable.”

The Brit leapt atop the catwalk railing and launched herself across a gap housing a towering generator, landing on a neighboring railing.  She kept running, firing shots behind her.  The robots were gaining.

“Got to be a weak spot.  They’re the brains of the operation, not made to be sturdy.”

Tracer hopped up, pushed off a generator, and blasted in the reverse direction. She fired at the group below her before landing and charging forward to return to the entrance.

As she approached the front, the snake was turned slightly towards where she expected her sniper to be hiding.  But she could still see the glowing red eyes and the purple diamond glittering in the center of its head.  Her target was distracted and she fired.

The beast was too quick, immediately sensing the oncoming flank attack, turning its head so the bullets hit the metal body.  Then it turned its eyes upon her.

Red beams shot in every direction.  Every computer, every workstation, every tiny insignificant button in the room lit up brightly. The flashing lights were blinding.  Instinct propelled her back through time, taking cover behind the corner she rounded seconds before.

Her fingers clawed at her goggles to rub her eyes for relief.  Steps were coming, and she could not see.  She was exposed and running out of time.

She heard a shot echo past her, hitting metal.  Falling, crashing.  Her sniper had apparently not been blinded.  Tracer struggled to blink away the swirling black and white in her vision.  Doubts swirled just as violently.

Maybe it had been lurking in Athena’s voice this entire time.  Waiting for the trap to spring. Or had their trusty computer been fighting the virus hidden within herself?

When her vision cleared, there was a pile of omics beside her, thanks to Widowmaker.  Tracer grabbed her guns where she dropped them on the floor in her panic.

How this happened was no longer a concern; there was hell to pay.

She turned and dashed towards the entrance.  Widowmaker grappled across the room as the basilisk whipped its massive tail.  The sniper returned fire as she fell to the floor, but the cobra twisted away to protect itself.  It retaliated with a fearsome snap of its fangs that Widowmaker barely avoided by diving to the side.

Tracer raced forward and fired; her accelerator almost groaned, but she pushed, dashing about with speed.  Red eyes followed her as she blinked back and forth, shooting as erratically as possible to trick the dodging snake.  The mechanical beast turned its head away with every shot.  The evasive action felt almost familiar.  It was protecting something.

Like in those video games D.Va always played.

“The third eye!”

But how to keep it open? The red eyes remained focused, immediately reacting to every offense.

What attack would it not see coming?

“Remember King’s Row?” she asked breathlessly.

There was a slight pause before the familiar voice purred in her earpiece, “Step into my parlor.”

Tracer slid her guns into their holsters. Time slowed as she took a deep breath. The red eyes focused on the woman that stood before them. Her own met them as she bent down, fingers pressing to the ground. Knees bent, hair falling across her face, muscles tensing like a track runner waiting for the start gun. She summoned what speed was left, the humming in her vest straining.

The cobra snarled at her, and she charged forward, leaping off the floor and propelling herself towards the beast’s head.

It did not see her as a threat nor did it have any reason to.  The young woman, without a weapon or any form of defense, was practically offering herself.  Her raised fist would do nothing, and the basilisk greedily opened its jaw so that its fangs might welcome her death.

“Now!”

She willed herself away, and with a blink, she was gone.  Widowmaker’s bullet immediately cut through the air where she had been less than a second before, piercing the glowing orb in the center of the snake’s head.

Tracer landed on the ground between the basilisk and her partner as the massive machine fell against the floor.  It ceased all movement, the light leaving its eyes.  She excitedly turned towards the other woman, flashing her best smile.

“That was epic, you totally—”

Gunfire returned from the doorway, and with it, a bullet went hurdling directly into Tracer’s thigh.  She immediately dropped to the floor with a cry.

Widowmaker surged forward, placing herself in direct fire, unleashing everything she had at the omnics that were bottlenecking at the entrance to the wing.

Suddenly, the blast doors quickly shut, sealing them inside.

“Defense mechanisms are back online and walls energized with shields.  My apologies for the delay, Agent Tracer,” Athena stated, a familiar logo popping across the screens.

The Brit struggled to lean on her elbow, gritting her teeth.

“Brilliant,” she managed to gasp sarcastically.

Widowmaker urgently turned towards Tracer, but the woman on the ground nodded towards the computer.

“Go flip the switch.”

Widowmaker’s mask automatically slid back to reveal her eyes, and Tracer thought perhaps maybe she saw a sense of nervousness there.

“I am not the senior ranking agent.”

“Athena, will voice recognition do?  Bit knackered at the moment.”

“Confirmation accepted.  Please proceed to initiate manual start up.”

With a slight huff and glare at Tracer’s leg, the older woman slung her rifle across her back, briskly walked to the computer, and followed the instructions flashing across the screen.

“Initializing.  Preparing to synchronize.”

All the rigidity and adrenaline seemed to leave Tracer’s body at once. The mission was complete.

Widowmaker immediately ran back over to the agent now trying to sit up, squatting down beside her.  A second later she was trying to rip apart the cloth on the bottom of the other’s pants.

“Trying to take off my trousers?” Tracer quipped before biting down a grunt of pain.

Widowmaker sighed while her hands quickly worked, “Tights are hardly trousers.”

Her hands lifted the injured leg, sliding the new strip of cloth up and around a bleeding thigh.

“Yeah, but, you like?”

A smirk.  “If it will dress your wound properly, then yes.”

Tracer winced as the other woman punctuated her sentence by tightly completing the knot.

“Thanks, love,” she stated softly before looking up at the room, “We need to make a quick exit.  Athena, feeling completely like yourself?”

“All traces of the alien program have been terminated.  Communication grid online and syncing with Overwatch network.”

“Now, how to get out and make sure we leave behind a secure, working communications system?”

The sounds of metal railing against the door aggressively continued.

“Shields at eighty percent.”

Venting on the high curling caught her attention.

“Where those air ducts go?”

“Armory wing.”

“Get me a map with the baddies.”

“On screen. Approximately fifteen hostiles.  Shields at sixty-five percent.”

Widowmaker scoffed, “They are all surrounding the door.  Poor judgment.”

“Let’s give them a gift, eh?” Tracer quipped as she plucked a pulse bomb from her jacket pocket, “If it don’t hurt, it should at least stun the twats long enough for us to sneak out.”

She pressed it to Widowmaker’s hand and gently warned, “Only got one left after that. Now, help a lady to the computer?”

An extended hand gingerly lifted the injured woman to her feet, and together they waddled to the control panel.  Tracer leaned heavily on the table, but with a nod and a smile, was able to convince Widowmaker to take her spot by the doors.

Quickly preparing the system with a few keystrokes, the agent commanded, “Athena, redirect those shields to contain a blast in the corridor.”

“Completed.”

“We need to be quick about it,” Tracer declared, looking up from the computer to the woman now standing poised with the bomb in her hand, “All set?”

They exchanged a quick nod.

“Three, two, one!”

Widowmaker was tossing the pulse bomb just as the door opened, and it immediately stuck to one of the omnics.  The doors quickly shut at Tracer’s touch of a single button but not without trapping the limb of one of the robots, stopping them from properly closing.

The sniper sighed before she sharply kicked the twitching arm desperately clawing to get inside.  The blow successfully incited the appendage to be removed, the doors properly shut, and seconds later they felt the explosion ripple through the wing.

“Shield integrity maintained.  Minor damage to secondary corridor, but no breaches to station hull detected.”

Widowmaker decided she was quite finished with this station as she walked back towards the woman at the computer.

“Our hosts lack charm.  I suggest we depart this fête before they return.

Tracer looked directly up at the air ducts that were to serve as their escape plan.  “Not sure how to get up there, really.”

“Let us use my toy this time,” her companion drawled, gesturing to the bracer that housed her grappling hook.

With a quick, expert aim, the grappling hook went soaring, snagging the grate that sealed the air ducts.  A tug brought it down, clattering next to them.  Its owner effortlessly secured the tool once more.

Tracer giggled, “Wicked toy.”

With a roll of the eyes and a small smirk, Widowmaker’s arm wrapped around Tracer’s waist.  The other wrapped her arms around the tall woman’s neck.

If she wasn’t bleeding and in the middle of possibly deadly situation, she’d find the embrace awfully intimate...and rather enjoyable.

She quipped her eyebrow at the gold eyes staring at her.

“Whatcha lookin’ at?”

Widowmaker snorted, raising her arm towards the ceiling.

“An annoyance.”

The hook was launched once more and embedded itself in the rafters.  Then they were propelled upwards, and Widowmaker twisted them into the air ducts.

Crawling was torture.  Tracer did everything she could not to focus on the exploding pain in her thigh.  They had to keep moving.  

She was relieved to find crates stacked beneath their exit in the Armory, not looking forward to plummeting to the ground with an injured leg.

This wing was not terribly large and was rather messy; either the desperate Overwatch agents or the rising omnics had hastily selected weapons and upturned shelving in their rush.  Tracer limped along, refusing help, trying to resist reaching out to hold into the nearby stocks.

Widowmaker plucked a small, spherical device from a shelf as they passed by and attached it to her belt.  Smoke bombs might prove useful in their escape.

She stopped when something even better caught her eye.  The item was then presented to Tracer as she caught up to her.

“Portable shield.”

The other woman cried, “Blimey, my arm isn’t crippled.  Can still shoot.”

A skeptic eyebrow inched upwards.  “You are not so fast now.”

Tracer chewed the inside of her cheek before taking the small disk with a sigh.

“Fine, if you’re making me.”

Continuing to walk towards the entrance, Widowmaker slid the strap of her gun off her shoulder and secured the weapon as she replied, “You are lucky Overwatch felt the need for energized walls to produce internal shields or you would suffer more than a limp.”

“Well, outer bloody space tends to—”

Tracer’s leg finally gave way as she stepped forward, and she barely managed to catch herself against one of the nearby cabinets as she tripped. There was a silence as they awkwardly stared at each other.

With a slight nod, as if to herself more than to the other woman, Widowmaker walked over and offered her arm.

“Right softie, you are,” Tracer teased.

“Problematic if the pilot dies.”

With a chuckle, the young woman laced their arms together. In her available hand, she activated the portable shield, a band of energy generating a larger circle while she held the metal center.

She tried not to swoon as her partner easily handled the heavy rifle in one hand.

There was a pause as they reached the door.

“Keep the shield at our backs,” Widowmaker murmured, tightening her grip on Tracer’s arm.

“Aye, Miss.”

The opened the doors, and they were off.  Tracer ran as fast as she could.  She told herself with every step that soon she would be sitting down on a nice chair in the ship and not feeling the shooting pain in her leg.  

They tried desperately to avoid where the omnics were last seen as they navigated the hallways.  Before Tracer could tell Widowmaker to turn, they were already doing so. She was obviously not the only one who had studied the map.

The one or two robots they encountered were easily handled by the ex-assassin, despite the extra weight of the injured brunette attached to her arm.

Finally making it to the exit of the ship’s North sector, they all but threw themselves through the blast door.

“Athena, put that whole side of the station on lockdown again and divert all non-essential power to keeping those shields up on the Engineering wing.”

“Confirmed.  I am unable to identify any remaining hostiles.”

Widowmaker intoned doubtfully, “They are likely cloaking and hiding now that their master is gone.”

“Right,” the other quipped, looking up the woman still practically carrying her, “But they should decommission soon without any orders from the God Program.  Or tear each other apart.  Bomb probably knackered out most of them.”

“So optimistic,” was the scoffed response, “They could be following us from the air duct system as well.”

“No way.”

Athena urgently stated over the intercom, “Agent Tracer, incoming—”

Widowmaker raised her gun and fired the second the omnic rounded the corner.  She slyly glanced down at the woman still leaning on her other arm.

A huff.  “OK, fine, you were right.  Again.  Happy?”

“Oui.”

When they entered the Transport wing and saw the ship, Tracer tossed the shield on the floor with a wild cheer, completely ignoring the glare from her companion.  However, Widowmaker seemed just as eager to climb inside.

Tracer sighed almost blissfully when she eased in the cockpit’s chair; this was the easy part. When the station’s massive gate doors slowly opened to reveal the starry sky, she couldn’t help but smile.

They were going to be just fine, and Tracer relaxed into the familiar motions of liftoff. Her ship, despite being a glorified “Do-It-Yourself” project, flew well, and her attentions to the engine were paying off. They made excellent time across the relatively brief distance of space, a smile alighting even Widowmaker’s typically stern face at the sight of little blue Earth popping up in the distance.

This was of course the perfect time for alerts to start sounding on the control panel.

Tracer immediately brushed off the frown sent her way.

“Probably another rubbish fuse.  When we make it back to Earth, I’m setting this bloody ship on fire,” the pilot grumbled, grunting slightly as she stood up, “S’on auto-pilot. Try and smile.  It’ll help.”

Widowmaker ignored the grin flashed in her direction and called to the woman walking away, “Your leg—”

“What leg?” was the casual response she called over her shoulder as she walked away.

She wouldn't allow herself to cringe in pain as she limped away until she had safely rounded the corner from Widowmaker’s line of sight.

A few more steps, and she was able to lean her shoulder against the wall. She sighed in relief to take the weight off her leg, quickly reaching to open the grey panel against the wall. Her fingers eagerly reached in to find the bad fuse, the failed wire, whatever it was that was holding them back when they were so close.

“Tell Mummy what you need, love.”

She frowned when she found a wire had simply been disconnected.

Suddenly, a metal leg kicked her shin, flipping her backwards.  Her back hit the wall behind her, and she fell to the floor.

Another stowaway. This one looked less willing to reason as the Talon assassin on the previous flight. The gun firmly mounted on the omnic’s arm was staring her directly in the face.

“Prepare for termination.”

“Terminate this.”

A gunshot immediately followed the French accent, and the robot dropped to the ground with a thud.

The two women stared at each other in the dramatic pause that followed until Tracer merely shrugged.

“Knew it was there the whole time.”

Widowmaker sighed as she walked over and offered her hand.  “Always making jokes.”

“Makes it hurt less.”

“Oh really?” the other almost purred, jerking the fallen girl up to a standing position.

“Fucking hell!” Tracer grunted at the new explosion of pain in her injured leg.

Having made her point, Widowmaker speedily wrapped her arm around the Brit’s waist to help her walk.

“You are lucky.”

“Sure am.  In the arms of a beautiful woman looking at the stars.”

She had to bite her tongue at the agony her injuries now caused as she sat back down and buckled herself in once more.

But the routing on the screen immediately caught her attention.

“Bollocks,” Tracer grunted, rapidly inputting commands on a different console, “Auto-pilot is taking us to a place I didn’t tell it to,” she repeated mashed the same button to no avail, “And now I’m locked out.”

“Likely the work of our friend back there.  What is our destination?”

“Americas.  South.  Looks like it’s honing in on Mexico.”

Widowmaker intoned darkly, “Talon.”

“What?” Tracer quipped before groaning, “Changed my mind.  No more surprise parties.”

Amber eyes tried to understand the alerts flashing across the screens. “Will it land?”

“Don't look like it, my brakes are gone. Not planning on waiting to crash to find out though,” the pilot then looked over to her companion and not-so-innocently asked, “Trust me?”

“Not to kill us? Barely.”

With a devilish grin, Tracer bent forward to reach under the control panel.

“Might wanna buckle up.”

Then, Tracer disconnected the main power.

They were spinning.  Falling.  Widowmaker’s body lurched against the seat’s constraints.

She had never felt so alive, never understood the potency a feeling could have in the face of death.  And hearing Tracer’s laughter in the face of that doom...It trumped the victory of a kill, of a clean shot.

She would follow this woman through hell and back.

Power was restored and a few quick inputs had the ship somewhat stabilizing.

Earth swam into focus before them as the plummeted towards her. The permanent night of space melted into clouds.  In a mere second, they burst forth into the sunshine.

“Good news!  Auto-pilot’s gone.”

“Brakes?”

“Too late.”

The world around them had quickly turned to a mix of blue sky and green forest.

Widowmaker gripped the arms of her seat.  “Lena.”

Tracer was calm as she stopped inputting commands and firmly grabbed the yoke, “Heroes never die, love.”

In the distance, the jungle cleared to form an opening.  The tiny dots signaled some type of encampment, but the field beside it could be enough.

She urged the ship to even out; they would be coming in fast, but at least they could skid to a halt safely.  Hopefully.  Running to something on the ground could mean squishing them both in-between their own seats and the ship itself.

Her expert hands made them as level as possible, and she watched as the distance counted down on her screens.

Seconds to her were pointless.  She always managed to find more time.  After all, she was an expert time jumper!  And yet, as she looked over at Widowmaker, she realized they might finally be out of it. Out of time.

But maybe it only had to be one of them.

At the latest possible moment, she tilted; if one side was going to collapse, she could guarantee it would be hers.  

The world was suddenly bright and loud and moving way too fast for even her.  The crash itself was felt in every fiber of her body, and the ship seemed to groan as it briefly went airborne once more.  It quickly came crashing back down again, and the process repeated itself, each time with the sounds of more crying metal and splintering pieces.  The spinning was unbearable.

Suddenly, everything hurt, and then, just as suddenly, everything was still.

Taking a breath hurt.

“Shite.”  And she thought her landing on the station had been a little rough.

Her vision was swimming a bit.  But at least they were alive.  She slowly tried to make sense of the world around her.

Widowmaker worked much more quickly, speedily unbuckling herself and trying to remove Tracer’s belt.  The Overwatch agent tried to help, but oddly found she could not move.  Were those cuts on her hands?  When had the dashboard shattered?

The buzzing in her ears drowned out whatever Widowmaker was trying to say to her.  In fact, she couldn’t really focus on much else besides how pretty her lavender skin was.

On the other hand, Widowmaker was perfectly aware of the growing heat and blaring alarms coming from the wrecked cockpit.  The ship tilted had heavily to the left, and Tracer’s side of the ship had taken the most grinding as the bounced and skidded to a halt.  Her body had almost been pinned by the collapsed control panel, but her harness had acted as body armor, taking the greatest brunt of the crash.  

Once she managed to wrangle her free, she threw Tracer’s arm around her shoulders, grabbed her middle, and all but dragged her out of the ship.  Tracer’s limp was significantly worse.

They barely managed to escape before flames began engulfing the entirety of the hull.  As the duo quickly hobbled away from the ship, Tracer started giggling.  Widowmaker started at her incredulously.

The agent looked up with a smirk, “Told ya I’d set it on fire.”

The taller woman supporting her rolled her eyes as she returned her focus before them, “You need medical attention.  In more ways than one.”

Widowmaker had known the second Tracer informed her their destination was Mexico they would end up suspiciously close the jungle camp Talon had tucked away.  Mostly tents with only one or two minor buildings, the mainly outdoor facility served as a small foothold that would not attract much satellite attention.  Therefore, the crash so close to the camp itself had dramatically summoned the agents within.  Figures in black were quickly approaching them.

Reaper had ensured any survivors would be dealt with on Earth.

Tracer, either still in a daze or blind in her own bravery, struggled to grab her pistol while screaming, “Come at me, you bastards!”

Her companion struggled to keep her upright as she began to move, and even if their pursuers were still on the other side of the camp, she heard the gunfire now targeting them.

A shot skimmed the side of Widowmaker’s visor, jerking her head back.  Her heart began to race as the red, computerized markings disappeared from her vision, and she decided the new, anxious ache it caused in her chest was extremely irritating.

Playtime was over.

Whipping back around, Widowmaker knelt down and grabbed Tracer’s legs, scooping the woman up and running in the opposite direction.  She ducked behind a stack of crates near one of the tents.

Lowering Tracer to the ground, she firmly commanded, “Behave.”

She withdrew the gun slung across her back, and quickly returned to the fray.  Tracer struggled to adjust her unresponsive body in order to peek at the running woman.

Widowmaker kept low behind the tents of the outdoor camp as she moved closer to the oncoming assailants.  A group of men in black were charging towards her location. Some with machetes, some with guns.

Her hand removed the fried visor from her forehead, tossing it to the ground.

Now she was angry.

Stepping into their line of sight, she immediately took out two advancing agents with her rifle, the figures collapsing to the ground.  A third was quickly punctured by her grappling hook, and his body was soon propelling towards her.  She continued to spray bullets at the wave of enemies while holding the now dead man by his collar, using her victim as a shield from incoming gunfire.  Her mind counted down as she unloaded her clip.

Another aggressively charged her as the group closed in, raising the butt of his gun to knock aside her protection.  She shoved the grown man towards him, and both bodies collapsed in a heap; she barely had to time to raise her weapon to block a blade swinging towards her head from the opposite direction.

A smile curved onto her face.

A kick in between the legs sent him crumbling, and she violently threw her gun at another oncoming assailant, the heavy weapon taking him by surprise.  With a jerk, her knee met the face of the man knelt over before her with a satisfying crunch, and she easily took the machete from him.  The agent that had recovered from the gun flying towards his head soon had the blade between his ribs; she effortlessly claimed his weapon as well.  With a spin, she was parrying another blow and drawing blood.  A shift, sweeping kick brought the attacker to their back, and she embedded the machetes in their chest.

Tracer’s vision was fading in and out, but seeing Widowmaker’s killing blow made her mouth fall open as she breathed, “Holy fuck.”

The assassin calmly wiped the blood splatter off of her cheeks, her eyes swept across the small outpost for any further signs of life.  They found none.  She instinctively grabbed the automatic assault rifles off of one of the dead bodies surrounding her and jogged over to Tracer’s now limp form lying across the ground.  She felt panic begin to pound through her veins.  The fighting and killing she could handle but losing Lena was something she could not begin to fathom.  Her fingers eagerly pushed against the girl’s throat.  

She let out a sigh of relief; there was a pulse and Tracer was still breathing, likely having passed out from the loss of blood.  They needed to find transportation and fast.

It was then she felt a cold chill ripple through the air, like an approaching thunderstorm shattering the heat.  But she knew what had arrived was much worse.

She turned around and raised her gun at the new target.

“I had a feeling after you disappeared during your last mission that you would somehow end up here,” he playfully chided, “Step aside, and maybe you’ll get off with just a slap on the wrist.”

Widowmaker did not flinch as she snarled, “You will not touch her.”

“I merely wish to kill her,” purred Reaper in his deep, raspy voice, his hand almost lazily holding his gun at his side.

“Then I will end whatever pathetic scraps of life you now cling to.”

“My, my, Widow, how naughty.  Talon does not appreciate disobedience.”

She laughed, “Then they will be very disappointed after this.”

Widowmaker dove forward, her shoulder hitting the ground, and she tucked into a roll.  She came up shooting.

Reaper’s form dissolved, but she maintained her assault, trying desperately to predict where he would materialize.  She followed the black mist closely with a storm of bullets.

It suddenly lurched towards her.  A punch to her stomach robbed her lungs of air and her hand of its gun. She heard it hit the ground behind her.

But her enemy was now a solid target just before her.

A swift kick knocked the gun from his hand, and with a turn, she used the growing momentum to send a fist hurdling towards his torso. She cringed as her hand hit metal, unable to stop the yelp that burst from her lips.

Reaper laughed as she leapt back into a defensive stance; he was clearly unharmed by the assault.

“Always good at a distance but can’t handle a real fight?”

“You call this a real fight?”

She flipped backwards, hands flying towards the ground as her world turned upside down, and her fingers enclosed the gun she had dropped.  Reaper was drawing a new gun from his belt as she landed.

She surged towards the closest cover she could find, unloading the remainder of the clip in the mercenary’s gun she had borrowed.

Time was running out.

The sinking feeling in her stomach was new. Working beside the man had allowed her to learn his tricks, but it had failed to teach her a way to best him.

They needed to run.

Her fingers closed on the grenade at her belt, a souvenir from the station.  She quickly tossed it in the direction her attacker.

As the smoke poured forth, she dashed towards the crates where she had left the other woman.  Tracer was still passed out and limp; Widowmaker charged as quickly as she could.

But it wasn’t enough.

The gunfire directly behind her instinctively made her dive forward.  She reached for Tracer, groping at her vest, clinging to her jacket, desperate to shield her, save her.  But then Reaper was upon her and kicked her side, forcing her to roll to her back.  His foot pressed to her throat.

She growled, fingers clawing at the boot, her whole body shaking with pure rage and struggling against him.

“Anger feels good, doesn't it?” he laughed maliciously, pressing even more painfully against her neck, “Too bad you haven't learned to control it yet.”

Her grip grew firm on his boot, and she stopped struggling.

Widowmaker choked out with a sneer, “You have yet to see me truly lose control.”

The last and final pulse bomb stuck to his calf.

The second of shock allowed Widowmaker to push Reaper’s leg off of her, causing him to lose his balance.  She immediately scooped Tracer into her arms and began barreling in the other direction.

Then they were flying.

The explosion rippled through the camp, and Widowmaker clung to the woman in her arms, desperately turning as they came crashing back down against the ground.  It felt as if her shoulder shattered.

They were still, but the world was still spinning.  She opened her eyes and hazily saw Tracer’s face.

Gunfire sounded behind them as she sat up; she barely heard it over the buzzing in her ears.  Everything was blurry and pain wrecked her body.  It would be so easy to simply fall back and rest.

But the gunfire told her to move.

She fumbled for the remaining pistol from Tracer’s belt with her functioning arm, the other hanging limply at her side.  Her legs refused to listen to her demand to stand, but she braced her knees against the ground as she lifted the gun towards a figure emerging from the smoke of the blast.

She would kill anyone who stepped in her way to save Lena.

What she did not expect was to see an angel step away from the destruction and ruin.

Upon seeing a weapon aimed towards her, the woman in white stopped and raised her hands.  The staff she carried remained safely pointed towards the sky.

Their gazes remained fiercely locked.  Widowmaker did not know if it was her new ability to sweat or the often-unseen ability to bleed that caused the moisture she felt on the side of her face.  Was she bleeding?  She felt so dizzy.  More gunfire sounded around them beyond the smoke. Her extended arm began to shake.  Her eyes flicked to the still body under her twitching limb.

Lena.

Her eyes returned to the angel, and she weakly asked, “Can you help her?”

“Yes.”

She lowered the gun, resting her arm on Tracer’s chest.

“Her vest needs repair.”

The other woman’s posture seemed to melt with relief at the surrender as she stepped towards them, bending down to inspect the young woman’s injuries.

“Winston can assist her.”

At the voice, Tracer whimpered.

“Hiya, Angie.”

“Shhh, cherie,” Widowmaker whispered, smoothing away brunette locks from a freckled face.

Widowmaker promised herself she wouldn’t cry.  Not yet.

 

Chapter Text

It was still and silent. Luckily, as far as jail cells went, Overwatch’s need to always pursue righteousness, justice, and various other good-doer ideals had resulted in rather hospitable containment units. While the technology was older and the dust indicated years of inactivity, it was light years beyond the cheery comfort of Talon’s dark and barbaric facilities. The doctor here had stopped by to check her arm rather than give her a dose of memory altering drugs.

She hadn't seen Lena since they whisked her away off the transport.

From where she sat, Widowmaker inspected the seemingly open space before her. Three walls and one perfect doorway. What a tease. If she went barreling through it, the invisible force field would knock her back with a few volts. If that wasn’t overkill enough, her new captors had placed a guard outside her little room.

Every muscle in her body twitched to escape. The guard watching her was inconsequential. If she could somehow get out and kill her, escape, and ensure Lena was safe...

No. She would not kill her guard. Did she so easily revert back to the thoughts of an assassin, of a caged animal without the Brit around? Hints of guilt whispered against the walls of her ribcage. Lena would be disappointed with such thoughts. These were her people. She would want them to live.

A loud pop of bubble gum broke the silence.

Widowmaker slowly inhaled. She would try very hard not to kill her guard.

But, Dieu, was Lena safe and alive? Where was she?

“You eat flies?”

The woman in the cell glanced in the direction of the voice.

The guard sitting on a stool had leaned to peak through the doorway. Widowmaker lifted her chin as she inspected her; she was practically a child. And she was guarding one of the world’s greatest killers.

It was almost insulting.

The teenager repeated herself as if the other hadn’t heard her, “Do you eat flies? Like a real spider?”

Widowmaker inspected the handheld device in her hand that now hung casually in front of the doorway. A weapon? A control? She caught a glimpse of the screen flashing ‘PAUSED.’ The video game made her smirk.

“No,” she purred, “Just little girls.”

The other scoffed with a laugh, “Better than a locked up old hag,” and again disappeared out of view.

Hm. Perhaps she was a more worthy opponent than she anticipated.

The thought made her involuntarily shudder.

Not an opponent. Not an enemy. Not a target.

Lena.

“Is she alright?”

It escaped softly from her lips before she stop it.

“I’m just a little girl, how would I know?” was the grumbled response.

The jailcell occupant slouched further against the wall and closed her eyes. Did heartbeats always sting against one’s ribcage? Perhaps hers was still out of practice.

She murmured, “Please.”

There was a sigh, and soon the young woman’s head popped back around the corner to look at her.

“She’s fine.”

Relief flooded her veins. She suddenly felt tired.

Lena was alive. She was alright.

“Did you shoot her?”

Widowmaker simply stared at the face peering at her. Certainly she was jesting? But instead she wore an expression of nothing but genuine and almost morbid curiosity.

“No.”

The other snorted as she turned back to her game, “Then Lucio owes me money.”

 

*****

 

Tracer awoke with a start and immediately looked down at her body.

She wasn’t wearing it.

Where was it?

Was she still there?

Where? Where? When?

“It's right there.”

Her head whipped around to the deep voice beside her. The man’s arms were crossed as he leaned back casually in his chair beside her bed. His head tilted towards the chronal accelerator laying atop the nearby table.

She tried to steady her breathing, looking down at the glowing circle on her chest. Her fingers traced where the metal met skin and felt satisfied. With a nod to her companion, she reached over to the vest on the table, wincing slightly at the pain the flickered across her body with the movement.

“Where’s Widowmaker?”

“Secured,” was Soldier 76’s gruff reply.

“Where?” Tracer asked more firmly as she tightened the straps of the accelerator. When she was met with silence, she looked up with a frown.

“You better not have put her in one of those ruddy cells.”

“You drop down from the sky bleeding after missing for weeks with a Talon agent pointing a gun at us.”

“She’s not with Talon anymore.”

She was met with continued silence.

Tracer glared at the visor that blocked the man’s eyes. “Either she gets released or I’m bunking with her.”

“Be my guest,” he replied nonchalantly.

Her torso was already aching from sitting up. But not getting up would mean the senior agent had successfully called her on her bluff. And Tracer did not back down from a challenge. However, as she braced her arms on the gurney to begin the process, the automated doors of the medical wing thankfully opened.

Angela smiled warmly as she approached. “Look who’s awake.”

“Hi, Mum.”

Normally the nickname inspired a roll of the eyes, but the doctor seemed so pleased Tracer was now active, she couldn’t be bothered to chastise the young woman. Her soft hands assessed the young woman’s pulse points.

While she began her minor examination, the patient quipped, “Tell Sir Grumpy it’s bad manners to lock up people that save other people.”

The man beside them stated, “Even if she is not an active risk, Talon will surely come to claim their lost prize.”

“Deep breath, please,” the blonde smoothly requested, sliding a stethoscope to Tracer’s back.

Lena rolled her eyes but complied. The second the cold metal left her body, she turned again to Soldier 76.

“She’s not a thing to be won or fought over. She’s a bloody person.”

“They took that away from her.”

“She's gotten it back. Seen it with my own eyes.”

“That will not erase her past actions,” he leaned forward as his gruff voice deepened, “It will not bring back those she has taken from us.”

“I do not know the truth,” Angela interrupted calmly as she draped the stethoscope around her neck, “But I did see the look in her eyes when she pointed a gun at me as she protected her. I also saw an entire Talon squadron lying in her wake,” her gaze moved to the man in the chair and grew fierce, “She willingly surrendered herself in order to ensure Lena’s safety.”

He didn’t even flinch.

Tracer glanced between them as the two “old Overwatch” agents raged some type of silent battle. The grown-ups were talking.

Tracer could hear the faint buzz of the medical wing’s lights in the uncomfortable silence.

Suddenly, he stood up to leave. “I will have her released.”

“Wicked,” Tracer muttered in awe as the doors closed behind him, looking up at Angela,“How long was I out?”

“Three days. Anyone else would have needed much longer before they could sit up. Your accelerated healing is quite impressive,” she replied, glancing at a tablet with medical charts beside the bed.

“More like you’re a genius, Doc.”

“And you’re beyond reckless,” she shot back, donning a glare Tracer knew too well, “What were you thinking going up there like that?”

The patient shrugged, “Had to. Couldn’t let Overwatch down.”

Angela’s sharp gaze softened. Her chastising frown lessened as she reached forward to lay her hand gently on Tracer’s shoulder.

“I am so glad you’re alright.”

The Englishwoman’s hand met her friend’s and squeezed, causing both women to smile.

After a moment, Tracer quipped, “Wish I could say the same for the space station I left behind.”

With a nod, the doctor said, “Winston and the others will be expecting a debriefing shortly.”

“Whole lot of rubbish on that boat somebody didn't want us to find. Barely made it out.”

“How did she follow you?”

“Hopped on the ship. Didn't know ‘til we were bloody halfway there.”

The blonde nodded slowly, still staring quizzically at the other. Her eyebrow lifted in question.

“And?” she drawled.

Tracer sighed, “She's changed, Angie. Without Talon controlling her, she made a choice,” her hands gripped the edge of the gurney where she sat, “Know it sounds barmy. But I’d swear my life on it.”

Angela crossed her arms, fixing a hard gaze at the young woman in front of her. Ever the intellectual, Tracer knew she was puzzling something out. She also saw the flicker of concern and fear in her eyes.

“I suspect you are aware of the circumstances with which she left us. Circumstances I experienced first hand.”

“Well, yeah, reckon most people knew her, but-”

“No, Lena. We were family.”

Tracer opened her mouth to respond, but the medical bay doors whooshed open to reveal the very subject of their conversation.

“You are a complete and utter idiot,” Widowmaker spat, charging towards the woman sitting on the hospital bed. As she got closer, Tracer could see the fire in her amber eyes.

They had fallen from the cold, dead darkness of space set ablaze. Lena knew in that moment, as they locked eyes, as this burning star stood before her smoldering, as much as something had finally woken in Widowmaker, she too now felt her own spirit’s flame begin to flare.

“I know,” she replied with a small smile.

Anger melted into tears, and Widowmaker, in all her height, collapsed into Tracer’s shoulder where she sat on the elevated hospital bed. The younger woman bit her lip through the minor quakes of pain still wrecking her body, immediately wrapping her arms around the beauty now sobbing against her.

Gasps brushed her skin, a sobbing voice saying, “Never do that ever again.”

The Overwatch agent sighed as she spread her hands across a quivering back.

“Can’t make any promises, love.”

“So stupid.”

“Shhh, I know.”

As they embraced, looking over Widowmaker’s shoulder, Tracer saw someone else enter the room. D.Va leaned against the wall beside the entrance, crossing her arms.

Her eyes moved to the doctor, usually so poised and graceful, staring wide-eyed at the scene before her. Their eyes locked, and Angela’s mouth fell open, desperately wishing to produce a question, but shock had robbed her of her voice.

Tracer answered by simply holding the woman in her arms a little tighter.

“I got you.”

The stars had tied their fate together.