This chapter is worksafe. [AO3 link]
"Didn't know there were good restaurants in Latvia," Lena said, bemused, standing outside the little blue-walled building in the heart of old Riga. "Or... d'ya just really like blue? 'Cause I can see how y'would."
Emily snickered and Danielle raised an eyebrow and smirked as Moira tutted at the Overwatch agent. "We have a layover, we may as well enjoy it. And Latvian cuisine is under-appreciated." She opened the door, and gestured. "Ladies?"
The four agents had smuggled themselves back out of Russia via the cold compartments of slow cargo planes, much the same way as they'd smuggled themselves in. From here, they'd depart at 3am in yet another hold - this time listed as network infrastructure equipment - which left them several hours to kill.
The restaurant's interior consisted of several rooms with vaulted ceilings in white plaster. Graceful full-width brickwork archways connected each section, pillar sconces providing warm and decorative light.
"I wonder what this would've looked like before," Lena said, quietly, copper eyes revealing every detail, even in the darkest shadows. "I bet the ambience would've been fantastic."
"A bit old fashioned for me," Emily said. "Warm, though, and the food's good. It's nice."
"Been here before, then?" Lena asked, receiving a nod of confirmation.
"I think it's lovely," Danielle said. "Is it real?" she asked, touching the brickwork. It felt old, and sturdy.
"I have no idea," said the Oasis minister, as the maitre d' escorted them to a reserved table. "I'm not sentimental about such things - or about much at all, really." Moira ordered for the table, of course, in surprisingly fluent Latvian.
"How many languages you speak, mate?" Lena asked, over her Valmiermuižas, once the beer arrived. Emily took a drink of her Brenguļu and smiled, while Widowmaker found herself presented with a small amount of Riga black balsam liquor, and water.
"As many as I need to," the doctor replied, sipping her Kvass. "I imagined you to be a beer person. How is it?"
"Not bad," she admitted, reluctantly, watching Widowmaker sample her liquor. "Don't know much about Latvian brewing, but..."
"I've gone a bit in, I admit," Moira replied. "But it's hardly anything I can't afford. You all performed very well yesterday, and I think we deserve a bit of indulgence, don't you?"
"This is ... extraordinary," Widowmaker said, eyes closed, savouring the dark liquid in front of her. "I've never tasted anything like it."
"The water's there for a reason, love," Emily noted. "There's a lot more vodka in that than you think."
Danielle gave her lover half a smile, reopening her eyes. "Thank you."
"Buckle in," she continued. "It's a Latvian restaurant, so there's going to be a lot of food."
"Given your metabolisms," Moira interjected, "normally, I'd order for two. But with Lena here, I've gone ahead and ordered for four."
Oxton frowned, then noticed exactly how hungry she was. "...the accelerator core." She had her vest with her, carefully tucked away inside a backpack, power left on - the advantages of separate pieces had not been lost upon her.
"I imagine it's been working overtime. How you haven't noticed before now is beyond me."
"I've been hungry, just not... hoo, yeah."
"Drink your beer," the scientist said. "You'll need it. Oh, good, look - here come the pirāgi."
"Ooooh, Lena, you'll love these," Emily chirped.
"Pirogi? Sure, love 'em..."
"Pirāgi," she stressed. "Better! Y'like bacon?"
"Yeh, then," she grinned. "These are good."
"You want to, I dunno, help guide me through this? Never had all that much eastern food before... least not eastern Europe..."
"Glad to!" She held up one hand, sticking up fingers as she went. "Rule number one: drink a lot. Rule number two: eat a lot. Rule number three: y'don't need to like beets. But it helps. I'll be skipping the soup. Rule number four: see rule number one. Got it?"
Lena's grin mirrored Emily's own. "Got it!"
[an hour later]
"So I told Jack, I told Jack," she said, a bit in her cups, but not too much more than she realised, "this is bloody happenin' mate, and that's all there is to it. And it did! So if I won that argument with him - a bleedin' American white guy - I'm sure not gonna lose it w' you!"
Emily laughed, a little bit in hers as well. "Sorry, luv - not tryin' it next time, either. Beets are rubbish."
"You even said yourself - you said it - how good the aukstā zupa looked," Lena said, finishing off the last of her kartupeļi ar siļķi un biezpienu, as the rupjmaizes kārtojums arrived. "And how good it smelled, and you're stickin' by that? Won't even try it?"
"I'm afraid have to side with Lena, cherie. And I am both French and very picky."
"Sorry, but, sorry, no. Beets are gross. You're both wrong, and that's all there is to it."
"Fffft," Lena articulately opined. "Barmy."
"At least we agree on the herring," smirked the senior assassin.
"Oh, yeah, no, this is the only way I'll eat cottage cheese. That's true. Tho' it's funny... I think I like it more, now. Normally, I don't mind it that much, and it... kind of rounds off the fish, doesn't it? But this time I think I actively liked it."
"Really?" asked Moira, meditating on the last of her karbonāde, waiving off dessert. "That is new. I didn't do that. At least, not intentionally."
"It's been a while," Emily shrugged, smiling. "Maybe my tastes just changed. Or I'm just misremembering."
"Right, then!" Oxton exclaimed. "Shopping list amended. Cottage cheese in the fridge is fine, but beets? Right out."
"Well, they can be around... I don't want to... I don't know... kill all beets... tho' they'd probably explode nicely... they're just..." She shook her head, nope, nope, nope, nope, "Not food!"
Lena laughed, tipping over almost but not quite into her newly-placed dessert plate, overwhelmed with giggles. Oooh, that smells good! She sampled a piece of the cranberry, rye, and whipped cream confection with her finger. Ooooh, it is!
She looked back up at her tablemates. Bloody hell, she thought, how am I enjoying this so much? She leaned back, took another drink of her Valmiermuižas, and smiled softly as Widowmaker and Oilliphéist continued to debate affectionately about vegetables.
Must be the company, she thought, a little dreamily, while expertly ignoring Moira on her left. Must be that.
"Nah, I'm good. I went before I left." Tracer had come directly over from the short-term leased apartment she was sharing with Oilliphéist and Widowmaker. A compromise neutral ground agreed to by the two doctors, monitored by both, it would be their joint residence throughout the operation. And possibly after, if all went well.
"But..." she added, "how'm I gonna stay still that long?"
"You shouldn't," the research doctor said, pertly, adjusting controls. "I will be showing you several images - they'll appear above you, you won't need to turn your head - and occasionally asking questions. Say whatever comes to mind at any point, and if you feel like moving, do not suppress it except to stay on the table. Don't make extra motions, but anything spontaneous - just let it happen."
"...am I gonna remember this?" Lena asked, nervously.
The doctor blinked. I hadn't anticipated that. I should've. "I... suppose that is a very good question, given what we did the first time, isn't it? Yes. You will remember all of this."
"That's good," Lena said, nervousness still in her voice. "I didn't like that. Not rememberin'."
That's not good enough, the doctor thought. "No. I... no. This will not do. May I drop medical privacy protocols for a moment?"
"...I guess so? Why?"
"Because - given everything that has happened, and is still happening - I think you should have someone here you... more fully trust, in this matter. May I invite Danielle to observe?"
Lena smiled, and relaxed, visibly. "I'd like that, doc. If y'don't mind. She's right outside with Emily anyway."
"I am not surprised." She touched a few buttons and the room became ever so slightly less quiet. Stepping over to the door, she opened it, and spoke quietly with the former Talon assassin, who, after a few moments, stepped into the small room, whispering her assurances to her lover, who remained just outside.
"I apologise that it's a little cramped - we don't normally have a third person present. But I appreciate your cooperation," she said, reactivating privacy protocols.
The Widowmaker nodded, as the room went ever so slightly more quiet. "I appreciate you thinking to ask for it." She looked to her left, noticing her rifle's presence. "I am standing next to my Kiss. Does that violate security protocol?"
Dr. Ziegler looked - strictly speaking, it does, doesn't it... but I think... - and shook her head, no. "Thank you for alerting me. It... you do not need to move either yourself or, ah, her."
"Thank you. It makes me feel more comfortable, this way. Hello, cherie."
"Could y'leave privacy off, luv?" asked Lena. "Em... there may not be a lot of room in here, but I don't mind Emily hearin' stuff. And she and Widowmaker..."
"I would prefer to keep them on. I value confidentiality highly. Unlike in Switzerland, it is not mandatory, but..."
"It is fine," the senior assassin told the doctor. "We discussed this possibility earlier, and she does not object."
"You absolutely sure?" asked Lena.
"Yes. She's largely just relieved that I'm allowed in here - for obvious reasons."
"Aw," Lena blushed the tiniest bit. "Can I hold your hand? Is that all right?" she asked, looking over to the doctor mid-query, and taking her lover's hand anyway.
It will take a very long time for me to get used to that, the doctor thought, a little nervous, now, herself. "For the moment only. During the session, I'm afraid not - your arm needs to be under the scanner, like the rest of you. I'd let you hold hands on the table, but I don't know how your two nervous systems would interact, and I do not want the readings intermixed."
"Ah, yeah, that makes sense." She squeezed Widowmaker's hand, briefly, and moved her arm back under the scanner.
"Some of these questions may be fairly personal. Please just respond however comes to mind, regardless of Am," she corrected herself, "Danielle's presence. Can you still do that, with her here?"
"Absolutely," responded the teleporter, and the assassin smiled.
"Do you mind that, Danielle?"
"Not at all."
"Then let us begin."