This is the seventh story of the It's Not Easy To Explain, She Said collection of short stories. It takes place about six months after the previous ("It's not easy to explain how she felt," said the Widowmaker, about Amélie Lacroix), and about a year and a half before the third story ("It's really not easy to explain," said Emily Oxton).
All of Widowmaker's thoughts are translated from the French.
I wanted to end a very bad year on a very happy story, so - here we are. May 2018 be better. [AO3 link]
Emily worked outside, in the sun, laptop on hand, references up on PADDs, watching her wife and her wife's girlfriend dance, from afar, on the Overwatch practice range. They called it battling - or more correctly, battle training - but one careful glance put the lie to that. They danced, and anyone looking - really looking - could tell it.
They're awfully good together, she thought, a little bit disgruntled, a little bit envious, a little bit uncertain about how she felt. She'd got what she'd joked she'd be fine with, six months before, and really, she was fine with it - glad, even, to have the world's best sniper on her wife's side, rather than as an enemy.
But she couldn't lie to herself. She felt a bit left out. Lena tried, and it helped - they were all still trying, even Widowmaker, in her own way, and it helped - but all that help made it no less true, just the same.
If only she wasn't so damned remote all the time, even when she's trying not to be. What's it take to get through to you, woman?
The two Overwatch agents mopped up the last of the target robots - cleanly and efficiently as always - and Emily waved as they both made their way back up to the starting platform for another run.
"That seemed to go well," she said, making the effort, as Widowmaker landed not two metres in front of her.
The former assassin shrugged noncommittally. "It was too easy." Her frustration - and some boredom - surfaced into her voice. "The robots..." - she frowned, shaking her head a little - "they are not a worthwhile challenge. I have requested substantial upgrades." She cycled her rifle, cleaning the barrel, and reloading. "At very least, they should return fire."
She paused, and hummed, a little. "I am surprised you are interested."
"Of course I'm interested."
"It's important to Lena, and also, to you. And so, I'm interested."
The spider puzzled at that, for a little bit, wondering why, as Tracer teleported up next to the aeronautics engineer, kissing the top of her head. "How's the design rev goin', luv?"
"Oh, it's all fine - this is just iterative, for the most part." She looked up and kissed Lena back. "Regulations compliance updates, really. I'm just finishing up."
Lena looked over to Widowmaker, and back to Emily. "We've got another couple of runs - don't think you have to wait for us, if y'don't want to."
Emily smiled. "Of course I want to. We've got dinner in town after, remember? All three of us." Another date night. The last one ended up with Emily and Widowmaker arguing at each other for no particular reason, about everything and about nothing, two slightly-wary cats picked up together and made to go HUGGY HUGGY HUGGY. They'd talked about it, after, and hopefully, tonight would go better.
"You sure? Y'don't have to. We'll catch you up, if you want t'go on ahead."
"I think it's..." She looked over to the blue woman. "I think it's important to know your work."
Widowmaker puzzled at that, as well, just a little bit. She didn't know anything about aeronautics, and did not really care to. But she thought on what her lover's wife said, tasting it, almost, trying it against what she had of an emotional range, and found that it resonated, somehow. Something is there, she thought. Something I think I would like.
"Besides - it's a lovely day, both my girls are out in it, I'm almost done with work and I've got a side project I want to play with. What else could I need?"
"Brilliant," replied her wife, beaming, as the warning timer sounded and she moved back to start position. She turned to the former Talon assassin. "This one has me starting first - I get 30 seconds head start."
The blue spider nodded affirmation to Tracer, and then blinked, as the confusion of emotions in her head fell into place. She looked at Emily, first mostly with one eye, then mostly with the other, saying, "You are..." She is trying to... empathise? with me? Not just to be friendly, but to... empathise, and her expression relaxed, opening up, just a little, and she nodded, slowly, her eyes a little more open, her voice softened, ever so slightly. "I understand."
Lena took it to mean the exercise, but Emily caught the expression, and the tone, and tried to figure out exactly what it meant, as Widowmaker brought up her rifle, pre-evaluating the new range configuration through her sight, so calm, so cool, so much the same as last time, but something about her ever so slightly different, ever so slightly more present to her, ever so slightly more... real...
Emily started, looked closely, and looked again, her head tilted, just a little, and her breath caught in her throat. She's... it's like she's... almost... glowing, in the sunlight.
She shook her head as the starter buzzer sounded and Tracer blinked ahead, then looked back down to the design rev on her screen, and then back up to the sniper, and a layer peeled back, almost, of reality, and sunlight or no, it didn't make any sense - they'd even been sharing a bed, occasionally, for a while, and it had been comfortable enough, but she didn't really feel anything, even if the Frenchwoman was a quick student of, of, of, and then Emily couldn't think at all, she could only see, see the spider, the sniper, her wife's lover, the woman, just standing there, and yet glowing, eclipsing the entire world, and everything else, everything, everything else, even Emily's breath, fell away to nothing.
My god, she's beautiful, she realised, the thought electric across her skin. How have I never... is this... is this what Lena sees, looking at her? She dropped her stylus, as time slowed to a stop. Is this... how does she do anything, if this is what she sees?
"Twenty five seconds," said the counter.
Widowmaker lowered her rifle, and looked to her left, seeing Emily's eyes, locked on to her, her mouth, slightly open, and she raised an eyebrow and smiled, just a little.
"How..." Emily whispered, "...have I never seen you like this, before?"
"Quoi?" asked the spider, friendly, but bemused.
"This is mad, but... no, it's not, but..." She put her face in her hands for just a moment, and looked up again, past them. "I've... never really seen you this way, before. You're always gorgeous, but... when your rifle is up..."
"Twenty seconds," said the counter.
Something unabashedly lethal deep inside Widowmaker rose and preened, and the sniper smiled, broadly, despite herself. "That... I should be conflicted, in some ways, about that, but mostly, I feel..." She thought, looking around for the word, an emotion she did not often experience, "...proud? Honoured? Perhaps both. That you see me for what I am, and are not afraid." This is a strange combination of emotions. I will have to process them carefully, she thought. But, softly, she simply said, "Thank you."
"Fifteen seconds," said the counter.
"But, but, but, it's like, it's like..." Emily knew the spider sometimes needed brutal directness to understand. Normally, that meant discussion of negative emotions, but this time... "It's like you're... the only thing in the world. Is this how she sees you?"
"I have no way of knowing," Widowmaker answered quietly, fascinated. "She has not said so, not in those words... but, of course, the first several times, she mostly saw me down the barrel of my rifle. So, perhaps, she does."
"Ten seconds," said the counter.
"May I... touch you?"
The spider's head tilted, a little unsteady, a little uncertain. "Yes. But... now it is different. Why is it now different?"
"Because... I don't know. Because I don't know." She set aside the laptop and stood, stepping over to the woman she'd seen and held so many times before, but never like this. "May I?"
"Five seconds," said the counter.
She reached across, stepped close, and touched the blue woman's chin, cupping it in her right hand, and looked into those bright gold eyes as the spider unepectedly leaned forward, and kissed her, gently, as the start timer sounded, and as she raised her rifle towards the range, and shot the first two target robots, disabling both with one shot, without even looking.
Emily looked in the direction of her fire, a little stunned.
"Perfect," they both said, in unison.
Widowmaker's head jerked back to Emily, and Emily's gaze flashed back to Widowmaker, just in time to see the assassin's wide-eyed astonishment. "Perhaps... we have more in common than I once thought."
"I'd like that." It felt like a prayer.
The sniper smiled wickedly, eyes bright. "So would I." She raised her rifle again, and fired, taking out the next three targets in rapid succession, before launching herself into the arena with her chain, leaving the engineer behind.
Emily watched her fly out over the range, thinking, How does she do that? as the sniper took out two more targets from midair. It frightened her, more than a little, but excited her, more than a little, too.
She sat back down at her laptop, still watching her wife and her wife's lover, teleporting and chaining around, closed the main project, and opened another - a design for a new type of antigrav airfoils, all her own.
Wow, she thought, dazed, gaze flipping between the airfoils and the range. ...I think we finally did it... She shivered, breath quick. And, she laughed, quietly, a little out of control but she didn't care, I think... I may've just fallen in love with a spider.