Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,

The Armourer and the Living Weapon, Chapter 11: how we see each other, now

[AO3 link]

Lena looked in the mirror, blinking, tilting her head back and forth, looking at her brown eyes. She frowned, a little. The coloured contacts fit well enough, but she could feel them, just a bit, and didn't like it.

"Whaddya think, love?" she asked, calling over to Widowmaker.

The defector walked over and examined her lover's reflection carefully. "They look very much like your old irises. They will pass ordinary inspection, I'm certain. But not a more careful check - anyone who knows your history should wonder why you are wearing contacts, if nothing else."

Lena nodded. "They feel a bit funny in my eyes. And I think..."

Widowmaker raised an eyebrow, and hummed, inquisitively.

"...I think I'm not seein' as many colours, with 'em in."

"That is possible," the assassin agreed. "Seeing into ultraviolet changes other colours, as well, and those lenses almost certainly filter UV."

"And they itch." She took care not to rub her eyes, not with lenses in, but squinted a little. The lenses settled further, and she felt them less. "Nah, that's not right, but I feel 'em. Don't like that part."

"Are you sure they're properly fit?"

"Yah. The doc said I'd get used to 'em pretty quick."

"That would be for the best, for operational purposes."

Tracer pursed her lips, and stared. The truth of the matter was that they didn't itch. She barely felt them, now, and could tell she'd lose the feeling entirely in less than an hour. And they'd be useful if she had to go anywhere undercover, or where Tracer's brown eyes were known. But...

"...I don't like 'em," she said.

"Your new eyes - they look very much like your old irises, you know. Copper, rather than brown, but the patterns are much the same."

"I know," the teleporter replied. "Angela talked about that."

"And brown, or copper - both are lovely." She leaned forward, brushing her lips against the curve of her partner's ear.

Lena nuzzled back, then emptied the contacts case of its old fluid, replaced the sterile solution, leaned forward, and took out the coloured lenses, one at a time, putting them away. She dabbed her face, a bit, with a damp towel, blinked a few times, and looked back up in the mirror, seeing herself, and Widowmaker, standing just behind her.

Copper and gold, she thought, and nodded. That's much better.

"We match," said the blue woman, pleased.

Lena leaned back against her counterpart. "Yeah," she said, relaxing into her body. Reaching up and around her lover's head, she smiled a gentle smile. "We do."


"Since you're just across town, I thought I could demonstrate my good faith by meeting with our common friends at your own facility," Moira O'Deorain said, over comms. "I could call it an inspection, Dr. Ziegler, if you feel an excuse is required - or I could simply refer to it as a courtesy call. I don't make them often, but with someone of your stature, it wouldn't cause surprise."

"I assure you, we are fully current on our inspections," replied the Overwatch researcher, "but I can't imagine how a visit from the minister herself wouldn't be an honour." She did not say it would be welcome, of course. "Perhaps that."

"That'd be lovely, then. A private meeting of the minds. Brunch at 10:30 tomorrow, perhaps? My staff could cater."

"I already have a service I quite like, and would prefer to use," the doctor demurred. "Amongst other things, they already know where and where not to wander."

"Of course," replied the minister. "They make those lovely little Swiss-style chocolates, don't they? A bit fussy, but in the good way."

"Yes, that's them."

"I've hired them myself, in the past. Tomorrow, then?"

"We will see you in the morning."

Angela dropped the connection, and looked across the room, out of camera range, to the table around which the gathered Overwatch core staff sat. "Well," she said, "That's that. We have a date."

"Here, huh?" asked the cowboy. "Goin' out of her way to be friendly, isn't she."

"She better!" Song interjected. "She better at every step."

Morrison nodded his agreement. "I presume you'll want us out of the picture tomorrow, too?"

"On site, but not in sight, I think so. I will be there, of course. Mei-Ling, are you willing to be present as well?"


"...and Lena and Danielle. Emily is en route, and I presume will be at the table. Everyone else should... be ready. Just in case."


"Do not take our cooperation as unconditional," Dr. Ziegler stressed, as Dr. Zhou nodded her agreement. "It is not. The primary condition of Overwatch's agreement to stand aside is that all three people involved must be allowed to step away once this is over."

"If that is what they wish," Dr. O'Deorain replied. "My primary interest is always the advancement of knowledge. I've already learned what I can from the Widowmaker project - nothing personal, Lacroix - and..."

"Do not call me that," the senior assassin interrupted.

"Guillard, is it, then?" Moira raised an eyebrow. "Regardless, my techniques were only somewhat advanced by the Oilliphéist refinements. That research track has run its course."

Ziegler nodded, slowly. "Insofar as that goes, it is sensible. But..." She looked over at Widowmaker and Oilliphéist. "You are both extraordinarily effective at what you do. You have to understand my hesitation to accept your freedom at face value."

Moira shrugged. "I can't argue with that."

Mei-Ling nodded. "So you see why we have to ask - you created them. How can we trust you to let them go?"

"I could give you is my word, if you'd accept it, but..." the Minister of Genetics smirked, "I know what you'd think of that. But look at it this way - if they decide to leave... well, as you've just noted, they are both extraordinarily effective at violence. Stopping them would be a difficult exercise, at best."

Widowmaker looked smug, and Tracer snickered a little, at that last bit. Got that right, she thought.

"I might suggest," said the Swiss doctor, "that they would not be the only ones demonstrating capability for violence."

The edge of Moira's mouth quirked up. "Well. Haven't we changed."

"Times change us all. I presume we have an understanding?"

"I think we do."

"I'm sure you already have a plan," said Dr. Zhou.

"Of course. And I've already been at it myself. Emily's been kind enough to come along, when some light field work's been necessary."

"It's been dull," the newer assassin said, "to be honest."

"Now, dear, not everything has to be violent."

"No, but it could be."

Lena suppressed her giggle and kept her separate annoyance to herself, as best she could. "F'instance," she said focusing her copper eyes on the doctor, "what?"

"Oh, starting at the bottom, like you'd expect," O'Deorain replied. "One of Akande's key sources in Shanghai suddenly contracted cancer. She'll live, but will be ... unavailable, for some months. Another, in Numbani, developed rather serious heart problems. She is, unfortunately, very loyal - and won't pull through. An accountant in Ukraine has a confusing neurological condition; she'll be fine but won't be able to work for three months, at least. The man I refer to as Mr. Butterpot - I believe Widowmaker has told you about him - just got arrested in Belgium. And so on."

Widowmaker smirked, and Moira nodded her head in her direction. "Thank you for that, by the way. They're calling it tax fraud, but don't let's pretend."

"That on purpose, love?"

"No, cherie," the sniper replied. "Coincidence, honestly."

"But thank you, nonetheless," the Irish doctor insisted.

Lena looked back to the minister. "So - remove the eyes, the whole body goes blind, that sort of thing?"

Moira looked ever-so-slightly amused. "Yes, precisely. Exactly that sort of thing."

"So if you've been so busy already - what'd ya need us for, then?"

The Talon board member laughed. "Field work, particularly at the next stage, once we're done laying the groundwork. I don't like doing it myself, but I'll see it done."

"And we start... where?"

"First, we need to shift the allegiance of a particular pair of analysts. They need to be persuaded to take a sudden but temporary leave of absence. I don't have the hard evidence for blackmail, but I know it exists, and where it is. I need Widowmaker and Oilliphéist to acquire it - and I'd like you along, as backup, to keep them safe."

"Just a bit of thievery, then? Doesn't sounds like something requiring our particular talents, t'be honest."

"It doesn't. Think of it as putting on your trainers - unless you'd rather I threw you in together in a firefight first."

"We could, y'know," Tracer said, annoyed. "Don't underestimate..."

"I'd like the chance to work together a few times, first," Emily interjected. "You and Widowmaker have history, but you and I don't." Her smile returned. "Honestly. I'd really like to get some field time together, before taking on the bigger guns."

Lena humphed, but couldn't argue. "Fair cop."

"Once blinded and deprived of analysis, we'll move a rung up, to his higher level staff - and from there, to his inner circle, and then, to him."

Lena looked around at her lover, and her lover's lover, and back to Moira. "Looks like overkill t'me, doc. Why not go straight to the top?"

"Allies matter, dear," Dr. O'Deorain said. "It may be a bit pre-emptive of me, but I don't want anyone left who will cause the wrong kinds of trouble afterwards. Talon will end this in a fair bit of disarray; I want to be able to reassure everyone quickly, without having to do cleanup work later. If you're going to do a job, do it right the first time."

"Also," said Dr. Zhou, "I imagine his allies support his war plans?"

"Of course," nodded the Irish doctor.

"Then they need to be gone," agreed the Chinese doctor. "This war cannot happen." She'd already explained why.

"Right, then. A bit of thievery to get this thing moving." Lena snorted. "Takes me back t'my youth, t'be honest."

Emily blinked and turned her head. "You stole?"

"War orphan, luv. Things got dicey 'till I got picked up, sorted out. How d'ya think I know nobody likes a thief?"

Emily just giggled. "That's hilarious. Can't wait to find out you also ran numbers."

"Hey now, none of that!" Lena replied, a little embarrassed. "I was just hungry."

"Weren't we all."


Gabriel Reyes sat alone late at night in his office, cowl back, mask set aside, looking over personnel and source reports from the last few months.

Cancers, brain tumours, sickness, heart conditions... none of this smells right, he thought, sorting through the lists of the affected. Outbreaks happened, including of strange diseases and conditions, in this between-wars world, and the contagious cases had civilian co-cases around them, but something about this one just felt a little too... focused. A few too many outliers in the odds.

He leaned back in his chair, reminded himself of his paranoia, and ran the list - and their politics - through his mind anyway. Some of Moira's agents, some of Doomfist's, some of Maximillian's, a couple of his own, a few without particular allegiance to anything but money. Most would probably survive, but... Someone's making a move. Or getting ready to make one.

He considered the possibilities. Moira, of course. Always suspect number one, no matter what. Maximilian could hire the right talent, if he'd decided Akande's plans were too grand. Angela Ziegler could do it, certainly, but it's not the sort of thing she does - or did. People change. Geanna Mariani, perhaps, but it's not her style - she enjoys playing with people, but not with diseases. Several covert government agencies, all capable.

I see you, he thought. I don't know who you are. But... I see you.

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Tags: also on ao3, angela ziegler, emily "oilliphéist" gardner, gabriel "reaper" reyes, hana song, jack morrison, lena "tracer" oxton, mei-ling zhou, moira o'deorain, oilliphéist, overwatch, overwatch au, reaper, soldier: 76, tracer, widowmaker, winston
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