Well, here we are, at the end. My first complete novel.
As with all the final four chapters, this one is below a cut for spoilers avoidance.
There will be a special announcement in the next post.
This chapter is worksafe. [AO3 link]
"Hey, Winston. Been a while."
Lena put the jar of peanut butter she'd been carrying on her best friend's gravestone.
"I miss you, big guy. I wish..."
She shuddered a little, sniffing, trying not to start crying, and failing. The tears were always close to the surface, if she let herself think too much about certain things, and certain people.
She wiped her eyes. "Remember how you said, you said, when I came back, you'd never really forgive yourself? I guess... I guess you're not alone in that. God, Winston, I'm, I'm sorry... I didn't ... want ... I..."
Discreetly, at distance, Widowmaker put her hand on Oilliphéist's chest, stopping her from going to comfort her counterpart - "Non, ma chérie, she needs this" - as Lena fell to her knees, sobbing at the grave, unconsolable.
Emily let herself be restrained, and leaned her head against Danielle's shoulder. There were still emotions she didn't fully understand, and never would, but she knew when to trust her lover's instincts. "She hurts, so much. I wish we could just fix it."
Danielle shook her head, no. "She needs that, too. As much as she needs us."
Back at the gravesite, Lena pulled herself together, a bit, not entirely, not entirely well, but well enough. "The world's at peace, luv - at least, of a sort. There's that. Akande really was going to start another Omnic Crisis, and we really did stop that, but," she wiped her nose, "...god, I'm not sure it was worth it."
She cried some more, sitting at the foot of the large, flat stone, petting it, as if her friend could feel it, or know. "It's funny, innit? Sometimes the way to stop a big fight is t'start a bunch of small ones? Keeps humanity challenged, keeps the rest of the board happy, stops 'em from tryin' anything..." She snorted. "Not that they'd win."
"We're about to go start a mess in the States, some damn place called Arkansas, between a couple of factions of radical anti-Omnics tryin' t'get things started up their own way... Overwatch'll try to stop us, but it's too late, even if we vanished tomorrow it'd still happen, we're just gonna push over a domino and by the time it's over, there'll be a lot of people dead, but a lot fewer than..."
She shuddered. "...oh god I wish you were here t' stop me. Talk me out of it, yell at me, tell me there's some deals y'just don't make, hell, even beat me up, something, anything, I wouldn't even care, just... just... be...." and the sobs returned, tears and water everywhere, and she cried, and cried, until she couldn't, not anymore.
Only when she was quiet, hand still on the gravestone, but unmoving, slumped over, did Danielle and Emily walk up to her, slowly, Widowmaker - Widowmaker, who understood more than anyone else could - crouching down beside her lover, taking her in her arms. "It's all right, ma chérie."
"Nah," sniffed Tracer, letting herself be embraced. "It's... it's really not."
"It never will be."
"But I love y'for saying it anyway."
"I love you more than even I can know."
Tracer smiled, a little, and snerked, her nose a mess. "Got a tissue or something? I guess I..."
"Here," said Emily, softly. "Here y'are."
"Thanks, love." She stood, Widowmaker standing with her, and shook herself out, blinking her copper eyes free of tears. At least, she thought, there's us. At least there's that. "God, I love you both so much. Thanks for... puttin' up with me, I guess."
Danielle chuckled, softly, nuzzling her lover's hair, and Emily laughed a gentle laugh, saying, "I'm so glad you're with us."
"So'm I. Come on," she said, after a moment, shaking out her arms, wearing just a bit more than a ghost of a smile. "Let's go." She felt herself warm at the thought of the fighting to come, and her pulse quickened as she grinned, freely. "We have a war to start."