Widowmaker sat and waited, watching the seconds tick by, hunched against the small barrier on the side of the roof, hunched tight in on herself under her heavy coat to fend off the cold. She stayed in place when the storm hit, pulling up her heavy hood but otherwise making no move to find shelter, cracking a pair of heat packs to keep herself warm.
She could hear activity below. Lena was humming to herself, moving around the apartment. Based on the clanking of pots she was cooking something.
Widowmaker checked her watch. Emily would be home soon. She couldn’t miss it.
When Widowmaker heard the door open her heart jumped.
“Em!” Lena exclaimed.
Lena blinked to her girlfriend every night when they greeted. Widowmaker had been listening for five days, Lena had never failed to greet her as if they had been separated for weeks.
There was a short pause while they kissed, then they asked about each other’s days. Lena had spent most of her day resting, but she had been to therapy. Yes, she had eaten lunch, yes she had been taking care of herself. She had also cried while Emily was gone, but she didn’t tell her that.
Emily’s day had been hard too. Their micro collider had fallen out of alignment. They had to cancel a time sensitive experiment so it could be repaired. Lots of paperwork, a significant setback. She was glad to be home.
She listened long into the night, a layer of snow forming on her shoulders and hood as she sat huddled against the storm. They ate dinner together, watched a movie together, talked about their plans for the holidays, fell asleep together. Nothing strategically or tactically useful to Talon, just casual gestures of intimacy. Widowmaker stayed in place, leaning against the low wall for a long time even after all she could hear was Emily’s gentle breathing and Lena’s occasional snore.
she finally moved, heading back to the room she had rented for the surveillance mission. She opened her laptop, typing out a quick message, encrypting it, and sending it.
Surveillance Day 6: Nothing of tactical or strategic significance to report.
That wasn’t true. Lena’s mental illness was of at least strategic significance. But it seemed… wrong. Perhaps she needed another adjustment from Moira. She should return to base, report this unusual impulse. She didn’t want to. She wanted to listen to Lena and Emily tomorrow.
The realization hit Widowmaker hard. She couldn’t remember ever wanting something, not like this. There were emotions but they were shallow, they never influenced her beyond the moment or a passing desire. This was different. A raging fire in her chest the built and built until it burnt her out and left nothing behind but an aching void and pain. It hurt as bad as any wound she could remember. She should go back to Moira. She would fix it.
Except if she went back they wouldn't let her come near Lena and Emily again. She would never hear Lena's laugh, or Emily fussing over if Lena had forgotten her medication, or even their gentle breathing side by side as they slept.
Why does that matter so much?
That night she dreams of a woman, young and happy and full of life. That morning she searches for the name Amélie Lacroix. She learns about Swan Lake, a castle somewhere in France, and a man named Gérard. She begins to remember.
Widowmaker sat and waited, watching the seconds tick by. This time when Emily returns it is different. They share dinner, she remembers the first night she cooked for him. Emily tells Lena about her day, she remembers how he would listen to her excited rambling about her latest production. They lay down together, she remembers the way he used to kiss her forehead when he thought she was asleep. Everything Widowmaker hears brings a new memory to the surface. The fire in her heart burns brighter and more painful than she could have ever imagined.
She doesn't know how long she is on the roof after they fall asleep. She wonders if it might be better for her to simply fade away in the freezing night. It would hurt less. But is that what he would want for her?
For you I will try.
Amélie rises to her feet, half frozen to death, hardly able to move. She finds the roof access door, smashing the lock with her rifle. She stumbles inside and forcing herself to take each painful step, moving down the stairwell. She finds Lena’s apartment, leans against the wall and bangs hard as she can on the door. There is no answer.
I will not die here.
Amélie slides down to her knees and her eyes drift closed. She is so tired. She hits the door again and again. There is a voice. The door opens and Amélie collapses.
“It’s three o’clock, what do you - Oh bloody hell!”