"What sort of food do you think they'll serve at the reception?" Lena asks, bouncing merrily on the balls of her feet.

"Doesn't matter—we don't get to eat it," Jack replies. He frowns as he tries to adjust her chronal accelerator where it sits awkwardly off-center across her pristine uniform. He sighs, gritting his teeth at her continued movement. "Sit still, would you?"

Smiling to herself, Lena obliges, going obediently still. Jack thanks her under his breath as he goes about trying to fix her appearance.

Reyes watches the exchange with a smirk. "He's such a dad," the Commander mutters to Angela, who stands beside him. "Like a tired, middle-aged, suburban dad."

Jack looks up to throw him an annoyed look, when his hand accidentally brushes against some key switch on Lena's chronal accelerator and she gasps before she blips out of existence with a hardly a sound.

The idle chatter in the room falls silent as various Overwatch agents look up to see what happened, before realizing oh, it's only Tracer, and returning to their conversations.

Jack huffs a sigh, crossing his arms while Reyes just laughs, offering a sarcastic round of applause.

"Shut up," the solider flings at him, glaring at his old friend.

"Is that how you put your kids in time-out, Morrison?"

"Shut up."

Angela rises on her tiptoes, scanning the small crowd of agents. "Perhaps we should find Winston," she murmurs, frowning as she sweeps the room. "Just to make sure she's unharmed…"

Just like that, Lena returns, not a hair out of place. She beams up at them.

"Cheers," she greets happily. "If you wanted to get rid of me, Jack, you only had to ask."

Jack's mouth snaps open to deny her silly claim, but he's interrupted as Winston comes lumbering over.

"Let me," Winston grumbles, making his way to Lena's side, making dismissive gestures at Jack, who steps back.

"Are you alright, Lena?" Jack asks, concern coating his words.

She offers him a cheerful smile. "Never better, chief!" she chirps back.

"He wouldn't know what a scientist's touch was if it slapped him across the face," Winston grumbles, setting about adjusting her chronal accelerator.

"He was only trying to help," Angela points out. "This is a military celebration, Winston. That is his area of expertise."

Winston just grunts noncommittally under his breath as he fiddles with Lena's chronal accelerator.

"I'm surprised you came, Doctor," Ana calls as she glances up from her conversation with a handful of agents. The peerless sniper arches a dark eyebrow. "I didn't think doctors played well with militaristic pandering."

Angela shrugs, suddenly self-conscious of the uniform she wears as more eyes turn to her. "I go where I am needed," she offers with a small shrug. "Sometimes it is a hospital. Sometimes it is a battlefield. Sometimes it is…a very elaborate party." She spreads her hands, unsure what to say.

McCree, of all people, comes to her rescue, looking almost hilariously out of place without his trademark hat and poncho.

"'Least you got a choice," he grumbles, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "Ole Jack told me if I didn't come I'd get booted."

"Overwatch took a chance on you, McCree," Jack reminds him. "The higher-ups want to make sure it wasn't for nothing."

"I was just hoping the suit was enough to keep you from showing up," Reyes deadpans. "And then I'd get to throw your ass in jail."

Lean giggles where she stands off to the side, and Angela throws him an exasperated look. McCree just chuckles.

"Speakin' of not showin'." McCree glances around. "The hell is Gérard?"

"He'll show," Jack assures him. "He's just…taking his time."

McCree arches an eyebrow. "Is he now?"

"He's still Talon's number one target," Reyes reports quietly, voice low and rough. "You'd take the long way around too."

Angela worries her lip, and Reyes doesn't miss the action.

"They're fine, Doc," he mutters in a voice intended only for her. He meets her gaze steadily. "Seriously."

She opens her mouth to reply, when she's suddenly tapped on the shoulder.

"You look lovely, Angela," a soft, accented voice murmurs.

Angela turns, smiling widely at an elegant woman with long, dark hair who holds the arm of a sharply dressed man baring almost as many medals as Reyes.

"Amélie!" the doctor greets her happily, stepping forward to embrace her friend. "It's been so long!"

Gérard tips a wink to Reyes, who just nods back, while Angela and Amélie dissolve into easy conversation.

"Any trouble?" Jack asks quietly, shaking hands with the Frenchman.

Gérard shakes his head. "But I worry," he murmurs. "And she worries, because I worry." He sighs, running a hand through his fair hair. "I feel like that is all we do now: worry."

"Better worried than dead," Reyes offers darkly. "Still think Talon's after her?"

Gérard glances over his shoulder at Amélie and Angela, who chatter happily to each other.

"If I were Talon," he says softly. "It is what I would do."

"They won't touch her, Gérard," Jack tells the other man firmly. "We have all of Overwatch looking out for her. Amélie is safe, I promise you."

Gérard chuckles at this, turning back with a wry smirk. "How very like you, Jack," he remarks. "You think you can make things happen by simply wanting them badly enough. It is an admirable trait. Foolish, but admirable."

"Being a target comes with being a member of Overwatch," Reyes adds, eyes skating over the blonde doctor as she gestures earnestly with her hands. "But it also comes with a hell of a security detail."

Gérard tracks his wife as she and Angela drift away, lost in conversation.

"Let us hope so," he murmurs.

Across the room, Amélie leans closer to Angela.

"I had something I wanted to ask you," Amélie begins, twining their arms as they walk.

Angela nods. "Of course. What is it?"

They begin to pace away from the trio of men. Angela wonders if it's an absentminded movement or if Amélie is purposefully distancing them.

"It is not an easy question," the other woman warns. "And I doubt it will have an easy answer."

Angela nods again, but slower this time.

"That's alright," she says, looking askance at her friend. "You can ask me anything, Amélie."

Amélie laughs a little to herself. It's a soft, sad kind of laugh that makes Angela uneasy.

"Amélie?" she prompts. "Are you alright?"

The other woman looks up to stare Angela in the eyes. "Do you think…do you think Genji wanted to be saved?"

Angela goes still, fixing Amélie with a look of stark perplexity.

"What do you mean?" she asks, voice guarded.

Across the room, Reyes glances up from his conversation with Jack and Gérard, frowning as he watches the two women. Then Jack elbows him in the ribs and he reluctantly drops his gaze.

Amélie holds up her hands. "Please, friend. I am not looking for a fight. It is only a question."

"What kind of question?" Angela replies, and there's a harshness to her voice that is rarely heard. "Has he said something to you?"

The Frenchwoman shakes her head. "No, no, Angela. Nothing like that. It's just…difficult to keep such thoughts quiet in times like these."

"Times like what?" Angela demands. "Amélie, please. Speak clearly."

She sighs, dropping her hands. "I am requesting poison."

Angela blinks, completely stunned. Then her friend's words seem to finally click into place and she rears away, absolutely scandalized.

"You what?" she demands loudly. Too loudly. More than a few agents glance up at the doctor's outburst.

Amélie grimaces as she takes hold of Angela's arm, towing her further away.

"Soyez silencieux," she grumbles, her native language sounding like music despite her annoyance.

"You cannot say something like that and then tell me to be quiet," Angela hisses at her, pulling her arm from the other woman's grip. "What do you want with poison?"

"Listen," Amélie urges lowly. "I am being hunted, Angela, as we speak. Talon is searching for me. They want to use me to get to Gérard."

Angela's jaw tightens. She'd overheard such claims being discussed by John and Gabriel, but hadn't wanted to believe them.

"And?" she replies, a challenge simmering in her tone. "You won't be touched, Amélie. You know this."

Amélie treats her friend to a small, sad smile. "There are no guarantees in war," she murmurs. "Not even the great Mercy can make such claims."

"I am not great," Angela argues, annoyed. "And we are not at war."

"If Talon captures me," Amélie whispers fiercely, seizing her friend's hand and twining their fingers, giving them a squeeze. "If they kidnap me or drug me or whatever else it might be—I refuse to be used against my husband."

The gravity and meaning behind her words slams into Angela, who goes stock-still.

"No." It is the absolute tone of voice Mercy uses on the battlefield. "No, Amélie. I will not give you that."

Her friend sighs. "Angela, please—"

"Any other favor, Amélie, anything. But this?" she shakes her head. "You are asking me to kill you—"

"I am asking you to give me the chance to control my fate," Amélie argues lowly. "I would rather die than be used by Talon."

Angela grits her teeth. "And what does Genji have to do with all of this?" she demands. "Are you saying I should have let him die?"

Amélie sighs. She hates hurting her friend—truly, she does. But she feels she is adrift without options, and that does not suit her well at all. She is a woman of action. Even if that action will be her last.

"You save people, every day," Amélie begins quietly. "You are truly a guardian angel, Angela. In every sense of the word." The doctor opens her mouth to contest the statement but Amélie lifts a hand to stop her.

"Death is not a sin," she whispers. "It is as much a part of life as living." They gaze at each other, eyes clashing—cobalt against ocher.

"There are things so much worse than death, Angela," Amélie murmurs. "You gave Genji a new life, and he is excelling. But suppose Talon gave me some sort of new life? Do you not think I would rather be dead?" She searches her friend's eyes for any indication her words are having any impact. "What about you? Or Reyes?" Angela's jaw goes taught and Amélie knows she has found her trump card. "What if Reyes was captured by Talon? Would you allow him to die with grace and dignity? Or would you ruthlessly resuscitate him, and force him to play this new part?"

Angela's eyes catch fire in the harsh light of the room as she shifts her weight, medals pinned to her chest clinking as she does.

"I am a doctor," she nearly hisses. "My duty is to—"

"To do what is best for your patient," Amélie cuts her off smoothly. She arches an eyebrow. "Would you prescribe me life only to see me used as leverage against Overwatch? Against my family?"

They only stare silently—one hot with fury, one cold with resignation.

"C'mon, ya damn stragglers," McCree calls to the room. "We're gettin' this show on the road."

Angela turns without a word and strides away, jaw set, eyes stinging with tears she won't let fall.

She nears the group of Gérard, McCree, Jack, and Reyes, and moves past all of them, ignoring their confused glances.

"Doc," Reyes mutters, frowning at her angered appearance.

She brushes past him wordlessly, expression drawn and dark.

McCree lets out a low whistle. "Moments like that make me glad she's such a pacifist," he murmurs, tracking the doctor's movements as she weaves through the crowd to meet up with Lena. He shoots a sideways glance at Reyes. "You know, if she were even half as violent as the rest of us assholes, she'd take over the damn world."

Reyes sets his jaw, unnerved at Angela's sudden brashness.

"Yeah," he grumbles. "I know."

Near the front of the line, closest to the curtains the will lead to the main stage, Angela catches Lena's arm. As she does, the lights dim, and the man onstage begins a grand announcement. Cheers go up, nearly swallowing her words.

"Lena," Angela whispers. "Lena, can I ask you something?"

The young woman blinks in surprise, glancing over her shoulder to give the doctor a bewildered look.

"Now?" she replies lowly, gesturing lightly at the incredible fanfare that surrounds them. "Like, right now?"

"Please?" Angela tries. "It's going to bother me the entire ceremony if I don't ask."

Ana's name is called then. The elegant sharpshooter steps out into the light and crosses the stage, accompanied by uproarious applause. Angela feels Reyes' gaze on her back—heavy and cold like always. She resolutely ignores it.

Lena worries her lower lip for a moment before huffing out a breath, turning her back completely on the stage to face the blonde. "What is it, Doc?"

"Do you ever regret Winston saving you?" she asks in a rush. "Do you ever regret him building you the chronal accelerator?"

Ana's low, warm voice filters over the sound system as she offers a few curt words to the audience. The only steady source of light comes from the piece of time-anchoring technology strapped to Lena's chest, bathing the two women in a soft, watery glow.

Lena stares. The crowd cheers again. Angela skin prickles where she feels Reyes' gaze sharpen.

"What?" Lena finally hisses as Mei's name is called. The scientist spares the two women a concerned glance as she walks past them, and Angela offers her a swift reassuring smile that is little more than an uneasy tilt of her lips. Mei hesitates for only a moment before hastening out to the sound of more cheers.

"What brought this on?" Lena demands lowly as Mei's shy and soft voice replaces Ana's. "What are you even talking about?"

"You like the life you have, yes?" Angela asks, hoping she doesn't sound as desperate as she feels. "You're happy that Winston saved you?"

Mei's voice continues, and McCree chuckles lowly from somewhere behind them, low and husky.

"You give that girl an open mic, she'll talk about global warming til the next Ice Age," he jokes.

Jack sighs wearily. "At least she's well-spoken. And it is a noble cause."

Reyes folds his arms. "She was frozen in ice for years," he mutters. "She can talk about it for as long as she wants. Anyone whose got shit to say can get shipped off to Antarctica."

Angela reaches out to grab the younger woman's arm, the blue of her eyes turning radioactive in the light of the chronal accelerator.

"Please, just answer the question: are you happy?"

Mei's speech ends, and the crowd dissolves into applause once more. Lena's name is called, but neither woman seems to hear.

Angela feels emotion—ugly and hot—burn at the back of her throat. It blocks her speech, rendering her silent as she awaits judgment.

"Lena," Winston calls softly from further back. "Lena, you're up."

Still, the ex-pilot remains motionless, staring at Angela with wide eyes.

Jack frowns at her continued hesitation. "Lena," he urges her gently. "Are you okay?"

"C'mon, Tracer," McCree murmurs, giving the girl a rough nudge. "Up and at 'em, kid."

Lena snaps her mouth shut, apparently just realizing it had been hanging open in shock.

"I don't know what's going on," she says quietly, stepping away from Angela. "But you're a good person, Doc. Don't let what one person says make you question your life's work, yeah?"

She spares the blonde a final look of worry before turning back around to stroll out onto the stage, grinning and waving as she hailed with thunderous applause.

Angela stands there, her words spinning around and around and around until she flinches as someone lays a hand on her shoulder.

She looks up, bewildered gaze finding the concerned stare of Jack. Reyes is still near the back of the group next to McCree, but he is quite clearly watching her over Jack's shoulder, expression unreadable.

"Doctor," Jack murmurs, voice steady and warm. "Is something wrong?"

The Lacroix couple stands far behind her, but Angela can just catch a glimpse of Amélie's sorrowful gaze.

She focuses back on Jack, lifting a hand to pat his where he holds her shoulder, offering him a small smile.

"I am fine, Jack," she says quietly. "Thank you for asking."

Her name rings out then, and she steps onto the stage, the medals on her chest weighing heavier than they have all day.

-0-

The party is a horrifically boring affair.

Angela explains her work to groups of men and women in uniforms far more official than hers, giving her best effort to put her wildly complicated science into easy, accessible bits, but she can tell from their expression she's absolutely lost them. After three attempts, she simply sequesters herself by the refreshment table, watching her fellow agents do their part.

Lena has a rather large crowd enraptured with old piloting stories, her charming accent and elaborate hand gestures drawing lots of attention. Ana speaks lowly off in the corner with an older woman. Angela notices with a jolt they're examining a sniper rifle, but quickly dismisses the sight. If anyone could get away with bringing in weaponry, it would be Ana Amari.

A presence—large and cold—suddenly settles beside her, but she doesn't look up.

"You okay?" Reyes asks her quietly.

She shakes her head silently, refusing to face him.

He allows this with a small nod. "Then this is the part where you tell me what the fuck's the matter."

She scoffs, turning away. "Then it seems we were given different scripts," she tells him shortly, preparing to walk away.

She gasps as he catches her elbow, hauling her back to his side.

"Excuse me!" she protests, trying to pull away. "What do you think—?"

"It's either me or Jack, Doc," he tells her lowly. "You're spilling your guts to one of us, like it or not. Personally, I'd choose me."

She glowers up at him, tugging her arm from his grip.

"You're biased," she snips.

He shrugs, looking down at her evenly. "So are you."

She frowns at that, but eventually just sighs, dropping her defensive posture.

"Amélie," she begins, twirling the wine flute in her slender fingers. "She and I spoke earlier."

"I saw," Reyes replies. He lifts an eyebrow. "Although I think I'd say argued, and not spoke."

Angela scoffs with dry amusement under her breath, looking down at the glass in her hand.

"Fair enough," she murmurs. They stand in silence for a moment as the party continues to unfold around them. Angela stares resolutely at her drink, and Reyes meets the gaze of an agent who is striding towards them and the refreshment table behind them. One sharp look from Reyes and he's smoothly spinning on his heel and striding away.

"May I ask you something?" she asks quietly.

He downs the rest of his drink. "Shoot."

"Have you ever regretted letting people live?"

Reyes lowers his empty bottle slowly, looking down at her with an unreadable expression.

"Angela." His voice is short and precise—the way he speaks when he's trying to mind himself. "What did you and Amélie talk about?"

"Just answer the question please," she counters.

He frowns, eyes growing dark the way they do when he's distinctly unpleased. "Angela…"

"You said shoot, so I shot," she flings at him, looking up to glare.

He takes her all in, then—her defensive posture, her fisted hands, her shaking voice and harsh tone. She is all of Overwatch's Mercy in this moment, and he surrenders to her anger.

"Yeah," he says quietly. "Yeah, I've got a couple of regrets like that."

She swallows, backing down, anger falling away to reveal guilt. It makes his stomach twist, but he waits to see where she's going with this.

"How do you deal with it?" she asks softly.

He shrugs, blowing out a breath as he lifts his gaze to play absentmindedly across the room. Jack has joined Ana and her friend—probably to scold her for bringing in a live weapon—but his gaze drifts over to the refreshment table every so often, ever-watchful.

"Honestly? I just tell myself I can kill 'em next time." He lifts his hand to scratch at his jaw, and accidentally knocks one of his medals askew in the process. She wordlessly hands him her glass and steps before him to fix it.

Her eyes stay steadfastly attached to his medals as she carefully straightens them.

"Have you ever regretted killing someone?" she asks softly.

He quirks a brow, looking down at her. "Kinda the same question, Doc," he replies lowly.

His medals are perfectly fixed, but her hands still hover near his chest. Neither of them comment on it.

"Would you…" she swallows hard, and his eyes flash to hers, worried she's going to cry and completely unsure on how to stop her without making a goddamn scene, but she just looks up at him, determined.

"Would you ever want to die?"

He stares down at her, and she gazes up at him, and they should have known that they'd never escape this curious purgatory they've created for each other.

"Depends," he allows lowly.

"On?" The word falls sharp and quick.

"On who's still around, I guess," he answers softly.

All around them, the party slowly ends. And when it is finally time to say goodbye, Amélie and Angela exchange sad smiles and a quick hug.

"We'll talk again," Angela murmurs. "About…you know."

"Of course," Amélie replies. "Anytime, my friend. "

One week later, Amélie was kidnaped in broad daylight while walking home with a friend.

One month later, she was found and rescued, brought back to France and put under the protection of Overwatch.

Two weeks after that, she killed Gérard in his sleep and fled.

Reyes and Jack had imminently roused their fiercest fighters, calling for an all-out war against Talon.

Angela stood quietly to the side, feeling lost and alone and unable to shoulder the world of guilt she now carried.


Back at it with the fucking depressing Overwatch fics!

I try to be fun and positive but there are so many interesting things to unravel with these characters. Let me get the angst outta my system and then we can have happy fun times with Overwatch.

A bit of pre-canon fun. I cranked this out in like a day and a half so I hope it holds up. None of my other ideas were getting me anywhere.

If you like it, let me know! If you hated it, let me know!

My main tumblr is midwestern-duchess and my writing dump is dominodebt.

As always, you can feel free to drop me a comment, shoot me an ask, or send up a smoke signal if you wanna chat.

Have a good week, team!