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on overcoming the fear of spiders

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Amélie awoke, and bolted upright, screaming, explosions everywhere, firestorm all around her, but not, not at all, it's Venom, they're flames, it's Lena, they're ghosts, it's her, there's fire, it's her, there's radiation, it's her, she's holding on, holding on tight, there's, there's a voice, "Amélie, Amélie, it's me, I'm here, I've got you, it's okay, we're home, we're safe, it's over, Amélie, I'm here, I've got you, you're safe, Amélie, I'm here, I'm here" but she can't understand it, it's noise, it makes no sense, and fire...

The spider's gaze darted around wildly, the web of history in her mind in tatters, torn completely Venom apart, nothing Lena connected to LENA anything nothing to grab onto except LENA IS HERE and then there is a thread, a single, bright thread, glowing, and she grabs it and holds it tight and follows it, her mind skittering desperately, and then her eyes focus, focus on her impossibly beloved Venom, and lock there, she's so bright, glowing, like the strand, like air and sky itself, and she's saying something, she's talking, follow it, follow the thread, she is there and there is not screaming and she is not dead and there is talking, and and and and beloved you're still here we are not dead and those are words and...

"...I've got you. This time, I've got you, I've caught you, you're safe, I'm safe, everyone is safe, I have you and I won't let go, I've caught you, c'mon, come back to me, love, come back..."

and she is holding me and "...you're alive..."

"I'm alive, you're alive, c'mon, Amélie, c'mon love, come back to me..."

"...I'm alive..."

"The whole world is alive, Amélie, we're all alive, Mondatta is alive, everyone, there's no war," - every time she'd briefly awakened before now, it had been screaming or muttering about the war - "everyone is alive..."

"...how? How?! " the spider begged, blindly.

"I think we did it, love," said the younger assassin, shakily, eyes full of tears and radiant in happiness. "The Omnium contacted the UN, they've condemned Null Sector, they want immediate talks... I don't think we started a war, I think we might have stopped one..."

"...my vizor. information. data. I need to know. What. everything. My vizor, please..."

"Here" - Venom grabbed it, and gave it back to Amélie, who put it on her head, throwing it onto raw data collection, a fleet of screens and audio all at once, one locked on Venom, the rest a cacophony of everything, to anyone else complete noise, but to Amélie, the air in which she built her everything, as she gasped, panting, almost hyperventilating, a second strand, rebuilt, a third, rebuilt, a fourth, "don't let go, don't let go," she said, "I never will," Venom replied, pieces coming together, Omnium statements confirmed, UN acceptance and a statement welcoming talks, meetings already tentatively set, Tekhartha Mondatta himself to moderate, his brother Tekhartha Zenyatta as advisor to the human delegation, and...

"we..."

A singularity, passed. A zero moment, in time, the would-be end of everything...

"...skipped..." Jinked past, avoided, now gone...

...and the web reformed, anew. "...over."

"Turn, turn on... where am I?" she asked. "Are there screens? Turn them on. All feeds. All of them. I can get more that way, if we're where I think we are."

Venom all but collapsed in relief. She's back this time, she thought. She picked up Amélie's padd and brought up all the screens, filled with text and vision and too much audio for her to follow, and Amélie took off her vizor and just absorbed, enraptured, in wonder.

We skipped over, Amélie LaCroix thought, half an hour later, while still taking in the onslaught, sorting it, compiling it. We skipped over what? Over... the end of the world? Perhaps. Perhaps the beginning of the end, perhaps that... She closed her eyes, still listening, contemplating the shifts in the web that had distorted itself, abruptly, back in the summer of 2068, all those years ago, when one particular strand first broke, that strand, healed at last, that web, reshaping itself, here, now, in 2076 - finally, again, made whole.

Eventually, eyes again open, she began to speak, slowly. "I... I couldn't see it," she whispered. "I ... there was... a zero moment. A singularity, perhaps. So much worse than I knew. I couldn't see it, I couldn't see past it, I couldn't see... this, this... wonderment." Her voice shaking, she turned to her lover. "Am I alive? Is this real?"

Venom hugged her beloved spider tight. "You're alive, love. So is everyone. Literally no one was hurt. And it's all real." She sniffed, glowing now with relief. "Are you put back together enough, can you stand it if I show you just one thing?"

"Yes," said Amélie.

Lena paused most of the feeds, and threw up a single article, from the Times of London, with a frame from CCTV video showing two heroes dramatically attacking the Detonator up close and personal, mid-fall - one unknown, one tentatively identified as Lena "Tracer" Oxton, formerly of Overwatch, long believed to be dead. The caption above screamed, "THE HEROES OF OLD LONDON," and the one below, "Tekhartha Mondatta Saved From Assassination."

Heroes, the Widowmaker thought. Heroes.

The spider staggered, the impact of the word knocking her back on the couch. "This... this is impossible." She wiped her eyes, thoughts racing ahead, tracing through new threads. "There is still... there is still no guarantee. The world will still need tending, there are still strands leading to fire, but... but..." She breathed. "So fewer now..." She turned to her love, her head tilted, dismay and relief fighting for dominance within her. "...you did it. You were... you were... correct. You've..." she could barely make words, "I do not think you just stopped a war - I think you saved the world."

"No," said Venom. "Look at it. Read it." She turned Widowmaker's head back to the story, pulling herself against her lover. "We did it. We saved the world."

"But, I would have..."

"But you didn't," Lena insisted. "You saved me. You saved me twice. You did all the hard work already. All I had to do now was be there, to tell you. All you had to do was listen. You made the choice not to shoot." She zoomed the view in, just to the picture. "And then you and I both, against... all this... we saved Mondatta. Together. Two humans, two bloody assassins, saved an Omnic leader from almost certain death. And everyone in the whole wide world saw it."

"And that was all it took?" asked Amélie Lacroix, half laughing, tears spilling from her eyes.

"Just that? That little thing? Not hardly." Lena Oxton laughed as well, and kissed her beloved blue spider's tears away. "But you have to admit, it's a hell of a start."

The senior assassin sniffed, and smiled openly, and then looked back up to the story. "They identified you - not just that, they called you 'Tracer.' Does the Official Secrets Act somehow not apply here?"

Venom shugged. "Not sure. I think it would. But even if it didn't - the Forces confirmed the name. It's been up for hours now." She bit her lower lip.

"They are making you an offer, are they not?" suggested the Widowmaker.

"'Come home, all is forgiven,'" former Flying Officer Oxton replied, "that sort of thing? That what you mean?"

The senior assassin nodded. "Yes."

"Yeh. I think so," said the younger assassin, thoughtfully. "And that... that could be useful."