"It's not easy to explain," said Lena Oxton, and chewed a bit on her lower lip. "I don't even know what I'm trying to explain."
Emily Oxton - she'd taken Lena's name, something terribly old-fashioned, but she still had biological family, and Lena didn't - gripped her wife's hand at the little two-person table in their small London kitchen. "I don't know why," she said. "You care about her. You care about everybody."
"Heh," the teleporter snorted. "Not everybody."
"Just about everybody," said the aeronautics engineer, booping her wife on the nose. "Don't deny it."
Lena looked down at the remnants of her breakfast, picked up her fork, and smiled a little. "I guess I'll own up to that, but..."
"But it's her," said Emily. "The assassin. The one you couldn't stop. The murderer of Mondata."
"Yeah." Lena scowled, and scooped up the last of the beans with the last of the toast, and threw it into her mouth. She swallowed, and continued, "Why... why her? I thought... how can I forgive her that? Why would I forgive her that?" She stared down at her plate. "It's all complicated, and I'm not a complicated person, love. I don't get it and I don't like it."
Emily played around a bit with her bread, mopping up the runny egg yolk with the blackened toast, and smiled. "Why? Seriously?"
Lena tilted her head, as Emily downed the last of her egg, and swallowed, before continuing. "Because something happened to her that she had absolutely no control over and didn't ask for and didn't want, and it changed her even more than the Slipstream changed you. That's why."
Tracer dropped her fork.
"I thought it was obvious," giggled Emily. "Come on, sweet, is that really so hard?"
The Overwatch agent's gape turned into a look of adoration, and she laughed, softly, a couple of times, and had she had just a touch more self-awareness, she'd've recognised it as almost exactly the laugh which had been the Widowmaker's first real thought, but that wasn't the sort of person she was, so she didn't. She leaned forward, putting her forehead against her wife's. "How do you do that?"
"Oh," snorted the redhead, "like you're hard to read?"
Lena closed her eyes. "C'mon, love, I'm not that transparent."
"You are and you know it."
Lena leaned back, and waved her own objections away. "All right, all right..."
Emily refilled both their teacups. "But that's not what's eating at you." She put the pot back down. "It's the other bit."
Lena added sugar and cream, and stirred the mix together. Lena always took sugar and cream. Emily took neither. "Yeah. I... dunno. I dunno if I can deal with it."
"Which?" asked Emily, before taking a quick sip of her second cup. "Help her figure this out - or deal with her at all?"
"T'be honest, a bit a both. I hate her. Or... I did. But I don't. I..." Lena threw up her hands in exasperation, then rested her head on her palms.
"But you don't, now, do you." It was a statement.
"No," agreed Lena, sounding a little ashamed. "And I feel... like I should feel bad about that."
"A little. I feel like I'm betraying Mondatta's memory. Like I, I, I've just decided I'm fine with all that? But I'm not. Even Zenyatta's not, no matter what he says, and he's a bloody Shambali monk."
"And meanwhile, you can't turn away."
"I can't. I ... I don't even want to. What's wrong with me?"
Emily reached over and took her partner's hands in her own. "Not a single, solitary thing. You're you, and this is the most you thing I can imagine." She stood a little and leaned forward and kissed her wife, gently, on the lips. "You'll help anybody if they want it. I think it's wonderful."
Lena closed her eyes and smiled through the kissing, and after they were done, said, "I love you, you know."
"I got the idea 'bout when we got married." Emily kissed her again, and booped her nose a second time.
Tracer flopped back on her chair dramatically, arms splayed as if knocked back, grinning for a moment. Then her serious expression returned as she leaned forward again. "But what can I do? Why'd she open up to me? I'm not a doc, or even a therapist - I'm a pilot. It's not like I'm some kind of expert."
Emily tipped back into her chair, in turn, and took another sip of her tea. "She's got experts already, though. Maybe what she wants is... I think I was going to say sympathy, but maybe it's not sympathy. The way she latched onto that character in that video game - maybe it's empathy. Maybe... maybe she's learning empathy again."
Tracer hunched down, thought about it hard, and slowly bobbed her head. "That kinda fits, yeah. She's like that game character in one way, who's like me in other ways, and I'm kinda like her... in... life-altering trauma?"
"So, show her empathy, then. Show her she's not alone."
"But she is. I wasn't built, not like her. Nobody else was, 'sfar as we know."
"Maybe not, but - she's latched on to you. Maybe it's the shared trauma. Maybe you're the closest she's got."
"It doesn't seem like much."
"When all you've had is nothing," Emily said, smiling wanly, "...a little can feel like a hell of a lot."
Tracer just hehed.
"She likes you. And you like her, too."
Tracer's frustration came out in her tone, if not her words. "...I guess I do." She put her hands over her head. "I'm a fool."
"I'm fine with that, you know." Emily smiled, taking Tracer's hands off of her head. "Who's the bigger fool, the fool or the fool who marries her?"
Lena laughed, weakly. "Oh god, love, what've I got myself into?"
"As long as it stops you from being in her literal sights? I don't care. I'll take it."
"I'm not selfish, not really, but I'm selfish enough to want you alive more than anything else in the world. If this means there's one less assassin after you, I'm for it." She squeezed her wife's hands tight. "And I don't feel bad about it at all."
Emily leaned back in her chair. "She can even move in here if it'll help stop that."
Tracer laughed, this time, not weakly at all. "Like that'll happen."
Emily giggled. "I know, right?"
The two leaned over and kissed again. "I feel better," said Lena. "Thanks, love."
"Good, 'cause I have to get to work." She got up and grabbed her purse and bag. "See you tonight?"