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The Armourer and the Living Weapon

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"Ten standard sets of combination rounds, please."

Widowmaker stood at the equipment requisition window, order chit laid neatly in front of her. It was not necessary - she wasn't to be refused any request for compatible ammunition. But she went through the motions, regardless, as she did for most things.

Emily leaned out the door from her workroom - "I'll handle this, Jax." She rose from her workbench, shooing the ordinance clerk off off to his filing. "Hey, Blue," the armourer said, warmly, leaning forward onto the counter. "How're you doing?"

"Very well, thank you," the sniper said. Of all the rank and file, only Emily Gardner ever asked. But then - she was the only one who didn't fear her. The only one not of the medical staff who had been involved in her creation. The one who built the metal and composite extension of herself - the Widow's Kiss.

"And your counterpart?"

The assassin placed that extension of herself onto the counter.

"Ooooh, yes," Gardner said, pulling out the special silk cloth she used when handling the rifle. "How is she?"

"As beautiful, and deadly, as always."

"Lovely." Emily purred. "I'm looking forward to the overhaul next month."

"As am I," replied the assassin, with a small, special smile.

"I've got something new. Wait here." The armourer ducked back from the counter, and jogged over to the racks, pulling the requested ten sets - then back to a cabinet by her workbench, where she pulled another two.

"Here're your standard rounds," she said, placing them into a neat pile. "Thumb?" She held up a padd, and the assassin confirmed receipt. "And here..." - she placed two other, unmarked boxes, beside the first - "...is something special."

Widowmaker looked at the other boxes, with interest. "So... what are these?"

"Experimental. Take a look." She pulled one box open - standard set configuration for Widowmaker's rifle - and the second box - standard set configuration for her own.

The sniper smirked. "I take it you would like to go out to the range?"

"Yeh," said the weapon's creator, "but that's just part of it. Check the casings."

Widowmaker picked up one of the rounds, freeing it from its holder. It felt fast. She blinked. "...what is this?"

"Hard light. Vishkar-type technology, made very, very small, and very, very hard."

"Incroyable," she breathed. She rolled the round in her palm. Her standard rounds - really, there was very little "standard" about them, not in a real sense, they were all made for her. But this... she could almost feel the kill just holding it. It excited her. "How did you get this?"

Gardner grinned, wickedly. "Little side project of my own. I'm not just an armourer, after all - I'm a materials engineer." She picked the round out of the Widowmaker's palm, rolling it around with her fingertip a little bit, first. "How 'bout it, Blue? You're not on base that often, we don't get many chances - is it a date?"

Widowmaker looked at the hand-built rounds, and felt... warm. "You designed these, all on your own. Just for me."

"I most certainly did," she smiled. "And a set for myself, so we can try them together. If they work out - I can make more." She boxed the two special sets of rounds back up. "My duty shift ends at 16-hundred. I've scheduled two distance lanes. You in?"

The living weapon's golden eyes glittered. "Of course."

-----

"Now," said the armourer, "they are, as you've already guessed, faster. That's the first difference."

The assassin purred, and leaned against the ginger. "How much faster?"

"Muzzle velocity, 1100m/s. About ten percent faster than you're used to.

"Faster than the Finnish arctic rounds. Ooh la la."

Emily leaned up, and nuzzled into the Widowmaker's ear. "But better - they chamber faster. We could adjust the mechanism speed up nearly twenty percent."

"I like you."

"I know. And you haven't even seen the best part."

"Oh?"

"As much as I hate to say 'hands to yourself,' love - let me show you."

Emily brought up the most lifelike target dummy - the one used to show splatter effects - and brought up her own rifle. The testbed for the Widow's Kiss, it was largely similar, but different in small details - including the faster chamber rate, but she didn't see the need to rub that into her beautiful weapon's face.

She fired a single combination shot, into the dummy's head. It did not so much explode, as vaporise. Her breath caught at the beauty of it, and she fired another into the target's chest, and it exploded, target marker flying red everywhere. She shivered at the sight, thrilled - as she knew her counterpart would be, and she looked back over her shoulder, to her left, just in time to see Widowmaker already back against her.

"Give," she demanded. "Now."

"I knew you'd like them."

The blue woman took her cartridges, discarded her current set, and loaded the new rounds. Even without the increased chamber rate, she could feel them moving like ice through her rifle, cold, and fast. She fired three times, instantly feeling alive, reducing the target both to precisely tailored vapour. "...manifique..." she whispered, visibly moved. "We have to get these on live targets."

"I know." Emily put her arms around her blue perfection, resting her head upon the back of her neck. "It's - strictly speaking, it's a distortion, not an explosion, but it has the same effect, and you have none of the downsides of explosive rounds."

"That is a large number of words to use to say devastating."

"Devastating rounds" - she blew gently against the back of Widowmaker's neck - "for a devastating weapon."

"So few, though - shall we make good use of them?"

"Yes," the armourer purred. "Let's."

-----

Emily nuzzled Widowmaker's bare shoulder as they lay together, exhausted, but oh, so deeply satisfied. "I wish I could be out there with you."

Widowmaker raked her fingernails along her lover's breasts, watching her shudder from the roughness of her touch. "They refused, again?"

"Of course." The Englishwoman sighed, after catching her breath again. "I knew they would. I am 'too valuable where and as I am.'"

"The process... would change you. It certainly changed me."

The armourer laughed. "It would change me less - after all, I was part of the template."

"The best part of the template," said the assassin. "But they fear losing your engineering skills?"

"Yeh. I just... oh, love, I miss it. I miss being a field sniper. And knowing how much better I could be, than I was, as you are..." Her hands formed into tight fists, raised to her mouth. "I want it, so much."

Widowmaker took the hands, and opened them, and soothed her lover's brow. "I know. I know. Be calm. I know. Remember - you create me. You are part of every kill I make."

"I know," sighed the ginger. "I just wish we could be together. We would be utterly unstoppable."

"I wonder, sometimes, if more than anything else," murmured the assassin, "that is why they do not allow it."

Emily smirked. It made sense. But she also knew that of all the places in the world she could be, Talon was the best. Talon let her do so much, do so many amazing things, gave her access to so many resources - and paid her well, atop everything else. And she loved it, she truly did. And then, she was able to help create her...

She shook her head. "I have so much. You call that Overwatch girl foolish, but I think I'm the foolish one. I should be happy. And I am."

"But it is not the same."

"No. But it's awfully, awfully good, more than I thought I would ever have, and... it's the best I'll get." She shifted around, resting her head on that strong shoulder. "Kill for me, and I will be satisfied."

Windowmaker laughed, a soft, rolling sound. "I already do. I always, always kill for both of us, ma cherie."

"I love you, so much."

"I know."