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Kickstart my Heart

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It had simply begun as a mutual pining. When the second season of Apex Legends rolled around, and Natalie had been added to the roster, they were placed in a group together. The bright ray of sunshine, happily placing her pylon and zapping her teammates when they needed a hand, and the dark and brooding skirmisher, sprinting along with the shadows and throwing her dagger from afar. Bloodhound was there too, making sure to keep them in line. And boy did they have to work hard to keep the team in shape. The women couldn’t help but pine, in and out of the games.

Both of them weren’t brave enough to confront their feelings, let alone each other, but they still did what they could. Natalie pinged syringes and shield cells. Wraith would always be one step ahead with a well-timed sniper shot. It wasn’t much, but it was enough. For now.

Half the season passes, and suddenly Renee’s small crush turns into a burning desire for the other woman. Every time they make eye contact with each other, a jolt of electricity seems to run down her spine. She can’t help but watch her while she trains, her eyes linger on all of the right places while the younger woman boxes. During the games, she finds herself easily distracted whenever the static defender is remotely near her, to the point where she misses her shots. Wraith never misses a shot. And Bloodhound had noticed.

“Is there something the matter with you.” They asked. The team was riding back to headquarters after a painful loss. Wraith had missed the winning shot, yet again, and ended up giving away their position. It was a gorey demise.

Natalie had fallen asleep, her head resting on Bloodhound’s shoulder, and Wraith couldn’t help but look over at her longer than she should have. “I’m fine.” She muttered, picking at her thumbnail idly. 

“Why do you lie. You know I can tell.” Their goggles seemed to shine as they stared unblinking at the skirmisher. 

“What’s it to you.” She grumbled. “I’m not bothering you, am I?”

“Actually, it is quite bothersome.” They said. “When your problem affects how you perform in the games, then it becomes my problem.”

Renee clenched her jaw as her thumb began to bleed. She felt bad. They didn’t need to lose time after time due to her childish pining. Ever since the start of season 2, Bloodhound had been the one to carry them, and they were the only reason they won anything, to begin with. 

“I...I’m in love...with…” Renee started, her pale cheeks glowing red with blush. 

Bloodhound remained unmoving. “With who. Speak up.”

“With…” She glanced over at Natalie’s sleeping form. The girl had begun to softly snore.

Bloodhound looked down at the girl resting on their shoulder, then back at Wraith. “Oh.” They tapped a finger against their gas mask. “This is a bit of a predicament.”

“You’re telling me.” The skirmisher sighed. “I’m sorry, Bloodhound, I know you try your best to win, but...I’m just holding you back.”

“Yes, you are. It’s quite annoying.” They said. “If you don’t get your act together, I will make you pay.”

Renee knew that they weren’t kidding. “I don’t know how to...fix this.” She muttered, she gestured to herself. “I-I haven't felt something like this in forever. I just...everytime I’m around her, I just...get all nauseous and shaky, and…”

“I would say confess to her, but I do not want the two of you getting distracted by each other during a match.” They sighed, their shoulders slumping just a bit. “But I suppose it can’t be worse than now.”

“How do you even know if she’ll...accept me…” She rubbed the drops of blood away from her thumb and started picking nervously again. “What if...she doesn’t.”

“Of course she likes you, you dumb lesbian.” They chuckled hoarsely. “She’s been doing just as shitty as you have. She can’t aim, she can’t place her fences right, hell, she trips over her own feet when she’s around you.”

Renee is silent. “I...guess I haven’t noticed.”

They scoff. “I’m not surprised. You are too caught up in your feelings to notice anything, quite frankly.”

“Do you think...I have a chance.” She asked.

“Well, I’m no relationship expert, but I think you do.” They tilted their head slightly, making the beads hanging from their mask clink against each other. “And even if you don’t have a chance, do it anyway. Because I can’t lose another game, Renee.” 

She thought for a second, staring at the blood dripping down the pad of her thumb. “Okay. I will.”

Bloodhound nodded, looking away from Renee. “Good.” It was quiet for a moment until the tracker spoke up again. “I think you two would look cute together.”

Renee smiled softly and bumped her shoulder against Bloodhound's. “Thanks, Houndy.”

They nodded. “Never call me that ever again...Wraithy.”

 

As soon as they had gotten back, Renee set to work planning on what to say. She looked at herself in the mirror, and smoothed her long hair back and out of her eyes. “Hey, I think your...shockingly sexy…”

Is that the best you got. That sucked. You're never going to get her.

She scoffed. “Do you guys have anything better?”

Hey little mama, lemme take you to bed. Lemme throw you in a portable, but it's a portal to my heart. You’re hot. 

“You think you're better at this than me? We’re the same person.”She can't remember how to flirt. Hell, she can't even remember if she ever knew how to flirt.

She’s training right now, you know she always does after losing a game.

“So?”

Go to her. Tell her how you feel. Plus you know she looks good in a sports bra. 

“I can’t do that.” Her pale cheeks flushed. “I'm ...afraid.”

Don’t be a coward. You're not afraid of anything. Why be afraid of this. Remember what Bloodhound said.

They were right about that, she couldn’t let Bloodhound down again. And what did she have to lose? “Everything...I have everything to lose…” She muttered, but she grabbed her jacket anyway and started out the door to the training facility.

The training facility was a large warehouse-like section of the Legends Center, full of weights, balls, hoops, training dummies, treadmills, bikes, shooting ranges, hand-to-hand combat simulations, and other useful tools to keep the Legends in tip-top shape. Natalie Paquette was in one of the boxing rings, beating at the punching bag hanging in front of her. Her short blonde hair was pulled back into a small ponytail, her non-prosthetic hand was wrapped to protect her knuckles. Renee could see the sweat glistening on the younger woman’s back even from where she was standing. 

Natalie was too caught up in viciously attacking the bag to notice the skirmisher, throwing punch after punch, muscles tightening, droplets of sweat flying every which way. The voices in her head were right, the younger woman was indeed in a sports bra as well as a pair of sweatpants, and what a sight it was. Everything about her looked soft and huggable, as well as tight and muscular when she tightened for a punch. Renee was mesmerized by the sight.

Finally, when the defender took a break for water, she noticed the other woman. Natalie smiled sweetly at Renee, making something flutter in her stomach. 

“Renee, what a pleasant surprise, mon amie .” She squeezed herself in between the ropes on the ring to stand closer to the skirmisher. “What is up?”

“Um…” She watched a little too closely as the electrician wiped the sweat off her forehead with a towel, her red cheeks bringing out the spatter of freckles on her face even more than usual. “I...uh just wanted to talk.”

She smiled. “Sure! What about?”

Just tell her. “Oh, I don’t know...stuff?” No.

“Stuff?” Natalie tilted her head.

“Yeah, stuff.” Just talk to her idiot. “Like, boxing? Why do you do it when we lose? If...you don’t mind me asking.”

“Oh, um, I don’t know, I guess I just do it to improve. I also feel better when I let off some steam.” She giggled and flexed one of her arms. “These arms don’t just happen overnight, no?”

Renee gulped, her mouth suddenly feeling very dry, and nodded. Stay focused. Stay focused. “Uh...we’ve been losing a lot lately haven’t we…” Way to make her feel bad. Run away now.

Natalie’s face seemed to grow redder, whether, from her workout or something else, Renee couldn’t tell. “Ah, I’ve just been a bit distracted lately, I suppose. I haven’t been at the top of my game.” Her shoulders slumped slightly. “I feel bad for mon amie Bloodhound, they try so hard, but I just slow them down.”

Renee sighed. “I know what you mean. I’ve been...distracted too.” 

The electrician stared at the skirmisher with curious, and...almost hopeful eyes. “By what, Renee?”

Do it, it’s time. Just say it. Do it. There were so many different scenarios running through her head, so many outcomes, but she just had to do it. She may be rusty, but it was for her sake and Bloodhound’s. There’s no turning back. “By...someone.”

Natalie tilted her head. “Someone? Why is this person distracting you so?”

Her heart thudded in her chest. “They’re insanely cute, smart, and kind-hearted...and I can’t keep my eyes off them.”

Natalie stared at her for a long moment…”You like...Bloodhound…”

A cold wave of terror rushed over her Renee’s body. “What, no, it’s a she, I was just trying to be ambiguous, uh-” You idiot. Stop speaking.

The defender sighed. “Ah...Well...I’m distracted by somebody too.” She took a timid step towards the older woman. “She’s gorgeous and mysterious, and one of the bravest people I know…”

Do it. What do you have to lose? “Oh...what’s her name?”

Whatever courage the defender had left her body in an instant, and she hid her face in her hands and mumbled something unintelligible.

Wait it's happening. What's she doing? What's wrong with her?

The skirmisher couldn't process what was happening, but she could feel her face heat up. “W-what.”

The blonde groaned and buried her face in the older woman’s chest, startling her. “It’s you, bête .” Her arms wrapped tightly around the smaller woman in an almost spine crushing hug.

You did it. You actually did it, you idiot.

Renee couldn’t help but smile as she ran her fingers through the loose strands of her hair. “I’m distracted by you too, Natalie.” 

The younger girl peeked up at the woman, her blue eyes bright and her ears reddening. “You are?” The skirmisher nodded, and Natalie hid her face again, but she could feel her smile against the fabric of her shirt.

Renee couldn’t help but feel relieved, all of this time she was worried for nothing, all of this time she was at fault for losing in the games. She felt bad for Bloodhound, but right now she was too overjoyed. Overjoyed for the first time in what seems like forever. She never thought she would be capable of caring for someone like she did for Natalie. Her heart didn’t race unless it was in battle, but right now it was going 100 miles a minute. Not only was she excited about the chance of being with an amazing woman, she could...have a chance to be normal again. Tears welled in her eyes, but she wiped them away hastily, not wanting to ruin the moment. “Do...you want to go on a date with me? It’s fine if you don’t-”

“YES, uh, yes.” Her head shot up as soon as the words left the skirmisher’s mouth. “Uh, I would love to, chérie.” She smiled at the girl sweetly. 

Renee couldn’t help but grin like an idiot. “Yeah, uh cool. That sounds...good. Uh...not right now, but soon?”

“Yes, of course, whenever you would like.” Natalie was backing up nervously, the smile on her face just as giddy as the older woman’s. “I’m up for anything.”

“Uh, good, I’ll think of something..” Will you think of something? You might do something stupid. Take her to dinner. Take her to a movie. Streaming and chill. “Uh, I’ll let you get back to, uh, your boxing, uh...it was good talking...with you.” You are so smooth.

“Yes, uh, I will go do that. I will see you around.” Natalie stumbled her way back onto the boxing ring, scrambling in between the ropes. Renee couldn’t help but giggle when the younger woman caught her foot on one, making her trip. 

Giggling. You haven't done that in a while.

“I will, uh, see you later, Natalie.” The skirmisher turned to walk away, and just as she was about to leave the training facility, she heard the defender start to sing. She couldn’t make out the french lyrics, but her clear, gorgeous voice echoed across the concrete walls. When the older woman turned to look at her, she had her arms wrapped around the punching bag and was swinging it around in a dancing motion. 

Renee smiled again, her heart fluttering in her chest. She didn’t know how Natalie had managed to capture her attention, but she did. They were opposites, but opposites attract, she supposes. The young dorky woman had somehow kickstarted Renee’s heart. And boy, did it feel good to have it beating again.

Chapter Text

It had been two days since Renne had seen Natalie, two days after she asked the younger woman out. She didn’t know if she was avoiding Natalie out of fear of being rejected, or out of fear of...feeling. Since she had confessed, she had felt...better. She didn’t know how to describe it...but she had a spring in her step wherever she walked, and the smallest of smiles on her face when she was lost in thought. 

“Whoa, Blasey, what’s wrong,” Elliot asked, bewildered when he passed the other Legend in the hall. “You NEVER smile, not even for my jokes! What...happened to you?”

“Well, that’s because your jokes suck.” She muttered. “And, I don’t know, I guess I’m just in a good mood.”

Elliot stared at her, before bursting out laughing. “You? In a good mood?” He doubled over, laying a hand on Renee’s shoulder for stability as he wheezed. “Wow. That’s a good one.”

“I’m not joking.” She said. When the trickster looked up at the woman and found her stoney faced and unamused, he stopped.

“Oh. Is, uh, everything okay?” He said, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly.

“Yes. Why would I be smiling if things were bad, Elliot.”

“Because I’ve never seen…” He paused for a moment before a sly smile grew on his face.

“What?” Silence. “Stop looking at me like that, what?”

“You’re in looooooooove.” He said, leaning forward and narrowing his eyes at the woman. “Somebooooodys got a crush.”

Her face started to burn. “N-no, I don’t, shut the hell up.” She tried to step past him, but he was adamant about blocking the skirmisher’s path.

“Nope. You’re not getting away ‘til you spill the tea, sis.” He said, extending his arms out on either side of her to block the hallway. 

She grumbled. “Fine. I might have a teensy crush on someone...And I might...have a date with them soon…”

Elliot gasped, squealing in excitement. “Yes! I knew it! Tell me everything. Who is it? Is it one of the Legends? Where are you taking them? When is it? What are you-”

“Goodbye Elliot,” Renee said before phasing out of existence and voidwalking past the man and around the corner. She had to get ready for today’s game.

 

As she put on her arena gear, she couldn’t help but feel nervous. This was the first time she’s seen Natalie in a few days. She didn’t want things to be awkward with her. The skirmisher didn’t know if her feelings changed, or if she liked her anymore, or if she somehow managed to grow to hate her in the past 48 hours. That last one she couldn’t bear to think about. And then there was Bloodhound. Renee wanted more than anything to do well and finally win a game; she wouldn't disappoint the tracker again. But...how could she not be distracted by….

No. Keep your head in the game. You must win. 

Renee ran a hand through her hair and took a deep breath. “You’re right. I gotta stay focused. Just focus on the game today. Then you’ll take her out on a nice date tomorrow.” 

Her heart skipped a beat just thinking about it.

 

Approaching the dropship, Natalie couldn’t help but feel nervous. Her palms were sweating, her face was flushed, and her stomach was doing backflips in her abdomen. 

She couldn’t wait to see Renee. 

Ever since the two had shared that moment in the training facility, she couldn’t think of anything else. She just wanted to cuddle up next to the older woman and smooch her face, and run her fingers through her long black hair, and kiss her neck, and-

Her heart stopped. There she was. Already sat next to Bloodhound on the ship, waiting to take off. 

Bonté moi… ” She whispered, gulping softly as she stepped onto the platform. As the defender went to sit next to Bloodhound, Renee locked eyes with the younger girl. Immediately the skirmisher’s face flushed bright red, even the tips of her ears going crimson. Natalie felt her face heat up.

Bonjour, Renee...Bloodhound.” The blonde sat down, her eyes still trained on the other woman. 

“Hey...Natalie…” She murmured, finally breaking eye contact, to stare down at her lap. “Nice to, uh, see you.”

“Nice to see you too, mon chérie .”

Bloodhound looked over at Renee, then towards Natalie. They sighed audibly and put their head in their hands. “Allfather, give me strength.”

 

As the squad approached their destination, the tension between the team grew. Wraith didn’t want to let down Bloodhound, and neither did Wattson. And Bloodhound for Allfather’s sake just wanted a win for once. When the back hatch on the ship finally opened, Wattson felt her heart drop. This game felt different from the other ones, it could have been the high stakes or the fact that her and Wraith…

“Keep it together Natalie…” She muttered, her voice muffled as the wind whipped through the ship.

“We are going there.” They pointed towards Artillery approaching in the distance.

Oui .” Just do your best. You got this. The blonde chewed on her lip nervously, her heart going from fast into overdrive. She felt her knees give out, and she sunk to the floor. “...I don’t got this...I can't ...It's so loud-” It was happening again. The sounds filled her head and her heart, as did the fear of screwing up. She was going to let down Bloodhound and even worse, Wraith. Wattson wanted to do well, but it was just...so loud...

“Hey…” A soothing voice rung out clear against the rushing of the wind. Wraith, Renee, had her hand outstretched to her, a small smile softened her features. “You do got this…’cause we got your back... I got your back.” 

Wattson stared at the woman for a long moment. Her ears were ringing and there were tears welling in her eyes...but she grabbed her hand and was pulled back to her feet.

“You got this, Natalie.” She said as she intertwined their fingers tightly, squeezing her gloved hand. “ We got this.”

And then they jumped, hand in hand, with their masked guide leading the way. It was an easy game after that. They got the loot, they got the kills, and they got the win.

And they did it together.

Chapter Text

Today was the day. Natalie was thrumming with electricity as she dug through her closet for a nicer assortment of clothes. Her hair was styled, she had just a touch of makeup, and her breath was as fresh as it could be after falling asleep without brushing her teeth the night before. Not her smartest move. 

“Now, let’s see what we have here, oui ?” She muttered, sticking the tip of her tongue out idly. “Too covering...too sparkly...too...sensually…” A pink blush tinted her cheeks. “That’s for later.” She giggled. “Ah!”

She pulled a baby blue sundress out of her closet. It was adorned with bright yellow sunflowers, and if she paired it with some cute shoes… “ Oui , this could work!”

Natalie looked at herself in the mirror and smiled. She looked pretty damn good. It may have been October, and the weather was growing cold, but hell if she was going to pass up on the opportunity to look this adorable. But would Renee think she was cute? She bit the tip of her thumb timidly. “It’s fine. If she likes you enough to ask you out, then she’ll like you in just a dumb dress.” Natalie huffed as she dug through the clutter of her room, searching for her purse. “Why don’t I clean more.” Because she spends all of her spare time researching and tinkering that's why. Researching and tinkering or sleeping. Researching or tinkering or sleeping or fighting. And maybe eating when she remembers. The defender sighs. “I need to get out more.” At last she finds her purse and bolts out the door, dreading being late for her date.

 

Renee was getting nervous, for the umpteenth time that day. She was too nervous to go to sleep (although that wasn’t new), nervous coming out of the shower, nervous picking out her clothes, nervous as she walked down the street, and nervous standing in front of the cafe waiting for the young french girl to arrive. It had been five minutes past the time they agreed to meet up, and already too many scenarios were running through her head about why Natalie was late.

Hit by a train. Died in her sleep. Got lost. Got kidnapped. Was scheduled for a game without me. Slept in. Forgot about. And worst of all: She stood me up. The woman wrapped herself in her scarf tighter against the cool breeze. “She’ll be here any second. If not, I’ll leav-”

Bonjour chérie !” A pleasant voice broke through her sea of nasty thoughts, and she turned to see Natalie approaching her, out of breath. “ Désolé , please forgive me, I misplaced my purse among all of my clutter.” She giggled, covering her mouth with her hand. “I hope I am not too late?” 

Renee didn’t expect her to come at all, let alone come looking so...adorable. Her blue dress fluttering in the wind, her short blonde hair curled only slightly, and her white flats made her look...incredible. The skirmisher felt very underdressed in her simple sweater, ripped jeans and messy bun. 

“No, i-it’s okay, you’re right on time.” She said, trying not to stare too obviously at the younger girl. Don’t be a wimp. Be brave.

“Ah, good.” She smiled and looked the older woman up and down. “My, Renee, you look nice today! It’s always nice to see you when your not in your arena clothes, ma belle .” She bumped her shoulder against the other woman.

“Ah, thank...thank you, Natalie.” She mumbled. Come on, you can do better. The skirmisher looped her arm through Natalie’s and leaned against her. “And you look just as beautiful too.” 

The defender’s face went red, and she lost whatever courage she managed to muster up. “ Oui, arrête ça , you’re making me blush.” She hid her face with one hand and batted Renee’s shoulder with the other.

Renee couldn’t help but smile. “It’s true though. I think you’re beauty is…” She leaned in close to her ear. “...shocking.”

“Oh, l' âne , stop that.” She laughed and pushed the older woman away playfully. 

“Watt, it’s true. You’re so gorgeous it hertz.”

“No, stop, cease, that’s not funny.” She said, giggling so hard she snorted. 

Cute. “Fine, but there’s more where that came from,” Renee said with a grin, taking the other woman’s arm in hers again. “And you didn’t need to bring your purse you know. I’m paying for the coffee.”

“Ah, no way, I can’t allow you to do that,” Natalie said, leading the way into the cafe. “At least let me pay for half.”

The older woman shook her head. “Nope, not going to happen, Nat.”

The blonde puffed out her cheeks. “Let me leave the tip?” Renee looked at her and raised her eyebrows. “Fine. But I’m paying next time, Vous crétin .”

Next time. Next time. Next time.  

Those words echoed in Renee’s brain for longer than they should have.

 

“Ahhh.” Natalie sighed as she sat down at a small table inside the cafe. “I needed this.” She took a sip of her coffee and allowed her shoulders to relax. “I must confess, I stayed up much longer than I should have last night.”

Renee took a sip of her drink and hummed in agreement. “I know what you mean. I didn’t get much sleep either.” 

“Ah, were you to working tirelessly in your bedroom researching electricity and how to harness its power?” She said, leaning forward eagerly.

Renee couldn’t help but chuckle. “Not quite.”

“I guess it’s just me then...what were you doing up so late then, mon chéri ?” She tilted her head curiously.

Thinking about you. Thinking about you. Thinking about you.

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I just have trouble sleeping. I don’t get much of it.”

Natalie smiled carefully. “Me either.”

They stared at each other for a long moment - sky blue piercing pale blue - until Renee started chuckling. “That’s not a very good habit to have, is it?”

The defender laughed, running a hand through her hair. “No, I suppose not.” She was silent for a moment. “How...do you cope with it?”

“Cope with what?”

She shrugged, smiling shyly. “I don’t know, nevermind.” She giggled nervously. “It’s a stupid question-”

Renee’s hand flew across the table and took the younger woman’s hand in her own. “Natalie. Nothing you have to say is stupid to me.”

Surprised, the blonde’s cheeks started burning. “Uh...I don’t know...how do you, uh cope, with the...the loneliness.” Her grip on the skirmisher’s hand suddenly tightened. “Not that I’m assuming or anything, uh, eh, whenever I see you, you just look so lonely, and I never see you outside of the games too frequently unless it’s at training or by chance, and I just-”

“Natalie.” She cut the girl’s rambling off with a soft voice. “I’m not offended by the question.” 

“Are you sure?” She asked timidly. 

“Yes.” She said with a smile as she laced their fingers together. “I...I don’t know. I guess I don’t cope with it, because I...want to be alone . I always...distance myself I guess. It’s just something I learned to do.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, why do you distance yourself.” Natalie looked concerned and curious at the same time.

Renee smiled sadly. “I guess...when I first began adjusting to life outside of the...facility, I was afraid...that I may lash out at somebody. I was still understanding my powers, and I didn’t want to accidentally hurt anybody…”

Natalie chewed on her lip. “But...why keep isolating yourself even now, chérie ?”

“...I was created as a weapon, Natalie...and weapons hurt people…” She squeezed the younger girl’s hand, and she squeezed back softly. “I’ve seen so many different realities, so many different versions of myself...I’ve seen them do things...I don’t want to become like them…”

Natalie looked like she was about to cry. “I’m so sorry I shouldn’t have asked. I’m sorry if I brought up anything traumatic for you-”

“No, Natalie, I want you to feel like you can ask me things.” She says, going to hold the other girl’s hand. “This is the first time someone’s asked me something like this...and it feels good to...talk about it.” It did feel good getting that bombshell off her chest. She didn’t feel like she had to hide anymore. Well, from Natalie, at least. 

The blonde chewed on her lip nervously. “Okay…” She squeezed the older woman’s hands. “I...just want you to know...that, uh...I don’t think you’re a weapon…”

“Nat-”

“And, whatever you saw in other realities doesn’t have to happen in this one, because you’re so much better than the other ones.” She blurted out, cutting the older woman off. “You’re better than them. You’re brave and independent, and smart, and even though you don’t show it all the time, you’re so, so kind. And I don’t think you would ever do anything to hurt the people you love.”

Renee was silent as she pulled her scarf up to hide her face partially. “Do…” Her quiet voice was muffled slightly. “Do you...mean that…?”

“Of course, mon ange, ” Natalie said. She scooted her chair along the side of the table until she was sitting right next to the older woman, and intertwined their fingers again. “That’s why I admire you so. I think you’re all of those things and much, much more.” She brought Renee's hand to her lips and planted a kiss on one of her knuckles. “You’re a wonderful person, Renee…”

Danger. Hide. She’s cute. Danger. Vulnerability.

The skirmisher’s face was on fire at this point - the knuckle kiss really set her off - and she hid her face completely. “Ah, jeez…” 

The defender’s face went pink when she realized what she had done. “Ah, pardon , that might have been going a bit far…forgive me?” When the older woman refused to reveal her face, Natalie smiled and pulled the scarf down just a bit so she could see her eyes. “I’m sorry, Renee, did I embarrass you?” The skirmisher nodded her head. Cute… “Do you want to leave?” Again, she nods. “Alright…” 

Soon they were walking along the sidewalk back towards the Legend’s Center, taking their unfinished coffee with them. Despite Renee’s protests, Natalie left a perfectly calculated tip on the table. They walked side by side in silence, occasionally bumping shoulders with one another.

Renee noticed the other woman was shivering slightly. “Are you cold?” 

“Ah, well, maybe a little bit.” She chuckled as she rubbed her arms. “It probably wasn’t the best idea to wear a dress in this weather, but…” She trailed off, her face growing red.

“But...what?” Renee smirked.

“But...I wanted to look cute for you…” She mumbled, covering her face with her hands.

Cute. Cute. Cute.

“Well, your right, it’s not the most practical choice...I do think you look pretty cute…” She unraveled her scarf from around her neck. “Here-” The skirmisher stopped Natalie so she could tie the scarf around the other woman’s neck. “It’s not much but it’s something.”

Natalie’s eyes seemed to sparkle as she stared down at Renee’s scarf. “...thank you…” It really wasn’t much, but it warmed every inch of the defender’s body instantly.

“Of course, wouldn’t want you to freeze to death.” She took the girl’s hand in hers and began walking again. “And...you look adorable all bundled up like that…”

Now it was Natalie’s turn to hid her face in the scarf.

 

By now they were nearing the Center, but neither of them wanted the day to end just yet. They sat down on a bench in a nearby park and watched the orange and yellow leaves falling from the trees. The two made idle conversation for what felt like an hour, maybe two, laughing at each other's jokes, smiling at endearing stories, and blushing at cleverly worded compliments - the latter of the three happening more often than the rest.

As they talked it got darker, and most of the passerbyers were long gone, but the two of them were still there. They lapsed into silence, enjoying the calming quiet. Natalie had even rested her head on the older woman’s shoulder as she watched the leaves flutter in the breeze.

“How do you do it.” Renee suddenly said.

Natalie lifted her head to look at the older woman. “ Pardon ? Do what?”

The skirmisher was hesitant. “Cope...with the loneliness.” 

The blonde sat up completely now, a soft smile graced her features. “Ah...I should have known I would be asked this…” She picked at the skirt idly, thinking for a moment. “I guess...I bury myself in my work. Don’t get me wrong, plaire , I love researching and creating, it’s my one true passion…” She trailed off.

“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, Nat,” Renee said quietly.

“No, I want to, ah, it’s just hard to put into words, yes?” The skirmisher nodded. “But, uh, ever since Papa...he was my lab partner. And we would always work together, day and night, all hours of the day. And we would create such magnificent things, and we studied things that no one could even begin to understand…” She took a shaky breath. “After he was gone, I felt stuck. I couldn’t work by myself. Nothing got done. I...missed him too much…” She rubbed at her eyes and scoffed. “ Pardon , I’m rambling.”

Renee squeezed the girl’s hand reassuringly. “No, keep going. I’m listening.”

The defender chewed her lip. “I eventually managed to dig myself out of the depression I was in, with the help of the other Legends of course...but still nothing felt...right. As much as they tried, and oh, I do appreciate their efforts, the Legends just didn’t connect with me. Don’t get me wrong, I still care for them very much, they are some of my best friends, but…”

“They don’t understand you…” Renee finished.

Natalie nodded. “ Oui . Nobody understands me as Papa understood me. And I…” She shrugged. “I grew to accept that. I throw myself into my work whenever I can. I don’t know if it’s because I’m trying to find something, or escape from people, or understand Papa better, or, enfer , even trying to understand myself better. But it never feels like it’s enough. I try to do double, triple what Papa and I did in a day, but...still, it’s never enough…”

The defender went silent. Her pale blue eyes were out of focus and hazy, her body was slumped. That’s when Renee pulled her into a tight hug.

“I know no one can replace what you had with your father. Not even I can do that.” The older woman murmurs in her ear. “But I understand what it’s like to feel misunderstood.” She pulled back a bit to look the younger woman in the eyes. “It might not be much, but I’m here for you. I might not understand anything about science or you, but I’ll try. I care about you, Nat. Way more than you know.”
Natalie’s bottom lip quivered as tears filled her eyes. “You want to...try to understand?” She said, her voice cracking. The sound broke Renee’s heart.

“Of course. I would do anything for you, Natalie Paquette.” She said, pulling her back into an embrace. She felt timid hands reach around her back.

“Thank you, mon chéri …” She whispered. 

They sat there for a long moment, relishing in the comfort and warmth the other had to offer. When Natalie finally pulled away, her eyes were red and puffy, and her cheeks were wet with tears.

“Did you mean it when you said you’d try to understand science too?” She said with an awkward giggle.

“Uh, well…” She muttered, wringing her hands nervously. “Can you just forget I said it.” 

Natalie laughed. A real laugh, clear and bright through the cold night air. “Oh no, mon ange , you are the one who said it. There is no getting out of it now.”

 

Finally, the night was forced to come to an end when they realized they were way past their curfew. It was midnight when they reached the Living Quarters level. The hallway was dark and silent, and it took an act of the Allfather to avoid the spots on the floor that creaked. Finally, they reached Natalie’s dorm, the door decorated with different electricity warning signs. ‘ Danger: High Voltage ’, ‘ Electrical Hazard: KEEP OUT! ’, ‘ Electric Shock Risk’ . It was...oddly charming.

“Thank you for a wonderful, and...surprisingly emotional night, chérie .” She said sweetly, holding one of Renee’s hands in both of hers.

“Yeah, it sure was...great. Thank you.” The skirmisher said with a smile.

They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. 

Kiss her. Kiss her. Kiss her. Kiss her.

Renee started to lean in. Natalie, surprised at what was about to happen, allowed her eyes to flutter shut.

KISS HER. KISS HER. KISS HER. KISS HER.

She felt the younger woman’s breath on her lips and felt a chill run down her body. Suddenly all of the nerves she had suppressed throughout the day turned back on in an instant. Everything inside of her encouraging her to kiss the girl had suddenly started blaring the alarm. 

RUN. RUN. RUN. RUN RUN RUN RUN.

Renee’s eyes snapped open, and when she saw who was in front of her, and what they were doing, she panicked.

“I’m sorry.” She whispered.

By the time Natalie opened her eyes, Renee was gone.




Chapter Text

They didn’t look at each other as they boarded the dropship. It had been a few days since their date. A few days since Wraith abandoned Wattson at her door. They had been scheduled for a game this week, much to Wraith’s dismay. She didn’t want to be around Wattson after she had made a fool of herself. And Wattson probably didn’t want to be around her after being left hanging like that. 

When the older woman saw the blonde approaching the ship as well, all of the alarm bells started going off in her head. 

Danger. Turn around. Getaway. Run. Run Run.

But Bloodhound had noticed the two approaching and waved for them to hurry up. There was no turning back now.

“What took you two so long,” They said, huffing through their mask. “I thought the ship was going to leave without you.”

Pardon , Bloodhound,” Natalie said, sounding just as chipper as usual. She shrugged the pylon off her back and set it next to her, letting her shoulders relax. “I was trying to find, how do you say, this bad boy in all the clutter of my room.”

They crossed their arms. “How many times have I told you, Natalie, to clean out your dormitory.”

“You are one to talk , l' âne , your room is covered in birdshit and feathers!” She giggled, pushing the tracker’s arm playfully.

“I would never restrict Artur from relieving himself where he wishes. It is inhumane.”

Wraith felt her stomach churn. She was being ignored - although this wasn’t new for Bloodhound to pretend she wasn’t there, for the sweet and kind Natalie to not even acknowledge her hurt her heart.

Her teammates continued to converse happily as the ship took off, and Wraith sat with her shoulders slumped in the shadows, waiting to fall into King’s Canyon.

 

Wattson, as Jumpmaster this round, decided she wanted to play in the Bunker, even in spite of Bloodhound’s protests. 

“I don’t know why you’re so reluctant, mon amie ,” She laughed, her voice almost being swallowed up by the rushing wind. “I have made some adjustments to the pylon, and I hope that the results today will be, how you say, shocking ?” 

“You are nuts.” They said, shaking their heads. 

“Maybe so,” She grinned. “But I learn from the best!” And with that, she jumped off the platform and flipped gracefully through the air. Wraith and Bloodhound couldn’t help but stare at the girl in amusement before following her lead and falling off the ship into the awaiting battle. 

The door was already open when Wraith’s feet hit the ground, and Wattson’s fences had already been set up in a zig-zagging pattern. A death box was lying in the middle buzzing electricity. Gun-fire was echoing off the walls within the depths of the building, it appears the corpses teammates had made it passed the blonde’s defenses.

Wraith slid down the hall and into one of the unopened rooms, managing to snag an Alternator and a few boxes of ammo, and a handful of useless attachments that weren’t compatible with her gun. 

“Hound, where are they at.” She heard Wattson’s french accent crackle through the intercom.

After a few moments, the tracker responded. “ Room to your left.”

Wraith bit her lip and quietly left the now looted room and into the hallway, then down the stairs to where the tracker had said the enemies should be. Bloodhound was already down there, kneeling next to the door. They motioned for the skirmisher to stay down and be quiet. After a moment, they lifted their gloved hand and counted down from three.

On three, Wraith kicked the door open, only to find Wattson sitting on the two death boxes, stacked neatly on one another.

She threw a peace sign playfully and winked. “Took you long enough, lambin .”

Bloodhound scoffed in disgust. “It has not even been five minutes and you have taken all the kills.”

Wattson’s eyes lit up and clapped her hands excitedly. “I know right! I have furthered my research the past couple of days and discovered the nature of disturbing the atoms of an object through the concentration of high voltages of electricity, and-”

“Yes, yes, tell me afterward, Natalie, there is much work to be done,” Bloodhound muttered, leaving the room in search of more ammo, most likely. It hurt Wraith’s heart to see her deflate like that. 

“I’d like to...hear about it, Nat...” Wraith muttered, leaning awkwardly against the door frame.

Wattson looked at her expressionless. “Would you? Or are you going to leave in the middle of me telling you too?” She said, standing up and pushing past the skirmisher.

You fucked up bad. How could you let this happen? Fuck up.

“You told me to run, idiots.” She muttered, running a hand through her hair nervously. She hated herself for making the younger girl so upset. Not once has she seen the girl’s mean side, and boy was it coming out now. Wraith fucked up, and she doesn’t know if she can fix it.

By the time half of the teams were left, they had set up quite the camp within the Bunker’s walls. Three pylons, a unique pattern of fences crowding the halls, and three ruthless Legends ready to take lives. 

Well. Two ruthless Legends and Wraith, too caught up in her thoughts to be ruthless, which was saying something, considering ruthlessness was all she knew. She stationed herself on the other end of the bunker, near the Cascades, while Bloodhound and Wattson kept watching on the other end. 

She leaned against the large door, her bleary eyes staring for any signs of movement on the outside. Her fingers jittered against the trigger of her alternator, matching the jittering of her unsteady heart. 

How could you let this happen? You are so stupid. I can’t believe you let her go. Why would you run?

The voices filled her head, but she only listened idly, not paying attention to anything except her heartbeat and the shaking of her restless fingers. Why even try for anything anymore. What’s the point? Maybe they'll place her in a different team so she doesn’t have to-

You’re being aimed at.

Her body tensed up, and her finger flew to the trigger.

You’re being aimed at. You’re being aimed at. You’re being aimed at. 

Suddenly, a bullet whizzed through the window and grazed her ear.

“I’m getting shot at.” She spits hastily into the comms, gritting her teeth against the pain. The side of her face felt warm and wet. Several more bullets came soaring through the window, one after another, creating a sizable crack in the glass. Another bullet came and shattered the entire thing.

“Shit,” she said, cupping her ear in one hand and clutching her gun in the other as she began to shoot aimlessly out the window. By now the others have arrived to assist in the battle. Bloodhound set their sniper against the window frame and tried to locate where the source of the shooting was coming from, but it was too late.

A gas grenade flew through the opening and clattered to the ground.

“Oh, fuc-” The tracker muttered before being enveloped in a thick layer of green fog. The two women stumbled away from the cloud of poisonous smoke and into a nearby room, attempting to catch their breaths.

Wattson was clutching at her leg tightly, blood spilling through her fingers and staining her white jumpsuit. She must have been hit in the commotion. 

Wraith knelt next to her and gently grabbed Wattson’s shaking hands, removing them to expose the wound. It was deep inside, and sizzling the flesh it was embedded in. Energy Ammo caused a nasty burn. And she didn’t have any synergies to numb the pain. 

The skirmisher glanced down at her comms tablet. 3 more teams left, including their own.

She had to make a decision and fast.

“Wraith-” The defender said, her voice breaking. “I d-don’t have meds on me. A-and Bloodhound-”

“Hey, it’s alright.” She said softly, removing the scarf from her neck to tie around the younger woman’s leg. “I’m going to get us out of this.”
Wattson’s eyes went wide. “No, don’t! We’re in an ambush, you couldn’t possibly-”

There was an explosion from the other end of the bunker. Looks like the other team decided to join in on the fun. 

“I’ll think of something.” She muttered as she tied the fabric off into a knot. “Just stay here, okay.”

“Renee-” She said, her voice weak. The blonde grabbed ahold of the skirmisher's wrist, tightly. She looked down at the younger girl. Her forehead was slick with sweat, making her bangs stuck to her skin. Those gorgeous pale blue eyes stared into her own, pleading and scared. “I’m sorry.”

Wraith smiled softly and brushed her hand against the defender’s scarred cheek gently. “No. I’m the one who should be sorry. I…” She hesitated, looking away shamefully. “...I shouldn’t have left.”

“I understand...It’s scary, trusting in someone…” She said, her grip on the older woman’s wrist softening. “But I want you to trust me.”

Wraith stared at her for a long moment, a small smile graced her features before another explosion interrupted their tender moment. “I have to go. I’m going to get us out of this.”

She was about to leave, but something stopped her, pulling her back to the other woman. Her breath hitched as she looked at her, and suddenly she found herself leaning in until her lips pressed against her cheek. Then she was gone, disappearing in and out of every reality all at once. As she ran, she heard Wattson calling after her. 

 

Time seemed to slow down as her actions happened before her thoughts could catch up. They were surrounded, a team advancing down the west side of the Pass, and a team just outside the east. She waited at the top of the stairs for the former to arrive, and when they did, all hell broke loose. Wraith found herself running along the wall, adrenaline pumping through her veins as she dodging the spray of bullets directed towards her. She launched herself off the wall and managed to latch onto Gibraltar, and took advantage of his surprise to press the barrel of her gun against his temple and pulling the trigger. Now that she had their attention, she activated her ultimate and ran her portal outside of the Bunker, and behind one of the piles of supply boxes. Once the rift was formed, she dropped on of her frags right in front of it and stood behind it, waiting for the enemies to come through. One by one they both appeared in the new position, and one by one they staggered away after the grenade went off before them.

Wraith picked off the stunned enemies easily.

Three down, three to go.

The skirmisher made her way back into the Bunker, towards where the other team was positioned. Bloodhound was leaning against the wall by the door breathing heavily and barely conscious, their chest bleeding profusely.

“What are you doing,” They said, leaning forward to look up at the woman. “Where’s Natalie.”

“Don’t worry Bloodhound, she’s fine.” She said, loading another round into her Alternator. “I’m going to finish this.” She took the tracker’s sniper, lying on the floor next to them, and before the tracker could protest, she was out the door into the new hail of gunfire.

Wraith walked through the void, watching where the bullets were coming from carefully. A house just up the hill. She managed to get into one of the smaller buildings on the riverside, only getting knicked in her calf as she phased back into reality.

At this point, the adrenaline made everything virtually painless, only stopping to smear the dripping blood away from the wound. She positioned herself in one of the second-story windows, careful to avoid alerting them to her position. Bloodhound’s Longbow only had a level 2 scope, but it was good enough to see the faces of her enemies. Caustic was the largest target, and after steading her hands and holding her breath for a moment or two, she took the shot.

The bullet pierced through his skull, and a spray of blood painted the wall behind him. One down, two to go. She would have to apologize to the scientist later for the grisly death, but right now, that was the least of her worries. That shot had alerted the others to her position, and suddenly she had to move again. She felt the heat of the bullets as they flew too close to her skin. 

She had to get out of the house and fast, but it was too late. They were pushing, Lifeline and Bangalore sliding down the hill towards the skirmisher’s position. 

“Fuck…” She muttered, reloading the sniper quickly. She peaked through the window and fired off a few shots at the healer, managing to break her blue body shield, but they retaliated with bullets of their own. The shot from Bangalore’s R-99 whizzed past her cheek, scraping against it and sending a hot pain through her face. Wraith winced and fell back from the window. 

Run you can’t be here. Getaway, you’re in danger. Run run run.

She had to run, she had to get to safety. She-

“Renee, can you hear me?” Wattson’s honey-sweet voice crackled to life in her ear, and suddenly Wraith’s mind went blank. “Renee, if you can hear me, you can do this.” The blonde said, her voice audibly choked up from the pain. It sounded like she had been crying. Wraith's chest tightened at the thought. “You can do this, okay? I believe in you.”

The skirmisher’s chest stopped heaving, and suddenly she found herself on her feet again, a new rush of motivation willing her sore muscles to move again. Her instincts were running the show now, controlling her movements carefully.

Wraith wrapped her hands around an active thermite grenade and waited patiently as she watched Lifeline run to a nearby door. As soon as she opened it and started through, the skirmisher had thrown it and a row of flames was burning the healer severely. As she stumbled away, Wraith managed to fire a round from her Alternator into her abdomen, downing her instantly. Two down, one more to go. 

Bangalore had come in from the back, her heavy boots stepping loudly across the wood floor. Wraith would make quick work of the soldier. 

She stepped into the void one last time, sneaking behind the enemy quietly, and pulling out her kunai. By the time Bangalore had realized what was happening, she had the blade of the weapon in her stomach and she fell to the ground. Wraith stood over her, watching as blood welled up and out of the soldier’s mouth.

“That's, ah...that’s cold, Renee.” She whispered with a smile. 

Wraith smiled idly, finally feeling the weight of her exhaustion topple over her. “Hey, no hard feelings, right?” But she didn’t let the soldier answer her, for she punching her across the face and into unconsiousness.

 

The skirmisher barely registered the announcer’s booming voice as she was titled the Apex Champion, her pulse hammered in her ear too loudly for her to hear anything for that matter. Renee had leaned up against the wall, pressing a hand to the gushing wound on her cheek. Everything hurt. Her muscles, her wounds, her head. It was all too much.

Then she saw Natalie stumble into the building, pushing her way through the door as she limped on her good leg. When she saw Renee her eyes lit up, and she all but tackled the skirmisher in a bone-breaking hug. She felt her skirt grow wet; she couldn’t tell if it was Natalie’s blood, sweat, or tears. 

“You did so well, ma chérie .” She said, her voice muffled as she buried her head in Renee’s chest. Natalie had pulled off her hood, exposing her mess of blonde hair. Renee couldn’t help but run a hand through it.

“So did you, Nat,” She mumbled, pressing the taller girl closer to her. “I couldn’t have done it without.”

The younger girl looked up at the older woman, her cheeks wet with tears and smeared with dirt and grass stains. “I’m so sorry I said those cruel things to you, it hurt so bad to say them, but I was just so upset.” She sniffled and rubbed at her eyes. “I just...I just like you too much. It hurt to be left alone like that.”

Renee felt her heart grow heavy with guilt. “I know it must’ve hurt. It hurt to leave you like that. I was just so scared. I...shouldn't have…”

“Hush…” Natalie said, smiling softly. “I know you were scared, I was too...I’ve never felt this way about anyone before, mon ange .’’ She cupped Renee’s scuffed cheek, wiping the blood away from the wound. “I want to trust in you fully, yes? And I want you to be able to trust me. We can figure this out together.”

Renee didn’t realize she was crying until the tears spilled over her cheeks. She nodded, holding onto the blonde tighter. “Okay…” She whispered weakly.

“Okay? Really?” Natalie asked, her soft smile brightening up the dismal room in an instant. Renee nodded. “Are you sure, chérie ? I don’t want to pressure you-”

Suddenly Renee was kissing the younger woman, shutting her up in an instant. Natalie was surprised, but soon she was kissing back. There was some intensity behind the kiss at first, but then it softened into something more tender and...affirming. Natalie’s lips were soft and timid against Renee’s, and it made her heart melt. 

Even after they broke apart, they still held each other, Renee burying her head into the crook of Natalie’s neck as the blonde ran her hands through her loose hair. 

“I’m sorry.” She mumbled again, afraid the blonde might leave her, even after everything.

“Shh, ma belle , there is no need to apologize anymore. I forgive you, yes?” She smiled down at the girl. 

“Are you sure? Is there anything I can do to make up for it?” Renee said nervously, looking up at the girl.

Natalie was silent for a second. “Well, there is one thing.”

“What is it?”

“Kiss me again.”



Chapter Text

Their faces were everywhere the following day. Everywhere. Billboards, magazines, news articles, websites, social media, television broadcasts, streaming sites, hell, even pictures of them were pasted onto walls around the city, and probably on every damn planet too. 

They really shouldn’t have kissed in the ring. 

Natalie knew it better than anybody that you shouldn’t touch, let alone kiss. After she had revived Octavio in one of her first games and helped him up, as any good sport should, everyone was adamant about believing they were together. But now that she had actually shown affection towards someone in the ring...

They weren’t even girlfriends, were they? It was too early to put labels on...whatever this was. Natalie never had a girlfriend before. Sure, when she hit her 18th birthday, she experimented with other people, but it was never anything official. And Natalie didn’t even know if Renee wanted to be her girlfriend. 

She didn’t want the world to put a label on her relationships before she did.

Natalie was so deep in thought she almost didn’t hear the knock on her door.

She stepped through the clutter of her room and opened it to find Renee on the other side, looking as stressed as Natalie would expect her to be in this situation. There was a news tablet clutched tightly in her hand.

“Ah, Renee, Bonjour , what a surprise!” The blonde put on her brave face for the woman, knowing she will need someone levelheaded to talk to. “Would you like to come in?”

With a curt nod, the skirmisher stepped through the door, immediately bumping her shin on one of Natalie’s many contraptions piled on the floor.

“Ah, pardon , I haven’t had a chance to tidy up. I would have if I knew you were coming, chérie.” Well, she might have cleaned- only a little.

“That’s okay, Nat, I probably should have let you know I was...stopping by.” 

Ne sois pas bête , you are welcome anytime, Renee!” She exclaimed, walking back towards her kitchen. “I was just about to make myself dinner, would you perhaps like to join me?”

The older woman was silent for a moment before nodding and taking a seat at Natalie’s kitchen counter. “...thank you…”

“Yes, of course. I hope you like pasta because that’s all I know how to make!” She took the container of homemade noodles she made in bulk last week to put into the now boiling pot of water she had put on a few minutes prior.

“That’s good, thanks…” Renee muttered. When the blonde looked over at her, the smaller woman was hunched over slightly, staring down at her hands. She picked at the peeling skin around her thumb. It started to bleed.

“Are you okay, Renee? You are awful quiet.” The noodles avalanched into the water, causing a pillar of steam to rise from the pot.

Renee didn’t say anything and instead set the news tablet onto the counter. Natalie didn’t have to look at it to know what it was. 

The headline picture featured the two Legends locked in a tight embrace as they kissed. Natalie sat on Renee’s lap; the skirmisher’s bun was undone, letting her tangled black hair fall down her back. Both were dirty, beaten, and bloody. 

Underneath the picture, the article’s headline was blaring in large red letters.

 

Love on the Battlefield: The Star-Crossed Lovers of the Apex Games

Natalie’s smile twitched as she read. The words left a bad taste in her mouth.

“It’s just a stupid article, chérie . Just trying to get publicity.” Natalie muttered. The timer she had set for the oven had gone off. The bread had finished baking, and now all that was left was to let it cool, just like Natalie’s anger.

“It’s getting publicity, alright…” Renee muttered, never taking her eyes away from the counter. 

“I don’t understand why people can’t just...mind their own business!” She huffed as she all but slammed the tray of fresh bread down on the stovetop. “Everyone is so nosy, je le jure .”

“I mean, we did kiss in public Nat...in front of a bunch of cameras. For the whole world to see…” 

Natalie’s face reddened from a combination of embarrassment and the recollection of yesterday's events. “But still.”

Renee buried her face in her hands and groaned. “I should have known better than that…I wasn’t thinking…”

The blonde bit the inside of her cheek as she stirred the noodles around in the pot. “Do you...regret kissing me?”

The skirmisher bolted upright eyes wide. “N-no, not at all!”

“Oh, so you like kissing me then. Especially in public, oui ?” The blonde shot her a sly smile.

“N-no, er, I mean yes, but, no…” She stammered. “I just...don’t like being in the public eye like this…especially because of...whatever this is…”

A pang of worry hit Natalie. “Whatever this is…” she repeated quietly.

She could feel Renee’s pale blue eyes on her. “I...what do you want to call this?”

All I know is that I want to call you my girlfriend. Natalie took a deep breath as she opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted by a timer. “Ah, it looks like the pasta is done. Would you like a bowl or a plate, mon ange ?”

“Plate, but that doesn’t answer my question…” Renee muttered, looking back down at the counter. 

“Well...what do you want this to be?” Natalie started plating up the noodles, pouring just a bit of pre-heated marinara sauce on top of them.

Renee was silent. That worried Natalie. 

After setting the plate of food in front of her, she cut off two slices of bread to go with their meal. The skirmisher was already eating by the time Natalie finished buttering her slice.

“Wow, this is…” Renee started saying with her mouth full. She took a minute to swallow. “This is...really good. Did you make the noodles yourself?”

Oui , I did.” The blonde beamed. “The bread too.”

“I never knew you could cook. How did you learn how to make this?” 

Natalie gave a sad smile. “I can’t cook, per se, just bake...My mother had a box of recipes, and I learned how to follow them well enough to cook without burning everything around me.” She giggled. “I tried cooking macaroni from memory once. Let’s say I always used the instructions after that…”

Renee flashed her a wry smile. “That’s...good to know…” 

Natalie took a seat across the counter from Wraith and dug into her food. She scooped a few noodles onto her fork to set on her slice of bread before taking a bit. Not as good as last weeks...getting better though…

“So does the attention really bother you this much, Renee?” The blonde asked, wiping her mouth with a napkin.

The skirmisher shrugged. “I don’t know...I’m just not used to being in the public eye. I always at least try to stay somewhat secretive about myself, but…” She stopped to chew on a piece of bread, letting her eyes wander back down to the countertop. “I don’t like something so private and important to me being on display.”

Her heart skipped a beat. “Important, hmm?” 

A pink blush crept onto Renee’s pale cheeks. “Er, I guess that’s not the word I should use to describe...well not that you aren’t important to me, I just-”

Natalie cut her off with a giggle. “Aww, you have such a way with words, c'est mignon .”

Her ears went red. “What...does that me.” 

The blonde leaned closer. “It’s cute.” The smaller woman groaned and hid her face in her hands. “Aw, what’s wrong? Would a kiss make you feel better?” She puckered her lips and looked at Renee with pleading eyes. 

Then the other woman was chuckling, a sound that was music to Natalie’s ears. “Oh stop, Nat,”

“You don’t wanna kiss me, Renee? Aww, you’re gonna make me cry,” She pouted and crossed her arms across her chest.

“No, Nat, I’m sorry, c’mere,” She muttered, standing up and leaning across the table to capture Natalie’s lips with her own. 

The kiss was tender and soft, and Natalie couldn’t help but smile against Renee’s lips. The skirmisher tangled her fingers in her blonde hair, gently holding the back of her head. 

She sighed happily, letting the tension flow from her body.

When they pulled away, Natalie was starry-eyed as she stared at Renee. The smaller woman was smirking at her. “It looked like you need that kiss more than I did, Nat,”

Oui , this-toi l' âne .” She giggled, pushing her away playfully. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be smooched once in a while. Especially when it’s you doing the smooching, yes?”

Renee laughed before the two fell silent. It was comfortable, not the kind of awkward silence that filled a room in times of tension...but something softer, like when you’re simply enjoying the presence of someone you care about. They ate the rest of their food, Natalie took the dishes to sink (already cluttered high with dishes she had not made the time to do), and Renee nibbled on another slice of bread.

“So,” Natalie sighed, leaning back on the stove. “How are you feeling?”

Renee smiled shyly. “Better...I always enjoy spending time with you…”

Natalie cursed herself as she felt her face begin to heat up. “Smooth-talker…”

“Hmm...I’m not looking forward to seeing my face...all up in your face everywhere for the next couple of days.”

The blonde nodded. “Well, as much as I love my face, how did you say…’ all up in your face,’ I am not looking forward to it either.” Natalie took a seat next to the older woman and began scrolling through the news tablet, browsing the numerous articles regarding their public display of affection. “I’m sure it will be old news in a couple of days, though. I heard something from someone that they are moving us to a new battleground.”

Renee perked up and tilted her head. “Really?”

Oui . It’s nothing official yet, but they say it’s because someone is planning an attack on King’s Canyon.”

She scoffed. “Have you been reading those tabloids, Nat?” 

“I’m serious!” She said with a smile. “I heard it from...a credible source.”

“Sure, you did.” The smaller woman rested her head on the blonde’s shoulder. “Well, I hope the rumors are true. It would definitely take some heat off of you and me.”

The contact made Natalie’s heart thud. “ Moi aussi,”

They went silent again. This time there was tension, both of them dreading to ask and answer the question they had had on their minds ever since their first date.

“Hey, Nat?” Renee finally said, her smooth voice breaking the silence.

“Hmm,” She hummed as she rested her head on top of the skirmisher’s.

“Do you want help with the dishes?

Chapter Text

Natalie was right about a lot of things, as she usually was, but Renee almost couldn't believe they were leaving King's Canyon.

It happened out of nowhere really. They dropped in, told them to take all of their things - which for Renee, it wasn’t much - and board the already waiting cruise ship. It was bigger than a regular dropship, with small, barely comfortable dormitories set up for each Legend to sleep and store their belongings. It was set up like a college rec room, with a few crumby couches, a refrigerator - stocked full already with Octane’s energy drinks - and a few magazines stacked on a stained coffee table. Not stained with that fancy wood stuff or anything, just stained with spilled drinks, spilled food, and god knows what.

Then there was that Crypto guy. Something about him rubbed Renee the wrong way, but he seemed kind enough. His dorm was already equipped with several monitors and a noisy computer tower that made the Legend’s room feel like a sauna. She didn’t know how the guy could be wearing his trademark coat with that temperature. But he stayed to himself really, and Renee couldn’t complain about that.

Although every time she went near him, the alarm bells in her head would go off big time.

Between him, being cramped into a shitty ship with ten other legends, and being forced to leave the only place she considered home for the longest time in such short notice…

Things were shitty. Even shittier than usual.

Not only that, but avoiding the constant questions from the other Legends about her and Natalie was proving to be complicated.

“Hey, hey, Renee, goin’ to smooch your lover?” Makoa teased as she walked from the refrigerator back to her room.

She gave the older Legend a side-eye and continued walking. “Not in the mood.”

“Aw, don’ be so hostile, Ree, he just be pokin’ a little fun.” Ajay snickered.

“You see? I knew that there was something be-bebe...going on with them.” Elliot pointed a finger at the skirmisher. “I told all of you, and you said I was stupid, and also an idiot.”

“That’s because you are an idiot, brutha.” Makoa laughed, slapping a large hand on the smaller man’s shoulder.

“Nuh-uh.” The trickster huffed. 

"So when ya makin' it official?" Ajay rested her chin thoughtfully on her hand.

Renee scoffed. "There isn't anything to make official." Isn't there. You know you want to make her yours. Why are you so stubborn? "Stop asking questions." She turned to leave.

"You can't deny it forever, ReeRee, just admit that you wuuuuv her." He made obscene kissing noises that made the other Legends chuckle. But Renee wasn’t having it. 

“Elliot,” She turned her head slightly, giving him a dark look. He shrunk back in his seat as she stepped towards him. The skirmisher put a hand gently on his shoulder. “I love you, but if you ever say anything about me and Nat’s relationship, I will end your life.”

Elliot gulped audibly. “Uh, y-yeah, got it, ma’am.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“Sir?”

Renee smacked him softly upside the head. “That goes for the rest of you too. I don’t wanna hear anything about us...or you’ll get one of these too.” She held up her fist for effect.

They didn’t say anything, but they nodded. Ajay gave her a smirk and a knowing look before she left for her room.

 

Her room is cluttered with things that were in places they shouldn’t be. Her scarfs were splayed on her bed, knives and kunai stabbed into the wall for safekeeping, and what little clothing and jewelry she had were left in boxes or tossed around to find something to wear. There was no bother cleaning it up. They would be arriving in their new facility sooner than later (plus she didn’t feel like it)

Renee flopped down on her bed and sighed. Yesterday had been their first day, and she had gotten close to no sleep. Of course, sleep never came easy for her, but in a noisy ship in a foreign place on a crappy bed...she maybe got about an hour of sleep total. And now it was taking its toll on her. She had only shut her eyes for a minute, but when she opened them, the ship was dark, and everything was silent save for the humming of the ship.

She got up and rubbed her eyes. The clock next to her bed said midnight. She had been asleep for 2 hours, but she didn’t feel rested at all. 

It was eerily silent as she stepped out into the main area. All of the Legends were in their respective rooms, sleeping contently. Renee could hear snoring coming from a few of the dorms, most likely Alexander and Octavio.

She sat on the sofa and listened to the noises of the night, closing her eyes. The voices had plagued her mind for as long as she can remember, but as the years went by, she learned to hear past them. The engines hummed as it flew through the sky — the soft breathing of her fellow Legends. The flapping of wings as Artur stirred in his cage. Somebody humming softly in their room.

Wait.

Renee followed to where the humming was coming from, and - she should have guessed - it was coming from Natalie’s room. The younger girl had pinned up a floral sheet to block her room off from prying eyes. Renee pushed the sheet aside and looked inside to find a dorm chocked full of too much stuff.

Natalie is sat at a makeshift desk - a piece of oil-stained ply-wood set on top of her pylon. A large pair of goggles was strapped around her head, making her blonde hair stick out adorably. Smoke rose from the project she was sodering on her desk. It looked like her prosthetic.

“How did I know you would be up?” Renee said, the sudden break in the silence making the blonde jump.

“Ah, merde ! You scared me, Renee,” She gasped, pushing the goggles up on her forehead, making her bangs stick up around her head. There was grease smeared across her freckled cheeks, making the older woman smile. 

“Sorry, I just seem to have that effect on people,” She laughed, stepping past the clutter to sit on a box near where the blonde was working. “What are you doing up?”

“I should be asking you the same, Blasey,” Natalie said with a grin. She held up the prosthetic she had been working on and held it out for the skirmisher to take. “Just making some adjustments to the arm, rein de plus .”

Renee took it and turned it around carefully, tracing the expert craftsmanship she grew to expect from the younger woman. “What are you wearing right now, if you don’t mind me asking.”

Natalie rolled up the sleeve of her red sweater, revealing a very old plastic prosthetic, chipped and scuffed in some areas, and exposed wires in others. “Just the one I used to use, so I can make adjustments when necessary.”

The older woman watched as the joints of her fingers creaked and stuttered. “I can see why you changed.”

“An arm’s an arm. And sometimes they rust.” She giggled, taking the prosthetic back from Renee. “I have to change out the joints once in a while to make sure it doesn’t get as bad as this one.”

Renee nodded. “What even happened?” She immediately kicked herself for asking that, seeing the look of surprise come onto the blonde’s face. “No, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.”

Natalie chuckled. “No, no, chérie , it’s alright, I just wasn’t expecting it is all.” She took the goggles off her head and smoothed a hand through her tangled hair. “Well, I was a curious teenager, and I often would experiment with stuff I should not have. And one of my many projects, all of which were questionably dangerous, malfunctioned and exploded.” She stood up suddenly and started rifling through one of the many boxes that filled her room. “I still kept it and worked on it after I recovered. And that’s how I created these.” 

She held a charred piece of metal out for Renee to take, and as soon as she did, she recognized it immediately. “You made the arc stars?”

Natalie nodded, her face glowing with pride. “Yep! It only cost me blood, sweat, tears, and a limb.” She giggled. 

There was something about her joke that saddened Renee, but Natalie didn’t seem fazed by it. I guess living for so long without a piece of yourself; you grow to live with it. Renee understood that. “That’s...amazing Nat,” She turned the blackened piece of metal around in her hands, feeling it’s dull edges.”You’re incredible.”

Her beam of pride softened slightly, making her grease smeared cheeks go pink. “Oh, stop, you’re making me blush.”

“It’s true,” Renee pressed as she scooted closer to the younger girl. “You’re so good at what you do; you have a real talent.” 

Natalie smiled sweetly before she pressed a hand to the side of Renee’s face, gently bringing her closer so she could plant a kiss on the older woman’s cheek. “Thank you, Renee...it truly means a lot. Merci .”

The spot where Natalie had kissed her seemed to spark, electricity running through her body. “N-no problem.”

The blonde giggled. “I want you to have that Renee,” She gestured to the wrecked arc star. “I know it seems like just a useless hunk of metal, but it’s a part of me. And I think you should keep it.”

Renee looked at her, bewildered. “Me? W-why?”

“Because you mean a lot to me, too, ridicule !”

Her face heats up, and she looked away. “Aw, Nat, now you’re makin’ me blush…”

“Mission accomplished, then,” She laughed. “Now, this is embarrassing to ask, but...could you maybe turn around? I need to put my prosthetic back in, s'il vous plaît .”

“Oh, uh, I could just leave-”

Natalie shook her head. “I want you here, silly; I enjoy your company too much.”

Renee was sure her face was on fire at this point. “Uh, okay, I’ll just...cover my eyes…”

The skirmisher hid her face in her hands as Natalie had begun her process of changing out limbs, and already her voices were sparking to life excitedly.

She’s taking her shirt off. She’s beautiful. She’s gorgeous. It would be okay to sneak a peek. Just take a look. Do it. Do it. Do it.

Renee couldn’t help it. She spread her fingers slightly just to get a glance…

Natalie was unlike anybody Renee had ever seen. She had taken her sweater off to better access her arm, leaving her rosy skin on display. Her lacy black bra was cute, contrasting beautifully against her pale skin. The Lichtenberg scarring ran up her back, shoulder, and neck in beautiful jagged patterns that Renee traced with her eyes carefully as if it were a maze to be solved. She couldn’t help but look lovingly at all of the markings on her body - the light dusting of freckles on her shoulders, the stretch marks running along her waist, the grease stains that seemingly have seeped into her skin from years of constant work. Everything about the younger woman was so tantalizing. She almost couldn’t fight the urge to kiss every single inch of her skin. 

Renee watched in awe as experienced fingers ran across the prosthetic, skillfully undoing the straps that kept it in place. When the old one was off, Renee could see the metal socket in her shoulder that the new arm would most likely anchor into. Just as she predicted, there was a piece jutting out of the shoulder of the prosthetic that Natalie slid into the socket, tightening it when she was sure it was in correctly. The blonde shrugged her shoulder and circled her arm to ensure it was working properly.

“Wow…” Renee couldn’t stop the words from coming out of her mouth as she stood up. “You’re gorgeous…”

Natalie jumped as if she forgot Renee was in the room with her. “I told you not to look-” She never finished her sentence. Renee was already kissing her before she had a chance to react.

 

Natalie is caught off guard, but the older woman’s lips felt too good against her own, and then she was melting into her embrace. She could feel light fingers tracing the scarring along her back, making her skin crawl deliciously.

When Renee pulled away, Natalie was out of breath. Loving pale blue eyes stared into hers, and a soft smile graced Renee’s lips. “I couldn’t help myself.”

Natalie huffed, puffing out her cheeks in mock anger. “Well, you could have asked to look instead of creeping like a pervert.”

Something seemed to change in Renee when she said that, and a sly smile formed across her face. “Oh? Pervert, huh?” She asked, leaning in to press another kiss to her lips, an intensity behind it that pleasantly surprised Natalie. “I couldn’t help but look, Nat…you’re just too tempting.” 

The blonde giggled and bit her lip. “Tempting, hmm?” She gasped when a hungry mouth found its way to her neck.

“Mhmm,” Renee hummed, biting at the soft skin at the crook of her neck. “When I look at you I just want to-”

Natalie cut the older woman off with a loud yawn, making her pull away in amusement. The blonde looked horrified. “ Pardon , I’m so sorry-”

This time, Natalie was the one cut off, as Renee returned the yawn, covering her open mouth with her hand. “Oh god, I’m so sorry,” She muttered. “I haven’t gotten...a lot of sleep...lately.” She seemed embarrassed. 

“I haven’t either,” Natalie confessed with a smile. “Maybe we should go to bed...and continue whatever was about to happen later.” She gave the shorter girl a wink, causing a blush to spread across her face. 

Natalie pulled her sweated back on as Renee turned to go, but she noticed the skirmisher had stopped just outside her door. “Is something the matter?”

She was silent for a moment, picking at the strings of her sweatpants nervously. “Do you, um…” She trailed off and turned to face the blonde. “Would you mind if I slept with you, tonite?”

Natalie was, for the umpteenth time that night, surprised by the other woman, but smiled and nodded. “Of course, Renee,”

She crawled into her bed, pulling back the covers beside her to make room for the smaller Legends, who tucked in next to her. Even though the Apex Games issued cots were nowhere near comfortable, Natalie had loaded the bed with numerous blankets and pillows to ensure maximum comfort.

Natalie snuggled up behind Renee and wrapped an arm around her waist. She felt the smaller woman tense up. “Is...this okay?” She asked timidly.

She felt Renee nod. “I’m just not used to it is all…” She muttered. 

It was silent for a few minutes, Natalie trying to close her eyes, but as always, sleep was evading her. 

Then Renee shifted, turning around, so she was facing Natalie. She nestled her head underneath the blonde’s chin so that her face is pressed against her neck. Her warm breaths puffed against the defender’s skin. A small smile grew on Natalie’s face, and she wrapped her arms tightly around Renee’s tiny body.

Natalie had gotten the best sleep she’s ever had.




Chapter Text

Renee watched as Natalie’s fists collided with the punching bag over and over again. She tries not to stare as she threw a few practice arc stars at a nearby target - she should be training after all - but she couldn’t help it. Watching the sweat fly off the blonde’s body as she assaulted the bag, and it just wasn’t because Natalie was pleasing to look at.
Renee was worried about her.
It was the fifth day in a row that she’d relentlessly boxed, never letting up, never stopping. Her knuckles would bleed, her prosthetic would creak, her knees would be scuffed and bruised. Renee couldn’t blame her; she knew that Natalie always tried to better herself after a lose, and boy did they have a hell of a losing streak ever since they moved to World’s Edge, but this was excessive.
The team, and pretty much every team, had choked when playing on this new land. It was very different from King’s Canyon, but they didn’t know what to expect. They had some iconic moments that certainly caught the attention of viewers - kicking Octavio’s ass was undoubtedly entertaining - but Natalie was taking the defeat hard. Even harder than Bloodhound, and they had isolated themselves in their room for a full 42 hours.
Renee hated to see Natalie like this - worn out and dragging her broken body back to her room after the training center closed. It hurt her heart to watch a usually vibrant and sunny girl reduced to little more than a punching machine.
She threw another star, watching as it found it’s home in the heart of a foam dummy. Natalie grunted, and when Renee looked over at her, she was on the ground, clutching her bleeding hand. She was about to help her, but the blonde wrapped more bandages around her cuts and got back up.
Stop her. She’s going to hurt herself. She's ridiculous. She will work herself to death. Do something.
Renee gritted her teeth but listened to her gut and approached the boxing ring.
“Natalie,” She said dully.
“Oui,” She didn’t look up as she continued to throw jabs and hooks.
“Look at me, Nat.”
Natalie glanced over quickly, then looked back. “What’s up chérie, I’m a little busy right now,”
Renee sighed and went to the side of the ring, where a chain hung from the ceiling to raise and lower the punching bag. She gave the chain a swift tug and pulled the bag out of the blonde’s way as if it were a pinata she was trying to break. Natalie was swinging in mid-punch and stumbled when she found nothing there to hit.
“Merde,” She mumbled, scrambling to her feet. “What the hell, Renee?” She shouted, shooting a glare that pierced the skirmisher’s heart.
“You’ve been punching that bag for a week, Nat,” Renee slipped in between the ropes and faced the younger woman. “You should fight a real target instead.”
Natalie squinted at the older woman. “You want to spar?”
She nodded, wrapping her hands in the roll of bandages Natalie had brought. “And I tell you what. If I win, you stop boxing yourself to death. And if you win, I’ll…” She shrugged. “I’ll give you a kiss.”
Natalie sighed. “Renee…”
“I’m worried about you, Nat. I won’t let you keep doing this to yourself.” The skirmisher shucked off her jacket and threw it to the side, exposing her pale skin. “And I’m gonna make you stop. So are you in?”
Natalie pursed her lips in contemplation. “Fine, but make it ten kisses.”
“You’re on.” Renee gave a small smile.

They both got into a fighting stance, Natalie loose and full of movement, Renee closed off and carefully calculated. Two very different fighting styles, but Renee knew how to handle someone like Natalie. Even in the ring, the electrician often sprinted into battle, using her fences recklessly, but somehow it worked. Renee was the complete opposite, working well in the shadows and observing for the right moment to strike.
Just as the skirmisher expected, Natalie made the first move, swinging a fist in a wide arc aimed at Renee’s face. She dodged, pushing her arm past her. The blonde stumbled briefly, but recovered quickly and swept the shorter woman’s legs out from under her.
Renee hit the ground hard, knocking the breath out of her. She felt a hand grab her shirt, starting to lift her, but she used her weight to somersault backward, taking the blonde with her. Using her legs, she pushed Natalie’s body off of her own and rolled back on top of her until she was straddling the younger girl.
In any other situation, being on top of Natalie like this would have caused a wave of heat to wash over her face, but she was focused, and nothing was stopping her from winning. She pressed an elbow to Natalie’s throat, applying just enough pressure to make her breath shallower.
The blonde kicked her legs frantically, frustration seering in her eyes. She managed to knee the older woman in the back, making her cringe enough. Natalie was able to struggle out of her grasp.
They were back on their feet again, and Natalie was the first to land a hit, her fist colliding with Renee’s nose with a painful crack. She gasped, her hands flying to her mouth in shock.
“Merde, Renee, I’m so sorry-” She's cut off when the older woman kicked her leg out from under her, catching her by her shirt before she fell to the ground.
A drop of blood dripped from Renee’s nose onto Natalie’s face. “No need to apologize, Nat.” She wiped the blood away, smearing it across her pale cheek. “Apologizing makes you lose.”
Natalie grumbled something in french as she struggled against Renee’s firm grip. The skirmisher smirked and let her go, her body hitting the floor with a painful thud.

They spent the next twenty minutes fighting, Natalie swinging with wild abandon and Renee stepping gracefully out of the way of her fists.
“You know Natalie; you’re eventually going to tire yourself out. Then who’s the winner gonna be-” She's cut off as she's tackled to the ground, Natalie landing heavily on top of her. “Hey, that’s not fair-”
Then they were kissing, Natalie smashing her mouth hungrily against Renee’s. The skirmisher didn’t register what was happening until the blonde bit her lip, making her gasp sharply.
Renee pulled the blonde closer to her, pressing one hand against the small of her back and running the other along her hip and down to her ass. She gave the supple skin there a gentle squeeze, making the younger girl gasp into her mouth. Renee let her hands roam as Natalie bit and sucked and licked, moaning softly as she did so.
It seemed like they were kissing forever, she couldn’t think about anything besides Natalie’s hot mouth on hers, her soft hands tugging gently at her hair as her own hands ran up and down the blonde’s spine.
Then she felt something wet on her face. At first, she thought it was sweat or even blood - they did hit each other pretty hard - but when she pulled away when the air was becoming scarce, she found tears running down Natalie’s face.
“Hey, Nat, what’s wrong-” She cut her off again with another kiss, a weak groan rumbling in the back of her throat. Renee sat up and pulled away, holding the younger girl by her shoulders. Her red cheeks are streaked with tears. “Nat. Tell me what’s wrong.”
She shuddered and buried her face into Renee’s neck, her warm breath making goosebumps rise on her skin. “I don’t know, merde, c'est bête,” She mumbled. “I just hate messing up and not being good enough, you know…”
“Not good enough? For what?” Renee asked. She pulled Natalie back until she was looking at her, and ran a thumb along her cheek to dry her tears. Her blonde hair is matted against her forehead, her blue eyes water...she reminded Renee of a sad puppy.
She sniffled. “The games, with us, I don’t know, everything.”
“No, you are good enough, you’re good enough for everything, and you’re good enough for me, Nat,” Renee mumbled, pulling her in for a hug. She pressed her face into the blondes soft tufts of hair, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. “Things don’t go well all the time; you have to know that, but you learn from mistakes, and you improve.”
“Yeah but-”
“And training yourself until you collapse every day won’t improve you, okay? If anything, it’ll make you too tired to fight.”
“I know, I just don’t want to disappoint you or Bloth, or anyone.” She hiccuped.
“You won’t disappoint anyone. We all make mistakes, and we all care about you too much. Me especially.”
Natalie gave a weak nod. “I know, Renee, I really do. But sometimes my brain doesn’t let me accept these facts.” She pressed her lips against the skirmisher’s neck, biting at her pulse point gently. “Just make me forget it for now, yes?”
Renee sighed but nodded, capturing the blonde’s lips in her own again.

Chapter Text

"There's a level 3 body shield here, Renee," Wattson called out over the intercoms. Capitol City was full of good loot, and this was the third purple armor she had found - Bloodhound had already snagged the second one.
"Thanks, Nat, on my way now," Wraith's low voice crackled to life on the comms, making Wattson smile.
"No problem!" She responded happily.
The game had been going well so far, especially for Wattson. A fully kitted out charge rifle, a p2020 with the Hammerpoint hop-up, and a purple body shield and gold helmet. Plus, there were only two other teams left. The past couple of matches were rough as her and the other Legends struggled to gain footing on this new terrain, but Wattson had a good feeling about this game.
"We should move this way, towards the slatra," Bloodhound said over the comms, a ping appearing on Wattson's map. The epicenter.
"Oui sounds like a plan," Wattson responded happily. She opened the door to the outside, letting the frigid air wash over her face, and jumped off the fourth-floor balcony to the ground below.
When her feet touched the ground, she found herself on a patch of grassy dirt, replacing the ice-covered streets of the City.
She looked around and found herself in front of a series of buildings, and a familiar tower that scraped the crystal blue sky.
Kings Canyon.
This was the Repulsor.
Suddenly, Bloodhound’s voice filled her ears, panicked and strained.
"I'm down, need back-" Silence.
Wattson found herself moving in towards Repulsor, following the hail of gunfire where her teammate had gone down. She was somehow without her shield, helmet, and guns, without even a box of ammo. The only thing she had gripped in her hand was an arc star.
She felt bare, defenseless.
Just as she had reached the entrance to the area, all gunfire stopped. It was silent.
Wattson carefully stepped closer into the area, cautious of the other remaining squad, but it was too quiet. Wattson could hear her own heart thumping hard in her chest. The blood rushing in her ears was almost deafening.
Then she saw him.
Luc Paquette.
Her father.
She couldn't help but grin uncontrollably at the sight of her father's wild white hair and familiar wrinkled face.
"Papa-"
Before she could call for him, however, the EMP went off, and a surge of energy washed over the area.
She could feel the prickle of heat on her cheeks as the flames rose higher and higher. The tower was falling.
Wraith's voice came through the comms again, but Wattson could barely hear her through the sound of her world crumbling down.
"I'm punching a tunnel," she panted, out of breath. "I need to get us out of here."
Wattson wanted to scream back, tell her not to go, but the comms went dead. She was frozen as she watched the flames grow higher and the tower falls lower. It creaked and groaned as it tipped, and bits and pieces of it were falling all around her.
Luc Paquette did not move and instead was still, staring at his daughter with dead eyes.
Wattson watched helplessly as her father is crushed before her very eyes.
When the dust had settled, she started digging desperately through the debris, searching for any life. Wraith was gone - her portal had a start but no end, Bloodhound was gone, and for the second time, her father was gone too.
Wattson heard footsteps behind her, but it was too late to react. She felt a sharp pain in the back of her head, and she crumpled to the ground.
A tall, dark figure stood above her, with their drone hovering just behind them.

Natalie woke with a gasp, jolting up in her chair as she slipped back into consciousness. She felt like throwing up.
Slowly, she calmed down, catching her breath and slowing her pounding heart. She had fallen asleep at her desk for the third night in a row, and she frowned as she wiped away the puddle of drool that she had created.
These strange dreams had plagued Natalie for the past few nights, and it was starting to take its toll on her. Every night it was always the same thing: she was back in Kings Canyon, everyone around her died, and the mysterious figure killed her. She had a hunch about who they were, but she didn't understand why; she didn't understand any of this.
She sighed and stood up, her joints creaking painfully. Her clothes were soaked with sweat, but she didn't want to dig around the half-unpacked boxes to find something to wear. They had been in their new dorms for a whole month, but Natalie had not even started unpacking. Her room was full of stuff thrown haphazardly around her floor, as usual.
She dug idly through the nearest box until she found a t-shirt patterned with the Apex Games logo and a pair of sweats. Changing into them made her feel a little better.
Maybe she should go to bed, or perhaps she should get back to work to ensure that those dreams wouldn't plague her mind. She could start on phase two of a new prototype for pylons, or adjust the ring stats again, or begin working on something new. She's been meaning to…
Meaning to…

"Papa…" She whispered, curling up in a ball on her bed. Tears streamed down her face as she buried herself underneath a pile of blankets. She sobbed and whimpered, the sound coming out ugly and loud.
Natalie never was the prettiest crier.
As the tears started to slow and her loud bawling turned into shallow shudders, she left her bed and left her apartment. She found herself walking down the hall until she was standing in front of her door.
Three quiet knocks.
She didn't know if she was heard, and was about to knock again when Renee answered.
"Natalie, hey-" She looked shocked, probably because of her red eyes and tear-streaked cheeks. Natalie supposed she should have at least washed her face before leaving her apartment. "Have you been crying?"
She shook her head, giving the older women the most genuine smile she could manage. "No, I am just tired."
Renee nodded, but the look on her face told Natalie she didn't believe her. "Uh, what's up."
She shrugged. "I just...was lonely. And I knew you would be up, so…"
The skirmisher’s face went red. “I’m that predictable, huh?”
Natalie giggled, wrapped a hand on the back of Renee’s neck, pulling her close to press a kiss against her cheek. “Maybe so. It’s cute when you blush. You should do it more often.”
“Ah, Nat, you’re too much,” She chuckled, the tips of her ears burning. “I was, uh, just watching a movie...if you wanted to join me,” Her voice wavered nervously.
Natalie smiled sweetly. “If you don’t mind me intruding, that is, chérie.”
Renee stepped to the side, allowing the blonde entry. “I don’t mind at all. I like the company.”
Her room was way cleaner than probably any other legend here, maybe besides Anita, but Renee didn’t have that much stuff in the first place. She had a very minimalist style that Natalie could appreciate. She also really liked the numerous amounts of knives stabbed into the wall behind her bed for safe-keeping — a nice finishing touch.
“So, what are you watching?” Natalie sat down on the couch, and Renee sat next to her, pulling a blanket over her lap.
“Just a horror movie. A pretty old one too.” She said, grabbing the remote and pressing play. Ominous music started playing.
“Uh, horror…” Natalie shifted uncomfortably.
“Is that okay?”
“Yeah, I love horror…” The movie started playing more creepy music. “Sometimes…”
“If you don’t want to watch-”
“No, it’s fine!” She scooted closer and grabbed Renee’s hand, lacing their fingers together. “Just hold my hand, yeah?”
Renee nodded, giving her hand a squeeze as the opening credits finished off.
The movie was like any other horror movie she had reluctantly watched: a group of people having a party at a friend’s apartment, but they quickly find out that one of them is not supposed to be there, and has malicious intent.
By the time the first person was killed off, Natalie was clutching onto Renee’s hand tightly.
“Little bit spooky, isn’t it? Those jump scares are pretty unnecessary.” She hid her eyes behind her shirt.
“I suppose so…” Renee asked, seemingly unphased. “Here, you can come closer if you want to.” She lifted her blanket slightly, making room for the defender next to her.
Natalie happily obliged, getting up to sit by the older woman. She nuzzled her head in the crook of her neck and hugged her waist tightly, making sure to slide her hand through the pocket of Renee’s hoodie. “Merci, this is much better,” She sighed. “If it’s okay, pardon, I should have asked.”
“Uh, yeah, i-it’s fine.” She murmured, her body heating up with the younger girl so close, and couldn’t help but drape an arm around her shoulders.
Every time there was a jumpscare, Renee could feel the blonde tense, her grip on her waist tightening. “This is scary Ree, do you watch this kind of thing for fun?”
“Yeah, I know it sounds edgy, but they’re pretty entertaining to watch.” She muttered.
“I don’t judge, but you must be-” She gasped and buried her face into Renee’s shoulder as the killer axed down the comic relief in a way that was gorier than necessary. “You must watch them quite often if you are used to stuff this scary.”
Renee shrugged. “I guess I have a bit of a thing for old horror.”
That’s what Natalie liked about Renee. She was finding new things about her every day. And she hoped she could learn more about her girlfriend in the future.
No, wait. They aren’t girlfriends, at least not yet. They never talked about it, and when they did, they tried to change the subject altogether. Natalie understood that it was difficult to think about, but they would have to confront the elephant in the room at some point.
Natalie started relaxing a little bit when the movie calmed down - the characters relaxing together, oblivious of their dead companions.
“This isn’t that bad,” Natalie loosened her bone-breaking grip on Renee’s spine.
The older woman gave a knowing smirk but didn’t say anything.
When the next jumpscare happened - a rather shocking scene where the dead friend’s body dropped from the ceiling onto the dinner table - Natalie let out a small shriek and gripped onto Renee’s thigh, digging her nails into her skin. The older woman let out a gasp, but the blonde barely noticed. She glued herself to Renee’s side, face buried in her neck as she let out deep breathes heavily to calm her racing heart. The warm air on the older woman’s neck made her shudder.
“Merde, that’s so unnecessary, why did they-” Natalie noticed the older woman had seized up, her small frame shaking ever so slightly. “Are you okay?”
Renee nodded stiffly, her face red.
Natalie frowned. “What, did I do something-” She finally noticed her hand, which was gripping the inside of the older woman’s thigh. Her face grew hot. “Pardon, I’m so sorry, Renee, I should have paid more attention…”
She started to move her hand away, but Renee grabbed her wrist, keeping her close. “I didn’t say I didn’t want you touching me…” She muttered.
Natalie was stunned, but she allowed her hand to be guided back to Renee’s thigh, squeezing her softly. The older woman shuddered and leaned closer to the blonde, their faces inches apart.
“Sorry, this is weird-” She groaned as Natalie stroked her thigh lightly with her thumb, leaning her head against the blonde’s forehead. “Fuck.”
“My, someone’s sensitive.” Natalie teased, smirking as she traced her nails idly along her skin, enjoying the effect it had on the smaller woman.
“I don’t know wh-what’s the matter with me…” She sighed. Natalie grabbed her chin lightly with her thumb and forefinger and made Renee look into her eyes.
“There’s nothing wrong with you,” Natalie gave a small smile as she leaned in closer to the skirmisher. “I love seeing you like this.”
Renee was the one to initiate the kiss this time, gripping either side of Natalie’s face to pull her in for a deep kiss. It wasn’t messy or rough, but slow and passionate. A kiss that left both of them wanting more.
When they pulled away for air, the lust in their eyes was unmistakable.
“Bed?” Renee breathed.
“Lead the way.”

Chapter Text

Natalie had kissed many people in her 22 years of life. She kissed a boy for a dare at her school (the last boy she ever kissed), went on a make-out spree after her 18th birthday with any girl who was willing and even made out with Ajay during a particularly rowdy Apex Celebration (both were wasted, and remained good friends afterward). Still, none of those kisses compared to what it felt like to kiss Renee.

She had spent all of her life studying electricity and all of its uses, but the sparks she felt when she was with the older Legend were like nothing she's ever encountered before.

Natalie pushed Renee onto the bed, crawled on top of her and straddled her. Electricity seems to course through her stomach as she ground lightly against the older woman.

"Natalie," She groaned, extending her arms up toward the younger girl. The blonde leaned down into the Skirmisher's embrace and nuzzled her head underneath her chin. She hummed softly as the older woman ran her fingers through her short hair, her nails scratching deliciously at her scalp.

The movie was still playing, and she could hear the screams of terror as the victims were killed one by one, but neither of them seemed to care.

" Mon bebe , you are so beautiful," Natalie whispered in Renee's ear, nipping playfully at her earlobe. She loved feeling the woman underneath her shudder. 

The blonde let her hands roam up and down Renee's torso, giggling when she arched up into her touch. " Oui, eager, are we?"

"I don't know what it is about you, Nat," Renee kissed the top of her head. "Your touch is just...electric."

Natalie snorted, burying her head in the crook of the Skirmisher's neck to suppress a laugh. "Oh my god, that was so bad, Ree."

She gave a breathy chuckle. "Thanks, but it's true."

The blonde hummed in contemplation as she reached up to grope the other woman's breast, making her breath hitch. "I’ve been told before that I can be rather shocking...” She started kissing the side of her neck.  “But I can especially feel the voltage between us, mon ange .”

“If you keep making puns, I’m kicking you out,” Renee muttered.

“You started it,” Natalie chuckled. She tilted the Skirmisher’s head to the side and ran her teeth along the hollow of her neck, making her groan. “You make the most beautiful sounds.”

“Can’t help it.” She shuddered. “Feels nice.”

Natalie hummed and sat up slightly. “Do you like it when I touch you, Renee?” She whispered, trailing her hands down her stomach. Her fingers danced softly at the waistband of her pants.

Renee squirmed, her hips rising to meet Natalie’s touch. “F-fuck, don’t tease me like this, Nat.”

The blonde retracted her hands and waved a finger at the woman below her. “Ah-ah, answer the question, ma chérie ,”

Renee groaned as Natalie started grinding gently against her crotch. “Y-yes, Nat, I d-do,”

“Good girl,” She muttered, leaning in to press her mouth hungrily to the older woman’s neck, sucking on the soft skin.

“Nat, yo-you’re gonna leave a mark,” Renee gasped, but couldn’t help but pull the girl closer.

She giggled, and leaned close to her ear, biting her earlobe gently. “Good.”

A moan escaped Renee’s mouth, and suddenly Natalie was rolled over, and she was the one on the bottom now. The blonde groaned as Renee captured her lips in a rough kiss. She felt warm hands pulling her shirt up and up until it was coming off over her head. Natalie tugged at the hem of Renee’s sweater, urging her to take it off too. The older woman groaned in her mouth and obliged, leaning back, take off the offending article. 

By now, the pool of arousal growing between her legs was almost too much to handle.

Natalie sat up and pulled the older woman into her lap, their lips meeting once again. Renee felt the blonde’s tongue lick at her bottom lip, and suddenly they were making out, creating wonderful friction as their tongues fought for dominance.

A hand slid in between their torsos and down Renee’s stomach, and all of a sudden, Natalie’s hand was down her pants and gently rubbing against her panties. The electricity between them was undeniable, and the blonde realized that Renee was right when she said her touch was electric. She felt it too. 

Small hands gripped Natalie’s short hair, tugging gently as Renee rocked her hips against the blonde’s finger. The older woman buried her face in the dip of Natalie’s neck and moaned.

“So needy, chérie ,” She giggled, crooking a finger up against her dripping slit, making the older woman’s grip on her hair tightened. A gasp left her mouth when she felt her teeth sink into her neck.

“Nat,” She groaned, rocking her hips harder against her. “Please, please, Natalie,”

“Use your words, chérie ,” She muttered, withdrawing her hand. 

“F-fuck me, please, I need your fingers inside of me.” She gasped.

Natalie smiled and kissed her again as she pushed her panties aside. She traced her fingers around the outside of her pussy. “So wet already-” She paused when she felt something cold and hard just above the woman’s clit. “You have…”

Renee groaned. “I’m so sorry, I don’t remember getting that, I either got it years ago or when I was wasted, ignore it if you don’t like it-”
“Oh no, Renee, I like it,” She giggled. “I was just surprised is all.” Natalie slid her fingers through her wet slit, smiling as the older woman groaned. “Do you have any more surprise piercing’s I should know about, hmm?”

“Well…” She chewed on her lip nervously as she grabbed Natalie’s hand, reluctantly taking it away from her pussy, and slid it under her bra. “I have these…”

The blonde gasped when she felt the cold metal against her fingers. She lifted Renee’s bra and exposed her pale breasts, and found a metal barbell going through each nipple. “Oh my, Renee, these are-”

“Gross?” She asked, covering herself with her hands. “I can take them out if you want…”

“They’re beautiful,” Natalie muttered, leaning down to press a kiss to one of them. She smiled against her skin as the older woman gasped.

“You don’t mind?” She asked, trying hard not to arch her back as the blonde peppered her breasts with kisses.

“Of course not, mon bebe ,” She exclaimed, straightening to look her in the eyes. “I will think you’re beautiful, no matter what.” She gave her a wink. “And I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a bit of a thing for piercings. The blonde reached into her nose and flipped down a septum ring. Renee’s eyes widened. “You had one too? How come I never noticed it before?”

Natalie shrugged. I guess I never really wear it that much, and when I do, I have it flipped up.”

Renee shifted nervously. “I think it makes you look c-cute.”

The blonde giggled. “Thank you, mon ange , I think yours are... cute too…”

Renee’s face went red, and she buried her face in the younger woman’s shoulder as she wrapped her hands around her back. “Shucks, Nat, you’re making me blush.”

Natalie laughed and returned the embrace. “Really? This is the thing that made you blush?”

The Skirmisher mumbled something quietly as she wrapped her legs around the blonde’s waist, hugging her tighter.

She couldn’t help but giggle. “Do you want me to fuck you or not, l' âne ?”

Renee nodded and softened her grip. Natalie felt two hands on either side of her face as she was pulled into a kiss, soft and tender. The blonde sighed happily, shivering slightly when the other woman traced her scars lightly with her thumb.

She ran her hands down Renee’s back and down to her ass, squeezing it gently. Natalie couldn’t help but smile when the older woman jolted.

“Lay down for me, Renee,” She whispered in her ear. The Skirmisher obediently laid back, propping herself up on her elbows and spread her legs.

“Good girl,” She hooked her fingers through her pants and underwear and slid them down her legs. “So beautiful, mon ange .” She muttered as she threw the other woman’s clothes across the room. Looking at the skirmisher’s body made the pit in her stomach burn with desire.

Renee whined impatiently. “Stop staring, Nat,”

“I can help it,” She leaned down and pressed a kiss to the inside of her thigh. “You’re gorgeous.”

Renee was about to respond, but Natalie’s fingers back on her aching pussy made only a moan come out. 

Natalie grinned as she slid two fingers inside her easily. “Aw, good girl, taking my fingers so well.”

Renee cried out as Natalie started moving inside her. “Fuck it feels so good, Nat,” She bit her lip and covered her mouth with her hand.

The blonde hummed as she curved her fingers, stroking her g-spot with her fingertips. “Don’t cover your mouth, chérie . The noises you make are too beautiful.” She leaned down and took one of Renee’s nipple in her mouth, groaning as her tongue circled her piercing.

“A-ah, Nat!” She whimpered. Natalie felt hands tugging at her hair and moaned.

“You’re doing so good, baby,” She whispered, curling her fingers further into the older woman, causing her back to arch. “You’re so good for me.”

“Mmm, Nat, I wanna come, I wanna come so bad,” She whined as she started grinding her hips back against the blonde’s hand.

She sucked her other nipple into her mouth before releasing it with a pop. “I know, chérie, keep going for me, okay?” Natalie bent back down, but lower this time, and started pressing kisses down her stomach.

“Wh-what are you-”

“Just relax, okay?” She slowed her thrusts for just a moment as she came face to face with her dripping pussy. “Let me take care of you.”

Natalie flattened her tongue and pressed it against Renee’s clit, dragging it up slowly. The skirmisher’s long moan was music to Natalie’s ears.

The blonde started fucking her pussy at a relentless pace again as she lapped gently at Renee’s clit. By now, the older woman was gushing, and practically seconds away from cumming.

She propped herself on her elbows and watched as Natalie’s finger’s plunged in and out of her. She watched as her pink tongue licked through her folds. That enough was almost enough the drive her over the edge.

“Natalie, I’m gonna come, f-fuck, you’re gonna make me come!” Renee shouted, her fists balling into Natalie’s hair. 

She should have been worried about the other woman being too loud, but the sounds of her voice were too beautiful to contain. The younger girl hummed as she started licking harder and pumped her fingers faster. She circled her tongue around the older woman’s piercing and tugged on it gently with her teeth. Her fingertips rubbed lightly against her g-spot as she hit it again and again and again and-

“Fuck, fuck, Natalie-” Her breath hitched, and suddenly her body went rigid. A scream rang out in the quiet room as the last character in the movie they were watching killed the antagonist. Perfect timing. Natalie could feel her coming on her fingers, but she continued her quick fucking, wanting to prolong her orgasm for as long as she could.

Renee gasped and twitched, gripping onto Natalie’s head as she kept coming. When she finally started to come down from her high, all of her muscles relaxed, and her body went limp. She weakly ran her fingers through the younger woman’s blonde locks.

Natalie finally pulled her fingers out and hummed happily when a rush of her juices came spilling out with them. She gently lapped them up before crawling up the bed to plant a kiss on her lover’s lips. 

“How was that, chérie ?” She asked happily.

Renee gave a tired smile. “That was...really good...better than anything I’ve...ever felt.” She muttered in between pants. “What about you?”

Natalie shook her head. “Don’t worry about me, bel ,” She pulled the other woman into an embrace. “Making you feel good was enough for me.”

“A-are you sure?” She said with a yawn.

“I’m sure, now cuddle me, we could both use some rest.”

Renee hugged the younger girl tightly against her as she tangled their legs together. Natalie pulled the covers over them. She could hear the end credits playing eerie music that filled the room. It was almost soothing in a way, and Natalie couldn’t help but hum along with it gently as she drifted off to sleep.




Chapter Text

Renee had woken up two hours before Natalie did, and most likely, any other Legend in the building. According to the clock on her stove, it was 3:12. She went to her bathroom and brushed her teeth, noting the massive hickey on her neck, and smaller, lighter ones littering her collarbone and chest. She also noted her lack of clothing. Her hair was a mess, halfway out of her bun and falling in her face. She undid it, ran her fingers through the tangled knots, then put it back up, although it looked just as messy.

As she exited the bathroom, she snatched the closest shirt that had been discarded on the floor and pulled it over her head. Ironically - if you could call it irony - it was Natalie's. Not that she cared.

Renee sat back on the bed next to the younger girl, watching absentmindedly as her chest rose and fell slowly. She connected the freckles on her back like constellations and resisted the urge to trace a finger along with her Lichtenberg scarring. The patterns on the blonde were mesmerizing.

Natalie’s blonde hair was a mess, her usually neat bangs sweeping down over her eyes. The younger woman's mouth was slightly ajar as she breathed, almost snoring but not entirely. Not that she would mind if Natalie snored, she would still want to sleep by the woman’s side regardless.

Renee knew that she should probably wake the younger girl up and send her back to her room before anybody noticed she was gone, but she knew no one would care. It was against the official rules to have intimate relationships with other Legends, but what were they going to do, slap them on the wrist? The hiring of new Legends was often rare because nobody ever wanted to sign up for a blood sport as hardcore as the Apex Games. Especially after the threat of a terrorist attack when the Repulsor Tower fell. They had to keep the few Legends they had close because there was no one else to do the job. 

Legends have slept with or dated each other before cause, well, the dating pool wasn’t that big for someone as feared and famous as them. Anita and Ajay had been going steady for the past year or so, and nobody had anything to say about it. Neither of them was gunned down for kissing in public or sleeping in each other’s dorms. Tav has slept with both Elliot and Alex, and even Bloodhound once, and he wasn’t kicked out or threatened or anything (which was quite surprising). Renee supposed it was a blessing for the higher-ups to be so lax with the rules.

Maybe it wasn’t the rules that worried her. There was no reason to worry after all. Perhaps it was what the others would think. She knew they would be accepting, and she knew they already suspected, but Renee didn’t want it to change what she had with the others. The ruthless fighter was always a stone-cold lone wolf. The public knew her as an emotionless killing machine. She really liked Natalie, but she didn’t want the girl to bring out her soft side too much. Wraith is no softy.

Maybe she was worrying over nothing; she’s still bloodthirsty, deadly, dastardly-

Rapproche toi. C’est froid ,” Natalie murmured as she rolled over. An arm was thrown across Renee’s chest, and she was pulled down and pressed against the younger girl’s chest. Her face darkened with a blush as Natalie hummed happily. “ Mieux. Tu me tiens au chaud, mon amour.

“Nat-” She started to say, but the younger girl’s shallow breathing told her she was still asleep. Natalie was a sleep talker it turned out. The blonde’s grip on her was tight even though she was passed out, and Renee knew there was no escape. She sighed and relaxed against Natalie, curling up next to her.

The blonde hummed pleasantly and wrapped her arm tighter around Renee’s waist. “ Je t'aime mon petit bébé .”

Renee had no idea what she was saying, but she didn’t care. Something was soothing about her speaking French. It kind of turned her on? But it also helped lull her to sleep as she listened to her quiet sleepy ramblings. They almost seemed to drown out the ever-constant voices droning on in her head. Renee couldn’t help but scootch herself closer and let Natalie’s soft voice carry her into sleep.

 

There was a knock on the door — three sharp taps. Then a series of short quick knocks. It woke both of the women out of the dense veil of sleep.

“What time is it?” Natalie muttered, huffing as Renne slipped out of her arms.

Judging by the light, it was at least morning, maybe early noon. 

Renee never slept that long in her life. 

Three more knocks, then more hurried ones. That got Renee up. She pulled a hoodie over her head and flipped the hood up, attempting to hide the marks made on her neck from the night before.

She shuffled over to the door as Natalie wrapped herself in the covers again, yawning loudly as she did. 

Anita stood before her dressed in grey sweats and a muscle tee - her usual workout outfit. It smelled like her workout outfit too. Not who she was expecting.

“Renee, hey, I just wanted to see if you were okay, you’re usually up and down at the gym by now,” The soldier said, throwing a white towel over her shoulder. “Never seen you sleep this late.”

The skirmisher rubbed her eyes, forcing herself to wake up more. “Yeah, sorry, I guess I just lost track of time-” She heard the sheets rustling behind her. And that’s when the panic set in. 

“No need to apologize, it’s good that you’re getting some shut-eye, we’re always worried about you.” Anita gave a supportive smile.

“Uh, y-yeah, thanks, means a lot,” She muttered. Renee prayed that the soldier couldn’t hear Natalie’s sleepy grumbling.

“Oh, also, Tavi told me to remind you that we’re all going to the bar tonight to celebrate his birthday because he knew you’d forget. Actually, he knew you wouldn’t even care, so he told me to remind you every time I saw you, but-”

“Who’s at the door, Ree?” Natalie shuffled up behind her and wrapped her arms around the older woman obliviously. Renee went rigid at the contact. “Oh, hey Anita,” She yawned, setting her chin on the older woman’s shoulder. 

The soldier said nothing as she stared in bewilderment. Renee felt her ears burn in embarrassment. 

“Riiiiight, I’m just gonna, um, go,” Anita rubbed the back of her neck awkwardly and took a step back. “Um, I’ll see you guys at Tav’s party,”

“Bye ‘Nita,” Natalie called after the soldier as she walked down the hall. “Gee, she seemed nervous. I wonder what was wrong.” 

“Y-yeah, I wonder.”

 

The party was set up in a bar that Octavio rented out for the night to ensure it was just them. Otherwise, there surely would’ve been gawking fans there to crash it (although the junkie would love the attention). Renee didn’t know what she had expected from the young Legend, but the bar had catered only spicy foods, categorized by level of intensity, and only the hardest of alcohol. The lounge area was decorated with excessive amounts of bright green streamers and flame decorations (according to Tav, the bartender wouldn’t let him have real flames). Even the cake was decked out in what looked like fireworks, which the junkie had requested to be set off outside.

Renee could only handle so much of Octavio. And this party was exceeding her limits. 

Everyone seemed to be having a semi-decent time, and Renee desperately wanted to be able to relax with her fellow Legends, but they're just seemed to be a pressure weighing her down. Maybe it was the awkward moment with Anita early. Or the fact that she was hiding whatever she had with Natalie from the rest of them. 

Calm down. You’re overthinking. Just get a drink. Maybe you’ll loosen up.

She hated to admit when they were right. 

There were many choice drinks to choose from, ranging from tequila, to vodka, to moonshine (somehow). She poured herself a glass of whiskey, slammed it, then poured herself another to nurse. 

The rest of the Legends have gathered around in a circle as they watched Tav tie up a pinata.

“What are we, ten?” Renee said as she joined the rest of them. 

“Don’t be a party pooper, chica , I think you’ll find what’s inside to be rather exciting~” Tav shot the skirmisher a wink. 

“Silva, if ya put drugs in th’ pinata, I’m going to strangle ya,” Ajay said tiredly.

The junkie simply shrugged and grinned, dodging the question. The medic sighed and rubbed her temples.

The stick was passed first to Natalie, who requested it so she could get the “candy.” She was blindfolded and spun around a few times, but when she attempted to hit it, she missed by a mile, nearly knocking over a lamp. The blonde pouted adorably, making the skirmisher’s heart flutter.

Elliot went next, cockily spinning the bat as he was blindfolded. He too missed, and hit Tae Joon squarely in the stomach. Renee couldn’t help but laugh as the hacker doubled over in pain, Elliot by his side as he apologized profusely.

Alexander surprisingly volunteered to go next, who brought his own blindfold and spun himself. Much to everyone’s surprise, he knocked the pinata clean off the string, and it fell to the floor. As it broke open, a copious amount of pills and packets of powder spilled onto the ground, and everyone collectively groaned.

“Where th’ hell did ya even get all of this?” Ajay exclaimed, punching Tav’s shoulder. 

“A magician never reveals his dealers!” The junkie joked.

“I’ve never seen candy like this,” Natalie said as she crouched on the floor and put a few of the neon pink pills into her mouth. “They don’t taste excellent either-”

“Nat, spit those out!” Renee shouted, but it was too late as Natalie swallowed them. Tav started laughing, but that soon turned into choking sounds as Ajay’s hands tightened around his throat.

“What, it’s just candy,” The blonde said. “What’s the big deal?”

Renee sighed as she helped the girl up. “Don’t worry about it. It’ll be fine.” She lied, not wanting the girl to panic.

At that point, the rest of the Legends were fed up with Tav’s antics, and they all started to sit down to relax and drink and joke. Of course, the junkie wanted to do more fun-filled activities, like pinning a donkey tail to his ass or pop the balloons that were hanging from the ceiling to “see what comes out,” but the other Legends ignored him.

The junkie huffed as he sat down next to Tae Joon, his legs bouncing restlessly. “You guys are no fun.”

“To be honest, Octavio, you are just too much for us to handle sometimes.” Elliot chuckled, messing up his hair playfully.

“Maybe if I were five years younger, I would be able to keep up more,” Anita muttered, leaning back in her chair. “You youngsters are too fast-paced.”

“Oh, don’t kid ya self, ‘Nita, ya not that old.” Ajay laughed, leaning up against the older Legend.

“Why is the ceiling spinning…” Natalie muttered. Renee sighed and patted the girl’s head soothingly.

“Ah, pobrecita , she had to choose some of the strongest MDMA in that pinata.” Tav laughed.

“I hate you sometimes, Silva,” Renee muttered, pulling the younger girl closer to her. The poor blonde had a glazed over look in her eye.

“Why do you care, Ree, it’s not like you’re dating her or anythin’.” The junkie jokes.

“Actually, Natalie’s my girlfriend, so,” Oh shit.

“Wait, Natalie’s your girlfriend?”

“I’m your girlfriend?” The blonde sat up slightly and looked at Renee with wide eyes.

“Uh,” You shouldn’t have drunk so much. The truth finally comes out. You fucked up. DANGER DANGER DANGER.

“It’s about damn time!” Elliot exclaimed, springing up and shaking Renee’s hand “I’m so proud of you Ree, truly-”

“Knock it off,” She pulled her hand away, embarrassed.

“I ‘bout near cried laughin’ when Anita tol’ me you two shared a room last night.” Ajay laughed. “She was so embarrassed.”

“You guys SLEPT together?” Octavio asked. “Am I high right now?”

“We slept together?” Natalie asked, looking startled. 

“What? Yes, I mean no, what?” Renee groaned and buried her face in her hands. Her cheeks felt hot.

“Congratulations, it takes a lot to admit that to yourself,” Makoa said as he sat down next to Renee. She felt a large hand on her back. “When I first started dating my boyfriend, I wanted to keep him a secret too. I was afraid of what my dad would think. But I just want you to know it’s okay to be gay-”

“No, I know it’s fine to be gay, I don’t care about that,” Renee mumbled, her voice muffled by her hands. “I just don’t want you guys to treat me differently-” You shouldn’t have drunk alcohol, idiot. Loose lips. Shut your mouth while you're ahead .

“What’s that supposed to mean??” Natalie asked. “What is going on? Why is everything wiggling??” Tears brimmed in her eyes. 

“I don’t mean it as a bad thing, I just, ugh…” The skirmisher downed the rest of her drink and slammed it on the table. “I’m a tough guy. I’m feared, got it? And just because I have a girlfriend doesn’t mean I want to be treated like a big softy. I will still kill you..and stuff…”

The other Legends went silent. Makoa pulled her into a hug. 

“Hey kid, we still think you’re badass. Just cause you have a girl now don’t make you any less scary.”

“If anything Ree we jus’ glad to see ya happy,” Ajay smiled and reached a hand out to the older woman. She took it timidly. “We all know you still a badass.”

“If it makes you feel any better, I was the same way,” Anita said. “Didn’t want my solid reputation to be ruined by this one.” She poked the medic in the side, which was met with a scowl. “But the most important thing is that you’re happy. You need a little ray of sunshine in your life Renee. You have no idea how much it can help.”

“You have a girlfriend? How come you’ve never told me?” Natalie said, tears spilling down her face. Renee sighed and pulled her closer, wiping her tears away with her sleeve. 

“I just...I know you guys care. I just don’t like the teasing, and I don’t want to be treated differently…”

“Trust me; we won’t treat you differently. We’re all too afraid of you. Or maybe th-that’s just me.” Elliot said with a stupid grin.

“Shut up, Witt.” Tae Joon sighed.

“Make me-”

“Both of you just shut up.” Makoa pulled Renee in for a side hug. “Just know we’re happy for you, brother, but we ain’t gonna think you’re a big softy or anything. We know better than anybody how strong and fearless you are.”

Renee felt like she was about to cry. “Th-thanks, you guys are great…” She straightened up and cleared her throat. “Now, if any of you bring this up ever again, I will kill you.”

Everyone murmured in agreement.

“Wow,” Tav muttered. “That was touching. Can we blow up my fuckin’ cake now?”

“I just want to know who this girlfriend is,” Natalie said as she buried her face in Renee’s back.

Natalie eventually passed out, and after she was tucked in on the couch to rest, the remaining Legends went outside to watch as the fireworks were lit on Octavio’s cake. 

When they blew up, there wasn’t a single surviving piece.