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Ashes of the Past

Chapter Text

Stomping out of the rain and into the hidden Talon facility, I groaned as I brushed water off my shoulders. Removing my soggy jacket, then the tacky hat I never seemed to want to let go of, I sighed for what must have been the millionth time this morning.

I looked down at myself, neatened the bow tie I put on this morning, and smoothed out my clothes. A tweed vest with crisp white dress shirt and a pair of dark grey slacks. It was important to me to look professional at all times. One of the few points of pride I had left. Folding my coat after shaking it out, I walked into the facility.

Moira O’Deorain: The great failed scientist. Ex-promising student, ex-legitimate scientist, ex-Overwatch, ex-Blackwatch, now current terrorist. What an impressive resume. Madam Curie would be jealous. I sighed as I made my way down the cold corridor.

Luckily, things were relatively quiet in the early morning. Even terrorists like to sleep in, I suppose. Walking up to the lab entrance, I tapped in the code at the panel. The doors unhitched with a click, then swung open, I stepped into my lab. The cool, clean air felt good as I took in a lungful of it.

Even after all these years. A lab always made me feel excited. The potential, the possibilities, the limitlessness of science. Sometimes, I wondered why I keep going, despite having a life of near-total loss. But as I stepped into the laboratory, I realized why I did it all.

I had to. It was what I was best at. The sense of discovery is what drove me on. Even after all these years I knew so little about the human genome. What could be unlocked if I learned all I could? What could be passed down through the annals of scientific history? I couldn’t give up, no matter the cost.

Walking up to a small closet, I hung my coat and hat. I had one more object with me, a newspaper, damp from the rain. I normally detest the news, but the headline of this society paper caught my eye: ‘Overwatch hero Mercy ties the knot’. I rumbled to myself as I slapped it down on the counter

It’s been seven years since everything went wrong. Seven long years since I've last seen Angela Zigler. All that time ago, against impossible odds, I had managed to capture the heart of the fair doctor. The romance only lasted a year or so. But I went for it all: Marriage, children...My hands balled into fists at that last part.

My vision went hazy as I tried to force away the memories, the grief. My breath hitched and ran away from me. Control. I had to maintain control. Start with your breathing, Moira. I sucked in air desperately, forcing the thoughts to pass.

Truthfully, over the years, I had if Angela had moved on, if their relationship left any scars. A part of me, a selfish part, wanted her to never get over it. ‘Serves her right’ I’ve thought in my darker days. But the reality of things was that Dr. Angela Ziegler was a far more developed person than I could ever hope to be. And thus, her having moved on made perfect sense.

And so, this is how my life had wound up: I was a disgrace, all of my dreams turned to dust, and my love life was about as barren as a desert. AND I’ve had to join a group of dangerous mercenaries, just to keep myself in a bloody lab. Everything had fallen apart in the space of a few months, all because I couldn’t just…tell Angela the truth.

Opening one of the cabinets, I took out the bottle of Scotch and a glass that were awaiting me. I downed a glass straight away, already pouring another. To top all of this off, now Angela was getting married. Firmly cementing the fact that it was truly and fully over between us. Even in the seven years of silence, I held out this absurd hope that we could somehow reconnect. This was proof positive of my foolishness.

I normally don't drink, despite the hidden bottle stashed in my workspace. It’s just that I never really had many crutches. For a great long time my way of coping was to just repress all my feelings, especially my fears, and then just hide beneath a mask of cynicism. (truly, the ex-Catholic’s way) But once I met her, Angela became my support. Lacking that, I had tried to return to my old ways. Liquor tended to help fill in the gaps.

“Getting a start to the morning?” A voice came from the lab entrance. Just as I was about to down my second glass. I stopped and set it down. Glancing over to see the rather large frame of Akande, the current leader of Talon. I let out a coughing sort of sound, turning to face him.

“Oh it’s...it’s not what it looks like!” I protested, trying to casually flip the paper to hide the headline. “I just ah…” I had no clue what to say. Instead, I just sniffed and held my hands behind my back, taking on my calm professional persona like usual. “What can I help you with, sir?” my voice came out a bit grated, I tried to ignore it.

I saw his eyes flash to the newspaper then back to mine. No doubt he’d heard the news by now. Akande was an expert at keeping tabs on things. Did he come here to offer comfort? Impossible. He’d likely come here to leverage this for some advantage. I had not met a man more cunning than him. He was an expert. Far more so than people assumed of him.

Akande was also one of the few people I knew who towered over me. Not that I wouldn’t feel small right now in front of anyone. But Akande’s impressive height added to my feelings of smallness. All he did was nod, folding his arms behind him as well. “We need you for an outing, Moira. Are you able?”

I simply shrugged, raising an eyebrow. Talking shop was preferable to literally any other subject right now. But I also didn’t want to appear too eager, otherwise this might become a habit. “I’m more curious about what's going on…” I intoned, crossing my arms across my chest.

Akande cleared his throat. “As you might well be aware, the recall is happening. Overwatch is reforming.” The dry sarcasm in his voice told me that none of mine was needed. I tried to keep detached looking and nodded for him to continue. “We don't have many who share our views, Moira. Our agents are spread thin, and with Overwatch rising again, we’ll soon be outclassed. I feel that it’s wisest to seek out allies.”

“That makes sense…” I raised a brow. “I suppose I’m confused as to why you’re asking me to go out on the field? I’m not exactly the most warm person, nor do I scream diplomat.” I said with a slight sneer.

Akande raised a brow at me, picking up on the self deprecation. “Well…” He began. “You’re our best medic we have. And your tech is remarkable for field work. If things go badly and there’s violence, I want you there for the team.” He said this part sternly, as if there was no room for argument. Instead of my usual push back to being put on the field, I just shrugged this time.

“Sure, when do we leave?” I said with a wave of my hand. Akande was taken aback by the reaction, he blinked, then nodded.

“We leave in an hour.”

“Very well, I’ll be there with bells on, sir.” I said with a grin. Honestly? I was thankful for this. Field work was full of distractions, and danger. Who knows? Maybe I’d catch a bullet to my head. Put me out of all this bloody misery. I shook the thought from my head, collapsing in a chair once Akande left me alone.

In a little under an hour, I was standing on the flight deck, watching as the transport was loaded up. Upon reflection, I realized I never asked Akande who they were meeting. It didn’t matter, all I was here for was patching up any wounds if things went sour.

I leaned against a supply crate, watching the flight crew with boredom. A few other agents have been assigned to this detail. Gabrial was coming, of course. He’d most likely handle everything. And Widowmaker came along for fire support. A few other low-level agents were also coming, perhaps to make a show of power? I didn’t really care either way.

“All ready, Moira?” Came the dark voice of Reyes, appearing beside me in a puff of smoke.

“Of course.” I answered curtly.

“I’m amazed doomfist was able to convince you to go.” He chided, I didn’t bother to play along, just watched the crew work silently. After a few moments, he finally spoke up again. “I’m sorry abo-”

“Spar me.” I pinched the bridge of my nose “I...I’m not in the mood, let’s just get going.” He simply nodded at that, breaking off to head towards the transport.

“Fine doctor.” he said, his voice low and gravely.

I didn’t bother saying anything, I just followed him along to the ship. I really didn’t want to snap at Gabe. He was a good man, and honestly, I owed him greatly. If it weren’t for him, I’d have never joined Blackwatch, and never have met Angela. My work would’ve died off long ago. His support let it live for just a little longer. Even if it was all dead and gone, I still thanked him for the second chance.

Of course, my research led to his...current state. I did feel guilty about that, but truth be told. He was fully aware of the risks each step of the way. My hand instinctively went to my scarred arm. I also paid for that experiment too.

As the door to the ship lowered, I spied Gabe and Widowmaker boarding first. I waited to get in last, no need to appear like I’m rushing. Let everyone else stow their gear and settle in. Stepping up the ramp, I glanced around the small cabin: Gabe had settled into the pilot’s seat with our local sniper taking up the navigator’s chair.

Well, I never passed my flight courses so that works for me. I hoped the journey was not too long as I strapped myself in. The modified valkrie suit felt heavier and more stiff than usual, I tried to tell myself it was just because I haven’t worn it in a while.

We worked on these together, Angela and I. The two Talon agents sat across from me, obscured by their masks. I tried to regard them with as cool an expression as I could muster, despite the fact that my mind was awash with images of Angie right now. God, Angie. I missed her so much.

I tried to fight it, I tried to refuse it. I even tried to bury my feelings in my work. But the truth of the matter was my heart still ached for her, and it hurt like hell to be apart from her. Seven years of separation, and I was still not healed from it.