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Operation: Food Shop

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The Talon transport shuddered under the force of the take-off from hovering. Widowmaker ignored the sucking, crushing feeling of the momentum on her body, staring down at the lights of King’s Row. She toyed with the idea of activating her visor to track the heat signature of Tracer, collapsed on the dirty street far below. It would bring her pleasure to watch the effects of her victory. However much pleasure she was capable of feeling, at least.

She was about to touch the activation sensor on the side when the transport veered suddenly off course. Muscle memory made her launch her grappling hook at the ceiling and hold on for dear life.

What do you think you are doing?” She hissed into the comms.

“Mondatta’s security team put out a top-tier security pulse,” the pilot said through gritted teeth as he yanked the joystick backwards, sending them both thudding into their seats. “Activated every anti-aircraft system in London. Shit!”

The transport rang with the tooth-grinding force and noise of a blast to the starboard wing. Widowmaker heaved a sigh and pressed the emergency door release with her foot, then levelled Widow’s Kiss. She took out four of the activated turrets atop skyscrapers in quick succession. She had faced worse odds than a couple of outdated London security drones before and come out unscathed. Another firefight and narrow escape did not raise her blood pressure in the slightest.

“Point the stick in the direction of ‘out of here’ and shut your useless mouth.” Widowmaker told the pilot shortly, blasting a sleek blue drone out of the sky almost nonchalantly. Honestly, the Talon rank-and-file henchmen were getting more unbearable every year.

He did as he was told with a muffled curse, attempting to weave around the spray of fire from turrets, drones, and now a military attack hovercopter visible on their rear. Widowmaker gave the British their due: since Talon’s first and devastating attack some years ago, they had taken their anti-terrorism efforts seriously.

A great wave of machine gun fire forced Widowmaker to take cover but punched a neat circle of holes in the transport’s hull. She slid towards the aft and fired several wild shots, busting open a window of the hovercopter, then fired a venom mine from her gauntlet into the hole she had created. It detonated in a plume of toxic purple fog inside the enemy vehicle and brought it crashing to the ground.

She was just feeling smug when the whole transport exploded with unbearable heat. The damaged wing had bent and snapped, exposing one of the thrusters. It spat fire at the interior of the transport, a great gout of it enveloping the pilot. Widowmaker heard his anguished screams cut short, and knew it was time to make her escape.

As casually as if she were stepping outside on an autumn morning to see if it was sweatshirt weather or warm enough for a sundress, Widowmaker lifted herself up out of the hole where the emergency door had been and stepped onto the hull of the rapidly falling transport. She saw a good place to secure her grappling hook and fired, swinging her nimble body away from the burning wreckage and onto the balcony of an apartment building.

She swung between balconies seemingly at random to shake any tracking still on her, stealing a long grey cardigan and a flowery skirt from a washing line along the way. Widow’s Kiss stuffed under her skirt, she stepped out of the disaster zone with the blazing skeletons of the two aircraft and melted into London. It began to rain, as it always does in Britain, further muddying her trail.

The Talon safehouse was not quite far enough from King’s Row for her taste, but it was certainly a slap in the face to those who would look for her. Indeed, who expects the criminal to hole up in a fish & chip shop right next to the scene of the crime?

The biometric scanner hidden beneath a poster advertising ‘Pukka Pies’ allowed Widowmaker entry. She quickly ascended the stairs to the flat above the shop and triple-locked the door.

Her programming set her on a simple schedule of tasks: check for the integrity of the safe house, strip, wash, tend to any wounds, redress in civilian clothing, then attempt communication with the main base.

The communicator concealed in the flat’s small television crackled with static. It was old technology, and the display screen told Widowmaker that her worst fear had been realised: London had been blanket-covered by the most fearsome of anti-terrorism precautions. She could sooner contact main base as run for parliament.

She explored the safe house, serviced Widow’s Kiss, took a power nap and paired all of the socks in the bedroom armoire. Time ticked on slowly, her heartbeat comparatively fast, it felt. The flat was small and musty.

Widowmaker found herself sitting on the sofa staring at the television. It was airing a ridiculous programme about British people arguing called EastEnders, though without subtitles she could hardly understand what they were talking about. Somebody seemed to have kidnapped another woman’s baby, though. Widowmaker was rooting for her. Denise did not deserve that baby, not with how poorly she was already treating her older son.

The program ended with a drum beat.

“No! You must tell me whether the police discovered where Denise had locked the boy!”

Alas, the television did not reveal the secrets of the boy’s location, and Widowmaker was left to mooch around more. A new worry was beginning to come to the boil in the back of her mind – she was far, far away from main base. Far away from the medications and procedures that Talon used to keep her at peak performance. Already she could feel emotions leaking through the conditioning, likely helped by the adrenaline of her narrow escape and the lingering elation at her assassination of Mondatta.

A police car rumbled past outside, blue lights flashing faint patterns onto the walls through the tinted windows. Well, she could not leave, not with the heightened security. Nor could she contact main base. So, Widowmaker supposed, she should just… wait?

She pulled a dusty holodisk case from a cabinet by the television and sat herself down to ride out the storm.

 

-0-

 

Three days later, the wan autumn sun rose on the same fish & chip shop, but it illuminated a very different Widowmaker.

She lay snoozing in bed, covers pulled around her against the chill. Black hair fanned out like tarry ribbons on the white sheets, blue skin stark against the covers. Around her were discarded holodisk cases – the television had been dragged into the bedroom – packets of freeze-dried food and empty tins of ‘something-meaty’ overflowed the bin. Several books from the thin bookcase had been opened and half-read.

Widowmaker stirred. She felt slow, sluggish, wobbly. Without her regular conditioning, all of her sharply-honed skills were becoming unfocused and clumsy. Her mind, too, suffered. The programming was there, and would never go away, but humanity had a way of making itself known even where an attempt had been made to strip it all away.

She would have gladly stayed in bed for longer, her body unused to the luxury of a lie-in, but a new problem presented itself: she was hungry. Most of the food in the safehouse had expired, and what remained was gone, however she had tried to ration it. The anti-terror alert had still not been lifted, and there was radio silence from the Talon main base. She would die of hunger before she managed to make contact. An unfamiliar pang of irritation furrowed her brow – Talon must know she was in this particular safehouse, mustn’t they? It was the closest one to King’s Row. Why had they not sent anybody for her, Widowmaker, their greatest success, their living weapon?

Emphasis on the living. She required energy for respiration, and there was no sustenance in the safehouse. She would have to leave and find food. The Fish and Chip shop downstairs was, alas, fake. It contained neither fish nor chips. Widowmaker had checked thoroughly.

She dressed herself in her best attempt at civilian clothing – everything in the armoire was outdated by thirty years at least, untouched since the Omnic Crisis. She would have to leave Widow’s Kiss behind, as the technology in it would trigger any weapon sensor, but she concealed her grappling hook and venom mine gauntlets underneath wooly arm-warmers. And they said that nothing good had come out of the 1980s revival.

Widowmaker felt strange when leaving the comfort and safety of the safe apartment. Like a newborn child, perhaps, blinking and shivering in the cold and the bright light. She had covered her distinctive blue skin with clothing from head to toe, and applied a thick layer of dermolocking foundation to her exposed face that turned the skin a believable impression of pink. The walk to the supermarket was short, but the unfamiliar feeling of nervousness made her shuffle and hide in shadows the whole way. Anybody observing her would have thought her very strange.

She had decided that she should treat this like any other mission. Operation: Food Shop. She had drawn up a detailed mission briefing and tacked it to the safehouse kitchen fridge outlining her plan of attack. Chilled and frozen foods should be bought last as they would not do well out of the fridge. Large crowds around the confectionary aisles should be avoided. Contact with supermarket staff should not be initiated, however difficult she was finding it to locate a particular item.

The second struggle Widowmaker encountered was the sheer variety of food on offer once she reached the supermarket. She had very distant memories of things Amélie Lacroix had eaten before she had died. Fine, soft cheese on peppery crackers. Rich red wine. Crispy baguettes soft and warm in the middle with thick spiced butternut squash soup. Her stomach rumbled as she dredged Amélie’s memories back up from the tight compartment in which they had been locked by Talon. She had long ago figured out how to access them, but had of course not told anybody. Amélie’s memories were… painful to Widowmaker, but sometimes useful. Amélie knew how to do things Widowmaker did not. Dance. Make small talk on a number of subjects. Cook, for one thing. And apparently, she knew how to shop, too.

She snapped back to attention. This was a mission. The Target was food. She must eliminate hunger. That was all. To keep her body going so that she may, in time, return to Talon to continue her work.

The supermarket was too busy, heaving with families doing their shops. Widowmaker kept to the edges, lunging into the fray in the aisles occasionally when she saw an opening and snatching her prey off the shelf. Into her trolley went basic foodstuffs: wholegrain pasta, lean beef mince, fruit and vegetables.

“Free sample, miss?”

A pimply teenager behind a stall proffered a tiny paper plate at her. Upon it was a lump of brie, gooey enough to be deforming slightly in the heat of the store. Widowmaker looked at it.

She shook her head and moved on quickly.

Just as she was passing a display of yoghurts, she caught a snippet of speech from the other side.

“Eh, I’m more a burgers and chips kinda gal, Angie.”

Widowmaker froze. She knew that voice. No. It couldn’t possibly be-

“Tsk, tsk. That won’t do your blood pressure any favours, Lena.”

“But it tastes so good!”

She reached automatically for a rifle that was not there, cursing under her breath when she remembered that she had to leave it behind. How was, of all people, Tracer here in this very supermarket? At this very moment?

“I want to make something special for Fareeha’s birthday dinner. Not… ‘chips’.”

“Can’t go wrong with chips.”

There was the sound of a heavy bag being placed pointedly back into the freezer. Tracer blew a raspberry.

“C’mon, we’ve all been worked to the bone after the Talon attack. Patrolling, searching, up all night and all day. ‘Reeha’s birthday’s meant to be to give us a bit of fun.”

“And what about salad is not ‘fun’?”

“Every. Single. Leaf.”

Their trolled rattled away as Tracer and Mercy continued to argue.

Widowmaker’s mind attempted to process the new situation, to figure out a plan of attack, but it was slow after days of boredom and the loosening grip of conditioning. She couldn’t do it. Nothing came to mind. The lights were on, but the assassin was not home.

Assassin! That was it! She clung to the word. She was an assassin. She should assassinate them. She abandoned her trolley and launched her grappling hook at the metal gangway high above near the ceiling from which the shop floor could be observed and the lighting and ventilation attended to. Under cover of a rush of sugar-addled schoolchildren, she ascended silently into the eaves of the supermarket.

From here she stalked Tracer and Mercy, watching them weave haphazardly through the aisles. Tracer had her chronal accelerator hidden under an oversized hoodie, but was still managing to zip around. She would pause by something that took her fancy: sweets, chocolate, crisps, frozen fish fingers and instant noodles. She grabbed them and snuck them into Mercy’s trolley, then ran off to get more. During this time Mercy would find the junk food and remove it from the trolley with a roll of her eyes.

Content that she knew their movement patterns and that they did not know she was here, Widowmaker aligned herself within line of sight. It was only then that she realised again that she had no weapon.

She did, however, have a packet of biscuits still clutched in her other hand. She had grabbed them without realising, recognising the packaging from one of Amélie’s memories. They would do.

She opened the packet and tested the weight of the biscuit, then limbered up her wrist. Taking aim, she let it fly like a Frisbee.

It smacked Tracer in the back of the head, breaking apart into crumbs. Tracer swore loud enough to greatly offend a family and their baby next to her.

“What the-?” Widowmaker read Tracer’s lips as she wheeled around wildly to search for the culprit, brushing crumbs from her messy hair. “Angie, are ya chucking biscuits at me?”

“What?”

“I just – I swear – am I going bonkers?”

“Have you been drinking, Lena?”

“No! I – never mind. Never mind. Must’ve imagined it.”

She continued on, never suspecting. Widowmaker grinned and padded across the gangway to line up her next shot. This time she hit Mercy in the back.

“Lena!”

“Eh?”

“Why is my blouse covered in chocolate biscuit?”

“Hah! So I didn’t imagine it! Someone’s throwing chocolate hobnobs. Bet its those kids.”

Widowmaker spent the next ten minutes gleefully smacking the two Overwatch agents with biscuits, but eventually the packet ran out and she was forced to duck behind cover when Tracer finally searched the upper level for her attacker. Crouching behind an electrical cupboard, Widowmaker noticed a store clerk approach her trolley and look around for its owner.

“Is this anybody’s?” He asked the crowd around. Nobody said yes, and he sighed. “Gotta put all this stuff back now. Ugh. Hey, Dave, I’m going on break. Can you reshelve this abandoned trolley?”

His colleague grunted yes and the employee walked off. Widowmaker was not about to let her hard work gathering food be wasted. She dropped down with her grappling hook behind the delicatessen counter and slipped past the salami display, reclaiming her trolley before Dave could reach it and melting into the throng of shoppers once more.

“Free sample, miss?”

She had ended up passing the cheese-giver again. Shaking her head, she returned to stalking her prey.

It turned out to be difficult to follow Tracer and Mercy due to the erratic nature of Tracer’s movements and their mounting paranoia after the biscuit-flinging they had just endured. In the magazine aisle Widowmaker thought she was rumbled when Tracer doubled back to grab Pharah a birthday card, snatching the first magazine she could reach. From behind the most recent edition of Gardening and Landscaping Monthly she peeked at Tracer choosing a card. It was both disconcerting and exhilarating to be this close to Overwatch’s most annoying agent without the two of them shooting at each other. Close up, Tracer looked tired, Widowmaker thought. But her jaw was set and her eyes burned with purpose despite the recent assassination of her hero.

Why?” Tracer had cried at her, pinning her to the edge of the rooftop only three days ago. Her body had been taut atop Widowmaker’s, sweaty from the exertion of their fight, shaking with tears. To see that same desperate, broken woman here shopping for something so frivolous as birthday cards made a strange feeling blossom in Widowmaker’s chest. She thought Amélie might know the word for it, but it stuck at the tip of her tongue.

Tracer ran off and Widowmaker followed, entranced by her new proximity. It was an opportunity to study Tracer incredibly closely. The information she could gain about the agent’s weaknesses would be invaluable to Talon when she managed to contact them.

The problem was that she was recognisable even in her disguise and Tracer’s movements were so erratic. She was forced to take cover in more and more ridiculous ways: ducking behind a very obese man, clinging to the side of a passing trolley, diving into one of the freezer cabinets. She emerged covered in frozen peas and shivering uncontrollably, but with her secrecy intact. Perhaps not her dignity, but her secrecy.

“I dunno if ‘Reeha’s a risotto kinda gal, Angie.”

“Everybody is a risotto kind of girl.”

“Even Winston?”

“Especially Winston. I think we have everything, let’s go to the checkout.”

Widowmaker felt a vague sense of disappointment at this statement. Following them around the store had been sort of… fun. Yes, fun was the word. She realised with a shock that she didn’t want it to stop. She wanted to have more… fun.

She lingered by her trolley in the tinned food aisle, looking at the boring things she had put inside it. She wanted risotto. She wanted somebody to cook something delicious for her. One of Amélie’s memories flashed across her mind, a disastrous croque monsieur that Gérard had attempted for their fifth wedding anniversary. It had been burned on one side and too salty, but they had laughed about it and ordered takeout. Then kissed. Gérard had kissed Amélie tenderly and held her in his arms. And Widowmaker…. Widowmaker had killed him.

A tight feeling gripped her chest. Wildly, for a second, she thought she was having a heart attack, so awful was this pain. She wanted to clutch at something, hold somebody, a reflex present from birth and found in every child crying for their mother that Talon’s worst treatments could never destroy.

“Hang on, I’m just gonna grab – oof!”

A body collided with her, knocking Widowmaker into a shelf of tinned tuna.

“Oh crap, sorry miss! Wasn’t lookin’ where I was go – holy carp!”

Tracer looked at Widowmaker and Widowmaker looked at Tracer. Tracer’s eyes were wide and confused, and her split-second hesitation gave Widowmaker a window of opportunity. She grabbed Tracer and fired her grappling hook at the open door to the stockroom, dragging them both through the air and sending them sprawling amongst crates and pallets. The hook caught on the door and slammed it close when Widowmaker tried to retract it.

“Widowmaker! How – what – eh?”

Widowmaker aimed a kick to Tracer’s head, which missed as Tracer ducked and stumbled backwards into a forklift truck. She grabbed a clipboard with a stock list on and flung it blindly at Widow who sidestepped it easily. Adrenaline hit her like alcohol, a rush that made her fingers tingle. Now her fun could continue. They were together again, their fight from King’s Row continuing.

Widowmaker’s conditioning had failed her, but a new force was driving her, a kind of reckless energy. Her heart was beating loudly in her ears, twice as fast as she could ever remember it going. She lunged at Tracer and they grappled on the floor like fools, punching and writhing, grabbing clothing and trying to pin each other.

Tracer disappeared suddenly, leaving Widowmaker to fall face first onto the cold concrete floor. She grunted in pain and rolled over, but Tracer had already blinked back to her, the heat given off by her activated chronal accelerator singing her hoodie and leaving a burned hole in the front to reveal the shimmering blue light. Tracer grabbed her wrists and yanked them behind her head, pushing her pelvis down into Widowmaker’s upper thighs to pin them down.

“I liked this hoodie!” She panted, enraged, sweat dripping down her face. “What the hell’re you doing here?”

“Would you believe me if I said shopping?”

“Piss off!”

“If the British government would kindly lift their anti-terrorism security, I would do just that, chérie.”

Tracer tried to jam her knee angrily into Widowmaker’s side, but just ended up making a grinding movement with her crotch. The sensation was… novel. Widowmaker remembered it. It, and what came after.

“You killed Mondatta!” Tracer continued, a blush spread over her cheeks at the accidental frottage but her anger far from abated. “Why? For money, for power, for, what, chaos? He was a good omnic! He made things better!”

“He was the target.” Widowmaker shrugged. She was unable to move in the exposed position Tracer held her in, so all she could do was keep her talking. She surmised that Tracer did not have her weapons with her either, or she would have used them by now.

“So, what? You just don’t care at all? What kind of heartless monster –”

Tracer did not get to finish her sentence, because her mouth was no longer free to speak. Widowmaker had claimed her lips with the only part of her body free to move – her head. The kiss was sudden, short-lived, violent. Tracer yanked her head away, her cheeks now more blush than freckles.

“What d’ya thing you’re playing at?”

“Monster, chérie, that I will concede. But heartless? Non, non. Anything but.”

Indeed, Widowmaker had a heart, and right how it was practically hammering in her chest. Her body burned with adrenaline, her mind working and whirring to get her out of this situation, but at the same time, to keep her in this situation for as long as possible.

“You – you – stay still!”

“If you command, Lena.” Widowmaker purred, arcing her back to press herself up into Tracer’s crotch. The small, confused whimper she got as a reward was like a ghostly taste of chocolate on her tongue. “Doctor Ziegler will wonder where you are if you stay here too long, non? Or do you want to stay and play with me?”

Something seemed to have broken in Tracer’s mental circuitry because she just stared blankly down at her enemy for several seconds, unable to process this situation. A prone, willing Widowmaker heaving beneath her, defenceless, and suddenly… coy? It made no sense to anybody, least of all Lena Oxton, who had just come to the supermarket in the hope that Angela would buy her some sweets.

“Do I make you… tongue-tied, chérie?” Widowmaker purred, running her tongue across her plump lips. “How many times, in the past few days, have you wished to have me at your mercy? And now here I am, laid out for you.”

“Uh – I should, uh, I should…” Whatever Tracer should have done, she did not, instead wavering indecisively atop her captive, unable to articulate any words while Widowmaker continued to subtly push up between her legs.

“I am a menace.” WIdowmaker continued, her voice low and throaty, tingling spreading from her chest down her spine to blossom somewhere deep inside of her. “I should be captured and imprisoned. Tied up. For my own good.”

Her words had an almost hypnotic effect on Tracer, who, automatically it seemed, had shifted herself slightly so as to slip her leg between Widowmaker’s thighs and Widowmaker’s leg between hers. A revealing dampness was growing between them.

“Are you handing yourself in?”

“It depends whose hand.”

Tracer blinked and then stuttered with the implication and with the force of Widowmaker’s thigh grinding up in her crotch. Her eyes rolled for a moment back into her head and she gasped with pleasure. Unable to take it any longer, she loosened her grip and tried to detach herself, but Widowmaker was ready for it. She yanked her arm from the lax fingers and encircled Tracer’s waist, pulling her down. The second kiss was long, sloppy, both struggling to gain the upper hand and push the other down to win the renewed grappling. Widowmaker sucked at Tracer’s bottom lip, nibbling the swollen skin and lapping gently with her tongue.

Tracer, unable to dispute that this was happening, decided to roll with it. She allowed Widowmaker entrance into her mouth, the skilful tongue pushing against her own, sliding past her lips to dance. It felt so transgressive to invite the enemy inside her body, but Widowmaker’s cool fingertips dancing up her back and dipping past the waistband of her jeans threw any and all thoughts from her mind.

As with their battle over Mondatta, Talon triumphed against Overwatch. Widowmaker was on top, her body pressed against Tracer’s, her hoodie rucked up under her chronal accelerator to show a toned stomach. Widowmaker hooked her fingers into Tracer’s jeans and ran them around underneath the fabric, burying her face in Tracer’s neck and suckling on the tender skin she found there. Tracer’s pitiful moans only spurred her further, until Widowmaker finally tugged the trousers down to just above her thighs.

“Until next time, chérie.” Widowmaker breathed against Tracer’s neck. Tracer opened her bleary eyes just in time to see Widowmaker staring down at her, yellow eyes cold and commanding, a grin spread across her face. She fired her grappling hook at the stockroom door and launched herself towards it, smashing it open in the process. Tracer tried to jump up, but Widowmaker had pulled her trousers down enough that she stumbled and had to waste a precious second sorting them out or she couldn’t do anything but waddle.

Tracer blinked haphazardly out into the supermarket, the bright strip lighting blinding her after the dark stockroom. She saw Widowmaker swinging across the room in a graceful arc towards the exit, grabbing a small paper plate of cheese from a bewildered store clerk handing out free samples as she did so. With a swish of her ponytail she was gone, and now matter how fast Tracer sprinted and how much she overheated her chronal accelerator blinking, she could not catch up, blocked by the large queues lining up by the checkouts.

Widowmaker savoured the taste of victory – and an excellent continental brie – as she disappeared into London. She found herself laughing, smiling, flushed with success and something she would later realise was arousal. Back in the safehouse, it was several minutes before she realised she had not managed to buy anything to eat at all. Operation: Food Shop had been a failure, but Widowmaker knew that she had started a much more important mission instead, one that she found much more… interesting.

She resigned herself to ordering takeout, and hoped that the anti-terrorism security would last long enough for another ‘chance’ meeting with Lena Oxton.