Silence only ever meant one of two things in a battle. You were dead, or everyone around you was.
After so many years though, what could even be considered as "living" after seeing so much?
Hana always felt it even in sleep.
The heavy weight it held. The surreal ache behind every shuddered breath. Every memory.
The remains of those she had been deployed with mere hours ago. Laid out, contorted, and scattered amongst the leftover scraps of MEKA shells that had broken apart.
The red stained earth.
D.Va's knees were sunken into the soft ground. She had nearly collapsed into the snow twice, but any sharp movement to her left side felt as though a thousand bullets were grazing every one of her ribs.
Her long brunette hair had formed a curtain to block out the carnage around her.
If only for a moment.
For that one second, it felt as though the universe had finally given her a second to breathe.
A vibration to her left caused the young pilot to tear her gaze away from the barrel of her pistol. It had been fixated an inch away from the space between her eyes.
The call signal from her headset. A new MEKA and reinforcements were on their way.
Ariel detection had finalized.
She was the only survivor.
Brown eyes snapped open.
D.Va's mind tried desperately to register any sound.
She was drowning in the purple sheets that had become drenched in sweat around limbs. Her pajamas clung to her skin. She was trapped. Hana tried to thrash about to grab for something.
Her own body felt too tight to feel any sensation besides the way her bones ached with a memory from long ago. Her lungs still burned with the smoke.
"Scatz, breathe for me. It's okay! I'm here. It's me!"
How was it always Mercy?
The barracks were more or less an optional place to sleep for those who had early missions the next day, or simply wanted a few nights away from their secluded living quarters.
Lena liked to consider it the "sleepover bunkers".
Jesse had once mumbled that it was "the only place memories won't follow".
The medic herself was usually never anywhere near the desolate cots. Given that she already had Pharah to share her room with.
The only exception was if Angela got caught up in her research and ended up collapsing in a sprawled out heap against her office desk. An actual and fairly common occurrence.
However, like with most things Mercy always seemed to be where she was needed.
Hana sat up after a painfully difficult few minutes of trying to calm herself. Barely managing to free herself from the confines of her blanket, before fumbling to recall where she was.
The second she did, tears started to well up in her eyes.
Angela barely had the chance to offer her arms before the young girl had thrown herself into the embrace. Hiccuping softly with the occasional mumble of 'im sorry'.
"You have nothing to be sorry for, Scatz. Shhhh I've got you,"
"Oi? What's going on?"
Lena, who had been sleeping in the bunk overhead, rubbed what sleep was still left from her eyes before peering over the cot's edge.
A blink later she was onto the floor and rushing to pull Hana's other side into a tight hug.
"It was just a bad dream, love. It's okay, you're still here."
Mercy gave the brunette a thankful look before whispering that she was going to go grab Pharah. And perhaps some tea.
The usual routine.
Hana tried to protest, but couldnt find the strength to stop her sobbing long enough to entertain the thought.
Once Lena was sure the doctor was out of sight, she peered down at the mess of dark hair in her arms.
Hana was still shaking with every breath.
Tracer could usually find the silver lining in so many things, but never when it came to these nights. D.Va always looked so much smaller when she cried. It always hurt every one of them to remember just how young she truly was.
No where near a child, but too far back to be an elder. To think of just how much she was forced to see.
"Same one huh?"
"Do you wanna talk about it, love?"
The younger girl shook her head.
"It's been happening a bit more frequently....Widow already said if you wanna camp out in our room for a few days she wouldn't mind."
Another shake. Along with a very weak wheeze that somehow doubled as a small laugh.
Lena smiled a bit before pulling her friend closer. Ruffling her already tousled hair.
"Oi we even promised to not even be all, what'd ya call it? 'Cuddly and gay'! If that didn't show how serious the offer is nothin will."
Hana had to chuckle honestly at that, despite how awful she found the sound to be. It was like water and gravel lined the expanse of her throat and were tickling against every nerve.
She shouldn't be laughing. If anything she felt she didn't deserve to.
Silence fell for a few minutes after that. Save for the ocasional waver of breath that tilted on the edge of another burst of tears.
Lena remained quiet and simply kept her hold on the younger girl strong. She, above anyone else, knew what it felt like to desperately need someone to keep you anchored.
To keep the voices, the memories, the guilt all away.
Talking usually was enough to help, but only when Hana felt ready.
They both stared at nothing for a long while, before D.Va finally allowed whispered words to spill from her lips.
"...y-you already know what h-happened..."
"Doesn't mean I don't wanna listen. Getting it off your chest is better than crying till dawn."
Same old fair point.
"It...When the self destruct was originally implemented I...we didn't have r-radiation or impact resistant suits. The b-blast could hurt us if we weren't out of range in time..."
Another hiccup. Hana was practically shaking with every breath. She buried her face in deeper to Lena's embrace.
"T-towards the end of the first wave, everyone admitted that they were t-too frightened to use their-the-...cause they had families they still wanted to make it back to."
Tears threatened to choke out her words, but Hana continued.
"I-...we were so far out. I called for a retreat, an...when I-the blast t-took them all out. I saw...I didn't mean to- my friends....a-all were...-"
She was hyperventilating. She had told the story many times, but it never felt any easier.
Lena had heard the story more than most. And every time she listened. Sometimes little details would come up, other times they'd be forgotten. But the guilt Hana expressed never changed.
"Hana, hey listen to me, you didn't know. There was nothing else you could have done-hey Hana-"
Nothing felt right again. It was as though her thoughts was being suffocated in fire and no one could reach her.
She wondered if that was how her squadron felt before her own explosion snuffed out their lives? Did they hearts shatter when they realized what was coming? Was it quick, god she prayed every day of her life it was quick.
Every grasp Hana made for some sensation. Any reality. Was met with air and a sharp ache in her mind.
Suddenly a new force knocked her back into the world of the living.
It was a different body. Sturdier. Larger than Lena's, with a familiar feeling of protectiveness that she melted into with a sob.
Fareeha had nearly tackled Hana with the intensity of her hug. But she was grounded again. Back in the present.
"Do not leave, Hase. Stay here, we are here. You're safe."
Several months or even a few days could separate each nightmare, and yet every time she awoke with a yelp Pharah was there.
To tell her she was okay. That they had her. That she was safe.
Mercy stood at the door, with Morrison at her side. She didn't have to see their faces to know they heard every word.
Pity. Pity. Pity.
It was written clear as day across their faces. She hated it, she hated that the whole base already knew. That they could see her for everything she didn't want to be.
She needed to be loud, to be bigger then the silence. The very thing she personified to keep out the quiet, made her drown all the same. Reinhardt could relate, he had said the voices couldn't match his volume.
But it was these nights. When a few would find her like this that she remembered it all. She hated their pity. She didn't deserve a damn ounce of it.
Pharah seemed to hold her a little tighter as though reading her thoughts.
A new wave of tears were starting again. Less so out of anguish and more for the feeling of home that she had lost so long ago.
The guilt would never leave, they all knew that. But it didn't mean it couldn't heal.
"You'll be okay Hana..."
She knew she would. Someday. When the threats were gone and the tightness was no longer suffocating to bare.
When she could find it in herself to go visit the memorial stones of her former squadron.
There would never be forgiveness for that day, but acceptance. Honor...remembrance. She would offer those still here, fighting the good fight, all she could until she finally got to apologize in another life.
It would be okay.
Maybe not all the way...but enough.