i dont actually follow overwatch but sometimes i think about symmetra having a hard time befriending people her own age because of her autism (like me) and she ends up great at connecting with kids
my gosh, yarra, that’s such a friggin cute idea??
I can see one of things she’s really likes about children is how straight forward they are. Especially in the very competitive, corporate circles she tends to move in, interactions are very high stakes, tightly controlled, and nuanced. Satya has studied the communication for a long time – she probably spent more time memorizing facial expressions and tonal shifts than she ever did reading, which came easily to her. She’d get in trouble by the professors at the Academy for reading comics, thinking she was slacking, but the assigned classwork was too easy for her and she was actually using the stylized expressions in the comics to help her learn. So much is left unsaid during “grown up” conversations and she’s constantly on edge for that, so even when she’s not in a business sort of meeting she can find herself getting exhausted very easily. Making friends can be hard for a number of reasons, but definitely a prominent one is the fact that she feels like she can never let her guard down, can never fully trust them not to be secretly mocking or challenging her without her knowing. Even just being able to tell that someone wants to be her friend is baffling – more than once she has walked away from an interaction feeling mournful because she’d thought that person was quite enjoyable but sure that they weren’t interested in pursuing a friendship or relationship, while the other person is also feeling disappointed because apparently this charming intelligent woman wasn’t interested in them after all. Miscommunications are a bitch, and it’s a bitch Satya lives with all the time.
Children are so easy in comparison. Satya never spent a lot of time with children growing up – she was taken from her family at a young age, and though she did see younger children in the Academy as she climbed through the ranks, she had little to do with them since they were in different classes and dorms than her and her more advanced classes. So the first time she was really forced to interact with a child she was very nervous – how are you supposed to take care of a child?? what if it cries?? do they talk the same, what if it wants to “play” with her?? she had no idea.
So she was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to understand this small human. They were so emotive, and so honest about what they were thinking. Satya found it unspeakably refreshing and enjoyable. (And she grows rather offended when people act like their child is inscrutable and bizarre, like an incomprehensible alien rather than a human with their own agency and thoughts – all you have to do is listen.)
And the children really adore her as well! Satya treats them differently than a lot of adults – she treats them very seriously and honestly, she’s keen to share what she knows and is always happy to learn more – “I will correct my mistakes” is one of my favourite quotes of hers, she is willing to acknowledge when she’s wrong about something and improve. So often I see adults that refuse to admit they’re wrong and that the child who corrected them is right, like it’s somehow a hit on their pride for a ~kid~ to know something better than them, and it’s a really gross way to teach kids who are still excited about learning, it should be encouraged and Satya definitely does that. If the child knows more about a certain subject than her, you can bet your ass she will be interested and accepting of this new information. And if the child wants to learn things from her? She can engage them in the “but why” game for ages and honestly quite enjoy herself. She’ll also sit and listen with absolutely sincerity when the children are talking about whatever they’re interested in… even if she doesn’t get it at all. She so completely understands being so passionately and wholly in love with something and not being able to talk about it (even in Vishkar, people get glassy eyed and annoyed if she starts trying to talk too excitedly about the complex mechanics and theories of hard-light manipulation) that she will happily sit and let their words wash over her as they tell her about a game, a show, a friend, a toy, a school subject. (Children, she has discovered, tend to be remarkably well-versed in subjects like dinosaurs, space, locomotion, and horses. Fascinating. She had never known so much about construction vehicles before meeting children.)
She might not always understand when someone is subtly trying to signal that they’d like to get drinks with her, but she absolutely understands when a child walks up, takes her hand, and tells her that they want to draw with her.
She’ll draw intricate pictures of castles and pirate ships and towers and cities, with the sort of effortlessness that comes from years and years of training, and then give them to the children she’s with and let them populate the buildings with princesses and heroes and dragons and monsters and heroes and omnics and familes all drawn in crayon over her sharp, neatly inked lines.
Plus, how would a child not be amazed by a lady who can create toys with a wave of her hand?? And she loves seeing children exercising their creative abilities – if they can draw her a “blueprint” (she’ll explain how professionals draw pictures of what things should look like before they’re made) and describe it to her, she’ll make it for them. And if it doesn’t work, if it’s not strong enough to support itself, or won’t move properly, she shows them why it doesn’t work and lets the child try again. Adults so often underestimate the joy children get by being confronted by puzzles and challenges when they aren’t being graded but Satya understands.
I can imagine one Vishkar dinner. I sort of feel like Vishkar (the bastards) are always leery about bringing Satya to social functions because they never quite know what sort of impression she’ll make and Vishkar is not the sort of business that likes things to behave with anything less than strict regularity. But Satya is their prodigy and the head architect of many projects, and it would seem unprofessional of them for her not to be present. As it happens, Satya isn’t overly fond of these functions either because of the strain that level of noise and bustle put on her as well as the stress from so much socializing, but Vishkar doesn’t give a damn about that, so she learns to cope.
So this one dinner is meant to be a big one hosted by Vishkar during one of the holidays for all sorts of clients and potential clients. It was encouraged to bring family – wives, husbands, and children – because they’re trying to emphasize a sense of warmth and love and community – a sort of yeah we’re totally the good guys, big old wholesome family values sort of corporation, let us bring this into your city with our beautiful designs. All bullshit, but pretty bullshit. A beautiful lie.
Anyways, most of the children are mingling in a specific room, “out of the grown-ups’ way” and Satya ends up wandering that way when she feels like she’s about to drown in a sea of mixing, conflicting voices and the increasingly sharp clatter of crystal and silverware. There she finds the children, some interacting with each other, but mostly bored out of their minds, stuffed in tight, fancy clothes and deprived of all forms of entertainment. Their parents brought them for the “look” of things, but they know its all business and has nothing to do with them, they could be in a hotel room watching tv right now. Satya gravitates into their room, feeling the former tension gradually slide off and the need to stim fade until it was only a background longing rather than a crushing need that must be suppressed before her supervisors and superiors see her.
At the end of the evening, a considerable time after her superiors began to realize it had been a while since they’d seen her around the cocktails, she was found with the children, the room in disarray. All the children are shrieking, laughing – playing. All of them have little blue hard-light toys. Satya is there in the middle of it all, finally looking at peace, showing a small group of particularly building-oriented children how to use a projected wire frame to create three-dimensional designs. (Which is everything she wants from an evening – childhood curiosity and ingenuity, her special interest, and the ability to subtly stim with hard-light without being caught out.)
The Vishkar executives are mortified. To see one of their top agents acting in such a way is unspeakable. Never have they been so embarrassed.
And yet – and yet – Vishkar receives several rather hefty offers of work in the following days. It seems a number of important executives were impressed by how happy the children were at the end of a long business evening, and were even more impressed by the intricacy of the toys they brought home. If this level of craft can be achieved on the fly, we look forward to seeing more work done by you in the future, Vishkar is told. Satya isn’t punished, and she remembers it as being one of the most enjoyable evenings she had had in a very long time.
(She’s still in contact with one of the little girls who had been so intrigued by the wireframe – Satya might recommend her as a candidate for the Academy if her interest holds, and it seems very likely it will.)
Yeah, I dunno, I’m having a lot of feelings about this now. Imagine once she joins Overwatch and after a mission they end up with a bunch of distressed, traumatized children while they try to relocate parents. Everyone’s scrambling, trying to figure out how to calm them down, look for Ana because, hey, she’s a mom, how do you child???? Only to find a moment later that Symmetra of all people has gotten right into the centre of the children’s cluster and they’re all… surprising… calmer. (Everyone on the team is Baffled because they’ve know Symmetra mostly as a very rigid, professional, and cold sort of person, and yet her she seems to be all gentleness and sweetness – they start to realize maybe there’s more to the Vishkar retainer than meets the eye.) Or heck, even just let her meet Törbjorn’s mob of kids! Give Satya kids!!
and while we’re on the subject, let her meet this child again, give me that angst I need it