The toddler cried out with an indignant squeak of protest behind her scarf. Soldier just watching his wobbling daughter for a moment as she kicked the snow pile that was slowly accumulating on the helipad while Genji helped him shovel snow off it.
The littlest rabbit was dressed in a thick, purple snowsuit, with black boots. Impossibly adorable as she was bundled up with a matching fleece hat with rabbit ears, a thick scarf that had to be wrapped three times around her to not drag, a pair of earmuffs, and gloves to keep her fingers warm. She had trouble walking even without the extra weight but the little rabbit managed to follow her father, albeit slowly. Something neither Genji or 76 minded since shoveling the helipad wasn’t anything they were in a hurry to clean off.
You aren’t to be home for another week from your mission but your daughter seems to not really be troubled by it. She is showered with love everyday from the new Overwatch, especially Reinhardt, Torbjorn, and Ana, with Jack doing his best to tend to his little rabbit’s needs. He certainly doesn’t mind the ups and downs that come with raising a child though he was a little skittish in the beginning.
“That’s why you keep your gloves on, Kid.” Jack rumbled with a small smile on his face, forgoing the visor and mask to wear a hat and scarf today. His 76 jacket on, like always, while he pushed the shovel across the helipad.
Little rabbit’s face scrunched at that as she took many steps to rotate herself and look up at her dad. Jack can’t help but pause as he sees the uncanny resemblance in the way he furrowed his own brows in a similar way. It’s enough to make him consider how grouchy he looked if his kid was parroting him like that.
She quickly forgets and turns back soon after to tend back to the pile Genji and Jack were intentionally accumulating as the snow continued to gently fall around them. They were hoping to gather enough snow to make a snowman with little rabbit but that might be a long shot with what they have so far.
Jack pursed his lips in disappointment. This wasn’t anything like what Winston said when he told them that it would snow today. Maybe his expectations were too high, envisioning snow falls as heavy as ones he had back in Indiana growing up. It was what he imagined your daughter having the most fun in as she dived into the backyard snow that came up to her waist. The igloos and snow forts he would build with her.
This? This was barely good enough to make a half-hearted snow angel in…
Genji’s shovel came to a halt beside Jack. The cyborg wearing a green scarf around his neck simply to be festive rather than keep himself warm. Jack didn’t need to be able to see under the other man’s visor after he paused to look at the sad pile they accumulated.
“... Should we try again later, Soldier 76?” He whispered to Jack.
Jack considered it as he looked back at his daughter. His blue eyes watched as the toddler let out an ‘oof’ when she collapsed to her knees in the small pile of snow. Her gloved hands pawed curiously at the white powder as she entertained herself, crunching the snow in her gloves as she babbled gibberish to no one in particular.
“You can go in if you want.”
Soldier lifted the shovel he had filled with snow and carefully added it to the pile while little rabbit continued to dig slowly into the mound. She didn't seem to mind the addition, more interested in making a tunnel in the pile as she parroted his words with her cute voice.
“Go in. You… Can… In.” She mumbled idly, and mixed in with her usual, unintelligible baby babble.
The frustrated ‘urgh!’ from Genji was a feeling Jack could very much relate to as he listened to his cute kid babble. He let the fond moment wash over him as he just watched his daughter dig, oblivious to the world and how important her father once was to it.
Little rabbit just knew him as her ‘pop pop’ and that probably filled him with more pride than he ever had being Strike Commander. Not so much the early years but he definitely wouldn't trade his daughter for a chance to rewind time. With that thought, Jack groaned dramatically as he kneeled down next to little rabbit. His knees popping a bit from the action but not enough to cause serious discomfort as he eyed the hole she was making with much interest.
“Whatcha doing, Kid?” Jack affectionately cooed with his gravelly voice, drawing his adorable daughter's attention as she paused in her endeavors.
“… dig…?” She babbled to him as her gloved hand went back to work even though her attention was fully on him.
The metallic click of Genji’s footsteps walking over caught Jack’s attention for a brief moment before he and little rabbit watched the cyborg deposit his shovel’s worth of snow onto the pile. Genji gave her a little wave that she just stared at him blankly before losing interest to turn back to her slightly bigger snow pile.
“Sweetie. What should we say when others do nice things for us?” Soldier softly encouraged, bring his gloved hand to gently rub the back of the little rabbit’s snowsuit.
Blue eyes turned away from the snow and up to her father’s own as she stared at him.
“Do… sweet…?” She parroted again, not really knowing what he was saying but knew he expected something from her.
It was all part of the slow learning process with her. She was very good at picking up expectations but had very little grasp on how to respond to it. It was no big deal since she was only two years old, albeit, a bit shy even when she knows almost all of the old guard as basically family. Reinhardt and Gabriel seemed to know how to really get her to engage when they were one-on-one with her, something that made Jack a bit jealous until she reminded him who she really likes to be held by.
Jack was the number one dad in a sea of honorary uncles, aunts, and cousins doting on her. You specifically bought him several ‘dad’ labeled items to remind Jack of that when you celebrated his first Father's Day with him and little rabbit…
He still loves the fuck out of that cheesy hat you bought him to this day.
But, yeah, even Jack has to take her hand and encourage the little rabbit to interact with people. He wanted to do it. With her blue eyes still focused on Jack as she slightly swayed back and forth from the lightest breeze, Jack smiled at her behind his scarf.
“Remember? We say ‘thank you’. ‘Thank you, Genji.’” He repeated for her to parrot, using a much more excited tone to get her to repeat the key sentence.
“Thank… Uuu… Genn.. He.” She mumbled out, still looking at Jack as Genji cooed in delight at hearing her thanking him.
“You’re very welcome!” Genji happily replied.
Jack watched as his daughter’s eyes went wider at that, a happy cackle muffled from behind her scarf. Her sweet laughter filled Jack’s chest with warmth at hearing how pleased she was. It was a reminder that He managed to do some good by staying by your side and helping to raise the little rabbit. She was such a blessing to his old, tired heart, like you were.
He sat down beside his daughter and crossed one leg over the other as he watched her go right back into playing with the snow pile. He brought a hand up to lightly ruffle the fleece hat between the two propped up rabbit ears Gabriel incorporated into the design. The little rabbit was more interested in packing snow together between her little gloves but that was because she was used to Jack just idly playing with her hair for no real reason.
Jack just enjoyed playing with her soft hair, taking comfort in knowing that he really did care for his kid more than he originally thought himself capable of doing. Wanting to touch and hold her made him so very happy, especially when she wanted him to pick her up. Her little arms stretched upwards towards him as she demanded ‘Pop Pop! Up up!’ in her adorable voice.
It made fatherhood that much easier to embrace, even when he had to deal with her sometimes confusing temper tantrums and frequent diaper changes.
Speaking of ‘diapers’...
Jack glanced down at his daughter as she started patting down on the sides of the pile to flatten it with her weight before shuffling her hands to the next spot to push down. He pulled his glove off for a moment before reaching down the collar of his shirt to pat the spot where he always kept her injection pen. Once verified that it was there, he kept his hand still as he looked back at his daughter.
“Honey? Your tum tum hurt?” He asked.
The toddler paused on her hand and knees after shoving down another fluffy patch of snow with her gloves before shaking her head.
The little rabbit nodded her head before crawling over to the untouched side of the pile to start packing it down as well. Jack watched her carefully as she moved, looking for any signs of gastrointestinal pains starting to creep in before drawing his hand back out of the collar of his shirt and slipping the glove back on it. He should learn to trust her a bit more as much as it hurt to think about her suffering.
Especially when it was his mutated genes and crap that caused her to have a miserable disease in the first place. At least Moira and Angela were working on a fix for her condition, even if it was baby steps.
“Mind if I join you?” Jack asked instead, watching the little rabbit nod her head, the little ear on her hat moving adorably from the gesture.
“Yes.” She acknowledged, filling Jack’s heart with joy as he felt his face grow soft from quickly she answered this time.
He leaned over and started gathering some of the snow into his gloves, packing it down to make a snowball. Jack set it down over by his daughter at the base of the snowpile before getting to work on making a new snowball with the snow he scooped.
“So… What do you want for dinner tonight?”
“Cheese.” She replied simply, eyeing the snowball Soldier put down earlier before scooping up some snow with her gloves and packing it together.
Jack chuckled warmly at that answer, knowing how much she loved cheese sprinkled on everything, especially vegetables. At least it helped make the introduction a bit easier and you both were only putting on a little bit for flavor. Angela would personally make his life hell if either of you deviated too far from little rabbit’s strict diet plan to help with her gastrointestinal issues.
“How about something to go with it, Kid?” He smiled as he watched her set her lumpy snowball down by his own. “Chicken? Bwak Bwak?” Jack asked as he made a rather decent impression of a hen for her to connect the two.
She mumbled a ‘bwok bwok’ or so. Not really thinking about what he was asking but more interested in parroting the odd noises her father was making. Pretty typical stuff but Jack didn’t mind as he chuckled. He packed his next snowball down in his palms before lining it right up next to the small, odd-shaped one little rabbit made.
“Yeah. Chicken sounds good tonight.” He replied, getting started on his next snowball. Things weren’t so boring without you around, he thought. Little rabbit was pretty fun to be with, even if their conversations were mostly one-sided.
“Yum yum.” She agreed idly, more interested in setting her flat snowball on top of the three Jack and her had laid out already. At least it was something of a positive reaction, right? You would have seen it as that.
Genji came back over to pour fresh snow onto the pile before he set his own shovel aside and sat down in the circle to start making snowballs with them.
“Who’s turn is it to cook tonight?” The cyborg asked curiously as he scooped up some of the fresh snow into his palm. Little rabbit looked up to see that Genji had joined them, not arguing with the cyborg’s decision to join them as she went right back to packing more snow.
“Rutledge.” Jack answered without much pondering, he always makes it a point to get on the nightly cook’s good side or flat out offer to cook from little rabbit himself if someone was a bit inexperienced at cooking for a large group.
“You’re not worried?” Genji looked at Jack across from the pile with some concern before Jack just shook his head.
“Roadhog is far more likely to remember dietary restrictions than most others on base. He’ll probably make it look far more appetizing for a kid then I know how to.” Jack chuckled fondly, remembering his own hesitation with the large junker before he blew his expectations out of the water with how good little rabbit’s food looked that night. He remembered feeling a bit jealous too, much to your amusement later on when you both turned in for the night.
“Helps that he rather stay on Angela’s good side, knowing him.” Genji joked, drawing a smirk on Jack’s face from that.
“Pretty sure that’s how most of us feel, Shimada. Pretty sure that’s how most of us feel.” He sighed wistfully.