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do you think that you would love me ‘til tomorrow if you could

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Jesse’s first roommate got himself stabbed. Jesse refuses to take responsibility for that, since any idiot ought to know better than to shake awake anyone in Overwatch, much less the very recently ex-gang member. His second roommate was a manic neat freak. The third was on day shift. The fourth was--

Look, there’s been a lot of roommates. Coming home to the murder-cyborg ain’t really a downgrade, is his point here.

“Hey there, partner,” Jesse says, lifting a hand in greeting. Cadet Shimada gives him a blank look from the bare mattress he’s sitting on. Jesse heads over to his rumpled, barely-made bed to collapse. He’s been in special training for six hours, and he is exhausted. A new roommate ain’t remotely interesting compared to his bed. He was due a new one soon anyway, after the whole debacle with the . . . with the fire extinguisher.

Jesse also refuses to take responsibility for that.

He stretches out on his mattress, covering his eyes with his hat and letting out a groan of relief. He could take his boots off, but that sounds way too difficult right now. Just--way too much effort. Breathing might be too much effort right now.

“Who are you,” Shimada asks, which Jesse supposes is a fair question. He’s not the talk of the base right now, so it’s not like Shimada’d know him.

“Name’s McCree,” he says, tipping his hat just enough to glance over at the other. “Pleasure to meet you.”

“You live here?” Shimada asks.

“Did you think somebody didn’t?” McCree asks, squinting at him doubtfully. He don’t exactly keep his share of the place spic and span; the half of the room Shimada’s not sitting in definitely looks lived in.

“I thought the previous occupant was moving out,” Shimada says.

“There’s two beds,” McCree points out, giving him a wry look.

“Hn.” Shimada’s hard to read, mostly because there’s not much face showing, what with the whole half-mask thing he’s got going. McCree’s got his eyes and no other context to go on. He lets his hat fall back down over his face, figuring there’s not much point trying to read the guy, at least for the moment.

“Don’t mind me, just put your shit wherever,” he says. Shimada don’t say anything, so Jesse figures the conversation’s over and settles in to get some sleep while he’s got the time for it. Shimada can move in, and he’ll get some rest. Win-win.

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Shimada don’t move in, is the thing. Jesse wakes up to the other half of the room being just as empty as it was when he went to sleep, and he squints at it in confusion. What, does the guy own nothing--

. . . right. He’s an asshole.

“Christ,” he mutters to himself, throwing an arm over his eyes. Well, he fucked up with the new roommate again; no surprise. If he don’t see Shimada again, he won’t exactly be surprised.

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He sees Shimada again, hovering in the hallway outside their room.

“Hey, partner,” Jesse says, quirking an eyebrow at him. “Something wrong?”

Shimada looks at him for a moment, but doesn’t say anything. Jesse waits for a bit, but finally just puts his palm on the door scanner and waits for it to pop the lock, then holds the door for the other. Shimada apparently ain’t much of a talker.

Shimada looks at him for a moment longer, but steps through the door.

“You eat yet?” Jesse asks him, shaking a serape’s worth of junk food out onto his bed. Gabe would give him shit if he saw him eating crap like this, but what Gabe doesn’t know won’t get him on his ass.

“No,” Shimada says, so Jesse tosses him a bag of chips. Shimada catches it automatically, then gives it a wary look. “I might throw up.”

“Oh come on, they’re chips,” Jesse snorts.

“No. I might throw up,” Shimada says, gesturing meaningfully towards his stomach. His . . . metal-covered stomach.

“Jesus,” Jesse said. “How bad did they fuck you up?”

“Not quite bad enough,” Shimada says, then pries off his mask and sets it aside. His face is even more scarred than his arm, and his jaw looks like it’s been reinforced--or maybe outright replaced--with metal. Jesse represses the urge to wince in sympathy. A moment later Shimada is tearing open the chip bag and stuffing a few in his mouth, though, at which point the scars stop registering and he actually processes the other’s face fully.

Shit, he’s kind of fucking beautiful, ain’t he.

“Gonna puke?” Jesse asks.

“Not yet,” Shimada says, eating another chip. He’s wearing a very strange expression.

“Something wrong?” Jesse asks.

“No.” Shimada eats another chip, then sets the bag aside with his mask, probably to make sure he actually isn’t gonna puke. Jesse tears open a pack of jerky and sits down to dig in.

“You field-ready yet?” he asks. “I hear you’re pretty intimidating in the training rooms.”

“I am just better than the agents they have had me fight,” Shimada says, no pride in the statement at all.

“Every single one?” Jesse asks with a laugh.

“Every single one so far,” Shimada says.

“Well, damn, now I wanna take a ride,” Jesse says. “I’ll have to ask Gabe to let me.”

“I will not go easy on you,” Shimada says.

“Darlin’, I’d expect nothing less,” Jesse says, grinning wide at him.

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“You want to fight who?” Gabe asks.

“Shimada,” Jesse repeats patiently. “You know, the pissed-off cyborg currently taking up the other half of my bunk.”

“They roomed you two together?” Gabe says. “Jesus Christ, whose stupid idea was that?”

“I’d assumed it was yours, boss, so I wouldn’t know,” Jesse replies easily. Gabe smacks him upside the head.

“Real funny. You want stabbed that bad, kid, you go for it,” he snorts.

“Always do!” Jesse says cheerfully as he re-adjusts his hat, and Gabe rolls his eyes at him.

“Don’t come crying to me when you’re full of shuriken,” he says.

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They ain’t actually supposed to injure other agents in training, of course, so Jesse swaps out Peacekeeper for the training pistol he uses in live drills, which is a near-perfect match in terms of weight and recoil. It could be a little more perfect, but he’s been working on it since he joined up and it’s come a long way since then, which is pretty good considering the thing’s basically a glorified paintball gun.

“Hey there,” he says as he steps out into the training room and finds Shimada in the middle of a stretch he may or may not actually have the muscles left to need. Shimada gives him a startled look, kind of like he’s surprised he actually followed through. That or Jesse’s stunning good looks have knocked him for a loop, but he ain’t lucky enough for that one. If it’d been that one, they could be doing something a lot more fun with their time.

“I told you I won’t go easy on you,” Shimada says, a fistful of shuriken popping into his fingers.

“No mercy, huh?” Jesse says, grinning widely as he reaches for a flash-bang.

Okay, maybe it’d only have been a little more fun.

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“That went quite well,” Angela says over the intercom, sounding surprised.

“If that’s your way of saying we ain’t bleeding enough, we could always go another round,” Jesse says from the floor with entirely false bravado. There is no way in hell he could go another round. He can hear Shimada wheezing behind him, his respirator kicked into high gear. They’re both on the floor, and probably staying there for the foreseeable future.

Also, he’s bleeding a lot, for a training exercise. Like . . . a lot.

“You are bleeding quite a lot,” Angela says, though now it’s up close and personal. Jesse cracks an eye open and finds her standing over him with a wry expression and her staff.

“This? Ain’t nothing but a flesh wound,” he says, grinning up at her. She sighs theatrically and her staff pops open.

“Ah, well, then I suppose I’ll tend to Genji first,” she says.

“Angie, that’s cruel. I got more blood to lose than him.”

“So you will be fine!” Angela replies cheerfully, pointing her staff towards Shimada, who makes a startled noise as its effects hit and sits up. The wheezing in his respirator cuts out. Jesse may have hit it a touch too hard, come to think. “That was an excellent performance from both of you, I’ve been told to inform you. Congratulations on being the first one to knock Genji down, Jesse, even if your methods were slightly unorthodox.”

“You mean how I cheated?” Jesse flashes her another grin, and she turns her staff on him. It feels very nice, as always.

“There is no cheating in battle,” Shimada says.

“I have heard you say no less than six things about honor since I met you,” Jesse says, squinting over at him wryly. Most of them were today, in fact.

“There can be no honor in death,” Shimada snorts. “I should know.”

“Fair enough, I suppose,” Jesse says.

“Who’s going to mop all this up?” Angela sighs, looking disapprovingly at the bloodstains on the training room floor.

“Annnnd we’re out,” Jesse says as he grabs his hat off the floor, immediately rolling to his feet and grabbing Shimada’s arm to pull him up. He hates scrubbing up blood. Especially his own.

“Jesse!” Angela says, though it comes out more like a warning than a protest, and Jesse is suddenly intimately aware of the rabbit-stillness of Shimada’s arm under his hand.

The predator-stillness of it, rather.

Right; that’s where the shuriken come out.

“Come on, Angie, you can’t expect us to go cleaning up our own blood all freshly-healed,” he says easily, letting Shimada go. “A man’s liable to faint.”

“You are fine,” Angela says, thumping her staff against the floor pointedly but still keeping a concerned eye on Shimada, who still hasn’t moved.

“Nope, sorry, Doc, I’m downright lightheaded,” Jesse says, clutching his hat to his chest and miming a swoon. “I might just fall over right here and now, in fact. Shimada, help, it’s getting dark.”

“Oh, go,” Angela sighs. He’s sure she’s only letting him run off and be irresponsible because of the Shimada issue, but he ain’t complaining.

“You’re a saint, Angie,” he says with an easy grin, kissing her cheek quickly and getting his ear pinched for it. “C’mon, Shimada, I ain’t letting you out of my sight until you explain how you pulled off that last throw.” He’ll probably get a performance review later, after a fight with this many spectators--everybody is definitely a little too interested in the new guy--but he always prefers to get it straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were.

“It was not difficult,” Shimada says.

“Hell if it wasn’t, you liar,” Jesse snorts as he puts his hat back on. “C’mon, we can talk back in the room.”

“You two are rooming together?” Angela asks, looking surprised. “Whose idea was that?”

“I don’t question the roommates anymore, Angie, I just do my best to survive ‘em,” Jesse says. “Nobody’s even gotten stabbed yet, so I think we’re doing pretty good.”

“I would not stab you unless you made it necessary to stab you,” Shimada says, narrowing his eyes at him.

“See, that is also my personal creed, and yet . . .”

“You did not need to stab Cecil,” Angela says dryly.

“Cecil got himself stabbed,” Jesse corrects her, and Shimada watches their exchange with a strange expression Jesse don’t bother trying to analyze. He ain’t easy to read. Jesse supposes he’ll learn how soon enough, but right now it’s still too soon.

“Cecil?” Shimada asks.

“Long story,” Jesse replies with a dismissive shrug.

“Very short story, actually,” Angela says. “It ends in stabbing, if you hadn’t guessed.”

“Now you’re just maligning my good name,” Jesse says, giving her a wounded look.

“If you’d prefer a different roommate, you can ask for one,” Angela informs Shimada, and Jesse makes a mock-affronted noise. Although really, he’s been doing fine with Shimada. Admittedly that’s probably largely because Shimada’s almost never around and has left literally nothing in the room so it’s almost like not having a roommate at all, but all the same.

“Understood,” Shimada says.

Well, getting on with a roommate was nice while it lasted, he supposes.

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Jesse still gets Shimada to explain that throw, mind. He ain’t letting him get away without doing that.

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Shimada apparently don’t actually ask for a new roommate, though, because next day after training--specifically Jesse doing target practice and Shimada thrashing every agent they put him up against and Jesse’s weak heart downright throbbing over it--he follows Jesse back to their room like he’s perfectly happy to be there. Well, as happy as Shimada ever gets, anyway.

“You don’t smile much, do you,” Jesse says, though admittedly it’d be hard to tell if he did. If he does, it never makes it to his eyes.

“Why would I?” Shimada asks. Fair enough, Jesse supposes.

“Fair enough,” he says, scratching at his jaw. “You hungry?”

“A little,” Shimada says.

“Wanna hit the mess?” Jesse suggests. Shimada shrugs, which he takes as close enough to agreement, and Jesse dumps his training gear on his unmade bed and they head out. Shimada’s side of the room, he notices, is just as empty as the first day he found him there. There’s not even sheets or towels or weapons--which, honestly, if he’d expect anything he’d expect the weapons.

He don’t really know how to bring it up, but he probably should, he thinks.

“You know where to requisition shit, right?” he asks.

“I know where to requisition shit,” Shimada says, giving him a strange look.

“Any reason you ain’t been, then?” Jesse jerks his head back towards their room meaningfully. Shimada pauses for a moment, then just shrugs.

“I suppose not,” he says.

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Shimada still isn’t programmed into their scanner, Jesse finds out when the other knocks on the door with an armful of sheets. He considers telling somebody, but it’s a damn sight faster just to fix it himself. Athena don’t mind, so long as he’s tidy about things. Stuff gets backed up, especially when it’s Blackwatch stuff.

Shimada makes his bed for the first time, and Jesse’s reminded he was a civilian before this. It’s definitely not up to the military-inspection standards most of his previous roommates abided by. He don’t really care about that kind of thing and Blackwatch don’t do room inspections, so it ain’t like it matters; it’s just different.

Generally speaking, so is everything about Shimada, so ain’t like that’s news.

“Practically homey, now,” he says, sitting down on his own bed. “Got anything else to do today?”

“No,” Shimada says, giving him a strange look at the question. Jesse gives him a wry one in return.

“So let’s do something, then,” he says.

“Do what?” Shimada says with a slow frown. “If you want to spar again--”

“Pretty sure we’re doing that for the rest of the week,” Jesse says. “No, I wanna actually take a break. What’re your feelings on Street Fighter?”

“. . . as in, as something to do?” Shimada says, frown deepening. “We are elite covert operatives, not bored teenagers. If we are not busy, we should be training.”

“That worried I’m gonna kick your ass at it?” Jesse asks with a grin, and Shimada huffs.

“I joined Overwatch for revenge, not to play twentieth-century video games,” he says. “At least pick something from this decade.”

“Well, as long as we got our priorities straight,” Jesse says.

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They do not, in fact, have their priorities straight. If they did, they wouldn’t have stayed up all night playing video games and decimating Jesse’s junk food stash, and wouldn’t both be standing in front of Gabe already dead on their feet with a full day’s training still to go.

Jesse regrets some things, definitely.

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“I blame you for this,” Shimada hisses.

“Partner, I blame myself.”

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Jesse collapses on his bed after training and Shimada collapses on his own, which is the first time it’s actually been used since he made it. The trash bin is overflowing with wrappers and the computer’s still on from the last game they were playing before they realized they were late for training. Jesse drags a pillow over his head and swears to never pull anything that stupid again in his life.

“Best two out of three?” Shimada says as the computer beeps.

“Yeah, okay,” Jesse says, peering out from under his pillow to grope for a controller.

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“It is good physical therapy,” Shimada says neutrally, murdering Jesse’s character with extreme prejudice. Jesse’s seen this particular death animation before, but he still winces. Maybe that’s just the particularly murderous impression Shimada gives off as he does it.

“What, playing video games?” he asks.

“Yes.” Shimada’s still looking intently at the computer, like there’s something going on besides the “win” screen coming up. “It helps with the prosthetics.”

“Oh, I guess it would,” Jesse says. He should’ve thought of that himself, probably. Shimada’s never still, except in cases where he might be trying not to stab somebody--he’s always fiddling with something. Usually something sharp. It never occurred to him that the guy might still be adjusting to his prosthetics, though it really should have. “Angela tell you that?”

“You think O’Deorain did?” Shimada snorts.

“I mean, there’s more than two doctors on-base,” Jesse reminds him wryly as the stage restarts, though it’s pretty safe to assume Shimada hasn’t talked to many of them. At least not willingly, anyway.

“Ziegler and O’Deorain are the ones most familiar with my situation,” Shimada says, his eyes still on the screen, which is probably why he’s killing Jesse’s character so effectively. “Talking to anyone else is pointless.”

Yup, sounds about like what he’d been expecting.

“If you say so, partner,” Jesse says. “I’m still a bit surprised you talk to me, so . . .”

“You are not a doctor,” Shimada says.

“So you do talk to other people?” Jesse asks, raising his eyebrows. Shimada is silent for a moment, frowning.

“I suppose not,” he says at length. “There is little point, either way. I am not here to make friends.”

“Yeah, I know, bloody vengeance and all,” Jesse says. “Which I am gonna be delighted if I get to help out with, for the record, please give a man the excuse to.”

“You like fighting yakuza that much?” Shimada asks dryly.

“More that I like seeing justice done,” Jesse says. “They deserve a lot worse than Overwatch’d do to ‘em.”

“Hm,” Shimada says, and nothing else.

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Jesse watches Shimada eat a whole bag of licorice and murder his way through an RPG and thinks that really, so far as roommates go, he kind of lucked out this time.

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Jesse listens to Shimada choking back sobs of terror in his sleep, and thinks how much he really wants to see justice done.

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“Shimada,” Jesse says lowly, and Shimada jerks awake. Because Jesse’s not an idiot, he ducks. Three shuriken stick in the wall right where his head was.

“What--” Shimada gasps out, his breathing loud and distressed, and Jesse lets out a sigh.

“Sounded like you were having a nightmare,” he says evenly, getting up to flick on the light. Shimada looks almost as bad as he sounds, his eyes wide and skittering and his whole body tense. He’s still the most damn striking man Jesse ever saw, he thinks. “Thought I oughta wake you up.”

“That was dangerous,” Shimada says, looking at the shuriken in the wall. Jesse shrugs.

“You woulda rather kept sleeping?” he asks.

“. . . no,” Shimada says.

“Let’s not, then,” Jesse says, and picks up a controller to wag at him. Shimada looks at it for a moment, then at him. There’s a very strange look in his eye, but like always it’s hard to pin down what it means.

“I . . .” Shimada starts slowly, and then shakes his head. “Alright.”

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Jesse don’t need sleep that bad, anyway.

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“You need more sleep,” Angela says as Jesse yawns for the third time in the middle of his check-up.

“I assure you, I am gonna get plenty of it tonight,” Jesse promises her.

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He makes it about two steps into the room before Shimada’s all crowded up in his space and backing him into the door. Jesse’s eyebrows go up, and his shoulders hit the door. He’d feel cornered, usually, but he knows how Shimada acts when he wants to hurt something and this ain’t it. He’s brimming with some kind of energy, but it ain’t a violent one.

Maybe he’s getting a little better at reading him after all.

“Everything alright?” Jesse asks.

“Nothing is ever alright,” Shimada says. He’s not wearing his mask, Jesse notices. He’s seen the man without it before, obviously, just never for very long. He thinks this is the first time he’s turned up and found him with it already off.

“Fair enough,” he says. “There something going wrong right now, though?”

“. . . no,” Shimada says, a strange, strange look on his face. “I was being--foolish. I apologize.” He steps back, and Jesse leans after him reflexively. Sue him; he likes Shimada in his space. It’s goddamn novel getting it outside a spar.

“Sure,” he says, resisting the urge to reach out and touch him. That ain’t the smartest idea he’s ever had, by far. “You need something?”

“Always,” Shimada says--which, again: fair enough.

“Not really a helpful answer there, partner,” Jesse points out anyway, and Shimada lets his breath out in an electric rush. Jesse’s close enough to him to feel it, which sure is . . . something.

“I need to forget,” he says. “I need to feel--some other way. I am so tired, McCree.”

“Well, we got a few options for that,” Jesse says, thinking of the whiskey in his trunk.

“You look at me,” Shimada says.

“. . . yeah?” Jesse squints at him in confusion, line of thought temporarily derailed. Shimada lets out another shaky breath.

“You look at me,” he repeats, and then he reaches up and wraps his arms around Jesse’s neck and tugs him down just a bit and oh, Jesse realizes, and he doesn’t need tugged any further. The kiss is immediate and easy, and Jesse cups the other’s face in his hands and leans into him. Shimada’s more than strong enough for it.

“You coulda just said,” he says, and Shimada huffs, and they’re still close enough for Jesse to feel his breath. “My bed or yours?”

“Yours,” Shimada says immediately, like he’s already thought about it. Jesse won’t lie, that sends something electric up his spine.

So much for sleeping tonight, he thinks.

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“Please--” Shimada says exactly once, low and cracked, and Jesse’s eyes burn red with Deadeye’s light as he thinks about just how bad he wants justice for this man.

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They settle into a rhythm, or something like one. They train, they play stupid video games and eat crappy junk food, they don’t sleep as much as they should. Sometimes they kiss, and sometimes they do a little more than just kiss. It is definitely an improvement upon past roommate situations. Jesse can’t find a damn thing to complain about, himself.

He thinks this means they’re friends? He ain’t made many in his life, admittedly, no matter that he’d fight and die for anyone in Overwatch. Shimada he thinks he’d do a bit more than just die for, is the thing.

Training gets a lot more interesting, for sure. The closer they get after lights out, the harder Shimada tries to kick his ass when they spar. Jesse sort of loves it, he ain’t gonna lie, though that’s probably a mite weird of him. But whatever it is Shimada’s trying to find when they fight or fuck, Jesse’s perfectly willing to help him look for it. It ain’t exactly an imposition--he loves doing both those things, and he’s good at doing both those things.

He thinks he likes the stupid video games and crappy junk food nights the best, though--the nights when Shimada don’t seem like he wants to crawl outta his skin quite so bad, and sometimes even looks like he might laugh. Maybe that’s just because they’re a little rarer, but who knows. It all feels good, is all that really matters.

It’s damn nice, feeling good. Jesse ain’t gonna complain about the chance to do it, or the chance to help Shimada do it.

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Shimada sobs in his sleep. Jesse says his name.

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“Do I bother you?” Shimada asks.

“No,” Jesse says, tipping his head back against the bed to glance up at the other. “Why, am I bothering you?”

“No,” Shimada says, and nothing else.

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“C’mere, darling, let me get my hands on you,” Jesse says, gasping for breath, and Shimada comes to him.

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Jesse hits the mat. Shimada pins him to it. Jesse shoots him in the head.

With the training pistol, obviously.

“Damn it,” Shimada says, wiping chalky red paint off his temple, and Jesse grins up at him.

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Shimada picks all the pretzels and chocolate pieces out of the cheap convenience store trail mix and wins every racing game they play. Jesse tries to be reasonable about things and not ruin a good thing by developing a crush over something as stupid as the way Shimada hunches forward in the light of the screen or the little scowl he gets when he’s concentrating on something stupid.

Though it might be about time he started thinking of Shimada as “Genji”, Jesse thinks. If that’s safe to do, anyway.

He sneaks a glance over at Shimada, who is picking out the last of the chocolate and is assuredly going to let all the rest of the trail mix go to waste. He thinks, testingly: Genji. Shimada looks back at him with a questioning expression, and his heart skips a beat.

Never mind. Definitely not safe.

“Do you want to go another round?” Shimada asks.

“Always,” Jesse says.

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Jesse does not ruin a good thing by being dumb enough to catch feelings. Shimada very clearly don’t want more than they’ve got, and what they’ve got is already more than Jesse would’ve expected if someone had asked him a month ago. He ain’t ever got along with anyone they’ve roomed him with, much less got along with them this well.

Definitely he was not sneaking junk food and kisses with Cecil, that’s for damn sure.

“Someone roomed you two together?” Moira asks incredulously.

“Doc, I am injured,” Jesse reminds her; she passes a distracted hand over his bleeding shoulder.

“Yes, yes,” she says dismissively. “But really, which fool’s idea was that?”

“Everybody keeps asking that,” Jesse sighs. Personally, he’d like to thank the fool, though hell if he knows who it would’ve been if it weren’t Gabe. Really, who else would’ve managed to pick somebody he actually gets on with?

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“I have a confession,” Shimada says after Jesse’s character finishes his victory animation. The tone he says it in is so odd that Jesse looks over automatically. Shimada’s looking at him, but it only lasts a moment before he flicks his eyes to the screen again instead.

“A confession?” Jesse asks warily. That don’t sound like it’s gonna end well. That don’t sound like it’s gonna end well at all. Is he about to have to hide a body?

“Yes.” Shimada keeps looking at the screen. Jesse waits a moment, not sure what to expect. Shimada doesn’t say anything, though.

“. . . and?” he prompts finally, expecting something seriously bad now. Damn, he was really enjoying the “getting along” thing, too.

“I am not your roommate,” Shimada says.

“Come again?” Jesse asks blankly, and Shimada turns to face him again.

“I am not your roommate,” he repeats. “You do not have one. I broke into your room to avoid Ziegler because I thought it would be empty, and you came back before I could leave.”

“I am honestly too baffled to answer that,” Jesse says. Well. This explains some things.

“I should go,” Shimada says.

“You really ain’t gotta,” Jesse says, still a little too mystified to react. This does explain some things, but it don’t explain why Shimada did it to begin with.

“I have a room,” Shimada says, getting to his feet. Jesse catches him by the wrist, right where the shuriken come out, and Shimada pauses.

“Why’re you telling me now?” Jesse asks, squinting up at the other questioningly. Shimada frowns a little, glancing away for a moment.

“It is irrelevant,” he says. “I just thought you should know.”

He leaves.

Jesse don’t rightly know what to think.

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“I figured out who roomed me with Shimada,” Jesse says. Gabe cocks an eyebrow.

“That important?” he asks before taking a bite of his lunch.

“Not really.” Jesse watches the other eat for a moment, and Gabe raises an eyebrow at him as he chews.

“Then what are you telling me for?” he asks.

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Jesse has no idea what room is Shimada’s, but he can’t help thinking about the idea of him having a nightmare in it all alone, with no one there to wake him up.

It’s maybe a bit stupid to be thinking, all things considered, but he’s thinking it all the same.

Maybe he should be mad about being lied to, but it was such a strange, harmless lie that he really can’t. He don’t even like him any less. Shimada barely did lie, just let him believe his own misassumption. Which admittedly is still a lie, but such a goddamned strange one. What was the point of letting Jesse think he’d been assigned to the room? What was the point of spending all that time with him, and touching him like that?

The obvious answer seems like a stupid one, but Jesse can’t help thinking it all the same. If Shimada did all that, he must’ve liked doing it. If Shimada lied to do all that . . .

Well. Then he must’ve really, really liked doing it.

Right?

Jesse has no idea, just like he has no idea which room is Shimada’s and so no idea how to find him and just ask. He’ll see him in training soon enough, he knows, but that’s not exactly the place for a serious conversation. At least--he thinks it’s a serious conversation, the conversation he wants to have with Shimada.

All he really wants to do is ask him why, he supposes. He probably won’t get an answer, but he wants to ask anyway.

It was such a damn strange lie.

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.

Of course their first time back in training together is a spar. Of course. Jesse loads his training pistol as he watches Shimada avoid looking at him, already missing the easy camraraderie of staying up too late the night before. He slept like a baby last night. Shimada don’t look like he slept at all.

He steps into the ring and Shimada does the same, his eyes focused a bit too low to meet Jesse’s. Jesse blows his hair out of his eyes in frustration, then whips up his pistol and takes a shot. He nails Shimada dead-center in that glowing chestplate of his.

“I didn’t say go, McCree!” somebody snaps over the intercom, but Jesse ain’t paying any attention to them.

“I ain’t upset, you damned idiot,” he says to Shimada, who’s finally looking at him. “I’m about to be if you keep looking at me as if I’m liable to bite you, though.”

“I lied to you,” Shimada says.

“I been lied to before,” Jesse says. Really, it’s almost novel how harmless a lie Shimada’s was, compared to the kind he used to hear in Deadlock and still occassionally gets from jealous or suspicious agents. “I’m more bothered you ain’t explaining.”

“It is not worth explaining,” Shimada says, and then they actually have to spar and it is an unholy mess. Jesse’d like to think he’s got a pretty good grip on how Shimada fights, at least in training, and today he don’t fight right at all. He’s always sloppy--always takes hits he shouldn’t take--but today Jesse’s almost afraid he’s gonna actually hurt the guy if he takes the wrong shot. There’s taking hits you shouldn’t take, there’s just not bothering with a defense at all, and there’s what Shimada is doing, which is practically throwing himself into hits.

They make it all of a minute before the spar gets called and they both get chewed out for the better part of an hour. Jesse reloads his training pistol almost absentmindedly, for once at a loss for words. Oh, there’s things he could say, sure enough, but there’s nothing he could say to Shimada.

It’s troubling, is what it is.

.

.

.

“What ain’t worth explaining?” Jesse asks in the hall.

“Nothing,” Shimada says.

“Then why ain’t you explaining?” Jesse says. He don’t much care for word games when he’s just after a straight answer, but he’s willing to pull them out. Shimada looks away, scowling. At least, he’s frowning. Who knows what else his face is doing.

“It is irrelevant,” he says.

“Would you kindly let me decide what’s ‘irrelevent’, seeing as I’m the wronged party here?” Jesse says. He don’t feel especially wronged, admittedly, but it is true. “Why’d you lie, and why’d you tell me you were lying?”

“I am not truly human any longer,” Shimada says, which, oh boy is that a lot to unpack right there. Jesse’s eyebrows pop right up, and he opens his mouth to retort, but Shimada just keeps talking. “I am not human, and I felt--a normal agent would’ve been assigned a roommate. They wanted to just leave me in the lab at first. Ziegler had to talk them out of it.”

“Jesus,” Jesse says. That is the literal worst idea he has heard in all his time at Overwatch, he thinks. Don’t Shimada got enough problems without anyone treating him like an experiment? “You coulda just asked, you know.”

“If I had asked, you might have said no,” Shimada says. “I was--I thought you would.”

“I meant you coulda asked for a roommate,” Jesse says. “But yeah, you coulda asked me too. What, did you think I didn’t like you?”

“No,” Shimada says. “I thought you would stop.”

“Jesus,” Jesse says again, pushing his hat back on his head. If Shimada ain’t ten pounds of trouble in a five-pound sack. “Because you asked for something?”

“Just . . . because.” Shimada shrugs helplessly, like he knows it’s just as stupid as it sounds. He probably does know.

“Well, for the record, I don’t go ‘round kissing people I’m gonna stop liking just ‘because’,” Jesse says. “Much less any of the rest of it.”

“You did not like your other roommates,” Shimada says.

“Yeah, ‘cause they were pricks,” Jesse snorts. Admittedly, so is Shimada, but he’s a prick in the way Jesse likes, so it’s different. At least, mostly in the way he likes. This way he likes a little less. “Also they weren’t near as easy on the eyes as you.”

“Do not mock me,” Shimada says, his shoulders tensing.

“Since when do I do that?” Jesse raises an eyebrow at him. “You liked something about me on first sight. What, you thought that didn’t go both ways?”

“Yes.” Shimada looks away again, folding his arms. “I am not--I know what I look like.”

“Goddamned striking, is what you look like,” Jesse says. “Like you could kill me just as easy as kiss me. A dichotomy I am partial to, for the record.”

“It would be easier to kill you,” Shimada corrects. “I would not have to stop to take off the mask first.”

“Good point,” Jesse says, just looking at him. Shimada really is striking, and he’s damn handsome scarred or not. The metal parts--they’re just another part of him, really. What’s the difference between his prosthetics and his body? Not much, as far as Jesse’s seen.

“I should not have lied,” Shimada says.

“I ain’t complaining,” Jesse says. Shimada frowns at him.

“It was dishonorable,” he says. “It was weak.”

“You ain’t a machine, darling,” Jesse says. Though really--“Hell, even omnics want a friend or two around. It makes shit like revenge a lot easier to get, for one thing.”

“You would still consider that justice?” Shimada asks. “Vengeance for a liar?”

“Don’t know what else it would be,” Jesse says. Shimada’s frown deepens. “You still ain’t told me why you told me you’d lied.”

“I--” Shimada hesitates, shoulders tensing uncomfortably again. “I have not, no.”

Jesse waits. Shimada struggles for words. He feels a little bad about it, but, well . . . Shimada did start all this.

“I felt--guilty,” Shimada says. “I felt as if I was taking something you would not want to give me, if you knew.”

“I hardly think video games and a bit of fooling around is that damning a sin,” Jesse says.

“I did not want to just do that,” Shimada says. “I wanted to do--more.”

“More?” Jesse tilts his head, not sure he’s not just hearing what he wants to hear. Shimada exhales.

“More. Yes,” he says. “I wanted more from you, and I thought it would be wrong.”

“You sure are a mess,” Jesse says, shaking his head. Shimada gives another helpless shrug. “So you don’t just like me, you like me.”

“I do not have anything to offer,” Shimada says. “And I have lied to you.”

“I don’t recall asking for nothing you weren’t already doing,” Jesse says. Shimada is silent. He don’t rightly know what else to say himself, but the temptation to reach out and touch the other--it ain’t a small one, put it that way.

So he reaches out, and he wraps a hand around Shimada’s wrist where the shuriken come out, and Shimada looks at him, embarrassed and upset and so sure no one would ever want him, the damn fool.

“Come back to the room with me,” he says finally, because really, what else is there to say? What else does he even want?

Shimada comes.