One minute, the Panorama dinner was filled with hungry customers. The next, they scattered like a wild fire in a forest and dispersed from the building. All it took was Jesse McCree stepping inside the establishment, wiping out his ever-beloved Peacekeeper from his thigh holster and saying, “Now I’m only gonna say this once; Get out,”
Without needing to fire a single bullet, McCree successfully encouraged the customers and staff to make their exit whilst trying to stay clear of the gunslinger and his associate. If you didn’t look hard enough, you’d hardly ever notice her. She wasn’t the one waving the gun in the air, but then again, she still had hers on her person, just more subtly position than her partner’s. She wasn’t the one with the signature cowboy hat, serape, kicks and spurs. A black leather jacket, light tank top, navy blue skinny jeans with a matching plaid shirt tied around her waist, and knee-high leather boots. To conceal her identity, she wore a baseball cap on her head and an anti-smog mask that covered her paled skin face, leaving only her pure brown eyes free. She had her own style, and it worked for her, much like McCree’s worked for him;.
Once the place was deserted, the pair moved to Phase Two. Jesse swiftly put away his weapon, sliding it back into his holster as he sauntered over to the payphone and began to make the call. As he spoke, the girl looked around the now empty restaurant. Pile of plates and utensils were left in the sink as tiny drops of water dripped from the faucet. Shifting her gaze over to the counter, even with her mask on she could smell the sweet aroma of a freshly baked apple pie and brewed cup of coffee. She gently removed the mask to get a better whiff of it.
Mmmm. . . there’s a hint of cinnamon in there too.
She could hear Jesse wrap up his conversation over the phone. The other line went dead as annoying sounds beeped in the receiver as Jesse let the phone drop and it dangled in the air on its wire. “They take the bait?”
“They sounded quite intrigued, that’s for sure,” he replied with a tired sigh, “Now, it’s a waiting game,”
The girl watched as the aroma of the pie finally caught the cowboy’s attention as his eyes sparkled whilst the delicacy practically begged Jesse to take a bit out of it as he drew closer. She started to wonder why Jesse let her go with him on this mission. They’d tangoed with the Deadlock gang together several times in the past, but something about this whole operation felt. . . different. She’d thought she wasn’t ready for a mission like this one. Not with such high stakes. She had only finished her gun spinning and shooting lessons the other week, fearing she’d only slow McCree down.
But there was always something that sparked between them, this sense of working together. It was just like they said all that time ago. They were partners now. Partners In Crime, Hope had teased the nickname at some point to McCree, the idea rattling in her head for a short time. Hope. . . Then it clicked for her. Maybe all Jesse needed for this job was a little ray of Hope.
“You want some, Hope?” He offered as Jesse brought out a plate, two forks, and a knife, preparing to cut a slice.
“Sure,” she shrugged with a small smile as she shoved her mask into her back pocket. Hope slowly turned her body around, walking back towards the jukebox. “I’m gonna play some music while we wait,”
She could hear the clinking of the knife as she glanced up at the clock. 11:50am, ten minutes till noon. Or as Jesse liked to call it, High Noon . Standing before the machine, Hope inserted a quarter into the slot and it came to life. The bright lights and machinery coming to life as she began to filter through the song list. Music always helped Hope in dire times. It helped her keep calm, focus on her work, and on good days, music almost made her feel as if time stood still, sitting back and just taking in all the harmonies and the beats. She couldn’t help but smirk a little as she spotted a few Christmas songs here and there. People’s humor amused her sometimes. The second Halloween was over, the countdown to the Christmas season began. Come to think of it, it wasn’t too far off now. Hope wondered how’d she’d spend it this year. Those thoughts, however, weren’t meant to last more than a few moments, meant for another time, however, as there was a more pressing matter to deal with in that instant.
Selecting a song, she watched as the wheel spun to her selected track. The machine pulled out the tiny vinyl disc with a thin mechanical arm that placed it on the player and as it slowly began to spin.The needle was dropped down and the tune began to play. Guitars strummed a classic western rhythm as Hope moved away from the jukebox and wandered over to the side, searching for the cowboy.
He sat at a both at the far right of the diner in a side aisle. He smirked a little, motioning his head to the side, inviting her to join him. He had retired his hat and belt buckle as they hanged on the side of the booth. She figured he thought they might as well relax with the time they had before the real fun began. Hope smiled softly in return as she made way over, sliding into the seat across from Jesse as he handed her a spare fork and the pair dug in to the pie.
Hope taped her foot to the beat of the music as she listened to the song intently. Pale Ride by The Heavy Horses. Not a bad tune. Glancing over to the side, she noticed Jesse using a Route 66 postcard as a coaster for his coffee mug. She couldn’t help but smirk and give him a knowing look, one small eyebrow raised. Brown met its companion, and despite already suspecting the answer, her whole face seemed to be asking the unspoken question. He chuckled light heartedly, rolling his eyes in the process as he took his drink. Next to the postcard, Hope found a white microchip, almost shaped like a flower pedal with a faint blue fluorescent line going across it. Upon seeing it, she recalled again why they were here.
Jesse had received the call the other night. It had been a few days since Jesse returned from his last bounty hunt. After a few days of exploring the town and catching up, they decided to stay in and just hang around with just the two of them. It was late at night, the couple was watching a movie upstairs in their shared room before they’d get some sleep, snuggled under the covers together with some beers and a big bowl of butter salt popcorn. After the movie ended, and beer bottles were emptied, snuggling turned to cuddling, and from there it evolved into something more. They shared one kiss after another, Jesse gently pulling the girl up against his broad chest before wrapping his arms around her and shifting over to lay on his back, so the girl was on top, his flesh hand brushing the locks of her hair as his metal limb wrapped itself around her waist.
Jesse and Hope cherished the intimate moments they would have. It wasn’t often they could be like this. In the past, whenever they did try, something always came up to interrupt them and kill the mood. Majority of the time, if not all of it, involved Deadlock, wanting to collect Jesse’s own $50 million bounty, by whatever means they could think of. Even going so far as to using Hope as a pawn in their schemes. But that night was slowly turning out to be not one of those nights. It was a night where they could finally enjoy and relish in their loving company to the fullest.
The feeling of his warm body against her own, his musk and smoke scent engulfing her lungs. Hope loved every second of it and would constantly dream that their moments like this could last forever, but sadly that was never the case. Especially tonight.
“Ya know, darling, I’ve been thinking,” he spoke after a few minutes in to the make out session. “You’re okay with all this, right?”
Hope pulled away from kiss as she sat up in his lap to meet his gaze, her voice sounding out of breath as she took the time to regain some of it while speaking, “Of course I’m okay with this. If I wasn’t, do you really think I’d let you bring me up here?”
The gunslinger laughed in response before winking at the black raven-haired girl. “Touché, mi cielo,” He pushed himself up to sit as well, making sure to keep one arm around Hope so she wouldn’t fall over in his lap. “I was just thinking, that’s all. . .”
“About what?” She questioned, gently lifting her hand up and brushing some stray strands of hair out of Jesse’s face.
McCree brought up his right hand to grasp her own, bringing it over to his cheek as he leaned into her touch. “We don’t have to decide on this now, I don’t want to rush you, is all I’m saying,” he began before moving her hand over to his lips, kissing it softly multiple times before shifting his gaze back over to her own. “It was a mighty shame we were so rudely interrupted that one night,”
“I remember that day,” Hope giggled. “You were not a happy camper,”
Her hold on his hand tightened ever so slightly as their fingers intertwined. “What is that you want to ask me?”
“Was just curious if you’d ever one day like to try again? Pick up where we left off?” He asked, his voice sounding tired yet hopeful as he managed his small yet handsome smile.
A blush formed on the girl’s lips as too smiled in return, averting her gaze briefly before turning back. “I’d like that very much, Jesse,” Leaning in closer, Hope placed a long, loving kiss onto his lips as her fingertips brushed along his jawline and combed through his messy beard. “I love you,”
His warm breath ghosted over her lips as he gasped for air, his eyes twinkling in delight as his hand cupped behind her head once more, his fingers tangling themselves in her hair. “I love you too, Hope,” Meeting her halfway, he placed one kiss onto her lips, “mi querida,” then another as Hope wrapped her arms around his neck, “mi cielo,” and another as his hands coursed down the side of her body and stationed on her hips.
Just when they were considering the thought of their intimate love escalating further, there was a strange sound that erupted throughout the room. It was a beep, like something that would sound when you would set your alarm clock. Hope quickly established that the noise was indeed not her alarm, but something else as she pulled away from Jesse and crawled across the bed to check her nightstand. But upon meeting Jesse’s gaze again, she was getting the sense that he might know what it was.
Shoving the covers aside, Jesse walked across the room in his t-shirt and PJ bottoms and reached over for a duffle bag hiding to the side of the room. That bag belonged to Jesse and it was one of many he kept hidden during his travels. It kept various essentials he’d need while out on the road, like extra bullets, water bottles, energy bar, extra cigars and a lighter. . .
But this bag carried something extra special. Rummaging through it, Jesse pulled out what looked like a white touchpad. The touch screen was blinking a green signal indicator, alerting the owner that there was a message. On the back of the touchpad lied a symbol. The Overwatch insignia.
Her mind snapped back into the present day as the music from the jukebox began to cycle through once more. Jesse had received a message from Winston. Despite the current Petras Act regulations created by the United Nations, he was recalling the Overwatch team. His message was quite compelling. Jesse listened to it in silence, looking at all the images of constant conflict going on in all parts of the world. What began as a romantic movie date night turned into a long night filled with discussion. Would Jesse go? Would he stay?
In the end. . . it was a bit of both. Jesse wants to help his friends, his family. But with the bounty on his head, and the Recall being illegal, it was a little difficult for him. But over the course of the last few days he had formulated a plan, and that was why Hope was here. She wanted to help him in anyway she could. That’s where the chip came into play. Jesse hadn’t revealed much on the way over to the dinner, and Hope didn’t feel comfortable asking for more than Jesse was willing to tell. All she knew that it was some sort of key. But what did it open? Or activate?
Whatever the case, Hope looked into it and discovered that the cargo was being transported onto a military train delivering weapons and other instruments of destruction to an undisclosed location. The question remained: How did they get the precious cargo off the train?
Jesse’s answer: “ We don’t. Deadlock does .”
“You alright?” Jesse spoke up as Hope shifted her gaze up towards him and it was only then she noticed how she might have been acting the last few moments, lost in space. Jesse was the best distraction and partner all wrapped into one
Hope shrugged it off before scavenging another piece of pie. “Just thinking about the other night, that’s all. I suppose I’m just a little nervous. Are you sure about this? About me being here?”
“Trust me honey, it’s going to work,” he smiled reassuringly. “You’ve helped me come this far. I wouldn’t have let you come if it was going to be too dangerous,”
“You really think I’m ready?” She asked.
“Only if you think you are,” he answered with his lips forming a proud grin as he learned against his elbow. “Besides, always know that I’ll have your back when you need it. You’re gonna be just fine. I wouldn’t let anything bad happen to you, and I wouldn’t lie to such a pretty face,”
Hope’s cheeks flared a bright pink and as she ducked down her head to hide her flaming red face. Jesse chuckled playfully at the colorful display. “Jesse--!”
“Hey, don’t be like that, sugar,” he teased whilst tilting his head to the side. “You know you can’t hide stuff like that from me~”
Hope couldn’t help but giggle as she mustered the courage to look back at the cowboy, picking up her fork as she japed it in his direction. “Just shush and eat your pie, cowboy,”
“Yes ma’am,” he winked before they continued to eat.
As the song continued to play, the faint sound of the clock ticking in the background caught Hope’s attention. She wondered how long they’d been sitting there in the diner. Not very long she supposed.
“When’s the train coming?”
“Any second now,”
“And you’re sure Deadlock will show up? How are they even going to get on the train?” She asked.
Jesse couldn’t help but laugh as he shook his head. “Knowing them, they won’t be,”
Before Hope could press on any further, a faint whistle cried out from the distance. Hope turned to her side to look out the window. Above the dinner and just towering over the large gorge were a set of train tracks, and as clear as day, the girl could see the monorail train coming down the tracks. Over the corner of her eye, Jesse stopped mid approach for another slice of pie as he too watched the train as it came closer and closer towards the dinner. Just as it sounded like it was going to cruise right by it, there was a sudden spark of light coming from the doors behind them, followed by a loud “BANG” as the ground shook beneath them. It startled the girl as she grabbed on to the leather chair as debris from the tracks and rocks from the surrounding cliffs began to tumble down in front of the restaurant.
As a giant dust cloud formed, there was a loud and irritating almost howling like noise as a piece of the train tumbled and took a nose dive right into the ground. It appeared the train had broken up in half, as the front half of the train fell forward to block the main entrance of the dinner, while the other half fell backwards. Some of the carts remained on the cliff’s edge, while the rest of the snake like transport fell over the edge and free fell into what looked like a bottomless pit as more dust clouds formed and tainted the windows. The condiments on the tables shook and rattled and once the “storm” finally settled, Hope looked like she had just witnessed a natural disaster and lived to tell the tale while Jesse appeared unfazed by the whole thing as he finally went in to snag another piece of pie.
The jukebox regained focus as the music began to play more clearly as McCree set down his fork and reached for the chip.
“That was them, wasn’t it?” Hope asked as she placed a hand over her chest and felt her heart pounding.
“Yep,” he answered as he shuffled out of his seat, his spurs clinking with every step he took.
“So, it’s showtime?” She spoke as she glanced over at the door.
Jesse tossed over some cash to pay for the pie before placing a hand on her shoulder, regaining her attention as she met his gaze. With his other hand he reached out to grab his hat and placed it up on his head. Cowboy hat, cigar in mouth, all he needed was peacekeeper.
“Showtime, partner,” he grinned.
Hope managed to smirk back as Jesse moved his hand away from her shoulder and grabbed his belt, allowing her to move out of her own seat and slip her mask back on as the pair made their way towards the door. The sliding doors opened as dust and smoke poured in and the song faded out its end.
The sunlight was a tad blinding as Hope shielded her eyes as they stepped out of the diner and into the mixture of dust clouds and smoke from the train wrecks. If it wasn’t for her mask, she would have been coughing up a storm by now. Not to mention it would give away their position to Deadlock before the rest of Jesse’s plan could be set into motion. Train carts were scattered along the front courtyard of the dinner. Two of them were dangling in the air by practically a thread and the straining noises they made told Hope they could come down any minute.
Peeking around one of the side carts, the pair found members of the Deadlock gang scavenging and collecting weapons, grenades, anything they could find. It was here Hope began to put Jesse’s training to the test.
Scan your surroundings. Locate all your targets before making a move. There was a man in white leather attire walking towards the train cart to their far right, carrying a shotgun in his hand. Walking by him was another scrawny guy dressed in black carrying a box towards a payload where it looked like a womanly figure stood guard, surveying the process. Across from her was a giant muscle built Omnic, wearing a giant leather vest and a cute hat as he picked up a strange looking create.
Just above him was another Omnic, though opposite in size to his bigger companion. He was scrawny like the human members of the gang, wearing a green jacket with a hood covering his face as he held onto a sniper rifle tightly, surveying the collecting of their spoils from above on a cliff where a lone train cart had fallen.
A rattling noise caught Hope’s ear as she peered over and noticed one more Deadlock grunt not too far from their present location. It looked like he was rummaging through a crate, figuring out what to take and leave behind.
“What’s the plan?” Hope whispered softly, glancing up at Jesse as he was hunched down beside her.
“Be ready should something go wrong, and we got guns pointed at us,” he spoke, placing a hand on her shoulder, squeezing it with comfort. “Let me do the talking, alright?”
The girl nodded as she could feel the warmth of Jesse’s gloved hand brush down her back soothingly before he stood up and began his walk, Hope following closely as they neared the grunt. Upon further inspection of him, this one wore a black helmet with goggles over his forehead with a matching sleeveless vest and tattoos laced all along his arm. With a yellow handkerchief covering his mouth, it was only when Jesse cleared his throat to catch the man’s attention did Hope now notice his yellow eyebrows and piercing blue eyes.
But that was all Hope could really catch from him for as soon as the man locked eyes with the cowboy, his skin turned pale as he scrambled to his feet, “Ashe!” carrying a handful of grenades with him, he raced away from the pair emerged from the dust cloud they were in as he nearly tripped on a crack in the road and dropped the grenades, “ASHE—ugh!”
“First impressions are always great ,” she muttered. “You didn’t even do anything,”
“Let’s just say I’ve made a lasting impression on these guys,” he replied, waving his hand for her to follow suit as he began walking out of dust cloud.
Following closely behind Jesse, Hope watched as the runaway grunt warned the female member over at the payload which she quickly assumed was “Ashe” they had company. She watched as the woman turned to face their direction and Hope couldn’t help it as chills suddenly crawled down her spine once she saw those fiery red eyes and slick white hair, a sharp black cowboy hat shielding her from the harsh sun.
Hope and Jesse emerged from the dust cloud, standing a few feet away from the payload as the couple stood side by side, her tied down plaid shirt and his serape lightly flowing with the wind. It was like something out of a classic western film, and Hope couldn’t but notice Jesse smirk a little.
Ashe reached up and removed her own yellow handkerchief from her face, revealing rosy red lips and a birthmark just above her right side of her mouth. “Jesse McCree,” she smiled wickedly in greeting. “Been a while, you promised you’d write,"
“Well Ashe,” Jesse shrugged his shoulders before whipping out his lighter. Taking the time to light his cigar, his lips engulfing the cannabis as he blew into it multiple times, protecting the flame with his mechanical hand. When he was done, he swiftly put out the lighter an blew a puff of smoke out of his mouth. Eyes closed as he tilted his head back up to face Ashe as his eyes fluttered back open. He winks at her with a tease and brandished his charming smile, “I’ve been kinda busy,”
If it wasn’t for the fact that they were in the middle of a tense mission, Hope would have swooned on the spot after seeing that. She bit her lower lip to fight the urge, steering her eyes away from her boyfriend and back towards Ashe.
“We’ve been pretty busy ourselves,” she spoke while lifting her weapon, an auto rifle, and carried it against her shoulder, “So it’s awfully convenient you showing up today,” She rolled her eyes in the process, most likely sensing something was up.
“Yeah. . .” Jesse sighed as he pulled the cigar out of his mouth and fumbling it around in his mechanical fingers, staring it before glancing back over at Ashe with his signature smirk. “You’ve never been one to shy away from a good tip,”
When Ashe called out in retaliation, Hope couldn’t help but smirk a little herself behind her mask. She wasn’t sure if Ashe had realized what Jesse had done and was trying to defend her own actions, but whatever the case, she loved watching Jesse mess with his opponents.
“We worked hard for this score,” Ashe spoke harshly as her giant Omnic friend nodded his head in agreement with her. She slapped her gun in her free hand tightly before motioning to the side. “You and your little friend here best move on now,”
Jesse scoffed, holding in a laugh. Hope wondered what that reaction was for. Was he reacting to Ashe tell us to move along? Or was it Ashe referring to me as his little friend ?
“All we want is that crate,” he explained, pointing out the giant white crate next to Ashe on the payload with his cigar. He then quickly shrugged, waving his hands aside. “Everything else is yours,”
Not exactly a fair trade, Hope thought to herself as she rose a brow at the cowboy. It’s too much in their favour. But then again, it was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up. Is Ashe really the type of woman to get ticked over not getting a single thing?
“This crate?” She tapped her weapon against said crate before almost “fawning” at the cowboy before her eyes turned cold and her back straightened. “B.O.B.,”
The big Omnic recovered from hearing his name spoken so sternly before reaching over and pressing a button on top of the crate, opening the lid. White smoke fumed out of it as a bright blue light glowed from it, followed by a strange vibrant noise. Hope would be lying to herself if she said she wasn’t as curious as the Deadlock gang wanting to know what was inside. She glanced over at McCree and he no longer had his charming smile. It changed into a low frown as his eyes watched Ashe like a hawk.
He wasn’t expecting them to open it.
Seeing the look on his face alone made Hope nervous as she uncrossed her arms from her chest and they fell to her sides, her right-hand hovering over her pistol.
“Well, well,” Ashe shook her head as she looked back over at McCree, a scowl on her face. “Now you’ve got my attention. What is it?”
Hope’s anxiety slowly grew when Jesse didn’t respond right away as she glanced over at his face. He paused momentarily, trying to choose his words carefully as he lowered his hands to firmly grasp his belt buckle. “That’s none of your business,”
Ashe didn’t seem to like that answer, and the look on her face shook Hope’s spirit to the core. As beautiful as this woman was, if she didn’t like what she heard, she could pull the trigger at any moment and walk over their corpses. Ashe took a step forward, stepping off the payload as B.O.B. closed the crate.
“As far as I see it, now it’s very much our business,” the woman scowled as she brandished her weapon in front of her once more.
Jesse sighed tiredly, and Hope could tell in his voice that they were starting to lose their advantage. The plan was going south, and it appeared Ashe wasn’t going to just let them walk away from this. “It doesn’t always have to be this way, Ashe,” Jesse tried to reason with her as he but the cigar back in his mouth, his metal limb hanging on his side while his flesh hand stayed on his belt.
Ashe’s lips grew into a sly smirk as she took another step forward before placing her feet apart.
Crap! Hope gulped. She wants a stand off--!
“Apparently,” Ashe cocked the handle of her gun, disabling the safety lock as her index finger neared the trigger. “It does,”
Just hearing Ashe ready her weapon made Hope’s heart jump right into her throat. She glanced over to her side to see Jesse lower his arm towards Peacekeeper. Yep, this is a standoff alright. Hope’s hand was shaking as she kept her right-hand hovering over her pistol as she watched one of the three scrawny grunts come to Ashe’s left, followed by B.O.B. ripping out a Route 66 sign from the ground and held it like a baseball bat as Ashe lowered her weapon confidently.
Three against two. Not a bad play. But wait. . . where were the others?
Footsteps from behind caught their attention as another scrawny grunt, the one dressed in white, appeared from a train cart with his shotgun. Followed by another set of footsteps. Now Hope understood why Jesse asked her to come. Maybe he knew something like this would happen. A five on one fight was totally ridiculous, and Hope felt a fury bubbling inside her stomach. As the third grunt neared, Hope took a cautionary step back, turning her body around to face the two twins, part of her back aligning with McCree.
While she knew Jesse couldn’t take his eyes off the adversaries before him, Hope could sense his tense demeanor. Her left hand carefully pulled back inch by inch, the side of her hand just grazing his own, not wanting to completely steer away his focus, but just enough to show him that she was here. “I got your back,” she whispered.
One more set of footsteps caught her attention as she looked up at the train cart up on the cliff on her right flank to see the skinny Omnic appearing from his hiding spot, kneeling down as he aimed his sniper rifle at the pair.
Six against two. Not exactly a fair fight.
There was total silence around them except for the dangle train carts above, the wind blowing against canyon rocks as a tumbleweed breezed by. Dust flew at their feet as Hope scanned every single detail of the twins, noticing the gang’s logo on their guns. She could hear the smoke coming from Jesse’s cigar and smell the hard-charcoal scent it gave off. An eagle cried out in the distance. One of the grunts quickly glanced over at his buddy, inching to see who would make the first move. The sniper peered through the scope, looking for a better shot. Even from behind she could feel Ashe’s cold hard stare glaring at Jesse and no doubt he was returning one of his own towards her.
All it needed was the right tune and it was a perfect Mexican stand-off.
Hope could hear Jesse’s voice in her head, thinking back to everything he taught her.
Breathe, Hope, just breathe. Concentrate. Listen to your heart beat. Think of it like a clock, counting down the seconds that tick by.
How will I know when to fire?
You’ll know it, when you feel it.
Heeding his advice, Hope took steady breaths through her nose, her chest raising and falling as she took a moment to close her eyes. Thump, thump. Thump, thump. She listened to her heart beat, feeling Jesse’s body heat radiating behind her. It grew louder and louder until her eyes snapped open and everything seemed to run in slow motion. She could feel it. The grunts slowly raising their weapons, Jesse’s shadow beginning to move. The sounds of the present all came back. It was time.
It was High Noon!
Jesse fired first as he sprinted to his right, “Move!” he nailed the scrawny one’s hand forcing him to drop one of his weapons whilst also making him tumble into Ashe who quickly shoved him off.
Hope followed Jesse’s movements, moving to her left to stay out of Ashe’s line of fire. The sniper fired, and it just missed Hope and McCree’s leg by a thread. The two twins fired their weapons and Hope just barely avoided them as she vaulted down towards the ground, sliding on her side as she grabbed her gun handle with both hands and fired two shots, disabling the grunt dressed in black as he cried out from the pain and dropped his weapon.
Jesse growled as he grabbed one of his flashbang grenades and tossed it over towards Ashe and B.O.B. It ignited, blinding the pair as they stepped back, desperately trying to shield themselves too late. Now that they had less guns pointed at them, Hope saw an opportunity to strike. She noticed the black dressed twin reaching for his weapon again as she scrambled to her feet and sprinted forward, sucker punching the goon square in the face.
She heard a gun click as her breath caught in her throat when she looked up to see the white leather dressed twin notice her and turned his weapon towards her.
Both of their heads turned to see McCree dashing in their direction, barrel rolling to avoid two shots fired by the sniper. Jesse extended his arm, firing a shot with Peacekeeper as the bullet snapped a cable. There was an unsettling noise as the dangling train carts began to make its descend down as the cable caught the other grunts ankle and pulled him up into the air, knocking his head on the road and dropping his weapon.
“Run!!” Jesse shouted.
Hope’s eyes widened at the sight of the carts coming down as she mustered all the strength, she could to book it on out of the range of the falling debris. The remaining grunt wasn’t so lucky as he scrambled to not get hit, ducking down in the backline. Hope reached out for McCree as he grabbed her hand, yanking her to safety as left-over cargo and giant boulders fell from the cliff sides.
A stray boulder lodged itself into the road. Jesse brought Hope over, setting her down against the rock. “Stay here, I’ll be back,” he spoke quickly while catching his breath before dashing back out into the battlefield. There was no mistaking it either: it was very much a battlefield.
Peeking over the boulder, Hope could see the white grunt struggle to contain himself as he dangled in the air, getting in the way of the sniper as he tried to get a clear shot of McCree.
“Don’t shoot!” He shouted, waving his hands like a mad man.
The Omnic shoved him aside and once he locked eyes on McCree, his scope was staring through the hole of Peacekeeper as Jesse fired a shot, nailing the sniper in the shoulder as he cried out in pain, tumbling over the edge of the cliff and falling into multiple crates of supplies as Jesse spun the dial of his gun and quickly aimed it over towards Ashe who had now recovered from the flashbang.
Ashe snarled with such fury as she aimed and fired multiple shots at Jesse. Using the tumbling boulders as cover, Jesse ran across the road before doing a side jump and using his “Fan the Hammer” technique, firing multiple shots at once towards Ashe who grabbed her hat and ducked down, preparing for the bullets. However, B.O.B. managed to swoop in and save her, using the Route 66 sign as a shield that engulfed all three of Jesse’s bullets.
“B.O.B.! DO SOMETHING!” Ashe screamed.
B.O.B. stabbed the sign back into the ground. Forming his right hand into a fist, he lifted it up and aimed it in Jesse’s direction. From his wrists, three minigun turrets emerged as projectiles soared from his wrists right for McCree.
“Jesse, over here!” Hope shouted, waving him over before ducking down to avoid a stray shot.
Running back, Jesse grabbed on to the rock of his mechanical arm and pulled himself over it, plummeting down next to Hope as he let the empty bullets shells fall him his gun. “Looks like B.O.B. got himself some new upgrades,” he coughed, tossing his cigar aside.
Ashe barked new orders, as multiple guns started firing upon their cover. Tiny pebbles broke off from the giant hunk of rock and littered down Jesse’s hat and Hope’s hair as she struggled to quickly reload her weapon.
“What do we do?” She asked, her voice straining.
Jesse swiftly reloaded his weapon, and as Hope was waiting for an answer, what she got instead was Jesse extending his arm, pushing Hope back against the rock as he suddenly fired a shot. Looking over, Hope noticed the sniper collapse back down to the ground again. Hope was so focused on B.O.B. she didn’t even notice the sniper getting back up again to try and flank them.
“I got your back,” He grinned at her with a nod.
Hope couldn’t help but smile a little at the cowboy and was quickly startled when a stray bullet shot off a piece of the bolder, exploding as pebbles and rocks flew down a top her head and body. The girl yelped from the explosion as the couple scooted closer together, shielding each other from the debris.
“Last chance, McCree!” Ashe shouted as she fired one more shot, and a piece of the boulder exploded a little too close to Jesse’s face as he snapped his head away, shielding himself from his mechanical arm. The shooting stopped as Ashe snarled once more. “Toss out your weapons!”
Hope had no idea what they should do. She was concerned that if they were to surrender or fight, either option could lead them to death. She turned to Jesse, with him having the better and more qualified experience with these scenarios. For a moment, he appeared almost scared too, desperately trying to formulate a plan. Something caught his eye on the ground as his lips turned a wicked grin. He nudged Hope’s shoulder, signaling her where to look.
“Alright, Ashe,” Jesse shouted back as Hope looked down towards their feet and her heart nearly skipped a beat.
The grenades the grunt dropped earlier!
She turned back towards Jesse after reaching out and grabbing the belt that attached the grenades in a line, nodding her head as she returned the same grin.
“Here it comes!” He exclaimed.
Hope handed Jesse the grenades, and after quickly psyching himself up, he tossed the grenades over the boulder and into the air. The couple sprang out of their hiding spot and as they aimed their weapons, the members of the Deadlock gang began to run in a panic.
“Oooooh, SHI--!” Ashe wailed.
She could never finish her sentence as Jesse and Hope open fired, nailing a bullet inside three of the grenades as they ignited, causing a chain reaction as a huge black cloud exploded with some sparks of orange and red flames. The bodies of their opponents went flying back as the wind blew the smoke back towards the pair. Jesse stylishly put away his weapon with his signature gun twirling and Hope followed suit before lifting one arm to cover her face and pulled her baseball cap down to protect herself from the smoke. While on the other hand, Jesse McCree stood there like an absolute boss as he took on the smoke cloud head on, his serape blowing back in the wind.
When the smoke cleared, Hope looked ahead to see the Deadlock gang down for the count. Their bodies unconscious on the road, while poor B.O.B.’s body got blown to bits. Jesse stepped closer to her as the girl caught her breath and the realization of what they had accomplished finally hit her as she removed her mask.
“We did it,” she breathlessly exclaimed. “We actually did it!”
Jesse couldn’t help but chuckle as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her in for an embrace, his hand brushing up and down against her arm. “Yes, we sure did, darlin’. I’m so proud of you. You did good out there,”
Hope snorted as she brushed some hair out of her face as she smiled at McCree. “Well I did learn from the best and most handsome gunslinger I know,”
“Ya god damn right, mi cielo,” Jesse’s signature smile returned once again as he pulled her even closer towards him. “Come ‘ere. . .”
Jesse held onto her for dear life, arms wrapped around her body as Hope returned the embrace, one around his neck, the other reached up to tangle her fingers into his hair and cup the back of his head. To think either of them could have died back there was chilling enough. But Hope knew that by working together, they could do the impossible. Jesse helped teach her that, and because of that she would be forever grateful to him.
Jesse buried his nose into the side of her face and into her hair, taking in Hope’s scent before kissing her there multiple times as his lips trailed down to her jawline and the girl couldn’t help but laugh as she felt the scruffs of his beard brush against her skin with the tokens of affection. Finally, his lips found hers in a deep kiss, his hands moving to her hips.
“I love you, Hope,” He proclaimed as he pulled away from the passionate kiss and pecked her lips quickly once more for good measure. “So very, very, much,”
“I love you too, Jesse,” Hope smiled brightly as her eyes twinkled in delight. Moving her hand away from his head, she cupped his cheek, her thumb brushing gently against his skin. “Forever. . . and always,”
Just saying those words alone made her heart soar as she could feel it pounding inside her chest. It fluttered seeing Jesse’s smile grow wider as he kissed her once again, this time with a bit more fire. When he pulled away, Hope’s breath was completely taken away again, but this time around she didn’t mind it all that much. She would much prefer it taken by a kiss from Jesse McCree rather than trying to survive a standoff, avoiding bullets and grenades.
Lightly bumping foreheads, the couple stood there taking in each others presence, thankful to be alive. Their moment was interrupted when Hope turned her head and nearly screamed if not for Jesse catching her. There was B.O.B.’s head on the side of the road, watching them the entire time.
“Oh, jeez--!” Jesse sighed in relief, hand over his chest. He looked over at the Omnic’s head, tipping his hat to him. “Apologies you had to witness that,”
B.O.B. only blinked his optics in reply.
“Does he speak?” Hope questioned as Jesse removed himself from the embrace and walked over towards the head.
“B.O.B. is more of the strong silent type. I got’cha old buddy,” Jesse reached out and picked up the Omnic’s head from the road. Hope couldn’t help but smirk a little. It appeared to her out of all the Deadlock members they ran into today, B.O.B. was the one he seemed to respect the most. The cowboy turned back to face her, “We should probably clean up and take care of these guys,”
Hope quickly nodded in agreement, her cheeks flushing a shade of pink as she was too embarrassed to admit of not thinking about that beforehand. “Right! Good point,”
The two of them got to work, quickly working to gather up the Deadlock gang members before they would come to. Hope gathered up the grunt triplets while Jesse dealt with B.O.B., the sniper, and Ashe. One by one they piled the unconscious bodies onto the payload, tying them down with some rope to make sure they couldn’t get away. Hope was working on moving the crate Jesse wanted off of the payload while Jesse removed all the ammo clips and shells from their weapons.
He glanced up, smirking at her. “You need a hand there, sugar?”
“No, no, I got it!” She assured him as she jumped down from the payload and moved around it to the other side, slowly and carefully trying to pull the crate off the above surface. When it appeared to take a nose dive towards the concrete road, Hope bent down and just caught the end of it, using as much strength as she could muster to hold it there. “Okay, I don’t got it,” her voice strained from the pain in her fingers and arms.
“Hang on, I’m coming,” Jesse dropped Ashe’s weapon as he quickly came to Hope’s aid, grabbing onto the crate at its side and lifted it up. Moving it some centimeters away from the payload, the pair dropped it to the ground. “Better?”
“Better,” Hope wiped the sweat that trailed down her forehead as she glanced over at McCree with a thankful smile. “Thanks,”
“Not a problem, sweetheart,” Jesse winked at her as he walked back towards the payload.
Just as he picked up B.O.B.’s head again, Ashe started to come to. Her eyes fluttered open, and once she saw the rope tied around her wrists, her demeanor quickly changed as she shuffled to sit up on her side, glaring daggers at the cowboy.
Jesse set B.O.B.’s head down on a pile of rope, completely ignoring Ashe calling out to him. “Sorry about that B.O.B.,” Jesse searched around, plucking his tiny hat from the debris of the grenades and placing it neatly onto the Omnic’s head. “No hard feelings?” He asked, before tilting his hat to the side.
B.O.B. blinked in response, not seeming to appear troubled by his circumstances.
Ashe continued to yell at him, demanding that Jesse untie her. All the cowboy did in response was tip his hat to her, “Say hi to the rest of the gang for me,” He reached over to the side, pressing a big red button that started the payload’s engine. It ignited, the payload beginning to hover in mid air.
“I will not be ignored! —” Ashe screamed as Jesse lightly pounded his fist on the payload, motioning for it to start moving. As it began its journey, Ashe continued to scream bloody murder in their direction. She didn’t seem to care that she was losing sight of them, so long as she had the last word. “I’m gonna rebuild B.O.B, and I’m gonna have him rip off your other arm and make your friend watch! MCCREEEEEE!”
While deep down she knew the threats were meaningless as Ashe was taken away by the payload, she couldn’t help but clutch on to the handle of her pistol as a safety anchor to reassure herself. Hope reminded herself Ashe couldn’t do anything to hurt them now. They’d won the battle. Even still, she muttered a prayer that they wouldn’t run into her again any time soon.
Hope watched curiously as Jesse walked back to her side, standing before the crate. With his metal limb he reached down and pressed the button, opening the crate as the top pulled back and two panels opened at the sides. White smoke blew out from inside as a faint chill breezed by Hope’s legs. The strange noise returned as she peeked over to make out what looked like. . . white metal legs?
“What’s in there?” She asked, looking over at Jesse as he pulled the flower petal chip out of his pocket.
Taking a moment to examine it, Jesse twirled it around in his fingers as he reached down, inserting the chip into an empty slot onto the mysterious object. Blue fluorescent lines glowed along the shape of the chip, signaling that it was back in place. The object started to power on, as a strange glow projected itself above the mechanism and took the form of a humanoid female face. Hope starred in complete awe as the face slowly opened its eyes. It looked around as if it were lost, until it found McCree’s eyes and it smiled.
It was an Omnic!
“Hey there, cowboy,” a female voice chuckled from the Omnic.
Jesse couldn’t help but smirk as he reached up and took off his hat in respect to greeting the Omnic. “Welcome back, partner,”
Partner? Hope looked in between the pair in surprise. Did they know each other? Was this Omnic connected to the Recall? Was she connected to Overwatch?
All these questions and thoughts rattled in her mind as Jesse extended a hand towards the Omnic. She reached out with an elegant hand, her metal fingertips gliding against McCree’s metal palm as he gently pulled her up. Hope couldn’t help but stare in complete wonder at the Omnics design. The curves, the sheer elegance as she floats! Her body parts weren’t stuck together, yet they hovered so closely to each other like magnets vibrating against one another. Hope looked up at the Omnics face, a light blue holographic projection with an unknown almost diamond like symbol on her forehead.
The Omnic hummed curiously as she scanned her surroundings, having yet to pull away from McCree’s hand. “How long have I been gone?”
“Far too long,” McCree shook his head in disbelief.
He looked so happy to see her, and Hope smiled seeing his joy as she removed her hand from her weapon as it dropped to her side. It appeared that they had been good friends, and from the looks of things, still were.
The Omnic glanced down at his metal limb and Hope couldn’t help but notice the Omnic inspect it in such disbelief. “What happened?” She asked, her voice sounding a little frightened at the thought of Jesse getting hurt.
Jesse sighed, shuffling a little in his spot as he shook his head. “Well, that’s a story for another time,” Slightly dodging the question, but that signature smile of his never faded.
Jesse looked over towards Hope and motioned his head to the side, wanting her to come closer. Hands behind her back, Hope took a few steps forward, coming to Jesse’s side.
“Hope, I’d like you to meet my old partner, Echo,” He introduced her to the Omnic. Echo’s optics shined a bright aqua blue as her entire face twinkled in the sun. “Echo, this is Hope, my girlfriend,”
“It’s nice to meet you, Echo,” The girl smiled, extending her hand towards her.
“Girlfriend?” Her optics widened with surprise as she shook Hope’s hand. “Well then, it really has been too long, hasn’t it?”
“Hey now!” Jesse called her out with a tease as both girls laughed seeing the look on Jesse’s face.
“Have you two been staying out of trouble?” She asked, glancing over towards Hope, a soft smile on her holographic lips.
“We try,” Hope shrugged a little in defeat. “But trouble finds us anyway,”
Echo couldn’t help but smirk in reply. She seemed nice enough. It hurt Hope a little knowing they’d have to leave so soon. She wanted to talk with Echo a little more. Learn more about Overwatch’s Golden Age, working with McCree. Maybe she’d worked with her family when they were a part of Overwatch years ago. Another time perhaps.
“Listen, Echo, we got a call,” Jesse spoke up, refocusing the task at hand as he regained Echo’s sight. “Getting the band back together. They want me, but really. . . “Jesse paused as he studied Echo’s face and his smile grew a bit brighter. “They need you,”
Echo smiled up at McCree, surprised by his words. When she processed them all, she nodded her head in understanding, as if sensing what Jesse meant exactly. He wants to go with her, but he feels as if he can’t do that. Not right now. But one day. Soon.
Jesse flashed Echo one last smile before gently pulling his hand away and placing his beloved hat back on his head as he began to walk away when Echo reached out to him.
“Jesse, wait! What are you going to do?”
Jesse let out a light-hearted chuckle, slightly turning his head to glance over in Echo and Hope’s direction as he grinned, tipping his hat at the Omnic. “I’ve got some business to attend to,”
At first, Hope was a little confused as to wear McCree was going. They had decided to walk all the way to the dinner instead of taking the pick-up truck they borrowed from Mrs. Romano. Use the element of surprise as they say. But when the rays of the sun shined on a sparkling red motorcycle branded with the Deadlock Gang’s logo, Hope couldn’t help but laugh a little bit, shaking her head as Jesse took a seat on the bike.
“Oh, Jesse. . .” she muttered to herself. Reaching into her back pocket, Hope brought out a holomap stick, and gave it to Echo. “Here, this is a map to a rendezvous point outside the city. Winston will meet you there and take you to Gibraltar,”
“Thank you, Hope,” Echo smiled as she clutched onto the stick tightly.
Hope waved goodbye as McCree started up the bike’s engine. It roared to life as Jesse pulled back on the handle bar. “Any room for me?”
Jesse scooted forward, allowing Hope to hoop on behind him, wrapping her arms around his stomach. He reached into his side pocket, popping out another cigar as he waved his hand over at Echo. “Say hi to the monkey for me!”
“Monkey?” Echo repeated while holding back a laugh.
Jesse giggled as he shook his head in response, correcting himself. “Scientist, whatever,”
Placing the cigar in his mouth, he revved the engine once before the bike started to move. The couple said one more farewell to the Omnic before turning around the corner of the cliff sides and taking off down the street.
The wind blew against her face and hair as the rays of the sun shined down on their backs, keeping them warm in the slightly chilly breeze. The grip of her arms around him tightened as she pressed her chin down along his shoulder.
“What now, cowboy? Head on home?”
“Yeah, home sounds pretty good,” Jesse agreed with a smile as he slowed down the bike just enough for him to turn his head and share another kiss with his girl. “I love you, darlin’,”
“Love you too, Jesse,” Hope smiled into the kiss and as she started pulling away, she leaned her head up towards his ear. “Happy Birthday,”
She grinned from ear to ear seeing the smile on Jesse’s face. “You remembered?”
“Of course, I did! What kind of girlfriend would I be if I didn’t?” Hope laughed. “I don’t want spoil the surprise, but the sooner we get home, the sooner we can celebrate!”
“Well then, buckle up, and hang on!” He grinned, flashing a smile Hope’s grip on him tightened as she pulled her body closer to press up against his back.
Jesse pulled back on the bar handle once more, and the motorcycle kicked up in speed, taking off down the street, the canyons zipping past by them. It was just like the saying goes; Country roads, take me home.