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Acting with Humanity

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  The first time she ever saw him was not on the operating table, though he would always think so. It was when Morrison had tossed a manila file onto the long dining table that they were settled at while eating eggs and thick cut bacon. Gabriel picked it up, leafing through the pages as Reinhardt peered over his shoulder curiously.

  “We’ve got a problem in the Asian-Pacific region.” Jack said as he walked to the kitchen counter where the coffee pot was, pouring it near to the brim in a nondescript white mug that was stained on the inside that was reserved just for him. It had still been sitting in the drying rack by the stainless steel sink, and judging from the shadows under his eyes it had probably been in use late the night before.

  “Yeah, the Gwishin are bein’ taken care of by the MEKA team set up out there. Not our circus.” McCree drawled, smearing a fat slab of butter on his toast. Angela watched from across the table with a cocked eyebrow, silently reminding herself to chastise him on his fat intake later as he took a crunchy bite.

  “If you read the file Jesse, you’d see that it isn’t dealing with omnics.” Reyes grumbled, sliding the file down towards them. McCree’s hand stopped it in front of him and the doctor.
It was labelled with the words Shimada Clan in neat Sharpie along the flap. Inside were a small handful of photos, mostly of strict looking men, their stern faces paperclipped to an individualized report. The longest one, she noted, was an older man, black hair interrupted by silver streaks that looked like it was tied back in a small tight ponytail, with cold dark eyes and frown lines. It was followed by another serious looking man who was much younger, his long hair tied loosely at the base of his neck, strands falling loose to rest on his shoulders. He was obviously related to the first man; they shared the same icy gaze.

  The only one that looked rather out of place was the young man placed behind them, with a mischievous half smile and hair dyed an almost blinding shade of lime. His charisma practically oozed off the page, screaming boyish charm and trouble.

  “Ninjas?” The cowboy scoffed, nearly choking. Angela slid a cup of water his way, but he waved it away dismissively. “We’re worryin about ninjas?”

  “Not just ninjas, McCree. They’re yakuza, a Japanese mob. They have their hand in a lot of major companies and run a lot of underground operations.” Morrison sat at the head of the table, next to Reyes and Amari, stirring the sugar he just put into his cup. “They’re starting to undermine a lot of crucial missions we’re trying to get done in that area.”

  At this point, the doctor started to tune them out, sipping on her own coffee. This was starting to sound like a Blackwatch kind of problem. Her least favorite problem. She set down her mug and picked up the photo of the green headed man. His report claimed he was Genji Shimada, son of the head of the Shimada clan. No reports of specific yakuza activity, but was athletic and well trained. Often seen at night clubs and karaoke bars rather than at the Shimada’s complex, unlike all the other file members who seem to orbit the palace.

  Hopefully he stays far enough away that Reyes and the Blackwatch operatives wouldn’t deem him a potential threat. Angela always hates when innocents get caught in the crossfire. She pushed the picture away, a unsettling feeling draping itself over her.

...

  In his briefing, Jack had made it clear that this mission was only observational. There was little information on the clan itself, considering all their potential informants had disappeared or were missing a tongue. Gabriel was not pleased with just hanging in the shadows, but Jesse didn’t mind at all- he seemed almost giddy to have the chance to go explore the streets of Japan under the guise of being a tourist.

  “I don’t even havta pretend, Gabe.” He had said as he shouldered his duffel bags to load onto the ship. “I ain’t never been to Japan. I hear they have this food with pufferfish an’ if ain’t done right you could die.”

  “We’re not there for travel, McCree,” Reyes said sourly as the airships door hissed open. “We’re there to scope out their weaknesses. Get information to feed back to Morrison, and wait to receive orders.”

  “Why ain't Angela comin along then?”

  “Protocol, you jackass.” His leader replied as they boarded the vehicle, pushing away the thumb he had tossed back at the base. “You want to take the chance of leaving the others without a doctor?”

  “I’d like some medical assistance in case we get ninja’d.”

  “Dr. Ziegler isn’t permitted on Blackwatch missions. She’s not enrolled in the program,” Gabe responded in exasperation, settling in his seat by the table, pulling up the holo-file. “And the base needs a head doctor on premises. I know you think she’s sweeter on the eyes-”

  This was interrupted with a flick of a lighter as McCree lit up a Camacho Corojo, hat tipped down to hide his embarrassment.

  “But Ziegler is also the head surgeon. Something really goes wrong, one of the medics here stabilizes while we transport your sorry ass back to base so you don’t die from eating… what was it, pufferfish?”

  The other man grunted as the pilot pulled the ship up into the air.

  “You can be a real ass sometimes, Gabe.”

  The flight was long; the pilot had warned it would close to twelve hours travel time, plus the eight hour time difference they would encounter upon arrival. It was a cycle that the duo was used to, though it wasn’t necessarily appreciated.

  It was roughly mid-day when the airship hovered above the tarmac of Kansai International. The air was soupy and sluggish, and they were grateful that their contact with it was brief as they passed into the ramp.

  Gabriel looked less than thrilled with having to deal with the crowd since typical protocol usually ushered them through employee/private entrances before being shoved into a nondescript black vehicle, but Morrison was overly cautious this time. Kansai was the nearest major airport to Hanamura, so there was a high probability that the clan had eyes and ears on any important or unusual activities that happened here. Asking for private access routes would send up a red flag, so instead Reyes was forced to suck on his teeth as McCree stopped at a ramen vendor and butchered the pronunciation of his Japanese.

  It felt like days had passed, between the taxi ride to the train where they rode an hour out to Hanamura. They had never been happier to see a hole in the wall bed-and-breakfast. Even the normally stoic hardass leader looked relieved to see the elderly woman behind the small counter, who kindly ushered them to their rooms.

  “Get some rest. We start tonight.” Was all Reyes said as a goodnight.

Chapter Text

  Three days. They had only been there three days, with Jesse being the agent on the ground- minus his usual get up. The cowboy had moaned at the loss of his hat and shawl, and then had gotten exponentially louder at the simple black jeans, sneakers, and baseball cap but was quickly shut up by the glaring Gabriel.

  Three days was all they had needed to find a head Shimada, sitting in a slightly seedy bar flirting with the bartender. Not that he was hard to spot, wearing a neon sign for hair; it made him easier to tail throughout the two weeks.

  What a two weeks those had been. Between the drinking, girls, and the sheer amount of time the kid spent partying, McCree was initially impressed and slightly envious.

  “Look at what money’ll get you, Gabe.” He once mused over the comm as he sipped a watery beer at a seedy bar, eyeing the small group of men chanting as Neon Green slammed down a fifth shot, reaching for the sixth.

  “Look at where the pressure will get you. You think these people are really his friends, McCree?”

  The answer became clear when one o’ clock hit, with the young man passed out alone in the booth, the group of people who had previously surrounded his with cheering words deserting him the moment he stopped ordering everyone drinks. Suddenly, the cowboy didn’t feel any envy for the ninja. Jesse rose, being the second to last in the bar, and left, glancing back at the slumped over figure.

  They only became concerned when they hadn’t gotten visual of the young Shimada in the next forty-eight hours.

  “Something’s wrong.” Reyes mumbled into the comm as Jesse pretended to wander aimlessly, stopping at a souvenir stand. “This is the longest he’s ever been confined to the compound, according to any eye witness report- aside from the time his grandfather and head of the clan passed away two years ago.”

  “It time to get eyes on the compound?”

  “If we don’t get any news in another twenty-four hour period, we have to. We have no other leads, and if they know we’re here it puts you and the operation at risk.”

  At this, Jesse touched his chest, gasping as though enamoured with the stuffed animal before him.

  “You’re worried about lil’ ol’ me? Gabe, I don’t know what to say.”

  “ Stupido, as if. I’m more worried about Morrison tanning my hide if you get put in harms way.”

 

  Seeing into the Shimada castle was unsurprisingly difficult. The sloped roof they laid low on bit into their stomachs, and they had to be wary of the clay tiles sliding loose- they had the advantage of being hidden tonight, but if they made a sound they risk getting attacked by at least half a dozen yakuza bodyguards.

  “What the hell?” Gabriel hissed, peering through his binoculars. McCree quickly looked through his.

  A long haired young man had a arrow notched in a masterfully crafted bow, pointing at an unseen figure. He was speaking quickly, eyes full of cold fury, slowly pacing to the left as the other person came into view on the right.

  “Holy shit, Neon.” Jesse gritted out, watching the young man become the central focus as the bowman was the one who stepped into the shadows. He had his hands up, speaking slowly. Even though the obvious threat loomed, he showed no fear- in fact, the duo on the rooftop observed only stubborn determination in his gaze before he whipped around to snatch a wakizashi off the stand behind him, screaming as he rushed into the unseen.

  Reyes let off a stream of expletives that the other man could only vaguely recognize.

  That was before a second scream echoed the first when the long haired man hopped into view, a blue glow enveloping him as he  prepared to release his arrow.

  “What the fu-”

 

 

  Angela was awoken by Athena’s emergency line. Confused, she sat up at her desk, the world shifting into focus before her heart began pounding.

  The emergency line. Her emergency line.

  “Athena, answer immediately.” She hissed, standing swiftly and shoving on her crinkled lab coat with force, turning anxiously to the large holoscreen that doubled as her large office window.

  Gabriel’s face came into view, wild and angry. Rusty smears coated his face, and the yellow glow of an active biotic field jar somewhere where the camera couldn’t see illuminated the back of his head like a halo.

  He looked vaguely like the angel of death. She shivered.

  “Ziegler, we have a medical emergency. Two of them actually-”

  An anguished moan cut him off, and her heart leapt to her throat. It sounded gruff, like a certain cowboy that hung around her office like shadow when he wasn’t busy, saying she was the nicest company she could keep in a place like this.

  “Reyes, I need to know what to prep, and who to call.”

  “Get your surgical team ready. We’ve got burns and missing limbs. A lot of them.”

  The sound of a heart monitor going haywire. Whoever was on the pull out ship gurney was crashing. The doctor stared at the screen in vague horror as the Blackwatch operative turned and cursed. The  on team medic called out for him.

  “I’ve got to go Angela. Be ready in two hours- we’ve been holding the fort down for a while, this was the only short time I could reach you.”

  And with that she was looking back at the Athena logo, mouth agape, heart pounding. Was that Jesse crashing? Who was the second patient? What the hell happened out in Hanamura?

 

  She wasn’t sure what she was expecting coming into the surgical wing, but when her assistants stepped to the side she felt sick.

  In all her twenty two years Angela Ziegler had never seen such injuries- and that was saying something, seeing as they were handling an Omnic Crisis.

    On the bio-table lay a what was left of a young male, which wasn’t a whole lot. Three quarters of both legs were gone, along with his right arm. His jaw was shattered, other parts of his body covered in cuts and blistered burns.

   As soon as she got him stabilized- if she got him stabilized, she was going to have to talk with Torbjörn on helping her crank out so many prosthetics; the nanobots and neurological pathway connections she could do, but it took her too long to make just one, let alone three.

   She was reaching for the clamps when she noticed one small, singed tuft of lime green hair. Dr. Ziegler looked forlorn as she remembered the impish photograph of a vibrant young man. Heartfelt fury pushed her forward, doubled down in her determination to save this man.

  The procedure took five long hours. Angela’s neck burned, her shoulders ached, and she’s have hand cramps for days to come, but the Shimada was mostly out of the woods.

  “Dr. Ziegler, I’m to inform you that your second patient, Agent McCree, had an uneventful procedure thanks to your surgical team. They made a note for you to consult him for a prosthetic.” Athena chimes as the tired woman snapped her gloves off, reminding her she had to go check on one more before scrubbing out and laying down on an empty medbay bed.

 “Thank you Athena.” It came as a yawn and a stretch, but she quickly made her way past the second operation doorway to peer at the ragged cowboy.

 Thankfully, he was mostly intact. The bandages around the new wound glared pristinely back at her, the shoulder it was on shiny pink from a nasty burn. If he were awake, Angela would have prodded him with questions to make sure he was okay, but the nurses had sedated him after the procedure to force him to rest; Jesse had a terrible habit of not sleeping, despite the medicine she had prescribed.

 With a turn back into the bay, she let her hair down to get ready to scrub out and collapse onto the bed across from her new and fragile patient.



Chapter Text

  A muffled scream is what shook her out of a deep slumber. Part of her almost went back to sleep, thinking it was the phantom victims that sometimes haunted her, but it didn’t stop when she tried to ignore it.

  Her patient!

  With a start Angela was up, eyes wildly going to the bed across from hers. To her horror, the young man had begun thrashing, the muscles in his abdomen flexing and spasming as he attempted to roll over onto what would’ve been his feet, chest heaving.

  “Stop!” Under normal circumstances she wouldn’t yell so, but she was terrified he would rip open stitches or undo bandages and she would have to put him under the knife before he was even fully cognitive.

 For a brief second, he stilled, turning to attempt to see her. It was an attempt because, now that his eyes were open, Angela could see his retinas were severely damaged, as if he had stared into the sun. The brace holding his jawbones in place clicked as he tried to grit his teeth, and he inhaled sharply.

 When she stayed silent as she approached him, he began to try and yell yet again, pulling on his IV with his good hand. It was clear the drugs in the drip had gone out, making the doctor curse that she hadn’t asked Athena to set an alarm to refill it.

 “Hey, stop, it’s okay.” At the touch of her hand on his chest he jolted, then reached up to hold it tightly. “My name is Dr. Zielger. Can you understand me?”

  There was a pause, and his hand was warm on her forearm as he relaxed. Well, the Shimada knew enough that he understood that he was safe for the moment- many doctors had become a beacon of safety these days. Finally he nodded slowly, turning to squint at her, attempting to make out her form.

 “Good. We’re going to get you feeling better, but you have to stay still , okay?” Her own hand touched his gently, dwarfed by the others sheer size.

 Realizing they were still touching he recoiled slightly, his hand retreating back to its side. Slow, yes. She had to make sure she was going slow, easy, gentle. Until McCree awoke, she had no idea who this man was, what he was like, and what in Gods green earth happened to him. Judging by the screaming that woke her just a few minutes ago, and the damage done, she can’t imagine it could be okay, let alone good.

 Finally he nodded again, closing his eyes with a scowl.

 “Okay. Do you need pain medicine until we can do some more surgery?”

 The pause was long this time, unsure.

 “I can’t perform on you until this afternoon, so without it you will be awake and feeling everything for at least another-” A check of her wristwatch that had been a gift from Rein, “six hours.”

 “...yes.”

 At his reply she looked back up in him in shock. With his broken jaw, talking through the brace must be excruciating, and yet he was stubborn enough to reply. His voice was gravelly from the pain and lack of use in the last night, but it was almost soft and soothing under all that. Angela sent a prayer up to someone that once he has his prosthetics he would be just as determined to push himself.

 After she made sure he was in a deep slumber, she made her way to the office. While the coffee was brewing she turned to the window, briefly admiring the green mountains.

 “Athena, please call Agent Lindholm.”

 It took him three rings to pick up.

 “Heya, Angie! What can I do fer ya?”

 “How do you feel about making four limb prosthetics and two cybernetic retinas?”

 “Makes me feel like a cat in a chickencoop. Come on by in twenty, I’ll have the workshop ready for the schematics.”

 While she loved Torb, he was wild, and scatterbrained. Being around him too long was like listening to music that was one notch too high for an hour too many.

 She came into the medbay, relieved to see the ninja sound asleep before turning into McCree’s room.

 “You done left me alone too long doc. Chewed my own arm off to try and get out of here, ya know.”

 His tired, weary smile is what finally crumbled that little dam of resolve she had been holding onto. The bags under his eyes, the way he clutched the blankets too tight, the sheer relief in his gaze when she had walked through made her lip wobble.

 “I am so, so sorry Jesse.” She wept for him, coming to his side, crouching as she reached for his hand.

 “Hey, darlin, ain’t your fault.” He cooed, patting her hand. Without his hat his hair fluffed out around his face, reminding her vaguely of some large dog breed. “It wasn’t Gabe’s either, so don’t go after him. He’s the only reason me and Neon got out okay.”

 Neon? The other patient?

 Angela sniffed, wiping her still leaking eyes.

 “If it weren’t for Blackwatch-”

 “If it weren’t for Blackwatch I’d still be raisin’ hell with Deadlock, without a good doctor in my corner.”

 That’s true. Angela wasn’t sure what all was entailed when it came to being a member of the Deadlock gang, but based on the distrust and nightmares he still carried around, it can’t have been good. Not to mention how naturally battle and gunfight came to him, which made her wonder how on earth he got so injured.

 “What happened out there Jesse? Don’t you know how worried I was?” It was a light scold, but she instantly felt guilty at the way his eyes darted towards her, his bearded jaw jumping.

 “Now you know I can’t be telling-”

 “As your doctor- no, as your friend , I demand to at least know who did this to you.”

 The cowboy adjusted to his to look directly at her, pressing his brown fur across his cheeks even further. He let out a small, almost broken chuckle that made her heart ache for him; he was so young, they both were. Life was so unkind towards them.

 “Your friend? Well, now I guess I gotta tell you huh?” His hand rubbed his face, then stayed for a few moments. “You’re not going to believe me.”

 “Please?”

 

 An energy weapon is what she decided it was, later while she sat at her desk when she left Jesse to rest and recover. That's all it could be, right? Between the light and heat he had described, that's all she could think it could be. Dragons were not real, magic was not real. Science was tangible, and in full use. She could only leave it up to energy and coffee while they all waited on Torbjörn to manage to work his mechanical magic, which would take roughly three days, though he promised the retinas first; seeing the young Shimada in such a deep panic when he had woken up blind had unsettled something inside her. The only risk is if he didn’t already know he was missing limbs, seeing it would come to a great shock- but it was cruel and unnatural to leave a man blind because you yourself were in fear.

 The doctor tilted her head back and sighed, glancing over into the two split-off rooms with the lights on. Ana once asked her if she was sure she wanted to go into the medical field, and at first she took great offense before the older woman explained.

 “Your heart is kind, which is good. But you have not learned to harden its outside- you cannot save everyone, and it will hurt you if you don’t create that shell.”

 Try as she might, she could not quite get her heart all the way hardened- it melted too quickly, like chocolate, under the heat of watching people suffer.

 “Athena, can you please play my radio?”

 “Of course, Dr. Ziegler.”





Chapter Text

The first thing he saw was a mountain peak, vague and murky; as it shifted into view he could make out the dusting of snow on the peaks, the sorting of trees. Two hours later he would’ve able to make out the small dotted shapes of birds swooping amongst the clouds, making his eyes the best they had ever been.

 But the second thing he saw was a woman standing to his side, blonde brows crunched on concern. Her eyes reminded him of the sky that was so elegantly painted behind the Swiss mountains, just as deep and breathtaking too. And, with how the light was hitting the highlights in her hair, she almost appeared to have a halo.

 Genji’s first urge was to charm her, but as he went to move right arm to prop his chin up all he felt was soul rendering pain.

 With fresh eyes, with new horror, he gazed upon his broken body. A sob bubbles up into his chest but he quickly swallowed it, sucked in air sharply through his nose.

 “Ah, I am so sorry. We wanted to have your cybernetics ready with your eyes but our engineer is having to tweak things to better suit you.” The voice he had grown so accustomed to moving around the bay, chattering quietly in the next room along with a gruffer male.

 The angel. Was she as merciful as she looked? Couldn’t she have just let him die, put him out of his misery? One glance let him know her sorrow for him was genuine, her footing as unsure as his. She was a doctor, she couldn’t watch a man die, but here that man was looking upon her with horror.

 “Where am I?” The words came off his tongue like steel, awkward and clanky. He never practiced English like he should, and he hasn’t spoken in two days. Shame on him.

 At this she tentatively sat next to him, to get closer so he could see her better. Make her body language open, honest. She was already proving to be uncomfortable, like a door wide open to a child who had never been outside.

 “Please, do not be alarmed, but you are at the Overwatch headquarters.”

 Overwatch?

  Oh, gods, Overwatch.

 If he was here… Genji tried to struggle to sit up, look intimidating, look for a weapon. Any trust he had in the doctor had dissolved, now only fear and anger.

 “You did this to me? I’ll kill you.” Strong words from the kid that was floundering on his gurney like a fish out of water, he thought bitterly.

 Dr. Ziegler groaned softly and muttered foreign words under her breath.

 “I’m not allowed to tell you what happened, I’m not authorized,” She paused, watching him as anxiously as he stared at her. An unwilling Mexican standoff. “But I promise you, Mr. Shimada, we didn’t do this to you.”

 Disbelief hung in the air, thick and silent.

 “You don’t have to trust me. I understand. All I ask as that you work with me so I can help you.” The woman gently gestures to his IV and bandages. “You were nearly mortally wounded. If you don’t let me heal you, you could suffer more, and I don’t want that.”

 Genji paused. He didn’t sense her to be lying, and it didn’t make sense for her to be so desperate for him to recover if she had caused him these wounds- it would be an unwise use of time and money. Plus, what motive did Overwatch have? To send a message to his family? It didn’t seem like the “hero organization” to viciously maim a man to comply.

 That sounded more like his family.

 Ice coated his veins and spread to his heart- Hanzo has did this to him, he remembered in shock, tuning out the doctor. His body shook, his vision blurry. Hanzo had ruined him and left him for dead. Hanzo had used the dragons against him , as taboo as that was..

 A furious roar ripped from his throat, worsening its soreness. He couldn’t stop, his body thrashing in painful indignation. This wasn’t happening. This wasn’t possible.

 Suddenly the ice was replaced with heat, and his body went lax. The last thing he remembered seeing that day was when he rolled his head to see an angel, weeping as she ushered him to sleep through a syringe.

 

 It had taken Angela twenty minutes to coax McCree back into bed- the screaming that had erupted in the room next to him had woken him in a panic and he had rushed into the main medbay desperately searching for the doctor, a ghost hand trying to reach for Peacekeeper. He had almost busted into Genji’s room if Dr. Ziegler hadn’t come out first, wiping porcelain cheeks.

 “Doc, good god tell me yer alright.”

  “Jesse McCree! What on Earth are you doing out of bed? Got und Himmel , if one more patient causes me anymore heartache than you two I’ll be old from the stress.” All she could do was scold him, but truth be told she was relieved to see him.

 She shouldn’t have told the ninja where he was just yet. She should’ve left her mouth shut and let Morrison do his damn job. Foolish, foolish doctor, causing more harm than good- one patient sedated and one out of bed from fear.

 After the cowboy was in bed she stayed with him awhile, talking, but was ended when his pain medicine finally kicked in. He had been complaining of pain in his right arm, the one that was gone.

 “I know it ain’t there cuz I can damn well see it ain’t,” He had said bitterly, and Angela was again ashamed. It wasn’t her fault they couldn’t save the limb, she reminded herself, but it did little. “But it burns like no tomorrow, like those damn dragons coiled themselves around the bone.”

 “It’s called phantom limb. No one is exactly sure why it happens, but many think its misfiring signals from the peripheral nervous system, or the nervous system not recognized as being part of the spine or brain.” Angela looked at him with a small smile, but her eyes were sad. “I’m afraid all I can do is promise morphine until the cybernetic surgery.”

 “Well that ain’t all bad news then right?”

 “I guess not.”

 After he was asleep, she left him and stood in the medbay, staring at the mountains. Thin cottony wisps of clouds sat around its peaks now, swirling around them lovingly. The sky behind them was a lovely shade of rose and orange.

 She could go out into the general housing and go say to everyone in the kitchen; it was around dinner now. Maybe that would make her feel less lonely. With a final anxious look into the two rooms, she left the bay, feeling doubtful anything would help in moments like these.

Chapter Text

  The next morning, after an exhausting night of constantly waking to refill drips, the chime of Athena’s ring woke a grumpy Angela.

  “Hello, Dr. Ziegler speaking.” She muttered this as she pried the paper thin hospital sheet off of her, wishing that she didn’t have so much pride so she could call in an assistant to take watch during the nights so she could sleep in her own comfy queen back in her quarters.

  “Angie, rise and shine! I have a present fer ye.” The wild beard and bushy blond eyebrows waggled at her as Torbjörn yelled at the screen. A headache throbbed behind the doctors eyes as she looked at the bright window and even brighter engineer.

  “Is it coffee?”

  “I’ve got some brewin. But I’ve got the limbs ye ordered, new and improved.”

  This woke her instantly, excitement bubbling up in her veins. Finally she could get the two men out of their drug induced stupors and get them on a path to healing in recovery. Keeping them relied on morphine and sedatives was bothering her immensely; she felt like some witch brewing some reverse-zombie curse by keeping the alive impaired and asleep.

  “Excellent! I’ll be there shortly!” She cooed, whipping on her coat and heading for the door, not seeing the look in her friends eyes as she did. Had she, she would’ve asked why he looked so uncharacteristically guilty.

 

  Genji’s new limb was heavy in her hands, and her fingers traced the red tubing gently. The doctor could never quite get used to the mechanical cold new age prosthetics had; all machine, fused together to make a man whole again. It was something that was both awe inspiring and a little eerie.

  “Ah, I’d be careful of that there ligament,” Torb said quietly into his blue mug, not meeting her eyes. The behavior didn’t suit the normally overbearingly jovial man.

  Curiosity killed the cat, as they say.

  As Angela pressed in on a thick band of rubber, three shurikens whistled up from gaps between the metal that made up the knuckles of the fingers. She gasped, plucking the offending things off the limb and tossing them onto the work desk.

  “Lindholm, what on God’s green earth are those doing in a piece of medical machinery?” The question was more of a hiss, and when she looked down onto the engineer he tapped his fingers against his mug warily.

  “Well, Angie, after you called, Morrison and Reyes came to talk with me.” Finally he looked up at her, his eyes full of unspoken apologies. There was a sharp inhale from her as the wheels in her head began to turn. “The ninja you got in there is going to pay back Overwatch for saving his life, apparently.”

  “By taking others?” Even to her ears, her voice was shrill. This part of the job always conflicted her. Her job was to heal, to save, to bring life; it was never to take. Standing by and watching others do it wasn’t much better, in her opinion.

  The small man shrugged, scratching his beard.

  “You know how it is, Angie. It’s all hands on deck right now. We take whatever help we can get.”

  “Does he get a choice?”

  A silence swelled in the workshop. Torbjörn looked at Jesse’s limb that lay on the table, a frown on his face.

  “None of us do.”

...

 

  She found herself standing in the doorway of Genji Shimada’s room, watching his sleeping form anxiously.

  As a doctor, she hated war. The things that other people could do to each other or the Omnics was revolting. War showed the worst sides of humanity. It landed people on her gurney, missing three limbs and covered in burns.

  But as someone practical, she also knew letting the wrong kind of people run amok was not a good way to run the world either.

  In either case, someone was hurting. An endless cycle of misery and torment, donned in the tears of innocents and holding death’s scythe.

  As the doctor pondered, the man on the bed shifted in his sleep. It’s as if her thoughts were too loud, echoing across the bay and infiltrating her patients dreams. Angela watched over him anxiously as his eyes opened. Part of her wished to flee. She hadn’t seen him since his fit, leaving his bandage changes and monitoring to her assistants.

  “Good morning.”

  Red eyes flitted over to her. His shoulders, almost raised to his ears, relaxed slightly. But still he said nothing, eyes boring into her.

  “How’re you feeling?” Her feet refused to move. She couldn’t hurt him again; it was too painful for her to watch.

  Metal clicked as he moved his jaw slightly. Now he looked over her shoulder, gazing at the Alps behind her, it’s trees reaching skyward.

  “You did not come see me.”

  The swallow she had was thick, guilty. The conflict within her raised its head again; how could she leave her patient suffering? But her presence, she thought, made him suffer as well?

  “I was afraid you did not want to, given our, ah, previous encounter.” It sounded embarrassed, even to her ears.

  The scarlet that had followed the slopes of the mountains now again looked upon her. She could see the wheels turning, the words forming; something inside him had changed. No longer was he the boy in the picture that still sat on Morrison’s desk.

  “The anger I had was not for you.” He paused, metal brace clicking as he grit his teeth to the best of his ability. “It was for my family.”

  Relief flooded her like cool rain on a summer day. Her knees, she realized as she slowly entered the room, had gone to jelly out of her anxiety.

  “May I sit with you?”

  “Please. It is rather quiet.”

  Carefully she pulled the baby blue plastic seat that was beside the steel wall closer to his bed. Not that he needed to see her better; Torb had guaranteed that he could see a gnat’s grin from a kilometer away.

  There was a silence for a minute as she looked at his drips, not quite sure if she was ready for eye contact. Awkwardness was starting to set in.

  “Your new limbs are ready,” Angela started, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, finally glancing at him. He looked readily at her, face calm now. He did not look away. “So tomorrow we will be putting you under surgery to wire the nerve pathways to them. It may be a long one.”

  At this he sighed through his nose, finally looking up at the ceiling.

  “I should warn you though. They have… adjustments to them requested by my higher ups.” The nerves once soothed jangled around in her stomach. She didn’t want to trigger another episode, but god forbid he have to find out he was going to be used as a weapon later on by accident .

  “Good. I will need them.” He spat these words up at the ceiling lights, glaring. “My brother will pay for what he has done to me.”

  “Well… Captain Morrison may ask you to help with Overwatch missions, since they’re looking to add you to the team.”

  “That is fine, as long as I get my revenge along the way.”

  Sadness fluttered through her, and she swore that she too, would fix these wounds, no matter how long it took. Gently she patted his hand.

  "Can you tell me, Genji, what Japan was like?" She wanted to change the subject. He must have sensed this, as he humored her and began to talk of his homeland, and his youth. Somewhere behind the wall, Jesse sat quietly, listened to the muffled conversation with a pit in his stomach.