Eyes closed, Gabe pressed his palms together in prayer, pressing his fingertips to his forehead.
"Dear Lord, please forgive Jack for his sins."
"He knows not what he does and does not mean to bring shame and horror to your Faithful."
"Is this really necessary."
"Please give him your guidance in this—" Gabriel cracked open an eye, taking in Jack standing miserably in his entryway, dressed in an ill-fitting, pink, monstrosity of a dress. "Dire time of need."
"Are you done."
"And maybe also remind him that my birthday is in two months and I want a new watch. Amen."
"I should never have listened to Ana," Jack said, turning on a heel and rushing towards the door.
Gabriel jumped up from his seat, dragging Jack away from the exit. "Oh, no you don't! I'm done." His eyes dropped down at Jack's dress and noted the gratuitous glitter. "For now. What's up? Experimenting with—" He choked down a laugh "-new uniforms?"
Jack looked down, covering his face with both hands— Gabe could still see the raging blush, though. "It's for charity."
"Really?" Gabe asked, trying to keep the amusement out of his face by holding a fist to his mouth.
"I can see you biting your knuckle."
"Hm?" Gabe asked, quickly crossing his arms. "Don't know what you're talking about."
"A… Make-A-Wish kid requested to see me. In a dress."
"And you agreed, the guy who practically obsesses over his image?"
"They didn't ask me," Jack said, looking up with wide, beseeching eyes. "They went straight to Ana."
"Ohhhh," Gabe said, understanding. "I am so sorry."
"I thought her second trimester was bad! Have you smelled reheated pickled fish with cottage cheese? But this is unbearable! I thought she was going to operate on my heart through my throat when I told her no!" He straightened up, putting his fists on his hips in an obvious imitation of Ana. "John Morrison. A sick child is asking you to show up for fifteen minutes in a dress. You will wear a dress."
Gabe pat his shoulder consolingly. "These are trying times."
"Only four more weeks until she's due…"
"Do you really expect her to mellow out after she's had this kid?" Gabe asked skeptically.
"Alright, well this isn't so bad— the situation, not the dress. The dress is abhorrent. Where did you get it? The kids costume department?"
Wordlessly, Jack turned, showing the massive tear stretching down the back of the dress that only reached the top of his thighs. "Pretty much."
"Wow. Yeah, okay, I have to go buy some fabric but unless you think your measurements have changed much since the last time, I think I can have this done in a few days. When do you visit the kid?"
"I— What? No! I just wanted to vent, I don't want you to make me a dress."
"Jack. You absolutely cannot walk into my house dressed in what can only be classified as a crime against humanity and expect me to let you walk right back out."
"No. You cannot. Now answer the question. When's the visit?"
Jack threw himself on the couch with a blustery sigh. "In a month."
"Plenty of time, then. And your measurements?" Sitting next to Jack, Gabriel pulled a notebook from the side table, opening it up and beginning to sketch.
"What about them?"
"Have they changed."
Jack was blushing again. "I.. Might've gained a few pounds."
"Alright, no problem, don't need to act all shy about it. You think I've been able keep up war-form at this desk job?"
"Yes," Jack said without hesitation, eyes locking on Gabe's chest.
"No," Gabe gently corrected, elbowing Jack in the side. "I'm getting squishy too." Jack grunted and looked away. Gabe frowned. "Are you doing okay?"
"I'm just… stressed. How did you do it?"
"Do what?" He asked absent-mindedly, erasing an errant line.
"Lead. In a war, no less. I'm struggling and there aren't even any crises! I feel like I'm making the wrong choices all the time and I can't do any of this right. They picked the wrong person for this job it should have been—"
"Don't you dare finish that sentence," Gabe said, jabbing his pencil at Jack. "I would literally rather go through a second Omnic Crisis than do what you're doing."
"You're just saying that."
Gabe rolled his eyes. "No, I'm not. You asked how I did your job. The answer is I didn't. Leading a crack team of the world's best on a suicidal mission to single-handedly end the greatest threat to mankind doesn't hold a candle to the shit you have to do every day. The politics, the diplomacy, the paperwork." Gabe shuddered. "Don't wish that evil on me." Jack snorted and leaned over, pressing their arms together as he looked down at the sketch. Gabe paused for only a moment, surprised that Jack had initiated contact, before continuing with the sketch.
"That looks kind of elaborate."
"What, the client is making demands now? I'm not getting paid enough for this crap."
"You're not getting paid at all."
"That's exactly my point."
"…so what's your vision?"
Gabe's lips twitched. "Well I think we have two ways of going about this. Overly frilly and ridiculous to make it obvious that it's a joke for the sake of a kid, or more understated number that manages to salvage some dignity. Personally, I'm leaning towards ridiculous. What do you think?" He turned his head to look at Jack and smiled at his concentrated frown.
"Ridiculous. The media will love it, at least."
"Ridiculous it is!" He drew large arcs to represent the full princess gown skirt. "Do you want sleeves? I'm thinking of doing a sweetheart top with a lace-up back so we don't have to worry about zippers breaking or weight fluctuations, so I can do with or without sleeves."
"Um… without. I'll probably be putting this on at the hospital so I don't want it any more complicated than necessary."
"Someone's going to have to do up the laces, though."
"I'll figure it out."
Gabe shrugged with the shoulder that wasn't supporting Jack's weight. "If you say so. What color do you want it? Pink or Overwatch blue?"
Jack scrunched his face.
"Or both, I won't make you choose if you don't want to," Gabe teased.
"Shut up. Pink's more ridiculous, so that."
"You want as many sparkles as that thing has?"
"Duly noted," Gabe said in a pleased tone. "Any other requests?"
Jack went silent. Long enough that Gabe paused sketching to look at him.
"…Will you come with me?"
Gabe set his pencil down. "We talked about this. It was your request, specifically."
"I know it was just… It's killing me. Reinhardt's stationed in Germany, Torbjorn's back with his family, Liao's…" he cleared his throat. "And Ana's… not herself right now. Well, she's too much of herself right now. I just feel like the world's changing too fast and I can't keep up."
"I haven't changed all that much," Gabe said stubbornly.
"Unfortunately." Jack snickered, dodging the swipe at his head. "I miss our team and I think it would be good to just have you there."
"Too scared to face a sick child on your own? Need to call in back-up?"
"I mean, if that's what it takes to convince you to come with me."
Gabe picked up his pencil again and twirled it thoughtfully. "What about the media? You said that with our new roles we shouldn't be seen together too often."
Jack sighed and leaned into the sofa cushion, throwing an arm over his eyes. Gabe winced at the sound of tearing fabric. "You're right. Forget I said anything. This isn't worth breaking protocol for."
"Hm," Gabriel sketched a few more lines experimentally. "Don't worry about it, Jack. I'll figure this out."
Jack nodded at his driver as he stepped out of the vehicle, careful to grab the garment bag from its hook. It was a hassle flattening it into a somewhat-manageable size. Gabriel wasn't kidding when he said he'd make it ridiculous as possible— there must be at least seven layers of tulle… or crinoline or something, Jack still wasn't sure about fabric names. Once inside, he paused at the elevators, briefly entertaining the thought of climbing fourteen flights of stairs, before sighing and jabbing the up button anyway. The elevator only stopped a few times and, thankfully, the other occupants kept their gawking to a minimum. When he reached his floor, he checked in with the nurse on desk who gave him a sweet smile before directing him to the restrooms. It surprised him that the bathroom was large and included multiple stalls.
It surprised him more that Gabe was there.
"What in the hell?"
Gabe turned to face him, long purple dress swishing on the floor. "Took you long enough. Lace up the back for me."
Hurriedly hanging the garment back on a stall door, Jack moved to pull at the strings of the dress. "Gabe what are you doing here?" he hissed.
"What does it look like?" Gabe said in his usual annoying, arrogant, attractive voice. "I'm granting a wish for a sickly child."
"What are you talking about," Jack's hands stilled, before rapidly tying a bow and striding to his garment bag. "There better be a dress in here." Unzipping it, yards of pink fabric spilled from its prison. Confused, Jack turned to Gabe.
Nonchalantly wiggling the bodice into place, Gabriel spoke. "You said you wanted me to be here. Here I am. Dressed for my quinceañera."
"But… the media."
"Will be thrilled when they learn that a kid made a wish to meet "the leader of Overwatch", but we couldn't decide if they wanted to meet me, the former commander, or you, the current commander, so we both decided to show up." Jack stared, breath coming a little fast, vision getting suspiciously blurry. Gabe averted his eyes, a warm tinge on his cheeks. "Get dressed, don't wanna be late for this brat."
It took them several minutes to manhandle Jack into the dress. Jack didn't dare criticize Gabriel's craftsmanship, but thought that Gabe might have slightly underestimated just how many pounds Jack had managed to pack on in recent months. In the end, Jack resolved to suck in his gut for the short fifteen minutes he'd be expected to stay in the dress and Gabe triumphantly tied off the bow, none the wiser to his miscalculations.
"Alright, time for finishing touches."
Jack narrowed his eyes at the nondescript black bag that Gabe pulled from under the screen. "What finishing touches…?"
Jack blanched. "No. Absolutely not."
Hands full of eye shadow pallets, Gabe turned to him with a surprised look. "I've seen you getting dolled up for photos and interviews, between the two of us, you definitely have more experience."
"Not… not while I'm wearing a dress!"
Gabe snorted. "Relax, boyscout, I'm just messing with you. I'm only going to do some mascara and lip balm. You put on more than that just to leave the house."
Jack pressed his lips together, not willing to lie on a day dedicated to charity, and accepted his fate when Gabe handed him the mascara. "This is ridiculous."
"It absolutely is."
Jack paused, blinking as he thought over the situation. He looked down at himself, looking at the vibrant pinks and glittering yellows that covered him nearly head to toe, barely restraining his still mostly-muscular form. He looked at Gabe, who was popping his lips with the fresh coat of lip balm. Gabe, the guy he leaned on as they both puked their guts out in SEP, who once came out of a conflict covered in enough blood and viscera that it left the whole team with nightmares, who earned viscous scars on his face by fighting hand-to-hand with a OR-14 unit. The guy currently decked out in a floor length purple dress and putting finishing touches of mascara on his lashes.
And Jack began to laugh.
Somehow, he ended up leaned against the wall, arm wrapped around his middle as he doubled over, the absurdity of the situation too much to bear. Gabe's face materialized in front of him, at first concerned, but then smiling along with him. As the last fit of laughter faded, Gabe rubbed Jack's back.
"Yes, god, I haven't laughed like that since…"
"Since the end of the Crisis?"
Jack gave a half-smile. "Yeah."
Gabe smiled back and clapped him on the shoulder. "War might be over, but you're stuck with me watching your six for the rest of your life."
"Wow, who did I piss off in a past life?"
"Probably every god known to man." Gabe glanced at a mirror and swiped his hair into place. "Alright, let's go make some brat's god damn day." Facing Jack, "You ready to launch the assault?"
Jack laughed again, "Lead on, Princess Commander Reyes."
"After you, Princess Commander Morrison."