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Thicker Than Water

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There was too much blood.

That was the first thought that ran through Gabriel’s mind the moment he fell to Jesse’s side. The second was that he had absolutely no idea how to fix this. He had managed to drag the other agent behind some level of cover, but the sudden focus of gunfire on his position had deterred him from attempting to move him any further.

There was too much blood.

He hovered unsure for a moment, before steadily pressing a gloved hand to the bullet wound. It did little to stem the torrent of coppery liquid from rapidly spreading across the concrete floor.

Grimacing, his gaze travelled to the kids face. A pair of hazy cognac orbs stared back at him, confusion and rage swimming deep below the surface, rapidly dwindling with every passing second.

It was then that he realised he was still wearing his mask. The skull shaped armour had become like a shield to him, separating the monster known as Reaper from any trace of the human that had once existed. Nobody but Amari and Morrison even knew he was still alive.

Was he still alive?

He tore the facade off as if it had burned him.

He observed cautiously as a trace of sorrow flickered across Jesse’s features, before just as quickly fading into a look of of understanding. He tried to speak, but the words failed to form, a shaky breath escaping his lips instead.

Gabriel knew in what remained of his heart that it would be one of his last.

He swore under his breath. The kid was dying, and he couldn’t do a damn thing to save him.

The rest of the strike team was still scattered across the warehouse, the air think with the sound of gunfire. Amari was frantically shouting into her com unit, Oxton and the elder Shimada at her side desperately attempting to hold the line. Genji and Fareeha seemed to be in an equally precarious position, with the latter firing rocket after rocket in an attempt to turn the tides of the shootout.

It wasn't working.

Lost in the chaos, he barely registered the thump of a small metal cylinder as it rolled into his foot.

He could have sworn he had never seen anything more beautiful in his entire life.

The biotic emitter seemed to hum as he slammed it into the ground, the soft golden light embracing Jesse’s body as it was released from its vessel. Gabriel held his breath. After what felt like a lifetime, McCree’s shallow breathing began to even out slightly.

In the corner of his eye he spotted Jack, face obscured behind a mask of his own yet still seemingly watching him, the holster for his own biotic emitter blatantly empty.

A ghost of a smile tugged at his lips. He nodded faintly to the other man, the gesture conveying a thousand unspoken words.

He was consciously aware that he still had a chance to leave, to walk away from this mess knowing that he had done everything in his power to save Jesse’s life.

Yet one look at the broken figure in front of him erased that option from his mind.

With finality, he lowered himself to the ground, cradling his ex-protégé's torso to his chest.

“Help is coming kid, just hang on”.