Jesse’s just leaving a late lunch when he gets the message. It goes straight to his comm, even though there’s no number to reply to, no identity attached to the sender. It shouldn’t have gotten through at all, not anonymized like this.
That fact, of course, is all the identification Jesse needs.
It’s a video, grainy security cam of a... coffee shop? Definitely a coffee shop. Just your standard Kọfị Aromo by the looks of it.
At first he doesn’t even know what he’s looking at. Nothing’s happening in it.
It takes a second, but he’d recognize those shoulders anywhere. He flushes like he’s been caught doing something far less innocuous than this, and he stops the video. Texts back the source, to see if he can: What the hell?
A message comes back quick like they were waiting. Still no name or number, but at least the messaging still works. You should know your man has the coffee palate of a child. Or sorority girl maybe. Soccer parent? Definitely lame.
Jesse flushes again. Types He’s not then deletes it because that is not at all the point.
He thinks for a minute, then settles on Why?
Because it’s funny.
Which is the answer he should have expected. Explains literally nothing about which part, exactly, he’s supposed to find funny. Or if he’s just supposed to know she finds it funny. Not seeing the joke.
He thinks he probably shouldn’t take the bait, but the video is literally at his fingertips, and it’s hard to resist. He opens it again. Presses play.
It’s just Hanzo sitting at a table, drinking what is, if his informant can be believed, shitty coffee.
Jesse’s tempted to close it again, but then someone moves from the counter over to Hanzo’s table and slides in across from him. Someone tall and slim and distressing both because she’s familiar and because she’s beautiful.
Hanzo’s having shitty coffee with Amélie Lacroix.
Jesse realizes that his biggest concern should be either Hanzo’s safety or his loyalty to Overwatch, but it takes a few minutes for that thought to catch up, because he’s gone a little fuzzy between the ears wondering if this means Hanzo’s presently dating someone.
Not like it’s actually his business. It is so very, very much not his business.
Frustratingly not his business, to be honest. If it’s true, he’s the one who never said anything that might make it his business, so he probably doesn’t have the right to be upset here.
This is when he finally remembers to think about Hanzo’s safety and his loyalties. It’s also when he realizes he’s just been staring straight ahead while the video plays, and he hasn’t responded to the messenger.
A second What the hell? is the best he can muster.
Just found out and couldn’t keep it to myself. Lucky you!
Right. Lucky me , he sends back, wondering how he can ask what he wants to ask without giving anything away. He’s ninety-nine percent sure it’s Sombra, which means he knows anything he says can and will be used against him.
What do you think they talk about? Jesse stares at the message. He’d love to know the answer to that, but he’s still mulling it over. He doesn’t have to send anything. His phone chimes again: Bet you 3 rounds of drinks it’s something dumb. Favorite position?
It takes him a second to parse that last. You mean to shoot from?
What else would I mean? While Jesse’s thinking, she sends another: Favorite flavor of slurry at the bottom of the cup when they’re done. Favorite horrifyingly tragic movie to watch while moping.
It’s beginning to dawn on him that she really, actually may have contacted him just to gossip, or something like it. He thinks about what he knows about her — not much — and he thinks he might know how to kill two birds with one stone.
Why are you so interested? he tries.
Are you NOT interested in knowing that two big scary assassins get together and gossip while they drink the kind of coffee a pre-schooler would? Actually amazing.
Pre-schoolers don’t drink coffee.
Jesse sighs at that. Sends, Explains a lot about you.
She doesn’t respond to that one, and this isn’t going anywhere. She’s already proved she’s not gonna answer if he asks it sideways, so he tries it as an accusation instead: You sure seem invested in this.
Smells like projection.
He scratches a hand through his beard. He’s tempted to close the conversation. It would be the healthy choice. But she’s got him on the hook and they both know it. He can practically hear her laughing when he reads her next message: Ask me, cowboy.
Freebie? He knows better than to expect her not to cash in.
I’m sure you already paid in delicious tears, she shoots back.
He grits his teeth. He types it and erases it three times before he manages to send, Are they on a date?
Gross. No. After a moment, she follows it up with, No offense. But still gross.
He kind of wants to throw his comm across the room, but he also performs a silent, relieved fist pump. What he texts back is, You’re an asshole.
She doesn’t send anything back at first. Then: Hey, I literally JUST found out. And you’re welcome, dumbass. Later.
Widow stares at the purple stain of her lipstick on the opening of her coffee’s lid, and she sighs. Hanzo clears his throat.
“You should tell her you like her,” he says. He’s staring past her shoulder, like even talking around emotions makes him uncomfortable.
“You should tell him you like him,” she parrots. It might be a little mean. She isn’t quite sure.
His mouth twists. “It is not the same.”
She rolls her eyes and props her chin in her hand. He’s boring like this. Much more amusing when he’s judging the people around them. She wonders if she should tell him. Instead she asks, “How is it different?”
“Because I am not a good person, and he is. You’re both terrible. You will be fine.”
She is almost surprised by the tiny laugh that shakes out of her throat. She thinks she should defend herself. If not herself, at least Sombra. She does know what he means, but Sombra isn’t terrible at all. She’s Widow’s favorite person, which is what has driven her here with him.
That and the coffee.
She thinks Sombra would laugh if she knew.
He’s watching her think. It’s weird.
“Your self-loathing is boring,” she says, mostly to get him to look away.
It has the intended effect. He cuts his eyes to the side again, mouth downturned in what she generously pretends is not a pout. “It is still different,” he insists, then he falls silent.
She takes another sip of her coffee, bloodcurdlingly sweet and hot enough that she can actually taste and feel it past the layer of numbness. She wonders what his excuse is. She thinks about the cowboy and assumes like so many things with Hanzo, it’s probably just bad taste.
“So it is different. Fine. I would put off kissing that man as long as I could, too.”
Hanzo’s face cycles through several expressions in rapid succession: surprise, offense on the cowboy’s behalf, then reluctant, resigned amusement. She smirks, and he does too. They have had this argument too many times to go another round, and he is one of the rare souls who can tell when she is being unserious. He actually thinks she’s funny. She can count on one hand the number of people who do.
“I think it’s an excuse,” she says more seriously. “You say what you think he believes about you, so you can avoid the risk that he will say those things to you himself?” It’s not really a question, but she is not always sure how others will take her observations.
“And what is your excuse?” he shoots back, annoyed. He’s so prickly.
“The same, I think. And I am not sure what I have to offer her. I have no desire to be her liability.” His cheeks are red and she doesn’t understand why. She isn’t sure whether it’s wise to ask, but she does.
He takes a moment of silence before he answers. “You are shockingly unselfish about it. That is another way it’s different. You should tell her.”
She thinks he might be ashamed, and she doesn’t know what to make of that. “If you insist. Maybe I will. Because I am not a coward.”
She hides her smirk in her coffee. It’s for the best, because she isn’t sure he could take further insult — however well-meaning — without exploding.
She waits and watches a little tic in his jaw, at least until her phone vibrates. It is a text message from Sombra: What are you DOING?
She is unsurprised to discover Sombra keeping tabs. It is strangely flattering. Would you believe it if I said I was playing with a wind-up toy? she sends back.
Yes is the only answer. Even that much makes her mind flood with questions and her chest fill with warmth.
Having coffee with a friend , she clarifies, although she is sure that Sombra already knows, and equally sure Sombra wants her to know she knows.
Hanzo’s watching her again. “You could text it to her now, if you are so brave,” he says with a smirk.
She calculates. This is not the first time Sombra has let her in on the fact that she spies; it seems Sombra is incapable of not hoarding information, so this disclosure must be the next best thing she can offer to anyone. It is hardly a declaration of love.
Widow narrows her eyes at Hanzo. Then she presses her lips together and types, I would prefer to have coffee with you. Or a meal, if you would rather. She pushes send, her short nail clicking with some finality on the screen of her phone.
“It is done,” she tells him. He looks suspicious. “Or as good as,” she corrects with a sigh. “I’ve suggested she and I should go on a date.”
“Did you use the word ‘date’?”
She pauses to consider this. “Should I?”
“Yes. I hear lesbians are very stupid about this. You should be as clear as you can.”
The coffee and/or meal would be a date , she types and sends. This time she shows it to him.
It vibrates while he’s still reading, and she jerks the phone away to read it. He’s still smirking.
It reads: WOW you’re both HUGE dorks. But yes. To the date. :)
Her heart is suddenly beating very rapidly, and it almost shocks her. She can feel herself smiling and her mouth will not cooperate to do anything else. It is uncomfortable to know he can see it. She doesn’t think he is the sort to use this against her though.
His expression is too complex to read, but it appears neither devious nor ill-intentioned. She thinks he may be happy for her, somewhere in the mix of other things.
“Now you have to,” she says. It is both a challenge and a guess at what might complicate his features so.
“I suppose I do.”
“If you don’t, I will call you a coward again. You didn’t like that.”
He laughs just a little. “I will do my best.”
“Don’t say sad things about yourself when you do it. It’s dreadful. He might want to hug you, but he probably won’t kiss you.”
“I will keep that in mind,” he says in a way that suggests he has no intention to take any of her excellent advice. He rarely does. “You should wash your hair before your date.”
“Take a shower. You’re greasy. You can tell her to thank me by leaving me some privacy.”
At first she thinks he is trying to insult her, but she counts backward and realizes she has no idea when she last washed it. It’s very annoying when he’s right, but she believes he was genuinely trying to help.
“Good luck,” she tells him before she leaves. “Do not chicken out.”
Later, after she’s washed, and combed, and dried her hair, she meets up with Sombra. It’s no different than it ever is, except that they have labeled it a date, and that makes it very, very different.
During dessert, her phone vibrates. She almost does not look. But Sombra insists. She is morbidly curious, she says.
It’s from Hanzo, and it’s only a thumbs up. She assumes that’s good news and sends the same thing right back. Then she puts her phone on silent because she has a date — appropriately labeled and all — to focus on.