Chapter 1: Well This Sucks
“Hello! Jamison, Mako, please sit down,” Mercy greeted Junkrat and Roadhog, gesturing to two chairs in front of her desk.
There was a hint of unease in her voice that didn’t go unnoticed by Roadhog.
“G’day, Doc!” said Junkrat, rather chipper. “Ya found out what’s wrong with-“
Junkrat grimaced, placing a hand to his back as he sat down. Roadhog and Mercy watched as Junkrat rubbed the base of his spine. Hog then took his place next to him, setting his cane and oxygen machine aside.
“Ya got any good painkillers, Doc?“ Rat asked. “Me back’s been killing me for days!”
“Have the one’s I’ve given you not worked?” said Mercy.
“They’re fucking useless,” answered Junkrat. “Barely takes the edge off.”
“Well,” said Mercy. “I’ll prescribe something more effective as soon as we have discussed the results of your screening.”
Junkrat huffed in agitation.
“But before we do,” Mercy continued, ignoring Rat’s impatience. “I would first like to ask, how are you, Jamison? Has anything been bothering you as of late?”
“Yeah, him,” Junkrat gestured at Roadhog, who rolled his eyes behind his mask.
“No. I mean, you mentioned you were in pain,” she said. “Has there been anything else that’s been ailing you?”
“Everything hurts, Doc,” Junkrat moaned. “Me hips, me stomach, and me back especially. There’s this weird feeling in me hand and foot. And I keep needing to piss a lot. Gets annoying when it’s nighttime and yer trying ta sleep.”
“What kind of feeling?” Asked Mercy. “Is it a tingly feeling, a numb feeling, or is it a sharp burning or stabbing feeling?”
Junkrat thought for a moment.
“Er… all of them, I think. But mostly the first two.”
“And how is your sleep?” Mercy asked.
“I’m tired all the time, Doc,” said Junkrat. “Even when I sleep right, it’s never enough. I just can’t stay awake long enough. Doesn’t help that I can’t kick this fucking cold neither.”
Junkrat proceeded to wipe his nose on the back of his hand.
“And how has this affected you?” asked Mercy, remaining professional.
“Well, apart from not being allowed to go on missions unless I saw your sorry arse,” Junkrat grumbled. “I haven’t been able to blow shit up lately either. Hurts me back too much. It’s also been harder to take care of me girl’s needs as well. Especially Trinket.”
“Okay,” Mercy said. “And… before I tell you the outcome of the screening, I must ask, how would you like me to tell you the results?”
An odd question to ask, Roadhog thought.
“Just tell me straight, Doc,” said Junkrat, oblivious to the tone of Mercy’s voice.
“Okay,” Mercy began. “I went over the results of the blood and urine tests, the x-rays, and the bone marrow biopsy several times just to be sure… and I’m afraid it’s not good news.“
“Out with it then, Doc!” exclaimed Junkrat. “Yer suspense is killing me!”
Mercy sighed and braced herself.
“I’m sorry, Jamison. But I’m afraid… you have a type of cancer called Multiple Myeloma.“
Junkrat stared on in stunned silence, trying to process what he had just heard. Cancer. He had cancer. How? Well, it wasn’t exactly a mystery. Being exposed to radiation hadn’t done him any wonders.
“I can tell this is probably a huge shock for you,“ Mercy said, bringing Rat out of his stupor. “If you need to have a minute I-“
Junkrat burst into laughter, catching Mercy and Roadhog off guard. They both glanced at each other, unsure of Rat’s reaction.
“W-what ya talking about, Doc? It’s just cancer! No big deal. People get cancer all the time in Junkertown,” Junkrat said, his voice quivering. “I-I mean… sure, they die. But we all die, right?”
Mercy wasn’t quite sure what to say to that. Or if she should say anything at all. Probably best not. Having known him for twenty years now, it was clear to her that Rat was putting on a front, and any attempt to challenge it would only make him shut her out.
“Um… okay then,” said Mercy, changing the subject. “Do either of you have any questions you’d like to ask?”
“How bad is it?” Roadhog asked, sternly.
”Given the high levels of proteins, creatinine, and calcium in the blood. As well as extensive damage to the kidneys and affected bones, I would say that the Myeloma is in the advanced stages,” Mercy said.
Roadhog sighed, lowering his head.
“Any other questions?” asked Mercy.
“How long have I got?” said Junkrat.
“Well, if left untreated, the Myeloma will continue to spread and cause further complications that will impact on your quality of life,” said Mercy, matter-of-factly. “But… if you choose treatment, you could live for many months, years, decades even!”
“Ya mean, there’s a cure?” Junkrat asked, hopefully.
“Even with all the advances to modern medicine, I cannot make such guarantees,” said Mercy.
Junkrat folded his arms and huffed.
“But,” she continued. “Most cancer patients who undergo treatment, tend to make a full recovery.”
“What happens now then?” asked Roadhog, his voice sounding more lively.
“That all depends on Jamison,” Mercy answered. “Should you choose the treatment route, Jamison.”
Junkrat looked up from his fidget toy.
“Then I will have you referred to a team of doctors who specialise in blood and cancer treatment, who will likely recommend some form of immunotherapy.”
“And If I don’t want treatment?” Junkrat challenged.
“Should you choose to go down the palliative care route,” Mercy continued. “Then I will put you in touch with various charities and hospices. They will make you as comfortable as possible, and look after you when you can no longer care for yourself.”
“If I ever get to that stage, just stick a bullet in me brain,” said Junkrat.
Mercy gave a nervous cough at that remark.
“Either way, Jamison” she cooed. “Whatever you choose, just know that I will be here to support you and your family through this. You don’t have to face this alone.”
“You should know me better by now, Doc,” he scoffed. ”I don’t need no one’s ‘help and support’. I ain’t some kid who needs its hand held and shit.”
“In that case,” said Mercy, getting up from her seat. “Would you and Mako like to go over your options while I take an important call then?”
“Off ya pop then,” Rat chaffed.
And with that, Mercy left.
Once gone, Roadhog turned to face Junkrat.
“How are you?” he asked.
“Fine – I’m fine,” Rat quavered, his demeanor beginning to slip. “I mean, so what if I have cancer? ‘S not like I planned on living to a hundred anyway!”
Hearing how scared Junkrat sounded, Roadhog didn’t press him.
“What do you wanna do about it?” Hog simply asked.
Junkrat thought about the question for a moment, going over the options in his head. Junkrat didn’t like doctors. Didn’t like them at all. The thought of putting his life in a stranger’s hands was a terrifying prospect in of itself. But it didn’t compare to something as slow, painful, and inevitable as dying of cancer. Everyone in Junkertown knew that any lump or bump, ache or pain, weird growth or spot was a potential death sentence. It would strike anyone. Even the strongest of Junkers. Reducing them to a living corpse, before eventually killing them. Their agonised screams ringing out through the night as they lay dying. With that in mind, Junkrat came to the obvious conclusion.
“I think I’ll have the treatment,” he said.
Outside, Mercy opened her tablet and allowed Athena to finally speak.
“You took your time,” was the first thing the AI said.
“Have some decency!” hissed Mercy. “I’ve just had to diagnose someone with cancer.”
“My apologies,” said Athena. “But I have received an urgent message from the Government of Western Australia.”
“What is it?” Mercy sighed.
“The message reads as follows: Gang of Junkers attacked & raided town of Kalgoorlie, WA & Kambalda East, WA. Casualties confirmed. Many severely injured. Urgent medical assistance required. Junkers last sighted on outskirts of Norseman, WA heading south towards Esperance, WA. Send urgent reinforcements.”
Mercy let out another sigh. This was the second mission she had been called to that day.
“I suppose I better get ready then,” she said, heading to change into her gear.
Mykie swung her fists at Tracer, who effortlessly dodged her attack. Mykie tried to land another blow, which Tracer caught mid swing. In desperation, Mykie spun round and attempted to elbow Tracer in the chest. When this failed, Mykie growled in frustration and moved to kick Tracer in the shin, only for Tracer to trip her up and send Mykie crashing to the ground. She looked up and saw Tracer offer up her hand to her. Mykie declined, picking herself up and dusting herself off furiously. A single clap could be heard from the far side of the gym where Trinket sat watching. Mykie huffed and turned to Tracer.
“I sucked, didn’t I,” she grumbled.
“You’re getting better,” Tracer reassured her. “But you still need to be less predictable, and be a bit more self disciplined.”
Mykie sighed, looking down.
“Hey!” Tracer said, putting her hand on Mykie’s shoulder. “You’ll get there. You just need to practice more.”
But she had been practicing, Mykie wanted to say.
“Yeah, I know,” was all that came out. “Again?”
“If you insist!” said Tracer.
Once again, the two women began sparring with one another.
Trinket watched on as her younger sister made another valiant effort to avoid having her butt kicked by Tracer. As usual, she wasn’t having any luck. Trinket then heard the gym doors slide open and saw her dads enter. Upon seeing her, Junkrat made a beeline towards her. Roadhog on the other hand hobbled behind at a slower pace, leaning on his cane and towing his oxygen machine behind him. The simple act of walking causing him to huff and wheeze like he was carrying the whole of Overwatch on his back.
“Trinket!” Junkrat embraced his eldest daughter.
“Hi Dad,” Trinket greeted Junkrat.
She then turned to greet Roadhog, who was still catching his breath.
“How’s me two favourite girls doing?” Junkrat asked, enthusiastically.
Trinket gave him the thumbs up.
“Ah, good!” he said, giving Trinket a high five.
He then turned towards the boxing ring where Tracer and Mykie were.
“Come on, Mykie! Kick her arse!” Rat shouted in encouragement.
Mykie swung again… and missed again.
“Yeah!” he cheered. “That’s me girl!”
Suddenly, Junkrat groaned placing a hand to his back.
Mykie forgot she was fighting and watched as she saw her Dad’s face contorted in obvious pain. Something she wasn’t used to seeing from either of her fathers. That was when she felt a leg lock with hers and once again, Mykie found herself on the floor.
Trinket gave another round of applause.
Once again, Tracer held out her hand. This time, Mykie reluctantly took it.
“You got a bit distracted there, love,” said Tracer. “You reckon we’re done for today?”
The rest of the family looked up from Junkrat, seeing Tracer and Mykie approach them. Rat’s eyes widened when he saw how bruised and battered his younger daughter was.
“Oi! What’s this? What have ya done to her, pom?” he demanded.
“Nice to see you too, Jamie,” Tracer snarked in jest.
“Dad!” exclaimed Mykie, mortified.
“What?” said Junkrat. “No daughter of mine’s getting beat up without me kicking the cunt’s teeth in!”
Tracer folded her arms in annoyance, but said nothing.
“So, how did the appointment go?” asked Mykie, desperate to change the subject.
Junkrat immediately went quiet.
“Er… Y-you say something, love?” he said, feigning ignorance.
“The appointment?” Mykie repeated.
“Oh, that!” replied Junkrat, sheepishly. “W-what about it?”
“Did Mercy find out what’s wrong with you?” she pressed.
Before Rat could come up with an excuse not to answer, Roadhog stepped forward.
“Not here,” he commanded in a tone that stated quite clearly, no more questions.
Knowing there was no point arguing, Mykie stopped talking. When her Papa told you to do something, you did it and you did it there and then. But still, Mykie couldn’t help but wonder why the outcome of the appointment was so private. And why her Dad was acting strange. What the hell was going on? This wasn’t over. Not by a long shot.
Once the whole family had entered their mess of an apartment, Mykie turned and faced her fathers.
“Okay, What is it? What’s wrong, Dad?” she demanded.
Trinket watched on, confused as to why her sister was being so snappy with their Dad.
“What ya talking about, love?” asked Junkrat, floundering with his words. “Nothing’s wrong.”
“Bullshit!” said Mykie. “You’ve been acting weird since I asked about it. What’s wrong, Dad? C’mon, you’re scaring me!”
“Oh, you’re scared,” Junkrat sneered. “Not like you’re the one who’s got cancer-“
Rat‘s hands flew to his mouth.
The room fell silent.
Mykie stood like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
“What?” she finally said, not believing what she had just heard.
“N-nothing!” Junkrat lied.
“Is this true?” Mykie asked, turning to Roadhog.
“How bad is it?” Mykie enquired.
“Very,” Hog answered.
“Oi!” Junkrat barked. “I’m right here Y’know!”
Mykie turned back to Junkrat.
“When were ya gonna tell us?” she demanded.
“I was gonna tell ya… eventually,” he added.
“I don’t believe you,” Mykie said, folding her arms.
“Well I don’t have to tell ya everything, do I!” Rat snapped.
“But ya should have told us about this!”
“Please, stop fighting!” Trinket pleaded.
Everyone stopped and turned towards her. Trinket held her hands towards her chest.
“Why are you fighting?” she asked, avoiding eye contact.
That was when everyone realised that Trinket had been kept completely out of the loop. Everyone had been so caught up in their own emotions, that no one had taken the time to explain to her what was going on.
“Trinket,” Roadhog spoke in a soft tone that he only reserved for her. “Your Dad is sick.”
“Sick?” Trinket echoed.
“Yes,” said Hog.
“He has a sickness called cancer,” conveyed Mykie.
“Could I catch it?” asked Trinket.
“No,” Roadhog stated.
“No, it’s not that kind off illness,” said Mykie. “But it is treatable, right?”
She looked to Junkrat.
“Um, yeah!” said Junkrat. “Yeah. The Doc said… what did she say? Oh yeah! She said that I can have treatment and make a full recovery!”
“So… you’re gonna get better?” asked Mykie, hopeful.
“Of course I’ll get better!” exclaimed Junkrat. “There’s still life in this old dog yet!”
“So everything’s gonna be alright?” Trinket pleaded.
“Come here,” Junkrat brought his two daughters into a hug. “You have me word, loves. She’ll be right.”
“What do you mean this is all there is?” Mercy yelled at the video call. “This isn’t nearly enough money for Mr. Fawkes’ treatment!”
“I understand your frustrations, Dr. Ziegler,” the man on the other side of video call said. “But this was all the UN Security Council was prepared to allocate.”
“And how am I supposed to treat Mr. Fawkes on such a shoestring budget?” she demanded.
“Er… well?” the man scratched his balding head, timidly. “You could try chemotherapy.”
Mercy stared at him, dumbfounded.
“Chemotherapy?” she exclaimed. “That’s outrageous! Do you want me to bleed him, or use leeches on him too? Chemotherapy hasn’t been used since the early twenty thirties! It’s risky, archaic, barbaric, it’s literally poison! How could you suggest such a thing?”
“I know, I’m sorry,” the man apologised. “Believe me, I’ve tried everything. But most members of the UN Security Council aren’t sympathetic to Mr. Fawkes’ plight, and therefore don’t see it as high priority. Not least because he’s still a wanted man in many countries, and has yet to face justice for his crimes.”
“I know,” said Mercy.
“I have also been instructed to tell you, that Overwatch is already on thin ice,” the man explained. “Not just because you have many wanted criminals in your ranks, but also because your existence directly violates the Petras Act, which still stands. And while we are grateful that you defeated Talon, you’re still a blight on the UN’s reputation. As such, you need to prove that you’re worth keeping around.”
“Understood,” Mercy sighed.
“Again, I’m sorry,” the man said. “Especially for his children. I know all too well what it’s like, seeing family members go though something like that.“
“You do?” Mercy inquired.
“Yes,” the man confirmed. “I lost many family members to it long ago. It’s nasty.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Mercy.
“It’s okay,” he said. “Treatments are so good and kind nowadays. People often forget how awful it all used to be.”
Mercy felt a wave of guilt wash over her. How had she not realised, that the man on the other end of the video call was likely just as stressed out as she was? Yet he was the one remaining calm and professional. And here she was, yelling at him as if the lack of funding was his fault. The pressure of the whole thing must be getting to her, Mercy thought.
“Anyway,” the man said, bringing Mercy out of her head. “I’m needed elsewhere. My regards to Mr. Fawkes. And good luck. I hope you can do everything you can to cure him.”
“Thank you,” Mercy said. “Mr. …?”
“Charles,” he said. “Brendon Charles.”
“Thank you, Brendon,” said Mercy.
The video call ended.
Defeated, Mercy buried her head in her hands.
Looks like getting the right treatment for Junkrat won't be as straight forwards as Mercy thought it would be.
Chapter 3: I Shook My Family Tree And A Bunch Of Nuts Fell Out
The next day, Mercy called the entire family into a meeting.
“It’s nice to have you all here,” Mercy greeted the family. “How is everyone?”
“Alright, I guess,” Mykie muttered, avoiding eye contact.
“What about you, Jamison?” asked Mercy. “How have you been feeling since we last talked?”
“Considering I have cancer, take a wild guess,” Junkrat snarked.
Mercy scowled at Rat, wishing to verbally chew him out at that remark. But knowing this was just Rat’s way of trying to cope with the situation, she held her tongue.
“Okay!” Mercy said, moving on. “I assume you’re wondering why I’ve called you all here.”
“Yeah, pretty much,” answered Junkrat.
“Well, I brought you all here so that everyone feels that you are both acknowledged, and involved in the whole process-“
“How long’s this gonna take, Doc?” Junkrat interrupted.
“Please listen, Jamison,” Mercy requested, sternly. “What I’m saying applies to you especially.”
Junkrat folded his arms in a huff.
“Just so you know,” Mercy continued. “If any one has any questions at any time, feel free to speak up. After all, cancer doesn’t just affect the person who has it, but the people around them as well.”
Junkrat muttered something under his breath.
“As I was saying, I brought you all here to discuss the next steps in Jamison’s treatment,” explained Mercy.
“It better include painkillers,” Rat grumbled, rubbing his back.
“I assure you, pain relief is always a part of cancer treatment. We will make sure you’re as pain free as possible throughout,” Mercy assured him.
“Hope so,” Junkrat groaned.
“Okay,” Mercy started. “Before we start treatment, I first want to ask you, Jamison. What do you want your Treatment Plan to look like?”
“What’s that?” he asked, confused.
“A Treatment Plan is a way for you to tell me and other doctors how you want your treatment to go,” Mercy explained. “You get to set the rules for your treatment, decide what you want out of your treatment, the right to know about things like side effects and how likely your chances of recovery are, as well as your right to stop treatment at any point. I can suggest many options to you. But ultimately, you have the final say.”
Junkrat grinned from ear to ear. The fact that he would be in control was a small comfort at least.
“I’m afraid I have some bad news though,” confessed Mercy, bringing Rat out of his thoughts.
“What is it?” asked Roadhog, breaking his silence.
There was a look of guilt on Mercy’s face.
“Funds have been allocated for Jamison’s treatment,” Mercy assured them. “But the amount is limited, and not enough for any form of immunotherapy.”
“What!” exclaimed Mykie. “Why?”
“It seems the UN doesn’t consider your father a high enough priority,” Mercy stated, woefully.
“Of course they don’t!” Junkrat ranted. “Fucking suits. They couldn’t give a fuck!”
“How the hell are we supposed to cure Dad then?” Mykie demanded.
“Yeah!” Junkrat joined in. “How are we supposed to cure me?“
“Calm down! All is not lost,” Mercy tried to regain control of the conversation.
“Can’t ya whip something up in yer lab or something?” Rat suggested.
“Even a scientist is only as good as their resources. And you all know as well as I, that the UN hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with that,” said Mercy. “Our options are limited, but there are alternatives that are still available to us.”
“Like what?” asked Roadhog.
“There are treatments,” said Mercy. “Two in fact. Chemotherapy and stem cell transplant, which is also known as bone marrow transplant. They were the go-to treatments for cancer and other diseases in the twentieth to early mid twenty first century, before immuno and gene therapies were created. They’re rarely used nowadays. But they’re true, tried and tested methods.”
“If they work so well, then why haven’t they been used for so long?” Junkrat demanded.
“Because they come with a lot of side effects,” said Mercy.
“What sort of side effects?” Rat asked, suspicious.
“With bone marrow transplants,“ Mercy said. “The chances of side effects depends on the type you have. Transplants that involve a donor are the ones that have-“
“Will I need one of those?” asked Junkrat.
“Pardon?” replied Mercy.
“A donor,” Rat clarified. “Will I need one of them?”
“If you were to have an transplant that required a donor, to have the most success, the donor would need to be a close relative of your’s,” said Mercy. “Ideally, a sibling.”
“But I don’t have one of those!” exclaimed Junkrat. “At least, I don’t think I do.”
“Me and Trinket can go look up if Dad has any relatives that are still alive!” Mykie offered.
“That’s very thoughtful of you,” said Mercy. “But it’s more likely your father will have a transplant where they take healthy cells from his own body and use them to replace the diseased ones.”
“And the other one?” Mykie asked.
“The chemotherapy?” replied Mercy. “Hold on, let me show you this, Jamison.”
She brought out a tablet from her desk and handed it over to Junkrat.
“It contains a list of the side effects of chemotherapy. Some of it may sound scary, but it’s important you know what to expect.”
“I’ve fought Talon agents scarier looking than whatever’s on here,” he said, snatching the tablet from her hand.
Junkrat poured over the document provided. And the more he read, the more he wanted to stop. His hands were still, only to hide the terror lodged in his stomach. It was too much, and it was happening too fast.
The side effects were numerous, and listed many things from nausea and vomiting, to headaches and memory problems, to diarrhoea and constipation, to bladder and kidney problems, mouth sores, and loss of hair, appetite, weight, and libido, not to mention fertility. The one that caught Rat’s eye however, was the part where it mentioned nerve and muscle problems including numbness, tingling, and pain.
Great! More pain.
And that was when the true horror of the situation hit him. Because of a bunch of suits from on high, he was being made to choose between either dying a slow agonising death, or having some barbaric treatment that sounded like it would kill him before the cancer ever could. And which ever way he chose, he would be at the mercy of complete strangers. Hell, he was at the mercy of some right now! But at least they weren’t there to poke, prod, cut him up, and worst of all, pity him.
“Dad? Dad!” Mykie called, snapping Junkrat out of his thoughts.
He looked up from the tablet to see everyone looking at him with concern. There was a look of terror in his eyes as he tried to process the information he had just read.
“Are you okay, Jamison?” asked Mercy.
Junkrat swallowed a lump in his throat.
“I-it’s nothing,” he stammered. “I’m fine, Doc.”
“Okay,” said Mercy. “Just so you know, because chemotherapy hasn’t been practiced for so long, and because you’ll be given such high doses, you’ll need to be admitted to hospital for close monitoring.”
“What!” exclaimed Junkrat. “Oh fuck no! I ain’t gonna be stuck in no hospital to be some guinea pig!”
“I understand your concerns, Jamison,” Mercy acknowledged. “But you can’t have treatment unless you go. You’ll be receiving high doses of chemotherapy. Which means your immune system will be too weak to fight off infection. You could become sick very easily, and it could be life threatening.”
“Please Dad,” urged Trinket, breaking her silence. “You have to do what Angela says.”
“Please Dad,” Mykie joined in. “For us?”
Junkrat grumbled under his breath.
“Ugh. Fine, I’ll go! If it makes ya all happy.”
Trinket wrapped her arms around her father. Junkrat awkwardly hugged her back. Even after all these years, he still wasn’t comfortable with such public displays of affection.
“In that case, I better make some arrangements,” said Mercy, rather chipper. “I’ve already looked for hospitals that are suitable for you. And the best one that is willing to take you on is Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia.”
“That’s just a few days ride from our old home!” Junkrat remarked.
“But since I’ve been unable to find the necessary ID,” Mercy said. “I haven’t been able to prove your citizenship. So I’m afraid you don’t qualify for Medicare.”
“What d’ya mean ya can’t prove me citizenship!” Junkrat yelled, outraged. “I’m a true blue Aussie! I’m as much Aussie as any city wanker! I was born in ‘Straya, I grew up in ‘Straya! Why’s that not enough?”
“Because to prove citizenship, you need several forms of ID, including a birth certificate. And I haven’t been able to find yours,” Mercy explained. “It’s just how the system there works, unfortunately.”
“Fucking suits and their bloody paperwork,” Rat muttered under his breath.
Everyone turned to Trinket.
“Where is Junkertown?” she asked.
“Huh? It’s in Central Oz, love,” Junkrat explained. “It’s closer to Perth than it is to Darwin.”
Mercy took the liberty to hand everyone else a tablet of their own.
Trinket looked down at her’s. On it, was a digital booklet that had pictures and short simple words.
“Trinket?” asked Mercy.
Trinket looked up.
“Did you understand what has been said?” Mercy inquired.
Trinket shook her head. In truth, she had understood very little. All she knew was that her dad had an illness called cancer, and that he had to go into hospital. Much like she did when she needed operations on her heart when she was little. Thinking of Hospital brought back many memories from her childhood, some unpleasant. She remembered how her Dad would scream and yell at every doctor or nurse who came within a few feet of her, especially if they had needles. Her father could be very scary when angry.
“It’s okay, Trinket,” Mercy said, soothingly. “I know that I used a lot of new words today. So hopefully, this booklet should help you understand better what is going on. Perhaps you could read it with someone. Your Dad or Papa perhaps?”
“I’ll do it,” Roadhog offered.
“Great!” Mercy clasped her hands together.
She then turned to Junkrat.
“I must warn you, Jamison. This will not be easy. Chemotherapy is brutal, and will make you sicker than you already are. There will be times where you feel like giving up. Are you sure you’re able to do this?”
Junkrat clenched his hands into fists as a new feeling rose up inside of him. So much so, that it overwhelmed the fear in him. He had felt it before, but never to this extent. What he felt at that point in time, was nothing less than pure undiluted spite. For the suits, for putting him in this position, for the cancer, for what it was doing to him, but most of all, towards Mercy.
”Ya think ya know me, do ya?” he sneered. “Think ya know what I can and can’t do, do ya? Think I’ll just lie down and let the cancer get me? Fuck you! And fuck whoever agrees with ya. I’ll take whatever poison you got and then some! I’ll even take whatever needles ya stick in me. Y’know why? ‘Cos I’m a Junker, that’s why!”
Mercy had a huge grin on her face.
Junkrat scowled. Damn that quack.
“In that case,” said Mercy. “I have some arrangements I need to make.”
Half an hour later, and Mykie and Trinket sat in the communal lounge with a large tablet between the two of them.
“I always wanted to know about Dad’s mum and dad,” said Trinket.
“Yeah,” Mykie agreed. “He‘s never talked about them. Keeps saying he doesn’t remember them.”
“Why doesn’t Dad remember them?” asked Trinket, unable to imagine not being able to remember your own parents.
“Dunno,” Mykie answered. “But we’ll soon find out who they are.”
The girls turned their attention back towards the tablet.
“Okay,” said Mykie, opening the search engine. “Lets do this.”
Mykie typed on the screen and brought up the Australian government website. Okay. Now what? Mykie scrolled down past a news bulletin about the various Junker raids on small towns taking place in Western Australia until they got to the A to Z of Government Services. Surely they could find what they were looking for there.
“This looks hard,” commented Trinket.
“Hopefully, not too hard,” replied Mykie.
She entered the A to Z section, and again scrolled until they found what they were looking for. Births, Deaths, and Marriage Registries. Bingo.
“I think this is it!” said Mykie, selecting the link.
The page opened up. But instead of finding one of those search engines where you place the name, birthday, and the like, all that came up was a general definition on what the page was about, and the option of eight Australian states to choose from.
“Which one do we pick?” asked Trinket.
Mykie gritted her teeth as frustration began to set in. She opened the Northern Territory page. More scrolling.
“Ah! Here it is!” she said. “Finally.”
She selected ‘Search Births, Deaths, and Marriages Records’. Trinket and Mykie’s hearts sank when they read the first two paragraphs.
“You can't search other people's birth, death, marriage and change of name records due to privacy laws.
The only records that are open to the public are historical records.”
“What!” exclaimed Mykie, her blood boiling.
She read on, hoping that there were exceptions to the rules.
“To search births, deaths and marriages records you must be one of the following:
- The person named on the birth, marriage or change of name record
- An immediate family member named on the death certificate, such as a spouse, parent or child
- A parent, grandparent or guardian of a child over 18 years old who wishes to apply for a birth certificate and who has given written permission.
You can also search the records if you have been given approval by the Registrar - eg: government departments needing information.”
Mykie took hold of the tablet and attempted to throw it across the room. Luckily, Trinket grabbed it before she could.
“This is impossible!” Mykie yelled, throwing her hands up. “We’ll never find it!”
“Don’t be mad, Mykie,” Trinket spoke, her voice calming and softhearted. “Let’s do something else.”
Mykie sighed and composed herself.
“Yeah, Trinket. Yer right.”
“Hello there girls!” came a gruff voice.
Mykie and Trinket looked up to see Torbjörn standing before them. The old man looked at them curiously.
“What is it you’re doing that’s so frustrating?” he asked. “Anything I can help with?”
“Were trying to look for Dad’s mum and dad,” said Trinket.
Mykie tensed, discomfort setting in.
“Oh?” said Torbjörn, intrigued. “Is there any reason?”
Mykie waved her flat palm across her throat, silently begging Trinket to stop.
“Dad has cancer,” Trinket answered, oblivious to Mykie’s pleas. “He needs someone to give him bone marrow.”
Torbjörn stood there, shocked.
“Oh,” was all he said. “I’m er, sorry to hear that.”
“Angela says he has to go to hospital,” Trinket explained.
“Did she now?” said Torbjörn. “Well, the good thing is, he’s in the best of hands. Keep your chins up girls. He couldn’t have anyone better than Angela. If anyone can cure your father, she certainly can.”
“T-thanks, Torb,” Mykie said, awkwardly.
“Varsågod,” the old engineer replied.
With nothing else to say, Torbjörn turned and left. Using his cane for support.
“Nice going Trinket,” Mykie snarked.
“What did I do?” asked Trinket.
Just to forewarn you, chapter 4 may take slightly longer to publish because I'm taking part in the Roadrat NSFW charity zine. So just a heads up.
Chapter 4: I Don't Need Your Pity!
Two days past, and Junkrat began to notice that everyone was acting strangely around him. People would stare at him as they passed by, always with a sad or curious look on their faces. He especially noticed when Brigitte stopped punching him playfully. Why? They always punched one another when they crossed paths. That was their thing! Was he no longer good enough for that now? Junkrat almost voiced his indignation towards her, but was stopped by Roadhog before he could.
Just why the hell was everyone treating him like this all of a sudden? And who did these cunts think they were? It frustrated him to no end. The pity, the sad glares, it all painted him as weak and incapable. He hated that feeling, and he hated them for making him feel this way.
And it didn’t stop come dinner time. Junkrat could see them out of the corners of his eyes. He glared down at his food, forcing himself to say nothing as per Roadhog’s direction. The tension in the mess hall was palpable. At least it was, until Rat heard two familiar voices.
“Hey hey! Lúcio and D.va in da house!” said Lúcio as he and D.va sat down with their food.
“Sup!” D.va greeted. “Did you hear about my latest high score?”
“No?” said Mykie.
“Oh!” began D.va. “It was amazing. I got several multi kills in under half a minute! Andtook the point in just four. It was… amazing.”
“Ya did?” said Junkrat, latching onto the conversation. “Aces!”
“Hey, Mykie! How’s your training going?” asked D.va.
“Yeah, it’s going good,” Mykie answered. “Lena says I’m improving.”
“Well, that’s great!” Lúcio complemented. “Keep going at it!”
Trinket and Roadhog ate their food in silence. Junkrat felt himself relax a bit. Everything was completely normal. The same as always.
“Yo, Jamie,” Lúcio piped up.
“Yeah?” replied Junkrat.
“Have ya heard?” Lúcio asked.
“Heard what?” said Junkrat, raising an eyebrow.
“What people are saying about you.”
Roadhog stopped eating and listened intently.
“No?” Junkrat said, gulping. “What’re they saying?”
“Well, I don’t know if these rumours are true or not,” said Lúcio. “They’re probably not. But I keep hearing you have cancer or something like that.”
Junkrat froze. The whole family fell silent.
“… D-dunno what gave ya that idea, mate,” Rat said, his voice quavering. ”But if I did, they’ll have so many wires and tubes in me I’ll look like a bloody puppet!” he said, forcing a laugh. “I mean, you hear a cancer joke and it makes you laugh… until you get it!”
Lúcio and D.va stared at him in shock.
“… So it’s true?” said D.va.
“Aw man, I’m so sorry,” Lúcio joined in.
Junkrat returned their sympathies with a glare. This was not the response he had hoped for.
“Wait,” said D.va, confused. “I thought they’d found a cure for that.”
Junkrat glared even harder, clenching his fists.
“Hey, it’s okay,” said Lúcio, trying to ease the tension. “I know you’ll get through this. And don’t worry, Hana and I will always be here for ya-“
Junkrat slammed his fists on the table.
“STOP BANGING ON ABOUT ME CANCER!”
The whole Mess Hall fell silent. Everyone turned and looked in Rat’s direction. For a while, no one said anything.
“So it’s true,” said Zarya.
That did it. Junkrat got up, ignoring the pain in his back, and stormed out of the room. Shortly after, Roadhog got up and followed him.
Everyone then turned their attention towards the girls. Feeling the stares, Trinket shuffled closer to Mykie.
“I’m really sorry,” said Ana.
“My condolences,” said Reinhardt.
“Are you okay?” Mei inquired.
“Will he be alright?” asked Winston.
“He will be alright, right?” Brigitte pressed.
Mykie placed an arm around Trinket’s shoulder while scowling at the rest of Overwatch.
Roadhog lumbered down the hall after Junkrat, using his cane for support. His breathing laboured despite the aid of his oxygen machine. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before Roadhog caught up with Junkrat. But when he did, he hand to take a moment to catch his breath. Junkrat turned around and folded his arms, scowling. After catching his breath, Roadhog straightened up and faced his angry partner.
“What d’ya want?” Junkrat demanded.
“Come back inside,” Roadhog said, his voice still breathy.
“No! I ain’t going back in there!” Rat answered.
“You need to,” Roadhog insisted.
“So I can be treated like a fucking runt? Fuck that! I don’t need to hear how sorry everyone is. I don’t need their sympathies. I don’t need their pity!”
“They only mean well,” said Roadhog.
“So?” Rat snapped back. “Not like it does me any good! All it does is remind me constantly that I’ve got fucking cancer.”
“Not saying it is,” said Hog, trying his best to calm Rat down. “But walking out, in front of our kids no less, won’t help.”
“Like I give a fuck,” Rat said.
Roadhog let out a sigh.
“Just, come back inside,” he said. “The girls will steal your food otherwise.”
“Not hungry,” Junkrat muttered.
“Your choice,” said Roadhog. “But I’m not leaving the girls to face the aftermath alone.”
Junkrat sucked in a lungful of air.
“Fine, fine,” he said, before following Roadhog back to the Mess Hall.
Upon re-entering the Mess Hall, everyone averted their eyes from the Junkers. Everyone that was, except D.va, Lúcio, and the girls.
“E-er, hey,” said Lúcio, apprehensively. “I’m sorry about-“
Roadhog glared at him through his mask. Lúcio immediately knew to shut up.
Later on that day, Roadhog sat with Trinket as they read the pdf booklet that Mercy had given her. Junkrat tinkered in his workshop in the next room with the door open, trying to block out what Roadhog and Trinket were reading. Mykie meanwhile, was with Pharah in the hangar, both working on their bikes together. Trinket read over the booklet haltingly, relying heavily on the illustrations and her Papa to interpret many of the words for her.
"Cancer is a serious illness but lots of people get better."
The booklet read.
"But, some people with cancer do die."
Trinket froze at that sentence.
“Is Dad going to die, Papa?” Trinket asked, looking up at Roadhog nervously.
Junkrat stopped tinkering.
“No,” Roadhog said. “He won’t. So long as he goes to hospital and let’s the doctors and nurses take care of him, that shouldn’t happen.”
He made sure to say that last part out loud enough for Junkrat to hear.
“Yeah yeah!” came Rat’s voice from the other room. “I’ll go and let ‘em make me their own personal guinea pig!”
Trinket let out a giggle.
Roadhog smiled. He loved it when either of his daughter’s laughed. Both girls had their Dad’s laughter, and sense of humour to go with it.
“Can I come to the hospital with you?” asked Trinket.
“Course ya can!” said Junkrat, somewhat relieved he would have familiar faces there.
“Can I stay with you?” she asked.
“No,” answered Roadhog.
“Why?” said Trinket, disappointed.
“Because they don’t allow visitors to stay over,” Hog explained.
“And why not!?” she shouted, standing upright in an angry fit.
Roadhog was stunned, she never had an outburst like this.
“It’s okay, calm dow-“
“Why am I always treated differently than Mykie?” Trinket demanded. “Is it cause my brain is wrong? Am I broken?”
Tears began to well up in her eyes.
Roadhog tried to draw her into a hug, only for Trinket to push him away. Roadhog looked at her with a guilt ridden expression. That was when Junkrat entered the room.
“C’mon, Trinket!” he said, attempting to cheer her up. “Nothings wrong with you. You’re our little treasure, and nothin’s gonna change that.”
Trinket forced a smile. She knew her fathers were only trying to make her feel better, but she still couldn’t stop thinking about the unfairness of it all. Despite her ADHD, Mykie was the one with all the promise and potential. Mykie was the one who was an up and coming recruit to Overwatch. Mykie was the one who would go on to follow in their father’s footsteps. As for Trinket? She was just… Trinket. Nothing special. She certainly had no hope of ever achieving such lofty goals. What with her heart defect and intellectual disability. Hell, she didn’t even have much hope of having a job outside of a sheltered workshop. The other Overwatch agents treated her either like she was still a child, or like she was some lost puppy in need of protection. Sometimes though, she was hardly noticed at all.
Roadhog could tell Trinket was only smiling for Junkrat’s sake. Rat was the type that would rather distract someone from their problems, instead of helping them face them. Much like how he approached his own problems. He would probably ignore the C problem if he could. Only, there was no ignoring it. The bags were packed. The hotel room had been booked. They were heading for Perth. Roadhog was under no pretence that any of this would be easy for Junkrat. Or for the girls for that matter. That’s why he had to be the strong one in all this.
For two days, Junkrat, Roadhog, and the girls spent their time in Perth seeing all the sights. The trip began with exploring Elizabeth Quay and the iconic Bell Tower. Followed by a cruise down Swan River to Fremantle and back again. Junkrat gleefully pointed out all the places he and Roadhog had robbed, bombed, and reaped overall chaos back in their crime spree days. Afterwards, they went around all the shops and pubs, though Junkrat wasn’t allowed any alcohol much to his annoyance. The next day they visited Perth Zoo, as per Trinket’s request. Followed soon after by a session of indoor skydiving. Then a bike race through the outskirts of Perth between Mykie and Roadhog, with Junkrat and Trinket cheering them on. The trip ended with the Junker family letting off fireworks on Cottesloe Beach, and trying not to get caught by the authorities.
The next day was when they went to Royal Perth Hospital. And needless to say, the place was huge. So huge in fact, that they needed a map just to find the right building, let alone the right unit.
“This place is like a maze,” Trinket commented, as the Junker family and Mercy made their way through the labyrinth of corridors.
Eventually, they ended up outside a unit labelled Haematology and Medical Oncology.
“This is it,” Mercy said, before leading the way in.
After checking in at the desk, they were told to wait to see the doctor. Everyone sat in silence. Everyone that was, except Junkrat, who constantly asked how much longer they had to wait while he jigged his leg impatiently. Finally, after what had felt like an eternity to Junkrat, the doctor called them in.
The meeting itself was a blur for Junkrat. The doctor had been friendly enough, but god were his constant questions annoying. Asking him about his medical history, how long he’d had cancer, and even why his date of birth wasn’t recorded.
“Okay,” the doctor said. “Now if you could just lie down on the bed for me.”
“But, I ain’t tired… much,” said Junkrat, confused.
“No, I need to examine you,” the doctor chuckled. “I need to assess your overall health.”
“Sure,” Junkrat said. “Like I ain’t been poked and prodded enough.”
Junkrat was reluctantly led to an examination bed with a monitor beside it.
“Okay,” the doctor said. “Now, just lie still while I-“
Rat’s eyes widened at the size of the needle.
“Keep that thing away from me!” Junkrat shrieked, almost leaping off the bed.
Trinket and Mykie both cringed and felt relieved it wasn’t them having to be jabbed with the needle.
Mercy sighed. Clearly, Junkrat had not become accustomed to the biopsies since the first time around.
In the end, Roadhog had to get up and hold his hand while the doctor numbed and extracted some bone marrow from Junkrat.
Not too soon after Rat had sat back down with his family, the doctor handed Junkrat a tablet and pen. Grabbing it with a twinge of disdain, Junkrat looked over it while the doctor elaborated on its importance.
“What’s this?” he asked, squinting his eyes at the small print.
“It’s a consent form,” explained Mercy. “By signing it, you give the hospital permission to perform the chemotherapy and stem cell transplant.”
“Didn’t ya say I could back out anytime?” Rat asked, suspiciously.
“Even if you sign it, you can still back out,” Mercy said.
Junkrat considered doing just that. After all that he had been put through already, it did seem tempting.
Suddenly, Mykie and Trinket gazed at him with the most heartbreaking puppy dog eyes imaginable.
With a heavy groan, Junkrat signed his name in the little white rectangle. He felt like he had just signed away his soul. Or his treasure. But mostly his soul.
“Perfect!” said the doctor, taking back the tablet. “Now, I just need to give you your shot, and then we’re done!”
“More bleeding shots?” Junkrat whined.
Little did he know that this would be the first of many shots.
Over the next week, Junkrat underwent a variety of tests, X-rays, a CT scan, and many many shots. Some in the belly. Some of which he had to do himself. Honestly, it was as if they were trying to turn him into a pincushion. Of course, Roadhog had to make sure he had his injections at the same time everyday. As well as making sure he showed up on time for his appointments.
Roadhog could tell how much Junkrat hated every minute of it. Not least because he would constantly complain about it at the end of the day. This was especially true when he had the CT scan. But despite detesting his situation, he didn’t resist the doctor’s and nurse’s constant poking, prodding, and jabbing of him. Both Rat and Hog knew that he needed to do this for the girls sake. However he felt about it, there was no backing out now.
Before long, the day of the bone marrow harvest arrived.
After checking in at the desk, a nurse instructed them to follow her. As they past a row of doors, a sense of nervousness and apprehension grew in the pit of Junkrat’s stomach. Though, that could just be all the drugs, he thought. The nurse led Junkrat, his family, and Mercy to a private room. The room was surprisingly nice. Far from being cold, sterile, and white, the room was well lit and contained a table at one end, two comfy looking chairs, a hospital bed, and a weird boxlike machine beside it. This… didn’t seem so bad, Junkrat thought.
“Is it alright if you could remove your prosthetics?” the nurse asked.
“No I bloody well ain’t!” Rat answered. “I don’t take me arm or leg off for no one!”
Well… except Roadhog and the girls of course. And Mercy sometimes. But that was besides the point! He wasn’t going to take his prosthetics off in front of a complete stranger.
“Jamison,” said Mercy.
Great, another lecture from the angel herself.
“You need to remove your prosthetics so that the nurse can put a catheter in both arms.”
“I’m gonna look like a bloody porcupine at this rate,” Rat remarked.
Reluctantly, Junkrat sat on the bed and removed his prosthetics and boot.
“Now, the nurse is going to connect your main arteries to the Aphaeresis machine, which will separate the bone marrow from your blood,” explained Mercy. “It will then return your blood back to your body.”
“So this thing’s gonna suck all me blood out?” exclaimed Junkrat.
“Not all at once,” Mercy assured him. “Just enough to harvest the stem cells.”
Once again, unease grew within Junkrat. Considering how many needles he had been jabbed with, it was surprisingly difficult for Mercy to insert the catheters into the crooks of his arms. It didn’t help that Junkrat was both twitchy and dehydrated. Junkrat grimaced as he felt the needles being inserted. But once everything was in place, Mercy switched the machine on.
“Try to keep your arms straight, Jamison,” Mercy instructed.
“How long do I have to sit like this?” Rat asked.
“Don’t worry, the process shouldn’t take more than a few hours,” said Mercy.
“Hours?” Rat whined. “The hell am I supposed to do ‘till then?”
“Just sit back, keep your arms straight, and just relax. Perhaps you could watch something on the TV,” Mercy suggested.
“What if I have to piss?”
“Dad!” exclaimed Mykie, mortified.
“If you need to use the toilet, just call the nurse and they’ll bring you a urinal bottle you can relieve yourself into,” said Mercy, unfazed by the question.
“So I have to piss in a bottle then?” Junkrat said, giggling at the thought.
“Anyway, I’m needed for a mission.” Mercy said. “If you need anything, just call on the nurses until I’m back.”
She then left Junkrat, Roadhog, and the girls alone together.
Several minutes past. Junkrat looked down at the his arms which both rested on pillows. He watched as his blood flowed through the tubes in his arms to the machine. The needles stung like hell, but Rat refused to show his discomfort. The machine itself whirred continuously as it got to work separating the bone marrow from the rest of Junkrat’s blood. That, coupled with the ticking of a clock somewhere made for an uncomfortable silence.
“It’s a nice room, ain’t it,” Mykie spoke up.
“Took fucking clean if ya ask me,” remarked Junkrat.
Trinket, who by this point had sat down on the end of the bed, decided to rummage through the bag Mykie had brought along. It wasn’t long before she drew out a picture book.
“Can I read to you, Dad?” she asked.
“Yeah, fine,” said Junkrat. “Least it won’t be so boring.”
And with that, Trinket began her story. The story itself wasn’t so interesting, and Trinket’s narration was halting and robotic, but nonetheless the whole family were soon engrossed.
Before long, there was a knock on the door.
“Who is it?” called Roadhog.
The door opened.
“G’day, my name’s Anne, I’m one of the nurses looking after you in Dr. Ziegler’s place,” the nurse greeted.
“How much longer do I have to sit like this?” asked Junkrat. “Me arms are killing me.”
“Well, let’s have a look,” said Anne.
She went over and examined the IV bags that hung over the Aphaeresis machine.
“Hmm, that seems to be a good amount for today,” she said. “I’d say you’re done for today.”
“Wait. What?” said Junkrat, confused.
“You heard me,” Anne said, beginning to turn the machine off.
“I thought ya wanted me in tonight,” said Junkrat.
“What? Nah. That will happen when we start pumping ya full of chemo,” Anne explained, beginning to unhook Junkrat from the machine. “Of course, we want ya back tomorrow to continue the bone marrow harvest. But for now, you’re free to go.”
“Aces!” Junkrat cheered.
Once Junkrat was completely unhooked and bandaged up, he and his family were sent on their way. The sun was still shining when they got outside.
“Hey,” Junkrat spoke up. “Who’s up for another race?”
Roadhog smirked at Mykie under his mask.
“You’re on!” said Mykie.
The family spent the rest of the day racing through the streets with the police hot on their trail. Before being issued a speeding ticket and a good reprimanding from Overwatch.
Thought I'd have something a bit more lighthearted for a change.
Chapter 6: Fun Times At The Hospital
Overall, it took eighteen hours over three days to collect enough stem cells for Junkrat’s transplant. Eighteen hours of sitting in a bed with a needle in each arm, while a machine sucked out all his blood. Eighteen hours of having to sit still and let it happen. Eighteen hours of complete mind numbing boredom. And this was only stage two. Stage three was going to be even more challenging. Especially since this stage meant actually staying in hospital.
The next week, they headed back through the maze of corridors until they were back at the Oncology Unit. Checking in at the desk was a nightmare. The nurse kept asking Rat about ID, Medications, allergies, next of kin, emergency contacts, as well as other stuff he didn’t care about.
“Do you have any medical conditions we should know about?” the nurse asked.
“What kind of stupid question is that?” Junkrat scoffed.
“I mean, do you have any conditions other than what you’re in for?”
“You mean other than my crippling genius?” teased Rat.
The nurse rolled her eyes.
“No, he doesn’t,” said Roadhog.
Junkrat glared at him.
The nurse ticked something on a tablet, before handing Junkrat a leaflet.
“This here explains your rights as a patient-“
“Yeah yeah, I get it, alright,” Junkrat cut her off.
“Dad,” chided Mykie.
“Jamison, the nurse is only doing her job,” Mercy chimed in.
“Fine,” Rat grumbled. “Just stop telling me shit I already know.”
“Mr. Fawkes,“ the nurse chimed in. “If you and your family could come with me, I’ll take you to your room.”
The nurse led everyone down the corridor until they arrived at what would be Junkrat’s room for the several weeks. The room was just as nice as the one where Junkrat had his bone marrow harvested.
Seeing all the technology on the walls brought glee to Junkrat. He was already coming up with ways he could take each of them apart to see what made them tick. Maybe even make a few inventions out of anything he found useful. Perhaps having to stay in hospital won’t be so bad after all. Rat’s thoughts were soon interrupted when Roadhog dumped his bulging duffel bag on the hospital chair. The nurse‘s eyes widened when she noticed what was in it.
“What’s all this?” the nurse demanded.
“Ya told me to pack the essentials, so I did,” Junkrat said, like it was no big deal.
“Are those explosives?” the nurse asked, beginning to sound tense.
“… Maybe,” said Junkrat, sheepishly. “But they ain’t live… yet.”
Mercy and the girls stood in stunned silence. How on Earth did he have the gall to bring bombs into a hospital?
Roadhog sighed. Perhaps he shouldn’t have relented when Junkrat begged him to let him pack his own bags.
“You do realise I’m gonna have to issue a Code Black and call the police,” the nurse informed Junkrat.
“Don’t worry! We’ll just take these and get rid of ‘em. No harm, no fowl. Right?” Mykie said, snatching the duffel bag.
“What? Oi!” Junkrat protested. “Gimme back me bombs!”
“And just so y’know, no one else needs to know about this,” said Mykie, ignoring her affronted father.
“I-I suppose,” the nurse stuttered.
“Fine, ignore me why don’t ya!” griped Junkrat.
“Well, if you don’t want to be ignored, Mr. Fawkes,” the nurse said. “Then I suggest you take these and go change.”
“Change?” said Junkrat, confused.
That was when nurse handed him a prosthetic leg, a hospital gown, and a single sock with studs on it. It soon occurred to Junkrat just what the nurse meant.
“If ya think I’m gonna wear that shit, why don’t ya just ask to take me bollocks too?” Junkrat griped.
Fed up with the way the nurse was being treated, Mercy stepped forward.
Junkrat glared at her.
“I know that you don’t like any of this,” she said. “But everything we’re doing is to help you get better. You need to be kept in a germ free environment to protect you from infection. That includes wearing the gown.”
Junkrat huffed. He knew she was right. Reluctantly, he took the leg, gown, and sock and headed to the wet room en-suite to change.
Junkrat emerged from the en-suite a few minutes later. And needless to say, he looked absolutely miserable. And who could blame him? After having been stripped of his bombs, clothes, and his own prosthetics, everything that made him Junkrat, what was left?
“Nice,” Mykie half teased. “Could be a new look!”
“Yeah yeah, don’t get your hopes up,” Rat grumbled.
“Is the prosthetic comfortable?” asked Mercy.
“No,” said Junkrat. “Socket’s loose, and the knee’s too stiff.”
“Quit your whining,” said Roadhog.
“Least this thing don’t show me arse off,” he remarked, handing over his arm, peg leg, and clothes reluctantly.
“Now,” The nurse said. “If you would like to come with us, Mr. Fawkes, we’ll now take you into surgery.”
That was when Junkrat spotted a surgeon and another nurse with a wheelchair.
“If ya think I’m getting on that thing, you’re fucking dreaming!” Junkrat scoffed. “I ain’t completely useless! If I’m gonna get sliced and diced, I can walk there meself.”
“Very well, Mr. Fawkes,” the nurse said, clearly growing tired of Rat’s attitude. “Right this way.”
As Junkrat, Mercy, and the nurse left, Trinket made to follow after him. But she was soon stopped by Roadhog.
“Not you,” he said. “You need to stay here.”
“Why?” asked Trinket, disappointed.
“‘Cos it’s surgery,” said Mykie. “We can’t be with Dad ‘cos we could spread germs.”
“Oh,” said Trinket, disheartened.
An hour later, Junkrat returned from surgery. He had been awake the entire time, so he wasn’t groggy or sleepy. But there was something different about him. Everyone noticed, but Trinket was the first to point it out.
“What’s that?” she asked, pointing to the Y shaped tube hanging from the right side of Junkrat’s chest.
It looked like a two headed snake.
“It’s called a Hickman tube,” explained Mercy. “It’s how we‘ll be giving your father his chemotherapy.”
“How long will he have it?” Mykie asked, clearly creeped out by it.
“He’ll have it until the end of his treatment,” said Mercy, matter-of-factly. “I know it’s a bit unsettling, but we wouldn’t do anything we don’t deem unnecessary.”
The sight of it was unsettling for just about everyone, but it was especially disturbing to Junkrat. It didn’t hurt or anything. Though, he had been told not to fiddle with it, and to keep it dry at all times. But the fact that it was there brought home how all the more real this was. Before, he could just pretend that he was as normal, as he always was. But now, just one glance down at his chest would be a constant reminder that he had… it.
“Okay!” said Mercy. “I have managed to completely heal the opening around the catheter. So if it’s alright with you, Jamison, I would like to start chemotherapy immediately.”
“Now?” Junkrat reiterated.
Mercy gestured towards the bed. Not long after, an IV stand was brought in with two bags of liquid hanging from it. Hooking Junkrat up to the IV was much easier thanks to the Hickman line. With the press of a few buttons, the chemotherapy treatment began. One by one, the nurses said goodbye and left to perform other duties.
“Would you like for me to return later?” asked Mercy.
“Yeah… sure,” replied Junkrat, his voice distant.
“In that case,” Mercy said. “I shall check up on a little later.”
She then left Junkrat, Roadhog, and the girls alone together.
The silence that followed was deafening. Minutes past before anyone spoke up.
“So… what did I miss?” Junkrat asked, no longer able to take the silence.
“Not much,” replied Mykie, her voice monotonous.
“Hey, Trinky!” said Junkrat, forcing his enthusiasm. “You did any reading when I was out?”
“No,” answered Trinket.
Junkrat’s smile faded slightly. He wracked his brain, trying to find something interesting to say.
“Er… lovely weather today, right?” was all he came out with.
This only served to increase the awkward atmosphere of the room. Junkrat looked to Trinket, then to Mykie, then to Roadhog. Hoping that someone would carry on the conversation, even just nonverbally.
In the end, Roadhog picked up the remote and switched on the TV. He flicked through a few channels, trying to find one that sparked his interest. That was when he came across a news program. The reporter appeared to be talking about another Junker raid. This time in the town of Kellerberrin. The reporter went on.
“This brutal attack by this gang of Junkers has left seven dead and fourteen injured. It is not clear how they have been able to wreak so much havoc without any of them being apprehended or captured. But according to many sources, it appears that they are having some form of outside help. The gang was last seen heading westwards.”
“Seems like it’s getting worse out there,” Mykie commented. “Sure hope the authorities will sort it.”
Roadhog grunted, then promptly changed the channel to some old Disney movie. It was one of those old ones from the mid twentieth century. The one about two kids, a magical nanny, and some bloke who was a painter one minute and a chimney sweep the next. Mary Poppins, he believed it was called. They were at the part where they were in the painting and the the two adult characters were being served tea and cake by a bunch on animated penguins. The movie was familiar to Roadhog, although he couldn’t remember the last time he had seen it. Probably when he was just an ankle biter. How long ago was that? Fifty years. God, he was old. Suddenly, Hog’s thoughts were interrupted by Junkrat’s laughter. Clearly, he was enjoying the film. Roadhog looked around and saw that both Trinket and Mykie were also enjoying it, laughing along and singing the songs. He decided to watch it with them.
An hour after Mary Poppins ended, Mercy returned. There was something different about her though. She looked all flustered, and there was a bruised cut near her right eye. Clearly she had been in the wars.
“Hello everyone!” she announced, keeping a professional demeanour. “Sorry I’m late, I was gone longer than expected.”
She came forward and inspected the now empty IV bags.
“I see your first round of chemo is finished, Jamison,” she observed. “Very good! You’re well on your way to having the bone marrow transplant.”
“Really?” said Junkrat.
“Mhmm,” Mercy said, smiling.
“Yay!” Trinket gave a little cheer.
Mercy’s smile faded as she turned to Roadhog, and the girls.
“I’m afraid visiting hours ended ages ago,” she said. “You can always come back tomorrow, though.”
“What!” Junkrat exclaimed. “What d’ya mean? Do they have to go?”
“Unfortunately, yes,” Mercy confirmed.
“But… I don’t want ‘em to go!” Junkrat bemoaned.
“I don’t want to go,” agreed Trinket.
“We must,” said Roadhog, hauling himself up with his cane.
“Please, Hoggy! Don’t leave me here,” begged Junkrat.
He tried to get out of the bed, only to be forced back down into it by Roadhog’s hand.
“We’ll see you tomorrow,” he assured Junkrat.
“I’ll discharge meself if ya don’t stay!” Rat threatened.
“Please, Dad!” Mykie pleaded. “Please stay in the hospital.”
“Please, Daddy?” Trinket joined in.
They both made sure to give him the puppy dog look, just to be sure.
“Fine! Fine, I’ll stay,” Rat said. “But ya better be back tomorrow. Or you’ll be sorry.”
That night, Junkrat tossed and turned in bed, unable to sleep. He didn’t know what time it was, only that it had been lights out ages ago. The fact that he was in an unfamiliar place made it difficult to drift off. That, and he couldn’t feel Hog’s huge warm form by his side. It also didn’t help that he his head hurt and his stomach was slightly nauseous. After a growl of frustration, Junkrat completely gave up on sleeping and just laid there, staring up at the ceiling. This was impossible. There was no way he could endure this shit for a week. Let alone several. Several weeks of being pumped full of poison, and god knows what else. Several weeks of being completely shut off from the world. It was like being in solitary confinement. Junkrat chuckled to himself. He hadn’t been in solitary confinement since the last time he was in prison, which was about… twenty to thirty years ago. He and Hog had been on the (mostly) straight and narrow ever since. But what would their lives be like now if it wasn’t for Overwatch? They would probably be locked away in a high security prison by now. Or dead. Yeah, probably dead. Although, if Junkrat didn’t go through with this treatment, he would probably be dead anyway. He guessed there was no winning sometimes. Other that the headache and nausea, he felt fine, for the most part. His hair wasn’t falling out so far, and thanks to some horrible pills, which he almost threw up mind you, he wasn’t spewing his guts out.
Unbeknownst to Junkrat however, much worse lay just on the horizon.
Chapter 7: Sick Of This
Junkrat felt alone. Very alone.
The first few days were just as much hell as he had expected. Confined to an unfamiliar room with nothing to do, no one to talk to for hours on end, and only a shitty little TV for company. It didn’t take long for boredom and frustration to set in. For hours and hours Junkrat would pace the room, flick through TV channels, and fiddle with whatever he could get his hand on. The days were long, dull, and lonely. Oh so very lonely.
The only things he had to look forward to in the day were his chemotherapy sessions, pills for pain and nausea, and the shitty hospital food.
But as time went on, the days and hours began to blur together. It got hard to tell how much time had passed. More pacing, more channel flicking. Junkrat tossed and turned as he tried to sleep. More chemo, more pills.
Junkrat‘s resentment grew and grew. He hated everything. The nurses, doctors, and their stupid rules. The hospital room and it’s ever enclosing walls. The chemotherapy and how nauseous it made him feel. The pills and how they barely worked. The constant pain he was in. The boredom. The loneliness. But above all, the thing he hated most was the cancer itself. He hated it for putting him in this place. Hated it for making him dependent on others. Hated it for making him weak. He hated it, and he wished it would be over already.
“How are you, Dad?” asked Trinket.
“Oh, I’m living it up in here, love!” Junkrat said, enthusiastically. “This place has everything! Ya get free food, and room service, a lovely view, and a TV with endless channels!”
“Sounds like you’re having a good time,” chuckled Mykie.
“When can we come in the same room as you, Dad?” asked Trinket. “I don’t like having to sit out here.”
Because the chemotherapy was weakening Junkrat’s immune system, the nurses had forbidden his family from entering his room. Instead making them talk to him through a window that looked out into the corridor. Out of all the things Junkrat hated about his stay in hospital, it was this. Not being allowed to touch, hold, or embrace his family was the worst.
“Er… what have ya been put to lately?” Junkrat asked, wanting to change the subject.
“We saw dolphins today!” Trinket said. “Papa took us on a boat, and we got to see loads of dolphins. Some of them even swam up to us!”
“Really?” asked Junkrat, disheartened. “That’s… aces.”
The fact that his family were having such a good time without him only served to compound his isolation and loneliness. This emptiness manifested inside of him. Making his breathing heavier, and his heart feel like stone. Did he even matter anymore?
“Hey, Dad!” Mykie said, bringing Junkrat out of his thoughts. “Are you ready for tomorrow?”
“Huh?” replied Junkrat, confused. “What’s happening tomorrow?”
“The transplant?” Mykie explained.
“Oh, that!” said Junkrat.
He had completely forgotten what day of the week it was.
“Heh, guess the days have just sorta… blurred together,” Junkrat said, sounding distant, like a whisper in a storm.
“… You okay Dad?” Mykie asked, a little concerned.
“Fine! I’m fine, love,” Junkrat said, forcing a smile.
Roadhog looked at his partner with skepticism. He was about to say something when a nurse came up to them.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “But I’m afraid visiting hours are over.”
Junkrat’s face fell.
“Already?” said Junkrat, clearly disappointed.
“Afraid so,” the nurse confirmed. “But ya can have a few more minutes.”
Junkrat gave a rueful smile.
Later that night
“NURSE? NUUURSE!” Junkrat called out as he frantically pressed the call button.
“What is it, Jamison?” a nurse sighed, appearing outside the corridor window.
“I can’t sleep!” Junkrat complained.
The nurse let out another sigh. This was the third time this night that she had been called. Which wasn’t so bad considering Junkrat had called the nurses eight times before.
“You want some sleeping pills?”
“Fuck no!” Junkrat exclaimed. “Ya already make me swallow enough poison! I want something good to watch for once!”
“I keep telling ya, Jamison, it’s not our job to entertain you. Only call us if ya actually need our help.“
Junkrat folded his arms in a huff.
“Besides which,” the nurse continued. “You should be in bed. Lights out! You’ve got a big day tomorrow.”
The next morning
The big day had finally arrived.And needless to say, Junkrat was nervous. His stomach fluttered and his palm felt clammy and cold. He felt sick as well, though Junkrat chalked that up to the chemo. Everything he had suffered through had led up to this point. After weeks of confinement and chemotherapy, he was finally getting the transplant.
Junkrat lay in bed for many hours while a nurse stood by and monitored him. She was dressed head to toe in full protective scrubs, including a face mask, plastic apron, and latex gloves. He had been told it was for his protection. Since his immune system had been utterly destroyed by the chemo, anyone who came into contact with Junkrat had to wear protective clothes for his sake. That didn’t stop him from being freaked out by their presence.
Junkrat could feel the fluids and medications being pumped into his body through the Hickman line. Even now, he still wasn’t quite used to the sensation. Then the stem cells arrived. They had been kept on ice for weeks, and carefully thawed out. Junkrat thought he should be excited that he was finally getting the transplant, but he wasn’t. This was just another rest stop on his long and arduous “Road to Recovery”, as the nurses so eloquently put it. But soon it would be over. Just a few more weeks while his immune system recovered, and he would be right as rain.
The actual transplant didn’t take all that long. Twenty minutes give or take, and was followed with more IV fluids.
“You alright so far?” the nurse asked him suddenly.
“Yeah,” replied Junkrat. “Why d’ya ask?”
“Cos… I dunno if you’ve been told this,” the nurse said, sounding hesitant. “But things are gonna get a lot tougher for ya from here on out.”
“Not like I ain’t been through worse, love,” he said, holding up his stump for emphasis.
The nurse only gazed at him with that god awful look of pity. Frustrated, Junkrat turned away from her and scowled.
It wasn’t until a few hours later, that he came to realise exactly what she had meant. But by then, the nausea had turned into vomiting.
Junkrat had never felt sicker in his life. Sure, he had suffered radiation sickness as a child, and had many bad colds and flus over his lifetime. And sure, losing his limbs had been a pretty raw deal at the time. But this… this was a whole new type of beast. And it wasn’t pretty.
Junkrat was absolutely miserable, in a way he never had been before. Everything tasted horrible. Even water. Which was just as well, because he couldn’t keep anything down. Junkrat was constantly either puking his guts out, or just on the verge of doing so. It also didn’t help that his mouth had developed sores, making it hurt to swallow. It got to the point where he had to have nutrients and medications given to him through IV for a few days. And because Junkrat wasn’t eating anything, he began to lose weight and his skin took on a sallow pale completion. Then his hair began to fall out. Sometimes in strands, other times in clumps.
Unable to take the sickness anymore, Junkrat started hiding his medication. He was soon found out when a cleaner unearthed them in front of a disappointed nurse. Having been found out, Junkrat had no choice other than to come clean and tell her he couldn’t tolerate vomiting them up anymore. The nurse was surprisingly sympathetic, and let him take his medications through his Hickman line instead.
In all that time, Junkrat had stopped seeing his family. Under no circumstances did he want them to see him like this. So pitiful and weak. Not least of all, Trinket. It would break her heart. No, Junkrat thought, he would endure this alone. No way in hell was he going to ruin their trip to Perth. After all, with all the fun they were having, they probably didn’t even miss him.
“I want to see Daddy!” Trinket protested.
“Why won’t he let us see him?” Mykie pondered.
They had planned to go see Junkrat the day of the transplant, but were told he wasn’t feeling well, and to come back when he was feeling better. That was nearly two weeks ago. Two weeks since the girls had last seen their father. It wasn’t like Rat to not want to see his own daughters. Clearly, something was up. Though what, Roadhog couldn’t be absolute. Was he really that sick? The nurses had been pretty vague about how ill Rat was.
“I’ll go talk to him,” he decided, heaving himself out of the hotel chair with his cane.
“Can we come with you?” asked Mykie, as both girls got up to follow him.
“No,” said Hog. “You stay here, I’ll tell you how he is.”
And with that, Roadhog left for the hospital.
Suffice to say, the nurses weren’t too happy to see Roadhog when he turned up. They tried everything to turn him away. They told him that Junkrat wasn’t well. That he was resting, and that he didn’t want visitors. Roadhog was having none of it. He was going to see Junkrat, and that was final. And really, who was going to tell him no?
Roadhog stood face to face with the door to Junkrat’s room. Not a peep. Not a sound came through. No giggles, no frustrated ranting, not even a sickly cough. Only silence. Bracing himself, he took hold of the door handle and stepped in.
The room was eerily dark when Roadhog entered. Free of his gas mask, he now donned a surgeon mask. He was still hooked up to his oxygen machine, wearing a Nasal Cannula underneath. Because of how strict the rules around cleanliness had become, Roadhog had had to remove his gas mask, clean his hands, and don a plastic apron and latex gloves.
Roadhog’s eyes wandered to the bed, where he spotted a figure lying fast asleep. Odd. Junkrat wasn’t usually asleep at this time of day. A nurse came in behind Roadhog and made her way over to the bed. She gently shook awake the sleeping form.
“Hey,” the nurse softly whispered. “Ya got a visitor.”
A meek groan came from the figure in the bed. It certainly sounded like Junkrat.
“C’mon,” the nurse said. “We need to do the usual. D’ya need a hand?”
“No,” Junkrat said, his voice almost a whisper. “I got this.”
As Junkrat slowly rose from the bed, the bedclothes that once covered him fell away. Revealing a sight that made Roadhog’s heart stop when he finally got a good look at him. Junkrat looked terrible. No, worse than that. Despite the baggy hospital gown, Roadhog could see how emancipated Rat was underneath it. His arms and legs were like twigs. As he tried to push himself up, he trembled as if on the verge of breaking. His skin was pasty, and Hog swore he had less hair than when he last saw him. He looked like a corpse.
This couldn’t be Junkrat, Hog thought. There had to be some mistake. Perhaps he entered the wrong room. Maybe if he entered another one, he would find his partner. All smiles and laughter. But no, he realised, his heart sinking as the truth came crashing down on him. This was indeed Junkrat, and this was definitely the correct room.
The nurse attached Junkrat’s prosthetic leg and led him over to some scales. Every step he took made Roadhog fear he would stumble and fall. He looked so frail. A word he never thought he would use to describe Junkrat.
Looking at the number on the scales only confirmed what Roadhog was knew. That Junkrat had lost an awful lot of weight. The nurse typed in the new weight on a tablet before Junkrat spoke up.
“I need to go back to bed,” he said, his voice raspy.
“That’s fine,” the nurse replied, leading Junkrat back to his bed and detaching his leg.
The door opened behind Roadhog and a couple of IV bags were brought in. He watched as the nurses hung the bags on the IV stand next to the bed, then attached it to Junkrat’s Hickman line. In all that time, Junkrat didn’t say anything. He just lay there and let the nurses do their duties, simply resigning himself to it all. Seeing Junkrat like this, so sickly, so thin, so feeble, Roadhog realised just how much Rat had become a shadow of his former self.
After pressing a few buttons on the IV stand, the nurses turned to Roadhog.
“We’ll leave you two alone for a bit,” one of them said.
With that they both left, leaving Roadhog alone with Junkrat. Roadhog stepped forward, approaching Junkrat’s bedside. Quietly, he sat down in the chair next to him. It was only then, Junkrat noticed his presence. He turned to him, smiling weakly. Roadhog saw dark bags under his eyes.
“Oh, hey Roadie,” he said, hoarsely. “Didn’t see ya there.”
Roadhog didn’t say anything.
“Why the long face, ya big lug?” he said, straining himself to speak. “I feel right as rain”
“Cut the crap,” said Roadhog. “You’re not fooling anyone.”
Junkrat choked, Roadhog saw right through him. Sick, exhausted, he knew the game was up. No point hiding it anymore.
“I can’t take this anymore, Hoggy,” he admitted. “Everything hurts, mate. Me head, me mouth. I can’t brush me teeth ‘cos me mouth‘s got sores. I can’t eat anything, 'cos I’m sick all the time. The pills don’t work. Nothing works. All they do is make me crazy. Er… crazier.”
Junkrat forced a giggle. Suddenly, his hand flew to his mouth. Frantically, he gestured towards a paper bowl on the bedside table. Roadhog quickly passed it to Junkrat, who proceeded to choke up bile.
Roadhog only looked on, unsure of what to do or say.
After Junkrat had finished his vomiting fit, he simply stared down into the bowl.
“I shit meself sometimes,” he said.
Roadhog would have found that funny in any other context. Junkrat gave the bowl back to him and brought his hand to his hair.
“Guess Fall season’s come early for me, mate,” he said, disheartened as he fiddled with the few clumps of hair he had left.
“Why don’t you shave it off?” Roadhog suggested.
“… Sure,” Rat sighed. “Might as well.”
Roadhog called for a nurse, who was kind enough to go fetch them an electric razor. After detaching Junkrat from the IV, the nurse and Roadhog helped him into the chair.
Because Junkrat had so little hair by this point, shaving was no problem in terms of time. But with each and every strand that fell, he could feel himself being stripped of his identity. If it wasn’t for how drained he felt, he would have fought and rebelled against it.
Junkrat was handed a mirror to look into once it was all over. He almost didn’t recognise the person who looked back at him. He looked… older. So much older than he really was. Junkrat placed his stump on his now bald head. He felt so naked and vulnerable without his hair.
“Looks good,” Roadhog said, matter-of-factly.
Junkrat just hung his head, not saying anything. He no longer had the energy for witty retorts. With Roadhog’s help, Junkrat moved from the chair back to the hospital bed. He closed his eyes as soon as his head hit the pillows.
“How’re the girls?” he asked.
“They’re fine,” said Roadhog.
“What have they been up to lately?” Junkrat inquired
“I took them to the local national park two days ago,” said Roadhog.
Junkrat felt a twist of envy surge throughout his guts.
“They kept saying it wasn’t the same without you, though,” Roadhog added.
Junkrat looked up at him, surprised.
“Do you want to see them?” Roadhog asked.
“They can’t see me like this,” said Junkrat.
“Who?” Roadhog asked.
“EVERYONE!” Junkrat yelled, “No one can see me. “'Specially the girls.”
“They miss you, y’know,” was Roadhog’s reply.
“Yeah, I bet,” said Junkrat, his sadness palpable.
Roadhog could tell the feeling was mutual.
“I fucking hate this,” Junkrat rasped, his voice full of disdain. “Fucking shit making me the runt of the pack. Keeping me locked up in here. Keeping me from you and the kids. Keeping me from me bombs. Why won’t it just go away?”
Roadhog just stayed silent, not knowing what to say. What could he even say to that?
Junkrat’s eyes began to grow heavy. His ranting and raving had drained him of what remaining energy he had. With a heavy sigh, Junkrat drifted off to sleep.
Roadhog sat there for hours, watching Rat’s chest rise and fall. In a way, he was afraid that if he looked away, Junkrat would stop breathing. No. He couldn’t think like that. He couldn’t let his own fears get the better of him. Roadhog had to be the strong one here. For the girls, and for Junkrat. He was the glue holding everything together. And above all else, he wasn’t going to fall apart on them.
Roadhog was violently wrenched from his thoughts, as a thunderous boom reverberated throughout the entire hospital. A sound that Roadhog knew only too well. That sound could only be that of a bomb, followed soon after by gunshots.