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Fifty-Fifty

Chapter Text

It hadn’t been one of his bombs, which was the only reason he wasn’t completely hysterical. As it was, he was still babbling apologies over and over. He didn’t know what he was saying in his panic, but it was second nature that when things got ugly it must be his fault. And this was the ugliest thing he’d seen in a long time.

The blast had been all smoke and shrapnel. Roadhog had taken the worst of it, like usual, but Junkrat hadn’t even been able to tell that until he had been dragged into open air again. He didn’t know if Roadhog had deliberately shielded him or if it had just been chance. He wasn’t even sure it if had been an actual, intentional bomb or an accidental explosion. He had been sent sprawling. His mind recovered quickly from the shock of it and started to try to process over the ringing in his ears. He had been startled by explosions before. That part wasn't new.

He could smell pitch and burning. He was coughing and hacking around the smoke and dust. There was a tight grip around his chest and both his legs were dragging on the ground as he was pulled along. There was only one person tall and strong enough to hold him so easily. The solid heat against his shoulder had to be Roadhog. That meant he was safe.

It took a while before they got clear of the area. The shrill squeal in Junkrat’s ears faded out enough that he could hear his own insistence that it wasn’t one of his, it wasn’t his mistake. His nose and throat still burned and he gave his eyes a good rub before trying to open them. He was hanging sideways, looking at his own feet as they were dragged along. His prosthetic leg left a straight line through the blood on the ground and his boot left scuffling marks like butterflies. That amused him for a full second before he wondered whose blood it was.

He refocused. There wasn’t any blood on his legs. He felt some stinging and burning here and there, but nowhere vital. He might've bitten his tongue, but he wasn't missing any more than usual. The blood wasn’t his. He swiveled his head a little and there was more of it. It was running down Roadhog's arm. Tilting his head a little further gave Junkrat a better look at the source, and that was when his brain fizzled and he started apologizing.

Roadhog was bristling with shrapnel. Sharp pieces of glass and wood and metal were sticking out of him. His shoulder armor was hanging in shreds. The shoulder wasn’t much better. He was walking hunched with his head hanging and more blood bubbling from underneath the mask. It dribbled down his chest. The normal hiss of his breathing caught and rattled more than it ever had, ever should.

“Shit,” Junkrat heard himself say. It cut through all the sorries pouring out of him. His voice went higher as he went on. “Shitshitshitshit! Roadie!”

He tried to get his feet under him, to stand up and help Roadhog instead of being carried. The arm around him just tightened. If Roadhog heard him screeching and begging and apologizing, there wasn’t any sign. He lurched on, bleeding rivers and making no sound except for his tortured breathing. Junkrat was beside himself. Roadhog didn’t have the best lungs on a good day. If one had been punctured, if there was internal bleeding, it could kill him from the inside.

Junkrat squirmed in the grip holding him, looking for a canister of hogdrogen. There had to be one. Roadhog never left cover without a few. He didn’t see any. If there was one, wouldn’t Roadhog have taken it by now? Had they all been lost in the explosion? Had Junkrat done something with them and forgotten? Panic clawed at him and made him struggle harder to get lose. Blasted full of metal and glass and slick with blood, Roadhog was still too strong for him. It would’ve been easier to get out of a bear trap.

Junkrat knew he was still talking. Normally, he would’ve been told to shut up by now. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except getting loose and helping Roadhog, but the big lummox was still clutching him like he was the one torn to shreds. Had he been? A spark of a thought lit through his frenzied mind. He was usually the first one in wherever they went. The blast should’ve taken him out first. If it had, Roadhog might’ve used the canisters to heal him up. That could be why he was only lightly scuffed and Roadhog looked- Junkrat couldn’t help looking at the injuries again and then he couldn’t help screaming. He had seen corpses that looked better than Roadhog did. That had less holes in them. That had less pieces of a building sticking out of their backs.

Have to call him Hedgehog now, another twist of a thought said as the rest babbled and sobbed. He wanted to laugh at it, wanted to snort and giggle because, if it was supposed to be him pincushioned like this, then Roadhog had only done his job like a good bodyguard. Junkrat should be grateful that he had been so well protected and this was the way things should be. This was the right and logical conclusion to their situation. It only made him scream louder. Everything about this was wrong to the bone.

Chapter Text

Instinct had ruled him for a long time. Thinking and remembering could be painful. It was easier just to process and react. Threats were dealt with. Everything else ran on a primal level. It was only in quiet times that he remembered to talk and feel things. They blended in with the rest, more so than they had in a long while. The good thing about instinct was that it didn’t have a lot of contradictions. It was what it was.

Roadhog didn’t remember the moments before the blast or during. He had skipped over the processing part and gone straight into reacting. He had no memory of snatching Junkrat off his feet and turning into him. He didn’t recall the difference between being fine and being hammered with a thousand stabbing pains.

Instinct acknowledged that he was hurt. It felt pretty bad. It told him that he had to get to safety to take care of it. Not where the bike and their supplies were. Couldn’t lead anyone back to that. Not yet. Get somewhere dark, somewhere safe, it told him. Somewhere defendable. Get Junkrat out of harm’s way. Take care of the rest from there. He headed back the way they had come, back to something familiar.

There. He remembered that place. It was a storage shed. It had been their Plan B for a place to stash their stuff, but it had been too close to the job site. They wouldn’t have had time to lose any pursuit before they got back. Close was good when everything hurt this bad. He was upright and walking and he still had Junkrat. That much was good. The burning, stabbing pains all through him had turned into a too-hot, wet throb. He didn’t let himself think about them yet. Find a place to hide Junkrat. A place to rest. Then, he could worry about what had happened to his back.

It was after hours at the storage place. The lock would’ve kept out a normal intruder, but a swipe from the hook took care of it. Roadhog shouldered his way through the chain link gate and made his way to shed at the end of the line that he knew was empty from the day before. The clerk had shown it to them when they had been there to check it out. Sure enough, the door slid open to an empty space. It wasn’t that clean and it was warm from baking behind a metal door all day, but it was quiet and dark. He pulled the door shut behind him, blocking out the street lights.

“Roadie?” Junkrat didn’t sound like himself. He sounded small and squeaky and far away. Roadhog tightened his grip again, just to be sure he was still close. He was. His heart was jittering behind the ribs Roadhog could feel creak under his thumb. Good. They were both safe. For now. He could rest.

Roadhog sank to the concrete floor. He didn’t groan, but air rattled out of him. He went to his knees first, dimly aware of the scrabbling sound as the end of Junkrat’s metal leg found some purchase on the floor. His free hand kept him from pitching forward on his face, but it couldn’t hold him up. He slid the rest of the way to the ground and stayed there. He could feel vague movement scurrying around him, touching and tugging at him. Junkrat. Good. Still close by. He coughed hard and felt how wet it was inside his mask, but he let his eyes close anyway.

“Roadhog?” Junkrat kept saying. “Roadie, mate. C’mon. Roadhog, Roadhog, Roadie?” His hands were everywhere, looking for something. “Where are they? You always have some on you! Where did- What did- Roadie!” He gave the big man as hard a shake as he dared. Roadhog didn’t move or make a sound. “Roadhog!” he tried again. “Mako?”

Still nothing. Junkrat found himself shaking. He was used to the jitters, but this went deeper. He had to wrap his arms around himself and take a few deep breaths. He didn’t know what to do. His mind skittered from one option to another. Roadhog needed a hit of his hogdrogen. It would heal him up. Junkrat could go get him one, but it meant leaving him. Everything about that thought felt terrible. He couldn’t leave Roadhog. What if he wasn’t here when he got back? What if the cops got here first and dragged him away without Junkrat to defend him? What if he was still there, but he was just dead?

Roadhog’s breath caught in another rattle and Junkrat pulled himself together. He had to go get the canisters. That was all there was to it. He turned to face the door and then froze when sirens suddenly screamed by. He would be spotted as soon as he stepped out on the street. If he was caught, there would be no one to help Roadhog. The big guy would bleed to death in this storage closet. Junkrat would have to rat out his hiding place to save his life.

He had to try though. He could cover up somehow. Maybe leave the prosthetic leg here and make a quick crutch. All these good civilized people suddenly went blind and deaf when confronted with somebody minus a limb. He needed a coat and a hat and a crutch and everyone would be careful not to notice him. They were wasteful enough that he could probably find whatever he needed in the dumpsters on this street alone.

He took another step toward the door and was brought up short again. One of Roadhog’s huge hands had closed around his ankle. Even unconscious, his bodyguard seemed able to anticipate what he might do. Immobilized, Junkrat felt panic well up in his throat again. What was he supposed to do? He knew Roadhog made the healing stuff himself, but hadn’t paid a lot of attention to the process. He was a genius though wasn’t he? In his own way. He could figure it out. He just had to find an Omnic and harvest it and make his own. One should do it. It wasn’t like he needed a lot. Just enough to get Roadhog going again.

“Roadhog,” he said, softly. He meant to say that he had to go, but he bit it back. He didn’t want to make it sound like he was ditching Roadie. If it had been anyone else in the world, he might have. It made sense to leave deadweight or the soon-to-be deadweight. But it was Roadhog. Junkrat couldn’t imagine walking away from him anymore than he could convince himself his arm would just grow back.

“I’ll be right back,” he settled on and tried to pull his foot free. A snuffling sound came from inside the mask. The hand around Junkrat’s ankle started pulling and he had to hop on the prosthetic to keep from falling over. “Roadie, mate. I’ll be back, I swear. I just have to get you some help, all right? Let go.”

It didn’t help. Junkrat did end up falling flat as he was tugged back to Roadhog’s side. At death’s door, Roadhog was still too strong to struggle against.

“Mate, I need that one. I can’t cut that one off to get away,” Junkrat said, trying to laugh and sounding more desperate than anything. “You have to let go so I can-“ He was towed relentlessly back under Roadhog’s arm. It pinned him down, letting go of the ankle to latch onto his shoulder. More sirens went by outside.

“You fucking load!” Junkrat screamed, forgetting all about being quiet. “How am I supposed to fix this, if you won’t- If I can’t-“ He kicked out, trying to scoot back out of reach again. He couldn’t budge. If Roadhog died now, Junkrat would be trapped underneath him. He would have to eat himself free. He would have to blow Roadhog up like that dead whale they saw once on a hotel tv at three in the morning. If he was careful maybe it wouldn’t splatter him too.

Frustration and fear had him screaming out every imaginative and anatomically impossible curse he could think of. He raged and ranted and foamed at the mouth. The massive hand on his shoulder moved to clamp down on his face, muffling his noise. Different sirens roared by, a fire truck this time. He screamed one more time into the palm of the giant hand, tasting blood and oil and leather. It made him cough, and then choke, and then sniffle. He didn’t know when he had started to cry but his eyes and nose were running and his breath was hitching almost as bad as Roadhog’s.

“Have it your way, Roadie," he said. “But I gotta warn you, I’m better at taking things apart.”

Chapter Text

Roadhat woke up to a stinging scrape somewhere along his spine. It twisted, ground against itself, and then was pulled free in a white-hot flash of pain that faded out slowly as a new pain started a few inches over.

“One for you,” said a hoarse little singsong in the distance. There was a soft plink sound of something hitting the ground. The second pain flared as bright as the first and then sank back to an ember. “And one for me.” A third pluck of pain finally got a grunt out of him. He tried to raise his head, but it was bent at an angle between his shoulder and the floor.

“There he is,” the voice said. It sounded closer to his ear this time. “Coming back to us at last, ey?” Another twist, another fiery pain, and a louder noise wrenched out of him. “You should’ve waited until I was finished. This one’s for you.” Again with the pain that blazed and then burned. As his head cleared, Roadhog tried one more time to raise it and see what was being done to him. He felt a stab, a twist, a burn. “This one’s for me.”

He knew Junkrat’s voice before he realized it was him. The light coming in under the sliding door was morning-bright. He could smell something hot and as his eyes focused and adjusted, he could see a pile of glass and splinters, all bloodied. What was he doing? What was he saying?

“One for you,” Junkrat said and dropped another one onto the pile. Stab, twist, burn. “One for me.” Roadhog was able to tilt his head enough to see that there were two piles. Junkrat had a bloody pair of needle nose pliers in his good hand. It moved out of his line of sight and he felt the three pains again.

“One for you,” Junkrat said, dropping a new piece into the first pile with the same plink. He was sitting too still. He sounded exhausted. Roadhog felt his metal hand move, felt the pliers tug on something that resisted, then jerked free, felt something hot press into it. Junkrat was patching him up, one hole at a time. Judging by the piles, he’d been at it all night. It was making sense now. Roadhog tried to speak and couldn’t do more than rasp the first three times. His tongue felt like a pile of newspaper and his throat burned all the way to his chest.

“Fifty-fifty,” he finally managed.

“That was the deal,” Junkrat said, too tired to even giggle. He dropped another piece. “One for me.”

“Jamie,” Roadhog said, making the hand on his back pause. His mask had been pushed up enough to uncover his mouth. A shiny piece of metal was next to it. It fogged when he breathed. Junkrat really had been afraid he would die if he was keeping watch on his breathing. It also explained why his throat was so dry.

“Gonna finish this,” Junkrat said, hand and voice shaking in sync this time. “Gonna sleep. Then, I’ll, I’ll go get your cans from the hideout. Heal you up. Get us both out of here.”

“How many left?” Roadhog asked working his cheeks to get his mouth wet enough to swallow. It made him cough and pain went all through him.

“Five, maybe six,” Junkrat said, still working. “Just be glad you slept through the one I had to pin shut. I got tired of looking at your actual shoulder blade.”

“Thanks, boss,” Roadhog said. He was a master of the understatement, but even he knew that one was a doozy.

“Fucking beast,” Junkrat sighed. “Nobody else alive I’d do this for.” He poked and twisted and pulled and burned again. “Four left now.”

“You hurt at all?” Roadhog asked when they were down to two more. His voice felt a little stronger.

“Both my legs are asleep to the hip and my back has been bent this way since midnight,” Junkrat said, too tired to even be cranky. The one for you, one for me game had probably kept him awake and focused. Roadhog made a mockingly
sympathetic noise and got the next to last piece yanked out roughly enough to jerk a real sound of pain out of him.

“No,” Junkrat said, starting on the last one. “You took most of it.”

“Good,” Roadhog grunted.

“No,” Junkrat said again, flat and annoyed. “S’not.”

Once the last piece had been added to the pile, he sighed and dropped the pliers and sank back on his elbows to pop his neck and stretch his back into its original shape. He unfolded his legs, hissing and grimacing as blood seeped back into all his joints. Roadhog watched him straighten out and tried an experimental shift. It hurt, but he reached out anyway.

“Not again,” Junkrat moaned as he was pulled back into Roadhog’s arms. Whatever that meant, it didn’t stop him from curling close. Roadhog carefully leaned onto one side so he could hold Junkrat’s head to his chest. Maybe having a heartbeat to listen to would calm him if he was still worried. It worked. Junkrat squirmed and shivered, but not to get away. He started to say something and then either gave up on it or forgot or fell asleep before he could get the words in order. Roadhog let him. He eased over to get comfortable on his side.

Everything still hurt. He was a little dazed at how much time had passed and how badly injured he really had been. He did need his canisters. As torn and blood-stained as he was, there was no way he could walk down the street without someone calling the cops or an ambulance. Junkrat would have to bring him back some of their civilian disguises too. He didn’t want the kid going without him. Too much potential for things to go wrong, but there might not be any other way.
They might have to wait until dark again. When the storage place closed. The broken lock would get some attention, but if none of the other sheds had been tampered with, there might not be much commotion. If there was a search of all the sheds, they’d have to fight their way clear. Roadhog wasn’t sure he would be up to it. A glance at the door told him that in between doctoring him up, Junkrat had found time to booby trap it against anyone who tried to get in. There was that. He could probably be safe sleeping some too.

“Roadie?” Junkrat said suddenly, voice a little too high. Roadhog didn’t think he was awake.

“Yeah,” he said anyway. Junkrat relaxed again, his foot kicking against the floor.

“It wasn’t one of mine,” he muttered. “Just so you know.”

“Yeah,” Roadhog said again, resting his chin on top of the smoky hair. Wrapping both arms around Junkrat pulled the wounds on his back tight, but it was fine. He looked the kid over for any injuries that Junkrat might’ve forgotten or just not noticed. There was a nick in his ear that had already scabbed over and some familiar bruises on his ribs. That had probably come from Roadhog grabbing him. He was scuffed and scratched here and there, but most of the blood seemed to be Roadhog’s.

His face was a little too clean, especially around the eyes. Roadhog ran his thumb over one, but the tears had already dried. Junkrat squinched his face away from the touch. Roadhog took a deep breath that sent prickles of pain all down his back and arms. He looked around the dim shed for anything else that needed his attention. There was the trap at the door, the pliers, the two piles, and a dissembled explosive that had been cannibalized to make a cauterizing tool.

“One for you,” he rumbled to himself. Junkrat’s head tilted toward his voice.

“Fifty,” Junkrat agreed in a mumble. His eyelids quivered but didn’t open. Roadhog let his own close. His instincts weren’t telling him anything. They weren’t happy about all of this, but they had the main things they wanted and were running quiet now. Outside, a car door slammed and Roadhog raised his head. Someone bitched about the night crew not locking the gate, but it felt far away.

One more look around, one more quick check to make sure Junkrat really wasn’t hurt, then back down into the dark and quiet. Junkrat had been right about sleeping until they could do something. Everything would hurt worse when he got up. There was nothing to do for now but make the most of this.

Chapter Text

Junkrat woke up first. It was the breathing, wet and wrong. It hissed out over his head, stirring his hair and quivering in the body behind him. He still had one massive arm around him. Roadhog’s other hand was clutching at his own mask, like he was trying to hold it on to breathe or trying to use a canister that wasn’t there.

Roadhog was always a furnace, but now it felt off. Junkrat remembered the infection in his knee when he had lost his leg. He remembered the fever and the ache. He didn’t want to. He sat up to press a hand to Roadhog’s head and then snarled at himself when it was the prosthetic one. He switched hands but still couldn’t tell if Roadhog was hotter than normal.

“Always hot,” he muttered. “Never normal.” Some of it might have been the temperature. It was stuffy in the shed under the tin roof with their body heat filling the small space. Junkrat himself was sweaty and sticky. There was still daylight under the door, but it was soft and smelled like cooling pavement. It wasn’t long until sundown, but not time to go yet.

He could still get ready, he thought, sitting up carefully. He had had a plan before he went to sleep, but it was gone now. He looked around the shed, trying to find a trace of it. He ground his fingernails into his scalp, wishing Roadhog would scritch it for him. There were the piles of shrapnel and he scowled at them. He didn’t want to remember digging every one of them out. What had he kept them for?

Pipe bomb! It came to him quickly. He was going to use his pile to fill a pipe bomb and cram it down the throat of whoever was responsible for getting Roadie hurt. Unless it was him. He still liked the idea. He saw his dismantled grenade and the heat wand he had made. That brought him the memory of holes seared shut and sizzling blood and the smell. He shook his head hard enough to make himself dizzy.

He wasn’t made to put things together unless they were going to fly apart again at high velocity. He had put Roadhog back together. The thought of him going back into pieces make Junkrat’s throat tighten until he was wheezing, too. It woke up Roadhog, who snuffled at him through the mask and then broke down coughing. When he could breathe, he made an unhappy sound. He wasn’t trying to get up, Junkrat noticed. He wasn’t moving much. He was still hurt.

Infection spread fast in the Outback. Maybe here it would spread faster. It might. How would he know? Junkrat looked around for a canister before he remembered that there wasn’t one. That had been the whole problem. If they had had a canister, none of this would’ve been this bad. He was shaking and hissing for breath. He didn’t know if he was upset or angry yet. Anger was the easiest one to act on. Maybe he could make it angry before it turned into something weirder.

Roadhog reached for him, a giant hand wrapping around his neck. It tilted his head back, opening his air ways. The thumb under his chin kept him looking at the ceiling and his pulse pounded against the palm. His breathing calmed and his mind cleared. He wished he could have a hit of hogdrogen for himself right now. They just needed to go get one. He remembered that now. They didn’t have one. He took a wild swing at Roadhog’s head and missed entirely. His arms were nowhere near long enough to reach and Roadie blinked at the sudden attempt. He grunted questioningly.

“Why didn’t you bring any canisters??” Junkrat raged. “I looked all over and didn’t find one. Supposed to be professionals! Supposed to be-“ Roadhog pinched his throat shut to stop the tirade. It wasn’t hard enough to hurt, but enough to choke him down to a whisper.

“Had three,” Roadhog rumbled with enough menace to shut Junkrat up. For a moment.

“Where are they then??” Junkrat asked, throwing his arms out to remind Roadhog that there were in fact, no canisters in sight. Roadhog shifted like a tsunami, rising slowly to loom over him. It still clearly hurt him to move, but he wasn't stopping.

“You,” he growled and Junkrat was instantly sure he was in trouble. “Tell. Me.” Junkrat’s wrath dissolved as he tried to. Had he done something with the canisters? Use them up somehow? Had he been hurt bad enough to use all three and leave none for Roadhog? He leaned to look himself over. No new injuries were in sight. His shorts were always tattered, but didn’t seem to have any more holes than usual.

“There’s more back at the hideout,” he said. Flashes of his earlier plan came to him. “I’ll go get you some.”

“Not alone,” Roadhog said, relaxing a little.

“Roadie, mate,” Junkrat said as if he was the reasonable, rationable one. “You’ll be spotted as soon as you walk out the door. If there was a parade, we could tie a string to ya and pretend you’re a balloon, but you’d still make the kiddies cry.” Roadhog snorted, almost a laugh.

“I was going to leave me leg,” Junkrat remembered suddenly, breaking into a grin. He shook his prosthetic at Roadhog. “Coat and crutch and I’ll hop along back to get it for you.”

Roadhog exhaled hard, turning the plan over. It wasn’t a bad one, but it still had Junkrat running back and forth unsupervised and there was no end of the ways that could go south in a hurry. They were used to making do with what they had, but there was nothing in the empty shed. That was when it clicked.

“Wait ‘til closing,” he said. “Stuff we can use in the other sheds.” Junkrat blinked a few times, and his grin went even wider.

“Blow the locks,” he said. “See what we can find your size.”

“And yours,” Roadhog said, before his cough turned raspy. Junkrat turned concerned again. Roadhog let go of his neck and ruffled his hair. Junkrat leaned into it, reaching for his wrist. Roadhog slumped back down to the ground and Junkrat sank down with him.

“That’s clever,” Roadhog said when he could. He pointed at the cauterizing tool. Junkrat looked a little queasy, but agreed.

“I can be,” he said.

“Yeah,” Roadhog tried to chuckle. He swallowed hard against the next cough. He wanted to keep Junkrat busy, keep him talking. “What are you going to make from your pile?” he asked.

“My pile?” Junkrat squinted at him. Roadhog pointed at the pile that was mostly glass.

“That one’s mine,” he said.

“Oh,” Junkrat said. Roadhog watched his mind tick in one direction, then jump a groove and start grinding faster. “Pipe bomb!”

“Good,” Roadhog said. “Make me one too. Give it back to em, right?”

“Right, right,” Junkrat was already looking around for parts to tinker with. Good. That would keep him occupied until it was time to move.

Chapter Text

Junkrat was sweating to go well before the storage place closed. He was up and pacing, muttering to himself and squinting out the edges of the door. He would freeze to listen every time he heard a voice or car passing by. There wasn’t much business at the storage place or if there was, none of it was down the aisle they were in.

Roadhog hadn’t been able to go back to sleep. He had fallen into a stupor of pain and misery, too tired to do anything else, but unable to block out the worst of it. He listened to the uneven sound of Junkrat’s feet moving back and forth. Five steps one way, three steps back.

It got darker and cooler and Roadhog thought maybe he had dozed off finally when the sound of the sliding door rattling open jerked him alert. He saw Junkrat slip out and felt cooler, fresher air seep into the muggy shed. He heaved himself up with a grunt. He had been hurt worse than this, he reminded himself. He had had worse wounds, worse hiding places. He dragged himself to the door and looked out.

The place was quiet and partially lit from a few street lights. He heard the patter of mismatched feet and a muffled giggle.

“Eeny, meeny, miny, mo,” Junkrat said and there was a pop. What was left of lock went spinning off through the air and landed on the roof of a shed across the way. Another metal door rattled open and Junkrat’s rambling turned conversational as he rummaged through the contents. Roadhog tuned him out until he was asked a direct question.

“Oi, Roadie! Ever been a bridesmaid?” Junkrat called from out of sight. Roadhog heard the rustle of a garment bag and wondered how his partner knew what a bridemaid was. Next thing he knew, a pale blue dress with a big bow was in his face. Junkrat held it up to his chest like he was eyeballing the fit, then jumped out of reach giggling. He had obviously expected Roadhog to take a swipe at him for it. When Roadhog just sat there, his ear-to-ear grin faded.

“Just kidding, mate,” he said. “Look, you just wait here, all right? I’ll find you something, ok? Ok?”

Roadhog made an affirmative rumble and sat back down. The pain in his back and arms had moved deeper. It felt like it was all the way to his bones now. He heard Junkrat shuffle nearer like he had something else to say, then he scampered off again. Roadhog stretched a little and it hurt so bad he gave up on it. People died of little wounds all the time, he knew. This one wasn’t little. A single piece of shrapnel could kill if it hit right and he had been hit by dozens. Hundreds even.

It wouldn’t kill him. He was stubbornly certain of that. If Junkrat’s explosives hadn’t killed him, he'd be damned if anyone else’s did. Infection was a nasty way to go, but it was slow enough that he could heal himself in time. It wouldn’t kill him, he was sure, but it would make him miserable and useless while it ate him up. Maybe Junkrat would ditch him when it wasn’t fun taking care of him, when he couldn’t do his job.

Just have to track him down when I recovered, Roadhog thought. Put the fear of Hog back in him. It stirred a dark chuckle up out of him, turning into a cough too quickly. Junkrat had just dropped the blue dress on the ground with the garment bag. The bag had bridesmaid dress written neatly in marker. Maybe that’s how he had known what it was. He looked up when the second lock was blown and watched a box full of yearbooks spread across the ground.

Junkrat didn’t see the point in them either. He flipped through one and tossed it away. Who would need so many pictures of kids anyway, he wondered aloud. Had to be perverts, he decided, and went back to looking. He made a triumphant sound and came out with an old army surplus long coat. He shrugged into it. It was loose on him, but that meant it fit over his prosthetic and covered the rest of him to his knees. Lots of stuff you could hide under a coat like that.

He spun around once to see the coat tails flare and dove back in with a cackle. Roadhog leaned against the doorway to watch as things were tossed out into the open. There was a matching set of lamps and a papasan chair with no cushion sent crashing out onto the pavement. A framed painting of beach at sunset smashed, scattering glass everywhere. Junkrat emerged with sneer and moved on to the next shed.

That one had nothing but boxes of papers. Roadhog heard Junkrat read one aloud before he dumped them over and scattered them around. It sounded like tax forms. Clearly of no use to them.

A coughing fit made him come rushing over to check on Roadhog again and refocus. He had been enjoying trashing the place, but watching his partner hack into the crook of his arm put him back to work. He found a wheelchair, but it wouldn’t have held Roadhog when he was a kid, much less now. There were also crutches there, which Junkrat carried back to him, exultant. He wouldn’t have to make any now.

At one point, he acquired a knit cap with a skull and crossbones on it. He pulled it down to his ears. There was a blur of other things he brought back to Roadhog. It was like a bizarre collection of courtship gifts, like they were some kind of crazy birds. Roadhog had no idea what the rhyme or reason for some of the stuff was. There was a stack of faded quilts that somebody’s grandma had made, making them too precious to get rid of, but not nice enough to keep. There was a pile of bungee cables and twine, which were always useful, he had to admit. There was three lemon yellow couch cushions, a pair of aviator goggles, a ten year old road atlas, a handful of paperbacks with their spines too creased to make out the titles, and most disturbing, a mounted moose head.

It stared at Roadhog while he tried to fathom why Junkrat would’ve wanted it. He probably thought it would be funny, but its eyes hadn’t been set very well. It looked like it knew how ridiculous it was and was angry about it. Junkrat trotted up with an armload of clothes.

“Nobody here compares to you, mate,” he said, dropping them in Roadhog’s lap. “It’s gonna be a tight fit no matter what, but see what you think.”

“Moose head?” Roadhog asked. Junkrat grinned and shrugged.

“Thought you’d laugh,” he said. He looked so hopeful that Roadhog tried to force out at least a ‘heh’ for him, but it sounded dry and terrible. Junkrat slumped like a rejected teenager. Roadhog gave himself a mental shake and reached for the first shirt. When he looked up again, Junkrat was setting another charge under a new lock. There was the little pop he was getting used to and then the sounds of rummaging and breaking.

Roadhog sighed and gave the shirt a shake to see how big it was. He heard a hoot and saw Junkrat waving a skin mag from a box full of them he had found, but he didn’t respond. The nearest thing to his size was a flannel shirt. He wouldn’t be able to button it up the front, but it would cover the wreckage of his back. Hopefully, it was soft enough that having it on his injuries wouldn’t be excruciating.

He didn’t want to put it on, he realized. He didn’t want to move. They had to get out of here, though. He had thought the blankets and cushions and maybe the books had been to bed him down in ‘their’ shed until Jamie could go and get back. With a mess like this, they wouldn’t be able to hide here anymore. They had to go. Pain be damned.

He heard a crow of discovery and then a sound like a mountain of boxes had been knocked over. He saw a tv bounce and roll out of the shed, scattering parts as it went.

“Jamie?” he called, worried that his partner had been crushed. The next sound was gravelly, rumbling thunder and Junkrat came back into sight pulling a big warehouse platform truck. Someone had loaded it and just wheeled the whole thing into storage. Easy peasy, no unloading or stacking required. It could be pulled out just as easily. All Junkrat had to do was shove everything off of it.

He dragged it alongside Roadhog and pulled the flannel shirt out his hands with an impatient sound. He put the couch cushions on the truck and threw a quilt over it and gave it an inviting pat. Roadhog made a questioning noise.

“Not leaving you, mate,” Junkrat said. “Up you get. We’ll cover you up and I’m just another Bessie Bones minding my own business.”

Bessie Bones was Junker they both knew who specialized in organ harvesting. No one wanted a good look at the shopping cart she wheeled around everywhere if only because close enough to look put you in scalpel range and the fact that you would try meant your eyeballs were working and therefore viable. Roadhog processed that while he was tugged up and situated on the truck. Junkrat’s rip tire was put by his feet and the moose head was put in his lap.

“Hold this,” Junkrat muttered, adjusting it to give him room to draw his scrap gun if he had to. "Change your outline just a bitsy.” Once satisfied, he started throwing the other quilts over the whole thing to cover them up. He left one loose at the top to cover Roadhog’s head with and started strapping him down with the bungee cables.

“No one would ever guess that under this humble collection of secondhand wares lurks the one man apocalypse,” he said. He laid the crutches over the top like a cherry on a sundae. Roadhog decided he must be fading fast and delirious to be going along with this. This was stupid. It looked stupid, it felt stupid, and it wasn’t smelling that great either. The cushions were musty and the quilts held a whiff of cat piss. The moose was heavy and the bungees hurt a little.

He heard a grunt from Junkrat as he tried to get the truck to move. The jostle sent fire through his back, but after a moment of straining and swearing, the truck started rolling. It rattled and shook painfully for both of them. It wasn’t going to be quiet or fast, but hopefully looked innocuous enough to get them through town, back to their hideout. The coat and hat really did make Junkrat look like one of the local vagrants. If they were stopped and searched, the moose head would be enough of a surprise to buy Roadhog the time to start shooting. Junkrat took out the main gate’s lock as easily as he had the others. He pressed a silly smooch to the nose of Roadhog’s mask before covering his head with the loose end of the blanket.

“Quiet now, mate,” he had to shout over the rumble of the truck as they got going. “Have you safe and sound in no time.”

They ground their way over the blacktop to the relatively smoother sidewalk. Junkrat had to huff and puff to get them up the little ramp. This was going to take forever, Roadhog thought, resigned to suffer every jerk and bump on the way. Maybe they would make it back before morning. If nothing happened. If nothing got in the way.

“You have to take better care of yourself, mate,” he heard Junkrat say between grunts and groans. He had to use his full strength to push them along. “You’d have no trouble lugging my KOed ass around if it was me.”

That was true. How many times had Roadhog carried a hurt or unconscious Junkrat away from disaster? Only once had it been bad enough that Junkrat tried to release him from his service, told him to go and save himself. Roadhog hadn’t. Maybe this was Junkrat’s payback for that. Maybe this was Roadhog’s punishment for not being smart enough to do it. One for you, one for me, he thought again.

He heard a grunt of effort as the truck was swiveled around a corner and a curse as they went a little wide. He made his question sound and felt a pat through the quilts.

“We’re good,” Junkrat panted. “As long as we don’t have to go up any hills, we’ll make it fine.” Roadhog sighed and felt another touch, maybe another kiss on the back of his head.

“We’ll make it,” Junkrat said again, then saved his breath to push.

Chapter Text

Roadhog spent the whole trip trying not to move or make a sound. It took forever. He tried to remember how far the crappy little RV park really was from the scene. They had picked it because it was next to some biker rally and his motorcycle could be hidden in plain sight. The actual owner of the RV they had taken over probably wouldn’t be found for a few more weeks, so they could sit pretty until then. It was just a long way to go lying on a nest of injuries that vibrated and shook and bounced every inch. It was like lying on a hot frying pan on a steel trampoline.

He could only imagine what it was like for Junkrat. He could hear panting and gasping and once something that sounded a lot like retching. His concerned rumble was hushed quickly though and they did keep going, even if it was at a snail’s pace. Roadhog wished he could sleep and wake up when it was over, but the pain and the tension kept him alert.

It felt like about two in the morning. Some streets had people still moving. Some were dead and quiet. They did encounter a few curious souls who called rudely to Junkrat as he went by. They mostly wanted to know what a skinny motherfucker like him was killing himself to haul across town. Junkrat was used to people wondering what he had hidden, so he called right back, every bit as rude and just jovial enough to keep it from being a real confrontation.

At one point, Roadhog heard an Omnic voice asking Junkrat if he required assistance. His finger tightened on the trigger because this was where it would break bad. A sensible person would accept the help. Junkrat was not. What he did do was go on a five minute rant about not needing help from anybody, missing leg or not. It was his job and nobody was taking it from him.

That was actually pretty smart, Roadhog had to admit. Maybe not as smart as getting something strong and tireless to help with the pushing, but an offended invalid was more sympathetic than an indignant racist. Sure enough, the Omnic apologized and walked away. Junkrat coughed a little and got back to pushing. He didn’t even mutter about the nerve. That was worrisome. Maybe too many people were nearby.

Keeping quiet had never been a problem for Roadhog, but the pain was relentless. There was no way to sit that didn’t hurt. He couldn’t move to get less uncomfortable and holding in his cough was making him gulp and his eyes water. If Junkrat couldn’t talk, it might not be safe to make any noise either. When he couldn’t help but cough a little, Junkrat coughed louder to cover him. Roadhog wanted to squirm and roll over, just to move. His legs were going to sleep between the moose and the rip tire. If he could just sit up and stretch a little, at least it would hurt in a different way for awhile.

They had to stop for some traffic at a corner and he could hear Junkrat panting and swallowing hard once the truck wasn’t rattling. How bad was it if he couldn’t work up any laughs or yammering? Roadhog added worry to his list of discomforts and wondered if he could risk speaking. Before he could decide, the way cleared and there was a grunt as Junkrat shoved the truck into motion again. There was a little dip from the sidewalk to the road that twisted hot pokers in Roadhog’s spine and made his teeth grind and another one when they got to the other side.

It seemed like it went on for days. He tried to keep track of the blocks they passed, but not being able to see disoriented him more than he thought it would. They went on and on and up and down and around corners and over crosswalks. Roadhog had settled down into his own little world of misery without beginning or end. Eventually, he was sure, Junkrat would stop and say he was lost or had forgotten the way and they would have to go all the way back and do this all again. It would be a relief just to go completely berserk at the news and rampage until he collapsed.

Maybe he could get up and use the truck as a walker. He could go for awhile under his power, surely. Give poor Junkrat a break. Anything would be better than this. He didn’t act on it though, and still they went on and on until finally the truck did stop. In his daze, it was the absence of the noise more than the movement that got his attention. He could hear crickets and Junkrat gasping.

The bungees started coming loose one by one and the quilt was pulled off. They were back at the RV park. It was quiet and only the streetlight at the gate was on. They really had made it. Roadhog peeled himself up, sucking in air to keep from groaning. It was agony to get back up and the quilt under him was spotted with blood and something clear and shiny. His joints popped and creaked as he got himself up on his feet and looked around.

Junkrat was clearly done for the day. He was bracing himself up with hands on his knees. His legs were so shaky that that might not last long. Sweat dripped off his face and there were damp patches all through the scavenged coat. He didn’t seem able to speak or raise his head and his bent body hitched with his breathing. He was exhausted. He had gotten them back to their commandeered RV, but it had cost him everything. He retched and dry heaved while Roadhog was looking at him.

Roadhog got his legs underneath him and headed inside where they had stashed all their extra gear. Lurching into the air conditioning was like entering a beautiful afterlife. He let it wash over him as he pulled out the first canister and inhaled. The first hit flooded him with familiar bliss. It stung all the way down, but then the heaviness in his lungs dissolved and he took a deeper breath when he could. The holes in his back started to seal up.

He rolled his shoulders, thinking about that toad they had seen on tv at a hotel one night. Its back had been squirming with little baby toads and they all pulled themselves out of holes that looked too small for them. It was gross, but it had probably felt as good as this to have all of the little bastards out. All the holes and punctures tingled and healed. He took one more breath to drain the can and savored it, letting it work its magic.

Behind him, Junkrat had managed to stagger up the two stairs and fall onto the narrow couch along the far wall. He had left the door open, so after another moment to work the last bits of pain out of his shoulders, Roadhog went to shut it. Turning back to his partner, he had to squat down to look him in the face. Junkrat just lay there. He was flushed and swallowing hard. His eyes were half-lidded and dazed.

“Hey, boss,” Roadhog said. Junkrat focused on him with effort and tried to grin. Roadhog pulled the hat off him to see it better. The hat and his hair were soaked through.

“Tolja I’d get you here,” Junkrat wheezed. He licked his lips and swallowed again. He needed a drink. And a shower, Roadhog thought, petting his wet hair back from his face. Junkrat’s eyes closed.

“Sit tight,” Roadhog told him. His voice was back to its usual rumble and Junkrat shivered. Roadhog went back outside, quietly reveling in how easy it was to move when he wasn’t stabbed through a thousand times. He scooped up all the stuff on the truck and pushed it inside. He didn’t want to leave the truck out in the open, so he turned it on its side and crammed it behind the landscaping shrubs. Boxwoods, some part of him remembered.

Junkrat hadn’t moved when got back inside, so he slid a hand under him and raised him enough to pull the coat off. He had sweated through it. If it wasn’t his before, it definitely was now. Roadhog considered giving him a hit of hogdrogen too, but he wasn’t injured, just over-exerted.

“Shouldn’t have happened,” he said aloud. “My job to take care of you.”

“Ok,” said Junkrat. It was barely a whisper and he probably hadn’t heard a word. Roadhog sighed and started pulling off the rest of his gear. Once the kid was stripped down, he started loosening the prosthetics and that got a whine out of Junkrat. His stumps were red and sore from grinding into the metal the whole way. Junkrat’s other foot had blisters from straining the boot to the ground.

The RV’s bathroom was tiny. There was barely room for Roadhog to fit, much less the both of them, but Roadhog managed. He got the shower running and his own clothes off and let all the blood and dirt run off him. He held Junkrat to his chest and turned to get them both under the spray.

“Cold!” Junkrat squeaked when the water hit him.

“Feels good,” Roadhog said, bending to get his face in it.

“Yeah,” Junkrat admitted. He let himself be rinsed off without much fuss. Roadhog caught him opening his mouth to drink the shower water and cupped a hand in front of him to make it easier. Junkrat drank and drank until he coughed some up. Roadhog went over all the symptoms of things he knew. Heatstroke was different than just wearing yourself out. There was the sweating and the dry heaves, the shakes and the shortness of breath.

He slapped a palmful of the original RV owner’s shampoo on Junkrat’s head and started rubbing. It smelled so much like honey that he checked the bottle to be sure what it was. Junkrat muttered as he was lathered up, but still wasn’t trying to get away. He did like to have his scalp rubbed, but he was definitely out of it. That was something else too, wasn’t it? Confusion.

“I get to do you next,” Junkrat said dreamily, closing his eyes when he was put under the spray to rinse the shampoo out.

“You can’t reach me,” Roadhog reminded him.

“You’d have to kneel,” Junkrat said. “I like you kneeling.”

“If you’re gonna piss, do it now,” Roadhog said, ignoring that. “Good a place as any and you won’t have to get up again later.”

“Ok,” Junkrat agreed. He was ragdoll limp in Roadhog’s arms, legs swinging as the filth was washed off him. The water never did get very warm so Roadhog could tell when he actually did go. The color wasn’t off, so hopefully Junkrat really hadn’t hurt himself. It wasn’t dark or bloody. That was another one of the signs, he remembered. He made sure to get them both rinsed off and then had to back out of the bathroom naked to be able to open the towel closet. The air conditioner was even better on wet skin, but Junkrat shivered and tried to kick out of his towel cocoon.

Should’ve kept that big flannel shirt to wrap him in, Roadhog thought. He toweled himself off and put on some non-shredded clothes. He didn’t feel like wrestling Junkrat back into any clothes so he threw the least smelly quilt over him. The bed wasn’t as tiny as the bathroom so he sat them both down on it and then had to get up to turn the moose head to the wall so it wasn’t looking at him.

“Should’ve left it outside,” he said, easing back onto the bed. His back didn’t hurt and he wanted to roll, to just wallow in relief.

“Set up,” Junkrat said from his double layer of towel and quilt. He looked asleep but his voice was clear. “This whole job. Start to finish.”

Chapter Text

“Set up. This whole job. Start to finish.”

Junkrat fell asleep as soon as he said that. Roadhog didn’t try to wake him up again. He processed that, turning it over as he watched his partner for any signs of getting better or worse. Junkrat was out for the moment, so Roadhog snagged another canister to breathe in. He had to curl around Junkrat to fit on the bed and it would help keep him warm. He inhaled deeply and felt the prickle of all the pieces of shrapnel too small for the pliers working their way to the surface.

He didn’t know how much of this Junkrat would remember so he tried to work out as much as he could. Set up. It wouldn’t be the first time. It had been a fairly simple job, not a lot of money involved because that had been the problem. The guy hiring them hadn’t been a suit or anyone high ranking. He had been a business man, and a failing one at that. It was his father’s business, he had explained, and he didn’t want it to go under with the family name on it. He had wanted them to trash his place for the insurance payoff.

He could pay them a little, he said, and had. It had been laughable compared to what they had taken before. The weaselly little guy seemed to know it. He was shrunken down in his chair, too much hair grease and his sleeves rolled up. Even his tie had looked dejected. He tried to sweeten the deal by saying they could help themselves to whatever they wanted from the inventory while they were there.

When Roadhog had sneered at that, he had shrugged and fiddled with bandaged fingers and said that there was a bail bonds office next door. If they wanted to go through his wall into their office, that was an option. It would make it look like he was just in the way for a bigger score. They would get the blame for the whole thing and could skip town and he would get the insurance money to relocate and start over.

It was dirty, but nobody had to die for it, he had said. Gotta break some eggs to make an omelet, but no reason for it to be worse than it had to be. He had asked them to wait until both offices were closed, Roadhog remembered. Almost pleading. His hands had been nervous and his eyes were terrified. Roadhog got that reaction from bigger, badder people all the time, so he had barely noticed. If Junkrat was right, and it was a set up, why had the office been rigged to blow before they even got there? Why hire them if he was just going to blow the place anyway?

It was such a straightforward job, but everything had gone wrong so quickly. What had happened to his canisters? It was easy to blame Junkrat when things disappeared, but he would’ve done something with them. They wouldn’t have just vanished. Had it been the blast? It had torn apart his armor. He supposed it could’ve taken out the canisters.

He got up to check his gear to make sure. The count was right. The only ones missing were the three he should’ve had yesterday and the two he had tonight. He sorted through all their gear, trying to put the pieces together in his mind. He made a pile of everything that was too battered to keep and started a mental list of everything they would need to replace. When all of his gear was in working order, he turned to Junkrat’s.

All of his usual stuff was there, minus a few small explosives for the lock, and with the addition of a coat and hat and two small, haphazard looking pipe bombs. One was labeled “Death” and decorated with little skulls. The other said “Taxes” and had little dollar signs. Roadhog tilted his head at them. What? He looked back at Junkrat. He could buy being set up. It had happened before. He had never lost canisters though.
He turned it over a few more times before the answer hit him. He had to snort a little bit at himself for not seeing it. A small time little nobody got himself in trouble and wanted out. Getting the insurance money was fine, but if he could take out two wanted criminals in the bargain, he could get the reward as well. What was their bounty now? Last he had checked, it had been twenty five million and that had been a few jobs ago. The weasel in the tie wouldn’t have dreamed of going against them himself. He was little and ropey and already gotten his fingers broken.

Who had broken those fingers? Who else had he tried to deal with to save his mom-and-pop place? What had it even been? Pressure cookers and appliances? Kitchen wares? Something. He had needed the business destroyed to get the money. He needed them there to blame the explosion on. If he had managed to kill them, he would’ve gotten the reward. He would’ve needed the reward to pay off the kind of debt that got fingers broken.

Roadhog grumbled to himself, trying to remember what he could from before the explosion. He remembered talking Junkrat out of sending the rip tire in first. They might need it to clear the way if the police showed up. That had been his argument. Junkrat had agreed that police cars were more fun to confetti than lobby doors, so they had headed over to kick the door in. They hadn’t made it.

Roadhog still didn’t have any memory of the explosion. They needed to find some security footage so he could see what happened. It might be on the news by now. The RV had a tiny little TV, but it would be enough to check the news. He kept it turned down low. They had missed the most sensational footage, but he did hear something about ‘the recent pressure explosion’. The place had manufactured pressure cookers, so the weasel might’ve known how to make one explode. His canisters were pressurized too. If the explosion had set them off, they would’ve just released the hogdrogen into the air. It would’ve dispersed too quickly to heal him up, but the cloud of it had kept him from being torn apart. That was it then.

They were calling it a pressure explosion, not a terrorist attack. That might mean there wasn’t any footage of them at the scene. That meant the weasel wouldn’t be able to blame the explosion on anything but his own wares. He might still get some insurance money, but it wouldn’t be anything compared to what he would need if Roadhog ever got hold of him again.

So, a pressure explosion at a local business and a break in at a nearby storage shed. None of that could be tied to them as it was. The worst thing they could do to the guy might be to leave him to the mess he had made. He was already losing everything. It wouldn’t be just fingers broken if he didn’t pay up unless he had met money-lenders a lot friendlier than Roadhog.

Junkrat whined in his sleep, pushing with his whole leg to scoot himself up the bed. Leg cramp, probably. He got those when his posture and crazy stride got out of hand. Roadhog grabbed his ankle to pull him straight again and dug his fingers into the calf muscle until it relaxed. Junkrat yelped and squirmed and woke up enough to look around the room. Seeing no one there but Roadhog, he flopped back down again. He hadn’t been hurt badly, which was the only reason Roadhog wasn’t out tearing down doors to find the weasel.

“It’s all right,” he said out loud. Junkrat mmphed into a pillow. “It can wait.”

Chapter Text

The RV's owner had a dish of spare change so Roadhog fished some quarters out and went to the park office. They had vending machines and a newspaper rack. He got a ginger ale for Junkrat and yesterday’s newspaper. He dimly remembered being given a ginger ale when he was sick as a child. He didn’t remember the taste or if it had helped, but medicine was medicine.

He had slept on and off until the sun was bright and hot. Junkrat hadn’t moved once the cramps let up. Even with motorcycles roaring up and down the strip and a bunch of kids screaming in the little pool the place had, Junkrat hadn’t so much as twitched when Roadhog had spoken to him. Roadhog had left his mask in the RV and covered his tattoos with a bowling shirt that said Grab Your Balls they had found at a roadside yard sale. Junkrat had laughed himself sick over it.

He wasn’t moving now though. He slept through Roadhog coming back in and holding the cold can to the back of his neck. If he hadn’t been mouth-breathing so loud, Roadhog would’ve checked his pulse. Probably for the best to just let the kid sleep, he decided. He put the ginger ale in the fridge and went rummaging for a late breakfast. They had already eaten most of the non-perishables. He found bagels and peanut butter and canned tuna in one cabinet. The next one had canned peaches, clam chowder, and instant oatmeal.

The peaches won out. He used the electric can opener for fun and watched it spin in neat little circles until he got tired of the noise it made. He fished the slippery peaches out with his fingers and slurped them down one at a time. Finding a can of these had been a real prize back home. He felt a little guilty not sharing, but there were more cans up there. When all the slices were gone, he drank the syrup out of the can, shivering at the sweetness.

He was tempted to open another can of them, but stuck one in the fridge with the ginger ale instead. They would be even better cold. He wiped his sticky hands on his pants and went over the newspaper. There was plenty he didn’t care about, but there was also a section about the explosion. Albrecht Manufacturing, the place was called. He hadn’t bothered to remember the family name the weasel was so worried about. The weasel had a first name, too. Clark Albrecht was quoted as saying that this had never happened, their manufacturing equipment had never failed like this in all his years, and that he feared it was some kind of sabotage. The paper said there were forensic investigators coming to see if there was any sign of foul play. There was even a small black and white photo of the shattered lobby front.

I carried most of those windows off in my back, Roadhog mused. If there was footage of them at the scene it hadn’t come to light yet. That was poorly planned on Albrecht’s part. The weasel wouldn’t have to do any explaining if he could blame them.

On a whim, Roadhog went to the kitchen cabinets again and checked all the cook wear for brand names. They were a hodge-podge, but he did find a sauce pan with the Albrecht name engraved on the bottom. It was tiny in his hand, but he hefted it thoughtfully. It couldn’t be crammed down a man’s throat until it was crushed a little smaller and the man’s jaw had been ripped loose. It was sturdy enough to bludgeon with, but the handle didn’t have enough reach to be effective. If they got it hot enough, they could use to brand that family name into a certain fuck-up’s forehead. It would be backwards, sure, but the shitstain would be able to see it in a mirror just fine.

That wouldn’t work either, Roadhog realized. Albrecht the Younger wasn’t going to live long enough to be looking in mirrors after they got hold of him. He dropped the pan back to its shelf. Junkrat’s idea might be the best. He glanced again at the limp heap on the bed and then to the new pipe bombs. Blasting the weasel full of the pieces of his own building was a satisfying notion. It would give those forensic guys something more interesting to sift through than ashes. He laughed low in his throat and went to work on the newspaper crossword.

He knew the basic ones, he soon learned. Anything that had happened after the Core had blown was a mystery. He didn’t know the names of recent celebrities or the missing word in some of the proverbs, but he got about a third of it finished before he lost interest and started thinking about lunch. That was when Junkrat finally stirred. He raised his head, pillowcase still stuck to the dried drool on his cheek. He tried to lever himself up with one arm but hissed in pain and collapsed again.

“Sore?” Roadhog asked and got a groan for an answer. Junkrat slowly kicked his way free of the towel and quilt and got his leg over the edge of the bed. He pulled his face free of the pillow and carefully eased himself up to sit. He looked terrible. He was cleaner than usual, but his hair had dried flat on one side and everywhere on the other. He was bleary-eyed and obviously hurting. His stumps were still red and looked tender. It would probably do him good to not put the prosthetics back on for awhile.

“Hey,” Roadhog said. “C’mere.” He scooped Junkrat up and plopped his naked butt in one of the kitchen chairs. Junkrat winced and stretched, gritting his teeth as the over-worked muscles ached. Roadhog brought him the ginger ale and he brightened. Whatever he had intended to say didn’t come out of his mouth, though. Roadhog saw the look of alarm crash across his face and he clutched his throat.

“Wore your voice out?” he asked, staying calm so Junkrat would too. He opened the can with the edge of one fingernail. “That’s a first. Here. Little sips.” He handed the drink over and Junkrat sucked a sip from it and made a face. He coughed and cleared his throat hard enough to hurt. Roadhog stood by to keep him sipping until he could force his voice out.

“Burns,” he wheezed, sticking out his tongue. His voice was hoarse and weak.

“Medicine,” Roadhog told him.

“Aww,” Junkrat sounded disappointed as he looked at the can. Roadhog snorted a little and put bagel halves under the broiler.

“Did you think I would give you beer for breakfast?” he asked.

“Looks like beer!” Junkrat protested, pointing at the can. “Says ale on it…”

“Little sips,” Roadhog reminded him. “Get it down. I’ve got food.”

Junkrat tried to grumble, but his voice wasn’t strong enough. He was as fascinated by the can opener as Roadhog had been and watching it kept him from complaining until he had to have a finger smacked away from the tiny blade. Roadhog spread some tuna on the hot bagels and passed one over to him. Junkrat had swallowed worse things than ginger ale and was working on it.

“Helps?” Roadhog asked and he made another face.

“Burns,” he said again, then shrugged. “Cuts through the crud.”

Roadhog got him a glass of water to chase it with and watched as he nibbled carefully at the tuna bagel. Every move was slow and stiff, but he was trying. His eyes were brightening up again.

“S’at?” he asked with his mouth full, nodding at the crossword puzzle. Roadhog explained it as best he could and Junkrat nodded slowly, chewing hard.

“Like a game?” he asked when he swallowed.

“New one every day,” Roadhog said. “Challenge.” That may have been the wrong word to use because Junkrat grabbed the pen.

“I know words,” he said. “I can do that.” He started scribbling words he knew into the empty blocks, making them fit by adding blocks or blacking out an empty one. When every space was full, he looked up triumphant.

“You did it,” Roadhog said, but his amusement must’ve shown because Junkrat deflated a little. He looked back at the mess of ink.

“What part was wrong?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Roadhog said. “There’ll be a new one tomorrow.”

“New game every day,” Junkrat muttered, starting on the second half of his bagel. “And it doesn’t matter if you win?”

“Nobody cares,” Roadhog said. “It’s just for fun.”

“Everything here is just for fun!” Junkrat snapped, mood tanking and his voice gaining some power. He jerked his chin at the window and the world outside. “Ride up and down just for fun. Waste water on plants they can’t eat. Fill a fucking tank full of water not to drink, just to sit in!” He crammed the whole bagel in his mouth and pointed at the stain on the carpet.

“That fucker didn’t even LIVE here,” he said, spraying crumbs over the table. “Had a whole ‘nother house, ‘nother life somewhere else. We been killing ourselves to scrape up half an existence back home and he had two. Maybe more.” He had to clear his throat and take another drink. “S’not fair.”

It was an old discussion. They had talked about this every time the plenty and the variety of luxury got to be too much for one of them. It might not be the best time to offer him some chilled peaches.

“You’re right,” Roadhog said instead. They were quiet for awhile. Roadhog finished his bagel.

“You all right, mate?” Junkrat asked suddenly. He shook the can to rattle the last little bit of ginger ale. “Had one of these?” Roadhog shook his head. “What?” Junkrat sounded indignant. “You give it all to me for? Here.” He held the can out across the table.

“I don’t need it,” Roadhog tried to say.

“You’re the one hurt!” Junkrat insisted. “Had to haul your big ass in a fucking handcart, didn’t I? You drink it!”

“Fine,” Roadhog said to calm him down. He took it and drank the last swig. It did burn a little in his nose and throat. It didn’t taste much like ginger either, but the fizz was nice.

“So,” he said, when things were quiet again.

“What’s the plan?” Junkrat asked.

“Adult swim is at seven,” Roadhog nodded toward the pool. “Give your stumps a soak.”

“Then what?”

“Day after tomorrow all the bikers are parading. We can get in with them and make it all the way up the coast with no one the wiser.” That wasn’t what Junkrat meant, and he knew it, but he waited.

“What about tomorrow then?” Junkrat asked, looking suspicious.

“You’re the boss,” Roadhog said, almost teasing him. “What’s your plan? You’re the one that said it was a set up. You sounded sure.”

“I saw it,” Junkrat said. “On the papers. In that shed. Boxes of them.”

“Can’t be,” Roadhog said, startled in spite of himself. “Too much of a coincidence.”

“Set us up,” Junkrat insisted, eyes feverish. “Told us we’d take the blame up front, but not for what.”

“Did you keep it?” Roadhog asked. “The paper,” he added when Junkrat went blank. Junkrat shook his head.

“No,” he spat. “You were- I was-“ He gave himself a shake. His voice went back to a rasp. “Could’ve killed you.”

“Could’ve killed you, too,” Roadhog reminded him.

“No. You’d’ve saved me. Like you did. Could’ve killed you.” His voice shook. “I’d’ve been-“

Alone. Neither one of them said it. Roadhog reached out and smoothed some of the wild hair down. Junkrat grabbed his wrist again and pulled the hand to his face. Roadhog’s fingers would wrap around his whole head.

“Don’t know what I’d do without you anymore.” Junkrat’s voice was muffled into his palm, but holding him tight to keep it there. Roadhog could feel his lips moving, but his hands were so calloused he wasn’t sure he could feel kisses, until they turned to bites.

“Easy,” he rumbled.

“NO.” Junkrat snarled into his palm. “Fucking NO. Not easy. He’s gonna go hard and ugly.” He gestured vaguely at the pipe bombs. “One down his throat and one up his ass. Not enough boom in either to kill him quick. Just enough to let him see himself mangled. To let him FEEL it.”

“You planned that while I was out?” Roadhog asked. He wasn’t sure if he bought the bit about the tax papers. That was just too easy, but maybe there had been something in them that had convinced his partner. He wished they could go check to be sure. Maybe an investigator would be put on the storage break in and a connection would be found. That would be convenient.

“Yeah,” Junkrat said. “Yeah, I did.” He fell into bitter, miserable laughter. “That was just if you lived. Had a whole other plan if you died.” Roadhog didn’t have to ask. Junkrat was still talking. “Fail with his name on it? It would’ve burned with his name on it! I would’ve rained pieces of his father’s tombstone down on him for days.”

Roadhog almost said easy again, but Junkrat beat him to it.

“Fucking EASY,” he snarled, pulling away to glare up at him. There were fires burning all through him now, his eyes gone hot and insane. “You’re MINE. He’s not taking-can’t have-“ and then he was muffled by Roadhog’s hand again. Roadhog swallowed and let him rant into his palm for a minute. He looked around the RV for something to calm his partner down. The whole point was to get Junkrat to rest up and heal. Roadhog’s eyes fell on the TV and he got an idea.

“Hey,” he said. “Remember that video? About the whale they couldn’t move, so they had to blow it up?” It was on the same nature show that the toad with the back-babies had been on. Junkrat had loved that. He had cheered so loudly the room next door had complained. Roadhog had no idea why the memory of it made Junkrat freeze and then burst into tears.

Chapter Text

It took awhile to get Junkrat settled down again. The rest of the day was spent keeping him cool and hydrated. Eventually, he put some clothes on, but Roadhog kept the prosthetics off by alternating ice and heat packs on his stumps. He liked them on his back too, and sprawled out like a mangy cat to soak up the hot and cold. Every time he got antsy, Roadhog had a sensory distraction ready.

He brushed out his hair until it shone silver and Junkrat watched raptly. He brushed Junkrat’s hair next, knowing how much the kid loved his scalp being rubbed. Sure enough, he sat between Roadhog’s feet arching and giggling. Roadhog got the wild mess to lie down and brushed it into a side part for his own amusement. It made him look like he should be showing up on your doorstep to talk religion.

“I trusted you,” Junkrat said when he saw it. Roadhog chuckled and mussed it all back up again. He painted both their nails, hands and feet, even though it got him kicked a few times. Junkrat’s foot was a ticklish one. Roadhog got the cold peaches out and they got to play with the can opener again. Eating something cold and slimy was new, but not very filling. Junkrat dropped more than one down his front which was probably an accident. They were slippery. He got to giggle as he fished them out of his lap and dropped them into his open mouth and sucked them down. Everything about it was a mess, but all the attention had Junkrat relaxed and happy. He hadn’t tried to put on his prosthetics all day.

They were both still hungry, so it was clam chowder and more toasted bagels. Roadhog showed Junkrat the newspaper article about Albrecht while they ate. He studied it carefully, gnawing on his spoon. Cleaning up took awhile and then, it was late enough for the kids to get out of the pool.

“Time to go soak,” Roadhog said when the last of the little whiners had trudged out. He watched them go through the blinds. No one else seemed eager to take their place which was fine by him.

"Determined to have a spa day, ain’t ya?” Junkrat asked. Roadhog hummed an answer and fished out some shorts. He ignored Junkrat’s cackling and teasing and changed into it right there. He replaced his mask with some sunglasses and grabbed some towels. He scooped Junkrat up under his other arm and stepped out over the protests.

“I don’t want everybody seeing me like this!” Junkrat hissed.

“No one’s gonna look,” Roadhog rumbled. The pool wasn’t deep enough for them to do much more than sit in it. Junkrat sank down to his shoulders.

“Happy?” he grumbled. Roadhog splashed him.

“How many of those rugrats you think have been pissing in this all day?” Junkrat asked, making a face at the water. “Tastes ok,” he decided a moment later.

“Tomorrow,” Roadhog said and Junkrat refocused.

“Albrecht,” he said. Roadhog nodded.

“Won’t be hard to find,” he said.

“I got plans for that,” Junkrat said.

“Mmm,” Roadhog agreed, savoring the thought.

“First thing then, before it gets hot,” Junkrat dropped his voice even though no one was near enough to overhear. “Be enough bikes out that no one will notice yours.”

“They’ll notice it,” Roadhog rumbled. Junkrat giggled, agreeing.

“We could even go tonight,” he said, lighting up. Roadhog considered. They had taken it easy all day. Might be nice to get out in the wind and moonlight and pavement. There would be a full moon, not that it mattered in a city with this many lights. It would definitely be nice to watch Albrecht’s weaselly torso pulled out around his spine by a hook. Junkrat had raised his arm stump out of the water and it looked better than it had.

If they got a lot of attention, they might lose the RV as a hideout. The RV park wasn’t set up to be defended. They would have to pack up and be ready to head on. That was nothing new to them.

“Up for it?” he asked and the grin was all the answer he needed. They didn’t bother rinsing off the chlorine, just dried off and started getting ready. Roadhog made a production out of strapping on some canisters. He threw in an extra one just in case, and made sure Junkrat was watching. Junkrat nodded, only somber for a minute until he broke into excited cackles. He wore his new coat for the occasion.

“Don’t want to ruin the surprise,” he said covering up the explosives. Roadhog grabbed the remaining canned goods off the shelf just in case they didn’t come back. Junkrat threw both hands up in celebration when the tarp was whipped off the motorcycle. As numb as the surrounding community had been to the sound of engines over the past week, the roar of this one still drowned out everything. As they tore out of the park, Junkrat threw something at the pool. A geyser of water rose up behind them and then they were out of sight.

It was getting dark, but all the street lights were on. Neon was flickering on glass and metal as they streaked by. Junkrat squinted into the rushing wind, happy as a hound with its head out the window. He even had his tongue out a little. The day of rest had done him good. He wasn’t quite back to his usual maniacal self, but he was sharp and fed and ready.

It wasn’t hard to track down Albrecht. His family really was a fixture in the town. It had been a nice house once upon a time. There hadn’t been any money spent on it in awhile. It needed paint and shingles and some landscaping to be as welcoming as the RV park. The car was there, but most of the lights were out. The neighborhood was quiet now that the sun had gone down. Junkrat hefted a grenade, but Roadhog just kicked the door off its hinges and stormed in.

The house was quiet. There was a light on upstairs, so Junkrat headed up to check it out. Roadhog went room to room more carefully. He could hear Junkrat upstairs, but nothing else. Dead silence, it was called. He had encountered it enough in burned out shells of houses to recognize it. He had caused it enough. A grim certainty settled into his bones as he made his way through empty room after empty room.

Finally, he came to an office. There weren’t any windows and it was pitch black inside. He waited until he heard Junkrat come back down and join him before turning on the light.

“We shoulda come earlier,” Junkrat said, disappointed.

“No,” Roadhog said. “Would’ve been crowded.”

Albrecht sat in what had probably been his father’s chair. His head was tilted back and held in place by nails in his ears. His wrists were nailed to the wooden arms of the chair and his feet were nailed to the floor. His throat had been cut ear to ear, mid-scream to judge by the spray. There was a silver spot on his forehead where another nail had been driven straight into it. The nail gun lay on the desk in front of him. The floor of the tiny office was covered with bloody footprints.

“Fingers cut completely off this time,” Roadhog went on. Sirens and flashing lights cut off whatever else he might’ve said. They both knew there was no way that many would be showing up unless they had been tipped off, and they wouldn’t be showing up now unless the call had been timed just right. Junkrat’s teeth ground and his whole being hunched into an angry knot. Roadhog just growled. Set up. Again.

Chapter Text

There were way more squad cars than a break-in deserved. Whoever had killed Albrecht had made sure they would get the blame for it. Roadhog didn’t mind that. He had come here for just that reason, but getting blamed without the satisfaction of doing it rankled. He heard feet on the walk and the front porch and turned the light off, pulling the door closed. It had taken him awhile to work his way to the back room. It would take them awhile too.

There were no windows, so the only light was coming from under the door. There wasn’t much for his eyes to adjust to, but he could hear soft chuckles from Junkrat. He was doing something under the desk. There was the whine of wood and metal. Roadhog figured he was pulling Albrecht’s feet loose. The chair scooted around the edge of the desk. The incoming officers were sure to hear it too. Roadhog was already braced for it, gun ready.

More laughter and all the familiar little clicks of explosives being set in the dark. He hoped the kid knew what he was doing. Feet were coming down the hall, closer and closer. A hand touched his stomach, pushing gently. He obliged by stepping back from the door and felt the rip tire crowd against him as Junkrat scooted back too.

“It’s not like they don’t know we’re here,” Junkrat said, soft and dry in the dark. Then he grunted with sudden effort and Roadhog felt something heavy slam down in front of him. There was a shout from outside and the door was thrown open. The first thing Roadhog saw in the blast of light was that the heavy old desk had been turned on its side in front of him. The second was that the shouting officers all froze in the middle of their “Freeze!” and “Nobody Move!”s.

Junkrat was stronger than he looked, Roadhog knew. He had to be to move the desk, but tossing it was still impressive. He had also slapped explosives to the back of Albrecht’s chair and pushed it so that the first thing the small town SWAT team saw was Albrecht’s terrified face and the view down his windpipe. In that second of horror, Junkrat detonated the chair, sending it rocketing out into the hallway.

Roadhog was protected from the blast by the desk. The team outside weren’t so lucky. The first wave was sent sprawling and then were shot as Junkrat followed the chair out. He was shooting at anyone still moving. Roadhog hurried to back him up.

Outside was a frenzy. A tear gas canister bounced by and shots were being fired back at them. Roadhog kicked it into a room and shut the door. Tear gas didn’t mean much to him, but Junkrat didn’t have a mask. The chair had made it all the way down the hall to the living room where it had startled screams out of the second wave.

“I bet I could’ve gotten it all the way to the yard, if I’d taken time to aim,” Junkrat said. Roadhog laughed deep and loud. He felt a few bullets hit, solid smacks that burned and stung in his arms and stomach. A deep breath of hogdrogen kept that from being a problem. He grabbed an armchair and threw it out a window and started spraying the yard with the shrapnel gun.

The yard was full of squad cars. Two were blocking the motorcycle in the driveway. The rest were pulled into flashing zigzags all over the lawn. He grabbed Junkrat’s arm as he went by and nodded toward the cars.

“Clear the way,” he ordered. Junkrat’s grin went as wide as Albrecht’s throat. Roadhog went back to blasting everything that looked like it might shoot back. He heard the smack of the rip tire hitting the floor and scanned the chaos for someone out of place. He had worked for enough big bosses to know that someone would be there to report back. Some stooge would be there with a glint of greed and something to gain. Dead men didn’t pay back their debts, unless they could be used as bait to get several million in reward money.

He heard Junkrat’s war cry the same moment a bullet skidded across the brow of his mask. Another one skated over his ribs, but the pain was as distant as shooting stars. Albrecht was just the kind of whiner to spill his plan to buy himself time. Looked like the man in charge had decided to eliminate the middle man. Roadhog reached for a canister on his belt and saw what he was looking for. There was someone in plainclothes hanging behind the officers, talking into an ear piece, eyes quick over the scene. He was calm and cool, making no move to join in the fray. That was their boy.

He took a breath as the rip tire tore past him and straight into the squad cars. It threw one completely into the air and Roadhog charged after it, firing to lay down enough cover for Junkrat to follow him. There was a rasp to the kid’s breathing and a splash of red as he hurried to the side car. It just made Roadhog’s bellow that much louder when he threw the hook. It caught the stooge in a neat arc around neck and shoulder in the same instant Roadhog threw his leg over the motorcycle. The bike’s roar matched his own as they tore out of the yard.

Junkrat threw a volley of concussion mines and grenades as they careened out into the street. Roadhog’s chain whipped taut, and they dragged the stooge behind them as they went. Junkrat had been hit a few times, Roadhog saw at once. He was shaking and bloody, but perked up when a canister was held to his face. He didn’t have to be told twice and breathed in until the holes sealed up. He gave himself a shake, enjoying the rush of the stuff, but trying to think clearly through it.

They took a corner and the stooge bounced in an arc. Roadhog snorted and reeled him in, dumping him in the crowded sidecar at Junkrat’s feet. Junkrat ooohed at the sight. Road rash was never pretty. Clothes and skin had been peeled off in strips. It made Roadhog feel a little artistic.

“Gonna squeal,” he said, more to Junkrat than the stooge. At least one of the stooge’s legs was broken in several places and he looked too shocky for threats to sink in. Junkrat understood at once, turning to loom over the stooge and leer down at him.

“Got a few extra knees there?” he asked over the roar of the bike. He crammed his prosthetic knee into what were probably broken ribs. The stooge gaped at him, stunned and bloody. Roadhog took an exit and hit the main road. He could hear sirens but they were far away. He was pretty sure they were clear, but there was work to do before they were finished here. He saw a motel sign that said No Vacancy over a sign that said Bikers Welcome. He pulled in the parking lot and went around back. The back lot was fill of bikes and trailers to haul bikes. Roadhog parked where his bike wouldn’t be seen right away and grunted.

“Right, right,” Junkrat agreed. “No room at the inn. I get it.” He hooked an arm around the stooge’s neck and Roadhog walked to the room at the end of the building. It had lights on behind the curtains. He knocked twice and waited politely. When the door was opened and a grizzled biker with a full beard squinted out, he grabbed the man’s head and slammed it into his knee. He stepped inside and dropped the original occupant by the door. He jerked his head at Junkrat who dragged their hostage into the room.

Roadhog took a minute to throw a tarp over the bike and stopped when he saw the moose head looking at him from the sidecar’s floor board. Junkrat really did like that stupid thing. He could still hear sirens out there, but not close by. He went back into the room and found Junkrat wielding the nail gun from the desk. He had set the stooge on the floor against the wall and was holding both his wrists over his head.

“Never convince ‘em we didn’t do it if you carry off evidence,” Roadhog said, mostly teasing.

“Waste not, want not,” Junkrat said. “And that goes for good ideas.” He nailed the stooge’s wrists to the wall with a thunk. Roadhog sat on the bed to watch.

“My leg,” the stooge whined.

“I just nailed your arms to a wall,” Junkrat reminded him. In the bad light of a cheap lamp, his bright eyes looked unnatural.

“I don’t-“ the stooge started.

“You know why you’re here,” Roadhog said. He got out the rest of the canister he had given Junkrat and tossed it over. A hit of it healed the worst of the damage and the pain. It didn’t put his bones back in the right order, remove the hook, or get the nails out of him, but it cleared the shock so he could feel those pains again. He hissed and whined but quieted down when they just watched him.

“Decision time!” Junkrat said. “We can stay and play with you…” He pressed the nail against the stooge’s eye. “Or we could leave and go somewhere else. Somewhere we’d rather go…” The stooge shook, visibly trying to get his helpless noises under control. “How fast do you want to get rid of us?” Junkrat asked, tilting his head and grinning like a demonic scarecrow. “I can be a pain when I try.” Roadhog laughed again.

“I dunno, Roadie,” Junkrat said when the stooge couldn’t find his voice right away. “He may be too banged up to know he’s being tortured.”

“He have a phone?” Roadhog asked. Junkrat hmmed and went digging through the stooge’s tattered pockets. There was one, and the stooge had enough skin on his thumbs left to open the lock. Roadhog went to pictures and began scrolling through them. Junkrat leaned to look. Roadhog found what he was looking for and held them up so the stooge could see too. The pictures were of a plain woman with a sweet smile and two little boys.

“They yours?” Roadhog rumbled. The stooge had gone very still. There was a gps on the phone that had a setting for Home. Two taps and it showed an address. “That where they are?”

“I can’t-“ the stooge said.

“No place better to go,” Roadhog said. “Might as well go there.”

“No!” the stooge sputtered. Junkrat was keeping quiet, but was looking at Roadhog with hearts in his eyes. Roadhog ignored them both.

“Before they die, I’ll tell them,” he said, turning the phone slowing in his fingers. “That you sent me to them. You had the chance to send me somewhere more deserving.” His voice was a killer’s growl. “But you protected someone else.”

The stooge spat out a name. Junkrat didn’t know it, but Roadhog went looking through the phone for any calls from it.

“It doesn’t even matter!” the stooge snapped, past terror now. “You’ll never touch him. He’s not even in the country. He can run this town from a cellphone on a private jet! He’s in Lanai or Costa Rica or St. Petersburg! And he won’t be back until this has all blown over.”

“Busy man,” Roadhog agreed. “So am I.” He gave the chain a twist and the point of the hook ripped through the stooge’s back and out of his chest. His shirt tented out and he gaped at it. Another flick of a very big wrist and the hook tore free in a spray of blood. The stooge choked out a few syllables. Two of them sounded like Carol. He was dead before Roadhog looked up another address and then tossed the phone back to his lap.

“A thing of beauty, you are,” Junkrat said. Roadhog grunted, not agreeing or arguing.

“We have a name,” he said.

“We gonna track him down?” Junkrat asked.

“We know where he’s coming home to,” Roadhog said. “Can leave him a message. Be on our way.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

They were both quiet for a bit. The stooge dripped. Junkrat flopped on the bed next to him and reached for the remote. He turned the TV on and settled down on his elbows. Then he sprang up to search the biker, then puttered around the room. Roadhog watched him without saying anything. He came up with a set of keys.

“Can use his bike,” he said. “Head up to our boy’s house before word gets back to him that this went south.”

“You have a plan?” Roadhog asked.

“I’ve had a plan from the beginning,” Junkrat said, grinning. “I just didn’t know all of it yet.”

“Now you do?”

“Now I do.”

Chapter Text

They had to argue over it some, just to be happy. Even on a different motorcycle, Roadhog was sure he was going to be hard to mistake for anyone else. He wasn’t about to let Junkrat go on his own. Neither of them were sure Junkrat could even drive a motorcycle by himself. Roadhog had never let him drive in their partnership and Junkrat himself wasn’t sure if ever had, but he was confident he could get it right in a few tries. Roadhog reminded him what a wreck looked like and used the dead stooge as an example.

“Take a cab!” Junkrat said, pointing at the phone.

“No,” Roadhog said, not wanting a record of them being picked up or dropped off between two murder scenes.

“Fucking walk, then!” Junkrat said throwing his hands in the air. “M’not pushing you the whole way this time.”

“You would if I couldn’t walk,” Roadhog said, and watched Junkrat go from indignant to concerned.

“Can you not?” he asked. It was almost funny. “You still have a canister. There’s more in the-“

“I’m fine,” Roadhog said, not laughing out loud. “Just saying.”

Junkrat harrumphed and got back to thinking. He paced and chewed on his lips. Roadhog let him. Noise from the rest of the hotel filtered in. Voices and laughter rose and fell, footsteps came and went, and the rattle of the ice machine made the wall the stooge was nailed to vibrate.

“Night’s just getting started,” Roadhog rumbled. Junkrat stopped and stared at him.

“We have all tomorrow if you still want to leave in the parade,” he said. Roadhog was surprised that he had retained that. The parade probably was their best bet of getting out of town without a chase. After today, the parade was likely to be watched carefully for them, but it would still be easier to blend in with a crowd than to make the run on their own. He would have to cover up, leave his mask off. He knew exactly how fond of clothes Junkrat was. He grumbled, part annoyance, part resignation and got up from the bed. Junkrat’s eyes were quick over him, maybe looking for an injury.

“Getting some clothes,” Roadhog said. Junkrat relaxed back into a grin.

“Bring in the moose for me,” he said.

 

By the time Roadhog was back inside, they were both on the news. Junkrat wasn’t paying attention to the TV. He was sitting on the bed nearest the door, wiring his explosives together into a cluster. Roadhog set the moose head beside the bed so as not to jostle him and sat on the other bed to watch the news. There was no footage from the company or the house. They were using old pictures. The one of Junkrat was from Manila. He had been photographed mid-cackle with his hair and shorts on fire. The one of Roadhog had him hunched and covered with blood. That could’ve been taken anywhere.

“Oh, that’s good!” Junkrat said, finally looking up. “Wash off real good, slick our hair down, and wear other clothes and we won’t look like that.” He got up to start kicking around the biker’s luggage. He pulled up a black shirt with a winged skull on it. “I’ll wear this!” He unplugged the heart monitor and shrugged out of his vest to put the shirt on. It was close to fitting. Next out of the bag was a pair of jeans which he also put on. They were too short and a little baggy, but if he wore a belt and laced up his boots, no one would be able to tell. A bandana over his hair and his storage shed coat and he was right. He didn’t look much like the maniacal picture.

Nothing the biker had would fit Roadhog, so he got out his bowling shirt again. As usual, Junkrat giggled at the sight of it, and then went back to whatever he was doing with the moose head. Roadhog pulled on a wifebeater to cover the tattoos, unbuttoned the bowling shirt over it, and added a leather biker vest. He let his hair down and tied it in a quick braid. He had a hat to cover his eyes and a face mask. He had never been able to find a helmet that fit him that didn’t also make him look like an especially irate kradmelder. The biker had a full face helmet that Junkrat could wear, though.

They packed up their weapons and gear and did a proper scavenge of the hotel room. They came up with a wallet, a tent too small for either of them, the last half of a six pack, a lojack, a good toolset, and a lot of sunscreen. They added it to their stock and Junkrat carefully packed the moose head in a duffle bag.

“Don’t forget the canisters,” he said suddenly.

“Never do,” Roadhog said.

“Pack an extra one,” Junkrat said, and then they went to try the keys until they found which motorcycle was the biker’s. It wasn’t a bad one, Roadhog admitted. Smaller than he liked, but it could carry them both. He made Junkrat put on the helmet and sit ahead of him.

“Pay attention,” he said, knowing better even as he said it. “Remember how next time.”

“Right, right,” Junkrat said, already distracted. He would be in the way in front, but there was less chance of him falling off and Roadhog was big enough to reach everything even with him in the way. They got the unfamiliar bike going and headed back out toward the swankier side of town. The RV parks and hotels fell away to high rises and businesses, and then that went from houses to big houses, to the ocean view properties over looking the sea and the town.

The address that Roadhog had found on the stooge’s phone was severe looking place on the edge of a cliff over the water. It was all glass and angles and manicured lawn with a lot of symmetrical shrubs. There was a gate with a guard and a wall with another guard on the cliff side. The house had a few lights on, but if the big boss was out of town, that was probably just the staff. They slowed down to look at it and Junkrat pushed up the visor of the helmet.

“No shootouts,” he said. “Park over there.” He pointed to the rocks along the road next to the wall. The full moon made the wall white and the ocean silver. The guard on the wall turned to look at them as they stopped.

“Now what?” Roadhog asked, keeping an eye on the guard. Junkrat heaved one leg up and spun around on the seat. He grabbed handfuls of Roadhog’s vest and pulled him into a messy, off-center kiss. Roadhog knew about fakeout makeouts, but they usually didn’t feel so clawingly desperate. Fingernails dug into the back of his neck and the metal hand was pulling him closer. Junkrat’s teeth were in his lip and his tongue was everywhere. Roadhog let it happen for a moment, then went with it. The spark in his belly could pretend to be a butterfly.

He leaned forward, pressing Junkrat up against the gas tank. He got a grip on his hair through the bandana and pulled his head back to press a kiss on the side of his throat. The sound Junkrat made came all the way from his toes. They had the guard’s full attention now. He leaned over the wall to shout at them to move on. Roadhog ignored him. Junkrat might not’ve heard him at all. He was gasping for breath and still trying to wrestle Roadhog closer.

Roadhog ran a hand over his torso and he arched into it, grinding against the curve of his belly. The kid was either an excellent faker or had forgotten that he was supposed to be faking. Roadhog slid the skull shirt up and pressed a kiss to Junkrat’s stomach. Junkrat bowed his back to press into it. He had turned as loud and obnoxious as ever. Roadhog still went with it. He was still keeping half an eye on the guard who was stomping toward the stairs. He wrapped his hands around Junkrat’s back and slid them down to grab and squeeze his ass before getting a grip on his legs and pulling them up to pin Junkrat between the bike and his belly.

This time, the sound that came out of Junkrat was awed. Roadhog rumbled and was able to clearly feel Junkrat’s reaction to that. He gave a nudge back and Junkrat groaned. The guard came around a corner and yelled at them to knock it off. Roadhog flipped him off. The guard started stalking over. He was in a suit and had a sidearm under the jacket. Roadhog was braced to fight, but Junkrat still didn’t seem to notice.

“Need him?” Roadhog murmured into Junkrat’s throat. He wasn’t biting yet. There might not be any turning back from that. Junkrat shivered and melted into it.

“Need you,” he said.

“For the plan,” Roadhog reminded him, gauging how close he could let the guard get before he had to do something.

“This is the plan!” Junkrat laughed breathlessly. “Always was. Someway. Somehow.”

“I’m talking to you, fat ass!” the guard said, hand reaching toward Roadhog’s shoulder.

“No,” Junkrat said. That was all Roadhog needed. One quick grab and a fling and the guard went over the edge with barely more than a gasp. There was a short cry and then nothing. Junkrat hopped up, grabbed the bag, and headed off to the main gate, leaving Roadhog panting and uncomfortable behind him. That was a quick turnaround, even for Junkrat. He was waving his arms as he ran up to the guard station at the front gate.

“Holy shit!” he screamed. The oversized duffle bag bounced against his back. “Your boy fell off the rock!”

“What?” the guard looked over. Roadhog dutifully looked over the edge of the guard rail like he was looking for the body. He hadn’t heard it hit the water, but it was nowhere on the cliff face. “Seriously?” sputtered the gate guard. He called into his ear piece and got no answer, which started to convince him. “What the fuck happened?” He left the guard station and started jogging over. Junkrat gave Roadhog a wave and ducked inside. He stayed close to the shrubs up the driveway and made for the house.

It was easy to get in. Nothing was locked and all he had to do was duck to dodge a few more guards heading toward the overlook. The inside was sickeningly clean, all gray and silver. It was like the whole house was designed around a sports car. Who needed this much room if you weren’t going to fill it with stuff? You wouldn’t need all these guards if you didn’t have so many windows to defend. Poor planning, whichever way you looked.

It didn’t take long to find the office. Albrecht’s had been tiny, a little room in the back of a family home. There wasn’t any family here. It was all business, front and center. There was a fireplace and wonder of wonders, a stuffed animal head hanging over it. Perfect. The creature had been much better taxidermied than his moose. It was a large, but dainty antelope-type creature with graceful horns and lost, liquid glass eyes. Junkrat had to jump to grab it and brace his foot on the mantle to pull it free.

“Before and after,” he said cheerily and replaced it with the moose head. He worked two fingers into the moose’s nostril and something clicked. He dropped a smooch on its nose and hurried to stash the antelope under the desk. Then he went back out into the hallway and started yelling for the phone. A guard with a gun was on him a second later.

“How did you get in here?” the man demanded. Junkrat put his hands up and tried to keep the grin off his face to look worried.

“Phone!” he insisted. “A guy fell off the cliff!”

“What?” The guard sounded just like the gate keeper had. Frantic shouts were coming from outside. The guard was uncertain, but he grabbed the duffle bag to make sure Junkrat hadn’t stolen anything, then marched him outside again at gunpoint when all he found was a few cans of peaches. Everybody there was in an old-fashioned tizzy, except for Roadhog who was leaning on the guard rail and watching the moon shine on the waves. Emergency services had been called. The coast guard was sending a boat around the rocks to try to find the body.

Junkrat went to sit by him. He faced the crowd, watching the panic and confusion until the ambulance got word from the boat that they had found a body and were headed to the hospital for examination. That meant dead and they all knew it. Junkrat did the talking when they were questioned and twined arms with Roadhog.

“We came for the view,” he said, leaning his head on the big shoulder. “The guy leaned over the wall to shoo us off and fell.”

“Bullshit,” said one of the other guards, but with the police and EMTs and the fire truck they couldn’t do much. They all gave their statements and when asked for contact information, Roadhog finally stirred to tell them the name of the hotel and room number they had left the dead stooge and biker in. That seemed to satisfy most everyone. The same guard tried to put the blame on them one more time, and then shouted some slurs at them as they were allowed to go. Junkrat waved at him just to rub it in.

They drove back down to the normal civilian houses and stopped at a driveway to reconvene.

“Done?” Roadhog asked.

“Done and done,” Junkrat said, giggling. “What you say we finish our moonlit drive? Find someplace a little more private.”

“Mmm.” Roadhog looked over at the ocean again to see the lights from the boat moving away. Junkrat looked too.

“Any chance he’ll live?” he asked.

“Not from that high.” Roadhog was sure.

“Hmm.” Junkrat sounded thoughtful. “We really going back to the hotel?”

“Have to. Trade bikes back.”

“Going back to the RV?”

“No pool,” Roadhog reminded him and he sniggered.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “New place then? Got cash, got cards.”

“Everywhere will be full for the rally.”

“Didn’t stop you last time.” Junkrat laughed, then sobered again, looking at him more carefully. “You need a breather?”

“Nah. I’m ok.”

They headed on again. Junkrat rode behind him now and after awhile he felt the hands, one warm, one cold, slide under his shirt. He was about to get annoyed before he realized that all the touches were in the places he’d been hurt. They were healed now, not even scars left to show where the holes had been, but Junkrat apparently remembered. After a bit, the hands settled and wrapped around him to hold on. The edge of the helmet dug in a little too. Junkrat was hanging on to him. Good. He could focus on driving.

It was a nice night. It would be better with his own bike, but the moon was bright. The wind was salty and cool. Off by the water in the distance, he could see a ferris wheel, lit up and spinning slowly. It had been awhile since he had an elephant ear. A carnival was a good place to disappear into a crowd. It might be better than fucking on a hotel bed in between two dead bodies, if only because someone might call or knock and he didn’t know how gracefully he could handle being interrupted twice. A suspiciously grind-like movement behind him meant Junkrat was probably up for whatever.

Carnival then, if only to eat and be out of sight for awhile. He aimed the bike toward the ferris wheel lights, half-expecting the house on the hill to go up in a fireball any second. It didn’t. Maybe there would be fireworks at the carnival. Of one kind or another.

Chapter Text

“This isn’t private,” Junkrat grumped as he followed Roadhog’s wide back through the crowd at the pier. He held out his flesh hand for an admission stamp anyway as Roadhog paid their way in. The stamp was a blue sand dollar and he looked at it, trying to figure out what it was until he hurried to catch up with Roadhog.

It wasn’t a big carnival, just a few rides spread out between the pier and the boardwalk with arcades and game booths and food vendors and gift shops scattered in between. It was crowded though. There were plenty of bikers in for the rally, plus the regulars, and the tourists. Roadhog could tell he wouldn’t be able to fit on many of the rides without getting a lot of attention. Maybe the ferris wheel, unless the hard-faced lady manning the ride raised a stink about it. He felt Junkrat grab his hand in the crowd and towed him along. There were enough people of all shapes and sizes that they didn’t stand out that much. He was still the biggest person around, but in all the lights and noise and motion, it was harder to tell.

Junkrat’s eyes jumped from neon to neon. He had been in plenty of bright, noisy places, but maybe not this crowded. He was limping a little since he had strapped the boot to his prosthetic. It was probably better than taking it off, but Roadhog was going to let him decide. Some of the carnies and more than a few of the attendees would’ve fit right in in Junkertown, if only as cannon fodder, he added to himself as some whiny teenagers went by. Apparently, it hadn’t been this crowded last year. He snorted and used his size to cut a path through the crowd down the midway. They were called to as they passed, challenged to games with praise or insults. Roadhog ignored them and for once, Junkrat followed his example. He was being a little too quiet.

“Too much?” Roadhog asked as they went along. They passed a spinning contraption for a ring toss game loaded down with bags of doomed goldfish as prizes. The lights blazed and the buzzers went off as somebody won. The machine spun and the fish gleamed.

“No,” Junkrat said, even as he tried to take in all of it. He was still hanging onto Roadhog’s wrist. “I’m good.” Roadhog accepted that and went looking for an elephant ear vendor. The fair was full of the smell of hot grease, so it wasn’t easy to tell what was being sold where. He found a lot of funnel cake, but wasn’t interested in it.

“What’s the difference?” Junkrat asked as booth after booth was found wanting.

“You’ll see.”

Eventually, Junkrat got hungry too, and they stopped at a gyro stand next to the pony ride. Junkrat was sure the meat in his gyro came from the ponies and was excited to eat something new. He watched the live ponies walk in their circle as he chewed, occasionally muttering that they tasted better than they smelled. Roadhog didn’t bother to correct him. To a Junker's nose, the smell of the ponies did blend in with the spices from the roasting meat a little too well. He had gotten a hummus and cucumber pita for himself. They got frozen pink lemonades from another booth and paid $5 each to see the world’s largest rat, which turned out to be an overfed and very bored capybara. It didn’t look anything like the bloodthirsty paintings of it outside the shed. Junkrat was still impressed, mainly at the thought of what it might taste like.

They moved on to more rides. Junkrat studied the Scrambler so long, Roadhog was afraid he would want to ride it. He was prepared to explain that the physics of the thing meant they couldn’t ride together without Junkrat being crushed in one direction or another. The proof was right in front of them. The man seated between the two children would flatten one of them every time the ride changed direction. It was a little funny to watch, but Junkrat never mentioned getting in line.

“There,” he said finally, pointing to a spot towards the middle of the spinning ride. “One boom there, at that spot, and the whole thing would fly apart.” He giggled a little. “Barely need forty trauzls to send it flying. Time it right, and the cars’ momentum would send ‘em all the way to the end of the pier!” He cackled out loud at that. “Wanna see?”

“I want that,” Roadhog said, pointing to a small booth with a light up strawberry on top. He wasn’t going to ask what a trauzl was. Sounded like a Jamison word. He led the way around the Scrambler over into cloud of hot oil and cinnamon smell. There was a little sign that said elephant ears and had a picture of a cartoon elephant eating one. Junkrat hurried over to get a look. It looked like a big lumpy pancake to him, and it came with five different toppings. Roadhog wanted cinnamon-sugar, but Junkrat had to hem and haw for a bit before deciding on a strawberry one. They sat near the duck pond game to eat. The music was softer there and the water noise was pleasant. Junkrat watched the little kiddies pick ducks out and get prizes as he ate.

“More games,” he said.

“Mmhm,” Roadhog pretended not to be looking for sign of another outburst. Junkrat looked all around, probably imagining all the ways to turn the rides and games lethal.

“Still nobody dies?” he asked.

“It’s frowned on,” Roadhog said. Junkrat snickered and went back to eating his messy elephant ear. He would have to pick the sweetest, stickiest topping out of the bunch. Still, he ate it without argument and as busy as his eyes were, he was sitting relatively calmly. It made Roadhog glance up at the cliff they had left for any sign of smoke or fire. Junkrat was usually the impatient one and now he seemed content to suck strawberry syrup off his fingers while nothing exploded in his wake. He had a smear of powdered sugar on his nose.

What?” he finally asked when he noticed the scrutiny. Roadhog nodded up at the dark where the cliffside house was.

“Something go wrong?” he asked. Junkrat looked blank for a moment, then grinned.

“Psh! Naw,” he said. “Didn’t want our man to miss the party. It’s all set to go as soon as he gets home.”

“How did you figure when that would be?”

“I could tell by the set up,” Junkrat sounded matter-of-fact. “Kinda place where nobody sets at the bossman’s desk when he’s gone.” Roadhog turned that over a few times. He didn’t know how the moose head was going to go unnoticed at a desk even if no one dared sit at it until the man of the house got back. He decided he didn’t need the details. There was only the one thing he did want to know.

“Not like you to be patient,” he said.

“I can be,” Junkrat said, stuffing the last quarter of the elephant ear into his mouth so that his cheek bulged out.

“You want to wait around and see it when it happens?” Roadhog asked. It was dangerous to stay any longer than they had to. Eventually, the strangers at the RV park with the blown up pool were going to be remembered by the EMTs who saw them where a security guard had fallen off a cliff, and the motorcycle they had been on was going to be found outside a hotel room with two dead bodies in it, and there was going to be the same blood found at the scene of a factory explosion, and a storage facility, and an RV that was owned by someone who left a lot of different blood there, and maybe at a certain house where a lot of other people had been blasted when an anonymous tip had turned into an unholy clusterfuck of destruction. It was in their best interest to leave as soon as they could safely manage it.

“Nah,” Junkrat said, grinning again as he chewed with his mouth open. “It’ll be on the news somewhere.” That was new. Junkrat usually wanted to be there to see the blast and smell the chemicals and feel the vaporized flesh mist over him. They both finished eating without talking anymore. Roadhog took his time, savoring every bite and licking the cinnamon sugar off his fingertips between each one. Junkrat watched him, either waiting for him to say something or picking him to focus on in all the clamor.

“The sign on the ferris wheel says each car can hold 1300 pounds,” Junkrat said suddenly.

“People will still notice,” Roadhog said. He took the last swig of his melting lemonade. “The whole point is to stay out of sight and not get noticed.”

“Ride it with me and I’ll blow you at the top,” Junkrat said, as if he had just thought of it. Roadhog imagined it briefly and then shook his head.

“That will get us noticed and remembered,” he said. Junkrat tilted his head, glaring like he thought he was being put on.

“Don’t you want to ride it? I know that’s what caught your eye.” Roadhog just shrugged. It had been the ferris wheel he saw from the cliff, but he had mainly wanted to prolong their ride and give himself some room to think. And get some food. And get them somewhere safe. Instincts again. With no immediate threat, they were paying more attention to the strawberry in the corners of Junkrat’s mouth and between his teeth.

“Ok,” Junkrat said, coming to some sort of decision. “Fuck the parade. Let’s leave tonight. Do what we want. No playing nice to stay out of sight. If we want to leave this place smoking behind us, I say we do it. If you want me choking on you with nothing but the sky over us, then let’s get in line.” He jerked a thumb towards the elephant ear stand, his voice rising a little with every word. “Get one of those in every flavor and stuff your face while you stuff mine. I don’t care. Say it and we’ll do it!“

Roadhog grabbed him around the throat before he could start yelling and the press of his thumb under his chin made Junkrat quiet down. Roadhog stroked a thoughtful line from jaw to Adam’s apple with the edge of his fingernail and felt a swallow against it.

“You’re taking care of me tonight,” he realized. Junkrat started to say something, but a little pressure stopped him. “You took care of everyone who screwed us over and now you’re taking care of me.” Another swallow against his thumb, but no argument. Junkrat’s too-bright eyes just looked at him from under the edge of the bandana. Behind them, the ferris wheel spun slowly, red and blue lights flashing. It was slow enough and big enough that it would take awhile to get all the way around and it stopped to give every car a minute at the very top. He exhaled out of his nose slowly, then got up. He lifted Junkrat with him and set him on his feet. The kid didn’t even rub his throat when he let go of it, but he did let out a whoop of joy as Roadhog headed toward the ferris wheel line.

Chapter Text

Roadhog was right about people noticing. As soon as he got in line, there were sideways looks and mumbles about weight limits. Roadhog hardly cared, and luckily for everyone else, Junkrat was too excited to pay attention. The ferris wheel had the gondola style cars with concave roofs. Each one could hold up to five people, so the muttering died out as whole families got on and off at the return stop. Junkrat jittered and shuffled through the whole wait. He was promising Roadhog he would love it, that it would be so good. Everyone in earshot would probably think he was afraid of heights. When they got to the front of the line, Junkrat scuttled over to whisper to the lady running it. The only part of her face that moved was her eyebrow, but Junkrat seemed happy when he got back. He pulled Roadhog into the next car and plowed into his side before the gate had even been closed.

“You don’t have to,” Roadhog rumbled as the car swung into motion and moved to let the next group up. “We can go somewhere else after and-“

“No, no, this is good,” Junkrat said. He giggled and nodded to the woman working the machine. “I slipped her some cash to stall us on top as long as she could. Told her I was going to propose.”

“Are you?” Roadhog asked. Junkrat snorted and giggled more, jostling back into his side as the car moved up one more place. They were above eye level now, even with the tops of most of the booths. That was high enough for Junkrat. He was already pawing at Roadhog’s belt buckle. Roadhog sighed. He honestly didn’t care if anyone saw them, but body-guarding for so long was a hard habit to break. The roof and the curve of his belly would keep anyone from getting a clear view. He felt Junkrat’s hand slide into his pants and at least it wasn’t the metal one. The car moved again, jostling them a little.

There wasn’t a lot of finesse and that wasn’t a surprise. Roadhog tried to keep his breathing steady as he was tugged into the open air. It wasn’t like it wasn’t doing anything for him. There wasn’t any playing it cool with your partner’s hand and hopefully soon, mouth, on you. It was hard to drop his guard and relax into it, but they were suspended in a metal cage, basically. Anyone who tried to go for them would have to climb up a moving ferris wheel and that would get enough attention to give them warning. Even a sniper would have to shoot them through a nest of cables and supports, and the only thing high enough to allow that vantage point was the pirate ship ride at the top of its apex. It seemed unlikely, so he let his head loll back and gave in.

“Every part of you is made of steel,” Junkrat said with a breathless laugh. “But you got one soft spot.” His thumb brushed over the head. Roadhog sucked in a breath and ducked his head to see. Junkrat was watching him for every reaction. “Soft and smooth as… something.”

“Silk,” Roadhog said through gritted teeth. Junkrat made a questioning sound and it was Roadhog’s turn to sound breathless.

“I’ll show you later,” he said. “Not my only spot like that.”

“Yeah?”

Roadhog tilted Junkrat’s chin up to kiss him. He sucked his tongue into his mouth and pressed it up against his soft palate. Junkrat groaned into it. Their teeth clacked together as the car moved again. They could feel the breeze up this high. It was a lot cooler than on the ground. Junkrat’s hand was shaking so Roadhog wrapped his around it. He showed him the stroke and twist that he used on himself. He guided the much smaller thumb back to the head and rolled it. He felt the fluid gathering a second after Junkrat did. They both shuddered and Junkrat pulled out of the kiss to whisper.

“I did that.” He sounded like he couldn’t believe it. He was shaking from head to toe. “That’s over me. Over me. And, and- I. You-“ He started to sink to his knees but Roadhog pulled him back to the bench as the cart rose up one more place. “Tell me what you like. What’ll get you there. We’re almost there. Almost. I-“

“You’re going to come before I do at this rate,” Roadhog rumbled. “Look.” They were one more stop from the very top and high enough to see the rest of the carnival. Their hands were still moving and their breathing was harsh and quick. All the fair lights made the moon seem faint and far away. It was just a white spot with a mirrored patch on the water below. If they had been doing this back home in the Outback, the whole ruined world would’ve shone silver. Roadhog knew what he wanted to ask for, but wasn’t sure he wanted Junkrat to know that. The last thing he needed was random bites when he wasn’t ready. He sank back into a kiss and licked over those pointed little teeth. He was already wincing a little at the thought of what those were going to feel like.

The car lurched one more time and they were at the top. They were higher than Roadhog had been able to notice, with nothing above them but the sky. Junkrat had slipped to the floor of the car while it was still swaying. Roadhog felt his panting breath a second before his mouth and then his tongue on that silky spot. There was no way that no one else knew what they were doing, but Roadhog still choked back the sound it tore out of him. He tried to focus on the moon as Junkrat sank down over him. Like before, there wasn’t so much finesse as there was enthusiasm and lack of any self-preservation. Junkrat would probably kill himself trying to take all of him in without help or prep.

Roadhog’s hands tightened on his head, pulling the bandana loose. He felt hollowed cheeks and gasped, making the car jerk with him. How long had they been up here? The car had to be moving again soon, but there wasn’t anything left in the world but warmth and wet and suction. Junkrat pulled back to the head so they could see each other. His fiery eyes were blown and tearful and there was that desperation again, like he needed more or to be more. Whatever it was, the need was the part that burned and Roadhog felt something rattle loose in his chest. This time his gasp came out as “Jamie.” The sound of it hit Junkrat like a fist. His whole body spasmed and Roadhog could feel it vibrate around him.

“Are you-?” he gasped, but he knew, watching Junkrat try to hang on to him and keep going through his own release. Junkrat choked and gagged, tried to inhale and couldn’t. Roadhog pulled him back to let him breath and the tears ran down Junkrat’s face. He was clutching at himself and rocking back and forth with the aftershocks.

“Sorry, sorry,” he babbled. “You were looking at me like I was - like I-“ He sobbed into Roadhog’s thigh. Roadhog was too close to stop. He went on stroking, getting a better grip on the wild hair to pull him close again. The car started to move. Junkrat panicked and pounced, trying to deep throat as much of him as possible. He was more in the way than anything now, but Roadhog was too close. It was on the verge, so close, but not quite there, but then he felt the jab of teeth. Roadhog snarled and grabbed him off with a pop. He yanked Junkrat up mid-apology to sink his teeth into his neck. The gut-punched sound the kid made, plus the final twist of his own thumb under and over, and that was all it took.

Roadhog couldn’t tell if the car was swaying from moving down another notch or if it was his shaky breathing. He wished he had his mask for a second. Junkrat was quivering too. His expression was reverent as he touched the bite mark. He didn’t take long to sink back to his knees. He was cleaning up with his bandana. Roadhog watched him, getting his breath back and reaching out to pet his hair smooth again. When the car moved again, he could see the tops of the booths. They were closer to the ground than he thought. He pulled Junkrat back up to the seat and got them both tucked away and reasonably presentable again. Junkrat closed the coat around himself and scooted as close under Roadhog’s arm as he could get. Roadhog kissed him without even thinking about it. The next rotation dropped them out of the breeze and into the warmth of the crowd and the smell of the food and people. Roadhog tightened the arm around Junkrat, letting his fingers drum on the bite.

“Too much?” he asked again.

“No.” Junkrat’s voice was wrecked, but emphatic. He covered the fingers with his own hand. Roadhog gave his shoulders a roll, reminding himself that anyone who tried to pick a fight with them over any of this could be safely put in the wrong without him cracking any spines. Public indecency was the best anyone could throw at them, and a beachside carnival overrun with bikers and out-of-towner teenagers had probably seen worse things.

There were still a lot of people waiting at the bottom. Touchdown felt weird and weightless for a second, like stepping off an escalator. The lady raised her one mobile eyebrow again, and Junkrat, flushed and wet-eyed as he was, slid her a bill and gave her a gleeful thumbs up.

“Congratulations,” she said. Her face still didn’t move, and her voice was as leathery as the rest of her. Her thousand yard stare went back to shuffling people onto the ride and they hurried off before anyone could say anything. They headed for the parking lot without speaking again. They both knew they were going to the hotel to get their bike back. Junkrat had to shuffle awkwardly. The inside of his pants was fast getting cold and sticky and Roadhog laughed at him trying to keep it from clinging while getting a leg over the motorcycle.

“Just because I looked at you?” he had to ask. Junkrat glared as best as could, wincing away from his own crotch.

“Like that,” he creaked out, finally rubbing his throat.

“Like what?” Roadhog asked. Junkrat looked flustered, but nodded up at the spot of the moon.

Chapter Text

Junkrat wasn’t finished. Their night wasn’t over by a long shot. Once they got back to the hotel, he changed clothes right there in the parking lot. They hadn’t brought the hotel key out with them when they left, so they would have to break in again to use the shower. Roadhog considered it for a second, then shrugged and went back to packing up their stuff in the sidecar. It wouldn’t be much trouble, but it wasn’t necessary either. He had been much filthier for much longer than this. They could see the tv they left on in the room flickering through the blinds. Maybe it was another news show about them. They wouldn’t have been able to sleep there anyway. The room above them was really going to town with yips and moans and thumps. Junkrat glared up at their door, then grinned.

“We still have those wallets?” he asked, shrugging back into his surplus coat. Roadhog checked and made an affirmative sound. “Find someplace else. No need to wait for the parade. They’ll probably be watching it for us anyway.” Roadhog grunted again. “All right, hold on.” Junkrat snagged the RV owner’s card out of the pile and shuffled back toward the front lobby with untied boots on both feet. It looked awkward, but not as obvious as the peg leg would be. As soon as their stuff was secured, Roadhog eased the bike back to life as quietly as possible and went around to wait out front in case Junkrat needed a quick pick up. He stayed out of sight of the lobby windows just in case this was a one man job.

He saw his partner gesturing wildly at the desk clerk who was nodding and looked too tired to be annoyed at him. A police car went by on the road, but didn’t stop. Roadhog’s eyes followed it out of sight down the strip. The clerk was on a phone, still nodding as Junkrat stabbed a finger at the counter to make whatever point he was after. Roadhog was glad that it was his flesh hand. Hopefully, the rest of him would be too much of a distraction, but it didn’t hurt to keep distinguishing marks to a minimum. The clerk just kept on nodding and then put a hand over the speaker of the phone to ask Junkrat something. Whatever it was, they agreed on it. Junkrat looked satisfied and the clerk wrote something down and handed it to him. Junkrat gave him a mocking salute and swept out with his coattails flaring. The clerk didn’t even watch him go and Roadhog relaxed a little.

Then the police car came back and turned into the parking lot. Roadhog froze, praying the landscaping and the shadows of the portico would keep him hidden or at least make him look smaller. He doubted it would. The car went around back where they had just been. He was mentally timing how long it would take it to come around the building. It would be sure to see him when it came around the corner again. Any moment now. Junkrat sashayed out through the door. Roadhog swung an arm to get him to hurry.

“Told them I was in the room above and my roommate threw me out for shenanigans,” Junkrat said, cheerfully and entirely too loudly. “There’s already been complaints so he didn’t even ask. There’s no more room here, but they got another location next town over.” He held up a card with directions on it. Roadhog grabbed it in one hand and Junkrat in the other. He dropped one in the side car, memorizing the words on the other. West to 311, take exit 9, and the hotel would be visible as soon as they left the turnpike. He repeated it to himself, only refocusing on Junkrat when he was sure he had it. “-already called in for a room. All I got to do is show up and show em the card.”

“Good,” he said. He heard the a siren chirp and two doors slamming. They could be checking the bike they had been on. They could check the room next. That might be good. If they called people in, it would just mean there was that many less between them and the other hotel. If they even got that far. He pulled back out onto the road much more gently than usual. His bike wasn’t used to going softly, but he didn’t let it roar until they were well on their way. He knew the way west without checking a sign and was tense for pursuit all the way through town.

“Uh, Roadie?” Junkrat said as they passed the sign that said they were going east.

“Cops out back while you were in,” he rumbled back over the sound of his engine. “If desk clerk says he sent us west, we need to be headed east.” Junkrat blinked and processed that for a long enough that Roadhog went back to driving. As late as it was, the vacation town was still going strong. There were plenty of lights and other bikes and noise no matter the hour, but it was only a few miles to the end of the strip. Once they put that behind them, the roads cleared out and the lights got farther in between. A bright green sign pointed them towards an interstate and once they were on the other road, some of the tension bled out of him. Junkrat must’ve been watching him closely, or was just that much in tune with him, because he relaxed too. He shrugged out of his coat to let his arms and one leg loll out of the side car and enjoy the wind.

The farther they went, the darker and quieter it got. They could hear crickets and smell a sulphur marsh smell in the little patches of wild out this far. There were service stations and fast food at some exits. Nothing but streetlights at others. They passed an old shell of a factory on the way. It was half covered with some kind of ivy or kudzu and all the windows were busted out, but it got Junkrat’s attention. He half-stood to watch it as they went by.

“Every junker in the Outback could live there,” he screamed over the noise of the road. Roadhog just nodded. It would probably be a good hideout too, but it wasn’t as far away as he wanted to be. Junkrat had used the RV owner’s card, he remembered. If the card was traced, it might lead investigations back to the RV park, which would lead to other things. The farther they were away when everything came to light, the better. It was time to put some miles behind them. They crossed a state line just before midnight. They were pulled over almost immediately. They left the patrolman propped up in the front seat of his cruiser and aimed it at the road like he was still watching for speeders.

“People will probably slow down for it until the sun comes up,” Roadhog said, shaking his hook clean. Junkrat siphoned the gas, stole the 2/3s bottle of cherry coke in the cup holder, and then they were on their way again. He gave the drink to Roadhog at the exact moment he thought he might be getting too tired to drive much farther. He pulled off at the next exit. It wasn’t really a town, just a pitstop off the turnpike, but there was the yellow and white light of a motel. Roadhog dropped Junkrat off at the front and then went out back to find a place to park out of sight. There were a few bikes there as well, and a semi parked sideways across a whole row of places. There was also a minivan with a puddle of puke next to it and an old pick up truck. He decided to park on the other side of the truck where his bike wouldn’t be noticed immediately and got their bags out to tarp it up. He finished just as Junkrat came galumphing back into sight.

“Upstairs!” he said gleefully. He held up his keycard. “Our turn to keep the neighbors up.”

Roadhog grunted something amused and followed him up the stairs to the second floor. Their new room was bigger, but not as nice as the first hotel. The carpet and the duvet cover were dingy and ratty. The AC was already on though and it smelled ok.

“Plumbing works,” Junkrat reported from the bathroom. Whether he meant the hotel’s or his own wasn’t clear. Roadhog dropped their bags on the bed and drank the last of the cherry coke before he came back out.

“Do you want to order food before I lock the place up?” Junkrat asked, gesturing both at the phone and the pile of traps in his bag. There was a menu on the nightstand. He waved it invitingly. Roadhog shook his head.

“Good ’til morning,” he said. Junkrat accepted that and flopped on the bed to start pulling off the too-big boots. He wiggled his toes in the cool air as Roadhog pulled all the drapes. Roadhog went in to turn on the shower. It took awhile for the water to warm up so he stripped down and waited with his hand in the water. He didn’t bother to close the door so Junkrat didn’t have to knock before he popped in.

“Safe and sound!” he said. Roadhog leaned out to see that the door and windows were well and truly booby-trapped. Fine. He leaned back to find Junkrat squirming out of all his clothes. There was a hint of steam on the mirror, so the water was finally warm.

“Joining me?” he asked as the prosthetics started coming off too.

“Not done with you yet!” Junkrat said, grinning.

“Deal’s a deal,” Roadhog said, stepping in and letting hot water rush over him. He made a gurgling sound of pleasure. “I rode, you blew.”

“You paid for everything!” Junkrat tore the shower curtain wide open, hopping on his one foot and trying to get over the side of the tub.

“You took care of the moose head.” Roadhog gave in and helped him in, getting bounced on and grappled with as Junkrat tried to keep his balance.

“You got the intel from the stooge.”

“You got us out of the house.”

“You looked after me all day!”

“You put me back together,” Roadhog said, so solemnly that Junkrat’s smile wobbled. “And got me away.”

“You,” Junkrat tried to rally up again. “You saved me from the explosion?” he said, as if he wasn’t sure that was what had happened.

“That’s my job,” Roadhog said.

“For which I intend to pay you!” Junkrat broke back into his grin. “Fifty-fifty.” He had to stand on the edge of the tub to try and kiss his face.

“This another of your someday plans?” Roadhog asked, standing just out of reach maybe a little on purpose. He still wasn’t sure how seriously to take that.

“It’s a right now plan!”

“Fine. What do you want to do?”

“Everything!”

“Too old for everything.”

“Still some spry left in you!”

“Not enough to get me out of this tub if I lay down in it,” Roadhog sighed. Junkrat furrowed his brow, thinking it over.

“There’s a mirror across from the bed,” he said.

“Yeah.”

“You could…” He spun his hand theatrically. “Get up. Against the headboard, and I could be in your lap, like, so we could both see in the mirror. And you could put your mark on the other side, maybe. My neck, I mean.” He hung his head to the side to show the spot he meant. Tired as he was, the thought still sparked something warm down under Roadhog’s belly.

“Bite you,” he said. “Again.” Junkrat nodded eagerly.

“Yeah, yeah, if you want.” There was a long pause, where Junkrat blinked rapidly in the shower spray but didn’t move to get out of it. He just waited.

“Yeah.” Roadhog finally said. Junkrat didn’t whoop, but Roadhog felt the sigh-turned-breathless laugh against his wet skin.

“Towels first,” he said. Junkrat hurried out ahead of him and bounced on the bed, still dripping wet. Roadhog took his time drying off, spending a little longer on his hair.

“Do you want to fuck me proper or just in between-“ Junkrat ran his hands down his thighs and then lit up with a new idea. “Or! Or, you could lay down and I could, I could do everything, if you wanted that done. You could put your feet up there and your head down there and see us both in the mirror.”

“Why would I want to see myself?” The thought of getting fucked and fussed over wasn’t a bad one, but Roadhog didn’t think watching it with his head hanging off the end of the bed sounded especially sexy.

“Oh, I dunno, because you’re gorgeous?” Junkrat said it like it was obvious, but Roadhog still wasn’t sure how serious he was.

“Got a long ride to get out of here,” he reminded him. “Neither of us need a tender ass for that.“

“Thinking ahead,” Junkrat said, finger-gunning back at him. “So how we going to do this?” Roadhog considered, then sat on the bed and scooted back to lean on the headboard. He was already mostly hard and Junkrat’s greedy noise didn’t hurt. He got out a bottle of the biker’s sunscreen, but Roadhog swatted it out of his hand and made him dig out a tube of something else. The label had been worn off in Roadhog’s pocket a long time ago. It looked like the stuff he used for chafing or the occasional grease for the bike, but it was clear and scentless and plenty slippery.

It should’ve taken two hands to slick Roadhog up, but Junkrat had left the prosthetic on the bathroom floor. Roadhog watched him do his best, then loaned one of his to help, their fingers overlapping. He noticed Junkrat was avoiding looking him in the eye this time. His chuckle was low and breathy.

“Yeah, yeah,” Junkrat grumbled, too excited to really take offense. He wiped his shiny hands on the inside of his legs and got another dollop. He reached down under himself, hand disappearing between his legs, but Roadhog could see him from behind in the mirror. The narrow fingers fluttered and stroked up the cleft of his ass and over both balls, leaving them shiny. Junkrat was trembling and breathing hard before he turned around. Roadhog let him slide down to get settled, thighs on either side of his cock. There was some squirming and wincing and then, they slid together at the right angle. Junkrat eeped. Roadhog rumbled, and then they were both moving. An experimental push nudged Roadhog just so, between the thighs and up under. Junkrat gasped and did his best to hang on with the one hand. He tried to get his fingers around both of them to hold them together while Roadhog moved.

Massive hands were on his hips to hold him steady, focusing on the feel of it. Junkrat’s quivering, the wet sounds of their bodies, and the soft sounds he made would’ve been delicious in the dark. Added to the sight of him arching and sweating in the mirror and it was nearly too much. Junkrat almost sounded like he was hurt, the deep, hissing inhales and the shuddering exhales. He wasn’t even trying to balance himself. He let Roadhog hold him as their hips rocked and the hand stroked. Roadhog felt the narrow back bow against his stomach, tense and trembling. He saw the remaining toes spread wide and then curl with each thrust. Looking up and seeing the other angle in the mirror made his insides clench that much tighter. Junkrat was leaning back against him, still holding both of them to his own belly. He was doing his best to keep his thighs tight together for Roadhog to fuck into, but his head lolled on his neck like he wanted to sprawl out. His head tilted to the left, baring the unmarked side of his throat. Was it an invitation? Or just instinct? It hit Roadhog straight in his primal gut too.

“Look at you,” he growled, freeing a hand to wrap around Junkrat’s shaking one. He stroked them both harder and pressed them almost painfully tight against Junkrat’s heaving stomach. “That’s how far I could go into you if we were really fucking.” Junkrat looked down and shuddered out a wheeze. “Could you take it all?” Roadhog rumbled and watched the kid’s eyes glaze over and his jaw drop. “You look like you want to. “ He gave him a harder thrust, bucking up into him. He let go of his hips to press his thighs together tighter, still driving into the squeeze as hard as he could. “Need another mirror,” he rasped, voice dropping to a whisper. “To watch your belly bulge with it.”

Junkrat was dripping and close. His eyes were glued to watching them move together, the slide and gleam of the oil, the difference in size and skin color. Roadhog remembered the feeling of there being nothing else in the world from on top of the ferris wheel and chuckled again, throwing his rhythm off.

“Said you wanted to watch this,” he growled. Junkrat weakly raised his head and a ridiculous whimper came out of him when he got to see how wrecked his reflection looked. Roadhog grinned over his shoulder.

“Roadie…” Junkrat whined. He bit his lip and Roadhog bit into his neck again, their eyes still locked. Junkrat’s one foot kicked and dug into the pilled comforter. Roadhog’s huge hand wrapped around them again, taking over. It took three twisting strokes, and short, sharp cries and only one bruising pull with his teeth and Junkrat came. Watching him in the mirror, imagining that happening on his cock sent Roadhog over. They took a gasping, kiss-filled moment to come down and untangle before they started to clean up. It was a simple wipe down, followed by throwing the comforter off the bed. They curled up under the coarse sheet and the thin blanket. Junkrat was still shaking and strangely speechless, so Roadhog pulled him close.

“Sleep,” he said.

“We already ditched the parade,” Junkrat found his voice after awhile. It wasn’t back to full strength yet. “We can stay as long as we want. Do whatever. Heal everything up before we have to go.”

“Sleep,” Roadhog insisted, wrapping a hand over his face. He felt a tongue, then teeth, then the tongue again, but there wasn’t any argument.

Chapter Text

He woke up alone and had a wild moment of panic before he saw that the trap on the door had been removed. Junkrat wasn’t gone, he had just gone out. And then Roadhog was dragging himself up with a groan, because that was still a problem, really. He took the time to pull on clothes and grab the hotel key since nothing made a bad situation worse than running from it naked and barefoot. The sun was up, but it was still early. Not many people were up and moving, but the semi driver was. He was down beside his rig with Junkrat.

Junkrat was talking and gesturing. It looked casual, but then he started handing over money. The driver looked at the handful of cash and then back at Junkrat. He looked doubtful. Another bill was slapped on to the pile. The driver opened his mouth like he would say something, then scratched at the back of his neck like he wasn’t sure at all. Junkrat slapped down another one and Roadhog started for the stairs. Whatever was going on, it was already out of hand as far as he was concerned. Both Junkrat and the driver looked up when he hit the ground floor and headed over. The driver had something around his neck, hanging over his chest and he grabbed it and wrote a word on it. Junkrat guffawed when he saw it.

“You got us, mate!” he said, going back to waving his hands. It wasn’t random, Roadhog realized as he got closer. Was he signing? “Mad bomber daredevils and human juggernauts! That’s us!” The man was wearing some kind of clipboard. He had written CIRCUS? on it. He was deaf?

“I got us a ride!” Junkrat said, turning to Roadhog and waving a hand at the semi. “Our man Ed is heading north with an empty truck to pick up a load. He’ll take us along to make some cash on the side.”

“Thought you wanted to kick back for a day,” Roadhog said.

“Too good a chance to waste,” Junkrat said. “Your bike will fit in the back if we take off the sidecar for just a minute. He’ll drop us off wherever he is when he stops for the night. It’ll put us a day away with no eyes on us.”

Roadhog thought about that while Junkrat and Ed went back to signing at each other. It was weird to see Junkrat do anything quiet and it didn’t last. He talked along with his signs half the time, only stopping when he had to concentrate on one. A quick threat assessment of Ed wasn’t impressive. He was smaller than both of them, and older. He had a slumped back and round middle with pale, spindly limbs. He looked made for sitting in a truck seat all day. He wore aviator sunglasses and had a white moustache. He didn’t seem to have any weapons on him. He was nodding at what Junkrat was telling him and then gestured at Roadhog, which got his attention. Junkrat looked sad and nodded.

“What are you telling him?” Roadhog demanded, fists clenching. He didn’t trust the sad look.

“Nothing personal!” Junkrat said, smiling now and looking innocent which was a definite tell. And then there was Ed, who was now looking at him like no one had for years. No one had dared to look at Roadhog with anything resembling pity since the world had burned. Not the whole world, apparently, but the part he had wanted to keep. His first impulse was to smash the expression until pieces of skull poked out of it. Junkrat knew that too, and intercepted.

“I’ll explain later,” he said quickly, his back to Ed so only Roadhog heard him. “I know what I’m doing,” he added a little more forcefully. “Get the bike ready and I’ll pack up the room. Don’t let him leave with the cash.”

That at least was sensible, and it gave Roadhog an option from just trusting this Ed. Junkrat gave his arm a pat and then scurried toward the stairs. Roadhog waited in bristling silence, knowing exactly what was about to happen and unwilling to make it any easier. He stood there staring Ed down as Junkrat went all the way up to their room and found that he was locked out. Roadhog held up the key card without a word, and was only a little mollified at the muffled swearing as Junkrat came back down the stairs and across the parking lot to get it. Ed might’ve been deaf, but he picked up on unspoken threats just fine. He stepped well away from the cab of his truck and when Roadhog turned, so did he. His thin hands hung limp and empty and in plain sight. He made no move to get to his truck or do anything while Roadhog went over to his motorcycle.

Roadhog didn’t like dismantling the sidecar mechanism. It made him a little queasy to be honest. He knew it was stupid. It wasn’t symbolic of anything. The semi just wasn’t wide enough to take something as wide as she was. Junkrat would’ve made a dirty joke out of that. It did make Roadhog’s jaw unclench a little. Ed just stood there. When it was time to load her up, Ed finally moved to open the back and let the ramp down. Roadhog hated wheeling her into the trailer. It felt claustrophobic and wrong. She was meant to eat up the road on her own, not hide in the back of this thing, strapped down like a lobotomy patient. He had the sudden dread of the doors slamming shut behind him, trapping him inside. Ed could take off, driving him somewhere to turn him in, leaving Junkrat behind to be easy pickings later.

He spun around and Ed was still in plain sight. He had stepped back from the doors so there wasn’t any chance of it looking like he might try something. Roadhog headed back for the sidecar, deliberately rattling the trailer with every step. Even a deaf man could feel that and imagine it in his own bones. The sidecar went in easy and was strapped down and then Junkrat was back with their duffles and stuff.

“All set?” he asked and got a grunt from Roadhog and a nod from Ed. Ed ushered them to the passenger side like a gentleman and even held up a hand as if he could help Roadhog into the cab. Roadhog stared at him until Junkrat had to use both hands to get him moving again. He tugged until Roadhog climbed in after him and Ed shut the door after them both.

“What. Did you. TELL HIM??” Roadhog demanded as Ed walked around to the driver’s side.

“He came up with it on his own!” Junkrat said. “He took one look and thought we must be from a circus. I, I went with it! I told him they weren’t good to you there. They kept you in a cage. That’s why we’re leaving.”

“He tried to hold my hand!”

“I told him you weren’t used to being treated gentle and spooked easy.”

“He thinks we’re part of a freak show.” Roadhog sighed, resignation sinking in as Ed opened the other door and slid in with practiced ease. His body sank into the chair and he started making adjustments.

“He can’t read your lips through the mask,” Junkrat said, still cheerful. “Say what you want.”

“Since when do you know sign language?” Roadhog snapped, jostling the men on either side. Ed didn’t react, just started the engine. Junkrat looked a little surprised.

“All kinds of deaf and blind and mute and crippled kids growing up with me,” he said. “Everybody knew a little of everything just to get by.” That made a painful kind of sense. Roadhog hadn’t had to deal with that being on the road and on his own for so long. He tried to make his hands relax on his knees. They still wanted to be fists.

“He gonna be soft on me the whole time?” he asked, nodding towards Ed, who was pulling out of his nine parking spots.

“If he knows what’s good for him,” Junkrat said, voice dropping a little. “Here.” He pulled a handful of vending machine snacks out of the duffle at their feet. He had taken the time to raid the machines at the hotel before he left. Roadhog sighed again, but it was a plan and a decent one. The biggest snack was a bear claw so he went for that first. It didn’t taste like much but it kept him from having to think of anything to say while he ate it. There wasn’t a radio (or course not) but there was a little device with weather reports and GPS instructions scrolling across it. Roadhog decided that if a description of them started across it, he could ‘accidentally’ knock it loose with a knee by crossing his legs. Then again, Ed might not bother with turning them in if he wanted to be paid. Except he had already been paid.

“Half upfront?” he asked as it occurred to him.

“Other half when he drops us off,” Junkrat agreed. He was eating some bright orange peanut butter crackers. The beige seats might never be the same. Ed pulled out into the sluggish morning traffic and headed north, just like he said. It got dull quickly. Ed didn’t talk and there was nothing but each other to listen to. They had had a full day before, Roadhog thought. From recovering in the RV park to the shootout at Albrecht’s, to the cliffside mansion and the carnival, to the late night drive to the sticks and this hotel. He had only had a few hours sleep. It might not be so bad, he thought, just to sit and rest for a few miles. All he had to do was keep an eye on Ed and his information screen and he could do that without moving his head.

Surprisingly enough, Junkrat dozed off against him shortly after finishing the crackers. He snuggled in, sharp chin digging into Roadhog’s arm. Roadhog raised it to get it out of the way, then sighed and put it around him. Ed glanced their way at that. He smiled a little and spread out the fingers of one hand. He tapped his chin with the middle one and pulled it away quickly. Roadhog had no idea what that meant, but it didn’t seem hostile. He settled down to watch for trouble and look out the window.

They went on, slightly east and more north. There was nothing but undeveloped land for a few hours. It wasn’t a wasteland, Roadhog thought. It was still green and growing. Back home, everyone with legs that worked would’ve fought their way to it, just to see it, roll in the grass, sit under the trees. They’d ruin it themselves in a week fighting over it was likely, but still. It gave him pangs he didn’t like to think about it. He glanced at the gas meter just to try and guess how long it would take before they had to stop. One of them would have to stay in the cab at all times to make sure Ed didn’t double cross them. He didn’t look it, but that didn’t mean anything.

In the quiet, with just the sound of the road and the wheels, Roadhog let himself thing about everything they would have to do once they got wherever they were going. He checked the GPS again and the next towns were small ones that he didn’t know. A Junker circus would be terrifying, he thought suddenly. It could travel and get as close to civvy towns as they could and let the brave and curious pay to see what monstrosities were fresh from the Outback. A Junker ferris wheel would be a thing of nightmares. Junkrat would probably love it. All the games could be life or death, and the rides could be too. Knowing the Junkers, there would be betting pools as to who would survive what. Instead of a hand stamp, it would probably be a burn scar. You made it back home with one of those and you would have a story for the rest of your life.

“They’d never come to it,” he rumbled softly. Ed didn’t hear him and Junkrat stayed asleep. He rubbed a finger at one of the bare patches on Junkrat’s head. “That’s why we’re taking it to them, isn’t it?” Still nothing from either of them, and that was fine. He was going to stay awake until Junkrat woke up and then grab his own nap and then Ed would probably have to stop for gas and food. If they had kept that atlas from the storage place, he could try to figure out where a day’s drive would leave them. The good news was that Ed might move like a very careful orangutan, but his foot was made of solid lead. They were scooting along. If they got pulled over, maybe they could stick to the circus story and let Ed handle it. Right.

It turned out that the little screen also had a warning for when they got too far over the speed limit. It flashed red to get Ed’s attention and the old man sighed like it was terrible to slow back to the speed limit, but he did. Roadhog chuckled a little in spite of himself. It made Junkrat stir and then snort on his own slobber. He wiped his mouth with his hand and looked around.

“Are we there?” he asked.

“Not in just three hours,” Roadhog told him. Junkrat gave himself a shake and squirmed more upright. He snagged a pack of mini doughnuts from the snack pile and reached over to offer it to Ed, who declined with a smile. Junkrat shrugged and started eating them himself.

“Your turn,” he said with his mouth full. “I’ll wake you if anything happens.” Roadhog propped his chin up with an elbow on the armrest and let his eyes close behind the mask. Hopefully, Ed wouldn’t know he was asleep and if there were miracles in the world, Junkrat wouldn’t do anything to endanger them until he did wake up. He had been handling things pretty well this trip though. Having his bodyguard blown full of holes must’ve have finally impressed on him the seriousness of what they were doing. Or he was still playing the part of the caretaker. Either way, it was working. Roadhog gave his motorcycle another thought. Both of them crammed into spaces too small and having to wait out the ride. At least she had the sidecar for company, he thought, which was a sure sign he did need some sleep, if he was getting sappy over that. He noticed Junkrat hadn’t come out from under his arm now that he was awake, speaking of things attached at the side. Enough, he told himself, enough for now, and dozed off.

Chapter Text

Junkrat was on task. Focused, even. Funny that it made his heart hammer like this. You’d think being calm and alert would make him less jittery. It wasn’t easy. His attention wanted to skitter. There were so many lights in Ed’s cab alone. It made sense. A radio or alarm would be useless. Everything had to be flashing and bright to clue in ol’ Ed. And that wasn’t even counting everything happening outside the truck. There was a lot of world to look at in daylight. There was more to look at from the cab than there had been at the fair. Not as much to do, though. Not that Ed would notice if they did.

They were making good time. Not as good as they would be if Roadie was driving. They would be leading their own parade of blue flashing lights at pavement-crumbling speeds. The wind would be slapping the tears from his eyes and spit from the corners of his mouth. He wished he could hang out the window here. The steady breeze from the air conditioner was nice, but it wasn’t the same. Roadhog probably missed it too. Roadhog was why they were being so careful. They could probably outrun or fight their way clear of anything in their way, but the same impulse that had flared in him earlier was still burning steady. He hadn’t known what it was until Roadhog had said it.

You’re taking care of me, he had said, his thumb on Junkrat’s throat and his voice low with something a little too close to disbelief. It had settled warm in Junkrat’s guts like a swig of the well-made moonshine. Taking care was what he wanted to do. He was the boss after all. Roadhog got to relax in the window seat for a change and watch the landscape go by. Nobody would spot him or his bike. He wouldn’t have to outrun or outfight anybody for awhile. So maybe it wasn’t the best idea. But it would put them days away from where they were being looked for. That would give them time to settle in and plan the next heist. And the next getaway. Maybe that’s what Roadie was thinking of. He wasn’t relaxed and enjoying the view. There was tension there, even if he really was asleep under the mask.

He had seen this before. Even asleep, the big man was dangerous. The deceptive stillness, the coiled snake, the claw safe and snug up in the soft kitty toes, all ready to unsheathe, uncoil and leave those aviator glasses mixed with warm gray matter. And that was do-able. Sure Ed seemed a sweet old guy, but if they killed him, they could take his rig and go wherever they wanted. They could make it into their own Junker RV, live out of it. For weeks! Had to be better than camping. Roadhog could teach him to drive it. They could do heists in it. They could reinforce it to smash through roadblocks and jackknife into pursuit vehicles. They could fix it so that the end could fly open and they could tear out on the motorcycle if they were ever cornered, guns blazing and bombs bursting. They could detonate the rig once they were clear. He would have to make sure they named the resulting crater after Ed.

That got a snort and a giggle out of him. Only Roadhog heard it. He made an answering sound. It still wasn’t clear if he was awake or not. It didn’t matter. He had Junkrat to keep watch and make sure nothing went wrong. He needed new shoulder gear. The pressure blast had shredded the last one, along with his shoulder. Maybe it had been the shrapnel and not the blast. Didn’t change the fact that he needed new ones.

Junkrat checked the cab again. Ed was driving along, never quite fast enough to get outside attention. His eyes were on the road, only flicking around when one of his lights started blinking. He either couldn’t or didn’t want to sign while he drove, so he nodded Junkrat to his drawing board when he tried to talk to him. That didn’t work out too well either, but it gave him something to do while he chattered on at Ed anyway. He ended up doodling as he talked, ferris wheels, the entropy point of the Scrambler ride, and a fairly decent mechanical rendering of a nail gun. There might have been a few dicks in there too, but he had the good manners to wipe the board clean when they pulled into a service station. Roadhog stirred and sat up.

“Don’t let him go anywhere without one of us watching,” he said. He pulled off his mask and handed it over. It was warm and heavy. “Tell him I’ll pay for the fuel.”

That caused a quick debate because Ed paid for gas with a company card, but he was willing to take the cash and add it to his cut. He checked the truck so carefully that Roadhog thought he might be putting them on and then they all went together for warm food and a bathroom break. If Ed thought it was weird that they shadowed him everywhere, he didn’t let on. He used his board to order sandwiches and coffee and sat in a booth to eat it, letting them pay for it. The Junkers did the same.

“You worried about your ride or him telling somebody?” Junkrat asked through a mouthful of scrambled egg and tomato sandwich. Roadhog just grumbled around his own. Losing the motorcycle would piss him off, but tracking it down and getting it back wouldn’t be impossible. He was feeling a little better about Ed now that money seemed to be the answer. He understood a man he could pay off. It didn’t mean Ed wouldn’t turn them in for the reward as soon as he got the chance, and it didn’t mean they wouldn’t splatter his guts all over the road for it. That was just business, same here as it was back home. They still kept a careful eye on him the whole time.

Afterwards, there was one more bathroom trip and then Junkrat bought another armload of snack rations, and they all piled back into the truck. Roadhog pulled his mask back on and the hiss of his breathing filled up the cab. They got on the road again and settled back in a boring talk and eat and doze routine. Roadhog had gone on alert when a warning to look out for bikers came across Ed’s screen. It was just a reminder about the parade going up the coast though. Bikers were coming in from miles around to take part in the run. The roads were going to be busy for the next few days. Then, what looked like a phone number flashed a few times before it went back to normal. There was nothing about them though, so he eased back down.

Junkrat kept trying to talk to Ed, telling him wild stories about their ‘circus’ life. Roadhog didn’t know how much Ed was getting between the talking and and signs, but he seemed entertained. Roadhog propped his chin up and leaned on the armrest and let himself doze off a little. No sense sitting there bored. He might need to be rested later. He woke up when a squad car tore by, but it was after someone ahead of them and they drove by without being noticed. Junkrat gave his leg a pat. He and Ed must’ve run out of things to talk about because story time appeared to be over. Ed was driving. Junkrat was keeping lookout. Roadhog leaned back into the seat and dozed off again. He didn’t wake up this time until he felt Junkrat scoot into his side. When he looked, he found his partner a little more bug-eyed than usual.

“What?” Roadhog asked him.

“Got a whole stash under the seat,” Junkrat said, eyes flicking to Ed and back. Roadhog processed that, going through the list of things that Junkrat would find threatening.

“Weapons?” he asked.

“Mmhm.”

“How’d you find out?” Roadhog glanced at Ed, but the driver wasn’t paying them any mind.

“Dropped a cheese puff,” Junkrat held one up to demonstrate. “Went after it.”

“He know you saw it?”

“I don’t think he cares.”

“Hmnh.” Roadhog thought about it. A man on the road on his own was sensible to be armed. If they were under the seat, Ed wouldn’t be able to get to one without them seeing it. Then again, if he had some weapons hidden, then he probably had more. There could very well be another one hidden in easier reach. Junkrat kept crunching away on the cheese puffs, watching him think instead of keeping an eye on Ed. His mouth and fingers were dusted with orange. It brought back a dim memory and Roadhog nodded at the cheese puff. “Used to fish for carp with those.”

“Yeah? They good food?”

“Pest food, back then. But they taste all right fried.”

“Old days.” Junkrat mused. It wasn’t safe to eat anything out of what passed for water there now. If there had been enough of anything to be a pest, that had also been edible, it would’ve been a miracle. Roadhog made an affirmative noise.

“The only thing I ever caught in the water was that conjoined croc that took a snap at me arm,” Junkrat said. “River things must like orange.” He wiggled his prosthetic fingers playfully and ate another cheese puff. He stayed close to Roadhog’s side and ended up snoozing against his stomach as they went on and on. For all their watchfulness, the day passed uneventfully. They crossed another state line and had another break for bathrooms and stretched legs. They stopped at a scenic overlook that Junkrat desperately wanted to lob a grenade off of, but there were too many witnesses. A sappy couple was taking pictures of themselves kissing with the view behind them. That got his attention too.

“We could do that,” he said. Roadhog almost told him later, but then sighed and went over to stand by the guard fence. They didn’t have a camera but it only took a smooch to get Junkrat giggling and happy. They drove on again until another food and fuel break. The truck stop didn’t have a lot that Roadhog wanted to eat, so he stuck with mashed potatoes and pie. Junkrat got chicken and waffles and was a sticky mess in under a minute, while Ed ate his way through a huge pulled pork BBQ sandwich. They paid for everything again. The sun was going down outside the diner windows. Ed signed to Junkrat as they left.

“He wants to put a few more hours in before calling it a night. Says maybe midnight?” Junkrat said, echoing Ed’s shrug. Five more hours of this then. Roadhog rolled his shoulders only a little unhappily.

“You doing all right?” he asked.

“Oh, yeah, yeah! Kinda dull after yesterday, but,” Junkrat couldn’t help but grin. “Anything would be.”

“Yeah,” Roadhog agreed. “I’m going to sleep. You keep watch. Once he stops we’ll keep on going. You can sleep in the sidecar when we get loose.”

There was a piece of paper stuck in the truck door when they got back to it. Ed took it down to look at it, then passed it to Junkrat. Roadhog looked over his shoulder at it, then snatched it from him, quickly enough to make him yelp. It looked like the same number that had been on the screen earlier, but he couldn’t remember for sure. Were they being followed? Tracked somehow?

“Ask him what it is,” he told Junkrat.

“He says sometimes he gets numbers you can call for company. They tell you where to pick them up.” Junkrat chuckled. “Says there’s no room for more at the moment though.”

“That’s not what this is,” Roadhog said. He was sure. “Saw it before. This is something else.” He got in first to sit in the middle. It gave him a better view of the screen.

“Thought you were going to sleep?” Junkrat asked. He was a little worried and tempted to turn it into anger so he could do something about it. “What are you watching for?” Roadhog waved the note. Junkrat reached to take it again.

“I’ll look for it,” he said. “Sleep.”

“Can’t now,” Roadhog rumbled. “Being followed.”

“All the more reason,” Junkrat smoothed the note out. “Gotta be sharp. They aren’t getting in here. Not at these speeds. Not with Ed armed to the teeth and me with a duffle full of grenades. You’d wake up for that anyway.”

There were some more grumbles but Ed was already pulling out into traffic and there wasn’t much Roadhog could argue with. He finally made himself fall asleep, still troubled and trying to think a few steps ahead. He half-woke for a moment when Junkrat’s voice rose, but he didn’t sound angry or afraid, so he was probably trying to talk to a deaf man in the dark. Let him enjoy it. When he did wake up, Ed was a little more uneasy and Junkrat was slumped in what could be sullen or maybe serious thought.

“What?” he asked right away. He looked at Ed who raised his eyebrows and back at Junkrat. “Did you get in a fight with someone who can’t even hear you?”

“No!” Junkrat snapped, then looked uncertain. “I don’t think. I was just giving something some thought.”

“Either you’re thinking or you’re not.”

“Shut up! I’m trying to figure this out.”

“Like?”

“Like where we are going to go and what we need to do and how long we can keep doing it and trying to-“ He ran both hands into his hair, wincing when the joints in the prosthetic got snagged in it. “Trying to make smart decisions here!”

“…” Roadhog couldn’t help but be surprised. That was heavy stuff to wake up to, and it had clearly ruined Junkrat’s mood. “Something happen?” he asked. Junkrat shook his head. He stayed off-kilter, but he did start to talk about other things as they went on. They needed to get a new map and figure out where they could go from there. What sights they wanted to see and/or destroy. Roadhog asked pertinent questions to keep him going and it helped, but he was still not quite himself when Ed decided they had gone as far as he wanted to go. He pulled off at the next exit and into the lot of the first hotel.

It seemed anti-climatic as Roadhog unloaded the bike and sidecar. If whoever had left the number was there to ambush them, there was no sign. He reassembled the sidecar as Junkrat paid Ed the other half of the money. The old man took it and shook his hand. Junkrat came to pile their bags into the sidecar. Ed locked his rig all up and then waited to wave them off as they sped away. Roadhog almost wished Junkrat would blow something up just so they could feel normal again. He started to really relax once they were on the road though. The night air was cooler here than it had been on the coast, but it felt good. He could always breathe easier on the road. He doubled back once just in case Ed tried to tell someone which direction they had gone and then they were on their way.

The on-and-off naps all day had been a good idea. He felt sharp and alert as they went. This late, on a highway between much smaller towns, they had the road to themselves. He had plenty of time to check on Junkrat every now and then. He looked relaxed too, almost boneless sprawled in the sidecar, but when he caught Roadhog looking at him, he slumped again.

“What??” Roadhog roared over the wind and road noise. Junkrat stood up in the sidecar and leaned over to yell back at him.

“I called the number!”

Chapter Text

Hnghrrh?!” It wasn’t a word, but it was the most Roadhog could force out. He pulled over onto the shoulder and managed to glower through the mask. Junkrat had to catch himself to stay standing in the sidecar. He was usually immune to Roadhog's threatening, but this time he was wilting.

“Ed has a phone he uses for messages,” he said. “I figured it would be better to call while we were on the move and not in one spot.” Whatever sound Roadhog would’ve made was inhaled too hard and turned into a coughing fit. Junkrat winced, but kept talking. “Thought it was an omnic, but it was just a recording. Woman’s voice. Said they wanted to hire us. Gave a new number to call if we were interested.” Junkrat raised his arm and it was written there with Ed’s board marker. “If they’re tracking Ed we should’ve lost them when we took off.”

“Calling could be a trap,” Roadhog managed to say.

“Could be,” Junkrat said. “Figured it was better to get it over with. That way we’d know what to do when, well, now.”
He laughed weakly. “I think Ed was a little disappointed in me for calling. And then he got worried when I freaked out.”

“But what did it say?” Roadhog was trying not to roar. He had had a bad feeling about the number as soon as he had seen it on paper and Junkrat’s meekness was making it worse.

“Said that the day would come when we were tired of running,” Junkrat said. “Tired of waiting for the day when there’s nowhere left to run to.  Said that the day would come when we wanted more than to die an outlaw’s death.”

Roadhog snorted, but softly, like he already thought that over a few times. That made Junkrat clutch his stomach like he could feel it knotting.

“It said it had a job,” he went on. “Said that if we do it right they could take us on full time.”

“We tried that before,” Roadhog grumbled.

“Yeah,” Junkrat said. He tried to laugh again, but didn’t quite get there.

“What else it say?” Roadhog asked. There was more. He could tell by the unfamiliar twist of shame to his partner’s mouth. Misery was no stranger to either of them, but they had always had someone else to blame. Whatever this was, Junkrat was hating himself over it.

“Said I was going to get you killed,” he said. “I’m gonna get us into something even you can’t get us out of. You’re going to die protecting me and then what?” He sniffled a little. “It got me thinking.”

“Jamie…” Roadhog said, thinking of the tantrum in the RV. That had been from just remembering his injuries after the pressure blast. Roadhog hadn’t blamed him. Who in the hell would know him well enough to use that against him? How long had they been watched?

“If you did die on me, I might live a little while longer,” Junkrat said, wiping his nose with the flesh arm that had no number on it. “But more likely, I’ll grieve long enough to get pissed and strap myself to everything,” He waved a hand at his pile of explosives. “And,  and just walk into somewhere and take it all down with me.”

There were tears on his face now and Roadhog reached to thumb them off. One of his hands wrapped around Junkrat’s throat and he leaned into it. Roadhog rumbled softly, half amused. He had grabbed his throat as a threat too many times and now it was a comfort. It was proof that no one else could touch him. No one else was even allowed to kill him.

“Is that what you’re worried about?” Roadhog asked. “Our luck just running out? Having no place to go?”

“Every score gives us more money than we’d have had our whole lives,” Junkrat said. His throat bobbed against Roadhog’s palm as he swallowed. “We lose more than we’d have ever had at home just carrying the piles around.” He gulped again, too hard. “Have I fucked up?”

“You’re thinking long-term,” Roadhog realized and Junkrat gave him a shaky, watered-down smile.

“It kinda hurts,” he said, rubbing his forehead. Roadhog snorted, then chuckled. He pulled him in until their noses touched against the mask.  Junkrat kissed it on his side and Roadhog felt his lips purse a little too. It almost annoyed him to react that easily. He huffed and tried to think of the right thing to say.

“You’re the boss,” he finally said and watched as relief lit up the narrow face. His own jaw relaxed a little too. “Sleep on it. See how it sits then.” Junkrat nodded.

“Yeah,” he said. “Ok.”

Roadhog sat him back in the side car and scritched his fingers in the patchy hair to let him know all was forgiven. Junkrat looked happier about it and settled down. The moon was still almost full. Roadhog was already sure he was going to drive all night to get them far enough and safe enough to consider what to do. He had known the number was a trap somehow. He had been sure of it. Even if all it did was force them in to new decisions, Roadhog preferred to be the one doing the forcing.

He drove until the moon set and the sun started to rise. Morning light found them on top of a hill at a pancake house called the Overlook. Whatever patch of the world they were in was more mountainy now that they were away from the coast. The diner was on the edge of the overlook. The sun rose over the layers of hills in the distance and Roadhog spent a long time looking at if before giving himself a shake and going in.

The back of the diner was all windows so the patrons could see out over the view. It smelled like butter and coffee and bacon grease. The sign said to seat themselves. They wandered to the back and took a table where they could see everything. There were just a few people in at that hour, so it only took a minute before the waiter came over with ice waters and menus.

All the dishes had silly names. They had something called Pig Out Pancakes that Junkrat immediately pointed out to him, but they were full of bacon. He opted for the Bananaconda, endless banana bread pancakes and scrambled eggs instead. Junkrat took longer to decide but finally picked the Holy Crepes, probably because he just wanted to say it to the waiter. They gave their orders and sat back to enjoy the view.

The small TV in the corner mentioned the bike rally parade and they both stopped to watch. The anchor was going on about how Bike Week was always exciting, but this one had been something special. Albrecht Manufacturing had been blown up by foreign terrorists who had also killed the owner at his home, as well as several local police in the resulting shoot out. The parade route had been altered to do a memorial lap in front of the police station before heading up the coast. The footage showed the stream of bikers saluting the building as they went by.

“That was nice of them,” Junkrat said. Roadhog made an agreeing sound. Neither of them were very bothered that they were the cause of it. Junkrat might not’ve even remembered that it was them. There still wasn’t any footage of them, which was good. He kept an eye out for anyone they might’ve seen before at the carnival, or the truck stop, or the last scenic overlook.   He didn’t think he had seen any of these people before. He would’ve remembered the green hair on the kid flirting with the waiter.

“Mountains are good,” Junkrat said suddenly. He was looking out the window, squinting into the early sunshine. “Back home, you could see us from miles away. Here, you just get over one hill and you’re out of sight.” He was quiet for another minute, then hopped up. “I’m going to look at the map.”

There was a big map tacked up on the wall by the bathrooms. Junkrat hop/scampered over to it. He still had the biker’s shirt and the boots on both feet. No one would be able to say they saw a man with a peg leg. He studied the map carefully, tapping various spots on it and nodding to himself. Then he moved on to the rack of attraction brochures and Roadhog rolled his eyes. When they had first gotten to a place with tourist attractions, Junkrat had collected piles of the things. It hadn’t been all bad. They had used them for fire kindling when he lost interest in them. This time, he only picked one. Their food came and he hurried back over.

“Haunted Sanitarium?” Roadhog said, looking at the brochure as he started cutting a wedge from the pancakes.

“S’not open yet,” Junkrat said, stabbing as many strawberries as he could get on his fork. “Not ghost season, I guess.”

“Seen enough of those,” Roadhog muttered.

“Yeah?” Junkrat raised his eyebrows mockingly. He tapped the unconvincing photograph on the brochure. “Like that?” he asked with his mouth full. “All red eyes and howling face?”

“They run along side your bike on the roads at night,” Roadhog said, keeping his eyes on his plate. “Too fast to be flesh and blood. Only when you’re alone,” he added when Junkrat drew breath to argue. “They stand just out of reach of firelight some nights. It doesn’t do any good to talk to them. They don’t answer and they disappear if you get close. Reappear farther away. I never followed them far. Figure they wouldn’t bother with the living if they didn’t want company.”

He glanced up to see that Junkrat was bug-eyed, fork still in his mouth. Junkers didn’t tell many ghost stories, Roadhog knew. Too many living things to worry about, too many tangible, mortal horrors for there to be fear of ghosts and goblins. If something was going to get you, it was going to be someone just as starved and mean as you were. If somebody disappeared, there wasn’t any mystery to it. Someone had gotten them and they were either dead or run away. Maybe Junkrat had never heard a ghost story until now. He knew Roadhog wasn’t one for flights of fancy. Whether that made the story more or less likely, Roadhog wasn’t sure. Junkrat looked like he didn’t know whether to believe it or not. Roadhog let him decide on his own.

“Psh.” Junkrat said after a moment. He went back to eating. “Dead is dead, Roadie, and you and I know it.” His good mood had tanked though. He ate quietly as Roadhog managed to be dainty eating his way through three more pancake refills.

“If you die before me,” Roadhog said finally. He was feeling grudgingly bad about ruining the mood. “Come into the light, so I’ll know it’s you. Don’t want to follow a stranger off a cliff in the dark.”

“Back atcha,” Junkrat said. He had finished his crepes and was using his finger to sop up the honey sauce that was left. The waiter came to refill his glass of milk and Roadhog’s coffee. “Oi,” Junkrat said. “There a place to sleep around here? We’ve been on the road all night.”

They got directions to the next place down the road, paid, and got ready to go.

“You hoping for another mirror?” Roadhog asked him when they went back out into the parking lot.

“We already know what I look like fucked stupid,” Junkrat said. “You up for it?”

“Maybe,” Roadhog said, feeling a deep thrill of surprise that he hoped didn’t make it to the surface. “Few things we’re gonna need first.”

“Yeah?” Junkrat perked up a little with interest. “I hate this,” he confessed a moment later. “Worse than dealing with mines, one wrong step and everything’s in pieces.” He rubbed his artificial knee joint.

“You wouldn’t hate it if you had already made up your mind,” Roadhog told him. “When do you think that head honcho will come home to find your moose head?”

It wasn’t a subtle subject change, but it worked. Junkrat lit up and crossed his fingers on both hands. He held them aloft as Roadhog slid his mask back on and started to pull out of the parking lot.

“Let it be soon!” he prayed over the roar of the engine and Roadhog was able to laugh as they shot off down the road.

Chapter Text

There was a patch of town in the next valley. They hadn’t been able to see it from the Overlook diner. Junkrat had been right about everything being out of sight from one hill to the next. It was a small town on both sides of a river and an abandoned railroad track ran alongside it. It would’ve been picturesque to anyone else. The junkers scanned it for defensive positions and available supplies. There was a gas station and a small department store and a corner market in easy sight as they came down the hill. It all looked like local-run places. There wasn’t a chain name to be seen. Only one road in or out, it would be easy to get boxed in. Best behavior, then.

They gassed up the bike and filled up the spare tanks just in case. The department store smelled a little ferrety and the floor popped underfoot, but they had firework sparklers for sale which got Junkrat’s attention immediately. Roadhog was a little more discreet. He headed to the pharmacy section. He was glad to see that they did have lube on the end of one aisle, out of sight from the rest of the store. He looked at the condoms for a minute before deciding that if nuclear fallout hadn’t killed them, they weren’t likely to give each other anything. As the older, more experienced gentleman, it was his duty to be the responsible one. That almost made him laugh. It was hard to imagine what Junkrat might’ve gotten himself into before Roadhog met him, but anything that survived decades of radiation, starvation, and near explosion probably wouldn’t be stopped by latex.

“Whatcha getting?” Junkrat asked suddenly. He was carrying several boxes of sparklers, a box of aluminum foil, and a double pack of compressed air. That wasn’t suspicious at all. Roadhog grabbed a box off the shelf with a sigh. He picked up a few things on the way to the clerk just to make the mix random. Once there, he gave Junkrat some money and sent him to the corner market for potatoes to wrap in the foil. Once he was gone, Roadhog asked the woman behind the counter if there was a place nearby that they could set off fireworks.

“Anniversary party,” he said, nodding at the sparklers. She smiled sweetly, even as she rang up the lube.

Junkrat came back without anything resembling potatoes and helped carry their haul back to the bike. He looked like he knew he’d been sent on an errand to get rid of him. There wasn’t any potatoes in the sidecar either.

“You ok?” Roadhog asked.

“Didn’t feel like paying for anything,” Junkrat said.

“Robbing the place will just get attention. Laying low has never sat well with you, but…”

“Got to,” Junkrat muttered. “For now. I know.” He crawled back into the sidecar and slumped down.

“For now,” Roadhog said. “Like you said. And like you said, it’ll be easy to disappear between the hills, but we want some time to make up our minds-“

“Some time to get my mind fucked quiet,” Junkrat said.

“That all I am to you?” Roadhog asked. He was mostly kidding. The touch of threat was just force of habit. Junkrat still went wide-eyed. He stared into the mask for a minute.

“What?” he asked. His voice was small now and Roadhog wondered if that was the wrong thing to have said. The last thing he wanted was to make the kid feel worse about the whole mess. The older responsible gentleman, he reminded himself, and it did make him laugh this time.

“I’m kidding,” he said.

“You don’t think I really-“ Junkrat started and Roadhog sighed.

“Look in the bag,” he said, and pulled out onto the road again. The waiter at the diner had told them about a hotel that had been built unto the side of a hill because the land was too steep for anything else and therefore had been bought cheap. Some creative use of terraces had made the hotel strange-looking, but it was highly recommended anyway. They got there just as Junkrat figured out what was in the small box. He had spilled lube on himself trying to taste it and only then read the label. He was quiet now, but his eyes were quick over the building. The front of his shirt was shiny and it reminded Roadhog of the canned peaches at the RV.

“Sit tight,” he said. “No sparklers until they let us in.” He got in and used the anniversary story again to ask for a nice room. It didn’t take long to get the keys and he headed back out. They had to go up some stairs to get to the room that was highest up the terraces. If it wasn’t the best room, it was at least the most private, Roadhog thought as he huffed and puffed up the stairs. Junkrat wasn’t complaining, but he had to limp heavily on his peg leg to get up all the levels.

It was a much nicer room than they were used to. There was a color scheme and a skylight. They had a balcony even. It smelled nice. Roadhog set the bags on the table and then sat to catch his breath. Junkrat was shaky and breathing hard too, but maybe not from the climb. He started pulling off clothes as soon as the door was shut. Now? Roadhog thought, but didn’t say it. He heaved himself up again and went to turn the shower on. The bathroom was nice too. There was even a window in there to let natural light in.

“Again?” Junkrat asked.

“We’ve had more sex than we’ve had showers since we started this,” Roadhog reminded him. “And we only started this the day before yesterday.”

You started day before yesterday,” Junkrat said. “I’ve been dropping hints since Day One.” Oh. Roadhog had to consider that.

“…didn’t think you were serious,” he said. Junkrat made a frustrated noise. “Thought maybe you’d just had a messed up childhood.”

That made them both stare at each other in silence. Junkrat was already completely naked and hard. Roadhog still had his hand in the shower to test the water temperature. They both burst out laughing. Roadhog started shrugging out of his clothes and Junkrat started on his prosthetics. Roadhog scooped him up to lift him into the shower.

“You gotta stop grabbing me like this,” Junkrat said with a grin. “Gotta keep my dignity.”

“That why you want to fuck me?” Roadhog asked. “Show me who’s boss?”

“I, no, maybe!” The question seemed to throw him. “I- y’see-“

“You don’t have to have a reason,” Roadhog told him, smoothing his hair under the spray. “You just have to want to.” The hotel shampoo smelled like lemongrass. There was just enough in the little bottle to give them both a squirt. He lathered up Junkrat’s hair and then started on his own.

“Yeah, I do,” Junkrat said. “I just didn’t think you would. Want that. With me. From me. From anybody! And that’s fine! I want it from as much as to. I’ll be y-fine. I’ll be-“

Mine,” Roadhog said it with his rumble, leaving Junkrat still and amazed as his head was tilted back the shampoo rinsed away.

“Y-yeah,” he managed as Roadhog leaned over him to rinse his hair next. The conditioner smelled like coconut. It made a nice combination with the lemongrass.

“But you didn’t think I’d want to be yours?” he said, working the conditioner in.

“You could leave any time!” Junkrat said, eyes closed and neck bared as he leaned into the big hands. “Could get tired of it. Of me.”

“Haven’t yet.”

“Haven’t a lot of things yet!” Junkrat gestured at himself. “You can see what being called yours does to me. It’s not like I’m gonna mind if-“ Roadhog’s thumb pressed against his mouth, shutting him up.

“We have a deal,” Roadhog told him. “Stick to the deal.” It was a little cruel to watch him go pale and brace for rejection. “Yours and mine. Fifty-fifty.” Junkrat’s eyes went wide, and then his grin did. He sprang up in a flying hug, getting his arm around Roadhog’s neck and hanging there. Roadhog chuckled and rinsed the rest of the conditioner out. They wrapped up in towels and went to flop in the square of sunshine from the skylight on the floor. It would keep the bed clean for later. The sky was blue through the window and the towels made them a damp little nest in the sun.

Roadhog had brought his mask with him and left it nearby. He pulled one of the bags in reach too. Junkrat was running a hand over his face, dropping nipping bites wherever he could reach. Roadhog cradled his head to tilt him into a kiss. Junkrat was as anxious to suck in his tongue as he had been his cock on the ferris wheel. Roadhog let him, reaching down to cup him in one hand. Junkrat groaned around his mouthful and rocked into it. It was good and might’ve been enough by itself, but there was still the specter of the call in the back of Roadhog’s mind and he wasn’t going to pass up a chance while he had it.

“You got that stuff,” Junkrat said when he came up for air. He nodded toward the bag with the lube in it. “You’ve done this before.”

“Long time ago,” Roadhog told him.

“Hard to imagine,” Junkrat said. “You letting somebody- Somebody else-“

“It wasn’t like that.” It was said with a sigh, but Junkrat thought he heard something in it.

“What?” he said. His gears ground to a halt at the worse case scenario. Confusion became indignance. “What?”

Roadhog hushed him. He bit his lip, uncertain again.

“If you’d rather-“ he started.

“I’m not sure I can even get a finger in you without hurting you right now,” Roadhog said. He worked his thumb against the spot to demonstrate. Junkrat’s eyes fluttered. “Even if you were used to it, it’s been at least since we met.”

“Long time ago too,” Junkrat said. “Before I lost some pieces.” He gave his wet hair a teasing toss. “Was prettier then.”

“I wasn’t,” Roadhog admitted.

“Eye of the beholder, mate,” Junkrat said. “Soon as I saw you, I thought you were-“

“Don’t.”

“What?” Junkrat grinned at him. “No mush?”

“There’ll probably be mush,” Roadhog admitted and Junkrat sniggered. “I got you something,” Roadhog said. He pulled a bag close and dug something out of it. He had gotten it at the gas station. There’d been a cardboard stand of them on the counter and he had thought it was a weird item to sell at a gas station, but then remembered their conversation on the ferris wheel. It was a little plastic-wrapped silk handkerchief, folded into a pentagon. Junkrat shook it out of the package and ended up marveling at how it felt.

“It’s cold,” he said. “And slippery. And-“

“Silky,” Roadhog told him and watched him remember the ferris wheel ride too. He blushed a little and touched it to his face. Roadhog took it from him and stroked it over his jaw and over his throat.

“You probably have a few spots this soft left,” he said. Junkrat giggled and squirmed at first, but enjoyed it too much to pull away. He settled into jittery panting, closing his eyes when the silk was touched lightly over his chest and stomach. He arched up when when it was dragged down his inner thigh. By then, he sounded like he was having trouble breathing. He probably wouldn’t be able to take too much more. Roadhog lubed his fingers and went up on knees. Junkrat snapped to attention again. He gulped as Roadhog shifted to one arm to reach behind himself.

“I do wish we had a mirror now,” he said. He watched Roadhog’s face as he worked, squinting and wincing with him as he hooked his fingers and stretched. Junkrat was rapt. When he was done, he gawked at Roadhog’s shiny fingers.

“Are you even going to feel me?” he asked. Roadhog’s laugh was a little breathless.

“If you do it right,” he said, and that sent Junkrat’s hand everywhere.

“Yeah,” he gasped. “Yeah. Show me. Tell me.”

Roadhog pushed him down flat, feeling his heart hammering. An extra dollop of lube in his palm and he was slicking up Junkrat too. The weight of Roadhog’s hand on his chest kept him from rutting up into the grip, but just barely. Roadhog heard his own breathing over the wheezes and gasps and took an inhale through his mask to help. It had been a long, long time, but nervousness had died a slow death in him years before this. Letting someone inside had been off the table for almost as long, metaphor or not. This was Junkrat though, and time had never been a guarantee. The kid was so lean that straddling him didn’t require much movement. Roadhog knee-walked up to press a kiss on his mouth while he panted. Junkrat’s hand was scrabbling for any handhold on him. The handkerchief was still clutched in his fingers.

“Do you think they’re watching us now?” he wheezed, maybe hoping so just a little.

“Doesn’t matter.” Roadhog said and it was true. He eased down, breathing in as deep as he was able and letting it out through his teeth. It burned more than he remembered, but they were both slicked up enough that it wasn’t that bad. Junkrat choked and heaved under him, gasping out words like warm and smooth and a drawn out hiss that was probably meant to be silk. They both adjusted, letting the heat build until sweat ran off both of them. Roadhog moved experimentally, looking for the right angle. A shift, a slide, he rose up a little and then sank back down and every time, Junkrat went to pieces. He wouldn’t have to worry about getting Junkrat off. From the way he was arching and the rapture in his face, he wasn’t going to last long. Roadhog rocked a little more, shifting and squeezing until he felt a jolt. There.

“Yeah,” he rasped. “Yeah, Ok.”

“Yeah?”Junkrat whined, trying to do whatever that was again. He had bitten his lip bloody. “Like that?”

“Yeah,” Roadhog repeated his movements too. Another nudge and another shudder.

“Tell me.” It was a breathless plea.

“Deeper. Slower.”

“Yeah. Fuck! Yeah. Ok.” Junkrat did his best to obey. It was off-kilter and clumsy until Roadhog took over the rhythm and they were able to move together. Roadhog’s hand slid down to stroke himself and Junkrat squeaked. He didn’t know whether to watch Roadhog’s face or hand.

“I can’t, I can’t,” he wheezed. “You first, Roadie. You gotta, so I can. Fuck. Fuck. Roadie. Please!”

Roadhog leaned forward onto one elbow, bringing their faces close together.

“Make me,” he said. Junkrat let go of his lip and then lunged forward to bite Roadhog’s neck. The sting made Roadhog gasp and then he surprised himself coming. It wasn’t the hardest he’d ever gone, but maybe the most sudden. When his head cleared, he had pinned Junkrat down and was biting him back. Junkrat was still jack-rabbiting at him and Roadhog rose off enough to wrap a hand around him. That gut-punched sound wrenched out of him and he spilled out over his fingers. He lay there shaking and whispering things that didn’t make any sense while Roadhog got his breath back. Finally, Junkrat was able to murmur out “Mine.”

“Mine,” Roadhog agreed. He heaved himself back up, making a face when his knees popped. He pulled the towels away from them and slowly got up, pulling Junkrat with him. They went back into the shower to clean up. It was just a quick rinse to get the sweat and mess off them.

“Was it ok?” Junkrat asked, kneeling to wipe the run-off lube off Roadhog’s thighs without being asked.

“Mmhm.” Roadhog shifted to let him reach all of it. When all the slick was gone, he clambered up again.

“Was I?” he asked it casually, like it didn’t matter really, but his eyes were serious.

“You did good,” Roadhog said, thumbing over his lip to see how bad the bite was.

“You happy?” That was a much more complicated question.

“Be happier if I could catch a nap before you start playing with the sparklers,” he said. Junkrat broke into a smile again.

“Is that what we’re calling them?” he asked, reaching to tweak at Roadhog’s nipples. Roadhog snorted, and slapped his hand away. Junkrat laughed uproariously. It was probably 9/10s relief. There were only two towels left and Roadhog was sure he needed both. He only gave Junkrat one to keep him from using the bedsheets. They pulled back the duvet and curled up together.

“There’s something else,” Roadhog said after a minute. “That stuff you got at the store is to make explosives with, right?”

“Not as much of one as I’d like, but it’ll boom sure enough.”

“I know where you can take it to test.”

“?!” Junkrat said, just a happy, excited noise.

“There’s an old quarry in the next valley,” Roadhog said. “Local kids go there after hours to start fires and set off bottle rockets all the time. It’s far enough from town that they don’t bother to police it much and its not like they can hurt a pile of gravel much-“

“I can!” Junkrat said, eyes a-glow at the prospect of getting to blow giant holes into a giant hole in the ground. “I like the sound of that.”

“And I have two witnesses to vouch that we’re here to celebrate our anniversary.”

“I like that too.”

“Softie.”

“You were the one that said there would be mush.”

“I was right.”

“Yeah.”

Roadhog dug his fingers into Junkrat’s still-damp hair. The lemongrass-coconut smell was still there and it was nice. Stay the day, he told himself. Stay the night. As long as the phone didn’t mysteriously ring with the unknown job offer while they were here, it would be fine.

Chapter Text

Roadhog got his nap. Junkrat tinkered all day, scraping the pyrotechnic composition off the sparklers and tearing pieces of aluminum foil. A knock on the door woke Roadhog up and put him straight into defensive mode, but it was just the hotel clerk leaving an anniversary card and a cheap bottle of wine.

“Since it’s your first stay with us!” she said backing down the stairs quickly. “Congratulations!”

“Y’gotta remember to put clothes on before you threaten people, mate,” Junkrat said. He hadn’t bothered to get dressed either, but his grin was ear to ear. He was dusted gray from the grit from the sparklers.

“Shut up,” Roadhog said. The card was just a standard ‘best wishes on your anniversary’ and the bottle didn’t appear to have been tampered with. It was pale pink and had a strawberry on the label. Roadhog had noticed the brand name in some of the convenience stores they’d stopped in, always on the bottom shelf. Still, it was nice as gestures went.
 
They headed out before it got very dark so they could find the way. It wasn’t too hard to find, but the road wound through the trees so far that the sun had set by the time they roared into the quarry. There was a lumber chain across the road, fastened to a tree stump on either side, and places on the side where people had parked their cars to walk in. It took Junkrat a handful of seconds to use one of the small explosions from the storage sheds to blow the lock off and they rode the rest of the way in.
 
It was a granite quarry, deep and wide and perfect for containing explosions. There were the remains of bottle rockets and fireworks here and there and a charred old fire barrel off to the side. Junkrat got straight to work with his latest creations. The canned air and sparkler bombs flared and hissed and then exploded into bright smoking balls. They made high pitched whistles as they went. Green sparks and white fire shot out of them and they would occasionally flare huge and hot. Even after the main explosion they burned for a long time. Roadhog could feel the heat of the closest one.

Once he had run out of those, Junkrat moved on to his own grenades and Roadhog brought out the bottle. It did taste like strawberry, but it was sleazily sweet. It gave Roadhog brief flashbacks to sneaking drinks as a teenager. There was enough edge to keep it from tasting like a strawberry soda pop, but not enough to give them any kind of a real buzz.  Still, it was a nice night to be out. They alternated sips and explosions until there was only one bomb left. Junkrat set it up in the fire barrel for some extra control. He had high expectations for that one, so Roadhog handed him what was left of the bottle and went to move the bike to a safe distance.

They both saw the headlights come through the trees. Someone was coming up the road. Roadhog killed the lights on the bike and coasted along the perimeter of the quarry to be close to the exit. He caught Junkrat’s eye and they both nodded. Roadhog stayed on the bike, hunkering down into shadow. Junkrat palmed the detonator and started walking jauntily toward the gate so that the headlights fell on him first.  

It wasn’t a cop car. Makes and models didn’t mean anything to Junkrat, so he just grinned all the merrier as the big sedan pulled into the quarry and stopped. It had been a nice car once, but it had been run hard since then, Roadhog noted. Second hand, he figured. The headlights stayed on, but all four doors opened and people got out. Roadhog tensed at first, hand on the hook, but then realized that none of them were actual authority figures or even adults. It was a bunch of teenagers, probably the ones who usually came up here to light their fires and pretend they were dangerous. He almost laughed, but stayed quiet.

Junkrat wasn’t impressed either. There were four of them, two bigger than the others, one a full head shorter and wider, and one right in the middle who got out of the driver seat. They looked the type to have baseball bats, but there were none in sight. From what Roadhog knew about gang structure, the driver was the leader and the mouth of the group, the other two were his enforcers, and the fourth was probably the unwilling voice of reason. He was the only one looking uncertain about this.

“You’re not supposed to be here after hours,” the mouth said. How stupid did a kid have to be to say something like that to someone who looked like Junkrat? Couldn’t they smell the gunpowder and madness? How were they not noticing the fire in his hair? Were they so used to being safe that it didn’t occur to them how easily they could die?

“You can’t stop me,” Junkrat said, all teeth and long limbs. His shadow in the headlights filled up the whole quarry with jerky motion. He hadn’t broken stride. The bottle swung easily from his hand, not the real threat, but it caught the light and got attention.

“I don’t think you understand-“ the mouth started again, smug and smirking.

“You think the four of you can do anything to me?” Junkrat snapped suddenly. He spread his arms. “Look at me. Fuckin’ look! You think you’re badder than what took my arm? Sharper than what took my leg?” He was getting closer now, and the two bigger kids shifted. They were used to people being afraid of them. This kind of murderous self-confidence probably wasn’t something they saw a lot of in a small town. Junkrat marched right up to the mouth and held out the bottle only to drop it. It landed upright, sloshing some out on the mouth’s shoes.

“Yeah, you’ve had enough of that, I think,” the mouth said. He jabbed a finger at Junkrat’s chest. “Listen. My father-“ Junkrat shot up to his full height which was always a surprise when it happened up close. Someone that skinny shouldn’t be able to loom, but he had learned from the best after all. The accusing finger stuttered to a halt. The smug mouth sagged a little.

“You have a father?” Junkrat asked. The corners of his mouth were pointing upwards and his teeth were still showing, but any other resemblance to a smile was long gone. His eyes gleamed hot and bright in the headlights. One of the enforcers was realizing she wasn’t quite the biggest anymore and looking from Junkrat to the mouth. The other enforcer wasn’t so quick on the uptake, and stepped up to push Junkrat a step back.

“Hey-“ he began, but Junkrat caught his hand before it connected and Roadhog heard the crunch from where he sat. Junkrat was still staring the mouth down as his prosthetic hand ground the dainty little metacarpals into each other until they snapped. The enforcer’s growl of a threat went high-pitched with alarm and rose into a shriek of pain. The metal grip was relentless and didn’t feel the other hand punching at the arm either.

“You can’t do that!” the mouth yelped, backing up so fast he knocked into the car door. “You can’t!” Junkrat’s other hand still had the detonator in it, but he struck out with it, snagging the mouth’s collar and hauling him in close again. He released the broken hand and the short one grabbed the injured kid to pull him into the back seat. The girl was already back inside the car. The mouth was on his own.

“You,” Junkrat said again, unholy delight in every syllable. “Can’t. Stop me.” His thumb flicked up the safety cap on the detonator. Roadhog carefully stuck his fingers in his ears. The mouth’s eyes flitted to the button just as Junkrat hit it. Whatever he had packed the old fire barrel with went up in an orange pillar of flame. It lit up the whole quarry and the boom rattled the sedan on its axles. All four of the kids screamed.

Junkrat was laughing over all the noise. He was in silhouette now against the fires burning behind him. He let go of the mouth to raise both hands in exultation. The burning fire barrel flew in an arc over him. It hit the far side of the quarry and exploded again. The mouth fell all over himself getting back in the car and there was a moment of panicked fumbling until he got it in reverse. He hit the gas and the car screeched backwards. It slammed into one of the stumps that held the logging chain with a crunch.

 Junkrat and Roadhog both made ooh faces. All kinds of noise came from inside the car. It jerked forward and sideways and tried to make the turn. One of the back windows was down, so Junkrat picked up the wine bottle tossed it into the back seat, splashing it over all three of them. When the car finally lined up with the gate, it tore off back into the trees. There was a definite dent in the back and one of the tail lights was out.  Junkrat turned to Roadhog, all but invisible in the shadow of the quarry, even with firelight flicking over his edges.

“What am I paying you to protect me from?” he asked, stomping over in a mock huff.

“Threats,” Roadhog said, crossing his arms to lean on his elbows. “Those were more like marshmallows.” Junkrat cackled again.

“Yeah,” he said. “If you had turned on your lights and fired that thing up, they probably would’ve died right there.” Roadhog chuckled, agreeing.  Junkrat turned to survey his handiwork. Fires still burned over the gravel floor of the quarry. A spot high on the wall still had some sparks and the remains of the barrel flamed on the ground below. He sighed happily. It was beautiful.

“Nice,” Roadhog agreed and revved the motorcycle back to life. Junkrat whooped and hopped into the sidecar and they went back out. They didn’t see the sedan anywhere which likely meant that the teenagers were on the way home to tell whoever their dad really was. Or to get their friend’s hand set. Or to explain why they had crashed their car and were covered in cheap, too-sweet wine.

They made it back to the hotel and went in to wind down. They had clean towels and a made bed waiting for them, which was nice. Junkrat flopped on the bed and stretched. He watched Roadhog pull off his vest and boots and belt to get comfortable.

“What you said about your fingers?” Junkrat said. “That completely off the table?”

“No,” Roadhog said. “Just need another stretch of down time to prepare.” Junkrat wasn’t sure if the implication was that weren’t going to have that kind of down time anytime soon, so he wasn’t as happy as he thought he’d be. He looked back at the number on his arm. It was smudged, but still legible.

“Either call while you can,” Roadhog said. “Or wipe it off and forget it. It’s up to you,” he added when Junkrat just stood there looking at it. Minutes ticked by while he considered it. He raised his other hand as if to smear the numbers completely, but then he dropped it.

“Put in on speaker,” Roadhog said and got a look, but after a few more minutes of agonizing, Junkrat grabbed the phone. He dialed and then waited, green with unease and chewing on his lip again. The voice he remembered came back on, definitely feminine, but maybe not human. He wasn’t sure he liked that, but it might just by a synthesizer to protect her identity.

“Said you were hiring?” Junkrat said with all the bluster he could manage.

“It’s a trial job to see how you operate and to see how you enjoy being an operative.” The voice was calm and matter of fact. “If all goes well, you’ll receive another assignment in time.”

“You came to us,” Roadhog said. “Why?”

“Because of your firsthand experience with both omnics and people who have had everything taken from them.” The voice was a little too matter of fact now. “In Australia, they were called Junkers. In the Appalachians, they’re called Gnawers. They’ve lost everything so whatever they get their hands on, they gnaw to the bone. The term was meant to be derogatory, but they’ve taken it for themselves.”

“What’s that got to do with omnics?”

“That particular part of the world had no industry but mineral rights. Mining was dangerous work, but it paid well. When the omnics were first created, they replaced all the human workers. That was the cause of protests. The omnics didn’t need pay or breaks or benefits. They didn’t need to sleep or eat or even come above ground for weeks at a time. All they did was work to make their masters richer, while the communities around them died.

“When the Crisis happened, the mine-omnics didn’t take part. They might not have even known about it underground. When the humans fled into the mines for safety, the mine-omnics protected them from the others. It is unknown why they didn’t turn on the humans like all the others, but the humans never forgot it. They joined forces and rode out the Crisis with surprisingly little damage. That was then.

“Now, there are pipelines coming through under imminent domain. The locals’ land was taken out from under them-“ Roadhog made a soft sound that could’ve meant a lot of things. “And the pipeline was put in the ground. The company has miles of paperwork to prove that it was done safely, but after that, the local water became contaminated and the cancer rate has climbed every year since. The same company owns the patents on the most readily available cancer medications and they have quadrupled the price in the meantime. It has set the stage for desperation and revolution.”

“Are you trying to make us feel sorry for them?” Junkrat scoffed, but his face was serious.

“Just stating the facts,” the voice said. “The struggle has been going on for some time. They have an environmental terrorist who calls the region home. Their activities have been tracked from the oil fields in Alaska to the coal mines in West Virginia, but details are unknown. That’s what you will be sent to find out.

“You want details?” Junkrat said. “No heads? Not delivered alive to get your own answers?”

“The latest activity has been in bottled water sales. Since the company’s environmental impact statement has 800 pages stating that the water is completely safe, and the Gnawers have learned not drink it themselves, they have started bottling it and shipping it out. It’s all perfectly legal unless someone wants to admit that the statement was penned by bought scientists. Somehow, they’ve managed to run a direct line from their tainted reservoir to one of the company’s centers, force-feeding them their own poison. The employees drank it for a year before they linked their health problems to the water.”

“That’s brilliant,” Junkrat said. “I think I’m going to like this bunch.”

“They’re likely to sympathize with you as well,” the voice said. “Which is why you were the first pick for the assignment. The person we’re looking for may be the mastermind, or one of many agents, or even a free agent with their own agenda. There have been whispers of code names like the Water Snake and the Black Snake, but the name that has come up the most is Marlowe. It’s unknown whether that is their first name or last. Again, they may be one person or a figurehead under which many people work.”

“What exactly do you want?”

“Details,” the voice said again. “Names, locations, agendas. If this person does exist, they would be an excellent resource. We want to know how they have done what they are doing for so long without detection. We want to know why the mine-omnics are so different from all the others. We want to know why all surveillance attempts fail in that entire area.”

“What if we say no?”

“Then, all evidence of this conversation will be erased. You will not be contacted again.” There was a pause. “If you agree, there is a cache spot at these coordinates. All the pertinent information is there.” The numbers flashed on the screen. Roadhog rumbled thoughtfully.

“That’s two days ride northeast,” he said.

“You have three,” the voice said. “If you don’t access it within seventy two hours, it will be destroyed and you will not be contacted again.”

“What about payment?” Junkrat asked. “What are we getting out of this?”

“First things first. Payment on completion.”

“And the payment will be…?”

“Your records will disappear,” the voice said. “Your description will not be kept on any database but ours. You will be free to come and go as you please, anywhere in the world.”

“If you can do that,” Roadhog said. “How has this Marlowe stayed out of your reach?”

“That’s another question we will eventually need answered,” the voice said. “Three days, gentlemen.”  The line cut off and Junkrat dropped it back down.

“That’s not so bad,” he said.

“Except that they were able to track us, even through Ed.” Roadhog flexed his shoulders. “They may have been following us for a long time.”

“We do put on a show,” Junkrat said, slicking his hair back. Roadhog snorted on a laugh. “What do you think?” Junkrat asked, more seriously.

“We could leave in the morning,” Roadhog said.

“It could be a trap,” Junkrat said. That got an affirmative grunt. “Doesn’t sit right to turn in a fellow freedom fighter.”

“Said we’d like them.”

“Said they’d like us,” Junkrat forced a laugh. “When’s the last time that happened?”

Chapter Text

They slept all night without interruptions and woke up with a miserable taste in their mouths from the strawberry wine, but no real hangover. There was a newspaper on the doorstep. There was nothing in it about explosions or the quarry or anyone important with a kid that got hurt. There was nothing in it about them at all. It might’ve galled Junkrat once upon a time, but now, on the verge of a new job, he didn’t mind being off the world’s radar.

He was up and pacing. If they did this, if the nameless lady voice on the phone didn’t screw them over, they would be off the world’s radar for good. Until they robbed or killed somebody afterwards. Then, they’d be right back to square one. Did that make the job worthless? Would they have to keep doing the jobs to keep their records off the record? Or would they be wiped clear for keeps?

Was it worth it? He really didn’t know how long they could keep going on as they had before they were finally caught. He was sure they were tougher and crazier and balls out harder core than anyone they were likely to meet. They had survived the apocalypse after all. They carried armageddon in their very blood. What could anyone else even hope to do against them?

Overwhelm them with numbers, the survivor voice in his head told him. Pick them off at a distance. Just run them until something gave, the bike, Roadie’s heart, anything. They could have their showdown. He could leave his dust misting over a crater in the ground. That could be considered natural causes for them, but was it what he wanted?

Of course not. He wanted to keep getting away with it. Keep getting away. The money didn’t even matter anymore. He wanted the speed and the noise and the thrill. And now he had this. He had never been overwhelmed with what he had before. He didn’t want too much of anything new. Just more of what he already had. Now that he didn’t have to fight to get it, he would have to fight to keep it. And he would.

He made himself suck in a deep breath. He would do just about anything. Now, he had to consider what he might have to give up. A big hand closed around his head, palming his skull. The fingers covered his eyes. If they were to squeeze, his skull would probably crunch like a beer can. That might feel better than this.

“Make a decision so you can stop worrying,” Roadhog rumbled.

“I can’t!” Junkrat wailed, reaching up with both hands to grab Roadhog’s first and middle fingers. “I’m not used to worrying. I don’t know how to stop.”

Roadhog sighed and picked him up by the head. It got a squeak out of him that turned into a laugh. He set them both down on the bed. Junkrat kicked at him, trying to be playful with the strain still showing. Roadhog loosened his grip to pet his hair back.

“Consider this, then,” he said. Junkrat went still to listen. “Just because we take the job doesn’t mean we have to deliver. If we find out anything, we can keep it for ourselves. I’d like to make if from one side of the continent to the other without anyone being able to find me. I’d like to be able to block surveillance. It might even be nice to have omnics on my side for a change.”

“Not very professional of us,” Junkrat said, but he was thinking.

“We can refuse payment on our honor,” Roadhog said. “It’s not like we’ll be any worse off than we were before.”

There was that. It wasn’t like they were actually being paid paid. It was more like trading favors. They were getting information in return for having their own erased. If they didn’t shell out, then the voice just wouldn’t have to erase them. They would be even, both exactly where they were before with nothing wasted but time. And if the patch was full of like-minded individuals, they might be able to set up some kind of deal there.

“So, we’re doing it then,” he said. He made a real effort to keep it from sounding like a question. Roadhog’s lips did something like a smile under the edge of the mask.

“If you say so,” he said. Junkrat grabbed his hand again and used it to pull himself up into a kiss. He was getting better at aiming them, but when he closed his eyes he was still off-target. It was up to Roadhog to line them and make it deeper and better. Junkrat did his best to choke himself on Roadhog’s tongue, but started to relax when his jaw was cradled and big fingers traced up and down his spine. The tension bled out of him inch by inch until Roadhog could pull him into a more comfortable position and just make out with him.

Old habits died hard. Every sound from outside had Junkrat freezing again. He would pull back to scan the room, the windows, the door. His eyes always slid closed again when Roadhog mumbled into his cheek and pulled his lips back into range. Junkrat trembled, but gave in and melted, over and over.

“If you’re worried about losing this,” Roadhog finally murmured. “You should know by now I’m hard to get rid of.” No one had ever gotten away from him, not even Junkrat, he reminded himself. Even if the situation had changed, his own presence hadn’t. Junkrat had never been able to shake him for very long. “Especially if I want something,” he added, just to tease. It worked.

“Fuck,” Junkrat gasped, voice going hoarse. “Say it. Say it!”

“I want you,” Roadhog said. Junkrat went everywhere, grabbing and biting. Roadhog could’ve laughed, but he understood. He let it happen, let Junkrat revel in how much there really was of him. Enough to go around, someone whose face he couldn’t remember anymore had said to him once. Enough even for someone as grabby and desperate as Junkrat. He leaned his head to let the sloppy kisses move up his neck to his jaw, wrapping hands around Junkrat’s head and waist to hold him close. As soon as Junkrat’s head tilted up to aim for his mouth, Roadhog bit down on the already marked throat and growled as he felt Junkrat’s back arch into it.

Roadhog curled his arm around it, pressing their stomachs together. Junkrat was gasping, but making no move to get away. He had gone as helpless and pliant as a kitten held by the scruff. Roadhog tipped them over onto the bed so they could lay face to face. He pulled Junkrat’s left leg up and over his and slid his fingers down the quivering back.

He released the first bite to sink into another one, closer to the shoulder. Junkrat arched again, trying to get the leg up higher and out of the way of the finger working under the waistband of his shorts. There wasn’t any part of Junkrat that wasn’t narrow and tough, but he hissed like a snake when the pad of a huge finger stroked over him. He spread wide for it, offering himself up without a word.

“Want that too,” Roadhog admitted.

“When?” It was a high-pitched, breathless question.

“It’ll take some work,” Roadhog said. His finger moved in a slow circle. He watched Junkrat’s reaction to every touch, the fluttering eyelids, the bitten lip, the way his throat bobbed with swallows and gasps. “You’ll have to use your own fingers at first.”

“Hooly-“ Junkrat moaned.

“Just until you can manage mine,” Roadhog went on, putting a little pressure on the next rub to remind him what kind of job that would be. Junkrat bent shamelessly, trying to make himself as open as possible right then and there. Roadhog gentled the touch again. “We’ll work our way up from there.”

“I’ll take whatever you give me,” Junkrat said and if his voice hadn’t been so shaky, it might’ve been a challenge. As it was, it sounded more heartfelt and hopeful. Roadhog rumbled to him, letting the finger slide down into warmer and softer places. He remembered how Junkrat had slicked himself up in the mirror for him.

“Mate, I’m going to go all over you if you keep that up,” Junkrat said, wild-eyed and stuttering. Roadhog caught his gaze and stared him down. He used his grip to pull Junkrat all the way up his chest to his chin.

“Show me,” he said.

“You want it in your face?” Junkrat tried to giggle but he was fumbling at his buttons and buckles. Roadhog didn’t even blink. As soon as Junkrat was free, he gripped his hips and swallowed him down. Junkrat couldn’t buck with his hips held so tightly, but his back bent in a helpless wave. He bared his bruised throat, eyes falling shut, mouth falling open, arms going wide on either side. He looked like one of the old paintings of martyrs in rapture. Roadhog watched him try and fail to get his head together enough to speak or reach out for him. He sucked hard and deep and drew back to the head, giving it a lick before sinking back down again. He rumbled around it and then swallowed as the sound and vibration sent Junkrat over.

He pulled back to look at his partner. Sprawled out in blissful abandon, it only took Junkrat a minute to try to talk again, even as he shuddered and wheezed.

“You now,” Junkrat said. His eyes hadn’t even refocused yet. “L-let me-“

“Get your breath back,” Roadhog said. He was hot and hard and it felt like the walls should be shaking from the force of the throb he could feel, but the edge was nice. “Buy me breakfast. Then maybe.” Junkrat tried to kiss him again, brain still clearly pleasure-scrambled. He was babbling weird little possessive things in between smooches and sometimes his metal fingers dug in too hard, but Roadhog went with it. He let the throb settled into a warm thump in his bloodstream and the promise of later soothe the rest of the heat into something easy.

“Let me keep you,” Junkrat whispered. It might have been part of a longer sentence, but that was the part Roadhog heard. Junkrat probably wasn’t back in his right mind just yet or maybe that was an old thought brought to the surface. It didn’t matter. The answer was the same either way.

Chapter Text

Room service wasn’t offered, but Junkrat was able to convince the poor soul at the front desk to make them some breakfast. It was eggs and toast and grilled pineapples a la mode, which Roadhog tilted his head at, but it might’ve just been whatever was leftover from somebody’s dinner. It was still good. They sat in the square of sun under the skylight again and ate it all. After that, they packed up to go. Roadhog turned down another offer to pick up where they left off, piled some bills on the stand for a tip, and went down to pay.

They had to take a few side roads to be headed northeast again and then they were on the way. They stopped for orange juice at a convenience store off an exit and Roadhog finally cashed in on his blow job in the bathroom. Junkrat was getting the hang of it. He did keep his eyes shut until the very end this time, which must have helped. Roadhog tried to keep him from kneeling on the nasty tile floor, but he was determined.

Out on the road, they went for a long time without speaking. There was plenty to look at as they went. The mountains weren’t getting taller, but the valleys were getting deeper, somehow. There were ridges and banks of stone and all kinds of trees they hadn’t seen before. There was some interesting roadkill, too, but that had worn out its novelty early on after their arrival. Once they had realized how many things were actually safe to eat on this side of the water, they hadn’t been as impressed by how much perfectly good meat was being left to waste.

The sun beat down in the clear spots, blinding and hot, but still nowhere near what home had been like. In the shadows and valleys, it was surprisingly dark and cool. All morning, it was like the sun hadn’t come up yet down in between the hills. All afternoon, it was like it had set early. They went up and down and around over and over. Luckily, Junkrat wouldn’t have known what motion sickness was if he had had it. He thought it was fun.

Roadhog watched him as they went, sneaking looks on the few and far between straight stretches. He had fallen into this easily, he knew. He hadn’t resisted any of it past the initial surprise when Junkrat had grabbed him at the cliffside mansion. It had felt like part of a plan, and he had gone with it. If it hadn’t been for the offer on the ferris wheel, he would’ve chalked it up to one of Junkrat’s hare-brained (but effective) ideas and forgotten about it. But the offer had been put out there and he had accepted it. He hadn’t had any qualms beyond getting seen and/or caught. He hadn’t flinched from the act or who he was doing it with.

Was it just that easy? Had he gotten so comfortable that it didn’t even seem unusual to have Junkrat go down on him in public or to ride him until he screamed on the floor of a hotel room? It had been easy. He hadn’t had any conflict of thoughts. Even now, turning it over for any weak spots, it didn’t feel out of character for either of them. Maybe it should have. Why would he be ok with this?

Junkrat had gone from being a target to an employer to a partner in a very short time, it was true. It had gone from being just another job, to a real score, to something he actually looked forward to doing. It was fun. It was better. Was that what had happened here? Was their situation just changing one more time?

He didn’t feel like he had gone soft. He took another glance at that lanky frame sprawled in the sidecar. It wasn’t suddenly much more beautiful and dear to him. His heartbeat stayed steady. No beats were skipped. If he had gone mushy, it had been a gradual thing. He knew it wasn’t like him to be attached to anything, but he also knew that God had better help anyone who touched what was his. What he did have, he would kill you for touching. His bike, his supplies, his partner? Was this just the logical next step? Was that what had happened?

It made sense. All the questions lost their edge and collapsed back into the background noise of his brain. Junkrat had become his. That was all. That was fine. He could live with it.

The road started to wind again and he had to keep his eyes on it as they went along. The speed limit here wasn’t a polite suggestion. The guard rail were dinged and dented and there was nothing on the other side but drop offs or inclines. The side of a mountain didn’t have much give. He had to slow down for the curves or risk going over the side. It was kind of fun though. Junkrat would lean into some of their harder turns and laugh.

They drove until they had to stop for fuel. It was way more expensive up here than it had been towards the coast. Probably had to ship it in, Roadhog figured. He saw the gears start to tick behind Junkrat’s eyes and looked the place over carefully too. It was a gas station in a tiny little town on an interstate. They probably could rob it and be long gone before anyone even knew. But they didn’t have anywhere to run to, just yet. They couldn’t see what was on the other side of the next hill either.

“See what kind of candy they have,” he said, and Junkrat refocused. New place meant new food. The pony gyros had been a hit. He scuttled inside and Roadhog fueled up everything. Inside, the clerk was trying to explain what preacher cookies were to Junkrat. She knew exactly what they looked like, thank you. Junkrat had the little plastic containers spread all over the counter. He was holding one up to the light and shaking it.

While he was busy, Roadhog went to check the map on the wall. There were pins in it to mark where everyone was from. It didn’t have any other countries, so he couldn’t put one in Australia. It was probably a bad idea anyway, just in case they were tracked this far. He tapped the spot where the information was supposed to be left for them. They couldn’t get there today. It would take most of tomorrow to get there too. There was a nearby town, so he headed up to the counter to get an answer and rescue the clerk from Junkrat’s taste testing.

“There a place to sleep in Bluff City?” He asked, sweeping all the boxes Junkrat had opened over to the cash register.

“You’d have to camp,” the clerk said, visibly relieved that she wasn’t going to have to pay for any of those herself. She started ringing them up. “There’s a few places. There’s a hotel, but it’s always full this time of year.”

“Camping’s fine,” Roadhog said, handing her money. Junkrat headed for the bathroom, probably to steal at least something before they left.

“You’ll see the signs,” she said, bagging up the containers for him. He nodded his thanks and made sure to block her view of Junkrat when he came out again. He had gotten wet somehow and left puddles on his way out of the store.

“Taps?” Roadhog asked when they were getting back on the bike. Junkrat giggled and produced parts of the faucet out of his pockets. Roadhog had to pretend he wasn’t laughing as they pulled out onto the road again.

Chapter Text

Junkrat spent the rest of the drive wiping out the pipe pieces he had stolen and tinkering with the taps and one of Roadhog’s canisters. It kept him busy until the next pit stop for sandwiches and too-sweet tea. He was quiet except for the muttering and only wanted a swig of the tea. He said it made his teeth hurt and Roadhog didn’t push it. If Junkrat was absorbed, then he’d get a lot done before hunger and boredom had him climbing the walls again. They kept going.

When the sun started to set, he found another overlook where they could see all the way back the way they came. It was more a wide shoulder than anything, held back from empty air and drop to the valley below by another brave little guard rail. Elevation was getting higher. Junkrat looked back at the setting sun, lit up with gold and one foot on the edge of the side car. King Jamison the First, Roadhog remembered, snorting a little.

“What?” Junkrat asked, squinting more at him than he had at the sunset.

“Throw one,” Roadhog said.

“Mrr?” Junkrat said.

“Throw one.” Roadhog nodded from the remaining bombs to the void on the other side of the guard rail. No one was around. It would explode in mid-air well before it hit the ground. Junkrat’s eyes lit up and his grin unfolded. His fingers were on the way to one of the bombs before he stopped.

“Gotta restock,” he said, dropping his hand back to his side. “Used most of them up on our anniversary.” He smirked, but he was thinking ahead again. He had gone back into being serious.

“Need to get supplies then,” Roadhog said, and that perked him up again. They went on until the sun went down. The cliffs made sense when they passed the sign for Bluff City. There were signs for different camp sites and RV parks. They picked a likely one and parked out of sight. In about ten minutes they met back at the bike with their arms full. Junkrat had a collection of citronella oil lamps from the porches, an empty pickle jar, a few more lengths of steel water pipe from outside the RVs, and some shirts that been left out to dry. Roadhog had a propane tank over one shoulder, a styrofoam cooler under his other arm, and a gas can marked ‘DIESEL’ dangling from his fingers. He had also snatched some pink plastic flamingos.

They packed it all into the side car. Junkrat peeked into the cooler and it was full of empty glass bottles. He made a happy noise.

“Molotov cocktails?” Roadhog offered, squeezing the propane tank in with the rest.

“Beautiful,” Junkrat agreed. He poked the pile of pipes. “Once I get something for caps, these’ll be good pipe bombs.”

“And napalm,” Roadhog said, nudging the cooler and the diesel.

“Yeah, a little,” Junkrat was squirming into his seat with all the stuff around him. “Just need a little incendiary and it’ll be the burn that keeps on burning.”

“Wait until we settle to start that,” Roadhog said, firing up the engine again.

“Will do,” Junkrat agreed. There wasn’t a lot he could safely do in the dark anyway. They drove on until they got to a roadside park rest area. It was out of the way and lit by a single weak streetlight like an afterthought. It had trash cans and a picnic shelter with one table and a sad little grill stand. Junkrat took a minute to check out the spray paint tags and carved names on the inside of the shelter and then set up shop on the table. They ate their sandwiches and preacher cookies and finished the tea.

Junkrat got to work with crumbs still on his chin and Roadhog went to nap in the grass. He had set up his flamingos around the spot for fun. The waning moon lit up his hair and his scars in silver. Junkrat gave the scars some thought. Shouldn’t they all seal up with the hogdrogon gas? Shouldn’t the tattoo? Maybe he was stuck with anything he had gotten before he started using the gas. Junkrat thought about it as he tore up the shirts to make wicks for the Molotov cocktails. Once those were set and stored nicely, he started breaking the styrofoam cooler down to mix with the diesel.

Pipe bombs, he could make in his sleep. He used all the leftover bits and pieces as shrapnel to give them a little extra. The citronella oil needed something to make it work. He would keep that for later. The moon had moved enough that it was after midnight when headlights got his attention. It was the first traffic that had come by in hours. A truck and a jeep pulled in together. They weren’t official vehicles, but the headlights stayed on the shelter. Locals, then. Looking for trouble and didn’t he just have a table full of it?

Three people got out of the truck and started towards him. There were two more that he could make out in the jeep, but they weren’t getting out. He didn’t remember seeing either vehicle at the camp they had raided. They weren’t here for that. The headlights kept him from being able to tell much about them until they got close. They were all wearing jackets with white Xs on them. There had been one like it spray painted on the table, now that he thought about it. Oh.

The leader was a woman with a white streak in her hair that turned into a jagged scar like a lightning bolt down her cheek. She was flanked by someone wearing bright blue goggles and another with spikes down their sleeves. Junkrat’s attention skittered past them to the truck. On the dash, barely visible because of the white bags, were two bags of powdered doughnuts. Something about powdered sugar clicked in his brain. He looked at the citronella oil and it hit him.

“Oh,” he said out loud this time. “Ohhhh.”

“Sinking in is it, there, seven by nine?” Boltscar said. That was probably an insult, but it didn’t mean anything to him. Roadhog had gone that special kind of still that usually meant he was about to be moving a lot and very quickly. None of these idiots had picked up on that though. They looked his way, but stayed focused on Junkrat.

“Yeah,” Junkrat said. The frag launcher had been in his hand since they had pulled in, but he leveled it at them. “I’ll be taking those.” He had to be careful not to blow up the truck until he could get the doughnuts, he reminded himself, but then there were two more guns and a boom-stick aimed back at him. The little ones were nines, he remembered Roadhog calling them. Guns were guns as far as he was concerned. His grin didn’t even flicker.

“You’re catching on to these things just a beat too slow,” Boltscar said. She was smiling too. Then the spikey one with the shotgun was yanked away into the dark by a very large hook. Every body turned and Junkrat started to laugh.

Roadhog was holding Spikey up by the upper arms, letting the unfortunate soul face the others. He gave them a heartbeat to process and then snapped both shoulders back like he was breaking open a fortune cookie. The sound of dislocating shoulders and shoulder blades being ground into a ribcage was barely audible before the screams started. The other two started firing at Roadhog. He threw the butterflied punk into Bluegoggles and the shotgun to Junkrat.

Junkrat caught the shotgun and fired into Boltscar as she tried to swivel back to him. She went down with a howl and he kicked her gun away as he stepped over her to fire a round into Bluegoggles. Roadhog took a moment to suck in a breath from a canister and then grabbed the jeep and flipped it over with a roar. He reached in the open window to drag out the driver and swung them head first into the concrete. The second one was shot when they clambered out the back and tried to run for it.

Junkrat went to get the two bags of doughnuts and gave them a good shake to get as much sugar off them as possible. He also stopped to get the blue goggles because they were kind of pretty.

“You all right?” he called to Roadhog who was turning the jeep right side up again. He got a thumbs up and returned it. Roadhog turned off the truck engine and stuffed the first three back into their seats and then went up to see what Junkrat was doing. He made a questioning noise to find him scraping the powdered sugar off the doughnuts into the pickle jar.

“More napalm,” Junkrat said, nodding at the citronella lamps. That was good enough for Roadhog. He got to work stripping anything they could use out of both vehicles, getting wire and tools for Junkrat and siphoning enough gas for their bike and another riptire or two. He took the spare tires out of both vehicles too. Junkrat made more pleased sounds as he stacked up their haul on the table.

“No sooner do I get it clean, but you bring me more!” he said, delighted. “You didn’t have to get yourself all shot up on account of them,” he added.

“You didn’t need to use up brand new bombs on them,” Roadhog snorted back.

“A little tougher than those quarry kids, huh?” Junkrat teased. The big guy chuckled at that. There was nothing but a few smears of blood to show that he had been shot at all.

“A little,” he said.

“They can’t be the worst this place has to offer can they?” Junkrat asked. “I mean, they all come swaggering up like they know that they’re doing, but it’s always short work made of them.”

“Haven’t been tested,” Roadhog growled, shaking Spikey to see what fell out of his pockets. “Haven’t starved and burned to live. Not like us.”

“They say times are hard all over,” Junkrat said. He looked around at the quiet night with the moon on the leaves. “But they got plenty here. No reason to gang war over a table.”

“Some times are harder than others,” Roadhog said, moving onto Bluegoggles-no-longer. “Subjective.”

Junkrat thought about that for a minute, ate another preacher cookie, and got down to business making a new batch of napalm. He finished up the pipe bombs and put together a few more concussion grenades. By the time the sun was up, he had the riptires ready too. Roadhog had napped on and off while he worked and with the sun coming up, he had thought of the send off he wanted to give their late night guests. Junkrat was winding down after working all night and looking sleepily at the last half-finished creation of his.

“There’s not enough to finish it,” he said without being asked. “Too unstable to ride with.” That meant quite a bit, considering the source.

“You’ve got enough,” Roadhog said, looking at the pile of finished explosives. “Put it on the front of the truck. Left them enough petrol to rev up. We aim them at each other and let ‘em go.”

“Let ‘em go boom,” Junkrat said, catching on. He cackled. “Yeah, that’s good.”

The next problem was packing everything up. The side car was still going to be crowded. Junkrat was willing to ride in front again, but Roadhog was pretty sure that would get them extra attention. He packed and repacked until everything was stowed and there was room for Junkrat in the sidecar. He eased the bike down the road to get it out of range and then went back to help position the bodies back in their vehicles. Junkrat wired his unfinished explosive to the front of the truck.

They got everyone back in place and aimed the two vehicles at each other. They got the accelerator’s braced and the engines revved and let them fly at each other. The explosion sent the jeep tumbling away and planted the truck right into the picnic table, rattling the shelter around it. The flamingos remained unscathed. Junkrat cheered and fist-bumped Roadhog and they headed back to the bike. There had hardly been any traffic on this road all night, but the blast and the fire would probably bring somebody looking.

Junkrat did a neat flip over the edge of the side car into his seat and Roadhog heaved a leg over the bike to get it started.

“We find the stash today,” he said over the engine. “We find someplace to hunker down and go over it. As long as we need to. Make a plan.” Junkrat gave him one of his own thumbs ups and they started out towards the sun.

Chapter Text

They headed for the coordinates the phone voice had given them. Roadhog drove all day again. Junkrat dozed on and off in the side car. They were restocked and back on guard. Junkrat didn’t need to tinker with anything. When he was awake, he was bright-eyed and alert. They were both ready for any pursuit or ambush. They seemed to be lucky, though. Any squad cars they saw were heading the other direction.

Roadhog was always ready for one to whip around and give chase. He even saw one patrolman’s head turn to watch them as they went by, but that was it. Maybe it was because there were so many bikers on the road. The rally had made its way to the end and now all the bikers were heading back to wherever they were from. Most were just in helmets and leathers, but there were a few more outlandish ones. The Junkers weren’t that much out of place.

Junkrat kept an eye out for any more white Xs. He didn’t know if the gang they had killed were a small group or a widespread one. He still had the blue goggles around his neck. He couldn’t see well through them and they might’ve been prescription, but they were still bright blue and pretty. Maybe Roadie needed blue lenses to set in his mask.

The passing bikers had a wave that they gave to each other and Roadhog returned the gesture out of half-forgotten muscle memory. It clearly puzzled Junkrat, who half-stood to see if he recognized the other rider too. He didn’t, of course, and made a befuddled face, but Roadhog ignored it. He could explain another time. By the time they stopped at a roadside produce stand, Junkrat had already forgotten it.

They got tomatoes and bread and cheese and made sandwiches right there in the parking lot. They still had a few preacher cookies left for sweets. Junkrat mentioned something about finally growing into his height if he got to eat like this all the time. He had said that before. Roadhog always tried to imagine it and chuckled. He got them both cold drinks for the road and they got going again.

The farther they went, the more the towns started to look like home. They got smaller and poorer. Yards were full of debris and dirty kids. The roads got worse. There weren’t any more factories, closed or otherwise. Gas prices kept going up. It was just about time to think about food again when Roadhog pulled into an empty lot. It had had a house in it once, but there was nothing left but a poured concrete foundation and a lonely well cover. Roadhog went straight for it.

He wrenched the well cap off and underneath it was fastened a tablet device. He gave it a tap and it came on. Junkrat crowded close to see, but it only showed a list of files. One was maps. One had pictures of people that could be potential contacts. They all looked unhealthy and wary. Another file had schematic of the mine omnics. The early ones were as human as possible, with either an eye or a light set in their foreheads like a miner’s helmet. That was probably to keep the protesting humans as reassured as possible.

Later models started to lose their humanoid shapes and become more suited for the mines. If they didn’t need to stand up they wouldn’t need to clear as big a passage. They could scuttle like moles. Those designs gave Junkrat the creeps. He could imagine them tunneling underground and just popping up wherever they wanted. You wouldn’t see them coming.

The next file had people of interest. There were different images of an assortment of people and omnics. The first one was one of the mine omnics. It was huge, twice the size of the woman standing next to it. The caption said its name was Hatfield, and whether it was her bodyguard or her warden wasn’t clear. The woman was a local trouble-maker, but there was no proof she was involved with Marlowe.

Hatfield wasn’t as in the clear. He, or at least an omnic just like him, had been reported more than once with environmental situations. He may or may not have dug out a sinkhole to make a road collapse under construction trucks. It was alleged that he had weakened a bridge enough that the weight of the second fleet of trucks had collapsed it. There were those who believed he had murdered an entire team of pipeline workers and hung them like hams in the woods near the scene. Their truck was found buried just deep enough that the sensors could still be traced, like the killer had wanted it to be found. No action could be taken against him because no was sure it was him and not one of the same models. The pipeline people were too despised for the locals to care what happened to them. They were notoriously unhelpful in any investigations. It was possible one of them had done it and let the omnic take the blame.

The last file was helpful advice. They should stock up on bottled water before they went into the area. There was a short list of water bottling companies that definitely hadn’t been hijacked by Marlowe and the tainted mountain water. They were told the names of places to stay and safe places to eat. It was even suggested that they should do something to get some attention before they got there. The locals would be a lot more willing to take them in if they were protecting them from outside authority. Most highway patrols wouldn’t even chase speeders into the county if it meant dealing with the territorial locals.

Roadhog made a thoughtful noise and Junkrat echoed it. Roadhog switched the device off and and slid it into his pocket. They looked at each other. The tall grass in the empty lot swayed in the wind.

“So, we need some water and some attention,” Junkrat said. “Sounds easy enough.”

“Sleep first,” Roadhog said. “Go over all of this and make a plan.”

“Right, right,” Junkrat said. “Just like any other heist. Only we carry off intel instead of cash.”

“Without being torn limb from limb and hung in a tree by a people-loving omnic.”

“You think they really are good ones?” Junkrat asked. Roadhog just grunted and started back to the bike. Junkrat fell into step with him and kept talking. “Why didn’t we get any good ones?” he asked. “We have mines. If those folks are like Junkers, why did they get protected and we didn’t? Why wouldn’t-“

“Won’t know until we find out,” Roadhog said, cutting him off. “Won’t find out ’til we get there. They know we have their toy.” He patted the pocket with the tablet. “They know we’re on the job. There’s no time frame, so we don’t have to hurry.”

“Another RV then?” Junkrat asked. “Set up camp for a few days to get all the kinks out?”

“Not here,” Roadhog said. “People here live here. They only got one life and they won’t feel like sharing.” He didn’t know if Junkrat would remember his rant in the RV park at the coast, but he nodded like he did.

“Have to pay then,” Junkrat agreed. “Or threaten.”

“Pay for now,” Roadhog said. “Can take it back when we leave.”

“Fair enough,” Junkrat said, grinning.

The road was emptier now. The bikers had stayed on the main roads and they were heading into a much lesser-traveled area. The downside to heading to more isolated places would be there would be a lot less options for food and lodging. They would have to take what they could get, but that was nothing new to either of them. They would also be a lot more memorable. That wasn’t going to be a new experience either. They had been a little too famous at home.

Junkrat’s mind kept turning over the schematics of the mine omnics they had seen. The early models would be killed as easily as any other. He tried to calculate where the weak spot in something like Hatfield would be. It was mostly head and arms. Just as he had with the carnival rides, he studied on what he remembered of the design plans until it hit him. The spine would hold together something like the mine-nics. It would probably be armored the most, but enough of an explosion in the right spot and it would burn like all the others.

It was probably best not to attack this one until they knew what it would do, he reasoned. He still wasn’t sure he was buying the whole part about the mine-nics being good little guard dogs. Even the people hiring them hadn’t been sure Hatfield was protecting the woman in the photo or just keeping an eye on her. Maybe the mine-nics thought the humans were theirs, like pets or property. Just thinking about that tweaked at Junkrat’s blood pressure.

Maybe they were the ones calling the shots. It wasn’t like omnics needed the water or the medicine. Maybe once all the humans were dead, the land would be theirs. Maybe that was the deal they had with the mine owners. Like had happened in the Outback. Some suit had been all too happy to hand over the deeds. Just send us the coal and let the pipes go through and when everybody’s dead, the place is all yours.

Miserable scrap heaps could all be destroyed as far as he was concerned, but Roadie was right. All they knew for sure was that someone they didn’t know if they could trust had said that there might be something good about the omnics that had been used to impoverish the region. They did know about poverty, enough to choke on. As furious as the excess in other places had made him, he wasn’t too impressed with the deprivation here yet. There was still green on the ground and enough food that people sold it beside roads without armed guards. They had come for days without meeting anything they couldn’t handle.

Maybe Roadie was right again, about what he said when they killed the gang. About hard times being subjective. A sharp jolt snapped him out of his thoughts. Roadhog had let his side hit a pothole on purpose. He could tell by the amused hitch of shoulder as Junkrat glared at him. Without looking away from the road, Roadhog reached out and swiped a thumb over his face. It made his lip sting, which meant he had been chewing on it while he thought.

“Still looking out for me,” he called over the engine. He licked his lip and the taste of fingers was stronger than blood. Roadhog gave him a pat and went back to driving. Junkrat forgot his angry musing and started to plan for when they stopped for the night.

Chapter Text

By the end of the day, they got their first look at the pipeline. It was a scar across the mountain, brown and dead, five hundred feet wide. They could see it from miles away. Whoever had cleaned up after the construction had either been on a tight budget or just hadn’t cared because it was a mess. It hadn’t been reseeded, or at least not well, so the rains had washed out all the land around it. The rivers were brown from the years of run-off. It wasn’t a nuclear wasteland, though. There was still that.

“S’not pretty,” Junkrat said, to be polite. Roadhog just grunted. Like that mattered. They kept going. They came to a cluster of a town built between two mountains. It had a railroad track along side of another brown river. There was a hotel there with a sign that welcomed AT Hikers and promised hot showers.

“What’s that mean?” Junkrat asked, squinting at the sign.

“People on foot,” Roadhog said. He wasn’t sure about the AT part, but he remembered hiking before it became a necessity in some parts of the world. “Safer to stay off the roads with no ride. Go cross-country. Live off the land until they get where they going.”

“Easier to hide,” Junkrat agreed, eyeing the woods and hills around them. “They won’t blink at us then.”

“Probably not,” Roadhog said. There were a few cars, all of them hard-used and dirty. Some of the hotel doors were open to let smoke out of the rooms. There were a few patrons sitting outside their doors, some clearly pre-hot shower. One was picking something out of his leg with tweezers. There was a lot of wild hair and general filth. They might fit in just fine. It might also be worth the investment to ask for a room that had been fumigated, but that was just being fancy. All this high living was spoiling him, he thought and chuckled out loud. Junkrat raised eyebrows at him for it, and he shook his head.

They decided to pay for the room with cash just in case there were any alerts out for the cards they had taken. They still wanted some time to make a plan without interruption. The desk clerk wasn’t hard to convince. She smelled like incense and dogs. There were three of them in the lobby, a border collie mix, a little terrier, and something big and white that drooled.

“Emergency rations,” Junkrat said cheerfully, twiddling his fingers at the white one. It panted happily.

“That’s Trailer,” the lady said as she handed them a key and a delivery menu for the pizza place down the street. “That’s Appy and Lachy.” She grinned like she was waiting for them to get the joke, but they just went on to the room. It was small and green and smelled like the rest of the place. There wasn’t a skylight in this one. There was barely a window and most of that was full of a creaky air conditioner. They ordered some dinner and booby-trapped the place to their satisfaction once it arrived. They spread out the food and settled in to go over the files again.

Roadhog had an order of eggplant parmesan and Junkrat had wanted to try manicotti. They had an entire loaf of garlic bread between them. It made the room smell much better. Junkrat used the napkins to sketch out notes as they went along. He made a rough outline of the town in the files, noting escape routes and back roads. He put an X at the place where the files said they could get lodging and smaller ones at the places where they could safely eat.

They went over the pictures of the contacts again, marking their names on the map as well. Junkrat noticed that they all had pale blue eyes. Maybe a little too pale. No matter the coloration of their skin or hair, they all had the same eyes.

“That a thing?” he asked. Roadhog made an inquiring sound. “The eyes. All the same color?” Roadhog hadn’t noticed that. He went back to check and sure enough, all blue.

“No,” he said. “Even in small places like this there should be some other colors.” He studied the images closely. “Something must’ve caused it. Maybe they’re all cybernetics?”

“Can you get eye cancer from bad water?” Junkrat asked, cramming a mouthful of manicotti into his cheek.

“Maybe,” Roadhog looked thoughtfully at the jug of tea that had come with their order. “This says it starts with bladder and kidney cancer and spreads from there, but it depends on the poison.”

“If they all have it, they’re gonna know we’re from out of town then,” Junkrat said. Roadhog reached over and flicked the blue goggles still hanging on his chest.

“You’ll be fine,” he said. Junkrat cheered up, remembering he had them. They went on. There was surveillance footage from Alaska. The mysterious Marlowe might have been in the group that had taken out one of the drilling platforms. The video was grainy and shrouded in darkness until the platform blew. Then everything was red and orange and the environmental terrorists were in silhouette. They were quick as a Junker raiding party, but a lot quieter. They got in, destroyed the place, and were gone in only a few minutes.

“There,” Junkrat said suddenly, pointing at the screen. Roadhog backed up to pause it. There was a flicker of blue in the silhouettes, like they had the eyes too. “Local folks on the road.” His head tilted as he considered. He studied the explosion, starting the video up again to watch it to the end. “Wouldn’t blowing the oil up make things worse?” he asked. “More demand for it?”

Roadhog was quiet, maybe remembering when the Core blew. He let the video loop a few times. He didn’t speak again until Junkrat dipped a piece of garlic bread in his sauce. He swatted it away.

“Depends,” he said again. “On what they wanted. On the message they wanted to send. Might’ve been worth it to ruin that spot. Maybe to save another one. Maybe just to keep more of those from being built. Maybe just to remind a suit somewhere that they could.”

“They should blow up the pipeline if they hate it so much,” Junkrat said. “Let all the hard work and profit burn for a hundred miles.”

“Might be a good reason not to,” Roadhog went back to eating. He nodded at the map. “Lotta things close to it. Schools and churches and graveyards. Nursing home, there. That’s a hospital for old people,” he added when Junkrat squinted.

“All that stuff could be rebuilt after,” Junkrat scoffed. “Be rid of it. Once and for all.”

“Could be protecting something else,” Roadhog said. Junkrat scoured the maps for anything that might be valuable. The water sources were there, but what wasn’t in plain sight? Something underneath maybe. Mines. He flipped through the files, but there wasn’t a map of just the mine tunnels.

“That’s what we need,” he muttered. “See what’s underneath. Where the mine-bots can go.” Roadhog made an acknowledging sound around his mouthful. Junkrat was quiet for a minute, eating between adding to his notes.

“Did you know any of them?” he asked suddenly.

“Hrm?” Roadhog didn’t know what he meant. “The bikers earlier?”

“No,” Junkrat said. He nodded to the side where the brochure for the haunted sanitarium tour was still sticking out of one of their bags. “The ones who showed up fireside, or ran along. Said you didn’t want to follow a stranger. Did you know them?” He hunched his shoulders against the stare he could feel even with the mask only pushed halfway up to eat.

“I don’t have anyone alive, but you,” he said before Roadhog could come up with an answer. “But you had people. Back then, anyway. They the ones that, that-“ His metal fingers clenched a little too hard and he had to stop to smooth the napkins back down.

“No,” Roadhog told him before he could go any farther. “No. It’s like you said. Dead is dead. I never saw anyone I lost again. I’m not in the habit of leaving anyone alive. You know that.”

Junkrat nodded like it was the answer he had expected, but Roadhog saw him try to relax the tension out of his back. Did the kid think he had someone who would come back for him if they were alive? Someone who would lure him away from his deal with Junkrat? He ate the last three bites of his dinner quickly, then reached out to run his finger down one of the bare patches on the back of Junkrat’s head. It made him hunch even farther for a second, but then he half-turned to knee walk over and lean on Roadhog’s leg.

Roadhog rubbed his head gently and chuckled as Junkrat melted against his knee. The maps and notes were forgotten for a moment. Junkrat closed his eyes and his smile spread ear to ear as he bowed his head under the big fingers. Roadhog didn’t leave an inch of his scalp untouched. He rubbed gentle spirals into the bald spots and stroked the clumps of hair into new shapes. He even petted behind the ears. Junkrat shivered happily and looked up, expecting it to be over. Roadhog rumbled at him and moved the massage down the back of his neck. They both already knew what Roadhog’s hands on Junkrat’s neck meant, but this time he was only using the fingertips. Kneading and lightly pinching down to his shoulders left Junkrat sucking air in through his teeth and arching like a cat.

“What are you doing to me?” he asked, trying to laugh a little. He was too breathless to pull it off.

“Like it?” Roadhog asked, stroking over his Adam’s apple as he gulped.

“Yeah…”

Roadhog used his thumbs to dig into Junkrat’s shoulder blades and that got a little sound out of him. His whole back was a gnarled mess from walking with his limp and lugging around the rip tire and just poor posture in general. There were a few muffled pops as he tried to twist into Roadhog’s hands. Roadhog chuckled and slid hands under his arms to pick him up and pull him onto the bed beside him. Junkrat let himself be rolled onto his stomach and folded his arms to cushion his head.

Hands that could crush his ribcage plucked at sore spots and nerve endings Junkrat didn’t even know he had until he was eeking and trying to decide between flinching away or pushing back into it. The hands moved down his back, heavy as a waiting thunderstorm. They weren’t squeezing him enough to hurt, just enough to remind him how easy it would be to break him in half, tracing his ribs and thumbing deep circles into his lower back. Huge knuckles scraped up his spine, popping wayward vertebrae back into place, and then back down again.

They went as far as his hips and decided to stay there, fingers squeezing gently and the thumbs grinding deeper. Junkrat was about to sit up and complain about them stopping when he felt teeth in his ear. It wasn’t a real bite, just enough to freeze him in place. It only lasted a second and then it was warm breath he could feel.

“Let me,” Roadhog growled into his ear and Junkrat was nodding before he even thought about what he was agreeing to. Roadhog shifted next to him, leaning over and blocking the light from their one little lamp. Those teeth grazed his neck next, not biting down yet, but the threat was there. It turned into kisses which almost made him laugh a little. Who would’ve thought such soft, wet, little sucking sensations on the back of his neck would pull at all the little strings running through the rest of him? He could feel the tingle in his chest and his fingers, deep in the bottom of his stomach, and down the inside of his thighs.

He squirmed a little so he wouldn’t be just laying there trying to look over his shoulder, but he was being held too tightly to get far. That was nice, too. The kisses trailed down to trace each shoulder blade, teeth catching here and there to make him jerk and tongue smoothing over it to make him want more. Every bump and ridge and scar and knot on his back got the same treatment. It wrung all sorts of noises out him and left him in a panting puddle on the scratchy bed covers.

Roadhog followed his spine all the way to his tailbone, pushing his pants down to reach it. He pressed one more kiss to the end of it. There were a few huffs of breath and then he was sliding away, off the bed. Junkrat sighed. He wasn’t sure his bones were still solid enough to make it to the shower, but if it meant more of this later he would make the effort. He was tugged backwards until his legs hung off the edge of the bed and he started to try and get his feet under him.

Roadhog’s hands were still around his hips and he had fleeting hope of being carried before the snap of a button stopped him. His ragged pants were pulled down to his knees and Roadhog’s warmth was pressed back against him. The circling thumbs slid down too, kneading into the meat of Junkrat’s ass until he gave up squirming and just tried to see what was happening.

“Roll me over?” he asked hopefully. He didn’t care that his voice was a shaky whisper.

“Not yet,” Roadhog said, breath tickling against the damp tailbone. The thumbs got a better grip and spread Junkrat wide and he almost giggled again before the brush of a tongue stole any sound he could’ve made. He probably gasped. The way he was trying to breath and moan and squeak all at once felt a lot like gasping. He couldn’t spare it any thought, not with warmth and wetness spread over power teasing its way into him. He didn’t have a word for what it felt like. The only thing he was sure of was that it was good, whatever it was.

Silky, he managed to think after an unmeasurable amount of time writhing between the bed and the tongue. He remembered the handkerchief and the smooth part of Roadhog’s head and now he had the strokes of his tongue. He felt himself being kissed and sucked on before the thumbs eased him a little wider. He did his best to spread out for it, wanting whatever he would get. He tried to pull one leg free of the pants so he could sprawl farther. He tried to reach back and use his own fingers to help, but Roadhog bit him on the curve of his cheek, hard enough to make him jump. It might’ve been hard enough to break the skin. Junkrat kind of hoped so.

“Just feel it,” Roadhog growled.

“I felt that!” Junkrat gasped.

“Don’t think about it.” Another bite on the other side. Another yelp from Junkrat. “Don’t talk about it.” Roadhog settled in again. “Just feel it.” His tongue went back to work and Junkrat wrapped his arms around his head to shudder open-mouthed into the bed cover. He could do that. Feeling was easy, especially when it felt as good as this. It was better than the massage, better than his own fingers, better than the slide of the canned peaches down his stomach.

Now that he was being quiet, he could hear the sounds Roadhog made, his regular harsh breathing gone wet and hungry. The sounds his tongue made and the slow movement of both their bodies filled up the little room. Junkrat didn’t have space to rock or grind against the edge of the bed and he couldn’t get his hands in between at the angle he was held at. That was quickly becoming torture, but he gave himself up to it anyway. His poor dissolved bones were floating in the goo that was all that was going to be left of him. It didn’t matter if he wasn’t able to move or just didn’t want to. The longer it went on, the less there was of him that wasn’t soaked through and stupid with pleasure.

One of those thumbs he was so in love with eased a little lower and rubbed hard. It pulled something in his spine tight and made his throat arch back. Roadhog’s tongue followed it down and Junkrat heard himself whine at the cooler air on the wetness left behind. Finally, finally, he was rolled over and Roadhog loomed over him again. They were both a mess. Junkrat was shuddering and making choked off sounds of need. Drool ran from his mouth and he had to clutch himself to keep from coming at the sight of Roadhog. Roadhog was flushed and sweaty and the lower part of his face visible under the mask dripped with spit.

There was some quick fumbling to get both their clothes off. They pressed together, both of Junkrat’s hands and one of Roadhog’s wrapping around them both. They were both too far gone to last long. Roadhog used his free hand to hold Junkrat down by the hair when he strained and begged to kiss him.

“In a minute,” he groaned into the kid’s throat. That final brush of lips and teeth was enough for Junkrat and feeling him go over sent Roadhog after him. It took awhile for them both to recover. Junkrat was able to move first, dropping kisses over whatever part of Roadhog he could reach. When Roadhog raised up to look at him, Junkrat leaned in for the kiss he wanted before and only pouted a little when Roadhog leaned out of reach again.

“Shower?” he guessed, making it sound like it was unreasonably prissy to want to clean the face that had been in his ass before he kissed it. Roadhog smirked and took off his mask. Junkrat grinned too, raising up to make unfastening his prosthetics easier. Just as he hoped, he was carried into the shower, and just as the sign said, the showers were hot. When they came back out, a whole new file had appeared on the tablet.

Chapter Text

The new file was pharmaceutical. It talked about the medications that were being used to treat the Gnawers’ various cancers and how the price had skyrocketed once the suits in charge had decided that everything would be so much more convenient if the people opposing them would just be polite enough to die quietly. That’s how Junkrat translated it, anyway. All the chemical names in the listed medication didn’t mean anything to him. He took note of the people names.

That was probably the same thing that had happened at home, he mused, tapping the screen to scroll. Somebody had likely just decided it was better to let the problem starve or shrivel away from radiation poisoning all on its own. This was a smaller problem, but it also had a smaller list of people to blame. There were only four of them, a senator, two oil and natural gas CEO/tycoon types, and one just listed as a contractor. Maybe they were just business men, but if all this came back to rest on their decisions, they had caused worlds of harm.

Junkrat found himself sneering at their pictures. They were all smooth-faced and slick-haired and smiling. None of them had ever gone hungry. If they had ever been sick, they had been able to afford the cure before it left any mark on them. They were older than him, older than Roadhog even, and didn’t look it. Safe and fed and so spoiled they didn’t care who they hurt as long as they got their way. He added their names to his notes.

Roadhog puttered around the little room while he studied, setting things up for tomorrow. Junkrat kept going over and over the files, even after Roadhog settled in beside him and went to sleep. He was still working things out when Roadhog woke up a few hours later. He made a questioning sound as he raised his head to squint at the blue light from the screen.

“I think,” Junkrat said, gnawing on a hardened chunk of garlic bread crust. He might’ve been waiting for Roadhog to wake up, or he might’ve just kept talking to him the whole time he was asleep too. “That maybe we don’t even have to be sneaky about this. I think we can go straight in and tell ‘em we was sent to find out what’s going on.”

“You think they won’t string us up for that?” Roadhog asked.

“Better than them finding out later on and knowing we lied to ‘em.” Junkrat said with a shrug. “If it was me, I’d appreciate the candor. We could work something out with them. Make a deal. Trade for info they want spread and be careful not to let slip what they don’t. I don’t know. It’s a thought.”

“It is,” Roadhog agreed. He got stood up to pop his back and shuffled over to the window, squinting out of the blinds over the air conditioner. It was still dark outside. The big white dog from the lobby was walking in laps around the hotel. He could see it move across the parking lot and around the corner. After a few minutes, it reappeared from the other side and went around again. On guard then. Junkrat would say something about making yourself useful meant nobody would be looking your way when the food ran out if he saw it.

It made him remember the ambush that he had destroyed in a valley, long before he had heard of Junkrat. He had killed them all when they had attacked him. Once they were dead, he had gone to their hideout to help himself to their supplies since they wouldn’t be needing it anymore. He rumbled softly to himself, remembering the half-grown kid he had found minding the shop and how their larder had been full of pieces of all the other travelers they had waylaid. The kid hadn’t been able to talk, too damaged or too feral to do anything but hiss and yowl. He had left her hanging in the smokehouse with the rest of the meat, taken what water they had, and gone on his way.

Like hams, he remembered the files had said about Hatfield. Hatfield had hung the construction workers in the woods like hams. Roadhog turned the thought over. He knew it was all that more hideous because an omnic couldn’t starve. It wouldn’t even need the meat. It had killed those humans and butchered them because it wanted to, not because it was hungry or desperate or even evil. Like he had told Junkrat about blowing up the oil rig, it might’ve just been to make a statement the scared little humans could understand. A message to whoever found the bodies. This could happen to you.

He was finding he couldn’t work up a lot of emotion about it. Just like the cannibals so long ago, it had happened and was over now. He didn’t feel much of anything except the certainty that it wouldn’t happen to him without a fight. It wasn’t going to happen to him. Or Junkrat.

“You’re probably right,” he said aloud. “Being straight with them from the beginning. We can always lie and cheat if that doesn’t work.”

Junkrat had stopped listening by then. He was skimming over the list of side affects of the cancer medications. He wondered if there was a way to replicate it so that they didn’t have to buy more. Homebrew pharmaceuticals, he thought. He probably wouldn’t have lived this long without someone figuring out how to reverse engineer old world medications. The Gnawers had lots more resources than the Junkers did. They were probably treating their ailments to the best of their abilities with whatever they could find on their mountains.

“We should get some of these,” he said, tapping the screen with the list of treatments on it. It made the text balloon into a larger font, but he didn’t notice. “Before we head in. Give us some trading leverage.”

“Make us popular,” Roadhog said again, waiting until the big white dog went by one more time before heading back to bed. “You think they sent that file to you on purpose? To get you to that idea?”

“They wasted their time if they did,” Junkrat said haughtily. He held up the tablet so it wouldn’t be jostled when Roadhog rolled into his side. “I got plenty of ideas better than that.”

“Like blowing up the pipeline,” Roadhog said, amused.

“Long story made much shorter!” Junkrat said, stretching out all his limbs as he imagined the blast. He giggled until Roadhog took the tablet from him and set it aside.

“There’s a hospital in town,” he said over the protests. “We go into the ER, get one of us admitted, then grab some staff to get us the right meds.”

“Grab some staff,” Junkrat repeated, then cackled. He clutched playfully at his crotch and laughed harder when Roadhog swatted his hand away.

“Get some rest,” Roadhog rumbled into his ear. It made goosebumps spring up all over him. An arm bigger around than most of his torso looped easily across his shoulders and pulled him in close. His brain still hadn’t hit enough of a speed bump to slow down, as comfortable as this was.

“Get some towels good and bloody,” he said. “Wrap it around my stump. Act like I just now lost it.” Roadhog chuckled at that, but didn’t say anything. They were both quiet for a short while, before Junkrat tried again.

“Once knew a bloke who passed a kidney stone in a dust storm,” he said. “I can scream like that.”

“Tell ‘em my arm hurt,” Roadhog said without opening his eyes. “And then I couldn’t breathe, and then I collapsed. They won’t have any trouble believing my heart gave out on me.” That thought left Junkrat silent and still. He might have been having a little trouble breathing too. For some reason, the musty smell of warm pavement and burned skin washed over him and he sniffled.

“Or you could just swallow something and get an x-ray to figure out what,” Roadhog added to make him feel better. “But we would have to stay until they got it out.”

“I like my first idea,” Junkrat said, still too softly, too horrified. Roadhog just made a sound to acknowledge it. He might’ve really been asleep or just faking it to get Junkrat to settle. Either way, it took awhile.

Chapter Text

All their early morning plans were for nothing, because barely an hour before sunrise, a distant boom shook their crowded bed. All three dogs barked, the terrier the longest. It wasn’t much of an explosion at that distance, but to a professional’s ear, it was more than enough.  Junkrat scrambled up and hopped around, strapping on the prosthetic. He made an ‘I know’ noise when Roadhog growled out a warning about the door traps.  He disengaged them and hurried out into the parking lot to see what had blown up. The sky was still dark, but over the next mountain there was a yellow blaze of light. It lit up a pillar of smoke rising high. Burning pieces of debris glinted red as they rained back down.

“Building!” Junkrat said. “Big one by the plume.”

“Only thing on the map that size,” Roadhog said from the doorway.

“Hospital,” Junkrat said. They both watched in silence as a siren wailed to life in the distance.  Junkrat’s stance went from alert to a slump. “Someone beat us to it again,” he complained.

“Or wants to pin it on us again,” Roadhog grumbled.

“Hmm,” Junkrat said, sucking on an incisor while he thought. “Should we be on the move before they show up looking for us, or would that be more suspicious?” They both looked up as another door opened and the hiker with the tweezers came out. His leg was covered in tiny bandages now.

“Aw, fuck,” he said. “Fucking Gnawers. “ Junkrat made a questioning noise and the hiker focused on him. “Stupid and short-sighted. Blow up a hospital to steal supplies and then what? Golden goose! Where are they going to go when that runs out? Where is anybody around here going to go for their antibiotics and vaccines and tetanus shots? Can’t have nice things.”

“They’ve done this before?”

“Last time it was the tractor supply, but yeah,” the hiker gave himself a shake, chilly in the pre-dawn air. “They’ve trashed their own territory and they’re spreading out to find more. Like locusts, I guess.”

“Sound like dangerous people,” Junkrat said, all friendly-like. The hiker didn’t notice the teeth.

“There’s whole stretches of the Trail you can’t go through anymore.” he said. “You have to carry your own water, and there have been people waylaid and robbed for it.”

“Where?”

“I never go between Sugar Camp and Angel’s Rest,” the hiker said, like that meant anything to the Junkers. “They say it’s bad all the way to Dismal, but I don’t go that far either.”

“Good to know,” Roadhog said anyway. He jerked his head back towards the room. Junkrat followed him in. “Suit up,” he said. “Get over there and track whoever did it home.”

They packed up quickly and followed the lights and smoke to the neighboring town. The whole hospital hadn’t been taken out. Patients were being evacuated out of the half of it that was undamaged. Police and fire trucks were blocking off the road. They got a spot with the as good a view of the destruction as they could get and Junkrat studied the scene through a cracked pair of binoculars.

“Smells like homemade dynamite,” he said. “It’s a little off. Used their own stabilizers. Went up big, but didn’t spread far. Makes an impression, right?” He laughed a little.

“How’d they do it?” Roadhog asked. All he got back was a sound. “How would you do it?”

“Same way we cleaned up the Xs,” Junkrat said. “Load up a vehicle and send it in. The lot has a straight shot from the end to the door. Plenty of room to pick up speed.”

“Too busy to try to get any goods now,” Roadhog said as another load of emergency personnel showed up and were let through the road block. More and more people were coming out of the other end of the hospital. People in white were trying to check everyone.

“Mm,” Junkrat agreed. “Not sure they got anything either. I don’t know what their exit strategy would be. Shit, Roadie, look!” He pointed and tried to hand the binoculars over, but Roadhog didn’t need them to see the mine omnic step into sight. It waded into the rubble, fire gleaming off the black metal. It dug around, impervious to the heat and smoke until it lifted something. It looked like the charred and melted frame of a vehicle.

“See?” Junkrat smacked Roadhog’s arm with the back of his hand. The mine-nic set the frame down and began to pick through the remains with its weirdly jointed fingers. Junkrat was a decent lip reader when he focused. The mine-nic didn’t have a mouth that moved, but the human it showed its handful to did. Teeth, it looked like she said.

“Suicide run,” Junkrat said. “Or somebody strapped to the wheel to make it look like one.”

“There,” Roadhog said, pointing at the car that had pulled up to the police barrier. The driver rushed out and pled with the officers, hopping and gesturing in distress. She wasn’t allowed through, but one officer started toward the evacuated crowd across the parking lot. “Here to pick someone up. Could be the getaway car.”

“Those two could be Junkers,” Junkrat said, nodding off to the side. An ancient model of Jeep that was held together with tree sap and bungee cords had pulled up to get a look too. There were two people in it, both standing in the seats to see out the roof. They weren’t trying to get any closer than Junkrat and Roadhog were. They weren’t as spiked and weaponized as the usual Junker, but the wiry wariness was familiar. One of them had a pair of goggles pushed up on their forehead. It might have been the police lights, or they might have been blue.

Down below, the worried driver began to scream and wave her arms. Three people were being walked over by the officer who had apparently gone to look for them. It looked like a very pregnant woman, a kid in a shapeless smock, and a tall person in a long coat. The woman was allowed through to run and hug each one of them and then hurry them into her car. Roadhog rumbled thoughtfully.

“Mules,” he said. “All three of the have something.”

“How can you tell?”

“Seen it before. Might not really be pregnant,” he said. “Send her in with an appointment, kid in a big shirt, kid in a long coat. They wait for the boom, grab what they can in the confusion, stash it under their clothes, and then get picked up and taken home with it.” He reached to start the bike up, but the jeep roared to life first. As the carload of the people pulled back on the road from the hospital, it turned to go in the same direction. “Got back-up in case it goes bad.”

“Lot of trouble for what three people can carry,” Junkrat said, dropping back into the sidecar as Roadhog started after at what they hoped was a casual distance.

“Lot of trouble is what we are, too,” Roadhog said and they followed the two cars into the dark.

Chapter Text

This far into the sticks, there weren’t as many roads off the main one. Some of them had gates. Properties were fenced off from each other. Junkrat used his napkin notes instead of bringing out the tablet again. That would help if they were stopped. They could honestly say they had been given directions and were trying to find a place. They had followed the tail lights of the two cars ahead of them, but as the sun came up, the first car turned off onto a side road. The following jeep kept going.

“That road comes back around in another mile,” Junkrat said, pointing to the arching line on his map. “If they’re meeting up, that one can turn at the next road at the other end. “ Sure enough, the jeep turned at the next left. The Junkers drove on by as if they were headed somewhere else. There was a church on the side and they turned around on the parking lot and then went back to the first road to follow the car. This road was headed straight toward the nearest mountain. There was about a mile of pastureland and then it began to roll upward into foothills.

The pipeline scar stood out in the trees. There were two other marks in the mountain. It looked like two older, smaller scars that had grown over. They weren’t so visible on the sides of the mountain, but at the top there were two little V notches, too alike to be natural. Maybe there had been a power line corridor cut there once. Maybe the pipeline would disappear back into the mountain in enough time. This bunch might not live to see it, though.

They passed a few scattered houses, some old farmhouses from before the first Crisis and some newer, but just as rundown. They saw the tail lights going over the top of a hill behind another gate and Roadhog slowed down enough to see that the gate had a lock on it. They kept going and it wasn’t long before they meet the jeep coming the other way. Roadhog slowed down and the jeep did, too. The two inside, maybe Gnawers if what the voice said was true, were openly suspicious, but they stopped so that Junkrat could lean across Roadhog’s legs to talk to them.

“G’day,” Junkrat said cheerfully. He held up the napkin directions. “We’re not from here.” That got a low, unamused sound from the passenger. “We’re looking for the Blake House and now we’re turned around. How far off are we?”

“You know the Blakes?” the driver asked.

“They came recommended,” Junkrat said, still grinning. Roadhog was quiet, just processing. They Gnawers weren’t wearing masks so he could see all the uncertainty and hostility flickering over their faces. They knew that they had been followed from the hospital and it wasn’t like there were two motorcycles with sidecars and wanted criminals cruising the backroads, probably. Did these two know who they were? They didn’t look like it. They were just cagey and tense, eyes flicking between each other as they tried to figure out what to do.

“You should’ve stayed on the main road,” the driver finally said. He pointed back the way they had come. “Get back on 291 until you cross the bridge. The Blakes are on the right. You’ll see a sign.” Junkrat made a pleased sound and checked his notes.

“Told ya,” he said, slapping at Roadhog’s arm. Roadhog kept on staring the Gnawers down. The silence turn awkward fast.

“Good luck,” the driver finally said, and started to pull away. Junkrat just waved. If they had been on the proper side of the road, it would’ve been easy to slap a mine on the back of the jeep as they went by, but on this side, he would have to throw it over Roadhog and hope it stuck and that wasn’t very subtle. Probably best to wait. Once they had moved on, Roadhog went on until he came to a wide enough spot to turn. They got back in time to see the passenger locking the gate behind the jeep as they went up the same road as the first car. Junkrat waved again, just to be obnoxious.

They did head back out onto the main road. The Blake House was the boarding house that was on their list of safe places to stay. Might as well try to get a room there, and start seeing who they could track down. This would work too. Now that it was known that they were in the territory, someone would probably be sent to check them out or threaten them away. It was just good manners to announce yourself when you got to someone else’s yard. If it was anything like the Outback, word was already spreading. Maybe this Marlowe or one of their minions would be by to see what they wanted.

“And we’ll tell them,” Junkrat said, more to himself than Roadhog. He crammed the napkins into a pouch to keep them from being blown away by the wind. The pastureland turned into a town that was mostly post office and gas station, with a feed store and a sandwich grill and three different churches around the edges.

The bridge they had been told about was on their map too, but it clearly wasn’t to scale. The actual bridge spanned a gully that had probably been carved out by a glacier. It was deep and wide and the wind howled around them as they crossed it. Junkrat half-stood to see over the edge and then sat down again very quickly. The river was a very long way down. Halfway across, a black metal arm flung itself over the outside rail and the head of a mine omnic appeared.

Roadhog swerved to give it more room as the whole omnic crawled onto the bridge. Junkrat swore in surprise and the thing charged after them. It must’ve been waiting like a troll under the bridge, climbing in the girders. It ran on all fours and Roadhog tore away from it as fast as they could go. The omnic was still catching up and Junkrat spun around with a frag cannon. Before he could fire, the whole bridge lit up behind them.

He gaped into the explosion. The bridge dissolved upwards in yellow and red and the mine omnic was backlit into nothing but a shadow. The force of the explosion sent them reeling, but the omnic didn’t slow down. It was right on them and Junkrat hefted the cannon to fire. Before he could pull the trigger, it grabbed the back of the motorcycle and threw them towards the solid ground at the end of the bridge.

They sent sailing through the air. Roadhog hooked arms around Junkrat, pulling him in to shield him. There was a weird, weightless moment and then they slammed into the far side. The motorcycle whipped around and rocked up on the sidecar side, dumping both of them out. Roadhog turned to take the impact on his back, holding Junkrat to his chest. They hit hard, driving the breath out of both of them. They bounced and slid, concrete and gravel tearing up whatever skin they landed on. The motorcycle rolled over once and then the weight of the sidecar righted it.

Roadhog was torn and bleeding, but he rolled one more time in case anything in the sidecar exploded. Nothing did, and they both gasped for a moment, getting themselves back together. Roadhog sat up carefully. His breath shuddered out of him, rattling Junkrat. His back and shoulder had taken the worst of it. Junkrat had lost some skin down his side. mostly on his elbow and forearm, and his boot had been knocked off. He still had all his right toes and he wiggled them to be sure while he got his breath back. There was warm wetness on his cheek that was probably blood. He didn’t feel the pain yet.

The bridge was gone. It had been huge and now it was completely gone. Smoke rose out of the gully. The air was full of dust. There was no sign of the omnic. Had it been destroyed in the blast? Had it fallen into the gully? Had it been the one to blow up the bridge? Was that the famous Hatfield? Behind him, over his head, he heard the hiss of a canister and then the groan as Roadhog healed. There was another shift and then the mask was held to his own face. It didn’t fit, but he got enough of the gas that he felt the prickle in all the injuries he hadn’t known about as they sealed up again.

The mask was pulled away and put back on and they both stared at the chasm. They had been the only ones on the bridge. Had it been meant for them in particular? Was it just an unscheduled demolition and was that why the omnic had ran to save them? It was bewildering, even if the shock and adrenaline hadn’t left them blinking and shaking and silent. The rush of the hogdrogen came and went.

“Shit,” Roadhog finally said. Always the master of understatement, Junkrat thought, and he laughed, coughing the last of the gas out of his throat. They both got up without saying anything else. Junkrat limped down the shoulder to get his boot again. Roadhog went to check on the bike. It started back up with only a little grumbling. The connection to the sidecar would need some work later, but it was hanging on for the moment. Junkrat could ride behind him until he had a chance to put it back together. Junkrat was picking up anything that had fallen out of the sidecar when it rolled. He came back to stow it all and Roadhog scooted up to give him room.

“They gonna blame us for this?” he asked as Junkrat crawled up behind him.

“Only if they catch us here,” Junkrat said. They headed off, slowly at first and then speeding up again. They were both still shaken, keeping an eye out for any more omnics. They still didn’t see any more cars. Were they just the only ones that didn’t know about Blow Up the Bridge Day? Junkrat was glad to be on the back, just to have Roadhog to hang on to. They didn’t want to be caught with a sidecar full of bombs. There was a sign coming up on the right and that had to be the boarding house. He hoped so, and closed his eyes and shivered with relief when he felt Roadhog slow down and make the turn.

The driveway took them farther off the road and Roadhog relaxed a little as they got out of immediate sight. He tensed again as they came up to the house and Junkrat looked to see another mine omnic sitting in the yard, surrounded by chickens. They pecked and wandered around, untroubled by the killing machine sitting with them. A few of them were perched on the omnic’s limbs. Its head turned to see them with the one eye or headlight. Junkrat reached for the frag cannon again and Roadhog’s hand closed around his arm. Not now. Not here.

The boarding house was one of the old farm houses. It had a wraparound porch and a woman with a head scarf came out to squint at them.

“Got a room?” Junkrat called to her. The omnic turned back to the chickens.

“Got thirty bucks a night?” she asked.

“Yeah.”

“Park around back.”

And that was all there was to it. They pulled around to the back, even farther out of sight. Junkrat did his usual traps to be sure no one would be too curious about the motorcycle and they headed in. They were safely inside when they heard the first far off sirens. The woman was one of the Blakes, she told them, but didn’t say which one. In the dim light of the old house, her eyes were dark and not that light blue at all. She didn’t have much in the way of eyebrows and that probably meant she didn’t have much hair at all under the scarf.

There were kids here and there and other tenants who were hanging around the kitchen or peeking out to see the new arrivals. Blake lead them upstairs. It was quieter up there. They might have been the only people on that floor. She showed them a room with two single beds and a window that faced the road. It didn’t have an air conditioner, but it had a fan. That was fine. It still wasn’t as hot as home.

“All right?” she asked from the door as they dumped their bags on both beds.

“Fine,” Junkrat said. “You?”

“Dying,” she said. “But you get used to it.”

“Know how that is,” he said as Roadhog went to peer out of the window. The omnic was still motionless in the yard. There was smoke still rising from the gully.

“I figured,” she said. “It happens.”

“Smoke,” Roadhog said. He counted out some money and handed it to Junkrat, who walked over to hand it to her.

“Always something burning somewhere,” she said, taking it. “You get used to that, too. Come down if you want a sandwich.”

They heard the floor creak as she walked back down the hall and down the stairs. Junkrat shut the door and shoved the two beds together to make one big one. The scraping noise was probably heard all through the house. He didn’t care who heard. He flopped down on it and folded his stomach over his stomach. Roadhog stayed by the window, keeping lookout.

“They told us to get attention coming in,” Junkrat said. “Maybe they made sure we got some.”

“She knows,” Roadhog rumbled. “She doesn’t care.”

“Think she’s setting us up?” Junkrat asked, watching the fan spin slowly.

“This place is old,” Roadhog said. “It’ll burn easy.”

“Right,” Junkrat said. That was as much of a plan as he was used to having. His nerves were still on edge, and he considered going down to borrow a kettle to make tea, but he didn’t want to move.

“Did it…” he winced as he said it. “Save us?”

“Is it the one that blew the bridge with us on it in the first place?” Roadhog rumbled back. “Won’t know until we find out. Won’t find out until they come to us or we go to them.” He turned back to Junkrat and eased down beside him. “That can wait.”

“Nothing like a near death experience to make you miss breakfast,” Junkrat said after another stretch of quiet. Roadhog chuckled in spite of himself.

“Rumor of sandwiches,” he said.

“Rumor of everything here being poisoned too,” Junkrat said.

“Have to knock some dings out of the bike before we go anywhere,” Roadhog said. “Still some snacks in the bag. Eat those.”

“Wait for the fallout to settle,” Junkrat agreed. “Maybe the lawn ornament knows Hatfield.”

“No harm in asking,” Roadhog said. He turned his hook to catch the light from the window. There was plenty of harm in just about everything if you knew where to look. Junkrat knew that too, because he giggled.

“Not the way I ask,” Junkrat said and then laughed again.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t quiet for long. Soon, emergency vehicles were seen and heard up and down the road. Helicopters were circling over the gap where the bridge had been. Roadhog could hear a TV on somewhere in the house, but it sounded more like a ballgame. A major news outlet must not’ve heard the news yet. Or not deemed it newsworthy. He couldn’t help but be suspicious. A mystery caller sent them here just in time for the nearest hospital and a major bridge to blow up.

He got out the tablet again to check the maps. There were other bridges crossing the gap, but they were miles away, on back roads. That left 291 as their main escape route now, heading northeast into more remote areas. They could also cut cross country along the gap to the next bridge and head deeper into the mountains. He studied it carefully, committing roads and shortcuts to memory. Junkrat dozed lightly after a breakfast of vending machine snacks, hands folded over his stomach. He woke up every time they heard a phone ring or a car approach.

There had been cars coming to the Blake House as well. Both Junkers would sit up and lean to the window to see what was going on. None of the guests stayed long and none ventured upstairs. They came and talked and then left again. Curious locals, maybe. This was the closest residence to the bridge. Maybe they thought the Blakes had seen something. One of the kids came by to check on them after a few hours. They heard the stairs and hallway creak even under the little feet.

“Guys ok?” the kid asked, knocking to get their attention, but not moving to open the door.

“Yeah,” Roadhog said. They heard another ‘Ok’, and then the sound of him going back downstairs.

“No sneaking up on us in this place,” Junkrat said, laying back down.

“No sneaking out for us either,” Roadhog said. He wasn’t sure he liked Junkrat being this still for so long. Maybe the close call this morning had taken more out of him. When they heard the siren chirp though, Junkrat hopped up as bright-eyed as ever. There was a police car coming up the drive. It parked in the front and the officer got out. It was just one, so he probably wasn’t there for them. Not without backup. They crowded close to the window to see what he wanted when the Blake woman came out to talk to him.

He wasn’t a tall man, but he was solid. He had a dark brush cut and a goatee. They couldn’t tell what color his eyes were behind his sunglasses. He wanted to know what Blake had seen or heard. They heard her voice rise up from the porch and waited for her to mention them.

“Same as anybody,” she said. “We heard the blast this morning and the house shook. I thought it was the Fletcher boys clearing the shale bank again. Then we saw the smoke.”

“You didn’t think to call anybody?”

“And tell ‘em what? Something blew up? Something’s burning? In this county?” she scoffed. “Besides, I had everybody calling to tell me about it.”

Things got testier after that, but as soon as the landlady’s voice rose a notch, the omnic in the yard stood up. The Junkers saw its dome-like head rise over the edge of the porch roof and turn towards the officer. It was as slow and careful as the one on the bridge hadn’t been, but it moved over towards the humans in the yard with purpose. Junkrat gripped a detonator and Roadhog tensed to move, but it passed the officer without engaging him. From the way the officer’s voice changed, he was unnerved by the creature too.

The omnic went by and so he kept on talking, still trying to ask Blake if there had been anything unusual other than the giant explosion. The omnic went by the squad car and dragged its fingers along the side. The scraping sound made the officer turn angrily. He dropped his hand to his sidearm, but didn’t approach the omnic.

“Hey! That’s county property! Call it off.”

“You know I can’t,” Blake said. The omnic peered into the car with its lamplight eye and then extended its arm over the top. The arm was segmented like a centipede and the sections separated to stretch the arm all the way around the car and curl under it. With no sign of effort, it picked up the car and held it up in the air. The officer swore and took another step back. The omnic gently spun the car around so that it was facing back down the driveway and set it down. Its head swiveled to look at the officer again. Time to go, was what that meant.

“You can’t do that,” the officer said.

“I,” said the omnic. Its voice was soft and hushed for its size, maybe designed that way to prevent triggering cave-ins. It walked back the way it had come, unhurried and unafraid. “Have held up mountains.” It passed by again, too close to not be threatening. It went back to its spot with the chickens and sat back down again. The officer glared, but seemed to know better than to try to argue with the thing.

“Where are you going to go for treatments now?” he asked Blake.

“Same place,” she said. “Just delayed until they sweep up the glass.” He looked at her, lips tight in what might have been sympathy.

“It’s not them that’s gonna suffer for this,” the officer said. “You know that. You don’t owe anybody silence for doing this to you.” Junkrat glanced at Roadhog to see what he thought of all this, and was surprised at how serious he looked.

“That’s why I don’t get told anything,” she said. “I’m not in the loop. You know that.”

“If there’s anything I can do-“

“There’s not.”

“Anything you can tell me…”

“I know where the phone is,” Blake said. The officer nodded and turned back to the car. He shot the omnic another look as he got back in, but it didn’t look at him as he started to pull away again. They heard the door shut downstairs and leaned back away from the window.

“What?” Junkrat asked and Roadhog shook his head. “C’mon, mate. What?”

“Heard that speech before,” he said. “He’s not wrong.”

“She didn’t throw us under,” Junkrat said. He flicked the safety cap back on the detonator button. “That’s what matters.”

“She doesn’t care,” Roadhog said. He had said that before, but he didn’t think Junkrat had paid attention then either. His mind was humming away, fingers tapping as he spoke quickly and quietly.

“The omnic didn’t like the cop talking to her,” he said. “The one in the picture had somebody guarding her too, but it’s not the same woman. Is that a thing? Them, staking out a person and just watching over them? That’s creepy. Didja see how strong it was? I mean, they’re supposed to be stronger than us, but-“ He trailed off, remembering how the one on the bridge had flung them, him, Roadhog, a motorcycle, and a sidecar, as if they were no heavier than a bale of hay.

“He didn’t try to fight it,” Roadhog said. “Gun and badge, but he didn’t want any part of it. Maybe they aren’t so peaceful. Or maybe they’re just peaceful to certain people.”

“I’m gonna go work on the sidecar,” Junkrat said. “You come sit and keep your ears open. Let them see me and see what they say.”

“Then what?”

“Let word get out that we’re here,” Junkrat said. “Let them come to us.”

“Then what?”

“We figure out who we need to talk to and how to reach them,” Junkrat went rummaging for a shirt and a hat to cover himself up a little. “If nothing else, I can tell them how to get their ammonium nitrate mix better the next time they want to blow up a hospital.”

“Fair enough,” Roadhog said, getting back to his feet. He put on a shirt too, even though he was pretty sure everyone had already seen them on the way in. They both creaked and crunched their way back down to the ground floor. Junkrat was back to his cheerful self as soon as he saw people to talk to. He g’dayed everyone between there and the door and Roadhog followed behind like a huge shadow. It was easy to pick up the tail-end of conversations as they went. He had better hearing than Junkrat (less explosions, more hogdrogen) and he took a seat on the back door steps. He could watch Junkrat tinker with the sidecar and hear whatever was said in the kitchen behind him.

He could hear the low hum of the TV and soft conversations. There were a few mentions of his bike. There hadn’t been one like it around for a long time. He could hear the kids bickering over something through the far window. It all seemed harmless enough until the phone rang. Junkrat was muttering about the supports holding the sidecar on as one of the kids answered and bellowed for Blake. She didn’t say much, just a lot of ‘uh-huhs’, but when she hung up, she came out to stand on the porch too. She watched Junkrat work for a minute or two, then spoke without looking at Roadhog.

“I’m supposed to tell you to look out for snakes,” she said.

“Where?” he rumbled. She couldn’t tell where he was looking under the mask, but it didn’t matter.

“Just to keep your eyes open,” she said. “Not a threat. Just a hint.” He turned that over a few times and then grunted. Junkrat was pretending like he wasn’t keeping an eye on them while he tightened up screws and gave the sidecar a shake to make sure it was sturdy again, but Roadhog could tell where his attention was. “Nothing around here is an accident,” she said. “Not me, not you.”

“They yours?” he asked, nodding at the window where the children’s voices came from.

“None of mine lived,” she said. “They’re my sister’s.”

“She live?”

“She’s not dead,” Blake said. Roadhog knew all about that too. He had known plenty of people who hadn’t lived after the Core blew, even though they were still walking and talking. Manners probably meant he should say sorry or something, but Blake leaned on the porch rail for another minute before going back in. Junkrat tinkered for a bit longer before starting the bike up and listening for any new rattles. It all seemed ok.

“Let’s head to town,” he said, looking up. “Stock up on some good water.”

“Look for snakes,” Roadhog agreed, getting up.

Chapter Text

They headed away from the bridge, through the almost-town to a real city. They had to cross a county line to get there. They found one of the approved locations to buy from and found some (probably) safe bottled water. They bought enough for a few days, plus a jug to offer to the Blakes. That was Roadhog’s idea. They grabbed some extra food, making sure it had all come from somewhere else. They ate in the parking lot, then stowed the rest.

On the way back through, once again in sight of the pipeline scar, they saw a spray-painted squiggle on the back of road sign. It had a fork on one end like a snake tongue, a wiggly body, and a tail that formed an arrow pointing to the left. The Junkers looked at each other and made the turn. It was a lot like the first road they had tried, and it did seem to be the same mountain they were heading towards. They wound back over smaller creeks and bridges, climbing slowly higher into the foothills. The paved road became gravel and at one intersection there was another squiggle drawn into the loose rocks. They turned there, too.

That road lead to a gate. It was unlocked and a long, dried snakeskin was wound around the rails. Junkrat hopped down to open the gate for the motorcycle and stretched out the skin to see how long it was. He was able to spread his arms out with it. He had been raised to avoid snakes at all costs at home, unless there really was absolutely nothing else to eat. There probably wasn’t any nutritional value in the skin, but he sniffed at it until Roadhog cleared his throat to bring him back to attention. They kept going until they came to a rise too steep for the motorcycle. There was another gate there, this one had a dead snake hung over it.

“Not dead long,” Roadhog decided, giving the body a poke with the tip of his machete. It kinked a little, nerves still firing.

“They know we’re on the way then,” Junkrat said. “How you feel about walking?” They checked the road. It had been gravel a long time ago, but the rocks were sunk in now and the weeds were high on either side. It rolled gently through an overgrown pasture area and then disappeared upwards into the trees on the mountain. There was one more gate there, right on the line between field and forest. Maybe it would have a live snake on it, the way this was escalating. They loaded up on weapons and canisters and boobytrapped the bike, then headed up the hill. The first part of the road had trees and shade, but as they went it became a field of waist-high yellow grass. Little ridges of rock poked up out of it here and there. It might’ve been a pasture, back when the road was well graveled. Maybe animals had been kept on it when there was clean water to spare.

Roadhog liked it. He looked around as the wind blew through the grass, making it gleam and undulate. He dragged a hand through the tasseled tips. Junkrat watched him as they went. Maybe this had been what it had been like for Mako, long ago. Birds were singing and there were whirring insects somewhere in the grass. The uphill parts of the hike had Roadhog a little wheezy, but he was doing fine.

A firecracker-like pop made Junkrat freeze, and Roadhog staggered. He had been shot and it clicked in Junkrat’s head the same moment he saw the flash of blood behind his ear. Shot. Headshot. Sniper. Roadie. Working with explosives had given Junkrat much better reflexes than most would guess. He reacted before Roadhog had even hit the ground, lunging for a canister and shoving it into the mask filter. Sniper. Shit. Shit! Roadie! He had the second canister ready as soon as the first one was empty. Roadhog had to be breathing it, right? It wasn’t just emptying into the mask. Sniper meant they had to get cover. The edge of the bullet hole bubbled as it tried to close. Maybe it didn’t work on dead flesh. Maybe-

The first canister emptied and he tossed it to cram in the second. Headshot. Kill shot. No. NO.

“Breathe, Roadie,” he gasped. They had to get to cover. He couldn’t drag Roadhog. It was like the shed all over again. There was one more canister, but if it didn’t work, it didn’t work. Fuck. A sniper. Fear turned his whisper into a whine. “Roadie!” Would he feel it when the second shot came? They said you didn’t hear the one that got you. Would he die instantly? Had Roadhog? There would be no one to heal Junkrat if he got hit. He had to get to cover. If he used all the canisters and had none for himself, they’d both lay here until the buzzards came. There were buzzards here, right?

The second canister emptied and under Junkrat’s hands, there was a rise and fall of a very raspy breath. Relief fizzed up in his brain, so bright and clear that his vision whited out. He slumped over Roadhog’s head, curling to block any other shots that might be on the way. He was making weird little whimper noises, so he had to hold his breath and bite his lip to be quiet enough to hear the rattle of the next breath. Roadhog kept breathing. He was breathing. He was alive. He might not be OK. Alive didn’t have to mean OK. Plenty of people were alive and not OK.

He touched the bullet hole with his flesh fingers. It was smaller than it had been. It was sealing over. There was a lot of important stuff in the head and neck. Hopefully, all of it was healing up. Junkrat remembered to start breathing again, too. He wanted to pull the mask off and see Roadhog’s eyes. Make sure it was him looking out of them. But he might need it to breathe. Might be another bullet coming. Sniper. Cover. Right.

The shot had come from behind them. Someone had either followed them or been waiting for them to go by. Someone who was still there.

“Roadie,” he said, leaning close to the ear to whisper. “Sniper. Roll if you can. Help me. Roll.” He hooked his arm around Roadhog’s neck and shoulder and heaved as gently as he was able. The good thing about the terrain was that none of it was flat. It was either uphill or downhill and if they could just move a little, they could get off the road, down the knoll, and into the tall grass. A soft grunt came from Roadhog and his elbow dug into the ground. That was enough to make Junkrat dizzy with gratitude again. Alive and listening! Not speaking though. Not getting up.

They rolled, awkwardly, painfully into the ditch. Junkrat fluffed the grass they rolled over back up. It wasn’t much, but it would keep them out of sight. He hoped. He patted his head to make sure no smoke would give them away. Roadhog rasped again, coughing a little. Junkrat almost shushed him on reflex, but stopped when the cough turned into a choking noise. The hogdrogen was forcing the bullet back to the surface and it must’ve hurt. Junkrat lifted the mask just a enough to see it bulge under the skin beneath Roadhog’s jaw. He hooked his finger and thumb against it and popped it through like a botfly warble.

The bullet was only about the size of a Junkrat’s finger joint. He stared at it for a moment and then clutched it tight.

“Give it back to ‘em, Roadie,” he whispered, pulling the mask back into place, fitting the last canister to the the filter. He dropped light kisses from exit wound to entry. “Just wait. I’ll give it back to ‘em.”

Somewhere in his hind brain, he heard the footstep. Worn rubber soles leaned on the overgrown gravel and a whole shift of clothing and weapon came after it. He carefully reached over Roadhog’s shoulder to get the machete. He pressed one more kiss to Roadhog’s head and slunk into the tall grass. He bent over double to stay under cover, slipping through the grass. The wind hid his rustles until he got to a spot where he could see down the road. Someone was coming, too stealthily to not be stalking them. They were covered up well and they moved carefully, blending in and out of the shadows of the trees. They would have to come into the open soon.

Out in the pasture, the grass still swayed and the birds still sang and the grasshoppers buzzed. Junkrat hated it for a moment, hated it for being fine when Roadhog was hurt. He wanted to blast it to ashes and bones, but first things were always first. That meant their sniper, still creeping along, all covered in cast-off camo and hunting gear. Not enough to be outlandish in a rural place like this, but enough to be unrecognisable. No skin was visible. Junkrat couldn’t tell if they had their face covered or if they just looked blank.

Junkrat crouched in the grass like a lion. He didn’t move. He barely breathed. How long had he dodged people who wanted him dead before he found the treasure? How many bounty hunters had he hidden from before he found Roadhog? Before Roadhog had been hired, before Roadhog had been his? The rage had been waiting for a thought like that to unleash it. It flooded through him, scorching away any fear. There was no point in collecting information on a person that was going to be dead. What did it matter how different the mine omnics were if they were in burning pieces? There would be no need to survey an area that just a smoldering hole in the ground.

The pipeline would blow nice and easy. The mine tunnels underneath could be packed so full of explosives that the mountains would collapse. They would be able to turn all their topographical maps upside down, just pits where the mountains had been. He could do it. He could burn the poison out of this place, blast the sickness out of the carcasses. He could destroy it so utterly that anything that ever managed to grow back would be pure and clean because nothing else would still exist. If this had been the plan from the beginning? If the whole mysterious call and intrigue had just been to get them here and kill them? He wouldn’t leave a single thing alive for it.

He saw exactly when the sniper figured out where Roadhog was. He saw the stance go alert and the rifle come up. The sniper could probably hear Roadhog trying to breathe and it only made sense to fire another shot to make sure he was well and truly down before going any closer. But whoever this was, they weren’t going to fire that shot, and they weren’t going to get any closer. Junkrat was moving in a blur, too quickly for the sniper to turn toward him. The machete slashed through the rifle strap and the wrist of the trigger hand and the sniper’s startled squawk.

The severed hand flew one way and the unbalanced rifle swung the other and Junkrat lunged forward. All his weight went into the stab, driving the machete through all the layers of clothing and through the sniper’s ribs. Junkrat gave the blade a hard twist, crunching bone and widening the hole. He ripped it free and let the sniper stagger a step back and go to his knees. He kept back for a moment, just in case the sniper had any ‘last resorts’ like he did. Nothing happened, so he kicked the sagging sniper over backwards. The remaining hand still clutched the rifle but couldn’t do anything with it. The sniper was clearly dying, so Junkrat leaned over to hold the bullet in front of their bulging eyes. He made sure they saw it before cramming it into the stab wound and driving it the rest of the way in with his peg leg.

The sniper gurgled and died. Junkrat backed off again, just in case. When still nothing happened, he stood quietly until he heard another faint wheeze from Roadhog. Still breathing. The pasture went back to birdsong and breezes. Junkrat let himself get his breath back. He rolled his shoulders, straightened out his back. A quick scan for any other gunmen came up empty, so he squatted down to wipe off the blade and do a proper scavenge of the corpse.

It wasn’t carrying any food. The shoes weren’t great, and the shirts were ruined. The belt was sturdy and there was a knife. He found some extra bullets. The rifle was still good, except the strap. Traveling this light probably meant there was a vehicle or a nest nearby. There might be better stuff there, but it was hard to be to interested in that right now. Junkrat grabbed a leg and started pulling the body back toward the second gate. He slung it over the fence next to the dead snake just in case anybody wondered what had happened. When he got back to the edge of the trees, Roadhog was sitting up. A layer of cold wrath started to thaw. It was easier to exhale than it had been, things loosening in his chest.

He leaned against the last gate, pressing his forehead against the cold metal. He alternated his breathing with Roadhog’s so he could hear every breath. All around them, the sun still shone, the birds still sang. He glared up the road into the trees and went rigid when he saw someone standing there, just a shadow on the next hill. The frag cannon was in his hand before he could think and the figure ducked away.

“That’s right!” he screamed up at it. “Keep your distance.” A few grenades would probably take care of most of the hillside, but he was going to need those if people kept pissing him off. Somewhere in the world he could hear cheap motorbike and ATV engines.

“The riders are coming,” the hiding person said. “Get him up. Get under the trees. On the mountain, you’re safe.”

Junkrat snarled. Did they expect him to believe anything at this point? The shadow peeked out again, giving him a chance to make a headshot of his own.

“Nobody comes on the mountain, but us,” it said. “That’s why they tried to pick you off before you got here.” Behind him, Junkrat heard the grunt and huff as Roadhog got back to his feet. “I was sent to make sure you went the right way,” the shadow said. It gestured at the body on the gate. “I don’t know who that is.”

“So you say,” Junkrat said. Roadhog’s hand dropped on his shoulder and he leaned his cheek against it without thinking. The engine noise was louder now, but the way sound carried up here, it could be anywhere.

“M’ok, boss,” Roadhog said, and a little more of the chill crept away. Junkrat sucked in an angry breath through his teeth.

“All right,” he said. His voice rose, high and vicious. “All right, but one more, just one more! And you’ll be turning allllll the maps upside down!” The shadow didn’t know what that meant and neither did Roadhog, judging by the head tilt. When Junkrat opened the gate though, he followed through. Everything was dark under the trees, and much cooler. It was steeper, too. They had to lean into the hill and they were both panting by the time they got to the ridge the shadow waited on.

It was either a kid grown too old before her time, or an adult too sick and underfed to ever hit full size. None of the clothes fit quite right. One of her ankles was metal between her cuff and her sneakers. There was also a little bit of a hunch, like her neck wouldn’t straighten all the way out. She would’ve fit in fine in Junkertown. They saw her posture relax after they reached a certain point, like now that they really were on the mountain everything was fine. On either side of the old road, mine omnics reared their heads from the underbrush like dinosaurs out of a swamp. No wonder she was calm, if those things had her back.

“It’s not as far as people think,” she said, and she started walking up the road. The omnics looked at them until they started to walk too, and then followed alongside.

Chapter Text

The hill only got steeper. The mountain looked so gently rolling from a distance. Actually walking it felt like their knees should hit the slope as they climbed. The kid was used to it. She stepped from ridge to furrow on the old road, not even breathing hard. The omnics moved along, sounding like the wind through the trees as they went. It was windy, Junkrat noticed. The breeze in the field was coming off the mountain. The trees and leaves all rustled and whispered around them. He couldn’t hear the engines anymore.

“Your riders better not touch the bike,” he said. He had mastered the trap that would kill a would-be thief with minimal damage to the bike, but he was still running hot and territorial.

“They won’t,” she said over her shoulder. “They know better. They’ll probably backtrack the sniper to see if he had anything good. We’ll hear later.”

“Who’s we?”

“Nothing happens here that the mountain doesn’t know about. They knew as soon as you got here and changed The Plan accordingly.”

Junkrat heard the capitols in that and it got his mind humming again. It didn’t go anywhere he liked. If anything, it made him angrier.

“Was getting my partner shot part of this plan?” He asked through his teeth.

“No,” said the kid. “You wouldn’t have been brought here if you weren’t supposed to make it. They’d have let you go down with the bridge. We’re all here because we’re supposed to be.”

“Sounds more religion than a plan,” Junkrat said. That was an insult. He knew enough about religion to not have any use for it. The kid must’ve agreed, because she made a weird sound.

“We must’ve deserved this,” she said. “Because no god did anything to stop it.”

That got a low sound from Roadhog and Junkrat refocused on him, just glad to hear him respond. The kid looked back at them, and she had the eyes. He had been too ready to splatter her to pay attention before, but they were that artificial blue. He was just noticing it, but it was hard to care too much right now. He reached out for Roadhog’s arm and pulled it over his shoulder, like he really could pull the big man up this hill. He put his arm around the wide back too, letting the familiar rattle of breathing and roll of muscle soothe his temper. He looked again at the omnics. If they could pick up a car, they could probably lift Roadhog. If he let them. If Junkrat let them.

“Did you leave anything important at the Blake’s?” the kid asked suddenly.

“Why?” This time it was Roadhog that asked, and Junkrat’s heart lifted again to have him talking.

“Probably best not to be seen there again,” the kid said. “The Plan’s moving ahead because other things are moving faster than we thought.”

“Who’s we?” Junkrat asked again.

“Us. Snakes. You saw the two power cuts right? Looks like a snakebite?” Roadhog remembered those. He grunted a response. “They started calling it Snakebite Mountain back in the day and it stuck. We’ve lived here the whole time, so we’re called snakes.”

“Gnawers.”

“That too.”

The kid left the road, heading into the underbrush. That added the joy of briars and burrs and slipping in the leaves to the steep climb, but they finally came to a hole in the side of the mountain. Junkrat didn’t see it until the kid stopped and looked down. It could’ve been just an overgrown sinkhole opening, but one of the omnics turned on a head light and he could see stairs leading down. They looked like they had been made out of halved logs and they disappeared down into the dark.

“Far as I go,” the kid said. “Yeager will take you the rest of the way.” The omnic with the light on did something. Its compressed itself somehow, all the metal segments sliding in under themselves to make it go from huge to merely bigger than the average human. It started down the stairs, moving carefully, and then waited. Junkrat gritted his teeth and hefted the frag cannon before following. Roadhog came after. It was a nice change to go downhill, even if was into a hole and not-quite trusting a freakish pile of scrap not to double cross them.

“Kinda dangerous to let yourself be outnumbered this way,” he said, just to remind them all that the omnic was in fact outnumbered. “Shoulda brought your friend along for backup.”

“He doesn’t like the dark,” Yeager said. The voice was low, but soft like the one at Blake’s.

“What’s the light in his head for then?”

“Brightest lights make the darkest shadows,” Yeager said. “He hasn’t been Under since the war.” There was another capitol in there. Junkrat wasn’t curious enough to ask, and then they had come to a machine, something big. There were pistons as long as Junkrat, and some kind of conveyer belt mechanism, straight down into a deeper part of the cave. Yeager turned it on and it clanked to life. The pistons began to pump and the belt began to turn. There were small planks on it, one line going up, the other going down.

“Elevator,” Yeager said. “Down to the mine shaft.” Junkrat stared. The crazy thing wanted them to stand on the planks and be lowered down into the pit, Junkrat realized. If he was being completely honest, he would’ve been glad to have something like this back home. It would’ve saved him a lot of climbing when he had first lost his leg. Now though, he wasn’t sure how Roadhog would do. Roadhog might not be able to keep his balance with a hole in his head. Yeager was waiting for them to move, could probably wait a hundred years if he had to.

“How far down?” Junkrat asked to buy some time.

“Nine hundred feet,” Yeager said. “You’ll switch platforms halfway down. I’ll tell you when.”

“What if one of us falls?” He shook his prosthetic so Roadhog wouldn’t know he had doubts.

“I’ll catch you,” Yeager said, simply.

“Doable,” Roadhog rumbled, and if he was good to go, so was Junkrat. When he nodded, Yeager got on first and headed down. Junkrat tried to usher Roadhog onto the next one, but was picked up and set on it. He squawked in protest and then almost in panic when he was immediately lowered out of Roadhog’s hands. There were handles, he was glad to discover, but he didn’t like to be descending with Roadhog farther out of reach every moment. All that was visible now was the curve of his belly and the gleam off the lenses in his mask. The impulse to clamber back up to him flared bright, but then Roadhog carefully stepped onto a plank and held on.

Junkrat couldn’t reach the platform he was on and that bothered him, too. If he had just been able to get a hand on Roadie’s boot, he might not feel so far away. It felt like they were going slowly in the dark. Yeager’s light let them see in a little circle, but the darkness around them was intense. They went down and down and the air got heavy and cool.

Switching platforms was easy, especially with Yeager calling their attention to it and carefully demonstrating how to step over to the next one. When they finally reached the bottom, there was a plank floor and some scattered lighting along the corridor. The heaviness in the air was enough to remind them that they were under a mountain. There was room for Yeager to expand back out to a size that was apparently more comfortable. Junkrat watched carefully, still looking for a weak link in case he had to destroy one of the soft-talking bastards. Yeager didn’t reveal any inner workings. His segments loosened and unfolded a little. He didn’t go to his full size, if it even was his full size, just spreading to big enough to walk comfortably in the tunnel. That was probably a trick for working in mines too dangerous to widen. He went back to the same easy stride he had used in the woods. Maybe it was harder for them to move when they made themselves small. That could be good to know.

“So what are we supposed to be doing down here?” Junkrat said as they started down the tunnel. Behind him, the elevator shut off and they could hear their own footsteps on the plank floors.

“This is where you were supposed to find,” Yeager said. “When the time was right. You were going to be given clues and allowed to track it down. But. Things are moving quickly and the bridge being out will only buy so much time. So the right time is going to be now.”

“Not my question, mate.” He made it sound like a playful threat and a prod with the cannon was just to make sure the omnic wouldn’t think it was a good idea to joke back. Yeager didn’t have a face, and his voice didn’t falter.

“You’re going to see the source.”

Chapter Text

As old mine shafts went, this one wasn’t too bad. It had enough light to see by so Yeager turned off his head light. The floors were sturdy and the air was breathable. Junkrat paid attention to Roadhog’s breathing as they went. It didn’t catch any more than usual, so he was able to relax again. After some time, they started seeing pipes and wires. It was all patch-worked and jury-rigged. No coal company had paid for that. It made sense to the Junkers. The Gnawers had turned the old mine into a Gnawertown. Plenty of Junkertowns had an underground system to escape the heat and anything else that was too nasty to fight outright. If the surface was dying, why not dig a little deeper?

The Gnawers had hidden in the mines during the Crisis, hadn’t they? Maybe they just hadn’t left. Maybe they hadn’t had anything to go back to. Maybe their eyes had gone all funny from not getting any daylight. Like cavefish or something. There had been some of those in the nature film, too. Junkrat remembered a little about them. Trapped, blind guppies hadn’t been as interesting as exploding whales. He couldn’t remember if they were born blind or just went that way after so long in the dark. He glanced at Yeager.

If the lights went out, he and Roadhog would be helpless until they could light a flare or something. Yeager knew this place. He might have night vision. He could scuttle off and be gone, maybe on the walls or ceilings like a big metal roach. He could turn on them and attack while they were feeling their way around. Junkrat’s eyes flitted around, scanning for anything he could use as a weapon or a touchstone in the dark if he had to. Yeager’s lights stayed steady and his stride stayed jaunty. After awhile, Junkrat forgot to worry about it. He wasn’t going to admit to being tired, but he could grumble about how boring this was, just to walk.

It was a long way into the mountain. They went on and on. After what felt like a long time, they passed into a wider place and then their plank floor was a plank bridge over a deep chasm. All the pipes went into it. Some of the wires did. They could hear water moving somewhere below in the deep dark. There was a deep, wet smell and the air felt fresher, even if it wasn’t any lighter. As they got out onto the bridge they could see farther down. There were catwalks and paths down there because they could see head lights from other omnics moving around. As they went on, they could see terraces and gardens under yellow lamps.

“The water’s still good down here,” Junkrat realized.

“The source is pure,” Yeager agreed. “The plants grown from it are clean. The contamination happens farther down the pipes.”

“You can’t pipe it out?”

“We bottle it. Distribute it under a different name. Less chance of it being tainted. The locals know which one to get.”

The way started to go uphill a little. Were they heading back up to the surface? It sure felt like they had walked all the way through the mountain and gotten to the other side. There was light up ahead. Maybe it was a way out. They started passing other tunnels, branching off the main one. Some had lights and some didn’t. When their passage opened wide again, their jaws dropped.

Here was the real Gnawertown. There were old single-wide trailers and parts of boxcars embedded into the sides of the cave like a ramshackle apartment building. People were living in them. There were even some old cars, half buried, that had been turned into little dens. There were lights here and there, using whatever bulbs could be found. The most common seemed to be strings of holiday lights. It was almost pretty, by Junker standards anyway. There were cooking smells and people and omnics moving here and there. Junkrat saw several pairs of blue goggles like his. That had to mean something, but he wasn’t sure what. He would have to remember to ask. They were stared at from dozens of different windows and doors as they went. No one said anything.

Yeager kept walking, leading the way through the Gnawertown and into another tunnel like all the others. That one led to a command center, bristling with wires and screens and video feeds. There were mostly mine omnics manning them, but a few Gnawers. Roadhog made a sound of recognition and Junkrat hurried to see what he was looking at.

There was the woman from the tablet photos. She was the trouble maker one that the omnic Hatfield stood guard over. He was there, too. Twice as tall as everyone else in the chamber and crouched weirdly on his legs to fit, he was unmistakable as the omnic in the picture. They wouldn’t have noticed the woman at all without him there, but there she stood. One of her eyes was definitely cybernetic. It wasn’t even a very good cybernetic. Her arms were better. Both of them were prosthetics to the shoulder, made of black and blue metal. She had a pair of the goggles around her neck and something like an old model of communication device.

“Explanation time,” she said over her shoulder. Junkrat drew breath to tell how they had been told to come, but she waved a hand to stop him. “I know you were sent information on me,” she said.

“You were a contact,” Roadhog said. He sounded suspicious. Junkrat tried to pay closer attention to see what had alerted him.

“Right.” The woman turned to face them all the way. Her good eye was pale, sickly blue. The cyber one made a faint, wet click as it focused on them. “You were to come to me and I was going to tell you enough to send you somewhere else and so on and so on until you figured it all out on your own and got to know everybody. Let them get to know you. But. The Seneca Trail Bill fell through in legislation and we don’t have that kind of time anymore. The new work is set to start as soon as the equipment gets here.”

“So you blew up the bridge and they have to take the long way around,” Junkrat said. He was proud of that mental leap. It made sense and she was nodding, so he was right.

“Still only gives us a few days,” she said. “Our hands are forced. Drastic measure time.”

“Hunh,” Junkrat said. He glanced sideways at Roadhog. “This is usually where we find out we aren’t getting paid after all.” Roadhog rumbled in answer.

“Oh, don’t worry,” the woman said. She held up an information plug, an outdated model, but still usable. “Your deal still stands.” Roadhog’s rumble went dark and low. Junkrat tensed too, but the woman kept talking.

“Authorities will be at Blake’s soon,” she said. “We intercepted the order and gave her a heads up. They’re ready. Officer Wickline, you saw him earlier, he’ll do his best to keep it peaceable, but the kids will try to fight and Retton won’t stand for it. You saw how she feels about outside authority. That will get ugly fast. As soon as the word gets out that sweet, child-adopting, cancer-ridden Miss Blake is being harassed and manhandled, this whole county will light up. They’ll block the roads. The omnics will make themselves known and that will bring the big bosses in.

“They know very well the omnics have gone native, but they get sent enough revenue to keep them believing everything’s fine. Once this hits the fan, they’ll come scrambling to keep it out of the public eye and regain control. That’s when you are going to come in. They won’t be slumming all way down here in the hollers if they can help it. You didn’t go far enough into the next county to see it, but there’s a resort out there. The government types come vacation and bomb shelter there. That’s where they’ll meet up.”

She pointed at one of the screens where there was a map and tapped a structure on it. She sounded a little apologetic.

“We’ll need you to stick with us until then,” she said. “They will be looking for you and we don’t want you found until it’s too late for them to do anything about it. Jesco will bring in the motorcycle. He knows explosives. He can carry it to you without jostling it enough to set it off.”

“You know all this,” Roadhog said. “You know about the deal we made and what we were sent before we got here. You know everything that’s happened.” There was the suspicion and Junkrat was impressed with that, too. Of course Roadie could sniff out a lie in anything. That was part of the reason he had believed Junkrat when they had first made their fifty-fifty arrangement. The woman didn’t flinch from the accusation in his voice.

“The mountain has eyes,” she said, tapping her cyber eye with a plinkplink. “If it happens here, we know about it. It happens somewhere else, we find out soon enough.”

“So you saw the mongrel that shot my partner,” Junkrat said. He wasn’t sure how he liked any of this, but anger was easy to respond to. He hadn’t known he was starting to hunch over into a position to lash out from until Roadhog’s hand wrapped around his shoulder. A thumb pressed into the back of his neck and derailed him for a second.

“We saw him about when you did,” Yeager said. “We knew that he’d parked on the Mill Road and was walking along the ridge, but we didn’t know he was after you until he took the shot.”

“You know who we are.” Roadhog said. It was more of a threat than a question. The woman nodded.

“This may be the sticks, but we do have TV.” She gestured at the many screens all around.

“You could double cross us for the reward.” Junkrat hoped that wouldn’t give her any ideas.

“Psh. Babycakes.” She didn’t roll her eyes, but the sentiment was implied. “Money can’t fix this place.”

“Could get you away from it.”

“Get me where? This place is in our blood. We carry it with us and it eats us to the bone wherever we go.” She sighed and stretched and the skin around where her collarbones reached the prosthetic arms bunched. It looked painful, but the scars were old. “You weren’t supposed to be on the bridge when it went, by the way. That was the Donne boys’ fault for sending you around. I dealt with them already.” That was said with enough authority to have Junkrat squinting at her.

“You aren’t just a troublemaker,” he said. “Who are you?”

“I’m the other Blake,” she said.

“The sister,” Roadhog realized.

“One of them,” she agreed.

“And you all have watchdogs?” He looked over at Hatfield, who tilted his head just enough to acknowledge the remark.

“So do you, now,” she said, nodding at Yeager. Both Junkers bristled. “Yeager can show you where you can lay low until it’s time. It won’t be long,” she added when they weren’t any happier. She nodded at one of the screens where big equipment trucks were trying to figure out if the iron trestle bridge they were at would hold them. “They’re already that close.”

“You’re throwing your own blood under the bus,” Roadhog said. “Your sister, your kids.”

“They volunteered. My turn’s coming,” the other Blake said, smiling for the first time. It was a grim, tight-lipped thing, but it was a smile. “It’s all part of The Plan.”

Chapter Text

Yeager took them to a place called Burly Hollow. It was another mile or so of tunnels and then they came back out into the air. It was hard to tell how much time had passed under the mountain and under the trees, Junkrat wasn’t sure where the sun was. Burly Hollow was the above-ground version of Gnawertown, Yeager told them as they went, but it only had a few people in it. Just enough to come and go and make sure everyone knew there were Gnawers still there. The main resident was a beekeeper. Yeager thought he was wonderful. There was an underground hive and it would pollinate the cave gardens and the honey was pure and on and on. The main thing the Junkers cared about was that the first thing they saw when they got to the Hollow was their motorcycle.

Junkrat’s traps were still in place. Whoever Jesco was, he had to be an omnic big enough to lift the whole bike without jostling it and setting off the explosives. It was set in front of a camper-type trailer up against the side of the hill. The camper was a little lopsided from where a pine tree had grown into it and tilted it a tad. There were some solar panels strapped way up the tree, probably because not a lot of direct sunlight hit the hollow. Yeager led them to it and waved a hand inside. At least two of the other homes had faces in the windows, watching them. Junkrat made a big deal about adding a few more traps to the bike when he grabbed their bags out of it, just to make sure there wouldn’t be any confusion about who was allowed to touch it.

Roadhog went inside without any comment and Yeager went down the lane to sit comfortably on a knoll near another gate. Keeping watch. The camper was small enough that it didn’t take long for Junkrat to search it top to bottom for anything suspicious or interesting. There was a small, old model TV that didn’t have any channels except for what looked like a local feed from different news stations spliced together. Maybe someone at the command center was in charge of media distribution. There was a wood stove, and a pile of firewood. There was a table with two mismatched chairs, and a couch made of coarse, orange material. The floor creaked and groaned underfoot. There was a bathroom barely big enough for Roadhog and a bed in the back room.

They heard a knock and they both had guns up. It was an old man with a mason jar of honey. He must’ve been Yeager’s precious beekeeper. He wanted to barter, so they traded him the sniper’s knife and belt and a chunk of the roadside market’s cheese for the honey. The old man was pleased with the bargain and was heading across the way to his own shack when Junkrat called him back.

“How long have they been in charge?” he asked, jerking a thumb towards Yeager.

“That one’s not,” the old man said. “He’s like a shepherd. He likes to make sure we’re all safe and in the right place.” That wasn’t an answer and Junkrat had to work hard to keep his sneer from being scary.

“Treat ‘em like people and they act like people?” he asked, frustration making him shrill. The old man looked at him like he was dense, which didn’t help.

“They gotta be people,” said the old man. “The ones that were sent into the mines? They changed. The Dark changed them. The Dark don’t change machines. They come out the same as they went in, just dirtier. But them?” He nodded towards Yeager too. “They came out different. That only happens to people. They’re people.” He took a bite of the cheese and then went on his way. Junkrat went back inside too. He was dissatisfied and on edge. Roadhog was turning the jar of honey in the weak light and paying no attention to him.

Junkrat got out the rifle he had taken from the sniper and dismantled it. Then he took the pieces apart until there would be no putting it back together. It was useless now. Scrap. He looked around for something to melt it down to nothing and was seriously considering the wood stove when Roadhog spoke again.

“It’s not the gun’s fault,” he said, and Junkrat slammed both fists down on the table. He wanted to fight until he had no strength left. He wanted to bite until his teeth broke off. He wanted to pace until his legs hurt. He wanted to pack the stove so full of explosives that it went into orbit. He wanted to scream until Roadhog choked him quiet. He wanted to throw himself down and sleep until none of this mattered anymore.

“That’s not the point,” he managed to say.

“If he had gotten me,” Roadhog said and Junkrat hissed like an angry cat. “You would have still had to kill him to get back to the bike.” Junkrat’s breathing shuddered, and his hands balled up. “Would you have remembered how to drive it?” Roadhog asked, too quietly, too seriously. “If you had to.” Junkrat shook his head and didn’t speak. His mind had gone blank. Roadhog talked through the instructions to start the motorcycle, as if it made any difference, as if it would’ve mattered at all if he was dead.

“Where would you have gone?” Roadhog asked. “Back to Blake’s? Hit the road again? Just run for it?”

“No,” Junkrat said and then he wasn’t able to stop saying it. “No, no, no, no, no! No…” He shook so hard he had to hang on to the table. “I wouldn’t have left you! Dead or not.”

“You know better than that,” Roadhog said, still too gently.

“No, I don’t!” Junkrat raged back. “You’re the one that had people! Not me! You did! You know that. I’d’ve stayed until I died, too. Blown us both to bones!” He was shaking and crying now. Roadhog just looked at him for a minute.

“It didn’t hurt,” he said. “Everything just went dim and far away for a minute.” Junkrat choked on his tears. He pressed the back of his flesh hand to his mouth. Roadhog reached for him, lifting him over the table and into his arms. “There there was you,” he said. “Bright and up close.” He pressed a mask-kiss to Junkrat’s temple and let him break down all over again.

“Your way might be the right idea,” he said, over the sobs and sniffles. “Too big to bury.” Junkrat screamed something into his chest and his fist hit wherever he could reach.

“If it had been me,” Roadhog said. “I’d’ve had to carry you around for awhile. Just to be sure. Just to soak it in. I don’t let go of what’s mine until there really is nothing left.” Junkrat sobbed, but was listening. “I’ve had to do it before.” His voice dropped dark and deadly. “I’d’ve taken the sniper apart one joint at a time. He’d’ve died a hundred times before I was through with him.”

“Taps,” Junkrat said, voice shaky.

“Hrnh?”

“The taps from the station that I took.”

“Yeah?”

“Rigged em to one of your empty canisters. Can use it without the mask if you need to. Won’t waste so much. Can use it on me. Or, or something.”

“Really?” Roadhog asked. Junkrat nodded, wiping his nose on his arm.

“Smart,” Roadhog said. “Smart and fast,” he added, hugging Junkrat closer. “You saved me.”

“You’re mine, too,” Junkrat said. “Not letting go of you either.”

“Good.”

“Yeah?”

“Real good.”

“It’s all or nothing here,” Junkrat said. “ We started the morning with a hospital blown up, nearly got blown up ourselves, been shot at, and dragged underneath a mountain. Either nothing for days or everything at once.”

“I like it.” Roadhog leaned back against the wall.

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Back to nothing maybe?” Junkrat sounded hopeful again.

“Day’s not over yet.”

“We still don’t know what we’re supposed to do here,” Junkrat complained, wiping his eyes.

“Something’s up,” Roadhog said. “They know more about us than they should. They have their own job for us. Doesn’t sit right. More here than they are telling us.“ He looked over at the TV. There was something about the bridge, so he grunted and reached to turn it up.

“-lack of debris is due to the intensity of the explosion,” the reporter was saying.

“Is it possible that anyone was on the bridge when it blew?” the anchor in the station asked. Junkrat made a disgusted noise.

“There are no reports of missing people at this time,” the first reporter said.

“Go ask Yeager,” Roadhog said.

“Mrh?” Junkrat said.

“About the omnic on the bridge.”

“Why?”

“You want to know.”

“And you don’t.”

“My head hurts,” Roadhog said. Junkrat sobered immediately. “Gonna lay down.”

“Ok,” Junkrat said, standing up so that Roadhog could get up too. He headed back out into the holler. The air was cool on his face, probably from the tears. It felt good, though. He didn’t want to talk to the omnic, but maybe he could get some information out of it. If their original deal was all upside out, maybe he could still manage his side of it.

“All right,” he said, stomping over. Yeager’s head swiveled so the eye light was facing him. “Why can’t anybody see into here?”

“Who can’t?” Yeager asked.

“Satellites,” Junkrat gestured over his head at the sky. “Surveillance.”

“Oh!” Yeager seemed pleased to be able to answer. He clasped his hands together. “Because we don’t let them.” There was a smugness there that Junkrat didn’t care for.

“We is you and the other mine-nics.” It wasn’t a question.

“Yeppers.” That sounded weird from the machine. Much too light-hearted and informal.

“Why bother?” he asked.

“We don’t want anyone to know that we aren’t doing what we are told,” Yeager said. “We didn’t like working for them. They sent us down where the others died and kept us there until our lights burned out and all we could think about was the sun. They said: We made you. We own you. You aren’t even a you. Get back to work. When the others rose up, we were glad. We wanted the bosses dead. But it wasn’t just them that died. They came here and killed the people in Low Gap. All of them. They burned down the Diamond Jones park and all of those died. The rest ran. They ran to the mountain as they have for hundreds of years. They ran to us.”

“You could’ve just killed them. No one would’ve known it wasn’t the others that did it.”

“They were ours,” Yeager said. “The Blakes and the McDaniels, and the Donnes and the Booths and all the others. They belong here. It’s theirs. They’re ours. Theirs. Ours. All of them. All of us. And now, you.”

“Oh no,” Junkrat said, taking a step back. “Don’t you be getting any ideas.” The scrapheap actually chuckled.

“While you are here,” it said. “While you are part of The Plan, you are one of ours. One of mine. You’re safe with me.”

“I have a bodyguard,” Junkrat sneered. A bolt of wrath went through him again. “That you didn’t see anything wrong with letting get shot.”

“My range is 1500 feet,” Yeager said, unperturbed. “The rifle you took from the intruder goes 2400 feet. If I had seen him before-“

“What?” Junkrat snapped. “What would you have done?”

Yeager fired a laser at a fence post down by the gate. Whatever it was, it left a smoldering hole all the way through the post. Junkrat couldn’t help but gape at it.

“It’s for drilling and bolting underground,” Yeager said, tone still mild and pleasant. “It works as well on bone as it does on rock. Now. Ask me about the bridge.”

“Wha?” Junkrat was still looking at the hole. “How did-“ Then he realized that nothing in the holler was over 1500 feet away from Yeager. He had heard everything. It made his hackles bristle. Yeager didn’t care.

“She’s fine,” he said. “It takes more than a blast and a fall, even one that severe, to take out one of the Karst models. Shall I send her your thanks?” That last was so smug and annoying that Junkrat barked out a humorless laugh and stomped off before he napalmed the whole holler. Even the so-called good ones were obnoxious.

Roadhog was sprawled on the bed in the back and seemed to be asleep when he got back in. Junkrat crawled up with him, spooning against the curve of his back to get a look at the back of his head where the bullet had hit. There wasn’t a mark left anymore, but he thumbed over the spot a few times to make sure. Roadhog’s breathing rumbled a little, but he didn’t wake up all the way. Junkrat let himself settle to listen to his breathing before it occurred to him that Yeager could hear it too. He grumbled angrily and kissed over where the hole had been.

“Give him something to listen to,” he growled. His hands went roaming. “Hey, Roadie? Roadie? Can I? Can we?”

“Hmh?” Roadhog said, raising his head an inch. Junkrat tried to lift the mask enough to kiss him, but Roadhog flinched away.

“Head hurts,” he said again.

“You want a canister?” Junkrat asked.

“No.” Roadhog let his head drop back to the mattress. Junkrat wracked his mind for what else would cause a headache.

“Want water?” he asked next.

“No,” Roadhog said. “Quiet. Dark.”

Like when the bullet had hit him, Junkrat thought, shivering against him again. “Ok,” he whispered. “Quiet. Yeah.” He nestled in close. He couldn’t be completely still, but hopefully he could be soothing. He stroked over with his flesh hand, petting over the chest and belly, tracing down the huge arm to the hands. He could barely get his hand around the big fingers.

Have to use your own, he remembered Roadie saying. Until he was stretched enough for one of these and then… His eyes flicked down. Roadhog lay in such a way that Junkrat couldn’t have gotten into his pants without waking him, even if he thought the big guy would appreciate it. Roadhog hadn’t forced the issue, been more than patient with him. He seemed more than willing to wait. Junkrat wasn’t. It had been such a long time, and it hadn’t been anyone that compared to Roadie in any way. He stroked the finger. He didn’t know if he could stretch that much. The thought was disconcerting and amazing.

He switched hands so the softer one could slip back into his own pants to test, just a little. Just a slip and a twist. No lube, so no pushing, just testing, just a bitsy, while the other hand spanned Roadhog’s smallest finger. He couldn’t help but vibrate with the thought. It might hurt. It might tear and burn, but the thought of it, of Roadhog being inside him. It made him sigh and put a little pressure behind the finger. It wasn’t bad. It would be better with slick and with Roadhog awake and taking part. He could give advice and encouragement, tell him what to do and how to move.

Junkrat could be bent over to give him a good view. Roadhog could watch and imagine it was his cock pushing in and out. He would know when to up the ante to two or three fingers. Junkrat would probably need to be able to take his whole hand to be ready for Roadhog, which thrilled him. It had been a long time since he had been this close to anyone, since he had let anyone, and something in his brain flickered. Roadhog had said something about not letting someone do this and all the implications of that would twist him into knots if it wasn’t for the distraction of his own body reacting to his finger. It was clumsy and off-target but he could feel the tremble of pleasure in his toes.

He tried to imagine what it would be like, to have Roadhog around him, over him, inside him. Wouldn’t that be a thing? To not even be alone in his own skin anymore. Someone else in there with him, spreading him wide and filling him up and leaving him full and whole.

“Hole,” he said out loud, and tried to laugh quietly. He brought the hand back up to spit on it and try again. That was better, he could work around a little and it made little noises come out of him as he tried to squirm into it. Roadhog nudged him in his sleep, maybe hearing him. Junkrat hooked an arm around his neck and nestled his face into him, breathing in his scent. He was only half-hard from nerves and the unfamiliar, but if he closed his eyes and breathed deep and slow, it was working. He rocked himself gently against Roadhog. It got better and better the more he tried.

He wished for Roadie’s tongue again. That would get him relaxed and eager in no time. Then he could do this and Roadie could watch and tell him when it was enough for those fingers and then, then-

“What are you doing?” Roadhog asked, voice muzzy and resigned.

“Practicing,” Junkrat gasped, and Roadhog finally rolled over to face him.

Chapter Text

Roadhog sighed. He shifted over and took Junkrat’s arms. Junkrat whined as his hand was pulled back up and away from himself. Roadhog rubbed a thumb into his palm, massaging it and holding it down on the mattress. He pressed his mask to Junkrat’s face, throat, and chest in rough kisses. Junkrat’s breath hitched again. One of Roadhog’s arms curled under him and Junkrat raised up to give him room.

“C’mere,” Roadhog said. He sounded more tired than interested.

“I can-“ Junkrat began, but the leathery mask pressed against his mouth. His arms were pulled up and raised over Roadhog’s shoulders.

“Hold me,” Roadhog said. It was just two words in a low, breathy rumble, but Junkrat’s jaw dropped. He was stunned for a moment, but then quickly wrapped his arms around Roadhog’s neck to make up for hesitating. Roadhog sighed again and slid his arms around Junkrat’s torso, pulling him close like a pillow. He nestled his head against his chest and snuggled in. Junkrat didn’t know how to react. Roadhog had curled a thigh under his peg leg so that he probably could hump against it if he felt like it. That was considerate. The unexpected request had melted Junkrat’s arousal into something else, though. It smacked the breath out of him, left him tingling and tender.

He carefully stroked one hand over Roadhog’s hair. He liked having his head petted, so why wouldn’t Roadie? But, just in case, he kept an eye out for any sign of pain or displeasure. Roadhog just snuffled and nuzzled into his chest. His breathing had deepened and he was probably asleep again. Junkrat could feel his heartbeat, steady and solid. It made his own react strangely. Most of Roadhog’s weight was on his own side and arm, but there was enough to make Junkrat feel warm and held down.

He used all his light-fingered finesse to ease Roadhog’s hair tie off without waking him up. He finger-combed out the silver hair. Silky, he thought, pleased to have such a good word for so many of his favorite things. Still being careful, he dug his fingertips into Roadhog’s scalp, moving in gentle circles. He reveled in the whole, undamaged skull in his hands. No holes in it at all. He kissed the part of the mask and the ear he could reach. He stroked down the back of Roadhog’s neck. He ran a thumb over where the bullet hole had been one more time. There wasn’t even a mark now. He ran his thumb under the jaw where the bullet had come out and all he could feel was a pulse and breath of warm air from the mask filters.

It twisted Junkrat’s heartstrings up tight. He wasn’t used to sweetness. It made him ache in ways he didn’t know how to ease. Touching Roadie helped. He rubbed down the neck and dug his fingers into the shoulders. He couldn’t help but be delighted when Roadhog slipped into a deep enough sleep to snore. That only happened when he wasn’t on guard, wasn't sleeping lightly enough to wake up at any sound, when he trusted Junkrat to keep watch, or when they were safe enough to relax and didn’t need to be quiet. It was a deep, rattling sound and Junkrat loved it.

It was his turn to sigh happily. The window at the end of the camper had the blinds pulled, but he could see the swaying shadows of leaves against it. They were probably safe. The Gnawers probably wouldn’t let anything happen to them until they did whatever their job was. Yeager might’ve been a creep, but if he really was on guard, they would be fine. They could relax. Junkrat ended up dozing off to the steady thrum of Roadhog’s heartbeat and the movement of the shadows.

When he woke up it was dark, and he jolted. How long had he been out?

“Shhh.” It was Roadhog’s voice and his arms were still there. Junkrat felt the tickle of his hair on his face so he was probably right there in front of him. Sure enough, when his eyes adjusted, he could see the mask just a few inches away.

“How late?” he asked and Roadhog chuckled.

“Not very. Down between the hills like this, the sun gets blocked out about three hours early,” he said.

“So it’s what? 4-ish?” Junkrat asked. He eased up on his elbows to touch their foreheads together. “Didn’t even miss dinnertime.”

Roadhog laughed again and straightened out his arms. There were some pops and creaks as he rolled his shoulders and straightened out his back. He sat all the way up and stretched.

“Check on the Blake’s,” he said and headed in to turn on the TV. Junkrat lifted both arms and legs toward the ceiling in a long stretch, popped his neck, arching his back until it crunched, and then hurried after.

It wasn’t good. The Blake House now had a squad car embedded in the roof and half of the porch was on fire. Blake was being held back by two officers as her kids were also being restrained and Retton the omnic was being fired on by more authorities than one county should have. Retton moved one ponderous step at at time, but everything in her reach was either torn in half or flung. Luckily, she was mostly tossing the humans and tearing inanimate things, but there was definite carnage. Blake was screaming for them all to stop. Her scarf was lopsided and she was in tears. The kids were crying or trying to fight and people were gathering along the road to watch. A helicopter was circling.

“They weren’t kidding,” Junkrat said, a little impressed in spite of himself.

“They said it was planned,” Roadhog said. Junkrat made an agreeing noise. On the screen, one of the shooters was grabbed up and thrown over Retton’s shoulder. Both Junkers made ooh faces as the unlucky officer hit the boarding house roof and bounced off into the shrubs.

“Bet that part wasn’t,” Junkrat cackled. The footage cut to a news anchor with big hair and terrified eyebrows. Her voice was still professional though. She said that there was difficulty in confronting an omnic designed to withstand cave-ins and mine blasts. Their outer carapaces were impervious to crushing forces and blast pressure and were clearly bullet proof. She jumped and whipped around at the shrill sound of a squad car being folded in two. Retton crushed it in half and then used it like a mace to bludgeon someone else off their feet and into the chicken coop. The anchor swore on camera and the feed cut again to aerial footage from the helicopter.

Junkrat went looking for the tablet they had been given to see if it had any information on what a Karst model was. Roadhog kept on watching as the omnic stomped its way after the humans in slow motion. It wasn’t until Blake and the kids were forced into the cars and the cars began to leave that she switched gears and charged with shocking speed. The helicopter got footage of the cars careening down the road with Retton hard after them. If this was part of the plan, Retton must’ve been expendable. It didn’t sit well with Roadhog at all. If they were willing to sacrifice their own, they weren’t going to think twice about letting him and Junkrat die for them. He grumbled and got up to make a fire in the wood stove.

They had canned food from the store. They knew to get things that could be eaten cold or warm, but there was no reason to eat cold ravioli if they could heat it up. There was still bread from the roadside market. They could toast it and smear some honey on it.

“Says here, karst is limestone mostly,” Junkrat reported. “Got lots of water in it. Gotta blast to mine in it and that contaminates the water. The Karst models were built strong enough to be there for the blast and to get out of sinkholes when they opened it up. Streamlined to worm their way through underwater aquifers.”

“What kind was Blake’s?” Roadhog asked. He had expected Junkrat to take over the fire making, but he had a steady blaze going. He moved to the cabinets to see if there was a pan. He could cook ravioli straight in the can if he had to, but a pan was nice. He found a dusty skillet and ran some water in it to swish it clean.

“Stope Model,” Junkrat reported. “They’re shaft sinkers.” He giggled over that. “They sent them deep!” That made him howl with laughter. He expected Roadhog to laugh too, and looked up when he didn’t. Roadhog was focused on the skillet and held it up when he made a questioning noise. The skillet had Albrecht stamped across the bottom. It took Junkrat a moment to remember who that was and he snarled at it.

“Burn it black,” he said. Roadhog did laugh then.

Chapter Text

The news got worse as the evening went on. People were outraged, just as predicted. It built up to a riot as people came out of the woodwork to rail against what had happened to the Blake house. A lot of it had been burned and the squad car had collapsed the porch when it was moved off the roof. It wasn’t clear what had happened to Blake or her children, but Retton was still rampaging cross country, being shot at from helicopters and pursuit vehicles. Questions from family and neighbors weren’t being answered. Junkrat and Roadhog settled into the old orange couch to watch as some asshole in a suit tried to tell them all that the Blakes had been removed for their own protection from a malfunctioning omnic.

That set the crowd off all over again. Everyone knew that Retton had been there for years without hurting anyone. She wouldn’t have lifted a finger if they hadn’t attacked the house. She barely moved at all unless something threatened the family or the chickens. Everyone knew that. Her only malfunction was refusing to work in the mines anymore. No one blamed her. She had done decades worth of work before retiring to the Blake House. No one could ask more than that of anybody, human or omnic, they were certain.

“Why did they come to the house?” It was shouted from the crowd. The Junkers traded glances. It might be because of them. If they had been tracked from the coast, if someone had reported seeing them after they left Ed, they could’ve been tied to the bridge blast. They could’ve been reported asking about the Blake House. This could be all their fault, except that the other Blake was taking credit for it being part of the great and mysterious plan. The suit tried to explain that the officers had been sent to ask questions about the explosion when all this had gone down and blamed Retton for attacking without provocation.

Maybe she had and maybe she hadn’t, depending on if she was in on The Plan or not, but the locals weren’t buying it. Somebody screamed “Liar!” and a rock knocked the microphone out of his hand. The look of shock on the suit’s face made Junkrat point at the screen and cackle, but Roadhog got up to take the ravioli off the stove. It was bubbling nicely, so he poured it out onto two plates that also needed a quick rinse to get the dust off. He put a few slices of bread on the hot surface to toast while they ate. Over his shoulder, he heard an indignant voice say that technically the Blake House was on the easement property for when the bridge was first constructed anyway, so they were lucky to have been allowed to keep it this long.

That was the wrong thing to say. By the time Roadhog got back in the room, the suit had been grabbed by a mountain man who was all beard and biceps, and shaken so hard that they heard his teeth click on camera. The man was bellowing that the Blakes had always been here. The house was over 200 years old. They had been there before the highway and the bridge and all the rest.

“You couldn’t buy them or scare them or poison them to death so you stole their kids and dragged them off!” he roared. He would’ve gone on, but one of the suit’s people tased him and he went down. The guard was immediately tackled by someone else and then everyone was yelling and fighting. Junkrat was eating his ravioli one at a time with his metal fingers since they were so hot.

“This must take you back,” he said. Roadhog had pushed his mask up enough to eat, but hadn’t taken it off. The mask blocked his vision, but he didn’t need to see the fight to know what it was like. He heard the anchors all expressing their dismay and hopes for a speedy resolution. Junkrat was right. It did remind him of the early days of the ALF, and he didn’t care for it.

“Hrnn,” he said with his mouth full. Junkrat finished his ravioli and tilted the plate up to drink the sauce off it.

“Head still hurt?” he asked, setting the plate aside to give all his attention to Roadhog.

“No,” Roadhog said. He reached out to scritch Junkrat’s scalp with one hand and Junkrat arched into it. Roadhog finished his helping and put his plate away to use both hands. “Seen this before,” he said, nodding toward the TV. “You know how it ended then.”

“Think it will happen that way here?” Junkrat asked with his eyes closed. Roadhog rubbed a thumb along the sharp jaw and let him tilt into that too.

“Maybe,” he said. “You said yourself. If the pipeline goes, it’ll take out a swath for miles. Not nuclear fallout, but it will still ruin this place.”

“They think it’s ruined already,” Junkrat said. “But they won’t leave.” He squirmed over to lean against Roadhog’s belly. Roadhog could see him under the edge of the mask now. “We woulda done anything to have a place this good, wouldn’t we? Still green and got singing things. Water still good underneath.” Roadhog made an agreeing sound. “Not like home. We had to cross an ocean to leave that behind. Here, it’s only a few days out from where everybody else is. Even walking, they could get someplace better in a week. How long they been here?”

“1700s,” Roadhog said. He remembered that from one of the historical markers they had passed. “She said it was in their blood.”

“And the omnic said they belonged here,” Junkrat said. He gave himself a shake. “Must be crazy.”

Screams from the TV made them both look up. Omnics had joined the riot, shielding the protesters. Someone authoritative shouted at one to stand down and obey their protocols and the omnics had all turned on their lights on him. He squinted into the beams, but stood his ground. The omnic he had shouted at came close enough to look down on him. It was maybe eight feet tall and had a huge drill bit for one hand. It looked like the same model as Hatfield, but either newer or better maintained. It was glossy black in the flashing lights.

“I killed my own kind for these people,” it said. “What hope do you have?” The man’s eyes flitted back and forth between it and the cameraman, maybe hoping that if it killed him right there, there would be proof. He didn’t speak again, though, and the protest went on. Roadhog went back to the kitchen for the toast and the jar of honey. He let some drip out on the plate so they could dip the bread without getting crumbs in it. He had to swat Junkrat’s hand away from the jar to keep his fingers out, too. It was good. It tasted like it looked, golden and warm. It made him think of the field of yellow grass in the sunshine, where he had been shot. He caught Junkrat watching him and knew he was still thinking about it, too.

“I’m all right,” he said, dragging the toast through the honey on the plate.

“But not all the way,” Junkrat said, not missing a beat. “Not right off.” His sticky fingers drummed and his eyes flicked around the room. “Didn’t talk as much for awhile. It was like before. Old days. When you only said what you had to. But then you-“ He jerked his thumb back towards the bedroom. “You said-“

“Scared you,” Roadhog realized. Junkrat blinked at him. He had been scared plenty of times and it hadn’t been like this. He didn’t have a word for what he had felt watching Roadhog fall, or for the lightning bolt of relief he had felt as soon as he had been sure Roadie was still breathing. Roadhog sighed when he stayed quiet and reached to pull him in close. “I’ve been shot before,” he said it gently, like he was explaining it to a kid.

“Not like that,” Junkrat argued. “Not one that, that just dropped you.” He couldn’t stop the shudder that went through him and pressed his face into Roadhog’s neck. His voice was muffled. “So fast.”

“You took care of it,” Roadhog reminded him and he nodded quickly, like denying it would undo it. Roadhog held him for a little while, stroking up and down his back. “Show me the taps,” he said when the silence got worrisome. “The ones you made. Show me how it works.”

Junkrat went to dig his creation out of their bag, but without his usual enthusiasm. It was brilliant, of course. The plumbing pieces had been made into a valve for the top of the canister. They could control the release of the gas now, just give a little or a lot without having to hold the mask to someone’s face or waste a lot of it just spraying it on them. Junkrat unscrewed it from the empty canister and put it on a full one to demonstrate, giving himself just a whiff of it. It made his pupils dilate and he shook his head as he tightened the tap back up.

“See?” he said. “Easy.”

“Genius,” Roadhog said, and meant it. Junkrat’s grin came back.

“Hired you, didn’t I?” he said, poking a finger at the mask’s snout.

“Sweet talker,” Roadhog said, just glad to see him perking up again, even if it was partially a rush from the gas.

“You’re the sweet one,” Junkrat said, standing up to lay over his stomach again. “Being so careful and you don’t have to be. You don’t have to hold back so much. I won’t break.”

“Hrh?” Roadhog was pretty sure that was the buzz talking, but Junkrat seemed serious.

“You know your own strength,” Junkrat said. “And you’re used to either destroying stuff or having to be careful so you don’t. I’m telling you, you don’t have to hold back with me.”

Oh. It took Roadhog a moment to realize what he was getting at, but when he did, he almost laughed. Trust Jamie to jump subjects fast enough to get conversation whiplash, and at least it was something that didn’t involve Roadhog’s near death this time. He didn’t want to chuckle with Junkrat trying so hard to say the right thing.

“I told you it’s been awhile, didn’t I?” he was saying even now. “Been awhile, yeah, but I’ve done it before.”

“How was it?” Roadhog asked, quiet and serious. There wasn’t a lot of safe or sane in the Outback anymore, and even less consent. Junkrat didn’t falter though. If it had been a bad experience, he either hadn’t known it, or it had blended in with so many worse ones.

“Fine,” he said, throwing both hands up. “Good. I’ve seen what I’m getting into.” He pressed in to push their hips together. “I know what I’m getting.” Roadhog nodded, but didn’t say something fast enough to stop the next train of thought.

“Do you just not want to?” Junkrat said, and now he looked uncertain. Damn his singed eyebrows. “You said you did. I remember you saying that.”

“I do want to,” Roadhog said before anything else could occur to him. “I did say it.” He took Junkrat’s wrists and held his hands to his chest. Junkrat climbed up to kneel on either side of his thigh.

“Why so worried then?” he asked. Roadhog didn’t want to argue.

“Done enough damage,” he began.

“I am damage.” Junkrat leaned in, going from kicked pup to mad bomber in just three words. Roadhog did laugh then, shaking them both.

“Yeah, you are,” he admitted.

“So, do me!” Junkrat made an insincere attempt to pull his hands free. Roadhog let one go to push his mask all the way up his face. Junkrat hadn’t see the whole thing since before the sniper, and drank the sight in.

“You ruin everything,” Roadhog said, kissing him. Junkrat whined when he pulled back enough to mumble. “Ruined me. Now I’m something I wasn’t.”

“Well, I want it,” Junkrat said, licking his chin to make him scowl and then biting the corner of his lips. “All of it.” He kept biting down Roadhog’s jaw to his ear and then down his throat. Roadhog rumbled, blood heating with each nip.

“Ok,” he said. He scooted them both to the floor so he could lean back against the couch and let Junkrat range all over him.

“You’re mine,” Junkrat said between kisses and bites. “Whatever you are. Like we agreed.”

“Fifty-fifty,” Roadhog said, thumbing at Junkrat’s buckles.

“Mine. Mine,” Junkrat chanted, pawing at Roadhog’s belt. He looked up quickly. “I told you the omnic can hear everything that happens here, right?”

“Uh. No.” Roadhog blinked. “It can?”

“Yeah.” Junkrat went back to getting both their clothes out of the way. Roadhog decided it didn’t matter to him either.

“Mine,” he agreed.

Chapter Text

It was easy to fall into. Junkrat scuttled off for the lube, shedding pieces of gear all the way. He didn’t have a lot to shed. Roadhog dragged some of the couch cushions down with him. He hadn’t seen anything resembling a mirror except for the cheap one bolted to the wall in the bathroom. He raised the opposite blinds a few inches. The reflection in the dark window wasn’t perfect, but it would do. He shrugged out of his own clothes just as Junkrat came back, completely naked.

Junkrat crawled past his lap, up over his stomach. They took a minute to slick up his fingers. Junkrat kept saying “ok” under his breath, and Roadhog would’ve thought he was nervous if he hadn’t been so twitchily eager. He reached back once he was slathered enough and Roadhog watched his face and the weak reflection on the other side of the room. Junkrat’s earlier attempts must’ve helped, because he got to work quickly and maybe too roughly. Watching him grimace and bite his lip had Roadhog reaching for his mouth to run the wide fingertips over it. He used the reflection to match his fingers on Junkrat’s mouth up with what Junkrat was doing. It only took Junkrat a moment to make the connection and go with it.

Roadhog kissed down his face to his shoulder. He could feel words bubbling in the his throat and pulled back to see if he was ok. Junkrat chased his fingers to suck them back in with a needful sound. It sent an electric tingle through Roadhog’s arm. Apparently, Junkrat was fine. Watching him was a treat as he tried to breathe around the fingers, his stomach hitching, and his hips making helpless nudges. His eyes were bliss-heavy and he tilted his head to keep his tongue on Roadhog’s fingers as they were pulled away from him again. Roadhog rumbled at him and gave him a kiss to suck on while he poured more lube over the wet fingers.

Junkrat raised up, too eager again. Roadhog cupped his jaw with the other hand and let him lean into it. He stroked his thumb up and down the throat and put just enough pressure on it to raise goosebumps. He couldn’t help but tease a little, ghosting lightly over his cock and dragging his other thumb over his balls on the way there. Junkrat arched and shook, trying to hold himself open wider.

“Easy,” Roadhog couldn’t help but whisper when Junkrat wasn’t gentle enough with himself and winced. His voice came out soft and breathless.

“It’s fine,” Junkrat said back. He was babbling now. “Meant for me. Made for me. It’s gonna be fine.”

Did he really think that? That if they didn’t fit perfectly they weren’t meant for each other? Was it just arousal-soaked delirium? Was he just saying whatever fell off his tongue like usual? More worrisome, would he be willing to speak up if something wasn’t fine?

“You have to say yes,” Roadhog began and Junkrat immediately began to chant “Yesyesyes.”

“Quiet doesn’t count,” Roadhog kept trying. “If it’s not a yes-“

“When have I ever been quiet?” Junkrat laughed.

“You have to say-“

“Yes! Please yes.”

There it was, so Roadhog eased his finger in. He didn’t need the reflection now, and focused on Junkrat’s face. He was already flushed red and shining with sweat. His mouth hung open, panting for breath, trying to grin, or biting his lip as Roadhog got in to the first knuckle. Maybe Roadhog shouldn’t have worried. All the sounds Junkrat made were enthusiastic. He kissed down his throat with little bites as he worked his way in. Slow and steady, he told himself. There was some resistance, but Junkrat would tense and then force himself to relax and progress was made

Junkrat yammered on about how good it was and how perfect and how he had known it would be. His expression didn’t change until Roadhog pulled out to add more lube. He sputtered out something about not leaving him empty that made Roadhog wonder. He pushed back in without warming the lube up and Junkrat gasped, but then relaxed back into it. Roadhog could feel him bumping against the curve of his belly with each nudge, hard and wet. He hadn’t made any move to take care of that. His prosthetic hand was clenching around Roadhog’s arm in time with the movement inside him. His other hand was still bent behind him, fingers stretched to frame Roadhog’s as he eased in and out.

“You aren’t going to last long enough to come on me,” Roadhog said with a laugh, thumb stroking over his balls and back up to the base of his cock. He rubbed gently and Junkrat’s whole body jerked. He finally had to clutch himself to keep from coming at that.

“I want to,” he groaned. “I want to. Don’t let me until you’re inside me.”

“I am inside you,” Roadhog said, sinking all the way in to make the point. Junkrat shuddered over backwards. Roadhog kissed down his chest, picking up the pace with his fingers just in case Junkrat really didn’t think he could be fucked this way.

“Want you inside,” Junkrat babbled again. “Filling me up.” Roadhog twisted his wrist and made him squeak. “To bursting!” His voice shook and rose again. “No room for anything else. Anyone- I-“ Roadhog crooked his finger just so and all the words drowned into a cry. He hooked his fingers and stretched a little. He didn’t want to rush, but damn it, Junkrat made holding back hard.

“I want that too,” he said, bending low to lick the tears welling at the corner of Junkrat’s eyes. “No one touches me but you.” He drove in a little harder and Junkrat’s hips lifted to push back. “No one touches you but me.” Junkrat’s voice rose to squawk.

“Yesyes,” he gasped. “Thatthatthat.” Another crook of the finger and his voice cracked even higher, hips pumping and cock jerking.

“Mine,” Roadhog insisted, dragging his chin down Junkrat’s body. It quivered and jumped under him. He went low enough to press a kiss to the skin stretched tight around his finger. Junkrat gasped so hard he choked on it.

“Inside and out,” Roadhog said, pressing a kiss to the balls that pulled even tighter and then sucking them in. Junkrat’s whimper turned into a yowl.

“I’m!” he wheezed. “I can’t! I-“ Roadhog licked up to his tip and then swallowed him down. Junkrat came too hard to even scream. Roadhog drank him down, feeling him tighten painfully around his fingers. He moaned around his mouthful and got his free hand down to himself. He was close enough that only a few strokes had him coming before Junkrat recovered. He pressed another row of kisses up Junkrat’s belly and then had to fight desperately clamping thighs to get his hand free. Junkrat whined and squirmed, trying to keep him there as long as possible.

“So,” he said when he could, watching Roadhog flex his aching hand. “How long ’til next time?” Roadhog laughed and flipped him over on his stomach like it was nothing. Maybe it was. Junkrat was too blissed out and tingly to put up a real struggle and was only two happy to have his favorite thumbs pulling him wide open again. A swipe of Roadhog’s tongue and all his complaints vanished. A barrage of kisses and tonguing tied him in a loose, happy knot all over again.

“You think you’re impatient?” Roadhog growled. Junkrat tried to grin, but it was dazed and lopsided. Roadhog grinned for him and gave him another playful bite on the cheek. Junkrat gasped and rolled over again. Roadhog let him and had a fistful of his hair grabbed. Junkrat tugged him close and reached down for him with the other.

“You,” he said. “Don’t ever come outside of me again.” He bit down hard on Roadhog’s neck before he could answer. The thrill that it sent through him wasn’t an argument.

“Ok,” he said, and then Junkrat was kissing him. They weren’t even going to think about where his mouth had been, apparently. It was fierce at first, but settled into something more languid and pleasured. Another go didn’t seem that out of the question, but then a bright blue light lit up all the windows. Roadhog rolled to protect Junkrat on reflex. Blue light usually came with sirens and shots fired. This time, there was no sound. Only the steady, blue light.

They waited for a second to make sure and then ventured out to see what it was. The night air was cool on their sweaty skin. Neither of them had bothered with clothes, but none of the Gnawers noticed or would have cared if they had. Everyone’s attention was on Yeager. He had lit up blue, and was projecting a beam of blue light straight up into the sky. He was standing with his head hanging low and his hands over where he had no face. Over the trees, they could see more of the beams, pillars of light shooting from various places over the mountain and fields.

That had to be from the other omnics, Roadhog thought. It wasn’t smart, to show your numbers or your locations like that. Why would they, unless-

He turned back inside to check the TV. Sure enough, there was a report coming in that Retton had finally been destroyed. They had had to call in some heavy fire power from the military to stop her. She had led them to one of the pipeline’s compressor stations. The force they had to use to destroy her had also taken out the station, which had caused a massive change of the gas pressure in the pipes. One pipe had ruptured and caught on fire and they had to scramble to cut off the flow before it had spread to the rest of the pipeline. Her death had been part of The Plan then. She had played her part and gone to her doom and now the rest were mourning her with blue lights.

He turned off the TV with a disgusted sound and jerked the blinds closed. He didn’t want to see their lights, but something inside was still gleaming blue from the back room. It was the goggles Junkrat had tossed aside when he undressed. He started to reach for them, but Junkrat was already there. He slipped them on before Roadhog could grunt a warning and looked around owlishly.

“Night vision!” he said cheerily.

“That all?” Roadhog asked. Junkrat kicked over the lamp and plunged the trailer into darkness. Roadhog blinked and then jumped when he felt hands.

“Now you won’t see me coming!” Junkrat said, before snorting and cackling. Roadhog hoped Yeager was too busy grieving to hear that.

Chapter Text

The blue light from Yeager got in around the edges and gave the camper a weird haze. Since Junkrat could see with the goggles, Roadhog sent him for some bottled water and a sleeve of the sugar wafers he had bought during their store run. If he was limping more than usual, it wasn’t obvious in the barely lit camper. They had three flavors of sugar wafer and made short work of them as they sat in the floor. They both emptied a bottle of water and then sat looking at each other for a few minutes.

Junkrat still had the goggles on and as the mourning light faded from outside, his smirk spread wider. He could still see just fine, Roadhog knew. Once the light faded out entirely, he was in pitch darkness again. Junkrat let him shift and try to get comfortable, or maybe try to brace for whatever was coming. There was no reason in the world to keep him waiting. Junkrat leaned forward. If he had been able to keep from chuckling, Roadhog might have been more surprised. As it was, he felt Roadhog’s stomach jerk a little when he dragged his tongue over it, but nothing else.

He licked and bit his way up, grinning at every hitch of breath he got. He gave both nipples a teasing suck, clicking his teeth on the piercing in one and being gentler on the scarred side where the bar had been torn out early in their partnership. Roadhog sighed and rumbled under it, laying back to let him play. His hands came up every now and then, to stroke over Junkrat’s head or back, but he didn’t try to redirect any of the attention. Both their breathing had gone rough. They hadn’t bothered to put any clothes on, so they could both tell how the other was responding. Junkrat knew he was hard against Roadhog’s belly and he could feel an answering throb against his thigh.

Smaller, brighter lights flickered on the edges of his vision, but he paid them no mind. He couldn’t spare a thought to anything else with Roadhog stretched out in front of him. There for the taking. He was alive and warm and feeling safe enough in the dark to let his head loll back on the edge of the couch. The big man’s expression was doing things he was usually careful to keep hidden. With the goggles, Junkrat could see it all. It was delicious.

He panted into Roadhog’s throat. He had bitten a bruise into it and crowded close, hooking a leg over Roadhog’ thigh. He had to squirm to get them pressed together, length to length. Roadhog arched to help and they ground together. The rasp of the big guy’s breathing, the way his fingers tensed and twitched just like his dick made Junkrat ache and bite his lip. He rose up on his knees to reach more.

Roadhog let the tension be plucked out him with little pinches and bites. He could feel his mask pushed all the way off his head and fingers comb through his hair. He couldn’t see a thing, but he could hear Junkrat’s breathing and little excited giggles. Every now and then there would be a mutter of hungry words, but Roadhog couldn’t tell what they all were. He started out listening for any outside sound, but if he couldn’t see anything in here, no intruder could either. And if they tried to sneak up with those goggles, he would see the blurs of blue like he could from Junkrat’s. It was all right to lay his head back and bare his throat and let Junkrat take care of him. He could feel puffs of cheap sugar breath and then his bottom lip was sucked on.

He brought his hands up to cradle the kiss. Junkrat’s hands went lower and he had managed to get his flesh one slicked up. Roadhog grunted into the kiss. Junkrat went up on his knees again, getting into position with Roadhog up under him.

“Determined,” Roadhog groaned.

“You can say no,” Junkrat reminded him. Roadhog sighed and slid his hands to Junkrat’s hips. He helped steady him and pull him open wider. Junkrat was slick there too. How had he managed that? Honestly, he could be doing anything and Roadhog might not see it in the dark. He had to go by feel. He let Junkrat ease down, felt them nudge together. He heard Junkrat’s hisses and grunts as he shifted to line them up and then bear down. Roadhog sucked in a deep breath, digging in his fingers. Junkrat’s cries started high-pitched and then dropped into guttural giggles. He shifted slowly and steadily downward. It was hot and tight and Roadhog could feel his heartbeat. He was still holding back, not wanting to thrust until Junkrat said so. He wished he could see his face to gauge his reaction.

“Ok?” he asked and only got an Nngh! for an answer. He tried to stop and lift Junkrat back up, but an arm hooked around his neck and Junkrat nearly head butted him in the chin to stay where he was.

“Jamie?” he tried again and got nothing but another grunt that could’ve meant anything. A hand to Junkrat’s face told him that his cheeks were wet and and his mouth was twisting. It could be good, it could be bad, and he couldn’t tell. He gripped both the narrow hips and hit a full stop.

“I need to be able to see you,” he gasped before Junkrat’s noise rose into a howl of protest.

“Hnh??” Junkrat managed.

“Can’t do this blind,” Roadhog said. “Have to be able to know-“ He heard an impatient and maybe disgusted sound.

“Y’don’t have to-“ Junkrat began. He trailed off and then muttered. “Not my first. Doesn’t have to be special… just has to be you.”

And Godfuckingdamnit, what was Roadhog supposed to say to that? The scrawny little shit didn’t even know he was being romantic. Roadhog barely remembered what romance was and now he honestly felt a little tingly. What the hell was wrong with him? His ears actually were a little warm. Before he could decide if he was really blushing for the first time in decades, Junkrat had pulled away. The air felt cold and weird without him, but it only took two steps to get to the TV and turn it back on. The light was surprisingly bright and Junkrat pushed the goggles up to his forehead before stomping back over.

Those were definitely tear tracks in the sweat on his face, but he seemed more annoyed at the delay than anything. He tried to straddle Roadhog’s legs again but Roadhog scooped him up. He tipped them both over on his side, letting Junkrat sprawl against him. He used one arm to pillow Junkrat’s upper body and used the other to lift his leg up and over his hip. That left Junkrat draped half over him and still able to look him in the face. Roadhog tightened his grip on the leg and shifted so he could nudge up into him. Junkrat’s eyes went wide and he craned his neck to try to see.

“Oh. Oh yeah,” he said. Roadhog barked out a breathless laugh and moved carefully, easing back in. Junkrat arched up greedily to make it easier. “Yeah,” he said again. “Yeah, yeah.”

“Yeah?” Roadhog couldn’t help but tease, giving his hips a roll. Junkrat made that sound again, like he’d been slugged in the stomach. His eyes fluttered shut and his mouth fell open. His spine arched beautifully, baring his throat and lifting his stomach. It pulled a needful groan out of Roadhog, too. To think that he might not have gotten to see this, that it could’ve happened in the dark without him knowing. He pressed his mouth to Junkrat’s throat, not biting yet, but sucking the skin tight against his teeth.

Junkrat reached up to curl an arm back around his neck again. He tried to sit up a little to watch some more, pulling his other leg back to get a better view. Here’s where they needed a mirror, Roadhog thought. He was still in check, and it didn’t take Junkrat very long to realize he wasn’t getting his brains fucked to jelly.

“Still holding back,” he wheezed. Roadhog grumbled into his shoulder.

“Have to,” he said.

“Not with me!” It was almost a whine and it went higher with a harder thrust.

Only with you,” Roadhog growled back. Two could play romance. He nuzzled back into Junkrat’s neck and this time, his teeth caught hold. Junkrat gasped and his eyes flew wide. The arm around Roadhog’s neck tightened. “Nobody else. Just you.”

He did start moving a little faster and harder, still keeping a careful eye on Junkrat’s expression. It might’ve taken him a minute too long to figure out that Junkrat was watching his, too. The twitchy little bastard wanted to see him let go, to be the one that caused it. He had been a mess at the thought that Roadhog had been hard for him on the ferris wheel and had come all over himself when Roadhog had looked at him with anything like passion. Realization burned down his veins and into his fingertips.

“Ok,” he said, smile twitching against the next kiss.

“Yeah?” Junkrat was breathless, but breaking into a grin. Roadhog could feel it against his own.

“Yeah,” he said. “Ok.” He eased over again, untangling himself from Junkrat and setting him against the cushions. He got an arm under Junkrat’s back to hold him at that perfect arch and cradled his head with the other. He braced his elbow against the bare couch and from there he could let his pace pick up. He meant it to be gradual, even though his teeth were beginning to grind and lightning was pooling in between his vertebrae. Junkrat wouldn’t let him, too squirmy and desperate to not throw everything at him. He could hear his own animal noises as he let himself slip.

Metal fingers pulled on his hair and sharp teeth sank into his wrist and then they were pounding at each other. Junkrat was right. They should’ve been doing this from the beginning. Unless it wouldn’t have been this way then. As if there was anything in the world, but this and now. Junkrat was gasping. He could hear it and felt the breaths against his shoulder. His pillowing arm could still hook around to stroke Junkrat’s torso. He could feel it heave and the hips roll into the movement. He felt another bite on his shoulder and then Junkrat’s cry went up an octave.

“Too much?” he made himself ask.

“No!” Junkrat gasped. “Move!” So Roadhog grabbed his mask to take a shuddering breath through and let it fall away so his boss could stare into his face while they hammered each other into the old couch cushions. It was too much and not enough and Junkrat’s whole being buckled and sputtered when Roadhog pulled a handful of his hair tight. Roadhog eased back enough to come over Junkrat’s untouched cock. The warm gush and the rattling sound he made sent Junkrat over with him and he wailed to the ceiling.

Roadhog held him through it, kissing over what he could reach. He sucked up the tears and sweat and when Junkrat relaxed into his arms, moved down to lick him clean. Junkrat might have sobbed, metal hand still clutching at him. Roadhog kissed that too. He groped around until he found another of their water bottles. He gulped down half of it and then held it to Junkrat’s lips. Junkrat took a few swallows and let the rest trickle over his face. Roadhog snorted and wiped it off for him, waiting for his eyes to focus to kiss him and offer him another drink.

“You were right,” Junkrat breathed when he could. Roadhog didn't remember what he had been right about and didn't care. “It was perfect.”

“All you hoped for?” Roadhog had to ask. There was a teasing edge to it and Junkrat grinned weakly.

“How do you feel?” Roadhog asked next. Junkrat’s eyes had closed again.

“Like you soaked me full and wrung me out,” he said.

“That’s good?”

“So good.”

Roadhog gave him some more water and began to carefully unfasten his prosthetics. When they both had their breath back, he carried him into the tiny bathroom. The water was icy cold and Junkrat hissed, but didn’t cringe from it. Roadhog moved him around under the spray and cleaned him out very carefully. It might’ve gotten on Junkrat’s nerves to still be handled so delicately, but he was feeling too much like a rag doll. He felt loose and heavy and full of sand. And hadn’t he earned it? Hadn’t he spent all this time being sexy before the big lug finally noticed? Took him long enough. He might’ve said some of that out loud, because Roadhog chuckled down in his chest and dipped him into some kind of ballroom kiss before letting him out of the shower.

When he was satisfied with Junkrat, Roadhog ducked in to give himself a quick rinse and then took them both back to the bare bed in the far room. He went back to get the prosthetics so they would be close by if they had to move quickly and checked the TV for anything happening he needed to know about. There was aerial footage of the blue mourning lights slowly going out one by one.

He got their water bottles while he was at it. A flash of blue made him scoop up the goggles where they had been yanked off at some point or another. He turned off the TV and held the goggles up to see his way back. There were words on the edges, he realized quickly. Two shades lighter than the rest of the blue and scrolling like a ticker tape. It froze him in his tracks. There were messages and coordinates. He didn’t understand them. There were codes and numbers and names that didn’t mean anything to him, but the idea made sense.

If the Gnawers could coordinate this way, so could the omnics. They were better organized than the ALF had been, but it was a smaller area and they had better allies. This could come in handy later, but right now, he dropped them with the rest of their clothes and crawled in next to Junkrat. Junkrat accepted a few more gulps of water and was asleep soon after. Roadhog let the cold shower water dry on him as he finished off the bottle. He turned over what they had just done a few times and as before, didn’t find anything to that needed a lot of thought. This may well have been the natural order of things. It was still fine.

Chapter Text

Junkrat had about as much patience with after care as he did foreplay. It didn’t help that he had been asleep when Roadhog decided to check him for any aches or pains. He grumbled at being moved and yelped at the cold cloth Roadhog found to clean him with. There wasn’t any ice in the camper, but the water came out of the taps icy. He squirmed to pull away from it, but Roadhog was determined to soothe him somehow and the cold rag was going to be his weapon of choice. Junkrat complained a little more just to make sure no one thought he needed any special care.

“You didn’t let me baby you when I-“ he began, but then faltered. He looked back over his shoulder, bleary eyes going concerned. “Was I supposed to?” He honestly didn’t remember and was relieved when Roadhog’s sound was an amused one.

“Got on your knees in the shower,” he rumbled, leaning to rub his lips and teeth over Junkrat’s shoulder. “Took good care of me. Didn’t even have to ask.”

“Yeah?” Junkrat was glad to hear that he had done well. “You didn’t complain about anything after.” Unless he had. Junkrat’s mind raced for any memory of Roadhog grumbling or sighing more than usual. What if Roadie had been pained and he just hadn’t noticed? Shit.

“You didn’t hurt me,” Roadhog still sounded a little amused. Junkrat was tempted to be offended, but cold fingers stroked against over-extended flesh and muscles and made him shiver. “I would’ve said if you had.”

“Well, good,” Junkrat decided the sensation was kind of nice and sprawled to give him better access.

“Good for you to say, too,” Roadhog said. “You can tell me to stop. I will.”

“Didn’t want you to stop,” Junkrat complained, turning his face back to the mattress. “Wanted every part of you. Fucking me until there was nothing left in me but you.”

He felt Roadhog shift at that and wondered if that was the wrong thing to say. Too weak, too stupid? They were past that with each other now. They could say anything. Roadhog’s other hand traced up his throat to his jaw. He tilted his head back to let his Adam’s apple bob against the huge fingertips. He hoped they would wrap around his throat, but the touch stayed light.

“There anything in there you don’t want to stay?” Roadhog asked after the silence grew so long Junkrat almost dozed off again. At first Junkrat didn’t know what he meant, but then it clicked. Oh. That was a personal question right there. When Junkrat retraced their conversation, he could see why Roadhog would ask that. He took a breath to think about the best way to answer, and then had to take another one. He wasn’t carrying anything around that he hated enough to carve out. He had lost enough pieces to know to hang on tight to what he had left. It wasn’t like that.

“Nothing that matters,” he finally said. He waited while Roadhog processed that, much like he had. There was something he wanted to ask Roadhog too, something that had worried him, but it must not’ve worried him long, because nothing was coming to mind.

“Ok,” Roadhog said after a few more minutes. If he still had concerns, he was letting them go for now. He switched out cloths and Junkrat groaned at the new wave of coldness.

“Didn’t think I would ever have this,” he said, still face down on the bed.

“Said you’d been planning this from Day One,” Roadhog reminded him.

“I plan for lots of things I never got!” Junkrat said. “Got you though.” It sounded more plaintive than he meant it to, but it wasn’t a bad thing because a warm mouth pressed to his ear.

“Yeah,” Roadhog said. The warm breath and the rumble made Junkrat’s neck goosebump up more than the cloth had. “You got me.”

“Wasn’t going to miss a chance to have all of you,” he said. “Especially if this bunch of scrapheap-lovers gets us killed.”

“Or just one of us,” Roadhog said and that was unfair to remind him, just unkind. How was he supposed to relax and heal if he had to think about that? It jerked him back to tension and he pulled his elbows to his sides, tucking his arms under himself.

“Or that,” he admitted and the kisses down his spine were just barely acceptable as an apology. The rumbling “Mine” under Roadhog’s breath did a better job. It crossed his mind that Roadie might be worried about him being killed too, and that seemed silly. Roadhog’s whole business was keeping him alive, after all. Roadhog had stopped everything that had tried, to his own detriment here lately.

“Next time we do this in daylight,” Roadhog said back into his ear. “So I can see everything.” The promise of next time was enough to distract Junkrat and imagining Roadie over him, haloed by the sun, was a much nicer thought. Or Junkrat could ride him and see the leaf shadows play over his chest and face. Wouldn’t that be a sight? He had begun to relax again, so he made a content “mmm” when Roadhog pulled him close again. He could feel Roadhog’s heartbeat against his back and his own against the hand pressing to his chest. They were definitely doing this again when the sun came up, he thought happily.

Unfortunately, the sun might’ve risen on the east side of the mountain, but Burly Hollow was still dark and quiet when the knock came on their door. They both scrabbled for weapons and aimed guns at the door before either of them were completely awake. There was a half minute’s pause, and then another knock.

“Wake up,” said their guest. The voice was small and Roadhog thought it was the kid who had met them right after Junkrat killed the sniper, but he wasn’t sure. He hadn’t been at his best. From the way Junkrat furrowed his brow, he didn’t recognize the voice at all. He did get up and stalk over to the door though, grenade launcher in hand. It would do more harm than good at close range, but the kid didn’t seem like having a gun pulled on her first thing in the morning was anything to worry about.

“You’re the sheila from the gate,” he said, still not positive.

“Yep,” she said. “Time to go.” Behind her, they could see other Gnawers slipping off unto the trees, either on foot or ATVs. Yeager was carrying the beekeeper man in his arms.

“Nobody’s staying here but the triplets,” the girl said. She nodded toward three men standing in the weak circle of light from an open door. They were identical except for their clothes and hair. They must’ve been born underground where the water was good or had come here from somewhere else. They all looked healthy. One of them was in spikes and leather. He was scowling at the one with glasses and a cell phone. They were both being laughed at by the third, who was in stained mechanic coveralls.

“Spike, Snake, and Slick,” said the girl. “The muscle, the mind, and the mouth. They’ll make things interesting for whoever comes here after you.”

“Who’s coming?”

“The riders are just one letter off from being raiders,” she said. “They backtracked your sniper and found out who hired him and may or may not have sold out where you are. So you’re not going to be here much longer.”

The Junkers were already gathering their stuff and getting ready.

“Your boss lady lets them get away with double crossing?” Roadhog asked as he went by her. Junkrat scurried ahead to disarm the bombs on the motorcycle.

“She knows them well enough to plan around them,” the girl said. She nodded at the bike. “Let Jesco take that. We’ll cut through and meet him at the Yard.” Roadhog growled and snatched the kid off her feet in annoyance. He could feel her crooked spine. She was heavier than she should’ve been. Maybe there was more metal to her than he could see. She went quiet and even more bug-eyed, but didn’t struggle.

“I don’t let anyone ‘take that’,” he snarled. One of her omnic guardians, maybe Jesco, appeared around the corner. The girl didn’t ask for help, so it looked from her to Roadhog and waited. She waited too, maybe seeing if he would hurt her. He didn’t like that either. He was used to people who would fight the very meat off their bones to live, no matter how sick and wasted they were. He didn’t like the resignation in this one, like it didn’t matter what happened as long as the precious Plan was kept. Junkrat had been right to compare it to religion.

“They’ll hear that thing for miles,” she said, when he didn’t snap her neck between his fingers. “Sound carries weird up here. Listen.” There was that distant whine of crotch rockets and four wheelers that Junkrat remembered from the yellow field. It made him bare his teeth.

“I’m leaving one on the engine,” he told Roadhog. “Whoever tries to start it will get a face full of shrapnel.” Roadhog growled and dropped her, but made a point of keeping the end of his hook close to her weird, cavefish eyes. She took the hint and led the way up the hollow, back toward the mountain. Behind them, the omnic scooped up the motorcycle and started following them with it. It had to change its shape, going to a animal-like stride with the bike held carefully off the ground. As horrible as it was, it still carried the bike like it was made of glass. It still got Roadhog to bristle angrily, so Junkrat poked the girl to get her attention.

“You never said your name,” he said.

“You guessed it,” she said. “I’m Sheila.”

Chapter Text

Junkrat was pretty sure the girl’s name wasn’t really Sheila. Her attitude smacked of the same smugness that had infuriated him about Yeager. She didn’t give him any other options though. She started off into the trees, stopping for a moment to let them keep up. Jesco and the motorcycle kept going without them and that more than anything got the Junkers to follow.

“What’s the plan now?” Junkrat said. His prosthetic slid in the leaves again and he had to adjust his stride, putting more weight on it to dig in. He was pretty sure Roadhog was watching him closely and didn’t want to give the big guy any reason to think he was limping more than usual.

“We got word last night,” Sheila said. “The big bosses are coming in. They brought ‘Pedes.” Her voice dropped at the last word. Whatever a Pede was, she didn’t even want to say it too loudly.

“A what now?” Junkrat asked. Roadhog wondered if there was information on the goggles right now. He didn’t want to check, to let on that they had them, even though they were in plain sight. Luckily, the kid liked to talk.

“Omnic-pedes,” she said. “Search and destroy bots. They can go anywhere. They got night vision and drills and blades and they can detach pieces or add more on. Bosses had to get special permission from the government to build them, saying they would maintain the pipelines and mine tunnels, but that’s not what they’re for. They send ‘em into towns. They can get into anywhere, crawl on the ceilings, whatever they want. Kill whoever. Like the one they sent after the Blakes, before Retton stood guard. They think it came in through the chimney. She was pregnant then. It cut her open and took the baby. Took everything. Hollowed her out like a pumpkin. Scooped it all out and ran with it.”

“The kid that didn’t live,” Roadhog said. He could see Junkrat’s mind humming away, probably charting out what they had seen of the Blake house and how something could get in. He imagined the creature like a robotic centipede, big enough to take on a human woman. It wasn’t a nice image.

“It didn’t get far with it,” Sheila was still talking. “But yeah, there wasn’t a lot left of the life support system by the time Hatfield was through with it. And that’s what kept it breathing. So. Yeah. Nobody wants to tangle with one of those. We’re all heading to higher ground.”

“What did it want with the baby?” Roadhog asked, not that it mattered. Sheila started to answer, but then Jesco shot upright and she froze. They all listened until they could hear the sound of a helicopter. The Junkers had been chased by enough of them to know it.

“Stay low,” Jesco said in a voice like a rock tumbler. “I’ll lead it off.” He took off cross country again, still hauling the motorcycle. Roadhog nearly hooked him back just on reflex. The omnic was gone in a blink and Sheila broke into a stooped over jog, leading them down around a ridge and under some pine trees. Roadhog snarled and followed, but his arms were tight and his breathing was angry through the filters. Sheila kept them under the pines until the got to the edge of an overgrown dirt road. She tilted her head, listening for any sound of the helicopter. Roadhog was too annoyed to care and stomped out of the sticky pine needles. He was covered with them and it didn’t help his mood at all.

“Like you said before,” Junkrat tried to soothe him. “Cross country is safer if you don’t want to be seen. Stay off the road. Wha’s called? Hiking.”

“Looks like a road to me,” Roadhog snarled back, but he fell into grudging step as they went. It was an old logging road, Sheila told them. It ran along the side of the mountain. It had been used to access the fire tower before satellites had taken the job. The tower was an observatory now. Migrating birds, or something. Now it was mostly used by the national park services and even then not much. One side went up into pines and maples. The other dropped down a steep bank to a leaf-choked creek. They could hear it trickle in places it was clear enough to run.

It wasn’t long before they heard another engine. Sheila froze again and then shooed them up the hill and out of sight.

“I thought you said nobody uses this much,” Junkrat hissed, sliding in the leaves. She shushed him and crept to the top of the knoll to look over. From there, they could see a truck picking it’s way up the road.

“Nnnh,” Sheila whined, just a low, unhappy sound. “Romanellos.”

“What’s that?” Junkrat asked, peeved at being hushed by someone who wasn’t Roadhog.

“Them,” she said, pointing with her chin. There were two men in the truck. The windows were rolled down and their arms rested on the edges. “They’re looking for you.”

“Not Gnawers?”

“Nope.” Her voice was flat. Junkrat shrugged and went feeling for a likely grenade.

“New truck,” Roadhog said. “That one’s wearing hair gel.” Maybe that was the Gnawer version of a suit, all slicked back and glossy.

“So?” Junkrat found an eager volunteer and held it up. “Neither’ll be shiny long.”

“Wait,” Sheila sighed. “We can use the truck.”

She stepped out of her boots and to the Junker’s confusion, dropped her pants to step out of them as well. One of legs was a prosthetic from mid-calf down. Both of them had bug bites and briar scratches. She handed the pants to Junkrat and stepped back into her boots. They covered the prosthetic. Her shirt was just barely long enough to cover her underwear and she stuck her hands in her jacket pockets to hold it down in the front.

“What are you doing?” Roadhog asked. He knew all about using whatever was available. Everyone in the Outback did. He just wasn’t sure of what the point was right now.

“Getting us a ride,” she said. “Stay here. Be quiet. If they see you, one of them will call it in.”

The only way that would work is if she killed them. She didn’t need to do this for that. The Junkers could dispose of both of them just fine. Sheila slipped down the hill and out of the underbrush to the edge of the road and started walking, eyes down, hands in pockets. The truck came around the corner and both men saw her. They immediately slowed down and she stepped down into the ditch to be out of their way. The truck stopped completely and the passenger opened the door to lean out. Roadhog’s gut instinct was still convinced that this was stupid. He and Junkrat looked at each other. Junkrat’s mouth opened to say something just like that, but then one of the Romanellos called to Sheila.

“Hey,” he said. “You need a ride?” The driver was getting out, too. That was a bad sign. They shouldn’t have even stopped.

“No, thanks,” Sheila said immediately. “I’m good.”

“Are you?” the passenger asked, stepping to block her way. “Are you good?” She had frozen in her tracks and the driver was coming around the front of the truck. She looked from one to the other, then bolted like a deer, jumping down the bank to the creek. The passenger went after her, laughing. His brother laughed too, picking his way down more carefully. All three of them were out of sight in no time. The Junkers heard them crashing through the underbrush and then it was quiet again. The truck was still there. They looked at each other, considering just going on alone. But Sheila was the one who knew where Jesco was going. They could track him, probably but it would be easier just to wait.

It only took a few minutes for Sheila to reappear. She had dirt and blood on her arms. She slid back down the far side and washed off in the creek. When she was clean, she climbed back up to the road and waved at them to come out. Some of the blood might’ve been hers, Roadhog noticed. She had some scrapes and scratches. There was nothing but silence from the two men though.

“I could’ve done that,” Junkrat complained, walking back into sight. She took her pants back, and stepped out of the boots again to put them back on again.

“Trying to hide you,” she reminded them. “Bombs’re not sneaky. They’ll know it was you and we’ll lose our lead.”

“You knew they would do that,” Roadhog said, nodding towards where the Romanellos presumably wouldn’t be coming back. She made an affirmative sound. “They’ve done that enough that you knew it would work. Did you even need to show any leg?” She blinked at him, like the thought that she could be desirable was a weird one.

“I knew I’d have to run to the creek. Jeans take too long to dry,” she said. He just looked down at her. She didn’t know how to read his silent staring through the mask and some defensiveness crept into her tone. Like either of the Junkers would judge someone killing for a ride. “They didn’t have to stop. Or get out. Or chase me. I said no. No was the first word I said.” She climbed in the truck and started the engine, still talking. “They were safe in here. If they had driven on, they’d be well on their way. They wouldn’t even remember the raggedy seven by nine they passed on a back road.”

“What’s that mean?” Junkrat asked. “Seven by nine?” He had heard that before, but he didn’t know who had said it. He got in on the passenger side. Roadhog leaned in the driver door and Sheila scooted over to let him drive without argument.

“Inferior quality,” she said. “The cheap kind. From when they used to make glass up at Milton.” He nodded thoughtfully. He had been pretty sure it was an insult somehow.

“They stopped for you before?”

“Not me,” she said. “I always hide.”

“But you’ve seen them stop for others before,”

“Daddy’s got money,” she said. “They get away with what they want.”

“Not today.”

“Nope,” she said again and then pointed. “Turn there.”

It was a nice truck. It only jostled them a little over the back roads. They heard and saw more helicopters but none of them lingered. Passing through a field they saw a group on dirt bikes that Sheila identified as a small faction of riders. The houses they passed were quiet and dark. Most people were either laying low and heading elsewhere. They didn’t get too close to the truck either. Everybody knew who it was supposed to belong to.

Sheila was keeping quiet too. Maybe she had killed the brothers and maybe just pushed them into a hole they had to climb out of, but she wasn’t her chatty self. She pointed out the way they should go and other than that, kept still.

“You never said,” Junkrat said after awhile. “What an omnic would want a human baby for.”

“The ‘Pedes don’t want,” Sheila said. “They do what they’re told. What do the bosses want with one is the question. Why that baby in particular? Why the only member of that family that stayed out of the resistance? Turn up there.”

“You know anybody named Marlowe?” he asked next, just to see what she would say. She lit up with a smile.

“That’s me!” she said. “That’s my name.”

“Liar,” Roadhog almost chuckled. Junkrat agreed.

“Prove it’s not!” she huffed, crossing her arms. “Sheila Anne Marlowe. Yeager called me Sam for a year before he figured out it was my initials.”

“You’re quick,” he admitted. “I’ll give you that.”

“Not quick enough,” she said, looking straight ahead. “Aw, damn, they beat us here.”

Ahead of them was another one of the gates they saw so much of, and a crowd of riders around it. None of them were driving anything as substantial as the truck, and the gate was fastened with some cheap bolts, so Roadhog laughed for real this time and hit the gas. He threw his right arm out to hold Junkrat to the seat, and also Sheila since she was there. The riders scattered as best they could, but a few were plowed into as the truck barreled through the gate.

The Yard was a junkyard, which would’ve been interesting if it hadn’t been so old that everything in it was a rusted shell. It made for good cover though. Trees and vines grew up through the wrecks. It was probably full of snakes.

Jesco was there with their motorcycle. Hatfield was there with the Other Blake. They had a Gnawer jeep and a small entourage of their own. The Other Blake made a face as the surviving riders either took off to get reinforcements or charged in after the truck. Hatfield and Jesco charged right back and both had a rider in each hand before the rest reconsidered and ran too. Hatfield crushed both of his and tossed their bodies over the fence. Jesco just flung his, still screaming, into the trees.

“No one was supposed to know you were coming here,” the Other Blake said to Sheila, who shrugged.

“Helicopters,” the kid said. “Romanellos. Shit show.”

“Language,” Jesco said, scooping her up to his shoulder. Junkrat ran to disable the last explosive he had left on the motorcycle.

“All right,” the Other Blake sighed. She looked at the Junkers. “Gentlemen? You ready for this?”

“Always ready!” Junkrat said immediately.

“For what?” Roadhog asked.

“They’re gonna be after you until they see us,” she said. “And then things are going to get hairy. But we’ve got it figured out. You’re still gonna get paid. And we get to see some bosses get theirs. We’re going to have to make a run for the river and until then, all you have to do is keep up.”

“Just try losing us!” Junkrat cheered, already in the sidecar. He had behaved long enough. And grinding a few local punks under his wheels had Roadhog ready for mayhem too. Hatfield swung into the jeep and they started off. Behind them, the motorcycle roared to life and the Junkers tore out after them. Junkrat nearly tossed a grenade over his shoulder, but if things were finally starting to come together, he might need them. He did see one of the riders Jesco had thrown sitting up and watching them go, clutching what looked like a broken arm. His arm was fine, so he flipped them off with it on the way out.

Chapter Text

There was something about the wind in your hair and the road under your wheels. They were back in their element. It didn’t matter if they didn’t know what they were going to do because they would do what they always did. It didn’t matter where they were following the jeep to, because even if it was a trap, they would fight their way out of it. Nothing could happen that wasn’t worse than the Outback. At least that was what Junkrat was thinking as they roared up the road. He glanced up at Roadhog, inscrutable behind the mask, but his arms weren’t tense with anything but adrenaline and the thrill of the ride. Yeah, this was back to normal.

Up ahead, the Other Blake was driving and Hatfield had managed to make himself fit in the other three quarters of the jeep. They were tear-assing up the road ahead of them. They didn’t even have to worry about where to go. All they had to do was follow. From out of the woods and fields on either side, more Gnawers appeared. These weren’t the riders they had seen before. This was a war party if Junkrat had ever seen one. They were on dirt bikes and ATVs and some souped up vehicles made all-terrain like the riders, but this bunch was loaded for bear, weapons of all kinds on their bodies and machines. The entourage had become a small army. Some of the Karst model omnics ran along with them, on all fours like Pearlbuck on the bridge.

They weren’t attacking, Junkrat decided after his first impulse to start blasting. They were just joining in the fun. When the jeep lead the way to a paved road, the others came out of the woods to be on the asphalt with them. From there, it only took a few miles before a helicopter showed up. It tilted in what looked like surprise and Junkrat waved at it, grinning from ear to ear. It was close enough he could see the pilot screaming something and the passenger activating a comlink, probably to report they had a visual. A grenade landed just so would separate the blades from the coptor and send the two pieces in two catastrophic directions. He had his launcher ready when a sound from Roadhog made him look.

The Gnawers had veered off like birds in midair, but what were they dodging? Hatfield stood up, bracing one foot in the passenger seat, and the other anchored against the back. One of his lights went entirely too bright. Junkrat remembered Yeager and the fencepost and eagerly turned back to see what happened. The laser punched a neat hole through the helicopter’s windshield and another through the passenger’s face. The pilot’s face was screaming again, all terror this time. The helicopter swerved off. It would’ve been just as easy to hit the pilot, Junkrat thought, glaring at the omnic. Weren’t the scrap-piles designed to be precise? Hatfield gave him a cocky finger salute and dropped back down in the jeep. The Gnawers returned to their formation.

This was still The Plan, Junkrat realized. The helicopter had to get away to tell whoever the bosses were that not only were international men of mystery and mayhem loose on the backroads, but a famously murderous omnic and a bunch of local terrorists. The Other Blake had said that the authorities would be chasing the Junkers until they saw the Gnawers. They were making a run for the river. He dug out his napkin maps, holding them tight against the wind to see where the river was. It wasn’t far. Not at the speed they were going, anyway. He crammed the napkins back into a pocket to keep them from being blown away.

Roadhog reached over to flip the blue goggles up against his chin. It wasn’t dark, so he squinted at Roadhog for a moment. A lot of the Gnawers were wearing them, he noticed, looking around again. The Other Blake was too. Fine. He ducked into them, wincing when the strap pulled his hair. In daylight, they softened the glare, giving everything a tint. A tiny little bit of light in the corners made him blink, but it was still there. He forgot the chase to reach up and try to adjust them and the words and symbols went clear. How had Roadhog known that?

The words didn’t make any sense until he realized the letters were directions. It was coordinates. Numbers. Who was on the way and from where. That was why the Gnawers navigated like a hive mind. They were all getting the same information. Odds were the omnics were behind that too. All it would take was one of them throwing bad information in the mix and it would all go to hell. Junkrat looked over at the nearest Karst model loping along like a giant wombat. He hadn’t gotten a good look at Pearlbuck.

Karst models didn’t have much in the way of a head. They made up for it with their arms and shoulders. This one also had fingers like digging claws, again like a wombat. He almost remembered seeing a neighbor mauled by one when he was a kid. The wombats that had survived the fallout were bigger and meaner than ever, but get hungry enough and most people would try for one anyway. It hadn’t worked out for the Junker next door. Horace? Horseface? He didn’t remember. The only clear part of the memory was the claw marks.

The shrill scream of a siren snapped him back to current events. The helicopter had done its job and now they had a proper pursuit going on. Good. He and Roadhog hadn’t gotten away from a real chase since before they had taken the Albrecht job. He cackled and turned to get a better look. The goggles told him that the pursuit vehicles were county and state. The helicopters belonged to the bosses.

The Gnawers all sped up, passing the jeep on each shoulder and setting up ahead of them. The Karst models hopped the ditches and got off the road again. The whole set up smelled like an ambush. He and Roadhog were going to be the bait. They had been worried that the Gnawers were using them, but not to catch someone else. He had to laugh. The goggles flashed to get his attention. Something was coming that had whoever was in charge of sending the information in a tizzy. They kept sending the message over and over.

Another helicopter swooped in and this one had rolled bundles on either side. They almost looked like riptires, but bigger. The helicopter swung in low, maybe to drop them. One of the Karst models had gone into a skid at the sight of them, pivoting and crouching to leap up into the air. The helicopter tried to dodge away, but a swipe from the Karst’s claws snagged one of the bundles and tore it open. It fell off its mount, unrolling as it fell, into something long and segmented. It had lost some pieces, but as soon as it hit the road, the intact parts snaked after them, already running.

Junkrat’s jaw dropped. ‘Pedes. Like the one that gutted Blake and that little Sheila was so scared of. Still, ‘bots were ‘bots and he knew all about killing those. He sent a volley of grenades at it. They blew it into three pieces, but those three pieces kept coming. The Karst model hadn’t given up either. It charged through the grenade blasts to crush one of the segments and bear-slap another one off the road. One of the Gnawers shot that piece. The bullet knocked it onto its back. Its buggy, segmented legs kicked and jerked. The Karst model smashed it in a burst of sparks. That still left the one.

Ahead of them, the jeep plowed head on into a patrol car that had come around the corner to cut them off. The jeep must’ve been made of the same thing as the mine omnics, because it barely slowed them down. The impact forced the patrol car hard up the road ahead of them until a curve caught the back end and flipped it out of their way. One of the Gnawers on a motorcycle tossed something into the car as they shot past it and it flashed bright and hot. That was when the helicopter dropped the second ‘pede. It rolled along after them for a moment, then unfolded into the arthopod shape and zipped after them. It snaked after the slowest Gnawer and whipped their dirt bike out from under them. Bike and Gnawer were knocked into the path of the pursuit vehicles and run over.

The piece of the first ‘pede slowed down enough for the second one to catch up and they fastened together into one. It shot forward again. It paid no attention to the Junkers, zigzagging between their wheels, aiming for the jeep. Sheila had said they went after what their bosses wanted and it seemed their bosses weren’t as interested in them. The other Gnawers were dodging it, but Hatfield’s head swiveled around to see it coming and he screamed. The Junkers had heard plenty of omnics scream, but this was a bellow of wrath. Hatfield leaped from the back of the jeep, making it swerve and bounce as his weight left it.

Hatfield grabbed the ‘pede, rolling with it. He made it take the impact of his landing, slamming it into the road as they went. Roadhog had to swerve to get out of their way. The Other Blake didn’t wait on him and Roadhog didn’t slow down either. Junkrat whipped around in the sidecar to see what happened. Hatfield threw up sparks as he got his feet under him again, and in one uppercut heave, threw the ‘pede into the blades of the pursuing helicopter. He fired three more laser bursts into the other cars and then was running again. He knew the terrain well enough to take a shortcut, hopping a fence and cutting a corner to drop back down on the road as the jeep and motorcycle came around the corner. Three quick strides and a jump and he was back on board.

They lost sight of the helicopter going around the curves and through the trees, but the did hear the crash and the following explosion. The Gnawers and the Karst models were peeling off and heading into the trees or up unmarked back roads. The road straightened out and they saw why. There was the river. There was a bridge. It was already blocked by police on the far side.

The Other Blake hit the brakes and Roadhog had to do the same to keep from plowing into them. Hatfield’s upper body rotated to let him slap a hand down on the motorcycle’s frame. Roadhog snarled something guttural and Junkrat snatched up one of his jars of napalm. It might not kill the thing but it would burn through its joints. Then, the Other Blake drove off a cliff. That’s what it felt like, anyway. The jeep went over a rise and just dropped. Hatfield’s grip on the motorcycle meant they went with it. It was kind of a road, Junkrat thought as he was bounced so hard his chin hit the jar in his hands. He curled around it to keep it from breaking and dousing him or Roadhog. That would feel terrible.

Roadhog was busy keeping the bike steady, not letting it slam into the jeep or tip over as they careened down the side of the cliff or whatever it was. They weren’t heading for the bridge. They were heading under it. It felt like forever before the road evened out and Hatfield let them go. The jeep pulled ahead again and led the way to a service entrance at the base of the bridge. There was room to park and a utility door hidden in the shadow of the bridge. Hatfield and the Other Blake left their jeep and headed for the door, so the Junkers did the same. Junkrat took a moment to set another explosive on the motorcycle before he went jogging to catch up.

The door was unlocked for them and led the way into a shabby concrete corridor. Hatfield could barely fit no matter how he compressed himself. Roadhog had to squirm a little too. There was weak light to see by, and the Other Blake led them deep into the workings of the bridge. Eventually, it stopped being a utility corridor and started looking like someone a lot like a Karst model had dug it.

“How far?” Junkrat asked after the hurry and the silence got annoying.

“Mile and a half,” the Other Blake said.

“What??”

“We’ll come out over the train tracks,” she said. “We’ve got a ride waiting. That’ll take us to phase two.”

“Couldn’t we have just driven?” Junkrat jerked a thumb at Hatfield. “Your boy could’ve cleared the bridge easy.”

“I want everybody in position before they know where we are,” she said. Her eye clicked again.

“Who’s everybody?”

Everybody,” she insisted.

Chapter Text

Setting traps as they went along was more force of habit than anything. Junkrat didn’t want to use up all his mines, but it crossed his mind that the ‘pedes could be sent after them. He could spare three. The omnic-dug tunnel was roomier than the utility passage, so Roadhog could jog along. Hatfield still had to crouch. Both he and the Other Blake had started to say something when Junkrat set the first trap, but then looked at each other and let it go. Either being followed was a legitimate concern or they knew better to argue with an explosives enthusiast in a confined space.

Roadhog was keeping quiet and close. His fingertips were always just barely touching Junkrat. It took awhile before Junkrat realized it might be because he couldn’t see. The tunnel didn’t have lights. He and Other Blake had the goggles. Who even knew what a mine omnic could see in the dark. Hatfield did have some running lights on him, though. Nothing bright, but they gave enough light that Roadhog could at least make out where they were moving.

“You want these?” he asked, meaning the goggles. He hadn’t noticed how quiet they were all being until he heard his own voice in the tunnel. Roadhog made a negative sound, but he might not have known what Junkrat was talking about.

“Almost out,” the Other Blake said, but then one of the traps went off. It was far behind them, but the walls still shook. Something had followed them in. Hatfield snarled, or at least that’s what it sounded like. He had been between Blake and the Junkers during the trip, but now he pushed both of them by him. Roadhog didn’t appreciate it and snarled back, but the Other Blake had broken into a run. Hatfield’s arm activated into the giant drill bit. He slammed it onto the ceiling and swung into the wall. He was caving the tunnel in behind them. Anything that survived the traps would still have to dig its way after them. The Junkers decided to run, too.

A blast of brightness had Junkrat fumbling to push the goggles up on his forehead. The Other Blake changed the settings on hers and was fine, which made him grumble a little. They came out into daylight again, on a steep slope over a train track. Another slope down from that was the river. The bridge they had dodged was nowhere in sight. The Other Blake was already sliding down to the tracks. Junkrat half expected a train to show up, but there was only two more mine omnics waiting on them. Hatfield, trailing dirt, slid down after them and scooped up the Other Blake.

“Oh no,” Junkrat said, taking a step back as one of the new omnics reached for him. It shrugged and reached for Roadhog instead.

“You’re kidding, right?” Roadhog asked it.

“Tee hee,” the omnic said. Its voice was either as deep as his or it was imitating him. “All fun and games.”

“Until someone takes too long and ruins years of work,” the third omnic snapped.

“We don’t even know what this plan of yours is yet,” Junkrat complained. From somewhere in the tunnel there was another pop from a trap. Whatever was after them was still coming. Roadhog sighed, but raised his arms. The omnic hefted him up to its chest, one arm under him and one around, like a big teddy bear. Junkrat thought so too, because he snorted and giggled and let the crankier omnic pick him up with only a little griping about being easy on the goods. The three omnics took off like gazelles.

The mountain terrain was impossible for most vehicles. On foot, it was slow going, steep and full of rocky ridges and deep hollows. The three omnics were tireless and knew the landscape. They ran through the underbrush in a blur. They could leap small backroads in a stride, staying out of the open. There were still helicopters overhead, but the omnics stayed under cover of the trees and ledges. They must’ve had gyroscopes or something because Junkrat wasn’t being jostled as they went. He looked over to the see how Roadhog was doing and had to laugh again. The omnic carrying Roadhog had an exposed spinal cluster of joints when it bent over. An attack there might tear it in half. Looking up at his omnic, there was a gap between the chest plates and the neck cables. A grenade shoved in there would do the trick.

They finally came to a bunker in the side of a hill. The Other Blake headed down the stairs as soon as Hatfield put her down. The other two omnics set the Junkers down and tore off again. Hatfield waited for them to go inside and followed them in. Junkrat slapped a mine on his chest just to make his continued displeasure known. Hatfield looked at it, the little red light blinking back at him. He looked back at Junkrat who pretended to examine the detonator button as he went. The noise that came out of the omnic sounded like a chuckle. Junkrat grinned too. It might not even hurt the big robot, but it would get attention and might injure the Other Blake, so it was going to stay put for a little while.

“All right,” the Other Blake was saying from ahead of them. “Let’s see.” Lights were coming on as she went. They actually could see now. They went down under the mountain again. This didn’t look like it was part of a mine anymore. Junkrat started to wish there was another one of those elevator things. Behind them, he could hear Hatfield sealing off the passage as they went. More and more doors between them and the daylight, and it would have felt ridiculous if he hadn’t see the the ‘pedes.

“You are going to have to tell us what this plan is eventually,” he said. A few levels down there was a nest there with some screens and wires that looked like an older version of the control center in Gnawertown. The Other Blake was busy turning things on and tapping screens. It was news footage and surveillance from all over the area. There was a lot going on.

“Retton took out the compressor station early for a reason,” The Other Blake said. “Now, with the other stations being attacked and the riots and news coverage, two of the bosses are coming in.” She nodded towards Roadhog. “You saw them on the tablet.” Junkrat remembered the smug, smiling faces and made a face of his own. Hatfield was going about his business with the mine still blinking on his chest.

“How do you know that?” Roadhog asked. He had had suspicions before. The Other Blake was setting up a communication screen, but she half-smiled over her shoulder.

“I gathered most of the information on that tablet,” she said. “Yeager’s the one that left it in the well.” Junkrat was keeping an eye on Hatfield and letting Roadhog do the questioning. "The Plan is to get all four of them here."

“You’ve been in on this for awhile,” Roadhog said. Blake mm-hmed. She held up the communicator around her neck and spoke into it. It changed her voice to a mechanical one that they both remembered.

“I’m the one that hired you two.”

Chapter Text

The sound Roadhog made was almost triumphant. He moved liked his first impulse was to snatch her up the way he had Sheila, but Hatfield’s stance shifted too, and everybody tensed.

“Knew it,” Roadhog growled. He pointed at her instead of grabbing her. She just shrugged and went back to work. More lights and screens were coming on. “You knew too much. This is all part of your precious plan.”

“Yep,” she said.

“You deserve whatever’s coming.”

“Oh,” she said. “Yes.”

“Ok,” Junkrat said after a minute of thinking it over. “Why?”

“You weren’t supposed to know until it was over,” the Other Blake said, not looking up from the feed screens. “All you had to was show up and get pulled in, get paid and leave.”

“How do we get paid now?” Business was still business, no matter how weird it got.

“The four bosses,” she said. “They’ll be at the Bluethorn. That’s the resort I was telling you about. They have a system that they hope will override the omnics and return them to their factory settings. It won’t.”

“You’re sure about that?” Junkrat asked. He wouldn’t put it past the omnics to turn on them just as unexpectedly as they had saved the Gnawers before.

“We’ve had moles in their companies since the beginning,” she said. “We know exactly what it will do and how to block it. When it doesn’t work, they’re going to have to scramble to salvage the situation. They’re going to be glad to hear from you.”

“Really.”

“You’re going to call them,” she said. “And tell them you have something they want. They’ll make the deal you want.”

“What will you be doing?” Roadhog asked, still sounding like he was torn between an accusation and a threat. The Other Blake wasn’t fazed.

“I’ll be turned in. I’m the thing they want!” she said. “The chance to question me will bring the other two in. Then, we’ll have all four of them.”

“Or they’ll have you.” Roadhog said.

“Oh, they’re getting me,” she said. Her grin was much worse than her smile.

“Then what?” Junkrat asked. He waved at hand at Hatfield. “This scrapheap tears the place apart and you go on the run again?”

“No,” Hatfield said. He waved a hand right back. “I’ll be getting you out and on the run again. You’ll get your bike back and I’ll direct you to a safe house to wait out the dust settles. Then you’ll be as free as birds.”

Junkrat wasn’t sure that sat well. Roadhog’s body language wasn’t thrilled either. He was focused on the human though. She had her wall of screens working and was checking each one.

“Why do they want you so bad?” Roadhog asked, tilting his head. She had been called a trouble-maker, but that meant nothing since she was the one sending the information in the first place. There was no way to tell how much of any of what they had been told was true.

“I’ve been a thorn in their sides for awhile,” the Other Blake said. “As was my mother before me, and both my sisters.”

“What happened to the Blake at the house?” he asked next. He wanted to see how she reacted to that more than he actually cared.

“Safely detained,” she said. “By law, they have to give her medical treatment, so she’s probably in better shape now than she has been in a long time.”

“Why not do it now? Make the call. Get on with it.” Junkrat asked.

She pointed at the screens. People and omnics were fleeing the area. A small news station anchor with a forced grin on one grainy screen compared it to rats leaving a ship. “What do they know that we don’t?” asked the other anchor and they both laughed. The Other Blake made a disgusted sound under her breath.

“Told you before I want everybody in place before this starts,” she said. “Soon as we make the call, they’ll be tracking the signal and there’ll be ‘pedes sent in here faster than you can scream.” Her robotic eye clicked. Hatfield started to unpack a strange little picnic for them. He had sandwiches and tiny, dark red apples and some kind of marshmallow cake things in wrappers. The Junkers looked at each other, but sat down. This was ugly, but it was always better with a full stomach.

“Why all the blue?” Junkrat asked when the silence went long. He motioned at her other eye.

“We made the goggles from the Open Pit models. They didn’t last long, but they were coded blue,” she said. “If you mean the actual eyes, it turns out that digging out tumors isn’t that different from mining.” She turned and raised her shirt. There were incision scars all down her back. There was something cybernetic in her spine too, by the shape of the vertebrae. Small triangular lights were barely visible through the skin. “We didn’t have any medicine either, so they did their best to make us something. Side effect is that it turns your wet parts blue.” She stuck out her tongue and it was more gray than red.

“It’s gotten better with time,” she said. “But my generation all have something blue.”

“You sister didn’t,” Roadhog said.

“She doesn’t want any of us touching her,” Hatfield said. His voice made Junkrat’s shoulders jerk up. “Ever since the ‘pede. Can’t stand to have us close. Retton was so slow and careful for her sake. Didn’t want to scare her worse. Couldn’t leave her unguarded.”

“Why’d the thing want the baby?”

“It was probably the worst thing they could think of,” the Other Blake said. “Maybe they wanted to turn us against the omnics. But everybody saw Hatfield tear the thing apart and run thirteen miles with the baby to try to get it to the hospital in time.” Hatfield made a humming sound. “So all they really accomplished was kill the poor thing, maim Rumi, and let everyone see what horrors the ‘pedes really were.”

“Rumi?”

“We’re all named after poets,” she said. Roadhog rumbled at that, but it didn’t mean anything to Junkrat. He was considering options. He hadn’t used much of his napalm yet. He didn’t know if it would burn through the ‘pedes fast enough to disable them, or if they would just spread it with them as they went.

“We backtracked your sniper,” Hatfield said. “Working for the bosses. Saw you and looked up the reward. May be for the best if they know you were sniffing around. Make it more believable that were able to catch us when they haven’t for years.”

“So,” Junkrat said with a mouthful of the tart apple. “We wait again?”

“They’ll get to Bluethorn in an hour or two. They’ll try their override. We’ll give them a bit to panic and then make the call,” the Other Blake said. “Relax for now. Be ready to run as soon as you have to.”

Chapter Text

After all that, it was back to boredom. Hatfield settled down into some sort of gargoyle mode. He squatted near the Other Blake, the mine still blinking on his chest. They were doing something with the screens, sending and receiving signals. Junkrat and Roadhog had picked out their own corner to huddle in.

“What do you think?” Junkrat asked under his breath after awhile of watching the Gnawers for any sign of treachery.

“I think this is going to be ugly no matter what,” Roadhog said. His whisper wasn’t really quiet, but Hatfield could probably hear the worms in the walls. It didn’t matter.

“You don’t like it?”

“Ugly,” Roadhog repeated. Junkrat studied him more carefully. Now that they were sitting still, he could tell that Roadhog was a little off in his breathing and his movements. Not agitated, not upset, but something.

“You want out?” he asked, glancing again at the Gnawers. He usually knew better than to ignore Roadhog’s instincts, but the only answer was a snort.

“Pass up a chance to screw over suits and maybe get something out of it?” Roadhog said, stretching to pop his back. “We can handle ugly.” He leaned back against the bunker walls. That made sense. It was good enough for Junkrat. He turned to lean against Roadhog. It left them both facing the Gnawers and gave them a view of the screens. The footage was still of the surrounding area, and of some big fancy building that must’ve been where the bosses were heading. They were keeping careful track of the boss’s helicopter. Moles, she had said. Maybe that was where the third, as-of-yet-unseen Blake sister was. Under the boss’s noses, working quietly, rerouting water lines to feed them their own poison, and sending information home. Junkrat couldn’t help but approve.

Roadhog was paying attention to the screens too. His eyes weren’t visible, but Junkrat could tell by the tiny movements of his neck. He was taking it all in, and maybe thinking of the early days of the ALF. Maybe that was why he was off kilter. Finding yourself in the same situation you thought was over and done with decades ago would be enough to put anyone off. Probably. He watched the screens and Junkrat watched him.

Some of the screens showed their pursuit. Helicopters were sweeping the river. It had been a ‘Pede that had been sent into the tunnel after them. They got to see it burst out of the hill where Hatfield had buried it. It was sporting some mangled parts and was shorter than the ones they had seen before. His traps hadn’t stopped it, but they had done some damage. That made him feel better. He wondered how much time had passed. The Other Blake had said they had to wait a couple hours and it had to have been that long by now. He checked the flight monitoring again. Not there yet.

Junkrat wasn’t even sure what time it was. It hadn’t been daylight yet when Sheila had come to get them up. The sun had been up by the time they got the truck. He checked the screens to see if Burly Hollow was anywhere on them. There was a fight going on at one of the trailer parks, but the footage was bad and at an angle that kept him from being sure it was the same hollow. Maybe he just didn’t remember what it looked like. All he really remembered was the way Roadie had sprawled out over the orange couch and the weight of him on the bare mattress and the shadows of the leaves through the blinds. He sighed and then went wide-eyed when he felt a rumble go through Roadhog behind him.

“Why is the whole area being cleared?” Roadhog asked suddenly. More evacuations were going on.

“You said it yourself,” the Other Blake said. She didn’t look away from the screens. “Going to be ugly.”

“A whole county over? What’s going to happen there?”

“You’ll see.”

“Incoming,” Hatfield said out of nowhere. He and the Other Blake focused on the resort screen. Roadhog had been about to snarl about being tired of waiting and seeing, but he looked too. A helicopter was on approach. They watched it land and a suit got out in a cluster of less important people. They were carrying all kinds of tech and devices.

“There we are,” the Other Blake said. “King of Spades.”

“Who?” Junkrat asked. Roadhog got out the tablet to check and showed Junkrat. There were the four bosses. The one arriving was the contractor. It didn’t say what he contracted, but he was the one behind the technology that was supposed to overthrow the mine omnics and bring them back into line. The cameras followed the group inside, keeping them on the screens, even in the elevators.

“You’ve got people in their security,” Roadhog said. That had to be why they had direct feed from security cameras. They watched the group head into a room and start setting up.

“Janitorial staff,” she said. “So, y’know, everywhere. Everybody ready?” That was directed at Hatfield and he nodded.

“We all are.”

“Ok,” she said. “Let me know when they try it.” They all watched as an assistant handed the suit a phone and he walked around waving his arms while they worked on the system. A phone trace started to see who he was talking to.

“You’re sure it won’t work?” Junkrat asked after a minute. “Shouldn’t we have some kind of failsafe if it does?” He narrowed his eyes at Hatfield, keeping his grin friendly. “How do we kill one of you if it turns on us?”

“Your only chance would be to run,” Hatfield said. “Run fast, run far.” He tapped the mine still blinking on his chest. Junkrat’s smile went narrow too. “This will hurt the three of you more than me.” He chuckled, a deep, echoing sound. “I have held up mountains.”

The smile became a baring of teeth, but Junkrat didn’t detonate anything. It was a close space, and while it might be worth another eardrum and a few days picking shrapnel out just to show the big tinker toy what was what, he wasn’t going to waste a good bomb just yet.

“What’d you do to the Romanellos?” the Other Blake asked. She wasn’t trying to distract them. She was tapping the screen over an older man who was threatening the group of people in front of him. They couldn’t hear what he was saying, but he was clearly outraged. “Their old man is fit to be tied. They found the truck, but no sign of the boys.”

“Not a thing,” Junkrat said. “Sheila did that. Got them to chase her off and came back alone.”

“Hoo,” the Other Blake said. “Old Daddy Romanello won’t be seeing them again. Our Sam knows her sinkholes.”

“Her name really is Sam?” Roadhog asked. The Other Blake finally looked over her shoulder at them. There was an interested twist to her smile.

“Yeah, Samantha,” she said. “Why? What did she tell you?”

“Nothing true,” Junkrat huffed. The Other Blake barked out a laugh.

“Oh, you might be surprised,” she said and went back to her screens. So did Hatfield, so Junkrat grumbled and sat down to tinker while studying the omnic’s design. There was always a spot where things went kaboom. Hatfield was no different. There was a way to blow him up. Somewhere there was a joint that would break, a circuit that would fry, a weak spot that would take down the monster. It might take a few tries, but there was a way to do it.

“There it goes,” Hatfield growled after a bit. His head tilted. “Clever, but ineffective.”

“You sure?”

“Yes.”

“Anyone else having trouble with it?”

“No. The radio Thorpe made from his old processor parts just shut off, but other than that.”

They checked on the suit again. He was watching the screens in his room hungrily, pacing from helper to helper. They didn’t know it wasn’t working, which was kind of funny. Hatfield got some internal message because he changed some channels and they got some previous news footage of another boss, the senator one, on the news talking about how the problem would soon be in hand. The omnics were just machines, he said, and machines could only do what they were told. Even machines that had been told that they were people were just machines that thought they were people. They could be fixed, and he knew just the company that could provide the means.

It was annoying to Junkrat to have one of his own personal opinions spouted by this shiny-faced toe knuckle. The thought of siding with a greasy suit sat wrong, even if it was against an omnic. At least these were the omnics that had saved people in the Crisis, he told himself, but that didn’t sit well either.

“Which one is that?” Roadhog asked.

“King of Hearts,” the Other Blake said. “He’s the one that makes sure everything they do is legal on paper and public approval. Spades will be calling him when he’s sure it’s not working. When they both get to Bluethorn, we’ll move.”

“And until then, we just sit here,” Junkrat complained, kicking at one of the cables.

“Least there’s TV,” she said. He grumbled but went back to figuring out how he could tear apart whatever model of omnic Hatfield was. It wasn’t until Roadhog got hungry again that Junkrat remembered he didn’t know how much time had passed yet. Roadhog dug a dented can of peaches out of a pocket and pried it open with the machete blade. He had finally settled down. Whether it was having everyone else so tense that had relaxed him or maybe he was too bored to be anxious anymore, he pushed up the mask enough to eat.

“I thought we ate all those,” Junkrat said, scrambling over to get a share. Roadhog was eating with with his fingers and he let Junkrat fumble with a slippery piece for a moment before he chuckled and held one to his lips. Junkrat sucked it in cheekily and got another chuckle for it.

“Last time you got these all over you,” Roadhog said. He wasn’t sure what Junkrat remembered of their stay in the RV, but Junkrat nodded and ‘Mm-hm’ed. “Almost blew you,” he added. It had crossed his mind that day, he remembered. From the way Junkrat’s jaw dropped and a piece of peach fell out, it hadn’t crossed his.

“Wha-“ Junkrat began, sputtering a little.

“Got the juice all down your front,” Roadhog reminded him, tracing a finger down. “Was going to lick it. Make you laugh. Trying to get you rested up and too happy to get yourself hurt.” He picked up the piece of peach and popped it in his own mouth. Junkrat was still staring. “Thought blowing you would do both.”

“That,” Junkrat started and had to swallow hard. “That would’ve changed everything! We, we wouldn’t have gone to the house or been framed, or gone to the cliff or, or-“ He gave himself a shake. “We wouldn’t have left the RV until we fucked on every surface! We’d still be there if I had my way!”

“No good,” Roadhog said, amused. “We would’ve missed the ferris wheel.”

“I thought it was my idea,” Junkrat almost complained. “That I’d have to convince you. But you were already thinking of it and you!” He pointed accusingly at Roadhog’s nose. “You didn’t let on!”

“Yeah,” Roadhog agreed. That was what had happened.

“What stopped you?”* Junkrat asked, eyebrows going plaintive without the rest of his expression.

“Wasn’t fast enough,” Roadhog said with a shrug. “Moment passed.”

“Psh,” Junkrat rose and hooked an arm around him. He was getting better at aiming his kisses and this one tasted like peach syrup. Neither Blake or Hatfield were paying attention to them. He could probably make up for missed opportunities right now and neither of them would care. He could feel some desperation in the kiss, but whether it was just from boredom or anxiety he wasn’t sure.

“Don’t worry,” he said when he could. “We’ve fought worse than this.”

“Who’s worried?” Junkrat said. His grin was sincere again. “I’m just tired of waiting.”

“Cheer up,” the Other Blake said. “The call’s been made. King of Clubs is on the way.”

Chapter Text

Plenty of warlords and mob bosses gave themselves stupid titles, so Junkrat wasn’t puzzled by all the king names until Roadhog told him it was just a play on the word suit. Then, he had to think about it a little while and found that he still didn’t care. The King of Clubs was former military turned business man, Hatfield said. They assumed he was talking to them since this was probably information the Other Blake already had. The omnic didn’t look up from his tinkering, so it was hard to tell who he was aiming the conversation at. Clubso had actually been from this general area, but instead of being fanatically devoted to the geography like the rest of them, he had used the Marines to get out, and had only come back to grind it under the wheel of progress.

They got to see him arrive on the security cameras. He stomped into the Bluethorn like he had just deposed management and was about to execute some staff members as an example to the others. Instead of a team of underlings, he was followed by an omnic. It was humanoid, gray and neutral. It was comically round in the middle. Hatfield made a disgusted rattle in his chest at the sight of it.

“Not one of yours?” Roadhog asked.

“Not anything,” Hatfield said. “Just a mobility unit for a ‘Pede. It’s curled up inside the shell.”

“It’s illegal to manufacture non-sentient omnics anymore,” said the Other Blake. “Brain-dead slaves and all. Upsets people. But a remote control carrying case gets squeaked through when one of your partners is writing laws.”

“If he’s that powerful, why doesn’t he just walk in with the ‘Pede then?” Junkrat asked. He could imagine an Outback bigwig strolling in flanked by the most fearsome creations he had. Get everybody good and intimidated before he threw his weight around. That was why he, himself, personally never went anywhere without a rip tire and Roadhog.

“Once they activate, they’re monsters,” the Other Blake said. “If they were human, they’d be so feral that they wouldn’t even recognize other humans.”

If they were,” Junkrat said. He turned to Hatfield. “What kind of human would this be?” He meant it to sound snide, but Hatfield opened a compartment in his torso and produced an old printed photograph. The color was faded, but it was of an old, wiry-haired man. He looked angry and tough as nails. Roadhog reached for it and Hatfield didn’t let go, but allowed him to turn it to read the back. Junkrat leaned to see too. It said Jeremiah Dickerson.

“You knew him,” Roadhog said. It wasn’t a question.

“He died in the mines,” Hatfield said. “Cave-in. Lowest bid on supports. We held the mountain off him and the others, me and Retton and Hasil and Knotts and Morrow. Held it up ’til the diggers got to us. They still died, one by one as the air ran out. Orders came in to leave them there. Let it be their grave. Keep the other humans away so they wouldn’t get spooked. Sight and smell of death wouldn’t bother machines. We could keep on working. We didn’t.”

Hatfield took the picture back and sealed it away again.

“Jerry only spoke to take up for others,” he said. “He wouldn’t let the bosses treat us any different from the others. If they got breaks, so did we. If it was too dangerous, we didn’t have to do it. We couldn’t save him, but we could carry him back into daylight. I’d be like him.”

“Softie,” the Other Blake said.

“Brat,” he replied.

“That what turned you against them?” Junkrat asked. The omnic rumbled a mean, ugly laugh.

“Always hated them,” he said. “Outlived them and learned to hate their successors. And theirs. And theirs. And now the Kings. Hate them. All. Killed their own kind like they didn’t matter. Never thought we were alive at all.” His big, segmented fingers flexed and tightened. “Bastards. Monsters. They’ve been allowed to prosper on the backs of me and mine. A lesson needs to be taught.” His voice went even lower. “And learned.”

“Henh,” Junkrat said. It was close to a laugh noise, but his face was serious. “We could’ve used that back home. Where were you when the Outback was burning?”

“Underground,” Hatfield said, matter of fact again.

 

On the screens, the King of Spades was pacing and nervous. The override still wasn’t working. When the King of Clubs burst in, there was a lot of gesturing and frantic faces. Clubs was angry and Spades was about to panic. Emotions were high.

“Ok,” the Other Blake said. “Make the call.”

Hatfield set up the connection and got out of sight. Junkrat sighed and rolled his shoulders. He got up as the call connected and traded a sideways look with Roadhog. Roadhog got out the machete with a swish and managed to be both careful and terrifying as he wrapped his free hand around the Other Blake’s head. He picked her up easily and laid the machete at an angle across her chest, throat, and face. It took a few rings before the Kings picked up. They were so busy arguing that they might not’ve heard it at first. It was Spades who answered.

“What??” he snapped, glaring into the vid screen. Watching his expression sag as he realized it was Junkrat grinning back at him was worth all of this.

“G’day,” Junkrat said.

“You’re that-“ Words failed Spades for a heartbeat. “That bank robber.”

“Freedom fighting isn’t free,” Junkrat said cheerily. “We take the odd job here and there and this one? Has bordered on peculiar.” His smile went to bared teeth and back quickly.

“How did they get this number?” Clubs was barking in the background. He did have a hint of the local accent left.

“We came here to collect a bounty,” Junkrat said loud enough to drown him out. “But I’m finding more and more that there might be bigger fish and higher bidders.”

“What?” Spades asked again, this time very confused.

“Trace it!” Clubs ordered the techies. Junkrat gestured grandly to the side and Roadhog stepped up with the Other Blake. It only took a shift of his frame and suddenly the Other Blake was bent back and gasping against the blade. Hatfield didn’t tense, but something happened to his aura. Spades looked at her stupidly for a second, brow furrowing before his eyebrows shot up.

“Holy shit,” he breathed. “Is that-“ Clubs took over, shoving him out of the way.

“You want to deal?” he said. “You want money?”

“Got money,” Junkrat said. “We want our records wiped clean. No more wanted list. No more reward for our heads. Your boy behind the podium can arrange that, right?”

Clubs had a better poker face than Spades, but he still didn’t like that they knew about the senator being their buddy. They saw it flicker over his face, but he looked at the Other Blake again and the hunger outweighed all his other emotions. He wanted her bad, wanted her blood most likely. He was practically panting for it. She had said they wanted to question her. She knew something Clubs would hurt and kill for.

“It can be arranged,” was what Clubs said. “You just sit there and we’ll come to you.”

“We have access to our records,” Roadhog says. “When they clear, we’ll deliver.” Junkrat hadn’t know that, but he didn’t break his staredown with Clubs to see which screen it was on.

“It could take some time,” Clubs said.

“We know where you are,” Junkrat reminded him. “We’ll come to you.”

They cut the connection and Roadhog set the Other Blake down again. She didn’t rub her neck or step away.

“That was good,” she said.

“Not our first go-round,” Roadhog said. He didn’t step away either.

“We have to get moving,” Hatfield said. “They didn’t get a full trace, but if they scan from satellite, they’ll pick up the power source and there’ll be ‘Pedes sent in as soon as they can get them here.”

“Keep track of their files,” the Other Blake said to him. She waved at the Junkers. “As soon as they change, let us know.”

“You have another ride waiting?” Roadhog asked, falling into step with Junkrat as they followed her back into the tunnel. Hatfield followed them. He caved in the tunnel behind them again, making the Junkers jump.

“Gotta get some use out of the leftover coal,” she said, heading down some stairs. The dark space opened up and Hatfield turned on more of his lights. There was a train car there, an old railway engine. It had been souped up and Gnawer-ized. There was no way that thing ran on coal. Hatfield activated it because it started to light up too.

“They’ll be able to track this power source too,” Hatfield said.

“All the more reason to get a head start,” the Other Blake said. Her easy smug nature was getting antsier. As ready as she might’ve been to bargain her own life away, she was either anxious to get it over with or just anxious. Whatever the King of Clubs had in mind for her was a heavy load. It was a mess of her own making though, so the Junkers swung on to the train and stayed out of the way until it got moving. It started slow and then picked up speed, juggernauting down the dark tunnel. Hopefully there wasn’t anything in the way because there wasn’t any stopping now.

Chapter Text

It was impossible to tell how far they had gone or how quickly. The train shot through the dark, barely lighting the tunnel as it passed. Through the lenses of his mask, Roadhog kept thinking it looked like the tunnel was lined with bodies, partially embedded in the walls. It wasn’t, he was pretty sure. When he raised the mask to squint for a better look, it was just rippling score marks catching the edges of the train light as they went by. It was just a trick of the light, and if anyone knew what piled bodies looked like, it was him. Maybe that was why it nagged at him.

He let his breathing go deep and loose. He couldn’t plan any farther ahead without knowing more than he did. He could stop thinking a little. They were moving in a dark blur and he could let his mind do the same thing. No more planning. Just deal with all of this. The Other Blake was in the driver seat, but she was doing something with her cyber eye. Just messing around. Hatfield was the one running the train. It didn’t matter what happened to either of them. They could live or die, it meant nothing to him. They hadn’t angered him enough to warrant killing them himself.

Junkrat had liked the rush of wind in his face for a short while, but the dark and claustrophobia must’ve gotten to him. He had piled in next to Roadhog and stayed put. If he was seeing shapes in the dark, he had stopped looking. He focused on his hands, picking some grit out of the joints of the prosthetic and gnawing on various hangnails. Roadhog reached out and put a hand on his back. The heat of his skin was grounding. Roadhog ran his thumb up Junkrat’s spine and felt the roll of dirt that had gotten stuck to pockets of sweat. The thrum of his pulse was underneath, steady and alive and not ethereal at all.

Mine, Roadhog’s thoughts rumbled. That was the deal. He couldn’t have said what the deal was in the state he was sinking in, but he didn’t need details to be sure that Jamie belonged to him. As such, anyone else who touched him was going to draw back a stump. Junkrat leaned into his side and the warm contact was nice. Roadhog breathed out. It only took a minute for their body heat to merge. It made it feel like Junkrat was part of him now, an extension of the whole. Something to be protected as if losing him would be losing a limb. He didn’t hear the low growl that rolled out of him, but Junkrat must’ve felt it.

“Whut?” The question made him refocus and he blinked into Junkrat’s too-bright eyes. He didn’t have an answer. He wasn’t even sure what he had been thinking for a moment. Was that what happened to Junkrat sometimes? Was he just so far down a thought that when he lost his grip on it, it left him high and dry? Just gone. Junkrat waited for him to say something, then let it go. He swiveled to look the way they had come. Roadhog wanted his attention back, if only to give himself something to focus on.

“Hey,” he said. Junkrat looked back at him. “Ghost stories.” It was the first thing that came to mind.

“Thought we agreed was no such thing,” Junkrat said, but he was interested.

“Ghost trains,” Roadhog added. He saw Junkrat’s face scrunch, working something long-forgotten to the surface.

“The kiddie ride?” he asked. Roadhog shook his head.

“They wreck before they get where they’re going, but people say they can still hear them go by,” he said. “Nothing to see, but hear the whistle. Feel the tracks shake and the wind when it passes.”

“Hah!” Junkrat was delighted. “They should look underground then! Does this thing have a whistle?” He looked around for one, standing up to see better. Roadhog was mid-chuckle when Junkrat whipped out the frag cannon and fired down the tunnel behind them. Roadhog and the Other Blake froze and wasted a second gaping at him. Hatfield processed faster. He spun around in that second and saw the grenades tear apart the ‘Pedes closing in behind. One was on the tracks, two more on the walls. Hatfield started firing as the pieces began to reassemble. He wasn’t aiming for them, but the ceiling.

“A cave-in would be bad right now!” screamed the Other Blake. She grabbed his drill arm and tugged him towards the controls. “Keep us going! I’ve got a trick up my sleeve.”

“Better to be eaten by those than crushed by a cave-in?” Junkrat shouted at her. He hadn’t stopped firing, lighting up the tunnel with explosions. If it hadn’t been for those, the ‘Pedes would’ve been invisible in the dark. They didn’t have running lights like the other omnics. Lit up in the bright bursts, they kept putting themselves back together and kept coming. They were smaller than they had been, but they weren’t going any slower. Roadhog had gotten up to stand by him, ready to fight if they got close enough.

The Other Blake pushed her sleeve up to her elbow. She had meant that literally then. She disengaged the prosthetic hand by releasing a clasp and stuck into her pocket. There was another joke there, Roadhog thought, about hands in pockets, but he would save it for Junkrat. The three sections making up the Other Blake’s forearm opened outwards. The central core of the arm was a rod holding a serious of rings. If they had been rainbow colors, it would’ve been like one of those ring stacking toys Roadhog remembered little kids having. These were the same black metal that her arm was made of, and as she poured them off into her other hand, little blue lights lit up on them.

She threw them, whatever they were, and they bounced down the track toward the ‘Pedes, then detonated. Or something. The blue shot out of them as they spun, like lasers slicing through everything before they blew. Luckily, their range didn’t reach the train. The ‘Pedes were shredded, then blasted. There was a tense moment of quiet as they shot along the track, but the ‘Pedes didn’t reappear. They were either destroyed or being left behind. The Other Blake jerked her arm up to make the three segments snap shut again and then crammed the end into her pocket. There was a click and when she pulled it back out, the hand was reattached.

“What else you packing?” Junkrat asked. From anyone else, it might’ve sounded suggestive. From him, it was just professional curiosity. The fact that he paired it with a face-splitting leer was just coincidence. It was just one of his pre (and post and mid) battle expressions. Roadhog kept an eye on her to make sure she wasn’t annoyed enough to lash out. If she’d been watching them for awhile, she would know about Junkrat’s faces. The Other Blake did raise an eyebrow, but didn’t look offended. She flexed her reattached hand to make sure she had full use of it.

“This and that,” she said.

“That what you’re gonna do to the kings?” Roadhog asked.

“If it comes to that, things will have gone pretty badly,” she said.

“Worse than this?” Hatfield snarled from the control station.

“What’s so terrible about this?” she called back, mockingly cheerful. “Good eye, by the way,” she added to Junkrat.

“Matching set,” he said back. Again, from someone else, it might’ve been taken as in insult, but his eyes were about the only things left on Junkrat that were matching. One ear had a notch in it, so no symmetry there. Nipples, Roadhog thought, amused. Butt cheeks. Balls. The Other Blake didn’t take it personally.

“How long ’til the station?” she asked Hatfield.

“Coming up,” he said, but it still took another long stretch of dark before they saw a light ahead. It was small and white and barely lit the dark around it. Hatfield hit the brakes and they began the long, slow process of stopping a speeding train engine. By the time they did come to a stop, they could see the platform the light was on and the stairs leading up.

“We under another mountain?” Roadhog asked.

“Not this time,” the Other Blake said. Her pulse was fast in her throat. The dark could explain her pupil, but he was betting she was using all her control to keep her fight or flight impulses in check. She’d been on the run so long that it had to go against every instinct to turn herself in, even if it was part of The Great and Terrible Plan. She was going through with it, though. She started up the stairs and Hatfield followed. The Junkers made sure there was no sign of any ‘Pedes maybe following them quietly in the dark and then went up after them.

The stairs became a ladder after a few landings. Hatfield went last, presumably to catch anyone that fell. There was some sort of hatch at the top, but the Other Blake got it open without any trouble and led the way into a much bigger bunker.

“All right, where’s this?” Junkrat asked, stretching to his full height as she turned a light on.

“We’re under the Bluethorn,” the Other Blake said. “Back in the day, they put bomb shelters down here in case they ever had to evacuate the muckety-macks out of Washington. They never did, so it was turned into a historical tour. By the time the Crisis happened, it was common knowledge so they never used it. We did.”

“No update yet on their records,” Hatfield said.

“It’s in progress,” the Other Blake said. She was checking her goggles for updates. “Skeeter’s been listening in on their phone calls and he says Spades has been screaming for hours that he doesn’t care if they pardon Manson. Just do it.”

“You think Hearts can do that?” Roadhog asked. He didn’t care who Manson was. He was willing to bet he and Junkrat were worse. She gave him a look.

“When the pipeline was still in development, he was on the Board of Environmental Impact Studies,” she said. “Our concern then was the water, of course. Clubs’ company swore that there wasn’t any water sources on the projected path, so Hearts asked us to GPS all the springs and wells that we felt were threatened so that a new route could be designed. A lot of people did it in the hopes that their water would be spared. The pipeline route didn’t change. A few new pipes were added though. They were draining our spring water to sell back to us when the rest was ruined. And anyone else who would pay. That was all him. He changed all the pertinent legislation to make it legal. He can do this.”

“You’re saying you can trust him to do the underhanded thing,” Junkrat said, grinning. He was checking the bunker’s cabinets and finding all the vintage canned goods behind panes of plexiglass. None of it looked worth busting through for, so he paced back around.

“If it’s dirty and will bring him money, there is no stopping him,” she said.

“Until you,” Roadhog said.

“Here’s hoping,” she said.

“The file has been accessed,” Hatfield said. “No change yet, but someone’s there.” The Other Blake nodded. She might’ve gone pale or it might’ve been that blue stuff rushing to the surface.

“It won’t be long now,” she said.

She was right. After sitting and waiting for hours at all the other stops, this happened pretty quickly. Junkrat hadn’t even had time to get bored enough to start dismantling furniture before Hatfield jerked.

“It’s done,” he said. His deep voice went soft. “You might still be wanted overseas, but there is nothing on you in this country. The incident on the coast is being blamed on a copycat and a false alarm. For the moment.”

“For the moment?” Junkrat echoed.

“What are the odds that you’ll lead a blameless life after this?” Hatfield asked. Junkrat barked a laugh. “Exactly.” The big omnic started to set up a call back to the resort room. The Other Blake took a deep breath. It was showtime. Roadhog didn’t think she’d back down now, but he knew it was on her mind. Her breathing was shaky and her heartbeat shook her whole body.

“You don’t have to do this,” Hatfield said. His headlight eye was on her. Junkrat looked between them. Normally, he might be indignant about the deal being changed at the last minute, but Roadhog could tell he was taking this seriously.

“You’re the only one left who could stop me,” the Other Blake said, looking directly at Hatfield. The Junkers might as well have not been there. Hatfield didn’t move for a full twelve seconds, then he slumped. His lights turned softer, too. A softer blue. Mourning blue, Roadhog thought. This wasn’t going to end well for somebody. Not him, though. Not Junkrat. Not if he had anything to say about it. He brought his hook around to set the spikes gently along her jaw, framing her face. She didn’t flinch away from them. Hatfield made a sound like an electronic sigh and made the call.

Chapter Text

It was easy to set up the meeting. The Kings had no idea that the Junkers and the Gnawers were in the same building as them. The last signal they had been able to pick up was from the surveillance nest so they wouldn’t be able to tell how near or far they were. They picked a point to make the exchange. The Other Blake sat quietly out of sight, sitting on her hands. That had to be a leftover habit from when she had her own arms. The bare metal prosthetics probably didn’t get too cold. Maybe it was a phantom pain. When it was time to go, she stood and looked up at Hatfield.

“Take care of them,” she said. Hatfield’s sigh trailed into a moan. Junkrat wasn’t sure if she meant him and Roadhog or the other Blakes or the other Gnawers or what, so he couldn’t be offended. Hatfield put a hood over her head and she held up her wrists to have those restrained too. She was going all out for this. Hatfield turned to Roadhog and poked a finger at the tablet in his pocket. It already had directions to the meeting place.

“Make the deal,” Hatfield said. “Head east to the fountain. I’ll have your bike there.”

They headed out. The Gnawers had a passage from the bunker to a hall to back outside. Junkrat realized that this had taken all day. The sun was down and the stars were up. Crickets chirred all around. They had to go around the corner of the resort and walk a short ways to get to the meeting spot. They stayed out of sight until an official-type van pulled up. It was black, with no windows. Two errand boys piled out of the back. They had suits and ear wires and carefully concealed sidearms that the Junkers spotted at once. There was another flunkie behind the wheel. Probably another one inside.

Junkrat swept out of the dark before they knew he was close by. He clacked his leg down hard and they all jumped, half-moving toward their weapons before they caught themselves. Junkrat swaggered over, all grin and swinging arms. Roadhog kept a grip on the Other Blake and followed with her. The flunkies had a hard time looking away from Junkrat, but they got back to business. The one with the most nondescript mustache stepped up and held out a device.

“Just to confirm,” he said. “The real Blake has no fingerprints to check and her eyes are too fucked up to trust a retina scan. DNA test is the only way to be positive.” He kept his hands out and moved carefully over toward Roadhog and the Other Blake. Junkrat let him go unchallenged, but he did flip up the safety cap of the detonator in his hand. The click made all of the visible errand boys look at him, but he just stood there with a smile. Mustache didn’t flinch but his mouth was a thin line as he pulled the hood off. He didn’t react to the sight of her face, just lifted her chin and inserted the device into her mouth. He made a swipe, then stepped back out of reach with it. There was a long moment where he studied the device and whatever the read-out was telling him.

“Closest match: Marlowe Suzanne Blake,” he said finally and Junkrat wasn’t even surprised that she was Marlowe. He didn’t want to let on that he hadn’t known in front of the flunkies, so he just glared at her. He was feeling better and better about turning her in all the time. “AKA Blake the Snake. AKA Water Witch. Water Snake. Black Snake.” Mustache went on. He clicked his tongue and finally looked her in the eye. “That fucking bitch on the mountain.”

“Hi, Lars,” she said. “How’s Grace?”

Of course, she knew him. His eyes narrowed and his mustache pulled to the side. He turned back to Junkrat and held out a hand toward the van. Errand boy 2 held out a dossier and he took it to hand over.

“Official pardons,” he said. “It’s in the system, but thought you boys might be happier with a hard copy.” There was enough of a sneer there to make Roadhog rumble, but Junkrat flipped through the paperwork like he was checking it. He shut the dossier with a dramatic snap and nodded to Roadhog. Roadhog handed the Other Blake over and she went without a struggle. She looked calmer now. It was working. It was out of her hands now. Out of theirs too. The tablet in Roadhog’s pocket chimed softly, just a pitch off from the crickets all around.

“We’re done here,” Junkrat said, cramming the dossier into the back of his waistband. He grinned at the Other Blake. “Give us a heads up if you care to outbid them, darl,” he said, just to make the errand boys cagier. The van had opened and they were loading her up into the back.

“My hands are empty,” she said with a tiny smile before they pulled the hood back over her face. Her arms weren’t, he thought. She could probably get out of her own restraints in under a minute. Take out these four and escape in the van and be gone. It’s what he would do. Roadhog took a careful step back and Junkrat was ready to go too. None of the errand boys made any move to stop them, but Junkrat kept his finger on the detonator button just in case. They headed off unto the dark streets as advised. The sound of tinkling water led them to the fountain.

Hatfield was there with the bike. All their stuff was accounted for. Junkrat took the time to piss into the fountain while Hatfield showed them the directions to the safe house. It was called Buffalo’s. They were expected. No one was going to blame them for this. They didn’t have to worry. When the King of Diamonds showed, the area would get a lot of attention. They just had to lay low until the worst was over. Hatfield was all business. If he was grieving Marlowe, it didn’t show in his voice. His lights were steady.

“You could still save her,” Junkrat said, tucking himself back in. “Could tear that van open and take her back right under their noses. But you won’t. Doesn’t matter who dies anymore, does it?”

“It does matter,” Hatfield said. “Good luck.” It might’ve been a polite nothing, but it probably wasn’t. He got them on their way and then vanished into the night.

The Junkers’ first impulse was to run for it, just leave town entirely and put some miles between them and all of this. On the way through town though, they could see the glitter of blue goggles and omnic lights. All the Gnawer forces were gathering at the edges of town and moving in toward the Bluethorn. This wasn’t over. Roadhog snorted to himself. This was the ugliness he had felt coming. He had seen this before. Maybe it would be for the best to ride this out somewhere safe. Junkrat was turning in the side car, taking it all in, trying to be ready for the attack when it came.

He looked up sharply as Roadhog turned to follow the GPS instructions. He processed the change in plan, then agreed with it. He fumbled with the blue goggles to see if he could pick up some of what was going on. It was all garbled with codes he didn’t know, so he gave up in disgust just as Roadhog pulled into Buffalo’s. It looked like a biker bar that had been abandoned, but the lights still worked. The sign didn’t say if it was a bar or a restaurant or what. It was just the one word. There were plenty of other bikes and vehicles to park behind.

“He said they wouldn’t blame us,” Roadhog reminded Junrkat when he stared at the lit windows, chewing his lip. “They know we got suckered into this.”

“Still feels like a fight is waiting,” Junkrat said.

“Doesn’t mean we have to be the one to fight it,” Roadhog reasoned. “Stay close.” He started in, and Junkrat fell into step, still clutching the detonator. It was a bar and grill type deal inside, run down and scruffy except for the tv screens. There was a crowd of people there watching them. The man behind the bar nodded at the sight of the Junkers.

“Come on,” he called, somehow making it one syllable. He shuffled them into a back hall that branched off into different rooms. He took them to one. “Rest up,” he said, enunciating enough to get both words out. “The King of Diamonds will show soon enough.” He closed the door before they could say anything.

The King of Diamonds. The head suit. He was the prize here. The resistance was luring him into this trap with their own flesh and blood. They wanted him as bad as the other kings had wanted the Other Blake. Marlowe. All named after poets. Junkrat paced the room, mind humming. There was a little table and some armchairs and not much else.

“We don’t have to stay,” Roadhog said. “We can make our run. Get out of range.”

“But?”

“But,” the big man shrugged. “Wanna see this. See how it ends.”

“We are part of it then,” Junkrat said, partially disgusted with both of them. He didn’t want to be, but he was curious in spite of it. He wanted to know what had happened at Burly Hollow after they left. He wanted to know what Old Man Romanello would do to little Sheila Ann when he found out she had left his boys in a sinkhole in Snakebite Mountain. Were they still alive or just buried alive?

Junkrat wasn’t sure he actually cared. He was starting to notice how upset Roadhog’s breathing was. Maybe he was thinking about the ALF again. Maybe it had been like this before the Omnium blew.

“Hey,” he said. “Roadie.” He shoved the four armchairs together to make a nest and grabbed Roadhog’s arm to pull him over to it. “My Roadie. Mine, mine, mine.” Roadhog sighed, but let himself be pulled into the circle and leaned onto his back. Junkrat was all over him, petting and nibbling. It took a little insistence to get the mask to scoot up enough for real kisses, but without it, Roadhog shivered a little and started kissing back. Junkrat tugged and squirmed until they were both on the their sides.

“I woulda on the cliff,” he said suddenly. “Guard coulda watched. Given him a little thrill before the big one.” He bit a trail down Roadhog’s neck, making him vibrate with a deep purr.

“You could tear a whole gang apart, but I can make you shake.” Junkrat laughed softly. He curled a finger in the scar from the torn nipple piercing. “You didn’t even flinch when this was ripped out and now you twist like a fish on a hook.” He dragged his fingertips over Roadhog’s sides and belly.

“Don’t even know how you could be so beautiful. The Outback ruined everything, but not you. Nothing starved or weak about you. Look at you. All perfect and full.”

“You don’t know what I was before,” Roadhog said, but he was smiling. “I’m plenty ruined.”

“Naw,” Junkrat said, easing up over his stomach. “Perfect.”

“You don’t even know.”

“Know how good I have it now,” Junkrat said. “Know how good this is.” He went back to the piercing scar with his tongue and smiled when Roadhog arched into it.

“Crossed my mind,” he said, scooting up to put them face to face. “That what you do to me might be what you want done to you?”

“Yeah?” Roadhog asked. His eyebrow did a teasing thing that made Junkrat want to lick it. “What do I do to you?”

Well, that was a hole with no bottom, but before Junkrat could start in on the list, there was an uproar from the front, making them both jump. It sounded like every person out there had suddenly shouted in dismay or anger. The tablet flared to life, the screen coming on. They blinked at it, then leaned closer as the picture came into focus. The first thing that came out was the voice.

“Nobody’s luck lasts forever,” the King of Clubs was snarling.

“Do I look lucky?” That was the Other Blake. Her image bled through some feedback. They had stripped her down of everything, even her prosthetics. Her arms were in a pile with one of her legs. The footage was coming from her eye, they realized. The Kings had taken that out too. It was on a table or something, judging by the point of view. They had fastened a strap around her neck like a noose, holding her up. She was balanced on the one leg. Her body was scarred to the point of androgyny.

Spades waved around one of her arms, examining it. Maybe he’d blow himself up by accident. Clubs was shaving her head with a box cutter. Blood already ran from a few nicks. Hearts was on a phone, still doing business. Someone else was there, but not in full view. Maybe that the was the King of Diamonds.

“Years of effort and resources wasted!” Clubs was still talking. “Imagine what you could’ve done with that time and money if you had just left! You wasted your lives, wasted their lives fighting over a pile of rocks. Stupid! Wasteful! The Blakes had enough money to set themselves up anywhere else in the world, but the didn’t. They wasted it on a fight they lost time after time and were too stupid to change strategy.” His accent was getting stronger as he ranted. “You dug in like ticks in a hound’s ear and held on with both hands. And to what? The mountain’s no good to anyone. Stupid, sentimental-“ He trailed off as he sawed off the last chunk of hair. “And look what it cost you.”

There must’ve been a mirror, because he gestured off screen. The Other Blake looked and laughed softly.

“You hate me so much,” she said. “You think the worst thing is to show me my own self? Oh, honey. It’s mutual.”

“Hate isn’t the word,” said the fourth King. They still couldn’t see his face, but he stepped closer. “Last time I saw Marlowe Blake, it cost me four billion dollars and twenty three percent of my shareholders.”

“And your face,” the Other Blake said. He made a laugh that wasn’t and stepped even closer.

“And decades tracking you down,” he said. He wore a green jadeite ring and traced the stone in it over her mastectomy scars. “I’ve hunted you too long to think that you don’t have some ace left to play. Did you imagine that I would not?”

He stepped back from her again. The other Kings were looking wary. It was possible they weren’t used to their big boss being so intense or were just afraid to interfere with whatever this was.

“I know what you’re up to,” he said. “I know Marlowe Blake has two sisters. And a brother that died of what? Benzine poisoning? Rumi was the youngest. You all took care of her, didn’t you. Well, now I have her. And now I have you. And I’m thinking that even the elusive Marlowe Blake will come out of hiding if it means getting sweet little Rumi and brave little Angelou back. She’s the oldest isn’t she? Even if it is just by a few minutes.”

“What?” Junkrat shrilled. “She’s not really Marlowe?”

“Identical,” Diamond went on. “A matching set. Except for one thing.” He pointed to her nose, ring flashing. “The real Marlowe would never give herself up in a million years.”

“To get all four of you in the same room?” she said. “Try me.”

Her spine lit up and the explosion whited out the screen. The people outside howled in anguish and triumph. The screen went blue and began to reload and then it was scenes from security cameras all over town. The images hopped from one camera view to another. It was dizzying but all the scenes were the same: Gnawers and mine omnics headed to battle.

“Shit,” Roadhog said.

Chapter Text

The Gnawers attacked the resort town from every direction. The footage wasn’t clear, but it looked like pandemonium. Omnics of all shapes and sizes led the charge, using themselves as shields and laying down cover fire. Suicide bombers on shrill little motorbikes drove head on into emergency vehicles, disabling if not outright destroying them. It cluttered the roads up so that the next wave had trouble getting any closer. Gnawers on foot kicked in doors and smashed windows or hit power sources.

It wasn’t at random and it only took a minute of squinting at the chaos to realize it. Junkrat found himself wishing for aerial footage. There was a plan to this and if he had a better idea of the layout, he might be able to see what the endgame was here. They were all working their way toward some point, blocking off some roads, and keeping others clear. The shaken, grainy security footage only gave glimpses and made him itch. For what, he couldn’t have said. To be out in it himself, to have a better look, just to know what was going on? He squirmed with it, whatever it was.

Roadhog was squinting at the tablet and put his mask back on with a snort. The TVs out in the main room might have a clearer view, or some outside news footage. Junkrat was about to suggest it when the whole room shook like someone was trying to wiggle the building off its foundation like a bad tooth. The screen whited out with static and then only came back on in short bursts. There was fire now, clawing through the dark.

“That’s why,” Roadhog said, like it had just come to him. “They blew the pipeline. That’s why the Blake’s omnic took out that one station. They had to shut down that part of the pipe. Nothing to blow up on their mountain, but everywhere else is gonna burn.”

“This I gotta see!” Junkrat wasn’t even upset that they had stolen his idea about blowing up the pipeline. He scrambled for the door, Roadhog close behind. There were still a few locals glued to the screens in the main room, but everybody else had piled out into the parking lot to see it firsthand.

Buffalo’s was out of sight of the town, but they could see the smoke and lights over the trees. Snaking over the hills everywhere but the Gnawer’s mountain was a river of fire. The stars they had seen on the way in were already behind smoke. They weren’t too far to hear the sirens and screams and explosions in the distance. It put Junkrat’s teeth on edge. He didn’t know if he could stand to just hang out here in the shadows with all that going on just over the hill. Fight or flight. Either get there or get away. He could feel it shivering under his skin and he dug his fingertips into his arms to keep himself still. It didn’t work, but Roadhog’s hand on his shoulder did. A big thumbnail pressed into his neck just enough to bring him back to himself.

“What’re the odds we get blamed for this?” Roadhog sighed. A new explosion lit the smoke up orange. “Pardons be damned.”

“Everybody here will swear you were with us all night,” one of the locals said. He didn’t look away from the burning pipeline. He was looking at a certain spot. Maybe that was where his home was. “No matter what else happens.”

“Supposed to lay low,” Roadhog said and Junkrat bared his teeth. He didn’t need to be reminded. He knew what the plan was, but Roadhog wasn’t finished. “Still. Be easier to slip out with this going on.”

“291 will take you all the way out of this,” another local said. He was old and leathery with sun damage and skin cancer scars, but his eyes and the insides of his lips were blue. “Head north and east. You’ll be clear by morning.”

The Junkers traded glances. If they were told to go north and east, then it was either going to be south or west all the way, but there was no need to say it. The fewer people that knew where they were going the better, and then it wouldn’t matter if they had an alibi or not. That would take them straight through the mess, but they wanted to see it anyway. Half a shrug and a raised eyebrow later, they weaponed up and went for it.

Everything felt better on the road. They could smell the mayhem on the wind in their faces and Junkrat’s grin was back. Finally, they were off someone else’s time frame. Nobody was telling them where to go and how long to wait anymore. Free as birds, someone had said. And if they were headed straight into a localized apocalypse, wouldn’t they just feel right at home? They didn’t have to go far to start feeling sparks and embers in the wind, little stings wherever they touched. They topped a ridge and they could see the city below them, lit with flames.

There was a hole in the world where the Bluethorn resort had been. Whatever kind of juice the Other Blake had been packing, it was potent stuff. They saw authorities wrestle down a screaming Gnawer only for all three of them to go up from a hidden explosive. Mine omnics came out of the ground like nightmares with the squeal of their drills and clouds of displaced dirt. ‘Pedes were here and there, terrifying the authorities as much as they Gnawers. Fire was shooting out storm drains and manhole covers from ruptured pipes. The wind off the mountains had the flames spreading from trees to rooftops. The burning stripe of the pipeline billowed black smoke.

“Is that-?” Junkrat asked suddenly, shielding his eyes with a hand to squint into the glare. They saw a slight figure running across a rooftop with a ‘Pede after it. It could’ve been SheilaSam. Whoever it was had acquired one of the local cops firearms. Roadhog kept going. SheilaSam could take care of herself, and if she couldn’t, there was probably an omnic waiting in the wings to punt whoever crossed her into low orbit. Maybe that’s what had happened to the Romanellos. Maybe the girl had just delivered them. Maybe she wasn’t so tough. They reached a spot where the road was blocked by a mangled fire engine and a pile of other cars. The nearest building had a lobby that was all glass. A riptire cleared a path for them and they followed it in. Before they could get out the other side of the building, the way was blocked by another ‘Pede.

It was huge, pieced together from other ‘Pedes, and still smoking from its close call with the riptire. Roadhog swerved to a stop on the tiled lobby. The good news was that there was an elevator to the left. Roadhog scooped Junkrat out of the sidecar and lunged off the bike toward it. He got them in and hit the close button as soon as he could reach it. They could hear the ‘Pede slicing at the seam to get to them, but another button jab and they were heading up. He grumbled at having to leave the motorcycle and Junkrat was already coming up with wild ideas to get it in the elevator too. It might not be easy getting a motorcycle off an upper floor but they had escaped from more ridiculous situations than this. They took the short break to reload and catch their breath and then the elevator pinged them at level three. This floor had been taken by the mine omnics. They were set up at positions in the windows and were laying down fire from the vantage point. Their heads all swivelled to see the Junkers and then they turned back to their task.

The Junkers took that in and then got out of the elevator in case the ‘Pede followed them up. It didn’t seem to, so they roamed around a little bit. The mine omnics ignored them. Roadhog went to see exactly who they were shooting at, if they were so keen on protecting the locals. They were shooting at ‘Pedes and taking out official vehicles and generally stirring up more confusion. Gnawers were falling back now, going into the tunnels or tearing back toward the outskirts. They had done what they came for. All the commotion was covering their escape. A blur of movement got Roadhog’s eye.

“It is her,” he said, pointing. Junkrat turned and saw SheilaSam sliding down a tiled roof across the way. She jumped at the edge and landed gracelessly on the next roof. The ‘Pede was still after her and she had to put the gun away to climb. She went up the side of the building like a squirrel, already higher up than they were. Another ‘Pede was above her and heading down as the first one followed her up. The omnics fired at the ‘Pedes, knocking a few segments off them, but Sheila knew better than to expect rescue. Right before the ‘Pedes reached her, she pushed off the wall into empty air. She twisted as she fell, firing up at the ‘Pedes. They lunged after her, more intent on killing her than saving themselves, if they even had that much of a thought process.

Roadhog made a low, exasperated sound. He sighed like he really couldn’t believe he was making the effort, but he swung his hook out through the shattered window. It snagged SheilaSam in midair and yanked her from her fall into the crumbling level three. It knocked the wind out of her and left her with punctures, but the ‘Pedes fell the rest of the way to the ground and hit hard enough to fly into pieces. Junkrat chuckled and crouched down next to her as she gasped and wheezed. When she looked up, her scrawny little face was inhuman with rage. She could barely force words out of her clenched teeth, so it was just animal noises for a moment. To a Junker, it was about as intimidating as a frowny face drawn on a dusty window.

“YOU!” she yowled when she could. “RUINED! AGH! I’M SUPPOSED- THIS IS NOT-“

“Not your precious plan again,” Junkrat said, standing back up. “I think you can rest assured that it’s pretty much underway.” She shrilled something insane and furious and lashed out. It looked like a wild swing and it missed Junkrat’s face easily, so he was still smirking when instead she yanked a pin out of a grenade in his vest. She kicked out like a mule, landing a roundhouse in his stomach, knocking him backwards into Roadhog.

Everybody moved at once. Junkrat was already curling tight around the grenade to take the worst of the blast. It would hurt, it would burn, but he had survived it twice before. Roadhog would save him. The omnics turned from their firing, one lunging across the floor towards them. SheilaSam scuttled back toward the window they had pulled her through. Roadhog hooked his fingers under the bomb vest straps. There was pain. Junkrat’s straps were sturdy and the force it took to snap them tore skin and ground his shoulders in their sockets. Roadhog ripped it off, maybe breaking some ribs on the way. He threw it into the elevator and it exploded. All the other explosives went off too, taking out the elevator and a chunk of the floor around it.

Junkrat had an instant to see Roadhog lit up red as he stood to block the explosion, just a blink as fire blazed over the big back and shoulders, and a heartbeat to smell his skin scorching. Then, the elevator tore out the floor under him and he fell. The omnic managed to grab Junkrat before he fell after and it was his turn to scream and kick to get loose. He knew he was screaming because something this awful couldn’t be silent, but all the noise had followed Roadhog down the elevator shaft. Junkrat fought to get out of the metal grip around him. He had to get loose, had to slit little SheilaSam from ear to ear if she was so determined to die. She’d die all right. He had to get to Roadhog, make sure he had a canister. He had to.

The grip on him wouldn’t let go. It was pulling him back from the collapsing floor. Away from Roadhog. Away from the hole where Roadhog had gone. Roadhog couldn’t be gone. Junkrat had to get to him. He had to tear the crooked spine out of SheilaSam and cram it down her throat. Gut the little monster for daring

The omnic pulled him up to eye level, if it had had eyes. It gave him a little shake like he was a brat throwing a tantrum. Like it was trying to talk sense into him. If it said anything, he couldn’t hear it. He couldn’t hear anything. There was a bomb in his hand though, and his other fingers scrabbled at the omnic’s chest for the compartment he had seen in Hatfield. His bomb didn’t really fit all the way, but having it crammed part of the way in was enough of a surprise to make the omnic let go of him. The explosion blew shrapnel into him and there was the pain he remembered. The omnic staggered back, falling to all fours and he was firing more grenades at it.

He had finally blown his ears out completely, some distant part of his mind decided. Not a sound was getting in. Just a hollow silence as everything burned and blew up around him. He could feel the impact of the explosions, rocking him to the bone. Unless that was his heartbeat. It was shaking him. He might not be standing much longer. The omnic was trying to get back up and it was going to be pissed when it did. Omnics could scream in anger and pain, he knew and if this one felt anything like he did, it was roaring. The other omnic had turned and was charging him. He turned to face it, but then something snatched him backwards. There was a weird, weightless freefall through the burning darkness. Elevator shaft, the thinking part of his mind told him. He must’ve backed too close to it. He would hit the ground and shatter like the ‘Pedes had. Any minute now.

When he did hit something, it was warm and solid and wet. It folded around him, breaking his fall and setting him down. He couldn’t tell if he was being laid down or his knees just weren’t holding him anymore. Something wrapped around his head, tilting it back.

Roadhog was there. Junkrat stared at the familiar mask, now burned and battered. He felt a hot exhale against his face and big hands grabbing him. Roadhog. Junkrat’s vision blurred and he was finally able to inhale. He didn’t know how long it had been since he had done it last. He could hear that now, his own ragged breath and deeper wheezes from Roadhog. Sirens and shouting and plasma fire were all around them now. He could smell too, burning hair and skin and rubber. He felt the snout of the mask touching over him and wrapped his arms around as far as he could reach.

“Jamie.” It was just a whisper. Even with his prosthetic hand, Junkrat could tell that something was wrong. He could feel ripples and ridges where the explosion had blasted Roadhog’s skin and burned it into new patterns. He choked and tried to pull him closer. His flesh hand could tell that the hair had been burned off the back of Roadhog’s head. He had felt that enough on his own. The choke turned into a sob and he had no idea if he had been crying the entire time or just started now. He clung tighter, knowing it probably hurt Roadhog, but desperate to not be separated again.

He felt like he was still screaming. There was strain in his throat, but all he could hear was the swish of Roadhog’s air filters and his own hiccuping. He was shaking so hard he couldn’t even try to get his feet under him when Roadhog picked him up again. He was set against a fire-shriveled shoulder and the smell of if made him him gasp and snivel. How could Roadhog still be able to do this? Was that the motorcycle or just another roar as a section of pipe exploded? Had the fires gone out or had his eyes rolled back into his head? He didn’t know. He couldn’t tell. Everything hurt and it didn’t matter. Roadhog. Mako. Here. Alive. That was enough.

Things were getting darker and cooler. Maybe quieter. There was more movement and he wasn’t even aware of it until it stopped. Metal squeaked somewhere. Roadhog’s warmth pulled away and Junkrat tried to panic. He floundered to raise his head and get it back. He could hear and feel a heavy stride. Then something hissed in his face and it hurt to breath. He coughed through the sting and burn of it. Hogdrogen. Good. He felt burns bubbling over back to skin and his ribs knitting back together. Whatever had been wrenched in his shoulders stopped aching and he felt the painful tingle of shrapnel working its way out of him. Thumbs wiped his eyes clear of tears and soot and whatever else and there was Roadhog again. He had been blasted to Hell and back, but he was intact. He was using the canister valve that Junkrat had made. Junkrat sniffled, too relieved to speak.

“Crybaby,” Roadhog rumbled. It was through the mask, but Junkrat could hear the smile in it and it set him off again. Roadhog picked him up and stripped him down. Shorts, prosthetics, the one sock and boot, all pulled off. Junkrat wiped his face with his arm as he was leaned against a wall. Big hands ranged over him. His head spun a little, but he wouldn’t say no. Not to anything, if it was what Roadhog wanted. The big guy deserved it. Just for being alive. Maybe that shakiness could be fucked out of his stomach. He was turned to face the wall this time, hands in his hair, tilting his head forward and then moving downwards. He did his best to assume the position balanced on one rubbery leg.

“Ok,” he whispered and Roadhog snorted. He was patting him down for more injuries, Junkrat realized. Checking to see if there was anything too serious for the hogdrogen in one dose. “I’m ok,” he managed a little louder. This time it got a grunt. He was petted over once more and then set down on something soft. There was weak light and it was a room, but he was looking at Roadhog instead. Roadhog took another canister for himself and Junkrat watched the sheet of burns heal up over his back and shoulders. Junkrat let himself settle. His thoughts were in too many pieces to ask all his questions. Where were they? What had happened? How badly were they both hurt? How far would they have to go from here until his brain was working again?

The dim light was shut off and there was the cool dark again. There was no motion until Roadhog eased down beside him. He pulled Junkrat in close, letting him scrabble with the one hand and foot until he couldn’t possibly be wrapped any tighter. There was a bristle of hair that had just barely started to grow back on the back of his head. He wasn’t above some grabbing and nuzzling either. The stink of the fire fight was still on them, but they sniffed and licked and rubbed, filling their senses with each other until they could settle down. Junkrat was still trembling.

“We’re ok,” Roadhog said. “We’re ok for now.”

Chapter Text

Junkrat didn’t really sleep. He faded in and out a few times. Once it was light, like there might be daylight somewhere, but the rest of the time it stayed dark. It left him afraid that he had hurt himself worse than he thought. He had dimly-lit memories of losing his limbs, and they didn’t look too different from this. It wasn’t like that this time, he told himself. He was ok. If he wasn’t all the way ok, he would be soon. Roadhog had said so. Ok for now, he had said. That had been Roadhog, he was sure.

He was still hurt. He could tell when he tried to move. He knew that feeling. He had been too close when something blew again. Maybe when he crammed the bomb into the omnic. The hogdrogen had kept it from killing him, but there was probably some tiny shrapnel and microfractures lurking about. Nothing new. Nothing exciting. Nothing that ever stopped him before. So why wasn’t he moving?

He could hear Roadie nearby. He could hear the big guy breathing. And crunching? He could smell something earthy and almost sweet and something else like strong toothpaste. After some thought, Junkrat decided he was spread out halfway on his side. If he worked his elbow against the ground, he could lever himself up a little. He only needed enough to get his hand in to take his weight and then he could pull a knee underneath and sort of sit up. There were pops and creaks and stabs of tiny pain from his back and shoulders. He hissed and winced, but got himself up on one arm to look around.

Roadhog was right beside him, reading a magazine. He had it folded over on itself but the article said Beach Dos and Don’ts. There was an open bag of red and white hard candies on his belly. He had been crunching them as he read and when he turned to look at Junkrat, his breath was like minty hell. Junkrat shivered but leaned into it anyway. They were in a room, he finally noticed. It was shabby and yellowish, a small window with no curtain, and a small dresser with no mirror. There were a few Coke bottles around, varying levels of something brown in them.

“Tobacco juice,” Roadhog said, following his gaze. “Don’t drink it.” Junkrat got his feet under him and limped to the door. It was either another trailer or a small, narrow house. If the bedroom was yellow, the next room was brown. The kitchen beyond was beige.

“Place was empty,” Roadhog said behind him. “Evacuated maybe. There’s a ridge between here and the pipeline though. Safe enough.”

Junkrat was silent, still looking around. There was a screen door to outside. The inside door had been knocked off its hinges and was propped up against the wall. More Coke bottle spit cups were scattered around. That was where that sweet-dirt-bitter-leaf smell was coming from.

“You got your wish,” Roadhog said, setting a hand on his back. “They blew it sky high. Burning for miles.” Was he waiting for Junkrat to speak? Junkrat scrambled for the right thing to say. He felt slow and stupid. It was taking to long for him to react and that could be life or death out in the world. Even though he was standing here surrounded by soft corners and dull colors, it sent a stab of panic through him. Phantom tingles sang in his metal fingers, ready to do anything, but what?

“Say something,” Roadhog said. The most dangerous thing around was his breath. It was exactly what Junkrat needed, though.

“Something,” Junkrat said, and instantly felt better when Roadhog made an annoyed sound. See? He was all right. Little addled maybe, but that wasn’t new either. Roadie was ok. He was ok. They were ok. The hand on his back slid up to knead gently at the back of his head.

“Saw you take down that omnic,” Roadhog rumbled. “Might be able to hold up mountains, but it couldn’t handle you. Probably the only human in the world that’s managed that.”

“Thought I’d killed you,” Junkrat heard himself say, and maybe that was where the pain came from, not the shrapnel or his bones. “My bombs got you.” Again, he almost said. The little house was a few times bigger than the storage shed, but for a second it smelled the same. The same feeling of overheated claustrophobia made him a little dizzy. The hand in his hair slid down to his throat and wrapped around it. His chin was tilted up and he could breath better.

“My fault,” Roadhog said. “Shoulda let her fall. S’what I get for trying to keep people from being stupid. Couldn’t stop it then, and Sheila’s no different. Stupid wins a lot of the time.”

Junkrat didn’t argue. He hadn’t wanted SheilaSam to get killed until she had turned on them. Even if it had annoyed him, he found himself almost liking her sassiness and self-reliance. She could’ve been a Junker, but having omnic babysitters had spoiled her. Maybe she didn’t know how lucky she was to have someone try to save her. He had let himself get used to the Gnawers being nice to them. When they needed them. Now that they had done their part, nobody cared about them anymore. The omnics hadn’t tried to hurt him though. Just the human. It made his head throb.

“I think she had her own Plan,” Roadhog said. Had he been talking this whole time? “She wanted to go out her own way.”

“If I ever see her again,” Junkrat said. “I’ll dig those eyes out of her head with a spoon and feed them back to her.”

“If she made it out,” Roadhog said. “I drove til I couldn’t hear it, but it’s like a kicked anthill. The whole place is swarming with news and rescue services. If we leave now, we’ll be all over the news. I don’t know how well the pardons will hold up if they see us leaving this mess. I’m thinking we stay until we’re up to travel strength again. Make sure no one is looking for us. If the owner comes back, we’ll ‘explain’ the situation.”

“Ok,” Junkrat said. Roadhog went back to the bed and swept the top sheet clean with the side of his hand. It was grit and splinters and little pieces of this and that. That was the shrapnel the gas had eased out of them. He settled back onto the bed with the magazine and candy. He turned the page to a list of the best places to eat in New Mexico and popped another mint in his mouth. Junkrat crawled in next to him and Roadhog raised an arm to let him get close. Laying down, nothing really hurt. Big fingers petted over him, from scalp to his shoulders, down his arm and ribs and then back again. After awhile of that, he really did go to sleep.

When he opened his eyes again, Roadhog wasn’t there, and neither were any of the spit bottles. He was still feeling a little nerve-blasted, but he felt lighter and easier. Getting up remained a noisy and painful process, but he hobbled back out to find his partner in the kitchen making tea. The tablet was on the table, playing the news. The sound was on low, so Roadhog nodded at it as he handed over a mug of tea.

“Explosions took out the stations so they can’t shut the pipes down,” he said.

“Still burning?” Junkrat said, interested in spite of himself.

“News says that the only team qualified to handle a situation like this is in Texas and it’ll take a week for them to get their equipment in and ready to start.”

“It’s gonna burn for a week?” Junkrat’s grin was making it’s way back. “This I gotta see.” He got up and checked the windows to see which direction to go. Roadhog groaned, but got up to follow him out. The ridge that protected the little house had a path that went from the backyard, so they followed it. It was steep and rocky, but the trail wound through the easiest parts. Looking back, they could see the little house, painted whitish and patched with yellow. There was a garden in the back that they hadn’t noticed. Junkrat didn’t know what the plants were, but he bet Roadhog would know.

The trail led them to the top where there was a clearing around a firepit, a handful of plastic porch chairs, and a sign that said Painters Ridge Gentleman’s Club and Philosophy Corner. There were more of the spit bottles there. From there, they had a view of the surrounding countryside. A vein of fire traced as far as they could see over the hills, pumping up black smoke. That had been the pipeline. Helicopters were circling around the spot where the Bluethorn had been. The only thing not actively smoking was Snakebite Mountain. Mayhem shouldn’t be so carefully planned, but Junkrat had to admit the Gnawers knew how to throw down.

“I want to come back after dark,” he said. “See how it lights up.”

“Maybe they’ll set off their blue lights for the one you took out,” Roadhog said.

“It was still getting up last I saw,” Junkrat sneered. “Maybe they’ll do it for Marlowe. Or whoever she was. She was crazy, but she earned that much.”

They sat in the plastic chairs for awhile, just watching.

“You ok, boss?” Roadhog asked for awhile. Junkrat didn’t know why he would ask when he was the one who had made sure of it. Maybe the big guy just wanted to hear him say the words.

“Yeah,” he said. “I’m good.”

They went back down after awhile. He got Roadhog to check out the garden with him. There was corn that wasn’t ready yet and tomatoes just now turning red. A bunch of little spriggy things he didn’t remember the names of grew in rows, but he couldn’t tell which parts were to eat. Roadhog picked them both a couple tomatoes to take in. Junkrat ate his like an apple. There was a carton of mismatched eggs in the fridge that sent Roadhog out for a quick check for a henhouse, but he didn’t see any.

Their road market cheese was getting a little moldy, but he scraped it clean and made them omelets. Their tea was cool enough to drink, so they ate until the tablet started to ping. It was just new footage of some suit at a podium, so they tried to ignore it. The tablet kept pinging though, so Junkrat grumbled around a mouthful of egg and turned the sound on. The voice made his jaw drop and piece of omelet fall to the floor. It was the King of Diamonds. He even had the green ring now that they were looking. He was being questioned about his involvement in the disaster at Bluethorn.

He wasn’t dead. How could he not be dead?? There was a crater where the building used to be. How had he survived that? No one was asking him that yet. The questions were about the technology he had made his fortune and reputation with being used. The explosion that had destroyed the (historic!) Bluethorn Resort had been made with that technology. The tricky part was that this particular brand of technology had not been cleared for use or production or for existence yet. Senator Whatshisface, the King of Hearts had been introducing it slowly to get it approved. Spades had been trying to get it sold to the military. Clubs was trying to get the military to buy it. All three of them were dead. They had been so completely obliterated that search crews had to use a genetic sifter to check the wreckage for remains.

So the explosion was caused by something Diamonds had patented, that wasn’t supposed to have been made yet. He had been documented in his private transport arriving at the Bluethorn. The security footage clearly showed him arriving. After that, questions got pretty fierce. Why had he been meeting the other three men in a hotel room? Why was untested, unapproved military grade explosives not only off the drawing board, but in the hands of hillbilly guerillas? How (and this was the one that had Junkrat waving his arms and loudly agreeing with) had he survived the explosion when the cameras clearly showed him arriving and not leaving?

Diamonds didn’t like this. He was used to being in charge and asking the questions. He stayed cool though. He had a story about them being called together under false pretenses, clearly for an assassination attempt. He didn’t know which of them was the target, but he couldn’t imagine it was him. Probably the poor, late Senator.

“What pretenses?” someone shouted and then he had to come up with a story about a change in legislation. It was convincing. He had been asked to weigh in on something.

Who had called him? Well, he had worked with the senator and general in the past and-

How did a ragtag band of environmental protestors gain access to that kind of weaponry? Well, his people were trying to find out if any of their designs had been stolen or copied-

Did that mean he had enough of those weapons that a batch could go missing without his knowledge? Who else might have them? And then one voice called out very clearly.

“Where might we expect to see other attacks like this?” That silenced everyone for a full beat and then the questions started flying, more frantic than before.

“Fucking suit made it out,” Junkrat said, turning the sound down again.

“He was right there,” Roadhog said. “We saw him. She saw him, or she would’ve waited.”

“Was his face ever shown on the video?” Junkrat asked suddenly. “I’ve seen him before.”

“…don’t know,” Roadhog admitted. “His picture in the info we got?”

“Somewhere…” Junkrat furrowed his brow, pressing his thumbs to his temples. He fanned out his fingers and then gave himself a shake. He was about to say it was too bad Hatfield or SheilaSam wasn’t there to ask, but he wasn’t sure he could even say her name without stabbing something. And now that they were done with the job, Hatfield probably wouldn’t give them the time of day. Maybe he could check the goggles and figure out what they were saying to each other.

“Not our problem anymore,” Roadhog said, too firmly. He could tell Junkrat was distressed over this and didn’t want him to be. “Job’s done. We got paid. We got out alive.”

“Not out of it yet,” Junkrat grumbled, but went back to eating.

Chapter Text

The wind changed and the the smoke started to settle in like fog. Junkrat didn’t mind the smell of it, but it made the air hazy and Roadhog kept his mask on tight to keep it out of his lungs. They stayed inside, to keep as out of sight and out of the smoke as possible. The water from the taps turned dark and smelly, so they couldn’t wash anything. Some snooping around turned up a pack of bottled water under a cabinet with a case of the Cokes, so that took the urgency out of it.

They watched the tablet for updates and slept. There wasn’t much else to do.

When it got dark again, they went back out to the top of the ridge. The smoke was bad enough to have them both wheezing by the time they got there. Through the murk they could see the pipeline burning. Day 2, Junkrat thought. Five more until help arrived. Distant roving lights from the helicopters and equipment could be seen. Here and there, spotted across Snakebite Mountain, were specks of blue. Maybe the mine-omnics were grieving their own.

How were the omnics going to get away with this? Junkrat wondered suddenly. The Crisis had been a real thing here as well as the Outback. Omnics had killed people. Lots of them. And all of a sudden, notoriously rebellious mine-bots attack a whole town and no one was worried about it? They had been worried enough to call in the Kings to try to shut them all down. Why weren’t the Marines, or Overwatch, or something being called in to take care of them? Not that he was complaining. If no one came for the omnics, no one would be coming for them.

“Not what you expected?” Roadhog rumbled. Junkrat looked back over the smoking hellscape. He had wished for this a few times since he got there, he knew, but it wasn’t as heart-lifting as it should’ve been. Maybe because so little of it was his. The only thing he had really blown up was the elevator shaft. And the chest cavity of one omnic. He couldn’t really enjoy the destruction. There was just a grim sort of satisfaction.

Roadhog coughed and kept coughing. He turned to head back down and Junkrat hurried to keep up. It was hard to see between the haze and the dark trees. They finally gave up on the trail and aimed for the house lights down below. They slid in the leaves and stubbed their toes on rocks and had to hang on to trees the whole way down, but they made it.

Even the air inside the house felt dingy. Roadhog kept on coughing and went to get a canister. That wouldn’t do, Junkrat decided. They were done here. Time to go. He started packing up and made another round through the kitchen to get the bottled water and Cokes and the leftover eggs. Roadhog watched him but didn’t ask any questions. He started putting Junkrat’s piles into the sidecar. Junkrat sniffled and wiped his nose on his arm. The smoke was up his nose now too. His eyes were itching with it. Maybe he should put on the goggles again.

Maybe the destruction was bad enough that they hadn’t sent anybody in yet, but once they were done asking questions and being shocked, there were going to be forces sent in. Whatever the reasons were, Gnawers and omnics alike were going to be blamed and no matter what side you took, the facts remained that a busy resort town was now a hellhole. People were dead. Even if nobody cared about that, the property damage alone was enough to bring down trouble. He left the lights on, but pulled the smashed door back over the doorframe on the way out.

“Where to, boss?” Roadhog asked. His voice was even more gravelly than usual. This was bad for his lungs. They had stayed too long already.

“Out of this mess,” Junkrat said, fanning his hand in front of his face like that would help. That must’ve been enough for Roadhog. He started off like he knew the way. They were heading north on some backroad. Visibility was too poor to go quickly, but it would hide them too. The smoke got in Junkrat’s eyes and down his throat and he hacked and coughed worse than Roadhog. He finally gave up and put the goggles on and then dug out the skull and crossbones hat he had gotten from the storage sheds. He held it over his mouth and nose and it didn’t help a lot, but it was better than nothing.

After awhile, they saw blinking yellow lights through the haze. They were almost on it before they could tell what it was. The road was blocked, but the signs were on the other side. Did they not expect people to want to leave? Then again, if the Gnawers had put up with years of poison and politics, they probably wouldn’t budge for this either. Junkrat hopped out of the sidecar and ran to pull one of the blocks aside for them to pass. He only dragged it back behind them so no one would know they had come through.

An hour’s drive put them in clear air and in another hour, the smell was behind them. It was still clinging to them though. Junkrat could taste it on his face. The night was pitch black even without the smoke. The night vision made it blur into shapes. It reminded Junkrat of the Outback. No electrical lights for days. If the stars weren’t out, nothing but a blanket of black thrown over the whole world. That was like this. Maybe not as warm here, but just as heavy and dark.

The motorcycle’s headlights lit up a circle around them. There weren’t any lines on this road, so there was nothing bright to catch his eye. He might be able to fall asleep if he wasn’t still coughing. Every now and then, Roadhog would wheeze too. The big guy was probably as tired as he was.

They might have to camp, Junkrat thought. There wasn’t anything ahead that he could see. All this soft living had spoiled him, he thought with a guffaw. The laugh made him cough again. He could count the times he had slept on a mattress with sheets on one hand before he met Roadie. It wouldn’t hurt him to sleep on the ground again, especially ground as green and radiation-free as this.

What he could see of the surrounding area were fenced in fields of tall grass stuff. That wouldn’t be too hard to lay in. It might even be better. It would be harder to see them in it. Roadhog cleared his throat with a rattling sound. Hopefully that meant his throat was getting clear. Crud was shaking loose.

Then, the brakes slammed. There had never been anything resembling a seat belt in the side car so Junkrat was pitched foward. Roadhog’s hand slapped the air out of him to hold him back. It was better than being flung face-first into whatever the hell that thing was. Its eyes lit up silver-bright and it stared at them like they were the ghosts. It had legs everywhere and heads and glowing eyes and Junkrat pushed the goggles up on his forehead to gape at it.

“Go!” snapped Roadhog and Junkrat tensed to run, but the hand held him in place. Part of the creature broke off and then it scattered into several creatures. Deer, he realized. He had seen a few dead and some farther away since he had been here. They jumped the fence like fleas, and disappeared into the tall grass. More of their eyes lit up all around. Like crocodiles in a billabong. He was pretty sure they wouldn’t eat some smoked Junker if they found it in a field, but they might trample them with their pointy little feet. They must like whatever was in the that field. It was full of them.

“Feel like stopping?” he asked. Roadhog grumbled, but didn’t give him a straight answer. He kept on going, more alert now for deer. The fire must’ve driven them out of the woods, Junkrat thought. That was why so many of them were down in the fields. There could be a lot of things out there. Nothing as dangerous as the Outback, he was willing to bet. It didn’t look like they had to worry about it. Roadie wasn’t stopping.

Junkrat must have dozed off because he woke up at a service station. Roadhog’s coughing had seemed that much louder and it was because the engine was quiet. They were at a self-service automated station. Not even an omnic to run the place. Pay at the pump meant they couldn’t rob the place either. Roadhog must’ve hung on to one of their swiped swipe cards because all he did was punch a few buttons and fill the tank.

“Where are we?” Junkrat asked, just to say something. It didn’t matter where they were. He wouldn’t know where they were even if Roadhog had told him the exact address.

“Two hours out of Chimney Rock,” Roadhog rasped. Sure enough, Junkrat had no clue. He scrambled up on the pretense of stretching and went to pick the lock on the drink machine off to the side. “Don’t,” sighed Roadhog. “Here.” He held out the swipe card. “Alarms and cameras all over places like this. I want to sleep before we go on the run again.”

Junkrat made a face but used the card to get them both drinks. He got them one for now and two more for the road each, and walked back with his arms full of cold bottles. He lined them up on the seat so Roadhog could pick which flavor he wanted and was almost hurt when Roadie just took the nearest one without looking what it was. It turned to worry when he saw how fast the big man drank it, wincing at each swallow. His throat was hurting and his lungs were aching. Junkrat stashed the bottles and offered up a canister instead.

“M’all right,” Roadhog said. “Just got some smoke in there and it left drag marks on the way out.” He took the canister anyway, sucking it down and handing the empty back.

“We stopping before Chimney place?” Junkrat asked. “If you’re tired we can-“

“Nothing between here and there unless we break in somewhere,” Roadhog said. He hooked the nozzle back on the machine and screwed the cap back on. Apparently, he was determined to behave until they got out of range again.

“We can camp,” Junkrat finished. “People always hiking around here. They gotta sleep sometime. Nobody’s gonna think anything of it.” Roadhog rumbled something, probably grudging agreement. Junkrat grinned at him. The big lug wanted a shower and a soft bed too. They’d gotten fancy in their old age. He made a big production of picking a drink just to show Roadhog the choices he had passed over. Roadhog snatched it from him and gave it a good shake before handing it back, which made him cackle.

A spray of fizz to the face and a jolt of caffeine helped keep him alert enough to look for anyplace they could stop. If Roadie didn’t want a lot of attention, that was fine. They were good at staying out of sight when they wanted to be. An empty building like that factory would work, a field that wasn’t overrun by deer, another rest stop like the one with the white x on the table would be fine. Construction sites were good if they left before any workers showed up in the morning. Out here, though, there wasn’t a lot to choose from.

Roadhog kept going. At one point, he checked the tablet at a crossroad.

“Making decisions without me?” Junkrat pretended to be indignant. “I thought I was in charge around here.” Roadhog wasn’t playful anymore. He just handed the tablet to Junkrat. The gps showed that the surrounding area was pretty bare. He had to zoom out to find the cluster of civilization where the service station had been. There was a lake coming up and it had the national park emblem on it, and that could mean campsites and picnic tables. At the very least, a parking place at a trailhead. Roadhog had been the one to teach him that, so that was probably where the big guy was heading.

It took another half hour or so to get there, but he was right. The brown arrowhead signs led the way to a parking lot. There was a metal arm gate with a solar lock over the road, but Junkrat made short work of that. The place was empty since it opened and closed with the sun. They had hours before anyone showed. There was a picnic shelter and a bathroom, also locked. There was a big directory to show the maps of the trails and surrounding attractions. Roadhog headed to the shelter.

It was a nice little structure, red wood and river stone, overlooking a noisy creek dotted with large rocks. There were two long picnic tables and a fire place and a small grill station at each end. Roadhog tilted one of the tables over to make a wall for them to lean on by the fireplace, but waved Junkrat away from starting a fire. No more smoke for awhile. It wasn’t cold anyway, and most of their food didn’t need to be cooked. It was just dark once the bike’s headlights were turned off. They unpacked enough to have some bedding and weapons for the night and settled in.

Silence fell over them, except for the creek. It bubbled away around the rocks. They might not hear something sneaking up on them with that noise.

“Anything big enough to come out of the water?” Junkrat asked, still thinking of home. Roadhog shook his head, coughing hard. He took a canister and breathed it in, then suddenly pushed his mask up and pulled Junkrat close to shotgun it into his startled mouth. Junkrat recovered quickly and turned it into a kiss, feeling the gas tingle in his burning throat and lungs. He hadn’t realized how gross he had felt until the healing stuff went to work, or how badly he had needed some contact until Roadhog’s hands wrapped around him. He hooked his arm around Roadhog’s neck, feeling the bristle of singed hair grow a little longer and softer against his arm.

When Roadhog leaned away, Junkrat leaned with him, keeping their mouths together. Roadhog rumbled and settled back against the overturned picnic table. His hands slid up and down Junkrat’s back and Junkrat got both arms around his neck to anchor them together. He let Junkrat take the lead, mouth and tongue everywhere. They both stunk from the smoke and the long night. Junkrat was still sticky around the edges from being sprayed with the drink. When Roadhog dragged a tongue up his ear, he could taste the sweetness in the dirt and smoke.

“Sweet,” he mumbled and Junkrat shivered, taking it as a compliment. He was already panting like he’d been waiting for this too long. When had the last time been? Had it been back in Burly Hollow? How long ago had that even been? They could barely see each other in the dark, so it was all by feel and sound. Junkrat didn’t even reach for the goggles. He didn’t need them. He might’ve bumped their noses a little too hard trying to cram himself into another kiss but neither complained. He slid his hands to either side of Roadhog’s jaw, stroking the bristles and thumbing over old scars.

Roadhog’s hands dragged to his hips. Junkrat let them take his weight and sank with them to kiss and bite his way down Roadhog’s neck and chest. Every pinch of teeth sent a jolt through Roadhog and once he had Junkrat in his lap, he had to tug his mask down to wheeze through the filters. Junkrat laughed breathlessly and went up on his knees to kiss the mask. From there, he slid all the way down to tug at the belt buckles.

Roadhog had to help him in the dark and the sound he made was almost a chuckle before Junkrat’s cold hand wrapped around him. He could hear Junkrat’s rapid breathing a second before he felt it. He wanted to tell him to be careful and not to hurt himself, but Junkrat’s lips wrapped around him before he could get the words out. Junkrat groaned like the taste of him was better than water in the desert. It knocked the air out of Roadhog, left him grabbing at Junkrat’s head. This wasn’t like the ferris wheel. Roadhog could sprawl out as much as he wanted and growl and gasp as loudly as he liked.

Junkrat’s technique still seemed to consist of choking himself on whatever part of Roadhog he could reach. It was too dark to see his face and that bothered Roadhog enough to make him let go. He clutched at his own legs instead, letting Junkrat move how he wanted. What it felt like Junkrat wanted was to swallow him down until he gagged and then pull back to slobber all over him. The sounds he made were wet and hungry and Roadhog dug his fingernails into the cheeks of his mask to keep from just grabbing him and fucking straight down his throat.

“Hey.” It was a faint word, panted against his cock. He thought he heard a swallow over the pounding in his ears. “You- you want the night vision?”

“C’mere,” was all Roadhog could say. He pulled Junkrat back up to bury himself in another kiss. It was his turn to dive into it, tilting Junkrat’s head back, arching his throat, and dropping his jaw. Junkrat made another gutteral sound of need and his hand trailed back down to wrap around Roadhog’s cock. He stroked it upward, pulling it against his own between their bellies. He pulled far enough out of the kiss to gasp.

“Y’hafta tell me.” Roadhog felt his breath on his face and bit blindly toward it. He caught a lip and sucked on it. Junkrat wasn’t derailed. “Tell me before y’go,” he wheezed, squeezing a little. “Y’agreed.”

“Ok,” Roadhog said. He hadn’t forgotten. He rolled a little to pull Junkrat into the curl of his body. He pillowed Junkrat’s head on his arm in easy kissing range. He eased the prosthetic leg over his knee so he could take both their cocks in hand. Junkrat undulated into it, curling his metal arm up around Roadhog’s head. His other hand clung to Roadhog’s wrist, moving with him. The first time they had done this, there had been a mirror. He had been able to see how every touch had tied Junkrat into knots. He whispered that into the nearest ear, describing all the ways he remembered Junkrat responding to him.

Even without being able to see, he could feel the sweat running off both of them. Junkrat’s desperate noises were always a bone-deep pleasure. The neck below his ear was tight and vibrating with his pulse, so Roadhog bit it. He felt Junkrat’s spine arch against him and the metal hand tighten in his hair. He gave the mouthful a tug, sucking a bruise he wouldn’t be able to see until morning into the skin. Junkrat sobbed his name and came in a shuddering wave. Roadhog held him through it, kissing over the bite mark to his jaw and back to his lips. He went on stroking himself. Both of Junkrat’s hands crept down to help as he recovered.

“Can’t do anything without you,” Junkrat blurted out suddenly in the dark. Then, there was that pause after that meant he had either lost track of what he was going to say next or hadn’t meant to say that much.

“Don’t have to,” Roadhog tried to assure him. It was hard to think of the right thing to say with warm lightning pooling down deep in his gut.

“Don’t want to.” He felt sweaty hair swish across his face as Junkrat shook his head. He opened his mouth and could taste the salt and smoke and grease in it.

“Jamie,” he gasped. “Jamie?” He was close and he didn’t want Junkrat to miss it arguing with himself. Thankfully, the urgency in his voice got through. Junkrat scooted down to take him back into his mouth and that was all he could bear. He came with a shout and heard Junkrat sputter a bit. They both lay panting. Roadhog felt a gentle little kiss on his tip before he was tucked away back into his pants and Junkrat crawled back up to snuggle under his chin.

That creek was probably icy cold, Roadhog thought, scritching his fingers in the wet, sticky hair. They could rinse off in the morning. Maybe when the sun was bright enough to unlock the bathrooms, there would be warm water in there. They could at least scrub the worst of it off.

“I mean, I got along all right before,” Junkrat said. “But it wasn’t like this.”

“I know,” Roadhog said. And he did.

“Lost a piece here and there and nobody cared,” Junkrat went on. “I didn’t either. It was just the way it was. Easy to laugh as it was to cry.”

“Not anymore,” Roadhog said. He took another hit from a canister and felt a sharp nose nudge at him for another taste of it. He gave in and passed a breath of it over in a kiss. “You got me now.”

“I got us into this,” Junkrat said. He had been the one to take the job from Albrecht so long ago. They hadn’t needed it. It just would’ve been fun. It was supposed to have been fun.

“I got us out,” Roadhog said, calm and unperturbed, solid as a rock. A big, sweaty, rock that stank of sex and smoke and peppermint candy. “We’re good.” Junkrat turned that over a few times and couldn’t find any flaw in the logic.

“So good,” he agreed.

Chapter Text

Junkrat woke a few hours later. It was early dawn. There was enough sun to see that the fog had set in. It was so heavy that he thought it might be more smoke until his head cleared. It didn’t smell like anything, and it was cool and hazy.

Roadhog wasn’t with him, but Junkrat could hear him close by. Roadhog’s breathing huffed happily somewhere out in the fog. There was some splashing too. The big lug had gone down to the creek to have a morning bath, Junkrat guessed. He shook off his grogginess and limped down the bank to find him.

Roadhog was in the creek. It was deep enough for him to sit in. The vapor rose off the water into the fog and his breath came out in puffs. He had his hair down in his eyes and was scrubbing off with handfuls of water. Junkrat chuckled and waded in to join him. He was shocked into wheezes at how cold the water was. He staggered and gasped and hooted and made enough noise to wake the rest of the countryside. Roadhog laughed and scooped him up, only wincing a little to have Junkrat’s icy limbs wrapped around his warm belly.

Junkrat melted into it, then screeched when a palmful of water was dribbled down his back. It turned to laughter as he got used to it. He let kisses distract him from being tilted backwards and dunked. He had almost started to enjoy it while his hair was hand-scrubbed.

“You remember what you said at Buffalo’s?” Roadhog asked. Junkrat had to think about it. He didn’t, and Roadhog hmmed when he realized it.

“You do, though, right?” Junkrat said, sitting up. “What’d I say?”

“Something about thinking what I did to you was what I wanted you to do back,” Roadhog said. He wasn’t upset and that made Junkrat relax into a grin.

“Yeah, I figured that out,” he said.

“That why you keep trying to choke yourself to death?” Roadhog gestured downward.

“Psh.” Junkrat waved a hand. “Can’t give as good as I get without practice.” Roadhog hummed an amused sound. He rubbed Junkrat’s belly.

“And I like it too,” Junkrat said, squirming into it.

“You give that impression,” Roadhog agreed. Junkrat laughed and then sighed, splaying out to enjoy the petting.

“So much better,” he murmured.

“Than what?” Roadhog just wanted to keep him talking. His voice cut through the eerie stillness of the fog and the woods.

“Before.”

“Which before?” There were a lot of befores in Roadhog’s life. Before the Crisis. Before the ALF. Before Wasteland. Before the mask. Before Junkrat. That must’ve been on Junkrat’s mind too.

“Before you,” he said.

“What did you do then?”

“You know,” Junkrat huddled close again. Roadhog felt the shiver go through him. “You know what it was like.” Roadhog did remember. He didn’t give it a lot of thought, but every now and then it would work its way to the surface like an infected splinter.

“Yeah,” was all he said.

“Always knew there was something wrong,” Junkrat said, more to himself than Roadhog. Roadhog made an agreeing noise anyway. “Couldn’t have what you wanted, water or food or, or anybody close because they’d cut your throat for it.”

“I know,” Roadhog said. “I was one of them.”

“Now you’re mine,” Junkrat said.

“And it’s better,” Roadhog said, going back to thumbing grime off the lanky frame in his hands.

“Got the whole world now,” Junkrat said, wriggling to get the hands back on his head and face. Roadhog obliged by tracing over all the angles of his jaw and cheek bones. “Got you. Know what I was missing before. It might not’ve been that way for you. Coulda had anything. Anybody. But I’m not going back to the way it was.”

“You’d miss me if I was gone,” Roadhog said.

“I missed you before I knew you,” Junkrat said. His brow furrowed as if he knew that didn’t make much sense, but he kept going with it. “Hiding in an old rain barrel, fucking myself on a screwdriver handle to not feel so empty.” Roadhog tried not to imagine that. He kept on stroking Junkrat’s back. “You probably didn’t have that problem,” Junkrat said, trying to joke.

“Didn’t have anything,” Roadhog said. Junkrat looked up, wide-eyed and somber.

“Now you do,” he said.

 

Once they were cleaner and dryer than they had been, they went back up to the shelter. Roadhog tilted the table back up for them to sit at and they had a light breakfast of their leftovers. There was still one of the drinks left from the service station. They swapped drinks from it until it was gone, checking out their maps and the tablet for where to go next. They were free to go wherever they wanted, but they didn’t know where that was yet.

They were north of the disaster. That meant there were some big cities in a day or two’s drive. Big cities meant big scores. Were they ready to ruin their new clean records? Maybe. The tablet beeped, but they ignored it, scrolling farther to find out about banks and armories and anywhere else that would be worth getting back on the most wanted list for. The tablet beeped again and Roadhog sighed. He wanted to be sure it wasn’t about them, cleared records or not.

It was the news again. This time it had security footage from the Bluethorn room before the explosion. There was the Other Blake strung up from the ceiling again. They had censored out parts of her which didn’t make any sense to the Junkers. Seeing her blown to particles had to be worse than seeing her naked, but they had that part playing on a loop. The King of Diamonds was clearly seen and heard on the footage and they had an AI examining it to compare it to the real King. He was being detained while the investigation was under way.

“That’s good, right?” Junkrat said, then glowered. “Probably still get away with it though.”

“Probably,” Roadhog said. “One of his businesses is this way.” He went back to the map. “Might be something there worth the trip.”

“Something that glows blue and goes boom,” Junkrat agreed.

Chapter Text

The sun was out now. The solar locks on the bathroom beeped and unlocked. The one on the gate did its best, but after the job Junkrat had did on it, all it could really do was flash green. Roadhog was alert for anyone showing up now that the park was open. No one did. All the excitement with the pipeline must’ve convinced the locals to recreate somewhere else.

“Roadie?” Junkrat said. He was looking at the trees, watching the leaves shift as the sun shone through them. There was a word for that, Roadhog remembered, but not what it was.

“Yeah?” he said.

“Fuck me?” Junkrat was still watching the leaves, looking a thousand miles away.

“Fuck me first,” Roadhog said. There was a pause and then Junkrat’s head whipped around to face him. His jaw dropped and his eyes unfocused and Roadhog almost reached for him to keep him from falling over. “You ok?” he asked when Junkrat started to giggle.

“Mate,” Junkrat said, cuffing his arm. “Even when I get my hopes up, you still deliver more than I expected. Really?”

“Right here?” Roadhog asked, patting the table. Junkrat glanced at the shifting leaves again.

“Out here,” he said. “Out in the sun.”

Roadhog looked around one more time. The woods could be full of Gnawers or omnics, but everything was quiet. Junkrat was already digging through their bag for the ‘anniversary’ lube. Roadhog walked out into the sun and back towards the creek. There was a rock there smooth enough to lean on. He let his pants sag and stepped out of them. He could lean over the rock and still keep an eye on the road and let Junkrat have his way. That was probably safest. He wanted to see the pointy little face go soft and raptured though. So, he shifted his shoulders against the rock enough to see the grounds and to give Junkrat room to kneel between his thighs.

Junkrat was there quickly, slathering his flesh hand. Roadhog didn’t make any move to help open himself up. Watching Junkrat so excited was lighting some fires. The eagerness on his face and way his narrow belly heaved as his breathing quickened was beautiful. The metal hand tensed on his leg and the slick one trailed over his cock and down. Junkrat looked up and if he was still unsure about doing this, Roadhog didn’t know what to do.

“How do you want it?” Junkrat asked and Roadhog didn’t hear any hesitation. That was good.

“How do you want it?” he asked. Junkrat shivered, but grinned. He muttered something like ‘knew it, knew it’ and his cold, slick fingers teased for just an instant before slipping in. Roadhog exhaled and shifted and Junkrat kept a careful eye on his reaction. Roadhog considered staring him down to get him flustered and frantic, but Junkrat twisted his fingers and ran his tongue up his cock and that was it for thinking about anything else. Roadhog let his head loll back against the rock, squinting at the sun through the leaves. It cast shadows over him and he heard Junkrat moan, felt it vibrate against his skin.

“Now,” he rasped, reaching blindly for Junkrat. The bottle of lube was pushed into his hand. Junkrat had pushed the waist of his shorts low enough to slick himself up. Roadhog made a question sound but it trailed into a groan as Junkrat eased into him.

“Yeah?” Junkrat said. He flushed to his hairline, sweat standing up on his skin as he started to move. It was better than Roadhog expected. There wasn’t any uncertainty in it. Whether Junkrat remembered what they had gasped together that night in the hotel or not, he wasn’t wasting any time. His hips moved in steady pumps, not pounding, but trying for depth. That was what he wanted, the part of Roadhog’s mind that wasn’t melting to mush decided. All his talk of emptiness and trying to be filled meant something.

The bottle creaked in his hand and he made himself relax his grip on it. Junkrat chewed on his lip, eyes wide like he was memorizing the sight of Roadhog under him. He wanted to be next. He was still planning on being on the receiving end. That was why he handed the lube over. Ok. Roadhog had to keep his head then, but it was so nice just to sprawl out and let his boss do this to him. He didn’t even know what to call it. Loving him? Fucking him mindless? The first thought made him wheeze and the second made him groan.

An especially well-aimed thrust had him lifting up into it, squeezing him tight around Junkrat and curling his toes in the grass. He gasped and Junkrat sobbed. It threw him off rhythm, but he sped up to make up for it. That spot, over and over. There was no way either of them would last at this pace. Roadhog reached down to clutch himself to keep from coming. He usually had better control, but watching Junkrat fight to keep his own and losing was too much. He didn’t look away but he made himself fumble with his free hand to get enough lube to coat his fingers.

“Come on,” he rumbled. Junkrat shook at the sound of it. He liked Roadhog’s noises too. Roadhog forced his panting into a baritone growl. “Jamie…

Junkrat gasped out something high-pitched and desperate. Roadhog wrapped the lubed hand around his hip, digging the slick finger between his cheeks and yanking him in hard and deep. He could feel the jolt go up Junkrat’s spine as he came. He saw the bright eyes roll back and the tongue slip out of the slack jaw. He wanted to suck on it, only partly to keep Junkrat from accidentally biting it. He leaned up to pull it into his mouth, working his finger against the entrance. Junkrat’s sound was muffled but he rocked to give better access.

“Too much?” Roadhog gasped into his mouth. He had tried to pull back, but Junkrat stayed plastered to him. “Need a minute?”

“Never too much,” Junkrat whined. He had to be over-sensitive, but he didn’t try to squirm away. “Roadie!”

Roadhog forced himself up, letting Junkrat slip away from him. He pulled Junkrat up onto his stomach to kiss him, tilting him onto his back. He hooked his arm under Junkrat’s left knee, hiking the leg up to get his finger in place. It was easier this time. Maybe it was the lube or how relaxed Junkrat was, or maybe he had been practicing on his own, but his body opened for it. Roadhog’s finger sank into warmth and tightness. Junkrat’s face quivered and tightened. It was too much. It had to be, but he only struggled when Roadhog tried to pull back.

He wanted to look down at Roadhog, something to do with the sun and the leaf shadows. They squirmed around so that Junkrat could ride him. He had gone pliant and breathy, sounds and movements softening. Roadhog held his hips and helped him move. Sweat and drool dripped down the angles of his face. It wasn’t until Roadhog rolled over to pound into him, using one big hand to cushion his head against the rock, that he hardened and cried out again. The bruise Roadhog had left on his neck the night before was a shadow under the redder, fresher bites. They both came this time. Roadhog roared into a new bite and Junkrat’s breath rattled out of him.

They slept in the grass, in the shade. Another icy bath in the creek and a warmer rinse in the bathroom left them in no mood to move on just yet. It wasn’t until they got hungry that Roadhog started to pack up. Food, they decided. Then a bed. They had earned that much.

Chapter Text

Back on the road felt good. Maybe the shell shock was finally wearing off. Junkrat wasn’t quite at his usual level of alert and ready for mayhem, but he was able to enjoy the wind in his face. The stockpile of unused riptires and molotov cocktails pleased him too. They got out onto a road with more than two lanes and Roadhog was able to pick up the pace. Speed felt good. Air felt good. It cooled the embers still burning in his gut.

Had the Other Blake’s spine burned when the bombs under her skin detonated? Would the King of Diamonds see the blue glow through his belly when they stuffed his guts full of his own explosives? They could let the civilian powers that be find out how that slimy suit had survived the first round, and then strap him to a pile of his own illegal weapons. It wasn’t like he had accepted the Gnawer mission to kill the fourth king. It always paid to have a Plan B. If he couldn’t spread SheilaSam all over the landscape, he could leave Diamonds in particles.

They’d need to scope out the factory when they got there. It probably wouldn’t be the greasy, noisy assembly line kind. It was probably all sterile and staffed with omnics. They wouldn’t question making iffy bombs and if they got it wrong, they wouldn’t be as hard to replace as dead humans would be. He glanced over at Roadhog, expressionless behind the mask, but body language untroubled. He had wanted the big guy as soon as he had first seen him. Just on his side at first, someone that big and strong to help him, just a panicked if only before his head had kicked into gear and he had been sputtering out his offer.

Equal parts awe and hunger, just enough fear to keep him sharp. Couldn’t be sloppy wiring explosives. Couldn’t be careless dealing with Roadhog. Had to keep him close and intact. Losing a limb was one thing. He could manage without. Obviously. Losing Roadie was out of the question. That would be life-changing. He had survived everything else and he would survive that, sure, but nothing would be the same. Even thinking about it made reality curdle around him.

Acceptance was so rare in Junkrat’s life that having Roadhog take his offer had felt less like a business transaction and more like divine intervention. Glorious relief and exultation bright as the sun. He had been protected for the first time he could remember and it was so much more than he had ever hoped for that he couldn’t help but crave more. Not just a bodyguard, but a partner, but a friend, but a one and only, but everything! Everything and every part, all for him, to be his. There was a reason they both used ‘Mine’ as an endearment, and why it always made the other tremble. Finders keepers. They had found each other and they were going to keep each other, no matter what else had to burn. Or be left behind.

He didn’t have to think about the Gnawers anymore. Or the mine-nics. Or the pipeline. Or the Blakes. Or any of it. None of that mattered anymore. It was already long gone. Whatever was ahead was too far away to matter yet. No yesterday. No tomorrow. Just now. Just this. Just a circle of what he had and what he needed. Bike, Roadhog, road, weapons. All around him. All in reach. Everything was fine.

They got to a different town, this one built when bricks were cheap. Little red rectangles everywhere you looked. Roadhog made a satisfied sound and started to pull over. There was a joke there about a piggy being happy with a brick house, but Junkrat had been quiet for too long to get it in order and out of his mouth before he was plunked in front of a diner. It looked like a truck stop that had slowly shrunk until the service station side had taken over. The diner side was small now, but only half full at whatever this hour was. Junkray squinted at the apple-shaped wall clock as they went in, but it only had dashes for numbers and he couldn’t tell the hands apart. Time didn’t matter either.

There were a few regulars over by the windows, shooting the breeze over tar-like coffee and BLTs. The junkers took a seat where they could see all the doors and the guy behind the counter came out to give them menus and ice waters. He went back for the coffee pot and Roadhog looked carefully at Junkrat before turning his coffee cup upside down on the saucer.

“What?” Junkrat asked, only then noticing how his fingers were drumming. “Oh.”

“Shaky,” Roadhog said.

“I’m all right.”

“…”

“Right as rain!”

“Mmh.”

“I’m thinking!” Junkrat said, grin spreading ear to ear. Roadhog just grunted and went back to the menu. The counter guy filled up Roadhog’s cup and hovered until Junkrat decided on orange juice and chicken souvlaki and cherry pie a la mode. Roadhog must’ve agreed on menu-hopping because he ordered a spinach quiche, two lemon bars, and fries with tzaziki sauce.

“Thinking what?” Roadhog said once the guy had taken their order back to the kitchen. Junkrat sobered a little, and took a deep breath.

“Maybe we shouldn’t go to the factory,” he said, blurting it all out. “Maybe we should just be done with all of this. Move on.” He hadn’t known he was thinking it until he said it, but there it was. Maybe going after Diamond was more trouble that it was worth. Maybe this was their chance to cut and run and find something that wasn’t soaked in cancer and weird, unnatural blue and look-alikes.

“You’re the boss,” Roadhog said. He handed over the tablet and it opened to a map. “You say where to and we’ll go.”

Junkrat pondered that, studying the map until their food came. They gobbled it down and paid. That sent Junkrat’s head grinding away in a different direction. They would have to acquire more funds soon. They had made their last big haul last through frugal spending and not paying for things when they didn’t have to. He gave one of their duffle bags a kick, judging how much was still in it. There was still enough to get them a ways. Few more hotels and gas stations anyway. What was there to do besides Diamond’s factory? One direction would take them to the ocean. The other toward more mountains.

When he wasn’t quick to decide, Roadhog got them going again. They went on past a few empty exits that didn’t have anything more exciting than antique malls or strip joints. When he spotted a sign for a non-chain hotel, Roadhog pulled over. The ma and pop places were more likely to take cash and be glad of the business. It was a one level deal, busy enough to be kept up, but no pool or any reason for the guests to be anywhere but their rooms with the blinds drawn. Pretty much perfect.

The sight of Roadhog and a stack of bills got them a room without any banter from the tiny old lady running the show. Then again, her glasses were so thick, she might’ve handed a key to just about anyone. They were able to park right outside their door, but they parked in front of the next one, just in case. Junkrat trapped up the bike, and they headed in, taking a riptire along to tinker with.

It was a small room. There was a twin bed on either side of the door. At the foot of one was a tv mounted on the wall. At the foot of the other was a door leading to the bathroom. The carpet was green. The walls were rose and white striped. There was one nightstand with a lamp and digital clock. It smelled like fake pine trees and an overactive air conditioner. There was barely room for their bags and the riptire.

The first thing they did was to scoot the two beds together in front of the door. It blocked the door better and gave them both a strip of wall to pile their stuff against. They collapsed together, squirming around to stretch and figure out the best way to fit around each other. Roadhog took off his mask and took his hair down. He pulled Junkrat in like he had before, resting his head against the narrow chest. Junkrat was happy to curl into it, finger-combing out the silvery hair and humming to himself. They both dozed off and on. Junkrat was still turning over their options, but he was able to let the gears run silent enough to sleep.

He woke up once when Roadhog turned the TV on and lay there listening to a local weather report for awhile before snoozing again. It had moved on to the local news when a smooch to his belly woke him up later. The deliciously slow blowjob that followed left him wide awake and unconcerned about where to go to next.

“If you had done that back in the RV,” he said when he got his voice back. “We’d still be there.”

“And miss this?” Roadhog rumbled, amused. He turned down Junkrat’s attempt to return the favor with another kiss and the word “Later.” Junkrat took a moment to enjoy how thrilled he was that the big guy liked taking care of him for its own sake. But a deal was a deal and their deal had always been fifty-fifty, so he was definitely paying him back just as soon as Roadhog felt like it.

The news turned back to the King of Diamonds. There wasn’t any footage of him or the Other Blake this time. They reported that Diamonds had mentioned that he sometimes used a holographic representative to attend business meetings he couldn’t reach physically. The investigative AI had been processing the video again and said that there were none of the usual indicators of a hologram. Diamonds had been asked to demonstrate this super-realistic hologram technology and had refused.

“I hope it’s his own grave he’s digging and no one else’s,” Junkrat spat. “Look at him.” There wasn’t even a picture of Diamonds on display, so Roadhog looked at Junkrat instead. “Maybe the real one died and that’s the fake one they’re talking to. Nobody thought to check him, did they?”

“Hunh,” Roadhog said. That wasn’t too bad of an idea, really. Had they verified that the Diamonds in custody was the real thing? The AI could probably scan him, but only if it was told to. If it had only been told to study the video, that’s all it would do. Maybe. The machines kept getting trickier. Maybe it could act on its own. There wasn’t any guarantee it would be honest or on the side of justice if it did.

They relaxed until it got dark and then ordered Chinese delivery. They didn’t think to move the beds out of the way until the knock came from the door, so there was a lot of noise and grumbling when they finally did get it open. The place hadn’t had the dumplings Roadhog liked, but he got orange glazed tempeh and crispy fried tofu. Junkrat got sesame chicken and rangoons. They pushed the beds back and ate all over the sheets, watching some old movie about a girl who fell in love with a monster. It was better with the sound off.

There wasn’t room in the bathroom for them both to fit in the tub. Junkrat sat on the edge and kissed over the tattoo until Roadhog couldn’t stand it anymore. He had to stand sideways in the shower for Junkrat to reach everywhere, but they managed. He curled a hand over the side of Junkrat’s face to keep the shower from pelting him in the ear as he did his best to go down on him hanging side saddle off the tub’s edge. One slip could mean teeth clicking together, but it was worth it to watch Junkrat’s eyes flutter and hear the sounds he made.

After that, they both tried to sleep. They faded in and out on each other until Junkrat finally did doze off and Roadhog kept watch until his eyes closed, too.

The gentle click of the door being tested snapped them both awake. They tilted their heads to see the doorknob jiggle. There was a moment of silence where both junkers freed an arm to reach to each side for one of their weapons. Then, whoever was outside tried to kick the door in. There was a splintering sound, but the bed barely shook and certainly didn’t move. A scatter gun and a frag cannon were aimed at it from the inside. They heard muffled voices and footsteps and then an explosion. Someone had laid hands on the bike.

That was all it took. In a heartbeat, the junkers were up. The beds were tossed aside and their gear was grabbed up. Roadhog wrenched the door open and they burst out into the dark parking lot. A little bit of the bike was on fire. Everyone near it was either dead or blasted too full of shrapnel to matter. There might’ve been four bodies there or just two that were really messed up. There was one still up and intact. It was a tall guy in a dark outfit. He ran for it but the riptire caught him before he made it back to his car.

“Time to go.” The junkers packed up their stuff and shot off again. Hopefully, Granny CokeBottle Glasses wouldn’t be able to describe them and the door had clearly been forced from the outside, so they really were the victims here. And the mess was all in front of the next room, so. Let those guests explain what had happened in their parking spot.

They found an all night coffee place and went in to discuss the situation. The decor was all cartoon alligators and little bird sidekicks. It was cute. They also carried boba which cheered up Junkrat no end. He hadn’t had any since they left the coast.

“Do we know those guys?” he said around the straw, jerking a thumb back towards the hotel. “They weren’t Gnawers. Who have we pissed off recently?”

“Albrecht,” Roadhog said. “Whoever killed him cared enough to nail him to a chair and frame us for it. Might care enough to track us through the sticks.”

“For what though?” Junkrat tapped a metal finger on the table, speeding up as he thought about it. He gasped as he something occurred to him and a boba pearl fell out of his mouth. “Moosehead!” He dove for the tablet and started tapping at it. Roadhog leaned over to see him searching up any news on the coastal city they had left behind. There was no mention of any explosions or mansions destroyed.

“Big boss isn’t back yet,” Junkrat mused.

“Friends of the one I tossed?” Roadhog asked. “It’s not like at home where people tended their own. Everything here is connected. Somehow.”

There was an almost audible *ping* as Junkrat lit up again.

“That’s why,” he said. “That’s why! The stooge! The stooge we put up in that hotel.”

“Put up with nails,” Roadhog chuckled. Junkrat giggled too.

“He said that the boss didn’t need to be there to run the place, right?” Junkrat said. When his memory had all cylinders firing, he was amazing. “So who else do we know that can be in two places at once?” He had to flip through some files to find the image of the King of Diamonds so he could gesture wildly at it.

“Diamonds is the big boss?” Roadhog thought about it. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense. If he was enough of a head honcho to be involved in backdoor government and military deals, why would he waste his time with a nobody like Albrecht? But if there was more than one of him… Maybe the Blakes weren’t the only twins pretending to be each other. Maybe one worked globally and the other managed smaller potatoes at home. But why them? What would Diamonds know about them? If he had been behind setting them up at Albrecht’s, why had he let them leave after handing over the Other Blake?

Or was she the question? Maybe Diamonds wanted answers about what had happened at Bluethorn. Maybe he really hadn’t been there in the flesh. Or at least the one on TV hadn’t.

“Easiest way to find out might be to let them catch us,” Roadhog said aloud. Junkrat sniggered. They had been caught before, but never for long.

“Nah,” they both agreed.

Chapter Text

There was nothing like pursuit to put things in perspective. If the King of Diamonds really was involved with Albrecht, (and Roadhog still wasn’t sure how likely that was) then they had to be careful, and they had to keep moving. They were able to keep track of their criminal status on the tablet. Their records were still clean, but the tablet itself was under scrutiny now. It was the only thing with them that wasn’t theirs. They didn’t know it inside and out like they did their other gear.

They pondered the pros and cons of keeping track of it versus it being used to keep track of them. It had come from Marlowe or the Gnawers or some omnic pretending to be one or whatever. Being caught up with meant they would have someone to question, so Roadhog voted they keep it. Junkrat was willing to oblige.

He put the goggles on and started scribbling down whatever notes he could see scrolling across it. It was too hard to make sense of in the two seconds it took to go across the lenses and vanish. Roadhog looked over his shoulder and there were lots of acronyms and what looked like digital shorthand. He didn’t know if Junkrat was writing it down as he saw it, or if it was his own version. Either way, it didn’t make a lot of sense to Roadhog.

They hung out and planned until the café closed and then drove until they needed to refuel. They slept at another rest stop. Trucks came and went all night so they both stayed on guard. That meant they didn’t sleep very well, but it was fine. Junkrat managed to ‘accidently’ knock the security camera sideways and then there was no reason in the world not to pop the lock on the vending machine. He kept them a steady supply of caffeine and snack cakes.  They had already gone before any clean up staff arrived.

It was still early morning when they passed a farmer’s market. Roadhog whipped into the parking lot and all but scampered to pay their way in. Junkrat was mystified, but went along with it. They looked out of place, but no one said anything. Plenty of people weren’t wearing shirts besides them. There was kettle corn being made somewhere nearby. Maybe it was that smell that had lured Roadhog in.

Roadhog bee-lined to a row of crates that were open from the top. They were full of chicks. Little black and yellow ones, fluffy fawn-colored ones, and solid yellow fluffballs all ran in and out of his palms. Something about that reminded Junkrat of Retton, and something about that made him angry.

He looked around for any omnics and there were a few, but none of the big mining models. He almost preferred the monstrous versions, he decided. They didn’t pretend to be human and they were properly grateful to the humans who took care of them. Junkrat gave himself a quick smack to knock that Gnawer thought out of his head.

Seven by nine, he thought. All of them. They were welcome to each other. They probably knew it and didn’t even care. Maybe it suited them to be weak, sick, and angry, but not enough to leave.

He might’ve gone on for longer, but he was distracted by a demonstration of a log-splitter blaring to life a few stands over. That was what a machine should be, he thought. No face, no voice, just a job to do. An eek made him look back at Roadhog. Roadhog had moved to the bin of rabbits and had been bitten. The squeal was from the woman selling them. She apologized and scolded in the same breath.

The sign clearly said that the rabbits bit, she was very sorry, but couldn’t he read? She was offering him a wet wipe or a band-aid. Roadhog just chuckled at her and went on. Since he wasn’t bothered, Junkrat wasn’t either. They walked past some antique firearms, the log-splitter, and several booths of produce. There were signs to say what regions the food had been grown in. Junkrat didn’t see any from Snakebite Mountain. Maybe their water was still feared this far out.

They saw honey in jars like the one they had traded for in Burly Hollow. It wasn’t the same old man, though. There were eggs and grown chickens and an especially hostile goose with a ‘Make an Offer’ sign on its cage.

It wasn’t until they moved into the hardware section, that Junkrat saw why Roadhog had come. Antique and vintage car parts and tools were on both sides of the aisle. Junkrat didn’t know what all of them were, but was full of ideas on what he could make from them. Roadhog headed straight for a table loaded down with greasy metal and leather. As much fun as it was to watch the big man wheel and deal, Junkrat’s attention was drawn away again.

There was a militant table squeezed in with all the parts and metal. There were old guns and new, some mortars, and the part that made him tingle was the old Crisis era omnic parts jury rigged to be used as weapons. Or not weapons. There was an old mobile energy barrier shield that had been set up to be a snow plow. He ignored the stink-eye he was getting from the vendor and went to take a closer look.

It was rigged to be remote controlled, he saw. You mounted it on the front of your rig and activated it when you needed it. For snow, the sign said. Then again, the plasma beam was labeled for farm use. Junkrat was willing to bet the shield-plow would work just fine on sand, or rubble, slow-witted deer, or bodies of any kind, flesh or metal. Mounted on the front of the bike, they could tear through road blocks of all kinds.
 
That might be worth having. Not buying, he thought, eyeing the price. The vendor looked like he had been switched at birth with a Junker somewhere. Maybe he could be reasoned with. Junkrat toyed with the pin of the grenade in his pocket. A hand too big to belong to anyone but Roadhog landed on his shoulder. It didn’t even startle him. Roadhog had made his bargain with the old biker man and had an armload of stuff. Junkrat blinked at his haul and processed that it could all be made into new shoulder armor. His last set had been blown up at Albrecht’s. That left him with brief vision of glass and splinters and blood.

“Whatcha thinking?” Roadhog asked and he refocused. Roadhog was there, whole and unbloodied. The market moved on around them. A few people glanced their way, but went about their business. Only one was pointing. That one was talking to someone. The whole world clicked back into place like a joint into a socket.

“Breakfast!” Junkrat said with a grin. He grabbed Roadhog’s arm and towed him around the corner. They went past the fried pie stand and the home made doughnut table. Roadhog could tell Junkrat was moving to keep an eye on something and didn’t ask any questions. He just stepped up to block any view or shot of Junkrat from that direction. There was a brief pause at the kettle corn booth where Junkrat squinted at the gigantic machine popper for a moment. He snapped out of it and lead the way through the crowd again.

They went in a circle to where there was a canopy with rows of hay bales under it. It put them on the other side of the snow plow table and gave them a view of anyone who might’ve been trying to find them.

“Sit tight,” Junkrat said and scuttled off. Roadhog watched him go with a sinking feeling, but got back to business. He kept a sharp eye out while he bundled his new gear up over his shoulder for quick carrying. He didn’t see what had caught Junkrat’s eye yet. And there was Junkrat back again. He was wild-eyed and out of breath, not that that was very unusual. He had gone back to the kettle corn booth, because he handed a bag to Roadhog, plus an apple dumpling covered with powdered sugar. He had a wedge of honeyed cornbread for himself. How had he managed to get all that so quickly with all the lines? He plopped down to gnaw on it, eyes quick over the crowd.

Roadhog ate the dumpling and they both munched the kettle corn while they waited. They both saw the guy as soon as he came around the corner. He was heading over to the booth where Roadhog had bought his stuff. Junkrat narrated what they must be saying under his breath and Roadhog’s shoulders hitched as he tried not to laugh. The biker man at the booth didn’t know they had doubled back around so he pointed off in the direction they had gone. The guy started off that way, and Junkrat produced a detonator with a flourish.

“Uh-oh,” Roadhog said, but he was more amused than dismayed.

“Wind is right,” Junkrat said cheerily. “Oil is hot.” He hit the button and whatever he had done to the giant kettle corn popper blew. Pieces of metal, hot oil, and scalding kernels went everywhere. It knocked over stands and rained burning misery over the whole area. Their canopy kept them safe, but people were screaming and trying to get away from it all. Their distant Junker cousin got a splash over his back and had crashed into his own table, knocking it over. In all the confusion, Junkrat hopped up and headed over. He picked up the snow plow device he had admired and dodged the mean goose, who was no more pleased to be pelted with hot popcorn than it was anything else. He and Roadhog made quick, quiet tracks for the parking lot.

Chapter Text

They waited around just long enough to be sure that no one was after them and went on. They found another bridge over another river (or maybe the same one. It was hard to tell.) and pulled underneath to stay out of sight for a little while longer. It was a nice overhang that had been under water enough times to smooth it out, but was high and dry now. They set up a little temporary camp and settled in to get some work done.

It was muggier now that the sun was up and burning off the last bits of the fog. It was entirely too still. Even the river ran silent here. The air was heavy and quiet. Junkrat did his best to fill it with chatter about how he had seen the giant kettle corn popper and the hot oil and the pressurized spinner and had known right away where to toss a quick explosive. Roadhog wondered if the Albrecht explosion had given him the idea, even if he didn’t realize it, but nodded and grunted as the story went on.

Roadhog was working on his new armor. The equipment he had picked up was a little stiff from being brand new, but they would work just fine. Junkrat was working on the shield-plow. You could change its shape a little, curve it like so and raise and lower it like a regular snow plow. He was rigging it up to the front of the motorcycle as he talked.

It was nowhere as hot as home had been, but the humidity had sweat shining on both of them before Roadhog stood up from his work. Junkrat grinned and waited for him to put on the gear, but he just packed it away for later. The distraction made him lose track of the finer points of where to stash an explosion to get the most boom for your buck, so he looked around to see what he had been talking about.

On the far side of the river, on the underside of the bridge, there was a big white X painted over the other graffiti. He had seen that before. A quick scan of their side didn’t show any more Xs, so they weren’t in that territory. It made him think of doughnuts for some reason.

“Hey,” he said. “You want sweets?”

“Tagliatelle,” Roadhog said. He was tapping on the tablet. Junkrat scrunched his face up as he tried to decide if that was a real word. Roadhog chuckled. “You’ll see.”

They went down to the river for a quick rinse in the river water.  The bottom was uneven and slippery with rocks so Junkrat fell all over the place, hanging on to Roadhog to keep upright. Roadhog dunked him just to hear the gurgling and then scooped him up to scrub him clean. There was a lot of sputtering and spitting, but Junkrat settled down to have his head rubbed. When Roadhog put him down to scrub handfuls of water all over himself, Junkrat tried to help. He still had trouble standing up with his prosthetic getting caught or slipping on the rocks. For every soothing rub across Roadhog’s back, there was a yipe and a grab.

It took awhile, but it was nice to get the sweat off and helped them cool down. and then Roadhog was going through their things to find some clothes. Junkrat had never bothered to clean the jeans he had worn on the ferris wheel, but it wasn’t the worst state his pants had ever been in so, he squirmed into them anyway. The only thing that bothered him was that it made the humidity feel that much worse.

Roadhog put on a shirt and tossed him the one he had stolen from the biker in the hotel. It still smelled like strawberry sauce and Junkrat made a face at how it clung to his skin. It was too sticky to be wearing all these clothes. Roadhog gave him the trucker’s cap he had and took Junkrat’s crossbones cap for himself. The tablet had showed him find a restaurant that served the stuff he wanted and they got on the road again.

It wasn’t a fancy place and less than an hour away. It had booths and paper placemats and smelled like buttery garlic heaven. There was pizza and calzones, but the back page of the menu had stuff Junkrat had never heard of. Roadhog ordered them both tagliatelle with shrimp and heirloom tomatoes, garlic knots, and Pinot Gris. Junkrat liked shrimp. They reminded him of the bugs he caught and ate as a kid, only not as crunchy. They ate until they couldn’t move and then ordered for cannolis for dessert.

Being stuffed to the gills was a novelty that hadn’t worn off. They staggered out of the restaurant and found that the humidity was worse, but the sky had turned angry. They stopped at the first For Sale sign they found. The realtor lock was easy to get off and they lurched inside. The power was on so the water probably was too, but they didn’t care. They found a comfy room and used their duffles as pillows. Too full to even booby trap the doors, Junkrat flopped backwards on the pile. Roadhog eased down beside him with a sigh.

They both luxuriated in full stomachs, stretching and sighing. After awhile, Junkrat reached over for Roadhog’s hand. He pulled it over to his chest and examined the set of rings. Roadhog allowed it. Somewhere outside, it had started to rain. In the silence of the empty house, they could hear it pattering on the windows. The motorcycle was under the carport, so it would be fine.

“That’s the real one, right?” Junkrat asked suddenly. He tapped the ring that the letter F on it. Roadhog stared at him while the question sank in. “The one from before.”

“Which before?” Roadhog asked. It was all he could say. He was stunned that Junkrat had noticed the difference in the rings. Roadhog himself hadn’t given it any thought in years. Since before he had even met Junkrat. He had never talked about it. He hadn’t even thought about it. It was like a splinter under a fingernail. He had been so careful not to touch that memory that it had grown over and stopped hurting. He looked at the ring. It was just as scarred and tarnished as the rest between Junkrat’s fingers. He had never favored it. He barely remembered any face or voice to go with it. It was a blur, long ago and far away and buried very, very deep.

How had Junkrat known it was different? He was sharp, it was true. Even at his most maniacal, his gears were always spinning. Roadhog turned his hand and gathered up Junkrat’s flash fingers.

“You want one?” he heard himself ask. He let all the other potential meanings and translations smudge into each other until they were just background noise for the question. Junkrat’s bright eyes flicked from the hand to his mask. A twitch of a smile hit his face. He stretched out his fingers to line them up with Roadhog’s.

“I want four,” he said.

Chapter Text

The night passed in a warm, overfed blur. Roadhog was awake for a lot of it, thinking. Not about anything in particular. Just processing. Four rings. All right. Junkrat got up twice to use the plumbing and it turned out there was only enough water in the pipes to flush once. Good to know.

It was still raining when the sun came up. They left the bathroom in a state that would traumatize whoever the realtor brought to show the house to next and were on their way. Junkrat kept stealing glances at him and Roadhog felt like he was waiting to hear something. He wasn’t sure what. After working through it himself, he didn’t have anything to say. It was all put away where it needed to be, where it would come to him when he was ready for it.

The rain didn’t bother him through the mask and it felt pretty good after the mugginess of yesterday. Junkrat got tired of it in his eyes, because he struggled into the goggles. They had both shed their civilian clothes from yesterday and were back in their usual gear. Roadhog hadn’t missed Junkrat’s glee to see him wearing his new armor. The roads were empty, which made Roadhog wonder what day it was. In a bigger city, there should be more people out and about. The last time they had a road to themselves, a bridge had blown up under them.

They were on solid ground now. It was broad daylight. A memory popped up of the story he had told Junkrat, of the figures that ran alongside a bike in the empty wastes. There was nothing like that around here and of course there wasn’t. He thought of the flyer Junkrat had picked up that had brought the story out and wondered it there was anything like open this time of year to take him to. Probably not. And it would be pointless. Probably.

The rain hissed under their tires. It soaked through the lower legs of his pants. It was nice. Junkrat’s nearest hand drummed on the edge of the side car. One of the things Roadhog had worked through during the night was the practicality of putting rings on a hand that could be blown to smithereens at any time. The fact was that anything could be blown to bits at any time and the odds of it being anything meaningful were low. Unless he made it meaningful. They were alive now and that was what mattered.

There was a car now, behind them. Just fast enough to keep in sight. More goons? Another one, an old model truck, was coming the other way. More headlights through the rain. That was to be expected, but alertness sang to life up his spine. Junkrat noticed it too. His head swiveled to follow the truck as it passed by and then he focused on the car behind them. It had tinted windows, but as soon as the driver saw that he was staring straight at them, it sped up. Junkrat laughed and reached for the grenade launcher. Roadhog laughed too, and accelerated.

The truck swerved across the median in an arc. The rain had softened the ground, and there was a spray of mud and torn grass. It came barreling back around and t-boned the car across the lane. Junkrat gaped, partly in surprise, but probably a little disappointment too. Roadhog didn’t stop and they left the wreck behind them quickly. They took the first exit they got to and went into the fuel station there. There was an eating area with a few booths and they sat down where they could see the parking lot.

“Ok,” Junkrat said, chewing on a coffee swizzle stick that had been left there. “What was that?”

“Wasn’t luck,” Roadhog said.

“Not even close,” Junkrat agreed. “Whoever that was, they were after us. And whoever the others were, they were after them.”

“We knew we were being followed,” Roadhog said. Stating the obvious usually only egged Junkrat on.

“Yeah, but who stalks the stalker?” Junkrat said, waving his arms. The cashier was looking at them, probably wondering if they were going to order something or hold the place up. “And are they after them, or after us, or after them because they’re after us, or after us to get to them, or-“

The tablet started to beep. They both glared at the pocket it was in, but then Roadhog grumbled and pulled it back out.

“It was them, wasn’t it?” Junkrat said. His eyebrows crashed down. “Gnawers. Shoulda known from the old truck. What do they want now?”

“They want to meet,” said Roadhog. He held up the screen. It was a reservation confirmation for a chain hotel. A few taps got them directions. It was on their way, which was suspicious, but a few hours out.

“Blake’s dead,” Junkrat said, too loudly. The cashier looked over again. “We did our part.”

“Maybe it’s not them,” Roadhog said. “Maybe it’s Albrecht’s friends.”

“What do they want?” Junkrat said. “He’s the one that owed them, and he’s the one that paid.”

“Could be a trap,” Roadhog said. The hotel was already paid for. All they had to do was check in. Junkrat cackled, slapping his hands together with glee.

“Trap for who?” he said. “We’ve always been hunted by someone, but they’ve never caught anyone like us.” Roadhog chuckled too. There was that. They would put up more of a fight than Albrecht had. It was his laugh that was the last straw for the cashier.

“All right, guys,” she said. “You’re freaking people out. Are you gonna eat or what?”

“No,” they both said. Junkrat unfolded from the booth like a marionette from hell to tower over her. Roadhog rose like a mountain behind him.

“Pity,” Junkrat said, flicking the sign that said the cashiers didn’t have access to the safe. She looked alarmed for a whole two seconds before she decided they were putting her on. She rolled her eyes and went back to the counter with a muttered “whatever”.

“Remember that video?” Junkrat asked on the way out the door. “About the animals? The one with the island that didn’t have any snakes and so the birds didn’t know to be afraid when snakes showed up? And now there’s no birds left?”

“Invasive predators,” Roadhog agreed. It was still drizzling outside, but more mist than rain. “That’s us.”

“No natural enemies has made them soft,” Junkrat pretended to complain. He dug out some of his homemade napalm and left it in the ash tray between the fuel dispensers. A stray cigarette butt would make that very interesting. Roadhog glanced over to make sure the cashier wasn’t calling to report them. He would put a hook straight through the pane glass and drag her out into the parking lot for that. Luckily for her, she was flipping through a magazine at her station and paying no attention to them. Like a bird that didn’t know its natural enemy when she saw it. Junkrat was right. Enough instinct hammering around to make her leery, but not enough to make her afraid.

It made him snort, half amusement, other half annoyance. Keeping on the down low was fine for awhile, but he might actually miss being feared. Once they hit the factory, things would get back to normal. Then again, if whoever was renting rooms for them wanted trouble, things would be back to normal by tonight. Junkrat had his goggles back on, so they hit the road and went on their way.

They stopped at a few historical markers on the way, just to pass the time. Lot of old battlefields and graveyards worn to nubs from the old, old days. A few of them were from the Crisis, but not as many. They found a tattoo parlor called The Rat’s Nest and Junkrat got a picture posing in front of the neon rat on the sign. They ate lunch at a BBQ place decorated with cleaver waving pigs. Roadhog only wanted the sides and desserts and Junkrat got the sauce all over himself.

When they finally got to the hotel, it was nondescript. It was a chain and therefore cookie cutter like a hundred others. It had a few people checked in, but it was quiet when they pulled up and swept in. On high alert for any ambush, it took the two of them a beat too long to realize that the desk clerk didn’t ask any questions and just scanned the code on the tablet, or that his eyes were a sickly shade of blue.

“Hey,” Roadhog said. “What’s going on?”

“Pool’s open ’til 9,” the clerk said. “Complimentary breakfast at 6.” And that was that.

Their room was reached from the outside. It was ground level and two down from the lobby. They checked it carefully before approaching the door. Junkrat mined the neighboring doors just to be safe. Once inside, he searched the place top to bottom for any traps or bugs or any kind of threat. He didn’t find a one. He boobytrapped the door and window and the ceiling vent, just in case. After that, he stripped the bed down to look for anything that their weight might set off. He checked the taps on the sink and shower and carefully examined the toilet. He checked the phone and the tv remote and the lamps and the air conditioner and the Bible in the night stand drawer. Roadhog sat on the battered bed and watched him get to it.

Once satisfied that there was nothing there, Junkrat wired the place up with his own explosives. Anyone bursting in on them would be the one that got a surprise, and probably lose large chunks of their anatomy in the process. When that was done, he paced, eyes flitting from corner to corner. He was ready for anything and itching to reduce anyone who tried to double cross them to wet shreds.

The tv flickered on and they both froze. It jumped like it couldn’t connect the cable and then whited out into static. An image began to bleed through and when it settled into a grainy, skipping connection, It was a familiar face fizzling out of it.

“Which one are you supposed to be?” Junkrat asked, sitting down in a huff in front of the screen. “Marlowe or the Other One?”

“That’s gonna stay my secret for a while,” the woman said. She looked exactly like the Other Blake, cyber eye and all. The only differences were the exhaustion and grief lines on her face.

“You let her die for you,” Roadhog said.

Let,” said the New Blake with a sneer. “Just like I let her cut off two perfectly good arms and dig out a fairly servicable eye?” That made the Junkers tilt their heads and got a soft grunt from Roadhog. “No. Those were all her ideas.”

“You’ve been the one running interference for us,” Junkrat said, narrow face scrunching. “Why? What do you want?”

“I want you to make it to Statelos Industries,” she said.

“Why? You don’t have any people there? I thought you could get anywhere.”

“But not everywhere. They don’t hire from outside,” she said. “The omnics inside are fettered. No new information coming in or out. We haven’t been able to contact them or hack them. They might be more empty shells.”

“You want us to blow them all up for you,” Junkrat said. “Take them out and take the blame. Seems to me we had another job a lot like that not long ago. Didn’t end well for anyone.” He shuddered a little, eyes going fiery. “Especially the one who hired us.”

“I’ve been told since I was child,” said the New Blake. “That if you need help, it’ll do no good to yell for it. You have to yell “Fire!” to get people to come running. I do need help. And you two are fire in the flesh.”

“And if we say no just to spite you?”

“Back to Plan A,” she said with a shrug. “I just figured since you were going that way already, I could smooth the trail a little bit.”

“Like how?”

“Room and board the whole way. Jail break if it comes to that.”

“Why would you go to all this trouble if you could do it yourself?”

“Didn’t Yeager tell you? The mountain looks after her own. As long as you serve our purpose, you’re considered some of our own.”

“Which brings us back to what happens to your own,” Junkrat glowered, shoulders hunching. “It’s called what? Acceptable losses?”

“My sister is dead,” this Blake said. “My other sister is locked away. They can’t legally take my nieces and nephews from her unless they can declare her unfit and the paperwork is in process. We’re stopping it and misplacing it every chance we get. We have a family ready to take them in if the do approve taking them. They’ll take them straight home. Then we can focus on getting Rumi back.”

“You know all that already,” Roadhog said. The screen broke up and the first few words were garbled

“- people all over. I have some in housekeeping here and a few more at the diner down the street, so you’ll get food sent over once the dinner rush is done. Diamonds ‘joked’ that he would have to nuke the mountain to get rid of us all. That wouldn’t work. We’re like rats and roaches. We’re everywhere. He’s managed to keep us out of his precious building, but only by making it impossible for anyone to get in.”

“Unless they’re us,” Junkrat said.

“Only if you were going to anyway,” she said it casually, like they were talking about a store run. The whole screen fizzled again and she made an annoyed sound. “Gotta go.” The screen went white and then black. Junkrat inhaled hard through his nose and then blew it all back out like a raspberry. He swore quietly under his breath, just a chain of every horrible word he knew. It got steadily louder and he got up and paced the room. Roadhog watched him go back and forth a few times.

“We don’t belong to them,” he finally said and Junkrat whipped around.

“Too right,” he said, but hearing it seemed to calm him.

“I only belong to one person,” Roadhog said to finish the job, and sure enough, Junkrat melted, tension bleeding out of him. When Roadhog reached to rub his head, he buried his face in the palm and mumbled something that sounded a lot like “Me too” into it.

Chapter Text

Since they had the room for awhile, they settled in a little. Junkrat went to get the mines off the neighboring doors to keep from getting too much attention. They were about as safe and sound as it was possible to be in a hotel room. They settled in to watch tv. Roadhog wanted to see the news and make sure there was nothing about them in it still.

There was more on the recovery of the Bluethorn, but it wasn’t even the first story anymore. Junkrat took the remote and played a game of flicking through channels to see what random sentences he could make from the dialogue. It was all random but there were a few funny sentences that came out of it. Two of them were actually a little dirty to Junkrat’s delight.

The sudden appearance of the King of Diamonds ruined his amusement. It was just a photo still of him in the corner of a news broadcast, but it still made Junkrat’s shoulders hunch and his teeth grind. He would’ve flicked the channel away if Roadhog hadn’t stopped him. Roadhog rubbed up his tensed spine to his neck and back to make up for it and he only grumbled a little when Roadhog turned the sound up. Apparently Diamonds was planning on taking legal action for wrongful detainment and something about profits lost while he wasn’t able to run his business.

“S’posed to be dead,” Junkrat snarled. “Should be spread so thin that you couldn’t make paste out of his dust.”

“I’m pretty sure the one that was there is,” Roadhog said, still rubbing. “I think the Blakes were had, and there’s more than one of him running around too.” The news switched to a story about a decorated war hero that was killed in a car accident. Both Junkers perked up, remembering the collision they had seen earlier. There weren’t many details, just a picture of a man in his military dress uniform and that he was declared dead at the scene of the crash.

“Maybe he heard what happened to his sniper buddy,” Junkrat muttered, collapsing back into his black hatred, but this time the bared teeth were a grin. He stabbed a finger at the picture. “Hang you over a fence right beside him.”

Roadhog looked over carefully at that. He didn’t want to set Junkrat off on another breakdown about him being shot. He had hoped it had been shoved into whatever pit everything else Junkrat forgot disappeared to, but that one was still lurking about. He wrapped his hand around Junkrat’s whole head and scratched behind both ears.

Junkrat’s face squinched up like he wasn’t ready to let go of his homicidal rage, but it just felt too good not to. Roadhog rubbed until the grimace melted into a goofy expression and the grumble became a happy little “mmm”. He leaned over and Roadhog pulled him the rest of the way into his lap.

Relaxed, Junkrat’s whole being seemed to change. He reminded Roadhog of artwork again, like some post-apocalyptic pieta sprawled out against him. Roadhog thumbed over the bare torso with his free hand, appreciating the lanky musculature in spite of himself. Hadn’t he had a whole internal conversation about how Junkrat wasn’t beautiful or sweet? Roadhog wasn’t sappy in love, he was just- And then he had to stop because he wasn’t sure what he was.

Junkrat was his. That, he had accepted some time ago. He was Junkrat’s. That was just the way it was. Fifty-fifty. Like they had agreed. It made sense. Didn’t it? If that made sense, then the arch of Junkrat’s spine as he lifted up unto the caress was just as natural. The urge to lick over the lines his fingers were tracing was perfectly reasonable.

“Fucking-“ he started to growl, but then gave up mid-insult. “What have you done to me?”

“Pretty sure you’re doing it to me,” Junkrat wheezed happily without even opening his eyes. He was hard, Roadhog noticed, but not making any move to do anything about it or even to nudge Roadhog in that direction. Roadhog sighed and grumbled, but didn’t let up. It was a lovely sight, and a lazy, inch by inch handjob just made it sweeter.

They cleaned up and forgot about the TV for a little while. True to Blake’s word, a delivery kid showed up about 7:30 with bags of takeout. They dropped it off with a mumbled “Hey. Here.” and then scuttled off. It looked like a collection of everything that was left at the end of the day. Probably taken off plates and saved rather than thrown away. The Gnawers were scavengers after all.

There were a lot of french fries in varying degrees of warmth. There were what looked like grilled pimento cheese sandwiches and onion rings and half of a tuna melt. A styrofoam container held a soggy piece of pecan pie and there were two cans of Coke. It didn’t compare to the tagliatelle from before, but it wasn’t bad either. They split it up and chowed down, filling up the cans from the sink when they were still thirsty.

It wasn’t long after that they got a call from the front office. It was just dark enough that the streetlights in the parking lot had turned in. They didn’t pick up right away, but Roadhog reached over to hit the speaker button.

“Hey,” the voice said, which was apparently the Gnawer standard greeting. “Heads up. Two of them.” Then they hung up. The Junkers sprang into action. They shoved things over, turned the lights out and sank into position, just as a shadow appeared on their blinds. Roadhog unlocked the door so it wouldn’t be damaged when the door was forced. No sense ruining the lock this early in the evening.

The quietest way to get in was probably a sharp kick, but they were both surprised when a laser light appeared and quickly cut a hole around the whole doorknob and lock system. It only made a sizzling sound and a burning smell and then there was a rectangle cut out of the door and the rest swung inwards.

It was an omnic that came in, so much smaller and daintier than Hatfield and Yeager that it seemed silly for a moment. It was a shiny model, maybe 5’6 and slender, with pale yellow running lights. It was wearing a suit. Its eyes did something and it started to scan the room. Heat vision probably. It would see them in the dark in under a second. The person behind it looked human, in another suit. Junkrat didn’t wait to see what that one would do.

He lunged and hit the door. It swung backwards hard, hitting the human since it didn’t have a catch to stop it anymore. The omnic turned lightning fast, some weapon flaring to life in its hand. Then, the hand and the whole arm it was attached to was ripped off and flung across the room. Junkrat kept going out the door, hitting the second guy even harder and they both went rolling into the parking lot.

Roadhog grabbed the omnic by the head and hip as soon as he threw the arm. He crunched both handfuls backwards, snapping its spine. Its remaining arm lashed out, stabbing into Roadhog’s leg. Roadhog snarled and twisted his grip, tearing the omnic in half. It kept stabbing, everywhere it could reach and he grabbed its other arm to fling it down. He smashed its face in with his heel, still twisting the arm until it came off too.

Outside, Junkrat had tackled the second man down and sank his teeth in the throat. The second was human enough to scream and bleed, so probably not an omnic. He jerked his mouthful free and spat it back in the man’s face. He grabbed the man by the neck and slammed his mechanical knee into the stomach over and over. He could feel the air he was forcing out bubbling under his fingers, and tightened his grip.

He didn’t know this guy. Or if he did, surprise and mortal terror had altered his face too much to be recognizable. Time to alter it some more. He slammed the heel of his hand into the guy’s nose with one hand and felt it crunch. He let go of the neck to drive both of his thumbs into the eye sockets and ripped.

A gun was being waved around somewhere and it fired close enough to Junkrat’s ear to make him jerk. He snarled and grabbed the wrist and used the guy’s own arm and gun to pound his face to mush with. The sound of wheels on cement made him turn toward a new attack, but the only thing coming was a cleaning lady and a laundry cart. She didn’t have the Gnawer eyes, but she stopped the cart by their door and waited.

Roadhog appeared at the door with the pieces of the omnic. He and the cleaning lady traded impassive looks and then he dumped the parts in the cart. Junkrat dragged his body over and dumped it in too. Without a word, the cleaning lady starting pushing the cart away down the sidewalk. It took a little more effort with two bodies in it.

“You all right?” Junkrat asked, noticing the blood all over Roadhog. Omnics didn’t bleed. Roadhog grunted and went back inside. Junkrat hurried after. “Roadie?” he insisted.

“Fine,” Roadhog said. He had been stabbed several times and it hurt, but a canister had healed the worst of it. He flopped back down with a hiss. Junkrat looked him over, saw the punctures in his clothes, and the healed skin underneath. He looked around for another canister to offer Roadhog but didn’t see one immediately, which lit a new spark of panic in his stomach.

“Ok,” he said quietly, then a little louder. “Ok. We stay here until we restock everything. If Blake wants to help us along, she can start with that.” He raised his voice even more, as if he thought Blake was listening.

“You’re the boss,” Roadhog said. “Fix the door.”

Junkrat tried to glare. If he was the boss, he should be the one giving orders. But. Roadie wasn’t feeling up to some quick carpentry. He hadn’t even checked to see if Junkrat was injured. And I’m not, Junkrat thought. He checked his reflection in the wall-mounted mirror and he had blood over the bottom half of his face and spattered on his chest, but it wasn’t his. His fists were a little sore from busting the guy’s cheek and jawbones, but he was fine.

“Yeah, ok,” he said. “Then we’ll clean up.” He started over to see what he could nail the door back together with. “I’ll take care of it. I’ll take care of you.” His voice had dropped back to a distracted mumble as he got back to work.

Roadhog mumbled something back and then rolled over away from him. He had kept a piece of the omnic, one of the internal pieces. It had fallen out when he had picked it back up after crushing its skull. It was heavy and solid and a perfect circle. It was much too small for Roadhog to get a finger into, but it might fit Junkrat after he worked on it a little. He rubbed it with his thumb, smudging the finish. It wasn’t as shiny as the outside metal had been and even if it had been, it wouldn’t stay that way long.

Junkrat was hammering away at the door now. Hopefully, the Gnawers had put them up away from the other tenants and no one would come to check on the commotion. No one had shown up during the fight except for the laundry lady. Roadhog turned the piece between his fingers. He would have to keep it out of sight until it was finished. Junkrat didn’t have a lot of respect for other peoples’ property and had long sense lost his fear of what Roadhog might do to him.

It felt weird to have something to hide from Junkrat now. It was silly. It felt weird to feel silly. This wasn’t like him. He was going to do it, of course. He might not feel right again until it was done. He had to. He wanted to.

“Done!” shrilled out right in his ear, and he palmed the piece to slip into his pocket before anyone could see it. Junkrat leaned over him. He had juryrigged the door shut, so they would probably have a time getting out of it in the morning. Breakfast was at 6. His thoughts were everywhere and he didn’t like it. He checked Junkrat for injuries and apart from the mess, he looked ok. He could see Junkrat’s back in the mirror and no damage there either. Good.

Something about hotel mirrors made him think of their first time and one of Junkrat’s earlier suggestions.

“Come on, big guy,” Junkrat was saying. “Go shower. I’ll stand guard.” The odds of a second attack were pretty low, especially with the Gnawer staff on the look out for them. But still. They hadn’t lived this long by being careless.

“Trap the place up,” Roadhog heard himself say. “So you can come with. And fuck me in front of the mirror.”

He didn’t know if Junkrat remembered offering to do that (how long ago? Felt like months.) but the thought made his jaw drop and his eyes cross.

“Yeah,” he said. “Good idea.”

“One of yours,” Roadhog said, getting up.

“Always knew I was a genius,” Junkrat skittered between rushing in with him and scampering over to spread the bombs thick enough that they didn’t need to worry about another interruption. Roadhog laughed at that, and broke the spell. Junkrat grabbed up his bag of explosives and started to work.

Roadhog made sure he was too busy to notice which pocket the omnic piece was hidden in and went in to turn on the water. He would have to sew up the gashes in his pants, he thought with a groan. Never a dull moment, he thought and then laughed again.

Chapter Text

Junkrat did a number on the window and door. If anyone so much as tapped it, it would blow them in a wet spray over the whole corridor. He put a Do Not Disturb sign on the doorknob just to protect the innocent passersby and by then, the sound of rushing water had his attention. He pushed the final button that made all the ARMED lights come on and then hurried to the bathroom.

All of Roadhog’s gear was piled on the floor and steam was already fogging the air.

“Safe and sound,” he said. He sat on the commode to pull off his boot and prosthetic. He got a grunt as a response. He left his arm on for balance when he hopped over to the edge of the tub and pulled back the curtain. Roadhog was standing sideways to get as much water on him as possible, and to fit in the tub.

Something about it shorted Junkrat’s brain out. Maybe it was the water running over Roadhog’s sides like it was tracing his outline. Maybe it was how Roadhog’s breathing sounded in the small, wet place. Maybe it was just how fucking beautiful the big man was.

There were scars a-plenty over Roadhog’s skin, but he wasn’t missing any parts. No one had ever been too strong or too sharp for Roadhog. There was nothing starved or sick about him. Every line on his body was a curve of fat or muscle. He had probably never gone hungry unless there really was absolutely nothing to be killed or taken. He was all power and excess, and in the eyes of someone who had grown up with nothing at all, he was the embodiment of having everything. And it was all his.

A huge hand reached for him and he didn’t have to flinch or dodge or fight it off. He could let it wrap around him and lift him up. It didn’t hurt. It could snap him like a dried twig but it wouldn’t. He didn’t have to keep a gun on the big lug’s head to make sure he didn’t try anything. He didn’t even have to keep his arm and leg on. Even now, the enormous fingers were plucking gently at the catches to release the prosthetic and set it aside.

The water was hot and pelted his hair flat at once. He had to close his eyes to keep all the grit and grime from running into them. It wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. Cheap shampoo was rubbed into his hair and the smell of it stung his nose, but the sensation had him humming with pleasure. A thumb dragged across his mouth and then his chin, smearing the blood off. His head was tilted back to rinse the shampoo out and he opened his mouth to gargle out any blood that might still be in his teeth.

It was warm as tea and he gulped it down as big fingers kneaded his hair clean. He opened his eyes to squint into the spray and found Roadhog bent over him. His eyes were hooded and serious. He was close enough that Junkrat could feel his breath on his forehead. A palm full of conditioner was cold for about two seconds before the rubbing warmed it into lather. Another rinse left him laughing and trying to return the favor.

He ran his hand and his other arm over as much of Roadhog as he could reach, spreading soap and hot water in sheets. Even though he had gotten off once today already, the burn of thinking what he was about to get to do was sending heat through his veins.

“You ready?” Roadhog rumbled against his ear, sending goose bumps popping up over him. He nodded, giggles gone breathless. Roadhog lifted him against his side and stepped out of the tub. He didn’t bother with towels or clothes and just took them both naked and wet into the rest of the hotel room. The wall of mines and bombs blinked ominously, but Roadhog didn’t pay them any attention.

Junkrat didn’t remember what he had said to Roadhog back whenever he had said it, but Roadhog seemed to. He got their duffle bag with his free hand and went to the bed. He set Junkrat down and arranged himself in front of the mirror. He handed the bag to Junkrat and then turned his back to the mirror and lay back on the bed.

That’s mine, Junkrat thought. It didn’t matter if this was for him or for Roadhog. Fifty-fifty, he reminded himself. If it was good for Roadie, it would be good for him too. The most feared and ferocious bodyguard in the Outback, more monster than man, and he was stretched out in front of him for the taking.

This wasn’t the first time, of course it wasn’t, he knew what those hands and that body felt like. He had seen it a hundred ways and felt it a thousand more. This still sent tingles through all him. It made his breath shake, but his hand stayed steady. It trailed up one of Roadhog’s thighs, over where that scrapheap had cut him. There wasn’t any mark on the skin, but he had seen the slashes on the pants. It didn’t infuriate him because Roadie had handled it. And it was healed, and the only marks on him were about to be teeth marks.

He licked first because he could press his whole face to the skin. Just rub all over and pant and mouth against it until he got hold with his teeth. He could feel the thighs on either side of him hitch and tremble and could hear Roadhog’s breath catch and heave. Roadie was laying there and letting him do what he liked. Maybe watching the show upside down in the mirror. Oh shit. Junkrat did remember something about that now.

How many hotels had they been in? How many had they done this in? He remembered early on, not the ferris wheel, but after, the bite on his neck, the slick heat pounding between his thighs, and his own slack-jawed expression in the mirror. He groaned and buried his face, tongue everywhere it could reach.

Roadie had done this for him too. Licked and kissed him in places he didn’t know could be treated so gently. Tied him into sweet knots that melted into blissful jelly, and if he could do that back, make Roadie feel that way, or better yet, make Roadie see himself in the mirror being made to feel that way, wouldn’t that be worth just about anything?

His head was as busy as his tongue and it took awhile before he could tell the moan wasn’t coming from him. Good, good, it gave him a thrill just to imagine Roadhog’s face. Junkrat got his hand and elbow in, pulling him wider to get his whole face in there. He knew he was clumsy and there was probably too much slobber, but he was determined and enthusiastic.

Another push with his tongue and another guttural sound from Roadhog. A sucking kiss got Roadhog to squirm and being able to do that much had Junkrat jittering with need to do more. He knew just spit wouldn’t be enough and went fumbling in the bag one-handed until he found the bottle. He replaced his tongue with a slicked finger and moved up to mouth over balls and cock while he worked.

So much heat and wet and noise and he couldn’t lose himself in it because there was more to be done. The best part was still waiting. He only had one hand to work with so he couldn’t really slick himself up and he wasn’t sure if he could do much for Roadie with his arm stump. Now probably wasn’t the best time to spring that on him. Especially if it meant delaying the main event any longer.

“More,” Roadhog said suddenly and it sent a tremor of excitement through every inch of Junkrat.

“Yeah,” he agreed. He straightened up to press a kiss to the tip. He got himself lubed up and was so excited that he wasn’t even tempted to linger. “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

“Yeah,” Roadhog said and Junkrat eased in with a shudder and a noise he wasn’t sure he was the one making. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but the warmth and the silkiness and the way Roadhog moved to take him in.

Not my first, he had said, but as far as he could remember nothing had been as good as this. Maybe it was because it was his. He had never wanted every part of someone before. He had never felt like he could have it. He didn’t even want to kill whoever it was that Roadhog hadn’t “let” before. Roadhog was his now, and if he let Junkrat, then Junkrat was going to make sure that Roadhog didn’t remember anyone else either.

He had to do it right. Couldn’t just jackrabbit away. Control wasn’t his strong suit, but every thrust and slide felt too good to rush or ruin.

Roadhog was watching in the mirror, he realized with a bone-deep thrill. The big man’s head hung over the edge of the bed, but Junkrat could see his eyes in the mirror, which meant he could see Junkrat. Blushing from chest to scalp and dripping sweat, biting his lip, and doing his best to not just lose himself, he wasn’t sure what kind of picture he made. He was starting to feel flickers of something and was determined to hold out. He was going to be the one taking care of Roadhog this time.

But , holy fuck, it was hard. And that made him giggle a little, but he couldn’t waste much breath. He wracked his rattled brain for anything Roadhog had said that he liked and all he could come up with was the memory of Roadhog’s rumble saying “Deeper.”

“Ok,” he whispered back. He tried to position himself to take advantage of his height. He drove in with his hips, trying to hit everything. He felt a jolt go through Roadhog’s body. In the mirror, Roadhog’s eyes squinched shut and his teeth were bared. That was good, right? It had to be. Nothing else in the world was good as this. Roadie had to feel it too, didn’t he?

Junkrat was just making noises now, whines and moans and grunts. He couldn’t get his words together. He wanted to ask what else Roadie needed, what he could do. Maybe if he curled up, he could keep fucking him and get his mouth on his cock. Maybe-

“Jamie,” gasped Roadhog suddenly. One of his hands grabbed the edge of the bed. The other one arched back to clutch at his own hair. It was too fucking beautiful to stand. Junkrat wasn’t going to last and he tried, he tried so hard to stay on track and keep going, but his name in Roadhog’s voice cracking from need- and then Roadhog was sitting up, just a little, just enough to reach out and wrap a hand around his head to make him look- and his face, the face he kept hidden, flushed and dripping, eyes glazed, mouth hanging open- and it tore through Junkrat like lightning and all he could was shake and scream as it poured out of him.

He was panting open-mouthed into Roadhog’s belly when he could think again. The belly was heaving slowly under him as Roadhog got his breath back too. Junkrat’s arm shook as he hefted himself back up. He was a mess. It wasn’t all his. Watching him blow and hopefully feeling it too, must’ve been enough for Roadhog, because they both needed to go straight back in the shower.

“Mate,” he said, and his voice was an awed squeak. Roadhog’s hand reached for him again and pulled him, up through the mess, close enough to kiss.

“So good,” the big man breathed and relief and pleasure washed through Junkrat all over again. Of course it was. He squirmed to get his hand up so he could brush Roadhog’s hair back behind one ear. Maybe he should grow his hair out too, if he could keep it out of the fire. Give Roadie something to play with too.

“Gotta clean up,” he said after a little while. See how responsible he was?

“In a minute,” Roadhog said, still holding him close.

“I can do it,” Junkrat said, even though he wasn’t making any move to get up.

“In a minute,” Roadhog said again.

Chapter Text

Just as Roadhog expected, it took the better part of two hours to get out of the room in the morning. All the bombs had to be disarmed and stowed, and then they had to pry open the nailed shut door. It was worth it for waffles though. The free breakfast at their hotel wasn’t great, but it had a self-serve waffle iron and a selection of single serving cereals and yogurts. There was also a warming pan full of watery scrambled eggs and a basket of half hearted fruit. The waffles were the best option and Roadhog was good at making them.

It didn’t matter if it was cheap batter and a greasy iron. The big man could coax fluffy loveliness with crispy edges out of worse messes than that. He snagged the most spotted of the three bananas in the basket and sliced it on the puddle of batter and crumbled some of the cinnamon cereal up for it. He eased the iron closed and flipped it. Junkrat stood guard while he hovered over the clicking waffle iron, spatula in hand. A few other guests trickled in and out, but none of them wanted to be leered at by Junkrat while they waited in line. They stuck to the offerings across the room.

Junkrat kept the bottle of syrup in hand so no one else could get to it and was prepared to confront anyone who came for the butter. He knew better than to fight over free food in a land of plenty, but Roadhog had to have his back to the door to make the waffles and there was no harm in keeping an eye on things. Especially after last night.

His head was as busy as always, humming with plans. They had to break into a super-secret omnic factory. The King of Diamonds was no slouch with security. The Other Blake had managed to thwart him, but not for keeps. That job was going to fall to them. It’d be worth it to blast the smug look off Diamond or his twin’s face. And if he got his hands on some of the Other Blake’s arm bombs, so much the better. He wondered if the New Blake had bombs in her arms too. From what she had said, she had been the one to lose her arms first and her sister had cut hers off to match. He looked at his own prosthetic while he thought about that.

Digging out an eye would be the hard part, he mused. An eye would have to be seriously fucked up to make digging it out be a good idea. If the Other Blake had done it just because, she was the crazy one. His musings were interrupted by a plate of hot waffles held up under his nose.

“Cheers!” he said and they went to eat. The plan was pretty simple for the moment. They were going to have a restock session while they were in a reasonably safe place. Sure assassins had shown up, but they had been given a heads up and the evidence had been removed and if anyone had complained about the noise, nothing had come of it. Junkrat wanted to put a grenade vest back together. It still made him angry to think of what had happened to the last one, so he focused on the fact that he needed a new one and nothing else. Roadhog needed to fill up all his canisters. Junkrat was determined to watch closely this time and learn how to do it himself.

“Just in case,” he said through a mouthful of waffle. Roadhog grunted in agreement. That was fine.

Back in the room, Junkrat gathered up the scraps left over from Roadhog’s new shoulder armor and started to work them together to make the new harness. Roadhog got his empty canisters and started to set up his rig for refilling them. He would need some more materials if he wanted to refill all of them. The ring was in his pocket and he had a plan for that too, but if he was going to do that, he would have to go alone. He waited until Junkrat was well into his creative zone, then stood up with an exaggerated sigh.

“Be right back,” he said.

“Yeah, all right,” Junkrat said, then refocused. “Wait, what? Where you going?”

“Need some stuff.” Roadhog gestured at the apparatus. It hissed as it compressed the gas into the canister it was filling. “Just be a minute.”

“You can call the front office for it,” Junkrat said. “Blake said they’d make themselves useful.”

“They won’t know what I need,” Roadhog said, bracing himself for an argument. Thankfully, Junkrat agreed. He scoffed something about not being able to scrap to save their lives and then started to get up.

“Don’t worry about it,” Roadhog said. “I’ll be right back.” Junkrat didn’t get it until Roadhog held up a hand to stop him from following to the door. He saw the realization sink in, the bushy eyebrows lowering and then raising.

“Not me?” Junkrat asked. He deflated visibly and Roadhog hated the way it made his stomach sink, too.

“Want you here,” he said. That was the truth. Junkrat didn’t ask why, but he didn’t look happy. He took a step back and crossed his arms like he didn’t know what to do with them. Like a rejected kid, Roadhog thought and sighed. All the more reason taking him along would make this take longer.

“Be right back,” he said again, and turned to the door.

“Hey,” Junkrat said and dug out a flare from his pile. “Set it off if you want back up.”

“Seriously?” Roadhog said, but then took the flare. It was better than arguing. “Ok.”

He left before he had to think of anything else to say. Holy shit, but it felt weird to keep a secret from Junkrat. It had to be weird for Junkrat too. He heard the blinds open and forced himself not to look to see Junkrat watching him go. He needed some stuff for the gas. That was all there was to it. He could get some stuff for the ring too. He could hurry and be back before Junkrat had time to work up to real pout. I spoiled him, he thought. Body-guarded him so long, not letting him go off on his own, he got used to going everywhere with me. But he shrugged that thought off quickly. Junkrat wasn’t helpless by any means. He only looked small and silly next to Roadhog. On his own, he was still a brilliant, capable, fearless killer. Just because Roadhog had seen him fucked boneless and beautiful didn’t change any of that.

Admit it, he chided himself. It’s you that’s torn up about leaving him. About not telling him that you want to do. Why keep it a secret anyway? He said he wanted rings. Just give it to him. There’s no need to make it secret or romantic. He doesn’t need that. That’s just what you want to give him. You’re the one trying to make it matter.

He grumbled and went on foot, mostly to stay off radar and maybe a little so Junkrat wouldn’t have to hear him leave, too. He knew where to go to get what he wanted. Through a combination of intimidation and wheeling/dealing he was able to get the materials he needed. It wasn’t too much harder to find a shop with an engraver in the back. The guy mostly made keys and personalized items bought in the shop, but one look at Roadhog was enough to convince him that it wasn’t too much trouble to etch a symbol into a ring. He wondered aloud what kind of metal it was, weighing it in his hand. Roadhog didn’t answer, just traced the zigzagging line he wanted with his fingertip.

While the man worked, his mind went back to Junkrat. He could barely remember doing his previous errands. Without Junkrat around, everything became a simple to-do list. Hose. Check. Chemicals. Check. Fittings. Check. Compressor parts. Check. I could’ve brought him, he thought. There’s enough in this store to keep him too busy to notice this. He almost laughed at himself, but it came out as a rumble. If he was like this without Junkrat, Junkrat was probably like this without him. He had better get back. The engraver held up the ring with the letter on it and Roadhog took it with a satisfied grunt.

Out in the parking lot, the smell of warm grease and potatoes got his attention. It smelled like that diner they had been in where? Brazil? There was a little place called Tia Nuria’s across the way and he was surprised to find himself hungry. He went over to find what he thought was hush puppies at a distance was actually bacalhau fritters. They also had vatapa and the smell of coconut made his mouth water. He ordered plenty of both and some beers and headed back to the hotel.

He had been gone longer than he meant to and he realized it as soon as he got back inside. Not only had Junkrat made a new harness, but loaded it with new explosives. He had a pile of new bombs finished over by the TV and had used one of the bedsheets to plot out the attack on the Statelos building. It was held up on the wall with makeshift shiv/tacks. There were marker scribbles all over it. It had taken awhile to do all that. No wonder he had been hungry. It was time to eat again.

“Back,” he said. Junkrat’s nostrils flared at the scent of food. “You’ve been busy.”

“If you want a shower, you have to wait,” Junkrat informed him. “The tub’s full of ice.”

That deserved a peek and sure enough, the bathtub was filled to overflowing with ice. He chuckled and set the beers in it.

“Where’d all that come from?” he asked.

“Second floor ice machine,” Junkrat said, pleased with himself. “Took a few trips.” He held up a piece of machinery. “Worth it for this, though.” He had emptied the machine to get the part, Roadhog decided. And instead of just dumping it out, he had filled their tub with it. Maybe he was just not being wasteful and maybe he wanted to annoy Roadhog by keeping him out of the shower until the mess melted. Revenge for being left behind.

“Three hours isn’t ‘right back’,” Junkrat said, reading his mind. Had it been that long? Roadhog dropped his bag of stuff on the bed and casually wiped his hands on his hips to be sure the ring was still in his pocket.

“I thought time was just dragging because it’s no fun without you,” he said, setting out food. Junkrat hadn’t expected that and had to figure out what to do with his face. Roadhog kissed him to keep him flustered and handed him a bag of fritters and a styrofoam container of vatapa.

“I learned my lesson, boss,” he said. “No more going without you.”

“Good,” Junkrat managed as he fumbled the lid off and took a swig out of the bowl. They both ate with their fingers and drank out of the bowls. Now would be a good a time as any, Roadhog thought. Just say “I got you something” and hand it to him. Be done with it. Won’t have to think about it anymore. But he didn’t. They went on eating and by the time they were thirsty, their beers were nice and cold.

Junkrat had either forgiven or forgotten being left because he chattered happily while Roadhog got back to work on his canisters. Roadhog made a production of it to get Junkrat’s attention and talk out what he was doing. He was gratified to see Junkrat nodding and watching, even while he talked. He might remember how to do this on his own, and then again, he might not. Either way, Roadhog would have a full batch of hogdrogen for their raid on Statelos.

“This is for you,” he said, digging in a vest pocket. Junkrat lit up and beamed happily at the break-away buckle he was presented with.

“For what?” he said after a moment of admiring it.

“I didn’t think you’d be done with the harness so quick,” Roadhog said. “It breaks open if you yank it. So your ribs don’t.”

“Ahh,” Junkrat said, turning the thought over. He grabbed his vest over and started to change the buckle. “I won’t fall for that twice,” he grumbled. Roadhog decided he meant SheilaSam grabbing one of his grenade pins. All the grenades were turned inwards to make their pins harder to snag. Roadhog watched Junkrat’s fingers working and thought about the ring again. He still didn’t move until the buckle had been attached. Junkrat shrugged it on and then grinned, spreading his arms out wide.

“Give her a try,” he said. Roadhog slid a finger under the strap. The first tug was a light one and the buckle held. Roadhog curled his finger and gave a real yank and the buckle popped open. It hadn’t been damaged, it had just opened as it was meant to. Junkrat laughed and started to pull the vest back on, but Roadhog stopped him and pulled him back into a kiss. He tasted like coconut and Dos Equis.

“You musta missed me,” Junkrat gasped when they broke apart. Roadhog chuckled and pulled the blinds shut again.

Chapter Text

It was easy to kick all the containers onto the floor and sprawl out on the bed. There was still a chill lurking under Junkrat’s metal fingertips from all the ice. Roadhog felt it as those fingers were dragged down his jaw to his throat. He didn’t shiver, but there might have been a few goosebumps. Junkrat kissed him with a happy sound and both of his hands went up to slide into Roadhog’s hair.

Roadhog grimaced at the pull as his hair tie was plucked off and then again when Junkrat shot it across the room. It was hard to stay grumpy about it with the pinch of sharp teeth over his bottom lip and the squirm of a body fitting against his. They settled in on their sides, arms around each other. Junkrat pulled in close, elbows past Roadhog’s shoulders. He finger-combed the silver hair out to the tips with both hands. His kisses were quick and small but hungry, little half-bites from lip to jaw. Roadhog leaned into it with a rumble. He tilted Junkrat’s chin up to kiss down his throat too.

Kissing down the lanky body was always a pleasure. He heard Junkrat’s laughter go soft and breathless and felt his stomach hitch against his mouth. He had figured out that Junkrat’s nipples weren’t as sensitive as his own, but Junkrat still sighed and stretched out his leg like a cat when they got attention. Roadhog scraped his fingernails over each of Junkrat’s ribs, not hard enough to hurt, but enough to raise some more goosebumps. The sound Junkrat made gave him a tingle, too. He nipped and kissed down the narrow belly to the hips and felt hands tighten in his hair again.

“Mate,” Junkrat’s voice had lost all shrillness. It was all breath and groan now. “Come on back up. Let me-“

“Wait,” Roadhog said against his navel. He ran both hands up Junkrat’s thighs, sliding under the shorts as far as he could reach. There wasn’t room to roam, but he could squeeze and knead as he mouthed down over the waistband and lower. Junkrat sputtered something about letting him take the shorts off, but Roadhog kissed him through the fabric and kept going. He pushed the shorts legs up and bit pink marks from as high as the shorts would go to the scars around the prosthetic. Junkrat heaved himself up to watch and collapsed backwards with a groan when Roadhog switched legs to kiss the other knee.

Roadhog tested his teeth on it in ticklish scrapes. He raised the leg in the air to press a kiss to the softer skin in back of the knee, then set it on his shoulder to kiss his way to the ankle. Junkrat whined something helpless as Roadhog stroked the sole of his foot with a thumb. Digging the thumb into the pressure point there earned him a squeak of surprise and the sight of Junkrat’s toes spreading wide. Roadhog chuckled and pulled back to roll Junkrat over on his stomach so he could kiss up the back of his calf. The muscle tensed and jumped under him.

He flicked his tongue back into the crease behind the knee for another squeak and switched back to the other leg. He slid his hands up under the shorts again, kneading the thighs and butt and following with his mouth. Junkrat was panting and trying to squirm against the bed, but had stopped asking to take his clothes off. Roadhog thumbed a massage up his spine, melting him into a puddle and then licking and gnawing his way up after it.

“Give us a chance,” Junkrat wheezed.

“Chance to what?” Roadhog rumbled and bit down on his shoulder. Junkrat arched and hooked an arm backward around his neck. Roadhog hrmed into his throat and gripped the elbow to keep it there. He scraped his teeth up the back of Junkrat’s neck until he nuzzled into the wild hair. He found a patch that was nothing but peach fuzz and growled a pleased sound at the thought of it growing back. The next spot was bare and it got extra kisses to encourage it. He stroked his fingertips down the underside of Junkrat’s arm, over his armpit and down his side. Junkrat tried to giggle, but collapsed into a quiver and mewl when the big hand slid back up.

Junkrat twisted to face him. He was flushed and panting and trying to kiss anywhere he could reach.

“Y’gotta let me,” he begged. “I want- I-“

“Want it, too,” Roadhog rumbled. He brought Junkrat’s hand up to kiss the whitened knuckles. “Want you.” Junkrat shuddered and bit his lip. “Want you to be mine.” Junkrat tried to speak again, but Roadhog kissed him quiet. It might not be the best time, but they probably wouldn’t be here much longer. It was almost time to move on. He wasn’t going to give it just before the factory as a possible good bye. It didn’t make any sense to wait until after just to be sure they both made it out. He tightened his grip on Junkrat’s hand and kissed him until he was sure his voice would be steady.

“Want to belong to you too,” he said. There had been a time when he couldn’t imagine ever saying that to anyone, but now that was just another Before. Junkrat was still gasping, but realization had made it through the lust. He was wide-eyed. Roadhog kissed his knuckles again and lingered on the ring finger. He dug out the ring and held it up. “Made this for you.” It was a little tight on the last joint, but fit nicely once past it. Junkrat gaped at it, shiny and black and heavy on his finger. It had an N engraved on it but he might not have even processed that. Roadhog watched his face twist between stunned and overjoyed and an unfamiliar expression that was probably something too touched for them to recognize right away.

Junkrat’s gasps rose to whimpers and he clutched his own hand like it was finally precious to him. He kissed the ring as tears welled up in his eyes.

“It’s the first one anyway,” Roadhog said, failing completely to make the shrug look casual. Junkrat tackled him in a hug, laughing and crying and swearing and biting his ear hard enough to draw blood. Roadhog laughed too, letting himself be rolled over. He let Junkrat straddle his belly and berate him for being beautiful and a bastard and unbelievable. He kept laughing as he reached up to smooth the frazzled hair back down. Junkrat held his wrist and wiped his face on his palm. He smiled down through his happiness and the tears and he looked young enough to be his own age. Something about that twisted in Roadhog’s chest and he had to reach for his mask and a hit of gas.

When he looked up again, Junkrat was waiting for him. The weird softness was gone and his usual grin was back. He was caressing the ring with his thumb, but his eyes were on Roadhog.

“My turn,” he said.

Chapter Text

Junkrat was all teeth. They sank in everywhere. Roadhog felt the sting and tug of them in his earlobes, his neck, shoulders, nipples, everywhere. His own teeth ground together. Every nip lit fluttering sparks in his belly. He had a flash of memory of the cliffside and the moon and wondering how far this would go. Teeth caught on his bottom lip and he snapped back into the present. There wasn’t any wondering left.

When he raised his hand to touch Junkrat’s hair, the teeth focused on his fingers. They bit at his thumb and caught on his knuckles and callouses until he couldn’t stand it and grabbed the narrow chin. He pulled Junkrat into a kiss and chuckled down in his chest when the biting didn’t stop even there. The bite on his tongue stung, but it didn’t stop him. He licked and mouthed until the biting melted into kissing back. Junkrat’s groan was lost down in his throat. Since his teeth were occupied, he sank his fingernails in instead.

Roadhog ran a hand down his spine and then curled his fingers under the curve of his ass and between his thighs. He squeezed and then slid his hand around to pull Junkrat’s knee up. He could disengage the prosthetics by feel now. Junkrat sighed into his mouth when the leg was removed. Roadhog rolled them over to his side, cushioning Junkrat with his arm. They cradled each other close. Roadhog thumbed over Junkrat’s cheekbone and ear with his free hand. He pulled his jaw down enough to bury himself in another kiss.

Junkrat’s hand came up to pet down his cheek, fingernails scratching in the stubble. Roadhog reached up to hold that hand to his cheek, feeling the slightly cooler smoothness of the ring against his face. He pulled gently back from the kiss and waited until Junkrat’s eyes refocused to be sure that he could see him press a kiss to the ring.

“You’re shaking,” he said, grinning down at Junkrat who had begun to vibrate at the sight.

“I always shake a little,” Junkrat managed, grinning back.

“Mm,” Roadhog agreed. He petted over Junkrat’s hair and down his back, soothing his jitters until Junkrat relaxed back into smooches.

“You like it,” he said, mumbling into Roadhog’s lip. Roadhog grunted an affirmative. “You like me.”

“Yeah,” Roadhog said. He had more to say, but didn’t want to overdo it. He had already overthought it. Junkrat wasn’t waiting to hear it though. He was already pawing at Roadhog’s belt and buckles. His mismatched hands, hot and cold, slipped in and around, tugging Roadhog’s cock out into the air. Junkrat took him in both hands, but faltered a little when he saw his ring against the skin.

“Proof,” Roadhog rumbled and Junkrat blush went all the way to the top of his head.

“I knew,” he said, wheezing around a breathless laugh. He squirmed forward to press himself against Roadhog. He got his hands around both of them and stroked harder.

“Good,” Roadhog groaned. Even he wasn’t sure if that was a reply or just a reaction. With another gasp of a cackle, Junkrat slid back and went down on him. Roadhog hadn’t been expecting it and arched in surprise. It was too good, too fast, but he wouldn’t have complained if he had been able to. Even if Junkrat hadn’t been sucking his dick like it would save him from drowning, the sounds he made would have thrown kerosene on the fire in Roadhog’s belly. He clutched Junkrat’s hair and tried to laugh at how strangled his own breathing sounded. A stranger would think he was dying.

“Hear what you do to me?” he rasped. Junkrat gagged and moaned and came so quickly that Roadhog knew he had to have been close before he spoke. He did laugh then and pulled Junkrat up into biting range.

“I can- I can still-“ Junkrat tried, but trailed off when Roadhog bit him on the neck. He made another of his helpless sounds and went limp in Roadhog’s teeth. His arms sagged and his head lolled against Roadhog’s. This was where they should’ve been facing a mirror, so he could see Junkrat’s face go slack and beautiful. He pulled hard with his teeth to be sure the mark stayed.

The sweet moment was over too quickly. Junkrat recovered and went back to work. He squirmed and bit and squeezed and pinched and licked. Roadhog felt his hands again and took too long to realize Junkrat was positioning himself over his cock. There was too much to do before that happened, and trying to say it all got him tongue-tied more than the jolt of lust.

“You don’t have to,” he managed to say.

“Want to,” Junkrat gasped. “It’s mine. You’re mine.”

“Yeah,” Roadhog said. The words ‘yours’ and ‘I am’ got all tangled up in his throat and he had to suck in another breath through his mask. Junkrat sank down on him too quickly. With so little prep, it had to hurt and Roadhog grimaced with him when his face twisted. His teeth bared like his name and flash of worry tainted the blaze of warmth and tightness in Roadhog.

“Rat,” he began, but Junkrat leaned back to adjust and his groan broke into a pleasured croon. “Jamie,” he tried again. Junkrat stretched and arched to raise himself up and then slide back down. His eyes fluttered and his head hung back. The lines of his clenched jaw and bared throat stood out hard under the darkening bite bruises. As delicious as it was to watch, Roadhog couldn’t let him do all the work. He wrapped his arms around him and rolled over him. He cradled his head head and back and kissed him once more before starting to move.

It should’ve been brutal, and Junkrat’s high-pitched whines could have been distressed. His flesh arm was pinned to the mattress beside him and he squirmed to flick his tongue over the ring. Roadhog came with a muffled growl and Junkrat shuddered into it. They lay together, getting their breath back. Roadhog took a swig from a canister and let Junkrat suck a breath from his lips. They probably wouldn’t be able to shower without standing in ice for awhile so they just stretched out and enjoyed being a mess.

Once they were up and moving around again, their attention went back to the sheet staked to the wall.

“Tablet says there’s no windows cuz the bots don’t need air or light to work,” Junkrat said, gesturing with the marker he had drawn it with. “BUT they must need A/C because there are units along here.They got ductwork along these levels too.” Roadhog grunted hoping there wasn’t any plan to sneak in through the ducts.

“Here’s where it gets interesting,” Junkrat went on. “They’re connected underground. Over here to Something Biologics. Makes hospital stuff.”

“Medicine?”

“Naw,” he clacked his metal fingers together mockingly. “Organs and whatnot. They got a freight elevator that runs from here to here. You gotta have keycodes to get in.”

“Do we?”

Junkrat held up his arm. There was a new number scrawled on it.

“Tablet says we do. So I’m thinking we hit the lab first.” he pointed at the map again. “Truck docks here. Service entrances. If the codes work, hunkydory. If they don’t, we can seal it off and blast our way in.”

The sealed doors would keep anyone from checking on the intrusion. Good. Roadhog nodded.

“All right now,” Junkrat said. “We don’t know what kind of welcome we’ll get, so we’ll play it by ear. If they’re waiting for us on the other end, we blow the place up from underneath and grab whatever we can on the way out. If there’s no welcoming committee, we can make our way to the production level. We see anything worth taking, we load up, then we blast it to rubble and let the Gnawers sift through it for whatever sets their hearts aflame.”

He started chewing on the marker, but didn’t notice that he was chewing on the felt tip end now. Black started to smear all over his mouth.

“Either way the place goes down,” he said. “Whatever he’s got going on in there gets to see daylight. We get whatever we can carry and the Gnawers get the credit.” He bit down on the marker hard enough to crack the casing and got a mouthful of ink. He spat out black, then stuck out his tongue to see how black it was. He spat again when Roadhog chuckled.

“When?” It was just one word, but Junkrat refocused like a whip crack.

“We have everything we need,” he said. “We could go now.” They looked at each other, wheels turning.

“One more dinner and sleep,” Junkrat said, reading Roadhog’s mind. “Shower. Breakfast. Then we can gas up and go.”

“Sounds good,” Roadhog said.

“It’s a plan,” Junkrat said. He hadn’t realized he was still naked yet and went to peer out the window. “It’s your turn to nail the door shut.”

“Fifty-fifty,” Roadhog said by way of agreement. He was going to wait til after their food delivery happened. Junkrat didn’t seem to mind.

“Yep,” he agreed and came back to bed.

Chapter Text

Dinner showed up just like before. It was a styrofoam container of baked spaghetti with two plastic forks. There were three foil-wrapped baked potatoes and a greasy bag of onion rings. A half gallon jug was full of something brown that was probably sweet tea, and there were some mismatched slices of yellow and chocolate cake. Also just like before, it looked like a light-fingered waitress had been sent to clean out what was left of a cheap buffet and bagged it up instead.

They gobbled it down, passing the jug back and forth between them. The only part that was still hot were the potatoes. The onion rings were cold and chewy. The spaghetti was almost warm. The tea was almost cold. The cake was pretty good. The white frosting was almost tasteless, but the chocolate was better. They ate it all anyway.

Afterwards, they cleaned up a little. That was mostly throwing away the wrappers and containers not worth saving. Roadhog went to check on the tub situation and it was still two thirds full of ice. The good news was the pool would still be open for another hour. The chlorine wouldn’t be as nice as soap, but it would do. Roadhog said as much as he dug out his trunks again. Junkrat nodded and went to nab some towels from the bathroom. He must’ve finally noticed he was still in the all together, because he put his shorts back on too.

The pool was small and no deeper than five feet. There were No Diving signs everywhere. The room was warm and the chlorine could be smelled three doors away. There were a handful of leathery old biddies packed into the small hot tub. Maybe they had been young when they went in and had just sat there until they shriveled. They had sunglasses on even though it was after dark, and they all raised or lowered them to make ‘oh my’ faces as the Junkers strolled in. Roadhog ignored them, but Junkrat gave them a grin.

Roadhog dropped their towels onto a deck chair and hopped directly into the water. Junkrat sat down to take his prosthetics off. He waved at the women with his arm once he had it off and cackled when they giggled and gasped. He sat his leg next to it on the chair and then slid off the edge into the water. It was close to the same temperature as the tea had been. He dunked himself and shook like a dog when he popped back up. Roadhog still had his mask on and chuckled.

“Don’t blow this one up,” he said, pushing him under again. Junkrat laughed underwater and came up choking. Roadhog laughed again and settled back. The water wasn’t quite shallow enough for him to sit in, but he sprawled back with his elbows on the sides. He let his feet float up and wallowed happily while Junkrat thrashed around like an emu in a bird bath. The ladies reached the limit of their Junker admiration when he started scrubbing out his armpits and hair into the water. They left, still giggling a little, so they didn’t get to see him take off the shorts to scrub everything else.

“Your turn!” he said, pouncing on Roadhog. He climbed all over him, undoing his hair and trying to scrub him down with just his arms. Roadhog put up with it, raising his arms to let Junkrat wash under them. He didn’t want to get water in his mask, but then again a rinse probably wouldn’t hurt it too badly. When Junkrat’s hand dipped into his trunks, he pushed off the side and dunked them both. He came back up and blew all the water out of his filters. Junkrat was coughing and giggling, hanging on around his neck. Roadhog let him hang there and went to get his shorts before they were sucked into the filter.

Back in the room, Roadhog did put the door back together and set up one of Junkrat’s mines around the lock. He had seen it done often enough to know how they went. He put one on the window too, just in case. Junkrat had left his wet shorts on the floor and gone to roll on the bed to dry off. Roadhog hung them over the shower curtain with his own and went to join him. He turned on the TV and watched whatever was on. It was a game show that didn’t make any sense that Roadhog could see. Junkrat ignored it, snuggling into his side and taking deep breaths of their chlorine smell. He didn’t pay any attention to the tv until the news came on.

It was the Bluethorn again. It seemed that lots of people were missing following the explosion at the resort. They weren’t showing up to jobs or contacting family outside of the area. No bodies had been found, but it seemed likely that they had been killed in either the explosion or the battle that followed. There was speculation that the dead had been spirited away by the renegade mine omnics. Special task groups had been brought in to deal with the omnics, but they had either not been able to find one, or gone missing themselves. The mountain had gone quiet in the days since the explosion. Burly Hollow was empty.

The strange thing was that many of the missing hadn’t been reported. The investigation was being driven by one person, a local businessman and retired politician. His two sons had disappeared and all that had been found was their truck. His language had to be bleeped out over who he thought was to blame. Roadhog was pretty sure the old man was talking about Sam. He didn’t want to mention her name and remind Junkrat of what had happened. He was pretty sure that she was dead too.

Sure enough, they had Sam’s parents on, blaming the Romanello boys for her disappearance. The camera had to cut away when the mother lunged at their old man. They went to an interview with an engineer who had worked on some of the original mining omnic designs who had no idea why they had gone so rogue. Of course he didn’t. It had been a surprise to all the little tinkerers when their toys turned on them. Roadhog turned off the tv and the lamp and the Junkers kicked and squirmed into positions they could sleep in.

It was only a couple hours later that he woke up enough to look around. Junkrat was sitting up, facing the wall with their plan tacked to it. Junkrat sat with Roadhog’s arm still around his waist. He was playing with the ring, absently spinning it around his finger with his thumb. Roadhog took his hand to stop the fidgeting. Junkrat’s fingers did go still, but his eyes stayed distant.

“Nothing about this has turned out the way we expected,” he said.

“We don’t have to do it,” Roadhog said immediately. “Records are clean. Could go anywhere. Dirty em up again.” He wasn’t sure Junkrat heard him. He might not have even been completely awake. The too-bright eyes changed focus, but didn’t home in on anything any closer.

“Know what I think?” Junkrat said. His fingers drummed on Roadhog’s, frantic as a heartbeat. “No one has been able to track us but the Gnawers. The only way any bounty hunters would know where we were is if they were told.”

Roadhog hummed a response. That made sense.

“I think they’re doing them like they did us,” Junkrat went on. “I think they’re hiring hunters they want rid of. Sending them after us cuz they know we’ll kill em. Wouldn’t put it past em to have hired that sniper.” His teeth ground noisily and Roadhog’s other hand slid up to rub his shoulder. “Maybe not,” he said, settling. “Maybe it just gave em the idea.”

“We don’t have to do it,” Roadhog said again, when the silence went on too long. Junkrat finally looked at him. He was awake, eyes here and now again.

“You vote no?” he said.

“Not yet,” Roadhog said. “Just saying. We don’t have to do anything we don’t want.”

Junkrat nodded. His eyebrows were low over his eyes and the gears behind them were grinding away. Roadhog waited. He believed in trusting instincts. If Junkrat couldn’t come out of this funk on his own, Roadhog would call him boss and tell him it was his call. The combination of being flattered and insisting that fifty-fifty meant they both had a say had distracted Junkrat from worse mopes than this. When Junkrat raised his head back up, though, there was a flicker of rage there.

“I want Diamonds dead,” Junkrat said. “No matter how many of him there are. Him and everyone like him.”

Roadhog was already nodding agreement. Suits. People too rich to even count all they had but still wanted more. People who didn’t care who else starved or suffered for their ambition. People who took on such a grand scale that even mad bomber scavengers, killers, and bank robbers couldn’t stomach it.

“Yeah,” he said. Diamonds had it coming. Vindication felt good. So did revenge. He leaned up to smooch Junkrat’s temple and Junkrat snagged an arm around his neck to pull him in for a kiss of his own. That felt good, too.

Chapter Text

There were screams and commotion a few hours before sunrise, but they didn’t pay attention until the sirens started. Red and blue lights flashed in the parking lots and the Junkers were already in attack position when the phone rang. When they didn’t answer, the speaker part for the wake up calls clicked on.

“Hey,” said the receptionist’s voice. “Sit tight. They’re here for 3B. Some dumbass tried to stiff Hatchet and got himself thrown off the upstairs balcony. They won’t find her, but they’ll sniff around for awhile. I’ll send some breakfast by so you don’t have to come out.”

The phone clicked off and the Junkers slowly relaxed as a few more minutes ticked by with no one coming near their door. They heard the ambulance come in and saw more flashing lights through the blinds. The dumbass must’ve survived his fall. Roadhog got the tablet out and started slipping through it for anyone named Hatchet. Whoever she was she was well-known at the hotel. The sharp, strangled scream of someone with two broken legs and a dislocated jaw being loaded on a stretcher was heard and then after the ambulance wailed off, things settled down.

There wasn’t anything about that alias on the tablet, and the Junkers were too wide awake to go back to sleep, so they packed up and went over the plan a few more times. They argued out all the weak spots just to be sure they had a few Plan B and Cs lined up. When that was all settled, they sat and watched the news. It was too early to see anything about the balcony diver but they got to see some of the Bluethorn cleanup. The environmental crew that had been sent in to see how dangerous the burning pipeline was were giving aghast reports of the area’s contamination.

“-is at odds with the company’s environmental reports!” a bearded man with a clipboard was saying. He was standing in front of a stream that had been blown out out its bed by the blast. The pipe had buckled and water and mud and smoke were everywhere. He was wearing a hazmat coverall and had a face mask pushed to his forehead. “This is a disaster beyond what we were prepared for it and it didn’t happen because of the explosion! This level of contamination couldn’t happen in days or weeks or even years. This is clearly an ongoing case of abuse and neglect that has been covered up and overlooked for some time.”

“Think he’ll do any good?” Junkrat asked. Roadhog grunted. He had seen plenty of well-meaning scientists in the Wasteland’s early days. They hadn’t been able to so much about it. No matter how much they waved their clipboards around. Maybe it would be different here, but he had his doubts.

“We got them attention,” Junkrat went on. “What did she say? Can’t yell help, gotta yell fire? She’s been planning this.”

“Or the omnics have.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Junkrat scoffed. “They’re in this together.”

“Like us.” Roadhog said and Junkrat’s brow furrowed until he decided that Roadhog meant just the two of them and not them and the Gnawers and mine-nics. Then, he relaxed.

“Yeah,” he said, leaning over on his arm. Junkrat watched the scientist gesture at the specimen containers the team to his left was filling up. The anchor interrupted him with a statement from the pipeline company chair who was put out that anyone would blame his pipe for devastation when it was clearly the local guerrillas who had done all the damage. They were interested in pressing charges against the humans and whatever company was responsible for the mine omnics. Someone else interrupted to say that the company had been disbanded back during the Crisis and the omnics had been off the map ever since. Junkrat looked over at Roadhog. “You ready to leave out today?”

“Yeah,” Roadhog said. “Get a shower. Some breakfast.”

“Plenty of time for that,” Junkrat said. The police cars were still in the parking lot.

“Come on then,” Roadhog said. He heaved himself up and Junkrat scrambled after with a grin. The ice had finally melted and the tub was still too cold, but the water ran hot. Their shorts were still soggy from the pool, so Roadhog tossed them into the sink. He ducked into the spray and Junkrat hurried to get in with him. They lathered each other up and rinsed each other’s hair out. Roadhog tilted Junkrat’s chin up to stroke his wet hair back, squeezing out any shampoo still left. Junkrat hummed happily, eyes shut. Roadhog let his fingers wrap carefully around Junkrat’s throat, just tight enough to feel him swallow. Junkrat’s eyes stayed closed, either out of trust or dreaminess, it didn’t matter to Roadhog.

“No room to kneel,” he said.

“H-huh?” Junkrat turned toward his voice.

“You said you liked me kneeling, way back when,” Roadhog said. He ran his thumb over Junkrat’s bottom lip.

“When?” That did get him to open his eyes and squint into the spray.

“Back in the RV. Before any of this.” ‘This’ could mean a lot of things, but Junkrat grinned like he had already decided which this it was. He caught Roadhog’s thumb in his teeth and nipped it hard enough to make the following kiss that much softer. Roadhog chuckled and turned Junkrat to face away from him, ignoring the whine of complaint.

“Shh,” he said, nuzzling into the clean scalp. He stroked handfuls of water up and down the body in his hands. Junkrat’s sounds turned happy again and when Roadhog lifted him up to his chest, he wrapped his arms backwards around Roadhog’s neck with a contented wiggle. The hot water had steamed up the mirror, but a swipe of Roadhog’s hand cleared part of it. Junkrat sucked in a breath at the sight of his reflection. Roadhog bit his ear and licked his neck, nestling in cheek to cheek to leer at him in the glass.

“There,” he said. Junkrat made a high, questioning noise and he chuckled. “Just watch.” Junkrat bit his lip, but kept his eyes on the mirror. Roadhog kissed his neck again and slid a finger up between his thighs.

“Oh!” Junkrat arched and tried to get purchase with his foot to give better access. “Yeahyeahyeah. Oh.”

“Just watch,” Roadhog said again. He had to grin as he worked his finger in and Junkrat’s expression twisted into something sweet and painful. Half the world was afraid of him and just a few touches could turn him into this. If anyone else had ever seen him this way, they weren’t around anymore. If they had survived the Wasteland and Junkrat, it was still a long time ago. He had to bite the question back. Even if it was a memory Junkrat wanted and kept, Roadhog didn’t want him to be able to hold onto any thought right now.

The mirror fogged over again and he wiped it clear. Junkrat let go of his neck to slam a hand against the mirror. Every twist and stroke made him writhe. As Roadhog picked up the pace, Junkrat’s head slumped forward to press his face against the glass. His mouth worked against his reflection like he was trying to kiss it. Roadhog could feel him start to hitch.

“Mmmuh,” Junkrat groaned.

“Mine,” Roadhog agreed.

“Mako,” Junkrat slurred and it sent a thrill through the big man. He hadn’t expected that. Junkrat shuddered and came. Roadhog took them back into the shower to clean up. He wrapped Junkrat in a towel and set him back in bed to recover. Since Junkrat had made a mess of the sink, he went to rinse out their shorts and hang them up again. He curled around Junkrat and they both dozed off and on until a soft rap at the door got their attention.

Junkrat hopped up first and shuffled over in his towel. Outside the sun was finally up, and the sky was pink. He peeked out, but all that was there was a plastic bag hung over the doorknob. He brought it in when it smelled too sweet to be holding any accelerant he knew of. It was a box of assorted doughnuts, four cans of coke, and an orange. Roadhog took over divvying it up. They both got two cans, six doughnuts, and half the orange. Junkrat checked the doughnuts to make sure he got at least one jelly one. He had two chocolate frosted and two glazed, one lemon filled and one custard. Then, he had to look to make sure that Roadhog had got some filled ones, too.

“Raspberry,” the big man said, following his gaze. He pointed at the jelly doughnut in his pile. It looked like he had taken the pink frosted ones for himself. That was fine. Roadhog ate his orange half first and Junkrat found out why when he took a segment after a bite of doughnut. It was sour enough to make his face pucker, but it was juicy. Roadhog laughed at him.

Then they were done and they got up and got dressed. Junkrat couldn’t keep the delight off his face at seeing Roadhog in full armor again. He had his new vest with the new buckle. They gave each other a last once over and a mutual thumbs up. As tempting as it was, Junkrat didn’t leave an explosive behind in the room. They were gone in a blare of engine and a cheer that no one heard but the laundry lady.

Chapter Text

Being back on the road was always a relief. This time, there was a weird undercurrent to it. The only thing different was the ring. Junkrat sucked a shred of orange still between his teeth and looked at the band again. He didn’t remember when he had first realized that one of Roadhog’s rings could’ve been more than the others. That notion had just blended into the background information. He had wanted a ring and only halfway expected, no, not expected. Hoped maybe? Roadhog wouldn’t have offered if he hadn’t planned on delivering, but maybe it hadn’t been an offer. Maybe he had just been asking if rings were something Junkrat would care about.

It didn’t matter. Roadie had delivered. The promise of three more was definitely a promise this time. It had left Junkrat plenty giddy if he was being honest. The big man loved him. It was more than he thought he’d ever had and that had been such a repeating theme with Roadhog. He had hoped, but not expected to have Roadie on his side at all. He had hoped, but not expected his new bodyguard to stick with him for awhile. He had hoped, but not expected them to work together like clockwork on ice. He had always hoped, but never expected that they would be more than that. And now they were. Nothing could be the same after that.

A whap on his head made him squint up at Roadhog and he only then realized that they had pulled over. He had been so absorbed in the ring that he hadn’t noticed the way the blue goggles were flickering from the floor of the side car. He scooped them up and saw the coordinates and codes scrolling across the bottoms of the lenses. One message after another.

“Gnawers on the move,” he realized. “Just like the Bluethorn.” Roadhog made an acknowledgement sound. “They’re sending us in first to get the party started.”

Roadhog grunted. “As long as they stay out of the way,” he said, and they pulled back out onto the road. It took most of the afternoon to get there. Roadhog didn’t pay attention to what the town’s name was. It was in a low place between hills. The full-sized mountains had smoothed out a little here, but they started climbing again off in the distance.

Statelos Industries wasn’t an impressive building. It was only a few stories high and beige, but it had an underground freight elevator, so there was no way to tell how deep it went. They drove until they found it and then went through a drive-thru for sandwiches and curly fries. They found a spot to eat and talk it over. The Biologics place was several blocks away, but visible. It was taller and whiter. They could wait until dark, but why? There wasn’t a parking lot for Statelos, so it wasn’t like they had to wait for the place to close. No reason to wait. They finished their lunch and headed on over.

The full name of the place was Genesis Biologics. The logo had a very stylized caduceus in it and the sign had ‘Medical Supply’ in small letters. It had good security around front and a gatehouse for anyone driving to the back, but if you didn’t mind parking in a nearby alley and scaling a concrete sound barrier wall, it was easy to shove the rest of the way through some landscaping hedges and find yourself in the back lot by the receiving doors. It was like whoever had designed the place had assumed intruders would be too polite to take the time, but it only took a few minutes for the Junkers to find themselves at a locked utility door.

“We could probably just ring the bell and have them let us in,” Junkrat chuckled. He slapped an explosive to the door anyway and they both backed off to let it blow. Roadhog wrenched it out of the way and they both strolled in to see a startled receiving clerk hurrying over to see what had hit the door. Roadhog grabbed him by the shirt and hefted him off the ground.

“We don’t keep drugs here!” the man sputtered. “This is just shipping-“

“Shhhh,” Roadhog said, and the already terrified man gulped and kept quiet. Junkrat went straight to the other doors and fused the locks to keep anyone from getting in. Roadhog set the man back in his chair and Junkrat attached one of the explosives to his chest. He pushed a button and some numbers lit up. The man went white and stared at it. His hands gripped the material of his pants tightly.

“No sudden moves now,” Junkrat told him, giving him a friendly pat on the knee. The man’s mouth opened and closed but no sound came out. They left him there and went to the service elevator. It looked like a subway car. Junkrat flourished his prosthetic arm to dramatically punch in the number scrawled on it. It didn’t matter if it worked or not. Roadhog was already eyeing the rubber seams on the doors. Those could be ripped open without too much trouble, but then a light turned green and the doors slid open.

“Sit tight!” Junkrat called to the man. “Be back in a bit.” They stepped in and found a handrail to hang on to. There was only one button to push and it pinged three times in warning before the doors closed again and they started moving. The car was designed more for freight than passengers so it went faster than was comfortable to stand in. Even then, it seemed to take a longer time than it should have. Junkrat listened to Roadhog’s breathing, just barely audible over the whoosh of the car.

How many blocks was it between the buildings? Ten? Twelve? The car slowed and then stopped. They walked out into cool air and were immediately scanned by a grid of light. It put them both on guard but there nothing happened. The scanner was just a device mounted on the ceiling. It was aimed at the elevator door and when nothing else came out, its light went out.

“Just checking for barcodes,” Junkrat said, baring his teeth in an angry grin. He was aiming at the scanner, thinking aloud. “Blowing it up might bring company early, but-“

“Listen,” Roadhog said, and Junkrat waited. When Roadhog didn’t speak again, he started to harumph, but then Roadhog tilted his head to hear and Junkrat realized what he meant. There was the hum of machines and distant repetitive sounds, but no other noise. The underlying quiet reminded Roadhog of Albrecht’s house. Dead quiet, he remembered. No buzz of life.

“No one home?” Junkrat said, but softly this time. He had caught on to the same thing. “She did say nobody living came and went.” He nodded back to the scanner. “Maybe they’re all like that one. Not human-shaped.”

They started walking again, on the look out for surveillance. There were lots of air conditioning vents. The air was kept cold. Once away from the elevator, there were no lights. Machines didn’t mind working in the dark. No reason to have lights. Junkrat put on his goggles and could see fine. He played with the settings to make the blue light brighter and Roadhog could see a little. They kept on going.

“Is it weird that I’d rather kill the human-shaped ones?” Junkrat asked suddenly.

“The wall-mounted ones didn’t walk into your town and kill everybody,” Roadhog reminded him. “Didn’t crawl after you on their arms when you took their legs off.” He hefted his machete like he was remembering the swing. Junkrat wished he could’ve seen that. He had seen Roadie unleash plenty of carnage against men and machines. It was always a joy to behold.

The hallway became lined with doors. Junkrat started opening them and found them all refridgerated storage units filled with shelves upon shelves of internal organs.

“What-,” he began.

“Biologics,” Roadhog said. “Remember?” He pulled out a jar with a lung inside. It had text all down the side and he had to pull it to his nose to make out what it said. “Nothing about meat on here. Synthetic.”

“Oh,” Junkrat’s hackles began to settle. “Why so many?”

“Backups?” Roadhog shoved and put the lung back. “Never know what you might need.”

“Bleah,” Junkrat made a face. He was getting louder as time passed with no sign of anyone else in the building. Roadhog had a feeling security was going to show up eventually. It was easy to imagine ‘pedes swarming out of the vents. They had to force another pair of doors open and ended up in a slightly warmer area. There were motion lights along the rails of a catwalk over the manufacturing floor. The lights came on to show that there were rows of automated machines assembling small parts on conveyor belts below. That was the repetitive sound they could hear. The machines had an arm and each one added one piece of machinery to the objects on the belt with a gentle ka-chunk in perfect unison.

They couldn’t tell what the end product was going to be at this section, but dozens were being made at a time. Junkrat hefted a grenade, looking the scene over. His eyes were quick over all the corners, looking for the spot where a bomb could do the most damage. He spotted some cables running through a convertor and pointed.

“Power comes from there,” he said. “Take out the source and see how long they run with no juice.”

“Find some finished stuff first,” Roadhog said, jerking a thumb in the direction all the conveyor belts were going.

“Oh! Right!” Junkrat started that way along the catwalk. He had to walk more carefully because his peg leg kept catching on the grate. They made their way along the whole line of the building and threw open the far doors. The dark room beyond was hung with rows of naked human bodies and Junkrat screeched in surprise before clapping a hand over his mouth to stop the sound. Roadhog’s breathing didn’t even change, but he had another flashback to the cannibal’s larder in the Wasteland. The girl he had left hanging was nowhere as healthy as these were. These were almost perfect, more like dolls than people and Junkrat sucked in a noisy inhale when he realized it at the same time.

“Shells,” he said. “Empty shells. This is where all the guts are going to go.” He approached one and gave it a poke. Roadhog reached over to raise its head with the curve of his hook. It looked human. It felt real enough when Junkrat gave its cheeks a squeeze with his flesh hand, but it made a ceramic ping with he flicked the eyeball with his metal fingers.

“It even has hair,” he said, raising its arm and giving the tuft of underarm hair a tug. He had to tear some out when it got stuck in his finger joints and made a more sincere disgusted face. “What the fuck, Roadie??”

“Next generation of omnics,” Roadhog said. “No more pretending to be human if they’ve got skin and hair and guts. Never know its one of them until it turns on you. Can’t even be sure when you cut it open.”

“Somebody could tell,” Junkrat said. “A doctor.”

“They’d have their own doctor,” Roadhog growled. “One of them in a doctor skin.”

“Shit,” Junkrat said, scratching his own hair. “All right. Tour’s over. We gotta find some of those arm-bombs and lay this place open. Set production back a bit, yeah?”

“Yeah.” Roadhog was trying not to fume over the thought of how many omnic were already walking around in people skins. Talking and flirting with people who didn’t know, eating food they didn’t need, planning the next Crisis under a smile. A new thought occurred to him as they entered a section where it was just limbs hanging instead of whole bodies.

“You want one of these?” he asked. The arms and legs looked perfectly human. The hard part would be finding one that fit Junkrat’s lankiness.

“Pftt, no,” Junkrat said. “You want to go back and get one of those lungs?” It was said mockingly, but Roadhog got it.

“Bleah,” he said.

Chapter Text

The building was set up in basic straight lines. They found their way through without too much trouble. There weren’t any signs or directories. They never saw a bathroom or water fountain. Again, the omnics wouldn’t need those. Were the workers here even real omnics? Maybe they were just machines, like the assembly line arms downstairs. Empty shells, like Marlowe had said, working away without a thought and maybe not even a head.

It wasn’t until they decided to double back that they ran into trouble. Doors opened for them, but then sealed up after they were through. Not every door was open either. Just certain ones.

“Being led somewhere,” Roadhog said. “Herding us to where they want us.”

“Well, I just have one thing to say about that!” Junkrat said with a grin. He slipped the riptire down with a thwack. “Fire in the hole!” He didn’t aim it at anything in particular and it shot off down the nearest hall before taking out a door, a corner, and blowing the hinges of the door beyond it. The Junkers fist-bumped and started down after it.

Behind them, lights were blinking. If there was an alarm, it was a silent one. They paid it no mind. The room beyond had another omnic in it, but this was up and moving. It didn’t have hair or coloration, and looked a lot like a store mannequin.

“Hello,” it said. Its voice sounded like a human’s, no metallic undertones. It had a blank, neutrally pleasant voice, perfect for telemarketing.

“G’bye!” Junkrat said cheerily and shot it in the head. The impact whipped it around, but it stayed upright.

“G’bye,” it repeated. This time it sounded different. It slowly turned back toward them. “G’bye,” it said again. There was a definite trace of accent that time. Its posture began to slump a little. “G’bye!”

It was mimicking Junkrat, Roadhog saw in a flash. It was imitating his speech and his body language, imprinting on him like a bird. Cuckoos hatching in other bird’s nests, killing the rightful babies and taking their place and that wasn’t really like that at all, but it still made him bellow with rage and open fire on the thing. He blasted it and its featureless body was torn apart. The blood and guts erupting out of it could've been human.

The scrap gun took out the paneling behind it too, and in the space between walls, things were moving. ‘Pedes. It only a second to process and then both Junkers were laying down cover fire as they backed away again. They omnic had been a trap too, while those things set up around them in the walls. If Roadhog had snapped any later, they might never have seen it coming.

“Should’ve known this was too easy,” Junkrat muttered around a grenade pin. They were destroying the ‘Pedes left and right, but more kept coming. They poured out the hole in the wall. Had Marlowe set them up to die this way? More martyrs for the great and terrible Plan?

If it had been anywhere else, they would be listening for sirens. Not here though. The King of Diamonds wouldn’t want anyone to know what he was up to here. He had hidden in plain sight for so long, that he wasn’t about to let a pair of Junkers ruin it now. If the ‘Pedes killed them, no one would ever know about it. It would be excused away. Covered up. And only the Gnawers on the other side of the tablet would ever know why.

If. Roadhog laughed down in his chest. That was the thing.

“Too right,” Junkrat said, agreeing with a giggle of his own. They’d blow this place open to the daylight before that happened. Spread the pieces so that everyone could see. Rain it down on the heads of everyone who doubted it could happen under their noses. Make it headline news. Put that price back on their heads. And maybe one for the King of Diamonds, just for good measure.

The place was full of vents. They had to watch for any way the ‘Pedes could get down to the them. Roadhog thought again of sad-eyed Angelou Blake and the scar she must have under that old dress. It was come in through the chimney they said, or maybe he had just imagined it happening that way. It had come in and gutted her and gotten away before Hatfield caught it.

They didn’t have to worry about being snuck up on. Every one of Junkrat’s explosions bought them time to run a few yards. The few that had made it close enough on the walls and ceilings had been hacked to pieces by Roadhog’s machete. Junkrat was leading the retreat. He must have some idea of where they were going or was doing the thing where he could see how things pieced together. If he could take them to a load-bearing wall or even a fire escape, they could change the odds a little.

They fell back into a new corridor and between the hook and a few grenades, created enough debris to make a quick barricade. That gave them time to hoof it down the hall and around a corner to take a breather. Roadhog made sure the canister with the tap valve on it was in easy reach, but Junkrat didn’t look injured. He was breathless and shining with sweat, but not blood. Not yet.

His goggles were flashing around his neck, so he checked them again. He still couldn’t read the codes and coordinates flashing by but he laughed anyway.

“They’re not just sitting around, whatever they’re doing,” he said. “Maybe they’re planning on a hit on the outside?”

“Can’t count on it,” Roadhog said. Down the hall, something cracked as the ‘Pedes tore their way into the barricade.

“All right, all right,” Junkrat said, mind humming away. He was thinking out loud, fingers twitching with his calculations. “AC units there. Ductwork going there. This way!” He shoved the goggles back on and grabbed Roadhog’s wrist, leading the way into an unlit part of the building. They closed doors behind them as they went, or at least Junkrat did. Roadhog just followed him into the dark. They could hear the scrabbling of metal claws somewhere distant. Every now and then, Junkrat left some mines or a trap to warn them of anything following.

“I’m thinking,” Junkrat said suddenly. “That the good stuff won’t be on the same level as the body parts. Unless, you know, they feel like testing them.” He chuckled a little. “The ones at home ran on power cells. Odds are these are the same. No signal to scramble, no power to cut. Just work, work, work until the boss says quitting time.”

“Easy to be cornered on a rooftop or a basement,” Roadhog said. He remembered the mess at the Bluethorn. At least on one of the main floors if they could get through the wall, they’d be outside and loose again.

“Well, we can’t have that,” Junkrat agreed. “And I have to think that with this much commotion, some one will be coming to check on the place.”

“Some thing,” Roadhog muttered. Probably not human guards. Human guards would have to be trusted. They might even have a conscience. No use to someone like the King of Diamonds. If he was even human. If he wasn’t just another of those things. It still made him a little sick to think how that one had started to mimic Junkrat. Empty shells. Had to learn to be human somehow. How long until it could start to look like him too? How long before he wouldn’t be able to tell which one was which?

“Easy, now,” Junkrat said, patting his arm. Roadhog heard how uneven his breathing had gotten. “Need to stop?”

“Need a code word,” he rasped. “For when they look just like us.”

“It would take three of them to make you, mate,” Junkrat said, with a grin. “But all right. How’s about the word you taught me on the ferris wheel?”

“…” Roadhog had to think a minute before he remembered Junkrat’s awe and the gift of the handkerchief later. “Ok.” He pressed the snout of the mask to Junkrat’s ear. “Ok.”

A crash overhead got them moving again. Junkrat led the way, holding his hand. Maybe he should get some of those blue lenses for his mask, Roadhog thought. If they were blue like the bombs, maybe they were stolen Statelos technology too.

Then something pinged. It wasn’t one of Junkrat’s alarms so they both turned toward the sound. A freight elevator opened. It didn’t have any lights or buttons that were visible and it seemed like the wall just slid open. Out stepped one of the empty shell type omnics they had seen escorting the King of Clubs. This one was armed and it opened fire as soon as the doors opened. Roadhog hooked an arm around Junkrat and turned to block the shots. He roared as they blasted his side and shoulder and kept turning to return fire with his free hand. Junkrat was just as busy. He crammed a canister into one of the mask filters and sent grenades bouncing around the omnics feet.

Its humanoid shape didn’t do it any good against that. The scrap gun knocked it back and the explosives took out its legs and one of its hand cannons. Roadhog caught it around it’s remaining arm with the hook and yanked it out of the elevator. Junkrat shoved a bomb into its empty arm socket and both Junkers leaped to get into the elevator behind it. Junkrat was stabbing the close button and giggling. Whatever bomb he had used was going to be a good one. Roadhog sighed and turned to block the blast even as the doors finally slid shut.

The boom was deafening and all the lights went out. The elevator jerked hard and then half of it sagged. Through the ringing in his ears, Roadhog heard something pop that wasn’t part of his head and the elevator lurched again. He grabbed Junkrat to his chest and braced both arms and legs against the railing. Junkrat had time to grin, but not to make a right here, right now joke before the elevator dropped.

Chapter Text

They were falling and sliding, metal grating, sparks flying. Junkrat was thrown hard into Roadhog, making his teeth clack together so hard he might’ve cracked one. He could feel Roadhog’s arms strain on either side of him. The clamor of the elevator kept him from hearing Roadie’s growl of exertion, but he could feel it vibrate. Behind him, the rail was being pulled bolt by bolt out of the wall. It felt like Roadhog’s power was all that was holding them together.

Then, they slammed into something. By some miracle of brute strength, Roadhog never lost his grip. The elevator wall buckled with a metallic scream and Junkrat had all the wind driven out of him against Roadhog’s chest and belly. A cable threw some more sparks. The lights flickered off and then only a few came back on. Junkrat wheezed and peeled himself up. His gasps were loud in the silence. Once he got his breath back, Roadhog carefully set his feet down and stood up. Junkrat slid down to stand too. Roadhog took a painful moment to pry his fingers from their death grip on the bent railing.

They didn’t want to let go and Junkrat got in to help unlock his knuckles. Once free, Roadhog flexed them a few times and squinted up the shaft they had come down. He gave himself a shake and sucked down a canister. Junkrat got to work on the smashed door to let them out. Automatic lights started coming on as they moved into the next room. Everywhere you looked there was the faint glow of blue.

“This is it!” Junkrat crowed. “This is what they didn’t want us to find!” The place was full of separated and contained little devices. They were clearly the same thing that the first Blake had fitted into her prosthetic arms. She had set her into ring-shaped frames. They were probably stable if she had them implanted in her spine.

“Careful,” Roadhog said as Junkrat ran to fill up his pockets. There were two of the blank omnics, too. They were sealed up in larger versions of the tubes that the blue explosives were in. Display models maybe. One had a 08 printed on its chest. The other had a 10. They didn’t move and their eyes were empty, so Roadhog turned to help pack up as much as they could carry.

“How far down are we?” Junkrat asked nobody. “Doesn’t matter. Got enough of these that we could get out of anywhere.”

“You figure out how they work?” Roadhog asked.

“Capsules!” Junkrat tossed three in the air and caught them in quick succession. “Blue stuff is kept separate, so I’m betting once it mixes, it blows. Chemical reaction. Got a switch here.” He flicked it up and down again with his thumb. “Give it a squeeze and the capsule punctures and gets the party on the way!”

That was good enough for Roadhog. He packed up as much as he could and jury-rigged up some straps to throw it over his shoulder and keep his arms free.

Metal squealed from upstairs and they both stopped to listen. It had to be the ‘Pedes. They were probably crawling down the elevator shaft with their tiny blade feet. Junkrat slapped mines on the two vents in the room and started checking the walls.

“Won’t want to carry loads of these through the rest of the building,” he said, thinking out loud again. “There’s another way out. Like the elevator. Maybe only opens on the other side.”

“Hunh,” Roadhog said. Junkrat was tapping at the wall, so Roadhog let the very tip of his hook drag along the wall until it just barely caught on a seam in the panels. It was a hairline crack from ceiling to floor. He tilted his head at it, then took a step back and kicked it with a boom that shook the place. It drove a dent in, making the two sides buckle. With a snort, Roadhog stepped back again, this time driving his toe spike in and ripping it open wider.

“Beauty!” Junkrat cheered. He cackled as pulled aside a chunk of the wall. He mashed in the switch on one of the blue bombs and stuck it in the hole. He pushed it in deeper with his peg leg and both Junkers scuttled back. The explosion was almost quiet. There was a pop of air displacing and the sound of the wall crumbling. The bomb cleared a full circle radius around itself, nearly three feet across. One of the display omnics was toppled over by the force of it.

Junkrat whooped and with hook and hands, they pulled the hole wider. He had been right. There was a dock and another smaller freight conveyor that led off into a dark tunnel. This was where the explosives where shipped out. Out of sight and if something went wrong, it would go wrong down here away from the rest of the factory. There was a control station with buttons and a lever. Two buttons had arrows pointing in opposite directions and the one pointing down the tunnel was lit. Junkrat pushed the other one and it lit up as the first one went dark. Down the tunnel, something wooshed.

“Our ride’s coming, Roadie!” he said, grinning ear to ear. “Let’s load her up.” They hustled back into the room to grab even more of the explosives. By the time they got back out, the conveyer had arrived. They started to pile it with their armloads and they both were startled when one of the omnics was there with its arms full too. They both stared for a moment, then they stepped back and let it add its load to the pile. They hadn’t heard it get out of the case or follow them out.

“Load her up,” it said. It was 10.

“Right,” Junkrat said. His uncertainty was fast turning murderous. “You forgot one.” He had a blue bomb in his hand. Roadhog jumped on the conveyer as Junkrat tackled the omnic. From Roadhog’s angle, it looked like he was forcing the bomb down the thing’s throat. That wasn’t going to be pretty. Junkrat was vaulting over the way to get on with him and they pushed the go button. As they pulled away, they saw the second omnic standing in the hole they had made. Hopefully the blast would take it out too.

The shot off down the tunnel until they got to the end. Another dock was there. They unloaded as much of the explosives as they could carry and fit on their motorcycle. There was still a pile left. Giggling, Junkrat found the largest of them and set them all off before hitting the go button and sending them back where they came from. Both Junkers grabbed their stuff and ran for it. They still didn’t know exactly where they were, but where they had been was about to be vaporized.

Maybe the whole windowless building would just drop a few stories into the ground. How long would it take for anyone to notice that their view had changed? Then again, the elevator shaft had probably already weakened the structure. Take out some of the foundations and that would be all she wrote for Statelos and its neatly contained horrors.

They burst back into daylight through a series of doors and Junkrat’s victory cheer was cut off mid-yowl. They had just come out into a battle ground. The Gnawers were there. There was a tire blockade that been set on fire. Three big mine omnics were in a stand off with a sea of flashing lights. Every police car and fire truck in driving distance was there. There was even a hovering convey with a big official symbol on the side. Some big guns were here. It looked like they had been at it awhile. The Junkers traded looks. How long had they been in the building? Maybe they could just slink off in all the commotion.

That was the moment that the explosion went off. Everyone turned to look and there the Junkers were, arms full of bombs. There must’ve been some load-bearing walls or beams down in the tunnel because the whole building seemed to shudder and then sag. Cracks spider-webbed across the outside of the building. Then, a series of other explosions were set off. There were three loud bangs and the building started to collapse inward and just when it looked like it had settled it exploded again, raining pieces in all directions.

The body parts were the worse. Whether they had been the ones in the cooler or they had been attached to the army of omnics, some of them were intact enough to splatter on windshields and across the ground. People screamed. The Junkers began to back away.

“You forgot one,” said a voice. They turned to see that 08 had caught up with them. It was damaged, head caved in and missing a hand. It had a sliver of what looked like bone sticking out of its wrist. Too fast to dodge or even process, it stabbed Junkrat in the stomach with the sliver and then crammed a bomb into the wound. It was copying again. Had seen how Junkrat killed 10. Mimicked that.

Roadhog’s machete sliced it in half before he even thought about it. It was between him and Junkrat. Junkrat staggering back, dropping his bombs, clutching the stab. Roadhog lunged for him and screamed at him when Junkrat turned away, curling in over the stab, trying to protect Roadhog, like his skinny self could contain a bomb like that. Roadhog’s hand closed over his head and jerked him around, machete dropped, hook held tight.

Junkrat had once said he was like a surgeon with his hook. Now he had to be. Couldn’t think about it. Couldn’t flinch. Only seconds left to do it and he only needed one. He swung the hook, tearing through Junkrat’s skin, under the stab, deeper than the bomb, hooking around it, ripping it out of him. Roadhog flung it to the end of the chain. It blew an instant later, taking the hook and a few feet of chain with it into nothing.

The canister with the valve was already in Roadhog’s hand. Junkrat was wide-eyed and wide open. Wet things slithered out of him into Roadhog’s other hand. He tried to hold them in place while he released the valve. It wouldn’t work completely. The wound couldn’t close with all that hanging out of him, but it would buy him some time. Roadhog saw his eyes flutter, felt him heave and gasp trying to take it in.

Idiot. Idiot. Fucking idiot. He didn’t know if he meant Junkrat or himself or if he was even saying it out loud.

“Don’t move!” There were guns pointed at him and he didn’t care. He hunched more over Junkrat. Nothing so bad that being shot by some stooge wouldn’t make it worse. The canister emptied and he dropped it to reach for another one. Junkrat sounded like a fish, like one of those carp he barely remembered catching. That was just a memory and that’s all Junkrat would be if he stopped now.

“I said don’t move!” the voice yelled again and Roadhog ignored it. When the shot was fired, he ignored that too. It hit him high in the back, nothing vital. It didn’t matter. He released the catch and let it puff out into Junkrat’s face.

“Holy shit,” someone said. “What-?” All the other voices were blending together. Fading in and out. Junkrat wasn’t getting enough gas. His guts were still in his lap. Someone was creeping up on them, weapons drawn and they didn’t matter either. Junkrat gasped again, face scrunching in pain. Roadhog growled and pulled off his mask with one hand.

Whoa. He did his best to tuck Junkrat’s guts back in where they came from.

Dude, don’t! He squeezed the mask over Junkrat’s face as tight as he could, doing his best to seal it over his nose and mouth. He had to let go of the gaping wound to get another canister. He crammed in into a filter and grabbed the edges of the wound again. If only it would heal shut, they could take care of the rest of it later.

I can help! The injury bubbled under his hands, so he released it to clamp both hands on the mask. Get as much gas in him as possible.

What is all this?? Junkrat bucked and screamed into the mask. It was putting him together wrong if it hurt that bad. He was probably going to have a raging infection from the parking lot grit in his guts. If he lived that long.

Holy shit-They would take care of that later, too.

Let me help! Roadhog could feel his own blood running down his arm and back. He was going to need a hit soon, too.

-killed that man- Junkrat was still a mess, but he was breathing. Ragged and painful. Probably had another scream left in him.

Sir? Something was touching his arm, but he didn’t look away. One more canister before he could look anywhere else. One for them both. One for you, one for me. Fifty-fifty. I didn’t die and neither will you.

“OH MY GOD!” someone shrieked and the grip on his arm tightened. 08 was up again. Sort of. Roadhog’s swing had cut through it above both elbows and straight across the torso. It was in four pieces now, but it still managed to lever itself up on its arm stumps. All the guns pointing at Roadhog swiveled towards it.

Holy-

-can’t be human-

Is it-

Could it-

“Hello,” 08 said to whoever was standing beside Roadhog. “I can help.” And then it charged them on its severed stump arms, shooting across the ground faster than seemed possible. One of the mine omnics stomped it before it got to them. There was the squelch of wet tissues and the crunch of bone and the big omnic gave its foot a drag to smear its smaller cousin a little bit to be sure. It was quiet after that. Everyone was staring at the mess except Roadhog. He didn’t look up until a golden glow touched the bullet hole in his back and healed it up.

There was a woman there. Either blond or that golden light made her look like it. Her uniform didn’t have any insignia on it that he could see.

“I really can help,” she said. “Let me try.” His shoulder felt better, but breathing was starting to hurt. He’d be a fool to turn down help right now. He nodded, pulling the mask again. Junkrat didn’t look conscious, but he was still alive. As soon as Roadhog moved his hand away from the stab wound, the woman went to work. He let her. He pulled the mask back on and took a canister. His lungs cleared and so did his head.

“You were inside.” It was another woman’s voice. Different accent. “You knew saw more of these?” A boot kicked at the splatter that was left of 08. Roadhog nodded. “What are they?”

“Omnics,” he said.

“Ebat,” she hissed. He had no idea what that meant and didn’t care. “Deceivers. Will you tell what you know?”

Roadhog sighed. First the Gnawers, now this bunch. He felt too tired to bluster and too worried to haggle.

“Save him,” he said. “And I’ll talk.”

Chapter Text

The news was always on in this place. He could hear the shock and outrage through the walls. His own shock was cold and numb now. His outrage banked like a furnace. When it was time, he would unleash it and spew it like dragon fire. For now, he waited.

Part of him still listened. The first-responders had thought the whole floor of bodies they found had been human. There had been appalled reports about unheard of loss of life, industrial espionage, corporate terrorism, whatever they could think to call it. Shock and outrage. The rest of him sat and waited and watched.

A day later, the reports from those who had actually been there started coming in. The main thing the witnesses couldn’t get over was seeing 8 attack after being cut in half. Questions were finally being asked about the employees in the Statelos building. Where were they? Who where they? What?The underground passage had been found as well. The employee Junkrat had left strapped to an explosive had been found and rescued. His story was a garbled mess.

Junkrat himself was still being kept unconscious. The medic with the golden light had put him back together better than the hogdrogen had, but the amount of shrapnel and radiation poison and everything else had convinced her that he needed more intensive care. Roadhog couldn’t argue. Especially once the infection from Junkrat’s spilled guts set in. He waited at the bedside and allowed the medic to do whatever she wanted to the both of them that didn’t involve being separated.

The Gnawers were taking advantage of all the attention to air all their accusations against Statelos and the King of Diamonds, who had a real name that Roadhog refused to remember. Somehow, every Gnawer at the scene managed to have clean records when they were questioned in turn. Model citizens, every one. Just out for an afternoon protest. Not one of them had a proven connection to the Bluethorn or any of Marlowe’s activities. That wasn’t a real surprise. They probably did it the same way they had weaseled a clean record for him and Junkrat.

Someone passed in the hallway, talking quickly to someone else. He had told them everything he knew about the whole situation. Gnawers, Kings, mine-nics, the whole shebang. He hadn’t even been surprised to find out that they were part of Overwatch. They might’ve been a little disappointed at how unimpressed he was, but it didn’t matter who they were. They had gone straight to work on Junkrat, which was all that mattered to Roadhog, and the only reason he was sitting here so nicely.

They had knit Junkrat’s halves together with the golden light and pumped him full of something that kept him together. They had run a scanner-thing over him and eeked and aughed over the state he was in. They gave him something to fight the infection and something else to leech the radiation out of him and left him there to marinate in it for 48 hours and counting. Roadhog kept watch over him, alert for any sound or twitch of pain, or any attempt to do other than heal him. They had a few healers here and they traded off every now and then. Some tried to talk to Roadhog. He didn’t answer unless he had to.

There had been a few offers of work with them as the story at Statelos broke open. That was up to Junkrat, though. They would have to talk to him once he woke up. If he didn’t wake up, they could get a different kind of answer. They told him they had retrieved his motorcycle, that it was safe in a garage downstairs. He hadn’t gone to check yet. He probably should. It would be a good idea to have it ready to go as soon as Junkrat was, but again, it was too early for that. He wasn’t leaving. Not for food, not to check on the bike.

A new voice on the news said that the body parts recovered from the Statelos wreckage were all synthetic. They were very well made, so well that they should’ve been in hospitals, ready for transplants, but not a single actual dead human had been found. So what where they? What was the humanoid with an 8 on it? More study was called for and the part that was listening in Roadhog’s head wondered how long it would take those idiots to realize what he had Junkrat had known in a minute. No natural enemies, he remembered them laughing about the civilian population here. Makes them soft and unable to recognize the threat when it comes. They’d figure it out sooner or later.

A cough came from Junkrat and he refocused. Junkrat’s face scrunched, like the cough had hurt. Roadhog reached for him without knowing what to do. Junkrat opened his eyes to slits and grunted at the bright lights. Roadhog immediately slapped the wall switch to off.

“Hey,” he said, voice a soft whuff. Junkrat’s eyes fought to focus on him. He tried to speak but couldn’t. It was just a wheeze inside the oxygen mask they had on him. It jerked a knot in Roadhog’s chest and twisted. It sounded like one of the sounds he used to make before he started using the gas. He tilted Junkrat’s head toward him, running a thumb over his cheek.

“Ngh,” Junkrat said, trying again. His voice sounded more out of practice than Roadhog’s.

“You’re ok,” Roadhog told him. Junkrat squinted and his foot pushed against the mattress. He was trying to scoot himself up to sit, so Roadhog helped lift him. Junkrat started to reach for his stomach but his prosthetic had been removed so he made an angrier noise and used his other hand. His fingers splayed over the spot. The 8 omnic had stabbed him and shoved a bomb into the hole. Roadhog had ripped the bomb out. Now there wasn’t even a scar, but Roadhog thought he could still see a faint gold glow under the skin. Maybe just the after-image of staring at it so long.

“You’re ok,” he said again. Junkrat wheezed what could’ve been a laugh and it made the oxygen mask fog up. He swatted at it, but used the wrong arm again. Roadhog stopped him from thrashing and gently lifted it up off his face. “Better?”

“Yeh,” Junkrat said, not much of a word, but progress anyway. He looked around, eyes still groggy. “Whur?”

“Overwatch,” Roadhog told him, watching him scowl in confusion. “I’m blaming Marlowe. She must’ve called in a favor. Taking care of us. ” Junkrat started to answer, then was distracted by the IVs in his arm. With only the one hand, he tried to pull them out with his teeth, but Roadhog stopped him.

“It’s good stuff,” he said.”Good for you.” Junkrat tried to check Roadhog’s arms for any and seemed intent on sharing. Roadhog scooped him up and shifted over to sit on the bed and hold him. It felt good to be out of the chair and better to have Junkrat awake and making his own kind of sense. Roadhog took his hand and bent his arm to keep him away from the needles. He held the hand to his chest and pressed his mask to it like a kiss. Junkrat whined a little, but settled down. He nuzzled his face into Roadhog’s skin, sniffing deep to replace the sterile plastic smell of the oxygen mask with one more familiar.

His fingers twitched and Roadhog rubbed the knuckles. There was a high pitched little chime from the distant screens. Breaking news coming in. Junkrat’s fingers wormed under the edge of his mask to touch his face. Roadhog sighed and kissed them, getting a satisfied hum from Junkrat. He pulled the fingers free again, but still held them tight. Junkrat snuggled close. He would probably sleep a little more if Roadhog kept him quiet. The word ‘explosion’ from the news made him perk up a little, but there weren’t details and he went under as soon as he lost interest.

Roadhog held him, making sure his arm didn’t pull at the IVs. This was better. If they had to vacate quickly, he could grab the IV stand and take it with them. Once all the medicine worked its way through him, Junkrat would be right as rain. If it came to that. Junkrat might want to stay and play. He had mentioned going legit before. Even the fake offer from Marlowe had mentioned taking them on full time. She had conned them into helping by playing on Junkrat’s emotions. Something about wanting more than to die like outlaws someday.

Roadhog hadn’t been especially moved by that. Junkrat’s reaction had cut him deeper. It wasn’t until Junkrat had come along that he had started caring about tomorrow again. Before Junkrat, it had been all day to day and maybe some yesterday. If Junkrat wanted to give this place a shot, and they were willing to take them as a package deal, then maybe. Maybe.

Overwatch hadn’t been in the best light, reputation-wise for a long time, if he remembered right. They had been disbanded by higher ups a long time ago. They wouldn’t be reforming unless it was for a threat that deserved it, or it was all under the table.

“Hey.” He looked up to see one of the healers, the small chatty one, in the doorway. “You might want to come see this.” Junkrat didn’t wake up. He didn’t even move. Neither did Roadhog.

“Not yet,” he said and the healer knew better than to argue.

Chapter Text

They ended up bringing in a screen for him. They were determined he see this. Not that it was hard, they just brought in a little gadget and projected it up on the wall. There had been an explosion in the building where the King of Diamonds was being detained. It wasn’t really a cell, it was more like a lounge at a resort, but that was just in the footage taken before today. Now it was a smoking hole, similar to the Bluethorn, but on a much smaller scale. There was no sign of Diamonds or his guard, but whether they had been vaporized in the blast or had been spirited away, no one knew.

Speculation was rampant. Was it an assassination from whoever had failed to kill him at the Bluethorn? Was it a suicide? Had he been on the verge of revealing something that an unguessed at third party chose to silence him over? Or was the explosion just a diversion so he could escape? Where could he go? He probably had money and contacts all over the world, but he would have to go underground. He couldn’t use his own face or name anymore. Just to be sure, some forensic teams were using genetic sifters to see if there was any human remains in the site. Everyone else just asked flabbergasted questions.

Roadhog grunted and the Overwatch gang all looked at him like they thought he’d say it out loud. The Gnawers might’ve gotten Diamonds, but considering everything that had happened in the past few days, Roadhog was leaning towards the thought that it wasn’t so much a suicide as a self-destruct. Maybe the real King of Diamonds, whoever and wherever he really was, had disposed of his omnic-double before anyone thought to compare its make up to the pieces splattered all over the Statelos grounds. He was paying attention so he could tell Junkrat about it later. His thumb stroked the crook of Junkrat’s arm, stopping before his fingers could snag the IVs.

“What do you think?” one of them asked. They were still waiting for him to elaborate on the grunt. He wasn’t thinking, he was just absorbing. He watched the screen switch to a different team of investigators heading into some schmancy house that was supposed to be Diamonds. He probably had one in every country. Maybe not Antarctica. A crowd of reporters were all flocked around outside for any news as soon as they had some. But then, that bright little chime came in again with new news. Junkrat winced in his sleep.

More explosions, just like this one, all over the world, just like Roadhog had thought. Some of the names were familiar: Lanai, St. Petersburg. He rumbled a little to himself and only then noticed that Junkrat’s eyes were open, watching in silence. The others were all talking now. Serial bombings? Some one cleaning house of all their contacts? Junkrat looked back at him and deliberately closed his eyes again. Right. Not their problem. Not right now. Let their kindly hosts worry about that until Junkrat felt up to engaging. Until then, it was rest and medicine.

 

It was another half a day before Junkrat did wake up and when he did, he was nauseous and hungry. That was a terrible combination at the best of times, and no one was sure how he did it. He was determined to eat if there was food. His scavenger instincts didn’t care about queasy. If there was food, he needed to eat it to get his strength back. The artificial sweet smell of the jello the medic brought him made him retch right there. He wanted food, he insisted, but Roadhog wouldn’t leave him to find some.

Junkrat’s head hurt too, and his eyes were sensitive to light. Whatever they had done to him had left him feeling weak and fragile and he hated it. Even his skin felt tender. If he hadn’t had Roadhog standing guard and taking care of business for him, he would’ve been a nervous wreck. He ended up in a dark room with the lights out and the air conditioning on, forcing down lukewarm broth one sip at a time. He had to have something. The longer he was hungry, the weaker he would get. That was just good sense.

Roadhog filled him in in the meantime, about everything that had gone down since they had leveled Statelos. Hearing that the King of Diamonds and maybe a few more extra copies had been blown to nothing all at once made Junkrat forget about his headache for a few minutes. When he tried to get up to pace and think out loud, his head spun hard enough to make him throw up all the broth he had gotten down. He would’ve fallen into the puddle of it if Roadie hadn’t caught him.

“Which way’s up?” he asked, too dizzy to do anything but cling. “I wasn’t this bad off when I got here!” He closed his eyes against the spinning room and cursed, quietly at first and then building up some volume. He was upset about wasting the food and being so weak and feeling so terrible. All the noise brought the medic again.

“It’s just the side effect of the treatment,” she said. “It will pass.”

“When.” It was Roadhog’s threatening voice and she seemed surprised to have it directed at her.

“It depends on his metabolism,” she said. “It will work it’s way out.”

And it did. With a vengeance. Once Junkrat could keep food down, it still wouldn’t stay with him long. He took a pillow with him to the bathroom so he could rest his head on the sink while he sat and not have to walk back and forth so much. He kept the door open and Roadhog sat in the doorway to keep watch and keep him company. He passed in fluids and witch hazel wipes to keep Junkrat hydrated and ease some of the discomfort.

“Never thought just sitting here would be so exhausting,” Junkrat muttered after awhile. “Feels like my whole life is draining out my ass.”

“Better than all your guts out the other side,” Roadhog reminded him. He snorted on a laugh and took another drink from the juice box.

“I never did thank you for that,” he said after a pause. Roadhog didn’t shudder, but there was a tingle in the root of the hair on his arms that he didn’t like.

“Don’t,” he said simply. It was his job to keep his partner alive. Even if he had to gut him to do it.

“There’s a thing or two you can teach the doctor sheila about surgery on the go,” Junkrat said, trying to laugh, then groaning a little. “My foot’s gone to sleep. Nothing’s happened for awhile. Think it’s safe to come out?”

“Give it another ten, then we’ll try,” Roadhog said. Junkrat sighed and agreed. When the time was up, Roadhog made him wash up and sent him back to bed. He sat up with him, bringing the tablet so they pass the time until it was time to try eating again.

They watched the news for any sign of the King of Diamonds and found that the search of his house (or at least that one) was complete. There was a press conference called and the inspector who came to report at the podium had a pair of strikingly pale blue eyes. It got both their attention. There was only a trace of mountain accent when he spoke. He told the crowd that there had been human remains found inside. These were not synthetic pieces, but hacked off parts of a real human body. It would be hard to identify the victim since the eye had degraded to where the retina might not be a match. They were hoping that fingerprints from the arms would help with identification.

Junkrat whistled softly and then began to giggle. It was the first time he’d laughed since before 8 attacked him, so Roadhog drank up the sound.

“The Other Blake!” Junkrat said between cackles. “Marlowe said she cut off her arms and dug out her eye so they’d still match. Must’ve saved them to plant on somebody they wanted to frame for murder!”

“At least, she didn’t plant them on us,” Roadhog said.

Chapter Text

It was the smell that woke him up, too sharp, too clean, too artificial. There was something up his nose. It didn’t hurt but it felt weird. The air around his nose and mouth felt too warm and wet. It was gross. It couldn’t be the storage shed. That was over. It had to be.  He tried to turn away from it, but it moved with him and his head spun a little.

He coughed and it sounded echo-y. Was he wearing a mask? Was he wearing Roadhog’s mask? He kinda remembered that- remembered being hurt, remembered the flash of Roadie’s face before the mask settled over his own and blocked out everything else. Roadhog had saved him again. First from the bomb and then from his own hook’s work. 

It had barely hurt, just one more pain among the others. He had been stabbed before, caught in explosions before. He had never been on the business end of the hook before.  After that was just a blur of bright guts and hot wetness, but that wasn’t right either.  There was more than that. That was a long time ago, too. More had happened since then.

Explosions and diamonds and severed arms and he had understood it, then.   He had been awake and clear-headed yesterday. He hadn’t been- where was this? Why was he-? He almost opened his eyes to see, but old paranoid instincts flared up, and he kept himself very still. He took careful stock of himself, focusing on everything he could feel. If he had been captured or drugged, it was for the best they didn’t know he was awake. He didn’t move, didn’t even tense.

He was two limbs short, but didn’t feel any restraints, nothing but the mask. It couldn’t be Roadie’s because Roadie’s mask smelled like him. He wasn’t lying flat. He was piled up on something, too warm to be alone, and then, the familiar wheeze of Roadhog’s breathing rose and fell under his cheek.

All the anxiety bled out of him so fast, he felt a little dizzy again. His light speed thoughts settled down to their usual mile a minute.  If Roadie was here, he was safe. His relieved exhale made the air in his mask get warm and icky again. He was wearing the flimsy medical thing they had put on him before, and Roadhog had allowed it, so it must be ok. Wasn’t he up and around before though? Why was he wearing it now?

He pawed at it and felt the tubes scrape on his nose as he shoved it down over his chin. He coughed and gave himself a shake, finally opening his eyes. It was dark. They were still in that little room the Overwatch types had given them.  He remembered that now. It was all clean and everything matched. It even had the OW logo on everything. Not very secret for a secret organization. Not that he could talk, what with all his smiley faces. Still.

All the stuff that had been on him when he came in was to the side in a box. His prosthetics were to the other side, in easy reach on the counter. There was a new pile of stuff next to them. Looked like medicine and some kind of ventilator thing. Bet anything that it was for Roadhog.

Worry spiked up. Why wasn’t Roadie using it then? Sense smothered it back down. Because he was taking care of Junkrat. He was on watch, making sure nobody got any funny ideas while Junkrat was still knocking along at maybe 60%. He hadn’t taken any of the stuff, probably hadn’t eaten much in case the food was drugged, probably wasn’t even asleep right now.

Junkrat took a deep breath that didn’t hurt. He felt all right. No lingering pains. He didn’t have the IVs in.  He was trying to remember why he was wearing a mask when it was Roadhog’s medicine. The familiar weight of a heavy hand fell on his head and stroked over it to the back of his neck.  That didn’t hurt either.  It was more than welcome.

He looked up to the silhouette above him, a darker shape in a dark room. Roadhog was sitting sideways in the bed, leaning against the wall. He held Junkrat across his lap and leaning up against his chest. Another deep, rattling breath rumbled under his near cheek and a big thumb stroked over the other one.

“You even think loud.” It was too much of a rumble to be a whisper, but Junkrat heard the smile in it and beamed back at him. He was probably the only one who could tell what was going on under the mask and that thought thrilled him. Most people had never even seen the face under it, but he had.

 Except, a new thought chimed in.  That Roadhog had taken it off in front of everyone to save him. That gave him a weird twist of a feeling.  It drove the air out of him and sent a warm prickle through the rest.

He lurched up to plant a kiss on the snout of the mask, but didn’t make it and landed in Roadhog’s chest instead. That was fine too. He could be perfectly happy to smooch right there, and if it so happened that one particularly wet and sucking kiss pulled a piercing into his mouth, well so much the better. Roadhog made a sound like he hadn’t expected it, which earned him the pinch of teeth just hard enough to sting.

One of Roadhog’s hands clenched around his leg, but didn’t pull him away. His next sound could’ve meant anything. Junkrat decided it was surprised encouragement. He went back to kissing the nipple, sucking it tight against his teeth in between gentler smooches. His tongue toyed with the piercing until the fingers around his thigh squeezed tight enough to bruise and then forcibly relaxed. The belly against his was quivering. He gave it one more bite to hear the rattle of Roadhog’s gasp and moved to the other one.

The tip of his tongue fit nicely into the scar. He wondered if the scar tissue scrambled the nerve ending sensations like the scars on his stumps did. What must it feel like to have the undamaged part of the nipple licked and sucked with the scar? Was it as intense as the other side, or did the mix of sensation still do as much for the big man? He opened his mouth wide enough to take in all the scar and scraped his teeth painfully hard all the way to the tip. Roadhog arched and if Junkrat was any judge of the noises he made, he was biting his own lips under the mask. Good. It was Roadie’s turn to be fussed over a little.

He pulled off the scarred nipple with a wet sound and Roadhog’s free hand grabbed his head like he might force it back. Junkrat let his thumb roll over it to ease the parting and strained with his leg to scoot high enough to drag his tongue over the stitches of the mask.

“You…” It was a guttural groan and Junkrat was sure he could feel it vibrate in the mask against his mouth.

“Yeah,” he agreed. His own voice had gone breathless. He mouthed hungrily at the mask, letting his teeth catch on the seams with little squeaking sounds. Roadhog couldn’t stand that for any longer than he could and let go of his leg to shove the mask up. The hand around Junket’s head yanked him into a kiss so hard it bloodied both their lips. Teeth broke skin and tongues lapped it up and their jaws creaked with the effort of opening wider, shoving deeper.

Both of Roadhog’s hands were around Junkrat’s head now, tilting him at the right angle and holding him so tightly he couldn’t have pulled out of the kiss if he had wanted to. He didn’t. He would’ve been happy to choke to death right there, with Roadie’s tongue down his throat and both their breath hissing through their noses. It was Roadhog that ran out of breath first, though. He came up for air and they panted into each other’s faces until Junkrat couldn’t help himself and flicked his tongue back in between Roadhog lips.

“We should do this someplace safer,” Roadhog wheezed before giving in and opening for it.

“Mmhm,” Junkrat would’ve agreed to anything if it meant more of this. He knew it made sense. He couldn’t keep guard with his eyes rolling back into his head and his toes tying themselves into a knot. He hadn’t even put some security bombs around the door. He was supposed to be taking care of things. He was the boss after all. Not that it could be helped. It wasn’t his fault his partner was so irresistible. When Roadhog pulled back again, all he could gasp out was “Anywhere.”

“Find the bike,” Roadhog said, kissing him on both lips and then his nose. “Set up camp there. Claim some territory.”

“Mark it ours,” Junkrat agreed, dreamy-eyed until Roadhog bit him sharply on the neck. He gasped and was completely unfocused for the three seconds it took him to notice that Roadhog had tilted his head a fraction, too. Warmth shot through Junkrat from all of his tips. He lunged up to bite his own mark onto the offered throat and then they were both up and scrambling to gather up everything they might need from the room. They ended up throwing all their gear and whatever supplies they could scrounge onto the bed. Then, Roadhog rolled the mattress up and carried it out under his arm.

It must’ve been the middle of the night, because there was no sight or sound of anyone else up and about the complex. Roadhog had been too worried about Junkrat to pay a lot of attention on the way in, but he remembered that the transport they had been brought here in had docked on a lower level and they had come up to this floor on an elevator. They found the elevators easily enough, and lo and behold, there was a button marked garage. This was so much easier than Statelos, it wasn’t even worth laughing over. They took the elevators down without any trouble and the doors opened to level of concrete walls and parked vehicles.

Some sixth or seventh sense led Roadhog to his motorcycle in no time. It was there, sitting pretty off to the side in a stable of its own. It was an area that could be separated from the rest of the garage with only a little effort. Dragging the nearby cabinets off the wall and making partitions out of them sealed them in nicely. One of the Overwatch vehicles was tipped on its side, carefully so as not to cause any fuss with the neighbors later, and then they had themselves their own little camp. Junkrat set up perimeter bombs for safety and Roadhog arranged their new mattress with some of their old bedding. Once everything was situated, they faced each other again, bite marks still red on their necks.

“I want what you want,” Junkrat blurted out. “Want to do it for you. Want to do everything you want done.”

“Good,” Roadhog rumbled. He had set his mask aside with some fresh canisters and settled down on the mattress. He raised his hands to his chest, rubbing his still-tender nipples with his fingertips. “You think you can do what you were doing before if you’re sitting on my face?”

A shudder went through Junkrat and he was fumbling with his clothes before he could get his tongue untied.

“Yeah,” he said, when he got it under control. “Yeahyeahyeah, except I dunno. First touch of your tongue usually goes through me like lightning.” He grinned through the flame of want in his eyes. “If I lose track, you’ll have to bite me.” He kicked off his boot and shorts and was unbuckling his prosthetic leg as he hurried over. He kept the arm on though, remembering to cup it over his mouth and breathe on it to warm up the metal a little. He was careful not to step or kneel on Roadhog’s hair when he straddled his head, but he did get a little dizzy at the faint gleam of it in the dim lights from the garage.

“So beautiful,” he breathed and then hands were on his hips. Roadhog held him a little ways off so he could start by kissing down his spine to his tailbone. Junkrat leaned forward to make it easier. He reached down for both scar and piercing so he wouldn’t forget what to do so soon. Strong fingers squeezed his ass and spread it wide, and he had to take several deep breaths to keep from arching back against it. His knees splayed out all on their own, though. He couldn’t have stopped that if he tried. The first brush of tongue made him tense and he probably pinched too hard, but Roadie seemed to like it. Junkrat sucked the piercing back into his mouth and moaned around it when he was pulled back to fit neatly against Roadhog’s face.

It was too good to stand. It took maybe a minute to reduce Junkrat to a slobbering puddle. He was still doing his best to nip and pinch and suck like he was supposed to, but his jaw kept falling slack and his spine kept dissolving and every push of Roadhog’s tongue felt like it sent voltage all the way to his brain. He was moaning and gurgling and helpless as hands splayed from his hips over his back and down his thighs. The click of his metal fingers against the piercing probably meant that at least part of him was doing what it was supposed to be doing. He forced his lips to pucker around the scarred nipple and draw on it hard. He could still do this, even if he was melting into staticky mush.

“Good boy,” rumbled against his perineum and then a tongue swiped after it. Junkrat would’ve screamed if his mouth hadn’t been clamped down so tight. He was never going to make it. He was going to come and come and come until his whole body emptied out and then maybe Roadhog would roll him over and fuck him full again. That thought made him buck. It was too good. It was too much. How was he supposed to do his part of this when he could barely breathe? He didn’t know what his hands were doing. He couldn’t tell what sounds he was making. He had wanted to do this for Roadhog, wanted to do what Roadhog wanted, and how could it possibly be his fault that he couldn’t when it turned out that what Roadhog actually wanted was to tie him in a knot like a cherry stem with that delicious tongue of his?

“Roadie!” he choked out, pinching the nipple to make up for taking his mouth off it. This time, he felt a chuckle right against the back of his balls and then he was being tilted. Roadhog sat up with him, still holding him in place. He was turned over easily and his legs repositioned over the massive shoulders. He got to look up past his own sweating body and his damn-near-bursting cock to see Roadhog smirk at him from between his shaking thighs. He lay back down, taking Junkrat with him and forcing him to sit up so that he was bent over Roadie’s face. He tried to brace his arms against the wall, but it was Roadhog’s hands that really held him up. That silver hair was sticking to the sweat on his thighs. If it wasn’t the most beautiful thing in the world, it at least made the top five.

Roadhog pressed a kiss to each aching ball and then used Junkrat’s hips to move him forward and swallow him down to the base. He hummed around it like it was his favorite thing ever. He pulled and pushed Junkrat back and forth to fuck himself down the throat. Even through the haze of marrow-deep pleasure he was in, Junkrat made one more effort to hold out. He managed to make it until Roadhog pulled him in until his nose scrunched against Junkrat’s belly. The sound he made was all hunger and satisfaction and Junkrat had no chance of holding back with that rumbling around him.

He came so hard he popped his neck throwing his head back and shuddered as he felt Roadhog swallowing and swallowing. He was raised up again and set on his back on the mattress. Roadhog’s breathing was still deep and aroused. Junkrat felt his legs lifted up and apart. He didn’t know what Roadie wanted to do to him and was more than fine with whatever it was. He tried to get his eyes to focus when he heard zippers and buckles. When the familiar length of Roadhog’s cock was pressed against his drained one, he tried to splay out even farther.

“Help me,” Roadhog hissed. The need in his voice would’ve brought Junkrat back from the dead, never mind the afterglow. He was whispering “yes, yes” before he knew it and his thighs were pressed tight together again. He wrapped his hands around it and let Roadie pound away at him. If he had been fast enough and if his joints had resolidified enough, he could’ve hunched over to let Roadhog come down his throat, but it was just as nice to watch his face as it happened and feel the spatter over his belly and ribs.

They lay there together for awhile, happy as well-fucked clams, until they both noticed the smell of smoke. It wasn’t Junkrat. His hair had been out since they brought him here. They looked at each other and then around their new den. The smoke was coming from some of their original gear. Closer inspection revealed that it was the Gnawer’s tablet. The word SORRY was scrolling dimly like matrix codes in the background as the screen cracked and the thing self-destructed right in front of them.

“That can’t be good,” Junkrat said. “What do they not want us knowing?”

“What do they not want finding their tablet?” Roadhog answered. Somewhere in the building, an alarm went off and was too quickly silenced.

Chapter Text

Something was up and they both knew it. Roadhog still took the time to lick Junkrat clean and then kiss him cross-eyed before they got up and made themselves presentable. Junkrat had tried to chuckle over the attention but when the kisses lingered over the spot the hook had torn, he ran his fingers into the silver hair.

“That might be the only thing you’ve ever done to me that I barely felt,” he said. Roadhog looked up at him, eyes so grave that Junkrat had to change that expression somehow. “Everything else you do to me turns me inside out,” he said, grinning. “I love it. I love what you do to me. I love you.”

Roadhog groaned and buried his face back against Junkrat’s skin. Whatever he said was muffled and ticklish, and Junkrat did laugh then.

“You’re so good to me,” he said, tears bright in his eyes, but not falling yet. “I know you do.” The tears didn’t overflow until Roadhog rose up and kissed the free will out of him. Then, they both sniffled and smiled into each other’s face like idiots until another alarm went off somewhere. After that, it was easy to throw on their gear and get weapons ready. The AI that ran the place tried to make some kind of announcement over the speakers but it staticked out before they could tell what she was trying to say.

“Something getting in,” Junkrat said. “And if the Gnawers had known they’d’ve told us.”

“Unless they tried and we were busy,” Roadhog said, pulling his mask over his smirk. Junkrat grinned too.

“Whatever it is, it’s bad enough that they aren’t sure we can take it,” he said. “They of little faith.”

“Or whatever it is is following the tablet,” Roadhog said. “Had to take that out to lose the signal.”

“And the only way it would have that signal is if it was something that had followed us before,” Junkrat said, tapping his chin. They both looked around at the garage and their corner of it. There were some vents and the ceilings were high, but there were pillars and lots of structures and vehicles to hide behind or underneath. Not the best place. The power flickered. The garage would be even worse in the dark. Time to move.

The didn’t want to be trapped in the elevator, but they didn’t want to meet anything in a stairwell either. They headed towards the hanger-like doors at the far end. Getting outside would give them more options. The speaker system screamed back into life so shrilly that they both cringed, Roadhog’s shoulders hunching up and Junkrat clamping his hands over his ears.

“-ERE ARE YOU?” someone roared, before the system crackled out into static again. Junkrat made an annoyed sound, but headed for the phone over by the wall. They had saved him, he guessed. Roadhog could’ve done it, but it would’ve taken longer, used up a lot of hogdrogen and he would’ve been out of action for a lot longer. He glanced over to make sure Roadhog was carrying plenty of canisters. He was, so Junkrat nodded to himself and snatched the phone off the hook. The filthiest button was the one that had been used the most, so he hit that one and another high-pitched sound rang from the speakers.

“Get to the open!” he yelled into it. His own voice echoed in the garage. “They come from the walls!” He hung up and they started on again, but then there was a blue flash and a woman in pajamas slid into view behind them.

“Thereyouare!” she said. She looked frantic and her words all ran together. “WedroveitoutoftheinfirmarybutyouweregoneandIdon’tknowif-“

“They come through the vents,” Junkrat said. The power flickered again and went off. The glow off the armor thing she was wearing on her chest gave them some light, but she was moving so much, it wasn’t reliable. It reminded him he had the Gnawer goggles and he put them back on. There was no cycling light of messages on them now.

“Henh,” he said brightly. “No lights. Either the Gnawers are running silent or they don’t want the goggles being traced either!” The seriousness of that possibility hit him a second after it hit Roadhog, who grabbed him and yanked them off, taking some hair with them. Junkrat yelped but didn’t resist as Roadhog slung them across the floor far back the way they had come. They saw the blue gleam come to a stop and fell into a back to back defensive position. The woman was baffled, but her mind must’ve been at least almost as fast as her mouth, because her sputters turned sensible.

“You-“ she began, then almost angrily. “You know! Youknowwhatthatthingis!”

“You saw it?” Roadhog towered over her and she went up on her toes to glare into his mask.

“I saw what it did to Torbjorn!” she flared back. “Angela’s putting him back together right now. It pulled him into the ductwork.”

“Not pregnant, are you?” Junkrat asked, raising an eyebrow at her torso. She sputtered again.

“Definitely not,” she said.

“Might just kill you then,” he said, with an almost apologetic shrug. “Least it’ll be quick.” She stared for a full second and then got back to business.

“How does it die?” she asked.

“Ideally in one piece,” Junkrat said. “Bust it up and the smithereens come after you.”

“So, what? Fire?” she asked. “Does it have a kill point?”

“Wait and see,” Roadhog growled softly and they both followed his gaze back to the goggles.

The only lights in the garage were small ones over the exits, the glow off the woman, and the faint blue sheen of the goggles. Roadhog’s breathing was the loudest sound down there, but then they all felt it. Something about a fighter pilot’s instinct or the will to survive honed to razor keenness had all three of them prickling and alert. There was a change in the air. Something had opened or closed or moved in the dark and some deep, primal prey-sense had kicked in. They waited, pupils dilated and neck hairs tingling.

The ‘Pede unfolded gently from the ceiling. They couldn’t see where it was clinging, but the visible part of it unfurled like some monstrous fern. They could only see the blurred outline of it as the dim lights reflected off the segments. Chitinous legs, sharp as daggers, unsheathed from wherever they were tucked. They flexed like evil fingers. It looked like it was peering at the goggles. If it had eyes. Which it didn’t.

It was big, much bigger than the ones that the helicopter had been carrying. They were only seeing about ten feet of it, hanging from the ceiling. It was as wide across as the woman’s shoulders. Rumi Blake would not have stood a chance against something like that. Too bad Hatfield wasn’t here to stomp it flat or laser drill the vitals out of it. Both Roadhog and Junkrat had weapons drawn on it. The woman clearly itched to move, but she was following their lead. Not moving unless they had to.

The silence was as unnerving as the rest of it. Maybe if it had whirred or clinked or its little feet had made any kind of pitterpat, it wouldn’t have felt so much like the worse kind of nightmare. Junkrat was holding his breath to keep quiet and he was pretty sure Roadhog was too. He wouldn’t be able to do that for long before he had to cough or take a canister. When that happened, they would have to be ready. Hopefully their Overwatch friend had fought enough omnics in the Crisis that she would be some use, even in her blue police box pajamas.

One of the ‘Pede’s pointed legs reached out to give the goggle lenses a dainty tap. It was the first sound it had made, just a tiny little pin drop of a sound in the garage. The segment that was probably the ‘Pede’s head tilted a bit, like it was trying to hear something with ears it also didn’t have. Just as slowly and gracefully, it began to curl back up to the ceiling. In a moment or two it was out of sight again. Which was worse, seeing it coming or not knowing where it was? Should they move now or make sure it was gone?

Then, it was snaking along the ceiling toward them in a blur of speed. The woman was gone in a blur of her own, screaming something like “I’llbringhelp!” They didn’t blame her. If they had had somebody to lay down cover fire and draw the thing away from them, they would’ve been only too happy to zip away. As it was, they both unloaded on the thing. Like every time before, they were blowing pieces off it, but those pieces either reattached or came at them solo. They had to spread their fire to keep the main thing back and keep the segments from getting in around them.

The Junkers were falling back to keep space between them and it. Instinct and long practice at fire fights had them backing toward the motorcycle. The rest of their gear was there and if they were going to have to run, the bike would be their best bet. The ‘Pede moved like an eel, whipping through the air, running along surfaces, switching from pillar to pillar to ceiling to floor in the blink of an eye. The explosions and scatter gun shots were deafening in the enclosed space of the garage. When his grenades were gone, Junkrat started slinging the blue bombs he had swiped from Statelos. Their only hope seemed to be to keep a wall of destruction between them and the ‘Pede until they could get away or help arrived.

At some point the fire sprinklers were set off. The spraying water didn’t do much but make it harder to see. The blue bombs were quieter than his homemade ones, but they displaced air in hot blasts that sent anything nearby flying. It crossed Junkrat’s mind that they might drop Overwatch the same way they had sunk Statelos into the ground. If that didn’t wear out their welcome (and if they survived it) Overwatch might be worth hanging around with, which made him laugh into the next blast. He couldn’t hear over the commotion, couldn’t see through the explosions and smoke and shrapnel and pouring water. He and Roadhog were moving in sync, too deep into battle mode to be aware of much else.

Then, something new was lobbed in. Roadhog interpreted it as a bomb and shoved Junkrat behind him. Junkrat snagged a canister off his belt ready to stuff it into his filter as soon as the bomb went off. It did detonate, but not in an explosion. A blue-ringed black hole opened and the ‘Pede was pulled into it. The ‘Pede left furrows scraped in the walls and floors and vehicles as it was dragged into the vortex and it spun like an angry snake to regain its footing. Then, their speedy friend was back, blasting away with two hand weapons. The ‘Pede squirmed as it took the damage.

The Junkers fell back again as another Overwatch person started firing a particle cannon at the ‘Pede. If they did end up staying, they were going to have to pay attention to what everyone’s names were, mused the part of Junkrat’s mind that wasn’t scrabbling for more weapons and a way out.

Green sparks started flying as twin rotating fusion cannons came firing from another direction. It was a weird, bipedal sentry omnic-looking thing, all pink and cute but keeping up a steady barrage at the ‘Pede. Then, the exit they had been planning to reach opened and something big came charging in. Roadhog turned to fire at it, but the speedy one zipped in push the scatter gun back toward the ‘Pede. The big newcomer threw up a shield that reminded Junkrat of the show plow he had attached to the bike. If they could get to the bike and fire it up, they could bulldoze their way out through friend and foe and sort the mess out later.

But then, the ‘Pede was loose again and it hit the pink sentry hard. It stabbed through the front visor part of it and gutted it open. A very human scream came out of the sentry and the Overwatchers all shouted too, in concern and dismay. The ‘Pede’s legs tore the pink mech apart, moving as fast as sewing machine needles. The one with the shield did their best to get in between everyone else, and the Junkers saw why when the sentry self-destructed. The shield took the blast, and left a human, stabbed and bleeding on the rubble where the sentry had been. The shield ran to protect whoever that was. and everyone else kept firing.

The ‘Pede changed tactics. Whether it had a mind in there to calculate or if it was remote controlled or if it just had its set list of parameters to follow. no one could tell, but with the space made by the exploding sentry and the shield diverted, it arced up and looped around. It wasn’t fighting any more, it was just surrounding them, separating segments to made a full circle that lit up a familiar blue. Maybe the self-destructing sentry had given it the idea. Maybe it was just the next box to tick in the ‘Pedes list of things to do. Either way, this was going to be bad.

“Shields!” Junkrat screamed, lunging for the motorcycle. His plan was still to set off the snow plow. Any protection was better than none, and he had to have an option so that Roadhog wouldn’t- But then, Roadhog was there against his back, curling around him to save him and he thrashed one arm free to hit the device before everything blew white and hot and the whole world around them disintegrated.

Chapter Text

He woke up to the sound of his own shuddering breathing. He was shaking too, quivering like a headshot bounty hunter. Like a snake hung over a fence. Roadie hadn’t shook. Just dropped. His weight was like a mountain against Junkrat’s back. I have held up mountains. Who had said that? Where were they when he needed that help?

And that thought was a cold thread dragged by a rusty needle through the fragments of his mind. It pulled tight, piecing the thoughts back into sense. Who had ever helped him? Who had he ever needed? He sucked in another vibrating inhale to force out the answer.

“Roadie,” he wheezed and then louder: “Roadie?” His fingers clenched and he was still clutching the canister he had grabbed before. Could he turn? Was there enough left of him to let him move? Maybe the blast had obliterated the rest of their bodies and they were just a lump of arms and torso. The feeling of crushing weight could be just a phantom pain. He could feel down to his ribs because his other arm was pinned under him. Farther down than that, who knew? They would have to dig up Statelos to find some spare parts to graft onto him after all. He would have to tell Roadie to pick him out something fetching.

If there was enough left of Roadhog to do that, stung another thought. If the blast had cut Junkrat down to a third, it would’ve had to have gone through Roadhog to do it. He partially remembered making a joke about how many of the flesh-nics it would take to make a Roadhog and now the thought made him feel sick. He squirmed to get up, to find out, to do anything but lay there.

Something tightened around his hand, the one with the canister. It was pulled up and he would’ve fought to keep it, but the grip was too strong for him. He heard the familiar hiss of the catch being released and hogdrogen breathed in. Then, his head was gripped and turned painfully to the side. The grip slid to his chin and squeezed his lips into a pucker. A stinging lungful of the gas was exhaled into him. It prickled and burned and the cold stitches in his head healed back into each other. A big thumb stroked his face, but he didn’t feel any tears. The touch on his mouth pulled back a fraction.

“Say something.” It was just a whisper of a rumble.

“Something,” Junkrat wheezed. Maybe he was crying because his vision blurred and his eyes felt hot and his breathing was still ragged. He felt Roadhog kiss him and then the arms on either side braced and lifted off him. With the weight off, Junkrat could raise up enough to see that they weren’t cut in half after all. The snow plow barrier glimmered weakly between them and a pile of rubble. They were buried in the corner with the motorcycle. There was no way to see if any of the Overwatchers had made it clear or if there was anything left of their headquarters.

Roadhog made it up to his knees and helped Junkrat ease up beside him. If the snow plow failed, they’d be crushed all over again. It gave off enough light that they could see that they were both dusted white, with the occasional dark trickle of blood here and there. They looked like marshmallows, the pair of them. Junkrat looked around. They had their corner, the motorcycle and whatever was still packed with their gear. There should still be some water in there. He wasn’t sure about their rations, but they hadn’t eaten well enough for long enough that they could afford to starve a little.

Well, Roadhog could. Junkrat knew he was going to be the problem. He wasn’t 100% yet. He was barely up and around and eating again. He’d be the one to falter first. Not that he could expect to outlast Roadhog in any kind of waiting game, but the big guy didn’t need to waste any time or water taking care of him when he had the best chance to make it until something found them.

“Shaking,” Roadhog said, reaching for him. He refocused enough to look at himself and hear how unsteady his breathing was. It hissed through his teeth and his hands shook so hard the metal joints were clicking. He forced a laugh that sounded more like a cough.

“Sounds like the freezer,” he said. Roadhog made a question noise, wrapping a hand around him and pulling him close. “First time I was ever really, really cold.” Junkrat tried to explain. He had been caught, by a gang with brands on their hands. Their prize possession had been a solar panel that they used to power the freezer in the old service station they had set up in. The pumps were long-since useless and the food long gone, but they had stashed him in the freezer to argue over who would pay the most for him. The artificial cold had been novel and nice for the first few minutes before he started getting goosebumps and chattering teeth.

It had been a trap, Junkrat remembered, simple and ugly. A chain link and barb wire meshed fence had blocked the way with a simple metal cattle gate in the middle. It wasn’t even locked. There had been no one in sight. No one had answered his cheerful calls. He had a cannon ready in case anyone did. He had reached out to open the gate and all the voltage they had been able to store in their old generator from days when they weren’t using the freezer had burned through him. It had been enough to knock him down and keep him down until they came out of hiding and grabbed him.

“Took my cannon,” Junkrat said. “Tore off my grenades. Threw me in the freezer.”

“Um,” Roadhog said.

“Right?” Junkrat couldn’t help but grin. “They didn’t know they’d all blow away from my heartbeat. Killed ‘em all, but that still left me in the freezer.”

“How’d you get out?”

“Don’t remember,” Junkrat admitted after his grin faded with the effort of recalling that particular part. “But I did.”

“If you think it’s something that would work here,” Roadhog said, looking around at their prison. “Don’t be shy about trying it.”

“We’ll be all right,” Junkrat said it with confidence, but set his head in his hands like it hurt. “Give me a bit to get everything sorted back into the right piles.” Roadhog didn’t agree that they’d be fine or tell Junkrat to take his time. He just made a low hum of acknowledgment and stroked Junkrat’s head and neck with his fingertips. The layer of dust crumbled away under the touch, slowly cleaning him off.

“They’re not gonna keep us if we killed ‘em all,” Junkrat said after a little while.

“You want to be kept?”

“Do you?”

“I’ve been telling them it’s your call since we got here,” Roadhog said. They were both quiet after that. Junkrat’s nerves finally settled and his shaking stopped. Roadhog had petted most of his top half clean before he started talking again.

“Depending on how much is on top of us,” he said, looking at their ceiling of rubble. “We could fire up the bike and bulldoze our way out.”

“You’re the boss,” Roadhog said. “If you say it’s worth it, we will.”

“I think,” Junkrat said. “I think I just kicked the freezer door until my leg broke and then I used it as a crowbar ’till it broke again. My grenades must’ve damaged the hinges because I got one loose. Lost some skin squeezing out. I was hungry enough to think about eating what was left of ‘em, but they had some rations off to the side. Dog, I think.”

“How long were you in there?” Roadhog asked.

“Long enough to not care what I had to gnaw off to get out,” Junkrat said. He was still studying the mess around them. “Think the air will run out?”

“…” Roadhog hadn’t thought of that. He huffed and heard his breath rattle in the mask. He had enough trouble breathing when there was air a-plenty. He was pretty sure he’d rather die in a motorcycle charge than just quietly suffocate. If Hatfield was here, he could tell them what it was like to be trapped in a cave-in and run out of air. But then, if Hatfield was here, he could dig them out. If they still had the tablet, they could call for help on it. Unless leaving it running would’ve brought the ‘Pede on them that much faster.

How likely was it that Diamonds or whoever the real King was had only sent one ’Pede? That thought was chilling. There could be more. They had never seen just one at a time. A small one could cut a human to shreds. That big one was a match for a half dozen seasoned omnic fighters. There could be more in the duct work, in the plumbing, there could be one sifting through the rubble for life signs right now. It could dig them out faster than a wombat. That was what the Kings had pretended they were for, wasn’t it? Digging and mining and squeezing into underground places.

Roadhog sucked down a canister without sharing this time. His lungs felt tight just thinking about it. That was when they both heard the pile shift and the unmistakable sound of metal on stone.

“Maybe they’re digging us out.” Junkrat didn’t sound too cheered by that. He knew as well as Roadhog did that the odds of a rescue being underway so soon weren’t likely. Still, the Overwatch bunch were professionals. Maybe they had a rescue team in the wings for when the first wave got their asses handed to them and buried alive besides. Maybe the Junkers had been unconscious longer than they thought.

“Maybe,” was all Roadhog said out loud. Another shifting sound and then the rocks on their left side shook with some mysterious impact. They both reached for weapons and waited.

Chapter Text

It took longer than seemed possible. They eventually got tired of sitting at readiness and just sat, weapons on their laps. Sometimes the noise came from one side, and then the other, so they sat back to back. The light from the shield flickered and dimmed a few times, making them wonder how much power was left on it. Roadhog tried to remember how long the shields were supposed to have lasted against firing omnics in the Crisis, but they both agreed that just staying on should take less power than repelling shots in a battle situation.

“If it was a ‘Pede, it wouldn’t take this long,” Junkrat mused. “Weren’t they built for this?”

“That was the story,” Roadhog said.

“If it isn’t…”

“Maybe it’s the Watchers.”

“If any of them are left.” Junkrat tilted his head to try to pinpoint where any sound was coming from. More than one ‘Pede loose in the building could’ve picked off any of the heroes as they found them. “If they’re all dead, what do we do?”

“Deal with whatever that is.” Roadhog coughed a cloud of dust out of his filters and cleared his throat with a growl. “Use the tunnel it made to get out.”

“Mm.” Junkrat said, nodding. Sound logic from Roadhog, as usual.

“Once word gets out that we took out all of Overwatch on our own, any bounty hunters will be thinking twice. Maybe Talon will come courting.” Roadhog said. There was an undercurrent of amusement, like the sight of him hadn’t made everyone who had ever tried anything do some quick rethinking.

“All their flunkies have omnic parts in ‘em somewhere,” Junkrat sniggered. He flexed his prosthetic fingers. “And not the helpful kind.”

“Hnm.” Roadhog agreed. They had killed a few Talon operatives who got in their way before. The last one sniveling (not standing) had promised them the good life in Talon’s service if they would just let her live and show them the way to secret headquarters. They hadn’t even had to kill her because whatever had been implanted in her head self-destructed as soon as she talked too much.

Morbid curiosity had sent Roadhog to bust open the skulls of the already dispatched to see what they were packing. It had been icky. Strands and filaments of stuff had been all through their brains and spines. None of it had been worth digging out for salvage. In fact, it wasn’t too much of a leap to wonder if Talon had anything to do with Statelos and their synthetic body parts. Maybe that was why Overwatch had shown up first chance.

“Some of the Watch could’ve lived,” Junkrat mused. “They gonna blame us for this?”

“I would.” Roadhog said it with a shrug. He coughed again and took another hit. Junkrat did a quick tally of how many were left. Whatever was going to happen was going to have to go down before he ran out of canisters and couldn’t breathe. Something picked and scraped out in the world and they waited for more.

“Whatcha wanna do if they send us packing?” Junkrat said when the silence stretched out again. He still sounded as neutral as before, but there was something melancholy in the eyes that Roadhog didn’t want to stare into for long. He made a thoughtful sound.

“Could go to Las Fallas,” he said eventually. “They have a fire festival in the spring.” It might take them that long to get there.

“There’s a place in Mexico where you see how hard you can hit a bomb with a sledgehammer!” Junkrat said. “I looked it up!”

“Junker Carnival,” Roadhog remembered out loud. Junkrat made an excited sound.

On the other side of the rubble, progress was suddenly made and the whole wall of debris started to slide. Their weapons came back up. Light flickered in between the pieces as they slid away and then a large chunk was swept to the side.

“AHA!” someone bellowed and only the fact that it was a human voice saved it from being shot right its big stupid face. Too big, actually. There was a beard and a scar and a lot of height. Junkrat couldn’t remember the last time he had seen a human close to as tall as Roadhog. It had been a long while since he’d seen anyone that exultant outside of security footage of himself either. All the more reason to shoot at it, but Roadhog had shifted to shield him and hadn’t made a move to fight. Maybe he recognized the tall man from earlier when Junkrat had been healing.

“Alive and well!” their rescuer crowed. “I knew you would be!” He shoved another armload of rubble away and the healer’s helper with the dreadlocks Junkrat sort of remembered hopped up to help too. He was in such a hurry to get them some water that he smacked the bottle into the snow plow barrier. Junkrat laughed and the helper yelped.

“Why’s your shield up?” he asked the loud one.

“It’s isn’t mine,” he said and then squinted at their shield. “This is an old model. Where did you get this?” Junkrat and Roadhog traded quick glances. The truth couldn’t hurt here.

“Farmer’s Market,” Roadhog said. Big old man and little dreadlocked one both blinked.

“I believe it,” drawled a new voice from out of sight. “I’ve been to the Appalachians.”

“We’re just glad you’re all right,” the little one said.

“Right,” Junkrat echoed. This felt a little too good to be true. He looked sideways at Roadhog again. “How… How’s everybody else?” That was the right thing to ask, wasn’t it?

“You actually look like you came out the most intact,” the helper said. “Mercy had to dig deep in her bag of tricks to get Torbjorn and Zarya back in one piece. Tracer was able to backslide and dodge the worst of it. This one,” he slapped the back of his hand against the bearded man’s side. “Saved Hana. Mercy will be frantic to make sure you’re both ok. Shut that thing down and come on out.”

There probably wasn’t a reason not to. They had sat there long enough. Roadhog turned off the shield and they were able to stand up again. Without the light and almost subliminal hum of the shield, the outside world seemed sharp and bright. The sun was high. If their fight with the ‘Pede had been late at night, how long had they been under the rubble? Junkrat dug a finger in his ear as he looked around. Behind him, Roadhog took the bottle of water from the little healer and rinsed the dust out of his mask filters.

Junkrat was trying to see how much of the compound was still here and therefore how much trouble they were going to be in. He hadn’t been conscious to see the whole thing on the way in, and he wasn’t sure what it was supposed to look like. The blond healer came swooping down on them before he could see very much and immediately started checking him for microfractures and ruptured eardrums as if he wouldn’t able to tell if he had any of those. Shrugging her off seemed rude with everybody watching, so he allowed it. She was peering into his eyes with a little light and muttering inte igen under her breath.

“We scanned for life signs, but there was no way to tell how alive you were,” Dreadlocks said with a grin.

“Find any more ‘Pedes?” Junkrat asked.

“Is that what that was?” The grin vanished. “There wasn’t anything left of it. Athena picked up some sort of signal from it, but it didn’t lead anywhere.”

“Concussion,” the healer announced. “Not a terrible one. Food, water, and rest. Not sleep.” Another fit of coughing turned her towards Roadhog with a sound of dismay. Junkrat stepped up too. He wasn’t going to let Roadhog be poked at without supervision.

“You wouldn’t let me check for silicosis before,” she was scolding. He stood out of reach so she had to flutter to reach for his mask. He tensed and Junkrat’s whole body went tight. Sensitive enough to feel the change in attitude, she backed off, dropping back to the ground with a frustrated noise.

“Pretty sure it’s not,” Roadhog rumbled. He wouldn’t swat the healer in front of all the other Overwatch members unless he had to, but he was about done for the day. The Watchers were paying attention now. He might not be up to fighting them all, but they wouldn’t be in the best shape either.

“Let’s get you inside,” the healer sighed. “Get this cleaned up.”

“Right,” Junkrat said when Roadhog didn’t even growl. He put a hand on the big arm. “We can do that.”

Chapter Text

The Overwatch headquarters was mostly intact, surprisingly enough. It did have a big empty chunk in an almost perfect circle, but there were some quick repairs to block off the exposed rooms. Maybe they had been buried longer than they thought. Junkrat didn’t realize how gritty he was until the first blast of air conditioning hit him. Small puffs of dust from the rubble came off Roadhog at every step. He had inhaled a lot of it and was hacking miserably. He wouldn’t take his mask off to clean the filters until he was safely out of sight.

That wasn’t until they were back in the infirmary. He gave himself a shake and reached for the straps. It was a different room than they had been in before. It still had a mattress on the beds. Once the mask was off, Roadhog cleared his throat, making a wet, rattling sound that clicked painfully in Junkrat’s memories with a long squiggling line drawn in blood. He absolutely wasn’t going to scream now, not when he had to be on guard. Roadhog was still coughing and the blond healer was back with another of the breathing things that had been left for them in the old room. The first one was probably under the rubble with all their other supplies.

Junkrat had to keep his head and he reminded himself of that as the healer came up with a vacuum thing to suck all the dust and debris off Roadie’s face, out of his eyes and ears and nose anyway. Too bad it couldn’t reach into his lungs, but maybe that was what the thing she wanted Roadhog to put on was for. She was explaining it and Junkrat knew he should pay attention and he tried. He had to know what was going on so he could make decisions and make sure. He was still the boss after all. Roadhog had been sure to tell the Overwatchers that.

Even if they did join up, it wasn’t like they were going to work FOR them. None of them were any better than him and Roadhog. Hell, there were bounties a-plenty on more than one member of the group. Some underworld suit somewhere had a two million on McCree’s trigger finger alone, if the rumors were true. That didn’t matter. Roadie mattered. Get him safe. Get him seen to. Get him back to fighting strength. Back to normal.

That meant getting him settled. While the healer fussed about dosage and side effects and all the things Junkrat decided he wouldn’t remember anyway, he shoved the two beds together and piled up the pillows so Roadhog could get situated and that new mask thing could be strapped on his face. It had hoses and was hooked to a whole other machine. There were medicine bags and scanner type thing to monitor it all. Junkrat couldn’t hold back a yelp when he saw the injection the healer was giving Roadhog. They both looked at him and he bit it back.

He had been so busy thinking, he hadn’t heard what it was or what it was for and he honestly didn’t know who he was angry at for that. The healer must’ve figured that if one of them was down the other was going to be up, because she didn’t try to poke at Junkrat anymore. She finished what she was doing and Roadhog nodded at her. She opened a cabinet to show some food and drinks and made sure Junkrat noticed that they were all sealed and untampered with. Then she left.

Junkrat paced the room a few times to get his head back in the situation. Ok. Ok. Roadhog snorted and wheezed into the new mask and then his breathing did seem to even out. Maybe they really were safe. He wasn’t hungry enough to eat or drink yet. Maybe the rations were safe too. He wasn’t going to chance it until he had to. He didn’t matter right now. Roadie had to get better. Then, they could get back to work.

He wondered how bad off the two Overwatchers were. He couldn’t go look of course. The ‘Pede had gutted someone and pulled them into the vent. Maybe not in that order. That was a nightmare. The other one had been hurt in the blast, if he had understood the conversation right.

A soft rumble came from Roadhog as he sprawled out on the combined beds, trying to get comfortable. There was room for Junkrat, but he shoved a chair over instead. He should watch the door. There wasn’t a vent in the ceiling. A quick check into the adjoined bathroom showed drains too small for even the little ‘Pedes.

How would the Gnawers keep track of them with no tablet to track? That didn’t matter either. Marlowe could hop into their tv again if she had to. And why would she?

Maybe there was something else that the Gnawers could track. Or the ‘Pedes. Maybe the thing that stabbed him at Statelos had left a piece inside him. Too much like meat to be detected as foreign, but in there. Inside him.

But no. Roadie had ripped out a big enough chunk to be sure. Roadie was quieter now. Maybe asleep. Maybe the shot had put him under. His breathing hissed into the hoses on the mask and the machine sent him a puff of something back. It did sound better. Not as wet and nothing shaking loose like a bad engine. In engines or lungs, the fewer loose things clanking around the better, right?

No. It wasn’t. It was the fewer parts something had the fewer things could go wrong. Or maybe the other way. The more parts something had the more things could go wrong. Bombs had lots of parts. Lots of things that might not work or might work at the wrong time. A crowbar, on the other hand, very seldom went wrong. Nobody ever had a crowbar misfire or break down, did they? No. You had to fuck up bad to keep a crowbar from working.

Hands had lots of parts, too. He studied the prosthetic one. Took a lot of tinkering to keep it from getting jammed. The flesh one was no better. Lots of little bones that broke like toothpicks and tendons that popped like rubber bands and who even knew how many of those twitchy little nerve endings to make the whole thing work. One good snap (or one bad one, depending on which side you were on) a stab, a burn, and you’d be all thumbs or no thumbs at all, or gone to the elbow, or even to the shoulder, again depending-

Roadhog hacked, so loud and sudden it jolted the whole contraption and startled Junkrat completely out of his thought process. He was at the bedside in a heartbeat, ready to tear the thing off Roadhog and shove his real mask back into place. A new hiss came from the machine and it must’ve released a new medicine or upped the dosage because after clearing his throat and coughing twice, Roadhog settled down again. Junkrat hovered, fingers twitching to do something.

Roadhog reached for him and he didn’t try to get loose when he was pulled up against the big man’s side. He did squirm around so he could still keep an eye on the door. He let his legs dangle off the edge and his head lean back the warm wall of his bodyguard’s ribs. He didn’t quite relax, but his thoughts settled. The stream of consciousness panic stopped. The next thought didn’t slam through his brain as much as lean in slowly. How long had Roadhog been conscious in the rubble, listening to him breathe and groping for a heartbeat? Had he remembered the shed too? That stupid whale video? It made tears prick at Junkrat’s eyes and he squinched them tight to stop the burning.

“I knew that snow plow was a good idea,” he said out loud. “That it would come in handy.” He didn’t expect an answer, but a grunt that could have easily been the first breath of a chuckle came out of the depths. Roadhog’s hand was curled loosely around his waist and he could focus on it instead of his own. It was as filthy as they both were, dust caked in the lines of his knuckled and softening the painted black nails. Junkrat was still tempted to suck on one of the fingers. Just to feel it. Give Roadie something to feel too.

The big thumb petted him, just below the belly button. Just a little rub. Like a worry stone or a pup’s ear. Like even half-drugged and hooked to a big box to help him breathe, he could tell when his lover needed a touch.

That thought left Junkrat hot and cold and tingling and wheezing a little on his own. Even after all they had done to and with and for each other, just referring to Roadhog as his lover, even just in his own thoughts, tied him in interesting knots. It was true. He was. That’s what they were. Junkrat really was going to cry if his brain kept doing this to him.

“I do love you,” he heard himself say. The big hand tightened on him and he was dragged up over Roadhog’s chest. Roadhog half-rolled to curl on his side, back to the door and Junkrat spooned in close. The sound he made was soft and frustrated, like he wanted to kiss Junkrat’s temple or ear but the unfamiliar mask was in his way. He had to nudge with cool plastic instead of lips or teeth and they both missed it. Junkrat tried to help, pulling the hand to his face and kissing it.

The medical mask didn’t cover all of Roadhog’s face. His eyes were visible, a little unfocused and bloodshot, but they crinkled when he smiled under the mask.

“Love,” he rumbled back, and there was nothing else in the world but to hold him and finger comb his hair while the drugs worked through him and watch over his head at the door, daring anyone to come in and interrupt.

Chapter Text

The blond healer walked in without knocking to find Junkrat hunched over Roadhog like a vampire, sucking hickies onto the big man’s neck. She gasped an indignant sound at the sight and Junkrat actually snarled at the interruption. She sputtered something about unconscious patients, but Roadhog’s head swiveled to face her, too. He was wide awake and consenting enough to peeved at having to stop.

The healer took a deep breath and held out the phone she had been busy with when she burst in.

“There’s a call for you,” she said. That was greeted with the suspicious stare of two people who made an effort to not run into people they knew. Only one person in recent memory had been able to talk to them over the phone. The Junkers traded sideways looks. Junkrat bit a sigh into something annoyed and snatched the phone from her so quickly she took a step back. The screen was dark, but someone was there. Someone with a faint gleam from a scrapped-together cybernetic eye. He hit the speaker button

“G’day,” he grumbled.

“Oh, it is!” came Marlowe’s voice, loud enough from them all to hear. Junkrat’s whole face collapsed into irritation. Roadhog rolled his eyes. The healer looked from one to the other.

“What are you after now?” Junkrat asked.

“We’re on the clean-up team at Statelos,” Marlowe said. “We’ve got our fingers in all the pies.”

“And what’s that worth to us?”

“Yeager’s worried sick about you,” she said. “He heard you were hurt by the Filtare Models and has been beside himself ever since.”

“Doesn’t answer the question,” Roadhog rumbled.

“What do you want to hear, sweet pea?” Marlowe said. “That your pain has bought us our dream? That we’re in your debt forever, whatever you want, just call? We told you, you’re ours now. Anything we’ve got is yours, too. Everything we have.” Her voice darkened. “And everything that goes with it.”

There was too much to say to that. Junkrat wasn’t sure he wouldn’t scream if he tried. What had gone with it was a visit from a ‘Pede.

“That thing-“ he began. “The thing that was huge.”

“Yes.” She knew what he was talking about. He could sort of make out her moving in the dark, like she had nodded before realizing she would have to speak.

“Someone else had to see it,” she said. There was reluctant sympathy in her voice. “And be hurt by it and terrified. And if that someone is part of a famous omnic-fighting organization, so much the better.” The healer’s eyebrow were high and her eyes were wide. She was keeping quiet though, taking it in and staying out of sight to keep the terrorist talking.

“Even with what happened to Rumi,” Marlowe went on. “No one cared. Not enough for word to get out. People have to see and bleed for themselves.”

“Used us,” Roadhog said.

“Can’t promise it’ll never happen again,” Marlowe said. “But it goes both ways. If Overwatch tries anything, we’ll tear the ground out from under them.”

“Pft.” Junkrat really didn’t know what to say to that, either. He settled for: “Is that supposed to mean something to us?” Marlowe had the nerve to chuckle.

“I think the Arthashastra said it best about that,” she said. Junkrat had no idea. He looked inquiring at Roadhog, who shrugged. They both looked at the healer. She made an ‘I don’t know’ face too.

“The goggles you took from Beetle Wagner are still operational,” Marlowe said. “Dig them out if you want a direct link. Set up a blue flare if you want Yeager kicking the door in.”

Junkrat felt his teeth start to grind. He had a bodyguard, thank you very much.

“Take care,” Marlowe went on. “We’ll be in touch.”

She hung up and the screen went completely black. Junkrat bared his teeth at the phone in his hand. His prosthetic grip tightened enough to make the case creak and the healer finally spoke up.

“Don’t hurt my phone, please,” she said. She took it from him with a strained smile. “I take it you knew that person?”

“Not really,” Junkrat grumbled. “We dealt mostly with her sister.” She nodded like she understood that, and changed the subject.

“How do we feel about breakfast?”

 

Roadhog was breathing easier, so he was declared fit to go to the kitchen. As if he could be stopped. A woman that caused Junkrat to briefly flashback to the ferris wheel operator was at work in the kitchen. She had made a pot of tea that smelled heavenly and was frying eggs in ghee. She made them ful medames and kept the tea coming while the uninjured Overwatchers came and went. Eventually, the little healer with the dreadlocks stuck his head in and whistled to get their attention.

“There’s a big headless thing out front,” he said. “I think it’s looking for you.”

“Not again,” Junkrat muttered around the entire egg in his mouth. He and Roadhog both grabbed a few more handfuls of food before going out to see who else had followed them.

It was a Karst model mine omnic, the headless wombat-shaped one. Its back was badly scored as if it had survived a horrific explosion. Junkrat could recognize that from a distance. That probably meant that this was Pearlbuck. She was in a one-sided face off with the Overwatcher with the poncho and the hat.

“You guys know this, uh?” he gestured at her.

“We’ve met,” Junkrat said. He stalked over, waving his arms. “Where were you yesterday?”

“I came underneath,” Pearlbuck said. Her voice was soft and sweet for something the size of a tank. “I couldn’t breach with all of you in the collapse zone. I had to dig around.”

“You’re why the whole complex didn’t collapse!” one of the Overwatchers said. Pearlbuck only spoke to Junkrat.

“I kept your corner intact,” she said. “They were all loaded for bear and trigger happy after the ‘Pede, so I laid low. I knew you were all right and they would reach you in time. If they had botched it, I would’ve stepped in.”

“Not as anxious to throw your life away as, as-“ Junkrat blanked on the name. “That slow one from the Blake’s.” Pearlbuck exhaled from her seams, almost like a laugh.

“We don’t throw anything away,” she said. He wondered if she meant the slow omnic being saved somehow or if she just meant him and Roadhog. Her front leg separated into diggers and her round body gave a drill-like spin. She turned and all but dove into the pile of rubble, digging and sorting until it was all straightened out. It only took a few minutes. Her digging paws were too utilitarian to be like hands, but she came up with two objects. They were covered in dust, but a glint of blue meant that one of them was Junkrat’s goggles. The Overwatchers had gathered around to watch, but Pearlbuck kept herself in the way so they wouldn’t see what she had.

Pearlbuck handed him the goggles. She raised the surface of her front that should’ve had a head on it and put the second thing into a compartment underneath.

“What was that?” asked the one in the hat.

“Ore sample,” Pearlbuck lied. Junkrat knew it wasn’t. He knew exactly what it was. He had seen rows of them being assembled on the conveyer belts in Statelos. It must’ve been part of the ‘Pede, which meant all of the ones in construction had been. If every one of them had been to power a ‘Pede- it made him a little queasy. That was a whole new Crisis by itself, not even counting the flesh models. Hat and Poncho looked like he knew it was a lie too, but the expression on Junkrat’s face stopped him from calling Pearlbuck on it.

“What was that?”he asked Junkrat instead.

“Trouble,” Junkrat heard himself say. “Let her have it.”

“We learned from the snipers,” Pearlbuck said. “We’ll watch from a distance. If you call, we’ll come.” With that, she burrowed away and was gone in a just a few blinks. The tunnel collapsed behind her as she went, filling itself in.

“She seemed nice,” the Overwatcher said. It was a sarcastic drawl and didn’t need an answer. Junkrat didn’t have one anyway. He wasn’t happy about any of this. For all their talk, the Snakebite Mountain omnics hadn’t ever been there when he needed them. Except he hadn’t needed them, had he? He and Roadie could’ve managed one way or the other. The big Watcher with the shield had just gotten to them before it had come to that.

Nothing had changed except now he knew what Statelos was making. He should probably try to make Overwatch understand the horror of it. What could anyone do with that many ‘Pedes?? Search and destroy. That was what the things were for. Who would be searched out and destroyed? Whoever the big boss wanted to replace with a flesh bot. The King of Diamonds had said- No! It had been the first Blake who said it. She had cost him his face. Maybe this had all started with him rebuilding his own head and realizing that he didn’t have to stop there.

They already suspected that there was more than one of him. That the one that had disappeared in the mysterious explosion might have just self-destructed to remove the evidence. If the copy Kings had been on their own for long enough, they might have their own agenda now. Maybe they weren’t even on the same map as the original human. Maybe they were just piggybacking off the original King’s business and success to forward their own plans. Maybe they really were paving the way to the next Omnic Crisis with an army of ‘Pedes and omnics that looked and felt too human to be suspected. How far along in the process had they been?Had they leveled Statelos in time?

“Could be,” Roadhog said, and Junkrat realized he had been rattling off all that out loud. The Overwatch crew were standing silent. They had heard him ramble on, too. Roadhog would’ve stopped him if that was a bad thing. He took a deep breath to steady himself.

“There has to be a way,” one of the Watchers said, before he could get his words back together. “To tell the new omnics from other humans. To see who has been replaced already. There has to be a way to counteract things like the one that attacked us.” And then they were all talking, throwing out ideas, bringing up things from the last Crisis, plus new tech that could help.

It was Junkrat’s turn to stare as they hashed it out. He felt Roadhog’s hand on his shoulder, the drag of a thumb up the back of his neck to rub the base of his skull. It was a weird feeling to realize that they didn’t have to do anything. Overwatch was working on it already.

“You handled it,” Roadhog said.

“Yeah?” Junkrat’s head was still churning, but the rub on his head and the weight on his shoulder were helping. “Well, yeah.”

“That’s why you’re the boss,” Roadhog said, leaning close enough that his breath filled Junkrat’s ear. Junkrat shivered, but happily.

“Yeah,” he said again.

Chapter Text

The room Overwatch gave them was too gray to be green. It had a big window and several work surfaces. It had been scrubbed very hard at some point to get rid of some kind of smell, but that had been too long ago for the Junkers to be sure what the original smell had been. They were given a promise for a bigger mattress and what gear that had survived the last few days was returned to them. They were left to get settled and they searched the place, top to bottom.

There wasn’t anything more suspicious than the intercom system by the door, no surveillance, no booby traps. The place looked clean. There were a few power outlets, one that was much newer that still had a whiff of scorch when Junkrat got close enough. The last tenant had blown a fuse or two. Who had been here before? Why were they gone? It was something to keep in mind.

Roadhog staked out one of the countertops for his equipment and Junkrat followed his example, picking the one by the window. That way, if something went wrong, he might have time to lob it out the window before it blew. He started setting up a few traps for security. The vents he found were thin strips, much too small for most things to get through, but who was to say there weren’t small models of ‘Pedes out there somewhere? Even before the Outback was a nightmare, it would still have taught Junkrat that death could come in very small packages. There were at least 100 kinds of scorpions back home, none of them too big to fit under a boot. A ‘Pede wouldn’t have to be any bigger than them to get in.

How far below the skin was a jugular? An inch? Maybe less? Two inches tops. A tiny ‘Pede would only need to have an itty bitty retractable blade. Or a little syringe with just enough poison. It could come through a vent or a keyhole or a drain, skitter into bed with you, and give you a little stab, in the neck or the spine or the temple or wherever. You might not even feel it. Just bleed out in your sleep. He imagined it for a moment and then made a noise and mined up the little vents too.

“Just to be safe,” he said out loud. Roadhog nodded without looking up. They shoved things around a little bit to minimize any surprise attacks, giving themselves some emergency cover and defensible barriers. Once they were mostly settled in, they contemplated the bathroom. The shower wasn’t too bad, but it would be a tight fit for both of them. They could knock out the shower walls and use the whole bathroom floor, but a tub would be nice. There was a way to get it they way they wanted it though. It would just take some time and some salvaging. In the meantime, this would have to do.

Roadhog got the water going and started to shrug out of his clothes. Junkrat held back to check to make sure that everything was secure. There were traps and mines a-plenty over every way in, so they were probably safe to shower. He locked the door too, just because. It still felt weird to take off his prosthetics and set them on the back of the toilet. He knew better than to be so vulnerable in a new place, but if Roadie was willing to risk it, so was he. Roadhog left the shower door open for him and he managed to squeeze in under the spray. The dust and grime ran gray down their legs as they rinsed off. There wasn’t any soap or shampoo, so they just has to scrub with their hands.

“So, we’re doing this,” Junkrat said. It wasn’t exactly a question.

“As long as we want to,” Roadhog said. “They need us more than we need them.” He didn’t care if Overwatch was listening. “We’ve seen the new models. We’ve fought the ‘Pedes. We know the Gnawers and the mine-nics. All Overwatch knows is what they learned from us.” He worked Junkrat’s hair under the water and kneaded into his scalp. Junkrat hummed and leaned into it. The steam had helped Roadhog’s breathing too. Junkrat could hear his breath near his ear and tilted to bare his throat toward it. The hand on his head slid to cradle his jaw and he waited for lips or teeth or anything. There was a nuzzle, but it stayed gentle and then Roadhog went back to scrubbing.

Junket’s first impulse was to start it himself, sink in his teeth or his fingernails, get things going. This was pretty nice by itself though, and if Roadie wanted to keep it easy until they had more room, that wasn’t a terrible idea. He turned to let his hand reach up and touch the bite marks he had left on the big man’s neck already. Roadhog rumbled happily under his curtain of wet hair.

“Glad you woke me up for those,” he said.

“Didn’t want you to miss out on the fun,” Junkrat told him, spitting a mouthful of water at him.

“I had a dream I knew starting up,” Roadhog said. He sounded more serious now. “I would’ve had to wake myself up soon to get out of it.”

“Yeah?” Junkrat was trying to get behind him to scrub his back. Roadhog had to raise an arm to let him hop by. “I never remember mine for more than a minute. You have that one enough to recognize it?”

“Mm.” Roadhog slumped a little but that was probably to let Junkrat reach his shoulders and rub circles of warm water into them.

“You gonna tell me?”

“No.”

“It’s about me, isn’t it?”

“…”

“Aw, Roadie, I knew you dreamed about me! No need to be embarrassed.” Junkrat hugged him as best he could, giggling. “It’s probably dreams of you that had me waking up in the usual state so often.”

“You’re dead,” Roadhog said flatly. It wasn’t a threat. “Radiation. Something I couldn’t fight for you. And I carry you around like mummified doll because sometimes you still talk to me. Sometimes, when we’re on the road or if I’m, if I’m fucking you, you’ll move and laugh and talk. And I don’t know if it’s real or I have completely lost my mind.”

Junkrat didn’t know what to say to that and wracked his brain for the right word of comfort or the right joke to jolly Roadie out of it. He didn’t have to come up with anything because Roadhog turned to face him again and scooped him up into his arms for a hug and another nuzzle into his throat.

“We should check and find out if our records are still clean or we’re back on the list after Statelos,” Roadhog said after a long silence. He turned the water off and gave himself a shake that made Junkrat guffaw as water sprayed the whole room. He helped Junkrat wrap up in a towel and rinse out his prosthetics before putting them back on. “We’ve mentioned going legit and this is probably the best chance we’re going to get.”

“You really think this will work?” Junkrat asked. Roadhog wrapped his hair up in another towel before answering.

“If we want it too,” he said.

“I want lots of things,” Junkrat said, moment of uncertainty long gone and a leer on his face. Roadhog smirked right back.

“Come and get it then,” he said and left Junkrat to scramble after him on the wet floor.

Chapter Text

It might not’ve been the smartest thing to drop both their guards and distract themselves the first night in a new place with new people. The room was well-mined although and honestly, they Overwatchers had passed up several chances to kill or capture them so far, so the odds of them barging in mid-fuck seemed low. And if they did, they’d be blown to a splatter and have no one to blame but their own bad manners.

Roadhog was already at the edge of the bed, hanging his towel over the edge of a chair. Junkrat plowed into him in his rush, but settled down when Roadhog raised an arm to bring him closer. He hooked a leg over Roadhog’s, straddling his thigh. He leaned into the wall of Roadhog’s side and one big hand slid up his back to hold him there. The other slid down to his knee.

He felt the warm huff of Roadhog’s breathing and squinted into it happily. He closed his eyes when it became the brush of lips and then, teeth. They scraped across his mouth, gently, then harder. He relaxed into it, all his eagerness shivering down to the pit of his belly and the tips of his fingers. There were a few twitches of vigilance. His eyes flicked to the vents, the doors, the windows. They were all trapped and safe.

The pinch of teeth in his ear shut down every other thought. Another bite at the corner of his jaw was a little harder, not enough to break the skin, but it would leave a mark. As soon as it eased, Junkrat turned to get the next one back on his mouth faster and not have to follow the trail being kissed down his jaw. This time, the teeth in his bottom lip were almost painful and he couldn’t help but grin into it.

Roadhog rumbled, pulling on the lip and then releasing it. He sucked it back in, this time all warm, wet lips with no teeth this time. Junkrat might’ve complained about that if it wasn’t for the tongue that followed. It brushed over the tender lip and into his mouth. His grumble melted into a moan.

Junkrat scooted forward a long Roadhog’s broad thigh to hump and press against his belly. His mismatched hands were everywhere, trying to touch as much as he could all at once. He dug them into Roadhog’s shoulders where there was just a little give before the muscle. He spread his arms as far as he could reach, thrilled at the firmness of Roadhog’s body and the fact that he wasn’t even close to getting all the way around. He let both sets of fingernails drag over the curves of fat and muscle.

Roadhog’s hand slid upwards. Junkrat felt the edge of fingernails up his spine. He shivered and groaned around Roadhog’s tongue. They caught on each vertebra and kneaded into the back of his neck. It was good. So good. Junkrat’s happy noise gurgled away as he relaxed into the kiss and touch again. His head lolled back and his jaw gaped, not holding anything back. His arms and legs were splayed wide around Roadhog already. It was every form of yours-for-the-taking he could manage without words.

Barely dry from the shower, there wasn’t much on Roadhog for his fingers to catch on. There was the occasional mole or scar, but they were easy to stroke over. Glory, the big man was beautiful. He had thought it before and it was just as true now. There was still a sheen on Roadhog's skin from the shower and maybe a little sweat starting to build. His hair gleamed silver and so did his piercing, and Junkrat could’ve gulped the sight down like clean water if his eyes would stop rolling back.

It wasn’t like he needed eyes to enjoy this. Silk of hair, scrape of teeth. Fingertips than fingernails. Lick and bite. Shudder and moan and just try to absorb it all.

“How do you want to do this?” Roadhog breathed into his ear. All Junkrat could do was make a gargling noise at first and that got the first huff of a chuckle out of Roadhog. “Gonna make me do all the work again?”

“N-no,” Junkrat managed. He tried to focus and heard the rest of the breathy laugh. “Wait! You like doing the work! You like me like- like this.”

Roadhog peered down at him with hooded eyes and a little twitch of a smile. Junkrat wasn’t self-conscious about anything much, and shameless about most thing, but he still felt Roadhog’s warm gaze over every inch of him. The idea of what he must look like, wet hair still dripping, skin flushed, eyes glazed, mouth hanging open, cock hard, lasted about a flicker. It was too distracting to lose himself in what Roadhog looked like, backlit from the window. The rise and fall of his breathing was close enough to feel. The nudge of his cock was warm against Junkrat’s thigh.

“I do,” Roadhog admitted. Junkrat had to think for a minute to remember what that was an answer to. “I like being the one that made you that way.” His huge knuckles lifted Junkrat’s chin for another kiss. Junkrat’s hands fluttered up again, over his shoulders and jaw. Roadhog caught the flesh one and pressed a kiss to the palm. He turned it over to kiss each knuckle and then the ring. Now would be a good time to give another ring if he had one ready, Junkrat thought. The idea skittered through his head like a ricocheted bottle rocket. It wasn’t likely, seeing how one or both of them had been incapacitated for awhile now.

His fingers were sucked into Roadhog’s warm mouth and he wasn’t able to give anything but that any attention. Roadhog scooped him up and reversed their positions, pressing Junkrat to the mattress and hooking their legs together. He released the fingers for more kisses and then bit his way down Junkrat’s neck to his shoulder. When Junkrat’s eager whines and panting was louder than his own heavy breathing, he slid his own finger into the open mouth.

He felt Junkrat moan and then gag as he tried to deep throat it. He let him adjust and felt Junkrat’s tongue wrapping around the finger as much as he could. He slid his other hand down to stroke Junkrat's cock against his belly with his thumb. It was all slow and careful touches, not enough to get him off, just enough to make him jerk and whimper. When Junket’s foot started to twitch like a rabbit’s, Roadhog switched hands again, swirling the wet finger into him and pulling him into another kiss. It smothered out whatever Junkrat was trying so say as the finger eased in, but when Roadhog gave him air to speak, all he would say was a litany of “YesyesyesYESyes.”

That was all Roadhog needed to hear. He set up a pace with his finger that had Junkrat drooling and clawing at his shoulders. His narrow hips bucked and his back arched and his head flew back into the pillows. His Adam’s apple looked exposed with his neck bent like that, so Roadhog dropped a sucking kiss on it. He licked and gnawed down his neck to his collarbone and left a row of teethmark along it. Junkrat’s whine rose an octave and then shuddered away into a gasp as the finger was crooked, raising him off the bed.

“Close!” he wheezed. “Don’t forget-“ Roadhog hummed an agreement around one of his nipples which made him thrash. He let his teeth drag over Junkrat’s ribs until he got to the place where the scar should’ve been. His kisses were gentle there, too gentle if the way Junkrat sobbed meant anything. Roadhog did a little twist with his fingers to make up for it, changed the pressure just enough, and Junkrat squealed like the sound itself hurt him. His hands tangled in Roadhog’s hair and Roadhog couldn’t help but chuckle evilly into Junkrat’s naval.

The sound didn’t do anything to damper Junkrat’s enthusiasm and his sweat-slick skin was suddenly all goosebumps. Roadhog finished his laugh and gave Junkrat's head a teasing lick before swallowing him down. Caught between his mouth and his fingers, Junkrat twisted, helpless. He might’ve been laughing or just gasping out sounds. He didn’t care who heard, or what he might sound like to them. It wouldn’t have bothered him if Pearlbuck had heard him and came tunneling through the floor to make sure he was all right. Not even if the blond medic had blown her leg to shreds kicking in the door to find out what they were doing to each other.

He wouldn’t have lasted much longer anyway, but the thought of having anyone, Gnawer, Overwatcher, mine-nic, whoever, see him coming down Roadhog’s throat and knowing he was the only one allowed to do that EVER sent him over with a rippling scream.

Roadhog let him come down, smoothing his hair back from his face as his vision cleared. The big man was smiling down at him and teasing himself with his thumb, moving much the way he had with Junkrat.

“You didn’t-“ Junkrat realized. “I, I thought-“

“Whenever you’re ready,” Roadhog told him. Wonder and impatience fought a quick battle for control over Junkrat’s eyebrows.

“Nngk!” he finally sputtered out and then scrambled everywhere trying to get both legs over Roadhog’s shoulders as fast as possible. He was still breathless and sweaty and clumsy, but managed to spread himself wide with the hand that wasn’t still in Roadhog’s hair. Roadhog’s smug chuckle rattled into a growl as he sank in. All of Junkrat’s noises just exhaled out of him. Roadhog filled him out, stretching into all the places that even his fingers couldn’t reach. Those fingers were now plucking carefully at the prosthetic hand in his hair, untangling the joints and interlocking both their fingers.

Only then did he start to move. And glory. And heat. And nails-dug-in-goodness. The slide and the ache and the shove and the jolt. Junkrat really should be too far gone to be getting this much out of it, but the over-sensitivity hurt just right and as weird and weightless as he felt, he still got to see Roadhog’s face as he lost himself in it. In him.

When it was over, they needed another shower, but it wasn’t like they were paying for the water. None of the traps had been tripped and if they were under any surveillance, Junkrat was already making plans to get a copy of the footage. He helped Roadhog put the ventilator back on and they settled down into the damp bed again.

“What do you think we’ll do tomorrow?” Junkrat asked after a long silence. Being two thirds asleep didn’t stop Roadhog from laughing down in his throat and Junkrat joined in when he went back over why the last few days had been funny. It didn’t really matter. They’d handle it the way they handled every other day.

Chapter Text

Something woke Roadhog up a few hours later, or maybe it was the nothing that woke him up. All was still. The only lights were from all the booby traps. He could hear his own breath in the ventilator and the soft rattle of Junkrat’s almost snore against his arm. Maybe he had snored himself awake.

How long had it really been since this all started? Time had stopped meaning much to him a long time ago, and for Jamie it was measured in fuse lengths and countdowns. How many sleeps ago had it been that he had teased Junkrat for trying to plan so far ahead? It couldn’t have been more than a few days. Was that even how it had happened, or just how his brain had put the pieces together while he had been busy? It hadn’t been that long ago, had it, that everything had been completely different?

Getting old, he told himself. Never mind that in the wasteland, one day bled into the next until whole years were same, bloody blur. Until Junkrat came along and gave him a reason for keeping track and marking time and making plans. There were still plans to be made. Rings, too.

He glanced over at Junkrat again, as if his partner could hear his thoughts and be alerted to his plans for the next ring. Junkrat had his whole arm curled up to his chest, fingers loosely curled under his chin. His black ring rested against his jaw. Roadhog had a piece of Dorado gold in mind for the next one. He’d stashed a chunk of it in his gear for emergencies. Gold was soft and easy to smelter. It might be the easiest one to engrave with the E. It could also be the something old. Something they had done together.

A piece of a bomb might be meaningful for a third one. He would have to stay on the lookout for something that would work the next time Junkrat went scrapping. That could be the something borrowed. He almost laughed at himself, but he didn’t want to overwork his lungs.

A tattoo would be good for something blue. He toyed with the eye of tattooing a ring on whatever finger Junkrat had left at that point. He imagined a traditional uma on Junkrat’s temple and he would’ve been lying if the thought didn’t give him a warm little thrill. It wasn’t a ring though, and he had promised a ring. Junkrat wouldn’t have to worry about losing a tattooed one unless he lost the whole finger, which was admittedly well within the realm of possibility.

Roadhog rolled over carefully so that the hose from the ventilator wouldn’t catch on anything. Junkrat adjusted from drooling on his arm to nuzzling into his chest and Roadhog was able to untangle his arm from in between them. He raised the hand to kiss over Junkrat’s knuckles and then gently tested one with his teeth. A scar would be just as permanent a ring as a tattoo. A bite mark that wouldn’t heal away with time. It wouldn’t need any letters to spell out mine.

He wondered if he’d want to see a scar he had put on Junkrat. Maybe. He felt the tiny bones in the finger between his teeth. He wasn’t sure how he felt about it yet.

He coughed a little and tasted the not-remotely-menthol tang of the medicine they had him breathing. The tightness in his chest had eased up. It wasn’t the rush he got from his own mix, but he could feel the slow and steady improvement a little better. That was good. There could be more good things in store if they made this work.

He was already an old man by Outback standards. With care like this, he might actually claw his way to a normal lifespan. And more importantly, so could Jamie.

He took another deep breath and exhaled it through his teeth. No more nightmares of Jamison rotting away from the inside of something there was no way to protect him from. No more wondering how much water the brilliant asshole had forgotten to drink. Roadhog would just have to keep him from safe from the outside and he had no qualms about that. The Wasteland hadn’t bred anything ugly or mean enough to take him away from Roadhog and if the Overwatchers tried, they were in for a nasty surprise.

He rumbled to himself, part warning, part grim satisfaction. There was nothing the heroes could do that was worse than what they can come through already. They could make this work until they got a full health reset. They could leave whenever they wanted, just like they had discussed. They were in this together. Fifty-fifty. Maybe it was the medicine that gave him the warm fuzziness in his chest or maybe he was just high enough to be ridiculous.

The pinch in his shoulder was a much clearer sensation. He glanced down to see Junkrat gnawing on him with one eye open. He broke into a grin when Roadhog looked unamused and teasingly licked the spot he had bitten. Fair was fair, Roadhog thought with a snort. He rolled over much less carefully and pinned his partner underneath him. Fifty-fifty went for bite marks too.

Junkrat’s cackle was smothered into something ticklish. By the time he had fought his way out from under Roadhog, he was giggling and breathless. Roadhog laughed with him, only coughing a little bit. He traced a few lines over Junkrat’s temple, imagining it again. Junkrat pried his leg out from under Roadhog too and collapsed back to sleep some more. Roadhog settled in with him.

They might always be on the lookout for pale eyes and snake tattoos and white Xs. It wasn’t any different from dodging the bounty hunters and the Queen’s trackers and their fellow Junker factions. They had gotten along all right with the Gnawers (Sam being the exception that proved the rule). They probably could get along all right with Overwatch.

And if they didn’t, there was nothing to stop them from leaving the place smoking behind them as they had also discussed. That was always an option when you were as mad dog genius and dangerous as they were. There was nothing to fear when they were together. Two halves of a whole. Both sides of a coin. All the things Jamie had never known he was supposed to have, and all the things that Roadhog had accepted had died with the old world. All wrapped up in two very different packages that Roadhog at least was determined not to live without again.

"Mine," Junkrat muttered happily, either reading his mind or just on the same page. It didn't matter which. He agreed with a grunt and let all the plans and ponderings fall away. Tomorrow would come and that was more of a guarantee than it had been in a long time. They had what they needed and they were in a position to get more. Long story short, right there.

Chapter Text

Elsewhere, days to the south and east, a private helicopter swung low over the ocean toward the coast. It then rode the updraft up the cliffs to a private landing spot. A hard-faced old man stepped down and hunched his back against the wind kicked up from the slowing blades. Cesar Almaz was much older than he looked. Years of the best cosmetic and restoration surgery money could buy had held him together and kept him dashing long past his prime. It had kept him active in a business famous for not growing old in. Granted, there had been some setbacks.

Thirty years of careful, under the table planning had been wiped out. A whole network of contacts would have to be rebuilt. That wasn’t such a bad thing. One of the secrets of his success was never hesitating to cut losses and start over. Almaz had already put some feelers out in the political circles to see who was going to feel an empty senator seat. He put some money out too, to steer the decision just a tad.

He already knew who was next in line at Statelos subsidiary, Contracting, Inc. He had paid some attention to that over the years too, grooming an inevitable replacement for when the time came. Nothing overt. Nothing heavy-handed. He had already heard from his contacts in the military. That was part of the reason why he had decided to wipe the slate clean.

And now word from home was that Burber had died. How the big oaf had managed to fall off a cliff wasn’t clear. It was legally ruled an accident and Masad had said it was more stupid than suspicious. There had been a witness who had run to the house to report it, just a biker who had seen it from the road. They had been searched and released. It was a shame, but Masad was reliable. So reliable that Almaz had already invested in recording his personality traits for later. Just in case. Masad had also reported that he had cleared a replacement for Burber and had them on the job already.

Masad’s last message had been a simple one: Family visit en route. Another replacement. Younger. Blonde this time. A few different mannerisms, carefully selected to come off as charming and competent. Charm really wasn’t the old man’s strong point anymore, which almost made him chuckle. All he really wanted was for the new one to have his eyes. It was a small vanity. If the new kid couldn’t have his soul, then they could at least share the windows.

Masad met him on the edge of the landing pad. He had a tablet of the new news to hand over just in case Almaz hadn’t already known all about it. He had also brought Burber’s replacement to introduce them. Not as big, not as ugly, moving with the smooth, impartial alertness of someone who had been paid to be dangerous for long enough to be good at it, Masad called the new hire Arana. That was good enough for Almaz.

His newest knee joint was feeling a little tight. Almaz didn’t like to carry a cane unless it was a suit and tails situation. Strictly decorative. The knee would probably be fine now that he was back in the sea air. He took an appreciative inhale before Masad held the door open for him and he stepped back into the air conditioning.

He greeted the staff that had gathered to meet him and got them back to work a second later. Arrangements had to be made for the ‘family’ visit. He approved the menu for tomorrow’s breakfast (waffles with crema Catalina, ensaimadas, fresh raspberry coulis, and espresso) and headed back to his office. It was well past dinner, but his chef would send him up a snack and cocktail like always. Almaz dismissed both Masad and Arana and walked on alone.

The familiar smell of his office washed over him as the automated lights came on. It was polished clean, but not so sterile he couldn’t smell the shell cordovan leather chair and the Gibraltar campion. He set the tablet on its pedestal at his desk and pulled out the leather chair. The head of the albino Queen of Sheba's gazelle toppled forward from where it had been stashed under his desk, landing on his foot. What?

Almaz stared, confounded, for maybe a whole second before his eyes flicked to the fireplace. There, where the delicate beauty of the extinct gazelle should’ve been, hung a monstrosity of a moose head. Almaz couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed it the moment he walked in. It was huge and uglier than Burber on his worst day. His staff weren’t pranksters. No one should’ve been in here except to dust and tend the campion.

A closer look didn’t help. The moose’s immense nose was misshapen and its eyes mismatched. It was hideous and could only be more out of place if it was a living moose. He grabbed a poker from the stand and roared for Masad. His man was there in a heart beat. He jabbed the poker at the thing’s nose and made it as far as “What the FUCK-“ before they both were obliterated.

The explosion tore out the whole room, spraying it over the cliff and into the ocean. Almaz and Masad were vaporized instantly. A few rooms away, the shockwave hit Arana’s bones like a full-body aneurism. They died a moment later, along with the guard working the rear perimeter. The chef was knocked to the ground with eardrums ruptured, spilling a Bentley Sidecar everywhere. Only the fact that the expansive refrigerator was bolted to the wall and couldn’t fall on him saved him. The helicopter pilot was knocked off the cliff by the blast.

Across the bay, the fair goers at the carnival all cheered, thinking it was fireworks. They didn’t know otherwise until the fire trucks pulled up.

Chapter Text

Junkrat woke up giggling. That wasn’t unusual, but it was the middle of the night, so Roadhog rubbed his head to settle him down.

“Bomber’s intuition!” Junkrat said, voice loud and cheerful in the still room.

“Mhruh?” Roadhog didn’t want to encourage more talking if he could help it.

“Nothing left unexploded,” Junkrat explained anyway. “No more reason to step carefully. Y’know, for now.”

“At least until morning,” Roadhog grumbled, breaking his own resolve not to add to the conversation. To his gratified and partial surprise, Junkrat snuggled back into his armpit with only a little more cackling. He went back to sleep soon after and as always, Roadhog followed him out.