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Jack's POV:

Jack knew every move Gabe would make before he even took it. He understood what the shifting of muscle, the flicker of an eye, the tensing of a hand from his tanned partner would mean. They had fought together for years now; the dance of battle was one they had both committed to memory. He knew that even without the bond he would know exactly when Gabe would throw his dagger, would tackle his enemies, would let his dark brown eyes dance across to meet his own; the concern for their partner mirrored in his eyes, before shifting back into an expression of savage delight.

They both possessed an equal rapture for the adrenaline raising battles, the fear of death tinged with a wild excitement. Both entranced by the feel of a dagger embedded in the flesh of an enemy, the sheer pride when a bullet hit their targets. Perhaps that wasn't always the safest activity in the world, but what could you say, it was their job.

Jack felt his lips pull into a feral smirk, and hopped around on the balls of his feet and at a soft whistle warning from Gabe, dodged a dagger aiming for his neck. Threw one right back, lips pulling even wider. A man had two eyes, and they only faced forward however each was the others protection and partner. A whistle of a certain note, a flick of a hand, and they would know about the sniper located approximately 70 meters northwest, would know about the landmine located 48 meters in front of them.

There was neither of those at the moment, only the humid air and harsh breaths consequence of close combat. Sure, 2-9 wasn't the best odds, but they’d fought worse and survived.

This mission was simple, a quick retrieval of information and get out. Unfortunately, Gabe had a habit of running his mouth at the worst times. The men they were fighting at the moment weren’t spies or assassins from an enemy organisation. They were a gang of men that Gabe had provoked simply by he winning the poker match. Well, he did continuously mock the men and beat them 5 consecutive times. The wad of cash a weight in his pocket, hitting his thigh with every step and maneuver. Tap tap tap. It didn't bother Jack. It wasn't exactly the first time this situation had happened…or the fifth.

But this was the first time his attackers had seemed even somewhat physically capable. A group of overweight, drunk males didn't exactly pose much of a threat to the pair; could easily out run them. These guys, however, knew how to pack a punch. Gabe still had a nice shiner on his jaw, and Jack wouldn't be the only one to give him trouble for it. He could already see Angela and her disapproving glare as she would yell at Gabe for being so irresponsible, but would still hold the ice gingerly against his face.

Well, she would try. Jack didn't exactly like others touching his mate. The man who had punched Gabe looked to be in the early twenties, muscular and full of fighting spirit. Jack had made sure he was the first to go. As he took in the surprised eyes of the group, he could feel Gabe’s pride as it shuddered down the bond, sent his own feeling of possessiveness down the bond and watched as the corner of Gabe’s mouth twitched.
Now they stood, back to back, as they had hundreds of times before, feeling the sweat from the Mexican humidity as it slid down their necks. He felt more than saw Gabe twist a small knife in his hands. They didn't need it, could easily defeat these mundane males with nothing more than fists, but he knew Gabe liked the theatrics. Jack couldn't exactly find it in himself to care.

The men were surrounding them, and Jack knew what they were thinking: we can defeat the two of these monsters with numbers alone. They weren’t wrong on the monster aspect, but defeat the two of them? Impossible. Hundreds had tried, and yet here they were.

The men moved. Jack and Gabe moved faster. They were a blur of limbs and fists, each acutely aware of where the other was. They moved not only to immobilize, but also to protect the other. Jack felt his knuckles split as he nailed one in the jaw, reveled in the pain. He ducked as a man kicked, only for the guy to find Gabe puling the guy’s leg and twisting until it had dislocated. He had screamed until Jack knocked him out with a quick blow to the temple. Gabe had put the knife away now, there was no need for it.

It took 59 seconds until all men were either disabled or unconscious. Only a few were unconscious, the others were in a state of pain so great that they refused to even move. “Weak” was the thought that fluttered down the bond, Gabe’s disappointment evident, and Jack nodded his agreement. The most pressing injury these guys had was a simple dislocated limb or jaw, and they couldn't even move, except for one. Well, until Jack shot him a stare that Gabe would later explain looked like a predator sizing up his prey. The struggling male shuddered in defeat and hung his head. The pair took this as their cue to leave.

The rest of the team would be back at their temporary base by now: a small hotel with a safety hazard of chemicals and netting they called a pool. Jack’s face fell into a slight frown. He knew Jesse would be in there, would ignore the danger signs and the ‘wet floor’ signs. He knew Jesse would instead use the sign as a boogie board. He glared at the back of Gabe’s head, sending his partner the image of what was most likely happening. He wasn't surprised at all when he heard Gabe’s sharp bark of laughter, “that’s my boy.”
Jack frowned harder. Why was he the only one who wouldn't encourage this behaviour? Jesse was reckless enough and wouldn't stop unless Jack was there, and if he wasn’t, and he just knew Fareeha would join in with him instead, would easily be pulled into the older boy’s antics.

However, as Jack stepped forward, he felt hands on his ankles. They were rough and calloused against his shins, gripping as a last ditch effort for revenge. Even he knew it was pointless, normally wouldn't have even worked. But he couldn't bring his arms out fast enough, too shocked to even react. He had thought the battle was over and let his guard down. Stupid rookie mistake. The last thing he remembered before his head hit the dirt floor was Gabe’s outreached hand and “what the fuck?!”

 


 

 

A voice dragged him into consciousness; “no you can absolutely not take him on another mission right now Gabriel.”
His head was throbbing like crazy, worse than a hangover…ok maybe not that bad.
“Aw come on now Angie, just a little bit of fun?”

As much as he loved Gabe, Jack was pretty sure he would punch him in the face if he suggested even exiting the bed right now. He bit down against the groan of pain as the harsh light of the infirmary sliced his head as he tried to open his eyes, so he kept them shut. Jack knew Gabe was aware that he had regained consciousness, he would’ve felt it through the bond. Gabe would’ve noticed the subtle signs of Jack’s body without the bond anyway.

“Your last bout of ‘fun’ gave Jack a concussion and you a bruised jaw, and it’s Jack who is in charge of missions as Commander, not you Gabriel.” A pause. “And my name is Angela.”

The only person Jack had ever seen get away with calling Angela by that nickname was Jesse McCree. Jack wasn't sure if Angela was just humouring the 23 year old, or if she genuinely liked the guy. Doesn't mean the others didn't try.

Jack felt his stomach clench, anger rising through the bond, but it was gone when he blinked in confusion at Gabe. Gabe himself seemed surprised that Jack had felt that, quickly assuring the blond that he was just angry at himself for letting this happen to Jack through the bond. Jack squinted his eyes slightly at Gabe before shrugging in defeat. Gabe should know better than blame himself, but nothing Jack said would convince him, so he let it go.

He brought his hand up to his face, wincing slightly at the cuts and bruises from the previous fight, and rubbed his eyes. Angela, by some mind reading miracle, had dimmed the lights. He left his arm thrown over one eye and opened the other.

His voice was dry and gravely. “I would absolutely love some painkiller right now.”

He knew for a fact Gabe was also hurting; courtesy of the bond. Pain went two ways. The original person who got injured would feel it fully, however the other would feel an echo of the pain. Jack also knew Gabe wouldn't complain about faint pain, would use that as a payment for not catching him in time. Gabe would blame himself for Jack’s mistake, which was incredibly stupid. Jack sighed, and sent a flutter of exasperation down the bond. Gabe gave a soft tug on the bond in retaliation, and Jack hid his smile.

Light brown eyes squinted at him in assessment, a medic doing her job, and softened imperceptibly. “I’m sorry, but you can’t. You have a concussion-“ a glare at Gabe which had him throwing his hands up in surrender “- which means that any medication may make it worse.”

He was grateful to the Swiss medic, appreciated having her on his team, but sometimes he hated her. He would kill for some painkiller right now. He squeezed his eyes shut against the throbbing ache at the back of his skull.

“Any other ideas, Doc?”

Angela smiled slightly at the nickname. She always had a soft spot for Jack, had patched him up more than once from particularly devastating battles. Gabe was a friend of hers too, perhaps not as much of one, but still a friend. Hard to be anything less when you save each other time and time again. But Gabe didn't like their comfort and ease with each other very much, which was stupid, considering both members of his concern were gay. Jack also happened to be 11 years older than said medic. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes at his partner.

“The only thing I can suggest is rest and water. You are subjected to two days of bed rest, doctor’s orders.”

At a quick glance across at his partner, sitting on the tiny little chair, he can tell that Gabe isn’t sure if he enjoys the news or not. He knew exactly what was going through his comrade’s head, more Jack time, but less battle time. He knew the feeling.

The soft click as the door to the infirmary is open is enough to have Jack squinting at the sudden light. Honestly he couldn't remember the last time a concussion hurt this bad. At Fareeha’s soft apology, Jack waves her off, his teeth clenched and though it’s rude it's the only way to somewhat numb the pain.

Thankfully Gabe takes his place. “Hiya Fareeha, Gramps here has a little headache, ignore him.”
Jack growls, “I have a concussion because somebody couldn't be fucked catching me.” His pointed look at Gabe is enough for Fareeha to catch his meaning, understanding sparking in her mind. She knew exactly what kind of adventure the two of them had been on.

Gabe, the little shit, says “oh shit everybody run for the hills, gramps got his bag of cuss words out.”

And maybe, Jack decided to whisper “you like my dirty words though” down the bond, and maybe he chuckled as Gabe fought a blush. The girls didn't look concerned as they took in their silent conversation. She had known them long enough for them to understand it as a common aspect of their partnership. Understood it as them just having a deep understanding of each other and could chat through movements due to their prolonged friendship.

Because that's all it was to them, to everyone. Jack and Gabe were best friends and partners, would fight and win and lose together on the front line, would only ever be that to everyone.

But they were more than that. They were a mated pair, a bond of unity and affection tugging hard and constant between their minds and souls. Both had felt the bond snap into place on a rooftop as the London Clock struck midnight 2 years ago, Jack aged 34, Gabe aged 31. Gabe likes to reminisce, when they’re alone, on that time. Often stating it to be destiny and fate for such a thing to happen on a romantic occasion. Even though Jack shrugged it off, he knew it was fate. They were mated. It was a unification of mind, body and soul with two people, and it was rare. When it had happened, he had been so disorientated, not knowing whose limbs belonged to whom, whose thoughts were in his mind. It had been terrifying.

Both weren’t stupid enough to ask for advice or help. In their field of work, even the slightest weakness or information could be used to the enemies advantage. Being a mated pair in one of the strongest organisations in the world was not a small weakness. If they were minor players within Overwatch, then maybe it wouldn't be such a big deal. But Jack was a leader of Overwatch, and Gabriel was a leader of Blackwatch. Their weakness could trigger the entire organisations demise, and so they kept the bond between themselves.

It wasn't hard: they had always been close, even before the bond, and could easily shrug off any accusations of closeness and tenderness. But learning about the bond hadn’t been easy. Both of them cursing when only one was injured because “godamnit Jack why did I feel that too, what the fuck?!” Though distinguishing between personal thoughts and thoughts shared across the bond was the hardest. Neither knew how to actively share them, or how to close them off.

They were used to it now, the bond a permanent expenditure of their relationship. He saw it as an open connection, or a hallway, with a large piece of thread attached between both of their consciousness. You could open and close your side of the door, and shout a thought down the hall, and the other would hear if they left their door slightly open; and they always kept it open, just in case. The thread was a more instinctive aspect of the bond. It was like a tug, could direct one to the other when separated across a state. It displayed the tugger’s emotion, whether desperate or curious or angry. It was used often in serious battles, when speaking or moving to warn the other wasn't possible, when sending a thought took too long, a sharp tug in a certain direction was enough of a warning.

Jack didn't know if every mated pair behaved differently, if their bond was different, but he would never ask. Not when lives were on the line. And he wasn't sure he exactly cared. What Gabe and him had wasn't the same as anyone else, was as unique as a piece of art. Sure, people could attempt to recreate it, but it would never be quite the same, and Jack was more than ok with that.

Realised he did not mind hiding their bond, because he didn't not care about how the others would consider it. Gabe was his and he was Gabe’s, and that's all that really mattered.

Gabe smiled across the room softly, as if he could read Jack’s train of thought, and with the bond that was probably possibly. Jack smiled back.

He glances across the room, to where Angela is leaning against Fareeha’s shoulders in exhaustion.

Why? “How long have you been here with me?”

Angela sighs and rubs her temples. “Most of the night. It’s 3am at the moment.”

Jack sighs in response to the medic’s own. Of course she would fuss around him for hours over a simple concussion. He already knew Gabe would do that, despite his tough exterior.

“I would say you didn't need to, but you would argue with me. So thanks Angela, but you should go rest yourself.”

Angela slumps even more in Fareeha’s arms and nods her understanding. Fareeha flashes a look of gratitude to Jack, mumbling something softly to Angela, who smiles softly in response. Fareeha leans down, smiling, and quickly kisses Angela, before dragging her out the room with a wave good-night and clicking the door shut. Well, he supposed a good-morning.

At 18, Fareeha was one of the current youngest members of Overwatch. Jesse had been younger when they recruited the stray cowboy; barely 17. Now 23, he was a fundamental part of their team and like a son to both Jack and Gabe. However, when both of the ‘dads’ were away, Angela was put in charge, despite being only 23 herself as well. Jesse had complained, but it was halfhearted – they were best friends. Fareeha never complained; both women had fallen for each other almost instantly. They were a contrast of bright gold and darkened skin, mischief and sensibility.

That is why you shouldn’t worry about Angela and I. She is in a homosexual relationship, as am I, and i feel slightly offended by the fact that you seem to forget it.

The girls’ casual affection made Jack ache with slight jealously, which he knew was irrational. Jack and Gabe could never be like that, not in public at least. Sometimes that thought upset him, though it was quickly overpowered by the responsibility they both upheld, and the possible consequences.

Gabe shrugs in response, leaning over him and kissing him softly on his forehead, as if he could ease the pain behind the skin. Jack exhales at the feel of those lips against his skin.

“I know Cariño, but I can’t help it.”

Jack smiles at the Spanish term of endearment. Still has no idea what it means because Gabe refuses to say.

“I know Gabe. And you know that I love you most.”

He feels, more than sees, Gabe’s lips turn into a smile as he kisses his eyelids. “And I love you mostest.”

He can feel himself fading into exhaustion, can feel his consciousness slipping into blissful oblivion, until Gabe picks him up in his arms bridal style and carries him to his room. Jack clutches against the material of Gabe’s shirt, the familiar scent a comfort to him. He closed his eyes in a soft bliss. Safe.
He doesn't really remember how they got tangled up together on the bed.

Jack falls asleep like that, body curled against his mate, a hand brushing through his cropped short hair.

Chapter Text

Jack's POV:

Jack was sentenced to bed rest, but in all honesty it wasn't that bad. His legs twitched when Gabe licked a warm, wet strip along his hipbone. Yep, definitely not a bad thing.

Jack had awoken expecting to feel that warm weight associated with his mate twisted around his body and tangled in his sheets. It took a few moments of blinking against the soft dawn light that shone through the open curtains before he registered the severe lack of that weight. He did however notice that he didn't have any clothes on… he was at least 98% sure they didn't have horizontal tonsil hockey last night… so why?

He got his answer soon enough. Gabe walked through the bathroom door that adjoined Jack’s bedroom, wearing only a pair of cotton briefs and a smirk.

“Gabe, you know that I love you very much. But may I ask as to why I’m naked and you’re holding a bottle of lube when I’m sentenced to bed rest?” Jack paused, and his eyes widened in horror. “Please tell me you’re not going to get yourself off and expect me to do nothing? Because that's just a whole new level of cruel.”

Gabe chuckled at the distraught look on his face and threw the lube onto the bed and followed. Goddamn that man has muscles. Long tanned legs slid up the bed and arms formed a cage around Jack; one he didn't want to leave.

Gabe eyes glinted with mischief as he spoke. “Contrary to belief, I am not that cruel. But since you’re sentenced to bed rest…” He trailed off before bringing his lips closer to Jack’s ear. His breath was warm when he said:

“…I guess I’ll just have to treat you.”

Jack’s lips curled up and he tightened his fingers on Gabe’s shoulders as he shuddered.

“Treat me well then. I’m not feeling too well…” Jack all but purred.

Gabe winked and slowly lowered himself down Jack’s soft, pale body.

Needless to say, with a mouth like Gabe’s, Jack was rendered speechless pretty fast.

 


 

 

Approximately one hour and a shower later, Gabe had shuffled into his own room and came back minutes later, arms filled with enough food to give them both diabetes and enough movies to last a week, and when asked how long he was staying he received an ‘indefinitely, or at least until Angie let’s you escape’.

He sighed as the warmth of their bodies slowly soaked into him; winter wasn't exactly his favourite season, but if it meant that they could lie together like this, legs tangled and arms wrapped around each other, then he supposed that was fair enough compensation.

Jack has no idea what movie is currently playing on his large TV; when Jack had brought his original television, a small box one, Lucio had almost had a heart attack and demanded he upgrade it himself - hence why he currently has the newest ‘state of the arc’ one. He has absolutely no idea why any normal person would need a television with voice recognition and control. What’s wrong with remotes?

To be fair though, the graphics are amazing. Every explosion, every fight scene and every dramatic death scene is in perfect quality. And because Gabe watches it more than Jack ever will, those are the main scenes displayed on that screen. Said screen goes dark when the hero falls from the sky; a dramatized sequence in order to evoke sympathy, he guesses and- wait is that Tony Stark? Jack sends an amused, if not exasperated, laugh down the bond.

The Avengers again? How many times have we seen this movie?

Gabe turns to face him and the expression on his face is enough to make Jack actually laugh out loud. His eyebrows were drawn up high, his mouth open is a soft ‘o’ shape and he looks absolutely incredulous.

“Are you telling me you just realised what movie we were watching? Tony Stark just saved the world; once again might I add-“ Gabe’s face brightens as he talks about his favourite superhero “-and this movie is sheer brilliance. Why wouldn't we watch it again?”

He can’t help the soft smile that graces his lips as he listens to his lover talk. Gabe has always loved superhero movies, though perhaps it was a secret passion of his – a closet fan if you will. Tony Stark was his favourite because, as Gabe puts it, he’s ‘an incredibly intelligent man who built an entire enterprise by himself and he can keep up with the superheroes despite having no powers or physical enhancement himself’. In all honesty, Jack was more of a Captain America type of guy – something Gabe refused to accept.

He didn't mind the Avengers, he actually really liked it, however the lean muscles of his mate proved to be a tad distracting. Ever since they had woken up, they had taken to binge watching movies. This was the fifth movie they had watched today.

“..and this is the 29th time we’ve seen it together.”

“Gabe, are you kidding me right now?!”

 

Gabe yelped as Jack slammed a pillow on his lover’s face.


 

Gabe's POV:

“Go again. I could do better than this at seven years old.”

Gabe crossed his arms as his voice echoed across the violence-weathered room. Jesse huffed as he flicked his hair out of the way; sweat flying from the stray strands, and glared at him.

“Shut it, old man.”

Gabe glared right back. Jesse and Gabe had been going over this maneuver almost two hours now, but Jesse was downright struggling. Gabe had laughed for the first twenty minutes, delighting in the boy’s hopeless flailing, clearly unused to professional brawling. Good god, it was like teaching a lobster how to tap dance: a very sweaty, impatient and sarcastic one. He wasn't exactly laughing after two hours of repeating the same instructions.

Gabe had picked him up seven months ago. He had been requested to take out a statewide menace, had been paid to eliminate a person who may become a threat to his organisation in a few years time, and when asked how to locate him, he was merely given ‘a Clint Eastwood look alike’ and sent on his way. Gabe had questioned the description until he had seen the boy for himself… looking back he probably shouldn't have burst out laughing when meeting a dangerous criminal for the first time. Oh well.

After Gabe had calmed down (the boy had merely stared at him) he had seen that the boy was no older than seventeen, dressed in a cowboy hat, serape and stirrups on his boots, holding a pistol in his right hand, and though the boy’s hand shook, his eyes were determined and cold. He recognised the pained eyes, had stared at similar pair of damaged eyes in the mirror for years.

Jesse McCree was raw potential encased within a frame of countless loss, desperation and wrath. Seventeen was too young to have witnessed such bare brutality, but then again, what right did he have to presume such things when he tortured men for a living; fathers and uncles and brothers that he ripped right out of their families in order for a few significant pieces of information?

Gabe had decided then and there he would recruit the nation’s problem child. All it had taken was a few choice words before the boy had (cautiously) nodded his assent and holstered his weapon. Needless to say the organisation wasn't too pleased to see that Gabe had brought a threat within the confines of their safe house. That was until Gabe had stared them all down, had given them a list of the potential this boy possessed if molded to their ways. In all honesty, he had wanted to help the boy just as much. Sure, Jesse McCree would be a great asset to his team, but he was broken, a type of broken that he recognised, and Gabe had wanted to help him.

It was a rash decision, but it was one he didn't regret, especially as he stood before the boy months later, sweat dripping from his nape and a smile tugging his lips.

Jack sent an amused glance over at them, hand propping up a mouth that smiled fondly, as he took in the two of them.

Jesse was knelt over, hands on his knees and struggling to breathe. He had traded his serape and stirrups for a more convenient singlet and trackpants tied at the waist. However, as said serape wasn't allowed to leave a ten-metre radius of the boy, it was laid across a bench nearby that occupied the left side of the room. Gabe had never asked, but he assumed he was protective of the shawl due to a sentiment, perhaps of family. He didn't know but he wouldn't ask, it wasn't his place to pry. If Jesse wanted Gabe to know he would tell him.

Gabe winked at Jack in response and let his eyes wonder as he leaned back on his heels.

The training room was one of Gabe’s favourite places to visit. He loved the smell – all desperation and sweat that had soaked into the well-worn mats and benches that lined the walls. He loved the atmosphere, loved the thought behind its existence: You train to better yourself, to increase your chance of survival. Well, most people trained for one reason; the incentive of survival. And sure, that's a hell of a good reason to fight, but Gabe trained for more than that. He loved it.

Gabe was good at fighting, as though his body were molded to strike out, kick and punch, as though he was born to break his opponents beneath him. He craved the adrenaline associated with violence, the feeling of his heart pumping and sweat dripping down his neck. He would gladly face his enemies fists, so long as he could throw his own.

You’ll face my fists if you don't snap out of it and actually train the boy.

Gabe’s mouth dropped open in bewilderment, clearly forgetting that the bond was open… and that Jack had just threatened him. Jack scowled in response to his surprise.

Oh, that’s cute. But you couldn't even if you tried. I’m too good.

Jesse raised an eyebrow, but didn't comment when Jack chuckled darkly, the two males were staring at each other - Jesse was used to their silent conversations by now.

Jesse groaned, “Are ya seriously gonna fight each other again?”  He straightened, placing a hand on his hips. “Wasn’t this supposed ta’ be my trainin’ time?”

“It was, but you suck.”

Jesse choked, eyes wide, “excuse you?” He glanced to Jack, pleading with those goddamn puppy dog eyes Gabe hated so much.

Jack threw his hands ups in surrender, “Gabe said it, not me!” before glaring at Gabe, “and you aren’t that bad McCree, don't worry. Gabe’s just a terrible teacher.”

Gabe fake-pouted in shock. That’s not what you said the other night, Jackie boy. Two can play at this game.

He delighted in the way Jack suddenly spluttered, a blush dancing upon his cheeks. Jesse looked confused, eyebrows drawn together, as if asking himself if he missed something.

Gabe just winked at Jesse, who looked even more confused, before strutting up to the mat and beckoning his blonde lover over with his hand, and settling into a fighting stance.

“We’ll show you how it’s done Jesse,” Gabe sneered.

Jack looked downright murderous as he strode towards Gabe, his tall body lowering and stilling as he rose his fists in front of his chest.

You’ll pay for that, smartass.

Gabe just smirked in response. In hindsight, he should have known that it would set Jack off. Whoops?

Jesse just sighed. “Ready?” They were going to fight. Again.

Jack sunk low, hands coming up by his face and feet carrying him towards Gabe. Goddamn. He was lean and focused and utterly gorgeous… and he’s coming right towards him. His internal musings were interrupted when Jack’s foot flew towards him; instantaneously, Gabe shook himself, bringing his hands up into a guard position and ducked under, feeling his hair move under the impact. However Jack was ready for the evasion, fist coming out and hitting Gabe in the side of the face – Gabe dodging at the last second as to avoid a knockout blow.                                                                                 

Gabe smirked, spinning his body, tripping Jack as he flung his leg out, and moved to pin him down, but Jack was already scrambling away, wiping the sweat of his brow.

And then they were moving, bodies and fists moving on instinct. Blows were traded, gradually dragging the other down, each thinking the same thing: hold out until the other drops. The trouble was, both were ridiculously stubborn, and so the blows pilled up, blood spilling occasionally out of mouths and spat onto the blue mats below them.

Jack was a brilliant fighter; one of the best hand-to-hand combatants in Overwatch actually, despite the fact that he wasn't as young as the other recruits... But Gabe was better.

The entire fight lasted maybe three minutes before Jack was pined on the ground, held in a triangle choke by Gabe. It was a blood choke, as opposed to an air choke, cutting off the blood supply to the brain instead of oxygen from the lungs. If Gabe held it long enough and hard enough, Jack would be unconscious soon enough, but he didn't. They both knew who had won, so Gabe merely held Jack in place, adrenaline rushing through his veins.

“And the winner is Gabe. What a shocking development if I say so myself,” came Jesse’s sarcastic response from the other end of the mat, startling them both.

Jack just rolled his eyes, “Shut it. I’ll get him one day.” A pointed look from Jack just made Gabe chuckle.

“Why are you commander when he can’t even beat Papá?” Jesse asked Jack, the question not at all that surprising. “I mean, I know combat isn’t the most important aspect and shit of leadership but like, Gabe’s more than qualified, right?”

Gabe swallowed the brief swell of envy and irritation at the innocent question. He wasn't a leader, not like Jack was - he was just the man who supported them in the background. Well, in all honesty it wasn't that bad. Leadership was too big of a responsibility anyway-

Gabe froze, slowly turning his head to Jesse, mouth curling into a shocked smirk. Jack froze too, lips turning into a huge smile, both older males turning to each other in surprise before turning to look back at Jesse.

Jesse just looked confused. “What are y’all staring at?”

“Did you just call Gabe Papá?”

Now it was Jesse’s time to freeze, a fierce blush rising on his cheeks and down his neck. “What?! Nope. No way,” he spluttered, hands flying around in a placating gesture.

Gabe swung his arm over the boy’s shoulder, grinning from ear to ear. “Lying ain’t good, son. Ain’t nobody taught you better?” he paused, “Oh wait, you were a criminal,” he added, wiggling his eyebrows.

Jesse just glared at him, though it lacked any bite, and buried his head in his hands. Gabe made out a muffled “shut up” from the embarrassed boy. Gabe just smiled softly in response; tightening his hold around the boy he considered family. His own cheeks were a little warm.

Jack grinned at Gabe over the boy, eye’s crinkling in joy, understanding exactly what this little thing meant to him. He probably felt it through the bond as well – the warm, tingly feeling in his chest.

Jack lowered his head, forcing Jesse to look him in the eyes. “We promise not to tell anyone,” he said with a wink.

Jesse just deflated in half-hearted defeat and sighed. “He’s my mentor, ya know? He saved me from, well, everything.” He paused. “I owe him everything,” he added after some thought.

Gabe ran his fingers through Jesse’s long hair, tangling the strands. “You don't owe me anything, kid.”

Jesse removed his hands, scowling as he shooed his hands away, trying to fix his hair. Gabe didn't have a family when he was younger, had grown up on the streets alone, but as he took in Jack and Jesse laughing he thought that maybe he finally had one.

Jack grimaced. “Time to wash up?”

Gabe just nodded. He didn't mind working up a sweat, but it was damned disgusting if it dried on his body. A subtle sniff confirmed that he also smelled pretty bad too. Yeah, he definitely needed a shower. They made their way over the gear, toweling off their faces before heading for the shower room adjacent to the gym.

Gabe isn’t sure what it was. Perhaps it was the way the air shifted, or maybe it was the brief flash of movement at the corner of his eye, but suddenly Gabe felt off. Jack sent a curious thought down the bond, not wanting to worry Jesse who obviously hadn’t noticed yet, and Gabe forced himself to relax.

I thought I felt something.

Jack didn't bother joking around, subtly straightening his body and scanning the surrounding area. Something like what?

I’m not fully sure either, Gabe explained a little sheepishly. Air movement or just movement in general?

At this, Jack frowned in thought. This isn’t exactly a private location Gabe; anyone from Overwatch or Blackwatch can use the training facilities.

When Gabe felt the air shift again, this time harder, he narrowed his eyes. Jack, following the movement, started laughing, startling him. What the fuck? Did Gabe miss something?

Jesse seemed to miss this whole scene, busying himself with the last of his training gear as he packed it away, so when jack started laughing, he jumped. Jack was giggling behind his hand, eyes tearing up as he pointed behind Gabe to-

Leader of Blackwatch, ruthless and merciless on the battlefield, and scared by an air-conditioner.

An air-conditioner. One of the fucking air conditioners turned on and scared him. He felt the laughter bubbling up inside him too.                                                                                                                               

Jesse just looked between them in confusion, before deeming them hopeless and leaving the room, his defeated sigh just making Jack and Gabe laugh harder.

 


 

 

No one noticed the figure slip out of the facility, letting loose a soft sigh of relief. He got out unnoticed. Thank god for air conditioners.

He raised his hands to his earpiece, calling the lone number on the device. It dialed one, two, three times before a rough voice spoke. “Well?”

The man swallowed against the lump in his throat, images of the fight lingering behind his eyelids. Those two were nothing short of monsters, blurs of a pale and tanned skin against the dark, blue mat. But there was something there, something between them that he noticed from his place in the shadows. Something he wouldn't have noticed if they didn't believe they were alone in the first place; he had witnessed something private.

He smirked into the phone. “From what I just saw, I’m pretty positive.”

“But not certain,” came the reply. “We don't proceed until sure. This is our best chance, we don't want this to blow up in our faces.” The voice on the other end of the line chuckled as if that was some inside joke.

The figure smiled darkly, fingering the Blackwatch symbol on his coat. “Give me a few days.” He hung up.