McCree wonders if he should have left the hat in his room.

He fidgets where he stands—perpetually alight with a nervous energy that has him tapping the toes of his boots, hooking his thumbs in the belt loops of his pants, grinding his teeth, eyes skirting the room restlessly.

He crosses gazes with the Commander—a tall, brick wall of a man who carries the countenance of a prizefighter and moves across the battlefield like war and smoke personified—and who had, for some miraculous, unknown reason, taken pity on a scrap of an arms smuggler.

McCree swallows hard, offering an uneasy nod.

The Commander stares back at him evenly, and nods back before turning towards Morrison and Amari in low conversation.

McCree lets out a quiet sigh, looking away. He doesn't know why the Commander had spared him—it's not something he particularly likes thinking about—but he tries to take solace in the fact that as long as the Commander is in his corner, no one can touch him.

Back in the Deadlock Gang, he didn't have anyone watching his back—and he didn't need it. But here? Where huge apes draw up battle plans and human-Omnic hybrids wield swords? McCree shivers lightly, hand falling down to rest heavily on his Peacekeeper.

He'll take the heavy gaze of the Commander's eyes across his shoulders if it means he can sleep peacefully at night.

His gaze darts back to the meeting between the three. Amari is whispering fiercely, teeth bared in a delicate snarl, finger pointed in the face of Morrison, who glares back at her with a locked jaw and cold expression.

They're arguing, obviously, and McCree lets his gaze drift away again, wondering what about. He'd been called to the meeting room because the Commander wanted his insight on the Deadlock Gang, but apparently they haven't gotten to that point in the discussion yet, so he just hangs around, horrendously out of place.

He shuffles his feet. He really should have left the hat.

McCree peers out from under the wide brim, scoping out the other members of the room.

There's the obvious presence of the Commander, Amari, and Morrison. Amari terrifies him more than he can properly articulate, and Morrison's casual friendliness and warmth makes him skittish. He ducks the Commander's gaze whenever possible, reluctant to share space with the great man.

Across the room stands a squat man with a tarnished mechanical arm that had—appropriately—caught McCree's interest when he'd first seen it. He calls himself Torbjörn, and is boisterous and outgoing. McCree is fond of him, but keeps his distance, clutching his robotic arm like a reflex. He's seen what the man can do to metal, and isn't keen on getting a first-hand demonstration.

The slender, strikingly beautiful Frenchwoman is also there with her similarly handsome husband—looking for all the world like a pair of models who wandered into a highly secretive government base looking for the runway. They're kind and polite and their accents amuse McCree endlessly, but he's wary all the same. The husband seems to be the actual agent, but McCree knows danger when he sees it—and that woman has an aura of trouble and misfortune that she wears like an engagement ring.

In the corner stands a woman, chattering happily into a communication device. Tracer, she's called. McCree smirks slightly. He likes her a lot. Quick with a joke and seemingly always happy to help. The wayward cowboy has taken to searching for her telltale blue flash on the battlefield. He hopes to challenge her to a shootout someday, but—his mouth pulls down with a grimace—he doubts he'll be around long enough to work up the courage to ask.

McCree is about to look back to the Commander to see if Morrison is arguing back with Amari, when his vision snags at the sight of a young girl with dark hair standing proudly in the middle of an Overwatch war room like she was born there.

He blinks in surprise, but there's no mistaking it. She's small and obviously quite young, with strands of hair strung with beads framing her face. Her arms swing aimlessly at her side, and no one seems to be giving her a second look. Dubiously, McCree searches her for a weapon, unsurprised when he finds nothing.

She suddenly looks up at him, and he recoils slightly, unsure what to say or do. Her expression is carefully schooled—not a trace of malice or fear or even surprise. She looks utterly at ease, holding the gaze of a notorious gang member.

After a brief stare down, McCree prepares to look away—more unnerved than he cares to admit—when the girl's face changes. He frowns, watching as she lifts her chin and pushes out her lower lip, narrowing her eyes a bit to give them a hooded effect.

Puzzled, McCree gives her a look of utter confusion, before he realizes she's imitating his face. Her lips twitch with amusement when realization dawns across his face, but she quickly smothers it again, retaining the stoic expression as she lifts her hand to tug at an imaginary hat on her head.

Grinning—who was this kid?—McCree obliges, snagging the tip of his hat's wide brim with his calloused fingers and giving it a quick pull, hiding his gaze. Knowing his mouth is all she can see, he can't resist twisting his lips into a cocky smirk.

Her silvery laughter brings him back, and he pushes the hat back up to see her giggling into her hands, clearly delighted with his display. He smiles back—a small, genuine thing he hasn't felt on his face in a very long time.

He watches her—suddenly eager—to see what she'll do next, when a slender figure suddenly steps between them, and all the humor dies on McCree's face.

The angel. Mercy.

She assess him coldly over her shoulder—sapphire eyes harsh and calculating and carrying all the judgment of an archangel. McCree watches with a stony expression as she kneels before the girl, pale hands coming to rest on the girl's brown shoulders.

Anger surges through him as he sees the blonde whisper to the girl, nervously brushing hair out of her face and giving her a visual once over.

McCree's hands curl into fists. He'd made her laugh. Since when is that a crime?

Another look—dark with distrust, of course—has him pushing away from the wall and storming over.

He feels everyone's gaze snap to him as he steps forward, and all conversation goes silent as he crosses the room in three easy strides, standing over Mercy with an unfamiliar emotion simmering in his chest.

"I ain't gonna hurt her," he nearly growls, the low, whiskey-smooth edge to his accent harsh with anger. He glares as Mercy rises to her feet—not taller than him, but armed with an authority that dwarfs his—and takes a defensive stance before the girl.

"You have given me no reason to trust you," she replies, her own accent rolling off her tongue like wine, making her threat sound like music.

"The Commander trusts me," McCree argues, knowing his foot in this bizarre group is shaky at best and he is pushing luck he doesn't have by squaring up with a healer of this girl's status and prestige, but he can't help it.

No one's gonna go to bat for him, so he'll do it himself.

The girl scoffs under her breath—a low and ugly sound that draws a scowl from McCree.

"Of course," she replies, words like ice. "Forgive me. I forgot Commander Reyes was infallible and perfect and has certainly never made a mistake—"


McCree goes stiff, and takes some smug satisfaction in seeing the angel freeze as well, eyes snapping to settle on someone over his shoulder. McCree turns and sees the Commander has descended upon their little spat with a face like thunder—flanked by Amari and Morrison, who watch with guarded expressions.

"Commander," Mercy replies, voice still hard.

The Commander lifts a dark brow. "I asked McCree to be here," he explains, voice low and dark and setting McCree's teeth on edge, even though he's being defended. "Do you have a problem with that?"

Mercy gives him a flat look that suggests she has several hundred problems with that, and she just cocks her own brow.

"Commander, as the medical authority and head of risk management, I really—" she begins.

The Commander lifts a dark hand, and she obediently falls silent, though her eyes still flash with the need to argue. McCree would be impressed with her gall if it weren't for the fact that she was trying to get him kicked off.

"Dr. Ziegler," he says, and McCree nearly starts, gaze swinging back to Mercy with surprise. This tiny, pale slip of a girl is a doctor?

"You heal people. You do that better than anyone I know." He waves his broad hands at the room. McCree fidgets, longing to hide his face with his hat. Everyone is staring.

"But there's no wound to patch. Nothing to stitch or bandage. Everyone is fine. Everyone is safe." The Commander crosses his arms, looking at the angel like he's daring her to argue.

She does.

"Part of medicine is prevention," she points out fiercely. "Cutting out the infection—" her eyes cut to McCree, as if there could be any doubt as to who she's talking about "—before it destroys the body."

McCree's jaw tightens, hands fisted at his sides. The trouble is—she isn't wrong. He's an outsider—an interloper with a mechanical arm and a stupid hat. He feels his shoulders slump slightly, preparing to creep back and maybe pack his bags, when a hand falls heavily on his shoulder, startling him into an upright position.

It's the Commander. He steals a slightly panicked sideways look to see a gloved hand curling slightly around his shoulder.

"There is nothing wrong with McCree," the Commander tells her, and there's a ring of authority and finality in his voice that finally forces the proud angel to bow her head in acceptance. A pause. "'Cept maybe his belt buckle, but we're not gonna hold that against him."

A rush of embarrassment stains McCree's cheeks and ears, and quiet chuckles rise up from the room's occupants as the tension drains out. The Commander slaps McCree on the shoulder, and he feels a set of slender fingers give his hair a quick ruffle while another hand pats him warmly on the back—Amari and Morrison.

They drift away and the conversation picks up again. McCree feels the gazes of everyone leave him, and he allows himself to relax, feeling better than he has in weeks.

The angel, by comparison, scowls at him, and he knows this won't be a confrontation she soon forgets. With a raised chin and perfect posture, she turns her back on the outlaw, crossing the room to leave and uncovering the girl she'd been hiding.

McCree stares down at her, and feels that small smile creep back on his face. He crouches down to her level, flicking the top of his hat to keep it out of his eyes. The girl giggles at the action.

"Well hello, lil' lady," he begins; calling on the stupidest line he can think of just to get her to laugh.

It works. McCree smiles fondly as she claps her hands to her face to try and smother her laughter.

He opens his mouth with no idea of what bad Western he's going to quote next when the angel's voice cuts through the room like the crack of a whip: "Fareeha!"

His expression sours, and he lets his annoyed gaze slide over to where the blonde stands by the door to the room, looking back at him fiercely.

Holding her gaze, he tugs his hat down low, breaking eye contact with her before turning to return to his post by the Commander.

He's only taken two steps before he feels something tugging at his pant leg, and looks down in bewilderment to see the girl. What had Mercy called her? Fareeha.

They stare at each other for a moment, and McCree lifts his eyebrows questioningly.

"Go ahead," the girl says, and McCree is instantly charmed by her rough accent and shining eyes. She's clearly trying to mimic his thick drawl, and he's baffled and delighted at her attempts. She narrows her brown eyes playfully at him, grinning as her fist tightens where she grips a fistful of his pants. "Make my day."

McCree's eyes go wide, mouth falling open with complete, unadulterated amusement—did she just quote Clint Eastwood?—before she turns and darts from the room, giggling as her sundress rippling behind her.

Mercy rolls her eyes and shoos her out of the room before giving McCree a dark look—like he's somehow responsible for what just happened—and steps out, closing the door with a snap behind her.

McCree just smirks, tipping his hat to the closed door.

I'm back! Hooray!

First and foremost, this is based off of a beautiful comic by papabay that I can't like because FF says a hearty fuck you to links. It's on my tumblr though! Go look at it right now because I've been staring at it for like five days straight.

I played around with ages (who actually knows how old anyone in Overwatch is okay honestly) and definitely gave Mercy's personality a twist that's a little unorthodox for me, but I really liked it. It's fun to shake things up sometimes.

The line Fareeha says is a very famous Clint Eastwood line, and the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of good Western movie quotes. I like to think she doesn't really grasp the concept of "the Wild West" since much of Overwatch's world seems highly technological, so she's probably watched a few cheesy movies with like, Tracer or something, and sees McCree and is just like "oh my god it's a fucking cowboy oh my god the movies were real."

I know there's no fucking way anyone in Overwatch would know who Clint Eastwood is okay let me have my fun dammit

I might play with this dynamic more if you guys like it!

Have a good week, kids! I'll be back with more stuff real soon!

PS I shamelessly jammed to Slinger's Song the whole time I wrote this.