The moment he entered, her heart fluttered. He was stunning. Handsome beyond belief. His costume was so well-crafted too; she even commended his craftsmanship. Would he notice her? Notice her skimpy attire? Her bewitching features?
"Gimme a hand," Jesse quipped to her as he moved to Reinhardt's side.
When she didn't respond, the cowboy tried again.
"Oi, cowboy to witch." He snapped his fingers, which finally got her to look his way. "Mind helping me? He's a heavy one."
With his entrance, Gabriel seemed to catch everyone's attention, sans Jesse's. Distracted by the pumpkin-head commander, Ang rubbed her arm. Had he even noticed her? She went out of her way to dress up; this was his favorite holiday, or so she was told.
"What do you even see in him," Reinhardt asked while holding up a hand for Ang to grab.
"Uh?" She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Wh-what are you t-"
"I told him, Ang." The cowboy flashed her a smile. "Secret is safe with him, worry not. I figured he's known Gabe longer than we have. If anyone can give you pointers on how to win his love, it's this guy."
"Who's winning who's love," Ana stepped up to the trio. "You best not be trying to date someone." Her eyes narrowed as she stared down Jesse.
"Wh-what are you talking about?" He flinched. Why was she staring at him like this.
"You and Fareeha." She stepped closer. "I expect you to ask her for her hand."
Jesse's eyes widened while Reinhardt wrapped his thick hand around his. "Uh, you do realize she's a kid, right?"
"She'll grow up in no time." Ana wrapped her hand around Jesse's and Reinhardt's to aid in the standing up process. "And I expect you to be the man that sweeps her off her feet."
Angela giggled. "Goddess got your tongue, cowboy?"
"But Fae's still a kid."
"She'll grow into a fine wife." Ana corrected him. Wiggling a finger his way, she rattled on. "I expect you two to have a house out in Colorado. She'll wear a lovely cotton blue dress while she plants flowers. You'll be out in the pasture teaching your seven kids how to ride horses."
"S-seven?!" Jesse choked. Releasing Reinhardt's hand, the man went crashing back against the floor. "You trying to get me killed?"
"Not like you have to do much work," the sly woman quipped. "Besides, I want what's best for my Fareeha. By the time she's old enough to marry, Overwatch won't be needed. You can retire to the great plains and raise a family. Peace, peace all around. What could be better than that?"
Reinhardt groaned and opted to pick himself up off the floor for he didn't want to get dropped again. "Remind me again why I'm getting roped into this?" He looked from Ang to Jesse.
"Because you know Gabe."
"About about Gabe?" Ana's brow quirked. "Wait," she hissed while stepping even closer to Jesse, "are you saying you're interested in him and not my Fareeha?!"
"What, no, no," he swallowed hard. "I mean he's a great guy and all bu-" he caught the daggers in her eyes, "but my heart is set on Fae."
"Good," she grunted. "So what's with this Gabe talk?"
Angela blushed while tucking her ankle behind her other foot. "I," she couldn't look.
"Really?" Ana spat. "Of all the men Overwatch has to offer, you pick Gabriel?" Her lip curled with a hint of disgust.
"Well he's the only one that notices me..."
An exchange happened between Reinhardt and Ana. "Sure. You think that all you want, darling."
Brows furrowing, she tipped her head to the side. "What do you mean?"
Reinhardt held back his chuckle. "Mein Engel, there's another man in the mix who has had his sights set on you."
She turned to Jesse.
"Hey now," he held up his hands, "we both know I'm down for friends with benefits." The second he finished that sentence, he received a slap across the back of the head. "I mean I'm taken."
Angela put on her thinking cap. Who could they be taking about then if it wasn't Jesse?
"Golden boy," Ana tipped.
"Golden boy?" This caused Angela's brows to cave. "W-wait?" She stepped to the left some to get a glimpse of Jack. Sure enough, upon catching his eyes, the soldier blushed and looked away. "Him?" There was complete disbelief in her eyes. "But he doesn't like me."
"Angela," Ana chuckled, "he couldn't keep his eyes off you. Since the moment you entered, he's been watching."
"He asks Reyes about you all the time too," Jesse added.
"H-he does?" The idea of Jack Morrison liking her was so far fetched. There was no way he could like her. He was a party boy. A troublemaker. A lady killer. A cheat. Or so she liked to believe.
"What is it you look for in a man," Ana questioned, genuinely interested in what the golden haired girl had to say.
"Someone who makes me smile. Feel warm inside. Feel important. Someone who lights up when they see me. Someone who isn't ashamed to call me th... theirs." Pulling at her bangs, she sighed with a hint of depression present in that sigh.
"Have you thought about giving him a chance?"
"But," she bit her lip. She liked Gabriel. He was funny, dedicated, loyal. But he was also cold, distant, and never spent time with her. He never stood her up but he did send her texts at he last minute telling her he couldn't make it. She justified his reasoning, knowing that it was likely Overwatch related.
"But...?" Jesse placed a firm hand on her shoulder. "But what? You haven't even entertained the thought. Can you really shoot it down?"
"But I know nothing about him," she commented.
"Well I know him," Ana wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "And I'll tell you one thing, he's a damn good man. A gentleman. Kind. Sweet. Genuine. He cares, truly cares."
"Gabe is all of that too," she quickly retorted.
Three shaking heads made her heart sink.
"They aren't the same," Reinhardt finally piped up. "Not once has Reyes laid his eyes on you. But Jac-, Jack! My boy! What are you doing?" He pushed Ana and Angela to the side to ruffle the blonde soldier's hair.
Then he went in for the kill.
Hoisting the super-soldier from the floor, he trapped him in his embrace.
"R-R-" he tried to spit out some words but it was all just air and groans.
"I think you're squishing him, darling." Ana gingerly placed her hand on Reinhardt's shoulder. "Why won't you let him down and see what he came over here for." There was something about the way she spoke that made Angela tremble. She was plotting.
Grumbling, he complied. "But then I get to go back to hugging him." Throwing his thumb over his shoulder, he tagged on, "He's the only one who lets me hug him like that."
Under his breath, Jack muttered, "Because I'm too scared to tell you no."
"Hmmmm?" He tilted his head to the side. "You say something?"
"No, no," Jack protested. "I love your hugs. Always so warm and crushing." He wore a cheesy grin as he spoke. He also couldn't keep his eyes off Angela, which made her blush.
Ana, the one with the sharp eyes, caught this exchange and nudged Angela. "Tell him he looks nice," she whispered into her ear. She winked.
Laughing, she swatted the older woman away. "You look nice, Jack. I didn't peg you as a Halloween fan." Slipping on a soft smile, she drank in his features. He did has a kind face. A sweet smile. Breathtaking eyes.
"Really? Halloween's my favorite holiday. I love the lore and spooks." Nervously, Jack ran a hand through his golden locks. "And thanks," he averted his gaze. "Y-you look nice too," he admitted. His cheeks burned a bright red color as she uttered his little statement.
Her heart skipped a beat, which caused her brows to furrow. W-what was this sensation? This feeling? She felt warm. Tingly. Unbelievable happy yet nervous as the same time. Weak in the knees. She felt... woozy?
Swaying, she fumbled.
"Oi," she murmured while grabbing her head. "I feel light headed." Massaging her temples, she pulled open her eyes to spy the warmth that now pooled all around her. Had someone caught her mid-fall?
"Did you have anything to eat?"
Eyes panning over to seek out the form that held her, she was quite surprised to notice that the voice that spoke to her and the arms that held her belonged to the same man-Jack Morrison.
Face flushing, she nervously looked away. "I, uh," she chewed her lip, "I had a cracker."
"A cracker?" He seemed skeptical. Was he judging her? Mocking her? "Just a cracker," he teased while continuing to help her stand. "That can't be good for your health." Releasing her slowly, Jack offered her a smile. "But I'm not a doctor. I'm just a soldier so what do I know?" The way he looked at her spoke to her.
For the first time in forever, she realized something.
That time she was shot on the battlefield, it wasn't Gabe that ran to her side. It was Jack. And he took two to the chest for her.
That time she left her office crying because the Valkyrie project had been rejected, it wasn't Gabe who walked her home in the pouring rain. It was Jack and he even offered her a cup of warm lavender tea and a shoulder to cry on.
That time she lost a patient on the operating table, it wasn't Gabe who made her forget. It was Jack. He took her to play putt-putt golf (of all things) with Jesse and Fareeha.
That time she had a night terror and woke up screaming, it wasn't Gabe who stayed up until the crack of dawn. It was Jack. He stayed right by her side and said he'd protect her.
Slowly, she lifted up her heavy lids and let his form flood her sights.
They were right. Reinhardt, Ana, Jesse. They were all right. It wasn't Gabriel Reyes that her heart sought. It was Jack Morrison. The man she overlooked because he was just a soldier. Just an average man with little to offer. In her mind, he was a jerk, a fake, a liar, a cheat. But all those things were just walls she put up. They were lies she told herself because she didn't want to admit the truth. That she had fallen out of love with Gabriel Reyes and in love with his shining pupil, the face of Overwatch, Jack Morrison.
Jack's head fell to the side. "Everything okay, Miss Ziegler?"
"Angela," she corrected.
His lips twisted to the side. His eyes lit up. There was hope. A spark. A connection.
"Very well, Angel."
Every ounce of her being wanted to frown or scold him for using the name her dad called her but, just once, she'd let it fly. Because when Jack said it, it bought butterflies to her stomach and reminded her of brighter days. Of smiles, laughs, and happiness. It felt... right.
Biting her lip, she blushed before daring to stare into his soft baby blues. "Want to grab a drink with me?" Her enter body shook, nervous of her bold gesture. Again, she tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ears. She also fidgeted where she stood, now embarrassed with her attire. Was this too showy? Would Jack thing less of her? Think her an attention-needy whore? Easy?
Taken aback by the invitation, Jack's shoulders rolled forward as a crooked grin came into place on his face. "I'd," he pursed his lips, "I'd love to."
Falling in line beside her, his reassuring smile melted away all her fears and doubts. This man, though likely incited by the costume, saw all of her. Not just the witch. Not just the doctor. Not just the cute blonde. He saw her. And she did nothing, other than ask him to join her for a drink.
A raw smile of pure bliss grew across her face. Her eyes lit up and sparkled like freshly fallen snow.
This, this was what it meant to love. This was what it meant to be loved. To feel appreciated. To truly belong.
Peeking, she looked over at Jack. He mimicked her. The smile on his face, true and pure. The glisten in his eyes, full of life and love. He was savoring this moment just as much as she was.
Pressing her lips together, she sucked in a quick breath. Calmness lapping over her, she reached across. She broke into his space. She seized his hand. And she pulled him close. Cheeks ablaze and heart fluttering, she'd change nothing about this magical night for tonight was the start of something real. Of something true. Of something more.