Author's Note: Sorry for the big delay guys! It's been a really, really rough summer for me. My dog passed away a couple of weeks ago which really stunted the progress for this chapter. Work has been a bitch too...
Anyway, I'm headed back to school next week and I wanted to make sure I got this chapter out to you all before I get busy with moving in and such. I predict that sometime in early September I can have the next chapter out, once I'm settled and back in the grove of things. Also, a forewarning, this chapter was not beta'd on account of trying to get it out and readable before I move. I may have it updated later, with a few grammar fixes and such.
Hope you guys enjoy chapter 5 (is it 5 now? I think it's 5...), and I'll see y'all again in September!
P.S. Also, thanks a ton for the reviews, favorites, and follows guys! It really motivates me to write, even through tough times, and believe me, I wanna see this finished just as much as y'all. So thanks, it means a lot to us hobby writers. :)
Chapter Five: Home Is Where You Hang Your Hat
As far as Jesse could tell, Jack Morrison, commander of Overwatch and also boyfriend to one lovely, heart of gold, Angela Ziegler, was not a very amiable fellow. He had classic 50s America good looks, tall, statuesque, with bright blue eyes and sun yellow hair. The man was attractive, Jesse's dislike for him be damned, but beyond his friendly seeming exterior, Jack Morrison seemed a stone cold bastard.
"You'll be working for Blackwatch, McCree." Morrison stated blankly from behind his desk. "It's a subdivision of Overwatch lead by Gabriel Reyes, however more covert in nature."
Jesse stared at him, eyes wide in shock. "Lead by Gabriel Reyes?"
Morrison regarded him coldly. "Do you have hearing problems, McCree?"
"No, sir." The cowboy folded his arms. He didn't much like attitudes like that. "I do not. That don't mean I ain't surprised you're assigning me to Reyes considering our… past."
The blonde showed little change in emotion. "Reyes has been reprimanded for his actions, and understands the error of his ways."
"He waterboarded me." Jesse explained plainly. "I can't work with him!"
Sighing, the soldier crossed his arms. "I have a lot of issues with Reyes, McCree, I'll be the first to admit it. We don't get along on much. That said, I still need to work with the man. Let me explain the politics to you, maybe it'll make more sense."
"Go on." The cowboy gestured with his hand, but highly doubted the blonde would say anything to sway his opinion.
"Firstly, you're new and from a criminal organization. Just saving you from jail time is tough enough, but to put a criminal in the main Overwatch branch is even more taboo. We knew from the moment we took you captive you'd have to work for Blackwatch or go to jail, there's really no other choice.
"After Reyes tortured you, however, I did consider giving you a new identity and such, and having you train with Overwatch for a bit so we could learn to trust you, then maybe having you work for the main branch. Reyes, however, has shown great interest in your skills, and personally requested you be on Blackwatch. After you were tortured. I don't know what he wants, McCree, but I need him to cooperate, and I won't get that if I turn around and keep you for myself. I can offer you jail time, if you prefer that instead."
Morrison said the last sentence with perfect sincerity, leaving Jesse nearly dumbfounded. Reyes wanted him? Why?
"So that's it then? Work for a sadistic fuck or get sent to jail?" The cowboy questioned.
"McCree, you worked for the Deadlock Gang. If I remember correctly, your boss threatened to torture my girlfriend. Now, is Reyes really that much worse?"
As much as Jesse hated to admit it, Morrison had a point there. Of course, Lucky Sam had always been more matter-of-fact about who he decided to torture, and why, but that didn't mean Jesse hadn't worked for sadistic fucks in the past. What really made the difference here was that Reyes had been sadistic with him and he'd never really been on the receiving end before.
Maybe he deserved it.
"Fine." The cowboy grumbled. "I'll work for Reyes."
"Good, I'm glad to hear it." Morrison tapped at a tablet at his desk. "I'm going to see who's available to give you a tour in the meantime, show you your rooms and such. We really need an office manager, you know."
Jesse chuckled. "Yeah, so did we, in the Deadlock Gang. No one wanted to do the secretarial work. Some poor wife always ended up with the job."
"As much as I hate to say it, it's often the women here that get stuck with it too." The blonde commented. He paused a moment, then regarded the tablet pensively. For about a whole minute, the man seemed to battle internally with a decision, then finally shook his head and said, "Angela's free. If you wait outside, I'll send her over to fetch you."
Jesse was loath to say his heart pounded a little faster than it had before. "Of course, Commander."
As the cowboy was leaving, Morrison said, "If you've got any other questions, don't be afraid to come back and ask them."
"Will do, boss." He hollered back, mind completely elsewhere, focused on a different blonde, with different, softer blue eyes.
"How are you fairing, Jesse? My nurses tell me you have made a full recovery." The angelic doctor asked as she approached him in the lobby.
He stood, and tipped his hat to her. "Just fine, Miss Angela. All thanks to you, of course."
How long had it been since he'd seen her? She'd checked up on him once or twice since she'd come to his rescue, but this was the first time he'd really have her to himself. To say that he had a lot of questions for her, a lot of things he wanted to talk to her about, would have been an understatement.
"Oh, it was no problem at all. Just doing my duty." She turned towards an east facing hallway, strategically covering a blush he thought he saw. "Shall we get going then?"
"Of course." He replied in a cocky manner, hooking his thumbs in his belt loops and sauntering off after her. Blushing, huh? There was hope for him yet.
Even if there wasn't any, Jesse was determined to romance her back into his arms or die
trying. That she seemed oblivious to the fact only made seducing her more exhilarating.
"We're headed towards the residential wing." She explained, talking over her shoulder. "Your quarters are in between Genji's and Reinhardt's. Have you met either Genji or Reinhardt?"
"Can't say that I have." He admitted. This was his first day out of the hospital wing. The whole week prior he'd dreamed about Angela coming to his aid and tending to him like a dutiful, perhaps slightly pornographic at times, nurse. Funny how even though he lived in her hospital for a whole week, he barely even saw her, much less other agents.
"Hm, well I suspect you'll meet them soon. Genji, at the very least, is on Blackwatch with you."
"Is he now?" Jesse asked, although he wasn't the least bit interested. Instead, he was trying to remember how her legs had looked when they hadn't been covered by a long silk cloth.
"Indeed." She commented, before stopping in front of a bleak looking door, pulling a card key from her pocket, and opening it. "This is you, Jesse."
He looked inside and found pretty standard military grade stuff.
"Your key, and ID." She handed the card over to him. "Careful not to lose this, it's your way of getting around the base."
"It open more than just this door then?" He wondered.
"Yeah, it'll also grant you access to training rooms and the cafeteria. Most places, actually require this card, so keep it safe." She switched her attention from him back to his room. "I had Catherine put your health monitoring kit in there, too." She shot him a severe look. "You must wear it at night, Jesse. We'll know if you don't."
Oh he was very familiar with that health monitoring kit, he was. It was a bulky device that would attach to his arm and monitor vitals, making it very difficult to sleep in a comfortable position, which further aggravated a recent bout of insomnia he'd developed. As healthcare technologies went, the health monitoring kit had to be his least favorite.
"What'cha gonna do if I don't?" He asked, eyebrow cocked.
Angela crossed her arms. "I can't believe you, Jesse, it's like the flirtation button is never turned off."
"Oh you can turn the flirtation button off."
"Oh yeah? And how's that?" She asked, very skeptically.
Jesse, instead of responding vocally, just shot her a suggestive glance. After a few seconds had passed, she seemed to understand his implication.
"I swear!" She exclaimed, before heading off down the hallway.
"Don't deny you aren't interested, darlin'." He called after her.
Angela scoffed loudly. "You are so full of yourself!"
"Hmm, I wouldn't say I'm full of myself…" He scratched his chin as he trailed behind there. "Though I reckon I am, as the saying goes, young and dumb and full of cum."
The doctor didn't respond, but he could see the blush tinting the back of her neck and ears. That she didn't say anything until they reached their next destination further convinced him that she was thoroughly riled up. And boy did that satisfy him.
He vaguely wondered in that time when would be most appropriate to start asking her the tough questions. It was easy enough for her to thwart his simple flirtations, but a more direct question… How would she respond to that?
Jesse needed to exercise patience, however. In the middle of a base tour was not the right time for such things.
"This is the mess hall." She pointed at two double doors. "Kitchen staff works all hours, but best you come during mealtime for more options, and fresher food."
"Next we're headed to the-" Angela was cut off by an overhead voice comm.
"All agents, please report to the main briefing room." Morrison commanded in a surrounding, electronic voice. "I repeat, all agents, please report to the main briefing room."
Angela shot Jesse a concerned look before heading off back towards the lobby and gesturing for him to follow.
He did so without question.
Angela watched Jesse with concern out of the corner of her eye. Jack had told her something about Reyes wanting the cowboy on Blackwatch. Now, she'd known that had been the intention all along, but after the torturing incident, and incident was a really, really soft way of putting it, she rather thought the two weren't best suited to work together.
At the very least, she'd hoped she could have time to convince Jack to put Jesse on another team. But with the latest news, that plan was pretty much out the window.
"We've been ordered not to interfere." Jack said, standing at a podium at the end of the table. Angela sensed a "but" incoming. "However," Close enough. "King's Row is in great distress. So great that it pains me to sit idle."
"If the UN has ordered us out of this conflict, how are we supposed to do anything other than sit idle?" Reinhardt wanted to know. A fair question.
Jack nodded at the german. "For now, we will be content monitoring the situation."
Angela, and probably the rest of Overwatch, understood the implication there was that they would monitor with the intention of intervening when the time came.
"And if things get worse?" Ana asked, touching on that subtle assumption Angela had made.
"We'll get there when we get there." The soldier replied.
The medic frowned. She recognized that as Jack's way of saying, "I'll do what I have to, even if it's illegal."
"For now, though," He continued. "We'll have to lay low and stay in base. There's too much fighting and politics in this for us to do anything else. One wrong move and we have the scrutiny of the world on us. We have been ordered not to interfere, so for now, we will."
"That includes even other missions? Aside from what is happening in King's Row?" Genji wanted to know.
"Yes, it does." Jack replied solemnly. He clearly did not like having to ground all of Overwatch, but somehow felt that he had to. Angela, however, thought the medical team could at least make an appearance at places in peril.
Whatever. She wasn't going to bring it up with Jack, he had enough stress to deal with.
"Any other questions?" The soldier wanted to know, scanning the room with his eyes. He was met with silence.
"Well, in that case, you're dismissed." He saluted the crowd.
The sitting agents quickly dispersed, returning to whatever it was they had been doing before.
Angela turned to Jesse. "How about we get back to your…"
She trailed off as her eyes locked on Reyes's.
"Ziegler, you wouldn't mind if I borrowed McCree for a time? Blackwatch is having a special meeting." His crooked smile disturbed her in a way she couldn't quite describe.
"We're in the middle of his tour." She stared Reyes down, unwilling to let him know exactly how much he unnerved her.
"I'm sure it can wait." He smiled. Evilly, Angela might add.
"No I don't think it-"
"Angela, darlin'." Jesse shot her a heart-stopping smile. Er, well, it would have been heart-stopping, if she were a single woman, but seeing as how Angela was happily involved in a relationship, that smile was just normal. Yup, a totally average smile. "I'll be fine."
"You sure?" She asked, somehow reluctant to let him go.
"Don't you worry your pretty little self about me." Damn, he was charming though. "I'm a big boy, I can take care of myself."
Angela then caught sight of the raised eyebrow Reyes had been shooting her.
"Very well." She replied after clearing her throat. "Come see me at the infirmary before you go to bed tonight. We still have a couple of things to cover."
"Of course, doctor." He smiled again before stalking off after a sinister looking Gabriel Reyes.
Angela sighed heavily and started back onto the hospital wing.
For as much as Angela loved having connections around the world, people to help her out in times of need, it did stress her out having to call in so many favors. She didn't mind being indebted to people, but she did often feel awkward asking for help. Of course, her friends in King's Row had been more than happy to help out distributing medicine she was going to smuggle into the United Kingdom, but the ordeal stressed her anyway.
And for Angela, stress pooled in between her shoulders.
She pressed her fingers into her upper back, trying to un-knot her muscles, but without much success. Sighing, she stirred her tea, took a quick sip, and returned to organizing-
What was that? Angela could have sworn she heard something. Twirling around at lightning speed, the doctor scanned her study quickly, but found nothing out of place.
She eyed the bookcases suspiciously, but then determined it must have been a trick of the mind. That happened more often to people who were stressed like she.
Just as she had gotten back into the groove of her work, a deep, masculine voice rang out from behind her.
"Here too see you, doc, like we talked about before."
Yelping in surprise, Angela swiveled around immediately to come face to face with one obnoxious cowboy.
"I swear, Jesse." She sighed heavily. "You're as silent as the grave."
"Wouldn't be much good at sneakin' if I weren't, I reckon." He shrugged, smiling at her lazily.
Standing, Angela gestured for him to follow her out the door. "I can see why Overwatch wants you, then."
"Seemin' like we won't be doin' much for a while." He commented.
"I doubt it." Angela shot Jesse a wary look. "If I know Jack, and I do, we'll be getting involved regardless of what the UN says. Once it gets bad enough, anyway."
"Probably best we do." The cowboy asserted. "Them poor folks need the likes of us."
She nodded in agreement. Jesse was one hundred percent right, but things were never quite that simple. Hell, she knew a thing or two about not simple. The whole situation with Jesse in the first place was the definition of "not simple". She'd be lying if she said her meeting with the cowboy wasn't a source of the tension in her shoulders.
"So how was the meeting with Reyes?" She asked, curious. It wouldn't have surprised her to find out that Reyes was giving Jesse a tough time.
"Not too bad, actually." The cowboy replied. "He's a hard feller, that Reyes. Bit of a sadist, I reckon, but he ain't causin' me much trouble anymore."
"He likes to toy with people, I think." Angela commented absently. "I always feel like he's playing some sort of game."
Jesse followed her as they rounded a corner, entering the residential wing. Hopefully he'd gotten familiar with this area by now.
"He ain't a nice man, I'll say." The cowboy walked casually next to her. "Not the worst I've met, neither."
"Oh?" She asked, raising an eyebrow and peering into Jesse's charming amber eyes.
Er, well, they would have been a charming amber, but remember, Angela was a taken girl so… Nope, not charming amber.
Ordinary brown, she told herself. Ordinary brown.
To add to her discomfort, the cowboy chuckled darkly. "Well, Miss Angela, I don't know if you remember that feller Fourfingers, but he weren't a nice one."
Angela turned her head back to stare at the dull hallway in front of her. That man was too captivating for his own good. After returning to Overwatch she'd just assumed she'd be able to put that incident in Arizona behind her, but with Jesse being here and being so… Attractive, the possibility of forgetting it all was becoming more and more slim.
To make matters worse, Angela was not at all prepared to deal with a seductive cowboy.
"I never suspected any of the men in the Deadlock Gang were nice ones." She responded.
"Is that your way of saying I'm a bad man?" He asked playfully as they pulled up to his door.
"I, er, well…" Damn, he'd got her there. Staring at the ground, she muttered, "You're not a bad man, Jesse."
Angela had hoped he'd drop it, but as he opened the door with his key he continued. "Or perhaps you like bad men?"
Following him inside, she replied, "Of course not! I happen to like perfectly respectable men, thank you very much."
"I'm sure you do." The tone was definitely sarcastic, and if that wasn't bad enough, he threw a wink on it for good measure. "Now what's this you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Your health monitoring kit." She said decisively, and immediately she noticed the look on his face turn sour. "I know you don't like it, Jesse, but it's necessary for you to wear in the nights following your treatment."
He crossed his arms. "I don't see any point in it, my health is just fine."
"Your physical health is." Angela corrected. The cowboy raised an eyebrow. "Would you mind taking a seat? It's a rather delicate subject. I had been hoping to have this conversation after the tour, or after dinner even, but with the recent news and all… Well, I've been kept busy by things."
Reluctantly, the cowboy sat himself on his nondescript twin bed. Angela, for her part, took a seat beside him and folded her hands primly in her lap.
"It is very common for patients to come out of something as traumatizing as what you went through with PTSD, Jesse." Peering up into his eyes, she tried to suss out his reaction. To her, he seemed upset, unnerved, and disappointed. Not a good sign.
"I don't have PTSD, Angela." He stated firmly, though, if the nursing reports were to be believed, the cowboy was probably lying. Back when he'd been hospitalized, her staff had let her in on the secret that a certain Deadlock Gang member did not sleep very well at night.
Touching his knee gently, she tried to soothe him. "It's nothing to be ashamed of, Jesse. Even if it's not PTSD, but if you're having nightmares or not sleeping well… These are things that we can monitor easily with that kit and still give you privacy. They're also things we need to know."
"Do you have to monitor me?" He asked, looking down at her hand. Almost longingly, in fact. But, no, Angela was probably misreading that. "I mean, that contraption is really intrusive."
Sighing, Angela considered his question. "The trouble is that we don't entirely trust you to report your mental status to us. Perhaps if we worked out an arrangement for you to see a psychologist, I might be able to let you sleep without the monitor."
"A shrink?" He did not seem to like her suggestion. "Ain't no self-respecting man gonna see no shrink."
Wow, she had no idea he held such old school sentiments. Most of the people she met nowadays weren't afraid to talk about their therapy or mental treatment.
"It's not the 2010s anymore, Jesse." She patted his knee absently, something she might have done to calm Jack in a dispute, and now she was doing the same with him. "No one will think less of your character if you see a therapist."
"It's more than that, Angela." He shot her an intense look. "I don't much like sharin' my feelings in the first place, and then you ask me to speak to a stranger about the scariest things in my head?"
Angela turned her attention to the standard white linens beneath her legs. She wanted to offer to be a pseudo-therapist for him, but that was… That was definitely inappropriate.
"Well, how do we get past this, then?" She asked, avoiding his eyes.
"I'll talk to you about it. About my nightmares." He stated simply.
The words hung in the air for a good few moments. She'd been scared he'd say that. Scared and hoping, both at the same time.
Now that he had, how should she respond?
No. How would she?
"Alright." She conceded. "And you have to keep a dream diary as well. We'll meet every Tuesday and Thursday nights until I'm satisfied, and then maybe we can make it a weekly or biweekly thing."
"A dream diary?" He question.
"Yes." She asserted. "For you to keep track of your dreams. I don't want you coming to our sessions bullshitting everything." Glaring upwards, she caught hold of his charming amber eyes. "Trust me, Jesse, I'll know if you do."
He smirked lazily. "I'd never lie to you, Angela."
Standing, she replied dryly. "I highly doubt that."
Angela made for the door, but a hand caught her wrist before she could get very far.
"Yeah, that's all I had to talk about." She looked at him curiously, his eyes somehow shrouded, as if there was something important on his mind. "Why?"
He stood, stepping towards her carefully. Angela held her ground. "Well I thought you'd asked me to see you so we could address what happened back in Arizona."
Her jaw almost dropped. She'd just assumed that he'd put that incident behind him just like she had, especially considering she was back with Jack and… Wait, did he even know about that? Reyes had made an offhanded comment about her relationship, but he'd just been tortured at the time so she couldn't really expect him to have remembered that…
Maybe that's why he'd been so flirtatious? He still thought he had a chance...
"Nothing happened back in Arizona." She hoped he'd take her hint and leave the subject matter alone.
"Oh, you and I both know what happened weren't nothin'." His deep voice echoed in the room. "Now I don't know what reasons you had for gettin' back together with that boyfriend of yours but… I reckon you made that decision before you learnt I was still around."
Clearly, Jesse had thought on this subject. Angela, for her part, felt very underprepared.
"It was, but, I…" She trailed off. "It's complicated."
The cowboy took a tentative step forward. "And by 'it's complicated' I take it you really mean 'I like you but I don't wanna admit it'."
Blood flushed in her cheeks. Was he really calling her out on that? She supposed that he was right, but there was a big difference between being attracted to someone and wanting to give up a perfectly fine relationship for someone she'd only known a couple of weeks.
"This is why you need to see a therapist, Jesse. You can't have sessions with me." She ventured a timid look upwards, only to find him much closer than she had realized and with an intense look painting his face. "There's too much going on between us."
"So you admit it, then!" He wrapped his arm around her waist in a moment of zeal and pulled her closer. "You do like me."
It was then that Angela should have pushed the cowboy gently away by his shoulders, backed off, and bid him farewell. Were she a good, honest person, that's exactly what she would have done. Were she stubborn, even for the wrong reasons, she'd have done the same as well. Were she truly, truly in love with Jack Morrison, she'd have backed her ass on out of there the moment he started that discussion.
But, looking into those charming amber eyes of his, clouded with uncertainty and passion and hunger, she couldn't find the strength to move.
Jesse took her silence as a good sign, pulling her a touch closer, so their chests just barely met. His free hand slowly cupped her face, and when Angela watched his eyelids flick downwards and his jaw draw closer, she knew she absolutely must stop the cowboy from kissing her.
And she knew she absolutely could not.
His warm breath tickled her face as his lips hovered temptingly above hers.
"You could stop me at any time, you know." He murmured, his skin grazing hers as his mouth moved. "You could push me away, if you wanted to."
"I know." She whispered back, her hands timidly at his shirt, skimming along the upper part of his abs.
Jesse surprised her by kissing the underside of her jaw softly. Another followed, while his hand slowly trailed from her waist to catch her elbow and finally down to her hand, gently holding it and leading her towards him as he stepped backwards.
She followed, knowing every step she took was in of itself a betrayal of Jack. She might as well be stepping on his heart, but she didn't stop.
He sat down, and soon after guided her hips downwards as well until she was sitting across his lap, her nose hovering slightly above his.
Looking down at the cowboy, Angela said idly, "I shouldn't be doing this."
"No you probably shouldn't." The cowboy commented, a hand trailing playfully up her knee and ghosting along her thigh. "Sitting in another man's lap like this. Well, it's the sort of thing that if I found out my woman was doing it, my blood would boil."
She looked at him curiously. It seemed an odd comment to make, almost as if he was encouraging her to leave.
"I should probably-" But just as she made to get up, the weight of the situation finally striking her, she was immediately caught in a pair of strong arms and flipped around so she lay with her back on the bed. The next thing she knew, there was a cowboy hovering not three inches above her.
"I'm gonna kiss you, Angela." He declared, intense eyes locked with hers. "I'd mighty well like it if you returned the favor."
"Return the…?" She trailed off as a pair of lips covered hers. To say that he was rough wouldn't have been quite right, but the kiss certainly was not without passion. His lips ebbed and flowed against hers, nipping and sucking at the pliant flesh, engaging her in a thrilling game. One hand captured her jaw while the other lay flat against her head as a brace for his body. Angela curled her own arms around his neck, pulling him in closer, and she could have sworn on her life that in that moment she felt the cowboy smile.
He kissed the corner of her mouth, then just outside the corner of her mouth, then a little further still, repeating a technique Angela vaguely remembered she'd performed for him in the past. She'd lost track of his hand until his index finger trailed playfully into the divot in her throat, then ghosted along her collar bones and around the hem of her blouse. As his finger followed along the fabric it danced at the flesh of her breast, and while Angela had been unconsciously hoping he'd dip lower, Jesse seemed content with teasing her as his hand completed a half-circle, eventually landing on the collar bone opposite from which he'd started.
Angela gazed at him with lustful eyes, wondering exactly how he'd romance her next.
Of all of the things she could have imagined for his next trick, sitting up and rubbing the back of his neck was not one of them.
"You should go, Angela." He stated simply, hunching forward to balance his elbows on his thighs and fold his hands together.
In following the gesture with her eyes, she noticed a new development in his southern regions that suggested he probably wasn't liking the idea of having her walk away. And yet, Angela knew self-control when she saw it. Too bad she had none.
A part of her wanted to push him, and knew that she could, too. It would have been too easy, just one kiss really. But where would that leave them? And how could she do such a thing to Jack? Hell, what she'd already done was bad enough. Jesse was being mature about this, and she'd better just take that for what it was and be happy he didn't try to romance her more.
Things could have gotten really messy then.
Without a word, Angela sat herself up and slowly walked towards the door. She didn't want to leave too swiftly, in case he changed his mind.
But the cowboy said nothing, and the last that was exchanged between the two was the gentle sound of a door clicking shut.