I'd wanted to do so much for MeiCree Week, but the semester got really dangerous for me and I had to put off all the stuff I had in mind (MeiCree Week also fell on the same week as Finals Week). Thankfully, I got this one done. Kinda. It was rushed, so I didn't get around to doing exactly what I wanted to do with it, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.
Summary: Mei and McCree get separated from the rest of the Overwatch team and end up stranded in a cabin until help can arrive.
For the Day 4: Weather prompt for MeiCree Week.
Warning: I don't really know too much about the whole Ecopoint: Antarctica thing or Mei's backstory, so I thought I'd take some liberties here. Apologies to lore fans.
There had been an avalanche and Mei could barely remember how they got to their current location. All she knew was that she was having flashbacks of that horrible event at Ecopoint. Only this was worse. They had access to a cabin and little else. There were some dry goods that were stored at the cabin thankfully, but they had only the technology they brought with them, which was very little. If things became terminal here there was no chance for cryostasis.
She tried contacting the rest of their team several times to no avail. She was thankful, however, that she was at least able to contact McCree. Their communication devices had a pretty long range. How far could the rest of their group have gotten?
She could feel herself going into a panic, so she lay her hands on top of her head and took deep breaths. "It'll be okay. This isn't Ecopoint and we're not experiencing overpowering weather conditions. It'll be okay," she told herself.
She almost squealed when she heard McCree come into the room. Thank goodness she wasn't there alone.
"Found some essentials. Axe fer choppin' firewood. There's plenty of trees around. Even found an old weather radio just in case."
That was good to know, but she sure hoped they wouldn't need it.
"Whoever was staying here also stocked the place with firewood so if the others can come for us within the next few days, we won't have to fend fer ourselves."
That didn't make her feel any better either. "Well, there are dry goods, dry milk and canned goods here as well as bottles of water. Enough for several weeks."
"Don't wanna get that comfortable here. Let's hope fer somethin' a little sooner."
She nodded. Even though she was always ready for cold weather, she didn't want to have to go through what she went through back then. What a nightmare. What a long and lonely nightmare.
"But don't you worry about a thing. I'll make sure to protect you. I've got survival training so I can keep a fire goin'. If nothin' else, we'll be warm."
But for how long? What if some monstrous storm blew in and kept them from even opening the door? What if they ended up having to stay there in the freezing cold for weeks? What if one of them got sick or hurt? Neither of them had much medical expertise.
There were so many other things that could go wrong.
What if the owners of the cabin came back and didn't want them there? What if the owners weren't in the mood for sharing? The place had obviously been stocked only recently. Someone was bound to return soon.
They had a simple dinner of rice and beans. It didn't sound very tasty to her at first, but once she realized that her tummy was grumbling, she thought she'd try some. It was actually very good.
"Where did you learn to make something so simple taste so good?" she asked.
McCree chuckled. "I lived a rough life when I was young, so I learned to make do with what I had. It turns out you can do a lot with simple foods."
Mei hummed happily. "Well, it's delicious. Thank you."
"Yer welcome." He had finished eating long before she had and he was taking a look at the fireplace. "I won't make a fire til after sunset. In the meantime, we should stay active so we don't get too cold."
Mei frowned. He already seemed to be shivering. Personally, she was fine with the current temperature. That was due to her ever-present winter jacket. She watched as he wrapped his serape around himself. "What did you have in mind?" she asked.
"I don't know. We could play games or somethin'. Somethin' to take our minds off the cold."
"Games? Like indoor sports or something?"
"Right. We should run around or somethin'," he said.
She nodded. "We could play hide and seek."
"Great idea, li'l darlin'. Let's do that."
It seemed pretty silly to do something so childish but it was the only game she could think of at the time.
They played rock-paper-scissors to see who would be 'it' first. She lost.
"Okay. We'll keep score. Best of three wins. The table will be the safe zone. I will count to 20 before I come looking for you," Mei told him.
"This should be interestin'," he added.
Mei covered her eyes and started counting without warning. She could hear him scrambling to find a place to hide.
"Ready or not. Here I come," she announced.
She hadn't heard the creaky staircase, so she deduced that he was still downstairs. After searching the kitchen and the bathroom, she really began to wonder where he was. Then she heard spurs jingling behind the stairs and giggled to herself.
"You should have taken your boots off," she called out.
As soon as she got close to the stairs, she heard socked feet stumbling around behind her. McCree had made it to the table. "Too bad, li'l darlin'. Maybe next time."
She laughed. "You're pretty good at this game, aren't you? How did you do it?"
"Well, when ya had yer back turned, I just tossed my boots behind the staircase," he told her with a laugh. "Alright, my turn."
When he started counting, she tiptoed away. There was a perfect little closet just up the stairs that anyone would miss if they weren't paying attention. She could risk the creaky stairs and hide there.
Once there, she sat quietly on the floor. She knew that he knew that she'd come up there. Once she couldn't hear him moving around anymore, she slowly opened the door and peeped out. When she saw that he was standing there, she squealed and backed further into the closet.
McCree walked into the closet so he could tag her properly. "Gotcha fair and square. Don't try to get away."
Mei surrendered and let him put his hand on her shoulder. She pouted, but only for a moment. "Just tell me how."
"I'm a pretty good tracker. I heard the stairs when ya came up. The rest of the cabin floors are kinda noisy, so I figured ya went here." He looked around the closet. "It's warmer here than the rest of the house. Let's stay here for a while."
The closet wasn't very big. They both barely fit once the door was closed.
"I'll see if I can find a light switch," Mei said, suddenly feeling nervous.
Maybe this was one of those closets that had no inward light switch. She hadn't really checked. Then again, she didn't think they'd be in there together trying to keep warm.
"The hot water heater must be below us or somethin'," he hypothesized.
"Maybe," she agreed quietly.
They stood there for a while and she couldn't really think of anything more to say.
McCree moved a little closer to her. "Nah, I think it's you. Guess ya radiate a lotta heat."
Well, she did have on a huge jacket, but she was beginning to think it was something else. Maybe it was him. He was the one who was radiating heat. She could even feel it through her jacket.
Mei tried her best to look up at his face, but it was too dark to make out any features. It was probably for the best. She knew she wouldn't be able to look at him for very long anyway, since he was so close to her.
And McCree was being pretty quiet. She wondered if he was trying to look at her in the dark as well. She wanted to say something, but she wasn't sure what she should say.
After a few moments, she felt his hand touch her arm and she gasped, flinching a bit from the contact.
"Oh, sorry. It's a li'l close in here. I can barely move," McCree said. "But yer really warm. Do ya mind?"
Did she mind what?
She was barely able to ask herself the question before she felt McCree's other hand on her other arm and he pressed their bodies closer together. It seemed like a good idea to Mei to hold her breath and squeeze her eyes shut. In a weird way it was like he was hugging her.
Without thinking about it, she put her arms around him and snuggled in closer to feel his body heat. And when she finally began breathing again, she inhaled his scent—the faint smell of old aftershave, cigar smoke, gunpowder and something else she couldn't quite put her finger on. It wasn't a good smell, yet for some reason it seemed to rouse everything behind her eyes.
Mei wondered what it would be like to have more of that scent all around her. She imagined his hands on other parts of her body. She began contemplating more active ways that they could keep each other warm.
Wait! The two of them had worked together often enough and she'd known McCree for a while now. So, why was she suddenly having less-than-wholesome thoughts about him? Was it their closeness? Was it his scent? Was it a combination of the two?
"M-maybe we should think about keeping warm some other way," Mei finally stammered. She didn't want to keep thinking those inappropriate thoughts, yet what she'd said had sounded more suggestive than she'd wanted it to sound. "How about building that fire?" she added quickly.
"Oh, sorry. Ya never gave me permission. I kinda just...," McCree said, voicing an incomplete thought. "Yeah, let's go build that fire."
She watched as McCree began setting a fire. He'd obviously done this plenty of times before. If they'd had him around during the Ecopoint crisis, they may not have had to resort to cryostasis. Then again, during the Ecopoint event they still hadn't had enough food or supplies to last until help arrived 10 years later.
Would they be stuck here in this cabin for the next 10 years with no possibility of cryostasis as a solution? No, there was no storm. They were just temporarily snowed in. And they couldn't communicate with anyone. But unlike Ecopoint, no one knew where they were.
Mei could feel her eyes beginning to water. A little sniffle called McCree's attention to her. She didn't really want him to see her cry. But there was nothing she could do about it now.
"What's the matter, li'l darlin'?" he asked.
Mei wiped frantically at her tears. Did she really want to tell him?
He finished setting the fire, then joined her on the couch.
"I'm sorry. It's just that...," she began. She didn't really want to talk about something so melancholy when they were trying to keep their hopes up.
"Come on. You can tell me. I know somethin's been botherin' ya since we got here."
He was right. This had been bothering her since the avalanche. She wiped at her eyes again and sniffled.
McCree pulled out a handkerchief and handed it to her. Did people even carry handkerchiefs anymore? Apparently one person did. She just looked at it, then looked at him, more tears blurring her vision.
"Oh, don't worry. It's clean."
Mei burst out laughing. "Thank you." A dirty handkerchief was the least of her concerns right now. But he had made her laugh so that was a plus in her book.
"Now, what are those tears about?"
She used his hanky and sighed. "You may have heard about the Ecopoint incident..."
McCree raised his eyebrows. "Oh, I see. Must bring back some pretty bad memories fer ya," he went on.
"Wanna talk about it? It might make ya feel better."
This time she didn't hesitate to hand out all the gruesome details. She told him about the horrors of the times before and after the event. And how alone she was once she found out that she was surrounded by dead colleagues.
"I had nightmares for the longest time after that. I still have nightmares," she told him.
"I don't know what to say. Musta been terrible. Is that why ya always have that giant coat on?"
She hadn't really thought about it that way. But no matter what time of year and no matter how hot the weather is, she still wears her jacket.
"Ya know, in case ya get caught up in somethin' like that again?" McCree added.
"I...I suppose," Mei murmured. "I hadn't really considered it."
"Well, considerin' what's goin' on now, it's probably a good idea to always be prepared," McCree told her.
She grinned and sighed. "I guess you're right... Thank you for hearing me out. I've talked about it before but only in reports. Never to a friend."
"No problem. Anything ya wanna talk about, you can talk to me."
This wasn't a half bad way to spend her time in what could possibly end up being another Ecopoint disaster. Chatting and playing hide and seek with a buddy. At least she wasn't alone. And at least the person she was with didn't seem to mind listening to her.
Later in the night, the two of them got as close to the fire as they could without catching fire themselves.
"It's actually pretty nice here. It's quiet and no city lights comin' in through the windows. Just the light of the fire reflectin' off the walls."
"Would you prefer I turn on a light?" Mei asked.
"Nah. This is good, just like this. Takes me back to simpler times. I imagine this is what it woulda been like livin' in them old cabins in the wintertime in them old western movies."
She nodded. "Sounds peaceful and romantic."
"I always thought so."
"So, is that the reason you dress the way you do? Because of those old movies?"
McCree thought for a moment. "Yeah. They had a lotta influence on about everything I do," he told her. "There's just somethin' about the way they lived and the stuff they did that just appealed to me."
"Both side of it from what I've heard. You were some kind of outlaw before, right? Then you became a good guy. A hero."
He laughed. "I don't know about all that, li'l darlin'. Just had to change my ways. Didn't sit right with me, ya know?"
Mei nodded slowly. "Sounds like guilt. I can relate to guilt. Just in a different way."
"If yer referrin' to that Ecopoint stuff, ya shouldn't feel guilty about that. You had no control over it."
"But why me?" Mei asked. "There were people there who had families. I was just a nobody with no one to go home to. Just my research."
"Now don't go sayin' that. I know ya feel bad about those other scientists dyin', but you should never regret livin'." McCree looked at her for a long time. "Besides, if you'da met their fate, I never woulda had the privilege of knowin' ya."
Mei smiled a little. "Oh, you're just saying that to make me feel better."
"Naw, li'l darlin'. I'm bein' sincere here. I'm glad I met ya."
"Thank you. I'm glad I met you too," she said.
Mei watched as McCree scooted closer to her. "And I'm glad yer so warm," he added.
Maybe he was just trying to distract her from her own thoughts.
"Oh, how rude of me," Mei said. She finally thought to take off her jacket and share it with him. She wasn't sure if she did it out of kindness or out of an excuse to be even closer to him. "There. Is that better?"
"Much better, li'l darlin'. Thank ya kindly."
Then McCree did something she wasn't expecting. He kissed her on the cheek and his beard tickled the side of her face. She could feel herself blushing and hoped that it wasn't easy to see in the firelight. All those inappropriate thoughts were coming back full force and she had to look away. "Y-you're welcome."
"Sorry if I'm makin' ya feel uncomfortable. I'll stop," he said quietly.
It wasn't like she wanted him to stop. She just didn't understand these sudden and overpowering imaginings. And she wasn't sure if he was just being nice or if he was actually flirting with her. Or maybe he was just bored. There was no way of knowing really.
Either way, she didn't want him to get the wrong idea. While it was indeed making her feel uncomfortable, it wasn't because she didn't like it. So, she summoned up the nerve to give him a quick kiss on the cheek as well. But she wasn't sure what she should say, so she simply gave a small smile.
The look on McCree's face, well, she wasn't really sure what to make of it. All she knew was that his face was inching ever closer to hers. Well, she knew exactly what to make of THAT. He was about to kiss her. But why? Sure, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. And she knew why her own face was slowly inching toward his—her inappropriate thoughts and his scent were to blame. But she had to wonder what was going through his mind to make him even want to attempt to kiss her.
Their lips touched and Mei considered grabbing his sideburns and pulling his face harder against hers. Thankfully she didn't because their kiss was nice. It was slow and quiet and gentle. She could only sigh dreamily in response.
McCree seemed to do the same.
After a long silence, McCree cleared his throat. "That wasn't too forward of me, was it?"
"N-no," she stammered.
"Wasn't too weird or nothin', right?"
"N-no," she repeated.
He breathed what appeared to be a sigh of relief. Then he frowned. "Was it okay fer ya?"
Mei simply nodded.
"Mind if I—" McCree began.
He was interrupted by the sound of one of their communication devices: "Jesse? Mei? Do you copy?"
It was Mercy! They'd come back! What had taken them so long?
Mei scrambled toward their discarded communicators and quickly answered, "Dr. Ziegler! What happened? Where are you?"
"We couldn't get past the avalanche and there was no good place to land for a rescue, so we went back for some suitable equipment," Angela told her. "The weather's getting bad. I'm glad we made it back before it got even worse."
"Oh, thank goodness," Mei said with a smile. She turned to McCree, who was staring at his hands. He didn't seem as happy as she did about their rescue.
"We're following your signal. ETA: fifteen minutes," Angela said.
"Copy. Mei out," she said, switching off the communicator. She crawled back over to where McCree was sitting huddled in her coat. "They'll be here soon. We're getting out of here."
"In less than a day. That's really somethin'," McCree said.
Not only did he not look happy about it, but he didn't sound happy about it either. "What's wrong?" Mei asked, joining him in her jacket again.
"Well, I was gettin' kinda used to the idea of bein' here cuddled up with ya. To be honest, I kinda saw this as an answer to my prayers. I been lookin' fer a reason to get closer to ya," McCree admitted.
Was she hearing this right?
"But a girl like you would never wanna be around a guy like me. So, I was kinda hopin' this'd be my chance to woo ya, I guess," he went on.
It must have worked. She'd never even considered him as anything more than a friend until she was in that closet with him. Not like she didn't find him attractive. McCree was a very attractive man. But she never really even thought of co-workers in that way.
"Thought maybe we'd be here a few days and I'd have a chance to win ya over," McCree explained. He chuckled. "Guess it wasn't meant to be."
Mei didn't mind being around him. And it was so brave of him to admit something like that right to her face. Well, he wasn't looking at her. He was staring at the fire...
Everything was happening so fast that she couldn't think straight. She wanted to say something, but she wasn't sure what she should say.
So, instead of trying to use words that would probably fall short of her meaning, she kissed him on the cheek again and gave another small smile. Perhaps that would get her message across.
McCree finally looked at her and smirked. "Oh," he said as if he knew what she was thinking. "Well then, li'l darlin'. Mind if I kiss ya one more time?"
"I don't mind," Mei told him, practically falling against him for another gentle touching of their lips.