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The new kid is sharp and wild, a chest full of something hot and a whole lotta pack behind the punch for it. He follows orders well -- never clips Reyes with any of the passive biting shit that McCree used to pull when he was still struggling -- stays quiet, does his work, sits alone and strays from trouble.

But McCree knows anger when he sees it -- knows resentment and self-hate so deep it goes beyond skin, because he’s been there, he’s lived it, and hell, maybe that’s why this kid is Blackwatch and not sitting at the good table with all the other fuckin’ Overwatch heroes.

McCree knows anger. And maybe he still has some of it, too.

Maybe they all do.

He waits it out, watches Reyes hand him idle missions that keep him locked up in the training room until he’s ready for the field. It takes a few weeks for him to finally crack, to throw a metal fist so far and hard into a punching bag that it shoots across the room, oozing beans like sprays of blood.

McCree lets out a breathless sorta laugh in greeting from the doorway, tips his hat at Genji’s sudden stiffness and mutters a quick, “Howdy.”

The kid doesn’t reply -- doesn’t do anything but watch for a moment before moving to steady the bag where the beans are still leaking.

“Don’t worry about it,” McCree offers -- helpful, open. “Happens all the time.”

Silence follows that, too, so McCree just lets himself talk.

“Just thought you could use something with a little more bite, if you’d like. I’ve been itchin’ for a real fight for days.”

No surprise this is what garners attention. The Shimada kid rights himself, tilts his head at the suggestion -- thoughtful. It’s been weeks of reading body language in exchange for facial expressions, and McCree’s still learning, but he swears there’s a smile when the kid speaks up again. “That does not seem very wise.” After a pause, “For you.”

McCree lets himself step forward, his own smile brimming wide as the edge of his hat. “Y’know, I’m a lot more durable than I look.”



 

//

 

 

McCree is, in fact, a lot more durable than he looks. He’s fought on spite, on resentment, on self-hatred -- knows how it feels when it’s all that you have to give a world that keeps kicking you down.

He’d also be dead if he didn’t know how to fight against it.

All the same, the Shimada kid comes in hot, knocks him out within the hour with a well-rounded kick. They’re both heaving by the time McCree hits the ground, sweat soaking through his shirt where Genji’s foot comes to a still on his chest.

It’s an unnecessary show, but McCree lets him have it, lets out a laugh before his hand twitches for Peacemaker and then there’s some kind of shink noise like metal flipping into open air. It takes Jesse a second to realize he’s got a knife at his throat, dragging slow against skin every time he breathes -- takes a second even longer to realize it’s coming from the kid’s goddamn foot.

McCree swallows hard, and there’s that smile again, full-body and something else.

“Boy howdy,” McCree half-whistles, half exhales, lets his eyes steady on the blade -- small and sleek and entirely lethal -- right there, built into the ankle of the suit. “You sure are something else, kid.”

It’s the wrong to say, and he knows it the moment Genji moves to pull his leg away, but McCree’s always been quick on the uptake, and his hand’s around Genji’s ankle faster than lightning.

It freezes Genji enough for McCree to roll his bottom lip between his teeth, let his head fall back against the mat and maneuver Genji’s foot with admiring hands. The kid seems curious with the action, still stiff but allowing it. Jesse’s smile’s a crooked thing -- heavy and lazy and something sweet when he finally glances up at Genji’s face. Says, “Y’think I could shave with these? Damn.”

Genji’s mood shifts slowly -- wary to something else, something far more fluid. Not comfortable, McCree thinks, but close. He takes his time dragging his foot from McCree’s grip, pressing down with his weight until the tip of the knife presses eagerly to McCree’s adam’s apple.

And really, this is where McCree thinks he’s losing control of the situation.

He knows anger. Knows how fast it can turn into something dangerous.

But there always was something about a boy who could get him on his back that made him shit-stupid.

“I do not think that would be very wise.” The smile’s back, full-fledged this time, and Genji presses his weight down further, just breaking the skin enough for Jesse to feel it when it starts to sting, starts to bleed. He can’t help the whine that wheezes out of him, the way it sounds so desperate and heavy -- thick in the air. “For you.”

“Not a very wise man, sweetheart.” McCree’s breath’s still heavy when he lifts his hand to slide higher up on Genji’s leg -- light, at first, and then firmer where the metal gets thicker around his calves. “Maybe you could teach me to learn from my mistakes.”

The sound of metal sliding is slower this time, and followed by a laugh. It takes McCree a moment to recognize it for what it is -- genuine and playful, something real and human.

Genji’s movements are fluid again as he steps back, holds out a hand to help Jesse off the ground.

“Perhaps another time, Mr. McCree.”

McCree adjusts the hat on his head, cheeks flushed heavy when he finally makes it to his feet. Genji’s still smiling, though, and that’s --

There always was something about a boy who could get him on his back that made Jesse shit-stupid


“Yeah.” He says, like a promise. “Alright. Another time.”