He never knew how it happened, but it always ended up like this. The three of them, guns pointed at each other, a true Mexican Standoff. Jesse never did quite understand how they got into - or even out of - this situation. But they were damned good at it by now.
Silence stretched between them, tense and palpable. And in that silence, as he stared down the barrel of one of Reaper's shotguns, the other trained on Solider: 76 while both of their guns were aimed at the Reaper, he realized something.
Jesse James McCree... was done. With everything. He was tired, beyond what he had ever been before. He could only imagine how the other two felt. He just... didn't want to do this anymore.
"I'm done," he announced, lowering Peacekeeper. He didn't even holster his precious gun, just let her drop right onto the dusty ground beneath them. "I'm done. Jack... Gabe... I'm done fighting you."
An unamused snort left Reaper - an almost solely mechanical noise. "Pick up your weapon, you damned ingrate. Don't you bitch at me for treating my guns like trash?"
"No. I'm done."
"Why do you always have to make it difficult, McCree?" Soldier: 76 growled out. He glared over the side of his gun, which hadn't moved from the terrorist.
"Ain't difficult, Jack. Gabe, shoot me."
"Well I sure as fuck ain't gonna shoot you or Jack, so shoot me. End it. I'm done." Silence stretched on. "I don't even care who does it, just DO IT!"
"I'm not going to shoot an unarmed man!" 76 growled.
"Then let me walk away."
The silence that stretched between them was tense and awful. Arm muscles twitched, but Jesse knew damned well that the safety was on on all of their guns. No one said anything for a long while. Until the Reaper let out a warped mechanical screech and threw his shotguns down onto the ground. "Damn you, McCree!"
Soldier: 76 lowered his gun as well, staring between them. "....I agree. With Jesse. Damn him, but he has a point."
Reaper roared again, red eyes glaring through the skull mask at 76. "WHAT."
"Let him go, Gabriel." He sighed. "He's done."
"He doesn't just get to be done! He doesn't get to walk away from this - from us!"
Silence stretched on, the words echoing in each of their heads. Jesse didn't get to walk away from his ex-lovers. Gabriel didn't want him to leave. Even after all these years.
"Then come with me." Jesse glanced between the two of them. "It worked before. It can again."
"No it can't!"
"And why the fuck not, Gabe?!" A snarl left the cowboy. "Either come with me or shut up! Either way I'm leavin'."
With breakneck speed, Reaper scooped up a shotgun off of the ground and pointed it directly at Jesse's face. The click of the safety turning off sounded. It was steady, but the man behind it was trembling.
"Shoot me, Gabe."
A beat. A breath. A moment. A minute. Time passed. The tense air was stretched taut between the three of them. The gun dropped, clattering to the ground. "I fucking can't, and you know it," Reaper growled.
"I know. I still love you, too. Both of you." Jesse took a breath, trying to will his voice not to shake. "That's why you should come with me. Both of you."
"....I can't," Soldier: 76 said. "...Jesse, it can't be like it was. Too much has happened."
"Didn't take you for a coward, Morrison." The cowboy sneered a little. "You know its exactly how it was. At least for me it is."
"Fine," Reaper interjected. "We'll go with you."
"But not before we're done with... whatever it is we're doing."
"..fair," the cowboy nodded after a moment. "When you're both done... I'll be home. Ya'll can come find me." The all agreed, sharing looks before Jesse turned to leave.
"Jesse." He turned to face Jack, shocked to see the man without his visor on.
"..Still just as handsome, Jackie. You look good," he smirked. Watching that flush that he used to be so good at causing travel down Jack's cheeks and neck, he felt an urge that he hadn't felt in quite sometime. Reaching up, he took fistfuls of that ridiculous jacket and pulled Jack down to steal a kiss.
It was like coming home after weeks on the road. Like Christmas morning waffles and coffee. Jack still smelt the same as he used to, and those same strong arms came to wrap around him. It was familiar. It was perfect. It couldn't last. Not here.
Pulling away from each other, Jesse offered a crooked smile. "Still good at that," he chuckled. Glancing at Gabe out of the corner of his eye - the wraith hadn't moved an inch - he moved away. "...I'll see you both later." With that, he turned on his heel and walked away. And they just let him go.
Gabe and Jack exchanged a look before Jack put his visor back on, once again becoming Soldier: 76. They nodded to each other before parting, going off in different directions.
Jesse had made it out of the maze of buildings and picked a direction, leaving the small run-down town. Letting his feet carry him, he knew he was being followed. "Too afraid to shoot me in front of Jackie?" He asked, looking to the mist that hovered behind him. "Or are ya just mad cuz you didn't get a kiss too?"
He didn't expect an answer, let alone for Gabe to materialize in front of him, with Peacekeeper in his hands, held outstretched for Jesse. "Figured I couldn't let my little vaquero leave without his precious little gun. Would ruin the whole look."
A smile bloomed across Jesse's face at the old nickname. Reaching out, he took the gun and holstered it, right where he belonged. "Much obliged." Then he took advantage of the calm moment, reaching up to snag that stupid mask and ripped it away from Gabriel's face. He leaned forward to capture those scarred lips for a moment, just a moment, before he pulled away.
Replacing the mask, he made sure to keep his eyes closed. "..When yer ready... I wanna see how handsome you got, too." And with that, the cowboy was gone. Off to start a new life, a new future - one that was open only slightly to the past. Reaper and Solider: 76 couldn't wait to go back. To go home. To be Jack. To be Gabriel. To be with Jesse. Once again.