There was only so much one could do while handcuffed to a desk in an Overwatch base. Jesse McCree had counted the number of cracks in the ceiling more times than he could remember, and he had long finished the shitty, overcooked meal that had been haphazardly shoved onto the desk his hands were cuffed to. A guard had stood watch, eyes glued to McCree as he had wolfed down the food, before locking his cuffs again and taking away the empty tray.
The door was unlocked, Jesse noticed. It was closed, sure, but there hadn’t been any clicks as the door was shut. Jesse eyed his cuffs, desperately wishing he had some kind of hairpin to try and break free.
But there’s still that damn security camera. Jesse thought. There was no doubt about it: they’d interrogate him, probably torture him for information about Deadlock, then ship him off to rot in prison for the rest of his life. Well, if they think I’ll snitch they’ve got another thing coming. Jesse thought, bitterly. He was headed off the prison anyway, what did he have to lose?
The door creaked open. Jesse’s eyes snapped to the front of the room, waiting for the silhouette of another guard, or one of the Overwatch agents who had captured him. Maybe even Reyes, that cold-hearted bastard. Reyes had come in the day before, asked his name, (which Jesse did not answer,) before observing him silently for what felt like hours, and leaving.
Instead, a little girl stood in the doorway. She wore a white flower-print dress, her shoulder-length hair braided in the front with gold (or something golden, at least.) She stared up at Jesse. Unblinking. Unafraid.
Jesse lifted up his right hand to the best of his ability, his cuffs clinking as they connect with the table. "Howdy."
"You have a weird hat." The girl said, plainly.
Jesse blinked, taken aback. Rude.
The girl continued. "Are you a cowboy or something? Like from the really old American movies? Do you have a horse?"
No, horses are terrifying. Jesse shook his head silently.
She plopped herself onto the chair opposite from Jesse's desk. "...These ones don't spin." The girl said, sadly.
"Are they supposed to?"
"The ones in Reinhardt's office do. He lets me sit there sometimes." She looked around the room, taking in its total glory of the room: Jesse, his cuffs, the desk he's cuffed to, the blinking security camera, and the chair she was currently sitting in.
Still better than Deadlock, I guess.
"Do you got a parent that works here or something?" He asked. It's the only reason he could think that a kid would be on an Overwatch base.
The girl's face lit up at the mention of her parent. "Yeah! My mom's the best sniper in the world!"
"Is that so?" Jesse asked.
"Yeah! She can hit anything. My mom said that one time Mr. Morrison -"
"Morrison!?" Jesse echoed. "Jack Morrison?" How high up is this kid's mom?
She nodded, unperturbed. "Yeah, he's kind of mean, but don't tell him I said that. Mr. Reyes will just laugh but Mr. Morrison just gets all grumpy and tells my mom that I "shouldn't be at the base." Anyway, one time he was attacked from above and my mom shot them in the air before Mr. Morrison was killed."
Jesse let out a slow whistle.
But how high up was this kid's mom...?
"What's your name, kid?"
The girl blinked. "My mom says I shouldn't tell weird strangers my name."
Of course. "Why am I weird?"
"You have that hat, and you talk all funny. You're basically super weird."
Gee, thanks. "Okay, what if I tell you my name?"
The girl taps her chin, eyes off to the side. "...Okay, but..."
Jesse leaned forward. "But?"
She points at Jesse's head. "You have to let me wear your hat."
Jesse stared for a second before wordlessly tipping his head forward. His beloved hat fell onto the desk. She eagerly grabbed it and placed it on her head. The hat obscured most of her forehead, but she breaks out into a smile nonetheless.
"Okay, you've got the hat -"
"You have to tell me your name now!" Fareeha said, "You promised!"
Dear lord. "I'm Jesse, Jesse McCree. And your name is...?"
"I'm Fareeha Amari!" The girl, Fareeha, stuck her hand out. "Hey, this hat kind of smells."
That'd be the gunpowder. "Didn't get a chance to wash it."
Captain Amari. One of the heroes of the Omnic Crisis, alongside Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes.
She had a daughter?
Jesse looked at Fareeha.
Fareeha made finger gun with one hand, squatting low to the ground. She placed one hand on the brim of Jesse's hat, grinning wildly.
"Howdy, y'all, I'm Jesse McCree! Blam! Blam! Blam!" She said, with one of the worst Southern accents Jesse has heard in his entire life. Her finger pistols were turned to the side like in a bad spy movie, something that annoyed Jesse more than it probably should.
"I don't sound like that." Jesse protested, "Plus, you shouldn't shoot like that, you won't hit anything."
Fareeha pauses her McCree-impression, looking up. "Really?"
Jesse paused. Maybe I shouldn't be teaching a kid proper shooting techniques.
"Do you think you could teach me how to shoot?"
Jesse looked down at Fareeha, her eyes wide and filled with curiosity. "...I'd love to, kid, but I think I'll be headed off to jail soon."
"Don't you know that only bad people go in these rooms? I killed a bunch of fellas."
Fareeha tilted her head sideways. She, surprisingly, didn't seem scared. "You don't seem too bad."
"Looks can be deceiving. Now, shouldn't you be with your mother or something? A kid like you isn't safe in a place like this."
"I think I'm pretty safe!" Fareeha insisted. "I'm learning karate, I could probably beat anyone here."
“Yeah! I beat Reinhardt! I punched him really hard and he fell over and started saying that he’d ‘finally been defeated!’”
Jesse smiles, looking away. “You must be pretty tough, then.”
If Fareeha was worried about sitting in the same room as a murder, she doesn't show it.
After a minute of silence, Fareeha reached into the pockets of her dress furtively, turning away so Jesse can't see what she has in her hands.
Jesse leaned to the left, trying to catch a glimpse. When Fareeha saw, she clutched the item even closer to her chest.
He raised an eyebrow, "Now what've you got there?"
Fareeha glanced around the room. "...You can't tell anyone." She said, and Jesse couldn't help but nod at her serious tone.
She held out the bar of chocolate like it was the nuclear codes, and Jesse could hardly restrain himself from letting out a snort.
"Mr. Reyes gives them to me whenever I visit - but you can't tell my mom!" Fareeha insisted, tucking the chocolate back into her pocket after snapping off a piece.
Jesse's head spun to connect the pieces.
Reyes. A pair of shotguns, a skull shattered from the impact of the bullets in less than a second. Chocolate. Jesse, alone, with none of his promised backup. Six men dead in a second.
"He gave that to you?
Fareeha nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah! He's really nice! One time he gave me a model airplane from England! How cool is that!"
"...He doesn't seem the type." Jesse responded, numb. The idea of the man who killed every last one of his family, (no, family was too strong a word. Friends? Fellow gang members?) giving chocolate to a little girl against her mother's wishes didn't quite fit in the mental image Jesse had of Reyes.
Fareeha shrugged. "I guess he looks kind of scary." She popped the piece of the chocolate in her mouth. Jesse eyed it jealously. When was the last time I had chocolate?
Fareeha looks down at her pocket, before looking back up at Jesse. "Do you want some?" She asked, after a moment.
Before Jesse could respond, the door slams open.
Amari stood in the doorway, her silhouette cutting an imposing and severe figure. She storms forward, voice half angry, half concerned. "Fareeha! Get away from here, you could get-"
Amari looked up at Jesse and Fareeha, taking in the scene. Fareeha, wearing a cowboy hat, holding up a piece of chocolate to Jesse, still handcuffed to his desk.
Fareeha frantically stuffed the chocolate bar back into her pocket.
Amari gaped. "You..." she looks at Jesse, then back down to Fareeha.
Jesse opened his palms defensively, "Didn't do nothin', ma'am. She came in here by herself."
"...The door should have been locked." Amari said, still processing the scene.
eyes ducked behind Amari, his hands still in his pockets. "Well, this isn't what I was expecting." He says, tone tinged with laughter.
Amari's shoulders drooped. She sighed and held out her hand to Fareeha. Fareeha sadly removed Jesse's hat from her head and placed it on the desk.
"Come on, Fareeha, let's go. Reyes' needs to have a talk." Amari casted a wary glance behind her at Jesse as they made their way to the door. As the door closed, Jesse could hear Fareeha.
"Hey, Jesse's not really going to jail, is he? He's really nice!"
The door closed, and the sound of locks click into place.
Reyes slid into the chair Fareeha had sat into moments before. "So, your name's Jesse?"
Jesse scowled in response.
Reyes didn't seem perturbed at the lack of response. He picked up Jesse's hat, eyeing it closely. "Fareeha seems to like you."
No response. Jesse really wanted his hat back.
Reyes sighed, reaching into his pocket. For a split second, Jesse thought he was about to pull out a gun.
"Hey, kid. I know the food here is shit." Reyes tossed a bar of chocolate onto the desk. Jesse looked down at it, dumbfounded.
He looked up at Reyes. "The hell is this about?"
"I've got a proposition for you.” Reyes said. He looked as serious and cold as ever, but Jesse couldn't help but remember that this is the that bought Fareeha Amari a model airplane and sneaks her bars of chocolate when she’s not looking.
In the back of his mind, the pieces began to fit.
“Ever heard of Blackwatch?” Reyes asked.