“Hey, looky here fellas. We got ourselves a wannabe cowboy.”
A chorus of low chuckles cackled through the relatively small holding cell. In the corner sat the object of their laughter. A young man, sitting on a chair in the corner of the room farthest from everyone. He sat relaxed, or as relaxed as he could with his hands cuffed behind his back. A light brown cowboy hat atop mid length brown tresses covered his face slightly. A red handkerchief hung loosely around his neck. His boots came up just above his ankles, leather, brandishing golden spurs on the back of each one.
“Yo, cowboy! Looks like you're in the wrong part of town!”
He pays them no mind. He knows they are being watched and he doesn't want to start any trouble if he could prevent it. The room goes silence once more and he exhales gratitude that the other occupants of the cell had quieted down. Through his closed eyes he can suddenly see the bright fluorescent lights from above and before he could do anything his hat was snatched away from him. His eyes snap open in a fit of rage. He goes to stand but immediately falls forward onto his face, the man who tripped him cracking up with laughter behind him. Soon enough all the men are laughing like hyenas, each taking turns wearing and passing the hat around.
“Get your dirty paws of my hat you fucks.” The men stopped to look at the young man on the floor as he rolled over into a sitting position, struggling slightly due to the handcuffs, but eventually managing to stand. His lip was split, having accidentally bitten it when he fell, and blood trickled slowly down his chin.
A fat, hefty built man steps out from the group and walks up to the boy, the cowboy hat rested atop his head. He assumes him to be their ‘leader’. The man walks up to him, stopping just inches from his face. “Whatchyu say, boy?”
“I said, ge—”
A fist connects with his face and sends him toppling back down. The room erupts into laughter once again. He sighs. He could now taste the tinge of copper in his mouth. Clearly, this day had no intentions of getting my better. He rolls his wrist, connected by the cuffs, pulling and straining to test the chain holding them together. At this point, fuck trying to be on good behavior. Who was he even kidding? He stands back up, spitting out some blood as he does so. “I said. Get your damned dirty paws of my fucking hat, you fat little shit.” The man turns at that, the laughter subsiding as he makes his way back over to him.
“What'd you say?!” He reels back to go for another blow, but this time the young lad is ready. In an instant he increases the tension on his wrists, pulling them apart with enough force to break his shackles. His hand blocks the incoming punch and he retaliated with his own, sending the fat man spiraling before falling to the ground out cold. Satisfied, he reaches down to pick up his belonging, paying no attention to the rest of the men glaring daggers into his soul across the room. A quick inspection of his prized possession and he sees it; a tear on the brim of his hat that certainly was not there before.
Good behavior has been thrown out the window now. “Alright, now I'm angry…”
“So who's the new kid you brought in last night, Gabe.”
“Just some little punk from the deadlock gang. Thinks he's hot shit.” Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes walk down the corridors of the holding area. “He's a little rough around the edges but if I groom him up a bit he'd be a good asset.”
The blonde man looked skeptical, clearly having heard this before. “Just how Genji Shimada was supposed to be a good asset, huh.”
“Hey, fuck you, the cyborg ninja was your idea not mine.”
The two turned another left before stopping in front of the door. Gabriel pulls out his keycard and enters the PIN number to open the door. “What's the kid's name anyway, Gabe,” came Jack’s question as he entered the final number to the code.
He opens the door and stops in his tracks, the room littered with bloody unconscious men. He meets eyes with the lone occupant of the room, standing smugly in the center of it all. His gaze trails down the cuffs around his wrist, broken bits of chain dangling from each one. Gabriel sighs. “Jesse McCree…”
Of course Jesse was the one punished for what transpired in that holding cell that day. Turns out they hadn't been watching him as he thought they were, and there were no cameras in there. Which is why he now sat in an interrogation room with Gabriel, his hands cuffed to the table in handcuffs with cable ties for extra measure. He didn't appreciate that. The cable ties really irritated his skin.
“Look kid, I'm trying to vouch for you here so you can't go around doing stupid shit like what you did back there!”
Jesse rolled his eyes at the other man’s unnecessary shouting. “And I already told you, those bastards started it.” He would've leaned back in his chair and folded his arms across his chest had they not been fastened to the table.
“Listen, it doesn't even matter. At this point Jack feels you're too much of a wildcard. He doesn't want you wandering around base by yourself.”
“So ya’ll just gonna keep me locked up like I've been this past week, cause if that's the cause I was better off runnin’ out in the streets by myself. I don’ reckon wanting anything to do with this Overwatch bullshit in the first place”
A heavy sigh came from the older man. He does not get enough compensation to make up for all the shit he goes through here. “Jesse. It's either this or you sit behind bars for rest of your life, Kid, are you really questioning which one is the better option here?” Jesse remains silent and turns his head to the side, avoiding Gabriel's stare. Once he realizes the young cowboy has no intentions of replying, he throws his hands in the air in defeat. “I'm gonna go get a drink. You think about this while I'm gone, and if you're not as stupid as I like to hope you're not, you'll make the right decision.”
When Gabriel leaves the room, Jesse simply sits and broods. He sits with both of his arms still tied down to this damn metal table and stares angrily out the window of the interrogation room. He watches as the different members of the organization busy themselves throughout the halls. For a second he questions why he can see out the window when usually interrogation glass works the opposite, but his wonder does not break his brooding glare into the distance.
All the people walking the halls appear as nothing but grey blurs to him, whether they were wearing colors or not. Eventually his eyes start to glaze over as he finds himself almost dozing off, and that's when he sees her. A glimpse of royal blue catches his vision, long and flowing hair that was borderline between black and gray, and flawless sun-kissed skin. He finds himself leaning over the table to get a closer look at the woman. Who is she? He had to know. She was stunning, most definitely the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. He watched as she stopped to talk to someone, he face lighting up in laughter as did so. He was so mesmerized by the woman he didn't even notice Gabriel come back into the room, beer in hand. The closest thing to the kind of drink he wanted that he would get here.
“So, kid, what's your decision.” It was not phrased as a question at all.
“W-who is that woman?”
The man turned towards the direction of Jesse’s gaze, but by then the woman was no longer there. He then proceeded to say something which Jesse does not hear as his mind was replaying the sight of her in his head over and over again. And that is when he made his decision. Perhaps joining Overwatch wouldn't be so bad after all.
“Alright, Reyes. Count me in.”
For a while Jesse truly regretted his decision. It had been two weeks. Two weeks of having to constantly be babysitted because Morrison didn't trust him alone. Two weeks of physical training that he didn't even need. Two weeks of not running into the woman he saw that day. He sulked in his seat in the large cafeteria, using his plastic spork to roll his peas around the meal tray. Did he forget to mention that the food here isn't even that good? He sighs. He long since has finished ‘eating’, if that's what you call the artsy mess he made on his tray, but was ordered by Reyes to stay put until he sends a new caretaker for him. Thankfully later today he should be getting his medical done which will mean he can start going on small missions and such. Finally, something to do around here…
Suddenly a conversation caught his attention, and at a table a few down from his he saw a petite blonde woman wearing a white lab coat sitting at a table, flanked by two men sitting across from her. Looks like a picture he's seen plenty before.
“Come on, Doc, just one date. Why don't you give a guy a chance?”
“For the last time I said I'm not interested.”
Jesse narrowed his eyes at the sound of irritation in her voice. This sounds like it's been going on for a while. He watches from afar, listening in on bits when he can but basically just watching the scene play out. When the guy switched seats so that he's sitting next to her, Jesse can immediately see the annoyance in her body language. Why don't these guys ever get the hint? When he saw him try to physically touch her despite her arm back in disgust, is when he suddenly realized he was clamping the shit out of the plastic utensil in his hand. Before he knew it he was standing from his seat and walking to the table. Yes, Reyes told him to stay put. Yeah, he was probably gonna get an earful for this later because, somehow, even though he isn't the bad guy, the blame will fall on him. A recurring theme he’s noticed during his stay here thus far.
By the time he approaches the table the man was desperately trying to get the woman's attention by holding (or attempting to hold really) her hand as she would constantly pull her hand away from him. Other than that she paid him no mind, continuing to her her meal with her free hand. Finally standing behind the man, Jesse reaches out and places a hand on his shoulder. “Hey now, why don't you leave the little misses alone. It don’ look like she's interested in ya.”
Both the man and the woman turned their heads at the new voice. The guy immediately stood up in defense. Jesse sighed. It always went down like this. “Who the fuck are you, mate?”
“Just a guy trying to stick up for this pretty li’l lady here. She just wants to eat her meal in peace, why don't you do scamper off now?” After he spoke he physically prepared himself for any incoming blows or potential attacks. That's usually the route scenarios like this go down next for him. As expected, the man grabbed a hold of his scarf, his hand balled in a fist around the red cloth, clearly aggravated and potentially embarrassed. His masculinity must have suffered heavily today. Jesse feels his heart rate increasing and his hands clench and unclench at his side because he knows what is going to happen next. But it never does.
A single voice so powerful brings a wave of silence that washes across the room. Everyone is frozen in place. No one dares move an inch, forks suspended in air and all. The scoundrel immediately lets go of Jesse who in turn looks toward the direction of that voice. He could have sworn it was right then and there he died and went to heaven. There she was. Walking towards them was the literal woman of his dreams. The one he has been waiting to see again in this hell hole of a base for so long. He honestly wasn't sure how he was managing to stay standing right now. She walks over to them, he coat flowing behind her. Upon closer inspection Jesse notices a tattoo of some symbol underneath her right eye. The deal has been sealed, he's absolutely smitten.
As she steps up to them she crosses her arms against her chest. “What is going on here? Ziegler. Explain.”
Both men follow the woman's gaze towards the young blonde sitting at the table. She stands from her seat at the table and bows slightly in acknowledgement of her superior. “Well, Captain, this young gentleman here,” she gestures towards McCree. “simply came to my aid when he noticed this man’s constant harassing of my person despite my polite rejections and constant reminder of our rank difference.”
Silence. The captain looks over both the men, her gaze lingers on Jesse a little longer than the other. Finally she speaks. “You, soldier, get in the kitchen. The cafeteria staff is hereby relieved of their duties. This young man here will gladly take care of all the cleaning for this evening,” she ordered, raising her voice so everyone could hear as she gestured to the troublemaker. “You two...” she pointed to Jesse and Ziegler. “Come with me.” The captain swiftly turned on her heels, her coat fluttered from the action, as she left the cafeteria the two of them following quickly after her. She took them to what Jesse assumed was her office, commanding the blonde to stay outside as she went in with Jesse.
It was a large spacious room, with a desk and chair in the middle. She leans on the front of the desk facing him, arms folding across her chest. He remains standing, fidgeting awkwardly. This is basically the moment he's been waiting for? He can feel his heart beating erratically in his chest and though he went much of a believer, he prayed to whoever that she couldn't hear it like he could.
“What's your name, boy?”
A part deep inside of him was slightly annoyed that he's constantly getting referred to as ‘kid’ and ‘boy’ but was also glad that she actually had the courtesy to ask his name. More so, overjoyed that she was even speaking to him in the first place. He removes his hat from his head, holding it to his chest as he bows slightly in respect. “The name’s Jesse McCree, ma’am.”
She smirks. “Ah so you're the new hot shot, Gabriel is backing.” She extends a hand towards him. Hesitantly, he steps forward to grasp it in his own for a firm shake. If he wasn’t already dead from back in the cafeteria he was definitely dead now. Here he was, holding hands with his new idol, a woman he knew absolutely nothing about but would undoubtedly follow to the ends of the earth. Her hands were soft, smooth, yet rough enough for him to know that she meant business. “I’m Ana. Ana Amari. Captain Amari to you, you hear?”
“Yes, Captain.” He salutes her, to which she chuckles. It was a heavenly sound to his ears. He never wants to hear anything else that isn't her voice ever again.
“Thank you, for standing up for Angela back there. She's the head of medical here. Bright girl, still young for her accomplishments, but the older guys here think of that as an reason for blatant disrespect apparently.”
Jesse subconsciously stood taller at the praise. Since his time here he's done nothing but get into trouble. The sound of finally being acknowledged, however slightly, and by the only person he wants to acknowledge him was a nice feeling. “Just doing what's right, ma’am.” She glares at him. “Er- I mean, Captain.” It felt incredibly pleasing to finally have someone appreciate him. Especially if it was coming from the woman in front of him. He clears his throat. “Justice ain’t gonna dispense itself.”
“Quite the chivalrous cowboy we have here, I see.” Ana smirks as she eyes him up and down. “I'm looking forward to hearing good things about you, Jesse McCree.” She pushes off the desk to walk around it and settle herself into the large office chair, swiveling around to once again face Jesse. “I have my eye on you.” She points to her right eye to emphasize her statement. Jesse follows the direction and his eyes look into hers. It was in that moment he could have sworn he saw something past those light brown eyes; a sudden movement from behind the iris. Before he could even try to think about what it was her right eye shut in a wink, that same smirk ever so present. “You’re dismissed.”
In the next following week Jesse was finally approved to have free range of the entire base. His days of babysitters was no more. Mostly because the only one who truly could keep him in check was Jack or Gabriel, who weren’t always available to watch over him. Secondly because, and he was certain of this, a particular Second-in-Command put in a good word for him. He also befriended the apparent head of medical, Angela Ziegler, after that fiasco in the cafeteria and a new recruit Lena Oxton— who he was still trying to figure out how she does what she does. Regardless, it felt nice to have people around his age around.
With all this newfound freedom, Jesse was finally able to start participating in low rank missions and, most importantly, have access to the better training facilities on base. The shooting range was one such place he found himself spending a lot of his time. While in the range he was allowed to use his own personal gun, an old revolver he picked up from a raid back in the day. It wasn't anything special and didn't have the ammo capacity of those automatic rifles that most of the members here used, but he felt like it made it more imperative that every shot count. As such he found himself practicing his aim every day in the range every afternoon. He wasn't the best shot out there but he considered himself pretty good. He didn't always hit where he wanted but he never missed, so that's gotta count for something right?
One morning Jesse wakes up earlier than usual. Unable to go to sleep, he decides to take advantage of the time to get an early session of shooting practice in so he could potentially sleep in the afternoon. Once inside the main lobby to the facility he walks up to a terminal and scans his Overwatch ID card. It authenticates and the AI greets him before presenting options for weapon choice. As he scrolls through the never ending list of weapons to find his own, he notices the icon for a sniper rifle is missing. Someone else was here then. And here he thought he was early enough to practice alone.
He taps it to get more information about it, preferably who had checked it out. As the window opens up on the console his heart stills. He swallows as he reads the words on the screen.
Last checked out by: Ana Amari
She was in there practicing. The thought of just that alone already set his heart aflame. Ana Amari is practicing in the same vicinity as he will be. Ana Amari could potentially watch him shooting. Suddenly he had the desire to do better than he's ever done before. Her words from the other day ran through his mind: I have my eye on you. Despite his time here he was sad to say he has never seen the other woman in action. Just the fact alone that she was most likely a sniper was news to him. His nerves were still a mess but more than anything he wanted to see what she was capable of. He knew it would be amazing. He knew she would blow his mind away. He hoped she wouldn't mind a spectator.
Jesse selected his revolver from the menu and waited for it to be sent through the weapon retrieval system. In a matter of seconds the window next to the console opened and there sitting on a large metallic plate was his gun. It was a small revolver. The metallic finish was worn in some places; In others it was starting to rust. He cared not though as it was one of his most prized possessions.
With his weapon in tow, pocketed into the holster on his belt he furthered entered the doors to the range. Once inside there were various other doors which lead to rooms of different specialties. Usually he would just go to the standard shoot-the-cardboard-cutout room but this time he found himself venturing deeper, reading the signs above to determine where a sniper would want to practice. He found his answer in a room labeled ‘long distance shooting’.
Yeah, this was definitely the one.
He exhales. He removes his hat from his head briefly to run his hands through brown strands before placing it back on, fussing with it a little to make sure it was ok properly. He then began to straighten out the red scarf around his neck and— oh, he didn't even shave this morning. His hand reached up to feel around his minor stubble.
At this point he knew he was just stalling. Standing straight, shoulders square, he enters the code to the door. The keypad glows green as the metallic door slides open, and there she is. Jesse finds himself frozen in place. She isn't wearing her usual blue coat, instead she's clad in slim black cargos and a black and blue shirt sleeve shirt with the overwatch logo printed on the back. She was kneeled in a crouch with her right eye focused through the scope of her rifle as she shot her targets. Jesse turned to see what she was aiming at looking in awe at the automatic flying discs as they were shattered into pieces one after another.
She she didn't miss a single one.
It was less than a minute he was standing there and so quickly all the targets were gone and Ana began to rise from her position with a stretch. All Jesse could really do was stand there and watch. He didn't know where to move to. He didn't know what to say. Eventually, those brown eyes would meet with his, sending a shiver down his spine.
“Are you here to practice or are you just going to stand there, cowboy?”
He could feel the heat rising to his face. “Y-yeah.”
Trying not to be as nervous as he was definitely feeling, he sauntered over to the ammo reservoir, pulling out his revolver to load it. At this Ana raises an eyebrow. “You’re going to practice here… In the long range section… with a revolver,” she deadpanned. However after a second she stood straight, arms crossed. “You must be quite the good shot then, McCree.”
Fuck. Now he had to do good.
“I just do what I can, Captain,” he mumbles as he scratches under his head with the back of his rifle. Yes, that was it. Just sound cool. He walked to the console to change to a different target option. There was no way he was gonna hit any of those discs. Instead he chose sideways scrolling cardboard cutouts. Ana sat herself in a seat off the side, watching intently. Jesse stood in place, taking in the distance of the six targets he had set up. They were pretty far away, definitely not close enough for him to even attempt any headshots. Body shots will have to do, but by no chances could he miss. This was his one chance to impress the woman before him. There was a technique he's been working on these past few days. What better time to show off the fruits of his labor than now.
Jesse held his revolver up, aiming at the targets. It was now or never. He took a deep breath.
He calms himself, blocking out any distractions.
He takes in the position of all the targets, watching their movement patterns, predicting where they will be next. When he feels comfortable enough he holds his breath, and fires.
He fires six shots in rapid succession, smoke rises from the barrel of his gun. He finally releases his breath. There's a screen above them that shows where his shots hit. He looks them over: all body shots, except— he sighs. He missed one target.
The sound of excruciatingly slow clapping catches his attention. Ana now stands, walking over to him as she slow claps. She smiles at him and he notices a glint in that right eye of hers again. “Impressive. You've exceeded my expectations.”
He blushed at the praise. “T-thank you, Captain,” he manages with a casual salute.
“Let me give you a minor tip, though.” Before he can question her she's right next to him. He inhales in surprise at their sudden proximity. His heart is certainly going to pump itself to death with how fast it's beating. Ana stands behind him, her hand resting on his center, feeling as he breathed. Another hand is on his shoulder and this point he is sure that he has died and gone to heaven. “You slouch ever so slightly. Keep your shoulders straight,” she commands, guiding his shoulders back slightly. “And you breathe through your chest. Try focusing more on breathing through your center.” She pushes in hard on his stomach. Jesse can feel himself sweating under his hat. He feels a bead roll down the side of his face. When did it get so hot in here?
“Now let's try that again.” She sets up the targets but this time she returns it to the flying discs she was practicing with before.
“Uhh, Captain Amari I don—”
“Oh, hush. Just trust me.” Once again her hands are on him, guiding and positioning him into a posture she was happy with. She gives him a swift punch to the gut when she notices he isn't breathing how she had told him to, causing a painful grunt from the young man. At least now he knew Ana Amari doesn't pull her punches.
Satisfied with his form, she steps to the side of him. Her hair follows her direction, waving the scent of her perfume past him. He sighs in contentment. It's a powerful scent, undoubtedly to suit her personality, but it was also subtle and soothing. “Alright. Once more.”
He repeats the steps before, albeit a bit nervously due to her still close proximity. Her hand comes up to guide his arm higher as he aimed, slinging an arm around him to make sure his posture remains satisfactory. From there she steps back and he runs through steps from before, but this time, when he fires it feel different. It feels better. Six shots fired. It's over in the blink of an eye and he exhales, glancing at the scoreboard.
His jaw dropped.
He had hit every single disc, not a single one missed. There was no stopping the uncontrollable grin that spread across his face. That was most likely the most amazing thing he's ever done. Jesse turns in excitement, Ana stands behind him arms crossed as she nods in approval. He’s so overwhelmed by his shock that he doesn't even see her step up to him and place a hand on his shoulder. He turns in surprise and freezes so still he was sure his heart stopped, too, when he sees just how close their faces are. His eyes are stuck to hers, not knowing where else to look or where else he should look.
“You did well, Jesse. I’m impressed,” she says as she walks away towards the exit. She opens the door, standing in the doorway as she turns back and says, “I’m here every other morning. You should join me more often.”
He watches her leave, still frozen. This was all a lot to take in. When their faces had been so close and his eyes were locked to hers, he saw so clearly that glimpse in her right eye that he had seen before. There was definitely some kind of technological whatever-the-fuck in there, and he thought that was the coolest thing ever. In a way he couldn’t explain, it was also kinda hot. Then there was the the fact that he shot all those targets with this shit ass gun of his. That was definitely a good ego booster. He kinda couldn't wait to go brag to Lena and Angela, though the latter probably wouldn’t care. Finally, the second in command, Ana Amari basically invited him to private shooting lessons.
From that day forward, every other morning Jesse would join Ana for early morning practice lessons. They would go over various different training exercises and, sometimes, they’d have days where she taught him how to shoot a sniper rifle. He would watch her hit the farthest and smallest of targets with his revolver with the most accurate precision and afterwards she would tell him to do the same. The first time he doubted himself and brought up, what he was certain was, the enhancement to her eye which probably helped her make these shots so easily. It was then that she finally explained that,yes, her right eye was enhanced and she could see farther and closer at will, but also that her near perfect aim has little correlation with her eye. He certainly wasn’t expecting her to take those exact same shots with her right eye covered and with even more accuracy than before. After that he’s never questioned her teaching again.
As time would go on, Jesse found himself spending more and more little time with Captain Amari both in work related duties and outside of them. Even upon learning that Ana has a daughter, sometimes using Fareeha as an excuse to see or spend time with her. As the months would pass, eventually his once subtle infatuation had turned into something more. He was indeed a good looking guy, meaning he was no stranger to the females around base and even out on the streets approaching him. His mind was only focused on one woman and one woman only, though.
Jesse sighs, his face sliding down the palm of his hand as he leaned on the cafeteria table. It has been a year now since he “joined” Overwatch. He has had his fair share of missions and has finally been acknowledged as a valuable asset by Jack, which in and of itself is a huge achievement. He still has made little to progress with this never ending crush on his senior, of all people. He groans as he lays his face against the table. Genji sits to his left, brooding as usual. Across from his Lena and Angela, the former the most amused by his whole situation. His infatuation has gone on so long that eventually those closest to him picked up on it. Everyone except Ana, it would seem.
Lena laughs and takes his hat off his head, causing him to jerk up from the table to yank it back. “Are you gonna tell her today, Jesse? I hear she’s supposed to be returning from a mission this evening.”
He sighs again. The Captain had been gone away on a mission this past week and Jesse decided he would use this time of her absence to finally determine what he was going to do about his feelings.
“She’s too old for you, Jesse. And she has a daughter. Not to mention she probably views you as more of a son than a possible love interest,” piped in Angela from behind a medical book she was reading.
“Wow, thanks for the encouragement, Doc,” he mumbles as he excuses himself from the table. He can hear her and Lena bickering as he walked away, deciding a fresh walk would do him some good. He brought a hand up to scratch the roughness of his chin, pinching at the hairs there to see how long they’ve gotten. He decided he would stop shaving and let his facial hair grow out. He also liked to tell himself that it was a decision he made on his own without any kind of influence. The one time during training when Ana told him he looked good with facial hair, definitely did not play into his choice at all.
His walk down the halls ended up leading him to his room, so he took that as a hint to take a nice afternoon nap, laying down half on his bed with his hat placed to cover his face. A light knocking against is door stirs him from his light slumber. He stretches, leaning forward to sit up as whoever it is knocks again. “Come in,” he yawns, a hand covering his mouth.
There were plenty of people he expected to enter that door. There were even a select few he didn’t expect, but considered it could be them anyway. Nothing, would prepare him to see that royal blue coat and long graying hair that could only belong to one person.
Ana fucking Amari was standing in his room. Unsure of what to do, he stands to give salute, but her hand against his chest pushes him back down onto the bed with a thud. “At ease, cowboy. I’m here just as Ana, not as your superior.”
McCree nods at her words, eyes following her as she sat next to him on the bed. He is tense. So tense he is sure Ana can feel it. No, he’s positive. She gives him a look that basically says it all. At her request he exhales, relaxing as he does so. His shoulders loosen up and he doesn't sit so straight. At this Ana smiles. “Very good. I came here to give you something.”
“To give m—” His words are cut of by gloved hands grasping his chin roughly, tilting his head to the side and then up. Confused by her sudden actions, but unsure what to say, he can only mutter a low “uhh”.
“Tsk, if you’re going to stop shaving Jesse, you at least need to keep yourself well groomed,” she scolds, pinching off a hair that was longer than the others. “I didn’t raise you to look all scruffy.”
Once again McCree nods, removing his hat to hold in his hands. As he expected, she ran his hands through his hair which had grown considerably longer. A part of him would've been ecstatic at the motion, but the part of him that new it was simply because she was babying him wouldn't allow it. One of the main peeves he had about this whole situation was that she was constantly treating him like he was her son or something. He didn’t want to be her son. He wanted to be something more.
His slight irritation worked its way into his voice as he spoke. “I thought you came here to give me something…”
“Ah, right. No need to get grouchy, Jesse. You should always look presentable.”
He pulls his hat back down onto his head with a little more force than necessary so it covers his face slightly. What did he have to do to make her truly see him?
“Anyways, you may not remember but today marks our anniversary. This day one year ago was the day I first taught you how to shoot.”
At the realization, he lifts the hat up so he can see better. To be honest he couldn’t even remember what day of the week that was. Hell, he didn’t know what day of the week it was today. The fact that the captain remembered such a minor detail even amongst the busy days she was sure to have this past year warmed his heart.
“Anyways, I thought it would be appropriate you something,” she says as she reached into her jacket to pull out a box, all black and wrapped with a red ribbon. She hands it to him and he accepts it, his hands shaking slightly. She really did get him a gift. He mentally berates himself for doubting her when he told himself that he wouldn’t. “I saw it in a shop while I was away. I thought you would put it to very good use.”
Jesse stares at the box, his hands suddenly forgetting how to move. He grabs the tip of the ribbon, pulling it loose with one light pull. His hand grips the top of the box, ready to pull it open, anxious to see what’s inside. He exhales, closing his eyes as he pulls the lid off and opening them to see the contents inside.
His breath catches in his throat at the object in his lap. All he can do is stare down at it. He doesn’t even touch it. It isn’t until he sees a small splash of liquid bounce off its smooth metallic surface that he moves, a hand going up to touch his cheek now wet with tears. He tears his gaze away to look at the woman next to her. She faces the wall across from them, eyes closed but a content smile on her face. She doesn't see him cry, but he knows she can sense that he is. Finally, his hands reach down to grasp the smooth cold metal. It feels better than anything he’s ever held, He turns his head to wipe his face across his upper arm, wiping away tears that obstruct his view. With a clear vision, he notes that it is the second most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. It is a brand new revolver. With a sleek, shiny silver finish and a deep brown leather which provided relief for a firm grip on the handle. The part that really pulled on his heart strings was the addition of a small spur just at the bottom of the hilt. Instinctively, his hand went to the small metallic wheel.
“That was a special addition from yours truly. I thought it would fit in with your style.”
He still couldn't find the words to express his gratitude. There probably weren't enough words in the English language to get across just how truly grateful he was. His thumbs repeatedly smoothed over the gun in his hands. A gun that Ana Amari got him while away on a mission. She thought about him while she was away. He can’t stop the second round of tears from coming. He has indeed come a long way from the young boy running with some gang scouring abandoned camps and homes for loot.
Unable to stop his tears and incapable of forming the words, he does the only thing he can do and reaching over he envelops the older woman in the tightest of hugs he’s ever given. Her hand comes up to rest on his back as he cries. They sit like that for who knows how long, but in that moment he knew it was certain in his mind. He had pondered over this entire week, going through all the details over and over again in his mind, But this moment here— this moment erases all of the doubts he ever had.
It was on this day that he knew that he loved Ana Amari.