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Liars, Cheaters and Gambles

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Roadhog made his way to the workshop, two large tins of Tim Tams in one massive hand, with several boxes of beer under his other arm.

Tonight was going to be their first poker night here and Rat, being Rat, was awful at keeping track of time when he was working on something, so he decided to be proactive and grab him a half an hour before poker night would start. Now, Hog could just leave Rat to his own devices (literally) in the workshop all night and enjoy the event without him… But at the same time, if he continued to let Rat waste away in the workshop, he’d never be better with people. He had to learn to socialize with normal society, and while he was friendly bloke to start with and a few good souls around here had been helping and even became his friends (Hana, Lúcio, Reinhardt, Torbjörn), he couldn’t let him stop there.

Junkrat wanted out of Junkertown and the two of them managed to get out, good on them, but unlike Hog, Rat had spent most of his life playing by Junkertown’s rules, he didn’t know how to live life any other way. He may have known how before the Outback went to hell, but that information is pretty much useless where they were from and probably sank into whatever black hole that the rest of his old life got sucked into in his head.

So he was going to make sure that Rat became better socially. If not for his own sake than for his, because if he had friends then it would make his job much easier and he’d be able to take a break now and then.

And he had a feeling tonight would help.

Hog honestly had no idea how or why, but after twenty years of living in a hellhole and a few years on the run, you learned to follow your instincts and that’s what his was telling him. That Poker night would help his flammable friend be better at socializing.

He opened the door and found Rat on the floor, various powders and scrap surrounding his little spot, the table designated as his workspace covered in half finished bombs ready to be sealed shut.

But, surprisingly, Rat wasn’t the only one in there.

No, that suit sheila, Symmetra, was in there too. Her eyes shifting from her work to his mess on the table next to hers and on the floor, her lip curled a bit in distaste as she seemed to be unable to stay focused on her work.

“Rat.” He called, making the lanky pyro snap out of his daze and look up at him. Hog held up the tins, “Poker noight.” He reminded him.

“Oh roight!” he said cheerfully as he quickly hopped out of his hunched over position on the floor and started jerking his arms and legs a bit to get the kinks out. Symmetra’s eyes widening as Rat stretched to his full height before moving his head a bit to make his neck pop. Hog held back a snort, people often were shocked when Rat stood at his full height, since he often was hunched over. But what did people expect? He was skinny as all hell and he often had a couple hundred pounds of explosives, tire and engine on his back! What, did they think his R.I.P tire was filled with helium and cotton candy or something?

To both Hog and Symmetra’s surprise, Rat turned to her and asked, “You comin’?”

The suit seemed to soak the invitation in for a moment, then silently contemplate her words before finally replying, “No thank you, I am not very interested in gambling. And, even if I was, it is forbidden for Vishkar employees to do so.”

“Seriously?” He replied, both shocked and disgusted at the information.

“Gambling is a disease of barbarians superficially civilized.” She quoted.

“Luv, loife is a gamble.” He said plainly, “Sometoimes ya win,” He indicated the workshop around them, “’N sometoimes ya lose.” He tapped on the knee joint of his peg leg, “But you’ll nevah know what yer missin’ if ya don’ take a chance every now ‘n then.”

“I’ve never had to take chances because we at Vishkar design solutions that involve no risks.” She said.

Rat snickered before glancing over her blueprints for a moment, thoughtful as he pulled the broken pencil he kept in his pocket out and began scribbling his smiley faces on several spots, “So what ‘bout all these?” He asked, pointing to each one of his signature smiley faces.

Roadhog could feel the tension in the room mounting and while he could drag Rat out of the room easily enough and let them both cool down and talk it out later, he had a feeling like he should let Rat try to get her to come too.

Again, he had no idea why, but at the same time, he wanted to see how this would go.

He glanced at the time, they had twenty minutes until the poker night was going to start and he doubted anyone would be surprised if they were late. So he’d give Rat twenty minutes to try to either convince or blackmail her to go.

He placed the snacks and the beers onto a free table, he then opened one of the boxes and helped himself to a beer as he sat down to watch.

____________________________________

Satya scowled as she went over every line in her newest building’s design, trying to see exactly what the flaws Junkrat had pointed out to her were while fuming that he had tried to use his knowledge to tempt her into joining them.

He had failed, of course, but the fact that he had used that knowledge against her, knowing how much it bothered her when there was a single flaw in her designs, let alone the many he picked out…

Ugh! She could still hear him teasing her;

“Well, I could tell ya all ‘bout ‘um, ‘Metra, but I’ve gotta go ta Poker Noight. If ya came along, I’d be happy ta tell ya all ‘bout ‘um! You could even bring th’ plans with ya!” He’d offered with a broad, jagged, golden speckled smile.

She glared at him, “I am not going to poker night.” She said sternly.

“Shame.” He said with a shrug, leaning back and putting his arms behind his head, “Think it would do you some good ta get out fer a bit ‘n have some fun. You’ve been close ta poppin’ a vein over these plans fer a few days now. You could use a smoko.”

“Smoko?” she repeated.

“Break.” Roadhog translated, making her jump as well as reminding her that he was still here… sitting back and sipping a beer as he watched them chat.

Lovely. Just lovely. Normally she could count on Roadhog reeling Junkrat in when his antics got to be too much, but it looked as if that was not going to happen tonight.

No matter, she could handle this.

She closed her eyes for a moment and looked back to the chipper Aussie, who was smiling down at her, his amber eyes glistening with impish glee.

“You could tell me now.” She offered, “You have time.”

“Can’, sorry ‘Metra. Guess I’ll jus’ tell ya tomorrow.” He said, then paused, “Unless ya at least wanna walk down there with us,” he said thoughtfully, “Ya don’ have ta go in or nothin’, jus’ walk with us to th’ common room. I could probl’y at least go over one or two on th’ way there ‘n ya could get a start…”

She silently debated it for a moment, until she remembered hearing Tracer mention it and telling her that she should come by if she wanted to join in. No doubt if she was seen or Junkrat so much as said her name just outside the room they were holding the event in, she’d be dragged in by Tracer.

No, too risky.

“I guess you’ll tell me tomorrow then.” She relented, frustrated.

“Oh, don’ be loike tha’, ‘Metra.” He said, pointing to the many crude smiley faces he’d scribbled all over her plan, “At least ya know where th’ problems are now, tha’s a start! Who knows, you’ll probl’y have at least half of ‘um figured out in th’ mornin’!”

She soaked that in thoughtfully as she glanced over her soiled plans, he had a point. She was the best architect in Vishkar, if Junkrat, a man who, while quite intelligent in his own way, could find the flaws in her design so easily, so could she.

But still, now that she thought about it, “One quick non-architecture related question before you two go, though.” She said as Roadhog scooped up the many boxes of beer and Junkrat scooped up the tins of cookies. The lanky pyro looked at his partner in crime, who rumbled out that they had about seven minutes or so before Poker night started. The blonde then motioned for her to speak, curious.

“How long have you known about these flaws I’ve been agonizing over for days now?” she asked, annoyed.

“When I looked at it.” He said, before taking another look at the blueprint and quickly scribbling another smiley face on the plans before saying, “But tha’ one I jus’ found now.”

Roadhog then wisely escorted him out, wishing her a good night before the door closed behind them.

Satya rubbed at her temples, willing the flashback to stop so she could focus on her blueprints. The roughly drawn smiley faces silently mocking her on the page.

Why couldn’t she figure out what these flaws were?

And why couldn’t she find them before?

She heard a door open and looked up to see Junkrat with a large tupperware under his arm and two steaming mugs in his hands.

“’N ‘ere I was hopin’ ya jus’ went ta bed.” He sighed, “Oh well, least I don’ hafta drink all this by meself.” He said as he handed her one.

She took it with a soft thank you in her mother tongue and felt herself relax a bit as the warmth slowly began to seep from the ceramic into her flesh palm.

“Won a few bags of Nan’s special tea off ‘er.” He told her, “She says it’s good ta help people calm down. Figured you could use a cuppa.”

She jerked her head back a bit, surprised.

“What?” He said, putting the Tupperware onto the table and looking her dead in the eye, “Ya think jus’ ‘cause ‘mma Junker…” He started.

“No. I… I just thought after what you said earlier…” She began.

“Tha’ I’d jus’ leave ya ‘ere ta fret all noight?” He finished for her, “Look, I may be a bastard, but I’ve been ‘round ya long ‘nough ta know what makes ya tick. I know this koinda shoite makes ya lose th’ plot…”

“What?” she interrupted.

“Drives ya nuts, crazy, whacko.” He translated, “’N ‘m tellin’ ya roight now, there is only room fer one nutty builder ‘ere ‘n it’s me!” He declared proudly, making her chuckle a bit.

He smiled, pleased that he’d made her laugh before he said, “’Soides, I won a few snacks from Poker Noight, figured ya could use a boite ta keep yer energy up.”

“I’m sorry, did you just say that you won snacks at poker night?” she asked, confused.

“Yeah, 76 ‘n th’ ape said we couldn’ use cash, so we use snacks, won these ‘fore quittin’ toime so I got ta keep ‘um.” He pulled off the lid and pointed to a few fried half moon shaped foods, “Got those from Lúcio, called pastels, pretty good.” He pointed to a few packages with weird, noodle like objects that seemed to be a reddish orange color, “Pipsqueak called these tteauk-baukkie or something, they’re spicy roice crackers.” He then pointed to some fried buns, “Zarya called these pyro-somethin’, they’re ace. It’s a fluffy pastry with cherry fillin’…”

“I think I’ll have one of those.” Satya laughed, taking one, “Thank you.”

“Cheers.” He said, picking up another one and taking a bite. Satya bit into it and smiled as the flavorful cherry filling tickled her tastebuds, the flavor wasn’t like the cherries from back home, but it was still nice.

“Ya know, ya missed out on a lotta fun.” He said softly, getting crumbs on the table since the man could not figure out how to not talk with his mouth full, “I know tha’ ya said ya can’ gamble, but if it helps, it wasn’t really loike any gamblin’ I’ve done ‘fore ‘n even if ya still can’, ya can still have fun chattin’ ‘n snackin’…”

He then looked at her, his expression sheepish and guilty, “Th’ smiley faces were mostly jus’ me tellin’ porkies ‘n bein’ an arse.” He pointed with a flesh finger to a spot near a set of windows in a ballroom designed to open and close during events, the last spot he marked, “This was th’ only one tha’ was really a problem, ‘n tha’s ‘cause it’s easy ta foind a way ta make it work from th’ outsoide ‘n then get in tha’ way.”

Satya felt relief flood her system as she began erasing all but one of his smiley faces and writing notes next to it for herself and finally rolled the paper back up again, “Thank you for telling me this… but why did you lie to me?”

“…’Cause it pissed me off when ya said ya wouldn’ go jus’ ‘cause Vishkar ‘won’ let ya’. Yer one of th’ smartest sheilas I’ve ever met, ya ain’ ‘fraid ta tell it loike it is, yer kind ‘n noice ‘n yer gorgeous ‘n yer graceful ‘n ya smell good ‘n jus’ how can ya let those worthless bastards boss ya ‘round loike they own you? Not even let ya make yer own choices, ‘n don’ say they don’, ‘cause Lúcio’s told me all ‘bout th’ shoite they put th’ people of Rio through ‘n I’ve heard th’ way tha’ fuckin’ suit talks ta ya over yer calls. I jus’… I don’…!” He blurted, his face and ears pink, his hands held out in front of him as if he was ready to pick up whatever burden she was carrying and fling it into the forge before jumping in behind it out of embarrassment.

Satya’s face certainly felt as if it was burning at his words, she had been often praised for her skill with hard light, her designs and her beauty at those noisy parties Sanjay made her attend. But no one ever praised her for her overall intelligence, her straight forwardness, her grace, her smell. (He’s been smelling her?) People hardly ever called her kind or nice in general, often believing her to be cold and aloof.

“Jus’ WHY!?” he finally blurted, “Why do you let them control so much of yer loife?”

“I… I owe them.” Satya managed, rubbing her metal arm, “In a way.”

“… Well tha’ explains why they won’ let ya gamble.” He grumbled before looking her right in the eye, “I can spot ya…”

“I don’t owe them money.” She told him, “They… they made me who I am now.”

“Ain’ buyin’ it.” He said plainly, “I think, even without those bastards, you’d still be th’ best at what ya do. Th’ materials ‘n th’ method would probl’y be different, sure, but I really think ya don’ need them as much as ya think.”

“They gave me my hard light, I-I can’t build with anything else…” she said, her stomach twisting at the thought of building with anything other than hard light. She didn’t know anything about any other materials construction wise and the idea of losing everything she had worked so hard to achieve and earn… well it was terrifying to say the least.

“Why would ya hafta, I mean, unless they take yer arm…” He paused, his expression shocked before melting into a horrified expression, “They’d take your arm if ya left, wouldn’ they?”

She nodded, hugging herself, “It’s a part of my contract. I’d have to give it up if I left or was fired.”

“… Or we could make ya a new arm, figure out how hard loight works ‘n put it in the new one, you could leave, give back th’ arm ‘n they can’ do shoite.”

“Hard light is one of Vishkar’s most closely guarded secret, they’d come after me. I’d have to go on the run, watch my back every time I leave the base, do you have any idea how that…” she stopped, realizing how stupid that question was.

“Think I have a pretty good idea…” He chuckled, “’N it ain’ so bad, if worse comes ta worse, you can come with me ‘n Roadie. Ya could rebuild Junkertown with hard loight, make it all noice ‘n shoiny!” He joked.

Satya pondered that for a moment, beautiful blue buildings bursting from the remains of Junkertown, housing the people and helping them start to live better lives…

“We’ll make that plan B.” She finally replied, storing the new Junkertown plans she had made in her head for later.

“So makin’ a new hard loight arm is plan A?” He asked.

“I… I’m not sure if I could leave Vishkar… even if I wanted to. But if I did, it would be a big risk.” She told him, “And it would mean losing everything I’ve worked so hard for…”

“Tha’ sounds more loike a gamble than a risk.” He said with a broad smile, “But ya know what? I think ya got some damn good odds with all us ‘ere ta help ya.”

“Is that a bet?” she asked, unable to stop herself.

“Yer damn roight it is!” he laughed before closing up his Tupperware and handing it to her, “I bet all me winnin’s on ya kickin’ Vishkar ta th’ curb!”

“I think I will need more than this.” She said, but looked at him, pleased that he had come back to talk to her, “But thank you, Junkrat. For betting on me.”

He gave her a small, surprisingly adorable smile before getting up and planting a small kiss on the top her head, “Anytoime, luv.” He said quietly before getting up and leaving his tea and his winnings behind with a very surprised Architect with a skip in his step.

Satya looked at the ‘bet’ he had made on her and placed her hand on the spot where his lips had touched her, her whole face feeling as if he had lit it ablaze as the spot tingled under her trembling fingers.

… What… what… Just what?

_____________________________________________

Junkrat ran back to his room, his heart thumping loudly as he finally made it inside and closed the door behind him before dragging himself towards his bed and collapsing on it, his face burning hotter than the last time he set his eyebrows on fire.

Welp, he’d done it. He’d gone in there, told her what he thought and admitted he told a porky (or a lot of them) and kissed her and he was going to fucking kill Hog for this.

“Why don’ we make th’ last bet interestin’?” his fucking arse!

The worst part was, after he went to tell Hog off about the bet, his pot bellied friend replied, “If ya didn’ wanna do it, then why’d ya throw th’ game?”

Because he wanted to do all that anyways but was afraid she’d be really pissed with him and tell him to get stuffed? Because his crush on her was something that made him do really stupid things like touch her when he knew she didn’t like it and how she especially wouldn’t like if it he did it ‘cause he’d get soot everywhere and that his feelings were probably always going to be one sided, not that her stupid company’s policy did him any favors by ‘screening’ potential partners.

Seriously, it wasn’t as if he’d had much of a shot, but did they have to throw that little shitty curve ball to make it to completely crush his dreams and destroy the hope that maybe he could manage to convince her to at least think about giving him a go?

His chest ached in ways that he wasn’t used to as he grabbed at his pillow and rolled onto his side. Ever since Oz went to hell, his life was practically made up of gambles he’d taken. Carefully inspecting risks verses rewards and when he couldn’t really made a decision based on logic, he’d go with his gut. And even though there had been a few hiccups here and there (his missing arm and leg), he’d managed to get here with his best mate and was now living the dream. So, yeah, jackpot.

So hearing that one of the new things he wanted to bet on more than anything he’d had before and hope that she might just give her a chance had the odds unfairly stacked against them because someone else wanted to keep holding all the cards pissed him off.

They held leverage over them using their past ‘good deeds’ to force them to comply, get them used to the lives that they helped them get and threatened them if they considered leaving with their tech.

But luckily for her, there was no way in hell that he’d just stand there with a thumb up his arse while the sheila he was crazy about was being pushed around by these bloody wankers. And he would bet a good portion of his hidden treasure that neither would anyone else here, which was good, because he bet that hard light stuff was complex and the two of them would need all the help they could get figuring out the secret behind making it to stick into a new arm for Symmetra.

Rat felt an impish laugh bubble up in his guts. If they thought he was going to fold than they were in for a real shock. Let them hold their cards and leverage. It wasn’t the first time he’d gone up against shitty odds and bloody cheats, but by the time he was done with them, for Symmetra at least, it would be the last.

After all, all was fair in love and war.

He smiled puckishly and let out a cold laugh, “’N ‘m no strangah ta cheatin’.”