You found yourself sitting facing the outside Genji's door, the end of your tail swishing back and forth. You were a cat. All white, with blue eyes and a patch of grey on the end of the tail. You curled your tail around to your front paws and started to consider why you were here. Your eyes started to slide closed. Ah! That was it. You needed a nap. A cat nap. Genji's bed would do nicely. He probably didn't need that much sleep, anyway, and wouldn't return for hours. You could take as much time as you wanted. It was your day off, after all.
The lack of light visible under the door told you that the room's owner was not present at the moment. He was probably off training. You pawed at the bottom of the door and whined a meow as if testing to see if it would give under your touch. Of course it didn't. Deciding the gap between the door and the floor was tall enough, you shifted from cat to small, black mouse, with tiny pink ears and tail.
The vantage-change disoriented you for a moment, and then you slipped under the door.
You arrived on the other side and quickly shifted back to white cat. Your black irises expanded, swallowing the blue. It allowed you to see the objects in the room in varying shades and tints of grey. The position of Genji's bed mirrored where yours was in your own room. You briefly asked yourself why you weren't then in your own room on your own bed, but then your pink nose was hit with various scents.
You recognized the scent of Genji's skin from being a dog on a previous day. You also strongly smelled metal and some kind of oil, possibly being used as a lubricant for his cyborg joints. There was a hint of incense underlying all these. You wondered if that particular scent had anything to do with Zenyatta. Either way, you found the mix of smells relaxing, and you felt yourself drawn to the strongest source of them. His bed. He didn't need it right now. You could borrow it for a while.
You crept across the floor and leapt onto Genji's bed. You padded back and forth restlessly along it, allowing the cocktail of scents to further relax you and trying to decide where to settle. Deciding the middle was the best spot, you fell onto your side, pressing your body into the soft give of the blankets. You tightly curled everything inward to one side, tail, legs, and head, and easily fell to sleep.
A bright, offending light startled you awake. You uncurled immediately and looked towards the door. Were you in danger?! You calmed your cat mind. You were fine. Genji stood still in the doorway, his visor facing your direction. He was probably trying to decide how you got in, let alone why you were here, on his bed.
He walked into the room with silent footfalls.
"What is this?" He asked with a playful tone to his voice.
Irritated, you stood up on all fours, and whined a loud meow at him. You were sleeping so peacefully on your new bed, not bothering anyone. How dare he come in here and turn on that terrible light?! You meowed loudly again, lower in pitch.
"Okay, okay," Genji said apologetically, "I am sorry I woke you. But what is wrong with your own bed, y/n?"
In response, you collapsed back onto the bed as if it was your own, and you started to purr in his general direction. Now that he had apologized, you could enjoy having some company. If you were lucky, you might get some cuddles out of this. Maybe he wouldn't kick you out if you ignored his questions.
Genji's body sagged slightly in apparent defeat. He went to work putting away his swords and getting ready for bed. He removed the metal piece holding the ribbon on the back of his head. He finally approached the side of the bed, ready for sleep.
He stared silently down at you; you stared back, still purring. This was your second bed, now. You warmed it all nicely for yourself, and you weren't leaving.
He tentatively reached a hand down to your body. Your cat brain told you where this was going. You automatically rolled over, exposing your fuzzy, white belly. Genji ran his hand up and down your stomach. That felt heavenly, and it caused your soft, white paws to start kneading the air.
"...Fine," You heard from behind Genji's visor. He walked over to the wall to turn off the light. Your cuteness had defeated a ninja. He returned and started pushing gently on your furry cat side.
"Move over," he ordered you, voice low and gentle. He wasn't asking very nicely, but you got up indignantly anyway, and stretched your back towards the ceiling, pretending that was your plan all along. He pulled down the blankets and got into bed. You turned around and pressed a paw to the side of his body, wondering if he would let you cuddle him. Yes, you were a cat, but he was also a colleague. You knew he knew this.
But Genji was warm. The warmth was very inviting, and you knew heat would help you sleep better. Genji was going to sleep now. He wasn't going to need to get up again. So you climbed onto his torso, considering again where the best spot to settle would be. You disregarded the idea of being gentle with your paws. He was made of metal; he could handle it.
His hands came up from his sides and hung in the air, indecisively. After a moment, he decided to reach the fingers of his right hand towards your head. Might he pet me again?! Sleep was briefly forgotten. Yes! You leaned heavily into his metal fingers as he scratched your cheek. Your purring increased in volume. Maybe he would pet you some more if you stayed in this spot? It was worth a try, so you flopped onto your side, settling your head on the blankets atop the metal plate lining his stomach.
You felt Genji switch his scratches to the back of your head as you drifted back to sleep.
The cat in the drabble was inspired by this cat that I used to live with.
Chapter 2: Owl Reader
"Put it out of its misery, Amelie," Reaper spat from behind gritted teeth, stepping over a downed log.
"That thing...is wretched, and I will not waste a bullet on it," Widowmaker purred, disdain dripping from every word, trying to avoid tripping over her heels on the soft forest floor. Reaper scoffed loudly.
"I think it's cute," You heard Sombra say from behind the other two.
You puffed your ragged feathers angrily at Widow's remarks. You knew you looked pathetic, but you didn't deserve to be insulted. It wasn't your fault the mission went south. It was Overwatch's fault. Mostly.
You were clinging to Reaper's shoulder, hoping he would not shoot you. He hadn't yet, and your tired bird-brain was sure it was because you were in close proximity to his head. So you dug your talons in as much as you could. It was all you could do, trying to ride out being jostled back and forth by Reaper's steps.
"It was absolutely no help, so I want it gone," Reaper spat again. You flapped your wings once, irritated at being called an 'it', and then settled again, narrowly avoiding falling. You turned your head to narrow your large eyes at Reaper's mask. It mirrored your own, owl-like.
"Oh, c'mon. They can keep an eye out for agents trying to follow us. Owls hear very well, you know," Sombra offered, hopefully. Reaper scoffed again but less bitterly.
Wanting to make up for your failure, you swivelled your head around, back and forth, keeping your ears and eyes open for any suspicious sounds. You didn't want to suddenly get a face full of shurikens or an arrow in your eye. You hadn't been very helpful previously on the mission.
You had the bright idea of being an owl lookout after mulling over Reaper's mask on the ride over. You were sure you'd heard that most owls' giant eyes see very far. The problem was, you'd never tried to be an owl on a mission before. All the sounds jumbled together as you turned your head too fast. It took too long for you to figure out which direction sounds where coming from. Frustrated and overwhelmed, you called out and flapped your wings in a ridiculous manner, but it was too late. Widowmaker was already being forced from her position.
"Merd!" Things were bad if Widow was swearing like that.
Hearing loud, obnoxious Japanese being yelled closeby, you flew towards Widow in an effort find safety. Swivelling your head backwards to see if you were being pursued, you didn't see the tree branch you smacked squarely into. Flailing and hooting, you fell towards the forest floor. It surprised you when Reaper snatched you out of the air with his own talons. You were sure he was going to refuse to work with you ever again.
Presently, you understood how to move your head in an effort to identify sounds more efficiently. You heard and saw nothing so far.
"Maybe we should give it to Overwatch to slow them down," Widowmaker pouted, voice quiet.
"Not a bad strategy."
"Ohhhh, c'mon guys. They'll do better next time. Right?" Sombra reached up to pet your head.
Reaper rounded on Sombra, moving you away from her hand in the process. You tilted, losing balance.
"Maybe there won't be a next time, Sombra!"
"You are such a drama queen," Sombra replied, accent heavy on each word.
"Hmph." Reaper turned back around to keep walking. You comically tilted back the other way, thanking whomever that owls' talons were so strong.
You started to hear the low hum of machinery coming from the front and slightly to the left. You were about to alert the group when Sombra spoke up.
"Evac is here."
"Seems like we hear that a lot these days."
You heard a deep voice strain and then the thud of a large body hitting the ground. You knew that sound. It was that ridiculous gorilla, Winston. Not sending a quieter scout ahead was their mistake. You couldn't blame them for being cocky, though; Talon hadn't had a single victory in three weeks.
Resting on Reaper's shoulder had returned a bit of your energy, so you deftly hopped from Reaper to Sombra, hooting in the direction of Winston's sounds. Not waiting for a reaction, you hopped back to Reaper and used his shoulder as a launching-off point, flying in the direction of the dropship.
"Overwatch! MOVE!" You heard Reaper's harsh voice shout. Their footsteps picked up speed.
This time you didn't make the mistake of looking back. You flew as fast as you could towards the ship and into the waiting open door. You tried to land on the floor but forgot you didn't have human feet at the moment. You tripped over your talons and fell onto your back, wings extended in an attempt to keep from tumbling further.
You saw vague, dark shapes fly over you. The feet of your colleagues entering the ship, you guessed. Out of the corner of the closing door of the dropship, you spied Winston's large form standing where the group had just been. Your warning had narrowly saved them.
"I told you they would be useful," Sombra sassed.
Reaper's lack of a denial was almost like a compliment to you at this point. He reached down and picked you up by the talons, dumping you on a nearby chair before the ship took off.
Chapter 3: Dog Reader
I fussed for way too long over these two next chapters, so just take them!!
"Do not worry. We are getting close! I promise!" You heard Mei exclaim to you. Her voice was a little muffled by the knitted fabric covering the lower half of her face. A pair of orange goggles with blue trim protected her eyes. Snowball rested on her back. Not to be left out, you had your own eye protection. Tracer had an old pair of her goggles modified to fit. It made everything orange. Not your favourite colour, but it kept the freezing snow and biting wind out of your blue eyes.
Normally, it would have been wise to wait out a snowstorm and return another day. But the weather had been like this for triple the natural amount of time for the area. Mei had been dispatched to find out why, and you volunteered to be her canine helper. You had always admired the beautiful coats of Alaskan Malatmutes, but over the years, your situation never allowed you to keep one. So here you stood, the most handsome Malamute you could think of. Thick fluff, sturdy body, and proud, bushy tail.
Pushing forward in the blizzard, you smelled nothing but evergreen trees. The snow blew at your faces relentlessly. The sky had been white for so long, you forgot it could be any other colour. But all this was a comfort to you. No dangerous, wild animal would be foolish enough to be out here with you. It was much easier to keep Mei safe. The idea of something happening to your sweet, hardworking companion squeezed your heart. You glanced back at her, making sure that her hand was firmly hooked in your harness. Her other mittened hand was shielding her face, for all the good it would do.
Every so often, Mei stumbled a bit, and you waited for her, patiently, chest puffed out. A quick sniff around you each time revealed nothing to indicate you were going in the correct direction. All the rich green trees and dark rocks littering the sides of your view looked and smelled the same. But navigation wasn't your job at the moment. Mei had a GPS from the watchpoint for that.
"I'm okay!" Mei called out. You shook the snow off your thick black and white fur and resumed the difficult trudge forward.
Three or four stumbles later, and a building materialized into view. It was smallish, domed, with smooth sides. You made out the outline of a door in the front.
Shaking the snow off yet again, you stood guard while Mei fiddled with some technology that would open the door. Mei babbled in Chinese Mandarin to herself (or to Snowball). Perhaps she was scolding the door for not opening as quickly as she would like. You couldn't tell. Even her angry voice sounded chipper.
A few minutes later, you padded through the door after Mei, sparse lights activating on the ceiling of the strangely-shaped outpost. You heard some beeps from the pad in Mei's hands, and an array of digital displays illuminated the round walls.
You walked over to study one of the displays. It was in English, but you still didn't understand what information was being shown. A quick sniff of the keyboard told you no one you knew had touched it recently. It even lacked the distinct scent of Talon protective gear. A few of the displays were a slightly different colour, as if some were added as an afterthought. A tangle of cables hung from those and dragged on the floor, looking very untidy.
You felt your harness shift. Mei was digging through your doggy backpack.
"I am so glad you are here with me. I could not have carried all these supplies by myself." You wagged your tail at her, happy to be of help.
"I do not know who has been here, but the technology looks very familiar," Mei told you, her accent mangling the English words a little. It was adorable.
She had apparently found what she needed, so she unclipped the harness from your back. Free of the weight, you shook a little yet again. Mei removed a water bottle from the pack and poured some water in a bowl for you. You nosed her face as thanks, and she giggled.
You lapped up your fill. Mei kneeled next to the odd displays, examining them. Your prominent ears picked up more 'angry' Mandarin coming from Mei's direction.
"I was afraid of this," She began, turning to face you, "Someone has replicated Snowball's technology to create the blizzard. I do not know who did this or why." She sighed sadly, the small smile usually present on her face missing.
Her sad face made you sad, too. You couldn't let this go on.
You trotted forward, claws clicking on the hard floor. You nosed her face again. Her smile returned. Encouraged, you lifted your right paw and pushed gently into the padding on the arm of her coat. She responded by laughing and lifting her hands to ruffle the fur around the back of your neck. You 'smiled' back, chin dropping and tongue falling out.
"You are right. We can return another day with the others and figure this out. I am sure Winston would help."
Mei prepares you for the trek back, and the both of you leave, braving the storm a second time. It is as uneventful as the climb up, to your relief.
The dropship is warm, and Mei strips off her coat before strapping you in for the ride home. She rummages in the doggy backpack for something. Your ears stand at attention when you spy what it is. Jerky!!! You rapidly wag your tail at her, hoping you'll get some, too. She giggles again.
"You are such a good dog!" Mei exclaims, offering you a piece of the jerky.
Her face freezes as she realizes what she said. You pause, too. But you're so happy to be getting a treat that you grab the jerky out of her hand, anyway, munching down on it greedily.
She laughs loudly.
Chapter 4: Dragon Reader
The Reader looks like the blue dragon from the story in the Dragons animated short.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
You had figured out how to take the form of a Japanese dragon. A blue one, exactly like the spirit dragons Hanzo produced from his arrows. You could even see enemy heat sigatures, like the ability gifted to Hanzo through his sonic arrow.
You couldn't wait to show the Shimada brothers your new form. Hanzo, especially. He barely spoke to you. No one said anything, but you knew. He didn't trust many of the other agents much, but he trusted you least. Being a dragon was the coolest thing you had accomplished to date, and you were sure it would impress him at least a little.
When presented with your new ability, Genji was in awe. Hanzo, less so. The disapproval was plain on his face right away.
"Unnatural," Hanzo sneered, "Get out of my sight."
A strange thing happened. Of its own volition, your body did an about-face and flew around to the other side of the nearest wall. Genji questioned you, but you found you couldn't come out until Hanzo had left the room.
"What is it Hanzo said to me once? 'Only a Shimada can control the dragons'?" Genji said to you later.
You only trained your new dragon form with Genji after that, for fear of the things Hanzo might order you to do.
The bond of trust you had developed with Genji afforded you to help him on missions instead of Hanzo. On cloudy days, you were able to sneak the ninja behind enemy lines from the air. This time it was night, and you flew above the clouds, body waving like a water snake. Genji sat perched atop the back of your neck, one hand steadying himself with one of your horns. Your infrared vision revealed the tiny enemy soldiers in red on the ground, spread below you like the sonar display in the submarines of old.
Silent and still, Genji was almost forgotten. The stars above you were an impressive sight. Contemplating your size in the universe tugged at the edge of your mind in a tempting manner. If the sounds of the mission below didn't serve as a reminder of your reason to be up here, you would have kept flying, admiring the awesome view.
A stream of angry Japanese in your ear broke the (almost) peaceful silence. It was Hanzo, his voice coming out of the earpiece in your right ear. You felt Genji shift behind you.
Genji answered Hanzo in calm, but hurried words. The way he spoke worried you. At times like this, you wished being a Japanese dragon gave you the ability to understand Japanese. It would have made logical sense. You heard Genji and Hanzo converse, Hanzo continuing to sound like his usual angry self, and Genji slowly losing patience. It seemed like only Hanzo could irritate Genji like this.
"Do not be so stubborn, brother," Genji said in a measured tone, switching to English.
"I will not," you heard Hanzo shout back. Genji did not reply.
"He is injured, and I am not just talking about his pride. You are our best bet to rescue him from his current position, but he is refusing your help. Could you please head to his position, anyway? I will continue to try to convince him to change his mind. We are nearing the dropoff location. Please set me down here."
You dove down, almost perpendicular to the ground, speed in mind. Genji hung on as you broke through the clouds. The wind pulled at your whiskers.
Pulling up to run parallel to the roof of a skyscraper, you felt Genji hop off. He lingered at your side.
"He is on the roof of that blue building; the one to the left of the one with the Vishkar sign on it."
"I will try to make up for his absence. Please hurry, y/n!" You watched him leap off the side of the roof, then turned in the direction Genji indicated.
You snaked around the tall buildings, wasting no time in locating Hanzo. Being that it was dark, you might have not have seen him. But you heard heavy breathing. His injury must be painful. You slowly approached the roof, trying to appear as non-threatening as possible.
"Come no closer!" Hanzo yelled out, "Do not touch me!"
With a small, strangled sound, you obeyed. You stared at Hanzo, incrediously. A glance behind with your infrared vision told you that a small group of Talon soldiers were closing on your position. Probably the very same soldiers who had shot him. Your tail whipped back and forth, frustration mounting. The soldiers were getting closer. You really wished Genji were here to talk to Hanzo. If you were Genji, you'd have knocked Hanzo out with his gourd of sake and dragged him bodily out of here. There was no time for his shit!
Genji was not here, but he was still listening on the comm. Angry words spilled from the earpiece, stunning you. Rarely did Genji lose his cool. Whatever was said in their native tongue stunned Hanzo, as well. His eyes widened, and he didn't reply right away.
"...Fine," You heard from Hanzo. His voice was small and dejected, "Come here...please."
He refused to speak to you, but he gave you no more trouble. He climbed aboard carefully, and you flew back up to hide above the clouds, heading in the direction of the Orca.
A quick glance back to Hanzo revealed that Hanzo was admiring the starry expanse as you had earlier, eyebrows pulled together in thought. You turned back, deciding it was wise to leave him be.
Landing next to the dropship, Hanzo descended from your back, taking his time to avoid aggravating his injury. He paused next to your ear.
You waited, but he didn't walk away.
"Sometimes I forget I am not alone anymore."
Genji said, "Your stubbornness is going to kill me again if you die here."
Chapter 5: Rat Reader
The chores at the Watchpoint rotated between agents (taking into account long-term missions), and because of your talent (or talents if you counted each animal form separately), you had no problem tackling each job. For the next two weeks, you were posted in the medbay. You're not sure why Dr. Ziegler didn't have a nurse, be it that Winston didn't hire one yet or couldn't afford to. You didn't care which was true; you were quite happy to help the good doctor any way you could.
You were accompanying Dr. Ziegler on her rounds, assisting her with her patient checkups. With patient permission, of course. Agents were arriving all the time because of the recall, and they all needed once-overs.
Angela walked down the hall, heels clicking softly. She held a holopad in front of her face, patient information covering the screen. The next patient on the schedule was Jesse McCree. You were nestled in the doctor's pocket, trying to resist the urge to gnaw on the blue pen stick out of it. Angela's walking slowed, and you heard a door open.
McCree lazed on the examination table, knee up, with one boot rudely perched on the table in front of him. His hat was tilted just so, covering just under the eyes. When the doctor finished closing the door behind her, he lifted his face a few inches, squinting in your direction. He paused dramatically.
"I smell a rat!"
Curious, you climbed up just enough to peek out of the pocket of the white coat. He looked like he need a shave as always, but you could smell that he bathed recently. You didn't need to see the doctor's face to know she rolled her eyes.
"Our friend probably smells better than you, Jesse McCree," Dr. Ziegler chided him gently, pulling on a fresh pair of latex gloves.
"Awww, that's unfair, Doc," He whined, sad that his joke fell flat.
Dr. Ziegler walked over to the counter in the corner of the room and held out her arm. You were ready for this. You scrambled up to the doctor's shoulder and ran down her arm, white fur gleaming. You stopped on the counter, nose twitching. You took scent-inventory of the items located around the sink.
The first one was easy. You scurried up to a white and blue box, nosed open the lid, and the scent of wood met your pink nose. You pulled a tongue depressor out with your paws, holding it on one end. You transferred it to your teeth, and stood on your back legs, keeping it from touching the edge of the counter.
"Thank you," Angela said, grabbing the end near your mouth. The strong scent of latex wafted past your nose. You turned around to follow the scent of the next tool, pink tail trailing behind you.
"It is good to see you, Jesse. I was worried I'd read about you in the news, crushed to death under a pile of bounty hunters."
"You mo me beh-er zen zat, Anvewah."
"Yes, well, you never took very good care of yourself. I was always worried. Seemed like you were just dragging yourself to the next target. What do you subsist on? Dirt? Must be, you're always covered in it. That, or...tumbleweeds, was it called?"
You heard the tongue depressor hit the trash bin, and you had the next instrument ready. You stood over the otoscope. It was small, just small enough that you could drag it over to the front of the counter. You pressed your tiny front paws on the light's button, and Dr. Ziegler picked it up. She whispered her thanks.
"So, have you heard from...you know...?" Angela began, looking through the instrument into Jesse's left ear.
"Oh? Naw. Not sure I wanna."
"I just wish I knew what happened to him. If I had been around, I might have-"
"You know he was never up to any good, Angela," McCree cut in, his voice stern. She hums in response, distracted by her work.
"Ya heard about the other old man, right? Heard he's chasin' down a few big 'uns on his own. At his age? What's he run on? Old man stubbornness?"
"Better than dirt."
During the lull in conversation, you were dragging the reflex hammer past the sink to within the doctor's reach. She took it gently from you, and said, "That's the last one," Offering you her hand.
You ran back up the doctor's arm. You curl your tail around the back of her shoulder to keep you steady and plopped back into her pocket. You prop yourself up on your paws on the lip of the pocket, gazing at McCree.
"Any specific complaints about your health?" Dr. Ziegler asks with a practised tone.
"Wish you could inject me with some of those nanobots ah' yours. I have such a hard time keepin' up with these new recruits. They're just gettin' started, and I'm all winded."
"Jesse-" Dr. Ziegler sighed.
"If there's nothing else," Jesse interrupted again. He pulls out a pack of cigars from his pocket, "I'll be takin' my leave..."
He freezes, realizing what he's done in front of a doctor, and one who's known his bullshit for years no less. He stops facing the door.
"You know, smoking's bad for your health," Angela is the one to interrupt this time. You could almost see the unimpressed, raised eyebrow on her angry face.
"Well, I have faith you can get me patched back up, doc," McCree replies over his shoulder, arrogance obvious in his tone.
You freeze, anxiety-ridden. Your first instinct is to grab the pen with your teeth and chew furiously. You knew what was coming.
"I have heard this before! It will not work on the twelfth time you have said it!" And you had been there, in her pocket, for half those times. You let your nose twitch a few times, waiting for McCree's response.
"I didn't know you were countin'," He said, fighting to keep his voice even.
"Unlike you, I give a damn about your health!" Dr Ziegler doesn't yell, but this is the closest she gets.
You heard a noncommital noise from Jesse.
"We're done here," Angela told him. The gloves each made a snapping sound as she took them off and tossed them out.
Jesse stomps out, shutting the door behind him.
Dr. Ziegler took a deep breath slowly in and out, trying to keep composure. You felt her shift her weight. Her hand suddenly invaded your pocket, and her fingers danced gently along your white tummy. You lost control, tittering, legs waving in the air. You heard soft giggling as your 'torture' ended.
"You think that was difficult? Next I have to try to convince Winston to eat less peanut butter."
Chapter 6: Dragon Reader 2
Have this angst while I try to think of some fluff for the next chapter.
You didn't breathe fire like a western dragon might have, so you had to improvise. Unlike the spirit dragons your Japanese colleagues summoned, you were flesh, blood, and scales. You weren't ethereal and untouchable. In fact, your stomach was soft and vulnerable.
Your cry had eliminated the element of surprise, but you hoped not fully. The darkness and your infrasight gave you an advantage there. You saw a group of Talon soldiers to your left leaving the cover of a building. They were facing away from you. A good target.
Their red shapes grew rapidly in size as you charged towards and through them, knocking some of them off their feet. You flew past them a few meters. You set your claws down and they found purchase on the pavement. You whipped your head around to face them, roaring a warning.
Most of them froze in fear, but others found themselves able to shoot their weapons in your general direction. Most of the bullets missed, but one buried itself in the blue scales in your midsection. You grunted in surprise and anger. You let your anger fuel another charge through them, this time stopping half a meter away. Whipping around again, you used the claws in your front left paw to slash through the soldiers still standing. Their dark red blood painted your white chest, and you paused in shock. This was the first time you had spilled blood in entire time you'd been a part of Overwatch. The soldiers were scrambling around you, but you didn't see them.
You didn't see them, but in your mind's eye you saw a spouse for each soldier. A child. Parents, sisters, brothers. Each human enemy had a family. Dreams, personal problems, likes, and dislikes. A vast rainbow of details to their lives. You knew this. You promised yourself when you joined that you would kill no man. You identified with your animal forms, and animals didn't go to war like humans did. You had mortally wounded a few of these soldiers, and for what petty reason? Anger? Pride? How were you any different than a murderer? The answer made you flinch like an electric shock. You weren't different.
A sudden force pulled you out of your mind and back into the situation around you. Something had hit your head, but you felt no pain. Confused, you reached up and felt air where a yellow horn should have been proudly standing. A tall, slim shape was high up in an adjacent building, off in the distance. Nothing had hit your head. Widowmaker had shot your horn off. Anger intertwined with your sorrow.
While you were mentally absent, the soldiers had regrouped, surrounding you. They felt more confident with Widowmaker as backup. Fear shot down your spine, causing your mane to stand on end. Mentally, you reach down inside and pulled your anger and a third emotion, a fear of dying, to the forefront, using them as fuel.
Before a shot could be fired, you started to thrash wildly. You raised your tail and sent it arcing through the air, knocking enemies down. You allowed the moment to spin you, reaching out your claws to slice through the air, striking soldiers on your opposite side. More blood painted your body. The soldiers yet unscathed were ready to fight back this time. They fired on you, and they didn't miss this time. You screeched, and white hot pain burned in the wounds on your sides. The shock of the pain caused your limbs to give out under you.
Panicking, you thrashed some more, rolling your body around, trying to find your balance. A few of your enemies were caught in your movements, a nauseating crunching sound coming from their bodies as you inadvertently rolled over them. But you didn't stop. An unlucky soldier near your mouth found his gun caught in your teeth. You bit down and pulled, trying to disarm him. Instead, you underestimated your own strength, and your head rose into the air at a surprising speed. The soldier lost his grip on his weapon and was tossed over your back. He landed a few meters away with a sickening thud.
The sounds of death chipped away at your anger. Your movements slowed. The blood loss started to have an affect on you. The night suddenly felt much colder than it should have been. You were lying on your stomach, but you couldn't feel the ground under you. You were numb.
Widowmaker was taking your lack of movement as an opportunity to line up the shot that would put finally put you down and put you out of your misery. She pulled the trigger, but the bullet bounced back, hitting the wall next to her head. She scoffed and utilized her grappling hook, making her escape. You were confused. Why did she leave? You were in no shape to defend yourself. You realized that you heard no movement around you. Had you killed them all? You would have used your eyes to check, but you couldn't lift your head anymore and your eyelids were getting heavy.
You felt warm hands gently press on the side of your head, and a low, gravelly voice murmured in your ear. You didn't catch what was said, but you knew it was Hanzo. A third, cooler hand ran across the scales on your neck. A green glow appeared off to the side of your darkening vision. Your colleagues found you. They had finished off your attackers and came to save you. You wanted to tell them how terrible it was to fight and kill. How much it hurt to be shot. How you never wanted to experience this again. They would understand better than anyone. But sleep was pulling your consciousness down. You gave in, incredibly exhausted. You let your eyes close, looking forward to seeing your friends again when you woke up.
"No," Hanzo whispered.
Chapter 7: Parrot Reader
Last chapter was set in an alternative universe that is full of angst. Let's return to this universe where everything is fluffy!
You flew in threw the door and landed on Roadhog's shoulder. He grunted in greeting to you but didn't otherwise move. He was sitting on the floor across the room from Junkrat. They were hanging out in Junkrat's work room. Junkrat was telling Roadhog, in too many words, all about his latest idea to attach a concussion mine to his riptire, supposedly improving it. You thought this idea sounded vaguely familiar. A memory stirred in the back of your mind; a memory that included an accidental explosion. Roadhog, however, showed no visible signs of concern.
"'Ey, Mate!" Junkrat called to you.
"Hey!" you squawked. Junkrat continued his rapid rambling.
"..and boom, flyin' riptire!" he giggled, dancing a little in place, "I just need ta find something to make sure it doesn't...Roadie, have you seen my," you heard metal scrape against metal as he shifted the pieces of scrap around on his workbench, "Never mind! Found it."
"This again? You're smarter than this," Roadhog asked, clearly not impressed.
"It's like I keep tellin you. We'll get more missions if we fit in with the other agents better. The key to getting in with the commander monkey is ta be more science-y. He didn't like my other ideas, but he doesn't know about this one! If he don't know, he can't tell me not ta do it. I tell you, Big Guy, this is going ta really shift the tide of battle in our favour. Just you wait, the other agents'll," he paused to weld something that you couldn't see, "really start ta respect us. No more hiding out in this dark corner of the Watchpoint. I could use another face ta look at besides your grumpy-"
"Shut up," Roadhog said.
"Shut up!" you repeated. They couldn't see it, but you were giggling on the inside.
"Who's side are ya on, ya drongo?!"
You preened, pretending to not hear him.
"Anyway, I think I'm really onta something here. Dontcha believe 'n me, Roadie?"
"How likely is it to blow up in our faces?" he asked.
"Not very likely," Junkrat replied, literally waving off Roadhog's concern.
"Likely!" you repeated, stirring the pot. Roadhog turned his head to look at you. You could see your bright green, blue, and yellow plumage reflected in the eyepieces of his mask. He turned back and growled, "Jamison!"
"Fine, fine! I don't know. Stop giving me the third degree. Well. Heh heh!" Roadhog sat silent, ignoring his companion's accidental joke.
You heard clinking and clanking and more welding. This went on for long enough that you fluffed and then settled, leaning against Roadhog's head, ready for a nap. You had begun to believe that the rest of the afternoon was going to actually be quiet. Or rather, quieter than usual. But you should have known Junkrat better than that.
"...say, Roadie? D'you know what's for dinna?"
"Currywurst. Reinhardt's turn," Roadhog rumbled.
"Currywurst!" you repeated, excitedly. You liked currywurst.
"Again?! Don't get me wrong, I like that man's cooking. But it's all he ever makes! And when he makes it spicy, it's really spicy. Ya know? It gives me the burning. The wrong kind of burning. There's only one kind of burning that's wrong. Not like this tire when I'm done with it! Speaking of, I'm almost done. Wanna test it out now?! I just need ta find a working detonator and..."
"Burning! Burning!" you were crying out, trying to tell Roadhog something.
He sighed. He got up and lumbered over to Junkrat. He picked him up by the back of his pants. Roadhog ignored Junkrat's protests ("Oi! Put me down! I'm workin!"), and he started to walk towards the door. He stomach shifted side to side as he walked. You shifted likewise on his shoulder. The slow movements were relaxing, actually.
"We should go help cook," you flapped your wings excitedly at the suggestion, "Make up for the time the oven exploded last Thursday. You scared everyone."
"I didn't even know cake could do that!" Junkrat protested, "I was just trying ta cheer Mei up! She looked so down after that last mission," Roadhog walked down the hall with both of you, "She just looked so...cold. More so than usual, anyway. I was gonna make hot chocolate, but I remember she said she didn't like chocolate very much. All I found were cake ingredients. And you know I know how to really cook things up! HA!"
"Shut your mouth while eating, or you'll choke. I'm not your babysitter."
"Can you believe this, y/n ? The stuff I put up with," Junkrat complained to you. Roadhog grunted.
Chapter 8: Frog Reader
Reader spends part of their time as a dog again. Here's that doggy. He's owned by my current roommates.
"Ho, ho! Y/n, is that you?"
"It must be! I've never seen a frog like that around here before," Hana said.
Having their faces up so close was a overwhelming and a little scary. Their eyes looked so shiny and bright reflecting the sunlight. But they were smiling, so you gladly held it together. You had snuck into Lucio's shirt pocket before he left for the day. When Lucio and Hana stopped to have cold drinks at a Numbani cafe, you decided this was a good time to pop out.
"Awww, y/n is a frog...just for you! Maybe they have a crush on you, Lucy!"
Lucio shoved Hana's shoulder in response, but he didn't stop grinning. You stuck your tongue out, and it stopped just an inch shy of her nose. She yelped something in Korean in a disgusted tone and leaned back in her chair.
"Ha!" Lucio exclaimed triumphantly, also leaning back.
"So, what are you gonna do now?"
"I don't know."
You stared back at them from the table.You didn't really have a plan, either. You thought as far ahead as surprising Lucio, and that was it. You blinked your eyes, and they receded slightly into your head. Wow, that felt really strange.
"How long can frogs go without being in water? Isn't y/n shrivelling up in the Sun out here?"
"I don't think they would have been a frog on this day if they thought they would die."
"That was morbid, Hana."
There was a pause in the conversation as Lucio sipped his pink bubble tea and likewise, Hana sipped her blended iced coffee. Lucio glanced at the glass of ice water between them, and then he glanced at you. He put his drink down.
"Mmmmm, what if...what if I..."
Cold water shocked your body. It was so cold, that it hurt. You jumped forward on the table, trying in vain to escape the discomfort.
"Oh, shit," Lucio said, sounding apologetic. His eyebrows scrunched together in sympathy.
"Yeah, I don't think you know what you're doing."
You started to doubt that a frog was the best choice for this situation. All you can do is sit here roasting in the Sun, blinking weirdly, waiting until a stranger saw you on the table and freaked out. If that went on long enough, you might end up being put in the water glass for your own 'safety.' You would really rather avoid that fate, so you hopped off the side of the table, shifting to a dog. A small black, white, and brown one with a big, derpy ears and a stubby tail. So much for being a frog for Lucio today. Hana, however, was ecstatic. She got out of her chair and bent down to tentatively pat your head. She knew you weren't really a dog, but she couldn't help trying to touch you like one.
"Oh, wow! Y/n! How did you get so cute?"
You would have wagged your tail at her, except you didn't have one. Instead, you waggled your whole back end, pressing your ears to the back of your head. She squealed, and you bounced up, resting your front paws on her thighs. Your nub of a tail wiggled. Lucio laughed.
"That's much better. C'mon Hana, let's get going and finally see this city."
You slipped back down onto all fours and waited, alert, with ears forward for them both to get going.
"No, I'll stay here. I need more coffee. I was up too late again."
"You need to know when to quit, Hana."
She waved him away. You gave her knee a quick lick as a goodbye and then turned to follow Lucio. You heard Hana make another disgusted sound behind you again.
He spoke to you as if you were a real dog, one that could get excited by a few equally exciting words from a human friend. The way Lucio smiled at you, you might as well have been. He started walking quickly down the street as if he had a destination in mind. You bounded after him to catch up. Seems that even without his rollerblades, Lucio had to get everywhere fast.
"Let's see what this city has to offer besides being shiny!"
His trademark dreads flopped back and forth as he looked around. You trotted next to him obediently, tongue lolling out of the side of your mouth (it was still hot). You assumed he would stop if something caught his eye. Passersby stared at you, possibly because you were off-leash.
Rainbows within rainbows of smells hit your nose and blew past. You wouldn't have been able to identify them all, even if you had been taking your time. A particularly strong smell tickled your nose and you sneezed, causing your ears to flop a little.
"Oh, man! Look at this!"
Lucio had stopped in front of a small shop. It was cute, with dainty swirls painted on the windows. The swirls looked strange, because they were outside your colour vision. Maybe it was pink? You weren't sure. Painted on the window in black was a list of names of pastries, flavours of muffins, cookies, and cakes. This must have been the smell from a second ago! The smells of baking!
"Ohhhhh," Lucio said, sounding disappointed.
You followed his gaze, and you saw a sign reading, "Service Animals Only". Your head and ears drooped. Lucio glanced at you and then back at the bakery.
"Hey, hey, y/n. I have an idea," he crouched down next to you and pointed to his pocket, "Hop on up in here, if you know what I mean," he winked, "I'll carry you in there no problem."
It took you a second, but then you understood. You shifted back to frog and managed to make it into his pocket again. You burrowed down into the fabric. It was a little scary, but you trusted your friend. You felt him get up, perhaps a little fast. You pressed your legs outwards into the pocket, for all the good it might do. You were jostled softly up and down as he walked into the bakery.
Sounds of customer conversation, utensils hitting metal mixing bowls, and baking trays being placed on counters hit your frog ears, slightly muffled by the pocket fabric. The jostling stopped, and you assumed Lucio had found the front counter. He started to speak the people behind it.
"Yeah, can I get a second one, please?"
Lucio was such a nice guy. You're glad you took the risk of hiding in his pocket today.
"Thanks. Here you go."
The jostling started up again as Lucio started walking again. Eventually, he stopped.
He pulled the lip of the pocket open and eyed you. You crawled up to the entrance, blinking your large, round eyes. He waved two baggies in front of you and grinned.
"I got one for you, too!"
Chapter 9: Dragon Reader 3
The idea came from Hanzo himself. You were shocked and, also, ecstatic. It was like something out of a cheesy Japanese rpg or a terrible anime, and you loved it. Hanzo wanted to start training to ride on your back during battle. A real-life dragon rider!
Winston and a few of the other agents worked together to design and build a custom saddle for your back. When it was finished, you insisted on starting practice right away. To your surprise again, Hanzo agreed. Genji had given you a few encouraging comments earlier that morning, but you almost didn't need them. You were too excited to help out in a bigger way, and it didn't even involve hurting anyone! What more could you ask for?
"It cannot be that much more difficult than horseback archery," Hanzo said from your back.
He may have been talking to himself when he said that, but you couldn't help but picture him riding across a picturesque field on a handsome horse, shooting arrow after arrow into the centre of a bullseye. It made you want to smile, but you couldn't. Dragons didn't smile. Instead, you danced a few steps in place, alternating lifting your paws up and down like a prancing horse. Your claws clicked a steady rhythm on the ground.
"Patience. We will start soon," Hanzo told you.
He tested the straps for the second time, pulling on them to make sure the saddle wouldn't slide around, leaving him dangling from your belly. You waited patiently like a good dragon. Okay, you didn't. You jumped a little.
"Wait, will you? The practice rings are not going anywhere."
He was referring to the enormous rings floating in the air above the ground. They were arranged one after another like a race course where you had to fly through the rings like checkpoints. To the left and right of each of these rings was a target for Hanzo to shoot arrows at.
"I am ready. Please go."
And you took off!
Perhaps too fast, you thought. You turned your head around to check on your rider. He pointed forward with his finger. Confused, you turned around to see the first ring coming up too fast. Your legs scrambled in the air for invisible purchase, and you slowed to a halt with your nose just shy of the first ring.
You were going to turn around to check to see if Hanzo survived the stop, but that was a mistake the first time. Instead, you felt his weight still in the saddle. He was still there.
"Try again," he said impatiently.
This was probably the most encouraging statement you were going to hear from Hanzo right now, so you mentally shook it off. You adjusted your position, floating slowly through the very middle of the ring. A rocky start, but it was the first try, right?
You continued through the course, steadily picking up speed. You heard arrows hitting the targets, but you didn't dare look until the second round through all the rings. You saw he was hitting the targets near or dead centre. You must have been doing pretty well, then! Encouraged, you gave it your all the third time. Hanzo stopped you after that.
You floated down to the ground gently, and waited for Hanzo to dismount. You put your claws down so he could pull the saddle off without knocking you over. After putting it away, Hanzo walked towards Genji to leave the practice range, and you fell in step behind him.
"How was practice, Hanzo?"
Hanzo stopped to answer his brother.
"That was intense. My thighs feel like the first time I ever rode a horse. Only, more...on fire," he said, wobbling on his feet. He wobbled some more and almost fell. Then he really fell. You were behind him, so he landed on your nose. The musks of sweaty man and saddle leather filled your nostrils. He flailed a bit in attempt to gain his balance back, but no dice.
"I am fine," Hanzo said firmly.
You disagreed, so you slid your nose up his back and caught the back of his shirt in your teeth. You gently lifted until his feet hovered a foot off the ground. You heard irritated protests coming from Hanzo, but you ignored them and shuffled towards the door. You squeezed through the doorway, minding his head, and intended on taking him back to his quarters for some much needed rest. Genji watched the two of you leave. His shoulders were shaking with suppressed laughter.
Chapter 10: Snake Reader
Sorry for more sad.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Pick something! We are going out," Widowmaker said.
The first thing that came to mind was a snake. A brown and tan patterned ball python. You found it fitting, because of the way she spat her S-sounds at people. She wove a silk scarf around her head and put on an oversized pair of sunglasses.
"They always stare," she explained, even though you didn't ask.
She picks you up and leaves the hotel to find her black rental car. Cold splashes land on your scales. It's raining. She leaves the parking lot and heads towards the freeway.
You started out wrapped around her arm, but as Amelie continues to drive, you felt the heat slowly drain from your body. You make your way up past her shoulder, into her scarf, and coil around her neck.
"Are you cold?"
You curl more tightly and press your nose into her skin, seeking warmth. You attempt to tickle her with your slim, forked tongue.
"Hm," Amelie says curtly, perhaps in lieu of a laugh.
She changes lanes on the freeway without using the turn signal.
"I am a poor choice if you are."
She gets off the freeway to get coffee in a drive thru. She places you in the passenger seat before she gets to the window. After a polite but stiff, "Merci," she resumes driving on the long stretch of road.
"I will turn on the heated seats. I'm sure Sombra would be sad if you died."
As she said, the surface warms, and you stretch out. You lift your head and gaze out the window. Deep green trees go by in front of a backdrop of varying shades of grey, angry rain clouds.
"Gabrielle insists that I should return to HQ, but I love this place. See how grey it is? See how it rains like the whole province is sad all the time? It reminds me of the last time I visited Gerard. It rained that day. A lot. Almost as if the clouds were trying to cry for me. Because I can't."
She scoffed quietly, and her lips pursed slightly.
"My good black shoes got wet."
"A year ago, I heard a song that matches the atmosphere pearfectly," she tickled your chin briefly with a single finger, "I will play it for you."
With a button press, a holoscreen pops up and overlays the steering wheel. She flicks through menus and comes to a long, long list. She scrolls down the list rapidly and stops on G.
The song starts, and 'Garbage - Only Happy When It Rains' displays on the middle dash screen. You've never heard of this artist before.
It sounded old. It lacked the crisp quality of songs that you were accustomed to today. The music itself was heavily reliant on electric guitar, and you found that odd. The singer herself seemed to be trying too hard. Regardless, you think you get what mood Amelie was going for. You attempt to bob your head back and forth in time to the music, but you're too slow. You heard her sniff at you.
"That reminds me," Amelie says, as she rifles through her purse with her right hand, "I have to take..."
She pulls out a plastic pill bottle. She presses another button on the steering wheel. She takes her hands away as the autopilot takes over. She fiddles with the lid and removes it. She takes two round, white, chalky pills from the container. She looks over at you meaningfully.
"I don't think I need to remind you that if you say anything..."
You're taken aback. You had been letting her lull you with her low voice and soft R's. She did indeed need to remind you what kind of deadly woman she was. You nodded slowly.
"How ridiculous," Amelie scrunched her nose, "Talking to a snake."
She popped the pills and took a sip of her coffee.
She took back control of the car and more sad, but intense, songs play from the speakers.
"They are for depression."
A few more songs play. The rain patters on the windshield. The wipers start to squeak as they wave back and forth. You think she's done speaking to you, so you curl up tight in a round pile, feeling sleepy from the heat.
"They don't work."
The setting is my native British Columbia. I miss its rain.
Chapter 11: Panther Reader
Panther Reader/Soldier 76
"You think I don't now what you're up to, here?!" accused 76 in a loud voice.
"You don't know what you're dealing with, Old Man," came the snarky reply.
"Tch. You think I got to this age losing to punks like you?"
You heard the sound of something solid hitting the wall. Your muscles tensed in response. You couldn't help when your claws extended. You retracted them, waiting for 76's command.
"If you don't cease what you're doing, I'll have to call my...friend. They would love to have a...chat with you," his gravelly voice whispered, as if he was letting the man in on a secret. Your ears flicked forward and picked it up no problem, though.
"What are you...why are you being weird? Friend? You want friends, Old Man? I got friends-"
Another slam against the wall and a grunt.
"I'm warning you," 76 growled.
"Fine. You asked for it. Y/n, get to work."
You rounded the corner in the dimly lit alley to see the target pushing himself off the wall. Once he was far enough from the wall, you dashed forward.
You leapt at him, knocking the man to the ground, and roaring as loud you could. You loved doing that. It made you sound scrappy, like you were about to fight for your life.
"What the fuck is this?!" he screamed.
You dropped your lower jaw, showcasing your large, pointed, white teeth, and let out a drawn-out hiss. Quiet this time, like you were sure you didn't need to be louder. Your claws extended to just touch his clothes, and you leaned your weight forward a tad more. All was a show. An empty threat. The man beneath you froze.
"Okay! Okay! Call it off! Please!"
It always worked.
"Heh. I wouldn't be surprised if he had pissed himself. How dark it was, he could only see your eyes and your teeth."
You curled your tail back and forth, feeling pleased. The two of you got what you wanted tonight without harming anyone.
"Let's head back," 76 said.
He switched off the red light of his visor and rejoined the shadows. You slunk after him. He led the two of you in a different direction than your hideout. Through alleys crowded with smelly refuse, clean ones spotted with only a few cigarette butts, under bridges, and down streets sparse with streetlights. It was like he was leading you through a maze instead of a city. Through the myriad of smells, you kept your nose trained on the scent of his old leather jacket and man sweat. Partway on your little journey, he doubled back and found your hideout.
What a paranoid man.
You two arrived back to the tiny hideout to find Ana with her face buried in her phone, no doubt in contact with her daughter.
"I'm beat. Gonna sleep," was all he said.
76 immediately lay down to take a cat nap. You would join him soon after. You circled the floor once and lay next to the dirty, stolen mattress your companion had already zonked out on. Your tail curled over to rest on one of his boots.
When you awoke later, you found the night was eerily quiet. Your swivelled your ears about, but all you heard was a distant ambulance siren and some lively music someone was playing without regard to their neighbours' need to sleep.
You got up, making sure to stretch thoroughly along the way. While you were doing that, Ana made her way over to you and placed a small bowl of water in beneath your nose. You purred shortly in thanks, and started lapping it up. It was surprisingly clean, given the current living space.
When finished, you glanced over to 76. He was still knocked out. He must have been pushing himself more than usual. You mentally kicked yourself for not noticing. You felt a tickle in the back of your mind that told you that now was usually when 76 would like to move on from any given safehouse, but he did need that sleep. And a shower. He certainly smelled liked it, you thought, staring at his sleeping figure. Your large, pink tongue curled out of your mouth to absent-mindedly lick up a few stray drops of water remaining in your whiskers.
You knew you shouldn't, but his hair looked like it needed a brush, and...
A few minutes later, a pair of strong arms shoved you off, and you dropped down onto the pads of your front feet. He stood up from the mattress.
"Y/n! What did I say about the grooming?!"
A purr vibrated from your chest in amusement, and you licked your own nose once.
"You do need a shower, Jack," Ana said.
"Unless we're gonna bathe in your tea cups, I don't want to hear about it," he snapped. Then he paused and sighed, possibly in exhaustion or guilt, or both, "The next place'll have better facilities, I promise."
"It's no problem, Jack. I've done this before. I know what it's like."
"I know, but still..."
"Don't take on more of a burden than you already do," Ana scolded him.
You growled softly to get his attention and rubbed your velvety cheek against the side of his leg.
"I know you worry, too, y/n," 76 said, "Thanks."