“Simulation terminated. Thank you for your contribution, please vacate the simulation chamber.”
Gone. The blood, the screaming, the wasteland of spent shells and mines, all gone in the blink of an eye. Across the chamber the victors watched Tracer lead her disgruntled team away; a loss was a painful thing, no one wanted to hang around for the taunting.
“Ratty! Me and Brigitte and Lucio are going for pizza and GTA! Wanna join?” The MECH was gone, D.Va sprung and leaped onto Brigitte's back without a moment's pause. Her smile was touching, deeply so. Warm, inviting. Even Hana's companions smiled, extending the invite and its sincerity. Involuntarily, Junkrat cast a look to his other teammates but Roadhog had long since departed, exhausted and eager for the peace. For a moment Junkrat's chest became heavy, just for a moment. Then Lucio gave him an encouraging nudge, and Junkrat's concern quickly evaporated. “Yeah, I wanna blow things up!”
The pizza was from a take-out, of course, accompanied by chicken wings, strong beer, and the familiar sound of destruction and screaming wenches. Junkrat all but squealed with laughter; a high pitched caw, and Lucio jumped. “Hey, you're putting me off!” he pouted, and again when his stolen car crashed into the railings. Flames burst from the engine of the car; a compact eruption, and with it, the word DEAD, dripping in blood.
“Got ya!” Hana squealed, and her own truck rammed into the back of Lucio's. Junkrat's infectious laughter rained down like blood. “Again, again!” he clapped his hand on Brigitte's shoulder in delight. Though only a game, the chaos was something of a drug to Junkrat. The joy, the death .. . Had it been anyone but Junkrat laughing his companions may well have fled.
“As you wish,” D.Va giggled, scrambling from her ruined truck. The avatar was male, wearing a white tuxido splattered with blood and petrol. As a storm of police bullets tore the air to shreds Hana danced chicly from death's path. The avatar's tie spilled free of the confines of the jacket; red as blood, but decorated with little white and pink hearts. The storm passed D.Va. Four officers fell quickly to her skill and Hana jumped their bodies with ease and into a police car. “Aw, sorry, I still love you!” she giggled at Lucio, and sped away.
“Why's his tie all funny?” Junkrat pointed to the screen, though the tie was long since out of sight.
“It's a Valentine's day skin! I got it last week, remember?” With the cops no longer on her trail D.Va took the opportunity to take a slice of pizza. “Surely you haven't forgotten Valentine's day Ratty, it's on the calender.” She pointed with greasy fingers across the room to a calender on the wall. February 14th's day was covered in little pink hearts and smiley faces.
“Valentine's . . ?” Junkrat cocked his head like a confused puppy. “Oh . . . I thought all those hearts meant Reinhardt was finally getting his heart surgery.”
Brigitte burst out laughing. “Dummy! The heart surgery was last month. And that was for Ana, not my godfather.” She ruffled Junkrat's hair affectionately. Though Overwatch's newest member and still younger than Junkrat, Brigitte had quickly found herself, like D.Va and Lucio, eager to care for their clueless friend.
“Oh, okay . . . So what's Valentine's day?” Junkrat racked his brains but nothing came to mind.
“Only the most important day for lovers,” Lucio said, helping himself to a chicken wing.
“Lovers . . ?” Just like that a face sprung into Junkrat's head, and was quickly followed by a burst of red over his cheeks. Of course, it was noted instantly.
“Eee!!! Ratty has a special girl!!! Who is she???” D.Va gasped.
“No one.” Very quickly Junkrat busied himself behind a slice of pizza, to little avail.
“Liar, you're all red,” Brigitte smirked, pinching Junkrat's cheeks. “She in Overwatch? Do we know her?”
“What does she look like?” Lucio asked.
"It's no one . ..” Junkrat whined, sinking back into the corner of the couch. Despite his past and eventual involvement in Overwatch, Junkrat was rather secretive. No one knew of his past life; they'd not seen a life within Junkertown or how a lowly street rat lived its pitiful life, the people he depended on. “ . . . Just hypothetically speaking . . . What do people do on Valentine's day?”
“Eeek! Ratty's in love!!!” The game was abandoned, and D.Va pounced, glomping Junkrat, covering his head in kisses. Junkrat gasped and tried to squirm away but Brigitte held on tight.
“No I'm not . . .” Junkrat whimpered. He'd become oddly red, a colour that did not suit his complexion. “ . . . but what do people do for Valentine's day?” He'd no idea how to be subtle, and that only fuelled the thrill of his companions. Lucio burst out laughing. He tossed aside chicken bones and quickly helped himself to another wing.
“Well, traditionally on Valentine's day couples go on a romantic date, and they get each other gifts. Something really special, from the heart,” Lucio explained patiently.
Gifts? “What, like an artery or something?” Junkrat asked, bringing laughter down again.
“No, not an artery,” Lucio smiled and offered Junkrat a chicken wing. “Can't go wrong with flowers and chocolates, they always make a girl feel special.”
“Bah!” Brigitte and Hana both snorted in disgust, deeply unimpressed. “Bullshit, not dumb flowers and chocolates, that's so obvious,” Brigitte said, capturing Junkrat's attention. “If she's in Overwatch she don't wanna feel weak and in need of a man. What does she fight with? A beautiful weapon would go down well, and some strong beer.”
“A bunny!” D.Va put in, leaping up to join her friends. “Nothing says romance like something cute and cuddly. Or a kitty!”
“True, but that's no good if she doesn't have time to care for an animal. And don't listen to Lucio, he's full of crap.” Brigitte added calmly.
“I am not! Flowers and chocolates are traditional and romantic. Romance is not beating the hell outta each other with weapons.”
“Then why are Jack and Reyes always trying to kill each other?”
“Because they're crazy and old, and old people just wanna die,” Lucio said flatly, and the laughter began again. Even Junkrat found tears streaming down his cheeks.
“God save us all,” Brigitte gasped and used her own sleeve to wipe up Junkrat's cheeks. “So, a weapon, a cute pet if you can, and don't listen to Lucio. Anything else you need to know for your girl?”
“This is all hypothetical!” Junkrat cried defensively. He remained close to Brigitte and D.Va however, and considered for a moment. “ . . . Um, just when is this Valentine's day thing anyway?”
Valentine's day. A stupid excuse to skip work and pretend life was perfect. Jack and Gabriel were gone for the day, as were Hanzo and Jesse, Tracer, Angelica and Genji. Even Zarya had a date. Of course, as many people as possible took this rare chance to escape the confines of Overwatch. “Idiots,” Roadhog grunted, annoyed deeply by the lack of attendance during training. How could any of these fools claim to be soldiers when they flunked their duties to play happy families? Another wasted day, it seemed, and Maco bore no interest in being sat in simulation, continuously frozen or shot down like a pig. Alone, he raided the company cupboards for chips and trudged back to his lonely little apartment, another day spent alone.
“. . . THE FUCK?!”
Of course, no such luck. “Ah, don't do that!” Junkrat squeaked and leaped on the back of young Choctaw hog. The poor beast stumbled and cried, and suddenly flopped onto the floor in a mess of beer and vomit, and Junkrat crashed to the ground at Roadhog's feet. “Ah! H-Hoggie!!! Happy birthday! I mean, uh . . ..”
“ . .. The hell is going on?” Roadhog interrupted thickly. He turned to the pig, just sleeping, its mouth wide open and reeking of alcohol and chocolate. “This pig has a pistol.” Maco grunted. Indeed, a semi-automatic pistol had been duct taped to the pig's back, loaded, but on safety mode thank God.
“Yeah. . . Is it not good?” Junkrat could almost feel himself shrinking away. A weapon, beer, something cute . .. Maybe Brigitte was right about the flowers and chocolates, now nothing but a mess of stalks caked in a gunky concoction of chocolate and beer. Beneath the filth, Roadhog casually picked something else up. A card? Pink, once, but now just a sticky and ruined, just like the rest of Roadhog's apartment. Destroyed, and utterly stinking.
“ . .. I did me best . . . I'm sorry, I'll sort it!” Junkrat grabbed a cloth and started to clean, or tried to at least. Within seconds the rag was filthy and worked only spread the mess over Roadhog's apartment. “Ah, you got it on your chest. Let me do that!” Junkrat jumped and tried to wipe the mess with his disgusting rag, of course, only spreading the mess further. “Ack! Don't worry Hoggie, I got it I got it I got i-”
But Junkrat had nothing. The cloth was gone and instead, it was Roadhog who had him. Despite the mess and rancid odour Maco bent down and pulled Junkrat into his strong, but gentle embrace. “Idiot,” he snorted, touched more deeply than he could have ever imagined. He leaned down, the mask slipped away and Roadhog pressed a moist kiss to Junkrat's lips. “Thanks, stupid,” his hold was warm and comforting and in seconds, Junkrat found himself softening into the hug.
“Y-you're not mad?”
Maco blinked, and smirked. “Nah. What's Valentine's day without having to clean up your mess? Here, gimme a hand. I'll move the pig.” Roadhog turned. With a grunt he lifted the young hog into his arms, and in turn the pig grunted in its sleep. The stench of chocolate and beer clung to its breath. “Where'd you get a pig from anyway?”
Junkrat paused mid mop, and considered the question for a while. “.. . Oh yeah! I found 'er in a slaughter house!” James beamed, evidently pleased with himself. However for himself, Roadhog was stumped.“. . . The fuck were you doing in a slaughter ho-” And Maco stopped, suddenly noticing the dark red gash on Junkrat's chest. Fresh, and right beneath an old scar from just last year. Roadhog's lips twitched and he turned away, fighting back laughter. “Idiot. Did you try to give me another artery~?”