Genji sat cross-legged in his seat as the flight dragged on. He never would have guess Zenyatta would know how to fly it, but wasn't entirely surprised at the fact, either. He was a little anxious at leaving Angela behind. She seemed distraught, but he had no time to talk to her. She needed sleep to think straight and the chance to sort her feelings on her own.
"What thoughts are plaguing you, my student?"
Genji pursed his lips and tapped his metal fingers on the faceplate in his lap. "I do not believe Angela is wrong," he admitted. "Is reviving Overwatch the right thing to do?"
"Maybe, maybe not," Zenyatta said after a moment of pause. "I believe it is the people involved that will make the difference this time. Choose your allies wisely."
Genji's eyebrows twitched as he reveled in the truth of his master's words. No one knew what really drew Overwatch to its downfall, but if his memory served, the rebellion Reyes tried to sell him shortly before the explosion in Switzerland didn't help.
"Focus on the mission now, Genji," Zenyatta said, pulling him from his thoughts again, "and we will be back at Gibraltar before too long."
God, he hoped so.
By the time Angela woke up, nearly 12 hours later, everyone had left. She found Lucio and Hana playing a game system in the lounge next to the mess hall as she went to find food. With her mind clear, she mulled over the meeting, a little disappointed to realize she'd have to wait for Torbjӧrn to come back before they could speak about the upgrades she had in mind for Genji.
Instead she spent the four days he was away trying to design a module to enhance the receptors in his mouth so he could taste again. She felt so stupid the whole time she was designing it, easily finding a way to do it. She could have done this for him years ago while he was working to take down the Shimada clan. Being able to have some sort of normalcy probably would have helped him so much.
Genji and Zenyatta returned first, having found Satya and relayed their message. While she declined to join them at the time, she told them not to rule her out entirely. She just wanted to be sure that joining Overwatch again would be the right course for her.
"I have something for you," she grinned when she first saw Genji after his return. He'd been following Zenyatta down a hall to the back of the building. Zenyatta nodded him off and left the two alone in the hallway.
Genji pressed the releases and took off the visor and faceplate, smiling down at her. It was like a completely different person from the sullen, sleep-deprived woman he'd left behind. "I hope you got more sleep."
"Plenty," she pressed. She held up a clear plastic case with a contraption inside. It looked like a complicated computer ship with several wires leading out, curling into tiny black discs.
"What is that?" he asked, taking the case from her.
"That is the first upgrade I have for you," she grinned, nearly bouncing up and down. "This is for you, Genji. Not Overwatch, not protection. Call it a quality of life enhancement."
"Quality of life?"
"I really just want it to be a surprise, okay?" she told him. "It's nothing bad, I just don't want you to be too disappointed if it doesn't work."
He looked her over skeptically before letting her drag him down the hall to her lab.
"How did it go, by the way?" she asked as they walked down the stairs.
"We did not convince her to come back with us, but she is completely aware of the risks, knowing Talon apparently has an agenda."
"Best you could hope for, I guess," Angela nodded, holding the door open for him. She pointed to the medical beds in the corner. "Pick one and lie down. Take off your armor."
"I have seen enough western horror movies," Genji began and Angela laughed.
"I am not a fan of horror," she told him, grabbing a tray of sterilized tools she'd prepared and his box of mechanical tools. "I can't handle it."
He left his armor on a table near her desk along with his visor and face plate and made himself comfortable on a bed, starting to feel a little nervous when he spotted a scalpel and tweezers among the usual tools she used on him.
"Just a minor incision," she told him, catching the brief horrified look on his face, which sobered her giddy mood pretty effectively. "Shouldn't be more than a couple of stitches, I promise. And with the nanobiotics, you should be completely healed in a day or two."
"I trust you, Angela."
She smiled. "Are you sure this is okay? I can tell you what it is if you're uncomfortable—"
He sensed her suddenly doubting her plan to surprise him and he smiled warmly at her. "I trust you. I will let you surprise me."
She let out a breath and opened the plastic container, gently placing the wired piece on the metal tray next to her. "Tilt your chin up for me." She sat down next to him, practically lying on his chest to get the angle she needed. "You won't be able to move your jaw while I work, so don't be alarmed when you lose feeling."
Genji felt her remove the armor plating around his neck and jaw, something he only did at night. He felt the cold air against his skin and felt a little exposed, but tried not to be embarrassed in front of Angela. She knew what he looked like beneath it all. He felt her remove the metal plate at the back of his neck, exposing the data board there. She leaned back and picked up a syringe.
"I'm just going to add a touch of anesthetic for the incisions. You'll be numb for a couple of hours."
He felt the initial prick then, as she said, felt the tingle of numbness take over his jaw and cheeks. His tongue felt invasive in his own mouth. There was slight pressure beneath his chin a couple of times.
"I'm going to plug this into the central data board and then these things," she held it up above him, flicking the dangling discs with her gloved fingers, "will be attached the nerves in your mouth and throat."
Without waiting for a response, she ducked down again and he felt her insert the mechanism, a stronger pressure on the data board and she attached the chip. He noted no immediate change as she picked up a needle and began to close the small incisions a few minutes later, her diagnostics confirming t was hooked up accurately.
"There's no way to tell if it worked until the anesthesia wears off," she told him. "But you're all done." She'd carefully hooked up a few of the armor plates, but left most of them on the table next to him. "I know how you feel about being this…being without the armor, but the wounds need to heal."
Genji sat up slowly and rand a hand over his exposed jaw, but feeling nothing from his nose to his neck. He remembered the feeling of numbness, but it had been a long time. But he couldn't figure out what she could have possibly plugging into the data board. He had a few hunches, but didn't want to get his hopes up over one and it turn out to be another.
Angela could easily see the curiosity on his face, and she hoped with all her being that this worked. Without Torbjӧrn there, her work was stalled, so she'd be able to more or less follow him around the base if only to see the look on his face when he realized.
"So, let me see if I can find some pain killers for when the numbness wears off," Angela muttered, heading towards the locked cabinet of medicines.
"I'll be fine," Genji managed to say as clearly as he could, somewhat proud of how normal it sounded.
"Okay, well, come find me when the numbness wears off and we can test it," she told him with a grin, hands on her hips.
Genji pressed his lips together for a moment before leaving the bed and collecting his armor in one hand. "Are you working?" he asked carefully, reattaching his chest armor.
She frowned as he stared at the face plates in his hands longingly. "Nothing really," she sighed. "I'm kind of at a standstill with this other upgrade for one of your systems until Torbjӧrn returns." She frowned. "I could get started on a side project."
"I will leave you to it," he said, taking his leave.
"Come back when the numbness wears off, okay?" He nodded and laughed at her enthusiasm, happy to see her excited over being able to help him.
He gently poked at the incisions, but still felt nothing. Meditation would keep his mind busy for the next few hours, he decided, changing course for the small garden. He silently hoped no one would find him there.
Angela bounced on her toes excitedly as she prepared the bowl of ramen. It still probably wouldn't "taste the same" as he had claimed since it was a cheap cup of noodles she found in the pantry. But it would be enough to show him what she had done.
"You know those taste disgusting right?"
Angela looked up to see Hana and Lucio walk into the mess hall, the former had her nose scrunched up.
"Well, then it is a good thing it is not for you," she said with a smile.
Hana and Lucio plopped down into seats in front of her. "Hey, I didn't know Genji still had some of his body," Lucio said suddenly.
"I tried to tell him," Hana sighed, putting her face in her hand. "We cut through the yard and Genji was sitting on a rock." She gestured to her own face. "It was all uncovered for the first time in like…ever."
"He used to be a lot less sensitive about it," Angela told them softly. "When he was a part of Blackwatch, he didn't really care what others thought so much. He was very single-minded back then."
"He had parts of his chest, too," Hana told Lucio. "And his arm."
"I made the current armor he wears now shortly before you joined us, before the fall."
"Can we go now?" Hana whined to Lucio. "There's this stream—"
Lucio sighed dramatically and stood. "Thanks for your time, Dr. Zeigler," he waved.
Angela smiled down at the steaming cup of ramen and plucked a plastic fork out of the container on one of the tables lining the wall of the mess hall as she left. She decided it would be better to show him somewhere where others wouldn't be gawking at him like Lucio and Hana had.
She found him in the yard, just like they'd said. He was sitting off to the side, out of the way and partially hidden by a tree. He was cross-legged perched on a rock, hands folded in his lap. Angela stood there for a second, studying his expressionless face. She'd only ever seen him meditate with his mask on.
"Lucio and Hana said I could find you out here," she said softly when she finally found her voice.
"I heard them," he murmured, eyes still shut. "If they think I cannot hear while meditating, they need to have a strong conversation with my master about multitasking."
Angela laughed and Genji looked up at her, lips turning upward. He noticed the Styrofoam cup in her hand, and she quickly held it out to her, offering a fork from her other hand. "It's been long enough that most of the numbing has probably worn off."
"What?" he asked dumbly, staring at the cup and fork.
She shook them gently and grinned, waiting as he slowly reached up and took them from her. He stared down into the cup, noticing the noodles. "You didn't…"
"What did you think I did?" she laughed.
Genji spun the fork in the cup, gathering noodles. "I didn't want to hope," he breathed.
She wrung her hands together nervously. "It still might not…" she began as he took a bite, but the look on his face stopped her. His eyebrows pulled together and his eyes closed, head drooping. "So?"
"These are absolutely disgusting," he mumbled, but the emotion in his voice caught her by surprise. He looked up at her and she noticed the red in his cheeks. "I will have to show you what real ramen tastes like."
"It worked?" she asked for confirmation, take a step back when he stood up suddenly.
He carefully set the noodles on the rock and turned back to her, pulling her to him. "Thank you, Angela," he murmured in her ear.
"You're welcome, Genji." She watched as he turned to look at the cup of ramen. "We can go find some better food, if you want. The noodles were the easiest thing I could find to make quickly without wasting food if it didn't work."
Genji grinned and gestured towards the door to the building, letting her lead the way.