warning: blood, mild gore

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Zenyatta once heard Genji describing sleep like death. During their early years together, Genji didn't dream. He didn't settle down into sleep softly like many other humans do. He worked himself until he was too exhausted to stand, letting himself fall into unconsciousness. If Genji woke, either to use the toilet or for any other discomfort, he got up, refusing to go back down. He described sleep like death because it was nothingness to him.

the As an omnic, there were so much Zenyatta would never understand. But despite his ignorance, he did his best to guide Genji along, hoping one day Genji could sleep without comparing it to death.

Zenyatta didn't understand the comparison until one day, he woke up.

It came like a flash. One moment there was nothing but darkness, and in the next, his entire systems were up, startling him into awareness. He shuddered, confused to why he was on the ground in a heap.

Zenyatta pushed himself up slowly, taking inventory of himself. Nothing was registering as broken, and despite his unconsciousness just a moment ago, he was at full power. If he wasn't injured or at low power, then why-?

That's when he noticed the blood.

It was on his hands. His clothes. Splattered all over him like a macabre Jackson Pollock painting. The blood was still fresh, still running free down one of his fingertips. He turned, and the sight before him made him cry out in alarm.

The remains of two humans were all around him. Both of them had been torn apart.

Zenyatta has seen animals attack prey before. He's seen the slaughter houses humans used for their cattle, but this was nothing like that. There was no rational thought or goal in these human's dismemberment; just unbridled rage.

Zenyatta didn't recognize either of the humans, but he crawled forward, reaching out to them in despair.

"Did I do this?" He asked out loud.

Someone answered him. "Yes."

His head snapped upwards. Standing above him on a light pole was a young woman.

Suddenly the memories of what happened before Zenyatta fell unconscious came back. He knew this person- Sombra. An online terrorist with unparalleled skills in computers and technology. She had stolen the locations of several omnic safe houses and if any of those became public, then many human and omnic lives would become in danger. Zenyatta was in he middle of chasing her when-

Nothingness. Like Genji said.

"Honestly, I didn't think it would work," Sombra said, cocking her head. "You omnics are always going on and on about free will and the right to choose and blah blah blah. I always theorized if I hacked one of you, your higher plane of consciousness would fight against it, kicking me out. But no, getting into your brains was as easy as making toast."

Zenyatta pushed himself away from the corpses. "You... you hacked me?"

"I just said that."

"I... you made me kill them? Why?"

Sombra leapt off the lamp post. For any other human, the landing should've shattered her legs, but she landed with ease, showing no discomfort.

"Because," she said, straightening. Her dark eyes showing no remorse. "I wanted to see if I could do it. I wanted to see if you could do it. I wanted to know the answer to the old age question myself: do omnics have free will or is it all programming?"

I think, therefore I am.

This was the mantra Zenyatta has kept close to his heart all these years. Zenyatta didn't have all the answers. He was learning just as much from Genji as he was from him. The discussion of what it means to be alive was something Zenyatta was going to struggle with for his entire existence, but he did exist. I think, therefore I am. He was not a thing. He was Zenyatta. He was someone.

He shakily got to his feet. Blood continued to drip off of him. His orbs laid dormant on the ground like scattered marbles. He activated them and they flew upwards, twirling around him in a beautiful golden light. He stepped forward.

"What are you doing?" Sombra asked, clearly thrown.

"First, I'm going to laid these humans to rest." He kneeled down to the first corpse. "And then afterwards, I'll contact the authorities."

"You're going to turn yourself in?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because someone needs to take responsibility for their deaths. I am willing."

"But it wasn't you!"

Zenyatta turned to her. Sombra snapped her mouth shut, realizing her words.

"You're right," Zenyatta said. He turned back and gently laid one hand over the human's eyes. He closed them. "It wasn't me."