Evenings at the Talon base were uneventful at best. Sombra was locked away in her room, either hacking bank accounts or getting blackmail on various world leaders. Regardless of what it was, she was only doing it for her own benefit.
Amelie was cleaning her rifle in the den while Akande and Gabriel sat on the couch and watched a documentary, Gabriel traded in his usual garb for a simple yet form fitting black t-shirt and a comfortable pair of dark grey pants. His face was free of his mask, black smoke trickled off of the left side of his face, it was damage from the earlier mission that was slow to heal. A few moments passed before Sombra rushed into the room and sat between the two men on the couch. She leaned on Gabe's shoulder with a smile. Perhaps tonight wouldn't be as uneventful as previously thought.
"What do you want Sombra?" The wraith growled out and side eyed her.
"Oh nothing, I just have some information you might find interesting."
"If it's not "Jack Morrison is dead", I don't want to know."
Sombra pouted and moved over to Widowmaker. "Fine, heeyyy Chica, guess who's back on the radar?" She smiled, receiving an inquisitive hum from the woman
Everyone in the room looked over at Sombra from what they were doing.
"What?" Gabriel asked sharply.
"ETA?" Akande asked.
"She's coming here?!" The wraith sounded increasingly agitated. "You knew about this?"
"Oh she's here. She's settling in now." Sombra smiled over at Gabe. He quickly stood and shifted to black smoke, leaving for his room. He locked the door behind him before pacing his room quietly. He wondered why she was brought here before it hit him.
The past few missions he had taken part in were nearly failures due to complications with his abilities. His regeneration has been slower and less responsive to damage.
A knock at his door threw him out of his thoughts. He didn't want to open the door, if it was who he thought it was, it wouldn't matter either way. He unlocked and opened the door. The ginger woman in question stood before him with a smug smile. "Long time Gabriel, how is my favorite patient?"
"You mean test subject? He spat back. Moira's smile faded quickly.
"You've been having problems with your genetic regeneration, the damage on your face is evidence of that. I can fix you." She didn't feel like beating around the bush anymore, it wasn't productive and got old quickly. Gabe folded his arms over his chest, thinking.
"Fine," he broke the silence, "but that's all you'll be doing, I'm not your play thing anymore."
"Very well Gabriel. Come along darling." She motioned with her finger as she turned. He rolled his eyes and followed her in silence. Sombra gave the man a knowing smile as the pair walked through the den. Gabriel shot her a glare before quickly following Moira to her new laboratory. He didn't like how much the girl knew about him. He knew he shouldn't have allowed her to know his name the first time they met. Upon entering the lab, he looked around at his surroundings, it didn't take her long to get adjusted. She pat the examination table as a request. He sat down and looked back at her. "Shirt off." She said as she began setting up her computer and sensors. He rolled his eyes and pulled off the black piece of cloth. His body was riddled with scars of every shape and size.
"The state of you…" she said as gentle fingers traced a particularly long one. Gabe jumped at the touch and glared back at her.
"Just get this over with." He growled out and settled back on the table.
"My my Gabriel, aren't we an impatient patient." She teased and pressed sensors to various places on his back before moving around to his front and placed a view more methodically. Gabe looked over her as she worked. He found himself relaxing slightly as deft hands ran over his shoulders, and suddenly they were gone. She had returned to her computer to monitor the output from the sensors.
"Oh my, interesting… very interesting…" She mused before looking up at Gabe.
"What?" He said, quite gruffly. She simply smiled before looking back at her screen.
"It seems the nanites that allow your regeneration are deteriorating."
"So fix it."
"These are beyond repair. You need a complete system flush and new will replace the old."
"Then do it." He frowned, He didn't like her giddy little smile, there was something she wasn't telling him.
"I'm afraid that will require more tests. You see, I've upgraded the technology greatly since I last worked on you. I would hate for you to have an adverse reaction if I don't program them properly."
"Of course…." he muttered under his breath. He folded his arms over his chest and stared at her, red pierced her duo tone eyes. "And if I elect not to let you do this?" He asked, he didn't want to be a test subject, not again.
"Then you're likely to stop regenerating altogether." She frowned and looked over him. Her hand came up and stroked over the edges of the damage on his face. "You're going to get yourself killed." She sighed softly. Gabe went quiet again before exhaling sharply.
"Fine. Do what you need to." He growled softly. Moira motioned for him to lay down with one hand. She moved out of his sight for a moment before returning with a tray of instruments. Gabe was silently watching her, she was entirely too pleased about this for his liking. In a flash she was at his side, a scalpel was pressed to his forearm, slicing the skin deeply. He groaned out in pain and shot her a glare. Black smoke began pouring from the wound and she used one hand to collect it. "Relax Gabe, it is necessary." She said before moving away from him. "I need to monitor how slow it takes you to regenerate to see just how far gone the nanites are, so we'll have plenty of time to catch up."
Gabriel rolled his eyes. "Isn't that why your collecting them?"
"Data Gabriel, I need all the data."
Of course she did.
"Now, tell me about Switzerland."
"What about it?" He grunted.
Gabriel rushed through the halls of the Swiss base, a manilla folder clutched in his hand. He had to get to Jack, he had to tell him. He had to tell him that Overwatch had been infiltrated by omnic extremist sympathizers. Blackwatch had been doing secret internal investigations into various members before figuring out a terror attack was in the works. He didn't know when they would strike and he had to warn Jack. He rushed into the Strike Commander's office.
"Gabe, can this wait? I'm trying to make sure the director doesn't get on my ass for your teams little stunt in Dubai."
"Dammit Jack how many times do I have to tell you, Weinovich's team followed all protocols when engaging the enemy." Gabe frowned, did they really have time to rehash this?
"Then why do I have to make ten calls to the families of the civilians that were caught in the crossfire. Dammit Gabe! Overwatch is already under enough scrutiny without Blackwatch fucking up at every turn. How many times do I have to suspend operations for you to get your team in line?" Piercing blue eyes met with angry brown ones.
"Fine! How about I fix all your problems boy scout, and disband Blackwatch altogether. You've been looking for a reason to do it anyway. I'll just make it easier for you."
"Gabe, you know that's not-"
"Shut up Jack! Don't lie to me, you're shit at it anyway." Gabe threw the folder down on Jack's desk before he crossed his arms over his chest. "You might be interested in that, after you're done kissing the directors ass like always." He knew he should have pressed more, he knew he should have forced Jack to listen, but he just didn't care anymore. He didn't want their fight to turn to fisticuffs like they usually did nowadays. "Then after you take your head out of your own ass, come find me!" He stated before turning on his heel and storming off.
He was quick make it down the hall, he needed to get away before he turned around and did something he was going to regret.
He had made it about halfway down the hall when the faint sound of an explosion rang out. Then another and another, closer this time. "Oh no…" He turned to get back to Jack's office before another explosion went off. The door to his office had been blown off and the entire room was ablaze. "Jack!" He shouted out before there was a loud rumble, the walls and ceiling came crumbling down around him, he found himself crushed under rubble and pipes, then everything went dark.
"I'm sure you saw all the reports, Blackwatch conspired against Overwatch, I lead them so I could take the position of Strike Commander for myself." He explained. There was no use in trying to tell the truth at this point, it was so many years ago now that the truth didn't matter. "The explosion's timing was thrown off and I was trapped under rubble for three days." At least that part was true.
"How did you survive it?" She asked, curiosity filled her voice.
"I didn't." Gabe went silent after that.
Three days had passed since the first day the sound of rescue crews sifting through rubble made it into the small pocket of air that Gabriel had. He blew out his voice trying to yell for help. The second day was more of the same, minus his shouts for help. By the third day, he had resigned himself to die there. He couldn't feel his legs and he was losing blood from where a pipe had gone through his shoulder. It was a shit way to go, he had always imagined his death would be in the line of duty, fighting some omnic rebels, not trapped under concrete blocks and steel girders. He wondered why Moira's nanites weren't doing much in the way of his injuries. If he survived this, he'd have to locate her, as much as he didn't want to see her.
The sound of shifting rocks had roused him from his thoughts. Light penetrated the dark air pocket he was stuck in. blinding the injured man. The rubble was removed from his legs and back before he was lifted carefully onto a gurney. He couldn't see who it was as his eyes were still adjusting to the new lighting. He heard a familiar german voice that had a sense of urgency to it. He tried to stay conscious as he was transported but he couldn't, it took too much effort and he was already low on energy. He could hear someone faintly calling out his name before everything went completely black.
When he woke next, he was in an unfamiliar setting. It wasn't exactly a hospital, but had all the workings of one.
"Ah, Gabriel, finally." The sweet voice of Angela Ziegler, he had never been so thankful to hear her voice again.
"J-jack… where is Jack?" He tried to sit up a bit. He was sore, and still couldn't feel his legs.
Her silence caused a feeling of dread to sink into his stomach. Dammit. Dammit! He should have told him right away, he should have said something more, he should have… He should have told Jack he loved him. His last words to him were so bitter…
"I'm sorry Gabe, no one has found Jack yet… there's a few more things you should know." Her tone only meant more bad news.
"What… What is it Ang?"
"The Swiss explosion… they're saying Blackwatch is responsible. They're saying you headed the attack."
"What?! No! Angela, you know I would never-"
"I know that Gabriel, but it's too late, it's already been spread across the news. The search team has been called off, Jack has been pronounced dead, and you're the world's most wanted terrorist right now." She explained. "They're calling for your head Gabriel."
"Dammit!" Gabe's head fell back against the pillow and he swallowed hard. "Overwatch was under attack by Omnic Extremists. They're responsible for the attack. They've had moles in Overwatch since King's Row. Blackwatch was finally closing in on a list of names just before the attack." He explained before going silent again. He was exhausted.
"Shhh… I believe you Gabe…" Angela places a hand on his shoulder to calm him
"How long have I been out?"
"One week. You died several times while we were transporting you. I was barely able to resurrect you a few times." She looked away from him, it almost looked like shame.
"What is it Ang?"
"Well… When I had to resurrect you so many times… and you know I haven't perfected the technology yet-"
"Get to the point Angela."
"The resurrections reacted with whatever experiments Dr. O'Deorain did on you those few months back…" The doctor swallowed hard. "I'm sorry Gabriel." She handed him a mirror.
Gabriel was taken aback by his appearance at first. His once tanned skin was now a sickly grey, brown eyes had become fiery red and white scleras were now greyer.
"Well, if I'm going to be dead, I should look the part." he joked.
"Even now you still crack jokes," she grabbed her stethoscope to check his heart rate. "...You're not going to fight this… are you?"
"I need to disappear Angela. I need you to release a statement to the press. Tell them my remains have been found."
Angela sighed and placed the stethoscope around her neck. "Very well, I'll make the arrangements."
"You can't let anything said here leave this room, do you understand Angela? We can't trust anyone." Gabe gave her a stern look. He was already formulating a plan on how he was going to get back at everyone who was responsible for the attack.
"Well that explains your appearance now." The scientist responded.
"It took months to regain mobility in my legs after that. There were whispers of a terrorist group called Talon, at that time, theirs were few and far between, as you know." He sighed softly. "You know the rest of the story from here." he closed his eyes, the wound on his arm wasn't even close to being healed, this was all a bit exhausting. Her computer made a sound and she seemed happy with it.
"Wonderful. I can extract the nanites from you now. It's going to be a long process… you may feel some pain." She explained before positioning her hand to the incision she had made. The black smog now poured heavily from the wound and into her biotic tank. She was right, it was very painful and it took all his willpower not to scream out. Minutes seemed to turn to hours. His body convulsed a bit and she placed a healing hand on him to soothe him. "That's it, Gabriel, nearly done." She said in a soothing tone. Soon enough, she was finished and Gabriel felt absolutely exhausted, he lay there, limp and quiet.
"It shouldn't take me long to analyze the damaged nanites. I'll need to reprogram the new ones, it may take a while for that." she explained.
"I don't think I can move." He didn't like this, he didn't like feeling vulnerable, especially not in front of her.
"You'll be fine soon enough, the extraction process seems to take is toll on the body."
"You've done this before?" he asked, a bit surprised.
"Of course I have. How else would I have developed the tech?"
"On humans?" At that question, she went silent. "Oh please, I'm not going to judge you of all people on your ethics, or lack thereof."
"There were a few… willing subjects. Oasis was full of people who were in favor of scientific advancement." She explained while she began analysis of the nanites. "So tell me what really happened between you and Jack." Gabe's gaze shot over to her. "There was always speculation that there was more to you two than what was shown. Call it morbid curiosity."
Jack was roused from his sleep by a weight shifting on his bed. A warm body pressed against his back and an arm was draped over his waist, a head was pressed to his back. He shifted to face the culprit.
"How did the mission go?" he asked softly. Gabe was silent, he pressed himself closer to Jack, hiding his face in his chest. "How many this time babe?"
"Is the kid-"
"It wasn't Jesse." he said quickly. "It was the greenhorn, Jerich…" he seemed particularly distraught. Sure, plenty of Blackwatch operatives died in the line of duty, it was a hazard of the job, but Gabe seemed to take this one really hard.
"We'll call the family, come on hun." Jack made a motion to get up before Gabe spoke.
"He didn't have any… He was one of the ones who were given "The Ultimatum". Blackwatch was his family."
Oh, that was what had him so upset. Gabe had a habit of growing attached to the operatives who were about to face prison, Jesse was one he was particularly fond of. He had become something of a father figure to the younger team members. So when one of them were injured or killed, the Commander took it the hardest of any of them.
"Gabe, it's not your fault."
"Isn't it? I was the one who was so forceful during recruitment. I was the one who practically scared the kid into joining up by spouting all those bullshit horror stories of prison." Gabe looked up at Jack as strong hands found their way to tanned cheeks.
"And if you hadn't, he'd be in some hole in prison."
"But he'd be alive, Jack…"
Silence fell in the dark room. Jack pulled Gabriel close to him and kissed the top of his head. "You didn't pull the trigger of the gun that killed him." he said finally. "He died for something. The path he was on before Blackwatch was leading to nowhere for him. All the recruits that are in Blackwatch chose a better life, chose to fight for something."
"Ever the inspiration, boy-scout. Maybe you should join me in the interrogation rooms when we recruit. " Gabe chuckled quietly before sighing and relaxing. "Thank you, Jack." Silence fell in the room and the two lay together, legs tangled together as Jack's hand slowly and lovingly stroked Gabe's back.
"Te amo, mi sol."
"I love you too Gabe."
"We were colleagues with opposing leadership tactics. He was Strike Commander, I lead the covert ops. There was nothing more." He side eyed her and she gave an incredulous snort.
Very well Gabriel." She chuckled to herself before returning to work in silence.
A few hours had passed with Moira bustling about the lab, gathering various papers and typing in data into the computer.
"And, that should do it." She spoke finally. She returned to Gabriel's side with her biotic tank glowing a dark purple. "Relax darling. You'll feel better in a moment." both her hands were placed to his chest before starting the procedure. Gabriel felt like fire was being pushed through is body. He writhed a bit before Moira braced herself on him and held him down. "Nearly done." She informed him. The damage to his face and arm healed almost instantly. His skin color was also starting to return to what it once was. Once the tank was empty, she removed her hands from his chest and stood straight; and just like that, Gabriel felt as if he were back in his 20's in the SEP program.
"I think you'll be pleased with the results of the procedure, I was able to fix some of the damage that Dr. Ziegler's resurrections did. You look less like a dead man now." She chuckled and threw him his shirt, he examined his arms which now had the healthy caramel color he once had before. "I'll be interested to see how you fair in your next mission."
Gabe stood and threw his shirt on over his head. "Whatever." He said as he made his way out of the lab. He stopped at the door and looked back at her while she began cleaning up. "Thank you, Moira." He said finally.
The night wasn't quite so boring now, and Gabriel had a feeling that things were going to get more interesting with Moira around.