@blanketholes (the @ thing isn’t working for me here) prompted me with a Zarya/Genji prompt (Zarji?) like a billion years ago and I finally finished it. Sorry it took so long. I’m not sure if this was exactly what you wanted. It was very different for me.
It was inevitable Genji supposed, that in a group as diverse as the new Overwatch team there would be some tension. Knowing that intellectually and dealing with it well were two very different things though. It did not help that the angry words were being thrown, in part, at Zenyatta. Genji could handle people insulting or attacking him, but the moment it was aimed at Zenyatta it became very difficult to not do something stupid.
His master had taught him well though and he restrained himself through the Russian insults being lobbed at them. He did not need to understand the language to get the gist of what the woman was saying. The ninja found his master’s hand reassuring squeezing his shoulder and he smiled softly behind his mask. This woman who goes by Zarya was not the first person he had met still bitter about the war. The wounds had still not healed in most of the world.
Hanzo had apparently grown less patient and calm over time though and shared a few choice words of his own with the large woman. Apparently his brother did not appreciate her speaking to Genji like that, a surprise to the cyborg, but also to Zarya. It was clear she thought he was an Omnic and before anything could be said about it, she stormed off angrily.
Genji was happy to avoid the Russian whenever possible, if only to keep himself from accidentally doing something stupid. It was easy most of the time, but despite his cyborg body, he still needed to workout the parts of him that were still flesh, primarily his left arm. She stumbled into the gym as he was preparing for a workout.
“What is a metal man doing here?” She asked, voice dripping with annoyance as if he had intruded on her space.
Genji elected to ignore her as removed the parts of his exosuit that covered what was left of his body. Much of the top left half of his torso was still Intact and he worked hard to keep it in great shape. The muscles in his left arm were well defined and strong and what was left of his body was toned as it had ever been in his youth, even if the look was ruined by the machine that most of him was now.
It became difficult to ignore her staring as he moved to begin his workout routine. He had to remove the suit so that what was left of his body did most of the work instead of the suit itself, but still, people rarely saw him like this. For the most part only Zenyatta was around because Genji trusted his master more than anyone not to judge him.
“You are no Omnic?” It was a question, but also an accusation like it was Genji’s fault that she had made that assumption. He turned to face her, removing the mask plate that covered his eyes.
“No, I am not,” His stare chased her gaze away from him as he flipped himself to be standing on his hands. His right arm fell away as soon as he balanced himself and he proceeded to begin performing one armed push-ups in that position. It required strength and balance that he had trained since birth to manage, but he was more than capable.
“So you are human?”
“Somewhere in between,” His answer did not seem to placate her. She scowled and seemed to fall into her own thoughts for an extended silence.
“How am I supposed to trust someone who is half machine?” She asked finally.
“How am I supposed to trust someone who judges people they don’t know anything about so quickly?” He snapped back at her, never stopping his exercise.
“You know what the Omnics did, what they are still doing to my homeland,”
“Yes, but I also know a thing or two about the history of your country. Would you think it fair for others to judge you based on that?” He felt a small swell of pride at how much he had managed to sound like Zenyatta there, less elegant perhaps, but he had the same rhetorical spirit at least.
“That is not the same thing,” Zarya replied with an angry scowl.
“I fail to see a significant difference,” He replied as he continued his routine. The room grew silent for a while until it was broken by the sounds of weight lifting. The Russian had turned to begin her own workout routine to sort out her own frustration.
Genji nearly gaped as he watched her deadlift what must have been easily 500 pounds. He’d never even seen Reinhardt manage that much without his armor helping him out. They mostly ignored each other as they finished up what they were here to do, though they both stole glances at the other when they thought no one was looking. Genji departed before Zarya finished what she was doing, leaving her without a word.
He saw neither hide nor hare of her for a few days, managing to miss her during meals and training. Genji had managed to calm down, for the most part, though letting anyone insult Zenyatta was not something he could do even if his master asked him to let it go.
They bumped into each other finally as Genji was entering the gym again one afternoon. There was a tense silence as they stared at one another, broken eventually by the Russian woman speaking.
“You seem quite strong,” Zarya said loudly in somewhat of a greeting. She continued once he had nodded in return. “What are you?” She asked him. “Man or machine?” She clarified what she was asking.
“Both, or neither. Most of my body is artificial, but the heart of a man still beats inside me. Zenyatta has helped me to accept that I do not need one of those labels. I am simply me,” The Russian woman seemed to consider his words carefully, falling silent as he spoke and for several long moments afterwards. Finally she seemed to reach some decision and spoke up.
“How about an arm wrestling match?” She asked gesturing to one of the tables nearby. The sudden offer was quite strange and surprising, but this might have been a way for her to extend an olive branch and he accepted. Zenyatta had taught him much of forgiveness.
“Wouldn’t my enhancements be cheating?” He asked taking a seat across from her.
“Your left arm is human. It’ll do,” As if requested he began removing the armor that covered his left arm so that they could have a fair contest.
“You’re left handed?” Genji asked as he rested his elbow on the table.
“Right, but both are strong,” Her arm joined his over the table.
“Very well,” Their hands clasped together and the first thing he noticed was how strong the woman’s grip was. The second thing he noticed was how seriously she seemed to be taking this, so he decided it would likely be best if he did so too.
“We start On go,” She announced as she began a countdown.
His arm strained against her the moment they began. Genji had always been fairly strong, he had trained to fight from a young age, but he had only gotten stronger
since his transformation. He had kept up his strength in Nepal too, so the fact that he was not so slowly losing to the woman across from him really said something about how strong she was.
They were both sweating and straining by the end of it, though the winner had been fairly obvious from the start. Dragons were a stubborn breed however and Genji would never accept defeat until the very end when the back of his hand met the table. By the end of it all his face was flush from effort, but his hand hit the metal surface all the same.
“Not bad,” Zarya told him as he rubbed his sore arm. “Must be difficult working out like that,” It might have sounded crass, but given her nature he doubted that she would be one for such backhanded insults. If she was trying to insult you she would simply do so.
“I have adapted to it,”
“Yes, but I know we could build you up some more. Just need the right training regimen,” She fell deep into thought again as she considered her own words. “I train here every day at 1400 unless I am busy with something. Join me and we will make an arm wrestler out of you,”
He thought the invitation to arm wrestling had been an attempt at an apology of sorts, but he knew that this was. His master was right, though that came as no surprise to him. Zenyatta had a habit of usually being right. Getting angry and lashing out at Zarya would have done nothing to help the situation that a little time and a few words could resolve.
“I will stop by if I am free,” Genji replied. “But now I have duties to attend with my master,”
“Da I will see you tomorrow,” The bodybuilder called after him as he retreated to Zenyatta’s room.
“Is something wrong Genji?” The monk asked as his student wandered inside unannounced.
“Your faceplate is off and your face is very red,” The Omnic explained.
Genji had not noticed the flush in his face as he made his way across the base, nor that he had forgotten his faceplate and he groaned. He knew what this meant now that his master had pointed it out. It meant that he had learned another thing about himself that he didn’t know. He apparently had a thing for women who could bench press him without breaking a sweat.
Now he was both dreading and looking forward to training for a new set of reasons. Zenyatta placed a supportive hand on his shoulder as he cursed himself. Hanzo always told him that he loved a challenge when it came to his flings and that it was what made these things so difficult. His brother also had a tendency to being right more often than not, unlike Zenyatta though, Genji hated it when his brother was right.