I was super in love with this prompt, and then it tried to kudzu its
way out of my hands so that was a thing. So now it’s kind of… divided into 3
parts? Because this thing would’ve never seen the light of day due to me
obsessively picking at it and going back instead of moving forward. By chopping
it up it’s… somehow a lot easier to move forward.
This will ideally eventually feature some of my headcanons about the
fall of Overwatch, slightly modified to apply better to this particular fic B)
Also mildly canon-divergent in regards to Mercy’s position and role in the
story/organization, shh, don’t worry I promise I kind of know what I’m
2068 – OVERWATCH, ZÜRICH HEADQUARTERS
“The Iceland labs have gone dark, sir.”
Jack stood slowly from his desk, eyes slowly narrowing as the words
sunk in, sent the gears in his head turning.
“What do you mean they’ve gone dark?”
Lab goes quiet, lights out,
alarmed yelling, the first round of a firearm cracking into the darkness.
Okay, so I realize that we've only seen snippets, characters are complex, developer intent changes, etc, etc. Buuuut....Canon pre-Reaper Reyes seems like a relatively chill dude? Like,THIS is the guy that was supposed to be the hardass "ends justify the means" and "stick to the mission at all costs" type? o_O Would love to know your take on this.
This is like 99.99% speculation and personal projecting, but I’m fond of the idea that Young Gabe was extremely hard working, gruff, bad with people, edgy on purpose, and young Jack was more chill, friendly, charismatic, motivational. So through the amount of time they spend together Jack helps pull Gabe out of his shell, muscles him into working on his social skills so he’s got less of a wall up. He’s got his own friends and life and he’s fun at parties, but he’s still a gruff, intimidating guy with super high standards so he can be tough to work with because he’s a hardass who’s better than everyone at everything.
Jack and Gabe have like a good cop
dynamic for the Omnic Crisis, Gabe is calling the shots but Jack is the approachable go-between that people aren’t afraid is going to bark at them for messing up. When the Omnic Crisis ends the powers that be are like “hey, Jack a good upstanding ‘’’’’’’All American’’’’’’’ guy, he photographs well, he looks good on posters, he’s good at making all our weird special snowflake superheroes get along and work together, he knows how to tactfully navigate conversations with important people without offending them, let’s put him in charge of Overwatch!”
Gabe is pissed because he did the heavy lifting and now he’s not getting the glory, Jack is pissed because he ALSO wants Gabe to get the glory. He doesn’t want to be in charge, he wants to be the Fun Uncle who helps the kids get along with Rules Dad. But now he IS Rules Dad. He can’t be The Fun One anymore because now everything he does matters and everyone in the world is waiting to pick apart every descision he makes and backseat drive all his mistakes. So Jack starts turning into the stressed hardass because he’s juggling so many plates and playing politics with everyone.
Meanwhile Gabe is realizing a lifetime of Trying The Hardest didn’t really matter, because it still didn’t get him the job he wanted. He’s kind of salty, but also realizing from what it’s doing to Jack that he probably dodged a bullet because he would not have the tact to deal with all the political niceties. So in his own sardonic way, he kind of turns into “the fun one” because he doesn’t have the spotlight on him and can be as sarcastic and back-sassy as he wants without worrying about what it could “do to his career”. He throws a lot of jabs about Jack getting all the glory, but at the same time he enjoys getting to chill for the first time in his life. He doesn’t want Jack’s job or resent Jack for having it now that he’s seen how all the chips fell, but there’s always going to be that little part of him that can’t stop picking that scab and bringing it up when Jack is stressed out or fucking up. Gabe probably thinks of it as pushing Jack to do better and live up to the standards he expected for Overwatch when he was in charge, but for Jack it’s more like rubbing salt in the wound.
Then when he gets Reaper’d he’s just a pissed off man-on-a-mission who doesn’t need to worry about playing nice with others and social nuance at all anymore, so it’s all Reyes dry humour plus his skill and ambition plus his lifelong dream of wearing The Most Over-The-Top Goth Kid Sleeveless Black Trenchcoat ensemble and throwing shotguns at people. Reaper is Gabriel Reyes coming back from the dead with no fucks to give and ALL OF THE fucks to give simultaneously.
Now I’m not gonna say “this is how I think Blizzard is going to make it happen when they actually drop the lore” because that would make me a goddamn clairvoyant to predict that much backstory. I’m just sayin’ that if I was on the writing staff that’s probably how I’d pitch their relationship dynamic because it meshes with a lot of the established lore bits they’ve already dropped like “Gabe was in charge of Overwatch for the Omnic Crisis”, “Jack got promoted ahead of Gabe because he ‘brought out the best in people”, “Jack and Gabe continued to work together reasonably well despite this for another 20 years until [mystery event] happened”, “Gabe is an edgelord who condescendingly slow claps at people and talks like a smarmy tryhard theatre kid”, and “Gabe is also fun at parties and says quippy things when everyone else is stressed out about serious political problems”
I just wanted to bring something back around that alot of us have forgotten.
I wanted to bring this back around because of the little speculation about this panel. Something that I always found weird, and by all means I could be incorrect, was how everyone disregarded this panel practically the second day after its release, only coming back around a few weeks later when Lead Overwatch writer Michael Chu confirmed that Gabriel “Reaper” Reyes was not staring longingly at some “random family”. After Chu’s confirmation we all just kinda went back to analyzing the infiltration short.
I think that we diregarded it because of how hooked, and how certain the fandom is with r76 being canon. Dont get me wrong, i love edgy sad hasbands more than the next guy, but literally, Michael could have said, “Yo, that’s his former spouse” and we would respond this with “haha cool thnx” and get back to writing SEP angst; even with Chu’s confirmation of its not a random family, we still responded the same way.
We are still so convinced that r76 is and will soon be canon, we didn’t even want to think about Gabriel with another s/o.
As he watches longingly as they walk the streets of (Im guessing Los Angeles, for Lore purposes,) hand in hand with someone who makes them much happier than he ever could.