Fanfiction Fridays: Parental Figures by Jellycho

Someone help this sad dad.

Someone help this sad dad.

Overwatch is everywhere.

Really, there’s no reason for it not to be: it’s an aesthetically pleasing game with “easy to learn, hard to master” gameplay and a bunch of fun characters that are all equally vital and viable. As someone who doesn’t have the game and as someone who doesn’t exactly like MOBA-styled games too much, I still find myself practically eating up every Overwatch gameplay video and stream I can find. I love all the diverse characters the game has to offer, but if I’m being truthful, I don’t care much for the shipping. In fact, character-wise there are only two things I’m invested in: the friendship between D.Va and Lucio, and Dad 76. Unfortunately, the former seems to be a bit lacking in the fic sphere currently, but several very kind people have latched on to a more literary exploration of the phenomenon that is Dad 76. This AU of sorts features character Soldier 76 (aka Jack Morrison); however, instead of being the leader of the rebirth of Team Overwatch (as I understand it), he’s portrayed as a mothering old man who takes care of the kids—Tracer, Lucio, and D.Va. While subsets of this AU do take place in an entirely separate verse wherein the “kids” are actual kids in school, and Solider 76 is a legit single dad, my fic for today utilizes this concept in the game itself, and the results are just about as endearing as you would think.

Jellycho’s Parental Figures is a slow burn fic as Soldier 76 comes to terms with being more than just a soldier to his team of old friends and new faces. Indeed, he seems more comfortable with being an ideal of sorts than being a human with feelings and painful memories. However, hiding his painful past and simmering in his regret become more difficult as the younger faces get to know the man behind the number.

Art by Tess O.

Art by Tess O.

While I may not have hopped on the shipping train yet, I’m so incredibly here for all the platonic friend/family fic I can find, and Jellycho delivers on that and then some. 76 has such a deep, meaningful friendship with his own teammate Angela (aka Mercy); she’s the one he ends up relying on for his hidden emotional turmoils and the one who understands him the best. They make playful jokes at each other, but Angela distracts him from getting upset at his new title of “dad”. 76 also forms strong bonds with the three younger members of Overwatch: D.Va, Lucio, and Tracer. At first, he considers them more as cocky kids who need to learn how to work as a team and are in desperate need of training—which they are. However, he quickly becomes attached to all of them, letting their real names slip in times of peril rather than using their nicknames/codenames. In turn, the three of them latch onto 76 as an actual father figure, doing their best to learn from his example, but also taking the time to complain about him parenting them too hard.

What really brings this fic alive is the writing style. Jellycho chooses to narrate the entire thing from 76’s perspective, which ends up being an interesting look into his psyche, while also maintaining the same sort of distance with the audience that he keeps with his teammates. More humorously, though, is how each of the characters’ personalities shine through in the dialogue. While I don’t know much about their canon interactions, Jellycho makes everyone so distinct to read. Not only that, but they’re fucking funny, too.

“Yeah, right, whatever.” He puts the handgun down and makes a face at you, eyebrow raised, and you momentarily wonder if he’s throwing a tantrum right now. You wouldn’t put it past him, to be honest. “Let me use Bianca.”

You gently hide your face in your hand with a sigh. “You need to be well-versed in a multitude of weapons besides your usual revolver.”

“Bianca and I are practically one, pops,” he says. “I won’t use anything other than her. Feels wrong; she’s the only one for me. Hell, I even feel like I’m cheating on her by usin’ this piece of trash. It’s like we’re married.”

He’s pushing at all your buttons to get you to agree and you know this. You want to stand your ground, but he’s actually starting to get on your nerves, and you really want all of this to stop as soon as possible, so you give up. “You don’t say,” you mumble as you bring up a panel on the wall to stop McCree’s program. “That must’ve been a shotgun wedding.”

You hear Zarya wheezing and Tracer choking. Intertwining with those sounds are D.VA and Lúcio’s quiet giggles that soon explode into full-blown laughter, then Tracer’s high pitched cackling. Someone’s even slapping the metal benches. Well, fuck. You weren’t really thinking when you said that, and now you feel an uncomfortable warmth crawl up your neck and attach itself onto your face. This is bad.

The panel shuts down and you make the mistake of looking up and meeting McCree’s eyes. He’s already smirking when you look at him, but when your eyes lock he actually grins, and you tense.

“Did you just dad joke me?”

Oh, god, you did. You’re growling, and now he’s laughing, and you’re warm and uncomfortable and you’re pretty sure there’s a blush on you, which is probably only visible on your forehead, and that’s absolutely embarrassing. Your shoulders sag as you throw your hands in the air, defeated, and let the world burn around you.

This is fine.

While Parental Figures felt like a slow-burn intro to family feelings, the 11.5k words went by fast. Fast enough to make me want to read the rest of the series it’s a part of. If you have the time and are in the mood for platonic wartime fluff, I’d heartily recommend this fic. Check it out here at the AO3!

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About Tsunderin

Greetings and salutations! Feel free to just call me Rin—we’re all friends here, or nemeses who just haven’t gotten to know each other well enough. I’m a video game lover from the womb to the tomb, and Bioware enthusiast until the day they stop making games with amazing characters that I cry over. And while I don’t partake as often as I used to, don’t be surprised to find me poking around an anime or manga every once in a while either. A personal interest for me is characterization in media and how women in particular have been portrayed, are being portrayed, and will be portrayed in the future. I’m not going to mince words about my opinion either.