Part 1 – I’m asleep but wide awake, a nightmare on repeat
Hanzo had no idea how long it had been since he’d been taken. His sense of time had faded completely when he’d been thrown into a dark room. Of course, they’d taken his phone before they imprisoned him. It couldn’t have been more than twenty-four hours though. If it had been, Hanzo’s stomach would feel like it was eating itself from hunger. That, and he’d be feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. His mind was fuzzy, but he didn’t have the drunk feeling he associated with too many hours awake.
He had to wonder how long Deadlock was going to let him stew.
Hanzo was aware of the tactic they were attempting to use – he’d used it before as well. While he was genuinely scared by the situation he found himself in (and how the elders were going to react once he was home), this strategy was largely ineffective on him. Hanzo had been spending a good amount of time meditating and mentally going through kata. He wasn’t fixating on the situation or what they’d to do him.
Hanzo genuinely doubted that Deadlock was going to be able to do worse than what the elders had inflicted on him through his life.
Thus far, Hanzo had been left completely alone. The room was basically a closet in terms of size – the only accommodation being a toilet. The floor was tile, but there was a coarse rug or blanket strewn across the floor. Hanzo couldn’t be sure which because the room was completely dark save for the sliver of light from the gap between floor and door. The door was locked and heavier than he would have anticipated – he suspected how the door opened was controlled by some sort of electronic mechanism.
The biggest surprise about his situation was that he was unbound.
Hanzo would never leave a potentially dangerous captive unbound – even if they were sporting a potential concussion. Either Deadlock was stupid enough to believe Hanzo was done trying to escape, or cocky enough to believe he’d be easy to handle. Neither option left a good taste in his mouth.
His thoughts were interrupted by a mechanical hissing that seemed to emanate from the door. Guess that confirms that theory. Hanzo pressed his back against the wall furthest from the door and shifted to a position that was easy to move from. Maybe it wasn’t the smartest choice, but Hanzo wasn’t about to sit back and accept that he was Deadlock’s captive. He had to get back to Hanamura and find out who was spilling Shimada secrets. He needed to find out who had sold him out.
The sliver of light slowly grew and then brilliant, blinding light flooded the room. The sudden brightness confirmed that Hanzo was, indeed, concussed as the light nearly caused him to topple over. Somehow Hanzo managed to keep his wits and balance and then launched at the door like a missile.
The man who had opened the door clearly hadn’t been expecting that. Hanzo’s knees collided with his chest and the men hit the ground like a sack of bricks. Hanzo didn’t pay him any mind – he was on the ground and not getting up any time soon. He was no longer a threat. He broke into a sprint with his hand partially shielding his eyes from the overly bright lights that ran along the ceiling. He had no real idea of where he was going, all he knew was that he needed to get away. And that Hanzo needed to do so quickly.
Each step made it feel like his brain was expanding and trying to shatter his skull. And while hunger and thirst hadn’t been bothering him while he was sitting still, now Hanzo was acutely feeling both. He had never been one to handle hunger well. He stumbled with a groan and caught his balance by bracing one hand against the wall. He could afford a couple seconds of rest. It was needed; he was starting to feel a bit dizzy.
A klaxon-like alarm blared through the hallway and Hanzo nearly fell to his knees from the sheer, overwhelming volume. The man he had left on the ground must have raised the alarm. It seemed that Hanzo’s momentary break was over. Lingering in one place was a recipe for being caught. Again.
Hanzo groaned as he forced himself to start moving again. The floor felt like it was tilting with each step even though he knew it was a flat surface. Or relatively flat. He could hear more people moving around now – that meant he’d need to move faster. Yet each time he tried to increase his pace, he stumbled and nearly fell flat on his face. Keep moving, get home, get out of here! The thoughts were a constant mantra in his mind.
He could see a door looming in the distance – freedom. He was almost there; he was so close he could practically taste it. Hanzo pushed off from the wall and started running again. His vision went fuzzy around the edges, but he shook it away as well as he could. Just a little bit further, just a little bit… He could do this, he knew he could.
Hanzo rubbed at his face as he ran to try and keep his mind clear. His balance wavered and he ran into something solid. He stumbled back a few steps and groaned – his head injury had to be worse than he initially thought for him to be this out of it. He rarely lost his situational awareness to the point that he ran into a wall…
“We’ve gotta stop meetin’ like this darlin’.” The voice was all too familiar at this point – warm and drawling as well. There was amusement in the man’s tone, but Hanzo knew that when he saw his face, that his eyes would be cold.
Hanzo lowered his hand from his face and was greeted by the sight of Jesse McCree standing before him. The man wasn’t so big that he filled the hall completely, but he was enough of an obstacle that Hanzo was pretty sure he wasn’t going to get to the door.
“Get out of my way.” Hanzo spat the words out like they were poison. He wasn’t going to beg to be released, he wasn’t going to give Deadlock the satisfaction of getting him to that point.
“Pretty damn impressed that ya got this far…” McCree’s hand was lazily resting against the holster of his gun – Hanzo took that as a reminder about who was in charge in this situation. “’specially with that head wound. Now why don’tcha come back with me nice and easy-like?”
“Like hell I will!” Hanzo’s lips pulled back into a snarl as he pushed past his pain and started to break into a run again.
Before he could really get started, sudden pain flashed through his body and he collapsed forward against the damn cowboy. Hanzo choked out a gasp and clawed at his ribs. The wind was knocked out of him and he wasn’t entirely sure that his ribs were completely intact anymore. He wheezed as he tried to get control of his breathing while fighting against McCree’s grip, but he couldn’t do both. The more he struggled, the less air he was able to take in. He squirmed hard when McCree grabbed him around the waist and hefted him up onto his shoulder. He tried to speak, but all that came out of his mouth was a grating gasp.
“If I was a petty man I’d be gettin’ pretty peeved that you keep underestimatin’ me.” Again, McCree’s voice sounded amused. He was either avoiding or eating everything that Hanzo threw at him with no pained reactions. “I was tryin’ to be nice, dragonfly. Lettin’ you be unbound. It’s a shame you decided to ignore that kindness.”
Hanzo slammed his fists against McCree’s back and tried to kick, but nothing was working. Each action was just serving to wear him out faster and made his pulse throb in his temples. “Let me go! Just…fucking…”
“No can do, sugar. I’ve got orders to keep ya here. Not my fault you let yourself get caught.”
Hanzo growled and struck McCree’s back again, but once more, it did nothing. He hadn’t let himself get caught. He’d been overpowered and overwhelmed…there was a difference. He knew the clan wouldn’t really see a difference either, but he held the distinction in his mind. He fought the entire time that McCree wrestled him into a pair of cuffs and even resorted to biting him – he delighted in the fact that McCree yelped in pain. Serves him right for saying I let myself get caught.
Hanzo slumped back against the wall and sighed. His first solo mission outside of Japan and he gets captured. He was going to have hell to pay once he got home…
It was been Hanzo’s first trip – alone – to the United States. It had been a big deal. The Shimada family had been notoriously protective of their sons due to the family business. The family business being a criminal empire. The protectiveness had increased after the death of Hanzo’s mother. But once he had turned 18, his father and the elders had decided that he would go on a solo mission to the United States to gain information on one of the gangs they had dealings with – Deadlock.
Things had been going relatively smoothly – Hanzo was getting acclimated to Santa Fe and the hot weather. He’d managed to find a few of the local Deadlock hangouts, which hadn’t been particularly difficult given that their emblem was emblazoned all over the establishments. It had been painfully obvious that Hanzo wasn’t going to be able to go in wearing what he’d brought with him. He’d been smart enough to avoid bringing traditional clothing for his everyday wear, but the clothing he’d brought wasn’t right. Most of the locals were wearing ripped jeans and leather jackets and Hanzo didn’t have anything like that. He had the smart suits that he wore on jobs in Japan.
Now that he had more appropriate clothing, he was going to try and enter one of the establishments. Hanzo just needed to get some vague information to show that he’d been making progress. His plan was to go to the bar multiple times, so he would become a fixture. Something normal. Then he could start gaining real information. The people would start opening up more.
Hanzo glanced down at the torn up black jeans that clung to his legs far more tightly than he’d usually wear out and about. He could practically hear Genji praising him for being daring. Add in the tight fitting blue shirt and the leather jacket and maybe, just maybe, Hanzo was going to blend in a little. He snapped a selfie and sent it off to his brother just so Genji would believe him. And maybe Hanzo wanted to show off that he was looking good – he was allowed to be a bit vain from time to time.
[text: from Sparrow. Sent: 9:13pm] look at you! a piercing or two and you’ll almost look cool
[text: to Sparrow. Sent: 9:15pm] you suck -.-
[text: from Sparrow. Sent: 9:20pm] you know you love me ;p
Hanzo rolled his eyes and shoved his phone into the pocket of his far-too-tight jeans. He needed to stop delaying; putting off what he needed to do would only make him more anxious about the whole thing. Being nervous wasn’t going to make attempting to blend in easier.
The walk to the establishment – The Rusty Bullet – didn’t take long at all. The exterior of the building was beaten up with a flickering, neon sign proclaiming their name in a bizarre shade of orange. Working up the courage to enter was a different story. Hanzo watched multiple people enter and exit, each of them looking more intimidating than the last. I shouldn’t be intimidated by an American biker gang, I’m in the yakuza…
Eventually, Hanzo shook off his nerves and entered The Rusty Bullet. The interior was just as beaten up as the exterior and smelled vaguely of old fryer oil, stale beer, and body odor. It was wholly unpleasant. One of the walls had a huge Deadlock symbol spray-painted in black and red. Everything seemed like it was on the verge of falling apart and no one seemed to care. The array of people inside was vast and varied. There were many people – mainly men – close to Hanzo’s age. They were the sort of people that looked like they had never experienced the finer things in life. They weren’t just rough around the edges, everything about the seemed rough. While Hanzo was kind of blending in, he was dressed in what appeared to be the extreme conservative side of things. Apparently Genji was right – a few piercings and maybe, just maybe, he’d actually blend in.
No one was checking IDs, which Hanzo was grateful for. The family had orchestrated a fake ID for him as a precaution, one that stated his age as 21, but Hanzo wasn’t sure of the quality. It seemed that the staff (if there was staff) didn’t actually care about that sort of thing. Maybe The Rusty Bullet was run by Deadlock rather than just being frequented by the gang members. He wasn’t sure if that was a boon or a curse yet, but Hanzo figured it might make gathering intel a little easier.
He took a seat on a stool at the far corner of the bar. The seat was close to the window in case of him needing a quick escape. It was also partially in the shadows. Hanzo wasn’t entirely trying to conceal his appearance, but he didn’t want to stick out either.
It didn’t take long for one of the bartenders to approach. The man was young – he couldn’t be any older than Hanzo, if he was even that old. He was leggy, but didn’t seem all that tall. His hair was a bizarre silvery color that had to be unnatural with a chunk of black at the front and his eyes were the most incredible blue/green that Hanzo had ever seen. He’d seem utterly out of place if not for his general attire (form-fitting, tattered, and somehow managing to appear violent despite being clothing) and the multiple piercings that adorned his face (through the bridge of his nose, his left eyebrow, several in each ear, and maybe one in his tongue).
“What can I get for you, stranger?” The man leaned on the counter and smiled almost sweetly.
Again, the thought that this man didn’t belong in Deadlock flitted through Hanzo’s mind. But then he remembered a few of the more delicate looking men that were part of the Shimada-gumi and how they were often the more dangerous ones. He doubted that Deadlock would allow a man who was remotely weak to be manning a bar that looked like it had the potential to become very dangerous very quickly.
“Whiskey and coke.” Hanzo ordered it with a subtle nod of his head and without hesitation. He doubted that it would be a good type of whiskey and he didn’t really have much intention of drinking the whole beverage, but it would help him blend in. He put down too much money on the counter as a means to keep the bartender from asking too many questions about the ‘stranger’ in the bar.
His phone buzzed at him from his pocket and he carefully pulled it out. The only person who would be messaging him at this point in time was Genji. Or his father.
[text: from Sparrow. Sent: 9:50pm] you in the bar yet? any cute guys, anija?
[text: to Sparrow. Sent: 9:52pm] yeah, I’m in the bar. more your type than mine, but I guess they’re cute.
[text: from Sparrow. Sent: 9:59pm] have fun, anija ;p
[text: to Sparrow. Sent: 10:02pm] you’re distracting me, Sparrow. I’ll check in later.
There wasn’t a response from his brother after that message, Hanzo assumed that meant ‘acknowledged.’ Honestly, he was glad of the reason to look at his phone rather than at people. It made him look a bit more natural. Yet at the same time, Genji’s words were distracting at best and flustered him at worst. He kept his phone out even after his drink arrived.
It was hard to hear anything remotely intel related over the cacophonous music pumping from the old school jukebox that sat against one of the walls. Hanzo sipped at his drink and held back a cringe at the awful taste of the cheap whiskey. I really overpaid for this drink…
“Well now…” A smooth, low voice drawled from behind Hanzo. “What we got here?”
Hanzo sat up straighter – he hadn’t felt anyone approaching. Did I get too distracted? What the hell… He slowly turned to face the man who was behind him and kept his face carefully neutral. The man who had spoken had to be a good few inches taller than him with bronzed skin and brown hair that was partially hidden by a Stetson. Hanzo felt his jaw hang slightly slack – an actual, literal cowboy was standing behind him. Or the stereotype of one. Who the hell dresses like that…? Hanzo’s incredulousness at the man’s ridiculous sense of fashion faded when he realized that the damn cowboy was possible the most attractive man he’d ever seen before. Maybe it was the cocky smirk on his face, or the dangerous glint in his eyes; Hanzo wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he was physically attracted to a walking stereotype.
“Excuse me?” Hanzo tilted his head as the cowboy stepped a little more into the light. A large, gold belt buckle glinted in the light – it was the Deadlock symbol. And now that the cowboy was closer, Hanzo could see the tattoo that was on his left arm – also of the Deadlock symbol. He wasn’t sure if he should be pleased or frightened at this point. Maybe a little of both. What he was sure of was that he needed to stop finding the damn cowboy attractive.
“You don’t look like you’re from around these parts.” The cowboy slumped onto the stool next to Hanzo with his legs spread just a bit too far apart. “Not often we get strangers in The Rusty Bullet.” The smirk was still in place, it was almost playful in nature. “Ludger!” When the piebald man didn’t respond, he sighed and spoke slightly louder. “Hey Luds, grab me a bourbon, won’tcha darlin’?”
The bartender who had helped out Hanzo – Ludger, apparently – nodded and darted off to grab the cowboy his beverage. Up until that point, Ludger had appeared to be one of the people in charge of The Rusty Bullet – but apparently that wasn’t truth. If Hanzo had to take a guess, he’d bet on the cowboy being one of the people who was in charge here.
The cowboy’s attention drifted back to Hanzo and that simple action had heat rising up Hanzo’s cheeks. This is ridiculous…I’m an assassin, I shouldn’t be getting flustered by some stupid cowboy. “I am not from around here, no.” He didn’t feel any danger in divulging that he wasn’t from around Santa Fe. He figured that much was plainly obvious.
“Well, little dragonfly, welcome to The Rusty Bullet. I’m Jesse McCree, I’m in charge of this establishment.” McCree held his gloved, right hand out to Hanzo for a handshake.
I should not like that he’s calling me dragonfly. Hanzo took Jesse’s hand into his and gave a firm handshake. It was the handshake he used when dealing with other yakuza or foreign gangs, one that showed that he was not someone to be trifled with. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. McCree. My name is Killua Botto.” He used the western order of names just for convenience.
Genji had helped Hanzo pick out a fake name for this mission. Killua was a character from an anime that they both enjoyed. Botto…well…it was bot. Kill bot. Somehow they thought that was fitting. That, and said anime character was from a family of assassins. They thought that was also quite fitting.
“Just call me McCree. Nice to meetcha, Killua.” Jesse’s face twisted in confusion and then he started chuckling. “Anyone ever say your name sounds like alcohol? Kahlua.”
Well, Hanzo would rather someone equate the name with alcohol rather than the anime it actually originated from. “No one has mentioned it yet.” He reached for his glass and swirled the ice around before taking a small sip. He managed to keep his expression calm and neutral when the burning of the whiskey hit him. Why can’t they just have saké …? At least I know I can handle saké without coughing it up everywhere…
“What brings you ‘round these parts, darlin’?” Jesse murmured a thank you to Ludger once his glass of bourbon was dropped off. An amount of money was placed on the counter and then the poor bartender was running off again.
Hanzo realized that Ludger was keeping his distance. It wasn’t that there were a lot of customers hanging around; it was that he didn’t want to interrupt Jesse talking to someone. Somehow that didn’t leave a good taste in Hanzo’s mouth. He shook away the less than pleasant thoughts and kept his mind in the here and now. His phone buzzed again and he looked down out of habit. Another message from Genji, but Hanzo wouldn’t be checking it now. Just in case.
“Mm, just needed a change of scenery.” Hanzo leaned his elbows on the counter and rested his head on the palm of one of his hands. He swirled the liquid in his glass again and kept his eyes on Jesse. Somehow he felt that if he took his eyes off of Jesse he was going to be in trouble. “Needed a break too.”
“Well, I’m guessin’ Santa Fe’s not quite like where you’re from, dragonfly.” Jesse took a long swig of his drink and then very obviously checked Hanzo out. His smirk was still in place, but somehow it felt like his expression was shifting. “See…there’s this thing, sweet pea…” He reached out and trailed his fingers along the back of Hanzo’s left hand. “People don’t walk on in to The Rusty Bullet unless they’re part of Deadlock.”
Hanzo’s breath caught in his throat and his grip on his drink glass tightened enough that his knuckles were turning white. He knew that the right thing was to not react, to play dumb, but all of his instincts failed when he realized that he was basically cornered. Yes, there was the window nearby, but Jesse was close enough to grab him without much issue. And that wasn’t even considering the several other guys that were in the area. It also didn’t take the fact that most of them were likely heavily armed and that Hanzo wasn’t carrying visible weapons. There was a knife sheathed against his spine and one in each boot, but otherwise he was without weapons.
It certainly wasn’t enough to get him out of a bar full of gang members unscathed.
“What’s Deadlock?” Hanzo didn’t have to reach far to make himself sound anxious and fearful. He genuinely was a bit afraid. Despite that fear, he was tempted to unlock his phone to try and shoot a message to Genji. An SOS. Maybe playing dumb will keep me safe…
“Now darlin’, don’t go and play dumb. Been watchin’ you the past couple days. You’ve been figurin’ out the local Deadlock hangouts, seen you outside of all of ‘em.” Jesse kept trailing his finger along the back of Hanzo’s hand.
Hanzo knew he should pull away from Jesse, but he was frozen. He’d spent so long honing his flight or fight responses that he’d forgotten that freeze was a part of the response process as well. And now was not the time to freeze. “I really don’t know what Deadlock is…this bar just seemed like a cool place…”
“Stop lyin’.” The playful tone was gone from Jesse’s voice and the teasing touches were replaced with a hand gripping onto Hanzo’s wrist. “Don’t really appreciate bein’ lied to.” Hanzo gasped lightly as Jesse tugged on his left arm and then shoved the sleeve of his leather jacket up enough to expose a tiny bit of the dragon tattoo. “Hm. Well, I don’t think your name is Killua Botto given that you’ve got the Shimada-gumi symbols all over your damn arm.”
Shit. I need to get out of here, I need to…I need to get home! Hanzo could feel his pulse starting to race and his face starting to flush from fear. Out of instinct, he straightened up; the action had his arm trying to pull away. Jesse’s grip only tightened. Hanzo thought the message of ‘you’re not getting away’ was pretty damn clear. That didn’t mean that Hanzo was going to just give up and do nothing. He at least had to try. It would be dishonorable to sit back and accept defeat. Sure, he might get hurt or worse in an attempt to escape, but at least he’d have some honor intact. It wasn’t like Hanzo was completely helpless, he was just in over his head. Really over his head.
Hanzo exhaled slowly and tried to calm himself. He needed as clear of a head as he could manage, it would help things considerably. It was obvious that McCree was waiting for Hanzo to say something or react in a way that wasn’t freezing…maybe he could take advantage of that. Maybe Jesse’s guard would be down because of that. It wasn’t much of an advantage, but Hanzo would take whatever he could get at this point.
Glass crashed against the bar and shouts erupted in the crowd – a bar fight. If Hanzo was more religious, he’d thank some sort of god. Instead, he slammed the heel of his palm against Jesse’s hand and yanked his arm away. The cowboy growled out a pained noise. Hanzo didn’t stay still long enough to see what Jesse’s expression had shifted to – he didn’t want to see. He could only imagine it was just shy of murderous.
Hanzo stumbled as he vaulted off the stool toward the nearby window. It was the lesser of two evils – he was still in Jesse’s reach – but he’d rather take chances in that respect rather than fighting his way through a bar filled with gang members. He caught his balance and started running along the last bit of the bar counter. Hanzo brought his leg back and smashed the ball of his foot against the glass. He anticipated a shower of glass shards, but the only thing that happened was his leg recoiling back so hard that he was falling off balance. Hanzo twisted while he was falling. Going through the bar was dangerous, but it was his only option at this point. He managed to not fall on his face and broke into a run. There was shouting – he could pick out Jesse’s voice, but he couldn’t make out what was being said. All his mind could focus on was making sure he didn’t fall or get caught or both. He launched off of another guy’s shoulder and then another’s. It wasn’t a smart choice, eventually people would get wise and just let him crash to the ground, but he could deal with that when it happened.
What he didn’t expect was someone to grab his ankle and yank him down with a surprising amount of force.
“Shit!” Hanzo flailed as he suddenly found himself without footholds and dropping straight into the crowd of Deadlock members. Before he could start moving again, strong arms crushed him close to a firm chest.
“Hey there, darlin’.” Jesse’s voice still had the playful quality to it, but the warmth was gone entirely. A chill ran down Hanzo’s spine – suddenly everything felt just a little bit more dangerous. “Never said we were gonna hurt you or nothin’.”
Hanzo struggled against the hold – he jolted as he tried to free an arm enough to push away or strike or anything. “Let go!”
“No can do, sugar.” If anything, Jesse tightened his grip even more. “See, we can do research too, Hanzo.”
It felt like the world around Hanzo froze. Jesse’s words echoed in his mind. They had done research, they knew his name. They knew who he was and they knew where he was from. His eyes went wide as the implications sank in – it was impossible for them to have known. If he was out on family business outside of Japan, he was just another yakuza. He wasn’t the heir. There had to be an information leak within the Shimada…
That was almost more troubling than the fact that he couldn’t escape from Jesse’s grip.
He jerked against Jesse’s arms and tried to bring his knee up between the other man’s legs, only for it to be blocked with ease. “Fuck off! Just let me go…”
“Nah. You’re too valuable.” Jesse grinned as he loosened his grip on Hanzo.
For a moment, Hanzo thought that he’d have a chance to escape. It was a tiny glimmer of hope in his fear-stricken mind. He didn’t want to think about what Jesse meant by valuable or what they’d do to someone who was valuable. Somehow he didn’t think that it would make him any safer…
The thoughts were shaken from his mind as he started trying to run away. The grin on Jesse’s face got more pronounced as he pulled out a revolver, spun it with a flourish, and smacked it down against Hanzo’s head.
Blinding pain flashed across Hanzo’s head, followed by his vision swimming. He stumbled backwards and raised a hand to hold it to his head – it felt like he was bleeding. His knees buckled and his vision started going grey around the edges. No, no I can’t pass out here…no! No! I have to get out!
The last thing Hanzo remembered before losing his war with consciousness was his body careening forward into Jesse’s chest. Then there was only blackness.
Hanzo jolted away when light flooded the room. The sudden brightness threw everything off and sent a bolt of pain through his head. He tucked his bound arms over his face to block some of the light, but it did nothing to dull the throbbing pain. He wasn’t sure how many days he’d been in the room, but he was pretty sure it was long enough that he should be concerned that his head was still aching so much. He doubted Deadlock was going to do anything to help him in that regards. Or at all. It wasn’t like Hanzo had done anything worthy of being treated well – he’d been fighting at every turn.
“Mornin’ sunshine.” Jesse – no, McCree’s now familiar voice rang out clear, like a bell. Hanzo refused to call him by his given name when he was being held captive. “Lookin’ a bit tired there.”
Hanzo bristled at the subtle jab. Of course he was looking tired; he’d been locked in a dark room for god knows how long with his arms wrenched back behind his back with only enough food and water to make sure he didn’t die. He was certain he was down in weight and he could feel the scabs underneath the handcuffs. Despite his proverbial hackles rising at the comment, Hanzo didn’t rise to the bait. He just scowled up at McCree and shifted a bit closer to the wall.
“Aw, not even a response? Shucks, I thought you’d been warmin’ up to me.” McCree snickered. Footsteps told Hanzo that the cowboy was getting closer but he didn’t realize how close until he felt a large, leather-clad hand wrap around his bicep.
The next moment he was being yanked to his feet so hard it felt like his shoulder was about to rip out of the socket. Hanzo bit back a gasp by clamping his jaw shut as tight as he could. Between the light, the sudden movement, and all the time with limited space, Hanzo couldn’t get his feet under him, at least not right away. He scrabbled to get some balance, some sort of composure, but it wasn’t happening easily.
“Fu…fuck…” Hanzo couldn’t open his eyes, it was too bright, and the pace McCree had set was just fast enough that Hanzo couldn’t get his feet under him. “Slow down!”
“So he can speak.” McCree snorted before giving Hanzo another rough tug. Hanzo swore he did that on purpose. “No can do, dragonfly. We’ve got places to be an’ I’m not lettin’ you set the pace. Not when you keep tryin’ to run away.”
Hanzo growled as he was pulled along. He creaked one of his eyes open, the light was still just shy of overwhelming, but he could keep the eye open this time. This hall was different than the one he’d tried to escape down, he was certain of it. Or maybe his recollection was just that off.
Soon enough, he was being shoved into a room on the right side of the hall. It was dimly lit – there was a single, dull light on the ceiling. It shifted everything to a sickly yellow color more than it illuminated everything. Hanzo’s gaze moved away from the lighting to what was in the room. A shiver went down his spine; everything in the room was far too familiar. He’d seen it back at home – but not in the place his family resided. No, it was in the area where family business took place.
He closed his eyes and exhaled on a count of five. He needed to remain calm. The Shimada clan was comprised of dragons and dragons didn’t bow before their adversaries. The dragon was indomitable, too strong to be broken. Hanzo stood as up as straight as he could manage in his current state, with his shoulders pulled back and his head held high. He would not break before them.
“Ah…there’s the dragon.” McCree snickered and then shoved Hanzo hard enough that he nearly fell. “Guess ya figured out what’s goin’ on, hm?”
“You can try.” Hanzo’s voice had lost the hints of fear that he knew had been slipping through his mask. No, his voice was cold as steel and even as can be. Hanzo thought he sounded calm, but self-perception was different than how others perceived you.
It was an act that had been drilled into Hanzo from a very young age. Don’t show weakness to the enemy – don’t give them anything they can exploit. It was almost a form of mindfulness or meditation; calmness, awareness. To some enemies, such an act might force them to try harder, but it was usually worth the risk. After all, with what the family put Hanzo through, there wasn’t much that would genuinely evoke a fear response.
“Sounds like a challenge.” McCree’s tone had gone darker, deeper. It was enough to send chills down Hanzo’s spine for all the wrong reasons. “I’m sure I’ll getcha singin’, sweetheart.”
Hanzo merely stood up taller yet and tilted his chin up. The cowboy could try to get him talking, but it wasn’t going to work.
He was abruptly shoved down into an uncomfortable chair and given a look that clearly spelled out ‘don’t even think about moving.’ Hanzo knew now wasn’t the time to try and escape. McCree had proven himself to be an annoying opponent; he was quick on his feet and far more intelligent than he let on. Add in that Hanzo was nowhere near top condition and it was easy to realize that an escape attempt was a recipe for disaster.
The cuffs were removed and Hanzo’s wrists strapped to the chair with leather belts. They were sturdy and Hanzo wasn’t sure if he’d be able to slip them if there was an emergency. Hanzo wasn’t surprised when similar leather straps lashed his ankles to the legs of the chair. He had to wonder if the straps played into what Deadlock had in mind or if it was an intimidation tactic. He supposed he would find out soon enough.
Hanzo gritted his teeth when he felt McCree’s hands slide up from his ankles to his knees before the man got to his feet. There was an almost wistful smile on the cowboy’s face – one that annoyed Hanzo to no end. His irritation waned when he saw the communicator in McCree’s ear. So he was going to be acting on orders, or would be fed questions or methods of information extraction.
“It’s a damn shame, dragonfly.” McCree sighed while turning away. Hanzo’s instinct to escape flared up, but he quashed it down. “Don’t wanna mess up that pretty face of yours.”
Hanzo highly doubted that there would be many strikes to the face; the impact would do just as much damage to McCree’s hand. There were far more efficient methods of gathering information.
He watched as McCree held his fingers up to the ear with the communicator. The cowboy’s posture was shifting – it was far stiffer now. Maybe he doesn’t agree with what they’re telling him?
“Got it, jefe.” Again with the dark tone, and now there was a coldness to boot. Hanzo watched him for a few moments, observed how he straightened to his full height and rolled his shoulders out like he was preparing for a fight. In a way, Hanzo supposed McCree was. “Well now, honeybee, there’s two ways this can go. You tell me the stuff I wanna know and we get to be pals or you decide to be a stubborn shit an’ try to tough it out.” He paused for a moment – Hanzo knew it was for dramatic effect. “Then we’re not gonna be friends. You’ll not like me much then.”
Hanzo snorted at that and resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “I don’t like you much to start with.”
“Ooh, you wound me, sunshine.” McCree snickered. “Let’s get started then, shall we?”
Hanzo didn’t bother to say that he doubted he really had a choice in the matter. He had an idea of how this would go, or at least of the type of questions that would be asked. Why the Shimada were staking out Deadlock, what their future moves were, how much the family would pay for Hanzo’s safe return…
“So what brings a lonely little dragon out to Santa fe?” McCree leaned against the wall across from Hanzo as he toyed with the cuff of his leather gloves.
Despite the innocuous nature of the question, Hanzo wasn’t going to answer. If he was going to be uncooperative, he was going to set the precedent right off the get go. That, and he’d have to lie, at least partially. The trip was multi-faceted, as were most of their international operations. Of course, Hanzo was there scoping out Deadlock for various reasons, but his cover story was a post-graduation pleasure trip before starting university. Which was also technically true.
So Hanzo remained silent with an impassive expression on his face.
“Aw c’mon darlin’, that was an easy one.” McCree sighed. “Just answer for me, doll. It’ll be better that way.”
Oh, I’m well aware of that. Yet Hanzo remained completely silent. . It was standard interrogation procedure. They weren’t to part from any bit of information, even if it seemed insignificant.
He watched McCree’s face cloud over in anger as he pushed away from the wall. Now he got to see what type of method McCree was going to utilize. There was a dull sort of fear hanging in the back of his mind, more out of not knowing what was coming versus fear of the inevitable pain. Hanzo gazed up at McCree expectantly when the other was close enough to loom over him. Yes, he could see why Deadlock had chosen Jesse McCree for this particular task. He certainly had an intimidating presence once the flirting and grinning dropped away. Hanzo would put money on the family making a similar decision.
He kept his expression the same – almost bored looking – when McCree pulled his arm back to wind up for a hit. The motion started so quickly that Hanzo had trouble tracking it. Barely a moment later sharp pain zinged across his cheekbone. It felt more like stinging rather than genuine pain, but this was a warm-up more than anything else. Hanzo was well-aware of that. He turned his head back toward McCree and continued his silent staring. There was the thought that he was pushing his luck, but Hanzo shook it away.
“C’mon sugar, just work with me!” There was a hint of urgency in McCree’s voice, something that was boreerline pleading. It was almost enough to convince Hanzo that McCree didn’t genuinely want to hurt him “What brings you to Santa Fe?”
Instead of responding, Hanzo looked away. He had talked a little while they were in the bar, but this was a different story. Now Deadlock knew who was and any bit of information would be twisted to be used against Hanzo’s family. He wasn’t about to risk that. He cared about (some) of his family too much. There was also the fact that the elders would punish him severely if Hanzo spilled any information.
He heard McCree sigh at the lack of response followed by the cowboy’s weight shifting. It was a tell – there was another hit coming. At least he’d be able to brace himself this time. Hanzo’s head snapped to the side hard enough and fast enough that his vision greyed out momentarily. The hit had caused a blood choke. His jaw ached and throbbed – it too him a moment to realize that the strike had been a punch. Another moment later and he realized that the seam of the gloves had sliced his face open and that there was blood trickling down his cheek.
Before Hanzo could really process the pain, a hand clamped onto his throat for a moment. Panic instantly flooded his mind because his airway was cut off. It was one of those deeply ingrained responses, one Hanzo couldn’t actually stop. But as quickly as his air had been stopped, it was given back. McCree’s hand remained on his throat – it was a power play. A reminder about who was in control.
“What does the Shimada clan want on Deadlock?” McCree’s hand was still on his throat; it was acting as a constant threat. “What does your lot care what we get up to in our own damn territory?”
It seemed the Deadlock bosses, and thus McCree, were no longer beating around the bush and playing nice cop. Hanzo had the feeling McCree’s methods were going to get more painful.
That thought was confirmed only moments later when a hand yanked Hanzo’s hair to hold him in place for another freight train punch. Hanzo gasped as he felt strands of hair rip from his scalp. And of course this punch went to the uninjured side of his face. He could feel blood dripping more freely and his vision swam for a moment. He’d taken too many hits to the head recently and he was starting to feel the effects. Still, Hanzo wasn’t going to reveal information.
“Look at you playin’ the tough guy…” McCree snorted and trailed fingers along Hanzo’s injured cheeks. “What’s it getting’ you?” Not helpin’ you any, but we know your type. Honor, duty, to protect yer family.” There was a pause that somehow chilled Hanzo. “They haven’t tried to getcha, honeybee. And truth be told, one of yer guys sold you out.” Gloved fingers toyed through Hanzo’s hair. “Why protect them?”
Hanzo’s façade faltered for a moment and he hoped that it wasn’t all that noticeable. He didn’t want to believe that the family had done nothing to retrieve him, he wanted to believe that his family cared enough to find out what had happened to him. If not out of love, then because he was the heir. Hanzo didn’t want to admit that McCree had a point, that it felt like the family had abandoned him. And that keeping quiet for their sake seemed less and less desirable.
Hanzo looked down at his lap rather than at McCree and shifted uncomfortably on the chair. He wouldn’t talk, he decided. Maybe not for keeping the family safe, but for his own pride. Or for keeping Genji safe. He was a dragon, after all. Dragons were unbreakable.
“Aw…don’t look so sad, dragonfly.” McCree’s voice was issuing from behind him now. “Jus’ tell em why you’re here.”
He shook his head – he wasn’t going to give McCree any information. Hanzo bit his lower lip while he waited for the inevitable strike or whatever the retaliation was this time. A small, strangled sound escaped his lips when a hand gripped onto his throat and the other grabbed his hair. Unwanted tears sprang to his eyes at the combination of sensations. No, I need to stay calm, I need to stay in control…I need…I need…I… He tried to breathe in and found himself completely unable to do so. The irrational fear response started flaring up as did his heartrate and the involuntary tears.
“I tried bein’ nice,Hanzo.” McCree’s voice was little more than a growl. But you’re bein’ difficult. Didn’t want to hafta hurt you…but looks like you’re givin’ me no choice.”
The hand was still clamped on Hanzo’s throat and the other yanking on his hair so hard it felt like his scalp was bleeding. A tear slid down his cheek as he tried to force air into his lungs and found himself still unable to do so. Hanz’s vision wobbled at the edges, slowly went greyer and greye.
I could die here… No, Hanzo didn’t want to die. He was only eighteen, he didn’t want to die! He was too young, he had dso much left to do. He couldn’t abandon his family like that… He managed a choked sob and closed his eyes tightly. Air flooded his lungs a moment later and he was rendered light headed. He struggled against his binds and continued to take in heaving, gasping breaths. He ducked his head down, not out of defiance, but to hide the shameful, frightened tears that were staining his cheeks.
“You’re stubborn as a mule.” McCree snorted as he gripped Hanzo’s hair tighter yet. “They got you real brainwashed if you’re willin’ to die rather than say something.” He huffed out an exasperated sigh before tapping the piece in his ear. “We’re not getting’ anything out of him, jefe. Not yet at least.”
Brainwashed? No, I’m not brainwashed… Silence filled the room and Hanzo shifted uncomfortably. Now his head was killing him, his face throbbing, and his neck was fucked over. And worse than that, it felt like he could break down at any moment. Hanzo only had a tenuous grip on his emotions at the moment. So instead, he focused on watching McCree as a means of distraction – he’d take anything at this point if it meant not thinking about his current situation.
The cowboy’s expression was growing more and more sour until he finally spoke. “No, I ain’t doin’ that. He’s done for the day.”
Hanzo blinked and tilted his head slightly as he stared. Does McCree have that much sway here? That he can just say no to the bosses? Hanzo couldn’t rightly be sure, or if McCree saying no was a good or bad thing.
McCree tossed the communication device to the ground after unceremoniously throwing it to the ground. Before Hanzo could think of the implications of that action, McCree was undoing the leather straps. With air hitting the skin, he could feel how raw his wrists and ankles were. He’d been struggling harder than he’d realized – he wouldn’t be surprised if he was bleeding. No words were said as the handcuffs were slapped back on. Words weren’t needed, it was clear that Hanzo was going back to that room to stew some more.
Hanzo had passed out cold within moments of getting back to the dark, isolated room. His body had been exhausted from the interrogation session and the general stress of his situation. Once he’d woken up, things had shifted back to how they were in the previous days. Dark room, no real contact with anyone, crappy meals, and limited bathroom time.
At first, he’d been thrilled to have time to himself – it meant that Deadlock wasn’t actively trying to get information from him and that he’d be able to recover from the injuries he’d incurred over the past two weeks. The latter was the more important part in Hanzo’s mind – he needed the head injury to clear so he could think well again. If he could actually think, he might be able to dream up some method of escaping from Deadlock.
But after another day or so, everything that had been said during the interrogation session with McCree was coming back to him. How the family hadn’t made any attempts to get him back, how they had abandoned him. Hanzo didn’t want to believe it at all, but wasn’t there proof in the fact that he was still with Deadlock? Wouldn’t an organization like the Shimada-gumi be able to get Hanzo back without issue? He knew that Genji would be trying like hell to get him back, but there was only so much his younger brother could do. He was a minor and he was bound by the fact that he had to obey the elders.
But why wasn’t the rest of his family trying? Why were they leaving him with Deadlock? Why were they letting him stay in danger? Didn’t they realize that if Hanzo kept being defiant they might just kill him…? Didn’t they care…?
They weren’t questions that Hanzo could answer, yet he ruminated on the potential answers for hours and hours. Maybe negotiations were going poorly, maybe they were still in the planning stages, maybe they were testing Hanzo’s fortitude. But for every positive potential answer, there was a negative. Maybe they just didn’t care about him, maybe they had given him to Deadlock as a peace offering… The thoughts went on and on and Hanzo could feel his chest tightening with the effort of keeping his emotions hidden from those around him.
He shifted so he was sitting up, back resting against the wall furthest from the door. His wrists were cuffed behind his back again and his shoulders had the dull ache of someone who had been kept in the same position for far too long. Hanzo straightened up slightly and the action knocked a portion of his bangs into his eyes and mouth. He spluttered and tried to blow it away so he wouldn’t have to deal with the uncomfortable tickling sensation, but it wasn’t particularly effective. A strand of hair stabbed at his eyes and another hooked into his mouth. He attempted to blow it away again with no progress. Hanzo shifted and tried to use his hands, only to get the harsh reminder of handcuffs when his arms couldn’t move in the ways he wanted.
He cursed loudly and slammed his shoulders back against the wall. Hanzo growled, but the sound faded into a soft whimper. He couldn’t do something as simple as moving his hair away from his face – what made him think he’d be capable of getting away from Deadlock? Why would his family want to recover someone so useless?
And just like that, the dam broke. Hanzo tried to control everything like he usually did, but his resolve was crumbling to nothingness. He let out a shaky breath before it hitched and his shoulders started shaking from a suppressed sob. I’m pathetic…this isn’t how a dragon should be acting… He tilted his head back and let it rest against the cool wall. His eyes were closed tight, but there were still tears dripping down his cheeks. He clenched his hands into tight fists and dug his fingernails into the palms of his hands in an attempt to distract himself with pain. It didn’t work – instead, his shoulders bucked and he let out an audible sob.
Light flooded the room and Hanzo was temporarily blinded. Now wasn’t the time when he was usually brought food, nor was it the time that he was escorted to the bathroom. Did that meant it was time for another interrogation…? Trust them to pick a time when I’m emotionally compromised to try and get information from me…
“Dragonfly?” McCree’s voice rang out through the room – Hanzo couldn’t quite see him yet, it was too bright. “You okay there?”
“Leave me alone!” Hanzo bit the words out in a hoarse, shaking voice before tucking his face away so McCree didn’t see the tears. Why is my enemy asking if I’m okay? They have no reason to care about my wellbeing…this is just a trap…
“No can do, starshine.” McCree’s voice was closer now, but Hanzo couldn’t pinpoint where he was nor did he dare look up to see where he was. He didn’t want anyone seeing him like this. “…are you cryin’?”
“Damare!” Hanzo growled out the word and didn’t care in the slightest that McCree wouldn’t understand the meaning. He didn’t want any more of McCree’s questions; they only made him shake harder, made the tears come faster. Because why in the name of anything did this Deadlock guy care enough to ask about him but his own family couldn’t be arsed to try and recover him?
“I’m goin’ to assume that means ‘fuck off’ or ‘shut up’ or somethin’ like that. No can do. Kinda gotta check in on you.” McCree sighed. “So since I gotta be here for the next hour, why don’tcha tell me what’s botherin’ you? Beats us sittin’ here in silence.”
No, Hanzo really didn’t want to talk to him. He didn’t want to talk about what was bothering him, he didn’t want to admit that he was upset in the first place. He didn’t want to admit that they were getting to him. Hanzo didn’t want to admit that he was a scared eighteen year old who was separated from his family and didn’t know what he was supposed to do.
“…j…just leave me alone…” Hanzo voice cracked and he kept his face tucked away as best as he could. Hide away his shame.
He heard something click and could see that the room was lighter through his tightly closed eyes. It was bright enough that even with his eyes closed it hurt. Hanzo turned his body closer to the wall – he didn’t want to be seen like this. He didn’t want to seem weak and pathetic, which was how he felt. He didn’t want to be pitied.
“Aw jeez…” Despite the exasperated nature of the words, McCree’s voice sounded pained and almost sympathetic. “I’m not gonna hurt you, sugar. Jus’ here to keep you company for a bit.”
Hanzo didn’t believe that for one minute. He assumed this was a ploy to get him opening up because someone was being kind to him. After all, there was that old adage about drawing more bees with honey than vinegar. They might be under the impression that Hanzo would spill information just because someone was being nice to him. He wasn’t that naïve.
“…go away…” Hanzo’s voice was weak when he spoke, a timid protest. His shoulders shook harder and he held his breath to hide another gasping sob.
He heard the door close, but could still hear the steady breaths emanating from McCree. He’d locked himself in with Hanzo. Wonderful, now I can’t escape him for the next hour…
“Sorry angel eyes, gotta follow my orders. You’re stuck with me.”
I’ll just stay silent then… Hanzo shifted again – he was almost facing the wall entirely at this point. He’d rather give his enemy his back then been seen in the state he was currently in.
“Must be hard for ya.” McCree mused with a sigh. “Away from home, all by yerself, and you’re bein’ held hostage. You can’t be much more than twenty…”
“Eighteen.” Hanzo corrected him out of habit. His voice was surprisingly even given how upset he was. “I’m eighteen.”
“Jesus H Christ…you’re just a kid, what the hell were they doin’ sendin’ you out on mission like this all by your lonesome?” The indignant anger in McCree’s voice surprised Hanzo more than anything else. It sounded like Jesse McCree was upset on his behalf, which just seemed weird. “Fuckin’ hell…I’m twenty an’ I wouldn’t want to go on a mission like yours on my own.”
Hanzo snorted, but didn’t shift so he was facing McCree. He supposed it wasn’t a mission that he would have sent one on, especially not the elder heir to the empire. He would have sent a small team of people so they’d have built in backup if something went sour. Support was important…and Hanzo had been left completely without it.
It was really feeling like someone had wanted him out of the way…
“You’re only two years older than me; you don’t get to call me a kid.” Hanzo bit the words out between sniffles and muffled sobs.
“So he does talk.” McCree snickered. “Aw darlin’, didn’t mean no offense, jus’ a bit peeved with whoever set up your mission because they’re an idiot.”
He is angry on my behalf, what the hell…this doesn’t make sense. This has to be a ploy for information… Hanzo chewed on his lower lip as he continued to hide himself – he didn’t want to give up any information. Yet at the same time…talking to McCree like this was the most normal he’d felt in days. It was almost making him feel better about everything. Almost. There were a few constant reminders that he was a captive – like the handcuffs and the dull ache in his body. Is there harm in talking about things that don’t deal with my mission…?
“…they are idiots…” Hanzo grumbled as he turned a little, he’d claim it was so he could see if McCree was going to do something like attack, but really, he just wanted to be able to hear and see better. There was no shame in that.
“But you’re the heir…don’tcha have say in what goes down on missions?” McCree sounded genuinely curious.
But that question was edging into ‘actually giving up information’ so Hanzo wasn’t going to answer it. So he shrugged as much as he could when handcuffed. “Who would listen to an eighteen-year-old?”
“Hm…too much like the interrogation questions then.” McCree hummed. It seemed that even partial answers from Hanzo gave him an idea of things. Hanzo wasn’t entirely sure how he felt about it. “What’s it like bein’ the heir to a place like that anyway, Hanzo?”
“Not sure that’s your business, McCree.” Hanzo turned enough to glare at the cowboy, which got a laugh in response.
“Call me Jesse, sunshine.”
“No.” Hanzo grumbled as he tried to get comfortable again. The tears had tapered off. Apparently talking was helping some. A distraction, he supposed.
He didn’t trust McCree at all, but he needed the distractions from his thoughts. If Hanzo was allowed to think, then he would just wallow and get more upset about his situation. Everything that had been said would slowly start to sink in…and he wasn’t sure he could bear that. So he talked with McCree about things that didn’t pertain to the Shimada-gumi or his mission – things that were harmless. Every once and awhile McCree would add his own stories, but he seemed more content to ask questions and listen to Hanzo speak. There was no harm in this…it was just a distraction…