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Cry Mercy

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Angela had discovered the kinbaku photo book by accident. She’d woken before Hanzo; as she waited for the kettle to come to a boil, she’d browsed Hanzo’s bookshelf: various manga series, a couple poetry books, what looked to be a few genre books—the text was in Japanese, but the cover art seemed to indicate fantasy and science fiction—some reference books on archery, and a few photo books. Tucked into the very edge of the bookshelf and almost hidden by the trim was a heavy, hardcover tome. Angela stroked its plain spine before easing the volume out of the shelf, admiring the illustration of intricate knotwork on the cover before she sat down and opened the book on her lap.

The glossy pages revealed photos of women bound in various positions, ropework forming patterns across their skin. Blocks of text accompanied diagrams showing how to reproduce the photographs. Angela flipped through the pages, intrigued by the graceful lines of the models’ bodies; she was so engrossed that she didn’t notice when the kettle whistled, or when Hanzo padded into the room.

“Good morning,” he said, rubbing his eyes. His hair was still mussed from the night before, and his boxers hung low on his hips. Angela looked up and smiled.

“Morning,” she said. The book still lay open in her lap, and a second passed before Hanzo noticed it. When he did, he flushed.

“Ah.” He ran a hand through his hair. “Um.”

Angela laughed and set the book aside, standing and pulling Hanzo close as she placed a kiss on his cheek. “Didn’t know you were into these kinds of things,” she said, her tone light and teasing.

“I might be,” Hanzo said, his cheeks still pink. Angela stroked his shoulder, traced down the length of his dragon tattoo before entwining her fingers in his.

“So,” she said, her smile turning wicked, “you want to see me tied up?”

“No!” he said, flustered. Angela must have looked surprised; Hanzo followed up with a quick, “I mean. I wouldn’t be opposed; it’s just that—”

He went silent, biting his lip in a way that Angela knew meant he didn’t quite know how to talk about what was on his mind. It took only another moment for her to figure out what he was holding back. Her eyes twinkled.

“It’s just that… you want to be the one tied up, isn’t it?”

The way Hanzo pressed his lips together into a tight line as his cheeks flushed a deeper red told Angela all she needed to know. She planted a kiss on the curve of his neck and nipped the skin there, eliciting a tiny gasp from Hanzo; she laughed again, untwining her fingers from his and walking into the kitchen.

“Coffee or tea?” she said, taking down the French press as Hanzo stepped away.

“Coffee, thanks,” Hanzo said, his voice carrying from the bathroom. Angela took down the coffee beans and ground them before putting them into the French press. She heard the water run for a moment, then the sound of Hanzo brushing his teeth.

“You know,” Angela said, sitting back down with the book as she waited for the coffee to brew, “I can probably grab some rope from the supply store, and I’m free tonight, if you wanted to… try anything.”

Hanzo sputtered; Angela waited for a ‘no’, but when none came, she settled in and began to study the diagrams more closely.

She hadn’t exactly pegged Hanzo as the type to sub or bottom, but knowing that he wanted to wasn’t a surprise, either. She’d dated a number of men who wanted to be dominated, and she was more than willing to oblige. Most of them, however, weren’t as pliant as Hanzo, as ready to submit, even if he wasn’t as forthcoming about it with words—his body language told her everything.

“You’ll tell me if it’s too tight, won’t you?” she said, threading the end of the rope through a knot.

Hanzo nodded.


Angela had splinted wounds, wrapped bandages, and tied sutures before, but the knotwork involved in kinbaku was new to her. It required focus and patience, but, even though the explanations were in Japanese, the diagrams were clear enough to her, and Hanzo held steady on his knees as she finished weaving a simple chest harness around him. The harness kept his arms in a box-tie position that was comfortable but still restrictive.

“As for safe words,” she said, coming around to behind Hanzo and making sure his hands were still warm with good circulation, “how about ‘yellow’ for slow down, and ‘red’ for stop?”

Hanzo nodded again. God, how Angela loved to see him like this, taut like a bowstring, muscles smooth beneath his skin. She was fully clothed, the V-neck of her tank top just low enough to flash a hint of lacy bra, the garter belt holding up her stockings peeking out from under her modest skirt, while Hanzo was naked and bare before her, every inch of him exposed. His jewelry glinted in the warm light of his bedroom: the bridge piercing that he was somehow able to pull off, the rings in his ears, the barbells through his nipples, the Prince Albert and frenum piercings through his cock.

She nuzzled the curve between his neck and shoulder, traced up along that line to nip at his earlobe.

“And what am I going to do with you now?” she murmured, delighting in the shiver that went through Hanzo.


“Uh-uh,” Angela said. “You’re going to call me Mercy when I’m domming you.”

“Mercy,” Hanzo breathed, sending a bolt of pleasure through her. Oh, she’d have him calling her name soon enough, crying and begging for her.

“Yes, dear?” she said, running her hands along his abs, careful not to touch any of his sensitive spots. “What do you want me to do?”

She let the silence stretch between them. They’d mostly done vanilla things so far, and Hanzo had generally taken the lead, though Angela had no qualms expressing what she wanted and guiding Hanzo to show him how to pleasure her. But she did notice that Hanzo was quieter about his own wants and how he felt. It wasn’t that he was hesitant to submit to her—his very pliancy now showed as much—but she could tell that he was used to being put together and dignified, stoic and unemotional, and didn’t often let himself come undone.

She hoped to change that.

“Well,” she said, “I have an idea.” She seated herself on the bed, leaving Hanzo kneeling on the ground before her. “You’re all tied up, so I’ll have to get myself off.”

She slipped off her panties and tossed them aside, watching as Hanzo’s eyes followed the long lines of her legs. She hiked up her skirt and spread her legs, allowing Hanzo a good view of her. She suckled on two of her fingers, grinning at the way Hanzo watched her, wordless, his breaths already becoming shallower; she rested a finger on the curved barbell in the hood over her clit, then stroked herself with small, circular motions. Sighing, she let her head fall back to expose her throat.

When she dipped her fingers lower, she caught the wetness already beginning to slick her skin and gently tugged at the rings on her labia before spreading herself and slipping a finger inside.

“Mmm,” she said, looking back up and meeting Hanzo’s gaze. “Not quite as good as you, but this’ll do for now.”

She stroked deeper, curling her fingers and groaning, not daring to break eye contact with Hanzo. She could see his hardness growing, his breaths becoming more ragged; her own pleasure swirled inside her, building languidly as she teased him.

“Mercy,” Hanzo said, his voice already hoarse, and Angela flushed as her heart skipped a beat.


“I…” Hanzo paused, collecting himself before saying, “I want you.”

“Is that so?” She stroked herself harder, drawing a moan from her lips. Hanzo flexed against the ropes, as if testing their hold; he moved his arms, as if he were trying to free his hands from the tie so he could reach her.

Angela grinned. “Now?”

“Yes. Please.”

“Hmm.” She licked another finger and drew circles on her clit as she fingered herself, sending a jolt of pleasure through her that had her crying out. Hanzo groaned, sweat starting to bead on his skin; Angela played with herself for a few moments longer, drawing out Hanzo’s torment, before pulling out her wet-slicked fingers and standing before him.

“You want me?” she said, touching her fingers to Hanzo’s lips; his tongue darted out to taste her, to suck her clean.

“Mmm,” he said, lips around her.

“Well, if you insist,” she said. She drew level with him, standing with her legs apart, baring herself to him. “Put that lovely mouth of yours to work, dear.”

She never quite knew what exactly he did when he went down on her, but it sent sparks through her body, made her legs tremble as his tongue slid along her.

“Hanzo…” she said, grabbing his hair and pulling him closer, pressing him to her; he redoubled his efforts, going harder at her. He was so warm, focused entirely on her; she tightened her grip on his hair, earning an appreciative hum that ran through her. She brought her fist to her mouth, biting down on her knuckles to mask her mewling, until Hanzo hit a stride with her that made her cry out, pleasure cresting to a peak, the orgasm rolling through her.

Head spinning, she let go of Hanzo and kneeled until she was face-to-face with him, his lips shining with her wetness, his cheeks flushed. She leaned in and kissed him, tasting herself mixed with him.

“Still doing okay?” she said, reaching behind him to check that his hands were still warm.

“Yes,” he said, tickling her neck. He kissed that delicate skin, caught her lips again when she leaned back on her haunches, surprising her. She leaned into the kiss, cupping his cheek and swallowing the sigh that slipped past his lips. When she broke away from him, his eyes were half-lidded, his lips parted; she steadied one hand on his chest, the rough rope contrasting against his smooth skin.

“You’re gorgeous, you know that?” she said.

“If you say so,” Hanzo replied. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe it; it was more that he was used to deflecting compliments as a way to accept them, something that had confused her before she realized that it was just a cultural difference. Being part of Overwatch meant learning about people from different backgrounds: learning that Hanzo, for all that he’d traveled the world, still fell back into the roles and hierarchies his family and upbringing had expected; learning that he was still accustomed to keeping his inner world private, to maintaining a certain façade of rigidity around others. To be the responsible elder brother; to be honorable, masculine in the appropriate ways.

She toyed with the jewelry in Hanzo’s Prince Albert piercing.

“Hanzo,” she said, tilting his chin up toward her. “Don’t hold back with me. You can be loud; you can tell me what you want. Anything.”

He was quiet for a moment, still as Angela looked into his eyes. They were a beautiful brown, deep and rich, almost black: a lovely shape, monolidded and perfect.

“I’ll try,” he said at last. “I admit that openness doesn’t come naturally to me, though.”

“That’s all right,” Angela replied. She caressed the line of his hips, her fingers tracing back down to play with his jewelry, sliding his foreskin down to reveal the entirety of the ring. She swirled a finger in his pre-cum, traced it along the metal.

“Mercy,” he murmured.


“I…” He looked off to the side. “I want to come.”

“Oh?” She palmed his full length, smirking as his breath hitched. “I can help with that.”


He felt good in her hand: solid, rooted; she loved that she could only barely touch her fingertips to each other around him. She gave him one long, languid stroke, coaxing a soft exhale from him, a noise that was only barely audible. More strokes, a little tighter, a little faster; Hanzo leaned his forehead against Angela’s shoulder and let out a tiny moan.

“That’s it,” she said, pressing a kiss to the top of Hanzo’s head. “Let yourself go.”

Hanzo murmured something, so quietly that Angela couldn’t make out what he said. She nudged him upright so that he was no longer leaning on her shoulder.

“What was that?” she said, slowing her rhythm and wrenching a groan from Hanzo.

He avoided her gaze. Angela cupped his chin.

“Look me in the eyes and tell me what you want,” she said, her voice soft but firm. When Hanzo met her eyes, his gaze defiant, haughty almost, a thrill ran through Angela.

“Kiss me, Mercy,” Hanzo said, and Angela could’ve laughed at how simple the request was if it weren’t for how much she knew that asking for such affection must have been difficult for him: to admit that he didn’t just need the rough pleasure of sex, but also the intimacy of it.

So she obliged him. She touched her lips to his, chaste and sweet at first, only deepening the kiss when she felt him chasing for more. She stroked his cheek with one hand as her other hand pumped away at him. She nipped at his lip, drawing the tenderest ah! sound from him; she trailed her hand down to pinch his nipple, her own lips resonant with the soft mmm he murmured between them.

“Mercy,” Hanzo said, breaking away from her, “I’m close.”


“Yeah. May I—” He let out a moan, low and rich, his chest hitching as he fought to finish his sentence. “May I come?”

“Well,” Angela said, tightening her grip and eliciting another sweet noise, sharp and inadvertent as it escaped him, “since you’ve been so good, I suppose you may.”

He leaned forward again, burying his face in her neck, his breaths ragged, tiny noises escaping him until they built up to something more raw and jagged pulled out from his chest rather than his throat—he pressed harder into her, and she cradled him there as he shuddered and let out a cry, muffled against her skin, louder than any other sound she’d ever heard from him.

“You’re lovely,” she said, kissing him again on the top of his head, her free hand stroking his hair. She withdrew her other hand from him, her palm warm and slick with his cum; she lapped up a drop, then eased Hanzo upright again, touching her sticky fingers to his lips, watching as he savored himself.

“What do you taste like?” she said, licking the last of the cum off her palm. “I never quite know how to describe it.”

“Persimmons,” Hanzo said, without pause. Angela laughed.

“Yeah? I’ve never had one.”

“I’ll get you one when they’re in season,” Hanzo said. “In the fall or winter.”

“I look forward to it,” Angela said, smiling. She washed her hands, then returned to pick apart the knots binding Hanzo one by one, feeding the rope through until the harness around him came undone. He made a face as he freed his arms; Angela kissed his shoulders, rubbed them and his arms and hands, fingers tracing over the impressions the rope left on his skin. Not deep enough to leave red marks—just enough pressure to print the texture of the rope on him.

“How was it?” Angela said, continuing to massage him; Hanzo’s sighs of pleasure at this touch were different, less needy, but she still liked hearing them.

“I enjoyed it,” Hanzo replied. He placed his hands on her hips, the gesture steady and grounding.

“Enough to do it again?”

“Yes,” Hanzo said, a little too quickly. Angela grinned and kissed him on the cheek.

“I’m glad.”

They experimented with other ties. It wasn’t always a sexual thing—both of them enjoyed the aesthetics of seeing rope on skin, of forming and unforming intricate designs that accentuated the planes of Hanzo’s body. Sometimes it was about restraint, but more often than not, it was just the pleasure of it: the security of the rope for him; the secret knowledge of what was under Hanzo’s clothing for her. On more than one occasion, she’d tied a hip harness on him that allowed for movement and hid easily under his shitabaki: a constant reminder of her touch, even if they were apart; a pressure against his skin that grounded him on missions, helped to still him as he took aim and fired.

Sometimes, they were deployed separately—Hanzo in one location and Angela in another, for two, three weeks at a time. He was in good hands: the teams were always balanced, with at least one person who could heal on them, but Angela would still get antsy. Hanzo wouldn’t show as much when they video chatted with each other, but he would admit that he missed her.

“Miss what, exactly?” Angela asked, her tablet propped up on the hotel room’s desk as she changed from her uniform into civilian clothes. They had a rare night off, and she and a couple of the other girls—Fareeha and Mei, and perhaps Hana as well—were planning to go out to grab drinks.

“Everything,” Hanzo replied. He ran a finger along his bowstring, applying wax to it. “I’m going touch hungry. And I miss the way you smell.”

Angela smiled. She unscrewed her tin of solid perfume and flashed it before the camera. “It’s just cherry blossoms.”

“I know, but it’s you.”

She laughed as she dabbed the perfume on her wrists and behind her ears. “I’ll get another tin for you to carry with you next time.”

“I’d like that.”

“Would you use it?” she asked, combing her hair back into a ponytail.

“Wouldn’t it be a little too feminine?”

Angela thought about it: the light, delicate fragrance of cherry blossoms mingled with the salt of his sweat, with that indescribable amber earthiness that was his scent alone. It was nearly enough to make her swoon.

“No, I don’t think so,” she said. Her mind wandered to the thought of the both of them skin-to-skin, the scent of cherry blossoms becoming rich on her and deepening on him, that persimmon-sweet taste on her tongue as she said his name.

“You’re blushing.”

“Huh?” Angela glanced back at the screen to see Hanzo giving her a knowing look.

“Miss me too?” he said, and anyone but Angela would’ve missed the edge of mirth on his voice. She stuck her tongue out at him.

“As if I couldn’t. Anyway, I should get going. I’ll talk to you later, dear.”


Their reunion at the base followed the same ritual: Angela fussing over Hanzo’s newest cuts and bruises—“It’s fine, Ana already took care of them”—before pulling him close and kissing him on the forehead, something that felt oddly more intimate than a kiss on the lips.

“Get a room, geez,” Hana said from her position perched on top of Meka.

So they did. As soon as the door clicked shut behind them, Hanzo spared no time closing the distance between them, his lips on hers, eager and hungry; she put the same energy back into the kiss. She wound the length of his hair ribbon around her wrist, using it to pull his head back as she broke away from him, trailing her lips instead on the line of his throat, the sharp angle of his Adam’s apple. He groaned, the sound of it needy as she slipped the fabric off his covered shoulder, untied his obi with one hand.

“What will it be today, dearest?” she asked.

“Do you want to try the tortoise shell one around the chest?”

“Whatever you’d like,” she said. She let Hanzo finish taking off his clothing and gear as she rooted around for their rope. This particular tie left his arms and legs unbound, a convenient base to add other restraints on top of. She unwound a length of rope and folded it in half to form the bight.

“Ready?” she said, and he nodded. The act of tying him was meditative: always a stickler for details, Angela followed the diagrams precisely, bringing the rope around his waist to form the lower belt before knotting the rope at equal lengths along his sternum. Hanzo was quiet as she worked, and she didn’t mind the silence: they settled comfortably into each others’ presence, and she could feel that he was at ease.

She threaded the ends of the rope through the gaps between the knots, forming a design with three diamonds that rested on Hanzo’s torso. Swaths of his tattoo peered through the rope, curved cloud designs in contrast with the straight angles of the rope.

“I think this is one of my favorites,” Angela said, stepping back to admire Hanzo. It wasn’t the most complicated design—perhaps they’d work up to that in the future—but it was solid, satisfying. Hanzo ran a hand along the harness, fingers skipping from skin to rope to skin again.

“I like it too,” he said after a moment. “Though I wouldn’t be opposed to something more restrictive.”

“Oh, I can do that too,” Angela said, smiling as she pulled another length of rope taut. “On the bed, dearest.”

“How do you want me?” he asked, and the seriousness of it, his readiness to listen to her every command, exhilarated her.

“On your back,” she said, and he complied. The bedposts were convenient for looping rope through; she quickly had him spread-eagled with single-column ties holding his wrists and ankles in place.

“Not too tight?” she said. Hanzo tested his fingers and toes.

“Perfect,” he said.

“Good,” she said, admiring her handiwork. She leaned in again, pressing a kiss right over his heart. His chest rose and fell evenly, his breaths regular as he watched her, waiting to see what she would do. It struck her then, the trust that he put in her: the ease with which he allowed himself to be vulnerable with her, to surrender himself to her whims. She would never betray that, but she also knew that she could still coax more from him, push him harder, unravel him.

She kissed a line down his sternum, down until the firmness of muscle and bone gave way to the softer flesh of his stomach. He was already getting hard, and she knew just how to bring him cresting over the edge—and also how to get him right to the precipice and let him hang there, anticipating the drop.

First, she took him into her hand, the rise of his inhalation echoed in her as she followed his movements. Gentle strokes, building that soft hum of pleasure on his lips: warm, the steady ripple of rolling waves building along a distant horizon. Just this could be enough for both of them, and some mornings it was all they did: build an eddy of pleasure that swirled without going anywhere.

But she wanted more from him this time. She quickened her pace, tightened her grip, watched as his expression turned from comfortable to wrought with feeling.

“Mercy,” he murmured, followed by shallow exhales and sharp inhales, tiny groans pulled from the back of his throat. His hands grasped at the air, helpless to hold on to anything tangible. He rocked his hips, unhurried and slow at first, until he bucked against her, close, so very close—

She stopped and took her hand away, grinning at the keening whine that escaped Hanzo’s lips. He blushed, as if embarrassed the sound had come from him; he bucked again at the empty air, huffing in frustration.

“I’m not going to go easy on you today,” Angela said, cupping Hanzo’s cheek. The glare he threw at her wasn’t quite hateful—more resentful, but in a way that excited her, a way that she knew didn’t bear any real ill will.

She tugged at the jewelry in his Prince Albert piercing, gently pulled on one of the frenum barbells.

“Did you touch yourself while I was gone?” she asked.

“A few times,” he replied. “Almost got caught by McCree once.”

She laughed. “Yeah? What happened?”

“I was thinking of you,” he said, the lust already creeping back into his gaze, making her flush. “About fucking you: about telling you all the things that run through my mind when I’m in you. How beautiful you are, how good you feel.” She wanted to hear more, but Hanzo paused, smirking. “And then I heard the hotel keycard in the lock and had to dive under the covers and pretend nothing happened when McCree walked in.”

“Pfft.” She kissed the peak of his hip bone, on one side and then the other, before kissing the tip of his cock and swirling her tongue around it, eliciting an adorable anh noise from Hanzo. She ran her tongue along the length of him, metal and flesh intertwining, drawing a guttural moan from him; she took him into her mouth, her every movement pulling another noise from him.

She looked up at him as she worked at him. He’d closed his eyes, his whole body tense beneath her; he’d turned his head to try to muffle his cries with the pillow. But he couldn’t bury the noises he was making, little obscene sounds that were growing in volume. By the time he was squirming beneath her, thrusting up into her mouth, he was chanting Mercy Mercy Mercy beneath his breath, shudders racking through him.

But she didn’t let him come, not just yet. She took her mouth away, earning a strangled cry from Hanzo’s throat.

“Temee,” he hissed. His eyes flew open as he flushed a deep red. “…I didn’t mean to say that.”

Angela tilted her head. “Oh? What does it mean?”

“It’s a bit of a rude way to address someone,” he said, voice apologetic. Then Angela could swear he was actually pouting. “But God, Mercy, you’re driving me crazy.”

“Okay, okay, I won’t tease anymore,” she said, kissing him. She got off the bed and stood, pulling her top off over her head, tugging down her skirt. She unhooked her bra, smiling at the noise of appreciation Hanzo made when he saw her breasts; she slipped off her panties, leaving her stockings on, then got back on the bed and straddled him.

“You’re wet,” he said, her slickness meeting the warmth of his stomach. She rolled her eyes.

“As if I wouldn’t be after watching you and hearing all those filthy noises coming out your mouth.”

Hanzo hummed, then rocked his hips beneath her. “Please, Mercy.”

“Please what?” she said, voice lilting and teasing. Hanzo huffed.

“Goddammit, Mercy,” he said, “I want to fuck you, I want my cock in you, I want you to ride me until we both come.”

“Well, since you asked so nicely,” Angela said, chest fluttering from his obscenities. She leaned forward to kiss Hanzo’s neck before she spread herself and sat back onto him, taking him inch by inch, coaxing moans from both of them.

“God,” she said, burying her face in his chest, the rope rough against her skin. “Fuck.”

He had always been a bit big for her, but two weeks with only her fingers to pleasure herself had almost made her forget about that. She took a moment to just be there with him, the two of them skin-to-skin, the aching sensation of fullness washing over her. Finally, she pulled away from him to sit up straight, driving him deeper into her; she threw her head back and let another fuck escape from her.

She took the lead and was the first to move, slowly rocking her hips before building into a more steady rhythm. She toyed with her nipples, toyed with her clit, letting whatever moans and babble fall from her lips.

“Hanzo, fuck, that’s good…” she said before murmuring a string of Swiss German curses.

“Vulgar, aren’t you?” Hanzo said in between groans.

“Only when I’m enjoying it,” Angela replied.

“I’m honored.”

He bucked at that moment, hitting her in just the right spot; she cried out, the suddenness of the orgasm taking over her before she could say anything: crest after crest of pleasure crashing over her, making her shudder and squirm, making every additional thrust that much more intense.

“Mercy, Mercy, Mercy…” Then, in one burst, he said, “Mercy, can I come? Please…”

“Yes,” she said, breathless, riding out the last of her orgasm.

Hanzo shook beneath her, crying out loudly enough that she was sure whoever was next door or in the hall would hear.

“Mercy,” he murmured. “Mercy, Mercy…”

She laughed, the warmth of him still in her even as he withdrew from her; she leaned down and kissed him, swallowed his lingering babble, the last of his worship.

She parted from him a moment later, returning with a warm washcloth for them both before she began to untie him. First, the four points holding him in a spread-eagle: as she undid each tie, she rubbed his wrists, his ankles, in soothing circles. Then, as he sat cross-legged on the bed, she undid the tortoise shell tie, careful to ease the rope out gently so that the friction of pulling it wouldn’t burn his skin. She wound the rope into a neat coil when she was done and set it aside before rubbing his shoulders. She kissed between his shoulder blades, kissed the nape of his neck.

“I love you,” she said into the shell of his ear. They’d been dating for almost a year now, and the words came naturally to her.

He was as still as when he was tied up and restrained, quiet save for the sound of his breathing. For a second, Angela wondered if she’d said something wrong—if it had been too early to express such a thing, if maybe he didn’t feel the same way, the possibility tightening her chest.

“You mean it?” he said at last, his voice hushed. She came around to sit before him and nodded.


He peered at her, the darkness of his eyes catching the light in a way that hers didn’t. He seemed to be looking into her, his expression serious until it softened into something else: something she couldn’t quite describe, a tenderness that she’d never seen on him before.

He drew her into a tight embrace that took her by surprise; she relaxed into it, rubbing circles into his back.

“I love you too,” he murmured, the four syllables yielding himself to her in a way that nothing else did.

Their one-year anniversary was on New Year’s Eve. It was Angela’s fault, really: she had been the one to kiss Hanzo last year while everyone else was busy drunkenly singing “Auld Lang Syne.” The level of debauchery promised to be similar this year, but the afternoon was still sleepy and quiet, with only Angela and Lena in the communal Watchpoint lounge.

Angela looked up when Hanzo walked in and set a few persimmons down on the coffee table.

“They’re ripe and I’ve already washed them,” Hanzo said. “So go ahead and help yourself.”

Lena peeked at the fruit from over her tablet. “What are those?”

“Persimmons,” Hanzo said as he took a seat by Angela on the couch. “Fuyu persimmons, to be precise.”

“Huh,” Lena said, picking one up. “What do they taste like?”

Hanzo and Angela exchanged a glance.

“Why don’t you just try it?” Angela said. She took a bite of the crisp fruit. It tasted somewhat like an apple, but not as sweet nor as tart; it was almost like a delicately spiced peach, but there was definitely another flavor that came to her mind.

“A little sweeter than I expected, but I’d say you’re right about the taste,” Angela said. Hanzo snorted. Lena looked at him as she tasted her own bite of persimmon.

“What’s so funny?” she asked.

“Nothing,” Hanzo said, clearing his throat. “Anyway,” he said, turning back to Angela, “I have something for you. Come with me?”

Interest piqued, Angela followed him to his quarters, where he took a small, gift-wrapped box from his desk and presented it to her.

“Happy one-year.”

Curious, Angela took the gift and unwrapped it, taking off the lid to reveal a dainty necklace with a golden lover’s knot charm.

“Oh my God,” she said, taking the necklace out and fastening it on herself. “You nerd.”

“Do you like it?” Hanzo asked. Angela could tell he was trying to mask his nervousness.

“Of course,” she said. “I have something for you, too.”

Her gift for him was also a tiny, wrapped box. Hanzo undid the twine and unfolded the paper, revealing a tin of Angela’s favorite perfume. A slow smile spread across his face.

“Samazama no koto omoidasu sakura kana,” he said, circling a finger in the perfume and dabbing a touch to his skin. “‘Oh, how many memories these cherry blossoms call to mind.’ Bashō.”

“You’re a hopeless romantic, you know that?” Angela said, laughing.

“Hanzo, at your service,” he replied, his voice coy. He leaned in and kissed her. She smiled against him, delighting when she felt it returned.

They still had a few hours before they had to be presentable in front of the others. Until then, she let the scent of cherry blossoms and the taste of persimmons take over both of them.