Stepping out of the car to see Loch Ness was incredible; it was such a simple thing, yet Hanzo had been waiting for this moment for almost thirty-five years. His mother would tell him bedtime stories about the mysterious creature that lived in the depths of Loch Ness; she would tell him how she believed it was one of the few wonders left in the world. She promised him that when he turned sixteen she would take him to visit the famous lake. However, it seems that wasn’t meant to be.
In March of 2048, Kanna Shimada passed away, leaving her ten and seven-year-old sons alone with their father and clan. Sojiro wasn’t the most attentive father and it tended to show; Hanzo and Genji were often left to their own devices. Around this time, sightings of the Loch Ness Monster started popping up. Hanzo read every article about the legendary monster, finding himself completely enraptured by each and every story he found.
He kept it under wraps for the most part, but Hanzo’s love of Nessie never faded. It brought him comfort in the darkest times of his life, and for that, he was eternally grateful. He started seriously planning his trip to Loch Ness when he was thirty-five, and lo and behold, two years later he was finally there. It made his chest feel all fluttery and happy in a way he hadn’t felt in years.
The water was a mesmerizing dark blue and Hanzo could only stare as he watched the sun reflect off of the water. A part of him hoped that he would see Nessie right here and now; wouldn’t that be amazing? Seeing the mysterious creature not even ten minutes after he arrived. He knew it was but a simple dream, however. There was no way that such a beast would reveal itself that easily.
He was barely paying attention to his surroundings as he stepped closer to the shore; he had dreamed of this moment for so long, it was almost surreal.
“Careful there,” Hanzo’s head snapped up to look up at a man in a cowboy hat smiling at him. “We wouldn’t want ya to fall in now.” The man was ruggedly handsome in a way that hadn’t always appealed to Hanzo. He wore jeans, a stetson, and a flannel shirt with a light brown jacket on top; put it all together and he almost looked like a model.
Hanzo carefully composed himself, already somewhat embarrassed at being caught in such a daze. “I was not going to fall in,” he insisted. That only made the cowboy give a hearty laugh.
“Better safe than sorry,” the man said with a wink. “I’m Jesse. You lookin’ for Nessie too?”
Hanzo gave a slow nod. “I am.” Usually, he would not admit such a thing, but the fact that the man had admitted to looking for her himself was comforting. “I am called Hanzo.”
“Hanzo, huh? A nice name for a handsome man, if I do say so myself,” Jesse took a step forward, startling Hanzo and causing him to take one step back too far.
There was a single moment of panic as Hanzo fell into the water with a short yell.
The water was freezing cold and Hanzo utterly and completely regretted going closer to the edge of the lake. He could swim, yes, but he was still soaking wet and cold.
“Oh, jeez. Hold on there!” Jesse said as he stepped closer to the edge, careful not to fall in himself. Hanzo took his outstretched hand and Jesse pulled him out with surprising strength. “I’m so sorry.”
Hanzo shivered involuntarily as the chilly air hit him. “There is nothing to apologize for. It was my own fault,” he replied. He didn’t want to leave quite yet, however; he hadn’t even arrived an hour ago and already he was supposed to leave? No, he would just have to make the best of things. Hanzo made quick work of shedding his soaking coat, knowing leaving it on would only make him colder.
Before he could protest, Jesse had taken his jacket and wrapped the serape he wore around his shoulders. “I wish I had more to offer, but this is what I have at the moment,” Jesse said sheepishly. A surge of warmth ran through Hanzo’s chest at the gesture.
“Thank you, this is very kind of you,” Hanzo said, pushing a piece of hair out of his face. His bun was undone, causing his hair to fall down his shoulders.
“It’s no problem. I figure you probably don’t want to leave since you just got here and all.” Jesse shrugged, his smile returning. “How about we go over by the castle and sit down for a bit? That way the wind won’t be blowin’ on you and making you colder.”
Jesse was more thoughtful and kind than Hanzo had thought he would be. “That would be nice.” This earned him another smile directed at him. Jesse led the way to a spot he thought was acceptable and plopped down on the grass while Hanzo joined him shortly after.
Hanzo learned quickly that Jesse was chatty, but for once he didn’t seem to mind it. At some point, Jesse and Hanzo had laid down next to each other on the grass, just watching the clouds. All the while, Jesse was talking animatedly about how he always wanted to come to Loch Ness.
Staring up at the sky and listening to Jesse, Hanzo could almost forget his problems. His parents weren’t dead, Genji wasn’t traveling the world, and Hanzo actually had a family. It was nice. “-as only thirteen when I began planning this trip. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, even though I knew it wasn’t likely that Nessie would show herself to me,” Jesse gave a laugh here. “Funny. Never woulda thought I’d spend my first day here with a man I pushed into the lake.”
“If it gave me the chance to spend time with you then I am grateful for it,” Hanzo replied quietly. There was something utterly charming and magnetic about Jesse that Hanzo was helpless to resist.
The smile Jesse gave Hanzo when he looked over was blinding in the best way. He couldn’t resist the urge to give a small smile in return. “You’re an interesting man, Hanzo. I don’t suppose you’d wanna go out for dinner later, would you?” There was something shy in his voice like he thought Hanzo would reject him.
“I would like that very much.” A small smile accompanied his words, and for once, Hanzo’s smile reached his eyes.
The sound of a splash in the distance drew their attention away from each other, and when the looked up, they were greeted with the sight of a long neck and head breaching the lake’s surface. It was gone only a moment later, yet it was a sight that neither of them would forget. Jesse started laughing gleefully and Hanzo soon joined him.
It seems they got a Nessie sighting after all.