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As They Could Be

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People more or less take one look at Hanzo Shimada and assume that he doesn’t want to be touched. Everyone in Gibraltar is worldly enough to know that, culturally, it just isn’t a big thing, and Hanzo is nothing if not a traditionalist. That and the forty foot wall of spikes that is his general personality make it an unspoken assumption that anyone who might think of patting him on the shoulder, or rubbing his back, or playfully touching him in any way should expect to leave the encounter without a hand. Even Reinhardt, who treats everyone from small musicians to floating robots like members of the same bizarrely-close football team, followed suit from their very first encounter. Everyone gives Hanzo a wide berth and he does nothing to contradict them -– if anything, he seems proud to be singular, to be afforded the kind of wordless barrier often assumed with passing royalty. He wears his physical isolation with a raised chin and guards his alone time like a precious commodity. Exposed tattoo like a warning: beware of dragons.

Which is why Jesse McCree, despite fucking Hanzo every night for going on two months now, doesn’t so much as stand within five feet of the man in public. It’s definitely not for lack of wanting – even looking at Hanzo puts all kind of romantic impulse in the gunslinger’s fingers. But Jesse’s been through too many haphazard ‘relationships’ to screw this one up now – not when their connection seems so tenuous already, not when his heart is so far out on a limb. His rapid-fire approach to everything cannot be allowed to burn through this tender gift he’s been lucky enough to receive in this, a relatively late part of his probably-short life, when so much else has already been turned to ash.

That, and he’s not even sure Hanzo wants people to know they’re together. Everything the archer does is well-thought-out, purposeful. Even when he walks, he never wavers or stumbles. It’s one of the things Jesse loves most about him, but it also means that if he’s not making eyes or asking outright, then he probably wants Jesse to follow suit. He’s amorous enough when they’re alone – if a little rough and to-the-point. Jesse can deal with the lack of touch the rest of the time.

Except that he really, really can’t. He’s been a hugger since he was little and physical affection was a missed commodity during his bounty hunting days. In Overwatch, everyone’s a soldier, and that implies a certain closeness inimitable in the outside world. Jesse could easily be labeled as ‘handsy’ when it comes to his fellow teammates (especially the old guard) and no one seems to mind. Far from it – they practically encourage him. Lena is always throwing her arm around his waist, Angela is always giggling under his bear hugs, Genji actually holds his hand now and again, Lucio gets a big kick out of linking their arms like a gentleman, and he’s smacked Reinhardt’s ass so many times, he hardly realizes he’s doing it anymore (though he can barely withstand the reciprocation). His magnanimous lack of personal boundaries is so famous that every time he falls asleep on the rec room couch, he usually winds up waking to someone else resting on his shoulder, or in his lap, or, like Hana did that one time, snoring atop his chest, using his pecs as pillows.

The burning fact that Hanzo is the only one willfully left out of this touch-circle is how Jesse winds up burning his and everyone else’s breakfasts one steel-gray morning. Earlier, the archer heard someone knocking at Jesse’s door and basically hid in the bathroom while Angela poked her head in to remind Jesse that it was his turn to cook. He was out of there as soon as she left, not a touch nor word exchanged. Not even a look. Since leaving his dorm, it’s all Jesse’s been able to think about, and now he’s snarling down at a cast iron pan full of burnt bacon.

He scoops it up, dumps its contents into the trash and then lets it slam back down on the burner.

Lena, used to the gunslinger’s short-lived bursts of temper, sidles up to his side and rubs his arm. “Oy, it’s alright. There’s more bacon in the fridge.”

“You mind taking over? Sorry, I just,” he sighs, rubs his barrel-chest through his white tee, “Not feeling myself this morning.”

“Sure. Go and sit, lad. Let Auntie Lena handle this. You like beans, right?”

“Love ‘em,” Jesse sighs, seating himself beside Genji. More people trickle in, but Jesse keeps his head in his hands.

“You look like you had another late night,” Genji remarks, that usual coy, leading tone. “Thought Angela said to ‘take it easy’ with the hard stuff.”

Jesse glares, rubbing his trapezius. “What’re you, her enforcer?”

“Yes,” trills Angela, ruffling Genji’s hair as she passes him on the way to the coffee maker. “Genji is my enforcer.”

Genji, with his visor lowered, is even more insufferable with the doctor around. But he gestures kindly at Jesse, wordlessly asking him to turn around and face the ovens. “Let me show you something Zenyatta showed me.”

Too tired not to trust him, Jesse straddles the table bench and lets Genji sink his hands into his shoulders. The relief is instantaneous – nothing like a dexterous pair of metal hands to ease out the tension – but, if he’s being honest, it’s not very deep. Jesse’s back has got more knots than a bondage party.

“Ah, you should try it like this!” Jesse hears Reinhardt behind him, then a larger hand is clasped at the back of his neck, working its side muscles. “This is what they do in the spas in Berlin!”

“Ow,” says Jesse, though he’s leaning into Reinhardt’s hand.

“If you want a really good massage, you should let Lucio try,” says Lena, half-turning as she cracks fresh eggs. “He’s got a healing touch!”

“Why, thank you, Lena,” says Lucio, also from behind Jesse. “Scoot over, Genji. See, man, it’s the lower back you gotta focus on, that’s where it allllllll happens…”

Jesse laughs low in his throat as now three men all address his mess of muscles. He lowers his head, obviously in ecstasy. Glowing at the attention. A neat little buzz leaks into his bloodstream, renders him light-headed. “Y’all’re gonna kill me.”

“Such great teamwork,” laughs Mei from somewhere to his right.

“Hey, I better be next,” says Hana from somewhere to his left, cracking open one of her carbonated tea drinks. “You know how sore I get playing games?”

“Perhaps we should look into a full-time masseuse,” drawls Angela, drinking her coffee near Lena. “Or maybe Winston could design one.”

“Robotics are not my forte,” says Winston, somewhere near the pantry – Jesse assumes he’s building his own breakfast, “And it seems like… you’ve… got it all figured out…”

His drifting off doesn’t register until Jesse glances up at Angela and Lena’s semi-stunned faces, both focused somewhere over his head. Already in a daze from the endorphins, he raises a brow, but doesn’t truly notice something’s off until all three pairs of hands leave his body at once. He doesn’t even get the chance to open his mouth – two hands, feels like Genji, return to knead hard into his neck, making him issue an involuntary groan and tip his head forward again. Typical Shimada – incapable of sharing.

Angela continues, totally unperturbed. “Anyway, it would probably be an unwise allocation of resources. We still have to repair the security drones, don’t we?”

“Actually, those are all done,” Winston says, cheerful. “Torbjorn finished them last night.”

“Where is that man? Sleeping in?” Reinhardt joins Angela in Jesse’s line of sight, also getting more coffee. His gigantic mug is shaped like a very cute lion. “Another one staying up all night?”

Genji’s hands on Jesse’s back lower from his neck to his shoulder blades, working in seamless, soothing patterns. Lingering on the toughest spots. Jesse will owe him big after this, and he says so – or, he thinks he does. It’s getting hard to focus.

“You are one to talk,” Angela hums, holding her mug like it doesn’t have a handle, pinky out. “I heard you hammering away with Brigitte into the wee hours of the morning.”

“And how would you know,” laughs Reinhardt, “If you were not also awake to hear us?”

Genji’s hands work down to Jesse’s sides, folding and squeezing over his love handles. Okay, getting a little handsy there, Genj…

Lena, stuck in the middle, looks back and forth between them, pretends to move the pans like they’re about to fight. Angela smirks: “I’ve been caught.”

“I think we’ve all got a few more late nights ahead of us,” says Winston, who seats himself on a stool fit with wheels – the bench tables don’t quite agree with his physique. “But it shouldn’t be for much longer. Now that Athena’s running at full capacity, we don’t even…”

Jesse kind of blurs out after that. Genji is digging his thumbs into Jesse’s lower back in a way that’s making him have to hold in the groans. He actually lifts up his right hand to bite the knuckles as the ninja shoves his own knuckles against the bunched muscle just above Jesse’s glutes. God, he’ll get Genji whatever he wants after this. He hasn’t been touched like that in ages.

Except that his groin is starting to pay attention, and that just ain’t right. Genji’s hands are smoothing up and down his back now, slow and absorbing, with considerable affection. It’s enough to pump something warm and syrupy throughout the gunslinger’s muscles, down to the tips of his toes and back up again.

But it does seem like he’s finally finishing up. Good, that was getting a little –

Then his hands circle around to the front and he hugs Jesse, head on his shoulder, warm and secure – possessive, even. Rubbing his jaw into his neck.

“Alright, now,” Jesse grunts, “That’s a bridge too far, there, Gen–”

Then he turns his head and stops just centimeters short of Hanzo’s lips. Hanzo, head over Jesse’s shoulder, smiles and pushes his forehead into his neck. Now that the stupor is passing, Jesse can smell his fresh shower, feel the warmth of his firm arms, sense the embarrassment that urges the archer to give Jesse one final squeeze before standing up and sitting proper at the table.

Everyone eats, everyone talks, but Jesse spends the entire time hyper-focusing on the touch of his thigh against Hanzo’s beneath the table and avoiding Genji’s annoyingly smug glances.


-     -     -



“Hey, c’mere, you.”

Hanzo turns with a raised brow as his wrist is seized and pulled. Jesse tugs, and he allows himself to be tugged, until their chests are pressed together just outside the mess hall.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning, yourself,” Jesse hums, his eyes dancing with energy. “Feel like I just had one-too-many shots of espresso. Baby – where’d you get hands like that? You got dragons in your fingers, too?”

Hanzo chuckles, strokes Jesse’s beard. “Maybe.”

“I mean it, Hanzo, that was something else. Is that…” He suddenly looks down at his arms around him, “Is this okay?” He glances to the side, where the others are filing out of the mess hall at their leisure.

“Of course,” Hanzo mutters, assessing Jesse’s shoulders with more rubbing hands.

“It’s just you – I know you don’t – wait, why you been so stand-offish then?”

“I had thought… you did not initiate anything in front of the others. I assumed you wished to be discrete.”

“Well, shit, I thought you wanted that! You didn’t initiate anything, either. And you ran outta here this morning like you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar.”

“You are the one who is always…” Hanzo sets his jaw, raises a brow. “You always have your hands on everyone else.”

Again – I thought you wanted me to keep my hands to myself.”

“I thought you would…”

“What? Just do whatever the hell I want?” Jesse chuckles, looks at Hanzo like he’s ludicrous. “I wanna give you what you need, Han. I ain’t gonna start pawing at you if you don’t say so. Y’seem to like your space.”

“I do,” Hanzo strokes up from his shoulders to his jaw, “I also like when you invade my space.”

“Lord have mercy,” Jesse groans, halfway to scooping Hanzo up entirely, “You’re a goddamn heart-breaker. Always surprising me.”

Hanzo only chuckles, not quite knowing what to say to that. There are many things he doesn’t understand about Jesse, apparently – he’d assumed, all this time, that the gunslinger did not want his open affections, and that he preferred his status as a flirtatious yet independent loner. That they were better off keeping to their own respective status quo. He’d never been one for public displays of physical affection (or even private ones, for that matter), but something about Jesse makes him want to try new things. To take a few steps beyond the boundaries he’s known for so long.

“So, what? You saw me getting a back rub and got too jealous to resist?”

Hanzo scoffs, thumbs Jesse’s nose. “Am I to stand by and watch you be manhandled by my brother and two others?”

Now it’s Jesse’s turn to chuckle, pulling Hanzo fully into his chest for a proper embrace. Gliding his natural right hand across the shaved hair at the back of Hanzo’s head, holding tight around his waist with his metal arm. Breathing him in.

Hanzo splays his hands across Jesse’s back, breathes back. “Thank you.”

“For what? Being wrong all this time?”

Hanzo reaches up, re-adjusts with both arms around Jesse’s neck. “For trying.”

Jesse holds Hanzo around his middle, smiling against his head. Finally feeling him in his entirety; meeting him where he’s at.

Chapter Text

“Mother of fuck-all.”

There’s a tall cowboy in aisle two. Red can see him from the register, grunting at a wall of pasta. He has no shirt, clinging swimming trunks, and a metal hand pressed against a grinding jaw. 

But he seems calm enough – no tell-tale signs of a drunk or addict, no foreboding undercurrent of approaching rage – so she sits back into her chair and resumes her reading. Rather, she resumes flicking back and forth between her social media feed and applications for grad schools.

Then she realizes – the cowboy is probably from the Watchpoint. She looks up, sits straight. She hasn’t seen anyone from the Watchpoint come into the store since she was a kid, right before she’d left for undergrad. A young British woman used to come in all the time looking for snacks and tea, blinking through space like a trick of the light, always asking Red how her reading was going. And there was a huge man with a tiny friend, both old and boisterous, waltzing into the shop on weekends for beer or sandwiches. She strains to recall the dodgy image of a tall, dark and handsome man with a gloomy, heavy aspect, quietly buying warm bollo de hornasso: one of the Andalusian confections their store is famous for. She remembers the faraway look he gave to her own mother, who is kind to everyone but has a soft spot for those who speak Spanish. She remembers how he left to join another tall, equally strapping blonde man, and how they shared the bread on the other side of the road, where a bench sits on a hill before the western bay. Best spot on the peninsula for sunsets, her father used to claim.

Then Red went to college in Madrid, spent three agonizing years in pre-med, and came back to help at the store. And figure out her next move.

A couple weeks after that, the same British woman came by, ordered enough food to last several weeks and Red became one of the dozen or so locals to know that there is something very odd going on at the old base. All those in the know are getting too much new business to blab, but the gossip has still been rampent. With such a small group, the stories can get quite creative.

She likes it that way. It’s like spotting cryptids and then sharing with friends: comparing, exaggerating. Taking time to appreciate the small community she once couldn’t wait to get away from. Maybe finding opportunity to build something tangible out of the dodgy memories of her youth.

The idea of setting up some kind of blog drifts through her head when even more loud, abrasive profanity pierces the store from aisle two. One look at her mother’s dour expression behind the meat counter is enough to get her off her stool.

“God damn son of a bitch –”

“Can I help you, sir?”

The cowboy looks down. Red is more than a foot shorter, with a curly fro and cynical gray-green eyes. The sun has been kinder to her brown skin than his – he looks like he’s spent way too much time at the beach with no one there to slather sunscreen on his neck.

But he smiles as if he’s never felt pain a day in his life. “Oh, hey. You’re Julia’s daughter, right? Met your mama last time I was here.” He leans forward to look at the meat counter so he can wave at the old woman, who mutters in Spanish as she slaps a ham down on the slicer. Red can’t tell if she’s pissed off or flustered.

“Yep, that’s her. Can I help you though?”

“Yeah, uh… shot in the dark...” the cowboy lifts his non-metal hand and examines the black writing there. “You don’t have any noodles called chukamen, do you?”

She arches the left outer corner of her unibrow all the way to her hairline. This guy is definitely from the Watchpoint. Only someone from the Watchpoint would look like that and request something that weird.

“Uh, no? Never heard of it.”

“Didn’t think so.” The cowboy sighs, scratches the back of his head, scattering bits of beach sand everywhere. “Damn it.”

Red looks him up and down. The scars and tattoos on this guy are enough to tell a thousand stories. She can feel her curiosity swelling like one of the bright white sails out on the bay. “How’re they made?”

Slowly, the cowboy turns back. He raises a brow, then pulls out his phone, raising one finger: wait.

They both stand stone-still in the crooning store music until he reads off: “Wheat flour, water, salt, and… kansui, which is a… ‘an alkaline solution.’ Jesus Christ,” he throws up his hands, “I try to make one thing and I wind up needing ten more things just to make that thing.”

“Okay, let’s…” She sighs, tosses her hand, “What are you, like, trying to make?”

“Ramen. Or,” he looks at his phone, pulls up something else, reads off: “Japanese shōyu ramen with pork belly, soft-boiled eggs and nori. Which is… dried seaweed.”

Red loosens one arm just to drag a hand down her face. “Dude, that’s… that’s a pretty complicated dish.”

“You’re preachin’ to the choir, doll.”

“I’ve had ramen, it takes a lot of specialty ingredients. You’re not gonna find what you need here.”

“Well, it said ‘multinational’ on your sign, so I thought –”

She scoffs so hard she practically sprays him. “British, Spanish, Maltese, Genoese. Not Japanese. Why don’t you just order what you need online?”

“Can’t,” he grunts, hand on his hip, his attitude growing to match her own. “Gotta have it before next week. It’s for someone’s birthday.”

“Weird, because usually people’s birthdays are on the same day every year? You can, y’know… plan ahead?”

“Hey Sarcasm, I only just found out about it because of his brother. The guy’s real… he keeps to himself.”

“Dude, get him, like… a card. Anything but this. It’s way too much.”

“Listen, kid –”

“My name’s Red.”

“Listen Reddy – I ain’t got time to explain the intricacies of the man we’re dealing with here, but rest assured, a lil’ card is gonna go over about as well as a fart in the wind.” Jesse glances to the meat counter to make sure mama isn’t listening, then continues, “I gotta do something big. Something to remind him of home, to let him know that… that all his hard work’s been appreciated.”

Red squints at his defensive posture, notes the squint of his eyes. If she doesn’t tone it down, he might storm out, obliterating any chance she has of learning more about what happens at the Watchpoint. “Maybe try… tempura? That’s big in Japan. You can make the batter with –”

“He likes ramen. It’s the only thing I’ve heard him talk about.”

“Well… what else does he like?” She realizes that she’s basically fishing for intel at this point, but is also actually trying to help him out, so she doesn’t feel too bad about it. “Hobbies, shit like that.”

“He don’t…” The cowboy sighs, crosses his arms, looks up and to the left like he’s picturing the man now. “He lives pretty sparse. Always gets what he needs himself. Doesn’t do much other than train for his job, keep up his tools. I seen him drink tea, but he got all the shit for that. I seen him read, but I ain’t even gonna try to guess the kinda shit he likes. He loves liquor, but he gets it all himself. Likes… old Japanese culture, I guess. And uhh… and meditating…”

Red blinks. “Sounds like a thrill a minute.”

Then the cowboy slowly grins, eyes glazing over a bit. His brows do this strange fluttering thing, spreading up even as his lids droop, like someone’s just poured warm water down his back. “He kinda is, actually.”

Oh, boy. This guy’s got it bad. 

Red sighs harshly. Looking like he looks, sounding like he sounds, and describing the type of man he’s describing, she doesn’t count the cowboy’s chances high on nailing this dude. Which makes her feel kind of guilty.

“I don’t know what to tell you, man,” she shrugs. “You’re not gonna find what you need without, like… driving all the way to Seville, probably.”

“Yeah, alright,” the cowboy exhales heavy. “I hear ya.” He drags his palm across the back of his neck, sighs hard. “I’ll think of something else. Thanks anyway.”

Red pushes her lips together and raises her brows in an apologetic ‘oh well’ before heading back to the register. The flick of a lighter draws her attention just as she hops back on the stool. She turns in a huff, about to yell out their smoking policy, but the cowboy doesn’t light up until he’s outside, and that’s when she spots the tall, muscular woman with straight black hair and a startling tattoo right under her eye. She and the cowboy pause before the doorway and exchange words. Red doesn’t mean to eavesdrop, really – it’s just hard to take her eyes off that woman.

“Ready to go?”

“Yeah.” The cowboy bends over to pet Mija, the local cat, who wraps herself around his leg within seconds.

“Didn’t find anything?”

“Nada,” he sadly grunts. Mija yowls loudly for more petting as he rises up.

“Shame. Although, you could always just tell him how you feel.”

“That’s a good one, ‘Reha,” the cowboy thumps her back as he starts towards the truck, Mija scampering off. “Think I’d have a better chance if I shot a heart-shape into the wall a’his dorm.”

“I am not sure he would appreciate that,” she chuckles.

“Hey, cowboy guy! Wait!”

Both of them turn to see Red striding up towards them. Her unibrow is clenched in a frown, but she’s holding two packages of angel hair pasta, which she extends to the cowboy without ceremony.

“Here. It’s fresh. If you boil it in a little baking soda, you might get close to a chukamen flavor.”

“Woah,” he takes the noodles, a huge smile breaking out. “That’s mighty kind! How’d you figure that one out?”

“I dunno,” she shrugs, her eyes unintentionally falling on the tall woman. “Better at looking stuff up than you, I guess. And if you want dried seaweed, uhh…” she looks away as soon as the woman smiles, and re-focuses angrily at the cowboy, as if it’s his fault, “Try Ishaq down by the wharf. He’s got a lot of weird stuff.”

“Well, shit. How can I ever repay you, Reddy?”

“With money.” She holds out her hand. “That’ll be twelve pounds.”

When she looks over her shoulder to see if her mother has followed her, she sees Mija sitting on the bench across the road, staring. Long fur swaying in the bright sunny breeze. A little judgmental, though Red can’t figure out why.



-     -     -





A month passes before she sees someone else from the Watchpoint. It was a cool fall day when the American stopped by with his ridiculous request; now it’s downright cold, made even colder with nightfall. A few string lights hang around the entrance to the store, a few wreaths dot the walls and a Jingle-Bells tune sounds off whenever someone walks inside. When it starts ringing just before closing time, it’s immediately followed by the sound of a man harshly cursing. She empathizes – it can be pretty startling, but her grandmother loves it.

Then she looks up from her endless timeline of Christmas vacation photos to see a muscular Asian man walking past her register with a grocery basket in one hand and a huge compound bow in the other.

“Woah, woah,” she waves frantically, “You can’t bring that in here!”

The man stops and looks her over with sharp, penetrating eyes. Considering her from toe to tip. “Apologies, but I cannot leave them. I will not be long.”

Then he walks off, as if he fully expects her to just accept that explanation without protest.

“H-hey!”

Red hops off her stool and drops her holopad on the counter to follow him. She can see it now – Local Med-School Dropout Lets Insane LARPer Into Store, Gets Whole Family Killed. She finds herself praying that he is, in fact, from the Watchpoint, and not just some really eccentric serial killer.

She ducks down four wrong aisles before stumbling upon the archer in the produce section – as if he were deliberately evading her. If he weren’t staring so intently at the vegetables, she might be a little scared.

“Listen, dude, you gotta –”

“Do you have green chiles?”

“Huh?”

“Green chiles,” the archer repeats, more slowly this time, looking at Red in a way that makes her cheeks warm with rage.

“Yeah, of course we do,” she huffs, hardly taking her eyes off his bow. “Over there.”

He slowly cranes his not-unimpressive throat to look in the direction she points, then turns back towards her with a thoroughly unimpressed stare. “Those are the wrong ones.”

She snorts. “Wrong ones for what, exactly?”

Making the facial equivalent of an exasperated sigh, the archer reaches for his phone and silently searches. Red feels an uncanny sense of deja-vu until he shows her a picture of a huge pile of long, gently wrinkled, green chile peppers. From the photo’s details, she can tell that they’re American. “These are the correct item.”

A Japanese man, built like a brick shithouse and just as stiff, looking for American chiles? What are the chances?

“Uh-huh.” She tries to school her face into something more innocuous. “Uhh, those are… they’re just bigger. Ours will taste the same.”

He looks like he doesn’t believe her. He definitely eyes the flower tattoo on her neck, which is strange, considering the huge dragon piece on his arm and the iron barbell through his nasal bridge and the two hoops in his ears. If anyone’s untrustworthy here, it’s not the girl with zero weapons strapped to her back.

“Trust me.” She puts her hands on her hips, and pushes out her chest a little, as if to mimic his posture. “We know our chiles.”

“Very well. I will also need,” and here he reads from his phone, “Jalapeños, fresh corn tortillas, white potatoes, pork shoulder, black olives, cumin, cilantro -–”

“Woah, alright, okay,” Red waves her hands, “We got all that. Probably got everything you need.” She walks to the peppers, not bothering to see if he follows – he may as well get a taste of his own medicine while she probes for more. “What’re you making?”

His expression is such that she’s prompted to make an amendment: “if you don’t mind me asking.” She even attempts a smile.

He either finds it adequate, or decides he doesn’t care. Either way, he looks off at the rest of the store, as if patrolling for spies. “It is a green chile stew. Popular in New Mexico. Commonly made around Christmas.” He looks like he actually knows more, but is keeping it short so that he only speaks to her as little as possible.

Red purses her lips. She waves him to follow, heading for the jalapenos so she can bag him some of those, too. “American dish, huh?”

The archer diverts his eyes for the first time since they started talking. “Yes.”

“Sounds pretty yummy. Is it?”

“I have not made it before.”

“I see.” Trying to sound even more innocuous as she picks out the perfect peppers: “cooking for someone else?”

He looks at her with narrowed eyes. “Yes.”

“Oh. Cool.”

The niceness isn’t working – she feels her attitude light up in the face of his coldness instead. It feels more comfortable on her anyway. “No offense, but you don’t seem like the chef type.”

“It is hardly a difficult task.”

“Says the guy who thought two green chiles were different because the American one was bigger.”

She chances a glance as she ties up the bag of jalapeños and is surprised (and relieved) to find him smirking down at her when she hands it over. “It has to be perfect.”

“Oh yeah? Is it for someone you like?”

Red walks off towards the potatoes, as if his answer means nothing to her. He follows.

“You are terribly nosy for a grocer.”

“Hey, just trying to help you out. Is he more of a spicy guy or a smoky guy? You can do a lot with peppers.”

“I never mentioned that it was a man.”

Red almost stops, and the laugh she covers it with is hardly convincing. “Just a guess.”

The archer is still looking at her like she might pull a gun at any second, but replies all the same: “he likes spicy food. Always putting hot sauce on eggs.”

“Oh, I do that too. Wakes you right up.”

“Hn.”

“Well, these chiles have more of a back-heat and a front-sweetness. He like sweet things?”

“Yes.” He points to the potatoes he wants at her indication. “Packaged baked goods. Candy bars. Horrible, simple-sugar things.”

“Uh-huh. This recipe sounds kind of like a comfort thing. Maybe try throwing in some beer. Does he like beer?”

“Yes. Whiskey as well.”

“Oh yeah? Rye, single-malt?”

“Bourbon.” And here Red catches the ghost of a smile graze his lips. “He has good taste in bourbon.” Now his lids seem a trifle heavier. “If unrefined.” Then the smile actually emerges. “And a little prosaic.”

Wow. Maybe the ramen actually worked.

The archer hardly notices when Red lowers a bag of potatoes into his basket. Then he catches himself, and seems to fall even deeper into his suspicion.

“Thank you, but I will find the rest on my own.”

“Oh, I’m not being nice,” Red scoffs, “You’re carrying a huge weapon and I want you out of my store as soon as possible.”

She hears him let out a low, rough chuckle, and maybe starts to get a hint of what the cowboy sees in him.

A few snatched items later and Red is at the register tapping away. Mija is in the doorway, yowling away. They usually walk home together – or, Red walks home, and Mija follows until she’s determined whether or not Red is going to give her any meat slices tonight. The archer seems a bit preoccupied with her, which lets Red take her time. Her thoughts are racing. She knows she should mind her own business, that she could risk making the store lose business by being too nosy. This guy seems locked up enough without hammering on his walls. He keeps to himself, as the cowboy said.

But something about the look on his face as he stares down at the peppers makes her pipe up. “You know, there was a cowboy in here about a month ago. Trying to find ingredients to make shōyu ramen.”

Now the archer’s expression is flat. “Really.”

“Yeah.” She licks her lips, then hastily goes about making change. Affects a shrug. “Asked for chukamen noodles. Like we got that kinda shit in here.” His blank face is more unnerving than anything, so she decides to poke further. “So. How’d it taste?”

He tilts his head, considering her again. She only now remembers the bow in his hand, the ink on his arm, and the fact that she doesn’t really know for sure that he’s with Overwatch and not just some disreputable friend of the cowboy’s who wouldn’t be averse to killing her for her intrusiveness. She’s heard of weirder shit happening on the peninsula. Weirder by a mile.

Then the archer looks to the door with a smirk, as if he is seeing something just past it. Something that brings him the kind of pleasure that makes even those angular features go soft. “Terrible.”

“Oh. Well.” Red hesitates, then passes him his change and receipt. The picture of deflation. “Sorry.”

He shakes his head, taking all the bags at once, lifting them with ease. A smirk passes over his face as fast as a blink. “But it was the best birthday of my life.”

Then he nods in farewell and makes his way out the door. Red sees Mija hop after him, then she hops up as well, striding to the doorway and looking down. She watches the archer walk up the road. He must have parked further away. She tries to think if she remembered him from before, when the Watchpoint was open and everyone knew, but nothing comes up. Maybe he’s new. Maybe they’re recruiting. Or maybe they all just decided to come back and live there together, having birthdays and Christmas like any other family. Maybe they all stayed apart just long enough to realize they didn’t want to be anywhere else.

Two steps take her back inside the store, and two minutes have her opening up a fresh web page. Maybe she’ll just set the blog in a place that isn’t Gibraltar. And change cowboy to sailor. And change bow to sword.

Chapter Text

Jesse loves seeing dog owners who resemble their dogs. The park is especially full of them today; it’s springtime, it's dry, and everyone is eager to take part in the grand transformation. He sees a young, stocky man with his crew and a strapping young Rottweiler waiting for a frisbee to be thrown. There’s a family with a tiny, excitable daughter holding the leash to a prancing Papillon. A nervous-looking older man in a turtleneck clings to his leather brief and a lanky gray Weimaraner. There’s even a pair of old ladies with two equally old Westies, both of them wearing matching tracksuits. The dogs and the ladies.

But there’s no way anyone wouldn’t look at Jesse and Ria and make the same correlation. For a tall half-gringo with brown hair, brown eyes, and an unmistakably Western aesthetic, a lanky mutt that looks more like a coyote than any known breed of domestic canine works just perfect. Even their meeting seemed arranged by fate. Jesse picked her out of his dumpster one night and almost got his other hand bitten off for his trouble. After a few weeks of leaving out food and talking nice and soft, they became wary friends. A few more weeks, a few more treats, and Ria had her name and access to Jesse’s lumpy leather couch. Few women or men have ever taken his heart so easily. For a lonely ex-gangster turned soldier turned bounty hunter, Ria is more than Jesse feels like he deserves: fun, loyal, and a good listener, especially when it comes to the kind of dark sins he could never confess to anyone else. He has his suspicions, giving Ria’s wild nature and the manner in which they met, that she has her own rough and tumble past, but she only ever looks at him with big honey-colored eyes and yowls. Yowls for attention, yowls at passing cats and squirrels. Yowls for any damn reason at all.

She’s doing it now at some tense Border Collie that caught her attention for whatever reason. Jesse gives her a gentle tug – he got the retractable leash to give her some freedom but, much like her owner, it’s impossible to know when she’s about to run. “Easy, girl.”

Ria stops at his command but stays alert, tail swishing. Ears perked. The other dog owners steer their Collie away with distrusting looks and Jesse can’t say he blames them. Even without such a wild-looking dog, Jesse’s prosthetic arm and rough face are enough reason for most city-dwelling civilians to give a wide berth. He certainly wouldn’t want to see neither he nor Ria locked and loaded and staring to kill. Even if he did tie a bright red bandana over her collar to cute her up some.

But he’d be lying if he said it doesn’t sting a bit. “Back up, now. C’mon.”

Ria comes back to the path and Jesse hands her one of the twisty-treats he keeps inside a baggie in his back pocket. Then he loosens the retractable leash to let her lead. A responsible dog owner shouldn’t give her so much freedom, but he can’t help it. He's examined the scars on her paws and muzzle, figures she’s earned an easy life. A younger McCree would never have been so soft, but time and miles make suckers out of even the toughest old gunslingers.

Jesse tilts his hat up to see where they should head to next. There’s a reservoir in the center of the park, but everyone tends to head that way. There are climbing rocks and open meadow up ahead, but there’ll be a lot of small children and running dogs for Ria to chase. But they could just keep to the smaller paths, maybe get an ice cream or a hot dog. It’s not what Jesse would choose for either of them, but he’s got a big yard. He can run her at home. The walks are for the novelty and the people-watching anyway.

But, not surprisingly, Ria has other plans. She barks, loud and rapid-fire, and Jesse yanks his head up to clock the new object of her fancy.

It’s an Akita. Not one of the smaller ones either – a burly, heavy-boned type of spitz that Jesse recognizes from when he used to research breeds for the Blackwatch K-9 unit. He can’t remember ever seeing so fine a specimen, even from all that reading. This dog is powerful beyond its stature. Its black-and-white coat is more a top layer of dark gray wash, as if watery ink had been spilled over paper, like those sumi-e drawings from ancient Japan. The fluffy white underside is pristine along with the rest of the dog, bright, healthy – obviously well-taken care of, and with a shiny leather collar to boot.

The Akita’s near-black face is also pointed right at them. Its front legs are braced in a defensive position. It lets out a disgruntled huff and suddenly all the notes about the Akita’s intolerance of strangers comes shooting back to Jesse. He’s never seen a dog that wasn’t at least a little intimidated by Ria, but this dog is squared up.

And so is the owner. Jesse’s eyes widen. It’s practically absurd at this point, but this man also looks exactly like his dog: stocky, powerful, impeccable in expensive athleisure gear. His jet black hair is tied in an elegant knot with smooth shaved sides, his nasal bridge piercing matches the studs in each ear. An intricate tattoo peaks out from the half-rolled sleeves of his sweater and his obviously ripped physique is just as proud as his dark, hawk-like eyes.

Jesse can’t remember the last time he saw such a handsome face, let alone on such an obvious yakuza. It completely distracts him from the situation at hand until Ria jerks against the leash.

“Easy, girl!”

The man and the Akita may have stopped, but only for a moment. Once the man seems to recognize that Ria is controlled, he grazes his eyes over Jesse one more time, and then goes on his way. The Akita follows dutifully, not even stressing its short leash.

Jesse sighs with relief. That could have been bad. Ria is more friendly than aggressive, but he can’t say the same for any other dog, and that one didn’t look like it’d have the patience for her shenanigans.

“Let’s go home, girl. I think you need some ball time in the yard.”

Jesse turns. Although relief floods his system, he can't help but be a little disappointed, too. Isn't every day he comes across a man that fine, and a dog-lover besides. Images of them walking through the park together fly through his head: chatting about everything and nothing, letting the dogs play nearby. Maybe stopping for a snow cone. Maybe sharing one.

His shoulders go a little slack as he sighs. So do his hands.

It stands to reason that Ria would take advantage of that.

She bolts. Jesse whirls around, high-alert, but his finger hesitates on the retractable leash. If he hit the stop now, while she's running that fast, she'd strangle herself.

“Fuck – Ria! Stop!”

So he does the only other thing he can and chases after her, hoping to at least match her pace so he can ease her back.

“No, girl!”

Ria isn’t listening. She moves like a fish taking line and makes a B-line for the Akita. By the time Jesse has retracted more leash, the Akita has pranced away, and there’s still a lot of slack line – enough for Ria, chasing the Akita, to wind around Jesse and the strange man’s legs and snap them together like a bundle of sticks.

“Oh, hell–” Jesse tries to push away from the other man’s chest but they both nearly lose their balance in the process.

The other man reacts similarly, but staggers at the last second, keeps Jesse at bay with his hand around his phone. “Nanndayo–?”

Jesse tries to steady him, yanks his hands away. “Fuck, oh, I’m so sorry–”

The man grabs at Jesse’s jacket, releases him, staggers again. “What the hell are you–fuck, oh–”

“I’m sorry, oh– she’s just– dang it, Ria–”

“Get your– damn it–”

“Fuck, don’t–!”

“Stop pushing, you will–!”

But Ria keeps tugging, and the Akita keeps evading her, and then Jesse and the man are falling over one another into a heap of wildflowers. A few people laugh, some gasp. Jesse releases the retractable leash entirely as both men scramble away from one another and it sucks up line after Ria, untangling around their feet as she bounds after the Akita.

Luckily, the other dog simply stops to sniff her. Unluckily, the damage is done. Jesse pushes back his hat to see bright yellow pollen all over the stranger’s expensive outfit. When he curses in Japanese, bits of leaf and petal and dirt fly off his ruined hair. A few people who’d asked if they were okay take one look at the yakuza’s face and keep walking.

“Ah, shit… I’m so sorry, she ain’t usually that– let me help you–”

“Get off,” the man sneers, clamoring to his feet. “Look what you’ve done, you fool.”

“I’m sorry, I really am, I…” Jesse keeps his offered hand hovering, the other removing his hat. “She’s never bolted like that before, honest. I couldn’t be more–”

He stops when the stranger looks right at his face and snorts with suppressed laughter.

Jesse can’t help but smile back – he had no idea such a serious face could make such a handsome grin. “What?”

The man points. “Your beard.”

With a swipe of his hand, Jesse realizes what he means. His fingers are smeared with pollen, which means his beard must look like he dusted it with yellow powder before leaving his house. And with brows as bushy as his, he assumes they look much the same way.

“Well…” Jesse drifts off, unable to suppress his own snort of laughter. It descends into raucous snickering, which the stranger also seems to find funny, because he answers with an actual laugh, a low scoff-chuckle that is still subdued but definitely genuine. He reaches out and plucks an actual pink flower from Jesse’s beard and Jesse loses it, throws his head back and guffaws, takes the flower with a tip of his hat, “You shouldn’t have,” and the stranger barks out a laugh that carries for a mile.

The dogs have since relaxed and now sniff and circle each other, both tails wagging.

“I really am sorry,” Jesse says once they’ve both calmed down. “I can pay to have it cleaned–”

Feh,” the man waves him off, “It is nothing.” He dusts the pollen off of himself, glancing up at Jesse a few times. “A retractable leash is not appropriate for such a willful dog. You reward her for pulling by allowing her to get where she wants to go.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Jesse mutters, ruffling his beard to get the pollen out. “Only had her for a few months now. I been soft. She’s had a hard time.”

Hn. As has mine.” The man loosens his hair, letting it spill past his shoulders, and strokes it clean with his fingers while eyeing Jesse like a lord. “But she would benefit from a firmer hand.”

“Yeah, well…” Jesse smiles that smile he knows people like, slings his thumbs into his jeans waistband. Maybe it’s just springtime, but something’s got him feeling a bit dopey. “That makes two of us.”

The stranger raises a brow, looks away, but Jesse can see a coy smile playing at a corner of his mouth.

“What’s’name?”

The man looks to his dog, then to Jesse. “Choco.”

“Oh, ah, no – I meant, what’s your name?”

The man straightens his shoulders, looks Jesse up and down again. “Hanzo.”

“Nice to meet you, Hanzo,” Jesse extends a hand (clean) and takes Hanzo’s firmly. Hat still pressed to his chest. “I’m Jesse.”

Hanzo seems pleased. “Pleasure.”

“Hey,” Jesse grins again, “Anyone ever tell you that you ‘n Choco kinda–”

“Resemble one another?” Hanzo finishes with a smirk.

They both smile at each other, then look down at their dogs, both of whom are now looking back up at them.

Jesse leans over to take Ria’s leash, gives her a look that is equal parts exasperation and gratitude, then looks at Hanzo with what he hopes is a relatively confident smile. “Well,” he adjusts his hat back on his head, “He’s a real good-lookin’ dog.”

“She is.” Hanzo fixes him with an almost-smile, one hand in his pocket. He still hasn’t reached for Choco’s leash.

Which just makes Jesse’s nerves vibrate even harder. “Real well-trained, too.”

“Thank you.”

“And I… I dig that collar.”

“Not as handsome as a red bandana.”

Jesse chuckles, thumbs his jaw before he remembers that it’s probably still got pollen on it. When was the last time he felt this flustered trying to ask someone out?

“Well, uh…”

Hanzo just stands there, still sort-of-smiling. Even with grass poking out of his loose hair, he looks like a million bucks. He also looks like he’s either waiting for a sign or looking for a place to bury a knife.

But Jesse knows how to bait a wild animal. “Guess I outta get lil’ Ria here some obedience training.”

“I doubt you need go to such lengths,” Hanzo replies. And then, right on cue: “I could give you some guidance, if you like. Do you drink coffee?”

Jesse grins. “I love coffee. My treat, o’course.”

“Of course.”

Hanzo whistles and Choco comes trotting up to his side. He bends to take her leash and Jesse swears he can see just the briefest flash of a pleased smile.

He nods down at Choco. “That Akita is one loyal breed, huh?”

“Yes,” Hanzo effortlessly smooths his hair back up into its knot. “If their trust is earned,” he drops his hands, looks at Jesse, and smiles at the ground as he steps back onto the path, “They can be very loyal indeed.”

Jesse tries to mask the thrill that rockets over his face, but probably fails. Ria stays close by his leg this time. Lets out a happy bark. Without taking his eyes off of Hanzo, Jesse dips a hand deep into his back pocket and gives her a whole fistful of treats.

“Good girl.”

Chapter Text

“Arright,” Jesse slurs, sliding slovenly into the beat-up old sofa in the corner of the rumpus room, waggling his cigar in Hanzo’s face with a mischievous grin, “arright– I got somethin’. Never have I…”

“The game is over, McCree,” Hanzo snorts, waving him away.

“Naw, naw, naw… that was the kids’ version.” Jesse tosses his head at the door, as if implying the four hours they’d just spent with the rest of the team – who’d all had enough sense to go to bed by now – was just the lead-up to the true point of this evening. Reinhardt and Lucio are still here, but they are across the room, smiling and chatting well out of ear-shot. Which may be lucky for them. “This round’s for the big dogs.”

“If you are about to get even more lewd than Angela’s med school dormitory confession, then get me another beer.”

“I’mma get even more lewd than Genji’s bukka–”

Never mention that to me again,” Hanzo groans, face in his hand.

Jesse cackles and only staggers a little when he stands and, gentleman that he is, pulls a brew from the very bottom of the now mostly-watery cooler. The rumpus room at Gibraltar has seen better days, but they’ve managed to outfit it with most of the essentials: a couple sofas, some recliners, big holovid, a few games. The cooler is Reinhardt’s, which accounts for its size, but even this prime resource is running low.

He’ll have to make some kind of move before Hanzo can finish this beer, or he’ll miss his window and all this liquid courage will have been wasted.

Jesse thumps back onto the sofa, tucked into the arm opposite Hanzo, and passes him the beer. “Alright now. Never have I ever–”

“Wait.” Hanzo opens the beer and takes a long swig, the kind of deep gulps that make his throat stretch and Jesse’s thighs shift in his seat. “You may,” he burps, “Continue.”

Jesse snickers. He hasn’t had a drinking buddy like this since Blackwatch. “Never have I ever… wait. Wait.”

“What now?”

“What did we establish?” Jesse sets his beer down on the coffee table and counts off on his metal fingers. “We both’ve had threesomes. Both’ve had sex in a car, a train, a plane, and at least four restaurants and or clubs. Both’ve had sex blindfolded and tied up and…”

“Is this round to only be about sex? There are other subjects.”

“Well, feel like we covered everything else, and, to be frank… if we talk about the more nefarious shit we’ve both gotten up to, this night’s gonna take a dark turn real quick.”

Hanzo grunts in reluctant agreement. He was slumped before, but now he sits up with considerable effort, like a sleepy king still trying to keep up appearances. “Go on then.”

“Never have I ever… uhh…” Then Jesse slaps his knee. Points at Hanzo like he’s got him. “Never have I ever had somethin’ up my ass that wasn’t a body part or toy!”

Hanzo tilts his head up, thinking. Jesse, who’d been expecting either a snort of disgust or a look of simple derision, is on the edge of his seat.

After some consideration, Hanzo drinks and Jesse brays: “WHAT? What was it?!”

“The handle of another man’s knife.”

“That’s…” Jesse knows he doesn’t have the self control to finish that sentence without playing all his cards at once. So he just hisses through his teeth and tries to get a hold of himself. Takes a puff of his cigar and mouths around the end. “Jesus Christ. Arright. Your turn. Shit.”

Hanzo looks smugly at Jesse. “Never have I ever slept with my boss.”

“That ain’t fair.” Jesse drinks. “You never had a boss.”

“That is the point of the game. To use one’s knowledge of each others’ differences to win.”

“No, the object is’t’learn ‘bout each other and fun and… well, anyway, I ain’t got a big-mouth brother to tell me all the gossip ‘bout my new team members.” Then Jesse narrows his eyes. Aims to kill. “Never have I ever eaten food off of someone’s naked body.”

Hanzo rolls his eyes and drinks. But Jesse has little time to celebrate. “Never have I ever had sex in womens’ clothing.”

Jesse’s jaw drops. “How’d you know?”

Hanzo chuckles darkly. “What was it? Bad dare gone wrong?”

“Nah,” Jesse shrugs, smirks like the devil, “I just look really good in a brassiere and thigh highs.”

Jesse sees his brow flick up. The effect reminds him very much of a cat waving its tail. “What color?”

“Kind of a tangerine.”

Hn,” Hanzo slowly grunts, shifts his body so that it’s more open to Jesse. Leans his jaw on his hand. “Suits you.”

It takes a second for Jesse to remember that they’re playing a game, but in his defense, he is playing two games at once, and one has much higher stakes. “Never have I ever…” He strokes his beard. Considers. “Worn a spreader for more’n an hour.”

Hanzo chokes on his beer. Curses in Japanese as he wipes it off his shirt.

Jesse grins with deep satisfaction. So the man likes ‘em dressed up and spread out. “Does that count as a drink?”

“No. Kuso. You are not even playing well.”

“Alright. Go on, then. I’m still sober enough to find my dorm. Don’t know about you.”

“Never have I ever…” Hanzo hesitates, swallows. Looks at Jesse with strained determination. “…Gone home with a bartender.”

“Now you’re just walkin’ backwards into tame territory,” Jesse drawls after his drink. “Game gettin’ too hard for ya, old man?”

Hanzo smirks, and though it’s brief – like a poker tell – Jesse feels a little fear crawl up his spine. Decides to go for broke. “Never have I ever been spanked with anything but a hand or a riding crop.”

Hanzo’s face darkens in the most satisfying way yet. He looks over Jesse like he might drink him up too, but he leaves his beer alone. In fact, he settles more deeply into the sofa.

Jesse wonders if he’s pushing too hard. “Y’ready for bed? We can–”

“Never have I ever sucked someone off while they were driving.”

Jesse’s brows flare just listening to Hanzo say that out loud. That intense stare, that unashamed enunciation. Hanzo stares like a drawn gun. Jesse can feel his eyes on his chest while he drinks, the spot where four buttons air out the hair that spreads up half of his pectorals. He can feel sweat form at the spot along with his temples.

Hanzo drapes an arm across the back of the sofa. Seems to move closer without effort. “Military vehicle?”

Jesse shakes his head. “Truck.”

“Was it your idea or his?”

“Mine.” Jesse feels some of the levity in the air get replaced by sudden, coiled arousal. Doesn’t know what to do about it. Wasn’t ready for it, even if it was his plan all along. “Was a long ride. Got bored.”

Hanzo lifts his drink to his lips. “Did he pull over before he came down your throat?”

“Jesus. Jesus, Han.”

“Never have I ever–”

“It ain’t your turn.”

“I will say when I am finished.” He’s somehow now even closer on the sofa. “Never have I ever been fucked by two men at once.”

Jesse drops his jaw. Despite all the drinking, his throat’s gone dry. But he locks eyes with the other man anyway, downs more beer anyway. Gives him a slow, slick smile anyway. “That one wasn’t my idea. But I held up real well.”

“You took them both at once?” Hanzo mutters, voice now lower and softer. More appropriate to their closer quarters.

“Yeah. Yeah, I did.” Jesse spreads his knees over the sofa despite the hammering of his heart. “One laying down, one standing from behind.”

“Did you come on them like that?”

“Fuck,” Jesse hisses, “Yeah. Yeah.”

“Did they fill you up well,” Hanzo trails his fingertips across the back of Jesse’s hand, “Did they give it to you hard for being such a good boy?”

Christ. You're killin' me, Hanzo…”

But Hanzo is even closer now, easily within touching distance and Jesse has no idea how. Never really registered his movement, though he has had a few by now. Can’t bring himself to care with all the need coiling in his guts, the sharp shudders threatening to make him do something stupid. It’s all he can do to stay still now that he can see the very subtle start of Hanzo’s morning stubble, can smell the Czech pilsner on his breath, can count the scales on the dragon from where the man’s yukata slips down his shoulder.

“Never have I ever kissed a man in Gibraltar,” Hanzo noses close to Jesse’s jaw.

Jesse would smile, but he’s way too focused on the playful knowing in Hanzo’s half-grin. It’s the last thing he sees before their lips are together, soft at first, then quickly sloppy and impish and perfect. They both know how drunk they are, and how neither probably want things to go much further than this tonight, and so both settle into the luxury of a winding, aimless kiss with deep sighs and quiet, revenant moans. If Reinhardt and Lucio are even still in the room, neither take notice.

By the time they part, Jesse is winded. “Guess I have to drink now.”

“No more drinking.” Then Hanzo grins and leans to press his lips right up against the soft, sensitive shell of Jesse’s ear. “Never have I ever…”

And then Hanzo whispers into his ear something so graphic, so specific, so obscene that Jesse feels his heart locomotive straight into his belly, feels that shudder he’s been suppressing pulse upward from the same spot. He’s never met someone as kinky as he is and Hanzo just blew him away with one shot on a half-drunken brain at 3:30 in the morning.

“I’m gonna,” Jesse wheezes, “Need to write that one down.”

“I will remember.” Then Hanzo settles on top of Jesse, kisses him again, and neither hold their win against the other come morning.

Chapter Text

“Han?” Jesse slows his hips, presses a hand to Hanzo’s face. Tries to guide him into eye-contact. “You okay?”

“Yes.” Hanzo is holding up his thighs, spread and lovely, but his neck is twisted something terrible. Cheekbone smashed into the pillow like he wants to bury his face. Ignoring Jesse’s imploring touch. “Keep going.”

 

Chapter Text

Summer sunsets come late in Morocco. It is far past dinner, but Hanzo is not yet home. The cafe near his apartment makes excellent tea, and for awhile, he does not want to think about his next move. And here, in the blue alley, strangers always come along at exactly the right moment.

“You have killed many men,” says Hanzo.

“Sure,” says the bounty hunter in his low Southern drawl.

“And do you regret any of it?”

“Regret lots.”

Hanzo tips open the lid of the silver teapot just to see the vapors rise high in the evening humidity. Then he tips it closed again. The brew is not ready. “I regret none of it.”

‘Jesse McCree’ leans back and affects what Hanzo assumes is omnic-body-language for surprise. His leathers and denim criss-cross a burnished frame of steel and bronze. Whoever built him did so with intimidation in mind: its chassis is broad, its slotted eyes inverted like a frown, a skull over the left forearm like an emblazoned shield. Limbs built more like a muscled man than his more spindly modern peers. But he’s also clearly added parts over the years, little humanized touches: tattoos over his chest plate, scratches in his face-framing bronze jaw piece, sharp corners that almost make it look like he has a beard. A garish belt buckle proclaiming exactly what he thinks of himself. Whoever built him installed one odd sense of humor.

Although, it’s been so long since omnics were given rights, it’s perfectly possible that this unit was built by other omnics. Little tin child.

“You really don’t?” says McCree.

“I do what I must. I always have.” Hanzo looks outside the open door, the little blue alleyway. The guitar player singing in the plaza nearby. “And I have suffered for it.”

“Sounds like regret to me.”

“I do not wish my suffering to leave me. I deserve it.”

“How y’figure?”

“If I were the son I was supposed to be,” Hanzo mutters, still looking at the guitar player, “I would never have even allowed Genji to go as far as he did. I would have found a way to stop him before killing him was the only option. If I had acted sooner, more decisively… I deserve the pain of his murder. I let it escalate to that point.”

“When?”

Hanzo looks at McCree. “When, what?”

“When exactly would you have made that different choice? How far down the road do you need to go?”

Hanzo looks at the tiles on the wall. A few have fallen, replaced by white plaster, but those that remain are beautiful, intricate patterns of yellow, green, blue and white. A single black fly steps over the grout and then buzzes away.

“I do not know. I cannot know, now.”

“Then you’re just like everybody else, friend.” McCree leans back in his chair, almost to its tipping point, but does not fall. “All humans ever do is make the best decision they can at the moment they have to. If y’knew better then, y’wouldn’t be where you are now. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that.”

“You are not like that. You know everything.”

McCree laughs: warm, raucous. Undeniably human. “I sure as shit don’t. I learn, don’t get me wrong – learn a helluva lot faster n’you. But I’ve made my share of bad decisions. Only, I ain’t like you. I can’t forget.” Now he looks out the window at the guitarist. “So, yeah. I got regrets.”

Hanzo looks the omnic up and down. Something inside him bleeds slowly open, like the orange light in the alley just through the door. Sunset’s coming faster. 

He looks where the corner of McCree’s serape touches the edge of his sitting pillow and lifts the tip, brushes the frayed edges between his fingers. “You could choose to have it wiped.”

“Naw. No one’s good enough at that to do it without takin’ something else with it. And I won’t risk the good memories.” McCree lifts the tea pot and fills Hanzo’s cup. “I’ll just get more tattoos.”

Chapter Text

“Do you like it?”

Hanzo doesn’t recognize his own voice: cracked, hoarse. Like he dragged it behind him on the way here, bouncing across the desert highway like honeymoon cans. Why Jesse wanted to return to the Southwest five days after putting that silver band on his metal finger, Hanzo will never understand, but that’s alright. He is more than willing to savor the mysteries of the man he loves. But the dry air does make his throat ache.

Deep-throating Jesse in an abandoned diner does, too. “Do you like it, Jesse?”

“Yhcheahhaa.”

The cowboy’s leaning back against the counter on wobbly elbows. His fly is open, jeans and chaps just barely hanging on, cock heavy and swollen and shiny with Hanzo’s saliva. It barely stays upright under its own weight, but is just high enough for Hanzo to kiss the tip, spread his lips over the head and swirl his tongue until he tastes another drop of pre. Then his lips pop off, lewd and slick.

“What aspect of it do you like?”

“Jesus Christ,” Jesse growls. He re-gathers Hanzo’s destroyed topknot in his hand, grips the edge of the counter with the other. “Y’can’t ask me questions just now.”

“I want to know,” Hanzo traces the vein up Jesse’s cock with his tongue, then licks back down to the root, “Which parts you like best. I want to please you.”

“Honey – fuck – Jesus. You couldn’t please me more.”

“I disagree.”

Hanzo pushes his fingers under the flaps of Jesse’s chaps, grabs, and yanks Jesse down his throat. He closes his eyes, purses his lips around Jesse’s thickness, loses himself in the taste and heat and breadth of him. He still remembers the first time he’d ever thought about sucking Jesse off – that second job they did, when Jesse was stripped down to his black tactical suit. Vacuum-packed for all the world to see. Flirting with Hanzo on the edge of an aircraft carrier bound for certain doom. A bright blue sky and seagull cries. He wanted all of that brazen man in his mouth, to see him come undone, to see how much he could take. He’s had his mouth all over Jesse by now, but each and every taste is something worth savoring.

Hanzo yanks Jesse by the chaps again, makes him thrust. Jesse catches on quick, seizes Hanzo’s hair and rocks his hips until he presses past the click at the back of Hanzo’s throat. Stops his air, thrusts a little more. Presses until he can’t press any more. Hanzo feels his lips growing numb, his jaw ache. His throat constricts and he hears Jesse growl.

“Nnnggfuck, you fuckin’ – yeah, fuck, honey – take my cock–”

Then he lets go and leans back, leaving a thread from Hanzo’s shiny bottom lip to Jesse’s bobbing cock. Hanzo looks up with the ghost of a smile. Licks his lips and tongues the tip of his canine tooth. Lets Jesse’s cock rest against his cheek. “Is that what you want, cowboy?”

Hanzo moves. He slinks to the underside of the coffee counter, behind Jesse, then makes Jesse turn around. Then he takes Jesse’s hand and puts it back in his hair. “Fuck me like this.”

“Christ Almighty, Hanzo.” Jesse traces the thumb of his gloved hand across Hanzo’s mouth. “You sure? You ain’t gotta–”

“I want it like this.” Hanzo clears his throat, but it doesn’t make his voice any less hoarse. “Look,” he palms himself, his own cock thick and hanging, “Look what seeing you let go does to me.” He strokes himself once, holds himself up so Jesse can see how wet he is.

Jesse lets out a sub-human sound and seizes Hanzo’s hair. He uses his other hand to guide himself into Hanzo’s eager mouth, then he grips the edge of the counter hard enough to dent it. With the leverage, he can thrust easily down Hanzo’s throat, sliding past his tightened lips with deep hisses and rolling groans. Pumping with all the boundless energy Hanzo loves him for.

Hanzo’s glad he put so many quarters in the jukebox. The dulcet tones of Roy Orbison go well with Jesse’s lust-blackened face, his merciless thrusting. Crying over you. Hanzo has tears in his eyes but the feeling rising in his chest is like an opening sky. Jesse knows just when to stop, when to push. He lets Hanzo get in a ragged breath or two and then he goes again, filling Hanzo up, blocking out everything else, beautiful and wild. Coating Hanzo in an endless stream of filthy, loving praise. Hanzo moans around him, strokes his own cock but keeps the edge – he wants to hover here, with Jesse’s cock stretching his lips and his voice urging him on, for as long as possible.

When Jesse comes, he thrusts even faster, and Hanzo catches as much as he can but he’s a mess anyway. He licks Jesse’s fingers where they swipe come from his face. Looks up at him with a crooked smirk.

“Baby.” Jesse looks down at Hanzo like he’s astounded, strokes his face with almost giddy reverence. “Angel–”

“If you are thinking that this is just for the honeymoon,” Hanzo croaks, “Think again.” Then he hooks a hand in Jesse’s belt and yanks and the cowboy buckles. “I want to surprise you,” he whispers against Jesse’s lips, kisses him solidly, “As much as you surprise me.”

Jesse’s floored expression is worth every part of Hanzo’s soreness. “Honey, I’m never gonna let you… I mean, I won’t… I’m gonna–”

Hanzo chuckles, tugs down on Jesse’s beard. “Tell me later.”

Jesse groans, sinks his face into Hanzo’s lap, and Hanzo grips his hair in turn. Little silver band winking at him from thick, sun-kissed strands of deep brown. 

“Sweet boy.”

Chapter Text

The breeze is ocean-cooled, just shy of crisp outside the comforter. When Hanzo breathes in he feels good; sore, sated—good. The grit of yesterday and tomorrow flick like blown sand against the window but can not touch him for now. It hasn’t touched him all day.

Jesse makes a sound that is child-like, indulgent—halfway between a sigh and a purr. Hanzo curls against his back and kisses new freckles on his shoulder, feels the sun on his forearms. Encircles him with his arms until Jesse makes the sound again, even more pleased.

He hasn’t said it yet. He wants to, but it is not the right time. There’s no way of knowing whether his hesitance is due to cowardice or intuition; still hard to distinguish between the two. But there is no rush. The truth will surface. And after this—this, and all of it—he could never shame himself by asking for more.

“You are lovely like this,” he whispers against Jesse’s ear.

The moon shows just enough of his lover’s crooked-toothed grin. “What now?”

A small shame: Jesse is not used to verbalized expressions of admiration from Hanzo. It turns the archer’s voice serious, “You are lovely, Jesse.” He smooths a hand down the gunslinger’s chest and belly, kisses his shoulder. “You are my treasure.”

Now he can feel Jesse going warm, a little stiff, jumpy at the same time. He probably doesn’t know how to respond. Hanzo feels the sickly tide of regret threatening to bubble up. If it’s too much for Jesse, if he’s too much—

“Shit, Han. You make me feel real good.”

Hanzo almost laughs. Not eloquent, not quite original—but delivered with the same sincere rasp as Hanzo. The same choked throat, as if it were working around something it isn’t used to letting out.

Hanzo holds him tight, then relaxes with a sigh that Jesse echoes. They both sink a little bit deeper into the mattress and the waves go on.

Too many moments later, he whispers, “I am in awe of you,” but Jesse sounds asleep and Hanzo would never wake him. It was such a good day. This, at least, he can manage.