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The Mind is a Terrible Thing

Chapter Text

When he was six, Hanzo remembered his father telling him two things: “you will show no weaknesses” and “you are not a child; you are an investment.”

The lecture came after Genji’s third birthday. With every new gift his little brother was given, Hanzo’s face turned a darker shade of red. He sat beside Genji on the cool, clean floor as his brother viciously unwrapped gift after gift. New shoes, sweets, and clothes. Genji ignored all of these in favor of the toys and action figures with impossibly large weapons.

The elders endlessly fawned over the smaller brother, ruffling his shaggy hair and encouraging more giggles. Hanzo watched them smile down at Genji like they were awing over a small puppy. Hanzo’s mother sat on the other side of Genji, gently helping his small, chubby hands unwrap the gifts. She swiped stray hair to the side of her youngest son’s head and ran her fingers up and down his back. Hanzo moved a strand of his own long, black hair to the center of his face so that it was tickling his nose. He hoped his mother would notice and lovingly push it behind his ear as she’d done with Genji.

His brother was unwrapping his final gift, the box covered in a lime green paper. It resembled a shoe box, leading Hanzo to guess that it was more footwear – perhaps sneakers this time. The wrapping paper drifted to the floor as Genji threw it aside. The younger brother let out a small gasp as he clutched a box containing yet another action figure. This one, though, made Hanzo’s stomach churn. The action figure wore a brown hat and long, black boots with spurs. There was a whip at his side as well, and Hanzo immediately recognized the character. He was Callaway, a cowboy from a cartoon who could beat any bad guy with only his whip and his quick wits – it was Hanzo’s favorite show.

Hanzo suddenly sprang up, drawing the attention of a few elders. “He doesn’t even know who that is!” Hanzo shouted, hearing his voice crack. He hadn’t noticed that he’d started crying. The tears flowed down his cheeks and dripped from his chin like a leaky faucet – Hanzo couldn’t stop it. His brother stopped trying to claw the action figure’s box open to gawk at his brother. “He doesn’t even watch that show!”

In an instant, Hanzo’s father was dragging him from the room with a hand around his slender wrist. He was pulled into a hallway, and his father closed the door behind them. A sudden strike to the cheek snapped Hanzo’s head to the side, and the small boy stumbled to stay upright.

“What were you thinking?” his father demanded. “Why are you acting out like this? This is not how an heir should behave.”

Hanzo clutched his cheek and refused to meet Sojiro’s eyes, staring at the small, wooden tiles that made up the floor instead. “Why don’t I get toys like Genji?” he asked. “I want to play with him. It…it isn’t fair.”

Hanzo’s chin was forced up, making him meet his father’s intense eyes. The eyes glared down at him with such anger that Hanzo began to feel disgusted and embarrassed by his outburst. “You will show no weaknesses,” Sojiro spat, as if saying so could give Hanzo the ability to suck the tears back into his eyes and lock them away forever. He settled for quickly wiping them from his cheeks instead.

“You are not a child,” Sojiro continued. “You are an investment.”

At his young age, Hanzo didn’t quite understand what his father meant by the words, but they made his heart ache nonetheless. He felt like Genji’s wrapping paper, made to look proper and then tossed aside when its purpose had been served.

Hanzo’s hair covered his eyes as he looked down, and he forced himself to wipe it away.

 


 

The Gibraltar sun was hot enough to burn Hanzo to a crisp in the summers, but he practiced outside daily at the training range nonetheless. When he was there, the range was normally empty save for agents D.va and Lucio on occasion. Hanzo was unsure if it was due to the blaring heat or every other agents’ undying hatred for the elder Shimada.

He’d been at the Watchpoint for about three months now, but everyday felt just like his first day. Hanzo wandered the halls, feeling largely out of place among the family of agents. He ate only when he heard nobody else in the dining area, which was either early in the morning or late at night. During those times, he scavenged leftover or sometimes cooked up some rice if he had the energy. Hanzo tried to get as much protein as he could but still found himself lightheaded and losing weight. It showed most in his face – his eyes become sunken and bones more prominent. His hair felt slightly thinner as well.

None of this was healthy – Hanzo knew it. He just couldn’t find it in himself to give up his bad habits. Drinking himself to sleep, smoking when he woke up, then training endlessly – it was a surprise he had it in him to still get out of bed in the mornings. If not for reminding himself that this was all for Genji, then Hanzo could not guess where his motivation would stem from. Perhaps he would already be dead.

Thinking of Genji and the man’s scarred face and cybernetic limbs, Hanzo scowled at the notion that death would be a sufficient punishment. He had caused his brother endless suffering – now he must atone for it by serving in Overwatch and carrying out Genji’s wishes. He didn’t know what purpose his presence was serving within the organization – he had yet to go on any missions, and his offers to clean up around the Watchpoint were turned down by the large ape who was said to be in charge – but it wasn’t Hanzo’s place to ask. This was his new duty.

Hanzo notched an arrow and let it fly, downing what seemed like the hundredth training bot. The sweat poured down his back and forehead as he reached for another arrow, only to find his quiver empty. The archer mentally scolded himself for not keeping better track of his ammunition, and he walked off to collect his arrows. A voice with a strong Southern drawl stopped him in his place.

“You ever gonna let anyone else have a turn out here?”

Hanzo turned to find McCree, dressed in his full cowboy gear save the wool serape, and he wondered how the man had yet to faint from heat exhaustion. “If you’d like to train, I’m not stopping you,” Hanzo replied.

The cowboy scoffed. “If you haven’t noticed yet, nobody wants to be around you. You’re scarin’ everyone away.

Hanzo saw the truth in this but had figured that nobody would want to train in the heat. He sighed and continued walking to retrieve his arrows, feeling McCree’s eyes on him all the while. After collecting the last arrow, he turned to leave, nodding at McCree as he did. “It is all yours.”

“About time,” McCree spat and whirled out his Peacekeeper, not paying Hanzo another glance.

Hanzo meant to leave, but he found himself stuck in the doorway like a statue, mesmerized by McCree’s actions. The cowboy rolled left and right, shooting bots down and keeping his hat firm on his head throughout. The jingle of McCree’s spurs could be heard faintly amidst the gunfire. McCree reloaded his gun as fast as lightning and immediately went back to shooting, the sweat already soaking his face and clothing. He reminded Hanzo of the heroes from his childhood television shows, valiant and strong.

Hanzo remembered wanting to grow up to be like McCree – always protecting others and serving justice. It almost made him laugh, seeing that he turned out the exact opposite. Monster, Hanzo’s mind chanted, taunting him as McCree continued his training.

Soon enough, Ana showed up to train as well. She passed Hanzo in the doorway and went to stand beside McCree, rifle in hand. With a hand on his shoulder, Ana leaned in to whisper something in the cowboy’s ear. Hanzo huffed at the distraction.

McCree quickly spun around to face Hanzo as Ana pulled away. The Shimada flinched at the sudden eye contact. McCree looked him up and down before meeting his eyes once more.

“Can I help you?” McCree asked with a scowl.

Without a word, Hanzo turned and walked away, leaving the training range behind him.

Chapter Text

When he was eight, Hanzo was kidnapped by a rival clan. He had been with his family at a well-decorated restaurant. The white marble floors, white walls, and white fountain in the center of the brightly-lit building made Hanzo feel like he was eating on a cloud. He downed his soup and wandered off to the bathroom when he was grabbed, a hand over his mouth to drown out his surprised yells. There was the pinch of a needle in his arm, and he was shoved into a large duffle bag before he faded into unconsciousness.

He does not remember anything that happened when he was with his kidnappers – he just knows that when he returned it was without his legs, and he had lost his will to speak. It was meant as a warning. A threat to the Shimadas that said if they continued expanding beyond Hanamura, there would be trouble. The perpetrators were dead within the week, but the damage to Hanzo’s body was irreversible.

He also remembers the pain. Even with the many pills, the pain was endless. It kept Hanzo awake at night, clutching at the stumps where his legs used to be. When he stared at white walls, catatonic and imagining floating through the clouds, his pain brought him back.

“He’s still growing!” he heard his father shouting at a jumpy man in a lab coat. “We’ll have to buy new prosthetics every time he hits a fucking growth spurt! Tell me again how much you want to charge me, and this time make it a reasonable price.”

Hanzo watched the man sputter and look at something on his clipboard. He had a feeling that somebody was going to get hurt or maybe even killed, so Hanzo gripped the wheels of his wheelchair and propelled himself away from the scene. The yelling became more distant with every push forward, and for that Hanzo was thankful. The guards had been instructed by his father not to assist the young Shimada heir with his comings and goings in the hopes that Hanzo would build up the muscle in his arms. But, even though it became easier to push every day, Hanzo’s chair seemed to weigh as much as he did. He avoided inclines within the Shimada castle and occasionally got stuck in doorways, but Hanzo eventually got where he needed to be.

Soon enough, the angry voice of his father was replaced by a much softer voice. Hanzo wheeled down the hall and found himself looking at the backs of his mother and Genji as they sat on a carpeted floor and enacted a fake scene with the younger Shimada’s toys. Hanzo watched from the doorway as Genji waved his arms around, laughing and pretending to make his stuffed dragon battle the similar stuffed dragon held by his mother.

Hanzo silently wheeled closer until he was right at their backs. His mother turned as he approached. Her eyes looked pained and the dark bags underneath made her appear much older than she was. Hanzo wondered if it was because of him.

“Hello Hanzo,” his mother said with a soft smile. At the sound of his brother’s name, Genji turned and stared. Hanzo found himself clambering down from his wheelchair to sit next to the other two. He inched closer and reached for Genji’s stuffed dragon.

Genji yanked the dragon out of Hanzo’s reach. Hanzo turned his focus to the dragon that his mother was holding and reached for it next. Genji’s hand found Hanzo’s wrist and tugged. “That’s mom’s dragon,” he explained. Hanzo reached for it once more and Genji tugged harder.

“Honey, be nice to your brother,” his mother scolded, and Genji let out a soft hmph.

“He only tries to take my things!” Genji said, clutching his dragon closer to his chest.

“I want to play,” Hanzo said, his voice croaky and barely above a whisper. It had been weeks since he had said anything.

“Oh, Hanzo,” his mother whispered, her eyes downcast. She set aside the stuffed toy and lifted Hanzo into her arms. Hanzo gasped and held her close, wrapping around her like a baby animal. She tried to set him in his chair, but Hanzo refused to let go.

“Hanzo, please,” she said gently. Hanzo buried his face into the crook of her neck. She smelled like peppermint lotion, and her skin was soft against his forehead. He couldn’t remember ever being so close to her.

“Hanzo, if you let go I’ll take you for a walk,” she tried. Hanzo considered the offer, thinking that it would be rather nice to give his arms a break. He let go of his mother, slumping back down into the black rubber of his chair. Curling up into the seat, Hanzo looked up at his mother expectantly.

“Genji, play on your own for a little bit, alright?” she said. “Mommy wants to talk with your brother.”

Genji furrowed his eyebrows and reached for his stuffed dragons again, resuming the dramatic scene on his own. Hanzo’s mother turned back to her older son and gripped the handles of his chair. She began pushing him out of the room and down the hall, the soft sound of rubber wheels on hardwood soothing Hanzo.

“How have you been feeling Hanzo? Any pain still?”

“Fine,” Hanzo whispered. He stared straight ahead, wondering where his mother would take him and how long their walk would last. He did not want it to end.

Suddenly, at the sound of footsteps, Hanzo’s mother was turning right and rushing down a different corridor. “We’re going to get you some new legs, you know? Some really cool ones. Won’t that be great?”

Hanzo looked down at his stumps, wishing he had a blanket to cover them with. The areas where his calves ended made him want to gag. “Expensive,” he said.

Hanzo’s mother took a moment to reply. “No, they won’t be too expensive. Don’t worry about that.”

Hanzo relized that she was directing him towards his bedroom. Now that he thought about it, his eyes were feeling rather heavy. And he would finally be able to cover up his legs. Hanzo’s mother made her way to his bedroom and opened the door.

It was a plain room. There was a bed, and closet, and a small bookshelf in the corner beside his window. The only splash of color among the bare walls and ceiling was Hanzo’s blue silk bedspread. For an eight-year-old,he had a large bed. When resting, he felt engulfed by a sea of cushions. He could toss and turn all night without even ever coming close the an edge of the gargantuan bed.

Hanzo’s mother was picking him up once more and setting his head gently in the center of his pillows. “I know there are many things that seem confusing to you now, Hanzo,” she began. “Just know that...the things that we do...”

Hanzo waited patiently for her to continue. He saw that his mother’s eyes were wet and glittering. “The things we do are for the best.” She pulled his covers to his chin. “Get some rest. I know your medicine makes you tired.”

She turned to leave, and Hanzo’s eyes went wide. “Wait!” he yelled, his throat becoming sore after the strain. Hanzo’s mother paused with her back to him. “Will you read to me?”

Hanzo heard her sniffle. “No,” she said, her voice cracking. She walked out of his room without another word.

 


 

Hanzo had not eaten a real meal for three days. He’d gone without sleep for even longer. His thoughts and mistakes kept him up at night, haunting his mind until his eyes were glued open with shame. Everyday he wondered what he was doing here in Gibraltar, here in Overwatch. He wanted to be alone. He wanted to walk to get food without the risk of running into someone, someone who knew what he has done.

The sound of his gurgling stomach finally pushed the elder Shimda out of bed. His hunger was annoyingly overwhelming. He took a moment, waiting until his dizziness and the black spots clouding his vision subsided, before exiting his quarters. As he made his way to the dining area, Hanzo felt lucky that nobody seemed to be out and about. He wondered where they all were — perhaps on a mission.

Without wasting a moment, Hanzo pushed through the door to the dining area and was taken aback by the blurred faces of the other agents now directed at him. In his haze, Hanzo realized that he forgot it was the typical lunchtime for the agents.

Ignoring their stares and whispers, Hanzo made his way to the buffet counter. Chicken, rice, and vegetables. Hanzo felt like he could eat every last bite of it all. Before he could grab a plate, he felt a cool, metal hand on his shoulder.

“Brother, we’re glad you could finally make it to dine with us,” the cybernetic voice of Genji said. Hanzo glanced at the cyborg’s visor plate, barely able to make out the details. Genji’s voice sounded hundreds if miles away despite his close proximity.

“I...the food...” Hanzo mumbled, his tongue heavy in his mouth. Hanzo was suddenly feeling incredibly light-headed. He needed to sit down.

“Are you well, Hanzo?” he heard Genji ask. Hanzo stumbled to one of the benches by a dining table and felt himself fall forward into strong arms. They were muscled and soft, and Hanzo felt himself nuzzling closer, enjoying the warmth. When had he gotten so cold?

The arms seemed to want to keep him at a distance, and Hanzo used his weight to fight against them. “Uhhh, Genj, maybe you should run’n get Mercy,” another voice said. “He’s kinda freakin’ me out. Plus he ain’t lookin’ too good.”

Hanzo felt himself fading. There was a ringing in his ears that became stronger as his vision got darker. He felt so far away from everything, like he was slowly sinking, a boulder tossed into in dark waters, unable to fight against the gravity propelling him downward. His body tingled, and for a moment, Hanzo wondered if he was dying. Then all went dark.

Chapter Text

Jesse wondered how he ended up in this situation. He looked at Hanzo in his hospital bed, sweaty with brows furrowed even in sleep and currently clutching Jesse’s hand to his chest in a vice-grip. Jesse knew he could free himself from the other man’s crushing hold if he wanted to, but any time he tried Angela glared daggers at him.

“Jesse, just be patient,” she sighed as she ran around the unconscious man. “You are keeping him calm and making my job easier. Please.”

It was true. When Hanzo had passed out, he clung to Jesse for dear life. Peeling him away from Jesse was like trying to pull open a locked door — Genji eventually gave up. So Jesse was forced to carry the man, who was surprisingly lighter than expected, the whole way to the medbay. Even when Jesse tried to set Hanzo down onto the bed, the man had breathed heavy and only gripped tighter. Just his luck.

Jesse had eventually reached an unspoken agreement with Hanzo, allowing the man to hold his hand rather than clinging to his torso, in an attempt to make Angela’s job easier. Although, attempting to get Hanzo into his hospital gown was turning out to be a nightmare. Hanzo grumbled and dug his nails into Jesse’s hand as Angela untucked his pants from the edges of the metal prosthetics and gently pulled the clothing away.

Next was his t-shirt. Jesse was forced to pull his hand away from Hanzo’s grip so Angela could remove the garment. As soon as Jesse let go, Hanzo’s breath became heavy and he mumbled a panicked phrase. Despite his feelings towards the man, Jesse found himself eager to soothe Hanzo. He hushed him and hummed softly; Jesse didn’t know why he did it. Perhaps it was a natural urge to help a pained teammate.

Finally, the shirt was removed. Hanzo shuddered.

Angela paused for a moment, looking over Hanzo’s shirtless form. Her hand lingered to trace over a particularly nasty scar on his toned stomach, right above his navel. “He’s lost weight since he had his first examination; I can tell just by looking.”

As they slipped the hospital gown over Hanzo, Jesse found himself staring at that large scar. He knew what it meant; he just had not expected to see Hanzo, as proud as the man seemed, wearing such a mark on his body. The mark of a sad, defeated soul. Jesse averted his eyes after a moment, feeling slightly guilty at having seen what was probably on of the man’s biggest secrets.

“Okay I’m going to remove his prosthetics now,” Angela said as she finished attaching a variety of moniters and inserting the IV. “The skin around them looks red and blistered. Keep him still.”

The cowboy did as he was told, watching Hanzo’s face for any indication of discomfort. Angela lifted one of the man’s legs and began unlatching the sythetic nerves; Jesse didn’t even get the chance to offer up his hand again before Hanzo shot up, gasping.

“What are you doing?” Hanzo growled at the Swiss doctor. “What is the meaning of this?!”

With a hand on Hanzo’s shoulder, Jesse pushed the man back down onto the bed. “Calm down. Your legs might be infected. Angie is just-”

“I am fine,” Hanzo spat as he began reaching for the IV needle in his arm. Jesse grabbed Hanzo’s other arm, pinning the man to the bed.

“Stop bein’ a stubborn asshole for a single goddamn minute and let us help you,” Jesse growled and pushed Hanzo down into the mattress harder every time he fought.

Hanzo seemed to be getting more panicked by the moment, and Jesse began rethinking his strategy of manhandling a mentally disturbed man. The soft click of Angela removing the right prosthetic sounded, and Hanzo’s eyes widened, pupils darting left and right. “Let me go,” he demanded. “Let me go now.”

“Shimada, hey-”

Jesse heard the sound of the left prosthetic being detached. “Where are you taking them?” Hanzo asked, still thrashing in Jesse’s hold.

“Hanzo, look at me!” Jesse growled. Suprisingly, the frightened man listened, looking up to meet the cowboy’s gaze. For a moment, Jesse’s breath caught. Hanzo’s beautiful, intense doe eyes made his heart skip a beat; it was something he was not expecting.

Jesse cleated his throat. “Look ya sonofabitch, nobody here is gonna hurt you.”

Hanzo looked unconvinced, eyebrows knitting together and the shocked look never leaving his eyes. “I mean it,” Jesse continued. “Sure, mosta us hate your guts, but you’re safe here as long as ya don’t try anything funny. We ain’t malicious. Nobody’ll hurt ya. Swear.”

Hanzo’s eyes narrowed and he flinched when Angela began santizing the chafed skin on his stumps. “Then you are fools,” he said, but he stilled in Jesse’s arms.

“ ‘s that supposed to mean?” Jesse asked, moving his arms away and allowing Hanzo some movement.

“It means that you have allowed the murderer of one of your agents join your ranks simply due to that former victim’s lapse in judgement,” Hanzo replied.

“Whadaya mean ‘lapse in judgement?’”

Hanzo huffed. “You ask too many questions.” Jesse glared and Hanzo continued, “I am refering to my brother’s supposed forgiveness. I can only explain it as a temporary state of mind. He bested me in battle, and therefore Genji felt safe enough to sheath his weapon and offer me a choice. However, I cannot see this state lasting. My brother will eventually come to his senses and realize his forgiveness was a mistake; then you will all feel like fools for letting me join you.”

Jsse flexed his fingers. “You sayin’ you’re gonna hurt him?”

“Of course not,” Hanzo scoffed. “I am only wondering why he has not, nor any of you for that matter, hurt me yet. It would seem like the logical course of action.”

“Yeah, well, then you’re the real fool.”

Hanzo let out a single booming laugh and looked away, seemingly at nothing. “I suppose you are right,” he said with a shrug.

Behind him, Jesse heard Angela clear her throat. “If you are finished talking, I have some private matters to discuss with Hanzo, Jesse.”

“Yeah, sure.”

Angela sighed. “That means ‘leave,’ Jesse.”

“Oh! Yeah, of course,” Jesse said, rubbing the back of his neck. He turned on his heels and his spurs jingled as he walked out of the room.

Once through the door, Jesse examined the crescent-shaped indents that Hanzo’s nails left on his hand. Some had turned a pinkish-purple from the pressure, and Jesse clicked his tongue. He had not expected his afternoon to take such a strange turn. Spent with Hanzo of all people.

Despite everything, Jesse found his thoughts focused on the older Shimada. Angela had mentioned that Hanzo had likely fainted from exhaustion, over-work, and an oncoming illness cause brought on by a weakened immune system. Jesse wondered how the man could let himself stoop so low.

And the scar of his stomach. The panicked look in his eyes. It made the gears in Jesse’s mind turn to no end.

 


 

 

Hanzo watched the cowboy walk out of the room, hat placed proudly on his head despite the lack of sunlight inside. He heard Jesse’s footsteps long after he left Hanzo’s sight. The older Shimada rolled his eyes.

“So, Hanzo,” Dr. Ziegler began as she looked at something on her tablet. “Your heart rate is good, save for the spike you just had. Blood pressure is normal. Are you having any symptoms?”

Hanzo saw no use in lying. The monitors that Dr. Ziegler had him hooked up to could probably sense all of his physical disturbances anyway. “I have a headache.”

She typed it on her tablet and looked at Hanzo expectantly. “I, um,” he mentally examined himself for anything out of the ordinary. “I suppose I am more tired than normal. And hungry. My body is also sore.”

“I thought as much,” the doctor said coldly as she typed it out anyway. “Would you happen to have any idea why?”

Hanzo remained silent. Angela ran her hand through her hair with a huff. “After all Genji has done, after he’s tried so hard, why are you doing this?”

Hanzo did not answer.

“Here is what’s going to happen, Hanzo,” Angela said, he strong tone prompting Hanzo to finally look at her. “You’re going to start therapy with me-”

“I hardly think that is necessary. I am a grown-”

“You are going to start therapy if you want to be cleared for any missions.”

Hanzo gawked at her. “What is your reasoning behind this?”

Dr. Ziegler slammed her tablet down onto the table. “Really? Do you want me to give you the reasons that I’ve seen just this morning?” She began counting off on her fingers. “You fainted from exhaustion and malnutrition; in your stupor, you panicked whenever you were not in contact with McCree; you panicked when I removed your prosthetics, thinking that we were trying to harm you; your legs are red and blistered from not being cared for; and there’s a scar on your stomach from what looks an awful lot like a suicide attempt.”

Hanzos mouth was stuck open in surprise and terror. “You...saw that?”

“How do Wednesdays sound for you, Agent Shimada?” Angela asked.

“I am...not occupied on Wednesdays.”

“Wonderful,” Angela replied. “Now a bit about his therapy. It if a rather new method that uses neurosensors to pinpoint areas of your brain that cause distress and focus on them. You will then be prompted to sleep, and in your dream state, your memories will be abled to be copied by me and transferred to my computer where I will view them and-”

“Are you insane?” Hanzo blurted our before the doctor could finish. “Are you even a certified therapist? This seems highly unnececessary.”

“Yes, I am a licensed psychologist. And yes, I believe this to be necessary. I thought you would see the value in such a logical method. There is no room for fabrication, and I will effectively see what is causing you problems. This will allow us to foster the healthiest and most direct conversations.”

Hanzo was stunned into silence. When Dr. Ziegler put it that way, he could in fact see the effectiveness of the therapeutical method. He sighed and turned his gaze to the floor, suddenly finding the cracks in the tile very interesting. “I suppose you are right,” he finally said.

Angela picked up her tablet again and tapped down a few things. “Then it’s settled,” she said. “My schedule on Wednesday mornings is clear. I will see you the first Wednesday after you are discharged. Please don’t forget.”

With that, Dr. Ziegler turned and walked out the same door McCree had minutes before. Hanzo sunk down into the mattress suddenly craving a bottle of sake.

Chapter Text

When he was ten, Hanzo realized that the only positive attention he got was from performing well in training. He woke up early each day to practice his martial arts, swordsmanship, and archery, making sure never to be one moment late for a session. With every kick landed, every dummy sliced in two, and every bullseye hit, Hanzo heard his father bellow his praise from the sidelines, a bright smile on his face.

It made Hanzo feel warm inside — something he was not accustomed to.

Two years had passed since Hanzo received his prosthetic limbs, and he had adapted to their weight and the strangeness of the synthetic nerves sending electric signal throughout his body. They felt no pain, helped him lock onto foodholds when climbing, and allowed him to best his enemies in combat. They were an asset to him...until they weren’t.

When Hanzo found himself missing too many shots with his bow or being pinned by a sparring partner, his father’s smile quickly morphed to a terrible frown. On a particularly bad training day, Hanzo’s face became littered with new, tender bruises. Sometimes he broke fingers. Sometimes clumps of hair were ripped from his scalp. But every time, Hanzo’s father took his legs.

It was his punishment. If he did not perform well enough, he did not get his legs until his next session. Whenever Sojiro angrily tore the limbs from his body, Hanzo sobbed, begging him not to. Sometimes, he would drag himelf along the ground of the Shimada castle, attempting to go about his normal routine. Most times, he would lie curled and sobbing on the floor of the training dojo until his next lesson began, too ashamed to be seen.

So Hanzo trained hard, with his entire heart and soul. He trained to see Sojiro’s smile, to hear his praise.

His skill was the one thing he had that Genji could not surpass. Hanzo hated to admit that he took pride in his father’s scowls and angry mumbling when Genji showed up late to practice. It made him feel important.

One morning, as Hanzo practiced his movements with his small katana, Sojiro approached. He clapped Hanzo on the shoulder. Hanzo flinched.

“You fight well, son,” his father said with a toothy smile. “Almost better than me when I was your age.”

“Thank you, father,” Hanzo replied, his cheeks dusted pink from his swelling pride.

Sojiro hummed his acknowledgement. “Soon you will receive your dragons. Soon you will be a man.”

Hanzo’s eyes widened and he felt giddiness rise in his chest, bouncing off the walls of his insides like butterflies. “Yes, father.”

“Do you think you are ready?”

Hanzo nodded with such force that his brain rattled. “I am, father.”

Sojiro’s smile widened and he chuckled. “Very good, my son. Tonight, the Shimada clan has an important meeting. I would like you to be there.”

Hanzo’s eyes lit up, and he smiled. He held himself back from jumping up and down with glee, but just barely. “I...I would be honored.”

His father nodded and turned to leave Hanzo to his practice. As he neared the door, he turned back once more to his son. “And Hanzo?”

“Yes, father?”

“Bring your sword. It is customary.”

 


 

That night, Hanzo arrived early to the meeting hall, his sword strapped to his back and his hair done up in the nicest bun he could manage. His father, too, had already arrived and beamed at Hanzo as he entered. “Please, Hanzo, have a seat to my right. The others will arrive shortly.”

Hanzo raced to the seat beside his father. With every stride, his small sword swung against his back. Hanzo let it slip from his shoulders and propped the weapon against his tall chair as he climbed up.

He mirrored Sojiro’s movements as the rest of the elders flooded into the room. Hanzo kept his back straight, his gaze forward, and his expression stoic. Soon, his mother entered and Hanzo excitedly met her gaze as she sat to her husband’s left. Her eyes widened when she noticed Hanzo, gaze flickering back and forth between Sojiro and him. But she said nothing.

As the elders took there seats at the long table, Sojiro stood. There was silence. Hanzo leaned forward in his seat.

“Any further news from the business sector of the Eastern Koto ward?” Sojiro asked.

Hanzo’s uncle spoke up. “Despite increases in Shimada-gumi protection throughout the ward, Shinoda still refuses to pay his dues. He believes that we are not doing all that we can to act professional and stop rival yakuza activity.”

Sojiro nodded. “And he will not see reason?”

Unanimous negative murmurs sounded throughout the room. Sojiro stroked his beard. “Very well. Bring them in.”

Hanzo watched as Shimada guards suddenly dragged two people into the room. The first was an middle-aged man who had begun balding on the top of his head. He was heavily beaten, one eye swollen shut and bruises covering his face and arms. The second was a young boy, perhaps around Hanzo’s age. The were tears streaming down his face, and his eyes never left the middle-aged captive. Hanzo could do nothing but let out a tiny gasp.

“Shinoda-san,” Sojiro spoke, voice echoing. The middle-aged man met his gaze the best he coud. “You refuse to pay the Shimada-gumi for their generous services. Now will be the only time you are allowed to speak to defend yourself.”

The man coughed up some blood and spit in the direction of Sojiro’s feet. Sojiro didn’t bat an eye. “You call what you’re doing ‘protection?’” Shinoda asked. “Your men come into my businesses and take what they want with no regard for morals. They steal from us, threaten us, and sometimes they make good on those threats while laughing in our faces. I am not paying when your men have undoubtedly stolen their payment already.”

Sojiro tsked and moved closer to the man. The only sound in the room was the click of his shoes against the wooden floor. “The Shimada are professionals, Shinoda-san. We are the best at what we do, and our mere presence has certainly discouraged any further gang activity in your sector. I have yet to see any crime reports televised. I believe we deserve what we were promised. Do you not agree?”

Shinoda remained quiet.

“I see,” Sojiro sighed. He then turned to Hanzo and motioned for his son to stand. In a daze, Hanzo followed his orders. “This is my son and heir, Hanzo Shimada. At ten years old, he displays more professionalism than you or any of your associates. He exhibits the skill and discipline of the Shimada. You, on the other hand, are a pathetic excuse of a man. Let us test if your worthlessness has rubbed off on your offspring, shall we?”

With all his might, the man fought against the guards holding him back and broke free. He jumped wrap his arms around the young boy, his son. “You will not lay a finger on him!”

Sojiro smiled. “You are correct. I won’t. Hanzo, draw your sword.”

Hanzo suddenly wanted to be anywhere but here. He looked at the young boy, cradled in his father’s arms, and Hanzo felt tears well up in his eyes. He drew his katana and held it away from his body like it was diseased.

Sojiro nodded at the guards and they ripped Shinoda, kicking and screaming, away from his son. The boy was sobbing and shaking where he stood. He was handed a small dagger by a Shimada guard, and the boy absentmindedly held it in his grasp.

Sojiro looked between the boy and Hanzo. “You will fight until one is dead. Begin.”

Hanzo stared first at his father and then at the sword in his hands. He began hyperventilating.

The boy advanced on him, yelling and sobbing hysterically. He slashed at Hanzo, cutting his cheek. Hanzo felt warm blood run down his face and took several steps back. The boy advanced again.

Hanzo received blow after blow. A cut to his shoulder, to his side, to his arm. All the while, over the boy’s yelling, Hanzo could hear Shinoda yelling even louder. “I love you, I love you, I love you,” he chanted endlessly to his boy. Hanzo looked at Sojiro and was met with a scowl. He wanted it to be a smile.

Jumping to the side, Hanzo swung his katana up and through the boy’s stomach. Shinoda screamed. The boy fell to his knees and the onto his back, clutching at his stomach but unable to stop the rush of blood and guts. The boy gurgled.

Hanzo dropped to his knees next to the pained boy and hovered his hand above the wound, too afraid to touch. “I’m sorry,” he whispered as he stabbed the boy again. The boy screamed. Hanzo stabbed again. The boy screamed. Hanzo kept stabbing, but the noise wouldn’t stop.

Hands reached out and pulled Hanzo away from the boy. The sword clattered to the floor as Hanzo convulsed. He realized that the screaming was his own, but he couldn’t stop. “You monsters!” Shinoda yelled one time after another, his voice cracking. It was the last thing Hanzo heard before he was pulled from the room entirely. The doors shut behind him.

The arm pulled Hanzo down the hall. He looked up and saw it was his mother. “Mother,” he cried, looking at his hands. He saw that they were coated with blood, as were his face and clothes. He sobbed. “Mother.”

He wanted her to hug him, to tell him everything would be alright and that he wasn’t what he feared. He wanted her to play with him and Genji and discuss his day over meals. He wanted her to sing to him and braid his hair while they watched movies. But the way she looked at him, red-faced and tears in her eyes, told him that that could never be the case, not now. He was a monster.

“You...need a bath,” she choked out through the tears. Hanzo wanted to die.

That day, he kept his legs.

 


 
Hanzo woke up with a start. The neurosensors attached to his scalp had given off a small jolt of electricity, indicating that the extraction was complete. He sat up in the tall, padded chair and cracked his back. The room was dimly-lit and cold, his ideal sleeping conditions.

Today marked his first of many appointments with Dr. Ziegler. Hanzo did not know what to expect from the procedure. He hoped that the memories viewed were not too revealing, though that attitude of secrecy would likely prove to be counterproductive. He still could not understand why such methods were necessary for him to be cleared for missions — he could kill his targets easily in his current state. Hanzo sighed and rubbed his temples.

Dr. Ziegler walked in some time later, holding her tablet. “I’m going to turn the lights on,” she spoke softly, and Hanzo nodded. The sudden bright lighting made him shield his eyes with a hand momentarily.

“Sorry,” Angela whispered as she shuffled to remove the sensors from Hanzo’s head. Once finished, she sat across from him.

“I viewed three memories that were shown to cause you significant distress,” she began. “I would like to begin with one from when you were six. It was perhaps...less severe than the rest. It took place at Genji’s birthday party. Do you recall the one?”

Hanzo scowled. He couldn’t believe he was about to be prompted to talk about his feelings. “Yes, I know it.”

Angela nodded. “Would you like to discuss anything in particular regarding it?”

“No.”

“I see.”

Angela poked around in her tablet for a moment before facing Hanzo once more. “Your father referred to you as an investment. What are your feelings concerning that?”

“It is logical.”

Angela raised an eyebrow. “How so?”

Hanzo looked at the floor. “He was kumicho of our clan and I was the heir. It was stupid of me to think that he would treat me with typical familial love and affection. He treated me as was expected.”

“I don’t think it was stupid of you to think that,” Angela replied. “You were six and he was your father. It’s natural to crave affection like that, healthy even.”

“There was nothing natural about me clinging to fantasies.”

Angela frowned. “Is that what you would tell yourself at that age?”

Hanzo hesitated. “Perhaps.”

“Scratch that,” Angela muttered. “Is that what you would tell to another child in that position. Perhaps your own child. You would tell them that the affection they crave is fantastical?”

Once more, Hanzo took a moment to think. “I would never have children.”

“Hypothetically.”

“I would likely not be so harsh with my words.”

“And why not?”

“Because a child would not respond well to such a tone.”

Angela typed something on the tablet. “Do you think you responded well?”

“Not at the moment the words were delivered to me, no.”

“Seeing that the memories still cause significant distress, I would say that you do not respond well to them now either.”

Hanzo sighed, accepting that he had been caught. “And what am I to do of that?”

“Tell me how it makes you feel,” Angela said simply.

Hanzo thought, tracing the tiles of the floor with his eyes. “Worthless,” he finally decided.

Her eyes were sad, like his mother’s. Hanzo hated it. “You’re not worthless, Hanzo. You were a product of your situation, which is not an excuse for some of the things you’ve done, but now you’re here. You’re helping us make the world a better place.”

Hanzo shrugged. “Anybody can do what I’m doing now and without the terrible resume.”

“This isn’t a zero-sum game. Just because somebody could maybe do your job a little better doesn’t make you worthless.”

“What is the second memory?” Hanzo whispered, not eager to acknowledge the truth in the doctor’s words.

Angela stared at him for a moment. Hanzo felt her gaze on him, despite keeping his eyes downcast. “Hanzo...”

“Just...please.”

Angela pursed her lips. “You were eight. Your legs were removed, but your mother still would not give you affection or read to you.”

“I know it.”

“Was your mother always like that with you? Keeping you at a distance like that?”

Hanzo nodded. “She was.”

“Why do you think?”

Without skipping a beat, Hanzo answered. “Because I was a monster. She saw it in me even before I did.”

“You were a child-”

“I was a killer!” Hanzo seethed. He stood in his chair, and Angela stood with him. She took a step towards him. Then another. And another. Hanzo glared at her all the while, until she was standing directly in front of him.

“You were a child,” she spoke softly. “You did not deserve that treatment.”

“I was not a child, I-” Hanzo was cut off by Angela wrapping her arms around his middle and squeezing tight. He gasped and held his own arms up and away from her. “What are you doing?”

“Hugging you,” she replied, guiding his head to her shoulder with a hand in his hair. Hanzo rested his chin on her shoulder in shock.

“Why?”

“Because you deserve it.” She rubbed a hand along his back.

“You pity me,” Hanzo muttered.

Angela shushed him and shook her head. “I empathize.”

“I’ve never been voluntarily hugged before.” He wrapped his arms around her, resting his hands awkwardly on the backs of her shoulders. “This is new. Unless it isn’t actually voluntary and your mental state is forcing you to do this.”

Angela squeezed uncomfortably tight and Hanzo gasped. “Stop thinking too hard.”

“Is that not the point of therapy?”

Angela felt warm against his chest, and when she moved away, he almost mourned the loss. She looked him up and down. “You were forced to kill from age ten.”

“I am aware.”

“That first kill...what was it like?”

Hanzo decided that, this time, he would focus his gaze on the ceiling. “Empty.”

“How so?”

“It was a blur,” he began. “I kept trying to kill him quickly, but it didn’t seem like he was dying. So I kept stabbing and cutting. I didn’t realize that he was long dead until my mother dragged me away. Afterwards, I felt nothing for a while. I thought of how to kill myself to get the feeling to stop. But I was too scared of my father and what he would do, even in death.”

“That has to have been so hard for you,” Angela whispered.

“I am not the one who died.”

“That doesn’t matter.” She typed something. “Did your father beat you often?”

“Less and less as I become more skilled. In my youngest years it was daily.”

“I’m sorry.”

Hanzo scoffed and sat back down in his chair. Angela followed suit.

“I want to apologize,” she said. Hanzo raised a brow. “For taking your legs the other day. I’m now aware that that was likely the worst way to handle the situation. If I had known that removing your legs was a former punishment for you, I would have been more careful. I am very sorry.”

Hanzo nodded, stunned at her honesty. “It...is alright.”

“Thank you.”

An awkward silence entered the room. Hanzo shifted uncomfortably in his seat. In the corner, one of the fluorescent lights briefly flickered. Angela checked her watch.

“Our time is about up,” she said. Hanzo was out of his chair in a second. “Wait!”

He paused, one foot out the door. “I have a homework assignment.” Hanzo waited with baited breath, knowing that he was going to despise the next words that flew from the doctor’s mouth. “Go to one of the team lunches before our next session. And sit next to someone.”

The second after the words left Angela’s mouth, Hanzo was gone.

Chapter Text

Hanzo waited until the Tuesday before his next therapy session to attend lunch in the dining area. As he stepped into the room, artificial light glaring down from above, Hanzo finally realized just how lost he felt. The concept of sitting next to one of his teammates made him want to run away and hide in a cave for the rest of his days. Standing frozen in the doorway, Hanzo grit his teeth, frustrated at his nerves. His eyes scanned the expanse of agents, smiling and chatting with one another.  

In the meantime, while Hanzo avoided the dining area like the plague, Angela had enlisted Genji to deliver a tub of protein powder to Hanzo’s room make sure that his brother was eating. Genji would normally fill of plate with food and leave it in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic that had been neatly labeled with Hanzo’s name. When Hanzo had became aware of this trend, he nearly cracked a smile before reminding himself that he did not deserve this special treatment. Going without food was his necessary punishment -- punishment for being too cowardly to regularly attend team meals, punishment for his past deeds. Hanzo failed to understand how Genji and Angela did not see this. He scarfed down the food when it was given to him, nonetheless, and he made sure to drink a dose of the protein powder every morning. If extra attention could somehow be avoided, Hanzo had decided that he would do everything in his power to make that so.

Hanzo’s eyes landed on an empty seat at a table with Zarya, Reinhardt, and Torbojrn, and he found himself shaking his head. He knew that Zarya and Reinhardt possessed more physical strength than any other agents of Overwatch, and Hanzo also was not sure of what the group thought of him. The idea of sitting next to two immensely strong giants who could easily overpower him and who also may hate him with a burning passion made Hanzo cringe. He wanted to keep all of his teeth today.

Next, Hanzo’s eyes found a seat next to Hana, Lucio, Lena, and Brigitte. Again, he shook his head. The group seemed much too young, and others may find it laughable if he, a 38-year-old man, were to sit with them. At the table next to them were Genji and Zenyatta who were both rubbing their chins, seemingly deep in thought. Hanzo did not wish to disturb them.

Finally, Hanzo’s eyes found a seat next to Angela, and he let out a sigh of relief. He had at least got the idea that Angela did not completely despise him. Thus, he felt somewhat safe in her presence -- her soft words soothed him. After scooping some barbequed chicken and pickled cabbage onto his plate and filling a glass with orange juice, Hanzo made a beeline for the seat beside Angela. As he set down his plate, the conversation at the table die down and Hanzo finally noticed the other occupants. McCree, Jack, and Ana stared at him with raised eyebrows while Angela shot him a bright smile. 

“Hanzo, thank you for joining us,” she said. “Have a seat.”

Hanzo nodded and sunk down into the empty chair, gaze now trained on the clean, white floor. “Thank you,” he said before taking a sip of his orange juice. Now that he thought about it, he hoped that Angela did not see it as cheating that Hanzo decided to sit next to her of all people and that this counted as sufficient completion of his homework assignment.

“Have you been watching the news?” Angela asked. When Hanzo shook his head, she continued. “We were just talking about the white-robbed assassin who has been in all the breaking stories. Have you heard anything about him?”

 “Unfortunately, I have not,” he said. Ana was passing him her smartphone, and Hanzo looked at it curiously before noticing that she had a video pulled up from an international news site. Hanzo nodded his thanks and played the video.

 We are coming to you from Rialto, Italy, spoke a small woman with what sounded to Hanzo like a French accent. Last night, the white-robed assassin claimed another victim, striking down Giovanni Giordani. Giovanni Giordani is the son of the late Antonio Giordani who had been assassinated by an Overwatch black-ops team around nine years ago. The white-robed assassin has seemingly been following a trend of killing high-level businesspeople and gang leaders, having also now murdered members affiliated with Los Muertos in Dorado, Mexico and yakuza in Hanamura, Japan.

 At the mention of his previous home, Hanzo’s eyes widened. He stared at the phone intently.

 So far, police have been unable to detain the assassin. We are unsure at this time whether or not this is illegal black-ops activity from Overwatch, which had disbanded after the Petras Act. Police are still gathering information, and we will keep our viewers updated as we find out more.

 As the video ended, Hanzo slid the phone back to Ana. “This is not good for us. People will be on the lookout for any Overwatch activity.”

 “Yup,” McCree said, popping the ‘p.’

 “That’s why we have to find out more about the assassin,” Jack said with a growl. “Maybe he’s in with Talon.”

 “Why would Talon kill its own allies, Jack?” Ana asked. “Or potential allies.”

 “Why does Talon do anything?” Jack shot back. 

 “It is rather strange,” Hanzo spoke up. Everyone at the table turned to him. “If this were Talon, that is. I know that Talon has sought alliship with the Shimada clan on many occasions, so attacking the clan would be out of the ordinary. It does not seem like Talon activity.”

 McCree scoffed. “Yeah, and how d’we know you’re not with Talon?”

 With a bite of chicken halfway to his mouth, Hanzo froze. He set down his fork, suddenly losing his appetite. “Is that what worries you?”

 McCree was glaring at him. “Yeah, ‘s part of it. Can’t wrap my head around why you’re here.”

 Hanzo nodded. He looked up, made the mistake of making brief eye-contact with the cowboy, and shifted his gaze back to the floor. “That is a valid fear. If I were you, I would not trust me either. I suppose all I can do is assure you that I am here for my brother’s sake, because he asked me to be here. When I am cleared to begin missions, I will do my best to prove myself.”

 McCree leaned forward, elbows propped on the table, and he waited for Hanzo to look at him before he spoke. “Let’s get somethin’ straight, Shimada. There is nothing that’ll ever make me want you watchin’ my back out there. Could do without bein’ stabbed in it.”

 "Jesse!” Angela shouted as she kicked his shin under the table. “Why would you say that?!”

 Hanzo was already standing, food forgotten. The statement hit him like a ton of bricks. More than ever, he wondered what he was doing at this place, in this organization. When he was a boy, he dreamed of being a hero. But it was just that, a dream. He did not belong here. He was a monster.

Angela was calling for Hanzo to wait as he fast-walked out of the dining area. He ignored her.

 


 

After Hanzo stormed from the dining area, Angela had glared at Jesse with such intensity that he thought he saw a fire in her eyes. If looks could kill, Jesse would have fallen dead on the spot. “You need to get a handle on yourself,” she had said. “Imagine how you felt when you were first brought to Overwatch, how people looked at you. You really should think about these things before you open your damn mouth.” 

And that is how Jesse found himself spending the better part of his day at the training range, lost in thought as he shot one bullseye after another. The click of his gun firing was calming, almost meditative, and the sunset along the Gibraltar beach helped the cowboy ease his breath. Jesse allowed his thoughts to focus on the eldest Shimada and what made him want to treat the man as he did. He knew that most, if not all, of his anger was rooted in Jesse’s time with Blackwatch, a time when he had seen firsthand the pain that Hanzo caused. Jesse remembered Genji detailing the agony he had felt as Hanzo’s dragons scorched through his skin and bones, searing flesh and leaving him unable to think of anything but the pain. He remembered asking himself how anybody could ever do such a thing to their own brother.

Evil, monster, disgusting, Jesse had thought every time Genji told stories of his brother. But Jesse knew that things were not as black and white as that -- there was a complexity to the situation that he had ignored up until this point, a complexity that derived from Hanzo’s side of the story. Jesse knew that he was biased after seeing Genji’s state in Blackwatch, but that did not mean that he shouldn’t give Hanzo a sliver of a chance. Hell, if nobody had given Jesse a chance, he would be rotting in a prison cell with much worse morals than he had now. 

 Jesse suddenly felt a wave of guilt hit him. He holstered his gun and made his way to the dining area. It was empty, save for Genji and Angela. Angela narrowed her eyes as he entered. “Aw, now don’t look at me like that,” Jesse said, hands raised defensively. “D’ya know where Hanzo might be?”

Angela huffed. “Are you going to apologize?"

“Sure am,” Jesse replied as he moved to the refrigerator and pulled out two bottles of beer.

Genji shrugged. “He’s probably somewhere high up. When we were younger, he liked to hide on roofs and towers in his free time.”

“Thank ya kindly,” Jesse said. He turned on his heels and walked down the hall, making his way to the staircase that led to the roof. As he reached the top of his ascent, Jesse began to wonder if he should have left his Peacekeeper in his room. He did not want to seem overly threatening. Jesse sighed and pushed open the roof access door, too lazy to act on his worries.

The sun was nearing the final stretch of its descent, painting the sky with strokes of orange, yellow, and red. The air was cool enough for Jesse to keep his serape wrapped around his shoulders. Gripping the beer bottles by the necks, he looked around for Hanzo. After some moments of spotting nothing, Jesse shifted his gaze upwards and finally found Hanzo sitting perched on his knees on a clearing higher up the communication tower. He had his back to the cowboy, but Jesse saw that he was wearing shorts and a plain t-shirt, the attire resembling pyjamas. Hanzo also had his hair down -- a rare sight for Jesse -- and it blew behind him with every small breeze. 

Not wanting to make too much noise, Jesse removed his boots and began climbing the metal ladder up to the clearing. When he poked his head over the top, he found Hanzo staring at him with a blank face. His expression revealed nothing, but Jesse quickly noticed how puffed and pink Hanzo’s eyes were. It made Jesse feel even more guilty.

“I brought beers,” Jesse said as he hauled himself over the ledge. Hanzo said nothing, just watched him approach with a frown. After Jesse popped the caps off the beers with his utility knife, he offered one to Hanzo. The archer paused a moment, but accepted the beverage without complaint. Jesse took a seat next to him.

“I am not weak,” Hanzo suddenly blurted. Jesse turned to look at the man but found that Hanzo had turned his head completely away from Jesse, hiding his face from view.

“Cryin’ don’t make you weak,” Jesse said.

A silence followed. All Jese heard was the crashing of the waves against the sand below them.

“Look, Hanzo, I’m sorry for what I said back there,” Jesse began, rubbing the back of his neck with his free hand. “That was wrong of me. Ya gotta understand that...I knew Genji back in the day. I saw him at his worst, and he was so angry with you. I couldn’t even imagine what he was goin’ through, but it still made me angry too. I blamed you, and thought that if I ever saw you I’d get revenge for him.”

Hanzo was silent as he sipped his beer, so Jesse continued. “I just...I don’t even know if I don’t like you. It doesn’t make much sense, but I just felt like I’d be goin’ against my own morals if I wasn’t bein’ rude to you. I felt like I woulda felt guilty and wrong if I was nice, like I was failin’ to defend Genji. But now, I feel guilty for bein’ rude to you too. Does that make sense?”

Hanzo nodded after a moment. “You feel like you would not be able to maintain your heroic cowboy caricature if you treat a fratricidal murderer and former yakuza boss with kindness and respect, but, with me being a total stranger to you, it also feels wrong for you to insult me.”

“Yeah, exactly,” Jesse said.

“Your thoughts make perfect sense, but I believe that you were correct with your former mindset. The one in which you undoubtedly hate me.”

 Jesse sighed and took a sip of his beer. Hanzo downed the rest from his own bottle. “But I know it’s much more complicated than that,” Jesse continued. “I’ve...I’ve killed plenty’a people. Some of ‘em good people. And I never stuck around to see the damage I’d caused to families, to loved ones, after I’d taken people away from their lives. I’m sure there are plenty out there who hate me and would shoot me on sight. So, I’m realizin’ that it’s hypocritical for me to treat ya the way I’ve been. Just want you to know I’m sorry.”

“But you are a good man,” Hanzo said. “And I...I know that I do not belong here. I am not good like Genji thinks I am, thinks I could be. But I do not know where else to go. It is selfish of me, but I do not want to be alone again.”

“How long you been alone?” Jesse asks.

“Since as long as I can recall. There has never been a place where I fit. I was built to be alone, but with every passing year, the solitude becomes more tortuous.”

Jesse shook his head. “Nobody’s built to be alone.”

Hanzo huffed. “Fine, then I was made to be more beneficial to whomever I am currently serving when I am living and working alone.”

“That’s…” Jesse frowned deeply, searching his brain for the right words. “That’s bullshit.”

“Very eloquent.”

“Naw, I mean it. How do you even know that you’re better off alone if you’ve always been alone? Doesn’t make sense.”

Hanzo growled. “I know because I am dangerous.”

“Yeah?” Jesse said. “So are all of us. Every one of us here has blood on our hands, Hanzo.”

“What?” Hanzo asked with a sneer. “You want me here now?”

“Yeah, sure do.”

Hanzo ran a hand through his hair, pushing it back. “Why?”

“I think we need as many agents as we can get, and you need t’not be alone bathin’ in your self-hatred all the time.”

Hanzo stood. “You do not know me.”

Jesse stood too. “Yeah, but I wanna.”

Hanzo shook his head and began walking off to the ledge of the clearing. “You do not.”

Before Hanzo could climb down the side of the building, Jesse took two large steps over to him and placed a hand on the man’s shoulder, turning Hanzo around to face him. Hanzo’s dark hair swayed gently with the movement, and Jesse had to stop himself from staring. “I do. Listen, Hana’s having a movie night tomorrow. Wants to watch some slasher films or something. You should come.”

As Jesse withdrew his hand, he watched Hanzo touch his fingertips to his shoulder where Jesse had gripped him. After some time, Hanzo let his hand drop back down to his side. “I will think about it,” he said before climbing down the side of the tower and wandering off into the darkness.

Chapter Text

On the day of his thirteenth birthday, Hanzo got his dragons. The blaring sound of his alarm woke him on that bright May morning, and, for the first time in years, Hanzo felt a wonderful giddiness rise in his chest. He’d spent years watching his father practice swordsmanship with his great fire-red dragon while his mother perfected archery with her elegant dragon that was white as snow. Now Hanzo would finally bond with a dragon of his own. The elation he drew from that thought prompted him to rush through his morning routine and arrive at the shrine room fifteen minutes before the start of his ceremony.

Sojiro was already there, expecting him. Hanzo smiled up at his father, and Sojiro smiled back, motioning for Hanzo to have a seat in the middle of the room. Sitting with his legs tucked under him, Hanzo waited for further instruction. He saw a brightness in his father’s eyes, and the blood of the dragon within Hanzo made him crave that gleam of pride from his father like golden treasures, for it was as beautiful and as valuable. 

The elders arrived. Hanzo was instructed to remove his top, which he did as quickly as he could. He bared his right arm, eager to see how his tattoo would be designed. Perhaps his dragon would be orange like the setting sun or black as night. Hanzo did not care either way; he longed to meet his dragon, however it may look, and finally allow it to make its home in his soul. 

Hanzo’s uncle kneeled down next to him and pinned Hanzo’s arms against his sides with strong hands. Hanzo did not question it; he had long since learned that the proceedings of the clan should not be questioned. His uncle’s grip on his arms was so forceful that Hanzo felt his circulation get cut off, forearms becoming colder with the decreased blood flow. There were footsteps approaching from behind, but Hanzo could not turn to see who it was. He was held still but could sense a faint, smokey smell.

“Hanzo Shimada, heir of the Shimada clan,” Sojiro spoke. “Today you will become a man. As your ancestors before you have done and your descendents will do, you are to receive your dragon.”

Hanzo looked down and smiled.

“This is an honor that few can ever hope to behold,” Sojiro continued. “And it is a pleasure to bestow this honor unto my firstborn. The dragon that choses him will be among the strongest we have ever known. Now we will begin.”

Hanzo almost could not contain a wave of excited laughter that rolled through him. The smokey smell became more defined until finally, out of his periphery, Hanzo could finally see a figure moving towards him holding a long rod. At the end of the rod, Hanzo saw the glowing red of burning metal.

In the blink of an eye, his excitement morphed to terror. Hanzo’s uncle held him still as he began to squirm.

“Wait!” he cried. The guard holding the rod did not stop. Hanzo recognized the brand as the twin dragon sigil of the Shimada clan. “Wait, please!” he tried again, voice cracking.

The pain of the hot metal on his flesh was the worst that Hanzo had ever felt. He shrieked until all the air left his lungs, but the guard was relentless. The brand was grinded further into his skin, and, through his tears, Hanzo’s vision began to blur. Everything grew fuzzier and more altered until Hanzo found that he was no longer in the shrine room at all. He sat in a grassy plain that was circled by giant mountains, their peaks covered in snow. 

Hanzo stood and stumbled forward as another rush of pain hit him. He clutched his shoulder but was unable to quell the agony of the burn. The smell of seared flesh almost made him gag.

“He is like none that we’ve seen before,” Hanzo heard a female voice say. The voice seemed to come from everywhere at once. He looked around the plain desperately.

“Who’s there?” he cried.

“You are right,” a similarly soothing voice said. “His spirit has been damaged. They’ve used pain to bring him to us.”

Once more, Hanzo fell to his knees. “I do not understand!” he yelled to the sky. “Please make it stop!”

“He will need us both,” the first voice said.

Then, with a sudden surge of energy, like a bolt of lightning coursing through his body, Hanzo opened his eyes to find that he was back in the shrine room. In front of him stood two titanic dragons, their bodies shimmering like translucent blue diamonds. He screamed once more as the brand was finally removed, pulling the flesh that had stuck to the hot metal off along with it. All the while, Hanzo stared at the magnificent creatures and no longer knew if he was crying at their beauty or the extreme pain. 

“Two!” Sojiro shouted with the biggest smile Hanzo had ever seen him wear. His father looked at the dragons with wonder and let out a bark of laughter. “Two! I cannot believe this! This is...this is amazing! We must bind them immediately!”

Hanzo slumped to the ground as his uncle finally released him. He felt his body being rolled over until his uninjured arm was exposed. The poking against his bicep let Hanzo know that one of the elders had begun sketching the twin dragons’ likenesses onto his skin.

 


 

It had taken many long hours for his tattoo to be completed. After the final stroke of the needle graced his flesh, Hanzo watched the spirit dragons flow into his arm. As the scaled creatures entered him, it felt like a gentle stream of cold water. And just like that, Hanzo’s tattoo came alive. A glowing energy radiated from his arm, and it was unlike anything he had ever felt before. It seemed that the two spirits were connected to his soul, but still separate, like he was but a host for the wonderful entities within him. 

“Do not worry,” they had both said, their song-like voices echoing in his head. “We are here now, young one.”

Now, Hanzo sat on the floor outside of doorway that led to his parents’ bedroom. His burn had been treated and wrapped in gauze while his tattoo was covered in a sticky plastic to protect it as the healing process began. The dragons had been mostly silent, likely figuring that he needed some time alone to work through his pain.

The harsh conversation Hanzo had heard through the cracked door of his parents’ room had attracted his curiosity. Hanzo knew that he would likely be punished if he got caught eavesdropping, but he had never once heard his parents argue.

“What we are doing is clearly working, Akari,” his father spat. “He has received two dragons. I have never seen it happen before.”

“Can’t you see what you are doing is slowly killing him!” his mother yelled back. “You will have no son left if you keep using these methods.”

Hanzo heard his father growl. “We had a compromise, remember? I get to raise Hanzo and will let you raise Genji. I cannot allow you to baby them both. Hanzo must be strong.”

“You are not making him strong, you are trying to make an emotionless monster!” Hanzo flinched at his mother’s words and hugged his knees to his chest. 

“You will not spread weakness onto Hanzo,” his father said. “You will not coddle him, and you will not fill his head with peaceful fantasies. That is final.”

 


 

That night, Hanzo laid awake in his bed listening to his dragons sing softly in a language he did not understand. The happiness he felt at meeting his new companions had been dulled by the stinging pain in his arms and his parents’ words. Hanzo no longer knew what to feel and it made him want to pull at his hair and scream until he keeled over.

His dragons quieted as Hanzo’s bedroom door slowly opened, letting in a strip of light from the hallway. In the light, Hanzo spotted his mother. He quickly sat up in his bed and watched as she carefully approached his bed.

The bed sunk slightly as Hanzo’s mother took a seat on the edge. “How are they?” she asked, gesturing to his tattoo.

“Perfect,” Hanzo whispered. 

His mother nodded and a short silence followed. “Will you sleep here?” he asked her.

There was no response to Hanzo’s question. “I will give you my pillow so that it is more comfortable,” he offered.

His mother slowly sank down until she was laying on the soft pillow. Hanzo scooted her his own pillow, as promised. His mother was positioned so that her head was facing away from him. Acting quickly, Hanzo pulled his comforter over the both of them and gently tucked his mother in. Still, she was silent.

“If you do not want to look at me, I can sleep on the floor,” he said. “I do not mind. I want you to be comfortable.”

“I’m leaving,” his mother suddenly said. “I’m leaving Hanamura.”

Hanzo gaped at her. “What do you mean?”

His mother moved to get up. “I can no longer stay here. I came to tell you goodbye.”

Hanzo tried to quickly scoot closer to her, but his mother was already out of arm’s reach. “What did I do wrong? Whatever it is, I --”

“It’s not you, Hanzo.”

Hanzo growled and surged to the edge of his bed, reaching for his legs. “You’re lying!” he yelled hysterically. “Tell me what I did!”

“Hanzo, you must keep your voice down. You have done nothing.”

Hanzo sobbed. “Should I have done something, then? Please. I will do better, please.”

A tear ran down his mother’s cheek. “I love you,” she choked out. To Hanzo, it sounded forced, as if she would vomit if she had to say those three words to him again.

“You don’t,” he said. “You don’t love me. Nobody loves me. I’m a monster.”

His mother was already at the door. Hanzo loosened his grip on his legs, letting them fall to the ground, forgotten. “Your dragons will protect you,” his mother said. 

Then, she was gone. In the morning, assassins were dispatched to locate and terminate the rogue member of the Shimada clan. That was the last time Hanzo had ever seen his mother.

 


 

Like the week before, Hanzo awoke with a jolt from the neurosensors stuck to his head. As soon as he became conscious, Angela hurried into the dim room with a glass of water in hand. She offered the water to Hanzo -- which he gratefully accepted -- and began removing the sensors from his scalp in silence.

Once Hanzo was detached from the machine, Angela waved him to come and sit with her on the tan couch placed against the opposite wall. Hanzo followed and plopped down onto the soft cushion next to the doctor.

“Well,” Angela said with a sigh. “I proceeded to a memory further along in you aging process. It occured on your thirteenth birthday.”

Hanzo nodded. “I know it.”

“What are your feelings regarding it?”

Hanzo thought for a moment. “I suppose, in many ways, ‘abandoned’ would be the proper word to describe my feelings towards it.”

“In what ways did you feel abandoned?”

Gritting his teeth, Hanzo looked away. “Well, for one, my mother left me.”

Angela nodded and motioned for him to continue. “And I felt as if my father abandoned me as well, although I do not know how, for he did not leave me as my mother did.”

“He broke your trust,” Angela said. “He abandoned your feelings. I’d say that is a sufficient word to describe his actions.”

Hanzo grunted and shrugged his shoulders.

“Do you ever find yourself having suicidal thoughts?”

Hanzo glared. “What kind of question is that?”

“The kind of question your therapist needs an answer to,” Angela replied.

“I do not see what you would do with this information.”

Angela frowned. “Hanzo, if this is going to work, I need you to trust me. I cannot and will not share this information with any other agent.”

“Why am I having trouble believing that?”

“Because who has ever given you a reason to trust them? Hanzo, I need to know how intense your feelings are before I decide on your prescription.”

Hanzo looked down to the ground and scoffed. “Prescription for what?”

“Antidepressants.”

“I do not need them.”

Angela placed a hand on his shoulder. “How often do you have suicidal thoughts?” she asked again.

“Everyday,” Hanzo said with a wave of his hand, brushing his statement off.

She nodded and turned to type something on her tablet. “Do you need to go to stay at a mental health facility?”

“No, I will not act on these thoughts.”

“Will you lay your head down on my lap?” Angela asked as she placed a couch pillow on top of her legs.

“What?”

Angela gently guided Hanzo’s head down onto the pillow, and Hanzo followed along without complaint. She carefully untied his hair ribbon and began lightly stroking his raven locks. Hanzo melted into the touch, curling his legs comfortably on the other half of the couch. “What are you doing?” he whispered.

Angela shushed him softly. “You deserve to be treated with kindness.”

Hanzo did not reply and instead focused on the doctor’s touch. He had not realized how much he would love the gentle feeling of another playing with his hair. Tears formed in his eyes and he began to shake.

“Oh, sweetheart,” Angela mumbled, scratching his scalp. “It’s okay.”

Hanzo shook his head. “I keep crying. I do so often since I’ve come here. I do not know what is wrong with me.”

“You’re depressed, Hanzo,” Angela said. “You need medication.”

“I hate the thought of that.”

“Why?”

“It makes me feel inadequate, like a failure.”

Angela cradled his head. “Half the agents here are on similar medications and the other half are optimistic to an unreal degree. Medication is normal, Hanzo. You are not a failure.”

“Is Agent McCree?”

Angela raised an eyebrow. “I cannot answer that, but may I ask why you want to know about him specifically?”

Hanzo was unsure himself about what prompted him to inquire about McCree’s mental health. He voiced this confusion, following it with, “I suppose I just hope he does not have to take such medications.”

Angela took a break from stroking Hanzo’s hair to write a few things on her tablet. “It is kind that you care for him.”

“Why would I not?”

“Because he is rude to you.”

Hanzo nodded. “As he should be. Yesterday, he voiced his reasoning behind his behavior which I appreciated greatly.”

Frowning, Angela slouched back against the couch cushion. “He should not be rude to you. You deserve to be around people who treat you right.”

At her words, Hanzo was reminded of another distressing memory and he felt his stomach churn. “May we end this session? I am not feeling well.”

Angela studied his face and nodded. “I cannot keep you prisoner. But before you leave, please know that I will have your prescription ready tomorrow. I will give you further instructions when you arrive to pick it up.”

Hanzo nodded and stood up. He made it halfway to the door before Angela stopped him once more. “And another thing,” she said. “Winston told me that he has a mission ready for you. It is nothing big, but your first mission nonetheless. You should meet with him as soon as you can.”

Once more, Hanzo nodded and made his way to the door. “And one more thing,” Angela said. Hanzo sighed and turned to her. “I want you to attend Hana’s movie night tonight. It will be good for you.”

With a grunt, Hanzo turned and left, heading towards Winston’s office.

Chapter Text

Hanzo massaged his temples as he made his way up the stairs to Winston’s office. The therapy session with Angela went as well as he had expected: nothing had exploded and he was still alive. He wasn’t sure if he could ever get used to discussing his traumas; it was new to him and made him feel uncomfortably vulnerable. Hanzo considered telling Angela to put an end to the sessions, but, if he was being honest, he enjoyed his time spent with the doctor. The attention and kindness she showed him made him feel secure in the midst of the oftentimes painful and confusing proceedings of his life. Hanzo found himself wanting to make Angela happy; he felt that he had done nothing to return the doctor’s kindness and generosity thus far. The last thing he wanted was for Angela to feel that he was taking advantage of her services. If she were to feel such a way, she would almost certainly leave him behind, and Hanzo will have lost his only friend. Hanzo supposed he could repay Angela by continuing with his sessions and trying to complete the assignments she gave him to his best ability, making her proud. He also figured that he should perhaps buy Angela a small gift that accurately displays his gratitude. 

Nonetheless, Hanzo definitely needed something to distract him from thinking of his past, and, in his mind, there was no better distraction than discussing the logistics of his first mission. He soundlessly approached the open door to Winston’s office and knocked on the metal doorframe. Winston, who had been hovering over a circular contraption on his desk which resembled Tracer’s chronal accelerator, looked over at Hanzo. Setting down a small screwdriver, the gorilla motioned for Hanzo to enter. 

“Hello, Agent Shimada,” Winston said. “Please, have a seat.”

Hanzo nodded and sat in a large chair in front of Winston’s work desk. Winston cleared some tools off of the surface and replaced them with small stacks of paper. “Details regarding your mission,” he explained, gesturing towards the paper. “Before you came in, I was working on some upgrades for Agent Tracer’s chronal accelerator. As is, Tracer can only blink and recall so a few times before the accelerator must recharge. I’m trying to see if there is any way that those boundaries can be pushed so that-- oh, I’m rambling, aren’t I?”

Winston lowered his glasses to examine a few of the papers. “Right,” he continued. “So, have you heard the news of the attacks in Rialto?”

“Yes, Agent Amari was kind enough to show me a video of the incident,” Hanzo replied. “Am I correct to assume that my mission has something to do with that?”

Winston smiled, and Hanzo found his huge, incredibly sharp teeth somewhat unsettling. “That would be correct. I would like to get to the bottom of why this assassin is exterminating leaders of major crime families. I suspect Talon.”

Hanzo raised an eyebrow. “Why would Talon--”

Winston held up a finger to silence him. “I know, I know. Why would Talon assassinate their own allies? But watch this.”

Winston picked up a small remote and pressed a few buttons. One of the screens to Hanzo’s left lit up, and a video with a small timestamp in the bottom left corner began playing. Hanzo assumed that it was surveillance footage from Rialto.

As the video progressed, a figure in all white and wearing a hooded assassin’s cloak quickly passed across the screen; he was so fast that Hanzo almost missed him. The screen shifted to a different security camera, and the same white figure came into view. This time, the figure stopped and took a moment to look around. There was a guard on the far side of the screen, and, having spotted him, the assassin quickly approached and inserted something into the guard’s neck. In a matter of seconds, the guard slumped to the floor. Everything happened so quickly that Hanzo almost could not believe his eyes; it was almost as if the figure was floating, soundless and flawless. The perfect assassin. 

Then, the figure ran to the side of a building and half-climbed, half-glided up the brick wall, out of view of the surveillance cameras. The footage was suddenly cut off with the image of a decorated, purple skull. Winston turned off the screen.

“That purple skull at the end is the icon of--”

Hanzo nodded. “Sombra.”

Winston stared at him for a moment, making Hanzo awkwardly shift his gaze to the floor. “I’ve done my research,” Hanzo explained.

“Right, so this assassin and Sombra were clearly working together, but what’s odd about this is the fact that Sombra didn’t clear the surveillance footage after she hacked it, like she normally does. This is messy work on her part. Something strange is going on here, and I want to know what Talon is up to.”

“When do I move out and what precautions should I take?” Hanzo asked.

“Well,” Winston began, “It won’t just be you. Agent McCree is familiar with the Rialto area.”

“Excellent. He will be a great addition.”

“And Agent Zenyatta.”

Hanzo paused for a moment. “Why...Zenyatta?”

“We always try to assign a medic, just in case. Ana is training Lucio on more battle medic tactics, for his own tactics are effective but could be improved upon, and Angela has made a point that she would like to be the permanent on-site doctor from now on. She no longer wants to fight. That leaves Zenyatta, who is a fully capable medic.”

Hanzo imagined that it would be hard to remain undercover with an omnic in their group, but he supposed that they would have to make do. “When do we move out?” he asked.

“8 a.m. on Friday. I will have your cover aliases and outfits ready by then.” 

Hanzo got up from the oversized chair and nodded. “Thank you. I will pass on the information to Agents McCree and Zenyatta if I see them.”

Winston gave Hanzo a toothy grin once more. “Thank you.”

Hanzo left Winston’s office and made his way back to his own quarters. He slid his shoes off by the door and allowed himself to fall back onto his bed with a sigh. With his meeting with Winston out of the way, Hanzo was reminded of the stressor that had been on his mind for the past two days: movie night. He wondered if he should go even if he knew that Angela would be disappointed if he didn’t show. He imagined that McCree would be frustrated as well, since he was the first to invite Hanzo. 

Although, now that he thought of it, Hana had not invited Hanzo, and seeing that this was her event, it would perhaps be rude to show up. Hanzo could not imagine that anyone actually wanted him there anyway. He guessed that he would ruin their fun by making them nervous with his presence. With a nod, Hanzo decided that he would not go after all. He curled up on the side of his bed, feeling a mixture of satisfaction and pervasive emptiness at his decision.

“Go,” Hanzo heard a soothing voice whisper in his head. “Go,” a second voice followed. Hanzo gasped and stared at his tattoo. It had been years since his dragons had spoken to him, and he feared that their connection had been slightly severed. Hearing their voices now was like seeing a pool of cool water in an endless desert. He tried desperately to hold on to the sounds. 

“Go where?” he asked back, hoping they would respond.

“To the party,” they said in unison. Hanzo gaped for a moment before letting out a bark of laughter. He hugged his tattooed arm to his chest and shrugged.

“If that is what you two want.”


Hanzo slipped into the dimly-lit rec room unnoticed. Most of the room’s occupants sat on blankets and pillows close to the large flat-screen television mounted on the middle of the far wall. Remote in hand, Hana was clicking through a list of horror movies faster than Hanzo could keep track of. He wondered how she could possibly get an idea of the movies she was passing over at such a speed. Lucio, Tracer, Mei, and Zenyatta sat on the floor, nearest to the television. Crammed on the couch behind them were Ana, Jack, Genji, and Angela. Jack was holding a bowl of popcorn and munching it down by the handful. Hanzo noticed that Genji was not wearing his faceplate and was dressed in a black t-shirt and sweatpants. He was glad that his brother had found a group of people that he was so comfortable being around.

Hanzo looked back to his left and saw that McCree sat alone, stretched out across a small couch in the corner of the room. After meeting his eyes, McCree sat up and waved him over.

“You actually came,” McCree said as Hanzo approached. 

Hanzo sat to the left of himself, putting a considerable distance between their bodies. “It seems I have.”

Just then, Hanzo heard Ana groan from the front of the room. “Just pick one, Hana.”

“Just wait! I need to find a good one.”

Beside Hanzo, McCree chuckled. “She always takes forever to decide on a movie,” he mumbled to Hanzo.

Hanzo smiled and leaned back against the cushion. “Choosing films for group viewing is an art, it seems.”

“How about this one?” Hana suddenly asked, stopping the screen on Saw XVI . The cover of the film displayed blood splatters and a small white puppet with dark hair and red swirls on his cheeks riding a tricycle. 

“It certainly seems violent,” Zenyatta remarked.

“Why not,” Jack said. Hana clicked play and took her seat on the ground next to Lucio. 

Reinhardt came booming into the room before the movie finished loading, drawing everyone’s attention with his loud footfalls. “Sorry I am late!” he said and went to find a seat. After looking away from Reinhardt, Hanzo saw Angela notice him and throw back a wave. Hanzo waved back.

“Nice to see you ‘n Ang gettin’ along,” McCree said.

Hanzo nodded. “Yes, I am incredibly grateful that she has offered me her therapeutic services. She is very kind.”

McCree smiled. “She sure is.” Then, he leaned closer to whisper in Hanzo’s ear. Hanzo felt his body go stiff. “Watch your brother.”

Hanzo shifted his gaze to Genji’s back. After a moment, his brother lifted his arms in a yawn. On the way down, one of Genji’s arms wrapped around Angela’s shoulders and rested there. Hanzo gasped and looked at McCree. “Are they...together?”

“Not yet, I don’t think. You’re brother’s real sweet on her, though.”

Hanzo felt genuine happiness rise in his chest. He was relieved to know that his brother still possessed the confidence to pursue a love life. “I am glad,” Hanzo whispered with a soft smile.

“Move over, little ones!” Reinhardt said to them as he trudged over to the couch McCree and Hanzo sat on. Hanzo hastily scooched closer to McCree as the giant of a man plopped down beside him. When he sat, the entire couch sank with his weight, and Hanzo soon found himself sandwiched between McCree and Reinhardt’s bodies, nearly knocking the wind out of him.

McCree’s head clunked against Hanzo’s as he slid into him, and Hanzo’s head came to rest against Reinhardt’s bicep. All three of their thighs were pressed tightly together, and Hanzo tried to wish away the dark blush that was creeping over his face. To avoid all but laying on top of Reinhardt, Hanzo tried to squirm closer to McCree, but the cowboy’s weight against him was making it difficult. McCree let out a loud laugh and reached an arm behind Hanzo to tap Reinhardt on the shoulder.

“Hey, big guy,” McCree said. “You’re kinda squishing us here.”

“Ah?” Reinhardt said, looking over at Hanzo and McCree. “Oh! I’m sorry, my friends! I guess this couch is a tad too small.”

The large man got up and walked off to sit on the floor beside the rest of his teammates. Without Reinhardt’s weight pulling him downward, Hanzo found himself toppling over, his chest landing stretched across McCree’s lap. Hanzo sputtered and rushed to correct himself. He quickly planted his hands to regain balance and pushed himself up.

“Oof! Hanzo,” McCree gasped. Hanzo looked down and noticed that he had planted one of his hands right on McCree’s groin. Fast as a bullet, he shot away from the cowboy, putting as much distance between them as the couch would allow.

Hanzo felt his face heat up and figured it was probably as red as McCree’s serape. “I am so sorry,” he stammered. 

McCree gave a pained smile. “Nah, it’s okay. Just hurt a bit is all.”

Looking towards the door, Hanzo made a move to get up. He always did something wrong. He should have known better than to come here. He should have known that he would fuck something up. “I should...go.”

McCree gently grabbed his arm. “Whoa there, Hanzo. It’s okay. Really. The movie’s barely started. You should stay.”

Hanzo stared at the cowboy for a moment, studying his face. From McCree’s raised eyebrows to his small smile, everything about him seemed sincere. Looking over at the television screen, Hanzo saw that the movie was still in its opening sequence, credits slowly fading in over gory images and torture contraptions. Hanzo sighed and nodded, leaning back against the cushions once more. 

The screen faded to black, and then a frantic omnic woman suddenly entered the frame with what looked like an open bear trap over her head. The strange puppet that had been on the movie cover gave the omnic a series of directions that would enable her to save her life. The omnic hastily tried to complete the orders, but ultimately ran out of time, and the bear trap closed over her head, short-circuiting her.

“Ah, I get it now,” Zenyatta said from the front of the room. “That was a metaphor for the disturbed mind. Her lack of calmness ultimately led to her demise, represented by the bear trap. Such powerful imagery.”

“That’s pretty deep,” Lucio remarked. “But I just think her head exploded.”

“I think it’s a metaphor for the pressure of conforming to female beauty standards,” Hana said with a chuckle.

“Well I think it’s a metaphor for updog,” Genji said.

“What is ‘updog?’” Hanzo asked. The whole room immediately erupted into delirious laughter and whooping. Hana even had to wipe a few tears from her eyes. Hanzo was dumbfounded.

McCree leaned closer to Hanzo. “Y’know, like ‘what’s up, dog?’” he whispered. “American slang.”

“Oh. And that is...funny?”

“Hilarious.”

Hanzo snorted. “I see. Are they always like this?”

“Yup.”

Hanzo smiled to himself, and, as the room died back down, he felt himself become more and more relaxed. The dim room mixed with the dark lighting of the images on the screen allowed his eyes to comfortably droop. The quiet chatter of the people around him slowly morphed into whitenoise, and Hanzo found himself caring even less about the movie on screen, turning his full attention to how tired he truly was. He slumped to the side and allowed his eyes to fully close, telling himself that he would only rest for a moment. Before he knew it, he was asleep against McCree’s shoulder, the movie long forgotten.


When he awoke, the rec room was bright and empty. Hanzo assumed that he had slept through the night, making this Thursday morning. That left him one whole day to prepare for his mission. He groaned and cracked his back. Someone had been kind enough to provide him with a pillow, and, when Hanzo looked down, he saw that he had been covered with McCree’s red serape. For what seemed like the millionth time, Hanzo felt his face heat up. 

Hanzo moved to his feet and neatly folded the article of clothing. He wondered how McCree could still be so caring after his screw-up last night. In Hanzo’s mind, all he did was hit the cowboy in the junk and fall asleep. That did not seem to warrant kind treatment. Hanzo stared at the serape for a moment, lost in thought, before heading towards the dining hall to make himself some coffee. He kept the serape clutched gently to his chest, hoping and dreading that he would see McCree along the way.


Chapter Text

"You deserve to be around people who treat you right.”

Angela’s words from their session yesterday echoed in Hanzo’s brain as he walked to pick up his medication. He could not help but imagine the words being uttered in a distinct voice from his past, one that he could never forget. The voice was deep yet sweet as sugared honey, full of loving promises. But a nervous shiver went down Hanzo’s spine at the sound. He could not rid himself of the disgusting taste that now filled his mouth, so he hurried his pace to Angela’s office.

His dosage was to start off small and then slowly increase, Angela explained to him after he arrived. Her face seemed like it was clouded with worry, and she was slow to extend her arm to hand Hanzo the medication. 

“What is wrong?” Hanzo asked her.

The doctor quickly replaced her worried expression with a smile. “There is a long half-life on these pills, so every once in a while, forgetting to take one will be okay, but try not to do so often. And try to take them with a full glass of water at around the same time everyday, okay? That might be hard with your busy schedule, but...”

Hanzo nodded. “Understood.”

“And you may feel...a bit worse before feeling better,” Angela said, wringing her hands. “But if things get to a point where they feel unbearable, promise you’ll let me know and we will alter your prescription. The side effects should never be that extreme.”

Hanzo looked down at the white paper bag in his hand that held his tube of medication. The paper had crumpled slightly where he had gripped it. “I promise. Thank you, doctor.”

 


 

Hanzo was fifteen when he became involved with his first and only boyfriend. His name was Tetsuo Kobayashi and was introduced to Hanzo through one of Genji’s friends. In a rare instance when Hanzo participated in one of Genji’s many outings with his companions at the local arcade and ramen bars, Tetsuo took special interest in the older Shimada. He paid for Hanzo’s food and charmed him with his smile and kind words.

He asked when he could see Hanzo again, and, feeling excited and flustered, Hanzo made sure to meet Tetsuo during his free time almost every evening. They ate together, talked about meaningless things, and had their first kiss outside of a sushi shop a block away from the Shimada castle. They began dating soon after.

With his father frequently at work in the DoCoMo mobile network offices and his mother managing a local hotel catering to tourists, Tetsuo’s parents were rarely home. Hanzo and Tetsuo found themselves often spending time in Tetsuo’s living room. They told each other stories of their lives, watched movies, or simply made out until Hanzo had to return to the castle to fulfill his duties. 

His time with Tetsuo was a good distraction. Hanzo’s boyfriend expressed his interest in spending more and more time alone with Hanzo in lieu of going out to restaurants or shops. It made Hanzo feel special and cared for. When other guys or girls looked at Hanzo in public, he felt proud at feeling Tetsuo hold him closer. He was wanted.

Weeks went by, and every evening Hanzo was elated to leave the Shimada castle and travel to his boyfriend’s home. Sometimes he brought snacks or gifts and other times he simply brought himself. Tetsuo was happy either way, and his happiness was contagious. 

One evening, as Tetsuo opened the door to let Hanzo in, Tetsuo’s neighbor, whom Hanzo had seen often in passing, smiled and waved. Hanzo waved back. As Hanzo closed the door behind him, he was shocked by a slap to his face. He gasped and clutched his cheek, staring at Tetsuo.

“Are you cheating on me?” Tetsuo asked, not shouting but uttering his words in a firm, demanding voice.

Shocked, Hanzo took a moment to respond. “No.”

He was slapped again, just as his father had hit him so many times before. “Don’t lie.”

“I’m not lying!” Hanzo yelled with his back to the door. “I wouldn’t cheat on you!”

Tetsuo’s expression softened and he took a few steps closer to Hanzo, his arms extended to comfort his boyfriend. “Oh, Hanzo, I’m sorry. It’s just...the way you looked at him…”

Hanzo accepted Tetsuo’s embrace. “I only waved.”

“And you smiled at him.” Tetsuo cradled Hanzo’s head to his chest. “You rarely smile at anyone but me.”

“I was only happy to be seeing you.”

Tetsuo smiled. “My love, you scared me. I will never lay a hand on you that way again.”

But that was the first of many times that Tetsuo lashed out. More frequently, his anger boiled over and showed Hanzo a different side of him, a side Hanzo had never thought possible. The next time Tetsuo hit him, Hanzo dropped a teacup to the floor, shattering it. The time after that, it was because Hanzo had tickled Tetsuo when he was not in the best of moods. The reasons slowly became more minor such as Hanzo being late to come to Tetsuo’s house or Hanzo spacing out while Tetsuo was talking to him. “We barely get to see each other, and you’re just going to ignore me,” Tetsuo would say, or, “I love you so much and you only take advantage of that.”

Every time, Hanzo felt guilty. Every time, Tetsuo promised that it would be the last. Every time, Hanzo forced himself to believe his boyfriend. “Who else will love you like I do?” Tetsuo said to him, not expecting an answer for Hanzo had none. 

Four months into their relationship, Hanzo was right on time to Tetsuo’s house. His boyfriend opened the door, handing Hanzo a dozen red roses with a bright smile. Hanzo smiled back and smelled the delightful scent. “What is the occasion?” he asked.

“Of course you don’t know,” Tetsuo responded. “You don’t care.”

Tetsuo walked further into the house, and Hanzo followed him, closing the door. “Of course I care,” Hanzo said.

“It’s our four-month anniversary,” Tetsuo said and then gestured at the table. “Here, I made you a nice dinner, too.”

Hanzo felt his heart sink. “Oh. I...I’m sorry.”

“‘Oh,’” Tetsuo mocked, waving for Hanzo to have a seat. Hanzo sat, setting the roses down beside him, and watched Tetsuo leave the room to retrieve the food. He came back with a plate full of Hanzo’s favorite dishes and some miso soup. “Here, happy anniversary,” Tetsuo said bitterly. 

Hanzo stared at the delicious food in front of him and felt tears build up in his eyes. “I’m sorry,” he whispered again after a moment of silence.

“Are you going to eat it or just cry all over it?”

Hanzo picked up a stick of yakitori and took a bite of the chicken. It was perfectly cooked and crisp. “It is very good,” Hanzo said.

Tetsuo inhaled sharply before knocking the plate and the rest of its contents onto the floor, scattering the food everywhere. “Forget it,” Tetsuo said and walked away. Hanzo knew better than to engage with him when he was like this, but he could not help but feel sorry for hurting Tetsuo. He ran after his boyfriend.

“Tetsuo, I love you, I’m sorry,” he said.

Tetsuo sighed, his back to Hanzo. “You don’t,” he mumbled.

“I do; I promise.” Hanzo gently rested his hands on his boyfriend’s shoulders and guided him to the couch. “Sit with me. Please.”

Tetsuo sat down, and Hanzo cuddled up next to him. “You’re gorgeous, you know that? Everything about you is perfect, except maybe your nose and these,” Tetsuo said gesturing at Hanzo’s legs. “But I don’t care about those things. I love you anyway and I just want to know that you love me too.”

Hanzo did his best to refrain from feeling his nose and tracing its imperfections. “I love you with all of my heart,” he said. “You make me happy when my responsibilities bring me down. You are always there for me.”

Tetsuo smiled softly. “I’ll treat you better than all of those assholes out there. And you deserve to be around people who treat you right, people like me.”

In that moment, Hanzo questioned what ‘right’ meant. His whole life, he thought ‘right’ was kindness, was justice. But now, he no longer knew. Everybody around him equated rightness with pain and suffering, with violence. Perhaps he had been wrong all along. Perhaps this was the right way and he must simply embrace it no matter how wrong it felt in his bones. Perhaps he deserved his pain for ever doubting the methods of his elders, his clan, and now, his boyfriend. He was wrong, he is wrong, and he deserves to suffer for it.

 


 

Friday came, and Hanzo, McCree, and Zenyatta went to Winston's office to receive their assignments. They were to act as undercover agents making up a task force investigating the white-robed assassin in Rialto. Each of them were given fake badges, mirrored shades, dress shirts, ties, and slacks to wear along with cover names. Hanzo was Haru Sasaki, McCree Joel Morricone, and Zenyatta was Tenzin Trungpa. 

They were to meet with the surviving members of Antonio Giordani’s family who were now running Antonio’s company. From there, they could convince the Giordani’s to set up a honeypot trap with another high-ranking member of the family and lure in the assassin and capture him. Hanzo would be stationed as a sniper with eyes on the Giordani who volunteered to lure the assassin in, ready to strike and incapacitate when the time came. 

McCree’s hair was trimmed, and silicone prosthetics were attached to his nose and brow to alter their appearance. Hanzo was mostly left alone but had a prosthetic attached to his nose as well. “Will I get fake body parts as well?” Zenyatta questioned in the same monotone voice he always used. Hanzo wondered whether or not he was joking.

Genji and Angela came to see them off as they walked to the drop ship. Tracer greeted them as they arrived, assuring them that it would be a short and smooth flight. Winston stood back, rubbing his neck. “Zenyatta?”

“I am Tenzin now,” Zenyatta replied.

“Yes, well,” Winston coughed into his fist nervously. “I...I hope you don’t mind me asking, but could you maybe refrain from floating on this mission?”

“Certainly,” Zenyatta replied, slowly uncrossing his legs and letting them drift down to touch the ground.

“Woah!” Genji shouted. Everybody turned to him. “Sorry, it’s just that I’ve never seen him do that before.”

Zenyatta, moving slow as always, reached and pulled the shades of the pocket of his slacks. Hanzo noticed that two pieces of tape had been attached to the ends of the glasses, so, when Zenyatta put them on, they stuck to the metal of his head. “Do I look hip?” he asked in the same monotone voice.

“Of course, master,” Genji replied with no indication that the two were joking. Hanzo looked between Zenyatta and his brother, confusion evident on his face.

“Peace,” Zenyatta said, walking to the ship.

“Should he really be wearing those sunglasses?” Hanzo asked when Zenyatta was far enough away.

Winston shrugged. “He really wanted to match.”

McCree let out a booming laugh and Hanzo rubbed his temples. “Very well,” Hanzo said. “But if it draws attention to us, it is not on me.”

“Maybe we should match Zen and tape the glasses to our heads too,” McCree said with a chuckle. “Convince ‘em it’s some kinda fashion statement.”

Hanzo looked to McCree and rolled his eyes. McCree beamed down at him and Hanzo was taken aback at how gorgeous his smile truly was. It was slightly lopsided and made the cowboy’s crow’s feet prominent. Hanzo moved his gaze to McCree’s hair and noticed just how good it looked, trimmed, washed, and styled, without the stetson covering it. Hanzo wanted to run his fingers through the honey-brown locks, to feel their softness against his fingers. He wanted to run his hands through McCree’s beard, tracing his jaw. He wanted so many things.

But he simply turned his amazed stare to the ground. There were things in this world that he should not have, could not have, else they be tainted. He was a plague, destroying everything around him that is good. Hanzo recognized that even his presence at Gibraltar was a risk, something that could break apart this close-knit family of agents. He did not want that for McCree. He did not want to drag the cowboy down. McCree deserved happiness that Hanzo no longer knew how to provide. He deserved so much more. So Hanzo turned away and made his way to the ship, McCree close behind him.

Chapter Text

Hanzo stuck by Tetsuo for three years. Time seemed to fly by as quick as an arrow flying to its mark, and before he knew it, Hanzo was eighteen. There was nothing that made him happier than one of Tetsuo’s good moods -- his boyfriend’s smiles and laughter, the loving gazes he would give Hanzo every now and then: it all never failed to make Hanzo’s heart flutter. In times of Tetsuo’s anger and painful vehemence, Hanzo thought of the good times. He remembered Tetsuo’s kindness and tenderness, and he reminded himself that, beneath the abuse, love was what had built their relationship. 

Although, as the years passed, Tetsuo’s good moods became rarer and harder to recall. Anger slowly possessed the man until there was little left, and Hanzo was the one who paid for it. So, when a good mood did surface, Hanzo treated it as a precious jewel and bathed in the richness of Tetsuo’s company, ecstatic. He took all he could from those good moods, milking them for all their worth. He and Tetsuo would talk, laugh, and joke; they would cuddle with one another and go out to dinner; they would take care of one another as couples should. 

After weeks of being slapped, kicked, punched, and yelled at, Hanzo returned one morning to a smiling Tetsuo. Seeing that smile made Hanzo so happy that he felt that, at that moment, he could have fallen to the ground and broke out into sobs. It made the pain all worth it to see his boyfriend happy and knowing that the happiness was all for him. Hanzo’s mind told him that this was the only good he would get from his life so he should not waste it, although his dragons passionately disagreed. Hanzo ignored the blue creatures beneath his skin and their cries that this was not what love should be feel like. It felt right to him.

Tetsuo met him on the sidewalk in front of his house, and he pulled Hanzo into a soft embrace. Hanzo melted into the hold, wanting no distance between him and his boyfriend. He felt fingers slide through his hair, gently massaging his scalp, and Hanzo sighed happily.

“Hanzo, my father is home,” Tetsuo whispered into his ear.

Hanzo forced himself to detach from his boyfriend. “Now?”

Tetsuo nodded. “He wants me to stay here and help him around the house with some projects. I won’t be free until later tonight.”

Hanzo frowned. “How late?”

Shrugging, Tetsuo looked back towards his home. “Likely not until he decides to go to bed.”

“Could you sneak out tonight?”

Tetsuo hummed his approval at the idea. “And go where?”

Smiling suddenly, Hanzo reached for Tetsuo’s hand. Tetsuo pulled away. “You can come to the castle. I can sneak you in. My bedroom is only on the second floor, and there is a window in the hallway by a tree. We could get through the gates, and I’ll leave the window unlocked. It will be simple.”

Tetsuo was silent for a moment. “That sounds dangerous.”

“I know my way around the walls of the castle grounds like I know the back of my hand. And nobody ever enters my room. I will not let anything happen.”

After awhile, Tetsuo finally nodded. Hanzo’s smile grew as he and his boyfriend decided on a meeting place outside of the castle walls, and afterwards Hanzo returned home to make sure that his plan could be enacted smoothly and without error.

 


 

Hanzo stocked his room with snacks and a bit of alcohol he had swiped from the kitchen while the cooks had their backs turned, and he made sure there were enough blankets and pillows for he and Tetsuo to be comfortable. After everything was set up and the sun had set, Hanzo climbed down through the hallway window and set out to wait at the corner of the street by Tetsuo’s home -- their meeting place. An hour passed before Tetsuo arrived, smiling. Hanzo was overjoyed that his good mood had lasted.

Hanzo led his boyfriend to a patch of dirt that burrowed under the right wall of the castle, covered by a layer of brush. First Hanzo and then Tetsuo shimmied through the hole and to the inside of the castle grounds. The two stuck to the shadows as they approached the main building of the castle. Hanzo silently motioned towards the tree with a branch that stuck out towards the second-floor window. They pulled themselves up the trunk and through the window that Hanzo left unlatched. 

Once in the dark hallway, Hanzo paused for a moment, blocking Tetsuo from view with his body, fearing he had heard footsteps against the hardwood floor. Once a minute had passed and Hanzo heard no further noise, he grabbed Tetsuo’s hand and quickly led him a few feet down the hall and through his bedroom door. Once inside, Hanzo closed the door behind him, breathing out a sigh of relief. 

Tetsuo looked at him, laughing nervously. “We made it.”

Hanzo smiled. “I knew we would. I brought us snacks and --”

Hanzo did not even finish his sentence before Tetsuo crowded up against him and brought his lips to Hanzo’s neck, kissing and sucking the tender flesh.

“Oh,” Hanzo gasped, surprised. He guided Tetsuo’s lips further down to his shoulder. “Not too high. My father will --”

Tetsuo grabbed his wrists and pinned them against his sides, resuming biting and sucking higher up Hanzo’s neck and towards his jawline. “Wait, Tetsuo, if my father sees he will hurt me. Please.”

Tetsuo didn’t seem like he was listening as he continued leaving visible marks. Hanzo began backing away, but Tetsuo’s body followed until the backs of his knees hit the bed and Hanzo feel back onto the mattress. Tetsuo smiled down at him before slowly taking a seat beside Hanzo, petting his hair. “You know, Hanzo,” he began, “now would be the perfect time to finally take things to the next level.”

Hanzo sat up. “We have done many things.”

“But you’ve never had, like, actual sex with me,” Tetsuo said, his frown returning. Hanzo hated to see that frown.

“I am…nervous,” Hanzo explained, hoping Tetsuo would leave it at that.

“You’re eighteen,” Tetsuo said. “Don’t be a child.”

“I am...I am not...ready.”

Tetsuo scoffed. “We’ve been together for three fucking years, Hanzo. If you’re not ready soon, I’ll find someone who is. I’m getting tired of half-assed blowjobs.”

“I thought we could just…”

“What? Sit here?” Tetsuo finished with a sneer. 

“I…” Tetsuo’s hand on his shoulder slowly guided him back down to the mattress. “You will stay if I…?”

“Yeah. I’ll stay.”

Hanzo nodded. “Okay. I just...please just...I…” He was silenced by Tetsuo’s lips crashing to his own and a tongue being shoved down his throat. Hanzo moved his shaky hands to Tetsuo’s back, pulling him closer as Tetsuo began unbuttoning his pants. Tetsuo removed his pants and underwear, tossing them behind him. Hanzo reached down to unlatch his synthetic legs, but Tetsuo grabbed his wrists again.

“What are you doing?” he asked Hanzo.

“Taking off my--”

“Why?”

“So I can be more com--”

“No,” Tetsuo said. “Keep them on. Nobody wants to see that.”

Suddenly, Hanzo let out a gasp of pain as Tetsuo shoved a finger inside of him.

“That hurts!” he yelled. 

Tetsuo looked down at him. “This is what you’re supposed to do, Hanzo.”

“You need to use lube!”

“Can you be quieter?” Tetsuo barked as he pulled his finger out. Hanzo watched him look around the room for something to use as a lubricant, and, after finding nothing, he simply rubbed some spit over his fingers and this time inched two fingers into his boyfriend, slower than before.

Hanzo let out another gasp of pain. “What is it now?” Tetsuo asked.

“Nothing,” Hanzo whispered, closing his eyes tightly and bracing himself for the third finger. But it never came.

Hanzo felt something warm drip onto his closed eyelids and run down his cheeks. When he opened his eyes again, he saw blood dripping from Tetsuo’s mouth as he stared beyond Hanzo. Hanzo quickly sat up and grabbed his boyfriend’s cheeks. 

“Are you okay?! What is wrong?!” he asked desperately before looking down and noticing the metal blade protruding from Tetsuo’s heart. When the blade was suddenly withdrawn, thick blood sprayed Hanzo, soaking through his clothes as Tetsuo’s body fell against him. 

Hanzo screamed and clutched his boyfriend’s body, chanting a mantra of “no’s” and “please’s.” When the Shimada guard who had delivered the blow pulled the body from Hanzo’s grasp, Hanzo sunk to the ground and vomited. He reached for Tetsuo as the guard carrying the body and the shadowy silhouette his father left his room. Hanzo’s breath came in heavy gasps as consciousness slipped away from him.

 


 

He woke with a sharp intake of breath in a puddle of blood and vomit. His dragons were sending loving messages, but he pushed them down. Hanzo stood, mindlessly, pulled his pants back on, and stumbled along the trail of blood that led out of his room. 

His vision was clouded. All he saw was the blood. He followed it for what seemed like ages. Down the hall. Up some stairs. And so on.

There was a hand on his shoulder. Hanzo looked, but it was only Genji. He kept following the blood.

Genji did not let go. He guided Hanzo away, and Hanzo let out a sob, fighting against his brother’s grip.

Genji picked him up and carried him to another room. From that room, there was a bathroom. The light was blinding.

Letting Hanzo down, Genji shut the door and began running a bath. Hanzo watched him.

“Can these get wet?” Genji asked, pointing at Hanzo’s legs.

Hanzo nodded.

“Do you want them on?”

Hanzo nodded.

Genji filled the bath and turned the water off. Small puffs of steam rose from the surface and up towards the ceiling.

“Do you want to get undressed?”

Hanzo nodded and began pulling his clothes off with unsteady hands. Genji turned away and got a towel ready for him. Once undressed, Hanzo stepped into the water and sank down until it reached just below his chin. Genji kneeled back down beside him.

“There’s blood all over you. Why?” Genji asked.

“Is this a dream?” Hanzo asked.

Genji shook his head, and Hanzo turned away. “I killed him,” he whispered. “I killed him.”

“Who?”

Hanzo didn’t answer and began roughly scrubbing the dried blood and vomit from his arms. Genji grabbed a washcloth and rubbed some of the blood specks from his cheeks. The water was soon stained a brownish red.

Genji’s hand moved to the hickies on his neck. “What happened?” he asked again. “Please, Hanzo.”

“I loved him,” Hanzo said.

“It will...be okay,” Genji said, staring and seemingly at a loss. Genji moved his hand to wash Hanzo’s shoulder, his fingers brushing the scar of his brother’s brand. The younger Shimada’s eyes became wider still.

“Oh, brother,” he whispered. “What did they do?”

Hanzo suddenly whirled around to face Genji. “How? How did you get your dragon?” he demanded.

Genji stared in shock for a moment before answering. “I...I meditated on the Shimada crest until my meditation took me to a field. It was pretty boring.”

Hanzo gripped his hair and screamed in frustration. He felt fury rise in and spread through his veins. It was like nothing he had ever experienced, and he almost felt that, at that moment, he could breathe fire. He wanted to train, to fight, to do anything that would let him release this overwhelming anger. “FUCK!” he yelled and grabbed a shampoo bottle. “FUCKING SHIT!”

He launched the bottle at the closest thing to him: Genji. Genji held his hands out in front of him and braced himself as bottle after bottle hit him square in the chest, and soon his little brother retreated from the room. Hanzo looked over the room, the floor now sprayed with colorful, slimy shampoos and soaps. He growled and unplugged the drain before stomping out of the bath, careful not to slip. He wrapped the towel his brother had set out around himself and trudged from the room ready to punch anyone who came near him, dragons writhing under his skin.


 

“I sense within you the same rage that once consumed your brother.”

Hanzo’s thoughts were interrupted by the omnic who sat a few seats away from him on the dropship. He refused to grant Zenyatta a look.

 “We are nothing alike,” he replied with a growl.

“What has you upset?” Zenyatta asked from the other side of McCree. Hanzo noticed the cowboy look between the two as they talked.

“I am to spend my first mission working undercover with a robot and Agent McCree whom, I have just noticed, has decided to wear his spurs!”

McCree chuckled. “A’right, a’right, I’ll take ‘em off.”

“You did it only to annoy me!” Hanzo sighed.

Zenyatta was facing Hanzo with his arms crossed, and if the omnic had eyes, Hanzo assumed he would be glaring. Hanzo raised an eyebrow, finding it hard to take Zenyatta seriously while sunglasses were taped to his head. “Yes?” Hanzo asked.

“I am sorry - beep boop beep - I cannot process the question. I am but a robot.”

Hanzo scoffed. “You have sense. How can you believe this is a good idea?”

“Upaya,” Zenyatta said with a shrug. 

“What?” Hanzo barked. “Elaborate.”

Zenyatta stopped to think for a moment. “I assume my presence serves two important purposes: to distract from you and McCree’s work and to heal what has been hurt. My appearance is a means to distract and, if I am lacking, I will do my best to heal.”

Hanzo shifted his frustrated gaze to the ground, unwilling to admit that Zenyatta’s statement made a lot of sense. 

Just then, Tracer shouted back at them from the cockpit. “Alright, gang, we’ll be arriving fairly soon and we have a car waiting to take you into the city. Buckle up for landing!”

Hanzo sighed and fastened his seatbelt. McCree leaned closer to him, causing Hanzo to stiffen. “But really, what’sa matter, Hanzo?” he asked. “You seem kinda spacey.”

“That is nothing to concern yourself with,” Hanzo snarled, scooting himself further away from McCree until he was almost on the edge of his seat. McCree nodded and backed away then, but Hanzo noticed that the cowboy’s worried gaze never left him.

They hit a bit of turbulence as the ship descended, rattling the three passengers in their seats. Once landed, McCree, Hanzo, and Zenyatta unbuckled themselves and adjusted their disguises, assuring that their guns -- or in Zenyatta’s case, orbs -- were properly hidden. The car ride to Rialto was only an hour, leaving the three plenty of time to locate Selina Giordani, the new head honcho of the Giordani family. 

They found her where the townspeople said she frequented: a five-star restaurant in the heart of Rialto. She ate alone as the taper candle placed in the middle of the table burned slowly. Selina seemed to be far from her first glass of wine when the three of them arrived and convened at her table. Without waiting for them to speak, Selina rose from her chair and set off to the back of the restaurant, motioning for them to follow. After all sharing a look, they did.

Selina led them to a private room off of the restaurant’s kitchen. The room was dim and had a larger round table in its center, covered with a spotless white tablecloth. “This is where we meet,” Selina said, words slurring, as she sat down.

McCree looked at Hanzo and raised an eyebrow, and Hanzo gave him a shrug in return. “Pretty nice setup,” McCree said, taking a seat next to Selina. Zenyatta and Hanzo followed suit.

“Yeah, it’s whatever,” Selina replied. “What do you want?”

McCree smiled. “Straight to the point, huh?”

“We are agents making up a task force with the goal of finding your brother’s killer and bringing that person to justice,” Hanzo said. “Agents Joel, Tenzin, and Haru at your service.”

Selina laughed and leaned against McCree’s shoulder. McCree looked taken aback as she began running a hand through his gelled hair. “So what will you do?” she asked.

Hanzo watched her and McCree, feeling something hot rise in his chest. He cleared his throat. “We wish to --”

“I want to hear Joel say it,” Selina interrupted, giggling.

“Err, okay,” McCree said. He rubbed the back of his neck and Selina leaned closer. “We wanna set up a lil trap for the assassin. Get one of the Giordani’s to lure ‘em in and then Haru here will catch ‘em.”

Selina stood, grabbing McCree’s hand and pulling him along. “Sounds good. My cousin can be the bait,” she said. Then, after a moment, she turned back to Hanzo and Zenyatta as if just remembering their presence. “Let’s go.”

Selina led McCree out of the restaurant, keeping him close with an arm linked through his. Zenyatta and Hanzo followed close behind on the Rialto streets. The sun was beating down, but the air was cooled ever so slightly by the breeze from the canals. Hanzo kept an eye on Selina’s back as they walked.

“You seem distressed,” Zenyatta quietly remarked.

“It is nothing,” Hanzo growled back. 

Zenyatta hummed.

“She is very touchy for just meeting him, no?” Hanzo said to the omnic.

“I sense jealousy.”

Hanzo gawked at him. “I am not--!” McCree and Selina shot Hanzo a look as they walked causing a blush to rise in Hanzo’s cheeks. When they turned away, Hanzo resumed, quieter. “I am simply stating that it is strange.”

“Perhaps,” Zenyatta mused.

“He is too good for her,” Hanzo said as McCree began rubbing Selina’s shoulder.

“And for you?” Zenyatta asked.

Hanzo scoffed. “Much too good.”

Zenyatta suddenly slowed his pace, forcing Hanzo to take shorter strides to match him. “McCree is far from a perfect being. We all have our flaws.”

“Is your flaw that you are a fratricidal murderer?” Hanzo spat.

“My greatest flaw is that I was built by Null Sector to help carry out their mission. My greatest triumph was being courageous enough to leave and find my own path.”

Hanzo gaped. “You were…in…?”

Zenyatta nodded. “We cannot help the situation that we are born into, but we can learn to keep ourselves. You have murdered, have done unspeakable things, but that is not who you are. I can tell. McCree was once in the Deadlock gang. Perhaps it would do you well to talk to him about it.”

“It...is too hard to stop believing that he is someone who could be with...who could ever be with me. I do not deserve his kindness.”

Zenyatta rested a hand on Hanzo’s back. “You do, and you will get there.”

Hanzo huffed and looked at the brick road below him. “Alright, we’re here!” Selina said suddenly gesturing at the mansion before her. It was a magnificent building with high stone pillars and statues of gargoyles and Greek antiquity lining the walls. She buzzed in through the front entrance and led them through the wooden double doors into the breathtaking foyer. The room’s ceiling reached high, and the glass chandelier in the center shone wherever the sunlight from the long windows touched it.

Selina held down the button for the home’s loudspeaker and leaned down towards it. “Dante! Come down to the door! I want to talk about something.”

After a moment, a large man in a pinstriped suit skittered down the white marble stairs. As he stood before Selina, he glared at the three unfamiliar faces before him. “Who are you?” he demanded.

Selina spoke up for them. “These are people who will catch Giovanni’s killer.”

“Ah,” Dante said. “Giovanni was a good brother to Selina and a good cousin to me. His murder was unjust. He had two sons, you know? Now they are fatherless. It is a tragedy what has happened here.”

“And on the day of my daughter’s wedding,” McCree whispered into Hanzo’s ear in a terrible Italian accent. Hanzo held back a laugh.

“Will you help us?” Selina asked. 

Dante nodded. “I will do what I can to catch this killer.”

“He’ll be sleepin’ with the fishes,” McCree whispered into Hanzo’s ear again. Hanzo elbowed him while biting his lip to stifle his chuckling.

“What should I do?” Dante asked.

Hanzo looked to him. “We would like you to appear in public as often as possible today. Act like you are undergoing important business. We will tail you while keeping a close eye. If the assassin is still here, it will likely attract his attention. As night falls, we will have you walk outside of the mansion grounds alone. Hopefully, that will bring the assassin to action, and, as we keep a close eye, we will catch him before he strikes you.”

Dante nodded. “I will do this. I trust that you will keep me safe. Let us move out and then wait for nightfall.”

“Bada-bing-bada-boom,” McCree whispered to Hanzo. A bark of laughter escaped Hanzo before his hands flew to cover his mouth, eyes darting between the Giordani’s who now stared at him.

“Sorry,” Hanzo said. “I do not know what came over me.”

Selina’s gaze slowly left him as she turned back to her cousin. “Yes,” she said. “Let’s start as soon as possible. I will stay here.” Then she turned to the three of them, specifically meeting McCree’s eyes. “You can come to my room when you’ve finished.”

“Will do, ma’am.” 

Hanzo glared at the woman. “We will all come to give you a progress report.”

Selina smirked. “Very well. Be off, then.” She turned to walk up the foyer stairs, leaving them and Dante behind her.

McCree turned to Hanzo with a smile and an eyebrow raised. Hanzo turned from him. “Let us go,” he spoke, “and use as much of our daylight as we can.”

The four men walked through the double doors and into the Rialto sun, planning out the first location at which they should convene. All the while, Hanzo fought against the urge to pull McCree close as Selina did, to rest his head on the other man’s shoulder while holding his hand, interlacing their fingers. He wanted nothing more at that moment, but Hanzo knew how selfish it would be. McCree would never want something like that from him, nor should he. But how badly Hanzo wanted to be touched by him, to feel his strong hands on his body. Just standing next to McCree was enough to make Hanzo’s heart quicken its pace. The intense feelings made him want to plunge himself into the canal and propel himself away from McCree. 

But Hanzo stayed put. His thoughts refused to leave the man next to him. He wanted McCree to tell him off, to remind Hanzo that he wasn’t worth his time. McCree only stood there, though, smiling at him and whispering more jokes into Hanzo’s ear, making Hanzo wish that he could feel those lips on his own and hold McCree close, the patch of sunlight shining down on them cradling them in its warmth.

Chapter Text

Jesse sat at a small bistro table in Rialto’s main square while the Venetian people bustled around him, speaking fast and excitedly in a language he barely understood. Every now and then, he made out words like ciao and grazie , but all in all, his extensive knowledge of Spaghetti Westerns was not proving to be useful in breaking this language barrier. The sun was high in the sky, and his seat offered little shade from its intense rays. He felt the thin backing of his black metal chair heating up by the second, cooking him alive.  Jesse sighed, propping an elbow on the small table and resting a head in his hand. Zenyatta, who sat in the chair across from him, lowered the newspaper he held in order to hide his face and looked at Jesse.

“What troubles you?” Zenyatta asked.

Jesse groaned and vaguely gestured at Dante at the other side of the square. The man sat in the outdoor seating area of the same five-star restaurant they had met Selina at earlier that day, and he was surrounded by a gang of other men in similarly expensive-looking suits. “Nothing’s happenin’,” Jesse said.

“Give it time,” Zenyatta said, lifting the newspaper in front of his face once more.

“Ain’t you overheating out here?” Jesse asked, glancing down at his own metal arm. “I know my arm gets scorchin’ when I don’t keep it shaded.”

“I do have a ventilation system,” Zenyatta hummed. “Perhaps you should ask our over-dressed friends how they are holding up.”

Jesse smiled. “Ain’t that the truth.”

He watched closely as a waiter brought a bottle of wine and glasses over to Dante’s table. The waiter carefully set the glasses in front of each man and poured them off their fair shares of the red drink. Even from this distance, Jesse could see the waiter fumble with the bottle a few times and scamper away when he was finished pouring, tail tucked between his legs. It seemed that everyone around the city knew what kind of shady business the Giordani’s got up to

Dante waited to take a sip of his drink until his companions had done so first. A smart move with an assassin on the loose, Jesse thought, but he could not ignore the selfishness of the action. Dante clearly didn’t care about his peers if he was willing to let them potentially be poisoned in order to save his own hide. The idea was unsettling to Jesse, for he knew that Dante would betray them too if it came down to it.

Jesse pulled his eyes away from Dante to shoot a quick glance towards the rooftops. “How ya doin’ there, Han?” Jesse asked into his communicator as discreetly as he could manage.

“I have eyes on Dante,” Hanzo’s voice replied a second later, crackling over the radio waves.

“See anythin’ interesting?”

“I seem to have spotted an omnic with glasses taped to his head sitting across from an American cowboy.”

“Hey, come on!” Jesse said with a chuckle. “I ain’t even wearin’ my get-up today. Took the spurs off just for you.”

“You are crowding the channel,” said Hanzo. Jesse could almost imagine the man holding back a smile as he said it.

“We’re the only two talkin’ on this channel!”

“One too many.”

Jesse laughed and ended the transmission. He resumed his occasional glancing towards Dante, watching as the wine bottle slowly drained and hoping that Dante would want to move to a new location soon. Suddenly, Zenyatta made a noise like he was clearing his throat. 

When Jesse turned towards him, he saw that Zenyatta had, once again, lowered his newspaper and was facing Jesse with his arms crossed over his chest. Jesse had a feeling that he was being psychoanalyzed or, at the very least, judged. “What?” he asked.

“I suppose I am curious,” Zenyatta began. “What are your thoughts regarding Overwatch’s latest recruit?”

“Hanzo?” Zenyatta nodded, and Jesse scratched his beard as he thought. “He’s alright.”

“That is all?”

Jesse shrugged. If he was being honest with himself, he still didn’t know what to think of the elder Shimada. He actually found himself enjoying Hanzo’s company, but, in the back of his mind, it still made him feel guilty. Genji had forgiven his brother, Jesse knew, but he couldn’t shake the idea that perhaps Genji wanted his friends to be angry at Hanzo on his behalf. It would show Genji that they cared. “The guy’s got a sense of humor,” Jesse finally said. “Wasn’t expectin’ that.”

Zenyatta nodded and shifted his gaze towards the rooftops.

“What, uh…” Jesse began, taking a moment to figure out how best to phrase his question. “You and Genji are close. How does he feel about...y’know…?”

“I gather that he is very hopeful, yet distressed,” Zenyatta answered. “One cannot simply forget a trauma like that. I am guessing the Shimada brothers’ close quarters brings up bad memories in the both of them. Genji has been lost in thought more often than usual, perhaps remembering that day . But my pupil knows that things have changed. He and his brother are both in a different situation, and Genji wants to rekindle a bond between them.”

“Power to ‘im,” Jesse said. “Genj has a strong mind.”

“That he does. I am more worried about Hanzo’s will than my pupil’s.”

Jesse raised an eyebrow. “Why’s that?”

“Hanzo has no ties to this place other than to Genji, and that tie is forged from Hanzo’s guilt and shame. Very little is keeping Hanzo here, and I fear that he will flee at any moment and return to a life of solitude. That, and while Angela has been his therapist, I have noticed that she is incredibly troubled. Of course, she cannot disclose any information about Hanzo, but their sessions have brought them closer, likely because Angela has a heightened desire to help Hanzo.”

Jesse stared at Zenyatta. “I didn’t know he was doin’ therapy. That’s good. Shows he wants to do better.”

“Yes,” Zenyatta said. “I hope it serves him well.”

Jesse nodded. After a few moments, Hanzo’s voice sounded through their communicators with a message that Dante was moving to a new location. “Gotcha,” Jesse said. He and Zenyatta waited for some time before standing and following Dante at a distance as he moved toward the Rialto docks. Jesse knew that Hanzo was also following, silently and out of sight, with a bird’s eye view of the entire city. Jesse no longer felt uneasy knowing that Hanzo was watching his back. If anything, he had a newfound sense of security, for he no longer feared in the back of his mind that Hanzo would let them be gunned down. The man was trying, and that’s what mattered to Jesse.


Jesse and Zenyatta now sat in a restaurant by a large window with a perfect view of the Rialto canals. The sun was halfway through its descent, painting the sky with strokes of reds, oranges, and purples. The lights surrounding the canal had turned on, allowing them to still make out Dante and his date on their rented gondola. The omnic gondolier who rowed them along wore a black and white striped shirt and a straw hat. 

Dante and his date did not seem to be talking much, but the woman leaned into Dante’s arms as the boat floated along. Jesse assumed that the date was going well enough, but he hoped they would finish up soon -- he was getting sick of looking at the lovey-dovey couple.

“You are not fond of couples,” Zenyatta suddenly remarked.

Jesse ran a hand through his hair and groaned. “Ya ever stop with the mind-reading?”

“I have good emotional intelligence. Plus, you have been consistently rolling your eyes for the past hour.”

“It’s just…” Jesse waved his hands in front of him, searching for the right words. “We all get it: you’re a couple. Ya don’t need t’go around flountin’ it everywhere. ‘specially when their rich. It’s like ‘Oh, look at me ‘n how much money I can spend onna date. You wish you were me, huh?’”

“When is the last time you have dated?”

“S’that hafta do with it?” Zenyatta remained silent, simply looking at Jesse. “It’s been a good bit,” Jesse finally said.

“How long?”

“Goin’ on around a couple of, er...decades.” 

“Interesting,” Zenyatta hummed. “Why is that?”

“Ain’t like I don’t want a honey t’call mine,” Jesse huffed. “‘S just that people who act like they’re interested in me normally ain’t lookin’ for nothin’ long term...even if I hope they are. After we’ve, y’know, ‘hooked up,’ that’s typically it for ‘em and they leave me wonderin’ what I did wrong. Guess I gotta stop bein’ so nice.” Jesse didn’t know why he was opening up so much to Zenyatta. Something about the omnic made him feel safe, like there was absolutely no threat in confiding in Zenyatta. 

“It is not your kindness that is the problem; it is the selfishness of others,” Zenyatta answered.

Jesse cracked a small smile at that. “Thanks.”

As Zenyatta nodded, Jesse turned back towards the water. The sun had nearly left the sky, allowing the bright lights around the busy city to shine through the darkness. The gondolier had attached a lantern to the front of the gondola, allowing him to navigate through the dark waters. It looked to Jesse like a ferryman rowing a couple of lost souls across the River Styx. 

“I have visual,” Hanzo suddenly said through his com. 

Jesse straightened up in his chair. “What? Where?”

“Watch your three o’clock, on the roof of the red brick building.”

Jesse spoke into the channel he had told Dante to stay on. “You need to get to land,” he said. “Target’s been spotted and we wanna work on safely extracting you.” 

“Copy,” Dante said, and Jesse watched him untangle himself from his date and lean forward to convey his message to the gondolier. 

Jesse looked up to the roof of the red brick building and, in the light of an adjacent window, Jesse briefly spotted a patch of white stealing away behind a chimney. “See ‘em,” he said to Hanzo. 

“Firing to incapacitate,” Hanzo said. 

Jesse and Zenyatta got up and moved towards the where Dante would soon be docking. “Do not let them fall off of the roof,” Zenyatta said. 

“Yeah, maybe wait ‘til he’s closer to the ground to fire.”

“Our target is armed with kunai,” Hanzo said. “He does not need to be closer to the ground to strike. I am moving in.”

If he didn’t know what was going on, Jesse would have mistaken the faint twang of the arrow being release for a gust of wind. He and Zenyatta neared the dock just as Dante’s gondola was being anchored to a wooden post. Dante kissed his date goodbye and jogged to stand with them. Jesse and Zenyatta stood on either side of Dante and began walking fast back to the Giordani mansion. 

“Status report, Han,” Jesse said.

Hanzo took a minute to reply, and when he finally did, Jesse could tell that he was moving fast. “Target dodged the arrow and ran. I am in pursuit.”

“Be careful,” Jesse said. He ushered Dante across a stone bridge over the canal and down the road. They passed a few more buildings and docked boats before hearing a giant splash from the ocean beside them.

“Target dove into the ocean,” Hanzo said. “And my sonic arrows are giving me no visual. I am following.”

“Wait, Hanzo--” Jesse was interrupted by another large splash to his left. He looked out into the water, trying to catch a glimpse of either of the two bodies, but he came up empty. “Well, shit.”

Dante tugged on Jesse’s arm. “Come on,” he said. “I don’t want to be out here in the open any longer.”

“I hear ya, I hear ya,” Jesse huffed. He and Zenyatta continued rushing Dante back to his home. The guards posted at the front entrance to the grounds let them pass immediately at the sight of Dante. 

They entered the dark foyer of the mansion. The large open space accompanied with such little lighting left Jesse with a spooked feeling. He wondered if perhaps the mansion were haunted  -- it seemed like the type of Victorian-era home that was always a hotspot for ghosts in the movies.

Dante turned to them. “Selina will want to see you. To the top of the stairs to the right, the room with the double doors,” he said bluntly and turned to walk in a different direction. Jesse listened to the tapping of his leather shoes against the marble floors slowly fade away before he and Zenyatta began their ascent.

Selina met them at the very top of the stairway. She nodded at Jesse, and he smiled and nodded back, figuring he might as well keep playing the part of the friendly officer. “Follow me,” she said, leading them to the double doors that Dante had mentioned. Jesse followed her inside.

The room was just as he remembered it when Gabriel had shot Antonio dead all those years ago. The large, black desk sat facing the door with three large windows behind it. The white floors stuck out amongst the glaring red of the walls, and a small library of books sat in a case on the left. Jesse could picture that night of the Venice Incident, Reyes shooting Antonio square in the chest, and the man plummeting through the window behind him to his death. Being back in this place almost made Jesse shudder. 

As Zenyatta moved to enter the room, Selina held out a hand to stop him. “Just Joel, please,” she said with a smirk. Zenyatta looked towards Jesse.

“Er, you could wait just out there for now, if that’s alright?” Jesse asked.

Zenyatta nodded and discreetly tapped his com. Jesse nodded back, making sure that the device was on and that Zenyatta would be able to hear everything that he said. Selina shut the doors and stood with her back to him for a moment.

“How did it go?” she asked.

“We found the assassin, ‘n my friend gave ‘em a chase into the ocean, but I don’t think he’s gonna catch our target. We know the assassin’s still out there, though, so you may wanna get some extra guards to walk around with you for a while.”

Selina nodded, her back still to Jesse. “Thank you.”

A haunting silence filled the room. Jesse took a few steps back toward the desk. “Uh…”

“How did it feel?” Selina asked. “How did it feel to murder my father?”

“Wha-”

When Selina turned to face him, Jesse saw that she had a pistol aimed straight at him. Her glare was piercing. “You think I don’t recognize you, Jesse McCree? I watched that news broadcast too many times to count, with the members of Blackwatch’s pictures plastered front and center. I could never forget your face, even with that disguise. Now answer my question. What was it like to take a little girl’s father away from her, to leave her with nothing but a tainted family name?”

“It wasn’t the plan-”

“Tell me!” Selina shrieked. A tear rolled slowly down her cheek.

“Look, we can talk this through-”

Seconds before Selina pulled the trigger, Jesse was shocked by the window shattering behind him, glass shards spraying the room. The shot of Selina’s pistol sounded as Jesse was tackled to the ground by a soaking wet Hanzo. Not wasting a moment more, Jesse unfastened his Peacekeeper from where it was hidden and shot Selina in the shin. She wailed and fell to the ground.

Jesse untangled himself from Hanzo and walked over to Selina, kicking the gun out of her reach. He aimed Peacekeeper at her head. “Call off the guards,” he said.

Selina slowly rose and limped to the intercom, holding down the button to make an announcement. “No threat, false alarm,” she said through tears. “Back to your posts.”

Once she was done, Jesse shot out the button on the intercom, causing sparks to shoot out from the damage. He turned to Hanzo who sat on the ground in a puddle of water with his back to the desk, bow propped up next to him. He walked to the man and offered him a hand, which Hanzo accepted.

As Jesse started to pull Hanzo up, the man groaned in pain and snatched his arm away, clutching his shoulder. “What’s wrong?” Jesse asked frantically.

“It is nothing,” Hanzo replied as he stood, still clutching his shoulder. Scratches from the glass covered his hands.

“Lemme see,” Jesse said, gently grasping Hanzo’s wrist and guiding his hand away from his shoulder. Hanzo’s hand was covered in a layer of blood and more was oozing from the bullet wound.

“God, Han, you didn’t have to take a bullet for me,” Jesse said. He pinged for Tracer on his com and requested immediate emergency evacuation. Meeting coordinates were sent back not too far from the Rialto neighborhood. “Come on.” Jesse turned his back to Hanzo and lowered himself. “Jump on.”

“I am not getting on your back,” Hanzo mumbled. “I can walk.”

“You sure can,” Jesse said. He lifted Hanzo by his thighs causing the man to wrap his arms around Jesse’s neck to keep from falling. Jesse allowed Hanzo to quickly grab his bow before opening the double doors, leaving a sobbing Selina behind them.

The sight that greeted them when the doors opened was surprising to say the least. Zenyatta floated in the middle of the room, orbs circling around his head, with the bodies of fifteen unconscious guards surrounding him. “Sorry, I was a bit busy,” Zenyatta said. He looked at Hanzo and allowed one of his orbs to float over to the injured man. Jesse heard Hanzo let out a small sigh of relief.

“Alright, let’s get out of here,” Jesse said and took off running down the stairway. The trip was made slightly difficult with the weight of Hanzo on his back, but Jesse urged his body to maintain some stamina. 

The three exited the Giordani mansion and ran for their extraction point. The whole situation gave Jesse a huge case of deja vu, but this time, luckily the alarms did not sound until the mansion was a safe distance behind them. “How did you know where to find me,” Jesse asked Hanzo.

Hanzo’s head was leaning on Jesse’s shoulder, wet hair dripping and soaking through his clothing. “I lost our target, so I went to come meet you at the manor. The guards would not let me pass, so I climbed the building. That is when I spotted you.”

Jesse adjusted his grip on Hanzo. “Well, thank ya, partner. You saved my hide back there. But don’t risk your life like that again. Could get yourself killed next time.”

Hanzo was silent. Jesse frowned and continued running off into the night, thankful that most of Rialto’s residents had retired to their homes. He ran by canals, through alleyways, and across lanes of traffic until he made it to the Giardini Reali di Venezia, the Royal Gardens, which was their extraction point. 

Tracer was waiting for them, doors to the dropship open for Jesse and Zenyatta to hurry inside. Once they entered, Tracer took to the sky and set off for Gibraltar. Jesse laid Hanzo down in a cot that he pulled from the supply closet and let Zenyatta get to work examining him. All the while, Hanzo kept saying that he was ‘fine’ and ‘do not trouble yourself over it.’ All the while, Zenyatta ignored him and put pressure on the wound while Jesse located a tourniquet.

Zenyatta fastened the tourniquet to Hanzo’s shoulder in order to stop the excessive blood flow. Hanzo frowned. “I am sorry I did not catch the target,” he suddenly said. “I promise I will do better next time.”

Jesse shook his head. “That don’t matter. We’re all safe, and we got some information. Everything’s good. Y’did real good.”

Hanzo looked up at the ceiling. “Thank you,” he whispered. 

Jesse took a seat next to the man and looked at him in awe. Hanzo saved Jesse like it was nothing, and even that wasn’t enough for Hanzo to be proud of. He needed more, he needed to be perfect. Thus, Jesse thought, Hanzo likely considered the mission a complete failure. 

Jesse sighed and rested a hand on Hanzo’s shoulder, looking out of the ship’s window as they left Venice airspace. The lights of the city passed him by, becoming smaller and smaller until they were like ants, crawling around in the dirt and working hard until their day’s end.

Chapter Text

Hanzo’s dreams echoed an old Kobayahsi haiku he once read as a boy:

Everything I touch

with tenderness, alas,

pricks like a bramble.

 

In sleep, he imagined reciting to himself a continuation of the famous poem:

Then why, I ask, do

I touch if all I receive

are bites and bee stings.

 

Then he dreamt of McCree fucking him hard and fast in the dead of night. They were in the cowboy’s room -- Hanzo did not know how they ended up there, but he was too consumed by McCree’s touch, by his tongue exploring Hanzo’s mouth, to care. Hanzo was tangled in McCree’s sheets and had to knock an empty whiskey bottle from the mattress in order to lay comfortably. 

McCree had stripped him of his clothes and prepped him roughly, pumping his calloused, lube-coated fingers in and out of Hanzo’s hole. Now, his hips pressed firmly against Hanzo’s ass, cock sheathed fully inside of the other man. Hanzo bit down on one of his hands to keep from making a sound and grasped McCree’s sweaty back with his other.

McCree took hold of Hanzo’s metal ankles and held his legs spread open, using his grip as a means to pound hard into Hanzo. No matter how he tried, Hanzo could not stop some of the gasping moans that escaped his covered mouth. 

“There, right there,” Hanzo choked out as McCree fucked into him just right.

“And why should I give you want,” McCree replied. “Why should you get t’feel good?”

Suddenly, the scene around them changed. He and McCree were in his old bedroom in the Shimada castle. It was just as Hanzo remembered it: a large bed, a room empty of any decoration, the wooden floors. Hanzo felt as though the walls were closing in. He couldn’t breathe. This place was dangerous.

“They will catch you,” he said to McCree.

McCree looked confused until his face twisted with pain. Blood flowed from his mouth in a steady stream. Hanzo looked down and saw a sword protruding from McCree’s chest and his mouth fell open, a silent scream. The sword was pulled free in one swift motion, and then it dissolved into the shadows. McCree fell to the ground, lifeless.

Hanzo fell to his knees next to the other man and caressed his head, stroking his silky brown hair with trembling fingers. “No, please,” Hanzo whispered to the shadows that surrounded him.

McCree suddenly opened his eyes once more, but something was wrong. His eyes were black, lacking irises, like pools of ink. Hanzo drew back.

“You killed me,” McCree said, touching the wound on his chest and examining the thick blood that stained his fingers. “You killed me too.”

“I didn’t,” Hanzo sputtered.

“You’re a disease. You break everythin’ you touch. Just end yourself already.”

Hanzo’s eyes went wide. The image of McCree before him flickered in and out of existence. “This is wrong. McCree would not do this.”

“But he should,” a voice from inside of Hanzo said.

“He wouldn’t. I do not deserve this!” 

The scene around Hanzo began to crumble. The shadows in the room expanded until they grew over everything except for Hanzo himself. Then the sludge-like entity climbed his legs. His torso. His neck. His-- 

Hanzo woke up with a start. Through his heavy breathing, it took him a moment to remember where he was. The hospital bed and his gown were covered in sweat. He reached to the nightstand, grabbing the glass of water that Lucio had set out for him and taking a few large gulps.

He felt lucky that when he, McCree, and Zenyatta arrived at the hospital, Lucio was the one working the night shift. The young medic was calm and friendly when checking them over. He had skillfully extracted the bullet from Hanzo’s shoulder and stitched him up, hooking him up to an IV for a minor blood transfusion. Hanzo was told to stay the night, just in case.

The thought of seeing Angela made him slightly nervous. Hanzo did not want the doctor to be angry at him and his impulsive actions. He hoped that she would understand his reasoning: that the mission was at stake and he cannot afford to start off on the wrong foot, that McCree was in danger and losing the cowboy would be much more detrimental to the organization than losing Hanzo.

Hanzo imagined it had to be close to morning. Through the windows, he could only see darkness, but the chirping of birds alerted him that it would soon be dawn. Just then, he heard footsteps from the other side of the room.

Angela was rushing over to him, her hair in a messy bun. She quickly checked his heart rate monitor, and after noticing that Hanzo was awake, she frowned. 

“Your heart rate went up,” she said.

“It was only a nightmare,” Hanzo replied.

Angela nodded and stood silent for a moment, watching the monitor. Hanzo let his eyes slip closed again. “Lucio told me what happened,” she finally said.

Hanzo readied his speech. “I apologize for worrying you,” he began, “but my actions were necessary. I had to do what I did for the sake of the mission and for McCree’s well-being.”

“What about your well-being?” Angela spat.

Hanzo scoffed.

“Hanzo…” Angela looked away from him. She pulled a nearby stool over to the side of Hanzo’s bed and sat down. “You cannot go on missions if you are acting on suicidal impulses--”

“I am not doing that!” Hanzo yelled. “Would you have me lounging around the base uselessly?! I was not trying to kill myself! I was...trying to save…”

“To save McCree?” 

“Yes,” Hanzo said with a nod.

Angela looked to the ground. “I am sorry for doubting you. What you did was very brave, but would you...mind answering a question for me?”

“Is this a therapy question?” Hanzo asked.

Angela let a small smile answer for her. “If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?” she asked.

Hanzo chuckled. “Such a cliche question.”

“Maybe so,” Angela said with a shrug. “But I would like to know.”

“And I suppose you would not appreciate a smartass answer like ‘good at archery,’ would you?”

“Nope.”

Hanzo sighed and took a moment to ponder the question. He thought of the violence he had enacted throughout his life, the pain he had caused. He thought of the people he had killed, including his brother. He thought of the curses, the pleas, the prayers his enemies gave him before he delivered a final killing blow to their bodies. “Monstrous,” he said at last. His dragons were restless under his skin, vehemently disagreeing with his words.

“Monstrous,” Hanzo said again. “Worthless and alone.”

Angela nodded and took a deep breath. She took his hand in hers and squeezed, rubbing her thumb over his knuckles. “Would you like to know what I see in you?”

Hanzo said nothing and directed his gaze towards the white wall on the far side of the room. Angela continued. “I see someone who is caring, who is strong, and who is hurting deeply. I see someone who was born a kind and loving soul in an evil place.” Angela squeezed his hand once more, making Hanzo finally meet her gaze. “They saw that kindness and tried to force it out of you, and, yes, they did change you. But, even now, I can see it -- the love in you. You’ve been taught that your kindness is wrong, but you know, in your soul, that it’s not, and that is why it has survived in you for all of these years. Despite all you went through, you’re still caring and have compassion for others, though it may be hard to see at times. You would not be here otherwise.”

Hanzo took in her words, sinking back further into his pillow. He wished that, at that moment, the pillow would swallow him up, engulfing him in a pile of fluff so he would not have to continue this conversation. “It is hard to imagine myself without self-hatred,” he mumbled. “It has been taught to me and I have known it all my life. Without it, I feel empty.”

Angela nodded. “That makes sense. You have never learned to love yourself, so, yes, without hating yourself you may feel empty. But we want to replace that emptiness with love.”

“I will...try my best,” Hanzo said.

Angela smiled at him and stood up. “That is all I needed to hear. Now rest for a little longer. Jesse told me to tell you that he was making you breakfast this morning as a ‘thank ya’ gift, so don’t think you will be rushing out of here as soon as you can see the sun.”

Hanzo’s smile dropped. “He does not need to--” 

He stopped himself at seeing Angela’s stern gaze. “Right,” Hanzo said. “‘Love myself.’ In that case, that is very kind of him. I will rest. Thank you, doctor.”

Angela’s smile returned and she nodded at him before turning and walking away. Hanzo closed his eyes and felt sleep quickly take him over once more.

 


 

Hanzo was woken some hours later by a gentle hand on his uninjured shoulder, shaking him ever so slightly. He slowly opened his eyes to find McCree looking down at him and holding a hulking plate of food. “Sorry t’wake you up, but Ang said ya needed to get some food in ya,” McCree said with a smile.

Trying to rid his mind of the dream he had earlier, Hanzo smiled back and accepted the plate McCree held out to him. On it was a pile of scrambled eggs, three strips of crispy bacon, and, in the center, one huge, fluffy pancake with a slab of butter melting on the center. “Thank you,” Hanzo said. “It looks delicious.”

“The least I could do,” McCree replied as he sat down in the stool Angela had set out. He retrieved a similar plate of food for himself from where it rested on the nightstand. 

Hanzo began with the bacon, scarfing down the strips of meat and sucking his greasy fingers clean. “So, uh, how ya feelin’?” McCree asked between bites.

Hanzo smiled softly. “I am perfectly fine. You all worry too much. It was only a minor wound.”

McCree nodded and took a bite of his eggs. “Our jobs are tough,” he said after swallowing. “Can never be too careful.”

Shrugging, Hanzo began working on finishing his eggs. “Y’know,” McCree continued, “y’don’t have to prove anythin’ to us by puttin’ yourself in danger.”

Hanzo let his fork clatter to his plate and glared at the cowboy. “Everybody talks to me as if I am some child who knows nothing,” he spat. “I know I do not have to prove anything.”

“Y’clearly don’t,” McCree shot back. “Talkin’ about doin’ better next time as you’re lyin’ in the dropship soakin’ wet with a gunshot wound.”

“You know nothing,” Hanzo growled.

McCree sighed and set his plate down. “Look, Han, I’ve lost plentya people in this job. Don’t wanna lose another one because I made him think he had somethin’ to prove to me.”

Hanzo shook his head. “It has nothing to do with that. I have told you that the way you originally treated me was beyond excusable.”

“Come to karaoke night,” McCree blurted suddenly. 

“What?” Hanzo asked, raising an eyebrow at the cowboy.

“Tomorrow night, instead of doing a movie night, Hana wants us to go to the karaoke bar in town. Come with us, drink a few beers, relax...it’ll be fun.”

Hanzo was silent for a moment before nodding. “I will think about it.”

McCree smiled, and, with the situation defused, the two went back to eating their breakfasts, the clatter of silverware against the glass plates echoing throughout the room. 

 


 

The karaoke bar in Gibraltar was small, yet packed full of patrons. Jesse noticed that most of them were apart of the Overwatch crew, but there were handfuls of Gibraltar residents seated in corners, enjoying the show. All had beers or cocktails and were flipping through song lists at their tables to decide what they would sing.

Currently, Tracer was wrapping up her drunken version of Lana Del Rey’s rendition of “Doin’ Time” as other members of the team hooted and hollered their praises. On one side of him, Reinhardt was insisting that Zarya and he perform Dschinghis Khan’s “Moskau” while Ana, through uncontrollable laughter, egged them on. 

To his other side, Hanzo sat sipping on his third or fourth beer. Jesse was beyond glad that the other man decided to show up, and the more he drank, the more comfortable Hanzo appeared to be. 

As Tracer stepped down from the stage amidst cheering, Hana and Lucio stepped up to sing one of Lucio’s songs. As Lucio sang, Hana tried to imitate the Portugese but mostly ended up bellowing gibberish over Lucio’s lyrics. They finished the final verse, and Hana playfully shouted above the laughter, “I’m fluent in two languages! Any more would literally kill me!”

To the other side of Hanzo, Genji was trying to convince Angela to sing “Mr. Roboto” with him while Angela leaned against him to gaze at the song book, attempting to suggest any other song but to no avail.

Hanzo suddenly turned to Jesse. He was wearing his hair down, causing it to twirl as he sharply moved his head. “I want to sing,” Hanzo said, laughing.

Jesse smiled. “Go ‘n sing, Han. I’ll cheer you on.”

“I want to sing with you.”

“Oh,” Jesse sputtered. “Uh, what d’ya wanna sing?”

Hanzo shrugged and took another sip of his beer. “Let them pick for us. It will be funny.”

Jesse chuckled. “A’right, why not? Let’s sing.”

As they walked on stage, Jesse was not sure what to expect, but it definitely wasn’t for Hanzo to be an amazing singer. As Bad Wolves’ “Zombie” rang out on the speakers, Hanzo hit every note with ease. 

 

Another head hangs lowly,

child is slowly taken.

 

And the violence causes silence,

who are we mistaken?

 

Jesse tried to keep up but was unable to match Hanzo’s talent. The other man was completely engaged with the melody, seemingly forgetting that Jesse was next to him as he bellowed the notes perfectly.

 

But you see, it’s not me,

It’s not my family,

In your head, in your head,

they are fighting.

 

With their tanks, and their bombs,

and their bombs, and their drones,

In your head, in your head,

they are crying.

 

The tone of the music suddenly shifted and Hanzo took hold of Jesse’s arm to pull him closer to the microphone. Jesse stared at Hanzo as he continued with the chorus.

 

What’s in your head?

In your head?

Zombie, zombie, zombie.

 

What’s in your head?

In your head?

Zombie, zombie, zombie.

 

Jesse could only think to himself that Hanzo’s voice sounded angelic. Hanzo’s pitch was beautiful, making Jesse sound like an American Idol blooper by comparison. They sang the next verse and finished the song, Hanzo looking like he was attempting to contain his glee at everyone’s cheering. 

“Didn’t know you could sing like that,” Jesse whispered to him as they stepped off the stage. “That was somethin’ else.”

“I am not that good.”

“That’s a lie if I ever heard one.”

Hanzo smiled. “You are too kind.”

Jesse shook his head, smiling back. As they returned to their table, Hanzo moved his chair closer to the cowboy before sitting down. Genji looked at Jesse and, and he shrugged in return, unsure of how to explain Hanzo’s behavior.

Genji and Angela left to sing “Mr. Roboto,” much to Angela’s dismay, and Hanzo let his head rest on the table, hair strewn out over its surface. He looked up at Jesse, smile never leaving his face. Jesse reached over to pat him on the head, rubbing his thumb over Hanzo’s scalp briefly.

He moved to pull his hand away, but Hanzo took hold of his wrist and guided Jesse’s hand back to his hair. Jesse did nothing but stare until Hanzo started to manually guide his hand up and down the black locks. Jesse took the hint and began stroking the other man’s hair. Hanzo sighed happily as Jesse complied, allowing his eyes to drift closed.

“Y’like that?” Jesse asked, massaging Hanzo’s scalp.

Hanzo nodded with his face pressed to the table. Jesse realized that Hanzo had been smiling for almost the entire night. For some reason, the thought made him ecstatic. He wanted to see Hanzo happy and smiling, to see him having fun. He figured that the other man deserved to feel at ease like this. Jesse stroked Hanzo’s hair throughout Genji and Angela’s song and the one after that; he kept it up until people began heading home for bed, and only then did he rouse Hanzo. The two men walked side-by-side back to the Watchpoint, guided by streetlamps and the light from Jesse’s phone. All Jesse kept thinking was that he hoped to hear Hanzo sing again in the future.