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burn in the afterthought

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Hanzo is joining Overwatch. Honestly, truthfully joining the hero organization which doesn’t technically exist now, and is technically operating illegally. (Though, Hanzo supposes, he was born into an organization that also operated illegally.)

After Genji accosted him at the Shimada residence in Hanamura, prattling on about Hanzo needing to make some vague choice soon, Hanzo tracked down where Genji went, as is the logical thing to do. Genji’s trail led him all the way to Paris, where Hanzo was witness to, frankly, a closer call of a battle than he was hoping to see his brother partake in. A brother he recently learned was not dead, but soon may be if he continues rushing headlong into battle like a child.

No one had ended up dead, of course. There is a reason Overwatch was charged with keeping the world safe, if their soldiers’ prowess is anything to go by. Hanzo watched from the sidelines--and if a few stray arrows helped move the battle along, no one said anything to him when he quietly approached their group after that giant robot monstrosity was slain. Genji walked up to Hanzo, rested a hand on his shoulder, and though Hanzo couldn’t see his face behind the faceplate, he was sure Genji was smiling when he said, “Welcome to Overwatch, brother.”

Of course, Hanzo couldn’t hop on the ship that delivered the agents back to their base in Gibraltar, even if Winston insisted it would be okay. He had some business to take care of first. 

And take care of business he did. The Shimada clan was no more and would forever be no more. 

After all was said and done in Hanamura, Hanzo couldn’t bring himself to immediately go to his brother. It was hard enough to imagine that Genji was alive-- really alive --even if his body became an amalgamation of omnic cyborg technology Hanzo couldn’t begin to fathom. Staring your ghost in the face (faceplate?) was hard enough to do once, twice, let alone every day. His dragons constantly stirred under his skin, like worms crawling through his veins. They called to him in the far reaches of his conscious, screaming in the back of his mind, Genji please Genji safe Genji here--

They wanted to see Genji, missed him. 

Hanzo did, too, no matter how many times he told himself that he had no right to.

Weeks went by, spent meditating throughout various Asian and European countries. Eventually, he found himself in Spain. He doesn’t remember how he made it here or why, but his dragons have finally calmed, nothing more than a faint tingle under his skin to remind him of their presence.

The Gibraltar watchpoint is easy enough to break into. The scattered turrets have an astounding blindspot over the cliff face and Hanzo took full advantage. If he is going to join Overwatch, he wants to see his brother first. He doesn’t want to talk to that… gorilla alone. Surely the monkey would understand.

Hanzo begins checking all the high points he can see around the base: a comm tower, several catwalks leading into and out of buildings cut into the cliff side, the top of the cliff itself. Atop the cliff, Hanzo scans the horizon and spots two shiny bodies reflecting the orange light of sunset, a few dozen yards away on a rooftop of what looks like a dormitory. He hops down from his vantage point, sneaks across the small courtyard, and scales the side of the building, checking his surroundings for any other people who might be lurking this time of day.

He pulls himself silently over the roof ledge and stares at the two bodies before him, their backs turned away from him. The two are silent, legs crossed. Meditating. Not wanting to interrupt, Hanzo observes the two for several moments. One is definitely Genji, though he is not the Genji Hanzo once knew, covered in metal plates, neon green hair nowhere to be seen. The other is an omnic floating a few inches above the ground, a necklace of similarly floating orbs adorning his neck.  

Something catches Hanzo’s eyes, something red. 

A red thread loops around Genji’s left pinky, trails down his knee, onto the rooftop, onto the omnic’s knee, and ends with a small bow, wrapped around the omnic’s right pinky. They’re connected at the fingers by this line, this red string of fate. 

Genji’s soulmate.

Hanzo’s eyes flicker down to his own pinky subconsciously, but, of course, he sees nothing. His gaze travels back to the pair in front of him, both externally metal. He can’t tear his eyes away from the string connecting them. His chest constricts, a dark emotion bubbling in his gut. 

He’s not jealous, he can’t be. He knew ten years ago he lost all chances of meeting his soulmate, of deserving a soulmate. Fate would never be so cruel to match someone up with a kinslayer. 

It’s not unheard of for people to not have a string. Everyone is born with one, supposedly, but threads have been known to dissolve, disappear into nothing. Cases of disappearing threads are rare and the cause can’t always be identified. Sometimes, it’s death or divorce. Sometimes, it’s a mystery.

Hanzo is certain his thread is missing now. He doesn’t need to ask those around him to confirm.

Regardless, he still yearns to have someone like that. He wants .


“Either McCree has finally rid himself of the spurs or our security is lacking,” a semi-synthetic voice speaks quietly, knocking Hanzo from his thoughts. Both Genji and the omnic remain completely still.

The dragons purr in his ears.

“I do not know what a mac-ree is,” Hanzo says, the foreign word strange in his mouth. His eyes are still on the red string. 

From the corner of his eye, he sees Genji uncrossing his legs, standing, walking toward him. Hanzo watches as the thread between his brother and the omnic bounces and wobbles in time with Genji’s movements. 

“Ah.” Genji at least has the decency to sound slightly nervous. “Brother, I’m glad you’re here.” When Hanzo says nothing, just keeps staring at the red string, taunting him, Genji clears his throat and says, “This is Zenyatta. He’s my soulmate, as I can see you noticed.”

Hanzo finally tears his eyes away from the thread, looking at his brother as he stands before Hanzo on the roof. Beside him, the omnic stands, shoulders relaxed. “It is excellent to meet you, Hanzo. I have heard much about you.” The omnic’s synthetic voice is smooth, calm. 

Hanzo clenches his jaw and looks away from the pair. “The security on this base is abysmal.”

Genji chuckles, stepping closer to his brother. “I’m sure Winston would be open to suggestions for improvements.” He clasps Hanzo’s shoulder. “Everyone is away right now on a mission, but they should be back soon. We’re supposed to have a meeting when they arrive. Perfect timing, anija .”

Genji takes him on a brief tour of the watchpoint, showing him the mess hall, the dormitories, the rec room, and a few training arenas. “I asked Winston to install some special archery simulations for you. He’s working on them when he has time,” he says.

As they pass the hangar, Hanzo hears commotion from behind the bay doors. 

“Ah, they must be arriving back from the mission. It’ll be a little while before everyone is settled and ready for our meeting. Let’s have tea, brother.”

Genji leads the two of them to the large kitchen area, across the hall from the rec room. He gestures for Hanzo to take a seat at the bar height counter just opposite the stove and begins preparing a loose leaf green tea. Hanzo can hear the smile in his voice when he speaks, and part of him yearns for Genji to remove the faceplates, another part doesn’t want to see the scarred, imperfect reminder of what he’d done. “I’m excited for you to meet Jesse, anija . He’s my best friend.”

Hanzo scoffs. “You have friends at an organization such as this? With other soldiers?”

“Please, look around, brother. These halls are basically glorified college dorms.” Genji turns to face Hanzo, hand on his hip. “Besides, Jesse is charming , I bet even you will be positively enamored by him. Plus, he’s a great shot.” When Hanzo says nothing, Genji continues, smirk evident in the way his voice lilts, “Maybe even better than you.”

Hanzo bristles. “I will be the judge of this Jesse .” He spits the name.

Genji tells Hanzo about his time in Overwatch and Blackwatch, about the missions and mishaps in the barracks over their tea. Hanzo doesn’t divulge any stories of the last ten years of his life, and Genji doesn’t ask. Genji talks and talks until their tea cools to room temperature, the leaves bitter and wilting at the bottom of their mugs. 

“All agents report to Conference Room A. All agents report to Conference Room A, ” a synthetic female voice booms all around the kitchen. 

“Ah, everyone must be settled. Come.” Genji rises from the table and walks to the sink, both mugs in his hands. He drops them unceremoniously into the metal tub before walking past Hanzo, out of the kitchen, through a hallway, a left, two rights, another left. 

Hanzo can practically feel Genji buzzing beside him as they walk, the cyborg obviously excited to introduce Hanzo to the rest of the team. 

If only Hanzo were that excited.

A cold, heavy feeling settles low in his gut, a basal level of nervousness and anxiety. Everyone in the conference room knows , has seen the aftermath of what he did to Genji. Those he met in Paris didn’t seem to bat an eye at him when Genji introduced him then, but Genji told him there are now over a dozen active agents. Hanzo hadn’t met several of the returning agents and he didn’t know how they would react to hearing a kinslayer will be joining their ranks.

Hanzo especially was worried about this Jesse character. If Genji is close to Jesse, then surely he knows the full extent of the irreparable damage Hanzo caused Genji. As positive Genji is about their meeting, Hanzo remains uncertain. No good friend would welcome the man who tried to kill their best friend.

As they round the corner, Hanzo sees an open door and hears loud chatter from within. A plaque reading Conference Room A is nailed to the right of the door frame, slightly crooked. Genji dramatically gestures with one arm for Hanzo to enter ahead of him.

There are about a dozen agents sitting in corporate-looking swivel chairs spaced evenly around the ovular conference table. Hanzo recognizes a few, but only by their call signs-- Tracer, Winston, Mercy, Mei . Hanzo makes note of the Bastion unit standing at one end of the table. A hamster is sitting in a small fleece bed on the table, directly in front of Winston. He spies the omnic, Genji’s soulmate, floating a few feet above the ground in between the good doctor and the gorilla. A few other agents are standing in the corner, grouped up and chatting animatedly, one man facing away from the door. Hanzo knows, immediately, that this man must be Jesse McCree. 

He’s wearing a ridiculous cowboy hat and boots with spurs . Actual, literal spurs. Inside a secret base housing highly trained soldiers. He seems to be the kind of foolish company Genji would keep.

When Hanzo steps through the threshold, all noise ceases, except the man with the ill-placed cowboy clothing. He continues talking, while all the agents facing the door stare at something Hanzo cannot see, something in the middle of the room, about four feet off the ground. After a moment, the agents not facing the door turn around and stare in the same direction, enraptured. Hanzo squints his eyes and tries to find what they are looking at, but sees nothing. Even Genji is oddly quiet next to him, silent for the first time since Hanzo made his presence known on this base. 

After a moment of silence, the cowman must realize that no one is paying attention to him anymore, so he turns to face the two men standing in the doorway. A grin spreads across his face. He carefully removes the hat from his head and oh .

The man, as foolish as his aesthetic may be, is attractive . He stands a few inches taller than Hanzo, all broad shoulders and chest. His eyes are the amber color of whiskey, like the sweet honey Hanzo drips into his tea. Deep chestnut locks lay pressed against his head, slightly matted from wearing the hat, long enough to curl slightly around his chin. A scruffy beard lines his jawline, softening his face and adding to his purposefully-tousled look. He wears jeans with rips in the knees, holes scattered up the thighs, the denim clinging sinfully to his hips. A red thing is wrapped around his neck and draped over his shoulders, like a pancho. 

Hanzo feels warmth replace the sinking feeling low in his gut. He knows he’s staring shamelessly at this man, this ridiculous cowman, but he can’t stop.

In his peripheral vision he sees a few pointed looks thrown to Genji, registers Genji shaking his head minutely. 

But he can’t take his eyes off that man.

“Well, howdy. Must be the one and only Shimada Hanzo,” the cowman says. He makes his way across the conference room, hand outstretched for a handshake. In three long strides, he’s two feet away from Hanzo. That lopsided grin is stretching his face, accentuating the crows feet in the corners of his eyes. “ Name’s McCree, Jesse McCree. It’s a mighty pleasure finally meetin’ ya, doll.”

Hanzo’s hands remain at his side, unmoving. He drags his gaze away from the man’s face, down to the hand offered to him, back up to make eye contact with this Jesse . He feels a smirk tug at his lips as he says, “I am sure it is.”

A look of surprise sparks the man’s eyes momentarily. Then a laugh escapes him, bubbling out from deep within his chest. Hanzo can practically feel it rattle his bones. McCree turns to Genji, mirth plain across his face. “I like this fella.” He gives Hanzo another smile, this one smaller, more relaxed. “Welcome to Overwatch, partner.”

Hanzo nods, effectively dismissing him. 

Jesse turns back to the rest of the room. Everyone else is still quiet, their eyes darting between Jesse and Hanzo. “Why’s everyone so quiet, anyhow? We got a new recruit here and y’all are bein’ awful cold.”

Across the room, Winston clears his throat. “R-right. Everyone, welcome the newest member of Overwatch, Shimada Hanzo.” 

A few agents Hanzo doesn’t recognize simply nod in his direction before turning their attention to Winston. Mercy smiles softly at him, Mei gives him a double thumbs-up and pointedly moves her eyes between himself and McCree, Reinhardt slaps him jovially on the back as he passes the large man on his way to the nearest open seat. 

He can’t help but feel that he’s missing out on something. Was everyone expecting McCree to lash out at him? Were they anticipating a fight between the two? Did he have something on his face?

Genji refuses to look in Hanzo’s direction. The brat doesn’t have the decency to even turn his body in Hanzo’s direction and pretend he’s looking at his brother when he tells Hanzo to sit in the empty folding chairs in a corner of the room.

Hanzo doesn’t see the red thread bisecting the room in two, anchoring himself to one Jesse McCree sitting in the opposite corner of the conference room.