They break up on a Wednesday. Hanzo can recall each word they uttered in perfect clarity. He doubts that Jesse can. His lover… former lover has a hot temper. It is a flaw that many members of Overwatch have. They do not understand that Hanzo does not share this temper. Only his brother knows how to provoke him quickly.
Hanzo’s anger is a cold thing. It coils around his spine, nestles in the pit of his stomach, grows large before his expression ever dares to change. It gives him clarity. The world sharpens around him when his temper flares.
The words he spoke to Jesse had been harsh. They had built upon his tongue for what had seemed like ages. They had been the children of his fear. Fear that his intentions and Jesse’s did not match. He had thought that Jesse was of similar maturity and belief. He had been mistaken.
Hanzo is too old to be chasing dalliances and trysts. He seeks comfort and companionship along with heated kisses and aching skin. Pleasure of the body is secondary to having a partner who understands one’s moods and forgives them. Hanzo is angry with himself for thinking Jesse McCree might have been that person for him.
The base of operations where they are staying has no private rooms. They all share a common bunk area. For this, Hanzo is grateful. There will be no awkward moment where they exchange personal belongings. They are ended completely with a callous, “So long, Darlin’.”
Hanzo’s fists curl by his sides as sorrow swallows him. He will not cry. He has not shed tears of grief since he was a boy. Neither Genji’s death nor the shock of brother being alive has caused Hanzo to cry. The termination of a romance will not break him.
There is nothing left to do or say. There are enough witnesses to their ending that gossip will carry new of their breakup to all who care to know. As much as Hanzo wants to curl onto the thin mattress of his bunk, he dare not. Nothing will announce the pathetic state of his heart more loudly than sulking in such a manner.
Instead, he stalks to the area designated for target practice. His relationship with Jesse has been curtailing the amount of time spent honing his skills. He now seems to have an abundance of it to remedy that situation.
Missions become a place of relief for Hanzo. When in the field, no one speaks of him when they think he cannot hear. They do not talk of his coldness or liken his blood to that of ice water. When they speak to him, it is not out of pity or anger on Jesse’s behalf.
He supposes that his teammate’s opinions are, in part, his doing. Hanzo has never been good at making friends. Family responsibilities had made such a thing difficult. There had been few he could trust, and he had had little time to speak to those worthy of such an honor. Now, he finds that he does not have the penchant for small talk.
There is little he can think of to say. He has known those around him long enough to make introductions an impossibility. Many of the older members are Jesse’s friends or at least comrades. They favor him, and Hanzo knows why. He is personable, charming, and deadly. All of these traits make him an ideal friend to have in the Overwatch crowd.
Hanzo is lethal. His honor makes him trustworthy; it does not make him likeable. His teammates know that he will cover them and bring success on missions. They do not know that he hates strawberries and loves to sit in the rain. They do not care to know.
The missions blend together until they do not. One moment, Hanzo is listening to the yawns of his bored teammates, the next they are under fire. He curses under his breath as he lets his arrows fly. They meet their marks with devastating accuracy.
One runs two enemies through at once, earning him an impressed whistle from Jesse. Hanzo ignores it. He knows the other man did not mean to show appreciation for his skills. It is merely a leftover reflex from the days when they spoke to each other.
The battle is bloody. There is no other word for it. Part of Hanzo revels in it. One cannot be an assassin without taking pride in one’s work.
“Good job,” Soldier 76 grunts at him as the team crowds into their transport. Hanzo gives him a short nod of thanks. The old man does not praise others often. He also does not speak behind Hanzo’s back. He is only interested in destroying their enemies. As such, he seems not to care about gossip.
Hanzo sits down next to Soldier which just happens to be the seat farthest away from where Jesse is sitting. A small burst of pain travels through his backside as it contacts something that is definitely not a cushion. He stands back up immediately and plucks the object off his seat, cursing at himself for not seeing it. There had been a time where such carelessness would have earned him a punishment from his father.
His heart sinks when he realizes that it is a box of ammunition for Jesse’s revolver. It is his spare case. There are only so many bullets that he can keep in his ammo pouches, so he makes sure to travel with extra, “Just in case.”
Jesse will want the box. He had gone through many bullets during the battle. He will feel exposed without the comforting weight of ammunition hanging from his belt. Hanzo hates that he knows this, hates that he cares.
Schooling his face into as neutral a position as possible, Hanzo sharply turns and walks the short length of the carrier to where Jesse is happily chatting with Tracer. He either ignores or does not notice Hanzo’s approach.
Hanzo opens his mouth once, only to halt before a sound escapes his throat. “Jesse,” almost rolls off his tongue, but nobody on the team refers to him with that name. It is no longer his place to use it either.
“McCree,” he announces abruptly. It is not his imagination that the entire ship goes quiet. “You forgot this,” he says as he holds McCree’s precious ammunition out for him to take.
Hesitantly, McCree reaches out to take the box from Hanzo’s hand. McCree doesn’t look at his face. Hanzo can look nowhere but McCree’s. To look elsewhere would be cowardly. This is what he tells himself. He will allow no thought of other reasons.
“Thank you,” McCree says quietly.
Hanzo nods and walks back to his seat. Conversation starts up again, but not well enough to cover Tracer’s, “Much better off without him,” to McCree. Hanzo cannot completely suppress the flinch her words bring.
Soldier 76 clears his throat and loudly suggests they all work on their mission report while the mission is still fresh in their minds. His suggestion is met with a chorus of groans. Hanzo has never heard any proposal so glorious in his entire life.
There are moments when Hanzo misses McCree. He misses sitting with him at night, watching the stars. He misses the way that McCree tells terrible jokes until Hanzo gives him a tiny smile. He misses the scent of McCree on his pillows, and he misses the warmth of him in his bed.
The bed he is currently resting on feels far too big. The last time he had been stationed at this base, McCree had shared it with him. Hanzo tries to take comfort in the fact that his bed would be empty even if they had not ended their relationship. McCree is on a different assignment.
The comfort he seeks does not come. Hanzo knows that he lies to himself. If they were still lovers, he would be missing McCree the same as he is now.
Sleep does not come. Restlessness causes Hanzo to rise from his bed and stalk around the small room. He thinks he would have preferred another set of barracks. The noise of other people helps distract his mind from thinking. All he has in this room are memories of a happier time.
A flash of red catches his eye. It is not the bright red light of a sniper rifle or ticking bomb, so he investigates it. Wedged between the mattress and the bedframe is a small square of soft, red wool. Hanzo gently frees it from its prison and holds it between his fingers.
He knows the exact serape that is missing this small piece of fabric. McCree had complained mightily about damage to his, “…favorite one.” Hanzo recalls teasing him about how they were all his favorites. His fingers twitch with the desire to send a message to inform McCree that he has the missing piece. That which is broken can be made whole again.
Hanzo clenches his fingers into fists and forces himself to let go of the idea. McCree has other clothing. It is likely that he no longer mourns the damage to his serape.
But Hanzo cannot bring himself to throw the fabric into the trash receptacle. He has little left of their relationship but heartache. This is something warm and bright.
Slowly, he walks over to where he has stored his personal items. Hidden away is a small book. Its paper is onionskin; its binding is dark blue leather. His family’s crest is emblazoned on its front. It is a book used for only the most important of notes. Hanzo’s father had filled his with detailed exploits of his assassinations.
Hanzo has used his for a less macabre purpose. Interspersed through its pages are the pressed leaves of flowers, a lock of hair, his mother’s family recipe for oyakodon and random notes that at one point or another meant something to him. Hanzo does not spare a second glance at any of those entries.
He flips to the center of his notebook. There are two entries there, meant to be protected by the other pages should damage ever occur. An entire page is a smear of dried blood. Hanzo does not know if it is his or Genji’s. He only knows that he wiped it from his hand after he thought he had killed his brother.
On the other page is a soft sketch of a woman. A cherry blossom is pressed under her portrait. Both the image and flower had been put there by Hanzo’s hand long before he battled with his brother.
Sakiko had stolen his heart. She had been beautiful, intelligent and kind. Hanzo had asked her to become his wife. She had declined this invitation. Word had reached her of what the Shimada Clan was, what Hanzo was. Sakiko had told him she could not love a man who would do such things.
Hanzo turns her page over and lays McCree’s scrap of fabric onto the blank page he finds there. He digs a pen out of his bag and scratches the lines of Jesse’s face from memory. It is not as good as his drawing of Sakiko. Hanzo is many years out of practice, and his pen is not the fine art one he had used for hers.
Not to mention that drawings from memory are never as accurate as those made from a subject or even a photograph. Memory plays tricks on one’s hand. But Hanzo knows who his crude lines represent. When he has time, he will glue the fabric below McCree’s picture so it does not fall out.
Hanzo shuts the book.
A week passes by, and Hanzo begins to feel comfortable again. The people he is working with were not there to witness his fight with McCree. McCree is not around to make the other teammates feel like they have to take sides.
This break does not last long. Pharah is injured in a skirmish. She needs recovery time. Winston sends McCree to replace her. Hanzo wonders if he accidentally stepped on the boarder of a tatami mat at some point for his luck is not good.
McCree is loud and boisterous. He takes up the space in any room. As such, Hanzo starts avoiding the communal eating area. When D.Va asks about it, he says that he can only handle so much western food. She gives him a soft look of understanding and lets the subject drop.
His words are filthy lies. Hanzo is sorely tempted by the smell of bacon that wafts down the hallway in the mornings. It is different from the bacon typically sold in Japan. McCree is the one who made Hanzo develop a taste for the American style bacon. Hanzo hates him all the more for it now that McCree’s presences prevents Hanzo from indulging in his bacon addiction.
Instead, Hanzo makes rice in his room. He feels a touch pathetic having a small rice cooker sitting on his dresser, but it is still better than the alternative of listening to McCree charm their teammates. Once his rice is done cooking, Hanzo takes it and the pre-made bowl of natto that he had purchased at a local market outside. Rain hits him with a fine mist. The steam from his rice is even more apparent in the cold air, its heat rapidly evaporating.
Hanzo sits down at the worn and wobbly picnic table somebody had thoughtfully dragged back from a landfill somewhere. Even though he and his food are getting wet, he feels better being alone. Of course, this illusion of privacy is broken rather quickly.
A curious whir and beep echoes from under a nearby alcove. Bastion is sitting under one of the eaves, no doubt attempting to protect his metal bits from the water. When Hanzo looks at him, he does not have the immediate rush of suspicion and disgust that he might once have had.
That, at least, is a reason for pride. Hanzo has struggled to accept what his brother has become. He is responsible for Genji’s body. No matter what his brother might say, it is Hanzo who damaged him. Dr. Ziegler’s life saving measures are not to blame.
“They are loud.” As far as explanations go, it is not a good one. Thankfully, Bastion does not seem inclined to push the issue. He bleeps and whistles a few times and stomps over to the picnic table before folding himself into his turret form to hide under it.
Hanzo elects to say nothing. The omnic is not disturbing him. He is almost glad for the company.
Slowly, Hanzo begins to build a different life for himself. Because the base is a nicer one than the last, there is a proper practice range. He throws himself into practicing on different programmed scenarios. Sometimes Bastion joins him, running around on metal legs, trying to shoot targets without shifting into his turret form.
Hanzo earns the top score in many programs. A vicious part of him tries to knock McCree from his scoreboard pedestal for close range shooting, but it is no use. A bow is no match for a revolver for such close range attacks. That does not stop Hanzo from doing his best.
For whatever reason, Bastion has decided that they are friends. Perhaps it is because of the communication barriers he faces with the team. Bastion does not speak words. Hanzo barely speaks at all. When he does, he never tells his new friend that he does not comprehend all of his clicks and whistles. It would do no good.
More than that, Hanzo remembers when he began to speak English on a regular basis. Practicing it in school rooms or with tutors had been a far different experience than speaking in conversations with native speakers. There had been people who spoke louder as if his fluency in the language corresponded with the volume with which it was spoken. There had been a few that mocked his accent behind his back. And there had been a few who never could understand him.
Hanzo refuses to emulate those people. He assumes that Winston or even Dr. Ziegler would be able to retrofit Bastion with the hardware needed to speak like more advanced omnics do. He does not know why Bastion does not have this procedure done, nor does he care. Respect is the basis for friendship, and Hanzo will not disrespect his friend’s choices.
They are an odd pair, communicating in grunts, beeps and gestures. Hanzo buys Bastion’s bird sunflower seeds at a local market. In return, it elects to perch on the tip of Hanzo’s bow on occasion. He calls it Wee-Woo because he cannot emulate Bastion’s mechanical sounds. He can only say what they sound like to the human ear.
Admittedly, the name “Wee-Woo” sounds ridiculous coming out of his mouth. Hanzo knows that good humor is not a sparkling facet of his personality. He is serious. He speaks seriously. “Wee-Woo,” coming out of his mouth never fails to make him cringe. That does not stop him from calling for the bird to give it a treat.
When they have to fly out for their next mission, Hanzo thinks nothing of Wee-Woo fluttering out of his nest on Bastion and landing on the top of Hanzo’s bow. Automatically, Hanzo fetches the small satchel of seeds he keeps for this occasion and holds his palm up for the bird to peck its afternoon snack from his hand. Wee-Woo trills the song of his kind as he gets the expected treat.
Hanzo feels eyes watching him, so he shifts his gaze. He immediately wishes he hadn’t. McCree is observing him with an intensity that Hanzo cannot name. Anger comes to mind, but Hanzo has seen McCree angry before. The expressions do not match.
Whatever McCree is feeling, Hanzo cannot allow the other man to keep staring. He reminds himself that he does not care about McCree’s feelings any longer. They are teammates, nothing more. Hanzo stares back and arches his eyebrows in a questioning challenge.
McCree startles and looks way. Only he turns a more familiar glare in Bastion’s direction. Hanzo sighs to himself. He can still recall every inch of McCree’s body, but explaining the man’s moods escapes him. He is tempted to speak, but he cannot summon words that will not cause conflict. He remains silent.
The mission is successful. For this, Hanzo is most grateful. There are minimal injuries. The supplies they were sent to liberate are secured. They left no survivors to compromise the mission.
The flight back to base is mostly quiet. Fighting as they do is strenuous. It is no surprise that the team is tired.
Hanzo is the last to depart the transport. He puts away the basketballs and tidies the supply crates on the wall. One never knows when they will be called out on an emergency mission.
When he is satisfied, Hanzo turns off the cabin lights and departs the ship. The night is clear. The stars shining down belong to different constellations than the ones in his memories, but they give him a pang of nostalgia nonetheless. A snort escapes Hanzo’s lips. He calls himself a sentimental fool and increases the pace of his stride.
“Where you goin’ in such a hurry?” McCree’s drawl startles him enough that Hanzo halts in his tracks. McCree melts out of the shadows. There is no cigar in his mouth, no red ember to alert others to his presence. Clearly, he has been waiting for Hanzo.
“What is it that you want?” Hanzo asks bluntly. The words do not sound kind. Despite McCree’s relaxed posture, Hanzo can see the way the other man bristles at his tone.
“You’ve been hanging around Bastion an awful lot lately,” McCree says.
Now it is Hanzo’s turn to bristle. “I fail to see what your interest is in the matter - unless you wish to apologize for leaving me little opportunity to call those around me friends.”
Hurt flashes in McCree’s eyes, then anger. “It ain’t my fault you’re not an easy man to get along with.”
“Yet here you are speaking to me,” Hanzo points out.
“You being an ornery bastard don’t mean I can’t worry,” McCree grumbles.
“Worry? About Bastion? You are absurd,” Hanzo scoffs. He moves to walk past McCree. His progress is halted by the feeling of warm fingers curling around his wrist.
For a second, Hanzo’s heart pounds in his chest. He squashes the excitement with ruthless coldness.
“You can’t hide around, only talking to an omnic who can’t speak words. It’s… I…” McCree stammers. The look on his face is the same one he had on the transport before the mission.
It dawns on Hanzo, what that look means. He has seen it on his own face many times when McCree seemed to flirt with any civilian they came across. Jealousy is an ugly emotion.
“How dare you,” Hanzo spits as he yanks his wrist from McCree’s grasp. “You have no right to be jealous. You of all men.”
“Now wait just a minute,” McCree says.
“No!” Hanzo barks. “I will not wait for you to speak dishonorable words against my friendship.”
“I’m just trying to…”
“I do not care what you are trying to say or do. I do not care what you say or do.” Hanzo interrupts. “Do you understand?”
McCree swallows and takes a step back from Hanzo. “Crystal clear,” he grunts.
“Good,” Hanzo gives him a curt nod and stalks away.
The next morning is dark. Rain clouds fill the sky. Hanzo rises and dresses as he always does, but he stops short of leaving his quarters. Much as he would like it to be otherwise, he wants to avoid McCree after their conversation. The feeling is ridiculous. Hanzo knows that he was the one in the right.
But Hanzo is tired of being uncomfortable. The act of appearing calm and unbothered wears on him. There is a part of him that yearns to return to his previous life. Not as the head of the Shimada family, but as a faceless assassin. Living that life is in many ways easier.
A knock at the door forces Hanzo to open it. He thinks of not answering, but decides it would be rude. He is rewarded with the sight of his brother’s mask when the door swings open.
“Genji,” Hanzo stares for a moment before realizing he is being rude. He hastily bows, shuffles to the side, and gestures his brother into his room.
“Good morning to you too, Hanzo,” Genji says with some humor as he returns the bow with more grace.
It is nice to hear his native tongue spoken, even if it is in the still unfamiliar sound of Genji’s robotic voice. It is nicer still to not have his tendency to bow brought up. Most of Overwatch prefers to shake hands in greeting. But Hanzo cannot break a habit ingrained in him by the stern lectures of his father.
“You were not in the mess hall,” Genji comments. His words are friendly, and Hanzo still does not know how his brother can speak to him with such kindness. Joining Overwatch cannot have been the only thing he wanted from Hanzo.
“I am not hungry,” Hanzo lies as he shuts the door. “I did not know you were coming,” he adds on in an attempt to change the course of the conversation.
“Supply exchange,” Genji informs him, “I volunteered to assist so that I could come see what sort of guilt you have been wallowing in lately.”
Hanzo’s teeth grind together instantly. “I am not wallowing.”
The tilt of Genji’s head says that his brother does not believe him. But instead of the words Hanzo expects to come, Genji’s head titles further. He turns his body and slowly observes the entire room.
“What happened to McCree’s ridiculous hot pepper figurine collection?” Genji asks.
“He put it in storage like always when we are stationed in communal living,” Hanzo answers, voice catching over “we” for just the barest of seconds.
“That does not explain why he did not put it back up,” Genji point out.
Hanzo says nothing. He hears the sharp intake of breath his brother takes. It whistles through the metal vents of his mechanical respirator.
“He broke your heart,” Genjis says.
“It is old news,” Hanzo informs him.
“You do not look like it is, ‘old news,'” Genji observes. “You look horrible.”
Hanzo smiles bitterly. “I assure you, much time has passed since we parted ways.”
“Yet you did not tell me of this,” Genji points out.
Hanzo can hear the hurt in his brother’s voice. “I had hoped that gossip would do that for me.”
Genji inclines his head to the side. “But why?”
Hanzo sighs and looks away from his brother. “I did not want to admit to another failure. I had thought that time had caused me to be wiser, more perceptive in selecting a partner. As it happens, I was much mistaken on that account. I am as foolish as ever.”
“He cheated on you?” Genji asks.
“No… I do not know,” Hanzo corrects himself. “He did not view our relationship a seriously as I did. Who knows what he considered ‘cheating’ when his relationship was not one of commitment?”
Genji says nothing for a few minutes. The silence suits Hanzo. What else is there to say?
Eventually, the alarm Hanzo sets to remind him of his practice range slot starts to chime. A loud country western song blares out, the result of McCree’s long ago tampering. Hanzo hasn’t had the heart to change it. He quickly shuts it off. “My apologies,” he says, “I forgot that was set.”
“There is no need to apologize. You did not know that I was coming,” Genji’s voice is kind as he speaks. It makes Hanzo bristle. He is the older brother. Weakness is not to be shown.
But, Hanzo reminds himself, that is a position long since given up. He relaxes his shoulders and shakes his head at himself. Is it any wonder that McCree’s interest was only skin deep? Hanzo is not blind to his own faults. Even when others mean kindness towards him, he is difficult.
“You remain constant, brother,” Genji observes. He sounds amused. “I am comforted by the fact that you do not change. If the world collapses, I will find you perched atop the rubble, waiting to shoot other survivors for interrupting your contemplations.”
The joke is old. It is something that Genji used to say to him when he would collapse from the strain of training, but Hanzo would stay on his feet from pure stubbornness. Hanzo wonders if Zenyatta has managed to teach Genji the perseverance all the Shimada masters could not.
Hanzo rewards his brother with a small smile. “If you wish to join me, I have time reserved for target practice.”
“Fortunately, I will have to decline that offer,” Genji says. “I am needed for the supply transfer. I am absolutely not refusing your invitation for fear of being beaten.”
That earns Genji another quirk of Hanzo’s lips. “Of course not,” he agrees. Shuriken are poor competition for Hanzo’s arrows. Even with cybernetic advantages, Genji’s aim is not comparable to his brother’s. He is better with his blades; Hanzo is better with distance.
At one point in their lives, this is not something that was true. There is a reason Hanzo had nearly killed his brother. Despite what many members of Overwatch think, it is not because Genji had been holding back. Hanzo has not touched a sword, katana, wakizashi or otherwise, since that day.
The pause in their conversation has gone on for too long. Hanzo can only assume that his brother’s thoughts travel down a road similar to his own. “I will see you later?” he awkwardly asks.
“Yes,” Genji answers. They take their leave of each other, and Hanzo finds himself oddly grateful for thoughts of their past. If nothing else, they keep him from thinking of McCree.
Sweat has dampened the hair on the back of Hanzo’s neck by the time he is done in the practice range. His stomach reminds him that he has not yet broke his fast for the day by way of inconvenient cramps. The clock says that it is a bit early for lunch, so he decides that swinging through the main kitchen should not cause distress.
The shouting echoing down the hallways informs Hanzo that his presumptions are wrong long before he catches sight of the kitchen door. For a moment, he thinks of retreating to the comforting quiet of his room. But he knows the voice of his brother even if he cannot yet decipher his words. To leave one’s brother in the midst of battle would be most dishonorable, so he quickens his step.
It does not take long to hear another, equally loud voice to reach his ears. McCree’s timber is well known to him. He has rested his head on the man’s chest, lulled to sleep by the rumblings of it.
Hanzo knows exactly what they are speaking about. There is no doubt in his mind that they are ‘discussing’ him. He wishes that he was surprised, but he knows Genji. The art of stoicism is something he could never grasp. It is oddly comforting that Zenyatta has not been able to break Genji’s habit of opening his mouth.
“You have no honor!” is the first sentence that Hanzo can completely make out.
“Now you wait just a goddamn minute,” McCree tries to interject.
“Do not insult me with your words. I have known you longer than my brother has. My support of your interest in him is a great shame to me,” Genji spits. “To think I could have prevented you from harming him…”
“Quit your bitchin’, Genji. You’re talking like I murdered him. Last I checked, Hanzo is fine,” McCree points out. He sounds angry and distressed. Hanzo still wants to comfort him.
“He’s like a bloody iceberg,” Tracer inserts herself into the conversation. Hanzo is surprised to hear her voice. He wonders if she came on the same transport as his brother. “He wasn’t even bothered by it,” she continues.
The room erupts into angry voices all shouting above each other. Everybody seems to be ignoring D.Va’s entreaties to calm down. Hanzo decides that it is the perfect time to announce his presence. They are, after all, fighting about him.
The voices die out as soon as he walks into the room. Both his brother and McCree are in their respective, self-righteous stances. Part of him wonders how close they were to blows.
“Am I not allowed to be part of the discussion about me?” Hanzo asks with a quirk of his eyebrow.
Surprisingly, it is McCree who speaks up with, “If you'd kindly tell your brother to get off my case, it’d be much appreciated. He seems to think the two of us ain’t adults who can handle this on our own.”
“I cannot tell him something that is not true,” Hanzo says.
“Excuse me?” McCree asks. Of course he asks.
Hanzo shakes his head. “I believe that you catch my meaning and do not need clarification.”
“Well I don’t,” Tracer boldly says.
McCree clears his throat. He looks slightly abashed. “He means that I haven’t been acting with much maturity.”
Tracer looks offended on McCree’s behalf. She is a good friend, or so Hanzo has been told. “That’s a nasty thing to say given your general attitude,” she says with an insulting wave of her hand.
“Not all people feel the need to show their inner turmoil to all who see them,” Hanzo snaps at her. There is silence in the room after he speaks. Hanzo decides that the needs of his stomach are no longer important. He turns on his heel and stalks away. If they wish to speak of him, he does not need to hear it.
Life is tense for several days. D.Va goes out of her way to be nice to him. McCree puts even more effort into avoiding him. Bastion makes sad, inquiring bleeps in his direction, and Hanzo has had to avoid Mercy on three separate occasions. The good doctor seems to think he needs to talk to somebody who can use actual words.
What Hanzo wants is to be left alone. He sees the humor in the fact that McCree is the only one giving him what he desires. Even though McCree is likely doing it for selfish reasons, Hanzo is grateful that at least one member of the team is leaving him alone.
Then McCree is given a temporary assignment elsewhere. At his departure, Hanzo feels a phantom pain of longing. It is like his body remembers that he used to be sad about being separated from McCree. Hanzo will not allow himself to consider the notion that he actually misses his former lover.
Without their resident cowboy, the remaining team does little. They have been down a member for a while. Winston doesn’t like to run a group with less than six members. Cutting their five down to four has effectively grounded them. As Hanzo understands it, the policy is left over from the glory days of Overwatch.
Jack Morrison’s name is a hallowed one. Even Hanzo’s father had respected it. That the remnants of Overwatch revere it is not a surprise. That they hold on to the man’s processes is also not shocking.
The assassin that still lives inside of Hanzo itches at the lack of combat. He has spent many years on his own and has not died from lack of backup. He grows tired of waiting. There is little to do save training simulations.
Try though he may, he cannot beat McCree’s scores on certain objectives. Even though he has memorized the patterns, his bow is not competition for McCree’s gun. If McCree was any other person, Hanzo is certain he would have triumphed over him by now. But McCree is incredibly good. His competency is part of what attracted Hanzo to him in the first place.
Hanzo grunts in irritation. It seems he cannot escape thoughts of McCree no matter where he goes or what he does. Only in battle is there sufficient distraction. Getting over McCree would be easier, he thinks, if he was no longer in love with him. The man is like a splinter that had gone too deep to pull out. Hanzo hates that he still makes him feel.
There is a feeling almost like relief when there is Talon activity near the base he is stationed at. Mercy spends hours calling other members of the team, searching for anyone willing to help. In the end, Soldier 76 agrees to come. The man is a mystery. He claims independence and his own code of conduct, yet always comes when he is called.
For a man who talks like he is a vigilante, he is more paranoid about rule following and mission logging than any of the veteran Overwatch members are. Hanzo supposes it is the soldier part of his codename that drives him. Once accustomed to rigid rules, it is hard to break the habit of them. If anyone could understand this, it is Hanzo.
Once the man arrives at base, the team preps to leave. They are again faced with a team of five, but waiting any longer risks growth in the number of their enemies. Talon is not an organization to be trifled with.
The mission is brutal. Not ten minutes in, and Hanzo’s arms begin to ache. He ignores the pain. Faltering in battle has never been an option. His father would not allow it when he was a young student, and he will not allow it now.
D.Va’s mech starts sparking. Soldier 76 has thrown down so many biotic fields that he has none left hanging from his utility belt. Mercy’s white Valkyrie suit is smudged and scratched with dirt and blood. Bastion’s never ending turret rounds have started to make Hanzo’s ears ring with their loudness.
They work for over an hour, slowly backing the Talon agents into a corner. It is a testament to the quality of people in Overwatch that they do not begin to flag. Despite no longer being in his prime, Soldier 76 moves as quickly as he had when they were fresh into battle.
The blisters on Hanzo’s fingers are minor pricks of pain that barely register. His body thrums with both energy and agony. The dragons are restless under his skin. It is dangerous to release them as much as he has. The Shimada family has lost more than one of its members to the call of the dragons.
But there is no choice. Every battle won is a step closer to redemption. Honor will not erase the guilt of his past, but it will soothe him. Hanzo is not his brother, calmed by the teachings of holy omnics. He never will be. Bloodshed is his calling, and he must be ever careful to keep himself away from the edge of pure destruction.
When he sees Soldier 76 fly backwards from the force of a concussive missile, Hanzo lets out a yell. He does not understand his own voice as the dragons rise from him again. In that moment, there is only victory or defeat, and he will not allow defeat to be an option.
There are screams. There are always screams when he uses the sacred power of his family. Hanzo ignores them. Instead, he focuses on picking off all the agents who remain. He protects Mercy as she flies in, aiding their fallen comrade.
“Protect me!” she orders as she settles by their fallen ally.
Hanzo clambers down from his perch to better position himself. In the background, he can hear sirens blaring. They are a sure sign of the local government taking notice of their fight. Despite the good they do in the world, the new Overwatch is an illegal operation. Talon is not their only foe.
“We need to evacuate,” Mercy says. She relays the order over the coms a second later. Being the most senior member, she is technically in charge of this particular operation despite being a medic who is not partial towards violence.
Still, she knows well enough that some fights need to be fought. She also knows, perhaps better than most, that there are some fights that are best left to another day. Hanzo is not going to argue with her because he thirsts for blood. He is not foolish.
They move quickly, Mercy dragging Soldier 76 along the ground. Hanzo has sympathy for the additional bruises their healer will cause the man, but it is better than the alternative. They need to escape quickly. D.Va is already firing up the engines of the transport, and they cannot wait for Bastion to make his way over to them.
Finally, they make it to the transport. Once inside it, Hanzo drops his bow and helps Mercy move her patient onto the nearby table. The man’s visor is smashed and his face plate dented. His breath is strained. Hanzo is no doctor, but he knows many ways to suffocate another. Shimada assassins are not limited by bows or swords.
As such, he knows that the mask that normally saves and protects Soldier 76 is now harming him. Mercy is busy using her technology to heal the wounds to Soldier’s abdomen. Soldier is touchy about his mask, growls at their healers to leave it alone at all costs.
Hanzo has never been sworn to this privacy, but he knows about it. There is dishonor in disregarding a man’s wishes. It is a weakness in Hanzo’s character that he has never been able to handle taking the honorable path. When he thought he killed his brother, he ran away. Now, he cannot stand to see Soldier 76 die for the sake of his pride.
Mercy is focused on other tasks, so there is no gentle hand reaching out to stop Hanzo’s. He has studied the old soldier’s profile many times while waiting for enemies to come. The mechanisms that release his faceguard are well known to him. He removes the mask with ease.
Though he has never officially met the man whose face greets him, Hanzo knows him on sight. He wonders if there is anybody in the world who would not recognize Jack Morrison, plastered as he was on every news station for twenty years. That he is alive is a bit of a shock.
A soft gasp comes from Mercy’s mouth, and Hanzo slides his eyes away from Morrison’s face to hers. He knows that she has seen what he has. There is bewilderment in her eyes and tears as well. She is shocked by the identity of the man she has been working to save.
Part of Hanzo wonders that she had no suspicion as to the man’s identity. Surely, after working so closely with somebody for so long, she could not have forgotten all of his mannerisms. He looks away, grabs some items from the medical supply containers strapped to the wall. Not all people have seen their loved ones change, he reminds himself. They may have never expected a man as legendary as Jack Morrison to become something else.
Mercy mumbles a distracted, “Thank you,” as he pushes a syringe into her hands. As miraculous as her technology is, Soldier 76 will be in a world of hurt when he wakes. Hanzo has seen her preemptively give pain medication to others before.
Despite what others in the group may believe, Hanzo knows that Soldier 76 is just like the rest of them.
There is a shameful comfort that Hanzo takes in the reemergence of Jack Morrison. All of Overwatch is consumed with the revelation of Soldier 76’s identity. They no longer gossip about Hanzo and McCree’s ill-fated romance.
Instead, the base is swarmed with members. There are many tears. There are even more arguments that break out. Every person who knew Jack before seems to be hurt, angry, and relieved that their beloved Strike Commander Morrison is still among the living. Reinhardt takes to hugging everyone who comes across his path to express his joy.
Hanzo takes to climbing walls and hiding in the shadows to avoid being crushed in those arms. Once was quite enough. There is only so far that his acceptance of other cultures can stretch. He fears that he will shoot Reinhardt if he tries such a demonstration again.
From his chosen vantage point, Hanzo observes many things. The primary thing that he notices is the way all the attention begins to weigh on Morrison. The man is broken. Hanzo recognizes the guilt hidden behind Morrison’s military façade. How could he not? That feeling has plagued him ever since he almost killed his brother.
So when he spots Morrison hiding out in a small alcove that overlooks a small “garden” of potted plants, he politely turns to walk in the other direction. Peace and quiet is a rare opportunity when most of one’s teammates are sociable and perpetually loud. It is just Hanzo’s fortune that he almost walks into McCree.
“Whoa there,” McCree drawls.
For a second their eyes meet. McCree has beautiful eyes. Hanzo has always thought so. Even now, it is difficult for him to look away from them. Thankfully, McCree is not as intense in his need to stare and breaks their gaze.
“Lookin’ for Jack,” McCree explains, “you seen him?”
“No,” Hanzo lies.
“Really?” McCree questions. He is better at spotting Hanzo’s tells than even Genji is, says it comes from playing too many rounds of poker.
“I have been seeking solitude,” Hanzo says, “I have been granted my quest until now.” He makes certain to put a look of disdain on his face to inform McCree that he is intruding.
“Sorry,” the other man mumbles. The clink of his spurs on the hallway is loud and quick as he beats a hasty retreat.
“You’re a scary son of a bitch; you know that?” Jack’s voice echoes as soon as McCree is out of hearing range.
“Solitude is something they should better learn to honor,” Hanzo replies.
Jack laughs, rough voice giving the sound a menacing edge. “You picked the wrong boyfriend for solitude. Jesse is a clinger, always has been. Poor Gabe thought he was recruiting a fellow anti-social asshole, not a busybody who likes potlucks and putting his nose in everybody’s business.” There is a hint of nostalgia in his voice that makes Hanzo move towards him instead of saying his farewells and leaving the man in peace.
“He is no longer my boyfriend,” Hanzo says.
Jack grunts like he isn’t as sure of that fact as Hanzo is, but he doesn’t pursue the topic. Instead he says, “They want me to take over. I can see it in their eyes, you know? Winston is great. He’s smart and more caring than I am. But he’s a scientist, not a soldier.”
“It is a great honor to be asked to lead a strong group of people,” Hanzo offers, “but I have no desire to return to my home and claim my clan’s leadership. There is also honor in following the right path for one’s personal journey.”
“I wish that was true for me,” Jack sighs. “I miss command. I miss making a good team great. I miss all of it, but I almost got all of them killed. They don’t seem to understand that I’m not good for them. I’m not the man I used to be.”
There is silence for a moment or two before Hanzo offers, “Perhaps you should see through their eyes then.”
Jack snorts in response.
“You are not the same man,” Hanzo concedes, “but this is not the same Overwatch. I do not think that you are so far removed from caring as you would like to be.”
“Any of them ever tell you that you’re an asshole?” Jack asks, though the tone is closer to amiable than irritated.
“I was most often found near McCree. He is loud,” Hanzo points out.
“Fair enough,” Jack says, “he might not be an anti-social asshole, but he’s still an asshole. Kind of hard to outshine him.”
“Indeed,” Hanzo agrees. He does not want the conversation to linger over McCree, so he decides to say his farewells. “It grows late. I will leave you to your contemplations.”
“Wait a second,” Jack orders as Hanzo moves to walk away. “Brought these with me when I came,” he says as he walks over and pushes a revolver and ID chip into Hanzo’s hands. “You’re never going to beat McCree in an actual gun fight. Never going to beat him with an arrow in a simulation either, but I think you might get closer to knocking him off his high score pedestal with the right weapon.”
Hanzo holds up the ID chip. “And what is this for?”
Something like a smile tugs at Jack’s lips. “I figured it’d get to him more if he didn’t know for sure who dethroned him.”
“Ah,” Hanzo says as he stares down at the gifts. Jack walks back to where he had been standing before.
“For what it is worth, I think it is untrue that you do not care,” Hanzo says.
Jack turns to look at him. He raises a questioning eyebrow.
“I think that you care as much as you ever did,” Hanzo informs him, “and that you wish you did not.” He turns and walks away before Jack can form a reply. If there is one thing that Hanzo’s mother taught him that his father did not, it is when and how to leave a conversation.
When word spreads that Winston has talked Jack into being field commander, Hanzo is not surprised. If anything, he is happy for the man. Accepting parts of oneself can be difficult. Of this, Hanzo is very aware.
Unlike most of the other members, Hanzo relishes the sudden influx of new training assignments sent his way. The never ending cycle of learning is an easy one for him. One must be a student before one can become a master.
Genji is the one who would throw his studies away when they were boys. It is something of a relief when he calls Hanzo in the middle of the night to complain about all the new battle formations Jack has demanded they learn. Even Zenyatta’s teachings cannot change such a steadfast part of Genji’s character.
“You have already learned them, haven’t you?” Genji stops in the middle of his rant to say rather than ask.
“I have more time on my hands than you do,” Hanzo tries to placate his brother. “I do not have much to do between missions these days.”
Genji laughs. “You do not need to lie to me, brother. You can’t have spent that much time fucking McCree.”
Hanzo’s eyes widen and his skin flushes. Genji’s laugh grows stronger, and Hanzo regrets that he accepted a video call instead of simply a voice one. “I curse the day the spirits granted my father a second son,” he grumbles even though he cannot hide the smile curling on his lips. Hearing his brother laugh again is something he is willing to be made a fool for.
Genji’s laughter dies out, and the next words from him are kinder. “Are you doing alright?” he asks.
“It is easier now,” Hanzo tells him. It is the truth. After so long, he thinks that his heart is no longer broken.
“But?” Genji prompts.
“But I fear that while I am no longer heartbroken, I still love him,” Hanzo admits. It is difficult to say. Were it not for the late hour, he would not even admit as much to his brother. But his sense of propriety has somewhat shifted after being forcibly exposed to so many people who feel the need to constantly share their feelings.
“Ah,” Genji says. “I confess that I do not understand his appeal. Unless, of course, it is for his… aim.”
This time, Hanzo’s face turns scarlet. He spits, sputters and huffs in indignation. Genji laughs, greatly amused by his own joke. Hanzo cannot bring himself to yell at his brother. This is the Genji that he knew when they were young. Not peaceful, angry, or defiant, but full of mischief.
“Goodnight, Genji,” Hanzo interjects as much sternness as he can into his voice. His tone only makes Genji laugh harder. If his body was still flesh and bone, Hanzo knows it would be shaking. Tears of mirth might even be gathering at his eyes.
The metal mask keeps Hanzo from seeing Genji’s features. But his imagination has no problem conjuring them in his mind’s eye.
“Goodnight, Brother,” Genji replies and the screen flickers to dark as he ends the call.
Hanzo stares into the darkness of the room before crawling into his bed. It still feels empty even though he can now count the time in months rather than days and weeks. He wonders not when he will stop longing for McCree but if.
There is blood and dirt. Hanzo’s ears ring from the deafening sound of gunfire and explosions. Chaos reigns in the battlefield. It is clear that a trap had been set for them. There are far too many Talon agents swarming about.
His quiver is empty of arrows. His bow is covered in blood from using it as a melee weapon. Such a use is less than ideal, but there is no other choice. They are spread too far for him to wait for assistance.
If not for the new tactics Soldier 76 had made them learn, the team would be dead already. The Talon agents are moving in ways meant to counter their usual maneuvers. The black figure that teleports himself around the area is doing better than his comrades at adapting to their new strategies. He is the one who managed to shoot Lúcio at point blank range.
Without Lúcio’s support, they have nothing to keep them going. Soldier 76 calls for a retreat, and Hanzo desperately fights to get through the line of agents between him and their aircraft. By the time he breaks through, D.Va already has the engines on the craft warming. Soldier 76 is dragging Lúcio towards the ramp. Bastion is firing away at the agents trying to reach them.
“Where the hell is McCree?” Soldier 76 yells as Hanzo rushes over to help him move Lúcio into the plane more quickly. Guilt is etched all over the older man’s face. It is only visible because his facemask has been torn away earlier in the fight. He is the one who talked Lúcio into joining the day’s operation.
Originally, they had been without medical support. Mercy had gone off to assist another team. Lúcio had only been nearby because of a concert. The seeming simplicity of the mission had made him fit it into his schedule. Jack had promised that it would be simple.
“Ain’t gonna make it,” McCree’s voice crackles through their earpieces. He sounds exhausted. Worse, he sounds like he is in a great deal of pain.
“Bullshit,” Soldier 76 snaps out. The guilt on his face clears away as he focuses on a different problem. “I’ve seen you drag your ass through worse than this.”
“Maybe so,” McCree pauses to cough, “but I’m in a real bad way, Jack. You come after me; you’ll just be committing suicide. Get your asses out of here while there’s still time.”
Calling Soldier 76 by his real name instead of his codename is a bad sign. Hanzo knows a goodbye when he hears one. The look on Soldier 76’s face says he knows it too.
Their leader pauses for a second. “Copy that,” he says softly. “The rest of you get on the carrier. Don’t need anybody else dying on my watch.”
Hanzo knows the order is logical. By his estimates, McCree is too far behind enemy lines to safely reach. They are wounded and out gunned. The sacrifice of one man to save the rest of the group is the most acceptable solution. McCree’s death would be an honorable sacrifice.
But Hanzo knows that Talon might not kill McCree. He has faced down the woman they call Widowmaker. He knows she was once a beloved friend. The thought of McCree’s death saddens him. The thought of having to battle a monster wearing his face is an unbearable one.
Soldier 76 catches Hanzo’s eyes. “Don’t you do it,” he snaps the order as if McCree’s death won’t tear at his soul. He is a good man, a good leader. He is willing to sacrifice anything for the good of his team.
Hanzo thinks that this is the quality he lacks. This is why he no longer leads the Shimada clan. He is unable to separate his heart from his actions. Genji’s death still weighs upon him even though his brother still breathes. He cannot allow McCree to face his fate alone.
Encumbered as he is by Lúcio’s weight, Soldier 76 cannot reach out to stop Hanzo from leaving. Bastion is too consumed with providing cover fire to even notice.
“Hanzo, get your ass back here,” Soldier 76 yells through the earpiece.
The words are easily ignored. Having been trained by the best masters his father could afford, Hanzo is used to dismissing distracting noises. He focuses on scaling walls and dodging around the rubble of the battlefield. He uses what cover he can find, hoping that the enemy does not spot him.
He heads towards the last location that he remembers seeing McCree at. There is a worrying lack of noise across the communication channel from him. Hanzo prays that something happened to his earpiece or that he is merely unconscious instead of dead.
There is a building near where McCree was last seen. Part of it is collapsed, still smoking from what munitions took it out. There are three people poking around it, looking for something. Hanzo snaps two of their necks before they notice him. The third ends up impaled on a section of Hanzo’s now broken bow.
“Goddamn,” McCree wheezes. He is hidden in a corner. His prosthetic arm is mangled and sparking. His serape is serving as a makeshift tourniquet around his left thigh, but Hanzo can still see blood seeping through it. His revolver is clasped loosely in his hand, but his good arm is also bleeding. Hanzo doubts that he can manage to shoot it let alone aim it.
“Can you stand?” Hanzo asks as he comes over.
“Negative on that one,” McCree informs him. He follows the statement up with a chiding, “Shouldn’t have come after me.”
Hanzo ignores the chastisement. “Do you have any bullets left?” he asks.
“Sure. Not that they’ll do much good.”
Hanzo takes the gun out of McCree’s hand and loads the empty chambers. “We must make haste. The carrier will not wait much longer.”
“Shouldn’t wait for us at all,” McCree grouses.
“They are very loyal,” Hanzo replies as he crouches before McCree. Thankfully, McCree doesn’t protest being tossed over Hanzo’s shoulder into a fireman’s carry. Hanzo’s muscles do protest the weight they are forced to carry. McCree is larger than he is and wearing body armor.
Ignoring the weakness of his body, Hanzo sets off at as fast a pace as he is able. He cannot go back on the same path he came. There is no way to carry McCree and scale a wall, so he settles for shooting at his enemies.
It is not like target practice at all. McCree’s gun has more kickback than the one that Hanzo used to defeat his high score. Human and omnic enemies are not as predictable as computer controlled dummies. Still, he can at least fire the gun with one hand. In this situation, it is better than his bow.
The battle has taken a toll on Hanzo. The dragons lay quiet. They do not stir, so he cannot use his family’s power against those trying to keep him from reaching the carrier. Reloading the revolver is also a difficult prospect with one hand, but he does his best. If they think he will make the fight easy, they are gravely mistaken.
“I’ve got eyes on you,” the words actually penetrate Hanzo’s brain. They stand apart from the reprimands that Soldier 76 has been yelling at him. Seconds later the fire of a pulse rifle registers.
“Dammit, Jack. Not you too,” McCree complains as a familiar white haired head appears at their side.
“Seems I have two idiots on my team who don’t know how to retreat like good soldiers,” Soldier 76 grouses. “Can’t let both of you die. It’d be a waste of good assets. Now get a move on,” he orders gruffly.
Hanzo does not reply. He saves his breath for the exertion of continuing to walk with the burden of McCree’s weight. They move faster with Soldier 76’s support. Even with that, the number of enemies increases. They are close to being overrun.
By the time they get to the carrier, it is hovering off the ground. Bastion is stomping on the hands of Talon agents trying to crawl their way into the craft. Soldier 76 launches himself onto the platform, and turns around to drag McCree off Hanzo’s shoulder and into the craft.
Strange hands paw at Hanzo, a bullet barely misses him and lodges itself into the hull of the aircraft. He uses the last of his strength to clamber inside, ending up slumped next to Lúcio’s unconscious body. D.Va guns the engines as soon as they are all inside, not bothering to wait for the doors to close. There are screams as Bastion breaks the grips of the last Talon agents trying to get into their ship, sending them plummeting to their deaths.
“Woo woo woo wee woo,” Bastion chirps chidingly as his ever present bird flutters around and chirps along with him.
Hanso would be insulted, be he knows that Bastion is right.
They break both Lúcio and McCree out of their gear and take them to a local hospital. Their nearest medic is too far away to risk waiting for. The injuries to the rest of the team can be treated with their remaining stock of biotic fields, but the damage to Lúcio and McCree is too severe.
Their story is that a deranged group of fans attacked Lúcio. McCree is supposedly a different fan who was caught in the crossfire while asking for an autograph. Thankfully, the hospital staff are too star struck to notice McCree’s resemblance to his wanted poster.
Mr. Walters – as McCree’s fake ID proclaims him to be – is put in a significantly smaller and shabbier recovery room than music sensation Lúcio Correia dos Santos. By the time the evening news comes on, all that social media can talk about is how their beloved Lúcio was attacked. #fansnotfoes starts trending. Winston has to hack a few databases to alter the picture McCree some hospital employee heartlessly posted, so nobody comes to arrest him.
If not for the necessity of it all, Hanzo might feel bad about the amount of falsification they are engaging in to cover their tracks. It is a strange sensation given that he was raised as the heir to a yakuza clan. Obscuration is a fact when one deals with the unsavory things in life.
Hanzo is so tired when he returns to his room that he almost does not answer the door when it chimes. His entire body aches. His hair is wet. He is not fit company.
Still, he forces himself to rise because he knows who is on the other side of the door. Jack Morrison’s neutral face greets him. Hanzo lets him inside. He would prefer a more formal setting for a reprimand, expected Morrison to prefer it as well.
“Sit down, Hanzo,” Jack orders.
“I would prefer to remain standing,” Hanzo tells him. “I do not need to have the repercussions of my actions softened for me.”
Jack’s expression softens. He shakes his head. “I’m not here to yell at you.”
“You’re not?” Hanzo asks. His forehead creased in confusion.
Jack sighs. He leans against the edge of Hanzo’s dresser and crosses his arms over his chest. For a moment, he appears lost in thought before saying, “I’ve been in love a few times, Kid. Only one person I would’ve risked my life and the lives of the rest of my team for. Take some advice from an old man, don’t let him go. You’ll regret it.”
“Excuse me?” Hanzo huffs.
“I mean it,” Jack insists. His eyes pin Hanzo’s. “Bury the hatchet. Extend an olive branch. Wave a white flag. You love him that damned much; you do something about it before it’s too late. I don’t pretend to know what a man like you sees in Jesse McCree. I just know that I’d do anything to have my one person back, and I don’t want you two idiots to end up in the same boat.”
Jack pushes to his feet and walks out Hanzo’s door.
It is ungracious, but Hanzo wonders how Morrison expects him to sleep after a lecture like that.