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Striptease

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“It is nearly your birthday, aniki.” Genji piped from across the table. “The big three-O!”

Hanzo looked up from his newspaper, arched one imperious eyebrow and then returned to gazing at the obituaries as if Genji had never spoken. He knew it wouldn’t deter his brother, as evidenced by a delighted snort but it was never a good idea to encourage whatever idiocy was about to come out of his mouth.

And idiocy it certainly was.

“We should throw you a party!”

“No,” Hanzo replied instantly. The top of the newspaper was sinking, giving him a good view of Genji as he munched on his corn flakes with as much grace and manners as a hyena on a gazelle carcass.

The room around them was lit by the morning sun streaming in through large windows, making the bright blue tiles that lined the walls even brighter and highlighting the large mess Genji had left in Hanzo’s usually neat and ordered kitchen.

“Wow, you are so boring,” Genji whined, wiping milk from his chin with the back of his hand. “You are even going grey. You are only thirty but you are all grey and sad and don’t have any friends.” He sniffed. “Except for that weird French lady that threw a dart at my head once.”

Unwillingly, Hanzo’s hand fluttered self-consciously up to the tufts of hair that framed his face, knowing that there was indeed some silver coming through. It’s distinguished, he had told himself just last night, as he considered the merits of hair dye.

“It is because you are stressed.” Genji continued, waving his spoon around. Hanzo eyed the milk spots that appeared on his dark rosewood kitchen table with every flourish.

“If you are suggesting you have stressed me enough to send me grey, then for once we agree on something,” Hanzo snapped. He folded up his paper, placed it neatly on the table and grabbed for his half-finished coffee instead. He sipped at it, eyeing his brother unhappily over the rim.

Genji only laughed and dropped his spoon into the bowl with a clatter that made Hanzo flinch. “No way, I am the only fun thing in your life. It is your job sending you over the edge. Obviously. I know dad was all ‘you must be a lawyer and slave away for me for years until your hair goes grey and you hate your life’ but you totally don’t actually have to do that.”

Hanzo didn’t have an answer for that, only a sour downturn of his lips. This was a familiar argument and one he was not willing to get into now. Shimada & Co was his birthright and expectations had always been high. Regardless of whether or not he enjoyed stepping onto a courtroom and defending criminals by shooting down his enemies with precisely worded arguments (he did) or having to deal with their overbearing father, annoying clients and a printer that would only ever beep boop rather than do its intended job (he really did not) was beside the point. The point was, he did not appreciate the constant needling, as if he really would drop his entire life’s work because Genji thought it was a good idea.

“Buuuut since you never ever listen to me about that, you need to have a party instead.”

Hanzo readjusted his silk blue nightgown, pulling it more securely over his crossed legs and still didn’t answer. He sipped at his coffee instead, down to the last drop and placed to back on the waiting coaster.

“Thirty, Hanzo, thirty! You are wasting your life!”

“Says the twenty-seven year old who will not move out of his brother’s house because he can not keep a job. the reason being, and this is the best part, he keeps sleeping with his co-workers.” Hanzo finally snapped back. But that particular arrow had been released so many times, it missed its mark entirely.

Genji was practically leaning across the table, so eager to get his point across, his bowl of corn flakes dangerously close to spilling with his chest pressed against it. “Please, please, niisan. Let’s have a birthday party!”

“Tch,” Hanzo spat out the sound, leaning forward quickly to hook a finger around the rim of Genji’s bowl and pull it away from him before there was a disaster. “You are a nuisance, Genji.”

“Is that a yes?” He was making that face again (it had somehow secured him a new motorbike last year) and Hanzo made a desperate attempt to stare at the wall instead but his resistance was crumbling and he was certain Genji could sense it.

Genji could sense it like a shark smelling blood, his nostrils even flared. “Just a little one? We can do it here. I’ll bring some friends over, we will have some drinks, you can invite French lady and whoever else you know; do you even know anyone else? Wait, do not answer that. I promise I will be on my best behaviour and I will even try get another job.”

Hanzo hummed noncommittally. “Why must we do it here?”

Genji’s eyebrows shot up, disappeared into his hair. Black, thankfully. The green was still a horrible memory. “Your house is huge. It has four bedrooms.”

“Three,” Hanzo sniffed. “The other one is my training room.”

“Four bedrooms, three bathrooms, study, lounge, kitchen, that other kitchenette upstairs that I am still confused about, laundry, greenhouse, weird little library room, dining room, that huge lounge with the big sofa nobody ever sits on.” Genji rattled off the list gleefully. “I think there is more than enough room for a party. I will even organize someone to clean up the next day. Come on, please. I want to do something nice for you.”

There was two ways this could go; Hanzo could give in with minimum fuss and endure the party or he could struggle and end up enduring a party anyway. He decided to bow out of the fight gracefully this time.

“Very well. You may have your party.”

Thanks to the superb craftsmanship of his very expensive kitchen table it hardly shifted at all when Genji slammed his hands down triumphantly. “You are going to love it, aniki!” He beamed. “I’ll organize the stripper tonight.”

The smile that had begun tilting the right corner of Hanzo’s mouth up disappeared in an instant. “Absolutely not. No stripper. Do not even joke. Genji.”

“But-”

Urusai yo.” Hanzo stood up from the table, pushing the sleeves back on his nightgown before picking up the bowl and cup. “Do not test me. If you even attempt to follow through with that ridiculous idea, I will organize a lunch with father and force you to attend.” It was the worst threat either of them could imagine, even if it also hurt them both.

Genji deflated with a sigh and splayed out across the table. “Aw,” he whined.

“Is that understood? No stripper. Just some friends and some drinks. That is all.” He turned his back on his brother and took the dirty dishes over to the sink, rinsing them under hot water.

Genji knew when to give in, especially with how tense Hanzo’s shoulders were. “Ok. I was mostly kidding anyway. Friends, drinks, some balloons. Nobody getting naked. Promise. Cross my heart.”

Hanzo looked over his shoulder. “Make sure of it.”

__

Hanzo, foolishly enough, had believed his little brother.

Until he opened the door to find a cowboy on his doorstep.

“Howdy,” the cowboy said, left thumb tucked into his belt and a ridiculous grin on his face.

“Gah,” Hanzo replied.

Before this the birthday party had actually been an enjoyable affair. Genji had decorated the lounge tastefully, a pleasant surprise as Hanzo had been expecting a garish and obnoxious onslaught of coloured balloons and ribbons as soon as he stepped through the door. There were balloon and there were ribbons but they were all tasteful shades of blue, contained in the appropriate spaces and not acting as an eyesore.

Genji had organized the catering, his friends all seemed nice enough and there was nobody Hanzo knew from his work to annoy him.

Dressed in a dark blue suit and hair tied back with a golden sash, perhaps slightly more formal than necessary but Hanzo did like to make a good first impression, he had greeted the guests. Angela, he already knew and he greeted the doctor that had saved his brother’s life ten years past with a warm smile. The smile held firm as Genji doted over her like a delighted puppy.

Lena had surprised him by talking a mile a minute and he understood immediately why Genji liked her, even if he was certain he would find her exhausting after five minutes. The excited hug had taken him be surprise, his shoulders going stiff before she let go and whizzed past. When he followed her back down to the hall to the lounge room, she was wrestling with Genji on the sofa, both screeching at each other like four year olds.

The room slowly filled up with new arrivals and Hanzo stood quietly in the corner, savouring his drink and watching as his brother enjoyed the party that had never really been Hanzo’s in the first place. He didn’t mind.

Then the doorbell had rung and Hanzo had answered it, presuming Amélie was arriving fashionably late as usual.

Instead he revealed the cowboy.

Hanzo looked him up and down, his brows knitted together, expression slowly shifting from confused to thunderous anger. Cowboy hat, brown plaid shirt hanging over blue jeans, brown boots with spurs that jingled when the tall man shifted his weight from one foot to the other. There was even a red serape sitting comfortably on broad shoulder. If forced to, Hanzo would admit that he was ruggedly handsome. He had always thought beards should be neat and tidy, well manicured like his own but with the stranger grinning at him, he realized there was potentially something good to be said about letting yourself go a little.

But whether Hanzo considered him good looking or not was irrelevant.

The man was dressed like a cowboy and it was obvious that he had a stripper on his doorstep. The one his brother had promised he would not hire.

Hanzo was going to kill Genji. He was going to take down the family heirloom sword his father had gifted him and slice his brother into teeny tiny pieces and then put him back together again just so he could repeat the process.

“You alright there?” The cowboy asked. “Cat got your tongue? You’re Hanzo, right? Genji told me you were hot but I didn’t think-”

It was his brother’s name that snapped him from his murderous thoughts and he cut the stranger- no, the stripper off with a hiss.

“You have to leave.”

“What? I just got here. Where’s Genji? Let me just-”

“No. Your services are not required. You are leaving. Thank you and goodbye. I will make sure he reimburses you for the mistake.” Hanzo stepped forward, insistently encouraging the man to remove himself from the premises with a hand on his arm.

“I- what? Woah, there!” The last words slipped out in surprise, as if he hadn’t expected the smaller Japanese man to have the strength to start manhandling him back off the front step.

It was then that Amélie chose that moment to arrive, her sleek black jaguar rolling up his driveway. Hanzo was not an easy man to rattle and later he would tell himself that he did not panic at all when he imagined the amused French rolling off her tongue when she saw him standing on the front step with a stripper or the email she was undoubtedly send around his office because she had always been particularly evil. Or he did indeed panic, but compartmentalized his terror and took the best course of action available, which was get two hands on the cowboy stripper and pull him inside.

They nearly fell over in the process when the larger man stumbled over his own feet but Hanzo kept them both upright, one hand holding the flannel shirt in a death grip to keep him in place.

“Look, darlin’, I think you’ve got the wrong-”

“Be quiet,” Hanzo hissed, shutting the door quickly and considering his options. He couldn’t take him down the hall to the party, that was ridiculous. That was what Genji wanted. He couldn’t go back out the front because Amélie would be waltzing up any second now, high heels clicking and her perfect sneer at the ready. They would have to use the ‘weird little library room’.

It was the first door on the left and Hanzo pushed the cowboy in there as he continued to protest, followed him in and locked the door. The knock at the front door came only a moment later, then a second, and a third forceful one, until Genji finally arrived to open it.

Hanzo looked over his shoulder in warning and the taller, stupidly rugged cowboy man wisely kept his mouth shut.

They listened to the conversation at the other side of the door.

“Oh, it is you.”

“Where is Hanzo?”

“I have no idea. Around somewhere. I guess you should come in.”

Merci.” Contempt oozed off the word.

Their footsteps slowly faded and Hanzo knew it wouldn’t be long until they started looking for their missing birthday boy. He would simply have to deal with this problem quickly.

“Look, the name’s McCree-”

“I do not care what your name is. I am sure you are skilled in your chosen career path but I have no need for a stripper,” he said as no-nonsense and curt as possible, “tonight or any night. Please leave quietly.”

Hanzo unlocked the door and peered out into the hallway and did not get to see the emotions flit across McCree’s face. They ranged to surprised to thoughtful and then settled to downright devilish.

A massive hand pressed against the door and Hanzo jerked back his head as it closed just shy of snipping his nose.

“Wellll now, sweetie. Thing is, I’m already paid for. You're shy, I get it. We can do a private party. Just you and me. Right here.”

‘Right here’ was a small room lined with bookcases and redwood panelling. The only illumination was from a tall reading lamp beside a brown leather armchair. The plush cream carpeting gave the room a cozy and intimate feeling.

“No, absolutely not.”

“Well, that’s a damn shame.”

The words came out in a drawl, lips quirked up and warm brown eyes heavy-lidded.

Hanzo had never in his life considered anyone in his life seductive. Sex was always near the bottom of his to-do list, engaged in infrequently with people he did not plan on dealing with a second time. McCree somehow, with only a glance, made his toes want to curl and his clothes feel uncomfortably tight.

He had to run and run quickly before his freshly woken libido got him into trouble. He would flee back to the party and take Genji by the -

“Heeeey Hanzo.” His brother was right outside the door. “Where the hell are you?” Hanzo locked the door again, it snipped into place. Trapped. “French lady just tried one of the spinach rolls and told me it tastes like disappointment.”

The door knob tried to turn.

“Hanzo?”

His defences trembled.

The room felt too small.

The cowboy was a warm presence at his back.

He could still leave if he wanted to.

If he left this room now, he would have to face his brother. He would push this McCree out the door and spend the rest of his night bitter and angry, anticipating the argument that would fill the house once the guests had left. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to indulge himself, just for a moment. He so very rarely let it happen.

Squaring his shoulders, Hanzo straightened his suit top, ran his hands down each sleeve to smooth out the wrinkles and turned to face McCree. His shoulder clipped the other man as he strode past, McCree shifting around to watch as he settled himself down in the armchair. They stared at each other, until Genji’s voice faded away and only then did Hanzo wave a hand and say: “Well then.”

“Well then?” McCree repeated. He drummed his fingers against his belt buckle (BAMF, really? How inane.) and Hanzo’s eyes drifted down and then up again, suggestive. “Oh, hell, you mean, actually? You want me to do the thing?”

“It’s what you were employed to do, was it not?”

McCree looked weirdly flustered and Hanzo pursed his lips, regretting his decision almost immediately. “If you would prefer not to-”

“No, I mean, yeah! Don’t bail on me, darlin’. I’m gonna give you to the show of a lifetime.”

Hanzo highly doubted that but he was willing to give him a chance to prove his skills. He sat straight backed, legs slightly parted, one hand resting casually on either arm of the chair. Then he waited, trying not to look as if his breathing was already somewhat irregular.

McCree was doing a lot of strange things with his face but he started moving, swaying back and forth, one hand holding the top of his hat to his head and the other hooked into his belt. He stamped a foot, the spurs jingled; he did the same move at the other side and then did a little turn. There was a look of concentration on his face as he swirled his hips around in a circle.

“What are you doing?” Hanzo asked, eyes narrowing. He had been to strip clubs. His top clients almost exclusively liked to hold meetings in places where men and women were removing their clothing. They normally didn’t do it like this.

McCree stopped moving, face flushed red. “I’m getting into the zone, sweetheart.”

“You’re supposed to be taking your clothes off.”

“I’m gettin’ there. You can’t rush art.” McCree plucked his hat off and closed in on Hanzo. “Here.” He dropped the hat on his head and stepped back, fingers already working at the buttons of his top. A process that halted when McCree remembered he was wearing the serape and had to pull it awkwardly over his head. The red fabric pooled at his feet when he unceremoniously dropped it.

Finally the first few buttons on his shirt came open, slowly revealing a muscled chest generously covered in dark hair. As if remembering he was supposed to be to be moving, his hips began with that odd swaying motion again. It felt all too intimate for Hanzo’s liking. A striptease was meant to overtly sexual, a show for an audience. This was far too earnest and horribly sloppy.

“I would have preferred a policeman,” he said, simply to break the mood.

McCree paused mid-shirt removal, one arm out and the other still stuck in the fabric. “Hey now, that ain’t fair. Everyone knows cowboys know how to ride hard and dirty.”

“Stop opening your mouth. It ruins the mood.”

The shirt was tossed aside and for a long moment McCree simply stood there, as if uncertain of how to proceed. Just when Hanzo was about to snap at him again, he lifted his arms into the air, flexed his muscles and thrust his hips forward. Hanzo was genuinely confused about whether to feel aroused or not.

He eventually decided no when it became obvious that this was McCee’s only move and on the fifth repeat of the flex-thrust, he held up a hand. “Stop. Please.”

“What?” McCree was looking annoyed now. “What’s wrong?”

“Have you ever done this before? Is this your first time? If it is not, I’m surprised if you make enough money to feed yourself.”

“Maybe if you weren’t so damn judgemental I’d be doing a better job.” McCree snapped back.

“If you were better at your job, I would not be so judgemental.” Hanzo responded just as hotly. Of course Genji had hired the worst stripper in the city. If this was his only birthday gift, he was going to be very annoyed.

“You reckon you could do a better job?”

“I do not have to do a better job because I do not make money from taking my clothes off. But I assure you, if I did, I would be exhibiting far more talent then you are.”

“Goddamn, I’d tan yer hide if you weren't who you was.”

Hanzo realized that he liked McCree angry. The red flush that crept down to his chest, the bright challenge in his eyes and strong hands curled into fists. It was pleasing. “Was that,” he purred, “even English? Is that why you’re here? Failed school? Daddy didn’t love you?”

“You sonofabitch, keep it up and I’ll teach you a thing or two.” He crossed the short space between them and loomed, tall and mighty.

Hanzo turned to liquid in his chair, legs stretching lazily and gaze amused. It took the heat out of McCree, anger released in a huff.

“Look, Hanzo-”

“You’re not finished yet.” He lifted a hand, long fingers stretched, tapped the belt buckle with his nail. “I’m not going to tip you if I don’t see the goods.”

The cowboy swore, colourfully, in English and Spanish, but finally moved back into position. He released the clasp on his belt, pulled it free and tossed it aside. McCree swore again as he began tugging off his boots, hopping awkwardly on one foot.

Hanzo couldn’t help it, he started laughing. “Don’t you have,” he managed to ask between each new round of laughter that shook his whole body, “those pants that just tear off?”

“Does it look like I have the pants that just tears off?” McCree tossed the first boot in Hanzo’s direction. It missed, clipped the lamp instead and they both watched as it threatened to tip over before gravity settled it back in place.

When he was done killing his brother, Hanzo made a note to also thank him. He hadn’t had this much fun in years.

The boots were gone. The jeans followed. Hanzo stared at the Road Runner boxers, some part of his mind noting that those were definitely not stripper underwear. Then they were also removed. They landed in Hanzo’s lap and he absentmindedly reached for them, rubbing his fingers into the silk. His laughter had fled; leaving a coiled heat in his gut.

McCree was breathing heavily, half-hard and his hands clasping and unclasping at his sides. “Happy now?”

“Very.” He really was very nice to look at. There was a slight gut, easily forgiven, his arms and chest well-muscled, his hair dark and inviting. There was an intricate tattoo of a skull and metal on his left arm that Hanzo would be happy to memorize with his tongue.

“You wanna touch?” McCree had apparently gotten over his anger, slipped just as quickly into needy wanting.

“That would be inappropriate.”

“Birthday bonus.”

“Maybe a little one.” The words trembled slightly when they emerged and Hanzo knew he was blushing. McCree moved closer to the chair, until Hanzo’s stretched legs were between his. He held himself just out of easy reach with an easy smirk. It forced Hanzo to make an effort, to sit up and reach out. His hand ghosted over firm thighs, tangled briefly in his belly hair and then coaxed McCree from half-hard to fully erect with only his fingertips.

“You’ve got a smartass mouth on you but goddamn are you beautiful,” McCree rumbled. It startled Hanzo enough to look up, to see his own hunger mirrored in the others eyes. He liked it, liked this. He wanted to see what sort of sounds McCree could make.

The lock turned and the door swung open.

“Seriously Hanzo, hiding-” The words turned into a high-pitched shriek, Genji reeling back as if physically struck. He clutched at the door frame, pale enough for good old fashioned swoon. But in good Genji fashion, he recovered swiftly, pointing an accusing finger at McCree. “Jesse! Jesse, what are you doing to my brother?”

This shocked McCree out of his stunned statue routine, had him scrambling for his clothes. His serape ended up providing some modesty, bundled up over the flagging erection. “Damn it Genji! Ain’t doin’ nothin’. Well, hell, we were doing somethin’ but-”

“When I said ‘hey come to my big brothers birthday party and be nice’, I did not mean strip off your clothes and assault him with your gross hairy body!”

“He thought I was a stripper! I was just playin’ along. He liked it.”

“No, he did not.” Genji hissed. He looked like cat, fists clenched and back hunched. It was easy to imagine bristling hair and a puffy tail.

“Wait,” Hanzo interjected, his sharp tone turning both pairs of eyes on him. He pulled in a steadying breath. “You are not a stripper?”

“Hell no.” McCree answered, flustered.

Hanzo sat back, closed his eyes, pinched his nose between his thumb and forefinger. A headache was starting to pound and if the ground had suddenly opened up, he would have gladly jumped in. “Well. It explains your utter lack of skill.” He sighed. “Genji, why did you tell him it was a costume party?”

“I didn’t? He always dresses like that.” Genji shot McCree a glare.

“Truly?” Hanzo decided to laugh instead of cry. “Your fashion sense is an unforgivable crime.”

McCree spluttered some sort of reply that never formed into coherent words.

Mon Dieu,” Amélie had appeared behind Genji, sharp gaze roaming over the scene with dark glee. “Hanzo, I did not expect this of you.” Hanzo had a feeling she was far from disappointed.

“Well, I’m outta here,” McCree declared, apparently knowing the best moment to bail from a bad situation. He was pulled on his pants, snatched the hat off Hanzo’s head and rammed it on to his own. “It was great fun for ‘bout five minutes there, honey.” He bundled the rest of his belongings into his arms and headed for the exit. Genji blocked the way and they stared each other down until McCree simply muscled through. The front door slammed closed behind him.

The chattering of voices from the hallway made it very clear the rest of the party was now in attendance.

“Will you close the door already?” Hanzo sighed.

“Oh, right, yeah.” Genji shut the door in Amélie’s face as she scowled. He turned back to Hanzo, indignation replaced with curiosity. “How did this even happen?”

“I thought you had ordered a stripper.”

“You told me not to!” Genji exclaimed, waving his arms as he plopped down on the armrest.

“Yes, I did. I jumped to the wrong conclusion. I apologize.”

“Are you... okay though?” Genji was curled slightly to look down at him, brow furrowed with worry. Hanzo was touched by his concern.

“I am fine. Thank you.” He patted Genji’s knee reassuringly. “So who is this McCree?”

“Jesse McCree. We used to work together at that nightclub last year. He works as security mostly. Hilarious and great in a fight but I totally hate him now.” He shifted, dropped himself into Hanzo’s lap, long limbs splayed awkwardly. Hanzo adjusted to the new weight with a sigh.

“Jesse McCree,” Hanzo rolled the name over his tongue. He laughed, a soft huff. The silk boxers were still in his lap. Genji squealed in disgust when Hanzo tugged them free and held them aloft like a war trophy. Road Runner grinned back at him. “I would like his phone number please.”

Chapter Text

His phone was ringing.

McCree groaned into wakefulness and rolled over in bed, staring up at the ceiling though gritty eyes. It was not a good welcome back into the world, feeling like he had been chewed up and spit back out. He groped blindly, found the other pillow and dragged it onto his face, flattening it against his ears until the music stopped. It started again almost immediately. Good old Morricone’s ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ theme trilled loudly at him and it was a damn shame if he started hating it because of moments like this.

The sound pounded into his brain, settled into his temples with gleeful enthusiasm.

It rang and rang and-

“Alright, alright, goddamn!”

He finally gave in, rolled onto his belly and blindly groped for his phone on the nightstand. It wasn’t a number he recognized and if someone was trying to sell him a new Internet plan they were in for a really bad time.

McCree pressed answer, leaned the phone near his ear and grunted an unfriendly, “What?”

“Is this Jesse McCree?” The accented voice was very familiar and he frowned into the mattress until the memory formed; of three nights ago and a ridiculous Saturday night when he’d returned home with a serious case of blue balls and another embarrassing story to tell his friends.

“Fuckin hell, Hanzo?” He was not going to be able to handle this conversation lying down. McCree struggled upright with a few grunts, until he was sitting naked at the edge of his bed. He rubbed a hand through his dishevelled hair and then pinched the bridge of his nose until he felt slightly less like collapsing back into the blankets. Whether he was awake or this was some sort of dream was still up for debate. “Fuck.” He swore again for lack of anything else and because he wasn’t sure he could handle this conversation sitting up either.

Hanzo made an amused sound.

“So, uh, what can I do for you?” McCree only just stopped himself from adding ‘sir’ at the end.

“Are you available?”

“What?”

“Are you busy?”

“... Sorry?”

The sound this time was definitely annoyed and McCree would have been pleased if he wasn’t downright confused. It hadn’t occurred to him that the ridiculously rich, handsome lawyer that he had pretended to be a stripper for, without any alcohol to blame it on, would be inclined towards a second meeting. He didn’t regret the experience but he’d sent a good portion of his time with Hanzo either embarrassed or angry and he doubted he’d made the best impression. There was also no knowing what Genji had been telling his brother.

Wait a second-

“This ain’t about stripping for you again, is it? Because I told you that’s not really my job.” He hesitated for a second. “But I might be persuaded if-”

“Mr. McCree, I am asking if you would like to join me for lunch.”

Oh.

McCree was a little bit disappointed.

He could still remember the feeling of Hanzo’s fingertips and the searing need coiled in his belly. There had been a moment when he had been absolutely sure they would take it all the way down South, past the point of no return. Hanzo’s eyes had been dark pools, pupils blown wide and a blush creeping down his throat. He had wanted to tear off the suit, rip it apart with his teeth and-

It was very important to shut down those thoughts before they went straight to his dick.

“I don’t think Genji will like that very much.” There were currently twenty-three texts on his phone from the younger sibling; all angry face emoticons.

“I fail to see how this has anything to do with my brother.”

He had a point.

Hanzo sighed and the sound made McCree’s skin itch. “A simple ‘no’ will suffice. Good day-”

“No, wait! I mean, I ain’t said no yet. Sweetheart, I'm so hungry my belly thinks my throat's been cut. Really and truly.” His hand flapped in the air, adding emphasis that Hanzo couldn’t see. Opportunities like this didn't come along every day and he was going to pounce. “There’s this diner down by Main Street.”

“A diner?” He didn’t sound pleased.

Snob. “It’s great. Trust me. German guy runs it and has the best sausages you’ll ever try.” Other than mine, he wanted to add and only just stopped himself. Dirty innuendo was always best kept for when the other person couldn’t cut you off by hanging up the phone. “It’s called Hammer Down. I have no idea why. I asked him once. He laughed and smashed his fist on the table, sent my coffee flying all over the guy sittin’ next to me. It was actu-”

“One hour.” Hanzo cut him off sharply. “I will be there.”

“Yeah, sure. One hour.”

The line went dead.

McCree saved the number into his phone and finally allowed himself to flop backwards.

His phone beeped.

A new message popped up.

Genji: [ (☞◣д◢)☞ ]

McCree ignored it.

---

One hour wasn’t much time to make himself look presentable, even if his usual routine involved simply running a hand through his hair and calling it a day. When he stepped out of the shower and looked in the mirror, it wasn’t the best McCree that stared back. He looked tired and his left eye was sporting an impressive black eye, courtesy of an angry young man full of one too many drinks and a lucky right hook. Most people would be surprised at how rowdy a Monday night could get but under the right circumstances it was a real shitshow.

He downed three aspirins for the headache still drilling in his temples and then investigated his cupboard. Don’t go full cowboy, he reminded himself and was then was forced to sit back and consider his life choices when he realised 90% of his shirts were plaid flannel. Somewhere down the bottom he found an almost forgotten yellow t-shirt he had purchased during a trip to Disneyland.

Sheriff Woody tipped his hat and McCree mimed tipping his back. Perfect.

Blue jeans, yes. Toy Story T-Shirt, yes. Boots, yes. Hat, of course. Serape, leave it behind. Spurs, too much. All in all, he didn’t look too bad. Hanzo would be a fool to turn down the advances of Jesse McCree.

---

“You look terrible.”

McCree fought back the urge to wince, failed and tried to cover it by sliding into the seat in front of Hanzo. “Good to see you too, sweetheart.”

Hanzo had already been waiting when he arrived, sitting straight backed in a booth near the window, eyes narrowing as soon as McCree stepped through the door. Every smooth conversation starter and pick-up line that McCree had practised on the way over (“How much does it cost to date you? ‘Cause damn, you look expensive!”) immediately fled when that sharp gaze looked him over from top to bottom. The instant judgement, plus the downturn of Hanzo’s lips, made him wish he’d worn anything else. Hell, walking in naked would have been preferable. At least he’d already seen that.

There was definitely no Woody on Hanzo’s chest. He was in another suit: sensible and slate-grey, it made him look as though he ruined lives on an hourly basis without looking up from his Blackberry. McCree missed the bright golden ribbon, even if Hanzo with his hair down and fluffed around his chin was a revelation.

“Take off your hat. It is rude.”

McCree instantly complied. His hat came to rest on the seat beside him.

Around them the diner was full of life, the customers sitting at the counter especially lively, responding to the enthusiasm of the chef. When the gigantic man roared with laughter, it was impossible not to take notice or respond with a grin. Impossible for everyone but Hanzo.

“This place is too loud,” Hanzo complained, glancing towards the chef as he blew kisses towards one of the many German flags hung proudly on the wall. The theme carried throughout the room, everything was dark wood or co-ordinated with the black, red and gold. Even so the space was warm and inviting, bold and playful, just like the man in charge.

McCree eyed Hanzo’s small pout and decided this was his chance to recover his confidence. “If you wanted somethin’ more intimate, you could have just told me?” He drawled suggestively. He flashed his best grin, leaning his arms on the table.

Hanzo arched an unimpressed eyebrow. “What happened to your eye?”

“Bad luck,” McCree replied. “Had to toss a guy out of the club last night and he had more hit in him than I expected.” He lifted a hand, rubbed at his scruffy chin and watched Hanzo for a hint of anything warm. The man sitting across from him was made of ice; far removed from the one that had laughed, sneered and set his blood on fire. “So then... what are we doing here?”

“We are having lunch.” Hanzo looked surprised the question had even been asked.

“Yeah, I know but yannow should we talk about... the other night... when we almost,” McCree stretched the sentence out with meaningful eyebrow waggles, “did the thing?”

Hanzo’s eyelids lowered; coy. “I did not realize there was anything to discuss.”

Dissatisfied, McCree sat back against the plush cushion of his seat and crossed his arms. He reached out with his foot, nudged it against Hanzo’s. “Well, I’d say there is.” Hanzo didn’t shift his foot away. “I’d like another chance. A repeat performance, if ya will. There’s quite a few moves I didn’t get to show off.”

“If your other moves are anything like the ones I have already seen, I doubt it is worth the bother.”

McCree laughed, leaning forward and lowering his voice an octave so as not to be overheard by the surrounding tables. “Aw, come on now. Don’t mess with me, sweetheart. You enjoyed it. You’ve got real gentle hands.” And slightly calloused fingertips that had roused him in seconds. “I’m not lacking downstairs. There’s a lot to play with.” It was crude, he knew that and Hanzo looked surprised. McCree watched with glee as his eyebrows arched skywards before settling into a frown, gaze flicking left as if expecting an audience.

Hanzo moved his foot away but McCree watched him swallow, the bob of his Adam’s Apple giving the game up. The other man wasn’t unaffected and McCree decided to take that as a win. “It was adequate.” The response was tart and slightly strained. “We should order. I have a court case to attend at three.”

McCree decided to relent. He was still on the chase, a coyote after its prey but sometimes you needed to give the rabbit some space and let it think it was going to escape, before you went in for the kill. “You right to be here then? Don’t you gotta prepare?”

“I am prepared.”

McCree felt a great deal of pity for whatever poor bastard that would be facing Hanzo down today. “So what’s the case? Who are defending?”

“That is classified.”

“‘Course.”

Hanzo pursed his lips thoughtfully. “You know about my work?”

“Genji won’t shut up about you. Pretty sure I know half your life story or somethin’.”

“I doubt it.”

With the way he snapped out those words and the tense press of his mouth, McCree was certain he had hit a nerve. He quickly changed tact but not without putting that curiosity in the back of his mind for later. A drunk Genji was a fount of information and anything he was holding back was likely to be something juicy. “But don't ya feel bad? Looking out for the criminals instead of innocent folks?”

“No. Nobody is ever truly innocent.” Hanzo relaxed back into his normal snide self. “If you were to sell some of your organs, you might be able to afford my services when you are ultimately arrested for crimes against fashion.”

McCree laughed, straightening to better show off Sheriff Woody on his chest. “Can that tongue of yours do more than be nasty?”

The smile Hanzo flashed, all teeth and wicked eyes, made it clear that McCree wasn’t a coyote at all. He was the rabbit on the run from the wolf.

“I assure you nasty is exactly how you will want my tongue to be,” Hanzo promised.

McCree was feeling a bit too tight in his jeans.

He shifted his legs uncomfortably, crossing them to make his situation far less obvious to any onlookers.

The clunk of a coffee pot landed on their table with more force than necessary turned both their heads and startling McCree into knocking over the salt shaker. He righted it quickly, hands jittering as he swept spilled salt off the table to the floor. A dark-haired waitress stared at them with a long-suffering frown. “Are you going to order anything or are you just here to stare at each other? I have people waiting for a table, Jesse.”

“Fareeha. Ravishing as always!” McCree crooned to no effect. “I’ll have the bratwurst special. And my dear friend will have...”

Hanzo glanced down at the menu and that had been sitting before him ignored until now. “The tuna salad.”

“The tuna salad?” How boring. “Okay, a tuna salad it is!” He tone turned cajoling. “Add a couple of sausag-”

Hanzo frowned. “Just the tuna salad. Thank you.”

Fareeha tutted softly. “Sure thing.”

When she turned to leave, McCree’s hand shot out, fingers hooking at the edge of her apron and tugging gently. “Hang on a tic. Reinhardt was telling me you gonna join the police force. Good on you. I’ll feel safer with your protectin’ the streets.”

There was blush there, even as she scowled and lightly slapped Jesse’s hand away. “I start training in January. My mother didn’t want me to join the army but she can’t stop me from doing this.”

“That’s my girl.”

“Go back to staring at your boyfriend, Jesse.”

Fareeha marched off to put in their order and McCree did go back to staring at Hanzo. His boyfriend. It had a nice ring to it, even his track record on keeping a partner was not exactly stellar.

He rubbed one sweaty hand along his jeans, tapped awkwardly at the table top with the other. Hanzo didn’t seem worried about the comment. McCree studied his proud face, swallowed around a lump in his throat and scrunched his hand into his jeans before he was tempted to reach out and touch those ridiculously fluffy hair tufts.

It was time to go for broke.

“So,” he drawled, “quickie in the bathroom after lunch, yes or no?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Hanzo snapped. His nose wrinkled in startled disgust at the bold question and McCree was utterly charmed, even as his heart sunk. Too soon, too much, he chided himself.

Hanzo added a prim, “We will meet at a nice hotel on Friday night.”

His heart did an uneven little stutter in his chest. “We’re what?”

“I will text you the details. I would prefer not to be interrupted this time.”

The rabbit rolled right over and offered its throat to the wolf. “Yeah, good call. Nice hotel sounds great.” There was something to be said about Hanzo’s efficient approach. They’d done the awkward flirting and now they could right down to business. McCree would do just about anything to see Hanzo naked. The suggestion of muscle, the broad shoulders highlighted by the cut of his suit, it would make anyone’s mouth water.

Jesse’s phone chimed.

Twice.

“Check it,” Hanzo ordered.

McCree swiped his phone and blew out an annoyed breath.

The two messages appeared on the screen.

Boss: [how’s the head hotshot?]

Genji: [(▼へ▼メ)]

“Can you tell your brother to lay off? The first few messages were cute but I would like him to know that I didn’t dishonour you on your birthday and bring eternal shame to the family.”

Hanzo’s lips quirked into the first real smile of the day. “I did. He is protective. It is not often that I... take a fancy to someone.”

That warmed Jesse right down to his toes. “Well now, I’m certainly glad you’ve taken a fancy to me.”

“I should probably look into the state of my sanity.”

“Very funny. Har har har.”

His fake louder-than-intended laughter was drowned out on the last ‘har’.

“WHAT ARE WE LAUGHING ABOUT? IS IT A GOOD JOKE? I LOVE A GOOD JOKE.” Their lunch was slammed down onto the table but McCree was too busy being deaf to really notice. He ended up sitting on his own hat, desperately scrambling to make room as the chef invited himself to join them. The very large man slung a companionable arm around Jesse’s shoulders. His face disappeared into a huge chest as Hanzo looked on in alarm.

“Aaah, this is good! Friends together. Having lunch.” Reinhardt waved a hand at the two plates of food, both of which had sausages on them. “Please enjoy!”

Hanzo stared down at his tuna salad, three fat bratwurst covering the meagre amount of lettuce and tuna. His lips pursed. “Thank you,” he hissed.

“Reinhardt,” McCree gasped, turning his head to actually breathe. “This is Hanzo. Hanzo, this is Reinhardt, diner proprietor and chef extraordinaire, best bratwurst in the whole damn country and- ack, loosen up a little, big guy!”

“My apologies! I am merely pleased by such an introduction.”

“I ain’t finished. Unstoppable soldier of the front lines, a tank in a fight, a wrestling partner beyond compare and... I dunno, I had something else but you get the gist. Goddamn, you’re gonna crush me in two!”

Reinhardt’s grip finally eased off, the older man brushing away a stray tear. McCree patted the hand draped across his shoulder.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Hanzo! Any friend of Jesse is a friend of mine.”

When Reinhardt offered his hand, there was only a brief moment of hesitation before Hanzo responded with his own, his fingers swallowed up in Reinhardt’s grip and shaken with great enthusiasm.

“Eat up!” With a broad grin, he waited for them to tuck in, apparently not concerned about whatever orders were piling up and Fareeha’s pointed stare.

McCree and Reinhard both stared at Hanzo expectantly.

Hanzo stared back.

With obvious hesitation he picked up his fork and knife, delicately slicing off the smallest slice of sausage McCree had ever seen. He looked up at the two smiling faces, his nostrils flared slightly and then he lifted his fork.

His lips passed over the sausage, his teeth settled on the fork and he slowly slid the piece off into his mouth. His tongue flicked up, ran across his upper lip, leaving it shiny. Hanzo held eye contact with Jesse during the whole process.

McCree swallowed hard.

“Good, ja?” Reinhardt beamed.

“Tasty,” Hanzo concurred.

Was this a good time to launch into that sausage innuendo? Absolutely. “But not as good as my sausage will be!” McCree blurted and immediately regretted it. Flustered, he backtracked as fast as he could, stumbling awkwardly over his words, “that I will make for you, with the sausage making machine that Reinhardt got for me... for my last birthday... yeah... damn it all.” It was as if his body had been hijacked by someone who had never been socialised and didn’t know the first thing about talking to a potential partner. The smooth easy-talker was gone and all that was left was a flustered mess.

Hanzo calmly dabbed at his mouth with his napkin.

At least Reinhardt did not catch the innuendo in the slightest and was delighted his friend was planning on using the gift he’d given him. He proceeded to add some extra tips, which included exactly how much fat went into a good sausage.

It was to McCree’s great relief that Fareeha arrived to collect Reinhardt a moment later, nearly dragging the large German away by his ear. With a last final boisterous goodbye, he returned to his kitchen and slapped another wave of sausages on the grill.

“He’s a great guy,” McCree said after he was gone, hoping to hide his still raw embarrassment under a mountain of words. “Fareeha is his step-daughter. His wife Ana is scary as all hell but the sweetest lady too. I met them-”

“I do not care,” Hanzo interrupted. He placed his fork and knife down neatly on his plate and pushed it away.

McCree’s chest puffed up in indignation. “Well, that’s damn rude. These are good peo-”

“I am sure,” he cut McCree off again. “But I do not care.”

McCree’s face was flushed by anger now, the heat rising into his cheeks and his shoulders tensing. “Finish your sausages, asshole. Or I’ll shove ‘em down your throat.”

Hanzo hummed in amusement. “Like you will with your sausage?”

McCree flinched.

“You are a delightful joke, Jesse McCree.”

He wasn’t sure if he should feel pleased or insulted.

Hanzo’s phone ringing didn’t give him any time to figure it out, the stock ringtone that came with every damn mobile catching both of their attention. Hanzo flicked his gaze to Jesse and then plucked his phone out of his pant pocket, answering it with a soft, “Yes, Genji?”

McCree watched and listened, resting back in his seat again and wishing he had a cigarette.

“No. Yes. I am with McCree.”

Amusement revealed by a flash of Hanzo’s teeth at whatever response his brother gave.

“You are being ridiculous.”

He picked up his fork, idly pushed a piece of lettuce around the plate.

“No... Yes... No.”

McCree watched his face, the soft curve of his smile and wondered what it would feel like to have that directed towards him.

“I will be home late tonight, I told you.”

He looked up, caught McCree staring and stared back in challenge.

“Yes, we can have pizza tomorrow.”

McCree glanced away, cheeks burning again.

“Good bye, Genji.”

Hanzo hung up and tucked his phone away.

“What’d he say about me?” McCree asked.

“Nothing.”

“Bullshit.”

“Eat your lunch.”

They did eat and it wasn’t long before McCree had three extra sausages slide onto his plate. He made a point to finish them, with a lot of exaggerated ‘mmm’ noises.

“I have to leave,” Hanzo eventually declared, his fork and knife paired together on his plate and the napkin meticulously folded over.

McCree took that as his cue to rise, hat in hand. “Thanks for the meal, sweetheart.”

Hanzo looked up at him, a curious glint in his eyes.

“Take care of the bill and I’ll call it payment for my services last Saturday,” McCree said with a cheeky grin.

“Very well. This,” his hand motioned to their empty plates, “is all that was worth.”

That damn nasty tongue again.

He had better skedaddle before Hanzo tore him apart any further.

“I’ll be waitin’ for that text of yours.” McCree gave him a toothy grin as he promised himself he would get his own back for every single word that had come out of Hanzo’s mouth so far.

“Just a moment,” Hanzo stopped him, rising smoothly from his seat. He picked up his briefcase from beside his seat and reached into his pocket. The shorter man approached, moved right into McCree’s space and stole his breath with a smile. His fingers brushed against McCree’s left hand, carefully handed something soft and silky into his grasp. “You should have this back.”

McCree glanced down and made an embarrassing noise in the back of his throat when he realized he was holding his own Road Runner boxers.

Teasing fingers brushed up along his arm and when Hanzo stepped back again, his expression was wiped clean of emotions once more. “Have a good day, McCree. We will see each other again soon.”

McCree somehow made it out of the diner without falling over his own feet.

---

It was possibly one of the dumbest decisions of his life when much later on he picked up his phone, at precisely 11:45 PM, and called Hanzo’s number. McCree had spent the rest of his day sleeping, jerking off in the shower and wishing he had work tonight just to have something to distract long enough that he didn’t continue to replay the lunch date over and over in his mind.

He’d had one drink- okay, two, but definitely not enough to blame this on.

Even with Hanzo’s promise and his boxers spread out on the bed next to him, McCree couldn’t help but feel like he’d made a complete fool of himself. He’d put his foot in his mouth with every second word, which was a why it made absolutely no sense to call Hanzo now and bury himself deeper.

McCree settled back onto his bed, clothed only in an old pair of sweatpants and listened to the phone ring in his ear. Hanzo probably wouldn’t even answer-

“McCree.” Hanzo voice was soft and very, very annoyed. It sent a thrill down his spine. “Unless you are near death and require my assistance, there is no reason to be calling this late.”

“You didn’t hafta pick up.”

“I have had a long day. Whatever this is, I am not interested.”

“You sound a little tense.” McCree licked his lips, settled more comfortably back into his pillows. “I just wanted to hear your voice.” Which was horribly truthful and with the admission he had to acknowledge that he was in way over his head.

Hanzo sighed but he didn’t hang up and McCree took that as permission to continue.

“What are you wearing?”

Hanzo gave a sharp bark of laughter. “Truly?” When his mirth had died, he replaced it with a thoughtful hum. “I am wearing blue silk boxer shorts with a silver trim. They fit me better than yours did.”

“Y-you tried mine on?” McCree gulped.

“Of course.” Hanzo’s voice was a purr in his ear, a promise. “Talk dirty to me, McCree. Let us see if you have more of a future in phone sex than in stripping.”

“Oh fuck.”

“Are you touching yourself?” He asked in a silken, curious tone and McCree could easily imagine the quirk of his lips and the tilt of his head.

“I- fuck, not yet.” Though he was definitely aroused now and eager to start.

“Talk, McCree. Do not make me do all the work.”

“Okay, yeah, sure, right. Oh God, I’ve got a hankerin’ for ya real bad. I wanna just hold you down and fuck ya real hard, I wanna-”

Hanzo clucked his tongue. “Try to be more descriptive.” McCree had no idea how the other man could sound so composed, almost as if they were discussing the weather, while he was busy unravelling with every word spoken.

McCree ran his hand down his own chest, brushing his fingers through the dark hair of his belly and palmed his erection through his pants in one smooth slide. His breath caught in his throat, his hand constricted, his cock twitched in answer.

“That smartass mouth of yours, I’m gonna shove my cock in it and make you gag, gonna make you take all of it, baby.” The words tumbled out, his filter long since broken.

“You like it rough, do you?” There was a hitch in Hanzo’s voice now, a breathlessness. “Of course you do. Tell me what you’re doing right now.”

“Nothin’ yet. Makin’ it last. I want you on your knees, looking up at me with those fucking gorgeous eyes-”

“Touch yourself.” There was a heavy pause as if Hanzo was choosing his next words with the greatest of care. “No. Just hold yourself.” It was a command that he expected to be followed.

McCree complied. Gritting his teeth and sliding his hand under the waistband of his pants, gripping himself at the base as he waited for the next instruction. He didn’t dare speak, just felt himself throb.

“Are you doing as I told you?” Hanzo asked.

“Y-yeah.”

“Good boy.”

McCree whined.

Hanzo laughed, low and rough. “I will not be on my knees at all. You will be. I will force you down by your hair and you will beg me to let you come.”

He groaned now, fingers tightened their grip. “What else?” His thoughts scattered entirely as put his own pleasure at Hanzo’s mercy without hesitation. “Tell me, please.”

There was a sharp intake of breath over the phone and a muffled moan.

When Hanzo recovered, his voice was laced with forced calm. “You really are bad at this too. Typical. Very well-”

There was a sound in the background. Hanzo broke off suddenly and launched into rapid Japanese, his voice rising to anger. The only word of it McCree understood was a flustered ‘Genji!’.

“Good night, McCree,” Hanzo snapped before hanging up, leaving McCree with his dick in his hand. He nearly screamed in frustration.

He was angrily getting off when his phone rang again. He scrambled to answer without looking at the name flashing up on the screen, his words spilling out in a rush:

“Hanzo, shit, I’ll let you take me however you want, however you like, I’ll take it, I’ll take all of it, I want your fucking cum on my face, I want-”

“Ew, no. What the hell is wrong with you?” Genji whined back in disgust. Then his voice lifted again, suspiciously perky. “So I was just talking to my brother and he wants us all to hang out tomorrow. Dinner at our place? Come over at six.”

McCree ran his hand roughly down his face. “I hate you.”

“You are such a baby. It will be fun. See you tomorrow. Bye bye.”

Chapter Text

Genji’s world tipped upside down. He had been putting up a decent fight, or at least he thought he had, until Hanzo stepped in close, wrapped an arm up under his underarm and tossed him to the ground like a ragdoll. He didn’t have time to so much as put up a token resistance before he was face down and getting well-acquainted with the mat.

Hanzo’s weight settled on top of him, a knee pressed firmly against his lower back. “What move was that?” He was using his instructor voice, curt and commanding. It usually had more of an impact but it now had the rather unfortunate association of Hanzo wanting McCree on his knees. Genji slightly regretted how long he had waited before bursting through the door last night.

Gan seki otoshi,” Genji grunted out, voice muffled by the ground.

“Good. Try and avoid it this time.” He lifted off Genji and stepped back into position. “Again.”

Genji pushed himself up, brushed sweaty hands down the front of his keikogi and settled into a different stance. Bobi no kamae, the name floated into his mind as he placed his right fist on his hip and extended the other arm, ready to block and attack.

It somehow took even less time for Hanzo to secure a firm hold and bring Genji crashing down for a second time. His chin bumped painfully against the mat.

Genji heard his brother sigh as a toe nudged against his ribs. He grunted in response, spread his arms and legs like a starfish and pretended the floor was exactly where he wanted to be.

“You are not this bad.” There was always a mixture of bafflement and annoyance whenever Genji didn’t live up to expectations and it always made his gut clench.

“I am just hungry,” Genji protested, giving his spread fingers a little wriggle. “How can I fight if I am hungry?” His voice lifted into a petulant whine. Hanzo hated that.

“Easily. Do you expect your enemies to stop and let you have a snack before they punch you?”

“I do not have enemies.” He slowly slid his arm closer to where Hanzo was standing, flexed his fingers in anticipation. “Everyone likes me.”

Hanzo snorted and Genji moved in a flash. His hand shot out, grasped at one surprisingly delicate ankle and twisted. With his whole body behind the manoeuvre, Hanzo was pulled right off his feet and fell heavily on to his rear. The moment of triumph was short lived when his brother instinctively kicked out, his heel smashing Genji right in the nose.

Pain erupted and he howled in surprise, rolling onto his back and clamping both hands on his nose. “Ow, ow, ow, ow!”

He was aware of Hanzo kneeling above him, frantic apologies rolling off his tongue in English and Japanese, his hands fluttering uselessly before finally clamping down on Genji’s wrists and trying to pry them away from his face.

“Genji, Genji, let me see. I am sorry. Genji.”

“It okay.” Genji garbled, sitting up with a helpful hand on his shoulder and blood dripping from his nose down to his chin. He pinched the bridge of his nose and and tilted his head backwards, only to have his brother shove it forward and down. “Heeey.”

“You must keep your head forward. It is better.” A soft hand stroked his back. “Wait here. Do not move.”

Not that he had actually planned to go anywhere while leaking blood but he gave a thumbs up anyway, tilting his head to watch as Hanzo hurried out the door. While he waited, he curled his knees up to his chest and let his chin rest on them.

It wasn’t long before his brother returned and Genji relished the the touch of the cool cloth to his neck.

Honto ni gomen ne,” the older man murmured.

Genji would have rolled his eyes if he’d thought his brother would see it. One second it was okay to throw him around and the next it was as if he was made of porcelain. “Only a nosebleed,” he assured, voice a nasally whine.

The cloth was moved from his neck to his forehead, brushed tenderly against the back of his hand and patted down his cheeks.

“I am sorry.”

“You said that.”

“Just... stay still. Fifteen minutes.”

“‘Kay.” It was just a nosebleed but as the pain in his nose settled to a dull throb, he was reassured by the solid presence of his brother, just as he always was.

---

It took half an hour before Hanzo was satisfied that his brother as not going to bleed to death and Genji was able to escape down the hall to the bathroom. He crinkled his nose in front of the tall mirror and washed the blood from his hands and face, watching as the red stained water splattered across the white basin and slowly drained out of sight.

Peeling off his training clothes, he kicked them into a pile in the corner and treated himself to a warm shower. Leaning against the white and blue tiles, lathering shampoo into his hair, Genji let his mind wander the problem that was McCree. It had not occurred to him, not for one second, that Hanzo would take even the vaguest of interest in the wannabee cowboy. If anything, he’d been looking forward to watching his brother be completely repulsed by the force of nature that McCree normally was. Instead Hanzo had unexpectedly put a leash on the storm and now had him at heel, panting like a dog in heat.

McCree was his friend but whether Genji let him hang around or not he had yet to decide.

Out of the shower, wrapped in a towel, Genji padded on bare and still very wet feet to his room, bumping the door shut with his hip.

“My darling sweet dragon,” he crooned immediately.

He dropped the towel and stood proudly naked, despite the scars that littered his skin from his chest down to his toes, in the middle of his disaster room covered in old posters, dirty clothes and too many electronics. But the main focus, taking up a good portion space, was a large vivarium. The bearded dragon sitting on its favourite log cocked its head and blinked as Genji wandered over and smooshed his face against the warm glass.

“Hello sweetums.” His voice dropped, soft and singsong, “Does my precious want a piece of mango?”

He decided to take the rapid blinking and tail flick as a definite yes and retrieved a bit of mango out of his mini fridge. Genji carefully picked up his best bud with a hand under its belly and squealed in delight when it nibbled the mango from his fingers. “Good Zenny.”

There was a gentle tap on the door before it creaked slightly open.

“Genji, do you want me to order pizza yet?” Hanzo asked.

“What time is it?” He answered while putting the placid bearded dragon back into the vivarium.

“It is,” a brief pause for consulting his phone, “5:25.”

Shit.

McCree was due for dinner soon.

“I will do it!”

“I am perfectly capable of-”

“I am going to do it! Go away and let me call!” Genji scampered over to peek around the door at his brother. His brother was frowning, giving himself more wrinkles and more grey hair. “I want to do it. Please. I like doing it. Also you kicked me in the nose.”

It was a low blow but effective and Hanzo tensed, nodded curtly and marched himself away without a word.

Genji muttered an apology under his breath, pulled on a pair of grey sweatpants and a green shirt that he fished off the floor and hurried to make the call.

---

Pop. Pop. Pop.

The popcorn span around in the microwave, the sound of popping increasing by the second and a buttery smell filling the kitchen. Genji watched it turning as he leaned against the sturdy kitchen table, hands gripping the edges.

“Hey, Hanzo,” he tipped his head to look for his brother, found him near the sink staring moodily down at his BlackBerry. “Hey! No work stuff.” He marched over, planted himself in front of his brother and made a grabby hands at the offending device. “You promised no work stuff on Wednesday nights. This is brother bonding movie pizza night and you are already ruining it.”

The phone was relinquished with a great deal of hesitation, Hanzo’s fingers still curled around it even as Genji tugged it away.

“This,” he declared, “is off limits. I am going to hide it and-”

“That is not necessary. I will put it away.” Hanzo moved in and Genji lifted his arm up, trying to keep it out of reach. “Genji, hand-” They tousled, chest to chest, both attempting to gain control of the phone, “-it over.”

The doorbell chimed.

“I will get it!” Genji yelled into his brother's face, shoved the phone at his chest and laughed when Hanzo scrambled to catch it before it fell. It was too early for McCree to show up, the man couldn’t be early to save his life but he nearly fell over himself trying to get to the door as quickly as possible anyway. Just in case.

When he returned to the kitchen, he was carrying three large pizza boxes and a foil wrapped garlic bread. Hanzo immediately did the math and narrowed his eyes.

“That is a lot of food.”

Genji deposited the boxes on the table and grinned. “I told you I was hungry.”

Hanzo sniffed.

He shifted closer.

Genji leaned across the pizza boxes protectively. “Are we going to eat in your room and watch the movie?”

“No.” That frown was back, creasing Hanzo’s brow and drawing his eyebrows together. “You left crumbs all over my sheets last time. We eat in the lounge room. Genji, move.”

“No.”

“Genji.”

“Ow!” Genji smacked the hand that pinched his arm and Hanzo took the opportunity to push him aside and gain access to the takeaway. It didn’t matter, it was too late for Hanzo to call it off. Well, not really but at least there was a fighting chance if brother had less time to process what was happening.

“Pepperoni,” Hanzo said in disgust, peering into the first box. “You hate pepperoni. We hate pepperoni.” His nostrils flared, his lips curled down. “What have you done?”

With the very solid table acting as a protective barrier between them, Genji gave his best big-eyed innocent smile and shrugged.

The microwave stopped with a beep.

The doorbell chimed again.

Genji’s smile faded.

McCree was on time.

Someone sure was keen.

“Who is that?” Hanzo hissed but judging by the sudden flush on his cheeks he had already guessed.

This was a wonderful idea, Genji was forced to remind himself as he called out, “I will get it!” for the second time and threw himself into the hallway. At least it had seemed like a good idea last night, when he’d interrupted Hanzo’s sexy phone time, which was hilarious but also strangely terrifying. All of Hanzo’s previous trysts had been brief and hushed affairs. Somehow McCree had unleashed something entirely different.

Genji took a fortifying breath and opened the door, doing his best to imitate Hanzo’s cool stare.

McCree stood on the front step in nonchalant slouch that he wore well, hands in the pockets of his jacket. But his heel was a dead giveaway for his nerves, as it tapped anxiously against the ground.

“Jesse.” He tried not to purr teasingly. “Weeeelcome.” He failed.

“Howdy partner.” The other man reached up and tipped his hat in greeting. To Genji’s surprise, his clothing choices were subdued tonight. Dark blue jeans, brown boots, a leather jacket and his ever present hat. Granted there was no telling what he might be hiding under the jacket and only time would tell if he’d chosen Disney Couture once more. (Hanzo had mentioned very little about his lunch date, despite Genji’s best wheedling but had made a baffled remark about the T-Shirt.)

McCree made a move to enter the house and Genji raised his hand to stop him, pointing a finger down at his boots.

“Off.”

“Why?” McCree rubbed his chin, scraped his knuckles against scruff there, another nervous gesture. “I didn’t take ‘em off last time.”

“Yeah, because last time you took off everything. Boots off,” he wrinkled his nose and poked out his tongue, “and only the boots, please.”

McCree had the sense to look embarrassed as he pulled them off as requested, put them neatly near the door and finally stepped inside, pausing briefly when Genji took half a second to give ground. Genji latched hold of McCree’s arm before he could get very far, wrapped the fingers against around well-defined muscles and dug in until the other man winced. “Keep your clothes on,” he hissed in warning.

Hearing about McCree’s perverted desires (‘cum on my face’, really? His sex talk game was so amatuer) was one thing, having it happen in his house was another thing entirely. Genji would be vigilant.

He finally let go with a companionable pat to McCree’s bicep and walked on ahead.

Hanzo met them at the entrance to the kitchen, hands wrapped around the bowl of popcorn and his knuckles white. Genji watched McCree’s step falter. The two men stared at each other, gaze locked and the tension a palpable force.

It was probably the first time McCree had seen Hanzo without a suit on and he seemed transfixed by the image presented before him, of Hanzo with his pajama pants and long silken blue robe tied securely around his waist. It was Hanzo without his armour, bared in the comfort of his own home and not entirely pleased.

“Surprise!” Genj interrupted loudly, drawing both sets of eyes. “Jesse is here!”

“Surprise?” McCree repeated quizzically and Hanzo snorted.

“I will wait in the lounge,” the eldest Shimada told them both with a dismissive jerk of his head and left them together in the hallway.

“Well, you heard him.” Genji headed into the kitchen with McCree trotting along at his heels.

While Genji pulled out three plates and started opening pizza boxes, the tall man stood awkwardly in the large clean space, fidgeting with the brim of his hat. It was annoying. Genji portioned out two slices of vegetarian for Hanzo and one slice of vegetarian and two slices of ham and pineapple for himself and a piece of garlic bread each.

“Come on. Grab what you want.” He waved benevolently at the food and took a large chunk out of his first slice, the stringy cheese pulled into a long line before snapping and settling hot against his chin.

McCree inched forward, pulled his hat off and ran a hand through his hair. There were words there, ready to spill out, right on the tip of his tongue. Genji could see it and he waited, knew what was coming and let the other man get to it in his own time. He leaned his hip against the table, licked an olive off the pizza slice and watched McCree struggle.

“Did you,” the words finally emerged in a quiet rumble, “tell him?”

Genji grinned, sharp toothed and wicked. “About what?”

“Aw hell, you know. About... us?”

“He knows we are friends.”

Genji.” It was a low warning.

He shrugged, unaffected. “No. I did not tell him we slept together last year. Should I?”

McCree let out a heavy sigh and dropped his hat down on the table while he grabbed a plate and loaded it high with four slices of pepperoni. “No. I mean... I dunno. You reckon it will ruin my chances?”

“Chances of what?”

“Of something.” McCree sounded frustrated. “I like the guy. I wanna do more than just sleep with him more than once. At least five or ten or-”

“You do realize,” Genji interrupted, “that you are talking about my brother.”

“Yeah, shit, sorry. He’s just thrown me for a loop.”

Genji shook his head and picked up the two plates. “Try and keep it together, big guy.” He bumped his shoulder against McCree’s and continued on out to the lounge room, where he found Hanzo sitting waiting, back as straight as a rod. It took claiming his space in the middle and wriggling up against his brothers side to finally get him to partially relax back into the pillows.

The lounge was a large room, barely used by either of the occupants. A large brown leather lounge dominated the space, facing a flat screen television. The walls were stark and white and the only real decoration was the antique sword that had always given Genji the heebie jeebies.

“I was looking forward to tonight,” Hanzo said softly as he accepted his plate of food and held it stiffly on his lap. The final words ‘with you’ hung unspoken in the air and the sick feeling he suddenly got in his stomach made his next bite of pizza almost unpalatable. Had it been a tactical error to invite McCree so soon? Possibly. But he had chosen to meddle, to study whatever was brewing between a troublesome friend and his brother and he couldn’t take a halfhearted approach now.

“I thought you liked him.” Genji responded, effecting a nonchalant tone.

Hanzo didn’t get a chance to answer with McCree finally emerging from the kitchen putting an end to their fledgeling conversation. After glancing at Hanzo with a look of longing, he settled on the lounge beside Genji, immediately tucking into his meal by rolling his pizza slice up and taking a big bite out of the end.

“I need a fork and knife,” Hanzo murmured after a minute spent listening to McCree chew.

McCree glanced over. “It’s pizza.”

“I am aware. I simply prefer not to eat like an animal.”

Genji nibbled at his crust.

McCree snorted around his food.

“Be right back,” Genji popped up from the couch to get the cutlery, lingered a bit longer to also procure three glasses and a bottle of Coke for everyone to share. He carefully carried everything out, pausing in the doorway. McCree had taken his chance, sliding across into Genji’s spot and was currently leaning in towards Hanzo, murmuring something intently. Hanzo had yet to acknowledge him, though his eyelids had drooped slightly.

McCree stopped talking when he noticed Genji but didn’t move, one hand creeping closer to Hanzo’s thigh but not quite daring to touch him.

After putting down the glasses and bottle, Genji offered the cutlery to Hanzo and received a soft thank you in return.

“You are in my spot,” Genji declared, hands on hips, looming over McCree. The cowboy sighed and reluctantly shifted sideways. Hanzo relaxed by a miniscule. He still didn’t eat. Genji picked at his own food.

The silent statue routine was not a common tactic in their household but it did come into play every now and then, which meant that both Genji and McCree were being punished. Genji for inviting an intruder into the house without Hanzo’s prior knowledge and McCree for simply turning up.

They continued to eat in silence, aside from the scrape of cutlery when Hanzo finally decided to take half a bite of food and McCree licking his fingers with more noise than necessary.

Enough was enough.

“Should we put a movie on?” Genji ventured.

“Yeah, great idea!” McCree was certainly keen to add some life to the proceedings. Apparently there was nothing more awkward than sitting silently on a couch with the guy you wanted the bone and his brother. “Got any of the old classics? Some John Wayne? Eastwood? Should’a told me we was watching a movie. I’da bought over The Outlaw Josey Wales? Either of you seen it?”

“No,” Hanzo snapped out the word and McCree flattened himself back into the pillows.

Genji slid his plate onto the table and rose to make a grand declaration. “We are watching Titanic,” he informed them both.

McCree physically recoiled. “Seriously? Titanic? Look, DiCaprio is hot and I’d tap that any time but I watched that movie on a date once and I’m still having flashbacks. She was a real ugly crier that one. Reckon I’d rather chop off my own arm than watch it again.”

“You dated a girl?” Genji asked curiously while he turned the TV on and scrolled through the available movies.

McCree laughed. “Sure. I like a bit of curves now and then. I’ve got my preferences but I’ve never been too picky.”

Hanzo was busy staring at his pizza with such a sour expression it was a wonder it didn’t tumble off the plate to escape it.

“But you prefer guys? Right?” Genji stressed, throwing him a bone.

Kudos to McCree for snatching up the opportunity even if he was as subtle as a smack in the face. “Yeah, I prefer one particular guy.” His eyebrows waggled up and down.

“I am getting myself a drink,” Hanzo informed the room, ignoring McCree’s hopeful grin.

“There’s Coke right here, sweet,” but was already up and gone before McCree could finish, his sentence ending with a lame, “heart.” He discarded his empty plate on the table and leaned forward, head in his hands. “Genji, are you tryin’ to help or hinder me? I can’t even tell.”

Genji snatched up the remote and returned to the lounge, leaning his head on McCree’s shoulder. “A bit of both,” he admitted. “There is a lot you do not know about my brother. He is a lot more fragile than you would think.”

“So tell me what I don’t know?”

“It does not work like that. I know you, McCree. I have seen the mess you leave behind. You break hearts.”

“Hell, Genji, now you’re just yankin’ my chain. Your brother he,” McCree’s voice lowered, “asked me to strip for him. He had my boxers in his pocket the whole way through lunch. He ain’t no innocent flower.”

“You know nothing.” Genji grinned. He turned his attention to the popcorn, gathered the bowl into his lap and stuffed a handful into his mouth. It was nearly cold already.

He started the movie and McCree groaned.

“We seriously watching this shit?”

“McCree,” Hanzo had returned, all narrowed eyes and stern features, “be silent. We are watching this movie. If do not like it, you know where the door is.” There was no drink in his hand and Genji had a suspicion all he had done was stand in the middle of the kitchen to collect his thoughts and decide whether to lock himself in his bedroom or not.

“Okay, boss,” McCree slouched back, lifted his feet onto the table. “No need to get snippy.” His socks, Genji noted and so did Hanzo, with a roll of his eyes, were covered in cute, yellow Tweety Bird’s.

Hanzo sat back down on the couch and the movie rolled through the opening scenes; old Rose looking over her old belongings, the Titanic in all its glory as passengers prepared to depart.

“We should be drinking,” Genji realised, sitting forward in a rush. “Two shots for every time they say unsinkable! That is four shots! They said it twice!”

“Hell, I don’t think any man should have to watch this without a stiff drink to fortify him first,” McCree agreed.

Hanzo didn’t say a word, just stared at them with one eyebrow raised until they both sat back with a grumble.

“Can I take my jacket off?” McCree murmured into Genji’s ear.

“Why ask me?” Genji muttered back.

“Keep your clothes on,” McCree replied with a bad, whispered imitation of Genji’s voice.

Genji smothered a laugh and shrugged.

Taking that as permission, McCree sat forward to remove the jacket. No Disney, wow, much disappoint. What he had gone for instead was a black T-shirt at least two sizes too small, straining over his muscles in a way that screamed ‘LOOK AT ME’.

Hanzo’s jaw clenched.

The movie rolled on.

McCree fidgeted, played footsie with Genji when he also propped his feet up on the table and sighed loudly.

Then the comments started:

“Yeah, keep saying unsinkable, guys.”

“This fella is a snake in the grass. Let the lady smoke.”

“Damn, you can’t just order a lady her meal.”

“Leo, definitely got hotter when he got older. Not that he ain’t cute here but I’ll take Django era Leo anytime.”

“I’m gonna buy your affection with this bigass stone.”

“Kate and Leo are actually a weird looking couple. Dontcha think?”

“When do they have sex in the car?”

“About damn time... hey, this is actually pretty hot.”

Genji could feel Hanzo beside him, fingers drumming against the armrest, shifting in irritation every few seconds. He hid his smile and waited patiently. Jack and Rose were getting busy, the iconic hand sliding down the car window scene in progress when he finally snapped.

“Will you shut up,” Hanzo hissed.

“Make me,” McCree drawled.

Genji yelped when Hanzo suddenly dived across his back, pushing him forward so that he could reach out and grab a good chunk of McCree’s hair at the base of his neck, fingers curling and tugging backwards. The larger man put up a brief struggle but Hanzo’s grip was unrelenting and Genji ended up bent forward, both of them leaning on his back. Apparently Hanzo had taken the challenge to heart.

Turning his head to scowl, neck complaining at the strain, Genji realised that judging from the look in his eyes, McCree was very much into being manhandled. He had seen that gleam before, the flush of his cheeks. Turning his head the other way revealed a similar sight, though Hanzo’s tell was the half-lidded eyes and the parted lips. He’d probably just wanted to touch McCree’s hair and shutting him up was the perfect excuse.

“Get off! I am suffocating!” He wasn’t really but it was uncomfortable, in more ways than one.

They parted, settled back into place but something had changed. The tension that had held everyone rigid had eased

“I don’t geddit,” McCree said much later, as the movie reached its final climax and Leo and Kate met their fate in the icy ocean. “Why don’t she just move on over and let him climb on? There’s plenty’a room.”

Hanzo picked up the age old debate without hesitation. “The door is not stable enough to for two people.”

“Is too! Look at it!”

“If he attempted to join her, they would both die. He has taken the correct course of action.” There was that instructor voice again. “It is what I would do.”

“You’d freeze to death for me, sweetheart?” McCree purred, his grin wide and easy. “If that ain’t the most heartwarm-”

“Not for you,’ Hanzo snapped. “I would save Genji and drown you so I could freeze to death in peace.”

McCree blew out a big, dramatic sigh. “‘Course you would. Genji, your brother is brutal.”

“Both of you shut up,” Genji grumbled and sniffed.

“Hell, are you cryin’?”

“I said shut up. I am watching the movie.”

The frozen Jack slowly disappeared down into the depths of the ocean as Rose sobbed and said her last goodbyes. Genji burst into tears. This part got him every time.

“Aw, poor thing,” McCree crooned, slinging an arm around Genji’s shoulders and pulling him in. Genji sniffled and turned his head to use McCree’s shirt as a tissue. “Ew. Quit it.”

Hanzo watched them thoughtfully.

The movie was finally winding down, McCree made a big deal of Old Rose tossing away her ‘bigass stone’ and the final scene began. Just as dream Rose began her ascent surrounded by passengers of the Titanic and the music swelled and Jack smiled and held out his hand-

The doorbell rang.

Genji frowned.

Hanzo sat up straight and looked accusingly at his brother.

“This one is not me,” Genji told him with just as much confusion, “I did not invite anyone else.”

Hanzo rose to find out who their mystery caller was and Genji paused the movie. He was still curled against McCree’s side when he heard a voice that sent a chill down his spine. The voices from the hallway were speaking in Japanese, Hanzo’s voice lifted higher than usual to give Genji time to prepare. Not that anyone could ever prepare for this.

He sat up in a hurry and gripped McCree’s face in between both his hands, eliciting a startled gasp from the other man. “Do. Not. Say. Anything.” He stressed the words, punctuating each one and giving the most earnest, terrified look he could muster. “Please.”

When McCree started to speak,Genji smothered his mouth with both hands and repeated, “please.” He nodded, despite his bewilderment and Genji separated himself from McCree’s side, stood up and waited awkwardly beside the couch, gaze trained on the doorway.

Their father was not a tall man but he made up for it in sheer presence. There were more similarities to Hanzo than Genji, from the brow to the jaw but his expression seemed cut from sharper stone. There was a cruelty to the turn of his lips, thin and mean, whereas Hanzo had inherited his from their mother and was capable of softness and loving smiles.

Shimada Hajime strode in the doorway and took in the scene presented with extreme displeasure. Hanzo followed behind him, looking strangely diminutive and uncertain, his silken robe in sharp contrast to Hajime’s crisp, black suit. Their father planted himself in the middle of the room, his posture rigid, every line of him fixed and inflexible. His arms were straight at his side, long fingers that Genji had always feared, resting stiff against his thighs. There was no challenge on earth Hajime could not face, no person he could not shame into submission.

His gaze was mean and dark, pinning Genji to the spot. As always there was the sense that by simply existing, his youngest son was a disappointment. Other than a cursory glance, he had yet to acknowledge McCree.

Is this your doing?” Hajime demanded, waving a hand sharply at the table covered in leftover food and plates. “Wasting your brothers time? I have been trying to contact him and instead I was forced to come to his house.” He spoke in Japanese, preferring their mother tongue in most family situations; that McCree was sitting in obvious confusion was probably an added bonus.

No matter how many times he told Hanzo he didn’t care or how many times he defied his father’s orders, when faced with the man, Genji wilted. His tongue grew heavy and unwieldy in his mouth, his palms grew sweaty and his stomach rolled. There had been a time, long ago when he had tried to live up to expectations but the longer he watched Hanzo bow and scrape, punishing himself with more studies, more training, burning himself to the ground, he had realised that would never be him. Genji’s defiance had almost exorcised him from the family.

I put my phone away. It is my fault. I apologise.” Hanzo stepped in to pull Hajime’s focus.

It didn’t work as intended. “You are only ever a disappointment when your brother is involved.

Genji bit his tongue and stood silent, hoping the storm would pass quickly and they could go on with their night.

Then McCree stood up.

He clearly couldn’t understand anything that had been spoken but he was frowning and Genji desperately mouthed ‘sit down’ only to be ignored when McCree stepped towards Hajime with an outstretched hand.

“Howdy, sir,” he offered. “The name’s Jesse McCree.”

Hajime looked as startled as if a mangy stray dog had suddenly spoken to him in the street. He looked the American up and down, turned his head to look at Hanzo with a frown, apparently expecting the answer for this needless interruption to be there. McCree’s hand held for another five seconds and then dropped to his side, untouched.

Who is this?” Hajime demanded.

An awkward silence followed the question.

He just told you. His name is Jesse McCree,” Genji murmured defiantly, inching closer to the taller man and reaching out to hook a finger into his jeans, urging him back.

McCree’s head jerked when he heard his name mixed into the Japanese and he refused to budge an inch.

Hajime clucked his tongue and waved a dismissive hand. “Hanzo and I have work to discuss. Take him away.

Genji would be very happy to leave but McCree remained as firm and unmovable as a mountain. He even widened his stance and rolled his shoulders in a manner that clearly read ‘TROUBLE’ in capital letters.

“No offence,” though there absolutely was offence intended by the rolling drawl, “but it’d be mighty fine if you’d talk a bit of English, especially if you gonna be talkin’ ‘bout me.”

Hajime’s smile was the crack of thin ice across a lake that you had foolishly ventured too far onto.

“Jesse, come on,” Genji was on his arm now, wrapped ineffectually around the limb and leaning backwards as if that would convince the mountain to relent. “He wants us to leave.”

“Hell no,” McCree said with feeling, resisting Genji’s pull. “We’re watchin’ a movie. It ain’t finished yet. He can wait.”

“You do not understand. Please.”

“He can join in if he wants to. We’ll even start the movie over. I’m sure he’ll love it.” McCree was maintaining eye contact with Hajime now and Genji would have been impressed if he wasn’t terrified of his father calling the police and using his various contacts to put McCree in a maximum security hole somewhere.

Hanzo finally found his voice, breaking through McCree’s defiance with a sharply commanded, “Leave.” Genji would have thought it cruel if he hadn’t known the best way to fix the situation was to get McCree away from it by whatever means possible.

The mountain wavered, took a step back and looked down at Genji on his arm. “The hell?”

Hajime tilted his head slightly, dark eyes full of cruel amusement. Genji would be forever grateful that both Hanzo and himself had inherited their mother's eyes. Though right now they weren’t doing Hanzo any favours; his expression remained dead and blank, as if he had thrown up so many mental defences so rapidly he was no longer capable of emotion.

“You heard him,” Hajime said, finally deigning to speak English, “take your foul pet outside, Genji.”

As cruel and as spiteful as Hajime was, Genji’s mouth dropped open in surprise. Their father was a diplomatic man that had built himself an empire, he very rarely flung insults at strangers before he knew their pressure points and whether they could be useful to him or not. That combined with the fact that he had travelled across town to get here meant that something was very wrong and his patience was already stretched close to breaking. It was not a good position for any of them to be in.

McCree froze, his voice lowered, calm and dangerous. “What’d you just say?”

Genji had learnt early on, during the two wild months they had worked together, that McCree had a horrible temper. Behind the good-natured charm was an eruption waiting to happen, exploding red and hot and destructive. The end results were never pretty.

If McCree lifted his fists against their father, against Shimada Hajime of Shimada and Co, one of the most powerful men in the city with contacts to criminals that owed him their freedom, it would not end well for the wannabe cowboy who just wanted to get into Hanzo’s pants. Hajime was not a stupid man, he was calculating and cruel and he would wipe Jesse off the earth just as easily as one wipes up their spilt drink.

Genji had to act. He had to do something. Hanzo seemed frozen to the spot and wasn’t being any use at all.

“This-this foul pet,” Genji’s voice wavered, nearly broke but he powered on despite his weak knees, “is my boyfriend and my boyfriend and I will not stand for... we will not, ugh, Jesse, please take me away.” He was now hanging off McCree’s arm, forcing the other man to pull him against his chest and hold him up before he fell.

McCree was clearly caught between bewilderment and anger, a growl in his throat and his grip on Genji slightly too tight.

Hajime looked like he would rather have had his youngest son tell him he liked sleeping with horses.

Meanwhile Hanzo had stiffened, somehow finding the next level of tense and his gaze sharpened on Genji and McCree. At first Genji couldn’t pick the sudden emotion but as his lip curled to show a hint of teeth, he realized it was jealousy. His brother composed himself with visible effort and took control of the dangerous situation.

“I will be in the study,” Hanzo declared, turning away from them all. “Let Genji and his boyfriend have their fun. There is work to be done.”

Hajime didn’t seem ready to drop the subject, still staring at the pair before him as if they were a vile scourge to be purged by fire but Hanzo was leaving the room and whatever important business he had arrived so late for clearly took precedence.

We will discuss this later,” he warned Genji in Japanese and turned on his heel.

“Wa-”

When McCree tried to protest, his angry flush high on his cheeks, Genji was ready. He muffled McCree’s words with the palm of his hand, while murmuring a desperate, “please just shut up.”

McCree finally complied and they both watched as Hajime left the room, taking his eerie chill with him and leaving them alone. Genji dropped his hand and stood in silence, allowing his friend to take his whole weight because his legs certainly weren’t in any shape to do it.

For a moment McCree bore the burden without comment, even giving his back an absentminded but comforting rub.

“That your dad?” He asked finally.

“Yeah.”

“Fuck.”

Genji barked out a laugh. “Yeah.”

It took the promises of calling McCree tomorrow, getting Hanzo to call him tomorrow, a hushed discussion about how Hajime was a total dickface, some talk of McCree’s ‘jerking a knot in his tail’ and Genji stressing that McCree could not under any circumstances ‘jerk any knots’ before Genji could convince his friend to actually go home.

Even so he alternated between clinging close and pushing McCree out the door when the moment arrived.

Then he slunk upstairs, creeping past the study as quietly as he could and locking himself in his room. When he approached the vivarium this time, he settled on his knees and rested his cheek against the glass.

“That was the worst,” Genji groaned.

Zenny flicked a tongue in commiseration.

Chapter Text

Hanzo was tired.

It was an ache that began in his mind and radiated out, through his nerves, down his limbs, to the very tips of his fingers and toes. It was a constant pressure behind his eyes that caused words to swim on the page and blurred the faces of the people around him.

Hanzo was tired and angry and was currently resting his elbows on his desk, head cradled in his hands so his neck didn’t have to put as much effort into holding it up. Before him the sun was slowly setting the city on fire; the orange afternoon glow reflecting upon the windows of countless other high rises. He had a great vantage point, a front seat view. The corner room on the 35th floor was probably something other people put down on their job aspiration boards or wrote on their ten year plans. They could have it. Hanzo was as good as done.

Except he wasn’t done and never would be because his father would never let that happen.

He could still feel Hajime’s presence beside his desk, his seething anger manifesting as a bone-deep cold that settled into the bones of anyone close by. It didn’t matter how old Hanzo got or how many times he told himself not to care, when his father leaned over and hissed, ‘you failed me’, it was as if he had reached into his gut and was slowly and carelessly unravelling what he found. It was being fourteen again, hands trembling around the school report that had one aberrant ‘B+’.

There was no defence, nothing he could say to change the fact that he had indeed lost an important court case; had been thoroughly sideswiped by video evidence of their client throwing his wife over a balcony. Even if there was nothing he or anyone could have done, he had failed and Hajime did not excuse failure.

(It probably didn’t help that he was privately glad that piece of shit would spend the rest of his life in jail.)

“It is your brother’s fault,” Hajime had accused, tap-tap-tapping one long finger against the desk top to punctuate his words. “He is a disgrace, a distraction - and now with this boyfriend nonsense. I should have sent him back to Japan years ago.”

The mere possibility sent fear through Hanzo like a wave but he had steeled himself, kept his back straight and his expression neutral. “He will not distract me again.” The words had tasted like betrayal. “I will talk to him.”

Hajime’s eyes had narrowed dangerously; sensing weakness was his speciality. “Tell the boy to call me. I wish to deal with this matter myself.”

“Hardly necessary. He is just being rebellious again. He is troubled. The accident-”

“That was ten years ago. He should be over that by now.”

Hanzo had nearly bitten his tongue from his mouth. He could still taste the metallic tang of blood in the back of his throat.

It had been over a week since the night that had ended just like the voyage of the Titanic; a complete disaster. A long hard slog of a week full of paperwork, court cases and constant texts from Genji and McCree. Hanzo had barely been home and had deliberately ignored Genji’s pleas to talk, striding in and out of the house with purpose, as his brother scrambled at his heels asking for ‘just one minute, please, aniki’.

Eventually he would have to stop; not just to discuss that night but to hold his brother close and promise him that he would never let their father send him away.

He couldn’t and didn’t want to avoid his brother forever but he was anxious about what would be uncovered when they finally sat down to pick apart the night. If there were secrets waiting to be revealed that would put a justification to the shameful jealousy that had gripped his chest, curled his lips into a snarl and echoed one single word in his mind, ‘mine’.

It hadn’t even been just McCree that he had wanted to take to task, to bring to his knees and remind him where he belonged. It was his brother too; the image of him curled against McCree’s chest on the couch and later hanging desperately from his arm with terror in his eyes was burned into Hanzo’s mind. They were both his and somehow the possibility was suddenly there, of losing both, to each other.

His phone chimed with a new message and he sighed heavily, anchored his head on one hand and used the other to drag his phone closer and flick the screen on.

There were twelve unread texts.

His finger hovered over McCree’s name for a long moment, before finally pressing down to look at a week's worth of messages that he had steadfastly ignored until now.

Thursday - 6 Messages Received
McCree: so last night was fun

McCree: that was sarcasm btw

McCree: sum of it was fun tho

McCree: but wtf is the deal with your dad??? call me

McCree: we should talk!!!

McCree: hey?

Friday - 1 Message Received
McCree: hanzo r u mad?

Saturday -1 Message Received
McCree: wanna get lunch?

3 Missed Calls

Sunday - 3 Messages Received
McCree: hello

McCree: ok whatever

Wednesday - 1 Message Received
McCree: if u don’t want to talk to me at least talk to Genji

The last one set his teeth on edge. He pressed down on the contact name and studied the options that were presented. Delete. Hanzo didn’t have time to play games. He certainly could not afford to lose control now, to slip up and put everything he had worked for into jeopardy. McCree was an unnecessary distraction that had been on his mind far too often. At least the other man had apparently given up during the week. It was Friday now, he was probably out having fun.

Hanzo hesitated before removing the contact details and instead looked at the newest message.

Amélie: We are going out tonight. I will pick you up at 10PM sharp.

A second message popped up as he was reading.

Amélie: Wear the blue sweater vest I gave you.

Hanzo pushed his phone away, it slid across the desk and nearly toppled over the edge, stopping just shy of the fall. Then he laughed, a sharp tired bark and leaned back in his chair. He fucking hated that sweater vest.

---

Hanzo wore the sweater vest. It was light blue with grey and white diamonds in two lines down the front and the only reason he put it on was because after peeling out of the suit he had worn all day he couldn’t imagine getting into another one. There was also an argument that he wanted to avoid; one that he was in no position to win. So he put on the sweater vest with a white shirt underneath, pulled on a pair of dark jeans, sensible brown shoes and tied his hair up with his favourite golden ribbon.

He stared at himself in the mirror for a long time afterwards, ran a finger along his beard. He was in need of a trim. Hanzo studied the dark circles beneath his eyes and the grey of his hair. He brushed his bang aside, found all the parts of his face that reminded him of his father and despised them down to his core.

The house was cold and quiet as he made his way back downstairs, stopped in the kitchen with no other purpose than to stare at a picture on the fridge. Genji was giving a peace sign to the camera, his other arm draped across Hanzo’s shoulders. Behind them you could see the Hawaiian ocean, the sun glimmering off bright blue waters. It had been a good holiday. Three years past and such a distant memory sometimes he wondered if it had ever happened.

Hanzo shot off a quick text to Genji.

Hanzo: Where are you?

The response was almost immediate.

Genji: Out with friends.

Hanzo: Sorry I have been so busy. We should talk tomorrow.

Genji: Ok! (☆^ー^☆)

That settled the anxiety in his chest, eased the tightness as he brushed his thumb against the smiley face. They would sort everything out tomorrow, talk it through and move on.

---

Hanzo filled the spare time with a short nap that left him feeling groggy, a bowl of cereal and a long thoughtful discussion with himself on whether he should take all the paperwork he still needed to fill out into the yard and burn it. He did not end up burning anything, despite having held the box of matches in his hand for a solid ten minutes, and was already outside and ready when Amélie arrived. Her car came to a smooth halt and he approached warily, fingers curling under the door handle to pull it open.

Bonsoir,” the purr of Amélie’s voice greeted him first as he slid into the seat. The French woman studied his appearance with a critical eye, leaned over to smooth a hand down the sweater and then fluff up the hair behind his ear.

“Am I up to standards?” Hanzo inquired, arching an eyebrow.

She pursed her lips in response.

C'est bien,” she eventually replied, shrugging as she put the car into drive. “You look too tired. I find it depressing.”

“I have had a long week.” He felt like death warmed up, it was hardly surprising that he wasn’t quite up to scratch.

“I know,” Amélie tutted.

Hanzo alternated between watching the lights of the highway speed by as they drove into the city and studying Amélie. She was immaculate as always, dark brown hair coiled into a bun and her lips plump and shiny red. When her gaze flicked towards him, the lights turned the tawny brown to gold. With the little black dress with the white trim that hugged her body and the knee high boots, he could only guess at where she was taking him.

When they had become friends exactly was still a mystery. They were both lawyers and worked in the same building, though they specialised in different areas. Amélie’s clients almost exclusively involved women trying to sue their husbands and ex-husbands for every last penny and her ability to bring men to their knees in defeat had given her the somewhat unsettling nickname of Widowmaker. Their very first encounter had Amélie pluck at his tie with her pale fingers, manicured nails with dark purple polish shining under the harsh elevator lights as she told him in no uncertain terms that it was hideous and he should be ashamed to be seen wearing it.

He threw out the tie and retaliated a few days later by informing her that her cardigan was at least three seasons old. She had only laughed and told him she was the seasons.

They had sniped for months; in the hallways, the elevator and finally at lunch.

Hanzo had learnt very quickly to respect the indomitable French lawyer.

The city surrounded them on all sides, the tall buildings with thousands of light, all full of people going through the motions of life. The restaurants and shops at street level, beckoning in the passer-by’s with neon signs. Hanzo looked away from them, settled his head back and closed his eyes, focusing on the dull ache in his temples instead.

When he opened his eyes again the area had changed, the traffic slowed to a crawl and the nightlife was decidedly more boisterous.

“Where are we going?” Hanzo asked suspiciously as they passed by a strip club and Amélie turned into a nearby car park. He wasn’t surprised when she pulled into one of the reserved spaces right near the entrance.

She didn’t answer his question and simply pulled down the car visor to inspect her make up in the mirror. She tilted her head right and then left and Hanzo reached for his door handle with a grumpy, “You look fine.”

Amélie’s hand shot out, her fingers wrapping around his bicep, stopping his progress. “But you do not.” Her grip loosened, fingers smoothed down his rumpled shirt sleeve. “We need to fix this.”

“This?”

Her hand waved elegantly at his face.

She plucked her purse up from near her feet, opened the clasp and felt around inside until she located the small makeup pouch near the bottom.

“No,” Hanzo said flatly.

Oui,” Amélie sighed as she removed the cap off the eyeliner. He didn’t fight, only closed his eyes and submitted when she took a firm hold off his chin and turned his head to her liking. The touch of the eyeliner was feather light, moving in a practised swipe across his eyelid. “You have lovely eyes. You must show them off.”

A brush swept across his cheek as she applied rouge.

“There now. You still look sad,” her fingertips stroked his chin, “but pretty.”

Hanzo’s eyes fluttered open, found her watching him with a gentle fondness.

It felt okay to hand himself over into her care, just for one night.

“Come now,” Amélie was back to business, packing her make up away and opening the door. “The night awaits.”

---

HELLFIRE.

The word blazed above the club in eye searing red capitals. Hanzo’s eyes hurt just looking at it. The line to get in was remarkably impressive, an endless parade of pretty twenty-somethings that stretched around the corner. Young women in short dresses, arms crossed in a futile attempt to ward off the chilly night air and the men in the latest brands, jeans hanging too low and eyes already shiny with pre-party drinks.

Hanzo looked at Amélie, aghast. “Why am I wearing a sweater vest?” He should have known not to trust her.

Her lips quirked. “I like it. You look darling.”

“I look like I should be conducting a university lecture on literature.”

“University lecturers are sexy. I married one once.”

Amélie shushed any further complaints by walking away from him, towards the door. With no other option, Hanzo followed. He straightened his shoulders and made sure anyone who looked at him knew that whether he was wearing a sweater vest or a priceless Armani suit, he was a person of importance and not to be trifled with. It wasn’t hard. It was a skill he had mastered years ago.

The security guard at the door was a tall olive-skinned man with muscles on top of muscles threatening to burst the seams of his black suit, as he assessed them from beneath large bushy eyebrows.

Then he nodded, moved the rope aside that blocked the way and beckoned them through. The group at the front of the line bristled and muttered low complaints.

“Welcome to Hellfire,” the guard offered as Amélie and Hanzo walked past.

Merci.”

The name of the club dredged up an old memory, the knowledge skittering around the edges of Hanzo’s mind as they walked through the dark entranceway, past the cloakroom to the main floor. The theme was clearly black and red and being able to see what you were doing was ranked far below edgy aesthetics. The main area was dominated by chairs and tables, plush red booths and off to the left a large bar manned by three busy bartenders. Music thrummed loudly, the deep bass settling directly into the pit of your stomach. Behind the seating area, Hanzo’s could see the red haze of the dance floor, where shadowy bodies moved with the beat.

Hellfire. Hellfire. Hellfire.

Of course.

Hanzo stopped. Amélie continued on for a few more steps before realizing he was no longer at her side. She stopped as well, turned with one hand on her hip, waiting for him to catch up. There was no point yelling at her across the space and he was forced to close the distance between them because she certainly wasn’t going to do it. When he reached her side, she linked their arms together, pulling him close.

“Genji used to work here,” he told her, watching her face.

“Did he?” Her nonchalance was so spot on, he almost believed she’d had no idea. “Lucky him. It is a fine establishment.”

He gave a tight-lipped smile.

“What is the matter? Are you not allowed to visit your brother’s former workplace? That seems quite unreasonable.”

The annoying part was that she was right. Hanzo had no reason to feel weird about being here, other than the overall atmosphere and the smoke machine somewhere that was making his nose itch. It was as good as anywhere else for having a drink and letting off some steam.

“Lead on,” he offered graciously and Amélie smiled in victory.

They found a free table and Amélie wiped down her seat with a napkin before sitting daintily. “Cosmopolitan,” she ordered, crossing her legs and sitting back like a queen upon her throne, ready to be served.

“As you wish.” Hanzo bowed slightly, a dip of his waist and a briefly teasing smile.

It was easier said than done. The bar was packed and even with three workers busy mixing and serving drinks he was forced to muscle through to reach the bar. When he got there, chest pressed against the dark wood, it was annoyingly claustrophobic, made worse when someone shoved against him from behind.

“Sorry mate,” the man’s breath reeked of alcohol and cigarettes as he leaned into Hanzo to reach for a straw. Hanzo tilted his head away and shifted his body to escape the unwanted touch, breathing out a sigh of relief when the other man retreated with his prize clasped in his hand.

At least now that he was at the bar, he wasn’t overlooked. All it took was an imperious stare and the tap-tap-tap of his knuckles against the bartop and he was able to place his order: a cosmopolitan for Amélie and a whiskey on the rocks for himself.

Hanzo returned to the table, settling into the quiet companionship as they sipped their drinks and made light conversation. Amélie never asked him about his week; she told him about hers instead, from the cute waitress that had she had taken home on Wednesday night to the neighbour who apparently thought it okay to keep three bored and barking German Shepherds in a seventh floor apartment.

Hanzo topped up his drink, quickly finished his second and then chased a third down with a clink of ice against the glass, feeling the pleasant hum of alcohol in his veins. Amélie was only just finishing her first. She kept checking her phone.

“Come, Hanzo.” Amélie announced suddenly, already starting to stand, her purse held in the crook of her arm. “We should dance.”

“I do not dance,” Hanzo protested.

“Of course you do.”

He might have put up more of a struggle but his inhibitions were lowered and Amélie always got exactly what she wanted. Hanzo stood and offered his arm.

“How gallant,” she murmured as she accepted, pleased.

They walked towards the dance floor together. The music got louder and Hanzo grew more disgruntled as the shadowy figures became defined bodies gyrating against each other. Too many people, questing hands, a lone girl sitting on the floor giggling after one too many drinks; it was not an appealing sight.

Amélie laughed at his expression as they reached the edge, patted his cheek with her hand. “Pathetic, non?”

Whatever she said next, he didn’t hear.

He spotted them from across the dance floor when a large group shifted aside, as if choreographed for his benefit. They were talking, Genji’s head tipped up and his mouth moving rapidly, gesturing animatedly. McCree was looking down at him with a frown, magnificent in a dark suit, a two-way radio at his belt and that damn hat still perched on his head. McCree responded to what was said, shook his head and brought a hand down on Genji’s shoulders. Those shoulders slumped and Genji’s arm dropped from the air as if a string had been cut.

Jealousy struck him like a knife, twisted itself in deep.

Hanzo’s decision on whether to retreat before he was noticed was taken from him when McCree’s gaze suddenly snapped up and met his, eyes widening in surprise. His mouth moved, shaped a name: Hanzo. Genji spun with it, guilt flashing across his face.

Hanzo made an unpleasant sound in the back of his throat.

Amélie laughed in his ear, her fingers a vice on his arm.

“We do not run from our problems, mon chéri.”

Genji was moving towards him rapidly, dodging around people and Hanzo had the brief but pressing desire to throw Amélie in front of a bus.

“Hanzo!” Genji was breathless when he came to a standstill in front of Hanzo and not just from his trip across the dance floor, there was a nervous flush on his cheeks. “What are you doing here?”

McCree was striding towards them as well, people quickly moving from his path. Of course he worked here. Security, Hanzo recalled Genji telling him.

The music lost its beat and the dancers swayed instead to the ghostly purr of noise that had replaced it.

Genji attached himself to Hanzo’s free arm, glowering unhappily at Amélie, who simply smirked back at him and refused to relinquish her own grip. His fingers plucked at the sweater vest. “Ugh, I hate this thing.”

McCree arrived, massive height and broad shoulders highlighted by the cut of the suit. He looked dangerous, with one thumb hooked into his belt and lips downturned. There was no question that he was capable of removing you from the premises if you insisted on causing trouble. It made Hanzo want to cause trouble.

He licked his lips.

McCree’s gaze fixed on his mouth.

“We should talk,” McCree said.

Hanzo did not feel like talking.

“I need to talk to him first,” Genji broke in, tumbling desperately over the words.

“Go and play, petit garçon. Let the adults talk first,” Amélie purred.

Genji all but snarled.

Hanzo would have pinched the bridge of his nose if both of his arms weren’t currently occupied in a tug of war. He swayed between, wishing he was somewhere, anywhere else. McCree and his brother could do whatever they wanted but all Hanzo was interested in was getting away from all the noise and people.

McCree made an exasperated noise, “I’ve got ten minutes to spare. Come with me.”

Hanzo met his earnest gaze and sighed.

“Very well,” he tried to take a step forward, felt Amélie’s grip loosen and Genji’s tighten. His brother dug in his heels. “Genji, later, I pro-”

Genji cut him off, launching into loud, rapid Japanese right in his ear. “I slept with Jesse last year!

Hanzo’s gut clenched. He stared down at his brother, frozen in place. There it was. His suspicions confirmed.

Remember how I lost my job last year because I slept with a coworker? That was Jesse.” Genji continued. “But we are just friends. I promise!

Why are you telling me this now?” Hanzo asked. The music was had shifted to something rapid and high-pitched; it did little to help the nervous jittering of his heart.

Because you need to know! I only lost my job because of his boss.” Genji stared up at him with wide eyes, begging for understanding. “They have a thing. I do not want you to-

“Fucks sake, you two,” McCree growled. “Fucking English. Stop fucking talking about me.”

“I wasn’t.” Genji said pointlessly, nose tipped up childishly.

“Yeah, you just added my name into the conversation ‘cause you like the sound of it. Fuck off, Genji.”

“Do not speak to my brother that way,” Hanzo snapped. He was beginning to feel light-headed, his head throbbing with new vigour as the music suddenly climbed higher and prepared for the drop. He was almost yelling to be heard. “Take me outside.”

Despite the order, Hanzo had not expected to McCree to step into his space, forcibly push Genji aside and wrap an arm around his shoulders.

Amélie had already stepped aside and had been watching the scene with the delight of someone who had somehow orchestrated the whole thing.

“Genji,” she swayed into the youngest Shimada’s space before he could protest, caught the front of his shirt and tugged him forward, “let me buy you a drink.”

Hanzo didn’t get to see the response before he was marched away, past the dancers towards the back of the club. McCree was a sturdy presence at his side, leading him out through a door out into a dimly lit alleyway that smelt of piss and rubbish. Even so, the fresh air was a delight and the quiet was a balm.

He was given only a moment to enjoy it before he was suddenly engulfed in a hug, pulled into McCree’s muscular chest and once there all he could smell was sharp cologne mingled with sweat. It was not unpleasant.

“You didn’t answer my texts,” McCree grunted and Hanzo felt the rumble of it against his cheek.

“I was busy.”

“Thought you didn’t wanna see me again.”

“You are a distraction.”

“But you’re here.”

“By accident,” Hanzo sighed. He had started leaning against McCree, exhaustion settling into his limbs. McCree took his weight easily. It was nice here. “Amélie-”

“Yeah, she’s a friend of the boss, I know. I see her here all the time.”

Forget pushing her in front of a bus; he would drown her slowly.

McCree’s hand ghosted along his back, dipped lower.

Hanzo squared his shoulders and pushed away. At first McCree resisted but he let Hanzo go, watched him with troubled brown eyes as Hanzo wobbled a step backwards. Hanzo caught himself against the alley wall beside the door, let his back come to rest against it and tipped his head up. Exhaustion and alcohol rolled through him, made his thoughts fuzzy at the edges.

There was too much want and too much in the way.

Lust coiled in his belly when he looked at McCree, mingled with anger and frustration.

“You slept with my brother,” the words slipped out without thought.

McCree flinched.

“Is that what he was sayin’? Shit.” He took off his hat, ran his hand through his hair and then put it back again. “Yeah. We slept together. Last year. Only once. It was a bit of fun, that’s all.”

“He lost his job,” Hanzo pointed out.

McCree didn’t answer but there was guilt in the way he flushed.

Laughter bubbled up from Hanzo’s throat unbidden.

It probably should have made him angrier but he couldn’t hold onto it, so he let it slip away.

“It’s complicated,” McCree murmured. The larger man moved towards him, slowly, as if he was an easily startled wild animal. “But it ain’t got nothin’ to do with us.” Two arms lifted, bracketing Hanzo in at either side, muscles bunching beneath the dark material as they took his weight.

Hanzo lifted a hand and let his fingers trail along McCree’s cheek, was delighted when the other man tilted his head into the touch. He teased his way up to the brim of the hat and flicked it off. It tumbled away into the darkness. McCree let out a sharp breath.

“Complicated,” Hanzo repeated the word.

“Nothin’ complicated about this, sweetheart.”

Hanzo watched his pupils dilate.

“Goddamn, you look fucking amazing with eyeliner.”

McCree leaned in.

Hanzo felt the hot breath against his mouth and was briefly tempted to give in, let him have the kiss and lose himself in it. But even now he couldn’t make it easy, he could not relinquish his control. Instead he curled his hand into the hair at the nape of McCree’s neck and pulled back sharply.

“I told you,” he barked when McCree hissed in pain, “I want you on your knees.”

The brief confusion in McCree’s eyes shifted to instant desperate lust. He dropped like a stone, landed heavily on his knees and settled his big hands on Hanzo’s hips.

“So eager to please,” Hanzo complimented. “Good boy.”

McCree grinned and Hanzo trembled with the rush of desire.

A blowjob in an alley had never been on his to-do list but he was beginning to see the attraction when McCree nuzzled tentatively against his inner thigh, gaze lifted upwards as if seeking permission. Hanzo’s ran a hand through his hair, gently parting the strands and scratching his nails against his scalp.

The two-way radio at McCree’s hip buzzed into life.

“Jesse, man, where the hell did you go? Boss is looking for you,” the gravelly voice asked, waited a few seconds and then added, “you better not be fucking around.”

Hanzo laughed and slid his fingers down to McCree’s chin, to tilt up his head and ask, “are you fucking around?”

McCree’s grip on his hips tightened. “I’d sure like to be.” He licked his lips, nice and slow. “Please.”

Hanzo’s self-control crumbled to piece. “Then get to it,” he ordered, voice cracking at the end when McCree went for the fly of his jeans without hesitation.

Finally.

The thought had only just flitted into his mind and McCree’s hand was barely sliding its way into his jeans when the door beside them crashed open.

Hanzo turned his head sideways, his hand buried in McCree’s hair and his thoughts slowed by lust. A tall dark-skinned man scowled back at him. The newcomer was intimidating, from the dark suit top with red trim to the defined moustache, the tight leather pants, the muscles on top of muscles and most of all, his eyes. They drilled straight into Hanzo and reminded him of many days spent sitting across from criminals, slowly working through old convictions of theft and murder as they stared impassively back. It was a dead-eyed shark stare.

McCree had gone completely still with a quick exhale of breath, his hands frozen in place. Hanzo soothed him with a gentle brush of his thumb and a tremble rolled through McCree’s body at the touch.

Genji’s warning echoed in his mind.

“Then you are the boss,” Hanzo stated casually, his gaze still lazy with lust.

The other man smiled. It was not a pleasant look. “The one and only.” His shark eyes shifted to McCree. “I’m not paying you to suck dick, kid. Get yourself in-fucking-side right now.” The voice that rolled out of him was deep and menacing.

McCree jerked upright and Hanzo let him go, his hand dropping away. The big man somehow looked diminutive in front of his boss, shoulders hunched and a hand scratching at the back of his neck, sheepish. There was no fear, only embarrassment, like a child getting their hand caught in the cookie jar.

Hanzo watched the scene play out without comment, studied the dynamic between them and catalogued it away for future reference.

“Sorry, Gabe, I was just-”

“Don’t wanna hear it. I know what you were doing. One more word and you lose tonight's pay.” The boss jerked his head sharply towards the door. McCree hesitated briefly, turned to Hanzo with a shrug of his shoulders as if to say ‘oh well better luck next time’ and then hurried to comply, leaving the two of them alone.

They stared at each other down and sized each other up. Hanzo wondered what he looked like to the other man; face flushed with alcohol and desire, his clothes rumpled. It was a far cry from what Hanzo usually presented to the world. It was for the best, he decided, if this man thought to underestimate him.

Though during his assessment Hanzo was embarrassed to note that the other man had very nice thighs. He kept his thoughts to himself. It bad enough he was tipsy and half-hard with his fly still open.

“Gabe, was it?” He ventured finally, breaking the uneasy silence that has settled between them.

The man snorted. “Mr. Gabriel Reyes to you.” He walked past Hanzo and stooped to pick up McCree’s hat, casually brushing dust off the top.

Gabriel approached the door, opened it and didn’t even look at Hanzo as he said, “You’re not welcome. Come back inside my club and I’ll put my boot so far up your ass your nose will bleed. Got it?”

Hanzo nearly laughed in his face. Apparently this Gabriel Reyes was used to getting his way through intimidation. It wouldn’t work here.

Clearly he had already made the presumption that Hanzo was no more than a quick fling, momentarily catching the attention of his favourite security guard.

“I have ‘got it’.” Hanzo replied loftily, unable to resist the chance to mark his territory and draw battle lines. “I would not want to distract Jesse any further. Besides,” he was smugly pleased when Gabriel’s gaze slid angrily and apparently unwillingly towards him, “when I take him apart later, I will require better ambiance than your charming alleyway provides.”

Gabriel Reyes bared his teeth like a dog.

Hanzo gave a cold smile.

Whatever claim this man thought he had on Jesse McCree, Hanzo would ruin it. He would not not lose. He’d had enough of losing for one week.

“Have a good night, Mr. Gabriel Reyes.” The nasty way the words slipped off his tongue was like poking a vicious animal with a stick.

For a dangerous moment, the air around Reyes promised violence. It was written in every line of his body, in the snarl of his lip and the stiffness of his shoulders. Hanzo tensed in response, his gaze sharpened and he immediately calculated the best defense in his mind. He wanted to think all those muscles were for show but just by looking at him, Hanzo knew they weren’t. It meant he wasn’t sure which way the fight would go, especially in his current state.

Then Gabriel Reyes thought better of getting into a fistfight out the back of his own club and door slammed closed behind him.

Hanzo let go of his relieved sigh.

Alone, Hanzo slumped. He slid down the wall and ended up on his ass, legs stretched out. The ground was cold, dirty and littered with cigarette butt, the place stunk and he suddenly felt sick. It took too much energy to pull his phone out of his pocket and zip up his jeans.

But when Amélie and Genji arrived to collect him, he had already pulled himself together and made himself as presentable as possible. If he had to lean on Genji’s shoulder on the way to Amélie’s car, nobody made any comment about it. Neither of them asked what had happened, not with his stern ‘do not ask’ still ringing in their ears.

It was a blessing to settle into the car seat. Genji closed the door for him, squished his nose briefly against the glass and then scurried away to get his motorbike and follow them home.

The drive back was spent in silence. Hanzo could tell Amélie was itching to say something, her fingers tapping against the steering wheel but he refused to encourage any further meddling. It had been foolish of him to forget how she sat in the middle of her web, collecting gossip and information, pulling whatever strings she desired.

Whenever he heard her intake of breath, he lifted a hand to shush her.

He could feel her frown of impatience whenever she glanced his way but he refused to make eye contact.

Instead he took out his phone and sent a quick message.

Hanzo: Are you okay?

It took most of the ride until he received a response.

Jesse: fine g2g call tmrw

He wasn’t worried about his troublesome cowboy but he was concerned about how deep Gabriel Reyes’s grip on McCree was and how far Hanzo would have to go to remove it.

When they pulled into his drive, the tall double story house sitting dark and quiet, Amélie stopped him before he could escape the car. Her hand settled on his thigh, gripped insistently until he looked at her.

“I am on your side,” Amélie assured him.

Hanzo felt a dozen different remarks rise onto his tongue, each more cutting than the last but he swallowed them all. It was pointless. Part of him was glad she’d dragged him out and forced the meeting with McCree. Just when he’d been ready to let go, it had reignited the fire in his belly and now he wanted to swallow McCree whole. Nobody could take that from him. Not his father, not Genji, not Gabriel Reyes. Especially not Reyes.

“Good night Amélie,” he said instead, squeezing her hand as he removed it from his thigh.

She let him go.

Genji roared up on his motorbike a moment later.

The moment the bike was turned off and the helmet taken off, Genji shot at him like a rocket, barrelling into his chest. Hanzo embraced him, pulled him close. They stood together as Amélie drove away and left them lit by only the stars and a crescent moon.

“Sorry. I should have told you sooner,” Genji muttered into his chest.

“It does not matter.” Hanzo ruffled his hair. “Come inside.”

They made their way inside, briefly parted to wash up and change into pajamas and then reconvened in Hanzo’s room. They climbed into bed together, Genji with a glass of chocolate milk and Hanzo just happy to have a pillow to put his head on to.

“So what happened?” Genji asked after they had been sitting in companionable silence for a while.

“I met Gabriel Reyes,” Hanzo replied.

He tugged the blankets up to his chin and closed his eyes.

“Ugh,” Genji made a disgusted sound. “He is scary. I do not know much but Jesse does whatever he wants and the guy hates it when Jesse sleeps around.” He slurped his drink. “They are not together but they are something.

“I see.”

“Did you kiss Jesse?” Genji asked. He played it off as teasing but there was an edge there that Hanzo didn’t miss.

“No.”

“Are you going to?”

Hanzo sighed. “Not yet.”

“Are you mad at me?”

“No.”

“Good.” Another slurp. “What happened this week? You told me nothing.” There was no accusation in his tone; just slight hurt.

“I lost the case.” Hanzo hardly cared anymore.

“Sorry.” There was genuine regret there and Hanzo knew it was because he understood how hard it was for his older brother to face failure.

“You need to be careful. Father truly believes you are dating McCree. He wants to-” The words were briefly stuck in his throat. “He wants to send you away. Back to Japan.”

Genji actually snorted with laughter and Hanzo cracked an eye open to look at him.

“I am twenty-seven.” As if that solved the problem and made him untouchable.

“Do not take this lightly,” Hanzo warned.

“I know, I know. I will call him and tell him I broke up with Jesse.” Genji’s tone was flippant but Hanzo didn’t have to be a mind reader to know that the thought of willingly calling their father was a terrifying one.

Hanzo shut his eyes again.

“I will be there with you. I will talk to him first.”

“Thank you.” There was a clink as Genji put his glass down on the nightstand and the soft sound of the light going off, plunging them into darkness. His brother shuffled under the covers and curled up against Hanzo’s side with the one hand curled into his pajama top, a habit from childhood neither had ever thought to stop.

Genji sniggered softly.

“What?” Hanzo asked, his voice a soft rasp, already drifting towards sleep.

“Going to be awkward when you tell father you are dating Jesse instead.”

“I am not dating him,” Hanzo huffed. “Go to sleep.”

“Goodnight, aniki.

“Goodnight, otōuto.

They slipped into dreams quietly and easily, side by side.

Chapter Text

Hanzo: What nights are you free?

McCree: any night for you bby? ;) ;) ;)
McCree: i get tuesday and wednesday nights off

Hanzo: Good.

“Who are you texting?”

Hanzo’s head jerked up from the screen and he immediately tipped the phone towards his chest protectively.

“Amélie,” he answered in the same way a felon puts their hand on the bible and promises to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. His phone chimed and he glanced quickly down to check the new message.

McCree: what have you got planned???

Genji wasn’t fooled for a second.

They were sitting across from each other at Hanzo’s desk at work, the midday sun filling the room with light and the remains of their takeaway lunch scattered in containers before them. It only took the slightest suspicion for Genji to launch himself onto the desk, hand reaching but not even close enough to snatch Hanzo’s phone away. All he accomplished was squishing the leftover naan bread in the bag and splattering butter chicken on his shirt.

“You are texting Jesse,” he accused as he slid back into his seat and grabbed a pile of napkins to clean up the mess. It was going to stain.

“No.”

“Yes! Stop hiding it.” Genji gave up and tossed the napkins back on the desk. “You have to tell me everything and I tell you everything. That is how it works now.”

Hanzo glowered as put his phone down, out of Genji’s reach and started cleaning their mess, shoving takeaway bags and boxes into a plastic bag. “I am texting Jesse,” he admitted just as his phone chimed again.

“Let me look at it.”

“No.”

“What are you saying?”

“I asked if he is well.”

“You are such a liar.” Genji slumped in his chair and finished the last of his mango lassi with more noise than necessary. “Are you sexting?”

With a loud exasperated sigh, Hanzo shoved the last of the containers in the bag and shoved it towards Genji. “No. Take your rubbish when you leave.”

Genji remained undeterred. “You have not thanked me for bringing you lunch yet. On a Saturday. You should not be working on the weekend. Especially after last night.” He chewed on the straw, a cheeky gleam in his eyes. “Also what are you going to do about Reyes?”

Hanzo picked up his phone again, checking it before he answered.

McCree: is it sex i hope its sex

“Nothing yet.” The words came out distracted.

They’d been so close last night. Waking up in the morning with Genji snoring and wrapped in most of the blankets, the whole thing had possessed the fuzzy edges of fantasy; granted he had been slightly hungover and was still enjoying the aftereffects of drinking whiskey while exhausted. Eventually, after a shower and aspirin, his mind had sharpened and he had gone over the night, moment by moment.

He had decided, even if he would never admit it out loud, that he was glad Reyes had interrupted them. Hanzo was not a ‘blowjob in an alley’ type of man. He didn’t want that on his mental resume. When he took McCree apart it would be slowly, piece by piece, a leisurely affair without the chance of intrusion.

They’d certainly dealt with enough of that.

---

Hanzo: It is sex.

“What the fuck are you leering at?”

McCree startled guiltily, fumbled his phone and nearly dropped it. It took some fancy juggling before he had it in a safe grip, his heart beating overtime.

“Nothin’,” he grumbled.

The man across from him gave a disbelieving snort. There was a soft clink as Reyes picked up another glass and began to polish it with an efficient wipe of a green tea towel. He was leaning casually against the bar, legs crossed at the ankles.

“You’re blushing like a schoolgirl,” he pointed out, both eyebrows rising to further express his doubt.

“No, I ain’t.”

He was.

He could feel the flush on his cheeks.

“And I’m the Queen of England.” Reyes tossed the tea towel at him and McCree snatched it from the air instinctively. “Stop dicking around and help out.”

“You got it, boss,” McCree slipped his phone into his pocket after one last fond look, a thrill running through him at the thought of that last message. After their brief and ultimately frustrating meeting (like pretty much all them so far) last night, McCree had been worried Hanzo would back off again. However the effect seemed to be the opposite, which was great because McCree really really wanted to fuck him. It was on his mind more often than not and the week without contact has nearly driven him mad.

He’d talked to Genji continuously during that week, listened to stories about their father that made his blood run cold and comforted his friend. The secret of their brief fling had worried them both and it was a relief to have it out in the open. Hanzo seemed to have taken it in stride.

Hanzo had even let him hug him.

That moment was still burned in his mind. Hanzo’s head against his chest, holding him close and the desperate thought crossing his mind, I won’t let you get away this time. Then the hard concrete against his knees, the fumbling need to get to him, to give everything. It really didn’t show much for his self-control but he couldn’t regret any of it.

Except for Gabe’s abrupt arrival.

Despite having quizzed Reyes on what had happened outside the club after he’d left, the other man had remained taciturn and reminded McCree to ‘just do your fucking job’. The matter had been dropped. There was only so much hot water McCree was willing to walk into.

The fact that he was here now, when by rights he should have had at least a few more hours to sleep and lazily prepare for a busy night, was clearly some sort of punishment. The club was a strange beast during the day, empty of life and the lights too bright, highlighting the stains that they could never seem to get out and the wrinkles around Reyes eyes that reminded McCree that they were all getting older.

“You’d make a great queen though,” McCree quipped, leaning with his hip against the bar. “All hail Queen Gabe.” He tipped his head in mock respect. “I’d bend the knee.”

A low chuckle rolled through Reyes. “I don’t gotta be a queen to make you bend the knee.”

“Don’t I know it.” McCree laughed.

Reyes stared at him expectantly, leaning indolently back, a wine glass hanging loosely from his fingers.

The motion of McCree’s hand as he cleaned his own glass slowed as the implication settled slowly into his mind. His cheeks burned anew. “Now?” He asked, hesitated before complying to the unspoken command. Without thought his hand dropped, brushed across his pocket where his phone was nestled.

Reyes caught the gesture and grunted. He straightened, setting his glass down slightly too hard on the bar top. “So who was your puta last night?”

Ah, there it was.

McCree didn’t answer.

“He seems like trouble,” Reyes continued. “You’ve had enough of that. You chase after a pretty ass or a some sultry eyes and then you come running back with your tail between your legs when they break your heart.”

“He ain’t trouble.” McCree said finally, defensive. “It’s just sex.”

“But you haven’t fucked him yet.”

“I- uh, well-” McCree spluttered for a bit, abandoned his work and rubbed the back of his neck. It wasn’t as if they hadn’t talked candidly about the topic before. There was nothing taboo, no earth left unturned between them. But this was Hanzo they were talking about. “Not yet.”

“I saw you there, on the ground. Looked like you’d be happy to choke on whatever he gave you.” Reyes was merciless. “He’ll take whatever he wants from you and then drop your ass without thought. He’s a cold one.” He shrugged, as if he didn’t care either way and was just giving a bit of fatherly advice. “You need sex? I’ll take care of it.”

“Real sweet of you Gabe and you know I ain’t opposed but I- uh, I really like this one.” McCree was surprised to admit it out loud. Hanzo was cold but there was far more to him than that and McCree was looking forward to finding out what was underneath all the fines suits, cold glares and self-assurance.

Reyes scowled.

Then he shrugged again, feigning nonchalance. McCree could see the tightness in his jaw. “Don’t expect me to open my door to you when you come crawling back.”

McCree grinned back at him, using far too many teeth for it to be entirely friendly. “Funny thing is, I’ve got my own door and a key. I reckon I’ll manage just fine.”

They watched each other for a long minute, a showdown at the Hellfire club. Reyes relented first, much to McCree’s surprise. He sighed, eased himself away from the bar and approached in three easy steps. “Pendejo,” Reyes murmured as he took McCree’s face in both hands. He pulled McCree’s head forward and McCree swayed into it willingly, eyes fluttering closed at the firm press of lips against his forehead. They stood together for five long breaths until Reyes pulled away.

Reyes turned to walk away, right back to business. “Finish polishing those glasses and then go get us something to eat. I’ve got paperwork coming out of my ass.”

“Sure thing.” McCree smiled, warmed by the affection. He snatched up the tea towel and got to work, until Reyes’ voice stilled him once more.

“Oh yeah,” the ex-soldier turned club owner half-turned his head to look back, “your new guy is Genji’s brother.” It was not a question.

McCree tutted. “Just ‘cause they’re both Japan-”

“I checked the security cameras, moron. What do you take me for? Not to mention that little shit never shut up about the guy. Was always surprised he let you do him, with the boner he’s got for his brother.” Reyes rolled his eyes as his head turned back towards the front, one hand lifting in a backwards wave. “You’re way out of your league, kid.”

“I’ll keep it in mind,” McCree drawled back.

When Reyes left him to head to his back off office, McCree knew that wouldn’t be the end of it. Not by a long shot.

Thoroughly ignoring the warnings his boss had just imparted so graciously, he pulled out his phone to reply to the last text. If anything, Reyes’ disapproval made him all the more determined.

---

McCree: good!!! cause i want u so bad

Hanzo couldn’t keep the smug smirk off his face and Genji rolled his eyes.

“That reply took a while,” Genji teased. “Ask him if he is touching himself.”

“No,” Hanzo snapped.

He pushed upwards with two hands planted firmly on the desk and eyed his brother where he was still reclining lazily, one leg hooked over the armrest.

“Are you leaving now?” He asked tartly, mostly because he wanted to research the best hotel to book while imagining McCree at his mercy and not because there was a mountain of paperwork he still needed to get through.

“In a bit,” Genji replied as he took out his phone and started tapping rapidly. The small smile on his face slowly grew until it was a wide grin full of childish glee.

Hanzo’s eyed narrowed.

“What are you doing?”

Genji ignored him.

---

McCree had only managed to polish two glasses before his phone began vibrating wildly in his pocket. He’d been delighted at first and then slightly confused, plucking it out of his pocket to read the screen: ‘23 unread messages’.

Well, fuck.

Maybe they were dick pics?

They weren’t.

They were all from Genji.

Genji: hey big guy

are you sexting my bro?

tell

him

about

your

big

(´◉◞౪◟◉)

want me to tell him about the spot behind your ear???

(ಥ⌣ಥ)

also

reyes

is

a

big

jerk

hey

yo!!

ლ(◉◞⊖◟◉`ლ)

jesssSesesesese

you

suck

ԅ(≖‿≖ԅ)

---

“McCree has politely requested that you stop texting him.”

Genji nearly fell off his chair laughing.

Hanzo sighed.

He travelled around the desk and reached for his brother. Genji saw it coming but unless he toppled himself out of his chair to the floor, there was no escaping Hanzo’s grasp. He took Genji’s left ear between thumb and forefinger and pinched hard.

“Ow, ow, ow! Okay, I am stopping!”

Hanzo would not relent until Genji’s hand shot up and relinquished his phone, to be confiscated until his younger brother had vacated the premises. Only with Genji’s phone secured did Hanzo step back and walk to the door.

“I will walk you downstairs,” he said magnanimously.

Genji sat up properly, pouting and rubbing at his ear as he swivelled the chair around. The sullen pout on his face was almost cute. Almost.

“I can wait. How long as you going to be? You should be at home resting.”

“The sooner I get my work done, the sooner I can come home.” Hanzo softened. “Please, Genji.”

He opened the door, instinctively turning his head to glance out, gaze flickering and seeing a suited-figure marching down the hall towards his office. For a second, he could only stare in confusion and then his gut flared with panic. Butterflies exploded in his belly and he stiffened, felt the new tension along his shoulders like a barbell.

Genji.”

The stress behind the word was also a warning, one his brother knew well. A rapid glance showed Genji swallow hard and hurry to make sure Hanzo’s desk was neat and tidy and the remains of the their meal quickly shoved into the small rubbish bin, as if the knowledge that his children had shared lunch together would set their father over the edge. It very well might.

Hajime was not supposed to be here today.

Hanzo had made sure. He kept a detailed diary of what his father was doing, his meetings both business and personal. Yet he had still been caught unaware; for the second time. Hajime was supposed to be en route to a business meeting, which meant someone had informed him that his sons were here. Hanzo's mind ran quickly through who was in the building that might have forwarded the information.

His thoughts instantly jumped to the foyer below. The security guard, of course. His father had no doubt been keeping an eye on him in turn, especially after the last week, and there was always someone happy to earn a few extra dollars.

“Father,” he greeted, bowing low at the waist once Hajime had reached the office. “I did not expect you.”

Genji was a nervous presence at his back

Hajime ran his sharp, critical gaze over his sons. He did not look pleased but he rarely did. There were levels to his displeasure, from morning frost to tundra blizzard. Hanzo ranked this one near the middle, dangerous but manageable.

“You!” Hajime snapped, brushing past Hanzo and stabbing a long finger into Genji’s chest. Genji flinched back as if struck. “You enjoy making your father waste his time.”

“N-no, I, no.” Genji stammered, hands up defensively.

“We were going to call you,” Hanzo cut in, earning him the full focus of Hajime's glare.

“Silence!”

They had all slipped into Japanese. It somehow made everything sharper, more terrifying. Hanzo sometimes thought he preferred English over his native language, if only because the latter only ever reminded him of their father.

“When were you going to call?” Disappointment was a permanent fixture on his proud face when beside his two sons. “A week, a month, a year? I do not have time for your nonsense. Genji,” his attention snapped back to the younger son. "Speak."

"I am not dating Jesse McCree. It was a lie. I was just trying to upset you."

"You do not need to try and upset me."

Genji held out up hands beseechingly but had nothing else to say. It was true. Nothing he did would ever please their father. His years of rebellion had tarnished his image in Hajime’s mind so entirely that his mere presence was an insult. Even if he got down on his knees, suddenly became a lawyer and married himself off to a well-bred Japanese woman who would give him three sons, Hajime would still find fault.

“A lie.” Hajime looked to Hanzo for confirmation.

Hanzo inclined his head. “Yes. I checked. They were friends.” Genji didn’t so much as blink at the past tense. He knew what his brother was doing. “But he is clearly an inappropriate influence. I put a stop to it. We both heard how he spoke to you.”

Hajime’s head tilted and Hanzo was reminded of a bird of prey, sizing up a defenceless creature sitting below him unaware.

“Do you think I am a fool?” His thin lips stretched into a smile and his eyes twinkled with mirth, as if his children had just performed a particularly stupid trick. “I suggest you take heed of your own lies. If I see him again, he will be the one suffering for it.”

Hajime’s attention shifted, trapped Genji on the spot with his hands still lifted and palms up, as if it would somehow ward him away. “I do not care what you do. I care that you live with Hanzo, that your existence continues to distract him. You will not grow up, I understand that but you will not pull your brother down to your level. I will not allow it. If I must send you away, I will. Do not push me.”

Genji made a pained sound, looked towards Hanzo for help.

Hanzo’s nostrils flared, his jaw tightened painfully and he curled his hands into fists. When he noticed, he quickly stretched out his fingers, felt them quivering near the tips from sheer rage. Two instincts fought, two dragons of near equal strength; the one that desperately wanted to protect his brother and the one that knelt before his father with a fear fostered from childhood.

The first dragon's jaws clamped down, bit deep.

“If you send him away,” the words fell from his mouth like black fire, burned their way from his throat, “I will leave with him. We will disappear and you will never see us again.”

They could. He had the funds. There was a separate bank account that he’d been putting money into for years now and as the amount climbed he imagined them running, far away to another country, untouchable, happy.

Hajime’s eyes narrowed appraisingly, looking his eldest up and down as if seeing him for the first time.

“I see,” he said finally, slow and deliberate. Hanzo could see the calculation in his gaze. “Interesting.”

There was no anger and that was possibly worse. It meant Hajime wasn't worried. It meant that whatever threat Hanzo offered, he was prepared to combat it. He had all the right pieces and Hanzo had nothing. It didn’t matter. The gauntlet had been thrown down. Hajime would retreat, reassess and Hanzo would need to be on guard.

Hajime nodded curtly. “Then we are done here today.”

He swept from the room with a last look at Hanzo, one last ice-cold quirk of his lips and then he was gone.

Hanzo’s legs carried him to the closest chair and then gave out. He collapsed into it, legs sprawled and heart thumping in his chest.

Genji stared at him, mouth opened in a surprised ‘O’ and then-

Aniiikiiiiii!” He lifted his arms, stretching the word out into a delighted squeal. “Hoooolyyyy shiiiiit. Did you just-? You did!” Genji sunk down into a crouch, hands on his cheeks and eyes bright. “That was the best thing I have ever seen.”

“I feel sick,” Hanzo admitted but he couldn’t keep the smile from growing on his face.

“Do it again!”

“Shut up, Genji.” There was no force behind his words, just gentle fondness.

“Can we hug? We should hug. Or are you really feeling sick? Because I do not want to wear curry vomit.” Even as he was speaking, Genji was climbing into Hanzo’s lap, head dropping onto his brother's shoulder. Hanzo wrapped his arms around him, captured him close and closed his eyes.

“That is not the end of it,” Hanzo warned softly.

“Yeah,” Genji mumbled, his voice a pleased rumble, “but thank you.”

Hanzo sighed. He was only sorry it had had taken him so long.

---

Hanzo booked a luxury room at ‘The City Park Hotel’ for Tuesday night. He sent McCree the details, received a winking smiley face and ten exclamation marks in return.

Then he returned to his paperwork, heart lighter than it had been for weeks.

Genji sat across from him. ‘I’ll wait,” he’d said cheerfully as he grabbed a pile of spare paper and began to fold them into origami cranes, their wings too limp and their heads crooked but perfect all the same.

---

McCree had a date, a time and a place. Now all he had to do was wait.

The days dragged along.

On Sunday at work, he stepped outside on his break, stood in the dark alley and lit a cigarette. As it hung from his lips, he couldn’t resist revisiting the Friday by lifting a hand to the cold brick where Hanzo’s had pressed his back against.

Hanzo had been perfection itself that night, ravishing with a red flush on his cheeks, his gaze soft and sultry. The dark eyeliner had made him seem exotic and somehow softer. When he had finally relented, every line of his body had suddenly begged touch me but his hand had been so firm, his fingers implacable. McCree had been helpless. All he had wanted to was please him.

He scraped his fingers along the brick, chasing a heat long since gone.

Reyes joined him outside a moment later, casually stole his cigarette and took a long drag. The older man watched him with a hooded gaze, smoke drifting lazily between them.

McCree’s left hand dropped from the wall, dipped idly into his pocket. “Heard from Jack yet? How is he?” He asked, holding his hand out for the cigarette and all the while knowing his boss wouldn’t appreciate either question.

Reyes denied his claim, holding the cigarette loosely between two fingers, well out of reach unless McCree made an effort.

“Soldier Boy has apparently got better things to do than call home,” Reyes replied, the growl in his throat and the way his gaze flickered away a dead giveaway for how much cared beneath the angry scowl. “Maybe someone finally shot his ugly face off.”

McCree grunted, almost apologetic. He knew the bitterness that lurked there and it seemed pointless to dredge it up any further, even if he had poked the spot on purpose.

“You coming over tonight?” Reyes snapped, sudden enough to startle, his gaze fixed intently on McCree’s.

Guilt gnawed at McCree’s belly as he gave a small shake of his head. “Nah...”

Reyes laughed unpleasantly. “Your puta finally gonna take care of you?”

McCree feigned nonchalance, as if the question didn’t make him want to grit his teeth and snarl. “Not yet.”

Reyes finally held out the cigarette to be taken but when McCree reached for it, he tangled their fingers together instead, the burning end dangerously close to touching skin. McCree could feel the heat of it near his thumb.

“Don’t forget who saved your ingrate ass, who owns you. You’re here because of me. You get to fuck around because of me.” Reyes hissed the words out, staking his claim. Beneath it all he was still bitter and angry and McCree had known him too long to miss it.

The weight of years was heavy between them, a shadowy presence that had its claws in them both.

McCree couldn’t resent Reyes for the hold he had; hell, he’d encouraged it, even begged for it. There had been a time when the only thing he had wanted was Reyes’ full attention. When he’d been a seventeen year old piece of shit thinking he looked cool with a gun in his hand, Reyes had smacked that thought right out of his head. It had saved him.

McCree respected the bond that had been forged between them; not quite lovers, not quite family. It was something different, unbreakable.

But that didn’t mean he would let it control his life now. Not this time.

“I know who I belong to, Gabe.” He used his free hand to steal the cigarette and twisted his fingers of the hand still trapped in Reyes’ grip to gain control of the hold. It didn’t quite work. “And that’s me.”

Reyes squeezed painfully tight and McCree nearly cringed away from the disappointment that flared bright and hot in his gaze. It was almost enough to have him bow his head, to be good again. Almost but not quite.

“I ain’t no ingrate. I’d die for you, no questions asked.” The words scratched their mark in the heavy bound book that was their relationship in big bold letters, a place to turn to if either of them stopped to wonder what had changed and when. “But that don’t mean you own me.”

Reyes used their locked hand to pull him forward and McCree didn’t resist, even though the thought briefly crossed his mind. Reyes brought their faces together, one cheek scarred and the other bristly. Their chests met and McCree felt the heavy breath that the other man let out ghost across his skin. To any onlooker they would be two lovers embracing in the night.

“I guess we’ll see about that.” The words rolled out from Reyes like a lover’s promise. His breath was warm against McCree’s cheek and his kiss even warmer. When their lips touched, it was at first soft and tender before he demanded and claimed, all heat and teeth that had always made McCree weak at the knees and now was no different. Their fingers tangled and squeezed, no space between them.

McCree couldn’t push him away.

It was up to Reyes to break them apart, stepping back and dragging his gaze up at down McCree as if he was suddenly an insect beneath his notice.

“Finish your break and get back inside. There’s some fucker in there trying to sell hard drugs on my premises and I want him out before some idiot OD’s in the bathroom.”

“Yes, boss,” McCree heard himself say but the words were spoken to a closing door.

---

By Tuesday McCree was a nervous wreck. The day before he had gone shopping, bought three new shirts, a jacket and two pairs of pants. Now spread out on the bed in the weak afternoon light streaming through his bedroom window they all looked horrible and tacky, an obvious ploy to please Hanzo. Which was exactly what he was trying to do but he didn’t want to make it too obvious how hard he was trying. With five hours until they met, nothing felt suitable enough for standing before that infuriatingly gorgeous man.

McCree found himself at the edge of his bed, elbows on his knees and head in his hands, all too aware that he hadn’t felt this freaked out over a sexual encounter since he was fifteen, a year before dropping out of school and about to suck cock for the first time. The memory was still a vivid one; his gym teacher sweating, stinking to high heaven, his white shorts pulled down just enough for McCree to get the job done.

It took two hours, a very long shower in which he steadfastly refused to touch himself and an unfortunate amount of time picturing all the countless ways this night could and probably would go wrong before he decided what to wear.

But when he did, it was a ray of light through the dark clouds, an angel of mercy come a-callin’. It chased away his doubt, left him grinning roguishly at himself in the mirror.

With the current track record he was half expecting Genji, Hajime and Reyes to all tumble into the hotel room and start brawling on the floor before he got a glimpse of skin. Even if they did, they could damn well sit their asses down and watch because he wasn’t going to stop for anything.

---

The receptionist at the city hotel lobby gave McCree a strange look when he clinked his way up to the desk.

“Howdy ma’am,” he greeted, laid the charm on thick and juicy with a full-toothed grin and a tip of his hat. He put his forearm on the counter and leaned in, made himself comfortable. If she thought a man dressed like a cowboy was odd, she made no mention of it but she did smile back and he counted that as a win.

By the time McCree was walking towards the elevator, whistling and in high spirits, she was watching after him with flushed cheeks.

Still got it.

McCree checked himself out in the shiny walls of the elevator as it travelled to the twenty-second floor of the hotel.

Don’t go full cowboy, he had once told himself and instead of following that advice he had done the complete opposite, with all the bells and whistles. He was really only missing the horse.

From his leather boots with the intricate pattern of flowers and vines down the sides, the silver spurs that caught the light and announced his every step, the brown shirt with red lining, the tan hat with its wide brim to the red serape; he was cowboy all the way. Hell, he was even wearing chaps. Jesse McCree looked like such a caricature of a cowboy that if he’d turned up at a rodeo everyone would have laughed.

But it felt good and there was always the possibility that Hanzo was so disgusted that he immediately told him to take it all off. Which was obviously the whole point of this endeavour, making it a win/win situation.

The elevator pinged his arrival and the doors opened.

McCree threaded the keycard through his fingers and stepped into the long hallway, doors stretching out on either side. Room #14 the girl had told him and he made the walk, his stomach knotting itself into a bigger ball with every step. By the time he was standing outside the right door, he was sweating nervously and trying not to look too obviously terrified by what was waiting on the other side.

It was ridiculous.

Just the other night he had been down on his knees, ready for give his body and eager to please. Long before that he’d stood naked as the day was was born, quivering beneath Hanzo’s fingertips.

McCree lifted the keycard to the door and hesitated, folding it back into his hand and knocking instead. He leaned forward, ears straining to catch any sound but it was silent on the other side. He waited another minute and before he could chicken out, swiped the keycard down with a soft beep and let himself in.

The room would have looked empty if not for the suit jacket and tie carefully draped over the back of a chair. It was a large room in neutral tones of cream and white, the queen sized bed covered in a floral print and facing a large screen TV. Directly to his right was a small counter and bar fridge with a selection of alcohols and chocolates to be sampled and directly to his left was the entrance to the bathroom.

That was where he found Hanzo, leaning casually in the doorway with the top two buttons of dress shirt open, showing off the barest hint of skin. But it was more than McCree had been privy to in the past and the thrill it sent through him should have been illegal. Hanzo’s shoes were off, placed neatly by the entrance and leaving him in plain white socks. Much to McCree’s delight, Hanzo’s hair was loose, strands of it curling around his chin and brushing against the elegant tilt of his neck. He watched McCree with hawk-like intent, lips slowly curling into an amused smirk.

Anticipation thrummed electric between them.

“Did someone order a cowboy?” McCree drawled playfully, hooking a thumb in a belt and slouching.

Hanzo pushed himself straight with his shoulder and tutted. He crossed the short space between them in three silent steps until he was in front McCree, looking up with laughter in his brown eyes. “I asked for a policeman,” he purred, reaching out to brush his fingers against the edge of the serape. McCree shivered.

Hanzo’s barely there touch travelled down until he could hook his fingers into the belt, right next to McCree’s thumb. His fingers flexed, brushed the bare skin of McCree’s belly. “But you’ll do.”

The knot that had travelled with him was no longer fear, maybe it never really had been; instead it was a deep and endless yearning that made his knees feel weak.

“No policeman is gonna treat you as good as I will, sweetheart,” McCree promised, leaning in. He traced the curve of Hanzo’s lips with his eyes, leaned in to kiss them and caught Hanzo’s cheek instead when the other man turned his head.

“Only good boys get a kiss,” Hanzo told him, his breath against his cheek.

McCree grinned and rubbed his beard against the other man like a pleased cat. He did like being a good boy.

“Want me to strip for you, baby?” He asked, a low rumble.

Hanzo laughed, the fingers in McCree’s belt flexing again, teasing. “Once was enough.”

“I’ve been practicin’, I swear. Did a couple of moves in front of my mirror yesterday morning and I ain’t half bad, if I do say so myself.”

“You must have been drunk then,” Hanzo said with a snide quirk of his lips as he slipped his entire hand into McCree’s jeans in one smooth slide. McCree jolted as if he’d been electrified, an embarrassingly high pitched whine escaping his throat when Hanzo’s hand curled around his crotch and gave a curious squeeze.

McCree stood frozen but for the tremors that rolled through him from the sudden contact.

Hanzo pressed up into McCree’s balls with his fingers, one after the other and McCree felt each one as a jolt of red hot desire. His palm pressed up, rubbed against McCree’s rapidly swelling cock as the cowboy panted against his neck.

When McCree went to move his arms, to reach out and touch, Hanzo gripped hard and gave a sharp, “No.” It was only when McCree let his hands hang uselessly by his sides did Hanzo continue to knead, a slow and deliberate pace that had McCree throbbing in his pants. Face flushed and panting, McCree rolled his hips into the touch.

“That is better,” Hanzo murmured.

“You’ve got no idea how long I’ve wanted to touch you,” McCree gasped, nuzzling into the one bit of skin he was allowed. Hanzo scent was an intoxicating mix of musky sweat with the soft hint of aftershave.

“I have some idea,” Hanzo replied drily.

Clearly pleased by how hard McCree was and by the way his jeans tented around his erection, Hanzo removed his hand. “Your turn,” he offered.

The lizard part of McCree’s brain was telling him to take these damn pants off and get some relief but the part of him that wanted to worship at the temple that was Hanzo was stronger. The smaller man waited patiently as McCree assessed his options. Judging the bulge in his grey slacks, he had enjoyed touching McCree has much as McCree had. It probably wouldn’t mind a good grope.

But as far as McCree was concerned, that was not the obvious choice. There was something else he wanted to do much more.

He reached out, ran his thumb across a proud cheek. His slow exploration began; fingers trailing along Hanzo’s jawline, down his neck and to his collarbone. Hanzo’s gaze was hooded, full of dark, rising lust.

McCree’s fingers halted over the third button. “May I?” He asked, proud of how casual he sounded, how blasé, as if his heart wasn’t about to climb out of his throat and he wasn’t aching to throw the other man down floor and smother him was his body.

“You may,” Hanzo allowed and remained still and complaisant as McCree began to unbutton him, slow but sure.

It was at the fourth button that McCree found the tattoo, fingers halting their work when he discovered the ink, the blue pattern a sharp contrast against Hanzo’s skin. McCree breathed in sharply, his hand quivering where it hovered over the tantalising glimpse of something that seemed so sinful on someone like Hanzo.

His gaze flicked up to catch the other man’s smirk.

He didn’t waste time on the next few buttons; two of them falling away from thought and mind, now property of the hotel carpet until further notice.

When they had all been dealt with McCree pushed the shirt aside with quivering hands, up over Hanzo’s shoulders and down his arms. The man shifted to allow it, apparently enjoying McCree’s intent focus.

The shirt pooled on the floor at Hanzo’s feet.

The dragon revealed; long body winding its way up Hanzo’s arm, spiralling up until its tail ended on the pectoral. It was intricate and beautiful. McCree groaned as he splayed his large hand across it, reverently tracing it from tail to head until his fingers wound through Hanzo’s. His other hand planted itself on Hanzo’s firm shoulder, fingers pressing with admiring wonder.
No filthy daydream could compare to the truth of Hanzo’s physique; the strength in his arms, the powerful shoulders, the muscles on his belly. McCree almost wasn’t sure what to do about it.

Almost.

He planted a kiss on Hanzo’s shoulder, sloppy and wet; trailed more down slowly. He licked the dragon’s tail and ghosted across a dark nipple. When Hanzo finally gave a tell; a soft exhale, McCree returned to it with single minded focus, teasing and sucking until it pebbled and grew hard.

Their hands were still linked and Hanzo squeezed, his breath stuttering when McCree continued to lave and suckle. He was so intent on his task that he didn’t notice the other hand that came up to gently push him away until it was pressed firmly against his chest.

“Enough.” Hanzo was short of breath, nostrils flared and mouth parted.

McCree straightened with a grin.

“We gonna take this to the bed?” He asked.

“No.”

“No?” McCree repeated.

“I have had a long day. I want a shower,” Hanzo told him. He reached up to pluck the hat from McCree’s head, tossing it carelessly aside. “Take off your clothes.”

It was the best news McCree had heard all day. Bed, shower, floor, wherever Hanzo wanted; he really wasn’t picky.

They stripped quickly. Hanzo was out of his pants and socks within moments but McCree took longer, cursing under his breath at how inconvenient being dressed like a cowboy was. He should have realised he would be taking everything off anyway.

“One day I’ll fuck you with all of that on,” Hanzo mused as he watched McCree undress. The words shot straight to McCree’s dick.

The Japanese man stood unselfconscious of his naked body, the flush that began on his cheeks and coloured his chest giving away his interest in McCree’s slow strip; though looking down also made the evidence of that abundantly clear. “But not this time.”

Okay, so maybe cowboy getup hadn’t been a complete mistake.

Warmed to his core by the thought of a next time, McCree redoubled his efforts. He’d stripped like this once, made a damn fool of himself. Now he was just in a rush to finally be naked, belt pulled free and landing with a clutter on the floor, jeans pushed down over his hips so that his cock finally bobbed free into the cool air of the room.

Hanzo was staring at him greedily as he backed up towards the bathroom. Then he turned, leading the way inside.

McCree hurried after him.

He hardly looked at the room he entered. It was white, it was a bathroom, it had a decent sized shower that Hanzo was stepping into, already reaching to turn it on.

McCree moved up behind him, claimed a handful of flesh in his large hands when he placed them on Hanzo’s hips. He pressed his chest to Hanzo’s back, making his arousal abundantly clear by pressing in against a firm ass. The sensation drew a hiss from the other man’s throat.

Hanzo made another noise, leaning back into his chest as McCree’s cock throbbed between his quivering cheeks.

“Hope your brother ain’t hiding in the toilet, ready to jump out now that’s it getting good,” McCree joked.

Hanzo stiffened and started to pull away, slapping McCree’s hand when he didn’t immediately release his grip. “Do not touch until I tell you to,” he ordered, looking over with a scowl.

“No worries, sweetheart. Just don’t keep me waiting too long. I’ve got an almighty thirst.”

McCree’s cock was heavy and hard and it bounced proudly when he reached down to give it a tug. Hanzo’s gaze flicked to it briefly before finally putting the water on, shying away from the cold spray as he adjusted it to a pleasant warm.

When he was satisfied, Hanzo stepped into the shower completely and stood beneath the water.

McCree followed in as far as he could without touching Hanzo, stray droplets hitting his shaggy chest, catching in the dark brown hairs. He watched the water running across Hanzo’s back, streaming down his legs and arms. It was clearly a torture technique that would break the very worst of men and McCree was hardly the worst of men. His hand twitched, itching to reach out and touch.

But he was a good boy; he would do as he was told.

Finally Hanzo put his back to the shower wall and motioned to the ground. McCree understood instantly. This had been promised for weeks now and McCree was keen to deliver. He settled himself on the hard tiles, the warm water hitting his back. The spray instantly plastered his hair to his head, dripping from his lashes as he looked up at Hanzo with desperate desire.

Hanzo stared back at him, damp hair curled across his cheek and his eyes hooded with smoldering lust. Whatever he saw when he looked down at McCree, he clearly liked it, his dick twitching and rising, so close to McCree’s lips all he had to do was lean forward.

And when Hanzo’s lips parted and he inclined his head in affirmation, that was exactly what McCree did.

He didn’t mess around. He was both aiming to please and impress. If he wanted this to be a regular deal, he had to make it worth Hanzo’s time and when it came to giving good head, McCree considered himself an A+ gold star kind of guy. He’d certainly never had any complaints.

When he immediately sucked Hanzo into his mouth and took him right down to the back of his throat until his nose hit wet pubes, McCree was ready for the other man to jerk his hips in surprise. He moved with it, felt the welcome ache in his jaw and marvelled over the low, guttural groan his efforts pulled from above.

Then it was simply a matter of getting to work. McCree sucked greedily, tongue roving across the slit and down again. His head bobbed, started with a good rhythm that spilled precum on his tongue every time he pulled back and tugged the foreskin between his lips.

Fingers quickly tangled in his hair; questing fingers that moved across his scalp, tugged at his beard and scratched at his neck. Every moan that he prised from between Hanzo’s lips made his own state of arousal that more desperate, the heat between his legs a constant, throbbing reminder.

But he left his own needs unattended, used his hands to anchor himself instead. One pressed with bruising force against Hanzo’s hips and the other sneaking in to work the shaft or paw lovingly at the other’s balls.

Every ounce of experience, every night spent staring at his ceiling and imagining this very scenario, every moment of lust cut frustratingly short; McCree poured it all into this single blowjob, as if it was the last thing he would ever do on this earth.

---

Hanzo was unravelling quickly.

It had been so long and McCree’s mouth was amazing. The building heat was stealing the breath from his lungs until it was a struggle for air. As his fingers scrambled desperately across McCree -- his hair, his neck, his shoulders, anywhere there was skin, anywhere he could touch; he tried to gather the necessary willpower to stop. Stop it before he came now, so early, so embarrassingly soon.

McCree was a sight; tanned skin flushed from his efforts and the warm water, his focus so entirely on sucking Hanzo’s cock and his expression so blissful it was if this was his purpose in life. As if he had been waiting for this one single moment.

“Jesse,” the name fell from his lips and McCree’s gaze flickered up, the brown nearly swallowed up by dark lust and he sank forward as a reward for hearing his name, filled his mouth so full of Hanzo’s cock that his throat bulged. Hanzo’s hips stuttered, felt the clench of McCree’s throat as he tried to swallow and that nearly undid him on the spot.

Everything was too hot, too much, too soon. It was consuming him and when McCree pulled back again, he knew he had to take back some control. Even on his knees, McCree was too much to handle. It took a firm grip to the nape of his neck to pull him back and keep him there.

The other man looked annoyed to be interrupted from his task, groaning out his annoyance; his lips puffy and his eyes rolling up to Hanzo in crinkle-nosed confusion. That confusion cleared quickly, probably because Hanzo figured he must have looked just as much of a wreck as he felt.

Jesse smiled, a proud flash of teeth.

“You like that, baby?” McCree’s voice was husky. “Let me finish you off.” Hanzo didn’t stop him when McCree planted a firm kiss against his inner thigh, nose nuzzling against his heavy cock as if it was his dearest friend. “We’ve got all night.”

They did have all night. Hanzo weighed up the options. A part of him wanted to end this here, take McCree to the bed and fill him up properly. He wanted to make him beg and whimper. You can do that, his mind told him helpfully, and you can come in his mouth now. There was nothing stopping him from fucking McCree any way he wanted. There was no need to rush. It was nice here, enclosed together, intimate. It could be rough and frenzied later.

Except a part him balked at the gentle treatment, the adoration in Jesse’s eyes.

I’m not worthy of this, the thought rolled into his mind unbidden.

“You are good at this,” Hanzo remarked to cover his hesitation, his thumb running across McCree’s red lips.

The other man gave a rumbling laugh. “I’ve had a lot of practice,” he admitted and Hanzo felt a sharp stab of jealousy at the admission. He tried to shove it away but it lingered. This was his moment. Jesse was here with him.

“Is that so?” Hanzo’s thumb slipped into Jesse’s mouth and the other man sucked eagerly on the digit. So compliant.

The squat, ugly toad that was jealousy burrowed itself deeper.

And when Hanzo realised all he really desired was to let Jesse do whatever he wanted, as long as that affection stayed in his eyes, it absorbed Hanzo’s fear for his slipping control and grew stronger.

He had spent days imagining them in this exact position; except somehow in his mind he had been the master, taking what he wanted. They would fuck. Hanzo would be reminded that he was powerful and he would forget that his father terrified him and that one act of defiance would potentially destroy everything.

He hadn’t bargained on falling apart.

“Sit with your back against the wall.” He snapped out and McCree scrambled to obey, partially slipping on the wet tiles, his ass hitting the floor with a squelch. He scooted back until his back was flush against the other wall, knees lifted and legs open. It was obvious that he trusted Hanzo to take care of him.

Hanzo watched Jesse’s hand drift unthinkingly towards the hard cock bumping against his belly and barked a sharp, “no.” Jesse’s hand dropped and he looked up at Hanzo with an easy grin.

Poisonous thoughts coiled through his mind and turned into words. “Who do I have thank for your good behaviour?” Hanzo stood over the seated man, feet touching his hips, using him as an anchor. “Did Gabriel Reyes train you this well?”

He wasn’t surprised by the reaction. McCree expression instantly shifted to anger and Hanzo regretted the loss of that smile in an instant.

No, he wasn’t surprised by the reaction.

But he was surprised by the answer.

“Yeah,” McCree drawled, the heat in his eyes no longer just desire, though his cock had not drooped in the slightest. “He did actually. So what? You don’t like it?” The drag of his teeth along Hanzo’s hip when he leaned in made him shudder. “Want me to pretend this is my first rodeo? Oh, Hanzo, baby, please be gentle with me.” His tone was mocking and his hand finally took hold of himself, giving a defiant stroke. “Come on sweetie, give me your cock. Shove it in my virginal ass, make me yours.”

I’m sorry, Hanzo wanted to say but the words wouldn’t emerge.

Instead he smoldered and he wanted.

There was a fire in his belly, ready to take over.

McCree was beneath him, rage in his eyes and Hanzo had no choice but to match it with his own and take what he wanted.

Hanzo snarled and dropped to his knees, they hit the ground hard but the rest of him landed in Jesse’s lap where he lined himself up and rutted against McCree with all the desperation of a dying man. McCree gasped and swore, still angry but hardly about to push Hanzo out of his lap now. His strong arms came up, engulfed Hanzo in their grip and held him as he jerked upwards to create more friction. Helpless, mindless rutting. Cock against aching cock, using the slick water to ease the way. McCree sought a kiss and Hanzo denied it, burying his face in the others neck instead and biting deep, marking, claiming.

McCree answered with teeth of his own and Hanzo whined. It felt amazing.

Large fingers prodded at his ass and Hanzo instinctively jerked away but there was nowhere to go and he was chasing his orgasm in McCree’s lap. With the next motion, the tip of a finger sunk in and Hanzo nearly sobbed. It wasn’t meant to be like this. He was supposed to be in control. He should have tied McCree to the bed and lubed him up, fucked him into silence but instead he was here pushing down at that questing finger.

His arm snuck around the back of McCree’s neck, held on as he used his other hand to try take both their cocks in his grasp and give rough uneven jerks.

“That’s it sweetheart, come on, that’s it, you like that? Yeah, ah, shit yeah.” McCree dragged Hanzo down again with a firm arm around his back and lifted his hips in the same motion. Words tumbled out, running rapidly out mixed with groans and gasps. Hanzo wondered how he even had breath enough to speak. “Meaner than a rattlesnake. Augh. Just wanna- fuck! Just wanna be good to you. I wanna be yours.”

His finger sunk deeper. It was painful - and it pushed them Hanzo over the edge.

Darkness swam across his vision as his orgasm rolled through him, his come pumping out in sudden spurts against McCree’s abdomen and chest. McCree had quickly moved his hand from Hanzo’s ass and was pumping them both in his larger grip, pulling every last squirt out, his lips stretched wide over his teeth as he gasped for breath, his chest heaving as his own orgasm hit.

Hanzo shuddered and let his body slump, buried his head in McCree’s shoulder and allowed himself to be soothed by the gentle rub of a hand against his back even as the other man came down from his own high.

“You okay, sweetie?” McCree murmured shakily, nosing into Hanzo’s hair. “You’re a real mean sonofabitch sometimes, you know that?”

“I know.”

McCree hummed in his ear, his touch far more tender than Hanzo deserved. “I still like you though.” He kissed his earlobe, nibbled it gently. “But if you fucking mention Gabe again while we’re fucking I’ll kick your goddamn ass.”

Hanzo figured he probably deserved that.

---

They got out the shower with hardly a word.

When McCree approached Hanzo with the towel and offered to dry him, he was surprised when Hanzo allowed it. Jesse took his time, starting from the bottom, in drying every inch of skin available. He was tender, cleaning up along his inner thigh and enjoying each new shiver his touch created.

He’d been taught to give when it came to sex; to submit. For a long time it had been the only way he could properly relax, when he was terrified of being young and stupid and thinking he’d probably be a fuck up for the rest of his life. In the bedroom, all he had to do was give pleasure and that suited him fine.

The towel travelled under armpits, across that impossibly smooth chest and ducked behind Hanzo’s ears.

Maybe Hanzo’s words shouldn’t have made him so angry. But his argument with Gabe was still fresh in his mind, his kiss still a burning memory. It hadn’t felt right to hear his name. Not with the taste of Hanzo on his tongue, the heady scent of him filling him with overwhelming need.

“Come on,” he said when they were both as dry as they were going to get. He slung an arm around Hanzo’s shoulders, led him to the bed and pulled back the covers.

Hanzo stood at the edge and stared at him, brows drawn down and shoulders tense.

“What? You gonna run away?” Jesse challenged and some of the tension in Hanzo eased. He crawled into the bed, placed himself on his back on the right side and watched McCree with an unreadable look as he slid in beside him.

“I like cuddlin’,” Jesse warned, scooting closer.

Hanzo’s eyes drifted closed.

Fuck. Was this post-sex drowsiness or had it been that bad?

McCree shifted until he was curled against Hanzo, his arm gingerly wrapping across his chest. After a moment he added his head to Hanzo’s shoulder and let himself relax.

Hanzo sighed deeply.

“Your beard is tickly,” he said.

Jesse chuckled.

There was no falling asleep. He was hyper aware of every move Hanzo made, every breath and every twitch. This impossible man that had teased and insulted him, this controlling and intense person that was like a planet whose pull he couldn’t resist. The anger, the hurt, the desperation that he could see in him; it was intoxicating. It made him want to hold Hanzo close and never let him go.

Unable to resist, McCree angled himself up onto his elbow and Hanzo’s eyelids fluttered as he looked back at him.

Jesse inched the covers off and ran his hand along Hanzo’s chest, mapping every bump and every ridge. He found a previously unnoticed scar on his belly, unremarkable when faced by the whole. It was still early but he felt a fire rekindle and he stoked the embers, shifting down to kiss the ragged little scar.

“You slept with my brother,” Hanzo said of the blue.

Sideswiped by the comment, McCree swore viciously. Of all the things to want to talk about, that was what he was going to start on? Hadn’t the dealt with that already?

McCree was about to tell him to drop it when Hanzo continued.

“You saw him naked. You saw the scars.”

That halted the words on his tongue and his mind travelled back to that one rather foolish time in the break room, when the club was closed and they thought everyone had gone home. The scars that had covered Genji’s body. He had been surprised at first but Genji had only shrugged and pulled him in for another kiss.

“Yeah,” Jesse ventured slowly. “He told me he was in a bad car crash.”

“He was,” Hanzo confirmed. “It was my fault. I was driving.”

McCree’s gut lurched.

His voice was hollow as he continued. “I swerved to avoid the other car but it put Genji directly in path of the collision. I walked away with hardly a scratch,” his fingers brushed against the scar on his belly, still wet with Jesse’s kiss, “and he was in hospital for nearly a year. He still attends physical therapy every few months.”

Hanzo wasn’t looking at him anymore. He was staring at the ceiling, the expression on his face so full of raw hurt that McCree had to look away.

“I nearly killed my brother. I am not deserving of this.”

Of what? Sex. No. This was something deeper. This was a deep rooted pain that drove Hanzo’s every decision. Love? Was that even what Jesse was offering? Maybe it was.

“I hope you looked at him,” Hanzo’s voice had lost all tone, it was flat and lost, “like you looked at me.”

“Honey, I fucked your brother on a break room table while he giggled and told me about how you’d promised to take him to the zoo on Saturday.” McCree pulled the covers back over them, encased Hanzo in warmth in hopes of breaking through the icy wall he was building.

“It’s-” Not your fault, he wanted to say but how many people had said those exact same words until the were hollow and meaningless. “It happened,” he said instead, knowing it might be the wrong thing to say but forging on anyway.

“It happened and Genji forgives you. You know that. That kid would rocket himself into the sun for you. You can’t let the past rule you forever.”

Hanzo was silent.

A past truth for a past truth; that was the way of things.

“I’ve done a lot of real bad things I regret. Hell, I was just downright nasty but I didn’t know how wrong it all was at the time. I was just angry. Daddy wasn’t around, mama was drunk before the cocks had crowed. Made sense for me to hook up with a group of fellas who hated the world just as much as I did.”

The story spilled out, spoken into Hanzo’s neck, willing him to understand. This was a part of his life he wanted to forget but never could. It would always be there; he just couldn’t let it ruin his future.

“Ran my dumb ass with a gang for four years. Dropped right out of school. Got used up by whoever would have me. They’d praise me good. I was so young and nobody expects to be robbed by a baby. They took everything I ever stole and I didn’t give a shit.”

He was surprised when Hanzo turned to face him, eased McCree’s head from shoulder to arm and reached out to brush his fingers soothingly against McCree’s cheek as he spoke.

“If it weren’t for Gabe... he dragged me out of it. Set me on a better path.”

McCree’s laugh was rough. “Shoulda seen it. I put my gun right up into his face, called him some real nasty names and demanded all his money or-” He mimed a gun with his hand. Pew pew pew. “You know what he did? He laughed at me. It scared the daylights out of me. I thought, I’m gonna have to shoot this motherfucker and that thought was barely in my head before Gabe had me on the ground. Took me down so quick and hard I was seeing stars for a week.”

Hanzo’s fingers curled into his hair. It felt nice.

“He took me home then. Made me stay. Though he had to beat my ass three times before I really started to listen.”

McCree ran his hand up Hanzo’s chest and cupped his face. “And I’m still listening,” he mused, “except sometimes I think what he’s telling me ain’t right no more.”

His heart was beating too fast, thudding in his chest like a drum.

“He don’t want me here with you but this is what I want and I want you to want it too. I want you to want all of me. Don’t push me away, darlin’.”

Jesse leaned in, sought Hanzo’s lips and captured them with a kiss. For a moment he wasn’t sure the other man would reciprocate but then his mouth opened, shared a sound that was both a moan and a sob and kissed him back with the desperation of someone who was afraid to let go but determined to all the same.

Kissing Hanzo Shimada felt like the rightest thing in the world.

Chapter Text

Hanzo was woken by a kiss.

At first he thought he was still sleeping; everything was warm and cozy, the soft sensation of butterfly kisses against his face and neck very similar to the dreamworld he had just been inhabiting. But his dream hadn’t included the rough brush of facial hair or the breathless chuckle against his chin.

Jesse.

A smile rose unbidden as Hanzo briefly forgot about everything that wasn’t the solid presence curled around him, the tender touches and strong fingers sinking into his hair. He groaned, finally opened his eyes to a grinning face and warm eyes.

“Mornin’, darlin’.” A firm kiss on the lips followed the words, swallowing Hanzo’s response.

They’d kissed a lot last night, leisurely and sloppily, until their lips were sore. After Jesse had poured out his heart and pressed against him; his kiss a question that Hanzo couldn’t deny. Somehow the wall he had built up, that he thought was indestructible, had been blown to pieces in that single moment. There was nothing that he had wanted more than the comfort of warm arms and adoring lips. They’d fallen asleep like that, both exhausted from dredging up the past and their frenzied sex in the shower.

It was a pleasure to be woken to such gentle care, as if he was a precious thing and not a man with a cruel streak inherited from his father and a burden that weighed heavily on his soul.

The world would have to intrude eventually. Hanzo wasn’t fooled by the soft pitter-patter of his heart. He didn’t get to have this forever but he could enjoy it now.

Jesse pulled back to speak again, his body shifting to cover Hanzo and press him firmly down into the mattress, hips lined up. The fire that had remained dormant through the night was abruptly rekindled.

“I didn’t want to wake you. You looked so peaceful sleeping but,” another kiss and the soft roll of his hips that had Hanzo’s back arch up into the touch, “I couldn’t help myself.” Jesse grinned, eyes bright. “I thought we should,” another grind down, “make use of,” Hanzo whined at the friction, “the bed.”

Hanzo wrapped his arms around Jesse’s broad back as they continued to shift and move together, trading kisses and bites along each other's neck. It was a slow grind, a heat that built and smoldered rather than roared. Hanzo imagined this was the sort of sex you would have with a partner you’d been with for years.

Hanzo said nothing as the pressure built. He couldn’t find the right words. He simply wrapped his legs around Jesse and urged him on with soft needy cries.

“Goddamn you’re beautiful,” Jesse gasped as he pushed up, holding his upper body with his arms in order to stare down at Hanzo while his hips continued to grind ceaselessly. Hanzo wordlessly urged him back, tugging gently on his shoulders, wanting to be pressed down again and disappear into the strong scent of desire that was rolling off the other man.

When Jessie held firm, Hanzo turned his head to the forearm beside his head and bit, sinking his teeth softly into the skin to show his disapproval.

“H-hold up,”Jesse gasped. “ I wanna,” he groaned and sunk down despite his words, pressed Hanzo into another deep and breathless kiss. “I wanna do something else,” he gasped when they broke apart. “I want you to fill me up, baby.”

Hanzo’s legs tightened around Jesse, hips stuttering at the very idea.

“We don’t have to.” Hanzo finally spoke, his voice rasping from disuse and need. His cleared his throat. “This is fine.”

“Sure it is but I’ve got a hankerin’ and I want this to be good for you.”

“It is good for me,” Hanzo told him as he brushed his hand up to the back of Jesse’s neck and held it there. Whereas every other time this touch had occurred it had been rough and insistent, now it was tender; asking instead of taking.

Jesse made a contented sound, forehead resting against Hanzo’s.

“I need this, Hanzo. I don’t wanna leave this room without it.”

How could he deny him that?

“As you wish,” Hanzo yielded breathlessly.

Even so, he clung on as Jesse moved away, fingers digging in until they slipped from sweaty skin. Jesse didn’t go far, he moved only far enough to grab the bottle of lube on the bedside table.

“You found it.” The last time Hanzo had seen that bottle it had been next to the condoms where he’d left them on the bathroom counter in preparation. Just last night felt like a lifetime ago.

Jesse laughed as he sat back on his heels and undid the cap. “Went for a whizz earlier. Found ‘em then.”

The way Jesse squeezed the gel onto his hands and massaged them together until it was warm made Hanzo’s chest feel tight with its thoughtfulness.

“Here,” Hanzo held out his hand and Jesse squeezed a generous amount into his palm as well, tossing the lube aside when he was done. He scooted up higher and leaned forward to make it easier, his knees either side of Hanzo’s waist. Copying the gesture, Hanzo warmed the lube before reaching out to make the first advances between Jesse’s cheeks.

Jesse tucked his head into the crook of Hanzo’s neck, took a long exhale and reached down between their bodies to grasp at Hanzo’s erection and slowly but purposefully work lube along the shaft. With each stroke, he planted firm kisses to Hanzo’s neck.

Hanzo hissed in delight at the contact, momentarily distracted by the firm slide of Jesse’s hand but he had a task to apply himself to. With one hand he reached down to Jesse’s ass, squeezed and marvelled at the firm flesh, vowing to someday return and give it the attention it deserved with his tongue.

After he’d felt his way up and down, kneading the flesh, he slowly spread one cheek to allow for better access and with his other hand he started with the slow sink of one finger, teasing the rim with the tip before pushing in.

Jesse clenched tightly around him and grunted into Hanzo’s neck; his teeth grazed skin, lips locked on flesh and sucked hard. The knowledge that Jesse was leaving a mark that would linger, possibly for days, made Hanzo’s toes curl.

To think he had previously imagined sex with Jesse to only be a rough power play. This was infinitely better if terrifying in its intimacy. Hanzo had never experienced anything like it, never thought he would be the one to seek it from another person, crave it so deeply his heart ached. It was a warmth that spread through him, settled deep into his bones.

He curled his finger and Jesse jerked against him, his breath stuttering against Hanzo’s skin. The other man’s hand paused its ministrations before continuing with renewed vigour; the stronger grip and enthusiastic pumping creating a wave of heat through Hanzo’s body. He twitched uncontrollably with it.

“Is this... fine?” Hanzo asked when his brain remembered how to speak, finger twitching in tight warmth of Jesse’s ass. The other man was an overwhelming presence, his smell intoxicating and the ragged breathing hot and heavy,

“Mhmm,” Jesse responded and groaned, pressing his ass back until Hanzo’s finger slid right down to the knuckle.

When Hanzo pulled back and then in again, it was with two digits, stretching and scissoring in careful preparation. Jesse’s answering moan was so deep and needy that Hanzo instantly pressed in a third, holding firm as Jesse rocked back and forth eagerly.

“God-fucking-damn, let’s giddy up,” Jesse groaned as he suddenly straightened up, his lust-darkened gaze roaming hungrily across the man beneath him and Hanzo keenly felt the loss of his warm hand on his cock as it sought out the lube. Hanzo’s fingers exited and his slid his hand up on the firm hips instead, holding them there as Jesse settled into a new position. “You’ve got a real nice dick, you know that? I mean, it’s real pretty to look at,” Jesse commented as he squirted an extra generous amount onto Hanzo’s cock, this time too eager to bother with the temperature. Hanzo’s whole body shivered at the sensation.

When he realized that Jesse was already lining himself up, Hanzo gripped hard to get his attention. “Condom?” He asked breathlessly.

Jesse paused and then rolled his shoulders in a shrug full of false nonchalance. “I’m good,” he replied slowly, searching Hanzo’s face, “if you’re good.”

Hanzo’s breath caught. “I’m good,” he managed to say, highly aware of how he was already trembling from anticipation. He was a pragmatic man and he had always worn protection before, no exceptions. But looking up at Jesse, his broad chest and beseeching eyes, he wanted everything and all of him, no barriers between them.

“Okay, baby,” Jesse grinned, his gaze softening. He leaned in to steal another wet kiss before bending his head to look beneath him as he lined up the tip of Hanzo’s cock to his stretched hole. With the amount of lube he had just applied, it slipped sideways at first and Hanzo had to reach down and help, their fingers brushing together.

Jesse breathless laughter turned into a long groan as they got it right and he started to press down.

Down he went and and didn’t stop; a tight endless heat that had Hanzo seeing stars. Hanzo realized he was making a high-pitched whine around the same time Jesse bottomed out and clenched hard around him.

“Don’t just look good,” Jesse gasped, holding still as he grew accustomed to the feeling of being full. “Feels good too.”

His breath coming in sharp, Hanzo let his hands roam up Jesse’s thighs to his chest, dragging his fingers through the thick hair and then travelling teasingly down to where Jesse’s thick dick proudly arched. Unwilling to relinquish his prize, he held tight to the base with one hand while scrambling at the blankets for the lube with the other; he found it and awkwardly uncapped it with one finger as Jesse watched with a lust filled grin.

Jesse’s eyes fell closed when Hanzo gave the first few slick pumps of his hand, hips rocking into the motion. Heat immediately shot up Hanzo’s spine and he instinctively jerked up into the tight heat. Jesse moaned, a low rumbling sound.

They set a slow pace, rocking together in unison as the fire burned brighter and spread, ready to burst from their skin. Hanzo watched him, his hand moving ceaselessly along Jesse’s length, watched the desperate flush on his lovers face and rapturous way his mouth was hanging open, wet and shiny. Each sound he made, each grunt and gasp was more fuel to the fire.

Jesse broke rank first, shifting his knees further apart and bounced; once, twice, hard. Hanzo’s hips stuttered, seeking the clenching warmth of Jesse’s ass when he lifted away. With a teasing grin, the cowboy leaned forward until only the tip of Hanzo’s dick was just past the rim. He could feel each twitch of Jesse’s ass, hungry to be filled up again.

“Work for it, honey,” Jesse gasped, kissing Hanzo’s tattoo.

Hanzo responded with the thrust up of his hips, knees lifted and heels pressed against the mattress, his hands shifting to hold Jesse firmly in place by his thighs. He was inwardly grateful for the martial arts lessons that had trained into him the stamina and flexibility that allowed him rut upwards into Jesse’s ass until the other man had practically collapsed along his chest, mewling helplessly at the onslaught. Strong arms curled up under Hanzo’s shoulders, hands locked into the meat there and using it as an anchor. The room filled with the sounds of the bed creaking, their moans and groans and the constant squelch as Hanzo’s cock entered in and out.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck-” Jesse was babbling out his mantra as he rolled back into every thrust. Hanzo could feel the wet slide of a cock against his belly, had half a mind to reach for it but he didn’t have a hand to spare. It turned out Jesse didn’t need it, Hanzo hit just the right spot during one wild thrust and the other man gave a guttural groan and clenched hard. He came messily, all motion coming to an abrupt halt except for the constant shaking of his orgasm.

The desperate clenching around his cock ensured Hanzo followed quickly, already set completely on fire by Jesse’s heated kiss and eager swipe of his tongue on his jawline, just below his ear. He lost himself to the last sure motion of Jesse’s hips that drew out his release with a practised ease.

“That’s it, darlin’. Fill me up,” the husky words rumbled in his ear and Hanzo was overwhelmed, spilling himself into McCree in more ways than one.

---

It didn’t take long for everything to start feeling a bit sticky.

They were both sweaty but Jesse had collapsed on Hanzo’s chest and refused to budge an inch, winding their legs together as he listened to the still frantic beat of the other man’s heart.

“I need to clean up,” Hanzo complained but it was accompanied by a soft sigh and no attempt to actually dislodge the person using him as a pillow. He seemed to enjoy the weight.

“Later,” Jesse murmured, feeling a dull but welcome ache and trying to memorize every sensation; Hanzo’s scent, the rise and fall of his chest, the way his fingertips grazed up and down his back in slow circles. There was a tightness in his chest, a formidable amount of tenderness for this man who had stared at the ceiling the night before lost to dark memory, who had surrendered to his kisses and offered comfort for a troubled past, who had let Jesse fill himself up and shatter them both.

Unable to contain his affections, he turned his head to rub against the Hanzo’s prickly chin and lovingly plant kisses wherever he found skin. There was fresh cum leaking out of his ass and it still wasn’t enough.

“Jesse,” the name, not McCree, his real name, on Hanzo’s lips made him smile every time, “Jesse, please.” When he continued to remain indolent he probably should have been prepared for the smaller but surprisingly powerful man to flip him on his back. One second he was happily cherishing Hanzo and the next he was looking up at a scowling face, flushed red from their exertions.

His eyes drifted to the hickey he’d sucked on Hanzo’s neck earlier and grinned with pride. Next time he’d remember to leave a whole lot more.

Hanzo sat back on his heels and they studied each other.

Jesse hooked an arm behind his head and casually scratched at his belly, where the dark hairs led down to his groin. “Like what you see?”

“Obviously,” Hanzo snapped without heat. He ran his hand down his own smooth chest and belly where Jesse’s cum was drying. It only made McCree grin that much wider.

“Want another shower, darlin’?” He could definitely go for a slow wash, sink his hand into every nook and cranny, make some more marks.

Hanzo hummed appreciably at the thought. “Yes, I-” His gaze drifted sideways, opened wide in sudden alarm. The words that rolled out him were in Japanese but McCree didn’t need to speak the lingo to know he was swearing.

He didn’t have to time to catch Hanzo and stop him before he was out of the bed, hurriedly snatching up his clothing before disappearing into the bathroom.

McCree followed slowly, eased himself out of the bed and stretched his limbs one at a time.

When he peeked into the bathroom, Hanzo was wiping himself down with a cloth and trying to put his socks on at the same time.

“You right there, sweetpea?”

“Late.” Hanzo grunted, finally dropping the washcloth to complete the other task.

Oh.

Right.

That lawyer job.

Jesse looked back into the main room, gaze seeking out the alarm clock by the bed. 10:25AM it read.

“Stop gawking,” Hanzo snapped. “My phone is on the counter. Check it.”

“Yes, sir.” McCree ambled over to the counter, opened a bag of chocolates first and shoved a handful into his mouth before finally pressing the button on the phone. He didn’t know the passcode but he didn’t need one to read that there was sixteen new messages. The little sound symbol in the corner was muted.

“How many?” Hanzo called from the bathroom.

“Sixteen,” McCree informed him around a mouthful of chocolate.

Hanzo emerged, his pants on and shirt undone, tie hanging from his fingers and hair a fluffy mess around his face. He looked very much like he’d just been debauched. “Shit.” He ran a hand through his hair and scrunched his face up in thought. “But... it could be worse. 7-3-5-9.”

“Pardon?”

“My passcode. Check who they are from.” Hanzo was already turning away, slipping on his shoes and heading back into the bathroom to swear at his appearance in the mirror.

“Ugh.” Startled by the easy trust, Jesse put in the right numbers. “Three messages and five calls from Genji. I don’t know where the hell he get’s all these weird ass faces from. Two messages from Amélie and the rest are from work”

Hanzo gave up on trying to tame his hair and sunk, his elbows on the bathroom counter and his fingers rubbing at his eyes. Jesse watched him through the door, felt that affectionate tug again and the desire to wrap his arms around him and never let go.

“None of them from my father?”

“Naw.”

“Call Genji for me.”

“But-”

“Just do it.”

“Okie dokie.” McCree looked for Genji in the contacts (it had a little star next to the name) and dialed. It only rang once before Genji was babbling on the other end.

“Hanzo, finally! I have been calling and calling. You did not turn up for work and your receptionist thinks you are dead. I think she is already planning your eulogy. It is okay though, I told them you were just feeling ill this morning and will be there soon and not, you know, getting some much-needed action. How did it go? Are you both still there? The lady said you had not checked out yet. I am in the lobby.”

“What?” McCree barked in surprise.

“What?” Genji squawked, just as startled. “Jesse? Is Hanzo okay? Put him on. If you accidentally killed him during some weird sex manoeuvre I will be forced to disembowel you with a razor, preferably dipped in lemon and chilli. Or I dunno, something else painful.”

McCree rolled his eyes at the phone and wandered into the bathroom where Hanzo was still busy regretting his existence, which didn’t seem fair considering the great sex they’d just had. “Your brother is in the lobby,” he said, holding out the phone.

“Tell him I am coming.”

McCree relayed the information. “He’s coming.”

Genji snorted. “Ew.”

“Not like that, you idiot.”

Genji only laughed at him.

“I’m hanging up,” McCree grunted.

“No, wait, did you have a good time?”

“I ain’t talkin’ to you about this, Genji. Bye.” He hung up before Genji could protest again and focused back on Hanzo. The other man was trying to button his shirt but with two missing, it wasn’t the best look. “Can’t you just take a day off? I’ll make it worth your while.”

“I am sure you would.” Hanzo replied. “But no.”

“At least take the time for a shower. You’re already late.”

For a second Hanzo seemed to consider it, his fingers paused in smoothing down his rumpled shirt. “I will clean up properly when I get there.”

“Seriously?” He couldn’t imagine Hanzo turning up at work as anything less than immaculate, which made him wonder if the other man was actually in a rush or just wanted to get out of the room. The thought spurred him into action and he walked up behind Hanzo and dropped his chin onto his shoulder, he had to stoop a bit to do it but he was pleased by the way Hanzo tilted their heads together. McCree embraced Hanzo from behind, wrapped his arms around him and pulled him back into his naked body.

They watched each other in the mirror, the only sound their breathing and the soft ‘drip drip’ of the tap.

“Go on a date with me,” McCree broke the silence first.

“A date,” Hanzo repeated.

McCree locked his gaze on Hanzo’s, the edges of his eyes crinkling hopefully as Hanzo looked back with calm thoughtfulness. “Yeah. I want to do this properly. We’ll go to lunch on Friday. You and me, somewhere nice.”

Hanzo didn’t answer right away, and the silence stretched out for so long that McCree was worried he was about to be turned down. Hell of a way to do it. Take a man to bed, leave a hook in his heart then rip it out.

“Not the diner,” Hanzo stated eventually, reaching up to tug fondly at McCree’s beard. That was the closest thing to a yes McCree was going to get but he was happy to take it.

“Shame. Reinhardt keeps asking about my ‘good looking friend’.”

Hanzo smiled. “I will choose where we go.”

“Sure thing, sweetheart.”

“Very well then. We will go on a date.” McCree heart thumped wildly in his chest as Hanzo turned enough to kiss him, deep and lingering. He didn’t want to let go and he chased after Hanzo’s lips as the other drew away, receiving a sharp nip on his chin for his efforts.

“Hey!”

“Enough. I need to leave.”

Hanzo finished dressing, pulled on his suit jacket that McCree retrieved for him and slung his undone tie around his neck for later. To a casual onlooker, he was presentable. To anyone who knew him, the lack of finesse for obvious. The missing buttons, the tie, the wrinkles in his shirt and pants, the errant bits of hair that were refusing to stay tied up.

“How ya feeling?” McCree asked, hovering as Hanzo picked up his briefcase from where he’d left it the night before and approached the door.

“Disgusting.” Hanzo answered instantly and Jesse flinched. When he noticed, his gaze softened. “But satisfied.” He paused with his hand on the door handle. “I will remember the feel of you all day, Jesse McCree.”

“Likewise,” McCree purred, hoping for another kiss or, hell, he’d settle for a single touch.

But then Hanzo was gone, striding away down the hallway, past the approaching cleaning lady with her cart. Before he could be noticed leaning out, still naked and looking after his lover with longing, McCree retreated inside.

---

Genji had been waiting in the lobby for over three hours already and had made himself at home in one of the oversized yet somehow weirdly uncomfortable armchairs. He’d completed three crosswords, except for one word that eluded him. A five letter word meaning nostalgia or profound melancholy starting with S.

The girl at the counter didn’t know it but she’d been happy to keep him occupied in-between checking people in and out, babbling happily about her life. He found out her name was Stacey, she was twenty-six with a two year old daughter named Maria, who was currently being looked after by her grandmother. They talked about the burden of being a single mother but the determination to get it done right, then moved on to bands and somehow ended up discussing the friendliest breeds of lizards.

Genji was amused to find out Lydia from last night had been won over by the man in the cowboy costume. She’d left a post-it note on the computer for Stacey to find reading: ‘hot cowboy from last night in room 2214. possibly a stripper?’. He’d asked to keep it.

It was at the two hour mark that Genji had started to call Hanzo. His brother had been very specific about the pick up time. A security blanket and way out in case of an awkward morning, even if Genji had scoffed and told him it would be fine. After all the dancing around and tension, there was going to be sex. Genji hadn’t had any complaints about McCree and they’d only had a quickie at work, which he had to admit hadn’t been the brightest idea. He couldn’t imagine his cowboy friend being a disappointment.

When Hanzo finally came downstairs, fifteen minutes after Jesse’s phone call, Genji was waiting near the elevator. His brother stepped out and wordlessly handed over his briefcase. Genji accepted it, held it easily with three fingers and studied his brother. The older man was blushing beneath the searching gaze but refused to revert his gaze. He looked disheveled and very much like he’d just spent a night in a hotel room getting busy. Genji leaned in and sniffed, nose wrinkling. “Did you even wash?”

“Barely.”

That either spoke of wanting a quick escape or- no, that is really all it could be. Hanzo was fastidious.

“How did it go?” He asked as they started walking to the reception.

“Fine.”

“Just fine?”

Hanzo hummed in response and Genji had to hold back his avalanche of questions as his brother checked out. He gave Stacey a call me gesture as they left. He’d promised her a night out.

The questions were going to have to come out sooner or later, as they stepped outside in the chilly autumn morning and Hanzo moved to flag down a cab. Genji had brought his motorbike. He was here as moral support, not transportation after all. He had only willingly gotten into a car four times in ten years.

The moments continued to ticked by.

Hanzo looked at his phone. Genji watched him scroll through his work messages, then his emails, expression growing more irritated with each passing second.

Genji opened his mouth.

Hanzo spoke first. “I am not going to work today. We will talk at home.”

Genji leaned back and forth on his heels. “Okay.” This was either really good or really bad. He couldn’t seem to get a read on what Hanzo was feeling. Probably because he brother wasn’t sure either. “I will meet you there.” He handed over the briefcase, their fingers brushing momentarily.

Then Genji left his brother waiting for a taxi.

---

“I am going on a date,” Hanzo told him later at home. His brother had showered for twenty minutes and dressed himself in his biggest, fluffiest nightgown before curling up on the bed and patting the spot next to him.

Geni had settled beside him like an eager puppy. Finally it was story time!

“Ooo,” Genji stretched it out until Hanzo swatted at his head.

“Why the quick exit then?” He asked after he’d stopped laughing, flopping back into the pillows. Hanzo’s expression shifted at the question, almost guilt and then uncertain.

“It was,” Hanzo searched for the right words, “becoming too much.”

“Too much,” Genji echoed.

“Twice we,” he waved his hand in a vague gesture that Genji translated as ‘had sex’, “and the second time... it was overwhelming. It was not until I got downstairs that I realised all I wanted was to go back and stay there all day, in his arms.”

“You could have.”

“No. I could not.”

Genji groaned and smushed his face into the pillow. “You make everything so difficult.”

“Do I?” When he checked, Hanzo was smiling at him. His brother reached out and ruffled his hair.

There was a lot more to discuss, more that Genji wanted to pry at but Hanzo was clearly dealing with any newfound emotions in his own way, processing them slowly. Genji would give him some time and strike later. Or simply find another target.

Then it came to him. “So what are we going to do with your day off?”

“Whatever you want.”

“We should watch a movie,” Genji suggested, rolling closer to drape an arm across his brother.

Hanzo frowned, “not Pacific Rim again.”

Damn. “But it has giant robots and monsters!”

“The dialogue is atrocious and none of the characters have any value,” Hanzo scoffed.

“But it has giant robots and monsters!”

It was a familiar argument; one that Genji had yet to lose. Mostly because his argument was simple and irrefutable. “You said whatever I want.”

Hanzo’s frown turned into a scowl, his voice lowering ever so slightly. “I always get one veto.”

“No you do not! You said ‘whatever’. To have the veto power, you have to apply for it before you let me choose.”

Defeated by Sibling Logic, Hanzo faced the prospect of having to watch Pacific Rim again with sullen silence.

Genji basked in his triumph.

---

“Sooo... how did it go?”

They’d only been talking for five minutes before Genji popped the question, his voice coming from the phone loudspeaker trying for nonchalance and failing completely. There was no need to elaborate on what he was asking about.

“Did you ask Hanzo the same thing?” McCree answered the question with a question as he grabbed the next dish from the pile he’d been cultivating for the past week and ran it under the tap water.

“He is being light on details.”

Was that a good or bad thing? He hadn’t spoken to Hanzo since yesterday morning, though he’d typed out and then deleted at least ten different texts.

McCree stared down at the soapy dish he was supposed to be scrubbing, the remains of a meal from a week ago stubbornly holding on. After some contemplation, he set into it with new vigour while answering with a slightly gruff, “it was great.”

“But what happened?” Genji piped. “Like, exactly.”

“I ain’t giving you the play-by-play, Genji.” McCree glowered at the phone, as if Genji would somehow see his scowl through the device.

“Why not?”

“‘Cause that’s fucking strange,” he snapped and then grumbled, “also it was special.”

“You tell me about your sex life all the time!” True enough, except none of those times had involved the guy's brother. Genji was definitely interested now, it even sounded like he’d gotten closer to the phone. “What sort of special?”

“Just special,” McCree dropped the plate back into the water and leaned with his hands against the edge of the sink. “It meant something. It wasn’t just sex.”

There was a brief contemplative silence and then:

“Did either of you cry?”

“What sort of question is that?” McCree barked, picking the phone up in his soggy hand in order to give it a shake, already regretting answering Genji’s call. “And no, damnit. Nobody cried.”

“I dunno, I heard that really good sex can make you cry- and are you in love with my brother?”

The question rolled out so quickly and so tightly packed with the rest of it, that McCree hardly processed it at first. He blinked, dropped the phone back on the counter before he could ruin it and shook his head. The way Genji had delivered that had been entirely deliberate and McCree refused to be caught in the trap.

“It’s a bit early, ain’t it? Might wanna back off a bit, bud.” McCree answered, slowly, carefully; testing the waters. “We’ve only known each other for a few weeks. Nearly a month, I guess.”

“Yeah but-”

“Genji,” McCree interjected, patience done. “Fuck off.”

“Righto.” Genji took in stride, voice full of cheer, as if he hadn’t just asked an extremely personal question that Jesse wasn’t sure of the answer to. “We’ll come back to that later.”

---

Hanzo: I have booked a table at Bistro Roulé at 1PM on Friday.
Hanzo: Wear something nice.

McCree: spurs yes or no???

Hanzo: No.

McCree: that was a joke ill wear a suit!!

Hanzo: Good. See you then.

McCree: looking forward to it!!! :)

Hanzo: Me too.

 

....

Hanzo: :)

---

Google told him that Bistro Roulé was apparently a pretty high end French restaurant with one Michelin star and reputation for excellent food and service. It was the kind of place that wouldn’t let you in the door unless you were dressed appropriately, which was why McCree was feeling slightly weird about looking so snazzy while about the catch the subway. Suit and tie felt slightly out of place with the grime and the graffiti.

He could have driven but the traffic downtown was notoriously bad and McCree hadn’t wanted to be late because it took an hour to find a carpark.

McCree joined the throng of people as they moved towards the stairs leading down when his phone vibrated in his pocket. He thought of ignoring it at first but the possibility of it being Hanzo turned his course to the side, already reaching for his phone as he found a quiet spot.

But the name flashing up on his phone wasn’t Hanzo. It was ‘Boss’.

“Gabe,” McCree greeted shortly. “I can’t come to work earlier, I-”

Jesse.”

McCree’s blood ran cold. His name, that was all it was but Gabe’s voice was a desperate gust of air, a soft pleading. It was a tone he had only heard twice before and neither of those times had been good ones.

“What’s happened, Gabe?”

There was a quiet sigh and a soft rumble of Spanish that McCree couldn’t catch and then: “Can you come over?”

McCree hesitated, thought of Hanzo and the desperate longing in his chest that had lived there ever since he’d watched Hanzo walk away down that long hallway. This morning he had woken up from a dream of brushing the Japanese man's hair. No sex, nothing else; just sitting quietly as he ran a brush through Hanzo’s dark locks. It had felt so weirdly personal he’d almost sent the guy an apology text.

“Please.” Gabe’s plea cut through any further thoughts, hurtled Hanzo from his mind.

“Yeah, Gabe. I’m coming. I’m coming right now. You at home?”

“Yeah.” Broken. He sounded broken.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Because how could he not? When your best friend, the man who practically raised you, is in need, you don’t let them down. You run to them.

And McCree ran.

---

Hanzo smoothed his tie as he studied his appearance in the mirror of his office bathroom, looking for anything that might betray his nerves. There was nothing. Immaculate. His glanced at the time. Thirty-seven minutes exactly until he was due to be at the restaurant for his first real date in four years. The last one had been an unremarkable experience, clinging to his memory simply for how bland it had been. He could remember the food, a rather insipid French onion soup and the waitress, she’d knocked over his drink when he’d snapped at her for the slow service, but he couldn’t remember the face of the man that had been sitting across from him.

Hanzo was fairly certain that he would remember McCree’s face even when he turned a hundred. It was burned into his mind like a brand.

The ringing of his phone was sudden and far too loud in the tiled room.

He cursed, pulled it from his pocket, expecting a client, a colleague or his brother to be on the other end. Hopefully the latter. Instead it was McCree and his chest instantly felt tight. They were going to be seeing each other soon, what would he need to call about? It was probably something ridiculous.

“Jesse,” Hanzo answered, resting his hip against the bathroom counter and watching himself in the mirror. His voice was cool but the blush on his cheeks was a dead giveaway. He would have to work on that.

“Hanzo, hey.” McCree’s voice was rushed, anxious. Hanzo straightened to attention instantly. “Hey, look, I’m really sorry. I’ve got some sorta emergency. Gonna have to cancel our date.” Hanzo’s heart plummeted. McCree was clearly in motion, huffing, the phone being jostled. “We’ll reschedule, okay? I’ll call you later.”

Emergency. “Are you okay?” Hanzo asked, mentally running through his contacts. As long as McCree hadn’t killed anyone, it could be dealt with... and even then, Hanzo wasn’t one of the best criminal defense lawyers in the city for nothing. “Do you need my assistance?”

“Nah, sweetheart. It’s-” a long hesitation, “it’s Gabe. Family business.”

“Very well,” Hanzo finally said, cold, professional. Nothing more needed to be said.

“I’ll call you.”

“You do that.”

“Hanzo, I-”

“What?”

“Nothin’, I was just looking forward to today. I’m real sorry. Hope you understand.”

Hanzo sighed, stared at his own expression in the mirror, the sad lines of disappointment and the tired dullness of his eyes. It nearly made him laugh. “Do what you have to do, Jesse.”

“Thanks, sweetheart. Gotta go.”

The line went dead.

---

McCree let himself into Gabriel’s apartment with his spare key, shutting the door behind him with a quiet click and drawing in a steadying breath for whatever was about to come. The main room was clean and empty of life, except for the fern sitting on the windowsill that Reyes doted over. McCree still had a picture of his phone, sent to him from his boss one afternoon, of a new fern frond.

“Gabe?” He called loud enough to be heard but hushed by the eerie quiet, “I’m here.” Reyes hated silence. There was always a TV on, or the radio, some sort of music in the background.

He followed the hallway down to Reyes’ bedroom, peered inside and found him stretched out on the bed, legs crossed at the ankles and head resting on the headboard behind him. Dressed only in a pair of grey sweatpants, McCree’s gaze roamed his bare chest, traced over old, familiar scars etched into the dark skin. Gabe’s eyes were closed but he wasn’t asleep. He grunted in welcome and shifted his hand to pat at the bed beside him.

McCree slipped off his shoes and obliged, dropping his head to the pillow and resting on his back, his hands on his chest. The silence that stretched between them wasn’t uncomfortable. It was a gentle waiting, as McCree let Reyes decide where to start without pressure. He was here, that was all that mattered.

It didn’t take long.

“I got a call,” Reyes said simply.

McCree turned his head, enough to look up at him, to watch the scowl that darkened Gabe’s expression. “Yeah?” He prompted.

“It’s Jack.” That tone again, soft and broken.

Jesse gulped, struggled to keep the panic off his face. Was Jack...? He didn’t even want to finish the thought in his own mind. Someone would have to organise the funeral. Did Jack even have any family? Last he’d heard he had some estranged aunt out on a farm somewhere but his next of kin had been Reyes for so long, McCree had never considered who else they would need to contact in case of disaster.

“He’s not dead yet,” Reyes grunted, correctly reading Jesse’s panic. McCree remembered to breathe. “But he’s hurt bad. They don’t know if he’ll make it.”

“Fuck.”

Reyes laughed. “Yeah. That’s about right. I kept telling his dumb ass it wasn’t worth it.”

McCree processed that slowly. “He was never gonna quit,” he ventured slowly, watched Gabe’s shoulder slump with the words. “Being a soldier is in his blood.”

“Guess so,” Reyes laughed, all bitterness. “They’re flying him home, gonna get him to a good hospital.” He rubbed his shaved head, back to front and then pinched between his eyes. “I’m closing the club for a week and after that you’re playing boss.”

“Sure thing. I’ll take care of it.”

They lapsed into silence again, except now Reyes’ melancholy had been broken, leaving behind it an irritation that needed to be expressed. McCree stared at the ceiling, felt the other's gaze on him and each new shift that moved the bed. As much as he liked Jack personally, McCree couldn't help but resent the guy. He came, he went, he got hurt and he left behind someone angry and prone to lashing out. Jesse could handle it but that didn’t mean he enjoyed it.

“What are you all dressed up for?” Reyes asked.

“I was about to go on a date,” McCree answered. No point in lying about it. Gabe would have guessed that much already.

He wasn’t expecting the heavy hand on his head, the fingers that buried gently into his hair. “Sorry, kiddo.” The regret in Gabe’s voice was genuine.

“S’alright. I’d rather be here.”

“Don’t fucking lie to me.” Reyes ruffled his hair teasingly; just like old times.

“I ain’t lyin’. I’ll just reschedule.” This was rocky ground, considering the last time they’d discussed Hanzo but Reyes seemed to be handling it well.

“You’ve been pretty happy last couple of days. Finally got laid?”

McCree didn’t like to gloat but- “Sure did.” He grinned proudly, flushed slightly at the memory of Hanzo beneath him, the feel of his hands, his cock, his mouth, all of him so perfectly made for kissing and touching.

The mood changed in an instant, as if Jesse’s smile had flipped a switch.

There was a sharp exhale.

The hand in his hair unexpectedly tightened and Reyes moved, slid down the bed and onto his side, until he was leaning over McCree. Their faces only inches away. McCree could feel the heat of him at his side. “Pendejo,” Reyes hissed, desperation in his eyes, “don’t you fucking abandon me too.”

Jesse’s eyes widened. Reyes was always unbreakable, seeing him terrified was frightening experience. “Never,” he promised. He shifted into him until their breaths mingled, his hand cupped Gabe’s face, thumbs brushing soothingly against his cheek. “I’m with you to the end.”

“I said don’t fucking lie to me,” Reyes growled and kissed him. McCree let it happen. He let strong hands glide along his skin and ease off his clothes, he let a familiar pleasure banish all other thoughts, until there was only heat and desire. He let Reyes’ lips suck at the skin behind his ear until he bucked and moaned, spread his legs and allowed himself to be taken roughly, arching into every touch. He let the man who had led him from a life of crime, who had taught him how to be a decent human being, pour out his frustration and agony over a lover left close to death with his body. It was familiar. It was how they had always done it.

Jesse let it happen and he tried not to regret it.

---

They rescheduled the date for Sunday but the day before Hanzo called and cancelled, he was very sorry but a client had requested a meeting and it couldn’t happen at any other time. McCree had hung up from the call, a strange feeling itching under his skin. It felt as if something was slipping from his grasp.

McCree tried later by text and received non-committal responses.

Hanzo: I’ll let you know.

Guilt gnawed at McCree and with no work to keep him busy for the next week, he spent days either aimlessly hanging around his apartment or with Reyes’, listening to him yell at whoever was supposed to be organizing Jack’s transport back home.

Finally after a desperate call and with one too many drinks in his system, McCree managed to confirm a date and time. They would meet for lunch on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, Jack arrived at the hospital and McCree kicked a hole in his wall before calling to cancel. Hanzo seemed unsurprised. The universe was working against him and McCree wondered if it was because of his own weakness.

But he dutifully drove Reyes to the hospital.

They walked into the room to find Jack covered in bandages connected to machines, all humming or making intermittent beeps. Gabriel sat gingerly down on the edge of the bed, his touch tender as he pulled one lifeless hand into his own. There was no response from the wounded man and Jesse found it hard to look at his face, so thickly padded that you could barely see skin.

“Hey Jackie boy.”

McCree stood to the side, his hat held against his chest and his gaze anywhere else.

A bomb had exploded near Jack’s platoon, tore half of them apart and wounded the rest. The doctors explained that it had been touch and go for a moment, Jack had lost a lot of blood when he’d been hit by shrapnel but he would recover. There was a lot of scarring around his face and chest but he’d been lucky and all his limbs were intact.

Reyes took the news with a calm nod of his head. He’d let his emotions run their course and now they were under control. There was no room for weakness.

McCree was there for moral support, fetched food and coffee, brought in a chess board that they never used and remembered to water the fern when Gabe refused to leave the hospital. Reyes barely noticed him. His focus remained on Jack, like a hawk and McCree was only a convenient shadow in his periphery.

When they pulled Jack from the coma, McCree excused himself and went home. He leaned with his back against the door, looked down at his phone. Genji had called him, plenty of times. The usual silly texts about his day and the occasional serious ‘going on that date yet?’. He scrolled to Hanzo’s name. No new messages. Nothing. His finger hovered over the call button but eventually he went and had a shower instead.

Hellfire reopened with McCree at the helm. It wasn’t the first time he’d looked after the club and it mostly ran like a well-oiled machine but it was still exhausting. Each morning he dragged himself back to Reyes’ apartment, watered that damn plant and collapsed in the bed. Sometimes he woke up with arms wrapped around him and a firm body pressed against his. The first time it happened, his groggy mind had thought of Hanzo and provided a brief flash of delight, swiftly crushed.

Long weeks passed.

Jack is doing well, Reyes told him, you should come and visit.

So he did.

“Hey Jesse,” Jack whispered. His voice was a mess, like someone was scraping it over gravel but Jesse was heartened by the sight of him sitting up in bed, even still covered in bandages and with his eyes red and bleary, livid red scars etched across the pale skin. The doctors were enthusiastic. It wouldn’t be long until he could go home.

“Hey Jack.” McCree sat down on the chair beside the bed. “How are you feelin’?”

“Like I got hit by a bomb.”

“You’re lucky you can even make that joke,” Reyes snapped from across the room, where he was rearranging the flowers he’d brought in; pink peonies and violets.

Jack ignored him. “Thanks for taking care of Gabe while I’ve been gone.”

“Of course.” McCree said automatically, as if Reyes even needed taking care of, as if Reyes wouldn’t have preferred to have Jack there instead. It was an old game they played. Jack would leave, Reyes would turn his attention to Jesse, smother him with it, Jack would return and Jesse would be forgotten. Years ago it had bothered him more. He’d fought tooth and claw to be the one Reyes looked at the most.

“He won’t have to do that again,” Reyes added, his smile viciously smug.

McCree arched an eyebrow in question but Jack only sunk back into his pillows and glowered at the window.

“He’s being retired.”

“No fucking way.” McCree looked at Jack for confirmation and the man gave a sharp shake of his head.

“They suggested it.” Jack told him, now staring down Reyes. “I intend to refuse.”

“His eyesight is fucked,” Reyes was talking to McCree but his gaze never left Jack. “Pretty boy’s eyes still look good but he probably can’t see how many fingers I’m holding up.” He waved two in the air.

“Two, Gabe. Two. My eyes are fine. The doctor-”

“Said you need glasses.” Reyes turned his fingers around and lowered one, made a rude gesture.

“You don’t leave the army because you need glasses, Gabe.” Jack clutched at the sheets in frustration, as if he wanted to shake the other man. “I will not-” His broke off, voice cracking and giving out, turning into violent coughing.

Reyes was there in an instant, a hand on his back, rubbing circles. “Hand me that glass of water, Jesse.” He ordered and McCree was up and out of his seat, grabbing the glass and handing it over.

Jack got a few sips down and then waved Reyes back. He looked exhausted now, the circles under his eyes scarily dark; the white bandages of his face making them stand out. His eyelids fluttered closed.

Morphine moved slowly through the drip into Jack’s veins.

“Rest, cariño.” Reyes murmured, pulling up the blankets.

McCree left them there, feeling a strange hollowness in his chest.

 

---

Genji called him to set up a new time for the date, his voice too eager.

Hanzo called an hour later to cancel.

McCree decided to let it go.

---

“Is that it then?” Genji asked.

Hanzo wasn’t surprised to see his brother in the kitchen doorway, knew he had been listening to him make the call. It had felt final and McCree’s last, resigned goodbye still echoed in his mind. He was clutching his phone in his hand, knuckles white, unwilling to put it down.

“You should not have called him first. It was not your place,” Hanzo snapped, dredging up indignation and anger to smother the other feelings threatening to overwhelm him.

“Well, you were not going to,” Genji pointed out, undeterred. “And you will not tell me why. I know you like him.”

“We are too different.”

“Lie.”

Hanzo scowled. “It would not work.”

“Lie.”

“Genji, this is not your decision to make.”

“No but I have to live with you moping. You wanted to date him and now you are giving up.”

Four big steps took him to Genji, let him glare face to face. The problem was everything his brother was saying was true. He was giving up. They’d tried, he wanted to argue. But life had come between them and as the hazy glow of their time at the hotel together had worn off, he had been reminded that there were more important things to deal with. Hajime still hadn’t made a move. Just yesterday they had sat in a meeting together, Hanzo forced to interact amiably to his father’s equally friendly comments in front of other people.

McCree would just distract him and he couldn’t afford distractions.

Even if all he wanted to be in Jesse’s presence, drag him down and never let go.

“Yes,” he admitted, shoulders slumping in defeat. “I am.” He felt the weight of the decision bearing him down, an extra pound to carry. But what was one more regret in a sea of them? This shouldn’t matter as much as it did. Did it really hurt so much to let one person go?

Genji’s gaze softened and his hand lifted, pressing against his brother's cheek, soft and earnest. “Give it one more try, Hanzo. He misses you.”

“One more try,” Hanzo echoed.

---

The phone rang for a long time and Hanzo was convinced McCree wouldn’t pick up but on what felt like the last ring, he did. Relief blossomed and made Hanzo’s skin prickle.

McCree sighed heavily on the other end of the line before offering a hesitant, “hey?”

“Jesse,” Hanzo said the name and then ran out of words, despite having spent the last few minutes practising exactly what he would say. They clogged his throat as he struggled to speak.

“Tomorrow,” McCree beat him to it, command in his voice, “at noon, Central City Park. Last shot.”

Hanzo’s gaze shifted sideways to where his brother was watching. Genji gave a thumbs up. “I will be there,” he promised.

---

It was a cold day.

Hanzo wore a long dark coat over his suit to combat the chill and strode with purposeful steps towards the fountain at the centre of the park, leaves swirling along his path. The cold wind nipped at his ears, turned them pink and almost had him reach up to pull his hair down from its ponytail to cover them. Instead he rubbed his hands together, giving them something to do other than twitch with nerves.

It felt like eons since he’d seen McCree. Eagerness warred with fear, quickened his steps and set his heart into an unrestrained gallop. The time between their last moment together had been consumed by work and uncertainty and yet the longing had been strong enough that he had taken himself in hand. At his desk, at work, with an important file sitting in front of him, Hanzo had given in to desire. He had thought of McCree as he jerked off, his head on the papers, marking them with his sweat. Afterwards he had cursed his own weakness and cursed the man that had strolled into his life with his roguish grin and cowboy hat.

He wanted him, all of him. Every inch of Hanzo screamed mine.

But he was afraid of just how much he wanted and he had decided it was time to let go. He had Genji, that was all he needed. There was no room in his future for anyone else.

Yet here he was.

McCree was already waiting, his tall broad-shouldered figure standing out in a leather jacket and hat, hands in his pocket. Hanzo felt the twitch of his lips at the first sight of McCree but the smile didn’t hold, his delight tempered by apprehension.

Hanzo felt the exact moment his approach was noticed, the touch of McCree’s gaze an almost weighted, physical thing. There was a new tenseness to his posture and Hanzo realized that for the first time he couldn't read his expression.

“Jesse,” Hanzo greeted as he stopped a foot from the other man, close enough to reach out and touch, close enough to be pulled into a hug. It could have been a canyon instead.

Face partially hidden by the brim of his hat, McCree licked his lips, rocked back and forth on his heels but said nothing. Hanzo searched for his gaze, tipping his head up to seek out the brown eyes that had once looked at him so tenderly. They stared back at him with wary sorrow. There was a chasm of time between them and someone needed to cross it. He’d expected it to be Jesse, it would have been easier that way but Hanzo’s pride would need to bend. Bend now or turn and leave.

He reached out, gripped McCree’s arm and squeezed gently. “Jesse,” he repeated the word with affection. “It is good to see you again.” And it was. That rugged face, even when not wearing a smile, was a balm. It eased the exhausted burden that was his existence.

It was all Jesse needed to let his broad grin free, as if all he had been waiting for had been those exact words. “Yeah. Likewise, honey.” His hands finally pulled free off his pockets, eased Hanzo into that hug that he craved. The cold wind whistled but neither of them could feel it.

“I am sorry,” Hanzo mumbled into Jesse’s shoulder. “It is not easy for me to...” he trailed off, seeking the right words. Not easy to let himself care, let himself be weak, let himself be happy. It could be any of those.

“S’all right, darlin’. You’re here now. We can work it out.”

Hanzo believed him.

McCree let him go but not far. He linked their arms and began walking them slowly away from the fountain and deeper into the park where trees lined the path, flocks of crows nestling in the swaying branches. They passed a mother with a pram and son, the child chattering about dinosaurs and waving his toy T-Rex in the air.

“When I was nineteen, Gabe showed me my first Western.” McCree spoke unexpectedly of his past and Hanzo leaned into the low rumble of his voice. “It was High Noon.” McCree chuckled. “At first I thought, what is this old crap? But I got pulled in and started to root for the Marshal. Nobody else was gonna fight with him but he wasn’t gonna run. He was gonna stand his ground. I wanted to be like that. I’d done so much bad, I wanted to redeem myself and fight back, bring justice to those who deserved it.”

Hanzo kept silent, listened eagerly to McCree’s story. It was a piece of his past and key to their future; he would carve each word into his soul.

“Watched plenty of others after that, ate up as many as a could. Bought myself a hat.” McCree reached with his free hand to touch the rim of the one he was wearing. “It felt good to dress up. I wasn’t so terrified about life. When I was a cowboy, I could pretend to be an untouchable gunslinger. Kinda stuck after that. Couldn’t get out of the habit.”

“I am growing fond of it,” Hanzo told him.

“Well, it’d be a damn shame if you weren’t. I can’t change my style to a policeman now.” McCree chuckled. “Though the handcuffs would come in handy.”

“We will get some anyway. I am sure you are a cowboy with a bounty on his head.”

“Jesse McCree,” he drawled out his own name, grinning from ear to ear. It was enough to send a shiver down any man’s spine. “Wanted, dead or alive.”

“Preferably alive,” Hanzo murmured, shifting that little bit closer until their hips bumped together. McCree inhaled sharply, his gaze warm.

A jogger ran past, hot breath visible in the cold air.

Hanzo looked down at their linked arms, curled his fingers along Jesse’s wrist and pushed past the rush of lust. McCree had shared some his past, it was time to return the favour. The urge to share was instinctive and powerful, to bind them together.

“I have never really made a decision for myself,” he began. “When I was a boy, my father told me what to do, who to play with, what to study. He insisted I be proficient in all things. Martial arts, archery, calligraphy, mathematics,” he casually waved his other hand, “it goes on. And I did it. I made myself perfect. Even my tattoo he designed, based on his own. I am a lawyer because he wanted me to be one. Even when I tell myself I like it, I also hate it because it is what he made me into. Sometimes it feels like there is no escape from this. It feels like I am drowning.”

He wasn’t sure where all the words came from but they were true and they emerged in a wave, as if they had been waiting for their moment to finally take form. It was a relief to let them out, instead of letting them fester in his soul. Even the air was easier to breathe, flowing into his lungs and spurring him on.

“Genji has been my only lifeline and I am worried I will only pull him under with me. He is the most important thing in my life, Jesse. Everything I do now, it is to protect him.” They stopped walking and held still together, bodies turned in and the wind blowing Hanzo’s hair across his face. His tone bordered on desperate, eyes seeking Jesse’s gaze. “And now there is also you. I am not even sure where you fit in.”

“We can find out,” Jesse rumbled, reaching out to take Hanzo’s chin in his hand, his brown eyes soft and full of loving, understanding. “I wouldn’t let you drown, Hanzo. Not in a million years. I’ll give you everything I’ve got. You and Genji.”

All the fears Hanzo had been harbouring were eased. All his life he had lived in dread of opening himself up, letting someone into his heart and now of all the people he had ever known, he was somehow certain that McCree would handle him with gentle care. Hanzo kissed him, gave in to the impulse and sought warm lips and an even warmer embrace. Jesse’s large hand curled along his cheek, the other splayed along Hanzo’s lower back, pulling him in deeper.

They broke apart with unwilling slowness and mutual fondness in their eyes, then continued their walk, arm in arm. They passed the small pond, the ducks sheltering near the shore and quacking at each other, oblivious to the two men walking by. There was something new in Hanzo’s chest, a bright and needy thing that wanted to be fed.

“I never asked you about your emergency. Was everything okay?” Hanzo asked before the silence forced him to consider his emotions too closely. They were on the verge of overwhelming, ready to spill over.

Jesse hummed a confused sound.

“With Gabe?” Hanzo clarified, the name strange on his tongue. He’d been too long in his profession to miss the look of guilt that flashed across McCree’s face at the mention of his boss and he puzzled over why as the other man answered.

“Yeah, Jack got too close to a bomb.” McCree explained. “He’s in the army. Old friend of mine, even older friend of Gabe’s. They go way back. They are... well, it’s complicated. Anyway, it was a real bad time for everyone but Jack’s on the mend now. He’s going to make it.”

“I am glad.” For McCree’s sake, if nothing else.

“Yeah, me too. He’s a good guy and Gabe would lose his mind if anything happened to him.”

Hanzo absorbed this information quietly. Complicated implied that Reyes and Jack were closer than just friends, though the extent of the relationship was uncertain. McCree clearly had a long and difficult past with both men, which meant untangling everything would take time. It was hardly a surprise and more of a decision now for Hanzo to realize that he was willing to take that time and patiently straighten out all the pieces until it made sense.

“Do I have to worry?” Hanzo asked, his grip on McCree’s arm tightening.

“About what?”

“Reyes.” He wondered how hard he would have to fight, if he would have to claw Jesse from Gabriel’s grasp.

McCree paused their walk again, to look down at him with a pained expression which unavoidably strung a chord deep within Hanzo's heart. He almost seemed like he wasn’t going to answer, as if he would run from the question but there was nowhere for him to go. Not with Hanzo holding him firm refusing any chance for escape. “No. It’s not, it ain’t like that. Well, it kinda is, sometimes- fuck.”

Jealousy grew talons around Hanzo’s heart and squeezed while Jesse went on. “It don’t matter. Reyes will always be in my life. Look,” his beseeching gaze locked on Hanzo’s, “I want you. He’s someone I care about. Hell, a part of me will always love him. But I want you. Never wanted anything more in my whole goddamn life.”

Hanzo’s gut twisted and trembled, roared with butterflies that threatened to fly up from his chest and out of his mouth as words he’d never spoken before to anyone but Genji.

I love you.

How absurd.

Hanzo hadn’t expressed such any sentiments to his own brother until Genji had been lying broken in his arms, covered in blood and tears; and now a man he hardly knew was bringing the words to the tip of his tongue. Yet at the same time, he could not deny the extent of his feelings.

“I want you too,” he said instead, a halfway point.

Another kiss; this one a promise, a declaration. Jesse McCree was his and nobody could take him away. His fingers dug in deep and possessive as he tried to capture this feeling, hold onto it and use it later to remind himself that he was wanted. There was someone out there that would be his alone, if he was willing to let him in.

When he broke away, Hanzo pressed his cheek to Jesse’s chest, letting the man’s warm arms hold him steady.

“I was nervous about today.” Hanzo admitted. “I have not been on a date for a very long time.” Though they both knew the real issue had been the distance that had settled between them and Hanzo’s indecision, it remained unsaid. Before now there had been the possibility that they would officially part ways, become a memory in each other's lives and move on, but not any longer.

“We went to lunch together.” Hanzo felt as well as heard McCree’s laugh. “Ain’t too different from that.”

“That was not even close to a date,” Hanzo scoffed.

“What was it then?” The arms around him tightened slightly.

“I was deciding whether I wanted to have sex with you or not.”

McCree laughed again and buried his face in Hanzo’s hair, dragging in a deep breath through his nose as if memorizing Hanzo’s scent. “Well, I guess we answered that question.”

“I am not so sure,” Hanzo murmured in reply, his fingers hooked in McCree’s belt, long past caring that they were in public, standing on a path, embracing. “We should probably check again.”

“Sweetheart, I’ll help you make that decision as many times as necessary.” He kissed the top of Hanzo’s head. “But first, how ‘bout some lunch? I‘ve been too nervous to eat. I was so sure you were gonna tell me you never wanted to see me again.”

“I considered it,” Hanzo pulled back to look him in the eyes, a teasing smile on his lips. “But I changed my mind.” There was an easy joy to his gaze, the very last wall crumbling to dust and allowing his happiness to shine through.

“Lucky me.” McCree grinned with a mirrored fondness.

“Indeed.” Hanzo tugged him down again with no resistance. They came together with a now familiar but no less exciting heat, Hanzo capturing McCree’s lips with his own, marking them with a nibble that caused the other man to growl in his throat.

If he could have this every day until his last, it would be no terrible thing.

---

Hanzo returned to work an hour and a half later, walked in out of the cold; his stomach full and his heart fuller. As he strode across the foyer towards the elevator, he carried with him Jesse’s words and repeated them like a mantra over and over.

But I want you.

Never wanted anything more in my whole goddamn life.

He felt giddy, like he was floating instead of walking. It was a strange feeling. Still terrifying but he wasn’t going to run now. He was going to hold onto it fiercely, coil around it and make it last forever.

His phone buzzed in his pocket.

Hanzo fished it out as he pressed the button for the elevator, looking down to take in the message in a quick glance. As soon as he read it, his spine snapped to attention and he felt the chill all the way down to his bones. It froze his heart, chased away his joy and left only dark fear in its place.

Hajime: Time to talk.

Chapter Text

Hajime’s office was designed to impress. From the massive mahogany office desk to the tall windows overlooking the city, the set of antique Japanese swords on the wall and the lounge and mini bar area to the left meant for only the most important guests; it all oozed expensive taste and gilded power.

But Hanzo knew, that even if they were sitting on cardboard boxes in the middle of a rubbish dump, nothing would lessen his father’s supremacy. It was in the set of his shoulders, the tilt of his head, the sharp lines of his face. It was the dark pits of his eyes that cut through to your soul and saw all your mistakes laid out before him for judgement.

Hanzo said nothing as he sat down opposite his father, back straight and chin up, waiting with false calm for whatever new attack Hajime had planned. The elevator ride had been both the longest and shortest in his life, the time devoted to clamping down hard on his emotions, not letting them run wild in a panic. They would be useless in the battle ahead. He needed his mind clear.

Hajime was leaning forward, elbows resting on the desk and fingers laced together. He watched his son in thoughtful silence, letting the seconds tick by. The ancient crocodile in the swamp knew patience better than any other creature, only when the time was right would he burst forth and let his jaws crunch down. Hanzo could only hope he was quick enough to avoid it.

He refused to speak.

Hajime broke the stalemate first, a pleasant, “have you had a good day, Hanzo?” He straightened up as he spoke, leaning back in his office chair and reaching for a manila file on his desk.

Hanzo flicked his gaze to it, followed its slide across the wooden surface, expecting a trap.

“Nothing notable,” Hanzo responded with false calm.

“I see.” Hajime teased the edge of a finger under the top page of the file. “I am surprised. It seemed like you had a good day.”

Hanzo’s heart plummeted, sunk down somewhere into his guts. He turned to silence again and didn’t answer. Any word could be incriminating.

Undeterred, Hajime turned the folder around, flipped it open and pushed it closer to Hanzo. Hanzo refused to look at it, met his father’s gaze instead and asked, “what is this?”

When his father smiled, Hanzo knew he’d already lost.

“I must admit,” Hajime told him, cordial and conversational, as if they were normal people discussing normal everyday things, “I honestly did not expect you to contact Jesse McCree again. You seemed to have gotten bored with him and I was both pleased by your good sense and annoyed I would have to take an ace out of my deck but now here we are.”

Hanzo forced an answering smile onto his face. “I enjoy his company but that is all.”

Hajime arched one eyebrow and showed a hint of teeth with his grin. “Do not insult us both with lies.” He inched the folder closer to Hanzo again. “We are here to make a deal and it is important we are honest with each other.”

Hanzo finally looked at the folder, looked at the first page; a police report, a mugshot of a younger, scowling Jesse McCree in the corner. The next page was another report, a different incident and after that was a copy of Jesse’s birth certificate and other personal documents. Beyond that was even the receipt for the hotel room, their one night together. Hajime had clearly realised he could no longer threaten Genji and had turned his focus elsewhere. Hanzo had foolishly, with the weakness of his heart, given his father all the ammunition he needed.

“Your new lover,” Hajime continued, “has quite the history. He also seems to have quite the temper. He has been arrested twice for disorderly conduct, assault and aggressive behaviour. The charges never stuck. According to my contacts he was also in a gang when he was a teenager.” He searched Hanzo’s face and found nothing but a quick frown. “Did he tell you?

“What do you want?” Hanzo asked instead. He’d dropped the smile, the pretence. There was no point. He closed the folder, so he didn’t have to look at that photo anymore.

Hajime seemed genuinely disappointed as he gave a small shake of his head. “You should have known better, Hanzo. This is a man easy to destroy.”

All it would take would take one phone call, Hanzo knew that very well. A whispered word, an exchange of money, and there would be a policeman knocking on McCree’s door.

“What do you want?” Hanzo repeated, his shoulders held rigid and his fingers curling into a fist.

“I have organized some time off for you. I think it will be a good chance to expand your horizons. You will be flying back to Japan. Your grandparents are very eager to see you.” Hajime pulled open his drawer, pulled out two plane tickets. “Genji may go with you. I would not wish for you to be lonely. You leave in four days. That should give you enough time to prepare.”

Hanzo was too numb to react. He felt his exhaustion settle again, wrap around him and push him down. There was no escape. Like a gazelle down by the river, snapped up and dragged down.

“While you are there, there are a few people I would like you to entertain. Their fathers will be very disappointed if you refuse.”

So this was his father’s response to Hanzo’s short lived romance; send him away, place a daughter of a rich family friend on his arm, put him back in line away from unwanted influence. Even if it achieved nothing by the time Hanzo returned home, there would always be the ever present threat that Hajime would destroy a man Hanzo considered precious. Hajime would always have that to keep him in line.

Was Jesse McCree worth this?

Of course.

“In addition,” Hajime continued ruthlessly, “you will contact Jesse McCree now and end your relationship with him while I am listening. You will inform him that you will not accept any of his calls and that your relationship is over. Do you understand?”

Hanzo closed his eyes and gave up, as he should have before letting Jesse meet him at the park, before letting him set his heart on fire, before all of it. “I understand.”

“Good.” Hajime took the file back, exchanged it for the plane tickets and itinerary. “Please understand- Hanzo, look at me.” For a moment, Hanzo almost refused like a petulant child but thought better of it and obeyed, looking back at his father with tired submission. Hajime’s gaze had softened. “Please understand that as your father I only do what I deem to be best for you. You are a good son. I will not let you lose focus chasing after someone unworthy. One day this will all belong to you and you will carry on our name. When that time comes, you will thank me.”

And Hajime meant every word of it. Good son. When Hanzo had been younger, he had lived for those very words. Just the hint of praise had kept him going, through the endless lessons, the exams, the long, sleepless nights when the pressure of being the eldest Shimada son had driven him to tears.

Hanzo didn’t want to be the good son anymore. He didn’t want any of it. But now defying his father would hurt more than just himself and Genji. If he’d just allowed himself to follow his brother's advice years ago, his future could have been entirely different. Now only a lifetime of regret loomed ahead.

“Now,” if not for the iron beneath the words, Hajime could have almost sounded gentle as he ordered, “make the call.”

With trembling fingers, Hanzo took his phone from his pocket and dialled Jesse’s number.

---

After leaving Hanzo, McCree had been too restless to go home yet. He wandered the city streets instead, hands in his pockets, warmed by the touch of Hanzo’s lips and his smile. It was as if he was living in some romance novel and here was the payoff, the crescendo of love before the happily ever after. Certainly there would be some things to iron out, it was still early days but he was optimistic. As long as they tackled their problems together, they would get through.

Every step felt light, every breath easy.

He would need to invite Hanzo over. Already McCree was making plans to clean his apartment, find a good recipe and cook something homemade. Hanzo would stay the night and McCree would make pancakes in the morning. Afterwards he would lick maple syrup from Hanzo’s lips and take him back to bed.

His phone rang and he moved into the mouth of an alley, out of the way off the foot traffic to answer. A smile was already spreading across his face, ready to leech into his voice as sweetness and delight.

“Hey darlin’,” Jesse purred into the phone, his shoulder leaning against the brick wall, “miss me already?”

There was no immediate answer, just soft breathing on the end of the line.

He waited, brows drawing into a slight frown.

“Hanzo, sweetheart? You there?”

“I am here.” There was nothing in the world as cold as that voice. McCree’s fingers spasmed around the phone, nearly dropping it. “McCree.”

Wrong. All wrong. Even their first meeting had been more cordial than that tone. “You okay?” The words rushed out. “What’s the matter?” His thoughts shifted immediately to Genji.

“I was wrong.”

“Wha-”

“Be quiet. Let me talk.” The harsh tone confused him, sent his heart thudding wildly in his chest. Panic clawed its way up his throat. “I was wrong. We are not going to work out. Whatever was between us is now over. I am very sorry. I will not contact you again and I ask that you do the same.”

What? No. Impossible.

“You can’t!” McCree burst out, fist smacking painfully against the wall in an emphasis Hanzo couldn’t see. “What the hell do you mean? We just... not even an hour ago we were- fucking hell, Hanzo. What’s happening?”

“We simply are not right for each other.” Hanzo’s voice wavered slightly. “Do not make this harder than it has to be. It is over.”

McCree’s panic turned quickly to anger when faced by something that made so little sense. “Not on the fucking phone we’re not. Why are are doing this? Come and say this to my face.” It was impossible to reconcile those words with the Hanzo he had been with just moments before. I want you too. That hadn’t been a lie. The affection they had shared couldn’t just be turned off.

The anger faded just as quickly as it had arrived, morphed into a desperation that shortened his breath. “Come on. We can talk this through. I’ll come see you now and if you still wanna call it quits we can but I want to see you first. I think I deserve that.”

“No.”

Jesse recoiled physically from the rejection. “Please,” he begged.

“I am sorry, Jesse.” He heard it then; the regret and pain. Hanzo didn’t want this either but he was doing it anyway. “Goodbye.” The line went dead. There were too many words on McCree’s tongue, more protests and promises, more questions. They had nowhere to go, so he swallowed them.

He tried to redial Hanzo’s number but the call wouldn’t go through.

He sent ten text messages and knew they would either never arrive or never be read.

McCree slid down into a crouch, back against the cold bricks and tried to make sense of Hanzo’s words, tried to read the truth, tried to convince himself it was just horrible joke. His phone held loose in his hand, he stared at it as his mind raced, the obscure thought rising from the back of his mind to remind him that he didn’t even have a photo. He’d never taken a photo of Hanzo. There was nothing to hold onto. If Hanzo really, truly decided to cut himself off for good, then all McCree would have was bittersweet memories.

He couldn’t let it happen. Not like this.

So Jesse called Genji.

---

By the time Hanzo returned home, it was night and he was exhausted deep down to his bones. The rest of his day had passed in a haze, business completed by routine with his mind somewhere else, still replaying Jesse’s desperate please, the bitter taste of his future like bile in the back of his throat.

This is for your own good, he had wanted to tell him.

There had been a lot more he had wanted to say but Hajime had been watching him, judging each word. When it was over, Hajime had told him he hadn’t been harsh enough. He had warned Hanzo that McCree would try again and Hanzo had promised him nothing Jesse said would make a difference. That it was over, just as he had said.

Hanzo turned the car off and sat with his head bent, hands gripping the wheel in a white knuckled grip. The front yard light was on, welcoming him inside. He counted backwards from ten, pulling in deep stabilizing breaths. At least with Genji he would find some solace.

He finally left the car, trudged up the steps and through the front door.

Genji was waiting for him in the kitchen. The large well-lit room suddenly seemed a lot less cozy when Hanzo saw Genji’s face, lips pressed thin and brow furrowed. Of course. He should have expected McCree to call him. They were friends. One time lovers. If they’d made it full time, Hanzo wouldn’t be dealing with any of this pain right now. He shoved that thought aside as quickly as it arrived.

Hanzo left his briefcase by the door.

“What happened?” Genji asked from where he was sitting at the table, a mug of tea warming his hands. No judgement yet. Just confusion.

Hanzo pulled a chair out, legs scraping against the floor, and sat heavily. He looked back at his brother, searching for the right words. The truth, of course but in doing so he would have to admit his weakness.

“Jesse called me,” Genji continued, pushing the mug of tea across the table to Hanzo. “He said you had a great time together, really great but then you called everything off out of the blue.” His eyes narrowed. “Father?”

“Who else?” Hanzo reached for the tea. It was only lukewarm but he took a sip anyway. Jasmine with a touch of honey. “He threatened Jesse. If I do not do as he wishes, Jesse will pay for it and I will not have that.” He explained the terms in a slow and stilted way, unwilling to fully re-live the conversation. When he finished, he pulled the plane tickets out of his jacket pocket and put them on the table. “We leave for Japan in four days.”

Genji was staring at him in dismay. “That is it then?” His voice was quiet, his gaze flicking between Hanzo and the tickets. “You just give up and do what he wants?”

“There is no other option.”

“Of course there is!” Genji burst out, palm slapping loudly against the tabletop. “We can talk to Jesse, we can get legal advice - hell, Hanzo, you are a lawyer! There must be-”

“No,” Hanzo interjected. “This is beyond the law. Our father is beyond the law. He is untouchable and if I fight, everyone will suffer for it.”

Genji shook his head. “Ridiculous. So you just go to Japan and let yourself be married off? You will let yourself be exiled? This is insane. Everyone suffers anyway.”

Hanzo scowled down at his tea, anger bubbling in his chest. Each reminder that Genji threw at him at how horrible the situation was just another dagger in his heart. “I do not intend on getting married, Genji. I will do my duty and escort whoever I must to dinner but that is hardly an engagement. Just,” his lip curled bitterly, “think of it as a holiday.”

Genji laughed mirthlessly. “I am not going.”

Hanzo’s head jerked up and he swallowed around the sudden knot in his throat “What?”

“Just because you want to throw your life aside, does not mean I have to. This is my home. I will not abandon it or my friends from fear,” Genji declared, his expression fierce. Hanzo would have been proud if he wasn’t so terrified of losing the only person he had left.

“You have to come with me,” Hanzo stated, as if the concept of being separated from his brother was beyond him.

“No,” Genji said firmly, “I do not.”

As Hanzo watched, Genji reached across the table and grabbed one of the tickets, the one with his own name on it, and tore it in two. The separate pieces fluttered away when Genji let them go. Hanzo’s heart broke with them.

“Over and over again,” Genji told him, brown eyes sorrowful but unyielding, “I have told you to stop letting him control you. Over and over. To live your own life. You never listened and now that you decided you want to be happy, our father has taken even that from you.” He stood, looked away. “When you decide to fight, I will be there.”

In disbelief, Hanzo watched him leave. He realized he was standing, one hand outstretched as if to reach out and stop him, only after Genji had disappeared from view. He heard a door slam upstairs.

Frustrated tears threatened to spill, welling in his eyes. Hanzo held them back by force of will, walked stiffly over to the sink to pour the last of the tea down the drain. As he watched the liquid swirl away, he did the only thing he could do; he turned himself to ice, let it creep over his heart and bury his feelings in cold. If the only way to survive this was to be more like like his father, then that’s what he would do.

When Hanzo had everything under control, he went to his room and packed a bag. By the time the taxi arrived to pick him up, he had a hotel room booked and had written a short farewell note to Genji. With one last look at his home, Hanzo left.

---

“We have to do something,” Genji said into his phone while lying on his bed, flat on his back with one hand buried into his hair, giving small, frustrated tugs. He had just explained Hanzo’s reason for the break up to Jesse, having called him immediately after racing up the stairs, his heart in his throat. The only light in his room was the glow from Zenny’s vivarium.

McCree said nothing on the end of the line but his breathing was heavy and he’d sworn under his breath a few times.

“I was mean. I feel bad about it,” Genji confessed. “But I had to be. I have to make him stay.” The harsh words, his actions, the shred of the plane ticket, all of it hurt. But if he let himself go along with Hajime’s plan, he was letting Hanzo ruin his life. There was still time to talk to him, convince him to find another path. If he wouldn’t stay for Jesse, he might stay for Genji. In fact, that was what Genji was putting all his bets on. “Jesse?”

“I’m here,” McCree grunted at him.

“What do you think? I will make some calls. First we get Hanzo to fight against our father and then- wait, was that a car?” Genji bolted upright, head cocked and listening. “Fuck,” he said and then louder, “fuck!”

He opened the door, stuck his head out. “Hanzo?” The call yielded nothing and when he checked his brother’s room, he found everything neat and tidy, except for the slightly open drawer. Clothes were missing, his toothbrush was gone. The phone was still at his ear and McCree was saying something but Genji wasn’t listening.

Genji found the note on the kitchen table.

Genji,
Forgive me. I was wrong to expect you to follow me. Your life is here. When I reach Japan, I will call you. Until then you will not see me. It is easier that way. Goodbye for now.
Love, Hanzo

“He is gone,” Genji murmured into the phone. His legs were trembling too hard to keep him upright and so he sunk to the ground, his head on his knees. “I was wrong. I did it wrong.” They would have to find him. No, he would have to confront Hajime himself. There was surely some other deal that could be made.

There was a short bark of laughter on the phone, startling Genji out of his thoughts.

“This is my fault,” Jesse said, and hung up.

---

By morning McCree hadn’t slept for a second, kept awake by the constant swing of emotions; anger and despair, both competing for dominance and wearing him down. The knowledge that it was his past was what was being used against Hanzo, every stupid decision he had ever made, was the greatest weight of all. He’d tried hard to be a good and decent person but it wasn’t enough, not when faced by the demon that was Hajime.

McCree hated him with a passion. He wished he’d punched him that night, when he’d first had the misfortune to come face to face with the beast himself. Regardless of what the repercussions, Hajime’s face beneath his fist would be a great consolation prize.

But what he wanted more, beyond all that, was to have Hanzo here. To hold him and tell him it was going to be okay, that he didn’t care what Hajime did to him. There was no doubt in his mind that he deserved judgement for many of his decisions in the past, his stupid youth, his temper. He would accept anything if it meant Hanzo got to stay here with Genji.

Jesse drained two cups of coffee as morning took hold and soon found himself out in the cold streets, his feet carried him to the subway and then on to the business district. It was a simple search on Google maps to find the impressively tall building that housed Shimada & Co. Who even was the Co.? He doubted they had much of a say in business. Not with someone like Hajime in charge.

The electronic doors whooshed open, warm air hitting his face as he stepped inside. People in suits were either talking, walking or both, with purpose. They all looked rich and important. There was a security guard by the elevator, nodding people through when they showed him a lanyard.

The front desk was busy answering phone calls, pretty young women with bright lipstick and friendly smiles. McCree approached one of them and waited for her to finish offering the person at the end of the line some helpful advice about the relocation of a Mr. Fawkes demolition company. He felt her look him up and down while she talked, judging the torn jeans and plaid button up, the rough boots and untrimmed scruff.

“Can I help you?” She asked brightly once she’d put the phone down.

McCree tried to smile but couldn’t get it to reach his eyes. “I need to talk to Hanzo. Shimada. He works here.”

“Do you have an appointment?” She asked.

“Well, no. I’m a friend. If you can just tell me what floor he’s on I’ll just pop on up for a hello.”

“I see.” She pursed her lips slightly. “I’ll just call his receptionist.”

“Don’t do that, I’ll just go on up. Waste of your time, is all.”

She ignored him, already dialling. “What was your name?”

He hesitated. Should he give his real name or another? Would Hanzo refuse to see him? In the end he settled for the truth. “Jesse. Jesse McCree.”

“Hi Katya. I have Jesse McCree here to see Mr. Shimada.” A brief pause. “Yes, he is a friend.” McCree fidgeted and watched her face, trying to peer past the neutral smile. “Of course. Yes. No problem. Thank you.”

She hung up and turned that smile back to him. “I’m very sorry but Mr. Shimada is too busy to see you today.”

“Too busy,” he repeated and she nodded helpfully, clearly expecting him to leave now. “Alright. Then how about the boss man. I want to see Hajime. How’s his schedule looking?” McCree grinned, knew it wasn’t a pleasant look but didn’t care. The anger had returned, blazing past the despair.

The receptionist was clearly trying to decide if he was somehow someone important enough that she wouldn’t want to offend him or just some strange nobody from the street. “You want to see Mr. Hajime Shimada without an appointment.” The latter won out. Her eyes glimmered with amusement. “That won’t be happening today, Mr. McCree. I suggest you contact his office and organize a meeting.”

“Sure, fine. What floor are they on? Just so I can know for next time.”

“Thirty-five.”

“Thanks.” McCree turned and marched himself towards the elevator, ignoring the startled ‘sir!’ from behind. The security guard zeroed in on his approach and shifted his stance, no longer slouching. McCree was fairly sure he could take him down no problem, even with the taser on his hip.

They squared off, the guard blocking his way to the elevator.

“Have you got a pass?”

McCree settled his weight defensively. “Nah, I’m just here to see a friend.” There was a good chance that starting a fight here would end up with his being arrested. Not the worst outcome, if it meant Hajime had less the work with when blackmailing his son. Hanzo would have no reason to run if the person he was trying to protect had already gotten himself thrown into jail.

“Can’t let you through, mate. You’ll have to leave.”

The tension quivered between them, noticed even by people passing by. Men and women slowed their steps, glanced over and muttered at each other in low voices.

“I don’t think so.”

McCree flexed his fingers, prepared to go for the other man’s dominate hand and-

“There you are!” He nearly threw off the person that locked onto his arm until he realised it was Genji. Fingers dug in painfully. “Wow. What are you even doing, Jesse? Having a good conversation? Seems pretty intense. I guess you are an intense kind of guy. Come on. Let us go up and see my brother. My brother, Hanzo Shimada because I am Genji Shimada and this is our friend.”

The last words were said directly to the startled security guards face as Genji pulled Jesse past him. He pressed the button the elevator and shoved Jesse in once the doors pinged open, making sure they closed before anyone else could get on.

Then Genji rounded on him, jabbing a finger into his chest. “What the hell are you doing? Were you really about to start a fight in the foyer? You,” jab, “are,” jab, “an,” jab, “idiot.”

“Okay, okay, enough!” McCree swatted his hand away with a glower. “So what? They wouldn’t let me up and I,” his voice broke, “I have to see him, Genji. I’ve gotta. This’ll eat me alive. I know if I just see him, we can work it out.”

Genji sighed and leaned his head against Jesse’s chest in lieu of his finger. “I am not sure how getting arrested was even part of the plan when you could have just called me but I understand.” He sighed. “I want to see him too.”

McCree wrapped an arm around him, pulled him close. “We’ll fix this together.”

The elevator opened on the 35th floor and there was a well-dressed young man there to greet them, his shoes shiny and his expression just as politely neutral as the receptionist. “Hajime is ready to see you both,” he announced.

---

Genji was fairly sure he was about to have a heart attack. The thumping in his chest was surely audible to the other two people in the room and the wild beat could not be healthy. He refrained from clutching at his chest or the more appealing option, clutching at Jesse’s arm.

McCree was a solid presence at his side, his jaw clenched and eyes blazing. There was anger in every line of muscles, threatening to spill out. Sitting at his desk, Hajime met the fierce stare calmly.

Genji could hardly stand to look at his father, his gaze kept skittering everywhere else instead, roaming the hated office where lives were ruined and deals were made. When he finally did look back, Hajime’s relaxed disregard was terrifying. They were in the den of the beast.

Even having planned to face him down and had in fact come here with that very purpose in mind, the reality was a lot different than his mind. He’d spent half the night running through different scenarios but the Genji in those was a lot braver than the one standing here now. He was both grateful for Jesse being with him, so that he wouldn’t have to suffer the full weight of Hajime’s ire, and also anxious that his friend’s temper would only put them on the backfoot. Hajime was a powerful opponent; you couldn’t go in with anything less than a cool head.

It was McCree that went to speak first, his mouth opening to form a sentence. “You-” was all he got out before Hajime cut him off, swift as an arrow, as if he had been waiting for that exact moment.

“How lovely to have you visit me, Genji,” Hajime said with false pleasantly, the sound of it making Genji shudder. “Are you looking forward to your trip?”

“Hey!” McCree barked.

Hajime ignored him.

“I am not going,” Genji replied, giving in to the impulse and wrapping his fingers around Jesse’s sleeve. It wasn’t just for comfort; McCree looked like he was ready to launch himself across the desk.

“Such a shame,” Hajime responded without a hint of feeling.

Calling on the memory of his brother, protecting him, promising to leave, their warm embrace afterwards, Genji spoke again. “And neither is Hanzo.” The declaration, though spoken with conviction, and seconded by a sound from McCree that was almost a growl, had no effect.

“Oh?” Hajime laced his fingers before him on the desk and arched an eyebrow. “That decision has already been made.”

“That decision can get fucked,” McCree interjected, voice rough with anger. “He won’t hafta do anything you say after I toss you out the fucking window.”

“How charming.” Hajime’s teeth flashed in a brief smirk. “I will forever puzzle over what he sees in someone like you. Perhaps his constant contact with criminals has affected his sense of taste.”

Genji shifted his grip, moving it to Jesse’s wrist and holding tight. He could feel the other's pulse pounding beneath his skin. “We will make another offer, a new deal,” he offered quickly before McCree could respond. He certainly wasn’t expecting Hajime to start laughing at the suggestion.

His mirth rolled through the room, freezing the blood in Genji’s veins. It was a cutting sound, sharp and deep. It ended when Hajime spread his hands, a gesture of emptiness. “You have nothing to deal with.” There were extra words there, that were not spoken but hung in the air just the same: you are powerless.

Genji had thought to offer to leave, to exchange Hanzo’s exile for his own but that had been a foolish idea. As it was, the brothers would already be seperated, anything Genji chose to do now was pointless without Hanzo to back him up.

“Goddamn, you’re a piece of shit, lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut,” McCree growled but he seemed to have contained his rage. “Blackmailing your own son. Treating the other one like he ain’t nothin’.”

“Needs must,” Hajime replied, dark eyes glittering.

“I’m the linchpin, right? He’s letting himself get fucked over for my sake.” McCree pulled away and Genji let him go, watched as Jesse approached the desk and planted one large hand on the polished wood. He leaned forward in challenge. “Anything you think you can do to me, I can take it. You ain’t got no idea what you’re dealin’ with.”

Hajime measured him up with his eyes, found him lacking. “I think I do, Mr. McCree.”

“Hanzo don’t belong to you. Genji don’t belong to you. I’m gonna break your hold and if I gotta smash your grip one finger at a damn time, I will.”

“I look forward to the attempt. I am quite light on entertainment these days.” Hajime’s words were flippant but Genji could see the calculating look in his eyes. “I would, however, suggest you do not partake in idle threats. Your life, your livelihood, your friends; everything is so very fragile, so very easily broken. Do not make Hanzo’s sacrifice all for vain. I am not a forgiving man.”

McCree’s voice lowered dangerously. “You’re threatening my friends now?”

“I am merely suggesting that you not do something you would regret. Mr. Gabriel Reyes has a reputable business but it is so easy for mistakes to be made.”

McCree blanched, reeled back as if struck. Genji moved to his side, took McCree’s hand in his and curled their fingers together. “This is not going to work. We will not let you hurt anyone,” he announced boldly. “You are a bully.”

“Am I?” Hajime smiled at him. “I am a businessman, Genji. I have not come this far from being nice and what little you have managed to accomplish in your life is only because of me.”

“I do not want it anymore. You are not my father.”

A furrow appeared on Hajime’s brow, the first sign of discontent. “Stop being ridiculous,” he scoffed.

But Genji was not going to stop. “From this moment on, you are not my father. I refuse the Shimada name. My whole life I have feared you but no more. You think you own Hanzo, just like you think you own me but you are wrong.”

“Genji-”

“No,” Genji cut his father off, emboldened. “I am Shimada no longer. I am not yours and I will do whatever I want. I reject you and if you think Hanzo loves you more than me...” He trailed off meaningfully. Even if he was no longer certain that his brother would choose him. Hajime could not discount their bound, especially after that confrontation in Hanzo’s office.

Hajime stood up, slow and measured, his attention now solely on his youngest son. “Do not think,” his voice full of cold menace, “that I would not toss you aside myself. But you cannot deny your own blood. A Shimada you are and a Shimada you remain. Nothing you say or do will make a difference. Now get out,” he waved a hand sharply at the door, “I am tired of looking at you.”

It was almost a win. Not quite but at least Genji had gotten something through Hajime’s defences.

“Let’s go. I’ve heard enough of his bullshit,” McCree muttered, his grip on his hand tightening and then released. Genji nodded, gave his father one last defiant stare and marched towards the door.

“And Mr. McCree,” Hajime voice stopped them in the doorway. Genji looked back, at his father standing straight-backed behind his desk, eyes narrowed and a cruel smile on his lips, “give me best regards to Mr. Morrison. I hope his medical care is going well. It would be a shame if such a decorated soldier could not return to work.”

McCree hissed in a breath and took one heavy step back towards Hajime before Genji caught him and pushed him out the door. They’d done enough. Hanging around anymore and trading more barbs would achieve nothing. They had to find Hanzo. He was the only one that could change anything.

---

With nothing else to be done, no Hanzo in his office and Genji’s promise of ‘I’ll find find him and call you’ ringing in his ears, McCree returned home. He paced through his apartment, his anger still a bright flame of frustration as he played the interaction with Hajime over and over again. He felt impotent and trapped, caught in a web that he hadn’t realized he was falling into and now unable to escape from.

As he fumed, his thoughts ultimately focused in on Hanzo. When he sat heavily on his couch, head hanging, it was with those thoughts as a lead weight on his heart. He couldn’t hold back the surge of bitterness. Finally he’d found someone he was ready to devote himself to, someone he wanted to hold close and wake up next to. It had never occurred to him that something so simple could end up so complicated.

He was still stewing, one foot bouncing in place with his agitation, when the door opened.

Reyes stood in the doorway, eyes narrowing when they fell on Jesse. He kicked the door closed behind him and approached. McCree hunched his shoulders and stared at the worn carpet, stared at the threads until two black boots moved into his line of sight.

He expected the hand on his head, fingers sinking into his hair. Took comfort from the familiar act.

“What’s the hell’s going on?” Reyes asked, his voice a rough growl. “You don’t answer my calls, you left work early last night and you’ve been in a foul fucking mood.”

When McCree didn’t answer, the words caught in his throat, Reyes sat down beside him, turned his touch into a one-armed hug. McCree trembled.

“Jesse,” his tone changed, became soft, cajoling and his hand was warm on McCree’s shoulder. Jesse didn’t realise he was crying until Reyes was swearing softly under his breath.

“Fuck, shit, fuck,” McCree rolled the words out, bit them off angrily as he swiped away the tears. “I’m sorry, just, gimme a moment... I’m gonna get my shit together.” Reyes sat with him as he snuffled and sniffed, took in shaky breaths and fought back the overwhelming tide of emotion.

It was only when Jesse had finally found some level of control that Reyes shifted his grip to his neck and pressed his fingers in firmly, an anchoring presence. “Get it out, Jesse,” he grunted. “Then you talk.” McCree was taken back down the years, similar moments played out with Reyes at his side. The comfort he provided and the glint he knew was in his eyes, the curl of his lips; that protective snarl that promised pain to whoever had made his Jesse cry.

“You know what,” McCree said with a hollow laugh, turning his head slightly to peek over at Reyes, “I think I’m in love and it’s fucking horrible.” Just the word tore at his heart. The realisation so sudden and painful it made his whole body ache.

He felt Gabe’s fingers flex around his neck, saw the strange expression that moved across his face before it was banished. “Hanzo.” The name came out edged in disgust. “He’s got you good.”

“Yeah.”

“You going to tell me about the horrible part?” Reyes prodded when Jesse didn’t immediately add anything extra.

McCree wavered at the edge of truth or lies but he’d never been very good at keeping anything from Gabe. So he told him everything, spoke until his voice ran dry and Reyes got up to fetch him a glass of water.

“Thanks,” he said after downing the water and leaving the glass on the coffee table.

Gabe stood above him, his arms crossed, fingers digging into the meat of his bicep. “Is it worth it?” He asked. “You’re getting fucked around because this guy hasn’t got the balls enough to man up. You really wanna go there?”

McCree grimaced and thought about it, really truly wondered if this was all worth it, if Hanzo was worth it. He thought of Gabe pining for years, waiting for Jack to call, for Jack to come home. He thought of Hajime in his office, with his cruel mouth and dangerous eyes, full of sly threats. Hanzo on the phone, the catch in his voice, the false goodbye.

“Yeah,” he said.

Reyes was angry when he left; a cold rage that would seethe for days. It was written in the set of his jaw and the way he kept curling his hands into fists. McCree had tried to extract a promise from him, not to interfere. He’d only curled his lip into a grim smile.

But there wasn’t anything he could do anyway. Just like there was nothing Jesse could do. Nothing but wait.

---

Finding Hanzo actually wasn’t the hard part. If you listened to Jesse with his sad moaning, you’d have thought Hanzo was hidden in some hole somewhere, like the fucking little gutless rat that he was. Reyes figured out where he was easy enough, made a few calls and had the name of the hotel within minutes. The problem was how to approach in a manner that would give him time to talk and Hanzo no time to escape.

His chatty contact at the hotel had told him Hanzo was spending all of his time in his room, ordering off the room service menu and generally being curt and unapproachable. Reyes had considered breaking into his room but that would have caused more of a problem than necessary. The Japanese man had the build of a fighter and if Genji’s ramblings about how ‘cool’ and ‘powerful’ his brother was were even half true then Reyes would probably be better off avoiding a one on one.

Not that he didn’t think he could take him. He just didn’t want to be forced to break his nose and upset Jesse by ruining his boyfriend’s face. Not yet anyway.

What he really wanted was to let Hanzo take the fall, let him fly overseas and be done with it. Jesse would get over him eventually. Probably.

Instead he called in a favour. Room service was now unavailable (‘I’m very sorry, Mr. Shimada. We’ve booked you a free table at the hotel restaurant for tonight. We hope that will suffice?’) and it was only a matter of waiting for the call. He didn’t bother to explain to Jack where he was going, even if the other man had been watching him with a look that clearly said ‘I know you’re planning something but I’m not going to ask about it because I probably don’t want to know’. Jack had always been good at protecting his delicate sensibilities. Looking the other way whenever it pleased him. Spent his life killing and fighting and still didn’t like to get his hands dirty.

“Will you be back for dinner?” was all that Jack asked as Gabriel pulled on his jacket, looking over from his position on the couch, out of the hospital but still looking sore and tired, swaddled in blankets and watching re-runs of some baking competition show.

“Yeah. This won’t take long.”

“Be careful.” Jack’s eyes shifted back to television, squinting and trying to see past the blur his gaze had become. He was still refusing to wear the glasses.

Reyes gave him a quick grin, full of teeth and walked out the door.

The message came through a few minutes after he arrived in the hotel foyer. Hanzo had come down for dinner. Lucky for him, the lawyer had decided to take up the offer and was about to be joined by an unexpected guest.

Reyes spotted Hanzo as soon as he entered the hotel restaurant, saw the straight back and ponytail bound by a golden ribbon from across the room. Dressed in a suit, stiff shoulders, a prince waiting for his meal.

He approached from behind and dropped down into the seat across from Hanzo as if he belonged there.

To his credit, despite his surprise, Hanzo reaction was a controlled one. His eyes widened, his mouth pressed into a thin line of disgust and he sat even more rigidly than before, if that was even possible. Reyes watched curiously as one hand twitched, shifting imperceptibly towards the steak knife to his right before it settled again, apparently deciding whether or not to reach for a weapon. The action was an interesting one, suggesting more training and familiarity with violence than Reyes might have anticipated.

Reyes lounged in his seat, legs spread, oozing a lax promise of brutality. He smiled, like a shark at his meal.

Hanzo looked away from him briefly, assessing the room, perhaps checking to see if Reyes had brought any friends along. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” He asked when his gaze turned back. Sharp-faced, haughty, what did Jesse see in the guy?

“We’ve got a little problem, you and I.” Reyes drummed his fingers on the table. “Something we need to have a little chat about.”

Hanzo gave him cold silence.

“Jesse,” Reyes dropped the name, waited for the twitch and was rewarded with the fluttering of Hanzo’s eyelids (okay, he’d give it to him, those were some nice lashes) and a brief look of pain. “Did you know he went to see your dear old daddy?”

That was clearly a shock.

Hanzo’s nostrils flared and a small sound escaped him.

“Yeah, then he came to tell me all about it. Spilled the beans real quick. Every word. Cried on my shoulder like a kid.” Reyes squared his shoulders, sat forward in his seat and gripped the edge of the table. He’d been angry since he’d learnt about Hajime and Hanzo, and that rage was still burning hot and ready. “And I don’t take kindly to threats.”

Hanzo went to speak and Reyes cut him off.

“Shut up. You’ll get your turn.” Hanzo made a frustrated sound that Reyes ignored. “You break his heart, run away like the piece of shit you are, fine. I’ll pick up the pieces. I always do, right? I’ve been picking him up and putting him back together for goddamn years. Ever since he was a teen with bum fluff on his chin, out in the world with a gun and no fucking idea.”

“How good of you,” Hanzo hissed out.

“Yeah, I’m a fucking saint.” Reyes wanted to jump across the table and throttle him. “But this is different. Your old man, that verga, he’s throwing his weight around. Says you’re going to do whatever he wants, like the bitch that you are, or else Jesse’s gonna cop it. And not just Jesse. He thinks he can threaten my business, he thinks he can fucking threaten Jack. Jack.”

Just the thought of anyone threatening Jack was enough to send him over the edge. His voice was rising and he reigned it back in. His hand gripped the edge of the table, knuckles pale.

At least this was clearly new information for Hanzo, judging by the brief startled expression.

“You do not need to worry,” the Japanese man’s words came out clipped, tense, “my father will do nothing as long as I comply, as the... how did you put it? The ‘bitch that I am’.”

“And that’s the problem. Jesse’s gonna do something stupid. He’s good at that. Gets these grand notions into his head. He gives fuck all for his own well-being. Saw him take on three bigger guys once, just because they felt up the ass of his friend. Had to bail him out then, too. But not before he knocked two of them out and the last pulled out a switchblade.” Reyes grunted softly at the memory. There was a scar on his abdomen as a reminder. “Now you’ve got him in the corner, with not just you on the line but me and Jack too. He’ll probably try and rob a train, just so your fucking dad won’t have nothing to play with.”

“He would not.” It was uttered as a statement but Hanzo looked unsure. His cheeks were pale.

“And me, I’ve got half a mind to make you disappear. See how daddy likes that. Or maybe I’ll find him in a dark alley and take care of business.”

Hanzo’s hand twitched towards the knife again and then ignored it, went to his face instead, rubbing anxiously down his cheeks. “What do you want?”

“Do you love Jesse?”

“What?”

Do you love Jesse?” Reyes snapped louder.

The couple at the table next to them kept giving them uncertain looks.

“I,” Hanzo glanced around for some sort of escape, didn’t find it, “I do not know.”

Reyes winced inwardly. His poor sweet Jesse. “I’m going to give you one chance, Hanzo Shimada. One chance for you to man up and fix this. To grow a pair of fucking balls. Or,” he let the silence hang for a moment as he stood up, all muscles and coiled rage, “I’ll take care of it.”

He left the other man there, staring straight ahead, his fingers curled around the handle of the knife.

---

Amélie: Answer me.

Hanzo: Yes.

Amélie: I will miss you.

Hanzo: You spoke to Genji.

Amélie: I did.

Amélie: And I think you are a fool.

Amélie: But I will miss you.

Hanzo: I will miss you too.

Hanzo: I have no choice.

Amélie: There is always choice.

Amélie: Vouloir, c'est pouvoir.

---

The ice was cracking.

Hanzo sat in his hotel room bed, staring blindly at the wall. His fingers were resting on his knees, fingers tensing and relaxing, tensing and relaxing. He thought he’d been doing well. There had been only one breakdown, the night he arrived at the hotel. The second the door had closed behind him, his throat had closed with it and he had leaned over, arms around his middle, gasping for breath.

A panic attack, he realised later, dully staring at himself in the mirror. The water had been running in the sink and he’d looked down at it, watched the water swirl away and wished he could let it take him as well.

After that he’d recovered, at least enough to see his clients. It was easy to face them without emotion. He was used to the process. The cold, hardness required to flick through their case files, some far more damning than others. Blood splatters, dead relatives, I’m not guilty, she made me do it, wife’s real mad I gotta do more time, they say you’re one of the best and the smaller the sentence is the more money you make. There was a lot to do, a lot to prepare for before he left. He didn’t envy the people who would be taking over his work.

It was perhaps the only relief. He was ready to give up control there, let them drown in it. There was nothing left for him anyway. All he could do was face his future one day at a time, trying to ice over the growing hole in his heart.

He hadn’t gone into the office. He hadn’t seen his father. He had met his clients elsewhere, at their homes or in one of the hotel’s private meeting rooms. Hanzo felt isolated and lost, waiting for the guillotine to fall. When he stepped onto that plane, it would all be over.

Hanzo blocked Jesse’s number but he couldn’t do it to Genji and before bed he tortured himself with every new message, each more frantic than the last. He was certain that if he answered, Genji might agree to come with him after all. But that wasn't the right choice anymore. He refused to ruin his brother’s life just because of his own desperate terror and lack of spirit. Genji would remain here and Hanzo would fly away. Eventually that would become the norm. Jesse would forget him, find someone else. It was simply life.

Of all the people to find him in the end, the one he had least expected was Reyes. It had taken every ounce of self control not to lash out at him, with words or physically. His stomach had felt sick with bile, his thoughts bitter as he looked at the man who had known his Jesse for years and would continue to be with him long after Hanzo was gone. Hanzo hadn’t expected to lose this fight. He’d been prepared for war, to stake his claim and make it permanent. Now he was walking away.

The insults had not touched him, they were nothing. It was the thought of Jesse, broken-hearted, making a foolish, life-destroying decision had made his gut clench with panic.

‘I do not know,’ he had answered that loaded question.

Because how could he admit to Reyes how much he loved Jesse McCree without destroying himself completely. The second he uttered those words out loud, they would be binding. They would make his punishment all that greater.

His steak had arrived after Reyes left, his last threat ringing in his ears, and he had nearly vomited at the sight of the cooked meat, blood slowly leaking across the white of his plate.

He’d considered calling his father, informing him of what had happened but he’d gotten Amélie’s text instead.

Now all he could do was sit, running the last couple of days through his mind in a constant loop. Over and over again. Analyzing each piece. Obsessing over the memory of Jesse’s voice, the torn plane ticket, vouloir, c'est pouvoir.

Grow a pair of fucking balls, Hanzo Shimada.

He reached for his phone, sent Amelie a new text:

Hanzo: Kishi kaisei.

He repeated the words out loud, the old proverb rolling off his tongue, strengthening his resolve. Wake from death and return to life. The fight wasn’t over yet. There was much to be done.

Chapter Text

Hanzo watched the alarm clock turn to 4AM; the red glow the only light in his hotel room. All the other lights had been switched off only moments before, leaving him to the faux darkness; his body demanding he sleep even as his mind continued to race, eyes open and tracing the outline of the clock and the lamp behind it.

He had called his father, forced his voice to be calm and normal with just a hint of derision when needed, everything he knew Hajime wanted to hear as he told him about Reyes. Certain details he kept to himself; the threats against Hajime specifically, the question. It was a practised art, being who his father wanted him to be. If there was one thing that he excelled at, that was it.

The best lie was a lie of omission. His father had taught him that a long time ago, as they sat together, both working, Hanzo on his homework and Hajime on an important case. Hanzo had peeked across the table, trying to read the details upside down and of course he’d been noticed. Hajime had grinned, slow and indulgent, such a good father, turning the page around to let his son read all the gory details of the murder case.

Apparently the man had an alibi, a prior engagement that placed him somewhere else.

“He did not stay there long,” Hajime explained. “They presume he did but he didn’t. It is not a preconception we will clear up.” Sometimes that was all it took; neglecting to mention one important detail. As long as someone heard what they wanted to hear, they wouldn’t need anything extra.

Hanzo rolled over in bed away from the red glow, too exhausted now to be so terrified of his decision. After talking to his father, he’d wanted to call Genji and Jesse. Put voice to his choice and cement it properly - but he couldn’t. His greatest and only advantage was the element of surprise. He had to ensure that he looked defeated, that his destination was set and he had resigned himself to his fate. This was something he had to do alone. No slip up would be allowed.

As much as he liked to imagine himself as the calm strategist, panic had clawed its way up his throat over and over again. A large part of him was certain that Hajime would stalk through the doorway with that calm crocodile-smile, snap Hanzo’s laptop closed and end it all, his brief rebellion pre-empted and over before it began.

It didn’t happen.

Hanzo browsed through file after file until his eyesight blurred, no closer to his goal than when he’d started.

But he had an idea.

That was enough.

Hajime was a careful man but he had one fatal flaw- he trusted his oldest son. The person that he had moulded from childhood, that he had taught and raised, who he had shown just how far he would go to secure a win. His pride, his business and his money; they were to be protected at all costs. Hanzo, as his eldest son, was part of that, his right hand man. Set to inherit everything Hajime had built.

Hanzo knew that his father had not secured his empire through sheer force of will alone, it was his cunning that was responsible; allying himself with all the right people, finding any way to get what he wanted. Money talked. As did threats. The dead... conveniently, they didn’t talk at all. The skeletons in Hajime’s closest were buried deep but they were there waiting. All Hanzo had to do was use them the right way.

Of course Hanzo was also complicit. He’d sat in the meetings, shook hands and agreed to everything Hajime wanted. If he took on his father, Hanzo had to be ready to go down with him.

Was he willing to go that far?

There was time to turn back.

Hanzo curled up, tucked his knees up to towards his chest, felt the lonely ache that his life had become. There was no going back. He was ready to be free. Whatever freedom turned out to be, it was what he wanted.

---

Jesse McCree wasn’t sure how he’d managed to fall asleep, not with a million regrets and frustrations running through his mind but clearly exhaustion (and copious amounts of alcohol) had overwhelmed him at some point because he was being shaken awake, jolted none too gently back to reality by a firm hand and the gruff rumble of his name.

There was a brief moment of bleary, almost blissful confusion, the name that rolled sleepily off his tongue belonging to the man that had filled his dreams. That was before his brain caught up and the ‘why’ and ‘when’ unfolded before him in painful detail.

He was at home, only partially undressed, splayed across his bed on his belly and already regretting most of his life decisions up until this point. Jesse groaned and rolled, instinctively trying to bat away the hand that was insistently jostling him. Each movement was a very sharp reminder of how many beers he had consumed the night before, wallowing in self-pity with his phone on the table before him, only damning silence for company as he waited for any sign of hope.

McCree managed to flop onto his back and lifted an arm to block out the light streaming through his windows.

“Fuck’s sake, Jesse. You look like shit.”

This wasn’t the first delightfully charming wake-up call Reyes had graced him with but it was probably the most unwanted.

“Leave me ‘lone,” he slurred.

“Figures you’d try to drown your ridiculous set of sorrows the moment I leave you by yourself.”

“Ain’t ridiculous.” McCree squinched his eyes shut until lights danced under his eyelids. “Hurts.” Being in love was clearly the worst thing that had happened to him. Even being stabbed didn’t hurt as much as this did. This hopeless ache. It was maddening.

The bed dipped heavily beside him as Reyes settled. He felt the firm hand against his chest, pressing down too hard, stealing his breath.

“How old are you, Jesse?” The gravelly voice was right next to his ear, full of derision. “Are you sixteen? Are you a fucking girl?”

Well, that seemed like a very unfair comparison - mostly for all the heartbroken teenage girls out there who were probably way tougher than he was - and Jesse would have argued if he hadn’t thought it would only prolong his current pain. “No...” he mumbled instead, sullenly. He hoped Reyes would relent, give him enough to space to let his head stop pounding but Gabe was never the sort to show pity for self-inflicted wounds.

“Then get your ass up and in the shower. You stink.”

But he hadn’t moved yet and was still compressing the air out of Jesse’s lungs, which made McCree’s ability to comply impossible.

They held their position, with Gabe’s hot breath against Jesse’s cheek, the moment stretching out until Jesse was torn by the conflicting desire to both fidget and remain as still as possible. Then Reyes lifted away and his presence went with him, his footsteps heavy as he left the room.

Jesse showered.

He idled under the hot spray, remembered another shower, another time that already felt so very long ago. It was almost as if Hanzo had already lost his place as a physical presence, had become an intangible ache, a painful desire, an ideal that was fading away swifter than he could grab for it.

When he eventually stepped out and dressed himself in whatever clothes he scraped off the floor that didn’t smell like they’d been worn at least three times, Reyes had a plate of scrambled eggs on toast waiting next to a tall glass of water and three painkillers. Jesse accepted the water and painkillers gratefully but gave the food a weary glance when his stomach turned just at the smell.

“Sit down. Eat,” Reyes ordered, pulling the chair out, gaze as hard as flint. “You’ll feel better.”

Habit had him sit and obey without comment. He slowly started eating his meal as his head continued to pound at the back of his skull. It was a struggle but he got it down, spurred on by the expectant stare Gabriel had pinned him with.

Jesse was chewing on the last piece of crust, turning it into an unappetizing paste and trying to find the strength to swallow, when Reyes spoke. His knuckles rapped against the table, an unconscious gesture, the words biting out as if unwillingly, “he didn’t call you?”

McCree swallowed and almost gagged, felt the lump of food slide all the way down and sit uncomfortably in his gut.

‘“No,” he answered.

Reyes swore, hand in a tight fist. “Fucker.”

McCree shrugged despondently.

“Check your phone.”

When Jesse went to retrieve it the only message was from Genji. No news, it read. There had been a brief flare of hope before he’d noticed the sender; now he just felt cold and lonely and ready to give up.

“Nothing?” Gabe asked from the doorway.

Jesse shook his head.

Reyes face scrunched up, shifted into a snarl.

“That rat,” he spat. His nostrils flared, glare turned to the side, at someone who wasn’t there. “Gave you one chance,” Jesse heard Gabriel mutter as he walked away.

Jesse watched as Reyes started cleaning the dishes, louder than necessary, each scrape and clatter hitting him like a physical strike. They’d known each other too long. Reading Gabe’s emotions was second nature, natural. He could see it now, the anger that twisted his face, the determination.

He approached the broad back that was presented to him, the familiar shoulders, the powerful arms.

They weren’t touching as McCree stood beside him at the sink but they might as well have been. Gabe’s hands stilled in the sink, covered in soapy bubbles, the glass he had been washing loose in one hand.

“What do I do now?” Jesse asked his boss, his mentor, his best friend.

“Nothing.” Reyes lifted his hand from the water and wrapped his wet fingers over Jesse’s where they rested at the edge of the sink. “You’ve done enough.” His voice was gentle, softly promising that everything would be settled, everything would be okay. Jesse wished he could believe him.

He mind flashed back to years past, young and rebellious but aching so very much, blood dribbling from his nose, clogging the back of his throat, Reyes wrapping his arms around him, heedless to the blood staining his shirt, the soft murmur into his hair, ‘enough Jesse, you’ve done enough. I’ve got you’.

“You’ve seen him,” Jesse accused, the words arriving suddenly and without mercy, tightening his throat. The mental leap almost surprised him until his brain caught up and presented the pieces it had collected. Intuition combined with an intimate knowledge of the other man.

The flicker of emotion that crossed Gabe’s face - guilt - before it went blank again was all he needed to know he was correct.

“You’ve seen him,” he repeated, louder and Gabe’s fingers spasmed and tightened, as if expecting Jesse to pull away.

“I saw him,” Reyes admitted. “We spoke briefly. He isn’t worth your time, Jesse.”

McCree knew that the option to step back was there, an easy way out, to let this be handled by Reyes, to give up on Hanzo. It would be okay. Except it wouldn’t really be anywhere close to okay. Questions danced on his tongue - what are you planning? What did you say to him? What did he tell you?

Except there was only one important question that needed to be voiced.

“Where is he?” He asked, a soft demand.

Reyes sighed and turned towards him, still holding his hand in a tight grip, face to face, close enough to feel each other’s breath. “He doesn’t love you mijo. I asked him.” Jesse’s chest constricted. “I asked him and he doesn’t love you.”

The pain of that revelation was crushing.

Gabriel looked at him with dark eyes full of pity. There was no lie in his gaze, only the sad and unrelenting truth. “I’m sorry.”

Jesse struggled past the pain. “Where is he?” He rasped.

“Jesse-”

“Where is he, Gabe?”

Gabriel shook his head and scowled, tutting his tongue like a mother reprimanding her stubborn child. “Enough is enough, Jesse.”

McCree shuffled that tiny bit forward, shoulders squared and jaw clenched, gaze narrowing in challenge. “Where is he?”

There wasn’t anything soft about them now, they faced each other down, teetering on the edge of violence. Surprisingly, it was Gabriel who backed down first, gaze averting and the wrinkles around his eyes pronounced as he winced. Their normal dynamic reversed, the control shifting from the older to the younger.

“I’ll tell you but I don’t want you to go.”

“You can’t stop me.”

“You’ll just make it worse, Jesse. Let him go.”

“I can’t.” Desperate but firm, the last word a plea.

The anger dissipated in a rush and they both swayed, inwards, until they were resting their foreheads together. Gabe brought his other hand up, the one not clutching desperately at McCree’s, and placed it against Jesse’s cheek, palm brushing his beard affectionately. It was a concession, the white flag of defeat.

“Don’t do anything stupid, mijo. If anything happens to you or Jack gets caught in the crossfire...” Gabriel would let him go, would let him make his own decisions but he would be waiting, would always be waiting, to pick him up again and seek revenge if necessary.

Love. It had always been too complicated between them, too many emotions, too much history, they never would have been happy with just each other but it was there all the same. “Thanks, Gabe,” his voice rumbled with painful affection.

“Ah Jesse,” Gabe murmured and leaned in that slightest bit to kiss him, soft and sweet. “Anything for you.” He hesitated, looking embarrassed by the admission that slipped from his tongue, “I’ve always loved you.”

“I know,” Jesse sighed.

Just not in the right way, he wanted to say but it was unnecessary: they both knew without it being said.

---

Jesse arrived at the hotel thirty-two minutes later, a jacket hastily thrown on and his journey through peak morning traffic full of muttered curses. He didn’t bother with reception, just strode past towards the elevator and pressed the call button harder than necessary, his eyes watching the numbers at the top as it descended towards his level.

He’d already texted Genji the hotel and room number but he wasn’t going to wait. He had to make sure he got there in time to catch Hanzo. There was always the chance he would miss him and he didn’t relish the thought of waiting in the foyer all day.

His heart hammered in his chest as the elevator doors pinged open and marched down the hall, his steps long and determined. Another familiar moment that already felt years away, but where there had once been anticipation, now there was only dread. It didn’t slow him. He was on a mission and nothing short of the building falling down on top of him would stop him now.

He doesn’t love you.

If Hanzo was still singing the same tune when they were face to face, Jesse would accept it. He just wanted to know. He had to hear it from the man himself.

He didn’t hesitate, he pounded his fist against the wood of the door with more force than initially intended. His emotions chased themselves and tied each other in knots, thrummed under his skin as bubbling frustration.

Please be here.

Hanzo.

Please.

The door opened.

Jesse’s tongue turned to lead and words fled, leaving him useless.

Hanzo stood before him, looking unsurprised by the sudden arrival. Or perhaps he was simply too exhausted to be bothered with such a trivial emotion. If the dark circles that ringed his eyes were any indication, Hanzo hadn’t had much sleep. His hair was hastily pulled into a messy ponytail, stray strands sticking to his cheeks. Beautiful.

They stared at each other in silence until Hanzo nodded with weary acceptance.

“Come in.” The words sighed out as Hanzo turned away.

McCree entered the hotel room, watching the other man warily as he shut the door behind him. Hanzo had wandered away to the desk, slowly closing his laptop until it clicked shut with a sound too loud in the quiet room.

Hanzo looked back at him, expression unreadable.

“You look like ten miles of bad road,” McCree grunted out the first words that came to him. It wasn't the ‘I love you please don’t leave me’ that he’d been expecting but hey, he got pointers for keeping his cool and not breaking down completely. Even looking wrecked, Hanzo was still the prettiest damn thing he’d ever laid eyes on and he ached to reach for him, folds him into his arms and never let go.

Hanzo made a sound that McCree took a moment to recognize as a laugh.

“Sweetheart,” Jesse threw all his longing into that one word.

Hanzo sat down heavily at the end of the bed, as if his legs had lost the ability to hold him up, and patted the space beside him. When Jesse joined him, the bed dipping with his weight, their thighs bumping together, and Hanzo melted against his side. Head on Jesse’s shoulder, the last of his strength leaving him in a long sigh.

“Forgive me,” Hanzo murmured.

Jesse wasn’t sure if he was asking forgiveness for ultimately leaving, as well as everything else, and he didn’t care; it was all forgiven, utterly and entirely. He readjusted, wrapped his arm around Hanzo’s shoulders and embraced him, held him close. He grabbed for Hanzo’s hand and held it in his own, rubbed his thumb along the knuckles.

“I’ve gotcha darlin’. Nothin’ to forgive.” He kissed the top of Hanzo’s head.

Hanzo made that sound again.

“Anything I can do or say,” McCree asked, “or,” his voice caught, “am I driving you to the airport?”

Hanzo’s hand turned so he could lace their fingers together. “Do you trust me?” He asked.

“With my life.” No hesitation.

“I doubt it will come to that but I will keep it in mind.”

It took another heartbeat for the dry sarcasm to reach McCree and its appearance allowed hope to blossom. He rubbed his cheek against Hanzo’s hair. “What do you need from me, sweetheart?”

Hanzo straightened up. Despite how Jesse resisted at first, trying to hold him back, Hanzo stood and stepped away from him, shrugging off his grip. It was like watching a sword being forged, cold iron, unbreakable, shedding his weakness.

And his words were just as sharp as the weapon the man had become.

“I need you to stay out of my way.”

---

Genji nearly fell on his face entering the lobby of the hotel, his haste making him clumsy, his mind half on the motorbike he’d just illegally parked on the footpath and half on what was waiting for him upstairs. Someone called out to him (‘Sir, can I help you? Sir?’) and he ignored it, turned his stumbling into a jog towards the elevator.

The wait was agonizing. His gaze flickered between the elevator and the stairs, debating whether he should simply race up them. There was so much nervous energy running through his body he nearly went for it but moments later the elevator dinged its arrival and the doors swished open.

A family stepped out, carting their luggage bags and three children behind them. Genji was forced to stop his forward progress and sidestep instead, nearly knocking one of the younger kids over. The mother shot a glare in his direction as she tried to grab the little girl's hand and not drop her suitcase at the same time.

Genji slipped past them as soon as there was space, already holding down the button to close the door faster.

His world was falling apart, slowly disintegrating around him. Jesse’s text was a lifeline. Every second without any word from Hanzo had been torture. They had always been there for each other. Even during the rockier early years, there had never been a time when Hanzo wouldn’t return his calls, even if it was only to yell at him.

He couldn’t lose his brother.

Not like this.

If ultimately that meant moving to Japan, then so be it.

The lift moved too slowly, it felt like centuries before it arrived at the right floor.

Genji was already stepping forward in anticipation of the doors opening and wasn’t expecting the space to be taken up immediately. He stepped back instinctively, recognized the tall, muscular form and allowed himself to be pushed even deeper into the lift. “Jesse?”

It was only when his friend’s hand reached out, pressing down on the lobby button that he made a sound of dissent. “What are you doing?” He lurched forward, finger extended to reopen the doors before they began their descent but Jesse blocked his efforts.

“What are you doing?” Genji repeated, on the edge of anger, frustration making his skin feel tight. “Did you see him? Was he not there? I want to go back."

Jesse swallowed. Genji watched his throat work. It felt like his stomach had just dropped away, into a dark pit. It felt empty and cold.

“Not right now.” The hand that came to rest on his shoulder was meant to both comfort and restrain. “It ain’t gonna work. Please. Trust me.” Genji could read the intense look in his eyes, the desperate ‘please trust me’. He was so close. It wasn’t fair. His lips flattened into an unhappy line and he looked away but he didn’t struggle as Jesse pulled him into a hug.

“Jesse,” he hissed, fingers curling into his shirt.

“I’ll tell you everything once we get out of here, sweetpea.”

---

Hanzo moved.

It was that or lie down and scream.

So he moved; packed his bags in the oppressive quiet of his room, left them to the side and showered. He didn’t linger, couldn’t. The longer he remained, the more his knees began to shake and refused to hold him upright.

When he dressed it was as though he was putting on a suit of armour. The familiar stiffness of his suit jacket, the tie that was perfect without a mirror, his fingers going through the motions with soothing precision. He checked his appearance anyway, slicked his hair back, ran his hand along the fabric of clothes again and again. Hanzo wiped away his weakness, his doubt, any last lingering desire to run out of the building after Jesse.

He was doing this for a man who trusted him, for a brother who loved him, and for himself.

By the time he opened the door, briefcase in hand, he was ready.

This was it.

There wasn’t a hint of hesitation in how he left the hotel, hailed a cab and sat stiffly in the backseat as it drove him to the office. There was no room for error now. If he was going to win this war, he would need to be just as cutthroat as his father.

The Shimada & Co building dominated the street, a monolith of power. It didn’t matter that there were other agencies and businesses within; to Hanzo it represented his father and his strength. This was Hajime’s domain. He might as well of built it with his own two hands, tirelessly welding steel and concrete together to create a castle befitting an emperor.

How many days, week, months? How many years had he made this journey? They hadn’t all been bad. It was routine mostly, days that blurred into each other, cases and courtwork that were similar, criminals that all talked and looked the same after a while. Occasionally there was something different, enough for him to take notice and blink out of his haze. There was the courtroom where he made his case, living for that moment of being in control of another’s fate. His father’s praise afterwards like a cold splash of water; a reminder that this was always for someone else, and not what Hanzo would have chosen for himself.

Not once in all those years had dread hung so heavy in his gut. As Hanzo stepped into the foyer it was as if he had forgotten how to walk, every step felt strange and wobbly. Every person was surely staring, aware of his awkward gait. But he made it to the elevator without incident, was greeted by the security guard with a nod and the familiarity calmed him during the ride upwards. As much as this was his father’s domain, it was his as well. He had toiled here ceaselessly, lied just as much, had been just as heartless.

The hallway towards his office was ever unchanging; the stark professional white, the cream carpet, the dark polished wood of his receptionist's desk. It was surprisingly reassuring.

Katya greeted him with her usual proficiency, handing him the stack of papers he needed to deal with while talking through the list of messages and calls he had already received that morning. It was unsurprising that his sudden ‘decision’ to leave for Japan had incited the mass panic of his clients and calming them down before he handed them over to the next person was going to fill up his day... or would have if working had been his intention.

There was an uncertain pause, followed by an unexpected addition to the morning report: “It’s a shame... sir...”

Her words petered out and he looked up in surprise at the woman who had helped keep him organised for years. She looked bashful but determined, her chin lifting. “It’s a shame you have to leave. I hope when you come back, I’ll be able to work for you again.”

“Thank you.” The words caught in his throat, tight affection in his chest, a warmth he hadn’t expected. “I... also hope that will be the case.”

She nodded, understanding.

They parted like that, with her smoothing down her skirt and sitting back behind the desk, the tapping of the keyboard following him down the hall to his office. Her words were another piece of armour, added protection against the final boss. Hanzo nearly laughed, caught himself just as he unlocked the door and stepped into the office. Genji would have enjoyed that analogy.

Hanzo’s mirth drained away almost immediately, as he stood just inside the room, staring at the great wide windows overlooking the city, the fern in the corner, the chair that had cradled him through long meetings and phone calls, the desk where Genji had propped his shoes on and made jokes that brightened Hanzo’s day. There was a lot to say goodbye to and he hadn’t quite expected the fondness. Before now his focus had been too completely on Jesse and Genji, the reasons he was fighting. Yet there was so much more worth a battle and he knew that if he went home, he would feel this to an even greater degree, might cry over his favourite mug or linger too long in the familiar space.

There was no more time to waste.

Hanzo sat himself down in his desk chair, booted up his computer and connected to the Shimada and Co. servers. The paperwork he was meant to attend to remained untouched, the calls he was supposed to return were ignored. When the phone rang, the ringing was only a distant sound, his focus on the computer screen as he watched progress bars creep along and dug deep, deep down into old cases.

Hours passed with his anxiety a constant rock in his gut, knowing he was racing against time.

When the door started to open after a perfunctory tap on the door, his heart nearly stopped. There was only one person in this building that would enter his office with hardly any warning, without even a message from Katya. As if in answer to his thoughts a message popped up on screen through the internal messaging system: your father is here to see you. The warning had come too late and Hanzo had only half a second to compose himself, to flatten a hand on the closest paper and drag it towards him in some pantomime of hard work.

Hajime stepped inside, filled the room instantly with his presence. The door clicked closed, his gaze coming to rest calmly on his son. Hanzo stared back and was grateful he didn’t have to fake a smile. They were father and son but they had never had an affectionate relationship and there was no need to play one now, any pretence there might have been had ended the moment Hajime had demanded this sacrifice.

“You must be busy,” Hajime said as he walked closer, didn’t sit, would never sit on the wrong side of a desk. His eyes drifted lower, to the page Hanzo’s hand was splayed across. “The Ogundimu Case,” his lips lifted in the barest hint of amusement. “He is quite displeased that you will no longer be handling him. I will be taking it over, so I expect the handover to be exceptional.” His sharp gaze lifted, picked apart Hanzo until he was certain every thought was being laid bare, betrayal written in an imperfect crease or slightly loose hair.

“It will be,” Hanzo assured.

His voice remained strong; free of the cold shiver creeping up his spine.

Hajime nodded once, easily accepting that his son would follow orders and complete the task without difficulty or complaint. That was how it had always been.

The hand that was still wrapped around the computer mouse was sweating profusely, felt slimy and slick, begging to be stretched and wiped clean but such an action would be instantly noted. Hanzo remained frozen in place, terrified that a single breath would give him away. His back prickled with more sweat and he was certain that at any moment it would begin to darken his white shirt with telltale spots.

“I know you are still mad at me,” Hajime said, with something resembling fatherly concern. “But you will understand, in time, the sacrifices required of being a Shimada.” He didn’t come closer, although the moment and words seemed to call for some sort of gesture, perhaps a pat on the shoulder.

Hanzo stiffened beyond what he thought was possible, his lower back tightening painfully when Hajime shifted slightly. But it was only to turn away, towards the windows. His fingers roamed across the desk top, slid along the edge and then waited, poised. “I am proud of you,” Hajime said unexpectedly and Hanzo swallowed hard around the lump in his throat.

The computer screen was burning his eyes where he was staring unseeing; he had to blink and force his gaze away. His mouth opened, sucked a breath in, felt it shudder and hitch, his mind an empty space. A traitorous, starved part in his heart was savouring the praise, even as he balked against the obvious grooming.

Those pale fingers curled into a fist, knocked on the desktop with a ringing sound of finality, ending the moment before Hanzo could form a response. “We will have dinner tonight,” Hajime declared. It wasn't a question. Hajime never gave options.

The phone rang distantly out in the hallway. Only three times before it was answered. The hold light on Hanzo’s machine lit up. Hajime looked down at it, brow creasing slightly. A message popped up onto Hanzo’s screen: Akande Ogundimu is on hold for you.

“Where?” Hanzo asked, finding his voice.

“My house,” Hajime answered, already turning away, walking towards the door. “At seven, sharp.” Then he was gone but Hanzo’s tension didn’t ease with his absence. The light on the machine blinked red, over and over. In his mind the axe had somehow stopped just short of his neck, a reprieve. There was still time to act. The battleground had been chosen and now he had to get back to work.

----

Hanzo held the papers to his chest like a shield; his client was as happy as he could be, considering he was looking at life in prison, and knowing his father would now have to deal with Mr. Ogundimu gave him no small amount of petty joy. Though his primary emotion right now was determination layered over gut-wrenching anxiety. His father’s door at the end of the hallway awaited him; his secretary nearby tapping away at his computer, the last obstacle Hanzo had to pass by.

And it was startling easy, just as he’d told himself it would be. He stopped briefly by the desk. Jordan smiled at him, eyelashes fluttering as he said, ‘sorry, he’s out for a meeting’.

Hanzo had already known that. He lifted the papers briefly from his chest, nodding sharply. “I am just going to put these on his desk for him.” And like that he was waved casually through, stepping into Hajime’s office, alone.

The computer beckoned.

The passcode on the tip of his tongue.

Hajime Shimada trusted his son.

----

There was a lot left undone when Hanzo returned to the hotel room; calls he had never returned, documents he had never signed, but the one task that mattered had been completed. It had taken him a lot of time to find exactly what he needed, to piece together his case. But he was, after all, a lawyer. A very well-trained one, influenced by his father, perfectly ruthless and deadly. There was no stopping him now, not with his mind set.

He showered at a leisurely pace, washed his hair and dug his fingers right down to his roots to massage his scalp. The shampoo stung his eyes and he squeezed them shut, ducking his head beneath the spray until the light pain had eased and the lathered bubbles had all washed away. Throughout his heart continued to beat in the tight confines of his chest but he was pushing the anxiety down inch by inch.

Standing in the middle of his room with his towel around his shoulders reminded him that he had only packed the one suit and he dearly wished he could return home to wear something fresh. At least he had a clean shirt. Today’s one was stiff with dried sweat and was giving off an unpleasant odour. He folded it neatly anyway and put it in the bag he had reserved for his dirty clothes. That and the suitcase were by the door, waiting.

He dressed himself, as fastidious as he had been in the morning. The clock read 6PM.

His mobile rang.

Genji’s name flashed on screen; his brother’s face grinning goofily above it.

This time Hanzo answered.

“Genji,” he said, barely squeezing that single name out.

His brother made a sound, a barely muffled sob. He sniffled. There was a voice in the background, a deep murmur, consoling. Hanzo clutched the phone tightly.

“I got your gift,” Genji said once he’d been calmed.

Hanzo’s relief was palpable. Katya had completed her task as promised, delivering his message and the USB in the padded envelope. His trust in her had not been misplaced.

“Good. Hold onto it for me.” Hanzo closed his eyes, anchoring himself with Genji’s voice. “Please.”

“Of course, anything.”

Hanzo’s mouth curled into a fond smile. His heart ached. “There is one other thing.”

---

The food tasted like nothing.

It sat unpalatable on his tongue until he swept it to the side of his mouth, where he chewed until he could wash the remains down his throat with water. The presentation was impeccable, the piece of nearly raw beef on a stark white plate and dotted with micro herbs, the ponzu sauce dribbled in small dots and a single pickled radish fanned out delicately. He knew that what had been served him must be delicious. Hajime would settle for no less from his own personal chef and anyone who had remained in his employ for over seven years now was certainly someone who knew what they were doing.

But Hanzo could only taste his own fear, his queasy stomach starting to turn ominously as they finished off the third course. How like his father to organise a degustation for his ‘farewell’ dinner, so that his father could sit back and gloat, his wine glass held indolently between two fingers and his gaze unreadable as he watched his son put his chopsticks down beside the miraculously empty plate. At least they had finished the first two delicate sashimi dishes, each course following an unsurprising Japanese theme; just another calculated dig at his future.

There was a piece of meat caught between Hanzo’s teeth, his tongue worrying at it without his conscious thought before he put it back into place. His own wine had hardly been touched, and his father had noticed. There wasn’t anything that wouldn’t be noticed sitting directly across from each other. At least his somber mood could be put down to his impending departure from all that he had known, forced to leave behind his lover, his brother and his home by his own father.

Hanzo looked away from the table. This wasn’t the normal dining room; the main dining hall was meant for parties and opulent gatherings, to impress upon people his wealth. This room was for intimate engagements, full of burgundy and plush velvet. Two waitstaff hovered constantly by the door, ready to refill any glass that was drunk to half full.

“Did you enjoy the tataki?” Hajime asked as their plates were cleared.

“Yes,” Hanzo answered.

“You are quiet tonight.”

Hanzo mouth tightened at the edges. “Are you surprised?”

“Not particularly,” Hajime sighed, as if Hanzo was being unreasonable. “I had thought to invite Genji.” At his name, Hanzo’s stiffened visibly and the edges of Hajime’s eyes crinkled with mirth. “But I wanted a nice quiet dinner.” He drained the last of his wine and placed the glass down on the table with a pleased sigh. “And he does have a habit of bringing out your more unfortunate traits.”

Hanzo didn’t say a word, just settled back in his chair with his hands in his lap.

“You developed a taste of rebellion from him,” Hajime continued, in response to a question never asked. “It was my fault, for insisting on having another child. We would never have had to go through all of this,” his hand waved vaguely, “if it were not for him.” The alcohol had made him sharper, crueler. Where other men fell prey to their drink, it only enhanced Hajime’s vicious tongue.

There was sweat collecting in the groove of Hanzo’s back. Another shirt that would need to be washed immediately once this was over. Over. No matter what happened here tonight, nothing would ever be over. Not while his father existed. There would always be darkness on the horizon, an ever-present evil.

“Your mother would not have wanted us to be at odds. She only wanted the best for everyone. She always did.” There was true sorrow in Hajime’s eyes, regret. “But it is her fault, you know. Genji grew up without a mother because she made the wrong choices. Left us all behind.”

Hanzo was barely listening; he had heard it all before. Was it time yet? Hanzo glanced at the clock on the mantelpiece. 8:30PM.

“Do you need to be somewhere?” Hajime asked instantly.

Kishi kaisei.

That was what he had said to Amélie. There had been one returned message from her, sent that afternoon: good luck. He hadn’t responded but he had held his phone to his chest, as if to hug her through the device. If he played this right, then he could embrace her properly one day.

“No,” Hanzo answered automatically.

Anticipation and terror thrummed through his veins, a familiar sensation. There was always trepidation when he stepped into the courtroom and faced down a judge and jury, except this time it was his father and he was defending only himself. The stakes were high, life or death; he wouldn’t survive Japan, he had decided that in the early hours of the morning. He wouldn’t play this game any longer. One way or the other, he was out.

But he was strong enough to end it now, his own way, and if he had to drag his father down to Hell with him, then so be it.

The fourth course arrived; deep-fried tofu in a sticky soy dressing.

Hajime’s wineglass was swapped for white instead of red.

Hanzo’s chopsticks pressed into the tofu and it yielded easily, cut all the way down to the plate. “Omnicorp,” he said, the words sharp and precise, a swiftly thrown dagger. Everything that had been leading up to this moment; the entire day spent agonizing, preparing for battle the only way he knew how.

Hajime’s wineglass paused on the way to his mouth.

“Pardon,” he said and there was a subtle shift in his tone, an edge of danger.

“Jackson Holt never did get out of prison - did he?” Hanzo questioned blandly. He could taste the bile now, in the back of his throat but there was no turning back. He swallowed it down, looked up from his meal to meet his father’s gaze. “It would have been inconvenient if he had. How close to parole had be been? Three, four weeks?”

“What are you doing?” Hajime asked.

Hanzo forged on. “You hired Tai-Hee Dan twice.”

Hajime’s nostrils flared and his eyes narrowed. He put down the glass and waved his hand sharply at the staff by the door; they exited the room immediately, leaving father and son alone in dangerous silence. They locked eyes, staring each other down; Hajime sharp and wary and Hanzo like the hunter waiting to strike.

“He killed two men under your instructions,” Hanzo continued.

“Hanzo,” Hajime warned through gritted teeth.

“You paid him thirty thousand dollars for each kill. The money was untraceable and I have no documents but I paid him personally on the second occasion. I remember the private room above the strip club, which you own and do not pay tax on.” Every word flew swift and merciless, Hanzo stating out the facts with a calm he did not feel.

His father sighed sharply through his nose, recovering quickly from his initial surprise. Hanzo had never expected him to be anything less than disdainful and ready for battle.

“You know,” Hajime said softly, “if you burn the bridge you are standing on, you also fall.” Warnings disguised as friendly concern were his speciality. As if Hanzo wasn’t even a threat and would only hurt himself with his own foolishness.

But the tightness of his hand on the table gave him away, the coiled fist a sign that all was not well.

“I am aware,” Hanzo responded.

“The visit you received this afternoon was so short, I had presumed it had no effect. Mr. McCree and Genji certainly left looking unhappy.” Hajime was clearly taking a different tact, leaving behind the loaded names Hanzo had dropped. “I see I was mistaken”

“They will be here soon,” Hanzo told him, unsurprised the visit had been reported.

“Whatever for?” He sounded amused and placid, ever deceptive.

“To pick me up,” Hanzo informed him with a calm he did not feel. “I am going home tonight and I am staying there. We are done.”

“We are not done,” Hajime’s voice was flat and certain, denying Hanzo’s claim instantly. “Or do you no longer care what happens to Jesse McCree?” That made him smile, the smallest quirk of his thin lips. The idea clearly pleased him; even if it meant having lost his leverage. “Have you decided your freedom is worth more than his life?”

“Far from it.” In response to Jesse’s name, a calm descended; it settled into his bones, his heartbeat steadied, utterly and entirely focused. “We are here to make a deal and it is important we are honest with each other.”

Hajime arched his eyebrows, recognizing his own words and the way Hanzo uttered them as a challenge. He didn’t look surprised; simply thoughtful and wary as he waited for Hanzo to lay down his terms.

“You will leave us be. All of us. My life will be my own.”

“And if I do not comply?” Hajime asked but he already knew. As soon as Hanzo had uttered that first name, he had already laid his cards upon the table. The rest was nearly pointless chatter, existing only to test each others and let Hanzo voice his defiance.

“I burn it down.”

Hajime laughed, a new edge to the sound. “And burn with it.”

“I have lived in a prison my whole life. It would make no difference whether I am in my office or in a cell.”

That startled Hajime, sliced right past his defenses, striking a nerve. “You call this a prison?” He asked, voice lowered with outrage. “This world I have built for you? Dirtying my hands for our family, for you. You have everything. How many would kill to have what you have?” He rose, a sudden movement; the chair clattered back from the table.

Hanzo somehow fought back the instinctive flinch as Hajime rounded the table and towered above him. He tilted his head up to meet his gaze, unsure if his legs would carry him even if he did want stand to face his father. There was guilt in his chest, gnawing at his resolve.

“And yet,” he replied, defiant, “I want none of it.”

“There is no escape, Hanzo. I will not let you go.” His mouth twisted into a sneer. “I own the police and the judges. What jury in the world would convict me? If they all disappear one after the other, who is left to send me to jail? Walk into the street and yell out my sins, if you dare.” He stepped back slightly, motioned towards the door in offering. “Go on.”

“I have proof,” Hanzo said, despite the quick and horrific realization that he had already lost. The murder, the blackmail, the dark sins that stained Hajime’s past; he had thought it would be enough, but he had miscalculated.

“Of course you do. I have no doubt about that. If you did not I would be most disappointed. After all I have taught you, I expect no less than perfection.” Hajime’s hand lowered, came to rest on Hanzo’s shoulder, intimate and fatherly. “But it will not be enough.”

“It might not ruin you,” Hanzo snapped, desperate. “But it would be enough to tarnish your reputation.”

“Or just yours,” Hajime mused, “once it is discovered that your lies and documents were fabricated. I will of course forgive my son for his transgressions... though you will have to spend some time in confinement to reflect on your actions and so people know you are to be punished.”

The smile he gave his son was pitying. His voice lowered, intimate. “Did you really think you had me backed into a corner? That it would be so easy?”

Hanzo’s plans were unravelling before his eyes, his future as bleak and as pointless as it had been the moment Hajime had sat him down in his office and offered a deal. His father was a dragon, imperious and unstoppable; while Hanzo was still slithering on his belly in the dirt. Jesse and Genji were on their way here, probably full of hope, expecting Hanzo to make everything right. Instead he’d made it worse, damned them all more thoroughly.

“We can forget this,” Hajime was saying. “I can look past this nonsense and we will continue on as if it never happened.”

I will not let you go.

There was only one truth left.

Hanzo felt as though he was struggling through a swamp, mud and vines clinging to his legs, trying to drag him down - but one glimmer of hope still remained, and he reached for it. His chest was hollow, no fear, nothing but emptiness as he raised his eyes back to his father.

“If I go to Japan, you will never seen me again.”

Hajime frowned.

“You built this world for me, this empire. For me, for my children. Without me, it is pointless. If you harm Jesse McCree, or if you make me leave, I will seize to exist.”

Their gaze caught and held. Hajime was searching his face for the bluff, knowing full well the implications of what Hanzo was suggesting. When he saw only resolve, his shoulder hunched slightly and confusion wrinkled his brow. That his son would be so desperate to even make such a terrible and permanent decision gave him pause.

“Once I am gone,” Hanzo continued, “none of it will matter anyway.”

Hajime’s mouth opened to rebuke him but only air emerged. He walked back to his seat and sat heavily, still looking at Hanzo. There was a long and considering silence.

“You wouldn’t,” Hajime said finally.

“Will you risk it?” Hanzo asked in reply.

----

The cold night welcomed him, filled his lungs with chilly air as his eyes rose up to the scattered stars. He followed the path down to the front gate, where headlights cut through the gloom and Genji was there to greet him, nearly tumbling out of the car in haste. Hanzo had only a moment to marvel, to nearly sob over seeing his brother conquer a deep-seated fear just to be there with him before they collided in a hug.

He wrapped his arms around Genji’s waist, lifting his taller brother right off the ground, squeezed him tightly in a wordless promise to never give up and let them be separated again. Genji pressed his face into his shoulder and shook with emotion.

A car door slammed and Jesse was approaching. Hanzo set Genji back on his feet and extended one arm out in welcome. The taller man could easily wrap his arms around the brothers and he engulfed them both in his warmth, uniting them all in loving silence. The relief was palpable and Hanzo swallowed down his tears by habit, tried not to be overwhelmed by the sheer joy of having his loved ones close.

He had been so close to losing them. Losing this.

Perhaps he still would. Hajime was not an enemy who let things go easily. If not soon, then certainly later. He was a patient man.

But he had won himself a reprieve. There was time now to manoeuvre, to think things through, but with the support of his loved ones. There was time to remember how to live again, to be happy, to be who he wanted to be. That was what he had been fighting for: freedom.

“Let’s get out of here.”

Hanzo was more than happy to agree to Jesse’s suggestion, though Genji remained stubbornly plastered to his arm, linked. It made getting into the car difficult, especially when Genji’s breath caught in his throat and Hanzo instinctively went to draw him back.

“You do not have to,” Hanzo said softly, but Genji shook his head.

“It was not so bad,” he replied with a grin that was meant to reassure, a show of bravery that had Hanzo close to tears for the second time that night.

“Very well.”

Still holding tight, they clambered into the car, with Genji scooting them along until he was next to the open window. He was pale under the overhead light, his grip on Hanzo’s arm like claws. McCree put his arm up on the seat and leaned around to check on them, his gaze lingering on Hanzo was a long time.

“Buckle up,” he said finally, only the slightest tremble in his voice as he turned around to drive them home.

---

The house was unchanged.

His luggage was in the hallway by the door, picked up earlier at his request by Katya. Hanzo’s fingers curled around the USB Genji had handed him in the car. It was almost useless now. The content could still be unleashed, if only to cause his father a minor inconvenience. Surely there must be more that could be done. Hanzo couldn’t rule out the possibility that his deep-seated bias to think of his father as unstoppable had led him to despair too quickly.

It didn’t matter.

Not right now.

Hanzo breathed in deep, the familiar smell of his home, welcoming him back. Genji and Jesse followed quietly as he walked further inside. He’d never quite appreciated his little domain until right now, feeling as if he had been away for years instead of a few days.

He stood in the doorway to the living room, the antique sword on the wall. It reminded him of Hajime instantly; a sheathed blade, always sharp and ready to kill. But that proverbial sword had been lowered for now, halted by one single fact: Hajime loved his son. Or at least the idea of him, as a possession, an entity he had formed and molded.

Hanzo had known, as he had lain awake in that hotel room the night before that this fight was his alone. He was Hajime’s only weakness but he hadn’t anticipated that things would turn out quite like this. That only the threat of losing his son and legacy entirely would be enough to turn the blade.

“Hanzo,” Genji questioned and Hanzo startled out of his introspection to find them both watching him, twin looks of concern, clearly waiting on his word.

“We have reached,” Hanzo began, pausing briefly to seek out the right words, “an understanding.” It didn’t have the soothing effect he had anticipated and McCree frowned. Hanzo immediately shook his head and added, “all is well.” The for now was implied in the tone of his voice and the way his lips immediately flattened.

“You gonna tell us what happened?” McCree asked, still less than relaxed.

Hanzo was surprised by the longing that tugged in his chest, the weary need to be held and comforted. He’d had a taste and now he wanted more, could barely contain the desire to march up to Jesse and never let him go. He closed his eyes instead, swallowing it down. “Tomorrow morning, over breakfast. There is much to discuss.”

His eyes opened again, looking around at his home again; newly reclaimed but something he might yet have to sacrifice. “We may have to leave soon; move somewhere farther away.” If he put some distance between himself and his father, it could only be for the better.

“Sure,” Genji said with a shrug, unconcerned with the prospect. As long as they were together, he would go to the ends of the earth.

“Well,” McCree rumbled as he met and held Hanzo’s gaze, “I’m game.” The challenge in his voice was layered thinly over his fear; needing to know if that we included him.

Hanzo didn’t look away, his voice calmer than he felt as he uttered a simple, “thank you.”

McCree’s shoulders slumped with relief; mouth quirking into a tiny smile.

“So should I pack my bags now?” Genji asked. “Zenny is not gonna like it.”

Hanzo walked to him, brought a hand up to inspect Genji’s face; the tired bags under his eyes, the dry skin on his brow, the way his smile wobbled valiantly as it tried to stay in place. “No, we should all rest.” He pulled his brother into another hug, only had to make the bare suggestion before Genji was leaning heavily into him, resting exhausted against his shoulder.

“I am so sorry, Genji. I will not make you worry like that again.”

Genji’s hands gripped at the back of his shirt, curled into the fabric in quiet desperation. “Yeah,” he mumbled into Hanzo’s shoulder, “you better not.”

They parted with Genji wiping his tears away with the back of his sleeve.

“Go to bed,” Hanzo ordered lightly.

They trudged upstairs as a trio; Genji first, with Hanzo just behind and McCree at the rear. On the landing, Genji reached out to catch Hanzo’s hand quickly and give it a squeeze, but his smile wasn’t for him, it was angled behind him. Then he was gone, padding away down the hall to his room. The door opening and closing with barely a sound.

Hanzo made the short walk to his own room, paused in front of the door and looked back to where McCree was hovering near the stairs, watching him steadily, hands slack at his side and uncertainty in the furrow of his brow.

“Come on,” Hanzo tutted with false impatience.

Jesse smiled, warm and fond.

Hanzo entered his own room but didn’t make it far, legs giving way and forcing him to sit at the edge of his bed or slump to the ground. He wanted a shower but the effort required seemed too much right now. Instead he settled on taking off his suit jacket and slowly unbuttoning his shirt. McCree was closing the door behind him, hat already in his hands.

He placed it on the dresser before joining Hanzo on the bed, hip to hip. Hanzo sloughed the shirt off his shoulders and let it drop.

Jesse’s hand came to rest heavy and comforting on his back, moving in slow circles. So very patient. After everything, he was still here, still wanted to give them a chance. It was almost unfathomable and Hanzo knew he was unworthy of the devotion but he would now do his best to live up to it. This was the life he had chosen for himself.

Hanzo propped his elbows on his knees and rubbed at his eyes.

“I love you,” he said, dropping the words unceremoniously into the silence.

And with them the last shackle around his heart disintegrated.

The hand on his back went very still. McCree seemed to have stopped breathing entirely. “Dang,” the word was wheezed out. His hand finally moved upwards, shakily undoing Hanzo’s hair tie, tugging it free. His fingers were clumsy, tugging painfully until the tie was gone and the hair loose.

While that was a physical relief, his chest was still in a vice and waiting for a response.

Not sure what he would see, he turned his head, propping his cheek on his palm just so he could look at McCree. Jesse was staring at him with wide wondering eyes.

“Jus’ like that, huh?” McCree laughed.

“I suppose,” Hanzo said with answering smile.

“Sweetheart,” McCree choked on the word, leaning in to press a chaste kiss to Hanzo’s bare shoulder. His lips held there, his breath hot against Hanzo’s skin, eyes squeezed just, emotions clearly getting the better of him. “You had me- you had me so damn scared. Ain’t never hurt like that before.”

Hanzo shifted and McCree pulled away to let him, but Hanzo wasn’t going far. He was turning into the taller man, reaching out. Jesse didn’t need to be encouraged any further, his big hands instantly there, pressing him closer; Hanzo had only a moment to murmur, “forgive me” before he was being kissed. Hard and needy, sharp with yearning and fears. It was a ‘please never let me go’ kiss and it made every part of him ache.

They parted, but barely, with Jesse planting softer kissing across his cheeks and brow, trailing down to his neck. “Goddamnit, I fucking love you,” he murmured into Hanzo’s skin, arms squeezing tight.

Hanzo laughed softly into Jesse’s hair, the well of emotions overflowing, spilling out.

Love - so foolish, so absurd, so wonderful.

Only months ago it would have seemed an impossible stretch of imagination for him to be here in the arms of Jesse McCree; cowboy, pseudo-stripper, generous lover, a man full of heart and determination. He was beautiful, inside and out, and Hanzo was glad he had been able to see it. They had struggled through many obstacles but despite the odds they had made it.

There would no doubt be more mountains to climb but this time they could get there together.

Hanzo wasn’t afraid anymore.