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Learning To Love Again

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The weeks following Hanzo Shimada's--this was the full legal name he was given--joining of Gemwatch were rather uneventful. Talon, an anti-gem, anti-Gemwatch organization, had been mostly quiet. The archer had been introduced to the other members of Gemwatch and had been met with open arms from some and skeptic or distrustful looks from others. Though one gem in particular seemed to have taken special interest in him.

~~~~

Hanzo stared at the ridiculously dressed gem in front of him; it was the Sandstone from before, the one who had called him cute.

“Do you need something?”

The archer had been heading to the room he was assigned, the meeting finally over. The orange gem grinned broadly in response. “Ah just wanted to say ‘welcome to the family’ an’ properly introduce m’self; the name’s Jesse, Jesse McCree.” He gave a dazzling grin, offering a hand to the archer, who blinked in surprise before slowly taking the offered limb.

“Hanzo, Hanzo Shimada.”

“Well, it’s nice to officially make yer acquaintance, darlin’.” The cowboy flashed another bright smile as he shook the other's hand.

Hanzo paused at the petname. “Cowman, whatever it is you desire, I suggest you speak it now before I decide you are not worth my time.”

“Aww, ah was just bein’ friendly! Yer brothers one of ma closest friends.”

Hanzo stiffened at the mention of his brother. “I do not know what you want, but I am not interested, I suggest you leave me be and only talk to me when necessary, like, per se, on missions. Goodbye, McCree-san,” he spat out, stalking off towards his room.

Jesse blinked and stood there, watching the other leave. Had he done something wrong?

~~~~

Hanzo held back a sigh as he heard the Sandstone, Jesse McCree, enter the training room. The gem had been flirting with him since their initial encounter in the hallway, and while it wasn’t entirely unwanted, he was still unsure about the genuity of it. The spurs on the orange gem’s boots had notified the archer of his approach long before he entered the room. The opal let another arrow fly, hitting the bullseye dead center.

The Sandstone, now standing a few feet away from the blue gem, let out a low whistle in appreciation.

"Yer pretty handy with that bow."

Hanzo flushed slightly; that...was a new one. The archer managed to steel himself and send McCree an unimpressed look, though the orange gem just grinned in response, knowing he was getting somewhere.

"Is there something you need, McCree-san?"

"Nope, jus' thought I'd pop in an' watch you shoot, if ya don't mind."

"Hmm...You will only prove a distraction, cowman."

Jesse held back a grin at the pet name before replying.

"Aww come on darlin'! I'll be quieter 'en a field mouse hidin from a snake!"

Hanzo gave the cowboy a look before snorting and taking aim at the target once more.

"So long as you-" 'thunk', another bullseye, "-are quiet-" 'thunk', another, "-I guess you can stay."

A beaming grin was all he got in response.

~~~~

Hanzo had not taken the Sandstone’s advances seriously until he asked if he would fuse with him when the two were practicing together. The question had shocked the opal so much he had missed his shot, sending an arrow straight into the wall. The archer cursed and turned to glare at the gunslinger.

“Is this some sort of joke to you!? Is messing with my emotions something you enjoy doing!?”

Jesse took a few steps away from the archer, his gun glowing and disappearing. “Darlin’, I ain’t foolin with ya! I really like ya and I know ya got a bad experience with fusin’ but if ya’d just give it a try-”

“Fusion is just a tactic used to make gems stronger than they are alone! My brother and I fused because we were powerful together! Because we were stronger together than apart!”

“It ain’t gotta be like that! Fusion...fusion doesn’t have to be like what you n’ Genji had, it’s...it can be much more than that, an’ if ya ever wanna learn, I’d be happy to teach ya, Hanzo.”

With that, the orange gem left, spurs jingling as he left behind the stunned opal.

~~~~

Hanzo stared at the object in his hands--a new ribbon for tying up his hair. It was golden-yellow and seemed to be made of a strong yet soft material. The...cowman, Jesse McCree had thrust a small gift box into his hands before running off; the box had contained the ribbon and a small card saying that the offer of fusion still stood.

The archer pursed his lips as he thought; McCree had been nothing but kind, as well as flirtatious, to him since he was found…. Even after Hanzo had snapped at him, he was still warm smiles and kind eyes. With a sigh, the opal undid his hair and redid it with the new ribbon, a small smile appearing on his face. He could at least try...he owed the other gem that much.

~~~~

“Ya doin alright there, darlin’?” Jesse inquired, looking down at the shorter gem with a cheeky grin on his face.

Said gem huffed, a small blush on his cheeks as he snapped back, “Hush! Let me concentrate you fool!”

The cowboy gave a warm chuckle as he spun the other gem, whose blush deepened.

The two had been attempting to fuse for about 2 hours now in a small clearing of a forest not to far from a warp pad, making little progress. They had managed to get a slight rhythm but it had ended in frustration from the blue gem and one more failed try added to the list.

“This is hopeless!” the archer snapped a few minutes later after another failure, pushing Jesse away and stalking to the other end of the clearing.

“Nah, darlin’, don't give up yet! We almost had it that time,” the gunslinger spoke with a smile, trying to reassure the other.

“No we didn't, you foolish cowman! I told you this wasn't going to work!” Hanzo snarled back, turning to glare harshly at his companion.

“I am far too unstable to even fuse for a moment!” he continued, yelling now.

“Hanzo!” Jesse yelled, grabbing the other’s shoulders. “It's okay if ya aint fully healed yet, the Doc can only do so much. It was wrong a me to ask you so soon, I shoulda waited, ‘m sorry…” the cowboy spoke, his head lowering in shame.

The blue gem froze, blinking slowly before sighing. “I appreciate your...concern, but do not apologize; this is not your fault.”

Jesse smiled brightly, “So...wanna give it one last go before we call it a day?”

Hanzo snorted, “You are determined to show me the positives of fusing, aren't you?”

The Sandstone beamed, grinning. “Yep!”

The archer held back a smile. “Very well… one more try.”

The cowboy grinned and pulled the other close once more, singing loudly and obnoxiously as he swung the other around. Hanzo couldn't help it and started laughing, not noticing their gems start to glow as they twirled.

There forms glowed and started to meld together, memories and feelings being shared before-

“NO!”

“Urk-”

Both gems were pushed apart, their fusion stopping as they were thrown away from each other.

Hanzo was trembling, the onslaught of feelings and the familiar feeling of fusing having brought back terrible memories.

Jesse was quickly at the other’s side. “Han? Hanzo? You okay. darlin’!? Talk to me, Hanzo!”

The archer jerked back to reality, his gaze snapping up to meet the gunslinger’s worried face. “I am...I am fine!” he snapped, pushing the other away. “I told you it would not work! I am too unstable! You should find someone else to fuse with!” With that the archer stomped off towards the warp pad, leaving a worried Jesse McCree behind.

“Well, shoot.”

~~~~

Hanzo managed to avoid Jesse for three days before the man cornered him outside his room. His arm was in a firm yet gentle hold by Jesse’s mechanical arm. The blue gem refused to look the other in the eyes, glaring at the floor.“Please release me, McCree-san.”

“No,” came the firm answer. This surprised Hanzo enough that he looked up and finally saw the hurt look on Jesse’s face, confusion and worry mixing in as well.

“I know I did somethin’ wrong, but I ain't sure what. I know I hurt ya, but I ain't sure how. I only wanted to help ya, but I managed to hurt ya. I just wanna know what I did that made ya avoid me.”

Hanzo stared into those warm eyes and sighed. “It is nothing you did, McCree-san; merely my own demons rearing their heads.”

Jesse frowned at that, then his face lit up with an idea. “I know what we can do! Come with me!” the cowboy yelled excitedly as he ran off, dragging Hanzo with him. The aristocratic gem blinked but allowed himself to be dragged to the warp pad, curious as to what was going to happen.

~~~~

"Where are we going, McCree-san?" Hanzo asked as he followed the Sandstone away from the warp pad and into the woods.

"Call me Jesse, darlin’, and it's a surprise! A good one, ah promise!" came the excited answer. The archer sighed at the other’s antics, shaking his head softly.

A few minutes later, the two came to a large clearing. At first Hanzo was confused, then, he looked up and saw the vast expanse of space stretch out above them.

"Oh...oh my...this is..." The blue gem was stunned.

"Is mighty pretty, ain’t it?" Jesse sighed, a soft smile on his face, and his gaze slid from the sky to the other gem. "Hey Han...watcha say we try to fuse again?"

The opal stiffened and his head jerked to face the Sandstone. "What!? Why!? I already told you and showed you that I can't fuse anymore!"

"You can do it, darlin’, ya just don' wanna, yer scared. I get it. But ya can't let what happened with Genji keep you from livin yer life! 'Sides, this ain’t gonna be like that, I promise, ya say the word and I'll drop it and we don't ever gotta try again, but...at least give it one more chance?" The cowboy held out a hand to his companion, a soft, reassuring smile on his face.

Hanzo stared at the offered limb, a worried look on his face. He looked up at Jesse's face, then back to the hand, slowly taking it.

Jesse grinned and pulled the other close, starting to hum softly as he placed his free hand on Hanzo's waist, the other hand holding the blue gems hand firmly yet gently. After a few seconds Hanzo slowly set his own free hand on the taller gem’s shoulder, said gem grinning in response.

“Jus’ focus on me. A’ight?”

The blue gem nodded slowly, focusing on the steady thrum of the sharpshooter’s gem, pushing everything else aside as they started to sway in place.

“Thas’ it, nice and slow. I'm here darlin, ya don’t ever gotta face your demons alone ever again if ya don’t want to; we can do it together.”

The archer chuckled softly at that.

“What about your demons, Jesse? I am here for you, too.”

Jesse laughed loudly at that. “Is that your way of askin’ me out, sweetheart?”

The opal blushed dark blue at that, sputtering and looking anywhere but at Jesse, trying to tug himself away.

“Hey hey hey! It’s all right, don’ go nowhere, darlin, I didn’ mean to make ya uncomfortable.”

Hanzo stilled and allowed himself to be pulled even closer to the other.

“I...am unsure how one goes about asking another to fuse with them…” he murmured quietly, hiding his face in Jesse's chest. “I never exactly needed to ask with my-”

“No, none’a that darlin, this moment here is just about you ‘n me, and I've wanted to get to know ya and maybe fuse with ya eventually pretty much since the moment I laid eyes on ya. I just wanted to wait till you were ready.”

Hanzo blushed a dark blue, murmuring a quiet. “I don't deserve you…”

The cowboy smiled softly, “You deserve the world, darlin’.”

The blue gem’s eyes filled with tears as he held back a soft sob, holding onto the orange gem tighter.

“I'm here, Hanzo, I'm here.”