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Wouldn't It Be Nice?

Chapter Text

Jesse’s initials didn’t appear until he was 18.

They began as a few faint blue strands, hard to decipher until they became thicker, connecting into a sketchy “H” and “S” on his right wrist.

He didn’t draw attention to them, his glove covering the spot when he was around the other Deadlock members. None of the gang spoke of their marks, viewing them more as distractions than anything else. Yet Jesse had seen some of them, during more solitary moments, gaze thoughtfully at their letters when they thought no one was looking.

He said nothing, obviously. Just filed the information away to console himself when he was feeling particularly lonely. At least he wasn’t the only one who wondered.

Over the course of the next few months, his initials emerged further, spreading out until the ends wrapped around his wrist. He traded his smaller glove for a larger one, coming up higher on his arm to cover the growing design.

He spent too much time tracing their pattern as they became more elaborate, the ends of each letter entwining together to become two twin blue snakes. The snakes eventually evolved into long, coiling dragons, striking in their ferocity.

Yet there was something about them that brought Jesse a sense of comfort. Just knowing a piece of the puzzle that was his soulmate gave him hope.

He liked to imagine what the dragons meant, silly smile on his face as he sat by the campfire at night or absentmindedly cleaned his gun on a lazy afternoon. What they could possibly mean for his mate. He wondered what his initials looked like; what symbol fate had decided described him best. Each mark was so distinct, so unique to the owner, that he couldn’t even hazard a guess. 

And although he felt he couldn’t speak of his mark to the others, he still picked up snippets of conversation. The few Deadlock members that had managed to find their mates spoke of an immediate, unspoken bond. A connection so subtle that they couldn’t put their finger on what was different, just that something was. Some spoke of asking their potential mates almost immediately about their initials, while many others pined alone, not able to work up the nerve.

Jesse ate up whatever bits of information he could, desperate for any idea how he would know when he was close to finding the most important person in his life. 

He knew one thing was for certain – when it came time, he wouldn’t hesitate.

When Genji turned 15 and the first signs of his mark appeared, the house was in an uproar. The younger Shimada made it a point to show off his initials every chance he got, going so far as to walk around with his right sleeve pulled up constantly so no one would mistake the fact that he was spoken for. It was rare for someone younger than 16 to start showing, but Genji was nothing if not a trendsetter.

Hanzo, rightfully, was not pleased. At 18, the heir to the Shimada Clan still did not bear any mark. His parents said he was blessed, free from the stress and uncertainty of finding his intended and able to marry anyone he desired. Hanzo would nod, quietly agree with their assessment and change the subject.

But at night, with Genji bouncing around his room doing nothing but gushing about his future mate, Hanzo’s jealousy grew.

“What do you think it means, anija?” Genji sighed, flopping onto his back on Hanzo’s bed. He lifted his arm so the moonlight illuminated the “T. Z.” in flowing script along his wrist. While the letters were the only feature so far, Genji swore he could see a faint circle forming to one side.

“It means your soulmate’s name begins with a T and a Z,” Hanzo replied dryly.

“You’re no fun,” Genji scoffed, tossing a pillow in his direction. Hanzo merely gave him a sidelong glance before returning to his book.

Hanzo blocked him out, focusing on his studies as his brother twisted and turned his arm, hoping it might provide some new angle to his mark. It was a common occurrence, and Hanzo could ignore it easily enough by now.

“You shouldn’t lose faith, brother,” Genji said, after a few minutes of silence. Hanzo looked up abruptly, brow furrowed.

Genji smiled as he rolled onto his stomach to face him, nodding at his brother’s arm.  

“I know your time will come.”

The faint beginnings of Hanzo’s mark formed nearly a year later.

It started slowly, a small “J” the only sign. The first time Hanzo sees it he falls into a panic, sure Genji must have snuck into his room during the night and drawn it on. The frantic scrubbing only succeeds in making his wrist red and raw, yet the letter remains.

Hanzo succeeds in hiding it for about a week until a sparring match leaves his arm pinned and uncovered by an over-observant Genji. His younger brother’s eyes widen, flicking between Hanzo’s red face and his wrist.

“Is that…?” Genji whispered, almost reverently.

It is nothing,” Hanzo growled, yanking his arm away. He picked himself up, brushing off the dust before turning heel and making his way back inside.

“It is!” Genji gasped, scrambling after him. “Hanzo, let me see!”

Hanzo marched to his room, ignoring Genji’s attempts to grab his arm. It’s not until they’re alone that he wheeled on his brother, fixing him with a withering glare.

“Do not speak of this,” he hissed.

“I won’t, I promise!” Genji impatiently replied, fidgeting in front of him.

Hanzo begrudgingly held out his wrist, wincing as Genji twisted it to get a better look.

“Why just one initial?”

“Maybe my mate only has one name,” Hanzo snapped, snatching his arm back. “It only just appeared. Perhaps it’s not finished yet.”

“Could be,” Genji frowned. “Mine came at the same time, though.”

“And a year early,” Hanzo sighed. “I don’t know, Genji. Only time will tell.”

The “M” appeared not much later, both strong letters standing out starkly on Hanzo’s wrist. It would be unavoidable now that someone other than Genji – who, true to his word, has said nothing – would notice it.

He stops bothering to try to hide it, quietly enduring his parents’ disappointed lecture. As if he had any control over this.

As the weeks go on, the design begins to form and spread. Hanzo casually asks Genji to see his own, his younger brother proudly showing off the ring of orbs that encircle his mate’s initials.

Hanzo’s took quite a different shape, however, and the outline of a revolver became apparent after not too long. Why his soulmate was associated with a gun – an outdated gun, at that – was a mystery to both brothers. They spent countless hours in Hanzo’s room trying to decipher it, the attention finally gone from Genji’s mark and turned to more important matters.  

“Maybe he just likes guns,” Genji theorized.

“Or uses them,” Hanzo countered grimly. He wasn’t fond of that idea, but it seemed a likely possibility. He reached for the concealing band on the table next to him.

Hanzo,” Genji whined. “You don’t need to cover it. Mother and Father know, and no one would dare insult you over it, you know that.”

“It is not for them,” Hanzo murmured, adjusting the band over his wrist. “I do not want to look at it. I do not want to be associated with this.” His lip curled in disgust.

“You are so ridiculous,” Genji groaned, rolling his eyes. “You don’t even know what it means.

“Nor do I want to.”

Chapter Text

Jesse was making a name for himself.

It’s something he’d normally be proud of, but sitting in the small, stuffy room with the slightly (okay, very) intimidating Commander Reyes made him think twice about that sentiment.

Not that he’d ever let the man know. He did have some pride.

Jesse tipped his hat back, giving the large man a cocky grin as he folded his arms and leaned back in his chair. Reyes was nonplussed, glaring back and mimicking his stance.

“Now, what d’ya want with lil’ ol' me?”

Reyes said nothing, scowl still etched on his face.

The past few days had been a clusterfuck, if Jesse was being honest with himself. The job felt off from the start. To have so many Deadlock members in one place at one time was risky to begin with. Suspicious, even. But Jesse’s warnings weren’t heeded, and he went along with the plan, as ordered.

When the ambush came, he wasn’t surprised. Fought like hell anyway, but wasn’t surprised. Reyes and his group were stronger, more organized, and even though Deadlock had the numbers, they were outmatched far more quickly than Jesse would have expected. Several were dead, several others had mysteriously disappeared, and now here he was. Locked up.

He pulled out a cigarillo, twirling it between his fingers as he raised an eyebrow in question at the man across from him.

“Ya mind?”

“I mind,” Reyes growled.

Jesse rolled his eyes, making an impatient noise in his throat.

“We gonna talk or just stare at each other’s pretty faces all day?”

Reyes leaned forward, folding his hands as he rested his arms on the table. Jesse felt a small twinge in his wrist, almost like static electricity, and he rubbed his mark absentmindedly. He noticed Reyes’ eyes flick down to his hand before returning to his face. The other man was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, despite the heat, offering no hint as to what secrets his own mark might hold.

“Got yourself a sweetheart?” Jesse asked, nodding to Reyes’ arm. The other man’s eyes narrowed, and wasn’t that interesting.

“You this much of a hardass with them, too?” Jesse grinned, leaning forward as well. “Betcha they like it, huh? Y'got one of them voices. Makes ya all melty inside.”

He winked, Reyes letting a brief hint of teeth show as he sneered back at the younger man. Jesse knew he was playing with fire…Reyes could break his neck in a second if he really wanted to. But getting a rise out of the man might be his only entertainment of the day, and he was going to take his fun where he could.

“I made you an offer,” Reyes began calmly, despite the look on his face. “And you owe me an answer.”

“I don’t owe you shit,” Jesse huffed, looking away.

“I think you do,” Reyes countered. “You can come with me, or be thrown to the wolves. How far you think that cowboy act is gonna get you inside the pen?”

Jesse just shrugged and fixed him with a steady look. He was going to call the man’s bluff, show him that a few glares and flexed muscles weren’t going to intimidate him.

“You’re better than these assholes,” Reyes growled. “And you know it. You come with us, and we’ll put your talents to real use. Help us make a difference.”

“I’m makin’ a difference every damn day,” Jesse snorted in response. “Didn't y'see all the happy folks around town?”

Reyes rolled his eyes and let out a sigh. Jesse chuckled and began rubbing his mark again. It was especially annoying today, and he wasn’t sure if it was the stress of the situation or something wrong with the mark itself. Or, more worryingly, his soulmate.

Thoughts of his mate had been on the back burner the last few years, ever since the gang started giving him a more prominent role in their operations. Jesse knew he was the best shot they had, even if they would never come right out and tell him that. The more self-worth he had, the less he would need them. God forbid.

He just had no idea where his soulmate fit into his life now. It definitely wasn’t anyone in Deadlock, he knew that for sure. And he didn’t have much interaction with people not associated with the gang, aside from the errant bartender or shop owner. So where was he supposed to meet this person? He wished he could glean more from the dragons…get a hint as to where he could start looking.

On days he was feeling particularly wistful he liked to imagine they were in a rival gang, as ridiculous as it sounded. Misleadingly romantic images of Romeo and Juliet floated through his head, being forced to choose his family or his lover as they fought through their torrid love affair. He’d get a goofy smile on his face without even realizing it, usually brought back to reality by a snide remark from one of his “friends.”

But that was neither here nor now, and he highly doubted Reyes wanted to entertain his flights of fancy.

Deadlock was a dead end, he knew that. The only reason he was still here was out of a misguided sense of loyalty to the people who had essentially scooped him up and given him a better life, in a very twisted sense of the word. Did he owe them anything? Not really. But where else was he supposed to go?

Maybe this was his ticket out, his chance to see more of the world. He had traveled, sure, but Overwatch was everywhere. He knew he shouldn’t let the idea of finally finding his soulmate influence his thinking, but was it really such a bad goal?

With thoughts of dragons swirling through his head he leaned forward again, fixing Reyes with a grim look.

“So, partner,” he began, “what exactly are ya offerin’?”

 He wasn’t expecting Blackwatch.

When Reyes made – and he accepted – the offer to join Overwatch he assumed he would be running the kind of missions he always saw in the news. The brave heroes swooping in to save the day, grateful leaders lavishing praise as the group triumphantly moved on to the next victory.

He wasn’t expecting black ops, the covert missions that somehow always seemed to teeter on the line between legal and not, ethical or no.

That’s not to say he didn’t enjoy his time there, at least at first. Reyes was still a hardass, his military training showing through as he pushed them all to the limit of their abilities, cultivating the talents that made each of them unique. But the man had an engaging personality and could be downright funny and kind when they weren’t locked in the middle of a mission. Jesse, despite his initial feelings, had grown fond of the man, looking up to him.

It was tensions between the other members – namely between Reyes and Jack Morrison, the official leader of Overwatch – that started to slowly drive him up the wall. He had no interest in politics or their drama, yet it bled over into their operations anyway.

Jesse enjoyed the easy camaraderie among the group, drama aside. It felt nice to have people who watched his back rather than constantly watching his own, in more ways than one. He felt like he was doing the right thing for the first time in his life. Like maybe he could make up for a lifetime of being on the wrong side of the law.

But as part of Blackwatch, there was always a division between their group and the others. They tended to gravitate towards each other, even in their off time. Jesse, in particular, grew close with another new member, the cyborg Genji Shimada.

Genji was closed off for his own reasons, rarely interacting with most other members of the organization. He was bitter and jaded, opting to spend more time in the training room than socializing. The little information Jesse was able to glean from him involved a criminal empire, a murderous brother, and a brush with death that, many days, seemed almost preferable.

Jesse didn’t know – or want to know – how Angela brought the ninja back, but all he saw was a broken man with an anger and vengeance in his soul that rivaled anyone he had ever seen. Genji was a loose cannon just waiting for a reason to explode. 

Angela told him to “leave it” and not force Genji for more answers. He was repeatedly assured that Genji was there because he had his own wrongs he wanted to be righted, although the details on that were fuzzy. Jesse learned not to push, training and talking with his friend when Genji would allow it but not wanting to add any more strain to his already confused life.

It was his relationship with Genji, however, that signaled to Jesse when it was time to move on.

Things had been growing increasingly tenser within Overwatch. The members of Blackwatch stayed away on ops longer than necessary, and Jesse suspected half of that was Reyes wanting to keep “his people” away from the larger group for as long as possible.

While Jesse had no qualms about the illegalities of any of their missions, he noticed that more and more Reyes threw caution to the wind, getting information by any means necessary. More people were getting hurt, more things were going wrong, and more often than not, Jesse wondered what they were even doing.

And then one day, Genji was gone.

He said nothing, leaving a brief message with Angela before disappearing into the night. His job was over, he explained. He couldn’t stay. Jesse was crushed.

From there, his unease grew.

Tensions ran high. Reyes began authorizing missions that were not officially sanctioned by the organization. More than once Jesse was sent on “vacation” to high-risk locations, scouting the area and gathering intel on his own before Reyes would approach Jack and Ana for their approval. Jack was rapidly growing tired of these games, finding it harder and harder to turn a blind eye to Reyes’ tactics.

Eventually, Jesse became fed up.

There was no way to correct the rifts within the organization, and he had no interest in going down with the ship. As much as he appreciated the last few years and his freedom from his old life, this was not one he wanted to be part of any longer. He knew he could survive on his own now.

It was a bittersweet feeling, standing on the outskirts of Gibralter as he took one final look around. The watchpoint had seemed so grand, intimidating even, when he first arrived. Now it only evoked feelings of bitterness and loss.

He knew it was time to move on, and with one final tip of his hat he turned and began the next chapter of his life.

Working alone had sounded much better in his head.

Jesse began to wonder how much the vigilante lifestyle really suited him. Sure, he was righting wrongs, averting disaster every once in a while…but it was lonely.

He began to miss Overwatch after a while. Or at least the nearly constant companionship. You don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it, he thought on more than one grim occasion.

Not that there was any way he could go back. Overwatch, for all intents and purposes, didn’t exist anymore. No group, no real purpose, and still no soulmate. It was a solitary existence.

He was never more reminded of that fact than the solid week that his wrist burned so harshly he thought he might actually be on fire.

It had happened before, once for an even longer period of time, but he always had some other kind of distraction to help him through it. Now, biding his time between jobs, he had nothing to focus on but the searing pain in his limb.

The dragons are angry, he thought.

He began to research, at first just to try and find some relief from the pain. But the more he read, the more he learned about the cause of the pain. It only came when his mate was in a nearly inconsolable state. Grief, anger, or – heaven forbid – pain. None of them were good options, and the helpless ache he felt in his chest rivaled the feeling in his arm.

It led him to worry that he may have caused the same kind of pain in his mate, at one time or another. The idea caused him more grief than it should, especially considering he had no idea if it was true or not. He knew it was something he shouldn’t dwell on, but with so much free time…

While he had traveled plenty with Overwatch and had come across many types of dragons in the process, none were his dragon. Settling back in the United States severely limited his explorations, and the itch for the search began creeping back up on him without even realizing it.

Maybe he could start taking contracts outside of the States again. He was a wanted man by a lot of groups in a lot of countries, but since when did that limit Jesse McCree when he had his mind set on something?

He began weighing his options, paying more mind to contracts that might take him to East Asia. While he had absolutely no proof that his mate resided there, he had a feeling in his gut that that was where he should start. And his gut was rarely wrong.

 Jesse was lying on his bed, dingy hotel lighting providing a soft glow on the documents spread out in front of him when he heard a faint noise coming from his pack across the room.

He was immediately on edge, gun in his hand as he approached the strange pinging. Had he been that careless to allow someone to slip something inside when he wasn’t paying attention? The noise sounded vaguely familiar, and he tried to remember whether he had picked anything up that might be causing it.

After a few seconds of rummaging, he found the offending device, staring with a dumbstruck expression at the small communicator in his hand. His breath caught in his throat, debating his next move.

He closed his eyes, exhaling as he pressed the button. The pinging stopped immediately, replaced with open silence.

Jesse swallowed the lump in his throat, speaking up before he lost the chance.



Chapter Text

It was time.

Hanzo’s father pulled him aside, telling him those words with a grim, knowing expression as Hanzo bit down on the nerves coiling in his gut. His mother looked on nervously from the far side of the room, nodding her head and attempting to give him an encouraging smile.  

It was time to face the dragons.

Time to find out whether he would be worthy of their honor; worthy of leading the Shimada Clan with them guiding his path and fighting by his side.

Rejection would lead to disappointment, scorn…possibly death.

Genji found out later that evening, waiting for Hanzo wide-eyed in his bedroom.

Anija?” he whispered.

“It is my time,” Hanzo responded simply.

Despite the steadiness of his voice, Genji could sense the nervousness below. Saw the slight shake in Hanzo’s hand as he reached for a book and calmly sat down to read.

“Can I help?”

“You will face your own trial when it comes,” Hanzo replied, not looking at his younger brother. “I must do this on my own.”

Genji’s mouth twisted as he thought, sitting on the edge of Hanzo’s bed.

“Come out with me tonight!” he suggested, face brightening.

“That would be the opposite of help.”

“It’ll help you relax,” Genji protested. “Clear your mind a little before tomorrow.”

“That is not my idea of relaxation,” Hanzo said, closing his book with an impatient sigh before turning to his brother. “And you know father does not approve of your recent…activities.”

Genji just waved him off, rolling his eyes.

“I’m enjoying my youth,” he grinned. “There’s no harm.”

Hanzo’s eyes flickered to Genji’s wrist, his brother’s mark on display for all to see despite the rumors surrounding the “relaxing” nights out he so enjoyed.

Genji noticed where Hanzo’s eyes had lingered and he rolled his own again.

“No harm,” he repeated. He lifted his arm, running his fingers over his mark. “My mate could be anywhere. When it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. I’m going to have fun until then.”

Hanzo grimaced, shaking his head as he turned away. Genji’s enthusiasm for his mate and their potential future together had dulled somewhat in recent months as his younger brother spent more and more time in the local bars and clubs. Hardly befitting a man of their standing, but whenever the clan elders started to protest their father would step in – despite his own disapproval - brushing off Genji’s actions and assuring them that his youngest would get tired of this phase eventually. The elders did not believe him – neither did Hanzo, for that matter - but his brother would be off the hook yet again. It was an increasing source of contention between the family, and one Hanzo would have preferred to stay out of.

But he had more pressing matters on his plate than his brother’s transgressions.

After a fitful night’s sleep, Hanzo awoke with the dawn the next morning. He dressed quietly before meeting his father, who escorted him personally to the temple. They exchanged few words, both faces set to stern, impassive masks before bowing farewell.

Hanzo took his spot in the center of the silent room, faint smells of incense drifting in the air.

He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and waited.

Genji was waiting for him when he returned that evening, pacing impatiently near their rooms. His face lit up when he spotted his brother, eyes fixing immediately on the noticeable addition to his arm.

Anija, are you well?” he breathed, rushing over to Hanzo with wide eyes. Hanzo only grunted in reply, nodding his head as he winced and made his way to his room.

“What happened?” Genji asked in wonder, fingers hovering over his brother’s shoulder but not touching. “What did it do? Was it difficult? Did you have to fight?”

“Genji, please,” Hanzo sighed. “I am exhausted and in pain. I do not have the patience for questions right now.”

His brother, to his credit, said nothing, even though he continued to follow Hanzo to his room, sitting on the bed with his legs folded under him. Hanzo found a fresh pair of clothes and, grabbing a towel, began to make his way to the bath. He hoped the hot water might ease some of the strain in his aching body.

Genji was in the same spot, tapping away on his phone when Hanzo returned. He gave Hanzo a bright smile, focusing on the brilliant blue and gold tattoo that now covered his entire left arm and part of his chest.

“I brought you water and some pills for the pain,” he spoke up, Hanzo so lost in his thoughts he nearly jumped at the noise. He looked where Genji was pointing, a glass, two pills and a small bowl of rice waiting for him.

“Thank you, Genji,” Hanzo mumbled. While he didn’t feel like eating, he decided it might be a good idea after going all day without food. And it was a kind gesture from someone often too self-consumed to even think of such a thing.

“Have you seen Father?” Genji asked quietly after a few moments. Hanzo nodded his head, taking another bite of rice.

“Briefly,” he said after he swallowed. “He told me he was proud and we would discuss things further after I had rested.”

“Can you tell me anything else?” Genji pleaded. “You have a dragon now, Hanzo!”

Hanzo’s arm flared blue at the words, causing another burst of pain that nearly had him dropping his bowl. Genji scampered across the bed, eyes wide once more as he stared.

“Did it hear me?”

“It appears so,” Hanzo said through gritted teeth. The pair stared in wonder as the blue glow flickered along the length of his arm for another few moments before disappearing as quickly as it appeared.

“I hope I get one,” Genji murmured in awe. “Hanzo, we could take on the world.”

The pain in Hanzo’s arm didn’t subside for nearly two weeks.

It would dull, occasionally, but the burning, throbbing sensation lasted for twelve solid days after his visit to the temple. His father informed him that it was just the final stages of his fusion with the dragon and nothing to worry about.

Dragons, Hanzo soon realized.

He discovered during this transition that if he concentrated, he could pull the dragon forward and into the physical realm. It was then that he realized he had not just one spirit, but two. He informed his father of this revelation immediately, both he and the clan elders erupting into shocked whispers. No Shimada had ever controlled two dragons. The elders immediately began pouring through their records to attempt and discover a meaning behind it.

Hanzo, in the meantime, secretly delighted in his new additions. He beckoned them forward when he was alone, getting used to the sensations. His arm would glow, much as it had the day Genji spoke to them, and the pain was replaced with a vibration or tingle as they appeared.

The pair were small, not much larger than the average garden snakes, faintly transparent and still the bright, icy blue as the glow on his arm. They would wriggle and coil themselves around his body playfully, the exact opposite of what he expected the ancient and proud spirits to be.

Even with their mischievous attitudes, Hanzo had expected to see them in physical form at some point, even if it was only in battle. He wasn’t, however, prepared to hear them.

Most of the time it was a faint hum in the back of his mind; rarely fully-formed words or sentences. It felt like a second sense more than anything, the hum becoming louder or taking on a different tone with his emotions.

He learned to trust their warning hum, a low rumble that told him to be on guard. The noise took a staccato turn when they doubted something, almost as if laughing or snorting in derision. The pleased hum when they were happy or amused soothed his entire body, like a warm blanket on a cool night.

The most interesting part to Hanzo, though, was his mark’s reaction to this new part of himself. When the dragons first came to him, he realized his mark was throbbing almost in time with his other arm, twinges of something like an electrical shock shooting through his forearm on occasion.

After a few days of the constant sensations, he began to research, hoping there would be an obvious way to relieve at least that pain if he could do nothing to calm his dragons. He didn’t feel comfortable approaching his parents, and Genji had no experience with the matter, so he blindly searched on his own.

Hanzo realized, eventually, that there was no relief. His mark ached for one of two reasons – either his pain was so intense that it carried over into this part of his body, or his mate was in a similar state. He surprised himself with how intensely he panicked over a person he had never met, hoping that it was the former situation and not the latter. He would take this pain onto himself if it meant his mate was spared.

“So…you’re saying if I do something stupid like hurt myself training, my mate will feel it?” Genji asked one evening. He was lying diagonally across Hanzo’s bed, playing a handheld game as Hanzo explained his findings.

“I believe it has to be more powerful than that,” Hanzo replied. He felt his stomach clench again at the idea.

“I can injure myself pretty powerfully.”

“Genji…” Hanzo sighed.

“Relax, Han,” his brother chuckled, turning to look at him. “I’m just teasing you. I’m sure your mate is made out of tougher stuff than you think.”

Hanzo grimaced but said nothing, hoping it was true.

Looking back on it now, Hanzo realized their mother’s death was the family’s turning point.

He wasn’t sure who it hit the hardest, his father or his brother. His father sunk into a deep depression, his moods unpredictable. Hanzo often received the brunt of his father’s emotions, all of the pent-up negative energy unleashed into fiery bursts of anger directed at his elder son for no reason. After most meetings, Hanzo left feeling exhausted and unraveled, his dragons vibrating with unhappiness on his behalf.

Genji, for being such a constant presence in his day, all but disappeared, leaving a gaping void in his life. His brother rarely showed up to train with him anymore, and his visits to chat or spend time with Hanzo virtually stopped altogether. He might not come home for days at a time, and if he did, it was just to sleep off his hangover, only to vanish again once the sun went down.

The clan elders were not happy with Genji’s indiscretions. The Hanamura police would not dare arrest him, and Hanzo was frequently dispatched to pick his brother up and bring him back to the castle with as little fuss as possible.

Hanzo was present at many of the meetings between the elders and his father, the elders quietly including him in more and more of the family dealings. He heard the whispers that his father was slowly becoming unfit to lead, and it was with silent terror that Hanzo realized his reign might come much sooner than he had expected.

It was also in these meetings that Genji’s name was brought up time and time again, the elders demanding that his father control his youngest son and force him to finally take some responsibility for his actions. They pointed to Hanzo, sitting quietly with a stoic expression as he listened, as the example to which Genji should strive.

His father barely looked in Hanzo’s direction, shaking his head. He has time, the elders were told. He is young yet. Genji was in his mid 20’s, an adult in the eyes of everyone but their father. Hanzo felt the annoyance rise in his throat, barely restraining himself from speaking out against his brother. Genji was only getting worse, and while he loved his brother, his family – the clan – came first.

The elders’ solution was a drastic one: put Genji through his dragon trial. If he emerged whole, the elders argued, he would feel the weight of the responsibility his title held and settle down. If he was not successful, well…the problem would have taken care of itself.

Both Hanzo and his father argued vehemently against this plan. A Shimada heir only underwent their dragon trial when the dragons deemed it was time. There had been no such sign for Genji, and throwing the young man into the literal jaws of the beast was foolish and would only lead to disaster.

It took several harrowing weeks before the elder Shimada caved, Hanzo reluctantly following his father’s cue and agreeing as well. Hanzo was not permitted in the room when their father broke the news to Genji, choosing to wait outside of their bedrooms, much as his younger brother had when Hanzo was told.

Genji appeared a short time later, face pale. For one of the few times in his life, he was speechless, looking at Hanzo with a mixture of terror and disbelief on his face.


“You will succeed, Genji,” Hanzo said, gripping him firmly on the shoulder. “I have faith in you.”

“I’m not ready,” Genji whispered, swallowing a gulp of air as he looked around in a panic.

“You must believe in yourself,” Hanzo replied with a terse shake of his head. He hoped he sounded more confident than he felt.

“I’m out of practice!” his brother nearly screeched. He grabbed hold of Hanzo’s arm, giving him a shake. “You know I’m not ready, Hanzo!”

Hanzo shook his hand loose, turning on Genji with a fiery glare.

“And whose fault is that?” he snapped. “You made your choices, Genji, and you must deal with the ramifications. You led yourself down this path on your own. You forced our hand.”

Genji’s eyes widened as he took a step back.

“No,” he whispered. “Hanzo…”

“I cannot help you,” Hanzo replied, pushing down the guilt he felt rising in his chest. “You know you must face this on your own. As I did.”

Genji opened his mouth to argue back, but one look at Hanzo’s face had him shutting it, looking away. He ran his hand through the shock of green hair on his head, swallowing the lump in his throat.

“Hopefully I will see you soon,” he whispered, shooting his brother one last look before turning and walking away.

Hanzo resisted the urge to call after him, to offer him some kind of comfort, but he just bit his tongue and watched his brother’s retreating form.

Hanzo woke up just in time to glimpse his father and brother walking toward the temple in the early morning light. Genji stood tall, walking with his head held high, and for that, Hanzo was proud. His father, however, walked almost defeated, glancing at Genji every few seconds. It made his insides clench with worry. His father couldn’t lose Genji, too.

It was nearly impossible to concentrate, his thoughts going to his brother time and again. He fitfully wandered the castle grounds, trying in vain to find something to occupy himself. He finally grabbed his bow and headed to the yard to practice, hoping the singular focus of his targets would allow him to relax.

Late that evening, Genji returned.

Hanzo was outside, sitting in the garden under the guise of meditating. It was only a coincidence that it was along the same route Genji would take if – when – he returned from the temple.

And unlike Hanzo’s trial, when Genji returned he was not alone. Their father walked with him, tears nearly forming in his eyes as he looked with pride at his youngest son, supporting him as they made their way back to the house. Hanzo jumped up, sprinting over to take Genji from his father.

“I did it, anija,” Genji said faintly with a grin. He looked exhausted, as if he might collapse at any moment.

“So you did,” Hanzo murmured in return, giving his brother a small smile.

Their father bid them farewell at the door, embracing Genji one more time before leaving the brothers alone.

“Hanzo, come look,” Genji said, eagerly beckoning his brother into his room.

Genji stripped off his shirt almost immediately, twisting and turning as he tried to peer in the mirror at the long, winding green and gold tattoo that now graced his back.

“It’s fucking awesome,” Genji laughed, looking up to gauge his brother’s reaction. “I look so badass now.”

“I thought you always considered yourself ‘badass,’” Hanzo mused with a smirk.

“Well, yeah…” Genji grinned. His smile turned to a grimace in a split second, teeth clenched in pain.

“You said yours hurt, but I didn’t think it would hurt this much,” he whined once the wave of pain had passed.

“You thought I was making it up for my own amusement?” Hanzo asked with a raised eyebrow. He smirked at his brother before letting out a small sigh and shaking his head.

“Sit down,” he said with a pitying smile. “Let me tell you what to expect.”

It was some small consolation to Hanzo that Genji’s mark burned with the same intensity his own had. Not that it made Genji feel any better, but it relieved Hanzo somewhat that the pain was almost certainly his own and not his mate’s.

Genji gaining his dragon also seemed to renew his interest in his mark. While he had always kept it uncovered, he started wondering more openly about his mate again.

“Do you think they know about the dragons?” he asked Hanzo one night.

“Who?” Hanzo responded, knowing full well who Genji was referring to.

“Our mates,” Genji sighed. “Do you think they can tell we’re different or something?”

“We won’t know until we meet them.”

“You mean when I meet mine,” Genji snorted, glancing at Hanzo’s covered wrist. “We all know you don’t care about yours.”

The accusation was like a punch to his gut. What did his foolish brother know about his feelings?

“That’s not true,” Hanzo scoffed. “I just have no interest in flaunting it like you do.”

“Please,” Genji said, rolling his eyes. “You’ve hated it ever since it appeared. You should see the look on your face anytime someone even mentions a gun.”

“You are ridiculous,” Hanzo muttered, although his face burned a little at the comment. Genji wasn’t entirely wrong…although that certainly didn’t constitute hatred.

“I am right,” Genji affirmed, rolling off the bed. “And now I am leaving. Are you sure you don’t want to come out with me, Han?”


“I can’t hear you,” Genji sang, darting out of the room. “Tell father I went to the library to study scholarly things. Be back tomorrow.”

Hanzo sighed, closing his eyes and pushing back the I told you so that was on the tip of his tongue every time Genji disappeared for the evening. He wanted to shout it at the elders, remind them that it was their wise thinking that claimed Genji would mature and stop his reckless ways once he gained his dragon. If possible, he was worse than ever, knowing he had pleased his father and would be free from any ramifications.

This was not going to end well.

It only took a day for the elders to approach Hanzo after his father’s funeral. He turned them away with a few harsh words, irate at not being allowed the basic dignity to grieve. They were back only a few days later, the anger still fresh in Hanzo’s mind but he heard them out, if only to get them to leave him alone.

Hanzo was more than a capable leader, they said. The true face of the Shimada family. But imagine having the dragons united, they murmured. Hanzo and Genji leading side-by-side, a true force to be reckoned with. With their father gone, Genji was left to run unchecked. It was time for Hanzo to rein him in, settle him down and show him the path he was meant for.

While Hanzo had his doubts that Genji would ever agree to such a thing, he concurred. It was time for Genji to cut the ropes to his youth and finally live the life he was born into. His life was for his clan, his family, and he was at an age where he should realize this.

Genji, predictably, scoffed at the idea when Hanzo cornered him. Hanzo tried again, weeks later after he had the time to rest and readjust to his new role. Genji again wanted nothing to do with him, angrily telling Hanzo in no uncertain terms that both he and the elders could fuck off. He had no plans to ever lead the family - with or without Hanzo - he said, and the sooner they got that through their heads, the better.

The heated argument sat festering in his mind, eclipsing his thoughts as he struggled to think of a way he could get through to his brother, to make him see the importance of his role. It would take time, but he would make Genji understand.

He had to.

Hanzo stared down at Genji’s prone body, watching the life slowly drain from his face.

He choked back a sob, dizziness overtaking him as he staggered away, out into the fresh air where he took several deep lungfuls in an attempt to remain standing.

What did you do what did you do what did you do?

He couldn’t look back, couldn’t stand to see what had become of his only brother. The sounds of their fight reverberated through his mind, nearly deafening the longer they remained. He pressed his hands to his ears, gritting his teeth as the tears began spilling down his face and he nearly sprinted across the compound.

Hanzo hadn’t even gotten halfway to his room before he practically doubled over in pain, his mark surging with its most intense pain yet. He felt like he could see it pulse and pound as he stared, the gun nearly rippling as each wave coursed through his body. His chest and head felt like they were ready to explode, and the idea was a welcome thought if it would only end the pain.

He heard voices calling out behind him and he pulled himself up, body aching, bruised and bleeding as he fought to reach his rooms. He couldn’t handle this, not now. He would leave, send word to the elders and spend some time away to collect the pieces of himself he felt rapidly crumbling away.

Although, knowing what he left behind in the temple, he had a feeling he would never be whole again.

Chapter Text

If there was one thing Jesse didn’t miss about the old days it was the endless briefings.

The members of Overwatch that had returned following Winston’s recall were gathered in the briefing room, the remaining empty chairs sticking out conspicuously. There was a time when the room would be filled to standing-only capacity.

Jesse twisted back and forth in his chair, feet propped up on the table and hat covering his eyes as he tried not to think about the past. The meeting was already going on entirely too long for what was supposed to be a “brief” status update, he didn’t need to exchange his boredom for depressing thoughts.

“Eyes up here, please,” Jack Morrison’s gravelly voice boomed across the room.

Jack, for all intents and purposes, was still their strike commander, even if it was Winston’s name on paper as the official head of Overwatch. While Winston was brilliant and a formidable force on the battlefield, Jack had decades of tactical leadership under his belt, his super-soldier training already well underway when Winston was just an infant gorilla on the Lunar Colony. Many were surprised to see him return but, as Jesse well understood, where else did he have to go?

Jesse felt a hand smack his leg a second later and he promptly dropped them to the floor, glancing up to see Angela frowning at him from across the table. He could hear Fareeha's quiet laugh to his right and he touched the brim of his hat in thanks, shooting her a grin.

“Winston, what’s our operative status?” Jack asked, ignoring them.

Winston cleared his throat, straightening his glasses as a 3-D globe appeared in the middle of the table. Markers dropped down onto various points, blinking as they reached their intended destinations.

“We have delays across the board,” he began with a sigh. “Reinhardt rendezvoused as planned with Mei but I diverted them to Russia after our message from Ms. Volskaya. I’m not sure when they’ll be arriving.”

A curious murmur spread throughout the group as photos of three people flashed brightly on their markers before the map shifted to another area.

“Lena picked up our two fresh recruits – the DJ and the mech pilot - but was sidetracked when she, and I quote, ‘spied these two dodgy blokes mucking about the airport’ and decided to check them out.” He shook his head as Jack rubbed his temples beside him. “Those two may or may not be coming back with her as well.”

“What about Genji?” Angela prompted. “Is he joining us?” Jesse perked up at the name, anxious to see his old friend.

“No word from Genji,” Winston responded with a strained glance. “We know he's alive, but that's all. He's made no effort to reach out to us or return my pings."

A collective sigh of disappointment went through the room and Jesse slumped back in his chair.

"But," Winston continued. "On the plus side, we should be welcoming our Vishkar representative soon.”

“Who considers that a plus?” Torbjorn muttered, earning a sharp look from Jack.

Everyone began murmuring to each other again, none very pleased at the lack of concrete news. Jesse cleared his throat loudly after a moment, all heads turning in his direction.

“So, basically...this here entire meetin’ was just to tell us that nothin’s goin’ on?” he asked.

“It was to keep us in the loop,” Ana explained patiently, sitting at the head of the table near Jack. “This is a hectic time.”

“Well…” Jesse drawled, standing up and adjusting his hat. “Consider me all looped up. If there’s nothin’ else…”

“You’re all dismissed,” Jack said with another weary sigh. Jesse grinned, flicking off a quick two-fingered salute before walking away.

Fareeha caught up to him as he entered the kitchen, making a beeline to the coffee maker.

“It’s weird, isn’t it?” she asked, hopping up to sit on the counter.

“Somethin’ ‘bout this coffee I should know about?”

“No,” she scoffed with a small roll of her eyes. “Having everyone together again.”

Fareeha had still been a child during the original Overwatch days, the daughter of one of their leading members, Ana Amari. Jesse remembered her watching with bright eyes as the group trained, seeing the burning desire to carry on her family’s legacy and someday become as skilled a soldier as her mother. While Jesse had felt as if he grew up amongst their ranks, Fareeha literally had.

“So cute, seein’ these kids all grown up,” Jesse grinned, yanking playfully on a piece of her hair. She swatted him away with a cry of protest.

“You’re only a few years older than me,” she reminded him. Jesse just chuckled as he took a long drink from his mug.

After Overwatch disbanded – and Ana presumed killed in action – Fareeha had gone on to join the Egyptian military in her mother’s honor, serving with pride. They were only recently reunited, a story neither was willing to share with the other members yet, although he was certain Jack knew. Jesse didn’t mind. He had plenty of secrets of his own.

“I just think it’s exciting.” Fareeha sighed, the idealist. “So much of the old crew back together, us young blood coming in…”

“You finally gettin’ to fight alongside yer ma like ya always wanted,” Jesse finished for her with another grin. “And yer favorite cowboy, obviously.”

“Don’t flatter yourself,” Fareeha laughed, kicking in his direction.

She opened her mouth to say something else when they heard a loud bang on the floor below, followed by a boisterous laugh.

“My friends!" came the booming voice. "I have returned triumphant!”

“I am so happy to see us all together again!” Reinhardt cried for what must have been the tenth time that afternoon. Ana stood at his side, periodically patting him on the arm to calm him down.

Reinhardt had returned with both a former member of Overwatch and a new recruit. Mei-Ling Zhou was a climatologist who spent the last ten years trapped in cryostasis in Antarctica. Having previously worked for the organization, Jesse was familiar with her, even if they didn’t necessarily spend a ton of time together. He remembered her as bubbly and vivacious, another brilliant scientific mind. She was a nice offset to the somewhat dour personalities currently at the base.

Aleksandra “Zarya” Zaryanova, an athlete-turned-soldier and national icon in Russia, came to them on loan from the Russian Defense Forces. Winston had received a message from Katya Volskaya of Volskaya Industries, Russia’s leading mech producer, a week prior. And while he didn’t divulge exactly what the message had contained, Zarya was exactly the type of soldier they needed to bolster their ranks, and they accepted the offer with open arms.

The pair were standing together, to Jesse’s surprise (although he wasn’t sure exactly why he was surprised, other than the fact that they had only recently met), chatting with the handful of other members that had come to greet them. Angela and Fareeha were clearly leading the conversation, with Reinhardt and Ana standing with them. Jack was observing from off to the side, not quite feeling up to the socialness of the situation quite yet. Torbjorn had said hello before wandering back to his workshop. And Winston had promised to stop by, but had yet to make an appearance.

Jesse himself was standing slightly outside the group; not quite at Jack’s level but not exactly engaged, either. He was still getting used to having friendly faces around him constantly after so long on his own. It was an odd, although not totally unexpected, feeling.

He met Mei’s eyes after a bit, the woman’s face lighting up with recognition.

“McCree!” she called, waving excitedly.

“Well, ain’t you a sight for sore eyes,” Jesse smiled in return as Mei dashed over to him for a hug.

“You look well!” Mei said, stepping back to look him over. "Same handsome cowboy."

“Well, shucks, darlin’, there’s no need t’butter me up,” Jesse chuckled. “’Sides, you’re the looker, here. You haven't aged a day!”

“Cryo will do that to you,” Mei agreed with a small smile. “Have you met Zarya?”

Jesse couldn’t help but notice the faint blush that rose to her cheeks when she said the other woman’s name. Nor the subtle tugging of her sleeve to fully cover her wrist.

He grinned as Mei shyly looked over her shoulder at the athlete, who was currently allowing Fareeha to squeeze her flexed bicep. She turned her attention back at Jesse after a moment, ducking her head slightly as the blush got deeper. Jesse just chuckled, wrapping an arm around her shoulder.

“How ‘bout ya introduce me?”

The next week went by uneventfully. Mei and Zarya acclimated to the rest of the group easily, and it was now as if they had always been there.

Jesse was on his way back from the shooting range when he got word of Lena’s arrival. While he didn’t much feel like being social that evening – the promise of a hot shower and a cold beer much more enticing – he detoured to the common room to say hello before retiring for the night.

Everyone already seemed to be there, Lena zipping between them as everyone chatted animatedly amongst themselves. The mood had increased dramatically in the last few days now that more and more were showing up. Jesse couldn’t help but smile as he took it all in.

“Jesse!” Lena squealed, zooming over to him in a flash of blue. She stopped just close enough that she was able to leap the remaining short distance into his arms.

“Hey, darlin’,” Jesse chuckled, hugging her back. “Missed you too.”

“Come on,” she urged, tugging his hand so he could only reluctantly follow. “Come meet the others.”

Jesse’s eyes widened as he took in the two extremely different people standing in front of him. The first was nearly as large as Reinhardt, bare-chested and laboriously breathing through a gas mask strapped to his head. Both the front of the mask and the tattoo on the man’s rotund stomach resembled a pig. Although Jesse couldn’t see his eyes, he had the distinct impression that the man was staring at him.  

The younger man next to him more than made up for the lack of energy. Jesse was tempted to take a step back, the man’s tufts of hair singed and still smoking, as if they had been haphazardly patted out only seconds before. He sported a prosthetic arm and leg but it didn’t hinder his movement much as he practically hopped in circles around the larger man, looking for something to occupy his attention.

“This is Roadhog,” Lena began, gesturing to the larger man. Fitting name, Jesse thought.

“And Junkrat.”

At the mention of his name, Junkrat whirled around, giving Jesse a once-over before bursting into laughter.

Oi, Roadie, check this one out,” he cackled, doubling over. This time Jesse did take a step back, giving Lena a look that said what the hell were you thinking? She only shrugged in response.

“Ya playin’ dress up, mate?” Junkrat leered at him before breaking into another peel of laughter.


“What d’ya do around here?” Junkrat continued, unfazed. He eyed Peacekeeper, the revolver sitting snuggly on Jesse’s hip. Jesse gave him a cold stare in return, causing the other man to look away quickly. 

“How 'bout I ask you the same question,” he said, eyes narrowing a bit as Junkrat nervously shifted from foot to foot. Or, foot to peg, rather. It took only a second - and a glance at Roadhog for confidence, apparently - before the skinny man's chest puffed up with confidence.

“I’m the evil Australian bomber what bombs at whatever time he damn well pleases,” Junkrat declared, now all bravado. Jesse heard the larger man let out something that suspiciously sounded like a snort behind his mask.

“Oi, Roadie, you tell ‘em!” Junkrat cried, whirling around to face his partner. “We do what we bloody hell want, don’t we?” Another snort, this time accompanied by the briefest of shrugs. Seemed the hog man didn’t do a lot of talking.

“Aaaand we’re all going to get along, though, aren’t we!” Lena exclaimed, clapping her hands together. She shot Jesse a look that said play nice. Jesse grimaced, scanning the room for the other new faces.

Lena caught on quickly, excusing them before nudging Jesse gently in the side to start walking.

“They can help,” she whispered, gesturing to the Australian duo. “The skinny one is some kind of demolition expert, he can make a bomb out of anything. It’s actually quite impressive.”

Junkrat had sufficiently distracted himself with some knickknacks on a shelf, Roadhog keeping an eye on him. Jesse began to wonder if they were about to be repurposed into something much more…explode-y.

“You’ll like the other two much better,” Lena giggled, grabbing Jesse’s arm again. She dragged him over to where the largest group had gathered around an enthusiastic young man in a vibrant green shirt and rollerblades.

“Lucio!” Lena interrupted, shoving her way through the group with Jesse in tow. “Found one ya haven’t met yet, love! This is Jesse McCree.”

“Howdy,” Jesse greeted, tipping his hat. The man – Lucio – stared at him in open-mouthed delight before letting out a whoop and clapping his hands.

“Oh man,” he exclaimed. “You are like, a for real cowboy. This is wild!”

He held out his hand, Jesse taking a beat to collect himself before returning it. Before he knew it, Lucio had pulled him into a hug. 

“Lucio Correia dos Santos,” he introduced himself, stepping back. “DJ, freedom fighter, and now audio medic.”

He grinned, and Jesse couldn’t help but grin back, immediately liking the young man. His enthusiasm and good mood were infectious.  

“The name’s McCree,” Jesse replied with another dip of his head. “Pleasure’s mine.”

“Yo, Hana!” Lucio called over his shoulder. “Check this guy out!”

Jesse looked over and saw a girl who looked to be in her late teens – 20 at the most – come over to join them, head lowered as she frantically pressed buttons on her handheld game. She was dressed casually, wearing ripped jeans and a retro video game t-shirt with the words “Double Dragon” emblazoned across the chest, a pair of angry-looking dragons entwined within the letters.

“This is Hana Song,” Lucio announced. “Otherwise known as D.Va to her millions of adoring fans.”

“You a DJ, too?”

Lucio burst into laughter as Hana rolled her eyes, finally looking up as she flipped her hair over her shoulder.

“Look me up, old man,” she scoffed, although there was no malice in it. Jesse chuckled in response, giving her a good-natured shrug.

Lucio made another comment but Jesse barely heard him, something tugging at the corner of his mind. Something felt…off. It prickled his skin, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up almost as if someone was watching him. He ruled out the junkers, seeing them still occupied, which only caused him to furrow his brows more and look around to see if he could find the source.

“Hey, Eastwood, you okay?” Lucio frowned, Jesse only somewhat paying attention.

“Eastwood?” Hana asked in confusion. “He said his name is—“

“Hana, do not even tell me you don’t know who that is,” Lucio cut her off, feigning shock. “That’s it, we’re adding more movies to our marathon list.”

Jesse zoned out as the two continued to bicker amongst themselves, trying to figure out what had his nerves on edge. He stared at the pair, the frog on Lucio’s shirt staring back at him while the dragons on Hana’s shirt seemed to jump out, ready to snap.


He closed his eyes, shaking his head before refocusing on the young woman’s shirt. The dual dragons interlaced in the center…their stern expressions sending a jolt of recognition through his core….

It couldn’t be.

“Um,” he began, clearing his throat. The other two paused in their playful argument, turning to him with interest.

“Hana…what did’ya say your last name was?”

“Song. Why?”


The two dragons on her shirt.

On Hana Song’s shirt.


Shit, shit.

This couldn’t be his…

Could it?

She was just so young. And while Jesse had been known to enjoy a roll in the hay with some women back in the day, his inclinations most decidedly leaned towards men. He had just assumed – foolishly, it seemed – that his soulmate would be a man as well.

He realized with a start that he hadn’t answered Hana’s question, both pairs of eyes in front of him trained on his face with a mixture of worry and confusion. He didn’t have time to deal with this right now, his heart beating a mile a minute and the thoughts racing through his head nearly as fast. He needed time alone to sort things through and come to terms with this new revelation.

Jesse took off his hat, holding it to his chest in an act of deference as he gave Hana a slight bow of his head.

“No reason, Miss Song,” he responded, smoothing out his hair. “Just wantin’ to make sure I got it right. You young folks take care now, alright?”

Lucio and Hana only nodded as Jesse returned the hat to his head and beat a hasty retreat out of the common room without another word.

When Jesse returned to his room, he pulled out his old, battered laptop and did a search for Hana Song. He was immediately faced with millions of results – an overwhelming amount to sort through when he just wanted a little more background on his possible soulmate.

Hana – or D.Va, as she was referred to in most articles – was equally well-known for her video game prowess as she was as a soldier, something that intrigued Jesse. He was thankful Lucio had mentioned her codename during their brief conversation because he would have been hard pressed to believe that someone only 19 years old could have accomplished so much at such a young age. Color him impressed.

That feeling did nothing to settle the unease in his stomach, however. Hana didn’t appear to have any feelings toward him whatsoever when they met, and he was sure the soulmate realization was supposed to be a mutual one. Maybe she was just good at hiding her feelings?

Or maybe, he thought, it was as simple as she got a look at him. At this old man that was supposed to be her intended, and she decided she wanted no parts of it. Of him. It was a blow to his ego, sure, but could he blame her?

The thoughts depressed him, and he closed his laptop with a loud snap a short time later, mood sufficiently ruined for the night.

But foul mood or no, his thoughts stayed on the subject even as he showered and got himself ready for bed. He needed a plan. After all these years, he couldn’t just let this go by to chance without at least trying. He’d waited too long.

He wracked his brain, trying to remember if her wrist was uncovered or not. He would have to try and get a glimpse of it before anything else. It would be rude to just come out and ask her, which meant he’d have to spend some time in her company, being friendly and getting to know her. Might as well kill two birds with one stone, right?  

Jesse felt a little better as he lay in bed now that he had a semblance of a plan ahead of him.

This could work, he told himself. Just be yourself.

It took about five minutes for Jesse to realize being himself wasn’t going to work. At least not around Hana.

He was a fumbling mess whenever she was near, stumbling over his words or blushing so red he was practically wearing his hat on his face instead of his head just to hide the color. Although she shot him plenty of weird looks, she never said anything…though Jesse was pretty sure he heard her and Lucio snickering behind his back.

And to make matters worse, Hana had her wrist completely covered, not allowing Jesse to get even a small glimpse as to what her initials might be.

Refusing to be deterred, Jesse was the perfect gentleman (when he wasn’t making a fool out of himself). He made sure to always hold the door open for Hana if they were walking together, ushering the young woman in ahead of him. He pulled her chair out at the dinner table if she wasn’t already seated, and did his best to try and sit close by. At least within conversation distance. Lucio was practically glued to her side, so sometimes it was hard to get a word in edgewise.

Having so many new people at the base was the perfect opportunity to play the “getting to know you” game, which Jesse often initiated at dinner – one of the only times the group was in the same place at once – in the hopes of finding out more information. And if he didn't, the DJ was usually picking up the slack.

“Yo, Eastwood,” Lucio started one night. He and Hana were sitting across the table from Jesse, the cowboy looking up from his bowl of stew with an eyebrow raised in question.

“You got any family back home?” he asked.

Jesse hesitated, a little thrown by the question. Usually he wasn't on the receiving end of the questions.

“Um, yeah, sorta,” he responded, wiping his mouth. “Got my ma back in the States somewhere. Haven’t seen her in a long while, though.”

Lucio gave him a sympathetic noise, shaking his head.

“That’s rough, man,” he said. “And no…you know…?” He made a wavy motion at Jesse’s wrist.

“Still tryin’ to figure that one out,” Jesse chuckled. It was the truth, anyway.

“I hear that!” Lucio grinned, seemingly satisfied by Jesse’s answers as he turned back to his food. Jesse knew he couldn’t let the opportunity pass.

“What about you?” he asked. Lucio just shrugged.

“Got some family back home in Brazil,” he replied. “Though the way I look at it, you’re all my family now.”

He smiled, and Jesse let out another quiet laugh.

“And no…you know?” he pressed, mimicking the DJ’s words. Jesse glanced quickly at Hana to see if she was following the conversation.

“Naw,” Lucio chuckled, a little sadly. “But I got time, right? I’ll wait until after we save the world.”

He flashed Jesse another grin but the cowboy could tell that was all he was going to say on the subject. With that in mind, he turned to Hana.

“And how ‘bout you, Hana?” he asked with forced casualness. His heart was simultaneously trying to claw its way out of his throat and burst through his chest, and neither feeling was pleasant.

“I don’t like talking about it,” was all she said.

“Your family or your mate?” Lucio asked, Jesse thankful he didn’t have to.

“Either,” Hana snapped. “And especially not my mate.” She shot Jesse a look that emphasized just how much she didn’t want to continue this conversation. He nodded slightly, although Lucio didn’t seem to take the same hint.

“Man, it is rough out there trying to find them, right?” he said. He jabbed at a piece of beef a few times before successfully spearing it and shoving it into his mouth. “Like, you need one of them old online dating sites just to try and get an idea, and—“

“Maybe I know who mine is and I don’t want them to know,” Hana cut him off with another glare. “Let’s drop it.”

Jesse felt a sinking feeling in his stomach, and he pushed his bowl away, suddenly not hungry. Hana and Lucio continued to snip at each other in the background, but Jesse stopped paying attention, standing to his feet suddenly.

“Jesse, are you ill?” Angela asked with a concerned frown.

“Not feelin’ too great, doc, but nothin’ a little rest won’t cure,” Jesse managed to get out. He tipped his hat at the table, making it a point not to look in Hana or Lucio’s direction, and quietly left.

Jesse managed to avoid Hana for the next few days, although he wasn’t as successful with Lucio. No matter what time of day or night Jesse visited the common room or kitchen, the DJ was there.

“Reinhardt was sure his food made you sick,” Lucio said the first time they ran into each other. 

“Naw,” Jesse chuckled. “Rein’s food is amazing. Musta just picked up a bug or somethin’.”

Lucio made it a point to ask Jesse how he was feeling every time they met, studying his face as if he was hoping for a specific answer. It got to the point where Jesse went out of his way to stock his room with essentials – even foregoing his precious coffee – so his trips to the rooms wouldn’t be as frequent.

As much as he liked Lucio, right now all he reminded Jesse of was rejection.

A few weeks after the last, another status briefing was called for the reassembled members of Overwatch.

Winston cleared his throat over the din in the room, although Jesse was pretty sure he was the only one who heard it. Their numbers had more than doubled, and the empty seats that had distressed him so much only a few weeks before were now filled. Even Winston didn’t seem too put off by the lack of response, all calm demeanor as he looked around the energized room.

“Alright, everyone,” Jack shouted, although he was sporting a faint smile as well. “Winston’s got the floor.”

The rest of the group managed to settle down within a few moments, looking at Winston expectantly. The gorilla cleared his throat again, almost nervously this time, before smiling.

“Good morning, team,” he began.

“Morning, Winston!” Lucio cheerfully called back. He furrowed his brows a second later when no one else chimed in, Hana snickering to his left.

“Man, you guys need to lighten up,” he grumbled. Jesse gave him a small thumbs up when he caught his eye, and Lucio brightened a little.

“Good morning, Lucio. Team.” Winston started again. “I promise this meeting will be brief. I just wanted to formally welcome all our new members to Overwatch and go over some ground rules.”

Jesse heard someone groan in the background and he bit his lip, stifling a laugh.

“But first,” Winston continued, “Athena? Would you introduce yourself, please?”

“Certainly, Winston,” the computer chimed in.

Jesse zoned out as Athena and Winston – as well-meaning as they were – droned on about proper comm usage, chain of command, and staying away from Winston’s peanut butter stash. Things Jesse had heard a hundred times before.

The new members didn’t seem enthralled, either. He watched as Mei began doodling on a piece of paper and passing it back and forth with Zarya, who sat to her side. They shared secret smiles, Mei trying her best to shield her giggles as Winston talked on. Even Jack looked bored, struggling to hide a yawn from his corner.

“And that should do it for now,” Winston concluded, smiling as he looked around the room. “I’ll be sure to let you know when—“

He paused, frowning, as a light began flashing red on the console in front of him.

“Hold on a second…” he muttered, typing as fast as his fingers would allow.

“What is it?” Jack growled, on his feet in a second to peer over Winston’s shoulder.

Winston didn’t respond, still typing away as the rest of the group began to murmur to each other in worry. Now was not the time for a crisis. Although they had all been training on their own, their teamwork was still lacking. Jesse exchanged a look with Jack that told him the older man was thinking the same thing.

After a few more minutes the light stopped flashing. Winston looked up and gave the group a triumphant smile. 

“We reached Genji.”  

Chapter Text

The Watchpoint was abuzz over the next few days in anticipation of Genji’s arrival. The message Winston received was vague, stating that Genji had been staying in Nepal at a Shambali monastery and had only recently received the recall notice. While the message in and of itself was strange – why was Genji living at an Omnic monastery, of all places? – they were willing to put those thoughts aside, just excited to have another one of their own returning.  

And with friends, it would seem. Although Genji was unclear on those details as well, only telling Winston that he would “have one, possibly two” new recruits coming with him.

There were plenty of other issues to occupy them in the meantime.

Only a day after receiving Genji’s message they also greeted their representative from the Vishkar Corporation in the form of Satya Vaswani. Luckily – for Jesse, at least – her arrival didn’t seem to warrant a “getting to know you” meeting from Jack and Winston. It only took him about 15 minutes to realize why.

“Ohhh no, I am not okay with this,” Lucio shouted. “Someone needs to do some explaining, or I’m outta here.”

“Whoa,” Jesse soothed, stepping into his path to block Lucio’s view of the woman. Satya was looking at them with the barest of smirks on her face, saying nothing.

“Why don’tcha come take a breather with me a for a minute,” he continued, gently guiding the DJ out of the room and into the back garden. He noticed Hana watching them as they left, biting her lip as if unsure if she should follow. She finally threw a glare at the new arrival, stomping outside after them.

“What’s the problem?” Jesse asked as soon as they were out of earshot. “She’s on our side.”

“Do you have any idea what those people do?” Lucio burst out. He looked nearly on the verge of a meltdown, pacing back and forth across the small space as the pair watched silently.

“Vishkar took over your city,” Hana finally replied, quietly.

Lucio nodded, giving her a brief, relieved look, happy at least someone knew what he was talking about. Jesse, on the other hand, just stared between the two with his brows furrowed.

“Someone gonna—“

Vishkar is the type of group we should be fighting against,” Lucio interrupted vehemently. “You really haven’t been keeping up on them?”

When Jesse shook his head no, Lucio inhaled deeply in an attempt to calm himself down before beginning.

“They came in and promised to redevelop parts of Rio, right?” he began. “Life was supposed to get better. We were in a bad way, but here they came, promising us houses, jobs…you name it.”

“And I’m gonna guess that didn’t happen.”

“They turned us into a labor camp,” Lucio replied through clenched teeth. “Everything was done in the name of creating order. We didn’t follow the rules? They burned the favelas down. They exploited my people every chance they got, used sonic weapons when we ‘disobeyed.’ They would have razed the entire city and started all over again. Without us to get in their way.”

“Damn,” Jesse whispered. “I had no idea, Luc, I’m sorry.”

“I lost a lot of people close to me,” he whispered. Hana came over to give his arm a reassuring squeeze.

“But you kicked their asses,” she murmured, turning to Jesse. “You really never heard about this?”

Jesse shrugged sheepishly. “Y’all know I ain’t up on that stuff. Was kinda keepin’ to myself for a long while there.”

“I used their own weapons against them.” Lucio smiled, perking up. “Where do you think my amplifier came from?”

“He was already popular,” Hana cut in. “But this… The way the people rallied around him, it was incredible.”

“We pushed them out,” Lucio continued, smiling wider. “We’re still rebuilding, but at least now it’s on our terms.”

Jesse let out a low whistle, glancing back inside the building where Jack and a few others were speaking with the Vishkar woman.

“Does Jack know about all this? Winston?”

“Yeah,” Lucio replied, almost sadly. “Which is why I can’t believe she’s even here. We don’t need them!”

“There has t’be a reason,” Jesse rationalized. “There’s no way Jack would do something so half-cocked. Lemme talk to him.”

Lucio shrugged, scowling.

“You can try, man,” he said, crossing his arms. “But I don’t wanna be anywhere around her.”

“Come on,” Hana urged, pushing Lucio lightly in the other direction. “Let’s go use that energy on some monsters. I’ll even let you pick the game.”

Lucio rolled his eyes slightly but gave her a smile before turning his eyes on Jesse.

“Thanks, though. I appreciate having someone on my side.”

“And what am I?” Hana exclaimed, punching him on the arm.

Besides you,” Lucio laughed, skating back. “See ya, Eastwood!”

Hana started to chase after him but had a second thought, instead turning back to Jesse and enveloping him in a hug. It was the most overt form of physical contact they had ever had, and he didn’t know what to do…it was uncomfortable, of all things. He froze, heart pounding and face turning red, but allowed the brief embrace without really returning it.

“Thanks,” was all she said before finally running off.

Jesse sighed, taking off his hat and running the back of his hand across his forehead. A quick glance showed that Vaswani was gone – someone presumably showing her around the base – leaving Winston and a few others left in the common room. He needed to talk to someone about this, even if it only eased his own mind.

“No time like the present,” he sighed, replacing his hat and trudging back inside.

Things calmed down for a while, Jack and Winston attempting to assuage Lucio’s objections but also promising to keep him and Satya apart for the time being. While Satya had no overt concerns about them working together, Jesse thought she seemed a little relieved. It was hard to tell, though, considering they rarely saw her outside of training.

Jesse began to devote more of his time to keeping in shape, mixing up regular bouts of exercise along with his training on the range. Regular meals, healthy activity and constant, good company had him feeling better than he had in years. He had a feeling that that sentiment would only increase once Genji arrived.

It was only a week or so later, however, when Jesse, Lena, and Lucio found themselves gathered in the meeting room one morning, called by Jack and Winston.

“We’ve received word of increased anti-Omnic violence in Kings Row within the last few weeks,” Winston began, pulling up a map of the city center. He began pointing out the places where the hostility seemed to be concentrated.

“We thought it might be a good chance to get our feet wet,” Jack said. “But we didn’t want to send a full team in right away. So you three are our recon.”

“That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” Lucio exclaimed with a cheer. Lena looked equally as enthusiastic, leaving Jesse no choice but to chuckle and give the men in charge a shrug.

“Be good to stretch these legs,” he remarked, adding an exaggerated stretch for emphasis. “See if these two can keep up.”

Lucio and Lena let out simultaneous cries of protest as Jesse grinned. The more he thought about it, the more excited he became. It would be good to get away from the Watchpoint, maybe even see some action. It had been so long since he’d worked in a team, he was almost hoping for it.

Jack nodded tersely and Winston smiled, clicking off the screen.

“You’ll leave tomorrow.”

Genji arrived in Gibralter only two days after the trio left, accompanied by an Omnic monk and a scowling, withdrawn Japanese man. Angela was there to greet them upon their arrival, face lighting up at the sight.

“Genji, it’s wonderful to see you again,” she cried, pulling him into an embrace. After giving him a brief once-over her eyes turned to the Omnic, looking him over as well before she slightly bowed her head.

“This is my master, Tekhartha Zenyatta,” Genji introduced them. “Master, this is Angela. She’s the one who…rebuilt me.”

The lights on the monk’s face lit up in recognition and he gave her a proper greeting, humming pleasantly as he looked between the two.

“It is an honor to meet you,” he replied. “I thank you for your help. You have made my life infinitely better.”

Angela gave him a confused smile, furrowing her brow and looking at Genji curiously. The other man only cleared his throat nervously, glancing over his shoulder at the older man standing off to the side, surveying the room. He spoke quickly in Japanese, gaining the man’s attention and drawing him closer.

“This…is my brother,” Genji told her once Hanzo had stepped to his side. Angela hissed in a breath, face turning to a mask of fury as she trained her eyes on him. Hanzo, for his part, remained impassive, returning her gaze with his own mask of steel.

“Please, Angela, it is alright,” Genji quickly intervened. “I will tell you everything, in time. We—“

“The prodigal son returns,” a gravely voice called out from the entrance. Genji turned to see Jack strolling in, studying the gathered group intently.

“Jack, I thought you and Winston were down in the lab,” Angela frowned. “I would have called you…”

“It’s fine.” He brushed her off, holding up the object in his hand. “Found this old revolver down in storage, thought McCree might want to tune it up. Was on my way to drop it off in his room when I heard you all talking.”

Genji nodded at him in greeting.

“It is good to see you again, Commander.”

“Please,” Jack huffed. “We don’t use those titles anymore.”

“As you wish,” Genji replied, a hint of curiosity in his voice. “Master, Hanzo, this is Jack Morrison, leader of Overwatch.”

Zenyatta bowed again but Hanzo froze, staring at the man. Or, more specifically, at the gun in his hand. It bore a striking resemblance to…

“You are Jack Morrison?” Hanzo asked gruffly, interrupting whoever was speaking. Jack tilted his head warily.

“Yeah…who’re you?”

“This is my brother,” Genji interjected.

Jack bristled much in the same way Angela had, Genji repeating his words of assurance. Hanzo stopped listening, attempting to study as much of the man as possible.

The gun.


It couldn’t…

He refused to believe it. He felt nothing for the man in front of him…not even the anger and disappointment he expected to feel upon finally meeting the man whose initials had haunted him for much of his life. Genji gazed at him in confusion as Jack and Zenyatta spoke, moving over and pulling Hanzo aside.

“What is it, Hanzo?”

“It is nothing,” he replied shortly. “I am going outside to check the perimeter.”

“You don’t have—“ Genji called after him, but Hanzo had already ducked out.

“What was that all about?” Angela asked once Genji returned. The other man sighed, glancing toward the window briefly before shaking his head.

“It is a long story,” he replied. “Come. I would like to reacquaint myself with the base.”

Hanzo spent much of his time alone, as he preferred it. He mapped the exterior of the watchpoint over the next couple of days, picking out spots where he would be the most comfortable. He had his own room, yes, but being indoors meant a likely chance of being forced into unwanted conversation, so he planned on spending time there only when necessary.

Things with Genji were still…tense. Despite wishing with every fiber of his being that Genji’s offer to join him – and Overwatch – was not a trap, he still remained suspicious. He knew what he did was unforgivable. And yet, here Genji was, claiming forgiveness. And claiming these people, these friends, would forgive him as well.

It was almost too good to be true. Which meant it most likely was.

Add to that the strange, improbable possibility that his soulmate might be amongst this crew in the form of Jack Morrison and, well…it was a lot to take in.

He had almost entirely convinced himself that his initial impressions were false. He had no feeling other than horror and disbelief that this, of all places, was where he would find his mate, and he was under the distinct impression that the initial meeting was supposed to be slightly more…pleasant.

But still, he watched. And the more he watched, the more he grew to admire Morrison. The man had been bruised, beaten in both body and spirit and yet he was still here. Still fighting for the honor of a cause he believed in. Hanzo respected that, if nothing else.

Admiration alone, however, was not enough. Hanzo hadn’t seen any sign of the fabled revolver since their initial meeting. Morrison, likewise, seemed to hold no interest toward Hanzo at all during the rare times they happened to be in the same room. Morrison was as much a loner as himself.

No, he thought. This wouldn’t be where he would find his mate, among this motley crew. He had more important things to worry about – like Genji.

Hanzo was fine on his own. He had been alone this long, with no detriment to himself.

He could wait.

Jesse, Lena, and Lucio returned a few days later, immediately informed that Genji and his group had arrived. While Lena and Jesse were overjoyed, the trio was also required to debrief before they could venture to say hello.

Lucio had only polite interest in meeting the new arrivals, all three exhausted from the trip. Winston wanted to take a look at Lena’s chronal accelerator, which had taken a slight beating while they were away, waylaying her for a bit as well and leaving Jesse on his own.

He found Genji in the gardens, meditating while the Omnic monk hovered slightly off the ground next to him. He paused a short distance away, unsure if he should interrupt or not.

“I believe this is enough for today,” the monk said a few seconds later, sparing Jesse from making a decision. “Genji, you have a guest.”

Genji looked over, faceplate lighting up in what Jesse hoped was happiness.

“McCree!” the cyborg cried, leaping up and making his way over.

“Hey there,” Jesse laughed, pulling the other man into a hug. “Good to see ya again. Wasn’t thinkin’ I’d ever have the chance.”

Genji looked different from the last time Jesse had seen him – in more than just physical appearance. He appeared calmer, more composed and sure of himself. It suited him well, and Jesse assumed it was due in no small part to the Omnic behind him. Genji must have noticed his look, ushering the cowboy over to the monk.

“Master, this is Jesse McCree, the one I told you about,” Genji said, an almost eager tinge to his voice. “Jesse, this is my Master, Tekhartha Zenyatta. He saved my life.”

“He gives me too much credit,” Zenyatta replied with a small chuckle. He bowed in Jesse’s direction, the other man tipping his hat in greeting.

“It’s a pleasure t’meet ya,” Jesse answered. “Any friend of Genji’s is a friend of mine.”

Jesse watched as the pair exchanged a look, unreadable to him. He shifted on his feet, scratching his beard before turning back to his friend.

“So, uh, y’busy?” he asked. “Was thinkin’ maybe we could go somewhere and catch up.”

He turned and nodded in Zenyatta’s direction. “Yer friend’s welcome to come along, too.”

“That is not necessary, but thank you,” Zenyatta replied, his smooth voice oddly soothing. “I will see you both at dinner.”

“Thank you, Master.” The pair exchanged a more formal goodbye before Zenyatta made his departure. Genji turned to Jesse, gesturing with his head toward one of the cliffs.

“Shall we?”

“What happened to your hand?”

Jesse lifted his left arm, twisting the metal appendage for a better look.

“What story d’ya wanna hear?” he chuckled. “I got a million of ‘em.”

Genji let out a low laugh of his own, shaking his head.

“I see you have not changed,” he mused. “It is good.”

“I s’pose,” Jesse replied. “But what about you? Are you his bodyguard or somethin’ now?”

Genji laughed, loudly this time, shaking his head.

“I forgot,” he said after finally calming down. “You never saw my mark. No, he is much…more.”

“How in the hell are ya supposed to mate with a machine?” Jesse blurted out before he could think better of it. He immediately reddened, ducking his head apologetically.

“Sorry, that was real crass of me,” he said. “I didn’t mean mate in the physical sense, I just had no idea Omnics could…you know…”

“Am I not mostly machine as well?”

Genji was looking at him expectantly, the question apparently not a rhetorical one.

“Naw, Genji, you’re as much a man as I am,” Jesse finally replied. “I’m not judgin’ or nothin’. I just never heard of an Omnic with a mate before. Are ya happy?”

“I am,” the other man answered immediately. “And more importantly, I am at peace.”

“Uh…” Jesse began, trying to think of how to ask the multitude of questions now swirling in his brain. “How didja…ya know, know?”

Genji hummed in amusement.

“Perhaps he will show you someday,” he replied after a moment. “The etching is quite beautiful.”

“But yours…”

“Was very distinctive,” Genji answered with another chuckle. “The ring of orbs that used to grace my arm is not a common sight.”

Jesse sighed, smiling at his friend.

“I’m real happy for ya.”

“Thank you,” the man murmured. He cocked his head, looking at Jesse curiously.

“And you?”

“Naw…” Jesse chuckled, looking away. “I mean…maybe. I’m not sure, to tell ya the truth.”

Genji made a noise of acknowledgment and silence fell between the pair, both looking out over the water.

“The feeling when I met Zenyatta was unmistakable,” Genji said after a few minutes. “Even before I saw his mark, I knew.”

He turned to study Jesse again.

“Trust me, my friend. When you meet them, it will be unlike anything you have felt before.”

Jesse simply nodded his head in reply, although plenty of doubts had already formed in his mind. What if he was wrong? It wasn’t like the notion hadn’t occurred to him before, but the more time went on – and the constant air of indifference from Hana – the more he thought he might have been mistaken.

He wasn’t sure which was worse, though. If he was wrong, it meant he was back at square one. If he was right, it meant he was dealing with a soulmate who seemingly had no interest in him. It was depressing either way.

Genji cleared his throat, startling Jesse out of his thoughts and into the realization that the other man had been speaking.

“Sorry,” Jesse grinned. “Got lost in my own head again.”

“It is fine,” Genji chuckled in reply. “I was just saying I have someone else I’d like you to meet.”

“Oh?” Jesse asked, eyebrows raising. “Well, I look forward to it, whenever we get a chance to head out.”

“He is here.”

Jesse furrowed his brow, looking at Genji with a growing sense of dread. He had an idea who the cyborg was speaking about.

“Ya don’t mean…”

Genji nodded. “My brother agreed to accompany me. He made no promises to join Overwatch, and it took some convincing to even get him here, but he promised to speak to Winston and Jack and see what they were offering.”

“But Genji!” Jesse protested. “I don’t…how did this even happen?”

“It…is a long story,” Genji admitted. “And I cannot lie and tell you things are amicable between us much of the time. But we are working on it. The fact that he was willing to accompany me at all gives me great hope.”

“Wow…” Jesse exhaled, leaning back on his elbows and turning his face to the sky. “I’m not quite sure what to say about all this.”

“I just ask that you keep an open mind,” Genji replied gently. “You may not see him for some time yet, anyway. He is…reclusive, with people he does not yet know.”

“I can understand that.” Jesse nodded. “Still, I’d like the chance to check ‘em out for myself.”

Genji only gave an amused hum in return, the pair drifting back into comfortable silence. Jesse’s mind was going a mile a minute, trying to comprehend why Genji made such an effort to make amends with his brother after what he did. It only further heightened the changes that had come over the man.

“Come,” Genji said after a bit, standing. “I believe it is almost time for dinner. Perhaps my brother will join us this evening.”

Jesse nodded, slowly getting to his feet as well. He still had a lot going through his mind, but maybe it would be better to give his thoughts time to settle. He would be less apt to blurt out something ridiculous.

“Either way,” he said, clapping Genji on the shoulder once more, “I’m glad t’have ya back.”

Hanzo did not show for dinner, to the subtle disappointment of Genji. The thought had already disappeared from Jesse’s mind, too caught up in the excitement of being back with the group again. Many of them lingered after dinner was over, gravitating to the common room where the stories and laughter drifted on for several more hours.

Eventually, just Jesse, Genji, Zenyatta and Lena were left, the Omnic listening in quiet amusement as the trio reminisced about the old days. Eventually, Lena pleaded off, tired from the return trip. Jesse wasn’t too far off from bed either, but he was enjoying chatting with his old friend more than he needed sleep.

They were in the middle of a discussion about the Shambali monastery when Jesse felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He froze, listening, before slowly turning around to face the doorway. The conversation died at the appearance of their visitor.

“Brother!” Genji called out. “Come join us!”

The man said nothing, nor did he make any move to come further into the room. Jesse could feel his heart pounding in his chest, adrenaline coursing through his veins for no discernable reason other than this. This was the man who ruined Genji’s life.

He knew he had promised Genji he would keep an open mind and a cool head, but before he knew it, he was on his feet, storming across the room to stop short in front of the man. He could hear footsteps behind him, the pair undoubtedly hurrying to catch up.

The man hadn’t said a word, standing impassively before them as Jesse struggled to get himself under control. He hadn’t expected this flood of emotions and, as perplexing as they were, he knew he needed to rein them in. He chose instead to stare at the begrudgingly attractive face before him…at the dark hair – graying at edges – pulled back into a ponytail. At the eyes squinting at him and the small frown that played on the man’s lips. He trailed his eyes from the man’s lips down the curve of his neck, only briefly glancing at the tattoo winding across his arm before he was distracted by the sight of the man’s sculpted chest, half-bared by his outfit.

It was only Genji’s voice that made Jesse realize perhaps he had been staring at the man’s chest just a little too long.

“Hanzo, this is—“

“McCree,” Jesse interrupted, holding out his hand. “The name’s McCree.”

Hanzo said nothing, eyes flicking between Jesse and Genji and ignoring the hand in front of him until Jesse slowly lowered it.

“He is my friend,” Genji continued, taking a step forward. “I have been looking forward to introducing you.”

“And I been lookin’ forward to finally meetin’ ya,” Jesse growled.

Hanzo remained silent, one eyebrow raised as he slowly looked the cowboy over.

“You look ridiculous,” Hanzo finally announced, nodding goodnight at Genji before turning and heading back down the hall. Jesse was stunned, foul mood broken and replaced by one of wounded pride. He stared after Hanzo with his mouth agape for a few seconds before sprinting to catch up.

“Now, hold on a second!” he cried. “Come back here! I ain’t the one flauntin’ my left nipple for the whole world to see…”

The sounds of Jesse’s cries faded off, leaving Genji and Zenyatta in silence.

“Are you going to tell them?” the Omnic asked after a few moments, a tinge of amusement in his voice.

Genji chuckled, shaking his head.

“No, Master,” he replied. “I believe they should figure it out on their own.”

Chapter Text

Hanzo stalked quickly down the hall, quietly fuming as the tingle of electricity shot up and down his arm, the dragons practically screaming in his ear. He could hear the cowboy shouting after him, but he ignored it, no desire at all to engage the man in conversation.

Something was wrong.

He managed to get to his room right as the other man caught up with him, slightly winded from the exertion.

“Hey, now, Shimada,” the man finally got out. “Didn’t ya hear me callin’?”

“Yes. I was ignoring you.”

McCree - that’s what he said his name was, right? McCree looked so taken aback Hanzo would have laughed if he hadn’t been so desperate to get into his room and be alone with his thoughts.

“Well, that’s just plain rude,” the man sputtered eventually. “I only wanted to talk.”

Hanzo was rapidly losing the little patience he had, fixing the man with another glare. “I do not wish to speak to you.”

He turned to open his door just as the other man reached out to grasp his uncovered arm.

“Now wait just a min—“

Hanzo’s arm was immediately enveloped in a blue glow, both men jumping apart as if burned. McCree just stared with wide eyes as Hanzo felt his face turn hot, disorienting emotions whirling in his chest. The roar in his head was like pounding waves crashing against the shore, drowning out all other thoughts except his dragons. He noticed the other man clutching at his wrist even as his own began to throb, and all he could think was go.

“Hey, Shimada, I—”

Do not speak to me,” Hanzo spit out, arm flaring blue once more. McCree winced, almost as if in pain, but he took a step back. Hanzo was breathing heavily now, his entire arm throbbing as the dragons fought to break free. He needed to get away before that happened.

“Excuse me,” he muttered, turning abruptly as he finally entered his room, closing and locking his door as soon as he was inside. He staggered toward his bed, falling to his knees as the sensations overwhelmed him again, and there he rested, on all fours as he let his heart and breathing slow down.

After a few minutes, he realized he hadn’t heard a word of protest from the other man. He expected after that display that McCree would be banging on his door, either in anger or worry. But he hadn’t heard a sound. Suddenly full of curiosity, he rose, pressing his ear to the door. Hearing nothing, he opened it and was greeted by an empty and eerily silent hall.

Something unwound in his chest, an uneasy feeling settling into his limbs as he closed the door and slowly made his way to his bed.

But he wondered, even after lying there unblinking in the dark for hours, why his dragons were still screaming.

Things quickly settled down at the Watchpoint, the King’s Row mission instilling a sense of hopefulness and positivity in the group. For the first time in decades, it seemed as if Overwatch could become a viable organization once again.

While there were no other immediate missions planned, Jack and Winston created a training regimen that rivaled the old days. With so many new members – and so many old ones out of practice – training in teams was a must. Athena kept track of which members seemed to work best together, switching up groups and challenges to keep everyone on their toes.

It was not pleasant to watch, at first. Angela had her work cut out for her in the medbay, but it felt good to be hard at work. Occasional bumps and bruises and concussions aside.

Jesse was happy Genji seemed to acclimate to the group quickly. Having his soulmate and brother there undoubtedly helped (although in the case of Hanzo, he wasn’t so sure) but it was good to see Genji with this newfound sense of purpose. They spent much of their time together when they weren’t training or Genji was with Zenyatta. It helped to calm a lot of chaos in his head.

“Tell me about your mate,” Genji asked one day at lunch. He was scheduled to meet with Zenyatta for their meditation in less than an hour, but Jesse had caught him in the halls and insisted they share the meal together.

“I told ya, I don’t even know if I’m right,” Jesse replied, pursing his lips. “I mean, I feel like they woulda come around by now if I was.”

Genji hummed in acknowledgment, playing with the napkin in front of him, deep in thought.  

“Perhaps they are also unsure,” he suggested after a moment. “You are quite intimidating.”

Jesse turned to him, mouth open as he prepared to protest, until he realized that his friend was joking. He grinned, shaking his head slightly as he picked at his food.

“I doubt anyone here is intimidated by little ol’ me.”

Genji tilted his head, looking at him curiously.

“You believe it is someone here, then?”

Jesse’s eyes widened as he silently cursed himself for being so careless. But it was too late to take it back.

“Don’t say nothin’, would ya?” he asked, lowering his voice. “I don’t want her actin’ weird around me.”


“Hana,” Jesse sighed, glancing at his covered wrist. “Last name’s Song. First time I saw her, she was wearin’ this shirt with two dragons winding around it and I just felt this…jolt of somethin’. Like it hit me all at once. That’s what it’s supposed to feel like, right?”

Genji shrugged, looking away.

“Mine did not feel like a ‘jolt,’ but I suppose everyone is different.”

“What did yours feel like, then?” Jesse asked, nearly pleading with the other man as he turned more to face him. “I only ever heard bits and pieces about it from other people.”

Genji paused, allowing the memories to wash over him as he recalled his early days at the Shambali monastery. For Jesse, this was the information he had been waiting for, never feeling quite close enough to broach the subject with anyone else.

“I did not understand it, at first,” Genji began. “When I arrived at the monastery I was angry. My body had healed but my soul had not. I had only gotten worse after I left Overwatch. I stumbled across the monastery on my travels, and it was Zenyatta who I encountered first. I remember…he was sitting in a garden, meditating. I thought perhaps I could sneak past him, but something made me stop.”

He paused again, glancing around the yard serenely, as if the Omnic might suddenly appear. Jesse just nodded his head, urging him to continue.

“Zenyatta turned to me, then,” Genji continued. “His face lit up and I could sense him regarding me, but all I could focus on was the warm contentment spreading throughout my body. And my dragon screaming.”

Jesse burst out laughing and Genji joined in, shaking his head slightly.

“He wouldn’t shut up,” he chuckled. “I was worried there was danger, that he was trying to warn me, but I didn’t feel in danger. It made no sense. Zenyatta was still staring at me, not saying a word, with his head tilted slightly. It was then that I noticed the orbs circling his neck.”

“Yeah,” Jesse agreed. “Those things are kinda hard to miss.”

“My mark…before,” Genji explained, “was a ring of orbs surrounding my mate’s initials – TZ. I no longer had my mark, but I could feel my skin burning as if I did. I refused to believe it, however.”

“It was starin’ you in the face, Genji, how could you ignore it?” Genji only shrugged.

“He was an Omnic. I thought, perhaps, that he was to lead me to my mate. Then he rose, bowed his head and introduced himself as Tekhartha Zenyatta and I was done. I knew he was my soulmate.”

“Damn,” Jesse whistled, looking off into the distance. They were both quiet for a moment before Jesse turned back to look at him.

“And Zen? Did he know?”

Genji chuckled again, bowing his head shyly. If Jesse didn’t know better, he’d say the man was blushing.

“He came up to me and said, ‘it is good to finally meet you, my sparrow.’ I fell to my knees, I was so overwhelmed.”

Jesse didn’t reply, an ache that had been growing in his chest now threatening to overtake him. This was nothing like what he felt with Hana.

“I’m guessin’ that means somethin’?” he asked, clearing his throat. Genji nodded.

“’Sparrow’ was my nickname in my youth,” he explained. “Zenyatta has a beautiful engraving on his arm, complete with my initials.”

“But how?” Jesse blurt out. “He’s not…marks don’t just appear on Omnics like they do on people.”

“The Shambali believe that Omnics have souls, much like humans. Who is to say they cannot also experience our wonders?”

Jesse sighed, rubbing the back of his neck.

“I’m sorry, Genji, I didn’t mean nothin’ by it,” he said, sufficiently chastised. “I’m just…you both just knew. There was no doubt what you felt. That’s not at all what I’m feelin’.”

“How much time have you spent around her?”

“A lot,” Jesse huffed out. “Well, as much as I could without bein’ a creep. Sittin’ near her at dinner, helpin’ her train…stuff like that.”

“And how did you feel?”

“I’m always full of those butterflies you get in your stomach…the ones where you don’t know if it’s from nerves or excitement but they make you wanna lose your lunch the whole time.” Jesse grimaced, thankful he wasn’t in that state now.

“That…does not sound pleasant, Jesse,” Genji replied delicately after a moment. The cowboy shrugged, resigned.

“It’s not,” he said. “But it’s also the closest I’ve gotten since this damned this appeared on my arm and it’s kinda hard to just let it go.”

“I understand, my friend,” Genji replied. “I just do not want this to consume you.”

“It won’t,” he scoffed. “I’m better off on my own, anyway. Seems like I’m havin’ bad reactions to everyone, lately.”

“What do you mean?”

Jesse debated how much to tell Genji about his interaction with his brother the week before. He hadn’t seen the other man at all since then, save for a brief glance as he was leaving the training hall one day. He appeared to have been given a reprieve from the rest of the group’s duties, and Jesse suspected it was because he hadn’t actually agreed to join. The faint, stirring emotions rose in his chest again at the thought of the elder Shimada and he decided it was a thread he didn’t want to follow. At least right then.

“Nothin’,” he replied. “Thanks for talkin’ to me, though.”

They both rose, Genji’s meditation hour quickly approaching. Genji clasped his friend on the shoulder as they parted.

“Do not despair, Jesse. He will find you eventually.”

Jesse just nodded before heading to the range to blow off some steam. It wasn’t until he was lining up his first target that the realization hit him.

Genji said he.

Hanzo had never been one for forced socialization, and the closeness amongst the people at the Watchpoint did little to change that. And, considering he wasn’t actually an official member of Overwatch, he didn’t feel obligated to associate when he didn’t feel like it.

After his last interaction with McCree, associating with anyone was the furthest thing on his mind.

Genji had sought him out the next day, studying him curiously when Hanzo appeared more standoffish and distant than usual. Hanzo divulged little, brushing off his brother’s questions before abruptly excusing himself under the pretense of training. Over the course of the following week he rarely interacted with anyone, participating in training occasionally – when the cowboy wasn’t around - and joining the others for meals not at all. He was happy enough lurking on the perimeter, keeping to the roofs or his room to avoid running into anyone.

Except things don’t always work out quite as planned.

It first happened late one morning. Although Hanzo had woken up early, as was his routine, he had avoided the kitchen while he knew the others were enjoying their breakfast. Days of observation had allowed him to note their routines, and he knew that most had scattered by this point, allowing him to make himself a small breakfast before they began drifting in for lunch.

He had just finished plating his meal when he felt a tingle run down his spine. The dragons, who had been quiet thus far that day, suddenly roused. Hanzo braced himself for whatever intrusion was coming his way, hoping it was only Genji or the Omnic.

“Uh…hi there,” came the uncertain southern drawl behind him. Hanzo sighed in resignation, closing his eyes briefly as he prepared to face the last man he wanted to see.

“Excuse me, I was just leaving,” he replied curtly, picking up his food and making his way to the door.

“Hey now, you don’t need to leave on account of me,” McCree replied, frowning.

“Do not flatter yourself,” Hanzo huffed, attempting to brush past the man. McCree quickly stepped into his path, blocking his escape.

“Can we talk, Shimada?”

“I have nothing to say to you.” Hanzo bristled, hoping his still-steaming bowl of rice wouldn’t end up on the man’s head if he didn’t move. He could feel the dragons’ disapproval at his attitude, sending a wave of annoyance through him.

“I get the feelin’ you don’t have a lot to say to anyone,” McCree agreed. “But that don’t mean I don’t have something to say to you.”

“Let me rephrase myself then,” Hanzo replied. “I do not wish to have any form of conversation with you. Please excuse me.”

McCree wordlessly stepped out of the way, looking entirely too disappointed. Hanzo felt a brief surge of guilt at the words, but he bit his tongue. He had nothing to offer the man in the way of conversation and doubted the cowboy did, either. Instead, he nodded his head briefly and returned to his room.

If it had only been that one chance encounter, Hanzo probably would have written it off. But, only a few hours later, he found the cowboy standing in front of him again, this time while he was on his way to the training center.

“We gotta stop meetin’ like this,” McCree grinned, tipping his hat. “People are gonna talk.”

Hanzo rolled his eyes, saying nothing, and sidestepped the man to continue down the hallway. Something gnawed at him, however. An anxious feeling settling in his chest, unease spreading through his limbs.

Funny how it only seemed to happen when McCree was near.

The dragons stirred within him, almost as if in warning, and he frowned to himself. He would have to be more careful, perhaps rearrange his schedule once more to avoid the others.

Only the cowboy, he thought bitterly to himself. The others at the base respectfully gave him space, only nodding politely when he was in the room, if anything. The cowboy seemed intent to interact with him, despite Hanzo clearly making it obvious he wanted nothing of the sort.

He decided to make his dinner early; something cold that he could bring to his room before the others gathered in the dining area. He knew most would be busy at this time, either training or in their extracurricular pursuits.

He was surprised, then, to find Jack Morrison leaning against the counter, sipping a mug of coffee and seemingly lost in thought. He froze, heart hammering in his chest at the possibility of being near his potential mate.

Be calm. Be courteous. Pay every bit of attention to how you feel, he told himself.

Jack gave him a polite nod as he entered but said nothing, turning his attention back to his mug. Hanzo frowned. Surely the other man should be excited to see him?

“Good afternoon, Commander Morrison,” he greeted. The other man looked up in surprise, as if he hadn’t expected Hanzo to say anything at all.

“You don’t need to call me that.”

“You have earned your title,” Hanzo replied. “It should be respected.”

Jack let out a bitter laugh, raising an eyebrow.

“Appreciate it, but it’s not necessary.”

Hanzo stood awkwardly in front of the man, trying to think of something to say to continue their conversation, but Jack seemed to have no interest. He could feel himself becoming frustrated, almost willing his body to feel something other than annoyance at the man’s indifference.

“Please excuse me,” he finally said, gesturing at the cabinet Jack was leaning against. Jack moved aside without another word and Hanzo began making his food in silence. Uncomfortable silence.

“Why are you eating so early?” Jack asked after a while. Hanzo debated the truthfulness of his reply, not wanting to come off as antisocial and risk offending the de facto leader of this group. One who might potentially be more than just a leader.

He snuck a glance at Jack’s wrist, noting with disappointment that it was covered. So much for that, then.

“I keep to my former training schedule,” Hanzo replied. It wasn’t quite a lie, but it sounded much better than I’d like to avoid as many of these people as possible, especially the cowboy.

Jack nodded, seemingly appeased by the answer but not offering to continue the conversation. Hanzo was growing more frantic as the seconds ticked by, desperate to engage the other man and try to make some sense of his feelings. Or lack thereof.

“I…would not mind spending more time with some of you, however,” he began. “There is much I could learn from a man of your…experience.”

Jack glanced at him over the rim of his mug, squinting slightly, as if studying him. Hanzo noticed his eyes flicker to Hanzo’s wrist – also covered – before nodding shortly.

“I’m sure some of the old-timers would be happy to work with you,” Jack replied. “Your brother being one of them.”

The words stung Hanzo as if he had been slapped. Was Jack rejecting him?

It wasn’t until the dragons began stirring at his sense of wounded pride that another realization hit him – his dragons had been silent during this entire exchange. Surely they, of all things, would provide him with some insight?

He took a deep, calming breath, forcing a polite nod at the words.

“Yes, perhaps I will speak with him. I thank you.”

Hanzo turned on his heel, continuing with his food as he silently fumed. Either this man was oblivious or he was not his mate.

He was startled by the sound of water running, Jack rinsing out his mug in the sink.

“I’ll see you around.”

Hanzo didn’t bother to reply, only allowing another curt nod at the words. If Jack cared, he didn’t show it.

He let out the breath he was holding as soon as he was sure he was alone once again, annoyance still nagging the edges of his mind as he wondered what he did wrong. Perhaps he had come on too strong? He hadn’t talked to Jack more than a handful of times, maybe the other man was just caught off guard.

No, he thought as he gathered his food. Jack hadn’t shown any flicker of interest in him. This was a man who was either in deep denial or had no desire to find his mate.

Either option left Hanzo exactly where he started.

He decided that instead of dining in his room, as was his habit, he would take advantage of the fresh air and sunlight while it remained and eat on the roof. For some reason, he didn’t feel like being cooped up inside at the moment, the draw of the outdoors too much to pass up. Plus, he rationalized, no one would be looking for him up there.

He approached the roof the normal way – by the stairs – rather than scaling the walls as he tended to do. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath of the salty ocean air as he felt calmness settle over his body.

“Beautiful out here, ain’t it?”

Hanzo froze, eyes snapping open as the unmistakable southern voice came drifting over to him.

Why now? He exhaled through his nose, attempting to maintain his composure. His arm tingled, the dragons awake and interested in their unexpected visitor.

“I said, beau—“

“I heard you,” Hanzo cut him off, not unkindly, as he sighed in defeat and sat down. He didn’t have the urge to argue any more today, the disappointing meeting with Morrison draining him. Perhaps McCree would realize Hanzo was uninteresting and leave him alone.

When he heard nothing else from the man, he glanced over his shoulder, seeing McCree shift on his feet with a slightly surprised expression.

“Yes?” Hanzo prompted, raising an eyebrow.

“Sorry.” McCree grinned sheepishly, looking down. “Wasn’t expectin’ you to answer me, that’s all.”

“Should I regret it?” Hanzo smirked, caught off guard by his own teasing tone.

“Shoot, I sure hope not,” McCree grinned wider in reply. “Mind if I, uh…” He waved vaguely in the direction Hanzo was sitting. The other man merely shrugged and turned back to face the water.

McCree settled next to him, far enough away to give Hanzo his space but close enough that they could still speak easily. Hanzo noted it begrudgingly, surprised that the cowboy respected his wishes.

“You come up here a lot, huh?”

Hanzo nodded, taking a bite of his food. It gave him time to think while he chewed.

“It is…peaceful.”

“You like to be alone.” It wasn’t exactly a question. More a statement of fact. Hanzo nodded again.

“I am used to solitude. It relaxes me.”

“I’m used to solitude, too. Don’t mean I usually seek it out.”

“That’s where we differ,” Hanzo replied simply, taking another bite of his food.

They lapsed into silence, both lost in thought. Hanzo was surprised at how comfortable he was in the other man’s presence. The dragons were awake but humming peacefully, also seemingly content with the turn of events. Only his wrist, a dull ache having settled in, was disrupting the moment.

He glanced to the side just as he noticed McCree massage his own wrist, grimacing slightly. He knew it was rude to ask, but he had a sudden overwhelming desire to see what two letters were imprinted on his skin. Much like his own wrist, however, it was completely covered.

“What brings you up here?” Hanzo asked after another moment.

McCree shrugged, not looking at him.

“Dunno. Just had the urge to come on up and take in the view.”

Something struck Hanzo as being odd, but he kept it to himself. The cowboy was much more agreeable when he wasn’t trying to force himself where he wasn’t wanted.

Maybe you should have given him the chance sooner, a traitorous thought whispered in his mind. Hanzo frowned. The other man had been obnoxious. But perhaps he could have been more patient, as well.

“It was uh, nice spendin’ time with you, Shimada,” McCree said suddenly, standing. He looked uncomfortable.

“Yes,” Hanzo replied in confusion, standing as well. “You…do not have to leave.”

“Oh, I know,” McCree replied quickly. “It’s not you. Just remembered somethin’ I have to do.”

“Okay.” Hanzo frowned deeper. McCree tipped his hat, giving him a small smile before he rushed to the stairs, leaving Hanzo staring behind him, utterly perplexed. And, if he was honest with himself, a little offended. The cowboy had practically begged for his attention for weeks, and then he runs off the first time he gets it? Something wasn’t right.

Hanzo huffed a little in his annoyance, settling back down to finish his food. This was what he had intended, after all: a quiet meal in solitude, with only his thoughts and dragons for company.

And if those thoughts kept straying to a peculiar cowboy, well…only his dragons would know for sure.