Jesse and Hanzo lie together in the soft morning light. Away from the fighting. They’ve left it behind, are growing old together. They have a couple of dogs and a bearded dragon now. Jesse always teases Hanzo about him and the dragon having the same unimpressed face, which Hanzo diligently denies.
Warm light is filtering onto them through the gaps in the blinds, casting horizontal streaks of sunlight across their intertwined, slumbering bodies. They breathe almost in sync for a while. They both snore lightly, though Jesse’s snoring is more audible. This morning sees Hanzo being the little spoon, cradled in Jesse’s arms and looking like the two men were made to fit together like that.
A beam of sunlight eventually makes its way onto Hanzo’s face and he sleepily grunts and shuffles to lie on his other side. The light isn’t in his face anymore, but it’s too late anyway – he’s awake now.
He slides his left arm over Jesse’s midriff and rests his forehead between Jesse’s chin and shoulder; this gives him the perfect angle to start placing lazy kisses across Jesse’s skin, all soft and scarred and sun-kissed. He loves the smell of his cowboy – warmth and musk and something like cinnamon. Home, he thinks.
Hanzo runs the fingers of his left hand up from their resting spot on Jesse’s side to run them through the salt-and-pepper hair of his chest. His golden wedding band catches the light of the early morning. A soft smile settles on his face without bidding and Hanzo lets his hand rest over Jesse’s heart for some beats, watching it rise and fall with the rhythm of his husband’s breathing.
He has never felt peace like this. Never thought that he deserved a love like this; one which is all-consuming and ever-present in the best of ways. From the moment that he had killed Genji (and though those words didn’t burn like they used to, they still hurt. But he was done running) Hanzo had subconsciously resigned himself to a life of solitude.
Banned from love and human contact and any sort of kindness.
He was angry and lost for a long time, seeking closure in destroying everything to do with the clan in the hopes that it would alleviate his pain and guilt and let him feel like he had avenged Genji. Hanzo used to think that the only true way to atone for what he had done was for him to die and take his sin with him.
But then Genji had burst into his life, rising from the dead to tell him that he still had purpose. After ten lonesome years, that was the first time in a long, long time that Hanzo had felt something akin to (what he would eventually admit was) hope; hope that he could right his wrongs to some extent, hope for a chance to prove himself to be worth something more than what the clan had shaped him to be even after their downfall. Hope that he could prove Genji right, that he really could do more with his life. Hope that he could protect Genji again, as he had done in the long-gone past.
But he had never hoped that he would be... loved. That someone could know what he had done and still accept him. That they could both live with their memories of a freshly-rebuilt Genji – vengeful and full of righteous anger towards his older brother – and accept Hanzo into their team. That someone could love him after all of that.
The first time that Jesse had said that he loved him, Hanzo felt a swelling of emotions that almost got Jesse punched in the face. Love? he had whispered. He had meant to shout, but the storm of emotions that had torn through him had left him weak. How could you love me? Hanzo had vehemently argued. He kept offering arguments – pleas – to Jesse, saying anything and everything that could make Jesse take his words back.
Hanzo couldn’t accept those words, he couldn’t believe them himself. It was too soon after joining Overwatch, too soon into his relations with Jesse. They’d only been dating for something like two months, though they’d been friends for a few months before that.
And even those few months of friendship had to be forged from the fiery remains of their first meeting; Jesse had known Genji when he was young and new to his partly synthetic body. Jesse had listened to Genji vent about his brother, about what him and the clan had done. He had seen the anger and ruthlessness with which Genji fought one battle after another against the Shimada clan and had quietly offered his strongest poison when Genji came to him after bone-quaking nightmares.
So when Hanzo showed up to Overwatch, the two exchanged brittle, near-venomous greetings (though Hanzo hadn’t really understood why the cowboy was so vexed, he didn’t take kindly to such open hostility) and Jesse barely avoided drawing Peacekeeper – and only because he was under strict instruction from Genji to “play nice”. Understandably, this led to a couple of months of stony silences. Everyone had been surprised when Genji announced that he had chosen to bring his brother to them as an ally of all things, but none had felt quite as outraged as Jesse; he just couldn’t understand how Genji could have possibly forgiven him. Refused to hear him when Genji spoke of second chances and forgiveness and even when Genji explained the brainwashing of the clan which led Hanzo to what he did.
Needless to say, Genji was just about ready to throw a party once Jesse admitted that he was starting to understand Genji’s forgiveness, about three months into Hanzo’s stay with them.
So when Jesse said those three words – almost jarring in how loud and bold and certain they were in the sleepy silence of the men’s afterglow – Hanzo had wanted to fight, but was brought so close to tears by his raging emotions that he simply let Jesse hold him while all of this happened: Hanzo would come up with an argument and Jesse would reason through it, never wavering in his stance and never taking his words back.
Hanzo hadn’t said the words back.
Maybe he meant to; he almost wanted to. But he didn’t.
The second time that Jesse told him that he loved Hanzo was a little over half a year later. Hanzo felt less raw, more whole now. He and Genji were finally almost fully back to how they used to be when they were younger; back before Hanzo’s duty and Genji’s rebellion forced them into opposite corners of the ring.
This time Hanzo did cry a little, tears slipping out of the corners of his eyes and smiling happily at Jesse, kissing him deeply before returning the sentiment; the words were almost an afterthought, in the way that something that should be obvious without being spoken is. Jesse had grinned up at him and tugged Hanzo down to lay on top of him, kissing the top of Hanzo’s head and muttering sweet nicknames – “honeybee, sugar, sweetpea” – mixed with those three sweet words that they’d both felt for so long.
A few weeks after that, Jesse was sent out on a small mission with a few other agents. Recon, Hanzo remembers. A recon mission some miles outside of Santa Fe. It was supposed to be simple.
One of the first rules of Overwatch: things are never as simple as they are supposed to be.
Jesse had gotten badly injured in a surprise ambush by some stragglers of Deadlock who had been bailed and recruited by Talon. It had turned out that the mission details had been intercepted by them and they had made an attempt on the agents, with plans to take Jesse in with them.
Jesse’s team had come out alive, though not unscathed. Jesse was under intensive Angela-care for several days until he was stable enough to be allowed up from his mostly-medically-induced slumber. After that it had been several more weeks in the hospital before Hanzo was allowed to help Jesse return to their room (it was originally Jesse’s, but the distinction between Jesse’s and Hanzo’s rooms had faded a while ago).
It was another week before Hanzo asked the question, but he had known that he would ask Jesse to marry him the moment that Hanzo got wind of the mission status. He had been thinking about it even before that, honestly. But the sudden shock of cold dread when he realised that Jesse might not make it was enough make him stop dreaming about it and make it a reality.
He didn’t want his dying regret to be not marrying the man he so dearly loved.
Thus, a week after returning to their room saw the two men lying in bed together, cuddled on top of the covers and enjoying the presence of each other in the quiet after a long day.
Jesse had taken off most of his clothes, letting his white undershirt expose the scars on his arm and a half and his shorts show his marred legs. Hanzo remembers holding Jesse’s right hand and marvelling at the lines of scars and tattoos mingling on his warm skin. Both of them had taken their prosthetics off, massaging each other’s joints before settling into the comfortable pose they were now in.
Or that they were in, until Hanzo suddenly sat up. As Hanzo shuffled to face Jesse, the other man sat up as well; he was about to ask what was wrong, when Hanzo took a steadying breath and started to speak.
Hanzo had prepared a small speech for this, always anxious about being left without words. But as he started to speak, the words had come easily. I know that I cannot always be by your side and that I cannot always physically protect you, Hanzo had said – lamented – and I know that you can take care of yourself well enough... usually – a pointed look at the bruises still visible on Jesse’s arms – but I. I-I wish to be there for you anyway. I want you to know that you are always on my mind and that I am with you in spirit forever.
Hanzo still remembers with perfect clarity the soft gasp that Jesse loosed when Hanzo opened the bedside drawer behind him and pulled out the velvety red box, matched perfectly in colour to the serape that had kept them both warm on more than one occasion.
Jesse’s eyes had widened comically and then squinted almost fully shut with the force of his grin. Hanzo had been so emboldened by Jesse’s reaction that his hands didn’t even shake (as he had feared so many times that they would) as he opened the box toward Jesse. The cowboy hadn’t even looked at the ring properly before he was tugging Hanzo in close for a hug, his one arm hooked tightly around Hanzo’s shoulders and his slightly wet face buried in Hanzo’s neck. Hanzo had felt tears of his own well up in his eyes as he wound his arms tightly around Jesse and hugged him just as closely.
So, what do you say, cowman? Will you let me have this? W-will you marry me? he had stuttered, too happy from the look of pure joy on Jesse’s face to be upset about his blunder.
Jesse had untangled himself, cradled Hanzo’s face gently in his hand and taken a deep breath, closing his eyes for a moment. When he had opened them, his eyes were still wet and his voice cracked a little as he spoke, but he had never sounded more sure about anything: Nothin’ in the world would make me happier than to have you by my side forever, darlin’. O’course it’s a yeah! and as if to cement his words, he kissed Hanzo deeply for some moments. Then his excitement had gotten the better of him and he’d begged for Hanzo to put the ring on his finger, holding his large and calloused right hand out, looking like he was on cloud nine.
Hanzo had chuckled and obliged, softly taking a hold of his hand and smoothly sliding the ring on and Jesse had marvelled at how it glinted in the low light.
Hanzo had been watching him with a dazed look in his eyes, a look that Jesse had many times since described as “the most love-struck puppy I e’er seen” when Jesse suddenly stopped dead still. He met Hanzo’s eyes with his own and exclaimed gleefully for Hanzo to wait just a tick, sugar and left him on the bed with a kiss to his forehead as he ran into the bathroom.
When Jesse returned, he was cradling a small, elegant box and still had that big, dumb grin on his face. You thought you were the only one thinkin’ o’ this? Jesse had laughed, joyously presenting the box to Hanzo.
With only mildly trembling hands, Hanzo had taken the box and gently opened it. With a look of pure delight, he took out the simple but elegant wedding band and carefully observed the details of the ring, noting that his was also made from the same, sturdy alloy that Jesse’s was; a metal more appropriate for their jobs than gold, but beautiful nonetheless.
Jesse gently took the band from Hanzo and he was overcome with a fresh wave of adoration as he lifted his left hand and Jesse carefully slid the band into place.
Hanzo grabbed Jesse’s right hand and linked their fingers, both men taking in the sight of their rings glinting next to one another, the sight slightly misty through their teary eyes.
Hanzo had felt so warm in those moments. So loved and peaceful and treasured. There had been rough missions and close calls since, but their wedding bands remained with them. They were as constant as the men’s love, their soul-deep bond an omnipresent warmth even when they were separated.
Throughout the years since joining Overwatch, Hanzo had found love in many places – with his brother and his teamates and with his and Jesse’s dogs and bearded dragon. They all fuelled the warmth in him.
But nothing quite put him so at peace as having Jesse by his side.
Hanzo looks up at Jesse, realising that the rhythm of his breathing has changed; more shallow, accompanied by a slightly faster heartbeat.
Jesse smiles down at him, lifting his right hand and carding it through Hanzo’s hair with a quiet hum, letting his warm hand come to a rest on Hanzo’s cheek.
“Good mornin’ sunshine,” Jesse breathes. Hanzo smiles up at him and turns his head slightly to kiss Jesse’s palm.
“Good morning, dogbreath.”
Jesse belts out a startled laugh as he rolls onto his back; Hanzo takes the moment to prop himself up and over the other, drinking in the sight of his husband’s grin and the way his now-exposed belly jiggles lightly with his giggles.
As soon as Jesse’s laughing has calmed slightly, Hanzo swoops down to steal a quick, closed-mouth kiss before shooing him off to the bathroom with assurances that yes, I will join you in a minute, let me stretch first.
Hanzo had convinced himself that he didn’t deserve this for a long time. He had not thought himself worthy of such adoration for even longer. But he would not give this up for anything, because he had found his home in Jesse’s heart.