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soft mornings

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“Are you going to the bakery today?” Hanzo asks, pulling his hair up into a loose bun. It has grown past his shoulders now; he never realised how much he missed having it long until he let it grow again, though he has maintained the undercut.

“Yup, Davi needs me to pick up the mornin’ shift,” comes Jesse’s sleepy reply from the behind the shower curtain.

“So you will you be home for lunch? I would like to eat with you before I leave for the gym in the afternoon.” Hanzo has already showered and brushed his teeth, so he starts to pull on his sweatpants.

“O’ course I can make it home for lunch with my honeybun,” Hanzo tuts at the pet name out of habit but Jesse continues on, “an’ I can even bring back some apple pie for my sugar pie.” Jesse bursts into loud peals of laughter as Hanzo snorts at the nickname.

“You continue to test my patience, cowman. Any more pet names and you won’t be getting breakfast,” Hanzo says, pulling on a tank top and quickly sticking his hands into his sweatpants’ pockets to stop them from turning inside out.

Jesse lets out a low groan at the threat. “No way swe- Hanners, tha’s just mean. Not even darlin’?”





Hanzo pauses, considering. “Maybe,” he finally relents. “But only if you bring back some of that apple pie.”

Jesse lets out a whoop! as Hanzo leaves, chuckling softly after he’s closed the door behind himself.

Hanzo passes through the living room, not yet bothering to open the curtains because the summer sun is already high enough to brighten the room enough to see.

He stops by Baby’s bed and squats down to pet her. She’s older now, with much more grey fur, but her loving nature has not left her. She butts her head into his palm and nuzzles him and before he knows it, his arm is covered in fur.

Curse her summer moulting.

“We’ll need to give you a good brush down later,” Hanzo mutters, as much to himself as the dog. She seems to perk up at the word “brush” (if her tail suddenly wagging twice as fast as before is any indication) and stands up, almost knocking him over.

Hanzo smiles fondly and stands as well, patting her head and leaving for the kitchen. “Breakfast first, missy,” he says and hears the click click click of Baby’s nails on the hardwood floor behind him.

His first order of business upon entering the dim kitchen is to fill Baby’s bowl and while she’s eating, Hanzo picks up her water bowl to clean and refill it.

Once she’s settled, Hanzo goes to open up the curtains hanging over the window above the sink. Even after a year of moving in and nearly the same amount of time spent looking at them every day, he’s still not entirely used to the curtains – they’re yellow and covered in dancing cacti wearing cowboy hats.

No prizes for guessing whose idea they were.

He opens the window too, letting the cool breeze and the smell of morning flowers waft in from their back yard.

Then he turns to the old-fashioned portable stereo mounted on a shelf in the corner and turns it on, recognising that it’s one of Jesse’s CDs – he had compiled some of his favourite songs on this one. Admittedly, Hanzo is not one for country music, but the soft acoustic guitar and simple lyrics seem to match the warm glow of the morning.

Hanzo then sets about making a pot of coffee, knowing that Jesse will not wake up until after his second mug; Hanzo is still not fond of Jesse’s coffee-chugging habits and would much rather have Jesse drink something a little less damaging to his heart. But at least Jesse’s gotten better with the smoking (that is to say, Hanzo does not let him smoke indoors anymore and Jesse has agreed to that).

While the coffee is brewing, he makes himself a pot of tea; as it’s steeping, he looks out of the window and deliberates for a minute, trying to decide on what to make. Eventually, he settles on omelettes and gets to work.

He passes Baby on his way from the refrigerator to the countertop, who is lazily loping over to flop (gracefully) into her bed in a sunny corner of the kitchen. As he’s setting the eggs down on the counter, Jesse walks in.

He stops Hanzo in his tracks and wraps him up in a hug, kissing the top of his head. Hanzo wraps his arms around Jesse’s waist and leans his head against Jesse’s chest. Jesse mostly smells of body wash and deodorant, but there’s still – somehow – the faint smell of cinnamon under that.

“Good mornin’ beautiful, fancy seein’ you here,” Jesse drawls, his rough morning voice rumbling from his chest. Jesse looses his hold on Hanzo and gently dislodges Hanzo’s arms from his waist so that he can link their hands.

Hanzo almost laughs at the endearment. “Aren’t you the flatterer. A shame that I am already taken,” Hanzo says, feigning disinterest and looking off to the side as haughtily as he can muster.

Jesse gasps and widens his eyes in an almost believably distressed manner. “Taken? Oh gosh, what a damn shame. But given how handsome you are, it’s no surprise. He mus’ be a real looker to have gotten with you, huh?” Jesse teases, wiggling his eyebrows.

Hanzo huffs softly – almost a laugh – and squeezes Jesse’s hands before releasing them. He reaches up to fix the collar on Jesse’s partly unbuttoned work flannel. “Fishing for compliments does not suit you, Jesse. Take your coffee and stop being a brat.” Hanzo finishes his ministrations with a pat on Jesse’s chest, then waves his husband away.

“You know jus’ what to say, sweetheart,” Jesse chuckles, stooping to sneak another kiss before he trails off to pour himself a mug of coffee.

Hanzo shakes his head at him and continues to putter around the kitchen, collecting more ingredients. As Hanzo is making his last trip back to his counter, Jesse passes by with his mug of coffee and squeezes his ass before dashing away. He almost spills his coffee on the way, but it’s well worth it to see Hanzo jump a little. Sort of like a startled cat.

Hanzo quickly sets down his ingredients and chases after Jesse – unfortunately, Jesse is a smidgen too quick for Hanzo and manages to sit himself down (and safely deposit his cup of coffee) at the small table in their kitchen before Hanzo has the chance to retaliate.

Out of the corner of his eye, Hanzo sees Baby momentarily lift her head, but she seems to have zero interest in joining the chase.

Hanzo stops in his tracks for a split-second, looking Jesse over, before he folds his arms across his chest and slowly stalks over to the cowboy. Jesse’s mouth runs dry immediately and Hanzo can see his Adam’s apple bob as he swallows.

Jesse’s eyes are locked with Hanzo’s as he approaches with all of the authority of a dragon master staring down his prey.

Spreading his thighs, Hanzo sits himself down in Jesse’s lap. Jesse puts his hands on Hanzo’s hips.

Hanzo carefully unfolds his arms, still maintaining eye contact with his husband, and lightly settles his hands on Jesse’s biceps. He runs his hands up the lax muscle (feeling it briefly twitch every few seconds because Jesse is hyper-aware of the ticklish touch) and leans in closer and closer as he runs his hands up Jesse’s neck, cupping his face. Hanzo leans in ever closer and stops with his mouth just short of Jesse’s ear.

“Stop being a brat,” Hanzo chides in a whisper, before pinching Jesse’s cheeks and pulling the brim of his hat over his eyes. Jesse sputters as he reaches up to dislodge the hat and Hanzo dances out of Jesse’s reach as quick as lighting.

Jesse sits quietly for a few seconds, stunned silent, before he throws his hands in the air and exclaims “You can’t jus’ up an’ leave a man like that, sweetheart!”

Hanzo chuckles and throws Jesse an unimpressed glance over his shoulder. “I can and I will.”

Jesse slumps in his seat with a huff, reaching for his coffee with a pout.

A minute or so passes in the almost golden light of the morning, quiet Southern drawls and soft chopping sounds filling the silence. Jesse recognises this playlist, vaguely remembers accidentally leaving the CD in the player.

Between the last chords of a song ringing out and before the first chords of the next song are strummed, Jesse is suddenly on his feet and making his way over to stand behind Hanzo.

“Be careful Jesse, I’m holding a knife!” Hanzo says, putting down said utensil as the guitar starts playing. Jesse seems none too worried about the dangers of knives as he starts to sing along to the stereo.

“I wanna sweep you off your feet tonight,” Jesse rumbles; he hasn’t finished his first cup of coffee, so his voice still comes out rough and low. Hanzo can feel it reverberate in the chest pressed to his back.

Hanzo leans back into the warm embrace, resting his hands over Jesse’s arms where they’re wrapped around his waist and leans his head back against Jesse’s shoulder.

Then the chorus starts and Jesse swiftly squeezes Hanzo’s middle before he twists him around to face his husband. Hanzo looks fleetingly surprised and Jesse smiles at him as he continues to sing, taking Hanzo’s hands into his and guiding themselves away from the counter.

Jesse starts to shuffle them in small circles around the centre of their kitchen and Hanzo laughs “You’re so silly, cowman,” but follows Jesse’s lead anyway. Jesse brings them closer together and puts his hands on Hanzo’s hips, so Hanzo wraps his arms around Jesse’s neck.

There’s a serene moment of peace as they sway and shuffle to the strumming of guitars. Jesse lifts his right hand and wraps it around Hanzo’s left, singing along to the second verse. He lifts Hanzo’s hand to his mouth and “maybe one day we can make it a thing,” Jesse sings, kissing the wedding band on Hanzo’s finger.

Jesse can barely sing through his grin when Hanzo’s face is dusted by a soft pink blush at the gesture; Hanzo rolls his eyes and pulls his hand away, putting it back on Jesse’s shoulder. Jesse wraps the digits of his right hand around Hanzo’s chin. Singing “for that angel kiss”, Jesse tilts Hanzo’s chin up, softly rubbing his jaw with a soothing thumb.

Hanzo huffs, but leans into the small kiss anyway.

Jesse is smiling softly when they pull apart and Hanzo admires the sight, before Jesse sneaks in a quick kiss to the tip of Hanzo’s nose. Hanzo nearly giggles at that, though the sound is quickly stifled and Jesse brings him in for a hug as they sway through the rest of the chorus.

“Are we not a little too old to be acting like lovesick teenagers?” Hanzo mumbles into Jesse’s ear, his head perched on Jesse’s shoulder.

“Shucks, ain’t no such thing as too old when our love is evergeen,” Jesse says quietly.

Hanzo smiles and leans back to kiss Jesse on the cheek. “I love you too, my dearest husband.”

Jesse’s entire body softens at that, his smile turning incredibly gentle. Hanzo carefully studies his face and declares “You look like a lovesick puppy.” Jesse snorts and kisses Hanzo’s forehead noisily.

“O’course I do sweetpea. I’m lookin’ at the love of my life.” Hanzo smiles and tilts his head up to kiss Jesse.

Jesse chuckles as he tilts a surprised Hanzo backwards into a dip and sings “I hope I don’t let you down,” then whispers “sing with me?”

Hanzo’s blush – which had been calming down – returns tenfold at the motion as Jesse starts to sing the chorus and helps him up and out of the dip.

As Jesse continues to sing in his soothing, syrup-thick voice, Hanzo keeps his lips sealed. He simply admires the sight of Jesse, sunshine illuminating his irises into hues of warm honey brown and deeper chocolate brown.

Much to Jesse’s delighted surprise, Hanzo starts to sing (whisper, honestly) “you’re good for my soul”. Jesse sings along with him, a soft duet for a few lyrics.

Then Jesse bellows out “You’re the one I want!” and sloppily kisses a startled Hanzo on the forehead, then on the tip of his nose, then on both cheeks and finally they stop spinning to share a kiss.

Hanzo is most definitely flushed down to his shoulders by this point and Jesse feels as warm as the sunshine streaming in through their window.

As the final, soft guitar solo starts up, Hanzo turns around and Jesse shimmies him a little as they shuffle back to the kitchen counter that Hanzo had been working at.

Hanzo laughs as he hears Jesse’s stomach rumble at the sight of the chopped vegetables and the soon-to-be chopped meats. No matter how many times Jesse has heard Hanzo laugh, the sound still makes him melt and he contently wraps his arms around Hanzo’s middle.

“I wanna love you and hold you tight,” Jesse mumbles, the sounds whispered into Hanzo’s neck where Jesse has decided to nuzzle. Hanzo smiles at the tickle of Jesse’s lips on his neck and pushes him away with a mutter of “Enough, we do need to actually eat today.”

Jesse whines like a kicked puppy, but his stomach rumbles again and Hanzo chuckles. Jesse walks back over to his seat with a bounce in his step, dancing along slightly to the next song.

“Alrigh’, alright, I’m sittin’. Sittin’ pretty. Waitin’ for my darlin’ husband to finish up breakfast.” Jesse smiles as he says it and takes a long drink of his coffee. He sees Hanzo’s head dip a little and his blush migrates down the back of his neck again.

Jesse gazes fondly at the sight. He remembers, briefly, a time when he was younger; before he joined Deadlock.

He had been running around on a hilltop where he was having a picnic with his parents. He recalls seeing them sitting together on a blanket under the shade of a tree, looking incredibly happy. That had confused him because how could they look so happy when they weren’t even doing anything fun?

He had run up to them and asked “Why do you look so happy?” and his parents had look a little dumbfounded and asked what he meant.

Jesse had dramatically plopped down and crossed his legs, fiddling with the grass. “Well, you’re just sittin’ here donin’ nothin’ but y’all look like you’re havin’ a ball. I don’t get it.” He had started to pluck and pull at a big weed.

His parents were silent for a minute, exchanging looks, and then his pa spoke up: “Well Jesse, it’s ‘cause we’re in love and we enjoy spendin’ time together like this.” Jesse had wrinkled his nose and plucked diligently at the stubborn weed.

After a few beats of silence and hard, seven-year-old thinking, he’d asked “What’s it like to be in love?” and his pa had laughed that deep laugh of his and his dad chuckled, elbowing his pa into answering.

“Well, it’s sorta like feelin’ like you’re always at home, no matter where you really are. Because wherever your love is, you feel like that is where you belong as well.” His dad had laughed at that and said something about his pa being a hopeless romantic. His pa had snorted a laugh and kissed the back of his dad’s hand while Jesse looked off to the side, trying to process this information.

His dad had spoken up then, “There’s a saying that goes “home is where the heart is”. That’s what it feels like.” Jesse had thought and thought and thought and eventually huffed “I don’t get it!” with a flail of his arms because how can a person feel like a place?! His parents had laughed and pulled him into a hug, ruffling his hair and sitting him down onto the picnic blanket to eat.

Looking across the kitchen and seeing Hanzo, at ease and comfortable in their home, he thinks he finally might understand what they had meant.