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“You want me to hire someone whose only professional experience is working on a cruise line.”

Not for the first time in his life, Hanzo was wondering if Genji was dropped on his head as a child. This wasn’t one of his crazier schemes, but it was still a bold move. Genji knew how picky Hanzo was about his employees. While this man had made it through several rounds of interviews, and Hanzo trusted his managers, he couldn’t help but wonder how.

So help him, if Hanzo found out Genji had also gone begging to HR...

Oblivious to Hanzo’s growing suspicions, Genji was bouncing in his chair from excitement. “He’s worth it!” He exclaimed. “I worked with him during that movie promo, the one with the robots? Seriously, you need to look at his portfolio. He does a lot of charity work too, has one in Brazil soon-”

“I’m not hiring him.” His words were final.

“Anijaaa,” Genji whined. “Would I ever lead you astray?” At Hanzo’s look he sobered. “Not in this. Not where it matters.”

Hanzo sighed heavily, leaning back in his chair. The resume stared accusingly at him from the computer screen, one of the few sources of light in the office. One Jesse McCree, graduated from the New Mexico School of Fine Arts, a list of odd jobs for charities and, of course, the cruise line.

It wasn’t even a good cruise line.

But the man had made it this far, and Hanzo had taken on riskier gambles.

“Fine,” Hanzo conceded, and Genji did a happy dance in his chair. “I’ll give him a chance.”

“You won’t regret it,” Genji promised, and Hanzo kicked him out of his office before his younger brother could inadvertently spout out more words that would no doubt come back to haunt him.

---

Amelie walked into the studio at exactly eleven fifty, a flurry of assistants following in her wake. Hanzo shook her hand and brought her to the room where the photoshoot was to take place. She looked around the set and nodded. “I have exactly the thing.”

Sombra took her place as she walked off to direct her assistants. “A Jesse McCree is here to see you?” her voice lowered. “Need me to send him to the koi pond?”

Hanzo sighed; she was just trying to help. “No, bring him in.”

Lost in the chaos of setting up and confirming color palettes with Satya, Hanzo didn’t notice the man hovering in the doorway. It was Satya who informed him, glancing away from the holo display and narrowing her eyes in suspicion.

The newcomer stood next to Genji, who was gesturing around the room. Compared to the usual crowd Hanzo hired, the man looked rough. The harsh lighting in the room did him no favors. Old plaid shirt, informal blue jeans, cowboy boots that were scuffed and dirty. A beat-up camera hung around his neck, years out of date. Hanzo’s eyes settled on the ID barely visible under the camera, and it clicked: this was the new photographer. Genji was speaking to him even as he tapped at his comm, but the cowboy looked like he had just been hit over the head with a brick.

He made his excuses to Satya, who only gave a dainty sniff before leaving. “Close your mouth, this is a professional workplace,” Hanzo chided as he joined them. “Jesse McCree, I assume?”

The man startled and blinked, then gave a smile that momentarily made Hanzo lose focus. “Sure am. Shimada Hanzo?”

“Indeed.” They shook hands. “Genji, please bring him to HR so he can do his paperwork.”

“Already did,” Genji replied. There was a certain tilt to his smile that made Hanzo’s hackles rise.

McCree was still smiling- and holding Hanzo’s hand. Hanzo carefully extracted it. “Came by yesterday to fill it out but they said you were gone. Gotta say, it’s an honor to work here. I wasn’t sure you were even going to hire me, based on the others who applied for the position.”

Hanzo wondered if the man genuinely was excited, or just nervous, from the way he rambled.

“But I swear I’m gonna prove to you I’m worth it. Let me photograph you so you can see.”

Hanzo gave an incredulous laugh. “I have people offering me thousands of dollars to model for them. What makes you think I’ll let you do it for free?”

“Take it out of my paycheck,” McCree replied with utter sincerity.

He had hired a madman, but McCree’s audacity still sparked something within him. How long had it been since Hanzo had felt that fire, that drive to prove himself? Long before he inherited the company, and perhaps even before he had made a name for himself in the industry. Hanzo refused to admit that he was interested in the proposal. “You cannot afford me,” he said, and McCree shrugged good naturedly, giving a resigned hand wave. “Your manager will contact you within the week for your schedule. Hanamura Modeling Agency appreciates the work you will no doubt do to ensure that we remain at the forefront of the modeling and worldwide community.”

And, suppressing the desire to fix Genji with a glare, he turned back to the organized chaos of the photoshoot.

That should have been the end of the ordeal. Even though Hanzo preferred to be hands-on with his business, he still had to run it, and for all its modest size it took a monumental amount of work from everyone involved to keep everything running smoothly. Wrapped up in the daily task of ensuring everyone was able to be paid another day, Hanzo fully expected to never see McCree again.

His models were a different matter, of course. He met with them regularly, ensuring that everything was working for them and that their schedules were manageable. So when Hana Song burst into his office ten minutes before their scheduled meeting, he wasn’t surprised.

At first.

“Shimada-san, you have been holding out on me,” she accused, glaring at him with her hands on her hips.

“I’m sorry?” Hanzo asked.

Hana continued to glare, but she reached into the messenger back she was carrying. Seconds later a file was placed on his desk. “This was the best photoshoot I’ve ever been on,” she declared. “And it was orchestrated by one of your employees. An employee, I might add, I haven’t heard of before.”

Hanzo looked at the file, looked at Hana, and then slowly opened it.

The photos hadn’t yet undergone edits, but he was astounded. Dressed in a glorious golden gown that had seen better days, Hana was depicted as the spirit of Brazil weeping over its less than fortunate citizens. The event was to raise awareness and donations for the rampant poverty in Brazil, and the emotions surrounding each picture were evident. Though Hana’s acting played no small part, it seemed the entire set mourned with her and her male partner, who her character followed throughout his life.

“That’s from the Brazilian photoshoot, the one I volunteered to do for the charity,” Hana explained.

Hanzo remembered now- she hadn’t been hired out, instead doing this for a friend of hers, a DJ that organized the event. He had only been notified to satisfy his need to keep tabs on everything.

“But the pictures are amazing, right? I demand he be my next photographer, I will fight Lena for him.”

“There will be no fighting,” he replied automatically. “Who was the photographer?”

“Jesse, or, well, McCree. You know, the new guy?” she stared intently. “He had enough time to be on the set for a month straight, boss. You aren’t utilizing him on that dumbshit ‘training wheels’ period newbies go through.”

Hanzo sighed, and glanced at the pictures again. The shadowing new hires underwent to understand how the company operated and learn how to do what was required may be tedious, but it was necessary. If he was gone for a month, that was on his manager, not Hanzo. “That’s not your decision to make Miss Song. However-” he raised a hand when she looked like she was about to argue “- I will consider it.”

Satisfied, Hana left. Hanzo looked at the pictures again before facepalming. Genji was never going to let him live this down.

He picked up his comm. “Sombra? I need all the information you got on McCree.”

“Si, I’ll send you his file-”

“Everything, Sombra.”

There was a pause before she spoke again. “It’s been a while since I was allowed to have fun. I’ll get it to you by tomorrow morning.”

“Thank you.” He hung up then looked at the pictures again. They would be masterpieces once edits were done. This wasn’t dumb luck from an amateur photographer- this was the product of professional training and experience.

Briefly, he wondered if he could ask Hana for one of her final copies.

Sombra had the brief by the end of the day, and he spent the night looking over it. The next morning he sent McCree an email requesting his presence and informed Sombra. She was leaning back in her chair, a holo screen in front of her with more tabs open than he could keep track of. “Do I need to turn the cameras off?”

“Turn the- Sombra, that’s not-”

“Ha! You should’ve seen your face. Si, I’ll let el vaquero in, hold your calls, answer emails, the usual.”

He raised an eyebrow. “And?”

“I won’t prank the local police department, promise.”

He raised a finger. “I will allow one pun.”

“You’re the best!” She lunged for her tablet.

Two hours later McCree entered the office with the look of a man about to head to the gallows. “You wanted to see me?”

Hanzo looked up from his computer and nodded, gesturing to the pictures from Hana’s photoshoot spread out across his desk. “Yes. I wish to talk about your work with Ms. Song.”

McCree held his hands up. “Now look, I agreed to do it before I started working here-”

“You are not in trouble, Mr. McCree. Please sit.”

The man didn’t look convinced, but he sat down at the desk. Hanzo gestured at the pictures. “I will be blunt- these are the some of the best pictures I’ve seen in some time. If this is the sort of dedication you give to all of your projects, then I apologize for doubting you.”

McCree looked confused. “This isn’t even my best work. Hana- sorry, Ms. Song- did most of it. I just-”

“Any dedicated model can make a picture look good,” Hanzo interrupted. “But it’s the photographer’s job to make everything better.”

McCree still seemed uncertain.

Hanzo couldn’t really blame him. The man probably thought he was going to get fired when Hanzo requested to see him. “I am impressed with your work, Mr. McCree. Given the opportunities I am about to offer, I am certain you will continue to do so. Given Genji’s recommendation and your own history with Reyes-”

Instead of the enthusiastic reply he expected, McCree’s expression hardened. “Hold up. Is this what this is really about?”

“I’m sorry?” Hanzo asked, confused by the sudden change in tone.

“I wanted to be hired because of my own merit, not because-” He suddenly swore, viciously. “Genji swore to me the decision would be impartial. That you wouldn’t be swayed by any outside influences.” He stood abruptly. “All due respect, Sir, I ain’t gonna be used again. I respect the hell outta your agency and models, but I’m here because I love my job, and if you can’t respect that, then I quit.”

“Now wait just a second-”

But McCree was already out of the room.

Shortly after, his brother stormed into the room. “You are an idiot,” Genji declared.

Hanzo scowled. “Excuse me?”

His brother didn’t budge. “An idiot, Hanzo. I told you to give him a chance. What do you do? Dig into his history without asking and judge him on that rather than his own ability?”

“I did no such thing! I complimented him on his abilities- the charity event he did is the best thing I’ve seen in years! He’s the one who walked out-”

“After you brought up his connections! If you had actually viewed his portfolio like I told you to, you would have seen his potential sooner.” Genji made a frustrated noise. “Do you know why he was working on a cruise, Hanzo?”

“I assumed-”

 

Genji snorted. “Never mind. If you had paid attention like you should have, you would have figured it out. Yes, he was Reyes’ protege. And when he graduated, he was offered more jobs opportunities he could ever dream about. But after meeting with every single one, he saw a common theme.” His brother slumped back into his chair. “Every one, every single one, compared him to Reyes. Asked how his father’s career influenced him. Assumed he would be exactly like the man. Assumed his creative visions, his talents, would align with his father’s. Whenever he tried developing his own art style, he was criticized. Whenever he went outside the norm, he was ridiculed. The man was suffocating under a legacy he didn’t want and couldn’t control.” Genji’s voice was smaller now. “I shouldn’t have come to you, but I was excited that he finally accepted my offer. I’ve worked with him many times over the years and I just-” Genji sighed, then looked at his brother beseechingly. “He deserved better.”

Hanzo stared at his brother mutely.

“You had good intentions, we both did. But Jesse only sees yet another person expecting him to be his father.”

He took a shuddering breath. “I… see.” They shared a look, loaded with history, regrets, and understanding. Hanzo gave a small nod- Genji always had been the better half of Hanzo’s soul. “I owe Mr. McCree an apology.”

Genji nodded back and gave a small but teasing smile. “Use your words, Hanzo. I believe in you!”

He grumbled at Genji, but he was right. He was used to being the boss. Right now, he had to treat McCree as an equal.

As he left the building, he couldn’t help but turn Genji’s words over in his head. Yet another person expecting him to be his father.

No wonder McCree had reacted the way he had.

McCree hadn’t made it far. He was sitting on the park bench outside of the office building, hands wrapped around a still-full coffee cup, looking as if he was miles away. Hanzo shuffled his feet and cleared his throat, instantly pinned with an intense gaze. “Am I interrupting?”

“No. Just…” McCree made a vague gesture. “Shouldn’t you be in a meeting somewhere?”

“Contrary to popular belief, most things can be solved by email.” He sat down hesitantly next to him. “I wish to apologize.”

“‘Bout what?”

“Earlier. I didn’t mean to imply that you are not talented, Mr. McCree. I just meant…” he sighed. Apologizing did not come easy to him. “You are an extremely talented photographer, and it is my own fault for not recognizing that. While Genji did encourage me to hire you-” he held up a hand to prevent McCree’s interruption “-it was not the sole reason. I am not so shallow as to hire someone based off who they know.”

McCree snorted. “Sorry if I’m not inclined to believe that.”

“I deserve that.” Hanzo was quiet for a moment, watching McCree out of the corner of his eye. While he seemed on the verge of fleeing, he still seemed interested in what Hanzo had to say. Perhaps he had a chance to salvage this after all. “For what it’s worth, I understand where you are coming from.”

McCree eyed him, and Hanzo saw the curiosity sparking in his gaze.

“You’ve no doubt researched my company’s history and mine. I did inherit it from my father, but it was out of duty, not desire.” He shifted, curled his hands into his lap and stared at them. How had this become so hard? “I knew how to pose in front of a camera before I knew how to drive. I enjoyed modeling because I was expected to. Perfection was demanded of me at every turn, lest I let down the family legacy.”

He turned to face McCree fully then. “My father died when I was twenty-eight, and I chose to do right by those who depended on my family to give them a livelihood. Models and photographers alone do not keep the company running, and I did not trust another to keep their livelihoods intact. So while I do not know your struggles, I know what it’s like to live under a legacy you didn’t choose.”

McCree stared at him for a while, an expression torn between surprise and suspicion melting slowly into acceptance. “Apology accepted. And… call me Jesse. McCree is too formal.”

“Jesse.” The name sounded funny in his mouth. “If you insist.”

“Sure do, Shimada-san.” The sunny smile from when they first met bloomed once more. “Appreciate you giving me a chance.”

“As I said before, I should have done so from the start,” Hanzo replied. “If you are interested, I have a job for you next month in Paris.”

McCree -Jesse- nodded and took a sip of his no doubt cold coffee. “What are the details?”

Hanzo pulled out his comm and hid a smile as McCree looked it over with growing excitement. “I have the contract information here.”

McCree snatched it out of his hands. “Holy- are you sure this is correct?”

“McCree, the contract is with Prada. Did you not expect a high paycheck?”

He blushed. “I thought it was a typo.”

“Hardly. Hanamura is small, but we’re influential, and our numbers only mean we’re in high demand. Everyone is sufficiently compensated because of it.”

McCree still looked surprised. Compared to the paycheck he earned from the cruise, this probably felt like winning the lottery.

“Surely you know the payoffs of the trade from your father?” Hanzo inquired.

That caused a chuckle. “If you see how he and Jack lived, you never would have guessed they were hollywood hotshots. He never talked about it. Made sure I stayed humble, hardworking, and give my best no matter what. Reined in my hot temper when I was younger, which was a monumental feat considering his own.”

Hanzo leaned into the bench. The day was sunny, and Sombra knew to hold his calls until he got back. “How did he come to adopt you?”

McCree snorted. “He never adopted me. Not officially, anyway. Papers don’t mean anything though, not to us.”

Perhaps it was the weather, unusually warm for the season. Perhaps it was the company, being with someone who understood. Perhaps it was none of these things, but when the conversation tapered off they left with a newfound respect. Hanzo quietly mourned the end of one of the nicer afternoons he’d had in years before he tucked it away, determined to forget.

A few weeks later he got an email from McCree’s manager, commenting on how much the man had improved with something to focus on. Already he had taken on several contracts with aplomb.

Hanzo was simply glad that McCree was being given the opportunities to excel.

Hana, of course, was ecstatic to see McCree again.

“Jesse!” Hana squealed upon arriving on set. He was fiddling with his comm, and nearly dropped it when Hana surprised him. “I told Shimada-san you had better be here. I was gonna fight Lena and everything!”

“Little Miss Sunshine?” Jesse asked, sending Hanzo a questioning look. Hanzo could only shrug. “Whatever for?”

 

“She saw the proofs you sent me and got jealous,” Hana replied. “Said she wanted you on her set in June. But ha! I called you first.”

Jesse chuckled as he ruffled Hana’s hair. “You know that’s not how it works, little lady. But I’m sure whichever photographer she gets will still be amazing.”

Hanzo cut in. “I’m not in charge here, but I am certain that gossiping is not on the schedule, Ms. Song. McCree needs to finish setting up his equipment. You will have time to talk later.”

Hana sighed but allowed herself to be whisked off by the makeup artist.

“Speaking of, why are you here?” McCree asked. “Don’t normally see the big bosses here unless someone’s fucked up.”

Hanzo raised an eyebrow. “Who’s to say they haven’t?” At McCree’s expression he snorted. “Calm yourself. I am in town for a conference and decided to see how the shoot was progressing.”

Jesse gave a wide smile. “Well, hope it lives up to your standards.” He pocketed his comm and rolled his sleeves up. Hanzo stared unreasonably long at his arms. “Alright, Shimada-san, let me show you around.”

The photoshoot went surprisingly well. While Jesse wasn’t the art director of the set- he had only been hired to take pictures- the other team members respected his ideas and additions. Hanzo watched on the sidelines as Jesse directed the models into poses and expressions Hanzo wouldn’t have thought of himself, creating images that were nothing short of magic.

Satisfied that his employees were in good hands and nursing a headache from the bright lighting, Hanzo retreated to a quiet spot to answer emails.

Jesse found him an hour later and brought two plates of catered food with him. “An intern said you wandered off this way,” he said. “Hana asked me to bring this to you so you wouldn’t starve.”

Hanzo hadn’t realized much time had passed, and he accepted the plate gratefully. “How is the shoot going?”

“Well. One of the background models had a wardrobe mishap, but that didn’t delay us much. Hana’s up next if you want to watch.”

“Unfortunately I need to return to the conference soon.” He bit into the sandwich without looking, then startled. “How did you…?”

Jesse shrugged. “Owed Sombra a favor so she had me pick up your lunch order once when she was busy. Pretty simple to remember.”

“Thank you.” He quickly ate the provided meal. “Are you enjoying yourself, Mc- Jesse?”

Jesse nodded, tipping his hat. “Sure am. Thanks again for the opportunity. Been a while since I worked on a professional set like this one; I’ve missed it.”

Hanzo shifted. “I assume you grew up around them with Reyes as your guardian.”

“Sure did.” Jesse’s voice grew wistful. “Gabe picked me up when I was still a lost kid, desperate to prove myself and doing it in all the wrong ways. Had me runnin’ coffee for months.” He laughed. “Grew to know the menu at all the local coffee joints better than the employees. Still remember the first time I held a camera though- I was terrified I was gonna break it. Thing was worth more than I was. But Gabe- he saw something in me, I guess. Gave me one for my birthday, told me to show the world how I saw it. Never looked back.”

Hanzo looked at the camera hanging from Jesse’s neck now. It never seemed to leave his person, and was the most identifying piece of apparel the man wore other than his boots and hat. It must have been the one Reyes had given him, Hanzo realized.

Come to think of it, Hanzo didn’t think he saw Jesse use it during the photoshoot. When Hanzo mentioned this, Jesse actually blushed.

“I know it’s not top of the line anymore, but I can’t part with it. ‘Sides, it’s the principle of the matter.” He patted the camera lovingly. “This beauty is saved for moments that are special to me.”

“I’m sure that alone makes it worth more than any current model.” Hanzo’s comm rang, and he sighed. “Excuse me. That is my five minute warning.”

Jesse nodded and gathered their trash. “Sorry for keeping you. See you on set later.”

Hanzo watched him go, contemplative. He thought he was a good judge of character, but Jesse McCree continued to surprise him at every turn. Everything he had assumed about the man had been false.

Soft chimes sounded, indicating the need to leave, and it pulled him from his train of thought. The desire to see more of Jesse, however, had already taken root, and Hanzo would be hard pressed to admit that it wasn’t a pleasant idea.

There was something about Jesse that put him at ease. Hanzo could argue it was his personality, but such a simple thing didn’t fully explain it. Whatever it was, it caused Hanzo to seek out Jesse, again and again, whether for edits, an update on his schedule, complaining about Genji, or simply escaping the stress of running a business.

After his inheritance, Hanzo had taken the final step his father had been reluctant to take: international recognition. Before, Hanamura had been restricted to Japan, with only the occasional overseas contract. Hanzo had known, however, that the company would eventually stagnate without change. The plan was introduced slowly over the ten years of his ownership, but the occasional hiccup from lack of human resources still made itself known. Hanzo simply didn’t have enough employees to cover every base of the work required at times, so overlap was common.

Due to his investors’ concerns at how quickly the company was growing without the manpower to sustain it, Hanzo was looking for people to cover the needed positions. The process was just taking longer than he expected. Genji called him picky. Hanzo preferred ‘discerning’.

Regardless, one thing the company prided itself on was internal communication. Photographers and editors worked closely with each other out of necessity, but models also had a say in how they were portrayed and were able to turn jobs down. Makeup artists could discuss ideas with art directors. Hanzo communicated frequently with his managers who regularly updated him on their departments progress. All in all, the system worked despite occasional chaos, and it kept Hanzo informed of his company’s inner workings to spot any potential weaknesses.

So it wasn’t much of a surprise to see Jesse bent over a computer one night, switching between filters mindlessly. Hanzo quirked a brow and watched for a moment. “Personally, I would choose the 79% over the 80%.”

Jesse jumped, then he turned with a sheepish grin. “Sorry. Been staring for an hour.”

“It was no problem.” He sat down in the neighboring chair. “You should have left several hours ago, and your current project isn’t due for another month. What is keeping you here?”

Jesse sighed heavily. “Been a lot on my mind, lately. Thought putting some extra work in would distract me, but... “ He shrugged.

Hanzo considered. He had only noticed the light by accident on his way out- he technically had the day off tomorrow, but he would spend it catching up on emails and the competition like always. He had stayed a little later than normal in the office to prepare, ensuring that everything critical was taken care of and informing his immediate subordinates as to his whereabouts in case anything happened.

The research was never an aspect he enjoyed. And here was an opportunity to postpone it a little longer.

“I don’t know about you, but I could use a drink,” Hanzo said.

Jesse looked at him, a spark of interest in his eyes.

“There’s a bar not far from here that I don’t visit often enough. Would you care to join me?”

Jesse huffed a laugh. “Sure, if you’re buying.”

“I’ll take care of the first round, at least.”

“Cheapskate,” Jesse teased. “We driving or walking?”

They ended up taking Jesse’s truck, partly because Hanzo had a small motorcycle, and partly because Jesse wouldn’t worry about his car being left out in case he needed to call a cab. The truck was also nicer than Hanzo anticipated, even though cigar smoke still lingered in the cab and a spare food wrapper crunched under his feet.

“Sorry about the mess,” Jesse said, even though they both knew what the interior of Genji’s car looked like. “So where we heading?”

 

“Bullseye.”

Jesse laughed. “No shit? That’s one of my favorite haunts. Surprised I never saw you before.”

“I typically go during the lunch hours.” At Jesse’s look Hanzo raised his hands in defense. “They have excellent chicken wings!”

“They really do.” Jesse hummed a bit. “Local brew’s not great though.”

“Neither is their sake,” Hanzo lamented. “But it’s the only place that serves it unless I want to drive thirty miles in downtown traffic.”

Jesse winced. “Yeah, no, don’t blame you there.”

The bar was busy when they arrived, but it wasn’t overcrowded, and they were able to find a booth near the back. Hanzo brought back two servings of sake, which Jesse eyed before downing the cup in one go, much to Hanzo’s horror.

“It is meant to be savored,” he protested.

“Whiskey is meant to be savored,” Jesse replied. “This is too… flowery.”

“Whiskey is meant to get drunk on,” Hanzo replied primly, with a hint of a tease in his voice.

He should have known Jesse would take those as fighting words. They had matched each other shot for shot, preferred drink switched for fairness. Jesse held his liquor well but got physically affectionate while tipsy, and Hanzo was buzzed enough he couldn’t tell if it was the alcohol or Jesse himself that let him tolerate the increased touches. They were scrunched up together in the booth after a mutual truce so as to not end up wasted, Jesse’s arm across Hanzo’s shoulders as they leaned over Hanzo’s comm, sharing the small circle of muted light from the chandelier above them.

“And this!” Hanzo declared, stabbing at the picture displayed. Genji was perched on an overturned chair like a conquering hero, dressed in a green sentai outfit. “This was for Halloween, three years ago. Showed up and stole best costume out from under me.”

Jesse giggled. “Reyes made that for him. Called begging for a favor- we worked overtime to get that done.”

Hanzo glared. “The costumes were supposed to be homemade!”

 

“It was! Technically. Genji bought everything, Gabe and I just… assembled it.”

“He is hereby disqualified from this year’s competition,” Hanzo growled, before swiping to the next one.

It was a mistake- before he could switch it, however, Jesse grabbed his hand. “Hold up now. Han, is this you?”

“Unfortunately, yes,” Hanzo groaned. “I cannot believe I still have this.”

On screen, a much younger version of himself was glaring into the camera, Genji smiling smugly next to him. Hanzo had just woke up and his hair was a rats nest with forgotten eyeliner smears under his eyes, Genji inordinately pleased to have caught his brother so off-guard. “Aw, I think you two look cute,” Jesse crooned.

“Now I know you are drunk,” Hanzo retorted. “And now you owe me at least one embarrassing teenage picture, since you have seen mine.”

“That would require me to be embarrassed in the first place,” Jesse teased. “Here. Let me see…”

The picture Jesse showed him was of a teenager still undergoing puberty, scraggly beard included. His hair was bleached blond, a straw hat sat proudly on his head, and all he wore were red board shorts and flip flops. He struck a confident pose, but the lack of muscle tone and too-long limbs made everything awkward rather than sexy.

Still, his ever present sunshine smile made the whole thing endearing.

Hanzo couldn’t help the laughter and the inevitable snorts, clapping his hands over his mouth to muffle the sounds. Jesse looked smug as he returned his comm to his pocket. “Sixteen, lifeguarding at the local pool. Thought I was hot shit. Gabe and Jack laughed themselves silly when they saw my hair- it took Gabe a month before he couldn’t take it anymore and made me cut it all off. Took me years to get my hair right again after that.”

“It was traumatized from the bleach,” he gasped, sides hurting from the laughter. “Your guardian had the right idea.”

Jesse chuckled but didn’t deny it, and Hanzo was back to showing him pictures from company parties past.

They stayed until closing, nursing the few drinks they had left. Conversation had flowed naturally into a few of the sets Jesse had helped Gabriel on, talking about how he was often the test dummy for some of Gabe’s more extreme ideas.

“And then Jack walks in just as I catch on fire,” Jesse exclaimed. “I have never seen someone more panicked and confused in my life as Gabe and I just fall to the floor laughing at his outrage.”

Hanzo shook his head. “You should have warned him.”

“We did! But Jack was good at bending the rules whenever Gabe was concerned.”

“How long have they been married?” At Jesse’s look Hanzo blanched. “Sorry, I didn’t mean-”

“Nah, it’s fine.” Jesse shook his head. “Technically, they aren’t. Officially? They started dating almost twenty years ago, and been living together for all but two years of that time. Some bullshit about marriage being an invention, I dunno. But they’re still happy so that’s all that matters.”

Hanzo hummed and drank the last of his sake. “They sound like good fathers.”

“They try their best, and they’re there when I need them to be. That’s all I care about.”

Swathed in a comfortable silence, Hanzo's mind drifted. The last time he had felt this comfortable was years ago, with a bow in hand and a target in front of him.

Jesse certainly felt like a target, sometimes- claiming Hanzo's full focus, daring him to just let go.

They stumbled into the night air, leaning heavily on each other. Hanzo took a deep breath as they gathered their wits, staring up at the heavy clouds and a few stubborn stars that still managed to shine. “I think I need to call a cab.”

“Me too. Wanna share?”

Not wanting the night to end so soon, Hanzo agreed, and they’re soon collapsed in the backseat of one. Exhaustion is swiftly catching up to them both now that they’ve come to a mutual agreement that the night was over, and when the driver announced that they’d arrived at Jesse’s modest apartment complex Hanzo stopped him.

“Thank you, for tonight,” Hanzo said.

Jesse snorted. “You were the one who invited me out, I should be thanking you.”

“But you were better company than I hoped for. So, thank you.”

Jesse searched his eyes for a second, uncertain. Whatever he saw made him relax, and he gave a small smile. “Anytime, Han. See you at work?”

“Yes. Good night.”

The sentiment was echoed before the driver was paid and the door was slammed shut. Hanzo slumped back into the seat, chasing the lingering warmth Jesse left behind.

He’d probably regret all the alcohol in the morning, but Jesse’s company had only left him wanting more. If he had more common sense, he’d nip the feeling in the bud before it had a chance to fester.

Unfortunately, he had never had any sense of self-preservation, and more than once Hanzo found himself seeking Jesse out for a shared meal and lively conversation.

Two months later Jesse burst into Hanzo’s office with a wild grin on his face. How he always seemed to know Sombra was out of the office and therefore unable to stop him was beyond him. “Han! You on your lunch break yet?”

Hanzo looked down at the empty box of noodles in front of him, then back up at Jesse. “I thought you were working out of the office today.”

“Never mind that, you’re taking an extra hour. Come on! There’s someone here you gotta meet.”

Bemused, Hanzo let himself be dragged downstairs and to McCree’s small studio space. Despite only being given it a few weeks ago it looked well lived in- a potted cactus was next to the computer, pictures hanging from a clothesline decorated one wall, and a few western romances were lined up on the desk among the various candy wrappers. Post it notes were plastered over a small cork board, mostly reminders of deadlines, and a few receipts that he needed to turn into HR for reimbursement. Genji was already there, speaking animatedly to a man that was half-hidden by the doorway. As soon as Hanzo stepped inside, though, there was no way he didn’t know who the stranger was.

“Gabriel Reyes,” he said, extending a hand. To his pride it didn’t shake- the man was intimidating, both in reputation and stature. “It’s an honor to meet you.”

Reyes cocked an eyebrow as he gripped Hanzo’s hand. “There better not be another one.”

“I’m… sorry?” Hanzo asked. Jesse snorted.

“A third Shimada. This one here gives me enough grief,” Reyes grunted, ignoring Genji’s ‘hey!’.

Hanzo gave a wry smile. “Trust me, I think my parents taking one look at Genji swore them off of any future children.”

“Good, cause two of you in cahoots is asking for trouble.” He stepped away to give Hanzo a once-over. “You treating my boy right?”

Jesse butted in. “Gabe, stop trying to intimidate him, you swore this was a business meeting only.”

“It is. Gotta see if they’re treating my favorite ex-employee right so I can know if I have a chance of hiring him back.”

“I was never employed by you, stop spreading lies!”

“What, you ashamed of me or something?”

Genji sidled up to Hanzo while the two bickered. “They’re gonna be a while when they get like this.”

“This sounds like a familiar argument,” Hanzo replied, amused.

“I can practically quote it by now. Hey, Reyes! Did you know that Jesse’s dating Hanzo?”

All three men whirled to face him. “I am not!” Jesse exclaimed, at the same time as Hanzo’s “That would be unprofessional!”

Gabe barked a laugh and smacked a red faced Jesse on the shoulder. “So that’s why you sounded so lovestruck on the phone last week! ‘Just drinks’ my ass.”

Hanzo’s embarrassment grew at Reyes’ words and he fumbled for his comm for any sort of distraction.

Jesse groaned and dragged a hand down his face. “Genji, you’re a little shit. Gabe, you don’t know shit. Hanzo, I blame you for getting me in this shit.”

“I have done nothing!” Hanzo exclaimed as Genji started cackling. “You’re the one who wanted to introduce me to your father!”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth he regretted them. Genji was practically on the floor howling. Even Reyes was smirking, and Jesse had his face buried in his hands. Hanzo decided to make a tactical retreat. “It is an honor to meet you, sir, but I must get back to work. Excuse me,” and he hustled out of the room.

“Coward!” Genji shouted after him, but Hanzo didn’t slow down.

Despite the disastrous meeting, Hanzo’s relationship with Jesse didn’t suffer. Both of them had a silent, mutual agreement to Not Talk About It, and life resumed as normal.

Even though Hanzo did, from time to time, get distracted by the implications of the entire event. He was good at lying to himself, but if there was one thing he couldn’t lie about, it was the effects Jesse’s smile had on him.

Those thoughts were dangerous, though, so he avoided them as much as he could the only way he knew how: by throwing himself into work.

With fashion week coming up, it was easy. A number of Hanamura’s models were involved with the runway, even more involved in the various photoshoots for promotional media and the ensuing sales boom. Amelie had also been invited for the first time, and Hanzo was more than happy to lend her three of his models to show her designs.

As a result, the agency was swamped. Hanzo was negotiating contracts, calling in favors, and doing his utmost to ensure that his business would be well represented and well received. His employees were continuously clocking in overtime, happy to know that they would all receive a bonus on their monthly paycheck to compensate for personal time lost.

Jesse was hired out as a photographer at some point, and they didn’t meet up again until the event had started, when Hanzo was already sat in his designated seat by the runway.

Jesse was set up at the end of the stage, one of the many there to take pictures as the models reached the end of the walkway. When he saw Hanzo he gave a small wave and a wink, and Hanzo could feel the smile tugging at the corner of his mouth as he waved back.

Amelie’s collection was being shown off site from the main event arena, but Hanzo wouldn’t dream of going to boring connection luncheons and social parties over her event. Not only was his presence the strongest sign of support he could give, it would also make others pay attention if one of their own was in attendance.

Though Hanzo knew most of the outfits that would be displayed already, having been invited to several of the photoshoots that showed them off, it was still a spectacle to see them modeled on the runway. While he never particularly liked this aspect of the job, he could still admire (and silently judge) those who did.

Besides, the only reason anyone ever attended this event was for the nightly after-parties.

Overwatch was the preferred club whenever he was in town, and the week promised to be an interesting one. Genji was no doubt already there- Hanzo might be the brains behind the finances and marketing, but Genji made connections. Despite being employed as an art director his real job was to make friends, a task he took to with aplomb.

“Hanzo! You made it!” Genji cheered when Hanzo finally arrived. He had spent most of the afternoon helping Amelie make more upper-crust contacts, and now it was time to have fun. Genji had pulled several tables together in the VIP area, which Hanzo was afraid to ask how he managed to do so. Jesse was already there, as was Hana, Lena with her girlfriend and fellow model Emily, makeup artists Zenyatta and, surprisingly, an uncomfortable looking Winston who was hunkered awkwardly over his diet pepsi.

“Sorry I arrived late, I needed to introduce Amelie to some people,” Hanzo said. He couldn’t help but notice the end space next to Jesse had been left conveniently empty. He glanced at the models. “I hope you three don’t drink too much.”

The three models made faces at him and toasted with their waters. “Maximum of one drink an hour, with twice as much water as alcohol content in between drinks,” Hana repeated.

“Are you even old enough to drink?” Jesse asked. “You aren’t even 21 yet and we’re in America.”

She made a face and raised her right arm, which had a white armband. “Don’t remind me.”

“You worry too much boss,” Lena said. “We’re off the clock right now! Go dance.”

Hanzo looked at the grinding that was occuring on the dim dance floor. “That is not dancing.”

Genji snorted. “Says you.” He tossed back his drink then turned to Hana. “May I have this dance, young lady?”

“So long as you keep your hands to yourself, old man.” They vanished from sight quickly.

Genji’s spot was taken by a blonde woman wearing a shiny green dress. “Angie!” Jesse exclaimed, delighted. He quickly stood and hugged her. “Haven’t seen you in ages. How have you been?”

“Good.” Her smile was warm. “I got the grant I needed to research more into my nanite technology. What brings you here, though? Thought you were still stationed in Florida.”

“What can I say? Got sick of tourists.” He turned to Hanzo. “Meet my new boss! Hanzo, Angela Ziegler. Angie, Shimada Hanzo.”

“Genji’s brother,” Angela said, shaking his hand. “He talks about you a lot.”

“Not good things, knowing him,” Hanzo said wryly.

She chuckled. “He complains that you work too much.”

“Genji clocks in twenty hours a week when he does have a project. He isn’t one to talk.”

His brother chose that moment to come back, always having a sixth sense when he was the topic of conversation. “Angela!” he exclaimed, picking the woman and and spinning her in a hug. “It’s always a good day when I get to see you.”

“Careful or I might believe that,” she teased, but was grinning. “You need to tell me about that project in Greece that you wrote me about. Did you really get kicked by a camel?”

Hanzo tuned out their conversation, returning to his neglected drink. Jesse was warm against his side, both of them sitting under a small circle of light and nursing their drinks. Contentment settled around his shoulders. He relaxed into it, figuring that he could let go for one evening, since the rest of the week would demand his entire attention.

“Guys! Lucio said we’re invited to an underground rave,” Hana said upon returning. “Wanna come?”

“Hana-” Winston started.

“Don’t worry big guy, no drugs or alcohol,” she replied. “What do you say Emily, Lena?”

“Sounds like fun!” the two chorused at the same time.

Jesse shook his head when Hana turned an inquisitive look at him. “Nah, I’m good here. Too old for that crowd. Might wanna see if Genji wants to go though- seems like he’ll enjoy it.”

“Genji is everyone’s pan icon, but I wanted it to just be us girls,” Hana sighed.

Jesse snorted. “Genji is something, but I wouldn’t- wait. Us girls? Hana!” She danced out of his grip, laughing. “Hana, come back here! You didn’t even let me borrow your dress!”

“It’s not your color!” She called back, chasing after Emily and Lena.

“Says you, I can rock any outfit! Put me on the runway, I’ll prove it!”

Deadpan, Hanzo said, “Amelie has some sequin miniskirts that will show off your thighs.”

“Damn right they will. Genji! Still have those pink high heels? The ones you got from that dancer?”

With the girls gone, Winston begged off for sleep, and Genji managed to persuade Angela and Zenyatta both onto the dance floor with him. With only Hanzo and Jesse remaining, the two were content to watch the drama unfolding around them. A few more of Hanzo’s employees dropped by to say hello, mostly models. Jesse seemed to know a few of them, complimenting them on their performance on the runway.

As the night went on, the club got more crowded. Their previously large table was given away to a different group, and they relocated to a smaller, circular booth in the corner.

“Gabe and I would spend hours at these parties making up stories about the people around us,” Jesse said, breaking the comfortable silence between them. “I was little more than a kid then, only there because Gabe didn’t trust me with a babysitter yet. Course, when he started dating Jack, I refused to be a third wheel and found my own trouble elsewhere.”

“Theirs sounds like an unconventional romance,” Hanzo murmured, barely heard over the sound of the music.

Jesse nodded. “They met on set of the first Omnic Wars movie, when Gabe was hired to do all the costuming for the robots. Jack was… how did Gabe describe it? Adonis in body but complete boy scout in attitude? Or something like that.” He chuckled. “God, Gabe hated him at first. Thought he was too nice to be genuine. Jack, of course, had a huge, disgusting puppy crush on him. Was being super nice and considerate when Gabe was around to impress him. Wasn’t until Jack snapped and yelled at his costar for being an idiot that Gabe finally took notice. They’ve been disgustingly in love ever since.”

Hanzo raised his glass. “To their sappy romance, then.”

“I’ll drink to that.”

Jesse downed his glass, then gave a wistful smile. “Gotta say, though, for all that they disgust me with their affection for each other even now, I’m jealous. Love like that is hard to find in the best of circumstances- I’m too old now to even consider finding love like that.”

“Having an age limit would make the feeling worthless,” Hanzo chided. “It may take a while, but it’s all the more special when it does come.”

“You sound like you’re speaking from experience.”

“Hardly.” He looked at Jesse, intending to continue, but the words died in his throat at the look in his eyes.

There was a banked fire in the brown gaze, hope warring with wariness. Hanzo’s tongue was thick when he finally spoke. “I envy you, you know.”

“How so?” If he was startled by the change in topic, it didn’t show. Jesse’s voice was soft, and they unintentionally leaned closer together.

“I never got to choose,” Hanzo said, one hand gripped tight to his glass, the other bracing himself on the back of his chair. “My mother had a fashion empire, my father a modeling one. Their marriage was based off of convenience, and while they cared for each other, there was little love between them. I was groomed to take over one part of their legacy; my brother, the other. But before they could fully realize their dream, she died. My father tried running both, but the stress got to him. He died when I was beginning to start a career in acting, the first thing that truly interested me since I picked up a bow.” That, too, was a hobby he had been forced to quit, his family’s ambitions always put above his own. He still mourned it. “Genji sold my mother’s company to Amelie, but I could not do the same for my father’s. Four generations of hard work went into it, and as much as I didn’t want that legacy to define me, I couldn’t leave it behind.

“And then, you walked onto my set with a beat up old camera and cowboy boots.” Hanzo was close enough to see the hitch in Jesse’s breath, the way his eyes widened slightly. He allowed his hand to creep towards Jesse’s in hope “A man who refused to let his family define him, who fought to make his own way in life. A life I was too much of a coward to fight for. You have inspired me, Jesse, more ways than I can name. You would have become famous without me, but I am… honored, to have been the means in which you chose to do so.”

His heart was beating like mad, but with the confession came peace. Jesse’s hand trembled in Hanzo’s grasp, before finally pulling free to tentatively trace Hanzo’s face.

“You are more than your legacy too, Han,” he said, voice slightly hoarse. “You may not believe it, but you still made something you should be proud to call your own. I’ve never seen people more dedicated to their job than those that work for you. You are…” he chuckled. “You are nothing short of amazing.”

Jesse was so close, now. Hanzo wanted to lean in- desperately, achingly- but a nearby shout startled them, and they both turned to see Genji leaning against Angela in a giggle-loop, her and Zenyatta exchanging exasperated glances as Genji rambled about something unintelligible. Reluctantly, Hanzo pulled away, hoping he didn’t imagine the look of disappointment on Jesse’s face.

“I’ll take him back to the hotel,” Hanzo sighed as Angela poured his still laughing brother into his arms.

“See that he takes some advil and drinks at least two glasses of water before he falls asleep,” she ordered before hurrying off into the crowd once more.

Hanzo turned to Jesse, an apology forming, but he only waved him off. “Go on ahead, I won’t be far behind you anyway. Making sure that one doesn’t puke on your shoes before you get him in bed is more important.”

Whatever opportunity that had been in front of them, it was lost. Hanzo could only nod mutely before dragging Genji away, Jesse’s eyes burning into his back. He felt them there all the way back to his lonely hotel suite.

To his relief and dread the rest of the week passed without incident.

It also passed without Jesse.

Hanzo attended the most exclusive parties, had the best seats during each event, rubbed shoulders with industry titans. He handed out and accepted business cards to the point where he ran out, stole some from Genji, and ran out again.

Sombra cursed him to hell and back when she needed to find someone who could print more within an hour, and cursed him again when he called thirty minutes later, stressed and strung out from the extended socialization, and told her not to bother. He spoke to empty headed socialites with a smile, gossiped with the right people, and fell into a dreamless, exhausted sleep every night.

The week ended with Hanzo nearly cross-eyed from exhaustion, but proud. His agency was praised by more than a few influential names during the week, and business would no doubt start to pick up. He already had emails sent out to his department heads to finalize the hiring process, and gave Sombra a week off for what he put her through.

Hanzo slept on the plane rides back to Hanamura, and when he entered his dark, slightly stale high-rise apartment, he barely gave the interior a glance before he collapsed into bed.

He awoke to several emails and text messages. Most were ignored until later, but three stood out to him.

The first email was from Amelie, thanking him for his generous sponsorship throughout the week. The second was a text from Genji, saying he was going to be in Nepal for a month doing a job for charity work and he was taking Zenyatta with him.

The third was a text from Jesse, saying he got Hanzo’s number from Sombra, and that he was going to be out of the office for the next few days to spend time with his fathers for Gabe’s birthday.

Hanzo hesitated, unsure of the implications. He should have notified his manager, not Hanzo. Perhaps he had, and had merely texted Hanzo from some sort of obligation. Then why get his number from Sombra and not Hanzo himself? Was he embarrassed about how he acted at the club? Hanzo would have recognized his absence, considering how much Hanzo went out of his way to spend time with him. Was Jesse merely being courteous because of that?

He was reading too much into this. Jesse had texted him, and that’s what he needed to focus on. At the very least, he could send a reply. Have fun. Tell him happy birthday.

A reply came seconds later, almost causing him to drop his phone. He said thank you and that he expects a gift.

I apologize, I don’t know what to get him.

The next reply took longer to arrive, but when it did, Hanzo nearly died from embarrassment. Hey! Sorry about that. Gabe stole my phone. Ignore him, he’s a senile old man who needs to stay out of my business!

Hanzo took a few breaths and recited the alphabet backwards to keep his calm. I take it he was reading over your shoulder?

He’s pouting now. Jack is laughing too hard to help. Sorry again, Hanzo.

He hesitated, chewing on his lip in uncertainty before sending a reply. Think nothing of it. I’ll send a strip-o-gram to make him feel better.

Jesse sent back a long string of incomprehensible emojis, but it still made Hanzo smile. He saved Jesse’s contact number, then rolled out of bed to prepare for his day.

He still sent Sombra a text. Whatever favor Jesse owes you, do not make him honor it.

Her reply was instantaneous. Ur no fun.

Hanzo rolled his eyes and went to work.

The days following fashion week was always muted as everyone recuperated and worked off their hangovers and post-event exhaustion. Hanzo took advantage of the calm before the storm and caught up on work he had neglected during the event, going over proofs from marketing, final products from the editing team, and a whole slew of resumes that HR had copied him on. The monotony was only broken during sporadic text conversations with Jesse, who mostly complained about his father's being gross.

It took Genji three days to catch him and drag him home before he worked himself to death.

“You are going out with me tonight,” his brother declared, furiously ripping through Hanzo’s closet. He emerged with a pinstriped suit and a white shirt. “Everyone else took a day to recuperate, you can too!”

“I really can’t-”

“Put the suit on, Hanzo.”

He sighed but did as Genji asked. It wasn’t until they were in the car that he realized Genji had also stolen his comm, at which point Hanzo leveled him with a glare that Genji only shrugged off.

“For your own good,” he sang, and Hanzo sulked.

They pulled up to Bullseye, and Hanzo furrowed his brows. “Don’t you think I’m a little overdressed?”

“Not at all,” Genji replied. “I think you’re perfect, in fact.”

Reluctantly, Hanzo let Genji drag him inside. Being a weekday the bar was quiet, with only one other person at the bar nursing a mug of beer. Genji sat Hanzo in a booth with a determined ‘stay’ then skipped off towards the bathrooms.

A few minutes later, Hanzo realized Genji had abandoned him. Thirty seconds after that realization, he saw Jesse walk into the door, and he realized why.

Jesse looked exactly like he did the day they first met, down to the scuffed boots and worn flannel. His heart stuttered- how could he have ever dismissed the man so quickly? The easy confidence in which he carried himself, the smile tucked away in his eyes, the powerful lines of his body- that was what he should have noticed then, what he couldn’t help but notice now.

Jesse hadn’t quite seen Hanzo yet, tucked away in the corner, so he had a brief moment to compose himself before Jesse’s eyes snapped to his.

Slowly, Hanzo stood up as Jesse finally left the doorway to greet him. “I didn’t realize you were back in town,” he said, hands fluttering nervously before he shoved them in his pockets.

Jesse’s gaze was restless, moving up and down Hanzo’s form in a way that made him blush. “Got back in a few hours ago. Did Genji…?”

“Yes.” Hanzo cleared his throat. “Dragged me out of my office and insisted I wear this.”

“It’s the same thing you wore when we met,” Jesse said, then flushed. “I mean-”

Hanzo chuckled. “No, it’s fine.” There was a short pause as Jesse fiddled with his camera. “Well… since we are already here…?”

Jesse relaxed. “Want to grab a drink with me?”

Whatever Hanzo seemed to fear when he saw Jesse, it melted away as the conversation over their drink extended. Hanzo told Jesse some of the more juicy drama that happened at the exclusive parties he attended, while Jesse shared some of the shenanigans he and the other photographers got up to in between events.

“Sounds like quite the party,” Hanzo said when Jesse was done recounting the story involving beer pong, an unfortunate pet guinea pig, and his own boxers.

Jesse beamed. “Well, you know what they say: it’s not a real party until someone’s underwear gets pinned to the church door.”

Hanzo couldn’t help the smile, ducking down to hide behind his cup. Before he could do so, however, he heard the snap of a camera shutter, and he looked at Jesse in surprise.

“Too slow,” he joked, then trailed off when he got a good look at Hanzo’s face. “What?”

“You… used your camera.”

“Yeah?” Jesse blinked. “Wait, you weren’t serious about me having to pay you, right?”

Hanzo startled. “What?”

“You know, when we first met? Said I couldn’t afford to have you model for me.”

“I didn’t mean…!” Hanzo waved his arms helplessly. “You used your camera! The one Reyes gave you! The one you said was for special moments! On me!”

“Oh.” Jesse blushed. “Yeah. It’s just… you’ve never actually smiled before, not that I could see. Not for real, anyway. It looked good on you, and I wanted to remember it.”

 

This time, Hanzo blushed, and when Jesse took another picture, Hanzo gently pulled the camera away from his face. “I wish to see you smile more, too.”

Jesse gave his sunshine grin, and it never went away, even through the kisses.

----

The lights of the photoshoot were blinding, but as Hanzo sat on the stool provided for him, he found he didn’t mind. He watched as Jesse made adjustments to the equipment and swayed along to the song playing over the speakers. The man moved confidently, directing the two new hires to adjust this and that, playing with the light sources until he was satisfied and checking to make sure the cameras were in focus. Only when he was done did he finally turn to Hanzo.

“You ready darlin’?”

Hanzo smoothed down the front of his kyudo-gi, then nodded. “Of course.”

From behind the camera, Jesse grinned. “Give a smile for the camera, then.”

Hanzo tossed his head, turned toward the bright lights, and smiled.