Jesse dreams that he’s kissing someone.
He’s kissing them slowly, deeply. Tenderly.
It feels warm and good. It lasts forever and no time at all, the haze of this delirious dreamscape distorting his senses.
Jesse pulls back a little, his heart brimming as he gazes into achingly familiar dark eyes, crinkled with happiness in a way he knows he’s never seen them.
Jesse jolts awake in the pitch black of his quarters, a whimper caught in the back of his throat. A quick consultation of his comm reveals that it’s 3:42 a.m and he curses, because that’s all the sleep he’s going to get. He sits on the edge of his bed, dragging a palm over his face and sorts through the thoughts bouncing around in his brain.
It’s not the first time his sleep has been interrupted by dreams, and he has definitely participated in sordid or compromising activities with colleagues or friends in a few of them...though this is different. He’s already a little in love with Hanzo and it’s starting to make their friendship painful. A good kind of painful, Jesse acknowledges, the kind of pain that reminds him that he’s human and alive and capable of emotion...but the taste of a kiss that may never happen has turned the dial up to excruciating.
Well , Jesse thinks with some resignation, I’m just gonna have to deal .
He trudges to the kitchen in darkness, mechanically gets a pot of coffee going and spends the time it takes to brew staring blankly at a wall.
His mind is still a jumble of replays, projecting the parts of his dream that it has decided to hold on to as he spoons a third heap of sugar into his coffee. He’s not one for cakes and candies (a slice of apple pie is perfectly fine) but he prefers his hot drinks sweet, much to the horror of Lena, Hanzo and Genji during the rare occasions he takes tea with them.
He sits at the table and waits for time to pass, getting up once for a refill. He deems 5 a.m a reasonable hour to make himself breakfast so he whips up some scrambled eggs, bacon and a couple of slices of heavily buttered toast. The intensity of his dream starts to fade after a belly full of food and he feels good enough about that to leave breakfast ready for the other early risers on the base and give the kitchen a thorough clean while he’s at it. Team members come and go, taking gratefully from the spread Jesse has provided.
He’s drying the last plate when he hears a familiar shuffling somewhere behind him and his heart trips in his chest. When he turns his head to look, he forces a casual smile.
He receives a grunt in reply. Hanzo, with a charming case of bed hair, has a blanket wrapped around himself and is blearily searching the fridge for sustenance—the breakfast Jesse had so generously supplied now thoroughly depleted by this time.
Hanzo piles up a plate with several pasteles de nata that Lena had brought back from a brief trip to Portugal. Before the fridge door closes, Jesse catches a glimpse of the chouriço she had also brought and wonders if she would mind if he cooked some, and if it would taste any different to the Spanish kind.
Jesse makes himself more coffee and takes a seat opposite Hanzo at the table, aware that Hanzo will not speak unless he has had something to eat first, so he sips his coffee and tries to ignore the buzzing under his skin.
He hadn’t pegged Hanzo as a late riser initially. When Hanzo first joined Overwatch he would be up as early as the rest of them, earlier even, as though he had something to prove, carefully put together in an effort to avoid judgement and scrutiny. He doesn’t work as hard at keeping up appearances now, six months down the line. It made sense to Jesse that Hanzo would naturally tend towards nocturnal, his extensive training further conditioning him to carry out most of his dealings in the cover of darkness and Genji was much the same. Jesse has been friends with Hanzo long enough to know that he sleeps better in the mornings, waking up maybe an hour or two shy of noon and going to bed well into the wee hours after expending all of his energy. Like a cat.
Jesse is pulled back to the present by Hanzo’s deadpan, “Do I have something on my face,” and he realises he’s been staring for a horrifyingly indeterminate amount of time while lost in thought. He focuses properly with a mind to apologise but Hanzo’s carefully groomed goatee is indeed speckled with cream and flakes of pastry, making him look so much like a disgruntled feline with food in his whiskers that it wrenches out a sudden bark of laughter from Jesse’s throat.
When Hanzo’s lip curls in amusement, surely aware of what he must look like, Jesse can only laugh harder and his dream is forgotten.
His dream is not forgotten. In fact, Jesse thinks back on with an increasingly obsessive frequency. He keeps busy with chores and finishing mission reports he had procrastinated on for long enough but he catches himself staring at nothing for minutes at a time, distracted by the phantom feel of Hanzo’s lips against his.
“You are very quiet today,” Hanzo comments.
Jesse is assembling his gun before they begin some friendly competition at the practice range. He wants to win this one, the prize is booze and God does he need some.
Jesse offers a shrug. “Just had a bad night.”
Hanzo stops testing the tension in his bowstring and frowns. “Nightmares?”
Jesse hesitates, because Hanzo can smell a lie from miles away. “Guess you could say that.”
He makes sure his next words are more reassuring, “It just got me shook up is all, ain’t nothin’.”
Jesse’s heart is thundering so loudly in his chest from what he’s concealing that he fears Hanzo will hear it. Hanzo narrows his eyes, unconvinced.
“I’d tell ya if it were serious, Han.”
“Hmm. Very well.”
Their competition starts moments later, but Jesse is off his game. He doesn’t win this time.
The dream is not recurring, Jesse is almost angry that it isn’t. He wants to revisit the wash of feeling, submerge himself in it again. He misses that Hanzo, longs for him, touches himself at night thinking about him, and it feels so wrong when he does that he lies for hours in the aftermath, ashamed.
He wants it to be real. Just once...if he could have this with Hanzo just once, it would be enough.
I just gotta deal with it, Jesse tells himself, just fuckin’ deal.
And he does, for a while. Because Hanzo is his friend and has shown no sign whatsoever of wanting to be anything more.
Except one evening they’re sitting under the stars and drinking from a bottle of plum wine that Hanzo had very fairly won from their shooting bet—and that had cost Jesse a small fortune to obtain—both in high spirits and enjoying the rarity of a few hours’ peace from being hounded by their violent pasts.
Jesse can’t stop talking because he’s drunk but Hanzo is listening to him with an expression of pure, naked fondness and there’s a surging, terrifying, exhilarating moment during which Jesse believes that if he were to kiss him right now, Hanzo would let him.
But he doesn’t and the moment passes.
Jesse hates himself for his yearning, but most of all for his cowardice.
He doesn’t know how much longer he can take it.
It’s midnight, around the time Hanzo’s energy levels are just beginning to peak, when Jesse finds him in the rec room reading on his tablet and watching a documentary about grey seals on the holovid at the same time. Mei is in there as well, but she’s lying asleep on one of the sofas, a blanket thoughtfully draped over her by Hanzo, most likely, Jesse has seen him do it before with other tired team members and he’s woken up to it himself on occasion.
Jesse plops down beside Hanzo and makes himself obnoxiously comfortable by settling enthusiastically into the cushions with grunts and sighs, deliberately jostling Hanzo in the process. Hanzo glances at him, amused.
“Do you need me to leave so you can roll around like a pig in mud undisturbed?”
“That’s alright, m’all done,” Jesse grins and offers Hanzo a can from the six-pack of beer he had brought with him. Hanzo accepts it with a snort.
They sit in companionable silence, interrupted only by Jesse’s comments on the roundness of seals whenever he spots a particularly rotund specimen. Jesse forces himself to keep his attention on the holovid and not on Hanzo’s softly lit profile.
At 2 a.m Mei trails off to bed, taking the blanket with her and the last of the three-part documentary comes to an end. Jesse rolls his neck around until it cracks and turns to bid Hanzo goodnight because his own sleeping habits do not involve staying up as late—and if he spends more time with him he may just die of longing, but is surprised to find that Hanzo has set aside his tablet and is watching him intently.
Jesse raises his eyebrows. “You okay there, Han?”
Hanzo makes an aborted gesture with his head, as if he was about to shake it but changed his mind at the last second. He lets out a huff of breath instead. “I don’t know what is going on with you lately, but I have noticed you acting differently...around me in particular.”
A nervous laugh. “Am I now?”
Hanzo waves his hand vaguely, “I can’t explain it so I will not try,” his brow furrows, “but you look at me so strangely sometimes. As if you are afraid.”
Well, fuck, Jesse thinks in a panic, pulse quickening.
Hanzo continues, genuinely concerned, “I’ve thought back on our conversations for something I may have said, and our meetings for something I may have done to change your opinion of me, but I cannot say for certain what.”
Jesse drops his head in his hands, and heaves a heavy sigh like a man defeated.
“Shit, Hanzo. It ain’t you,” his heart is thumping and his mouth is bone dry, “I just had a real weird fuckin’ dream about you is all, and it’s still messin’ with me.”
“What was I doing?”
Jesse raises his head to look at Hanzo, confused. “Huh?”
Hanzo makes an impatient sound, “In the dream, what was I doing?”
Jesse feels his face heat up and he wishes he were wearing his hat so he could hide beneath it. “Oh, well...not a lot, to be honest, it was more...uh, like...well shit, I was kissin’ you. We were kissin’.”
Hanzo shrugs, “It is only a dream. I will not act inappropriately towards you in reality, if that is what you fear.” This last part is uttered with an undercurrent of bitterness that Jesse didn’t expect.
“No, uh. It put ideas in my head, and it got intense for a while. I should’ve just told you when I had the damn dream, and we could’ve avoided this whole conversation but I wasn’t sure you’d take kindly to it if I did.” Jesse says, needing this to be over as soon as possible so he could go to his quarters and try to forget it ever happened.
“I fail to see how this would upset me in any way. It is, as you said, a dream. And you are my friend for whom I feel great affection, hopefully you hold me in similar regard or else it would have been a truly terrible experience for you.”
Despite the word ‘friend’ lancing a sharp pain through Jesse’s chest, he can’t help but release a soft snort of laughter at the rest.
“Trust me, Han, it wasn’t terrible. Thought it would, uh, offend you to be honest…” he rubs the back of his neck, “I’m glad to know it doesn’t. Things’ll go back to normal soon enough.” Jesse tries to keep a smile on his face and fights down the ache that has become familiar these days. Hanzo’s nod is uncertain and he doesn’t appear all that satisfied with Jesse’s answer but he doesn’t call him out on it.
They sit quietly, not fully realising they’re alone in the dimly lit rec room, simply gazing at each other. Christ, he’s beautiful, a wistful voice says in Jesse’s head. And then: fuck it.
“I want to, Han,” Jesse whispers. Hanzo’s eyes seem to grow darker with understanding. There isn’t a lot of space between them.
“To kiss me?” Hanzo asks, his voice low and husky.
“So much. Can’t get it out of my head. How it felt, how good it was.”
Hanzo leans in closer so that their noses almost touch, his expression unreadable. “Mm. Is that so.”
Jesse’s mouth is so dry from the close proximity that all he can manage is a croak. “Yeah.”
Hanzo hums deep in his throat and closes the distance, covering Jesse’s mouth with his own and Jesse stiffens, letting himself be kissed for a moment before he parts his lips with a pained moan, clutching at Hanzo like a man drowning. Hanzo makes a sound that Jesse wants to keep hearing for the rest of his life and slips a tongue into Jesse’s mouth, tasting of the beer they had drunk not long before. The hot slide of their mouths almost overwhelms him, it feels better than dreams, better than anything Jesse could have conjured up in his feverish, late-night imaginings. He registers the smooth movement of Hanzo’s hand slipping around the nape of his neck, fingers curling into his hair and making him shudder.
They part with a wet sound, still close enough that their lips can touch with the smallest motion. Jesse is thrilled that Hanzo is breathing as heavily as he is.
“I hope this ain’t a goddamn dream right now.” Jesse murmurs. Hanzo chuckles and winds his arms around Jesse in an embrace that feels so natural, as if he’s done this hundreds of times.
“I can cause you minor bodily harm to prove it isn’t, if you want.” Hanzo has moved his head to press a cheek against Jesse’s, his voice warm and gravelly in Jesse’s ear.
“Darlin’, you’ve been causin’ me major bodily harm these days and all I wanna do is thank you for it.” Jesse beams, feeling equal parts joy and disbelief. He pulls back and gently cradles Hanzo’s jaw with his hands as though handling something precious and kisses him deeply, tenderly in a way he has only been able to in dreams.
Hanzo smiles against his lips and Jesse for the briefest of moments experiences a sensation of déjà vu but it dissolves, the ache in his chest finally fading away with it.