The first time it happened, Hanzo dismissed it as an accident.
The battle was already in full swing, and perhaps he had not been as careful as he should have been when unleashing his arrows. He had taken position above the payload, watching grimly as the new troops of omnics descended without mercy on his team. Out of fear, he had muttered a silent prayer to his ancestors, even though he had been the one to put many of the more recent ancestors to their rest. Desperate times, after all.
His arrows found their mark, then another, and another. By the end, his five arrows had found sixty targets, and one of them had also unfortunately pierced the brim of McCree’s beloved Stetson.
After plucking the arrow from his hat (Genji repeatedly assured Hanzo afterwards that the hat had been through far worse), McCree craned his head upwards to flash Hanzo a brilliant smile and one of his signature finger gun salutes.
Hanzo insisted that the ferocious blush caused by this simple gesture was also an accident.
The second time it happened, Hanzo convinced himself it was an accident.
He had been attempting to recreate the first error on the training range, but was having no luck. The metal doors opened behind him, and the jingle of spurs gave away the identity of his visitor.
“Do you have pliers?” Hanzo didn’t even look up from the sonic arrow he was modifying. McCree chuckled, knowing the abrupt greeting was a sign that Hanzo was comfortable around him.
A pair of needle-nose pliers were thrust into Hanzo’s field of vision. Hanzo looked up and blinked.
“It’s useful for tunin’ up Peacekeeper,” Jesse explained.
Hanzo raised an eyebrow and McCree grinned sheepishly. “Shoulda known better than to lie to you. Sometimes my belt buckle gets stuck.”
Hanzo snorted, reaching for the pliers, and trying very hard not to picture the scenario Jesse just described. “Thank you.”
“Pretty fancy moves you pulled on that last mission.” McCree leaned casually against the nearest pillar.
“It was effective, if unintended,” Hanzo admitted.
“Wait, that wasn’t somethin’ new you’d cooked up?”
“No,” Hanzo frowned. “I have been trying to replicate the correct conditions, but cannot seem to do so.”
“Oh! Well, why don’t I give you a hand?” Jesse propelled himself forward.
Hanzo hesitated. There was one part of that mission that he knew very well could be replicated easily. It involved him just being in close proximity to McCree, and it was not something he wished to repeat.
“I would not want to waste your time.”
“Not a waste of time! Happy to help.”
Hanzo nodded reluctantly and stood. Jesse’s smile brightened considerably as he did.
They tried for the better part of two hours to recreate the fight from memory, but nothing seemed to cause the same chain reaction.
“Say, what were you thinkin’ about right before it happened?” Jesse asked when it became clear they were out of ideas.
“I was…concerned,” Hanzo admitted.
“The circumstances on the ground were dire. I was concerned for your safety. The safety of the team,” Hanzo added hastily.
McCree didn’t seem to notice. “Well, what if we tried to recreate that experience?”
“Absolutely not,” Hanzo bristled, seeing exactly where this was going. “I have felt such feelings before without this exact result. We are not going to put you in danger for a fruitless experiment.”
“Well, then there’s one other thing that we’ve not replicated yet,” Jesse hummed thoughtfully. He moved to stand between Hanzo and the training bots.
“No,” Hanzo repeated.
“I’m not gonna be in danger,” Jesse assured him. “And I’m not askin’ you to shoot at me. But I was standin’ between you and those bots that got right slaughtered. So maybe you just need a friendly in line o’ sight?”
Hanzo looked down at his bow and frowned. While he had full confidence in his own abilities, he had also been certain of himself during the mission as well, and yet McCree had nearly suffered a close call.
“I trust you, Han.” Jesse smiled at him. As often was the case, that was all it took for Hanzo’s resolve to crumble.
“Very well,” Hanzo huffed. “But I take no responsibility for any damage done to your hat.”
“It’ll be my fault completely,” Jesse promised.
Hanzo raised his bow to take aim at the training bot behind and to the left of Jesse. He squinted, praying again to whoever was listening for McCree not to get hurt. The released arrow bounced off the headshot of the first bot into a second, and a third before doubling backwards towards Jesse.
“Look out!” Hanzo shouted. Jesse rolled to the side just in time, and the arrow embedded itself into the ground instead. Jesse let out a yell, but not the kind that Hanzo was expecting. For some reason, the cowboy was treating this like a great victory. He slapped Hanzo hard on the back, and threw his arm around his neck.
“Knew you had it in ya!”
“But I nearly—”
“Come on, let’s go celebrate! Drinks on me tonight.”
“Does that mean we have to drink that dreadful bourbon?” Hanzo complained, momentarily distracted.
“Now honey, I’ve been tryin’ to tell you it’s an acquired taste,” Jesse leaned in to coo into Hanzo’s ear.
Yes, the blush was more surely just an accident, nothing more.
The third time it happened, someone had to point out the obvious, and of course, it had to have been Genji. He cornered Hanzo in the hangar when they returned to Gibraltar, after a bouncing arrow had shot straight through Jesse’s serape.
“Are you trying to kill McCree?” Genji’s tone betrayed that even he found the idea to be ludicrous.
“Of course not,” Hanzo snapped.
“Then explain.” Genji crossed his arms.
Genji snorted. “You never miss.”
“You can understand then why this is so disconcerting.” Hanzo crossed his arms as well, and shuffled uncomfortably in place.
Genji tilted his head, fixing his visor on his brother without an immediate reply. “Perhaps we should consult Angela?” He asked more lightly, in a tone that tried to mask the worry that he knew Hanzo would have dismissed.
Hanzo heard it anyway, but seemed more embarrassed than angry.
“I am fine,” he insisted, slipping around his brother in one smooth motion. He paused though before reaching the hangar door. “But thank you. For your concern.”
“You’re thanking me? Now I know that something is not right,” Genji sighed, rolling his eyes.
The fourth time it happened, Hanzo insisted it was completely Genji’s fault.
The little shit had been smug about something ever since their last conversation, and Hanzo had neither the desire nor the patience to find out what it was. He was doing his best to ignore Genji’s wheedling, but as Dr. Ziegler could also attest, that could only be done for so long.
Hanzo was perched safely out of sight behind his team, only half-listening to their casual banter.
“—an’ then it just ricocheted like a pinball, and took down three more!” Jesse’s voice was full of admiration.
Hanzo could feel his face grow warm from the praise.
“It was nothing,” he scoffed into his comm.
“Don’t be so modest, brother,” Genji added too casually. “McCree, tell us again how he was finally able to recreate the effect?”
“That is hardly worth mentioning,” Hanzo snapped.
“Because if I know my brother, he always keeps his eyes on the prize,, do you not, anija?” Genji turned up to where he knew Hanzo had to be standing and they made eye contact.
Hanzo muttered a prayer for his own patience before aiming right above his brother’s head, as a warning. They had aimed projectiles at each other many times in their youth in jest. That Hanzo thought to do it again brought a special gleam to Genji’s visor. He was pleased that his brother felt as though they could return to such trivial pursuits, seeing that the very last time he had done so, it had gone so very wrong. He prepared himself to deflect.
Except the arrow never made it to Genji. Instead, it took a wild u-turn in midair, reflected off a pillar and grazed the back of McCree’s chaps. Jesse yelped and fell forwards.
The arrow rounded again, bouncing off a paint can to deflect upwards, hitting the corner of a wall to turn left, catching a sign to turn again backwards. The rest of the team watched it as though they were watching a tennis game, their heads turning to track the arrow’s each and every movement. Genji was too busy exaggerating a bout of laughter to notice any of this himself, which is why when the arrow finally grazed a potted plant sitting on a window sill just above him, nudging the pot just enough to fall off the edge, he did not have the foresight to dodge.
The flowerpot smashed against his helmet before shattering on the ground.
Genji squawked and instantly fell with it.
The entire team winced. Angela deliberately did not make eye contact with the ninja, and found instead a fascinating spot on her staff that required polishing.
“Well. Someone has to,” Hanzo countered belatedly.
When his door chimed later that evening, Hanzo didn’t even have it in him to be irritated. He answered to find a determined-looking Genji on the other side, mask off, a token Hello Kitty band aid on his forehead that for some reason Angela gave out to no one else.
“I have a theory,” Genji announced.
Hanzo hoped that he had imbibed enough alcohol to withstand this. He stepped aside to allow Genji entrance, and his brother took a seat on the floor beside the bed. Hanzo crossed his arms and leaned against the door.
“About what?” Hanzo asked, feigning innocence.
“About why you nearly shot McCree in the butt,” Genji answered bluntly. “Have you asked your dragons?”
Hanzo furrowed his brow. “Of course.”
“They claim it is not them, but I am not certain. It is hard to understand them when they are laughing as hard as they were,” Hanzo scowled at the floor.
Genji snorted. “So they obviously know why this is happening?”
“So it would appear.”
“And they also think it’s hilarious?”
Hanzo bristled. “You didn’t seem to think it so hilarious last night.”
Genji pointed at the band aid on his forehead. “That’s because I nearly died.”
“Was that your only theory?” Hanzo decided that not responding to Genji’s ridiculous assessment was the best option.
“It was,” Genji nodded. “But that does not mean we cannot figure this out together. Is there anything else that you remember happening before such instances?”
“I am often…steeling myself,” Hanzo said after some thought. “It sometimes happens when I am worried for the safety of others. Or praying for patience.” He gave his brother a pointed glare.
“Oh?” Genji tilted his head. “Do you picture anyone in particular when doing so?”
Both brothers were shocked by the instant admission.
“Every time,” Hanzo added more quietly.
“I think about him as well,” Genji admitted. He chuckled darkly. “I wonder what he would think of what we’ve become.”
“It’s hard to say who he’d be more disappointed by,” Hanzo smirked, despite himself. “But if I were hazard a guess, I would have to bet on myself. After all, I killed his favourite son.”
“No.” Genji could hear the wry turn in his brother’s voice, but knew also that Hanzo believed in those words more than he was letting on. “He was harder on you because he loved you. That was the unfortunate nature of your relationship.”
“I cannot help but wonder what he would have thought,” Hanzo’s voice softened in a way that Genji found alarming. “When I laid the final bl—"
“He would have wanted you to learn from your mistakes, brother, not to pay for them,” Genji interrupted before Hanzo could finish, not sure his heart could bear to hear the rest. He sat up straighter as something occurred to him. “Perhaps he is guiding your arrows. Father spent most of his life forcing you to push people away. It was one of his greatest regrets. Perhaps he is trying to make up for it.”
“…by having me murder McCree?”
“No,” Genji shook his head. “By guiding you towards him.”
They shared what Genji thought was a poignant, thoughtful silence until Hanzo broke it.
“…for what purpose?”
Genji punched his brother on the shoulder. “You are hopeless!”
“And you are ridiculous,” Hanzo countered. “In what world would father consider McCree to be an ideal partner for me?”
“A world in which he knew you already had feelings for Jesse.”
Any other time, Genji would have teased Hanzo for his inability to reply, for the way in which his face flushed bright red. That Hanzo reacted at all though meant that Genji was right, and Genji knew that such feelings needed to be encouraged instead of mocked (besides, there would be time for his ‘I-told-you-so’ later).
“Perhaps you should talk to McCree,” Genji tried more gently.
Hanzo huffed. “Why? He could not possibly—”
“You nearly shot him several times,” Genji pointed out. “What was his reaction?”
Hanzo’s silence was his answer.
“We’ve reached the point where inanimate objects are more in tune with your feelings that you are, brother,” Genji sighed.
“I think I liked it better when you thought I was trying to kill him,” Hanzo sulked.
“I did too.” Genji made a face. He stood to take his leave. “So, for both of our sakes, so we don’t have to have this conversation ever again, just please, talk to him. Even if this is not the cause of whatever is happening to your shots, even if it’s not some sort of ghost arrow, father would have wanted this for you, and I do too.”
Hanzo had grown tired of accidents.
This is why, despite his better judgment, two hours and three drinks later, Hanzo found himself at Jesse’s door with an unopened bottle of sake and a plan (he could not have brought himself to Jesse’s room without one in place).
The door opened soon after his quick knock, and McCree’s wide smile did nothing to slow his quick beating heart.
“To what do I owe the pleasure?” Jesse drawled.
“Must there be a reason?” Hanzo frowned.
“Course not! Come on in!”
Hanzo took a deep breath, knowing that they spent enough time in each other’s company for this to be considered the norm. That in itself spoke volumes.
Jesse grabbed two small sake cups from his windowsill—a gift from Hanzo’s last trip to Japan, which in itself was also telling. He gestured that Hanzo should take a seat wherever he pleased. Hanzo took his usual spot, leaning against the bed. He accepted the cup with a small nod, and Jesse settled in his own usual spot opposite from him.
“First, I believe I owe you an apology.” Hanzo recited as he had done just moments ago in front of his mirror.
“Oh?” Jesse looked genuinely confused.
“For nearly causing you harm so many times,” Hanzo explained. “I’ve not yet figured out what I’m doing wrong, but—"
“Aww, that’s nothin’ to apologize about,” Jesse rubbed at the back of his neck. “You ain’t doin’ anythin’ wrong.”
“I’ve nearly hit you several times now,” Hanzo frowned again. “I cannot see how you would not see that as being ‘wrong’.”
Jesse just shrugged, and took a small sip from his cup. “To be honest, I kinda appreciated the attention.”
“I beg your pardon?” Hanzo sputtered.
“Figured the near misses meant you were lookin’ my way, and I couldn’t ever be mad at you for that.”
And he was blushing.
Hanzo decided to escalate to step two right away.
“Jesse. For some time now—”
Hanzo’s stuttered monologue was interrupted by Jesse’s sudden laughter.
“I’m sorry darlin’,” Jesse apologized, seeing Hanzo’s distress. “It’s just that I already kn—you know what? Please continue,” Jesse corrected himself, likely in response to the look on Hanzo’s face.
Hanzo pursed his lips and nodded once. “For some time now, I—”
Shit. What came after this part of the speech?
Jesse was sitting patiently, an amused smile on his lips.
Hanzo focused on his cup with far too much intensity for a moment before downing the whole thing in one go and trying again from scratch.
“I think my arrows may have brought me to you,” was definitely what he had not intended to say. Judging by Jesse’s expression though, it may have been just the right thing.
“Yeah?” Jesse tried cautiously. “Well, if so, I’m mighty glad they did. Wish I had somethin’ that woulda given me that courage.”
Jesse reached to refill both their cups. Hanzo gently laid a hand onto his as he did so. Jesse’s eyes flickered upward hopefully.
“I’ve never in my life missed a shot. Not when it matters,” Hanzo tried his best to keep his voice steady. “So perhaps, the fact that my arrows find their way to you suggests that you matter to me.”
“You’ve been shootin’ me because I matter? Now darlin’, that’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard,” Jesse chuckled.
“I like you,” Hanzo said. All caution dissolved from Jesse’s expression and was replaced instead with a wide smile. Hanzo marvelled at the effect of such simple words.
“I like you too.” Jesse reached to put both cups to the side, and kneeled between Hanzo’s legs.
The blush that spread across Hanzo’s face was certainly no accident, nor was the kiss, or anything else that happened later that evening.