He knows it's Jesse's last breath as it reaches his ears. It's a pained, too-loud agonal gasp that seems ripped from his lungs, brown eyes open wide and back arching against the stretcher. Frothy blood bubbles over his lips and teeth like a lurid fountain before muscles slack and he sags down, body limp and unresponsive.
Hanzo can only watch. Ana screams for someone to start CPR. Every movement is a silent plea as she holds the rescue bag and mask over Jesse's face. Genji begins chest compressions, fingers interlaced over the dying man's sternum. Desperate shoves only causes more red to leak from mouth and nose and from the hole between his ribs.
It doesn't feel real.
Lena is frantic. She flickers back and forth, desperate to help yet unable to do so. Her hands are still coated from when she'd tried to stop the bleeding , and she leaves tacky red smears on everything she touches.
Ana’s voice keeps a steady cadence. Each second carves a growing schism between Jesse’s last moments alive and his encroaching death. She counts to thirty, squeezes the bag twice, repeats. For minutes she keeps the count going, and each passing moment Hanzo feels his heart constrict. Jesse’s hand dangles over the side, blood dripping steadily from his fingers. A drop for every compression.
“..twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty.” Breath, breath. A half second pause as they wait for his chest to rise. He lays still. They start anew.
“One, two, three…”
Hanzo’s legs are shaking. He forces himself to stand, takes a step, stumbles as he stretches for Jesse’s hand. His finger close around it. He prays that there will be some response, a pulse, a twitch. Anything. Please.
“….twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty.”
“Ana.” Morrison is in the cargo hold with them. He has no idea how long he’s been standing there. “Ana. Call it.”
“No.” She grits out, her hands squeezing the rescue bag, once, twice, knuckles white. “One, two, three, four…”
“Ana...He’s gone.” Morrison is reaching, trying to pull Ana away. His voice is quavering. “He’s gone. He’s been gone.”
Genji is still doing compressions, hands locked over Jesse’s chest. His pace slows and he turns to Morrison, seeking permission to stop.
Morrison nods, pulls Ana’s hands away from Jesse’s face. It’s surprisingly gentle. His brother stands back, head bowed, shoulders tight.
Ana’s heartbroken wail fills the hold.
Hanzo mind erupts in a roaring static. He clutches Jesse’s hand like it’s some sort of lifeline. It's already going cold.
Tracer rounds on Morrison, her voice an angry shriek. Why weren't they there faster. Why didn’t they figure it out sooner. How did they not expect the Shimada's to intervene. Why. Why. Why.
Morrison has no answer. He’s the wrong target for her anger. She doesn’t know. None of them know. It’s not Morrison’s fault that Jesse is dead. The thought causes a stream of hysterical laughter to bubble past his lips. Tracer’s litany stops, and all eyes turn to him. He laughs harder, eyes closed, hunched and pressing the limp hand to his face.
The cargo hold is too small so she leans over Jesse’s corpse and slaps him.
He can’t stop.
“What the fuck, Shimada.” Lena’s hisses. Tears coat her flushed cheeks. “What the fuck is wrong with you.”
Genji steps around Jesse’s feet to stand by his brother, shielding him from the rest of the team. Hanzo pushes him away. He wants them to hate him .
“I killed him.” Looking up, he meets their gazes. Lena’s teeth are bared, Ana is wide-eyed and horrified, Morrison is holding her in a tight hug but his hand is tensed like he wishes for a rifle.
Hanzo welcomes the damnation.
“I killed him. I killed him. I-” Jesse's slack face. Too still. It’s too still. He's not coming back. There is no second chance.
Guilt settles as a weight around his neck.
He grabs for his brother's wakizashi. Genji spins away, sensing his intent. Hanzo’s hands are already around the hilt, it slips free of the sheath. His brother seizes his arms locking him in place, his face is inches away from his own.
“Hanzo! Stop this!”
Hanzo pulls back, angling the sword to his own flesh, straining. Jesse is dead.
“I killed him.”
“Help me!” his brother turns to the others.
A thump behind him, then arms wrap his torso. Genji wrenches the sword from his grasp, tosses it out of his reach and his katana follows. Hanzo struggles, growling deep in his chest, but Morrison is stronger then he has any right to be.
Jesse is dead.
Genji pulls him close, Morrison lets go. Hanzo feels his heart shatter.
It’s raw, gaping, wrong. There’s a scream building in his throat, an emptiness in his mind, his legs are giving out from under him, and he would give anything to be able to take it all back, To just have his eyes open, to have his heart beat one more time.
There is nothing.
Three days pass as a numb fog. He stays with Hanzo until the funeral, both keeping to Genji’s room. He has to plead with his brother to eat and drink. Angela comes by hours after they land to treat the injuries on his brother’s thigh and arm, as she leaves she presses a bottle of pills into his hands.
“For sleep.” She explains, her own eyes bloodshot. “I do not think he will rest without these. I do not think I need to tell you to watch him closely. Only take two every 8 hours or so.”
She turns to the door, pauses. Turns back to him. “I am so sorry. If I had seen Jesse sooner...I should of been there-” Her voice breaks.
Genji wraps his arms around her. She sobs, shaking, and behind his mask he can feel tears in his own eyes.
“I can’t believe he’s gone.” Is all he can think to say.
Jesse was a larger than life presence on base and his absence is a notable void. Almost every team member comes to offer comfort and solace. Genji welcomes the support, his brother shuns it, ignoring anyone who is let into the room with him, so he keeps most visitors to the hall. Zenyatta is the only one he allows in, his master sitting with him in the small kitchen nook while Hanzo sleeps restlessly.
Genji rests his head on his mentors chest, drinking in Zenyatta’s aura like he’s dying of thirst.
“I am worried.” He confesses softly, the night before the funeral. He knew his brother loved Jesse, but he thinks he did not realize just how much.
His mentor settles his feet on the ground, picking his words carefully. “Time will heal all wounds, though some will scar worse than others.”
“I just lost a good friend. I am afraid I will lose my brother again as well.”
Zenyatta sighs, a gesture he picked up from living with humans. “He found his way once, there is hope he will again. I know you are suffering as well.”
The omnic shifts to lay his forehead against Genji’s own faceplate. “Grief, in it’s own way, is a gift. One may think they are alone, and no one else can understand what they are facing. It seems inescapable.” A soft hum, and Zenyatta takes his hand. “But all who love experience that emotion. It is shared, and understood, and we learn compassion for those who suffer with us. There is an inherent gratitude to those who grieve, and a chance for a new understanding of what was had.”
He nods, and finds himself fighting back a sob . Zenyatta gives his hand a squeeze, shakes his head.
His mentor continues, subdued. “Accept what you feel. Do not hide your emotions under shame. Grief can mature or ruin you. And all walk this path in their life.”
He has to take his mask off as tears roll down his cheeks. Zenyatta keeps him grounded and lets him cry. Genji is no stranger to grief, but there was a burning anger when he was mourning the loss of his body and the cruelty of his family. Mourning the passing of a friend leaves him adrift. It’s aimless, almost overwhelming, a sense of drowning that leaves him floundering. He can’t imagine how his brother feels.
Quietly, Zenyatta adds. “I fear your brother will hide away from those who seek to comfort him. He has already walled himself away, with guilt and remorse. Be patient, my sparrow. We must hope that he will find comfort somehow, but we cannot force him.”
He buries his face into Zenyatta’s arms, and they stay like that for most of the night.
The next morning he wakes early. Hanzo had always before been the one to rise first, while Genji oft slept in. He never thought he would see the roles reversed. As he finishes dressing Hanzo stir briefly, turning back over in his tangled blankets.
“Hanzo.” He places a hand on his shoulder. Immediately, his brother attempts to shove him away.
He tries again.
“Aniki.” He must remain patient. “The funeral is today. You should get ready.”
Hanzo seems to tense, then drags himself upright. He won’t meet his gaze, and he sits for a long moment before speaking, voice a low rasp. “I do not have the proper attire with me.”
Oh. Almost all of Hanzo’s clothes are in Jesse’s room now, as they have been for months.
“I will go get your suit. Is the room open?”
Hanzo shakes his head listlessly.
“Do you have your key card?”
A gesture to the bag discarded on the floor. He finds it buried deep in the pocket.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes, alright?”
Even with his brother’s permission, Genji still feels like he’s trespassing. There’s a faint smell of mustiness, the room untouched since the team left for Japan weeks prior. Jesse left a pile of clothes on the closet floor and the red serape draped across the desk chair. There’s a book at the small counter, a ribbon marking the page and Hanzo’s glasses perched on top.
The small kitchenette has a few plates stacked haphazardly in the rack by the sink and an empty yet still dirty coffee cup sitting on it’s side under the faucet. His brother’s own things are tucked away, save for the lone scarf hanging over the bed frame. The bed is unmade, blankets kicked askew and far too many pillows lining the wall- that had to be Hanzo’s addition. He can picture the morning they shared here; Jesse rushing to wash his breakfast dishes and guzzling coffee at the last minute before the mission brief, Hanzo waiting for him.
It’s intimate and cozy. As if any moment McCree could come walking back through the door. The loss again hits him hard, and Genji finds he understands why Hanzo has avoided returning to the shared quarters.
Later, he’ll come back and tidy this place up. He recalls his brother complaining to him under his breath about how the man seemed incapable of hanging up clothes, preferring to take them straight from the hamper. Hanzo’s suit is hung in the closet, towards the back, he grabs that, along with the shoes tucked in the far back. There’s a small selection of ties, mostly black, a yellow and a red one he thinks is Jesse’s. He takes that one and a black one, and returns.
The shower is running, which he see as a good sign. He leaves the suit over the chair, stepping into the hallway to give his brother space to get ready. Zenyatta joins him shortly before 11. They wait hand in hand under a solemn silence until Hanzo finally stumbles through the door. He’s wearing the red tie.
He can see the exhaustion and disarray in how Hanzo carries himself, his normally proud posture slumped forward. Genji reaches out, laying a hand on his brother’s shoulder in a gesture of comfort. A numb stare is his only answer.
The funeral is held in an empty meeting room that opens to the back of the landing strip. Large windows let in streaming sunlight, decorating plain metal folding chairs with motes of dust. It’s the type of day that would have agents clamoring to head down the beach access. Not shuffling into a repurposed board room to honor the fallen.
A photo collage sits propped up on an easel by the front of the room. Some of the pictures are faded, as if they were borrowed from bulletin boards or someone’s fridge. Older photos show when Jesse was young and fresh faced. Grainy, poor resolution shots taken with phones and then printed, the heyday of Overwatch. Genji provided a few himself, digging through his phone the first night while Hanzo slept, sending them to Angela and Fareeha. His graduation photo is there, along with printouts of articles showing McCree is full uniform regalia, stern and proud even underneath his ridiculous hat.
Surrounding the edge of the board are numerous newer photos from last few years after the recall. Selfies with Hana and Lucio, faces squished together as they preen for the camera. Candid snapshots from Tracer, taken during game nights with team, and he can almost hear the laughter depicted on his teammate’s faces. More elegant photos that he thinks might have been from Angela, some that looked posed and some taken during quiet moments of languor. One that was clearly taken by Ana: Jesse playing his old acoustic and singing to a bemused Angela and embarrassed Fareeha. Another of himself where the cowboy's expression is wildly surprised as he jumps onto his back, arms flailed out to the side, the night when he’d first returned to base.
In the center is one of Jesse and Hanzo. Jesse is pointing at the camera, cheek to cheek with his brother, grin wide. His other arm is over Hanzo’s shoulder, and the infamous hat is perched on the archer's head. Hanzo’s arm is raised to snatch at that hat and his mouth is set to a frown, though the way his eyebrows are quirked and it looks as if any moment it could be turned into a smile. It was one of the first nights Hanzo came out to drink with the team, and he remembered Hana taking the photo. It wasn’t long after that he’d realized his brother and the cowboy were maybe more than friends.
Under his mask, he smiles fondly, and turns. Hanzo has his head down, fist balled at his sides.
Zenyatta motions. “We have seats by the front.”
Jesse’s urn is placed on a stand, next to a large solo portrait of Jesse’s reenlistment photo, professional and almost grim. It doesn’t reflect his personality. Simple bouquets and wreaths are arranged carefully around the stand next to the small podium.
There is no real ceremony, only people going up one at a time to talk.It seems that half the team has something to say. Morrison first, gruff and all too familiar with eulogies. Ana, whose short speech reduces the room to quiet sobs when she calls Jesse her son. Angela and Fareeha stand together, speaking fondly of a brother they'd miss for as long as they live. Winston speaks, then Lena, then it’s his turn. Zenyatta gives his hand a quick squeeze as he stands. His mentor had helped him write most of it.
“I do not have to tell you that I will miss Jesse. I think everyone one of us will. He was a great friend, one of my first when I joined Overwatch.”
“It’s easy to forget how it used to be. We lost so many people then, it was a joke that we’d both never see thirty, and who the hell wanted to live that long anyway?” He laughs, morose. “I know we both wished we could go back and tell our younger selves about what we had to look forward to. When Overwatch recalled, I was excited. I was hopeful. I would see old friends again, and there were people I desperately wanted to reconcile with. I believed they would understand exactly what Overwatch had done for me. My greatest hope was that my brother would become a part of this team. I know I have Jesse to thank for that. By being my friend first, and becoming a part of my family second. He treated me like a person, when I couldn’t see beyond my own anger. He did the same for my brother, a decade later. He could make anyone laugh, - and in my family that is an accomplishment in itself- and I was so so happy when I realized…” He trails off. Hanzo is shaking, face buried in his palms.
“I..I realized that Hanzo and Jesse were as close as they were. Jesse helped me and my brother so much, and I’m honored that I could consider him part of my family. I know his absence will leave a void in my life.” He takes a deep breath, pauses, gathers himself. His voice still hitches on the next phrase. “I will miss you, cowboy-san.”
His brother suddenly stands, the squeal of chair legs on ground making everyone turn. Even from the front he can see the tremble in his brother’s arms, but Hanzo isn’t looking at him. He heads out, away, towards the back of the room.
At the photo board, he stops. Seems to stare. With a pained sobbed locked in his chest, Hanzo grabs the board and wrenches it to the ground. Silence greets him after the crash, and then he is gone.
No one follows.
The fourth night since Jesse died on the plane. Hanzo attempts to drink himself into oblivion. He stumbles back to the room where they had the funeral, drawn like a moth to the flame. The urn is long gone, the photo collage has been set upright again. All the flowers were left behind. Momentos are now littered in between the arrangements: A pack of cigarillos and playing cards. A battered copy of some book, he’s too drunk to make out much of the cover, only the large title; "The Gunslinger." Even more pictures. A large piece of paper, covered in messages, drawings. It’s all a brightly colored blur to his eyes.
He shies away from the impromptu shrine, back to the collage. The photo is the middle. Mocking him. He doesn't want to be able to feel anymore. Ripping the photo off the board, he sinks against the wall. Fumbles for his pockets before finding his phone.
He dials Jesse's number again. It rings once, goes to voicemail. The message plays over his speaker, echoing in the now empty room.
“Howdy, you've reached McCree. Leave me a message, and I'll be sure to get back to you.”
He hangs up. Dials again.
“Howdy, you've reached McCree. Leave me a message and I'll be sure to get back to you.”
Hangs up. Dials again.
It’s a poor substitute for hearing his voice.
“Howdy, you've reached McCree. Leave me a message and I'll be sure to get back to you.”
There is nothing he can say.
His phone flickers as the battery is drained. The screen goes black.
It’s almost two weeks before Hanzo goes back to McCree’s room. There is no discussion. Genji returns from dinner late one night, carrying a second tray for his brother, only to see his room is empty, the spare cot tucked away, and Hanzo’s bag is gone. Fleeting worry crosses his mind, and it’s with anxious thoughts he heads towards Jesse’s quarters.
He is not prepared for what he finds. The hall echoes with the sound of something being slammed to the ground, the door wide open.
“Hanzo?” He steps over the threshold. It’s only years of training and sharp reflexes that save him from taking a fist to the face, ducking while the tray of food clatters to the ground.
“You. ” Is all his brother can seem to articulate. “What did-” He swings again, sluggish, and Genji grabs both arms.
“Aniki. I don’t understand.”
Hanzo’s brow is furrowed, hair wild and face flushed. “Jesse’s things . Why did you move them? ”
Oh. Shit. Truth be told he hadn’t done too much, just picked up what was left on the floor, put away the dishes, and aired the room a little. He had not wanted to go through their personal effects and given them a wide berth.
“I didn’t want you to deal with it. I am sorry.”
Hanzo seems to let his anger go all at once, sagging against his brother. Genji releases his arms, in favor of wrapping his arms around Hanzo’s shoulders. Patience, like Zenyatta counseled. He waits.
When Hanzo speaks again, it’s shaky and mumbled to his chest. “I was angry with him about the clothes. When we flew out. I was upset. Over clothing.”
He swallows past the lump in his own throat. “Hanzo. It’s okay.”
His brother pulls away, gesturing wildly. “No. It’s not okay. It’s not going to be okay. He’s not going to just come back., is he?” A bitter, jaded cry, caught deep in his throat. “ That’d be it. 10 years from now, the universe has decided you hate yourself enough here have a stupid fucking cyborg cowboy and everything is fine now!”
Hanzo turns back to kitchenette. The crash must of been him upending the trash can on the floor, in anger or desperation or something else, he’s not sure. Crumpled paper towels litter the linoleum.
“It’s my fault he‘s gone and I can’t even pick up after him anymore.”
He follows his brother into his room, stepping the spilled food and tray. His brother is a mess, wavering back and forth on his feet, face ruddy from drinking, and he can see a bottle of whiskey - Jesse’s- tipped over on the counter.
It’s unsettling how hard he’s taking Jesse’s loss and he has no idea how to help. He only knows bits and pieces from what he saw and the little Hanzo’s told him. Morrison spoke privately with all of them right after they touched down, though he barely even remembers what he said to his commander, let alone anyone else. It hadn’t seemed important at the time.
“When is the last time you showered?”
“Go fuck yourself.” Hanzo hisses. Then he laughs, broken, pointing with shaking hand. “Do you see this?”
On the fridge, a shopping list dated almost two months ago, filled with Hanzo’s neat writing. Scrawled across the bottom is Jesse’s far less refined penamnship; a request for more coffee, followed by a post script.
PS: do you want to do dinner & movie sat? It's your turn to pick <3 :) ily!
“I said no .” Hanzo’s voice is low and slurred. “I turned him down because I was tired and we were heading out to Japan on Sunday. I told him no . And now-” His brother is on the edge of hysteria, he realizes. “He’s dead, and I killed him.”
He reaches out, wanting to steady him. “Do you want to talk to me about it?”
“ No. Yes. Genji…” Hanzo is trembling, rubbing his hands over his own arms. “It’s like every moment I think he’ll be back. He’ll be here . I can’t believe it. It doesn’t feel real. I thought coming back to our room might help. But I saw that his things were put away and it’s like I finally have to admit that he’s really-”
Hanzo stops, hitching. “ Oh god. He’s gone. He’s gone and it’s my fault.”
Genji needs to understand. “Why do you keep insisting that you’re to blame? What happened in there?”
“I told you.”
He sighs, shaking his head. “You told me you killed him, which I find ridiculous.”
Hanzo wavers, leaning heavily on the counter top. His breath comes heavy, almost a pant. Eyes wild, he shifts, biting his lips before turning to meet Genji’s gaze.
“I want to help you. He was my friend too.”
“I -I...I..They wanted me..they were going to execute him. I wanted to buy him time..I..He said he trusted me and I…” Each word is pulled haltingly, forced through his lips like each syllable is a nail in his own coffin.
“Aniki,” He starts, his brother cuts him off with a sharp gesture of his hand.
“He looked at me and I-I stabbed him, through his chest. I..I hoped that we would get help..and then I left..him on the floor...to b-bleed out...because I thought we'd be quick enough to…” his brother sinks to his knees, hands clamped over his mouth.
Nassau and anxiety pool deep in his own belly, he shoves it down under the growing fear for his brother's mental state. He reaches out and Hanzo shies away as if his touch burns, falling backwards on his ass and skittering to the wall. In any other situation his brother falling over drunk would be comical. Right now it's sickening.
He kneels low, trying to keep Hanzo focused on him, Japanese pitched soft. “Hanzo, Aniki, you need to talk to someone. Anyone . You're killing yourself.”
The laugh again, sharp and off-kilter. “And why shouldn't I ? Why do I deserve to live after what I did to you, my own brother ? After what I did to the first person I've loved since?”
“Jesse wouldn't want you to do this to yourself!” He's pleading now, and he crowds into Hanzo’s space, trying to sooth.
“JESSE IS DEAD BY MY HAND!” Hanzo roars back at him.
“Aniki, please .” He can feel tears prick the back of his eyes. “Please let me get Zenyatta, he can help you! ”
Hanzo shoves him away, a snarl plastered on his lips. “No. I do not want your help . I don’t deserve it- I don’t want help from an omnic. You have him. I don’t have any - I ruin everything . I fucked up the clan. I destroyed you. Jesse-” He flinches and stops himself. “You are better off without me. Get out of my sight.”
“No, I will not leave you like this.”
"No. You can't even stand right now!”
Through sheer force of will Hanzo pulls himself upright, and Genji mirrors him, arms out in case Hanzo falls. His brother latches onto the back of the chair, eyes full of rage and pain and self-loathing.
His voice is venomous. “Get out of my room. Haven't I suffered enough?”
“I don't want you to suffer-”
“I don't want your forgiveness! I don't - I can't - I can't look at you. You must want me to pay for what I’ve done. You must want me to grovel. Are you happy Genji? I find happiness and I ruin it for myself- you always knew you were better than me and now you can see just how low I've fallen.”
“Do not call me that!”
“I just want to help you!”
“Then leave me to wallow like I should.” Hanzo lets go of the chair to grab for the whiskey, misses, barely catches the counter.
Genji stays frozen. He knows Hanzo is lashing out, but the words hurt none the less.
Hanzo focuses his glare on him, his face contorting like a cornered animal.
“Get out!” He grabs for the bottle again,this time fingers closing around it. A half second later he whips in his direction, though Genji sidesteps it easily. It shatters against the wall behind them and the crash of glass echoes down the hall.
“Hanzo…” he can’t hide the quaver in his own voice.
Hanzo turns away, speaking more to the floor than to him. “Do not make me beg.”
This is a fight he can’t win, not tonight, not without his brother breaking down completely. His own control is slipping, and the last thing he wants to do is upset him even more.
“Fine.” He backs away. “I will go. Just know that I’m trying to help you.”
The door slams behind him as soon as he exits the room.
Hanzo's dreams are the only thing that brings any measure of comfort.
He’s warm. Content. Tucked into strong arms and under the starchy red serape that serves as their blanket. Hanzo snuggles closer, chasing that elusive bliss of early morning ease.
A soft chuckle and a nuzzle into his neck answers his restless shifting, and arms pull him in, tucking around his waist. He wishes he could stay like this forever. They deserve a rest, a morning to brush aside duties and just enjoy themselves. Opening his eyes will surely break the spell, so he keeps them closed. He feels a smile at the corner of his lips, and he sighs happily as he lets himself slip back into a deeper sleep.
An image of a man dying, sword piercing through his chest and blood, red, bright as the blanket on his shoulders, flowing over lips and teeth and from nose and through hole in his ribs. A nightmare, it has to be. It has to be.
A sudden, desperate panic seizes him, and he feels wildly for Jesse, turning in his bed to find the other man.
Nothing is there.
The bed is cold and empty beside him.
Genji finds Morrison at the shooting range. It’s early, the sky still dark and the air cool. The days are getting longer now, the mornings chilly as a preamble to the lengthening seasons Two months since he’d buried his best friend, and two months where he’s feared his brother will follow.
Hanzo barely speaks to him now. He is openly hostile to Zenyatta, and Genji doesn’t think he can handle seeing his brother berate his mentor despite his reasons. Angela’s attempts are also met with scorn. Morrison is a last ditch effort.
Morrison gives him a nod, before turning his attention back to the targets. The old commander is still an impressive shot, despite his age. Genji waits for him to finish, content to sit.
“Heh. You weren't this patient when we first picked you up.”
“I was an angry cyborg then.”
“Good agent nonetheless, but it seems like the disrespectful little shits end up being brilliant. If you notice all of us still standing are kinda assholes.”
“Does that mean you’re the biggest asshole of the bunch?”
Morrison snorts at that, the sound odd through his mask. “Nah. That honor probably belongs to Gabe. Still holding out hope he’ll get his head screwed on right one day and realize what an absolute prick he’s being. The thought keeps me going, some days.”
Genji stays quiet, leaving Morrison to tilt his head quizzically in his direction.
“Thought you wanted to talk about that. Not me, but for your brother. Kid’s a mess and everyone can see it.”
“Yes. He’s angry at himself mostly, but he’s lashing out at everyone who tries to help him. And I keep thinking each day I will find him…” He trails off, shakes his head. “I hoped you could offer insight, though I understand if you do not wish to.”
Morrison shrugs, shoulders his rifle. “I figured that's why you came looking for me. I get where he’s coming from. The guilt you carry. The lives on your hands. Watching good men die. Your friends. Your family. It’s still hard, and hell I can blame myself for each death. Jesse was the newest addition to a very, very long list.” He sighs, long and worn. “It’s part of the reason I didn’t want Overwatch to reform. You’re all too young and this world is merciless.”
“So how do you deal with this?”
“He needs a purpose. Something to latch onto. I wanted revenge on those who destroyed what Gabe and I had built. At first, that was enough.”
“Revenge can only get you so far. It’s not sustaining, burns too hot and chars you up from the inside. Leaves you with no real anything once it’s dies out.”
Genji waits for him to continue.
“I never even really got my revenge. Left me drifting for a damn good while. Past recall. But I remembered why I started doing this in the first place. Why I wanted Overwatch to succeed. Why I took that damned promotion. I wanted to save lives. I wanted to help. I wanted to protect those I care about. Gave me a reason to go forward. Something to look too.”
He feels a creeping despair as Morrison talks.“That’s what I’m afraid of. I think Jesse, to him, was his reason. beyond his sense of duty, beyond family loyalty. Jesse brought out his best light and without him, he is crumbling.”
Morrison is quiet for a long moment, then shakes his head. “Don't know if there's anything you can do. You're not gonna be able to force your brother to want to live.”
He winces, hearing it stated so openly.
There’s a tired sigh. “I don’t want to add another name. We’ve been busy, and I might have a lead about your cousin.”
It’s almost 10:30 am by the time he can drag himself down to the communal breakfast hall. He’s out of tea, out of bread, out of rice, and down to one lonely egg in his fridge. He almost stayed in anyway, but he can’t parse the fog in his mind to recall the last real meal he ate, and hunger was taking precedence over his other emotions.
Dimly, he registers flickers of surprise on the faces of his team mates. He sits to the corner, not wanting to hear more false sympathies, or face another reminder of what exactly he’s lost. Hana starts towards him, but returns to her seat as he refuses to meet her eye and Lucio motions her back.
Genji has no such qualms. His metal feet click on tile, and after spotting his brother in the corner, perches on the chair beside him.
“Out of food, I see.”
He doesn't have the energy for a response, regretting his decision to leave the solitude of Jesse’s- of his room.
“I have news for you.”
He stops chewing, forcing himself to swallow flavorless pancakes. Keeps his focus on his plate, but Genji knows that he has his attention.
“I spoke to Morrison. He has nothing solid, but Winston and Athena have been working on tracking Chiyome.”
His breath catches in his lungs, and a tiny, almost imperceptible spark of rage flickers just under his skin. The dragons are stirring.
“Why didn’t he tell me?”
Genji shifts his chin, and Hanzo can picture the flat look he’s getting. “There are no leads to really go on yet, and we both know he keeps his cards close to his chest. He only mentioned it to me because I was prying.”
It takes a long minute for the gears to start turning. Like coming out of a hibernation, his thoughts find purchase through the thaw.
When he speaks, his voice is hoarse but steady. “He wouldn’t of said anything unless he’s positive we will be able to make a move.”
“I know.” Genji sits back, and Hanzo gets a sense of palpable relief. “She was planning on disposing of the clan elders, so she might have made that play already. He told me to be prepared to move. Assassination wasn’t an overwatch MO, but this is personal, and this isn’t the same Jack Morrison. I want you by my side. Mission ready.”
He hears the emphasis on the last sentence. Nodding his assent, he shoves away the last of his meal. “I will join you on the range tomorrow morning.”
He expects the comfort of the dreams to turn to nightmares as he sleeps.
Their room seems too large now, and strangely cold. He can’t bring himself to take Jesse’s belt off the hook in the wall, nor move the hat from where it sits on the chair. The serape is the only thing he lets himself touch, pulling it out of the closet where Genji put it away. He spends hours running his hands over the coarse cloth, tracing the ragged holes and rips along the edge, memorizing the lighter weave of the pattern on the edges. Somehow it still retains his scent, of cigarillos and sweat and something else uniquely Jesse. Most nights he buries his face in the folds, inhaling while his eyes burn with unshed tears.
He's torn a strip from the edge, and wears it wrapped around his wrist.
Tonight is no different, and tucked under the serape he finally fades off into an uneasy sleep, resigned to waking to a cold bed and blinding panic.
This time, it’s not fear that wakes him, but the chirping of his alarm. The serape is bundled over his shoulders, the scent comforting. He breathes deep, a reminder of happier days. It’s early, before dawn. He hasn’t seen the sunrise since Jesse died.
Genji wants him on the range, to take up bow and train again. So that they make seek out their cousin, ending another branch of the Shimada family line. His trying to offer him a reason to wake each morning, using the temptation of revenge like bait.
She didn’t take Jesse’s life.
The spark flickers and dies. Even if they find her, even if they kill her, he won’t come back. Weariness seeps back into his bones, and he can feel himself sink down.
It’s the thought of disappointing Genji again that forces him to place his feet on the ground and stand. Once up, it’s a matter of following through the motions of dressing and preparing his bow.
He feels almost nothing.
They get the news a few weeks later. She’s near Yokohama, staying on the outskirts of the city to try and make a desperate partnership to reinforce the Shimada families territory.
They will fly out tomorrow morning, back to Japan. They’re effectively on their own, and they're told to keep it as quiet as possible. No support, but they can do this anyway they please.
Genji takes to the rooftops that night, seeking to calm his mind and be prepared for what the next day will bring. His favored spot is high above the communications room, looking towards the ocean.
To his surprise, Hanzo is waiting for him, legs crossed and eyes closed. “Genji.”
He sits next to his brother, mimicking the pose. If Hanzo wants to meditate, he isn’t going to complain.
They stay in companionable silence until Hanzo speaks, oddly hesitant.
“I wanted to apologize.”
Genji tilts his chin questioningly, surprised. “Oh?”
Hanzo purses his lips, eyes darting to the side, before continuing. “For my behavior, especially after.... I was upset, and I directed it at you because you were the closest target. I didn’t appreciate what you were trying to do for me at the time.”
Genji can hardly believe what he’s hearing. Hanzo never apologizes.
His brother even offers him a small, sad smile. “I have failed you.”
“Aniki- No! No, you don’t need to apologize. It’s been hard for me, too.” He tries to be reassuring. “I’m just glad you’re finally coming around again.”
Hanzo sits quietly, peering towards the ocean. Another long silence settles over them before he speaks again.
“I hope you and Zenyatta are happy. You deserve it.”
His heart stutters in his chest. Hanzo is giving him his blessing. Gratitude, deep and warm, washes over him, though shadowed by a snaking fear. An apology was already unusual, followed by this?
He realizes he has yet to respond, only stare at back at his brother. Despite his concern, his appreciation for Hanzo’s approval is real.
“Thank you, Aniki.” He hopes Hanzo understands how much his blessing means to him. “You deserve to find happiness as well, and I know Jesse would want that for you.”
His brother hunches, drawing in and he turns away. For a long minute he's silent again, and when he finally meets his gaze, his voice is soft and broken.
“I miss him.”
Tears are streaming down Hanzo's face. Genji doesn’t hesitate before wrapping him in a warm hug. This time, Hanzo returns it, clinging to his brother like he’s a life raft in a storm.
“I miss him too.”
It’s the first time he’s seen Hanzo cry since Jesse died.
Like a dam breaking, his brother’s silent tears turn into breathless sobs, his control falling aside as he finally gives himself permission to mourn. It’s the heartbroken keening of deep sorrow, ugly and raw and more than anything, needed.
He rubs Hanzo’s back, like he remembers his mother doing as a small child. Almost sing-song, he finds himself repeating calming words: “It’s alright, it's okay, I'm here.”
Between shuddering breaths, Hanzo’s voice, rough and broken. “It hurts . It hurts, so much. Waking up each day and knowing he's gone - it's a nightmare. I lived like that once, I can’t do it again. ”
Genji’s own heart is heavy in his chest. Carefully, he picks over what to say. Hanzo needs something to hold on to.
“Time will blunt the pain, though I know this will always hurt. When you look back, you will be able to see what Jesse gifted you with. You found love, and acceptance, at his side. Think of him not in terms of what was lost, but what you’ve gained.”
“I will never forgive myself.” Hanzo’s breaths are still ragged, though quieter, his energy spent. He sits back and drags a hand across his face, futilely wiping at the tears still rolling down his cheeks.
Genji keeps his hand on his shoulder. “I’m not asking you to. That is your own journey to make. All I ask is for you to give living a chance again.”
He’s answered by a quiet smile. “When did my little brother grow up into such an admirable man?”
Genji frees his face mask, wanting his brother to see his grin. “I was dragged kicking and screaming, to be honest. You have to admit I was kinda a punk.”
Hanzo’s laugh surprises them both, and he can hear the affection underlying. “You were terrible. Mother thought you were funny, though.”
“Father didn’t, but that was half the fun!”
Hanzo sniffles, then laughs again. “Jesse told me stories of the shit you pulled in Basic.” A wry smile, and he adds. “Said he used to call you ‘the day-glow ninja.’”
Genji shrugs, then rolls his eyes. “He was mad because me and Tracer made a game out of stealing his hat. But to be fair, it was because he made a stupid bet. Said the first one of us to get the hat off his head would get to lead our first mission. We tried for days.”
“And who won?”
“Winston, after Jesse accidently stepped on his glasses and he clotheslined him. Have you ever seen a cowboy fly? Because I have. ”
It’s good to see Hanzo laugh again, even if it’s tinged with a note of sorrow. Together, they pass the night, trading stories. Bit by bit, his worry fades, overshadowed by his happiness at just having his brother back.
He’ll be okay.
The bullet has torn through the top of his leg, blowing muscle and flesh and bone wide. He knows he should apply a tourniquet, hold pressure, activate a biotic field. His brother is close, the green light from his dragon illuminating the hall in quick flashes.
He does nothing.
Instead, Hanzo sits back, makes himself as comfortable as he can with burning nerves and mind frayed by pain. His leg twist awkwardly underneath him, he knows the high caliber bullet has torn his femoral artery. He’ll have minutes at best. A ghost of a smile crosses his lips.
The comm crackles in his ear, Genji’s voice urgent and breathless. In the background he can hear the sound of sword meeting flesh.
“Hanzo! Are you alright?”
He's quiet for a moment. Steels himself. He's already feeling light headed.
“The sniper is down.” He made sure of that. The next lie is easy. “I am fine.”
“Are you sure? You sound-”
He barks a harsh laugh. Hopes it masks his dizziness. He wants this, he realizes.
Softly, he replies. “I'll be beside you soon.” Then stronger, with more conviction. “Go on and find her before she runs again.”
He find the strip of red cloth he keeps tied on his wrist, under his glove. He pulls it loose, lifts if with trembling fingers, breathes deep. The scent is long gone, but for a moment, he can imagine the heady aroma of cigarillos.
His heart is racing now, flutter quick. The pain from his leg is quickly fading. He thinks of Jesse’s strong arms around him, pulling him close. It’ll be okay.
The com cackles again, dragging him back to the present. The sounds are warbled to his ear and he doesn't trust himself to reply. He doesn’t want Genji to see this.
Eyes slide shut and he lets himself dream. He wonders if this was how it felt for Jesse. Did he know that he went back for him?
He sees a familiar broad back, wrapped in red cloth. There's a strip missing out of the bottom of the serape.
Warmth, like sunshine after a rain fills his chest.
It's so clear, how he turns and looks at him. Broad grin and rugged beard, hair wild and loose and even the damnable hat is there. His arms are flung wide, welcoming, whole.
A long sigh slips from deep within his chest. His last apology is only a whisper.
“I am sorry, little brother.”
He doesn’t see his frantic brother crossing the room, nor hear his name called in panicked urgency. He doesn’t feel hands wrap around his ruined leg, or how blood slick fingers dig into skin as the owner tries and sense a heartbeat.
Nothingness calls to him, and he falls gladly.