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Empire of Dirt

Chapter Text

“Don’t speak. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t wink. Don’t laugh. Don’t smirk. Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t whistle. Don’t do that dumb hand gun pointing thing, McCree.”

“Anything else, dad?” Hana complained.

“Yes. For fucks sake. Don’t. Speak,” Soldier 76 punctuated the last two words deliberately.

Lucio and Hana feigned exasperation. The team was gathered in the briefing room before leaving for a meeting with a prominent yakuza family in Hanamura. A deal had already been brokered, and they were about to settle on the final terms. Morrison called a meeting to set up expectations and ground rules.

“So, have you decided yet?” Hana pressed. She leaned forward across the table.

“On points from the negotiation? Yes,” Morrison intentionally misdirected the question so that he could review. “The Shimada family will collaborate with Overwatch against our mutual enemies. Overwatch will look past any of their other dealings as long as we deem them harmless.”

“And the agent that you will send, in exchange for one of their agents, as a sign of good faith…” Hana encouraged.

“Who will be a total badass and get to work with the yakuza…” Lucio added.

“Pharah.”

“What?! No fair!”

“Aw man!”

Morrison glowered at them. Fareeha sat straighter and preened.

“Why does she always get the cool missions?”

“Because she always takes them seriously,” Jack snapped. “And frankly, it’s concerning that the two of you are so excited by the prospect of working for a criminal organization.”

Lucio rolled his eyes. “Technically we are a criminal organization right now. Just not a cool one.”

Hana huffed. “Blow up one little building and all of a sudden you’re ‘not taking things seriously’, and you ‘make bad decisions’.”

“T’be fair, that lil’ building was the Canadian parliament,” McCree took a long drag from his cigarillo.

“Whose side are you on anyway?” Hana pouted. “I got the omnics, didn’t I?”

“And if Winston hadn’t made it on time, you would have also ‘got’ half of their House of Commons,” Pharah retorted.

“The Prime Minister thanked me!”

“Because you gave him a concussion and he thought you were the King of England!”

“Enough!” Jack slammed his hand on the table. “We depart at 0700. Dismissed. McCree.”

The gunslinger stopped at the door, hearing his name.

“Best behaviour.”

“Y’got it, pardner,” McCree answered breezily.

Morrison’s long sigh indicated that he didn’t believe him.

---

They arrived at Hanamura a day later, landing the jet at the agreed upon location. They were met by several men in black suits, who reported that the head of the Shimada family would be ready to meet with them in two hours. They were shown to their individual quarters in Shimada Castle, a modest, but beautiful estate in the middle of the town.

The jet ride had made McCree restless. Making sure to ask permission first (he had promised best behaviour, after all), he grabbed his smokes and decided to take a walk in the garden. The spring breeze was pleasant, but strong that day. It caught the brim of McCree’s Stetson, took it clear off his head and brought it to the feet of another garden patron. The man bent to pick it up, and looked at it curiously.

“Sorry ‘bout that,” McCree walking over to apologize (best behaviour). He stopped in his tracks. The other man was dressed in a robe that only covered one shoulder (and loosely at that), revealing nothing but sculpted muscle. The ornate dragon tattoo on his arm stretched below view in the fabric, as if just daring you to imagine how low it went. McCree looked down to meet the dark brown eyes, and was met by an amused smile and a devilishly handsome face. The man’s hair was tied back with a long, yellow silk ribbon.

Jesse swallowed hard.

Best behaviour.

“Hey, beautiful…day,” he corrected himself before he could flirt.

“Indeed, cowboy,” The handsome man smirked. McCree twitched, already knowing he was in trouble. “Tell me, is it just the clothes?”

“Beg pardon?” McCree was confused. The man put the Stetson on his own head, grabbing at the rim. It looked absolutely perfect on him, but McCree had a feeling that he would think anything that man wore looked perfect.

“Do you just dress like you are from the wrong era, or do you actually ride?” The way the word ‘ride’ fell off the man’s tongue should have been illegal.

McCree wondered dimly whether it would still be his fault if the other man had started flirting first. Knowing Morrison, the answer was probably yes.

“I’m pretty handy with a gun, too,” he answered, lamely.

Stupid, stupid, stupid answer.

It didn’t seem to bother the other man. He took off the hat and walked closer, pressing it to McCree’s chest. Jesse could feel the warmth of the other man’s hand burning through it, even though he knew it was just in his head. He was beginning to think that not answering the challenge would just be cause for regret later. And he wasn’t very fond of regrets.

Oh fuck it. When am I gonna be here again.

He grabbed the other man’s hand before he could retract. The man looked surprised, but allowed it. McCree gave him an easy smile.

“How ‘bout you, darlin’?” he purred.

“I am ‘handy’ with many things,” Handsome man answered with another arrogant smirk. “Pity we are out of time.” He nodded towards the garden entranceway.

McCree turned to find Soldier 76 staring at him, arms crossed. McCree ground his teeth.

Goddammit that man is everywhere at once.

“We will have to pick this up later, cowboy,” The man had already turned to walk away, and Jesse knew better to follow.

---

They were summoned exactly two hours later, as promised, and escorted to a large open room with a long table.

Several men in black suits were lined up just inside the door, along the wall.

The Overwatch team walked silently in single file, led by Soldier 76. As they drew closer, McCree recognized one of the men standing at the door. His hair was now slicked back, and he had changed into slim-fitting suit, crisp and immaculate, but the chiseled features were the same.

McCree gave a whistle. “Well, howdy again,” he drawled, making eye contact with the handsome man. With his flesh hand, he pointed with his index finger and thumb extended, as though his hand was a gun. “Didn’t get a chance to say earlier, but the name’s McCree.” He winked.

Lucio leaned over to Hana. “I believe that is bingo.” He took out a bingo card, crudely titled “’Ways McCree will Fuck Up’ Bingo”, checking off all the rules that Morrison had listed off the day before that the gunslinger had disobeyed all at once. It did indeed make a straight line.

“No fair!” Hana hissed back. “Best out of three!”

“This game doesn’t work that way,” Lucio was triumphant.

McCree could hear Morrison let out a long, belabored hiss from behind his visor.

“What a charming team,” the handsome man smirked, observing the entire gong show. He sat down at the head of the table.

Oops.

McCree didn’t turn to face Soldier 76, who had turned his head excruciatingly slowly to look at him. It was times like these that he was glad he couldn’t see the other man’s face.

“Welcome. I am Shimada Hanzo,” the head of the Shimada family leaned forward, crossing his fingers as he placed his hands in front of him on the table. His eyes were fixed on Jesse the entire time, narrowed with interest, like a wolf sizing up its prey. “Shall we begin?”

McCree gulped again, feeling the same dread from earlier. He was definitely in trouble.

---

Several hours later, and even Morrison seemed to tire of the meeting’s minutiae. Hana and Lucio had started shifting uncomfortably an hour ago.

“The final point in our contract,” Jack’s voice sounded relieved.

Hana let out a soft breath in relief as well.

The long meeting had been uncomfortable for McCree in a different way. While Hanzo had immediately focused on the business at hand once the talks had started, the damage was done. McCree could feel every last syllable that man spoke course through his body, and began to daydream, wondering what it would be like to run a hand through that long black hair. It didn’t help that every once in awhile, when the attention was not on him, Hanzo would shoot Jesse the most sinful, most devastating look possible. Jesse swallowed hard and undid the top button to his shirt. Hanzo arched an eyebrow before turning his attention back to the conversation.

Goddammit!

“The agent who will join my ranks?” Hanzo inquired.

“Yes. Agent Fareeha Amari will act as your bodyguard,” Morrison confirmed.

Pharah stepped forward and bowed stiffly, both arms at her side.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu,” she spoke to the floor. Hana and Lucio gaped at her. McCree snorted, unsurprised. She had worked in international security for years, and likely knew several languages he didn’t know about.

Hanzo looked impressed. “Thank you agent Amari. I know of both you and your mother. Your portfolio and skillset are most impressive.” The corner of his lip was tugging upwards. McCree tried to puzzle out what this meant.

“Show off,” Hana muttered.

“But I am afraid that there will not be a suitable place for you in my organization.”

A heavy silence descended on the entire room.

“No. I think that man will serve our needs better.”

All in one motion, the Overwatch agents turned their heads to stare at Jesse.

“McCree?” Soldier 76 was uncharacteristically incredulous.

“Is that his name?” Hanzo answered, nonchalant. “Fine, yes, him.”

“But…why the fu—yes, if you think it is for the best,” Morrison conceded. It was one of those times where Jesse wished he could see the other man’s face.

A green haired man beside Hanzo snickered. He looked a bit younger, and McCree noted that he was the only one on Shimada’s side of the table with his shirt untucked, and his tie askew. The younger man said something in Japanese to Hanzo. McCree picked up the word “cowboy”, pronounced with an intentional, exaggerated drawl.

Fareeha cleared her throat.

McCree raised his eyebrows. He knew her well enough to recognize that sound was one she used to cover up laughter.

I’ll have to ask about it later.

“And in exchange?”

“In exchange, you will take my brother, Genji.”

The green haired man stopped laughing. He said something else directed at Hanzo, tone more sharp.

Genji, I presume.

Morrison huffed. “I wouldn’t want to take away someone so important to your organization.”

“It is how I choose to show my good faith. Please take care of him.” While it was subtle, McCree noticed that the second sentence was delivered more quietly, as if speaking it with too much force would cause the words to disappear.

Genji continued to speak to Hanzo in Japanese, more agitated. His voice grew louder. Hanzo’s men shifted uncomfortably.

Hanzo barked out a short phrase in response, and the other man fell into silence, face red, hands clenched on his lap.

---

“I’m not going,” Genji spat with force and venom, as if he could change his fate by pure willpower. It was one of his brother’s greatest weaknesses, Hanzo thought to himself, affectionately.

Thinking that he had control over his own life. A luxury of the second born.

“You’re going,” Hanzo’s response was blunt and even, but somehow still held greater weight. Genji slammed the table with both hands and growled in frustration.

“Aniki—“

“It is what you’ve wanted from the start, is it not?” Hanzo interrupted, sitting deathly calm. “It is why you proposed that we form this alliance with Overwatch.”

“Don’t fucking suggest you know what I want,” Genji’s face betrayed his words, however. “I wanted the alliance because Overwatch can help us take down the assholes who have been fucking up our family and waiting for an opportunity to kill us both since father died.”

“Don’t fool yourself,” Hanzo snorted. “You have never cared about the reputation of the Shimada family.”

“You’re right, I don’t give a flying fuck about reputation, but I care about you, you dick!”

Hanzo stiffened, his act of composure interrupted. It did not escape his younger brother’s notice.

Genji sighed, shifting tactics. “You can’t possibly take on all of those pieces of shit by yourself.”

“You’re right,” Hanzo allowed. “I cannot.”

“And to send me away would be suic—“

“Would mean that one of us could finally escape,” Hanzo cut in quietly. Genji’s eyes began to glass over. He bit at his bottom lip, a motion that he saved from childhood for instances when he was the most upset.

“Aniki. With Overwatch’s help—“

Hanzo laughed, but it was hollow. “And you think that this Overwatch can send help faster than our relatives can send hurt?”

“If we go away together, yes,” Genji urged.

“If I stepped away, then our name is as good as finished.”

“And would that be so bad?” Genji pressed.

Hanzo turned away. “We are not finished yet,” he answered cryptically.

“Goddammit, aniki!” Genji was shouting again, temper escaping his control. “This family has fucked both of us up. What could possibly be worth salvaging?”

“If you have to ask, you would not understand,” Hanzo snapped back. He drew in a breath to regain his own poise. “You have always been the better person, Genji. You can do good in this world. Join Overwatch. Earn for both of us what we’ve long desired.”

“And what do you think that is?” Genji’s voice shook. He seemed already to know the answer, and the implications that this answer held for his brother seemed to horrify him.

Hanzo stood and turned to look out the skyscraper window and the twinkling lights below.

“Freedom.”

---

McCree took a long drag from his cigarillo, back against the wall, arms crossed. Things had gotten serious fast.

There was a mighty loud racket coming from the elder Shimada’s office, but he could understand none of it, despite being the only one in listening distance.

Without warning, the door flew open, hitting the wall behind it with a resounding slam. The younger Shimada stormed out and flung his weight into the door so that it slammed the other way as well, screaming something in Japanese before the gap closed. McCree looked over the younger man’s face with interest. His shoulders were trembling, his face flushed red in anger. The rim of his eyes were redder still, and unwept tears still clung to his lashes. Those eyes flashed up immediately to meet the cowboy’s. McCree tipped his hat in apology for staring.

“Cowboy.”

McCree could tell that the younger ninja was doing his best to reinforce his voice with authority, to stop the shaking, but was failing miserably to do so. McCree gave him a sympathetic smile.

“Yes, Shimada-sa—“

“Do not *ever* address me by that name,” Genji snarled, momentarily finding the steel that his brother’s voice had carried earlier. He bit it back. “Call me Genji.”

“Genji.”

“You are to be Hanzo’s bodyguard?”

“That’s what they tell me.”

“Then promise me,” McCree was surprised by the sudden desperation that crept into Genji’s voice.

“Promise me on your life, that you will keep him safe.”

Jesse was at a loss, not expecting this sudden, very genuine, very nervous plea.

“You think he’s in danger?” he asked, snapping to attention, Overwatch agent instincts taking over.

Genji did not answer.

“Who’s after him?”

The younger man hesitated.

He’s been instructed not to say. McCree realized.

“There is no one that my brother can trust, other than myself,” Genji said at last. He looked into McCree’s eyes, pleading. “He has no one else. He is a good man. He is trying—“

They were interrupted by the sound of the door opening. Hanzo stood at it, looking at both of them impatiently. He spoke in English.

“Genji. I was expecting the Agent McCree 15 minutes ago. Do you not have packing to do, or must you continue to hinder me until the minute you leave?”

Instead of taking the bait, McCree noticed, the younger man had deflated, looking to his older brother with a great sadness. He said something softly in Japanese, which made Hanzo’s shoulders draw up in tension, and left swiftly, saying no more.

Hanzo watched his brother’s retreating form for a moment, before turning his attention back to the cowboy.

“Jesse McCree.”

McCree pulled the rim of his hat down in acknowledgement.

“Come in.”

---

McCree entered the stylish, yet sparse, office. He tried to maintain his usual confident saunter, but something about the way Shimada was holding himself now put him ill at ease. Any trace of the playful smirk was gone, replaced by an air of cold, perfunctory command. Hanzo sat behind his desk and motioned for Jesse to sit in the chair across from it.

“Your commander insists that you must act as my bodyguard, Mr. McCree.”

“No ‘Mister’. Don’t reckon I deserve a title like that,” Jesse tried with a winning smile.

It was not returned. Hanzo looked at the cowboy appraisingly, but continued. “While I appreciate his concern, I cannot see a need for your service. I can take care of myself.”

“The commander was fairly…insistent about this point, Shimada-san.”

”Fuck this up, and I’ll kill you myself, McCree,” had been Morrison’s exact words in his quarters right after the meeting, shortly before flying out with the rest of the team.

“I understand the position in which this puts you,” Hanzo looked disdainful. “But rest assured, I will not be reporting your duties and progress to your superior. As far as I am concerned, you are off the hook.”

“’fraid that’s not the way I see it, Shimada-san.”

The other man scowled at the response.

“I’ve given my word that I will protect you, and that is what I intend to do,” Something about this entire situation—how Genji was the one sent away, Genji’s plea just moments ago, and now this insistence that he would need no protection—something didn’t sit right. “If you would like to take it up with the commander—“

“No that will not be necessary,” Hanzo waved a hand, eyes still narrowed. “If you will not change your mind, then I am not sure there is anything else to discuss.”

McCree was uncomfortable with the way the conversation was going. He wasn’t sure why Hanzo was suggesting he didn’t need the help, when it was Hanzo himself who had approached Overwatch first. There was also…

“Shimada-san. Earlier, in the garden…” McCree wasn’t entirely sure what he himself was trying to ask.

“Just a simple test, nothing more.”

The words were spoken with the same terse rhythm as the rest of their conversation: just a little bit too even to be entirely innocent.

“A test? Did I pass?” The gunslinger changed his approach, flashing another charming grin.

Hanzo’s gaze had a calculating intensity. “You are here, are you not?”

Those words, too, were impenetrable, evasive. They told the gunslinger nothing about what he had been tested on, and why the test was needed in the first place. McCree frowned.

“My brother. He spoke with you earlier.” The casual tone was anything but.

“Yes sir?”

“What did he tell you?”

“Nothin’ of interest,” Jesse replied. Hanzo scowled.

Two can play at this game. McCree smirked inwardly.

“Very well. If there is nothing else, I will have someone show you to your quarters.”

“Nothing else, Shimada-san. Oh, just, what time will you be needing me tomorrow?”

“Be ready by 8:00,” Hanzo stood, indicating that their conversation was at an end.

“Of course. Good night, then, Shimada-san.”

McCree turned to leave.

“Don’t reckon I deserve a title like that.”

Jesse froze at the exaggerated drawl. He turned to find Hanzo sporting the same playful grin that had made him weak in the knees that morning in the garden.

“B-Beg pardon?”

Just as quick, it was gone, once again leaving McCree to puzzle at the meaning.

The man gave him nothing more. “Call me Hanzo.”