My part in the ‘To Ashes McHanzo Fan Zine.’ Originally, I wrote three chapters for the zine, but due to space issues only the first one ended up being publishes. So now I’m sharing all three chapters on Ao3 for you all to enjoy! Check it out on Ao3 HERE and let me know what you think!
Below I’ll be posting the first chapter, which was shared in the Zine, but all three chapters are in the Ao3 link above!
Hanamura was a beautiful city, a perfect median of traditional Japan and the infrastructure of the modern era. Bustling streets and neon lights lived alongside ancient fences and hand-carved architecture, cherry blossom trees showering onto loose cobblestone paths that met up with busy highways. Massive skyscrapers glittered immaculately just beyond scenic mountain views, neighbored by classic castles, the apex of old meets new.
Japan had been successful as omnics had joined the workforce, workers that required no sleep and were easily exploitable with little to no legal rights, and funded a massive metropolis. The money that flooded into the country’s economy had begun to run dry as omnics began to fight for their rights, and in recent years the populus had struggled to find alternative means of income, turning to the black market in order to survive. In the wake of the depression, gangs had sprung up, old nobility dipping their hands into illegal dealings where money was mad, and building up massive empires that spread not only through Japan, but across the globe.
It was this underground economy that brought Jesse McCree, along with a select group of other Deadlock rebels, to the historic city. They had flown for eight hours on an economy-class hyperplane only to be immediately ushered into a car by a representative of their contact and delivered at a hotel that was far nicer than any Jesse had ever set foot in. There they had changed from their leathers and gang colors into finely pressed, though still cheap suits, to wait for the sleek black car that picked them up. An omnic driver with a faceplate like an ancient Japanese warrior’s mask opened and closed their doors for them before he pulled away towards Shimada Castle, a clear display of hospitality as much as dominance. The Deadlocks were a big name in New Mexico and the southwestern United States, but they had yet to go global. The higher ups were hoping that a business agreement with the lofty Shimada Clan in Hanamura would be what they needed to become an international powerhouse in the illegal arms dealing market. The negotiations had been set to take place in Hanamura, the base of the Shimada Clan’s operations, with a small group of Deadlock representatives assigned to complete negotiations in a week’s time.
McCree wasn’t a fan of the theatrics that big trade deals required. He would have much preferred to simply schedule a face-to-face meeting, power through negotiations, shake on it, and be on his way. The man had great disdain for the false smiles and compliments, the suits and ties and big-wig dinner meetings, the fancy cars picking them up to usher them about like school children. It was maddening, irritating, and downright showboating. Jesse was sure he would have liked the scenic views of the lofty castles and beautiful cherry blossom covered roads that passed by the car window under any other circumstance. Yet now the beauty was soiled, ruined by the fact he’d been forced to take off his hat, earrings, belt buckle, and all other personal effects, leather chaps discarded on the floor of the hotel room to be replaced by black dress pants that were far too constricting. He had barely managed to convince Tex, the leader of their small party, to let him wear his cowboy boots, which he had agreed upon so long as he took off the spurs - a compromise McCree had only begrudgingly agreed to. His bandana had been folded neatly and stuffed into his suit pocket, a flash of color on the otherwise unicolored outfit.
He listened to the chatter of his teammates, some gruff and irritated, others more cheery, excited at the prospect of this exotic and foreign new land. McCree wasn’t big on leaving the States. He was content in his small corner off the Southwest; the familiarity of the Santa Fe sun and soil was all he needed. A simple life for a simple man. Jesse was young, only seventeen years old, but gang life had forced his maturity, shedding his adolescence for the spoils that came from a life of crime. He’d always seen the Deadlocks ride past the trailer park like a pack of wolves, steel horses thundering as they rode glittering motorcycles, hooting and hollering, the epitome of cool. The Deadlocks were the closest to the old western movies his grandfather had played on the holovid, all sex appeal and grisly badassery. They were real badass motherfuckers, every boys dream. Bikes, guns, booze and money are very appealing to a poor boy living in a trailer park in the New Mexico desert. He had dropped his old life at the age of fourteen to run with the Deadlocks. The glamor had started to fade as he’d moved up in the ranks, but he was addicted to it at this point. Jesse McCree was a young punk trying to make a name for himself in a world that found him useful yet expendable, nothing more.
He didn’t bother to join the small talk, tuning out the low conversations in favor of taking in the scenery. The city was beautiful, certainly, seemingly lost in time, a bygone era living peacefully onward. A woman and an omnic dressed in long pastel kimono chattered happily on the cobblestone sidewalk, twirling umbrellas in their hands. Shops glittered with neon lights, street peddlers selling their wares. The air was crisp and the cherry blossom trees swayed in the wind, ever weeping their soft pink petals onto the ground. “Genetically enhanced,” the representative at the airport had told him with a fake smile, “bred to bloom year-round.” A beautiful lie, just like the rest of the city, he mused to himself. It tried its best to maintain an air of unassuming grace, but McCree saw right through the façade. He could make out the familiar shape of people in the alleyways, making exchanges, then parting as though nothing had happened, fish venders with long tattoos peeking from the wrists of their sleeves, a dirt covered boy in tattered clothes holding a cup, quietly begging for change. Some things were the same in every part of the world, he thought passively, poor people everywhere just trying to get by.
His silent ponderings came to an end when the car rolled to a stop in a dead end, suddenly aware of the massive wooden walls that had replaced the nearby buildings. A welcome party seemed to be set out, a beautiful well-dressed woman in a long dress stood as still as stone with a group of men in suits standing on either side, smile painted on her lips. The Deadlocks straightened at once, Tex whispering words of encouragement as they attempted to be presentable. Once again, the omnic driver stepped out and opened the door for them, and again Jesse resented it, but tipped his hat good-naturedly. If the omnic appreciated it, he gave no sign.
Once they stepped out of the car, McCree was painfully aware of how small they were, boxed in by the high walls. Two dragons were carved into the walls behind the welcome party, chasing after each other in a perfect circle. More theatrics.
“Pretentious bullshit,” Jesse muttered to himself before the woman stepped towards them and he quickly plastered on his most charming smile.
“Gentlemen,” the woman said in a voice that was soft and warm as she gave a gentle bow, “Welcome to Hanamura. I hope your trip was a comfortable one.”
“Reckon it was, sweetheart,” Tex spoke up, stepping forward and returning the bow. Jesse was glad he was the leader on this trip. He didn’t know if he could stomach this level of horseshit and backhanded compliments. But the way Tex handled it all, cool cowboy saddling up with a smile and a wink, made it seem all too easy. It was inspirational. “Y’all made the trip mighty nice for us.”
The woman nodded quickly. “Of course. It is simply the courteous thing to do. You are our guests after all.”
“Yes indeed,” Tex agreed, “We got here fast as we could. We’re eager to start trade negotiations as soon as possible-”
“There is time for that,” the woman interrupted, smiling apologetically though her smile did not reach her eyes, “For now, we would like to give you a tour of the grounds, and then later the master of the grounds will meet with your main spokesman to discuss business. I hope that is acceptable.”
A murmur went up between the other Deadlock members, eyeing each other up incredulously. The man in charge wasn’t even there to greet them. A ballsy move, another display of dominance with a clear message. They were on Shimada time, not the other way around.
But Tex only nodded, smiling graciously. “Well then, we’ll gladly accept your hospitality. Lead the way, ma’am.”
Tex’s answer seemed to be the right one, because the woman’s smile grew, and she gave a sweeping gesture to the huge wooden gate behind her. “Gentlemen,” she said, bowing low once more, “Welcome to Shimada Castle.”
The great door gave a loud groan of protest as it was opened, massive walls sliding to reveal what they hid from prying eyes. Jesse felt his eyes widen in spite of himself, lips parting in surprise as Shimada Castle came into view. If Hanamura was the median of past and present, the castle was like stepping back in time. Cherry blossom trees hung low around ancient architecture, sand gardens bridging the gap between buildings with large stones strategically placed. Music played softly in the distance, though he couldn’t see where it came from, some twangy strings that whispered familiarity of home but still foreign as the rest of this land. Yet another welcoming party stood in the center of one of the nearby buildings, unfazed by the fantasy in which they stood.
One of his teammates whistled low and appreciatively, and Jesse agreed wholeheartedly as they all made their way inside the gates. One of the suited men in the first welcoming party ushered them along the path to the next building, and McCree absently nodded his thanks, still eyeing up the amazing scenery, catching a glimpse of even more castles in the distance. They were led through a beautiful courtyard into a huge hall, sweeping ceilings dimly lit. A lone scroll of calligraphy sat in the center, and Jesse looked up to see a massive mural of two dragons, one green, one blue, locked in a swirling embrace. The whole thing felt like a scene from a movie, a perfect fantasy hidden away behind closed doors. It was surreal, unlike anything he had ever seen.
“The meeting room is just past here.” Their guide’s voice brought Jesse back down to earth, ripping him from the fantasy with a soft yet firm tone. He glanced over to see her gesturing to a doorway past the scroll, ushering along Tex. “My superior has requested that only your top man be involved in the negotiations for privacy reasons, is that correct?”
Tex nodded assuredly, stepping forward. “That’s mighty fine. But what exactly are my companions here meant to do while we discuss?”
The woman offered a tight lipped smile, gesturing to the entrance whence they’d come. “They are free to wander the courtyard and surrounding gardens as they see fit. Shimada Castle is under constant surveillance, so they will be escorted from any private areas and returned back here once the negotiations are complete.”
A murmur passed through the Deadlock members as they glanced at each other. To let them wander around the castle unattended was a bold move, but a show of power all the same. ‘Constant surveillance,’ Jesse mused. There were men in suits stationed periodically around the complex, and no telling how many cameras were hidden, recording their every move. It was a polite way of telling them they were being watched, a gentle threat to dare to try something.
But Tex only nodded again, running a hand through his greasy hair. “You heard the lady, gents. Take a gander around, enjoy the sites. I’ll see y’all in a bit.”
The woman bowed to the group once more before turning, Tex following close behind up a small flight of stairs until the two rounded a corner and disappeared from sight.
The remaining gang members exchanged small talk and basic conversation before deciding it really would be best to split up and explore. It was the chance of a lifetime, and they could potentially gather valuable intel. Plus, after being openly invited to enjoy the complex, it would be extremely disrespectful not to. So after a few minutes of deliberation they broke up and Jesse McCree wandered off on his own.
He took the route to the east of the great hall, wandering across bridges and beneath ancient pathways, through cobblestone twists and turns. Occasionally he would pass someone, like a group of servants or one of the many suited men. They would bow politely in passing, and he would reach to tip his hat, only to realise it wasn’t there and card his hand through his hair instead, nodding quickly.
He lost himself in thought as he walked, cherry blossom petals falling and getting trapped in the wiry locks of his dark hair, a splash of color like the bandana stuffed in his pocket. Up, up, up he went, taking flight after flight of stone steps, from one level, across platforms, to the next level, mindlessly wandering. It was rare he was given the opportunity to simply explore. Despite the promise of freedom he had joined for, Deadlock kept its members on tight leashes. Time fell away as he walked, mind on nothing and everything at once. His drifter blood kept him going, wandering without a care until he reached the final steps, stopping short when he realized he had made it to the top of a tower, and could see the entire expanse of Shimada Castle and the surrounding city.
It was as breathtaking as it had been when the gates had opened, but magnified by a thousand. The castle was bright, pinks and greens a stark contrast from the urbanization of the city just outside its walls. It was as beautiful as the sunrise in the desert, the view of New Mexico that had made him fall for the drifter’s life in the first place, he thought with a smile. So different from where he was from, and yet, just the same. Little similarities drawing him in and making him fall in love with the sight.
“Just like home.” He sighed contentedly, drinking in the view.
“Is that so?” A voice came from behind him, ripping him from his revelry. He whipped around, instinctively reaching towards his belt for a pistol that wasn’t there, flustered, before stopping short.
The man who stood there put the view to shame, and Jesse burned the sight into his mind. His dark eyes bored into McCree’s, striking as his proud features. Strong jaw, sharp nose, amused smirk, brow cocked in amusement. Long hair that spilled over his shoulders, framing his regal face. Arms folded over his chest, loose clothing hanging in beautiful blues from his arms and down his body. Masculine, powerful, radiating strength. In his short life, McCree had never seen any real person so stunning, and he doubted he ever would again.
A beat passed, and the man chuckled, cocking his head. “Do you not speak English? I had thought that was the language of America.”
Again McCree was ripped back to reality, but this time he was prepared, regaining his composure quickly. “Oh I speak English fine, thank ya kindly.”
The beautiful stranger smiled approvingly, though it looked more coy than anything else. “Well isn’t that fortunate. You are a member of the Deadlock negotiations party, are you not?”
McCree nodded, shooting back a grin of his own. “Sure am. What gave it away?”
The man chuckled, eyes warming. The sound was beautiful, rolling like brass, and sent chills down McCree’s spine. “I have been summoned to return you to the hall. Negotiations have been completed, so your visit to Shimada Castle is coming to an end.”
At this Jesse straightened, face screwing up in confusion. “Already? They finished negotiations that fast?”
A hesitation as the man raised an eyebrow, measuring his words before responding. “It has been well over two hours. There was not much to discuss. Agreements have been made, and it is time for you to return to America.”
McCree recoiled in surprise. Over two hours? He really had lost track of time. But he didn’t have long to muse over it, as the stranger began to turn away, motioning for him to follow. “Shall we go? It is best we don’t leave your companions waiting.”
“Ah, right,” Jesse said quickly, and gave one last look out over the city, the castle, the perfect fantasy of Hanamura, before following behind the stranger.
The two walked in silence for a good part of the journey back to the gate, though Jesse was consumed by his thought. Specifically on the beautiful stranger, the way he walked like a god among men, the way his hair fluttered softly in the gentle breeze. Every time they passed someone, they would bow deeply, much more than they had when McCree had been on his own, and the man would wave them off politely but dismissively. Jesse wanted to ask why, but was in no rush to cause an issue on his way out of the palace. So instead he decided silence was best and walked quietly, enjoying the scenery and the sway of the perfect stranger’s hips.
The silence was broken just as the top of the great hall came into view, the stranger turning to him with a look of serious concentration on his face. “You never gave me an answer,” he said sharply.
McCree cocked a brow, tilting his head in confusion. “Uh. Come again?”
“I asked you how Hanamura was just like your home, like you said up on the tower.”
Realization hit him and he laughed, nodding. “Oh yeah, suppose you did, huh? Well, it ain’t anything serious. Just…”
“Tell me,” the man asked, voice softer this time.
“Well,” McCree hesitated a moment before locking eyes with the man, “It’s just a feeling. A feeling of lookin’ around and seein’ what true beauty is. Bein’ alone, hidden away from all life’s problems, and just enjoying what you see. It feels like you got the whole world at your fingertips, like nothin’ matters but you and the view. I’ve only ever felt like that in two places, and that’s Hanamura and back home.”
The man seemed to consider his words before offering up a warm smile. “That sounds like a wonderful feeling. To know true beauty.”
McCree saw the opportunity and took it, smiling slyly. “Well I coulda told you a thing or two about true beauty after seein’ your face, darlin’.”
The man scoffed, then snorted, then broke out into a laugh once more, that same brassy sound that had given Jesse chills earlier, and did so again. He wanted to say something more, to hear that rich voice and that ringing laugh, but the two had reached the entrance to the hall. He could see his teammates gathered in the center and felt his heart grow heavy, disappointed he didn’t have more time. When his eyes met the strangers, he could see a disappointment reflecting his own painted on his features.
“Here you are. I hope you enjoyed your visit to Shimada Castle, Mister…” His voice trailed off.
“McCree. Jesse McCree.” He smiled weakly.
“Jesse McCree,” the man repeated, and Jesse felt a spark shoot down his spine at the sound of his name on the other’s voice.
“Aye Jesse! You ready yet?” a voice called, breaking the two from the other’s gaze.
“You should be going,” the man said quickly, turning away. “I hope you have a safe journey home.” He quickly moved to walk past Jesse, but the gunslinger moved, grabbing his arm gently. Their eyes locked, burning for a moment where time stopped and all that existed was the two of them.
“Wait, what about you? What’s your name?” he asked in a low voice, heart beating wildly in his chest.
There was a moment of silence before the stranger pulled himself from McCree’s grip, taking a step back, steadying himself. He opened his mouth, thought better of it, hesitated, before finally he spoke.
“Hanzo,” he said, voice barely above a low whisper. His eyes lost their fire, and for a moment he looked pained before turning away, muttering, “Remember this moment, Jesse McCree. Do not forget the beauty you found here.”
And with that, Hanzo darted off.
“I won’t,” Jesse whispered roughly, heart full of longing as he stood for a moment, head a whirlwind of emotion, before he shook his head, sighed, and headed back towards his companions in the center of the great hall to begin the journey home.
Hey Im sure you know by now but I saw the video of Jeff answering your overwatch tweet and was like "I know them!" Super dope that he responded to you
HAHH :D :D :D YEH My friends tagged me and were like 2NOODL IT U”
and Im like what….WHAT HAHAHAHAH ahhhhhhh
next step: getting hired by blizzard 8)
I don't know if you take requests but some transparent McCree's would be amazing! I love the hanzo and pharah!
i’m working on it! i will make both normal and blackwatch mccree edits soon!
and i do take request, dont be scared to ask me for any kinda edit, i will try to do it!
Just when I thought the Redline AU couldn't get any better you went and made it better. I LOVE the redraws you did, I can practically hear Hanzo talking about the nitro tablet. Have you decided where you were going to put other people in, like maybe making Genji the mechanic or Frisbee? Or maybe making Gabe Frisbee cause of the whole "doing shady shit to support my friend" thing, I dunno. What all do you have planned? I'm so excited for more!
Thank you so much dearie, I’m glad!! <3
Actually, yes, I’ve been thinking of drawing more of the overwatch cast in this AU… I had Genji in mind to be Hanzo’s racing partner actually and bastion as their mechanic (i love this wee-doo turret). Frisbee for them maybe Sombra, I haven’t decided on that yet.
McCrees mechanic would be Torb and yea, Frisbee would be Gabe, you guessed that right, hahaha. I also have been thinking about D.Va and Lucio racer-duo with Rein as their mechanic. Zen and Mercy would be medics (how very creative i know).
OH, also the Junkers as a duo, they’re perfect for the kind of racing that takes place on the redline HAHAHA.
But these are not set in stone yet, but I’ll see what comes of this, thinking about it is a lot of fun however!!
Holy hell your McHanzo Redline art is so good?? McCree as JP is too perfect, and I can totally see a young Hanzo screaming at him like "I'm not Ana mature like the rest of you! Im gonna be in the Redline someday!" And Jesse just instantly falling in love. It's too good man, thanks for giving me something I didn't know I needed.
i’m glad i’m not the only one who can see them working in these roles well!!! ;;♥
I was thinking of maybe throwing genji into the mix and making them a brother racing duo, gabe and torb as mechanics for mccree… aaaa, so many options!! haha
“God Bless America!”
Here’s a little preview of the America skin version of my Fem!McCree cosplay! I worked hard on it and I’m super happy with how it turned out. I’ll be doing a Photoshoot this weekend but I couldn’t resist giving y'all a little sneak peek! Hope you enjoy!
It’s 2am and I’m tipsy, take this.
Howdy! I don't know mch about firefly, but your mchanzo fic made me really interested! I just wanted to say thanks so much for sharin your work with us, it's so so good! I'm not finished yet, but I'm so eager for more. I love your writing style and how you portray stuff! 10/10 good fic
Thanks so much! It’s been both a pleasure and a pain (mostly when my beta tells me something sucks) to write this fic, but I’m really stunned by how many people seem to enjoy it. Thanks for your kind words and I hope that you enjoy the rest of it. <3
I love your art style! It's super expressive and looks like it could be in a movie. I LOVE the way you draw young Jesse and Hanzo, keep up the great work friend!
aaaaaaaa thank you so much!! i really want to work on movies so this just.. makes me feel really great
Howdy! I just wanted to let you know I adore your Sky comic, it's seriously the cutest thing ever and your art style is amazing! Do you think we could maybe get a follow up comic of Jesse waking up and sharing in the moment with them? Or just a SkyJesse comic in general?
Thank you so much!
As of now, I’m completing some father and child moments with Jesse and more ideas for this AU
YOUR FIC IS SO GOOD. There aren't enough good Shimada yakuza fics and I love them to death and yours is seriously one of the best! I'm so eager for the next chapter!
sob sob thank you so much! those words mean so much to me because i go into dumb periods of doubt about my writing;;; i’m trying my best to get the next chapter out soon! work has just been killin’ me u___u
OTP thing: you and Me <3
Wait, weren’t we supposed to be a threesome with @thegoddesshime? XD
Also back on track im your reyes fareeha comic made me laugh my ass off, I love the jesse-fareeha brother sister dynamic with reyes as the shitty BLACKWATCH dad god bless
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3 IM SUPER FOND OF THAT DYNAMIC TOO
So a fun idea for prompts for you might be the new voice lines, I could see that being really fun and dangerous to my health. "Pretty handy with that bow~" "I'm feelin' an ALMIGHTY thirst~" and ESPECIALLY "I saved your life... It belongs to me now~" could be so fucking dirty I want to cry. My trash son flirting his way into Hanzo's pants or fucking claiming it with no room for negotiation fuck I want to die
god damn I love this *nod* you’re absolutely right there is soooo much potential in those lines. I can’t believe they recorded some of them lol it’s like they’re not thinking about what they’ll do to fandom