"...Ya sure ya really wanna do this, darlin'?"
McCree's uncertain question was only met with a sigh from Hanzo.
"I am certain, Jesse."
He paused, a serious look clouding his face for a moment.
"It is just something I have to do," he eventually replied, looking up at his lover from his kneeling stance on the carpeted floor.
Not that he was even fully certain himself.
It was just something he owed it to himself to do. He had already tried, in more ways than one, to rid himself of the man he used to be, the man who had tried to slay his own beloved brother. He had already tried to change himself on the outside - tried cutting his hair, piercing his ears and nose, and following a different, more modern dress code - but it had never seemed good enough.
Looking at his own weary, sorrowful reflection in the mirror one day - with it, the beauty of the long, healthy brown hair that he did not deserve to keep - drove it home to him.
There was still more to be done.
That was why, on a dreary, wet April night, kneeling shirtless, hair untied, on the bedroom floor before a pristine white basin, he had decided to display his shame in the most traditional way - by shaving his head.
Even though he much preferred having his partner do it, rather than do it himself, it was obvious that McCree, in that moment, was not entirely on board with his decision.
The cowboy, a pair of scissors and electric razor in hand, simply gave a wan smile of acknowledgement and knelt on the floor behind the Japanese archer, laying the equipment beside him. Hanzo didn't have to look in his direction to know that a saddened look most likely showed on his face. McCree's unwillingness to carry out such a task was only made all the more evident by the way the soft umber strands were soon being stroked through the cowboy's fingers, over and over. Letting out another sigh, Hanzo only closed his eyes and left his lover to it for a few more moments.
McCree always loved doing that, for some reason, and he wasn't about to deny him the pleasure of something he would not properly enjoy again for the next year or so.
A few more silent moments, save for the endless noisy pelting of the heavy rain outside, passed between the two lovers, before Hanzo heard McCree speak up once more.
"Y'know I don' wanna go cuttin' this all off, Han," he affirmed, in a quiet voice. "Seems a damn shame, with such a lovely mane as yours."
Hanzo said nothing, only let his lover continue running his hands through his hair for a few more moments.
"It has to be done, Jesse," he responded, his voice barely more than a whisper, after a long pause.
"Why didn' ya ever do it by yourself?"
"I... would rather have you do it, Jesse. You would love me no matter what I did, and I know that."
The archer felt McCree bring both hands to his crown, and bury themselves deep into his thick, dark hair, slowly moving their way from root to tip. He couldn't help but again give himself completely to the pleasurable sensation.
"Damn right I would, Han," was the cowboy's reply, as he continued to gently run his fingers through his lover's hair. "Ya could do anythin' ya wanted with yourself, at least on th' outside, an' I'd still love ya the same."
Hanzo smiled to himself. He had always known that, of course, but hearing McCree reaffirm such a thing only calmed him, and prepared him for what would come next.
"I am glad to hear it," he replied, a note of mild amusement in his voice. "But I do think it is about time you got started. I do not want to be here all night."
The movement of the hand through his hair ceased, reluctantly. A sigh accompanied the gesture.
"If ya wish, darlin'."
Hanzo let out a deep breath. Even if this was something he had to do, for himself more than anything else, he naturally felt some degree of anxiousness at the prospect of drastically altering his outer appearance in such a way.
"Fine. Then do it."
From directly behind him, he heard his lover retrieve the sharp scissors. The metal blades quickly snapped open and shut, evidently being tested first, before he felt McCree gently take hold of a thick section of hair at the back of his head.
The archer closed his eyes, preparing for the series of harsh, grating snips which would detach it, but instead found himself waiting - and then, promptly, the lock of hair falling back into place against the back of his neck.
Hastily, he opened his eyes, and turned to face McCree.
"Jesse? What are you doing?"
The cowboy only buried his face under a hand, and replied, "I - I can't do it, Han. I just can't bring myself to go destroyin' all that beauty."
But... such beauty is wasted, upon the soul of a killer.
He didn't say that part out loud.
Instead, not saying another word, and feeling a little slighted at McCree's response, he grabbed the scissors from his lover and secured his free hand around the right side of his hair.
He closed his eyes. Before McCree could stop him, he took a deep breath, placed the blades against the soft strands, and squeezed them shut.
Snip, snip, snip.
The severed lock of hair fell away, into his hand. Uncurling his fingers, he let it fall into the basin below, and opened his eyes. A stark contrast of dark brown, almost black, against the clean white greeted him.
There is no going back now.
Turning once more in McCree's direction, Hanzo handed the sharp implement back to him.
"Now. Continue," he ordered, calmly.
Now the cowboy really did have no choice, but that was okay.
Hanzo heard his lover let out a sigh.
It wasn't long before the archer felt McCree once again take a large section of hair in his grip. This time, following Hanzo's wishes, he did not let go. Instead, he obligingly slid the open scissors into the dark strands, close to Hanzo's nape, and closed them around the silken mass. Feeling surprisingly relaxed, the archer once more closed his eyes.
A few harsh, muffled snips, and soon another silky lock of hair joined the first, as McCree let it fall into the basin.
"Keep going," Hanzo gently insisted.
Once again taking another long brown swathe in his hand, the cowboy only responded, "Y'know I really don' wanna, Han..."
"It is too late now, Jesse. Just do it. Please."
Sighing, McCree only once more squeezed the metal blades around the hair in his grip.
The next few moments passed by without any further discourse, the only sounds to be heard the relentless drumming of the rain on the bedroom window and the consistent, even snip of the scissors. Strangely, the combination of both sounds proved to greatly relax Hanzo's mind.
This is something I've owed myself for far too long.
Despite the slight feeling of anxiousness that could still be felt deep in the pit of his stomach, he actually found himself smiling just a little. His lover's hands through his hair were so gentle, and even when they were working at slicing through his long, healthy hair, he found the feeling to be not so unbearable after all.
He wasn't sure how well he'd be able to put up with having it cleanly shaved off, though. That in itself was a different story. As a child, Hanzo had never had his hair any shorter than shoulder-length, and even when he had cut his hair before Christmas that time, he had still left a considerable portion of it exactly the same length as he'd always worn it. Committing to losing even more than that... well, it definitely wouldn't be easy.
But it had to be done.
There was simply too much he had to let go of.
After a long few minutes of his lover repeating the procedure - taking a lock of hair, effortlessly cutting through it, and discarding it - he felt the grip of the cowboy's careful hand around the final swathe, on the left side of his head.
Hanzo breathed in, preparing for the grating snip of the scissors beside his ear and the feeling of the soft discarded hair falling away.
Instead, he was greeted by a playful tug, jerking his head to the left. He opened his eyes.
Hanzo, frowning a little, looked over his shoulder at his partner. A playful look of mirth presented itself on his face. Seeing Hanzo's fake-displeased expression only made him laugh.
"I was only tempted, darlin', was his amused reply. "It's not like I can do it anymore after tonight, is it now?"
The archer turned around again, and sighed.
"No," he responded quietly. "It is not."
Ever-so-hesitantly, he cast his gaze downwards to the basin below him. A silken heap of severed mahogany strands greeted him, stark against the sterile white plastic. His eyes narrowed. He was actually quite surprised at the sheer volume of hair which had collected there already.
It will only get worse.
He didn't care.
Once more turning slightly, he again addressed his lover, who had started, for no good reason, to again caress his fingers through the remaining length of silken brown.
"Go on, Jesse. Finish."
Gently, slowly, the American again grasped the lock of hair firmly in his hand. The harsh recurring snip that the archer expected followed, louder beside his ear, as the final length of hair was separated from his head.
He sighed. The feeling of lightness that had inevitably resulted from McCree's actions felt strange. Hesitantly, he brought his right hand to his head, and felt the uneven, choppy ends of his now considerably shorter hair brush against his fingers. It felt... odd.
"Y'know, short hair doesn' look half bad on ya, Han," the archer heard the cowboy affirm, after a short silence. Playfully, he ruffled his hand through the dark, irregularly-lengthed strands. "I could just leave ya like that if ya want."
Hanzo, despite himself, chuckled slightly at his lover's remark.
"No," he replied, humoured. "You must finish what you have started. It has to be done."
The muffled click of the scissors against the floor behind him could be heard, as McCree placed the instrument down.
"Alright then. Don' know how I'll be able to do this part for ya, but I s'pose I have t' try."
Once again, the Japanese archer allowed himself a quiet chuckle. Feeling oddly calm about what would come next, he relaxed his posture, and closed his eyes.
His lover didn't need to be told twice. Despite his initial hesitation at Hanzo's request, he promptly set about following his orders.
The next thing the archer felt was the cowboy's tender hand on the back of his head, gently tilting it forward. A click of a button, and soon the low electric hum of the clippers accompanied the unceasing din of the rain outside.
Go on. Do it.
"Seems wrong doin' this t' ya, Han," was McCree's upset affirmation, as he slowly pushed his hand through the ravaged dark strands, as if he were preparing them for the vibrating blades which would soon shear them off.
Again, Hanzo could only sigh.
"It is not, Jesse. Do not worry about me," he assured, in a low voice. "Please just focus."
How many times did he need to be told?
It is simply something I have to do, he again reminded himself, and that was it.
The cowboy only took a deep breath, obviously trying to steady himself.
Hanzo didn't blame him.
"'Kay then. Hold still for me, darlin'."
Obligingly, the archer remained in his relaxed posture, staying as still as he could. He took a deep breath as he felt the harsh, humming clippers against his exposed nape, then being driven into his shortened hair. Even though he had intended to do this all along - felt the insatiable need to, after all he'd endured - the sensation of the vibrating blades against his scalp still managed to be a feeling almost foreign to his body.
He hated it.
Gritting his teeth together, it was all he could do not to tense up and command his lover to stop.
It was too late now, anyway.
What have I got myself into?
McCree evidently picked up on the archer's discomfort. Having already sheared a clean path through the short, soft strands, he flicked the razor off.
"...Everythin' okay for ya, sweetheart?" he enquired, the concern evident in his voice.
Even though he knew it was probably a bad idea, Hanzo squeezed open his tightly-closed eyes. The dark-coloured accumulation beneath him had only grown inevitably larger. A handful of small, tufty greying-brown strands now accompanied the ones which lay there previously. He took a deep breath, in a vain effort to calm his body and mind.
"I am fine. Continue."
Maybe he was just unaccustomed to the feeling, after all. It wasn't as if he hadn't experienced a similar feeling before - wasn't as if he hadn't styled his hair in an undercut for several months - but still, that was nothing like cutting it off entirely. Close, but not quite the same.
He was surprised when, instead of immediately resuming the task at hand, the cowboy's metallic hand came to rest on his left shoulder.
"Ya sure 'bout that, Han?"
"It is not as though you can stop now, Jesse. Please just get on with it."
Saying no more, McCree only removed his hand from Hanzo's tense shoulder and again placed it into the short, mahogany-hued strands. He left it there for a moment, burying his fingers as best he could, before he resumed his orders.
Hanzo could only push down the anxious knot that had inadvertently risen in his gut. A little tensely, he closed his eyes and prepared for McCree to continue.
The droning hum of the razor again pierced the silence of the room, as the archer felt its unforgiving blades against his skin once more. Once or twice they snagged on his thick hair, causing him to wince. Despite the movement being slower, more deliberate, this time, Hanzo still clenched his teeth firmly together and tried to blot out the sensation. McCree was right, he thought, chagrined. The ruthless motion of the blades as they tore through his remaining hair, leaving nothing but short stubble in their wake, felt wrong, in a way.
Still, the more his lover painstakingly and gradually moved the clippers over his scalp, the more the archer found the feeling to be not so unpleasant after all. McCree was so careful, so mindful of his feelings, and that in itself made his actions all the more bearable.
Gradually, he relaxed his posture, and slackened his shoulders.
No matter how it feels, I owe it to myself, at the end of the day.
There is too much I have yet to let go of...
"See? It ain't so bad now after all, is it?"
He didn't expect McCree's loud, cheerful voice behind him, cutting through his own quiet thoughts and feelings. If it wasn't for the careful hand against his head, steadying it, Hanzo might have jumped.
He was silent for a few moments. The clippers continued to shear away the short, thick strands, over and over, before he made an answer.
"...I suppose it is not, Jesse. You're right."
He let out another sigh. This time, he couldn't be entirely sure if it was in displeasure, or contentedness, or both.
Mainly contentedness, probably. Satisfaction at the fact that he was finally, in a way, letting go of his past, leaving his cruel misdeeds far behind him.
It almost made him wonder why he'd never attempted to shave his head before.
After a few moments, Hanzo promptly felt McCree's gentle hand on the partially-shorn right side of his head, nudging it ever so slightly to the left. Without all the hair, the shiny metal of the American's prosthetic limb felt cool and crisp against his exposed skin. It was a feeling so foreign, so strange, that he almost flinched.
Nevertheless, he remained calm and composed.
"Keep very still for me," he heard the cowboy instruct, in a controlled voice. "This ain't somethin' I've done before, an' I don' wanna nick ya."
Hanzo only smiled. Even though it seemed fairly trivial in this moment, he was always glad of his partner's concern for his wellbeing.
"You won't, Jesse. Keep going."
Hanzo could almost picture McCree's serene smile of acknowledgement, as slowly and precisely, the American placed the clippers against the right side of his head. The low humming of the electric blades only grew louder as his lover worked around his ear, removing the uneven, choppy strands. The severed tufts fell away easily, tickling just a little as they brushed against his neck and shoulders.
Despite the uneasiness he had felt earlier, he felt a remarkable sense of calm wash over him. It was unusual indeed, but he wouldn't have had anyone else do such a thing. Probably not even himself.
There was something very... calming about the experience as a whole. Liberating, even. It almost felt as if the very essence of everything he regretted was being separated from his being, cleansed from his soul. A peculiar feeling to the unaccustomed Hanzo, but nonetheless still one which caused an palpable kind of warmth deep within.
After a few more moments spent clearing up his right side, again Hanzo felt his American lover's metallic hand on the left side of his head, tilting it to the right. Judging by the unfamiliar feeling of lightness and the inevitable slight chill caused by the lack of hair on the other side, he guessed that McCree was almost finished with his unusual task.
"'M almos' done," he heard the cowboy affirm, in a buoyant tone. "Jus' let me finish cleanin' up this side an' I'll even ya out."
So he was right.
Hanzo said nothing, just gave a modest smile of acceptance and left the American to get on with it. Sighing quietly, he again relinquished himself to the oddly invigorating sensation.
Once again, the harsh mechanical whirr of the blades grated on his eardrums, as McCree brought the razor carefully around his left ear. Not that it was much of an annoyance, though. By this point, he could not have considered the regular humming sound, accompanied by the relaxing melody of the rain outside, to be such a thing if he tried.
"I think ya secretly like it, Han."
The cowboy's laid-back affirmation barely managed to cut across the close noise of the clippers, but it was still heard loud and clear by the archer.
Jesse McCree never shut up, it seemed. Not even when he was hard at work.
Hanzo could only give a mild chuckle in response.
"What makes you think such a thing, Jesse?" he replied, amused. "It is... simply not as bad as I thought, that is all."
Passing the clippers over more of his lover's shortened hair, leaving another short trail of dark-coloured stubble behind, McCree only laughed.
"Quit lyin' t'me. It feels good, don' it?"
I am not going to let you know that.
Hanzo wasn't going to give his lover the satisfaction of knowing that, despite his initial resistance to the prospect, yes, the feeling was not what he initially thought it to be. As the blades once again cut close to his scalp, he felt a curious shiver run through his body.
Annoyingly, his lover picked up on this right away.
"See? Y're enjoyin' this, an' ya can't tell me oth'rwise," McCree replied, gleefully. "Ya can't hide that eas'ly from me, darlin'."
Well, if that was how he wanted to play...
"How would you know how it feels?" Hanzo promptly countered, in a humoured voice. "Judging by how you look, I would not say that a razor has ever touched your head."
Again, he could almost hear the smile stretching across his American lover's face at his response.
"I thought ya liked the rough an' rugged look on me, Han," was all he answered with, sounding mock-wounded. Swiftly, with ease, he razed the last chunk of greying-brown hair from Hanzo's temple, and moved back up to where the last section of hair still remained. The archer again felt his careful hand tilting his head into its original position, before he continued. "Tell me, darlin', why in th' hell would I ever wanna shave my head?"
"It would be an improvement, for a start," was Hanzo's jesting reply. He couldn't hold back the sigh of satisfaction as he felt the pulsing steel blades once more rush through what little of the ravaged umber strands remained atop his head. Repeatedly, they were passed over his semi-shorn scalp, ridding it of the final covered swathe in a matter of minutes.
Sure enough, after a few moments of gradual, meticulous shearing, the archer felt the friction of the moving blades against his hair reduce dramatically. Instead, the feeling was replaced with that of the clippers gliding smoothly over his scalp, as McCree made an effort to neaten up the stubble left behind.
"Well, it sure ain't somethin' 'm tryin' anytime soon," was McCree's equally as amused-sounding answer. "Tell ya somethin', y're very brave for tryin'."
I did not do it for no reason.
"Thank you, Jesse."
Considering how afflicted he had felt about it earlier, that was just the thing he needed to hear.
After a few more long moments spent clearing up the very slight remainder of his hair, Hanzo heard the consistent buzzing of the razor come to an abrupt halt. The silence which filled the room became almost engulfing. Even the rain against the window had stopped, reduced to a mere drizzle.
There was a tangible pause.
Slowly, still somewhat tensely, the Japanese archer opened his eyes, and took in the sight below him.
Sure enough, all the traditionally long and well-kept hair that had adorned his head only earlier that day now lay, lifeless, as nothing more than a dense heap of grey and brown fuzz, almost enough to spill out the sides of the pale pristine basin.
Hanzo didn't even blink. He didn't even react to the sudden chill, the crispness of the cool air against his now uncovered scalp, or the lightness which settled upon his head. It felt good - more than good - to be rid of what had symbolised nothing but the pure tradition, and corruption, he had been forced to carry all his life.
That was what mattered most.
He didn't even have time to react before he felt McCree's prosthetic hand once more come to rest upon his bare scalp, again almost startling him with its stark coldness.
"Now if that ain't the finest shaved head I ever did see," the cowboy cheerfully exclaimed. Hanzo promptly felt the rapid motion of his hand brushing against his skin, trying to rid it of any remaining loose strands, followed by a few more short tufts descending before him into the basin. "Lift up your head, an' lemme take a good look at ya."
Obligingly, Hanzo did as told, and ignoring the inevitable crick in his neck, raised his head from its bowed position. The sudden feeling of lightness almost disorientated him, as he expected the non-existent drag of his long hair to weigh him down. He ignored it for now. Forcing himself to stand, he brushed himself down, ridding himself of any last stray hairs, and let out a content sigh.
At least that was over.
McCree didn't hesitate further. Without another word, he too rose eagerly from his kneeling pose and turned to face Hanzo.
He was silent for a few moments, as he quietly took in his lover's radical new look. His eyes as they drifted over his face and exposed scalp almost made Hanzo feel quite uncomfortable. It was amazing, really. He had never considered himself to be self-conscious before, but what he felt now was definitely that.
From the look on his face, it was clear that his lover did not know what to make of his drastically-changed image. After a few seconds, an affectionate smile instead appeared on his face, as he calmly walked over to the archer.
"Darlin', ya look a million dollars," was all McCree said to him, as he pulled him into his loving arms. Hanzo, suddenly glad of the comfort, happily wrapped his own arms around the cowboy's waist, returning the embrace. McCree only pulled him closer, and seconds later, Hanzo felt him delicately plant a small, tender kiss upon his shaven head. "Y're still as damn beautiful as ya ever were t' me."
Laying his head against his lover's chest, Hanzo smiled to himself, greatly reassured by his lover's optimism.
"Thank you," he responded quietly, in a peaceful tone. He didn't even bother removing his head from where it lay, comfortably, as he snuggled closer to McCree. He remained that way, taking in both the calming beat of the cowboy's heart and the pleasant softness of his shirt against his face.
He wasn't even surprised when he again heard the American's loud voice pierce the soothing silence.
"Ya look real good, Han, an' I'm not jus' sayin' that to make ya feel better. It's t' truth."
"I'm dead serious. Ya should go an' take a look f'r yourself. Bet y'll say th' same."
The familiar weathered yet tender hand of his lover came to rest upon Hanzo's uncovered head. Pretty soon, the feeling gave way to the motion of McCree's fingers as they gently massaged his scalp. It did not faze the archer. Like earlier, he was not willing to deny his lover the pleasure of the new, unfamiliar feeling of the short stubble against his hand. To the relaxed Hanzo, it felt quite satisfying. Unfamiliar, but still. Like the warm vibrating caress of the clippers against the skin mere moments previous, only milder and more relaxing. He couldn't resist closing his eyes and letting out a loud sigh of pleasure at the new, pleasing sensation.
It feels... nice.
"It feels real nice, too..." the American mused quietly, only just loud enough for his lover to hear.
Hanzo only chuckled to himself, the sound muffled slightly as he buried his face deep in the fine fabric of McCree's shirt.
You are not wrong, Jesse.
He was reluctant to interrupt his lover from taking in the satisfying feeling against his fingertips, but now curiosity really did take its firm hold on him. McCree's words did make him wonder. Sure, he knew how it felt, knew how cleansed he felt of all he had done, all the blood he had spilled - but just how did that manifest itself physically?
Even if he would receive quite the unwanted surprise from doing so, he simply had to go and check.
Slowly, he pulled his head away from its position and unfastened his grip on the cowboy's waist. McCree's hand hastily dropped by his side, unsure of what to do now. A gentle smile of encouragement played on his lips, as he gestured in the direction of the bathroom.
"Go an' look, darlin'. Don' be afraid."
I am not afraid.
Restored, purified, strengthened... but afraid was something he definitely was not.
No matter how shocking the transformation, he felt ready to take it.
He had only himself to blame, after all.
A few bold steps, the flick of the bathroom light switch, then a pause. A few terse seconds of silence, followed by a slower, more wary tread in the direction of the mirror.
There was once a time when a traditional, long-haired Japanese archer would stand, proudly, in the reflection opposite. But now, in his place, Hanzo only saw a bald-headed stranger, his face sharing a remarkable similarity to his own, staring blankly back at him.
He did not recognise him.
He was not the Hanzo Shimada he knew.
He narrowed his eyes, intently examining the likeness before him.
Who are you?
Slowly, only now feeling the apprehension McCree had assured him would not be there, Hanzo raised his right hand to his naked scalp. He almost winced when, instead of feeling the cool silken strands to which he was accustomed, his fingers met nothing but bare skin, scantily padded by the slight stubble which remained. He hesitantly ran his hand over the smooth, even surface, slowly at first, but then increasingly quickly. Ever so gradually, like earlier, the initial impact and inevitable shock of the feeling melted away.
Instead, a tingle ran through the archer's veins, as he cautiously passed his hand over the top of his shorn head.
It was strange, he thought. He had never supposed that ridding himself of the traditional image which had burdened him for so long could feel so... satisfying, but here he was, practically revelling in his symbolic transformation.
He couldn't help but feel... liberated. Unbound, almost literally, from all his duty, the "honour" he had struggled to keep hold of all those years.
A weak smile involuntarily appeared on his face.
"Han? You're very quiet. Everythin' okay?"
Hanzo paused when he heard his lover's padded footsteps approach the bathroom. Removing his hand, he turned to see McCree standing casually in the doorway, a smile too on his rugged face.
"Well? Whaddya think? Looks good, don' it?" he asked.
Again, Hanzo only smiled, shyly and secretively, as he once more faced the crystal-clear surface before him. Peering at his transformed image one more time, he cast his gaze to where his lustrous, deep brown mane of hair once fell around his shoulders.
He felt no regret, only a deep sense of purity.
He sighed, more contented than not.
"It... does, actually," he evenly answered. "But it is not so important how it looks, Jesse."
Saying nothing, the cowboy steadily walked over to his changed lover. Hanzo watched McCree's approach in the mirror, before he felt himself being swept into the secure, loving hold of his arms. They closed around his waist, locked themselves there. Hanzo immediately reached for his American lover's hands, softly placing his own against them.
Closing his eyes, again feeling himself yielding to the tender embrace, he continued. "It was merely something I had to do. For my honour. For redemption."
He let out another deep breath. Only now did he feel that his actions could somehow be cleansed from him, left in the past.
"It is how it makes me feel which matters most."
He didn't expect McCree's gentle hand, his natural one, against his head in response, gently stroking the skin.
"I understand, sweetheart," he said in a low voice, as he gently laid his head against Hanzo's own. Both the unkempt strands of his hair and the scratchiness of his beard against his skin tickled, but not unpleasantly. "I know how much this meant t' ya. Bet you're glad ya did it now."
Another chuckle escaped Hanzo, as he simply savoured the intimate moment they shared.
"I am," was all he simply said.
I feel... free.
Slowly, he opened his eyes. The two lovers fell silent, as they gazed into the mirror before them. The noisy rain which had resounded throughout their place of dwelling appeared to have ceased totally, and the night had grown peaceful.
"Ya do look cute though, Han," came the cowboy's emphatic compliment, breaking the silence of their surroundings. Hanzo felt him playfully ruffle his hand against his shaven scalp, a motion which almost tickled. He had never considered himself to be ticklish before - it wasn't like Genji hadn't tried many times when they were young boys to disprove such a thing - but he still found himself smirking just a little.
"Betcha it'll look real cute growin' out, too."
"Hmm. Perhaps. We shall have to wait and see," the archer, still smiling, simply replied.
He delicately released his hands and detached himself from McCree's affectionate embrace, making his way back to their bedroom. The once-white basin still lay untouched on the floor, filled to the brim with strands of shiny mahogany brown and silver. Looking at it again stirred a sense of fulfilment deep within the Japanese archer's being.
This is what I've let go of.
"Well, I s'pose I'd better go an' clean up this mess now, hadn' I?"
He hadn't heard the American approach him, but evidently his gaze too was now fixed on the full container before them. He obviously wasn't expecting a reply. Before Hanzo could answer, he strode purposefully past him, towards the contained heap, and picked up the brimming tub.
"And t' think, that this -" he broke off to place his hand deep into the mass of discarded hair, taking a silken clump in his hand and waving it before Hanzo, "- this was all on your head. Seems hella weird, don' it?"
Hanzo looked down, into the broad plastic bowl the cowboy held before him. He too took a fluffy chunk of hair in his fingers, and idly teased it apart, causing the greying brown strands to fall away.
It did seem surreal, alright...
"It does not matter," the archer replied, quietly. Slowly, the last of the wispy strands gradually descended from his hand.
He cast his gaze towards the rain-patterned window, out into the inky night beyond. The moon was bright and full, and now shed its light on the pale sheets of their bed. A beautiful sight on a night like this.
"I am free now, Jesse," he said, in a quiet, contemplative tone. He didn't even turn to face McCree as he walked past him. "That is what matters."
Hanzo only felt McCree place his hand on his bare shoulder, an understanding gesture.
"I know, honey," he assured, in a voice barely louder than a whisper. "I understand."
At least someone does.
Hanzo only smiled to himself, his smile quickly turning to a yawn as he felt the fierce need for sleep quietly settle upon him. He hadn't realised quite how late it was, but judging by the weariness he now felt dragging at his body, it was likely at some point between ten and midnight.
"Ya should really get yourself t' bed, darlin'," his American lover softly said, noticing his tired demeanour. "It's gettin' late."
Hanzo felt McCree give him a quick pat on the shoulder before continuing in the direction of their kitchen.
"Go on, Han. I'll be with ya in a minute."
Hanzo didn't need to be told twice. As soon as McCree had left his side, he dragged himself over to their plush double bed, undressed quickly and flopped down on its surface. Still captivated by the silvery moonlight, he turned to face the window, and smiled.
It has been done. And now, I am free...
With a stirring sense of fulfilment nestled in his gut, he closed his eyes and relaxed against the pillow.
A loud, exaggerated yawn resounded from the kitchen.
"Damn it, Han. Now y're makin' me yawn..."