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Hanzo wakes to a large, warm weight hunkered at the edge of his mattress.

He reaches out by rote, spreads his palm across the breadth of a lower back—barely half the space is covered, despite his fingertips being stretched to their limit. Cassidy makes a low sound at the touch.

Their bedroom is still pitch dark; Hanzo’s eyelids are still desperately heavy, limbs floating and unrested; his mouth doesn’t yet taste like morning. Neither of them have slept long.

His thumb pets a slow back-and-forth across the curve of Cassidy’s back. It’s the only part of Hanzo moving besides his eyes, the only breaks to the stillness of their bedroom. Cassidy’s shoulders are hunched carefully forward—his arms, one ending in the decoupled socket of his prosthetic, are curled defensively in front of his chest.

A nightmare, then.

These occurences are not rare, but they fill Hanzo with the same cloying concern every time. The archer doubts he’ll grow used to watching such a strong man in fear.

Nightmares, though, can be helped. They are at least better than the ights when they both lose sleep. Hanzo’s insomnia gets particularly bad before difficult missions.

Cassidy is far easier to coax into resting than himself.

“Come,” Hanzo murmurs, voice clinging sleepily in his chest as he urges cassidy backward with a hand on his side.

“Mmn. No use keepin’ us both awake, honey.”

“It’s too cold in your absence,” he insists, and this time Cassidy allows—really allows, because any sort of manhandling of Cole must be explicitly allowed,—himself to be eased until he’s half laying, feet still on the bedroom floor, head across Hanzo’s stomach.

Hanzo sweeps his fingers back through Cole’s shaggy hair as Cassidy makes a preliminary effort to dissuade him—y’ain’t gotta stay up on my account, honey, don’t lose sleep ‘cause I am, we’ll both be useless in the mornin’—and Hanzo shushes him. This is their usual song and dance.

One of them tries to deny the tenderness they both clearly need and the other insists, with gentle hands and stubborn mumbling, that it’s no trouble at all.

There will always be that sense of guilt in the part of Hanzo that enjoys these moments, enjoys being needed. Enjoys feeling like he can give someone anything at all—like he can take care of something precious, and not have it shatter in his hands.

He can feel tacky-wet streaks down Cole’s cheeks as he strokes a hand down his face, wipes at the moisture with his thumb, doesn’t mention the way tears start seeping backward into his hair now that he’s laid down.

They lay in silence a while longer, Hanzo thoroughly putting Cole’s hair into disarray, until the mean clears his throat past the worst of his tears.

The slit of moonlight through their curtain falls across a smile, too small, nothing like his usual bluster. Private and scared like Hanzo thinks—hopes, sefishly and absurdly—only he’s ever been allowed to see.

“S’pose this is the sorta shit that never goes away, huh?”

There’s acceptance there, but just barely—below it is gentle desperation. Tell me I’m wrong. Lie to me. Hanzo sits up instead, slow and with care not to displace the cowboy, and presses gentle lips to his hairline. He lingers there, not quite kissing so much as just breathing, lips trailing back toward Cole’s temple when the man turns his head, hides his face int he void Hanzo’s body has created. He picks his feet up off the floor to curl back onto the mattress, cradles by Hanzo curled over him, fetal in response to Hanzo’s offered protection.

Hanzo doesn’t begrudge him the need to hide. Wouldn’t dream of it. In no time at all he’ll be the one needing this.

They are safe now, secure behind Overwatch’s alls and surrounded on all sides by friends, but respite only works for the external. There’s been enough life lived between them; Hanzo knows deep down, their peace will always be disturbed.

Twin lethalities and eighty years between them, but Hanzo fears they’ll always be helpless.

As if he’s had the same thought, Cole shifts, pulls his curled legs up under him as he sits on his heels. The hand Hanzo’d threaded in his hair moves to rest at the back of his neck instead, thumb still stroking back-forth-back across warm skin. Cole leans forward and Hanzo meets him halfway.

Their foreheads bump first, gentle and searching, and Hanzo is the first to tip his chin and close the space between their mouths. Cole inhales slow and presses in hard, closed-mouthed but insistent, desperate for the ground pressure of teeth behind lips. Hanzo allows him the press for as long as he needs; it lessens, slowly, the press-release of their mouths morphing into something closer to their usual fare, the soft suction of them parting the only sound in the room. Hanzo can feel the way Cole’s brow is still knit against his own.

He whispers, between soft kisses and past the brush of their mouths: “It is fine. You’re fine.”

The phrasing is awkward in a way Hanzo can recognize, just shy of the comfort that’s expected, but it has the intended result—Cole smiles, the barest twitch to the corners of his mouth.

“Damn right I am.”

Hanzo huffs like he hadn’t set himself up for that exact joke, strokes across Cole’s cheek with the heel of his palm despite the put-upon annoyance. “You seem recovered.”

“Naw,” Cassidy sniffs, nodding to try and flick his hair off his face. It sticks in his tear tracks. He tries again anyway, then a third time before Hanzo finally wipes his back himself—thanks, honey—and plants a kiss in the salty space it leaves behind. “Takes a whole lot more than some shit sleep t’knock Cole Cassidy down.”

The cowboy’s arm has snaked its way around Hanzo as he spoke—Hanzo allows himself to be pulled forward, pressed up to the swell of Cole’s chest, warm and solid and rumbling as Cassidy hums at him. It sets off a pleasant buzz under Hanzo’s skin.

He tips his chin up to look Cole dead-on and is rewarded with another kiss, Cole’s unkempt beard scraping Hanzo’s goatee as he noses closer still. This one carries the curl of his tongue with it, shyly enthusiastic, like Cole isn’t sure how well the change in pace will be received.

Like Hanzo could ever dream of denying him anything.

Hanzo soaks in his own relief. When Cole’s mood sours, really sours, there’s nothing to do but let him burn himself out. No distraction, nor conversation, nor well-meaning touch will get him by quite like silence; Hanzo, sitting a few feet away in the shooting range, polishing and stringing and restringing Stormbow as Cassidy blows away targets until he physically can’t shoot a gun.

This, though, is the other side of his moods entirely. When something strikes him this way Cole becomes relentless for contact; he thinks himself too needy to say it outright no matter how many times Hanzo very enthusiastically makes his own feelings known.

A broad hand slides up Hanzo’s back, fingertips digging in to test the give of carved muscle. The kiss lingers, both of them nudging closer when it feels like one may draw away, and by the time they do part Hanzo’s pulse is thrumming. He makes a rumbling noise of his own as Cole’s hand settles along his ribs. “I’d like to knock you down, cowboy.”

That startles a laugh out of Cassidy, whose grip slides down to the small of his back in record time.

“Ain’t as young as I used t’be, sugar. Think you mighta wrung me out lst night.” Hanzo blinks at him, thumb continuing its back and forth along the curve of Cole’s jaw. “…m’also thinkin’ we might have to test that theory.”

Hanzo raises an eyebrow at him, face suddenly deadpan even as he stirs up onto his knees. He’s the same height as a hunched-over Cassidy this way, and he uses this advantage to pile further kisses onto his face. The cowboy makes a happy sort of rumbling sound and lets himself be coaxed onto his back, Hanzo slinging a leg across his hips, settling back so he can look down his nose at the larger man. 

Cassidy gets his hands back on the curve of Hanzo’s hip, and Hanzo can’t quite keep the smile out of his voice as he speaks.

“This was a very elaborate way to get me to fuck you,” and the cowboy laughs, breathless and sounding relieved. Hanzo, of all people, won’t begrudge him his change of subject.

“C’mere,” Cole mumbles, and Hanzo relents just like Cole’d done before.

They fall into a familiar pattern. Hanzo’s hands never stop moving, up through Cole’s hair and down his sides and grasping at the fullness of his hips. There’s familiarity here; Hanzo veers from holding Cole’s hand because the man hates his hands tied; Cole turns them onto their sides but won’t roll on top of Hanzo for fear of pinning him down.

The heat in their space grows stifling and they move closer still, Cassidy’s face firmly stuck in the crook of Hanzo’s neck, Hanzo murmuring near-incoherent, “I have you, I have you, shh.

After, they lay in a sweat-damp tangle of limbs, Hanzo’s head on Cole’s chest, fingers playing through the crisp line of hair from his navel down. He rests his palm across the softness of Cole’s lower stomach and feels the way it swells with his inhale.

Hanzo tips his chin up to watch the cowboy speak.

“Keep expectin’ you to fuck off back t’your room when this happens.” Cole’s smile has turned shameful, hand twirling Hanzo’s hair into some loose ponytail around his palm. It unravels and sprays loose across the pillows again—Cassidy regathers it with a sigh. He opens his mouth, closes it, twirls his fingers in Hanzo’s hair again.

Whatever else he wants to say is lost to the dark of the room.

“Leaving you will always be the worse option,” Hanzo murmurs, because it apparently bears repeating. “Regardless of what you do while I stay.”

The cowboy groans soft like he’s been wounded and pulls Hanzo tighter to himself. “Sweetheart.

Whatever other griping he’d planned is thwarted by Hanzo kissing him again, slow and lingering and not letting up until the cowboy acquiesces to settling back.

Hanzo curls against his side, lost sleep starting to catch up to him once again. He can’t help the feeling of content as Cassidy sighs, deep and slow, calmer now than he’s been all night. The peace he feels now is relative, he knows—but they are here, together, and that already is more than Hanzo could have hoped.