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27 September 2011 @ 10:02 am
FIC POST: A Good Man Is Hard To Find, Chapter 4: "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (Tiger & Bunny)  
Title: A Good Man Is Hard To Find
[1][2][3]
Characters & Pairings: Kotetsu/Barnaby, some Kotetsu/Tomoe, + ensemble (notably featuring Kaede, Nathan, Karina, Antonio)
Rating: hard R
Summary: The city was complicated and dangerous, everything shrouded in facades, and maybe it was no wonder someone like Barnaby who'd never known anywhere else would be so reluctant to trust anyone. Still Kotetsu could imagine nothing lonelier than the childhood he'd spent in a safer and simpler place.
Notes: Um...Given the amount of certain kinds of references and descriptions especially in this chapter, at this point it might be good for me to mention, apologetically, that I have way too much fun with taking the "NC 1978" thing pretty seriously as a point of reference for the culture of the T&B universe. (I personally don't think it's fitting to have any real-life cultural references in fic for this fandom, but well...I kind of pushed it with this chapter. LOL.)





Chapter IV
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood




One of Nathan’s shops where he could be found working any evening he was on call but unoccupied was an eccentric little boutique called Moon Age Daydream. Carrying the most outrageous get-ups and a small selection of music and posters, the place seemed to cater to a certain counterculture scene that Kotetsu was pretty sure Nathan was only about five years shy of being too old to associate with. For someone his age, of course, going into the shop was like stepping onto another planet—one that must get a lot of flooding, judging by the heights of the platform shoes displayed in glittery rows in the windows.

Needless to say, he had to be pretty desperate to be willing to go in here just to talk to Nathan. He'd only seen the place from the outside once when they were out together one night and Nathan needed to stop by to get some cash for bar tips. Just from the vague way Nathan had described it to him once, Kotetsu was pretty sure his other establishment Electric Eye would be a sight he wanted to avoid scarring himself with at all costs, and he definitely didn't want to bother Nathan to come meet him anywhere either, but if he was lucky he knew there was a chance he might catch him here.

When he went in, the first employee he spotted was a girl with vivid sapphire hair who was dressing a mannequin in a corner. She wore a long jacket of wine-red velvet that was ruffled around the bottom and the ends of the sleeves, and the shiny star-shaped name badge on her lapel read DARLA. When Kotetsu approached her, she took one look at his shirt and tie and overall clean-cut appearance and then started to look a little nervous.

“Uh, if you’re another debt collector, you should know Maurice quit two days ago,” she said.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone at the front counter drop right out of sight to hide, hitting the floor like he’d heard gunfire in place of those words. With an amused smile Kotetsu said, “Actually, I’m here to see Nathan. Is he around right now?”

She raised an eyebrow like that was hard for her to believe. “Sure,” she said faintly in surprise, then just started grinning at him a little mockingly. “I think he’s in the back, just ask for him up front.”

Smartass kid. Still he smiled as he started stepping away and said, “And come on, you better be more convincing than that the next time it isn’t a drill,” and then she smirked with some more agreeable amusement coming into her face.

As he went up to the front, he looked around and allowed himself a brief moment to recover from the somewhat surreal nature of all this. In a weird way, he'd almost expected the girl to just say "Who's Nathan?" Sometimes it could be strange to be reminded that many of the other Heroes had entirely separate roles they kept up outside of their secret jobs and many acquaintances, actual friends even, who had no idea they were on TV and could do things like throw flames from their hands. It just wasn't something he habitually considered, probably because he didn't have much of a life outside of his job himself.

He was pretty sure Barnaby was the only other Hero of the group of which this was true. It was all the more reason he hoped Nathan could possibly shed some helpful light on the situation. Not long ago he still wouldn't have been able to call him and Barnaby more than just partners with a lot of conviction, and all the unprofessional aspects of their relationship were still awkward and tentative sometimes for sure, but now he realized just how much he had invested in the mere potential and promise of it all. He could barely stand to face the possibility that he might be starting to lose him as a friend, without even quite understanding who or what was the most at fault here.

Once he'd crossed to the other side of the store, for a moment Kotetsu thought he heard one of Blue Rose’s albums playing, but then he saw the music was coming from a small TV set up on a shelf behind the counter. It was a Hero TV rerun showing one of Karina’s recent performances, the Pepsi logo lit up behind her on the stage and silver confetti raining down on her. He wondered if this was the concert she’d had to give after going after those bastard robbers who knocked her down a flight of stairs in a museum a couple weeks ago. She’d smiled through all four songs, looking full of energy, as if she hadn’t been screaming while Barnaby had to set her dislocated shoulder just a while before.

A young pale guy with a buzzed head was sitting at a stool by the checkout counter playing with his phone, and he seemed to have also just glimpsed what was playing. “I think you have the wrong channel, Nathan,” he said with a short laugh.

“Oh?” The smooth voice came from an open doorway left of the guy, and then Nathan emerged from it to come out toward the counter. He looked as flamboyant as usual in a gold fishnet top that hung loosely off one shoulder and very shiny, very pink pants, but in here he didn't stand out as much as Kotetsu was used to. He looked over at the screen to double-check what his friend was referring to and then put his hands on his hips with a challenging look. “Say again?"

“Why you got this lame corporate brainwash on the tube, man?” Buzz Cut said.

Rolling his eyes, Nathan answered, “Because it’s a free fucking world, baby. You can scoot your little punk ass out of here if it bothers you. I like the song.” He picked up a remote from the counter to turn the volume up higher before turning to go back to whatever he’d been doing in the back room. Just then he noticed Kotetsu there with a quiet gasp and then immediately turned the sound back down. “Oh shit, red alert, this can't be good." He quickly waved a hand in the kid's direction. "Tommy, get lost, go get a job or something. My friend needs to sit there.”

“Um, I’m good, actually,” Kotetsu said awkwardly.

Not getting up from the seat, Tommy looked over his shoulder and pointed a thumb in his direction. “This dude?”

“He likes this song, too,” Nathan answered as the only explanation as he came around the counter to approach Kotetsu.

"Hey," Kotetsu said under his breath with a mild and sheepish smile. As Nathan took his arm and started pulling him toward the other end of the counter where they'd be more out of hearing range of everyone else, he glanced back at the television briefly and said a bit teasingly, "I can't believe you watch reruns at work."

"Got to try to keep the kids well-rounded," Nathan explained with his eyebrows raised matter-of-factly.

As they both leaned against the counter, Nathan looked over at Maurice and nodded his head to the side to signal him to take what he was doing a few feet further down to the other end and give them some space. He lifted a hand up to sympathetically brush at Kotetsu's arm a moment and said, "So?"

The words started pouring out almost with a note of panic in them. "I don't know what to do," he said. "I need to get him back, Nathan, this is awful. It's worse than when we had to work together and we weren't friends. Now we're not friends anymore."

"Right, okay, honey. But I can't try to help you with this one unless you tell me what happened."

Kotetsu sighed. He'd been afraid of that part. "Yeah. Right..." He bit his lip for second, fidgeting uneasily. "Well, I...might have sort of jumped him when we were having a drink at his place the other night."

Nathan grimaced, though he didn't seem terribly surprised. "...Oh." He tilted his head a little, looking at him scrutinizingly. "And how much drinking was involved, exactly?"

He hesitated again. "I don't know, by that point...I might have started sobering up, and he was..." As he kept thinking back on it, he only frowned more. "Well...he was smiling really differently, and...he said something about how I was swearing a lot and it was kind of funny."

Nathan's expression immediately sunk; he knew what Kotetsu was like pretty drunk, and apparently that description sounded accurate. "Smooth, Tiger," he said with a sigh.

"I know," he groaned.

Darla had just come up to the counter to grab a pen. Before walking back away, she looked over at the two of them a moment and said in a sweetly jibing way, "Hey Nathan, what's Mr. Tax Accountant doing around here anyway?"

"Oh, as if I haven't noticed you staring at him a little in the time he's been here," he teased, then winked at her as she went away shaking her head but possibly also blushing a little.

Kotetsu looked down at his own outfit, suddenly feeling almost self-consciously like he was standing out here. "Come on, I don't look that stuffy...?"

"Hm..." With a small smile, Nathan reached for a revolving stand nearby on the counter that displayed a variety of small scarves hanging from hooks and started turning it like he was looking for something specific. "So go on."

"Huh?"

"Details, Kotetsu. Tell me exactly how it went, what he's said about it, all that."

Right. He said that like it could be so easily done...

Nathan picked a scarf and held it up against Kotetsu like he was seeing how well the color went with his ensemble. He pursed his lips in consideration as he held it there, then looked up at him expectantly. "Kotetsu," he prodded.

"Fine. Okay..."

And through an incredibly uncomfortable explanation, he recounted everything from that night and the last few days that seemed the least bit important. During all this, Nathan kept picking up different scarves to see how the colors would look on him as if he wasn't even listening. At first it was distracting, but after a while Kotetsu realized he would actually feel a lot more ridiculous just saying all of this straight to his attentive face, and maybe that was the whole idea.

In fact, he'd actually started rambling after a while, going back into that somewhat panicky tone as he said all his fears about what this might mean for their relationship, and at this point Nathan had to stop him. "Okay," he said in a steady voice, looking directly at him a moment. "So. I'm guessing he must have kissed you back, even if it was just for a second, right? At least a little?"

That was definitely not the first thing he would have expected him to ask. Kotetsu gaped at him in alarm for a moment, then actually started thinking about it. "I...Well, I thought so, actually, at the time. But obviously—"

"Obviously even if he did—you know, for whatever reason—he isn't comfortable with the fact that he did," Nathan finished for him. He waved his hand dismissively as he added again, "For whatever reason."

"Um. Right. But how would that seem so obvious to you? If—I mean—if he did..."

"Well look, the man is full of eccentricities I really can't pretend to understand, but it just sounds to me like what has him so upset isn't the way it happened as much as that it happened at all, the possible consequences and everything. Just seems like he's trying awfully hard to prove something." Nathan seemed to have finally found a scarf he liked for him, a neckerchief of a rusty gold color. He set it aside on the counter instead of hanging it back up with the others and then reached up to start pulling down the knot of Kotetu's tie.

"But what does that mean?" He looked down at Nathan's hands working at removing his tie. "And what...are you doing?"

Nathan didn't seem to hear either question. "Listen. Do I think he's overreacting a little? Sure. Maybe. But after all, he's used to you being pretty patient with him when he gets kind of irrational, isn't he?"

"I guess...though I wasn't so understanding about it this time," he said grimly. "After we screwed up out there today I blew up at him over it, and it only made things worse."

"Well, it's probably not a big deal that you called him out on it a little. But just keep in mind, he doesn't owe you anything. If he starts thinking you're going to keep pushing the issue now, I'm guessing he raises the wall for good this time and never lets you get close again. Before he can even cool down and think about forgiving you, he's probably just waiting to be sure you'll be able to let something like this go and this doesn't actually change everything. Even after what happened today, I'm really not sure it's as bad as you might think."

Kotetsu raised an eyebrow skeptically. "What makes you so sure?"

"Well, I noticed you've been calling him by his name now..."

"Yeah," he said in a disheartened tone. "I got a definite impression he wants me to knock it off with the 'Bunny' thing now."

"But is he still calling you by your name or not?"

The question put him in a surprised silence for a while as Nathan started winding his now-removed tie around one hand to roll it up. "Actually...yeah, he hasn't stopped doing that, now that I think about it."

"See?" Nathan smiled as he reached behind Kotetsu to stuff his tie into his back pocket. Incorrigible as ever, even during a serious conversation like this, he let his hand linger over his ass a moment longer than necessary as his smile turned a little playful, making Kotetsu brush his hand away with a grin and a roll of his eyes. Nathan cleared his throat delicately and continued, "If you ask me, you should just let him be while he's still angry and not try to force anything. In the meantime you can't really force good teamwork either, but I'm sure he realizes he botched it today no matter what he says and will hopefully try to keep his judgment more in check. Give him a while to be this way until he can be satisfied that he has the upper hand."

"How could he possibly feel like he doesn't have the upper hand now?" Kotetsu asked in confusion. "I'm the one who's still in the doghouse for making an embarrassing mistake of an advance that was firmly rejected."

"But you're not the one who's always carefully guarded and got caught off guard after having a few. He's probably mostly just frustrated that a complication like this didn't happen on his own terms. Your relationship as partners is obviously still a strange and new and delicate thing for him, and even his disappointment at finding out you think of him that way maybe comes from a certain vulnerability he wasn't prepared to let you see and doesn't feel he should have to explain."

He looked off in the distance thoughtfully for a moment while Nathan focused on unbuttoning his collar. "Oh."

"Yeah." Nathan was now tying the scarf around his neck, but Kotetsu had stopped paying much attention to what his hands were doing a while ago and he only distantly noticed.

"But you almost make it sound like you think he might actually...have something to hide."

Nathan shook his head quickly. "I wouldn't think about that."

"Why? I'm just trying to understand what you're talking about!"

"Because it's not really fair, is it? You were drunk. And supposing yes, that that's possible, then he obviously wasn't ready for you to know that, was he? So however he might have reacted, even if he was positively swooning in your arms for one magnificent second, it didn't really happen, alright? Besides, it could easily not mean anything—God knows he's probably not getting much more action than you are if any, and especially given that, anyone who wouldn't otherwise can start to look yummy after enough wine. And in that case, why torture yourself thinking about the other possibility?"

Kotetsu blinked, too overwhelmed to respond as he took that in and thought he understood but wasn't entirely sure. Then he finally looked down at what Nathan was doing again as he finished opening up the top of his shirt so that both corners of the collar were spread wide apart. He slid the scarf a little ways around his neck so that the knot lay more at one side.

"There we go," he said with a grin of satisfaction, brushing his hands down the length of his vest to dust it off clean for good measure. "Oooh, screw tax accountant, now you look more...hip journalist."

"If you say so," he said indifferently, already having to slide a finger underneath the somewhat uncomfortably tight scarf to scratch part of his neck.

Nathan put his elbow on the counter and leaned his head to the side into his hand, looking at him closely and curiously. "Should I worry about you? Because now I think I'm going to."

"Believe me, nothing like this is going to happen again."

He shook with a low giggle. "That's not what I mean. What I'm asking is are you okay after this? I mean...are you in love with him, or what?"

His eyes widened a little. "With Bunny? Oh n-no, definitely...No..."

Then in the following few seconds he actually thought about it, about the dreams and everything weird and bothersome that was in the dreams besides just sex, about how intensely frustrated he could get with the guy sometimes without completely understanding why as if it took nothing for him to get under his skin, about how he'd thought about kissing him desperately as if they were going to die in a couple minutes and how ridiculously dramatic that was, after all. And then he kind of hated Nathan right now for asking him that. It was all fine and manageable until he brought up the words.

He looked down toward the floor as he started grimacing a little, and then he just held up his thumb and forefinger an inch apart, not saying it and not even looking at Nathan's face, but meaning, Maybe a little.

Nathan sighed heavily and shook his head. "Oh my goodness, what am I supposed to do with all of you?"

He was looking at something over Kotetsu's shoulder as he said it; Kotetsu turned for a second and followed his gaze to the television which was now showing Karina waving at the audience after finishing her last song.

"What are you looking at Blue Rose for?" he asked. "Is she okay?"

Nathan looked right back at him and answered nonchalantly, "No reason. She's fine."

"Is some handsome little shit from her school making her cry or something?"

"No."

"Because if that's it, I'll show the bastard. We should...do something really bad to him. Or just...intimidate him...real bad."

Nathan sighed again. "Please tell me you won't try to ask her about it." He added with a smirk, "Besides, even if it were something like that, don't you think Karina can take care of herself?"

He shrugged and said dryly, "I don't know. Obviously I can't sometimes."

"Well, there's nothing wrong with that, you know." Nathan was now speaking with a kind of wary delicacy. "You shouldn't think you have to keep it all inside."

When Kotetsu looked at him tentatively, he found his eyes were lowered down toward the counter, momentarily fixed on Kotetsu's left hand—looking at his wedding ring, he realized. The ring he still hadn't taken off after nearly six years. Kotetsu didn't know what most of the others had assumed about it, if they'd ever noticed it, before they knew there had been a wife but that was a long time ago. A married man with no intention of hiding that he was married would surely mention a wife at some point, so maybe some of them figured it was just something he habitually wore as a more subtle part of his disguise. Or maybe that, for whatever reason, he wore it to keep people away.

Maybe in some small way, that one was true.

"I only meant thanks for your time," Kotetsu said, his voice coming out a little hard. "Don't push it."

Seeing he'd been caught looking at it, Nathan now looked a little guilty. He reached up to give his shoulder a reassuring squeeze as a final gesture before Kotetsu moved away from the counter to leave.

He stopped a few feet away to turn back and look at him for a final word. "You're a good man, Mr. Seymour," he said. "Thanks for the...thing. The scarf."

Nathan winked. "Next time I'll have to—Boy, what are you doing?" he said, suddenly reaching out and grabbing an especially young customer before he passed by him. Kotetsu hadn't even noticed him getting any kind of a direct glance at the kid before he seized him by the arm, but now Nathan was pulling out a record he'd been hiding in his jacket. "Nice. Yeah, don't think I won't remember you."

The kid started protesting, "I was just going to—!"

"Uh-huh. Get out of here before I start to really get mad..."

With a low laugh, Kotetsu turned away to leave at last.




After he reached his floor in his apartment building later, he could have been knocked over with a feather when he turned a corner to see Barnaby waiting by his room.

He was leaning back against the wall right beside the door with his arms crossed. When he saw Kotetsu approaching, his face seemed to convey an exasperated Finally.

So he didn't really want to be here that much. But what could the reason be?

"Um...Are you lost?" Kotetsu asked when he got to the door.

"I need to speak to you," he said, and then explained with obvious irritation, "Your phone seems to be off."

"Huh?" Kotetsu pulled it out of his pocket to find that he had, in fact, let it go dead at some point tonight. "Oh, sorry. How long have you been waiting here?"

"I don't know, twenty minutes," Barnaby said while Kotetsu started unlocking the door. "I was about to give up and go. Where the hell were you this late anyway?"

It was hardly that late at night, but he couldn't blame Barnaby for assuming so easily that he would be home. Except when they were working or somewhere together, he usually wasn't out on any given night past ten.

He got the idea that Barnaby didn't truly care to hear what he'd been doing, though, so instead of even bothering to come up with an answer he just said another "Sorry." He opened the door and motioned an arm forward to invite Barnaby in before him. Barnaby looked almost reluctant to bother going in; clearly whatever he wanted to say, it was going to be brief.

And he realized with a sinking feeling as he went in after him that that wasn't promising.

After Kotetsu went to the center of the room and tossed his keys and wallet down on the coffee table, Barnaby followed him but not too closely, staying standing a few feet away from him and then crossing his arms again. "You were right about what happened today," he said.

Kotetsu looked at him with some alarm.

"I didn't realize it at the time, but I was letting something personal interfere with our jobs and acting unreasonable. I didn't have any sound reason to doubt you, so I don't really know what got into me."

This sounded a lot better than the kind of conversation Kotetsu had been fearing this would be, but he still wasn't quite sure what this was. It sounded kind of like an apology, but it was hard to tell. "I...Okay," he just replied uncertainly.

Barnaby hesitated a while before saying the rest. "You may be obnoxiously reckless about things like risking damage to property, and you get us into messes sometimes by not thinking ahead...but I'm supposed to compensate for your weaknesses because I know them well, just like you do the same for me when I let myself get too angry or..." He sighed quietly. "Anyway, when it's a situation that requires fast action, you're usually nothing but reliable, so I shouldn't have felt any need to step in. I...really do value having you as a partner and couldn't have come so far in this career without us working together as well as we have, so...I just want you to know I don't intend to let anything get in the way of that again."

The initial relief he'd felt at starting to hear all of this was starting to be mostly overtaken with frustration and confusion. The whole speech sounded strangely methodical and formal, like Barnaby was trying to sound genuinely apologetic because he really did want to get past this but his heart wasn't really in it. All the anger he'd expressed earlier this evening seemed to be gone, but there was still an obvious reluctance in the whole thing.

"And...about the rest," Barnaby finally added, "well...I suppose it really shouldn't matter that much."

Then it finally dawned on him as he remembered all the details of that former conversation, and his eyes narrowed. "Are you only here because Mr. Maverick convinced you to try to make up with me again?"

Barnaby instantly frowned and looked away from him in a way that easily confirmed it. Kotetsu didn't realize that he'd said it with any kind of judgment in his tone until Barnaby's response was a little defensive. "Mr. Maverick has my best interests at heart," he said firmly. "And the talk I had with him made me see I was being ridiculous today. So what?"

He knew he had no reason to doubt what Barnaby was saying, and surely Mr. Maverick did only have good intentions, but this wasn't the first time he'd ever found himself thinking that the guy wasn't always spot-on about understanding what was probably best for Barnaby. Then again, it wasn't his fault he didn't know the whole story and how sensitive a situation this was. It was obviously left to Kotetsu to try to get the right message across.

"Never mind all that," he muttered, starting to walk past Barnaby to go back to the door. "You obviously don't really want to be here. Just...go home, and I'll see you tomorrow."

When he opened the door and waited for him to move, Barnaby just started looking a little angry.

"Don't get the wrong idea, it's not like I'm expecting a better apology," he said. "You're not the one who has anything to apologize for."

"Then don't throw me out of your apartment," Barnaby said.

After an odd moment of indecision he shut the door again, and then Barnaby started to look calmer.

"Look...I really wish you weren't so pissed at me," Kotetsu said. "And letting a thing like this affect our work is one thing...but you're entitled to feel that way when what I did was unwelcome. So I don't want you to say anything like that unless you're ready to and you really mean it, because..." He closed his eyes a moment, sighing dejectedly. "Well, I just don't want you to."

In the following silence, the look in Barnaby's eyes started to soften until he started looking like he was just tired of all this. He let out a heavy breath, closing his eyes and rubbing at one of them under the lens of his glasses a moment, and then looked back up at him. "Alright. This can no longer be ignored: What in God's name are you wearing?"

Kotetsu looked down at himself and then immediately felt a little embarrassed, having forgotten all about his slightly altered outfit. "Oh, this," he said, reaching up to take off the scarf. "Nathan felt like giving me a makeover, I don't know."

"Really," Barnaby said flatly. "How'd you walk away with the beard still intact?"

"What?" His fingers automatically raised to his chin. "What's wrong with my beard?"

Barnaby's lips were a tight line of restrained amusement. "Nothing."

He couldn't help but smile. The much less cold look in Barnaby's eyes now seemed to have already lifted a tremendous weight off his chest. When they fell into a silence for a while, it was a great deal less tense and uneasy than any of the silences they'd been sharing in the last few days.

Kotetsu went near the middle of the room to stand closer to him, nervously running his fingers back through his hair. "Bunny...I know I could have done a better job of respecting you than...well...laying one on you while you were seeing double. But I hope that doesn't give you the idea that I don't. Respect you, I mean. In general. With the exception of this one time that I didn't see how I was failing to, just that once..."

"I—I got it," Barnaby said, holding a hand up, like he was worried Kotetsu wasn't going to stop unless he said something.

Kotetsu gave a small nod, and then after a moment he put his hands up with a little shrug. "It was a silly night, right?" he said, and Barnaby's face softened even more with a look of concession. "I guess I just misread something at some point. But...well." With another shrug he finished, "Now I know."

At that, Barnaby's look turned a little somber and his eyes dropped down to avoid Kotetsu's gaze. After a long hesitation he said softly, "I don't want to be with anyone." He crossed his arms, looking uncomfortable as he shifted his feet a moment. "I just don't...I don't need that."

This caught him off guard a little, and after a surprised silence the first thing that came out in response was "Okay. Good. Neither do I."

Barnaby met his eyes again only to lower them back down, the look on his face still the same.

Of course Kotetsu recognized how kind a rejection the words had been, so much more than Barnaby was in any way obligated to give him. At least he was going to choose to see it that way, because if Barnaby actually meant it, he knew it wasn't exactly any of his business to think about what it meant and how sad it sounded.

Finally he swallowed uneasily and amended, "What I mean is...that's just fine."

Barnaby looked at him again and nodded.

After that, they both seemed to be left with the quiet realization that Barnaby was still in his apartment. For the first time. Barnaby had needed to drop by to bring Kotetsu something he'd left at his place once, but he'd never actually come in. Barnaby looked around, letting himself actually notice everything now, and his eyes stopped for a moment at the wall where most of Kotetsu's family pictures were displayed on the shelves. When he turned his face back in the other direction, something in the motion made it seem that he practically had to make himself look away.

Then his attention was drawn to Kotetsu's video collection—specifically all the cases that had bright yellow spines, apparently, as the next thing he did was walk close enough to be able to read what they were. "Wow. You sure have a lot of Legend stuff."

"Oh. Well, naturally," he said with a smirk. "He's Legend."

"I take it you're a fan."

"Well. There's kind of a story...I was at the right place at the right time, and you could say he made quite an impression on me. You would be a fan, too."

"You mean you met him?" he asked with a cocked eyebrow.

Kotetsu had to try not to frown in some disappointment. The experience wasn't something he mentioned lightly, but if he did share the story more often that was not the weak kind of reaction he would expect from everyone. Maybe it was a good thing he didn't go around telling everyone about it.

"Yeah, back when I was twelve," he answered.

"Huh. I admit I don't know the first thing about him."

"What?!" In an instant he pointed to the couch. "Sit. Down."

Barnaby watched him head over to the shelf. "You're kidding, right?"

"You can't be a Hero and not know anything about the first Hero!" he said as he looked over the titles. "Then you're just bound to embarrass yourself in an interview someday by showing your ignorance about your own profession."

"Yeah...I don't think that's ever going to happen," Barnaby said, though he was already taking a seat on the couch with a resigned look.

"Here we go," he said enthusiastically once he'd picked a disc and put it in. "This one's a collection of episodes from '57, when it wasn't in color yet, obviously, and the kind of budget the show had was still pretty crappy so sometimes they only had one or two cameras. It's gold."

Barnaby shook his head with a small smile as he joined him on the couch. "You are such a dork, do you know that?"

"Shhh," he said as it was starting, nudging him in the side.

After being so unsure he'd ever even get to deal with Barnaby teasing him ever again, Kotetsu could hardly stop smiling the whole time they watched, so happy just to have both his favorite Heroes here.




go to chapter V.


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Current Music: the rolling stones; she's a rainbow
 
 
 
lanternlighter: foreignlanternlighter on September 27th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, so awkwardly tumbling into love with each other, I love it. And Maverick, of course, you dear, quietly being a dick behind the scenes ♥

Can't wait for the next installment.
owashinokenowashinoken on September 27th, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
I've just stumbled upon your fic while lurking over the T&B LJ community and I have to say this is really good, very well written. I eagerly await your next chapters. Please do keep up the excellent writing!
weepinbelll on September 28th, 2011 01:40 am (UTC)
ahhhhh i just read all of this in one sitting! SO. GOOD. definitely the best structured T&B fic i have ever read from character analysis to plot development to the little side-activities you have them do while talking and stuff (like the scarf thing oh my god that was ingenious). you are creating something really wonderful here. i can't wait for the next update!
96 tears: t&b: helmetsninety6tears on September 28th, 2011 02:05 am (UTC)
"Alright. This can no longer be ignored: What in God's name are you wearing?" Haha, I had forgotten about the necker at that point and this line made me laugh so hard cause I could totally see the moment being disarmed like that. And then them having the little "Soo...This is your apartment" moment was also perfect.

And you know what I fool I am for fanboy!Kotetsu and his silly Legend obsession. I could totally see him forcing Barnaby to watch old episodes during the time-jump bonding time.

Edited at 2011-09-28 02:06 am (UTC)
The Alien from Uranus: Jaeger7th_rock_alien on September 28th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
This fic just gets more amazing with each update! ^^ I still can't get over how human your characterizations are and your pacing is perfect. I love that you've managed to incorporate copious amounts of Nathan into the story. He doesn't get enough fic love. D:

Excuse me while I sit on the edge of my seat, waiting for them to kiss and make up, however long it takes. <3
Xenafox: Casual Kotetsuxenafox on September 28th, 2011 03:32 am (UTC)
Omg, this part was fantastic! I loved every part, from Nathan's dressing him in the scarf to the awkward cuteness to Kotetsu being a very happy fanboy. Can't wait for the next chapter!
Butterz: Tea? Nay. Glam Breakfast. |Bowie|butterflygirl_3 on September 28th, 2011 06:10 am (UTC)
I-is that a Bowie reference there? I love Moonage Daydream so much!

I really like the idea that Sternbild is a little 70s, so this is so much fun for me. Not to mention your amazing Nathan. I will be back to read all of this, that's for sure. Thank you for this gem!
Sara: tiger & bunny; kotetsuflowrs4ophelia on September 28th, 2011 06:52 am (UTC)
Hehe, why yes it is. ♥ My whole idea behind the descriptions of that shop was that if this universe is sort of 70s-based than Nathan's style would totally fit in with the whole glam rock movement, but I was kind of indulging myself and didn't think anybody would actually recognize the Bowie thing, lol.
Butterzbutterflygirl_3 on September 29th, 2011 12:42 pm (UTC)
That's so cool! Oh he so would fit that scene. Aah~ what an awesome idea. lol, well I did. :3

Truth be told, I'm working on a fanmix based on the idea that the music in Sternbild follows the music of 60s and 70s. Now I can have some extra headcanon images to play with. Yay! :D
Sara: tiger & bunny; kotetsu & barnabyflowrs4ophelia on October 9th, 2011 03:37 am (UTC)
I'm working on a fanmix based on the idea that the music in Sternbild follows the music of 60s and 70s.
Oh, awesome, I'm actually working on something similar. :D You mind if I friend you so I can keep an eye out for yours?
Butterz: Happy Chappies! |Bleach|butterflygirl_3 on October 9th, 2011 03:43 am (UTC)
Not at all! I'll friend you back! :D

It's a long process, and I don't know when I'll get it done now. >.
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