Not exactly Kit/Nita, though it does get a little sappy on the porch. It's another of Kit's reactions to Ronan. These are fun to write. Even if Kit isn't madly in love with Nita, there still has to be tension there. There is serious tension with flip scenarios. The girlfriends of my close guy friends all hate me without other cause. Death glares are always fun.

It's not my best work; She Doesn't Dance was much better, but I like this. It's a bit rough, but I decided not to rewrite.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of characters (They belong to the wonderful and tremendously talented Diane Duane) and "Man To Man" is a song written by Jamie O'Hara and sang by Gary Allen. I do own Kit's anger and strong arms. :P

~*~*~*~

You're throwin' around a lot of serious accusations

Ain't too hard to tell what you're insinuatin'

Having a close female friend in today's world often included repeatedly defending her honor. Kit had heard all the rumors. He knew he wasn't sleeping with his best friend, and he was fairly sure they both had their parents assured that the "adult things" they were doing didn't include sex, but slowing down the death of the universe. Thus, for the most part, Kit was content with ignoring the snide comments, rude remarks, and annoying rumors about Nita and himself. He wasn't, however, above using physical force to protect her reputation if the need arose. Especially against that low-life bastard. Smashing his face in would be a pleasure....

You think I'm the one who stole her away

And if not for me she'd still be yours today

We're both men here, so why play games?

Why don't we call a spade a spade?

Kit rose early, scribbled off a note to his parents, and grabbed a bagel from the bag on the counter. He'd need the food for today's transit. He did none of the stealing away he was accused of. Nita didn't go for low-life bastards, and Kit was ready to rub this knowledge in his smug face. Before it bled, of course. Oh, this was going to be such fun...

Man to man

Tell me the truth, tell me

Were you ever there when she needed you

Man to man

Look me in the eye, tell me

If you really loved her

Why'd you make her cry?

If Kit had a weak spot, it was definitely the tears of a woman. He felt that the ability to control a man's action with several mere drops of saline was most certainly an unfair advantage that women held.

So when a sobbing Nita popped into his backyard yesterday, what could he do, but sit her down on the porch steps and gently ask her what was wrong?

"I went to Annie's for tea," Nita started. This caused a small smile to form on Kit's face as he thought of the previous summer. When Nita returned from Ireland, she had tea oozing from her pores. "I haven't seen her in awhile and I wanted to talk.

"I ran into Ronan as I was leaving; apparently he works on the farm now. He wanted me to go out with him later."

Kit tensed. While he would be happy for Nita if she was in a relationship, he just wished it wasn't with that prick. Kit didn't like him anymore than he trusted him, which was very little indeed.

"I refused." Kit refrained from a sigh of relief. He also refrained from gagging at her next sentence.

"I mean, he's really sweet, I like him well enough, and I did have fun with him last summer…It's just...

"Right after I went home, I did miss him a lot. But, after the thrill of the first kiss wore off-"

Did not need to hear that. Did not need to hear that! Kit protested in his thoughts. He'd had his suspicions, but never really cared to find out for certain. Did not need to hear that.

Ah, the pains of having a female best friend.

"-I realized that I didn't miss him that much. I still did a little, but not in the longing way I did at first. I didn't have to see him again, I don't think about him all the time anymore. It wasn't like we had a deep relationship yet. I mean, right after we started developing one, we had to go save the world," Nita smiled, slightly mockingly, the grin of a wizard who loved protecting life and would never stop, but who got a bit fed up at times.

"Besides, Ireland's a long way away. It's not that bad for an occasional transit, but for enough transits to have a stable relationship...

"I told him all that, and that when I want to have a date someone, it'd have to be someone closer to home. That when he started in... "

She scoffed, a hurt, harsh and sarcastic sound. "On us. That I'd been playing him the entire time. 'Screwing your boy-toy while kissing me' was his exact phrasing, I believe. He recalled a conversation we had when we first met, where I hinted to his group of friends that you were the reason I'd been sent over here, rather than wizardry, for obvious reasons. Today he concluded that I was telling the truth then. He said some other stuff too, but it's not worth repeating.

"You know what really gets me, though? If he cared that much for me, why'd he never come see me? Or even contact me once? The entire thing with Mom being sick, me almost making the wrong Choice... not once! Now..."

Nita drew in a shaky breath, trying in vain to get the best of her tears.

Women cry too much, Kit thought tenderly, slipping a strong arm around her shoulders; she sank gratefully against him. He brushed the salty trails off her face, a plan already forming in his mind.

Man to man

Who cheated who

You're the one to blame

When she finished crying, Nita went inside with Kit for some of his mother's casserole. It was incredible good, though part of that probably had to do with her post-transit hunger.

Afterwards, Kit saw her home. The walk had a tranquil affect, and Nita was glad she had let him convince her to walk rather than transit. There was only so much you could do in a day.

For Kit, however, the walk had an opposite affect. His anger at Ronan grew with each step, each glance at Nita. She was no longer crying, but neither was she happy. Her eyes were dark, her face set.

And just as she was starting to laugh at life again. Kit shook his head. He's going to pay for this.

***

When he got home, Kit pulled out his manual and turned to the messaging section. If Ronan was sleeping now, he'd get the message in the morning.

Good, thought Kit, a little too happy, uplifting thing to wake up to.

He penned:

Ronan-

We seem to have a few issues to resolve. If you're man enough, meet me at Copernicus, noon your time.

--Kit Rodriguez

There was the issue of the overlays in Ireland, but if Ronan was half the hotshot he thought he was, there'd be no problem.

Tell me it ain't true

Man to man

Man to man

Kit sat on a moon rock, waiting for Ronan to appear. Of course he wouldn't be on time. Jerk.

Suddenly, a lanky figure with black and red shoulder-length hair appeared, looking around with suspicion, combined with slight awe.

First trip to the moon? Kit mused to himself, standing up.

"What's this about, Rodriguez?" Ronan demanded. "I've things to do back-"

An abrupt fist contacting his jaw cut him off.

"Shit!" exclaimed Ronan, clutching his jaw. He was completely unprepared for the blow, but composed himself quickly to return the favor.

Damn, that felt good, Kit thought as he dodged Ronan's punch. Instincts-plus-anger-plus-years-of-being-bullied kicked in over the next several minutes.

A cloud of moon dust rose as the two went down in a flurry of fists, one fighting in furious self-defense and jealousy, the other in anger, indignity, and for the defense of a friend.

Well you think all your anger is justified

Me, I think, it's just your wounded pride

What did you really think she was gonna do

She's a real woman, not a doormat for you

Later neither was sure when or how the fight ended exactly, just that they eventually had separated and stood hatefully staring at one another. Both were more than a little worse for wear: Ronan's nose was bleeding, as Kit had envisioned, and he had a bruise forming on his jaw line. Kit's right eye was tender and his lip had spilt.

Kit spoke first. "That was for Nita."

"I'm finished with that slut," Ronan snarled.

Kit refrained from striking him again. "If I ever," Kit spoke slowly, "hear you refer to her as that again, you will find yourself conveniently forgotten in a pocket of otherspace, if I'm in a good mood, that is."

"Oh, I'm sorry, perhaps in America 'slut' means something other than a girl who gets around," Ronan said maliciously.

"You bastard. You low-life bastard. You're just jealous you couldn't seduce her. She's her own person and won't let you walk all over her. She has self-confidence and self-respect. She's no easy lay, and that's an insult to your swollen ego, isn't?" Kit hissed, voicing his earlier thoughts.

"Isn't this a bit hypocritical, coming from the guy that's screwing her?" Ronan replied, "I think you're the jealous one. You're just upset that she got bored with you and sought out someone a bit more exciting."

You want her back, but it's too late

Why don't we just cut to the chase?

"Who, you? If she's so madly in love or lust with you, then why was she the one that told you it wasn't going to happen?" Kit inquired smugly.

"All affairs come to an end."

"You never had her!" Kit exclaimed, despite the part of his mind that told him Ronan was egging him on and he was buying right into it.

"Maybe you two aren't as close as you think, then," Ronan put in slyly.

Man to man

Tell me the truth, tell me

Were you ever there when she needed you?

Man to man

Look me in the eye, tell me

If you really loved her

Why'd you make her cry?

"One kiss. That's all you had. That's all there was to your relationship!" Kit spat. "Maybe if wizardry hadn't interfered, maybe if she'd stayed in Ireland longer, maybe if the transit did take so much out of her—not that you took time to notice—maybe if you'd bother to keep in touch, then maybe she'd have considered a relationship with you. But that's a lot of maybes."

Ronan scoffed, and Kit continued,

"The entire thing with her mother and you never contacted her once. Not to ask how she was doing, or if her mom was getting better.

"If you liked her so much and you two were so close, why didn't you call, or leave her a message, or pay her a visit? Do you have any idea how much pain she was in or how much more you hurt her?"

Man to man

Who cheated who

You're the one to blame

Tell me it ain't true

Man to man

"Her mother?" Ronan asked, confused.

"That's what I thought," Kit shook his head in disgust and disappeared with a small pop! of air.

Man to man

Tell me the truth, tell me

Were you ever there when she needed you

Man to man

Look me in the eye, tell me

If you really loved her

Why'd you make her cry

Man to man

Who cheated who

You're the one to blame

Tell me it ain't true

Kit felt his face gingerly as he walked into his house from the backyard. It hurt, but it was worth it. It was all worth it… the look on his face… the asshole.

He made is way inside, hoping to clean up a bit before his mother saw him. He was going to have a hard enough time explaining the injuries without a gritty covering of moon dust.

No such luck.

"Brujo," said his mother, hearing his entrance, "Do you want some breakfast?" Then she

noticed his condition. "Your eye! And what's all over your clothing?"

Kit sighed. "Well, Nita-" He was cut off from his explanation by a knock at the door.

Speak of the devil, Kit grinned- then winced as the skin on his lip pulled farther apart.

Oh, be quiet, Nita returned, via mindspeak, then added, but that's never going to happen. Would you kindly be quiet for a moment and let me in?

Kit's mother had been watching her son in bemusement as he headed for the door, then stood in front of it, not yet opening it.

He swung it open as Nita said, Sorry I was so emotional last ni—

She broke off and started speaking, "What the heck happened to your face?"

Kit sighed, and his mother commented, "That seems to be the question of the hour."

"Maaa-ma," Kit shot her a look.

"Okay, okay. You can tell me later," she instructed, bustling out of the room, leaving the two

alone.

"So, did you get in the fight with Aristarchus and lose?" Nita asked, a small smile that had been painfully missing last night dancing on her lips.

It was worth it, Kit thought to himself again.

"No… it was at Copernicus, but that's not what I was fighting with," Kit chose his words carefully.

"You didn't," Nita accused. Kit shifted uncomfortably.

Nita's face lit up and she enveloped him in a hug. Kit awkwardly patted her back and she let him go.

"What did he say? I wish I could have seen the look on his face… but look at your face!"

"It's okay," Kit supplied, putting up tough face.

"Bull. It hurts." She knew him too well.

"But you don't anymore," Kit declared softly.

Man to man

Man to man

Man to man…

"We had a talk… well, it was more of a physical discussion at first, but then I sorted a few things out for him. I don't think he'll bother you anymore."

"Oh, Kit…" Nita brought her hand to his face. He finger tips danced over his battle wounds, softly brushing the raised flesh. The pain began to recede, and his lips mended were she stroked them.

"You didn't have to do that…" Kit started.

"Neither did you."

"Yes, I did."

"And I'm glad." Nita smiled.

Kit knew then it would all be all right. They had been through a lot, and would surely be through a lot more, most of it more difficult than a wayward admirer. However, they'd be there for each other through it all, each making life a little better, a little brighter for the other as they went. Life is always worth it, especially when it's shared with a best friend.