About Nathan and Karina and takes place smack dab in the middle of the time jump between episodes 13 and 14.
Karina removed the weights from her legs after an uncharacteristically long walk on the treadmill. She felt sweaty and miserable. "I shouldn't have gone that far…" the truth was she had been distracted. She glanced irritably to the other side of the fitness centre at the now unoccupied bench weights.
She bit her lip anxiously as she stared at her tennis shoes. She let out a relieved sigh at finally being left in solitude again, allowing herself a chance to gather her scattered thoughts.
"Boy trouble?" asked an effeminate male voice in her ear.
Startled, Karina let out a quick cry and scooted a couple feet away from the source of the sound. She stared at the purple clad, pink haired Nathan accusatively. "Don't scare me like that!"
He clasped his hands gracefully. "Oh sorry Hon'!" His pink painted lips frowned sincerely. "But back to what I was asking, you are having boy trouble, aren't you?"
"Um," Karina considered denying the allegation, but she knew well enough that Nathan could see through most lies. "Yeah, I suppose you could call it that."
"Well here I am, want to have a girl to girl chat about it?"
Karina was kind of speechless. The idea of having girl talk with someone, who despite all his blatant homosexuality, he was still a guy.
Noticing Karina's uncertain expression, Nathan kindly lowered his voice from his ever present falsetto to his rarely heard real tone. "Would you like to just have a chat chat?"
Karina beamed happily at Nathan's unnecessary but gracious gesture. "Thanks, I suppose I could use someone's input."
"Fabulous!" Nathan exclaimed, slipping back into falsetto for a moment. "But how about after we cleanse ourselves of the grime of exercise."
After showering, the two sat in the rooftop dining area atop the HeroTV building with an Italian soda apiece.
After taking a few sips of her chocolate soda, Karina began. "Ok, say there is this guy. He is not very impressive, kind of an idiot, obnoxious, rude, insensitive, but then, all of sudden I realise that he was never really all that bad and the faults that actually do exist are kind of cute."
Nathan smiled knowingly but did not comment and allowed Karina to continue.
"He has a deep sense of right and wrong and gives out really good advice, even when I don't think I need it. He basically has every good thing I lack." Karina looked at the milky surface of her drink thoughtfully.
"Seems like a pretty great guy, however, I sense a 'but' coming…"
Karina nodded, "But he sees me as just another girl, barely takes note of me beyond casual greeting and he is kind of outside my league."
"Anything else?" Nathan gently prodded.
She thought for a moment. "Yes, there is. He expects me to listen to him but not the other way around. He just brushes me aside and doesn't care whether I'm worried about him or not."
Nathan shook his head wisely. "I think Kotetsu does care about your opinions, he just does not know how to express that." He looked up to see Karina's blanched face, her mouth opened in shock. Then he realised how he had begun that sentence. "Oh, oopsy!"
"How long have you known?" Karina asked timidly. "Is it that obvious?"
"Well it is kind of noticeable, but all those other ruffians are too think-skulled to tell. I have known about your feelings since seeing you so worried over Kotetsu during the Jake Martinez incident. You were so concerned about his injuries." Nathan gave her a cockeyed smirk. "At least you know that you actually care for him."
Despite her embarrassment, Karina did feel much better now that someone knew about her dilemma.
"However…" Nathan returned to his falsetto voice. "I only promise to leave that sexy tiger alone for so long, so you better make your move soon Hon'!
Karina snickered at the mental image of her playing tug o' war over Kotetsu against Fire Emblem. On an impulse she embraced Nathan's slender waist and squeezed affectionately. Her voice was a little choked as she thanked him, it felt good that she was no longer bearing this burden alone anymore. Now even if nothing came out of her feelings for Tiger, at least she now had a friend she could count on.
Later when she got home, she flopped on her bed and dug out of her pocked the one dollar bill Kotetsu had given her at the bar all those months ago. Ever since then she always had it on her, even when she got into that dreadful outfit. 'That's right, no matter what happens, I still have at least this one little piece of the life of the first man I cared for.' She smiled and decided to call it a day. Starting tomorrow, she promised herself that she will be a new woman, someone who was able to earn at least a little of Tiger's admiration.