This is a fic I did for the T&B anonmeme on livejournal. The prompt was for everyone to give Barnaby the, "Hurt Kotetsu and I'll kill you speech," up to and including unlikelies like Agnes and Lunatic. It's been tweaked a bit here – errors fixed, a sentence or two put in, etc -but it's pretty much the same fic as it was in the meme.
This is post-ep. 13, by the way. There's vague mentions of the events during the Ouroboros thing, but nothing exceptionally spoilery. There is a note below that IS spoilery, however.
The first time it happened, Barnaby had completely expected it.
He was bound to clash heads with Karina. Her crush on Kotetsu was the worst kept secret among the HeroTV personnel (Barnaby had his fare share of teasing her over it, though maybe he shouldn't have done it on public radio). The second, of course, was Barnaby's new relationship with him.
And so there she was, sitting across the table from Barnaby with a glare that couldn't be icier. Heat was literally sucked out of the HeroTV lounge (funny what a girl with ice powers could do), the only bit of warmth sat in the coffee mug between his hands.
Barnaby took a sip from his coffee. Karina continued glaring. After an intense – if one-sided – staring contest, she finally spoke.
"He's too good for you, you know," she said.
"So you tell me. However, I believe you wouldn't be much better suited for him." Another sip, then he put the mug down. "You're not even out of high school."
Karina slapped a hand on the table, hard enough that Barnaby's coffee shook. "This isn't about that!" she shouted. She then sunk back to her seat and folded her arms. Glancing to the side, she frowned.
"I know I'm neck deep in the daughterzone. I don't need you to remind me about that." Karina puffed her cheeks. For a second, Barnaby thought he saw her holding back tears. "I'm not here to catfight over who gets him. I've already lost that match."
Barnaby raised an eyebrow. "Then what are you here for?"
"To make sure you treat him right."
Karina unfolded her arms and leaned forward, locking eyes with Barnaby once again. "Dorky as he is, Kotetsu's one of the greatest guys I know. Probably one of the greatest guys period. He needs someone who recognizes that."
"What's your point, exactly?"
"I'm saying that you better damn well appreciate him. I won't tolerate you hurting him or taking him for granted."
"I see. And if that should ever happen...?"
"Then I'll freeze your balls off."
Collected as he was, Barnaby winced at the threat. "That's a little sadistic of you, don't you think? I thought the ice dominatrix thing was supposed to be an act for the cameras."
"Normally. This is a special case."
"I see." Barnaby reached for his coffee again, but decided against it. It seemed ice cold now. He couldn't tell if it was in his head or it was the product of Karina's (literal) icy aura.
"I'll promise you that it will never come to that. I care about Kotetsu more than you could know," he said. He meant every word of it.
Kotetsu was the first man Barnaby had ever come to trust – And likely the only one he'd ever love – since his parents' death. He'd would make sure the man knew how much he meant to him.
Karina's icy glare and aura disappeared. His thoughts must have been written on his face. She sighed.
"Okay, I believe you." She got out of her seat and brushed the wrinkles out of her skirt. "But remember-"
"Hurt Kotetsu and you'll hunt me down. Got it."
"Glad to see you do." Karina gave him a smile that, considering what just occurred, seemed terribly inappropriate.
And with that she was off.
The second time also wasn't much of a surprise. Antonio was one of Kotetsu's best friends. They'd known each other since high school. It was only natural that he'd be concerned with where his relationship with Barnaby would go.
They sat side by side at the bar. Antonio was fingering the rim of a glass of whiskey. Barnaby was playing with a peanut. They were out of red wine, and he wasn't interested in what else the place had, so he didn't buy a drink. No matter. It wasn't what he was there for anyway.
Antonio broke the silence. "You're quite a bit like she was. His wife, I mean. She even used to wear glasses like yours." Barnaby didn't need to hear a name to know who he was talking about. He remained quiet.
"I think that's why he's so attached to you." Spotting the unease in Barnaby's expression, Antonio added the caveat, "Relax. I doubt that he's not replacing her with you." He continued to play with the rim of his otherwise untouched whiskey. Barnaby started to wonder if he was going to drink it at all.
"What I'm saying is, well... It hits Kotetsu extra hard when you hurt him. Like after that Jake thing. He showed up at my place, three in the morning. He was a damn zombie. Karina filled me in on the details."
"... I'm not proud of what I did back then." Barnaby didn't want to think about it. Kotetsu may have screwed up monumentally, but Barnaby didn't exactly handle the situation maturely either. His brief bout of angst was cut short by Antonio's uncharacteristically icy voice.
"Don't do it again, ya' hear? You're gonna have to deal with me personally if you do."
Barnaby's silence was interrupted with a violent jerk as Antonio grabbed his shoulder. He swung Barnaby so that they were face to face, the bar stool nearly toppling in the process.
Antonio's voice was more forceful this time. "Don't fucking do it again. Ever."
Barnaby wasn't sure if Antonio would follow through with his threat. Still, he couldn't leave the bar fast enough.
Barnaby had to admit he wasn't quite expecting the "hurt him and I'll kill you" speech from Nathan.
"I have to say that I'm disappointed that you and Kotetsu are off the market now, Handsome." he said. He and Barnaby sat across from each other in the HeroTV's staff lounge. Today, he dressed slightly less flamboyantly than he usually did. Slightly.
Barnaby raised an eyebrow. "I didn't know you were interested in Kotetsu."
"Oh, not for anything long term. Just a night or two. Maybe friends with benefits. That man has one hell of a body, you know. I have no idea how he can maintain it at his age. You should see him naked... Actually, you probably have already, haven't you?"
"Can we get back to the subject at hand, please?"
"Ah, yes. Do forgive me for that digression. Anyways, I want to talk to you about your relationship with Kotetsu."
Barnaby had a feeling that he knew what was coming next. "This isn't another warning is it?"
"Oh, this isn't your first?"
"Third one this week, actually."
"Oh good! I don't have to go into detail then. Still, I at least want to leave you with this." Nathan cleared his throat and began glowing. NEXT eyes were almost always blue, but Barnaby could see red fire in them nonetheless. Nathan wasn't really... Nathan at the moment.
When he spoke again, his voice dropped several octaves. "Betray Kotetsu in any way and I'll burn off every hair on your body, one by one. Do you understand?"
Then, as quickly as it came, whatever infernal hell-beast that possessed Nathan had left. He leaned forward and clasped his impeccably manicured fingers together.
"So, what did you think?"
Barnaby had trouble maintaining his composure as he answered. "That was rather... theatrical."
"Thank you. I spent quite a deal rehearsing that, you know."
"You rehearsed a death threat?"
"Threat of torture, technically, but there's no reason either of them can't be glamorous," Nathan picked himself out of leather sofa and approached Barnaby, planting a light kiss on his forehead. "Take good care of him, okay?"
"Good answer, Handsome. Now, I've got to go. Video conference. I'll see you later."
He sashayed out the door, leaving Barnaby alone to pool his thoughts.
... Were all of his coworkers secretly violent psychopaths?
"... And then he said: Breakers of hearts will be punished! Punished for crimes against love!"
" Yep, that sounds like Keith all right... So, all the heroes did this?"
Barnaby was fixing up the disaster area that was Kotetsu's apartment. Kotetsu himself was laying on the couch. He would have been helping too, but his more severe wounds from the Ouroboros threat weren't quite healed yet. It had been over a week ago, but Kotetsu kept agitating the injuries and even compounding them through his antics. Loyd Alexander finally put his foot down and ordered him to take vacation time to recuperate ("We can't have a superhero team if one of the members insists on crippling himself.") Barnaby wasn't going to risk him reopening them for something as minor as cleaning up.
"Yes. It was all rather unpleasant," said Barnaby.
"What did Pao-lin do?"
"Threatened to tie me to a lightning rod during an electrical storm. I'd say Ivan's was the worst, though."
"What did he do?" Kotetsu picked the bandage on his side. Barnaby gave him a stern look
"Don't do that... Anyways, Ivan. He invited me over to see his weapon collection." Barnaby approached the sofa. The work was only half done, but he was exhausted from picking up every bottle in the place (did Kotetsu own any waste bins?). "Move over, I want to sit here."
"Fine, fine." Kotetsu pulled his legs in, freeing up some space. "So he showed you some pointy things? That doesn't sound so bad-"
"And then he turned into me and pretended to slit his throat."
"... Ah. I'm not really sure what to say to that." Kotetsu shifted positions on the couch so that he was more upright. He wrapped an arm over Barnaby's shoulder. Barnaby stiffened. He wasn't used to close physical contact, not even with Kotetsu.
"It was. And it's not just the heroes either. Agnes of all people came over to my place to do it."
"Agnes! You're shitting me."
"I don't think it was out of concern for you, really. More for collateral damage if we broke up. If ratings drop because one of us can't keep our act together, she's raking us both across the coals."
"Okay, that seems more like Agnes. For a second there I thought she'd gone insane." Kotetsu moved his arm back a bit so that his hand was behind Barnaby's head. He reached under his hair and lightly traced circles on the back of Barnaby's neck. Barnaby had to fight to keep himself from shuddering.
"Could you do that a bit later? It's distracting."
"Ah, sorry." Kotetsu's hand retracted. "Anyways, it just seems weird that they'd all line up to give you the 'if you ever do anything to hurt him' talk," he said. Then he gave a smirk. "Maybe everyone finally recognizes that I'm far more lovable than you."
"Which is why your trading cards are selling so well" said Barnaby, voice coated in sarcasm.
Kotetsu pouted. "Below the belt, Bunny."
"You did it first," Barnaby replied.
"I hate when you're right". Grumbling, Kotetsu leaned into Barnaby's shoulder, resting his head in the crook of the other man's neck. Stiff brown hair tickled Barnaby's face. The constant physical contact made Barnaby wonder if Kotetsu had been this touchy with Tomoe when she was alive.
"And yet you still can't get enough of me. Whatever. I'm just glad that gauntlet's all over with. I think I'd crack if Saito or someone showed up and threatened to sabotage my suit for-"
The doorbell's buzzing cut the conversation like a razor blade.
"...You get it," Barnaby said to Kotetsu.
"You said I'm not allowed to leave this couch, Bunny. You go get it."
Damn him for being right.
Barnaby got up and went to the door. He wasn't quite sure just why he was so unnerved. After all, what were the chances of Saito coming over just to add to Barnaby's growing collection of threats anyways?
He turned the nob. The door opened.
"Ah, good evening, Mr. Brooks. I was unable to reach you at your own condominium, so I made an educated guess that you'd be here. I'm glad to see I was correct"
Well, Barnaby was right about one thing: it wasn't Saito behind that door.
"Now, I'd like to get to the matter at hand," said Justice Yuri Petrov. His smile was disturbingly acidic "I would like to discuss the matter of your relationship with Mr. Kaburagi..."
At that moment, Barnaby really wished it was Saito at his front step.
In case you're wondering why Kotetsu hasn't used Hundred Power to heal his wounds, the answer's simple: he doesn't like using his powers for his own sake. According to the drama CD, he thinks he should only use them to help or save other people, so he probably won't be using the healing benefits outside of emergencies. Besides, if I did my math right, it'll only do about as much as a night in the hospital would (five minutes X 100 = a little more than eight hours) - there's a reason he was still in a good deal of pain despite using it, after all.