Title: The Hero's Guide to Domesticity
Author: Hikaru R. Kudou
Chapter: 1/4 - Meet the Kaburagi's
Fandom: Tiger & Bunny
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimers apply.
Summary: De-anoning for a prompt at LJ's t-and-b-anon, "Kotetsu (finally) quit his job and comes home...with Barnaby. Kaburagi family's reaction is priceless". Meanwhile, Barnaby throws himself into something nothing Hero training has prepared him for: Household chores. Eventual Kotetsu/Barnaby.
Author's Notes: An alternate re-telling of what could follow post episode 17. Liberties were taken in several areas, but they shouldn't be too jarring.
Crossposted at my DW, AO3...and eventually at my LJ.
Kotetsu found himself gawking at a figure he knew only too well. Said figure was braving through the crowd at the train station, looking to his left and right, desperately searching for something.
When their eyes met, his expression lit up to one of relief. Kotetsu's expression, most likely, maintained its surprise.
"What are you doing here, Barnaby!" Kotetsu demanded once Barnaby stopped right in front of him.
"Looking for you," said Barnaby simply. "Shouldn't you show some gratitude, Kotetsu?"
"Yes, yes, but…" Kotetsu stopped himself. "I thought you didn't take the news of my resignation well? You didn't answer my calls since two days ago!"
Barnaby frowned. True, when Kotetsu broke the news to him, Barnaby was everything but stable. Kotetsu's attempt at solemnity was barely successful, although at least it still got the point across. Barnaby had burst into a barrage of questions, but in all due respect, perhaps his spluttering at the time made him no more eloquent than a young boy forced to speak in public. In the end, Barnaby had stormed out of the office, leaving Kotetsu alone, and refused to see him.
Barnaby blamed the sudden explosion of various emotions in him. He never knew this man was capable of stirring up something so foreign in him.
"I…I guess I'm happy to see you. I wouldn't want to leave you on a bad note," said Kotetsu, rubbing the back of his head, a habit when he was feeling awkward. He saw that Barnaby was carrying a bag in his right hand. "Oh, is that a parting gift for me? You shouldn't have!"
Barnaby opened his mouth to respond, but an announcement calling for passengers to board rang across the station. Kotetsu gave a yelp, and grabbed his bags.
"Well, that's my call. So…I suppose this is goodbye?" Kotetsu held out a hand for a handshake. "Goodbye, Bunny. I wish you luck, and I'll always cheer you on. It's nice knowing you, and…uh…"
Barnaby, if he had less self control, would probably have pulled him for a lip-crushing kiss there and then. Instead, he took the handshake, and pulled his partner - ex-partner, Barnaby corrected himself with some sadness - towards the train.
"Oi, oi, are you actually eager to see me leave?" cried Kotetsu, holding on to the beret on his head so that it would not fall off.
"You can continue what you're saying on board, Kotetsu. We really shouldn't miss our train," Barnaby deadpanned, smirking to himself.
"I can just - wait, what! What do you mean by 'our train'?"
Kotetsu never did get to finish his farewell speech, but on the train he pressured the blond to explain himself properly.
The day after Kotetsu told him about his resigning, Barnaby had asked Lloyd for a holiday, with the excuse of accompanying Kotetsu back to him hometown. Lloyd was not exactly happy, but Barnaby would not let him win. So Lloyd gave him permission, hinting to Barnaby to at least try coaxing Kotetsu to come back to Hero TV.
Barnaby wondered if he stood a chance at shaking Kotetsu's determination to quit.
"But I'm glad!" Kotetsu was saying. "It means you're not angry with me."
Barnaby wrinkled his forehead. "Of course I am."
Kotetsu stared. "Really?"
Kotetsu, after a moment, relaxed. He reached out to the man sitting opposite of him, and patted his head. Barnaby wondered if he imagined that there was a certain melancholy to the gesture.
They reached the town shortly after dusk. A van was already waiting for them as they stepped out of the station.
Barnaby found himself gawking at a man who had some resemblance to Kotetsu seated behind the wheel. The man in question raised an eyebrow and got out.
"My elder brother, Muramasa." Kotetsu managed the introductions. "And my partner, Barnaby." He bit his lower lip when he realized his mistake.
"Ex-partner, to be more accurate," said Barnaby, trying to maintain composure. "Nice to meet you, Sir."
"The pleasure is all mine, Mr. Brooks." Muramasa gave Kotetsu an odd look. "When you said that you're bringing a guest over, you didn't mention that he'd be a celebrity."
"Yeah, well…" Kotetsu chuckled nervously. He proceeded to load his things into the van, prompting Barnaby to do the same.
Once they were on the road, Muramasa spoke as he glanced at Barnaby's reflection in the rear view mirror. "Thank you for taking care of my brother for us."
"I…" Barnaby winced slightly, unsure how to reply to that. "It's a pleasure to work with him." Barnaby caught sight of Kotetsu's surprise in the mirror. "I apologize for barging in like this."
"Right, my brother should have informed us earlier." Muramasa sighed. "I suppose this is Kotetsu that we're talking about."
"Wait, are you two ganging up on me?" Kotetsu interrupted.
"In any case, Kaede will be ecstatic to see you in person," resumed the older brother, ignoring the question.
"Exactly!" Finally remembering, Kotetsu turned around to look at Barnaby. "She'll be delighted!"
Barnaby blinked. Something seemed off, but he said nothing.
"I'm home!" Kotetsu announced once he opened the front door, with his bags in tow. "Guess who's staying over for awhile?"
"Dad, you're late!" came the response and footsteps.
Barnaby braced himself. Meeting fans was nothing new to him, but this was Kotetsu's daughter, for Heaven's sake. Suddenly he felt nervous.
The young girl appeared before them, brown hair tied in a ponytail, carrying a bowl of salad in one hand and a spoon in the other. She stared at Barnaby in surprise, which then became excitement, and then embarrassment. She sucked her breath loudly, mouth forming shapes, but said nothing.
"It's Barnaby!" she finally exclaimed, eyes sparkling. Her hold on the bowl loosened, but Kotetsu managed to save it before it crashed to the floor.
"Careful!" cried Kotetsu.
Muramasa shrugged, and walked past them, seemingly unaffected by the scene playing in front of him.
"Hello," Barnaby said amiably, smiling slightly. "You must be Kaede. Kotetsu told me so much about you."
Kaede stared at Barnaby, then at Kotetsu. "He did? He never told me that he's close friends with you!"
"Well, it's a recent thing." Barnaby gave Kotetsu a sideway glare, to which Kotetsu rolled his eyes. "But yes, we are very close."
Kotetsu made a choking sound, and almost dropped the bowl himself.
The introduction between Barnaby and Kotetsu's mother went on smoothly, with the latter thanking Barnaby for looking over Kotetsu (Here Kotetsu had complained that he was no child that needed supervision, but his protests fell on deaf ears) and Barnaby expressing his gratitude for the hospitality.
"I apologize if I'm causing inconvenience," the King of Heroes was saying.
"No, no, no, we're happy to have you over!" Anju gave a warm smile. "Let's have you settled down first. Kotetsu, how about you bring him to your room?"
Simultaneously the men froze. "Eh?" There was something very wrong about that suggestion.
"Actually, Kaede accidentally wrecked our guest room," explained Kotetsu's mother as she continued chopping the cabbage. "We can hardly give him the room, so he'll have to use yours, Kotetsu."
Kotetsu blinked several times, then regained his composure when he could not argue with that logic. "You're right. Come on, Bunny, follow me."
They trod down the narrow hallway in silence and in a leisurely pace, with Barnaby glancing around and Kotetsu having his hands thrust into the pockets of his pants. They stopped in front of a door, and Kotetsu actually held the doorknob for a moment.
"What's wrong?" asked Barnaby. "I can take the guest room if you want me to."
"No, no, that's not it." Kotetsu paused, and here Barnaby noted that his ears were slightly pink. Was he actually blushing. "My room's a bit…well, just promise you won't laugh."
Barnaby sighed comically. "Honestly, knowing you, I know what to expect. Why are you acting all embarrassed all of a sudden?"
Kotetsu turned to face him, frowning to cover up for his red face. "Fine, fine. Come on in."
The room felt like a homage to Mr. Legend, that Barnaby was slightly taken aback. There were posters on the wall, and figurines of the past hero stood on Kotetsu's desk. The room was otherwise tidy, with no dust in sight. Obviously the family was expecting Kotetsu's return.
Kotetsu sauntered to the desk, where he took a photo frame. Barnaby had followed him closely from behind, and he caught sight of the photograph.
"Is that her?" asked the younger man.
Kotetsu stiffened a bit. "Yeah." He appeared to be contemplating, then he showed the picture to his former partner. There was a younger version of Kotetsu, looking very much happy with a beautiful long haired brunette, who was holding a young baby.
"She was pretty," said Barnaby softly. "You must have been very happy."
Kotetsu forced himself to grin. "Yeah, she was really something. Kaede looks like her, don't you think?" He straightened, clasping the photograph over his chest. "I'll leave you to freshen up. The washroom is a few doors down, if you need to use it."
Barnaby nodded. "Thank you."
Waving his hand in dismissal, "Think nothing of it. See you during dinner."
-to be continued-