Laughing With

It was a relatively calm, peaceful day. Barnaby and Kotetsu were seated in the office of Apollon Media; Barnaby tapping away idly at his laptop, whilst Kotetsu swivelled around idly on his chair, doing precisely nothing productive. Once in a while Kotetsu would stop his spinning to play around with the hole puncher or stapler. This came to an end when Kotetsu managed to spill staples all over the floor and Barnaby, scowling, had confiscated the stapler from Kotetsu until he 'learnt how to behave like an adult.'

Barnaby really was no fun. He was literally the place where 'fun' went to die a very slow, painful death.

Therefore, it was completely, 100% Barnaby's fault that a bored Kotetsu- with no stapler to play around with anymore- had taken to tapping a marker pen against the side of his desk.

Then he'd started to doodle little pictures of Mr. Legend flying around on a spare piece of paper with the marker pen- interspaced with lazy doodles of Barnaby sporting a rather adorable pair of rabbit ears.

When even that grew boring, something else piqued Kotetsu's attention.

That 'something' was Barnaby's face.

"What are you doing?"

"Hn? Isn't it simple?" asked Kotetsu brightly, uncapping his trusty marker pen with a pop. "I'm going to give you a cool beard just like mine!"

Barnaby's eyes widened slightly with ill-disguised horror. The look on his face was so cute Kotetsu had no choice but to laugh.

"No, absolutely not," said Barnaby firmly, folding his arms. "I refuse."

"Aww, but Bunnyyyy, I think it'd suit you," said Kotetsu through his laughter. "It'd increase your cool factor by two hundred percent, guaranteed!"

"I think you're the last person in the world who can talk about 'being cool', so don't try. You'll just embarrass yourself." Barnaby sighed, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose in that 'oh-so-suave' way that would have made girls swoon. "Why are you so desperate to craft me in your image, anyway? Have you developed an inferiority complex owing to your abysmal ratings?"

Kotetsu pouted. "Don't try to psychoanalyze me, Bunny. That's sooo uncute."

"I don't want to be cute."

"I think you're cute! Cute as a button!~ Or a bunny…"

Barnaby's face flushed slightly- an indication he wasn't quite as calm and composed as he was attempting to appear.

"Stop saying weird things like that."

"Huh? Can't I even compliment my own partner now?"

"No. And if you think I'm so 'cute', why do you want to draw on my face?"

"It's simple!" said Kotetsu brightly, stabbing the uncapped marker pen in the air as he made a point. "It's Halloween today, right?"

"I'm not interested in such juvenile festivities," said Barnaby, folding his arms and turning his nose up in the air. "I'm well beyond the age where I'd get excited over something so childish."

Kotetsu grinned. "So, in other words, you didn't realize it was Halloween until I pointed it out, right?"

"W-whether I realized it was today or not is neither here nor there; I'd still be indifferent to it, regardless."

"You mean you didn't notice it was Halloween already, even though all the stores are filled with decorations and stuff? Whoa~" Kotetsu whistled. "And you say I'm unobservant."

"I-it's not like it matters anyway; I don't know why you're bringing it up."

"I'm bringing it up, silly, 'cause that's why I was going to give you an awesome marker pen beard. It's a disguise, see?" said Kotetsu brightly, with all the enthusiasm of a young child. "That's what you do in Halloween; you dress up as something else! I thought you could dress up as me for a while. I'd even lend you my hat. And I can be you!"

"Absolutely not," said Barnaby firmly, shaking his head. "My reputation would be in tatters if I was caught in your clothes. Besides, Halloween is a celebration for children. I'm not so immature I'd be excited by it- not at my age."

"Aww, come on, Bunny, we're all children at heart~ It'll be fun."

"No. Grow up, won't you?"

"You know, it's fine saying that…" Kotetsu paused, fiddling with his hair in a distracted fashion; apparently apprehensive about his following words.

He still them anyway, though.

"But maybe you grew up a little too fast."


Barnaby blinked at Kotetsu in confusion; doing a perfect deer (or bunny) in the headlights impression. It seemed that comment, at least, had managed to pierce through his icy exterior.

"Bunny, haven't you done anything in your life before just because it's fun?" Kotetsu asked earnestly. "If you haven't, then… that's kind of sad. It's my job as your partner to make sure you're not a miserable mope all the time, right?"

Barnaby frowned, looking down at his lap- face still flushed and, d'awww, he was totally adorable; the magazines had it all wrong when they kept calling him 'handsome'.

'Handsome' wasn't really Barnaby's selling point.

That awkward, fluffy, flushed, strangely sweet side of him was.

"Besides, on Halloween you're meant to dress up as scary things," Kotetsu continued, grinning, as he gently prodded Barnaby's forehead. "I figured nothing'd scare you more than having to dress like me!"

Barnaby paused; still staring at the floor.

Then, finally, he raised his head- the icy façade he used so often completely thawed out.

Kotetsu knew it was coming before it happened and, in his head, he began to count down towards the inevitable;






And then it happened.

Barnaby's lips quirked upwards- ever so slightly- into a smile.

But it didn't end there.

Barnaby's laughter really was one of the most rewarding sounds Kotetsu had ever heard; only one level down from Kaede, begrudgingly, admitting he was 'kinda cool' for a dad.

"Fine, alright- if you're going to be that persistent about it," said Barnaby, still smiling in that kind of heart-melting way, "but I draw the line at the beard."

Kotetsu pouted. "But the beard is the essential part of my look!"

"If you get to draw on my face, then I get to style your hair like mine," said Barnaby, a challenging spark glittering in his eyes. "Do you want that?"

"Ahaha, well… I-I'm not sure about that! What's wrong with my hair?"

"What's right with it?"

"Ooh, that was a pretty quick comeback…" Kotetsu grinned sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. "Trying to act like you really will be the scariest thing I've ever done…"

There was something refreshing about being able to laugh together about nothing much, thought Kotetsu happily, as he once more tried to assault Barnaby with the marker pen.

The really terrifying thing Kotetsu discovered that Halloween might have been that he liked it when Barnaby laughed.

He liked it a lot.

a/n: Barnaby & Kotetsu cuteness just because… :D These two are way too much fun to write about.
I have a bunch of other Tiger & Bunny oneshot ideas & I'm worrying about them clogging up my ff account, so I might just dump them in here as a oneshot collection, but I'm not sure… :/ I mean, would people like that? Esp. as not all the oneshots would be about Kotetsu & Barnaby...

~renahhchen xoxo