Title: Rock, Paper, Bullet!
Rating: PG
Word Count: 894
Pairing: Kotetsu x Antonio, Bromance or romance depending on how you look at it.
Topic: T&B Anon Meme Prompt: "Antonio's power fades at the worst possible time."
Type: Post Series Fic, "What if...?"
Genre: General
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Tiger and Bunny. Tiger and Bunny belong to Sunrise and their respective creators.
VTM: After a long week of finals I just feel like giving people a kick to the feels. (In a good way though...I think.)

-o-o-

He wasn't sure just how it happened or why. All Antonio knew was that he and Kotetsu were out for drinks. The two of them managed to really drink themselves into a stupor, they used each other for support as they both laughed and carried on being a pair of silly drunks. They didn't see him coming, the petty robber that was running from a store they just robbed, gun in hand. None of them expected the criminal to bump into them and suddenly panic. Kotetsu's power must have already been spent for some reason, because he didn't glow with that familiar blue when the robber pointed the gun right at him.

On instinct, Antonio shoved Kotetsu behind him as he had done many times before with people that he had protected over the years and activated his powers so he could take the bullet. The shot was fired, the bullet came, and...Then there was pain. It took a moment or two to register, but he was feeling a sharp pain.

Why was he suddenly spitting up crimson?

It was then that Antonio heard something hit the ground behind him with a "thud". Looking over his shoulder, he saw that it was Kotetsu. The gun shot must have torn through Antonio and hit the old tiger too.

The bullet just tore through Antonio like he was paper...

"Rock Bison" the "Bull Tank of the West Coast" had one simple job, and couldn't stop a single bullet. To make matters all the worse, he couldn't even protect his best friend. He couldn't tell if Kotetsu was still breathing, he could only pray to god that he was. Antonio suddenly collapsed to the ground; he could feel his heart pounding as his mind was panicking trying to register why his powers just suddenly failed him like that. The pain went from sharp to burning; he bit his lip he wanted to scream in pain and rage. But a light headedness seemed to be taking hold of him now, was he losing a lot of blood? Everything was going blurry by that point; all he could do was watch as the robber ran down an alley like a little god damned rat.

Two days later Antonio was in the hospital, from what he was told he had cut it close to death a couple of times as the doctors were operating on him. The pain killers they had him on helped ease the pain from the gunshot wound, but they did nothing for his damaged pride. Antonio sat up in his bed looking down right miserable while Kotetsu tried to get him to eat a piece of apple.

In some strange form of irony, Antonio's body still managed to slow the bullet down just enough where when it hit Kotetsu, it didn't kill him and it managed to stay in the man's body. After the doctors retrieved the bullet from Kotetsu it was used by police to track down the robber that shot them.

"Come on Tonio, eat something..." Kotetsu said as he held a slice of apple out to the other hero. It was suddenly knocked out of his hand with a feeble slap. Kotetsu frowned at Antonio; the big old ox was just acting stupid. "What's your problem? It was a fluke, get over it!"

"How the hell can you of all people sit there and say that?!" Antonio snapped at him. "Is that what you thought when you started losing your powers?!"

Kotetsu was silent, he was still frowning, but he looked more somber. "...Yeah."

"...What if...?" Antonio started.

"You end up like me?" Kotetsu finished for him; he then gave a weary smile. "Honestly, I don't know. I'm still trying to figure things out for myself."

Antonio was quiet for a moment, he realized that he probably just hit a nerve with Kotetsu, but the man was trying not to show it. When Antonio heard about Kotetsu's declining powers, he never once thought about how frightening the prospect really was. Mostly because he figured he never would have to worry about it himself. Feeling so powerless, especially in such a situation that would have been simple to handle normally for a hero like him, it was truly horrible. Antonio wondered if that was how Kotetsu really felt as he watched his time slowly dwindle away, knowing that it would eventually be gone completely.

"...I'm sorry." Antonio finally said.

"About what?" Kotetsu said with a more genuine smile. "It's scary, trust me, I know. But for now, let's just hope it was just a fluke."

"And what if it's not?" Antonio asked.

Kotetsu looked Antonio in the eye. "...Then at least you're not alone. I think that's what hurt the most when it started happening to me."

Antonio felt Kotetsu take hold of one of his hands and give it a reassuring squeeze. He gave a tired sigh and was then greeted by another apple slice. "Hmph, you just don't give up, do you?" Antonio said, he then took a bite of the apple slice.

"Nope, and neither do you, that's how we eventually became friends in the first place, right?" Kotetsu then held up a fist.

Antonio couldn't help but smile a little, he then bumped fists with Kotetsu. "Here's to hoping..."

"And if not, well...We'll figure things out together then." Kotetsu said as he offered up another piece of apple.

-The End-