Title: Two Sides of Justice
Word Count: 3254
Pairing: Yuri and Kotetsu (not exactly a pairing unless you want to look at it that way.
Topic: A judge can make a lot of enemies...
Type: Request Fic
Genre: General, Psychological
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Tiger and Bunny. Tiger and Bunny belong to Sunrise and their respective creators.
VTM: This one actually turned out a lot longer than I thought it would, but the prompt really did get me thinking of a lot of ideas to work with. This is also my first time writing with Yuri Petrov, just a warning there.
"Come on! Hurry up!" Kotetsu called back to the judge. Another bullet zipped past and hit a nearby street light, startling him.
"It's not like I can run as fast as you, Mr. Kaburagi!" Yuri said as he tried to run faster. "Maybe if you hadn't use your power back there, you could have used it now to go after that man."
"I was trying to get you to safety, okay?! Try being thankful!" Just then Kotetsu grabbed Yuri by the wrist and pulled him aside.
A bullet zipped past right where Yuri's head was. It would have killed the judge for sure had the hero been a moment too late.
"This way!" Kotetsu then led the judge down an ally way, from there the veteran hero spotted a door, hurried over with the judge, forced it open, and went inside the building.
"You do know that this is breaking an entering and trespassing; don't you?" Yuri pointed out.
Kotetsu flinched when he realized that the judge was technically right. Also given how hard Judge Petrov usually was on him, he was sure to expect to pay some sort of fine for this incident too. "W-well...Er...You know what? Screw the details! I'm trying to protect you, damn it!" It was then that Kotetsu noticed that Yuri seemed a little unsteady. "Are you okay?"
"Y-yes, I just need to rest a moment." Yuri explained while he tried to catch his breath. He couldn't help but think back on how this whole mess even started.
For the most part it was a normal day as any for Yuri, dispensing justice upon criminals through court proceedings rather than a crossbow and fiery arrows. It was late in the afternoon, and the judge was leaving his office to head back home. While he was making his way through the main hall of the Justice department he spotted a familiar face.
It was Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, the source of many a headache for Yuri when it came to damages and fines. Yuri sighed, remembering some of the more recent damages that were caused by that man's "heroing exploits". But at least the fines and damages were not as bad as they used to be since Wild Tiger had been moved to the second league. Petty crimes didn't give a whole lot of opportunity to cause all that much in damage.
Kotetsu had just turned away from the reception desk to leave when he suddenly spotted the judge. He flinched slightly, obviously not expecting to see him. It made Yuri wonder if Kotetsu had been thinking the worst of him before he saw him there. Not that it mattered, justice was justice, and Yuri made sure that people got what they deserved. Even delusional well intentioned antique heroes like "Wild Tiger".
Kotetsu took off his hat in respect and gave Yuri a nervous "hello". He didn't seem to really want to be in the judge's presence either, so Yuri was more than happy to oblige and leave after giving the hero a half hearted smile and a small wave in return.
Yuri started to notice that something was off when he stepped outside of the building and headed for the parking lot. As he made his way to his car, Yuri had the feeling that he was being watched. He stopped a moment and took a look around, but he didn't see anyone watching at him. Yuri tried to push the feeling aside and was about to about to open the door of his car when suddenly something caught his eye.
"Judge Petrov!" It was Kotetsu, dashing like a madman towards him.
Was he going to attack him? Had Wild Tiger finally just snapped? Before Yuri could even react Kotetsu tackled him down to the ground.
A bullet pierced the door of Yuri's car right where he was standing before Kotetsu had tackled him out of the way.
"Come on! Come on! Get up!" Kotetsu urged Yuri as he forcibly pulled him up on his feet.
Kotetsu ran with Yuri's hand in his, dodging another bullet. "Someone's trying to kill you!"
The rest of the afternoon had been spent with Wild Tiger "protecting" Judge Petrov, employing rather impressive evasive maneuvers, even after his minute of hundred power had been spent giving Yuri a wild piggy back ride to get him away from the justice department's parking lot and out of range of the sniper's bullets. But no matter how far they got the sniper never seemed too far behind. They were probably a next themselves, making things even more annoyingly problematic.
And that's how they ended up here, breaking into a building to take cover from sniper fire. They'd have to move eventually, they knew and so did the assassin. Kotetsu was contacting the other heroes, explaining the situation. They were going to search for the sniper discreetly and hopefully catch them by surprise.
Kotetsu sighed as he ended the call and waited for the judge to catch his breath. "Geeze, who did you piss off that got you in this mess?"
"The list of possible suspects is too long to really be sure." Yuri muttered between breaths.
Kotetsu gave a short laugh, pretending to find it a little funny. "Ha, good one..."
"I wasn't joking." Yuri said in a blunt tone. He then sighed and began to explain. "Being a judge gets you a lot of enemies. I've made enemies with quite a few crime syndicates and crime families over the years. I do have my suspicions as to who it is that sent the assassin. But then again, with so many enemies, one can't completely sure."
"W-wow, that's...pretty scary..." Kotetsu said with a half laugh, trying to shake off the uneasiness.
"Chances are they'll come after you too since you are getting in their way."
"Wait, what?! Don't joke like that!" Kotetsu blurted out in surprise.
"I rarely joke." Yuri said bluntly. He could see the color drain from Kotetsu's face. "What would you do if they came after you for helping me?" he asked. "Or even worse yet, to people that are close to you?"
"What's this about all of a sudden?" Kotetsu was getting even more uncomfortable. He began to make his way down the hallway. "L-let's just get going; I told the others where we are, we'll head to the front of the building and meet them outside."
"I'm just saying that because you should know what you could be getting yourself into." Yuri clarified.
"Look, judge Petrov, don't think you're the only one that's made enemies in their career." Kotetsu huffed. "That's why I won't let my daughter live in the city. Not until she's older anyway."
That's right; Mr. Kaburagi did have a daughter. Yuri remembered reading about it while examining the man's file. He had a wife too, but she was taken by illness, as for what illness it was, the file didn't specify. It did leave Yuri to wonder with Kotetsu's comment on making enemies.
"I'm hero, but I'm also a father, I'd do anything to protect Kaede, and that's all I'll say about it." Kotetsu retorted, gone was any trace of the usual happy-go-lucky facade he carried. "Come on, let's go."
Yuri was quiet while he followed. So perhaps there were limits to Wild Tiger's "justice", it probably ended where the natural instincts of a protective father began. It was logical, to a point, fathers were supposed to protect their children, even if they had to sacrifice a part of themselves to do so.
That wasn't the case for all fathers, or course. Yuri couldn't help but think about his own father, the idolized "Mr. Legend", a hero with fading powers like Kotetsu who, couldn't let go of being a hero; two people with such similarities that still ended up being different in the end. His own father drowned his sorrows in drink and took out his frustrations on the people he loved most. Yuri couldn't help but wonder what Kotetsu did whenever the crushing realities of his situation hit him in his own times of weakness? Yuri was sure that the veteran hero had thought about it now and then, it would be hard not to when it was a profession that put a person's life on the line.
If it was one thing that Yuri knew about heroes like his father and Wild Tiger, was that they attached their worth as human beings to them being heroes. Their kind of justice was a poison; it would rot them from the inside out and turn them into monsters. It was all only a matter of time.
"You okay, Judge Petrov?" Kotetsu said suddenly.
Yuri was suddenly brought out of his thoughts; he was met with a look of concern from the veteran hero.
"Do you still need to rest a little?" he asked. "You seem a little out of it..."
"I'm fine..." Yuri insisted. Kotetsu took his hand and continued to move through the hallways of the building. "What are you doing?"
"I don't want you to fall behind." Kotetsu explained with a smile, donning his usual facade once again. "This way we'll stick together and can slow down if we have to."
Yuri didn't say anything, for a moment he thought he caught a somewhat fatherly tone in Kotetsu's voice, even if it was a little ridiculous, they were that far apart in age. Yet Yuri still tightened his hold on Kotetsu's hand a little, despite Wild Tiger's air of incompetence, the judge actually did feel a little safer.
When they reached the main lobby of the building they could see the front doors, standing not too far away was Barnaby Brooks Jr., and he seemed to be keeping a lookout for them. However the lobby also had massive windows all along the walls. If the assassin was by this part of the building he'd be able to spot them.
"Ah, Bunny's right there!" Kotetsu said with a smile. "Come on, let's get out of here."
"Mr. Kaburagi, we should be careful..." Yuri insisted, while pulling Kotetsu back a little. His instincts were practically screaming to him that it wasn't safe.
Kotetsu then looked around for anything that they could use for cover. The room itself was wide and open, having a rather posh design with marble floors, a fountain in the center of the lobby, and Greek styled stone columns. "Let's pick a side and go from column to column."
"But what if we pick wrong? There's a fifty-fifty chance that we'll pick the side where the assassin might be waiting." Yuri pointed out.
"True, but if we wait too long they'll probably come after us another way." Kotetsu said thoughtfully. "And if we tip them off that there are heroes involved, they'll probably get away and just try to get to you later."
"That's...a good point." Yuri was a little surprised that there was some logic in Wild Tiger's thinking.
"Which side? I say left." Kotetsu said as he made a nod in the direction.
"Hmm, then let's go right." Yuri said bluntly. "It's probably safer."
"It is my life that's on the line." Yuri pointed out.
Kotetsu then sighed. "Okay, good point. On three we'll start running, okay? One..."
Yuri gave a nod, he felt Kotetsu wrap an arm around his waist, and pull him in close.
"Run as fast as you can and stay close." Kotetsu said and he concentrated on the other end of the room. "Two..."
Yuri could feel his heart pound in his chest; time seemed to stand still for a moment. He couldn't help but wonder if Kotetsu was scared, if his own father ever felt scared like this? They would have a person's life in their hands.
"THREE!" Kotetsu barked.
The two made a mad dash to the first pillar, then they rushed for the second, Yuri felt as if he were practically being carried by the hero. They were almost to the end, where Barnaby stood, the blonde finally spotted them, but then something else seemed to catch his attention.
Yuri suddenly met the marble floor. Blinking open his eyes, he was met with the sight of blood.
"KOTETSU!" Barnaby practically screamed.
Wild Tiger had been shot in the back. Yuri looked up and back towards where they ran from, they were both wrong, there were more windows above them, towards the ceiling that they couldn't see. Yuri could see the assassin, preparing to take another shot that was undoubtedly meant for him.
Kotetsu suddenly pulled Yuri closer to him, trying to protect the judge from any coming gunfire. "I'll...protect you..."
Then suddenly a familiar bright blue glow shined from the hero's body, he was activating hundred power. Had it even been an hour? No, not since the last time that man had used his powers. Yuri could feel Kotetsu's blood seeping through his clothing from the gunshot wound. Were his powers making him bleed out faster?
Another gunshot went off; Kotetsu flinched when it hit him. He was using his body as a shield to protect the judge.
"Barn...naby!" Kotetsu called out as he tried not to choke on his own blood. "Get him! I...Can't...keep this up...!"
Barnaby glowed as he activated his own powers and launched himself towards the window where the sniper had stationed himself. There was a loud crash of glass, the blare of triggered alarms going off, and the panic and screams of people trying to escape the building. All this was muffled to Yuri; it all sounded so far away.
The blue glow that had enveloped Kotetsu's body finally faded and died. The man's eyes became blank as he slipped out of consciousness. Yuri found that his hands were clenched onto Kotetsu's vest, trembling. He looked back up to meet Kotetsu's eyes, but instead was met with an image of his father's face. Startled, Yuri squirmed away from the body. Just as suddenly as it appeared the image of his father had disappeared. All that was there was Kotetsu, staring at him with dull eyes.
It didn't take long for the authorities to get there, Kotetsu was taken to the hospital and by some miracle survived and was recovering. It took Yuri a couple of days before he went to go see the hero. Partially because there was security issues since the assassin managed to get away. Upon entering the hospital room, Yuri noticed quite a few "get well" cards, flowers, and plush tigers on a table not too far from the bed. Some were from fans, others were from heroes from both the first and second league, and there was a drawing of a girl, a bandaged Kotetsu, and an angel all hugging with the words "Get well soon dad!" written on it.
Yuri stared at the card for a moment, remembering his thoughts of the man that day. His eyes then went to Kotetsu, he was still asleep, the steady beat of the heart monitor was almost calming in a way. Yuri had to wonder, would Wild Tiger have been so keen to save him if he knew that he was Lunatic? Would his poisonous justice still stand strong?
Yes, his justice was poisonous, while it brought out the better in a person, while it stood for ideals that many naively strive for, for people like Kotetsu and his father, it would also turn them into monsters. Yuri would admit, Kotetsu was a good man, but so was his father, he had seen firsthand just how good people could fall. If he could, Yuri would spare Kotetsu from meeting a similar path like his father. But then again, who is to say that he couldn't? Would it be a misuse of justice if he were to nip the situation in the bud? Before it blossomed into a flower of tragedy? It would be an act of mercy if anything, let Wild Tiger die as a hero in the fiery embrace of Thanatos.
"Dad!" a voiced suddenly called out. A girl hurried into the room. "Uncle Muramasa is going to be taking me home soon so-" She stopped as soon as she spotted Yuri. "Huh? Who are you?"
Yuri blinked in surprise, he wasn't sure how to answer at first, but eventually the words finally came to him. "I'm Judge Yuri Petrov; your father saved me a couple days ago. I take it you're Wild Tiger's daughter?"
"Oh! Yeah! It's nice to meet you!" Kaede said with a smile. "I guess Dad fell back asleep, I hope he'll wake up again soon though, I wanted to talk to him a little more and tell him goodbye before I leave."
"You care for your father a lot?" Yuri said with a smile.
"Of course! Dad can be a little lame, he's clumsy, and he keeps secrets about stupid stuff sometimes, but he works hard and he's a great hero." Kaede said with a smile. "But don't tell him I said that, I want to say it to him myself one day. Just not yet."
"You should do it sooner rather than later." Yuri suggested, his tone was slightly wearier. "You never know what could happen to him in the future."
Kaede was quiet for a moment; she seemed to understand what the judge was saying. It was one thing to watch the heroes on TV and see them in magazines, but with her Dad in the hero business the dangers of the job became more real. "I know it's dangerous, but I also know my Dad. He says that thinking of me helps him pull through and I know that Mom is watching over him in Heaven."
Yuri had to admit, as unlucky as Kotetsu was, there seemed to also be an odd sort of luck that was in his favor. He had close scrapes with death and still managed to come out alive, even that gunshot would have probably killed anyone else. Who knows, maybe there was a sort of divine intervention on his side. Did Wild Tiger answer to his own voice? Like Lunatic did with Thanatos?
"Did I fall asleep?" said a tired voice.
Kaede walked over to the bed, she had a pout on her face. "Yes, Uncle Muramasa's going to take me home soon too!"
Kotetsu laughed. "I'm sorry, it's the medicine they have me on..."
"Oh, that judge guy is here to see you too." Kaede said while she pointed at Yuri.
"O-oh, Judge Petrov..." Kotetsu suddenly looked a little nervous. "Please don't tell me you're here to slap me with more fines."
"No, though, I think I might have to ask you to pay for a replacement for that suit you bled on." Yuri began. "The dry cleaners couldn't save it."
"Oh, that doesn't sound too bad, how much was it?" Kotetsu asked.
"Over five thousand dollars."
Kotetsu went quiet and bit his bottom lip.
"...I was joking." Yuri admitted.
"Now you have a sense of humor?!" Kotetsu squawked.
"I said I rarely make jokes, not that I never make them." Yuri explained.
Kotetsu sighed and rubbed the temples on his head he seemed he was going to have a headache. "Oh, did they ever find that assassin?"
"No, not yet, but I wouldn't worry too much about it." Yuri said as he glanced out the window of the hospital room. There was a beautiful red moon rising. "Justice always catches up to criminals in the end, wouldn't you say?"