Title: The Bet
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1011
Pairing: Kotetsu + Antonio, slight Antonio/Kotetsu
Topic: RP Fic
Type: Alternate Universe, Based on an RP idea
Genre: General
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Tiger and Bunny. Tiger and Bunny belong to Sunrise and their respective creators.
VTM: An idea from an RP my friend and I have been doing. This is a small snippet that takes place in an alternate universe.

-o-o-

Antonio couldn't really remember that last time he saw the outside world. All he really knew was the pain of his stomach begging for food and trying to eat itself. Antonio had been stuck in a cell in a dimly lit holding area for quite some time. Days, weeks, who knew? Who even cared? Just another punk kid that couldn't listen heading towards the inevitable; Antonio was certain that he was going to die and rot there in his cell. It wouldn't be long now, he was sure about that, but he couldn't help but wonder if his friend in the next cell had bought the farm already.

Friend was a loose term, more like another punk teenager in the cell next to his that would try to talk to him. Sometimes Antonio would respond, sometimes he wouldn't. All that he really knew about the guy was that they were about the same age and that he was here possibly for almost as long as Antonio was. Neither of them knew what the other looked like, there was a wall that separated their cells from each other. But it was obvious this guy a problem child, defiant, and probably fought back during the experiments. Which was exactly what had landed him in the special cells where all the bad kids went, just like Antonio. Both boys were being kept there while being given barely enough food and water to survive. But the ones in charge seemed to even start limiting that, hoping to break them, like they did to all the bad kids that were held here.

"Oi…You still alive in there?" said a groggy voice.

Antonio looked up, seeing the shadow of an arm waving at him from the cell next to his. The guy was still alive. There was an odd feeling of relief; Antonio crawled over to the bars, and touched the guy's hand, making sure it was real. He was a little surprised to find his hand soon clasped in the other teen's hand.

"Good…" he said weakly. He sounded relieved, had he been worried?

Antonio stayed quiet for a moment, the truth being that he was thankful not being alone. "I thought you died."

"Nope, not yet." The guy said with a weak laugh. "I was starting to think that you might have died."

"Tsk! As if!" Antonio said, somehow mustering up some bravado. "Why would I die before you?"

"That's right, our little bet…Just wanted to be sure you remembered it."

It was a stupid bet between two teenage boys with nothing better to do in the face of such a grim situation. The guy in the next cell proclaimed he'd outlive Antonio, and with some egging on, Antonio finally bet him that he'd live longer. At first Antonio was angry and made the bet to spite his rude neighbor. But somehow, it eventually became their lifeline. A stubborn rivalry, neither wanting to give up or succumb before the other. It was twisted, it was messed up, but at least it was something that kept them hanging on.

The teen in the neighboring cell's grip on Antonio's hand weakened a little. "You know, I never got your name…"

"Why would you need to know it?" Antonio asked, he started to feel a little uneasy. Was the other teen giving up?

"I don't know, maybe to find your tombstone later, if they even give you one." The guy said in the cheekiest tone he could muster.

Antonio gave an irritated huff. "It's Antonio Lopez, you bastard! And I'm not dying! Tell me yours, so I can find your god damned tombstone!"

"Kotetsu T. Kaburagi…And I'm not dying yet either!" he said defiantly.

Even though Antonio didn't know what the guy looked like, he could imagine Kotetsu smiling as he said those words. He couldn't decide if he wanted to smile too or just punch Kotetsu in the face. He still held onto his friend's hand. Yes, Antonio had decided that the other boy was his friend.

A couple of days later both boys were finally released from their cells. Their captors were running low on test subjects; other teens and younger kids that were put through various experiments to bring out the full potential of developing superhuman powers. Antonio and Kotetsu survived through many experiments already, with so many failures their captors felt it would have been a waste of resources to let them die.

Antonio and Kotetsu finally got to meet face to face in the recreation yard. Neither was willing to openly admit that they were happy that the other was alive. There was still a little of that rivalry between them.

"So you're Antonio, huh?" said a tan, scrawny teen with messy brown hair. "Your mug is way uglier than I thought it'd be."

"Hmph! And you're a lot wimpier that I imagined." Antonio shot back. Not that he was in much better shape; both boys were still a bit thin and recovering from their ordeal.

"What was that?!" Kotetsu snapped.

"You heard me, wimp."

"You god damned cow!"

"Shut up! I'm NOT a cow!"

"And I'm no wimp!"

"Wimp!"

"Moo Cow! Mooooo!"

The two looked about ready to fight each other, but the two of them were still too weak to even think of such things. Instead they ended up sitting next to each other; their backs leaned against the wall that lined the recreation yard. They were holding each other's hand, remembering those dark days.

"Heh, looks like we both survived." Antonio said with a tired sigh.

"Yeah…" Kotetsu stared out at the other kids that were playing in the yard. There were fewer of them than he remembered. Many familiar faces were gone. "But our bet still isn't over yet."

Antonio was also looking out at the other kids, he knew what Kotetsu meant. He felt Kotetsu's hold on his hand tighten a little, Antonio then gave a reassuring squeeze back. "I'm not going to die."

Kotetsu couldn't help but smile a little. "Me either."

-The End-