Title: Scaredy Cat
Word Count: 1850
Type: Canon setting, post series
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Tiger and Bunny. Tiger and Bunny belong to Sunrise and their respective creators.
VTM: Trying to get back into practice by working with some oneshots. I hope that you enjoy!
"How exactly do we keep ending up like this?" Antonio asked, he then gave a long yawn. He and Kotetsu were lying together in his bed at his apartment. The bigger man's hair was a mess from a good romp in the bed sheets.
It wasn't the first time the two old friends had ended up in this kind of situation. Though, it had been quite a while since Kotetsu left for his short lived retirement. Yet here they were, falling right back into the bad habit. It was something that they'd keep under wraps from friends and family. Something that was surprisingly easy. Sometimes they would have these little intimate get togethers at Antonio's place or at Kotetsu's; it didn't even always lead to them going all the way. Sometimes it was just getting friendlier than usual, a kiss here or a tease there. Things that people wouldn't expect friends to do.
But either way, it seemed like there was something there that the both of them wanted. There was a certain trust that made it easier to slip from friend to lover. The both of them enjoyed getting affection from each other. They liked the feeling of being needed and of course sated more carnal desires. They knew each other all too well thanks to their history together. Antonio knew things like Kotetsu's liking for biting, and Kotetsu knew the right buttons to push to get Antonio wanting more.
It was a guilty pleasure, one that they both really missed. But there was something a little different now. In fact, a lot of things were different. Ever since the Maverick incident, neither really thought too much about the idea of mortality. Sure there had been close calls, but something about that incident shook everyone. It shook Kotetsu enough where when he was facing Barnaby who was out for blood for the slain Samantha, the idea of possibly dying really hit him. He asked Antonio to look after Kaede if anything were to happen to him.
That very same request played endlessly in Antonio's mind when he found himself facing death with a bomb strapped to his neck. Fear for his life, for his friend, and for Kaede almost made him press the red button that would supposedly spare his own life in exchange for the lives of his fellow heroes. It wasn't Antonio's proudest moment, but he had come to terms with the guilt.
Nothing was really the same after that; Kotetsu had suddenly left for a year without saying much and returned without so much as a word. The other heroes finding out only after he made his debut on the second league as "Wild Tiger One Minute". Antonio would be lying if he said he wasn't happy to have his friend back in the city. But with the memory of Kotetsu's brush with death and the fact of the man's declining powers were hard to ignore. It left Antonio with a lot of questions and a need to have at least some answers.
"Are you going to answer me?" Antonio asked.
Kotetsu was lying snuggled up to him with an arm lazily draped across Antonio's torso. "Like hell if I really know." He said with a sigh. "We drank a little too much, I guess."
"Not really, I wasn't that drunk, and you seemed pretty coherent." Antonio pointed out. "It's kind of just an excuse, isn't it?"
Kotetsu was quiet for a moment. He knew Antonio was right; it was just easier to put the blame on drinking. It was a simple excuse, a reason that was believable and easy for them to laugh off. There was no need to have an awkward talk about things like the whys and why nots. No need to fear things like the idea of rejection or change.
Kotetsu moved his hand up to the patch of chest hair that Antonio often proudly showed off with his low cut shirts. Kotetsu was tempted to pluck a few hairs out to piss Antonio off enough to drop the subject. It was another way of running from the subject. But in the end he didn't do it, instead he just lightly ran his fingers through it, scratching gently.
Antonio blushed a little, he enjoyed the feeling; but it wasn't too long before he pressed for an answer. "Is there something more between us?"
Kotetsu stopped scratching; he wasn't sure how to answer. It should have been easy just to say no, but he was hesitant. He didn't really want to say no, and it scared him a little. So instead, Kotetsu settled for a little misdirection. "Well, you're interested in Agnes, aren't you?"
"Y-yeah, but…" Antonio stuttered, a little embarrassed.
"Well then there you go. I mean why be interested in a guy like me?" Kotetsu said as if it were common logic. "You always liked the dominating types, right?"
"Oh, I see, so I take it that you're more into blondes now?" Antonio shot back, his tone dripped with sarcasm.
Kotetsu frowned. "Shut up, it's not like that."
"That's not what Nathan's been saying since we found those magazines at your place." Antonio said jokingly.
Kotetsu then promptly yanked out a few strands of Antonio's chest hair. "I said it's not like that!"
"Ow! Damn it! I was just joking!" Antonio yelped. He then tried to push Kotetsu away from him, to give them more distance. But Kotetsu suddenly decided that he was not going to budge.
"What are you doing?" Kotetsu said stubbornly.
"What do you think?" Antonio snorted. "You said it yourself, didn't you? There's nothing of interest in a guy like you, right?" He then rolled on his side, facing away from his friend.
"Th-that's not what I meant! Wait! Bison!"
"You can't have your cake and eat it too, Kotetsu." Antonio said with a sigh.
"What? You're calling yourself a cake?" Kotetsu said jokingly, hoping to lighten the mood a little. Hoping to lead the topic into less dangerous waters. "A beef cake, maybe but…" He soon stopped when he realized he was being ignored. "What's with you all of a sudden?"
"You're too much of a chicken shit, that's what." Antonio grumbled.
"What did you just say!? Say that to my face, you jackass!" Kotetsu demanded.
Antonio didn't respond at first, he stayed quiet, but then Kotetsu started shaking him. "Why should I? You turn tail and run whenever things get scary for you. I asked you a simple question and you won't even give me a straight answer. So fuck you."
Kotetsu sat there on the bed in silence. He wasn't sure what hurt worst, his pride or a dreading feeling at the bottom of his stomach that made him almost feel sick. "I don't know, okay? Sometimes yeah, it might be. But I…I can't. I just don't know!" Kotetsu was getting a little frustrated; he was having a hard time finding the best way to say it. "I guess, I'm just scared things would really change and it'll all go wrong. There, I said it."
Antonio was quiet, letting what he heard sink in. He then turned a little to look back at Kotetsu, who was red in the face from embarrassment. "So, you think there could be something more?"
"Why are you asking me this shit now?" Kotetsu grumbled, none too comfortable about the subject matter.
"Because I'd like to know if I'm just being used, you owe me that much." Antonio explained. He then sat up and looked Kotetsu in the eye. "You know you can talk to me."
Kotetsu sat there on the bed nervously playing with his wedding ring. His mind was all over the place, from the possibilities of things blowing up in their faces, to whether he was dishonoring his wife's memory. Kotetsu was getting that sick feeling all over again, he wanted nothing more than to crawl under a rock and just hide there.
What made the situation all the more difficult was Antonio just looking at him like that. The guy wasn't going to let the subject go. It was a little surprising, Kotetsu had only been gone from Sternbild for a year, and yet Antonio changed. Change was inevitable; it was a lesson that he had been learning the hard way in recent years. From becoming partners with Barnaby to his declining powers. Even just seeing how much Kaede had grown up and seeing how much he had missed of her life already. It didn't matter what you were going through or what hardships you were facing; time keeps going and change keeps happening. It's all too easy to get left behind and that is truly terrifying.
"Kotetsu? Are you okay?" Antonio asked; he seemed a little worried.
The question snapped Kotetsu from his thoughts; he looked up at his friend, and then avoided eye contact. "I…I hate change. I'm not going to lie; change has pretty much been a bitch to me." Kotetsu began; he tried to find the best way to say what he wanted to say. "If we were to…change what we have now, it could be good or it could just go to hell. I'm scared to try."
Antonio stared at Kotetsu in silence. The then reached out and gave Kotetsu a firm pinch on the cheek.
"O-Ow! What are you doing!?" Kotetsu yelped as he pulled away and nursed his sore face.
"Part of it was payback for pulling my chest hair, other than that it was for being an idiot. So you had that one coming." Antonio explained. He then lied back down in bed.
"You asshole." Kotetsu grumbled. He then noticed Antonio pat a spot next to him, silently coaxing him to lie down with him.
Kotetsu bit his lip, he wanted to be stubborn, but after everything he had to talk about, sleep was very inviting. He lied down and the covers were pulled up, Kotetsu pouted a little, still feeling a little embarrassed. "So, what are we going to do now?"
"It's up to you, if you want to take things further, then we can. I'm not going to push it, but I don't want to be used either." Antonio said with a small smile. He hesitated at first, but he then reached up and began scratching Kotetsu's head. Antonio felt relieved when Kotetsu seemed to enjoy the feeling.
They lied there for a while, Kotetsu ending up rolled on his side facing away from Antonio. It wasn't long before the bigger man could hear his friend lightly snoring. He settled himself down, with his chest against Kotetsu's back and draped an arm around him.
Antonio blinked curiously. "What did you say?"
"Hmph, I said…" Kotetsu began as he turned over and burrowed stubbornly so the two were chest to chest. "I'm not a little spoon."
Antonio couldn't help but let a small laugh escape him. Sometimes he couldn't understand the things Kotetsu would get stubborn about. "Whatever you say, Tiger."
It wasn't long before both men fell asleep.