It was a lie, and a big one. Perhaps the biggest on that he had ever told. Not like anyone knew though, his poker face was perfect. But Kotetsu still felt bad for lying to Bunny like that. However, the need had been great, so he had done it. It was the fact that he had to see Bunny's trusting face every day that made it harder to tell them the truth. The truth was that he was leaving the Hero business, now that he was too old. That and his powers were fading quickly. At this moment he could use them for a maximum of two minutes. He used to be able to use them for five minutes, but they had been fading rapidly during the past year. Though, he still wanted to help out. So he had decided to retire, to cheer them on from the sidelines, but even that was difficult, mainly because he hadn't told them about his choice yet. Kotetsu knew that Bunny would be hurt the most, so he had purposely not said anything.
To be truthful, Wild Tiger wasn't as dense as Kotetsu played him to be. He knew that Karina liked him, but he just wasn't interested in her. She was too young, and besides, he liked his partner, Bunny. Barnaby was a great person, wonderful and caring, but Tiger couldn't help but wonder if he would hate him after this. Sighing softly, he stretched, feeling his joints pop into place. Damn, he was getting old. And by old, he meant 35. Bunny was 30 now, only five years behind him, but he couldn't bring himself to damage that air of purity that followed Barnaby around. So he settled with making sure his partner was happy with life. Oh don't get him wrong, Kotetsu would be overjoyed if Barnaby did love him back, but the young man was so closed off and aloof that it was very difficult to tell sometimes. Bunny was stubborn, much like himself, but it made the young man who he was. And for that, Kotetsu was very proud. He was sure that Barnaby wouldn't be that mad at him, but it was the secrets that were killing him. Telling them that his powers were diminishing, that he wasn't human, that Kaede wasn't completely human, that he was leaving, and that would be the most difficult one.
"Heya sweetheart." burst through his thoughts, accompanied with a sharp pinch to his ass. Kotetsu jumped, nearly falling out of his seat. He ignored the laughter of the others, including Barnaby's snicker, and focused his searing glare on Nathan.
"That was cruel."
"Really darling? I didn't think so."
"Oh, and why not?"
"Because you were thinking so hard that your brow was wrinkling."
"And it's a crime to get wrinkles on your face, dearie. You're only 35." Karina's jaw dropped. Kotetsu was that young? She thought he was at least 40. Barnaby tucked the five year difference information away into the back of his mind. "So, what are you thinking about that has you all stressed out?"
"... I don't think you'll like it."
Nathan sighed. "We can take it. We're HEROs, sweetie."
"I'm retiring. For good."
"What?" Ivan was the only one who responded.
Barnaby's eyes narrowed. "You'd better have a damn good reason, Old Man."
"And what would that be?"
"My powers are waning."
"What? Speak Japanese idiot!" Karina burst out, fury bubbling up the surface.
"Remember how I could use my Hundred Strength Power for five minutes?" The group nodded. "I can only use it for two minutes now."
"It's decreasing." Nathan whispered. It wasn't a statement, more like a fact and everybody knew that it was true.
Kotetsu turned to face the group, but he wasn't prepared for the fist that had been aimed for his face. As his lower jaw began to throb, Wild Tiger realized that Karina had a mean right hook. A look of fury had been painted across her face and she was shaking.
"HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN!"
"It's been going down for the past year." Dead silence met his statement, expressions ranging from horror to shock. How could they have not noticed? Kotetsu could have been killed a long time ago because of this. It was their fault as well.
"Where will you be going?"
"And where would that be?"
"Not here." And with that Kotetsu swept out of the room. He couldn't let them know who he was, that would have been extremely dangerous. The others simply stared after him before Karina's soft voice broke through the silence.
"What the hell is wrong with him?"
"I think it was hard for him to accept the fact that he can't save anyone anymore..."
Barnaby sighed. "I wish that he had told us sooner."
TEN MONTHS LATER:
"Stop him!" Barnaby didn't know whether Lunatic was brave or an idiot. Killing someone when the HEROs were doing a press conference right across the freaking street; that was the stupidest thing Lunatic had ever done. Though he had to admit, the man had balls. Making sure that he was focused, he and the others managed to corner Lunatic in one of the back alleys. The man took a step forward.
"This is justice. He deserved it."
"You know, I think you're really pushing it with this one." Everyone froze.
"Kotetsu?" Blue Rose shrieked in delight and hugged him. He gently pushed her off.
"Ngxd ktqssn sglofu egfzkgs." The language that passed through his lips was strange and different, not like anything they had ever heard.
"O rg wtsotct ziqz ngx qkt. Ziol ol ktqssn utzzofu gf dn ftkctl."
"Qfr igv rgtl ziol egfetkf ngx?"
"Pxlz rgfz yqss soat Asqxl ror."
"Nxh." Kotetsu nodded.
"I swear to god Lucifer, if you're lying…" Lunatic had returned to the language that they could all understand. Lucifer? Whose name was that?
"I'm not." Kotetsu responded. Both men nodded before switching again.
"Vin? Igv ror it yqss?"
"O rgf'z afgw. It rolqhhtqktr gf xl qyztk ngx styz, wkgzitk. O rgf'z tctf afgw vitkt it ol qz ziol dgdtfz. Asqxl douiz ktzxkf oy it afgws ziqz ngx'kt wqea zigxui. Ngx ligxsr ktzxkf zg xl, Btdfql."
"O'ss ziofa qwgxz, Sxeoyth."
Lunatic turned and vanished in dark blue flames, but Kotetsu seemed satisfied. The others were still confused though. What was with that weird language? And who was Lucifer?
"Ngxd ktqssn sglofu egfzkgs." :"You're really losing control."
"Qd o?" : "Am I?"
"O rg wtsotct ziqz ngx qkt. Ziol ol ktqssn utzzofu gf dn ftkctl." : "I do believe that you are. This is really getting on my nerves."
"Qfr igv rgtl ziol egfetkf ngx?": "And how does this concern you?"
"Pxlz rgfz yqss soat Asqxl ror." : "Just don't fall like Klaus did"
"Asqxl ytss?" : "Klaus fell?"
"Nxh." : "Yup."
"Vin? Igv ror it yqss?" : "Why? How did he fall?"
"O rgf'z afgw. It rolqhhtqktr gf xl qyztk ngx styz, wkgzitk. O rgf'z tctf afgw vitkt it ol qz ziol dgdtfz. Asqxl douiz ktzxkf oy it afgws ziqz ngx'kt wqea zigxui. Ngx ligxsr ktzxkf zg xl, Btdfql." : "I don't know. He disappeared on us after you left, brother. I don't even know where he is at this moment. Klaus might return if he knows that you're back though. You should return to us, Xemnas."
"O'ss ziofa qwgxz, Sxeoyth." : "I'll think about it, Lucifer."