Title: Guilty of Loving You
Word Count: 1441
Topic: Tarantism - The urge to overcome melancholy by dancing.
Type: Prompt, Request
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Tiger and Bunny. Tiger and Bunny belong to Sunrise and their respective creators.
VTM: This was supposed to be a drabble. It didn't end up that way. (Requested by Muiscdreamer.)
Kotetsu was back from the hospital, but still had to go to work. Kaede remembered her mother telling her that Daddy was in an accident and that he would be gone for a while. Kaede couldn't understand why her Dad kept getting hurt or why he was often in bandages. When he finally came home he was still hurt and he couldn't play. He had to sleep a lot and take it easy so he could get better. Kaede would tug at her father's hand trying to wake him so she could show him drawings that she had made for him. She would end up being led away by her mom being told, as usual, that her Dad needed his sleep.
When Kaede would ask why her Dad would get hurt so often neither of her parents had a straight answer that to give her. The subject would either be changed or they would say that she would understand when she was older. To Kaede the whole thing just wasn't fair, her father was always resting or was at work in the night. He was fun when he was able to stay up. He'd listen to her stories, watch TV with her, and cook delicious rice.
Sometimes Kaede would stay up late to wait for her father. If she didn't fall asleep she would catch her mother waiting patiently for him while she watched something called HeroTV. When Kaede would hear their front door open she would sneak out of bed and out of her room. There were times where she'd be able to greet her father and give him a hug. He'd firmly plant kisses on her forehead and remind her how much he loved her, sometimes he'd even tuck her into bed. Sometimes Kaede would simply stay out of sight, watching her parents after her father came home. There were nights where she would find her parents very happy, kissing, and hugging. Then there were others where she would find mother bandaging her Dad's injuries. Those nights were usually sad.
"I'll be fine." Kotetsu insisted as he gave a weary smile.
He and Tomoe were seated on the couch of their living room. Tomoe was helping him tend to some of his wounds from a particularly bad night a couple of weeks ago. There were some new ones from that night as well. Hundred Power or not, Kotetsu was not invincible. It was easy to forget that the heroes on HeroTV were real people that were dodging real bullets, explosions, and facing the possibility of death. It was one thing growing up and seeing such things on TV and reading about the heroes in the magazines and papers. It was completely different when you were the one or if you had a loved one in that job.
Sometimes there were sleepless nights from pain or stress. Not every attempted rescue was successful and sometimes one got to see some of the darkest parts of humanity. Not all of it was something that you would see on a HeroTV broadcast. HeroTV wanted its heroes and NEXTs to look good in the eyes of the public. To do that sometimes they had to look away from or cut out the uglier side of the business of rescuing people and protecting the city.
But it wasn't like the heroes themselves could forget. Sometimes things stay would with them or haunt them. Sometimes seeing the faces of people that a hero had failed in their sleep asking: 'Why? Why couldn't you save me?'
The old saying 'ignorance is bliss' was true, to an extent. There were times when both Kotetsu and Tomoe found themselves thinking that maybe it would have been better never knowing the dirtier side of the business. That maybe there was still time to leave and have a regular life without the worries and uncertainty of the future. In the end though they made their choice, Kotetsu was a hero and Tomoe was the wife of a hero. It wasn't always easy, but they stuck to it. Sometimes seeing the faces of the people that were saved passing by on the street or just the smile on little Kaede's face was enough to remind them why the world needs heroes.
"Ouch!" Kotetsu winced slightly when Tomoe cleaned one of his cuts. "I'll just have to be more careful next time."
"This one is a bit deep, maybe you should have gone to the hospital." Tomoe said with a worried look on her face.
"Ben said it would be a expensive for the company. If they have to pay too much they won't be able to keep me." Kotetsu sighed. When Tomoe finished wrapping the new bandage, he sat back in the couch; trying to get a little more comfortable.
"It'll cost them even more if something happens to you and you end up dying." Tomoe warned as she looked over her work. "I don't want Kaede growing up without her father."
Kotetsu looked a little troubled at that, it wasn't just his own health they had to worry about. Tomoe was talking about his health when her own was still in question. The doctors hadn't gotten back to them with their test results yet. But there was an inexplicable feel of dread whenever Kotetsu thought about it. Tomoe tried to hide it but he could see she was slowly getting weaker. It terrified him, the thought she might continue to get worse. What if he lost her? The very thought gave him a sick feeling in his stomach.
Kotetsu was brought back from his thoughts when he heard Tomoe's voice. "W-What?"
"You look a little pale, are you sure you don't need to go to the hospital?" she questioned, there was a look of concern on her face. "And don't try to put up a tough guy act with me. I know you far too well for that."
"Ah, it's not that, I've just been thinking too much." Kotetsu laughed, hoping to diffuse a little of the tension. Kotetsu wasn't going to tell her his secret fears. He was a hero after all, heroes were strong, they had to be, didn't they? He then got up from his seat on the couch and made his way over to his record player. "You know, the mood's been too gloomy."
"Don't tell me you're thinking about that at a time like this, are you?" Tomoe sighed.
Kotetsu smiled and quietly searched through his record collection, picking out one of the older ones. "I don't see why not..."
"Because you're in pain, that's why." Tomoe pointed out. She could see there would be no getting through that thick skull of his though when she heard music start to play.
It was an old song, from the early nineteen thirties, it was almost whimsical in tone, yet had a certain upbeat bounce to it. Kotetsu had a fairly wide range of music that he liked, some more than others for certain reasons. To Kotetsu this was perfect music to dance to. Even if he usually wasn't much of a dancer, he could dance a little, just for her. He loved to dance with Tomoe like they did in some of the movies she loved to watch. The old black and white films that had stars like James Cagney, Ginger Rogers, and Fred Astaire. There was something romantic about big band and orchestra music and when the characters of those movies would slow dance to the songs together.
Tomoe frowned, not willing to let her husband win her over. But seeing him there holding his hand out to her with that stupid smile on his face made it difficult. "...Fine, but just one. You then have to go to bed."
Kotetsu smiled wider when Tomoe took his hand, he tried to hide the wince of pain as he helped up off the couch and onto her feet. He must have not done a good enough job because a look of worry then appeared on her face. Kotetsu offered a reassuring smile and then held her closer. He took Tomoe's hand in one of his own and placing his free hand on her hip.
Kaede watched from the hallway just out of their sight. She couldn't help but smile as her parents started dancing. There was always something very pretty about it. The way they would look at each other, how they would sneak small kisses, and the music with it. It was two people that loved each other and it brought ease from such a gloomy moment.
Soon a small yawn escaped Kaede, she then rubbed her eyes, tiredness finally catching up to her. She then made her way back to her bedroom and climbed back into bed. The sounds of old fashioned music and the occasional sound of laughter was her lullaby that night and helped her drift off into the land of dreams.