Drawing in a slow breath, Nathan ridigedly stood where he was. Kotetsu had to realize… he just had to.
But how much would it take? Just how much would the world have to push on the man for him to realize what was really important to him? Pleasing everyone else? Or venturing down a road that could lead him to true happiness.
Nathan’s face was almost blank now, his mind reeling about what he could do. This man had been through so much and had always tried so hard to be there for everyone close to him. Why was he so blind to see what was important to him? If it was superficial, Kotetsu wouldn’t have let this fester for so long.
But so few people in his life could show him the proper way to travel in this new direction. Perhaps subconsciously, Kotetsu showed up at Nathan’s door because he knew that as well. Even though the instructions to go down that new road seemed ridiculous in the “Oh, just THROW YOUR LIFE AWAY” kind of way, it was what had to be done…
Because if Kotetsu ignored this like he had been trying to, he would be living a lie. He would be living as an empty shell, the way the world wanted him. And Nathan cared too much for him to let that happen.
“You are the same,” Nathan finally spoke, his words still flat. “You haven’t changed, you are still the same person. But what has changed within you… it is okay to accept that. Everyone changes in one way or another, and they are still themselves. But how you change is your business and yours alone. No one else who you feel obligated to stifle yourself around has any right to tell you what to do. Yes, it’s not easy to make this choice to be who you are, utterly and completely, and unfortunatly the bonds that are already fragile in your life may fall apart because of it. However, those who really love you will stick by you and figure out how to make this work. I know you want to act like there is no situation here, but you are not fooling me. You are not happy like this, and trust me: you will never be happy like this until you allow yourself to be yourself. I…” Nathan trailed off, eyes darting away. “..I have felt very similarly to you. After a while, it may just eat you up inside.”
“You wann’ know wuts eating me up inside? this hunger! Yanno i’m done, ya can put a fork in it right?” Kotetsu shelved everything for later, pushed back into a space and time so deep that it could not be identified or reasoned with. He was the epitome of conclusion.
Fingertips splayed across a sinfully angular jaw, brushing dusted pigments upon his beard. Tiger hadn’t meant to be rude, but the alcohol had rendered him particularily rougher around the edges than what would be foreseen.
“I known you love me…. an’ I love you too…I’ll talk to him mm’b you’ll feel better’n’ win-” Index finger thrusted towards Nathan’s face. “Win?” Tiger’s fingertip moved back towards his own as a sheepish grin spread across his features.
(Pretend that bracelet is not there LOL)
“Yer’ a good friend Nathan, but worryin’ too much…over dis guy… it’ll work i’s’self out, ‘m not a child. ‘M thirty nine.”
Deflection, anything to get Nathan to stop pressing so hard. “Yer gonna give me a stroke ‘er somethin’ easy now…” Fortitude, he could stand against this all night if you gave him the chance. He was choosing now to show Nathan a compromise, since the flamboyant best friend was being so overprotective, unwilling to let Tiger give it a rest.
“‘S fine…eaz” a hiccup “nnngh… easy…” A slow pat was delivered twice to a broad firm shoulder of Nathan’s, before Tiger began to lean forward, just dropping his head against the man’s chest. Resting it there for a moment, the world was spinning still. One could wonder if he wasn’t losing himself in it.
After a moment of taking in Kotetsu’s reaction, Nathan let out a long, slow sigh that was reminicent of one who was starting to feel a calm after ages of fear and worry. Maybe, eventually, he could help him understand… but as the minutes ticked on it was becoming more and more apparent that Kotetsu could not go down this road in his current state. He needed to absorb what was actually happening, yes, but it seemed it would be almost impossible to do that whatwith the plague of alcohol.
The Emblem couldn’t help but feebly smile at the man giving his sentiments. That is so very him, Nathan thought as he momentarily closed his eyes. Always fighting his problems with kindness to others.
As Kotetsu leaned against his chest, his features relaxed and changed to their usual softness they always held. He reached one arm up and carefully, to not disturb Kotetsu’s position, patted the now barely coherent man softly on the top of his head. He was always fighting so hard to protect everyone. Nathan was actually somewhat fearful for him since he could not handle such a drastic predicament like this all on his own, but he would rather suffer silently than willingly get the help he needed. However at the same time, Nathan was a bit relieved he knew and the Hero didn’t have to shoulder this burden completely alone, even if he was trying to. And boy was he trying… But now that Nathan heard all of this from Kotetsu himself, perhaps he could still help him.
“Of course I love you, Handsome,” he finally said. “That is why I want you to be happy. But-” Shifting to help the other man straighten up a little, his smiled broadened a bit more. “You won’t be able to handle anything in this state. Here.” He tried guiding Kotetsu by the shoulders back to the couch to sit down. Nathan could almost swear he could see stars bursing in the man’s discombobulated eyes at this point.
“Why don’t you take a seat for a little bit? It would probably cause more trouble allowing you to go out again like this, you know,” he added with a soft laugh. He was fully intending on fetching him a blanket and pillow until Kotetsu was coherent enough to make his way home, because as it was the man could barely stay upright. Although, that was completely understandable after such a night.