"Well hello. You must be the new rookie."
"Yes! I'm very pleased to meet you!" He extended his right hand, and Nathan took it, slightly bemused. "I'm Sky High!"
"Yes, you can fly, can't you? You'll have to take me up in the air sometime."
"How would I do that?" the blond man asked.
"Carrying me in your arms, of course. I'm sure a big, strong fellow like you would have no problems."
"I've never attempted to carry someone else before! It would be a good test of my wind powers and rocket pack!"
"It would? I mean, yes, it would."
"And a necessary one! Who knows when I may need to save a falling citizen?"
"Yes, um, exactly." Nathan fluttered his eyelashes at the new hero, but he could hear Wild Tiger snickering from over by the free weights, and he was tempted to join in. He was used to a range of reactions, but nothing quite like this.
"Judge Petrov! So nice to see you. You should drop by more often. I've always admired your style. So is it business... or pleasure?"
"Business, of course."
"On appeal, Top Mag was able to demonstrate that Wild Tiger only broke the guardrail after your fire forced the getaway car to swerve."
"You're always so harsh, Judge Petrov." The judge's expression hadn't even flickered since he entered the room, though, so he let it go. "I assume the claims have already been forwarded to Helios?"
"So does it pass muster?" Tiger asked. He was trying to sound unfazed, but the noise he'd made - sort of like "Gyeeeheh," Nathan thought, or "gyeeeh" - when Nathan first slipped a hand into his back pocket had been kind of hard to miss.
"Muscular, but a little scrawny. Antonio's got more meat on his bones." Nathan released Kotetsu's posterior. "Maybe if you activated your power..."
"Gee, you know, what a shame I can't right now."
"It is," Nathan pouted. "How much longer?"
"Oh, about four...ty-five minutes! A long time!"
"Somehow I feel like you're keeping something from me."
"You could at least warn people before you attack, you know."
"Where would be the fun in that?"
"Not in front of Agnes!" Antonio hissed at him.
"Agnes? You're going to make me jealous." He kept his voice down, though. Antonio's crush on their new director might be hopeless, since he didn't seem to have any inclination to say anything about it, but he wasn't out to sabotage anyone.
"Don't be ridiculous."
"But I thought last night meant something!"
"Yes, that's what you were saying last night, too."
"I just keep walking right into them..."
"It's part of your charm. That and your buns."
"I liked it better when you had a steady boyfriend."
"Just wait for the off-season. I never have time to meet anyone when I'm on call." He walked off a few steps, then blew Antonio a kiss. "But don't worry, darling, no one has an ass like yours."
"Oh, sorry, Handsome. Are my hands too cold? I can warm them up for you..." He'd slipped one hand around Barnaby's waist and under his jacket. The other was checking out the rookie's buttocks, to add to his mental catalog.
"That's quite all right. You just, uh, startled me."
"People always say that. You'd think heroes would be more alert."
"I'll certainly try."
Nathan laughed. "You're a lot better built than your partner. He's skinny. Are you sure he's eating right?"
"You sound like him talking about me."
Barnaby was trying to edge away. Nathan pouted at him. "Are you trying to get away from me? You're going to hurt my feelings, Handsome."
"I just have a great need for personal space. I assure you, it's nothing to do with you."
"My hero!" he exclaimed, arms outstretched to Origami Cyclone. He descended on the young man, leaving a loud kiss on either cheek, and then stood up, striking a pose with his hands clasped. "How can we ever repay you?"
Origami was pink to the tips of his ears. "I didn't really do much..."
"Don't be silly! Without your information, we'd never have been able to disarm the powered suits."
"But Jake saw through me right away."
"Of course he did! He can read minds." Origami's eyes widened and his mouth formed a soundless O. "Tiger figured it out. He's going to talk about it in an interview tonight, but the doctors wanted to give him another checkup first."
"So I guess it wasn't my fault."
Origami Cyclone wasn't at all his type. Too young, too cute, too unsure of himself. Nathan liked men with hair on their chests, so to speak. And literally, for that matter. But he'd been brave, he'd been able to get information they needed, and sharing that had been, apparently, about the first thing he'd done once he regained consciousness. Nathan had never given the "Photobomb Hero" much thought before, but now he respected him. "Of course it wasn't your fault," he said gruffly.
"Your voice just completely changed."
"Oh, you're seeing another side of me now, honey," he said. "And I did promise you a kiss when you came back."
"Okay," Origami said, and closed his eyes. Obviously there was only one thing for Nathan to do after that.