Britt probably should have noticed sooner that they were exactly what they had always wanted to be, way back when they had been two drunk idiots determined to bite off more than they could chew. By the time it did strike him just how far they had come, he no longer cared. He had more important things to worry about than how awesome and cool he was.
The first time he should have really noticed was the night they went the little Japanese-themed club that was the new hot thing, not least of all because of the drugs sold there. Britt was more interested in the two dead cops connected to the place. He was so very not down with that, to the nth degree was against it, so he and Kato went to the flashy club to make some noise.
They rolled right up at eleven-thirty six, just as the parties were really getting started, stopped right in front of the entrance, ignored the crowds and the line and the two bouncers that came at them. "Dickwad, you can't fucking park—"
"Stop, stop," said the second bouncer, grabbing his companion by the arm and hauling him back. "Man, that's him. That's the fucking Green Hornet."
"Fuck," the first bouncer said, and backed up so hastily he almost fell over on his ass. They stood there, deer in the headlights, as Britt and Kato strode past them and into the club.
He was so intent upon finding the cop killers and making it clear what came of men who stirred up that kind of trouble on the Green Hornet's turf, he never noticed the silence that fell as he passed, the whispers that sprang up in his wake.
The new meth dealers were old news by morning, and it was months before anyone else was stupid enough to kill a cop. That was all that mattered to Britt.
The second time Britt should have noticed they had come a long way from drunken ramblings in his poolside rooms, Kato was passed out on his couch from pain killers and it was up to Britt to prep for their mission the next night.
He had told Kato a thousand damn times to use English but Kato only remembered about half the time, so Britt suffered learning a bit of Chinese just to avoid setting himself on fire (again). Halfway through the schematics Kato had gotten for him, he grew fed up and decided to just manage, he'd helped with the missile systems enough not to cause too much damage. After an hour of repairs, though, he forgot to stick to repairs and did some tweaking, cussing and swearing and losing some blood and a chunk of skin—
Kato wandered in at one point, grunted something that could have been anything from Chinese to English to Planet Kvilta in the Tolax Star System, then wandered away again and resumed snoring. Britt took it as approval, and still restless, decided to go mess around with his half dozen or so varieties of gas pellets.
The third time he should have noticed, he was too distracted by a different and vastly more important realization.
It was in the middle of a firefight, a specialty of the Armenian gang they were dealing with, and why must all these bastards pick strip clubs as their drug dealing locales of choice? Was it too much to ask they go to a strip club to enjoy the view, not shoot it up?
He shot another one, long past being nice with knockout gas, more interested in using the pellets that would reminds the dumbasses why it was not sound business practice to piss off a man who thought normal bullets were too lame to bother with.
Then he heard Kato's cry of pain, and froze. Silence fell, and he crept down the hall, back to the outer room, staying low where they wouldn't see him. He was just able to see where the remaining muscle had managed to snag Kato, and wow were they going to be in so much fucking pain when Kato got free again.
Unfortunately, one of the bastards then pulled out a gun and pressed it to Kato's temple. He was dripping blood himself, obviously at the end of his rope. "I'll fucking kill him, and then the other one, I swear to god I am sick of these mother fuckers! I'll put a hole in his goddamn head and then the Green Hornet will be fucked."
"Let him go!" Another Armenian said, arms waving about like he was a headless chicken flapping in its death throes. "We don't know where the Green Hornet is! If you can't kill both, then don't kill one!"
Britt, who had been about to say something witty and threatening and distracting, fell silent at that.
"He won't do shit," the guy with the gun said. "I got his fucking jumping spider, he'll do what we say. You hear me, Hornet!"
"Don't," the other guy said, while the third guy just fidgeted warily, clearly wishing he was anything but an Armenian gangster at that moment. "If you can't be absolutely certain of killing both, then don't just kill one! Whichever one is left will burn down all of LA in retaliation man. He'll start fucking Armageddon. Don't fuck with him!"
"It's true," another guy said, slowly sitting up, holding a hand to his bleeding forehead. "Last boss thought he killed the Green Hornet. Bragged about. Man, that fucking Asian dude there—ain't nothing left of the old place, man. Barely anything left of the old posse. They're bad enough as is, man. You kill one and not the other, you'll just flip a psycho switch. Don't do it."
"He's right," Britt called out, then, realizing it was true. If he lost Kato, he'd lose everything—including his mind. Becoming the Green Hornet hadn't been what really changed him; it was meeting Kato that had turned his whole world around. Without Kato…
At his words, they all jumped, someone screamed—and it was all the distraction Kato needed. He took out three of the four men, and Britt nailed the last, watching disinterestedly as he twitched, turning away only after he fell still.
Moving through the wreckage to the door, he waited for Kato to join him. "See, Kato. Everyone thinks you're a super badass bodyguard and chauffer, though that whole bodyguard thing is looking a little shaky, but that's okay, everyone has an off night—"
"Shut up," Kato said.
Britt shut up, but only for a moment. "Would you burn down LA if I got dead, Kato?" He'd meant the question to be flippant, silly, something more along his usual lines. He hadn't meant at all for it be soft, quiet, kind of husky.
He expected Kato to be scathing as usual, but instead Kato only said, "Yes."
"Yeah, me too," Britt said, and knew Kato knew what he meant. They were filthy and sweaty and beat to hell and back, and the masks didn't exactly help matters, but they still managed to find the right angle for a brief kiss. Kato tasted like blood and smoke and coffee.
And that was that, and he wondered why it had taken them so long to figure it out. "Let's roll, Kato."
"Let's roll," Kato agreed.
When it finally struck Britt that they were all they had ever wanted to be, if not more, they weren't out on the streets in their mask at all. Instead, they were at a boring lunch with boring people in a boring restaurant. Britt hated lunch with his 'peers'.
He had just stared to put a real dent in his second martini when conversation shifted away from politics (boring, way boring) to crime (vastly more interesting). "Did you hear about the tragedy in Baltimore?" asked a woman—Amy? Annie? Something with an 'A' he thought. She spoke in the hushed tones of a veteran gossip. "Those hostages who were killed? A tragedy, I say."
"Yes, definitely a tragedy," one of the men said firmly, looking as though he meant it, understand what a tragedy it really was. "Used like that to manipulate—it's a crying shame he couldn't save them in time. Rumor has it he's going to retire from the super hero business."
Another woman spoke up, "Thank god that sort of thing doesn't happen here. Can you imagine what would happen if a super hero came here to LA?"
Britt ate the olive in his martini, and glanced at Lenore, who was looking only a trifle smug as she sipped her own martini. Psychopath, that woman. He never should have let her be the mastermind; she was too good at it and the world was luckier than it would ever know that she had chosen the path of good. "You don't think we need a super hero to come and clean up this town?" he asked the table, just to make Lenore glare at him over the rim of her glass.
"No!" the second man at the table exclaimed abruptly. ""Just think what would happen if some hero decided to tangle with the Green Hornet! You'd have far more than three innocent people dead. The Green Hornet is ruthless when it comes to guarding his turf. LA doesn't need a hero-villain feud, not when the villain is the Green Hornet! We have enough problems."
"A good point," Britt conceded with one of his dopy, I stopped caring awhile ago smiles, tamping down on the softer, more genuine smile that wanted to overtake it. He shared a brief look with Kato, touching his hand lightly beneath the table. Turning back to the table, he said, "Better to leave the hornet nest alone, and live and let live, than to try to get rid of the nest and only anger the hornet instead. Am I right?"
The first woman blew out an impatient breath. "You say the most idiotic things, Reid. It's a good thing you have others to write your papers."
Britt only smiled blandly, and signaled their waitress for another round of drinks, pleased to know he and Kato were exactly what they wanted to be—the baddest dudes on the block. Happier still to know that no one knew it.