From the Heart
o1: Bunny

Barnaby wasn't happy about the present he'd received- not at all. Why had that stupid old man thought he'd appreciate such a weird present? Barnaby had never once made any indication he wanted a bright pink rabbit that looked a little lopsided, eyes crossed and ears so big it couldn't sit up properly.

Hell, Barnaby had never once made any indication he wanted a present at all.

Or that it was even his birthday.

He didn't.

He didn't want that stupid old man prying into his life; telling him to eat enough vegetables and wrap up warm in winter- and, what, did he think Barnaby was completely incapable of taking care of himself?

Did that old man think he was stupid?

Barnaby could managed on his own just fine. He wasn't a little child anymore- he didn't need the warm smile of a wannabe father figure ("T-they're not… going to wake up… are they…?"), he was fine, fine, just fine.

It was a mantra that had been running through his head over and over ever since Christmas eve all those years ago; the memory of that bitterly cold day, snowflakes catching in his eyelashes as he pushed open the front door- warm, warm, why was it so warm inside?- still haunting him- you've got to avenge them, got to, it's what they would have wanted…

Barnaby couldn't afford to be weak. He was fine, he would always be fine; he was perfectly alright by himself, so why did Kotetsu think he needed all his concern? He'd learnt not to rely on other people anymore- it only led to tears; it was a weakness.

It was a lesson well learned.

Barnaby didn't like that old man at all. He acted like a young child most of the time; smiling widely like an idiot- or else he'd grumble and whine because he didn't get his own way, he didn't get any screen time- and yeah, okay, Barnaby knew that old man didn't really care about the spotlight so much as he cared about helping people, but that old man would never help anyone if he kept prying his nose into other people's business!

They were partners for the media, nothing more.

That old man seemed to have got a little confused on that point, though; seemed to have forgotten he disliked Barnaby and Barnaby disliked him, because he'd tried to stage that stupid, stupid surprise birthday party (and look how well all his meddling went then), and then he'd given Barnaby that… that…

Barnaby's eyes narrowed as he stared at the ugly pink bunny; leaning forwards under the weight of its own ears.



He was above such things; he didn't need them- I'm fine, just fine.

And yet, if that was the case…

Why hadn't he thrown the stupid stuffed toy away?

And why…

Why was he… smiling…?