Title: King of the Castle

Pairing: BunnyTiger

Setting: Barnaby's apartment

Rating: PG? Mild sexual content (like extremely mild XD)

Word count: 1,034

It's times like this that made me feel so high in this world; like nothing could ever bring me back to Earth except for him. I could never thank him enough now for what he's done for me. Regretfully I never showed my appreciation in the beginning – I was completely unaware of how big of an impact he'd have on my life as it is now. Looking back I acted like a jerk, so full of myself – high up on my throne of solitude.

I was King in my world, determined to keep my subjects at a total of zero. I didn't want, nor need anyone in my kingdom. I was happy alone. Or so I thought.

The day I met Kotetsu was less than uneventful. Dreadful even. I wanted nothing more than to go home to my apartment, do some research and fall - hopefully - as soundly to sleep as humanly possible. I admit for months the man irritated me. Our trust for each other as partners faltered and was flimsy; ready to snap from tension. However, when he was faithfully and willingly able to help me in finding Ouroboros (even if I was stubborn to the idea at first), I slowly warmed up to him, only to have the tension build up and snap instantaneously. I didn't want to trust him again, I'd thought. He'd tried apologizing to me for lying, but he'd not told me for god knows what. I tuned him out after that. I was tired of his excuses.

Building up brick by brick, my castle of solitude was returning.

Now here he is again, asking for my trust, for the reason that he trusts me that I'll trust him. I didn't know he could think of things that could be the slightest in complexity. I don't know why I gave in to his words. Something about them seemed to be truthful and trustworthy. Or maybe I really did want subjects in my castle grounds?

When he whispered those words to me… 'You have pretty long eyelashes' it didn't really make sense to me. Why would he make those his last words to me? Why are these fat, hot tears running down my face now, after failing to see his condition? After I admit the trouble I went to, to learn to cook for him? After he says that to me? Loss? It's not the same feeling I felt when I'd lost my parents. I couldn't exactly say it was a stronger emotional loss but it wasn't any less either. Just how important had Kotetsu become to me?

"Oi, Bunny, have you been listening?" I find myself fiddling and twisting his wedding band round his finger, whilst I reminisce about those past months. I nod silently, continuing my fiddling. My stare is now fixated more intently on the silver band wrapped around his callused finger. He never did speak much of his wife. Tomoe, I believe is her name. She must have been incredibly important to him, it seems as though he had the ring polished and cleaned recently; it shone brightly in the light that hung from above us. Even through my dazed condition I notice that Kotetsu has stopped talking, and is watching me inspect his ring.

"Ah come on, whatcha got your eye on this dirty old thing for Bunny?" I know you think differently of this 'dirty old thing', you wouldn't have had it cleaned and be wearing it, if that was the case. I sigh deeply, removing my hands from his. Kotetsu's face shows his puzzlement. I gently kiss his knuckles to ease his probable worry. Slowly, he strokes my cheek with those same knuckles. I close my eyes and drift into the calming gesture. "Bunny-chan," he soothes, stroking a few more times, "don't worry about it, alright?" Worry was the furthest thing from what I was feeling. Curiosity is what I was feeling. I wanted to know more about Tomoe, about the love of Kotetsu's life.

"That's a story for another time, alright?" he made it sound like I was some child, being tucked into bed. He again places his hand against my cheek. His hands are always so warm; they hold this strength to them. I cup them gently, placing kiss after kiss, until I'm sure I've kissed every inch of his hand. I slightly adjust my gaze, just enough to peer over the frame of my glasses and spot a reddening Kotetsu, leaving me smirking. Softly, my lips caress his fingers, allowing them to be entwined with my tongue.

"B-Bunny…!" around and under, in between; leaving each digit thoroughly coated with hot saliva. Kotetsu's redder than a tomato now, and with the previous subject being left off as it was… I decided to tone myself down. Kissing his hand a few more times, I looked straight into his golden eyes.

"Kotetsu-san, thank you." I fidget restlessly again, the silence between us throbbing. Kotetsu rubbed his hand along mine, it's so familiar… how rough it is, its size… how each finger weaves perfectly between my own. We sat in silence a little longer; we no longer needed to exchange words to express what we felt in the moment. Besides, Kotetsu always tells me he's bad with words, but he also knows I'm bad with mine.

Faintly, so faintly, he presses his lips to my forehead. I almost hadn't noticed. His lips aren't like his hands; smooth skin in contrast to the rough calluses. I like that about him, how his body in ways reveals who he is as a person. His hands, which are aged and uneven, yes, they give off his rough, awkward exterior. While his lips, reserved only for those who are lucky enough to be able to grasp their evenness, give opportunity to see his soft interior.

"You don't need to thank me, Barnaby." of course I don't. But I'm far too indebted to you, to not thank you.

I think now I understand why a King fills his castle with subjects. A person would rather be in the company of others, right? The King is no different, even with status. He opens his walls for people to come in. It's just, a good feeling. To be the King of your own castle.

I may be the King of my own castle, but Kotetsu whose is yours? Are you? Or is it Tomoe and Kaede, while you're the court jester? Dust off your crown. Let it gleam. You're the King in your castle, Kotetsu.

OOC: Hey guys, I'm back (sorta). I doubt that I'll be finishing any of my naruto ffs... sorry guys. Im just not in tune with the Naruto fandom anymore. I'll most likely be doing T&B, Supernatural, and maybe some others. But my updates will be slow.