Dear Heart
[500 Themes: 463]

He loves it when Kotetsu tells him that he's pretty.

It's a stupid kind of compliment, isn't it? Because men aren't supposed to be pretty, and he's been called a dozen, a million more eloquent things other than that. Even handsome is a better thing to hear.

Except that it actually isn't, because Kotetsu isn't saying it, and that's the part that matters.

Kotetsu tells him he's pretty because he actually believes it – because he loves Barnaby's smile, or so he's said as well, and because he actually likes the way Barnaby's brows lift a bit and his jaw relaxes and his eyes lid when his lips curve into that smile, likes the way he almost looks dreamy and calm and happy.

He likes the man's other, stupid, pointless little compliments, too – because they aren't so stupid and pointless. They're warm and honest and so intensely genuine, like the ones about how long his eyelashes are, or how perfect his lips are, or how pretty his curls are when they're just a bit mussed and framing his face and Barnaby is irritated enough to try and pull them back but Kotetsu won't let him because he likes the way that sproing out and look absolutely awful (because Kotetsu doesn't think they look awful at all).

It makes Barnaby's heart pound to hear those things, no matter how many times he's heard them before. Makes his face hot and his throat tight and his tongue too heavy to formulate actual words.

Sometimes, it makes his eyes tear up a bit, too, and then he definitely has to look away, flushed and muttering something actually stupid while Kotetsu just grins at him and says things like that again and again.

What it comes down to, Barnaby supposes, is that he just loves Kotetsu, and nothing about that is stupid at all.