To Love a Storm
[500 Themes: 152]

So here I am in the corner of a dark room
The same way I began
Alone with these mournful thoughts
And a loaded gun in my hand
But a foolish part of me
Still holds out for a shred of humanity
For a queen in a robe or a knight on a steed
Can't you see that I'm just a child on his knees

Nothing at all should be difficult anymore.

Maverick was dead, and with him, the thoughts of having to trace the murderer of his parents for the entirety of his life. That should have been enough. That should have resolved every bit of anxiety that swirled and twitched within his bones – that alone should have put him at ease, put him to rest.

Instead, only a scarce few weeks after Maverick's death, Barnaby finds himself at the foot of his parents' grave, wondering if that really had been enough.

He thinks, as snow crunches beneath his feet, that it isn't. The rest of Ouroboros is still out there, after all; perhaps he had made a mistake opting to retire along with Kotetsu. Kotetsu had seemed surprised by the gesture, after all, as if he didn't think Barnaby would follow him so far, would follow him through so many things – out of the hero business included.

Barnaby's leg aches as he sinks to his knees, fresh scar tissue pulling and making him grit his teeth at the cold that seeps through his jeans as he rests his knees upon the stone beneath him. Mistakes – he's still making so many mistakes, and he wonders what he is looking to accomplish out here by his parents' grave, snow falling down upon all sides and trapping him in its austere chill.

He'll just never be good enough, will he.

The thought makes his next breath escape as a sort of cracking, broken sob, and Barnaby lifts a hand to cover his mouth to stifle any others that threaten to escape. What was he thinking? He is chasing something that will never, ever be completely his; Kotetsu is a man still wrapped up in so many others, and that aside, Barnaby has so much else to do,to think of, and he doesn't want to involve Kotetsu in that again.

And that's when Barnaby's mind immediately begins making a list of everything that is wrong.

Maverick is dead, but Barnaby still is wrapped up in everything that is Maverick – everything the man has done to him, has shaped him to be, has wanted him to be, and Barnaby can't even hate him even after everything that has happened. Given the chance, he doesn't think he would have been able to kill him, not really.

There's Apollon Media, in Maverick's absence, breathing down his neck, wishing for him to be their savior and Barnaby can't, absolutely can't, because there is too much there to remind him.

Ouroboros, lurking about the corner, lurking at every edge and Barnaby can't stop worrying about that, has never stopped worrying, no matter how sublime or perfect everything else might seem.

And how could he forget the simple perfection that is Kotetsu, wrapped up in the mess that is Barnaby's life, which was never, ever something Barnaby wanted to happen.

Deep, hiccupping sobs escape Barnaby as he simply bows over the headstone. The cold hits his tears and it burns and Barnaby thinks he deserves every bit of aching pain that travels from the deepness of his chest to the frosty chill upon his face, thinks it's necessary to snap him out of whatever fantasy he thinks he might be able to live so happily by Kotetsu's side.

Then suddenly, starkly, abruptly, the snow stops falling down upon him.

Barnaby can hear it pattering, smacking down in heavy, wet droves upon something, but not upon him. He lifts his face, sniffling and cold and red, glasses spattered with his own tears, and sees an umbrella above him and Kotetsu's gently smiling face and his face only reddens further, dark with embarrassment and shame. Kotetsu shouldn't be out here, as injured as he is. He should be resting, and yet he is here, undoubtedly having tracked him down.

"… Ko…tetsu – " His name doesn't even come out right. His tongue feels too thick and sluggish in his mouth and Barnaby swallows in an attempt to make it right. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

"If you're going to cry," is Kotetsu's simple response (simple, he's always simple, but that's fine), "you shouldn't do it alone."

With that, Barnaby breaks, shattering along the seams and doesn't think how ridiculous it is to turn and cling to one long, strong leg, sobbing like no tomorrow. Kotetsu is warm, even when it comes to holding onto a single, stupid leg, and that's fine, that's enough, especially in moments like these when he feels like absolutely nothing but useless, horrible worthlessness.

In the midst of Kotetsu kneeling down and abandoning that umbrella, wrapping himself around Barnaby and whispering soothing, mindless things, Barnaby cares little for the icy cold of snow sticking once again to his back and clinging to his curls. Kotetsu is a better shelter than any umbrella, after all, because he is actually sturdy and would never be turned inside out by a strong gust of wind – he is an actual cover to the chill of winter, the chill of his thoughts.

Kotetsu, out of everything else, makes Barnaby think things will be okay, no matter how he doubts and worries.