To Say Goodbye
[500 Themes: 375]

Would there be a moment when Kotetsu finally left him?

It was a thought often upon Barnaby's mind, impossible to suppress, impossible to surmount. He didn't deserve the man, after all; Kotetsu was all warmth and sweetness incased in strength, nothing but perfection in his eyes in spite of all of the little things that the man fumbled over. When had he ever done a single thing but hurt Kotetsu, but drag him down, but kick himdown?

There were so many others that deserved Kotetsu more than he.

These were thoughts that he clung to, even after Maverick's death, even after Kotetsu had retired and he had so eagerly followed him – even after they lived together and Kaede clung to his hip and called him 'dad' as well. Did he deserve all of this? It was domestic bliss that he had no idea how to deal with, and he was the one floundering – the one fumbling – the one posed to fail.

Kotetsu deserved so much more.

Barnaby refused to speak on any of it. Let Kotetsu not be aware of his insecurities (even though he probably knew of them well and just chose to stay silent, because that was what Kotetsu did). Let Kotetsu think that he actually did have a smidgen of confidence and didn't fumble over his words and struggle not to cry beneath the downbeat of the shower at the thought of Kotetsu simply finding something better and turning away from him for the rest of his life.

If only he was as good of a man as Kotetsu thought he was, and not some brat left to cling to Kotetsu's arm for dear life, begging love me, love me, I have nothing left.

If only.