Tenacity and perseverance, especially with something you have been putting off

[ 24 Hour Themes: 6AM]

He's sitting right there, after all; in his chair, shirtless for some damned reason, bandages over his chest to support his injured shoulder, twirling that champagne flute between his fingers. Barnaby thinks he'll probably drop it.

Barnaby, for once, doesn't care.

It'd be better if he did. If he spilled that wine all over the floor in a million, crystalline droplets, it would be an adequate metaphor for what Kaburagi T. Kotetsu is doing to his emotions.

How can he not see? Barnaby has been staring at him for the past hour, and probably looks like some stupid, idiotic doe. Normally, Barnaby hates that fact about himself – that his eyes are little too wide, his lashes a little too long, that he can look so innocent if caught off guard and thus would be left staring sweetly, dumbly without meaning to.

In this case, however, he wishes he did look like that, on the off chance Kotetsu thought it was cute and would just kiss him for his trouble.

"You just need to relax."

Why don't you help me with that, then. The words are on the tip of his tongue. He should just say it, but he can't, can't, can't, not when Kotetsu is so warm and he can feel it from across the damned room. Barnaby just wants to bask in it. He doesn't even need sex – doesn't even want sex right now.

Can't he just be held for once?

The thought grips and twists at his heart for the next few hours and by that point, Kotetsu is drunk, he is drunk, and he wants to sob from the frustration of all of it. Kiss me, you idiot, kiss me.

But then Barnaby sleeps, passed out on the floor next to him – so close to touching him at least once, but then slumber grips his mind and he's gone, apartment reeking of booze and the warmth that he can't seem to be rid of but can't seem to be entirely immersed with.

It's uncomfortable, this limbo.

And later that day, Barnaby is so off-kilter that he stutters when rescuing Agnes – glares and fumes and is honestly annoyed when Kotetsu stares at that criminal's legs for just a moment too long – and then he sees Kotetsu standing in that fire and he's angry enough that he lets the image of a murderer flash before his eyes.

It isn't as if he deserves Kotetsu, anyway.

Why would someone with that amount of warmth bother with him?