Barnaby has always been particularly talented at not getting sick, but this winter seems to be an exception.

He's been fighting it for days – feeling the chills and the aches and the general feelings of … well, what better word to describe it than ugh? And thus, when he wakes up one chilly, rainy winter morning, nauseous and trembling from chills raking through his body, there's no hiding it any longer.

Kotetsu notices first, which makes Barnaby almost laugh. As much as the man tends not to catch onto things, he is always so very attentive to Barnaby's state of being and this is no exception. Calloused fingers are sweeping over his brow, feeling the heat of his fever and Kotetsu is frowning, worrying, slipping away to the kitchen to find a cold washcloth to rest over his forehead and a glass of water for him to drink.

"I hate this," Barnaby mumbles, knowing he must look as miserable as he feels with his curls mussed, blankets drawn around him like a cocoon.

"Do you want me to get you anything to eat?"

The mere thought of food makes Barnaby's stomach churn and he shakes his head, burying deeper into the blankets. Pathetic. He's pathetic. To think a little flu bug could reduce him to this.

"… Then I'll just stay here."

The way Kotetsu says it makes Barnaby realize he really is worried – far more worried than Barnaby thinks he should be, because it's just a flu, after all. The way his fingers stroke over blond hair, the way his brow furrows and the way he really does just sit at the edge of the bed, unmoving and intent on watching -

"… I'll be fine, Kotetsu."

Kotetsu's touch jerks slightly and he grins, a bit sheepish, attempting to brush off the all-too serious expression previously on his face. It doesn't quite disappear. "Yeah, I know. I just worry about you. You aren't sick very often." And I hate it when people are sick is the unspoken addition.

"Lie down with me."

And Kotetsu does without hesitation, wrapping himself close to Barnaby but not uncomfortably so, and Barnaby thinks this is probably better medicine than any doctor could give – for the both of them.