The older he gets, the more he is reminded of their past escapades – down to the creak in his knees, the ache in his thigh that is spurred up even more when the weather is cold.

Now is that time of the year. Christmas – cold and snowy and sometimes rainy, a time once always dreary. And yet now, Barnaby finds that the Christmas lights don't cause him headaches, but give him something to smile about, especially when he remembers Kotetsu attempting to string them up and over their too-big tree and nearly toppling the whole thing over.

The man was an idiot, really.

Sitting outside on Christmas Eve in the snow isn't the smartest thing to do, especially when reminiscing, but remembering – perhaps overly much – is a habit Kotetsu was never able to take from him. When it snows, when the city lights reflect off of that blanket of white, when the traffic slows to nothing that late, late night before Christmas day.

Barnaby thinks of Kaede, the beautiful young woman she's grown into, rather than how much this day hurts.

It makes him wish he could have done a bit more for Kotetsu himself during all of those years spent together, but, really, if Kotetsu taught him one thing, it was that focusing on what could have been done was never a good thing.

"Bunny! Get out of the snow, the damn cocoa's ready!"

Barnaby smiles wryly to himself and turns away, picking himself up from the balcony. Well. They've still got a few years left for him to keep trying, at any rate.