Barnaby feels stupid for even considering what he's about to do.

The fact of the matter is, though, that he has no experience in these sorts of things – not as much as a stupid, silly girlfriend snatched up from the fanclubs that surrounded him while he was in school. No, he had never had a relationship that he actually cared for at this level – arranged 'dates' for parties certainly did not count, no matter if they reoccured once or twice.

… That aside, he scarcely had a friend, let alone a lover.

So of course, he would honestly have no idea how to handle another person's birthday, let alone someone like Kotetsu's.

"… What am I supposed to do?"

Nathan chuckles, and Barnaby fights down a flush – feels his face heat in spite of how he struggles to keep it straight and calm and cool. He's not crossing his arms so tightly that the tension makes his shoulders hurt, not digging his fingers into his own flesh until he's white-knuckled.

He's calm.



"You're cute, Handsome," Nathan says, smiling at him, and Barnaby feels very inclined to kick him. He had just asked a simple question, after all. Birthday suggestions should not be rocket science.

… And yet he was the one asking in the first place – did he really have any room to talk?

"I can see you don't have an interest in helping. Thank you, anywa-"

"Why don't you just return the favor?"

Barnaby stops short of turning away, giving the older man a confused look over his shoulder before he can stop himself. "What?"

"The favor, you silly thing." There's a flap of a hand to follow the words. "You know, last year? When you were supposed to be his gift?" Nathan pauses, a manicured finger tapping to his lips. "Ah – I guess you didn't know about that. Now you do!"

Barnaby gapes for a moment before reminding himself that staring open-mouthed is far from attractive and thus he whirls away, flushed and feeling a little dizzy and trying to think how he would have reacted, then, if Kotetsu had actually followed through with such a thing.

Kotetsu probably didn't mean it in the same context, anyway.

That being said, he takes it to heart – ends up in Kotetsu's bed that night, clad in things far from considered real clothing, and savors the look upon the man's face when he opens the bedroom door, takes in the sight, loosens his tie with a hard swallow and pounces.

Barnaby makes a mental note to buy Nathan lunch later as a return favor of his own.