There are moments with Kotetsu in which Barnaby forgets how to breathe.

They aren't always good moments – moments where he's wrapped up in the other man's arms, pressed to the bed, hot lips and tongue on his throat, lapping and sucking and marking him because Kotetsu is as feral as he is warm at times, animalistic and made of nothing but taut muscle and rumbling growls in the privacy of their bedroom.

They aren't always good moments, because Barnaby's thoughts aren't always good.

Those moments are the moments when he wakes at night, shaking, trembling, trying to remember where he is – their bed, their room, their house. Those are the moments when he forgets how to breathe, wonders why he's waking up shaking, crying, burying his face into a hand and clawing at his scalp, sucking in air like he'll never have a chance for it again and Kotetsu is waking up to join him, to try and soothe away night terrors that he can't put a name to.

Kotetsu shouldn't have to deal with this. He's too perfect, too warm, too bright, all while Barnaby is stuck out in the cold, shivering and broken. Yes, there is definitely something broken there – he can't put a name to it, but he knows. All he can think of is what Maverick has done inside of his head, done to his thoughts, his memories, a most personal violation that leaves him wondering if he really is the person he thinks he is, or if that isn't a lie, too.

He wouldn't remember it if it was a lie, after all.

What it ultimately comes down to is not wanting to be a burden. Kotetsu has enough on his shoulders, the weight of waning powers, the happiness and trepidation that comes with having his daughter back and around once and for all. Barnaby can't tell him how he looks up his own disorders on the internet at night when he can't sleep, emotionless and expressionless when he finds something that is him exactly, down to the neurosis and the twitches and every last fear that litters his mind.

He's something of a masochist, isn't he, looking and knowing and not doing a damned thing about it, other than wallowing.

It also comes down to wanting Kotetsu's approval. The man is a beacon, a shining one brighter than anything, and Barnaby wants to make him happy – no, wants to please him, has wanted to in some twisted way since he realized this is a man I can truly idolize. Partners they might have been, might still be no matter how they are both retired, but he wants to be good, be perfect, be someone Kotetsu can idolize – no, can praise – as well.

He can think of two other people he's ever wanted praise like that from – his father, and Mr. Maverick.

It sort of makes him want to retch.

Rather than that, though, he fucks him. Wakes up from those night terrors, rolls over and refuses comfort in the form of soft words and soothing hands, and takes instead. Kotetsu doesn't stop him, never does – because he knows that Barnaby is venting, knows that he's needy and desperate when he claws down the man's boxers, sucks on the side of his neck, slick fingers pressing and twisting into him until Kotetsu's groaning and biting his lip and raking short, blunt nails down his back.

He knows Barnaby needs a distraction, and Barnaby loves him all the more for it, no matter how fucking twisted his thoughts are while he's doing it.

He's never particularly gentle in times like this, but Kotetsu doesn't ask for him to be. He grabs Barnaby and pulls him in close, shuddering, back arching and hips jerking up to meet the shove of Barnaby's cock inside of him, all until Barnaby gets tired of that – flips him over, shoves him face down into the bed and fucks him in a way that far more feral than he ever is in broad daylight, far more uncouth, far more unpolished.

His thoughts are rarely good, but Kotetsu still seems to get it.

Kotetsu knows – or at least, maybe knows some of it, maybe gets a portion of Barnaby and what makes him tick. Knows down to the wire that something is wrong, something will always be wrong, but I'm going to try and fix it and that's what leaves Barnaby sobbing after the fact, buried against Kotetsu's chest, tears streaking down his face as he nuzzles it into the older man's neck and begs for something, anything, but mostly for Kotetsu to not let him go.

Kotetsu never does, never has, never will, and that's the one thing that Barnaby can cling to, if nothing else.