Kotetsu hates hospitals, and he has every reason to.

After all – a hospital was the last place that he set eyes upon his wife while she was still alive, as well as the place that he left her to die. Hospitals stink of death, stink of sickness, stink of sadness.

He hates them.

He hates even more that Barnaby is here, not terribly injured, but hurting all the same. Kotetsu hates that the moment he walks into the hospital room, all he can smell is that death, that sickness, that sadness, and he wishes he smelled nothing but the scent of Bunny, or the scent of himself on Bunny, clinging to him like whenever the blond steals one of his shirts and sleeps in it and nothing else for the entire night.

Dear god, he can't wait to take him home.

"Kotetsu," Barnaby says, tired, bored, but not hurting too badly. He mostly seems annoyed, but Kotetsu still struggles in cracking a smile. It's the image more than anything – someone he cares about, someone he loves in a hospital bed, tubes and wires attached, stiff hospital sheets bunched about their hips. "Thank god you're visiting. I'm bored out of my mind."

And then he notices.

Kotetsu wishes he hadn't noticed – wishes he didn't see the worry in his gaze, the way he's biting at his own lips when he normally refrains and chides Bunny for doing the same. But Bunny sees, frowns, and lifts one hand, reaching out for him.

Kotetsu grabs it, unthinkingly – not taking a moment to calm himself to rid his hand of the tremors that run through it.

"Kotetsu," Barnaby repeats, voice lower, calmer. "I'm fine."

"Y-yeah." Kotetsu sits then; not in a chair, but on the edge of the bed itself. "I know. Still don't like you in here. Are you feeling better?" I want to take you home, right now.

"More or less."

The space between Kotetsu's fingers suddenly feels empty – so void of the blond's usual grip that he adjusts it himself, switches their hold so that their fingers twine, so that he can grasp and cling to Barnaby's hand and draw it to his lips, brushing them over pale, white knuckles.

"I know I'm overreacting," he breathes, looks Barnaby in the eyes as he says it, "but humor me and say you're going to be fine, okay?"

"I just did – "

"Say it again."

Barnaby frowns, lips pursing, but he nevertheless nods, eyes half-lidded in understanding.

"I'll be fine."

It's something to cling to in the meantime, no matter how small.