"You remind me of my mother."

The statement earns Kotetsu an aggravated, sideways glance over a shoulder, the bounce of blond curls following the snap of Barnaby's head. Unfazed, Kotetsu merely grins, crouching down next to the other man, amused to see dirt caking his fingers, wriggling into the grooves of his palms, staining pale skin up to his wrists and even streaking a bit up through his arms courtesy of water having dragged it there.

"I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing."

"It's good," Kotetsu says, finally surrendering to simply sitting – all the better to watch Bunny long-term. Seeing him dig around in the dirt was amusing, and not to mention a balm to his own nerves – even if there isn't much dirt, and Barnaby rarely seems to do it when he's around. Embarrassed? Maybe. It's sort of cute, to think Barnaby doesn't want him to know all of his hobbies. "She was always outside when we were younger, messing around in her garden. Her hard work paid off, though… all the veggies she grows are really good."

"Mine aren't vegetables," Barnaby reminds him, gently plucking an old, dead stalk of buds from a recently pruned statice plant. Kotetsu can remember how difficult it had been to get those to grow here, how the blond had moodily, irritably sought out the correct soil (not normal potting soil, it had to be almost sandy and dry, because that was what statice liked) and then grew the things directly from seed, no matter their repeated deaths. Barnaby didn't exactly have a green thumb, not like Kotetsu's mother did – but that was fine. He certainly worked hard enough and had the results to show for it.

"They're prettier, though," is Kotetsu's absent observation, glancing about the balcony, counting the number of pots and planters. One for every time Barnaby nearly lost his temper when it came to interviews and work in general, it seemed. Ah – no empty ones. That would need to be remedied. "Oh, right – here!" he cheerfully offers, fishing out a tiny, crumpled packet from his pocket and thrusting it in Barnaby's direction. "Speaking of my mother – she gave me these awhile ago after I describe your old apartment to her. Uh… hibiscus, wasn't it? That thing on your wall."

There's no denying the curiosity in Barnaby's gaze as he plucks the seed packet from Kotetsu's fingers. "You have to plant these in winter, though – so we'll have to wait until next year."

"Can't we just make a room cold?"

"… That's not really the point – "

"Whatever, just plant them now – maybe they'll come up anyway." Kotetsu leans forward, propping his chin atop Barnaby's shoulder. "I'll help you take care of them, even."

"Gardening isn't exactly a joint project – "

"Well, these can be."

There's a pause, a moment of almost audible surrender, and Barnaby sighs, leaning back a bit, turning his head to the side and pressing a kiss to the side of Kotetsu's head.

"You know they have hibiscus called 'tiger eyes'? And also 'tiger cubs.'"

The hibiscus don't quite end up being those particular colors, but Kotetsu has no trouble calling them that all the same (what's the difference, really?).