There's a crushing weight that comes with being so agonizingly, terrifyingly alone.

Because of it, he can't sleep. Even dreams are spent in wakefulness, highlighted by monsters that he can't put a face to – and Barnaby hates it. He hates it, because there's no productivity in sleeping, and this proves it. He should simply remain awake, to work, to research, to find something that will be of use, even though that time is spent churning the same old gears, finding nothing time and time again.

And he really, truly does hate it.

Barnaby hates being alone and realizing it, something he's not sure he's realized until very recently. Or if he was aware of it, he didn't care until now, until a tiny spark of flame, of warmth poked its head around shadows and through doors and whittled away at him, burning into his skin until he had no choice but to take notice.

He wakes from another, haunting dream, and finds that flame still situated in his apartment, sipping wine in between dozing upon his chair.

For the first time in a long while, it's a flame, a fire he doesn't dread or loathe, and it's an odd feeling – but a good one.

Barnaby has few regrets, at least, about getting drunk with Kotetsu that night.