There's something in the water I do not feel safe It always feels like torture To be this close I wish that I was stronger I'd separate the waves Not just let the water Take me away

Barnaby's gotten himself into a fine mess.

It has a lot – no, everything to do with dark hair and coppery eyes, with deeply tanned skin and work-worn palms. It has everything to do with broad shoulders, with hard muscle running through and down them as corded sinew, it has everything to do with white bandages strung up and around that flesh in dark, medicinal contrast, protecting an injury that he brought about.

It's a difficult mess to grasp, to sink his hands into, because as much as he wants to touch, he has that ever-reaching hand that can't. He watches the man in his fine leather chair, twirling a champagne glass around in his fingertips, and remembers, feels guilty about how Kotetsu took a blow for him without even thinking twice.

Who does that?

No one in his life, at least. No one, as long as Barnaby can recall, has ever stepped in front of him, has ever taken a blow for him. No one has ever tried to soften anything, not words, not actions, and he himself alone was expected to shoulder all of it – and still is.

It should stay that way, for his own sanity.

But here is one Kaburagi T. Kotetsu, wrapped in bandages caused by Barnaby's own carelessness – no, Kotetsu's own carelessness, too, because he was foolish enough to think that stepping in front of a veritable loaded gun was wise, was enough to win's Barnaby's affection… or was his motive even that broad?

Maybe he did it just because he is Kotetsu, and that, perhaps, is why Barnaby is so… attracted to him and his and everything about him.

It hurts, because even with that in mind, he can't quite bring himself to touch.

He wants to, though. Barnaby wants to trace his fingertips along the arc of Kotetsu's throat, feel him swallow and feel his adam's apple bob beneath his palm. He wants to trace along the edge of those bandages, to pluck them away, to coax his skin to healing by the touch of his lips alone, as if such a thing were possible. He wants, wants, wants so badly to grasp Kotetsu by the hair, to drag him close and to know what his lips feel like pressed against his own, warm and a little chapped but so, so perfect.

It's funny, though, because Barnaby has never considered himself a person that wants things he can't have. He wants normal things - clarity in his life, accomplishing his goals and making his parents proud. Never impossible things.

Never someone like Kotetsu.

And yet here he is now, wondering, watching, wanting - terrified.