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Silence Is Golden

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    The first time they slept together, Barnaby laid with his head on Kotetsu's chest, listening to his heart beating.  "You okay?" Kotetsu asked him, not really sounding worried.

    "You're not dead," Barnaby replied.  He just wanted to lie there, listening to the proof of that, letting years of tension sublimate out of his body. 

    Before that, he'd been touched so seldom that he could more or less catalog every instance of it; Kotetsu's hand on his when he was about to fling himself at Lunatic for an injury done to Kotetsu, dozens of times Kotetsu had put a hand on his shoulder or leaned on him or slung an arm around him, casually, the way he did with friends.  At first Barnaby tried to convince himself that was all it was. 

    When Kotetsu left Stern Bild, Barnaby helped him move the last of his belongings into his car.  He was still favoring his leg, Kotetsu was still bruised and nursing broken ribs, and the whole process took three times as long as it would have if even one of them had been uninjured.  When they were finally done, they stood in Kotetsu's empty apartment and hugged, for once without suits between them, cautious of Kotetsu's injuries.  The fact it was goodbye didn't keep Barnaby from leaning into his warmth, holding on longer than he probably should have to just a friend.  A year later, when Kotetsu came back, he was the one to keep holding on, long enough for Barnaby to feel safe telling him everything. 

    Once Kotetsu gave him a key to his place, less than a week after they got together, Barnaby went there rather than to his own apartment most nights.  If Kotetsu was home first - and given that he'd never wanted to be a media darling, he usually was - Barnaby made a beeline for him, curled up next to him on the couch or leaned into him for a long hug.  When they had sex he'd always spend some time afterwards with his head on Kotetsu's shoulder, or Kotetsu's head on his, legs tangled; it was the easiest way for him to sleep, though not for Kotetsu.  When they slept spooned together, he preferred to have his chest to Kotetsu's back.  Arms around him were nice, but he preferred being able to bury his face in Kotetsu's hair and hold onto him. 

    When Barnaby came home to Kotetsu's apartment after a long, grueling interview about Maverick for a documentary, Kotetsu was stretched out on the couch, watching TV.  "How'd it go?" he asked, halfway sitting up.  Barnaby just shook his head, unlacing his boots - the need for comfort couldn't quite override his own rule about no shoes on the furniture - then climbed onto the couch and on top of Kotetsu, who laid back down.  "That bad, huh?"

    "Worse."  He tucked his head into the crook of Kotetsu's neck, feeling his roiling emotions begin to quiet already.

    "TV bothering you?"

    "Maybe a little."

    Kotetsu hit the power button on the remote, then wrapped his arms around Barnaby.  "Take as long as you need," he said.