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[personal profile] makikoigami
Title: Hinky Pinky Pearly Earl
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Barnaby Brooks Jr.xfemale!Kotetsu T. Kaburagi aka Tetsuko Kaburagi
Wordcount: ~5,800
Spoilers: Mainly episode 19 of Tiger&Bunny
Warnings: Angst, Sex, angsty sex.
Disclaimer: Even though I spent a lot of money, I still don't own the series, just this idea.
Summary: What if Kotetsu had been a woman? This is what I think could have happened at the beginning of episode 19 with a previously established relationship.
Notes&Comments: I started this a very long time ago. There are a lot of thoughts in this one, but I also abandoned this for a long time because I had a writer's block there. I still hope this brings across what I want you to think (along with the porn, although it's not the usual kind of porn that you'd expect) as well as a few hints on things that may or may not be canon.

As for the name of the story: Initially I wanted to go with the original title of episode 19 ("There's no way out" or "袋の鼠"), but I thought it would not exactly fit, so I looked for a nursery rhyme. It may not fit perfectly either, but there are hints matching.

Phone pressed to her ear, Tetsuko tried to call Barnaby again, but she only reached the mailbox, proving once again that he had turned off his phone, that he wanted no one to disturb him. But still, Tetsuko was here, her maternal instincts had brought her here along with the constant worry about her partner.

She tried gently at first, ringing the doorbell only shortly, carefully, so as not to disturb Barnaby should he be asleep, because the kid definitely needed more sleep. Horror scenarios about the size of the bags under his eyes were almost a constant on her mind after the downhill roller-coaster of emotions yesterday.

Jake hadn't been the murder of his parents. The evidence was unambiguous about this. Jake never had the tattoo on his hand that he had remembered and he had a watertight alibi to top that off, too. Tetsuko hated to point that out, because Bunny had been so happy that this had been resolved, that he had managed to avenge his parents. But, in retrospect, it had been all too easy after all and something like this just had to happen.

It was just her luck, too, that it had to happen right now. Right when she had acknowledged that the decline of her powers wouldn't let her be a Hero for much longer and that she should listen to her family and return home while she could. Kaede needed her, a fellow NEXT who had went through the pain of having to control her powers, Tetsuko mused as she decided that keeping her finger on the bell would be a much better tactic if she wanted take care of her partner and see if he was still alive.

But then Bunny had happened. Handsome, strong, iconic and yet so vulnerable Bunny.

If yesterday was any indication of how he was taking it all, it should be fine, but Tetsuko wouldn't be a woman and a mother if she didn't know that Barnaby was keeping so much from her, that he didn't want to disturb her with his own confusion. She was not even able to condemn him for that, because he did the same as she did, just on a smaller scale because he was such a hot-blooded person when it came to his personals and could get mad over the most trivial things and was absolutely unable to hold it in sometimes.

Tetsuko on the other hand always put the others' well-being upfront and if she thought Barnaby wasn't happy or in the mood to listen to her complaints or thoughts, she would try everything to get him into the mood. Or so she liked to tell herself.

Sometimes she did realize that it was pretty selfish to help everyone to become happy while she wouldn't let anybody in to what was really on her mind. Sure, she was trying to be friends with everybody, but as soon as they tried to get a little closer to her than she felt comfortable with, she would laugh it off and take the conversation back to things that she was happy with.

Only Barnaby, when he had finally managed to get her to agree that were lovers and not just friends with benefits, had gotten a glimpse of what was behind the pencil skirt, the stockings and the vest that she wore every day as if it was some kind of uniform. That she had a side that was so deeply hurt by her own incapability of saving her husband that she would have welcomed death rather than being left alone like this. But that she couldn't stop because Tomoki had wanted her to protect SternBild and his people before anything else and her late husband's wishes were the only thing that had kept her barely alive for a while.

Just when Tetsuko started to get confused over why it was so hard on this premise to just tell Barnaby that her powers were declining and that she'd rather quit than get them both in danger, the door opened slowly in front of her.

Being just a little too surprised by that happening all of a sudden, it took her a moment to take her finger off the bell before she realized she had almost let out a scream at Bunny's looks.

He looked more like a ghost than anything, his glasses missing, too, skin pale and grey as if he hadn't closed his eyes at all last night.

"Tetsuko," Barnaby said, voice a dull monotone that made the woman wince after all.

"Y-yo, Bunny-chan! I thought I'd check up on you since you haven't shown up at work or given any notice at all. Mr. Lloyds is worried that I've been a bad role-model for you," she said cheerfully, trying her best to pull Bunny out of his hole and to cover up her own horror. "Have you eaten something? Did you drink? Sleep?"

"Please, Tetsuko, I'm fine. You needn't worry about-"

"Ah, I know! I'll make you some fried rice! That'll make things better. And let's light up that glum atmosphere in this room, no wonder you're getting depressed here. I always said you should put more furniture in here and make it more lively," she rambled on as she ushered Barnaby back to his chair, lightened up the windows and disappeared back into the kitchen to turn whatever he had left over in his fridge into some delicious fried rice. Preferably with mayonnaise, but that was for him to decide.

"There we go," she chirped as she returned from the kitchen about ten minutes later, a tray with a plate of steaming fried rice, some spices and a bottle of water in her hands that she placed onto Barnaby's lap. "Now make me proud and eat up."

Barnaby looked at her with that kicked puppy look that made her heart break just a little more and she wanted to scoop him up into her arms and pet him and tell him that everything would be okay.

"Why do you bother with me?" he ask, his voice small and vulnerable and suddenly he wasn't the King of Heroes anymore, but more like the four-year-old that she imagined him to be when he lost his parents.

"W-well, I already told you. Mr. Lloyds is worried, Agnes is worried, everybody is worried about your sudden absence," she started, knowing that it wasn't what he wanted to hear. She looked at his face that showed more and more hurt with every passing second before she relented with a sigh. "But most of all, I am worried about you. I don't want to see you like this. Please, start eating so that you can return to your usual self quickly, yes?"

Barnaby acknowledged that wordlessly, albeit hesitantly, raising a spoon full of rice to his mouth, making Tetsuko almost a little too anxious about how he'd like it, so that she was leaning towards him, crossed arms pushing up her chest in excitement.

"It's frustrating," Barnaby said suddenly, lowering the spoon back onto the plate without eating even just the smallest grain of rice.

"Excuse me?" Tetsuko asked, taken slightly off guard by the comment and wondered what about eating fried rice or returning to one's usual self could be so frustrating.

"The murderer's face keeps on changing. It even... appeared as your face," Barnaby confessed, more than just a little stressed out about this.

"Barnaby..." Tetsuko started, knowing just as well as the other that she could not have done it.

"Why... Why can't I recall what really happened that night?! This vague memory is driving me nuts..."

"Bunny..." Tetsuko started again, walking up closer to him and she put a careful hand on his shoulder, squeezing it in a reassuring manner as sobs started to shake his whole body.

"I can't take it anymore!" he cried out suddenly and all that she could do was to throw her arms around him and pull his face closer to her bosom, carefully avoiding to the plate with the rice so that it didn't fall to the ground again. She ran a hand over his hair and his back to soothe him, pressing idle kisses to the mop of his hair as she allowed him to cry out his frustration.

"Sh... You need some rest. If you try to force it, it won't happen. Relax, Bunny," she said, lips moving over his hair, smiling fondly because she was happy that she could provide comfort for him when his arms wrapped around her waist and he started crying in earnest. It was harsh and Tetsuko was unable to stop her own tears from falling when she saw him like that, but it was over quickly as well and soon Barnaby was only sobbing every now and then anymore.

"We will find out who it was eventually, you just need to relax and collect your strength before you can try anything. Why don't you... why don't you take a nap and then we can try retracing the steps that you took on that day. Maybe that could help you remember the face of the one who did it?" she suggested, but didn't stop holding him against her, petting his hair like she had done to Kaede when she had had a bad dream.

Bunny relaxed visibly, breathing more and more leveled into her, but he still clung to her as if his life depended on it. And it was getting slightly uncomfortable. Tetsuko shifted and tried to adjust her stance so that it was more comfortable for her, but to no avail.


"Tetsuko... please, don't leave me," Barnaby mumbled and he didn't need to add that she was his only constant right now, solid as a rock. It made it all that much difficult for her to tell him that she was going to quit, that she would be going home... without him. And right then she really did not feel like she was able to do that, much less tell him about that.

"I'll be with you, always," she smiled, telling him the same words that her husband had told her when she had seen him the last time, despite the fact that her heart ached hearing those words coming out of her mouth and knowing they were a lie even if there was nothing else she wished to be true. "I'll be there for you, however long you will need me."

"I will never not need you," Barnaby mumbled, peeling his face slowly from her front to look up at her face with his puffy red eyes.

"Bunny..." He should stop making this harder for her than it already was. It was already bothering on being cruel and she wanted to make him stop, to stop him from talking and being unintentionally and unknowingly cruel.


She couldn't bear it anymore. She could not bear to see him this vulnerable anymore, she couldn't bear to see him this needy, so she put her hand gently over his eyes before she closed her own eyes and leaned down to kiss him, chastely at first, but soon she was pressing her lips tightly against his. She was not really surprised, when he opened his mouth almost automatically, falling into the heated kissing pattern that they usually went through to work off steam.

Her hand fell from his eyes to his ear, raking gently through his curls before it settled just behind his ear, absent-mindedly petting him while their kisses continued to get hotter and more needy. They only took a moment to put the tablet somewhere safe so that Tetsuko could straddle his lap on the chair instead. Still, other than usual, she didn't press herself needily against him, but only offered him the support that he needed.

"Bunny, you should rest," Tetsuko mumbled against his lips after a while, when his hands started to move under her shirt, questing for bare skin to touch. She brushed a few strands out of his face when he tried to kiss her again, avoiding his advances playfully.

"Are you going to come to bed with me?" Barnaby asked, almost whined when he was denied something as simple as a kiss or a touch.

Tetsuko opened her mouth to deny him that as well, but she was weak to his puppy eyes. With a deep sigh she pinched his cheek lightly and got up onto her feet, holding out her hand for him to take. "Only until you fell asleep," she offered light-heartedly. "And it will only be for a few hours, we still have things to do today, you know?"

"Yes, I understand," Barnaby answered obediently, reminding her of a helpless puppy when he got up with his hand on hers. She could see how he resisted the urge to wrap his arms around her again and her heart ached again. How was she supposed to end this? It was going to be better for the both of them, but she knew that Bunny wouldn't and couldn't accept this now, so she had to work hard to get him back on track.

"Good boy," Tetsuko smiled and squeezed his hand before she took his other hand into hers as well, pulling him to his bedroom, helping him out of his t-shirt, shoes and pants before she tucked him in. His arousal from just kissing was quite visible in his boxer-briefs and Tetsuko would be lying if she didn't admit to be having wet panties, but this... this wasn't really the place for her to be pushing her horniness upon him, not at this time or place. No, Bunny needed to sleep.

She kicked off her shoes after she had tucked him in, taking off her vest and skirt, too, just to not get them too crinkled in the process. For a moment she contemplated doing the same with her shirt, but she doubted it would help Bunny to keep a clear head. Also, she didn't want to lie down for long, just a few minutes, and that shouldn't be too much to get her clothes more wrinkled than they already were.

Bunny had made space for her on the bed, curling up on his side so that she could curl up perfectly in the arch he described, and she snorted softly and inaudibly as she crawled under the covers with him, obediently lying down where he had suggested it. This was all great at usual times, but right now, it certainly wasn't what they needed, so after Tetsuko started squirming because she couldn't find the right angle and position for her arm, Barnaby joined her and together they shifted until they had exchanged poses and Bunny was resting his head on Tetsuko's shoulder, nuzzling her chest while he had draped an arm loosely around her waist. The woman, on the other hand, had an arm under his neck, the other around his shoulders which allowed her to play with his hair.

"Good?" she mumbled when Barnaby let out a low purr as he relaxed against her, allowing himself to momentarily forget about his frustration. Tetsuko smiled as she petted his hair when he nodded, albeit a bit wryly. She was going to break his heart, sooner than she would like to - which was never - but it was necessary for them both to move on. It was doomed to end like this from the start, but he had insisted on this.

"Tetsuko," Barnaby mumbled as his fingers curled into her shirt and he finally fell asleep. She waited a few more moments before she tried to wriggle out of his hold, but there was no way for her to do that. Therefore the only thing that she could do was to wiggle and lie down as well, but only after she had contacted Mr. Lloyds through her communicator and told him they'd be taking their day off due toe exhaustion. If things went well, they'd be back by the start of the next HeroTV broadcast, but she couldn't guarantee it. Thankfully he understood - for now - even though he expected them to be back and up to their full power by tomorrow.

After that, she shut off the armband and put it aside before she hugged Barnaby back and closed her eyes with a sigh, allowing her ability to nap whenever and whereever to take over. It was only around early afternoon that she opened her eyes thanks to the beeping of her cell phone which announced that she had gotten a worried message from Antonio, telling her that all of the Heroes wondered what was up with the duo's absence. She decided to ignore it for now and instead start working on waking up sleeping beauty.

"Barnaby... wake up," she cooed, leaning over to her side, where the blond had curled himself almost completely around her. He stirred when she called out to him, but she had to repeat it twice before he finally stretched and blinked tired eyes open at her, giving her a bleary look that made her chuckle fondly and kiss his forehead.

Barnaby grunted tiredly before he yawned heartily, which was so much unlike the self he showed outside his bedroom yet so much like him that it had her lips curl up in adoration again, tickling his sides playfully. That made his yawn end in a yelp and he glared at her, struggling to push himself up and above her before he took what he wanted from her, crashing his lips down onto hers. This time it was Tetsuko who yelped and squirmed, trying to get away from those questing lips, because she just know where this was leading, now that Bunny had had some rest.

"Bu-ah-unny! S-stop. Aah!" she moaned futilely as one of his hands landed roughly on her chest, squeezing and massaging where it could reach. "Stop it..." Tetsuko tried again, even though it was entirely half-hearted by now. "Stop... we wanted..."

"I want you," Bunny husked in a tone that allowed no back-talk, mixed with the desperation of a drowning man, and Tetsuko found herself giving in all too easily, because having sex was just so much easier than talking about things that needed to be talked about.

"Bunny," she mumbled, giving in completely when one of his legs nudged hers apart and his upper thigh pressed against her sex just perfectly. Her arms wrapped around his neck and she pulled him down to lie completely on top of her as they deepened the kiss, Tetsuko rubbing her body back against him as he made hasty work of the buttons of her shirt. Soon, he gave that up in favor of hiking it up so that he could touch her sex with his fingers through the panties that she was wearing, making her moan wantonly all the more.

Some of her own desperation mixed into her movements as she moved her hips against his fingers, wanting him to touch her more, to feel more of him. His erection was already as hard as a rock against her hip now and she knew that they didn't need to waste any time on foreplay for him. She raked her nails down his back and he sat up to give her some time to take off her blouse as well so that it didn't get any more wrinkled than it already was. She wanted to do the same thing with her garters, but by then Bunny had gotten rid of the rest of his clothes, too, and she had only managed to open the clasp on one stocking before she caught herself staring once again at his perfectly shaped body.

Of course, Bunny didn't care one bit about her staring and instead helped her to get out of her underwear. Kinky and impatient as he was, he had her keep on the garter-belt and stockings despite her efforts, confirming again that he had a fetish with these, or at least developed one thanks to her. His fingers touched her sex again, pushing two fingers inside to see if he needed more, but Tetsuko's moan made it obvious that she was more than just ready. Bunny just had it in him to turn her on with just one look and a brush of touch, so much that she had taken up the habit to take a spare pair of panties with her in her purse. Not that Bunny knew about this fact, but it was always better to be safe than sorry when he decided to touch her more than necessary at work.

But now he was touching her more than just unnecessarily, in fact, he was touching her in the best way ever and she couldn't help but push back against his calloused fingers, her own fingers curling into his shoulders as the words to spur him on died on her tongue. Thankfully, Bunny was impatient enough to go on without her outspoken consent, because really, the wetness between her legs should be just enough.

"Bunny~" slipped past her lips as the blond pulled out his fingers just to replace them with something bigger, guiding his erection inside of her. Not slowly so that he could savor the feeling, but quickly because he was so impatient and hungry for the intimate touch between them, the unification of these two bodies. And while Tetsuko felt the same, she also felt a certain kind of pain tugging on her heart again once he was fully inside and wrapped his arms completely around her to hold her tightly against his chest.

"Tetsuko, Tetsuko~" he mumbled, repeating her name over and over again in some kind of mantra as he kept rocking against her. The woman clung tightly to him, holding on to his back with both her arms and her legs as if she was also trying to melt together with Barnaby until neither of them knew anymore where one started and the other began. It was as if they both knew that this was going to be the last time for them both together for a long time and they wanted to cherish and memorize every little detail of the other's warmth. smell and texture.

They were clinging so tightly to each other that it turned out to be hard to move in the end, but it didn't matter, because what mattered was the point where they were joined. In fact, with what little movement Bunny could do, he was able to reach deeper spots inside of her and at a certain point he had managed to find an angle that hit her sweet spot repeatedly and thus had her squirm and beg for more until she came with a squeak. Her short nails dug into his shoulders hard as a muffled cry left her lips, the feeling so intense that she momentarily lost control over herself and all she could do was to receive Bunny's last thrusts just before he came as well, growling lowly deep in his throat before he choked out a muffled sob, clinging to her as if his life depended on it. He collapsed shortly after, panting and sweating, but he gave Tetsuko enough space to slowly and carefully uncurl her limbs from around him, stretching them until the strain had left them.

She patted his back where she had just created hollows with her nails that she could still feel, chuckling slightly. There was a warmth seeping throughout her where she could feel him deep inside of her still, cum coating her insides.

"Feeling better now, Bunny- aahh!!!" Her question was cut short when the younger man started moving again, obviously not yet satisfied, caressing her oversensitive sex as he tried to reach another orgasm. Tetsuko squirmed and squeaked, pawing at Barnaby's back to make him stop, but before she could form any coherent words, her body gave in to pleasure once more, arching her back upwards against him as she clamped down and before she blacked out she could feel him coming again inside of her.

When she came to once more, she found him collapsed on top of her, still out cold. She patted his back and tried to wake him, which she managed to after a while. Bunny reacted drowsily as she helped him to get up and into the shower, but there he almost blacked out from the lack of sleep and overexertion.

"Bunny, wake up... you can't just keep falling asleep... you promised me to go out and retrace the steps you took on... on that day," Tetsuko cooed as she washed Barnaby in the bathtub, letting water run all over his body while she sat on his lap. It had mostly a practical reason because it allowed her to reach his entire body, but Bunny also took advantage of this once he had gotten conscious enough again. His hands roamed hungrily over her body, squeezing her breasts while she tried her best not to be distracted by this as she cleaned him.

"Bunny..." Tetsuko almost moaned when his thumb flicked over a traitorous nipple while he rested his head on her shoulder as she let some water run over his back. The arms that tightened around her waist confirmed what she thought: Barnaby was so desperate that he needed any kind of body contact to pull him out of his depression. On the one hand it made her happy that he had opened up so much to her that she was the one that he turned to right now on the other hand she wondered how much of his affection shown was real. Also, she was not sure if this was a good thing because she knew that she was going to break his head eventually.

"Tetsuko..." Bunny mumbled against her skin, his voice a mere whisper that sent shivers through her. He pulled her closer yet again until she was flush against him, so much that she was almost unable to breathe anymore. And then he kept chanting her name over and over until it became so much that she was starting to get scared.

"Bunny, please, stop... Get yourself together," she chanted, but then had to gasp as questing fingers started teasing her again, making her wince from the strain of overexertion, but Barnaby didn't stop. He kept pushing a finger in and out of her, lubed by his own semen until she took over for that. She cursed herself for being so sensitive to his touch, but when he directed her to sit down on his lap, to take him inside again, she realized that he probably didn't know what he was doing, but that this was his way of coping with his frustration. And while she moved her hips almost automatically above him as he kept holding her tight, she realized that he was the first one to make her feel like this.

Even when Tomoki fell ill and they had this desperate kind of sex where they wanted to reconfirm each others' affection, it was never as desperate as this. Probably because they knew each other inside out, every dirty little secret before the other even mentioned it.

But Barnaby didn't, because Tetsuko purposefully let him in the dark and just used him and let herself be used to let off some steam, despite the fact that she knew their feelings went deeper than just that.

Right then though, Barnaby's body just sought to distract his mind from all the things going on in his head and Tetsuko's body was a tool. A tool she provided all too willingly, despite knowing that she should have stopped this.

They kept on fucking; in the bathtub, against the shower stall, on the floor, against the sink, every other surface of Barnaby's bathroom until Tetsuko felt herself go numb between her legs and told him so. Tried to tell him that she couldn't take anymore, that her vagina was so loose and sore from the constant friction that she feared she would take a month to recover. But Barnaby was not even near satisfied, so she offered to suck him off.

By then, he had already gotten past the point of where he could control himself and his body was just moving instinctively like an animal, so when she offered her mouth, he just took it, pushing himself deep into her throat so fast she almost choked. Tetsuko managed to catch herself though and once she got her breathing under control she let him do as he pleased, using her throat to get himself off a few times, hoping that it would be over soon, for his sake.

Barnaby was insatiable though. Soon her mouth wasn't enough and he threw her on the ground, face-first, legs pressed tightly together. At first he just tried to get off by sticking his erection between her legs, but it seemed like he was also going to run dry any moment and that he needed more friction. Therefore, he reached over for the soap, pinned her down and while Tetsuko was still trying to figure out what the hell was going on, he had pushed a soapy finger past the tight ring of her asshole, making her squawk in surprise and squirm up against him.

"Bunny, stop!" she tried to tell him, not knowing if he could hear her over his own primal instincts. "Please, please stop, it's dirty there and I don't-"

"Sh!" the blond interrupted her sharply, wiggling his finger to make an effort to loosen her up. "You're not dirty. You cannot be dirty... you're..."

His finger stopped as he trailed off, obviously realizing the first time consciously what he was doing. Pulling back, his finger left her with an audible plopping sound and he stopped moving altogether, only his harsh breathing confirming that he was still alive.

"Barnaby?" Tetsuko called softly when he made no move to talk or anything else. She pushed herself up and turned her head to look at him, but the only thing she saw was despair and shock on his face.

"I'm sorry Tetsuko, I... I didn't... I don't... I didn't want to hurt you," he said, sounding like a little child again.

The woman blinked, then shook her head softly with a smile. "You didn't hurt me. I'm fine," she said reassuringly. Seeing how he didn't act like he would start moving again any time soon she wiggled out from underneath him, realizing that yes, she did indeed hurt, but it was just a dull pain from overexertion. "I'll be sore, yes, but it's nothing compared to your pain. I've been through a lot worse."

Barnaby raised his eyes when she put a hand gently on his cheek, brimming with tears. "Don't worry about me... I could stop you if I wanted," she promised, although she wasn't really sure if she could, not with her powers waning and him having the same powers as she did, but for a longer time period. But simply stating that she wouldn't allow him to go further than she could bear seemed to make him relax, because as controlled as Barnaby was most of the time, he was probably more afraid to lose his control over himself and hurting someone he loved than anything else. Tetsuko knew that feeling, it had started when she had first discovered her powers and broke somebody's bones and it had ingrained itself deeply into her being. It was hard, having to control your every move, so it felt nice to know there was somebody who could take care of you if you lost yourself.

Still, her reassurance took the tension out of Barnaby. He broke down again, slumped against her shoulder and she could feel him bite back any apologies that were on his tongue because they would have been futile. His arms wrapped around her midsection, shyly almost, as if any more touch could break her in two. Tetsuko's arms wrapped around his neck and she pulled him back against her chest, humming soothingly in the back of her throat as he came down from whatever it was.

"Let's clean up and see what we can find out by retracing your steps, yes?" she offered and he just nodded feebly. Feeling a small smile tug at her lips, Tetsuko regarded herself, just to notice how badly she was drenched in both his and her fluids. "Do you think you can get dressed on your own? I need to clean up myself a bit here."

Another nod and Barnaby uncurled his arms from around her waist and let go. Together they pushed each other up on their feet, wobbly, yet doable and cleaned up the remainder of sweat and tears and everything from Barnaby, making sure he wore a towel.

Something was troubling him, something else than before, Tetsuko noticed, because he kept glancing at his hand, specifically the finger he had used to push inside her ass, flexing it while he kept stealing glances at her behind and she wondered if he was trying to remember if he had done such a thing before. Not with her, that much could be guaranteed, but maybe...

"...maybe I'm forgetting something else," he mumbled, more to himself, in such a voice that Tetsuko chose not to comment on it, to let him keep thinking that he had not thought this out aloud.

"There! All squeaky clean!" she announced cheerfully instead, beaming at him in reassurance. "Now go get dressed, I'll be done in five minutes and then we'll do your hair, okay?"

Barnaby nodded and trudged off, leaving Tetsuko to herself. She sighed and stepped into the shower where she cleaned herself quickly but methodically, but her thoughts drifted off. Something was wrong with Barnaby, something beyond her control. It was something going deeper and something that was more personal than just this parents having been killed in front of his eyes. No, his trauma was deeper and fresher and she wondered what it was.

But most of all, she was afraid what they would find once they retraced his steps on that fateful day, over 20 years ago. What if the truth was better left unsaid? What if Barnaby was actually better off not knowing what had happened? What if...

Shaking her head Tetsuko pushed the thoughts away and took a deep breath to calm herself. She had more important matters at hand than to speculate what the truth in Barnaby's case could mean and that was how she was going to tell him that her powers were waning and that she would have to leave him eventually, and that this eventually would come soon.

She had no idea if there was a way to tell him without breaking his heart and his whole being. But until she found out, she would support him with all her might.


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