Hatori woke up in the watery grey predawn light to find Ayame watching him once more.

"Is something wrong? Are you feeling bad again?" he asked, alarmed.

"I'm ok," Ayame assured him, his voice still muffled by the mask.

"Then why are you awake? You're supposed to be resting," he chided.

"Why are you sleeping down there?"

"Because I need to keep an eye on you, I need to make sure you're all right," he told him patiently.

"Can't you do that, and sleep in the same bed as me?" he asked.

"What? Aaya…"

"I'm not suggesting anything improper, not yet at least, but you can sleep in here with me, Tori. I would appreciate the company," he pointed out.

Hatori studied him for a long moment, contemplating the idea. He felt vaguely odd about the idea of sharing the bed with the snake, and then mentally kicked himself, he was proposing to enter into a relationship with Aaya, had already entered into the relationship really, this was hardly the time to baulk at the idea of sharing a bed with him.

"You promise to behave yourself? You're not up to any hanky panky right now," he checked.

"I promise, I just want to snuggle," he said.

Hatori nodded and shifted up to lie beside Ayame, holding still as the slender form hesitantly settled in against him, Aaya's head settling on his chest, pale silk pooling against his throat. He shifted slightly to accommodate him better, wrapping his arms around him, tangling his fingers lightly in the long hair. Ayame's thin, nimble fingers stroked lightly over his chest, but he didn't seem to be trying to start anything, he was just being his normal, fidgety self, and soon the warmth of his body lulled the Snake back to sleep. Hatori lay awake, contemplating the man sleeping against him, it felt different to holding Kana when she slept, but not in a bad way, it felt more comfortable strangely. It felt as though Aaya's slight weight belonged there, against his side, on his chest. He kissed the crown of his head lightly, and settled back to try to get a little more sleep himself.

The sun was fully over the horizon by the time he woke again, Ayame still settled against him, fortunately undisturbed by the alarm clock. This was the only time Hatori occasionally envied Ayame his hearing impairment, he would love to be able to sleep through the bell some mornings, this morning especially.

"Well, aren't you two just so cute?" Shigure's voice from the doorway made him jump, and he paused in his blind groping for the clock.

"What the hell are you doing here at this hour?" he demanded fuzzily as Shigure strode across the room to silence the clock.

"I was having trouble sleeping, so I decided to head on over early, besides, my editor will be looking for me, I seem to have forgotten to prepare the draft I promised her today," he smirked.

"Why do you do it Shigure? You know you have the pages written, you always do, why don't you just give them to the poor woman and put her out of her misery?" he sighed, gently sliding out from under Ayame and settling him onto the mattress, making sure the mask didn't get knocked awry.

"Where would be the fun in that? What are the instructions for the day for our favorite patient?"

"If he's feeling up to it when he wakes up, he can get up for a few hours. I want him back in bed after lunch, even if it's only for a couple of hours. He can take the oxygen off while he's up, as long as he keeps his inhalers on him, and if he starts to have trouble breathing, you put him back on the oxygen and call me. Got that?"

"Got it. Can he go outside?"

"No way in hell, it's still too cold for him out there."

"Understood. I assume you'll be home at your normal time?"

"Barring emergencies, or Akito, yes. I'll call if there's a problem," he nodded, grabbing his suit and a clean shirt and underwear before vanishing into the bathroom.

Shigure looked down at Ayame for a long moment, studying the peaceful, contented look on his face as he slept, and he knew he had done the right thing in destroying that book. There was no way he would allow Akito to take this away from Aaya and Hatori; they deserved every chance to make it work.

Shigure turned and walked out quietly as he heard the shower stop, smiling as he saw Tohru puttering around the kitchen in her school uniform, making breakfast for Ayame and Hatori.

"Thank you for coming with me, to make breakfast, Honda-san," he said quietly.

"It was nothing, Shigure-san, it will be a nice change to walk to school with Haru-san and Momiji," she smiled brightly.

"Oh? Kyo and Yuki getting on your nerves are they?" Shigure asked.

"No, of course not," she said, blushing and shaking her head.

"It's just that now Momiji has started making friends at school, I don't often see him any more," she explained, dishing the food onto plates.

"You're a very kind person; do you know that, Honda-san?"

Hatori's voice from the doorway made both her and Shigure jump slightly, and Tohru blushed again.

"It's nothing. Will Ayame-san be up for breakfast, or should I cover it up for later?" she asked.

"I'll go and wake him, thank you Honda-san," Hatori said, realizing she was uncomfortable with being complimented.


Hatori repressed a sigh as he saw Kureno standing in the doorway to his office just before lunch time.

"What do you want now?" he asked a little impatiently.

"I need a cut looking at," Kureno said flatly, not looking directly at Hatori.

"Sit down and let me see," Hatori sighed, gesturing to the examination table as he pulled on a clean pair of latex gloves.

Hatori's eyes widened fractionally when Kureno took off his dark coat and gloves, the white sleeve of his shirt was soaked in blood from elbow to wrist, and there was blood streaking his hand.

"What the hell happened?" Hatori demanded, helping him get the shirt off, peeling it carefully away from the jagged gash in his forearm.

Kureno said nothing, looking away from Hatori, and the Dragon frowned at him.

"Did Akito do this?" he asked, gathering up what he needed to start cleaning up the wound.

"He didn't mean to, it was an accident," Kureno excused him softly.

"This is a bad gash Kureno, it's going to need stitches, it isn't the kind of thing that happens accidentally," he growled, starting to wash it out with sterile water.

"It was an accident. Akito-sama was just tired, and frustrated, he's been looking for something, and he can't find it anywhere. He didn't mean to push me so hard, and I was off balance anyway, picking up a broken teacup," Kureno insisted.

"Is that what cut you, the cup?" Hatori sighed, carefully tweezing a tiny shard of porcelain from the wound. He was beginning to hate the way they all just allowed Akito to get away with the spite and temper tantrums, the head of the house really was going to kill one of them, one of these days.

"Yes, it was the cup. Akito-sama really didn't mean for it to happen, he was so upset about it that he sent me straight to you, without even cleaning up the mess," Kureno told him.

Hatori firmly suppressed the sarcastic comment that he could feel trying to force its way out, he knew it wouldn't help. No matter how badly Akito treated the Rooster, he would always make the excuses and follow closely in his shadow.

It took nearly an hour to clean, stitch and dress the wound, and the two of them maintained a tense silence for the whole of that time.

"Keep this clean and dry, I'll prescribe you a course of antibiotics, and I want you to come back tomorrow so that I can check and redress this," Hatori finally said as he pinned the end of the bandage and walked back over to his desk, leaving Kureno to sort his clothing out.

"Understood," Kureno nodded, taking the prescription Hatori held out to him and vanishing out of the door.

Hatori sighed and looked longingly at the clock as he washed his hands, he wanted nothing more than to go home, and curl up with Ayame. He almost laughed at himself, realizing how little it had taken for him to go from being uncomfortable at the thought of holding the Snake close, to wanting nothing more than having him in his arms.

"Hatori Sohma, you have it bad," he told himself.