Cuddling is an activity Hirato and Akari do not often attempt.

"Attempt" is truly the only word that can be used. Misguided fingers, confused words, befuddled heads… Any tries they make at snuggling up together is undoubtedly ruined by Akari growing tired of Hirato shifting under him; by Hirato whispering words to fluster Akari, leading irrevocably to either a slap or a quick kiss to silence him or more intimate acts; by one of the two's distaste for the invasion of personal space. On the rare occasion when they manage to find a comfortable position for both of them, their moments of bliss are ruined by one of the men being forced to attend to various issues, be it an emergency call from the hospital for Akari or a plea for a meeting from one of Hirato's subordinates. They make it a personal rule never to allow their relationship, whatever one might call it, to interfere with work.

But all rules have their exceptions.

And on nights when Hirato returns from a mission, body scratched and eyes slightly too bright, the only sign Akari has to tell him when something is wrong, they somehow manage to find time to rest together. On these nights, when the doctor knows his captain has failed in some way, Hirato comes wandering into Akari's room far past midnight, his suit jacket off with only a torn and stained white shirt and black pants covering still bloody cuts, the blond man rises from his bed and carefully tends to the wounds in silence. Once clean white bandages cover the crimson blood, Hirato allows himself to be guided to the bed, his hand clasped gently in Akari's, and on the sheets they sit. Akari's arms snake around Hirato and hold the bigger man gingerly, as one might a porcelain doll. Hirato turns his body wordlessly toward Akari's, one hand curling around the fabric of the blond's nightshirt, the only moment of weakness he will permit. On nights like these, Hirato falls asleep to the gentle stroking of Akari's fingers through his black hair, and wakes at the crack of dawn to slip out of the doctor's blankets to return to his own room, leaving no trace of the past but Akari's musk clinging to his skin.