With them, it was a kind of sanctuary.
When Ayame entered a room he managed to take up every available space. Not psychically, no, because really there was little besides pale skin and rich clothes there, but everything about him made time and space rearrange themselves to accommodate him.
Probably, Hatori reflected, because it was easier than trying to fight the inevitable.
Take now, for instance. A moment ago, the Sohma doctor had been sitting quietly on his favorite chair in his rather Spartan apartment, mulling over Akito's latest health issue in what was becoming a daily ritual. The day had been long, stretched out by nervous relatives and family drama, and when the air had finally turned cool with the sun's setting, Hatori had hurried from his office to the calm, clean solitude of his rooms.
White walls, white blinds, with just a splash of seafoam across the floor.
It was a kind of sanctuary, in it's own way, but not quite. The Dragon sometimes wished he could stay locked away forever in it, regardless of empty corners and uneasy shadows.
In it, everything would turn simple and bleached clean.
Now, Ayame was laughing and talking a mile a minute in his own type of one-man-show. It didn't matter that his only audience was one tired, quiet man. It never mattered because as much of a show as it seemed to be, it was as natural as the day coming from the silver-haired man.
"And then/, Tori-san, oh then Yuki turned and thanked me with the most grateful of all expressions ever to be seen by any single person. Surely, the most grateful to be seen in decades. Of course it was directed solely at /me and my own shining presence naturally amplified the radiance of it but to think that my dear younger brother-"
Ayame came close to frolickeing across the spacious living room, a twirl of cherry red and silver-gold and a wave of pure life that somehow managed to push back the suddenly dull colors of the area.
The dark-haired man let himself merely sit and watch, take everything in as it was offered. No strings attached, no expectations or demands from Ayame other than the desire for Hatori to actually be there so he could share in whatever wonder happened.
Loud, bright, flashing. /Happy/.
"-and a commission from a client who says my work is simple superb, which it clearly is. It will be my best work yet, elegance and romance weaved together by these very hands that have crafted the dreams of thousands! Ohohohohoho!"
It was safe, too, and almost complete. Except...
"Ayame, where's Shigure?"
The babbling instantly stopped as slipper-clad feet paused, soft silk barely making a sound. "Ah, he's on his way of course! Why do you ask?"
"Because I'm sure he mentioned the current state of things here to you at some point. Isn't that part of why you're here now?"
Ayame scowled and tossed his hair. "Tori-san, how could you imply such a thing! As if I would only be here because Gure-san said-"
"Tsk, tsk. How rude, Aaya-san, talking about me while I'm not here."
Glancing over towards the sound of that voice, Hatori was far from surprised to see Shigure leaning against the doorframe, face half-covered by that fan of his. The Dragon still hadn't figured out whether the other man simply carried it around with him all the time or had actually delved into the dark arts to make it appear time, time again.
"Oh, Gure-san! It's only because I can't bear to go a single moment without thinking about you and the warmth you bring me!"
"Aaya-san, to hear such words from your perfect lips, like dewdrops falling from the softest of petals on the loveliest of spring mornings!"
Hatori sighed and shook his head, a small smile tugging at his mouth. "You two will never change," he murmured, amused and maybe wistful.
Shigure chuckled and moved to sprawl closest chair, leg brushing against the Dragon's as he sat. "Haa-san, would you really want us to?" he asked, grinning. But his eyes were serious and secretive, pieces of a puzzle only Hatori was aware of.
Suddenly towering over them, Ayame sniffed and placed his hands firmly on his hips. "As if my Tori-san would want us to change! For such a thing to happen would bring about a time of sorrow and despair! So many lives shattered, as the most beautiful part of them becomes something else. The mere thought sends chills up my spine!"
The Snake shuddered dramatically as Shigure made fainting motions.
"Ayame," Hatori said, looking up.
"Ha! I don't see how there was any doubt. I know people's hearts, after all, tricky though they may be."
With one hand wrapping itself into smooth silver hair, Hatori pulled the flamboyant man into his lap in one seamless motion. And as gracefully as he did everything else, Ayame instantly curled up around him, feet landing in Shigure's lap as if they belonged there.
One hand around Ayame's waist, the feel of Shigure's hair brushing against his as the other man leaned in closer, and something clicked into place in Hatori's mind-heart-the same as it always did in snapshot moments like these.
"Ah! Gure-san, that tickles and that's very expensive silk!"
"Mou...I won't ruin them. I promise."
"You said that last time too and have yet to repay me!"
"I repay you with love!"
And suddenly it made sense, a strange kind of sense. Loud and bright and filling the gaps, bridging the spaces in a effortless, careful, natural way. It wasn't uneasy or empty, not now, not with these two appearing out of nowhere when he needed them most, just like they always did.
They weren't a sanctuary, no.
But they were home.