Fujisaki's words. Now Kazuma's words.
Was it really more obvious to everyone else than it was to herself that she loved him?
But she can't love him. He's a god. A god of calamity - for that matter.
Kazuma had made it quite clear that it was in her best interest to not go looking for Yato. But he never said what would happen if he went looking for her.
So there he was; the god standing before the half-Phantom.
Hiyori's pink eyes faltered from his gaze, and she found herself staring at the ground. If she looked him in the eyes, he'd see right into her thoughts and consciousness.
"Y-Yato…" her voice came out in a surprised whisper.
"Hiyori…" his mature voice rumbled.
Hiyori swallowed hard, trying to piece together something to say. There was the sound of a car passing by them as they both stood on the sidewalk.
"I'm back." He chuckled weakly, trying to clear the dead air between them.
"That's good," she replied in a condescending tone.
There was a moment of silence. When Yato finally realized this was a pointless tactic, his cheeks tinted pink. He cleared his throat, trying to break the ice once more. His hand rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment.
Hiyori was the one who spoke up before he had the chance.
"Were you successful...?" She murmured.
"Huh?" Yato did a double take.
"Your suicide mission. Did you ever get rid of your father?"
He could hear the passive aggressiveness in her voice, but cleared his throat again to speak. He straightened up and scratched his cheek nervously.
"W-well... no, actually. He went into hiding, and I couldn't find the proper Regalia to work with me-"
"Sounds like you had things planned out," Hiyori replied sarcastically.
Yato had never seen Hiyori so furious with him. Not even when he took a job for Lord Tenjin, and then explained that the job was ultimately useless.
"If someone wants to die, let 'em die."
He had come a long way, even since that experience, but to excuse suicidal behavior was something especially cruel to Hiyori.
However, what Yato had recently done must be the most selfish, chaotic, irrational thing he'd ever done. Besides facing Heaven and destroying Takamagahara.
This wasn't the first time Yato had left her behind, but this time, Hiyori felt abandoned somehow.
Just as Hiyori turned on her heel to leave, Yato grabbed her wrist out of instinct.
"Le' go of me!"
"No! Please, just listen-"
"I said let go!"
Hiyori struggled within his grasp, but it was no use. Being the god of war he was, he was too strong for her.
"Hiyori, what did I-?"
Hiyori abruptly handed him a small white paper bag.
Yato stopped and blinked, hesitantly taking the bag from her. "W-what's this…?"
"Your shrine." She answered. "Just take it back already."
Yato's fierce blue eyes widened as he noticed the object at the bottom of the bag, and he quickly lifted his head again to look at Hiyori, whose cheeks were colored with anger.
Or was she crying? He couldn't tell behind her dark bangs.
"I... don't know what to say…" he mumbled.
"You're a complete fool. You can't leave like that, you understand?" Hiyori clenched her fists. "Don't you get that people will worry about you?"
Yato blinked in surprise, but after a moment, he scoffed. Am I really worth the worry?
"Only Yukine would have to know where I am, considering he's my guidepost."
"You're wrong!" Hiyori snapped. "If that were true, why did you come to me before you left?!"
"The whole point was to kill my father to free myself. I wasn't trying to make you worry," Yato replied truthfully.
"No." Hiyori clenched her fists, anger rising in her voice. "The whole point in doing that was so you could prove that I was your lifeline. Not him. Right?"
"Well…" the god thought for a second, "o-okay, yeah, but I-"
Then came the question he was not ready for.
"Why're you so selfish, Yato?"
"'S-selfish?'" Yato blinked, taking a step back in clear shock.
"What if you were wrong? What if I wasn't your lifeline, and you ended up killing yourself along with your father?" There was a sort of rawness in her voice, something like the same fragile quality of glass.
Hiyori finally lifted her head for the first time, and Yato could finally see her teary, puffy eyes.
"What would I do if you were gone, Yato?!"
Yato gaped at her for a long moment as he racked his brain to understand how his death would have affected this girl standing in front of him. Of course; he hadn't thought of that possibility.
The wind whistled between them as the quietness of the conversation drew on. A strange feeling of abandonment washed over Yato. He began reaching out a shaky hand towards her direction, almost as if he could sense her drifting away from him. Hiyori stepped away from him, wiping her eyes on the back of her hand.
His eyes reflected her pain, as well as hopelessness. What was he supposed to do? What was he feeling?
"Hiyori, why-... why do you care so much…?"
"You're one to talk," she said back, sniffling. "You care so much about me, but the second I try to care for you, you push me away."
Is it true? Have I been doing that...?
"I-I don't understand. Why do you care? Why do you care about any of this?"
It slipped from her mouth before she could even think.
But she had to say something. Anything to get it through his thick skull.
"Because you're important to me! Because I love you, Yato!"
As soon as the words were out, Hiyori realized what she had done. She gasped, too shocked to continue crying. Her heart skipped a beat, and her hand slapped over her mouth.
Her pupils shook as she watched Yato process that new, unusual information. His face, once absorbed with confusion and surprise, went to one of utter shock.
"Hiy-... Hiyori…" he mumbled, their eyes locked onto each other's. "Are you-… are you sure about that…?"
"Wha-...? I didn't mean it in th-that way!" Hiyori shivered, her face a deep red.
"But then… what way did you mean it…?" Yato's voice wavered slightly. He was slightly scared of her answer.
"I-I don't know…" Hiyori answered softly. "It depends…"
"Depends on what…?"
Hiyori nervously played with the fringe at the bottom of her skirt. She paused, biting her lip as she decided what to say. She knew this was the moment of truth - and while he could wait an eternity, she didn't share the same immortality. It was now or never for her, before she'd be whisked away by death.
"D-do you… love me…?" She quietly dared to ask.
There was a long silence.
Hiyori could tell by his expression that Yato was just as unprepared at this idea as he had been when she'd confessed.
"I… don't know…" He responded, staring down at his boots.
Then, the god snapped before any more hints of vulnerability were able to seep through. He lifted his head, and when Hiyori caught his eyes, coldness was piercing in them. His demeanor changed altogether.
"But it wouldn't matter. Gods and humans aren't supposed to love each other," Yato told her in a monotone.
There it was again.
Fujisaki's voice. "Are you actually in love with Yaboku?"
Kazuma's voice. "Gods are incapable of loving humans."
Except, Yato had worded it differently.
"They aren't meant to love each other, or… aren't meant to be with each other...?" Hiyori asked, trying to find the truth.
"I suppose-... theoretically, they can love each other, but should you love me specifically - that's another story." Yato turned away, tightening his fist until his nails dug into his skin.
"No one can love a monster, Hiyori. If you try, it would only end in disaster."
Hiyori stood frozen in place, taken aback by his words. She couldn't find anything else to say to that.
"You should head home now. Whatever you want to make of me is up to you," he mumbled under his breath.
Almost as if she sensed his next move, Hiyori stepped forward, but by the time she reached out her hand to grab him, Yato disappeared in a godly flash of light.