Hiyori closed the balcony door behind her.

Yaboku flinched, his shoulders slightly jumping upwards at the sound. He didn't lift his head. His gaze was glued to the ground, his dark locks hanging over his face.

"Can I sit…?" Her voice called gently.

Hearing no refusal, the brunette sat beside her lover on the bench. Her fingers wrapped around the sleeves of her pajama shirt, clinging to it for warmth.

The atmosphere was still and calm, but the aura surrounding the god was bothersome. She couldn't quite pinpoint just what he was thinking or feeling. His eyes were glossed over with a far away stare. He was almost watching - but not watching - the winter scenery of the tops of tall buildings and dying trees.

Hiyori attempted to speak, but was unsure of what to say without it sounding too forced. She sighed, attempting to relieve some stress.

"You're up early today," she tried softly, even turning her head to share a soft smile with him.

He didn't see it.

Even if Yaboku was facing her, it wouldn't have made a difference.

With each passing day since the argument with her brother, Hiyori noticed him withdrawing more and more into himself. It had originally started with the god keeping himself physically apart on the balcony from everyone else, but now, he wouldn't even speak a word or share a gaze with anyone. He nearly never moved or ate.

"My god…" she called tenderly, "you know… you can talk to me…"

Her words didn't reach him. The only thing happening was within his own realm of consciousness.

His memories were clear as day.

"C'mon, Hirro! Let's find some ears for father!"

He would skip merrily through the vast fields of mutilated bodies as if he were apple picking. He'd examine each of them, intrigued by the horrified expressions forever engraved upon each of their faces. Nora laughed along too, and would often point out their next victim.

And for a short while, Father was pleased. However, it wasn't long before he was disappointed again.

His child-self thought he was truly happy with every new promising day. Because it meant having the opportunity to play with the innocent little humans. He would seek them out, terrify them, chase them and spill their liquidy insides. He could paint red across the land of green.

But by the end of each day, that blood on his hands became his own, and the terrified pleas for mercy were coming from himself.

Why did his father suddenly hate him? Why couldn't he fight back? Why couldn't he ask for help?

He never turned to anyone - no one would believe him. He never fought back - he was too afraid. He never left - he deserved it.

How he hated himself. How he hated everyone who hated him.

Yato wasn't sure whether to cry or laugh. He felt an overwhelming urge to start sobbing, but he forced it back down and chose to suppress any of those negative emotions.

He snickered aloud to himself.

In a way, it was humorous; the tragically hilarious kind. His life was one massive comedy where he was constantly tortured - mentally, physically and emotionally. Like a helpless ragdoll constantly being tossed and beaten.

It was his fault. It was his Father's fault.

No.

It was everyone's fault.

A chuckle erupted from his throat - one so deep and bitter that it made Hiyori's stomach turn.

Fuck them. Fuck all of them.

And then her sweet, fragile voice called out. "Yato…"

Except her.

"Yato," Hiyori urged again, "don't go back there. Please…"

He sat there, unresponsive to the outside world.

She reached out to hold his face with her hand, but gaining no reaction, Hiyori felt her hope dwindle. She retrieved her hand.

Yaboku shook his head in visible distress before burying his head in his hands.

She opened her mouth to say something, but decided against it. Instead, she stood up and backed away from her lover.

Hiyori rushed inside, leaving the balcony door open as she went. She passed the Regalia a few feet away. She barely noticed him as she quickly closed the bathroom door behind her.

He blinked cluelessly. Then he turned towards the open balcony door she had just come from.

The god remained outside on the bench.

The young boy innocently wandered out to check on him. It wasn't long after seeing the dark purple Blight singeing his face that Yukine hurried back inside.

He saw the brunette come out of the bathroom.

"Hiyori!"

Hiyori suddenly froze right where she was in the doorway. She stared right back at him with wide eyes.

Did something happen? Why was she so startled?

He shrugged it off and approached her. "Yato's Blighted. Do we have any shrine water left somewhere?"

The young boy noticed a slight alarm raise in her pink eyes as she looked toward the balcony where her lover was still residing. She was silent. She slowly turned to glance down at the floor in deep thought.

Yukine furrowed his eyebrows in confusion at her odd behavior. "Hiyori!" He said again.

"Uh - right!" The brunette lifted her head and blinked, coming back. "I-I'll go get some…"

Then she hurried into her brother's guest room, closing the door behind her.

Yukine felt strange as he stood and watched the door, waiting for her to reappear.

Hiyori returned a few seconds later with a full water bottle. "Here," she said as she handed it towards him.

He would have thought she'd be much more willing to give the shrine water to help him, but she almost hesitated. Hiyori took a second too long to give it up. Yukine nearly had to pry her last finger off the bottle.

"Thanks…" he said slowly, skeptically.

He suddenly had a desire to stay and probe her, but he knew his master took priority.

. . . .

Yaboku groaned in frustration and turned his cheek away from his Regalia. He swatted the boy's hand off his face.

"Don't be a freaking baby! It's just water," Yukine snapped.

He sighed and lowered the wet towel, admitting defeat. However, the Blight was cleared.

The Regalia checked the water in his other hand.

That Blight was quite tough. It took nearly the whole bottle to get rid of it. Where was it coming from all of a sudden?

A slight breeze picked up, causing the boy to shiver. He looked through the glass doors and noticed Hiyori sitting by the table, eating breakfast by herself.

"Let's go back inside. It's too cold!" The boy whined.

The god of calamity sat, unfazed.

"Stand up."

Fueled by frustration, Yukine grabbed Yato's shoulders and tugged him. He attempted to pull him upwards to stand.

"I said stand up!"

Those words…

Dad?

Suddenly, the god gasped and swatted Yukine's hands off him, panic filling his eyes. As Yato's hand slapped away his Regalia's, the open water bottle went flying out of his grasp. It fell before their feet and formed a puddle as the liquid spilled out.

"Seriously?" Yukine snapped at his master before finally bending over to retrieve the now-empty bottle. "What the hell is going on with you? Just go inside and sit with Hiyori."

Yato swallowed hard. He headed past the boy and entered the apartment again. Yukine knelt down to wipe the spill with the cloth.

That was when he heard the sound of a body crashing to the floor, followed by Hiyori's distraught voice.

"Yato!"

The Regalia immediately straightened up and turned to discover the commotion. What he found was Hiyori rushing to Yato's aid, who was lying limp on the ground in the living room.

"Yato?"

The blonde boy came closer. He hovered over his friend as tears began to spill from her face. She attempted to shake her lover awake, to no avail.

"Yato - come on! Say something!"

"Hiyori."

Yukine's voice startled her just enough that he could intervene. She backed away to make room for him to observe his master.

The young Regalia brought his face down to Yato's, turning his ear to listen before pulling away altogether.

"He's still breathing - just unconscious," he explained. "He must be over-exhausted."

"W-what do we do - is he hurt?" Her voice shook as she spoke, her throat clogged with tears.

The blonde boy turned to see the half-Phantom.

Suddenly, there was too much going on; Yato wasn't responding, Hiyori was distressed, and Yukine needed to think.

That was it. That was his opening. That was when he could step in again.

Yukine wasted no time.

He had to carry his master to bed and care for him, but he couldn't do that with the girl hovering and sobbing over his shoulder.

He knew it couldn't have been easy for her to regulate her emotions in her condition. However, it would only worsen her and the baby's health as well.

"Hiyori," Yukine began, reaching out to touch her shoulders, "take a step back. Take one of your nice hot baths and relax. I can handle this."

"B-but what if-...?"

Her words trailed off as her gaze fell back to Yato.

"He just needs to sleep. I promise, he'll be alright." The determination in his glistening eyes suddenly calmed her.

She still seemed hesitant as she stole one last glance at the god beside them. His eyes were closed, his mouth ajar.

Yukine realized if he really wanted to sell it for her, he had to use the feelings she had for Yato. He took a deep breath.

"He'll be in bed when you come back, and you can stay with him there tonight while you sleep and watch over him. Okay?"

Her and Yato in the same bed? Feeling his comforting body heat beside her? Close enough to press her face against his chest, breathe in his wonderful scent and hear his heartbeat?

It had been so long since they last shared that bed together.

Hiyori swallowed her tears, feeling her cheeks' warmth. Her heart skipped a beat. A sudden sense of calmness washed over her.

Yukine noticed her crying had slowed, and her shoulders dropped under his hold.

"O-okay…" she finally answered softly.

Hiyori quietly stood up, using the coffee table beside her for support. She retreated from the room, the bathroom door opening and closing after she disappeared down the hallway.

The room fell silent once again, and the boy sighed heavily in relief.