Note: If you've never read my fic, Nightbound, STOP! This short story contains MAJOR spoilers and characters from that narrative, and references events from chapters 19 and 20. Most of the time I offer context, but it wouldn't help much in this case, so unless you don't care about spoilers, I suggest reading the main fic and coming back to this later.

In the midst of all the screaming and the chaos, while flames cracked menacingly and the sharp tang of liquid fuel permeated the air, a single man watched the scene in front of him, sitting on the highway railing with his chin propped up on his hand and an almost bored look in his handsome dark eyes. He huffed as the sirens in the distance wailed closer, blowing a lock of thick brown hair out of his face. Slowly, he tapped his finger against his cheek.

"Well," he said to no one in particular. "This fucking goddamn sucks."

He glanced at his watch, though it had stopped working about twenty minutes earlier. He would've been at the office by now if it hadn't been for this shitstorm. He'd always been fashionably late to pretty much everything in his life, but this was overkill. Dramatic irony in it's finest hour.

Actually, the entire situation was a joke of cosmic proportions. A pretty good one, if he had to say one way or the other. He'd been up and down the line of smashed up cars twice, and not a single other person had been badly injured. Hell, the only other real injury was some poor guy with a broken rib. They'd gotten him out pretty fast, considering his car was near the back.

But not his. His car was third in line, surrounded by the wreckage of a four-by-four and a literal group therapy van. Group therapy. A van from the community center downtown, where he sometimes referred patients to their rehabilitation programs. They ran a service to pick up high-risk patients who couldn't always manage the train for one reason or another. Everyone had managed to get out of that wreck just fine, but still.

Group. Motherfucking. Therapy.

Oh, someone up in Heaven was fucking laughing, and if Dr. Kobayashi Koichi could see them, he would join right in.

After he cried a little bit. Or a lot. Probably a lot.

But that's not where the joke ended. Oh no. It got so much worse.

His patient that morning? A traumatized survivor of a car accident who had been too afraid to drive for four whole years after the fact. He'd had to call in to his office and tell the secretary she'd need to reschedule the poor guy's mandated therapy, the sessions of which he needed to prove he was overcoming his phobia of driving so he could get his license back.

Tell him I'm sorry, but I can't come in today 'cause I'm in a FUCKING PILE UP. But no worries, tell him he'll be driving again in no time, and there's no need for him to worry, 'cause car accidents in Japan are pretty rare!

Okay, he hadn't used those exact words, but in retrospect he really wished he had.

The second call he'd made was to his wife. She hadn't answered, of course. Where Koichi was laid-back and occasionally irresponsible, his wife Hana was so neurotic that it was no exaggeration to say that growing up as her next-door neighbor had heavily influenced Koichi's decision to become a therapist. Every day at 7 AM sharp, Hana arrived at work and dutifully turned her personal phone off. If Koichi called her work phone or her office, she would ignore him until her lunch break when she would immediately call him back and wrap up whatever business they had in prompt order. The woman was the poster child for meticulousness, and it gave her great credence as a lawyer. The other side of the coin, because there was always another side to the coin, was that she was only that diligent because she had crippling anxiety disorder. Sticking to a strict routine was her coping mechanism of choice.

I should've left her a message, he sighed, watching as the firefighters began hosing down the cars. He hadn't really thought it was a big deal at the time. No obvious injuries, no concussion, just a busted up car he couldn't get out of and a killer numb foot that he'd gotten wedged between the seat and the crumpled door.

And therein lay the final masterstroke of irony. Koichi's entire life was built on the principle of helping other people out. He was just That Guy. The one everyone called when they got stranded after the trains stopped running, or when they needed advice about a life-changing decision. The guy every friend had listed as their emergency contact. The seven-year-old kid called at 2 in the morning because his neighbor's five-year-old daughter was having a panic attack and Koichi was the only one who could calm her down. The one who at the tender age of eleven ran away from home just to track said daughter down when she got lost on a family visit in the next prefecture over. The one who-

Okay, those were all just Hana. But still.

He loved helping people. It was natural to him, like breathing. And he was damn good at it. If someone had their bike stolen in front of him, he'd drop everything and help. If someone was crying in public, he'd stop to make sure they were okay. He'd talked people off ledges for years before he got his practitioner's license. It was probably a little conceited to say it about himself, but Koichi had charm and charisma to spare, and he knew exactly how to use it for good.

Well, good and the occasional free coffee at the shop down the street from his office. But mostly good.

So there he'd found himself, not really all that worried about his safety as he sat in his mangled car, hoping everyone else was alright and wishing the painful tingling crawling up his leg would just stop already. The fact that he could feel anything at all did help to reassure him, though; pain meant his nervous system was still functioning as intended, so he hadn't hurt his spine in the accident at least.

He called out his broken window several times, trying to check in on the people around him, but there was so much disarray and noise as people started shouting and shifting metal around that he doubted they could hear him. He reasoned that he should save his energy and wait until there was more he could do about the situation.

He was getting a bit bored and uncomfortable with his unnatural position when someone found him, though they were on the other side of that wretched Ironymobile and couldn't actually get to him. They shouted some questions which he shouted answers back to, and then suddenly there was an ear-wrenching bang as the fucking van exploded and Koichi's car was blown back with great force. He opened his eyes to a world gone sideways, and several nasty cuts and bruises had appeared on his arms, legs, and chest. At that point, he realized he was in big trouble, because not only was there a lot of smoke and flames, but the nasty chemical smell wafting in through his obliterated window told him that his car was now leaking highly-combustible, pressurized liquid fuel.

But that wasn't the worst of it. In the explosion, Koichi's foot had come loose from where it had been stuck, and it turned out it wasn't just numb after all. His calf had been partially shredded by the edge of the door, and it was only the pressure that had stopped it from bleeding copiously all over the upholstery. Adrenaline must have been dulling the pain too, because it was all Koichi could do now not to scream in agony. His trained medical eye was certain his femoral vein was damaged, and if he didn't stop the bleeding quick, it would almost certainly be fatal.

Unfortunately, the explosion had also trapped Koichi in the distorted wreckage so that he couldn't wiggle free or reach down to tend to his injury. The steering wheel was jutting into his chest painfully, making it hard to breathe, and his phone had vanished, probably flung into the far reaches of hell by the force of the blast.

Someone called out to him, and relief flooded his veins; even if they didn't have the equipment to extract him, someone could still probably come and at least apply a tourniquet to his leg so he wouldn't bleed to death before the paramedics arrived.

That hope was quickly dashed. His would-be rescuer was too far from his car, and she was too frightened by the flames and the spilled fuel to risk coming any closer. She called out for help, but no one was willing to fight their way in through the wreckage. In the end, the fuel never caused more explosions, but Koichi's desperate cries faded long before the paramedics arrived. A lifetime of being a good Samaritan, and not even one person involved in that whole accident was willing to be brave enough to try and at least stop his bleeding.

He'd cried then, thinking of his wife and his twelve-year-old daughter, the two treasures he valued most in the world, and cursed himself hoarse at the gods his in-laws venerated so highly.

Of course, no one replied.

The world went dark, and five minutes later, he realized he was outside the car, perfectly whole and oddly light, but when he immediately started combing through the wreckage for survivors he could help (gods, he was a sap), his hands went through the shrapnel as though he was trying to reach into a hologram.

He panicked and started shouting for help again, but when he ran around the pile-up and found the onlookers recording the paramedics and firefighters at work as though it were just some form of entertainment, no one turned at the sound of his voice. He even stood in front of one of them and waved his hands wildly, but it was quickly becoming apparent that he was completely invisible and incorporeal to the world around him.

Bewilderment and confusion made him patrol the crash a little longer, just so he wouldn't have to think about the repercussions of what had happened to him. Eventually he couldn't deny it any longer and he sank onto the railing on the side of the road, not really sitting on it, but somehow feeling as though he was. His usual candid outlook analyzed the situation as rationally as he could and he came to the conclusion that the universe, or god, or whatever the hell was at work here, was a fucking asshole.

"Thanks, though," he told the sky drily. "I do appreciate the humor; if I had to die here, at least I got to laugh at a great punchline. Or I will later, anyway."

He sat there a while longer, watching the accident get cleaned up with its usual Japanese efficiency.

So he was dead. Fun. He would've tried to find the silver lining, except he doubted there really was one when no one could see or hear him. He could go see his wife and daughter, sure, but he had the sinking feeling it would only make him really fucking depressed. He would never be able to speak with or touch them again, and he'd have to watch them deal with the grief of his death with absolutely nothing he could do to help. That was literally the definition of Koichi's worst nightmare: he was a compulsive Helper even in death.

He sighed, eyes focused on nothing in particular, when a sudden movement in his peripheral vision caught his attention. He blinked, noting that the wreckage looked the same as it had five seconds ago, when a man hopped up on the hood of a destroyed car, glanced around, and with the same ease seemed to vanish into thin air. A moment later, the same man appeared on top of the flipped four-by-four lying on its side, and poked experimentally through the window with a long dark pole.

What the fuck? Koichi wondered. The man wasn't dressed like emergency personnel; instead of a bulky uniform, he was wearing a worn old black tracksuit and what looked like brown cowboy boots pulled over them. He also seemed a little too scrawny to be working the scene in any official capacity. A thrill seeker, maybe, or some idiot looking for his lost phone.

Several firefighters passed near the truck, and Koichi fully expected them to start yelling and drag the man out of danger, but to his astonishment they didn't even look up at him, and the latter paid them no mind either.

Could he be...

Koichi hadn't noticed any other casualties around him, but it was possible someone else had died after being evacuated. If so, the stranger was probably just like him, a ghost of some sort, looking for answers in his confusion.

"Hey!" Koichi shouted, pushing off from the railing as he hurried forward toward the truck. "You! Can you hear me?!"

The man gave a start and glanced over the edge of the wreck. Up close, Koichi was surprised to find that the man was really more of a boy, hardly out of his teens, if that. He had unnervingly blue eyes, but no one would ever mistake his attractive visage for anything but a born and bred Japanese citizen. With his jet-black hair, heavily lidded eyes, thin nose, and full lips he was almost as handsome as Koichi (he was dead, screw humility), but in a softer, more classical sense of the term. Feminine, almost... and oddly familiar, somehow. An odd sense of unease settled in Koichi's stomach as he hesitated, and in doing so, he realized that the long object the stranger had been poking through the glass-less windows was actually a spear, an old-fashioned naginata, to be precise.

"You talking to me?" he asked, surprised at Koichi's voice.

Koichi swallowed, uncertain. A ghost like him was one thing, but... the hell was this guy doing with a spear in the middle of Tokyo?! It was definitely not a fake; no one could fake craftsmanship like the peerless edge on that blade, and the decorative tassels around the hilt were just like the ones he'd seen at his in-laws' shrine.

"Uh, yeah," he finally said, unable to feign ignorance after locking eyes. "W-What're you doing up there?"

The boy blinked at him and raised an eyebrow as though he couldn't fathom why anyone would ask. "What's it look like I'm doing?!"

"Honestly, I have no idea," Koichi said bluntly. "This is an emergency, can't you see all the people in fire gear?"

"They won't mind," the boy scoffed, hopping down from the truck with abnormal ease. He landed neatly without so much as a thud. "I don't suppose you've seen any ayakashi around here, have you?"


"Just answer the question," the boy insisted with a huff.

"Er, no...?" Koichi said, bemused.

"Hmm," the boy said, scratching his head. "I could've sworn I felt something around here..." He wandered off around the Ironymobile, occasionally poking the wreckage with the blunt end of his spear. Koichi watched him make a full circle until he was right back where he started.

"Oh, you're still here," he noted, looking at Koichi with surprise. "Don't you have somewhere to be, someone to haunt?"

Koichi blanched. "How did you know I was dead?!"

"It's my job to know," the stranger said with a shrug. "And no one else has paid any attention to you the entire time you've been standing in the way of the paramedics," he noted flatly. He raised his chin at the workers preparing a black bag next to Koichi's totaled car, probably so they could cart his body away.

"Oh. Right," Koichi said, feeling slightly stupid for his momentary suspension of disbelief.

"You should probably get out of here though," the man said, tapping his spear to his shoulder in a lazy, careless sort of gesture. "Accidents like this one attract ayakashi, and you don't wanna be around when they come. Just not sure why they're not here already," he added in a mutter, frowning to himself.

"Uhm, when you say ayakashi..."

"You know. Demons, evil spirits, creatures of the night, whatever humans call them these days. They're drawn to death and negative emotions, and accidents like these are basically a buffet table to them. Lots of chaos and darkness to lurk in, plenty of nastiness to feed off of."

Koichi immediately thought of Hana and the particularly strong beliefs of her family. He'd never taken any of it seriously, but his in-laws were so superstitious that none of them would stay in houses that didn't have charms and protections against the occult. Hana had brought her own set of talismans too, when they'd gotten married and moved into their own house. Even now, there was a little corner of their parlor dedicated to a small altar with a handful of small statues representing her family's important deities. He respected that she felt safer with them, and that she truly believed in gods and demons, but she'd never pressured him into believing too. He just wished she wouldn't push their daughter into it either; she was more like him in that she didn't seem to have any interest in old folktales and prayer, but Hana still insisted that the poor girl pay her respects on special occasions.

"You mean those kinds of things are real?" he asked, his throat going dry as he remembered snippets of stories his in-laws told. Japan had a long, long history of mythological evils, and if such things really did exist, he could understand exactly why some people felt safer thinking they could ward them off.

"You're real, aren't you?" the stranger countered. "Dead as you are, you're part of the Far Shore now, just like them. That's why you can't interact with anything in the world of the living anymore. If you exist, then why can't they?"

"... Fair point," Koichi reluctantly agreed, unable to argue with a well-reasoned statement. "What am I supposed to do now?"

The man didn't answer right away, his sharp blue eyes turning to the spear in his hand with a thoughtful, preoccupied look on his face. Koichi was reminded of the way people with wireless ear pieces looked when they were listening to a conversation no one else could hear.

"Hmm, I guess," the stranger eventually said, looking rather unconvinced. "But there's probably not much I could do, even if it wasn't a huge pain in the ass," he trailed off, still not looking at Koichi. "If he's been turned away from Yomi, then he's got something keeping him anchored to the Near Shore. It is kind of unusual how quickly he manifested though... Normally it can take days or months..."

There was another long silence that only ended when the man sighed and grudgingly gave Koichi an appreciative glance.

"Alright, Kirine, you win," he said, and Koichi had no idea why but he sort of nudged the spear with his cheek, almost as if he were nuzzling another person. "Jeez, you're even bossier than Yukine," he muttered. To Koichi's shock, one of the tassels on the spear seemed to lift all by itself and lightly smacked the man across the face.

"OW! IT'S TRUE!" he cried, rubbing his nose. "I'm the master, you know! Treat me with a bit more respect!"

The man muttered to himself under his breath for a bit before finally addressing Koichi.

"It's your lucky day," he grumbled with a scowl. "I've got some free time to help you out."

"Lucky. Right," Koichi said flatly, eyeing the paramedics zipping his rather bloodied corpse up in the body bag. "I don't even know who you are."

"God, obviously," the boy said, as though he were stating the world's most normal fact.

"God," Koichi repeated.


Koichi blinked.

"Alright then," he said simply. "Better God than that patient I had who believed he was the reincarnated soul of Murasaki Shikibu-"

The boy scowled. "Fucking rude. I'm the real damned thing! I can see and talk to you even though you're dead, can't I?!"

"Well, that's true," Koichi admitted. "But I dunno that that makes you God..."

"A god! Not one of those imported creation deities!" the boy insisted angrily. "I'm a bona fide Shinto god, and you should be freaking bowing or something, not treating me like some two-bit nutcase!"

"Alright, alright! Just put the spear down!" Koichi cried as the blade was pointed at his face. He had a feeling that even as a ghost or spirit, or whatever he was, that naginata would cut him just the same.

The boy paused suddenly, as if listening to something, and then made a deeply displeased sound.

"Oh alright, fine," he grumbled. "Yeah, I know, I won't."


"Not talkin' to you," he said gruffly, tapping his spear impatiently on the asphalt. "She wants me to help you cross over."


"S'not important!" the boy complained, ruffling his messy dark hair in frustration. The gesture stirred something in the depths of Koichi's memory, but he couldn't quite bring it to mind. "Look, you only just died, but you manifested so quickly you almost definitely have a lingering regret that's keeping you tied to the Near Shore. If I don't clear it for you soon, you're gonna get stuck here, and then you'll become a wandering spirit. You wanna be food for ayakashi?!"

Koichi shook his head, more confused than ever. "I have no idea what you're saying. Seriously, who are you?"

The boy pointed at his own chest with his thumb. "Delivery God Yato, at your service. I'll do any job you need taken care of, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. Normally I charge five yen, but since you're dead and all, I'll waive the fee this time." He suddenly choked with indignation and turned to the spear. "NO, I won't!" he cried, offended. "I'm not that desperate, Kirine! I wouldn't rob a corpse!"

"What? Who are you talking to?!"

"Her," Yato said curtly, gesturing at the naginata. "My Regalia, Boukki. Don't worry about her, she's just being disrespectful as usual."

Koichi was tempted to chalk the boy's bizarre behavior down to a delusional disorder, but he was certain he'd seen the spear's tassel hit him on its own. If there were ghosts and demons, maybe there were gods too, though Koichi couldn't quite reconcile this tracksuit-clad weirdo, hardly out of his teens, with the traditional concept of a regal natural deity.

Y'know what, I don't even care, he sighed to himself. Whether he's an actual god or some deranged ghost, not like I got anything better to do now.

"You said I have a... a regret, was it?" he asked, not wanting to get bogged down in topics he didn't understand.

Yato nodded. "That's what causes spirits to remain on the Boundary. Otherwise you'd be in the underworld by now. So spit it out, what's got you haunting this overpass?"

"The hell if I know!" Koichi snapped. "One second I was dead, next I was right back here!"

"But you didn't go anywhere else," the so-called god insisted. "Which means you probably have some unfinished business specifically here in this spot."

"I just didn't know what to do or where to go," he admitted. "It's kind of a shock, you know, becoming a ghost."

Yato clicked his tongue.

"Fine, if I gotta," he complained, though Koichi was sure he was speaking to the spear again. With a sigh, the god closed his eyes and held the spear out in front of him.

"Woven scarlet threads,

"Hidden by the mists of time,

"Rent by blade of night," he recited clearly, turning the spear in a clockwise arc until it was horizontal in his grip. His eyes blinked open and a shiver passed through Koichi's incorporeal spine; the already unusual blue irises seemed to glower with icy heat, and he gazed at Koichi with such detached coldness that he felt like he was being sized up by a predator.

"There it is," Yato said suddenly, and though Koichi was sure he'd spoken fairly quietly, his voice seemed to echo in the air around them. The god (Koichi had no doubts now, whatever Yato looked like, he was definitely not human) reached out his hand and grasped at something invisible in front of him. Slowly, red began to bleed out of the sides of his closed fist, and then he was holding what looked like a piece of thread. But just as Koichi opened his mouth to ask what the hell was going on, Yato suddenly let go and hastily stepped back, his eyes back to normal and a frightened expression on his face. The red thread vanished as though it had never existed in the first place.

"I'm fine," he said after a moment, apparently to reassure his spear, but Koichi could tell the boy was anything but fine. He was shaken to the core, and he was looking at Koichi as though he were a dangerous animal, sweat beading on his forehead. "I just- I haven't done that in a while," he muttered.


His own name seemed to help him regain his earlier confidence.

"Y-yeah, I'm good," he insisted. "I was trying to see if I could find your regret in your threads of fate, but using Boukki like that always takes it out of me, so I usually avoid it." Koichi raised a brow; if over a decade of working as a behavioral therapist had taught him anything, it was that some people just didn't like to give straight answers. They lied without telling untruths, hid secrets in plain sight, just like Yato was trying to do now.

Even gods lie, huh.

"Did you find it?" he asked instead. He wasn't about to start questioning a deity's motivations, even if he was curious.


"My regret?"

Yato stared at him.

"Oh. Yeah. I got it," he said. He cleared his throat. "Release, Kiri."

The spear glowed brightly for a second, then vanished, leaving only a pretty young woman standing where it had been.

Koichi did a double-take, shocked not by her sudden appearance, but by the unnerving familiarity of her wide, clear eyes and the waves of dark brown hair tied loosely over her shoulder. He'd seen this woman before, or at least, someone who looked almost exactly like her. A very old photograph of his wife's paternal aunt when she was a young girl, down to the same polite bearing and the gentle intelligence in her expression. The only difference was that the Ishimura Reiko of forty years ago had been somewhat taller than this girl, and her hair had been a slightly darker shade, closer to black than brown. Otherwise, they could have been twins.

He meant to remark on the similarity, but Yato cut in, addressing the girl before either of them could even exchange greetings.

"Kirine, I'm gonna need something to eat, I'm getting a headache," he said quickly, but Koichi was certain he was lying.

"What?" she asked, bewildered. "But we were just-"

"Now, please," he insisted steering her forward by the shoulders. "I don't need you for this part, it's fine. There's no ayakashi here either."


"This can't wait, using your powers really screws me up, you know that," he said, looking pathetic as he groaned pitifully. The theatricality wasn't fooling Koichi at all, but then again, he was only an outsider. "The least you could do is buy your master a snack..."

That seemed to work, and the girl looked terribly guilty.

"You're sure you won't need me?" she asked slowly. "Yukine-kun would kill me if something happened to you while I was gone-"

"It's fine, I've done this a thousand times," he insisted. She glanced at Koichi but nodded.

"Well... okay. I'll be right back," she said. She bowed at Koichi and just like that she was off and out of sight.

"That was cruel," Koichi noted flatly. "You always manipulate her like that?"

"It was necessary," Yato grunted, sticking his hands in his pockets. "I don't like lying to her either, trust me." He turned back to Koichi with an inscrutable expression in his eyes. "So. You're married to an Iki."

Koichi gave a start of surprise. "How-"

"It was written in your thread of fate," Yato noted. "And just now, you looked like you knew Kirine from somewhere."

"So it's true, she really is-"

"Shh!" Yato hissed angrily. "Look, I'm only telling you this cause you're going to Yomi after this, so there's no chance of you accidentally getting picked up as someone's shinki. But your wife's family, they're incredibly important to me, and I can't risk Kirine ever finding that out."

"Why not?"

"It's complicated. And so is your family. The good thing is, your regret is something I can take care of just fine. Your wife and your daughter," he explained when Koichi gave him a bewildered look. "You wished you could have at least said goodbye to them, and right before you died, you asked whatever gods existed to watch over them. So don't worry, I'll make sure to keep an eye on them for you. I've been checking up on Kobayashi Hana for a long time now anyway."

"Hana? What-" Koichi suddenly froze, remembering a conversation from twelve years ago. "It's you," he realized. "You're that god, the one we named our Yasumi for, Yaboku-"

"I don't use that name anymore," the god said firmly. "It's Yatogami or Amagiri-no-Mikoto, and yeah, I'm him. If I'd known someone with ties to the Iki clan was in this accident, I never would've brought Kirine here, but my other Regalia is at a seminar for guideposts or whatever the fuck it was-" he paused to glare up at the sky for a moment. "Anyway, doesn't matter. You can rest assured your wish has been heard loud and clear. Your family will be looked after, Kobayashi Koichi. Ame and I will make sure of it, just as we've done for the last two hundred years."

By the time Kirine made it back to the scene of the accident, the dead spirit had vanished, and she found Yato sitting alone on the side of an overturned car, his eyes curiously lost in thought.

"Yato?" she asked. It wasn't like him to think so deeply about things, not in front of her, anyway.

"Oh, hey," he said, recognizing her as she sat down next to him. "You get anything good?"

"Cheesy buns," she said, handing him the plastic bag. "Where's-"

"Gone," he said simply. "He crossed over a few minutes ago."

"What did he need?" she asked, curious. Her skills as a Regalia were intricately linked to the workings of fate, but other than the rare premonition, she had no insight into the things Yato sensed through her. And he almost never used her abilities if he could help it, though Kirine wasn't entirely convinced he was telling the truth when he said it was because they took a toll on him.

Yato shrugged as he unwrapped one of the buns. "The usual sort of thing. A thread of fate he needed to let go of."

"Would Yomi really reject him for one thread?"

He chewed thoughtfully. "No, not usually. But I think he was a little bit of a weirdo. You felt it too, right? The excess positive energy?"

"Is that what it was?" she asked.

"Yeah, he was a natural-born exorcist. That's why we couldn't find any ayakashi around here."

"I did feel distinctly uncomfortable," she admitted, rubbing her arm.

"It's 'cause of your little friend back there," he said mischievously, and Kirine's whole body erupted in gooseflesh as he gave her ayakashi tail a small, playful tug.

"HEY! DON'T DO THAT!" she cried, hitting him over the head with her fist, gathering her tail up to her chest to keep it out of his reach. "What the hell is wrong with you, Yato?!"

He was so busy laughing that Kirine never noticed the strange, cracked phone next to him, or the message he'd written a few minutes earlier, at the dead spirit's request.

I'm sorry, Sunflower, it read. Please take care of Yasumi, and know that I loved you since before I even had the words to say so. I'll always be with you, so don't forget to live for my sake too.

PS: Oh, and do me a favor, and sue the hell out of whoever commissioned that van at the community center; that thing had way more people in it than it was supposed to. They're lucky they all got out alive, fortunate bastards, but at least make sure whoever was cutting corners gets what's coming to 'em. It'd be a shame if the gods never got to see the irony of the therapist's lawyer wife ripping that guy a new one.


I think I can officially say I've overcome my writer's block \o/ This is probably the last little short story for the foreseeable future, and though it's a little different from the others, I hope it was still enjoyable and provided some context into some events from Nightbound that have been shrouded in mystery until now. Please rate and review as always, and I'll see you in the next chapter~