Important information:
• I do not own Noragami. All credit for the series and its characters goes to Adachitoka.

this one-shot definitely isn't my best work, so i apologize in advance for that. and i said i wouldn't upload new fics here anymore, but i don't mind uploading one-shots.

also, this takes place before yukine becomes a blessed vessel/hafuri.

A gleaming, silver pane of soft moonlight illuminated the tips of Yukine's fingers. Idly, he stared at the minuscule flecks of dust dancing under the spotlight of the moon. However, his murky, vacant gaze soon drifted over the dark sea of floorboards from Kofuku and Daikoku's attic to the breathing, inky lump in the shadows.

Something's been weighing on Yato's mind, Yukine thought while audibly exhaling and straightening out his legs. Despite how annoying and obnoxious he is about everything, he always wants to handle his biggest problems alone. Every time I try to ask about what's on his mind, he says it's nothing, and he finds some irrelevant thing to complain about instead. I just…hope he's not like this because of me. I almost killed him…

Closing his eyes, Yukine attempted to ignore the memories that perpetually plagued his mind. He shook his head and sieved Yato's figure once again.

I think he's still awake. If I wait until morning, he'll brush it off. He's always been here for me. Even when I brought him to the verge of death, he didn't release me to save himself. I wonder if that's a reason as to why I died…

After taking a deep breath in and plucking up the confidence to speak, Yukine sighed, "Yato?" He heard the shuffle of fabric from the distance.

"Geez, you're still awake?" Yato's jovial lilt was suppressed by the overarching tranquility of the night.

Classic, nonchalant Yato… "I just…" Yukine paused, squinting his eyes. "Is it really okay for me to be your shinki?"

Yato released an exaggerated sigh. "I wouldn't be bragging about you to everyone if I didn't want you, Yukine." He rolled over in his futon to face Yukine. "Something got you down in the dumps?"

I should be asking you that. "I mean, I guess? I just keep thinking about before…when I hurt you a lot. I feel beyond awful for doing all that. Like…I shouldn't be your—"

"Yukine." Like a breath of cold air, Yato's voice slowly fell into silence. "I didn't pick you over it all just to throw you out, you know. I know it must be lonely and sad. You'll always be burdened with knowing you died in an unfair way, and knowing that the people that are still alive don't know your pain, and they don't even see you. 'Why did I die?' 'Why did I have to die?' 'Why did this have to happen?' 'I never asked for any of this.' 'What did I do to deserve this?' 'Haven't I been through enough already?' 'If I have to go through this, it's only fair if they do too, right?' 'Why do they get to live their lives like normal?'

"It's not fair, and it's cruel. You live on with that pain. That unfair pain that you can't change or reverse… And knowing you had to die so young. I know things are especially difficult for you at this age too. But you're strong, Yukine. That's why you're still here. You might not be able to live life as a human, but there are other shinki like you that are burdened with the same pains. I'm sure they'd want to be your friend."

Nodding, Yukine wrapped his arms around his pillow. "I'm still sorry I ended up like that at all," he whispered under his breath. "When I almost crossed over…"

I talk to him to try and help him, and he ends up helping me instead?

"Are you still punishing yourself for that?"

Yukine's hands closed up into gentle fists as his heartbeat quickened. "Yeah… I mean, you never even really got mad at me or did anything to me. So…"

Rising up from his futon, Yato stretched and hobbled over to Yukine. "Sheesh, don't you think the ablution was enough of a punishment?" He rubbed his knuckles against Yukine's head. "Besides, how could I do anything to my amazing little Yukine?" His smile was vaguely visible from the reach of the moonlight pouring in through the window.

Yukine turned his head away and crossed his arms. "S-Seriously…" he muttered.

A faint laugh escaped Yato's lips. "That's my Yukine. Now, you should get to sleep."

No, not yet. I haven't… I haven't asked you about anything yet.

Parting his lips, Yukine attempted to speak his mind, but for a while, his only reply was silence. "Yato? Do you ever hate the world or your creator for creating you? Do you ever wish you were human? You might be a God, shouldn't have to do everything alone." He swallowed thickly and awaited Yato's response.

After a few seconds of feeling Yato's frosty, radiant eyes like zircon crystals linger on him, Yukine perked his head up at the sound of Yato's voice. "Man, isn't it a little late for this? Oh, didn't you say you have plans with Hiyori tomorrow to study? You—"

"Yato, please…" pleaded Yukine in a whisper. "There you go again, avoiding the topic. You really are annoying." He furrowed his brows.

"I don't hate the world or my father for being the reasons why I exist at all," Yato finally sighed. "But I'm tired of being my father's puppet. I've killed so many people, and to think that I did it for fun in the past… Gods can do no wrong, but there I was, slaughtering innocent people as a way of playing. I don't kill people anymore, but I'm mainly known for my history of killing. That's why I didn't want you or anyone else to know. I wish I could erase that from my past." He peered out the white-ringed window. "In a way, it's like I am human. I've lived longer than any human, but…I'm not immortal. If I die, that's it. The Gods of Fortune don't have to worry about that since they'll always reincarnate. Sometimes, I wish I wasn't bound by my history and title to be a God of Calamity. I wish I was remembered. I wish people believed in me.

"That's why it's my goal to break the mold and become what I've wished for for so long. And I can't stand when the Gods who can reincarnate treat their current lives like they don't matter since they can reincarnate. What if they suddenly lost that ability? How many unfulfilled things would they leave behind? How many regrets would they have? It's also a stab in the back to their shinki. Shinki are humans that died when they still wanted to live. If a God's mentality is that they can just reincarnate, so it doesn't matter if they die…"

From the corner of his eye, Yukine noticed a glistening, silver stream engulfed by the moonlight. Wait, he's…crying? The same God that said if someone wants to die, then they should just die? Mesmerized and nonplussed from the glowing rivulets pouring down Yato's cheeks, Yukine could only stare. He's cold, but…at the same time, somehow, he's pretty selfless. But I agree with him. If he told me that before my ablution…

"Yukine… You really do only live once. Even if you reincarnate, and even if someone replaces you, nothing is the same. You won't remember anything from your previous life, and those around you are forced to watch as the person they once shared so many memories with no longer remembers them or anything you did together. And to put your shinki through that multiple times… I might be a War God and a God of Calamity, but I'm neither immortal nor emotionless. In a way, being forced into existence as the existence I am has been what's opened my eyes to cruelties like these. I wish I'd recognized how wrong killing for fun was…before I did any of it. How many lives I took, how many wandering spirits came about, how many families I tore apart…and all with a smile on my face."

"Do you…hate yourself for that?" Slowly, Yukine sat up and leaned against Yato's side.

Yato was silent and still for a few seconds that felt like hours. "I do, Yukine. I've tried to change and prove that I'm not like that anymore, but somehow, even though I try to help people like Hiyori, I do the wrong things instead." At last, he wiped his tears with his sleeve. "Sometimes, I wonder: if I had no shinki and no humans remembered me, would it be better if I disappeared? But then I realize how stupid that is to think. After all, I have connections with other Gods and shinki, and I wasn't brought into existence for no reason.

"I'm not going to throw away all that and the memories no one else will remember or be able to pass on. Nope. Not happening. Even if it takes me an eternity, I'll become a God with my own shrine, and a God worthy enough to be remembered." He curled his arm around Yukine. "And you're gonna be there to witness it. Do you know how long I waited for a shinki like you? And not just to have you as a shinki, but as a partner and a friend." Like a flower, Yato's lips blossomed into a smile drenched in an ethereal white.

Yukine felt his cheeks burn. "Now you're just embarrassing me." Yet, he rested his head on Yato's shoulder. "But since you've got your goals all figured out, you better not be all mopey in the morning." His jaw shifted, forming a partial underbite that was obscured by his lips. "Seriously, you go from zero to one hundred just like that."

Yato chuckled, "Aww, was my kid worried about me?"

"Sh-Shut up! That's not what I said. You were…just super annoying, all distant like that." Yukine expelled a sigh. "You should just let yourself rely on other people more. Hiyori and I are by your side for a reason. And you're obviously not the same as you used to be, so don't be getting all in a mood because of your past. What matters is that you want to help others, right?"

I guess I should take my own advice. What I did to Yato still gets to me. But I'm his shinki, and I can't let that regret hurt him. We both have pasts and regrets we hate, but I think we've both also learned a lot from it all. We both want to change for the better, and to not repeat past mistakes. Even a God…

Allowing his smile to linger, Yato ran his fingers through Yukine's hair. "You really are the greatest shinki, Yukine." He lowered his head until his chin was tickled by Yukine's hair that was dyed into a platinum blond from the moonlight. "Where would I be without you? All my other shinki left me, and that's why I'm even more grateful to have you by my side, Yukine. I know you can't let go of what happened, but look at you now. Ahh, my kid is maturing so much!"

"Or maybe you're just maturing backwards."

"Hah?! I'm not that immature, am I?"

"You're that immature. But…I'm not any better. Now, get your sweaty hands off me and sleep so you're not a complete idiot tomorrow."

"All right, all right… Night, Yukine. Thanks for talking to me, and thanks for listening."

"Whatever… You would've been even more of a pain if I didn't. Night, Yato."

I've felt lonely since no one can see me, and I can't have the friends I see having so much fun all around like I should've been able to have, but…I wonder how lonely it's been for Yato, a God that no one's heard of, no one remembers, and that even his shinki abandon. He even said he's tired of being his father's puppet. Despite all that, he's still smiling like the idiot he is. Well, you're not alone, Yato… As long as I'm here, neither of us will be alone. Thanks for naming me and not giving up on me. I'll become a shinki you can truly be proud of, so don't let me down, either, Yato.