Hiyori walked into Safe Heaven with a pep in her step. It was like her mother always said: the best way to know if you could truly stand a man, was to spend an entire employee vacation with him. Or a weekend soiree, or holiday ball, or something of that nature. Hiyori's smile twitched and she reminded herself to thank her brother for covering for her. Her mother would have a conniption if she knew she got a hotel for the weekend with a man she was "not-dating" for about three weeks.
"While having a bit of a crush on him for much longer," Hiyori reminded herself.
Aside from that, things went surprisingly well. Really well, in fact! When it came to Yato, Hiyori anticipated at least two meltdowns and a handful of unlucky mishaps... But any bad luck was waved off with a laugh and a creative idea to get around it. Yato was still excitable, vibrating in his seat, pressing his face to the airplane window to squeal, and taking pictures of anything and everything. Literally everything - trees, street signs, their hotel room, and even the locals. But she couldn't help but think it was cute.
She learned things about Yato she never would otherwise, except maybe from Yukine. Of course Yato loved giving kisses, several little ones or long dramatic ones, and blushed brightly at the smallest signals of affection.
But more than that, it was the little things. Yato always made the bed, wanting to leave the room as clean as he could so the hotel staff didn't have to work as hard. He put way too much syrup on pancakes - eagerly ordering them from room service well into the night - but always saved her some for reasons she giggled at. He liked eye-smarting bathing suits, got tricked by every tourist scheme, and gave all his pocket change to the first street performer he saw, then got depressed he couldn't give anything to the rest.
Yato prefered his showers cold, and whined when the water was too hot, but insisted on staying in the shower until she changed it herself. He served her coffee in the morning and tea before bed, and he couldn't sleep when he was anxious.
The night before the interview Hiyori could barely convince him to lay down, let alone rest his eyes. She practically had to hold him down. The next day it was hard to get him out and about. Yato ironed Kazuma's clothes several times after washing them twice in the hotel and hung them up in the furthest corner of the room. They had been practicing interviews twice after every meal and she talked him down during his nervous pacing. Even after the actual interview was over, Yato didn't sleep until they were on the plane, and he crashed on her shoulder, drooling and mumbling in public.
He was embarrassing and a handful, but Hiyori had fun. She really did. And she couldn't really imagine doing things without him there anymore. The thought made her hands squeeze in front of her, but she pushed her way into the staff office with resolve. Yato wasn't in there, which was disappointing, but Hiyori continued her day nonetheless. She put the lunchbox Yato made her in the fridge, emptied out the little packets of hotel syrup Yato insisted they save 'just in case,' and sat at her computer.
She had three new emails from the country's testing agency and board certifications. Sitting up, Hiyori opened the first one, which agreed for her to have the third part of the medical licensing exam in the same city as Yato's job and proposed dates, which are subject to change at her discretion. The next one covered her board certifications, another exam available to her in Yato's maybe-new city. The third was an email from Yato with the photos from their weekend away, which she smiled at. Sighing, Hiyori leaned back and looked at their matching grins, it was rare for her at her age to be smiling so broadly in a photo.
Kofuku popped up behind her, "are those photos from this weekend? Ooo-ooo!" Kofuku cooed over Hiyori's shoulder. The tip of the doctor's ears were red as Kofuku rested her chin on Hiyori's shoulder.
"Kofuku, please!" Hiyori didn't want to shove the woman kneeling on a rolling chair since Kofuku barely jumped on her without falling. But it was too late, the receptionist squealed and gasped at the dorkiness of their time together.
It wasn't a full-blown vacation - they felt guilty Yukine wasn't there - so they only ate, shopped, and walked around. But they still went out to touristy restaurants, swam in every available body of water, and danced to public music.
"Oh my heavens, what's this? There's only one bed?" Kofuku gasped at the simple hotel room.
The next photo she stopped on was taken in nothing but a single lamp light. Hiyori was fast asleep, drooling with her messy hair strewn all over the pillow. She was curled towards Yato, clutching the corner of his pillow. He was on his back with a beaming grin and a peace sign, like taking a selfie with a celebrity.
"Yato!" Hiyori hissed through Kofuku's giggling. Then she clicked to the next picture and paused.
It was the same as the last one, except Yato was looking at her with the softest smile she had ever seen on him. Just a little quirk of closed lips, a dust of pink across his cheeks, and crinkled baby blue eyes. Hiyori was speechless… He looked… in love. There was no other way to describe it. Yato looked head-over-heels, deeply and madly, like he was happy and content in the truest way, as if Hiyori with drool and messy hair was all he ever wanted in life.
Behind her, Kofuku hugged Hiyori's shoulders, "you know, I have the same picture, with me and Daikoku? I just think he looks so cute when his hair is not combed."
"I think Yato will get the job."
Kofuku blinked at her then smiled, "You believe in him?"
"We think so, too," Kofuku nuzzled.
"I think I want to go with him." Hiyori felt right saying that. Kofuku let her go and plopped in the chair beside her.
"I'm happy for you!" Kofuku looked off to the side, "Daikoku and I met here and we love working here. We love the program for teens and really like helping out."
Kofuku's expression was soft, "But now, we're thinking about opening that cafe we always talked about. We just don't know where yet." The pink-haired girl looked to see Hiyori smiling.
"Now, it won't be for a while!" Kofuku stood, "so you might need to keep Yatty company in the meantime."
Hiyori's smile dropped and her fingers tightened into a fist on the desk, "h-hey, Kofuku?"
"I know, Hiyori," Kofuku sighed, but she didn't seem upset. "It's Yuki's decision. It will always be Yuki's decision, not mine nor Yatty's. He can choose what he wants to do, it's our job to merely give him options."
"Thanks, Kofuku," Hiyori smiled.
Kofuku grinned back. "Good luck! I'm sure Yatty would love to host you while you're studying. But maybe wait until after Yukine decides how he wants to move forward?"
"Of course," Hiyori agreed.
Her friend left and the day went by like usual, with Hiyori being more than a little skittish around Yato.
"It's cause you're gross," Yukine said as they walked to Hiyori's office.
"I am not! Hiyori likes my musk!" Yato exclaimed, "right, Hiyori?"
"Not gross as in sweaty - you are, and I don't know how she deals with it - but it's because you keep flirt- clinging to her! You're being weird!"
"I'm not being weird! I wuv her!" Yato gave her a peck on the cheek and Hiyori jolted into a fantasy of him kissing her goodbye before work, in an apartment they shared.
"And I wuv you too, Yukine!"
Yato jumped on the already embarrassed teen who squawked and tried to fight him off. Hiyori couldn't help but giggle as she opened the door to her office. Yukine shoved Yato off and jumped onto the check-up table while Yato dropped into her chair. Hiyori rolled her eyes as they continued to bicker and got to work, checking Yukine's vitals.
"So Hiyori, do you know when you're taking your test?" Yukine asked. Hiyori squeezed the blood pressure monitor a bit too tightly and she felt Yato stop spinning in her chair.
"Y-yeah, I do!" Hiyori smiled. "I'm just not sure where yet. I can pick and choose, but most of the exams come up next month."
"Next month, huh?" Yukine muttered.
The room went quiet as Yukine's upcoming departure was looming. He had until next week. Kofuku and Daikoku were going to announce their plans to adopt Yukine tomorrow, during Yato's surprise party. She was pretty sure Yato knew all of this, and she was also sure Yukine did not. It was disguised as a party for Hiyori and Kazuma finishing their residency, for Yukine's sake.
Yukine suddenly leaned around Hiyori to look at Yato, "hey Yato, can I talk to you? We never got too."
"Oh, sure, kid," Yato brought the chair over, "what's up?"
"Well, it's just that," Yukine fidgeted, "I know you said you were going to figure something out for me - and I believe you! - but, well, um… I was wondering… what that was?" Yukine blinked at Yato who had a blank expression.
"What are we going to do?' Yukine leaned forward. The word 'we' got Hiyori to stop writing on her clipboard. She looked at Yukine and realized his face was full of hopefulness, but one glance at Yato showed hopelessness.
"Well, yeah, I mean, what else is there? I don't have anywhere else to go…" Yukine said bashfully, scratching his head.
Yato's mouth opened, "but what if there was something else?"
"Yeah, something - somewhere else to go. With someone else… Someone you already know."
"Y-yeah!" Yukine sat up, excited, "I mean, if I had the option, of - of course!"
Yato leaned his elbows on his knees, "so, just to clarify, you wouldn't want to stay here."
"You would want to go somewhere else with someone else?"
"With someone, yeah," Yukine nodded, cheeks pink. Yato's mouth clicked closed and pushed itself into a smile. With a heavy sigh, Yato patted his knees and stood up.
"That's good then," Yato said as he patted Yukine's head.
"Wait-!" Hiyori said as Yato walked out. She turned to Yukine, the teen's legs swinging as he beamed.
"Yukine…" Hiyori sat down gently in Yato's chair.
"Yeah?" Yukine asked.
Hiyori bit her lip as she thought this over. Her mind could be playing tricks on her - telling her what she wanted to hear - but she thinks there was just a miscommunication. On the other hand, it wasn't really her business and there was nothing set in stone for Yato. She wasn't completely sure Yato was even confident enough to want Yukine, nor did she know if he got the job to support him. If Yukine didn't know this and didn't want to stay here, what did that strange exchange mean for them?
"Do you think Yato got the job?"
"I don't know," Yukine shrugged, "but he's been applying to a lot of places so he's bound to get one. I'm sure he will! I made sure he worked on it every day!" Yukine said proudly. Hiyori smiled a little and took another breath.
"So, is there someone you have in mind? One you want to leave with?"
"Huh? What kind of question is that?" Yukine cocked his head, eyebrows wrinkled.
"It's just that-" a knock sounded at the door.
"Come in!" Hiyori called. Kazuma poked his head in and looked between them.
"Hey, uh, in the employee office?…I think you should see?" Kazuma gestured vaguely to the hall. Worried about another patient, Hiyori stood up.
"Oh, okay, uh, Yukine? It- it'll be all good, okay?"
"Uh? Sure?" Yukine replied.
He got off the table and they left the room. Kazuma went with Yukine to the individual counseling, while Hiyori walked towards the employee office. Yukine really would be okay, Hiyori thought to herself, all tomorrow was going to do was give Yukine another option for his future. Nothing was set in stone and it was his decision. And whatever happened, Yato would be okay too, cause he had Hiyori and people in his life who cared about him, just like Yukine. Hiyori ignored the fact that this appointment was Yukine's last.
"Umm? Hello?" Hiyori peaked her head into the office, only to see Yato pacing.
"Yato?" Hiyori pushed through the door and shut it behind her. The young man stopped his pacing, hands still tangled in his hair, and looked at her with wide eyes. Hiyori had a flashback to Yukine's withdrawal, to Yato in a hospital bed, and hurried forward.
"Yato, what happ-"
"I got it." Yato rushed to meet her, "I got the job!"
They stared at each other, wide eyes, until Hiyori cheered and wrapped her arms around him. Yato's body slammed into her as he picked her up and spun her around. She laughed breathlessly, cut off by Yato crashing his lips on hers, banding her backwards in a bow. Hiyori hummed happily through their kiss, hand coming up behind his head. Yato let go, but kept her close, resting his forehead against her shoulder, and panting like he just sprinted a mile.
"Okay, okay, breathe," Hiyori said through her smile. "Congratulations! This is wonderful news! Oh, I knew you could do it! You deserve it." Hiyori said as she patted his head.
His breath hit her collar bone a couple more times before he gripped her shoulders and pushed her back an inch. He looked scared.
"I don't want to go."
"What?" Hiyori gaped.
"I can't- I can't do it," Yato spoke quickly, "I don't want to leave Safe Heaven. I don't want to leave you or Kofuku or - or Kazuma and Daikoku! What was I thinking? I don't want to have to start over in a new city again! I don't even know taxes-! And - and you know how these jobs are! They're stressful and full of people with connections and spotless records! What if I can't handle it? What if the pressure is too much for me? And I cave and fail. Again. I always, always fail and mess everything up. And - and then! They fire me and it goes on my permanent record or something and I can never, ever, get a job again cause they'll tell the other jobs I'm a loser addict. Then I can't get back to Safe Heaven or something and - and Ebisu and Bishamon won't let me work here anymore I can't-!"
"Shh, hey, hey, no," Hiyori cooed. Yato's grip on her was tight but not enough to hurt. Just enough for her to feel his worry. She took his hands in hers and held his frantic gaze strongly.
"Yato, this is a good thing! You're not going to fail. They accepted you because you have what they're looking for regardless of your past. You worked hard, okay? You've always been able to handle a lot of hard work and pressure, and you do it all on your own! You can do this!" Hiyori said. "I believe in you."
"You do?" Yato breathed. He was looking at her with a plea, like she had all the answers to his prayers…
Hiyori kissed him gently, "I do. You'll do great."
She watched him take her hands in his and bring her fingers to his lips, kissing each of her first knuckle softly as a thank you, while he calmed down. Eventually he looked up by the time Hiyori's face had heated up to a bright red.
"Thanks, Hiyori," he smiled handsomely.
"And uh," Hiyori started, "I'm coming with you."
Yato's eyebrows shot up, "what?"
"I'm coming with you, moving with you to your job."
"Really?" Yato exclaimed, his face lighting up like the sun.
"Yeah! Just - just for the exams though. Not permanently, not for longer than a week, maybe?"
"It's okay! I'll get a place! It'll take me a little while but," Yato squeezed her hands, "you're welcome any time! For however long you want! Stay forever, I don't care!"
The two giggled deliriously, reaching to kiss between their laughter.
"And I'll have to get a room for-" Yato stopped, "uh, well, you?" His mouth did a funny dance, falling and rising, and Hiyori frowned slightly.
"I think you should tell him…"
"Tomorrow is the party, Hiyori-"
"Tell Yukine that you want him to live with you," Hiyori stated, "it can't hurt." She watched his lips press together, eyes darting off to the side.
"I'll tell him tomorrow at the party, after Kofuku and Daikoku do," Yato sighed.
Hiyori laid her head on his chest, "alright." The two jumped apart when Tenjin pushed open the door.
"Ah," Tenjin looked between them, "Yato, I'm glad I caught you. Tomorrow, can you please pick up a sample of pigeon wood?"
"Pigeon wood? What's that?" Yato asked. Hiyori fought against a smile.
"You know, pigeon wood? They'll have it at the store, take Yukine with you." Tenjin waved him off and walked to a computer.
"Oh, okay." Yato looked at Hiyori and shrugged before turning to leave.
"Wait," Hiyori said, "think about it, okay?"
"And, Yato? Congratulations on receiving your phone interview. I hope you get the job." Tenjin said.
"Thanks," Yato's cheeks twinged pink and he skittered out of the room.
Tenjin glanced at Hiyori, "did he get it?"
"I don't know," Hiyori tucked her hands behind her back and shrugged, smile on her face.
"Are you sure you don't want to stay and help us, Yukine?" Daikoku whispered.
"No, it's okay, I'll help keep him distracted. And stop him from getting kicked out of the store," Yukine said. It was the day of Yato's surprise party and Yukine was to help pretend that pigeon wood existed while everyone else set up decorations. He was excited, he had been wanting to do something nice for Yato for a while now.
Daikoku seemed a little disappointed, "alright, if you're sure. Remember to be back by four."
"Got it!" Yukine grinned. Daikoku patted his head as Yato called for Yukine. The teen scampered off and walked with Yato to the store.
"We just need a sample, right?" Yato grinned knowingly.
"Yep! Just a sample!" Yukine snickered secretly.
"It's so weird Tenjin couldn't do it himself!" Yato said loudly to the sky.
"It's fine, don't be lazy."
"Yeah, yeah, I'm the grunt and he's an important big doctor."
"You're not a grunt. You're a hard worker," Yukine smiled, "you should have more faith in yourself." Yukine saw something fragile flash across Yato's face before he softened.
"You too," Yato said, "you know, I'm very proud of you. And I'm glad you stayed."
"I'm glad I stayed too," Yukine muttered through his embarrassment, a teenage huff pushing his smile down.
"Now, don't give in to peer pressure!" Yato nagged. "Stay out of trouble! No more touching the bad stuff without a responsible adult to help you!"
"I mean it! Not even a taste! You say no and don't let them tell you you're not one of the cool kids. They're idiots! You are very cool! Just look at your name! So cool it's frosty!"
"Gag!" Yukine bletched, "alright, I get it!" Yukine shoved the laughing man beside him, holding back his own giggles. He could imagine Yato nagging him out the door every morning, fretting over him just like an fa- and accountabili-buddy should...
"Yeah, you'll be okay," Yato sighed at the sky, "after all, you're the best accountabili-buddy there ever was!"
"Yeah," Yukine mumbled to himself, "you too."
And just like he predicted, Yato got into a fight with two employees and a manager over the existence of pigeon wood, until Yukine pushed him out of the store. They had a half an hour until the party started so they would be a little early, but Yukine was worried about the store calling the police.
Safe Heaven glowed at the top of the hill like home. The two decided to climb over the gate just for fun, Yato laughing at Yukine's clumsiness, and run up the yard to the familiar front door.
"Why don't you go in first?" Yato suggested as they approached the cafeteria.
"N-no! That's okay! You can-!" Yukine tried to refute but Yato rolled his eyes, took Yukine by the shoulders, and shoved him inside.
"Surprise!" Safe Heaven jumped out.
Their exclamation was coupled by confetti and horns, everyone laughed and came forward.
"Is this," Yukine slowly looked up at Yato, "my goodbye party?"
"Yeah, kind of, we have a couple of announcements and we wanted to show you how proud of you we were," Yato shrugged, "sorry it's a week early, but we wanted it to be a surprise. Hope that's okay?"
"Y-yeah!" Yukine quickly blinked any tears away. Their friends cheered and clammered together, music played and all were merry.
"Let's eat!" Daikoku shouted.
The employees and residents started gorging themselves on hot dogs, hamburgers, and sides. Yato, Yukine, Hiyori and the rest sat at a long table together to chat and laugh over music.
Eventually, the night winded down and people started to trickle out.
"I would like to thank everyone for agreeing to this little surprise mash-up party. I think it's time for our announcements. For starters, we will soon be saying goodbye to our two resident doctors, Dr. Iki and Dr. Hirano." Tenjin gestured to the two physician assistants and the room cheered. Some patients called out to their personal doctors with pride as Hiyori and Kazuma gave polite waves and nods.
"Next is us!" Kofuku shoved Tenjin aside and Daikoku scrambled to her side.
"We would like to - um - well…" Kofuku peaked up at Daikoku who couldn't find the words.
"Well, this isn't set in stone or anything, and you can say no! But, um," Kofuku beamed, "we've decided we would adopt Yukine!"
Her announcement was met with cheers from the room. Hiyori tried to smile as she watched Mayu tackle a speechless Yukine into a hug, with Tenjin and Kazuma patting him with congratulations.
"Like we said, it's up to you!" Daikoku quickly interjected, "we just want to let you know that we would… love to have you live with us." He watched as Yukine opened and closed his mouth, unblinking.
"But what about-?" Yukine craned his neck to find Yato stuffing his face with a hot dog.
Yukine looked back at Daikoku, "thank you." His words weren't upset and he didn't look it either, but Yukine's lips barely twitched past his shock.
Daikoku gave an awkward nod, "sure kid, just let us know." The man tried to keep his own smile intact as his wife squeezed his arm.
Yukine looked at Yato again, trying to work through his feelings of disappointment and hurt. The man must have felt his pleading stare - or simply couldn't ignore it any more - and turned to look at Yukine with the rest of the hot dog in his mouth.
"Congratulations, kid," Yato mumbled. Forcing the food down his throat, Yato looked around the table.
"My turn?" Yato cocked his head and stood.
"Ew, no." Bishamon hissed.
Hiyori gave him an encouraging smile and Yato threw his arms out.
"I got the job!"
Yato was met with gasps and questions of clarification.
"Did you really?"
"You didn't lie on your resume, did you?"
Yato gave waves and nods, clanking his plastic cup against some others before sitting down.
"When do you leave?" Mayu asked.
"Uhh, the job doesn't start for a couple months but I think I'll head down at the end of the summer. And I think," Yato looked to Hiyori for approval before continuing, "I think Hiyori's comin' with me." More gasps sounded and Hiyori scratched her pink cheeks.
"Really?" Kofuku squealed.
"You poor thing," Bishamon grunted.
"Do you need an appointment with me, Hiyori? Whatever's going on, we can talk about it?" Mayu offered.
"I'm not forcing her!" Yato shouted.
"It's only for a month or so! During my exams…" Hiyori explained.
The room still hummed and gave her the look. Hiyori brushed them off and turned her attention to Yukine who wasn't touching his food.
"I'm going to put more burgers on the grill," Yato said suddenly, standing up.
"I want cheese!" Mayu said.
"One for me!" Bishamon added.
Hiyori watched Yato walk out the cafeteria door to the backyard grill. There were still some patients and employees playing and hanging out outside and some of them put in their orders to Yato, who nodded and got to work. Hiyori looked back to Yukine who hadn't picked his head up since the announcements.
"He wants you to have the best life, but he wants you there with him more than anything," Hiyori smiled when Yukine looked at her. "You're his accountabili-buddy, his partner, and his one special person. Let's go talk to him."
"He's an idiot, seriously," Yukine harshly stood up, "he could have just said that earlier. Can't even communicate…" The teen continued to mutter as they walked towards their friend.
"H-hey?" Yato jolted at them, eyeing the boiling teen with fear, "what's up?"
"What did I say before?" Yukine snapped.
"Umm, Yukine?" Hiyori put her hands up to try and placate. She wanted them to talk it out and be honest, but maybe bickering is how they communicated…
"I said I would stay with you, right? I'm your partner, right? How can I be your accountabili-buddy if I'm not with you?"
"Well…you can't be my accontabili-buddy forever! You need to go to school and be a kid and have a guardian!"
"That's basically what you are!" Yukine threw his arms up.
"What have you been doing this whole time? If not being my guardian? Are you stupid?"
"But I didn't have a job! Or a place to live!"
"You have Safe Heaven!"
"That's not the same thing!"
"Yes, it is!" Yukine's voice cracked, "you have Safe Heaven and so do I and we both like it. But you were looking for a job to go and support yourself and whatever so what does it matter anyway? You have a job now! I even helped you!"
Yato slumped, "you did, but there was no guarantee. Besides, you said you didn't want to stay at Safe Heaven. Don't you like Kofuku and Daikoku? They're everything you said you wanted in a family, right?" Yato crept forward, fighting his hands from reaching. Yukine whacked him again and again.
"I want you! I said that already! I said that I would stay with you! What is the matter with you?" Yukine lowered his voice, "Kofuku and Daikoku are great but I wouldn't be there without you. I couldn't."
There was a moment of silence and Hiyori looked between their hurt expressions, stubborn and prideful.
"It's okay if you do…if you want too…"
"I probably won't have a place for a while…I'll be homeless for at least the first couple months. And I could lose my job."
"Is that supposed to scare me? If anything, it's more of a reason for me to stay with you." Yukine challenged with a smirk. That clearly annoyed Yato who took Yukine by the head and started roughly messing with his blonde hair.
"You little brat! I was trying to be considerate and even after I asked what you wanted, too!"
"Hah? You asked me? Hardly! You need to learn how to speak from the first grade! And how to shower, you reek!" Yukine shoved him back, trying not to smile.
Hiyori giggled, "If you're sure Yukine, I think we should tell Kofuku and Daikoku."
"Oh, yeah…" Yato sighed as he and Yukine separated.
"Do you think they'll be…?" Yukine looked at his shoes.
"I don't think you'll have to worry," Hiyori smiled, "it looks like they are looking for a place to open a shop."
Yato and Yukine gasped and looked at each other with beaming smiles.
"That means we can see them everyday!"
"And we won't have to find our own place! Daikoku can cook for us everyday!"
Yato's declaration was met with eye rolls and laughter as the two shoved him inside Safe Heaven. Of course they were greeted with open arms and smiles. Kofuku and Daikoku smiling with happiness and pride at the trio's next step. Proud they were taking it together. Kofuku and Daikoku made their own promise to meet up with them in the future, while the rest agreed to keep in touch between their returns.
That way, by the time Yato and Yukine finally emptied out their room and packed their bags in Hiyori's car, they could turn and wave goodbye with their heads held high and smiles on their faces.
Leaving Safe Heaven confidently, to start their new lives together.