Aofery: Lol you are not wrong. The difference between Yato's and Bishamon's ways of handling shinki is pretty vast. Just very different ways of doing things, and big changes are always hard even without adding grief into the mix. Poor Yukine is having a rough time. And yeah... Hopefully I'll get around to writing some of those soon. I've been very busy and falling behind on my writing :(
Kofuku & Daikoku
Sometimes I like to clean something around the house or do some chore and then watch Yukine and Daikoku try to figure out who did it. I don't own up to it and no one ever seems to suspect me, and it's great fun.
When Yukine woke with a yawn and sat up to stretch the tension from his muscles, he noticed that Yato was gone. The other futon sat empty, the covers rumpled and abandoned in messy heaps. Would it kill the idiot to make the bed every once in a while?
He supposed he couldn't complain, though. Half the time it was a struggle just to get Yato out of bed before noon.
Yukine went through his morning routine and headed down to the kitchen in search of breakfast. Kofuku was already munching away as she flipped through a magazine, and Daikoku hovered over the stove.
"Good morning, Yukine," Daikoku said. "Do you want some breakfast? Might as well get some before your idiot master comes down and eats it all."
"Yeah, I'm starved, thank you. Yato hasn't been in here yet?"
"Nope. But when is he ever up before noon?"
Yukine frowned at the plate Daikoku set in front of him. "But he's already up. His bed is empty. I would have thought he'd be bugging you for food already."
"Huh." Daikoku sat down with his own breakfast. "I've been down here for an hour and haven't seen him."
"Maybe he had an errand to run," Kofuku suggested, scrubbing at the magazine she had just dropped food on. "Or he couldn't sleep and got up early. Sometimes he roams when he can't sleep."
Yukine shrugged. Yato had two modes: clingy and impossible to get rid of, or secretive and intent on doing everything solo without filling anyone else in. Although Yukine preferred being included in whatever he was up to, he had learned to accept that Yato had lived more or less alone for a long time and sometimes kept his own company. Yato came and went as he pleased, although he'd become much better at including Yukine or at least keeping him apprised of what he was up to.
"Maybe he got a call for a job," he said. "If he's cleaning someone's bathroom, more power to him. I owe him one for not waking me up for it."
"That could be it." Kofuku heaved a sigh as she gave up on her magazine and tossed it aside. "Do you think Hiyorin will come over today? I'm bored already, and she's been a stranger lately."
"No, sorry. She said she'd make it out over the weekend, but you know how busy she is these days. We're lucky we ever see her at all."
Yukine missed Hiyori's school days, when she had been able to visit nearly every day and tutor him with her old textbooks. That seemed like so long ago now. In the years since the great sorcerer debacle, when Yato and the heavens had finally managed to kill his father and Yukine had been dragged kicking and screaming away from the line he'd been straddling to come back to his senses and take up his rightful place at Yato's side again, Hiyori had grown where the rest of them did not. After graduating high school and getting her degree, she had taken her place working in her parents' hospital. She was happy and found the work fulfilling, if exhausting, which was what mattered. Yukine just wished she didn't have to work such long hours.
The only good thing about Hiyori's frequent absences was that Yukine and Yato had more time for jobs and ayakashi killing. With Yato's father out of the picture, it was more important than ever to find some believers. Measuring their success was an imprecise art. Yukine had no idea how many believers they had won, but Yato was at least more motivated than ever now that his main lifeline was gone. They had worked very hard at it, and Yato got more phone calls than ever due to their improved marketing strategy. Maybe he hadn't quite reached god of fortune status yet, but he was slowly moving up in the world.
With neither Yato nor Hiyori around to entertain him, Yukine put on his trusty old apron and went to work in the shop to keep himself occupied. He worked well into the afternoon, and when Yato still failed to appear, he began growing annoyed. Didn't the fool know that they had work to do? He wasn't going to win any believers by sitting around all day. Although the initial panic and urgency had faded over the years, Yukine was still all too aware that Yato's place in the world was uncertain now that his father was gone, and he did not like it when his master shirked his duties.
Yato did not come back that night. Or the next day. Or the day after that.
"Where could he be?" Yukine demanded in frustration.
Kofuku and Daikoku exchanged a look.
"You know how he is," Daikoku said. "Sometimes he runs off for a bit."
"But he hasn't done that in ages. Not since… He mostly did that when his dad and Nora called him back, I think. He hasn't been running off since they've been gone."
"Maybe, but Yato-chan's been alive for a long time," Kofuku said. "He's used to going off on his own when he wants to, and he's had a lot of experience taking care of himself. He might just not have realized how long he's been gone. Time feels different when you've been alive for centuries. A few days is just the blink of an eye, really."
"What an idiot," Yukine grumbled.
He had been hoping Yato was done with the running off by now, but he supposed maybe it was naïve to think that a centuries-old god would change his ways completely in only a few years. Still, Yato was going to get a piece of his mind when he showed his face again.
The only problem was, Yato never came back.
Kofuku's place is great. Yukine and Hiyori are a great family, and Kofuku and Daikoku are also great hosts. It's been a long time since I've had somewhere to call home like that.
When Yukine burst into the shrine, Kofuku and Daikoku took one look at his stricken, tear-stained face and dropped what they were doing to rush over.
"What's wrong, Yukki?" Kofuku asked.
"It's Hiyori," he managed.
"She's too busy to come over after all? She hasn't seen Yato-chan either, then?"
Yukine shook his head jerkily, his eyes filling with tears again. "She didn't know who I was."
Kofuku and Daikoku went very, very still. Yukine had not thought much of it when Hiyori did not come over the weekend as she said she would. She was very busy, after all, and sometimes plans changed. If she had called to say she couldn't make it, Yato would have known, but he wasn't here to tell the rest of them. Yukine had given her a few days before checking in to see how she was doing and ask if she'd seen Yato around recently.
He had not been expecting her to look right through him and politely inquire who he was. She had been growing up and making her own place in the world, but he hadn't known it was a place without them. He hadn't realized she was outgrowing them entirely.
"And Yato?" Daikoku asked slowly.
Yukine shook his head again. "She doesn't remember any of us. She's been so busy and distracted lately, but I didn't realize…"
"Oh," Kofuku said in a voice that was very small. "I'm sorry, Yukki. It's the way of humans to forget us, but she was a very good friend for a very long time. We'll miss her too. It really seemed like she'd be around forever, even with the distance lately."
Yukine hadn't had time to process the loss of Hiyori's friendship yet. He was sure that grief would come later. Right now, he was terrified.
"Yato," he croaked. "Yato hasn't come back."
"Oh, he'll be devastated," Kofuku said, but then all the blood drained from her face. "You don't really think…?"
"He couldn't be– We've worked so hard—there have to be other believers. But he has the worst luck and no one ever seems to remember him and…"
Yukine's breath hitched, and he realized that he was trembling all over. Yato had been missing for days. Yukine had been angry at him for it. It wasn't possible that all this time, he'd been gone for good and they'd never even realized it. Yukine was his hafuri. He would know if Yato was gone. He had to.
"Let's not panic," Daikoku said firmly, but he looked pale too. "It's just as likely that he's off causing his own mischief somewhere and lost track of time. More likely, really. This is Yato we're talking about."
This reassured exactly no one.
Yukine scrubbed his sleeve across his face. "I'm going to look for him. Check his usual haunts and ask around to see if anyone has seen him."
Daikoku frowned, probably thinking about the unlikelihood of finding Yato if he didn't want to be found, but he only nodded. "Right," he said. "We'll help."
They searched the streets, all the places Yato might normally like to go, any shrines he might have taken shelter in if he was trying to avoid ayakashi. Kofuku tried calling Yato's phone half a dozen times, and it only rang and rang and rang before going to voicemail.
They found exactly nothing.
By the time they were forced to give up for the night and head back home, Yukine's panic had reached new heights and nausea tied his insides into knots.
"We'll find him," Daikoku kept saying. "Just give it time. Why don't you try calling him one more time before bed?"
Kofuku looked about as optimistic as Yukine felt, but she pulled out her phone and dialed Yato's number again. An echoing ring sounded, audible in the distance. They all started in surprise, looking at each other and then, in unison, towards the stairs. They listened as the phones rang once, twice more, and then Yukine started back to life and ran.
He took the stairs two at a time and rushed into their attic room just as silence fell.
"Call it again!" he barked.
It started ringing again before the words had finished leaving his mouth, as Kofuku and Daikoku careened up the stairs behind him. He looked around wildly, trying to pinpoint where the sound was coming from. It was louder now than it had been downstairs, and his stomach tied itself into another knot.
He rushed across the room and threw open the closet, where he had unceremoniously shoved Yato's futon and bedding when the god hadn't returned. He'd been so annoyed that he hadn't even done it neatly like he normally would have, and now he tore through the mounds of sheets and blankets. The phone rang louder in here, bouncing off the narrow walls, but it still had a slightly muffled, tinny quality. Until he picked up the blanket and shook it out and Yato's phone fell from the folds and clattered to the floor.
Kofuku and Daikoku pressed close behind him, peering over his shoulder. They stared down at the phone until it stopped ringing and plunged them back into silence.
Yukine sank slowly to his knees and picked up the phone, cradling it gently in his hands as tears welled in his eyes again. His heart felt too tight in his chest, and his throat constricted until he couldn't force out any words even if he knew what he wanted to say.
Yato might sometimes disappear for a few days or weeks at a time, and Yukine knew better than to worry about it too much. He might even disappear without telling anyone where he was going. But Yukine could not see him ever leaving his phone behind if he did.
"He's not coming back, is he?" he rasped finally.
And then it hit him, everything he had lost without even realizing it, and he dissolved into sobs.
Hanging out with Kofuku is fun. Sometimes I miss the disastrous duo we used to be, but I'm trying to be a god of fortune now. But every once in a while, it's impossible to resist indulging in a little chaos.
Yukine poked at his food unenthusiastically, his mind a million miles away. The table was devoid of the usual mealtime chatter, instead shrouded in silence.
Finally, Daikoku cleared his throat. "Yukine, there's something… There's something we wanted to talk to you about. Or make sure you've considered, at least, even if you don't do anything with it right now."
"What's that?" Yukine asked dully. He did not care.
"Well…" Daikoku hesitated and then plunged forward. "As I'm sure you know, it's important for shinki to have a master, a god they can rely on. It affords them protections that unnamed spirits and untethered shinki don't have."
"I have a master," Yukine snapped, his heart seizing up again. They wanted to talk to him about next steps and moving on, and he was not ready for that. "We don't know for sure that he's gone. I'm still looking. I could find him. He could come back."
Daikoku exchanged a look with Kofuku, who looked like she wanted to cry.
"It's possible," Daikoku said carefully. "But it's been weeks now, and we haven't found any sign of him. You don't have to decide anything right now, but just think about it for when you're ready."
"I'd know if he was gone," Yukine said wildly, desperately. He couldn't bear to think of taking a new master, a new name, erasing Yato like he'd never existed at all. "Look, I still have my name. And I'm his hafuri. He'd know if I was dead. Surely, I'd be able to feel something too? It's not fair that I wouldn't know."
After everything they'd shared, how strong their bond was, it seemed impossible that Yato might have disappeared just a few feet away while Yukine was sleeping. Impossible that Yukine wouldn't have had the chance to try to save him, or at least say goodbye. Impossible that Yukine had felt nothing, hadn't known at all.
"Oh, Yukki," Kofuku said, scrubbing at her eyes. "You will always be able to keep that name now. It wouldn't go away unless Yato-chan released you, and he would never have done that. Your bond with Yato-chan is so strong, so beautiful, but… The magic flows one way more than the other. Yato-chan would feel it if you died, but… Shinki don't have to bear those same things that gods do. I'm sorry."
"I would know," Yukine repeated, his voice breaking.
Kofuku swallowed hard and reached out to take his face in her hands. "You can wait for Yato-chan a little longer, but if you need a new master in the end… You'll be able to keep the name he gave you, but understand that it will make you a nora when you take on a new one. Many gods won't touch that with a ten-foot pole, but you'll be able to find someone.
"I… I could name you if you wanted, but we would have to keep it quiet. The heavens would censure me if I named another shinki. They were angry when I named Daikoku. And I probably wouldn't be able to use you, because your vessel form would bring chaos when it molded to me. But it's an option, if you want.
"Tenjin is a purist. He might make an exception since he knows you, but he doesn't generally name noras. Ebi-chan would take you without any questions asked, although he might work you to the bone. And I think Bisha would name you, if you asked. She likes you, and she's been sympathetic. It would be different from being a god's only shinki, but you might like working with a team. You would have a ready-made family.
"You don't have to decide now. Take your time. But you should at least start considering your options, because your future is very important. No matter what you decide, you will always have a home here. You can stay as long as you'd like, and you're welcome to come back whenever you want. We will always be here for you, no matter where your path takes you, okay?"
Yukine's face crumpled. "I don't want to let go."
"Oh, Yukki." Kofuku dropped her hand to press her fingers firmly against the name printed on his collarbone. "You will always carry a piece of Yato-chan wherever you go. Even once you move on. That's something you never have to let go of. Just don't forget to do what's best for yourself too."
Yukine didn't know what that might be. When Kofuku pulled her hands away and leaned back, his fingers fluttered over the spot she had touched. His name had meant everything to him, and he couldn't imagine taking another. But he wished he still had something else to hang on to as well. He wished he had Yato.
I can't believe Daikoku still lets me stick around despite my freeloading tendencies. Maybe I'm growing on him. He's grown on me.
"You should talk to them," Kazuma said. "It's been weeks, and they're persistent. I know you're upset about the shrine, but they're only doing what they think is best for you. They'll keep coming back until you talk to them."
Yukine huffed out a breath and glowered at the wall. "Whatever. I guess so."
Kazuma raised an eyebrow, surprised by the easy capitulation. "Really?"
"Yeah." Yukine slid off the end of his bed, crossing the floor in a few quick strides and squeezing through the doorway past Kazuma.
"Well, that's good. I'd advise you go back with them to the lower realm before Kofuku's misfortune breaks something else."
Yukine was still learning his way around the mansion, having spent much of his time sulking in his room rather than fraternizing with the other shinki, but he could find his way down to the entrance hall without much difficulty, even without Kazuma shadowing him. He slipped his hand into his pocket and clutched the phone tightly. It never strayed from his pocket these days, and he always kept it charged so that he could scroll through Yato's old text messages with Hiyori or listen to the recording of his voicemail greeting just to hear his voice again. Everyone had been worried he would fixate on the shrine, but it was the phone that had become his crutch, his security blanket. One time, he had thought he'd lost it and fallen into a full-blown panic enough to send Bishamon running to see what had happened, before realizing he had only forgotten to transfer it from the pocket of yesterday's outfit. He had never forgotten it again.
He had been angry and hurt when Kofuku and Daikoku had sided with Kazuma about leaving Yato's shrine behind. They were supposed to be on his side through everything, and it had felt like the worst of betrayals. His feelings on the matter were still edged with bitterness, but he had begun to let it go. In the end, he knew everyone had been right to insist on it. He was having a hard enough time adjusting to life after Yato without laying his prayers and wishes and begging at the foot of his shrine every hour of the day. And it wouldn't be fair to Bishamon, he supposed, to so religiously worship another god under her own roof instead of working at accepting her as his new master and learning how to adjust to life in her family.
So although he still didn't exactly agree with their tactics, he wasn't as angry about it anymore. Kofuku and Daikoku had only ever tried to do what was best for him and support him however they could, and it wasn't fair of him to hold a grudge for the one thing they hadn't seen eye to eye on.
They waited in the entry, either because they expected to be sent away again shortly or because Bishamon had tired of them destroying part of her house every time they came over and was trying to mitigate the damage. They stood with their heads bent close, whispering to each other. Yukine thought they looked tired, eyes shadowed and mouths drawn in tight lines.
Kofuku noticed him first, and her entire face lit up. "Yukki!"
"Hey, guys," he said with a small wave. "Long time no see. Wanna hang out in the lower realm? Kazuma doesn't want us making a mess here."
"Yes! We can go back home! It's been a long time since we've seen you. It's been so quiet without you."
"It's good to see you," Daikoku added, dropping a heavy hand onto Yukine's shoulder and squeezing once. "Tell us what you've been up to."
Yukine followed them back out of Takamagahara and answered their questions about his new life. He didn't have the heart to go into too much detail about something that was still so new and raw, but Kofuku and Daikoku looked so hopeful, so eager to hear it all, that he felt compelled to think of at least a few things he could tell them.
When they walked into the shrine, Yukine felt the emptiness descend like a shroud. He could almost hear Yato pounding down the stairs two at a time, welcoming them home cheerfully, ready to launch into some ridiculous story of what trouble he'd gotten into today. He could almost see Yato stretched out on the floor, shoveling food into his mouth at the dinner table, leaning over Yukine's and Hiyori's math homework and complaining that they should do something more fun. The echo was so loud here, the ghost of Yato so present, that the absence of him was suffocating.
"Do you want to go upstairs?" Daikoku asked.
Yukine swallowed hard and tore his gaze away from the staircase. "Not yet. Let's talk first."
He needed to go up there and visit Yato's shrine, but he hardly felt prepared for that. He needed time to gather himself.
Instead, he waited at the kitchen table while Daikoku cooked them up a meal and Kofuku chattered away. All he could think was how quiet it still sounded without Yato chatting right back with her and bickering with Daikoku and Yukine…and Hiyori. They had always gathered for meals, and the missing settings at the table gaped wide.
Yukine threw himself into the conversation, if only to distract himself. He answered Kofuku's and Daikoku's questions about what he'd been up to at Bishamon's and listened to their own updates in return.
When they had finished their meal and were clearing up the table, Daikoku finally asked, "Are you still angry with us?"
Yukine looked down at his empty plate and ran his thumb along the edge. "No," he said after a moment. "I understand why you did it, and I know you've only ever tried to do what was best for me. I just didn't want to lose that too."
"You should go up and say hello," Kofuku said. "And you can come by whenever you'd like. We'd always love to have you. This is still your second home. I'm glad you're not angry anymore."
This didn't feel like home anymore, though. Or maybe it felt too much like home, and having half his family gone hurt all the more within these walls. Yukine loved this place and the people here, but they hurt now too. He thought that the next time he came to visit, he would suggest meeting somewhere in town instead. Yato's shrine was still here, so he supposed he'd have to come back sometimes. He just didn't know how often he could bear it.
"Yeah," he said. "Okay. We can visit more. I've missed you too. I think I'll just…"
"Go on up," Daikoku said with a nod.
Yukine turned away, but then his heart dropped into his stomach and he whipped back around. "I don't have…" He fished around in his pocket just to make sure, but it was empty. "Do you have a five yen coin? I can't…"
"Yes, of course." Daikoku crossed the room and rummaged through a drawer until he found a coin. He pressed it into Yukine's palm and smiled at him a little sadly. "Yato would like that."
Yukine nodded, blinking back tears and swallowing down the lump in his throat. "Thank you."
He took the stairs slowly. The shrine looked exactly how he remembered it, and he slotted the coin carefully inside before retreating a few paces.
"I miss you," he said, before his throat clogged up again. He couldn't think of anything else to say. He didn't even have a wish that had any possibility of coming true.
He stood there in silence for a long time, wishing he felt Yato beside him but feeling nothing at all.
Kofuku is great, because she's never judged me for what trouble I get into or chaos I create. She's a bit of a kindred spirit, even if she's way nicer than I'll ever be.
"Oh, there are weeds here too!" Kofuku cried. "Yukki!"
Yukine heaved a long-suffering sigh and trudged across the garden, pulling the gloves back on. He had already been out here for nearly two hours, which had been fine when they were chatting but quickly grew tiresome when Daikoku went inside to make lunch and Kofuku recruited Yukine to help her with the gardening while they waited. Now they were both covered in dirt from head to toe, and Yukine's back ached from leaning over flowerbeds and yanking up weeds by their roots.
He supposed it was his own fault, really. They normally met at restaurants or walked around town for their visits, but today he had wanted to stop by Yato's shrine before he left, so it had seemed easiest to stay here. Since he didn't actually want to be inside that house full of memories the whole time, the garden had been the obvious compromise. It had seemed like a good idea at the time.
Kofuku cheerfully pointed out all manner of weeds and went back to swinging her watering can around while Yukine pulled them up.
"You've been settling in better at Bisha's lately, haven't you?" she asked idly.
Yukine shrugged. "I guess. It's been months now, anyway. I go out with the team sometimes. Kazuma makes me. He isn't very impressed with my teamwork, but I've been getting better at figuring out how to get along with them. It's just very different to be part of an array of weapons rather than the only one a god has to rely on."
He missed being Yato's one and only, having that tight partnership where they only had each other to rely on in battle and had to be able to read each other's every move. Paying attention to the moves of half a dozen people was challenging, even with Kazuma directing, and Yukine itched to strike every blow. He quickly grew impatient with waiting around while some other shinki fought. And while Bishamon had been nothing but kind and understanding, she stood a little apart from him in a way that Yato never had. Although maybe that was his own fault. He had been wary of getting too close, and she had given him his space.
Still… Yato wasn't coming back, that much was certain after all these months, and Yukine couldn't just wait and pine forever. He had to get on with things. He was getting better at obeying Kazuma's commands instead of questioning them, learning to be part of a team, and reaching out to make tentative friendships with the other shinki. It was a start, at least.
"I can imagine," Kofuku said. "Bisha is a very different god, and she has a different way of running things. Have you been making any new friends, at least? You aren't still only talking to Kazuma, are you?"
"I'm making some friends, I guess. Or working on it, at least. I'm trying to hide in my room less. Most everyone is nice enough. It's just a lot to take in when there's so many of them."
"That's good to hear." Kofuku wandered back and crouched down beside Yukine. She took his face in her hands and met his gaze earnestly. "Yato-chan would be very proud of you, Yukki. You've come really far."
Yukine swallowed thickly, and tears blurred his vision. It was silly, really. Yato wasn't here. All Yukine was really doing was living his life, doing the bare minimum of what was expected of him. He hadn't accomplished anything particularly impressive, only stopped sulking in his room as much and made more of an effort to be a part of the team.
And yet, until he heard those words, he hadn't realized how much he had needed them. He could hear the echo of Yato's voice in his head: 'That's my kid! Isn't he great?' It was a bittersweet, tender ache.
"Lunch is ready," Daikoku announced, and they turned to blink at him. He shut the door behind him with his foot and balanced a tray of food in his hands. His eyes widened when he took them in. "What have you been doing?"
"Gardening, obviously!" Kofuku said.
He put the tray down on the table and glared at her. "You're covered in mud from head to foot. Both of you! What a mess! Will you at least wash up before we eat?"
They grumbled and fussed, but even Yukine consented to go inside and wash off. He slipped his grubby hand into his pocket and fingered the edge of the five yen coin.
He might have things to say today, if he could only decide what they were. He had until the end of lunch to come up with a wish.
A long time ago, Daikoku fell apart and began blighting Kofuku. He came to me for help because he heard that I could cut ties, and he needed some ties cut. I didn't even have a shinki, just a little knife, and I only pretended. The truth is that I didn't do anything at all, just made Daikoku think everything was better so that he could save himself.
Yukine came back to himself slowly, trembling and wrung out. His eyes felt achy and swollen, and he sucked at the air in a few more ragged gasps before calming his breathing to a hitching but manageable rate.
He scrubbed a hand across his eyes and stared down at the notebook. The thought of reading it cover to cover seemed unbearable right now.
Pushing himself to his feet, he stumbled across the room on shaky legs like a newborn calf, casting one last look over his shoulder at Yato's shrine before closing the door quietly behind him and heading down the stairs. He had been up here for a long time, and Kofuku and Daikoku must be wondering what had happened to him.
Kofuku took one look at his tearstained face and jumped to her feet. "Yukki! Are you alright?"
Yukine shied away, and she halted her approach. He swallowed hard. Should he tell them? Some large, selfish part of him wanted to keep this secret—all of Yato's secrets—to himself. And yet, Kofuku and Daikoku had shared so much with him, opening their hearts and home to him. It didn't seem right.
"I…found something," he croaked. "Upstairs."
Kofuku and Daikoku exchanged a puzzled look.
"Found what?" Daikoku asked carefully.
Yukine unfolded his arms and held out the notebook. "A notebook. It was under one of the floorboards. It's… Yato wrote it. He wrote a bunch of stuff. Secrets, feelings, things he was thinking. There's stuff about everyone in here. I didn't… I didn't read it all yet, just skimmed through it. But there's stuff about you too. Do you want…?"
No one said anything for a long time.
"About us?" Kofuku said wistfully, her eyes clouding over.
Yukine nodded and shuffled over. He sat down at the table, and the others slowly settled back to the ground beside him as he flipped through the pages.
He skimmed through the book, stopping to point out anything relating to Kofuku and Daikoku. They crowded around to look over his shoulder, eyes raw and hungry, and occasionally offered murmured commentary.
"I never once saw him lift a finger to do chores around here," Daikoku grumbled with a fleeting smile.
"I miss the disastrous duo," Kofuku said with a sniffle.
By the time they had finished, Kofuku was crying silently. Daikoku stared down very hard at the table.
Yukine closed the notebook. "He said he knew capypers weren't real and just pretended to annoy us," he said thickly, even though that had nothing to do with anything. "He just liked watching us dance around it."
Kofuku's crying hitched into a loud, ragged sob. "I miss him!" she wailed.
Daikoku draped an arm around her and pulled her closer. "It's not the same without him," he mumbled. "He was family too. Thank you for sharing that with us. It's…good to know."
Yukine bobbed his head silently and stood, clutching the notebook to his chest. He barely knew how to handle his own grief, much less theirs.
"I'll be back," he said. "Later. I'll work in the shop again, and it will be… Not the same, but better than it is now."
"That sounds good," Daikoku rasped, but Yukine was already backing away, fleeing from the shrine.
The notebook felt like a ton of bricks in his arms.
I would trust Kofuku and Daikoku with Yukine. That's why I brought him there, and it's kind of them to have made a home for him. If anything were to happen, I would trust them to take care of him.