Yato finally finished his painting. It took a lot of concentration, but Yato enjoyed the activity. Twenty minutes a day was all he could focus for.

"Kofuku and Daikoku will like it," Yukine beamed. The teen hung it himself, being overall in charge of the interior decorating.

In the kitchen, Yato worked frantically on dinner early. Hiyori's errands would only keep Masaomi busy for so long.

Sadly for Hiyori - thankfully for Yato - her brother would be leaving soon. But not before he was able to have a rowdy dinner with Daikoku and Kofuku. The visitors, in all their politeness, sat inside so the humans wouldn't be cold.

"Look at this spread!" Kofuku cooed at the table, "how generous!"

"I don't think we ever ate this good!"

Hiyori and Masaomi were the only ones to eat, but the utensils and fancy china clattered all the same. Masaomi tumbled on the table and floor with Yato, Yukine, and Daikoku. Hiyori coming on top as the reigning champ.

The boys continued to zoom around the house after Hiyori took a seat.

"You should be more careful," Kofuku smiled at her.

Hiyori hears that a lot.

"I've been seeing Yato in my dreams lately," Hiyori confessed to her friend. The young woman cooed.

"Fantasizing about pretty men, huh? And I bet he was super pretty when he was alive!" Kofuku held her cheeks and purred.

Hiyori bowed her red face, fists clenched. Kofuku gave her a comforting pat.

"Yeah, he's quirky, isn't he? Ghosts are much too - unique - to be anything more than a fantasy."

"But…" Hiyori started, "he's changed. He's- you know- I mean it seems like…" There was no conceivable way to finish that. Her shoulder grew corpse-cold as Kofuku leaned on it.

"Oh, Hiyori…ghosts don't change. Not really…not in the way you're thinking of. They're stuck as a spirit of who they were when they died. Nothing more…"

"But even so-!" Hiyori tried desperately. The look Kofuku gave her; pity. Pity from the spirit of a dead woman who ultimately had and was nothing. Hiyori didn't know how to feel about that.

"Hiyori…" Kofuku mourned for her, "Yato is dead. There's nothing that can be done. It's dangerous for you to get attached, nothing good can come from the living knowing of the afterlife. It would only pull you closer."

Hiyori could say nothing.

Kofuku tried to force a smile.

Her voice wavered, "if a ghost finds their purpose - or a new reason for living - they'll…cease to exist…"

The woman looked off into the distance, sight gone. Hiyori's mouth opened and closed, her heart sinking six feet under.

Merrily, her brother tried to reach for Yato, who dangled his smartphone far above him. Yukine dove through Masaomi, back and forth, making the man giggle and shiver from the cold.

"I suppose…" Hiyori sniffed, blinking rapidly, "I'll just be stuck with Kouto then…"

"Oh heavens no! That man is the nastiest type! As toxic to us as he is to you!" Kofuku waved her off. When Hiyori could barely summon a laugh, the ghost gave the action to nudge her.

"Besides, a pretty thing like you? You'll find someone in no time. You just got here! You have your whole life ahead of you!" Kofuku beamed.

Hiyori offered a better smile.

"Hiyori?" Yato spoke from behind them. The girls turned to see him floating slowly towards them, arms dangling, eyes concerned.

"Are you okay? What's wrong?"

Hiyori frowned at him.

"Oh Yatty…" Kofuku sighed.

"Are you feeling okay?" Yato came closer, brows knit.

Hiyori wanted so badly to reach out.

"I'm okay," Hiyori smiled instead, "a bit tired, that's all."

Yato came to sit beside her, her brother and the other boys soon joined. Hiyori watched the empty plates float towards the dishwasher.

How nice it would be, to have the powers of a ghost.

"Hiyori? Can you open your eyes?"

Hiyori tried. She didn't like the worry in his voice.

"Maybe I should go…I shouldn't be here…"

Hiyori's eyes opened in protest, the cherry-tree field swaying in an evening breeze.

She was laying down just as she was in bed, arms sprawled out on the picnic blanket. There was a white obi wrapped around her front, tying her red kimono closed. She blinked, Yato's face a mear inches from hers. He was leaning over her, hands holding him next to her shoulders (he seemed to struggle with that, not used to his own weight). Yato's eyes looked a little bit brighter now that the sun was going down, they were wide and searching.

"Are you feeling okay?"

Hiyori frowned, she was sick of that question.

"Yes, I'm perfectly alright." She couldn't really get up at the moment. It was hard to focus on staying in their wonderland.

"...You fainted yesterday."

"It happens," she replied.

Yato frowned back, "I came here to tell you this is the last time I'm coming here. We need to start putting in some distance, we'll have some pink tea and I won't come again."

"This is my dream!" To prove it, Hiyori harshly headbutted the man. She imagined his fierce pain but was pleased to find she had none at all. Yato yelled and held his nose. After rubbing it, he leaned in closer to her, glaring with eyes almost sparking.

"That was mean!" He bleated. There wasn't an ounce of redness on his handsome face.

"This is my dream. I'm free to do as I want. You're the one that keeps…coming in here?" That part she wasn't quite sure of yet, but she believed it more and more every day.

"Well that was before!" He met her glare with one of his own, rivaling her challenge with equal stubbornness.

But if this was a dream and she was free to do as she wanted - which it was and she was - she didn't like all this back talk he gave her. Hiyori didn't like his blossom-tea-pink lips pouting at her like that, knowing full well he was the one that came barging in here and knowing full well he wanted to come back. She especially didn't like her dreams (life? dreams.) not going the way she wanted.

"Mphf!" Yato's body jolted at the contact.

He was stiff, muscles locked in as Yato struggled to handle what was happening. Silly, silly man. Hiyori was tired of his cute whining and blabbering. She was tired in general. It felt nice to close her eyes, press his lips to his, leading him in a lazy waltz of a kiss.

Hiyori's lips moved against his in a caring and simple fashion. Finally feeling how soft they were. Luke-warm, like the lip of a tea cup. With a sigh of content, Hiyori's fingers pet his cheeks, playing with the ends of his hair, and smoothing over the solid flesh of his shoulders and back.

Yato, the poor boy, tried to remember how to move two lips and a jaw. (He couldn't so he didn't). Eyes squeezed shut tight.

Hiyori's eyebrow twitched, "kiss me back!" her thoughts demanded.

What kind of dream was this? Honestly, give her something.

"Sorry…sorry…"

Yato (as ghost-Yato did) waited. Patient. He felt her movements and slowly worked to copy. Finally remembering something of what it felt like to be alive.

How dangerous.

It was nice to not have to breathe when dreaming. Hiyori continued to lead him through their waltz, pleased Yato caught on quickly. She lazily licked her way into his mouth as if finishing off one of the yummy desserts he made. Yato went stiff again, working to add another moving part to the mix. He was much quicker this time (maybe Kofuku was wrong. Maybe he could change) and soon Yato relaxed, lowering himself onto her body.

She hugged his neck, arms against the knot of the ascot. Part of her playfully worried he might faze through her but they huffed when he did not. His body landed solidly, heavily, onto hers. They grinned at the funny way the air was pushed out, trying to hold their kiss. Only for Hiyori to snort and break it.

Head turned, she pressed a hand to her swollen lips as she giggled, Yato snickering against her cheek.

When he rose again - just to look at her - Hiyori was finally able to put a hand to his cheek.

"Don't stay away," she asked, "I want you here."

"Mmm, we should at least limit it…" Yato pressed his nose to her palm.

"...Every full moon? No. New moon?"

His smile was charming, "deal."

They met again, much more alive this time around.

Dangerous.

"More pink tea?" Hiyori's mind offered, lips occupied.

"That would be lovely," Yato's voice echoed back.

Ghosts tended to do ghost things.

To pass the time, Hiyori supposed.

Morning coffee made, breakfast finished, Hiyori quietly stepped up the stairs, fuzzy socks making her feet soundless like a ghost. It occurred to her recently that she was usually in her pajamas around her roommates. Then again, they always wore the same thing. She hoped whatever she died in was comfortable.

"Yukine?" She called out the side window. Down below, the boy was tending to their vegetables. He answered, rising off the ground as he did.

"Do you need anything? Are you alright?" The teen was satisfied with all she brought back, so Hiyori continued to Yato's art room.

The most ghostly room of the house. What little furniture there was was covered with a white sheet (some paint splatters as well, Hiyori was shocked to see a stain). Also various empty wooden easels with one in the center; the only one with a clean canvas on it. There was a plush armchair standing just in front of the door. Uncovered just for her. She sat.

A paintbrush hovered over the canvas, dipped in yellow. Yato remained out of sight, needing his energy to focus. Splat went the paint.

Hiyori tucked her leg under herself, taking a sip of her cup.

She wondered what he would paint. Maybe something other than a pigeon this time.

Twenty minutes went by peacefully and soon the paint brush wobbled in the air. It fell with a clatter.

Hiyori applauded. The base for the background was done. Her cup was empty. Hiyori decided to get more. Yato wouldn't be seen for a few hours.

"So, how did it go?" Yukine floated in after she sat on the couch.

"He almost finished the background. It's yellow."

"Nice." Yukine took the empty cup Hiyori got for him. They deleted the recordings they've already seen and started recording the craft of the week. The phone rang in the kitchen.

"Hiyori! How are you feeling? Did your brother leave?"

Hiyori listened to the empty house.

"No, not yet. He doesn't drive out for a couple days."

Masaomi was visiting their parents a few hours away.

"Ah, I could have sworn it was yesterday…" Kouto sighed, "well, I mean, would you like to go to dinner with me tonight? And I don't mean with a group of friends or meeting people there. I mean you and me on a date."

Hiyori opened her mouth and was cut off by Kouto's careless laugh.

"And don't worry about your brother, I'll get past him. I can sneak you out~"

Fear was a funny thing to her now. Spending a long time being afraid only to learn that there was nothing to fear, then facing another's terror head on, and finally…suffering a death. Her social anxiety over possibly upsetting someone who was somewhat courteous had long since been cut down. Kofuku was right

"No, that's alright!" A smile grew.

"Hu- wha-what?" Kouto sputtered.

"Kouto, I don't think it's going to work out between us. Before, it was just hard for me to say what I wanted. To be my real self. But now, those things are so small compared to what matters. I don't want to keep lying about my happiness for those little things.

"I hope you can understand one day, but I'm not interested. I appreciate all that you've done for me - sort of - and I hope we can still be…cordial." Hiyori nervously twirled her hair. Yukine watched her with wide eyes. He flashed a thumbs up.

"...You don't usually talk so much, Hiyori," Kouto said.

"Oh, well, yeah I-"

"Are you possessed again?" His voice sliced through the receiver like a winter chill.

Hiyori's eyes widened and her mouth opened. Closed.

"Wh-what?" Hiyori took a breath, fear was easy to wrangle now. She was quicker at it. Yukine fled to find another phone and listen in.

"No Kouto, I'm not. I'm just telling you how I really feel."

A pause.

"Listen, spirit," Kouto suddenly hissed, "Hiyori is a priestess and cannot be tainted by the likes of you. She's mine, do you hear me? And I won't let you get away with hurting her."

Fury swelled.

"Kouto Fujisaki," Hiyori's teeth grinded together, "we met in Mr. Tenjin's daycare when we were four years old. We played together every summer because my mother and your mother were good friends. You were in charge of the school paper and elected student council president. Currently, you volunteer at the firehouse."

Hiyori tried and failed to come up with more pointless facts about him she didn't honestly care about.

The other line was silent for a longer spell.

"...Well then…I guess you didn't heed my warnings very well. Or your grandmother's. She might have been obsessive, but she was least right about that. The spirits have taken hold of you."

"Is it so hard for you to comprehend that maybe I don't want to date you?" Hiyori's voice raised. Yato poked out of the floor, cold temperature feeling good on her flushed skin.

"So you really mean to tell me this has nothing to do with the spirits at all?"

"T-that's-! Well, I-! It-it isn't!" Hiyori composed herself, "it's none of your business. It never was and it never will be."

A sigh, "look, I don't know what's gotten into you lately…but I don't think its entirely your fault. We've been having a good time lately and I think…maybe I should just come over to talk-"

Yato disappeared.

"Hiyori!" her brother's voice echoed loudly through the house.

"Hiyori, who's on the phone?"

Hiyori blinked and looked around. Yato suddenly reappeared back in front of her, waiting.

"...Hiyori, the spirits will tempt you. Ghosts are attracted to life and they naturally snuff it out. I can help you, but I need you to understand that I will not allow harm to come to those in town because of your selfishness," He spoke like a curse, "I'm warning you. I'm concerned. "

Hiyori clenched the phone. Behind her, Yato held her shoulders.

"Your concern is unnecessary and unwanted. Just as it's always been."

"...call me when you're feeling better. The day will come when you'll need my help. And I will give it to you. Whether you realize you want it or not."

The line cut out.

—-

"Okay…" Ama threw her arms out, "spirits…! From the great beyond…! Please follow my ties! Look to the future…! And tell me…"

"Will Abe and I get married?" The woman slapped her hands together, voice loud. The young women sitting on the floor stifled their giggles, holding their breath, eyes wide in the candle light.

Hiyori glanced up at said spirits of the great beyond.

It was Yato's turn. The older ghost did a little dance; waving his arms up and down, spinning this way and that, jazz hands. Then he leaned down and moved the Ouija board's planchette over to 'Yes.'

The girls all lurched back and squealed. Hiyori removed her hand last with a roll of her eyes, Yato's hand lingering a bit on hers.

Hiyori offered her congratulations to her friend, the rest cooing over the 'news' and over the 'magic powers' of spirits living in her haunted house.

"My turn!"

"No wait," Ama lurched forward, "I wanna know what month our wedding should be!"

"Ooo, June!" Yato reached.

"Hey! It's my turn!" Yukine grabbed him.

"Ama, you already asked them a question!"

"This is still technically my question, just an extension," Yato pushed him back. They wrestled. Ama used the same logic.

"It is not! It's my turn! Let me do a complicated one!" Yukine tumbled. Yato relented, Yukine waiting for all of the women's hands to be placed on the plastic disk.

"Actually, she looks more like a September," Yato remarked, "do september."

"Okay."

"Alright ghosts," Ama licked her lips, "what month should I do my wedding?"

Yukine's tongue poked out as he pushed them around.

"They're heavy," he grunted. Yato reached to help.

"S…e…p…t…September!" All the ladies squealed. The ghosts flickered in and out of existence due the noise.

Hiyori snorted and stood.

"Alright, I think that's enough playing with the spirits." She turned on the light. Both groups of friends groaned in disappointment.

"I think Hiyori's right," one of the nurses stood, "besides, I want more of that apple crumble cake." The woman chimed in with their requests of the different desserts Yato prepared. He was ecstatic about Hiyori bringing her friends to show them, over preparing the cuisine, even though he hid from them for most of the night.

Hiyori went to the stove to boil water for tea, coffee, and other drink requests. The air grew cold around her.

"Thank you," she muttered below her breath.

"Are you having fun?"

Hiyori gave a slight nod, smiling. She worked slowly, enjoying the freeze.

"Good, I'm glad," Yato hushed, "me too."

"Wait," she said before he could leave, "visit me tomorrow?" It was hard to talk quieter than a whisper. Yato stalled.

"I don't think-"

"Please?"

"...As you wish."

Yato pulled Yukine away from them after that, saying something about creeping on women and leaving them to their slumber party.

She didn't see them for the rest of the night, nor the following day.