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Vita et Mortem

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In the beginning the universe was empty and Minako, the spiritual being behind what humanity would eventually come to call their ‘universe’, was lonely.

For eons Minako tended to her universe, forming galaxies and stars and worlds but she had no one to share her creations with. Minako wept tears upon worlds, giving the planet's water. When she grew angry she hurled her creations into each other, forming moons and lesser celestial objects. Everything she did, everything she created, was nothing without a companion.

When her loneliness got to be too much to bear, Minako came to the desperate conclusion that if she could create worlds and galaxies to fill her universe then there’s no reason why she wouldn’t be able to create another god to share her miracles with.

Minako desperately gathered chunks of scattered rock as she wept and haphazardly formed a small ball that would be Earth. She focused all her energy, all the spiritual powers she possessed,  into creating another being. For a few thousand years nothing happened but then volcanoes suddenly burst forth on the surface and the earth goddess Hiroko was born from the ashes.

The Earth goddess came into Minako’s domain already having a friend greeting her with open arms. Although the pair was in complete awe of each other, Hiroko and Minako hit it off immediately and became fast friends. They played and frolicked with each other without a care in the world on Earth’s newly formed surface in between their godly responsibilities.

For much of Hiroko’s days as a young goddess, she and Minako were inseparable but as Minako’s realm matured and expanded, Minako had leave Hiroko’s side more and more frequently for longer periods of time to tend to the needs of the universe. Hiroko became victim to the same loneliness that she was born from.

“Minako,” Hiroko started hesitantly as she weaved wild flowers into Minako’s braided hair. “What if you were to create more like us?” Minako paused and turned around to face Minako.

“What do you mean?” Minako frowned.

“I just think if you create more gods, it might take some work off your shoulders and neither of us will ever have to be lonely if there are others.” Hiroko reasoned. Minako considered the proposal thoughtfully. Minako brushed her fingers through the soft lush grass that Hiroko had created to pad their meadow.

Perhaps it isn’t necessary for the universe to act alone anymore, Minako thought.

“I’ll give it some thought.” Minako promised.

And true to her word, soon after their conversation, Minako filled her universe with new gods. She first created Yakov to lord over the sun and the stars. He was a serious god who took his role in the universe very seriously. He and Hiroko would often have plenty of friendly conversations but there was just something about Yakov that prevented Hiroko from having the same relationship with him as Minako. He was friendly enough when they talked but their relationship didn’t extend beyond amicable colleagues.

Next, Minako created the sky goddess, Lilia, to bridge the gap between the earth and the sun. Yakov and the newest goddess’ relationship was . . . less than comfortable. She and Yakov fought on a daily basis and Yakov would get so frustrated with Lilia that the sun would set and retreat just to get away from her. Despite all of their fighting it was undeniable that Yakov loved Lilia. No matter what the sun would rise again in the morning to meet the sky and the world earth would be covered in the light of their love.

In a way Hiroko craved the love that the sun and the sky had for each other . . . Just maybe without all the fighting.

One night while Hiroko was walking along Earth’s surface she looked up at the night sky and was surprised to see a silver glowing moon in the sky. Before that moment no such object existed in the sky so this must be one of Minako latest creations, a new gift for an old friend. Hiroko was brought to tears by the beauty of it and in her mesmerized trance she tripped over something and fell right on top of a soft warm body.

Hiroko blinked in surprise and looked down on the handsome face that belonged to the god she had fallen upon.

The young god had been on the ground star gazing and admiring his new domain when Hiroko fell on him. He certainly didn’t expect his first night as a deity to end with the Earth goddess on top of him.

“Why, hello.” Toshiya chuckled goodnaturedly.

“H-hi.” Hiroko stuttered, taken aback by the sound of the god’s voice. Yakov and Lilia usually kept their distance from Hiroko, as was their nature, so to see a god (especially one as handsome as this one) this close was absolutely mesmerizing.

“I’m not a day old and I already have a beautiful woman in my arms. I don't know what I’ve done to have the Universe bless me in this way.” The young god smiled, securing a loose lock of hair behind Hiroko’s ear. Hiroko blushed and laughed nervously.

“She’s wily, that one. You never know what she has in store.” Hiroko said earning a laugh from the man she was still on top of. The god didn’t seem to mind though.

“Good to know. I’m Toshiya.” He greeted extending his hand between their bodies.

“Hiroko.” She replied, taking his offered hand.  Toshiya turned her hand in his and lifted their hands so that he could press a kiss to the back of her hand.

“May the Universe be merciful and bring us together again soon.” He whispered, almost like a prayer. Hiroko blushed and silently agreed with Toshiya sentiment.

And so began the courtship of the Earth and the Moon. They agree to meet each other every night in very spot in which they first met and they stroll side by side, hand in hand, bathed in the moonlight of the young moon. Hiroko looked forward to nights more than anything in the world and if she had it her way she would never leave the Moon god’s side.

“I have a gift for you.” Toshiya said a couple hundred years since they were first drawn together by the universe.

“What is it?” She asked, peering curiously at her partner who hadn’t brought anything with him that night that she could see. He stopped walking and took Hiroko’s hands in his.

Toshiya smiled gently and guided Hiroko to sit until she was seated on a patch of soft soil. Where her fingers touched grew soft tufts of fertile grass that grew and spread to the area surrounding her in slow waves. Toshiya joined her on the bed of grass and ran his fingers thoughtfully through the supple vegetation.

“You are . . . Magnificent.” He breathed out in awe. “I wanted to give you something that had just as much life as your spirit, to show you how much you mean to me.” He said with nothing but warm fondness for the goddess in front of him. Instinctively, his hand reached out and caressed her petal-soft skin. “Close your eyes, my queen.”

Hiroko placed her heart and all her trust in Toshiya’s hands and closed her eyes.

Toshiya pushed his fingertips into Hiroko’s fertile soil and channeled the powers that was bestowed on him by the universe to create something truly breathtaking for his goddess. And beauty he in fact created.

Out of the soil sprouted a pale glowing flower like none other before it. The flower’s petals unfolded and bathed itself in the pale moonlight. Toshiya’s creation was truly a sight to behold but his muse has still yet to take in it’s beauty.

“Open your eyes.” Toshiya whispered in Hiroko’s ear. Hiroko slowly opened her eyes and her eyes fell upon Toshiya’s gift. She gasped softly and gently ran her fingers along the blossoming petals, afraid that the masterpiece would dissolve away under her fingers.

To Hiroko’s astonishment and wonder, the bloom was sturdy and very much real.

“Do you like it?” Toshiya wondered, the tingle of uncertainty whispering in the back of his mind. He was caught off when his beautiful goddess of life threw her arms around him and kissed him with all of the passion in the universe.

“It’s one of the best gifts that anyone has ever given me.” Hiroko confessed gleefully.

“Just one of?” Toshiya asked with a quirked eyebrow and a soft charming smile. Hiroko blushed and retreated back to her original spot with her hands clasped together in her lap.

“Well . . . the Universe gave me you.” She admittedly shyly. Toshiya cradled Hiroko’s burning cheeks between his hands and pressed his forehead tenderly against hers.

“You are the greatest gift I could ever hope for.” Toshiya swears devoutly, as if he was uttering a prayer. “You are my world, my entire existence. I am forever at your service, my queen. Anything you could ever desire I would move the moon and stars to make it happen.”

“All I want is for you to stay.” Hiroko implored, taking Toshiya by the hand. Toshiya squeezed her hand and lifted her hand to press a kiss to her knuckles.

“Then I promise you that I will be by your side every night so long as you’ll have me.” Toshiya swore.

From that night onward, Toshiya kept his promise. Every night they met in the same clearing where Hiroko’s moonflower now grew and bloomed proudly in the moonlight. Years and decades and centuries passed by and every year Toshiya gifted Hiroko another moonflower for her garden which she tended to as if it were the most precious thing in the world. Hiroko’s moonflower patch grew bountiful and extensive throughout their years as a promised couple.

But much to Hiroko’s sadness, Toshiya couldn’t be with her when the moonlight didn’t shine down upon her world’s surface so once a month Lilia kept her company while her husband was stranded in his domain with the new moon. The sky goddess welcomed it, insisting that it was a nice night away from the husbands, and every once and a while even Minako would join them when she could spare time away from her rapidly expanding world.

On this particular night it was just Lilia and Hiroko. Lilia sat behind Hiroko in her meadow of moonflowers, weaving the pale blooms into Hiroko’s hair. They talked about anything that came to mind, scandals with other gods, their lives in the past month, the trouble their husbands got up to. Tonight though, Lilia’s tone was considerably more serious.

“Yakov and I have a son now.” She mentioned casually as if it were they were simply talking about the weather.

“A sun?” Hiroko inquired. She hadn’t recalled seeing a new star in the sky recently.

“No, no. A son . A little boy. A child born from my husband and I.” Lilia explained.

“You can do that?” Hiroko asked with wonder sparkling in her eyes. She knew all of their powers expanded with each new god and goddess that came into universe, but gods actually creating more gods? It had never been done before.

“I suppose now we can.” She said, brushing her fingers through Hiroko’s hair. There was a softness to Lilia’s demeanor that Hiroko had never seen before. “He is more precious to me than my own existence, Hiroko. I would move worlds and extinguish suns to keep him safe.” Lilia continued.  

“Where is he now?” Hiroko wondered.

“I put him on a comet to keep him safe. He will spend his childhood years exploring and learning about the universe that he was born into. I do not know what role he has to play in our world but I hope that he will be able to discover that for himself.” Lilia explained.

“I can’t wait to meet him!” Hiroko said cheerfully.

“I hope someday you will. I have a feeling that he’s going to be a very special god someday.” She replied with pride brimming in her voice.

“I think he will be too.” Hiroko agreed.

Time passed by and life turned back to normal. One by one more gods enter the pantheon and Lilia continues beaming with pride about her son’s adventures in the universe.

Not long after Lilia’s second child comes into the world, Hiroko and Toshiya have a child of their own, much to the delighted surprise of the couple. But unlike how Lilia’s first child was born, Mari came into the world from the wake of violence.

Georgi, Lilia’s youngest child was born from an eruption of a volcano that subsequently covered the Earth in a thick layer of volcanic ash. During the first few years of that child’s life the atmosphere was so thick it blocked out all light, including that of the child’s father. Toshiya found himself stranded on the wrong side of the atmosphere and was unable to make it to the surface to visit his wife.

Hiroko wept every night that she was apart from her husband. She wept enough painful tears that her sorrow overflowed the lakes and rivers and created oceans.

When the air finally settled and Hiroko could finally make out a vague outline of the moon, Toshiya returned to her. They reunited jubilantly in the first moonlight to hit the surface in three years. When Toshiya refused to leave in the morning the moon eclipsed the sun for the first time, all because Toshiya couldn’t stand the thought of being separated from his wife any longer.

The next night they strolled hand in hand along the still shores of the ocean that Hiroko had wept into existence during her husband’s absence. A child’s cries can be heard off in the distance and a hurricane forms off the shore and is quickly barrelling towards mainland.

“Toshiya,” Hiroko pauses, listening for the faint sounds of an infant crying. “Do you hear that?”

Toshiya listens for a moment to hear what put such a worried look on his wife’s face.

“Is that . . . One of Lilia’s kids?” He wonders. The brewing storm off in the distance made think the the child’s cries might be that of her youngest. “What’s his name? George? Georgie?”

“Georgi.” Hiroko corrected. “I don’t think it’s him though. That cry . . . It’s something different Toshiya.”

“You want to walk into that storm, don’t you?” Toshiya sighed.

“We’re immortal. What’s the worst that could happen, dear?” Hiroko said, already marching head first into the encroaching hurricane. Without hesitation, Toshiya followed after his wife.

The storm rolled in quicker than either of them thought possible but even as the winds howled and rain poured down from the sky they could hear the child’s cries calling out to them. Inexplicably the ocean’s once dead-still waters started cashing against the shore. In fear that the child would be swept away by the waves, the couple sprinted headlong towards the cries.

Within a few minutes they came upon a babe, red faced and screaming, nestled among a bed of seaweed. Hiroko leaned over and picked up the child, making soothing cooing noises to calm the child. Slowly the child calmed and the hurricane with her. When distress was no longer the thing on the center of the child’s mind, she stared up at Hiroko with innocent bewilderment.

“Hello young one, who might you be?” Toshiya asked as if the child could understand him. Hiroko giggled at her husband and held the child closer to her chest.

“I think she’s ours.” Hiroko said, slowly rocking the child in her arms. The baby curled her tiny hand around Hiroko’s finger as she started to fall asleep in her mother’s arms.

Toshiya blinked in shock and stared at the two in wonder. “ Ours. ” He breathed. Although she was still quite young, Toshiya could clearly see the likeness in the child’s face. She already seems possesses Hiroko’s charm and free spirit at the very least.

“What will we call her?” Toshiya asked.

Hiroko stared down at the sleeping child’s face with the warmest smile lighting up the beach. “Mari.”

Toshiya stepped closer to his daughter and wife and gently ran the back of his index finger along the babe’s soft rose petal cheek. “Welcome to the Universe, Mari.”

Mari, as it would turn out, was quite the hellion child. You couldn’t look away for ten minutes without returning to find her a mile out at sea or pulling at a less-than-amused god’s robes for entertainment. Toshiya often finds himself reminiscing of the days where his young goddess didn’t know how to walk.

Mari might have been a rambunctious child but that didn’t mean her parents didn’t love her any less. They gave her all the support that they could think of and when she found an a affinity for the ocean as her domain of choice, the couple encouraged the bond between the child and sea, convinced that she would one day make a truly magnificent goddess of the seas.

But for now, Mari was still their child and they would protect her from the dangers of the world for as long as possible so much of her infant years (when she wasn’t off causing trouble) Mari was connected to Hiroko’s hip.

Many sunny afternoons were spent chasing the toddler goddess in Hiroko’s meadow while they waited for the sun to come down and the moon to rise. In the short moments of peace between Mari’s bursts of excitement, the mother/daughter pair sat among the patch of curled up moonflowers, sleeping in the warm sunlight.

They were a picture perfect family. Life couldn’t possibly get any better.

Mari grew up and in time she was quickly on the verge of becoming a teenager, a time that Hiroko and Toshiya feared based on how much trouble Georgi already was for his parents. Admittedly, there was a small part of Hiroko that would miss chasing her toddler through the meadow and kissing stubbed toes all better.

Mari was a millennium old when signs of new and different life took stronghold over her mother’s meadow. The changes were subtle and could easily be missed if you weren’t looking. The older flowers bloomed just the slightest bit dimmer, the grass grew dryer as fall approaches, and some of the oldest moon flowers in the meadow started to bow their heads toward the soil, fatigued by their immortal life.

No matter what she tried, Hiroko couldn’t revive the meadow back to it’s utopian glory. There was a great power at play, even greater than even Hiroko could contend with by herself. She did everything she could to save her flowers, without success.

One dusk, the power looming over her garden was too great for the decaying blooms to bear and instead of opening up with the moon rise, they remained closed and shriveled into themselves while their younger siblings around the patch of the oldest flowers flourished. Hiroko felt like weeping but froze once she got close enough to the dead blooms to see that a newborn child was silently resting among the dried brown remains of her oldest moonflowers that Toshiya had given her.

The baby boy was so delicate and small, much smaller than Mari had been when Hiroko found her. He had soft round cheeks tinted with a sleepy blush, hair black as the night sky during a new moon, and such a gentle expression on his innocently slumbering face. He was perfection and undeniably Hiroko and Toshiya’s son.

“Mama? What is that?” Mari asked, bounding up and curiously poking at her baby brother’s chubby stomach. The young goddess had never met an infant that she could remember and she didn’t much like how the baby boy’s face scrunched up in distress when she poked him. Hiroko chased her daughters hand away from the baby and picked the child up, which immediately seemed to sooth the poor child.

He is your baby brother.” Hiroko cooed. She gently brushed back her son’s dark hair as his eyes slowly fluttered open and he gazed upon his mother for the very first time with his innocent brown eyes. Hiroko smiled down at the child and placed a tender kiss on his forehead. “His name will be Yuuri.” She declared, her eyes beaming with pride.

Yuuri smiled a toothless grin and gurgled happily in his his mothers arms and Hiroko was struck in absolute awe that such innocent beauty could be born from death. Perhaps, even before he’s spoken a single word, Yuuri was already teaching the increasingly mortal world that beauty and rebirth can sprout from death and decay.

Chapter Text

Being the God of Death was … Hard for a young child such as Yuuri. When he was young and didn’t know any better Yuuri struggled to control his abilities. Living things died shriveled and blackened at his touch which made playing with the other young gods next to impossible.

He did try to play with them, he really did, but they all quickly shunned him once they realized that Yuuri wasn’t normal like them. They all had their flashy creation abilities and domains they were born to lord over but all Yuuri did was destroy anything he touched.

One day a new group of young gods that Yuuri had never met before wandered into his mother’s garden. They sat down among the wildflowers and began to weave flower crowns while they talked and laughed with each other, about what Yuuri had no idea. He watched them suspiciously from behind the tree but when he tried to lean in closer to hear their conversation the boy accidently stepped on a pile of crunchy dried foliage that had fallen in the time he had been bracing himself against the tree.

The young girl of the group snapped her head towards the sound of the intrusion. Yuuri recoiled away from the tree and glared at his own traitorous hands for giving the tree a premature winter.

“Hey! Why are you hiding over there? Do you want to play with us?” The girl asked.

“Sara!” The girls sibling scolded, clearly not interested in the young boy joining them.

“Hush Mickey, he looks lonely. Don’t you think JJ?” Sara scolded.

“N-no really it’s ok. My mom must be looking for me anyway.” Yuuri insisted, instinctively stepping back into the edge of the forest,

“Wait.” JJ commanded. Yuuri froze, completely and utterly rooted in the spot where he stood. “You’re the Earth goddess’ son aren’t you?” JJ asked.

“Y-yes. I am.” Yuuri stuttered, nodding. JJ grinned at Sara and Mickey, stood up and proudly put his hands on his hips.

“Then we have to play with you then. Your mom does own this entire domain.”

“Y-you don’t have to.” Yuuri bowed his head shyly. Something about this whole situation set him on edge. JJ strode over and confidently threw his arm around Yuuri’s shoulder.

“So what’s your name if I may ask, your majesty?”

“Yuuri! Just Yuuri.” Yuuri flushed.

He didn’t like it when people treated him any different because of his mother. Since the first influx of minor god creations, a hierarchy of gods developed that put the original gods like his mother and father towards the top and younger more abstract-idea gods towards the bottom. The Katsuki family of deities held their place firmly at the top of the hierarchy and the Universe was hellbent to never let Yuuri forget it.

“We’re making crowns out of these flowers and then we’re going to play Gods and Evils.” JJ proudly proclaimed.

“How do we play that?” Yuuri asked. He didn’t often get the chance to play with other gods his age so understandably their games were lost on him.

“We split up into teams and the Gods fight the Evils to save the world and the Evils try to destroy everything. You and I get to be the Gods and you two are the Evils.” JJ said pointing at Sara and Michele. Michele sneered and rolled his eyes.

“But you always get to be a God!” Sara complained.

“That’s because I’m the best god!” JJ bragged beaming with bravado confidence.

“Well that’s not fair.” Sara challenged with a fierce pout on her face.

“Can we just play the stupid game?” Michele sighed.

“Alright. Close your eyes Yuuri, count to ten and then we have to go find them.” JJ instructed. Yuuri dutifully covered his eyes with his hands.

“Then what do we do?” Yuuri asked with his eyes still obscured by his hands.

“We defeat them.” JJ said. A shiver went down Yuuri’s spine and he wasn’t so sure if he wanted to play this game anymore.

Chapter Text

Yuuri and JJ decided to split up in order to find the Evil siblings but JJ neglected to tell Yuuri what exactly he was supposed to do when if he found one of them. Hence why Yuuri was now wandering around a dimly lit forest on edge and scared. He felt like there eyes following him everywhere and they didn’t exactly feel friendly.

Yuuri heard a rustle in the woods a few feet beside him. The boy jumped back and covered his mouth to muffle the terrified scream that rose to his throat.

As the rustling grew closer Yuuri backed himself into a tree. The sharp feeling of the tree’s bark against surprised Yuuri and in his panic he shoved himself away from the tree and stumbled over an exposed root and landed hard on the ground. The tree he had pushed off of cracked and moaned under it’s own weight from the rot that Yuuri’s touch had introduced because of all the negative energy radiating inside of him.

Yuuri scrambled out of the way as is crashed to the ground where he had once been. Yuuri stared horrified at his palms because of what he had just done. He had killed a tree, a tree that had stood proudly in his mother’s forest for hundreds of years only to have it’s core rotted by a scared little boy who couldn’t control his powers.

Yuuri collapsed in on himself and gripped his hands in his hair as he broke down. Yuuri sobbed into his knees and the game was long since forgotten. He wanted to run away far, far away, to a world where he wasn’t Katsuki Yuuri and he wasn’t burdened by his own godliness.

Yuuri wanted to be normal , well as normal as any god could be.

Yuuri wasn’t sure how long he was alone with just him and his destructive thoughts. It felt like an eternity but he knew it couldn’t have been more than a few hours since he’d first fallen to the ground. None of the other children had come to find Yuuri and it was probably for the best. He didn’t want to be around anyone while he was in such a volatile state. Yuuri felt like he was one small muscle twitch away from exploding and he desperately needed this time alone to calm his nerves.

Before Yuuri could even register someone had approached him, a small hand reached out and clasped his shoulder. Yuuri flinched and roughly shoved the person away from him.

“Get away from me!” Yuuri cried. Sara stumbled a few steps back, clutching her hand, with painful tears streaming down her cheeks. She stood a few feet away from away from Yuuri with her head bowed and was shaking like a leaf. She released the hand that was gripping her wrist to reveal that the hand that Yuuri had carelessly smacked away had turned completely black. Sara sobbed harder upon realizing what Yuuri had done to her.

“Sara, I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to -” Yuuri stuttered apologetically. In that moment both Sara’s brother and JJ burst through the treeline and halted at the scene before them. Michele got one look at his sister and his face turned bright red with rage.

“What did you do ?” Michele seethed charging at Yuuri and grabbing him by his robes. Yuuri flinched and sank back into himself.

“I-I didn’t mean to!” Yuuri defended.fearfully.

“You didn’t mean to?” Michele growled, his knuckles going white with how tightly he was gripping Yuuri.

“Hey man, I think you should calm down.” JJ said, putting a calming hand on Michele’s shoulder which he promptly shoved away.

“He hurt my sister! I’m not going to calm down. ” Michele pushed JJ back and back Yuuri into a tree.

“Mickey! Stop! I’m fine really. It only stings a little, I swear. See? It’s already healing.” Sara said, holding out her hand to prove that Yuuri’s black mark had already started to recede. That seemed to be the least of Michele’s worries at the moment.

“Sara stay out of this.” Michele warned.

“It was an accident!” Sara protested.

“Come on man, we’re going to get in trouble. He didn’t mean it.” JJ implored, once again trying to pry Michele away from Yuuri.

All the while, Yuuri was trembling with fright and radiating negative energy into the tree he was pushed against. Yuuri could already feel the wood softening against his back. He was desperate for a way out so he started to focus all of his energy into the tree that was in the way of his freedom. Soon enough the tree started to crack and lean backwards. When the tree finally started to fall the trio scrambled to get out of its way and Yuuri took that moment to make his escape.

Yuuri ran and ran until he was sure no one would find him ever again.

Chapter Text

Yuuri continued running through his mother’s forest until the sun had set below the horizon and a chill sets in on the air. The moonlight casts ominous shadows on the forest floor. Branches cast long fingerlike shadows that reached out sinisterly towards Yuuri. 

Yuuri is cold, terrified, and alone. He just wants to go back to his mother. 

Yuuri walks through the forest, desperately searching for any rock or knobbly tree he might recognize to guide his way home but he had no such luck. Just when he was about to give up and find a secluded bed of leaves and flowers to rest in for the night when he heard the faint call of a siren’s voice. 

Yuuri followed the sound of the voice through the forest, the beautiful voice becoming clearer and more alluring as he grew closer. By the time Yuuri could distinctly make out the singing voice, a soft glow radiated past the treeline of the clearing. 

Yuuri kept himself tucked behind a tree as he cautiously peeked into the clearing. Yuuri gasped quietly at the sight before him. In all his years, he had never seen anything so beautiful. 

In the center of the clearing was a small pond that glowed with bioluminescent algae. Shattered rocks and gems from a fallen asteroid created an island situated in the center of the water. A naked boy with long flowing silver hair bathed in the pond with the water pooling just above his waist. He was singing a beautiful melody, completely oblivious to Yuuri’s gaze. 

Yuuri stared in awe of his beauty but a part of him felt like he didn’t deserve to behold this god’s utopia. 

The boy turned around to wring out his long hair and Yuuri panicked diving back behind the tree for shelter. A twig snapped underneath his foot and the silver-haired boy snapped his attention towards Yuuri’s direction. 

“Who’s there?” The boy asked, shyly crossing his arms over his chest despite the rest of his body being exposed. Yuuri stepped away from behind the tree to reveal himself. 

“I’m sorry.” Yuuri apologized shyly, holding his arm self consciously and staring at the ground below him.

“Who are you?” The boy asked, turning his nose up proudly at the younger boy. He stood proud and regal and even though Yuuri knew he probably outranked this boy in the pantheon he still found himself intimidated.

“I’m Yuuri.” Yuuri answered. The boy narrowed his eyes and looked Yuuri up and down, appraising his every flaw and feature. 

“What are you doing here Yuuri?” The boy countered suspiciously. 

“Don’t I get to know your name?” Yuuri asked defensively. 

“Not until you answer my question.” Victor insisted, crossing his arms over his chest defiantly. 

“I’m lost,” Yuuri admitted sadly. The older boy’s face softened from defensive to sympathetic. He silently motioned for Yuuri to come out of the shadows of the treeline and into the moonlit clearing. Yuuri shuffled into the light and approached the pond’s edge. The boy in the water waded over Yuuri’s side and sat down at the edge of the shoreline while still keeping his toes in the water. 

He looked up at Yuuri where he was hesitantly standing a few feet away and he patted the ground beside him to signal Yuuri to take a seat beside him. Yuuri obediently sat down beside the water nymph boy and let his toes dip into the warm water. 

“I’m sorry I was so guarded. My mama always warned me to be wary of strangers.” He apologized. “I’m Victor.” He introduced kindly. 

“Why are you out here all alone?” Yuuri questions. He curls his toes in the water when a colorful fish swims up to nibble at the tips of his toes. 

“This is my home.” Victor says confidently, “Why are you out here all alone?” 

“This is my mother’s forest.” Yuuri counters, “And I’m hiding.” He continues in a softer tone. 

“Hiding from what?” Victor questions, shifting closer to Yuuri. Yuuri pulls his knees up to his chest and rests his chin against his knee caps. 

“It’s nothing, just some Gods that would be unhappy if our paths crossed again,” Yuuri explains. 

“But you’re so small!” Victor exclaims, “I can’t imagine how any god could be upset with you!” Victor laughs, ruffling Yuuri’s hair. Yuuri bats the nymph’s hand away with a soft pout on his lips. 

“I’m not small!” Yuuri insists petulantly, “My Momma says I’m going to grow up to be a strong and powerful God.” Victor gasps and lurches forward to grab Yuuri by the shoulders.

“You’re a God too?” He exclaims, “I’ve never met any of our kind before.”

“Never? How long have you been alone?” Yuuri questions. Victor sits back and blinks. 

“Always.” Victor answers, “My mother put me on a comet when I was a baby and you’re the first person I’ve met since landing here.” Victor says gesturing to the gemstone encrusted rock that has embedded itself into the Earth. 

“You’ve been alone all this time?” Yuuri asks. He can’t imagine how lonely Victor must have been. Yuuri’s not popular child by any means but he has his family and his sister at the very least. Who did Victor have all this time traveling the dark depths of the universe by himself?

Victor takes hold of both of Yuuri’s hands, “Will you be my friend, Yuuri?” Victor pleads. 

“Sure!” Yuuri nods without hesitation. Victor releases a delighted laugh and throws his arms around Yuuri, sealing their newfound friendship with a hearty embrace.