Yukine and Yato had extinguished the phantom's effortlessly. The two of them were truly beginning to form a rhythm to their fighting. It was absolutely fascinating to watch them work together, and so for once, Hiyori contented herself with watching rather than getting involved. Next time she'll step in. Maybe if it was outside rather than in an underground train tunnel.
All three of them were famished afterwards. A quick stop to a convenience store was made to grab food and without actually discussing it, they all walked to Kofuku and Daikoku's home. The latter greeted Yato with slight annoyance but he ushered in Hiyori and Yukine, asking them about their days. Kofuku talked exitedly with Yato while he slurped up his noodles.
Before too long, Hiyori's mobile rang, her mother on the other line. She excused herself to take the call and returned shortly to announce that she had to head home.
Yato stood up and began to put on his boots.
"Yato, you really don't have to walk with me," Hiyori said gently as she slipped on her shoes.
"I don't mind."
She sighed. "I know you don't, but I'm perfectly capable of walking by myself."
Yukine chimed in from his seat, "Yeah, you've seen her! She can defend herself! She's whipped your butt a time or tw--" Yato shot Yukine a look who suddenly seemed much more interested in his tofu stir fry.
"I would feel better if I knew you got home safe."
A thousand excuses flew past Hiyori's mind: I can text you when I get home. I can call you if I get into any trouble. Stop treating me like a damsal in distress. I've walked home by myself in more dangerous parts without any problems. But she knew this was a losing battle. Even if she still declined, he'd still follow her home. It wasn't that she didn't appreciate the concern, but it was the being alone with Yato part that made her uneasy. She still hadn't talked to him about her dream and she knew he was going to ask.
Hiyori, resigned to her fate of having an escort, said goodbye to the rest of her friends and left to join Yato at the front of the house.
The two walked in silence for the first few blocks, side by side with about a meter between the two. Yato's silence unnerved her. It was like he was brewing up something. Her mind started to race at all the possibilities and with it, her heart beat began to accelerate and her face began to heat up with anticipated embarrassment.
A drop of water landed on Hiyori's nose that shook her out of her thoughts. More drops of water began landing on her face and clothes in rapid succession.
"It's raining," she said lamely, needing to fill their silence.
"Come here." Yato guided her underneath a tree for shelter from the rain.
"I didn't even check the forecast this morning. I should have brought my umbrella," Hiyori chastised herself.
"Hey, don't worry about it. We'll get you home before curfew."
Thunder sounded in the distance.
Hiyori looked up through the leaves. "Maybe standing on a tree's roots during a thunder storm isn't the best idea."
"Good point." Yato unzipped his jersey and took his arms out of the sleeves. He threw part of the jacket over his head and held the other half over his arm and sheltered Hiyori with it, stepping close to her side. "Let's get going."
Hiyori hugged her brief case to her chest and blushed furiously. Without comment, she began walking next to Yato, matching his step. Every step with right foot had her slightly bumping into his side and every step with her left foot had his arm brushing the back of her head. With him being so close and his jersey surrounding her was filling her senses with everything Yato. His presence, his warmth, his scent, the sound of his breath. Her heart thumped like a jack rabbit in her chest and she forgot how to take calm breaths.
His voice broke her reverie. "What, no complaints?"
"Huh?" She looked up at his face.
"Usually you complain when I'm too close." Hiyori stared up at him and her steps began to slow and his steps slowed with her. Yato was looking straight ahead at the rain. "I don't mean to make you uncomfortable, but sometimes you just overwhelm me. You probably think I'm just a nameless God who smells funny--"
Hiyori stopped walking. "I like how you smell..." She whispered.
He whipped his head down to look at her. "What?"
"I think you got it all wrong."
"No, what did you say right then?"
Her face grew even more red and she looked away from him. "I said... I... I like the way y-you smell." She tried to hide her face behind her briefcase.
"Hiyori..." His voice was soft and gentle. She slowly returned her gaze to his face. "What did you mean that I got it all wrong?"
She widened her eyes. This was what she was dreading. This moment right here. He was a God, for cripes sake. She was about to admit to this Who Knows How Old God that she, a high schooler, has a crush on him. This was crazy. This was ridiculous. This was...
"I like you, Yato."
...right. Perfect. Perfection. It was now or never. Courage flooded through her and the words that she had been denying herself suddnely flowed from her.
"I like you. More than I probably should." His eyes widened. She kept going. "I like everything about you. I like your determination. I like your kind heart." She saw his face beginning to flush. "Your acceptance and expression of your emotions. Your refusal to give up even in the worst of times. I like your eyes. And your laugh." He looked absolutely astonished. "And yes, I like how you smell."
Hiyori hugged her brief case and stepped away from him, out into the rain. Embarrassment flooded her every atom. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything." The rain began to soak threw her uniform. "I'll just go now. Thank you for walking with me." She bowed to him and began walking quickly, almost running, away from Yato.
Foot steps pounded behind her and Yato grabbed onto her arm. The momentum swung her around, pulling her brief case away from her, skidding to the ground. Hiyori made contact with his chest and he wrapped his arms around her in a secure hug.
"Don't you dare walk away after that."
Hiyori's face was scarlet. "But I... you..."
Yato pulled away enough to look into Hiyori's eyes. He was smiling a big, genuine smile that reached his eyes. "Do you know how happy that makes me to hear you say that?"
"I... Well... No?" Hiyori couldn't describe what she was feeling. She felt confused. Almost like crying. But happy at the same time. But deeply embarrassed.
Yato pulled her to him and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. His lips were warm against the cool rain on her skin. She shivered and he pulled her head into chest and rested his cheek on top of her head. Hiyori did what felt right and finally put her arms around him. She felt him breathe in deeply and sigh.
"You make me happy, Hiyori. Very happy." She could his smile through his tone of voice.
All of her confusing emotions cleared away to one resignating feeling: elation. This is what he was feeling. And she was feeling it, too. She just couldn't pinpoint it. She liked him. And he liked her. She hugged him tighter and felt him respond in earnest. Her endorphins got the best of her and she felt the laughter bubble up from inside her chest before it spilled out of her.
She felt Yato shift his head to look down at the top of her wet hair. "What's so funny?"
"I didn't even realize it before, Yato, that you could make me this happy." She snuggled against him, grinning from ear to ear.
By the time Hiyori made it home, every inch of her was soaked. She couldn't explain to her parents why she was so happy to be so drenched without having to explain to them who Yato was, but she didn't care.
She finally was owning her emotions, just like Yato does.
Hiyori could learn a thing or two from him.