“How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.”
― Sylvia Plath
Chewing the tip of her pencil, in a decidedly un-ladylike fashion, Ike Hiyori stared down at the Maths problem, willing the printed ink characters to make sense. With a groan she leapt out of the chair. It was no good she couldn't focus.
With a sigh of disappointment she took note of her physical body, still slumped over the desk. She had really wanted to finish that homework. After all she was trying to be a role model for Yukine.
But no she couldn't think of Yukine, right now, because that would mean that she would think of him.
After clapping her hands to her face several times, to shake out her thoughts, she rolled up her sleeves and determinedly she set about to straightening out her room (she at least wanted to try and be productive). It seemed to be going smoothly, until she came across the flowers on her bedside table. Her nose twitched at their scent and she could feel her body go taut, wanting to breathe it in.
Instinctually, she allowed it.
They had been a gift from Kofuku who'd had Daikoku pick them, so her bad luck wouldn't affect the flower's health. Their scent was sweet, refreshing and altogether pleasant. Yet, it made her mouth curl. It wasn't the smell that she desired.
Pinching her left arm, Hiyori tried her best to distract herself, even spontaneously punching out a few of Tono's moves, in an effort to rid her of energy.
Left hook. 'Don't think about it' Duck. 'Don't crave the feeling of warm skin.' Jungle Savate. 'Don't imagine that alluring scent…or the taste.'
Maybe she would have gotten it under control if she hadn't heard 'Hiyori! Dinner's ready!" called rom downstairs. Or maybe she had been fighting a losing battle from the start. Ever since her Father's hospital had been attacked by the akayashi. Ever since she had cried, at her injured mother's bedside.
Ever since that first bite.
As if possessed, she darted out the open window onto the rooftops and her eye's madly darted over the city. Her palms were sweaty and her hair was in unusual disarray from moving so fast but she didn’t even notice. She could only feel the slight burn in her throat, the clenching of her stomach. Then with just a sniff of her nose -
There it was. The thing her body had been craving over the past week as she had struggled to keep herself away from all the Far Shore friends and acquaintances she had made. In her mind's eye she could picture it-no, him, with perfect clarity. A mess of black hair, a scruffy scarf and tracksuit, those otherworldly eyes made up of the most inviting blue and…
…that perfect, pale skin.
The perfume that wafted off of it, which she could pinpoint from leagues away, made her mouth water.
Oh, she could almost taste it. Almost, almost, almost. The distance between them made her teeth ache. Without another thought, her shimmering cord (tail?) whipped from side to side, she bounded across the streets. Her eyesight felt sharp and her ears could make out the voices of individual civilians on the streets.
A disconnected part of her mused about these newfound feelings of strength, had her out-of-body abilities always been this enhanced? The questioning soon simmered down as she enjoying the feeling of her claws scratching over the roof tiles, the thrill of hunting overtaking her as she closed in on her unsuspecting prey.
Lingering on top of a traffic light, a pleased rumbling left her throat as she finally saw him. He was leaning against a wall covered in his usual graffiti 'Delivery god Yato: 090 XXX ##3X' in one of the more clean alleyways.
He looked so beautiful standing there in the streetlight.
She was also pleased to note that Yukine was not with him. That meant she wouldn't have to fight (his borderline had hurt last time, why had he done that again? She was only trying to obtain the salvation she longed for). Not having to worry about a shinki that would stop her, she twirled in the air, landing ever so softly in front of the resting kami.
She would have liked to stare at him and enjoy his sweet, sweet scent up close for a little longer (it was only fair, he stalked her all the time) but the urge to bite was just too powerful. It was like the slip of skin that his scarf left uncovered, was calling out to her.
And so she reached out her arms, pushing his lithe shoulders against the rough surface.
The reaction was immediate. His eyes snapped open in alarm, and his muscles contracted ready to shove her away. Her claws hooked into the fabric of his shirt in response. Seeing her face he paused.
"Hiyori? What are you...” A sharp intake of breath stopped him mid-sentence as he absorbed the situation.
The contraction of her violet pupils, the fay-like shape of her ears, the graceful curve of her incisors over petal-pink lips. He could feel sharp pinpricks against his upper arms and the start of a dull pain at his spine, pressed against the concrete.
And - feeling a flush rise to his face - he took note of Hiyori's cord wrapped around his waist ('when did that happen!?'). Re-composing himself he took action, hands on her sides he tried to push her away.
She wasn't budging.
He cursed under his breathe, with a mounting sense of anxiety. She hadn't always been this strong had she? It must be due to her leaning more towards the Far Shore. As struggling seemed futile (why had he left Yukine to take a night off? His hafuri was right, he was an idiot) he tried to speak once more.
"Hiyori! Stop this! You're turning into an akayashi!"
She could hear his muffled shouting but it didn't matter to her. No one else was around to hear him and get in the way. Good. She didn't feel like sharing.
As much as she wanted to sink her teeth into his neck, the pulsation of blood sounded in her ears. It felt so soothing. Maybe she'd start with a small taste first. Leaning down she ran the tip of her nose against his neck, nuzzling against him. She could sense the sudden stillness that overtook him and it made her happy.
She was so glad that he was accepting her this time.
Moving so that his scarf fluttered down his chest, she tipped her mouth against the crook of his neck.
So soft… she swiped her tongue along the line of his collarbone, feeling a warmth rush through her.
"H-Hiyori? What are you doing?"
"Yato you…smell so good," with that short exchange over, she widened her jaw - and quickly squeezed it shut.
The feeling of her teeth sinking deep, into the warmth of him, was the greatest thing she had ever felt. Meanwhile, the sudden arching of his back pushed him harder against her. It was as if none of her other senses mattered, apart from touch and taste. Oh…the taste.
'Hmm…ah…his blood must be what gives him his scent', she reflected in the fog of her mind.
It was wonderfully warm and sloshed against the lapping of her tongue. It was like honey and soy sauce but nothing like it at the same time. So sweet yet savoury. Sucking at the wound further, she drank like she would die if she didn't. It was amazing, she could feel heavenly power burn through her body making her shake with relish. She felt like humming in appreciation, if only the succulent meat wouldn’t choke the sound out. Instead, she kissed along the gash, coating her lips in the most beautiful red.
Still, she wanted more, the pangs of hunger within her had yet to diminish. She felt so empty and it made her want to cry.
So, pulling off a chunk of the trapezoid muscle (her father is so proud that she's studying medicine), she chewed ravenously. It was a mere morsel but seemed that it was more than enough to satisfy.
Managing to craft words whilst munching, she seemed to sing:
"Yato, you make me so happy"
Then the pain, desire and longing that had been with her for weeks now, abated as she consumed a part of him. But with that, her other senses came to the fore. After, what felt like an amazing dream - her ears (finally) picked up on sounds of Yato's pain.
A sickening sense of horror gripped her heart, as she lurched back, watching Yato fall in a slump without her holding him in place. It was awful. His blood managed to be visible, even against the black backdrop of his track shirt, from where it had spilled.
Wanting to do anything but, her eyes rose up to the spot were she had attacked him, because there was no other word for it. She had attacked him. To her mind, the injury looked unbelievably painful (how could it not? She had torn apart his flesh and eaten it). The muscles were clearly torn and, terribly, she could make the white glistening of bone.
Disgust consumed her as wet tears fell down her face. How dare she be the one crying? How could she have done this? How could she let the akayashi-half of her take control and hurt someone she so deeply cared for?
The hoarse and weakened whisper of "Hi-yo-ri…" was what it took to slap some sense into her.
Moving faster than she had ever done in her life, she swept the semi-conscious delivery god into her arms. The pitiful sound that he (the most lively and strong-willed person she knew) made, almost forced a sob from her chest.
Nevertheless she was resolute.
Within a few frantic moments, she arrived at one of Tenjin's less frequented shrines and cradling her precious burden in her arms, she began to purify the wound with water. All the while, her mind whirled trying to comprehend it all.
'Will this even work?'
In her mad dash, she had somehow connected the idea, that since she was effectively half-akayashi and she had injured a kami the sacred shrine water should be able to heal - even though she had not caused blight.
In a way this was her only option. As by taking Yato to Kofuku or even Bishamon right now, she had no guarantee that their scents wouldn't set her off once more. But if this didn't work, she would do it and gladly suffer their judgment for having sinned so terribly. Selfishly, she hoped that Yukine would not have to watch. He already felt let down by the world as it was, he didn't need to act as witness her betrayal.
Although, knowing she's not worthy, she offered a quick prayer of thanks; that the connection of mind and body between the kami and hafuri is only one way.
Her hands shook as she washed away the sticky consistency of blood but she persevered. 'Please, oh please, let it heal' What if it scarred and left a permanent mark of her actions on him forever? Are kami even able to scar?
After a few despair filled moments, the sound of soft breathing drew her to the sight of Yato's chest rising and falling.
‘In and out’
She cracked a shaky smile (sharp teeth still showing) in response. Sure enough, she could she the starting flutter of Yato's eyelashes. Glancing down, the skin appeared to be miraculously resealed, if tender and pink at the edges. The hum of his voice was music to her ears and she threw herself around him, clutching at him feverishly, her head burrowed into the dampened fabric of his shirt.
Without even realising it, her lips had already formed apologies, which spilt forth like a tsunami. Her relief and stinging regret evident in her warbled speech.
Yato did nothing except stoke her hair, still (rightfully) dazed. Laying them both down fully, on the stone path, he looked up at the inky night sky and waited for the harsh beating of their hearts to slow. Eventually, Hiyori relaxed against him, exhausted from the events that had transpired.
Moments passed in silence and neither of them knew how to breach it. So much had suddenly changed, like the Earth had tilted whilst orbiting around the sun. It remained like this until the northerly wind picked up…and her nose twitched. Emotionally burnt out, Hiyori didn't realise what she was doing until she registered the lack of Yato's breathing.
She had (once more) skimmed her mouth over the edges of his (just healed) skin. She could feel his pulse pick up and the body heat they shared made her stomach twist.
Horrified, her eye's widened, as she understood what was happening. 'No, no, no' The human side of her screamed and made her scramble away, grazing her palms as she went. Good, she deserved the pain. 'Not that it can even compare to what I've done' Her vision was blurred as she apologised again, glad she was unable to see Yato's expression.
'Does he despise me? Will he have no choice but to cut me down with Yukine, after what I've done? Will I attack them?' These thoughts sped through her mind in a vicious cycle, as she ran through the Torii gate and away from the shrine, forgetting in her haste that she was able to take to the rooftops.
She had to get away, far away, so that she wouldn't hurt him. This was her oath to herself as her shoes barely touched the ground.
Watching her run away from him, Yato felt acutely stung, in a way not unlike the feeling of being blighted.
Sitting up, he rubbed a thumb over the area where her mouth had been. It was tender and tingled at the touch but…it was not unpleasant.
A groan rose up in his throat as he finally had time to think.
After the shock of being unable to get out of Hiyori's grasp and his words going unheeded he had intended to struggle further. Then with his back to the wall (both figuratively and literally) she had gotten close to his throat…and all thoughts of escape had flown out of his mind. It wasn't out of concern or even fear that he had frozen up. He knew that now.
It had hurt at first. That initial bite felt like a shot from one of Bishamon's pistols, teeth searing straight through the flesh. After though, the licking of his blood had felt entirely different. He…he'd enjoyed it. The draining feeling (of both power and lifeblood) coupled with the loss of control. He'd been hyper-aware of the kisses littered across him, gliding along his skin.
And it'd left him breathless.
Yet, he'd still managed to scream as she tore away a part of him. Sinew ripped fresh from the bone.
'Heh, but even then it felt good, didn't it?' After being a god of calamity for so long, he'd learnt to process pain differently from most. It was akin to when he felt adrenalin pumping through his veins during a battle - the pain only served to add to the thrill of having a worthy opponent. Except this time he hadn't been the aggressor. He'd been the prey.
((In an act of self preservation he shoved the thoughts of 'she's only doing this because she's lost control' and 'this is all my fault to begin with' and 'stop enjoying this' into the farthest corner of his mind))
In the end, listening to her say 'you make me so happy' - while devouring the still warm slice of his throat - was the final nail in his coffin. (His goal to make Hiyori the happiest girl in the world was always in the back of his mind. If this was one of the ways he could try and achieve that, then…)
Blissed out and shaking (from Hiyori's actions more than the blood loss) he'd called out her name. By doing so, it seemed to finally break through the instinctual spell that had overcome her.
Soon after he had awoken from the sensorial overload, to find her lying on of him apologising all the while and finally, as she'd been drawn in again by his scent, he'd allowed it.
Secretly welcomed it, if he was honest.
And now she was on the run, no doubt torturing herself over something she hadn't been able to control. He should have known that something was up, considering her avoidance for the past week or so. Still, an impish grin grew on his face, while shaking his head ruefully 'did she really think she could seriously harm me? That's…kinda cute'
And so for the first time during this most peculiar night, Yato was the one in pursuit.
Curled up in the branches of the Sakura tree, that Yukine now takes care of in place of Suzaha, was Ike Hiyori. Her hand covered her mouth as if to prevent any sound, whilst her chestnut hair hanged low over her head: she was the picture of contrite dejection.
It was in this manner that Yato came across her.
As she was, Hiyori would have be lucky to register if the tree suddenly caught alight; so it was unsurprising that she took no note of the kami that swung down beside her. But in any situation, she'd be hard pressed to miss the sound of the voice currently whispering in her ear.
"There you are - tag you're it!"
Whether dumbstruck at his sudden appearance, or his nonchalant attitude after all that had happened the result was the same. With a resounding 'Eyah!' her ankle twisted and she was falling down. Only to have strong arms wrap around her and flip her, so that she'd be protected from the brunt of the impact.
A few short seconds later, she found herself amongst the weathered roots of the Sakura tree, atop a certain someone for the second time. It was like the heavens were playing some cruel joke on her.
"C'mon Hiyori at least look at me"
She tried to duck her head and pull away but a hand quickly tilted her face upwards. Astonishingly, her mind actually felt coherent. Perhaps, the fall was enough of shock to startle me? Still, making eye contact, she had absolutely no idea what to say. Seeing that no verbal response was forthcoming, Yato, true to form, avidly began to fill in the silence.
"Jeez, how could ya just run off on me like that? You're hurting my feelings here. I mean I've promised to grant your wish and help you with the whole bein' half-akayashi, so how come you couldn't tell me that it was bothering you this much? I mean you could've at least given me a heads up… "
Apparently not needing oxygen and having no brain to mouth filter he just kept going on, not noticing the stunned look on Hiyori's face. 'How - how can he be so clam about all this? Doesn't he understand what I…' Feeling the guilt bubble up inside of her and unable to stand it any longer, she cut him off by placing a hand over the lower half of his face.
As a result of her movement, her hair slipped down either side of him curtaining off their conversation from the rest of the world. "Yato" It was a plea, prayer and something unidentifiable, all wrapped in one.
"Why have you…No, why did you come after me? I…I attacked you, hurt you" The admission was soft but it stretched across the small space between them. "I wasn't even under any stress like last time…" The memory of the deranged patients made her flinch. "And could still hurt you! Please, don't put yourself in danger because of me…" she trailed off and what she couldn't articulate through words she tried to convey through a wobbly gaze.
At some point during her little speech, the normally striking eyes of the young man on the grass had softened, into the colour of the sky on a summer's day. Shifting her hand aside in a surprisingly gentle motion, he took hold of her face as if to say 'listen to me, I'm not going anywhere and neither are you, you dumb human girl'.
He licked his lips before speaking, a rare look of concentration on his face.
"You won't hurt me, Hiyori" Seeing her lips part in a-most-certainly-would-be-rebuttal he hurried on.
"Your hunger has been sated, I can tell, otherwise we wouldn't be having a conversation like this right now and anyway, I'm a friendly neighbourhood god, remember? You can't seriously damage me, you just…took me by surprise before, that's all'
Brow furrowing, she realised that he was right in a sense, although she could still smell his scent - and yes, it was undeniably 'good' - it didn't overpower her, with a crazed desire to feed, anymore. Nevertheless, a feeling of dread was lodged in the pit of her stomach. Wishing she could just let the conversation drop but knowing that wouldn't solve anything (and be extremely irresponsible and selfish to boot) she formed her following question, without truly wanting an answer.
"But what happens when my Akayashi-side takes over like that again? I can't control it Yato and I'm, well, I'm scared of what I'll do" At hearing her own concern out loud, the corners of her mouth drooped downwards with her throat tightening in discomfort.
In response he asked a question of his own.
"You've been bothered by this for a while right?" A hesitant nod confirmed his line of thought "Then you can come to me next time, and all the times after that, before it escalates and" with a thumb he swept the frown from her forehead, "we'll make sure it doesn't get out of control."
A moment of stillness passed before Hiyori grasped just what the kami was offering to do. For her sake.
"Yato…you can't be serious" A serious face looked back at her "I can't just bite into you when I want to! Like some kind of - of Jorōgumo!*
"Hiyori" the lilt of his voice was playful "you are nothing like a Jorōgumo. I would know" ('He would wouldn't he?') After a weak chuckle, at his own sense of humour, his expression faltered. A rare look of sadness rested there for a moment, before it blinked out of existence.
"So, please..." If she had planned on interrupting at any point, the earnestness of his voice stopped her dead in her tracks. Somehow, she knew, before they were even spoken out loud, that his next words would remain with her forever.
"…Just let me help you. It's my fault that you are a part of this world. Let me do as I promised myself, and make you the happiest girl in the world"
She could only imagine the pinkness that coloured her cheeks.
In that moment she felt impossibly lucky, to even be a tiny part of the world he wanted to shield her from. His world. Even though, it felt that now, she'd have no chance of ever being a regular girl, as she once wanted to be. However, having lost Yato and Yukine (and everyone else she had made irreplaceable bonds with) in this world of spirits and kami, once before, she knew that any price she had to pay was worth it. And if that meant being some kind of monster…if Yato was okay with it…then so be it.
('You really have been my god of fortune after all')
Below the sakura tree, Ike Hiyori was happy to let that moment last forever. A small part of her wondered, if Yato felt the same.
That is, until he decided to break apart the atmosphere (lack of social skills, apparent, as per usual. The kami was back to his usual self).
"Besides, the whole having-you-bite-me thing really isn't so bad, is it?
"Say Hiyori" A smirk, that practically spelled trouble, plastered itself over his face "have you ever heard of S&M?"
It was at this point, that Hiyori's face went from pink to bright red. And so did Yato's-
-the resounding slap she gave him left quite the mark.