Actions

Work Header

Even for a Lifetime, I Will Wait for You

Chapter Text

 

"Ack! Guh!...p-please,  I will do anything that you want me to do! Don't kill me-gahhhhh!!!!"

With a look of utter contempt, the pale young man with a bowl cut and bi-color eyes slashed the head of the bleeding demon kneeling before him. 

Fucking disgusting, he thought. Every single one of them is fucking disgusting.

He angrily stared down at his striped haori that had been sprayed with drops of the demon's filthy blood while he was cutting the demon's limbs in order to get informations about Muzan from it. It was a Lower Moon, the Lower Moon 4, in fact, but it had been laughingly easy to lure it to an abandoned temple up in the mountains and it only taken him an hour to subdue it. So he'd spent the next several hours torturing it and enduring it's annoying screams just to find out about that monster's whereabouts, only to get nothing since it seemed that that monster had prepared a foolproof method of preventing the Twelve Demon Moons from disclosing any informations about him, no matter how small or useless it was. 

Suddenly, he felt all the anger left his body. He closed his eyes and let out a tired sigh.  Great, he had to burn this haori now. And he really liked it, too.  But everything that had been touched by a demon's filthy essence should be burned, destroyed or eradicated. Everything.

The sunlight was already peeking from the horizon when he finally finished burning his haori at the back of the dilapitated temple. She would surely be mad at him for not going home before dawn and yet he couldn't bring himself to worry about it now. He was sure that Ai could convince her to forgive him this time.

And besides, it wasn't like walking under the sun ever bothered him in anyway.

 

 

 

 

Ubuyashiki Kagaya slowly opened his near sightless eyes to the start of a brand new day, his heart heavy with sorrow and trepidation.

It was that dream again. How many times have he seen that dream in the past eleven years? 

Kagaya had had many dreams in the past, most of them more heart crushing and left him with almost overwhelming fear that seeped through his bones than not. It was a curse as much as a gift, for he often dreamt of the terrible deaths of his beloved children, but it also warned him of the upcoming calamaties that he could prevent with the right timings and decisions.

And yet, he had never had a dream as filled with immense hate, fear and despair as this one. Before, he had been content to be a mere spectator of what were happening in his  dreams but this one was different. It tormented him, taunted him, urging him to move and protect that person from that man. To envelop that person's small and trembling form and protect that person from the monster who was looming over him.

The quarter moon hung above them, mocking him; the buildings around them have already been destroyed, looking like sorrowful skeletons of what could have been; and the smell of blood and rot fused with the soils under them; eviscerated bodies of what could be demon slayers lie around them and yet Kagaya could only focus, with his heavily beating heart, at the rage that was slowly building inside that person's slight form, like a volcano that was about to erupt.

The hideous monster smiled, smugly, his sharp fangs glinting under the street-lamps.

"All of your friends are now dead. You're the only one left now. Tell me, why do you keep fighting? Do you really want to die so bad?"

He looked down at the person kneeling before him, who began shaking like a leaf. But instead of fear, his unusual colored eyes only showed hate and contempt when he finally lifted his face. 

"A trash like you has no right to talk. You truly disgust me, Kibutsuji Muzan," and he spat at him, his saliva hitting the monster's left cheek.

Kagaya watched, feet rooted on the ground he was standing on, as the ashen-haired monster who could be Kibutsuji Muzan's blood-red slitted eyes narrowed in anger. He grabbed the person's dark hair and pulled him next to his face. The person's expression remained defiant as he stared back at Muzan's furious face.

"Fine, you fool," Muzan snarled, "I won't kill you. But I will make sure that you will suffer for eternity. You will forever live disgusted of yourself, away from the people you loves and who remains alive. May you enjoy immortality, Demon Slayer."

And what followed made Kagaya want to scream, to run and save that person and protect him from Muzan. But before he could take a step, that dream would always abruptly end, leaving him sweating and breathing hard on his futon, which in turn would worry his Amane.

For eleven years, he had been having that dream. And for eleven years, he had been looking for that person in his dream and failing to find him.

Who was that person? And why just thinking about him getting hurt by—Muzan...that demon was crushing his heart?

His wife soft and gentle hands touched his, and Amane spoke, tone full of concern. "Dear husband, is something the matter?"

Kagaya turned to her and smiled weakly. "I'm sorry for bothering you, dear. I just had that dream again."

Amane's eyes shone with understanding. Her grip on his hands became tighter.

Then, they heard the sound of a Kasugai crow cawwing right in front of their window. With a small perplexed frown, Kagaya stood from their futon and opened the window. He immediately recognized the crow carrying a sealed letter and staring expectantly as the one that belonged to the  former Thunder Pillar, Kuwajima Jigoro. He took the letter tied to one of it's feet and broke the seal.

What he found inside made his frown darken. 

He needed to call the Pillars for a emergency meeting. 

Right now.

 

 

 

Just as he had expected, they answered his summons as functually as they could. It wasn't their fault that some of them lived in  residences far from the base of Demon Slayers Corps; he knew that Himejima Gyomei even lived up the mountains, but they still went to the emergency meeting as fast as they could and in the early morning too.

The first to come were the sweet, gentle yet with a resolve like steel Flower Pillar Kochou Kanae and her younger sister, the newly promoted Insect Pillar Kochou Shinobu, for their Butterfly Estate was just inside the base. They were followed by the Mist Pillar, Tokitou Muichirou, who looked like he was about to fall down and crawl up in a sleep in any second but still adorably tried hard to stand on his toes. He made a mental note to ask Amane to prepare a room and a futon for him after this meeting. 

Another pair of sibling Pillars came next. Sabito, the Water Pillar, and his sister Makomo, the Bird Pillar. Both have been officially adopted by the former Water Pillar Urokodaki Sakonji and their master after they both passed the Final Selection together with the rest of the aspiring young Demon Slayers that entered it with them. He had heard how proud and happy Urokodaki back then when he heard the news of both of his students passing, like a proud parent bragging about  his kids to other parents nearby. Kagaya's lips twitched at the memory.

The Stone Pillar, Himejime Gyomei, came after, tearfully apologizing for being a minute late. Next was the Sound Pillar, Uzui Tengen, who also apologized for being late, flamboyantly. And lastly, Flame Pillar Rengoku Kyoujurou arrived, loudly and passionately proclaiming his arrival and also apologizing at the same time. 

Ubuyashiki Kagaya pressed a palm to his lips in fond exasperation. These kids, really. 

It wasn't long before they managed to stand on line before him (though a sudden play fight between Sabito and Uzui almost broke the line; Shinobu's poisonous glare and Kanae's sharp smile stopping it before it get bigger) and bowed their heads reverently. Kagaya felt a pang of sorrow when he saw the empty spot beside Gyomei. Another Pillar lost, another of his children he buried and mourned. 

Where would this fighting end? How many children do he have to bury before the world could finally have the peace it deserved?

He shook his head and sighed. There's no use thinking about the future, he had to think about now. Especially after what the former Thunder Pillar had shared to him via a letter this morning.

"Good morning, my children. I know that some of you are wondering why I called all of you for an emergency meeting at this time of the day. But there's a matter of utmost importance that I need to discuss with all of you."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slowly, he opened his eyes and was greeted with the sight of all his siblings (if he could even call them that)  standing around his bed, their expressions ranging from concern to irritation. Well, irritation only on Kaze's scarred face. And a blank look on Mizu's, which for some reason irritated him more.

"Whadd?" he asked, groggily. 

Ai frowned down on him, looking unhappy. "You've been sleeping for so long! We're starting to get worried now! Even Kaze-nii is worried about you! I haven't seen him so worried  since he went outside to look for his girlfriend!"

"Oi, for the fucking last time, she's not my fucking girlfriend!"

Ai ignored their blushing and sputtering brother to fuss around him. He grumbled grumpily, internally wishing for peace and quiet. But he knew that with his all of siblings awake at the same time, he wouldn't have both inside their big villa built on the top of the mountain just outside a small rural village. And it would be even more chaotic if Little Yui and Usagi decided to join them.

And yet, he cherished it. He badly needed it. Craved these small chaos and bickerings. For he had already lost this once. So he would make sure that he wouldn't lose it again. 

He wouldn't lose them again.

Ignoring Ai's incessant concerned questions on whether he was hungry or walking under the sunlight for hours had harmed him, Kaze's increasingly loud protestations that the Pillar girl (what was her name again?) wasn't his girlfriend and Mizu's shrewd looks, he stood up and walked towards the small dressing room where he kept his spare clothes and haoris. 

A war was looming in the horizon, and he and his siblings must be prepapred from tooth to nail for it. 

This time, he swore to himself, they would win.

And this time, Muzan Kibutsuji would burn in hell where he belonged. 

Chapter Text

 

"...I have summoned all of you here for a matter of utmost importance," Oyakata-sama gentle yet commanding voice rang around the garden of his estate, gravely, and every single one of them was captivated and dared not to look away from him. Not even Shinobu, the second youngest Pillar in attendance.

She was also the newest Pillar in the group, having been promoted only five months ago after she finally proved her worth by killing a century-old demon preying on unsuspecting young grooms on the night before their wedding day. She had quickly and cleanlg disposed of the demon that had already killed over a twenty demon slayers of different ranks, which earned her the respect of the whole Demon Slayer Corps and a lofty promotion. 

(She would never forget that embarrassment she felt that night because of that blue-eyed man.)

But that was a story for another day.

Right now, she stood straight and proud, looking like what a Pillar should be, face somber but inside she was eagerly waiting for what their venerable leader was about to announce. Oyakata-sama had never once called for an emergency meeting ever since she became a Pillar, epecially one at the early hours of the day, so whatever he wanted to imoart to them must have been very important and made him worry. 

Oyakata-sama pulled a letter from his sleeves, smoothed it and gave it to his daughter, little Kanata, who was sitting seiza-style beside him, and asked her to read the letter for benefit of everyone in the place. 

"As you wish, Oyakata-sama," Kanata said, and skipping through the former Thunder Pillar's well-wishes and proper greetings, for his urgent tone made it clear to her what he wanted her to do, began to read:

To Oyakata-sama,

I really do hope that this letter would arrive to you without delay. While I do trust my Kasugai crow, for it had accompanied me for years, it is already old and forgetful. 

What I do want to tell you is about 'them.'  About the creatures that the two of us, including the former Water Pillar, Urokodaki Sakonji, have been investigating for over a decade now, and continue to fail to gather any proof of existence before because of these creatures's elusiveness.

Yes, this letter is about the demons called 'Daywalkers.'

Somebody gasped and Shinobu's heartbeat stopped for a second.The air around them became tense, and she very much knew why.

Everybody who have been trained to fight demons, or have been made aware of these disgusting creatures' existence, have been informed about their weakness towards the sunlight, which was one of only things that could kill them. So they would only come out from their lairs and hunt for food after sunset, which gave the demon slayers an advantage against them. 

So, finding out that there were a type of demons that could walk under the sunlight without instantly burning sent fear to the hearts of even the bravest of all demon slayers. 

And that included even the Pillars.

Oyakata-sama surveyed the uneasy silence that befell his beloved children for a moment before making a sign to Kanata to continue reading Jigoro Kuwajima's letter. 

 

Six nights ago, one of my former tsuguko was out following rumors of several disappearances in three towns in Hokkaido. He went there with a Kinoe, but after a night in the town his companion suddenly disappeared and he had never heard from  her ever again.

Naoki-san, my former tsuguko, decided to go to the places where his companion went to before she disappeared completely. Her trails led him in the forest outside the town where he was attacked by the very same demon that he had been tracking for days and the one who had caused the disappearances. It was very strong and he had deduced that it had already killed his friend. 

However, it wasn't long before he realized that he was no match against the demon. The demon was bout to crush his head  when she appeared.

A girl with long flowing pink and green hair appeared on the air behind the demon, weilding a sword that curved smoothly and flowed elegantly like ribbons on the air and cut down the demon in several pieces before cutting off it's neck. The demon's remains were already turning into ashes when he felt it, the strange demonic aura around the girl, who was staring down at him with glowing verdant eyes. She smiled at him and said something to him. But whatever she was trying to tell him he never heard them because he had already lost his conciousness from the pain of the injuries he gained in the fight against that demon.

He woke up ten hours later and when the sun was already  rising on the horizon. He found that all of his injuries have been healed by someone while he was unconcious. His firsth was of the demon girl who had killed the demon he was fighting last night. But he thought, 'Why would a demon heal him instead of eating him?'  Feeling immensely bothered with last night's events, he went back to town.

The sun was already standing on the sky when he spotted her again, for her unusual colored-hair with it's green highlights was hard to miss. She was standing before a stall that was selling all types of colorful sweets and was laughing and talking with a young boy of fourteen years of age with dark indigo eyes, pale skin and dark long hair. They looked and acted like humans, the girl and the little boy, but he could feel something demonic about them; he blinked once, and the girl's verdant eyes were staring at his and the dread and longing that he felt reminded him of a moth being lured to a flame. He desired her, she repulsed him. In that moment, both of them knew who were the predator  and the prey. He blinked again, and this time both the boy and the girl were gone.

He searched for the two of them all day; asking the vendors and the townspeople but no one could tell him where they have gone.

When he talked to me about his encounter with the demons who walked under the sun, he had been acting jittery and paranoid, his eyes darting around the room of the inn where he had agreed to meet me, as if searching for something or he felt like he was being watched. I tried to make him feel at ease as possible and made him drink sake, before making him promise to talk to you, Oyakata-sama, the next day. However, the very next day, he told me that he don't remember anything about the demon girl and boy, that his mind was blank regarding his mission in Hokkaido.

Whatever happened to him while he was sleeping and that's why he couldn't remember about them, I do believe that it has something to do with Daywalkers. That girl and the little boy who was with him must have been one of them. 

To this day, Naoki-san still hasn't regained his memories of that mission, and this is why I am writing to you inform about it, for I believed that Naoki-san's anecdote would help us in our investigation of these creatures.

Sincerely, Jigoro Kuwajima.

 

Everyone remained silent after Kanata finished reading the letter and folded it again. The 'Daywalkers', while fearsome creatures that no demon slayer would want to face, were believed by most people to be a figment of an overimaginative young rookie demon slayer who have been too down on his cups to think properly. Even the Pillars, who have prepared themselves to one day face an Upper Demon Moon, couldn't help but feel dread at the possibilty of a Daywalker really existing among the people of Japan.

"And what do Oyakata-sama want us to do with that information regarding the Daywalkers?" It was Uzui Tengen who finally spoke after a long stretch of silence, his expression muted and tone lacked it's usual liveliness. 

Oyakata-sama's tone was grave when he spoke." I fear that despite this letter, we still lack evidences on how to find the Daywalkers and where they stayed. But this is the very first time that someone had seen two of them together and the first time that a witness' memories about these demons have been erased. I am imparting this knowledge to all of you so you could remain vigilant on your missions and if you encounter any of them, you must inform me as soon as possible.

"Thank your for your patience. All of you are now dismissed."

With the help of his two daughters,Oyakata-sama stood up from his seat, and when he finally left, Shinobu felt the air rushed oit of her lungs.

They all bowed down to him, their faces dark and serious, even Rengoku and Sabito who were both known for their habit of throwing levity in any situation. The twin pranksters, Makomo would call them, right before pulling their ears in with a deadly smile on her face. 

She turned to her sister to ask her what shs thougth of Naoki-san's encounter with the Daywalkers and saw her thinking comtemplatively, a longing look on her violet eyes.

She knew that look well.

"Nee-san?" 

"Yes, Shinobu?"

"I want to talk to you about the Daywalkers. Can I have breakfast together with you?"

Kanae arched an eyebrow, then she nodded. "I will never say no to my dear sister," she said, and there was a teasing lilt on her tone.

Shinobu rolled her eyes, then sighed.Of course, she could never hide anything from her sister. Of course.

 

They sat together with a serving of light breakfast and tea between the two of them, the birds singing sweetly on the background. 

"So," she began, after five minutes of comfortable silence, "I need to talk about to you about something.

"About what, sister?" Kanae asked,putting her cup of tea down the table between the two of them.

"About the Daywalkers," Shinobu answered quickly before she could change her mind.

A shadow seemed to fall over their pleasant morning. Clouds gathered up the sky, shielding the sun and the birds seemed to have gone silent. 

Even Kanae had stopped smiling.

But Shinobu persisted on. "Nee-san, about them, I think that I have met one of them before, two years ago and a month after you came back to us. You remember, right? I came home from that mission and destroyed the training dummies inside our dojo."

A light seemed to sparkle behind Kanae's eyes and her face lit up. "Oh, I remember! You were so pissed off that you beat up all our training dummies while calling someone a 'scumbag,' 'asshole,' 'jerk' and even told him "to stuck his head up his ass or you will do it for him.' " Kanae giggled behind a hand, demurely.

Shinobu felt like her face was about to burn. "N-nee-san," she weakly protested.

Fortunately for her pride, Kanae finally stopped giggling. "So, what is your past fateful meeting with that 'stuck-up jerk' has anything to do with the Daywalkers?" 

"Nee-san, to be honest with you,  I think that he is one of them. He looked like a human but he didn't feel or act like one. The way he moved, he was s-so fast, the way he smelled and his...his lumniscent  eyes  which are impossible for a human to have. He doesn't look like a demon, but I do believe that he is one based on Naoki-san's descripstion, of the demons he had encountered," she explained.

Kanae nodded. She put a finger on her lower lip and hummed.  "I see. And is there anything that you noticed about him, other than that?"

Shinobu closed her eyes. Oh, she remembered more. She remembered the way his body felt next hers, the way he stared at her as if she was the most precious gem in the whole world, the way his breath felt on her right cheek and how soft and supple his lips had looked. And oh how soft and pear-like his pale skin had looked under the silvery light of the moon and had even wondered how it would feel under her lips.

But Kanae didn't need to know those things. Or else her elder sister would mercilessly tease her to death. 

Kochou Kanae was a sensible young woman and Shinobu really loved her with all her heart but sometines she could be really childish and immature when talking about boys and romance, like a gushy pre-pubescent girl and it irritated and frustrated her to no end.

"Then what do you want to do about him, Shinobu?" Kanae asked, looking serious again.

Shinobu thought about it for a minute. What do she wanted to do? Go look for someone whom she only met once and two years ago? Where would she even begin to look for information about him? And how would she even going to face that infuriating blue-eyed pretty demon when she saw him again? 

She shook the thoughts away from her head. There was no use worrying about such things. She would do what she must when the time came. 

Kanae smiled softly in undersstanding.  And their conversation had officially ended.

They spent the rest of their breakfast in a cheery atmosphere, talking and gossiping about the other Pillars and Kanao, who was about to enter the Final Selection of her year. 

But at the back of her mind, the thought of a looming danger ahead of them remained.

Chapter Text

 

"I trust you, you know."

 

With a scowl, he turned towards Mizu who, without a word, sat on the grass beside him. Mizu's eyes were deep blue, just like the early evening sky above them. The moon had stood alone on the velvety sky, a solitary figure abandoned even by the stars. He wondered, briefly, if he would be also alone after everything was over. But he quickly shut down such foolish and wisful thought. He turned his head away sharply. 

 

He refused to let Mizu see the affect that his early statement had on him.

 

He scoffed. "And what you do want me to do with your stupid trust?" he asked, mockingly. 

 

He felt the other man...no–demon moved and he tensed, the hair on the back of his neck rising, urging to flee, to not trust anyone again–

 

"You," Mizu began, slowly, incertainly, "you were the one who saved me and my sister ten years ago. If it weren't for you, Tsutako-nee-san would have been devoured by that demon and she wouldn't have the chance to wear her wedding gown and marry the man that she loves.So I owe you, and I trust you."  The young demon said those words so clearly and so firmly that he felt like he might cry.

 

Would you say the same thing to me again, when you find out what I have done?

 

He shrugged. He curled his lips in a smile that was full of contempt. " Is that all that you want to say to me? Stop wasting my time with such foolish words , Mizu. I didn't do it for you or for your sister. I did it so that I could keep you alive and turn you into a demon so I could use you. I wouldn't have let your sister live if I hadn't run out of time back then," he said, harshly.

 

Mizu's impassive expression didn't waver under his cruel words and he itched to rip the mask from the other demon's(man's) face. The beating of his heart became erratic and he started to breath harded. Mizu stared at him for several seconds that could have been minutes and he wanted to scream at him, to stay away and leave him alone. 

 

What do you want from me?!

 

"Sometimes, I do wonder," Mizu said, slowly, his tone leaking of sadness and empathy, " when will you tell me, tell us, your name. And when will you start being honest to yourself." 

 

Stunned, he could only gape and watched with widened eyes as Mizu excused himself quietly and left, leaving him once more alone in the defeaning silence of the night.

 

 

I'm sorry...

 

 

But I don't have a name to give you and to the others...

 

 

 

 

"You're overtraining again," Kochou Kanae rebuked her charge, her tone sweet yet full of dispproval, wiping the sweat from his eyebrows with her own handkerchief. 

 

Shinazugawa Genya seemed to shrink smaller under her hands, which was impossible because he seemed to have grown another centimeter taller and was about to reach her shoulders, face turning an embarrassing shade of red out of shame. He began to fidget. "I'm sorry, Kanae-san, I'm just preparing for the Final Selection," he explained, shyly.

 

"And what did I say about rest and not overxerting your muscles? You would be useless in the Final Selection if you accidentally broke your bones and too tired to think clearly and rationally. The demons would just gobble you up like an appetizing piece of tempura before you could react and fight. I know that you're excited about becoming a Demon Slayer so you could begin to look for your brother, bu how could you even imagine saving him from the demon that had taken him away if you died during the Final Selection?" she reasoned with him, patiently, cupping his face with her hands.

 

She didn't need to remind him that despite the two years of training under her and Himejima-san's tuteleges, he hadn't even begin to learn how to use Breath, a fact that brought him a neverending pain and her, fear.

 

How could she even imagine sending him to fight against demons, when he couldn't even use the most effective weapon on killing them?

 

He sniffed; tears began to pool on his eyes and she was reminded, once again, that despite his hardened exterior and the ugly scar on his face, that he was just a young gentle boy that she had met two years ago, a boy who wanted to fight for his family and find his missing older brother. And she could sympathize with him, since one of the reasons why she was still fighting was to protect her sisters, to gain a world of peace, where nobody will be afraid of the dark and and shadows again.

 

Silently, she gathered the crying and trembling into her bosoms. The sun was just beginning to set, bathing the courtyard of the Butterfly Estate with warm orange lights when his tears finally dried up. With a mortified gasp, he broke from her hold, blushing madly and stuttering apologies.  

 

She fondly flicked his forehead, an act that immediately halted his apologies. He put his hands on his forehead, wide eyes staring at her in shock.

 

"Don't apologize. I would do anything for you. And didn't I already tell you to call me 'nee-san?' "

 

Just then, her ears picked the sounds of loud footsteps coming near them, which was followed by a familiar cheerful voice calling out:

 

"Genya!"

 

Upon hearing his name being called out by that familiar voice, Genya's face turned into a perfect picture of exasperation. His dark eyes sought hers, quietly asking for permission. With a small smile, she nodded and she almost broke up in amused laughter and his face lit up when she saw his face lit up. 

 

No matter how much he vehemently denied it, she knew how much he valued his friendship with the eldest son of the Kamado family, Tanjiou-kun. And she was glad of that friendship.

 

Because ever since the burgundy-haired boy with a sunny smile befriended (stalked, Shinobu would jest ) Genya, the young Shinazugawa boy had stopped waking up in the middle of the night screaming in terror.

 

 

 

"–and Rengoku-san showed us the Breath of Flame's Fifth Form: Flame Tiger. It was so powerful but also  beautiful and knocked Sabito-san on his ass, ending their match. But Sabito-san demanded another rematch, so Makomo-san had to distract them with a plate of hot sweet potatoes before they could beat each other to death."

 

Genya snorted. "Sabito-san is dumb," he said, crinkling his nose.

 

Tanjirou cheerfully nodded, as if he wasn't agreeing to an insult to his senpai, one of his teachers on the Breath of Water Style and the revered Water Pillar himself. "He is! That's why Makomo-san has to be there and watch over his spars with Rengoku-san 'so that those two idiots don't accidentally kill themselves,' Makomo-san told me once."

 

Genya rolled his eyes. "Why are you here anyway? Don't tell me that the only reason you decided to visit was to talk to me about Sabito-san and Rengoku-san."

 

Tanjirou shook his head. "No! Well, yes, but I am here to ask for Shinobu-san for  a salve for bruises since we already ran out of it in the Water Estate. Sabito-san had been very hard on me and the other recruits lately. I think it started five days ago after the last Pillar Meeting. He said something about always being prepared for a hard battle. And of it weren't for Rengoku-san visiting the Water Estate today he wouldn't let me and the others rest," he said, rubbing the back of his head. 

 

"I see," Genya said, quietly. Kanae and Shinobu have been both acting strangely since the last Pillar Meeting and they have been both going out to who-knows where lately. Even Aoi, who was Shinobu's confidante, and their adopted younger sister didn't know where they have been going off lately. But he decided not to tell those matters to his friend. He trusted the two Kochou sisters, who both have been nothing but kind to him ever since Himejima-san had introduced him to the two of them.

 

Sometimes, the two sisters reminded him of Sanemi and himself and his heart would always ache in longing. His eyes, which were still hot from him crying just a few moments ago, teared up again and he lifted his sleeves to rub them away. 

 

Next to him, Tanjirou had become silent and when he looked at his friend, Genya saw that he was looking at him with an expression of understanding.  "You're thinking about your brother, right?" 

 

He nodded, flushing hotly. Tanjirou already knew about Sanemi and his disappearance ten years ago. His friend, instead of laughing at him when he told him of his suspicions that a demon had taken his older brother, like all the other men he had talked about the matter before, told him, sincerely, that he believed him. Because according to Tanjirou, his family had been attacked by a demon not a long time ago, and that was the reason why his mother started working under the Ubuyashikis and his whole family living with them.

 

He remembered the first time he met the other boy. He was in the middle of training with the wooden sword that Kanae-san had given him, swinging on the air under the scorching sun, sweating hard and feeling frustrated with his lack of talent. So when a boy whom he hadn't met before suddenly approached him, introduced himself and asked to be his friends, he had started screaming at him to leave hin alone before running away feeling angry at the world, at Tanjirou and most of all, at himself for being weak and for being able to do anything to confort his mother who, for years, continued to wait for Sanemi to come back home. 

 

The next day, he saw Tanjirou again, and apologized to the other boy for his rudeness. The other boy had smiled widely, his smile as bright as the sun that for a second it was as if he had been blinded. " It's fine! I accept your apology! So, will you be my friend, Shinazugawa-kun?" 

 

Kamado Tanjirou had been so warm, so bright that at first Genya didn't know what to do before he turned and ran as fast as he could from the other boy.

 

But Kamado Tanjirou was nothing but stubborn. He continued to follow him whenever he visited the Bitterfly Estate, even helping Genya with some of his errands and making a one-sided conversation with him about his family, the people of the Water Estate and Sabito-san and even the weather. And it didn't take long for Genya to warm up to him and for the two of them to become best friends. And Genya, who have been so focused on becoming strong for the sake of his family and who never had the oppurtinity to become friends with boys of his age, began to look forward to Tanjirou's visits. 

 

"Then let me make a promise!" Tanjirou exclaimed suddenly, bringing Genya back to the present. Genya stared at him, quizzically. 

 

"After both of us passed the Final Selection, I will help you look for your brother and both of us will save him from the demon that took him away from you and your family and, borrowing Sabito-san's favorite phrase, 'Kick that demon's ass and make him cry!' " Tanjirou said, putting both hands on his shoulders and excitedly shaking him.

 

The phrase was so stupid and he highly doubt that Sabito-san would say something like it but it made Genya chuckle and smile. "That's a promise?" 

 

"It is."

 

"Then I thank you, Tanjirou." 

 

Kamado Tanjirou was his best friend and Shinazugawa Genya trusted him with everything in his life.

 

 

 

 

"You're here again."

 

 He ignored the unwanted visitor, keeping his bi-colored eyes up the velvet sky. Unlike the last time he visited the place, the sky was now full of stars, precious jewels that illuminated the hills and traveller' paths underneath it.

 

"What do you want?" he sniped at the demon who once again ignored all social etiquettes and decency and without a word sat beside him. He tried to ignored the warmth that was emanating from Mizu's body. For a demon, he had always been warm. He didn't understand why at first, until one day he realized the reason behind it.

 

"Kanro– Ai was looking for you. She wants to show you one of her current pet projects but I told her that in this day of the year you prefers to be left alone. She was really sad about it," Mizu said, quietly, eyes trained on the horizon instead of him instead on the person he was speaking to. 

 

Silence.

 

"When I started to regain my memories two years ago, I was confused at first. But you remained by my side, silently watching over me. I remembered Oyakata-sama, Sabito, Shinobu and even Kaze, Ai, Usagi and a person who looked like Yui. I remembered being a Demon Slayer, being the Water Pillar and finding Tanjirou and trying to kill Usagi."

 

He felt Mizu turned to face him and the gaze from indigo eyes burned at him.

 

"I saw all of them, I saw that monster who killed Tanjirou and Usagi. And I saw you. But while I could remember all of the names of the others I couldn't remember yours.  Tell me, who are you?"  

 

 

Mizu had never once felt suspicions on the demon sitting quietly next to him. This person was his sister's savior, who had torn the demon that had tried to kill Tsutako-nee apart into ribbons and had saved him even if he had to turn Mizu into a demon to do it. The person, his creator and a distant guardian, who for eleven years had taken care of him and even made sure that he wouldn't need to eat humans to survive. 

 

And as Tomioka Giyuu, a human and the Water Pillar, he remembered this person as an ally, a sarcastic person who said his words without pulling any punches but had also proven himself again and again that he was a dependable ally and comrade. 

 

But no matter how much he tried, he couldn't remember his name. 

 

"I," his creator began, sounding older than the human in his memories, "I don't have a name."

 

"I've lost my name a long time ago."

 

 

 

"So, little demon, let's make a deal, don't we? I'm going to help you  take back everything that you have lost and even kill that man. But you have to pay me back with three most important things in your life. 

 

"Don't be afraid, I will be fair with you. You just need to sign this paper and we'll have a deal! Get it?"

 

 

"Tell me, Tomioka, what would you sacrifice to see everyone again? To see Kochou-san again?" 

Chapter Text

 

 

He was born in a family of scums. A disgraceful, pretentious, greedy and filthy  family. An unforgivable family that stole and killed for wealth.

 

And since he was born into this family, then there was no doubt that he was also a scum just like them.

 

But despite being a scum, a filthy and sinful person, he had tried to be a 'good' person. With his heart full of sorrow, he killed demons and saved the lives of other people, and he could believe, for a moment, that he was a 'good' person. But those were just delusions born out of selfishness and a short moment of glory.

 

His own filthy blood would always remind him of what he truly was deep down.

 

If only he wasn't born in that 'family.'  If only he wasn't a terrible, disgusting and ugly person, then he could have deserved to love her, to hold her hand take her with him to a wonderful place with only the two of them and away from the demons.

 

But all he could do was just stand beside her as a friend and protect her. 

 

Yet, in the end, he couldn't even protect her.

 

She had died from blood loss before he could find someone to help her, to take her to Yushiro. Her lovely face disfigured, her right arm barely hanging on it's socket and her blood soaking her Demon Slayer uniform, she had died in his arms and there was nothing he could do. She who he had loved with all his heart and the only light in his life, had died because of his incompetence. 

 

But not before telling him not to worry about her; to always smile for her.

 

And it crushed his heart.

 

And with a heart full heavy grief and hate, he had gone back to the battlefield, and vowed to take down the monster who had taken her from him, who had caused all of them endless sufferings.

 

But Fate seemed to be laughing at him.

 

The others died one by one, their lives snuffed as easily as a fragile candlelight.

 

Himejima, Sanemi, Tomioka and even Kamado and his friends were all killed right in front of him and there was nothing he could do but watch.

 

In the end, even the demon girl called Nezuko was lost.

 

He was weak. He was so weak and because of his weakness, they all died.

 

The monster, the ugly and hideous monster, had laughed at him, taunted him and called him a freak because of his scarred face (those words stabbing his soul until he couldn't breath)  before forcibly turning him into a monster like him because of his act of defiance that enraged him.

 

And what followed after was an unbelievable pain that seemed to rip apart every bone, every sinew of his body. 

 

And while he was in the midst of excruciating pain, he saw them (his sisters, aunts and mother) laughing at him, mocking him for pretending, for calling himself a 'good' person. His cousin's hateful last words to him were also the last thing he heard before he lost conciousness.

 

"Everyone's dead because you ran away! Fifty people are dead, you killed them.

 

"You're the sacrifice! It would have been fine if you just got eaten obediently!"

 

 

 

And when he opened his eyes to the burning light of the sun, he was a different person.

 

He had become a monster like him.

 

The realization almost made him go mad.

 

His cousin was right. Everything would have been fine if he had let the snake woman eat him, if he had just let himself be a sacrificed and not selfishly escape and run away from his cage. For what was the the use of his life if he couldn't even save or protect anyone? 

 

If he couldn't protect her at all?

 

 

 

The days that followed have been a blur. The only information that penetrated the deep cloud of self-hate and madness in his mind was the deaths of the last Ubuyashikis and the remaining demon slayers after that monster 's enraged rampage.

 

He had tried to kill himself; he had thrown himself under the sun but for some unfathomable reason, he didn't burn at all. His skin had remained a healthy shade of white and pink. It was as if he didn't become a monster at all.

But he was. He could feel it in his blood, now blacker and filthier than ever and it disgusted him. He had looked for a remaining demon slayer with a nichirin blade to cut his head off since his own had been broke in his last fight but found none. He had even gone to the Swordsmith Village but only blood and dead bodies welcomed him.

 

That monster  had made sure to wipe all that proved the Demon Slayer Corps' existence.

 

And there was no one to end his cursed existence.

 

 

 

But still, despite everything, Kaburamaru had stayed.

 

 

 

Years later, the entity found him.

"Tell me, little demon, are you prepared to sacrifice the three most important things in your life for a second chance? A second chance to save everyone? To save that girl?"

 

He didn't even hesitate before answering with a 'yes.'

 

The entity that wore an old man's guise had smiled at him, a smile both kind and full of malice at the same time and he suddenly felt uneasy. But since he had nothing to lose, he still agreed to the entity's condition. 

 

And one of them was that he needed to do something so abhorrent to become strong. He needed to start eating humans; to hunt and kill and to become a true demon. 

 

And he had agreed easily. He was already a demon, monster and a sinner since he he had born. What would be the difference if he started killing people? 

 

So he had signed the paper that the entity had given him with his own blood. And when he had found out what the three things he needed to sacrifice in order to get a second chance, it was too late.

 

He didn't expect that the prices for a second chance would be so steep.

 

 

But it quickly made sense.

 

A trash like him was never meant to be happy after all.

 

 

 

 

Without another or waiting for Mizu to answer his question, he stood up and dusted the stray grass from his hakama. Mizu followed his movements with his ocean-deep eyes full of grief and helplessness and the sight of them made the hate in his heart cut at his soul, or what was left of it. 

 

"Let's go," he told the other demon, coldly. The vulnerable and open look on his face disappeared underneath his metaphorical and physical mask. " This year's Final Selection for the new Demon Slayer recruits are only four months away and we need to prepare for it. 

 

"And after the Final Selection, we will contact Ubuyashiki Kagaya and the so-called Pillars of the organization called Demon Slayers Corps."