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Sleepwalking

Chapter Text

The wind tickles his bare neck, but Zenitsu doesn't bother to cover himself up from the cold.

The back of his mind begs to return to the familiar warmth in the estate, his self-deprecation persists to push his rational thoughts and whines at the back of his throat.

He sat on the porch, hands on his lap while honey eyes stared at the garden he once found comfort in.

It all but set as a reminder.

A reminder of the people who were gone, the gentle hands that took care of the garden now cold and six feet under, and the number of survivors lessen from what his cruel hearing detected.

Why did he even come back here in the first place? for more self-pity? 

Pathetic.

Useless.

Dirt.

He found himself wonder for a while, after the defeat of Muzan, he was thankful for surviving.

But, was that it? Surviving? Being in one piece, no scars, no pain?

He looked at the wisteria trees forever remaining despite their uselessness, they were just like him.

He had bloomed and was praised only from defeating demons, but now that they were gone he just swayed wherever the winds would take him.

Pathetic.

Useless.

Dirt.

He should be thankful, and he is, he really is.

Knuckles grasp on his pants tightly, scarless knuckles, healthy hands.

He fought, and he made effort to protect.

Yet, the ending in sight felt...too easy, so effortlessly gained. Just like how he used to strum his koto with songs he had heard only once, the praise he gained was just the same; far too much while he worked so little.

Zenitsu blushes at compliments, yet all the heartbeats and lives he couldn't save taunted him while he smiles with no worries at all.

Pathetic.

Useless.

Dirt.

He visited the graves of many, the names he had remembered repeated on stone scarring his skin not much different from like Kaigaku did. 

He was asleep when the crows repeated the names of the dead in the fortress. He was asleep, and gained a second chance at living while they died horribly.

 

Pathetic.

 

He couldn't bury Gramps just like he wanted, because the man had slit his stomach while nobody was there to end his life peacefully.

Whenever Zenitsu looks at the box of his ashes, he thinks of his failures of not giving him a grand burial, a good end.

Instead, Kuwajima Jigoro, the respected and strong former Thunder Pillar, was burned into gray ashes.

 

Useless.

 

Hanafuda Earrings swept into his ears, ah Tanjirou wasn't asleep. Zenitsu guessed he should be inside by now, it would worry the younger if he didn't

Zenitsu let himself smile as he stood on the grass, the flowers tickling his feet as his slippers dig into the dirt.

 

The brown, low, pathetic, useless dirt.

 

Dirt. That's what Kaigaku called him right?  It was fitting.

 

The shade of his own eyes, and probably what was last seen by the brace and selfless slayers who actually sacrificed their lives for the Hashira as they lay bloodied and open-eyed.

 

"You are pride and Joy." Zenitsu stopped from his unconscious staring, he realized he was kneeling in front of the ground and dug his hands into the grass.

 

The praise from Gramps' voice shook him from his thoughts. He shouldn't be in such a self-pitying state again, the battle was done and he sure wasn't the only one grieving. 

With a sigh, he stands looking at the damage he's done to the flowers.

 

Eyes widen as he looked at his hands.

He..only dug into dirt right?

 

Why the fuck were they bloody? Oh god, the guts were in his nails, the blood, the lives, the screams.

As much as he dug them out, the smell remained.

 

Tanjirou's heartbeats were dying, no he was demon now.

 

He can't stand, he can't stand.

 

He just watches, as Inosuke was thrown onto a wall. Nezuko was being bitten.

 

All he can do is watch.

 

His hearing didn't help.

 

Pathetic, useless, dirt. Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.

Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.Pathetic, useless, dirt.

DIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRTDIRT

 

"Zenitsu! Where the hell did you wander off to?" The addressed composed himself, standing up from the ball he kneeled into. He patted off the blood dirt on his hands and wiped the tears away.

"There you are! Seriously, Tanjirou literally threatened  that he would get off his bed if he couldn't see you!" Aoi approached from the corner, hands on her hips.

"Y-Yeah, sorry." Aoi snapped her lapis eyes to his red cheeks. Her hard glare softened, Zenitsu just gave her a goofy smile.

"Aw, is the gorilla girl worried for me? So sweet of you, Aoi!" Aoi rolled her eyes, though her glare didn't return. She walked towards the blonde, putting a hand on his shoulder and squeezing it in comfort.

"C'mon, it's no good grieving by yourself...Trust me." Zenitsu just smiled again.

Nobody needed to know his thoughts, he wasn't the one who was most hurt anyway.

"Al-"

"ALRIGHT!" Both teens snapped their heads towards the boar-head who had bandages still wrapped around his chest. Zenitsu silently frowned at the sight.

"I-Inosuke!" A third voice joins from behind. Tanjirou looks exasperated, moving in a wheelchair whilst Nezuko chased him from behind.

 

Pure utter chaos.

 

"What the HELL are you all doing up? I said I would check on him didn't I?" Tanjirou panted as he grabbed Inosuke's sleeve, Nezuko grumbling apologies as she flicked the foreheads of both boys.

"YOU DON'T TREAT A KING LIKE THAT-"

"S-Sorry about this Aoi, Inosuke was worried-"

"NO I WASN'T-"

"And he suddenly got up and sprinted." Aoi just crossed both her arms with a glare Zenitsu had the fortune of not seeing.

"And you two?" Nezuko fidgeted as Tanjirou fumbled with his words.

"I- uh, I chased after him and Nezuko had chase after m-me." 

The youngest girl grabbed both of the boys' necks and made them bow. Zenitsu would chuckle at the sight if he didn't notice her bandages.

He stopped thinking about it when Tanjirou looked at him as he raised his head.

Aoi sighed again and shook her head, with a frown. She approached the group with Zenitsu quickly following. The blond didn't hesitate to pinch both of his friends' cheeks.

"You bastards! making girls worry about you all. the. time."

"Sh-Showwy, Zenitsu! We were just weally worried!" Tanjirou slurred while Inosuke grunted at his mask being lifted.

"As you can see he's fine! Will you please just rest?!" The burgundy haired boy just beamed at the two. They clicked their tongues in unison.

Zenitsu felt his thoughts melt away as the group made their way back to their rooms.

Then, Tanjirou spoke up again.

"I'm really sorry! I just worried for his injuries since it's only been 2 weeks." 

"Don't worry so much, you think I would let him out if he wasn't fully healed?" Aoi quipped, Inosuke just laughed with pride as he put his hands behind his head.

"Your an Idiot Tanjirou! He's my minion, of course he would heal fast! You have to be strong to be my minion." Strong? yeah right. 

"why did you want too check on him then?"

"To battle of course!" Aoi glared at the response. Nezuko looked at them from where she was pushing the wheelchair Tanjirou occupied.

"I don't know about that boss Inosuke, can you be as fast as him?" Fast? more like a good, always stuck on the safe side, coward.

"You remember that, Nezuko?" Tanjirou looked up, Nezuko nodded with a sweet smile as she ignored Inosuke's screams of protest.

"I remember he was really fast I couldn't see him! He really is as strong as you say, Onii-chan." Aoi breathed out a laugh from behind them.

"Don't give him such a big head, he's really gonna scream marriage proposals to you," She turns to the addressed.

"You better no-" her smirk stopped when she noticed Zenitsu was a little behind from the group, his face painted with a smile that didn't reach his eyes.

"You guys shouldn't compliment me like that." He said in a quiet voice, the group looked in awe. It was Inosuke who snapped out of the tense aura.

"Are you defying the words of your lord!? I just said I wouldn't let you be my minion if you weren't str-" 

"Look at your chest." The older said

"Hu-"

"Tanjirou, you can't see on your one eye right? and your arm, It's just not working." Tanjirou blinked in surprise, he's never seen his friend so angry. But at who? He tries to reach out.

"Zen-"

"Nezuko-chan, your hand will probably scar even when it heals." He laughs as he raises a hand to rake his bangs away in a sarcastic manner.

"God, I'm sorry you had to see Kanao be practically blind, Aoi. I'm really sorry." His hand rested above his eyes, Aoi scrunched her brows at his unusual behavior.

"Zenitsu what are you getting at-"

"I'M SAYING DON'T CALL ME STRONG!" Even Inosuke flinched at the sudden shout of the usually loud blond. It was different, full of hate and remorse.

Zenitsu held both his arms on his sides tightly, fists curling onto the cloth.

Nobody spoke, and Zenitsu decided to make his thoughts known after all.

"Don't say that when I'm the one who suffered the least among you guys. I get to keep all of my body parts and be scarless ? I really thought I worked hard, I thought I was going to die."

"Not even close! You guys were bed-ridden for a week while I was on my legs, all better in two fucking days." Tears welled up, even though he didn't deserve to cry.

"I'm not strong, don't call me that. You guys are strong, you guys can still smile while I just cry."

"All of them fought for smiles, right? I can't do that, I'm not what you think I am. I'm still crying even though I should be thankful to having a healthy, fully functioning body." Footsteps his hearing couldn't hear come close. 

"Why me? I don't deserve this! I should've been the one to di-"

A hand connects to his cheek in a hard slap. A hand garbs his collar when he feels himself lose his balance.

When he looks up, he sees lapis eyes.

"Aoi-"

"I won't let you say it." Zenitsu blinks as she tightens the grip of his collar. Her knuckles that cared for him before now slapped him, he wanted to laugh bitterly.

"I won't let you value your life like that! Why? Why do you think that way? You think they regret saving you? I don't think so." Zenitsu gasps at the tears landing on his cheeks, they weren't his.

Aoi was crying.

"I'm sor-" 

"Be sorry for thinking that way! I was so glad that you guys survived. You're right, seeing the injuries made me sad but I don't blame anyone!" They both fell on their knees, Aoi desperately wiping away tears as Zenitsu stayed still.

The other three shuffle to kneel by Aoi side, with Nezuko supporting her brother as they all glare at the blond.

He stared at his hands.

"I'm sorry you guys.-" he gasped again at the group hug he was held into, warmth blooming in him despite the cold winds.

"Stop apologizing and start being thankful." Inosuke grunted.

Zenitsu blinked, accepting the warming hug and smiling a little.

"Thank you."