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Sakonji looked at the scene before him with a mixture of fondness and amusement. Ever since the Kamado siblings had arrived his little hut had gotten more crowded and louder. It had also ended up bolstering his relationship with Giyu–the boy never said why but ever since he’d gone through the final selection and come out the other side without Sabito he had grown distant. Giyu was incredibly good at keeping a straight face and control over his emotions, so it was rare for Sakonji to be able to smell him out to understand what he was thinking.

Looking at Giyu now, it was almost as if the years between them hadn’t happened at all. Giyu sat between the Kamado siblings with a peaceful expression on his face, smelling more content and relaxed than Sakonji had known he could be. He’d never seen Giyu relax completely, but it was a marked difference from how he’d acted as a child even with Sabito there to temper him. Tanjiro was pressed up against his left side, eager as always to be as close as possible to whoever was willing to tolerate him at that time. Nezuko was just as close on his right, manners forgotten as she gestured with her chopsticks and talked about what all she had learned since she last saw him. 

Giyu hadn't said much, but that didn't seem to deter Nezuko at all. She responded to his grunts and his one word answers as if he’d responded with much more. And when Giyo did talk, both she and Tanjiro hung on to every word with rapt attention. 

Tanjiro mimicked all of them, but he seemed to enjoy copying Giyu the most. Sakonji and Nezuko had privately theorized about it but had yet to come up with a solid answer. Now Tanjiro was copying the way Giyu sat, legs crossed and head tilting as if he, too, were trying to better hear what Nezuko was saying with her mouth full. When Giyu noticed the movement in his peripheral he reached over and ruffled Tanjiro’s hair, getting a grin back for the affectionate action.

Nezuko noticed Giyu's bowl had gotten low and quickly filled it, "Eat more, Tomioka-san! We have plenty and you need to keep your strength up. Gotta make sure you stay in one piece, right, Tanjiro?"

"Mm-mm!" Tanjiro nodded.

The scent of happiness became even stronger and Sakonji thought of how best to use this to his advantage. He’d not survived so long without learning how to be crafty, but sometimes things needed to be handled with the straight forward approach to really get anywhere.


"Nezuko," Sakonji had waited for Giyu to leave, but now he was gone he got Nezuko’s attention. She didn’t pause in cleaning up the leftovers from dinner but he still knew he had her attention, "Next time Giyu comes over I want you to do something for me."

"What?" Nezuko asked, genuinely curious instead of weary.

She hadn't yet learned to be suspicious of him, but there was still plenty of time for that particular lesson to sink in. He told her what he wanted and she turned to look at him in pure disbelief.

"I'm not going to-"

"I'll get you some konpeito," Sakonji offered.

Nezuko narrowed her eyes at him and took a moment to respond, dropping the dishes in the sink with a loud clunk.

 "I can tell him it was you who asked me to speak to him in such a way after you get the reaction you want? And still get the konpeito?"

"Of course."


Of course after that they didn’t see Giyu for two months. When he first arrived, Nezuko showed no indication that she recalled what Sakonji had asked of her. It was only after he saw Giyu correct her stance on something that Sakonji saw her glance at him and open her mouth, but then she shut it just as quickly and nodded along to what was being said. She did the same thing during dinner when Giyu allowed Tanjiro to braid his hair, but that time she shut her mouth too fast and bit her tongue and Sakonji was barely able to contain his snort of laughter at the glare she shot him.

As Giyu got ready to leave, Sakonji positioned himself a dozen feet down the path and pointedly looked between him and Nezuko. She ignored him until Giyu started to walk away from her, and then she glowered at him behind Giyu's back. But then she took a deep breath and squared her shoulders, taking a few steps towards Giyu.

"Stay safe, big brother Giyu!" Nezuko urged.

Giyu walked straight into a tree. His momentum caused him to bounce back and land on his butt, blinking at the tree as if he was confused by what happened. His face turned red as Nezuko and Tanjiro both rushed to him and knelt on either side of him. 

"I'm so sorry!" Nezuko's hands fluttered over Giyu as she tried to figure out where he was hurt, "It's just, you're so nice to Tanjiro and I! You went out of your way for us and I can't thank you enough for that! And you let him hang all over you and even I can get annoyed by that, and you're so good at what you do, and you still care so much for Urokadaki-san even though he's a meddling old fool, and-"

Nezuko went on with the compliments, entering full damage control mode. Tanjiro took the provided distraction to shrink down and climb onto Giyu's lap, humming happily as he bumped his head underneath Giyu's chin. Sakonji was once more grateful for the mask he always wore because it hid the grin he was wearing completely. After a long moment, Giyu reached up and grabbed one of Nezuko's hands. 

"It's okay… Nezuko-chan." Giyu looked at the top of Tanjiro's head so he could avoid everyone's eyes. "It's natural that you would look for more family after everything. I do not mind being that for you.”

Nezuko glanced at their hands and then looked at Sakonji with wide eyes. In her haste to make sure Giyu wasn't injured or seriously offended she had forgotten to explain that she had been put up to it. She was obviously surprised by the positive response.

And if Sakonji was honest with himself, so was he. He'd figured Giyu would be embarrassed and slightly irritated, perhaps even amused when he found out Nezuko was being bribed in an effort to mess with him, but the scent of happiness wafting off of him was unmistakable. He’d been aiming to get Giyu to relax some on how informal he was towards both of them, as he’d not been able to get him to call him by anything but his last name the entire time he’d known him. Maybe all Giyu had needed was to think someone else wanted him and that he wasn’t imposing his own selfish desires.

Nezuko wrapped her arms around Giyu's shoulders and looked straight at Sakonji, "Get over here, Ojiichan. Family hug time."

Little brat. Sakonji would make her pay for that jibe later. After getting his fill of hugs, of course.