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lost but connected

Chapter Text

Tanjiro gasped lightly as he woke up, only to find a half-naked Giyuu huddling over a bonfire. His injuries were already patched up; in fact, Tanjiro’s own wounds were also well-protected by bandages.

“You good, Tanjiro?”

“Yes. Thank you, Giyuu-san.”

Giyuu nodded, putting his uniform—or what’s left of it—back on, and his haori over it. “We’ll be leaving soon. Master Ubayashiki has given orders for us both to head directly to where Muzan is.”

The younger boy nodded solemnly, his hands tight on his sword handle.

Soon, both began to move swiftly towards Muzan, hearts heavy with determination.

 


 

To say that Muzan’s fortress is befuddling is too much an underestimation.

 

Time and again, Tanjiro almost found himself lost amongst the maze of a building, somewhat struggling to keep an eye on Giyuu. Giyuu, on the other hand, was speeding ahead. To calm himself down, Tanjiro imagined a still water surface in his mind, never wavering—just as Giyuu had taught him to.

Tanjiro succeeded, but victory didn’t last long as his foot slipped, causing Tanjiro to fall into a dark abyss.

“Giyuu-san!”

He felt a pair of strong hands grab his arm, the grip firm.

“Be careful of where you walk!”

Tanjiro didn’t know if he’s imagining things, but the whole place almost seemed to shift in orientation and Giyuu fell along with Tanjiro. Slowly, as they fell, the light faded away into a dim dot, the surroundings turning pitch-black.

 


 

When Tanjiro woke up again, bright light shone into his eyes.

Where am I?

Is Giyuu-san safe?

 

He propped himself up, groggily surveying his immediate surroundings. It seemed to be relatively spacious, with both the floor and ceiling being lined with cabinets. There was a big metal surface atop one of the cabinets, with weird metal things popping out of the surface. Right below it was a rectangular object, round shapes on the top part of it. A bigger metal thing—a refrigerator, Tanjiro recalled—sat on the floor.

Tanjiro turned around, furiously looking for the mop of dark blue hair indicative of Giyuu. Thankfully, said man was lying on the floor not far away, seemingly still unconscious but still alive. His heart finally calmed down, and he let out a sigh.

“Hello?”

Tanjiro turned, almost screaming at the sudden voice calling out to him. He searches for the source of the sound, ostensibly from the entrance.

“Uhh…what are you doing in the dorm kitchen?”

A young boy—about Tanjiro’s age—appeared, suspicious of both of them. He had a mop of green hair, still messy from sleep, and a pair of large green eyes. Tanjiro exclaimed out loud this time, taking a few steps backwards.

“Who are you?” Tanjiro’s hand moved to his sword.

The other boy tilted his head. “I should be asking you that question.”

“…”

“…”

Silence ensued, until another familiar voice spoke up.

“Tanjiro, where are we? And who is this person?”

Giyuu had his hands on his nichirin blade, ready to draw his sword and fight. Upon seeing this, the green-haired boy puts his hands up.

“Woah there, I don’t mean any harm. What are your names?”

The older man narrowed his eyes, seeming to contemplate for a moment before standing upright again.

“Tomioka Giyuu, demon slayer.”

Tanjiro hurried to introduce himself too. “I’m Kamado Tanjiro, also a demon slayer.”

“My name is Midoriya Izuku—wait, what did you say?”

“Uh…” Tanjiro says. “We’re demon slayers?”

“So like Pro Heroes?”

“No, we are demon slayers and we use nichirin blades to kill demons.”

“Demons? They exist?”

Well, this conversation was going nowhere. Tanjiro turned to Giyuu for help. Unsurprisingly, the older male simply stared, probably not listening to the conversation at all. Tanjiro sniffed again, sensing that the boy—Izuku—had slowly let down his guard.

Just then, another person arrived. This man had a smell that told Tanjiro he was constantly sleep-deprived. In fact, his body language screamed “I want to sleep”.

“Midoriya, what is this?”

“Ah, Aizawa-sensei,” Izuku seemed relieved. “I found these two in the kitchen just now, but they don’t seem to be intruders.”

“Huh? Didn’t I tell you guys to keep a look out for villains?” The teacher grew visibly angry. “We’re under tight security here, don’t compromise it!”

“But Aizawa-sensei—”

“I’m very sorry!” Tanjiro exclaimed. “We don’t mean any harm, and we have no idea how we ended up here either.”

Aizawa glared at him, a hole almost piercing through Tanjiro, causing the latter to shiver.

“My name is Kamado Tanjiro,” he repeated, “And this other person here is Tomioka Giyuu-san! We are both demon slayers!”

Aizawa raised an eyebrow, but Tanjiro didn’t smell any disbelief coming from the tired man. Instead, it was more of an air of…surprise?

“Demon slayers? Well…”

“Aizawa-sensei?” Izuku turns to look at his teacher. Said teacher closed his eyes momentarily, sighing.

“There were some records I stumbled across a long time ago. It depicted an organisation called the Demon Slayers Corps, but it seemed so absurd because it was from a time before Quirks manifested. I dismissed it quickly because it looked more like a storybook than anything else, but right now...”

Tanjiro’s eyes widened. There were records of the Demon Slayer Corps? No, what did he mean by “a time before Quirks manifested”?

“Sir, could you explain? What do you mean by ‘a time before Quirks manifested’?”

Quickly, Aizawa gave a description of what happened to humans in this world. If one observed from the side, they would see Tanjiro’s eyes slowly widening in surprise.

“…so basically, almost everyone has something called a Quirk that grants them special powers? And this is a school that trains people to become Pro Heroes?” Tanjiro gasped.

“Yes.”

Tanjiro also gave a brief explanation of their situation, up until they landed in the dorm kitchen, with Giyuu supplementing points here and there.

“Wow…so cool!” Izuku’s eyes sparkled.

“Enough of this chitchat.” Aizawa concluded. “For now, I’m going to sleep and we’ll settle this tomorrow morning. Midoriya, bring them to one of the empty dorm rooms and let them stay there for the night.”

“Ah…yes, sensei!” Izuku responds.

Aizawa turned back to look at them again. “This doesn’t mean I entirely trust you two. There’s still a lot of explaining you’ll have to do tomorrow.”

“Thank you, kind sir.” This time, Giyuu spoke first.

 


 

 

Eventually, Tanjiro slowly drifted off to dreamland, but not without a whole bunch of questions pestering him.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

To say the least, Tanjiro was thrust under the spotlight the next morning.

 

When everyone woke up, they began to surround Tanjiro and Giyuu, asking lots of questions that slightly overwhelmed Tanjiro.

“Who are you guys?”

“What do you do?”

“Ehh? Demons? Scary…”

 

Even though Tanjiro just got up, he already wanted to retire to his room. Needless to say, Giyuu simply shut up and didn’t say anything. To an outsider, it might have looked like he was a stoic person, but Tanjiro could smell the anxiety radiating off the older man.

“Alright, you brats! Go for your lessons and don’t be late!” Aizawa shoved them out of the exit of the dorm, rolling his eyes. “Ugh.”

Finally, Aizawa shut the door behind him, and turned to look at the oddly-dressed duo. He visibly repressed the urge to sigh.

“I’ve informed the Principal of the situation, and though he is amenable to the two of you staying here, he would still like to see some proof that the two of you aren’t lying.” Aizawa stated matter-of-factly. “He also knows more about this demon slayer business than I do.”

Tanjiro pursed his lips, nodding. “Yes, sir. We do understand.”

“It’s not a matter of whether you understand or not.” Aizawa said. “Come with me, and bring your nichirin blades with you.”

 


 

“That was amazing, Giyuu-san!” Tanjiro exclaimed. “Did you see Principal Nezu’s face when he saw what you did? Especially your Fourth Form!”

“Not as spectacular as your Dance of the Fire God, Tanjiro.” Giyuu smiled slightly.

“Thank you Giyuu-san!” Tanjiro grinned.

To say the least, they have managed to convince the Principal of their situation, and somehow managed to secure themselves a place to stay and invaluable assistance in trying to find out a way to return to the battle with Muzan.

“Right. Didn’t the Principal say that there was a case of a ‘villain’ crossing different worlds and different time periods in the past? Do you think that could’ve been the work of a demon, Giyuu-san?”

“Not likely.” Giyuu replied. “But it’s very likely that something similar happened to us, and we were transported to this future.”

“Hmm…I think so too.”

Deep down, Tanjiro suspected that they didn’t have enough power to defeat Muzan and eliminate all the demons. But right now, seeing this demon-free world, Tanjiro felt his heart surge with confidence: eliminating demons from the world was entirely possible.

“Say, Giyuu-san,” Tanjiro said. “We’ll make it back to the others soon, right? Principal Nezu will definitely be able to find a solution!”

Giyuu didn’t answer him.

Tanjiro hoped that he was wrong, but he smelled uncertainty from the older man. Tomioka Giyuu, of all people.

 


 

“…Do you get it?” The round-faced girl—Uraraka Ochako—asked.

“Um, kind of?” Tanjiro responded.

He was quite happy, actually: the class 1-A students were really, really helpful, giving both him and Giyuu a crash course on modern-day Japan and how the world worked today. It did take a while for Tanjiro to understand all the new technology like ‘mobile phones’, ‘the Internet’(which, by the way, was amazing) and ‘television’, though he managed to grasp most of these things after an hour or so thanks to real-life demonstrations.

On the other hand, Giyuu remained as stoic as ever, though Tanjiro smelled discomfort. He placed a hand on his shoulder, and he thought he saw a small smile flash past the older man’s face.

“Oh my god, you two need to go shopping tomorrow.” The pink-haired girl—Ashido Mina—said. “There’s no way you are going out like that.”

“Something needs to be done about the swords too…” Yaoyorozu stated. “It’s not good to carry them so conspicuously, but I get that you need to keep it by your sides at all times, right?”

Tanjiro nodded in response.

“I’ll think up of something for that, give me a moment.”

Swiftly, Yaoyorozu came up with a contraption that made their swords look like harmless sticks and were easy to carry around on their backs. As Momo made the items, Tanjiro consciously looked away.

“That way, it’ll look at most like a rod meant for battle, but not an actual sword.” Yaoyorozu smiled, handing them the items. “It’ll make you guys much less suspicious.”

 

“Oh, thank you so much!” Tanjiro grinned, tucking his sword into the contraption. Sure enough, it no longer looked like a sword. Giyuu seemed a bit more hesitant about putting it on, and looked like he wanted to protest. In the end, however, he put it on his own sword too.

“Perfect!” Yaoyorozu clasped both hands together.

“Tomioka-san, Kamado-san!” Kirishima said, punching his fists into the air. “Show us the manly Breath forms sometime too!”

“Sure, if your teacher allows for it.” Tanjiro chuckled.

Tanjiro turned to face the older man: this was the first time he had heard Giyuu legitimately laugh ever since they met on that hill, that snowy day. A pang of angst hit him, hard, and the smiling faces of his family made an appearance in his mind.

We’ve got to make it back to the others soon, before it’s too late!

“Kamado-kun?” Uraraka asked. “Are you ok?”   

Tanjiro looked up in the direction of the voice, smiling. “Ah, I’m fine! No worries.”

It’s been a while since Tanjiro had been separated from Nezuko for so long, and as much as he’d like to do something about it, he was also currently stuck in an entirely different time altogether. His chest began to ache at the thought of the others, still doing their best to fight Muzan and the remaining Upper Moons…

Somehow, Tanjiro felt guilty that they were here, comfortable and not fighting the demons though he knew very well it wasn’t their fault and was most likely Muzan’s doing. But the idea of not being able to help his friends in any way? Tanjiro couldn’t quite get himself to accept that.

Tanjiro almost didn’t notice Giyuu staring at him until he snapped out of his thoughts, smelling slight confusion and concern from the blue-haired man. In return, the younger boy mustered a reassuring grin, and tried to hide any trace of discomfort.

“It’s curfew you kids! Go back to your rooms!” Aizawa yelled. The kids started streaming back upstairs, albeit somewhat unwillingly. He then turned to face the duo.

“Principal Nezu has managed to find more information regarding the case on the time-travelling case. But we won’t be able to obtain anything specific for a good while, because the government was relatively tight-lipped regarding this.”

“Wait,” Tanjiro said. “Does that mean the authorities will be informed as well?”

“Most likely, but not to worry.” Aizawa replied. “We’ll back you up on your case.”

“Thank you so much, sir!” Tanjiro grinned, genuinely this time. “But why are you doing so much for us?”

“Well, speaking for myself, I trust my judgement of people, and I can tell that you two are being honest here.” Aizawa looked away, scratching his head.

Tanjiro was slightly taken aback, before remembering that he ought to give a response.

“…Thank you!”

“Now hurry up and go to sleep. You’re subjected to the same curfew as everyone else in the class while you’re here.”

Tanjiro and Giyuu make their way back up to their rooms; now that they’ve been confirmed, there were arrangements made for each of them to have their individual rooms in the dorm. Before they parted ways, Giyuu put a hand on Tanjiro’s shoulder.

“Never waver, Kamado Tanjiro.”

Chapter Text

Ever since the arrival of those two, Deku felt that something was off.

It’s not that he was suspicious of them; if anything, Tanjiro was really, really friendly and genuine with them, and though Deku didn’t really speak to Giyuu, he didn’t seem to be much of a threat either. Rather, there was something about Tanjiro that Deku thought was familiar. Was that even possible?

He was sure that this was his first encounter with Tanjiro, but he looked like someone he’d come across before, and someone close to him, at that. A past friend? A family member? Deku didn’t know.

Just then, Tanjiro entered the common room, a cup of water in hand.

“Hello, Midoriya-san!” Tanjiro smiled.

“Tanjiro-kun, can I ask you something?”

“Eh? Uh, sure.”

“This is super weird but…what is your full name?”

“Um, Kamado Tanjiro.”

Deku frowned. Judging from the family name alone, it was unlikely that they would be related by blood, though not impossible. But did he have any relatives with the family name of Kamado? He desperately tried to recall, but none of his relatives’ names rang a bell.

“Ah, ok.” Deku said. “Thank you.”

Tanjiro cocked his head questioningly, though Deku chose not to further elaborate on anything. Maybe he was just imagining things, and Tanjiro was simply someone who had no relation to him whatsoever before their encounter.

Deku suddenly remembered that their class would be having a class barbeque tomorrow, and he was supposed to tell Tanjiro and Giyuu.

“Tanjiro-kun, would you like to join us for our class barbeque? It’ll be tomorrow evening at the beach.” Deku turned to look at the demon slayer.

“Oh? Sure! That sounds great.” Tanjiro replied, taking a sip of his water. “I’ll ask Giyuu-san too!”

Coincidentally, said man walked into the common area, looking at Tanjiro upon the mention of his name.

“Ah, Giyuu-san! Midoriya-san’s class invited us to their class barbeque party, do you want to join?” Tanjiro asked. Giyuu almost had physically shield himself from the younger boy’s bright smile.

“Mhm.” Giyuu nodded, turning away.

“Great!” Tanjiro grinned. “Midoriya-san, is there anything we can help with?”

“Well…”

“Tanjiro.” Giyuu suddenly said, staring intensely at said boy.

 

As Tanjiro turned to face Giyuu, Deku noted that the two seemed to have a telepathic conversation. He had a feeling it was something important shared only between the duo, though he could not tell exactly what it was. This lasted for a good moment, until Giyuu moved to enter the kitchen.

“Tanjiro-kun…?”

“Eh…it’s nothing.” Tanjiro waved both of his hands. “Now, as you were saying?”

 


 

“Can someone give us a hand here? This ice box is freaking heavy!”

“Oi, Kirishima! Bring the other ice box with all the food in it!”

“Do we still have any bamboo skewers?”

This particular section of the beach was bustling with young Heroes-To-Be, running around setting up various items and preparing the barbeque pit. Others were setting up extra portable tables and chairs; yet others helped to bring the remaining stuff from the dorms to the beach. Thankfully, this was relatively close to their dorms, so they could carry most of the items themselves.

Both Tanjiro and Giyuu were helping out too, with Tanjiro discovering a new talent: apparently, he had a knack for slicing up food and managed to speed up the process by a good bit. Giyuu, on the other hand, was somewhat being pestered by Bakugou’s friends, particularly Kirishima.

“Thanks for the help, Tomioka-san!” Kirishima grinned, putting the ice box down. Giyuu nodded in response, still quiet as ever.

“Tomioka-san, what kind of food do you like? We’ve got all sorts of stuff prepared!”

Giyuu remained silent for a while, as if contemplating whether to answer his question.

“…Salmon. The simmered kind with daikon.”

Kirishima’s eyes widened. “Well…I don’t think we have salmon today, but the food will definitely be great! Some of our best cooks prepared the food after all.”

Giyuu glanced at Kirishima, a quizzical look on his face.

“Bakugou is really good at cooking! So is Satou-kun, he makes really yummy desserts!” Kirishima continued. “Bakugou mentioned something about a secret recipe for marinating the meat, it’ll be super delicious too!”

“That…doesn’t sound too bad.” Giyuu mustered, half-smiling.

“Right?”

“Kirishima-kun! Could you help us open this box?” Uraraka called from a distance.

“Okay!” Kirishima replied. Then, he turned to Giyuu. “Hope you’ll have a good time!”

Well, Giyuu thought to himself. This isn’t so bad after all.

 

 


 

 

As much as the whole barbeque gathering was in full swing, Giyuu felt uneasy, as if someone was watching him quietly with a tinge of unfriendly intent. Everyone around him were having lots of fun, coupled with loud cheering and party games being played that Giyuu had never even seen before. Unsurprisingly, Tanjiro also cheered along with them; indeed, this was probably the first time that the younger boy had a chance to relax and have so much fun, ever since that day when everything changed for the both of them.

Giyuu recalled the day he met Tanjiro, how the younger boy was so powerless back then. He remembered his gaze which was filled with pure hatred and rage towards Giyuu, how Giyuu himself tried to push the boy to act on his feelings of indignance to fight for Nezuko’s life in his own method of communication.

His own life.

Since then, Tanjiro had come a long way, with him perfecting the Dance of the Fire God and becoming comparable to a Pillar in terms of power. Sure, Giyuu wished that Tanjiro would’ve perfected the Breath of Water instead, but after seeing him execute Dance of the Fire God, Giyuu knew that this was the style most suited for Tanjiro.

Truly, Giyuu respected Tanjiro from the bottom of his heart.

Giyuu, being deeply immersed in his thoughts, didn’t notice a certain ferocious blond tap on his shoulder for a good while.

“Oi.”

Giyuu turned to look in the direction of the voice, only to find Bakugou glaring at him.

“Come with me. I have questions for you.”

 


 

 

Oddly enough, Bakugou reminded Giyuu of Sanemi and his mannerisms.

Not that Giyuu really minded, of course; he didn’t mind a lot of things and this was one of them.

 

“I’m not going to beat around the bush here.” Bakugou asserted. “What exactly are you up to?”

Giyuu raised an eyebrow. “Nothing.”

Bakugou narrowed his eyes. “I don’t believe you.”

“We’ve already explained our predicament here, and I have nothing else to explain.”

“This whole incident sounds fishy.  What are your true intentions?”

“As Tanjiro explained, we were transported here against our will. If anything, I’d rather be back there fighting the Upper Moons and Muzan.”

Now, Giyuu was getting slightly irritated. He couldn’t see a reason why this boy would have any sort of suspicion of their motives (which, by the way, were non-existent). Insecurity began to rise in his heart; being away from Tanjiro for too long somehow made Giyuu more anxious about the boy’s current conditions.

No, he reminded himself, Tanjiro is a lot stronger than he used to be. He’ll be fine.

“How can you prove yourselves to us?” Bakugou said. “How do we know if this isn’t just an elaborate plot by the League of Villains to infiltrate UA High?”

“What are you talking about?” Giyuu demanded. “I know of no such organisation.”

His hand moved to his disguised sword instinctively.

“You’re going to attack me, because you got exposed?” Bakugou scoffed. “Just saying, I could probably beat your ass at this and leave unscathed.”

Giyuu frowned.  “Do not push such unfounded accusations upon me.”

“I have every right to be suspicious. There is absolutely nothing, not even any documents that show where you’re from.” Bakugou snapped. “What makes you think I’ll trust you?”

Now, Bakugou wasn’t wrong: the two of them didn’t bring anything else with them, obviously because there was no way they would have been able to forsee all of these happening; it was a miracle that somehow, the school took them in. If it was Tanjiro, the younger boy would’ve been able to talk his way out of this. For Giyuu, though, verbal communication wasn’t exactly a strong suit of his.

Before Giyuu could consider any other course of action though, he almost missed the fist flying towards his face. Almost immediately, Giyuu leapt, hand automatically reaching for his sword. But it struck him that his sword was currently disguised as a rod. Instead, he whipped it in front of him, and narrowly blocked Bakugou’s sudden attack.

“I do not have any wishes to kill any of you here, simply for Tanjiro’s sake.” Giyuu said. “And because I wish to maximise our chances to returning to our time. Do not attempt to elevate this.”

Or really?

“You can’t tell me what to do, mister,” Bakugou smirked, releasing a series of explosions from his palms.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Giyuu leapt from tree to tree, gracefulness complementing his footwork. On the contrary, Bakugou climbed along behind Giyuu, tiny explosions lighting up the night sky with their luminance. This sight was truly one to behold: the juxtaposition of uncontrolled power and controlled grace.

 “Why are you doing this? It doesn’t help with anything.” Giyuu questioned, perching on a tree branch.

“Come down from there if you dare! Fight me!”

Giyuu was a man of few words. But right now, he was absolutely speechless at the blonde’s behaviour. He suppressed his urge to whack him, and said, “Stop doing all these reckless things!”

Bakugou didn’t seem to hear him, because the next moment, Giyuu found himself the target for one of his explosions again.

This is bound to attract someone’s attention…

Giyuu remained on the defensive, occasionally raising the rod if he had to protect himself. But not once did he launch any attack: the Breath styles were, after all, meant for dealing with demons, not live human beings. Anyways, it would be questionable as to whether Bakugou would survive one of those attacks.

“Giyuu-san! Bakugou-san!” A voice then called out. “What’s going on?”

A familiar figure stepped out, flashlight in hand, hanafuda earrings floating in the light breeze.

Chapter Text

GENYA!”

Sanemi’s hands trembled as his younger brother faded away like a demon. Was this the side effects of consuming parts of a demon?

He kneeled beside Genya’s fading body, tears falling uncontrollably down his scarred cheeks. His throat itched to scream again, but he couldn’t open his mouth at all. Sanemi reached out, grasping as if grabbing on to the last hope that he could bring back his brother.

Genya! No, this can’t be real…Genya! Don’t die like this!

“…Stand, Shinazugawa.” Gyomei said. “We still need to keep moving. This won’t end until Muzan is defeated.”

Sanemi didn’t hear him at first, his head overwhelmed with emotions that hit him harder than ever before, until Gyomei put a hand on his shoulder. Sanemi shuddered, finally registering what the other Pillar said.

“…You’re right.”

One final teardrop landed on the floor, right beside whatever was left of Genya. Sanemi managed to muster enough strength and stood back up. Overwhelming grief and sadness turned into rage. Rage towards himself for not being able to keep his baby brother safe. Rage at the demons for causing such misery to humans.

Rage towards Muzan.

Sanemi’s fists tightened, his gaze once again that of a determined man. “I’m going to slaughter the fuck out of Muzan…

…and make him pay.”

 


 

 

Meanwhile, at the Ubuyashiki household.

“Have you tracked them down yet?” Kiriya Ubuyashiki, current head of the Ubuyashiki household demanded.

“…No, Brother.” Kanata responded. A sweat dripped down the side of her face, the brush trembling in her hand.

Where are they?

Where?

Why did they suddenly vanish?

Namely, two (possibly most important) people were missing: Tanjiro and Giyuu. They simply vanished, and even Yushiro’s spells couldn’t find them.

“Keep searching! We need every person right now!” Kiriya replied.

“Yes sir!”

 


 

 

Kibutsuji Muzan sat atop a chair, looking down at whatever was below him.

Well, to be precise he wasn’t looking down per se. Rather, he was watching the situation on the ground, shaking his head. The Upper Moons were still far weaker than the Pillars; this wouldn’t do. Perhaps he should have invested more in making the Upper Moons even more powerful.

The spell he had cast on Giyuu and Tanjiro was only at its preliminary stages of development, and to be frank, Muzan was not entirely sure if it would work, since he did not have the time to fully develop it and smooth out any errors. But then, again, if it was a spell he created himself, there was no way it would fail. He knew he was just that good.

Muzan lounged, unafraid of what was about to greet him. After all, even if the Pillars were strong enough to take down the Upper Moons, they likely wouldn’t have nearly enough energy and power to even be on par with him. Plus, he was way more powerful than all the Upper Moons added together; even the Pillars at their full, combined strength wouldn’t be able to take him down.

But most importantly, the key to taking him down was gone.

The thing was, Muzan was virtually undefeatable by anything else other than sunlight, keyword being virtually. There was, indeed, something else that could take him down.

The Breath of the Sun.

That was how he was almost taken down back then: the Breath of the Sun rivalled that of the actual Sun, and the swordsmen who used it managed to come very close to killing him; he only managed to barely escape. He thought he was safe, after he killed every single one of the Breath of the Sun users he could find.

That is, until Kamado Tanjiro appeared out of nowhere.

Those hanafuda earrings, the forehead mark, the hairstyle, his whole appearance…Tanjiro was way too similar to Tsugikuni Yoriichi for it to be a coincidence.

When Muzan caught wind of the fact that Tanjiro started wielding the Dance of the Fire God—the breath style closest to the Breath of the Sun—he felt threat looming over him for the first time since Yoriichi died.

Which was why he came up with this plan—to get rid of Tanjiro without physically being near him and putting himself at risk. Giyuu disappearing alongside with him, well, was purely a coincidence. Oh well, he managed to kill two birds with one stone.

Without Tanjiro and Giyuu, the Pillars posed much less of a threat. If his plan went well, he’ll be able to eliminate all of them at once and truly destroy the Demon Slayer Corps from inside out. It would be easy for him to obtain Nezuko as well, and finally figure out how she became immune to the sun. Muzan smirked as he saw the Pillars approaching where he was at, almost a little too happily.

It’s time.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

“What are you guys doing?” Tanjiro’s face appeared, expression somewhat concerned.

Both Giyuu and Bakugou stopped moving and turned to Tanjiro. Though Giyuu still kept a poker face, Bakugou was in a position to attack, positively annoyed at the presence of the younger boy. However, his face seemed to relax as he came to a realisation.

“That’s great. Now I have both of you together.” Bakugou smirked.

“What do you want?” Tanjiro questioned, frowning. Giyuu could see his hand tightening on the flashlight ever so slightly.

“Nothing much. Just for you guys to spill your true intentions on arriving here.”

“Huh?!” Tanjiro took a step backwards. “We have no ulterior motives whatsoever!”

Bakugou remained silent for a moment. Tanjiro took this time to recollect himself, and continued.

“I get that you don’t like us. The others have told us that villains have been on the rampage since the Number 1 Hero retired. I don’t blame you for having suspicions.” Tanjiro paused.

“But I swear on my life, we have absolutely no malice against you or your class, or anyone at all. If there’s anything we can do to prove it, we will do it, Bakugou-san.” Tanjiro’s stance was firm, yet unaggressive. “Giyuu-san and I have nothing to hide.”

A moment of silence.

To both Tanjiro’s and Giyuu’s surprise, Bakugou relaxed from his attack stance, eyes no longer sharp with malice.

“Very well. You seem to be telling the truth.” Bakugou conceded. “I’ll let you off for now, but I’ll still be watching you two.”

“…I’m glad I’ve gotten through to you.” Tanjiro smiled.

Bakugou then walked away, but not before casting a disgusted look at them.

“Let’s go, Giyuu-san.” Tanjiro said, grinning.

Giyuu nodded slightly, before following the younger boy.

 

 


 

Throughout the rest of the barbeque party—thankfully—there weren’t anymore instances like the one earlier, though Giyuu could still feel the blonde staring at his back as if he wanted to drill a hole through it. Giyuu, on the other hand, consciously avoided him.

A few days later, Giyuu found himself in one of the training halls, a bokuto in hand.

Well, Giyuu and Tanjiro had been specifically informed that they were only allowed to use this on the premise that they did not practise on their nichirin blades in front of the students, considering potential safety issues. Understandably, Giyuu came here with a new bokuto he bought online with the help of one of the class 1-A students—Uraraka, he thought. This way, he could practise in here any time without fearing that he would accidentally injure any of them, not even Bakugou.

Well, if Giyuu did, he would never forgive himself.

The bokuto feels significantly lighter than his own nichirin blade, but the length is similar enough that the reach would be almost exactly the same. He weighed it in his right hand, getting himself used to the lower mass.

“Total Concentration, Breath of Water, First Form.” Giyuu murmured, stance ready. “Water Surface Slash.”

This consisted of a single, powerful slash forward, the most basic of the ten forms. It was a good place to start with a new piece of equipment, after all.

To Giyuu’s surprise, he executed it as well as he could on his own sword.

Not bad.

Giyuu hummed in content, ready to perform the next form. That is, until a voice interrupted him.

“…Hello, Tomioka-san.” Todoroki greeted, albeit monotonously.

Said man turned to the younger boy in acknowledgement.

“Don’t worry, I have permission from Aizawa-sensei to train here.” Todoroki continued. “I’ll try not to hit you.”

Giyuu nodded, then began his usual training routine.

The two minded their own business and did their own things for a while, neither starting any more conversation of any sort. It was a good two hours before Giyuu decided to pause for a bit and drink some water.

As he downed the ice-cold water—modern technology keeping water cold was a blessing—Giyuu silently observed Todoroki. He was currently practising the use of both his left and right side, which Giyuu observed was rather unique compared to everyone else. While the others only had a single Quirk, Todoroki had two different ones, one of ice and one of fire. Interesting.

Giyuu watched as Todoroki alternated rapidly between the use of his left and right side, and he has caught some minor differences between technique. Todoroki evidently did not have as much fine control over his flames as compared to his ice, causing the flames produced to seem more uncontrolled.

“Todoroki.”Giyuu said, opening his mouth in what felt like forever.

“Yes?” He paused, looking at the Water Pilllar.

“You don’t seem to have very good control over your left side.”

“Yeah.”

“Do you want…some help?” Giyuu suggested. He didn’t know how Quirks worked very well, though Breathing Techniques may help somewhat.

“…Okay.”

“…”

“…”

The silence remained for a while, neither unsure of what to do next. Then, Giyuu sighed.

“Very well. This may not be of much assistance, but with this, you would likely be able to improve on your physical stability and overall stamina.”

 


 

 

Over the few hours, Giyuu somehow managed to teach Todoroki the Total Concentration breathing techniques. Todoroki lived up to how impressive the others had described him to be, catching on with the basics relatively quickly. With some more training, he would be able to handle it.

To be able to maintain it during combat, however, was another thing altogether.

“Thank you, Tomioka-san” Todoroki said.

“Try it out with your attacks.” Giyuu responded.

Todoroki simply nodded. He stood in stance, mind focused on maintaining his current Breathing state.  Raising his left hand, he unleashed his first attack. This turned into a chain of attacks, each one carefully calculated as Todoroki attempted to maintain both his flames and his breathing.

Though it was still somewhat unstable, Giyuu can already tell that Todoroki had already improved despite the focus of the past few hours not being on his Quirk itself. He nodded to himself in approval.

He would make a good Demon Slayer, Giyuu found himself thinking.

Giyuu remained deep in thought, almost not realising that the other boy was looking at him curiously, waiting for a response.

“Right. You’ve improved a good bit.” Giyuu said. “Not quite there yet, but it’s a good start. Do you think you can remember how to do it?”

Todoroki nodded curtly.

“Good. Keep practising, and you might get there someday.”

“…Thank you for your guidance, Tomioka-san.” Todoroki said.

Giyuu nodded, sheathing his bokuto.

It’s not so bad here after all, Giyuu thought to himself.

Chapter Text

In the dorms of class 1-A.

 

This was another Sunday afternoon, the only day off in a regular week for the kids. Of course, there were some—like Tsuyu and Satou—who chose to go home for the day, but most of them remained in the dorms. The common area was filled with happy chatter about almost everything and anything under the sun, from new gossip about someone from another class, to the latest anime and games coming out soon. Lively, just like how it would be if a group of teenagers gathered.

Tanjiro moved around the different groups, fluttering like a butterfly. Sometimes he learnt about interesting facts, like how there was going to be a new historical anime based on the Demon Slayer Corps, called Demon Slayer, which was going to premiere soon. Indeed: the longer he hung around them, the more he learnt about the modern world.

Out of the corner of his eye, Tanjiro spotted Giyuu actually interacting with Deku, Todoroki and some others. From where he was, it seemed that Giyuu was giving them real-life battle tips and how to handle such situations. Decidedly, Tanjiro joined them.

“…Well, in the end, dealing with demons is a slightly different situation, but the main ideas are the same.” Giyuu concluded.

“Oho? What do I hear?” Tanjiro said, approaching them.

“Ah, Tanjiro. Good timing.” Giyuu said. “They were asking me for combat advice.”

“I see…Giyuu-san is definitely certified for this!” Tanjiro lit up with a smile. “He fought so many demons, you can’t even begin to imagine! He’s so cool when he fights demons too, and when you see it, it feels so graceful that I can’t even compare to Giyuu-san!”

“Woah!!” Uraraka exclaimed. “Tell us about your adventures, Tomioka-san!”

Giyuu closed his eyes momentarily, as if considering what he should say next. Then, he opened them.

“Well, there was one time—2 or 3 years ago—when I came across a particular young boy and his sister.”

The others closed in, eyes widened.

“His sister just got turned into a demon. My job was to slay demons, so naturally, I was going to do so to this sister of his.”

Tanjiro flinched, realising who Giyuu was talking about. All those years ago, when he first met Giyuu: how he begged him to not kill Nezuko, even taking to kneeling on the ground in an attempt to stop Giyuu.

But then again, without that encounter, he probably would have never had a chance to enter the Demon Slayer Corps and become a Demon Slayer. Looking back, Tanjiro was truly grateful to have met Giyuu that day; one could say that that was the turning point of his life.

“But the young boy…surprised me quite a bit. He came up with a plan on the spot to defeat me and get his sister back. It did not work out exactly in the end, but I was quite astounded that day.”

Uraraka nodded, urging him to go on. The others were listening, eagerness written all over their faces.

“…And now that young boy is here, proudly a Demon Slayer.” Giyuu placed a hand on Tanjiro’s shoulder. The others’ followed his line of motion, gasping when they realised the ‘young boy’ that Giyuu talked about.

“Tanjiro-kun…?” Deku murmured.

“Yeah…hehehe…” Tanjiro rubbed the back of his head, slightly embarrassed. “I’m the ‘young boy’ that Giyuu-san was talking about.”

He never knew what Giyuu felt that day when they first met, much less realise that Giyuu was actually impressed by the little trick he pulled off at the last minute. After all, rage directed at Giyuu took over Tanjiro that day and he never did remember to ask him about it.

Was that why he recommended me to Urokodaki-sensei?

“Woah…that’s so cool!” Uraraka exclaimed. “It must have taken you a lot of effort to get where you are today!”

Just as Tanjiro was about to open his mouth, someone yelled about going to town for dinner. Naturally, the others sitting around them gave a resounding “yes”.

“Let’s go, Giyuu-san.” Tanjiro said. “This is a good chance to explore the city more.”

“Mhm.” Giyuu stood up, smiling lightly.

 


 

Boom!

 

Tanjiro’s eyes widened, but not because of the explosion itself.

Instead, he smelled a scent that should not—definitely not—smell at a place like this.

They were on their way home in the evening, the sun having just set and the night settling in. To think that their Sunday would end off like this…

The others heard the sound too, looking in different directions trying to discover the source. Being the students of UA, they were much more sensitive to danger, and it was the same here.

“Giyuu-san…do you think it’s what I think it is?”

“Possibly. I’ll go check it out.” Giyuu said, beginning to run

“I’ll come with you!” Tanjiro scurried after the Water Pillar.

As much as Tanjiro hoped he was hallucinating, his nose told him otherwise. The scent was getting stronger as they approached the source, and he frowned. Tanjiro’s hand subconsciously went to the handle on his nichirin blade; he had already removed the exterior cover on the way, making a mental note to apologise to Yaoyorozu later.

Seeing Giyuu analysing the situation from behind a wall, Tanjiro stopped in his tracks.

“What do you see, Giyuu-san?”

Giyuu frowned. “There’s no visible being in sight. But most of the area here is destroyed.”

Tanjiro’s right hand tightened, ready to unsheathe his sword.

“Wait.” Giyuu warned. “Don’t act hastily. We don’t know who exactly is the enemy.”

“It’s a demon, Giyuu-san!” Tanjiro had to consciously control himself from yelling. “There’s no mistake!”

“I know!” Giyuu retorted, which took Tanjiro aback; he hadn’t seen Giyuu this angry in a long while. “But I’m not going to take any risks here.”

“Welcome~!” A voice spoke out from behind. Tanjiro swiftly turned around, his nichrin blade in hand.

“Welcome to my game!” The figure said.

Tanjiro felt all of his cells freeze as he recognised who was in front of him. Sure, he smelled a demon, but never in ten years would he expect to see this particular demon in front of him at a time and place like this.

“Kibutsuji…Muzan?”

 

Chapter Text

“Ah, perhaps you may have mistaken me for my Master; I am nothing but a clone. You can call me…Inu.”

The face of the figure came into full view. But as much as Tanjiro’s eyes told him this was Muzan, the scent coming from the demon indicated that it was telling the truth; it did not smell like Muzan himself at all.

“Why are you here? How did you get here?” Tanjiro seethed. How could this be happening…?

“Oh, but I was hiding behind you two the whole time.” The Muzan-lookalike grinned. “But it was too risky to kill you within the UA dorms.”

What?” Giyuu yelled.

“And it wasn’t easy waiting for a perfect opportunity like this…the two of you, out of UA at night. The night, when us demons rule!?

“You imbecile!”

Inu simply laughed it off. “Anything for Master Muzan.”

“Are you going to take the whole city with you too?” Tanjiro screamed.

Anything for Master Muzan.” The way Inu said it seemed even more sinister than before.

“You--!”

“You two!” Another voice called out. “Get out of the way! Let us Pro Heroes deal with this!”

Tanjiro turned around, only to see a winged figure calling out to them. He had a head of blond hair, and he was floating above ground—flying, it seemed. That was when Tanjiro remembered: the Pro Heroes are the ones to deal with such attacks. Technically, neither him nor Giyuu are allowed by law to confront this demon.

But there’s no way they’ll be able to even subdue this demon! He’s likely way too powerful and has to be killed! Arresting him alone wouldn’t do anything in this situation!

But how was Tanjiro going to tell them about this? There was no way any of them would believe him, and they would probably think Tanjiro was some sort of vigilante who went bonkers. Tanjiro’s frown deepened.

Almost immediately, the Pro Heroes got to work: some of them cooperated with each other and unleashed complementary attacks at the demon. The demon avoided them perfectly, skirting around them like it was playing. Other Pro Heroes helped evacuate any remaining civilians, checking for casualties and injuries.

For the first time in two years, Tanjiro felt helpless against a demon.

“Giyuu-san…”Tanjiro whispered. “What do we do?”

Giyuu did not respond.

Just then, Tanjiro heard a familiar voice from nearby. Or rather, it was multiple.

“Tomioka-san! Tanjiro-kun!” Deku rushed up to them. “Are you okay?”

“Yep.” Tanjiro smiled. “But what are you guys doing here?”

“We are Heroes-in-Training, after all.” Deku said. “Besides, we have a Provisional License that allows us to use our Quirks here.”

Tanjiro peered behind Deku. A few others had come along, including Bakugou, Todoroki, Uraraka, Kirishima and Kaminari.

“Where are the others?”

“They’re on the other side.” Bakugou replied tersely.

If this was a usual villain attack, Tanjiro would definitely have rallied up everyone else and ran back to the UA dorms together without even looking back. But today…today was different.

The “villain” right there was a demon, and a clone of Kibutsuji Muzan—the most powerful demon, at that. Who knows what kind of tricks it might pull without anyone noticing? Tanjiro shivered at the thought of any of the UA kids getting attacked by this demon; there was no way they would know how to deal with such a creature.

But…!

But if Tanjiro couldn’t get past the Pro Heroes, he wouldn’t be able to do anything at all.

“…Aizawa-sensei?” Kirishima said. “Why are you here too?”

“I was on my way back from a relaxing day…sigh…”Aizawa shook his head. “Can’t go a day without trouble from those Villains.”

Then, an idea struck Tanjiro.

“Aizawa-san!” Tanjiro screamed. “Please hear out my request!”

“Huh?”

“That creature there is not a Villain! Both Giyuu-san and I are very sure!”

“What?”

“—That thing there is a demon! Please let us deal with it!”

Aizawa narrowed his eyes.

“The only way to deal with a demon is to decapacitate it with a nichirin blade or put it under sunlight.” Giyuu added on. “However, considering the strength of this demon, there is no way those Pro Heroes are going on hold on for that long.”

“…The two of you aren’t licensed to act in this situation. I can’t guarantee that the government won’t come chasing after you if the two of you acted. Especially with those swords of yours.”

“But--!”

Just then, a scream pierced through the air, interrupting Tanjiro.

Uraraka was almost hit by one of the attacks from that demon, and if not for her fast reflexes, she would’ve been dead on the spot. She sat on the ground, body visibly trembling while staring at the attack she barely managed to dodge.

“Uraraka! Are you ok?” Kirishima hurried over, carrying her to the side.

“Yeah, I think so…”

“Aizawa-sensei!” Deku yelled. “We believe them! Please convince the Pro Heroes to let them deal with this!”

“Midoriya…?”

“Looking at the situation, the Pro Heroes are getting slowly drained by that demon, but the demon hasn’t even shown any signs of fatigue!” Deku exclaimed. “We can’t let this go on any longer!”

Deku bowed deeply to Aizawa.

“Please…!”

Aizawa shook his head and grunted, before calling out for the Pro Heroes to stop whatever they were doing. Upon seeing Aizawa, their expression evidently lit up, perhaps thinking he could deactivate the “Villain’s” Quirk using his own.

“Tsk. It’s not a Quirk.” He mumbled to himself.

“Tanjiro.” Giyuu said.

“Yes!”

Both were almost instantly in attack stance, ready with their nichirin blades.

“Total Concentration, Breath of Water, Third Form: Dance of the Rapid Current!”

“Total Concentration, Dance of the Fire God: Flame Waltz!”

If not for the fact that this was a battle, it would’ve been spectacular to watch: the juxtaposition of flowing water against raging fire, somehow contradictory yet complementary to each other in this execution.

However, as fast as the duo were, the demon almost immediately turned around, laughing.

“Oh? Have the Demon Slayers finally flexed their claws? Interesting, interesting.”

The attacks were powerful, but Inu moved and avoided them as if they were playing a game. Of course, both Giyuu and Tanjiro reacted swiftly, immediately turning around as they landed and already ready for another round of attacks.

Inu didn’t let his guard down either; this time, the threat of him actually getting killed was significantly higher, what with those two from the Demon Slayer Corps. Plus, he still had to eliminate them, and if Muzan had to go to such extent to remove them from the equation, they were definitely not easy targets.

What none of them noticed, however, was a particular blond getting extremely fired up by the current situation.

“That guy…he annoys me!” Bakugou seethed. “He sounds so high and haughty, I want to go and slap his face!”

“Kacchan…!” Deku chided.

“Bakugou. Don’t think of doing anything impulsive.” Aizawa warned.

“I wouldn’t…” Bakugou murmured.

Like hell!

Chapter Text

“What do you think? How does it feel like to fight again after so long?”

Inu turned around, half smiling and seemingly undisturbed at all. If anything, it seemed more like it was enjoying a walk in a park and not in the middle of a fight. On the other hand, both Giyuu and Tanjiro were exhausted, and almost out of moves.

Dammit! I thought Akaza was hard enough to kill, but this…! Tanjiro grasped on to his sword. And this isn’t even Muzan himself!

“Giyuu-san…” Tanjiro whispered. “What do we do?”

However, before Giyuu could reply, the demon raised his hand, though not at them.

It took a split second before either of them noticed, and a split second away from potentially losing a life.

“NO!” Giyuu screamed, almost immediately moving.

Deku and the others, taken aback by the attack, stumbled on to the ground. If not for Giyuu moving quickly enough and blocking the attack, there was no way they would’ve survived.

However, Tanjiro could tell that something about Giyuu had changed in the split second, like what happened during the fight with Akaza. Almost instantaneously, the air around Giyuu changed.

“You can target us, but don’t touch the kids!” Giyuu yelled.

“Oh? Tomioka Giyuu, the heartless Water Pillar, becoming such a caring person?” Inu laughed. “Now that’s a surprise.”

Giyuu didn’t reply, but Tanjiro could smell his rage getting stronger, the scent becoming almost too overwhelming for him.

“You disgusting cretin!” Giyuu raised his nichirin blade, ready to attack, but there was something off, something about Giyuu’s stance that Tanjiro couldn’t quite put his finger on.

That is, until Giyuu dropped to the ground, blood flowing out of the corner of his mouth. He dug his blade into the ground, barely managing to keep himself standing.

“Ha ha ha!” Inu laughed. “That attack is able to travel across objects and inflict the damage upon whoever is in direct contact with it!”

“You--!” Tanjiro yelled, a surge of strength soaring in his blood. “How dare you!”

“Tomioka-san!” Kaminari hurried over, pulling the older man to the side.

“You kids! Call the ambulance now!” Aizawa ordered. “We don’t have time to waste!”

“No, don’t.”

Under the gaze of everyone else, Giyuu stood upright while grasping his blade, body slightly trembling. Blood was still spilling out of his mouth, but he paid it no heed.

“I won’t leave until this demon is killed. I’ll be fine, Total Concentration breathing can help manage this injury.”

“Tomioka-san!” Deku said. “Don’t force yourself like this!”

“Total Concentration, Breath of Water, Tenth Form: The Dragon of Change!”

Giyuu moved swiftly, barely ever touching the ground as he headed straight for Inu itself. Despite his injuries, his movements were still graceful and flowing as ever, evidently showing the years of training he had underwent.

“Ah, as expected of one of the strongest Pillars.” Inu remarked, simply dodging the attack.

Giyuu almost crashed to the ground, if not for another attack cast that cushioned the impact. However, the scent of uneasiness—the scent he never once did smell from Giyuu before today—was so thick, Tanjiro almost gagged.

“Giyuu-san…?”

Giyuu then attacked multiple times without stopping, the Demon Slayer Mark on his cheek darker than ever. In fact, it seemed almost as if Giyuu didn’t give a damn whether he lived past today.

However, there seemed to be no end to this imbalanced power struggle, and Giyuu wasn’t even able to do so much as graze Inu.

Tanjiro could feel his blood roaring in his ears, heart thumping against his chest .

What am I supposed to do? At this rate, Giyuu-san is going to die here…!

“The thirteenth form…” Tanjiro murmured

The one form of the Dance of the Fire God that Tanjiro had no idea of, and there was nowhere for Tanjiro to find out what it was.

Dammit! If only I could find out what it was!

For all Tanjiro knew, it could be the key to defeating Inu here.

A wild idea just occurred to him, but it would be insanely difficult to carry out, especially since it wasn’t’ guaranteed that this would even work in the first place.

But at this point of time, he had no choice.

“Giyuu-san!” Tanjiro called out, rushing over to the older man.

“I have an idea…” Tanjiro whispered, telling Giyuu his plans. As Tanjiro told Giyuu his plan, Giyuu’s eyes widened.

“…Are you sure about this?”

“We don’t have a choice, do we?” Tanjiro said.

“Very well. I trust you, Tanjiro.”

Tanjiro readied his stance, hand steady on the handle of his nichirin blade.

“Total Concentration, Dance of the Fire God: Blue Heaven!”

“Total Concentration, Breath of Water, Sixth Form: Twisting Whirlpool!”

Both moved in unison, the combination of fire and water twisting into a single movement and aiming directly at the demon in question. This was their first time performing it, but Tanjiro realise it felt so natural, it seemed that they had practised this beforehand. Though neither noticed, the others at the side had their mouths gaping in amazement.

Usually, Demon Slayers never attacked in combinations, and neither were there two people attacking together using complementary forms. But extreme times call for extreme measures, after all.

Upon hitting Inu, both Tanjiro and Giyuu immediately switched forms, using the buildings as a foothold.

“Ninth Style: Water Splash!”

“Dance of the Fire God: Soaring Flame Haze!”

Indeed, Tanjiro’s method worked better than he expected, and Inu went down crashing on to the pavement, the force strong enough to break the concrete surface.

“Ah.” Inu said, this time struggling to get up. “You guys got me good this time~”

“Be gone, you scum.” Giyuu moved closer to said demon, with Tanjiro tagging close behind.

However, a strong force pushed both of them ackwards, causing them to skid along the pavement and dust to fly everywhere. Tanjiro could only feel his backbone crack against the concrete wall, before his vision cleared up again.

What now?

Tanjiro felt truly lost. This was worse than the fight with Akaza; the trick with hiding his battle spirit worked with him, but who knew what this Muzan lookalike was capable of? It wouldn’t be surprising if he could still attack Tanjiro.

Just then, he heard a familiar voice.

“Guys!” Deku called out. “Hear me out!”

Chapter Text

“I’ve figured out a weakness!” Deku whispered furiously.

Almost instantly, Tanjiro turned his head around so fast, he almost snapped his neck.

“You have?”

“Yes!” The green-haired boy exclaimed. “Come over!”

For once, Inu showed uneasiness.

 “Hear me out here.” Deku began. “After some observation, the way he moves looks as if he is trying to protect a particular part of his body I’m not completely sure exactly which part of its body, but it’s quite likely to be one of the ankles.”

Upon hearing Deku’s observations, Tanjiro’s eyes widened. Now that he thought about it, it did seem like Inu was always moving in a similar fashion. Oddly enough, he didn’t notice it earlier; perhaps he was too caught up in the whole fight.

It was also possible that just like Muzan, this clone would regenerate even if they did cut its neck directly. Besides, the numerous attempts earlier already showed that it was next to impossible to directly reach his neck without disadvantaging him first. That first stage alone was difficult enough to execute.

But if they managed to damage the ankle—and the correct one, at that—they could kill it. That was worth a try.

“It would be difficult to imagine that such a spot isn’t well-protected, though.” Giyuu commented.

“Exactly.” Deku said. “Which is why, Aizawa-sensei, if it is possible, we would like to help out.”

The moment those words left Deku’s mouth, the air grew tense. The group stood there, anxiously waiting for his response.

Said teacher didn’t say anything, only nodding his head slightly.

“Thank you!” Deku smiled.

Bakugou grunted, not looking at Tanjiro and Giyuu. Tanjiro’s nose told him otherwise, though, and the only scent Tanjiro could smell from Bakugou was the smell of genuine concern.

“Thank you, Bakugou-san.” Tanjiro smiled.

“Tch.” Bakugou turned away.

Quickly, Deku told them his plan, not wasting a single second. Inu simply watched quietly, surprisingly not moving at an opportunity like this. Admittedly, he was curious as to what a bunch of kids and a straight-laced Pillar could come up with.

 


 

 

“You ready, Giyuu-san?”

“Always.”

Swiftly, Tanjiro jumped off from one of the buildings, already in formation for his attack.

“Dance of the Fire God: Sunflower Lance!”

His nichirin blade was—needless to say—aimed at nothing other than Inu’s left ankle. Inu dodged the straight stab again, but only barely this time.

To this small victory, Tanjiro smiled, but this smile was unlike any other of his: it carried a coldness and insanity that Tanjiro didn’t usually have. But today was different.

Without even missing a beat, Giyuu followed up with another attack towards his right ankle, and he almost managed to cut through it.

That is, until Giyuu realised something.

The surface his blade hit against felt way too solid to be demon flesh, or any kind of padding in particular. In fact, it felt more like the ankle was protected by a piece of metal harder than the nichirin blade.

It’s this side!

But if his blade couldn’t cut through it, then…

“It’s the right ankle!” Giyuu yelled. “But I can’t cut through it!”

 “Tanjiro-kun! Tomioka-san!” Deku yelled.

Before Tanjiro could turn around, Bakugou already made his way to where Inu was, hand reached out towards the right ankle. Inu didn’t notice him earlier, and by the time he did, it was too late to shake off the blond.

Bakugou smirked, before letting off a chain of explosions from his palm.

If their blades can’t cut through, his explosions definitely can!

Perhaps the explosions were indeed stronger than the force of the blade, or perhaps due to Bakugou’s sheer determination, the explosions managed to destroy Inu’s right ankle, albeit with blood dripping all over the ground.

Tanjiro reacted almost immediately, dealing the final blow. Inu, as taken aback as he was, didn’t manage to dodge in time.

“Dance of the Fire God: Parhelion Rainbow!”

His nichirin blade cut cleanly across Inu’s neck, its head rolling off the shoulder and onto the ground. However, as easy as this strike was, it wasn’t so easy for Tanjiro’s arm.

Tanjiro tried to pull his right arm away, only to find that the demon’s hand had locked itself around his wrist.

“Tanjiro!” Giyuu yelled, moving in said boy’s direction.

Even after having its head cut off, Inu refused to let go of the hand that had done it. This was almost as if

…it was a final struggle for victory.

“It’s too late.” Tanjiro said. “Give up.”

The grip didn’t loosen.

To Tanjiro’s horror, Inu’s other hand picked up the head and attached it back on to its stump of a neck.

“Ha ha ha…” Inu laughed. “Did you think I’d be killed this easily?”

Perhaps he had overestimated them after all.

From some distance away, Tanjiro could see Giyuu still in position, but his eyes widening upon seeing the scene in front of him. This…

This felt like a repeat of the fight with Akaza.

If I can defeat Akaza, I can defeat this!

Even if they couldn’t, they had to do it somehow. And not just for him and Giyuu’s sake; the whole city would likely be affected if they let Inu loose.

But how do I even enter such a mental state again? I can’t do it consciously!

And yet, that was quite likely the key to defeat Inu: the same state of a lack of fighting spirit that made him virtually invisible in front of Akaza.

Then again, if this demon was Muzan’s clone, it’s most definitely going to be more powerful than Akaza.

Tanjiro’s grip tightened on his handle.

Think!

Come up with something!

Before he could, though, Inu’s hand that still held on to Tanjiro swung, tossing the boy out. Tanjiro crashed into another building, hot liquid spilling out of the corner of his mouth.

“Tanjiro!” Giyuu yelled.

Giyuu moved to attack Inu again, only to be hit back by an invisible force.

Now what?

What am I supposed to do?

Chapter Text

Now what?

“Giyuu…san…” Tanjiro muttered, left hand reaching out for the Water Pillar.

From what he could see, Giyuu was badly injured from the force, and his eyelid was cut, possibly by a piece of debris.

No.

I can’t stop here!

Keep moving! Don’t give it a chance!

Tanjiro grabbed the handle of his blade as tightly as he could, then stabbing it into a random spot on the ground that let him use the blade to support himself. He managed to squeeze out a little force, standing upright again.

I’ll have to use it. Even if it might be useless against Inu, I have to try it.

Tanjiro would have to enter the See-Through World once again.

The previous time he used it, it helped him defeat Akaza. There was no saying if Inu was able to sense this ability and prevent Tanjiro from attacking, but it was worth a try.

This was his trump card.

He began to consciously slow down his breathing, extending on the Total Concentration technique.

Remember.

Remember how it felt like to be able to see that world.

Gradually, it appeared in his view; the insides of his enemy that gave him an advantage. Except that there was one thing Tanjiro didn’t quite expect:

Inu was an empty shell.

“It can’t be…” Tanjiro muttered, eyes widening in disbelief.

But it was true: all he saw was an empty shell where organs and bones and muscles should be. Even with Akaza, Tanjiro could see his insides, but with this…

Did it have something to do with the fact that Inu was a clone of Muzan?

But if it didn’t have any organs at all, then how in the world did it even move around in the first place? Was this one of Muzan’s Blood Demon Art skills?

However, as Tanjiro stared at the Muzan lookalike, a realisation dawned upon him:

It seemed a lot like a balloon.

“A balloon, huh…” Tanjiro murmured.

That’s it! A balloon!

That could also explain why the attacks to the ankle didn’t quite work the first time. Balloons were usually thicker—and hence stronger—at the ends, where the latex is the thickest. Similarly, his head and his feet would be the strongest.

Then perhaps, the way he moved was simply a coincidence, and they ended up reading too much into it?

No. It was probably a diversion.

Considering Inu’s high ability, it would not be surprising if it had concocted something to purposely divert their attention. Perhaps it didn’t take into account that one of them could see through him.

Right now, the choice that would most likely to kill Inu…

Is to cut through him cleanly through the middle.

“Giyuu-san!” Tanjiro screamed. “Cut through him horizontally! Through the middle!”

Giyuu spared a single moment to cast a confused look at Tanjiro but decided to trust his decision. He moved swiftly, despite his injuries.

“Total Concentration, Breath of Water, Second Form: Horizontal Water Wheel!”

“Dance of the Fire God: Scorching Crimson Mirror!”

Both attacked at the same time, Giyuu from the front and Tanjiro from the back. This time, Inu didn’t react in time, and got caught in the middle.

The two nichirin blades cut cleanly through its middle.

The movement happened so quickly, Tanjiro almost didn’t catch it happening, but from the moment the light in Inu’s eyes faded, he knew.

It worked!

It actually worked!

They had finally managed to kill Inu.

Watching the two halves of its body land on to the ground, what he had seen in the See-Through World was verified. There truly was nothing within its body.

What disturbed Tanjiro way more was—more than anything else—the fact that Muzan could even do something like create a clone.

Was it his first time doing something like this? Could he become strong enough to make an army of his own: an army consisting of completely subservient clones, without the secret fears of losing control of an army like the Twelve Demon Moons?

If that time ever came, Muzan would be very close to being absolutely invincible.

Simply thinking about it made Tanjiro uneasy. Would they still be able to defeat Muzan then?

However, his thoughts were disrupted by a familiar voice.

“Tanjiro! Are you alright?” Giyuu walked over, though not in a very good shape himself. He was limping slightly, holding on to his blade like a walking stick.

“Ah, I’m fine…”

Then, Tanjiro blacked out, vaguely hearing anxious screams from the others.

 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

When Tanjiro woke up again, he was in a room of sorts.

Bright light shone into his eyes, and Tanjiro frowned. The room smelled of something very strong, and it made Tanjiro giddy.

“Huh…?”

Tanjiro tried to push himself upright, his vision slowly sharpening. Familiar faces showed up in front of him, seemingly tired.

“Hello…?” Tanjiro said.

Surprisingly, the first one to greet him was Giyuu.

“Tanjiro! Thank goodness you’re ok.” He grabbed Tanjiro’s shoulders. Tanjiro peered into the pair of familiar dark blue eyes, right now filled with relief and weariness, replacing the usual harshness.

“Tanjiro-kun!” Deku stood up, slightly concerned. “Don’t strain yourself! You were knocked out for five days straight.”

“Really?” Tanjiro said.

“Yeah. You blacked out almost immediately after you killed the demon thing, and we managed to carry you here to Recovery Girl’s office.” Kirishima added on.

“Thank you, guys.”

“It’s the most we could do.” Kirishima smiled. “More so, you should probably thank Tomioka-san here. He woke up on the second day and refused to leave this room until you woke up too.”

To this, Giyuu didn’t say anything, only turning away.

“Giyuu-san…” Tanjiro began, gratefulness welling in his chest. “…Thank you so much.”

“If you died, I can’t live to face Sensei.” Giyuu said matter-of-factly. “Or your sister.”

Tanjiro smiled, grabbing Giyuu’s hand.

“It’s all okay now. We’ll return there, defeat Muzan, and create this future that we have seen.”

Giyuu’s eyes widened.

“After coming to here, I’ve come to realise something.” Tanjiro continued. “I’ve realised that after all, our efforts are going to be worth it. To help create such an amazing world…”

The older man nodded.

“…it’s truly worth sacrificing myself for.”

And for the first time in forever, Giyuu smiled.

 

Chapter Text

Ever since young, there was a particular question that pestered Deku.

The thing is, he could vaguely remember a few things about his father: that he resembled Deku, except with darker, reddish-brown hair—much unlike his own curly green locks—and that he had large, dark red eyes, filled with happiness whenever they were focused on Deku.

Mum had told him that his dad got a job overseas when he was young and stayed there ever since. But other than those few things, Deku didn’t know anything else about his father.

Who was Dad, truly?

Dad was also (ostensibly) very busy and haven’t returned back home since he entered middle school. Other than a few Skype sessions that were few and far between—and during the times when Deku was also busy—he never actually had the chance to properly speak to Dad.

But when he set his eyes upon Kamado Tanjiro, he was so taken aback (albeit internally) by his appearance.

He looked almost exactly like Dad.

Of course, there were a few differences: Tanjiro’s face was a lot younger, and his hair was swept back, exposing his forehead. But other than that, Deku knew unmistakably that those eyes, especially those eyes, were those of Dad’s. If not for Tanjiro’s bloodied clothes and the mark on his forehead, he would’ve thought this was a younger version of Dad.

And then it occurred to Deku: other than not knowing anything about Dad, he knew nothing about his family either. Dad’s parents died early, and he was their only son, so there weren’t any other family member he could ask about Dad either.

As he lay on his bed pondering about his family yet again, Deku knew he had to do something to find out more. It was just so…weird to not know anything substantial about Dad, or their family in general.

For starters, he knew that his grandparents had the family name of Midoriya, though he didn’t know his grandmother’s original family name. Hell, he didn’t even have any photos to refer to; they were kept at his mum’s old house somewhere in Kyoto, which more than two hours away on high-speed rails. Considering that it was nearing exam season, Deku didn’t have the time to go there.

The most viable thing then would be to consult Mum about this. Even a photo or anything could help, but that will have to wait until he got back home.

Ahh, damn.

Eventually, Deku drifted off to sleep.

 


 

Saturday evening finally came, and Deku arrived back at the small Midoriya apartment. It wasn’t big, but it definitely was home for Deku.

As he entered through the door, the smell of fried pork cutlets wafted in the air, and Deku realised just how hungry he was. Upon his entrance, his mum also came out of the kitchen.

“How has school been?” Midoriya Inko inquired, wiping her hands on her apron. “I heard there was a attack in the city. Are you hurt?”

Deku turned, meeting the pair of deep green eyes filled with concern, and smiled.

“No, we were fine. Tanjiro-kun and…” Deku drifted off, remembering that he was not supposed to reveal the existence of the two Demon Slayers to anyone who didn’t already know, strictly under the orders of Principal Nezu. They did not belong to the modern time, after all.

“Hmm?”

“Ah, it’s nothing.” Deku rubbed the back of his head, putting his things on the floor and making a mental note to not slip up again. “Some of the Pro Heroes dealt with it.”

“Well, that’s great news.Be quick and change out of your school attir, I’ve made your favourite pork katsudon!” Inko said.

 

During dinner, there wasn’t much conversation, except for the occasional small talk. That is, until Inko mentioned what Deku said earlier.

“Izuku, did you mention someone called Tanjiro earlier?”

“Ah…um…” Deku mumbled, fiddling with his chopsticks. “Yeah.”

“Do you know his full name?”

Deku frowned. “I think it was…Kamado Tanjiro?”

At this, Inko’s eyes widened.

“Kamado Tanjiro?”

“Um, yeah. I’m not sure of the kanji writing, though.”

Inko put down her chopsticks. “What does he look like?”

“Uhh…” Deku recalled, slightly taken aback by her reaction. “He has curly red hair, a round face, and big red eyes.”

“Did he have a mark on his forehead?”

“…Yeah.”

Inko gasped, completely ignoring her dinner now. “A large, red mark on the left side?”

“Yes.”

Inko then composed herself, sitting upright. “The thing is, before you were born, your father talked a lot about your grandmother.”

Upon hearing the words ‘father’ and ‘grandmother’, Deku’s imaginary radar lit up.

“If I remembered correctly, your father said that she used to talk a lot about her own father. Your great-grandfather.”

“My…great-grandfather?” Deku tilted his head.

“Mhm. Apparently, your great-grandfather also had a similar appearance to the young boy you described earlier. She didn’t remember his name anymore, but according to your father, she mentioned a lot about how he was such a great and kind man, and that she would’ve loved to see him again.”

“Again…?”

“Your great-grandfather died very young, leaving your great-grandmother and your grandmother behind.” Inko said, smiling sadly.

“Ah…”

“I’ve never met them, but it still hurts a little bit to think about it.”

“It does.” Deku affirmed. He thought he saw a small tear at the corner of his mother’s eyes.

“What was my grandmother’s name?” Deku asked.

“Let’s see…If I recall correctly, her name was Kamado Hisako.”

Kamado?

But before Deku could raise another question, Inko picked up her chopsticks. “Ah! It’s turning cold. Let’s hurry up and eat this.”

For the rest of dinner, there was one thing on Deku’s mind. Even as he returned to his room, staring at the All Might merchandise in his room, it refused to go away.

Kamado Hisako. That was his grandmother’s name.

Kamado. Tanjiro’s family name.

Well, knowing the pronunciation itself wasn’t all that helpful; Deku would have to find out if the kanji of the family name was the same. But it was also likely that Mum didn’t know how to write his grandmother’s name—hell, they’ve never even met—which would mean it was next to impossible to double-check.

Dammit, how do I find more clues to work on?

 

Chapter Text

Throughout the next few weeks, Deku ended up being swamped with work and preparation for the exams, that he almost forgot about the whole issue about his family. It was only after the final paper ended did Deku remember.

“Izuku, there’s a letter for you.” Inko said, as Deku entered his apartment once again.

“Oh?” The said boy took the letter from his mother’s outreached hand, his expression that of slight bemusement.

“The address was handwritten, so I figured it was a private letter only meant for you. It’s still unopened.” Inko added.

“Right.”

Deku frowned at the letter in his hand, trying to figure out who, or perhaps more importantly, why would someone even send him a letter.

It probably wasn’t any of his friends; everyone had one another’s phone numbers and email addresses. If they needed to find him, they’d just drop a text or send an email.

This was more likely from someone who didn’t know him personally, then. However, upon closer inspection, Deku realised something very frightening.

If this was truly from some stranger, it would be very, very creepy if they knew where he lived.

Deku shook his head. Maybe this was just some kind of prank by the neighbourhood kids.

But his gut feeling told him that this was legitimate: the address was written in a fancy, curly font, and the envelope seemed to be rather thick.

Carefully, Deku placed the envelope on his desk, and sat down on his chair. His fingers stumbled a little as he cut it open, revealing a single piece of thick, creamy paper. Gingerly, he unfolded it, his heart thumping a tad bit too strongly in his chest.

The moment he set his eyes on the first word, Deku knew this wasn’t going to be good.

 

Dear Midoriya Izuku,

 

You might be wondering who I am. Well, there is no need to; I mean no harm to you.

More importantly, you must be wondering: why did you receive this?

To put it simply, I have all the answers to your questions. Don’t you want to find out more about your family? Perhaps, for starters, I could tell you the story of your great-grandparents.

A chill ran down Deku’s spine. He hadn’t even mentioned this to anyone other than Inko; how did this person even know? More specifically, how does this person even know about his great-grandparents’ past?

 

I can imagine that this has come as a shock for you. However, there is no need to be alarmed; if I did mean harm, there would be no reason for me to send such a letter. I simply wish to be of assistance to you.

Deku frowned.

Of course, if you wish to meet me to see who I truly am, we can very much do so in a public location. Do attach write your response and leave it in your mail box afterwards, and I will send you the details.

I hope to meet you soon.

There was no signing off at the end, only that single sentence.

After reading the letter, Deku tumbled on to his bed.

On one hand, he knew that there was no way in hell he should go and meet someone unknown like this, even if in a public place: who knows what the hell that person could do?

But on the other hand, it’s precisely because of the potential danger that Deku couldn’t let this go. If he missed out an opportunity to apprehend a major Villain—like the other time when he first met Eri-chan—Deku would never forgive himself. He somehow knew he had to use this chance to figure out if that person was a Villain, and if that was a case, quickly capture them.

So when he wrote down his response, his heart was thumping wildly, hand slightly shivering as he forced his hands to form each character on the cream paper. Even as he gingerly placed the letter back into the mailbox, the same thing kept pestering him.

I hope I made the right decision.

 


 

“Midoriya-san,” a familiar voice said. “What’s wrong? You look distressed.”

Deku looked up, realising that he had been sitting in the common room for quite a while, staring at the floor with his fists clenched. He almost immediately relaxed himself and smiled.

“Nothing, I was just zoning out for a bit.”

Tanjiro looked slightly confused, but he didn’t question any further.

For Deku, seeing Tanjiro reminded him of that incident from last weekend, and the fact that he looked too much like Dad to be a coincidence. It was almost as if Dad had aged down and appeared in front of him again(albeit with a mark on his forehead). To be honest, that creeped Deku out slightly.

For now, Deku did not hear any updates regarding the letter or the meet-up. Perhaps it was just a silly prank after all.

But much as Deku wanted to ignore it, deep down he knew this letter was anything but a joke.

In an attempt to break off from this monotony, Deku forced himself to get up and went to the kitchen to get some fresh juice Momo had made for everyone. As the cold, refreshing liquid made its way down Deku’s throat, his uneasiness gradually diminished.

 


 

When Deku went home again, another letter was waiting for him on his desk.

“Welcome home!” Inko greeted. “There’s another letter for you. I’ve put in on your desk.”

“Thanks.”

Deku shuffled into his room, his gait disguising his anxiety as he moved closer to said letter.

Sure enough, the lettering on the envelope had been the same one from last week. Deku gingerly opened the letter yet again, revealing another piece of creamy-white paper with some writing on it.

Dear Midoriya Izuku,

I knew you would come. Do meet me at the following time and location…

The location had been set at a popular hipster café that had just opened last month, which Deku thought was slightly dd. Was this person into that sort of aesthetic? The time was…tomorrow morning.

He couldn’t help but remark that this was such a last-minute plan: somehow, the person knew Deku would definitely see it today. But this also meant that Deku could quickly resolve this case and get back to training.

 


 

The next day.

 

Under the piercing sunlight, Deku navigated the city crowds along the pavement. His eyes were trying to multitask, by switching between his Google Maps and the surroundings quickly enough so he wouldn’t get lost.

Usually, Deku didn’t go out into the city on Sundays, considering how busy he was with work, so today was a “once in a blue moon” experience.

Thankfully, it didn’t take Deku too long to reach the café. Young people swarmed its insides, either chatting away happily with their friends over dessert, enjoying a cute date, or taking photos of the Instagram-worthy food and drinks.

This made Deku even more anxious; he didn’t really do well in such crowded settings, after all.

Concentrate! Consider this a mission!

A pale-faced man waved at him, gesturing for him to go over.

Despite the seemingly-friendly smile on the person’s face, Deku’s sixth sense started tingling.

“Hello!” He greeted, as Deku sat down. “You can call me Tsujishima.”

“Ah--!” Deku paused for a moment, recollecting himself. “Nice to meet you.”

A waiter arrived with two fancy-looking drinks that almost made Deku’s eyes pop. They definitely didn’t look cheap; how rich was Tsujishima?

“So, ask away.” Tsujishima took a sip of his drink.

For a moment, Deku thought he saw a pair of glimmering cat eyes behind the shades. But when he blinked again, it was gone.

“Ah…where do I start?” Deku said, taking a sip of his drink.

As soon as he did that, however, Deku’s field of vision began to turn black, his body almost instantly weakening.

The last thing he remembered was a pair of arms hoisting him up, and a familiar black-haired man—Tomioka, possibly—running towards the glass window, screaming.

 

 

Chapter Text

1941, winter.

Giyuu tread in the soft snow, a cold breeze blowing past his cheek as he stepped out into the cold. His left hand automatically went to his left side to feel for his nichirin blade, though nothing was there anymore.

Ah, of course, he had forgotten; there was no need for those swords anymore.

He gazed into the scenery, yet not quite taking it in. Instead, he was thinking about something else.

It was the same winter eighteen years ago: that fateful day that changed Giyuu’s life forever. The siblings had easily struck him then—their bond, ever so strong and powerful that even Giyuu as an outsider could feel it. The young boy’s insanely strong desire to protect his sister back then, and how much the same demonized sister tried to protect her brother; Giyuu couldn’t understand it then, but over time, as he watched them more and more, he slowly did.

In fact, if it had been him and Tsutako in that situation, he would have protected her all the same.

He sighed. He never really did make it up to the Kamado siblings for what he did to them that day and one of them will never be there to see it.

Giyuu reached out, observing a single snowflake land on his fingertips.

And then, he had a jarring flashback. The memory replayed in front of his eyes, fresh as though he was in that scene again.

Tanjiro’s weak smile as he laid on the bed, surrounded by the other Pillars and the younger ones. Giyuu kneeling by his side, as Tanjiro placed his hand on Giyuu’s own, the fingers way too weak for an ex-demon slayer of his age. Giyuu looking up, only to see a face that seemed much older than his actual age. The final words Tanjiro said, before he left this world forever.

Thank you, Giyuu-san.

It had been more than half a year since, and it still hurt a little. Perhaps he should have never gotten Tanjiro to become a demon slayer in the first place; he might still be alive right now.

He should have been the one who was afflicted with Muzan’s curse, not him. The others needed Tanjiro, especially Kanao—when Tanjiro passed away, she was still carrying their sole daughter. Giyuu, on the other hand, had no one else who needed him; not after Muzan was defeated and there were no more demons.

Just then, a merry laughter interrupted Giyuu’s thoughts.

Behind him, Zenitsu and Nezuko were playing with the small Kamado girl—Kamado Hisako, as Kanao had named her. Even if Giyuu couldn’t see them from where he was standing, he could sense the joy and happiness.

Giyuu wished Tanjiro was alive just for a moment, if only to see this sight.

“Giyuu-san!” Zenitsu exclaimed. “Look! She’s so adorable!”

Giyuu smiled slightly, turning around and peering in. “Yeah.”

“She looks so much like Brother! It’s incredible.” Nezuko tickled the baby, grinning.

“Giyuu-san, please do come in.” A familiar figure popped out—Kanao. “It’s very cold today.”

“Yes, yes.” Giyuu stepped back into the house.

However, at that moment, Giyuu’s heart was filled with nothing but gentle warmth, a little like the kind of warmth Tanjiro gave out to whoever was near him.

Ah, it would’ve been great if Tanjiro could see this.

 


 

If there was anything Giyuu knew since young, it was that good things did not come by easily, and when they did, there was bound to be some kind of price for it.

Today, it seemed that this was only much more strongly proven.

When he woke up in the morning, his heart was unusually heavy, almost as if it knew something bad was about to happen. Even as he tried to practise the Breath of Water—something he only did for leisure nowadays—to distract himself, the feeling didn’t entirely go away.

As Giyuu left the house to visit the market, his hand subconsciously moved to his left side, which still had a lack of a nichirin blade. He shook his head in an attempt to dismiss the thoughts.

You’re just thinking too much.

Giyuu wondered if he was imagining things, but even the people on the streets today seemed to be quite distressed: small groups of people huddling around, discussing something quietly. He sped up, already wanting to get the shopping done and go home.

Thankfully, it didn’t take very long and soon enough, Giyuu found himself done with the task. As he walked back, a drop of cold sweat trickled down his cheek, despite the sub-zero temperatures. He clutched his bag even more tightly, now speeding up into a run.

Giyuu heard a loud explosion just as he took the turn to his house. Nezuko and Zenitsu were out on a trip to elsewhere, so the only ones who would be at his house were Kanao and her daughter, Hisako.

Damn it!

His heart began to palpitate, his mind already knowing the worst outcome.

The moment the scene came into view, Giyuu no longer acted on logic and sense.

He dropped his bag of items and took off into an actual sprint, cleverly dodging the flaming debris while jumping over crumbled walls. In fact, this house wasn’t the only one affected; all the other houses in the area were in the same condition.

Giyuu frantically searched around for two specific figures, blood roaring in his ears as panic slowly took over him.

I promised him.

I promised him I would look after them.

Why is this happening again?

Flipping over debris didn’t do much help, and there was no sign of them anywhere else either. Perhaps they might have ran away.

Just then, Giyuu caught a familiar voice.

“Giyuu-san!”

Upon seeing Kanao, Giyuu could finally relax again. His eyes shifted to the small bundle in her arms, seemingly to be unaware of the happenings around her.

“Thank goodness you’re okay,” Giyuu said.

“You too, Giyuu-san! I thought you were affected by the bombing.” Kanao smiled weakly.

That was when Giyuu finally noticed the bloodied clothes.

“First things first, let’s get out of this town. You need those injuries checked.” Giyuu said, gaining back some of his senses. “Can you run?”

“Yes!”

“Then let’s go. There’s no time to waste here.”

Suddenly, Giyuu caught a whiff of a disgusting smell, yet one he knew all too well to forget. Kanao seemed to notice it too, and froze up.

Shit shit shit! Were they not all killed back then?!

It was a demon.

Demons: things that shouldn’t exist after Muzan’s defeat. Hell, it took the Demon Slayer Corps close to a year to exterminate all the remaining demons, but there definitely shouldn’t be any of them left.

So why is it here today?

If this was back then, Giyuu would’ve already detected it and killed it by now. It seemed that his Demon Slayer senses had really deteriorated after not using them for so long. Even more so was the fact that it was still daytime: perhaps the fact that it was relatively gloomy today allowed it to move around.

But what’s worse?

The fact that he didn’t have his nichirin blade with him anymore.

For the first time in a very long while, he remembered what real fear felt like again.

What do I do?